Six Souls

The story began with Frisk.
A human child who fell upon a secret world, a world she could never have known existed.
The seventh of her kind to come across the incredible land of the Underground.
Yet as one story began with her, another begins with others.
Though not as glorified as she, paved the way for Frisk to take the stage. The stage they themselves once held.
Let me spin you the tale of those six souls that came before.
And how they never returned to the home they once knew.

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1. Patience—Part 1

She had been lying there on the bed for hours. But she wasn't sleeping. 

Only waiting. 

Nighttime had descended upon the Ruins in which Sabira rested. Though how anyone could know the time of day was a mystery to her. There was no sky to refer to, nor any celestial bodies to make note of. But that made sense. Little Sabira knew that she was a long way underground. Though how she could still be alive remained unknown as well.  

Sabira had most certainly heard the legends. Those who trekked up Mount Ebott, the summit that lay at the center of her town, never returned. But she had never believed them. No one did. At least, no one admitted to it. The kids at her school had always played near and around the mountain, but never so much as set a foot on its rocky edges. Was it hearsay? Superstition? Whatever it was, it prevented anyone from climbing it.

And whatever it was, it had been misplaced in Sabira's mind that day.

Curiosity had gotten the best of her, as she wondered what was up there that frightened everyone so much, and caused unsuspecting travelers to seemingly disappear. The bewilderment was so overwhelming that one day she could stand it no longer. So up the mountain she journeyed that sunny afternoon, upon her head her favorite hair ribbon, and a toy knife clutched tightly in hand.

Sabira knew that if her little brother found his sword gone, he would never forgive her. But if there was something on the mysterious mountain, she would need all the protection she could get. That plastic knife was the deadliest-looking object she could get her hands on, so she convinced herself that she was only going to "borrow" it. Besides, she was sure that she would be back home before anyone knew it. This was only a harmless trip; nothing for anyone to be concerned about.

Once she explored the mountainside, however, she found that it was just as regular as one would expect a mountain to be. Of course, save for a gaping chasm that had immediately spiked her interest. As dark as night and deeper than she could imagine, it seemed a pit leading straight to the depths of hell itself.

So naturally, Sabira took a peek into it. And apparently lost her balance. Because suddenly the nightly darkness surrounded her, and she felt herself fall deeper than she could ever imagine. 

Sabira tossed in her bed as the memories swarmed her mind. The mattress she lay upon in wait was quite comfy, and the bedroom in which she "slept" looked to be that of a child's. Along the walls were set various pieces of furniture, among such being a floorlamp that stood in the corner, a wardrobe directly beside the bed, and a dresser which bore a dusty picture frame, with a photograph inside that Sabira couldn't make out. A rug covered much of the wooden floor, decorated in an abstract design. She definitely wouldn't have expected such tidy accommodations in a cave, much less in the possession of a goat-lady.

Sabira scolded herself whenever she used that description. Miss Toriel was not to be compared to such a disgusting animal. She was perhaps the kindest person Sabira had ever met in the whole ten years she had been alive (ten and a half, to be exact). 

Of course, if one felt it appropriate to call her a "person." The girl had glossed over the fact that Miss Toriel was covered head to toe in a white mat of fur, or that she possessed a pair of horns on her forehead. She didn't find it scary or frightening; just odd. Sabira had never seen a person like her before, or anything like her.

However, she wouldn't have thought to call Miss Toriel a "monster;" the impression would have never arisen in her mind. Yet the woman insisted that she indeed was a "monster," and assured Sabira that she did not take offense in the slightest.

When Miss Toriel had discovered the young child sprawled upon a bed of flowers that very afternoon, she took it upon herself to help the poor, confused thing to safety, which Sabira thought of as so unbelievably kind. She helped guide the human girl through the winding caves she called the Ruins, avoiding the numerous snares that had been laid.

There must have been bad people living in the Ruins too; that was the only conclusion Sabira could draw as to why so much protection was needed. 

The very much awake girl turned on her back and stared at the ceiling. It was yet to be covered up, as the jagged stone ominously loomed from above. Miss Toriel had explained earlier that day that she had just recently moved into the Ruins, so her home was not entirely a "home" yet. Boxes were piled and stacked here and there, and parts of the floors and walls lay exposed. Miss Toriel apologized so many times that Sabira lost count, but the renovating honestly didn't bother her much. 

Maybe... Sabira thought. Maybe now... 

She raised her head from the pillow and looked around the bedroom. She didn't expect anyone to be there, of course, but a little caution never hurt anyone. Sabira lifted the blanket off of her and sat up on the mattress. Her black tennis shoes lay next to the bed, which she reached for at once to slip on.

Even as she sat there in the bedroom, remaining ever so still, Sabria's heart pounded like a drum. Maybe this isn't a good idea, she thought to herself. This wasn't like her; she never did things like this. She had always been an obedient little angel, as her mother always said. She never misbehaved, probably to a fault. But now, she was about to break her streak, defy Miss Toriel's explicit instructions, and likely place herself in danger.

Yet not even the conscious warnings could prevent Sabira from rising to her feet and tiptoeing to the door.

She didn't belong here, as much as Miss Toriel wanted her to. She had a home up at the Surface; that was where she belonged. She missed her family, and she knew that they were probably so worried. Although her little brother was most likely just pouting about his missing toy, which Sabira admitted that he wasn't getting back.

She had lost the knife somewhere in the Ruins, and she couldn't for the life of her remember where. One of the unusual inhabitants of the caverns most likely had picked it up and kept it as a souvenir. 

She had also misplaced her favorite hair ribbon in those caves, which really ruffled her feathers. How could she have lost it? Sabira's mother had always made sure that ribbon was tightly fastened to her head. 

Sabira froze before the door. She...she really missed her mom. And her dad. And honestly, her brother too. Their hearts were probably broken at the thought of her going missing. How could she put them through such misery? They didn't deserve that. She was alive, and she was alright! Sabira needed to get to the Surface as soon as she could, no matter what Miss Toriel said. 

Her hand reached the doornob and turned it at a snail's pace. As the door swung open, Sabira made sure the squeaking was as quiet as she could make it, even if it took a full minute to get it wide enough to squeeze through. She made her way into the hallway, not bothering to shut the door behind her. She didn't need to waste another minute of closing. 

Sabira scanned her surroundings, which consisted of tons of boxes and a few potted plants, including one peculiar type that resembled a sausage on a stick. (There was nothing else to compare it to really.) 

To her left, she found the door to Miss Toriel's bedroom. It was closed, of course, but she wasn't fooled. Not that she was meant to be fooled anyway. Miss Toriel wasn't trying to trick her, for she was completely unaware of what Sabira was about to do. 

The child made a right and crept into the foyer, where she was able to spot the ragged stairway, leading into an ocean of darkness.

Sabira knew what was down there, and that was why she was awake. 

She was going to go home. 

<><><><><>

Earlier that afternoon Sabira had been exploring the semi-home when she noticed the staircase. Obviously she had known they were there ever since she had arrived, but the question of where they went had been lingering in the corner of her mind all day. Sabira would have never gone down them without knowing if they were safe—honestly, it was more of a matter of if she was allowed—so she asked Miss Toriel that very pressing inquiry.

The motherly monster gave a sinister look, as if where the stairs led were a bitter memory. "They..." she started, trying to sound nonchalant about it, "...they lead to the exit of the Ruins."

Sabira's eyes lit up at the mention of "exit", and that seemed to make Miss Toriel anxious. She was too late to notice though, and she spewed the question she had been on the edge of her seat to ask.

"So when do we leave?" 

She quickly realized her mistake though, as Miss Toriel's facial expression turned from one of anxiety to one of terror.

"Um, well..." she sputtered, not knowing exactly what to say. It must have been an eternity before she finally spoke again, "Here, my child. Follow me."

She moved into the half-furnished living room, Sabira trailing closely behind. She examined the floorboards as she walked, ashamed of how rash she had acted. The living room most certainly looked like a living room, with the exception of some uncovered walls and a bookshelf with no books. Towers of boxes loomed over the wooden shelves, which Sabira could only guess to be filled with novels and whatnot. But the room was far from empty. There was a table in the corner, a fireplace ablaze, and an armchair unsurprisingly covered in white hair.

Miss Toriel grabbed one of the chairs from the dining table and seated herself. She looked at the young child, who was still as timid as a puppy. The lady only smiled tenderly, and motioned for Sabira to take a seat.

The girl held her hands in front of her while she stepped toward one of the chairs. As shameful as she seemed she pulled one away and sat down, still refusing to make eye-contact.

The woman saddened. "I am not upset, my child," she pleaded. "Please do not be ashamed." 

It was then that Sabira looked at Miss Toriel. "I didn't mean to make you sad," she said. "I just wondered when I could go home." 

Miss Toriel was the one to look away, as if she had plummeted deep in thought, perhaps thinking of how to begin her story.

"Sabira, darling," she started, twiddling with her hands. "There is something I need to tell you...about the Underground."

Sabira was fully focused. The way Miss Toriel spoke seemed so urgent, like this was the most important thing she could know.

"Beyond the exit to the Ruins is the rest of the Underground, which is called 'New Home.'" Toriel paused to smile. "Do not ask me why though. I have no idea why it is called that."

She peered at Sabira and saw that she still wore a serious expression; she obviously hadn't found that funny.

"Anyway," she continued, straightening her composure, "that is where nearly all of the monsters live. In fact, that is where I used to live."

She cringed as the sentence escaped her lips. Sabira wondered why, but didn't dare ask. 

"And there is an exit that leads to the Surface, in the king's palace. But now..." The words caught in her throat. "The king...Asgore," she said his name in disgust, "...has declared that...that every human that comes here is..."

Miss Toriel lifted her knuckle to her mouth, and her eyes became misty. Sabira was shocked; she hadn't expected her to react like that.

"Is w—what, Miss Toriel?" she goaded. Whatever she was saying about humans, she wanted to know.

She was, in fact, a human. 

Miss Toriel looked back at the girl and smiled. "I do insist that you call me just Toriel, my child," she adjured, and then immediately looked away. "He has declared that every human is to be.....captured." 

Sabira nodded to show that she understood. Though not completely. "But...why?" she had to ask. "Humans aren't bad. Well, I mean, some are bad, but not all of them. I'm not bad."

Miss Toriel grinned again at Sabira's innocence. She closed her eyes, unsuccessfully trying to hide a sorrow that she wished not to show. "I know, my child. And honestly, I don't really know why myself," she responded, and then she chuckled. "I don't understand most of the things the king does." She opened her eyes and gazed into Sabira's, seeming to look right through her. "So, that's why I—well, I would like to ask you if..."

Miss Toriel paused, attempting to collect herself. Sabira was filled with a strange unease. What she was about to ask must have indeed been difficult. And apparently, it was difficult to say as well. 

"If you would like to stay here," she said at last. "With me." 

The child didn't speak. She didn't even breathe. She didn't know what to do. But she did know one thing. Sabira most certainly did not want to stay! She couldn't have stayed even if she had wanted to! Her mom and dad probably missed her so much. It would be cruel of Sabira to remain here!

"M—Miss Toriel," she stuttered. "I...already have a home. And a family. I...I can't stay."

Miss Toriel looked down at her entwined hands. "My child," she spoke, "you do not understand. If you leave the Ruins, the king will capture you, and you won't ever get back to the Surface. I know this is a difficult place for you to be, but you need to make the wisest choice."

Sabira felt her own eyes mist. "But...but..." A sentence wouldn't form. She didn't try to conceal her grief. Rivers of tears started to run down her cheeks, and she felt herself begin to whimper. "I wanna go home, Miss Toriel. I—I miss my mom and dad..."

Miss Toriel looked just as pained as Sabira. She rose from her chair and knelt down in front of the crying child. "I am so sorry, Sabira," she apologized, holding the child's hands in her own. "I don't know how to get you home. I...I can't begin to describe how sorry I am—" 

"Can't we just ask the king to let me out?" Sabira suddenly interrupted. "He—he can just let me through. I'm not a bad human. Maybe he'll let me go home. We can just ask..." 

Sabira began to sob. Miss Toriel wiped away a teary river with her hand. "It...doesn't work like that, Sabira," she admitted, allowing a teardrop to race down her cheek. "He doesn't just want bad humans. He wants any human. It won't matter whether you are good or bad, or even a child."

She looked away. "And besides, even if you got to the castle, you would not be able to get through the Barrier. No one can. There is a magic on it that prevents exiting to anyone...unless by way of..."

Miss Toriel stopped there. "The point is that I cannot get you to the Surface." Her eyes gazed back at the child, speaking of a sorrow that she hadn't felt in a very long time. "Sabira, if there was a way, I promise we would be on our way to the palace right now. But...there is none." She forced a smile that she didn't feel like giving, but Sabira didn't return the favor. "I'm sorry, Sabira. I really am—" 

Suddenly the girl sprang from the chair and bolted out of the room, sobbing harder than she had before. The slam of a door could be heard from across the home.

And there before the empty seat Miss Toriel knelt, hiding her tear-drenched face in her hands. 

<><><><><>

About an hour later, Toriel thought it best to see how Sabira was holding up. With a plate in one hand and a fist in the other, she knocked softly on the wooden door. There was no answer, but she had expected that. Her hand grasped the doornob and twisted it to the right. As the door cracked open, she saw the little girl curled up on the bed, still whimpering every once in a while.

"Sabira?" she whispered, walking slowly toward the bed. No answer was given, nor movement of any kind.

"I brought you something," Toriel started up again, and then smiled. "I made a pie. There are...kind of my specialty."

Sabira said nothing.

"I did not know what you preferred, so I made cinnamon-butterscotch pie. You probably would not like my special snail pie, so I'll hold off on..." 

Toriel stopped trying to make conversation, because it wasn't working. Sabira lay on the bed facing the wall, and didn't so much as make a sound that wasn't a sniffle. 

The monster sighed. "I know you are upset, my child," she said, as she placed the dessert on the floor. "But trust me, things are going to work out. We don't have to be miserable down here." She placed her furry hand on Sabira's shoulder, not expecting to be acknowledged anyway. "It's not so bad down here. There are lots of little monsters in the Ruins that you can play with. I have dozens of fascinating books that I have yet to unpack. We have a lot of food, and I'm pretty good in the kitchen, if I do say so myself. We can come up with a curriculum for school. I've...always wanted to be a teacher; it would be a fun experience for the both of us."

Toriel paused, hoping for some kind of response. But her hope was in vain. Sabira was as silent as a statue, and possibly as still as one too.

But the woman understood. The child was upset, and she had every right to be. She was being kept from her family and home. She was placed in an entire world that she didn't know existed. That would be enough to upset anyone. 

Toriel knew that, from experience... 

No! she reprimanded herself. Not now! She wouldn't have those memories haunt her. She couldn't let them again.

She...she missed them so much... 

She slapped her free hand to her cheek, wiping away the first tear that had so rapidly formed. But she wasn't quick enough to catch the second. 

Toriel rose from the ground and leaned over the bed. Upon Sabira's forehead she placed a small kiss.

"I'll be in the living room if you need me, alright?" she said, before slowly moving to the door, and muffling any whimpers. 

But Sabira didn't respond. 

<><><><><>

Yes, Miss Toriel's bedroom door had been closed, but Sabira knew better. As she peeked into the night-ridden living room, she could make out the faint profile of the kind lady, soundly asleep in her armchair. Next to her still body lay a worn book, which Sabira guessed was about the many uses of snails. (Miss Toriel had shared many facts from that book the day before, although Sabira didn't find them very useful.) 

She looked so peaceful where she was, like she didn't have a care in the world. Sabira really did like Miss Toriel. In her opinion, the goat-lady—she scolded herself again—was just about the nicest person that had ever lived. She took in a child that she didn't know and was fully prepared to raise her if needed. Obviously, she had convinced herself it was needed, but Sabira thought differently.

She knew the sleeping monster couldn't hear her, but before she crept to the dark stairway, Sabira whispered as softly as she could manage, "Thank you, Miss Toriel. Goodbye." 

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