When Flowey met Ellie, he didn't bother trying to take her soul. She was on edge, already armed, and her soul showed disturbingly high LV and EXP. When he first brought her soul out he was stunned, but then he couldn't stop laughing.
This kid was going to wipe out the Underground, he just knew it!
Confident that the kid wouldn't need his influence, Flowey winked at her and said he'd see her around. Then he burrowed underground before Toriel had a chance to show up. He smiled gleefully as he fled. He couldn't wait to see what this human would get up to!
Toriel was drawn to the too familiar sound of diabolical laughter. So when she met Ellie, Toriel thought the child to be just like the others: lost, scared, and in need of a gentle monster to show them how things worked. She was right, to a degree, but it soon became clear that there was more to it than that.
Ellie never allowed her back to be turned to Toriel, didn't take Toriel's hand when offered, and did her best to stay close but out of arm's reach. The previous children had been startled and scared by the monsters, but had warmed up to Toriel when she made her intentions clear. What had happened to this child to make her so adamant about keeping her distance?
Ellie asked the strangest questions too. She asked if Toriel ever had problems with 'infected', making it sound like a noun. Toriel assured Ellie that sickness was rare here, though that only seemed to confuse her. The child was determined, and questioned further. Ellie asked if the former queen knew what the infected were, which made Toriel the confused one. Of course she knew, but wounds were so easily healed by magic or food here that infection was not a problem. Ellie became more frustrated, but seemed to calm when Toriel mentioned that it had been a long time since a human had fallen into the Ruins.
As though that answer cleared everything up, Ellie dropped that line of questioning. Though Toriel thought she heard the child mutter something about the Ruin's residents being lucky.
Ellie seemed suspicious of the practice with the training dummy, but did as Toriel asked. The first time a monster dragged her into a fight though, the child drew a knife from her belt. Toriel had not noticed the weapon before, and was alarmed that a child this young was armed.
Thankfully, Ellie did not use the weapon. She tried what Toriel had instructed, hesitantly complimenting the Froggit. Toriel broke up the fight, but was still rather worried about leaving the child alone. She passed the independence test though, so Toriel went ahead to bake the pie and get things organized.
She shouldn't have left the child alone.
When next she saw Ellie, the child had a multitude of cuts and bruises. Toriel quickly scanned the child for signs of dust, and was relieved when she found none. When Toriel went forward to heal her however, the child stepped away and brought out a different weapon, a gun.
"I'm not your child. Now tell me why everything down here wants me dead."
"I- I don't know what you mean-"
"Bullshit! You're obviously some kind of leader here. What do you want? What do they want?! Tell me damn it!"
Not knowing how else to calm the child, Toriel relented. She promised to explain everything, if Ellie would come inside and have some pie while discussing it. The child was still wary, but eventually complied.
Ellie inspected the pie very closely before taking a bite, but once she did she ate heartily and quickly. As she ate, Toriel revealed how the monsters came to be in the Underground, why they feared humans, and why so many, including King Asgore, would be desperate to steal Ellie's soul.
Ellie stared at Toriel for a while after the former queen finished. Toriel began to wonder if Ellie believed her; until Ellie said:
"You should stay down here."
"You don't have any infected down here. So long as you got resources, and can get along with each other, you'll be golden. So you should stay."
"I don't understand."
"Just trust me, okay? If you knew what was going on up there, you'd be happy you were down here."
Had some kind of disaster occurred on the surface? A pandemic? Surely such a thing wouldn't affect monsters...
Despite Ellie's words, she insisted on trying to get back to the surface. Toriel began to panic, and immediately denied the request. She told Ellie how much safer she would be here, the child herself had just admitted that, and questioned why she would want to go back if life on the surface was so bad. Ellie gained a wistfully fond look, and said she had someone waiting for her, a human man who was like a father to her. Then the child turned serious. The man loved her, she said, and that's what made him a danger to the monsters. He was extremely protective and ruthless. If he found out where she'd disappeared to, and followed her down, he wouldn't be nearly as kind to the monsters that got in his way.
Toriel blanched at Ellie's implication. The way she talked about this man, this Joel, made her think back to how Asgore had been just after their son's death. The idea of a human adult with that kind rage coming to the Ruins terrified her, which Ellie could see.
"That's why I can't stay here." she said. "I'm not about to leave Joel after everything he's done for me, not to mention Tommy and Maria. And I need to leave quick; I have to get back to him before he comes looking for me and causes hell for you. "
Toriel could see the determination in the child's eyes, and knew she couldn't stop her. So Toriel agreed to show Ellie the way out.
Before Ellie left, she wrote a quick note and gave it to Toriel. The note was to Joel, identifying Toriel as a friend and telling him where Ellie had gone. Toriel saw Ellie to the exit of the Ruins, and gave the child one of her spare cell phones. Ellie was fascinated by the device, which was rather strange. The last child that had passed through had been very familiar with the technology, even stating that Toriel's was a bit outdated.
Toriel wanted to hug the girl before she left, but settled for wishing her good luck and waving goodbye. Just before Ellie went though the door, Toriel called out to her once more. She turned and Toriel said:
"You'll be good, won't you Ellie?"
Ellie paused for a moment, and then nodded firmly.
"I'll do my best ma'am." Then she was gone.
Toriel sent a prayer to the Angel, and then headed back to the bed of flowers the humans always fell on.
If everything Ellie said was true, and Joel ended up falling here, then it would be best for Toriel to be the first monster he met. She would have to keep a close vigil.
Flowey was baffled. So much LV and EXP, and the kid had made it through the Ruins without dusting a single monster!
He had watched the kid deal with the puzzles, and concluded that she was reasonably bright, but the whole time she was looking over her shoulder and acting jumpy. So when she ran into her first monster while unaccompanied by Toriel, Flowey was fully expecting the kid to FIGHT and get her first dose of dust. The kid had tried to follow the goat woman's instructions on the first turn, but it didn't work well enough and the monster attacked her.
The next thing he knew the kid was hightailing it out of there.
And she just kept fleeing! If choosing ACT didn't bring up the spare option the first time, the kid would run until she found a hiding spot or the monster lost interest. Flowey wouldn't have thought a human could make it through the Ruins like that, but the kid made it work. She was fast, had a lot of stamina, and was very good at being still when it was needed. Flowey might have pegged her soul color as light blue if he didn't already know that it was red.
She didn't end up running from all monsters of course. Whimsums fled from her first, and her previous encounter allowed her to spare Froggits pretty easily. Flowey thought he might get a show when she ran into the ghost laying in her path, but she disappointed him again. After a little bit of investigation the kid took a running start and just jumped over the ghost. Still, after so many encounters, the kid was definitely worse for wear by the time she reached the Toriel's house.
Flowey was hopeful when the kid pulled a gun on the goat lady and started making demands, but she allowed herself to be pacified. Flowey didn't dare enter the house while Toriel was there, so he resolved to wait in the space between the Ruins and the rest of the Underground. To his disgust, the girl emerged without a spec of white dust on her.
"Clever, very clever." He drawled when she came close enough. The kid reacted much the same as she had to Toriel just a short while ago, though this time she drew a blade rather than her gun. Seriously? The kid had two weapons? How had she not killed anyone yet?!
"Look at you." he continued in a mocking tone. "Acting all nice and managing not to kill anyone. You think that changes anything? I've seen your soul, I know the terrible acts you've committed, and being all goody two shoes now isn't going to erase them. This world is kill or be killed, and when you leave here that's exactly what you'll do. Kill, or be killed."
"What?" The smile fell from Flowey's face. The girl snorted.
"I've been living in a kill or be killed world for a while now. I had to make a habit of it, to endure and survive, but that doesn't mean I enjoy it. I avoid it when I can, but I know damn well that's not always an option. So I don't need a fucking lecture from a stupid flower." With that, Ellie marched past the dumbfounded Flowey and headed for the doors. Before going through them, she paused and looked back at Flowey. "If anyone should watch themselves it's you. I've done plenty of hiking; stepping on flowers is nothing new to me."
With that threat lingering in the air, Ellie opened the door and stepped out of the Ruins.
When Sans first met Ellie, he also wondered how she got through the Ruins dust free.
Well, to be fair, that hadn't been his first thought. When she stepped out of the Ruin doors he saw how surprised the kid was by the snow and the cold, and wondered why the lady hadn't warned the kid about the environment. He figured that, since she was so concerned about protecting humans, she would have at least given this one a sweater or something. The hoodie she was wearing was a lot thinner than his, after all.
When the kid stepped over the branch in the path and was a few steps away, he used his magic to shatter it with a sharp crack. Just to see how the kid would react.
He was glad he did, because that was when he started wondering about her trip through the Ruins.
When that sound went off, the kid whirled around so fast he almost wondered if she could teleport too. She'd pulled a gun out as she turned, he wasn't sure where from, and held it at the ready while she scanned the area. With that reaction, he expected her gaze to be one of pure terror, but it wasn't. There was definitely fear there, but it was being held tightly in check.
He might have to rethink the whoopie cushion prank, just a little. It would be hard to keep his promise if the kid stabbed him when he went for a handshake. So he decided to give her plenty of warning.
So instead of sneaking up behind her, he decided to go wait for her by the little bridge. He made sure he was in plain sight, and made like he was just hanging out. He looked over when he heard the crunch of her footsteps, and was happy to see she had put the gun away. She stopped when she saw him, her eyes going wide. He smiled at her, and waved.
Her approach was cautious, very cautious, but approach she did. He introduced himself as the local sentry, and gave her his name. He found out her name was Ellie, just before he put his hand out for her to shake. It looked like she might not take it, so he pressed her a little.
"come on, didn't anyone teach you how to do a proper greeting?"
"I get the feeling your idea of a proper greeting between strangers is a bit different than mine."
Despite what she said, she did take his hand. Once the noise of the whoopie cushion was done she laughed so hard she almost fell over.
Kid was definitely jumpy, and too suspicious for someone so young. But with a reaction like that she couldn't be all bad.
This idea was further cemented into Sans mind when Papyrus appeared and he instructed Ellie to hide. The lamp was too small, so she went behind his station. She ended up giving away her position because of how loudly she laughed at his puns.
Sans could tell she was worried about Pap's promise to capture her, but he assured her he wouldn't really hurt her. She didn't look convinced. He said he would keep an eye socket out for her, which made her laugh, and mollified her a bit.
He watched the kid as she did Papyrus's puzzles, and followed her at a distance as she traveled between them. He got nervous when he saw her get attacked by a monster for the first time, remembering how quickly she went for her weapon before, but was pleasantly surprised. If her initial attempt to pacify an attacking monster failed, she chose to run instead. She was pretty successful too, usually escaping on the first try.
Maybe he should have been concerned that she wasn't trying to make friends or something, but he was content with her not getting violent. It took a special kind of person to try an make friends with someone who was trying to kill you, after all.
Her level of restraint even seemed admirable, once one realized how much effort she must be putting into it. The kid never relaxed; no matter how many times Pap's puzzles turned out to be harmless or easy to get past. It's like she was always expecting the worst, and wouldn't be convinced the worst wasn't going to happen until she saw concrete proof.
Sans wasn't sure what to make of Ellie at this point, but that was okay. It wasn't time for his judgment yet.
Papyrus never thought he would encourage anyone to take a page out of his brother's book. Granted Sans was highly intelligent and had lots of talents, but his lackadaisical approach to life left a lot to be desired.
Still, he really thought the human could use a nap.
The human did seem to enjoy his puzzles, which made him very happy. But there were times when he could see tiredness pulling on her limbs and dimming her eyes. Whenever the human wasn't solving a puzzle or interacting with him and/or Sans she got a peculiar look on her face. It was like she was constantly worried about something, or remembering something perhaps? Papyrus wasn't sure, but either way some rest would probably do the human good.
When the human tried to leave Snowdin he had to try and stop her of course. When he said they could not be friends and that he had to try and capture her, she looked absolutely stricken. The expression made him hesitate, and from that a decision was made.
"Human, I can see you do not want to fight me. I can certainly understand your hesitance to fight with someone as great as myself, especially since you have had no time to rest since arriving in Snowdin. Therefore, I propose you spend some time at the inn before we engage in combat. Even better, you could nap at my house while I cook you some delicious pasta! That way you shall be sufficiently prepared."
The human was very quick to agree to this, and followed Papyrus back to his house.
Papyrus gave the human a quick tour of the house. When she discovered Sans pet rock covered in sprinkles, she laughed. She laughed harder when the tall skeleton chased the small dog out from under the sink. For some reason, hearing that laugh made him feel like he had accomplished something even greater than normal. Once the tour was over Papyrus turned on the TV, because one of Mettaton's shows was on, and got busy cooking. He checked up on her now and then, noting that she seemed equal parts fascinated and confused by what she saw on the TV. Human entertainment must be very different than monster entertainment.
The human's face immediately scrunched up when she took a bite of his pasta. Excellent! He just knew she would love it! She even ate the whole plate! Amazing!
His cooking was so amazing in fact, that the human began to fall asleep on the couch after she was done eating. Seeing her breath was even, and that she did not move when he got up, he decided he could run to the store while she was napping. He wrote her a quick note to let her know where he went, and then ran out the door.
Unbeknownst to Papyrus, Ellie's eye's opened a few seconds after the door closed. She looked at the note, and scribbled a line of her own onto it. Then she walked out the door and turned toward Waterfall.
When Papyrus returned, he found an empty house and the words 'I'm sorry, but I have to go. Thank you for you hospitality' added to his own note.
When Sans asked Ellie to go to Grillby's with him, she hesitated. Apparently she walked out on Pap after he made her spaghetti and she was nervous about running into him. He assured her his brother was always happy to cook, and that he felt he should take her to Grillby's as an apology for said cooking. She cracked a smile, and agreed to go with him.
She jumped a little when everyone in the restaurant shouted a greeting to him, but calmed when they didn't comment on her presence. Before joining him at the bar, he overheard her have a short conversation with a floppy eared monster.
"No matter where I go, it's the same menu, the same people. H-help! I want new drinks, and h-hot guys!"
Ellie smiled sadly.
"Oh man, I know that feeling. Well, the first part anyway. Keep hanging in there."
She joined him then, and he was surprised by how happy he was when his whoopie cushion prank made her laugh again. When he asked her whether she would like fries or burgers, she shyly asks if she could try both. So he orders one of each.
"so what do you think of my brother?" He asked while they wait for the food.
"He's pretty cool." She said with a smile. Before he can continue she added. "So are you."
He paused in surprise, but then laughed it off. "me? i'm such a lazy bones punster, no where near as cool as my bro."
"That's kind of what I like about you. You're so relaxed and joking around all the time. I don't see a lot of people like that where I'm from."
Based on how jumpy she is, he can believe that. He's starting to think something weird is going on up on the surface...but maybe she's just from a tough neighborhood. Who knows? His musings are interrupted when the kid snorts.
"I just thought of something. You know why skeletons are so relaxed?"
"Because nothing gets under their skin!"
They were both still laughing when Grillby placed the food in front of them.
She ate with gusto, even after Sans's prank caused the fries to be smothered in ketchup. She must have been pretty hungry; its like she's never had food like this before. It's a good thing he wasn't too hungry himself.
He told her about Pap's royal guard training while she ate, saving the main subject for when she was done. Once she was finished, he asked her if she'd seen a talking flower. She nodded, but didn't agree with him on it being an echo flower.
"I was thinking of the first guy I met when I fell down here. He was a talking yellow flower, made me think I'd hit my head too hard and was hallucinating."
"You sure the flower wasn't just echoing something?"
"Pretty darn sure, had a face and everything. He said someone needed to teach me how things work around here, but when he did that thing that starts a 'FIGHT' and shows my heart, he just started laughing and then ran off. It was weird."
A cold ball of dread settled in Sans's non-existent stomach. He could only think of one explanation for that kind of reaction from that particular being, and it was not something he wanted to consider. She couldn't be like that, right? She didn't kill anybody on her way here, and she laughed at his silly puns, even made some of her own! You could trust someone with a sincere love of bad jokes, right?
Still, probably best to keep a closer eye on her from now on.
Undyne was extremely disappointed in the first and only human she had met.
The beginning had been promising. She first saw the human hiding in some tall grass, just after she berated Papyrus for letting the human slip past him. The two had stared each other down, determination glinting in their eyes, and light reflecting off their weapons. It was the calm before the storm, and just what she expected after reading Alphys's history books. She was sure that their FIGHT would have been glorious, had a call from Alphys not pulled her away at the last minute.
It had all gone downhill after that though. Undyne started getting reports that the human had run away from all of the monsters that went after her, and then she ran away from Undyne herself! Twice! The only time the kid broke the pattern was when MK had fallen on the bridge. The girl had hesitated, muscles twitching, and Undyne was sure the cowardly human was going to flee again. But at the last moment the human had dived for the middle of the bridge and pulled MK to safety. Then the human actually looked surprised when MK defended her a moment later. Stupid human, it's like she expected MK to be as cowardly as her! And going for MK instead of running? That was a pretty lame attempt at a goody-two-shoes act.
Undyne told the human exactly that when she stood on top of the tunnel to confront the kid. Undyne told the kid about how humans were supposed to be cool, and have awesome fights, and how much better the Underground would be if the human were dead. Which was the point when Undyne looked down and realized she'd been talking to an empty space.
How dare the human run off while Undyne was doing her monologue!
Undyne immediately gave chase. The human had a head start though, and though Undyne was loathe to admit it; she wasn't very fast when wearing her armor.
Honestly, with the way the kid had been acting she probably should have expected this and left the armor suit at home.
She almost caught up to the human once, but then Papyrus called. They had both stopped in surprise. The kid picked up the phone, and Papyrus's voice was so loud Undyne could hear it even though the phone didn't appear to have a speaker feature.
Pap was actually trying to set up a hang out time for him, herself, and the human. He was such a hopeless dork. The two had glanced at each other, united in their brief moment of disbelief, but then the moment passed and the chase was on again.
Undyne was prevented from catching up to the human again when she was distracted by the sight of Sans at his work station. He was in the perfect place, right along the human's path, but he was freaking asleep! The human only glanced at Sans as she ran by, but Undyne couldn't help stopping to yell at him. What good was a sentry that couldn't be bothered to keep his eyes open?! If he weren't Pap's brother and a friend of Alphys then Undyne would have fired him by now.
Undyne was so incensed by Sans uncaring attitude that she didn't notice how warm it was getting. She'd managed to chase the kid all the way into Hotland, almost to Alphy's lab. Hotland was uncomfortable for a fish like Undyne on a normal day, which made the area unbearable when she was wearing her armor.
Before she knew it, she was passing out just onto the rocky ground. Undyne wasn't sure how long she was out, but when she swam back to consciousness she saw Sans standing over her with an empty cup.
"so, i guess you're plan to reel in a big one by catching the human turned into a real flop, huh?"
Undyne growled at him before shoving herself up and marching back to her house. She wouldn't be able to reach the kid herself now, not without some major preparation. Alphys had cameras all over, so the scientist already knew about the human. Undyne had been getting some of her reports from Alphys after all, usually about the monsters the kid had run from. Still, might be a good idea to get home and call her friend, just to make sure the scientist was okay.
Mettaton thought that the little human darling was a rather curious creature. The human seemed to always look at him with some mixture of awe, disbelief, and wariness. His favorite Glamburger employee would have referred to it as a "What the Fuck" expression.
He was used to awe, he inspired it from nearly everyone in the Underground after all. The wariness was warranted he supposed, he had told the child that he was programmed to kill humans. The disbelief was strange though. It's like the human had never seen a robot or celebrity before! Perhaps the combo of the two of them together was what was causing her reaction.
She was also a frustrating creature. She never wanted to go along with the bits he and Alphys had set up, hardly even waiting for Alphys to jump in before reacting to the situation. She ran away as soon as Metaton brought out the chainsaw, and managed to break through the door leading off the set before anyone could catch her. She was also entirely too serious during the bomb segment.
He was going to start losing viewers at this rate! He hoped Alphys managed to bond with her better soon.
Sans had started to think that Flowey must have been mistaken about the human. He continued to watch Ellie at a distance as she made her way through the Underground, even helping her out a bit by distracting Undyne. Kid seemed to be doing alright.
She wasn't a saint certainly. She didn't stop to talk to everyone, and she kept running even after Undyne collapsed. She may not have noticed how bad the fish was frying though, since she was so focused on getting away.
When she wasn't running from monsters she'd whistle or quietly talk to herself. Guitar noises were a favorite of hers too. It had been funny watching her make her way through the garbage dump too; she was fascinated by stuff most would consider mundane. She even made a couple puns to the calmer monsters, like the Nicecream guy. She was strangely wary of the glowing shrooms in Waterfalll though. Still, overall she acted like a normal kid.
It was her encounter with Muffet that made Sans realize Flowey was on to something.
The kid had naturally started to struggle when the webs trapped her, and then Muffet appeared. His hearing wasn't the best, since he didn't have ears, but he picked up on the bit where Muffet said she was going to use the kid as ingredients.
Ellie had stilled at that, and then suddenly she was struggling and stabbing at the threads with a manic fury. He wasn't sure which ended up surprising Muffet more: the sudden change in the kid's attitude or the fact that Ellie actually managed to free herself. Once she was free Ellie changed targets. She swiped her blade at Muffet, her pets, the surrounding spiders, anything that was close enough. They all skittered out of the way as quick as they could. Some of those spiders wouldn't be getting up.
This was the point Sans stepped in. His eye glowed blue, and he used his magic to pull Muffet out of range.
"go run your business and leave this to the professionals, alright?" He said quietly to her. Muffet was quick to agree and lead her kin outside, far away from the dangerous human.
Once Muffet was out of sight he expected Ellie to calm down, but she didn't. Her breath was labored, panicky, and she continued to look around like something was going to slink out of the shadows and grab her. He got a little closer, and managed to get a look at her eyes. There was something crazed in them, crazed but distant.
"kid, ellie, the danger's gone, you can put that thing down now." He assured her. She didn't seem to hear him, and when he stepped a little closer she was suddenly lunging at him.
He dodged out of the way, and prepared for a fight. He hadn't been expecting to have the judgment battle here, heck he'd been hoping not to have it at all. Would have made his job easier. She didn't attack once he got further away though, instead stood there mumbling something and darting her eyes around.
He strained his hearing and leaned just a bit closer. She was saying something about needing to get away and hide and...something about 'David'. Who the heck was David? He didn't know any monsters by that name, and he knew just about everyone.
Sans started to suspect that Ellie wasn't truly here anymore. If that was the case, he'd have to remind her where she was.
His eye lit up and blue energy surrounded Ellie. He lifted her up off the ground, high up into the air. The sudden change in height startled the her, enough so that she started to look around herself with more awareness.
"hey, kid." Sans called up. "why didn't the skeleton dance at the party?"
"because he had nobody to dance with!" Sans answered with a grin. Ellie didn't respond, but it looked like she was done mumbling. Still freaked out though.
"you know what type of art skeletons like? skull-tures!" He laughed at his own joke. Kid looked more confused than scared now, seemed like an improvement. He lowered her a little.
"papyrus is a good bro, but even he lies to me sometimes. i told him not to bother, after all, i can see right through him!"
Sans heard what might have been a breathy laugh from Ellie, the kind you couldn't help doing even when you were sad.
"kid, if i bring you down here, you think we can see eye to socket for a bit?"
Ellie nodded, so he finally lowered her to the ground. When he powered down his magic, the knife slipped from her hand and onto the ground. She put her hand by it, but didn't pick it back up.
"Sans, we...we're still in the Underground, right?"
"yup, we are. ain't that easy to get out of here, you know."
Strained laughter came out of Ellie, which quickly turned into sobs. Ellie covered her face with her hands and cried; she either didn't care that Sans witnessed this or couldn't stop it from happening. Either way, Sans stayed and waited for her cries to die down.
He wondered what to do next. He wouldn't be surprised if Mettaton tried to drag the kid into another show bit once she left this area. Seeing the kid like this, he got the feeling that wouldn't end well for anyone involved.
Well, he'd been planning to have a chat with the kid anyway. Might as well show the kid a shortcut and do that now.
"so, ellie, i haven't cried myself in a while, but I remember it being exhausting. you wanna take a break? i know a restaurant around here."
"You're just looking for an excuse to eat aren't you?" The kid asked with a tired smile. Sans grinned back.
"ah kid, you know me too well."
Sans could tell Ellie wasn't a fan of the decor of Mettaton's restaurant, but she didn't complain or anything. She just seemed happy no one was staring at her. She was still a little shaky, which was understandable given she'd just had some kind of break down. He knew taking people along on his shortcuts could sometimes have that affect too.
Just before they entered the restaurant Ellie's phone rang. She startled, but answered it quickly. Apparently it was Alphys, who called because she was worried that Ellie had apparently never left Muffet's area, even though Muffet herself had fled a while ago.
Instead of answering Alphy's bumbling questions, Ellie tersely asked one of her own.
"You knew the crazy spider lady was there, and you didn't tell me about it?"
There was an awkward pause, and then Alphys could be heard apologizing profusely over the line.
"Fine, whatever." Ellie said just before hanging up on Alphys mid ramble. "I could swear she's actually trying to get me killed." Ellie mumbled.
"well, i know plenty of monsters who would take a shot given the chance, but never thought of alphys as one of them." Sans said. "we used to work together back in the day, you know. honestly, she just sucks at giving directions, and doesn't always think ahead."
Ellie snorted in agreement, and followed Sans to a table.
He and Ellie chatted a bit, but didn't get into anything heavy until after food came and Ellie got some of it into her.
"so, can i ask who david is? you don't have to answer, but you seemed pretty freaked out at the idea of him."
"No, I don't want to talk about him. He was a bad man who did bad things and I managed to get away from him. That's all you need to know."
After that Sans launched into his story about the woman behind the door, and how he got to know her through her love of bad jokes. And the promise he made to her.
"So the reason you've gone out of your way to help me, is because you made her a promise?" Ellie asked. She didn't sound upset or angry, just curious.
"pretty much." He said with a shrug. He was surprised to see Ellie smile at this.
"I think I know who you're talking about, she seems to have that affect on people. Getting promises out of them and people actually wanting to follow them."
"what do you mean?"
"Well, she got me through the Ruins until I came out around Snowdin. Before I left, she asked me to be good, and I promised I'd try. So that's what I've been doing. Killing people isn't something I consider to be good, even if it's sometimes necessary. Still, the least I can do is try not to hurt anyone as I make my way out. It's been a challenge, but it helps that monster attacks don't hurt as much as human attacks."
Sans was very glad his punny friend had managed to get that promise out of Ellie.
"you know, you don't have to fight your way out of here. you could stay, maybe live in snowdin. no one in town attacked you, right? i know my brother would love having you around, and maybe you could introduce me to the lady behind the door."
"Sorry, Toriel already tried that. Outside world may be crappy, but I've got people waiting for me there. I owe them a lot, and I can't just leave them hanging because I found a few new friends."
Whelp, it was hard to argue against going back to family or friends. Nothing could have convinced him to leave Papyrus after all.
"heh, it was worth a shot. well, if you're set on this, then good luck kid. i'm rooting for ya."
Mettaton was better then most at reading LV and EXP. It was one of the things Alphys had made sure to program into him, back when he really was meant to be a killer robot. When he started a FIGHT with the human, he thought there must have been some kind of mistake. There's no way her LV and EXP could be that high, not with the way the kid had been acting.
Ellie didn't seem to notice the fight had started though. She was staring at Mettaton with her mouth wide open in shock, but it was very quickly turning into a furious scowl.
"Alphys. Did. What?" she ground out.
"I told you, she's been watching you darling. Inserting herself into your story and-"
"This isn't some fucking comic book story! This is my life! She-that little-fucking chicken shit!"
"Darling, I must ask that you clean up your language. Some of our viewers are very young."
"I don't give a damn about your viewers!"
"And what, are you suddenly innocent in all this?"
"Oh no, I played my part. I rearranged the Core, and hired a good number of monsters to attack you."
The human's expression closed off, and the fiery fury in her eyes was replaced by something cold.
"Did you now?"
Alphys was banging on the door, wanting to be let in and play the part she'd written for herself. Mettaton watched as the human glanced toward the sound, her eyes growing impossibly colder. Mettaton began to feel uneasy, and wondered if this was what stage fright felt like.
"You really want to fight me?" The human asked.
"Honestly, I'd rather be a star among humans than kill them."
"Well, you let me pass and I'll tell all the humans I know about you. But if you try to stop me, your career is going to end here."
Mettaton hesitated, but he was the star of the Underground and he wasn't about to be intimidated by a little human.
"Sorry Darling, but I've got to make my debut my own way. I've seen you fight, you're weak and-"
Ellie's deep laugh cut Mettaton off. He spluttered indignantly at the interruption, but she only grinned hollowly.
"Oh man, you haven't seen me fight. Not by a long shot. Not exactly sure how I'll go about fighting a robot, but I'll figure it out."
Without warning, the human chose to FIGHT. She pulled out a gun that Mettaton hadn't seen before- and then her phone rang. The human shot Mettaton a warning look, and removed one of her hands from the weapon to open her phone.
"I-I can't see what's going on in th-there, but-"
"Is it true?" the human cut Alphys off.
"Mettaton says that you've been reactivating puzzles and shit so you can play the hero. Is that true?"
"W-well, I mean, I may have turned a few things on to...to make it more interesting. You w-were always so f-fun to watch and and I wanted-"
"Fun?! You think I've been having FUN down here?!"
"Do you know how many times I got attacked on the way here. Oh, of course you do! You've been watching me after all. God...I can't believe I trusted you. I fucking trusted you Alphys! And the whole time this thing has been a fucking game to you?!"
"W-w-what?! N-no, that's n-not-"
"Shut up Alphys! Just...shut up. I'm too goddamned tired to deal with this shit."
The human disconnected the call, and turned her full attention back to Mettaton.
"Let me pass."
Mettaton tried to regain control of his broadcast, tried to get things back on script. But then the human fired at him. He wasn't expecting it to hurt at all, due to how high his defense was in this form, so he was shocked when pain coursed through him. He didn't lose a devastating amount of HP, but he lost more than he should have.
If a blow from her hurt in this form, what would she do to his altered mode?
"Let me pass before I turn you into a shitty scrap heap!" The human shouted at him.
Mettaton did some quick thinking. He was no longer certain he'd win this fight, and he'd hate to leave his fans behind and have it mean nothing. Bad things happened to monsters when they lost too much hope. If this human ended up making her way to Asgore, and the King became dust, the monsters of the Underground would need someone to help keep their spirits up.
Mettaton pretended to listen to something over his headpiece.
"Whoa, ladies and gentlemonsters, it seems this showdown will have to wait for another time! We're experiencing some technical difficulties, plus I've just been informed I have an important meeting to go to. We'll try to pick this up soon, stay tuned!"
Once he got the signal that the cameras were off, Mettaton moved aside and let the human pass.
"Good choice." she muttered as she walked past.
Ellie glared at Alphys once before starting to walk away. That look alone almost made Alphys run back to her lab, but she knew she couldn't do that. Ellie was getting close to Asgore now, and the human had to be told what was necessary to cross the barrier. It might be the only thing to convince Ellie to stop her advance.
"I-I'm sorry about all this..."
Ellie kept walking, not acknowledging Alphys's words.
"S-so, you're about to meet Asgore, h-huh? Y-you must be p-pretty excited about all that, h-huh?"
Ellie kept walking.
"You'll f-f-finally get to go home!"
Ellie was at the elevator now. The door was opening and she was stepping on.
"What?! What more do you want from me?" Ellie barked sharply.
"I...um...I mean...I was just going to...say goodbye- wait!"
Ellie had made to step into the elevator and stopped herself again. She gave Alphys a look that suggested she get to the point fast, and that the point had better be a good one. Alphys looked down, and wrung her hands.
"I lied to you."
"N-not about the Mettaton stuff. I mean, I lied about the barrier. I human soul isn't strong enough to cross it alone. It takes both a human soul and a monster soul. If you want to go home, you'll have to take his soul." she finally looked up at Ellie's face. "You'll have to kill Asgore."
Ellie pursed her lips, digesting the information.
"Does it have to be him...or would your soul work instead?"
"M-mine?! I-I- even if you did that, it w-wouldn't work. Only a b-b-boss monster has a strong enough soul to be taken across the barrier, and I'm...not strong enough t-t-to be one."
"Pity." Ellie said softly, and stepped onto the elevator.
Ellie didn't seem very happy when he'd called her, Papyrus recognized. No doubt it was related to how her meeting with Mettaton had went. He'd been watching of course, he couldn't miss an opportunity to watch the great Mettaton and see his new human friend!
He'd been worried for the human after the show cut off though. He'd wanted to see the human for himself to make sure she was okay, and when Undyne came over with a love letter for Alphys he had just the excuse to do so.
He called her shortly after the broadcast had ended. She didn't want to go all the way back to Snowdin to see him, so he asked her to wait there and he would go to her. He arrived at Mettaton's hotel as speedily as he could, which was very speedy indeed because he was a great runner.
He explained his predicament of needing to deliver a letter to Alphys, but that the monster had a bad habit of running off when he tried to do things like this in the past. After Ellie learned she would be the one in charge of keeping Alphys from escaping, she was willing to come along.
Alphys did not seem to be in her lab, but there had been a door that was open. It said it was a bathroom, but it was really an elevator. It gave Papyrus a strange feeling, and he was determined to investigate it. When he could not be dissuaded from doing so, Ellie came with.
The pair encountered many strange beings and texts as they explored the hidden lab. Papyrus was an amazing fighter, he knew, and could have handled such creatures on his own. Still, he was glad to have Ellie's company as they figured out how to get past the strange monster conglomerates.
He thought the writings they found were stranger and more terrifying than the monster conglomerates. He'd have a lot of questions for Alphys after this, and perhaps his brother too. The human seemed to agree with him, but read with him and pressed on with him none the less. He was proud of his human friend for their bravery; it was almost as great as his own!
Then they came to a room containing a TV and several audio only video tapes.
Papyrus felt his soul pulse with grief and sympathy as the story of the royal family and their human child came to full light. No wonder Undyne said the king was often sad! And the human! So desperate to help monsters escape that they would do something like that to themselves...it was truly tragic.
Ellie stood in front of the blank TV as the recordings played. She smiled softly during the first couple, but as they went on her shoulders began to hunch. It made it look like she was about to collapse in on herself. She murmured something once the last tape was finished, but Papyrus could not tell what it was.
The human didn't stay long after they finally found Alphys and Papyrus delivered Undyne's letter. For some reason Alphys thought the letter was from Papyrus himself, and Ellie slipped away while he was busy trying to correct her.
Sans stood in the Judgment Hall, watching Ellie approach. It hadn't been very long since he'd seen her, yet she looked so much more tired now. He wondered what had happened, but that wasn't what he was here to talk about.
"you know the LV and EXP stuff you've seen and heard about? they stand for level of violence and execution points. regular monsters aren't super good at reading them, but boss monsters and such can read them easy. i hear you've had pretty high levels since the start of this. surface life isn't all sunshine and flowers, huh?"
Ellie snorted. "No definitely not."
"you know, the going theory is that killing people gets easier everytime you do it. that's why people with high LV and EXP are so hard to beat. it gets easier to distance yourself from the killing as time goes on. you think that's true?"
"...kinda? But, also not really? I don't know, everything is so gray. Some deaths are easy and some deaths are unbearable...but either way they stay with you. Even the easier ones never really leave, they sit there like a weight on your shoulders."
"so, whether it's easy or hard, killing has consequences. for you and for others."
"Sounds about right."
"whelp, my job right now is to pass judgement, but you know how much i hate working. the way i see it, you have high LV and EXP, but you didn't gain any extra while you were down here. you made an enemy or two, but you also made some really good friends. all things considered, that's not bad."
"So what your saying is that I wasn't the best, but I could have been worse?" Ellie asked, sounding amused.
"Well, I think I can live with that. That mean I can go see the King?"
"kid, what you do next is your decision. i won't try to stop you." he grinned at her. "either way, i'm still rooting for you."
A part of Asgore had been wishing that the last human would never arrive. He had taken too many souls already; he didn't want to take anymore. It had been so long since the last human had fallen he had begun to think that wish had come true. He was proven wrong by the sight of a teenage human girl in his flower garden.
Her stance was determined, feet wide apart and gun in hand, but her eyes were sad.
"I talked to Alphys earlier, I know what has to happen now." She said softly.
"I see. I don't suppose I could invite you for a cup of tea first."
"Can't say I've ever been much of a fan."
"Very well, follow me."
He took her to the barrier, and revealed the souls he'd captured already. He would never say he was ready to fight her, but he would do so anyway.
He didn't get the chance though, because he was suddenly struck to the side by a very familiar brand of fire magic.
Things happened very quickly after that. Nearly every monster in the Underground arrived and practically begged him not to fight the human. Then a talking flower appeared and took them all hostage in his vines. The flower was going on about how he was going to break the barrier and take over the Underground along with the human world.
"There isn't a point."
Everyone turned to the human child as best they could when she spoke.
"What are you going on about human?" The flower demanded.
"There isn't a point to taking over the human world or trying to fight them! There's nothing to take over! Humans are struggling to live as it is! Why can't you just stay here? You have food and company and technology I've never seen and nothing is trying to eat you!"
The child grew progressively louder as she ranted, and the expressions of the monsters grew more and more confused.
"My child, what are you talking about?"
The human told a story of cities in ruin and societies collapsed. She spoke of strained resources and people willing to do anything and everything to survive. But most of all, she talked about creatures that were once human but were no longer, and would tear apart any living being they came across.
Asgore's subjects became uneasy. They talked nervously among themselves, wondering if the thing they had placed their hopes and dreams was all a lie now.
"Are there still cars?" a loud voice broke through the growing panic. Their attention turned to the tall skeleton that had asked the question.
"Well, yeah. It's hard to find one that still has fuel in it, but not impossible. I've ridden in a few before."
"Then there is still reason to visit the human world! I have always wanted to drive a vehicle, with the sun on my face and the wind in my hair! Surely the surface world has not lost all of its charm!"
"well said bro, i know at least a couple monsters want to go see real stars. those are still around, right?"
"Yeah, I guess nature is still doing well." the human admitted, gaining a small smile, "There's a lot of pretty stuff outside the cities."
"Sweet! And we're up on a mountain, so if the barrier ever goes down we can at least go topside and take a look." Undyne happily proclaimed.
"Shut up! All of you!" the flower yelled, tightening his grip around them all. "I don't care what is and isn't around anymore! I'll take whatever is left after I smash the barrier with all of your souls!"
Then everything went black.
Asriel tried to keep a hold of the monster souls, but somehow the human still managed to wrest them away from him. Once she had succeeded he put all of his power into trying to defeat her.
Somehow, between fighting him and dodging his attacks, the human still managed to talk to him. She spoke about a girl named Riley, who was her closest friend. She confessed to realizing her love for the girl the day they both got bitten by the infected. They had planned to be 'Romantic and shit. Lose their minds together.' Only Ellie turned out to be immune, so she watched Riley deteriorate instead. When it became clear what was happening, she was the one to finally put Riley out of her misery. Then she was alone.
That's what made Asriel realized that this girl was not really Chara, and never would be. But it was also the same moment he realized that this girl understood his pain better than anyone else.
Something broke inside him, and he knew he couldn't kill her.
She felt so warm, as she knelt there hugging him. It'd been so long since he'd felt warmth like this. The leaned into each other, taking comfort in each others presence and mourning the love they had lost.
It was a combination of the six human souls, Ellie's determination, and the hopes of the Underground monsters that finally broke the barrier.
A handful of monsters were waiting for Ellie when she once again awoke on a bed of flowers. Alphys and Undyne stood a little further away than the others, but they still stayed. Apparently the others wouldn't leave until Ellie woke up, and the new couple wanted to share the first step outside with all their friends.
Ellie watched the group of monsters as they basked in the sunlight for the first time. It was a rare thing these days to see someone so enjoying the world, and she hoped they wouldn't grow out of it too quickly.
Now, how best to introduce these guys to Joel, Tommy, and Maria?
Thank you all so much for reading. This one has been a long time in the making, with me writing snippets of it here and there.
If you guys are interested, I may one day write some of this from Ellie's point of view, try to clear up some of the motivations for her actions. But I'll have to go back and tend to my other fics, as well as real life, first. Still, let me know if you guys would be interested in that, and what you thought of this crossover.