Good news. Give me some good news. Frisk watched Sans from the distance with Undyne. Hoping somehow she was close enough to know what Alphys would choose.
Frisk heard her mother come over beside her. “They are hiding behind a combination. I couldn’t figure it out.” Two days. Two measly days. “Sans told me a joke Underground.”
“Oh that’s nice,” her mother remarked. “What was it?”
“What’s the difference between a Whore and a Hero? He said it was only the W.”
” . . . Frisk.”
“The hero was still in whore, just all mixed up.” Frisk closed her eyes. “He’s going to win. I’ve only saved one monster in the last two days. Maybe I should just get it over with, so I can save my brother and the Underground without any more disturbances. I want it done. I want them out. I’m not delaying this any longer, it’s so stupid.” And it was her fault they were being delayed. For another date. For another round. For another game.
“I know he could die at any point. He can’t come to the surface like me!” Frisk yelled. She stared at her mother. ” . . . or maybe he can?”
“No, Frisk,” her mother warned her. “I know that look. We’ve been through this. If you replace him, there is no guarantee that his natural human magic conjured with the machine will be intact enough to finish your job.”
“Then. Then I’m just holding on for no reason.” She watched Sans walk up to her. Waiting.
“So.” Sans wasn’t saying anything. “Undyne doesn’t know Alphys code any better than Papyrus. She says if the whole Underground is on the line though, it’s going to either be extremely complicated, or she might actually have some kind of program changing it on the fly. Or, what I think is most likely considering how fast you made the monsters who wanted to live have to move? I think there isn’t a program. I think she’s the one changing on the fly and improvising along the way.”
“Herself? How do we beat that?” Frisk asked him.
” . . .” Sans shrugged. “Might be able to override it with some serious excess energy, but I don’t know where to find that down there, Frisk.”
Excess. “I have excess.” Shit. T. “I had excess. My guitar.” Oh no. Now she had to waste more time playing her second stupid guitar to build up energy?
“Sans, you’ve played your trombone several times down there?” Mother to the rescue. “Does it have enough energy?”
“Bit of protection I guess?” Sans guessed. “I’m a monster, I don’t really need to use it for that? What kind of energy is it supposed to have?”
Clueless. Even Sans was clueless to it. He couldn’t have gathered that much more than me. Did my other guitar even have enough power? How am I going to cut it down there! “I need power. How much power do I need?”
Sans wasn’t being real giving on info again. “Can’t say exactly, not exactly my specialty area. I’d say Alphys is going to have a lot of protection herself against her own tech being manipulated by regular magic? I don’t know. Tori, can you do anything at all here?”
“My power doesn’t work like that,” Frisk’s mother said.
“Really?” Sans asked. Her mother nodded. “Oh. Well, I fucked up then. I think I better go.”
“I think you need to. I have to have a word with Frisk.”
Frisk didn’t need a word. She threw open the door and marched into the house. Inside, Undyne was already sitting on a chair. Waiting.
“I was hoping it didn’t come down to this,” Undyne said. “Sans told me about the impossible combination.”
“Tell me you can do something?” Frisk asked.
“If I wasn’t dead? I could get Alphys to open up,” Undyne replied. “But, I’m dead to her, Frisk. She’d see me and it would take her into a mental breakdown. I can’t hurt Alphys like that.” She stood up. “A monster can only hold so much power. I want Alphys freed, and I know you want your brother freed. I know what your mother is going to think too. During the days, I’ve been getting to know her a lot. You don’t.”
Hm? Frisk moved closer. “What?”
“You got two choices. I’m. Sorry.” Undyne bowed to her. “It’s Rainier, or it’s your Momma Toriel. One will die to give you the power to move on.”
“She can’t do anything for you. The guilt inside of her because of that is gut wrenchingly deep.” Undyne squeezed her own hand. “Life force won’t match to the machine, but you could take it down and use it as an extra whopping strength. As a last resort.”
” . . .”
“I know from spending most of my life watching over monsters, that nothing is ever cut and dry,” Undyne said. “Well, except that humans are terrible vermin that needed to die. But, even you broke the rule there. Even if you could stand letting your brother face his demise in that rancid pit I had to call home?” Quiet. Soft. “Queen Toriel would never let her kingdom go without a fight. It would be better to die trying to free the kingdom than leave it in there to fester for eternity. It can’t go much longer as it is now. That leaves two options.”
Frisk gave one slight nod.
“There is no quitting. It’s Rainier all the way, or it’s your Momma Toriel starting to sacrifice something she shouldn’t be. And she won’t-”
“Draw it out,” Frisk said rapidly. “I know, she won’t do that. If she does something, she does it once.” She’d give her entire life force. There was no mathematical formula that would say how much it would take, and she wasn’t going to risk Frisk having to come back again just for more. “She won’t die for it, or for me.” She looked back at Undyne steadily. “Wait until it’s over. I know I can’t override Momma Toriel’s command to you.” Still. Frisk headed to her room.
Sans and Papyrus’ House . . .
Sans sighed from across the table. Damn.
“Sans, you look extremely troubled,” Papyrus said as he banged on the old television set to watch a show. “What is it?”
“Tori and her daughter,” Sans admitted. “Only life force is gonna break Alphys tech. I’ve read Tori, I know she wants to give what she can, and she doesn’t want to risk Frisk having to come up anymore. All to save her daughter her own pain.”
“I’ve read Frisk, and I know how much she doesn’t want to hurt anyone, let alone her second momma.” Sans reached his arms across the table. “She lost her first. She won’t risk her second. Sure could go for a classic Grillby right about now.”
“It’s. Terrible.” Papyrus gave up on the TV. “Nothing else to be done.”
“I could do it,” Sans admitted. “I could give my life force.”
“I did it before. Several occasions.” Whenever he lost Papyrus. It’s where his extra strength to keep battling came from.
“But then I’d lose you!” Papyrus whined. “No, no, no! Why are you risking so much individually?! You are simply a sentry, you never even wanted to go out for Royal Guard, I? I don’t understand! The only thing you used to want to fight for would be a Grillby burger.” Sans laughed. “The Underground is not a Grillby burger and neither is Frisk. Is she?”
“I mean? Oh, that’s it.” Papyrus pointed at Sans. “You like her like a Grillby burger. You like the human!”
“Yeah. I . . . don’t know.”
“If you like her, then you should watch her carefully, especially under stress. She is the kind that gets into trouble after all.”
Car . . .
Frisk stared at the person driving the car for Rainier. This time, she had to come to him for the date. She wasn’t going to keep playing games though. A kingdom was on the line. Her brother was on the line. He was willing to give his very life, Sans said it. He expected to. So. She would end this game. I’m not a frivolous child, running to and from the floor anymore. I know what is right, even if it feels wicked. “Are we close.”
“Getting there. Calm down, Frisk.” Jason glanced back at her. “Never changed, did you? Still an impatient one that’s gotta demolish a game. Can’t you just relax and enjoy the journey?”
Jason. One of Rainier’s favorite men. Most dependable. Most reliable. “So, you’re finally worthy of driving around Rainier’s car for him? You must be so proud. All those years working for him.”
“I worked just as hard as you,” Jason replied. “Although, never got to see where you moved to. Just know that your brother disappeared one day, your mom and dad were gone, and even you? Up until I found you working for Rainier’s company. Not even a word to me when I introduced myself, Frisk.”
“Hm. The past is filled with bad memories. I don’t want to go through it right now.”
“So, you moved way out here though? Not a soul out there,” Jason said. “Couldn’t be easy living by yourself. On so much property too. Were you raised by some kind of hermit?”
As sweet as ever. “No,” Frisk said. “I was raised by someone wonderful. She taught me a lot more about life. She gave me a real life.”
“Yeah, but I got called in to drive you directly to Rainier for a date,” Jason teased her. “Pretty sure.”
” . . . pretty sure what?”
“Pretty sure. Like mother, like daughter. You know? Well. You know how it is.”
That was the last words he said before Frisk stopped conversing altogether.
At a Private Booth In A Nice Restaurant.
“Frisk.” Rainier came toward her. All the food was laid out this time, along with a bottle of wine. “Please come in.”
Frisk sat down next to him, shrugging her coat off. “I need more life force. I think that my mother is going to give me hers to fight Underground. I need it to break into the security of the Underground.” She wouldn’t mince words.
“You’re just out and saying it now?” Rainier scooted a plate toward her. “Does this mean-”
“Whatever it takes. Stay at the gaming machine. Help when you need to,” Frisk insisted. “After all that-” Frisk stopped talking. She heard a sound. She reached into the high sock under the skirt of her dress and pulled out her emergency dagger. Never leave home without it. She moved away from Rainier. “Someone’s out there.”
“Frisk?” She heard Rainier stand up, but then a cough. Frisk turned around and saw Jason with his own knife against Ranier’s throat.
“Thanks, Frisk. Good hearing by the way. Queen Toriel raised you well.” Jason slowly sliced into Rainier’s throat slightly. “Down. Dagger. I know your good as shit with that because of your Momma Toriel.”
Frisk looked to her sides. She could hear others around her. She was surrounded. Yet? If I lose him, I lose everything. She moved slightly. They’d pay for underestimating her. She ducked down, grabbed the other two daggers out of her coat, and dodged out of the way. She kept her ears open. She heard the scurry and let the dagger go.
She heard the sound of someone falling. No time.
“Frisk, don’t!” Jason warned her. “If I kill him, all your chances go out the window. Look? We aren’t here to hurt your little monster friends. We just need King Asgore. It’s all we’ve ever needed.”
Why? Frisk heard another scurry behind her. She hit her target right before it reached her. She scrambled to the man and retrieved her dagger. She bit her lip in a cringe. You made me do it. Frisk had reached the point where she accepted the good with the bad. As Sans would have said.
Just because she hadn’t done anything bad, didn’t mean she never could. For Frisk. For Rainier. For her life. For everything. She slowly moved along the floor.
“Look.” Jason cut into Rainier’s neck deeper. “Come on, he’s hurting.”
Something funny in his voice though. He didn’t think she’d actually use her skill and kill to get them out of it? He didn’t think he was risking his life. We all risk it all. She held the dagger closely.
“Frisk? Look, this is no joke. You’ve actually killed people now, and you’re about to add more!” Jason sneered at Rainier. “Come on. Say something to her. If you actually care, then say something to her.”
Rainier’s blood ran from his throat. He reached his arm out to Jason and held him. “Stupid. Human.”
No! Frisk pulled herself out, missing a bullet someone shot while she tried to get Rainier. She pulled Jason away from Rainier’s throat, but didn’t miss the second bullet aimed for her.
Frisk held Jason down. “Get out, Rainier!” She was struck on her leg, but it was only a flesh wound. They had no idea the amount of training she had with her Momma Toriel. She held her dagger next to Jason’s throat. “Call them off or you die you Son of a bitch.”
“Okay, stop!” Jason called out to his team.
“What do you want King Asgore for?” Frisk demanded, keeping her dagger close to his neck too. When he didn’t answer right away, she added, “I’ve got magic in this. Think of it like a bee sting. It’ll kill you but it’ll be painful on your soul all the way down.”
“There’s only one thing monsters are good for. Don’t you get it? My family and I we didn’t work for their magic like your dad. We were fighting the cause! They were casualties to get . . . King Asgore.”
The enemy. “I always knew you were a shitty friend growing up,” Frisk warned him. “It was you, wasn’t it?”
“Your mom and dad?” Jason asked. “No. I just gave the information to my parents. I was too young at that age.”
“But you told them. Soooo adamant to get us to go!” She held her dagger closer to his throat, wanting to cut deeper like he had Rainier. “If you kill my second family, I will not just kill you. I will hit you with the power of a woman holding more magic than a monster could ever comprehend. Your soul will sting after death itself.”
“Damn.” Jason breathed. “How can you still not see it? I was trying to make up for what happened with your parents. I’m not your enemy. Rainier is.”
Frisk watched as a bullet went straight into his head. She turned and saw Rainier.
Rainier put his gun away and came to her side. Bleeding. “One more go. I’ll give it all that I can.” He held out his hand to her. “I’m sorry. I just wanted someone who understood who I was beneath at the end.”
“Normally, we don’t get things working that way.”
Sans! Oh thank goodness. Frisk rushed to him. “We need to teleport-”
Frisk’s Gaming Machine . . .
“Hold your hand up there.” Sans held his hand steady. “Good boy. Keep it there. That’s what you should have done since the beginning. Got the power to save, use it. Don’t use it to get a girl.” He looked toward Frisk who was standing, but hurt. He didn’t want to leave her side right now so he opened up the door. “Tori! Your daughters hurt!”
Tori came, scolding Frisk for leaving in the first place, muttering how lucky she was Sans followed as they went to her house.Meanwhile, Sans was trying to hold Rainier steady. “Okay, dude. You already know you’re almost dead, right? You got any last words? Just don’t say kiss Frisk or I’ll kick your ass.”
“Will you take good care of her for me?”
“Don’t be like that. Not at the end. Anyone who didn’t have feelings for her wouldn’t have said they’d kick my ass for wanting to kiss a girl at the end of my life. You messed up our first date, didn’t you?”
“First farce more like it.” Sans didn’t do anything. He was already dying. “You messed up big time. Life force drains fast next to death, that’s why most monsters don’t get a chance to use it much.” One shot. They got one more shot. “Enough for three rounds but we have to break security. No second shot.” He grabbed Rainier’s hand. “Give me the rest.”
“You can’t use life force of another monster, it’ll kill you soon.”
“Frisky’s human, she can’t take it. We gotta break through the security all at once. Give it.”
Frisk headed straight back to the gaming machine after her mother healed her, much to her mother’s chagrin. When she opened it, Rainier laid dead on the floor. Oh no. Not only that, Sans seemed . . . different. A strange glow to his eye. Wait. Did he . . .? Frisk jumped over Rainier’s body and moved toward Sans. “Tell me you didn’t?!”
“No time. It was dying off. We gotta get everyone out.”
Idiot. “Don’t die and I’ll be back to save you.”
Frisk had came back with just one thing, her guitar, but Sans teleporting of Rainier so close to his death left more than a little extra life force. She laid his hand on it, but his eye was still on overload. She went and fetched his trombone, laying his hand on it too.
“Whoah.” Sans closed his eye sockets and shook his head. “I feel better. Not incredibly powerful, knowing I’m about to die soon. What did you do?”
“Storage,” Frisk said. “Limited storage, it’s unstable. I don’t even have much power stored in it. We have to move fast.” She glanced back at her mother over by the door. “There’s no choice.”
“Sans? Please tell me you have any healing abilities?” her mother asked him.
“Uuhh . . . heh. Un petit peu?” He joked. “Little bit. Like, little, little bit.”
“Supplies. Go get them,” her mother commanded him. When he left, she looked back at Frisk. “Be careful. Be careful of so many things.”
“I know. I’ll do my best.” Frisk knew what her mother was worried about. This was it. The power inside their instruments once used would burst, and that was it. The only protection left would be what little power Sans could stir. Sans was helpful, but she didn’t know about his power.
“Sans has a great power of love. I’m sure you remember that,” her mother reminded her before giving her a hug. “He isn’t working off his life force, like you saw in Genocide. But, he should have enough.”
“For those he loves,” Frisk muttered. “We’ll have to get going quick. I’ll either break them all free and I’ll see you at the end of the mountain. Or?” She stared at her mother. “I love you.” A hug. The tightest hug as she felt her mother comfort her like she did when she was a child, even humming a sweet tune.
One shot. A nightmare ending or a new beginning. There was nothing in between for her anymore. “What about Sans, Momma Toriel?” Frisk asked softly. “If I die, he can’t return. He’ll be stuck down there forever again. Maybe I should go alone.”
“And have no one there to heal you? He knows the consequences. If he had a problem, he would say it. It’s Sans. He says thing,” her mother reminded her. “Always be prepared with him. He doesn’t always say or do what he should at the exact right moment. His personality is sometimes . . . iffy?”
Frisk had been down with him more than once. Maybe at the edge of death, I can bring him back. She just couldn’t bear leaving him down there again in that cesspool of the Underground.
“Goodbyes short and quick,” Sans said. “Told Papyrus we had one shot and said bye. He’s coming quick. Let’s go, Frisk. Unstable energy don’t leave long gappy times for hugs.”
“Take care.” Her mother gave her one more long glance before leaving out of the gaming machine.
“One more round. We go up or we go down,” Sans said. “Ready?”