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'.


4. Standing

Toriel had lost all track of time as she held her daughter close to her, letting her into her heart.  In this moment, she didn't need anything else.  With her child in her arms, she found joy she had long forgotten.  She found she wanted to scoop Woona up into her arms and cradle her, rocking her to sleep and carrying her home, and let nothing hurt her ever again.

She would have acted on that...had Woona's stomach not chosen that moment to grumble.  "...Mommy?  I hungy..."  Woona looked up at her pleadingly, rubbing her tummy with one hoof.

Chuckling, Toriel pulled a spider doughnut from her pocket and gave it to Woona.  "Here.  This will tide you over until dinner time."

Smiling widely, Woona eagerly devoured the pastry.  "It's yummy!" she said happily, her wings buzzing with delight.

Toriel smiled as she got to her feet, Woona dancing happily around her.  For a brief moment, Toriel brought her hand to her chest.  She'd felt the surge of DETERMINATION sweep through her, and knew just how dangerous that was for monsters, even a Boss Monster like her.  In very small quantities, it could help monsters grow, increasing magical power without increasing LOVE.  Too much at once, however, could damage a monster's soul.  Her friend from beyond the door had told her a scientist had been studying ways that monsters could use DETERMINATION, but that the research reports had just stopped one day.

Closing her eyes, Toriel ran through a few mental magic exercises, burning off the excess magical energy the DETERMINATION had filled her with until it was at more reasonable levels.  With a smile, she then led Woona through to the next chamber.



Woona happily followed Toriel into the next chamber.  She immediately noticed that the chamber was incredibly long, stretching off into the distance until it vanished into blurs.  She glanced up eagerly at Toriel, waiting for the next instruction.

"Woona," Toriel began, her voice soft and loving.  "While I wish I could be with you every moment to take care of you, there may be times when I can't, when we'll be apart.  I need to know you'll be able to handle that."  She gestured forward, beginning to walk further into the room.  "So, to know you can show that independence, I want you to cross this room...without me."  Turning, Toriel continued deeper into the room, seeming to vanish to Woona's vision.

"Mommy?" Woona called worriedly, immediately racing ahead to try and catch up to her.  As she rushed through the room, she noticed several strings of ivy climbing the walls, spaced evenly and growing to different heights.  As these heights seemed to repeat, Woona began to worry that the room had some sort of looping enchantment she had triggered somehow, and she'd be running forever.

Her worries proved unfounded, however.  It was a relief when she saw the exit to the chamber, and a pillar to one side between two columns of ivy.  Seeing something behind the pillar, she leapt, glomping onto Toriel's knee.  "Mommy, I did it!"

Toriel chuckled as she scooped Woona up and carried her back out from behind the pillar.  "Yes you did, Woona.  I'm so proud of you."  Stepping to the arching portal to the next chamber, she set Woona down.  "Now, I want you to do something for me.  Can you wait here for me?  There's something I want to go take care of, a surprise I want to prepare for you.  It...might take me some time though.  Can you handle waiting for me here without me?"

Woona thought about that for a time.  "But...what if I get wonewy?" she whimpered.

Smiling, Toriel handed over a strange, boxy device, showing Woona how to flip it open to reveal buttons with labels she couldn't read.  "This is a CELL PHONE," Toriel explained.  "With it, you can contact me any time for any reason."  She gestured to three buttons in order.  "Push these three buttons, and it will call my CELL PHONE.  If it rings, you can push this one to receive my call."  She pointed to the third button.  "Understand?"

Woona nodded.  "I can do it!" she proclaimed happily.  "But...what if I have to go to da bathwoom?"

Toriel chuckled.  "Well, if you feel you do need to leave the room for any reason to move forward..."  Reaching into her bag, she pulled out a large folded parchment.  "Here is a map of the Ruins.  Each chamber with a puzzle also has recorded the clue that will let you solve it-"  She paused.  "Oh, right, you cannot read our writing.  Hmm...can you read yours?"

"Uh huh!" Woona agreed proudly.  "I'm smaht!"

Chuckling, Toriel placed her hand on Woona's forehead, and her other hand on the folded map.  Woona felt magic flowing from her head and into the parchment.  "Take a look now," Toriel offered.

Unfolding the map, Woona gasped.  "It's in my wettahs!" she cried happily.  "I can wead it!"

Toriel smiled gently.  "It's just a basic translation spell," she offered modestly.  "If you feel the need to leave this chamber, the map will guide you now."

Woona smiled happily as she folded the map up.  " do I carry this?" she asked worriedly.

Toriel thought for a time, then reached into her pockets for fabric, needles, and thread.  With quick, deft movements aided by magic, Toriel sewed up a pair of saddlebags for Woona, resting them over her back, just behind her wings.  "There we go.  You can put anything you find in there, as long as there's room."

Smiling, Woona reached under her wings and pulled the pouch of bits she'd brought with her - where she'd placed the two gold coins the Froggit had left her - out from between her feathers and dropped it into one of the bags, slipping the map and cell phone into the other.  She looked up at Toriel with a happy smile, feeling prepared for anything.

Toriel smiled down at her.  "Alright then, Woona.  Stay safe.  I'll be right back."  Turning, she left the chamber.

Woona happily waited for Toriel to return.  After a time, the cell phone rang.  Remembering what Toriel said, Woona quickly pulled the phone out and pressed the button.  "Mommy?" she asked eagerly.

A quiet voice, barely audible, emitted from one part of the device.

"Mommy?  I can't hear you!" Woona called louder, worried.  "Is the CELL PHONE broken?"

The voice came louder this time, but all Woona was able to make out was 'ear'.

Confused, Woona lowered her head to the phone, putting her ear to where the voice was coming from.  "Mommy?" she called worriedly.

"I'm terribly sorry, Woona," Toriel said through the phone.  "I forgot to tell you that you have to hold the phone to your cheek, with your ear and mouth in range of the two grilles."

"Oh!" Woona breathed, holding the phone to her cheek with her hooves.  "That's why I couldn't hear you."

Toriel chuckled softly.  "Anyway, I was calling to tell you that my errands are taking longer than I thought.  I shouldn't be more than another five minutes, though."

"Okay!" Woona replied happily.  "I love you, Mommy!"

"I...I love you too, Woona," Toriel replied, her voice thick.  "Stay safe."

"You too!"

After a moment, Toriel spoke again.  "I forgot to tell you how to hang up the phone, didn't I?  You can do it either by closing it back up, or pressing the red button opposite the green one you used to receive my call."

"Thanks Mommy!" Woona replied happily, closing the phone.

Woona waited a while longer, only for Toriel to call again.

"Woona, I'm afraid I'll be delayed a bit longer," Toriel apologized.  "I found what I was looking for, but before I could take it, it was snatched away by a small white puppy."  In a murmur, Toriel continued, "How odd.  Do dogs even like flour?"

"To pway in, maybe?" Woona offered.

"Hmm...perhaps," Toriel allowed.

After a time, Woona's phone rang again.  When she picked up, however, she only heard heavy panting, followed by a couple of high pitched barks.  In the distance, she heard Toriel calling, "Come back here with my CELL PHONE!"

Realizing what had happened, Woona set her CELL PHONE on the ground and took a deep breath.


Woona used Royal Canterlot Voice.


"Doggy!" she shouted.



Toriel's eyes widened as she saw the little white doggy go tumbling from the force of the shout.

"Give Mommy back her phone!"

Yelping, the little puppy raced back to return the phone and flour to Toriel.  She smiled as she picked up the phone.  "Thank you for that, Woona," she said into the phone.

"Happy to help Mo-"  Woona's voice was cut off in a scared gasp.

"Woona?" Toriel called worriedly.  "Woona, what's wrong?"



Woona stared back at the entrance to the long chamber.  She could barely make out the details, but there was a flower there that wasn't there before.  She could see the white center, the golden petals...

She saw the light glinting off the teeth in the grin.

"AAAAAAAAAHHHHGG!" she screamed in terror, racing into the next chamber.  "Mommy, the bad flowah's chasing me!"

"The bad flower?" Toriel asked in confusion from over the phone.

"The one that hurt me!" Woona whimpered, ducking into the friendly embrace of a Froggit that was on the other side of the doorway she'd just dashed through.

"Woona, listen to me," Toriel explained.  "I want you to keep going.  On the map, you'll see a house marked.  Meet me there.  Plot your course carefully and do not backtrack unless you can't avoid it.  Above all, be careful, alright?"

"Okay, Mommy," Woona whimpered, shivering in the Froggit's embrace.

"I know you're scared, Woona," Toriel reassured her softly, "but I'm too far away to make it there in time to help you.  I need you to be brave for me."

Woona nodded.  "Okay, Mommy," she replied back.  "I love you."

"I love you too, Woona.  I'll call frequently to make sure you're okay."

Hanging up, Woona got back to her hooves.  "...okay," she whispered.  "I this."

As she got ready to leave, the Froggit hopped into the room to the north, and came back with a piece of candy for her.  Smiling, Woona slipped it into her bag.  "Thank you," she said gratefully, nuzzling the Froggit.

As Woona moved onward, she encountered a strange monster that looked to her like a sock puppet with tiny wings.  As the FIGHT began, the name above the creature was 'Whimsum'.  As Woona watched the Whimsum, she noticed just how scared it was.

Smiling, Woona sat down to let the Whimsum see her peaceable intent.  After a time, the Whimsum left of its own accord.  While Woona regretted not being able to befriend it, she knew she couldn't waste too much time.

As she entered the next short chamber, she glanced at her map.  Seeing that the center of the room was pit traps, Woona buzzed her wings, managing to hover over the center to continue onward.

In the next chamber, Woona paused as she received a call from Toriel.  "Are you doing well, Woona?" she asked worriedly.

"Two chambers onward," Woona replied.  "I'm okay."

"That's good," Toriel replied.  "For no particular you prefer cinnamon or butterscotch?"

"I wuv 'em togethah!" Woona replied happily.  "Tastes so yummy!"

Toriel chuckled.  "That is good to know dear."

The chamber she was in was blocked by a path of spikes.  There was also a rock near a discolored floor tile.  Since the map mentioned pushing rocks, Woona attempted to push the rock onto the discolored tile.  However, the rock didn't move.

"...Mommy did not think this thwough..." Woona muttered.  She sat and stared at the rock, trying to figure out how to do this.  As she was waiting, a Froggit engaged her in a FIGHT.  She smiled at the Froggit.  "Can you help me push da wock?" she asked, pointing.  "It's too heavy for me."

The Froggit stared at her for a time.  However, seeing no hostility or deception, it nodded agreement, pushing the rock for her.  Once it was on the tile, the spikes dropped.

"Thank you!" Woona called gratefully, giving the Froggit a peck on the cheek, causing it to croak in embarrassment as its cheeks turned red.  Giggling, Woona progressed into the next room.

The next chamber was nearly covered with cracked floor tiles.  Looking at the map, Woona saw two images of the chamber, one above and one below.  Reading the clue, it stated, "Don't step on the leaves".  The lower chamber was nearly covered with leaves...except for a narrow path.  Looking carefully, Woona followed that path over the floor tiles...and none cracked beneath her hooves.

The next chamber contained three more rocks and discolored tiles.  However, the lowest rock seemed...different from the others.  Approaching it, Woona began examining it.

"What are you looking at?" the rock demanded.

Woona was surprised to hear the rock talk, but she rallied gamely.  "I nevah saw such a hefty chunk of stone outside the mountainous cwiffs."

The rock shifted back and forth, preening.  "Well, I am pretty strong!" it bragged.

"I bet ya could even push the othah wocks onto the switches and hold 'em down so I could cross!" Woona offered.

The rock eagerly pushed the other two onto the switches before stopping on its own.  "Behold my power!" it proclaimed as the spikes went down.

"That's amazing!" Woona proclaimed as she crossed.  "Thank you!"  Waving happily to the talking rock, she moved onto the next chamber.

As she continued, she encountered a trio of bulbous monsters identified as Moldsmals.  They lay immobile, not seeming to do anything.  Woona decided to do the same, in an attempt to show her understanding of them.  The Moldsmals shook a bit of water off of their bodies, but Woona had laid out of reach of it.  After a time, the Moldsmals withdrew into the ground, leaving a gold coin apiece behind.  Glad to have made friends, Woona continued onward.

In the next chamber, Woona found a table with cheese on it, and a mouse hole.  She could see the mouse staring at the cheese, plainly building up the courage to go snatch some.  Seeing the mouse's struggle, Woona felt brave enough to continue onward.

In the next chamber, Woona found a ghost pretending to sleep on a pile of leaves.  She wanted to make it more comfortable with her, so she curled up beside it on the leaves.

The ghost looked at her.  "Umm...what are you doing?" he asked nervously as a FIGHT began, the name 'Napstablook' appearing over his head.

"Being fwiendly?" Woona offered.

" really want to be friends?" Napstablook asked worriedly.

"Of course!" Woona replied.  "I told Mommy I would befwiend every monster in the Wuins!"

Napstablook chuckled a little.  "You're...kinda cute."

"You too!" Woona replied eagerly.

"Hey...let me show you something."  Focusing his energy, Napstablook caused his magical energy - which manifested as tears - to rise up above his head and take shape as a top hat.  "I call it...Dapperblook. you like it?"

Woona nodded eagerly.  "Let me twy!"  Thinking quickly, she pulled out the map of the Ruins and folded it into a hat she placed on her head.


Woona equipped Cartographer's Cap.


"Wike it?" Woona asked.

"It's...adorable," Napstablook replied as the lines of the FIGHT faded.  "I normally come to the Ruins because nobody's around...but today I met somebody nice."

Smiling widely, Woona attempted to hug Napstablook...only to fall through him.  "Oof!"

Chuckling, Napstablook settled around Woona, wrapping her completely in his ectoplasmic form.  "Here...have a Blook-hug."

Woona snuggled into the ghostly embrace, the gentle friendship filling her with DETERMINATION.

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