The novel is told from multiple characters' perspective: Dante, Nero, Nico, V, Lady, Trish, Lucia, and Morrison. The novel makes many references to previous games and novels, as well as shedding more background on certain scenes that are seen in Devil May Cry 5.
Note: Devil May Cry 5: Before the Nightmare is only available in Japanese, the following summary of events written in the novel were taken from the translations made by @DMC5Info on Twitter. DMC5Info also put out a PDF file of their translations and a Google Document version which can be found here and here respectively.
Nico Meeting Nero
In a bar, Nico meets with "Occult Times" magazine journalist Jeffrey Turner, who wrote an article on Fortuna's destruction five years ago, to discuss the event. While the article may have exaggerate the truth and has some falsehoods, she gathered that most of what was written was true. Jeffery explained that he tried investigating the Order of the Sword, but locals are wary of outsiders and only knows low-ranking members (who are now skeptical of the Order's creed) are left. Nico states that she also looked into Fortuna's incident and got the same reception for being an outsider and was unable to investigate places due to many of them being off-limits. Nico questions him about a man in one of the pictures and Jefferey informs her that "N" was a former Order member and his contact. Nico asks for his name because she wants to meet "N". While initially apprehensive, Jefferey relents since his career is dwindling and tells her that his name was Nero. As Nico leaves, she lets Jeffery keep her article copy as a memento since it was first one he wrote, leaving him to wonder where he heard the name "Goldstein" before.
In Fortuna, Nero is trying to fix Red Queen in the garage when Julio, one of the orphans he and Kyrie are caring for, tells him that Nico wants to speak with him. Although wary of Nico, Nero's Devil Bringer arm could tell she's a human or a weak demon. However, Nero finds Nico unpleasant due her rudeness and her smoking. Nico ask if Nero can help her find the Order's missing demonic research documents, showing Nero that she knows the truth about demons instead of being a occult enthusiast or reporter, but Nero rejects helping her. Nico then ask about Agnus and reveals that he is her biological father, shocking Nero. Nico notices Red Queen and quickly fixes it, making Nero feeling indebted to her and agrees to help her.
At the basement of Fortuna Castle, Nero takes Nico to Agnus's old lab and questions her intentions for them, secretly planning to kill her if she planning anything malicious. Nico tells Nero that she's an weapon artist and brags about her grandmother, Nell Goldstein, and her works. When Nico brought up Ebony & Ivory, Nero realizes the connections between Nico and Dante. As Nico inquires if Dante is a good person and using her grandmother's weapons right, Nero becomes increasingly uncomfortable since Dante was the one that killed Agnus.
At Nero and Kyrie's home, Nico meets Kyrie for the first time and will be staying with them until she finishs gathering all of Agnus's research. While Nico and Nero argues over her smoking habit and foul-mouth, Nico observes how much the couple loves each other. Nico reveals that her father was the reason why Nico started to learn about demons and offers her services to Nero, holding no ill-will towards him or Dante for Agnus's death. Nico then makes a phone call to her adoptive father, Rock Goldstein, who is also her blood-related uncle, to send her a package.
Return to Vie de Marli
On Vie de Marli, Dante speaks with Matier and struggles to remember her name, causing her to compare him to his father Sparda. Matier also scolds Dante for not visiting the island since the incident ten years ago, though Dante counters that he was stuck in the Demon World and it is not easy to travel between the Human World and Demon World. When asked how he escaped, Dante explains that a hole just appeared in front of him and he walked through it. "Holes" connecting the two worlds appears from time to time and small port cities like Vie de Marli and Fortuna have a higher chances of having the holes pop up. When Matier brings how Lucia was against bringing Dante back to the island, Dante recounts how Lucia waited for Dante's return and shared a warm reunion before Dante had to leave shortly afterwards for a job. After bantering for a while, Matier tells Dante that the reason she requested his help is because Argosax's right-hand man, a fire demon named Balrog, has appeared on the island and had become too powerful for Lucia to handle.
On his way to find Balrog, Dante reunites with Lucia and they fight their way to Balrog. Upon meeting him, Dante notices that Balrog has a shard of Yamato in his fist and speculates that how he was able to enter the human world. Knowing how dangerous Yamato can be in the wrong hands, Dante begins fighting Balrog, who seems to be enjoying battling against Dante. Lucia quietly observes the battle and contemplates how weak she feels compared to Dante since she wants to repay him for his actions during their previous adventure. To counter Balrog's fire, Dante takes out the Cerberus Devil Arm and playfully chats with Cerberus's soul as he fights. Dante manages to shatter the Yamato fragment in Balrog's arm, though this causes Cerberus to break as well. Upon realizing Dante is Sparda's son and was the one who defeated Mundus as well as Argosax, Balrog submits to Dante and willingly turns into a Devil Arm until he becomes powerful enough for a rematch. As Dante and Balrog bicker with each other, Lucia muses how lonely she feels about Dante leaving so soon and recognize she has feelings for him. While Dante offers her his help again if more demons appear on the island, Lucia vaguely comments of Dante's obliviousness towards her feelings and bids him farewell.
Intermission: Goldstein Family
At Rock's Guns and Ammo shop, Rock received Nico's call and prepares send her clothes, tools, and other items to Fortuna since she will be staying there for a while. Rock is the son of Nell Goldstein and Roy Martin, a wealthy man. As Rock gets Nico's things, he remembers his past; when he was seven, Rock's reckless handling of his mother's gun cost him most of his sight in his right eye, which he wears an eyepatch over. To apologize to his mother, Rock drew a medal for Nell to recognize her as a gunsmith, though his misspelled ".45. ART WORKS" as ".45 ART WARKS". However, Nell treasured Rock's gift and, at Rock's behest, continued to make guns and even ended her relationship with Roy, who wanted Nell to stop.
After his parents' divorce, Rock was forced to stay with his father, who remarried soon after, and his half-sister Alyssa (Nico's mother) was born. Rock grew up learning weapon-making at Uroboros and tried to find Nell's whereabouts, but by the time he found her, she had already been dead for six months. Wanting to follow in his mother's footsteps, Rock opened his own shop and took in Alyssa since their father and Alyssa's mother died, supposedly through suicide due to suffering from a failed investment. Although left with a large debt, the siblings were able to get by comfortably due to their jobs. One day, Alyssa brought Agnus, who was her co-worker at Uroboros. Alyssa soon became pregnant, quit her job and gave birth to Nico. While everything was good for two years, Agnus was summoned by the Order of the Sword and returned to Fortuna alone, even though Alyssa wanted to go with him and was willing to adopt their religion. Alyssa was soon diagnosed with an incurable disease and was hospitalized until her death a few years later. Rock then legally adopted Nico and raised her, teaching her about Nell's history and her works. Rock recalls the day Dante came to the shop and corrected the spelling mistake on Ebony & Ivory. Rock also thinks back of Nico's ambition to be a great weapon artist and expresses confidence that his adoptive daughter will be great as Nell was.
Resurrection of a New Enemy
Nico has been living in Fortuna for about a year and is helping Nero refurbish the Devil May Cry van. Due to not having a lot of money as well as spending it only on necessities and items, and having little work in Fortuna, Nero and Kyrie hopes the van will allow Nero to travel out town for jobs and earn more money to support themselves and the orphans they care for. At dinner time, Nico goes ahead and joins the table with Kyrie and the three orphans, but soon hears Nero warning Kyrie to stay back and his screams from the garage. The girls goes to check on Nero, only to see that his Devil Bringer arm has been ripped off and a cloaked figure with vacant eyes leaving the scene. Nico wonders what the mysterious figure wanted with Nero's arm and theorizes that Yamato was the reason since Nero once told her how powerful it was.
At Grue's Celler, the former Bobby's Cellar, J.D. Morrison visits the bar for the first time in ten years and congratulates Grue's surviving daughters, Tiki and Nesty for taking over the business. Ever since Grue's death and the other tragedies from Gilver's evil machinations, Morrison and a woman named Sally has been watching over the girls. When Nesty inquires how "Tony Redgrave" (Dante's alias) is doing, Sally express her hatred towards Dante, which is still shared among many people in the mercenary world, due to his role in the tragedies that took place. However, the sisters defends Dante because he's been sending them money many times over the years. Then Morrison sees V enters the bar and goes up to Morrison, requesting him to bring him to meet Dante for a job. Outside the bar, Morrison ask for payment and is handed bloodstained money, which V and Griffon forcefully took from a stranger. Wanting to avoid any more violence, Morrison accepts V's payment and agrees to lead him to Dante.
At Devil May Cry, Dante accepts V's job offer, allowing Morrison to pay the bills and get the power back on in the office. After ignoring a call from Patty Lowell, Dante meets V as Morrison leaves to get Lady and Trish to help with the mission. V explains to Dante that he wants Dante to stop a powerful demon from resurrecting, though Dante believes the demon won't be much of a challenge for him. However, V states that the demon is Dante's "reason for fighting", but Dante is skeptical and asks V to say the name of the demon.
At Lady's motel room, she and Morrison watch a television broadcast about a large tree appearing in Red Grave City. Morrison explains to Lady that Dante and Trish are heading to the tree in order to defeat the demon located there and insists that Lady help them, but Lady believes Dante can handle it. Lady then remembers that Dante's guns has "Redgrave" engraved on them and ponders about Dante's connection to the city.
First Battle with Urizen
Dante, V, Trish, and Lady all arrive to the Qliphoth tree and V realizes that Urizen has awoken, derailing his plans to attack him before his resurrection. Believing V will only get in the way, Dante tells V to leave, who wants to get Nero's help to increase their chances of winning.
During the fight with Urizen, Trish reflects on Mundus's history with Dante and his family. She recounts how Mundus has been keeping eyes of the Sons of Sparda ever since Eva's death and how he sent his minions to kill them, only to fail. Wanting minions strong enough to beat Sparda's sons, Mundus created the Angelos, who wears armor made by Machiavelli, a craftsman from Hell, and Trish to take advantage of Dante's love for his mother. As Trish and Lady struggles against Urizen, who effortlessly counters their attacks, she passes out all the while contemplating Urizen's identity.
In Fortuna, Nero wakes up after being in a coma for a few days from his severed arm and finds V at his bedside. V tells Nero that the demon that stole his arm is the same demon he hired Dante to stop and wants to enlist Nero's help as well. Although unsure how well he can fight in his condition, Nero agrees to help after V and Griffon provoke him. Not wanting Kyrie or Nico to know about his plans, Nero prepares to get his weapons and sneak out.
Dante arrives to Urizen's throne and finds Trish and Lady unconscious. Dante and Urizen speaks with familiarity towards each other, leading Dante to have more faith in V's words. Knowing Urizen is strong, Dante goes into Devil Trigger mode.
Down at Red Grave City's central plaza, Morrison observes how citizens been doing things like taking pictures and praying to the Qliphoth tree since it appeared a few days ago. Morrison notices that Dante and the girls has been up in the tree for three hours and thirty minutes has passed since V returned with Nero. Morrison is starting to get worried about Dante since it is taking too long for him to finish the job.
Inside the tree, Nero and V finds Dante fighting Urizen at a distance. After warning Nero not to underestimate Urizen, V goes ahead while Nero muses how suspicious V is yet he feels compelled to follow him within reason and retrieve his Devil Bringer arm because he feels guilty of losing Yamato after Dante entrusted it to him. Nero catches up with V, who tells him to go on ahead and not worry about the other demons.
Back in Fortuna, Kyrie and Nico discovers Nero left the hospital he was staying at. After Julio mentions a helicopter around the city, Nico deduces that Nero went to get Yamato back. Nico comforts Kyrie and then goes to work on the prosthetic arm she's planning on making for Nero.
As Dante is blown back by Urizen, Nero arrives to save Dante from being taken by Urizen's tentacle. Excited at the thought of repaying Dante, Nero battles Urizen head on, but is easily repelled. When the ground begins to shake, Dante choose to distract Urizen so as to buy time for Nero and V to escape. Nero and V both manage to escape as debris blocks the path to Urizen and they reunite with Morrison. They explains to Morrison that Dante lost just as tentacles starts sprouting from the ground and attacking people. V warns Nero and Morrison that they have a month before the end of the world and that Nero must be stronger in the meantime. Agreeing to regroup in a month, Nero choose to head back to Fortuna while V stays in Red Grave City to collect information.
A Month of Preparations
Once in Fortuna, Nico tells Nero her ideas for his prosthetic arm, which would take six months to create. Nero tells her about V's deadline, which only stresses Nico out since it's impossible to make the arm within that time frame. While arguing with Nero the next day, Nico express her desire to meet and help Dante, having heard stories about him. When Julio informs them that demons has appeared in Mitis Forest, Nero goes to deal with them and Nico comes along to study how Nero fights. Nero discovers a Blitz and tries to buy time so Nico can get to safety, but Nico is inspired and choose to stay. After killing the Blitz, Nico tells Nero to bring Blitz's corpse home so she can study how it generates electricity in order to build Nero's prosthetic arm. Seeing how watching him fight helps her, Nero tells Nico that she's be joining him on his hunts to get more ideas.
In Red Grave City, the passageway between the human world and demon world expands as the Qliphoth continues to grow from sucking on human blood. Griffon questions V whether they should have evacuated from the city, but V states that he doesn't have the power or influence to do so. V knows armies will soon come to the city and, as a result, will provide more blood for the tree. V reflects that the book he carries contain poems, such as "Poison Tree", which predicted the Qliphoth tree. Remembering the delusions of his former self and how he lied to Nero for staying in the city, V decides to help the humans and tries to minimize damage to the city as much as possible, despite his body eroding away.
After a month, Nero prepares to return to Red Grave City, telling Kyrie that Morrison may be sending people to protect Fortuna. As they drive, Nico reflects over Nero's Devil Breaker, which is powerful enough to destroy demons yet breaks very easily because too much power is concentrated into a small item. Currently, Nico made two different arms for Nero, Overture and Gerbera. Nico tells Nero she has more ideas for his Devil Breakers and Nero promises to collect resources for her, especially demon corpses or fragments. Since he hasn't heard any news about Dante for a month, Nero mentally readies himself to save Dante and fight with his pride on the line.
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