Cossack's Comrades

Canto IX: Fraud

*Dante and Virgil have reached the edge of the Abominable Sands, and come to a vast canyon, where all the rivers of Hell join together, flowing into a seemingly-bottomless pit.

Dante: So how are we gettin' to the next circle of hell? Crossin' one o' these rivers? Or catchin' a ride? It's gotta be one or the other.

*Virgil snatches up Dante's weapons.

Dante: ...Catchin' a ride.

Virgil: ...Just...Don't. Talk. I've got a pounding in my eye that won't go away. And a huge, slow-burning, festering resentment. I'm just trying to keep it together long enough for you to get to Beatrice, and maybe, just maybe, I can finally have some peace and quiet...In the shattered remains of what used to be my house.

Dante: Alright, alright. Ya don' hafta be pissy 'Bout it. .

Virgil: You're so lucky that this is part of some greater, divine plan. Otherwise I would've ditched you seven circles ago.

Dante: Great! So it doesn't matter how much I screw ya over! Yer stickin' with me for the long haul!

Virgil: Ugggh...Me and my big mouth...

Dante: ...'N Beatrice 'n I still get to be in one o' yer pornos. Ya gave me yer word.

Virgil: ...Oh, you'll be in a porno. Ever heard of 'vore'? If you haven't, you'll have a pretty good idea what it is by the time it's over.

Dante: I'll look it up on the ride down. Speakin' o' which, where's that ride o' yers, anyhow?

Virgil: Be quiet. It's not like we're hailing a taxi, you know.

*Virgil lights his staff and a massive demon approaches, making his earlier statement a baldfaced lie.

Geryon: Oh, hell no. I heard about what you clowns did to the last guys who tried to help you across the river. You guys are on your own.

Virgil: Geryon, you're our only way into the next domain of Hell.

Geryon: Not really my problem. Why don't you just take Nessus or Charon to take you? Oh, right. You killed them.

Virgil: *holds out Dante's weapons* Look, I took his weapons. He's not going to cause any trouble. I'm sure this will be at least a relatively peaceful ride. As peaceful as riding the back of a hideous demon can be.

*Five minutes later, Geryon tailspins into the Eighth Circle of Hell, crashing into one of the ten ditches spanning it, headfirst. Dante and Virgil leap off it and land just outside the first ditch.

Virgil: ...Teach me for not taking your liquor, as well. But honestly, I didn't think you'd be stupid enough to get our ride drunk in mid-flight.

Dante: Ya thought wrong. So what's the story with this dump?

Virgil: Well, since you asked, there are ten ditches in this hell. All representing various degrees of fraud. Yadda, yadda. I'd be amazed if you're still paying attention.

Dante: That's it?? That's fraud? Jus' ten little holes in the ground??

Virgil: Wow, you were paying attention. Well, I'm sorry not every pit of Hell is exciting as Lust, Gluttony and Greed!

Dante: Are we really goin' through every stinkin' ditch down here?? That's gonna suck.

Virgil: Oh yes. The last thing anyone in Hell wants is for you to suffer. Poor you.

Dante: Except we coulda just rode Geryon over the whole damn thing! I mean, use some common sense!!

Virgil: You're the one who got him drunk!! And like you're one to talk! You're a trained ape, without the training!!

*Suddenly, Lucifer floats in, cowering behind Dante and Virgil.

Lucifer: Hide me hide me hide me hide me HIDE ME!!

Dante: What the hell??

Lucifer: Oh, there you are!! Don't go anywhere this time! You've got to help me!

Dante: Gimme one good reason.

Lucifer: Your wife has gone completely bananas!

Dante: What didja do?

Lucifer: I showed her a scene from your life. The one that sums up all of your sins. And she ah-Didn't take it well.

Virgil: What were you trying to accomplish?

Lucifer: I was hoping she'd turn on you completely, and one or both of you would end up killing each other. But all she did was go nuts and take it out on everybody!!

Dante: Oh, come on! I got no other dirty secrets fer her! Cheating on her was the worst of it.

Virgil and Lucifer: HA!

Virgil: Don't play dumb. You know what he's talking about.

*Back during the crusades...

Francesco: Alright, Dante. What did you want to show us?

Dante: Ya ain' gonna believe this, but I jus' whipped up the most badass super soldier ever! He's got every las' robot master weapon on the planet. He can use 'em, like ten times better than we can use our own. 'N if he finds a weapon that ain' in his database, he can just scan it 'n add it jus' like that! I call 'im Omni!

Francesco: That's all well and truly good. Up until it turns on us. Somehow.

Dante: Ain't gonna happen. I programmed him with my personality. 'N I'm as loyal as the day is long.

Omni: Hey, is that a bridge over there?

*Omni fires a barrage of dive missiles and napalm bombs at a bridge off in the distance, blowing it to smithereens!

Civilian: NOOOOO!! Why, God! WHHHHYYY!!!

*Present time.

Lucifer: Not even close! That doesn't even have anything to do with fraud!

Virgil: And now you're just taking credit for other people's sins.

Lucifer: Honestly, I know you're not this dense!! How can you not know what you've done to deserve everything that's happened so far?!

Virgil: Don't bitch to me. This is the Sisiphyean Boulder I've been pushing for the past seven circles of Hell now.

Dante: Look, I've been lectured so long, that all my sins are jus' runnin' together now. I'm jus' shootin' in the dark here.

Virgil: Alright, fuck it. I don't even know why we tried. It's not like any of these flashbacks have made him grow in anyway-

Lucifer: Hang on, let me try.

Virgil: Knock yourself out.

Lucifer: Alright, Dante. Beatrice is pissed about fraud you've committed against her. How have you deceived her for your own gain?

Dante: Awww, c'mon are we still hung up 'bout how I cheated on her?? I thought we were done with that!! Hang on, wait a second.

*One month ago, before Dante massacred the prisoners, he and the slavegirl he canoodled with step out of a dungeon, their clothes all wrinkled.

Slave Girl: ...You remember our deal, right?

Dante: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yer brother's free as a bird. Ya were worth it. Every minute.

*Dante opens up a cell and lets the Slave Girl's brother out.

Dante: Yer so lucky that yer sister asked fer yer freedom in writin' before we got started, pal. Now go on, scram.

Slave Girl's Brother: Yes, well her intellect always was one of her finer qualities. Thank you for releasing me.

Stoner Prisoner: Whoa, hang on there, Skeletor. Wasn't that slave girl really your wife?

Silent Prisoner: !!!! *looks at the brother, disgusted.*

Stoner Prisoner: Ewwww!! No, Lunchbox! What I mean is, that she's really his wife, not his sister. Not that she's his sister AND his wife!! That's just sick!

Slave Girl's Brother: ....Nooooo...Of course not...That would be illogical...Yes...


"Brother": What's the point you're trying to make?

Stoner Prisoner: That drunk creep just banged your wife, dude! Aren't you the even slightest bit pissed?!

"Brother": As underhanded as it all was, it granted me my freedom. Clearly, she was acting in my best interest.

Stoner Prisoner: Dude!! Your wife! Cheated on you! Doesn't that bother you in the least??

"Brother": Truthfully, I'm trying to remember why I have a wife in the first place. Emotional unions such as marriage serve no practical purpose. Though apparently, my wife is willing to use herself as leverage as a means to release me. If that was I chose to have a wife, I'll need more.

*The Brother approaches another woman held in a cell.

"Brother": Will you marry me, so I may use your appealing genitalia as a means of negotiating my release, if I'm ever captured?

Woman: Golly, gee. You certainly know how to talk to the ladies. By all means. Take me now.

"Brother": Proposal accepted. *moves onto the next woman.* Will you be my wife so I may offer your body for sex in exchange for my release if needed?

Stoner Prisoner: ...Honestly, how can this not bother you?? Most guys would get even if some creep screwed his wife!

"Brother": What do you mean?

Stoner Prisoner: What I mean, is find this dickhead, kick the ever-loving shit out of him, and teach him a lesson for messing with your woman!

Prisoner: Or if you really want to be hardcore, take away everything he loves. I mean literally, burn his world to ashes.

"Brother": I see. So in other words, I now have a target for assassination. Is that why my wife chose him? So I can kill him later?

Stoner Prisoner: ...Sure. Close enough. Though most guys call that 'revenge'.

"Brother": And this outcome is logical?

Stoner Prisoner: ...Uhhhh, yeah?

"Brother": I see. Clearly, having a wife has more benefits than I realized. I'll have to explore other possible applications for them later.

*The brother turns to the woman he was "proposing to".

"Brother": I will return to you later. I await your response to me having exclusive access to you, so I may barter your lady parts for my freedom. And in return, I will terminate a high-priority target of your choosing.

Woman: ...You had me at 'barter my lady parts.'

*Present time...

Dante: Hang on a sec, there's sumethin' funny 'bout that 'Brother' guy...Why do I know him...?

Virgil: Holy crap!! Is he actually learning something?? Who is this?? What has he done to Dante? And what do we do to make sure Dante come back??

Lucifer: Shhhh...Don't disturb him. You might throw him off his groove.

*Dante flashes back to the night when he found his family murdered in his villa. The moment when raced into his room, and a shadowy figure plunged a dagger into his back. A shadowy figure none other than...

"Brother": Hm. This sensation known as 'Revenge' is most gratifying. I must find more ways I can experience it.

*Present time...

Dante: Oh crap!! That would mean...!!

*Dante imagines the "Brother", or rather his assassin venturing into Sicily in order to murder everyone he loves!

Assassin: *standing over a pile of corpses* At last. The vengeance that I have apparently longed for against Dante and his family is mine at last. Mission successful.

Victim: Uh, that's great...But we're not Dante's family.

Assassin: You're not?

Victim: No.

Assassin: ...Well, this was rather unprofessional.

Victim: Yes. I'm sure it's the worst thing to happen all day.



Assassin: ...Do you know where I can find Dante's family?

Victim: ...Dante...Is he the guy who got drunk and stampeded goats through my living room?

Assassin: Very likely.

Victim: Ah...His fiancee and his father are in a villa three miles down, right by the brook. If you hit the Heaven's Night strip club, you've gone too far. But I'm sure he'd be upset if you killed the dancers there, too. Maybe even more.

Assassin: Excellent.

*The Assassin slits the victim's throat and turns to leave, only to find another assassin standing in the doorway.

Assassin 2: Ah, man! Some other guy killed Dante's family before I could? This sucks!

Assassin: What? I'm not the only person out to get revenge on Dante? This was not disclosed to me.

Assassin 2: What are you kidding me? There's got to be hundreds, if not thousands of guys who've got scores to settle with Dante! I had to kill fifty of those guys, just so I could get here before anyone else.

Assassin: And each and every one of them offered him their wives so they could be released from prison? I am beginning to see his advantage in being a dick to so many people.

Assassin 2: ...Whatever. You seem like my kinda guy, so how's this sound? You kill his wife, I kill his pops, and we split his servants fifty-fifty? Sound good?

Assassin: And whoever spots Dante first gets to kill him. I accept.

Assassin 2: Hey, as long as he suffers, I'm happy.

Assassin: Excellent. Actually, we should also kill the strippers at Heaven's Night. I'm told that would cause him grief as well.

Assassin 2: We make a hell of a team!

Assassin: Apparently. And you, come along. We'll still need you in case we get caught.

Woman: ...Someone remind me why I agreed to come along with you.

*Present time.

Dante: ...Yeah, I can see that happenin'.

Virgil: ...So you're the reason Beatrice and everyone you love is dead and damned. Wow. Just. Wow.

Lucifer: That's even worse than the flashback I showed Beatrice!! I just showed her one where you threw out her copy of 'Fifty Shades of Grey'!

Dante: Hey, don' I get points fer learnin' somethin' from one o' those friggin' flashbacks??

Beatrice: Oh, you get points, alright!!

*Several demons emerge and try to grab Dante, Virgil and Lucifer. But Dante slashes them aside with a swing of his scythe!

Lucifer: You turncoats! You're just going to side with her just like that??

Farfarello: Sorry, boss. Don't take this the wrong way.

Cagnazzo: No offense, but she's waaaaayy scarier than you are.

Beatrice: Aww, you're so sweet. Now there's a fairly good chance I won't cut off one of your limbs later.

Cagnazzo: I did good! I did good...

Beatrice: I wasn't talking to you anymore!

*Beatrice knocks Cagnazzo into the Pit Seducers, where several demons start whipping him!

Demon: Sorry, it's nothing personal. Beatrice's orders.

Cagnazzo: It's okay, I understand...Do what you've got to do...

Dante: I dunno why, but I've been more attracted ta Beatrice more than ever.

Beatrice: Don't think for a minute I'm doing this for you! I was a fool for giving my heart and soul to a godless automaton that has none!

Dante: Awww, c'mon sweetie. Don' start with that the soulless robot, bullshit. It's been a long day, 'n I gotta headache. Can' we just save it fer the trip home?

Beatrice: I'm not going anywhere with you! If Not that I have any chance in the matter!! And I have to suffer in this pit, then you better believe you're suffering with me! Malacoda! If you please!

*A whimpering demon hands Beatrice a pomegranate fruit.

Lucifer: What the-?! Malacoda, that better not be what I think it is!!

Malacoda: I'm so sorry, Lucifer. I know this isn't going to be pretty...

Dante: What's the big deal? It's just a moldy ol' fruit. What's that gonna do?

Lucifer: You ignorant clod! Pomegranate was the forbidden fruit I gave to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden! It introduces the very nature of sin to those who eat it! You really want to see what it'll do to her??

Virgil: If she eats it, you can just forget about ever getting her out of Hell.

Draghignazzo: Oh, lord. Don't even say that. I don't want to think about what this place is going to be like with her at the helm!

Scarmiglione: Dante, we're begging you, you're the only one who can stop this!

*Beatrice knock Scarmiglione and Draghignazzo into the ditch of grafters, where they're boiled in tar.

Scarmiglione: Forgive us, oh sweet mistress of Hell!

Beatrice: Why haven't any of you brought me their heads, yet?! Or are you not clear on who's in charge here??

*Malacoda and the other demons gesture emptily at their former master and charge at Dante!

Lucifer: Spineless cowards!!

Malacoda: If it makes you feel any better, we're all rooting for you.

*Dante rushes towards the demons, and decapitates Farfarello and blasts a hole into Rubicante.

Dante: C'mon, Beatrice! Don' do this!! Ya don' know whatcha doin'!!

Beatrice: Spare me your excuses, Dante.

*Beatrice takes a huge bite out of the pomegranate, almost swallowing it whole. As soon as she does, shadows and flames creep up Beatrice's body, instantly transforming her!


Malacoda: ...We are so screwed...

*As the flames and shadows clear, Beatrice turns into a monstrous, fire-breathing demon consumed with hatred. So really, what's changed?

Beatrice: Alright boys, I'll take it from here!!

*Beatrice swats aside the other demons, knocking them into random ditches and pits, and slashes at Dante a with fiery whip. Dante cuts the whip with his scythe.

Dante: No babe. I ain't gonna do this. No way am I givin' up on ya. Not after all I've been through.

*Beatrice conjures up a wall of flame in front of Dante. And brings her fist down on the crusader, crushing him!


Beatrice: Oh, don't pass out on me! This is just foreplay!! Wait until I open the Infernal Gates! Every last robot, android and godless machine is going to feel my wrath!!

Lucifer: This is why I hate you two!! You both make me look bad!

*Beatrice raises her fist at Lucifer, but he recoils in fear.

Lucifer: Shutting up...

Dante: ...Okay, babe. I admit. It all looks bad. 'N it is. But everythin' from the slavegirl, to the massacre, to Francesco, it was all fer ya!

Beatrice: What's this about Francesco?!

Dante: ...Ah, I knew there was one I got away with. Well, now's as good of time as any to talk 'bout it.

*Back in the crusades, King Richard enters the dungeon and sees all the people Dante killed.

King Richard: My God...Who is responsible for this...this atrocity...?

Dante: *Whispering to Francesco* No, man. I can' let ya take tha fall this.

Francesco: I didn't volunteer-Oh God. You're not seriously-

Dante: *Whispering to Francesco* If ya insist. I'll take care o' Beatrice fer ya.

*Dante stands up and points at Francesco.

Dante: He did it.

Francesco: What the hell, Dante?!

King Richard: *glares at Francesco* You monster. Guards, hang him.

Francesco: It wasn't me! I swear it wasn't me!!

Guards: *slugs Francesco* That's enough out of you.

Dante: *thinking* Better hightail it outta here before they figure out it was me.

*Dante slips out of the dungeon, mounts a horse, and rides it towards Sicily. But as he does, a shadowy figure rides close behind him...

Assassin: It's a shame that I can't offer my wife to someone who will just take me to where Dante lives. It will make things a lot simpler that way.

*As Dante rides forth, he steers his horse around stacks of crates and boxes stacked like a maze.

Dante: What the hell?? What are these doin' out here?

*As Dante keeps riding, he finds himself back inside the bleak, abandoned warehouse from before. He looks behind him, but instead of the path he was riding, all he sees is more boxes stacked around him.

Dante: Ahhh, we're back to this shit again?? Seriously, why do I keep findin' myself here?!?

Assassin: I seriously have to call this bot's mental state into question if he can't even control his own memories.

*Dante can only move in the direction the stacks of crates are steering him in, as he finds himself in a little nook with a soggy, rotten couch and a TV showing only static.

Dante: ...Might as well take a seat. Who knows? Maybe there's a scrambled channel or somethin'.

*Not knowing what else to do, Dante plops down on the sofa and aimlessly flips through the channels. Meanwhile, the Assassin keeps sneaking around Dante, as his prey is distracted.

Assassin: Oh well. This spot's as good as any to kill him.

*As Dante flips through the channels, he inexplicably gets thrust back into the present.

Dante: ...Somebody's gotta know what the hell is up with that shit...When did any of that hap-ACCKKK!!!

*Dante finds himself being strangled by a livid Beatrice!


Dante: ACCKK!! Sorry, what were we even goin' on 'bout?!


Dante: None. Why?

Beatrice: That's all you have to say for yourself?! Everyone you love dies because of your sins, and you're not the least bit bothered?!!

Dante: Girl, I don' even know what yer pissed off 'bout! Ya knew I was a dick when we first met! That's how we fell in love in tha first place! For God's sake, ya said yerself our spats turn ya on! I give ya tha mother o' all spats, 'n this is how ya act?!

Beatrice: ...

Dante: I was thinkin' o' ya tha whole time! Since we love ta fight, I pulled out all the stops 'n tried to outdo myself in the art of dicketry! Everything I did in those godawful tedious flashbacks, it was all fer ya!! If ain't true love, I dunno what is!


Dante: ...Okay, I didn' see that comin'. But how was I supposed ta know the Prince of All Darkness would use that as an excuse ta drag ya ta hell? What tha hell ya were thinkin' makin' that bet, anyway?! What kinda fraud are ya, sayin' ya love me fer bein' a dick, 'n gettin' all pissy when I act like one!!

Beatrice: We get it Dante; you're a dick! That's why you're here! That's why we're ALL here! You're not a big enough Mary Sue to rationalize your own sins!


Dante: Ah fuck this! I tried. C'mon Virgil. Let's go back ta Lust 'n tag some harlots.

Virgil: Sigh...That's the best idea I've heard all day.

Dante: Jus' one more thin'...

*Dante gives Beatrice the finger and pelts her in the face with her cross.

Dante: Good luck findin' 'nother guy who's willin' to come all the way down here jus' fer yer scrawny ass!

Beatrice: My...My cross...? You kept it this whole time...?

*As Dante storms off, Beatrice picks up the cross and looks at it fondly.

Beatrice: ...Wow...I've never seen you this pissed off before...You're right, I can't remember the last time we argued like this. It's really getting me fired up...

Dante: ...What.

*Beatrice starts glowing with heavenly light as she holds her cross.

Beatrice: Oh, who am I kidding? As gratifying as it is to use Lucifer, and every rotten soul here as my stressball, nothing made me happier than squabbling with you. And nobody can bicker with me like you can!

Dante: What?! NO!! We jus' broke up! This ship has sailed!

*Dante tries to run, but Beatrice grabs a hold of him as her demonic features start melting away.

Dante: Get yer clap-ridden paws offa me!

*Dante frantically jabs his scythe into Beatrice's chest as she embraces him, but it has no effect.

Dante: Die! Die!! DIE!! WHY ISN'T IT WORKIN'?!

*As Beatrice returns to her original, pure self, a pillar of light shines down from the heavens, all around Beatrice as an angel descends down it.

Angel: You've done well, Dante. You've saved more than this soul today.

*The Angel takes Beatrice into his arms and carries her off towards heaven.

Beatrice: Don't worry, Dante. We shall be together once more, in Paradise...

*Dante drops to his knees, sobbing and slamming his fist into the ground.

Dante: I hate this place! I hate it! I HATE IT!!

Virgil: ...I...I don't believe it! I almost thought it wasn't ever going to happen! But you finally saved Beatrice!! And you know what that means...?

*Virgil does a happy dance and spits in Dante's direction.

Virgil: You can take this stupid spiritual quest for redemption and shove it where the sun doesn't shine! I'm out of here!!

Angel: Not so fast, wise poet. Dante has yet to escape this infernal pit. Only you know the way to Paradise from here.

Virgil: No. Nonononono. I'm only here to help him find Beatrice! He got her back! My role in this is OVER!

Angel: If Dante cannot rejoin his beloved in Paradise, then this all would be for naught.

Virgil: So take him with you! Nobody's keeping him down here!!

Angel: Go forth brave Dante and wise Virgil. Your salvation draws near.

*The angel and Beatrice wink out, as the pillar of light fades away. Virgil drops to his knees, sobbing, slamming his fist on the ground.

Virgil: I hate this place! I hate it! I HATE IT!!

Dante: Did that guy say ya know the way outta here?

*Virgil looks up at Dante, his eye twitching and a vein on his head, throbbing.

Virgil: ...I swear, I'm going to make you pay for this...

Dante: Hey, if ya wanna be mad at somebody, blame Lucifer. It was his brilliant idea to drag us both to Hell in the first place.

Virgil: At this point, it's neck-and-neck which of you I loathe more.

Dante: Waitaminute, where'd that smoggy prick run off to? He's been pretty quiet, lately.

*Dante and Virgil look all around, but find no trace of the lord of darkness.

Virgil: Nobody was watching him??

Dante: Ah, damnit! I owe that fucker big fer all the crap I've been through! Now he could be anywhere!!

Virgil: ...Not necessarily. His physical body is trapped in the ninth and final circle. And just past him, lies the way to Paradise.

Dante: So in order to leave I gotta go through him, huh? I wouldn' want it any other way!!

Virgil: ...I still think Gabriel could've taken you with him. But it's a moot point now.

*Dante climbs down the ravine leading into the lowest depths of Hell, his fists clenched and teeth bared. Virgil floats close behind him, making a "shoot me" gesture.

End Canto IX


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