Anniil reared its arm then lunged it at Azeon, who was barely able to roll backward in time. The punch smashed into the floor where he was, crumbling some stone into dust.
It then reeled back to attack again, but he wasn't looking at Azeon.
Azeon tackled Melody to the ground, saving her life, then quickly got up, grabbed her by the hand, and bolted out of the cave.
It was stronger than it ever had been before, he knew that. Him alone wouldn't stand a chance.
He ran as fast as he could, dodging attack after attack from the menace until he tripped and received a punch to the gut, sending them both flying out of the cave.
Phota saw this and immediately panicked.
"What's happening?!" She shouted.
Azeon ran over and grabbed Phota by the hand, then continued running again, hopping across the river.
"Run as much as you want! You won't get far!" Anniil boomed.
The flower from earlier was still there, panicking as well.
"Time to make this place a little better," Anniil taunted, then slammed the ground.
The sky darkened. The water turned pink. Pink meteors fell from the sky.
It then pounced on the nearby flower, punching it repeatedly.
Azeon attempted to fight the beast back by harnessing a life crystal's power to shoot a small laser at it.
It was completely deflected, and Anniil countered with a laser of his own, which the three were barely able to dodge.
"I can't fight this thing alone," Azeon said, flying the two over to the mainland, "Melody, you need to find Isa and Percival NOW."
"I-I'll try," She said, then ran off.
"W-what about me?" Phota asked.
"You just need to stay out of harm's way," He ordered.
"But I want to help!" She pouted.
"I'm sorry, but you're not ready for that. All that matters is that you stay safe. Please, go find a safe place to hide," He begged.
She looked down sadly, then nodded before running off herself.
He looked around to see that Anniil was making a beeline for the Tree of Life.
He zoomed into the air and chased after the beast. He had to make it there first, he could set up some sort of forcefield or something.
But Anniil was really close. Azeon wasn't.
Without a single thought, Azeon flew forward as fast as he physically could, creating a sonic boom.
Anniil flew toward the Tree of Life with a look of rage and determination.
"Finally, after so long, I can fulfill my purpose. Turning everything a nice shade of red... or at least pink, which is just light red."
Its eye narrowed.
"I honestly wasn't expecting a single life crystal to give me that much power. I wonder how powerful I'll be once I have the source under my control, heh. I'll crush those pathetic Champions like the murderous scum they are. And they're hailed as heroes? Do they not know the havoc they caused for the people they were MADE TO PROTECT?!"
It shook its head.
"Whatever. It's just a little bit longer before I don't have to worry about that anymore. I'll rule over Paradise like a king, or a boss. All of my subjects will love me, whether they want to or not. I'll have a nice crown, and a guitar fit for someone like myself, so I can show everyone just how badass I am."
His thoughts were interrupted when he saw a flash of cyan zoom by him and plow into the Tree of Life.
"What?!" It yelled, "That kid again, what the hell is he doing?"
He was gone.
Instead, the Tree of Life was beginning to glow brighter.
Anniil settled in front of the tree and had to shield its eye against the radiance.
"... What did that jackass do?" It grumbled.
Suddenly, a flash of blue was shot out of the top of the tree, accompanied by countless life crystals.
Azeon, after being spouted from the tree and feeling more power than he felt he ever should feel, floated down to block Anniil's access to the tree. The life crystals had assembled into halos spinning around his hands and feet, and his eyes were glowing white.
He stared at the beast, who stared back.
"You think that you can just... come in here and wreak havoc? Kill and terrify people, infect the world with your... disease, and even attack the Tree of Life, and that nobody will have anything to say about that?" He boomed, his voice magnitudes more powerful.
"Nah, I just don't think any of you will stand a chance," Anniil retorted.
"I am one of the four guardians created solely to protect this land. I am linked to power you could not even BEGIN to imagine," Azeon shouted with confidence.
Anniil did nothing but snort.
Azeon began to shake with rage and clenched his fists.
"Who do you think you are? You think you're some sort of supervillain? 'The Pink Death'?" He spat, "You are nothing but a broken husk with power you can't even understand, terrorizing innocent people because you just can't get over the past. I wanted to make peace with you, but no more. You are not worth saving. So..."
Anniil looked bored.
"I won't let you terrorize Paradise... EVER AGAIN!"
His hand suddenly became surrounded by white fire, and he threw it as a giant fireball against the monster.
Anniil's eye widened and it threw up an arm to block the attack. The fireball exploded into a brilliant white explosion, and knocking Anniil far away as it howled in intense pain.
Azeon smirked at seeing his attack actually hurt the beast.
Anniil got up feeling pure, intense rage.
"You little shit!" It shouted, then blasted a laser from its eye at him. He threw up his arms defensively and the life crystals formed into a shield in front of him, reflecting the beam into the sky.
Azeon was pushed back with a grunt as he struggled to maintain the shield, then threw out a life crystal and made it shoot a laser of its own at the beast. It was enough to distract it and make it stop, which Azeon took as an opportunity to fly up and dropkick it into the ground.
It quickly got up and swatted at him with its arm. If it could get close, then it'd be able to overpower him with its raw strength alone.
Or... so it thought.
Azeon blocked Anniil's arm with his own, completely stopping its attack. It tried to attack him with its other arm, but it was blocked as well.
"It's not gonna be that simple," He taunted, then blasted it with a giant laser of his own.
It was launched so far back that it landed deep in the forest, which was beginning to wither slowly.
Azeon followed it, and saw that where it had landed, there were many trees bowled over in a line, and the ground was moved out of the way.
It seemed like it was tiring.
Until its eye locked on something.
"Well, well, well, what do we have here?" It cackled as it reached into the trees.
Azeon heard a shrill scream that made him go cold.
Anniil flew into the air, and Azeon saw a tint of orange floating in the air behind it, tied with pink strings.
He froze solid.
It had Phota. In its grasp.
"A little girl, is it? And it just so happens to be one of the four Champions! Huh! Fancy that!" It taunted, "What a pathetic excuse of a Champion... can't even fly. Pfft."
"No, nononononono…" Azeon muttered. He silenced his growing fear and stared cruelly at Anniil. "Let her go. NOW."
It smirked evilly.
"Oh, what's the matter? Lost all your hot air?" It cackled, "This little brat wouldn't happen to be someone IMPORTANT to you, would she?"
Azeon began to shake.
"Ohhh, she IS! Perhaps you even consider her as FAMILY!" It mocked, "That'll just make crushing her into powder all the more satisfying!"
Azeon clenched his fists and pointed at Anniil.
"I will only say this once more," He warned, "LET HER GO!"
It grinned maliciously.
"You want me to let her go?" It asked cruelly, "Well, you asked for it!"
It grabbed her with one of its giant arms, then turned around and winded up its arm, throwing the poor girl into the sky as she screamed.
Azeon didn't think. He just acted.
He flew after Phota as if upon instinct, because it was.
He managed to catch her high in the sky, although he had no idea where. He also knew his power was gone. But he didn't care anymore.
He quickly broke the pink strings digging into her body and hugged her close.
She opened her mouth to speak.
"Shh, don't say anything. You're safe now. The monster isn't here anymore," Azeon cooed.
"But... what about the Tree?" She asked.
He just patted her on the back slowly.
"You're safe now. That's all that matters."