XXI

Sparda Manor

Vergil read the same paragraph for the upteenth time before he let out a sigh and put the book down. His moment of intervention was still weighing on his mind. It wasn't so much that he had to do it, it was expected when having a brother like his, it was what he felt when he did it.

The fear, pain, rage, and panic all rolled into one overwhelming feeling that tore his insides apart. He understood it now. Battling against Mundus' most experienced general and one of the demons in his family line is cause for fear and turmoil. Dante would just never admit to it.

Why does trouble find him so readily? Vergil wondered with a frown, And trouble of that magnitude? Even if he did do it for us.

He looked over the papers scattered about the table. Arkham's trail was cold and he was laying low. Not even a 'missing person' report had been filed, according to Eva's source in the police force.

A blessing and a curse all at once. We have time, but we can't track him. With father gone to Vie De Marli, we've lost a way to look for him...I wonder if he has something to do with that insane buffoon...

"Vergil?"

"Hmm?" He turned, "Yes, mother?"

"Deep in thought?" she asked with a smile.

"I am just sorting through what we know."

"Why don't you take a break? You've been at this for a while."

"Time is of the essence, mother."

"Yes, but you're no good to anyone if you run yourself to death."

He smiled a little, "Maybe I'll take Yamato and practice in the forest."

"Be careful. It's getting dark outside."

"I will, mother." He stood and grabbed his sword, "Did father tell you anything?"

She crossed her arms, "No. He wanted to think on it before talking about it with me. Will you tell me anything?"

"Only that my little brother is a magnet for trouble." He turned and walked out, "Be ready to give him a few hundred shots when you see him again."

He left the house and ran into the forest beyond. He didn't go out when it was near dark a lot. It always made Sparda nervous. Now was his golden chance. Eva wasn't as overprotective in regards to his actions.

The shadows were already gathering more than what was normal for the setting sun, giving a sense of danger to the forest. Demons were sure to hide in them to try to ambush Sparda's son. Vergil gripped Yamato, Let them try.

He leapt over a fallen tree and landed in a clearing. It was still and there were no animals nearby. He placed his free hand on Yamato's hilt and closed his eyes. Tendrils of darkness touched his senses. He placed himself in a warrior's stillness, using every sense to judge his enemies movements.

There was a modest group and they circled the clearing, cutting off his escape. Their steps were not clumsy, so they had been well trained. No blind attack was coming. It was planned out carefully.

The flap of wings reached Vergil's hearing. An aerial demon of some kind. A good number of them to be precise. A simple number would never be enough to satisfy whoever set this 'ambush' in motion.

He breathed in the smell of demons. Now was the time. He swung Yamato in one smooth motion, cleaving two demons with ease. He opened his eyes to see them as trained warriors. Not the usual drones that had hunted them so far.

"So," he said as he straightened, "the number of rituals has allowed the tacticians and intelligent, trained warriors to come forth. It won't be long until father's work is undone."

They surrounded him in a tight circle with their weapons drawn for attack.

"I have no wish to end your lives, but I also have no intention of dying today. If you leave now, I won't kill you."

The response to his statement was an attack. He dodged and countered with Yamato, taking another down by splitting him in two. The other demons stepped back.

"Unlike my brother, I have been trained by our father all my life. I will retaliate if you attack me."

An older-looking demon stepped forward, "You are obviously skilled, son of Sparda, and have the calm needed of a warrior. However, we fear our employer far more than we fear you or your family."

"I see. Answer one question for me then. Is my grandfather the one who sent you?"

Silence answered him.

He smiled a little, "Very well. Then let us see if any of you can bring down a son of Sparda."

The demons attacked as a group, forcing Vergil to jump high to avoid and slash Yamato into their ranks. A few dodged him and attacked from different directions.

They're trying to divide my attention, he thought, using his teleport technique to avoid the danger, I will have to make speed my advantage and conserve my energies. Simple attacks with Yamato only. There are too many to finish in a show of power. This will take time.

He spun in the air and cut the wings from one of the aerial demons he heard before. A few others shrieked and aimed for him. He used the wingless one as leverage to jump out of the way and land neatly on the other side of the clearing.

He smirked and slowly sheathed his sword, making sure the hilt clicked loudly against its sheath. A number of demons cried out and disintegrated into dust.

The older demon turned to him, "You are in the same class as your father."

"Does that mean you are going to take my offer and leave?" Vergil asked.

"I am afraid not..."

"Then it seems leaving is not an option for you." He unsheathed Yamato again, "Fine. Let's end this. I will not fall to you."

The demons surged forward again. He dodged and killed most with ease but the older one was well trained and experienced. Soon it was left to only the two of them.

Vergil panted slightly. He sustained a number of wounds but they were minor. They wouldn't hinder him for a little while longer. All the same, he felt exhilarated by this fight. It was beyond anything he had faced before. He had been in kill or be killed battles before but only with minor demons. Never with one or more of the Dark Lord's skilled warriors. He could already feel himself instinctively drawing on his energies, which was a first.

Perhaps this is the feeling Dante is always chasing when we fight, he mused.

The demon charged forward, feinting to the left before striking. Vergil blocked the attack and countered with a sharp slash on his inner elbow. His attack landed but the demon's scales were hard and didn't receive as much damage as he had hoped. His opponent was able to immediately stab him through his side.

He managed to move enough to make the wound non-lethal and strike hard at his legs. A damaging blow to the knees gave him an opportunity to use the full power of Yamato. He lifted his opponent up into the air and then cast him back across the clearing with a downward stroke.

"Ugh..." Vergil looked down at his wound, putting a hand on it. It was deep and he didn't bring any orbs with him. His other wounds were getting to him now as well. While forcing himself to conserve his energies, he had affected his own healing abilities, If I let myself heal, I'll decrease my precision and power, but I'll die if I don't heal...I have to risk it, even if he is a powerful enemy.

He let himself heal his wounds, watching as the demon got up and attacked again. With the new wound in his side, he was unable to block as well as before. He tried to ignore the pain but it was too strong. A cry came from his lips as his muscles spasmed in protest of movement.

Damnit! I can't win like this! The first stirrings of panic entered his gut and grew like a disease. He growled, knowing the panic was making him weak but he couldn't stop it. It was growing uncontrollably. He felt as though he was trying to push back a tidal wave.

The other demon jumped after his feelings instantly, seeing the weakness. Vergil parried and leapt back, now on defense and evasion. He was much better at it than Dante but it filled him with rage and fear that he was being pushed back to that.

However, these feelings had another side-effect. Something else was growing inside of him. Something raw, primal, and powerful. In his state, he automatically latched onto it and fed on it.

He leapt into the air to dodge a strike, This feeling inside of me...

Yamato's dark power destroyed the ground the demon was standing on.

It's incredible...

The enemy jumped for him. It was in his territory.

It's overflowing.

He had to remove it.

I can't stop it!

He grinned wildly, tasting the thrill of battle.

Is this what nestmate feels?

The demon was readying a powerful strike.

I must...

The sword was coming for him, strong and for his armour.

I must kill the enemy!

Suddenly, an explosion appeared between the two demons. Vergil struggled to land properly and spun around.

Dante's friend stood there with the large gun she carried. She stopped them. Vergil turned back to the fight. The other demon was gone. He stared at the ravaged forest grown and now-dead trees. The feelings he had inside him was gone. He felt blank...hollow. He had already forgotten what he was feeling. His legs were throbbing from the landing and he had a strange taste for something, but he couldn't figure out what it was for.

"Hey."

He turned again, still crouched.

The woman heaved her gun over her shoulder, "You okay?"

He stared at her for a moment before standing and smoothly sheathing Yamato. He started walking back to the mansion.

"You're welcome."

"Next time, don't interfere."


Lady watched him walk away. She couldn't figure him out. Why was this son of Sparda so different? So dark and...cold? She wasn't sure exactly what she expected when Dante first told her about his brother. She never really thought about it.

She may have assumed that he would be the same. That there would be two Dantes, as scary as that thought was. But Vergil was...

He's a demon.

She blinked as that thought came through her mind so bluntly. Was that really it? Was it that simple? Two half-devils and the difference between them was something so common? A simple, human-concept?

Dante Sparda was the human son of his mother and Vergil Sparda was the demon son of his father?

She looked at the battlefield. Even Dante had never caused that much damage. She could even tell what that other demon had caused and what Vergil had. With Dante, it was only pure destruction. Nothing else.

She turned away and began to walk back.

"He is strong."

She stopped and turned, pistol drawn and pointed at the demon.

"He takes a lot more from Sparda than his brother did."

She looked at the wounds Vergil inflicted, which were still slowly closing, "I bet I can kill you as you are."

"You would win that bet. I had not realized he was not awakened."

"Awakened?"

"Some demons don't reach their full power until they make their first devil-trigger. There were rumours that it was the same in half-devils but I had never seen it with my own eyes."

She kept her pistol pointed.

He coughed blood, "But now I have. I pushed a son of Sparda close to awakening. If you hadn't intervened, he would have awakened his devil powers. He was already beginning to fight as a pure demon."

"Why are you telling me this?" The calm tone of her own voice surprised her.

He grinned, long teeth showing, "Watch yourself human. You will need to be as strong as Sparda's mate to survive the coming war." He slid down the tree, and coughed again before his body went still.

She watched as a bright light came from his chest and hover above it before flying off after Vergil. Confused, she turned to look at the body, but it was gone.

What's going on?

Review please.