Although I am pleased when someone favorites a story, I do wonder why and get frustrated when nothing is said. Don't be put off by where you are in the story or if English is not your native language. It doesn't matter to me and shouldn't to you. I put a lot of time and effort into my writing so I'd like to hear from you any time - especially since your feedback is the ONLY payment I receive for my hard work.


What Did You Say Your Name Was Again?

Terrified out of her wits while scrambling to gather them together, Kyrie stood in front of what appeared to be a massive dark mahogany door flanked by two hulking guards. However, this was no ordinary door.

Behind what she assuredly thought must be magically reinforced thick wood lay a being of the most deadliest kind - a being she was too soon to confront.

Thinking of her lost brother and Nero, both warriors of the highest caliber, she remained outwardly composed. The screams slicing her like razor-sharp shards of broken glass were locked in the deepest part of herself.

Kyrie determined these evil men would never break her. Holding fast to Nero's image, she kept her head up and eyes focused straight ahead.

...

After the unspeakable events eight months ago, Nero had taken her in hand when she had felt shattered and violated on every level. He'd explained everything he knew to her and had insisted on teaching her self-defense - often with laughable results.

Although Kyrie was familiar with violence, she, herself, seemed incapable of intentionally harming anyone. But under Nero's relentless tutelage, she'd uncovered a strength she never realized she possessed.

He had insisted she was strong when she doubted herself. He'd told her over and over how astounding she'd been inside the pit of Hell. She hadn't cried, she hadn't screamed, she hadn't broken down, but had, instead, remained calm - focused on her love, and belief in him, Nero.

In fact, he insisted her first instinct to protect, even at the expense of her own life, showed her courage. Hadn't she broken away from him to run to Credo's aid and, though she hadn't known who he was at the time, into the very frightening, awesome, Dante, son of the Dark Knight Sparda? (Immobilized by the sight of the ruthless warrior hovering over her with cold, speculative eyes and a huge broadsword, she'd only been able to move at Nero's command.)

And, Nero pointed out, afterward, hadn't she covered a crying child with her own body to shield him from the demonic Scarecrows in the thick of battle with him?

Inwardly sighing, Kyrie thought it really all came back to Nero. He was her strength. As long Nero existed, Kyrie could do the undoable.

Causing Nero no end of worry and frustration, Kyrie couldn't change her self-sacrificing nature. So he had decided to work with her strengths. She learned to carefully and calmly heed her uncanny insight which had grown substantially after her "merging" with the demonic core and Nero within the grisly "Savior" statue. Nero taught her how to use her talent for detail to study and observe her surroundings and those within.

He showed her simple self-defense techniques along with some training on how to fire a gun - forget any sword play. After watching her with the blade, Nero had put his foot down on Kryie using THAT weapon, but still had hopes she could become more comfortable and proficient at the shooting range.

Knowing her sweet disposition and countenance wasn't going to go away, Nero drilled into her to use it to her advantage. He had explained an enemy would be taken in by her seemingly docile nature and reveal weaknesses to her. In reality, he constantly bemoaned Kyrie was as stubborn as a mule with a streak of steel a mile wide. Having hauled her out of one hair-raising scrape after another, he should know.

Kyrie took pride in the way Nero was thoroughly convinced she was strong and smart. She swore not to let him down. Marveling at his ingenious, unorthodox battle tactics, Kyrie discovered, so far, he'd been right on the mark.

Her captors, who had waited until she was alone in the house (Nero never left her side if she wanted or needed to go out), had attacked in force. The mercenaries had shot her with a drugged dart to knock her out before taking her to a secret fortress. She had awoken in a plain room containing the bare essentials and a bathroom.

By remaining docile and silent even when her blood boiled at being manhandled, she had learned quite a bit, and none of it sounded good. Evidently, she was given special treatment compared to other women who'd also been kidnapped. Packed together, they were placed in one room while waiting for the hideous fate of mating with a demon - that is if they could entice one to do so.

Unfortunately, she too was selected for this fate.

Apparently, the new leader of the Order, a man named Brom, had singled her out for an exceptionally powerful demon of some stature. From what Kyrie could discern, this particular demon was extremely picky and they had yet to find a "pure" woman he would accept. Brom had come up with the brilliant idea of offering Kyrie to the Devil.

Not only had she the sorry distinction of having been abducted by Sanctus to "become one" with the Savior, (which had to make her special in their eyes) she was also attached to the strongest half devil in the city. After all, Nero had destroyed the Savior statue containing a created hellish world.

Kyrie discovered she'd been watched by the Order as she had gone about helping rebuilding the city and its populace ever since it gained new leadership. Hiring mercenaries to add to their army, the new leader had similar sinister obscene designs as the old, with an added, unforgivable, unthinkable twist in gaining demonic power or hybrids.

While looking for a window through Nero's vigilance to take her, they'd gotten wind he was on the verge of formally proposing to her. Amazed Kyrie was virginal after eight months of living with a male half demon, these madmen saw her as a high prize for Nero to take such a long time to woo her. Yet, if Nero proposed, and Kyrie accepted, all bets were off. So mercenaries had moved in on her before any "damage" could be done.

The fortunate part of this kind of reasoning meant she was treated with kid gloves, unlike the other poor captured women.

Kyrie refused to think of it but based upon what she had heard, she was pretty sure they had physically examined her to be certain she retained her innocence. The only blessing was she'd been unconscious at the time. Kyrie had heard the men laughing about using a different drug which rendered its victim immobile but still allowed them to retain their senses while being "examined."

Her stomach churned imagining those women's humiliating degradation - especially if they were found to be lacking the essential requirement. They weren't released, but given to either the mercenaries selling the women to the organization, the guards, or other demons to do with as they wanted. If they were "intact," they were routinely abused, and often killed if they repeatedly failed their assignment.

Kyrie had barely repressed a shudder when she heard this bit of news. Remaining quiet and polite while in the company of others, once alone, she would lock herself in the bathroom to silently vent, weep, or vomit in private.

...

Now came her turn to face the music.

Bathed and dressed carefully in an elegant gown of hammered copper to accent her eyes and hair, her shoulders had been left bare with shimmering tight sleeves around her upper arms, reaching past her elbows. The plunging bodice alone was enough to scandalize her.

Hair combed out in a simple, free style, her face was painted with the lightest of cosmetics to make her already thick lashes longer and her golden brown eyes bigger. Kyrie's mouth was pinkened and made plumper. Blush was added, bringing color to her pale cheeks. She'd been dusted with sparkling power on her face, neck, shoulders and chest. The ensemble was completed with a pair of dainty, low heeled slippers.

The only undergarment she wore was silk, high-cut panties, matching the color of the gown, leaving Kyrie feeling exposed beneath a dress covering her from breast to toe. Supposing this was the latest in chic fashion, and not particularly flattered or comfortable to be wearing it, she was told this particular Demon Lord was into elegance and insisted on only the highest quality.

Despite herself, she was curious why this organization went out of its way to accommodate him. He must be very important to them indeed.

Rousing from her thoughts as she stood before the dreaded doorway, barely holding herself steady Kyrie's fear rocketed up a notch when she heard one of the guard's muttering he hoped he wouldn't find her as dead as the last several "offerings." Swallowing the urge to plead while suppressing the need to run, she watched the guard unlock the door and push it open.

Head up and back straight, her eyes were met by a palatial suite decorated in rich, dark blues and gold with gleaming wood floors covered with plush, exquisite tapestries and draped large windows. If she wasn't mistaken, there was a door leading to a large terrace.

Before she could dig in her heels, her upper arms were grasped and she was bodily lifted into the room (no way she would've have stepped one foot into the room on her own volition). Once inside the main room, the two guards bowed in the direction of a tall man lounging next to an impressive, tasteful, antique desk with an open book in his hands.

Wait. A man? Kyrie had seen her share of demons and never in her wildest imagination did she think they would be taking her to a demon who looked completely human.

Her thoughts chaotic behind her serene facade, she faintly heard one of the guard speak, "My Lord, we have brought you a present."

The man sighed, closed his book with an annoyed "thump" and asked in a masculine, bored tone, "And my dinner?"

"It is on it's way and should arrive shortly. Is there anything else you require?" was the response. With a tired, impatient shake of stylish, shimmering white hair, he waved them away with a languid hand. The guards backed out of the room, leaving her alone.

Deciding a little politeness may be in order, Kyrie gave him her most graceful bow of respect while holding thoughts of Nero close to her. If she was to die here, his was the last face she wanted within her. Kyrie had every confidence every evil person or demon involved with these atrocities were dead as soon as Nero came.

And he would come. She was sure of it and her surety was the only thing keeping her sane.

...

Vergil surveyed the human young woman bowing before him with weary irritation. Had these humans learned nothing? They were certainly a stubborn lot who never appeared to learn from history. His patience had grown thin.

He hadn't enjoyed killing the innocents sent to him, but he could no longer tolerate the inevitable ensuing drama. He had put up with one overwrought female after another until he could stand no more.

Did these people not realize he wasn't about to be mated? He had too much pride to give away his bloodline to insignificant humans. Lust was an emotion and bodily reaction he had conquered years ago.

In fact, Vergil counted on his strength of will - it had kept him alive through many dark years.

He was confident he could withstand anything these lunatics did to him. Hadn't he survived the tortures of Mundus? Nothing, Vergil was fairly certain, could compare with that demon's creative mind when it came to cruelty, torture and emotional manipulation.

Believing he'd finally escaped the barbarous world of Hell, only be captured by sadistic, delusional humans was really too much to take. The universal irony was obvious. Apparently, everyone wanted the powerful blood of Sparda, even if half diluted.

At this juncture of his life, Vergil wanted to be left alone, in peace, but again, he was met with an obstacle to surmount. And surmount he would, regardless if he had to die in the attempt to do so. Regrettably, he acknowledged with sardonic bitterness, he didn't die easily, making his task all the more arduous.

Eying the silent girl, Vergil did note her shimmering grace and innocence but remained unmoved. If anything he was doing her a favor by killing her painlessly rather than leaving her in the clutches of these vicious madmen.

The question remaining was whether to wait until after dinner or before. Deciding he wanted a quiet meal and to get it over with as quickly as possible, he rose and glided to the now upright young woman.

...

Kyrie finished her bow in time to see the man approach her. Having seen her brother and Nero in the same predatory mode, she knew what was coming. Taking a deep breath, she stared fixedly ahead, holding on to her composure for all she was worth. She would not disgrace herself, or Nero, by begging for her life. Intent on her inner struggle, she didn't focus on the man until he was directly in front of her. Lifting her chin, Kyrie met his eyes with hers.

Familiar, beloved, blue eyes filled her vision. Unintentionally, she breathed, "Nero?"

Vergil stopped for a moment as the youthful female said a variation of his demonic name. Slightly surprised, he could only conclude her captures must have passed it along to her in an attempt to "bond" with him. Satisfied with his reasoning, Vergil began to move forward again when Kyrie said something, which unbeknownst to her, saved her life. As her vision cleared and widened, she saw it was not Nero, but an older man closely resembling him.

Slender brows drawn together in astonished perplexity, Kryrie asked, incredulous, "Dante?"

At the mention of his twin's name, an involuntary, and unwanted, cascade of conflicting emotions thundered through Vergil.

Kyrie was exceeding lucky Vergil was not given to acting first and asking questions later. He rarely allowed his control to slip enough to waste the energy to lash out without careful deliberation. Lamentably, his brother was the one person who could cause him to lose his precious control (only one of the reasons Vergil resented Dante). He quickly stepped back before he did something he might regret.

Maintaining a cold veneer was so habitual to Vergil, Kyrie had no inkling of the tidal wave of turbulent, possibly violent, emotions she had unleashed with one simple name.

Vergil forced himself to think through the situation, looking for a trap. When he took a deep breath he could smell a very familiar distinctive scent permeating her skin. Unless his brother had changed radically in the years they'd been apart, there was no chance this innocent was Dante's type of female.

Yet she was steeped in the scent of his bloodline coming from a masculine source which meant this "Nero" she had mentioned must be the male attached to her.

Was there was another carrying the blood of his father? Did he have another brother?

Vergil rejected the idea. It was impossible his father had been unfaithful to his mother, but after her death, had he sought solace elsewhere?

No, Vergil didn't want to think of the possibility, because it would mean his long lost father had not made his very young sons a priority. He'd had too much honor to abandon his only offspring, hadn't he?

As incredible as it seemed, this young woman, almost a child in his eyes, held many mysteries pertaining to him and his family. If she was sent to entrap him in intrigue she would pay the price. Yet if she held knowledge learned by her own experiences, she could be an asset to him.

By the tentative smile alighting her face and the slightly relaxed stance, he could see she held this Nero and Dante (Vergil almost choked on Dante's name) in some esteem, maybe even affection.

His damn brother always seemed to make people fall in love with him with little to no effort, leaving Vergil confounded as to the reason - another thorn in his side. Why was Dante able to draw others to him when he was left out in the cold?

Of course Dante had taken the human path whereas Vergil had taken the demonic one. At the time, he'd decided it was better to reign in Hell than be one of the masses of feeble humans engrossed in their petty concerns swarming the land.

There was also the matter of both worlds coming after him because of who he was. It had seemed logical to assume if he could become the ruler of the Demon World, he'd be left mainly alone instead of constantly hunted, on the run, or fighting for his existence day in and day out.

Well, Vergil had to acknowledge Dante was no runner. He stood his ground and chose to fight which Vergil could admire on one hand while thinking it was a futile, tiring endeavor on the other.

...

"Do I look so much like Dante?" Vergil asked harshly.

Kyrie started in surprise and studied him while voicing her thoughts out loud in her gentle, soft voice. "Now that you mention it, your eyes are much more blue and your voice is deeper than I remember, so, therefore, you... You are... You are not Lord Dante?" she fumbled.

Vergil snorted, "The only thing Dante is lord of, is Lord of the Fools."

"Wait," Kyrie continued thoughtfully, "If you are not Dante, unless you have been created as a copy, you must be the other son of the Dark Knight. Was it not said Sparda had twin sons? That would make you, sir... Vergil?" He leaned back in evident satisfaction at her logical thinking process and conclusion.

Giving a mock bow, Vergil answered, "At your service, miss?"

"Oh," she cried, waving her hands briefly in distress before clasping them together at her waist. "Excuse me. Kyrie. That is my name. Just Kyrie..." Feeling like a babbling idiot, she trailed off.

This whole surreal experience was too much to comprehend. Beginning to unravel, Kyrie's thoughts and emotions had been on a roller coaster for what felt like weeks instead of a mere 48 hours by her calculations. (This organization obviously didn't want to waste valuable time - they knew Nero would be coming for her.)

As it was, this man gave off such a cold, deadly aura, even if Dante's twin, Kyrie was unsure if she was relatively safe or not. Unlike Nero, she'd been an avid student of the history of Sparda until the entire Order and Church had betrayed everything she believed in. She had plenty of reasons to doubt the knowledge she learned but at least part of it was true - Dante, and now Vergil, did exist.

The disturbing part of the legend stated one twin had taken his father's place in the light of the Human World, whereas the other had descended into the dark, demonic one.

And guess which one was currently looming over her?