Arc 1: Ruins
When the human fell into the Underground, they awoke on a bed of flowers. Golden flowers. They had a rather pleasant scent.
It was surprising that flowers capable of growing, down here.
The human stood up, leaning on the stick that had fallen down with them, and toddled forwards uncertainly. The human child was uneasy on their feet, and the stick aided them greatly.
Things were so similar, and yet the human was unsure why.
The human entered a new section to the cave, only to discover that they were not alone.
The stranger was familiar to them. An anthropomorphic goat with bright red eyes, wearing a green and yellow striped sweater, and a golden heart locket. The stranger smiled at them.
The goat smelled of the golden flowers that had broken the human’s fall. He seemed nice.
“I’m Asriel, Asriel the boss monster!” the goat introduced himself. “...You’ve fallen down again, right Chara?”
The name, like the goat, was familiar to the human.
“Golly. It’s been a while since you last did that!” Asriel remarked. “...It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other. But you haven’t changed! Maybe it wasn’t really that long, it just felt long? Haha!”
He seemed happy… The human was unsure how to feel about this.
Asriel clapped his hands together. “...Well, we didn’t change. But I bet a lot of other things did! We should go look around the Underground, Chara!”
Asriel grabbed the human’s hand, and guided the human forwards, racing along excitedly.
They came across the facade of a large purple building. Was it that the building’s walls were high enough to meet the distant ceiling, or that the ceiling was low enough to touch the sturdy walls?
Nevertheless, the shadow of the Ruins loomed above, filling the human with Determination.
They walked up the steps, through the door, and came to a smaller chamber. There were raised stones in one side of the room, and the door seemed to be closed, blocking them off from the rest of the Ruins.
Asriel and the human stopped. Asriel turned to the human, smiling assuredly. “Oh, right! I forgot… Mom told me about this. She said the Ruins are full of puzzles, ancient fusions between diversions and doorkeys. One must solve them to move from room to room.” As he spoke, his voice took on a different tone. Older, wiser, motherly. His face changed to match. “Please adjust yourself to the sight of them.”
The tone and face were familiar to the human.
Asriel stepped on four of the raised stones in a sequence, and then used a lever next to the door, which opened with a click.
As the human and Asriel walked through the door, the human noticed an inscription on the wall. Words carved into the ancient violet stone that read ‘Only the fearless may proceed. Brave ones, foolish ones. Both walk not the middle road.’
In the next chamber of the Ruins, all along the wall there was a multitude of levers. Next to some of them was neat cursive, written in chalk.
Asriel walked up to them. “Right. Mom wrote notes of some of the puzzles, to help out other humans who fall.” Asriel smiled brightly at the human. “Of course they need it. They’re not like you, Chara. You’re better than any of them.”
The human walked up to the levers, taking time to read the cursive beside each one, and pulling the levers labeled as being the correct solutions to the puzzle. When this was done, Asriel and the human proceeded.
In the next room, there was a cotton dummy. It stared blankly at Asriel and the human.
Asriel looked over at the dummy. “Mom uses the Dummy over there to teach the other fallen humans about what to do in a FIGHT. She tells them to talk to a Monster who wants to FIGHT them, and then she’ll come rescue them.” Asriel grinned mischievously at the human. “Not like anyone’d attack you though, Chara! And even if they did, you’d be great at handling yourself in a FIGHT!”
The human stepped towards the Dummy.
Asriel looked surprised. “You want to try?”
The human nodded.
They remembered the Dummy.
FIGHT. The human stepped forwards, punching the the Dummy’s head clean off. Cotton flew everywhere, up the human’s nose, making them sneeze.
ACT. The human greeted the Dummy. The Dummy did not respond.
The human stared blankly at the Dummy.
“...Come on, Chara,” Asriel said.
They moves through the corridor beyond the Dummy’s chamber. The human thought that they were supposed to meet someone else… But no one came.
FIGHT. Kick the Froggit away. It wants to hurt me. Why else would it FIGHT?
ACT. Compliment the Froggit. It doesn’t actually want to hurt me if I ACT the right way.
It crumbles into a pile of white dust that lies forlornly on the ground.
It blushes deeply. That makes me laugh.
Asriel stopped in front of what looked like a bridge of spikes over of pool of indiscernible depth, and spun to face the human. “Here’s another puzzle. It’s kind of dangerous, but not if you walk it right!” Asriel paused thinking, then grabbed the human’s hand. “Stay right behind me, Chara!”
Asriel led the human across the bridge of spikes, walking in a very specific way. The spikes retracted before him, leaving a perfectly safe and flat path.
Once they crossed the bridge safely, Asriel continued racing across the ground, through the corridors. The human felt like things should be going more… slowly.
Strange. Why would they feel like that?
With Asriel’s help, they made it through many different puzzles. Until they finally reached something.
A black tree. The ground littered with blood red leaves.
The tree filled the human with Determination.
It made Asriel’s breath hitch.
The human turned towards Asriel. He was staring at the tree blankly, his breath shall and quick.
Concerned for the monster, the human tried taking Asriel’s hand in their own. Asriel’s hand eagerly gripped the human’s, squeezing as tightly as possible as if to confirm that the human was really real.
With their other hand, the human steered Asriel by the shoulder so he was looking at the human, rather than the tree.
Asriel’s breath slowly steadied. An uneasy grin crossed his face and he poked the human’s nose.
“Heh, heh…” His laugh was breathy, and not really there at all. Less a laugh and more an quick exhaling of air. “G-golly, Chara. I just noticed. When’d you get that bandage?”