A/N: Alright. So here I am, back with the next chapter for this story, which seems to be gaining some attention after all. That's actually pretty nice, really.
Anyway, sorry it took me longer than intended to get the chapter ready.
I was planning to finish it last week, but it just so happened that last Saturday was my birthday and I completely forgot (well, I always end up forgetting about it anyway...). Given that it also happened during a weekend, let's just say things got a little too wild...
But yes, I am officially one year older and one year wiser.
Although, I don't really feel like that at all... X(
And yes, that also means I was born close to Christmas. And you know what else, my youngest sister's birthday is also next week, pretty awesome, huh?
That aside, I'm happy to announced that Chapter 1 for this little story is finally here, even if I had to make some changes here and there. The chapter itself was originally meant to feature a lot more faces showing up, but I figured I kept you people waiting long enough, so I made some cuts.
On the downside, a lot of the cameos and encounters I had in store for you are now gone, but on the brighter side, now I can make those small scenes into bigger events in the next chapter, not to mention give a more badass final battle for this first "arc". And yes, those quotations are necessary there.
And for those of you unfamiliar with my style, this is the part where I take some time to address whatever comments and other stuff you, my dear readers, have sent me.
So, let's see here...
To Ziden115: Well, thank you very much for that eager reception, I do aim to please after all. And of course Dante will be in the story, what kind of fan would I be if I don't let our favorite God of Demon Slaying into the fun! However, do keep in mind it will be a while before he shows up, the heartwarming family reunion of the Sparda brothers is pretty much one of the main highlights of the story, so I want to take my time to build it up. But once it happens, it will be every bit as awesome AND stylish as it can get... and then some more. In the mean time, I'm sure Vergil's misfortune in the land of fantasy will prove entertaining enough, plus the return of some other familiar faces too, like... Oh, I dunno... a certain blonde, lightning wielding demoness and a creepy harlequin for starters.
To Lunatic-Over'9000'Lord: While the reasons behind Vergil's arrival in Gensokyo are a bit more complicated than that, in the end that is pretty much the gist of it, yes. Don't worry, the story itself will reveal the more specific details in due time.
As for your confusion in regards of Sheba (in case you still don't know about it). She hails from a different game by Hideki Kamiya (the creator and father of Devil May Cry and Dante), Bayonetta. Bayo as a whole has a lot of references, nods and parallels to the original DMC series and is widely regarded as a spiritual successor of sorts to DMC, even more so after the whole base breaking mess Ninja Theory brought along. Because of this relationship, a lot of fans (myself included) like to draw connection between the two games, with some going as far as to argue if both series take place in the same shared universe.
You don't really need to be all that knowledgeable about Bayo's mythos, so don't worry too much about it. All you need to know is already in this chapter anyway.
Finally, about your question, and as I already said in another of my stories, I liked the gameplay of the new game (DmC), granted I only played it once on Dante Must Die difficulty but I still enjoyed the combat, could have done without the color coded enemies though. Unfortunately, that was the only thing I actually liked about the game. In the end though, it all comes down to personal taste. And to be clear, new Dante's hair color is black, Reimu's is a dark brown, I think... Just saying...
And while we're at it, I would like to also thank Ryukai Reiuji, Shiroe of Debauchery Tea Party, Mr. Matrona, Necro-Pen, cerebro500 and, last but not least, TheLastNanaya, who apparently still has enough faith in my abilities to entertain people that decided to give another of my stories a try. But really, thanks a lot my friend! I promise I'll do my best not to disappoint here. X)
But enough idle chat. Let's just move on to the actual show, alright?
And just a bit of an advice...
That little flashback halfway through? You don't need to worry if you don't understand what they're referencing, you're actually supposed to feel confused by it. The whole point of that part is to show how overly complicated and pointless things were back then for Vergie...
That being said, if you do catch the references, then give yourselves a pat on the back. XD
Chapter 1 – Endless Seeker.
(Somewhere in Time)
The Gates of Hell...
Probably the darkest, most evil and certainly the most dangerous place you could ever stumble upon...
Oh! And by the way...
We're talking about a certain bar here. Not the actual Gates of Hell, which can't even hold a candle to this over-the-top cesspool of crime and villainy.
A place beloved by wanted men and rogues, home to everyone from black market business men, to informants, and devil hunters in between. Where money and power rule all. Where bloody battles and dirty disputes over money are an everyday occurrence. And where the concept of concern for one's fellow man has long since been lost to its patrons. They thirst for the uproar only the occult can inspire. The appearance of a spectre, a man being devoured by a demon… these are the snacks they eat as they drink and cavort in the numerous watering holes the accursed place offers.
Cutting the text-book explanation short, and as I already said, an over-the-top cesspool of crime and villainy. And with matching looks for the place to boot.
At least that's the case for the general-access area of the bar...
But if one were to venture into what could only be described as the V.I.P. section...
Well, technically speaking, the place wasn't so much different from the rest of the bar, rundown looks and all. The difference resided in that those who were allowed into the private area were not just the usual assortment of mooks and goons. On the contrary, the upper floors of the bar were, in essence, a second home to pretty much any type of supernatural existence out there. And I mean ANY type. Devils, Angels, Fallen Angels, Elder Gods, Youkai, Old Ones, Aliens and many other creatures. As long as they have money to spend, anyone is welcome into the Gates of Hell. It wouldn't be uncommon to find the bar flooded with this type of costumers on an average day.
But not today, at least not at the moment, with it being only 7 in the morning and all. However, that didn't meant the bar was entirely devoidd of life.
"So... Let me get this straight..." Rodin, weapons dealer, bartender, proprietor of the Gates of Hell, renowned demon weaponsmith and a fallen angel who was once Heaven's second-in-command, back during the days prior to the first Armageddon. At least until he decided that, with God dying at the end of the war, his chance to take control of the holy kingdom had finally arrived. Needless to say, it didn't go as he expected. But none of that is really relevant for us, so let's just move on. Unsurprisingly, he was busy cleaning some empty glasses by the counter, although he did seem rather entertained by the conversation he was taking part on, "She kicked him out?"
"Well, that's rich. Any idea why?"
As for Rodin's companion...
"Ah... About that..."
Occupying the seat right across Rodin. He seemed normal enough, somehow tall and with a light yet fit physique. Wearing a rather expensive-looking black suit while sporting a hat on his head and... a gas mask over his face for... no real reason, hence why his voice sounded a bit off, not to mention the red glass-openings for the eyes made it almost impossible to discern exactly what he was looking at, not that that seemed to be a problem for either man. A glass of straight up and neat malt resting by the stranger's hand. An almost empty glass at that. How exactly did he manage to almost finish the drink without taking off his mask was anyone's guess.
A being known by several infamous titles such as Grim Reaper, God of Death, Mr. Death, sometimes simply Death. Or just HUNK for his colleagues and acquaintances, even though not a single one of them is really sure of what his name exactly means or why he always spells it all in capitals. Then again, none of them really cares. And yes, that also includes Rodin as well.
"Pffff-hahahahahahahahahahaha...! argh...! My-haha... my ribs-hahahahaha..." Not that such indifference prevented the fallen angel from laughing his ass off after hearing what the reaper had to say, "You're pulling my leg here, right?"
"Nope. I'm serious here, that's what happened. That's our boss for you, her hobbies are serious business. Hell, it's precisely because I don't want to be anywhere near her right now why I'm here instead of at work."
"Hahahaha... ha... ugh... ...Does he even know tshat's why he got fired?"
"Probably not. And I just found out by chance a few minutes ago."
"Still... That's gotta be one of the lamest things that has happedn to him."
"And that's not even the whole story."
"What. There's more?"
He couldn't see it, but Rodin still could tell there was a massive grin behind HUNK's mask, just as the embodiment of death began to rely the final piece of information he came across, "Guess just where he ended up at..."
"Geez.. Vergil, would you slow down? I want to talk to you about something."
"Well, too bad. I don't want to talk to you." Short and blunt. Vergil's voice clearly showed exactly how he felt about his situation, just in the same way his fast and restless pace did as he walked down a rough path across the forest he was in. It wasn't so much the path itself what was bothering him, but the many, many, many different supernatural auras that converged all over the place. Auras that he could see as clear as anything else and messed up his view with their annoying, almost psychedelic-like play of colors, "How can anyone stand something like this on a daily basis?"
"Well, most people can't really see things the way you do." Yukari offered as she suddenly appeared by his side, "And besides, I would say this is a great opportunity for you to see some colors again. After all, nowadays you can only see in black and white, right?"
"First of all, it's not just black and white, but several shades of gray too." Vergil corrected her statement, with a pretty indifferent tone of voice and without breaking his pace, "And second, would you get lost already? I'm really not in the mood to deal with you."
"Dear me! Is that any way to talk to an old friend? One you haven't met for such a long time?"
And while Yukari's seemingly innocent and cheerful comment did cause Vergil to stop instantly, his wide eye and the dead-serious glare it held as he turned to look at her were enough evidence to show he was less than thrilled about socializing with her. It really didn't help that he was still walking around with his creepy jaw and that left horn bare in the open. And his unwillingness became even more obvious the moment he spoke again with that same blunt tone from before, "You're not my friend."
But rather than being offended by his comment or how he began to walk away again, Yukari simply let out a soft giggle from behind her hand-held fan. Given his supernatural senses, that was something that didn't go unnoticed by Vergil, but he decided to ignore it nonetheless. What he couldn't ignore though, was the comment she made next, "Oh my, don't tell me you still haven't outgrowth your tsundereness? But you know, that's actually kind of cute..."
It was then when Vergil had to summon up a great deal of his patience in order to avoid falling into Yukari's trap. Letting out a long sigh while rubbing the bridge of his nose, he was able to keep his act together before disappearing in another blur. Of course, since it was Yukari of all beings he was dealing with, it didn't come as a surprise when, once he came to a stop after covering a few dozens of meters in less than a second, Vergil found her upper body already showing up through one of her infamous openings in the fabric of space, complete with that purple background and the annoying eyes that littered around. All the while, Yukari showed him a rather serene smile. But in the end, he ignored all of that too just as he disappeared again, only this time into a dimensional rift of his own making, almost looking like a literal cut in space itself.
And just like before, Yukari was already waiting for him at the other side with a smile, which Vergil still ignored as he took off again. And with the same outcome from before occurring over and over and over again.
"You know Vergil, as much as I like you and how I've always enjoyed our playtimes together, I would really appreciate it if you could stop being so stubborn for just one second. I really need you to listen to-"
"Not my problem."
"Whatever it is you're trying to drag me into, it's not of my concern."
"Oh, really? Not even if it is related to the reason why you are here?"
"I know why I'm here, because I got fired. You know what that means?"
"That you're unemployed? And I have to say, that's definitely going to be a deal breaker for you in the future."
"Funny..." Vergil deadpanned, "But no. It means that I don't have to put up with annoying crap anymore. I no longer have to put my well being and integrity in jeopardy for some random nonsense. In other words... I. am. free!"
But despite Vergil's declaration, Yukari seemed less than convinced at his words, "Free, huh?" And just for extra points, a couple of fairies just had to fly by in between them as soon as she finished talking, serving as a nice little reminder of where exactly was Vergil stuck at the moment.
"Sigh... Okay, so maybe... not exactly free. But I sure don't have any obligation to take part in whatever it is you're scheming. If you want some help, go talk to my former boss, I'm sure she'll be happy to send one of her other employees. My only concern right now is to reach Makai and talk to Shinki. If I can get her to let me into Pandemonium again, then it'll be easy to get back to Hell on my own."
"That's your plan? Just going back to Hell?"
"For starters anyway, but yes."
"It seems there really isn't anything I can say to get you to change your mind, huh? Fine, if you are that dead set in going your way then I won't try to stop you anymore."
"Well, isn't that nice of you?"
"Don't say I didn't try to warn you, though. You already got on the bad side of the last person here you would want to. Anyway, enjoy your stay... While you still can, that is."
And after paying no mind to either, Yukari's words or that ominous expression she showed as she retreated into another tear of space, Vergil then just reassumed his quest, despite technically going in the wrong direction. Not that he would know that anyway, at least not at the moment.
But that little fact stopped being relevant as soon as a giant figure suddenly came crashing from out of nowhere, landing right in front of Vergil while one of its massive AND clawed limbs missed him by mere nanometers. Shifting its posture so as to stand at full height, the dark creature glared down at Vergil with such an inconceivable amount of anger that any normal person would have probably died just from the sheer pressure.
But, as for Vergil himself...
"You know..." He actually had no trouble staring back at the newcomer, even going as far as making a casual (if tired) comment, "Sigh... The sad part is, this is as close as some real vacations I ever had in my life..."
5 minutes ago.
"No brave new world... No brave new world..."
Those faint words were the first thing to welcome Reimu back as she slowly regained consciousness.
"No brave new world..."
But just as her mind returned to a more functional state and the distant voice started to sound a lot clearer and familiar, she also became aware of a particular sensation, as if someone or something kept pocking at her right cheek. And after finally opening her eyes...
"No brav- Oh! Finally awake-ze!"
She was treated to a familiar sight...
"Geez... What kind of tone is that? You got me really worried, lying unconscious here in the middle of the forest!"
"Right... So worried that you just started pocking my cheek..."
"I just wanted to see if you were still alive."
"Well, as you can see, I am alive, so cut it out already."
"But it's fun-ze!"
By then Reimu would have smacked Marisa in the head, unfortunately her still dizzy head proved to be quite the obstacle for that, so instead the exhausted miko had to settle with simply throwing a stern glare at her friend. Still, that was more than enough to have Marisa giving up on what she was doing to her face. And with that out of the way, Reimu than inquired on something else, "And what's with those words you kept saying over and over again?"
"I dunno. Why don't you tell me? You were already chanting them when I found you."
"Yup. It even sounded as if you were singing. You have quite the charming voice when you're unconscious!"
"Wha... I don-" And just as Reimu was about to actually smacked Marisa in the head, she finally realized where exactly was her head resting on, "A lap pillow? Marisa, why-?"
"Because I wanted to see the expression on your face once you found out-ze!" Was the mischievous reply Marisa gave.
A reply that earned having a blushing and very annoyed Reimu lashing back at her, "YOU!"
Not that that accomplished much, with how easily Marisa jumped back to avoid Reimu's gohei. She even flashed a sort of apologetic smile at Reimu as soon as she landed, a smile that held no traces of shame or regret, that is. All the while using her right hand to keep her signature hat in place, and it was thanks to this that Reimu finally saw what Marisa was holding in her hand, "Wait, that is...!"
A very familiar silver pen.
"Hmm? Oh, this... Yeah, I found it lying on the ground over there. Yours?"
But instead of actual words, Reimu's answer was to snatch away the pen from a surprised Marisa before ruthlessly crushing the item in her hand, "That bastard! Did he get away?"
"Tell me, how long was I unconscious?"
"Not sure, but I did find you less than a couple of minutes ago."
"Then he couldn't have gotten too far!"
"Hmm... Who are you talking about? ...Reimu?"
Understandably, Reimu was too upset and distracted to even register what the other girl said, "Did he knock me unconscious and then ran away? What a coward..."
"Listen, I'm not really sure what happened here, but if the silhouette on top of that tree over there and the broken branch above it are any indication, I'd say you crashed into the tree and then the branch fell on your head. I actually found you right next to them, so- …! Whoa!"
And what Marisa got in return for making that exposition was one of Reimu's Yin-yang orbs shot at her. She barely had time to avoid the incoming projectile by ducking, escaping with only the tip of her hat slightly scratched.
"Nobody asked you!" Reimu exclaimed with quite a bit of rage.
"Okay, okay. I got it, just relax-ze"
But Reimu never got the chance to relax, not after a sudden tremor hit them with enough force to cause the two of them to lose their footing, with Marisa falling on her butt while Reimu ended up hitting the ground face first. And as if that wasn't enough, the Hakurei miko was then further taunted as another dark and massive aura made itself known. It was very similar to the one from the man who trashed her shrine, yet different enough to make it obvious it belonged to something else. There was also the fact this new presence seemed to be coming from beneath the ground.
"Urgh... Now what!" All of this was obviously far from sitting well for Reimu. It only got worse once she realized the newcomer was getting dangerously closer to her position, or rather, moving towards somewhere that was really close to her location, "Oh no... Not again!"
Before Marisa knew it, Reimu already took off to the sky, flying in the direction of the Hakurei shrine, "Hey! Wait up-ze!"
Wasting no time in idle matters and after making her way back to the ruins of her home, Reimu found the place desolated, but with the unknown entity still making its way towards it. Left with not that many options, she had no choice but to observe the ground in anticipation, her gohei and several paper charms ready in her hands.
As for Marisa, she arrived shortly afterwards riding her broom, and the first thing she said as soon as she caught up with Reimu was a fitting, "Wow... Reimu, your shrine got destroyed again?"
"You don't have to be so loud about it!"
"Well, no wonder you're so mad. And you're the only one who is yelling-ze."
"Urg...!" Having nothing to use as a counterargument to that, Reimu had to admit defeat and move on, "Whatever... But, if you're not going to help then-"
Of course, it was just as the shrine maiden was finally about to calm down a bit when the second intruder decided to make its entrance, releasing a loud and ferocious roar as it broke through the ground below the two girls. And of course this also just had to happen at the exact same spot where the shrine's main building was still standing, reducing it to nothing more than a very broken pile of rubble.
It was really no surprise that the reaction this draw from Reimu was her face losing all color, or rather it was her whole body what ended up white as a ghost, complete with some ominous and depressing little dark flames hovering around her shocked face. All of that plus a jaw dropped.
Marisa however, had an entirely opposite response to the arrival of the newcomer, "Whoa...! Reimu look, look!" she said excitedly as she pulled the sleeve of the still numb girl, "It's a dragon! A dragon! A western dragon! You know what that means-ze?"
"My shrine... My shrine... My shr-"
"No you silly... It means treasures-ze! Guys like this always have all sorts of goods hidden in their lairs!"
"But, my shri-"
"Forget about that old and ugly thing! With what we can get from the big guy over there you can buy a whole new, better looking one!" Marisa argued just before taking off and approaching the colossal creature, leaving just in time to avoid (or at least pretend not hearing) Reimu's enraged yell, "Wha-? …! Marisa! Don't go calling my shrine old and ugly!"
Not letting the voice of her friend bother her, it wasn't long before Marisa was close enough to call the attention of the dark beast, "Excuse me-ze!"
Surprisingly, the creature turned to look at her almost immediately, but without uttering a word either, just staring back at her without much concern or interest. And this also helped the flying witch in getting a better view of the monster's looks.
"Huh? I thought you were a dragon, but now that I look at you... Hmm..." And her words this time managed to gain a slightly more notorious reaction, a very faint, almost nonexistent trace of confusion seemed to flash on the sets of glowing eyes staring at her, "You seem more like a dinosaur-thing... Oh, well... I guess they're both the same thing in the end-ze!"
Whether it was due to not liking that comparison, instinct or just out of wicked intentions, the answer the dragon-like beast gave then was a continuous stream of flames it breathed on Marisa as soon as it opened its massive jaws.
"Hey! Watch it-ze!" Marisa's voice was then heard through the scorching flames, apparently coming from below. After looking down, the creature found her hovering on her broom and glaring back angrily, "You almost burned my hat! You have any idea how hard it is to make one?!" She yelled while using her right hand to reach for the headwear, as if trying to protect it from further harm.
But whether the being actually intended to attack her again or not, that was something no one ever found out, not after several paper charms hit the left side of the dragon's face before exploding one after the other with great force, bringing down the towering beast. This was in turn followed by Reimu finally approaching them with a rather content smile adorning her face, all too happy that her attacks finally managed to hit someone today. And this was even reflected in her now more vivid and energetic voice, "Seriously... you need to be more conscious of your actions, Marisa."
And much to Reimu's rejoice (yes, I said rejoice), the moment the deep and distorted voice was heard, she could also see through the cloud of smoke and dirt the figure of her target standing up, "Still alive, huh? Good. I still have a lot of steam to blow off and- …!"
But much to the miko's surprise and dismay, she was interrupted from her proclaim once the dragon's head suddenly moved towards her, only instead of trying to burn her alive or crushing her with its jaws, the beast actually just stared at her intently before sniffing her a few times.
Of course, this actually freaked Reimu quite a bit, "Wha-! What's with this thing?!"
"Maybe this one likes you-ze!"
"Th-that isn't fu-"
"I knew it. No wonder I kept sensing his presence all along. He was here, wasn't he?"
"What the hell are you talking abou-"
Before Reimu could finished though, she was interrupted again. But this time, it was by a rather disturbing attack the beast spew at her, a sphere made out of bloodied flesh and skulls, wrapped in some dark miasma. Nothing a well timed barrier couldn't handle, but it was kind of obvious to her the attack was only meant as a warning of sorts.
"Don't lie to me, girl! I can tell, I can tell he was here!"
"If you're so sure about it, why bother asking then-ze?"
"This place... And you yourself... It's faint, very faint, but I can tell their both soaked in that bastard's magic! Now, tell me! Tell me where he is! That traitor! TELL ME WHERE VERGIL IS!"
"I told you I have no idea what you're talking about!" Reimu yelled as she threw a new barrage of charms at the dragon, who then proceeded to burn them down. But to be fair, she honestly had no clue about what the demon was talking about, "Wait!" That is until a very obvious idea finally came to her angry and frustrated mind, "Are you talking about the jerk who destroyed my shrine?!"
But instead of words, the answer the dragon gave was a sudden movement, not as an attack or a dodge, but as the creature turned most of its body to look at something towards the woods in the distance.
This actually happened just as Vergil himself was done with his and Yukari's little game of tag.
"FOUND YOU!" The dragon roared as it jumped high into the sky, heading out with all the intent of obliterating its prey.
"Gee... What was all that about-ze?"
Although, rather than finding this annoying or concerning, Reimu was far more interested in the last words the demon uttered, "Found you, huh?"
"Vergil." The wicked beast called, a deep voice that did little to conceal the rage burning inside its owner.
"Uhm..."And while Vergil was indeed unable to reply, it was more out of surprise at the other devil's sudden arrival more than anything else. And it was that very uncertainty the reason why Vergil settled with simply answering back to the previous call in the exact same fashion, by calling his fellow devil by name, "Gomorrah..."
A courtesy that was followed by a rather awkward silence due to Vergil's utter indifference at Gomorrah's hostility.
"That's it?! That's all you have to say?!"
"You goddamn bastard... DON'T YOU DARE PLAY INNOCENT!"
But despite the element of surprise behind Gomorrah's sudden attack, the massive sphere of bloody flesh and skulls the infernal demon spew didn't even scratch Vergil. Except that the reason behind Gomorrah's failure had nothing to do with the target, just as the yin-yang shaped orb that stopped the grotesque attack proved, but with the sudden interference of non other than the Shrine Maiden of Paradise herself. And the raging aura the small girl was exuding was intense enough to easily overwhelm Gomorrah's, much to the beast's utter shock.
The many talismans brimming with holy power held in between the miko's fingers did little to improve such a first impression, "Finally found you... Both of you... Both of you!" Nor did her disturbingly dead-serious tone of voice.
There was also Marisa, but she did little more than remaining by Reimu's side, all the while watching the two devils with a look of expectation in her obviously excited eyes. And for whatever reason, that and her equally excited smile disturbed Gomorrah almost as much as Reimu did. "Please tell me those aren't your friends..."
"Does it look like we're friends to you?" On the other hand, Vergil seemed to be faring a lot better than the colossal dragon-like, but despite his calm demeanor his voice still sounded somehow exasperated. Still, that didn't stop him from offhandedly asking something to the titan, "Come to think of it, weren't you dead?"
A question that helped to reignite Gomorrah's rage, "I wasn't dead! You bastards betrayed me and tried to get rid of me!"
After effortlessly dodging a savage swipe from Gomorrah's claws and landing closer to the two girls, Vergil's response to the accusation was rather... lacking, to say the least, "Wut...?"
The exact opposite of Reimu's yell, "HEY! DON'T JUST IGNORE ME!"
"Don't play dumb!" And it was then when Gomorrah's voice began to crack as he became more agitated, "You guys tried to kill me back then..." And then his shifty eyes suddenly appeared to become crazy and paranoid. In short, and for whatever reason, Gomorrah clearly went nuts.
"Whoa! Look at those crazy eyes... That guy totally lost it-ze"
"And I'm sure Sheba send you to finish the job. Or am I wrong, Vergil?"
"Eh? Gomorrah is in Gensokyo?"
That was Sheba's comment after hearing Yukari's news. The high empress was surprised enough to actually stop looking at the TV screen and instead turned to look with mild surprise at Yukari, who was sitting at the opposite side of the kotatsu. Of course, Sheba wasn't surprised enough to let go of the controller she was holding nor did she stop playing her game.
"Yes... He was sealed deep underground, right beneath where the Hakurei shrine stands..." Yukari on the other hand, wasn't even curious at how Sheba was perfectly capable of playing her game with enough dexterity despite not even looking at what she was doing. Nor was she much surprised at Sheba's flat reaction. "He's been there even long before the Hakurei Border was erected."
"Well, that's pretty freaky..." Sheba commented as she returned to look at the screen and her eyes took on a sharper look, "He's only been missing for about a month... ...! Oh, hell yeah! Now's my chance! Go, go, go, go... Insta Kill her ass, Sol...!" And then her thumb accidentally slip from the joystick, "Wai... Wut... Oh, crap!"
The screen suddenly flashed as the word SLASH! appeared in highly stylized letters, just before an announcer's voice was heard saying... You lose.
Needless to say, Sheba was less than happy at the result, a fact that was rather obvious as she argued with the TV screen, "Oh, sure. Go on, take your damn top off. That isn't slutty at all..." Letting out a heavy sigh while uttering a "Bitch." under her breath she then left the controller on the table.
Yukari, on her end, decided to give Sheba some time to cool off. The gap youkai calmly drank some of the tea in her cup before proceeding to grab the controller herself, "Really... There are quite a few of your children sealed in Gensokyo. A great deal of them have been there for... quite some time."
"Don't try to act like you don't know anything, Sheba." Yukari admonished as she was done with selecting her own character from the roster.
"You've never complained before, Yukari."
"Oh, but I'm not complaining. They can be quite useful sometimes, especially when stealing their power to help fix the Hakurei Border."
"Then it's fine, right?" Sheba then commented as she lay on her belly in the ground.
"Geez, stop being such a slacker. It's because of you being like this must of the time why Vergil is always so angry."
"Hey! Don't go taking that jerk's side over mine!" The empress demanded while pouting a little, but whether it was due to Yukari's betrayal or the fact that the youkai was doing better than herself in the boss fight... that wasn't so clear. "And besides, it's such a drag having to go and search for them."
"Hey now, is that something their queen should be saying?"
"Meh... It was their fault they ended up like that in the first place. That's just real life for ya. Sometimes, it just sucks."
"Then, why did you sent Vergil to Gensokyo?"
"So that idiot is finally there?"
"Yes, I ran into him not too long ago. He ended up destroying the Hakurei shrine and releasing Gomorrah's seal the moment he arrived, you know?"
"Tsk... That's my unlucky little jerk alright. But I'm sorry to inform you that, I kicked him out mainly as a punishment, dealing with the morons that got themselves sealed up and forgotten over there was pretty much an afterthought, really."
"And let me guess, you didn't even bother in explaining anything to him, did you?"
"Well, I thought about it right after I was done firing him, but then I remembered what the jerk did to my memory card. I got so angry again I just threw a grenade at him instead."
"Is... that so?"
"Yup. I even manage to hit him right in the face with it. Right in the face."
Despite of both, the seriousness and ridiculousness of their conversation up to that point, their little chat ended with a rather pleasant vibe to it, something that wasn't all that rare in the interactions between the two old friends.
At least until Yukari's attempt at clearing the fight displaying on the TV ended in the same fashion as Sheba's, "Dear me... This one is such a bitch..."
"I know, right!"
Putting the controller down, Yukari then simply asked, "So... Any idea how Gomorrah ended up getting sealed in Gensokyo? Over 400 hundred years ago, no less?"
Looking deep in thought, Sheba began to search in her memories, "Well, I really can't remember much of what happened, but I think it went pretty much like this..."
1 month ago.
A meeting held in a private conference room, within an office building.
A building that resided in the depths of Hell.
And yes, this time is Hell itself we're talking about, not the bar from before.
Unsurprisingly, the group of six that occupied the room were all creatures that would fit the dark realm quite nicely, even if all of them had a human visage and were dressed in black business suits, aside from Sheba of course, who was still wearing that scanty and short black dress. But then again, no one seemed to care about that either.
"Alright, now that we're done discussing what to do about the four demon lords, let's move on to the final subject of the day." Vergil announced from his position at the head of the large table he and the others were sitting at. He scrolled down through a small magical hologram at his left, until he found a specific file. "I trust you all remember last Tuesday's incident."
"You mean that crap Guildenstern tried to pull off? Hard to forget stuff that forces you to travel back through time to the always fun 1930s, don't you think?" Ifrit, the Inferno Lord, replied sarcastically.
"Putting aside that example of cheap and lazy sarcasm..." Alastor, the Azure Dragon, casually commented while ignoring Ifrit's attempt to object, "Is there any reason why we need to go over this again? I thought the case was closed already. We went and killed Guildenstern again, preventing the East Europan Imperial Alliance from winning the Second Europan War, preserving history, adverting the survival of the Lumen Sages and, more importantly, saving our jobs."
"I don't see how can anyone call closure to that..." Vergil replied in his usual matter-of-fact tone, just as he remembered the parade of stuff going horribly wrong at every possible turn that the event mentioned above turned out to be.
And then, HUNK's easily recognizable voice was heard next, "You would think that weirdo would know by now not to try and mess with the space-time continuum. And what's with him always trying to destroy Gallia anyway?"
"That is if he isn't too busy harvesting children's organs. Seriously, calling him a weirdo is a severe understatement." the Ice Doll, Leviathan, chimed in before turning to look at Vergil with a wary expression, "This isn't about him, right?"
"Sigh... No, it is not. And before any of you says anything else in regards o Guildenstern again, let me just say... Nobody gives a damn about that weirdo, so drop it!" Having successfully brought the meeting back on the right track, Vergil then continued, "This... is about Gomorrah going missing during that same job."
"Uhm... I'm sorry but... Who?" Alastor then asked in confusion.
"... ...Gomorrah. The guy you decided to bring along after refusing to let Leviathan take part on the job."
And Vergil's comment forced Ifrit to jump and defend his and Alastor's decision, "But of course we refused to bring Levi along. Do you really think we were about to have her coming into the same time period that Maximilian sicko lived?"
While that statement in turn caused Leviathan to protest, "Would you two stop treating me like a child!"
"She is right. Don't forget she is a year older than you two."
"Hey! Don't go talking about my age like that, you'll make me look old!"
"...? Make you look..? To whom? We all know how old you-"
But HUNK's reply was interrupted mid-sentence after something suddenly cut the air around him and the other three, causing their eyes to turn to a less-than-amused Vergil. "..."
"So... Gomorrah, right?" Ifrit began talking, only to then remember something, "Wait a sec, didn't that guy die?"
"Yes. Now that you mention it..." Alastor then joined that very same train of thought, "I seem to recall Gomorrah getting thrown into one of those time anomalies that weirdo used."
"Ah, right. Gomorrah went all Leeroy Jenkins for no reason and then the weirdo just made him fall into one of his time-folds"
"That's not enough to declare him dead, that's not how it works." Vergil stated, "And that's precisely why I'm bringing this subject up, we need to find out what exactly happened to him and take measures abou-"
"That's too much of a drag. Let's just say he died." Ifrit offered.
("No, I'm telling you that's not how...")
"I agree." Alastor said, "It's not like Gomorrah was that useful around here anyway."
("Wait, what?") - (Yes, this is Vergil's voice being ignored)
"Alright, then all that is left to do is fill the report about his death." Leviathan pointed out as she summoned another magical hologram. "So... What type of creature was Gomorrah anyway?"
("Are you serious? You just can't...") - (Again, this is Vergil being ignored)
"I'm not really sure... A dragon?"
"Nah. He was more like a dinosaur-thing."
"Isn't that just the same thing?"
"What?! We're nothing like dinosaurs!"
"Okay... Let's just say Gomorrah was a dinosaur that could breath fire..."
("You got to be kidding") - (Vergil again)
"Wait. Didn't that wacko Mundus hav a lot of creatures like that as pets?"
"Oh! Right, the Pluto Dragons. But I always thought those were zombies."
"But wait, if Gomorrah is indeed the same type of creature as those, a zombie, then him being dead could actually be considered normal. And that would mean... there is really nothing to report..."
"Then... Does that mean we can take the rest of the day off?"
After regaining some composure and giving up on his obviously pointless struggle to restore order on the meeting, Vergil finally addressed Sheba, "Don't you have anything to say about this?"
While the empress herself, sitting at the opposite side of the table as his, simply spoke with a short, "Not really, no..." and then she added, "Seems like we're about done here. So who is in for some nachos and Monster Hunter?!"
A proposal that earned all sorts of cheers and fanfare as almost everyone walked out of the room while lifting Sheba on their arms, leaving only a very exhausted Vergil behind.
"Sigh... Screw this. I'm going to bed..."
"And that's what happened."
That was Vergil's blunt comment as he finished with the narration.
Understandably, the reactions that little story earned were rather peculiar, with both Gomorrah and Reimu looking at him in utter disbelief, unable to say a single word.
And as if that wasn't enough, Vergil then added rather crudely, "That means you're legally dead to us... Or rather, to them..."
Even Marisa, who up to that point seemed rather entertained by the story, found that last bit a little too much, "Wow... Way to have tact there-ze."
"What? Was I supposed to lie just to make that idiot feel better? To Hell with that."
"B-but I... I ended up in Japan during the 1560s..."
"No kidding." An unamused Vergil replied.
"I was assaulted as soon as I arrived by some woman from that weird clan of Oni Gods named Takajo and her squad of bodyguards! An-and then, priests came out of nowhere and sealed me up in some cave!"
"Are you saying all of that happened to me because of-"
"Would you shut up!" Finally having enough whining, Vergil yelled at the dragon, just as the same spectral force from before lashed out, creating several cuts in the ground around Gomorrah, "Do you really think you're the only one who had a hard time around that bunch of idiots? I mean, they would be perfectly okay with leaving me to die just to go and watch SpongeBob or some other random crap."
"But I spent over 400 years-"
"Shut up!" Vergil yelled again, while the invisible force slashed the ground once more, only this time it was dangerously closer to the large demon, "I can tell just by looking at you. You haven't aged a single day. The oni probably realized you were a time anomaly, so they sealed you outside of the bounds of space and time. You were pretty much unaffected by the passing centuries, physically at least. They certainly messed up your head... Not that I'm one to talk..."
"Just stop whining already!"
"Whining? Did you just say I'm-"
"You are whining!"
"You son of a... Die and rot in the depths of Hell! VERGIL!"
And with that, Gomorrah lunged forward, already anticipating his deadly claws and wicked jaws ripping Vergil's body. Slowly and painfully.
"Hoh! The good part is finally starting-ze! I wonder what the human-looking one will do?"
What Gomorrah never expected (but should have)...
"I told you to... SHUT UP!" was Vergil waiting until the last possible second before delivering a brutal kick to the dragon's face. So strong was the attack that, not only did it push Gomorrah to the side like he was made of cardboard, but also broke quite a few of his teeth in the process. And if someone could watch the whole thing in slow motion, they would clearly see Gomorrah's eyes widening in disbelief and a lot of pain the moment Vergil's leg made contact with his jaw.
"Wow! He is actually super strong-ze! …? Say, you've been awfully quite so far, Rei- …!" Not unlike the way Marisa's eyes widened the moment she saw Reimu, the familiar looking card she was holding in her hand and the intense glare the miko gave at the two monsters in the distance.
"Oh boy..." Deciding it would be for the best to just pretend she didn't notice a thing, Marisa simply took quite a few steps back.
As for the two devils...
Well, they were completely unaware of what was going on around the two girls, with Gomorrah being too busy still skidding painfully across the ground while Vergil simply walked calmly after him.
And once Gomorrah came to a stop, he tried to urge his body to move, only to fail miserably once Vergil suddenly appeared by his side, seizing one of the beast's horns with his bandaged right arm and locking Gomorrah's head in an angle so the set of orbs that composed his left eye would be staring directly at Vergil's face, "...!"
But the thing was, Vergil's face was no longer there. It was instead replaced by a shadowed thing underneath his attire's hood, with a jagged mouth that looked almost like a broken smile and a single glowing orb for an eye. The left eye at that, which shouldn't even be in its eyesocket anymore.
But the new looks Vergil's face sported didn't prevent him from talking, "Now, listen to me you fool..." even if his voice wasn't that different from Gomorrah's now, "You remember how I said I went to bed shortly after all the other idiots left?" Gomorrah actually tried to nod right then, but the hold Vergil's arm had on him made it almost impossible. Not really caring about that, Vergil then continued, "You know how long I was able to sleep? 14 minutes. 14! And you know what else?" At that point, Vergil pulled himself closer to the dragon, allowing Gomorrah to see a full close up of his wicked looking-face and hearing his words all the clearer, "I haven't gotten a single minute of sleep ever since!"
Kicking Gomorrah further away right after letting go of his horn, Vergil then proceeded to walk towards him while continuing with his rant, "Day after day, I had to put up with some of the most ridiculous and pointless nonsense while working for that moron..." And much like that little trick he pulled off with Reimu earlier before, the light around the two just disappeared and the shadows turned creepier and creepier with each step taken, "And what did I get in return? I got fired! Not to mention I'm now stranded in the last place I ever wanted to be at! And then you come out of nowhere and start trying to put the blame on me over something that was your fault in the first place?! Well, that's it!"
Once Vergil was inches away from reaching Gomorrah, the dragon began crawling away while laying on his back, something that should be anatomically impossible for him, but he nonetheless managed to pull it off...
At least until Vergil summoned a few massive and deadly-looking spectral blades, using them to caged Gomorrah while also effectively blocking his path to freedom. "If you're so unhappy with how your life turned out, I might as well put you out of your misery, Gomorrah."
Resigned to the inevitable, Gomorrah simple braced himself.
Except that, rather than doing anything to the helpless demon, Vergil instead suddenly came to a stop, his face as well as everything else around them returning to normal, or what could pass for normall on the former's case. Looking around with a raised eyebrow, Vergil simply asked, "Why the hell is everything so goddamn red all of a sudden?"
"What?" Not really understanding what his former tormentor was talking about, Gomorrah took a look around too, but found nothing unusual. Well, nothing aside for Reimu's figure way past Vergil, "Oh crap..."
Turning to see what was happening behind him, Vergil was finally able to see Reimu and the death glare she threw at both of them, just as she yelled...
"Divine Spirit... Fantasy Seal -Blink-!"
Although, the finishing blow wasn't the attack itself, but the last word Reimu uttered before the maelstrom of spiritual projectiles consumed the two devils.
A word that caused Vergil's eye to twitch uncontrollablt as soon as he heard it.
With a triumphant smirk adorning her lips, Reimu simply said...
"Yeah... This is exactly what I meant when I said life sometimes... just sucks..."
And then, everything turned red.
Back in Hell, in a room that clearly was never meant to be treated as a kitchen but was nonetheless used as such, a young girl and two older males were busy either watching TV, eating cereal or reading a newspaper, complete with a somewhat homelike atmosphere covering the scene and a peaceful almost-silence reigning over.
At least until the guy with navy-blue, medium-long and stylishly unkempt hair stopped reading his newspaper, moving his violet eyes from its contents and towards the other people in the room, just before casually bringing up a subject into the light...
Alastor: Come to think of it... Has any of you seen Vergil today?
A question that caused the girl with long, icy-blue hair and crimson eyes to turn from the TV screen and look at him with an expression of realization on her face...
Leviathan: Actually... Now that you mention it, I don't think I've seen him in a while. He isn't in his room nor in his office. You... don't think he is dead, do you?
And it was that particular comment what finally prompted the guy with dark-red, brushed down hair and scarlet eyes to speak... while still lazily eating his cereal...
Ifrit: He better not be... If the idiot dies then his workload will be pass on to us... I can barely keep up with my own stuff, I don't need to deal with his crap too.
Alastor: How very sympathetic of you.
Ifrit: Get off my back, Al.
Leviathan: Should we go look for him?
Ifrit: Screw that. It's too damn early.
Alastor: And besides, we have more important things to do other than worry about him. He can take care of himself.
Leviathan: I guess you're right... You guys wanna watch SpongeBob with me then?
Ifrit: I dunno... Is it one of those lame and generic new episodes?
Leviathan: No. It's from the earlier seasons, from before the movie came out. I also have the complete set of seasons for Hamtaro.
Alastor: Oh... In that case, sure.
And so, just like that, the three of them dropped the matter of their missing colleague altogether.
The Book of Infernal Demons.
(The following fragments were taken directly from the original manuscript. Any complains about its contents should be taken to the one who wrote it, whoever that is).
Vergil (Praesidium Vigilo): The infamous Dark Slayer and the main character of our tale... sort of. Following Mundus' ultimate defeat, he wandered in the dark realm of Hell for some years. Eventually, and after a series of bizarre events too lengthy to discuss here, he met the soul of Hell's original ruler, Sheba. Forming a partnership of sorts, he agreed to help her in resurrecting and reclaiming her throne, becoming her right hand man and eventually Hell's second in command. Until he pissed her off and ended up getting himself fired and kicked out of Hell, which is the reason why he now finds himself in the wonderful land of Gensokyo. By the will of Sheba, he is the "Embodiment of Hell" and its "Eye". Due to a certain event in his childhood, and a lot of bizarre occurrences throughout his life, he developed a certain aversion towards bunnies. He also never learned how to swim and has a ridiculously low tolerance for alcohol.
(Vergil: Hey! Isn't this entry a little too personal?! And how the hell did you find out about all of that! I-)
[Sheba: It's fine, it's fine. People were bound to find out sooner or later, might as well come clean about it now. Now shut up, you're ruining the narration]
Queen Sheba (Domina): The High Empress. Born alongside the darkness that created Hell, she was its original super cute and uber badass ruler. But the death of God at the end of the conflict known as the First Armageddon created an in-balance in the powers of Darkness and Light in the universe. In order to prevent the ultimate destruction of everything in existence, Sheba's soul was sealed away through unknown means, leaving the throne of Hell vacant. The dumb, mad desires for conquest of all realms one of her successors, The Dark Emperor Mundus, carried ended up destabilizing the natural forces anyway, weakening the seal of her soul. Not being a total fool, Mundus did everything in his power to keep her slumber going. The idiot's demise however, allowed Sheba's soul to return, and with Vergil's help so did her once forgotten kingdom.
Alastor (Clades Candor): The Azure Dragon. Originally a dragon born from the chaos that created Purgatory, he encountered Sheba for the first time at some point prior to the start of the first Armageddon. Once she was done beating him to a bloody pulp, he was then offered a chance to join her cause for the upcoming conflict. Accepting the offer, he was then turned into a devil and became one of her generals, until her demise at the end of the war. Refusing to follow Mundus' reign, the Emperor himself dealt with him, seemingly for good. But Sheba's return also meant the same for her subject. By the will of his mistress, he is the embodiment of "Infinite Void". He is a rather serious and down-to-business type of guy most of the time and is the one who usually takes charge whenever Vergil is unavailable. Unfortunately, people listen to him even less than they do to Vergil, and that's saying something.
Ifrit (Ignis Excubitor): The Inferno Lord. Originally a dragon born from the chaos that created Purgatory, he encountered Sheba for the first time at some point prior to the start of the first Armageddon. Once she was done beating him to a bloody pulp, he was then offered a chance to join her cause for the upcoming conflict. Accepting the offer, he was then turned into a devil and became one of her generals, until her demise at the end of the war. Refusing to follow Mundus' reign, the Emperor himself dealt with him, seemingly for good. But Sheba's return also meant the same for her subject. By the will of his mistress, he is the embodiment of "Absolute Chaos". He has a lazy and somewhat irresponsable personality, only bothering to do things that manage to pick his interest. It is because of this that, even though he is about as capable as Vergil or Alastor, he still holds a lesser rank than them, but he really doesn't care.
Leviathan (Draco Marinus): The Ice Doll. Much like Alastor and Ifrit, she too was born a pure dragon from Purgatory. Unlike them, she willingly subjugated herself to Sheba's rulership, a year prior to the other two's recruitment. Unfortunately, Leviathan herself died during the final stages of the war, with Sheba being unable to resurrect her due to her own grim fate. Not even Mundus was able to bring the mighty creature back, resorting to create his own replacement (a fact that greatly infuriated Levi once she found out he gave her name to such an ugly thing). Thankfully, Sheba's resurrection also meant a second chance for her. By the will of her mistress, she is the embodiment of "Primal Darkness". She is constantly treated as a child and spoiled by her two brothers, something that she claims she hates. However, that apparently doesn't stop her from enjoying the pampering.
HUNK (Parietinae Umbra): A being shrouded in mystery, not much is really know about him. Aside from his inability to remain dead and being capable of killing the seemingly unkillable, he claims to lack any particular special abilities, a statement a lot of people doubt. How he came to work under Sheba is unknown, although he has hinted several times it was simply due to a whim of hers.
Rodin: A fallen angel. Once Heaven's second-in-command as well as its "Eye", he and the angels under his direct orders decided that, with God dead, the time for a new ruler had arrived. Ultimately failing, he and his subjects were banished to Hell, although in Rodin's particular case, it wasn't entirely due to his rebellion, but also because he had grown too powerful to be allowed to stay. Following this, he founded the Grigori organization, the governmental force for the fallen angels, acting as its Governor General. Eventually though, he decided to simply retired and left the organization in the hands of his apprentices, establishing his bar, the Gates of Hell, soon after. He is an exceptionally skilled blacksmith and alchemist, not to mention he was also the best friend of Vergil's father back in the day. While he has no qualms in allowing Sheba's generals into his bar, due to a certain incident, he has made a very strict point never allowing Vergil to get drunk there or anywhere near his property ever again.
(Vergil: Seriously?! I mean, why the-!) - (Gets kicked in the face)
[Sheba: I said... SHUT UP!]
A/N: Now, before any of you start jumping the gun here, let me just say...
Reimu's use of that iconic catchphrase near the end has nothing to do with the man behind it. That was just something I decided to threw in there just to irk Vergil even further.
That aside, and in case it isn't terrible obvious just yet, this story as a whole could be best regarded as a "Touohu Project meets Hideki Kamiya's work" kind of deal, as it features a great deal of stuff related to, not only the original Devil May Cry series, but a lot of other works related one way or another to the father of DMC.
Also, a fun fact. Originally I intended for this story to take place, if not at the same time as Concealed the Conclusion, then at least in a similar setting. Unfortunately, I ended up getting rid of that idea almost immediately due to the fact that, had I use it, it would have been a rather short story. I really wanted to have something that could go on for a while. Thus why Hopeless Masquerade became the starting point.
Well, that and, I absolutely loved Kokoro in HM! X)
Finally, just a bit of a notice...
The next couple of chapters will cover the conclusion of this little mess Vergil and Gomorrah are in and will also feature the residents of a certain mansion bearing the namesake of Vergil's baby brother.
Beyond that though, I'm not really sure.
So you better prepare yourselves to expect the unexpected from that point on.
Seriously, is kind of hard to figure this sort of stuff out when you have so many options right from the get go.
Anyway, that's all I have for now. Hope you guys enjoyed the chapter (but if you didn't, that's fine too. We're all here for the fun of it).
I'll see you, my dear friends, in Chapter 2... Stranger in a Strange Land - (The World is All my loving)
So take care and enjoy the holidays!