Dante's Little Apple Surprise

by Tatsurou

Old Questions, New Answers

As the pair approached an old church, they found the woman they met in the museum about to enter the church. As she turned back to face them, however, the church exploded. The blast knocked her back, but Dante leapt to catch her and place her safely on a high ledge, away from the explosion.

Applejack moved up behind Dante, ready to throw her two cents in if the woman got clingy over 'being saved'. She needn't have bothered, however, as she immediately moved towards the destroyed church. When the smoke cleared, she began racing around the rubble. "Where's Matier...?" she asked desperately. "Matier! Matier!"

Applejack glanced around, then pointed to a staircase leading down into the ground, just as an old woman slowly climbed the stairs. "Good grief," the woman - Matier, presumably, by how relieved the other woman appeared - said as she climbed, "they really made a big mess, didn't they?" As the woman approached Matier's side, she continued to muse. "It sure took him a while to find this place." She looked up and spotted Dante. "Oh? You have arrived, Son of Sparda."

As Matier sat down, Applejack looked away. "What am I, horse feathers?" she grumbled, then blinked, confused at her own words. She'd meant to say 'chopped liver'.

Matier looked closely at Applejack, and then began to laugh. "So...Geryon's daughter has joined the blood of Sparda? He did say a great destiny had already laid its hand on you." She took a closer look. "But it is not this one...that destiny is calling you back."

Applejack looked between Matier and Dante. "I...I don't understand..."

"You had another life before this one," Matier explained. "Bits and pieces...flashes of memory...they've come through at times. More and more are coming back now. Words you don't expect to use...flashes of emotion...your soul knows you will soon return, and is slowly preparing your mind and heart."

Dante blinked in shock. "Then...do you know how she got here in the first place?"

"Regret!" Matier replied firmly. "Geryon regretted that he was not there to see his children grow, to be there for them when they needed him most...and his power was to manipulate the time stream. Without even meaning to, he called to the most magical of his blood, and she found her way to you, Son of Sparda." She tapped Dante's chest with her cane, causing him to briefly glow blue-white with Geryon's light. "And through you, to him. And through you, he has and shall finish his business, and one day will be able to rest in peace."

"How...how do you know so much about all this?" Dante asked. "About Sparda, and Applejack? All of it?"

Matier cackled in amusement. "I fought alongside him long ago to protect this land, Vie de Marli. We are its Guardians. And now...we must call on Sparda again, with the magic he gave us to call for him or his children to lend us aid."

"So you sent the letter in magical fire!" Nevan said in surprise.

"Indeed," Matier replied. "A man has transformed this land into a paradise for the lesser demons, those who do not obey the rules of the Spardan Tournament to visit our world. His name is Arius. He is the President of an international public corporation, and he uses demon power."

"Oh," Applejack replied. "Ya mean like that Black Black club Yusuke told me about that ran the Dark Tournament? Humans who used demons and demonic power to gain power and wealth on Earth?"

Matier nodded. "Exactly like that. And now he seeks to use that power he has accrued to bring the demon he has contracted with here...to conquer the world."

"Of course," Applejack replied sarcastically.

Matier smiled. "Please...won't you two deal with Arius and his demon for us?"

Shrugging, Dante flipped a coin and caught it before it landed. He revealed it landed on heads. "Looks like it's your lucky day," he stated.

"Wonderful!" Matier replied as she rose slowly to her feet. "I am very pleased." She indicated the staircase she had climbed up. "It leads to a harbor. If you are successful, I have more stories to tell you about your father, Son of Sparda...and yours, Geryon's Daughter."

Applejack felt quite unnerved as the pair descended down the stairs.

The pair progressed through the waterway carefully, breaking through several stone barriers. However, Dante was quick to notice his pony daughter's disquiet. "What's bothering you, Applejack?" he asked.

She looked up at him, then looked away. "Well...it's just...everything Matier said...about Sparda, and Geryon, and me and you...it's just..."

When she hesitated, he knelt down beside her. "Yes?"

Applejack looked up at him, tears in her eyes. "Are...are ya still my Pa?" she whimpered.

Without hesitation, Dante pulled her into a hug. "Of course I am," he replied easily. "I could hardly claim you as my biological daughter, despite my blood giving you the Old Man's power. You were always adopted, Applejack. And Nevan and Cerberus told me that Geryon was the spirit of your biological father way back in Temen-ni-gru."

"We did," Nevan piped up.

"His mortal name was Gala," Cerberus added.

"But..." Applejack began. "But what about what she said...about my old life and destiny calling me back?"

"I'll take you there."

Applejack's eyes widened. "...eh?"

"If you have another world and another life to return to, then I'll take you there...and I'll stick around until you're settled, and however long after that you need me to." He smiled down at her reassuringly. "And that's a promise on Father's Sword."

In her aura, Sparda pulsed in response to the oath. Tearing up, she bruied her face in Dante's chest, crying in joy and relief. "Pa..." she cried, hugging him as best she could as he held her gently.