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'.


62. The Sage...

Asgore braced himself as he stared into the absent eyes of the Sage that faced him.  Its only adornment was ancient armor in the same style Asgore himself wore, and an ancient sword.  Asgore knew he stood no chance here.  His own heart was too conflicted to muster the intent to defeat this foe, and the Sage had every reason to take his life.  This was a battle that could not be won.

But that was Asgore's legacy, a long sequence of decisions for which there was no right answer.  At each decision, he had done all he could to choose the lesser of two evils to seek the best possible outcome, even as the weight of his sins grew, endlessly crawling on his back.  And all those decisions had come down to this one.  It was time for Monsters to be free.  He would likely die here, but he accepted that.  As long as he kept this Sage from aiding the others long enough for them to fall, Woona's other allies could finish this battle.  The barrier would fall.

With that in mind, Asgore lifted his battle fork and lunged, seeking to do as much damage to the Sage as possible.  The Sage, however, simply knocked the weapon aside with its sword before delivering a sharp slash to Asgore's side, cutting through his armor like it was made of tissue and digging deep into his spiritual flesh.  Asgore gasped in pain, but steeled himself and struck again, this time with his fire.

The Sage calmly stepped between the waves of fireballs, barely seeming to notice them as it easily dodged them all before striking Asgore with a lightning bolt that shot through his armor, sending the king staggering to the ground.  Pushing himself back up, he unleashed a barrage of blows with the battle fork, charged blue and orange...but the Sage knew the secret of blue and orange attacks, and avoided each and every one before striking Asgore in the face with the flat of his blade, knocking him onto his back.

Asgore took several shuddering breaths as he pushed himself back to his feet.  "I...I can't..." he gasped out, seeing no mercy in the featureless face before him.  He then coughed desperately into his hand, staring as he pulled his hand away to find dust.  "I can't do this...I am not fit to wear my crown..."  Tears ran down his face as he felt his strength fading, knowing he would soon fall.  "I can't do this alone!" he screamed out into the uncaring void.

And the void answered.


You are not alone, my son.


Asgore's eyes widened as a figure appeared before him, a shimmering humanoid image with fairy wings.  "F...Father?" he asked desperately.

The former King of the Monsters spoke to his son, his voice echoing from beyond the veil of death.


None who wear the crown are alone, my son.  The legacy of all those who wore it before us stands with us.  We are all with you.  Our strength is yours...if you can take it.


"What...what do I do, Father?" Asgore asked desperately.  "I...I can't fail my people, not now!"


Will you do anything to save them?


"Yes!" Asgore screamed out.  "I will die for them, if that is what it takes!"


Death is too easy.  The price asked to call on the power stored within the crown is much greater.


Asgore swallowed convulsively.  "Name it."


You must  live for them.  See the crimes you have committed, the sins that weigh upon you...and accept their consequences.  The good and the evil, the wrong and the right...face up to it, and know that they are your own.


Asgore clenched his hands around his battle fork, shaking.  "I...I don't know if...I can stay sane if I do that alone..."


You are not alone, my son.  Let go of the past, knowing it cannot be changed...and learn from it, that you can make the future better.


Asgore nodded softly.  Closing his eyes, he let his mind flow back into his memories, looking upon his every decision as King and weighing it.  In many cases, he found himself wanting.  It was his job, when faced with a no-win situation, not just to make the best choice, but to find a way to make better choices available.  He promised himself he would not make those mistakes again.  He knew better than to think he would never make mistakes again, but he promised himself that they would always be new ones.


I knew you had it in you, my son.


With those words, the image of Oberon sank into his son, infusing him with his power as the Monster Crown glowed, and Asgore felt his body changing.  His armor fused with his flesh, changing from metal to scales.  His physique bulked up as claws grew from his finger tips.  His feet changed to sharp hooves, digging into the ground beneath him as he grew to match his foe.  Fangs erupted from his upper and lower jaws, curling over his lips as his muzzle became more pronounced and his horns grew and split into antlers.  His cape flared out, then split as it became wings growing from his back.  A crown of Fairy Fire took shape around his head like a halo, and his pupils were slits when his eyes at last opened.  He spun his battle fork as a second set of prongs erupted from the butt end, giving it two lethal ends.  The voice of his father and ancestors mingled with his own.


The King has returned.


Asgore lunged forward with this new strength, and his Battle Fork clashed with the Sage's sword.  The sound of Cold Iron on Sacred Steel echoed through the caverns, even as claws sought flesh and fists sought scales.  Flames and lightning danced between the fighters, neither gaining an advantage as the clash of magics tore at the very fabric of reality.  No matter how the pair struggled, neither could gain advantage over each other, and the continuing struggle strained the ether to contain it.

As he struggled, however, Asgore was surprised to hear his father speak directly to the Sage he fought.


Thus always when Kings fight Kings...a Stalemate.


Asgore came to a halt as those words echoed, and his foe did as well, the blade of the sword locked in the tines of the fork.  With the heightened perception of his transformation, Asgore saw a golden crown upon the Sage's brow, and realized he fought the human King from the time of the war.


Neither of us wanted the war.  We both knew it would only end in death of all we cared for.  For the sake of our peoples, I yielded to your blade.  You were to lead a peace.  Why are you part of the barrier?


The Sage King's body changed to red, and seemed to drip blood.


The hate did not leave, then.  I should have known.  But...why you?


The Sage King stepped back, holding his sword horizontal between his hands.


You needed to know if it was the right choice.  You needed to see for yourself if the world could get better.  You needed to watch over the beginning, the middle, and the end.


The Sage King nodded simply.  It then knelt down, sword at its side.


Yes.  This is the end.  There are no humans left.


"There is one," Asgore spoke up at the same time the Sage King lifted a single finger.  The Sage King then held out his sword of Cold Iron...and the metal slowly wore away, dissolving until all that was left was a worn dagger.  Asgore's eyes widened as he realized what the Sage King was saying about who the last human was.  "Chara...he's of your blood..."

The Sage King nodded.

"I...I am sorry I failed him before," Asgore apologized.  "I promise, now that he has returned to us, I will not fail him again."

The Sage King...smiled, and lowered his head.


He has yielded.  The fight is yours.  Strike him down.


As Asgore received those instructions from his father, the Sage King opened his armor, revealing his unguarded soul.  "I will make it quick," he promised his enemy, his equal, his brother.  Raising his weapon, he gathered his intent, focusing his mind on the only Mercy he could grant as one King to another.

A quick death.

The soul shattered.  The King wept from the burden of necessity.

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