Shortly after siccing Griffon on the demonic chopper, Dante and Applejack were confronted by a massive demon that pushed its way out of a building. They evaded its initial assault of a barrage of magic blasts from its mouth before it landed, bracing itself on its hands.
"Think this one'll be challenging?" Dante asked.
"...doubtful," Applejack allowed. "Moves like a turtle with big blasts, and is a giant target? Take it from both sides, and it'll go down like a giant sack of apples."
"So...stand back and pump it full of energy blasts?" Dante offered, drawing Lucifer.
Applejack pulled Artemis out. "Eeyup."
Applejack's assessment of the fight proved to be accurate, as the battle was more time consuming then challenging. After the body of the demon fell apart, the head attacked them separately. Since it could float and fire energy blasts, it was actually more of a challenge than the whole demon had been.
"Now this is more like it!" Applejack shouted happily, ducking and weaving as she took pot shots at the floating head whenever she had the chance. "Like an old West shoot out, but without the cover!"
Dante grinned, glad Applejack was enjoying herself. The fact that the head had to deal with both of them greatly decreased its ability to effectively counter them, but it was still fun. Part way through the fight, however, the head starting conjuring energy waves rather than firing energy blasts, which could target both of them at once, which made things much more interesting for both of them.
Before too long, the head vanished in red smoke. Far above them, a helicopter passed overhead. Applejack raised Artemis.
"What are you doing?" Dante asked.
"Shooting it down," she replied easily. "They're the bad guys."
"Oh, you can see that from here, can you?"
Applejack hesitated. "Umm...but we ain't seen hide nor hair of a civilian. Any people here gotta be either Matier's people and the bad guys. So that means that's the bad guys!"
"Or Matier's people leaving an undercover operation," Dante pointed out.
Applejack blinked as she lowered her weapon. "...ya think so?"
"No idea," Dante replied. "But it's why I don't attack something if I can't see it clearly to be sure I should be attacking it."
Applejack lowered her head. "...sorry...I just..."
Dante rubbed her head. "Just hold back on blasting a bit, okay?"
"Sorry..." She shook herself. "Still a bit frustrated about that chopper...it shoulda been a good fight, but then it went and cheated by not getting in range for an attack..."
Dante chuckled. "Yeah. That wasn't fun. Come on, call Griffon. We'll follow that chopper and find out."
The helicopter came in for a landing on a high platform. Applejack directed Griffon to land stealthily after the one who got out of the chopper had gotten a ways ahead. After unsummoning Griffon, they made their way inside to track whoever it was, but were attacked by a swarm of flaming corpse demons.
"Seems like they are the bad guys," Applejack pointed out.
"Or have some serious anti-demon protection," Dante suggested.
Applejack thought about that as they fought their way through the demons, continuing onward into the facility. She'd been a bit to quick to jump to action this trip. Before, it made sense, because anything they encountered that wasn't human was likely out to kill them. This time, however, any full demons they encountered could possibly be allies, or at least former Spardan Tournament competitors. Even Odin's wolves had been there to help them, but didn't recognize her. She promised herself that she'd work on keeping herself in check from now on.
Not long after that, Dante found another rune to empower his Devil Trigger, this one granting him a flaming aura.
After a while longer exploring the facility, Applejack began to relax. Noticing this, Dante decided to ask, "What's up?"
"Ain't ya noticed?" she asked with a wide grin. "This entire trip's been very straight forward." At his confused expression, she chuckled. "No backtrackin' or key collectin'. Just straight forward kill things and hunt the boss."
Dante couldn't help but chuckle in response. "You're right. A nice change."
Eventually, they reached where the chopper was waiting, catching up to a man who was about to board it. The man had dark brown eyes, black hair that swept back to look somewhat like horns, pale skin, a mustache, and wore a red cape with a white fur collar over a pristine white suit. "Well, well, what have we here..." he began as he turned to face them, his voice dry and monotone.
"Looks like the big bad to me," Applejack muttered.
"...maybe another time," the figure replied, snapping his fingers. A portal appeared between them, and a massive minotaur that seemed to be made of flame and stone climbed up to stand between Dante, Applejack, and the man...who proceeded to board his chopper and fly off.
"Yup, that was the big bad," Dante agreed.
Applejack, however, was grinning widely as the minotaur conjured a massive war hammer. "Finally! A decent challenge!" She pulled out Sparda, but didn't release its demonic energy. "Let's rock!"
Grinning, Dante pulled out Rebellion. "Let's!"
The minotaur did prove a challenge, as it was able to move quite fast and swung its hammer quite accurately. Without triggering either of their Devil Triggers, the only real chance they had to strike was after dodging an overhand swing, which didn't happen often as the minotaur seemed to prefer to use sweeping strikes to try and catch both of them. At one point, the minotaur caught them both off guard when it jumped into the air, releasing a wave of fire when it landed. Thankfully, the Flame Heart Dante had picked up earlier gave him some resistance to fire damage, and Applejack was still small enough to hide behind Sparda. The intense heat also proved a challenge to Applejack, since she was still shedding her winter coat, which meant she was overheating and shedding clumps of hair simultaneously.
Between its high tolerance for damage, the intense heat, and its flame conjuring abilities, by the time they finally took it down, Dante and Applejack were both breathing heavily and exhausted. "Think it's time...to start using...Devil Trigger...on the big enemies?" Dante offered.
"...yeah..." Applejack agreed. Pulling off her hat, she reached in and pulled out two bottles of ice cold apple cider, tossing one to Dante. "But it was fun!"
Dante stared at the bottle. "How the hell did you keep it cold during that fight?" he asked, taking a swig.
"One of the witches at Youkai Academy cast a spell on my hat so the inside would always be as cold as a freezer," Applejack explained, drinking some of her own. "It was a joke, since I was always cautioning her about her temper, telling her ta keep a cool head."
Dante gave her a look.
"I know, I know, I've blown up two schools cause o' losing my temper," she replied. "Never said I was good at followin' that advice." She laughed. "After she cast the spell, I got one of the other witches to cast a spatial manipulation spell on mah hat, so the inside could hold a lot more. It's where I carry all the foodstuffs for cooking while out on an incursion run."
Dante laughed. "Good thinking."