The party traveled with Hans and Franz to the Iron Church of Kord where they took respite for the night and plotted their next move. The next morning they set out for Malington and disguised themselves as workers making a delivery to the castle. They were successful in bluffing their way into the walled inner city and then into the castle itself by pretending to deliver vegetables to the kitchens. Once inside the castle the party moved with the stealth of a parade through the first two floors of the castle, drawing the attention of multiple groups of guards. The party also managed to catch sight of a great hall filled with hooked horrors touched by Far Realm power, a fleshy and twisted portal spilling down from a balcony above the portal, and slow but steady force of the Crystalline Golems leaving the portal only to be destroyed by the hooked horrors. On the third floor they had more success and were able to disarm the magical safeguards blocking their way to the King of Highgore.
Though the King of Highgore awaited in the next room, the party was briefly interrupted as the Tiefling sisters, Rieta and Akta, arrived. They too have snuck in to get to the king, but they wanted to talk with him rather than assassinate him. A brief conversation with them reveals that the sisters have also been looped in time much like the party, but by the goddess Wee Jas. It turns out that they have repeated the past three days several more times than the party has so far. The sisters convinced the party to let them talk to the King of Highgore before they kill him.
The group then held a very frank discussion with the King of Highgore (whose lower body had indeed become a twisted wreck of a portal to the Far Realm) where the king convinced the party that he foresaw a world-destroying threat that could not be averted so all his actions, though admittedly cruel and unsavory, were done with the aim of allowing some shred of the sapient races of the world to escape to a new plane of existence. The party then in turn convinced the king that he would fail, that the world would end before he is able to orchestrate an escape from this reality. For this, the king delivered copies of all his research on the Crystalline Creatures to the group and carved a gateway back to the Horned Gap for them. The king then also infected the group with a touch of Far Realm power that would enable them to fight the Crystalline Creatures. Finally the king offered to let the party kill him for his failures, but they declined and stepped through the gateway.