Dante's Little Apple Surprise

by Tatsurou


The trio continued through the portal pathway. visiting areas they'd already been to as they sought out what keys they were being guided towards. This path involved a lot of swimming through locations that didn't used to be underwater. However, underwater combat proved far simpler than above ground combat against monsters they had fought before. The water proved a hindrance to the monsters more than to the trio.

After a time climbing upward, they collected a Philosopher's Egg.

"So...we supposed to use this as a key?" Applejack asked.

"What else would we do with it?" Dante asked. "Hatch it?"

"We'll figure out what to do with it later," Virgil pointed out. "For now, we should keep following the path."

Through a door in the path, they found a basket warmed by flames engraved with an inscription.

Those who seek the truth shall put the egg in the basket and shall warm it slowly with care.
It will become a blue stone and the landmark to the rough roads.

"So...we are gonna hatch it?" Applejack asked, surprised. Virgil buried his face in his hand, groaning.

Chuckling, Dante placed the egg in the basket. As it warmed, another Nightmare arose to do battle with them. They dealt with it in much the same way they did the last one. Despite several new combat techniques on the part of the Nightmare, being able to unleash Nevan, Agni, and Rudra to fight physically drastically accelerated the battle.

Once the Nightmare was beaten, the egg had hatched. A voice echoed in their heads from it.

I am the first key to opening the gate of the Underworld. The second key resides in the mirror dimension.

Reaching into the basket, Dante retrieved the Elixer.

"So now we gotta get into the mirrors for the second key?" Applejack asked.

"Yup," Dante agreed as the Devil Arms resumed weapon form.

"You know, considering how Applejack works with her Devil Arms for the most part, there's another school that might be better suited for her, if things don't work out at Youkai Academy," Virgil pointed out.

"Why wouldn't it work out?" Dante demanded. "You were the one talking about how you were going to send your own son there."

"Students are required to assume a human form," Virgil pointed out.

"Maybe they can teach me?" Applejack offered as they continued onward.

"Perhaps," Virgil admitted.

"And if Youkai Academy doesn't work out, what's this other school?" Dante asked.

"It's called DWMA," Virgil replied. "I...don't know if they actually teach standard academics, though. The curriculum is rather heavy on monster hunting."

"Sounds like my kinda school," Dante joked. "I'll look into it."

Returning once more to the Trial of the Lion, the Elixir responded strongly to the other portal. Through the portal, the Elixir caused a resonance in a mirror. Passing through the mirror led to a distorted reflection of the castle they'd been in.

"I'm guessing this is the Mirror Universe," Dante theorized.

"What was your first clue?" Virgil replied snidely.

"So where's this key we need?" Dante asked.

"I think it's that glowy thing down there!" Applejack suggested, pointing.

Leaping down, all three approached it. Dante reached out and collected the Philosopher's Stone. "That was too easy," he muttered.

At that moment, several demons shaped like a Picasso painting of a human dropped down to surround them.

"You were saying?" Virgil asked.

The trio each took one of them on. At first, it seemed easy enough, but after they took enough damage the monsters donned masks, expanded, and started fighting upright. While at first frightening, they went down easily enough after that, and with each hunter focusing on one, no one got double teamed or flanked.

After defeating the creatures, they took the now open path back into the regular universe, and from there back to the main castle.

Once back in the room where they'd first fought the Nightmare, the primary puddle turned into a portal when it reacted to the Elixir. Dropping through into a large chamber in the mirror universe, they found the gate to the Underworld.

"So..." Applejack began. "Now we're gonna open the gate for Mundus so we can fight him? ...even though we could probably just backtrack and seal the whole thing back up?"

"Magic doesn't work that way," Nevan explained. "Mundus has already gained enough power to break free."

"And fighting this guy is going to be fun!" Dante added.

"Besides," Virgil pointed out, "he's the one who killed me and stuck my soul in a golem. I want a bit of payback."

"Fair enough," Applejack replied, sticking the Philosopher's Stone in the gate.

The gate opened and the trio leapt in.

After passing through the Underworld for a time, they saw Trish. "Dante!" she called out.

As they rushed towards her, they found themselves sealed in by the Nightmare. However, it proved no more difficult in battle than before...especially as being in the Underworld allowed all the Devil Arms - save Beowulf, who wasn't fully trusted - to fully manifest. However, the Nightmare was proportionately stronger to compensate.

However, after they dealt enough damage to the Nightmare, lightning burst forth from outside the barrier...and struck the Nightmare, causing it to explode.

As the shield lowered, Applejack smiled at Trish. "I see ya made yer choice!" she said with a wide grin.

Trish rushed forward. "Don't celebrate just yet. Mundus will rise soon, and the only thing that can deliver the finishing blow to him is Sparda's sword, unleashed in its full power."

Dante pulled out Force Edge. "You mean this one isn't?" he asked, shocked.

"No," Trish replied. "The Perfect Amulet must be applied to the sword to unleash its true form."

"I'm not giving Dante my amulet!" Virgil snapped.

"Well, I'm not about to give you mine!" Dante snapped back.

"Well, someone with the blood of Sparda needs to wield his sword for this battle!" Trish pointed out.

"Then it's a good thing there's one here we both like," Virgil pointed out, taking off his Amulet half pendant and holding it out to Applejack.

"Wait, what?" Applejack asks in shock.

"Not a bad idea," Dante replied, pulling off his own amulet half. "And Applejack has already wielded Sparda's power inside her much stronger than either of us. It's how her Devil Trigger was unleashed, after all." He held out his amulet half and Force Edge.

Trish glanced back and forth between them. "...you're going to trust the fate of the world to this silly pony?" she demanded, surprised.

"Yes," Virgil replied.

"Wouldn't trust anyone else," Dante agreed.

"As long as I don't fight alone," Applejack muttered.