Dante's Little Apple Surprise

by Tatsurou

Chapter 29: Family Values

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Griffon glided gently in to land behind Devil May Cry, both business and home sweet home for Dante and Applejack. As Griffon landed, the back door opened and a surprise guest stepped out.

"Where have you been, Dante?" Lady demanded angrily. "I swung by to see you and Applejack only to find the door torn off its hinges, a motorcycle in the office, and a note saying 'bbl, saving the world again'. You could have at least left details! Or called me to lend a hand!"

"I see that relationship of yours has lasted longer than expected, brother," Virgil commented dryly.

"Virgil?" Lady asked in shock. "I thought you went to the Underworld."

"He died," Dante replied.

"I was turned into a demonic construct weapon," Virgil explained.

"Applejack made him better," Dante finished.

Lady shook her head. "Seems there's a story to tell," she muttered. "Like, why you're riding a giant demon home."

"He's Applejack's familiar," Trish replied.

Lady's eyes narrowed. "Who's this?" she demanded firmly.

"I'm Trish," Trish countered. "I'm a friend of Dante, Virgil, and Applejack's. Who are you?"

"Mama," Applejack mumbled, sliding off Griffon's wing and flopping into Lady's arms.

Lady smiled down at Applejack, but then frowned at Dante. "And what were you thinking letting her get so exhaus-"

As Griffon unsummoned himself to rest, Dante fell to the ground, snoring gently. Virgil landed on his feet, but staggered until Trish helped support him. The Devil Arms returned to their wielders, and Sparda landed point first in the dirt, the eye that was the Perfect Amulet locked on AJ's slumbering form.

Lady blinked. "I take it there's a story to tell here?"

Nevan manifested. "Help me get everyone to bed rest, and I'll fill you in on all the details."

Once Dante and Applejack were put to bed, Lady, Trish, and Virgil sat around the table while Nevan served them leftover Jambalaya she had Ifrit warm up. Cerberus - in a much smaller form - curled up under the table, all three heads turned up eagerly for treats. Alastor leaned against the wall, smiling.

Once everyone had a dish, Nevan sat down and began explaining everything that had happened. From Trish's arrival, the trip to Mallet Island, saving Virgil, Applejack binding Griffon as her familiar, Trish discovering she was no longer bound to Mundus' control and choosing to fight him instead, Sparda being unleashed...

"Wait, Sparda?" Lady demanded. "I thought he was dead!"

"He is," Nevan replied. "But a large portion of his physical power was stored in his sword, sealed into it in its sealed form of Force Edge. However, leaving it concentrated in there for so long caused it to develop its own mind, shaped by Sparda's will. Once awakened by the Perfect Amulet, it resumed its original form as a living sword...and actively chose to use its power to amplify Dante, Virgil, and Applejack."

Lady whistled, impressed. "I'm surprised you were willing to give Dante your amulet half to do that, Virgil," she commented.

"I didn't," Virgil replied.

Lady frowned. "I refuse to believe Dante gave you his."

"He didn't," Trish pointed out. "They both gave their halves to Applejack so she could wield Sparda. She doesn't like the sword, though. Reminds her too much of something called Soul Edge."

Having spent quite a bit of time with Dante and Applejack over the years, Lady knew exactly what that meant and snickered. Glancing over at Sparda, she tilted her head. "I do see the resemblance, I admit. Wonder if Dante should sue Namco on his father's behalf."

Nevan snickered. Virgil rolled his eyes. Trish only looked confused.

"By the way," Lady asked, "how is it you're all able to manifest like this? I thought you couldn't do it outside a large enough concentration of demonic magic."

Nevan smiled. "We have Applejack, Dante, and Virgil here. Each of them generates a good amount of demonic magic. The Sword of Sparda is such a strong central focus that it provides nearly as much ambient magic as an active portal. It alone generates enough magic so all the Devil Arms of its chosen wielder can manifest for non-combat, and Griffon being Applejack's familiar lets me manifest my own lightning powers." She chuckled. "Trish is also a demonic construct that looks human, like Virgil is now. While she's here, there's enough power for everyone to manifest for non-combat. Now, if we can follow Applejack's plan and convince her to stick around to date Virgil, that'd make the arrangement permanent."

"Wait, what?" Trish asked, shocked and blushing.

"I'm not looking to date," Virgil growled.

"Take that up with Applejack," Nevan replied easily, smirking. "But she said Nero would need a mother figure once you found him again, and Trish is both available and unlikely to judge you for no longer being human or Nero for his biology. Where else are you going to find a woman like that?"

"Besides," Griffon added, manifesting as a sparrow on the chandelier, "she already thinks you're cute."

"I never said that!" Trish shouted, her cheeks turning bright red.

"You were feeding me your magic to keep me flying the whole way home," Griffon pointed out. "A few thoughts came through with it." He then quickly took to the air to dodge Trish's thrown lightning bolt.

Lady laughed as she watched Trish chasing Griffon around the room. Virgil waited, eyebrow raised.

"It is time!" Agni proclaimed.

"One, two, three, four!" Rudra added.

All the Devil arms began singing an acapella of Just the Girl I'm Looking For, with Alastor singing the main lead with a surprisingly rich baritone.

Virgil groaned, putting his face in his hands. Lady and Trish burst into laughter.

Later that night, Dante recovered enough to come downstairs for some cider from the fridge. He wasn't sure whether to blame Applejack or Geryon, but he'd come to really enjoy the taste of Apple Cider - hard or otherwise - while also becoming rather finicky about what kind he drank. He joined Virgil at the table, looking over some paperwork. "What's all this?"

"I sent out to those two schools I mentioned for the paperwork to enroll Applejack," Virgil explained. "It's already arrived. However, there's a minor problem."

"What's that?" Dante asked, sitting down.

"Youkai Academy can't budge on the rules about being able to assume a human form," Virgil replied. "Despite the fact that the three founders are all Sparda's disciples."

"Can't even make an exception for their old Master's granddaughter?" Dante asked.

"Actually, it's because they trained under Sparda that they're standing so firm," Virgil explained. "They inherited his integrity."

Dante shook his head. "Well, what about DWMA? What's the problem with that one?"

"While attending there, Applejack has to live either in the city or the student dorms," Virgil replied. "No exceptions. The Headmaster told me so himself when he called."

Dante sighed. "So...you're still going to insist on her getting schooling?"

"DWMA would be best to start with," Virgil replied. "The Headmaster will meet with you personally to discuss her enrollment, residency, and any other issues you might have."

Dante smiled. "I guess I'll be taking care of that tomorrow."

Author's Notes:

Applejack's schooling will eventually be chronicled in a side story entitled "Apple Far From the Tree". As that will take quite a bit of research on my part to write well, it will be delayed until after this story - and a few others - are completed.

However, there will be one interlude chapter at the end of each school segment Applejack attends here in this story. They will occur at the end of each school segment chronologically, and give details of anything significant that happened in that section. No actual spoilers for "Apple Far From the Tree", just anything important for this story (new skills, etc.).

Hope you all enjoy.

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