The Return of Mephistopheles: World War III is the second volume in the series The Spectral Chronicles.
From the back cover: It is the year 2093. As of late, the ghost Demetrios has been troubled by strange dreams. Shortly thereafter, the cult leader William, also known as the demon Mephistopheles, returns, and with him he brings the nightmare that was hoped would never happen: World War III. With the help of his friends and new allies, Demetrios sets out to keep their home planet from being conquered and brought into Satan's unholy empire.
- Absent Animal Companion: Queen Sastiana is introduced with a pet Egyptian Mau cat. The cat disappears from the story afterward.
- Aerith and Bob: Among the Stone Cutters, we have the names Zasedis, Sastiana, Zecadea... and Lily. She even had that name back in her Atlantean days.
- Asleep for Days: Demetrios experiences this after fighting Mephistopheles. He sleeps for four days, with Lily and Sastiana casting healing spells on him in the meantime.
- Awesome McCoolname: The Stone Cutters chose that name to commemorate their success in besieging the seemingly indestructible fortress of the Naga emperor Takshaka.
- Battle Amongst the Flames: Since Umbra can meld with and escape into the darkness, Anne-Marie sets his chamber on fire to fill it with light, diminishing his powers. Umbra has a counter-strategy of his own, however; he blows the fire out with the wind from his wings, plunging his chamber back into darkness. They have another one when fighting Insuadibilis.
- Big Red Devil: The Devil. Amusingly, though, even though he has the other traits he's often portrayed with (wings, horns, and hooves), he does not have the characteristic goatee he's often portrayed with; the only hair on his face is his eyebrows.
- Convection Schmonvection: When Anne-Marie sets the room on fire with her spells, the flames only hurt the demons, not the heroes. In addition, the heroes travel through the volcanic caverns in Hawaii without any discomfort.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: With some emphasis on the "cool" part. When William gets sent to hell for the second time, the punishment Satan sentences to him for being defeated is to spend eternity ice-skating with Hitler. As William is being dragged out of the throne room, he starts kicking and shouting "NO!" a lot like it's the cruelest punishment ever invented, while Satan laughs like it's the cruelest punishment ever invented.
- Deadpan Snarker: Michael provides a lot of it, which the other Champions humorously diffuse.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Animus unleashes one of these when Jack incorrectly guesses the answer to his riddle. Anne-Marie even says "That guy really doesn't like wrong answers."
- Excited Episode Title!: Chapter 12 combines this with a Questioning Title: "More Demonic Possession?!"
- Expecting Someone Taller: One of the Stone Cutter courtiers in the castle is surprised by Demetrios's youthful appearance (being a ghost, he's eternally 18) and was expecting him to be older.
- Fire and Brimstone Hell: Only it's actually a planet instead of inside the Earth.
- Growing Up Sucks: This time it's the adults who have problems with it. Marissa breaks up with Demetrios because she doesn't want to face the awkwardness and discomfort that will arise when she gets older and he doesn't.
- Harmless Freezing: Inverted. When Demetrios and company encounter the frozen animals in the jungle, Anne-Marie thaws them with her fire magic, and Lily and Frederick immediately heal them.
- Haunted Castle: Atrocitas's lair looks like "just about every haunted castle ever described in the fairy tales." Upon seeing it, Ruby even says "Man, these avatars' bases are getting weirder and weirder."
- In the End, You Are on Your Own: During the final battle, Mephistopheles blocks Demetrios's friends from entering his palace, forcing him to fight alone.
- Lethal Lava Land: Insuadibilis's lair is inside Mauna Loa in Hawaii.
- No Ontological Inertia: When Mephistopheles's avatars are defeated, the evil effects they had on the surrounding landscape are cured.
- Noisy Nature: Used in two cases. In the first, Demetrios and company welcome the sounds of the nearby Louisiana wildlife as a nice change from the fighting of demons. In the second, they consider the lack of it in the Kalahari Desert as a sign of something being wrong.
- Produce Pelting: The Stone Cutters throw vegetables at Theodore before his duel with Demetrios.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Mephistopheles has quite a few; first his assassins, then his avatars, and then the guardians before his throne room.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: King Zasedis and Queen Sastiana, along with their fellow Stone Cutters, join in the final battle against Mephistopheles's army.
- Rule of Cool:
- This trope might explain why even though Jenna is a werehyena, she turns into the unrelated Hyaenodon instead of a regular hyena. Of course, she's also an assassin, so she needs a powerful form to do the job.
- Rule of Three: Lampshaded:There are three of these murderers, she [Shandara] added.
What is it with supernatural guys and the number three? I asked aloud.
- Sadly Mythtaken: During the dinner scene, Demetrios at first says that he thought that angels only ate nectar and ambrosia, which is actually the ancient Greek and Roman gods' Trademark Favorite Food.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Gelu turned the jungles of Vietnam surrounding her base into this.
- Spell My Name with an "S": While it might be hard to tell from spoken dialogue, evil characters tend to capitalize the "h" in "hell."
- Transformation Is a Free Action: For Atrocitas. Demetrios and company try to attack him while he's preparing his dragon form, but the attacks are ineffective.
- Tropical Epilogue: The Champions of the Light move in to Kinardas City as their new home.
- Unrealistic Black Hole: One of these serves as the entrance to Animus's throne room/meditation chamber. Justified since Animus can warp reality, so for him, unrealistic is realistic.
- Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Averted; with each evil act Mephistopheles commits, he becomes stronger.
- Weird Moon: Not just weird. Atrocitas magically replaced it with the demon's face from "Oh, Susannah!".
- World War III: It's in the title. Luckily for all concerned, World War III is surprisingly and comfortably short compared to its two older brothers.
- Year Inside, Hour Outside: Related to "Reality Is Out To Lunch" above. Demetrios and company are inside Animus's lair for a painfully long time, but when they defeat him and return to the real world, Ashur's watch says they were only in there for one minute.