A/N: When's the third Devil May Cry 3 manga coming out? It's driving me nuts.

Disclaimer: DMC owned by Capcom

Devil May Cry: Genesis

Chapter 6

Isabel wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and smiled, staring down Dante over the long blade pointed at her throat. She seemed confident, defiant, like she assumed that Dante's threat against her life was a bluff. The demoness was not aware that Dante never bluffed against demons.

"If you wanted it rough, all you had to do was ask, sweetness." Isabel arched an eyebrow suggestively.

"You workin' with Phoenix? This supposed to be a trap?" Dante pushed the blade further, making it press against her peach colored skin. "Cause if it is, I'm gonna see if your insides are as pretty as your outsides."

No answer came. Instead, Isabel lowered her eyes to Dante's sword and placed a finger on Rebellion, tracing its sharp edge. "This sword, I smell death on it. Many lives were taken with this. How curious though, that only the sorrow of demons covers this blade. There's not a single drop of human blood on it. Odd, considering that you yourself are a demon."

Dante frowned. He felt rather stupid trying to stand imposingly over her with the low ceiling of the limo forcing him to do a combination of bending over and crouching.

"Oh, excuse me. A half demon. I mistook the human smell on you as just you're prolonged exposure to them. Sometimes Phoenix has the same problem."

"So you do know him." Dante said. "You're a good actor. I almost believed your whole 'I don't know nothin' defense. So tell me, are you his main squeeze or somethin'?"

"There really isn't a title you could put on us. Sometimes we enjoy each others…company. Sometimes we meet for business. We demons need to stick together in these trying times."

"I hardly consider demons to be team players." Dante twisted the sword, causing a single droplet of blood to slowly ooze down her neck. "Now, what's this all about?"

During the discussion, Isabel had let her finger go up and down Rebellion in slow, sensual gestures. When her hand reached as close to the hilt of the sword as she could, she suddenly flicked her fingers at him, like she was trying to get water off her hand. A pinkish powder shot out, hitting Dante in the face. He squeezed his eyes shut and snapped his head back, like he had been punched. He wiped his face and spat. It stung like pepper, but no sneezing reaction came.

"What the fuck was…was…" Dante instantly felt lethargic. He could not feel his arms and legs. He attempted to keep his balance but gave up and let himself flop into the seat behind him. His hand maintained a death grip on his sword, but his arm felt disconnected, out of order. He slouched, almost falling over on his side. His brain short circuited. He could feel, but thinking was like trying to slosh through ankle deep mud. When he told his body to do something, it responded by staying inert.

Isabel crawled on top of him, smiling, gloating. She ran her finger up her neck, soaking the thin trail of dark red. The finger was then plunged into her mouth, the wound already gone. "That was the first time someone's made me bleed in over two centuries." She licked her finger and then used it to trace to outline of Dante's lips. "I believe that's worth something."

Dante blinked, fighting to keep awake.

"Demons come in all shapes and sizes, Dante. Some feed off flesh, some don't eat at all. Me? I get my nourishment from the essence of men." She smoothed his hair. "I get men excited, passionate, aroused to the point of their ultimate climax, and then," She snapped her fingers. "I don't kill them. I could get away with one or two, but no one can hide a trail of bodies for as long as I've been around. Besides, dead clients tend to get a girl branded." Her breath tickled Dante's face when she leaned closer. She spoke more intimately. "According to my customers, it's the best feeling, better than actual sex. We both leave happy. It's the perfect crime."

She tapped his nose like a child. "But you're probably wondering more about what I just did to you. I may be a demon, but my power doesn't come from physical strength. I have little tricks, ways to protect myself and capture my prey. I can release certain powders from under my nails." One of her hands came in front of Dante's face. Her perfectly manicured nails inches from his eyes. "I prefer aphrodisiacs. I can get any man I want, instead of waiting for disgusting ones to come to me. But today I went with a sedative type. Phoenix told me you can be a bit rambunctious."

Dante's hand slapped against hers, gripping it like a vice. Isabel gasped, jolted back. Dante strained every muscle in his body and tried to sit up. He learned that she could perform her parlor trick with both hands as a second pink cloud struck him. Dante coughed, sputtered, and shook his head. The numbness was cranked up a notch. He could not even feel his clothes. He slumped back into his seat with the grace of a corpse

"Amazing." Isabel whispered. "Normally, someone shouldn't be able to lift their little finger after one shot. But, then again, I never tried it on another demon before."

The sleep that he fought against became nuclear armed. He could feel the consciousness fluttering away.

"Phoenix might be a killer nowadays, but back then, he was a proud warrior. He still has his honor. Which is why he went to such trouble to bring you to him. A place where you two can fight to your heart's content. One on one." She leaned against him, getting herself comfortable. "But, he thought it would be tragic if he killed you without you knowing the touch of a woman. Too bad you had to be naughty." She shrugged. "Oh well. You'll just have to rest the entire trip. And don't worry about any side effects. When you wake up, you'll be right as rain." She snaked her arms around his neck and laid her head on his shoulder. "I'll keep you warm. Hate for you to catch a cold."

Dante mouthed the words 'Get off me, bitch' to no avail and slipped into the warm embrace of sleep.

--

Dante shot up and blinked the sleep out of his eyes. He twisted his head around, gathering information to formulate where the hell he was. His memory came roaring back: the mindless walking, the hot babe in the limo, the hot babe turning into a demon, her version of a night cap, and now this. He moved his body around, seeing if there was anything a miss. His joints, muscles, and bones felt fine. She had been right, he felt fine, better than fine. He felt like he just woke up from a good night's sleep.

The demoness was gone. He could not feel the vibrations of a moving vehicle, leading him to conclude that he had arrived at wherever the hell he was supposed to go. Rebellion lay beside him, propped against the leather seat with care. He grabbed its hilt just as the car door popped open.

"We're here, sir." A voice called from nearby.

Dante carefully got out, expecting a trap. The limousine was parked in the center of a junkyard. He was surrounded by mini skyscrapers of scraped cars and trucks. The wrecking equipment and vehicles stood silent, dead. Further down he saw unorganized heaps of mangled machines and broken parts. Tire tracks from large wheeled vehicles criss crossed the dirt. Floodlights on thick poles of pure oak lit up the area with tiny winged insects swarming near the base of the industrial, high powered light bulbs. It was pure dark outside the junkyard, the stars blotted out by the lights.

The voice that called him out was the limo driver. The man stood attentive and crisp, one hand on the latch of the door. His uniform was too formal, black and pressed, brass buttons and white gloves. The black, shiny brim of his driver's cap shielded his eyes. The only notable characteristic was his thin mustache. Dante could not tell if the man was human or another demon. His senses did not flare up, but that only meant either the man was human or a demon too weak to cause harm.

"Finally up? I was afraid that I used too much." Isabel stood a few yards away, snug in a short grey and brown mink coat. "You ready?"

Dante slugged his sword over his shoulder. "Always."

"Follow me then." She turned and began walking further into the junkyard.

The walk was not far, pillars of cars still surrounded them. The entire place was deserted of any form of life. Even the insects seemed to steer clear of the area he and the demoness entered.

"This is the place." Isabel announced and turned to face Dante. "I'll leave you now. If you win, we'll be waiting to take you home."

Dante recognized the light hearted tone in her voice. She had no expectation of him actually winning. But Dante did not care, although if they took off without him, he would have a hard time finding his own way back home. She bent down, gave him a peck on the cheek, and went back the way they came.

"Good luck." She called from behind him. He listened as her footsteps grew softer before disappearing altogether.

Things were too quiet, too calm. There were hardly any sounds, no animals scurrying, no junk yard dogs barking, no buzzing of bugs, no rumbling of engines, not even wind, just the hum of the flood lights. It made Dante uncomfortable. He was used to the mindless drone of the city. He was out of his element, alone in someone else's backyard. If Phoenix used the junkyard before, he had the home field advantage. Dante brushed off the feeling.

"Scared?"

Dante looked up. Phoenix stood on one of the taller pillars of cars. His sword, Freya, was planted into the crushed rooftop of what once was a green 1970's sedan. A floodlight hit his back, creating the illusion that he was made of pure blackness. Dante put his hand up as a shield and squinted.

"Me? Scared?" Dante chuckled. "Nah. Just anxious to put your ass in the ground and go home. It's almost past my bedtime."

"Did Isabel treat you well? I hope you two got along."

"You mean your love toy? Not my type. I prefer my woman not to be spawn from hell. Call me picky."

"Your loss." Phoenix yanked Freya free and pointed it at Dante. "Have you made your peace yet?"

"You know what's best about you arrogant guys is? The face you make when I break ya in two."

Dante expected a dramatic stare down, but the lights made it impossible to see Phoenix's face. Instead, the assassin acted, jumping off the car tower and coming down on Dante like a dive bomber. Freya flashed, leaving behind a trail of light behind it. Dante recognized the attack, the same one used to lop off Razakel's arm. Dante flipped away just as Phoenix struck, splitting the earth open. Once he got to his feet, Dante preformed a move he called The Stinger. He rocketed forward, sliding along the ground, and stabbed his sword at his opponent. Phoenix, however, was faster than Dante had predicted. The Devil Warrior had already out of the path of the attack. Fast, but not fast enough, Phoenix was still too close to Dante, leaving no room to use his sword properly. Like a true warrior, Phoenix was not limited to one weapon and struck Dante with a left hook. Dante spun from the hit and used the momentum to slash his sword in a surprise attack. Phoenix parried the attack easily.

Both combatants backed off. Phoenix tightened the fist he used to strike Dante, cracking the small bones in his hand. It appeared that Phoenix wore his sunglasses during the night as well.

Dante knew that this was not going to be a fight he could breeze through like all the others, but that did not mean he was not prepared. In fact he had counted on a certain detail that he had picked up about Phoenix. He was killing humans only, which meant that while the Devil Warrior was busy killing nobody's for cash, Dante was honing his skills against things that were a bit tougher than some goon with a gun.

Still, Phoenix was around for a few centuries. That had to amount to something.

Phoenix was suddenly upon him, Freya already in motion. Dante reacted, exchanging numerous sword swipes and parries in a matter of moments. Phoenix snuck a kick in, connecting with Dante's stomach. A second, more powerful kick sent Dante into one of the car pillars. Dante managed to stay on his feet. Again, Phoenix had Dante dead in his sights, swinging his sword with the force of a cyclone. Rebellion became a shield and took the attack straight on, flinging Dante back into the pillar.

The pillar swayed, groaned and creaked, and finally fell over. Phoenix was out of the hazard area in an instant. Dante rolled away, with a mere nano-second to spare. Flattened cars cascaded down like toys falling out of a toddler's grasp. A wide, flat heap of obsolete and crappy cars, trucks, and vans stood between the two demons as a buffer. Both of them knew that none of their abilities would be affected by it.

"Is this it?" Phoenix yelled. "Is this all the son of Sparda has to offer?"

"I was about to say the same thing to you." Dante replied. "If all you can land is a love tap here and there, then coming here was a waste."

"Ah, the wise cracks. I already know your attacks, Dante. You're too brash, too wild. No technique at all."

"It's my style, man. Not that you know anything about style."

Phoenix shook his head disappointedly and leveled Freya at Dante. Accepting the invitation, Dante launched himself at the assassin. Bounding over the cars like a ninja hopping across the calm surface of a lake, he slashed at Phoenix. Freya clanged against Rebellion, causing blue-ish sparks that sprayed wildly into the night and cast surreal flickers. Dante landed behind the Devil Warrior and lashed out again. Another rapid fire volley of sword exchanges ensued. At first, Dante was about to move his head out of the way of a fist he saw Phoenix form, but something deep inside warned him that it was not the real threat.

A kick stabbed the air, missing Dante who spun out of the danger zone. He completed his spin by stabbing his sword into Phoenix's gut. The blade ruptured out his back. Phoenix gagged in surprise, blood bursting from his mouth. In one swift move, Dante placed his black Doc Martin on Phoenix's chest and pushed off, completing two objectives. One, ripping his sword out of his opponent before he could retaliate and two, using the strength of his push, putting a flying leap's worth of distance between them.

With the sword gone, Phoenix doubled over in pain, grasping his chest. Dante glanced at his sword, seeing it covered in blood, demon blood. Isabel had been right, not once had he claimed the life of a human and he would be damned if that would change. His beef was with demon kind, not man.

A roar of gunfire drew his complete attention. Things tore into his body, pain overwhelmed his senses. He fell on one knee, gasping, panting. Small holes had appeared on his shirt. Phoenix, back in an upright posture, held a smoking Mac-11 sub machine gun. The black vest had a fresh tear from Rebellion, a few centimeters from his heart.

"Close, boy." Phoenix half-smiled. "But close doesn't cut it."

The stinging pain vanished, Dante's healing kicked into full gear. He stood back up.

"I saw that regular bullets don't work too well on you, so I came with something different." Phoenix rearranged his fingering on the handle to secure it better. "Hollow-point rounds. Leave exit wounds the size of grape fruits. Probably won't kill ya by themselves, but I'm betting that it hurts like hellfire."

"I've had worse." Dante said like he was insulted at the idea of being injured so easily.

Another burst came from the gun. Dante darted away and ran up a pillar of cars, bounding up and over the top to put himself on the other side, out of the line of fire. A few stray rounds managed to connect, but they did not slow him down. Dante planted his back against the pillar, catching his breath.

The sword fight had become a gun battle, leaving Dante with a bit of a predicament. Guns were something Dante had little experience with, aside from getting shot with them. He had used a gun before, during a job that involved clearing out a drug lord's cocaine lab. The job went south fast, there were more guards than his client told him, all armed to the teeth. He managed to snag a dropped knock off version of a Russian pistol and planned to fire off a few shots. Unfortunately, tense as he was, the gun crumbled in his hand. Human guns were not designed to be held by the super human strength of a demon.

Phoenix seemed able to apply a gentler touch with the projectile weapons.

Something landed on the pillar. Dante snapped his head up to see Phoenix looking down on him, the Mac-11 at the ready. However, instead of opening up, Phoenix had to take a step back and arch himself away before the point of Rebellion skewered his head. Dante had thrown the weapon to buy time, now he had to act. In an instant, Dante scaled the pillar with a few strategic jumps, and grabbed hold of Phoenix's gun arm at the wrist, obstructing the assassin's ability to aim. With one punch the gun shattered like a cheap plastic toy.

Another gun emerged from Phoenix's coat, a revolver, Smith & Wesson, .44 caliber. He grabbed Dante by his neck and jammed the large barrel into his stomach. Without thinking, Dante had jabbed his thumb at the hammer, holding it back so the gun could not discharge. His other hand shot out and hit Phoenix in the throat, knocking in his Adam's apple. With his air passage way blocked, Phoenix held his throat, choking. With the revolver in his possession, Dante turned it on his enemy and fired. One shot struck Phoenix's shoulder, the other in his chest. By the third shot, Dante squeezed the trigger too tightly, pulling the trigger mechanism loose, ruining the gun.

The gun was released and fell from the pillar. Freya almost cleaved Dante had he not jumped off the pillar. It appeared Phoenix's disability was only temporary. Landing back onto dirt, Dante did a quick scan of the area, trying to spot his sword. He lost track of it after throwing it, absorbed in something a bit more pressing. The 'snapping his fingers' trick would not work, he needed to know where the sword was in order for it to return to him.

Phoenix plummeted like a meteor and kicked up a curtain of dust when he struck dirt. Emerging from the cloud in a deliberately slow pace, the assassin held his sword off to the side, the half-moon tip barely an inch from the ground.

The fight had gone from bad, to about even, before it plummeted to worse case scenario. Phoenix came with more than one weapon. Dante, on the other hand, only had his sword which at that current moment in time was unavailable. He was unarmed, and worse yet, clueless on what to do next.

So he took off. Some people might have called it cowardice, but only an idiot would fight someone with a sword and who knew how many guns with their bare hands. Besides, he was not running away, he needed to find his sword.

Whether Phoenix was chasing him or not he did not know, he never looked back. He bounded over a pillar, and then began weaving between them to keep low to the ground. The floodlights above were eclipsed by the tall, raggedy towers of cars and only shined unto Dante between the vertical gaps of two separate towers.

After rounding a car pillar, Dante screeched to a halt. A large fence made of upright, thick, dark wooden planks blocked his path. The planks were easily over eight feet tall and topped with spirals of barbed wire. At first, Dante thought about hopping over the fence, but if his hunch was right about the place, it was in the middle of fucking nowhere and the last thing he needed to do was get himself lost.

Something rammed him from behind, sending him through the fence like a canon ball. Dante rolled on to his back. His hunch was right. Outside was a rolling plain of shrubs and desert sand. The dark peaks of mountain tops were barely visible along the horizon. There were no roads, signs, or anything that resembled civilization anywhere he could see. The limousine would be his only ticket home.

One he would win.

"Running away is what children do when they start losing a fight." Phoenix stepped through the hole Dante's body made. "But, then again, you are a child."

He seized Dante by his hair, hoisted him off his feet, and slammed him back in the dirt with bone crushing force.

"Still, your father would spin in his grave if he saw you like this." Phoenix pulled Dante back up.

Dante answered him by kicking him squarely in the crotch. No matter how powerful a man or demon was, a nut shot always brought them down.

To Phoenix's credit, he did not scream like a little girl. Instead he made a shallow grunt. His knees almost buckled, but the assassin did not falter, nor did he let go. If Phoenix was only irritated with Dante before, he had to be flown blown pissed by then. With a fiery yell, Phoenix spun Dante around twice before tossing him into the air.

If Phoenix ever played baseball, he could put holes into the other team, literally. He might as well have stuffed Dante into an artillery cannon and blasted him back into the junkyard. The pillars of cars whizzed bellow him. The wind whistled through Dante's ears. He twisted his body with the wind, righting himself so he had a chance of landing on his feet instead of headfirst into a hunk of steel that was once an automobile.

He succeeded, both of his feet touched down. The force, however, kept him going. He tumbled along the ground before switching to a stance resembling a baseball player sliding into home plate. Lose dirt and pebbles went up his pant legs. He stood and brushed himself off.

He was back in the center of the junkyard. In fact, the pillar where he wrestled the revolver away from Phoenix stood in front of him. And on the top of the pillar was Rebellion, pierced in the top car like a flag on top of a mountain. It must have come back down after Dante made a break for it.

Soon, Dante had his sword back into his hand with a snap of his fingers. He turned around to see Freya a foot from his face and closing. With gritted teeth, Dante brought Rebellion up just in time to deflect the blade. A few things rushed through Dante's mind. One, Phoenix seemed to have the ability to mask his presence to Dante. That was the second time the assassin had sneaked up on him without his senses picking him up. Two, he had relaxed his grip on Rebellion as he thought he had more time to think before he had to make himself battle ready. And three, he was right again, Phoenix looked down right furious.

Rebellion spun away from Dante and planted itself in the dirt, too far away to make a dive for. Without waiting for Phoenix's next move, Dante charged him. He changed his mind quickly when he stared down the barrel of another, larger gun in Phoenix's clutches. Dante stopped and fell away in one motion when the gun fired. The projectile whizzed above Dante's head. The gun was a shotgun, a Remington with the barrel and the stock sawed off to make it smaller and easier to carry. Phoenix pumped the gun, sending a lone, red, spent shell spinning away and pointed it, one handed, at Dante who was still on the ground.

"Now, you die." Phoenix growled.

"Ah, you're not mad about the boot to your grapes, are ya?" Dante smiled. "I think one of them got squashed. I'm sure it's healed by now, although it might sting for a few days when ya piss."

Phoenix snarled and squeezed the trigger. Dante leg popped up and knocked the gun barrel at a different target. The pillar behind him was peppered harmlessly. Dante sprung up, ducked a punch, and rammed his head into Phoenix's gut. The Devil Warrior flew back a few feet with a surprised yell, releasing the scatter gun from his grip.

Dante snapped his fingers. Rebellion vibrated, working itself loose form the ground and spun back to Dante's hand. The assassin was on his feet already, Freya in hand.

A tense moment ticked by, both combatants frozen in place, staring each other down, daring the other to make the first move. Phoenix took a page from Dante's playbook and threw his sword. It also appeared that Phoenix had his own spin to the move. Dante had thrown his blade like a spear. Phoenix turned Freya into a buzz saw. The large sword shredded the ground under it, leaving a jagged gash, as it raced at Dante.

Dante rolled out of its path. Just as he returned to his feet, Phoenix was there, in front of him, with a kick in delivery, just as Dante predicted. The Remington Dante scooped up was pressed onto Phoenix's chest and unloaded a 12-gauge round. Phoenix flopped on his back, clutching the bloody pulp that was once his rib cage. His hat rolled along the ground like a loose coin before it tipped itself over.

Before Dante pumped the shotgun, he remembered his past experience with using guns, and carefully put a fresh shell in the chamber.

Phoenix propped himself up on an elbow, coughing and sputtering, forcing himself to breath. Blood flowed out of his mouth. A cough became a pain filled chuckle before turning into a full blown laugh.

"I don't…believe it." Phoenix smiled with blood stained teeth. "Either you're…a lot better…than I thought…or you have…the Devil's luck."

"I like to think it's a little of both." Dante raised the shotgun.

Phoenix slowly stood, securing his footing so not to fall over. He still held on to his chest. "How 'bout…we kick things up…a notch?"

The sunglasses came off by a shaky hand, revealing fiery orange eyes. In a flash of fire, Phoenix was replaced with another figure, his true form. It was larger, almost twice Phoenix's human form. Its armor was brightly hued, the color of a forest fire, the plating carved out a muscular form. Large wings folded out with feathers made of flame. The wings stretched out the length of the limousine Dante rode in. The helmet was sleek and aerodynamic, like the head of an Eagle. It had a sharp, bright, metal beak and empty orange eyes.

Just as quickly as it appeared, it was gone. Dante looked around, trying to locate it. He became cautious, gripping Rebellion tighter. Suddenly, something yellow clamped down on his head and crisply yanked him off his feet. Dante found himself rocketing up, like a small animal strapped onto a large firecracker. The yellow thing was actually a pair of gigantic, talon-tipped, metal bird feet. The talons were shaped like curved hunting knives and had dug into Dante's neck and shoulders. The junkyard rapidly shrunk underneath him.

The feet released him after bringing Dante a good mile into the air. The momentum kept Dante speeding straight up before gravity kicked in. In the air, Dante was screwed. Phoenix began his aerial assault by flying past Dante, delivering a devastating punch or kick, and then swoop away only to turn around and repeat the process. The teen tried to defend himself, but Phoenix was far stronger and faster in his true form, even more so in the air.

The shotgun and sword slipped away from Dante. Phoenix soared higher, moved above Dante, and then screamed down on the youth, piercing his chest with his beak. The g-force almost made Dante lose consciousness. Phoenix began to corkscrew, leaving a helix of flame behind him. They landed on a car pillar, cleaving through it like an axe on a piece of lumber. The top half of the pillar slit apart and fell like lead flower petals.

Dante felt dizzy, painful, and weak. He laid on the bottom car, the edges folded up like a hotdog bun thanks to the attack. He tried to push himself up, but hot pain jabbed his senses. Blood fought its way up his throat. Phoenix hovered over him a few yards in the air, his wings motionless. Freya was back in his hand.

"You're a tough little shit." Phoenix said. His voice was deeper, harsher. "But you will not survive a second attack."

The demon zoomed to the sky, preparing for another dive bomb. Dante made one more attempt to get up, but his arms felt like dead weights, his whole body brittle like glass.

"Shit." Dante croaked. "Not good. Now what?"

He was about to lose. He never lost before, ever. They say losing builds character, but in the crime world, it meant death. The color around him drained away, replaced with a dim black and white. He closed his eyes, feeling tired.

Dante

His eye twitched.

Dante, wake up!

Muscles tightened.

You cannot die! You must live!

The dizziness ebbed. The pain vanished.

For me, Dante! Fight! Win!

Dante's eyes shot open.

"Mom?"

Red energy crackled around him, enveloping him in an angry glow. Rebellion was somehow in his hand. He thrust it out and connected with the tip of Freya. He stopped Phoenix cold. Searing heat made both blade tips glow and release steam. The demon hung in the air, it was hard to read its emotions with its helmet on, but Dante was positive that it was surprised as hell.

"Wh…what the fuck is this?" Phoenix sputtered and put more force behind his sword only to find himself still at an impasse. "How can this be-"

Dante pushed the blade away and jumped at Phoenix. With one clean swing, he removed the demon's head. The damage Dante suffered during the fight simply evaporated as he felt nothing restricting him. In fact he felt powerful, unbeatable. Phoenix must not have seen him, as the demon made no attempt to dodge or defend.

The jump was more powerful than Dante had anticipated. He felt light and moved through the air like he was caught in the wind. Phoenix's body hit the earth before Dante did.

Dante trembled slightly. He felt more than just power coursing through him, he felt anger, so absolute, that he could not feel anything else. His breathing was deep as he tried to calm himself. Things began to seem surreal. Where had the power come from? Who spoke to him? Was it his mother? Or had he finally snapped? Maybe he was still lying in the car, hallucinating from blood loss and waiting for Phoenix to finish him.

He heard a gasp. Isabel stood with an expression of utter disbelief. Dante was so used to seeing her with a seductive, confident smile. To witness anything else destroyed her mystique.

"Phoenix…" She whispered solemnly. "You…you killed him."

"No shit." Dante could not stop frowning. "He wanted a fight to the death. Who am I to disappoint him?"

Her shock turned into a snarl. She bared her white teeth. "You bastard! You killed him! He and I were…were…." Her nails suddenly grew out like switchblades. She charged him, half flying along the ground. "I'll rip your tongue out, you-"

Something cold and sharp whizzed past her head, brushing against her hair. She froze, her heart skipped a beat. Again, a stunned look came across her. Dante had pierced the air next to her head.

He did not see himself as fast. Everything else seemed to go slower. When the demoness charged, she was moving slowly, at least in his eyes, like she was underwater. He could have punctured her skull easily, killed her. But he did not. He felt so angry, but something inside him did not want to kill anymore. He wanted to go home.

Isabel fell to her knees, the sword followed her down. She looked deep into his eyes, terrified beyond words, too scared to use her stun powder. Dante's menacing glare willed her to give up.

"Please…don't kill me." Isabel pleaded, shivering with fright. "Please."

Dante removed the sword and put it on his shoulder. The red energy that enshrouded him dissipated. He spun around, trotted off to a lone crushed car, and sat down. He placed Rebellion off to the side. He needed a moment to catch his breath and control his emotions. Feelings came spewing up from deep within him, feelings he had long forgotten.

A sensation of someone standing in front of him tingled his brain. He looked up to see Isabel with a very serious expression.

"The hell you want?" Dante growled.

"You spared me." She dropped to a knee and took his hand. "I am yours now."

Dante blinked, than roughly yanked his hand away. "I don't want you. Go away."

"Dante. My kind, we are set adrift in a sea of passion and lust in order to lure our prey. We need an anchor, someone who we can be close to without using out powers, so we are not swept away. Someone special that we call our 'cherished'. Phoenix was my cherished. But now that he is…dead, I will befall the fate of others who did not have cherished ones, driven mad by the powerful emotions that swallow us whole. I need a cherished. I need you."

"I don't fucking care. Now beat it."

"There is a benefit for you. My body and soul, they will be yours, whenever you want. If you need affection, I will give it to you. If you need physical comfort, I will please you. All I need in return is for you to be there for me as well."

"Oh, grow a spine, for Christ sake." Dante stood and grabbed his sword. "You need to learn to stand on your own two feet."

"I told you what will happen to me if I remain alone." She followed him with her eyes. "And I'm not looking for a hand out."

Dante stopped and turned his head to the headless body of Phoenix. "You're some piece of work, babe. Your old boy toy's body ain't even cold yet and you're already trying to latch on to someone else."

"Phoenix was my cherished for over a century. I can't even try to explain how our bond felt. I will miss him…but I did not control his life. He chose to fight you and this was its outcome."

Isabel tightly gripped her hands together. She looked at the ground with a heart wrenching look.

"I wish I could cry for him, but I can't."

"Devil's don't cry." Dante somberly replied. "I know for a fact."

"But you're only half-demon. Haven't you ever cried?"

Dante paused before he answered. "Never."

Another moment passed that made Dante grow uncomfortable. "Look, I don't know how this whole 'cherished' thing works, so you're gonna have to explain it to me." He resumed his heading for the limousine. "You comin' or what?

Isabel smiled softly.

--

Aileen Sung oversaw the operation with her arms crossed as her men scurried about the junkyard. Men in biohazard suits surrounded Phoenix's body and sword, conducting scans and taking samples. The high beams from black government issued cars and SUVs turned the junkyard into a blinding field of light.

Her agents reported Dante leaving in a limousine with a demoness that had known connections with Phoenix. She ordered an immediate surveillance unit to pursue, but not intervene. Dante said he could win, despite her warnings. Besides, she did not have to adequate 'resources' herself to take on the late Devil Warrior.

A new female walked by Alieen. Her ebony hair came to her shoulders. She took a long drag and exhaled without moving her cigarette. Her cappuccino skin contrasted her white tank top.

"Phoenix was the number one demon in this area, been around for centuries, killed countless people." Aileen informed. "Held the title of Devil Warrior."

The other woman huffed an amused sound. "Hell of a way to get dethroned. Kid packs a mean punch."

"Indeed. I believe that we've underestimated him."

The other woman straightened her leather jacket, trying to ward off the cold. "The kid looks like he can take care of himself, why does he need me?"

"The Russian and Chinese mobs will move against Benezetti soon once they hear of Phoenix's fall. The Don won't go down without a fight, though. He'll throw everything he has at them. No doubt Hong and Mayakovsky will illicit Dante's services again. He'll need all the help he can get. Especially when he finds out about the Don's daughter."

"What about her?"

Aileen did not answer, instead changing the subject. "Cathy, do you know why I chose you for this assignment?"

"Because, for some ungodly reason, you enjoy seeing me suffer?" Cathy turned her head and spat out her used up cigarette.

"Because you are one of our best and what better way for our new employee to learn the ropes than to learn from you?"

Cathy smiled. "Flattery will get you nowhere."

"Just get him ready." Aileen turned to leave. "I'm sure you two will get along fine."