Dante's Little Apple Surprise

by Tatsurou

Castle Crashers

As the group entered Fortuna Castle, Credo stepped up to Nero to raise an issue. "I find it rather surprising that you have led credence to what these strangers have told us so easily," he pointed out. "It's a rather incredulous tale."

"I don't believe them entirely," Nero replied. "I'm convinced my arm is because I'm part demon, but I'm not convinced yet that means I'm of the blood of Sparda. I'm also not convinced, even if I am, that that means these are the good guys. I don't want to believe Sanctus plans to create an occult disaster just to strengthen people's faith." He saw Credo's face twitch at the very idea. "But the demonic experimentation...I know it's true."

Credo's eyes widened. "How can you say that?"

"Because you told me so," Nero replied, "though not with words. ...Applejack named you a demon. By what they're saying, that means either they have no idea what you're talking about, your demon power is natural like mine, or the result of the experiments. If it were the first, you'd have angrily denied the possibility that such experiments were happening. If it were the second, you would have been proudly derisive, or at the very least deny any knowledge. ...but you were silent, barely reacting, except when they brought up Sanctus' plans regarding the Savior."

Credo remained silent for a time. "...since when are you so perceptive and thoughtful?" he finally asked.

"I'm not, really," Nero replied. "But I had to know you well. I'm dating your sister, after all."

Credo managed a wry chuckle. "I can't refute your logic, or your conclusion," he admitted. "Although why I was told the experiments were being performed - and why I was gifted the power - is very different from what they've been saying."

"Then we'll just have to see who has the right of it," Nero concluded.

"...that's the other reason I'm coming along," Credo admitted.

"You two done?" Applejack demanded. "Pa and Uncle are catching up ta yer score, cuz, and you could use all the bonus points ya can get Credo!"

Nero grinned. "I'm not about to fall behind!" he declared, charging in.

Applejack turned to Credo. "Ya know, you could tap yer demon power."

Credo shook his head. "No. I was given that power to serve the Order. But you tell me the Order is a lie. I will not use it until I know the truth."

Applejack shrugged. "Fair enough. But yer not gonna pull ahead in score with that attitude!" Turning, she lunged into the demons with Berial spinning around her in a blaze.

Credo shrugged as he drew his own blade. "I care not for my score," he muttered, charging in to join the fight.

After a time, Griffon swooped in with Kyrie on his back. "The outside's clear," she said softly.

"There were a couple of new enemies made of metal and ice," Griffon added. "They were tasty."

"Oh, so he's allowed to eat enemies!" Cerberus complained.

"Ah don't taste what he eats," Applejack pointed out.

"...unfair," Cerberus whimpered.

Before long, they encountered a dark skinned woman with white hair, crystal blue eyes, and wearing an excessively skimpy white and blue outfit. She seemed to be having the time of her life as she shredded through several demons.

"Hi Auntie!" Applejack called out happily.

The woman stumbled mid swing, but recovered. "I don't-" she began.

"Nero," Applejack said, turning, "this is Trish, yer new step-mom. But she's currently disguised as a Gloria."

'Gloria' facepalmed. "Dante, didn't you explain to her what an undercover assignment is about?"

"I did explain!" Dante complained.

"Ah just didna give a damn!" Applejack replied smugly. "Sides, we had to change the plan on the fly," she added, pointing to Nero, Kyrie, and Credo.

Trish frowned. "I see."

"Like the new look," Virgil pointed out in a deceptive monotone that set Trish to blushing.

"How did you know it was me?" Trish demanded.

"Yer demon aura's no different."

"You sure you want to join this family?" Credo whispered to Kyrie.

Kyrie was silent for a time. "...I wonder if I could pull off that look," she mumbled under her breath.

Nero turned bright red.

Trish sighed. "Well, as long as we're tossing plans out the window..." Turning, she blasted a demon with lightning instead of attacking it with kicks and her blades. "Hmm...more efficient, but not nearly as satisfying..."

Chuckling, Dante led the way as the group went further into the castle.

On reaching the library, the group was confronted by an armored, winged figure carrying a massive lance and shield.

"A crafted puppet," Virgil stated. "A suit of armor infused with demonic energy, and powered by several demon souls."

"You seem...to know a great deal about such things," Credo murmured.

"It's an imperfect process," Virgil admitted. "The ones who turned me into a construct only needed my soul to power it."

Nero stared at him. "But...you were changed back? Got your own body back?"

"Not exactly," Virgil replied as the armor marched towards him. "Applejack was somehow able to use Sparda's sealed sword to craft a runic circle that transformed the construct body into a form that mimicked my original human body, complete with the ability to return to a demon form."

"It helped that Sparda inscribed your genetic codes on your two halves of the perfect amulet," Nevan pointed out.

As the armor prepared for battle, Virgil grinned. "I suppose it's my turn to offer a show," he said, his body flaring dark blue.

When the light faded, Nelo Angelo faced off against the possessed armor. "Show me what you've got!" he commanded, his voice now deep and echoing.

The armor lunged forward with its lance, but Angelo easily side stepped it, deflecting the weapon upward with his wide blade, wielding it as easily as Virgil wielded his katana. When the knight raised its shield, Angelo, leapt upward to deliver an electrified punch to its helmet, releasing a blast of fire from Ifrit as he struck.

As the armor staggered back, Angelo vanished in white light, appearing behind the armor with his sword reversed, impaling it through the middle. Twisting his blade, he split the armor down the middle, causing it to fall to pieces, revealing the inner workings that contained both the magic and the demon souls, allowing it to function.

Virgil resumed his human form. "That was quick," he muttered.

Three more armors suddenly appeared.

"I call these ones!" Dante proclaimed, activating his own Devil Trigger before charging in. Drawing Rebellion in one hand and Alastor in the other, Lucifer triggering from his back to strike with its own blades at the third as Dante charged full force into the fight.

Kyrie glanced back and forth between the brothers. "Do they always show off this much?" she asked Trish.

Trish sighed, shaking her head. "Always."

When the last armor fell - Dante took much longer per armor to finish them off - they dissolved, and a gate opened, revealing more machinery powered by a blue flame contained in a glass cage.

"Ah don't suppose that's somethin' else to empower your Devil Buster arm?" Applejack asked hopefully.

Approaching it, Nero removed the device from the machinery, and it shut down. "...nope," he replied.

"It's an Anima Mercury," Trish explained. "An artificial soul created with alchemy that brings life to the inanimate."

Applejack twitched slightly. "Ya mean...it's a key?"

"...yes," Trish replied.

Applejack's twitch became more pronounced. Opening her mouth, a stream of vicious obscenity erupted from her mouth in a torrent.

"I didn't teach her those!" Dante and all of Applejack's Devil Arms - save Berial - proclaimed simultaneously. Everyone else stared with hanging jaws.