Hellmaster stared up at the broad crown of Flagoon, behind him the resurrected city of Sairaag stood in a mockery of life- a calculated taunt to bring Lina Inverse into his clutches, but this tree...

His eyes narrowed. "What are you hiding?" he asked the tree, a question the near sentient spirit of the tree declined to answer, its leaves simply whispering in the breeze. "It's dead, I can tell that, but why won't you let me have its soul?" The boy's lips pulled back in a vicious snarl.

Above, the sky was a beautiful clear blue, wisps of cloud trailing in a strong high breeze far above. Flagoon's leaves rustled in a breeze that wasn't even there, the sound almost like a laugh. "So you mock me now," Phibrizzo asked, lifting his chin slightly. "You're a very foolish little tree."

There was a sane explanation for the tree's behavior. The tree had been alive for so long with the magic of its shrine maidens helping it, sustaining it, as well as the power of Zanafaar it held in check had combined, evolved, and become something of a soul all on its own. Flagoon wasn't a normal soul, however, having been created through a synthesis of magic, it had only recently learned what fear was- and the meaning of death- just like the creature buried beneath it in an unmarked grave.

Phibrizzo wasn't a very patient Dark Lord. What he wanted, he got. Immediately. He wanted the soul of the copy of Rezo, which he knew was being held in the clutches of Flagoon. And currently, that damn tree wasn't giving it to him. He'd resurrected Eris, who would have been quite useful against Lina if she hadn't been hung up over the fact that her own creation had killed her and destroyed her body. He'd offered her Kopii's soul in exchange for her power, except he wasn't having any luck in getting that little item.

"You leave me no choice, Flagoon," he warned, not out of fear of the tree, not at all. He was frightened of nothing- as he did want to destroy the world and return it to Chaos, but destroying Flagoon directly wasn't something he wanted to deal with. That damn tree was capable of some fairly powerful manipulation of its shrine maidens no matter their current state of health. It had been the reason Sylphiel had stolen the sword- Flagoon had roots that extended through time as well as space and Phibrizzo was loath to destroy something that could be useful soon.

Of course, there was also the problem that Flagoon was a beacon of white magic, which naturally repelled one such as him and he didn't want to get anywhere near it.

Mockingly, Flagoon swished its leaves at the Dark Lord Hellmaster, leaving the demon in a child's body to growl. "You've made your choice," he stated at last, floating upwards into the air and brought his hands together before him- summoning a ball of darkness. Tracing his fingers along the outside of the orb, he pushed more power into it until it was the size of a melon.

"Hyah!" he shouted, casting the spell at the crown of the tree. The quality of the air changed as he released the spell- growing darker, the leaves duller. The crown of the tree was shot off, blasted into nothingness, but Phibrizzo wasn't stupid. "Where do you think you can run to?" Phibrizzo shouted at the tree, golden eyes blazing with fury as the amount of white magic ambient in the air continued to drain. He followed its course with his eyes, watching it as it was sucked down- into the ground. "Is that where he is then?" Raising his hands, he prepared to fling another ball of darkness at the tree.

Roots lifted up out of the ground, wrapping around his target in a protective wall. Releasing the spell, he blasted the roots away, then raised his hand to cast again. The tree flung more roots up, the ground rumbling from the tree's unrest. "Just die!" Hellmaster shouted, flinging his next spell and another directly afterwards, blasting the ground at last, but the earth moved like mud, an obvious sign that something was going on far beneath the ground. In fury, Phibrizzo flung spell after spell, finally destroying the tree completely, destroying the ground it had grown in, digging an incredibly deep pit.

He hadn't gotten the copy of Rezo's soul, but at least he had a place to put all the souls of the people he'd resurrected. He had somewhere to make his base of operations. Lifting his hands, he pulled energy from his Astral form, molding the earth upwards and into a dome. Teleporting his physical self into the dome, he began setting up, irritation still burning in his heart. Sure he'd destroyed Flagoon's tree self, but now it had legs. That may prove a problem if he didn't finish his business with Lina soon.

Scowling, he disappeared once more, traveling across the astral plane to meet Lina in a place she would least expect. "This should be fun at least," he grumbled to himself.