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Tangled Souls

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Their name is Frisk.

They wake up in a bed of golden flowers, all of them thick and well cared for. The juice of their stems sticks to them as they get up, brushing the dirt off of them and walking ahead.

The halls are purple, surprisingly bright. It looks like someone put artificial lights in them. Whatever they are, they worked well enough to allow flowers to bloom from beneath layers of leaves. The trees hug the walls, stretching up to overhead to give the area a dappled effect. Their footsteps echo through the halls as they delve deeper in.

The door puzzle takes a few tries before they realize they have to only step on the outside ones, making a mental note to read the instructions first. Inside, they find quickly that they are no longer alone: monsters, devastatingly powerful creatures capable of mass destruction, getting only stronger as they kill more.

Their breath picks up, heart pounding. They can feel all the eyes on them, cursing under their breath. Their head swings around to look for something to defend themselves. They rush over to a tree, jumping up a breaking a branch off. Teeth grit, they charge at a monster that looks like a frog. It turns to dust in an instant. The others scatter, running deeper in.

Good, they’ve made their point.

Wait… what if there are more? The thought makes their blood run cold. They got lucky and killed that one while it was off-guard, what if the others come back with friends to kill them? They shake as they look for somewhere to hide, but the door's shut behind them. They can’t find any switch to open it again. Well, it looks like everyone's gone? Maybe they'll just be left alone...

Frisk freezes as footsteps come from down the hall, the sound oddly muffled as though wearing house shoes. It feels like they're breathing too loud, heart pounding in their little chest. They dart over behind a tree, trying to hide behind it. Their hands clap over their mouth to try to force themselves quieter. It feels like they’re suffocating. Slowly they slide down, hugging their legs to them in hopes that whatever it is, they won’t see him.

“Hello?” The voice is deep and gentle. Deceptively so.

“They were in here!” A shrill, uncertain voice says.

“Ribbit Ribbit! (They killed my brother!)”

The footsteps come closer, followed distantly by little hops. They get close, too close. Frisk holds their breath, eyes wide. A face pears around the corner: a horned beast with a golden beard.

“There you are chi- ah!”

Frisk swings the stick in a wide arc, hitting fur and robes. The monster rears up and they brace themselves for an attack.

But it doesn’t come. The giant beast merely raises his arms in a peaceful gesture. “Now now, I’m sure we can work this out little one. I’m Asgore, caretaker of Home. Would you like to come to my house?”

Frisk knows better than to trust it. He probably has something there. Frisk runs a CHECK on the monster.

*ASGORE DREEMURR 80 ATK 80 DEF
*King of a ruined kingdom.

Their eyes widen upon seeing those stats. They’re going to die.

They run as fast as their little legs can take them, darting further into “Home.” To their horror, there are monsters everywhere. None as big as Asgore, but they have numbers. A few of them try to block the path, but Frisk darts right on by.

They slam the door on a room with a few levers, rushing to the next door, but it’s locked. A few monsters are over there, but as far as they can tell, they have to pull a lever. It’s very clearly marked. Stick in front of them, they charge forward and slam it, monsters rushing out of their way. Good. The door opens and they go right back to running, fueled by adrenaline.

This tactic works until they hit a room full of spikes. There’s water on the sides, but they never learned how to swim. It looks too deep to just wade through.

They stand there, paralyzed as their brain scrambles for a solution. The room is quiet, but as time ticks on in their indecision, footsteps come up from behind them: Asgore.

With only the choice to FIGHT, they turn, brandishing their stick and stabbing at him. He takes it, the stick doing next to nothing against him.

He looks at them with a sad smile, kneeling down. “You poor thing… you must be terrified. I realize I have only made this worse, but I did not expect you to make it this far on your own.” He reaches a hand out. “Would you like me to show you around Home?”

What other choice do they have? They can’t run backwards with the spikes there, and he takes up most of the hallway. No matter what they do, they die, and at least a monster might make it fast. Tentatively, they nod.

He smiles and goes over, holding his hand down for Frisk to take it. They wrap their fingers around one of his, swallowing a lump in their throat. He steps forward, moving onto the spikes. As he approaches, the spikes draw into the ground as he goes along some pattern.

“See? Not so bad at all,” he says. He lets go of their hand, stopping when he reaches the end of the hall, waiting.

Frisk knows they could just dart the other way, now knowing the pattern, but they’d just hit the door again. Where can they go but forward? Staring warily at the large beast, they inch forward.

He chuckles, “I won’t bite, I promise.”

They glare at him, huffing. They do decide to come closer though. True to his word, he doesn’t bite. He holds out his hand again, but when they don’t take it, he backs off.

“I’m glad you seem a little calmer. You seemed so scared earlier. Is that why you…?” He trails off, staring at their hands. Frisk looks down and sees the dust sticking to them.

What do they even say to that?

He doesn’t push it, just leading them along, helping with puzzles and stopping to talk to monsters along the way. Frisk can hear their whispers behind them.

“I heard they killed someone.”

“Ribbit! Ribbit! (They did! Before he even saw them!)”

“They don’t seem so bad…?”

“The King really is the nicest.”

“He’s the best.”

“Maybe they’re scared? They’re still in stripes…”

None of them talk to Frisk’s face though.

They come along to some dummy. Asgore says, “Here in Home there is no need to fight. Monsters are friendly and do not wish to harm you. So long as you do not fight, they will not hurt you.” He takes on a grave look, “This is not the case beyond Home. Monsters are not evil by nature, but imprisonment and fear have driven them mad. I do not know if they can be reasoned with. If you have any intentions to leave, then please, practice here with this dummy or with me.”

They consider the dummy. They could beat it up, but would that prove? If anything, they might just realize how weak Frisk really is. Frisk can feel the eyes on them, monsters peaking around corners and through doors, thinking they’re out of sight. Maybe if they play along, they can survive? Or maybe monsters aren't so bad. Frisk hugs the dummy instead, prompting a smile from Asgore.

“And you were just scared too, weren’t you?” He goes over and musses their hair with one of his giant paws. It’s a bit intimidating, but… it’s nice. He takes their hand again, leading them deeper into the ruins, idly talking about the various plant life he’s grown. Frisk doesn’t really care about flowers, but listens anyways. He also tells them the names of every room. Of course, once they reach “Trigger Puzzle 3” they realize this guy is terrible at naming and also has had way too much time on his hands.

A few monsters chat with them, even if not long. One gives them gold, or maybe they just drop it? The little ghost-bug seemed nervous.

They won’t lie, it’s kind of nice. That said, every time they feel their guard slipping, they alert themselves again, not wanting anyone to take advantage. But they don’t.

It’s not too long of a walk to a little house completely surrounded by gold, false lights and flowers of all kinds, a large tree in the center. There’s just enough of a path to get inside the house. He takes them inside, leading them to a room.

 

“You can stay here if you wish, but feel free to explore the rest of Home if you’d like,” he says. “Just… please be good. I’m sure that you must’ve been so scared coming down here and that’s why…” He trails off, looking sadly at the dust on their hands. “It was an honest mistake, I understand.”

Guilt coils in their chest no matter how much they try to tell themselves this is a ruse. The understanding just makes it feel worse. These monsters don’t seem too bad, not like the ones outside, and they murdered one. How can Asgore just be so sympathetic? They crawl into the bed, curling up in the sheets. Asgore turns the lights off, but they don’t sleep.