As of this story, I'm going to be taking a new approach to updates; updates will be weekly instead of whenever I write up a new one. I know this will make people wait longer, but it will help keep consistency with updates, compared to how I did it before where there would be a lot of chapters and then none for months. This is also how I will be approaching other stories from now on, including ones that have already been posted.
It was a cold night. The moon was shining brightly. Almost too brightly. The Japanese believe the color of death is white. Maybe that's true; maybe something bad is going to happen tonight.
The moon illuminated the dreary street, soaked with who knew how many substances over the years. More specifically, it illuminated the bar at the end of the street, and the figure that walked down it.
Many different kinds of people were out tonight; some stood by barrels with fires in them to keep cold, while others were shooting stuff up, while still others waited in the shadows, looking for an easy mark to steal some money off of.
The various people on the side of and in the buildings next to the street might as well have been shadows, though, as far as the lone figure was concerned. All that was in his mind lay on the inside of the bar at the end of the street; the dive called "The Devil's Den". His business lie in there, among other things.
About him his coat blew like a war flag on a furious battlefield. Its red leather material looked like a bloodied animal's hide, though not an animal of this world. A large bass case hung along his back from his shoulder, but the sound of the instrument inside was not one of music. The moon shone on his silver-white hair and made him seem ethereal; he was akin to a ghost coming back to earth.
Either that, or he was the grim reaper coming to reap souls from the wicked.
His footsteps echoed off the street and off the buildings that bordered it, changing in pitch and tone as they first stepped onto the sidewalk, and then onto the half dozen or so stairs that led up to The Devil's Den.
The name suited the building; with its old crusty walls and windows that looked like they'd been around since the country was founded, the place certainly didn't give off a "classy" feel. Of course, the kind of patrons at this bar weren't exactly the type to be found in uptown country clubs.
A bell rang and fell off as the door was pulled open and the man walked into the bar, the combination of his boots and solid, confident steps caused the floorboards to creek as he made his way over to one of the unoccupied bar stools.
"Hey, you mind if I sit?" He asked the middle-aged looking bartender, who stood cleaning a dirty glass with an even dirtier rag.
"Not at all; if you can pay, by all means sit." He responded in a gruff voice. It made him sound like an old man suspicious of an unwanted stranger coming into his village.
"Thanks. I could use a break."
The silver-haired man pulled the bass case from his shoulder and set it down against the counter while leaning back in his creaky stool.
"So, what're you buying?"
From beneath the short, silver mane came up two eyes that looked at the old man with a piercing gaze. It caused him to stop cleaning the glass in his hand.
The tension dragged on for a few moments more, long enough for everyone to process what he'd said. Then the bar erupted in laughter. The pool players, the drunks, the ones playing cards, and everything in-between broke out in a laughing fit. The bartender managed to take in a big enough breath so that he could speak as he laughed.
"I don't know what kinda bars you've been too, but this is real bar; we only serve drinks here."
The silver-haired man grinned, and set his elbows on the back of the old barstool.
"Alright, a strawberry sundae float then."
All of a sudden, the laughing ended, and a scowl replaced the hysterical grin on the bartender's face.
"You're really serious, aren't you?"
"Yep. I gotta say, liquor's great, but nothing quite beats a strawberry sundae when you're feeling down."
The bartender set the dirty glass down behind him while pulling a cleaner one out from beneath the counter and placing it in front of the man.
"Down, huh? What's the matter? Tell me what you're really having and I'm all ears."
A sigh came from the frown on the red-clad man's face and he leaned against the counter.
"Bloody Mary. And go heavy on the tomato juice."
"You got it."
He nodded and gave another sigh.
"To be honest, I'm not sure what isn't completely messed up; my brother's being a dick and isn't talking to me, my girlfriend's treating me like shit, plus I've got an old lady that acts like a goddamn infant…"
A newly-filled glass came down onto the counter in front of him, and he quickly consumed it in a single down before setting it back onto the counter.
"I missed a gig last week so I've lost that job and I swear, the people I deal with at work are trying to kill me."
Another drink came down to confront him and his lips quickly took hold of the stubborn enemy before he consumed another whole glass in a single gulp. A big exhale was his announcement of victory following the battle and he sat back once more, waiting for the next shot.
"But it's not all bad, ya know. I've got my health, my dignity, and my sobriety. Plus… I've been looking for this bar for a while."
The bartender halted his drink-making for a moment, and then continued. A similar hesitation had swept across the whole room at the same time, yet the man seemed indifferent to it.
"Well, I've heard that those who're down on their luck and want to get a chance to climb back up the ladder can come here, meet some people, and then its like they're gods or something. That's what I've heard anyway."
A smirk tugged at the bartender's face but he suppressed it while setting the once-again filled glass onto the counter.
"Supposing that's the truth… what are you willing to offer?"
"Five thousand up front, with an additional five percent of every one of my gigs."
Once again the room erupted into laughter, but this time it sounded more like dozens of mutated hyenas cackling as they surrounded their prey.
"You think we want money? Look at the place around you, bud; it's a dump. Do you really think that if we got money from our investments we'd be operating out of a shithole like this?"
"Well…" He swallowed the new drink and set it down on the counter.
The smirk returned to the bartender's face and he readied a new drink twice as fast as before.
"Say…how about… your soul?"
The liquid that lapped at the glass's sides as the bartender set it down again looked more like blood than it did like alcohol.
"That's all. You do that, and you can get as many drinks as you want here. Plus, who knows? You might just become a major rock star too."
Frowning, the silver-haired man took the drink and hesitated before chugging it down.
"Seems like a decent trade; what's a soul worth anyway?"
The pleased bartender nodded and took the glass to refill it.
"Exactly; it's worthless."
"I'll tell ya what though, how about you give me your soul instead?"
The drink stopped halfway towards the counter, as the bartender's eyes narrowed.
"Oh yeah, that's right…" The silver-haired man spoke while drawing a large handgun from his coat and aiming it at the bartender through the glass.
A loud noise assaulted the room as the gun's huge bullet shot through the alcohol glass and then through the bartender's face. A shower of Bloody Mary and real blood sprayed out like two tidal waves crashing together in the air, as the flesh on his face began to tear off, a larger, thicker skin pushing it away.
The man in red pulled out another large handgun, one of them silver and the other black, and blasted through the monstrosity with a shower of bullets as the guns arced out to his sides and disintegrated all of the transforming "drunks" on the other barstools in a maelstrom of lead.
All of the people in the joint went through convulsions as they transformed and one of the more beastly looking forms leapt at him, followed shortly thereafter by some of its brethren.
Once more the room was filled with the flash of gunfire, but this time it was accompanied by the sound of shattering glass as bullets flew through the windows and caught all of the attackers in their center mass.
The devil hunter in red, Dante, grinned as shoved his handguns Ebony & Ivory back into their holsters beneath the coat and unzipped the bass case, ripping a large sword from within it. The massive blade swung horizontally through the air and decapitated all of them, and the evil red light faded from their eyes as the heads and then the bodies fell lifeless to the ground.
A few of the demons were terrified by the show of brute force that could overcome their own kind and ran for the doors, only to have a strange-shaped sword run several of them through and then tear upwards through their torsos and heads.
A big crunch signified the doors being kicked open and a girl with short black hair and fiery red eyes that overcame the demons' rushed into the room, bisecting the other "runners' with another skillful slice of her katana.
All now transformed, the group of demons split in two, with one half breaking down the back door and running into the alley behind the bar, while others hurtled themselves at the newly arrived teenage-looking girl. Those that weren't met by gunfire that roared from behind her were sent sprawling to the ground as a large case crashed into their bodies.
The girl, Saya Otonashi, let her sword lower slightly as a tall, dark haired and clothed man entered the room through one of the windows. He positioned himself between her and the living monsters that remained in the room, lifting up a bandaged hand and pulling the coverings free of it.
Though intimidated by the skilled group, the demons were still intent on fighting, and rushed forward once more only to be either impaled through the faces with stiletto daggers or lacerated by the demonic-looking hand that the man, Haji, had revealed.
"What's the matter? That all ya creeps got?" Dante taunted them, rushing into the thick of it with his large sword ready.
More sounds of slaughter came from the building as the other demons fled from it into the one-way alley behind the bar. Their bodies were not made for running, as they were supposed to be tearing apart the attackers, not fleeing from them, but they had managed to make it several yards down he long, dark alley before the moon shone down along it.
They all skidded to a halt as a lone figure stood in their way, his hair shining the same color as Dante's, it now the same style as well. His black coat blew the same as his twin's had before, as the ivy designs along the side of it revealed blue roses "growing' off of them and his dark blue shirt and black pants looked like the clothes of some kind of demonic aristocrat.
It was perhaps the demons' biggest mistake to fail to notice as the majority of them charged at him, that what he held behind his back was far more striking than the rest of his attire.
Their roars of rage were suddenly cut short by their gasps as hundreds of flashes spun throughout the air like some sort of light show. The long Japanese sword in his, Vergil's hand, dragged along its sheath slowly as the demons remained perfectly still, as if frozen in time. The blade snapped closed and both they, and the walls surrounding them fell to pieces in a spray of blood and rubble.
It was an even more grisly sight than the one in the bar, which had since fallen silent, and the sole surviving demons backed away past the doorway towards the dark, dead end of the alley.
Vergil's eyes slowly opened and revealed shining blue spheres looking at them with a normal expression which nonetheless showed overwhelming intensity. The shine given to them by the moon's light almost glowed as bright as the pure blue orbs that glistened behind the monsters.
"Where are you looking?" A delicate voice asked the "fearsome" monsters behind, not even giving them enough time to tremble in fear before a collective sound of flesh being punctured sounded out through the air. Blood spilt from their wounds which had been delivered nigh-simultaneously as the girl sheathed the short sword that she used and let it hang in the sheath attached to a belt around her waist.
The teenage-looking girl's eyes seemed to fade back to their normal look as she walked towards Vergil, her dress billowing as if she were standing high on a cliff. Her long blue black hair was almost an echo of the way Saya's used to be and her younger twin, Diva, approached her love appearing like a moon goddess in the light as the moonlight glistened off her pale skin.
"How mean of you, Vergil, to leave me only a few."
"I'm sorry. I wasn't aware it would bother you." He apologized flatly, his irritated tone while regularly addressing her long since past.
"It's alright. I'll forgive you. But you have to do one thing for me first." She spoke with a smile in her voice, as well as on her face.
Her smile grew wider as the girl touched a slender hand to his cheek and pulled him forward effortlessly, like their bodies were made of magnetic metals. Their lips met and they kissed. As always, Diva played a more active role in the loving exchange, but Vergil had become a larger part of the interaction in more recent months.
With the threats of demonic apocalypses not in current sight, and with no more homicidal revenge-obsessed sociopaths around, things had grown quiet over the past year or so. Quiet meaning virtually every night the group went out and hunted demons for a job or for a rush. Luckily for them, and their stomachs, tonight they would get paid.
"Diva! Vergil! You two finished up out there?!" Dante yelled from inside the bar so he could get his voice over to them.
Neither of the two broke eye contact and slowly a smile began to creep onto his face. It was coerced into doing so by Diva's constant happy and playful energy, which had broken down his habit of always founding just as it had his temper.
"We're all set!" Diva spoke back. Her voice was too beautiful to use the word "yell", even when her voice rose above its normal level.
"Alright! Meet us out front at the car! Time to head home!"
They continued looking into each other's eyes, their love a constant silent promise between them.
"Let's go." She spoke softly.
His smile grew wider.