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Don't Question It!

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The crowded audience in MTT Resort’s Auditorium cheered as the lights came on, illuminating the main stage with a strange, never before seen set up. There was a long folding table with five chairs lined up behind it facing the audience and cameras. The two seats to the audience’s left contained Captain Undyne of the Royal guard and Lieutenant Papyrus, while the two seats to the far right contained twin Fire Monsters who were mostly navy blue in color though they had a golden core that sent shimmering wisps of the warm color flecking at random intervals through their body. The middle seat, shielded by a short, folded, paper protector, was empty.

Sans the Skeleton, who was not unfamiliar to the late-night viewers of the Underground’s sole TV program, was standing center stage and dressed slightly less shabbily than normal: a requirement (and to a degree, compromise) laid down by the particularly fabulous robot who ran the network. His normal hoodie was replaced by his more official black jacket with a white fur lining on the hood. His shorts were replaced by slacks, pressed by his brother Papyrus, and his shoes were newer and properly tied.

“good evening, folks,” Sans said into the mic in his hand. “i know you weren’t expecting me, seein’ as how i was just on with my normal gig yesterday, but our dear mettaton ran into an… issue and had to spend the evening with the doc.”

A murmur of concern ran through the crowd.

Sans waved dismissively. “don’t worry, he’s not that bad off. he just needed the night off and didn’t feel like playing reruns since he already filled the house. so, with frisk spending family time with the king and queen and dj blu k still being a shy scratch table,” the skeleton gestured over to the barely-mobile machine to the right of the stage who immediately gave an electronic chirp before displaying a crying frown across his LED face, “metta asked this guy to fill in.”

He finished the last bit by pointing to himself and waited for the clamor of approval to die down before he continued.

“so i got to thinkin’, ‘what should i do for this last-minute show?’ couldn’t just waltz out here with a repeat or half-done bit. i do have standards with my humor, at the very least.”

“DEBATABLE,” Papyrus said into the microphone set in front of him and Undyne.

The audience and others on stage all gave a loud laugh.

“my bro, ladies and gents,” Sans said with a smile on his face. “standards or no, i did have plans to dm for the little guy’s humans and puzzles session today and thought it would be better to bring it on stage so i didn’t have to waist my effort.”

Intrigue rippled through the crowd who passed around nudges and curious glances before settling to hear what came next.

“right, so before we get started, you all know my bro papyrus and his boss undyne,” Sans continued. “most of you may not know these others, azar and keahi. also known as the infamous fire twins. they’re normally part of this little game, but undyne isn’t; so, we’re going to have to do some messing around to get her in before we start. but don’t worry, it won’t be long until we get to the good stuff.”

Sans carried his mic back to the stand in front of the middle seat and took a shortcut around the table as the audience showed approval with a moderate round of applause. Papyrus gave a disapproving glare at the unnecessary teleport to his older brother but decided not to voice his displeasure. The noise in the stands calmed as the spotlights adjusted and the game started.

“once upon a time, in a kingdom threatened by the forces of evil, the brave paladin papyrus was joined by the twin terrors known as azar and keahi the bards. despite the completely unbalanced nature of their team, they somehow made it past their first few random encounters and survived long enough for an angel to deliver them a quest.

"the angel told the aspiring heroes that they needed to find an abandoned tower and defeat the menace within in order to restore peace to the kingdom. paladin papyrus agreed valiantly. the twins tried to flirt with the asexual, non-corporal angel. that didn’t go so well.”

The twins grinned and shrugged. Papyrus wrinkled his brow bone and Undyne stared between her character sheet and the others at the table like a deer in headlights.

“the angel still gave them each a really cool weapon to get them started and sent them on their way to the edge of their first town to cross into the unknown. the group found their first challenge in the gate guardian who had been instructed not to let anyone out of the city and into the unknown. papyrus made great strides with his eloquence to convince the guard to open the gate and the twins managed to seal the deal by flirting so horribly that the guard had to go to the medic due to laughter.”

Papyrus crossed his arms over the nice MTT brand orange and red sweater he had dressed up in for the show. Undyne leaned over to ask for clarity, quickly changing her mind when she saw the fire burning in the younger skeleton’s sockets.

“against all odds, the three made it out of the town and past several random encounters before their first big challenge, the socknado maze.”

“HE LITERALLY PUT SHARP OBJECTS AND FOLDED UP CROSS WORDS AND JUNIOR JUMBLES INTO A TORNADO IN HIS ROOM AND MADE US FIND AND COMPLETE ALL SIX WHILE HE WENT FOR A DRINK,” Papyrus cut in, unable to hold in his quips any longer.

“hey, what can i say,” Sans said with a shrug. “all the flirting made me thirsty.”

“SANS!” Papyrus shouted as the audience laughed.

The twins laughed as well, and a look of pained resignation crossed Undyne’s face.

Once the laughter died down, Sans continued. “originally, their prize for besting the tornado was summoning mew mew the conqueror, a magical fairy cutie. now it has transformed into undyne the awesome warrior since that’s still al’s favorite.”

Undyne blushed and grinned, dropping her fins slightly.

“THAT’S A LAZY COPOUT, SANS,” Papyrus said, eyes narrowed.

Sans took a sip from his ‘Underground’s Laziest DM’ mug before moving on.

“when we left off, the squad of four had just arrived in a town to look for information on where to go next. since we have a new player, roll for initiative.”

All four players rolled their dice to decide what the turn order would be. The conclusion was Keahi, Undyne, Azar, and Papyrus. The skeleton let out a groan of disappointment but did his best to not to show any external signs of poor sportsmanship.

“alright, keahi, where do you want to go first? there’s a tavern, inn, and bazaar.”

“If it’s information we’re after, it’s gotta be the tavern,” the fire monster said confidently.

Sans nodded. “you lead the group into the tavern. inside you see three people; the fiery bartender, an old tortoise with a soldier’s helmet across the table from him, and a goat lady with leaves in her horns. undyne, you’re up, who do you talk to?”

“The old tortoise, obviously, he has to know what he’s talking about,” the blue fish said.

“ok,” Sans said, his smile never waning. “what do you say to him?”

Undyne cocked her head to the side until Papyrus leaned closer and whispered, “YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO CREATE DIALOGUE SO SANS CAN TELL YOU HOW THE CHARACTER REACTS.”

“Oh, okay.” Undyne cleared her throat. “Excuse me, geezer, we’re looking for the abandoned tower, do you happen to know where it is so we can beat the tar out of the bad guy inside?”

Papyrus gave a nod of approval.

“the old monster turns and leans towards his helmet,” Sans said without hesitation. “’Did you hear that Crabby? These whipper-snappers think they can take on the beast!’ he says. the old man seems to be a few crab apples shy of a pie; you might need to take a different approach.”

Azar began rolling one of his dice. “I roll to seduce Crabby!”

Papyrus groaned and planted his face into his hands.

“your roll is moderately successful,” Sans said. “crabby’s rusty sides seem a bit shinier when you’re nearby.”

“I SPEAK TO THE OLD MAN,” Papyrus said hurriedly. “SIR, WE HAVE BEEN HAND SELECTED BY THE ANGEL TO TAKE ON THIS TASK. I PROMISE WE CAN HANDLE THE FIGHT. PLEASE, TELL US WHAT YOU KNOW OF THE SITUATION.”

“the old man looks thoughtful for a minute. ‘That’s a mighty fine claim there, youngster. I’d love to help. But I’m afraid I don’t know anything about the tower. Crabby is the one who went there, not me.’”

Papyrus made a strangled noise.

“Oh, it’s my turn again!” Keahi said. “I have Azar join me to use Body Polish to clean the rust and grime off of Crabby!”

“you both roll,” Sans said, pausing for the clatter of dice, “and succeed. the flirtatious terror twins pick up the dirty helmet and, using fire and MTT brand elbow grease from your inventory, you physically scrub the helmet clean while doing an interpretive dance. in the distance, the bartender mutters that he doesn’t know either of you and you’re definitely not related in any way.”

“UNDYNE IT’S YOUR TURN AGAIN,” Papyrus said with a nudge as the silence stretched on well after the audience’s laughter died down.

Undyne’s attention snapped back to the table. “Oh, sorry. Okay, so I guess I ask Crabby if he knows where the tower is?”

“crabby can’t answer you, due to him being a helmet,” Sans said. “however, your question seems to spark a light in the eyes of the old man.”

“I ASK THE OLD MAN IF CRABBY HAS REMINDED HIM OF ANYTHING.”

’Yeah,’ the old man says. ‘He reminded me that some people are crazy enough to talk to metal.’

“NGYAA! SANS!!!” Papyrus threw up his hands.

Undyne looked more confused than ever before and the twins doubled over with laughter they shared with the audience.

“the lady with leaves in her horns approaches the group. ‘Excuse me, I couldn’t help but notice that you were talking to Helmet the Deranged. You probably won’t get far with him; we don’t even know his real name. Is there anything I can help you with?’” Sans offered.

Keahi wiped her eye, even as wisps of smoke carried away her tears of laughter, and said, “Yes ma’am, could you tell us where the abandoned tower is?”

“the wise face furrows into a frown. ‘Why do you young adventurers want to know that?’ she asks.”

Undyne remembered her cue, though she seemed apprehensive about making a move. “We’re on a quest to take out the creature who took over the tower.”

“the woman looks thoughtful, but pensive. ‘You’ll have to convince me you have what it takes to win, too many have tried and failed.’ roll team.”

All four players rolled their dice with mixed results.

“two pass, two fail. ‘I don’t think you’re ready yet,’ the woman says. ‘but I am willing to point you in the right direction. You need to head south and through the Forest of Echoes. If you can make it past there, you should be able to find the key guardian. I’ll let them decide if you are ready to pass.’

“I roll to seduce the lady for more information!” Azar said as he threw his die.

“you fail so much that the lady mistakes what you say for an upset stomach. she prescribes sea tea and leaves the bar.”

“I LEAD THE TEAM OUT OF THE TAVERN BEFORE WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH ANY MORE OF THIS EMBARRASSMENT.”

Chapter Text

“okay, so, after a surprisingly uneventful trip to the market where you still don’t have money to afford anything after you bought twenty-three bottles of charisma up at the last town, the team heads on towards the key guardian’s hideout,” Sans said as he continued his narration. “the town starts to grow small in the distance and things seem well until a group of five bandits ride up to our heroes, demanding their weapons and g.”

“I ROLL FOR INITATIVE!” Papyrus said as he threw his die.

“you succeed in gaining the honor of first attack,” Sans said.

“I WILL ATTACK TO SUBDUE THE NEAREST BANDIT!” The eager skeleton rolled once more and landed his strike.

“the bandit falls down and faints in defeat,” Sans said. “and since keahi helped azar with his cool trick that was going to inspire the team to move faster towards their goal, it’s undyne’s turn.”

“I also roll to attack!” Undyne said. She threw her die down violently, causing it to fly off the stage.

Summoning a network of bones, Sans ricocheted the borrowed piece of plastic back to the table.

“you succeed in landing a hit and also cause one of the four remaining bandits to collapse, good job.”

“I roll to seduce one of the bandits onto our side!” Azar shouted. His die clattered and landed on a two, causing him to fall forward and plant his face on the table as the audience cheered his failure.

“your flirt comes out as an unsure clash of innuendo and fart joke; the recipient is so overwhelmingly uncomfortable that he turns and runs away. now, for the enemy attack. the first standing bandit charges papyrus and lands ten damage with his thief’s knife. the second bandit uses the turn to cast a defense buff to her and her partner.”

“I ROLL TO ATTACK THE BANDIT WHO ATTACKED ME!” Papyrus declared.

“You can get’em Pap!” Undyne cheered.

“not a bad roll, but with the buff, it only lowers the bandit’s HP by half,” Sans said.

“Whoo! Time to not fail this flirt!” Keahi cheered.

“WHY WON’T YOU STOP! IT NEVER WORKS!”

“you got the lowest roll possible,” Sans said, sounding impressed.

“NYEH!”

“your pickup line in unintelligible, and no one is quite sure what you’re doing with your body. it’s so utterly unfathomable that both remaining bandits drop what they have and leave to contemplate life. between that and the two downed foes, you get 25g apiece and three wheels of cheese for the team supplies pack.”

“Hah! And you said it wouldn’t do anything!” Keahi said as she peered around Sans to grin at Papyrus.

“YES, MY MISTAKE, APPARENTLY IT IS POSSIBLE TO FAIL SO MAJORLY THAT YOU IMPROVE THINGS FOR THE PARTY.”

“That’s called winning, skelebro!”

Papyrus rolled his eye lights and crossed his arms over his chest once again.

“you’re smiling bro,” Sans said.

“YOU WOULD BETRAY YOUR OWN DUST AND MAGIC?” Papyrus asked in mock indignation.

“you got a point, that would be bad to the bone,” Sans said with a shrug.

“WAS THAT A PUN? ARE YOU REALLY GOING TO START THIS NOW?”

“hey, no need to be so sternum with me, tibia honest, i can’t go long without showing my humorous.”

The audience gave a few subdued chuckles at Sans’ standard puns and much louder laughs at Papyrus’s reactions.

“DON’T BE A NUMBSKULL SANS, WHERE ARE WE GOING NEXT?”

“that’s for undyne to decide since it’s her turn. do we keep going on our set course or is there something else you want to do?” Sans asked.

Undyne stopped to think for a moment. “You said they rode up to us, what were they riding?”

“horses that are standing nearby.”

“Okay, I load the two passed out ones onto one of the five horses and tell it to go home and claim the rest of the horses for the team,” Undyne declared.

“roll to see if the horses will listen,” Sans said.

“Nyah!” Undyne made a large show of rolling the die, though this time she kept it on the table.

“you succeed and the team mounts their four new steeds, the twin dance of quick travel has been fulfilled.”

The twins stood up and raised their arms in victory, causing the crowd to cheer for their rarely-achieved success.

“alright, azar, where to now?”

“Onward to adventure!” Azar’s golden core flared, turning his flames into a mesmerizing glittered night sky as he dramatically posed and pointed to the audience, causing a resounding cheer.

“onward to the guardian it is. the horses gallop quickly off towards the destination. after some time, the team comes to a thick forest. it seems to stretch for miles in either direction, meaning it would take hours or days to go around. papyrus, do you take the detour or risk going into the mysterious place?”

The room grew silent as Papyrus raised his hand to his chin in thought. “HMM… IT IS MOST LIKELY THE CASE THAT WE WILL RUN INTO ATTACKS EITHER WAY, AND THE LONGER TRAIL COULD HAVE MORE STOPS ON IT. NOT TO MENTION OUR SUPPLIES BEING RATHER LOW. OH! AND ALSO, THE HELPFUL MONSTER WHO AIDED US HAD LEAVES ON HER HORNS. PERHAPS SHE HAS RETURNED TO HER HOME AND CAN GIVE US MORE CLUES.”

Sans nodded. “the team plunges into the foliage; the horses only just able to move through the undergrowth. things seem fine at first, but in the middle is a strange clearing with a dust covered pedestal.”

“Oh, drama,” Keahi said.

“once in the clearing, a deep voice from the sky calls out, ‘Adventures, will you make a trade? A rare item of great might for a random member of your team!’

A hushed whisper rippled through the crowd as Sans intoned the spectral offer.

“You mean you’ll dust one of us for an item?” Undyne asked. “What kind of bogus trick it that?”

“MOST UNSAVORY.”

“He doesn’t even say what it is, no go,” Keahi replied.

“Yeah, can’t risk the dynamic duo or anyone else,” Azar said.

“good,” Sans said. “the team turned down the item. the voice responds. ‘Your integrity is admirable. I will keep my treasure until a fool shall arrive.’ keahi, it’s your turn.”

“I flirt with the voice in an attempt to get the treasure anyway!”

“UGH!”

“the incorporeal voice is incapable of being swayed; your move fails.”

“Let’s go!” Undyne declared as she nervously eyed Papyrus who seemed to be climbing in agitation every time the twins opened their mouths.

“the team carries on until they encounter a mimic chained to a pole. the creature looks sad and agitated, what will you do?”

“A trapped monster? I will free it by flirting with the pole and chain!” Azar declared as he rolled.

Papyrus flew to his feet, Undyne and Sans both grabbing onto his arms as he began to yell. “WOULD YOU STOP FLIRTING WITH INANIMATE OBJECTS! IT NEVER WORKS AND YOU ARE ONLY WAISTING…”

“azar rolls a natural 20, the highest roll,” Sans said, causing his brother to fall silent. “against all odds, the chain and pole shiver and fall off, freeing the mimic.”

“WHAT?!”

“Haha, that can actually work?”

“Yahoo!”

“Good shot!”

“there is no time for celebration or unimaginable anger,” Sans said. “it turns out the chain was there for your protection and the mimic charges, dealing 15 points of damage to azar who is closest. you also sustain poison damage.”

“This is my repayment?” Azar asked gesturing angrily with his arms at the imaginary aggressor.

“I ATTACK THE MIMIC!” Papyrus said in a rush as he pounded his fist on the table, causing his die to jump around.

“you do 25 points of damage,” Sans declared.

“THAT WAS NOT MEANT AS A ROLL,” Papyrus protested.

“well, meaning or not, it counts,” Sans said with an apologetic shrug.

“BUT THAT MEANS…”

“I flirt with the mimic!” Keahi said over Papyrus’s protests.

“you try to hug the mimic but the mimic doesn’t like strangers touching it. you take five points of damage as it butts you away.”

“GOOD, UNDYNE CAN DEAL WITH IT NOW,” Papyrus sighed in relief, some of the pinched strain leaving his features.

“I want to try flirting with the mimic!” Undyne said with a grin.

“NOT YOU TOO!”

“due to your low charisma, the flirt is a failure. however, your roll was high enough to prevent a fiasco. azar takes 5 points of damage from his poison and loses his turn.”

“I ATTACK THE FREAKING MIMIC SO WE CAN MOVE ON!” His roll was hard and dramatic this time, as if he was signing a decree.

“you succeed in defeating the mimic. It spits up 30g per hero, a healing sword of moss and three slabs of dubious meat for the team.”

“Okay, the best thing to do would be to move forward,” Keahi said, peering towards the barely contained rage on the other side of the table.

Undyne could be seen quietly apologizing to her lieutenant while trying to hide her smirk as Papyrus pouted.

“right, so the team moves forward,” Sans said, giving a reassuring pat to his younger brother. “in the distance, you spot a platform, but in order to reach it you must choose the correct pathway. there are three entrances, one will lead directly to the center, and two are filled with traps and will lead back out to the starting point. your options are: the path with the yellow dragon sign to the left, a grey snail path in the center, or the pink spiral path on the right. undyne, which do you choose?”

“Duh, the yellow dragon path,” Undyne said. She flashed a grin out to the audience, a light blush dusting her cheeks as they applauded.

“the team tie up their horses and head into the yellow maze. that was… the correct choice and you emerge into a dragon’s hoard filled with piles of metal and wires which are much more comfortable than they look.”

“SANS DON’T EMBARRASS US WITH TALES OF YOUR TERRIBLE NAPPING HABITS.”

“in the center of the piles is a round, raised platform. there is no sign of the key guardian, how do you proceed?”

“I’m going to call out for the key guardian!” Azar proclaimed. “Hey! Key guardian dragon! Let’s talk about the tower key! Please?”

“you shout loudly into the air. there is the sound of rustling and clanging from the platform. after a time, a nervous looking yellow dragon emerges and adjusts her glasses. ‘Y-yes? You are here t-to ask for the key to the tower, r-right? The l-lady of the forest told me you’d… you’d be c-coming. W-well, she also said you might not be ready so… I-I’m going to have to give you a test. If that’s alright… You c-can either chose to fight me or… s-solve a riddle?’”

“Oh, Paps, you should choose the fight,” Keahi said eagerly.

“What? No way,” Undyne declared.

“But then you could flirt with her and I’m sure she’d just let us off easy,” Azar said with a mischievous grin.

“Shut up,” Undyne said. “That’s why we shouldn’t fight, I don’t want you two getting her flustered.”

The second half of her declaration was muttered lowly under the captain’s breath, but the brilliant craftsmanship of Dr. Alphys ensured the microphones were capable of picking up the sound.

“THE GREAT PALADIN PAPYRUS CHOOSES TO ACCEPT THE RIDDLE AS THEY ARE QUITE SIMILAR TO PUZZLES.”

“Aw boo,” the twins declared in unison.

“the dragon pushes up her large glasses and smiles. ‘V-very well then. Give m-me a moment here.’ she pulls back onto the platform and you hear a variety of beeps. suddenly, the platform turns, exposing a large computer with at holographic screen. sparks fly and a panel on the front opens to reveal a sphere. the electricity charges up and shoots out, landing on the ground in front of the team dealing a radial damage of 2 to all players.”

“THIS ISN’T A RIDDLE!” Papyrus declared angrily.

’Y-yes, actually, the r-riddle is to survive for ten turns,’ the dragon says. ‘Th-the lady of the forest was… actually rather in-insistent that I make it a physical test.’ since her firing of the laser counted as her attack, it’s now your turn.”

“Okay, so I’m going to advance to behind the nearest garbage pile to protect myself from the laser,” Keahi said.

“throw a constitution saving roll,” Sans said.

“Wait, what?”

“you’d better hurry.”

“Ack!” Keahi threw her die.

“due to your mediocre roll, the claw trap only manages to snare one of your legs, costing 40 points of damage.”

“OW! Hey guys, there appears to be traps laying around.”

“HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO LOSE A THIRD OF YOUR HP IN ONE TURN? WE JUST HEALED!” Papyrus asked in frustration.

“Oh, Undyne, it’s your turn, maybe you can talk her out of it!” Azar said, eagerly jumping to his feet before sitting down once more.

“R-right!” Undyne said, blushing again. “I am going to… seduce the dragon!”

“THIS IS THE ONLY ONE I’M OKAY WITH.”

“you actually rolled a critical, the dragon blushes heavily and covers her face with her hands. you have succeeded in distracting her until she recites the entire ‘senpai finally noticed me’ episode from mew mew kissy cutie season 7.”

In true dedicated DM fashion, Sans had an audio reel of the dialogue uttered by a shaky nerdy voice that he played from his phone.

“Way to go, Undyne!” Azar said. “I’m going to roll to use my Thief’s Crowbar of Mischief to pry the trap off of Keahi’s leg.”

“you succeed,” Sans said. “your move, bro.”

“HMM,” Papyrus scowled as he looked over the papers in front of him. “KEAHI TOOK A BAD HIT, BUT WE ONLY HAVE LARGE HEALING ITEMS AND A FEW MORE HEALING SPELLS. I THINK THAT MEANS I’LL CAST CLOSE OBSERVATION ON THE FIELD DIRECTLY AROUND US TO PINPOINT ANY MORE TRAPS!”

“Wait a minute,” Undyne said. “I know you said that Paladins can cast some spells but like, aren’t you normally the only attacker on the team while those two play support?”

“YES, UNFORTUNATELY. IF YOU HADN’T FIGURED IT OUT YET THEY LIKE TO PUSH THE LIMITS OF WHAT FLIRTING CAN ACHIEVE.”

Undyne opened her mouth to speak, but paused. She looked down at her messy character sheets, over to the twins and Sans, out at the audience, and finally back to Papyrus. “How have you guys ever won a campaign?”

“WHY DO YOU THINK WE ARE SUCH A LOW LEVEL? WE HAVE TO START A NEW GAME ALMOST ONCE A MONTH.”

“Hey, come on Papy,” Keahi said. “Our longest campaign lasted three months.”

“THAT’S BECAUSE FUKU AND HER SKATER FRIEND, PAIGE, JOINED AS A FIRE MAGE AND A WARRIOR ON THEIR SUMMER BREAK!”

As Papyrus grew increasingly agitated, Sans cut in. “okay, so you check around the area. the ground in front seems to be a clear path towards the tower, however, something shiny is just barely visible about half way down.

“to the immediate left is a staggered row of three piles of tech supplies. closest to the outer wall and your position is a pile on i-beams stacked in a hexagon. between the bars is a wobbling mass. the second pile is a bit further left than the other two and is made entirely of wires of all different colors. looking closely, you notice that the wires seem to be twitching slightly. closest to the center platform is a pile of springs that are oddly still despite everything.

“on the right are two piles and wall between them. the first pile is the one the twins are standing behind with a mountain of spikes and the spent claw trap. the other pile is a precariously stacked pyramid of ball bearings. no one is sure how they’re doing that. and, as far as you can see, the wall is just a wall. and the dragon is still talking anime.”

“OH LOOK, A SAFE HIDING SPOT WAS THERE ALL ALONG IF YOU HAD JUST USED CHECK!”

The twins only smiled and shrugged as the audience laughed.

“It seems like the traps are all themed,” Undyne said. “But the middle path doesn’t have an obvious theme so…”

“Hey, Sans, is the claw trap attached to anything?” Keahi asked.

“nope.”

“Then I pick the trap up and hurl it at the shiny thing in the road!”

“Wait, no, that’s a terrible idea,” Undyne said quickly.

“roll to see if you make it,” Sans said.

“Is an 18 enough?” Keahi asked.

“yep. everyone roll a brace.”

“OH MY GOD, WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST LISTEN?”

“Hey, you’re the one who wanted us to stop flirting with things,” Keahi said.

“THAT DOESN’T MEAN I’M FINE WITH YOU BLOWING US ALL UP!”

“Keahi rolls a good enough roll to defend herself when the pile is taken into consideration,” Sans said as he peered at all of the dice rolls. “Azar flubbed and was grazed by the blast, taking 35 points of damage. Undyne and Papyrus both did decently, avoiding too much damage. however, due to being in the open, they are hit with a harder blast, both losing 50 points of damage. there is now a crater in the center of the path that is empty, as far as you know.”

“As far as I know?” Undyne asked, peering around Papyrus to pin Sans with a curious scowl.

“yep.”

Undyne sighed and looked over her notes. “Okay, so that’s probably a sign that something is there. I know I just took a big hit, but I have more health than a bard. I also have the electric protection amulet. So, I’m going to head towards the wires. They are most likely a shock attack.”

Sans nodded. “you know the drill.”

“Yeah, yeah, throw a not die if you’re hit roll… shit.”

“the pile of wires rise up to reveal a wire snake. the coils of the beast wrap around you, trapping you in place. you take 10 points of damage and will take 3 extra points of damage for each turn that you are in its grasp.”

“Oh, okay,” Azar said. “I flirt with the wire snake to make it let go!”

“NO!”

“the wire snake is flattered, but doesn’t let go. undyne takes 3 points of damage. also, the recitation is complete and the dragon returns to her senses. furious at having her weakness exploited, she resolves to attack after each turn from now on. she sends out a shockwave that coats the field, everyone but undyne roll.”

“Wait, what?” Undyne protested.

“you’re wrapped up, you can’t dodge,” Sans said with a shrug.

“UGH! I thought I was going to get zapped!” she complained.

“due to the electric amulet and the absorption of the snake, undyne only takes 10 points of damage,” Sans announced. “keahi and azar take 25 and pap takes 15.”

“OH NO, KEAHI, YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR WAY TO ME SO I CAN HEAL YOU BEFORE ANYTHING GETS WORSE. AND AZAR NEEDS TO STAY PUT AND NOT DO ANYTHING STUPID! I’M GOING TO HELP UNDYNE FIRST. I SWING AT THE BEAST WITH MY SWORD!”

“you manage to cut the beast down to size, freeing Undyne and causing its form to collapse in a protective barrier in between you and the laser cannon. the machine fires up and sends out another shockwave. your rolls… land keahi 40 points of damage, undyne 10, paps 15 again and azar flubs so even with the protection of the wires he takes 20. also, the rapid re-firing of the weapon caused a panel to open on the front of the machine, revealing a red button. the dragon looks flustered.”

“A button!” the twins said in unison, their flames crackling and flaring.

“DON’T YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, YOU’RE BOTH ABOUT TO DIE!” Papyrus yelled.

“This looks like a job for twin power!” Keahi asserted, ignoring her teammate.

“Twin power!” Azar agreed.

“Okay, so Azar and I join forces to use twin power hurl! I’m going to throw him and he’s going to hit that button!”

“NGYAAAAAH!!!” Papyrus screamed as he stood up, knocking his chair back and causing everyone to recoil from his rage. He lifted up his right foot and slammed his polished boot on the table, gesturing grandly over Sans’ head at the twins.

“woah, bro, calm down,” Sans said, reaching towards his brother.

“THAT IS IT! YOU TWO CAN KISS MY PALADIN’S SWORD OF GREATER LUSTER AND STOP ADVANCING SO I CAN BLOODY HEAL YOU!”

The audience erupted into a wave of cheers and laughter. Sans eye lights went dark and a pained expression crossed his face.

“Hey, we fighting?” Undyne asked, her grin wide as she stood and summoned a spear.

“HYAH!” was all Papyrus said as he summoned a bone and launched himself over the table with his raised foot, knocking over the DM stand in the process.

“OH! We’re fighting!” Undyne cheered, going behind Sans in an attempt to prevent a retreat.

“welp, add that to the list of things I never wanted to hear my little brother say,” Sans said as blue and gold flames clashed with bones and spears amid shouts and one-liners. “hey dj bluk, why don’t you play us out to commercials? i’m goin’ to grillby’s.”

Napstablook’s speakers came to life as Sans’ chair tipped backwards. The audience gasped, but by the time the chair clattered on the ground, Sans had vanished.

Chapter Text

Grillby, smiling like any Friday night, deposited an extremely grumpy Sans back into his DM chair at center stage to enthusiastic cheers. The studio was a mess: bones, spears, glittering navy fire, and bright orange flames littered the area behind their long table which was also trashed thanks to Papyrus’s vaulting run across its surface.

The four delinquent fighters looked sheepishly at the drinks given them; they shuffled through strewn papers and dice while rubbing the sore spots left from the bartender barging onto the scene to cut their brawl short with a few deft strikes.  

“Oh dear…” DJ BluK mumbled over the beeps of him flipping through his files. “I need to call out the extinguisher bots. Sorry…”

“Don’t worry about it.” Azar squinted through his bruised left eye as he turned towards the turntable robot. “It won’t spread. Plus, it looks cool.”

A series of nervous chirps expressed Blookie’s doubts alongside a teary-eyed display face; however, the fire remained in place. He tentatively settled to watch what would happen.

“come on grillbz, why’re you holdin’ out the good stuff and sticking me with beer?” Sans gave his friend an accusatory look while he nursed his drink.

“You can have the good stuff as a reward for getting though the campaign, I want to see how this plays out.”

Grillby walked off the stage and into an unsold seat in the front row after depositing four pitchers of refill drinks on the table. Two held beer for Sans and Undyne while the other two contained double rum watermelon sangria for Papyrus and the twins.

Sans resigned himself to his second-choice product, riffling through his own papers before using his magic to right his setup. “alright, so everyone survived the test and were healed by the very nice dragon lady scientist.”

“SANS, WE STILL HAD SOME TURNS LEFT.”

“shh, bro, i’m the dm, i got this.” Sans pat his brother on the shoulder. “the dragon concedes that, while you make questionable decisions, you still have what it takes to survive the tower and hands over a map with a key.”

“Cool, so we’re done here?” Undyne asked.

“the dragon speaks up. ‘W-well, yes, technically you are but… But i-if you don’t mind, I-I was wondering if you heroes could do me a favor.’

The group sat in silence. The crowd began to murmur in confusion as the pause stretched on.

“Who’s turn is it?” Keahi finally asked.

Sans shrugged. “i have no clue. let’s just start at the beginning and throw it to you.”

“Right, then I want to know what the favor is before we agree to it.”

“THANK YOU.”

’W-well, I need someone to help take a project of mine to… to a friend. He lives on the trail! So… so there isn’t more work. I-I’ll pay too. 50g, four charisma ups, and the m-magical contents of th-this box. Oh! But you can’t open i-it until the delivery is… is complete.’ so, what’s your decision, undyne?”

“It’s on the way anyway, so why not?”

A chorus of agreement from the party soon had them leading a hand cart covered in tarp along the dirt road towards their tower destination.

“the dragon’s friend’s residence draws near. before you can reach it, another force of five bandits with three horses arrives to steal your cart.”

“I JUST REMEMBERED WE HAD HORSES OUTSIDE THE DRAGONS’ KEEP.” Papyrus smacked an annoyed hand on the table which caused its contents to rattle.

“Why’s there so many bandits in this place? Is there no guard?” Undyne furrowed her brow and frowned, the idea turning in her mind.

“If there was a guard, they wouldn’t need heroes,” Keahi said.

“Huh, I guess you’re right.”

“I roll to attack one of the bandits,” Azar said once the commentary died down.

“REALLY?”

“you land a hit, but your low attack stat does a quarter damage. the bandit returns the strike, but only manages to hit for 20hp.”

“I ROLL TO FINISH OFF THE WOUNDED BANDIT.” Papyrus’s die clattered on the table.

“hey, good job bro, you ko’d him.”

“NYEHEH! OF COURSE I DID.”

“My turn.” Keahi paused to ponder her options. “I don’t want to get hit, so I seduce the nearest horse to cut off their escape.”

Papyrus gave a defeated sigh but didn’t complain.

“you rolled a critical. the horse trots over and begins to mercilessly nuzzle you.”

“Good horsey.”

“My turn! Let’s attack the next bandit.” Undyne jumped up to roll her die, promptly falling back into her chair when she managed a 10.

“the bandit moves faster, giving you 10hp of damage. you manage to strike him for a third of his health, but a pendant he wears deals recoil damage at half value if a strike roll is less than 16. you take an additional 30hp of damage.”

“No! What? Why did I hit the one with the weird thing?” Undyne whined her protest.

“well, i mean, you guys never check the area or declare which person you’re attacking, so i’m just watching the field and going with who’s closest.” Sans refilled his tankard with a lazy smile, watching Undyne go slack-jawed.

“Did you guys know this, or is Sans pulling this out his ass?” Undyne gave Papyrus a hard look. “Wait, does Sans have an ass?”

“TECHNICALLY? SKELETON BODIES ARE HARD TO COMPARE TO OTHER MONSTERS.”

“’sa real pain in the ass.”

“SANS, NO.” The younger skeleton glared at his brother before returning to his explanation. “I DON’T CHECK BECAUSE THAT GIVES THE ENEMY TIME TO STRIKE AND LEAVES THE TWINS OPEN TO ATTACKS. SO FAR, WE’VE NEVER LOST A CHAMPAIGN DUE TO A COMMON BATTLE. I WOULD NOT WORRY ABOUT IT.”

“Okay, so my turn. We should do a twin attack.” Azar was eager to ramp the energy up once more. “I think if we try, we can launch over and knock out another with our boosted attack.”

“Let’s do it!”

“BUT CONSIDER THIS: DON’T! YOU TWO SHOULD GUARD THE PAYLOAD, NOT HURL YOURSELVES INTO THE PATH OF DESTRUCTION.”

Any lessons the twins had learned during their brawl were tossed aside. They pulled a successful twin power spin, depleting the farthest bandit’s HP by three quarters. The audience applauded the effort. Their cheers quickly subsided; the wounded, who held the power of a peril’s might ring, struck back, plunging Azar’s hp to nearly depleted. To add insult to injury, another foe (who had made his way over towards their cargo) grabbed the cart and began to run off.

“WHAT DID I JUST SAY? I ATTACK THE PERILED ENEMY TO PREVENT ANOTHER ATTACK. UNDYNE, YOU GO AFTER THE CART.”

Papyrus succeeded in landing his strike while Undyne’s character took off after the cart. Her armor impeded her speed, though Sans let slip her endurance was higher. Azar used his turn to defend, causing an attack to be struck against Keahi instead, halving her hp. It had been a boosted strike: the enemy’s artifact raised his attack once the number of actively fighting party members dipped below half.

“Oh boy, this isn’t good,” Keahi lamented as she refilled her glass.

“MAYBE THIS WOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED IF YOU HAD PROTECTED THE BLOODY PAYLOAD!” Papyrus finished his own drink, stood, posed dramatically, and rolled his die. “I STRIKE DOWN THE BUFFED ATTACKER!!!”

The crowd cheered: his command carried through to his roll, felling the offending bandit. Papyrus bowed in a broad, sweeping motion before refilling his glass. He retook his seat.

“alright.” Sans polished off his second drink, pouring another. “there’s one bandit standing to fight, the twins are about to fall down, and undyne is still chasing the fleeing bandit who starts to curve his run in an attempt to shake her. the horses are horses and keahi, it’s your turn.”

“I think Azar and I should maybe do our twin healing? What do you think?”

“Sounds like a plan.”

Their problem corrected, Undyne, who had begun to fidget, was up for her turn.

“I cut into the inner corner and cut the thief off!”

“you’ve successfully got him by the collar, stopping him and causing the cart to crash into his back.”

“GOOD! I’M GOING TO DEAL WITH THE LAST BANDIT OVER HERE!”

Gasps filled the hall: Papyrus rolled a 5, causing him to merely scratch his opponent. The situation worsening after Papyrus took a hit in return, activating the artifact which drew its strength from landing a successful hit.

“There’s only one thing to do,” Keahi said.

“I agree, there’s no other way.” Azar nodded sagely. He set down his glass and picked up his die.

“WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING? DON’T WASTE YOUR HEAL.”

“If we act, it will leave you open to attack.” Keahi grabbed her die, rising to her feet with her brother.

“You’re always helping us in tight spots.”

“And now we have the duty to assist you too.”

“IF YOU FLIRT, I’M GOING TO FIGHT YOU AGAIN.”

“Twin powers!” Keahi raised her hand high over her head.

“Activate!!!” The twins called out in unison; they cast their roll.

The audience erupted in cheers as they rolled double 17s, enough to smite their foe.

“It’s all you, Undyne!”

“Right! I attack the bandit I’m holding!”

“the close range guarantees a successful strike. congratulations.”

“YEAAA!” Undyne leapt up, encouraging a thundering cheer from the entire studio, including those on stage; DJ BluK even played a short victory jingle in the background.

Settling into a heap of nonsensical giggles, the team finally managed to arrive at their delivery destination.

“I KNOCK ON THE DOOR TO ALERT THE RECIPIENT.”

“a shuffling is heard from the inside before a white and blue sock goblin opens the door. he glances at your cart and grins up at you. ‘thanks, I’ve been expecting this.’

“WAIT.” Papyrus furrowed his brow. He raised his hand to his chin, wracking his mind. “SANS, IS EVERY IMPORTANT NPC A RESKIN OF THE PEOPLE WE KNOW IN REAL LIFE?”

“Dude, you’re just now figuring that out?” Undyne shot a concerned look at her lieutenant.

“I HAD STARTED TO SUSPECT, BUT THE SOCK GOBLIN TIPPED ME OVER. FOR GOODNESS SAKES, SANS, WOULD IT KILL YOU TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING ORIGINAL?”

“what? art imitates life, paps.”

“AND I’M GOING TO PUT GUM IN ALL YOUR POCKETS BEFORE WASHING THEM IF YOU HAVE A RESKINNED FINAL BOSS.”

“OoooooH!” The twins lead the crowd in sounds of shock and scandal.

When the noise ebbed, Sans shrugged, his grin unfailing, and resumed his narration.

“the sock goblin looks you all over again. ‘looks like you took a beating. let me heal you up.’ with a green, glowing handwave, the goblin restores your hp and provides each of you with a temporary buff status.”

“Cool. Now we need to see what’s in the box!” Azar exclaimed.

“Good point. I use my turn to open the magic item box.” Keahi turned eagerly towards Sans to wait for their item’s description.

“you open the small box. inside you find a rock. it takes up one full slot in your inventory.”

“That’s it?” Undyne asked.

“SANS, DID YOU SERIOUSLY MAKE OUR MAGIC REWARD A ROCK?”

“No, guys wait.” Keahi waved for the others’ attention. “It’s magic, it’s got to do something. Undyne, use your turn to examine it.”

The examination lead to nothing apart from a smooth, round shape with a pale grey coloring.

“IT’S JUST A REGULAR ROCK.” Papyrus buried his face in his hands, his elbows propped on the table.

“Maybe the magic is inside! I break the rock open.”

“you broke the rock in half. you now have two rocks. they take up two full slots in your inventory.”

The twins’ chairs scraped beneath them as they pushed to their feet. They stretched out their arms, forming a ‘t’ with their bodies, then declared in a unified monotone, “Infinite rocks!!!”

For some reason, this set the crowd wild. Perhaps it was their stage presence. Perhaps it was the beer and wine sellers who had started to wind their way around the aisles. Neither seemed like a good reason to Papyrus, though the happy atmosphere and smiles of his friends were enough for it to glaze over him in a warm wave of merriment. Downing his glass and pouring another, it seemed their campaign was finally heading in a good direction.

Chapter Text

The lower the contents of the pitchers, the more frequent, but less severe, the arguments became. Still, Sans managed to guide the chaotic party of four past a cluster of ruins haunted by the spirit of rage, over a river after reconciling the snail princes, and through a valley.

“Are we there yet?” Undyne asked, leaning back in her seat and looking up towards the ceiling.

“almost. in fact, the tower is just over this hill you’ve arrived at,” Sans said, nursing his final pour of beer.

In one heavy, fluid motion Undyne rolled herself forward, pressing onto the table and leaning in front of Papyrus to glare at the orchestrater of their campaign. “Whas the catch?”

“what makes you think there’s a catch?” Sans smiled; his eye sockets hardly opened.

“There’s always a catch!” Undyne pointed accusingly in the general area where Sans sat. “You gonna make MORE badits?”

“i don’t know what’s up there, you haven’t climbed the hill yet.”

Keahi fought through a bout of giggles to ask, “Okay, whose turn is it?”

Their grinning DM sat motionless for a minute before shrugging his shoulders.

“OH MY GOSH, SANS, YOU LAZY BONES! HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW?” Papyrus reprimanded as he pushed Undyne back into her seat.

“sorry bro, can you remind me?”

Papyrus opened his mouth, but froze. “TO SAVE YOU THE EMBARRASSMENT, I SHALL… PRETEND THAT I FORGOTTEN AS WELL AND PASS IT BACK TO KEAHI.”

“you’re so cool, bro.”

“I KNOW THIS, AND THANK YOU.”

“Okay, then up the hill we go~!” Keahi said.

“you arrive at the top of the grassy hill. the tower rises up across the way. it looms against the sky as a dark grey monolith. undyne, what’s next?”

“UGH! Whatever needs to *huk* happen to make the catch do it,” Undyne growled.

“so i can just throw you off a cliff or…”

“Walk to the tower so we can just-”

“a series of four portals open around the team,” Sans said. “from out of them step four youths looking angry and ready to fight. there’s a gold chain flaming blue, a golden fire wisp wearing a helmet, a green fire horse, and a navy burning spring trap.”

“What?!” the twins exclaimed while blushing as the crowd cried out at the sudden development. “We only ever flirted!”

“yeah, but some a those were criticals,” Sans said with a grin.

“But we were kiss flirting!” Azar protested.

“Only kisses!” Keahi confirmed.

“c’mon, everybdy knows critical kisses is how babies happen,” Sans replied.

Papyrus slammed forward onto the table, burying his head in his arms while whining a prolonged, “NYOOOHOHOOOOOO! SANS!!!”

He turned his head to the side a perfect 90˚ to face across the table.

“I BLAME YOU TWO!” he shouted before letting his head fall back forward.

“It’s not our fault he showed up to the wrong baby lecture!” Azar said.

Papyrus’ shoulders began to shake as he remained sprawled across the table.

Undyne’s eye went wide as he silently twitched. “Oh no! Pap, nerd, you okay? Don cry!”

Papyrus struggled to turn his head towards her, tears running down his bright orange face. Silent laughter impeded his ability to breathe, but he struggled until he managed to gasp an inhale.

“NYEHEHEHEH!!! THE GREAT PAYRUS DOESN’T CRY! NYEHEHE! BUT HE DOES CLEAN UP MESSES!” He pushed himself upright. “ATTENTION YOU YOUNG OFFSPRING OF MY BARD COMPANIONS! WHAT DO YOU WANT?”

“it’s azar’s turn, bro,” Sans said.

“DID I STUTTER?”

“Dude, just like, what he said,” Azar said, waving permission with one hand while resting his confused head on the other.

“okie doke then. the four offspring reply, ‘We demand that those reckless bards pay us each what they owe our parents for support! Their uncontrolled passions derailed all of our lives!’

“Wahha! We didn’t knoooooooW!” Keahi whined, tears steaming out of her eyes. “Family’s so important! We’re sorry!”

“What do we do? We’ve been adventuring? How can we find enough money to pay?” Azar asked.

“An item?” Undyne suggested.

“All we have is a cheese wheel and three sticks of health!” Azar said.

“NO, YOU’RE FORGETTING SOMETHING,” Papyrus said, his laughter subsiding at last.

“What? What are we?” Keahi asked, shuffling through the sloppy doodles that had taken over her game notes.

“OH!!! The ROCKS!” Azar shouted, pointing to the words ‘infinite rocks’ written repeatedly across his inventory page. “I take out the two rocks and split them BOTH in half!”

“you now have four rocks; they take up four slots of inventory.”

“Okay, now I give each of them a rock!” Keahi said. “So they can break it over and over and sell the infinite rocks for so much money!”

“having seen the demonstration, the four accept the payment and leave through their portals. good job.”

“GOOD, NOW WE CAN GET TO THE TOWER AND END THIS,” Papyrus said after giving the twins a moment to celebrate their victory.

“Hey, shouldn’t you have split those rocks again so we could have sold some too?” Undyne asked.

Keahi and Azar looked at each other. “FU-“

*BRRT!*

The group jumped and turned towards DJ BluK as an airhorn sounded.

“No bad words,” Napstablook said, his digital face displayed in a grumpy frown.

“don you ah… think it’s maybe a bit late with the whole sensor ship thing?” Sans asked with a wry grin.

*BRRT!*

“gesundheit. so, inside the tower there are three doors left, right, and straight.”

“Let’s go left!” Keahi said.

“Why not right?” Azar asked.

“Wait, who gets to choose, I’m all turned around,” Undyne said.

“FORGET TURN ORDER, LET’S JUST START SHOUTING.”

Three directional arguments, six traps, and an hour after the show was supposed to end, the team made it to the top floor of the tower and opened the last door to the boss.

“you step into the bright room and find frisk waiting to face you,” Sans said.

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN FRISK?” Papyrus demanded. “NOT SOME FANCIFUL CREATURE? JUST FRISK? LIKE THE ONE WE KNOW?”

“you said you didn’t want a reskin of someone we know for the final boss, and i don’t know anyone we don’t know, so instead, it’s just frisk.”

Papyrus tilted his head and searched his memories. “YES, I DID SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT, DIDN’T I? AND YOU REMEMBERED. AND LISTENED TO MY ADVICE.” His eyes began to water as he threw his arms around his older brother. “*SNIFF* THANK YOU, SANS. I REGRET DOUBTING YOU. YOU’RE SUCH A GOOD BROTHER.”

“aw, thanks bro, but you know the greatest bro is you.”

“I think I’m gonna barf,” Undyne said.

“From the alcohol or the brotherly love?” Keahi asked.

“I dunno yet, let me think about it.”

“Well, we’d better hurry, then,” Azar said. “I will greet our foe. Frisk! You have drawn the attention of the heavens for your crimes against self-care! Prepare to be vanquished!”

“NOW AZAR, IT IS ONLY FAIR WE DELIVER AN ULTIMATUM TO AVOID HAVING TO CAUSE HARM. HUMAN! IF YOU WILL CEASE YOUR CRIMINAL ACTIVITY AND SUBMIT TO REASON AND REST, WE SHALL SPARE YOU ANY HARM!” Papyrus exposited.

Silence hung in the air for a moment before Sans’ head snapped up and he responded. “frisk crosses her arms over her chest and juts out her hip, ‘Rest is for the weak! I’ll never stop hurling myself about the cosmos! Have at ye!’

“Let’s do a Twin Status Buff move!” Keahi said.

“Right! Roll!” Azar called, sending his die clattering across the table.

“success: everyone’s attack and defense doubles,” Sans said.

“Great! Now let’s get this done! Charge the human!” Undyne called.

“you run up the left side of the room and hit a buzzer trap, giving you 10 points of damage and stopping you in your tracks.”

“What trap?” Undyne protested.

“how many have you passed getting up here? why would frisk stop planting them now?” Sans asked.

“UGH!”

“THE GREAT PAPYRUS IS GOING TO USE A RANGED ATTACK!”

“i didn’t know you had a ranged attack, bro.”

“WELL, I DECIDED I DO. IT’S LASERS. FROM MY SWORD. THAT ONLY WORK IN THE BOSS ROOM SO THERE.”

“you successfully launch the sword laser that was totally there the whole time,” Sans said. “but it misses because frisk dodges right.”

“Okay, I’m going to try a flirt now,” Azar said.

“ooh you rolled a five. frisk is mildly offended by your remark and thinks a little less of you now.”

“GASP! Oh noez!” Azar declared; eyes wide.

Undyne slammed her hands onto the table. “My character runs RIGHT and attacks from there!”

“you run into a buzzer trap, take 10 points of damage, and come to a stop.” Sans smirked.

Undyne jumped up from her seat. “Like hell I do! You said the trap was on the left!”

“shockingly, there can be two buzzer traps. hell, there could be a tapdancin’ crab in the corner for all you know. i’m drunk and you’re all runnin’ around with your eyes closed,” Sans said as Undyne growled at him.

“Let me flirt with Frisk!” Keahi said. “What does a twelve get me?”

Sans took a moment to respond, darting his head up once more. “frisk acknowledges your complement, but doesn’t recognize it as romantic. she’s still happy about it.”

“Yes!” Keahi cheered.

“SANS! THIS IS THE SECOND TIME YOU’VE PAUSED. ARE YOU FALLING ASLEEP ON US?”

“not at all, pap, don’t worry.” Sans sent a reassuring grin towards his brother.

Papyrus squinted incredulously back. “VERY WELL THEN. I WILL ONCE AGAIN ATTACK WITH MY-”

“frisk informs you that the crab’s name is pineapple because it bites back,” Sans cut in.

“WHERE DOES BITING ENTER INTO THIS EQUATION?”

“who can say?” Sans said, his head dipping down once more.

“SANS! ARE YOU TEXTING FRISK UNDER THE TABLE?”

“what? why would i do that? also, frisk attacks by flirting with the paladin. roll to see if she succeeds, bro.”

“SANS!”

“come on bro, i’ll have to rule it a critical if you don’t roll.”

“FINE, DESPITE YOUR CHEATING WAYS I WILL SIMPLY BLOCK THE MO- THREE?”  

“ooh, flubbed it. before each turn you have to roll to see if you can shake off her charm before attacking.”

“I use my spear to vault OVER the STUPID zap thing and FREAKING ATTACK!” Undyne called out.

“good job, you made it over the buzzer trap and into the slime pit on the other side.”

“NGAH!!!” Undyne pushed against the table, falling back as Papyrus tried to catch her. Instead the frustrated fish took her loyal lieutenant’s arms with her, sidelining him temporarily as he slid out of his seat to follow his appendages.

“Okay, we’re going to do a twin flirt!” Azar declared over the roars from the audience as their game continued to devolve into chaos.

“We should also mention; this is chaste, non-baby-making type flirting,” Keahi said. “Since apparently, we disagree on the components of that.”

“fair enough, go ahead and roll.”

A successful roll for both lowered their enemy’s attack and defense.

“OKAY, I HAVE AN ARM AND ROLL TO SEE IF I CAN ATTACK!” Papyrus declared as he stood up from the floor, his left arm attached.

“sorry, bro, a ten doesn’t cut it.”

“NYEH!”

“I- I’m gonna get out of the slime pit and CHARGE TO ATTACK!” Undyne shouted without getting up.

“you manage to struggle out of the pit, but when you charge, the remaining slime causes you to slip and slide right into pineapple, who bites you.”

“OH my GOSH Sans!!! When I get up you are SO DEAD!” Undyne said.

“heheheh.” Sans face flushed blue as he began to laugh uncontrollably.

“WHAT’S SO FUNNY?” Papyrus asked as he used his left arm to pull on his right arm and lift Undyne off the floor.

“frisk flirts with the dungeon master to dispel all the traps except pineapple who is now far away from harm.”

“Wait, you let her flirt with the DM? No fair!” Keahi said.

“what can i say? she was successful,” Sans said with an unapologetic grin.

“Finally! OK! I’m just gonna take my die and,” Undyne pushed up from the ground, pink piece of plastic impossibly stuck to her eye patch. “WHERE’S MY DICE?”

“ALRIGHT, YOU KNOW WHAT? I THINK WE’RE DONE HERE. YOU TWO! ROLL WITH ME TO PERFORM THE FORCED SPARE MANEUVER!” Papyrus decreed, pointing with his recently reattached right arm.

“Right you are, captain!” Azar said as he and his twin picked up their dice.

“Hey! I’m the captain!” Undyne shouted.

“ONE!”

“Two!”

“Three!”

The crowd erupted into ecstatic praise as three twenties landed on the table, ending the campaign.

“hey, congrats, you won!” Sans said once the cheers and gloating had died down. “and so did all of you out there who kept watching through this whole mess. so thanks for coming, and remember now and whenever something like this inevitably happens in the future; no matter how weird, strange, or senseless, when it comes to late nights on the mtt network: don’t question it. good night everybody.”

Chapter Text

It was a quiet morning in Snowdin Forest. A new snow wiped away the tracks of the past week’s activities and dampening the noises of the underground grove. The guards were still in bed asleep, too early to have risen to attend their duties. And yet, the same as every time before, a single trail of long-stride foot prints disturbed the otherwise clean path.

Papyrus was throwing his all into his puzzles once again, carefully planning and enacting his greatest achievement to date. Heeding the advice of his newly re-found friends, he was trying a new and brilliant tactic of creating one puzzle at a time, allowing himself the time to truly surpass his prior works. As he stepped back to admire his handywork, he grinned and stood even taller than before.

“NYEH! YES, I DO BELIEVE THIS IS MOST ADEQUATE. IN FACT, IT MAY EVEN SURPASS MY DEADLY GAUNTLET OF THE BRIDGE IN BOTH FUN AND LACK OF DEATH PROBABILITY! ALL THAT REMAINS IS TO RUN A TEST AND…”

“Can we test it?”

“NYAH!”

Papyrus jumped in surprise, swirling first his head then the rest of him around to face the two voices who had spoken in unison. Azar and Keahi stood behind him, doing a poor job of pretending to be apologetic for spooking their friend. With a sigh, the skeleton let his frame relax to its normal level of vigilant tenseness.

“GREETINGS TO THE BOTH OF YOU! I MUST ASK YOU TO FORGIVE MY SUDDEN DISQUIET, I WAS UNAWARE YOU WOULD BE STOPPING BY,” he said. After a moment’s thought he added. “I MUST ALSO APOLOGIZE THAT MY IGNORANCE MEANS I HAVE NO BEVERAGES OR SNACKS TO OFFER YOU AS GUESTS.”

Keahi quickly dismissed the concern. “Don’t worry about that, Bon. We just wanted to see if you had time to hang out today.”

“I SEE. WELL, I SUPPOSE I AM FREE. I CAN ALWAYS TEST THIS LATER,” he replied, though he looked just a bit disappointed.

“No need to put it off. We can wait,” Azar said. “Or, if you’ll let us, we can help test it for you!”

“HMM… I DON’T KNOW… IT’S A VERY COMPLEX AND NEW SORT OF PUZZLE THAT I’VE ONLY JUST COME UP WITH,” Papyrus explained with a worried frown. “IT’S ACTUALLY SOMETHING OF A PUZZLE AND A GAUNTLET ALL ROLLED INTO ONE. IT IS BOTH LARGE, AND AS I HAVE NOT YET TESTED IT, POTENTIALLY UNSOLVABLE. IT MIGHT EVEN BE A TOUCH ON THE DANGEROUS SIDE.”

From the outside, all that could be seen were the tall walls that took up most of the room. On the inside, it was a maze in three parts.

“Well, it is yours, so if you say no, that’s fine,” Azar said. “But we’d be totally honored if you’d let us see your amazing craftsmanship first hand. Please?”

They clasped their hands together in a plea, their golden eyes growing wide in the sea of their navy flames. Pride warmed Papyrus’ soul in the depths of his ribcage.

“IF YOU ARE SO EAGER TO SEE MY LATEST BRILLIANCE IN ACTION, I SUPPOSE THERE IS NO REAL HARM IN ALLOWING YOU TO GIVE IT A SHOT.”             

With a cheer, the fire twins quickly around the side of the labyrinth, eager to begin.

“NOW, THIS FIRST SECTION IS A MIRROR MAZE WITH SWITCHES HIDDEN THROUGHOUT. PRESSING A SWTICH ONCE WILL CHANGE IT FROM AN X TO AN O. PRESSING IT AGAIN WILL TURN IT BACK TO AN X. THE GOAL IS TO TURN ALL OF THE SWITCHES TO O IN ORDER TO UNLOCK THE NEXT SEGMENT.”

“A twist on a classic, sounds like fun!” Keahi said.

“YES, THAT WAS MY GOAL,” he replied, hand pressed to the front of his sweater which read PUZZLE MASTER in glittering gold lettering. “NOW, I MUST WARN YOU, I DID NOT ORIGINALLY INTEND…”

The rapid crunching of feet alerted him to the fact the pair had run in without waiting for him to finish.

“FOR TWO PEOPLE TO DO THIS AT A TIME… OH DEAR,” Papyrus’ face creased in concern once more. “I SUPPOSE I CAN LIFT THEM OUT OF THE TOP IF THEY GET STUCK.”

The twins looked around at the many convex and concave mirrors in the entrance of the maze. They reflected the bright white of the snow shining from the reflection of the artificial light from the magic lamps at the roof of the cave.

“Hey, he put the first two right in the entryway,” Azar said with a laugh as he rushed forward to press the two red X’s he saw on the ground. “He might need to work on his placement.”

*CLICK*

*THUNK*

Keahi giggled. “Looks like you got ahead of yourself.”

Azar rubbed his face, after bouncing back from his collision with the wall. A smoky stain dulled the mirror above where two green O’s, one real and one a reflection, rested.

“Got it,” Azar commented. “Mirrors that are convex at the bottom will reflect the ground even if they aren’t touching the snow.”

Their first lesson learned, they played a round of rock paper scissors and headed right; Keahi’s choice.

Azar quickly found he regretted doubting Papyrus’ skill in positioning both the switches and the mirrors. While it was true some mirrors might reflect the switches while the next one didn’t, a particularly close cluster of mirrors reflected both the ground and each other giving the illusion of thirty switches while only three were really present.

Papyrus waited eagerly outside, pleased to hear laughs and victorious shouts as his friends picked their way through the halls.

*CLUNK*

“Segmented mirrors?!”

Papyrus winced as the cry reached him.

OH, I DO HOPE THEY ARE NOT BECOMING FRUSTRATED.

He waited what seemed a reasonable amount of time, about three seconds, before leaping to the top of the maze wall and rushing to locate where they were.

He arrived to see Keahi taking a turn searching for the last switch in a cluster of four in a cramped alcove.

“IS EVERYTHING GOING ALRIGHT?” he called down. “I COULD ALWAYS PROVIDE A HINT, IF YOU NEED IT.”

The twin’s heads whipped up, staring wide-eyed at the skeleton on his perch.

“Not gonna lie,” Azar said, shock melting into humor. “I forgot you could do that.”

Papyrus tilted his head. “NYEH? OH! YES! I LIKEWISE TEND TO FORGET THAT MOST MONSTERS CANNOT SUBDUE THE LAWS OF GRAVITY IN THE SAME WAY THAT I CAN.”

“You’re one of a kind, that’s for sure,” Keahi said.

Papyrus blushed while returning their smiles.

“And don’t worry about us, we’ve almost got it, I’m certain!” Azar claimed.

“HMM… I DON’T KNOW, FROM WHERE I’M STANDING IT LOOKS LIKE YOU MIGHT HAVE TRAPPED YOURSELVES INTO A CORNER,” he returned as he squinted and scanned his eye lights over the paths.

“It’s nothing a little twin power can’t fix!” Keahi claimed.

Five minutes of circling later and they spotted it, the last red X peaking at them from the top corner of a mirror. The issue? Two already pressed switches stood in the middle of the path between it and them.

Papyrus has followed the pair along the edges of the walls, waiting to see how they would solve this conundrum. He crouched down, chin resting on his hand.

“Are you ready?” Azar asked.

“As always!” Keahi answered.

The pair faced each other and clasped hands high over their heads. On three Azar kicked off, guided by Keahi who leaned back over the switches. Azar connected with the path on the other side, clear of their goal, and pulled his sister over in kind.

“IMPRESSIVE,” Papyrus said, not even upset that it could technically be considered cheating. It was only a test, after all, and Frisk would undoubtedly find the correct answer.

With the last switch found and pressed, a click was heard as the door to the second segment opened. The twins rushed forward, steam rising off of them as they grew warmer from their exertion.

The second part of the labyrinth was much more like a gauntlet than a puzzle. Electricity buzzed in the air, the rhythmic swinging of ropes and grinding of mobile spikes greeted them; letting them know what was to come.

“NOW DON’T FORGET THAT SPHERE,” Papyrus called down, choosing to observe this part of the trial. “YOU ALSO MIGHT WANT TO TAKE TURNS HOLDING IT.”

Azar picked it up first. “Alright, let’s get this party started!”

It was more of a winding trail than a maze. Which was grand considering how preoccupied they were by jumping moving rows of spikes, dodging between lit lanterns swinging on ropes, and tossing the orb between each other every time an electric panel was accidently stepped on.

Panting, they stopped to catch their breath after placing the orb in its home on the other side of the room. The door clicked open, as did a small panel on the pedestal.

“A bisicle?” Keahi asked, pulling the treat out.

“YES! YOU SEE, THE FINAL PUZZLE IS THE MODIFIED RANDOM TILE PUZZLE BY DR. ALPHYS! AND WHILE, OCCASIONALLY, THE SOLUTIONS CAN BE ATTAINED WITHOUT PHYSICAL HARM, IT SEEMED LIKE POOR SPORTSMANSHIP TO REQUIRE TWO VIGOROUS AND DANGEROUS ROOMS IN A ROW WITHOUT AT LEAST A SMALL TOKEN OF AID.”

Each took one unisicle while looking up at Papyrus with glowing admiration.

“You’re really something else, you know that?” Azar asked. “Only a cool guy like you would put other’s safety over their own victory.”

An orange glow blushed across Papyrus’ cheek bones. “NYEHEHHEH! OF COURSE, THE GREAT AND BENEVOLENT PAPYRUS PUTS SAFETY AT THE HIGHEST PRIORITY!”

*TWANG!!!*

The twins spun about just in time to see the pendulum barreling towards them. The last object it the room, it was meant to swing across the doorway to spur them into the next room without overthinking. Yet the aged and tight-wound elastic that guided it along its path had snapped.

The next thin they saw as their bodies tensed to spring away was a tall and solid form between them and it. With a series of gravely crunches, three bones as thick and the pine tree trunks of the forest sank into the wall of labyrinth, stopping the heavy object in its path.

All was silence, Papyrus still as a statue, orange magic glow spilling from his sockets as he stared down the object as if it had a mind of its own and needed reprimanding.

Slowly, Keahi reached out her hand, brushing warm fingers against his sweater over his right humerus. “Are you okay?”

He likely didn’t hear her question as the touch sent a jolt though Papyrus. With a sharp inhale, he stumbled back, falling hard onto his rear as he began to shake.

“I’M SORRY, I’M SO SORRY,” he said, voice trembling. “THAT COULD HAVE… YOU ALMOST…”

“Hey, shush, it’s okay,” Keahi said. “We’re okay.”

“Come on, Bon, you’re okay,” Azar added, brushing gently up against Papyrus’ other side. “It was an accident, it’s not your fault.

“BUT I… I SHOULDN’T HAVE USED THAT OLD RUBBER I FOUND IN SAN’S LAB WHEN I PUT MY BLUEPRINTS IN THERE FOR SAFEKEEPING. I SHOULDN’T HAVE HAD YOU TEST IT FIRST. I’M SO SORRY!”

“Come on, you couldn’t have known that would happen,” Keahi said. “We don’t blame you; it was an accident.”

“BUT…”

“And it was both brave and selfless of you to protect us,” Azar added.  “Thank you.”

Papyrus cast his eyes down, thoughts whirling in his mind. The twins crouched down, hovering above the snow as they huddled close to their friend; letting their warmth carry their intentions to him.

“THANK YOU. I SUPPOSE I WAS A BIT OVERWHELMED. AND I SUPPOSE I’VE STILL GOT SOME WORK TO DO.”

“It’s not a problem,” Azar said. “Do you want to go to the shops in New Home to find something to replace it?”

“We can even stop by the house after for lunch, if you like,” Keahi added.

Papyrus took a deep breath, and his smile was back. “I’D LIKE THAT.”

Chapter Text

Papyrus frowned. Perhaps he shouldn’t say anything. Still…

“ARE YOU BOTH CERTAIN YOU’RE ALRIGHT?” he asked as he nervously glanced at the twins sitting statue still across from him.

They had suggested taking the Riverperson’s boat. And insisted upon it when he reminded them he had install a much more sensible puzzle of levers and chains to move people around the vents and conveyers of Hotland.

“We’re fine,” Azar said, no strain in his voice. “We ride the boat all the time. It’s nothing to worry about if you’re careful.”

Keahi nodded in agreement and Papyrus gave up on the issue right around when they pulled into the dock outside of New Home.

“Tra La La…” Riverperson said as Papyrus disembarked, the last of the group. “The game is so much more fun if you trust your friends.”

“OF COURSE I TRUST THEM, AND YOU, I SIMPLY FELT I OUGHT TO BE SURE THEY COULD TRUST ME.”

As was so often the case, Riverperson only stood still and silent, a billowing cloak of random and deceptive premonition. Papyrus shook off his uneasy feeling to pursue the twins who had already made it half way across the road that lead to town.

“So, where should we go? Puzzles’n’Gauntlets R We? Or Chambers and Secrets?” Keahi asked as they walked down the bustling streets of the monster capital.

“HMM… ISN’T THERE A SMALLER STORE? MAYBE FAMILY OWNED AND LESS… SHOWY?” Papyrus asked as he shadowed behind the pair.

“Well, there’s Kerrie’s Korner,” Azar said. “Maybe they’ll have what you need.”

“Ooh! Look!” Keahi said, tugging on her brothers sleeve and stopping in her tracks, nearly causing their skeleton friend to run into them. “The newest edition of the Puzzles and Humans rule book is finally out!”

The pair raced towards the open bookstand and picked up a copy to skim through.

“THAT’S RIGHT, I HAD ALMOST FORGOTTEN THAT THE ONLINE GAME WAS BASED ON A BOOK GAME,” Papyrus commented as he came up behind, peering at the pages over their shoulders.

“Do you remember us trying to play a game when we were younger?” Keahi asked.

He wracked his mind. “NO, I’M AFRAID I CAN’T.”

“That’s okay, I hardly remember it either,” Azar admitted. “But I do have a vivid memory of throwing the dice at Sans and Grillby when they came in to tell us to go to bed. It was the funniest thing, Sans…”

“CAUGHT THEM IN HIS MOUTH AND LAUNCHED THEM OUT HIS EYESOCKETS! I REMEMBER THAT!” Papyrus beamed with excitement at the recollection.

“Hey, yeah, you do remember.” Azar grinned back. “That was the best part of the night.”

“YES. NOW THAT I THINK ABOUT IT, THOUGH, I ALSO SEEM TO RECALL WAKING UP THE NEXT MORNING WITH A STRAW AND 3G IN MY SKULL.”

The twins fell into a giggling fit.

“That’s interesting, because I seem to remember a little someone putting a straw and 3g into a sleepy skele’s sockets to see if they would come out his mouth,” Keahi teased.

“Hey, he was like at least 25% awake at the time,” Azar defended. “Then he fell asleep before we could take them back out.”

Papyrus chuckled. “NYEHEH, YES, I HAVE FAR SMALLER SOCKETS THAN MY BROTHER, ESPECIALLY THEN. I DON’T THINK THEY COULD HAVE MADE IT THROUGH NO MATTER HOW AWAKE I WAS.”

The group laughed and continued to look over the merchandise released alongside the book. Papyrus picked up a set of fire opal dice with black enamel numbering and admired the way the warm hues glistened in the artificial light of the city’s day lamps.

“Hey Bon?” Keahi’s voice called him back to the present moment.

“YES?” The skeleton was alarmed when he saw her sheepish, almost guilty face.

“Do you think Frisk would be offended by something like this?” she asked.

Papyrus’s eye lights scanned across a foldout page describing how best to make a realistically powered Human tower boss.

“NO,” he replied after a moment of thought. “I BELIEVE SHE MENTIONED THAT THE HUMANS HAVE A SIMILAR GAME ABOUT A HUMAN HERO FIGHTING ENEMY MONSTERS. I THINK SHE’D UNDERSTAND THAT IT’S A GAME MADE BY MONSTERS WHO HAVE NEVER MET A HUMAN BASED ON A TROUBLED HISTORY ALMOST ENTIRELY FORGOTTEN IN THE SAME WAY THAT THE HUMAN VERSION IS BY HUMANS WHO HAVE NEVER MET MONSTERS BASED ON THE SAME PAST CONFLICT.”

“Oh, that’s neat,” Azar said. “Did she say what it was called?”

“I GUESS THERE ARE SEVERAL LIKE IT, BUT THE MOST WELL KNOWN ONE IS CALLED DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS, I BELIEVE. WHICH IS STRANGE BECAUSE APPARENTLY YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO ADD A DRAGON, AND IT MIGHT NOT EVEN BE AN ENEMY IF YOU DO! IN FACT, OTHER EVILER HUMAN MAGIC PRACTITIONERS ARE USUALLY THE FINAL BOSS.”

“Hmm, well there are plenty of monster bandits and stuff in this game too,” Keahi commented. “I guess we both know our own kind aren’t perfect.”

“Hey, Nerd!” the shout cut through the din of the busy streets and cut their conversation short.

Papyrus spun around, grin plastered on his skull, but a static feeling in his ribcage and a weight settled near the bottom of his spine.

“UNDYNE! I WAS NOT EXPECTING TO SEE YOU HERE TODAY.”

“Yeah, man, wasn’t expecting to see you either,” Undyne said, sharp grin brightening her features.

She reached up in what Papyrus hoped was a side hug. He realized far to lake that it was more of a choke hold hug as he was pulled down and his skull crushed into the front of her shirt.

“I especially didn’t expect to see you with these trouble makers. Have you known each other long?”

Every fiber of his being clenched, waiting for the noogie he knew would come. “YES, ACTUALLY. THOUGH WE HAVEN’T SEEN ONE ANOTHER FOR SEVERAL YEARS UNTIL A FEW WEEKS AGO.”

“Psh, figures Sans would be too lazy to make sure you made it for visits,” Undyne said, more to herself than Papyrus. She then proceeded to drag her boney knuckles against the top of his skull. “Well, it’s a good thing you reconnected, huh? What are you up to?”

“PLEASE DO NOT NOOGIE THE SKELETON!!!” Papyrus protested, signing in relief as she let him go.

“We were heading to get parts for his best puzzle yet and got distracted by the new Puzzles and Humans book,” Azar explained, holding up the book to display the cover.

Papyrus straightened back up and smoothed out his sweater a few more times than it actually needed to be, soul hammering in his ribcage.

“Puzzles an’ Humans, huh?” Undyne’s good eye narrowed and her facial fins drooped, pressing back flat against her face. “You like this sort of thing Paps?”

“people don’t know what to expect from you because you change what you like based on who you’re with. people don’t want you to agree all the time, they want to know YOU.”

Sans’ encouraging words echoed in his younger brother’s skull, stilling the growing apprehension.

“YES, ACTUALLY, I FIND THE STORIES INTRIGUING AND THE PUZZLES ENGAGING.” His words escaped him like a prolonged sigh.

Undyne nodded, her unsure expression relaxing. “I see. Cool. Alphys plays the online version and has been bugging me to play in person once she finds a few others. Maybe I’ll give it a shot, since I know it’s got your seal of approval too.”

Papyrus didn’t know what he had expected her to say, but that wasn’t it. His smile grew more genuine and the nervous fog around him evaporated like snow in the early spring.

“I THINK YOU’D LIKE IT,” Papyrus said. “IT CAN INVOLVE THE REALTIME SORT OF THINKING INVOLVED IN FIGHTING OR DIRECTING SOLDIERS IF YOU HAVE A GOOD CAMPAIN MANAGER. WHICH, IF SHE’S REALLY BEEN PLAYING A LONG TIME, I’M SURE DR. ALPHYS HAS. AND THE GREAT PAPYRUS IS NOT NORMALLY WRONG ABOUT THESE SORTS OF THINGS.”

“Heh, you got that right, Pap. But anyway, I should probably get going, with Sans in the lab all the time now I can’t rely on him to make sure things don’t go crazy so I need to make sure the Dogs know I’m on them.”

“OH, I DID NOT REALIZE HE HELPED WITH THAT TOO. DID YOU KNOW THAT HIS SENTRY STATIONS ARE–”

“Oh my goodness! Darlings! I’m so excited to see you!” Mettaton burst onto the scene in a wave of excited chatter from the monsters around them. “I find myself in the direst need of assistance.”

“What’s wrong?” Undyne’s face pinched in distrust mixed with a reluctant sense of duty. “Has something gone wrong at the lab?”

“No, no, it’s at the resort,” Mettaton replied.

“What’s wrong?”

“A terrible emergency, the likes of which I dare not describe the horror of in public! The four of you simply MUST come with me at once to see for yourself.”

Puffing out his ribs even more and bringing his gloved fists, still clutching the tube of dice, up in a dramatic pose, Papyrus nodded. “I COULD NEVER LEAVE A DISTRESSED CITIZEN IN NEED! ALLOW ME TO PURCHASE THIS ITEM AND I WILL COME WITH HASTE TO YOUR AID!”

Mettaton grinned. “Oh, Papy dear, I knew I could count on you. And the rest of you too, it NEEDS to be a group effort.”

“I don’t see why you can’t just tell us upfront,” Undyne said, despising the half inch height difference in the robot’s favor as she glared at him.

Mettaton pressed a hand to his chest, grin turning a mixture of victorious and mischievous as the other three paid for what they had been looking over at the stall. “Why, Undyne, I thought you would know better than to create a panic in public by delivering bad news in the sight of all.”

Deep in her soul, Undyne knew the Star of the Underground was up to something. But as the other three turned back eagerly, and the excited chatter of the citizens began to morph into something near dread, she swallowed her pride and allowed herself to be led away. After all, a Royal Guard can’t discriminate when trouble is brewing.