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-Alive- (/Papyrus\)

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"Its always between the moments of madness that we realise our mistakes. I too have paid witness to the decay of the once prosperous Underground where we live, along with a few select others, who in turn have witnessed the fall alongside me. It is to these compatriots I turn to, and question the harsh reality, shackles apon the crystalline throne of gold. Peace was never the answer. It was the question. The answer is far more terrifying."

-An excerpt from the autobiography of the late King Asgore.

 

                                     ***

 

It was cold.

Not a soft cold, where the tips of your fingers may get vaguely lost in the edge of your pocket, no, it was true cold. A lifeless gaze of cold peering through the windows as it slowly raps against the pane with its outstretched knuckle. Waiting behind the glass.

He sat up. Papyrus never minds the cold, it keeps him aware.

"Alive" they whisper.

"Alive", he chuckles back.

Pulling the rough blanket off his knees, Papyrus got up. His black scarf edged with crimson sat carefully over his pristine white shirt, black sleeve gloves covering his arms and his ruby gloves glaring out like an open wound. He dusted his blue shorts, crystals growing at the ends near his knees. His scarlet boots squeaked against the harsh flooring.

Bones clicking in a rhythmic pattern, popping vertebrae, snapping phalanges.

Grinning wide to himself, he idly scratched at the new forming crystals along his eyesockets while preparing for a new day. Looking over to his bed where he had been for approximately 5 hours and 11 minutes, staring at the ceiling while contemplating the reasons behind birds, he sighed and straightened his immaculate posture.

With his best foot forward, he gladly opened his door and began. The chilled air was like a wave, but he marched onward towards his brother's room.

"Gooood morning Sans! Now isn't it just theeee perfect day for puzzles!!" Papyrus enjoyed this game he and his brother played. If he could call it that. He watched the snow fall against the pane, -

/watching waiting always there/

-as he turned back to Sans's door with a sigh. "Brother, you know how much I hate to do this, and its your week to pay for property damage!~"Papyrus sung cheerfully at the door. Lifting his boot, he prepared to kick that thing out of the way, just like he was taught.

"-nowaitbro!"

Slamming the door open with a wheezing gasp, Sans groaned as he flopped against the cold ground. Same as he last saw him, Sans wore his purple-blue hoodie, hood up to accompany the bandages wrapped around his head, stopping further damage to his skull against the soft crystals that gleamed unholy like an array of memories from a cursed past. He patted Papyrus's foot with his black gloved hand, his gloves matching his midnight boots and pants.

"Damn Paps, you win...haha, tibia honest, I didn't think you'd kick the door down..." He shakily sighed.

Papyrus beamed.

"Of course I would brother! I never lose! Wait a sec did you just... ugh." Sans snorted. "Besides that one time when you di-"

Papyrus screeched."HUSH. EAT. WORK."

Papyrus attempted to usher Sans downstairs with a nudge of his scarlet boot, however Sans remained sprawled on the floor. "Saaaans....don't make me take your hoodie..." Sans shot up."R-right then Paps! You win! You win!" Papyrus stared outside again.

"We kinda established that."

Sans chuckled, accepting his fate. "So that means you get to eat even more spaghetti this morning! I made you extra approximately three hours ago! I just knew you'd appreciate it!!" Sans facepalmed and shuffled downstairs with a groan. Papyrus leapt up with pep in his step, skipping each second stair, feet muffled on carpet, then to the fridge, grabbing as many containers as he could find in the hell hole they called an appliance. "Isn't it great to be alive Sans! To be able to witness the chilling crystals forming in the air, falling apon us, and then growing into more!" Papyrus laughed, finally closing the fridge with his mountain of tupperware. Sans' face wiped as soon as he saw the mountain before him, precariously placed. "Y-yep. Great to be alive bro. " Sans opened one with a cringe. Papyrus beamed yet again. "Those are your rations for the year! You should finish them before its out!" Papyrus giggled and gazed apon his mastery of spaghetti eminent from the peculiar staining. "Bro...its the last week of the year..." Papyrus tilted his head quizzically. "And?" Sans tapped his covered eye socket. "Eye can't eat them all...I don't have the stomach for it." Papyrus's head whipped around to stare at Sans.

"Eat."

Sans gulped. "For now at least! This could be a treat to share with everyone! Well I'll be off to fix my puzzles for the six hundred and forty third time now! Sans, don't forget to go to work, I'll be back!"

Papyrus closed the door to their humble abode, and set of in the usual trance of the underground.

There truly isn't much in Snowdin. A few facilities for public use, consisting of a small library with little to offer, the local restaurant and bar; Grillby's, an inn that only regulars frequent and a small shop run by a family business. Papyrus supposed there was also the Nice Cream cart, however that was often located further away from town.

He hummed, theorising on the purpose of monetary exchange between the local crowd. Where exactly does it all go? The crown? Surely not, for there is no king in the current state of affairs. Perhaps it goes towards the religious circles, worshipping the oh mighty Forgotten One, how they shall free us of our cursed shackles. Papyrus often gave into bouts of thought, providing he had adequate time to recollect himself to resume life. Even so, he tried. After all, thats what life is right? Trying? He was alive.

"Alive." He breathed.

"Alive", they whispered back.

He kept up the admirable pace he had ever so slowly gotten into the habit of using, and crossed the bridge, glancing one last look at Snowdin till he returned. He stepped onward and -

/devour the uneventful chain of cosmic events no one can witness/

-wished he made sure Sans wasn't slacking off. Papyrus trusted his brother, but sometimes theres limits to what trust means. He kept going however, eager to check if his recent puzzle design still functions. Puzzles are curious things to capture humans, he pondered. Unlike fighting, puzzles are not straightforward. They are to bamboozle! To confuse! To capture!

Fighting, as his mentor and Captain of the Former Royal Guard normally says, is the best approach. But what if the human can fight? You can see the enemy in a fight but in a puzzle youre left with your own thoughts, a mental attack if any. Papyrus would always retort in such a manner, but always accepting that both ways work.

He shifted his gaze upwards, the ceiling a continuous monochrome rust within the flurry of ice. Stopping at some of his simpler grounded puzzles, he did a few maintenance checks before continuing towards his goal. Papyrus always worried. He worried about San's condition, crystals covering his brother's skull and cracking it. He worried how the crystals might have affected him. Papyrus only had small spiralling vortexes apon the tops of his cheekbones and lower eye sockets, however he had heard and seen how badly some monsters get affected by the...infection. He felt fine however, and brushed it off as a chance he'd have to take. Feet crunching, softly, slowly, he reached his destination. A table with a plate of spaghetti, an unplugged microwave. He smiled. Maybe the crystals weren't bad, if they gave him such a brilliant idea. He couldn't wait for a human to arrive.

Check:

Papyrus: HP ??/?? DEF ?? ATK ??

* he froze the spaghetti on purpose.

 

Papyrus never worried.

Papyrus giggled. He laughed. He chuckled. He realised how often he had been laughing these days. How good that must be! If he's laughing, then he's happy! His traps were perfect. He was ready, now he just had to be patient, waiting at his post. He waited -

/irregular breathing swiveling eyes they're here they're here/

-till he saw Sans.

Sans.

Why would he be here?

No...How could he be here?

"I've been here the whole time...how did he get past me...?"Curious, Papyrus stood up from his dilapidated shack he made years ago. -

/was it years, was it just the passing of time that monsters don't witness for no stars light their sullen ceiling?/

-Crimson boots crunching against the ice, crystal and dust that fills the air before settling once more, Papyrus slowly walked towards Sans. Stopping slowly, he stood before his brother's outpost.

A figure of indeterminate gender stood in front of Sans, their head bowed low, facing towards Papyrus.

"H-hey. Don't you know its rude to not look at someone when they're speaking? T-turn around."

The figure slowly turned, raspy breath audible to the taller skeleton who watched.

"A human...?"

Papyrus whispered, chuckling darkly.

"A human..."-

/never look back never look back never look back/

-they greeted Sans with a small nod. "N-now I'm supposed to be watching out for any humans here you see, but I don't really care...My bro Papyrus, however, he's... Obsessed. To the point its all he talks about. So...if you could be a skele-pal and stay alive till he sees you...t-that would be appreciated."

The human shuffled around, staring at their hands till they gave a sharp nod.

"O-okay then, just go through here...he made the bars too big to stop anything anyway..."

The two stepped through the gate that Papyrus had constructed. For whatever it was worth, those logs were heavy to carry, Papyrus thought. Bounding forward with a grin, Papyrus made himself known to the duo.

Sans flinched, and the human stared, stared intensely. "Why hello Sans! I'm glad to see you haven't been slacking off!" Papyrus smiled. Sans scratched at his covered eyesocket. "Y-yep." Sans replied slowly. The human gazed at Papyrus, almost entertained by the skeleton's appearance.

"And hello human." Papyrus's voice dropped an octave, causing the human to step back in apprehension.

"Hmm. Good job Sans...you've done well." Papyrus chuckled.

"This is going to be very entertaining! Why, I haven't been that entertained since the fall of the king! Nyehehe, ah, so many problems." Papyrus turned away from the duo, giving Sans a soft look before stepping back into the cold, fearful storm of ice that refracted the light in such a way that it ate away at the optic nerve. Its good he didn't have one then.

The cold hit as he walked into a clearing where he had set a puzzle, making him feel...

"Alive."

He whipped his head towards where the voice in the dark had supposedly come from, but saw only snow and crystal, trees and dust. He stood there in the dim light of the outskirts of Snowdin, waiting.

"Yes. Alive..."

He wondered, yet had nothing to wonder about. He just -

/scratch away the chest cavities forming, rotting/

-smiled and continued to stand, in the semi-night of the underground. Waiting for the human.

Waiting.

Because he was alive.

"Alive", he whispered.

" Alive", they said back.

Chapter Text

"In the case of the outbreak, we discussed the negative affects to the souls of monsters. The monsters that have been studied while in the crystallisation process have displayed varying attributes, from signs of falling down to bipolar like symptoms. A predominant feature witnessed has been the loss of sanity within the monster, and this can usually be gauged in severity by how bad the infection has affected their physical appearance. Monsters that have has less crystals forming on them have been far more stable than the ones who have more, in normal cases. Monsters that have fallen down do not dust however, as the infection lives on and forms a complete statue of the host it had been infecting. I saw this happening in person, prior to last weeks events. I offer my condolences to those involved...it truly was horrific."

-Excerpt from an Anonymous blog post.

                             •••

Growing up in the Underground is hard. The Old Home is in ruins, after decades of neglect, and the New Home suffers consequences of overpopulation. Close to no monsters can live in Hotland due to the extreme radiation and heat caused by molten magma and the CORE, excess energy radiating from the previous CORE meltdown. The polar opposite, Snowdin, with the surrounding  snowfields and forest recieve close to no radiation, including heat and light. Snowdin is perpetually in a dim twighlight, and due to no heat, snow forms from the cold air currents circulating the Underground.
Waterfall as a neutral temperature, would be ideal for any monster, however, the size of the area is rather small, and that's where the infection begun.

/seemingly indifferent. A past consequence./

"It is cold!"
Not a soft cold, however the tips of the skeleton's phalanges played with the edges of his pockets.
Papyrus never minds the cold too much, it keeps him focused.

-"Alive" they chuckle.-

"Heh, told ya it would be. It was snow lie."
Sans grinned to his little brother who grumbled back, burying his small face into his black scarf.
"Sans...that's the worst one this morning!"
Papyrus huffed, his small scarlets boots stomping through the new snow.
Sans still grinned, grabbing Papyrus' bare hand, marching through the last of the long grass, the waterfalls slowly turning to ice as they continued. 
Their orange and blue striped coats stood out against the pallid snow and stone, as the two small skeleton brothers stumbled onward, into civilisation.


Letting go of Sans' blue mitten, Papyrus forgot his previous troubles and gazed onward in awe.
The town they finally reached was lit up spectacularly with an array of coloured hanging lights, providing a delicate soothing warmth to the dull, pallid night.
"So...whatcha think?"
Sans gave a lopsided grin, which Papyrus returned with a beaming smile.
"This is amazing Sans! Nyehehe!"
Papyrus laughed as he turned his head back to look at the town.
Sans smiled.
"I think so too. It'll be great! Mr Boom was nice enough to talk with Mr Dreemuur to get us a house! And Paps, its our house. So we've gotta take care of it,  okay?"
Sans eyed Papyrus who turned back and nodded.
"And you're not allowed to put your sock on the floor! What if Mr Boom came to check on us and saw that you still did that! You're the bigger bones here Sans!"
Sans groaned.
"Paaap...I can't promise tha-"


Sans looked at Papyrus, who sent the best bone-chilling glare a seven year old could.
"Ok, ok!"
Papyrus' face softened into a grin.
Following Sans' footsteps in the snow, Papyrus trailed behind, observing. He enjoyed seeing people going about their day. It made him feel happy-

"Alive", they whispered.

-" And here we are!"
Sans pulled one of his midnight blue mittens off his hand, which then he promptly dug around in his pocket for a key.
Pulling it out with a flourish, Sans grinned.
"Do you wanna unlock the door? ...Pap?"
Sans turned away from the door, looking behind him.

/forgotten forgotten remember remember

"Pap? You okay?"
Sans stared at the little skeleton.
Reaching out, Sans tapped Papyrus' shoulder.

/heavy discord static cacophony/-

Flinching, Papyrus blinked and stared back at Sans. 
"Y-you all good bro?"
Papyrus nodded and scratched his neck with a phalange.
"You scared me for a sec there...did you zone out or something?"
Sans frowned.
"Mm tired..."
Papyrus mumbled out, to which Sans gave a small smile.
"You can rest inside, okay? We're here."
Sans turned back and unlocked the door with mild difficulty before guiding Papyrus inside.
Their new residence consisted of a homely array of furniture left by the previous owners.

/fallen down, reside here/

Papyrus stumbled inside, Sans half holding him up.
Dropping into a large armchair, Papyrus' eyesockets drifted to a close, soft sleep soon to close in. 
Sans gave a relieved smile.
"It'll be okay Paps...It'll be okay."
Papyrus gave an illegible murmur, before snuggling into the armchair, curling up and wrapping his arms around his knees.
Sans picked up a black  cushion from the adjacent chair and lifted the small skeleton's skull up softly to place it underneath.

Placing down his backpack that he carried for the two of them, Sans unzipped it and pulled out the item that lay ontop. A small scarlet blanket was gently pulled out and placed on the small orange-clad skeleton, tucked under his chin.
"Gnight bro."
Sans sighed, and sat down in the opposing armchair, glad they were for monsters far larger than them.
Nearly out of his stripes, Sans almost qualified as an adult, which means he would soon have to work, and doing so, Papyrus would be all alone.
Sans was determined to find someone to look after his babybones brother. He had to.

-/repeatrepeatsaveusrepeatrepeat/-

/H E L L O./
Papyrus opened his eyes.
/Y O U.../
Papyrus sat up.
/A L I V E.../
Papyrus glanced around.

/YOU'RE ALIVE./
"...yes. That's what I was told by the funny voice... Who are you?"
Papyrus stared into the-

/I AM NO-ONE./

-/I AM SOMEONE/-

-silent night, the air still apon the floor. Sans slept on the armchair opposite; adjacent.
They were home...?
"This is...home now...isn't it?"
Papyrus realised.
Looking down at his small phalanges, he gave a shiver.
"Sans and I are home...?"
Papyrus clenched his fist.
"I want to go home..back home..."
Papyrus' voice gave a high pitch whine, trying to not cry.
Rubbing his eyesockets with his sleeves, orange tears pricked at the corner of his eyes, spilling over quietly. 
Shaking, Papyrus stood up from the chair, boots squeaking on the icy floor. He stumbled over to where Sans was sleeping, and sat by the bottom of the armchair.
Pulling his legs close to his body, Papyrus sat, his brother's presence comforting him. 
He listened and silence greeted him, so he was glad.

/resequenced dysphoria/

                        •••
He sat up.
Papyrus grinned.
"A human..."
Pulling the rough scarlet blanket off his knees, Papyrus got up.
Looking over to his bed where he had been yet again for 7 hours and 34 minutes, staring at the ceiling while recounting past events.
Bones clicking in a rhythmic pattern, popping vertebrae, snapping phalanges.


He scratched his neck.

Chapter Text

"Not everyone is influenced by the effects of the parasite to the same degree. For some, it shows up as if they were falling down. Others may have a small symptom their entire lives. This brings up the question referenced before. What if some monsters have a genetic resistance? To harness the resistant gene, and to implant the code into the souls of suffering monsters...its revolutionary, but alas, still a theory and nothing more. We will study this in further detail in the next unit we will cover, of course, but please do give it some thought."

 

-An excerpt from Dr. ------'s lecture, provided by an anonymous individual.

 

***




Papyrus hummed, turning his blank eye sockets to where he presumed the voice to be.

He swung his legs back and forth over the ravine, wind scraping against his bones. He sat within the hum.

"...yes?"

 

/why  are   you   here?/

 

He chuckled softly, flicking a bit of snow off the wooden bridge he sat on.

 

"Why are you here, is the actual question. I thought I told you to stay away."

 

There was a static hum, images of colour bars long forgotten.

 

"Alive...?" They asked.

 

/I   never   leave,         papyrus ./

 

Papyrus groaned, rolling his blacked out eyes.

Peering into the void beneath him, Papyrus proceeded to ignore the disappointed sighs of the others that linger behind him, watching.

 

"Bro? Y-you okay?"

Sans' voice came from behind him this time, to which Papyrus flopped back onto the bridge, spine hitting the hard wood with a thump as he stared at the new presence.

"Nyehehe, but of course Sans! A human has arrived. A human!"

Papyrus idly swung his legs back and forth in the void below, grinning wildly, at perhaps nothing.

"W-well...they're here Paps."

Sans stuttered out, nervously scratching at bandages. Whipping his head to look at the newcomer with a crack, Papyrus' grin stretched wider, a skeletal grin at the mortal form quivering.

"hello."

Papyrus chuckled, the voice he spoke with a rough unpracticed rasp, a low bass that whispered in comparison to his normal upbeat voice. 

 

The child shook, eyes wide as the shakily made their way forwards.

Sans went to raise his arm, but halted and put it down. 

"Papyrus...?"

He whispered, eyes devoid of emotion, just black voids that ate the light that reached them.  Papyrus chuckled, before standing, vertebrae letting out small snaps and pops as he stood to his full height. 

Taking a step back, Sans looked between the two.  Noticing the apprehension, Papyrus halted, sighing. 

"...Alright. I'll leave you be. But Sans...don't you dare get between me and my goal."

Papyrus smiled, a grin that would have seemed innocent if it were not for his previous demeanor. 

Nodding furiously, Sans gave out a scratchy reply.

"A-Alright."

Hastily grabbing onto the human with a midnight black glove, Sans and the human shuddered out of the current reality, snow filling their footsteps. 

Silence resumed, taking over the processes of the mind and allowing room for external thoughts.

Taking off a scarlet, dusty glove from his glassy phalanges, frosty light refracted within the crystalline bones as he held it up to the dim light.

Fresh flurries of snow landed upon his outstretched palm, chilling the bones further than before, signalling the presence of night upon the underground.

Soft orbs of light upon the bridge alighted themselves, flickering in the gentle breeze from below, casting a mellow light over Papyrus.

Bringing his hand down, he pulled his glove back on with practiced ease, and looked over the edge of the bridge.

Swirling drifts of snow and dust in the void below fell upon a floor at unimaginable depths. 

 

/"papyrus."/

 

"...Not now. Please leave me alone for a little bit Gaster."

They hummed, before retreating to whence they came. 

 

Papyrus reveled in the silence, dark wood under his scarlet clad feet holding his fate, between the void and the world he currently traversed. Above and below, only darkness prevailed. Only the well worn path through the snow held light, illuminated.

Papyrus let out a drawn out chuckle at the events unfolding before him, mind wandering more than he was. 

Feet finding their way along the bridge, and finally, stepping off with a thick crunch of snow and debris, Papyrus finally snapped from his delirium to register events occurring upon the current time plane. 

Snowdin stood like a beacon, echoing-

 

/ H E L P   M E  H E L P   M E   H E L P   M E   H E L P   M E   HELP--/

 

-past memories. It truly, had become home for them all, on the farthest reach of civilization. Due to the harsh temperature and bad weather currents, Snowdin's residents have slowly dropped, presumably moving to New Home, despite the radiation and overpopulation. Rumors suggested that there may even be some monsters still in the Old Home, even though it now lay in darkness and ruins.

Battered signs and colourful lights lay tangled upon trees, symbols of neglect within the small community. Papyrus passed the buildings one by one, face widening into his familiar charade of cheer as he greeted each individual he went by with enthusiasm.

 

/It hurt, but no one needed to know that./

 

Eventually, his footsteps slowed at the house he called home, but after a silent deliberation, he went on, gaze lingering behind him. Slowly distancing himself once more from the town, trees grew sparse and hardy in the rocky soil. Water was abundant, but the soil lacked the necessities as he drew closer to the waterfall.

Snow fell in patches around the waterfall, the cliff overhang preventing any major snowfall.

 

"Gaster?"

A curious hum was given in reply, a silent gesture.

"...You're not alive, are you."

This was not a question Papyrus gave, but a statement. 

 

/c o r r e c t./

 

"Alive," they say. 

 

Papyrus fell silent. 

 

Waiting 

   for 

        the

               human

                          to

                              arrive.



/Incorrigible insanity inside the mind unable to be fixed they’re gone they’re gone/

 

Small, light footsteps crunch the gravel and snow underfoot, alerting Papyrus of a new presence. He raised his head and smiled at the newcomer.

“Nyehehe! Welcome human! Did you and Sans have a good time becoming friends?”

Papyrus rocked on the heel of his feet, gauging the reaction of the human.

The human cautiously looked up at the tall skeleton, eyes masked by a mass of unruly hair.

They frowned slightly, almost confused at Papyrus’ behavior.

“Well, either way, you’re here now. You want to continue, don’t you…?”

Nodding slowly, they looked down at their feet as Papyrus continued.

“...I see. Well, that conflicts with my goals. Sorry human! But I won’t let you past!”

Papyrus laughed, eyes like dying embers of gold and orange, a sunset never seen flaring up.

 

/shuddering halting ceasing resting/

 

“Ghk--”

The human raised a hand, looking downwards at their abdomen. A large, ivory bone, almost crystalline, stained crimson stuck out ajar, piercing them,

 

/D̴̖͖̥̦͎̕I̴̥̙͂̊̈͝Š̸̝̠͜S̸̪̲͚̜̈́̓͂͑̽͜O̷͕̹͎̪͈͊N̴͔̟̰̳̟͗̽Ä̸̲̥͎́N̸͎͍̱͚͑̐̅͂C̸̬͚̖͍̰̈́Ḙ̵̙͒̄̅̄ ̵̠͉̺̃̆̃C̷̳͉̰̽͂͆̋̍Ã̴̡̲̪̘̦̋̍̿̕Ċ̸̮̗̬͉Ỏ̸̺̝͉̹̈́P̸͎͉̩̠̒̀H̷̛͕̙̫̃̐̐̽͜ͅŎ̵̘͍͑̇̈́͒ͅN̸̗̺̗̽̃͘Y̵̩̑̆ ̷̡̗͋͑̿̆͝Ä̴̜ ̵̦̬͖̒͒D̴̰͓̹͗͌́͘͝Į̴̲̩̎R̵͈͉̥͕͈̊͆G̸̝̜̬̿̈́̈́̊͝E̶̡̧̚ ̴͚̞̜̅͒F̶̯̞͍̗͒́̈͑Ó̷̧̰̟̇͌̐̾R̸̤̜̱̯̍̉ ̵̨̬̐̔A̶̢̻̬͓͎̎̿̓͐̾ ̸̧̨̗̄̽M̵̢̙̩͉͋̍͌̎͗Ṳ̵̖̼́R̵̳̋D̴̜̬̞̺͉̅Ê̷̝̙̦̦̝̑͠R̵̗̻̠̦̹̽ ̶̼͕͇͑̉Ȯ̶̙͓̀F̷̛͖̜̝͕͑́͋̆ ̴̗̣̲̋C̸̞̚R̸̟̺̜͓̱̄͑͝O̶̙̲W̴̠̣͔̺̎̂̽͘S̷͍̿̔̈̈́͝/

 

bubbling fluids of cardinal and rust seeped out of the wound, the snow tarnished crimson under the dusky ceiling, and sickly blue glow of the waterfall illuminating Papyrus from behind, silhouetting his lanky figure. Gasping, the human slumped to the ground,  breathing laboured as they clutched at their stomach, lines of salt and tears running freely down their face, breath visible as small clouds of crystal in the stagnant air.

"This is the end, human."

 

-”A L I V E,” They laugh.-

 

“Alive,” Papyrus whispers back.

 

*CHECK

-

*FRISK - 00 ATK 05 DEF

LV 1

HP 01/20

*They don’t know where they went wrong.