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A (Under)Tale of Determination

By Author of the Insane

Fantasy / Adventure

To Toriel

Long ago, when the Earth was both young and new, two races lived together in relative harmony; The Humans, and the Monsters. Together, the two races built walls, cities, helping one another in an effort to continue their peaceful coexistence.
Then one day, a monster was killed by a human. The human who attacked the monster was merciless, justifying their action with only one reason, fear. They began to tell the others their reason, and those they told also became afraid. In time, that fear spread. This fear was quite simple. Humans had a single weakness, a single power that the Monsters held over them. A Human soul could be absorbed by these monsters and harnessed for its seemingly endless power.

Soon, a war raged. For several years, monsters and humans fought against one another, but the monsters were weak. For you see, it would have taken the soul of every single monster combined to equal that of a pure human soul. Countless monsters were slaughtered, and yet, there was not a single human casualty. A few monsters managed to survive, but they lived in terror and hid from their former allies.

It became all too clear who the victor was, and soon the leaders of both races met on the edge of Mount Ebott. It was here that the monsters surrendered, and the humans emerged victorious.
The humans gathered their best wizards and mages, seven all together, and they forced the monsters under Mount Ebott. With a single magic spell, an impenetrable barrier was formed, forever sealing the monsters away. In time, the tales of the War of Humans and Monsters was slowly erased from history.
These seemingly forgotten tales were transformed into stories that were told to children. Those children grew up and told their children, and the tales faded from truth to legend, legends to myth, and myth to obscurity.
Only one thing continued, and it remained as a symbol. Mount Ebott, in the Kingdom of Retsnom. It remained a constant reminder that there may be some truth to the old legends. However, many just considered it a normal mountain.
Albeit, with a strange ‘curse’.
It was said that those who climbed the mountain never return. Throughout history, seven children had vanished after venturing up that treacherous mountain, a story that kept most travelers away from the mountain.
Except one.
For as long as they could remember, Frisk had always been alone. Their family had left them in the care of Ebott Valley Orphanage, a small place that sat near the edge of the infamous mountain. Growing up at the basin of this legendary landmark, Frisk knew every story about the War of Humans and Monsters, and about the seven children who vanished. Any normal child would have been terrified, or perhaps even skeptical about growing up in a supposedly dangerous location.
But not Frisk. You see, Frisk was full of Determination. They did not back down easily, nor were they scared by old legends and scary bedtime stories. In fact, Frisk was fascinated by Mount Ebott, and could often be found staring up at its summit, dreaming about the adventures they could find.
It was a dark, moonlit night. A kind of night where the world seemed to stand still, and the only sound that could be heard was the soft wind as it passed through the narrow valley. The lights in every home were out, the streets all laid quiet, and at the calming hour of 10 o’clock, Lady Magpie walked down the stairs. She yawned, rubbing the sleep from her eyes as she stumbled towards the front door. Her feet scuffling the floor, barely raising an inch.
She placed her hand on the large deadbolt lock, lifting it to slide into its place when she glanced to the floor. Underneath her pink bunny slippers laid an assortment of envelopes, packages, magazines and papers. Her hand slipped away as she knelt down and began to pick up the letters when he spied the face of a young man on a magazine titled “How to Attract Singles!”.
Lady Magpie raised an eyebrow before dropping everything she had once gathered to pick up the magazine. Standing up with a yawn, she began to walk away from the door, flipping through the pages with a piqued interest.
Lying at the top of the staircase, hidden under a thick woolen red blanket, Frisk watched Lady Magpie, just out of sight as she walked into her room, closing the door behind her. Frisk shook their head and sighed as they came out from under the blanket, wrapping it around themselves as they walked down the stairs. Frisk locked the door first, sliding the deadbolt into place. They then gathered up the mail.
“She is so scatterbrained sometimes.” Frisk muttered, stacking the mail on the small side table.
With the mail sorted and the door locked, Frisk threw the blanket on their head and tip toed down the stairs. Avoiding the creaky third step, Frisk made headway up the stairs. There were windows to lock, and there were bedtime stories to read. Although it was a tiring task, and one that Frisk had always done since their arrival to the orphanage some odd years ago, Frisk found joy in the activities.
Finally, their nightly duties were done, Frisk crawled into bed. As they settled under the covers, they stared out the window at Mount Ebott. Frisk would never tell and of their friends, but they felt strangely drawn to the mountain, like there was something there that they needed to do.
Still, Lady Magpie would never allow it. While the stories of monsters may not have been real, seven missing children were all too real, and they were the only reason Frisk never went farther than the base.
One saturday afternoon, Lady Magpie took all of her young charges on a picnic. It was a monthly tradition, no matter what the weather. The old bus came to a screeching halt at the mountain path that led to Lady Magpie’s ‘Secret Camping Spot’. As always, Magpie was the first to descend the bus steps.
One by one, her twelve little orphans came down from the bus, Frisk taking the rear to ensure no one was left behind.
“Alright children!” Lady Magpie called. “Today is the day of our annual picnic! From what I have been told, the weather shall be absolutely divine.”
The children all smiled. While they all thought that Lady Magpie was a few cards short of a full deck, they loved her, and thoroughly enjoyed the picnic.
“Now, do you all have your backpacks?”
“Yes Lady Magpie!” The children all responded in near perfect unison.
“Excellent.” Lady Magpie squeed. “I do not want a repeat of last year. Right, Toby?”
A small boy wearing a fox hoodie (complete with ears and a tail) blushed hard. Frisk gave them a pat on the head to cheer them up.
“Now, children.” magpie continued. “By now, I’m sure you all know where my Secret Camping Spot resides, but just in case, you all have been given a map.”
Frisk smirked, knowing that they had been the one to slip the map into each of the backpacks.
“We will only be out here for about four hours, for we need to be back home by sunset. After all, we don’t want anyone to be taken by the monsters, do we?”
All of the children giggled at Lady Magpie’s joke. Frisk didn’t though. Instead, their attention seemed to be elsewhere. Amongst the laughter of their friends, Frisk heard a new laugh. It was higher pitched, and seemed to be coming from somewhere in the distance.
“Alright children!” Magpie called, pulling Frisk out of their reverie. “Ready? Forward, March!”
The children all began marching like little tin soldiers, even counting to four with each step. Frisk followed them for awhile, but was drawn away by that same laugh. Unable to contain their curiosity, Frisk branched away from the group, following the laugh deeper and deeper into the forest.
“Where is it coming from?” Frisk wondered aloud.
The laugh erupted again, but it seemed to be getting louder. And louder. And louder. And louder. Eventually, the dense trees gave way, revealing an old cavern, most likely an old mining entrance, long since abandoned and covered with moss, vines, and ivy.
“Is someone in there?” Frisk called from the outside of the cave.
Nobody responded. Frisk looked around the cave, then took a tentative step forward. It was pitch black in the cave, the little light provided by the sun seemingly devoured by the endless darkness. Taking a deep breath, Frisk continued on, keeping their hands out so they wouldn’t run into anything.
“I know you’re in here!” Frisk called. “My name’s Frisk!”
As if to answer their call, the laugh seemingly echoed through the cave, much louder than before. In shock, Frisk covered their ears, stumbling forward. As they did, their foot snagged on a rather thick entanglement of vines. Rather than simply tripping and falling on their face, Frisk continued to fall. The air rushed around them, as realization struck.
They had fallen into some sort of pit.
Screaming in terror, Frisk closed their eyes, praying for a miracle. The ground came to greet them with a loud thud. Then everything went black.
When Frisk opened their eyes, they were surprised to find that they were not that badly hurt. A small scrape on their left knee seemed to be the only injury sustained from the fall. Sitting up, Frisk took off their backpack, rummaging around until they found a small box of band-aids. They quickly applied one, thankful they had thought to bring them since Lady Magpie had probably forgotten.
Standing up and slipping the backpack back on, Frisk took a look around. They appeared to be in a strange field of golden flowers. Upon further investigation,they turned out to be buttercups.
“What are buttercups doing in a cave?” Frisk wondered aloud.
That’s when a second question struck them.
“And for that matter, how am I able to see them? Where is this light coming from?”
“Howdy!” a voice suddenly called out.
Frisk nearly jumped in shock before turning around. To their utter surprise, a large buttercup was smiling at them.
“I’m Flowey!” the flower introduced. “Flowey the Flower.”
Frisk blinked in utter confusion. Flowey let out a giggle at Frisk’s dumbfounded expression.
“You must be new to the underground.” Flowey remarked.
Frisk gave a slow nod, still reeling from the fact that a FLOWER was talking. Flowey let out another giggle.
“Poor little human.” it said. “You must be so confused. Why don’t you let little ole me show you the ropes.”
There was a strange sound, like wind rustling around them. Then, a strange red heart appeared in the center of Frisk’s chest. When it appeared, Frisk’s body took on a strange, red aura that seemed to surround them.
“What the-”
“That’s your Soul!” Flowey interrupted. “Everything that makes you YOU is contained in that tiny little heart. It’s very weak right now, but if you gain LOVE, then it will grow stronger.”
“LOVE?” Frisk repeated, still freaking out a bit.
“Don’t worry,” Flowey replied. “I’ll help you.”
Suddenly, five strange white pellets surrounded Flowey’s… face.
“Down here, LOVE is shared through little….. White….. Friendliness pellets!”
Frisk raised an eyebrow. Something about this flower didn’t sit right.
“Well, what are you waiting for?” Flowey asked. “Take one.”
Frisk tentatively reached up, grasping one of the pellets. Almost immediately, they screamed in pain as black marks began to travel up Frisk’s arm. The second one immediately whizzed towards their other hand while to more traveled towards their feet. The fifth one embedded itself in Frisk’s forehead.
Unimaginable pain coursed through Frisk’s body as they screamed, falling to the ground. Those same black marks began to appear all over their body, the edges of the marks surrounding the little red heart on their chest.
Looking up, Frisk saw Flowey’s face. It’s once simplistically cute face was contorting into a longer, more horrendous version. This evil face bared its crooked teeth into a wicked smile as its eyes sank into its head, leaving deep wrinkled line across the face.
“You idiot!” Flowey chastised, its voice deepening to a demonic tone. “In this world, it’s KILL or BE killed! Who would waste such an excellent opportunity?!”
Frisk suddenly became surrounded by the glowing white death pellets, their heart glowing brightly in their chest. Frisk’s expression turned to one of sheer panic as the white pellets began to close in on them. Flowey laughing maniacally.
“DIE!!” Flowey cackled.
Frisk knelt down, watching as the surrounding pellets began to close in on them. Then, from out of nowhere, a bright light began to shine from somewhere behind the evil flower. Flowey laughed loudly, completely unaware of the oncoming light. Suddenly, the light grew brighter and brighter, drawing Flowey’s attention away from Frisk. As the malicious plant turned around, its confused expression grew into one of fear as Flowey burst into flames. Flowey screamed, its voice baring inhuman tones as it shrunk and sunk into the ground to get away from the flames. As they vanished, so did the pellets.
Emerging from the shadows, Frisk saw what appeared to be a white anthropomorphic female goat. She was wearing a long, purple robe with a silver and blue collar and an odd symbol on her chest. She approached Frisk slowly so as not to scare them.
“What a terrible creature,” she remarked, her voice sweet and rhythmic like a lullaby. “Torturing such a poor innocent youth...”
She bent down on one knee, helping Frisk to their feet. Frisk visibly flinched, Flowey’s words ringing in their ears. The woman gently shushed Frisk, holding out her arms warmly.
“Do not be afraid, my child.” She whispered. “I am Toriel, caretaker of the Ruins. What is your name, young one?”
Frisk looked up at Toriel, the fear subsiding as they realized that Toriel truly meant no harm. One by one, Toriel pulled the pellets off of Frisk, burning them until they faded from existence. With the last one gone, Frisk’s strength returned, and they were finally able to speak.
“Frisk...” they replied softly.
“It is a pleasure to meet you, Frisk.” Toriel replied. “You are the first human to fall down here in a long time.”
Toriel then stood up, holding out her hand.
“Come.” she said. “I will guide you through the catacombs to my home.”
Eager to get out of the buttercup field, and grateful to have found a friendly face, Frisk eagerly took her hand. Toriel led Frisk out of the field and deeper into the cave.
After a few minutes of walking, the caves widened to reveal a large, ornately carved ruins made out of a strange purple stone. The caves seemed to expand forever, tunnels and passages coming in and out of this area.
“Whoa...” Frisk gasped.
Toriel giggled.
“It is rather impressive to newcomers.” Toriel admitted. “But these are but the Ruins, formerly known as Home.”
Frisk blinked in confusion.
“Home?” they asked.
Toriel shrugged, her smile fading somewhat.
“The Monster King… Asgore… was never very good at naming things.”
Frisk wanted to ask her more, but had a gut feeling that it wasn’t a good idea. They came to a large older building, surrounded by large ruined walls, clearly a castle gatehouse from long ago. The two walked through the large door frame, where a gate most likely was some years ago.
“There is one thing I must warn you about the Ruins.” she explained. “Do you see those raised stones over there?”
Frisk looked to were Toriel was pointing, noting six raised stones. Near a pile of rubble.
“Those are part of a puzzle.” she explained. “You’ll find that the Ruins are full of many different puzzles, each with their own unique solution. The puzzles serve as both diversions, as well as door keys. To traverse the Ruins, you must solve the puzzles in order to venture forward.”
Toriel then walked forward, walking over four of the six stones in an intricate pattern. After stepping on the final stone, the wall slid away, revealing a door to the next room. Frisk looked at the door and smiled.
“Reminds me of that funhouse at the carnival Lady Magpie would take us to.”
Toriel smiled at the analogy.
“Then I imagine you will enjoy your stay here.”
Toriel held out her hand again and Frisk took it. Together, they walked through the newly raised gate and further into the ruins. On the other side, Frisk saw the ruins became more cave like. The once wide and open scenery had vanished to simple rock walls and paths. Small, shallow creeks seemed to run through with rickety bridges over them. Toriel scratched her chin, then turned to Frisk.
“To make progress here, we’ll need to trigger a pair of switches.” She explained. “Would you care to help me?”
Frisk smiled.
“Sure. Why not?”
Toriel smiled, then released Frisk’s hand.
“I’ve marked the switches that need to be flipped, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the right ones.”
Frisk walked across the bridge, and quickly found the first switch. There were yellow arrows pointed at it with some words beside it.
Please press this switch -Toriel
Frisk pulled the switch, then walked across a second bridge. There, they found a set of two switches. Once more, there were words and arrows, pointing at both switches.
Please press the one on the left, not the one on the right -Toriel
Frisk pulled the one on the left, eliciting a smile from Toriel.
“Splendid.” she said as she took Frisk’s hand once more. “I’m very proud of you.”
Frisk smiled, having never been given praise for their work. They were used to working in the dark, literally, and not getting recognition for their deeds. To this day, Lady Magpie still thinks fairies come and do all of her chores for her.
“Let us move on to the next room.” Toriel decided.
They walked towards the next room, as the tall spike traps that blocked the door sank into the ground, accompanied by the low groan of metal grinding on metal.
“As a human living in the Underground, there is a great possibility that monsters will try to attack you.” she explained.
Frisk flinched at the thought, thinking back to Flowey’s words once more. Toriel gently squeezed Frisk’s hand, giving them an encouraging smile.
“Do not worry.” she insisted. “While monsters may try to attack you, you can easily avoid conflict by talking to them or interacting with them.”
Frisk looked up in surprise.
“Really?” they asked.
“Of course.” Toriel replied. “They will attack you out of fear or curiosity. If you show them kindness and mercy, you can alleviate their fears, and perhaps even make a new friend.”
They walked into a large room, nowhere near as large as the entrance area, but a sizeable room. Leaves covered the ground, leaving only a simple trail, Frisk saw the entrance up a head and began walking towards it unaware that Toriel had let go of their hand. The leaves began to rustle, eliciting a gasp from Toriel.
“Frisk!” Toriel shouted,
Frisk looked towards Toriel, when their attention turned to the leaves. Eyes rose from the leaves and a low rumbling sound was heard. The leaves erupted as a large, dog-sized frog leapt towards Frisk. It landed on top of them, knocking Frisk to the ground.
“Umm… hi.” Frisk said softly.
“Ribbit.” The frog thing replied.
Frisk didn’t know what to do and looked up at Toriel. Toriel recognized the creature and smiled reassuringly.
“Froggits love compliments.” she suggested.
Frisk thought for a moment, then smiled at the Froggit.
“You’re looking very nice today.” They said.
The froggit appeared confused at first, but blushed after a moment, then hopped away. Toriel watched it go, then looked down at Frisk.
“Very good” she said. “You successfully warded off a deadly monster attack.”
Frisk blinked, not realizing Toriel was joking until she started laughing. Frisk let out a sigh of relief, stifling giggles in an attempt to be serious.
“That wasn’t funny Toriel.” They said as they pulled themselves to their feet.
Toriel just continued giggling as they made their way into the next cave system. It was thinner, and another creek flowed through. This one, however, was more of a river then a creek. Frisk’s attention wasn’t on the body of water, or if it could be considered one or the other. Instead, their gaze was drawn to the spike-covered bridge. Toriel looked at it with immense focus, as if trying to remember something.
“Toriel,” Frisk said softly. “How do you solve this puzzle?”
Toriel tightened Frisk’s hand, walking towards the spikes.
“Stay near me.” she insisted.
The spikes descended for Toriel as she walked forward. She continued walking, taking a strange, zigzag path through the spikes as they parted for her. Frisk stared in amazement.
“How did you do that?” Frisk asked.
“Do you remember the pattern on the floor of the hallway we came in?” Toriel asked.
Frisk thought back and remembered a strange, zigzag line on the ground. Suddenly, it clicked.
“It was a map.” Frisk realized. “To anybody else, it would just seem like floor decorations.”
“Excellent.” Toriel nodded as they reached the end of the spikes. “You’re a fast learner Frisk.”
As they walked into the next room, Toriel looked down at Frisk and smiled. The room was bare, with only a single column at the far end and a long twisty walkway. Toriel released Frisk’s hand.
“This next test may be a bit difficult, but I need you to do it on your own.”
Frisk nodded, pretty sure they could figure out the test easily. Toriel looked a bit hesitant, then took a deep breath.
“I need to to walk to the end of this room by yourself.”
As soon as she said this, Toriel ran off, leaving Frisk alone. Frisk watched her go, then looked around. The room was completely empty of puzzles and traps, much to Frisk’s confusion.
“Okay… this is kind of weird.”
Frisk then began walking down the long room. Aside from the occasional ivy strand, the room was completely barren. With each step, Frisk became more confused. Finally, they reached the end of the room, where Toriel was waiting behind the large column.
“Hello Frisk.” she greeted. “Do not worry, I did not leave you.”
Frisk walked up to her, cocking their head in confusion.
“Umm, why did you have me walk across the room by myself?” Frisk asked.
Toriel just smiled.
“I needed to test your independence.” She explained.
Frisk just stood there, then busted out into fits of laughter. Toriel watched them curiously as Frisk fell to the ground, slapping the stone with their palm as they kept laughing.
“Oh man!” Frisk exclaimed. “Trust me on this, I am more independent than most adults! I’m the only reason our orphanage hasn’t crumbled into dust!”
Toriel’s eyes widened at the word orphanage.
“You are an orphan?” she asked.
Frisk’s laughter died away as they slowly sat up, looking up at Toriel.
“Yeah.” Frisk replied. “My family’s gone. Been on my own ever since.”
Frisk then stood up.
“Well, not entirely alone.” they amended. “There’s 11 other kids at Ebott Valley, and Lady Magpie tries to take care of us, but she’s not exactly… all there if you know what I mean.”
Toriel surprised Frisk with a hug. At first, Frisk was shocked, having never been hugged before. However, they quickly returned the gesture, reveling in the warmness of Toriel’s fur.
“You don’t have to be alone any longer.” She promised. “I will take care of you from now on.”
Frisk’s eyes widened.
“Are you… are you adopting me?” Frisk asked.
Toriel gave a warm smile.
“If that is what you wish.” she replied. “But first, there are a few things I must do. Will you stay here and wait for me?”
Toriel knelt down and hugged Frisk close to her. Frisk accepted the hug, patting Toriel’s back with a skeptical look. Toriel then released and stood up.
“Now wait here child, I will be but a few moments.” Toriel said, before walking further down the caves and vanishing into the darkness.
Frisk could only watch before sitting down and crossing their legs. The room was empty, nothing but the vines, the column, and them. Frisk tried to pass the time, whistling a bit of tune that randomly popped into their head. Unfortunately, the echoes only reminded them how vast these caves were. Minutes slowly began to feel like an eternity, and without much on themselves, Frisk began to stare down the long cave system ahead of them more and more. Finally, Frisk stood up slowly, and dusted themselves off.
“I bet I could find where Toriel went.” Frisk said with a smile. “I’ve just got to watch my step.”
Puffing out their chest, Frisk marched out of the room and into the systems that Toriel had entered. The winding hallways bared no real markings, only dimly lit sconces and some red leaves as any real sense of a trail. Soon, the room opened up into a large room. Numerous dead trees with black bark sat in this room, and the whole floor was covered in crisp red leaves and branches with small piles in each corner and one large pile in the center.
Frisk grew curious, and looked at the leaves. They crunched under their feet with every step, making Frisk smile as they began to dance around and creating a melody with each step. The large pile began to rustle, as if in tune with their childish melody and it grabbed Frisk’s attention. They stopped and looked at the pile, and a smile came on their face. They began running towards the pile, without even thinking, and leapt. Grabbing their legs, Frisk screamed.
“Lookout below!”
The leaves erupted and a very scared white sheet creature looked right at them as Frisk screamed before knocking it to the ground and falling on top of it. Leaves began to dance around them as Frisk scrambled off of the sheet.
“I’m sorry!” They screamed, getting off of the bizarre creature. “I didn’t know you were there!”
“It- it’s fine…” the creature said sadly, it’s voice deep but quiet.
Frisk looked down at the sheet curiously, wondering if they had accidentally hurt it. Then again, even if they had, it was obvious this thing was some sort of ghost. Could a ghost be hurt? Curiousity returning, Frisk sat down in the leaves next to it.
“I’m Frisk.” They said. “What’s your name?”
There was an awkward silence, as the ghost-like creature looked at Frisk for the longest time before turning around and looking back at Frisk.
“I-... I’m sorry…” It stuttered, “Are… are you talking to me…?”
Frisk smiled.
“I don’t see anyone else here, do you?”
“I’m-... Napstablook...” the ghost-like creature said solemnly.
“Napstablook.” Frisk repeated, rolling the word around. “That’s a cool came. Definitely better than Frisk.”
Napstablook looked a down a bit, and seemed to blush before looking back at Frisk.
“Why-... Why are you being so nice…” He asked, “I haven’t done… anything… to deserve this…”
“Nor have you done anything not to deserve this.” Frisk replied.
The ghost creature began to look up a bit more before he was looking directly at Frisk.
“I wanna show you...something.” He whimpered, “May I...?”
Frisk’s eyes widened and they nodded enthusiastically. Napstablook looked side to side, and tears began to well up in its eyes as he appeared to begin crying heavily. Frisk flinched, thinking they had done something wrong, until they noticed which way the tears were falling. Instead of downwards, the tears began to stream upward from his eyes towards his forehead and it began to take shape. Moving violently under the tears formed a rather dashing tophat on his head.
“I… I call it… ‘Dapper Blook’” Napstablook quietly joked, tears still sat on his eyes.
Frisk chuckled, standing up and giving a bow
“A pleasure to meet you, ‘Dapper Blook’.” they greeted in a fake, fancy accent. “I must say, that is a lovely hat”
Napstablook blinked twice, before blushing.
“Wow…… Usually I come down to the ruins because no one is around….. But today…… I met someone really nice…..”
Frisk smiled brightly at the compliment.
“You’re nice too Napstablook.”
Napstablook slowly began to float higher and higher, towards the ceiling before fading off and completely vanishing. Frisk smiled, before looking at the other piles of leaves. They wanted to jump on them, but decided against it. The last thing they wanted was to hurt anyone else. Frisk began to continue down the hall. As they continued, a small white dog ran passed, a strange sack in its teeth. Frisk watched it go, chuckling slightly at the sight.
“Do dogs even like flour?” Frisk wondered aloud.
“Come back here!” Toriels voice rang out.
Frisk then watched as Toriel came running past, catching up to the dog surprisingly quick and grabbing the sack of flour.
“That… is not…. Yours….” Toriel told it as she tried to pull the sack free of the dog’s grip.
Frisk watched the tug of war game, laughing at the sight. Then, they put two fingers in their mouth, letting out a shrill whistle. The dog released the sack, looking over at Frisk with a doggie grin. Toriel recovered the flour, tucking it under her arm.
“Thank you for your assistance- Frisk!”
Toriel ran over to Frisk, looking them up and down.
“What are you doing out here?” she asked. “I told you to stay in the room.”
“Sorry.” Frisk replied. “I got bored.”
Toriel shook her head.
“Well, I am glad you didn’t venture farther than this room.” Toriel spoke softly, attempting to catch her breath. “The ruins are quite confusing, and very dangerous to those who do not know the way. The only danger in this room is that strange ghost that appears every now and again.”
“You mean Napstablook.” Frisk clarified. “He’s nice, and kind of funny.”
Toriel blinked for a minute, then smiled before grasping Frisk’s hand.
“Well, I think I’ve kept you waiting long enough.” she declared. “It’s time for us to go home”
She began leading them, pulling them in a way that Frisk could easily follow. They walked through one of the old archways, passing ruins of old village buildings and old stone structures that seemed to reach for the high vaulted ceiling. Eventually, they both arrived at an old dead tree surrounded by piles of leaves.
The tree was covered in thick black bark, giving it an eerie appearance. Toriel smiled as she walked passed, looking back at Frisk, who seemed to be frightened again. Toriel squeezed their hand again, looking towards Frisk.
“We are nearly home, Frisk.” Toriel said, “Just a bit further to the front door and we will be eating fresh pies and nice cream.”
Frisk looked around, seeing and assortment of one eyed monsters and strange, living gelatin squids roaming over the abandoned structures. Frisk hugged their shoulders in a bit of anxiety before hugging onto Toriel’s arm.
“Are we almost there?” Frisk asked, eager to get to safety.
“Yes, dear child.” Toreil replied.
They reached the front of a large stone building which seemed to sit out of place in the crumbling ruins. Surrounded by the decaying remnants of the city, the structure was made of fine-lined bricks and cleaned windows. The roof was made of tree branches and thatch, and the building seemed to be built into a large rock wall.
“Here we are.” Toriel said, as she reached over and opened the door. “Welcome to your new home, Frisk.”
The inside of the house was bright, filled with a warmth that Frisk had never known before. The bright lights shined against light beige walls and polished wooden floors. A large staircase, larger than anything Frisk had ever seen before, seemed to descend into the darkness of what Frisk could only guess was the basement..
As Frisk looked around, it was clear that the house was quite small. Being nothing more than one long hallway, that went into a kitchen and living area. Toriel looked down at Frisk, her paw landing on Frisk’s soft hair.
“Come, my child.” She spoke softly, “I’ll take you to your room.”
“My- my room?” Frisk asked, a bit surprised. “I have a room here?”
Toriel had already left her side, and walked towards a large door with a blank nameplate on it. Frisk walked over as Toriel had opened the door, the inside was surprising to Frisk.
The room glowed a bright red with a warm, orange tinge to the paint. It held a twin size bed with lots of room on either side. A box of toys, a massive dresser, and closet furnished the room.
Frisk walked in, amazed by the prospect of having their own room. Back at the orphanage, Frisk had always had to share their room with the other eleven kids. All of this was more than Frisk could ever ask for. Toriel smiled, but as quickly as it came, it faded when she began to sniff the air, her eyes widening.
“Frisk, dear.” She spoke up. “Please make yourself at home, I need to go deal with something. Wait here.”
Toriel dashed from the room towards the living area, disappearing into a backroom, which Frisk guessed was the kitchen. Frisk went back into their room, looking around with a smile. They could be happy here.
A yawn escaped Frisk’s mouth as they stretched. The excitement of the day, added with the discovery of monsters had truly drained the kid. Frisk crawled into the bed, burrowing under the covers.
“Maybe a small nap won’t hurt.”
Closing their eyes, Frisk fell asleep.
When Frisk opened their eyes, everything was gone. The whole room had been plunged into a suffocating darkness. There was no dresser, no rug, no posters and empty picture frames. Just endless blackness all around them. However, far off in the distance and barely noticeable, there was a faint light. It seemed to shine down, high from an unknown light source and onto a very familiar plot of flower. Frisk slowly rose from the ground, a slight twinge in their ankle as if it had been sprained. They began to dust themselves off, then called out.
“Hello!” They called, “Is anyone there? Can someone tell me where I am?”
The silence was as eerie, like the calm before a storm. Frisk began to slowly walk towards the plot of flowers with fear lingering over them.
A few steps, and suddenly the darkness became filled with distant screams. People’s voices from unknown places, telling them to ‘look over there’ and to ‘get inside’. Frisk began to look around, more afraid to hear the nothingness around them speaking. Then, it returned to the still silence.
Frisk began moving again towards the plot of golden flowers as a low hum began to echo in the darkness. The hum began to grow louder, and louder until it became a loud roar. Frisk began to run as the sound of sirens filled around them and the distant sound of explosions could be heard. Frisk looked towards the flowers, as if looking for safety in the light. They were getting closer, and closer and closer.
Suddenly, the sound of a rope snapping was heard and Frisk’s eyes widen as they felt like they were falling. The room engulfed them, and the darkness swallowed them.
Frisk sat up with a start, barely containing a horrified scream. Cold sweat dripped down their face as they gasped for breath. After a few moments, Frisk managed to regain control over themselves, taking a deep breath.
“What was that?” Frisk muttered. “I haven’t had a dream like in years.”
Frisk sat in the bed, thinking back to the dream. Unlike most nightmares, which faded after waking up, this one seemed to linger, replaying over and over again like a bad horror movie.
“Heh.” Frisk chuckled. “Knox would be laughing at me and calling me a baby if he saw me like this.”
Thinking about Knox reminded Frisk of all of the friends back at the orphanage. They would be worried about them, wondering where they went. More than that, Lady Magpie would be without anyone to clean up after her. That thought sent a chill down Frisk’s spine and a cold lump to their stomach.
“I can’t stay here.” Frisk muttered. “I have to go home.”
“Frisk, dear.” Toriel called.
Frisk jumped again, turning to the bedroom door.
“I have a surprise for you.” She called. “Come into the kitchen.”
“Uh… Coming!”
Frisk slowly got out of bed, replacing the covers neatly. Frisk walked out of the room, looking back at the cheery bedroom with a sigh of regret. Walking into the kitchen, Frisk found Toriel standing with a smile on her face, carrying two plates of pie in hand.
“I hope you like butterscotch and cinnamon.” She said, blushing, “I didn’t know which you would like. Oh my, I can be so indecisive sometimes.”
Frisk smiled, but deep inside, they knew what needed to happen. Toriel placed the two plates on the table, pulling out a chair for Frisk. Frisk sat down, allowing Toreil to push their chair in. Toriel sat down across from them, a bright smile on her face.
Bone appetit.” She said, giggling as if she had said a joke but Frisk just shrugged.
Frisk looked at the slice of butterscotch and cinnamon pie, taking a bite as Toriel seemed to play with her food.
“I have everything set up for your stay here.” Toriel spoke.
Frisk stopped with the fork sticking out of their mouth, the taste of butterscotch and cinnamon lingering of their tongue.
“It won’t be so bad,” Toriel continued. “I have a curriculum set up for you, your education will be my top priority. I can’t have you not knowing the vast history of our little home here. Though, it’s not as impressive as some human books I’ve read.”
“Ummm.” Frisk stuttered.
“It will be a bit hard.” Toriel kept going, “We won’t have much to eat but snails at first, but I am sure we can survive some hard times. I know a few bug-catching spots I can show you, and I can also teach you about all the different plants down here. With a little imagination, I am positive that the underground will become the perfect home for you.
“Ummmmmm.” Frisk continued to stutter, as Toriel took her first bite.
“And think of all the fun we can have.” Toriel said, as she looked down at her plate.
“When can I go home?” Frisk finally asked
The one-side conversation ended with the clatter of a fork on the table.
“Home?” Toriel asked. “This is your home.”
“I mean my real home.” Frisk explained. “I want to stay. Believe me, I do… But I can’t.”
Frisk set the fork down next to the plate, their appetite suddenly dead. Toriel’s warming eyes suddenly became glassy as she looked upon Frisk. She stood up, her eyes shadowed by her ears.
“Frisk, you stay here.” Toriel said coldly as she stood up.
The chair toppling back from the sudden motion as Toriel walked away from the table.
“Toriel?” Frisk asked, standing up in sudden fear. “Toriel, where are you going?”
“Frisk!” Toriel shouted,
She then covered her mouth, surprised she had shouted. Steeling herself, Toriel spoke again, but kept her voice down this time.
“Stay here.”
She ran to the railing, running down the staircase. Frisk quickly began to make their own way down the stairway. As they reached the bottom, Toriel could be seen standing a few feet away from the base of the stairs. She seemed to be almost crying.
“You don’t have to go, Frisk” She said softly, “You’ll become just like the rest.”
“The rest?” Frisk asked
Toriel didn’t answer them. Her form merely continued into the darkness of the basement. Frisk tried to follow, but they misjudged their first step and slipped. Frisk’s footing left the ground and they tumbled down the remaining stairs, falling face first onto the ground. Motionless for a brief moment, Frisk slowly stood back up and leaned against the cold stone of the wall.
“Toriel-” Frisk groaned,
“It’ll be better with me.” Toriel’s voice echoed, “Just go to your room and don’t follow me.”
Frisk hurt all over, but continued to move. Walking through the pain, Frisk entered the shadows of the hallway. There was an eerie nothingness as Frisk looked around in confusion.
“Toriel…” Frisk seemed to whimper, attempting to stay brave.
“Seven.” Toriel’s voice echoed, “I watched as seven children died, and I will not watch as an eighth dies. Not if I can prevent it.”
It was then that the room’s darkness seemed to lead to a faint light. Frisk began to make their way towards it, practically sprinting down the long hallway. Eventually, they reached a brightly lit door. It was a large door, nearly twice the size of Toriel and had the appearance of a great demon’s face. A small symbol, similar to that on Toriel’s vestments appeared on its forehead and two sets of torches on both sides.
Toriel stood before it, a large fireball in hand as she stared into the doorframe. It was clear what was about to happen, and Frisk’s eyes widened as they looked at Toriel.
“No!” Frisk screamed.
Toriel froze, the fireball dying in her grip. Toriel turned slowly to Frisk, a tear in her eye.
“What are you doing, Toriel?” Frisk asked as they looked at her.
Toriel looked at her hands and sighed, clenching them. Then looking at Frisk, her eyes hardened.
“You wish to return home?” she asked. “Beyond this door lies the end of the Ruins. A one-way exit to the rest of the underground.”
Frisk looked at the door, then at Toriel.
“You didn’t answer my question.” Frisk insisted.
Toriel looked away.
“I am going to destroy it...”
“What?!” Frisk exclaimed. “Why?”
Toriel didn’t move, not even to look at Frisk.
“It’s for your own good.” she spoke stoically “I have relived this scene over and over again. It’s always the same for every human that has fallen down here. They come. They leave. They die. Well no more.”
The fireball returned in Toriel’s hand, but it was much larger than before.
“I will not let Asgore take another soul.”
Frisk thought fast, running passed Toriel and putting themselves in front of the door, but more importantly, in front of Toriel.
“Toriel, please!”
Frisk looked at Toriel, a serious nature taking their face. Toriel’s expression hardened to match theirs.
“I am doing this for your own good!” Toriel insisted. “Please, just let me protect you!”
“You don’t understand!” Frisk screamed. “I have to go! I can’t stay here! I need to go home!”
“This is your final warning!” Toriel shouted. “Let me do my duty!”
Toriel charged the fireball and launched it towards Frisk, the flames hitting the wall beside the door. Frisk flinched before looking at the large scorch mark on the wall, then back at Toriel. She seemed to be looking right through Frisk, a seriousness not seen before reflecting in her eyes.
“You’re just like the rest.” she muttered.
Frisk looked at her, scared of that distant look in Toriel’s eyes.
“Toriel?” Frisk asked.
Toriel recharged her fire spell.
“There is only one solution to this.” she said.
The red heart suddenly appeared on Frisk’s chest, that red aura returning. A feeling of dread creeped into their chest.
“Prove yourself.” Toriel declared. “Prove to me that you are strong enough to survive.”
Frisk barely had time to react before a line of flames came flying at them. Frisk dove out of the way as the fire danced around them. Toriel’s eyes hardened, becoming more distant and glass-like.
“I’m not gonna fight you, Toriel!” Frisk shouted. “I don’t want to hurt you!”
“Then defend yourself.” Toriel replied almost emotionlessly
Toriel reeled her paws back and created a large fireball, then threw it. It burst into a spiralling twister of fire. Frisk got back up and rolled out of the way as the fire slammed into the door. The ceiling shook and dust began to rain down on the two of them. Frisk slowly returned to their feet, flexing their fingers as they noticed the minor burns on their hands. They were bright red, stinging slightly with every movement Frisk made. Toriel seemed to flinch at the sight, an action Frisk couldn’t help but notice. It was becoming clear to them the reality of the situation.
“Just stop this, Toriel.” Frisk insisted. “I know you don’t want to fight me any more than I do.”
Toriel remained silent, preparing another fire spell. Frisk just stood there, not moving an inch. Toriel looked down at Frisk as she reeled back. The fireball grew beyond containment.
“Give up Frisk.” She stoically said,
The fireball flew like an arrow, but appeared as a flaming ball of destruction. Frisk watched it coming, then put their arms out and smiled. The flames struck them square in the chest, throwing Frisk back. They fell to the ground, their sweater now covered in ash and soot. Frisk rolled a few more feet before finally coming to a stop. They twitched slightly, but slowly got back off. Their face was blackened by the attack, and they had a fresh cut on their cheek.
“What are you doing?” Toriel asked. “Attack or run away!”
Frisk just stood their ground, not moving an inch.
“What are you proving this way?” she demanded. “Fight me or leave.”
Frisk looked at Toriel, coughing slightly from smoke inhalation as a tear ran down their face. They looked down at their hands, now covered in scrapes and cuts as well as the minor burns from before. Frisk then looked back up at Toriel, their expression hiding the pain as they remained standing.
Toriel looked shaken, despite her hardened expression. The fire magic began to dance around Frisk. Unlike before, none of her attacks were hitting them. It was as if she was purposely missing
“Stop looking at me like that!” she insisted. “Go away!”
Frisk shook their head as more tiny fireballs continued to surround them. Toriel’s expression began to break as Frisk stared them down. Once it became clear that Frisk wasn’t going to give up, Toriel’s hand dropped. The fires around Frisk began to die as Toriel looked down at them. Tears began to drip down Toriel’s cheeks as she covered her mouth in fear.
“I know you want to go home, but please… go upstairs now.”
Frisk looked up as Toriel slowly approached them.
“I promise I’ll take good care of you. I know we do not have much, but we can have a good life here.”
Frisk shook their head.
“I can’t.”
Toriel wiped her eyes.
“Why are you making this so difficult?” she asked. “Please, go upstairs...”
“No...” Frisk replied.
Toriel knelt in front of Frisk, meeting their eyes. The red aura died and the heart faded as Toriel’s tears became a sad laughter.
“Ha ha...” she laughed sadly. “Pathetic is it not…? I cannot save a single child...”
Frisk reached up to hug Toriel, who wrapped her arms around Frisk. Tears ran down both their cheeks as they just held each other, both of them unwilling to release the other.
“If I could stay, I would.” Frisk told her. “But I can’t...”
“I know...” Toriel replied. “You do not belong down here… Your home is on the surface, not down here in the underground.”
They remained in the hug for a long time before they finally released each other. Toriel wiped her eyes, then stood up.
“If you wish to leave the Ruins, I will not stop you.”
Frisk smiled sadly up at Toriel.
“Thank you.”
Toriel rummaged into her pocket, pulling out an old cellphone.
“Take this.” she insisted. “I do not use it, but it may be of use to you.”
Frisk took it, tucking it into the pocket their backpack. Toriel looked heartbroken as she stared down at Frisk. She had more to say.
“I just have one request...” Toriel whispered, Frisk didn’t respond.
Toriel seemed hesitant, but took a deep breath.
“When you leave here… please do not come back.”
Frisk was about to argue, but it became clear by the pain in Toriel’s eyes that it wasn’t a matter of negotiation. It was this or nothing, and Frisk looked down at her charred sweater and then back at Toriel. Frisk nodded, and Toriel nodded back. No words were needed. It was already so painful, and neither side needed nor wanted to make it worse.
Toriel looked at the door, the symbol engraved upon it slowly beginning to glow. The jaw opened, the sound of locks turning and clicking cutting through the uncomfortable silence. A loud thud echoed, and the doors opened slowly. Frisk watched as the doors grinded against the ground. Then, complete silence.
“Toriel, I just wanted to say... I-” Frisk turned around, and saw no one was there. “Oh.”
Frisk looked down at the ground once more, then back into the darkness beyond the door. With a deep sigh, Frisk walked forth through the massive door frame. The door began to close behind them until the previous room could no longer be seen. Down the hallway, Toriel heard the bang. The sound brought tears to her eyes as she leaned against the wall.
“Goodbye, my child...”
The door slam shut, with an echo that boomed throughout the vast cave system. Frisk looked back towards them, sadness filling their mind. Their sleeve rubbed against their eyes as Frisk brushed away the tears that streamed down their face. Still, Frisk looked forward determined to see this through.
It was slowly becoming obvious why Toriel had tested Frisk on independence. It was quiet, and Frisk was truly alone. They continued forth, walking as the door seemed to fade behind the shadows, the ground slowly inclining upward until the door truly disappeared from sight. Frisk continued looking over their shoulder, but turned away, seeing this as their point of no return. The hard ground extended for an eternity and Frisk just looked down at the solid floor.
Before long, the floor began to gain some color. Vines of green and wilted yellow flower petals littered the ground, drawing Frisk’s attention away from their situation. Frisk stopped and looked up at a small field of flowers, much like the one they had fallen into when they came down. In the middle of the field, facing away from Frisk as if waiting for them, was Flowey. Frisk flinched at the sight of the malicious flower as it slowly turned around, but seemed to relax when they saw that it was still injured from Toriel’s attacks.
“Clever.” Flowey said with a malicious smile. “Ve~ery clever. You must think you’re so~o smart.”
“What do you want you demonic weed?” Frisk demanded.
“Don’t you remember what I told you?” it asked. “In this world, it’s kill or be killed.”
Frisk suddenly got a sinking feeling that Flowey was referring to their battle with Toriel.
“What does that have to do with anything?” Frisk asked.
“You managed to play by your own rules THIS round, sparing the life of sweet, innocent Toriel.” Flowey chortled. “But you’ll find that not all monsters are as kind and generous as her. What are you gonna do if you meet a relentless killer? If you do what you did with Toriel, your life will end.”
“I’ll just be careful.” Frisk insisted, “I’m not a monster.”
At those words, flashes of that horrible dream flickered in Frisk’s mind. They clenched their fist, forcing the images aside.
“I’m not like you.”
Frisk walked away, leaving Flowey alone in the cave.
“We’ll see about that...”

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