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'.
http://www.fimfiction.net/story/303673/the-moon-in-the-dark

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54. The Punchline

Chara gently stroked Woona's back, holding her close as she shook in fear and sorrow.  "It's alright, Woona," he whispered softly.  "It was just a nightmare...it wasn't real-"

"That's what I was told...about the Tough Glove nightmare..." Woona whimpered out, managing to make words even as her sorrow continued to run away with her.  "And it...wasn't just..."  She sobbed brokenheartedly as she buried herself deeper into Chara's ethereal embrace.  "What if this happened, too?"

"Now don't be like that," Chara chided gently, comfortingly.  "There's no way you'd kill everyone.  You aren't like that...and neither am I anymore, thanks to you."  He held her close.  "You saved me.  There's nothing to fear anymore...trust me..."

Slowly, Woona's sobs began to slow.  "But...but Sans was there...and it was really him, somehow..."

"Then let's go find him and ask him about it," Chara stated firmly.  "He can explain it."  Pausing, he floated over to a box, surprised to discover he could open it.  Reaching inside, he lifted out a heart-shaped locket.  "...I left this here so long ago..."  Gently, he settled it around his ethereal neck...and was stunned to see it stayed there.  "...Asriel..."  He rested his fingers against the locket.

Woona smiled softly, managing to gather her courage.  "Let's go!" she called out, hopping out of bed.  She paused as she noticed the other box.  "What about that?" she asked curiously.

Chara stared at the box.  "That's my worn dagger.  I had it with me when I fell down here."  He hesitated, then turned his back on the box, the knife he gripped in his spiritual hand fading out of existence.  "...I don't need it anymore."

Woona's smile widened as she felt Chara's essence become more balanced.  This was good for him.  She turned to look around the house.  "Which way?"

Smiling, Chara faded back into Woona, the Locket going with him.  "The keys are in the kitchen and Dad's room," Chara told her.  As Woona began exploring the house - a practically identical copy of the one in the Ruins, save the color - Chara began reminiscing.  "I used to live here...with Mom, Dad, and Asriel.  We were a happy family.  But the barrier was always hanging over us...always in our minds.  Freedom so close, and yet so far...I could see what it was doing to my family, to everyone I'd grown to care about down here...so I decided to do something about it."

"What'd you do?" Woona asked curiously.

"One time, Asriel and I tried to make a pie for Dad," Chara explained.  "It said to use cups of butter...but I suggested we use buttercups instead, as a prank.  After all, Dad's a goat-type monster, and goats can eat flowers, right?  It seemed logical to me...and to Asriel.  Neither of us knew that the yellow flowers we used...were toxic.  Dad recovered, but it shook us.  And...it gave me the idea.  After all, Dad's body was much stronger than mine in terms of recovery, and he'd recover as long as he had reason to.  I was much more biological.  And a Monster can cross the barrier if they absorb a human soul..."

"You convinced Asriel...to take your soul?" Woona asked worriedly.

"It was a perfect plan.  We'd cross the barrier, find a peaceful way to gather six human souls, absorb them, and break the barrier.  But...when I saw the humans, the ones who had made the barrier that had trapped the monsters, the ones who had made my life on the surface so horrible I was willing to..."  He cut himself off before saying more, not wanting to upset Woona further.  "I lost control.  I wanted to kill them all...and keep killing.  Asriel saw what it was doing to me...and much like you did when I went after Alphys, he held me back.  He wouldn't let me kill anyone.  And because of that...he wound up dying.  I knew something might go wrong, and thought that I could just reset to before I set the plan in motion...but my soul vanished when Asriel's body turned to dust.  My Determination...was only enough to keep an echo of me around...broken by grief at knowing my mistakes cost my brother his life, and tore our parents apart..."

Whinnying softly, Woona mentally nuzzled Chara as she unlocked the gate, making her way down into the basement.  "But...if you were grief-stricken...why did you..."

"When I was like that, I was...constantly slipping in and out of the void," Chara explained.  "Until I learned to anchor myself in the physical world...at the grave Mom made for me."  He shuddered inside.  "The void is...unpleasant.  It is best if I say no more."

Nodding, Woona continued through the halls, past tall buildings as she heard many monsters talking.  She could tell they were filled with hope, talking about how close freedom was, how soon the barrier would fall.  She couldn't stop herself from smiling...but at the same time, she felt afraid.

Before long, she passed out of the city of white and gray and into a hall filled with golden light.  She froze as soon as she stepped into it.  Despite the change in lighting, she immediately recognized it as the hall from her nightmare.  She whimpered, afraid to put her hoof down on the tile.

"it's okay, woona," a familiar voice called warmly from down the hall.  "nothing bad's gonna happen.  this place is no more evil than what you bring into it."

"T-that doesn't make this any easier, Uncle Sans," Woona whimpered softly.

"Come on," Chara urged, floating out to take Woona's hoof.  "You wanted to ask him about it, didn't you?"  Not waiting for a response, he proceeded to drag Woona down the hall to where Sans was waiting for them.

"so...you wanted to talk about that nightmare, huh?" Sans asked softly as they approached.  "what did you wanna know?"

Woona swallowed nervously.  "Y-you were in it..." she stammered.  "And you remember...is it...is it like the other one?"

Sans sighed gustily, shaking his head.  "no one as young as you should be saddled with this..." he grumbled under his breath.  "some maker up there is really twisted, that's for sure."  He lifted his gaze.  "woona...that nightmare both was...and wasn't like the other one.  it isn't a timeline that didn't already happen like the other one...but it is a timeline that could be."

"What?" Chara demanded, stunned even as Woona sank in on herself.  "How could that be?"

"i really hate to say it kid...but it's your fault," Sans explained.  "woona took you into her soul, darkness and all.  she managed to bring you to light again...but as you saw in the lab, the darkness didn't just go away.  it's inside her now.  and if she ever gives in to rage, envy, or anything like that...nightmare moon will rise.  the nightmare wasn't a prevented mistake...it was a warning."  He slowly walked up to Woona.  "kid...you're too young for this, but I have to tell you now.  from now on, you're going to have to watch carefully over your emotions, and never let fear, or anger, or jealousy grow too strong within you.  cause if you don't, you will become that mare of darkness...and it won't be a nightmare you can just wake up from."

Woona shivered.  "But...but why would that be?" she asked, confused.  "In the nightmare...my LOVE..."

"20," Sans confirmed.  "yeah, a big number.  but...i hate to say this, but check your stats now."

Confused, Woona did so.

 

LV  2/2  HP 50/50  MP X/Y

 

"It...went up?" Woona asked, stunned.

"yeah," Sans confirmed.  "the shadows are inside you now...shadows that turned chara from a broken-hearted child into a demon meant to destroy all of existence.  they aren't as strong inside you because of how strong your soul is...but they're there."

"But..." Woona whimpered.  "That means it's...bad to find love?"

"Huh?" Chara asked, confused.

"what are you talking about?" Sans demanded.

"F-Flowey said...when I first fell...LOVE is shared with...Friendliness Pellets...but they hurt..."

Sans eyes widened in shock.  Walking quickly forward, he pulled Woona into a tight hug.  "man...he really messed you up bad, didn't he?"

"I can't believe he told you that!" Chara added angrily.  Then he let the anger subside.  "Then again...I don't think he realized it would affect you this badly..."

"W-what do you mean?" Woona asked, confused.

"woona...there's LOVE and then there's love," Sans explained.  "LOVE is an acronym.  it means...'Level Of ViolencE'.  it's a measure of how easily you can hurt someone.  the easier you can hurt someone, the harder it is for you to be hurt.  it grows by gathering EXP..."

"EXecution Points," Chara translated.  "Your incredibly low LV is why your defense was negative.  You're naturally non-violent.  It goes against your nature to deliberately hurt others.  That's a good thing."

"woona, you never truly gained LOVE in your journey," Sans offered comfortingly, "but don't ever doubt...that you are loved."  Sitting back, he rested his hand on her back.  "let me show you something."  As he spoke, he lifted his hand, and with a 'ding' sound, one eye glowed a blazing blue and yellow.

The world around them seemed to fade away.  In its place was a field of upside down white hearts spread out in the distance, each with a distinct color.  Woona could still see an outline of Sans, with a similar heart shape inside him...and a blue, white, and black right side up heart inside herself, surrounded by a faint black miasma.  Piercing the miasma, however, were an endless number of glowing threads of varying thickness and color stretching out across the field, anchoring in the other hearts, one anchoring quite strongly in Sans.

This is the world I see every time I tap my true nature, Sans spoke, his words shaping directly in Woona's mind, though without the serious overtone Chara had expected.  Every light out there is the soul of a monster, and the lines that connect them are the bonds of love, the source of the hope that keeps us all alive, and the true source of monster magic...of our very existence.  Every soul you see anchored to you...is someone who loves you.  The thicker the anchor, the stronger the love.  Reaching out, he gently touched a lavender cord that traced to a light many times brighter than those around it, one making its way towards New Home.  This one is your Mom.  See how much she loves you?

Woona smiled softly, tears in her eyes.

"What about this one?" Chara asked, touching a blue and gold thread so thick it was practically a rope all on its own, tracing straight up and vanishing as it passed through the barrier.

Sans grinned widely.  Pretty sure you know who that is, Woona, he stated, touching a cord nearly as thick that traced from his soul to another in Snowdin.  After all, you have to know who this is.

"That's to Papy..." Woona whispered.  She touched the thick cord from her own soul.  "Then this...Tia..."  Tears of joy poured from her eyes.

Sans smiled softly as he took his hand away, the world returning to normal.  "i'm supposed to judge you here for the actions you've taken in your journey here," Sans pointed out playfully, "but i think you've judged yourself more than enough already.  now buck up, kid."  He gently chucked her under her chin.  "your dad's waiting."

Smiling, Woona got to her hooves and moved on, Chara floating at her side.  "We're almost there," Chara told her.  "He'll...he'll be in the throne room."

As Woona walked down one last gray corridor, she paused before the door labeled thus.  "Nervous?" she asked Chara.

"...terrified," Chara admitted.  "You?"

"Same," Woona agreed.  "But...we have to do this..."

Smiling nervously, Chara took Woona's hoof.  "...together..."

The two stepped across the threshold together, stepping into a sunlit chamber filled with grass and golden flowers.  Kneeling amidst the flowers was a large goat-like man, horns curling over his head, purple cape hanging over his shoulders, and black and gold armor garbing his entire body.  His armor shook slightly as he stared into the distance, unseeing.

"...D-dad..." Chara spoke up softly, uncertain how to act now.

Asgore Dreemurr turned towards them, a shaky smile making its way onto his face.  "...C...Chara..." he breathed, tears in his eyes.  He started to push himself to his feet, only to stagger.  As his body shook, he pulled a large red weapon out of the ether to brace himself.  It was a long staff with three large prongs at the top and tiny spines at the base.  Digging the spines into the ground, he pushed himself to his feet.  "I...I've missed you, Chara...my son..."

"I've missed you too, Dad," Chara managed to say.

"And you...must be Woona...my new daughter?" Asgore asked hopefully.

"...seems so," Woona admitted, feeling a bit uncertain herself from how awkward the others were acting.  She cast about in her mind, trying to find a way to break the ice...and remembered what she'd decided she had to do.  "Can I see your pi-dent?" she asked.

"M-my what?" Asgore asked, stifling a bit of a snicker.

"That!" Woona proclaimed, pointing at his weapon.  "It's got about 0.14 too many prongs to be a trident, after all!"

Asgore chuckled as he looked down at the spines on the base.  "I suppose it does, though I never considered calling it a pi-dent before.  I'd prefer a pie-dent, personally."

"But dented tins mean uneven cooking!" Woona insisted, startling laughter from Chara and Asgore.

"In truth, Woona, this weapon is called a Battle Fork," Asgore explained.

Woona stared at the thusly named weapon.  "Seriously?" she asked, stunned.  When Asgore nodded, she chuckled nervously.  "Then I'd hate to see the Battle Salad."

Unable to stop himself, Asgore burst into laughter.  As the laughter echoed through the chamber, tears poured from his eyes as he remembered a time when such a thing was not a rarity.  Walking swiftly forward, he pulled his children into a warm embrace.

Feeling the shared love of family, and knowing that she truly was loved, Woona felt her DREAD washed away by DETERMINATION to save everyone.

 
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