History Lessons

Completely unblemished skin beneath the bloodied hole in her jeans wasn't the only indicator to the group that whoever this individual was, 'Human' wasn't going to be added to their Curriculum Vitae any time soon.

For starters, she kicked Trish through a building; not exactly within the range of a mere mortal's abilities. No matter how good they were. And let's face it, she was taken down by a hundred and twenty pounds of scrawny teenager, she wasn't good. Not for a Demon, not even for a Human.

The redhead walked around the room carefully. Her small footfalls thudded softly amidst the dust. She eyed them in a manner that set Vergil's nerves on fire.

"I think I know why you're here and I'm going to tell you now…." The redhead spoke hastily, her brow crinkling under the single, pathetic bulb of the dimly lit office. "….you're fucked, Trish. Absolutely and totally. The shit that's happening is far too big for you to stop. There are some seriously large cogs in motion."

Trish stepped up to the woman and caught her by the arm.

"Adeen…" Trish began.

A look of rage flashed across the redhead's face but was covered up so fast by a cold hard glare that it redefined Vergil's opinion of himself as 'frosty'. The woman ripped her arm from Trish's grasp.

"How dare you!" The woman began; her voice and eyes suddenly aflame. "The audacity!" She laughed, expression cooling instantly. "It's absolutely amazing how quickly you've forgotten what your bastard master did to us." She remarked bitterly.

Trish twitched oddly. Dante noticed and wisely stepped between them.

"Well, she doesn't have a master now." He reaffirmed hoping to smooth over the entire subject.

The Demon stepped to meet him toe to toe and boldly laughed in his face.

"Is that so? And you would be?" She daringly questioned. "Creatures like her were made to serve." She turned to Trish with a look of disgust. "…in one way or another."

Vergil could feel the anger ripple off his brother in waves. It made Yamato hum at his waist and he couldn't help but feel his own Demonic side writhe in response to its twin's rising rage.

"Maybe you don't know who I am, but you wouldn't be saying that if you did." Dante coldly intoned; every syllable a warning. Before she could respond he violently shoved the Demon out of his personal space.

The woman collided hard with the corner of what was passing as her office desk.

"Oh, I know who you are." She confidently whispered. A single finger rose and pointed directly at Vergil's chest. "Prick!" She announced blandly. Vergil didn't take offense. He'd spent most of his youth working hard to earn that precise reputation. He cocked a watery half-smile and shrugged his nonchalance.

The same finger was wildly swung in Dante's direction. "Imbecile". The red clad Hunter kept his expression as close to neutral as he could but his eyes betrayed his displeasure. Lady, who'd hung at the door with Darren and Holly, was next. "Insane, homicidal witch." The Demon deadpanned.

Finally her finger came to rest on Trish. The vacant, resigned look on the redhead's face was reflected in the glistening look of new horror on the blonde's.

"Murderer!" The woman hissed, her voice almost cracking on the word.

Trish didn't respond and Dante didn't jump in to defend her. Whatever it was that had the Demon's panties in a twist, considering Trish's previous occupation, it more than likely wasn't entirely based in fiction. Lady frowned but didn't say anything, instead she ushered her two wards out of the doorway and out of hearing range.

In the growing silence the woman continued calmly.

"Vergil and Dante, sons of the Legendary Dark Knight, Mary Arkham, daughter of a very disturbed and delusional man, and Mundus' Human look-a-like murdering bitch." She let out a harsh snort. "You have no idea how much I know about you. Information is the difference of survival in the Demon realm."

Vergil got the very distinct impression that, powerful or not, this creature was dangerous. Knowledge was the most treacherous of weapons.

Dante frowned.

"You're a Demon?" He questioned.

Vergil and Trish cast him scathing looks. He couldn't be serious could he?

The woman laughed. Absolutely without any humour.

"What do you think?" She spat the words at Dante as though they were poisonous.

The words washed over Vergil. The scathing tone sent electrical spasms up his spine and his body jerked stiffly; eyelids fluttering uncontrollably as a wave of familiarity washed over him. His fragile mind suddenly found access to a whole host of memories he'd locked away. With his mental barriers in tatters the images flooded him. He staggered; eyes rolling into the back of his skull as he was taken decades into his own past.

"This them?" A familiar and cold voice echoed in the still, crisp air.

"What do you think?" Its response was biting and sarcastic.

"Don't toy with me, hound, or I'll put you down like the animal that you are. Now, are these or aren't these the half-breeds we've been looking for?" The voice asked.

There was a harsh breath drawn. Its release was like the last gasp of death.

"Yeah…that's them." It intoned with something almost akin to regret.

When Vergil returned to consciousness he found himself clutching the wall for support. He wasn't crumpled on the floor in a heap like the last time but in the end it really made no difference. His limbs felt weak and his stomach was tied in knots.

He would have asked the question as to what happened but he already knew the answer.

"Vergil?" Trust Dante to have been watching him. Though, he noticed his twin was staring at him without any kind of noticeable humour. Vergil might have thought Dante was worried from the sound of his voice.

"What?" The blue Devil snapped.

Dante narrowed his eyes; concern evaporating like mist.

"You just fainted." He stated trying to conceal his straining grin. This of course drew both the attention of Trish and the Demon. Both seemed confused and in Trish's case, a little startled.

"Thank you for pointing that out to me, brother." The blue clad Devil straightened himself on his feet as gracefully as he could. "I fear I would have been totally clueless without you here to state the very glaringly obvious." Vergil sarcastically remarked.

"Hey, listen, you're the one fainting, not me!" Dante laughed.

Inwardly shaken and reaching the end of a very ragged tether, Vergil's hand went to Yamato warningly. Trish coughed to draw attention to herself and took a firm stance beside her partner.

Lines were being metaphorically drawn in the sand.

"SHUT UP!" The red haired Demon's voice pierced the tension. "All of you just stop." She collapsed at the foot of the desk. "Just stop. I'll help…just…I'll help." She clutched her head. Confusion once more washed over her rapidly paling features as the hands at her ears came back stained with red.

The group watched in horror as rivulets of blood slowly began trickling from her nose and eyes; tracing a crimson line down her neck and chest and soaking her t-shirt. She blinked stupidly for a few seconds before her back arched painfully. The spine seemed to distort and bend in the most unnatural kind of ways. She opened her mouth in a silent scream that ended before she started gasping. A violent tremor started at the tips of her toes and began winding its way up her body.

"What the hell is wrong with it?" Vergil asked; deeply disturbed wasn't even close to how he was feeling. Horrified was more accurate. He put his hands to his ears as a nails-on-chalkboard wail finally started tearing its way out of her now blood-filled mouth.

Trish's eyes darted to the brown paper package that she'd left on floor beside the Demon's office table. The brown paper was dissolving to reveal an engraved cylindrical casing underneath. An unearthly yellow glow lined the seals of the case and as each second passed it grew stronger and brighter.

Trish rushed to the desk and plucked the thing up so fast it was almost as if it burned her. She pushed past Dante and Vergil and with a forced calm for the sake of the younger members of the party she softly, yet quickly stepped around a worried Lady and vanished into the darker recesses of the corridors. No sooner was she out of sight with the package when the screaming stopped and the Demon grew still.

Dante stepped up beside her limp, pale form and prodded her roughly with his foot.

"Huh." He sighed. "So, what d'ya think that was all about?"

Vergil took very cautious steps as he approached the still form. Squatting down he rolled the body over. He put a finger under her nose. She was still breathing. Albeit shallowly, but point in fact she was still alive.

Whatever was in that case of Trish's, this particular Demon had had a very unusual reaction to it. He'd never seen anything quite like it. A wave of frustration washed over Vergil. He'd always tried to keep up with current information and the goings on in the underbelly of civilization but for some reason all he had at the moment were questions. A never-ending line of things he didn't understand, didn't know, couldn't figure out and an overworked, fractured mind to boot. It made him feel, dare he say it, vulnerable.

What the hell was this thing? More importantly, why was Trish convinced it could help them?

"Don't touch her." Trish's warning was biting. What was that ridiculous Human phrase? 'Speak of the Devil and he shall appear'?

Strolling back into the room she was intercepted by Dante.

"Enough is enough. What the hell is going on here?" His tone of voice broached no argument.

Trish dropped her sight to the floor.

"She can shield us. Hide us. It's not a long term solution but it'll give us an edge." She admitted cautiously. Obviously there was more to it than that. There was a history here. Something important.

"And the box?" Vergil questioned.

Trish winced.

"Insurance." She rubbed her mouth worriedly when she caught sight of the prone figure on the ground. "Though I thought the casing would contain it. Obviously not." In a rather unusual gesture Trish took some tissues from a box on the desk, bent down and began to wipe the blood off the Demon's face.

It was an almost strangely motherly act. Vergil wondered exactly how much having a child had changed Trish. If her slip up earlier on was anything to go by, he wasn't entirely sure it was for the best, either. She was soft. Distracted. Not the fierce warrior her creator had made her to be. She wasn't anything like he remembered.

When the memories surfaced this time Vergil's conscious mind was prepared. He felt himself sway on his feet but a vice-like control seized the images before they overwhelmed him a second time.

"You lied to me, hound." There was a sharp resounding clap and a grunt as a cloaked body fell in the snow. The voice radiated a sharp mix of anger and disappointment. From the bottom of his blindfold he could make out the face of the woman heading the group of Demons. A face so like that of his mother but so obviously not. The figure she'd hit stirred at her feet and she gave it a violent kick. "What are you all staring at? Burn every house down and kill everything that moves till you find the other two. Our master will not suffer failure."

She turned and her hateful eyes met his. So unfeeling. Uncaring. So incredibly powerful.

No. This Trish was a very different creature.


The blue devil came to attention.

"Yes?" He coyly replied. He was hoping that Dante merely assumed he was ignoring him.

In the years past it would have been an easy ploy to fool the Devil hunter but everything had changed in Vergil's absence. Dante made a point of appearing casual as he stepped up beside his brother.

"What's wrong? And don't give me any crap about asking, either." He whispered harshly. It obviously irked him to have to ask that type of a question of a brother he'd fought to the death a half a dozen times. There had always been a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy between them. That Dante would abandon his much loved impartiality to ask Vergil how he was like a slap in the face for the blue clad devil.

"It's nothing you need concern yourself about." Vergil found himself replying in anger. He turned away from his brother and took a calming breath wishing that it was true.

Behind Vergil, Dante's expression changed from mildly irritated to openly annoyed. Without another word to Vergil, he reached over, opened the door in front of his brother and forcefully shoved Vergil head first in. Vergil turned, all but prepared to kick down the door and pummel his brother senseless only to find Dante right behind him closing the door.

Dante turned and wiped a tired hand across his face.

"I'm not going to ask you a second time, Vergil. For fuck's sake you fainted. Complete with damsel-like swoon and everything. That is not nothing.I know you don't think I'm the sharpest pencil in the Sparda case, in all honesty I'm probably not, but we don't faint." He gestured a thumb to his own chest before levelling a finger at Vergil accusingly. "Something's been up with you and I think it's older than this whole mess." The Hunter's eyes narrowed in anger. "Just what the hell did Mundus do to you?" He hissed.

At the mention of his enslavement, the devil in Vergil began tearing wildly. Fighting desperately to be free. A million images and ghostly pains lanced through his mind. A million emotions surging behind them. He remembered the fear and the hopelessness that had consumed him. The insanity. Without thinking Vergil's right hand snapped out and found its way around his brother's throat. There was a sudden need to fight something. To prove he wasn't crumbling. A split moment later and Dante's hand was wrapped around Vergil's neck in response.

In the back of his mind, Vergil knew that this wasn't a match to the death; this was a competition. They held each other there. Frozen in place. A comparison of both strength and wills.

Vergil felt himself growling. An altogether distant, haunting sound. He squeezed Dante's throat and felt the hand at his throat return the favour. They should have been equals. Equal parts of the same Demon. Equal parts Human. And yet, Vergil could tell that while he was pouring all of his strength into this, Dante was holding back. Holding back and still matching him. It caused a bubble of frustration to well up within him. The devil lapped it up like warm milk and Vergil's growl doubled in volume.

Energy started rippling off the pair in waves. Blue clashed violently with red in a storm of colours.

"What the hell are you two doing?"

The sheer quantity of energy that raced up their legs and singed their very cores like lightening would have been more than enough to power half the state for a month.

Vergil and Dante collapsed to the ground twitching.

Trish stood in the doorway with an unreadable expression on her face. She didn't even bother turning around to close the door; instead, kicking it closed with her foot and cracking the frame rather badly. She crossed her arms like a mother about to give a scolding.

"This is not the time for fighting. And Devil Trigger? DevilTrigger? Hound or not the instant your Devil forms emerge every damn thing in the city is gonna make a beeline for us." She rasped. Desperation and anguish laced her words.

"So it's a Hell Hound." Vergil stated after only the briefest coughs to clear his lungs and get them moving again. It was harder than normal for him appear superior while his skin was still visibly smoking.

"That's not a Hell Hound." Dante was struggling to his feet. His movements slower than usual and there was confusion in his eyes as to when exactly Trish had become that strong. "I've seen the Hell Hounds. They're…" His legs suddenly ceased to function and he collapsed. Seated once more he looked at Trish quizzically. "Hey, you been holding out on me babe? That packed one hell of a punch." He admitted a little stupidly. He rested his hands on his knees and sat waiting for the dizziness and weakness to pass.

Trish crossed her arms defiantly. Her eyes were almost pleading with Dante to do something or say something smart. The pair wisely kept their mouths closed.

When the blond opened her mouth to speak again the sharpness had vanished from her tone.

"In the last reign of Mundus twelve of his strongest enemies escaped to the Human world in the hopes of luring him out and destroying him. They masked themselves in Human bodies, set a trap for him and then scattered." There was a lot of complicated Demon history that neither Vergil or Dante would have been privy to. No books about it were written. No records kept. Some things you knew either because you were actually there or someone who was thought you should know. If this was relevant, then it was important. Enough for Vergil to consider silence above questions for the moment. From the small nod his twin gave Trish he figured Dante agreed.

Trish swallowed before continuing.

"Mundus unleashed the Hell Hounds to track them but they couldn't. Pure Demons, especially the lesser kind, once they get the scent of Human they lose the ability to distinguish the smell of other Demons. The Human scent overpowers everything. Although they were Demons just wrapped in skin, all the Hounds could smell was Human flesh. And it all smelled the same to them. They lost track of Mundus' enemies and were fought off by the Humans." She slipped down onto her haunches like a cat till she was eye-level with them.

Her voice got quiet then.

"He abandoned them then. Left them to live on Earth for so long and sate their hunger on the Human populous to such an extent that the Hell Hounds he'd released on Earth began to change. They consumed so much Human flesh that they started to take the form of Humans themselves. They'd become tainted. A fate worse than death for a Demon."

Vergil inclined his head knowingly. As much as Demon's thrived on Human suffering they feared its Humanity. It was thought of as more a disease than anything else. An affliction that left you weak. And in the Demon realm if you were weak you were culled.

"Why would he do that?" Dante asked softly. Confusion crinkling his brow.

Trish leaned back against the closed door.

"He knew what would happen if he did leave them and he couldn't step foot into this world while his enemies were still alive. When Mundus came back he promised the new Hounds restoration if they could track down those enemies still at large. Because of the time they'd spent here they didn't have the same difficulties that the original breed did."

Vergil could almost admire that strategy. Almost.

"I don't know what they were honestly expecting but when the task was done he left. Even though they'd served him, the very sight of his new Hounds disgusted him. He named them all abominations and left them to whatever fate here on Earth. Some continued to feed on Human flesh, others let themselves perish. Abandoned and betrayed the ones that lived continued to change. There was a lot of infighting at the start. They'd developed a lot of Human characteristics and they were afraid. Eventually most chose to settle in France and serve the orders there. The rest just bled into the darkness. She's one of the last." Trish intoned.

Dante and Vergil exchanged glances. Some of this was new information to them…and some of it wasn't.

"She eats Humans?" Dante's face was a twisted mask of disappointment and confusion. Their job was to protect people. Kill Demons. It felt almost like a betrayal.

"They haven't fed on Human's for hundreds of years. After so much dilution they're probably more Human than we are. And…" Her expression broke and she found herself straining to finish.

Dante crept forward on his knees and hugged her without a word of explanation. The events had obviously taken their toll on her.

Vergil almost gagged but turned his thoughts to more productive things.

"And the case?" The blue Devil asked, seeking a distraction.

Trish rubbed at invisible tears and calmed herself.

"It's a summons. It calls out the Hound. But considering that now they're mostly Human it literally tears them apart. These Hounds can't live without the Human aspect. Neither is whole. Separation is terminal…and excruciating." She explained.

Vergil narrowed his eyes.

"Why would such a thing exist?" He growled. It wasn't something a Demon would design.

Trish had regained her composure at this point and Dante was steadying himself on his feet. Vergil took that as his cue to stand. He wobbled a little but as of late a little wavering wasn't anything new.

"There were a few side-effects in the later years of the Hounds. It happened very rarely, but occasionally through some bizarre stroke of luck someone survived an attack."

Vergil's face went slack.

"Oh you can't be serious." He croaked.

Dante looked from his brother to Trish, whatever it was they were talking about he hadn't the faintest idea.

At his dumb, excluded expression Vergil elaborated.

"Lycanthropy, dear brother. The founders of the common werewolf legends. And that device cures a Human in its early stages by drawing out the Demon essence. " He turned to Trish. "I take it she was one of the originals?" He questioned.

"Only the Hounds can shield themselves." She countered softly.

Dante's brain chose that particular time to reboot after the massive electric shock from the few minutes previous.

"That's why he needed them to do it, isn't it? Those Demons he was after would have sensed any other lackey a world away, wouldn't they." He asked and Trish smiled.

Vergil spotted a hole in her story. He cocked his head quizzically, lowering his voice. "If she is all you claim she is, why did she not sense us? How could you have fooled her? She should have been able to tell our numbers and lineage, if I'm not mistaken, from all the way across town." He scathingly remarked.

Trish's gaze became distant.

"Various orders used the Hounds talents to track down Demons. That eventually came to include the Hounds that chose to remain neutral. She keeps the Demon side suppressed. It's the only way to avoid detection."

Dante rubbed the bridge of his nose.

"This whole thing is giving me a headache." He frowned. The red Devil rubbed his hands together. "Right, I think that's enough of the 'Dead Demon' crash course for now."

When the three of them exited the room they were surprised to find Lady and the younger members of their squad all waiting on them. Lady was supervising while Darren mopped the blood off the Hounds face and arms with a cloth dampened with bottled water. The rag was soaked through with red already and was now putting more blood back on her skin than it was taking off. He seemed to notice even if his mother didn't and was hesitant. Torn between the desire to do it properly and the realization that she wasn't going to clean up any better than that, he gave up in a spectacular toss of the bloodied rag. It landed squarely the bin across the room and earned him four curious glares.

Uncomfortable under the scrutiny he left the rapidly crowding room to stand in the hall. Holly rushed over towards Trish but at the last second changed her mind and latched firmly onto her fathers legs.

Dante messed up her hair and laughed. He laughed even harder at the look of disappointment on his partner's face.

"Oh come on. You don't even like it when she runs at you like that." She glared at him. "Hey, at least she didn't mistake Vergil for me. Chill out." Trish didn't even want to consider what would happen if Vergil found himself facing fifty pounds of little girl rushing him. Holly looked confused.

"Why would I do that?" Her little pale brow crinkled in the cutest way possible and if they weren't mistaken, a little insulted.. "You're my only daddy." She reasoned with a smile and a logic only children possessed. Vergil examined the child carefully. A girl born in the Sparda bloodline was extraordinarily unusual. He would have been almost tempted to assume Dante wasn't the father if the girl didn't look so much like him. There was absolutely no mistaking that jaw and those eyes. Vergil inwardly scoffed. He reckoned the child should be grateful that she hadn't been born with white hair. A whole heap of fun his childhood had NOT been.

Dante sank to put himself at a better level with the girl.

"See, that's your Uncle Verge." 'Uncle Verge' bit back a growl at that. Just barely but his eyes still narrowed. "And we both look the same. So it's easy to get confused. Lot's of people get confused. Even my mom used to get confused sometimes." Dante smiled but inside, Vergil was squirming. The blue clad Devil actually remembered that and he found it unsettling to think of himself that small and…that happy.

"No." The little girl's assertion was straight to the point.

"No what?" Dante asked.

"He doesn't look like you." She assured him.

"She's right." All four heads snapped to the Demon on the floor; head resting against the back of her office desk. "Totally different." She hissed with a humourless wheezing chuckle.

Her face was pale and her entire body clung to the dirty wood as though her limbs were made of lead weights. One of her eyes caught the lights and flared orange for a brief second.

"Would one of you mind helping me up, I don't think I've ever cleaned this place before and I'm beginning to see the flaws in that from down here."

Lady's thin bony fingers reached down and mercilessly latched onto the Hound's elbow. For a small and slender woman, Lady hefted the Demon up without any apparent difficulty.

"Holly. Go wait with Darren in the hall. We'll be out in a minute." Trish muttered softly.

The little girl let go of her father and skipped off, seeming oblivious to the tension in the room though much to Vergil's surprise she did spare the redhead a curious sideways glance. As though she knew more about all this than she let on.

The Demon sat warily on the corner of the desk and ran her fingers over the drying streaks of blood on her arms and hands.

"Only the end of the world would bring you here. What Devil is it this time?" She spoke quietly.

"I thought you knew what was going on?" Vergil asked. He had been under the impression that the Hound knew what was happening.

"Hey, you don't need a seismograph to detect an earthquake when you can feel the ground shake under your feet. There's Demon's popping up all over the world. Existence itself is being torn asunder. All I'm asking for is a name." She grit out.

Trish stepped forward.

"Gedran." She spoke with the understanding that the Hound might not know who that was.

The Demon levelled her with a disbelieving glare. She looked like she was waiting for the punch line. When none came she shook her head.

"Then we really are fucked, Trish. There was a pretty good reason why he was numerouno on Mundus' shit list. And an even greater reason why he was one of the two conspirators we never actually found." She ran a hand through her hair, brushing out the dust. "Out of all the Demon's to set his sights on this world he's probably the worst one. Mundus would have just exterminated us. Gedran happens to like playing with his food." She laughed hollowly at the sombre look on Trish's face.

"Will you help us? Please!" The blonde's tone was pleading.

The Hounds eyes narrowed.

"I'll help you, Trish. But only because I happen to like this world the way it is. And there will be conditions."

Needless to say there were a large number of suspicious looks. Lady in particular was visibly finding it difficult not to scowl. Her neutral expression faltered in time with the flash of the Demons eyes. Trish was the only one that seemed trusting.

Vergil surmised that the blonde was either an idiot or very insane. If there was one thing he'd learned in all his time in the Underworld it was that Demons could only be trusted to be Demons. Placing faith in one for help was literally asking to be betrayed at the worst possible time.

A Demon's timing for backstabbing was impeccable. Even Gedran could attest to that.

"Your word isn't enough." Vergil spat.

For once in his life, Dante wholeheartedly agreed with his brother, nodding.

"Sorry babe, but he's right. We can't take that kind of risk." Dante reasoned with Trish. He kept his voice low.

The red haired woman shrugged.

"It's a shame. Cause my word's all I have." The Hound laughed at their silence and scepticism. "You don't want my help, fine, I can deal." Her head tilted upwards and her nostrils flared. The smile slipped from her face. "However, you might find yourselves changing your minds very shortly." Both her eyes shone brightly, the orange glow spreading as her pupils dilated to the size of large coins. She smiled, almost apologetically and backed into the shadows, vanishing before anyone could say anything. They knew better than to check for her. She was gone.

"Trish, go with Lady and get the kids. Me and Verge here will thin the…" Dante stopped mid sentence and coughed. A globule of blood was spat in Trish's face. She recoiled clawing at the liquid splashed across her horrified features.

He looked down and noticed the end of a very thin sword protruding out of his chest. He staggered a little but recovered instantly.

"Just once I'd like them to try stabbing me somewhere other than my chest. These shirts ain't cheap." He growled. Red energy flickered along his arms and torso as he turned to view the assailant. But there was nothing. Vergil had moved beside Trish and all three furrowed their brow as the hilt came into view. Guns and swords were drawn.

"I know that weapon." The words tumbled out of Vergil's mouth.

"Really?" Dante did a semi-comical spin to try and take a look at the hilt. A bright red cord with tassels hung from the end and whipped about as he tried to get a better view. Trish's face lit with understanding. She knew that weapon too.

Vergil pulled it out sharply, perhaps a little more sharply than Dante would have liked, and held it up. It was a simple straight sword. Elegant. Not something that would stand a chance against a weapon as ferocious as Rebellion or as powerful as Yamato, it wouldn't even do that much damage to a Demon, but the terrifying thing about the lithe sword was not the damage it could do. It was its past owner. It was the message that he was sure was trying to be conveyed.

"This belonged to the Human that killed Faro."

Gedran wouldn't have bothered with a weapon as fragile as the straight sword. The only one that would have, the Demon Lord tossed into hell.

The temperature dropped suddenly. Before the eyes of everyone present the air in front of Vergil began rippling. The colours moved and merged like thick smoke. A figure began to appear. Much too small to be any regular Demon; a shredded black cloak clung to its skeleton like form. The air was punctuated with a smell. Not unlike the smell of rotting flesh but so much more potent. It was as familiar to Vergil as Dante. It was the stench of Hell.

Ghostly fingers snaked out slowly and wrapped over the hand Vergil had the hilt secured in. Someone fired a shot but it passed right through the figure's head. The hand passed through his, a cold and very unnerving feeling and as soon as it made contact with the sword the entire thing, sword and everything, slipped through his fingers. Insubstantial. Nothing more than cold air. The wraith backed up slowly having reclaimed its weapon.

With the combination of the dim lighting and the hood pulled over its head, Vergil couldn't see more than the dirt and dried blood stains on the lower half of her face. But he didn't need to see the rest to know who this was.

As suddenly as it came it just…disappeared.

Half a dozen guns were left pointing at empty air.

"Does anyone else think that that was just a little too creepy…andeasy?" Dante asked to no one in particular. Absentmindedly he rubbed at his chest. He was unnerved, and it showed.

Lady's eyes widened. Before Dante could draw another breath her feet were moving and she was out the door..

The realization struck them barely a moment after it had dropkicked Lady's stomach into her throat.

They found the hall literally crawling with Demons. Marionettes, Hell Prides and Dante's least favourite of all Demons ever: the Shadow. Truth be told, he didn't even like cats.

"I don't see them. Ican'tseethem!" With a desperate shriek, Trish mercilessly ripped the arm from the unlucky Marionette that had happened to have made the mistake of touching her. Not bothering with her gun she plucked up a sickle from a fallen Hell Pride and began ruthlessly hacking at them. It was carnage, pure and simple and it bathed the corridor in sand and crystallized blood. Gun shots fired over her head and the walls of the corridor crumbled and cracked under the slaughter and mayhem. Unbeknownst to her, energy was cackling in the air. It licked along her arms and spread its tendrils along the floor and across the sickle she was using, striking out at any an all Demons. It was growing brighter as she cleared a messy path up the hall after the dangerous whirlwind that was Lady.

There was a high pitched scream, and a flicker of light at the end of the hall spilled out from a newly broken doorway.

Trish rushed towards it only for her view to be blocked as yet more Demons materialized. She cut the nearest one down only for three more to take its place. She could hear more appearing behind her. Separating her from Dante. Trying to close in on her from all sides. And yet, all she could think about was the source of that scream.

Something deep within Trish snapped at that. Something broke. Twisted. Changed inside her. It felt like her bones were being pulled out of her skin. She felt her blood boil and her innards tear. She bared her teeth and roared. The sound that left her throat was an altogether foreign noise. Too strangely pitched to be Human, it cracked the wooden floorboards beneath her feet and forced the Demons in front back a few steps. Regardless of the numbers facing her and those still appearing, Trish ran. Whether that was past the Demons or straight through them, she simply didn't stop moving. They swiped at her but she felt nothing. She swung wildly, knocking them out of her way and stepping on those that had fallen. She reached the doorway and with a hand on each side of the archway she flung herself inside. The force at which she propelled herself into the room was enough to turn the Sloth that she collided with into nothing more than sand. She screamed again. Her clawed fingers ripped the torso of the next Demon to attack. She couldn't even distinguish them anymore. Everything was a whirlwind of colour and shapes and noise.

Until there was nothing more coming at her. No more blades and snarls, no more screams. She stood there panting for a moment before she turned to view her surroundings. The room had probably been an expensive suite back when the building had been a hotel; judging from the décor that had been sometime in the sixties.

A gun cocked and Trish spun to locate the sound. A bloodied Lady stood with Holly behind her and Darren lying at her feet, a semi-automatic was pointed straight at the blonde's face.

Trish stared in momentary confusion at the distrust on Lady's features.

"What are you doing?" She asked. But the voice didn't match her-own. It was hollow and sent chills of fear up her spine. Lady's eyes scanned her critically. Trish frowned and looked down at her hands, but instead of carefully manicured nailed and her usual red polish, there were a set of claws. Black claws. She wiggled her fingers and watched in morbid fascination, and a little horror, as the talon tipped digits responded accordingly.


At the sound of the voice her energy sapped and she slumped to her knees. She watched her hands flicker back and heard Lady's muttered curses along with Vergil's cruel laugh.

"It would seem there's a little more Demon in there than I thought." The blue Devil snickered somewhat offhandedly.

Dante turned on him instantly.

"Vergil, you open your mouth one more time and I'll SHUT YOU UP!" He roared; an unearthly red glow momentarily consuming his eyes.

Vergil clamped down the retort that bubbled on his lips and almost made it out, but wisely he kept quiet. He'd never heard Dante raise his voice. Not in anger. Frustration, maybe. But never anger. The Devil couldn't even recall the last time that Dante had even been properly angry. His red clad twin was usually so good at laughing things off with a smart comment or brushing it aside with a disinterested glare.

A whimper snapped Dante's head back around and his eyes locked on the little blonde child peeking out from behind a drained looking Lady. Lady now sat clutching the still form of her son as close as she could. It wasn't possible to tell from her expression if her son was injured or worse. She looked totally blank. Thinner and frailer than ever. Nobody would ever guess that this Human had cut her way through the Demons at a speed that had put the sons of Sparda to shame.

The frozen expression on the Huntress' face cracked and morphed into one of astute horror and sorrow. When she started rocking the boy's form in her lap, Vergil turned away. It was so stark an example of suffering that he couldn't bare to look at it. It wrenched at something in him and his gut tightened. An ever growing reminder of his rediscovered Humanity.

He didn't even need to see the blood pooling underneath the still form to know that without a shadow of a doubt, the boy was gone.