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Dante's Little Apple Surprise

by Tatsurou

Chapter 18: An Unwelcome Invitation

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At ten years old, Applejack had easily started to grow into herself, becoming much more physically fit than when she was younger. While she wasn't visibly muscled as one might expect, the demon blood that now ran in her veins made her a much stronger pony than she looked. What muscles were visible under her coat were well toned without being bulging. Her coat glowed with her health, and her mane and tail always flowed neatly, save when they were tied into her preferred ponytail style.

Unlike her father, she always went everywhere fully armed. While she could fight without her Devil Arms, she liked having them close, since it was far easier to wield them than to wield her Devil Trigger, should she be surprised by any demonic incursion. Beowulf garbed her four legs, and Nevan was strapped to her back just over the barrel holster where Artemis hung on her right side. Cerberus was woven into her tail, the ring in the hairband with the three heads braided up towards her rump, holding themselves there so that they could leap free easily should battle begin. Her father had joked that it was like Cerberus was constantly sniffing her rear. She had countered back that that's what puppies did.

Today, Applejack lounged on the desk in the main office. They closed up shop at 9, and Dante was out on a food run. Applejack intended to cook dinner tonight, but a lack of fresh ingredients - plus a rather late running minor demonic incursion - had necessitated Dante's grocery run at this hour. "Ya need to work on having yer nose working in weapon form, Cerberus," she complained dryly. "It should not have taken us six hours to track down a demon possessed rat that was spreadin' sickness to the city."

"Sorry," Cerberus apologized contritely.

Right at that moment, a blonde woman on a motorcycle burst through the door, taking the door clean off its hinges. She then stepped off the motorcycle and strutted forward.

Applejack gave the woman a disgruntled gaze. From her blonde hair, blue eyes behind dark sunglasses, fair skin, curves, and shapely and revealing outfit, she might as well have been designed to get Dante's attention. She even somewhat resembled the picture Dante kept in the office of his late mother. Applejack, however, wasn't impressed. "Whatever else ya came for, I'm addin' $1000 to yer bill ta fix the damn door."

The woman paused, apparently not having expected such an unwelcoming response...or, from the way she was staring at Applejack, a talking pony. "I'm...looking for the handyman?" she asked cautiously, as though trying to establish a script she was working from. "The one who'll take on...any dirty job?"

"That's us," AJ replied. "Devil May Cry. What can we do for ya?"

The woman paused again. "I'm...looking for Dante."

"He ain't in," Applejack countered gruffly. "If ya got a job, ya can tell me. We take jobs together."

The woman growled. "I'm here to talk to Dante."

"Tough horseapples," AJ replied snidely.

Angrily, the woman thrust forward with her hand, sending a stream of lightning at Applejack.

Without even blinking, Applejack whipped Nevan around and began strumming a power chord. As the guitar's magic gathered, the lightning was absorbed into it as a magical charge. "Now that tweren't very nice," Applejack scolded. Twirling her tail, she freed Cerberus, bringing the three heads up to curl over her head, spinning them in a tight circle as the magical charge in Nevan was converted into a large sphere of ice that took shape between the three heads of the demonic weapon.

The woman barely managed to dodge the massive blast of ice, which eradicated her motorcycle. "What the?" she demanded, shocked.

"You ain't gettin' no discount fer that," Applejack pointed out. "You attacked me, after all."

"I don't care what sort of power you have," she snarled in defiance. "I am here for the Son of Sparda."

"Then ya'd best be content with his granddaughter!" Applejack snarled back in defiance. "Ya ain't gettin' near my Pa if this is how yer gonna behave!"

The woman stared in shock. "You're...his daughter?" she asked in surprise.

"Yup!" Applejack replied. "And I ain't lettin' no one try and kill my Pa on my wat-"

"Then I am not your enemy!" the woman interrupted, standing with her hands spread. She removed her sunglasses.

Applejack snorted. "If'n ya came to hire us, ya went about it the wrong way. And if yer tryin' ta get in Pa's pants, yer trying too hard." Applejack looked her over disdainfully. "No need ta show that much skin. It gets him suspicious a lot faster than it gets him horny."

"Unless you count his Devil Trigger," Nevan pointed out. "He'd certainly pull that out for trying to hurt Applejack."

"If you want to share his bed, being nice to Applejack works better!" Agni spoke up from his place on the wall.

"Indeed!" Rudra agreed. "In the past ten years, no less than 30 young ladies have shared the Young Master's bed after squealing over Young Mistress' adorable countenance."

"Pa says it's like I'm his pimp," Applejack joked. "Course, Ma's been a frequent visitor."

"Ma?" the woman asked, confused.

"That's what Applejack calls Lady, a frequent friend and companion of Dante," Nevan explained.

The lightning wielding stranger sighed. "Well...I'm Trish. And I'm here to ask for Dante's - and your - help...to put an end to the Underworld."

Nevan, Agni, and Rudra were silent. Applejack frowned. "Bull."

"What?" Trish demanded.

"An end to the Underworld? What next, a pleasant journey to Rainbow Land?" Applejack spat her scorn into a nearby bucket. "The Underworld is an entire dimension of its own, and Earth's balance relies on its existence. Now what are you really askin' for?"

Trish sighed. "Emperor Mundus of the Underworld seeks to open the gate between this world and the Underworld on Mallet Island."

"Oh," Applejack replied, nodding understanding. "It's the Temen-ni-gru scenario again. This is some demon Sparda beat a long while ago, and now he's trying to break through again, so ya want Dante and I ta go kick his ass back ta hell?"

Surprised at how easily Applejack accepted this, Trish nodded.

Applejack turned to Nevan. "This Mundus fella...would his attempt at manifesting be enough for you ta resume your demonic form?"

"Not for combat unless he fully manifests," Nevan replied. "But for short periods of time outside of combat, yes."

"Good," Applejack replied, grinning. "If we get the chance on the island, I'll ask Pa ta gimme a bath."

Nevan squealed happily.

Trish merely stared. "You...are very strange."

"Said the woman with demon powers to the talking pony with demon powers," Applejack pointed out. "I'd say strange is a relative term here."

"What the fuck happened to our door?!" Dante demanded as he stepped inside, his arms full of groceries.

"We got a new client!" AJ said. "Her name's Trish, she looks like yer Ma, she's got demon power, I don't completely trust her, and she wants us ta kill Mundus, an old enemy of yer Pa!" Applejack grabbed the bags of groceries. "Make sure she stays fer dinner! I'm making Jambalaya!" With that, she pranced off into the kitchen.

"Jambalaya!" all the demonic weapons yelled out happily, Cerberus visibly licking his three sets of lips in eagerness.

Trish looked at Dante in confusion. "She...did hear the part about the portal to the underworld opening, right? The forces of hell swarming out to consume the Earth and all that?"

"It's not her first one," Dante replied. "She was still in diapers - metaphorically speaking - when she dealt with her first hellmouth over Temen-ni-gru. Besides, her Jambalaya's to die for!" Grabbing Trish by the arm, he dragged her to the dining room. "We'll leave in the morning."

Helplessly, Trish let herself be dragged along.

"Yer still paying fer the door!" Applejack yelled at her from the kitchen.

Next Chapter: Beginning the Quest Estimated time remaining: 3 Hours, 5 Minutes
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