Dante's Little Apple Surprise

by Tatsurou

Chapter 12: Confrontation

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As Dante continued onward, he fought his way through several monsters before descending deeper into the tower. "So first I had to go all the way up, and now I have to go all the way down," Dante complained. "Who designed this place?"

"Humans who wanted to unleash the power of the demon world on Earth," Nevan replied blandly.

"Right," Dante confirmed. "Crazy people. That explains a lot."

"I know this section of the tower," Cerberus said softly. "I can direct you through."

Dante nodded. "Lead the way."

Following Cerberus' directions, Dante fought his way through more waves of statue enemies before entering another reflector puzzle chamber. Dante thought it would be easy, only to discover that the reflectors broke when struck instead of rotating. Thankfully, Cerberus was able to direct where the light needed to go, and he was able to solve it, opening a gate to acquire a hunk of Orihalcon. "Another key?"

"Indeed," Cerberus confirmed. "Be careful. We are approaching the final gate."

Dante nodded. Absently, he stroked Applejack's ear as he turned and headed back through the passages. Before long, he came to a massive gate. Placing the Orihalcon in the proper receptacle, the gate unlocked and opened.

Entering the gate, Virgil could be heard shouting. "Why isn't this working?" he demanded. "Is there something missing? Must more blood be shed?"

"You seem to be in a bad mood," Dante said casually as he strolled in.

Virgil turned to face him. "Dante..."

"So, my mother's amulet is the key that unlocks the door to the demon world," Dante muttered. He then chuckled. "Good plan, Pop."

"Just the opposite, actually," Virgil explained. "Originally it was the key to the demon world, but was given to humans as a gift."

"It doesn't matter to me one way or the other," Dante shrugged. "More importantly, I've come all this way..." His hand reached back to Rebellion's hilt. "Yowch!" He yanked his hand back as Applejack's jaw closed hard on his hand.

Virgil chuckled. "It seems your little pony isn't as well behaved as you would like."

"Fud up, foopy puupah Unca!" Applejack spat.

Virgil blinked. "...what did she just say?"

"She was speaking baby talk," Agni mentioned.

"We do not understand it fully," Rudra pointed out.

"I understand her perfectly," Nevan spoke up, "though not what she meant. She said, 'Shut up, stupid puppet Uncle'."

Dante blinked. "If I'm Pa, does that mean Virgil's Uncle?"

"Who are you calling a puppet?" Virgil demanded angrily.

"Jetah poo dings!" Applejack explained.

"She says the Jester is pulling your strings," Nevan translated.

"Didn't AJ identify Lady's father as the Jester?" Dante brought up.

"What?" Virgil snarled. "Arkham is using me? But I killed him!"

"He wasn't dead," Dante pointed out. "We came across his body, AJ threw Cerberus at him, and he leapt out of the way."

"From the sound of it, he was trying to turn the three of us against each other," Lady said as she walked in.

Virgil snarled. "What could he possibly gain from that?"

Dante scratched his chin for a moment, then grinned widely. "He'll probably show up soon. Why don't we ask him?"

Virgil stared at him for a time, then returned the grin. "Let's make a warm welcome for him, then."

Jester warped into the chamber of the seal, fully expecting to find Virgil, Dante, and Mary all too weak from fighting each other to put up a fight. However, he was in for an unfortunate surprise.

Virgil was staring him down at full power, several phantom blades took shape from his body, aimed at the clown.

Dante had Ebony and Ivory out, cocked and ready for rapid fire. Applejack sat on his shoulder, Artemis fully charged.

Lady had Kalina Ann aimed at him, braced to fire at the slightest nudge as several other guns were in easy reach for back up fire.

To Virgil's right, Cerberus was in his demon form once more, ice gathered in his mouth for a barrage of deadly projectiles. Nevan stood beside him, cracking her knuckles as lightning gathered from her swarm of bats.

To Lady's left, Agni and Rudra's statue bodies had been summoned, and concentrated spheres of flame and wind were focused in their mouths for launch.

Jester blinked for a while at the array of force aimed right at him. "...well, that just ain't fair," he complained.

"Sorry," Lady gloated. "We don't give a fuck."

The entire group opened fire on him, ripping his body to shreds with bullets, energy arrows, and elemental blasts as he spouted a string of unintelligible curse words, a different one for every impact as his body was torn apart.

When the barrage finished, Dante turned and shook his finger at Applejack. "Don't repeat any of those words until you're much older, got it?" Applejack nodded happily.

"He seems to have lost consciousness," Virgil said, kneeling over what was left of Arkham, who had lost the guise of Jester.

"He's still not dead?" Lady demanded in shock.

"It takes a lot more than this to kill a devil," Virgil replied. "He was halfway transformed into one as is, so he's about as hard to kill as my brother or I."

Lady's eyes opened wide. "You're both devils?"

"They are half-devils," Nevan said as she approached the pool in the center of the seal. "The half human Sons of Sparda, the Noble Devil Knight, whose demonic spirit stands eternal watch over this seal he created to protect the human world from the demon world." She began carefully examining the seal.

"So...Sparda was a devil...and a good guy?" Lady asked in confusion.

"From your perspective, yes," Agni responded. "Though many devils would see things otherwise."

"There is as much variety of motivations in devils as there are in humans," Rudra explained.

"Fuck!" Nevan swore.

"What's up?" Dante asked.

"The seal's been half broken," she replied. "If we leave it like this, it will eventually unravel completely on its own."

"How do we unravel it further?" Virgil demanded.

"You want to break the seal?" Lady demanded, turning Kalina Ann on him.

"I have my reasons for seeking a path to the demon world," Virgil grated. "This is the only path I can access as I currently am."

"Well, that's good," Nevan exhaled. "The only way to repair the seal now is to release it completely, then reenergize it from both sides with the power of Sparda's blood."

"So I energize it from this side while Virgil takes the other?" Dante asked. "Sounds like a plan. How do we unseal it the rest of the way?"

"It calls for blood," Nevan explained. "I can feel it. It needs the rest of Sparda's blood, and that of a pure maiden from the line of the priestess that helped Sparda create the seal. Given willingly, it can control the release of the seal to prevent too much demonic power from escaping into this world."

"So that means my blood, right?" Dante asked, drawing Rebellion. "Where are we going to find the priestess' blood?"

"That would be Lady," Nevan explained as she and Cerberus resumed their weapon forms. Agni and Rudra once more discarded their statue bodies to sheath themselves across Dante's back.

"Alright then," Dante said, stepping up to the pool. Cutting his hand, he let his blood fall in. Energy began to gather.

"You're certain this has to be done?" Lady asked, stepping up to the pool with a knife in her hand.

"Magic can't be left half done," Nevan explained. "That would be more dangerous than undoing it completely. The unraveling might spread beyond the range of the seal, opening the gateway between the demon world and Earth even wider, until one might swallow the other completely."

"Right," Lady said, cutting her hand to let her blood fall into the pool.

The altar in the bottom of the pool slowly rose, the three bloods mingled within it. The roof opened up, and the entire seal began rising towards the heavens, the tower rising with it.

Author's Notes:

You can thank Leo Archon for inspiring the battle scene, thanks to this comment.

Next Chapter: The Final Battle Estimated time remaining: 3 Hours, 49 Minutes
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