The Moon in the Dark

Long ago, the Monsters and Humans fought a great war. The Monsters lost, and were sealed in the Underground. It would take the power of seven human souls to break the barrier that kept them imprisoned. They only had six. And so the Monsters waited and hoped, praying that another human would find their way to the Underground. Some thought the seventh soul would give their King the strength to break the barrier. Some dreamed of a human who would be their friend, and save them all...or had nightmares of one who would bring back the war.
...but nobody came.
...but somepony did.
Eons after the war, with no way to tell how much time had passed above, a tiny blue filly with wings and horn fell into the underground, calling for her Mama. None knew the poor creature's nature or origins...but her soul was powerful with magic, even more so than a human soul.
None can know what will come...of this little 'Woona'.


56. It Was A Wonderful Life

Woona stared down the barrier as she felt her magic swell within her.  "You will break," she said firmly as she focused all the energy she could into her horn, lifting her head as she prepared to hurl it at the barrier.  With a half lunge, she spread her wings and leveled her horn at the barrier, her eyes, horn, Cutie Mark, and the Soulstone all blazing white as the blast of magic shot forward to impact against the barrier, minor cracks appearing around the impact point.  Woona grinned widely as she saw this, thinking the cracks would spread slowly and the barrier would break...but that's not what happened.

Instead, as her magic tried to force its way into and through the barrier, the barrier struck back.  A pulse of dark green magic pulsed down the connection she'd forged, slamming down her horn, making her flinch back.  But even as she felt her HP starting to drop, she held on.  After all, she had the Soulstone, with more magical energy than any human or monster could contain.  Surely she'd be able to break through the barrier?

However, for all she'd accomplished and learned, she'd overlooked two things.  While the Soulstone provided near limitless magical energy, it channeled that magic through her body at her physical limits, which was well below what seven human souls would provide a monster if they absorbed them.  The barrier, however, was designed to be constantly self-cycling with its magical energy to sustain unless a single burst of power struck it strongly enough to break it in one blow, it would fight back.  The backlash was the barrier cycling and self repairing even as Woona struggled to break through.

As her HP continued to drop, Woona let out a scream of frustration.  She would not stop now.  She could not.  She would have to succeed...somehow!

Her HP hit zero, and the world went black.

She felt her soul tearing itself apart.

...but she refused.

The world returned.  She was still holding her magic on the barrier, trying to break through.  Her HP was dropping again, just as rapidly as before.  But...something was wrong.




LV 2/2  HP 43/49  MP X/Y


Her eyes widened as she realized her max HP had gone down.  She wondered what could have caused that.

When your soul started to break, you managed to pull yourself back together through Determination, Chara explained to her.  But not completely.  Because of the amount of magic flaring around you, you were unable to completely stitch your soul back together.  Each time your soul'll lose one max HP.

Woona stared up at the barrier, noticing that the cracks had widened somewhat.  Then I have 48 more tries to pump out enough magic to punch through, she groaned in her head as her HP once more emptied.

The world went black.

Her soul began to tear apart.

...but she refused.

Not entirely, Chara informed her as she continued to pour magic into the spell.  As your soul weakens, it'll be harder and harder to stitch back together.  If it gets to half strength or less...I don't think you'll be able to pull yourself back together.

Woona whined deep in her throat, doing the only thing she could...pouring her all into the struggle to try and break the barrier.  Again, she poured all her power, all her HP, into pushing past the vortex of magic that sought to tear her apart.  Once again, her soul began to tear itself apart.

...once again, she refused.



Flowey continued to watch as Woona and Chara poured their all into breaking the barrier, the cracks widening only slightly each time her soul broke apart.  Each time she had to struggle to pull her soul back together, a tear fell from his eye, trailing down his face and off a petal to drop to his roots.  While to Woona and the other monsters it seemed like the fracture of her soul lasted only a moment, he could see the effort it took Woona in the frozen moment of time to pull herself back together.  Each took longer.  Each time...less was recovered.

"Why...?" he mumbled to himself as he watched.  "Why is she doing this?  Why does this matter so much to her?"  He stared down at his tears.  "...and why do I care so much?"  Looking back up, he watched as her max HP drop to 38.  Tensing himself, he pulled back into the ground...popping out in the center of the whirling vortex of magic surrounding her.

"You know your soul's lost power equivalent to an entire human soul now," he pointed out calmly.  "If you keep this up, before long there won't be anything left of you."

"I...I know..." Woona whimpered.

"This won't work," Flowey continued relentlessly, glaring at her, a frown upon his botanical face.  "The barrier's going to outlast you at this rate."

"I...know..." Woona replied, eyes clenched tight and teeth gritted.

Flowey ground his teeth together.  "Then why do you keep going?" he demanded angrily.  "Break it off!  Find another way!  Let your soul recover enough to try again at full strength, or let yourself Reset!"

"I...I can't..." Woona whimpered, tears falling from her closed eyes.

"W...what?" Flowey demanded, confused.

"Her last Save Point was right before she tried to break the barrier," Chara told Flowey.  "Every time her soul breaks, it hooks back into the Save Point.  Unless she breaks the barrier...she'll be trapped forever in this moment of time, trying to break through the barrier...and never succeeding, as she feels the magic maelstrom endlessly tearing her soul apart."

Flowey's jaw dropped.  "!" he screamed out.  "There has to be another way!"  Reaching out, he grabbed hold of Woona and tried to pull her free, to no avail.  "I'm not letting you die for nothing!  I...I thought you'd just be like the others, just like everyone else!  But...but for the first time since I wound up like this...when you held me, I cared!  All I ever wanted to do was find someone I could care about, to feel something, and I care about you!  Maybe it's Chara inside you, or the strength of your magic, or your soul...but whatever it is, I can't lose you!  I can't be all alone again unable to connect!  You have to live!"

"heh, sounds like we've got a budding romance here."

Flowey lifted his head in shock, turning to see Sans watching from the edge of the maelstrom.  "Smiley trashbag!" Flowey snarled out.  "Is that all you're going to do, just make bad jokes about the situation?  I thought you promised to take care of her!  Some super special promise, too!"

"can't really do much just now," Sans countered.  His eye glowed, and he threw some of his magic at the maelstrom, only for it to be torn asunder.  "but none of us can even get close to Woona, let alone help her.  magic can't cross this maelstrom, and any soul that tries to enter will be torn apart."

"But...but I could get in here," Flowey pointed out, confused.

"like I said...any soul that approaches..."

"But I don't have enough magic to help!" Flowey wailed.  "I...I can't help her!"

"not alone..."


"not all nightmares are warnings, or mistakes, kid.  some can be the salvation.  you just need to know who"

""  Flowey mused over the last word, certain it was the key somehow.  His eyes widened as he realized the real key.  "...Nightmare..."  He turned to where Asgore watched in fear.  "Dad!  I need the human souls, now!"

Asgore gasped at being called 'Dad'.  "A...Asriel?"  He shook his head, trying to focus.  "But, the souls...if you absorb them-"

"There's no time to argue!" Flowey shrieked out as Woona's soul broke once more, her max HP dropping to 37.  "If I don't stabilize Woona's soul now, she's going to die!  Please, Dad, trust me!"

Swallowing convulsively, Asgore lifted his Battle Fork.  The six soul capsules raised out of the ground in a half circle around the maelstrom, some still wrapped with blankets or with small plush animals resting beside them.

Plunging his roots deep, Flowey brought his vines up around each capsule.  Turning to the souls inside, he cried out, "HELP ME!"

The capsules shattered, as the children of Asgore and Toriel gave their power to aid their siblings.

Flowey felt himself expand into immensity, his power skyrocketing as he wrapped his vines tightly around Woona, doing his best to shield her against the maelstrom tearing up the world around her.  Her HP stopped dropping even as his bulk slammed up against the edges of the barrier, his body phasing easily through the rock as his form became half-physical and half-magical.  He knew his shape, the shape he took from absorbing six human souls, or just from his LV reaching 19.  He didn't give it much thought, instead focusing his magic on trying to help Woona.

"With so much Soul can break the barrier now, right?" Asgore called out.

"No!" Flowey snapped back, his face now on a screen that had taken its place at the center of his six petals.  "It's taking half my magic just to stabilize Woona so she doesn't fade out, and the backlash from the barrier's growing stronger!  I-"  He winced as he felt magic flowing through him.  "...even if the Soulstone can channel magic through me, it still has to funnel through Woona!  It's not enough!  I need more help!  Come on, Smiley Trashbag!  You had the answer before...what am I supposed to do now?"

"and why should i help you with you calling me that?" Sans countered, grinning widely.

Flowey clenched himself up as he was ready to rage...only to realize what Sans was saying.  "...I can still survive the Maelstrom..." he whispered.  " body's designed for this!  I can channel your magic in here to help!"  A vine lashed out of the maelstrom.  "Sans!  Help me hold Woona together!"

Smiling, Sans gripped the vine.  "kid...all you had to do was ask."

Magic flowed from Sans along the thorny vine as he poured his everything out.  Every joke he ever told, every laugh he'd shared with everyone he cared about, his delight in discovering Woona loved jokes too...even his memories of Chara's more adult jokes, made all the worse by Woona's innocence.  All this resonated strongly with the light blue human soul, sending the energy strongly into Woona, shoring her defenses against the maelstrom.

Asgore reached out and grabbed hold of the vine.  "Woona, Chara, all must live!  You are our hope, the hope for everyone!"  He poured his magic, along with his every happy memory of his children, down the vine, giving it his all.  To his surprise, another fuzzy hand wrapped around the vine just over his.  "T...Tori?"

"Don't you Tori me, Asgore," Toriel growled out, glaring at him.  "You created this situation when you let my daughter try to break the barrier on her own!  We're going to have words when this is done!"

Asgore withered under her gaze, but he did not flinch back from giving his magical energy.  He could feel Toriel's happy memories with Woona pouring into the vine along with her magic, trying to sustain her.

"Why isn't it working?" Flowey demanded.  "Why isn't she stabilizing?"

"duh," Sans offered.  "you only got us three.  we don't even make a whole human soul between us."

Flowey's eyes widened.  "Of course! do I get them to help?  How can I...ask everyone at...once..."

More vines rose, aiming towards the ground...and at the edge of each one, an Echo Flower took shape, a single message through each and every single one.

"Help Woona!"



Papyrus was stunned as an Echo Flower erupted out of the floor of his house, nearly smacking him in the face.  Its petals reached out to him imploringly.  "Help Woona!" it begged.

"WOONA IS IN TROUBLE?" Papyrus gasped out, shocked.  "THEN THE GREAT PAPYRUS SHALL LEND HER HIS ALL!"  He grasped the proffered vines and poured his magic through them even as they wrapped around his bones, channeling all his memories of Woona into the vines.  How kind she was with his puzzles, how she responded to his own kindness, how gently she'd 'let him down' after the 'play date'...and the simple kind joy they'd shared playing together.

Flowey felt those memories resonate strongly with the green soul as it let off a pink glow, another wall of Woona's being shielded against the maelstrom.



Alphys and Mettaton had been escorting the Amalgamates back into the rest of the Underground, guiding them to their families, when the Echo Flower erupted out of the ground in front of them.  "W-w-w-wha?!" Alphys screamed out, staggering back.  "The heck?"

"ARE YOU ALRIGHT, ALPHYS?" Mettaton asked, back in his box form to conserve power, as he bent over to help Alphys back to her feet.

"Help Woona!" the Echo Flower proclaimed, reaching imploringly towards them.

Alphys stared at it curiously.  "Why isn't it repeating what we say?" she asked, confused.

"Help Woona!" the flower insisted again.


"To help Woona!" Alphys gasped out, stunned.  Lunging forward, she gripped the proffered leaves, Mettaton's hands closing around hers.  Together, they funneled their magic into the flower, adding in their memories of their time with Woona.  For Alphys, the most prominent was her realization that she didn't have to present a false Woona or anyone else.  Woona had helped her embrace her feelings for Undyne, and face down the mistakes of her past.  For Mettaton, Woona had met him on his own ground and helped him discover what was really important...that as great a star as he could be, it was best when he did not shine alone.

As the Amalgamates wrapped their various psuedopods around the vines, adding their own magic, the combined energies resonated with the orange soul, blazing brightly as another shield arose around Woona's soul, protecting her.



As Undyne raced towards the Barrier, somehow knowing that Woona had gotten herself in over her tiny head again, she tripped and slammed face first into the ground as an Echo Flower erupted between her feet.  "The heck?" she growled out angrily.

"Help Woona!" the flower insisted, reaching for her.

"What do you think I'm trying to do?" she demanded angrily as she struck out at it with one of her spears.

The flower swayed out of the way, wrapping around her wrist.  "Help Woona!" it insisted again.

Undyne drew back her other fist to smash it away...only to feel the flow of magic within the flower.  "Be more specific!" she snapped out angrily as she poured all of her heart and soul into the flower, determined to help the little pony that had showed her how wrong she had been, had awoken her heart again to compassion...and helped her realize that in a choice between duty and friendship, even as Captain of the Royal Guard her first duty was to her friends.

The Yellow Soul resonated strongly with the force of her magic, giving off a strong crimson glow as it wrapped its magic protectively around Woona.



As Muffet tended to her spider brethren and helped those who had been displaced settle in, she was startled to see an Echo Flower spring up out of the middle of her table.  "Afufufu, how intriguing," she murmured as her spiders continued to pour energy into her, ensuring she didn't give so much of herself that she collapsed.

"Help Woona!" the flower begged, reaching out towards Muffet.

"The little deary?" Muffet asked, surprised.  "But of course I'll help her."  Reaching out, she took hold of the flower, pouring in her magic and that of all her spiders as they joined with her.  "She set out so far from home, just to bring our tribes back together, and didn't ask anything in can I do any less?"

The purple soul responded to her magic, completing the shield around Woona's soul and stabilizing it as the power flowed in.



Throughout the Underground, the Echo Flowers sprouted up wherever monsters congregated.  Every Echo Flower across the Underground delivered the same message: "Help Woona!"

Flowey had called for help...

...and from the darkness, everyone came.

The magic of every monster, the power of their souls, poured freely into Flowey's body to lend aid to Woona in her hour of need.  He grew, and grew, and grew, shouldering his way through the earth around him until he found himself blocked by the barrier itself.  But even that could not hold him, as in an instant his plant body converted to crystal and phased right through, driving towards the surface.

In vegetative ecstasy, he broke through to the surface inside a cave, his crystalline body taking shape as he stretched towards the surface.  The sun was almost in reach...but he felt his roots unwrapping from around Woona, felt her soul start to weaken.

He froze, realizing what was happening.  He could keep going, take the magic he'd been given and reach the surface, and gaze upon the sun again...but doing so would leave Woona to die.  Or he could turn around, expend all the magic inside him to help break the barrier and save her...only to be trapped underground forever as the magic was fully expended and he burned out, never to be free.  He held there as the weight of his choice bowed his crystal branches.

Reaching upward, he threw his curses at the heavens as he denounced humans, ponies, monsters, Gods, Makers, and Watchers alike...then turned his back on the sun forever, diving back into the ground, his crystal roots stretching down around the outside of the barrier, seeking the source of its power.

And there they were.  Seven dark green human souls embedded into the weave of the magic, sustaining it.  The souls of the sages who had crafted the barrier, bound up in it, as they sacrificed their very lives in their fearful desire to keep monsters caged indefinitely.  Angrily, Flowey struck out at the nearest soul he could reach...

And the souls struck back.  Each floated up, projecting a featureless human body with which to fight back, banding together against Flowey.

Once more, Flowey screamed his curses.  "How am I supposed to fight them all at once?" he screamed out.  "It's taking all my focus just to balance keeping Woona alive and being out here!  I can't do this alone!"  His cry for help echoed...

...and they came.

"move over, kid," Sans told him, as the seven strongest Monsters in the underground prepared for the greatest fights of their lives...the battles that would determine the fate of all.  "we'll take it from here."

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