Azeon and Melody sat with eachother for hours, nothing but eachother to keep them company. No words were spoken, none were needed.
Unfortunately, Melody had to leave, so they wished each other a good night, and Azeon went to bed.
He was greeted with another nightmare.
He found himself floating in a void once again.
Suddenly, music began to play. He recognized it as chiptune.
And a pink spiked ball whizzed by his head.
He turned around and saw more coming his way. They were materializing out of thin air, to the beat of the song.
It was unlike anything he'd seen before.
He dodged the projectiles until a segment of the Tree of Life flew in front of him.
He grabbed it, causing a shockwave and a blast of light to temporarily blind him and shake the void.
When he could see again, the segment flew away. The beat developed, and pink bombs were occasionally launching from above and below, exploding into pink shrapnel to the beat.
He dodged the foray, confused and determined to find out what was going on.
After awhile, the segment flew into his reach again, and he grabbed it again.
The same reaction occurred, and the beat further developed, this time with a drum-like tune causing lasers to blast from above.
He was sensing a pattern that he didn't like.
But, being the determined Champion he was, he kept finding and grabbing the segment over and over and over.
Until eventually, the segment never appeared.
He looked around, and saw pink all around him. Slowly coming closer as he sensed the song reaching a crescendo.
And when it did, chaos broke loose.
Shrapnel, lasers, walls of spiked balls, everything was launched at him from every direction. He wasn't quite sure how he was able to dodge it all.
After enduring the barrage, the tempo slowed, the projectiles stopped coming, and the segment flew into his grasp.
He was blinded again, and found himself coming back to consciousness.
He woke up dazed and confused, finding it to be morning already.
"The hell kind of dream was that?"
He shook his head, annoyed.
"Ugh, whatever. I have bigger problems than whatever that was."
He got up and stretched, then meandered over to Phota's room and quietly entered.
She was sound asleep, and she was already beginning to look much better.
A lot of the cracks were gone, any shards of her that were missing before had healed, and she didn't seem to be in pain.
He finally relaxed. Finally, he could say that she would be fine.
He took a deep breath, sat down in his chair, and put a hand to his chin. Now that Phota's injuries were mostly gone, he had some thinking to do.
"That was a really strange dream. Not like the other ones I had. Yes, something pink tried to kill me in the dream. Everything bad is pink. But this time I didn't see anything ominous or foreboding. It felt more like... some twisted game."
"I really need to figure out what's going on with this. I've never heard of Champions having dreams like these before..."
He narrowed his eyes, a thought popping into his head.
"But that doesn't mean it's never happened before."
He leaned back as he had an idea.
"I wonder if any past Champions kept a journal or something. It'd be pretty surprising if not a single one ever had one. So, I could go back to the library and ask."
He grinned slightly.
"I mean, I didn't find anything while I was there, but they wouldn't just keep something like thatout in the open. Someone's out-of-control kid could come in and rip it apart then. No, a Champion's journal would be extremely valuable, so they'd probably keep it locked away in storage. But I'd probably be able to convince them to lend it to me."
His smile widened more. He was finally getting somewhere.
"I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner."
He was interrupted by a knock at the door.
"Come in," He invited.
The door opened, and in walked Melody.
She seemed very, very happy.
"Hiya, Az," She greeted.
"Something happen?" He asked, "You seem different today."
She did nothing but laugh.
"Oh, wait..." He muttered, putting it together.
He'd completely forgotten about last night. How they'd confessed their feelings to eachother.
"How's Phota?" She asked.
"She's healing rapidly. She'll probably be back to normal by tomorrow," He answered.
"Really? That soon?" She exclaimed, "That's amazing!"
"It's a miracle," He replied. She nodded rapidly.
She then had a look of suddenly remembering something.
"Oh, by the way, I had an idea," She began, "I don't know why we didn't think of this sooner, but I realized that we don't really have a good way to communicate with each other. We always have to find each other to talk to each other. So, I have a little something for you!"
She walked up to him and put something in his hand.
He looked down at it and realized it was a flip-phone.
"Ohhh," He said, "That's a brilliant idea, Melody. If we ever want or need to talk we can just phone each other."
"Exactly," She responded happily, "No more long travels just to talk with each other."
He smiled. Now he could talk to his best friend--err… hm...
He could talk to her whenever he wanted.
"Is something wrong?" She asked.
"Huh?" He said.
"You look... off," She said, "Is... everything okay?"
"Oh, it's nothing," He muttered.
"Az..." She said, "You know that I know that isn't true."
He said nothing.
"Can we talk outside?" He asked.
They walked out the door, stepping out onto the mountainside.
"So, uh..." He began, "Last night... we... uh... said some things."
She nodded with a patient smile.
"I meant what I said, and I know you did too," He explained, "It's just... well. We're best friends. We always have been. It's kind of... strange, I guess.."
"I know what you mean," She reassured him, "We don't have to take things fast, Az. We can still just be friends for now, if it makes things easier for you."
He took a sigh of relief, and nodded.
"Alright," He said, then smiled warmly at her. "You're the best, Melody," He stated.
"You are, too, Az," She responded.
They sat at the mountainside for a few minutes, not saying anything. Just enjoying the view and each other's presence.
But then Azeon remembered something.
"Oh, uh, are you busy?" He asked.
"No, not at all," She answered, "Why?"
"I want to go to the library to look for a certain book but I don't want Phota to be alone, nor do I want to wake her. You've babysat her before, so could you maybe watch over her until I get back? Please?," He asked, "I won't be gone long."
"Of course!" She said.
"Thank you," He thanked her, "If she wakes up before I get back, just tell her I went off to do something and didn't want to wake her."
She nodded, and he flew off.
A few minutes later, he was at the public library, which seemed to have just opened maybe half an hour earlier.
He entered and looked around for the library's curator. He'd met the guy before, he was an old blue flower with a blue cloak commonly seen reading old history books and whatnot.
It didn't take him long to find him. He was sat at an old wooden desk reading an old, dusty book that Azeon didn't recognize.
He approached the curator, and he turned to him.
"Ah, the blue Champion," He greeted quietly, "I take it you're looking for a book?"
"Yeah. In fact, I was wondering if there were any journals written by previous Champions," He stated, "And if so, if you had them and if I could maybe read them."
"Well, I can assure you that if a book exists, we have it," The curator muttered, "And, yes, we do have something of that sort. There is one book I know of that would peak your interest: a journal written by the very first Champion."
Azeon grinned from ear to ear.
"That'd be perfect," He said.
"However..." The curator said, "I'm afraid I cannot lend it to you."
That put a dampener on Azeon's mood real quick.
"Curator, you know I'd be extremely careful with it," Azeon assured him, "Have I ever damaged a book you lended to me?"
"Of course not. I know you wouldn't damage it," The curator said, "But... it's a forbidden text. Nobody is ever allowed to read it, and nobody even knows why."
"Says who?" Azeon asked.
"It's been law for as long as this library has existed," The curator explained, "If I let you read it, we would both be judged very harshly."
"They can't judge me," He grumbled, "I'm a Champion. It's not their place to judge my decisions. And if anyone gives you trouble, I'll defend you. But I need that book badly."
The curator sighed.
"Alright... follow me," The curator ordered as he closed his book and stood up.
Azeon followed the old flower through many hallways and passages until they came to a room labelled 'DO NOT ENTER'.
The curator fumbled around for a keychain, found the correct key, and opened the door.
Inside was a single, unlabelled book inside of a small frame. It was removed from its frame and passed to Azeon.
"Here you go," The curator said, "I don't know what business you've got with that bloody thing, or why it's so important, but I hope you find what you're looking for."
The curator then smiled.
"And remember, don't tell anybody," He said light-heartedly.
"Of course," Azeon responded, "Thanks, Curator."
The old librarian nodded, and Azeon quickly left and returned home.
When he got back, he saw Melody in the living room playing with dolls with Phota.
"I'm back," He said.
Phota got up and jumped him in a hug.
He chuckled and hugged her back.
"Well you're feeling a lot better, aren't you?" He stated.
She nodded rapidly.
"I'd better not see you jumping off any more cliffs," He warned jokingly, causing the little girl to giggle.
He set her down and looked at Melody.
"Did you get what you were looking for?" She asked.
"Yep," He responded, showing her the old journal.
"What's that?" She inquired.
"The first Champion's journal," He answered.
"Well, that's not something you see every day," She replied, "Out of curiosity, what do you need it for?"
Instead, he looked down and saw Phota sat on the ground, playing with dolls again.
"Phota, could you go play in your room for a minute, please?" He asked.
"Okay," She said, picking up her dolls and walking away.
Melody gave him a questioning look, causing him to sigh.
"It's a long story," He stated.
"A long story you don't want your own daughter hearing?" She countered questioningly.
"I have some things to explain. Things that might scare or worry her if she hears them," He answered seriously.
Melody adopted a look of very deep concern.
"Oh..." was all she could say.
"Let's start with the beginning," He muttered, "On the night I found Phota, something strange began to happen."
"What do you mean by 'strange'?" She asked
"Well, y'see..." He explained, "I began to have really weird nightmares like once a month."
She gave him a disapproving glare.
"Everyone gets nightmares, Az," She deadpanned.
He shook his head.
"You don't understand," He countered, "I don't think Champions are supposed to get nightmares. I never heard Isa or Percival say anything about nightmares, and before that night I never got them either. And I'm fairly certain Phota hasn't had any."
"Oh... I guess that makes sense, then," She said.
"Also, every nightmare I've had that I could remember was the same. Something pink tries to kill me or cause havoc. But I almost always end up waking up in a panic," He explained, "I didn't really worry about them until recently, because I had two nightmares that I can remember vividly, and one of them had me really concerned."
"What was it? Or do I even want to know?" She asked, concerned.
He quickly told her the events of the one dream, how a pink infection spread across Paradise and infected all of the people, turning them into hostile monsters. He also told her that when it reached the Tree of Life that it broke into its three segments as the world crumbled.
She was dumbfounded.
"Are you absolutely sure this isn't your mind playing tricks on you?" She asked, "But everything being pink... that's really weird. Especially considering there's not a speck of pink in Paradise."
"Exactly. That's what I'm hoping this book will answer. My books mention an evil entity being sealed away for eternity by four Champions, but it's so vague that for all practical purposes it might as well not even be there. There's also no mention of the colour pink anywhere," He rambled, "I even checked the library multiple times. Nothing. Quite something strange to leave out, huh? To put more emphasis on this, this book is forbidden to read by law. I had to convince the Curator that nothing bad would happen before he let me have it."
"That is extremely peculiar," She muttered.
"Exactly. And because of that, I'm positive this books contains answers to all of my questions. My nightmares, the lack of pink, the entity, everything," He finished with confidence.
She nodded slowly, then chuckled.
"I can see now why you didn't want Phota hearing this," She said light-heartedly, "It'd worry the poor girl to no end."
"I told you!" He exclaimed.
She then scratched her head.
"Well, I guess I should get going," She muttered.
"Alright, see you later," He replied, "But don't forget to say goodbye to Phota."
"Of course!" She said, walking toward the girl's room.
He picked up his book and faintly heard Phota and Melody talking, but he couldn't make out their words.
He took a deep breath and flipped to the first page of the journal.
Finally, it was time for answers.