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'.


41. The Core of the Problem, part 1

After playing with Bratty and Catty for a while, Woona made her way north of the MTT Hotel towards the Core.  A path led further north, but two shadowy figures were visible just at the edge of vision for a moment before vanishing.  Woona had turned her phone to be in constant contact with Alphys so she could steer her through the Core, so the good doctor was able to respond right away.

"Huh?" Alphys asked, confused.  "Who are they?  N-nobody else is s-supposed to be here..."

"We'll figure that out when I meet and befriend them!" Woona proclaimed happily.

Don't get too overconfident, Chara chided.  Just because you've successfully befriended every monster you've met doesn't mean you'll continue to do so.

Woona blew Chara a raspberry, then continued northward.  The building she entered was pure machine and lights on the inside, nearly overwhelming her with the sudden change from natural stone that the entire rest of the underground had been.  She froze, taking in her surroundings.  Once she stopped focusing on the shining metal walls and the flashing multi-colored lights, she noticed an elevator directly in front of her, and paths to the north to either side of the elevator.

"The elevator will take you straight to the top of the Core," Alphys instructed.

Smiling, relieved she wouldn't spend too long in the Core, Woona walked up to the elevator...only to find that it was presently out of order.  "It's not working!" she told Alphys.

"Huh?" Alphys asked.  "That doesn't make sense...well, the right path should lead you where you need to go."

"Okay," Woona replied nervously, taking the right path.  " leads to a drop off into a huge pit of fire..."

"What?"  Alphys could be heard tapping frantically on her keyboard.  "S-someone's rearranged the chambers of the Core!  T-this could be bad.  My directions of what room leads to what won't work..."

"Can you still help me get through each room?" Woona asked hopefully.

"S-sure!" Alphys replied readily.  "There's only so much that can be done to change the rooms themselves."

"Then I should be safe," Woona proclaimed with far more confidence than she actually felt.  Cautiously, she backtracked and took the left path.

As soon as she entered the long corridor, she was confronted by one of the shadowy figures, revealing itself to be a strange sort of floating clown as it popped out of its hat, FIGHT lines appearing around it and Woona.  The text above its health display named it a Madjick.

Woona braced herself, glancing between the monster and the two orbs that floated to either side of it, dripping with glittering magic.  Realizing she couldn't get anywhere if she was terrified like she was, she took a deep breath and cleared her mind, ignoring the Madjick as she focused on a happy, calming memory...the scent of Papy's pasghetti.

Don't remind me, Chara grumbled.  It may agree with your taste buds, but certainly not mine.

Woona managed to smile, feeling much calmer as she swayed back and forth, evading the cross-shaped magic projectiles that launched from the Madjick's orbs.  Woona opened her mouth to try and speak to the Madjick, but it interrupted her with a magical-sounding chatter, seeming satisfied.  With that, the FIGHT lines vanished, as did the Madjick, leaving only 60 gold behind.  Glad she'd managed to make a friend, she pocketed it.

"A-are you okay, Woona?" Alphys stammered out.

"I'm okay," Woona replied.  "It...wasn't as bad as I thought..."

"Why are there so many monsters there?" Alphys asked, confused.  "The Core's designed to function completely unmanned."

"Let's just...keep moving," Woona suggested, moving forward.

Beyond, an electrical barrier blocked the path.  A switch stood on the wall right beside it.

"You need to throw the switch to deactivate the barrier," Alphys explained.  "But that will activate the lasers.  Records say the order should be Orange, Orange, Blue, so if you move through the first two and stop for the third, you should be fine."

"You said only so much could be changed about inside the rooms," Woona pointed out.  "Could that have been changed?"

"'re right," Alphys replied after a time.  "That's a setting that can be customized.  I guess you'll just have to be careful.  Let Blue lasers pass over you, and move through Orange."

Nodding, Woona threw the switch.  The barrier dropped, and the lasers moved forward, Blue, Blue, Orange.  Woona stayed still for the first two and rushed through the third.

"It's a good thing you thought of that," Alphys praised.  "If you'd just taken my advice..."

"I'd have taken a little laser damage, and shortcut out of the way," Woona interrupted.  "You're working from your data, and someone's gone out of their way to make it wrong.  Not your fault."

"Well, while you move on, I'm going to try and get the right data," Alphys insisted.

Nodding, Woona crossed the bridge.  To the right was a crossroads, the two paths leading north and east.  "Which way do we go now?" Woona asked worriedly.

"Umm..." Alphys began.  "My data says right, but the data was wrong...but if someone's trying to make us second guess the data, it's right..."

I could scout ahead, Chara offered.  can move independent of you to a certain extent.

Smiling, Woona sat down, putting her magical energy into Chara to let him project forward.  He quickly returned.  "That was fast."

North leads to a dead end room guarded by a monster called Knight Knight, Chara explained.  Which means we go east.

In the chamber to the right, a long bridge led through numerous lasers.  "Okay," Alphys began.  "I can turn these off for you...except someone's changed the access codes!  I...I can't-"

"Alphys!" Woona interrupted.  "Breathe.  Take your time.  There are no lasers where I am."

"R-right..." Alphys replied.  "L-let's see what else I can access..."  The sound of rapid typing carried over the phones.  "I can turn off power to the entire node.  That will shut off the lasers."

For how long? Chara asked.

"...okay, I just checked the screen, and I see Chara raised a good point," Alphys answered.  "So keep your ears open.  Most of the lasers are blue, so if I tell you to freeze, do so, and move when I say."

"Alright," Woona replied.  "Player 1 start!"

Chuckling, Alphys made a few key taps.  "Start!"

The node went dark, the lasers shutting off.  Woona immediately raced across the narrow bridge, trying to make it to the other side before the power came back on.

"Freeze!" Alphys yelled out.

Woona screeched to a halt just before the power came back on, and she found herself engulfed in Blue lasers.  She held perfectly still until Alphys barked out, "Move!"  The power cut out, and she raced ahead again.  This time she managed to make it all the way to the other side, racing up the path to the north.

Woona found herself at a four way intersection, with new paths leading east, west, and north.  "So...where to now?" Woona asked hopefully.

"I...I don't know," Alphys replied.  "This doesn't look anything like my map..."

"We'll figure this out," Woona reassured Alphys.

"'re sure?"

"Absolutely!" Woona insisted, her hoof to the SOULSTONE as she filled her voice with DETERMINATION she didn't quite feel.

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