Once Applejack started talking more clearly, her coordination proved good enough to begin weapons training. Since Dante knew she'd be tagging along whether she could fight or not - the few small jobs he'd been on, she'd insisted on being strapped to his back while she sniped with Artemis, if nothing else - he decided to begin training her right away. Besides, it had been three years since he'd taken her in. He was pretty certain she was ready.
However, since she was so small, he didn't want her training with magical weapons. For one thing, the last time she tried to play Nevan, the discordant sounds of her banging on the strings had caused the bats summoned to turn themselves inside out, so he didn't want to see what would happen if she tried to wield Cerberus, not to mention what would happen with Beowulf actively fighting her. For another thing, her magical reserves weren't very large, so he didn't want to risk her burning herself out during training.
Towards that end, he had crafted non-magical copies of Cerberus, Beowulf, and Nevan's scythe form for her to train on, as well as getting a pair of electric guitars to teach her to play on. And today was the first day of training.
"Alright," Dante said, kneeling in front of Applejack. "What do you want to start training with?"
"Puppy!" Applejack said happily, pointing at the nunchucks.
Smiling, Dante handed her the ordinary metal nunchucks while he picked up Cerberus. "Alright. I'm going to show you a few movements, and you try to mimic them." When Applejack nodded, he spun Cerberus around a few times, keeping the movements simple.
Applejack attempted to mimic his movements, and promptly smacked herself in the head, knocking her hat off. As she fell on her back, she giggled. "Oops!"
Dante helped her back to her hooves. "Let's try that again," Dante suggested, "only without hitting yourself this time."
Applejack made the attempt, only to promptly smack Dante in the nuts.
"Why do you like that target so much?" Dante asked, clutching at himself.
"Can't reach no higher!" Applejack complained, reaching as high as she could. Without weapon assistance, she barely reached Dante's knees.
"Fair enough," Dante admitted, sitting back to think.
Applejack glanced down at the nunchucks in front of her, her tail waving back and forth.
"Could you pass me an apple?" Dante asked. "I think a snack will help me think."
Applejack reached into the basket beside her, pulled out an apple, rolled it down her back, and launched it into his hand with a flick of her tail.
As Dante caught it, an idea occurred to him. "You're pretty good with your tail," he pointed out.
Applejack shrugged. "I like spinning it," she said, waving her tail around.
Stepping over, Dante took the ring of the metal nunchucks and slipped it under the band holding her tail tied the way she liked it. "Try it now," he suggested.
Blinking, Applejack hunkered down as she lifted her tail and began twirling it. The nunchucks spun, spinning around the ring in response to her movements. She grinned widely as she shifted her body weight, making the nunchucks change their angle of spin and shift around her. Reaching back, she caught one prong attempting to go into one of the strikes she'd seen Dante do, but a second prong struck her in the head, knocking over.
Dante rubbed her head gently. "Pretty good," Dante said reassuringly. "A good start as far as how to wield it. When your magic is strong enough, Cerberus will respond to your magic to shift arrangement to your fighting style. That should work quite well."
Applejack grinned widely. "Ah did good?" she asked happily.
Dante chuckled, finding her inexplicable accent adorable. "You did good. So what should we train with next?"
Smiling, Applejack pointed to the scythe. "Slashy!"
Chuckling, Dante picked up the full sized scythe and the pony sized one. "Like with Cerberus, once your magic is strong enough, Nevan can shift herself around in weapon form in response to your magical impulse, so lets focus on just teaching you scythe combat."
They went through a few basic stances and passes, just enough for Applejack's muscles to get used to the movements. Once she was able to do each one, they went through it a few more times.
"Alright," Dante said at last. "Now let's see how you do with Beowulf." He handed her the duplicates while pulling on his own copies.
Before he'd even gotten his on, Applejack was already throwing punches with her forelegs and kicks with her hind legs, striking the wooden dummy he'd set up as a target.
Dante smiled. "Seems Virgil was right about those being well suited to you," he muttered. He sat back to watch her handling herself. She certainly seemed to know how to throw punches and kicks. Eventually, she started to breathe heavily. "Okay, that's enough for today!" he called out to her.
She looked up at him with a huge grin. She was plainly enjoying herself, but the way her coat was matted with sweat showed she was plainly exhausted.
"First a bath," Dante said, scooping her up and setting the weaponry aside, "then a light snack. Then I'll start teaching you to play guitar."
Bathing Applejack was always a treat and a half. She didn't fuss about bathing, and Dante was careful enough not to get soap in her eyes. It was after the washing was done that made it fun, though, as Applejack would splash Dante as best she could the instant the soap was washed off her, which then quickly devolved into a splash fight.
"I think my biggest regret is that she'll have grown out of this before I get a chance to manifest and join in," Nevan murmured as she watched Dante and Applejack splash each other, laughing the whole while.
"I want to splash fight!" Agni pouted.
"Me too!" Rudra agreed.
"Ball..." Cerberus whimpered.
After drying her off, Dante and Applejack each had an apple before Dante pulled out the electric guitars. "Alright. Let's see what we can do about teaching you to play-" He paused, seeing what she was doing. "Why are you putting Beowulf on?"
Smiling, Applejack showed Dante the claws at the end of the foreleg gauntlets, which she could manipulate with minimal magic. "Gots ta have picks!" she pointed out.
Chuckling, Dante rested his guitar in his lap. "Alright. Watch how I hold the strings."
They spent the rest of the evening till dinner doing their best to make sweet music together.