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Once More With Feeling

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The trap was sprung. And there wasn't a damned thing Dante or Vergil could do about it.

Not even their demonically enhanced gifts would be enough to break the Sons of Sparda from this horrific twist of fate. In any other circumstance, Dante and Vergil would have simply endured the assault with their usual combination of competitive spirit and stubborn refusal to die. But the appearance of the Demon Emperor quashed whatever humours that may have arisen in an instant. How precisely the brothers allowed themselves to be caught so completely unawares in the Dark Prince's trap was a complete mystery. There was no avenue of escape or method of quick egress from the situation - they were utterly and overwhelmingly surrounded.

Or... perhaps on reflection it was a matter of arrogance. Dante and Vergil had only been fighting the most basic of creatures for a long time now. Beings that fell like chaff before their swords. Even the greater demons they had encountered had proven little challenge against their combined strength. Such a state of near absolute supremacy had allowed them to grow complacent in their power. They hadn't even realised when taking on stronger and fiercer enemies that their strength was whittled away little by little. It seemed that their enemy was quite a fan of the old axiom 'death by a thousand cuts'. And that was precisely what happened. Now they were trapped in this excruciating battle of attrition - one that they could not win.

Another compelling question was how the hell did Mundus manage to break from the seal on Mallet Island and return to his home domain? Given the circumstances however, the brothers were willing to dispense with the questions until their current foes could be defeated.

If they could be defeated. The shared treacherous thought hung in the back of their minds, though neither would express it out loud. They had too much pride for that.

Dante and Vergil stood back-to-back with their weapons drawn, as they had always done since entering this forsaken hellscape to destroy the Qliphoth. Looming above the battlefield, the three eyed spectre of the Great Lord Mundus etched a familiar gut-churning sight. His shadowed hands hovered over the legions set before the twins, his fingers dancing as he directed the lesser demons like a puppeteer directing a theatre performance.

"Hey Verge," Dante was distressingly breathless as he spoke, his devil sword in a two-handed grip before him. "R-reckon you can take the thousand on the right?"

"Perhaps..." Vergil was equally as breathless, heart hammering in his chest and sucking in great gasps of air. It was weakness, but for the first time in his life he was astonished to realise he didn't care. "If one more were to appear, that might just be cause for concern."

"A'right then, its settled. Lets make 'em work for it, yeah?" Dante grinned, his teeth stained red from the wounds he'd sustained earlier in their two-man war against the denizens of the underworld.

"Took the words right out of my mouth, brother." Vergil replied.

Despite the situation and the reality that this was very likely their end, the brothers couldn't stop the sheer thrill they felt at the fight. The intoxicating exhalation of battle filled their tired bodies with renewed vigor. Neither found themselves particularly caring that the end of their lives was at hand. They had entered the world together - it was only right that they departed together in a blaze of glory. It would be a good death, and Vergil found himself at peace with that prospect. Dying beside his brother would be a noble way to go.

A tremor beneath their feet caught the elder brother's notice first and his heart lurched, recognising the familiar precursor to a move used on him long ago. "Dante, move!"

Before he could react, the younger Sparda was knocked hard on his front as the very ground beneath them warped and shot twisted barb projectiles at the brothers. Blood exploded from Vergil's guts and welled up in his throat as the barbs skewered him like a human pin-cushion. Their paths had likely ruptured his lungs, grazed his heart and impaled him through the bowels. Blood ran in thick lines down the dead wood and pooled at his feet. Vergil gasped for breath, trying to maintain the fragile thread of consciousness he had left to him.

"Shit! Vergil!" Dante was back on his feet in an instant cutting away the roots that bound his brother in place, and when Vergil collapsed to his knees he kept one hand on his shoulder as support. The Devil Sword Dante was levelled at their company, daring any one of them to try and take them now the elder brother was literally on his knees and incapacitated for the moment.

"Ah, how nostalgic this is Nelo Angelo. I recall inflicting similar wounds during our last encounter." Mundus' booming voice somehow sounded like a soothing purr which sickened the Sparda brothers. Dante pointed his Devil Sword towards the dark king.

"Hey feather face, sorry to say but I ain't lettin' my big brother go to the prom with some butt-ugly date like you! So back the hell away or things'll get real ugly real fast!" As much as Dante tried to affect his typical bravado, the threat rang blatantly hollow.

"I said before did I not? The human heart is a tumour of weakness. Allow me to remove it for you, to purify that obstacle from your path to power." Mundus offered ever so graciously.

Vergil grit his teeth against the pain, closing his eyes against the nightmares such words and the events that followed brought to the forefront of his mind. His anger peaked at the Dark Prince's sheer audacity. He grasped the remaining barb in his chest and wretched it out, inch by agonising inch then spat out a mouthful of blood spitefully. The pain fueled his fury and his typical calm collected front was no where to be found. Instead he chose to declare his flat refusal in a parlance with which his brother and son were intimately familiar.

"Go fuck youself."

Dante barked out a laughter despite the circumstance.

Dante crouched down and threw Vergil's arm over his shoulders. The older brother didn't protest, simply keeping his grip tight on Yamato as the twins rose and glared defiance up at the Demon King.

A crystalline clink sound echoed through the battlefield, somehow louder than all the snarls and roars and growls of the feral demons vying for Sparda blood. It was the sound of small chains attached to the most precious gemstone in all existence. An all too familiar amulet slipped from Vergil's pocket, four thin chains - two gold two silver - trailing as it clattered to the ground. The jiggling chain chimed like a bell, seemingly stopping everything within ear shot. Vergil and Dante both turned to stare at the amulet, the silent question in both of their eyes.

How? How could it possibly be here?!

The Perfect Amulet bounced in the pooling blood at their feet but did not land. It hung in the air, hovering just centimetres from the ground suspended while the four chain links rattled gently. The Sparda brothers looked around and found a purple haze cast over their adversaries. All locked in place. Frozen in time - frozen in a breath. The only thing that made any kind of sound was the amulet, which sounded so... inappropriately yet blissfully musical in this blighted scenario. A faction of a second later, the crystal emitted a dark purple glow that expanded into a circle. Some sort of purple rune that resembled an eye with two moons orbiting it confined within a runic circle.

"Umbra..." Vergil breathed and Dante stared at his brother in recognition.

In an eye blink second, the chains shot out extending to ludicrously long proportions that marked out a semi-spherical space to enclose the twins with the Perfect Amulet forming its apex. The Umbra rune circle rotated at a 90 degree angle and lowered to their feet.

The purple haze around their enemies slowly faded away and the Demon King roared his rage. The very skies themselves thundered and boomed with his outburst, such was the power under his command. Demons rushed like carrion to a corpse but none could break the purple magic barrier that had erected around the twins, linked together by the chains.

"That foul witch!" The dark king roared in a colossal tantrum-like rage, "Eva, you blighted creature! Not once but twice - How dare you steal from me!"

The very rune beneath their feet glowed as a bead of dark crackling energy blasted the brothers apart from each other. The bead expanded into a whirlpool that grew faster than either could register.

"Vergil! Stay close to me!" Dante lunged for his brother, hand outstretched as the purple and black magics encompassed them.

Vergil just barely caught his twin's hand as they were hurled head long into a tempestuous whirlwind that threatened to consume all in its path. In an eye-blink instant, the magical barrier and the amulet that forged it, were gone. Taken into the vortex that whisked the sons of Sparda from the underworld. The Demon Emperor's maddened roars of denial and curses of retaliation vanished in the howling winds around them.

It was brutal. As the elements themselves had formed fists and chose to add their own beating to what the Sparda brothers had already endured at Mundus' hands. One particular turbulent wind strike knocked Yamato clean from Vergil's hand.

"NO!" Vergil reached out in vain as his treasured sword spiraled into the abyss, lost forever in this space.

"Damn it!" Dante growled in frustration, eyes closed with his spare hand shielding his head from the brutal force attacking them. "We need to hold on!"

"Don't let go!" The elder brother cared little that he begged and the twins cried out in agony when they lost their grip on each other, thrown by whatever magic this was in opposite directions. Vergil was sent pinwheeling away before his back collided with a hard thump against a flat surface which knocked him out completely.