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Dante's Little Apple Surprise

by Tatsurou

Chapter 38: Knuckle Up

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It was late in the morning by the time Nero awoke. "Kyrie!" he gasped out as soon as he awakened.

"I'm here," she replied, taking his hand as she knelt over him.

He blinked for a time, his mind still out of sorts from the demonic power that had flared inside of him. "Where...are we?"

"On a cliff, overlooking a forest," she replied. "We stopped here to let you rest up and recover."

"What...happened?" Nero asked, shaking his head as he struggled to wakefulness.

"From what I've been told, that was your Devil Trigger," Credo said, stepping up beside him to help him sit up. "The first transformation is, apparently, always rather rough on the body."

"Kyrie!" Applejack called out. "Thought ya wanted to learn how ta cook!"

"Coming!" Kyrie called out. She then turned back to Nero. "I'll be right back. I hope my cooking is half as good as your cousin's." She then turned and raced to where Applejack was preparing breakfast.

Nero sat up and took stock of his surroundings. "So...anything else of interest happen while I was out?"

"Dante decided to explore ahead a ways," Credo replied. "He isn't back yet-"

"Whoo!" Dante called out as he fell from the sky to land heavily on the ground nearby. Biometal gauntlets, greaves, a face mask, and winged back armor adorned his frame as he stood up. "What a ride!" he said happily as he shook himself off, the mask sliding back. "What's for breakfast?"

"Where have you been?" Virgil demanded sourly. "And where'd you get the new Devil Arm?"

"Scouted out our path forward," he replied easily. "Found a hell gate. Killed the demon that came out of it. Got the Devil Arm that was powering it. Broke the gate to pieces."

"Soup's on, everybody!" Applejack called out as she and Kyrie began dishing out some spiced porridge and bacon.

"Tell the whole story over breakfast," Nevan insisted as everyone took their bowls and plates.

Once everyone had their breakfast and was eating, Dante began his explanation. "Well, I was getting bored waiting for Nero to wake up, so I decided to scout ahead. Found a rather roundabout path to where we needed to go, though I made a straight one on the way back. Found a hell gate at the end..."


As Dante approached the hell gate, a massive serpent covered in seeds flowed through the air above, disgorging seeds towards the ground. Since this was obviously a demon, Dante decided to practice with Pandora by shooting the seeds out of the sky. The snake screamed in response as the seeds exploded. "My children!" it screamed in rage.

"Pull!" Dante called back, swiveling Pandora around and switching from PF013: Epidemic to PF124: Hatred as he slung the massive bazooka onto his shoulder.

"How dare you!" the serpent demanded as its head opened up, revealing a strange looking woman in a flower.

Dante looked up. "Well? Aren't you going to fire off some more?"

"You dare treat my children like skeet to be shot from the sky?" the creature demanded.

Dante smirked up at her. "If they're going to be as ugly as you, I'd say I'm doing them a favor."

Roaring in rage, the creature lunged for Dante.

Smirking, Dante shifted from the bazooka form of PF124: Hatred to the laser cannon form of PF398: Revenge. Since the beast was coming right at him and had to swim through the air, the laser hit dead on, and the beast continued to scream in pain as it pulled away, the laser roasting a great deal of the beast's hide as the curve of its body exposed an entire side to the laser.

Grinning widely, Dante changed Pandora into the mobile weapons platform of PF594: Argument, firing a massive barrage of missiles at the beast and unintentionally obliterating a whole swath of the forest leading all the way up to the cliff where the others were still camped out.

The beast screamed in agony as it crashed to the ground. "My forest! My children!"

Smirking, Dante flipped Pandora open, releasing its light to obliterate the snake and a good swath of the demonic forest. Once he snapped it closed, a sphere of light rose out of the hell gate as it closed. Taking it, the new Devil Arm - called Gilgamesh - bonded to him. He then used it to obliterate the hell gate. He then made his way back to the cliff.


Everyone stared at Dante as he finished. "By the way," he concluded, tossing a seed to Nero, "thought this might be useful to you."

Nero caught the seed with his demonic arm, and it was absorbed.

"No idea what it'll do for you, but figured it could help," Dante added.

"You realize the kills don't count for your score if we aren't with you," Nevan pointed out.

"Dammit!"

Many of those around the breakfast rock got a laugh at Dante's frustrations.


With the snake beast - whose name they'd never learned - dead, the forest was dying around them as they made their way through, and no minor demons confronted them, allowing them to make good time. Part way through the forest, however, Applejack spoke up. "Question."

"Yes?" Credo replied.

"Well...there are three o' these artificial hell gates, right?" she asked.

"That's correct," Credo replied.

"So...we've broken 'em all now, right?"

"Yeah," Dante replied.

"So..." Applejack began, "...don't that mean all that's left is confronting Sanctus and whoever he's got left on his side, and then breakin' the 'Savior'?"

Trish nodded. "That's the last stage of the plan, yes."

"Then wouldn't it make more sense to have Credo tell us where their home base is, ride Griffon there, and fight them directly?" Applejack concluded.

Everyone stood in silence for a time. Without speaking, Griffon expanded to large enough to carry everyone as Credo leapt onto his head. "Follow my directions," he said simply.

"Just be sure we deal with the true Hellgate afterwards," Virgil pointed out as Griffon took wing.

Next Chapter: Bringing Down the House of the False God Estimated time remaining: 1 Hour, 16 Minutes
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