Chapter 0:

First off, The Final Battle.

The Demon King Reborn as Twins

Allmaxon heard the cacophony of war echoing throughout his castle as he seat patiently on his black throne. The ringing of swords, explosions of fire and wind, and the screaming pitch of both his allies and enemies brought vivid images of their conflict to his mind. He clutched the arm of his seat and it creaked under his massive grip. There were no enemies inside the throne hall to vent his wrath upon, not yet at least, it was just him and his close advisor Kaldoth.

The fairy-fire lamps that hung on the walls barely keep the room lit and made the shadows of the great stone pillars dance on the floor over the red carpet in the center. All seating except the throne itself had been removed, Allmaxon knew no more meetings or councils would be held here. Soon this place would be the site of the last battle of his reign over the world. At least if the scheme went as planned.

Allmaxon looked at the robed figure to the right of the throne. He was a lithe and pale demon dressed dull gray and muted brown whose appearance screamed scholar even without the tome in his hand. Kaldoth had been Allmaxon's chosen advisor for years and was hand-selected due to his intelligence and cunning. It was Kaldoth's plan that had the Great Demon King seated on his black throne when the king would have preferred to meet the invading party in the field of battle. Trust was not something Allmaxon gave much of but Kaldoth had earned it.

"Walk me over the plan, from the top." Allmaxon said.

"Well, my king, you know the plan. We wait here, warded and protected seemingly holed up and on the defensive-"

"We are holed up. Practically cowering like children." Another explosion trailed by the death scream of demons rocked the castle and caught Allmaxon's attention. "I should be out there fighting."

Allmaxon stood up from his throne immediately dwarfing his advisor. At twelve feet in height, he was nearly double his advisor's size in stature alone. Even the king's clothes couldn't conceal the corded muscles beneath them. Centuries of training and fighting built his impressive form that frightened most enemies on sight. Combat was where he felt most comfortable and this plan balked against his nature.

"My lord, please, listen. The plan can't be guaranteed to succeed unless you stay here. The area we can control is very limited." Kaldoth closed his book and looked up at his king. "Now as I said we, we feign a defensive posture-"

"Get to the part where I die."

"The resurrection ritual will work. The arcane theory is sound, the tests have been successful, and I will personally execute the chant and spellwork. I will not fail you."

Allmaxon felt the determination within Kaldoth's blue eyes and found himself pleased once more with his advisor. Demons didn't have many allies and even fewer friends but if the king had any then Kaldoth would be among them. Even when the advisor's plans went awry he adapted and pulled victory from defeat. That also made this planned death and resurrection harder to swallow.

"I know you won't. It's my own fault we're here. We've come from conquering nearly every inch of this world to being stuck fighting over half of it."

"Less than half now. It's not your fault, my king. You can't be everywhere at once. We just need time to circumvent that damned Goddess." Kaldoth leaned forward to the nudged his elbow into the king's thigh. "And what better way than with her own technique?"

The two of them grinned together with all the mischief and malice they could. The Goddess' skill of resurrection had brought an endless line of blessed heroes. Each generation was more a pain in the neck than the last, growing in strength and skill. Even if Allmaxon defeated the current hero another would rise until he was defeated. It was a unique skill with an unfair advantage but Allmaxon believed in adapted just as much as his advisor Kaldoth. Reverse engineering the resurrecting ability into a ritual was an amazing feat of arcane theory-craft and spellwork.

"It IS a brilliant plan. I just don't enjoy dying to see it come to fruition." Allmaxon said.

"Neither do I but changing you from Allmaxon the Undefeated to Allmaxon the Endless will secure us a victory in the long term."

"I thought we were going with Allmaxon Eternal?"

"It's still up for debate."

Another explosion reverberated through the castle, this one closer than the previous ones. A muffled yell came from beyond the entrance door to the throne room.

"The cowardly king has sealed the throne room with a barrier! " Some gruff voice yelled in the common tongue.

"Company has arrived. I'll leave the rest to you." Kaldoth said with a nod. "Remember, no killing. You're the only one that is supposed to die in this room."

"Yes but…" Allmaxon gestured and his clothes blinked from existence replaced by a full suit of shimmering black armor pieces. Demonic runes raced over the surface of his armor, charged with mana and spellwork that blocked exterior interference. There were no slots for his eyes in the helmet because even a direct line of sight could be a weakness exploited by cunning foes. Yet Allmaxon could still 'see' and sense the world.

In his right hand formed a great sword that was as large as the demon king himself. The broad blade was bathed in a crimson light that sliced the space around despite the lack of movement.

"I don't have to make it easy for them. If I beat them to near death first will make it more entertaining."

"As you wish, my king." Kaldoth bowed as he melted into a pool of shadows on the floor.

Outside the throne room door came a shrill sound that stretched on until it collapsed signifying the heroes succeeded in breaking the barrier. The ragtag party burst through the metal doors with spear, blade, and bow at the ready. Humans, a dwarf, some kind of halfling, and an elf made the composition of the group. This really was a better representation of the diverse races than the last heroic group that tried to assassinate Allmaxon.

"Foul King, the Goddess will no longer allow-" Was all the blonde-haired hero got to say before a ball of fire exploded at his feet and launched him back into another member of the party. Allmaxon had grown wings from the back of his armor and hovered ten feet from the floor make himself a more imposing sight. Six orbs circled him each clacking with elemental power, the red one still flicked with fresh flames.

"You didn't come to chat." Allmaxon spat in the common tongue for them to understand. "Fight for lives. I will take them either way but at least it will be more entertaining."

The group looked rattled by the perfect display of force. Anger and fear both made for prime emotions to fight from. The blonde hero was already back on his feet within a few moments and summoned a shimmering silver blade in a flash of light. The young man's blue eyes locked on to Allmaxon with a determination the demon king knew all too well. The heroes would risk their lives if necessary to kill Allmaxon. They would pour all of their strength into every attack, abuse every tactic in their arsenal, and meet the demon blow for bloody blow in an epic final battle in the throne room.

And so they did just that exactly as Allmaxon planned. The demon king died with a grin on his face.

Joe Gold