Dante's Little Apple Surprise

by Tatsurou

Final Destination

The battle against Arius was suitably intense for Dante and Applejack. Not only did he conjure large numbers of some of the more difficult to fight monsters - the smaller, faster ones, not the bigger, stronger ones - he also utilized fast cast spells with large radius of effect and fast damaging effects. The conjured demonic spikes were especially difficult to avoid for Dante...and fun for Applejack to dance between.

"Yee-haw!" she shouted out happily as, not for the first time, she leapt off the spike nearest Arius to kick the wanna-be immortal in the face.

Of course, that was one of the few times either of them was able to land a blow on Arius, since he seemed to have learned from his minions' mistakes and kept his distance. He also used several spells that homed in on the target, as well as a fast teleport spell if either of them got two close to him.

"Face it!" Arius proclaimed. "I have watched your progress, studied your combat methods, and prepared! I know all your tricks! You cannot defeat me! Against you, I am invincible!"

Dante and Applejack both froze...then grinned widely. Dante hauled out Pandora, while Applejack hauled out Sparda.

"...what are those?" Arius asked, confused.

As last words went, they weren't much. At least they were better than the string of curse words most foes who'd encountered this strategy threw out.

Returning outside to where Arius' body fell, Dante and Applejack found Lucia waiting for them. "You defeated...Arius..."

"No big," Applejack replied. "He claimed invincibility, after all."

"There's just one thing left..." Lucia continued.

"If this is the part where you ask us to kill you, skip it," Dante growled. "You did hear what we said about you not being the first human-shaped demon we've encountered who was created to be a weapon but rebelled against their maker, right?"

"But...I thought-"

"You were a full blood member of Matier's clan?" Applejack interrupted. "Does it look like Pa sired me?"

Lucia glanced back and forth between Applejack and Dante. "But...I could become a monster at any time...and attack the humans..."

"So could any of us," Dante countered. "Demons, by nature, are living weapons. Same with their descendants who aren't full demon. Same with those created with demon magic."

"But they all got a choice ta make," Applejack added. "Who they fight. Matier made you a member of her clan. Will you shame her with this foolishness?"

At that moment, the door to the demon world opened within the tower.

Applejack sighed. "Figured that would happen," she grunted. "Three Arcana might not have been enough to let Arius absorb Argosax, but it sure was enough energy to draw Argosax to the boundary. With the barriers down, it would be child's play to open a portal."

"Wait...the barriers are down?" Lucia asked. "But what about the ancient boundary spells to keep the most powerful demons from invading the Earth?"

"The modern most powerful demons police their own for civilized behavior these days," Dante pointed out. "You can thank Applejack for that development. A treaty was made between demons and demon hunters at the Third Spardan Tournament. The barriers went down, and the strongest beings of each mythology police their own troublemakers."

"Then...then why has no one stopped Argosax?" Lucia demanded.

Sighing, Applejack braced Sparda in her teeth. "Cause he's from our mythology."

Lucia blinked. "Oh...I see."

"So trust the experts," Dante said as he revved the motorcycle up.

"While we're gone, keep an eye on Arius' body," Applejack requested as she hopped into the sidecar. "He absorbed enough of Argosax' energy, he might just get back up again as some sort monstrosity."

"But...but how will you both get back out of hell?" Lucia asked.

"The hell gate by Applejack's restaurant," Dante replied easily.

"Then why can't I go?" Lucia demanded.

"No passport!" Applejack called back as Dante sent the motorcycle into a leap through the portal.

Argosax himself was a chaos demon, and it showed. He was an amalgamation of various other demon shapes, and had a huge amount of demon magic to battle with. Deciding that this wasn't the time to hold anything back, Dante and Applejack both went into battle in Devil Trigger.

Despite Argosax' chaotic appearance and seeming to have several heads, however, he seemed just as helpless as any other demon at dealing with a multi-pronged attack. With the outside destroyed, the core freed itself, revealing the form of a satanic flame beast...which, despite teleportation abilities, also couldn't handle a multi-pronged attack.

With Argosax' final destruction, a sphere of power flowed up from his remains, shooting off into hell. "After it!" Applejack called out as she hopped back into the motorcycle side car.

Dante nodded as he gunned the engine.

As the pair raced after the glowing sphere, the world around them changed. Hell became less grim and stark and more...pastel. As they traveled, Applejack found herself clutching her head. "...hurts..." she moaned.

"Hurts?" Dante asked in concern. "What hurts?"

"Thoughts...memories...filling my brain..." She groaned, pulling her hat down over her head. "'Memberin' things...that I didn't live through...least, not as me..."

"You mean like how bits and pieces of that 'other destiny' Matier mentioned were coming back?" Dante suggested.

"But a lot faster...hurts..."

Dante thought for a bit. "Stop fighting it," he instructed. "Matier said the other destiny was calling you back. I think that's part of what this is. You're remembering the other life you lived."

"But...but ah don' wanna stop bein' me..." Applejack looked up at him with pained, tear filled eyes.

"You won't," Dante assured. "And that's a Father's promise." Geryon's magic pulsed within him in agreement.

Applejack managed a smile...then slumped forward in slumber.

The quiet, happy, pastoral energies of Ponyville were torn asunder as a glowing gold sphere of light burst out of the sky, closely followed by the roar of some unknown beast.

Dante landed the motorcycle on the dirt road, driving along steadily as he took in the surroundings. He'd lost sight of the golden sphere, but he was sure he'd find it again eventually. For now, he was trying to figure out where he was...and why it felt strangely familiar.

Pulling up to a stop before a farm, realization washed over him. Geryon remembered this place, and Geryon's memories were his now, too. "Wake up, AJ," Dante said softly. "We're home."

Groaning, Applejack hopped out of the side care, shaking her head as she awoke. "It's Sweet Apple Acres," she said with a smile. "I...I didn't even remember, but I still missed this place."


Turning, both devil hunters were caught off guard as a small yellow filly wearing a red ribbon cannoned into Applejack's side. "H-hey Apple Bloom!" Applejack gasped out, holding her close.

"Where ya been the past three days?" Apple Bloom demanded. "We were worried about ya, sis!"

Chuckling, Applejack ruffled the filly's mane with one hoof. "Had to go on a bit of an adventure, lil' sis. I'll tell ya about it later."

"Ya could have told us before!"

"Well it weren't exactly planned!"

Dante's chuckle drew Apple Bloom's attention. "...sis?" she asked. "Why is Pa a human?"

"Because magic makes things crazy," Applejack responded firmly.

"Fair enough!" Apple Bloom promptly leapt up and hugged Dante. "Welcome home, Pa! Where ya been all these years?"

Dante awkwardly hugged the little filly. "...fighting demons," he answered honestly, unable to think of anything else to say.

Apple Bloom gasped. "Pa's a demon hunter? Ah gotta tell the Crusaders! We got a whole new kinda Cutie Mark to crusade for!"

"Now wait-" Before Applejack could get another word out, Apple Bloom had raced off. Applejack could only groan in frustration. "...don't let her play with yer guns, Pa."

"Not a chance," Dante agreed.

"You head on into the house," Applejack said, taking hold of the motorcycle. "I'll put this in the barn and get started on my chores."

Nodding, Dante went into the house, ducking a bit to get under low doorframes.

"It's about time ya came home, Gala!" an elderly green mare called out. "Sparda said ya'd be gone awhile, but not this long!" The mare turned to face him. "...huh. New body? New person in it? Any chance a new gal ta gimme new grandkids to go along with it?"

Dante blinked several times. "Umm...yes?"

"Good!" Granny Smith - Dante wasn't sure how he knew the name so suddenly - stated firmly. "Then sit ye down and get some good Apple cooking in ya!"

Unsure what else to do, Dante sat down, ready to eat. This was going to take some getting used to.

"And when yer done eatin', you can catch up on yer chores!"

...definitely take some getting used to.

Smiling, Discord caught the golden sphere and reabsorbed the fragment of himself he'd split off so long ago. Turning, he crossed his mismatched arms. "There," he said firmly. "Now we're even for way back then."

Nodding with a smile, the spirit of Sparda faded back into the ether.