Title: Devil’s Cry, Chapters 5-9
Fandom: Devil May Cry
Genre: BDSM, Crack, Family, Fantasy, Humor, Hurt/Comfort, Het, Romance
Relationship(s): Dante/OFC, pre-Vergil/Dante/OFC
Content Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Slavery, Discussion-Torture, Discussion-Rape, Dub-con, Biting/Blood kink , Mentions of twin-cest, Violence-Canon-level (or less), Violence-Sexual, Explicit Sex, No Beta
Author Notes: Devil relationships, Pack dynamics, Devil Instincts, Author Pantsing Everything, Screw the timeline, Canon gets the axe, OC character is the Fix. Future F/M/M Ménage. See Notes Tab on Summary Post for additional notes and thanks yous.
Beta: Arete and YMFaery
Word Count: 51,600
Summary: Growing up, Vergil and Dante Sparda had a best friend. Her family and theirs had been tied since time began, and as children, the three were all they knew. Now as adults, Dante and his best friend navigate the world as they know it, searching for their missing half. Sometimes it’s not the Knights that save the Princess, sometimes it’s the Princess that saves the Knights.
Dante had realized much later that night that Aislynn hadn’t answered him when he’d asked how long she was to be gone. He had indeed been furious that she was to leave him for that long of a time, but she’d done as she’d been taught, held herself close to his body and forced him to calm down and hear her out. He’d been elated to realize his brother was still alive, but heartbroken that they didn’t know where he was, or what condition he was in. He’d even asked Trish to head back to Mallet Island and see if there were any clues, but she’d found nothing.
It’d been quite a few days since Aislynn had returned, and she’d be leaving tomorrow. Dante had been restless all day, pacing and grumbling. He couldn’t stand the thought of her being gone. Even though Ifrit had eagerly consented to go with her and being a messenger dragon, and they had their phones, none of the group were happy that she was going to be away from them for so long, not even Beowulf.
Dante sighed as he paced around the outside of the building. Nevan was speaking to a contractor, asking if they could turn part of the unused back yard into a greenhouse, something about wanting to go organic with the vegetables. It had been something that Aislynn and Nevan had been talking about after Agni and Rudra had suffered severely upset stomachs after eating a pizza from the joint down the street. They’d been the only one’s home when they got hungry and still weren’t comfortable with cooking without supervision.
From what he’d overheard, when he’d been zoning at the table, because honestly talking about healthy eating bored him silly; Devils couldn’t handle overly processed foods and the more organic you could go the better for them. Aislynn had said that they had enough room to put in a greenhouse, so they could start to grow their own vegetables, and that she knew several organic stores in town, so she’d just start shopping for their food supplies there. She’d seemed happy about it, saying that eating healthier was a goal of hers.
He shook the memory out of his head and watched Nevan for a bit longer. She’d adopted her “around normals” disguise, and her green skin wasn’t evident, instead she looked like herself, just with pale cream-colored skin, as if she didn’t get out into the sun that much, and her bat siblings were missing, most likely hanging out in the building, or in the trees surrounding the lot. Aislynn had said it was a perfect look for her for when she was around normal people.
He sighed again; his mind was just filled with Aislynn. He looked up, watching the road for a few minutes. Aislynn had gone with Lady and Trish to the mall, making sure she had everything she’d need for her long stay away. Most of her bags had already been picked up by one of Arawn’ men and when she left, she’d only need to take what few bags remained.
He wasn’t happy with her leaving, but he knew she needed to. He’d been shocked when she explained why. Terrified that he’d lose her if this power awakening would go wrong. He’d almost demanded that he go with her before she told him that she’d been assured that she’d sleep through the awakening, and when she awoke, Matier would be there to help her.
He shook his head, still feeling antsy, something that he’d come to expect when Aislynn wasn’t within hearing distance or smelling distance. Hell, just when she was away, he was antsy.
He shook his head again and decided to go inside. He moved towards the door and stopped. He wasn’t sure what he was seeing. There appeared to be a six being pile up just inside the kitchen door.
“What are you guys doing?”
Geryon, Beowulf, Cerberus, and Ifrit were all piled up together on the floor and Agni and Rudra, in their sword forms were laying on top of them.
“Waiting,” Angi said.
Dante rolled his eyes, “Waiting for what?”
“Aislynn,” Rudra said.
Dante sighed “Guys, piling up in front of the door isn’t going to make her get home any quicker. She’s just at the mall with Trish and Lady.”
Ifrit left the pile, chattering a mile a minute, almost too quick for him to understand.
“Ifrit, you’re going with her. She’s not going to leave and not take you. Anyways, I know you could track her down if she even thought for one second, she could get away without saying goodbye. And you know she’d never do that to us.”
Luckily, he was saved from having to convince a scared devil arm that his favorite person wasn’t going to leave without him, he could hear Lady’s car pulling up. He turned around and sure enough, the girls had just arrived. It also looked as if the contractor had left, because Nevan was back in her normal form and several of her bat siblings were flying pell-mell towards Aislynn who had just gotten out of the back seat of the convertible.
He shook his head with a grin as he watched Aislynn laughingly greet the bats that came to see her return. She’d amused herself for several days after Nevan awoke by getting to know the bat siblings and trying to name every single one of them. Nevan had gotten a kick out of it as well.
He looked back at the pile up to see that it’d been disbursed, and he’d once again been forgotten, even Beowulf headed outside to greet Aislynn. His mate was something else entirely.
He turned around and headed to join the group, might as well greet them also.
Four hours later, Dante pulled himself out of the shower. He had ended up leaving shortly after Aislynn, Trish and Lady had gotten back. Nell had called him and asked him to come to the Preserve, that they had something they wanted to talk to him about. He’d gone there and was surprised at what they suggested. Since Aislynn would be gone during her birthday, they’d thought it would be a good idea if tonight when everyone came to the goodbye dinner, that they’d bring Aislynn their birthday gifts and throw a somewhat surprise party. He’d immediately called or texted everyone that was coming and set it up. He’d been shocked at Nell’s suggestion of a gift from him. And, honestly sort of appalled he’d not thought of it first. Arawn would bring it with him tonight, since the gift had been locked up in the armory since the day his mother died. He knew Nell would look at it before she came over to make sure they were all working like they should.
He’d received a call from Morrison on his way back home and had gone to help contain a situation. He’d taken a few hits that while painful, weren’t life-threatening. Aislynn had patched him up when he came back, then with an exaggerated sniff and an “eww” sent him off to “shower the stink away”
He dried off and wrapped the towel around his waist, opened his door to go into his bedroom to change, but stopped.
Standing in their room, Aislynn was folding her new things and making sure they were ready for her to leave tomorrow. And it hit him, his best friend was not just his best friend. He loved her, soul-deep loved her, and he didn’t know what he would do without her. He admired her for everything she was and everything she wasn’t. She completed him and filled him up until the only missing piece of him was his brother. She loved him despite his faults, and he knew he had many. His soul-mate? No that didn’t sound right, because some part of him instinctively knew there was a piece missing from them, his partner? No that was too generic for what he felt. His Alpha Female, and didn’t that just speak to the Devil in him?
But it worked, she was his Alpha, his mate. He nodded, coming to peace with the thought that he wasn’t averse to changing their relationship to mates at all. He’d always known she was beautiful. And since his more Devil Episodes and especially since the other day when they’d first made love-well, yeah he guessed made love worked, even if that phrase usually brought up images of sweet vanilla sex, and what they’d done was so far from sweet-flashes of times that he’d felt her body against him, flashes of times he’d kissed her when he was in that space between drunk and not drunk had been popping into his head. He’d come to realize that he’d probably recognized but fought the feelings she instilled in him for longer than he’d thought. Just, when he was not sober, he was freer to act on what he really wanted.
But she was leaving tomorrow, and she’d be gone for a while, and he’d be without her touch. And his mood started to tank at that thought.
“I don’t want you to go.” He hadn’t even realized he’d spoken.
He heard her sigh as she turned to him, “Dante, you know I have to.”
He nodded, “I know you have to. But Damn it Ais, knowing and accepting are two different things. I don’t want you to go. I want you to stay here, with me. With us. We’re going to be lost without you.”
She finished folding the shirt she was holding and moved to him. She stopped in front of him and tilted her head back to look him in the eye, “You’ll be fine. You and the others will be just fine without me for a while.”
“No, we won’t,” Dante grumbled.
She laughed, and he realized he adored her laugh.
Aislynn shook her head as she looked at Dante, she kept her eyes locked on his face. He was, after all, standing in front of her wearing nothing but a towel. She shuddered; he was sin personified. So gorgeous, and she wanted him with everything she was.
She reached up and caressed his cheek, grinning as he nuzzled against her hand. With his Devil Blood awakening more, he’d become more affectionate, and she couldn’t deny that she loved it. Because she did, she loved that he was more affectionate physically with her, when he was sober. While a guilty part of her did enjoy what they had done when he was more drunk than sober, the kisses and caresses, the whispered words of endearment; it made her heart pound when he touched her and was affectionate to her when he was sober.
She still felt the affects of his love making from earlier in the week. They’d not had sex but… they’d been extremely physical with each other since. It felt good, to know she belonged to him and him to her. That they were together, even if he’d not technically asked her outside the heat of the moment… it was understood.
“I promise, you’ll be just fine without me for a while. And it’s not forever, Dante. Ifrit will be able to bring letters if my phone doesn’t work on the island.”
“What would I do without you in my life?” She tilted her head; he’d said that so quietly.
He captured her hand, which was still on his cheek and pulled it to his lips, pressing a gentle, loving kiss to the palm of her hand, “I’ve been having flashes of what I thought were very involved dreams lately.”
She froze, “Oh?”
He nodded, his eyes starting to twinkle and pressed a kiss to her palm again, “Yep.”
“And what was going on in those flashes?” She tried to remove her hand, but Dante shook his head, moving her hand from his mouth and using it to pull her in closer to him.
“Stay. I’d rather not have to chase you through the place wearing nothing but a towel, but I will.”
He started walking forward, forcing her to walk backward or be walked into. He kept her walking until the back of her knees hit the bed and she fell to it with an “oof”.
“And you think I’ll run.” She tried to sound brave, even amused, but she didn’t know if she even wanted to know what he was going to say next.
“Stay.” He pointed at her as he let go of her arm, walking away just to grab the recliner and drag it over to the bed. He sat down on it, putting them face to face.
“And to answer your question. I think you’re contemplating it.”
Well, she couldn’t deny that.
“To answer your other question. The flashes? Well, they’ve been interesting. As I said, at first, I thought they were very vivid interesting daydreams. I’m beginning to realize that the flashes are of things that happened after the times I got drunk, before I started sobering up, but after the drink had started to wane.”
She closed her eyes, oh boy, it was what she had feared. He was remembering her guilty secrets.
“One was so vivid that I went to full salute quicker than I think I ever have.”
She didn’t know how to respond.
Dante watched her and knew she was confused and scared of what he’d say next. He felt kind of bad about it. But he was smart enough to realize that words weren’t his strong point. That, and he’d never really thought through plans, always preferring to think of things on the fly. Improvising was his thing, and he was good at it.
He grinned at her, “Yeah. Honestly. It was kind of shocking at first.”
She sighed, her eyes down, her skin pale. This wasn’t what he wanted, not her fear. He wanted her laughter, her passion.
“How much do you remember?”
“I remember all of it now.”
She sucked in a breath, “You must hate me.”
Dante reached out and caressed her cheek, using his hand to tilt her chin, forcing her to meet his eyes. “Never. I’d never hate you; I don’t think I ever could. I’m ashamed it took me so long to remember them. I’m mad they happened at all.”
He realized what he said wasn’t right and frowned when she started to pull away. He stopped her. “Stay.”
She stopped and looked at him, and he could see she was getting irked with being told to stay like a dog. “Listen to me very closely. Aislynn. I want to make sure you hear and understand what I’m about to say.”
He grinned when she nodded. “I’m mad as hell they happened when I was drunk. I’m mad as hell that I didn’t realize exactly what you mean to me. Exactly how much I love you until just now. I’m mad as hell that drunk me had more of a clue than sober me, until right now.”
He could see the confusion in her eyes. “Sober me missed out on years of passionate kisses, whispered words. Sober me has missed out on years of the realization that you love me as a lover does, not just as my best friend and partner in shenanigans. And, I’m not counting earlier this week. You started that to get me out of a rage, and while it was good… Mind-blowingly good, don’t get me wrong, it still doesn’t count.”
He leaned forward and captured her lips in a gentle kiss that was filled with the passionate promise of things to come. He leaned back away from her just a bit. “I’m mad as hell that you’re leaving tomorrow when all I want to do right now is lay you down and make love to you for two weeks straight.”
There was a realization in her eyes now, realization and passion. He also saw something else in her eyes, and he realized it was her recognizing that her wishes were coming true.
“Think you could even last that long, big guy?”
And he had to laugh when she teased him, “Well, I like to think I might.”
“I don’t know big guy. Two weeks is an awfully long time.”
And that was just not right, she was poking fun at his manliness! He couldn’t stand for that; it was time to retaliate. With a grin, he grabbed both her hands in one of his big ones, pushed her back onto the bed, joined her on the bed and began to tickle her, “That’s just wrong! I’m manly damn it!”
He loved her laugh, and he looked up from his position, his eyes meeting hers. He saw just how beautiful she was, her eyes shining, lips split with a grin as she laughed. He had to kiss her. His head dipped and he captured her lips in a passionate kiss, a kiss she eagerly returned. He moved her hands over his head, letting go when they grasped onto his neck, and, bracing himself on one arm, continuing the kiss, he ran his other hand up and down her side until it settled home upon her breast, underneath her shirt. The kiss was hot, passionate and everything he’d wanted; and while he so wanted to say screw control, and make love to her repeatedly, he knew now wasn’t the time.
There were people coming over soon, the others wanted to see her, and there was her gift to give her. Maybe, maybe after everyone left… they’d have tonight at least. Then again, maybe they’d just sleep wrapped in each other’s arms, either would be good. He moved his lips from hers, nuzzling into the spot where her shoulder met her neck and licked it, before just resting his face against that spot.
“Dante?” And he could hear the want in her voice. But he could also hear the caution and the plea for slowness.
“I love you. I want to make love to you. But while I’m impulsive, I’m also smart enough to realize it’s not the right time. I invited a few people over for dinner tonight, kind of a going away thing. Your mom, dad, Nell, Nico, Enzo, Morrison, Loki, Ares, Hela, and Fenrir. Nevan already said that it was ok. And, honestly things are too new with us being an us.” He frowned and looked up at her, “We are an us now, right?”
Her gentle smile and his fears left at that, she understood what he was trying to say, spoke of both humor and love, “Well there is the matter of one certain Devil not bothering to ask me if I wanted us to be an us.”
He rolled his eyes in amusement, but lent up and kissed her again, “Will you be mine? My partner, my Alpha female, my girl, my love?”
“I suppose. I’ve not had any better offers after all. And I doubt that anyone else could give me this family I’ve found myself surrounded in that I absolutely adore. I mean, who else has a little dragon that loves to sit on my shoulders.”
He snorted at her remark, “Aislynn.”
She turned serious, leaning up a bit to kiss his smiling lips, “I adore you; I love you and us being an us is what I’ve wanted for a long time now. Of course, I’ll be yours if you’ll be mine.”
She had never been happier; she had her man. She knew there was a piece missing though. And she suspected that it was Vergil, but they’d find him soon enough. They’d find him and bring him home and their family, their pack would be complete. Well at least until one of them found someone worthy of bringing into the family.
And she was glad he realized that while both would love nothing more than to make love tonight, and she could feel how much he wanted her from the press of his cock against her thigh, that it was too soon in their new version of their relationship.
But his next words sobered both, and the humor that had been shared between them dulled just a bit.
“You leave tomorrow at what time?” He asked, resting his head against her breast. Not wanting to move but knowing that there was a hungry pack downstairs waiting on them and that Nevan was cooking, but Aislynn had promised her to remain close by and help if she needed it.
Nevan had taken to the kitchen like a fish to water, and over the last few days, she and Aislynn had talked for hours about how to handle things around here, and Nevan had taken the instruction like a pro. But Nevan was still nervous she might let them all down. So Aislynn had promised that Nevan could handle everything that was going on yesterday and today, and Aislynn would just hang back and offer advice if needed. Aislynn had also promised Nevan she could write her whenever she needed advice and call for Ifrit and she’d answer as soon as possible.
“Dad said he’d send the car around ten in the morning.”
He sighed and glanced at the alarm clock, it read 5:45 pm. He had a little under seventeen more hours to be with her. He groaned as he started to sit up, “I’d love nothing more than to just hold you for the next sixteen hours and fifteen minutes, but you promised Nevan you’d oversee her cooking. And I know the others would be pissed as hell that I was hoarding you all night.”
He rolled out of bed, not even caring that he left the towel laying on the bed beside her. Fully naked, he reached out and held a hand out to help her up, just to get that towel thrown in his face instead, “Hey!”
She laughed, and he removed the towel from his face to see her already standing. She stood up on her tippy toes and kissed him, “Put your towel in the hamper and get dressed.”
He grinned and turned to do as she ordered.
She grinned at him, sometimes this man could be a very mature and caring man, then other times, he was a gorilla.
“I’m going to go down and make sure Nevan’s ok with everything going on. And that you didn’t just spring everyone coming over on her.”
She turned to go out of the room and then stopped, turning back to him with a frown, “You know how we talked about adding a workshop and an apartment for Enzo?”
He nodded, “Yeah?”
“I think we should do the same for Nell. She’s got Nico to raise now, and her place is just too small, and it’s also too well known. It wouldn’t be safe enough from attack. Not when she has a twelve-year-old to watch out for.”
He turned to her, a frown on his face, “Wait, she’s raising Nico? What’s going on with Rebekah?”
She shrugged her shoulders, “No clue. Last time I spoke to Nell, she just said that the commission I had placed would take a while. Apparently, Rebekah dropped Nico off one day with two bags and a backpack and took off. She didn’t even wait to see if Nell was home before just leaving Nico in front of the store. I mean, yeah Nico’s been visiting with Nell a lot, and she’s friends with Hela and Fenrir, but this is permanent.”
He nodded, “Yeah, if you think we’ll have enough room and funds to add on another apartment and a workshop for her, let’s do it.”
She couldn’t help herself, she walked back to him, wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned up giving him a kiss. “You are a wonderful person, my Red Knight.” And frowning in thought, she left the room walking down the stairs and through the office and living room that had largely been cleared of the bigger debris. There was at least space now for them to have a couple of desks and sofas and such in them. She walked to the kitchen to see Nevan and Alastor standing somewhat close together as they discussed something.
She wasn’t entirely sure why she’d called Dante her Red Knight. She hadn’t called him that since the year before Sparda and Eva had been killed. After all, when they’d been younger, it had been her as the princess and Dante was her Red Knight, Vergil her Blue Knight. The two Knights were the most powerful of her army. She shook her head, pushing the thought aside. She’d ponder it another time.
“Nevan? I just wanted to make sure you were ok with everyone coming over tonight. I didn’t know Dante had invited everyone, or I would have offered to cook tonight.”
“I think I’ve got it, and of course I’m ok with more being added. It will be nice to see your father again, and I’ve been wanting to meet your mother.”
Aislynn laughed, “She’s apparently been wanting to meet you too. She got a kick out of you calling my dad and berating him for not teaching me what I needed to know. Said it was the funniest thing she’d ever seen.”
Nevan laughed and turned back to work on dinner, shooing Alastor and her siblings off. Aislynn left the kitchen and started back up the stairs, waving at Agni and Rudra who were hanging around in the living room, literally hanging in their sword forms off the wall. She got back to the bedroom to find Dante, wearing a pair of pants apparently looking for a shirt to wear. She shook her head, “You have several shirts in the closet, just choose one.”
He turned to her with a laugh, “Hey, I don’t comment when you take thirty minutes to get ready to go anywhere. Don’t comment when I’m taking less than ten to get ready.”
She rolled her eyes, and walked up to him, leaning up against him and wrapping her arms around his neck. She stood on her tippy-toes and planted a kiss on his lips, “I don’t have fifteen different shirts the same style and color. My clothes are all different.”
She smiled as he kissed her a second time and grumbled against her lips, “Sure sure, pick on my style.”
She stepped away from him and moved to where she’d set her phone earlier.
“I’m going to head on downstairs then. Did she say when she thought dinner would be ready?”
She shook her head while she dialed, “No.”
Dante grinned, and she knew he was planning something, but she ignored it as she put the phone up to her ear, waiting for one of her parents to answer.
She should have known better, as soon as her father answered the phone, and she had the words “Dad.” Out of her mouth, Dante leaned in and kissed her. He grinned at her when he stepped back from the kiss and yelled in the phone, “Your daughter is accosting me!” And ran out of the room.
She could hear her father laughing, and she rolled her eyes, “What I was going to say before the big gorilla interrupted,”
“Before you accosted him?”
She snickered in amusement, “He accosted me, thank you very much.”
She heard her father laugh again, “What were you going to say, my daughter?”
“I just found out that all of you are coming over for dinner. Nevan’s cooking for the first time all by herself. Did Dante put you guys up to something?”
“No, not that I’m aware of. He just invited all of us for dinner earlier today, so we said yes. We’ll leave now and should be there in thirty minutes.” Arawn chuckled, “You’re letting Nevan cook unsupervised?”
“Dad don’t go picking on Nevan. You do, I’ll help her get back at you, and I’m pretty sure Mom will too.”
She heard him sigh, “Those two. Did you know that they’ve apparently been conversing? They’re like two peas in a pod. Exchanging daily texts and calls. It’s enough to make a devil worry.”
She laughed “Dad! I’m sure Nevan won’t be that bad of an influence on Mom.”
“It’s not Nevan being a bad influence I’m worried about.”
She heard a smack in the background and her father grumble, “See, I confess to being worried about something, and your mother smacks me.”
She laughed as she heard her mother grab the phone from her dad and berate him for being a whiney bugger. Her mother apparently got the phone because her mother spoke next, “We’ll see you in thirty minutes. Well, at least I will. Your father on the other hand; if he doesn’t shut up and apologize, will be there later. Because I’ll have made him run the entire way there.”
With a click, her mother hung up, and Aislynn couldn’t help but laugh at the relationship her mother and father shared. She shook her head in amusement and headed out the door, intending to go see what trouble Dante might have been getting into and making sure he wasn’t in the kitchen making a pest of himself by bugging Nevan.
She smiled when as soon as she hit the ground floor Cerberus, Geryon, and Ifrit came to her. She looked around and noticed that Beowulf was laying down in a sliver of sunlight that was stubbornly hanging on, his eyes closed and apparently asleep.
Aislynn had a brilliant and funny thought and she grinned. She turned to Ifrit, Geryon, and Cerberus and held a finger over her lips in a quiet gesture, pointed to Beowulf and mined two fingers walking towards him. When the three stopped walking and were quietly watching what she was going to do, she tip-toed over to Beowulf and laid herself down along his back, her hands going for his ears and the spot she knew he adored having scratched. Even if he were bitching and complaining all the while.
She knew the moment Beowulf woke up and realized she was laying on top of him, he snorted and growled, “Get off me infernal human girl!” She scratched his ears again, and he started purring.
She laughed, “Evening Beowulf. I thought I’d come and say hello.”
She got off him and let him stand up and shake himself off.
“I need to ask the Red Menace why he won’t let me eat you again.” He grumbled.
“You’d get the same answer as last time. I’m too sweet for you, I’d rot your teeth. Plus, you’d miss the ear scratches.” She laughed, and headed to the kitchen, the four Devil arms following her.
Once she got to the kitchen, she found Trish and Lady had joined Nevan, but Alastor had left.
“Hey,” She said as she stopped in the door, “Nevan is there anything I can help with? If you want, I can start making drinks for everyone.”
Nevan turned to her and nodded, “That would help actually. I’m still not sure about who likes what.”
She grinned, “No problem. Dad’s picky when it comes to his tea. Always says that no one makes it as well as my mom, but I come a close second.”
Trish laughed, “So he tolerates your shenanigans just like Beowulf?”
She snickered, “Well, he’s had years to get used to my shenanigans. Like the time I got ambushed and kidnapped at a party that I’d gone to on a blind date my friends from high school set me up on.”
Lady frowned, “Now that I think of it… I remember hearing something about you being out of school for a few months back then. Is that when you were kidnapped?”
She nodded “Yeah. I got ambushed and kidnapped by some Ga’Enks that were part of this human trafficking ring that my dad had been looking into. Kain and Kyra had come when they felt me get attacked but were injured and forced to retreat. They went to the preserve to get help, but by the time they got to the scene all evidence had been erased. It was Vergil, who had been with my Dad at the time who tracked me down. He devastated the entire ring and killed everyone involved, from what I heard. Dad said he’d only seen such determination from Sparda during times when Sparda was majorly pissed off.
Lady arched her brow, “Your father knew Vergil was alive?”
She nodded, “Yep. He’d apparently just found out that night. And believe me, I was as shocked as you were. Of course, Vergil rescued me. But I didn’t know it was him, I thought it was some mercenary named Gilver.”
She snickered, “Now that I know what happened, well, Gilver ripping me a new one, and berating me for being an idiot makes more sense.”
Nevan hummed, “Does Dante know anything about this?”
She shook her head, “No. Well he knows some of it yeah, but not everything.”
Trish pointed behind her with a smirk, “He does now.”
Aislynn spun around to see Dante standing behind her with Agni and Rudra, his arms crossed, and a scowl on his face, “Shit.”
“Aislynn Liliana Redgrave. You got your stubborn ass kidnapped by a bunch of Ga’Enks?”
Aislynn grinned, waved a hand at him and with a shouted, “Bye!” took off running, Dante in hot pursuit. She ducked out the back door and ran like the hounds of hell were after her. She couldn’t help but laugh. She’d known he wasn’t mad at her.
Dante laughed as he chased Aislynn through the back of the lot, out onto the docks, then up the pier and around to the front of the building. When they turned the corner to go to the front of the building, he couldn’t help but chuckle when he heard Aislynn go “oof.” Then “Dad! Protect me! Dante’s trying to beat me!”
She’d apparently ran into her father. He slowed to a walk and came around the building to see that not only had Caderyn and Arawn arrived, but everyone else had gotten there as well. He pointed to Arawn. “You sir have raised a heathen! She accosted me in public the other day!”
“I see, that is indeed a grave accusation. You say she accosted you?”
“I did not! Quit telling lies, Dante!”
“You did too! You pinched my ass the other day in front of those teeny-boppers in front of the grocery store, then made some comment about something being firm enough to bounce a quarter off it and flounced off!”
“That was months ago!”
He nodded, “You see, she admitted it!”
“Yeah, to giving those teeny-boppers a show months ago! Did you see the looks on their faces when I did it! I couldn’t let that opportunity pass us by. They’d been looking at your ass the entire time we were at the store! I’d just decided to give them something to look at!”
And he couldn’t keep up the act, just the image of all five of those girls, whom had indeed followed them all around the store, giggling and pointing at him the entire time, just the remembrance of the look on all of their faces when Aislynn had ‘accosted’ him caused him to crack up. It had been hilarious, and he thought one of them had squealed when, after Aislynn flounced off he’d grinned at them and winked.
He could see grins on everyone’s face, but Caderyn had a fake firm frown on her face, “Aislynn Liliana Redgrave.”
“Hey, that sounds familiar. Wasn’t I yelling at you earlier? Before you went running out the door?”
“Nope, I have no idea what you mean. And mother, you can’t tell me you wouldn’t have done the exact same thing.” She turned and pointed at her mother.
“In public?” Caderyn asked.
“Yes, in public.”
“Well, I never.”
“Forgive me mother, but I call bullshit! You’re the one I learned that trick from! You did it to dad at the last Beltane Festival we went to!”
Caderyn’s mouth twitched and Dante snorted in amusement, he remembered that Festival.
“Did I? I must have forgotten.” With a sniff, Caderyn started walking towards the door, “Your father is so forgettable after all.”
The look on Arawn’ face was priceless, but when he turned to share a laugh with Aislynn, he saw she had a confused look in her eyes when she gazed at him.
“I’m sorry, do I know you?” There, he could see the twinkle in her eye, that little devil had pulled one on him.
“Yeah, you know me.”
“Oh? Well, your name must have slipped my mind. You must be quite forgettable then.” With a flounce, she started walking behind her mother. Mirroring her mother’s walk perfectly. With a snicker of amusement, Loki, in a female form followed along, wrapping her/his arm around Aislynn’s waist as he/she reached her. When they got to the door, Aislynn turned around and pointed at Arawn, “If I were you, I’d be getting around to making sure my wife remembered me. I want another sibling, after all. I was actually serious about that.” With a cheeky grin, she took off; leaving him outside with her father, Ares, Enzo and Morrison.
He turned to Arawn, “Were you able to bring it?”
Nell’s old truck pulled up at that moment and Nico, Nell, Hela and Fenrir piled out.
He pointed at the kids, “Hey kiddos. Aislynn’s already inside, go ahead and run through. Nell, stay a moment?”
The three teenagers grinned and ran off, and Nell joined him, Ares and Arawn, he noticed that Morrison and Enzo had followed the trio, probably to give them some privacy, well that and he was sure Aislynn already had their favorite drinks ready for them.
Arawn nodded, “You’re lucky that we could hear the laughter or the surprise would have been over before it began. Caderyn was about to take it out of the car when Aislynn turned the corner. What set off that bout of chase anyway? I seriously hope that wasn’t a mating chase.”
He shook his head, “As I told you, sir. I’ve wised up and realized I love her as my mate. But we both agree that we’re too new, and there’s too much going on right now. She’s leaving, we both don’t know when she’ll be back.”
He sighed, “And if I’m being perfectly honest, I think we both know something’s missing.”
Arawn tilted his head, “You believe you are mates. But there’s a piece of the puzzle missing?”
Dante stared into Arawn’ eyes, “Vergil. I love your daughter, make no mistakes about that. But I don’t think I have it in me to commit to her completely until I can either find Vergil or find out what’s happened to him exactly. It’s a part of me that’s missing.”
Arawn nodded, “The bonds of twins are a mystery all on its own. Something precious indeed. My daughter feels the same way?”
He nodded, “She’s not come out and specifically said so, but she’s made comments to the effect of finding Vergil is important, and that we should start subtly inquiring about information. She said something the other day about asking you to get in touch with some of your old contacts and seeing what you could dig up. She even made an off-hand comment about me going to Chronos of all people and calling in the favors he owes me.”
Ares groaned, “Well that was stupid. She should know my ‘uncle’ well enough by now.”
Arawn snorted, “Chronos would try to talk you into letting him send you back in the timeline.”
“Which would break this reality and create something else, or it’d just be his way to get me back far enough where he wouldn’t owe me any favors and let me die the first time I met my younger self.”
Arawn nodded, “She would have realized it soon enough. I’ll gladly get in touch with a few old contacts and see what dirt we can all scrounge up.”
They started walking through the living room and Arawn looked around, “You and your friend Trish really did a number on this place. At least the Devil Heads aren’t on the wall anymore. I can’t remember the number of times that Aislynn complained about them, and how you’d always seem to have them up when she returned from somewhere after an extended time away. She was not amused when she finally saw the summoning circle.”
“I believe her she threatened to run you through with her swords…and impale you on Rebellion. She was also not amused by the posters on the wall when she got back from Ireland.” Ares chuckled.
Dante laughed, “Yeah well, I liked them.”
Arawn snorted, “You and I both. Just don’t you dare tell Aislynn and Caderyn that.”
“Tell Aislynn and Caderyn what, my husband?” They’d reached the kitchen to see that everyone was already sitting down around the tables that were in the kitchen.
Arawn handed Dante the box, and moved to his wife, “Nothing important, my dear.”
Dante snickered, he looked at Caderyn, and smiled, “Yeah, we were just talking about some ideas for the remodel.”
He respected Arawn enough that he wouldn’t get him in trouble with Caderyn. The mother and the daughter were both tiny but fierce.
He realized that Aislynn was deep in conversation with Enzo and thanked the tech-whiz for distracting her. He motioned to Nell and opened the box, showing her what was inside, then pointed to Aislynn and mimicked giving the box to Aislynn. He saw Nell’s eyes light up with approval. She nodded and moved to the seat at the table beside Nico.
He moved to the empty seat next to Aislynn but stopped before sitting down.
“Hey, I have something for you.”
He loved this woman, the look in her eyes when she turned from her conversation with Enzo and looked at him, he knew she was the one for him, his Alpha female, his partner. And he was glad he’d finally wised up to that fact. Now if they could only find Vergil.
Speaking of Vergil, Dante looked at the box in his hands, he could only hope he was right in his feelings that Vergil would have approved of Aislynn becoming the new owner of what was in the box. Dante couldn’t think of a person more appropriate to receive what was in the box.
“Here, this is from me. It’s also, well, it’s from my folks and Vergil as well.” He handed her the box, watching as she took it reverently and caressed it. She looked awed, and she’d not even opened it yet.
Aislynn was awed. Dante had given her presents before, most of them even decent presents, but his words. Saying this was something from his family, mentioning his folks and Vergil and saying they’d have approved of what he was giving her, even if he didn’t come right out and say it. Whatever this box contained; it was important. Whatever was in this box, it was something that she would treasure for all time.
With a deep breath, to shore up her courage, she opened the lid. At the sight of the three guns nestled gently inside the padding of the box, she lost that breath she had just taken. A shaking hand reached out, gently caressing first one gun, then the other two. And Aislynn sobbed, “Hello old friends. I’ve not seen you since the day your wielder died. It’s so good to see you again, Luce, Ombre.”
Dante had given her his father’s guns. The weapons Sparda himself had. He’d given her Luce and Ombre, the ‘fathers’ of Ebony and Ivory, Dante’s own well-loved weapons. She could even see the engraving, ‘To Sparda, 45 Calibre-Warks. This was the epitome of Nell Goldstein’s works. Of all the weapons Nell had created over the years, these were still her favorites. Also, in the box was Eva’s Uzi. A custom build from Nell that had been gifted to Eva shortly after the twins’ fifth birthday.
She looked at Nell, wanting to see what the weaponsmith thought of what Dante had done, only to see approval in the older woman’s eyes, “Well, now I don’t have to make you something Aislynn, you have the best of my family’s works right there at your fingertips.”
With one last caress to Luce and Ombre, she closed the lid, whispering, “I’ll get you out and clean you both later, my friends. I have to beat your wielder’s more impulsive son over the head a few times.”
She jumped up from her chair and hugged Dante, hiding her face against his chest until she could get her tears under control. The second she did, she reached up and indeed did smack him over the head twice.
“You idiot.” She said with a tearful laugh, “You big wonderful idiot.”
He laughed, and captured her hands with one of his, and tilted her face up to his with one of his fingers to her chin, “Hey now, what’s that about?”
“Luce! Ombre! You’ve given me Sparda’s weapons! Eva’s Uzi! It doesn’t even have name…but you’ve given me them. My most cherished friends.” The smile on her face hurt, but she was so overjoyed at what he’d done. The approval that he gave her, and she felt it. She felt Sparda and Eva’s approval as well.
“Aislynn, I don’t need them. I’ve got Ebony and Ivory. There is no one else on this world or any other that deserves to carry those as much as you. My mom and dad adored you. I can remember us all as kids, I think we were six and you were five. Vergil and I had gone out to the treehouse, and we weren’t letting you inside it. Telling you that girls weren’t allowed.”
She gave a slight laugh; she remembered the day he was talking about.
“You were so upset with us. We hadn’t meant to hurt you, we just wanted to spend some time as brothers. We should have just told you that, you would have understood and gone off and followed your mom and ours around. But instead, I opened my big mouth and started to tease you, and Vergil followed along.”
She shook her head, “Yeah, I remember.”
“Then you know how much my father adored you. After all, it was, he that came out and picked you up as you were crying up at us. It was my dad that told you that you didn’t need any stinky boys to play with because you had him. And he’d be glad to play tea party with you, as long as you made him your famous mud pie.”
She laughed, and hugged him again, “I remember. He was my hero that day. He even made Dad sit down and have a tea party with me. I adored your dad and mom too. Just like I adore you and Vergil. My Red and Blue Knights.”
She stood up on her tippy-toes and kissed him, “Thank you. Words are not enough, this gift. To have Luce and Ombre, to have Eva’s Uzi, it’s an honor. I promise I’ll take such good care of them.”
He kissed her back, “I know you will. That’s why I gave them to you. But I expect you to start using them. Retire the guns you have, use them. They want to be used, I bet they’ve missed being in action. And honestly, it feels like my folks are watching over you, knowing you have them with you. I always want you to keep them on you while you’re gone. I can’t go with you and even though I trust Ifrit to look out for you, I’ll feel more settled knowing you have them, and that Mom, Dad and Nell are looking out for you as well,”
She grinned and opened her mouth to say something. She could feel the tenseness in the room and knew the Devils in the room were still uncomfortable with overly-emotional displays. But her mother piped up instead.
“Aislynn, I’m sure Eva would have loved you to have them, considering you spend most of your time lately trying to beat sense into one of her sons.”
Dinner settled after that, everyone eating and making sure to compliment Nevan on her meal. The succubus had done a really good job with the meal, and finally, she appeared to be settled, and Aislynn knew that the pack was in good hands while she would be gone. Each of her family, her friends had given her gifts, turning the dinner into a birthday get-together, gone were the mentions of her leaving tomorrow, it was just a happy time. And while she treasured all the gifts she received; she knew the others also knew what gift meant the most to her.
She spent the meal talking with her family and friends. Occasionally patting Cerberus and Geryon when they’d walk by, she even gained a few snorts of amusement when she casually reached over and started scratching Beowulf behind the ears when he’d stopped beside her to grab one of the steaks that had been set on the table for them to get whenever they wanted. And Ifrit, of course, had spent the entire dinner perched on her shoulder, in his spot. He’d hop off her shoulder if he wanted to eat something, then hop right back on when he was done.
Nevan’s siblings also flew by a few times. Her favorite bats, the ones she’d named Iggy, Twitch, and Sly, spent most of their time perched on her other shoulder. But some of her time during dinner had been just sitting in silence, one hand held in Dante’s, listening to the sounds of her family and friends around her, her eyes locked on the opened box on the table and what was inside it. Luce and Ombre, Sparda’s guns, Eva’s Uzi. The two pistols gleamed a shiny black, Eva’s a bright silver.
It had been during one of those quiet periods, her eyes on the weapons, when she smelled Sparda’s scent, the cologne or aftershave he had taken to wearing; and she could have sworn, she felt a caress to her head, one that was oh so familiar, and oh so missed. She smiled, closing her eyes to savor that moment.
Then, she shook it off and went back to her conversation with Enzo, “Seriously man. Dante gave in and said I could make my compound. I know we have the room to create a workshop for you, so you can get out of your damn van. You could even have a studio apartment or something made off the workshop, and just rent the space from us. It’d be so much better than living in that atrocity that you call a van.”
“Hey now, Bertha’s been a wonderful old girl.”
“Enzo, people see you driving down the street and think you’re some kind of pedophile that will kidnap their stupid kids by telling them you have ice cream inside.”
Dante, Morrison, Lady, Trish, and Nell who were the closest to them and had heard that all started laughing and Enzo shook his head, “Ok, ok, I get your point. Bertha is an eyesore, but she’s been very dependable.”
“I still can’t believe you named your damn van after Big Bertha Jorgenson. Of course, I still can’t believe you had a crush on Big Bertha Jorgenson from the time you were fifteen until we graduated.”
Enzo threw a roll at her, which she caught with a laugh.
“Wait,” Lady interjected, “You actually had a crush on that huge gal from school? The one that would hold younger kids upside down and shake them until they lost all their lunch money then put them in a trash can?”
Aislynn started giggling, “She did it to Enzo more than once. I think he was actually asking for it and followed her around like a puppy just to get attention.”
Enzo went beet red in the face and everyone laughed at him good-naturedly.
“Ah, can it Ais.”
She waved her hand in the air, “Ok, ok, I’ll lay off Enzo. But seriously do think about it ok?”
“Will do Ais.”
She turned to smile at Dante, and he leaned over and gave her a kiss, getting a smack on the head from Twitch for his troubles. He pulled back and shook a finger at Twitch, “Hey now. She’s my mate. She’s just your favorite person.”
Twitch chittered at him, before snuggling in closer to Aislynn’s neck. She couldn’t help but laugh.
She leaned back in her seat, grabbing her glass of water. She looked around the table, with a smile. Agni, Rudra, Alastor, and Nevan had spent most of the night catching up with her father on people that they’d known oh so long ago, and she sort of directed her attention to that conversation, so she could hear about the Devils who had gone before.
“How many of the old crew are still around?” Nevan asked.
“Well, most of them went underground when Mundus took out Sparda, but now that Mundus is dead, they’ve been coming out of the underground. Zeus is still around, making a pest of himself and running around on Hera as usual.”
“Wait, with Zeus up to his usual antics, why haven’t we seen a surge of half-devils?” Alastor asked.
She’d just taken a drink when her mother piped up, loud enough for the entire table to hear, “Well, Zeus finally figured out what a condom was.”
And once again the water she’d just drank ended up shooting out of her mouth, this time all over Enzo’s face, “Mother!”
She looked at Ares to see him laughing, and couldn’t help but sigh in relief. Talking about Zeus with Ares around could go one of two ways…either humor, or people found out why Ares was called the God of War.
Caderyn smirked at her, “Well it is true.”
Arawn chuckled, “Well actually, the last time I spoke to Zeus, and remember this was quite a few years ago, he told me he’d just had the most wonderful surgery ever invented. A vasectomy.”
“Damn it, Dad! Not at the table!” Aislynn groaned.
“Wait for a second,” Agni, and Aislynn somehow knew that Rudra would say next.
“What’s a vasectomy?”
She pointed at the two of them, “If you want to learn what one is, I’m sure I can teach you. By doing it to you.”
Dante choked on his drink, “Guys. Not now. Seriously, not now. You do not want her swords anywhere near the spot a vasectomy affects. Trust me!”
She groaned in frustration, “Seriously. Can we not talk about sex and getting sperm tubes cut at the table, please! Are you forgetting there’s kids present?”
And now everyone was laughing at her, and she just sat back, flipping everyone off before crossing her arms over her chest and fake sulking. Which lasted all of three minutes until Agni and Rudra both burst out, “A vasectomy is getting your sperm tubes cut! What’s that do to your penis!”
And she laid her head down on the table, her shoulders shaking with mirth. Her family was nuts. And she loved every single one of them.
He was cold. New Master had forgotten to leave a blanket for him, or his New Master was displeased with him and had taken away the promised blanket in punishment.
He was so tired, so very tired. He just wanted to sleep. He shivered as he tried to make himself comfortable in the straw that had been placed in his stall. He was not as important as the others, and his New Master had said he was worth less than a mount, so, therefore, belonged in a stall.
It wasn’t for him to say if he deserved it or not. That was New Master’s decision, so he now lived in a stall, and his New Master had given him a harness with reins that he was to wear whenever New Master wanted to parade him around.
He shivered again and closed his eyes. Maybe this time, he’d not wake up.
It was as he was in that space, between sleep and wakefulness that he heard the voice. The male voice, a voice he could vaguely recall that once upon a time when he had free thought, he’d respected greatly. It wasn’t Old Master’s voice, and it wasn’t New Master’s voice. But it was one that commanded respect. And Must listen, so he listened.
“Sometimes, it is not the Knight that saves the Princess. Dear boy, sometimes it is the Fair Princess, the littlest of them all, that saves the Knight. Remember that.”
The voice said to remember, and he would try. But he was so cold, and as he drifted deeper into sleep, he heard another voice. A softer voice, “Hold on, dear heart. Just hold on. She’ll find you soon. She’ll find you and send her Red Knight to you. Just hold on a little more, dear heart. She’ll find you and bring you home.”
And he couldn’t help it, in the deepest part of his psyche, he hoped that were true. He’d try to hold on, he just didn’t know how much longer he could.
After her laughing fit at dinner, and Nell telling Nico to forget everything she’d heard about vasectomies and penises, things settled down. Dinner was done, and she’d helped Nevan clear the table, and gotten drinks for everyone.
There were several conversations going on around her, but she chose to just rest her head back against her chair, a hand in Dante’s and close her eyes to savor the feeling in the air, the feeling of family. She’d have been content to bask in that feeling forever.
“Well, now that Mundus is dead, Hera and I have decided that we’d get all the Ladies together once a month for tea. Nell, Nevan, you really should come to one of our get-togethers. Hera makes a shortbread biscuit that is to die for, but the stingy old hag won’t give me the recipe.”
Ares snickered, “She’ll never give it up. She hoards it from Demeter and Hestia as well. They’ve been after her for it for years.”
Aislynn had to look at her mother, “Mother, are you sure you’re still human?”
Caderyn grinned at her, “Well…”
And Aislynn rolled her eyes, and looked at the clock, “I’m not rushing anyone out; but I’m craving a hot shower right now. So, I’m going to shower and give Luce and Ombre good cleaning before crashing for the night. I’ll see everyone tomorrow before I leave.”
She headed towards the stairs, hearing the laughter and conversation that continued when she left. There hadn’t even been a bye spoken by anyone. But that’d become normal for her. She knew she was an afterthought, nothing but a liability.
She walked up the stairs, holding Luce and Ombre in their box. Once she got to their bedroom, she set Luce and Ombre down on her desk and moved to the shower. She stood under the shower for a while, wondering what the set up on the island was like, and wondering if they’d have running water, she enjoyed her hot showers a little too much, but she’d deal with it if they didn’t have anything but the basics.
After her shower, she got out and dressed in one of Dante’s T-Shirts, and then sat down at her desk, getting out her gun cleaning supplies, she gently, reverently took first Luce out and began to clean the pistol. As she cleaned, she remembered when she’d first been taught to clean a gun.
A seven-year-old Aislynn walked into the office to see Sparda sitting in his chair, methodically cleaning his pistols, Luce and Ombre.
Sparda grinned, “I’m taking care of my friends. Come here Princess, I’d like to introduce you to two friends of mine.”
She walked forward, with all the curiosity of a young girl, and frowned when she didn’t understand. “Friends? But they’re just guns.”
He picked her up and set her on his knee, then pointed to Luce and Ombre, “Ah, guns they may be. But they are also friends. And they should be treated with respect and love. For one day, they may very well save your life or the life of someone you care about.”
Aislynn looked up at her hero, a smile on her face, “Like Vergil and Dante?”
He caressed her hair, “Just so.”
She looked back down at the guns, and gently caressed one, “Hello, New Friends.”
She hadn’t even realized she started crying, until Dante’s voice came from the door, “Ais, what’s wrong? You’re crying.”
She turned from the desk, having finished with the weapons while she was thinking of the past and she smiled at Dante, wiping the tears from her yes, “Nothing, my Red Knight. Just thinking of when your dad taught me how to clean a gun.”
He grinned, before a thoughtful look crossed his face, “That’s like the fourth time you’ve called me Red Knight. You’ve not done that since we were kids.”
She sighed, “I know. I’m not sure why it’s suddenly coming back to me.”
She stood up and walked to Dante, embracing him and resting her head against his chest, “I guess it’s maybe because I’m leaving tomorrow.”
Dante frowned down at her, he hated the fact that she was leaving, he’d miss her like crazy. The longest they’d ever spent apart was the years he’d acted as a mercenary without her before he realized he couldn’t function without her and he’d gone crawling back to the Preserve to get her to forgive him.
He also hated to see her unhappy, so he caressed her back and smiled, “Remember when you started to do that? Call us your Red Knight and Blue Knight?”
Aislynn’s laugh always lit up his life, “Yeah, I do.”
He chuckled, “I can still remember Dad’s lecture. I was so mad you were acting like a little princess, and I think Vergil was getting annoyed at being tossed in the middle of our arguments. And here comes your dad and mine.
And Dad was like ‘What’s all this racket about?’ and I was like ‘Ais is being a pain in the ass! She’s constantly trying to tell us what we’re going to do. It’s like she’s a bloody princess!’
The look on Dad’s face, first for my language, and then for my outburst was so serious, and he just looked at the three of us and said, ‘I don’t see what the problem is. She is our Princess. And a princess needs knights to fight her battles for her. You two are her knights. Her Red Knight and her Blue Knight. And you three will conquer the world by the time it’s all said and done.’
And then he looked at you, ‘But, a Princess should also know when to listen to her Knights, and a Princess should also know you treat your subjects with all respect, and you love your people, for they are your family. A Princess should always know how to share her affections and time, and allow others to do as they wish, just as much as she does as she wishes.’ And just like that, the argument was over, and from then on you’d constantly refer to Verge and I as Blue Knight and Red Knight.”
He tilted her head up, and brushed a kiss over her mouth, “You are our Princess, you know? And I know, I have faith that we’ll get Vergil back someday. And he’d tell you the same.”
She smiled into the kiss, and stepped back from the embrace, took his hand and started to pull him over to the bed, and he couldn’t help but grin, “So, Princess wants me to take her to bed?”
And, cue the smack to the chest, “Not in that way, you pervert. I’m tired, you’re tired and I’ve got to leave in the morning. So, for tonight, I want to sleep in your arms, protected from everything. So tomorrow I can face the next few months without you.”
And who was he to deny the fact that he needed that as much as she needed it? So, they settled in bed, wrapped in each other’s arms, and soon the peace of being in her embrace and by her side sunk into him, and he fell asleep, shortly after she had.
When he woke up the next morning, he couldn’t help but freak out for just a minute or two, Aislynn wasn’t in his arms, and the side of her bed wasn’t as warm as it should have been if she’d just gotten out of bed. For one moment, he’d thought he’d overslept, and she’d left without saying goodbye.
But then he realized that she wouldn’t do that to him, she’d have never left without saying goodbye. In their line of work, you just didn’t do that. You always said goodbye to those you were leaving behind. So, he sat up and centered himself, extending his senses out, trying to see where she was. It didn’t take him long to find her, she had apparently decided to take a shower before greeting the day.
Well, he hoped she’d not mind company in the bathroom, because he needed to use it, and maybe if he were lucky, he’d get to share the shower. The thought crossed his mind that sharing the shower might be pushing it just a bit, but he shook it off, he knew he could keep control over himself, and honestly, he really wanted to hold her naked body to his, if only for a moment.
He got up and stripped out of his boxers and acting like he didn’t have a care in the world walked over and knocked on the door to the bathroom before entering it without waiting for her to answer, “Ais, I’m coming in, need to pee.”
He walked to the toilet, deliberately not turning to view her in the shower through the glass, and boy was he glad at how the shower was set up, after doing his business, he moved to the sink and then deliberately looked in the mirror, catching sight of her naked body before she moved behind him, so he couldn’t see her clearly. He grinned at her, “Hey, why hide?”
“Dante, you’re naked.” He nodded, “And so are you.”
She groaned, “I’m in the shower, what are you thinking?”
He smiled, “Well, I thought it’d be a great idea to save time and water and share the shower?”
And she laughed, he might get lucky after all, “You pervert!”
“Nah, just,” And he paused, turning around to look at her, “just wanting to hold you. And spend a little more time with you before you leave. If holding you and spending time with you means I get to see your naked body, and hold your naked body, that’s just bonus points. Means I’ve hit the jackpot.”
He smiled when she just motioned him to join her and stepped into the shower. And he stopped in shock.
Sure, he’d seen this woman grow up, he’d been there when she filled out and went from scrawny girl to beautiful woman, and in all those years, yes, he’d seen her naked a few times, but he’d never let himself just look at her, and process what she looked like. She was gorgeous, tiny and fierce.
The top of her head was even with his upper chest, she had her mother’s emerald eyes, but her hair was a strawberry blonde color, resembling her father’s hair. Her body literally left him panting in want, she hit every single one of his buttons, and he realized with some surprise that the women he’d been within the past, while not being dead ringers for her, had always had her body type.
He shook the memories of the past off, he didn’t want to be thinking of anyone else but her, and from the stiffness of a part of him, he knew all of him agreed in that. He grinned at her and swiped the loofah from her hands, then proceeded to wash her, every inch. His eyes remained locked with hers, but his hands, well, he honestly only needed one hand to hold the loofah, but, his other hand followed along, caressing her body. He could feel her shaking, and he bent down and captured her lips in a kiss, “You’re gorgeous you know?”
The kiss that followed was passionate, and the loofah was dropped as he ran his hands all over her body, cupping her breasts in his palms while his fingers toyed with her nipples. He groaned when she whimpered and pulled back a bit to look down at his fingers as they proved to have a mind of their own and rolled her nipples, “Ais, please? I want.”
He stopped, not sure of what he wanted, only knowing he needed it. And knowing that he had to keep some form of control, after all, they’d both agreed they’d not go all the way, to use the term that was around when they were kids, until she was back, and they’d had time to settle into their relationship; but for now, he wanted, needed something from her.
When, with a shudder, she sighed out, “Yes, please.” He realized what he wanted and backed her up until she was sitting on the bench seat, and he sank to his knees in front of her and captured one of her nipples in his mouth. His now freed hand moved further down her body, spending time caressing her abdomen, before moving to caress her legs, and then working its way back up to the center of her.
His hands left trails of fire on her body, and when his lips wrapped around her nipple, she shook with want. By the time he ran his thumb across her clit, she was shuddering visibly, her desire for him climbing higher than she’d thought was possible. She cupped the back of his head to her breast and groaned when he inserted a finger inside. The rhythm he set up, timing the thrusts of his fingers, rub of his thumb on her clit and the suckling of her nipple to be the same, drove her crazy.
She knew this man, knew how he could fixate on something, and right now, he was fixated on her. And it made her feel powerful, desired, and wanted. It also made her shake with an oncoming orgasm because at this time, she was the sole receptacle of his focus.
She moaned as his lips left her breast, but when she felt the first swipe of his tongue against her clit she keened. Her mind blanked a bit, all the emotions and sensations she was feeling all kaleidoscope within her. Honestly, she couldn’t really tell what was up and what was down. She came with a cry, her head thrown back, her eyes closed, her body shaking. When she started to calm down and come down off the high that he’d just given her, she looked down to see his face still buried between her legs, felt one last lick, and heard him mumble, “Mmmm…Strawberries.”
And she had to laugh, only Dante would bring humor into this situation…and do it unintentionally.
“Seriously Dante?” And her voice was still a little shaky, but she didn’t mind. She loved this man with all her heart.
He looked up at her, a grin on his face, and licked her again, “What, I can’t help it that you smell and taste like strawberries…it remind me of a Strawberry Sundae, and you know how much I love those.”
He stood up and she realized the water was still running, surprisingly for the old building, the hot water tanks were great, the water was just now turning lukewarm. He grinned as he reached to turn off the water, “I’m so going to just start calling you Princess Strawberry.”
She couldn’t let that stand without retaliation, and considering his standing put a very big part of himself in eyesight for that retaliation, she grinned, right before wrapping her hand as far around his cock as she could and licking the tip.
He groaned as she stroked him, a whine escaping him as she took him into her mouth for the first time. He had no recollection of time or self, only knowing that her hands felt so good against his cock, and her mouth was a haven. He forced himself to not thrust, not wanting to hurt her, but it was so difficult to not, and when she scraped her teeth against his tip, he lost it, shallowly thrusting into her mouth as her hands cupped his balls…he knew he’d not last long, already able to feel his balls tightening, and he tried to say something, anything to warn her of it, but he honestly didn’t need to.
She tightened her fist around his base and pulled off of him, slowly stroking him in her tight grip as she looked up at him, “So, Red Knight,” And who’d have guessed being called Red Knight with that look on her face would have been such a turn on, “Where do you want to cum? In my mouth, or on my tits?”
He’d heard Aislynn use vulgar language before, hell, she’d cursed him out so many times it wasn’t funny, but that vulgar language, combined with everything going on? He couldn’t help but moan when she said tits, just the image of her covered in his release was enough to cause his hips to thrust against his will. The grin on her face was pure sin, as she kept stroking him, “Well I know your preference.” And indeed, she did, as she sucked him back into her mouth, only to pull off when his orgasm started, he came on her breasts with a moan, his body shaking, and he had to hold himself up with his hands braced on the wall. By this time, the water was ice cold, but neither of them was really noticing anything but each other.
After he calmed down, he turned the water off and reached out of the shower for the two towels that were there. He handed one to her and started to dry off with the other.
“You are wicked. Why didn’t I know that?”
She laughed, “What? You thought I was going to be some innocent?”
Now that he thought of that, he realized that both had other relationships in the past, had even met the other’s significant other at the time on occasion. He shrugged his shoulders as he stepped out of the shower, wrapping his towel around his waist.
“I sort of forgot we’ve both had other partners.” He grinned.
“Me less than you. But I get it, we’re it for each other for the rest of our existence. Well…” She paused, “To be honest, about the only other person I could probably feel any attachment to is the same person I could see you having feelings for.”
He frowned at her, wondering who she was talking about, “Ais?”
She shook her head, “Forget it, Dante. I think you’ll figure out who I’m talking about later down the road.”
She smiled and kissed him, and he decided that she was right, he’d probably figure it out later. If she wasn’t going to speak the person’s name, then they weren’t around right now. Anyways, what she was saying was that if they decided on a third, it’d be a mutual decision.
He nodded, “Ok, I’ll drop it.”
Another kiss and a whispered, “Thank you.” Against his lips was his reward.
They both moved to the bedroom and dressed, Dante looked at the clock and realized that they had forty-five minutes before she was to leave. And he knew he couldn’t hoard her forever. The others would probably appreciate saying goodbye.
Which reminded him, “Hey, I have a question.”
She looked at him, a smirk on her lips, “I may have an answer.” She continued to make sure the two bags she’d be taking with her were packed and she strapped Luce and Ombre into her holsters, gently placing her other pistols in a locked box in her desk.
“Very funny. But seriously, would you consider asking Beowulf if he wanted to come with you? Or go to the preserve?”
She tilted her head, “Well, it is going to get very noisy here over the next few months, and there are going to be a lot of people in and out…” She tapped her finger against her lips for a moment, “I’ll go do that now. You’re right, he would definitely not appreciate people watching him all the time, and we can’t be assured that someone won’t comment on his blindness.”
He nodded, and bent down to kiss her, “I’ll go see what the others are up to if you seek him out. He’s probably in his spot.”
She nodded and with a smile, left to find Beowulf, as he walked out the door behind her, going to look for the others. Assuming they’d be either in the kitchen or in the living area, waiting on them.
Aislynn meandered down the stairs, parting ways from Dante at the bottom, he headed on towards the living area, and she headed to the small room that served as their library, research area. Sure enough, Beowulf was resting in his spot, under the Eastern window and getting some sun. She made sure her foot scuffed the ground, letting him know she was there, while everyone in the pack never mentioned Beowulf’s blindness, and pretended they didn’t see him when he did happen to have an issue navigating the area, they knew it was there. She leaned her shoulder against the wall and called out, “Hey Beowulf, I have a question for you.”
“What do you want infernal girl?” Beowulf snarled, turning his head, his clouded gaze looking towards her. She knew he could sense auras and his hearing was elevated, so she knew that while he couldn’t see her, he knew exactly where she was.
“Well, with the compound’s construction going to be starting while I’m gone, and all the noise and people that are going to be in and out. I was wondering if you’d like to come with me to the island. Or maybe go to the preserve? I know you don’t like being around normals that much, and unfortunately most of the construction crew are going to be normals. And they’ll probably be all over the place.”
“So, my choices are staying here and be bombarded with pathetic humans, go to the island with you and the pathetic dragon, or suffer your father and mother’s presence?” He snarked, a low growl resonating from his chest, “I cannot stand your father, your mother is yet another human. Of those choices, I guess I will grant you my presence on the island with you. But I will not interact with the Islanders, I want to make that clear right now.”
She grinned, before hiding it, she wasn’t sure if he could sense facial expressions, but there was no reason to push the issue, she’d gotten what she wanted, “Of course, I’m sure there would be plenty of space for you to stay away from all the humans.”
He snarled, “See that there is. I will travel in my armor form, do be sure not to lose me. I do not want to interact with your pathetic father at all.” With that, he transformed into his armor form, and she moved over and gently picked him up, “You might not like this, but the safest place for you would be in my bag. I promise I’ll get you out as soon as we get to the island.”
She placed him the bag and then moved to see where everyone else had gotten to. She didn’t have to look long, with a whinny of greeting Geryon came trotting out of the kitchen. She smiled as she bent down to pat the black and blue pinto on the head, “Hey buddy, everyone in the kitchen waiting on me?”
He nodded and set off towards the kitchen and she followed along, soon being greeted by Twitch, Iggy and Sly. Whom immediately after saying hello, took up their usual perch on her shoulder. Ifrit also flew over and took up his position on her shoulder, snuggling in and nuzzling his head against her cheek. She made sure she gave them all equal amounts of attention.
Dante, Alastor, Agni, and Rudra were all sitting at the table, talking about a few contracts that Morrison had mentioned last night, while it appeared that Lady, Nevan and Trish were outside. When Dante spotted her, he stood up and walked to her. Wrapping her up in a hug, he sighed, “So, you’re all set? I think your dad and mom are already here. Nevan, Lady and Trish are outside talking to them.”
She sighed, inhaling his scent once again, she’d miss him so much, but this was something that she had to do, and she knew it.
She nodded as she stepped back, “Beowulf decided to come with me.”
Geryon and Cerberus snorted and Cerberus snarked, “If he gets to come with you, then Geryon and I should too. You need more to look out for you than just that crabby devil and Ifrit. No offense Ifrit.”
She laughed, “I don’t mind if you want to go, but Dante has the last say. He might need you guys for something.”
Dante shook his head, “Nah, I think they could go with you. I’d feel more comfortable with them with you than just Ifrit and Beowulf. Ifrit would take care of you, but we both know Beowulf wouldn’t. Well, he would but he’d resent the hell out of it. At least with Geryon and Cerberus going, you’ll have some great protection. I know you said Kain and Kyra are staying at the Preserve. Still can’t believe Arawn said that they’d be a deterrent.”
She nodded, “Dad’s right. Kain and Kyra are going through their maturation. We both know what that’ll be like, remember when Azul did that when we were kids? How chaotic his energies were? He’s worried that if they went with me, their chaotic energies would negatively affect me.”
She sighed, “Well, then…we might as well go outside.”
She turned to Alastor, Agni, and Rudra and pointed at each of them, “I expect letters. And stay out of trouble, and for hell’s sake, do not go getting any more mediocre pizzas. Nevan’s got all my recipes, and if you’re good boys, she might teach you how to cook.”
She grinned as she lectured them and was pleased when all three devils laughed. She was keeping a happy face on because she knew how emotional goodbyes could be, and she didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable.
Hand in hand with Dante, she walked out of the building and around to the front where her father’s car was parked. Dante released her hand as she moved to Lady.
The slightly younger woman immediately wrapped her up in a hug, and she returned it, “Take care of yourself, Missy. I don’t want to hear of you getting in a scrape that you can’t get yourself out of. Write to me.”
Lady laughed, “Yeah yeah, I promise. You do the same, keep me updated on what you’re learning and all that wonderful stuff. I’ll let you know when and if Dante gets into any scrapes.”
With a smile, Aislynn stepped back, “Hah, we know he will. Just, keep me updated, and watch everyone’s backs.”
Lady smiled, nodded and moved back to stand with Nevan as Aislynn moved to Trish.
Of the entire group, it seemed that Trish was the one that she knew the least. Trish always appeared to hold herself back from everyone, and while Aislynn knew the woman had baggage, and things she needed to work through, she hoped that Trish would sometime take her into confidence and start to heal.
She knew she surprised Trish when she hugged her, but the other woman quickly returned the hug. She pulled back and said, “I honestly want to quote the Wizard of Oz right now, but I think you’d hit me if I called you Scarecrow.”
Trish laughed, “Probably. What’s the quote?”
Aislynn snickered, “I’ve got the DVD, you can watch it. But the quote is at the end, and it’s ‘I think I’ll miss you most of all, Scarecrow.’” She paused, watching the look of realization on Trish’s face, “It’s true. I’m going to miss you. Take care of yourself, don’t get into anything you can’t handle, and watch everyone’s backs. Write to me, and I’ll write you and when I get back,” She tilted her head, “Maybe we’ll talk about some things that are sitting heavy on your shoulders.”
Trish stared at her for a moment, before she blinked her eyes, and wiped a tear from her face, “Yeah, I’d like that.” A pause, “I’ll write to you if you write to me.”
Aislynn grinned and held up her pinky, “Pinky promise.”
Trish looked at her oddly, and Aislynn grabbed Trish’s hand and showed her how to link pinkies, “It’s something that kids used to do, they might still do it. Basically, means it’s a promise that will be kept.”
Trish nodded, grinned and gave her a hug again, which surprised Aislynn slightly. But then Trish backed away and Nevan took her place.
“You are ready for this, even though you think you aren’t.” Nevan grinned at her.
Aislynn laughed, “I never think I’m ready. I’m glad you’ll be here to look over everyone. Don’t let anyone be too stupid. And try to keep Dante from trying to put devil heads on the walls. It’s tacky, no matter what he says.”
“Hey!” Dante shouted offended.
“It’s true and you know it. You just did it to piss me off.” Aislynn laughed before turning back to Nevan and hugging her. Nevan returned the hug, “I’ll write to you as much as I can. Don’t worry, I’ll keep an eye on everyone. I’m sure Ifrit will be kept busy with the letters.”
Twitch, Iggy, and Sly all started squeaking at Nevan, “And I’m sure I’ll be sending those three to you with some form of communication. If I don’t, they’d probably rebel against me and go to you anyways. I think they love you more than they love me.” She laughed.
Aislynn grinned, reaching out and patting the three bats, “Oh they love you more than me. I’m just their favorite human. Plus, apparently, I give the best scratches. I don’t know, heard Beowulf say something about that to Cerberus one day. Don’t think I was supposed to hear that, but oh well, anything to keep ahead of that snarky panther.”
Nevan chuckled, “You’ll do well. I’ll write, and I’ll see you when you return. Don’t get into any trouble.”
Aislynn winked, “I’m not the troublemaker in the family.” She pointed to Dante, “He is.”
Dante mock glared at her when he moved in front of her as she turned to him, “I am not.”
He swept her up in a hug and she snuggled into him, “You are so. Such a trial, such a pest. But I love you anyways.”
She stood up on her tippy-toes and kissed him, “Please, please be safe. I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you while I was gone.”
He returned the kiss, “Hey, you know me. I’ll be fine. I love you, take care of yourself and make sure you write to me. I’ll even write you back.”
She laughed, “Such an accomplishment! Getting you to write me back.”
She surrendered herself to the hug once more, before backing away and moving to the car where her mother and father were already waiting. She put her bag in the back seat and turned around to look at everyone again. She’d miss them, but she knew this was the right thing to do. With a final wave, she got in the car. Arawn started the vehicle and they started driving away.
Dante stood in the yard watching the car drive away before it got too far though, the amulet he wore started to heat up, specifically Vergil’s amulet started to heat up, and it was hot enough to burn him. He pulled the amulet from his neck and looked at it, the jewel inside was blinking as if it was trying to tell him something. He frowned, “What are you trying to tell me, Vergil?”
He held out his hand and Force Edge popped into his hand. He looked at both the sword and the amulet and realized what they were trying to say, “Ah I see. Do you want to go with her? Think she needs you for something?”
He grinned, “Well, she’s got Luce and Ombre, and mom’s Uzi, might as well bring her something from you, huh? You’ll watch over her, won’t you? Protect her when I can’t?”
He nodded to himself and jumped on his bike, Force Edge now resting alongside Rebellion on his back. He revved his bike and sped off, hoping to catch Arawn’ car before he got too far away. He might have broken several different traffic laws, but he wasn’t fussed. The cops around here expected that from him, they never even bothered to try to stop him, once they realized it was him.
He reached the car right as it was exiting town, and swerved to a stop in front, causing Arawn to slam on the brakes. He grinned as he rested against the bike, counting down in his head until Aislynn would appear from the car, ranting, and raving that he almost caused a wreck. He’d gotten to three when the back door opened and Aislynn slid out, her face already screwed up in a scowl.
“Just what in the hell are you thinking, Dante?” Aislynn ranted as she walked towards him, and he just sat there with a grin, waiting until she was closer, before showing her Vergil’s amulet.
“Well, I’m thinking that Vergil is a little ticked off that you’re taking off with something from all of the family but him. You’d barely gotten out of visual range when the amulet started heating up, and then Force Edge just appeared in my hand. Apparently, the entire family wants to protect you.”
He wasn’t quite sure what the look on her face was, exasperation perhaps? Maybe shock? Who knew with her, but he climbed off the bike and wrapped her up in a hug, “Who am I to question my brother when he’s wanting to protect the most important person to us?”
She sighed against his chest and stepped back as he slipped the amulet over her head. She held the amulet and gave it a caress and he had to smile. He knew she loved them.
She stepped back from him and grinned, one he returned, “So, I’ve got something from your dad and your mom and your brother. But what do I get from you? A lock of hair?”
He couldn’t help but laugh, “Hey now, I’ve already given you something of mine. Four somethings. You’ve got Beowulf, Cerberus, Ifrit, and Geryon.”
She waved her hand, “Pfft. They decided they liked me better than you and chose to go with me. That’s not you giving me something.”
He wrapped her up in a hug, pulling her sharply into his body and bent his head to kiss her. In that kiss, he let all his emotions out, his fear she wouldn’t come back, his worry that something would happen, his love of her, and the passion that she caused in him. Then he gentled the kiss, and in that kiss was a promise of more, of a lifetime, spent together.
“You are the best part of me. You’ve got my heart and soul. Isn’t that enough?”
And he realized, that maybe she didn’t see just how important she was to him, she didn’t realize that the thought of her, and of her love and compassion was behind everything he ever did. She was indeed the best part of him.
He kissed her again, “I don’t want you to go. I wish this didn’t have to happen, but we know it does. Protect yourself, please. Come back to me.”
Her smile was gentle, and she returned his kiss, “I’ll always come back to you, my Red Knight. Just as I know you’ll always come back to me. I’ll write, I promise. I love you too. Take care of yourself.”
And just like that, she got back into the car and they left once again. Dante watched her drive away and knew a part of his soul went with her.
He remained there until he couldn’t see or hear any sign of the car, and then with a sigh, he headed back. Work didn’t wait for anyone, and there were some calls to take care of. Hell always had a portal open somewhere, and he knew there were Devils to take out. He had a job to do.
She’d been on the island for three months now, and while she’d survived the awakening with no problems other than a massive hangover that lasted three days, she was still considered a novice in learning what exactly that power would take from her, and how she could use it. Matier was a wise woman, strict but fair in her teachings, and she was a font of information about stories from her dad and Sparda’s past.
She wasn’t even sure if Matier was human, but she didn’t really care. She thought of the old woman fondly and had found a friend in the old woman’s daughter, Lucia. They both trained together, pushing their boundaries, and keeping fit with the weapons training.
Ifrit had been kept busy, being helped occasionally, by Iggy, Twitch, and Sly who had indeed tracked her down. Geryon and Cerberus were content to follow her around and made friends with several of the village children and other villagers. She always got a kick out of seeing them walking around trailed by all the children. Beowulf was his usual snarky self, but even he seemed more at peace, being left alone as he was. She’d quietly spoken to Matier out of his hearing, explaining his disability and that they didn’t mention it in his hearing at all, and never offered him help. She told Matier that Beowulf was a proud devil, and had every right to be proud, and she’d not want anyone to bring him down.
So, he’d been relatively left alone, and he was content with that. She sighed as she finished writing a letter to Nevan, asking how the succubus was handling all the craziness that was apparently going down on their end of things. She wished she was at the office, helping them set up and who was she kidding, she missed everyone like a severed arm.
She finished the letter and handed it to Twitch, who had been the lucky sibling allowed to visit this time, she caressed the little bat and laughed when the bat snuggled against her closely, she assumed enjoying the fact that the bat didn’t have to fight its siblings for scratches.
With a last caress, she held the bat in her hands and took the bat outside, “Now be careful when you’re traveling, I know you’re probably going to hop a portal, stay airborne when you pass through, don’t let anyone get ahold of you. Your sister would not be happy.”
With a few squeaks goodbye the bat took off, and Aislynn looked at the surrounding area outside her little cabin. She had been lucky, while the island didn’t have much in the way of technology, and her phone didn’t work here at all, the island at least had the basic amenities, and she was content with that, at least she had indoor plumbing and hot and cold water.
It was late at night, and she decided it was time to finally get to bed. She’d not said anything in her letters so far, but since she’d awakened, she’d been dreaming. She’d been dreaming of Dante, and of Vergil. And she knew they weren’t just regular dreams, but she was seeing what was going on with them.
While is soothed the part of her that was missing Dante like crazy to see how he was doing, it broke her heart and soul when she dreamt of Vergil. To see the devil that held him captive treat him worse than one would an animal. She only hoped that these dreams would somehow help find him, so they could get him out.
In those dreams, she always heard two voices; two voices she hadn’t heard since she was seven years old. Two voices that spoke to her heart, and told her to hold on to her convictions, and to keep the faith that things would turn out all right. To remember that sometimes it wasn’t the Knights that saved the Princess, but the Princess who saved the Knights.
She checked on Beowulf as he slept in his spot, then made her way to the bedroom where she knew Ifrit, Geryon, and Cerberus were already resting. She had to chuckle as she saw the bed, and the Aislynn shaped space that was left, it looked like she’d once again be sleeping in a pileup. But she couldn’t take offense at it. She knew the three devils realized she was having a hard time without the others around. And she was missing being held in Dante’s arms. She also knew, in their own way, they were trying to let her know that she meant something.
But that thought brought a frown to her face, she knew she had issues, more so than the group saw. She was good at hiding things, but apparently, she couldn’t hide from those three, and she couldn’t hide from Twitch, Iggy, and Sly.
She didn’t remember when the issues started, maybe they’d always been there. But she always felt like an afterthought to her friends and family. She always believed herself nothing but a liability. She didn’t know why, but she did.
She shook the thoughts away, there wasn’t time for them right now. She had sleep to get, and then a full day tomorrow of study and training, and probably one-on-one with Lucia. She undressed quickly, feeling the chill in the air as she put on her pajamas, and climbed in bed between Geryon and Cerberus and closed her eyes, willing herself to get some sleep. Wondering who she’d dream of this time.
This one was cold again, of course, always cold. Cold and tired, and so worn out that sleep was luxurious. New Master had paraded through the place again, letting others play with his toy. Of course, play always equaled hurt. Hurt everywhere, but there was no will to fight, just exist. This one was no longer what this one once was, this one’s memory of the other was fading.
Settled into the stall, the voices came once again.
“Dear boy, hold on. She’s seen you, she’s close to knowing where you are. Hold on dear one. The Princess knows her Blue Knight needs her. She’ll send the Red Knight soon. Just hold on a little longer, you’ll be safe then. Safe and loved, cared for and known as who you were…who you still are buried deep inside.”
Flinching at the male voice, firm and must listen. Not wanting to listen, just wanting to die.
The female voice, “My sweet darling son, please…. hold on just a little longer. She comes soon. She’ll save you soon.”
Not believing the voices any longer. Eyes closed, seeking oblivion in sleep. Now another voice, younger…sweeter. A voice that didn’t bring pain. A flash of memory from before…a flash of memory that didn’t hurt. “We’ll always be friends, dweeb.” A five-year-old Aislynn said, tapping her foot in a temper. Dante had once again said something stupid. Or, at least that’s what Vergil assumed as he walked into the room. Aislynn only called Dante a dweeb if he really ticked her off.
He smirked at his twin brother, as Dante went red in the face, glaring at Aislynn, “Dante, you should know better than to argue with the princess.”
Dante turned to him and flipped him off, “Shut it, Vergil.”
Before Vergil could remark on how crass Dante’s actions had been, Aislynn huffed, “Enough you two. Let’s make a pact.”
Two identical faces turned to look at the little girl, “A pact?” Vergil asked, curious.
She nodded, and scrambled into the kitchen, returning with one of the sharp knives that were supposedly in a drawer the kids couldn’t get into.
“A pact sealed with blood.” Vergil arched his brow, Aislynn was serious.
“And what should this pact be?”
“That we’ll always be friends. We’ll always be there for each other.” She said as if he were dumb and should have known what she was talking about this entire time. Normally, he’d have gotten a bit ticked at it, but he knew Aislynn was very serious about this.
“So, all for one and one for all, to quote the Three Musketeers?” Vergil asked, moving forward as Dante did to stand at Aislynn’s side.
She nodded, “Me for you two and you two for me and yeah, what you said makes better sense. The Princess, the Red Knight, and the Blue Knight. Together forever. Forever friends.”
Who was he to argue logic and want with a five-year-old Aislynn? Well, if he were honest with himself, who was he to argue and point out that this wasn’t a great idea when he wanted it so badly himself.
So, at that moment, a pact was sealed. They’d always be friends, and they’d always be there for each other. The Princess, the Red Knight, and the Blue Knight. And the dream faded.
Not sure what to think of the memory, rolled over and tried to sleep once more. Who were those people? Why did the memory come? Why did the memory comfort as well as hurt?
Nevan grinned as she read Aislynn’s letter. It seemed that each week, Aislynn sent a letter to at least one of the group. All of them that remained had decided to read the letters unless there were parts that were private and just for them.
She sighed as she looked around, nothing had been done about building the compound. Since Aislynn’s departure, it’d been one thing after another. Everyone had been kept busy with calls. Apparently, there was something huge going down. And now Dante was having to play babysitter to a nine-year-old blond-haired pixie child who loved to be around everyone. Nevan chuckled, she could almost picture Aislynn at that age and assumed she must have been much like Patty.
She knew Dante was close to pulling his hair out at the scrapes the kid appeared to get in. But she could sense it, whatever was going to happen, would happen soon.
She sat down at the table and took out the supplies that she’d found to write with. Aislynn had asked for updates, and updates she’d get.
I’m currently writing this from the battered old table in the kitchen. As you’ve been told by the others, we’ve halted construction of the compound until things start to settle down. Whenever that will be, who knows. Lady and Trish are currently assisting Dante with something, and Agni and Rudra are out on a call. Alastor is who knows where he’s done his disappearing routine again. Probably doesn’t want to be conscripted into helping watch over Patty.
Speaking of Patty, she was ecstatic to receive a letter from you. She shared it with all of us and said that you’d made her feel very welcome. She’s settled in nicely here, of course, I think it helps that Nell’s been leaving Nico here when things get too hectic at the shop. I believe you’re right in what you said that if we offered Nell a place in the Compound, she’d jump at the chance to have more security for herself and her granddaughter.
Your mother and father are fine. I’ve taken to having tea with your mother once a week. It’s been quite fun. The other ladies join us sometimes, it’s been nice seeing people I’ve not seen in centuries. Hera’s there most of the time, occasionally Aphrodite joins her. Aphrodite sends her regards and asks that you write her sometime. She hopes you’re well and that your training is going swimmingly.
I had no idea that you’d been the one to finally fix the issues between her and her husband. She told me the story and said that she had never had so much fun before she helped you plot the pranking of the twin’s Strife and Discord. I never did like those two. Ares should have beaten them more as children. Well, what can we expect when his wife just up and runs off on him? See, that’s why most of us have been so leery of a devil and human mating. There’s so much that can go wrong, and the human half of the equation sometimes just can’t handle what they’re in for. Your mother and Eva are actually very rare in that regard. They both handled the mating and what came after amazingly. Aphrodite said that Athena has stepped up as the twin’s mother, and apparently, they are on a permanent time out with Athena at the moment? Ares and Loki are doing just fine. Hela and Fenrir have been frequent visitors, spending time with Nico and Patty whenever they aren’t in school. They send their love, and hope you come home soon. Loki comes to your mother’s teas whenever he can, and Ares… I’m confused by his devotion to your family, but Dante said that’s just the way it’s always been. That he’s always been part of your family and always been your big brother.
Everyone here is all right, busy as I said earlier. Dante is moping around constantly when he is home. I swear I heard him sigh the other day as he was switching out his laundry. Apparently, he saw that sweater you’d left in the laundry room, the one you’d decided you didn’t need to take, anyway, he saw the sweater and just sighed, ‘Ais got that sweater two years ago. I never told her it fit her like a glove, but man she sure did fill that out.’
I happily informed him I’d be sure to mention to you that he likes you in that sweater. Incidentally, that sweater isn’t in the laundry room anymore, you might want to wash it thoroughly after you get back. Who knows what he’s going to do to it?
But I’m kidding, mostly. He’s actually upholding his ‘list of chores’ you’d given him, and the bedroom hasn’t descended into a ‘pit of hell there is no coming back from’ as I think you ranted shortly before leaving.
I’m making sure that we keep going, thank you ever so much for teaching me how to cook in a modern kitchen, and for helping me figure out the first aid supplies and how to use modern technology, it’s been very helpful.
Oh, you were right about switching from shopping at that one store and starting to shop at Diego’s. That little old man is a riot, and very helpful in making sure that we have organic produce and well, going as organic and clean as we can. I’ve also had no complaints from anyone about trying to eat healthy and clean.
I should end this letter now. We miss you and we hope to see you soon. Everyone sends their love. Please do write back soon and tell us how you are. I hope Beowulf isn’t being too much of a stick in the mud, and that Geryon, Ifrit, and Cerberus are taking good care of you.
She read over the letter once again, hoping that she’d been able to mention everything that she needed too. She didn’t want to go into details on how many calls there had been, or how many times one of them had to go and help another group that had too much to handle. Aislynn didn’t need that constant worry in her head while she was dealing with the training she’d been undertaking. Nevan had to believe that the training would soon be done. Five months without Aislynn’s brilliant smile and laugh was a bit too much. And everyone at home was already feeling the effects of Aislynn being gone.
Aislynn grinned as she read the letter she’d just received from Aphrodite, apparently Strife and Discord had been complaining to Daddy that they hadn’t been allowed to have fun in ages now. Of course, Ares had said they were still grounded. She wondered exactly how long the older Devil would be grounding the perpetual youthful twins for this time?
She put the letter aside, setting in the box that she’d bought from one of the craftsmen in the village. She leaned back and stretched, six months without seeing her family was stressful, but she’d learned so much. And she’d come to care about the villagers as well. She was not only learning from Matier, and training with Lucia, but she’d taken up learning how to paint from one of the village women and was learning woodworking from the carpenter. She was also entertaining the children with stories from her childhood and helping teach in the little school that was built in the village.
She marveled at how isolated this village was, it was almost as if it was hidden in time, but then she realized that there were shielding spells all around the village that hid it from most people’s gazes. You had to know where you were going in order to get there. So, she guessed it did keep the village very isolated.
But she’d been hearing rumors, of a businessman who owned the other half of the island. Apparently, this guy Arius, she thought she’d heard one of the tradesmen say, was building something. Matier seemed slightly disturbed about it, and Aislynn decided that tomorrow during training she’d speak to the older woman about it; see if there was something that she needed to investigate. Apparently, Lucia had started to keep an observant eye on the situation, but two eyes couldn’t hurt.
If Aislynn remembered right, Arius had been known for antiquities, and his collecting had run him afoul of local law enforcement quite a few times. She’d write to her mother and ask about him when she got back from her next training session. She sighed, she knew she was almost done, she could feel it and Matier had said quite often that she took to the training faster than she’d thought she would.
Aislynn had been flattered at the compliment, having learned that Matier rarely gave them out.
She stood up and grabbed her jacket, it was slightly chilly today. With a whistle to Ifrit, Geryon, and Cerberus the group headed off into the training grounds for another day of training.
Dante groaned as he settled into the hot bath, the last few weeks, hell if he were honest the last seven months had been utter hell, but at least things were finished now. Well, hopefully. Abigail had been taken care of, and while he’d been impaled on Rebellion, and was still nursing the sword wound, Patty was safe and reunited with her mother, and the calls had seemingly stopped.
And that thought was worrisome, it meant that there was something stirring, but he’d heard no word from anyone, and none of the devils he’d faced since Abigail’s defeat were talking.
He soaked for another fifteen minutes, letting the heat soothe his aching muscles and wishing for the thousandth time that Aislynn was with him, relaxing in the bath, resting against his body. He missed her. Hell, he was pretty sure that everyone was missing her.
But at least Ifrit, Twitch, Iggy, and Sly had been bringing them all letters frequently, so he still had her words. He was glad her training was going so well, but still…he wished it was done with already.
He groaned as he sat up and started to drain the water, standing up and drying off quickly with a towel. He’d better write Aislynn now that the Abigail situation was handled before one of the others wrote her and told her he’d been an utter idiot and gotten himself hurt. He knew Nevan had probably already had one half written.
He sat down at Aislynn’s desk and began to write.
First, before anyone else says something, I am fine! I swear I am fine. I got impaled by Rebellion, but Abigail was defeated, and Patty’s settling in with her birth mother. Everyone is ok, things are settling down quickly. It’s too quiet. I’ve only seen this quiet when something’s about to go down.
How are things with you? Are you almost done training? Are you coming home soon? I miss you so much. I also can’t believe Nevan told you I highjacked your sweater. And no! I did not wank off into it, as you so crassly stated. I’ve been sleeping with it, yes. But that’s only because it still held your scent.
Honestly, I’ve not been sleeping well without you here. I miss you, miss having your body close to mine. Yes, I know I’m such a wuss.
And, yes, I promise, I’m fine. I’ll be fully recovered in a day or two. I’ve already spoken to Nevan and your dad about your concerns that I’m becoming more devil than human. I know you’re worried, but don’t!
I’m a Sparda, and you know nothing keeps us down for long. Your dad sends his love, he said he’d write to you in a few days.
Days, weeks, months…being apart from you sucks. And, we’ve had no word on any devil or any of our contacts having any luck finding Vergil. I’m worried, and I know you are too. But we must believe we’ll find him. I must believe it. Because I’m tired of my brother being apart from us. We must find a way to get him back, any ideas?
I’m sorry, this letter’s going all over the place, but well things have been damn crazy lately, and I know the others have filled you in on several things. Oh! Why in the world was Trish walking around with this weepy grin on her face for a few days after your last letter to her? And she’s brought up pinky promises a few times. She even taught Patty and Nico what they were all about, something both girls already knew, but they humored her.
Nevan said that Beowulf isn’t causing any problems. Does that mean you’ve basically been ignoring his existence and he yours, or have you gotten along with that cantankerous old cat?
I’m tired, soul-deep it feels like. This has been a hell of a few months without you by my side. I’m beginning to realize that I honestly didn’t know what you did for us…how important to us you are.
And yes, I know you’re a little ticked off that the construction of the compound hasn’t started yet, but we’ve been busy….and if I’m honest, I didn’t like the fact of being at the Preserve and having Nevan oversee the construction without you around. The Compound is your baby after all. It’s been your dream, your idea for us for a long time. And it didn’t feel right for us to work on your dream without you there to see it come true.
So, I’m sorry. But the construction can wait until we’re all together again.
How much longer? Please say days…please say that by the time you read this, you’ll already be on the boat returning home.
We miss you; I miss you. I’m going to go to bed and dream of you. Write to me soon, or hell, just show up and climb in bed with me. Please say it’s going to be soon?
He sighed as he sealed the letter in the envelope, Ifrit would be by tomorrow to get that week’s mail, so for now, he was going to bed. Hopefully, this hellish time without Aislynn would be done soon.
This was not good. Aislynn frowned as she and Lucia watched what was going on in the building and surrounding area that Arius owned. This was so not of the good, this was bad. This was apocalypse type bad. She looked at Lucia, “If what I’m seeing is right, he’s building a portal.”
Lucia nodded, “It appears that way. And it appears that he’s about ready to open it.” She pointed to the devils that were doing manual labor, “Why would they bow down to a human’s whims? I don’t get it. Surely he’s not strong enough to subdue them?”
Aislynn tilted her head, “No, he’s not…but someone is, and someone is controlling him, and those devils. I think…we need to go to Matier right now.”
She started scrambling back down the cliff, being careful not to be seen. They didn’t need to tip their hand quite yet. She looked up at Lucia to find the other woman looking down at her quizzically, “Lucia, I’m serious, we need to go to Matier right away. I think I know what’s going on. And if I’m right, we’re in huge trouble!”
Lucia nodded and started scrambling down as well. As soon as they reached the base of the cliff, the two started running full out towards the village, and Matier. Aislynn let out a shrill whistle when she felt she was far enough away from Arius stronghold to not be heard by any of the devils there. The last thing they needed was to be attacked.
Shortly, Cerberus and Geryon appeared and she motioned to Geryon, “Get on Ger, Lucia, we’ve got to get to the village quickly!”
Cerberus didn’t even wait, he took his larger form, still single-headed though, and Aislynn vaulted onto his back, Lucia also vaulted onto Geryon’s back as soon as the devil horse assumed his larger form, the two devils ran to the village.
Once they arrived, Lucia and Aislynn jumped off and the two devils assumed their smaller forms. Aislynn gave another whistle and Ifrit appeared, “Ifrit, I need Beowulf. Can you please ask him to come? Tell him it’s Apocalypse level important, and I need his mind.”
Ifrit flew off with a chirp of affirmation, and Aislynn slid to a stop in front of Matier, “Matier, it’s bad. We need to start getting things planned.”
Both Aislynn and Lucia were winded from their run, Geryon and Cerberus had moved to the water fountain in the center of the island to get a drink.
“Calm down, child. Tell me what you’ve seen.” Matier stated, calmly. Nothing appeared to affect the old woman, it was as if she were in a constant state of zen.
“Arius is building a portal. He’s got devils working for him. I’m honestly surprised we’ve not been found out by them yet. He must have a contract with someone on the other side. I just don’t know who. To be able to control the number of devils we saw working, it must be someone big. I’m not sure of the power levels of the devils on that side, I don’t know if any of Mundus’ generals still exist, or if Dante and Trish destroyed them all on Mallet Island. But if it is one of his generals, then we’re in big trouble. And I’ll need to send Ifrit for Dante.”
“A contract? That is indeed worrisome. You said it looks like they’re building a portal?”
“One big enough that if it’s opened for any length of time an entire army would be able to get through very easily. It will start sucking everything around it into Hell and leaking out Hell denizens faster than anything.”
Aislynn looked up as Ifrit returned with Beowulf, scowl firmly affixed on his face, following along behind.
“Infernal human girl, why did you send that annoying dragonling to pester my sleep?”
She couldn’t help but grin, trust Beowulf to be his snarky self, even during a possible crisis.
“Beowulf, I’m sorry to interrupt your nap, but this is important. Do you know, or have you heard if any of Mundus’ generals survived Mallet island? Do you remember who was among Mundus’ generals when you were still out the last time?”
Beowulf tilted his head, “It has been many years since I’ve recalled who Mundus’ generals were. I seem to remember the red menace mentioning quite a few of them that they defeated during their trip to Mallet Island.”
“Please, Beowulf. Can you remember anyone specific?”
“One of his fiercest and loyal generals was Argosax and I do not recall hearing either of those pathetic fools running into him. If he is who you’re thinking of, then indeed there will be trouble.” And she was somewhat concerned at the lively grin that just crossed his face, but she shook the thought away. That was Beowulf, he loved chaos…and human suffering, but she was working on that with him.
“Shit shit shit…that’s what I was worried about. If Argosax contracted with a human to open a portal to hell, he’d have an army ready, right?”
“He’s not dumb, infernal human girl. Of course, he’d have an army. He may be pathetic, but he’s not dumb.”
She nodded, “And he’d be able to force a large group of devils to work for a human to see this portal opened?”
“Yes. Is that all you need? I’d like to get back to my nap now.”
She tilted her head, “Why hasn’t the portal opened yet?”
“If the portal is as large as you assume it is. He will need something. An artifact to see the Portal opened. Possibly more. There are several different rituals. Probably needing the Arcana or something else.”
That name, it was familiar. Where had she heard it before? She tilted her head back, eyes closed as she tried to remember why she knew that name. And it hit her, the Museum of Antiquities and Oddities had just recently opened an exhibit that had some of the various artifacts from a dig in Sumeria, among those artifacts was what people were calling part of the Arcana. Shit, now she remembered, Arius had gotten in a brief legal scuffle a few months back when he tried to say that the item legally belonged to him, as he’d partnered with the Museum to fund the dig.
“Shit. Matier, we need Dante. We need him right now. Also, Lucia needs to go to the mainland, she needs to go to the Museum of Antiquities and Oddities and steal the piece of the Arcana that they have there. Arius knows exactly where that piece is.”
Matier nodded and motioned to Lucia, who immediately took off towards the ferry. She pointed to Aislynn next, “Write Dante. Tell him we need him and tell him to meet Lucia at the museum shortly after dusk. Send Ifrit with all possible haste. I will begin preparations to get the village moved to safety. Hurry Aislynn, we might not have much time. The Arcana can indeed open a portal to hell, but it needs an eclipse to activate. There is one soon.”
Aislynn nodded and ran off to her cabin, Geryon, Ifrit, and Cerberus following behind her. Beowulf had already gone back, and when she reached the cabin, she saw that he was once again asleep.
She sat down at the desk and breathed deeply. She had an urgent message to write.
Dante was sitting at the dinner table, talking to the entire group as they ate pizza for dinner. Well, Nevan’s version of Aislynn’s homemade pizza. For some reason, it just wasn’t as good as Aislynn’s, well not to him. But then again, he just missed Aislynn. It had now been the longest either of them had been apart.
He looked around the table and couldn’t help a grin. She’d have loved to be here, Trish and Lady were poking fun at each other, Agni and Rudra were for some reason glaring at Alastor while Nevan just appeared to flat out ignore him. Nell was visiting today with Nico and they’d joined them for dinner.
He wished Aislynn could be here, but he knew that he’d see her soon. Surely her training couldn’t take that much longer.
He’d just taken a sip of his beer when Ifrit appeared out of nowhere, and divebombed his head, a message clutched in his claws. Ifrit started chittering at him quickly, too quickly for him to understand.
“Ifrit! Calm down. I can’t understand you with you going so fast!” He frowned at the dragonling as Ifrit finally settled down, sitting on the table with his front legs extended, almost thrusting the message at Dante.
“Ok, so what’s going on?” Dante asked, taking the message from Ifrit.
He read the message as Ifrit chittered and chirped what he knew at him, and his heart dropped from what he was hearing.
“Fuck!” Dante jumped up from his seat and started heading towards the armory. Well, the closets that equaled the armory now. He frantically started grabbing everything he could, not even realizing that Lady had grabbed the message and relayed what it said to everyone else. Everyone was standing behind him, Lady already prepping Kalina Ann, and Trish reaching over his shoulder to grab the guns that Aislynn had retired when she received Luce and Ombre.
He turned to find everyone looking at him and started to explain when Lady interrupted.
“I read the message to everyone. Go, get to the museum, we’ll finish gearing up and meet you there. Hopefully, we’ll be in time to help Aislynn before shit gets real.”
Dante nodded, thankful for his friends and after grabbing a jacket, he ran out the door and hopped on his bike.
He met Lucia at the museum as ordered, but they lost the piece of the Arcana that they were looking for to a bunch of eagle type devils. He honestly got a creepy feeling from Lucia, she spent most of the time that they were in the museum watching him; and it continued as they boarded the boat that would take them to the Island. He stayed around Trish and Lady as much as possible…until he couldn’t take it anymore and went to stand at the front of the boat, needing time away from people. He felt antsy, jittery. As if there was a fire in his blood, and he knew it was partially because they were going to have a fight on their hands, but it was also because he was going to see Aislynn again. He couldn’t wait. He’d missed his mate. He just wanted to see her, to hold her and make sure she was real.
He stood at the stern of the ferry, his eyes locked on Vie Du Marii as it got closer and closer to them. He was anxious, hoping that things hadn’t been shot to hell quite yet. Lucia was standing behind him, and he was slightly uncomfortable with her staring. But his focus, his entire being was literally on that island, and the woman he could now see standing on the docks.
He didn’t think, there was still too much space between him and her, and he didn’t want that. He had to know she was all right. He dove off the ferry, absent-mindedly blessing Nell for making sure that Ebony and Ivory were waterproof and swam to the docks. He hadn’t even thought that there might be danger in the water, didn’t even realize that the waters around the island were known to be shark infested. He just wanted to get to Aislynn.
It took him maybe five minutes to swim to her, and once he’d pulled himself up on the docks, he stood to his full height, looking her over to make sure that she wasn’t injured in any way.
Nine months away from her, she looked a bit different, her hair was shorter. She’d obviously cut it and instead of being mid-back length, it now settled around her shoulders in a gentle wave. She seemed stronger; he could tell she’d been working hard. There wasn’t a hint of fat on her body, instead, she was all lean muscle and danger. But the scowl on her face was pure Aislynn, and he couldn’t help but grin at her when she slammed a fist against his chest, that hurt him a bit. And he gave an “oof”
“You great big idiot! There are sharks in that water!”
He looked back into the water and saw a fin. Indeed, there were sharks in the water, he’d not even noticed.
“Sharks? You mean I could have had sushi for dinner? Give me a moment, I’m going back in. Sushi is awesome!”
He turned around and acted like he was about to dive back into the water before Aislynn jumped on him, wrapping her arms around his neck, and her legs around his waist as if he were going to give her a piggy-back ride.
“Dante you nut job! We’ve got important things going on and you’re thinking of sushi?”
He laughed, god how he’d missed this woman.
“Well, you’re the one who berated me the second I got to you about me swimming in shark-infested waters. Here I was expecting a hug and a kiss, and I get a punch in the chest and berated.”
He reached behind his back when he felt her start moving and helped her transfer her position, so they were face to face. He kissed her, as she was wrapped around him, and that’s all he wanted to do for the rest of his life, was hold and kiss her.
When he released her from his embrace and kiss, she set her feet firmly on the ground but forced him to bend down a bit, since her arms were still wrapped around his neck.
“Hi.” He said cheekily, a grin on his face.
She laughed, and he was so relieved to hear that laugh once again, he’d missed it, “Hi yourself. The others on the ferry?”
Dante nodded, noticing that the ferry was almost there, “All but Alastor, he disappeared somewhere before the others left, so Nevan decided that he could just remain behind and watch the shop.”
She frowned, “From what everyone’s been saying, he’s been doing that quite often. Wonder what’s up?”
He shrugged his shoulders, his arms happily wrapped around her waist, “Beats me.” He changed the subject, “Ifrit said this is bad?”
She nodded, “Bad is an understatement. Beowulf said that there were only a few that were in Hell that could have come up with something this big.”
He frowned, “Lucia filled me in on what she knew. Where’s Matier?”
Aislynn pointed a little passed the village, “She’s already taken the elderly to the cave we’re going to be hiding in. The rest of the villagers are packing up, we didn’t want to take the chance we’d be attacked and must worry about the elderly. We should be getting the rest of the villagers to the cave now.”
He nodded, “Ok, what do you want us to do?”
She stepped back from him, her eyes shining as she looked towards where he assumed the portal was at, “Were you able to get the part of the Arcana?”
Dante frowned, “No, some eagle type devil took it and we weren’t able to retrieve it.”
She sighed, “Then you and Lucia need to get to Arius stronghold. Try to get that Arcana from him. Whatever you guys do, Dante…do not let Arius start that ritual. The Arcana needs the eclipse to activate. We have until the moon covers the sun. You’ve got maybe four hours before he can activate that ritual. If he starts the ritual, I don’t know what is going to happen.”
He frowned, “Four hours isn’t a lot of time.”
She nodded, “Yeah it’s not. But that’s what we got.”
He watched as the ferry docked and the others exited. Lucia was the last to leave the ferry, and all of them made their way to Aislynn and him.
“Ok, you said Lucia and I go after Arius, I’m assuming you have plans for the others?”
She nodded, “Yeah, if they don’t mind. Arius has at least a hundred minor devils working for him. If that portal opens, who knows how many are going to spill from it before its closed. I need the others to help me get the village evacuated and moved to the cave.”
He looked at Trish, Agni, Rudra, Lady, and Nevan and saw them nod, “Ok, Lucia, looks like you’re with me. You’re familiar with the area we need to go to?”
Lucia nodded, looking between Aislynn and him curiously. He still felt uncomfortable with her blatant staring, it honestly felt like she was comparing him to a side of beef. He idly wondered if this is how the women he’d stared at once upon a time felt. He shrugged his shoulders, shaking the thought off. There was work to be done.
He turned back to Aislynn once more to find her looking up at him, a grin on her face.
“I’m so glad to see you, Dante. I’ve missed you so much. I’m just sorry that we don’t have much time.”
He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into his embrace, bending his head to capture her lips in a passionate kiss and spoke against her lips once the kiss was finished, “I feel the same. But we’ll talk when this is done. We’ve got all the time in the world. Just, take care of yourself. Please? Don’t do anything stupid.”
She laughed against his lips, “Hey, that’s my line.”
He grinned and stepped back, “Well, I borrowed it so there.”
With a wave, he started to walk away, “Come on Lucia, we’ve got work to do.”
Aislynn would owe him big, he didn’t know this gal, only had Aislynn’s word that she was trustworthy…and the gal made him uncomfortable. But he’d do his job, just so he could get back to Aislynn as quickly as possible.
Aislynn stood watching as Lucia and Dante moved off into the distance. She tilted her head, curious at first as to Lucia’s avid fascination with Dante before realizing that Lucia had been brought up on the stories of how powerful the Sparda line was, and she was obviously fascinated with Dante. Poor girl didn’t realize that once a Sparda gave their heart to someone, there was no other that would hold their attention.
Aislynn realized how lucky she was to have Dante’s affection, but she could think of that later. Right now, they had a village to evacuate.
And not a moment too soon, she felt the ground shudder as whatever barrier that had hidden the village’s presence crumbled.
“Shit!” She looked at the others, a wry grin on her face, “You guys have no idea how happy I am to see you all. And I’d like nothing better than to catch up and hug you all, but that ground shake? Well, that was the barrier around the village crumbling. Matier warned me it would happen when she set the protections in place on the cave. We need to get the village evacuated now. There are 60-80 adults and 40 children that we must get to the caves. Cerberus knows the way, he’ll lead. Beowulf is most likely already there; I honestly don’t know right now. But we’ve got to move people. That barrier was hiding us from discovery, and when I said at least a hundred devils, well I was lying. It’s more than a hundred, it’s an entire horde.”
The others nodded, and everyone started to the village. It was chaos, but somewhat orderly too, the villagers were scared, but they’d had advance warning and knew where the cave was. So, while there was the rush against attack, right now there wasn’t a mass panic.
Geryon stuck close to her, Ifrit once again on her shoulder, and Twitch, Iggy and Sly had left Nevan’s side to fly circles around her, keeping an eye on her as the evacuation forced her towards the middle of the line. They had about a quarter of a mile hike before they got to the entrance to the cave’s valley. She remembered Matier showing it to her earlier in her training, telling her how they’d created traps that would send a rock slide and a huge rock door down in this narrow ravine they had to go through to get to the valley. How the rock slide and wall would buy them some time from ground attackers. She remembered where the triggers were, just in case.
The evacuation was going quite well, the children were only slightly scared, she noticed the parent’s kind of making the whole thing into a game and thought that was a good idea.
The first of the group had just entered the ravine, the ravine so narrow that there was only room for four people to enter it side by side when Ifrit set off the warning.
She looked behind her to see flames coming from the village, and she could see the first of the attacking hoard headed towards them, “Hurry everyone!”
She was in the middle of the group, trying to get them to hurry without panicking when she heard someone cry out, “Jordie, Jamie! Where are you!”
A frantic mother came up to her, grasping her arm, “I can’t find Jordie or Jamie!”
She frowned, remembering the twins she was speaking of, two four-year-old boys, curious as the day is long. The mother, and for the life of her, she couldn’t recall the mother’s name, started to run past her, trying to find her boys, but Aislynn grabbed the mother’s arm, “Go with the others. I’ll find the boys. I promise you’ll have them with you soon. Just keep going with the others, they probably got lost in the rush, and are towards the back. Geryon and I will find them.”
The mother nodded, a thankful look on her face and turned back around to enter the ravine. Aislynn whistled for Geryon and the devil horse took his larger shape and Aislynn vaulted on, they moved out of the mass of villagers and galloped towards the end of the line, both trying to find the two boys.
She’d been right, they’d gotten separated, and they were clear at the back of the line, almost a hundred feet from the last person. It looked like one of the boys had fallen, and the other had tried to help him up. Geryon slid to a stop beside them and Aislynn jumped off.
“Come on boys. Your mother is looking for you. We’ve got to go.”
She picked up Jordie and sat him on Geryon’s back, then picked Jamie who’d been injured and sat him in front, “Geryon doesn’t have reins, so hold onto his mane, ok? Just hold on tight, Jordie, hold onto Jamie, ok? Don’t let him fall.”
The boys nodded, and she and Geryon started jogging to catch up with the others. The last of the villagers had entered the ravine by the time that Geryon and she had reached the entrance, and Aislynn looked behind her…and paled.
The horde was too close, there was no way that they’d all get through in time. If something wasn’t done, all the villagers would be in danger. The cave was fortified, even if a flier got over the walls, the villagers would be safe…. but that would only work if the villagers got to them.
She looked in front of her, she could see Trish standing to the side, directing people to hurry. Geryon would take up all the room in the ravine, in his larger form. There’d be no way to walk alongside him. She was the last person. And suddenly she knew what she needed to do.
The triggers for the rock wall were obvious, and both were slightly in front of Trish. Trish would have to move forward when Geryon reached them. This had to be done…. but if she survived this, she was going to be in so much trouble.
She waited, taking deep breaths and trying to center her mind. Matier said she was ready, she had magic, she had the guns, but there was an awful lot of devils coming up behind her, and when she did this, she’d be their entire focus. Even all the magic in the world and all the bullets in the world would be hard pressed to take on this horde all by themselves.
As soon as Geryon got passed the last of the triggers, she threw the first sword, hitting the first of the triggers. The rumble of the rock slide starting gave away her plan. She could hear Geryon screaming in defiance, she threw the second sword, hitting the last trigger. She had just enough time to shout out, “I’m sorry!” before the wall slammed down, and the rock slide shortly after, leaving her alone.
Leaving her alone against a horde of devils…. with only magic and guns as her weapons. Ifrit’s pissed off chirping reminded her of his presence, as always on her shoulder, and she had to smile, ok, magic, guns and a pissed off baby dragon as her only weapons.
She turned to face the horde, unholstering Luce and Ombre and cracked her neck, “Well my friends. We’ve set ourselves up for a hell of a fight.”
Geryon’s scream of defiance had so much fear in it that Trish’s eyes immediately turned to him, just in time to see Aislynn’s sword hit the second trigger and hear Aislynn’s shout of “I’m sorry!”
Trish forgot how to breathe for a moment. What in the fuck had Aislynn just done? “NOOO! Aislynn!”
She didn’t even realize that she’d shouted until Geryon reached her, the mother of the boys standing beside her, eagerly taking the boys off the horse with a quick thanks before running off. Cowardly human, not even caring that Aislynn had sacrificed herself for them.
Her scream alerted the others though, and they all caught on quick. Cerberus, Agni, Rudra, and Geryon started to dig at the rock slide, hoping to move it, hoping to get to Aislynn before something happened.
But it was Lady, calm cool Lady who always knew what to do, that shouted, “That will take too long! Climb the cliff, hopefully, you’ll be able to get to the top!”
And the boys started climbing the cliff, Beowulf appearing out of nowhere to scale it as well. Geryon frantically looked for a path up, and as soon as he saw it, he was tearing up the path as well. Trish frowned as she stared towards the top, she could see the shadows of fliers.
“Shit! People get into the cave! We’ve got incoming airborne invaders!”
She took out Aislynn’s pistols and made sure they were loaded and ready to go. She could see Lady had Kalina Ann already out and aimed towards the shadowy figures. This wasn’t going to be a cake walk. She swore, once this was over and they got to Aislynn, she was going to strangle that girl. Strangle, hug, really what was the difference?
Lady moved to her side, keeping an eye on the flyers. They could now hear gunshots mixed in with the rapid fire of Eva’s Uzi. They knew Aislynn was alive and trying to pick off the devils.
Trish looked at Lady, “So, you ready for this?”
Lady smirked at her, “No, but then again, not much of a choice.”
Trish nodded, keeping an ear on Aislynn’s shooting and keeping an eye on Agni and Rudra’s frantic climb to the top. Beowulf and Cerberus were almost to the top, but both had engaged several flying devils and were falling back. She watched as Agni and Rudra were both attacked, aiming at one who had Agni in his sights, hoping to attack from behind. She fired, and hit the one she’d aimed at, while the brothers literally tore the heads off the ones they were fighting and continued their way up the cliff side, “Do you think they’ll….” She didn’t want to finish the sentence.
“They’ll reach her in time. Aislynn is strong, she’ll be fine. Well, she will until I strangle her.”
Trish laughed, “I think we’ll all be trying to strangle her after this.”
And they would, but as she’d thought earlier…who really knew what the difference was between strangling Aislynn or hugging the life out of her. Right now, they had flying devils to target, there’d be time for berating Aislynn later.
She didn’t regret saving those kids and closing the ravine. She really didn’t. But as the horde got closer and closer, she wished she’d have been able to find another way. She had Eva’s Uzi out, and sprayed bullets into the hoard, glad that the bullets guaranteed a hit, and death. She was a good enough shot, but a semi-automatic? Yeah, she was used to the pistols. But the Uzi, which she’d named Valkyrie, was a good weapon to start with, and she had at least another three mags ready to go, if she could keep the horde off her, she may just survive this. Ifrit stayed on her shoulder, she could feel the eagerness and tension in his body.
She knew he’d want to help, but she wasn’t sure if he could even assume a larger form. She knew it took a lot of power to maintain a larger form, and for a Devil Arm like Ifrit, to take a larger form would require a power boost from the person they’re tied to…Ifrit was tied to Dante, and even if he could use a power boost from her, she didn’t have the power to do it and remain standing.
So, she kept firing, her back against the cliff to prevent devils from being able to sneak up on her. She lost count of how many she’d hit; all she knew was that they kept coming. Mostly ground, she’d only seen a handful or two fliers, which meant those on the other side wouldn’t be in any danger at all. Well, at least none they couldn’t handle.
By the time the devils were too close to use Valkyrie and she had to switch to Luce and Ombre, she’d been able to take out quite a few, but there were still too many. Ifrit shot flames, helping as much as he could, but they were still too close. And she was tiring. A devil grabbed Ifrit from her shoulders, shook the dragonling and threw him into the center of the hoard, “Ifrit No!” She shot the devil, but the damage was done, she couldn’t even see Ifrit anymore.
Another grabbed her arms, pulling her further away from her position of safety. She knew she’d not last long, there were too many devils, not enough her. Luce and Ombre were about useless now, so she started relying on her magic, calling fire to one hand and ice to another, she began to fight each devil, hand to hand, using the fire and ice to either burn them or freeze them. When she got overwhelmed by the number of devils, she gathered her energy and sent out a massive wave of power, knocking the devils back from her, obliterating quite a few of them, but she’d pay for it once they reached her again.
“Aislynn! Catch!” She didn’t even think, just held up both her hands as Agni and Rudra suddenly appeared in her hands as their scimitar forms.
She was used to dual swords, but hers were more rapier crossed with sais than anything, Scimitars were a different class altogether, and Agni and Rudra were heavy in her hand. But she’d deal. They’d given her a fighting chance. With a feral grin and a, “Well boys, feel like playing?” She jumped back in the fight, letting the twins guide her movements and took the fight to the devils. Soon she could hear Cerberus’ howl and Beowulf’s roar and knew the two devils had joined the fight.
She knew by the time this was over, she’d be sore, covered in blood and some of it would be hers. A Devil came from behind, clawed the hell out of her back and she jerked away from him, twisting around in a sweeping leg kick and Agni stabbed him through the head. She kept fighting to the place she’d seen Ifrit fall, praying and hoping that the little dragonling was ok.
“Aislynn! How many more?” That was Lady, her eyes sought out to see where the woman was and saw her on the tip of the cliff, Kalina Ann ready for action, besides her was Trish and Geryon was headed down the cliff side.
“Just these last few, but Ifrit’s down somewhere in that group!” She motioned to the group of devils that had kind of balked at facing an armed Aislynn and Cerberus, Beowulf and Geryon who had jumped the last part of the cliff and now raced towards her.
“Get him and get out of the way! I’ll set Kalina Ann for massive damage!” Lady started to set up, and Aislynn knew she’d have only a few moments to get out of the way before she blew the group up.
“Cerberus, Beowulf, get out of the way. Lady’s setting up Kalina Ann!” She yelled loud enough for the two Devils to hear; she didn’t want to risk them.
“Geryon!” The Devil horse screamed as he moved to her side, trampling a devil that was coming up on her right. She strapped Agni and Rudra to her back and vaulted onto Geryon, unstrapping the twins she and Geryon rushed the group of Devils right when they saw a massive burst of fire come from the ground and Ifrit flew up. With a shriek of rage, Ifrit flew to Aislynn again, and She strapped the twins, and with her knees guided Geryon to pass by the group and get well out of the way of Kalina Ann’s range, “Now Lady!”
The heat from Kalina Ann’s firing was so hot she could feel it against her back, but they’d escaped the range. Kalina Ann and Lady had destroyed the last of the devils.
She directed Geryon to where Beowulf and Cerberus were at the base of the cliff, and all three retreated back up the path to where Trish and Lady were standing. Once they reached the top, she dropped off Geryon and unstrapped Agni and Rudra, letting them take their human forms. She leaned her head against Geryon’s side, taking a deep breath and then standing up.
“Aislynn?” Lady asked, and Aislynn turned to face her, a wry grin on her face.
“If you two want to strangle me, I hope you’ll wait until my back is looked at, and I’ve got several claw marks down my arms.”
“And it looks like someone clawed your chest as well,” Trish said, her arms crossed.
Aislynn looked down, sure enough, she had slash marks on her chest, “Gods, I so want a shower right now.”
Ifrit nudged her cheek, and she held out her hands, “Come here, buddy. I want to make sure you’re not too hurt.”
Ifrit landed on her hands and she checked the dragonling over, glad to see that he wasn’t injured more than a few scrapes and one of his wings was a little torn up.
She sighed, “Well, we better get down and make sure the villagers are ok.”
At that time, there was a massive boom and the ground shook, Aislynn looked towards the compound she knew Dante and Lucia were at, and her face paled.
“Shit, the portal’s open.” She looked over the cliff’s edge and saw Matier gazing in the same direction, “Matier! The Portal!”
“Go, Aislynn. You can close the portal. You must hurry though!”
Aislynn nodded, “I need to get to that portal.”
She looked at Geryon, “Feel like giving a gal a lift, buddy?”
Geryon nodded and she forced herself to climb back up on him, “Lady, Trish, Nevan can you three stay here and help just in case more devils come? Angi, Rudra, can I borrow you two just in case I run into trouble? Cerberus, you want to come along, just in case?”
She’d let Beowulf do whatever he wanted, right now, she had to get to that portal.
The ladies nodded and started back down the footpath that Matier pointed out to them, Agni and Rudra both jumped and transformed into their sword forms. After she caught them and strapped them to her back once more, Geryon and Cerberus took off down the cliff, Beowulf following shortly after.
They raced to the compound. Aislynn praying all the while that the Portal’s opening didn’t mean the end of the world. As they got closer to where the building was, they ran into several groups of lower level devils, but the devils were easily dispatched, and they reached the area just in time to see Dante defeat Arius for the second time.
“Dante!” Aislynn yelled, Geryon galloping up and sliding to a stop beside him.
“Ais!” Dante grabbed her from Geryon, hugging her tightly until she hissed in pain.
He let her go and looked her over, “What in the fuck!”
She shrugged, “Had a problem, took care of it. Agni and Rudra saved my ass. We don’t have time for lectures, that portal is open!”
He shook his head, “Only partially. The piece you sent us after was just the last part he needed. Lucia had managed to get the coin of Meghalaya which was part of the Arcana that was needed. I switched the coin with my two-sided coin.
She sighed, “Great, but it’s still open, there’s still a really bad dude in it waiting, and it’s still leaking lower level devils.”
Dante nodded, “Yeah, we need to close it somehow, but I don’t know how.”
She pointed to herself, “I can close it.”
Suddenly, the amulet that she hadn’t taken off since Dante gave it to her heated up. It was so hot she had to pull it away from her neck, “Shit.”
She looked at the amulet, at the portal, and then back to the amulet.
“Vergil is in hell. This might be the only chance we have.” She looked at Dante, “There’s a bad dude waiting in that portal for a way to get to Earth, there’s a bad dude that’s parading Vergil around like a prized pet, then leaving him in a stall to sleep with no comforts. I’ve been dreaming of Vergil the entire time I’ve been here. This might be the only chance.”
She sighed, reaching up and caressing Dante’s cheek, “I think you might have to go in.”
He cupped her hand against his cheek, “I’m thinking the same thing.”
It was at that time that Arius suddenly revived, turning into a huge tentacle monster, “What the fuck!”
Lucia, Dante, and Aislynn began shooting at the tentacle monster, all of them trying to get a kill shot in, but it seemed that the tentacles themselves were impervious to bullets.
Aislynn stepped back from the fight, frantically racking her brain for a way to help. It was then she noticed where the tentacle monster’s face was, it was then she noticed the two beady eyes looking at them.
“Dante! His eyes!” And that was when one of the tentacles wrapped around her waist and started to fling her around. She felt as if she were in that one carnival ride that flung you through the air.
But the message had been received, and Dante was able to target the eyes, and a bullet from Ebony went through the right eye at the same time the bullet from Ivory went through the left. With an agonized shriek, the tentacle monster seemed to just shrink in on itself, the tentacle holding her flinging her away, she crashed back against the wall with such force, she knew she’d broken several ribs.
She suddenly felt liquid in her throat, choking her, and she hacked, spitting out blood.
“Ais!” Dante ran to her, skidding to a stop and falling to his knees next to her fallen form. “Shit Ais! You’ve pierced a lung.”
Dante frantically started to search his pockets, he knew that depending on how badly the lung was pierced, or even if it was only one, humans didn’t have much time from when the lung was pierced, to where they wouldn’t be able to breathe at all.
His hand hit the right pocket, and he pulled out two gold orbs, thankful that he’d been able to swipe a couple. He quickly picked her up and held her against his chest, he hated to have to do this, but if he didn’t place the orb her, there was no hope for her.
“Ais, honey. I know you’re hurting, but you need to remain calm. You know how this works. Can you do that for me, honey?”
She leaned aside and spit out more blood, before tilting her head back and nodding, he was glad her shirt was torn now, he placed the two orbs on her chest. He hated to see the pain on her face, but this was necessary. The yellow orb would heal her. While one would take care of the worst of the damage, two would see almost all of it healed up, she’d still be sore and tender for a few days, but she’d be alive.
As soon as the orbs disappeared, he leaned back against the wall she’d crashed into, holding her in his arms. He didn’t want to let her go, but he knew he’d need to leave soon. Just in case. He could see Lucia, Geryon, Cerberus, and Beowulf fighting the constant stream of low level to mid-level devils that were coming through the portal, they needed to get it closed before any of the higher power devils were able to pass.
“I have to go.” He sighed, tilting his head down to press a kiss to her hair.
“I know.” The orbs had done their job, she was mostly healed. He knew because her voice was back. But she sounded so tired, and he worried about her.
“I don’t want to go, I just got here and I’m with you.” He grumbled, but he knew they both understood that sometimes, this was the way the job went, and you didn’t always get what you wanted. He’d have to go into the Portal. He’d have to battle whatever devil had contracted with Arius. Then he had to find Vergil. He and Aislynn were not complete without him.
“I know, but….” She sighed, “Dante, Vergil’s close to giving up. He’s so broken, and he’s in so much pain. I don’t even know if he’s there anymore, mentally. He’s been so beaten down, that I think everything that was Vergil is sunk so deep into his mind that it’s basically locked away. He doesn’t have much time. You have to go in and find him.”
She tilted her head up, and he could see the tears in her eyes. Gods, he hated it when she cried, he pressed a kiss to her lips before helping her shift to the side, and he stood up, extending a hand down to her and pulling her to her feet. He wrapped his arms around her waist and held her close. She sank into his arms, resting her face against his chest, her shoulders shaking with suppressed cries.
“I’m so sorry.”
She smacked his chest, “You have nothing to be sorry about. At least I’m getting to say goodbye to you. I’d have murdered you when you got back if you’d gone into the portal without telling me goodbye.”
He chuckled, “So, once I go in…” He sighed, “There’s no telling how long I’ll be away.”
She stepped back from his embrace, tears falling from her eyes, but she put a brave smile on her face, “We’ll hold the fort down. And I’ll get on building the compound. You just get in there, fight the bad guys, find my Blue Knight and bring him home to me, my Red Knight.”
Her smile turned feral, and he could see the anger in her eyes, “And Dante, make the bastard who’s holding my Blue Knight pay. Make it hurt, do not take him as a Devil Arm, I want him dead.”
He cracked a smile, caressing her cheek, “God I love it when you get bloodthirsty.”
She laughed, and they both moved side by side, towards the portal. When they got there, they both paused, looking over it.
“You sure you can close this after me?” Dante asked and a gasp interrupted them. They both turned to see Lucia standing behind them, a shocked look on her face.
“You’re going in there?” She asked.
Dante nodded, “Yeah. I have some things that need taken care of in Hell, might as well get it out of the way. The guy Arius contracted with is not to be trifled with, he’s also just on the other side of this portal. I have to go and stop him.”
She frowned, “But you are Sparda’s son.”
He nodded, “I am.”
“Well, what happens if you can’t come back? Who will stop the devils that come to our plane?”
Dante arched his brow, “Lucia, there are tons of hunting groups out there. Aislynn can handle the things that need to be handled back at the office and taking care of everyone. I need to go; I’ve got to deal with quite a few things.”
He turned from Lucia, directing his attention to the others, “Hey, you all know I need to do this. It might be my one shot at finding him.”
He frowned at Beowulf, who seemed very interested in the portal, “Don’t even think of it, Beowulf.”
Beowulf snarled and took on his weapon form, Dante shook his head, “Well, that’s one way to keep him contained.”
He looked at the others, “Help her? Watch after her?” He pointed his chin. They nodded, and he was glad. He knew the group loved Aislynn in their own way. He knew he had to go, but his heart was so torn. To leave Aislynn was honestly one of the hardest things he’d ever had to do. But the opportunity to get Vergil back, it was too tempting to pass up. Plus, someone needed to take out that devil that was wanting to invade Earth once again, and someone needed to close the portal.
He turned to Aislynn, finding her looking between him and the portal and back again. He moved in front of her, reaching out and tilting her head up with a finger to her chin, “You’ll be fine?” He’d meant to phrase it as a statement, but he knew it came out sounding like a question.
She nodded a wobbly smile on her face, “Yeah. I’ll be fine. You’ve probably left everything a mess, so I’ll be busy picking up your messes and getting my compound built. I know you’ll be ok. And you’ll find him and come back soon.”
He tilted his head down and kissed her, promising everything words could not promise at this time, “Yeah yeah, Princess. I’ll find your Blue Knight, rescue him from the bad guy holding him and bring him home.”
He wrapped his arms around her, turning her so her back rested against his chest as they both looked at the portal, “Well…” He knew he was dragging this out, but hell, he didn’t want to let go of her yet.
She would not cry. She’d cried enough. They had both known, going into the business they did, that forever wasn’t guaranteed. That being together wasn’t guaranteed. She also knew, with everything she was, that they needed Vergil. The Princess wasn’t complete without her two knights. The Red Knight needed his partner, the Blue Knight belonged with them both.
She leaned her head back against Dante’s chest, her eyes closed, and breathed in deeply, centering herself, and accepting that once again, they’d have to be separated for an unspecified amount of time.
But she also knew that Dante would find Vergil, and he would bring Vergil home to her. And that was all that mattered.
She sighed deeply once more and opened her eyes, “Take Geryon with you. He can be your form of transportation. You need to take Cerberus and Ifrit also.”
She could feel his chuckle against her back, “Yeah. I’ll take Geryon. Best idea ever, the Red Knight needs a steed so he can save the Blue Knight. But the other two can stay with you.”
“Dante…I need you to take all three of them. It’s important. Do not fight me on this.”
She turned around to look at him, “Please. Don’t fight it. Take them with you. You’ll need their help.”
“All right. I’ll do it.”
She surrendered herself to his embrace, knowing that they had just a precious few more seconds before he’d have to leave. She tried to soak up everything she could from him, then stepped away from the embrace. She turned to him and poked his chest, “You better get going. And damn it, you better not get dead. Take care of yourself and the others.”
She stood on her tippy-toes, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him, “Come back to me.”
He returned the kiss, stepped back and whistled for Geryon, “We’ll all come back to you. I promise.”
He vaulted on Geryon’s back, and group started into the portal without a look back.
She watched fade into the portal and just before they faded from her sight completely, she yelled, “Dante! I love you!”
Then with her hand against the portal’s entrance, she called her power to her and forced it closed. She collapsed, sobbing, down to the ground in front of the where the now closed portal had once stood.
Lady was there in seconds, embracing her from behind as she cried. She’d just sent the love of her life to Hell in order to find their missing piece, and she’d just sent her favorite devils with him. She didn’t know when she’d see them again, and she could only pray that she would see them again. She had to have faith. She had to get it together, there was still work to be done.
She shrugged off Lady’s embrace, forcing herself to her feet, a hand clutched around Vergil’s amulet, it was hot to the touch again. “Vergil, he’s coming for you. Don’t give up yet, my Red Knight will find my Blue Knight, and you’ll both come back to me. I know it.”
She sighed, turning to face the group, “So guys, we’ve got a hell of a lot of work to do. Are you all up for it?”
With a grin, Trish nodded, “Well we’ve all gotten used to picking up after Dante. I guess we’ll get used to you running the show.”
Aislynn laughed, “Right, but I swear, the first one of you that calls me Princess is in big trouble.”
She checked her holsters, making sure Luce and Ombre were still there, and then patted the pocket sewn into her trench coat, a coat now covered in claw marks to make sure that Valkyrie was secure. Then she moved to where Beowulf still sat, a pair of gauntlets just lying on the dirt and picked him up. She turned to the others, gazing at each of them individually.
“Thank you, guys. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate everything you’ve done and everything you’ll probably end up doing. We’ve got quite a few months of hard work ahead of us.”
She closed her eyes and leaned back. Feeling so cold and tired now that Dante wasn’t beside her. Just a few minutes. Let her rest just a few minutes. Then she’d put on her big girl panties and deal with everything the craziness of their lives threw at her. Just a few more minutes to center herself. She closed her eyes, imagining Dante in her mind, his smile, his laugh, everything that made him who he was. She pictured the image of Vergil. Then she pictured Sparda and Eva in her head and the encouragement that both had always given her when things got tough. She imagined her father and mother, both probably eagerly awaiting word from her. She pictured everyone else not at the island with them, and she had to smile. She and Dante had made friends and a new family with a whole host of amazing characters, devil, human, or in between.
She knew they’d be together again, and she knew they’d have Vergil with them. She had that much faith, she had to…. there wasn’t any other option. They’d be together, or she’d burn hell to the ground in her search for her Knights.
But for now, there was work to be done. A compound to be built, and getting her pet project off the ground, plus, well fighting the devils that escaped from other holes between the two realms, didn’t wait for anyone. Once she put on her big girl panties, she was going to be busy. They all would. She set her gaze once more to where the Portal had once stood, just staring at it for a few moments, as if waiting for it to open once again and spit the group out with Vergil all ready. It was wishful thinking, she had no idea how far away from the Portal’s entrance Vergil might have been, or even how difficult the devils that she knew Dante had to fight would have been.
She sighed deeply one more time before nodding to the others, “All right. We’ve got work to do. Let’s get back and check on the villagers.”
She chuckled, “Shit’s about to get real.