“You thought you could defeat me if you joined forces?” the Demon Lord growled, “all your efforts are wasted. Go home!”
     The bodies of several challengers laid strewn across the floor of the large room. Splotches of blood could be seen on the dark-bricked walls as well as the carpet leading to the only way in or out of the large room. A woman, now adorned in broken armour that revealed fragments of her tattooed skin beneath, struggled to her feet as she looked around at her fallen comrades.
     “I can’t let this end here,” she uttered to herself, arms shaking.
     “We’ve come too far for us to fail,” a voice murmured from across the room.
     The warrior caught a glimpse of one of the warlocks resting upon his staff which was emitting a warm light from its end. With a loud cry, the warlock lifted the staff into the air before stomping its base onto the stone floor where he stood. All the colour from his hair drained, turning each strand white. The light at the end of his staff took on a pink hue as it grew more radiant, filling the room and temporarily blinding the warrior. The warlock soon collapsed to the cold floor and the light faded. When the warrior’s vision had returned, she saw all her fallen comrades rising to their feet. All had returned to perfect fighting spirit, save for one.
     “All of you stand here because of him!” the warrior shouted, pointing at the now lifeless warlock.
     “Don’t let his sacrifice be for naught. Fight with everything you have for those who have fallen before us and pray that none shall endure the hardships we’ve faced!”
     The Demon Lord stood from where he was seated and cracked his knuckles, “Looks like you have a bit of fight left in you. No matter, I’ll make quick work of you once more.”
    A dark aura began emanating from the Demon Lord and the challengers could feel a tremendous pressure upon their bodies. The tattoos on his face, gave off a dull glow as he increased in strength and, one by one, they fell to their knees, overpowered by the force of his energy. One of the warrior’s comrades, a thief, who once stood in the far corner of the room, now doubled over in pain and gripped his head between his hands. One of the other warlocks cried out as he released a focused torrent of water on the enemy, causing him to drop to a knee. Another companion, this time an archer, managed to stand to her feet and draw back her bow. A cool mist formed around her weapon and a symbol on her hand began to emit a blue hue. Moments later, several arrows made of ice were hurtling towards the Demon Lord, two of which hit their intended target.
     “These attacks are merely an annoyance. Why do you insist on delaying the inevitable?” he said, rising off his knee.
     The Demon Lord let out a mighty roar and the challengers were thrown off the floor and into the surrounding walls and pillars. The thief had been pushed back with such force, that he now laid unconscious within the next room. The archer, screaming in pain, had a pillar fall on top of her, pinning her to the ground. There was no sign of the warlock; however, one of the windows had been smashed and it could only be assumed he had been thrown from the tower. The Demon Lord smiled at another successful battle and turned to make his way back to his throne.
     “I’m not finished with you just yet,” a voice seethed from behind.
    It was the warrior. She had struck her sword between two stones in the floor enabling her to keep in place. Blood streamed from her forehead where a piece of the stone floor had broken off and struck her. With one hand raised she let out a cry, igniting the symbol upon it and fire emerged from her shoulder, twisting and turning down her arm to her palm. A large fireball shot toward the Demon Lord with such power that the warrior feared she may have dislocated her shoulder. The hit from the attack forced the Demon Lord back several feet and he let out a disgruntled cry.
     “That packed quite the punch; however, you cannot best me when it comes to fire. I’m the ruler of The Underworld!” he yelled, firing back in the same manner.
    The two became entangled in a battle of flames so fierce that the walls looked to be melting. The warrior’s hair began to turn white as her power slowly depleted. An intense energy surrounded her as the last of her might evaporated and her eyes glowed a deep red.
     “Ah! It was about time another one showed up. It’s a pity you don’t have what it takes to fulfill the calling,” he said, forcing even more power into his flames.
    The warrior stood to her feet, raising her hand to meet the other and increased her spell ten-fold. Her hair, now fluttering back from the energy, mimicked the movements of the banners upon the walls. The Demon Lord’s feet broke the stone beneath him as he held his footing and pressed forward into his magic. The warrior increased her might yet again and let out a cry so loud it could be heard several storeys below. The flames raged on for what could be recalled as several hours, but in truth, they only lasted a few moments before the warrior’s strength gave way causing her arms to drop to the side and she was engulfed by hell-fire.
    “The true victor rises alone. Neither I nor those before me had help defending this throne,” the Demon Lord said, returning to his seat.
     He sat back and admired another successful victory as the warrior’s ashes were swept away in a mysterious breeze; with a snap of his fingers several ghastly creatures emerged from the shadows and removed the bodies scattered about the large room.
     “It was a valiant but pointless effort. It’s time we went home,” he said.
     The Demon Lord’s throne lifted through the ceiling of the room and stopped once it reached the outside. The setting sun glistened on the jewels that decorated where he sat. He noticed several burns on his body and scoffed. If that warrior held out just a few moments longer, he could have been defeated. He took a deep breath and, with what could have been interpreted as relief, sighed. The damage he sustained from the arduous battle, glowed a deep pink before vanishing completely. From atop his tower, the Demon Lord had a clear view of the world which surrounded him.
     “It’s a pity to destroy something once loved so dearly,” he thought to himself, wiping something from his cheek.
    He raised his arm, palm facing towards the heavens, and darkness descended upon the world. He imagined the cries of every living creature as their homes were destroyed, forests became barren and crops withered away. The Demon Lord returned to his throne and watched the world burn as he descended back to The Underworld, only to return again one thousand years later.

Published by Paul Schembri

I'm a writer living in Australia.

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