Dante's Little Apple Surprise

by Tatsurou

Chapter 22: Teamwork

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The 'Meandering Soul' Dante had picked up before Virgil had arrived was already starting to lose its power, and under Alastor's instructions, the trio sought the door the orb opened with alacrity. A shadow beast tried to stop them, but the previous one had been undone by Dante and Applejack's two pronged attack. With Virgil making it a three pronged attack, it stood no chance. A quick jump to the bottom of the stairwell chamber revealed the door the Soul opened, granting them passage further into the castle.

Entering the waterways, Virgil glanced around. "This place is rather large," he pointed out. "Perhaps we should split up to explore it faster."

Dante smirked. "Already trying to head off on your own?"

"I like the idea," Applejack spoke up, causing Dante to blink in surprise. "Ah'm goin' with Uncle!"

"What?" both brothers asked in shock.

"That way Uncle and I can get ta know each other!" Applejack insisted. She wrapped her tail around Virgil's wrist. "We'll go this way! See ya soon, Pa!" She then proceeded to drag a rather stupefied Virgil after her.

Dante stared after them for a time, then shrugged and went in a different direction, chuckling all the way.

As Virgil followed along behind Applejack, he searched his mind for some way to make conversation so they didn't stay in awkward silence. Admittedly, Applejack didn't seem to feel the silence was awkward, but she did say she wanted them to get to know each other. "So..." he finally spoke up. "How are your grades?"

Applejack looked up at him in confusion. "Grades?"

"In school," he clarified.


Virgil's eyes narrowed. "Dante hasn't enrolled you in school?"

"What's school?"

Virgil groaned. "School is where responsible youngsters go to learn and study and grow up to be responsible adults." He shook his head. "I should have known better, considering Dante dropped out of high school. But I'm not letting any niece of mine grow up as just a silly pony!"

"But...but ah like being Pa's silly pony!" Applejack pouted. "Pa even wrote a silly song for it that he used ta teach me how to play Nevan!"

"I'm certain he did," Virgil growled. "But that shouldn't be the sum total of your ambitions. If you want to be successful, you need to be able to do more than kill demons."

"Ah'm a good cook, too!" Applejack countered. "Good at cleanin, too."

"And with those skills, you will make someone an excellent maid or housewife someday," Virgil drolled sarcastically. "But I'm not sitting idly by and letting my niece be satisfied with the lowest possible achievements. When we're finished with Mundus, I'm enrolling you in school whether Dante likes it or not."


"And whether you like it or not," Virgil added. "I won't see your potential squandered just because Dante's taught you to be lazy."

Without warning, Applejack jumped up to Virgil's shoulders and hugged him around his neck. "Ah love ya too, Uncle!" she said happily.

"Off now," Virgil instructed firmly.

Applejack smirked at him before hopping back to the ground and leading the way further in. Virgil did his best to maintain a firm expression, but Nevan, Cerberus, and Beowulf's laughter didn't help much there.

Before long, the trio reunited to explore deeper into the waterways. A goat skulled wraith wielding a giant pair of scissors attacked them, but proved only a momentary distraction as they attacked it from all three sides. During the fight, Virgil decided to bring up his issue with Dante. "Why isn't Applejack in school?"

"And how exactly am I supposed to enroll a part-demon talking pony in a public school populated entirely by humans?" Dante asked. "I doubt that will go over well."

"Not all demons are raging monsters," Virgil pointed out. "There are quite a few demons and other supernatural creatures that live alongside humans peacefully, just in hiding. Our father was a classic example of that, after all."

"So what? You're saying there's a school somewhere that specifically teaches non-humans?" Dante joked.

"It's called Yokai Academy, and is based in Japan," Virgil explained.

"And how am I supposed to get Applejack all the way to Japan and back every day?" Dante demanded. "I'm not sending her off to a boarding school!"

"By based in Japan, I mean that the school has a Japan based environment and follows Japanese customs," Virgil explained. "It's actually in a pocket dimension. If you enroll her as a non-boarding student, they'll provide you with a warp key so she can get back and forth every day."

Dante stared at Virgil in confusion. "How do you know so much?"

"I was in the process of enrolling my son when the events surrounding Temen-ni-gru happened," Virgil explained.

"You have a son?" Dante asked in shock.

"I have a cousin?" Applejack asked, surprised and pleased.

"His name's Nero," Virigl explained. "However, he and his mother were taken captive. I don't know who by. I was trying to gain access to Father's old library in hell by opening Temen-ni-gru so I could track him down using some of Father's artifacts."

"And you didn't mention this before...why?" Dante demanded.

"You didn't ask," Virgil replied dryly.

Dante groaned, shaking his head. "So what? Now whoever has him has had him for over a decade, doing who knows what to him?"

"He's fine," Virgil replied. "He's within range of Yamato, and part of my demonic essence still clings to the blade. While I can't track the sword down that way, I can feel Nero's demonic aura with relation to it, and he's well."

"He'll be better once we get him back," Applejack growled.

"You will be focused on your school work after this mission," Virgil chided. "Dante and I will handle any investigation into Nero's whereabouts."

"You're damn right we will," Dante growled, only to get smacked in the head by Virgil. "What?"

"Don't curse in front of your daughter," Virgil scolded, causing Applejack and her Devil Arms to laugh.

At the end of the waterway, they encountered a key called 'the Guiding Light'. Inscriptions warned that it drained the vitality of the bearer. However, being a demonic construct powered purely by demon magic, Virgil didn't actually have vital energy, so he carried it back to where it needed to go. On the way there, they encountered Phantom - the magma spider - again, but his assault proved ineffective. Despite the narrow corridor limiting assault options, his obvious weak point inside his mouth was easy enough to exploit. Applejack ducked under his head, pulling his lower jaw down. Virgil leapt onto his back, pulling his upper jaw upwards. Dante then wailed away at the inside of the beast's mouth until he dissolved.

Returning to the bedroom where Dante had found the Meandering Soul, Virgil used the Guiding Light to open a new path for them all.

Next Chapter: Talking too Much Estimated time remaining: 2 Hours, 44 Minutes
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