The Devil of Zero

Disclaimer: Neither The Familiar of Zero nor Devil May Cry belong to me.

The Serpent

– The Devil –

Tristainian Forest
Morning

"So what's next on the list?" Guiche sighed, leaning back on Sylphid's back as the wind dragon flew through the brisk morning air of Tristain's forests.

"The Hoard of the Serpent Lord." Kirche said blandly. Well, it was bland until everyone saw how Siesta jerked upon the mention of the treasure.

"You know about this Siesta?" Vergil queried.

"Well…yes, actually. The legend itself is based around a temple on the outskirts of my home village, Tarbes," Siesta explained, a little embarrassed at being put on the spot. "The story goes that, in the time of my great-grandfather, a powerful gale struck the area, while at the same time, shadows overtook the sun and cast the land all around in an unnatural night. It lasted for ten days, until eventually, everything stopped. Then my great-grandfather appeared, telling tales of a monster he shut up in the nearby temple. Everyone believed him, and clamored to make enough money to get the mages to ward it, ensuring the beast was trapped."

As Siesta told the story, she and Vergil glanced at one another, for confirmation.

Devil.

– The Zero –

Tristainain Academy of Magic

Meanwhile at school, Louise was still skipping lessons. She didn't want to meet anyone in her current mood. She only left her room to eat in the dining hall and when she went to take a bath. When she asked Montmorency, who was passing by, where Guiche, Kirche and Tabitha were, she found out that they had been skipping lessons to go treasure hunting, with Vergil along with them. Apparently, the teachers were mad and would make them clean the whole auditorium when they got back.

Louise cried in her bed again. Whenever she remembered Vergil as she last saw him, and then her vision of…his other side…she could never tell why she was crying though.

A knock came from the door.

"It's open." The pinkette croaked.

The door opened with a clank, revealing that the school headmaster Old Osman was at the door, which surprised Louise. Louise quickly put on her gown and got off her bed.

"How have you been feeling?"

Feeling down, Louise replied, "I'm sorry I've made you worry. It's really nothing. I just don't feel very well…"

Osman pulled out a chair and sat down.

"You've rested for quite a long time. I was worried, but it seems you're alright."

Louise nodded, and sat down on a chair. With a weary face, she stared out the window.

"Have you finished the edict?"

Louise gasped and hung her head. With a sorry expression, she shook her head. The Princess had, despite objections from her advisors, decided to marry Wales, and asked Louise to act as her bridesmaid. And with that, she'd been handed the Founder's Prayer Book, and now she had to write an edict to deliver at the wedding.

Needless to say, it wasn't going well.

"Seems like you haven't from the looks of it."

"I'm sorry."

"There's still two weeks. Think about it slowly. It's your important friend's wedding after all. Make sure you choose your words carefully."

Louise nodded. She was ashamed that she had forgotten about the edict because she was so absorbed with her own thoughts. "I'm terrible aren't I? She considers me as a friend, and even gave the role of being the maiden."

Osman stood up.

"By the way, where's that familiar of yours?"

She averted her eyes and kept silent. Osman smiled.

"Did you two have a fight? When you're young, you fight about trivial things. It's because young people don't know how to compromise. Sometimes, these cracks will develop into something irreparable. You should be careful."

Laughing, Osman left the room. After the door shut behind him, Louise whispered, "It's not something small…"

Louise went to her desk. She ignored everything else and opened the Founder's Prayer Book. And as if clearing her thoughts, she closed her eyes. She concentrated, trying to think of an edict. I must think of a great edict for Henrietta.

Louise kept her eyes closed. Eh? There was a bright light. Suddenly she could see letters on the pages. Louise's eyes froze. However, in the next moment, they faded from the pages like mist. What was that? She thought, while looking at the pages.

I can't see it anymore. My eyes are probably just tired, she thought.

– The Devil –

Tomb of the Serpent, Tarbes

"This place is a dump!" Guiche exclaimed, rather horrified. Vergil supposed that, from his noble perspective, it was a justified reaction. Although the question was why he was reacting like this now when the previous temples and tombs they've raided where in similar states.

However…

"It's camouflage." Siesta said, stepping up with a glazed look in her eyes. The mages glanced nervously at her as she waved a hand, and the Infernal tongue spilled from her lips. The detritus and dust in the tomb's corridor darkened, turned to shadow that resumed its normal form, revealing what really laid before the group. The rotten corpses and dirty yellow skeletons of dozens of previous tomb-raiders littered the floor, clothed in everything from decaying noble robes to rusted plate armor.

The two more vocal of the mages screamed - well, Guiche squealed, while Kirche gave a womanly screech - at the sight, jumping back. Tabitha glanced up from her book, pinched her nose and returned to reading.

"Illusions woven of shadow to hide the traps." Siesta continued, with a hollow voice, stepping forward as the floor, walls and ceiling light up with runes that glowed many hues, from a sickly green to a vibrant, fiery red.

"Whoah boy." Abaddon whistled. "I recognize some of those wards! That one melts the flesh from the bones over the course of a week, and next to it is a paralysis trap, and that one, about a meter above them on the wall? A Soul Disturber! Damn!" The Devil of Destruction's admiration was apparent.

As Siesta drew close to them, the wards' glow waned and dissipated, leaving esoteric carvings etched amongst ancient runes. Vergil followed her closely, Tabitha right behind while Kirche and Guiche kept a bit of distance between them - about five meters worth, in fact.

Siesta slowed, coming to a stop before an apparently blank stone wall. She turned to face it, and then pressed her hand upon the wall. Dark Infernal Energy seethed out, into the stone, and it shuddered before dissolving into sand. She turned to Vergil.

"This is where things get tougher." She said, with a slightly off-kilter grin. Vergil almost rolled his eyes, summoned Zima and walked into the revealed hallway.

Three dozen lizard heads rose, eyes rolling to capture his image.

Blades. And Assaults.

"Hmph. Common scum." Zima declared. Vergil snorted. Tougher? This would hardly count as exercise.

"Oh! Say it!" Derflinger suddenly interjected.

Say what?

"You know! It!"

"I must agree with the puny sword, this is a perfect opportunity for the usage of that phrase!" Abaddon cut in, with a sensation akin to giddiness emanating for him.

Now that he was properly aware of what the two weapons desired, Vergil could either just say the desired phrase, and get the potential embarrassment over with, or ignore them...and suffer their whining for the next decade. With a mental sigh, Vergil spoke.

"Come and show me what passes for fury for your misbegotten kind." He challenged, drawing Derflinger from his sheath.

He wasn't sure, but he could have sworn he heard two female sighs from behind him.

A shrill shriek tore through the dry air, and the entombed demons charged. One Blade lashed out with its claws, intending to eviscerate Vergil.

A single swipe with Derflinger decapitated it, and the next on in line was met with a skull-crushing punch from his off-hand, Zima's gauntlet spikes digging into the brain matter before it flew back into more of its fellow reptiles. Summoned Swords swirled around Vergil in the next instant, and those impetuous demons that leaped at him still learned the agony of having a limb slowly sawed off by repetitive cuts.

– The Cambion –

Siesta looked on as Vergil cut through the main ranks of the lizard-demons, awed.

Truly, my sensei is powerful...wait, sensei? What's that?

Siesta frowned, but couldn't devote any further thought to the curiosity, as a Blade leaped at her, with obviously violent intent.

There was a halfway-subconscious twitch of Siesta' hand, and the kusarigama's chain whipped out, encircling the reptile's neck and pulling it to the side, whereupon the Asian demon-descended cambion gored her assailant with the sickle, the blade cutting through its scaly hide and ribs, spilling dark red blood onto the temple's floor, before wrenching the chain and snapping the Blade's neck just for that extra insurance.

Others, awaiting an opening in the swarm of their brethren, noted the Cambion's casual slaying of their brother, and turned to eviscerate her, all the while hissing their malcontent.

Siesta muttered five syllables, dark and demonic words spilling from her lips as the energy of Inferno coated the shadows of the chamber, twisting them into physical forms that twined together into ropes of darkness and strangled most of the attacking Blades and Assaults.

Two others avoided the twisting, constricting ropes of shadow, darting for the kunoichi-like part-devil. Chi no Ishi's fundo lashed around, smashing into the Blade's skull and sending it crashing head-first into the stone wall. The Assault swiped at Siesta, only for the kusarigama's chain to wrap around its attacking limb, and Siesta to pull, redirecting the talons until they sliced into the Assault! This was promptly followed by the kama digging into its throat, slicing through arteries and muscle and spine alike.

It was apparent from the rest of the chamber that the fight was already over. The remains of the Blades and Assault were either scattered across the chamber's floor, or frozen into statues that were a testament to the power of Zima.

Truly, Sensei is powerful.

– The Devil –

Sheathing Derflinger, Vergil hardly spared a second glance at the slaughtered reptile demons, simply striding further into the temple. He passed by what were presumably the remains of previous adventuring parties, mere human knights and mages that were woefully unprepared for the demonic adversaries that awaited them.

At the end of the corridor of stone and blood, carved with darkly glowing runes, awaited a massive stone slab, with sorcerous etchings somehow overlaid that of what Vergil assumed to be similarly protective enchantments crafted of the local magic.

"This is it?" Vergil asked.

"Yes." Was Siesta's reply.

"Can you open it?" A simple toss of Chi no Ishi's fundo into the slab, shattering the dense and heavy object, proved the answer.

The instant it shattered, a malevolent hiss filled the air.

"Finally! Fresh air! New tastes!" A hissing voice chuckled, before it apparently choked. "But wait...this flavor..." A tinge of fear, apparent to even the sometimes dense Guiche. "It can't be...Sparda! No! Stay back!"

"Again, my father's reputation precedes me." Vergil noted, walking confidently into the wide-open chamber. There, he beheld the devil. A serpent that was dozens of meters long and about twice a man's height in diamter, of bright sky blue and flamboyant glittering emerald and all the shades of color between coiled up against the farthest wall from the entrance, shivering as feathered wings hid its head from Vergil.

"No matter the father or the son! Stay back Sparda! Leave Ehecatl in peace!"

That brought a true grin to Vergil's face, a sight that made Guiche and Kirche clasp at each other for comfort, Tabitha shiver, and Siesta blush.

"It brings me a small amount of pleasure to find one who properly fears me." Vergil admitted, the grin smoothly fading back into his usual neutral expression. "However, I cannot leave you be. You see, I've been partaking of this fool quest for too long to walk away from the first potential pay-off that presents itself, especially one such as yourself."

A thunderous hiss shook the very air, before the gigantic serpent devil lashed out at Vergil.

Or, at least, that's what it looked like at first.

In reality, Ehecatl was going for the exit to try and fit its bulk through, wings and all before Siesta flung her weapon's fundo again, slamming the iron weight into the Aztec devil's jaw. The resulting crash into the chamber wall shook the room like an earthquake, dust falling form the ceiling as cracks formed.

Shaking its head, the feathered serpent coiled about and hissed malevolently, before freezing at the sight of Siesta.

And then, it roared, a sound somewhere between an eagle's screech and an extraordinarily loud hiss, before snapping at the cambion, fangs flashing like lightning.

A flicker and a loud crunch preceded Ehecatl's head being redirected into the wall again, this time by the Trick and kick of a Vergil enhanced by the Zima greaves. The great devil moaned, the sound rumbling through its length and into the stones before it coiled up again, slithering as far away from Vergil as possible.

The half-devil wouldn't have it. A flash of infernal flames and a swift, downward stroke pinned Ehecatl's tail to the ground with Abaddon. A shriek of agony reverberated through the stone walls. Turning against itself, Ehecatl roared, now empowering its voice with its power over wind to create a powerful gust that threw Vergil against the opposite wall, before tearing its tail away from the embedded spear, the swipe casting blood into the air, splattering across said wall, a few large dollops landing on Vergil.

With a hissing sound, it began to burn, making Vergil wince slightly as it at through his cheekbone, fighting against his natural regeneration.

Mentally shunting the pain aside, Vergil rose again as the serpent devil coiled around for the entrance again, spitting blood at Siesta, who agilely ducked and rolled away from the acidic fluid before stopping on her feet, rising and twisting her body around, swinging her kusarigama out as she did so. The fundo smacked into Ehecatl's cheek, again sending the snake reeling.

However, the devil had prepared, and while it couldn't ignore the pain as Vergil and other, more martial devils did, it could still act, sweeping its tail out and sending a compressed air blade slicing out. The wing blade sliced into and around Siesta at the waist, cutting a deep gash in her midsection that sent her falling to the ground with a pained gasp.

A sort of hissing cackle filled the air, and Ehecatl reared up, maw gaping as wide as only a giant snake dislocating its jaw could do, when Vergil appeared in a flash inside the snake's mouth, an expression of controlled fury on his face as Derflinger plunged up into Ehecatl's mouth, passing through the roof and into the brain cavity.

A strangled gasp wrenched itself from Ehecatl's throat as he fell limply to the floor, Vergil rolling out and away from the slack mouth and deadly fangs before resuming a standing posture and sheathing Derflinger.

"Supremely Stylish." Derf commented.

Ehecatl's body disintegrated then, a howling gale arising from its corpse and forming a hurricane about Vergil. When it cleared, he was gripping a chain tightly in one fist before he walked - very nearly stomping - over to Siesta's prone form.

"Eheh...no hard feelings, right?"

Devil Arm File: Ehecatl, The Chain of Wind

Once a Throne of Elemental Wind, Ehecatl was cast down with the other Traitors at the end of the War in Heaven. In Hell, Ehecatl spent his time as a freelancer; a hireling for mortals and other Devils who desired his services, paying him in mortal souls and raw hearts. In the millennium immediately after Sparda sealed Mundus, Ehecatl worked for Aztec sorcerers, until Sparda arrived in South America with Hernán Cortés. Smart enough to know what would happen if Sparda encountered him, and cowardly enough to flee, Ehecatl left his employers to resist the Spanish Conquistadors alone, retreating back to Hell to hide. Centuries later, Ehecatl risked a job from Chinese sorcerers in World War II fighting against the Japanese, eventually disappearing in a heated skirmish with a Devil working for the Japanese.

Ehecatl's soul was forced into the form of a Chinese chain whip, made of storm-gray bars linked together by cloud-white rings, ending in a black bladed dart, with a vibrant, feather-like blue-and-green flag attached to the ring connecting the dart to the rest of the whip. The dart is coated in potent Infernal venom that attacks the lungs, suffocating the affected target. This Devil Arm's ability is to create and manipulate wind, offensively by generating a razor-wind along the length of chain as it's whipped, and defensively by creating small gales that can stop arrows and crossbow bolts, as well as many spells. Outside of battle, Ehecatl can allow its wielder and a few others to fly for a short time.

– The Author –

Alright. It's been a long, long, long...long time since I last updated any of my stories.

I have many excuses, ranging from the plot bunnies breeding until my head exploded, to my losing inspiration with how the latest Gundam series is turning out (Goddamn Kio Yamato...) but, ultimately, I sort of went nutso insane and starting reading more than writing, and watching anime (Sword Art Online and Accel World have some particularly interesting premises)

I apologize for my severe procrastination, and hope to resume semi-regular updates on my stories (insofar as I had regularish updates).