Jeanine stared at Frisk. “You’ve got to be kidding.”
Frisk held her ground with Sans sitting right next to her. They met at a mall without a Purest Imports or monster selling of any kind. They were both sitting down, enjoying lunch, when Frisk dropped what she needed. “No.”
“Tell me again what you just said,” Jeanine said, “because I can’t believe it.”
“I need you to house monsters for me, up to three, and I need you to help me to pay for hopefully two of them in the future,” Frisk said again. “I know for sure one of them is bought, so it will be higher to get him.”
Jeanine covered her face like she couldn’t believe Frisk really repeated it. “You want me to house three monsters.”
“One coming tomorrow,” Frisk said to her. “Sans will stay with me.”
“Then help you buy two other monsters?” Jeanine hit the table. “Frisk! I don’t have that kind of money, or that kind of luxury. If I did, I wouldn’t be working beside you at the mall.”
“Really don’t have that kind of money,” her monster said from beside her. He looked at Sans. “Why bother asking? Who are these others?”
“They don’t belong here,” Sans tried to reason him. “Craig, right?”
“I get that this world is not fair to monsters,” Sans said to him. “but this world isn’t our world. We need to go back to where we belong. On the surface.”
“I don’t have that kind of money,” Jeanine said. “If you’re really buying another monster, and I can’t talk you out of that, I have space enough for it in my home.”
“Take it,” Sans said to Frisk. “There’s no guarantee Undyne’s alive or Papyrus will ever be an option. We do know that Alphys needs safety.”
Frisk looked back at Jeanine. “If I can get the other two, can they stay with you? I’ll take care of everything for them.”
“For a little while,” Jeanine agreed. “But not forever.”
“Fine. I’ll find a way to the surface and let them get out,” Frisk insisted, “or I’ll take them back and upgrade.”
“Oy.” Sans had his own opinion on that.
“If I don’t risk that, Sans, she isn’t going to help.” Frisk looked toward Jeanine. “Right?”
“Right. You’re a good friend, Frisk. You’re a good granddaughter I guess too,” she added. “But I can’t just let three monsters live with me forever. I just want one living with me forever.”
“Right. The world is . . .” Craig stopped. He waited for someone to pass behind him. ” . . . unfair and cruel. But your problems aren’t our problems.”
“Fair enough,” Frisk said. She looked toward Sans.
“Like I get any choice?” He didn’t like it, of course. Frisk wasn’t supposed to risk that, but without that they’d never get anywhere. “Fine. Fair enough.”
The Next Day. . .
Alphys moved her way to the home she was being rented to. A human watcher was there to make sure she stayed on task and didn’t go anywhere. Her soul was linked to hers. No other human could hurt her, just the woman watching her. Still, it was unsettling for every case.
When the door opened though, Alphys didn’t know how to react. The human. She could feel it, it was definitely the little one that broke them free from the Underground. All grown up, yet not looking like her true age at all. Frisk.
“The computer is in here,” the human had said.
Alphys moved past her and saw Sans standing next to the computer. Now, almost all her nerves felt gone. She couldn’t approach him or the the human Frisk yet without permission. She was only allowed to touch the computer. He’s safe and with her though. She must have bought him! Good for him!
Alphys looked at the computer. It was very old, needing extensions. She looked at the chord and followed the trail of it. First rule, if it has a plug, always make sure it’s plugged in. It wasn’t. That’s deliberate. They must have a plan. She plugged it in, came over to the old computer and turned it on.
“I am impressed,” Frisk said to the human who guided her over. “I like her skills. I want to buy her outright. Please charge my card.” She pulled it out of her purse and handed it straight to her.
“The monster just plugged in the computer?” The woman seemed confused. “What skills did it show off that made you want to buy it?”
“I know what I like,” Frisk said. “Charge the card. Don’t you get ten percent commission on actual sales?” In no time at all, the card was charged. “Thank you. Let’s go to the soul center and get her exchanged out right away.”
One hour later . . .
Free, I’m really free. Alphys couldn’t believe it. She was on a couch, eating chicken fingers with Sans and Frisk. Eating real food, not approved food that only dogs would want to eat. Free, and yet? “I.” She didn’t really know how to respond to the human. She’d never met her so old before, just a tiny thing that she had deceived almost all the way through the Underground. And here she was. Spending vast amounts of money on her.
Alphys was an advanced monster and they weren’t cheap. They were ten times the price of something deemed ‘average’, and those weren’t cheap either. Only the elite could have afforded her. “Th-thanks. Chicken fingers. Real food.”
“Real food is real good,” Sans said. “Don’t be scared, Alphys, Frisk is awesome. Treats us like equals.”
“I’ll be sure to get you out and about,” Frisk said to her. “Especially for some new clothes, and some decent food. You’ll have to live with a friend of mine-”
“Her grandma,” Sans said. “Nobody ever uses that word.”
” . . . but I will get you some new accessories and some decent food,” Frisk continued. “You’ll be as comfortable as I can make you.”
“What about Papyrus and Undyne?” Alphys asked. Then, she regretted it. Those looks.
“Papyrus got bought, and he’s far away,” Sans said. “It’ll take time to get him. If we can. Undyne, uh?” Sans rubbed his barcode. “Later. Really should get some decent rest and food right now for you. You know. Freedom. Frisk isn’t going to treat you like a slave. You are your own monster. So don’t be afraid to, you know? Talk to her? Just be careful out in public.”
“I know the public and how to act,” Alphys said. “Y-you learn that right away. Frisk?” She looked toward her. “Y. You. Just, thank you.”
“It’s okay,” Frisk said. “You should probably get some rest before the next step.” She winked. “Accessorizing.”
After Alphys was safely in her new home with Jeanine, and Sans was taking a nap on the couch, Frisk did her own thing. She left a simple not for him that said ‘Left, Frisk.’ Nothing much more needed. This time before she left though, she didn’t go out like she was going to her job.
She sparkled along with one of her newer dresses for events. Instead of one time and done, she liked to use them for her own needs. She was now waiting in Purest Imports for the saler. She had been asking about information for Papyrus and Undyne for some time. The problem?
They had no idea. The monsters should have been microchipped before they ever came to the import store, but Sans and the others ended up there accidentally. Meaning, they had to do it the hard way. Use their brains.
It was something they didn’t want to do because it took time and they weren’t paid for it, but this request wasn’t just by some yahoo off the streets, and Frisk made sure they got the hint she wasn’t playing around. Just like Underground, Frisk was a smart cookie. She knew what and when to do certain things to get her outcome. And a good ol’ fashioned lie was working wonders.
“Miss Darnier,” the saler greeted her.
“Fae Iskra Darnier,” Frisk said harshly. “I hope you’ve done your due diligence this time? Maurice Darnier hates when he has to deal with such crude things, but the fact you can’t track two simple monsters speaks very widely not only to your job, but the Purest Imports here.” She scoffed. “I mean, how do you even know you have the rights in place to sell these monsters? Do you know how much trouble you would be in, if anyone found out you were selling monsters illegally?”
“It was a mix-up only,” the saler said. “Somehow they just got delivered here first.”
“How do you know that?” Frisk asked. She reached in her purse and pulled out a candy cad caddy. It was a tin box laced with gold and filled with supposedly sweet things that tasted really strange, but they were adored by the wealthy due to their exotic taste and cost. She tapped it in her palm firmly, using it in the place of the stick she used to threaten monsters with. “Do you have a lawyer on retainer? I heard the last one that messed up our family’s name in such a terrible way nearly paid five million for his trial. And still lost.”
“No, really, it was an accident, I’m sure of it!” The saler said. “Please, Miss Fae Iskra Darnier, I have a wife and a child.”
“Millions of people have wives and children. Am I supposed to be impressed you are exercising your rights?” she said coldly. “Information. Now.”
“Okay, alright.” The saler took a deep breath, showing her what little he had. “As you know, this isn’t the greatest place to sell monsters so we don’t track papers. But, um, the receipt has the person’s full name who bought him.”
Frisk grabbed the paper, crushing it in front of him. She uncrushed it to look at it briefly. “And the other?”
“The troublemaking one who refused to back down,” the saler said, “she doesn’t have a name or a barcode. I-I’m trying to talk to the saler that was on duty when it went down to find out if it’s still alive.”
Frisk crushed her paper again. She thonked the candy tin in her hand again. One. Twice. Not a sound between them. She opened it up, popped up in her mouth and tried not to gag on the taste. Chocolate melon liverish liquerish, some people are so weird! Still, she gently chewed it with her mouth closed. Once. Twice. The whole time she just stared at him with a dead stare like he was not even worth being in presence. Then? “I recommend you lawyer up before we talk any further.”
That was it, he cracked. “No, no, wait!” He got on his phone. “I’ll call him right away, right now, just wait! I promise, I will drag him out of bed to- Yo, Reggie!” He yelled into the phone. “The monster, man, the monster I asked you about! Man, I don’t care if you are in the middle of lunch, I need that information right now, Fae Iskra Darnier is telling me to lawyer up. Man, please. Dude.”
He was breaking down. Frisk could see tears in her eyes. There was no choice though. If she just came in as Frisk demanding details that were nearly impossible to get from that small shop, they would have turned her away. By the time they took it seriously, the information could have been gone. Even with all that threatening, she only got a piece of paper and one name for Papyrus.
“Okay, yeah.” The saler started to write down quickly some information. “Okay. Okay.” He hit end on his phone. “Okay, so he says he knows she left definitely alive.” He was writing down an address. “This is the place she was shipped too. It’s for rougher monsters that can’t be tamed called Guard Monsters. They get set up usually guarding something so they don’t interact with people ’cause, like, you know they don’t even like their masters so they definitely won’t let anyone-”
“Do I look like someone who doesn’t know these things?” Frisk interrupted him. “Address. Now.” He stopped blubbering and gave her the address. She took it, but didn’t crush it. She didn’t know if it would smear. Instead she glazed her eyes over it. She put her candy tin away, put the tiny paper details away, and left without so much as a thank you.
It was a start.