Dante's Little Apple Surprise

by Tatsurou

Chapter 23: Talking too Much

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Passing through the new door, the trio leapt across the original entrance chamber to the other side. The new door led to yet another large open air arena.

"Incomin' boss fight," Applejack drolled, smashing her Beowulf gauntlets together.

Dante drew Alastor, thinking his speed would prove more useful than Force Edge just now. "Then we'd best get ready."

Virgil drew his own blade, the one he had been armed with before his transformation. However, to match his fighting style, it had reshaped itself into a katana. "I doubt this will prove very difficult."

True to Virgil's word, Phantom, the magma spider, lunged over the wall. "No more games!" he snarled. "I will make you...why are there three of you?"

Dante smirked. "Whatsa matter? Scared?" The trio lunged in.

Phantom attempted to put up a fight, but he was at a serious disadvantage. All of his combat maneuvers were focused for a single target. Whoever he focused on would dance back out of the way, allowing the other two to come at him from behind and above. When he attempted sweeping strikes with his tail, the trio would either leap over it, duck under it, or dance out of the way. He had three opponents with three different fighting styles coming at him from three different directions, and he just couldn't cope.

Before long, his legs on one side crumpled under him, and he rolled onto a skylight that broke under him. Falling down, his unprotected back became impaled on a spire. As he stared up at his killers, his eyes read their auras, and saw a demonic visage overshadowing them all...one all demons knew well. "It can't be...Sparda?"

"No," Dante replied.

"But we are of his blood," Virgil pointed out.

"And we carry his legacy," Applejack added.

"Who...are you?" Phantom gurgled as his life magic bled away.




"Take those names to hell with you," the three commanded together.

Seeing Phantom's body dissolve, they turned and left, never noticing Trish watching them in awe from below. "They beat the Phantom," she murmured. "But...I was told Dante's brother was dead?"

I also wasn't told he was cute, she thought to herself, and found herself blushing. Surprised - both by the thought and the blush - she retreated deeper in the fortress.

In the following chamber, the trio came across what was obviously another key, this one in the shape of a trident. Collecting it, they leapt downwards through a hole behind it. Discovering a switch, Dante struck it, causing mechanisms to turn, and a drawbridge could be heard lowering. The trio then sought out whatever else may have changed.

Taking a ladder down, they found the location to use the Trident. This started a flow of water, which activated more mechanisms.

"Ah just had an unpleasant thought," Applejack spoke up.

"What's that?" Dante asked.

"Well, we were told that Mundus was breaking free...but we seem to be activatin' a lotta things to get further in," she explained. "Is it possible...that we're letting him out without even knowin'?"

Dante opened his mouth to respond, then frowned. "I dunno."

"That is a very perceptive thought," Virgil replied. "It is a distinct possibility that we're making it easier for Mundus to escape to our world, leaving him more strength for our eventual battle with him." He then smirked. "But that just makes the battle more fun."

"And here I thought you said we were completely different," Dante joked.

"But now you see why I insist she get some schooling, right?" Virgil countered. "She's got more of a mind than you do."

"Hey!" Dante countered.

Applejack merely laughed. "So which one of us here is the mature one again?"

Passing through another door back into the original Marionette filled tower, they made their way downward to a gate that was slowly dropping over a new path. The three easily ducked under to continue onward.

Crossing the drawbridge that had lowered, the trio were startled as it raised as soon as they all stepped off of it. Moving onward past a gravestone, they descended a spiral stairwell deep into the ground. "What's bugging you, AJ?" Virgil asked when he noticed her pause, scratching her head.

Applejack shrugged her shoulders. "I dunno...I just thought I heard someone familiar complaining about stairs, but I can't quite place it. Any idea what that was about?"

Virgil shrugged. "No idea. Any ideas, Dante?"

"For all we know, her species can hear other planes of reality, and someone she knew in another life is in another reality complaining about stairs as we speak," Dante offered.

Virgil frowned for a bit. "Alastor, any believable suggestions?"

"Hey!" Dante complained.

"Nope," Alastor replied.

"Then I guess we'll just have to keep going," Applejack offered, "and think about it later."

At the bottom of the stairwell, they encountered three armored, lizardman like demons that were easily dealt with, as the armor was not very well made and only took a few hits to shatter. Since they seemed vulnerable to electricity, Applejack rocked out on Nevan and sicked her bats on them. As this technique proved highly effective, the trio continued it as they progressed through more of these demons: Dante and Virgil would focus on breaking armor, while Applejack sicked electrified bats on the defenseless demons with her instrumental solos.

Encountering a power switch, Dante struck it repeatedly to activate it, revealing several platforms floating in the air leading to a glowing pedestal floating in the sky. "I'll investigate," Virgil said. "I'm the better jumper." To prove this point, he cleared three platforms in a single jump, easily reaching the higher platform quickly.

"Show off," Dante grumbled, earning a giggle from Applejack.

A massive fiery explosion from above distracted them. "What the?" they both demanded.

"Must you be such a show off, Ifrit?" Alastor grumbled as Virgil leapt back down, flaming gauntlets on his hands.

"Says the one who tried to impale his new master," Ifrit growled right back.

"I still had to test him," Alastor countered.

"So did I!"

"You did cause a huge storm of lightning to energize afterwards," Nevan teased Alastor.

"...you didn't have to say that," Alastor pouted.

"I think I did," Nevan countered.

"So you and Nevan finally made up?" Ifrit asked. "Thank goodness. If I had to hear one more bad tempered, thinly disguised, love/hate poem about her-"

"Shush!" Alastor hissed.

"You wrote poetry about me?" Nevan purred. "I'm touched."

"So's he," Agni spoke up.

"In the head!" Rudra added, and they banged hilts as they laughed.

"...you've been a bad influence on the Devil Arms, Dante," Virgil scolded.

During their talk, they had been backtracking from where they found Ifrit. A massive storm distracted Applejack from the discussion, though Dante and Virgil continued to argue. A massive demonic thunderbird took shape out of the storm.

"You!" it declared. "Are you the human son of Sparda who challenges Mundus?"

To the thunderbird's frustration and Applejack's amusement, Dante and Virgil continued to argue, ignoring him.

"Stop ignoring me!" it proclaimed angrily, diving down to drop electrified explosive charges on them.

Dante and Virgil dodged them easily, continuing their argument even as they avoided the blasts.

"Pay attention to me!" it roared as it dove downward again.

Dante and Virgil continued to easily evade the attacks, not even paying attention as they continued their debate.

At that point, the thunderbird...sniffled. "You're mean!" he whined, flying off.

Dante and Virgil paused in their debate, turning towards Applejack. "Did we miss something?" Virgil asked.

Applejack shrugged her shoulders, unsure how to explain what just happened.

Next Chapter: Making Up Estimated time remaining: 2 Hours, 39 Minutes
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