I do not own Undertale.
Once, there was a young girl named Chara who lived with her family, until she didn't. Chara was smart and she was strong, and she always did whatever she had to do.
"I'm gonna get you!" she shouted, running as fast as her legs could carry her.
"Nuh uh!" Asriel shouted, turning a corner around their home. Chara tried to keep up, but she slipped in the dirt and fell. Smiling, she picked herself up and chased after the monster, who'd gotten an impressive lead. But he wasn't gonna get away. She was gonna get him!
Asriel turned another corner, but that wasn't gonna save him! Chara slowed down so she wouldn't slip again and turned around...
... and came face to face with Asriel, who faced her with his hands above his head, flickering with fire magic while he made a comically 'intimidating' face.
"BOO!" he shouted.
"Ha!" she shouted, taking the opportunity to tackle him in the gut. Almost instantly his face turned to panicked horror and his magic winked out, and then they were on the ground. "You're it!" she shouted, breathing heavily. Chest heaving, Chara got to her feet and helped the goat kid up. "Almost got me!" she cheered. Then she ran away before he could -
A furry hand brushed the back of her neck. "Tag!"
She shrieked in anguished joy, but before she could stop her forward momentum Asriel was already gone. That didn't stop her from giving chase, Asriel always got tired before her. Sure enough she caught up with him before long., near the door to their house. She lightly tapped him on the back of his shirt. "Tag!"
He laughed, but slowed down next to the road that led to the door. "Okay, okay." He took a few deep breaths. "Hang on, just lemme catch my breath, Char."
"Kay!" she chirped, prancing over to his side. She flopped onto her back, laying on the soil and staring up at the sky.
... no, not the sky.
Instead of a blue expanse with a burning sun, she was met with a demonically tall cavern ceiling made of black and gray stone. It was too high for her to make out any irregularities beyond smooth rises and falls in its surface, and it reminded her again of how much her life had changed in such a very short time. She thought for sure she was dead when she'd tripped down the hole. At the time Chara wasn't so bad off she wanted to die and the idea that her life was going to be cut short so early, that all she'd ever know was... was that, it almost made her throw up.
And then Asriel came. He'd healed her as best he could with his magic, and brought her back. Mom and Dad had taken her in, given her incredible food that she didn't even know existed. Mom set up a curriculum to homeschool her, and she learned all sorts of things she didn't even know were possible. Like the human-monster war, or nouns, or long division! She had a brother, she was a daughter and a princess! Everyone in the underground looked at her and smiled, asked how her day was, they looked at her and Asriel and they believed that in the future, humans and monsters could live together!
But they were trapped down here. Chara couldn't leave. Asriel couldn't leave. Mom and Dad couldn't leave. Nobody could. The only way to get through the barrier was a human soul, and the only human soul that had ever come to the underground even after so many years, was her.
"What're ya thinking about?" Asriel asked, laying next to her to stare up at the ceiling. Asriel had been born in the underground. He'd never known anything else. He'd never known what the sun was like.
Chara shook her head. "Nothing," she said, her earlier enthusiasm gone. She hated it when she thought about those things. It made her stomach feel funny and heavy. "Just depressing stuff."
"Kay. You know Mom says that you should talk about depressing stuff so you'll feel better."
She sighed. "I know but, maybe later okay?"
With impeccable timing, the door opened and Chara's mom stood there, wearing a warm smile. The smell of pie wafted out from inside of the house. "Kids, it's time for dinner," she chimed in a voice straight from Chara's best dreams. "Come inside and brush that dirt off, okay?"
She and Asriel both got up, and ran inside for snail pie. It wasn't as gross as she first thought it would be, the taste was easily acquired and Mom was a very good cook.
... still, what she'd been thinking earlier kept scratching at the back of her head.
Years passed, and Chara was on the cusp of puberty.
Mom and Dad were out doing King and Queen stuff, leaving her and Asriel alone in the house together. Asriel was off in their room playing with something, but Chara had just gone to Mom's reading chair and curled up in it, deep in thought.
The monsters were suffering underground. Space was limited, lighting was difficult, food and water were stretched thin. As a princess she never noticed it herself, but her father always talked around the dinner table. Maybe her life underground was better than it'd been above, but for the monsters it was a poor life. If they could break free from the underground their lives would improve.
Or so they thought. The surface was still populated with humans after all.
Not to mention that the barrier still needed seven human souls to break and they only had one, which was only enough to allow a single monster to go free. One single monster, out of the hundreds of thousands that lived underground. And in all the time the monsters had been trapped she was the only one who'd ever fallen down. She... and her human soul. Which would only allow a single monster to leave and go to the surface... where more humans lived.
She opened the heart-shaped locket around her neck and looked at it. 'Best Friends Forever' was written on its surface, and insideside was a picture of Asriel on one half, and herself on the other. Chara closed it back up and sighed.
Still sitting in the reading chair, Chara tapped her chin as a plan began to fold itself together. It was a very risky plan, there was no promise it would succeed. But... living on the surface she hadn't known of the monsters either. Maybe nobody did. It'd been long enough after all, people could have forgotten. And if she... and then he... then maybe they could... but that would still leave the problem of...
A door closed and she glanced up from where she'd been picking at her striped shirt. Asriel ran towards her on padded feet with something in his hands. "Howdy, Chara!" he said with a beaming smile. "Smile for the camera!"
"Huh?" she asked, dumbfounded as he held up a camera in his right hand. What was he -
"Ha, this time I got YOU!" he bragged, sticking out his tongue.
Chara put on her 'creepy face' in response, lowering her eyes and grinning widely. "You know the cap's still on right?" she asked before dropping the face. It hurt her cheeks to do.
Asriel blinked, then turned the camera so it was pointed at him. "I left the cap on," he muttered to himself like he couldn't believe the device would betray him like it had. "... ON PURPOSE!" he denied, putting it away and looking at her. "And now you're smiling for no reason!"
Heh, she was wasn't she? Asriel always knew how to cheer her up when she was in one of her moods, even better than hot cocoa could. But then she thought back to what she'd been planning and her face went still as stone.
"Asriel," she said, cutting off his peels of laughter. "Can I talk to you?" she asked, worried about how he'd take her plan.
"What?" he asked, pointing a nearby dining chair to face her and sitting in it.
She took a deep breath. "Remember when we messed up that recipe?"
He nodded. "Oh yeah, I remember. When we tried to make butterscotch pie for Dad, right? The recipe asked for cups of butter, but we accidentally put in buttercups instead. "
Chara nodded dourly. Not exactly her proudest moment. "Buttercups are extremely poisonous aren't they?"
"Yeah! Those flowers got him really sick," he said, trailing off and looking down miserably. "I felt so bad, we made Mom really upset." The monster sighed. "I should've just laughed it off like you did." Asriel shook his head, sending his floppy ears flying. "Um, anyway, where are you going with this?"
She noticed that camera was still running. "Can you turn that off?"
"I don't want anyone else to hear this," she said, tension knotting inside her stomach.
He opened up its control panel. "Turn off the camera…? Okay..." Click. "So what was it?"
"Monsters can absorb human souls," she said. "There is nothing humans can do to stop this process, the fear of which lead to the war. When a monster absorbs a human soul, they become phenomenally powerful. With seven human souls, a monster's magic would be powerful enough to destroy the barrier and free everyone, right?" she asked.
Cautiously, Asriel nodded. "Um, right. Where are you going with this? We don't have seven human souls."
"We don't need seven," she said. "Not from inside anyway. There are plenty of human souls outside the barrier."
"But a monster would need a human soul to reach them, wouldn't they?"
There was a tense silence. "We have one," Chara whispered.
It took a moment for Asriel to figure out what she was implying. His face went gaunt and he lifted a hand to his muzzle. "Chara, no. That's crazy! You're talking about someone killing you!"
"They wouldn't need to kill me," she pointed out. "Just hear me out. Buttercups are poisonous, right? So we get a bunch of buttercups and I eat them. Then after they, um, do their thing you can absorb my soul and cross the barrier! Then you just need six souls from the humans, which'll be easy since you'll already have mine making you strong, then you can come back and free everyone. It's the perfect plan!"
"Yeah, except that you'll be dead!" Asriel protested.
Chara was silent at that. Finally she said, "But if it frees everyone, lets them go to the surface like they want to, like Mom and Dad want to, wouldn't it be worth it?" she asked.
They talked about the plan more. Every now and then when they were alone, Chara and Asriel talked more about the plan, each of them trying to convince the other. But Chara had always been more hard headed than Asriel, and eventually he folded, but not before crying. One day, while Chara was asleep in her bed with the camera tossed into the toy box, she heard the pads of his feet walking on the wooden floor to her bed.
He sighed. "I... I don't like this plan, Chara."
Chara was just as asleep as he had been. She cracked open her eyes and stared up at him with a smile. "C'mon, you scared? You're not the one who'll be eating buttercups," she joked. It was a low blow, but they could do this! She felt it in her bones, they'd be heroes! They were the prince and princess of all monsters, they couldn't just sit around when they had the key to everyone's happiness right there.
"Wh - what?" he asked, aghast. "N-No, I'm not..." Something glistened on his cheek. "Big kids don't cry," he whispered to himself. Asriel took a deep breath and nodded. "Yeah, you're right."
"Do you doubt me?"
"No! I'd never doubt you, Chara. Never."
"Then trust me, it'll work. You'll be strong, stronger than anyone. Stronger than Gaster, stronger than Dad, stronger than everyone combined," she encouraged. "Nobody will be able to hurt you."
He nodded. "We'll be strong," he whispered. Then he smiled. "We'll free everyone!"
"Then let's go do this now, while everyone's asleep," she said, swinging her feet out of bed.
"I'll go get the flowers," he offered, running away.
But she wasn't being entirely honest with him.
To save everyone, they were going to need a lot more than six souls. The fact that it'd let her take out her frustrations was just a bonus.
Before long Asriel came back, with a bushel of buttercup flowers picked from around their garden in his hands. He shook nervously, but handed them over to Chara. She gathered them up in her arms, brushing the flowers against her pajama sleeves. "Here they are. You sure about this?"
Taking a deep breath, she nodded. "Yeah. And hey, I'm only gonna be dead, not gone."
Chara steeled herself, took a deep breath, then crammed the flowers into her mouth.
There was something she hadn't accounted for.
The flowers had tasted horrible, far worse than their name would've suggested. Her mouth burned, and the burning went all the way down to her stomach as the poison seared her flesh. Now Chara laid on her bed, slipping in and out of delirium as monster medics came by and did whatever they could for her.
But she wasn't a monster. The medicines that had worked on Dad wouldn't work on her. Chara was going to die, just like she planned.
It didn't take long. Her head throbbed and her breaths came in short, shallow gasps. The room she shared with Asriel wobbled back and forth on its side like a mad roller coaster. Then there was the vomiting and diarrhea. Ugh. And the resulting dehydration, double ugh. She should have just stabbed herself or something.
The day had passed quickly, and Chara could feel herself slipping. Sometimes she slept, and mumbled half forgotten things about wanting to see flowers. Sometimes she was awake, staring silently as monsters tried to cure her, as Mom tried to make her healing magic work on something that wasn't a burn or a cut. Sometimes she shook uncontrollably, and each time she thought that her time had come. Sometimes Asriel was there by her side, holding her hand and trying to comfort her. Usually she ended up comforting him when he inevitably started bawling his eyes out.
Sometimes, like now, she was just too tired to keep her eyes open, but the ongoing sensations of poisoning kept her awake. Behind her eyelids a swarm of dim, multicolored lines chased each other on a black canvas.
A presence knelt by her bed and replaced the wet cloth on her forehead. "Chara," Mom whispered. "Can you hear me? We want you to wake up."
Chara's gut twisted with guilt in addition to flower toxin. Mom and Dad would be so worried, but wouldn't it be worth it? They'd lived before the war, they didn't age normally. They knew what the sun and fresh air were like, they remembered what they were missing. She could give it back to them. All she needed was to just give in to the flowers.
"Chara!" her father hissed. "You have to stay determined," he insisted, unaware of her true intentions. "You can't give up, you are the future of humans and monsters." Dad, bless him, he still thought there could be peace. Even after all this time. Chara wasn't the future of humans and monsters. It was one or the other, and she'd made her choice.
Eventually, Mom and Dad left and Chara fell into an uneasy slumber. She couldn't have slept long, because soon...
"Psst, Chara. Please wake up."
... soon she was opening her eyes weakly to see Asriel by her bedside. His eyes were bloody and puffed, with the fur beneath them matted with tears. His hands shook and his ears drooped lower than normal.
"I don't like this plan anymore," he whimpered. "I... I..."
"Shh," she said, but her throat was like sandpaper and even whispering it felt like she was bleeding internally. Maybe she was. "Trust me," Chara whispered.
Asriel looked like he was about to start bawling again. "No, I said... " He took a deep breath and wiped away his tears. "I said I'd never doubt you. Six right? We just have to get six and we'll do it together, right?" With what little strength she had, Chara managed to nod.
They'd do it together. Her power and his body.
Mommy Daddy please help it hurts please please I'm sorry this was a mistake I can't breathe someone please help me give me medicine give me something anything please I don't want to die I don't want to die I'm sorry I won't do it again I promise please I don't want to die there's so much I haven't done yet I want to grow up and learn everything Mommy wanted to teach me and I don't want to make them cry because they were so nice to me please it hurts please please please I can't breathe I think I'm going to die someone help me Daddy please come back don't leave me alone please please stay with me I don't want this I don't want this I don't want to die not like this please Asriel please I'm sorry you were right this is a bad plan please please please please please...
It was so dark.
Her body... she couldn't feel her body. Why not? She couldn't see either. Even the squiggles of light that came with closed eyes were gone.
Had she... had she... ?
Chara heard crying. It was dim and muted, like there was an iceberg between her and the noise, but it was certainly crying. Sometimes wailing. Chara could've sworn she felt something in her breaking. Oh, Asriel...
Something wrapped around her and Chara felt herself lifting, but she was so small. She didn't think she had any limbs. Something cold and dusty enveloped her, and she felt it warming up as her body heat transferred into it. And then she saw... she saw...
Herself. She saw her own body, laying on the bed unmoving, unbreathing, her skin pale. Her eyes were closed and sunken, her rosy cheeks ashen, her lips were thin, she was the very image of illness with blankets up to her chin. But... if she was looking at herself then that could only mean one thing. Asriel had done it.
Suddenly, Asriel was groaning, then he screamed. In the corner of Asriel's vision - which was tinted with red for some reason - Chara saw Mom and Dad backing up from him frantically. Asriel grew and grew, and Chara felt her hair raising and decided it was probably his horns growing out.
'Asriel?' she thought, trying to push the thought 'towards' him.
Asriel froze in the middle of his transformation. 'Ch-Chara?' he thought.
'Yeah, it's me. It's really me.'
'It worked,' he thought faintly.
'Yeah, but we still need to leave the barrier.'
'I can take you out,' he offered. 'While you were sick you said you wanted to see the flowers from your village again.'
'Did I? I can't remember. But, okay. I would like to see them.'
Asriel stood, breathing softly. Chara watched as he inspected his furry hands, summoning blazing fireballs to them. He looked left to Mom, then right to Dad, and Chara marveled at how tall he'd grown, how her parents no longer looked like giants. "I'm fine," Asriel said out loud. "Mom, Dad, I... I need to bring her back. She wanted me too," he said, voice trembling.
Without waiting, Asriel walked towards her body. 'Can I try?' Chara asked.
Asriel paused. 'Go for it.'
Chara focused, and willed the warmth flowing out from what was surely her soul to expand. The warmth flared and suffused the rest of Asriel's body, and then she felt limbs, felt hair and fur and magic and so many things. Chara flexed Asriel's fingers and breathed. 'This is weird,' she thought as she scooped up her body.
'You're telling me.'
Chara, still piloting Asriel's body, turned towards the door. Their room seemed so small now. She looked towards Mom and Dad and smiled. "I'll be back, I promise," she said in Asriel's alarmingly masculine voice. "Until... until you see my dust I'm fine alright? It's just that this may take a while," she muttered, walking out while carrying her corpse.
Had Chara always been so light?
She walked and walked, until she went out the back entrance to their house and stood before the barrier. It glistened brilliantly, rectangular shades of gray and white and murderous black that concealed everything behind it. Still grasping her body, she pushed forward into it. The barrier resisted, but Chara gritted Asriel's teeth - taking care not to puncture him with his own fangs - and pushed against the barrier. Like a bubble it bent around her, then like a rubber band it snapped behind her and... she was free.
Chara receded and let Asriel have his body back. 'Whoa!' he said, stumbling before catching his balance. 'Warn me when you do that, okay?'
'Sorry,' she muttered as Asriel began to walk, passing through a few gates. It took a little while, but soon they were outside. Asriel gasped and looked around. They'd arrived just at sunset. Far off on the horizon, she watched as Asriel stared at the sun. It was orange to Chara, sinking behind a layer of trees and distant buildings. The sky was purple-red and ruby stars were starting to peak out. A gentle wind hissed along the plains, and grass swayed under the breeze.
"Wow," Asriel whispered out loud, walking forward in a daze. "Chara, is this what you grew up with? It's beautiful."
'I guess. Kinda reddish to me now, is it to you?'
'Huh? No, I still see everything fine. Maybe it's because your soul was red.'
'Maybe.' She paused. 'Asry, I'm sorry but I lied.'
Asriel stopped. "What do you mean lied?"
'Okay, I'll walk you through it. What happens if we get another six souls and then free everyone?'
Asriel frowned. "Well, I guess it means we'll all get to live on the surface. Taking in the sun, and looking at those... stars, and making wishes on them... " He trailed off wistfully, his body swaying like a fern.
'Who else lives on the surface?' she pressed.
"Well humans I guess, but we can learn to live alongside them. It's been a long time since the wars right? And humans don't get immortal like Mom and Dad, so no human would remember it. Yeah, we can just coexist."
Oh Asriel, he was so naive. 'You can't actually think that,' she insisted. 'Asriel, do you know why humans started the war? Because they learned monsters can steal souls. Even if nobody today remembers that you can do that, how long do you think it'll be before they learn? That's not a secret we can keep forever.'
Asriel whimpered. "Chara, I don't like where you're going with this." Despite his protests Asriel started to walk ahead, towards the distant city.
'Asriel, if we free everyone then there's going to be another war. Maybe not right away, maybe not even in my life time - well, if I hadn't died, you know what I mean - but eventually there will be another war. And this time humans might not stop at just sealing monsters underground,' she said ominously.
"You're wrong," he said. "We can convince them that peace is better, we can - "
'What, like the last war? That's not going to happen. They aren't going to want assurances that no monster will ever steal a human's soul, they'll want to make sure of it themselves. I grew up around them bro, I know what they're like and I know they aren't ever going to let us be! Six souls isn't enough.'
"You can't be suggesting what I think you are, that's horrible!"
'Well if you have a better idea I'm listening!' she shouted, imaging throwing up her hands in exasperation. Despite that, her body remained limp. 'What brilliant idea do you have that'll make sure no human ever kills a monster again, that they'll never shove us all back underground, that they'll never wipe us extinct?!'
Asriel was silent. The sun sank beneath the horizon and thousands of stars glittered above, though her brother didn't seem to notice. "I don't know," he muttered.
'This planet isn't big enough for both monsters and humans. They can't even get over differences in how brown each others' skin is, do you think they'll be able to get over monsters? It's us or them, Asriel.'
"... Chara, you're a human too."
'I... I don't think I am anymore,' she said uncomfortably. She wanted to shout at him for calling her that, but then he'd probably start crying again and they needed to focus. 'Please, if we don't do this Mom and Dad are going to die. Everyone we know and love will die if we let them free into a world ruled by humans. But right now they don't know about us. During the war they already knew what monsters could do with souls so they could stop it from happening, but we can catch them by surprise. Take six more souls and you'll be a god and then they can't stop us. Trust me on this, I've been up here before. I know what I'm talking about. Please, Asriel.'
Asriel sighed. "I don't know what to do, Char."
'If... if you don't want to, I can,' she offered. 'When we get there you can let me take control and I'll... you know.'
"This is... this is genocide, Chara. I don't think I can let you do that."
'If we don't, we'll be genociding monsters. Pick a side.'
Asriel didn't talk to her for the rest of the walk. Eventually he got to the quiet city and walked in, sticking to alleys under her direction. Skyscrapers towered around him and he craned his neck all around to take in the sights and smells of the urban life, but didn't stop until he reached the park at the city's heart. Small wonder, there Asriel found a small bed of golden flowers, like what Dad liked to make tea with.
"Well, this is it," he muttered. "While you were sick you said you wanted to see the flowers so, here we are." Asriel knelt and Chara's body was laid on the ground. A pang of melancholy went through her; she'd never grow up. She'd never laugh and jump and skip and play tag with Asriel ever again. This was her existence now, forever. But at least...
"OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT?!"
"IS SHE OKAY? OH MY GOD IT KILLED HER!"
Asriel whipped around and faced the pair of women, holding his hands up. "N-No, I didn't!" he insisted. "She was sick, I was just - "
A bystanding man grabbed a nearby stick and ran at Asriel. "Holy shit!" the man shouted. "No no NO!" The stick came down, and both Chara and Asriel flinched.
It broke over their head.
'Asriel,' she urged. 'You know what we have to do!'
'I... I can't,' he said. 'I can't hurt them, Chara.' Someone else came by with a gun. The man, who'd resorted to punching Asriel in the ribs ineffectively, backed off. 'They're just scared.'
'They'll kill us. They'll kill you! We'll both be dead, Mom and Dad will lose both of us, and it'll be for nothing!' she shouted, watching in terror as the gun discharged. She felt like something punched her square in the arm, and Asriel's hand flew to his left arm. There was a little wound. 'Please, PLEASE! We have to do this if we're going to save everyone. If you won't do it then let me,' she begged.
The gun fired again, twice. '... okay.' Then Asriel let go of himself and Chara stepped in. She didn't control his body right away, which led to him slumping out of the way of a fourth gunshot.
"Magic, magic," she whispered to herself, standing up to look at the crowd of people, more and more of who were armed, firing at her, killing her and her brother. "How did magic work?" She flexed her fingers, and to her delight Asriel's own muscle memory began to obey. Almost instantly enormous fireballs the size of her head formed in each of Asriel's fists, and the light drove back the darkness of night. All the humans in the crowd flinched away when she conjured the fire, some of them even screamed before running away.
Then she threw the fireballs at the shooters.
She missed, or more accurately they dove away. But that was fine. Chara was already summoning more and charging at one human in particular, throwing flames around with reckless abandon as she set the park's trees and grass and flowers aflame. More bullets found their mark, scarring and wounding Asriel's body, but then she was upon the first human with flaming hands.
The fist came down on his head.
'AAAH!' Asriel screamed inside her as the human died messily. Chara didn't have time to comfort him though. They were still under attack. They still needed to fight. It was too late to stop now; if she stopped at just this one they'd find the mountain and invade. The humans wouldn't forget this. They would kill everyone she loved, so instead Chara grabbed at something slipping from the dead human's chest. It looked like an ethereal heart, blue-green in its glow, and then she slammed it into Asriel's chest.
The soul sank in and a third voice sounded in her head.
'What the fuck what the hell what did you do - '
'SHUT UP!' she ordered the soul. She imagined Asriel's magic forming locks around the soul inside of her, keeping it silent and still. Then the soul's warmth seared out, healing the holes that had been punched in Asriel's chest and limbs. The flames burned brighter.
Chara went to work.
It was scary how quickly their power grew as they absorbed human souls.
With her own soul, Chara killed someone.
With two, she killed a crowd and started to snowball out of control.
With six she'd been worried, the souls resonated with each other and she was terrified they'd break free and ruin everything.
But then she absorbed a seventh into Asriel's body, and her power grew so fast that the souls wouldn't get anywhere.
An eighth soul just sealed their fate.
And with that eighth soul - counting her own - Chara made Asriel's body fly into the night sky, overlooking the city's twinkling lights, wailing police cars, and powerless guns.
'I don't like this, Chara,' Asriel whispered.
'Just... try not to look, okay?' she suggested. Asriel's borrowed magic swirled around his hands.
Flames turned to plasma, turned to stars. Chara grinned menacingly and thrust her hands out to the side, twinkling with heavenly light. It was so easy. All she had to do was picture it, and it happened. Asriel's muscle memory of how to do magic did the rest. All around the city, fireballs materialized and slammed down. Miniature stars crashed into the land and the shockwaves toppled skyscrapers, the inferno boiled rivers and immolated gardens, the plasma carved glowing craters the size of a house. And each mini star split into many smaller ones that shot across the city, leaving fire trails in their wake.
Chara sustained the barrage. Earth and sky burned. Some of the humans shot at her, but it did nothing. She was untouchable. She was a goddess. Their lives were hers to dictate as she pleased, and she was not pleased.
'Chara! Chara stop that's enough! There's nothing left okay?'
Chara shook her head. "Huh?"
Sure enough, the city was gone. Her bombardment had reduced it to craters and smoldering slag. She floated down and drifted around, checking for survivors. There were none. 'We can stop now, right? You made your point, the humans can't hurt us when you have so much magic. Let's just go free everyone alright? We have more than enough.'
Chara shook her head. 'I can't risk that. We might not be there one day. There is no other way, Asriel. I'm sorry.' She wanted to tell him it was just as much his magic, but Chara had the feeling that telling Asriel it was his magic that killed so many wouldn't go over well. At any rate, Chara floated on and began searching for the next city to flatten.
It didn't take her long. News of the first city being under attack had gotten there electronically, but they hadn't had enough time to mobilize any sort of preparation against her. They didn't even know what was going on as fire rained from above and Chara stole both a ninth and a tenth soul.
Surely, ten would be enough to survive a... yeah.
Chara spun around and headed on. This time she wasn't going to a city, but a smaller village in the plains. She couldn't allow anyone to survive. Even purely innocent, good humans - ha, as if! - had to die, since they could just give birth to generations down the line that would kill her family.
The village didn't have time to prepare for her either.
The door bulged. If she wanted it vaporized instantly she could have, but she also wanted the denizens to fear for their lives.
The door flew in and Chara, still piloting Asriel's body, hovered in. The walls were sunny yellow, with holes punched and kicked into them. The dining table filled with bills that caught fire in her presence. The vases that had never been filled, shelves that had stayed empty, dreams that never came true. And in the corner, huddled like the little rats they were, were the pieces of shit that had once called themselves her parents.
"Hello mother," she purred. "Hello father."
Her mother was dressed in a short sleeved pink shirt and a messy, splotched brown skirt. Her blonde hair was unkempt and long, and her face was streaked with tears as she held a steak knife towards Chara. Her father, by comparison, was in a plain white wife-beater and jeans. His hair was brown and filthy, his face white as a ghost, and he aimed a gun at her.
"Please." She snapped a finger and both the knife and gun turned to cold vapor. "You know what I can do."
"Y-You're not Chara," her 'mother' stammered. "Chara's dead," she whispered.
"Got that right!" she said, beaming. "Let me guess, you think I ran away and starved or something. Actually, I found a mountain! You know, the mountain next to where we used to live? I fell into a cave, and the cave was filled with monsters that lived there." She giggled, rainbow lightning dancing around her brother's fingers. "They took me in. They treated me so well, they gave me food and water and I didn't even know I could be so comfortable," she said wistfully, staring off into space. Then Chara shook her head to clear it. "Then I got an idea. Monsters can absorb human souls to get stronger, did you know that? They were trapped underground by a barrier, so I figured hey! Why not give my brother my soul? Then we can cross over and, well you've seen what I've been doing."
They were both wide eyed, and then her father spoke. "You bitch, you're killing everyone."
"So what?! It's you or us! If I break the barrier and monsters go free your kind will kill them to the last!" she shouted, blasting the table with lightning. The humans screamed. "But here's something I don't understand! They're monsters. It's practically in the dictionary that monsters are cruel, soul-snatching creatures that like to cause pain. So why? WHY was I treated a million times better by them compared to you, my own parents?!"
They weren't speaking, so Chara decided to continue ranting. Not that they could've stopped her, oh no. "I was just a kid! Did you never think of that when you had me? Kids need things! Things like a stable source of food! Things like being able to sleep because her parents aren't making noise fighting after partying all night! Things like, like positive reinforcement, like being told she was skilled learning to speak! Things like not being beaten by drunken asses for whatever reason you had! Did none of you think that?!" she roared, magic warping and distending the walls.
Her 'father' tried to push himself into the walls, but her 'mother' placed her hands over her face and wept. "Chara, Chara..." she whispered. "You're right I'm sorry we didn't know what we were going I'm sorry, we've been trying to turn things around we really have but - "
"SHUT UP!" she shouted. "I don't care. If it took you thinking I was dead to try and become even a shadow of a decent person then I never really had a chance around you did I?" They didn't answer. "DID I?!"
The man in the corner seemed to grow a backbone, because he looked up, stared her straight in the eyes, and dared to say, "Who cares? You're a traitor to your own species."
She gasped, floated back, then clenched a fist and raised it up. The roof exploded, she floated up and rainbow light shimmered hungrily around the two humans. She hoisted them into the air by their souls, higher and higher until the city was far beneath them. The path of destruction Chara had torn through it was visible as a clear-cut patch of gravel and blood. Once they were high enough, she fixed her captives with a glare. "Don't. You. Dare. I am not one of you."
They kept going slightly higher.
"I never was. I never could be. I am nothing like you!" she snarled. Her hands gained soul-hearts on their backs and seemed to detach from her arms, held together by a chain of magic. "I was never anything like you! Do you know who I am?" Her legs fused together and her chest became a ball that held the souls she had stolen. "I am Chara! Princess of monsters! I am the demon that comes when people call my name!" Her horns grew longer and out to the side. Blackness crept up her shoulders and shimmering, cosmic wings grew out from her back, rippling with the power to end worlds. "It doesn't matter when, and it doesn't matter where! Time after time I will appear and eradicate the enemy! I am strong."
She fixed the two sniveling creatures a hateful glare. "I am nothing like you. Not even close." Then she let them drop. Chara held out her floating hands to the side and threw her head back. Blazing white magic formed on both hands, and then with an anguished scream she brought them together and pointed both hands straight down. From the sphere of pulsing magic an enormous cone of rainbow power shot straight down, engulfing the entire city as she screamed. Streets melted. Buildings collapsed. Flesh and blood turned to gas. Within seconds the city was gone and Chara floated down, not even noticing as Asriel's body changed back from what it had been moments before.
Chara fell to her knees and stared into empty space.
'Chara, I'm so sorry. I had no idea.'
She winced. "I thought you were asleep. I-I didn't want you to see that."
'Do you want to talk about it?'
Chara sighed. "Maybe once this is over. There's still a long way to go."
'Char... you know you've proved your point. They aren't going to try and fight us after this. We should stop now.'
"They aren't going to stop," she protested. "After this they'll never let us be. This isn't going to scare them off. They'll just want revenge even more. Humans don't think like monsters do. They are too determined to just accept defeat. If we want everyone back home to have a chance, this can only end one way."
'But you've already done so much! There's no way they'll try to keep fighting after this!'
Then the world exploded into heat, sound, and light.
Blinking Asriel's eyes, Chara stared straight up in shock. Ash clouds fell around her. The air smelled funny. Asriel's borrowed body ached all over, like he'd gone running a hundred laps and then taken a beating from a crowd of Loox. One of his horns was snapped, and patches of his fur had burned off.
Did... did the humans nuke her?
"Okay," she croaked. "Asriel, I don't like saying I told you so but... I told you so."
Chara strode into the next town. Bullets and rockets from the soldiers bounced off her. Tear gas wafted around her harmlessly. She floated like always. She didn't bother running though. There was no rush. No matter how hard the humans fought, no matter how fast they ran, they'd never get far enough.
Eventually she got to the center of the city. Once there, she held up her hands and rainbow magic began swirling around her fingertips. Motes of light flashed into existence around her and began to swirl like a tornado. Taking a deep breath, the vortex grew brighter, thicker, faster, and then a supernova of magic broke free like a lake atop a broken dam. Humans were reduced to ash. Houses to rubble. Streets to dust. Wires to puddles. Plants to cinders. When the light faded, everything for miles around had been reduced to a flat, gray circle burnt into the ground.
The use of the magic was a bit tiring, but she could more than handle it. After all, she had a job to do. But she was so tired. Maybe Asriel was right. She was so far ahead she should just quit. Her hatred had gone out long ago, her anger burned down to embers. This was drudgery, this was evil, and when Mom and Dad learned about what she was doing they would never forgive her.
But at least they'd be alive not to forgive her.
No, no she had to keep going. It didn't matter how hard it got, this wasn't something she could do halfway. It was too late to turn away. With twelve human souls, Asriel's powers were strong enough to be able to scry for any humans on the world. They couldn't hide from her. She knew they weren't going to the underground. Chara had already taken down two continents, just two more and she was finally done. Then she could... she could...
She didn't know. But Chara was just so tired. After all she was dead, wasn't she? What was she doing, walking around like she still had a body? Like this magic was hers to command?
No, no, she had to put those thoughts away. That was quitter talk. Chara narrowed her eyes and flew to the next city.
What am I doing this is genocide this isn't right this is horrible this is evil I shouldn't be doing this I'm killing everyone I'm killing sinners but I'm killing lovers and kind parents and little kids who are playing in the park and babies learning how to crawl what am I doing I have to stop I have to stop before I can't be redeemed but it's too late for that I can't go back this was my choice I have to see this through but I hate it I hate it this is wrong this is wrong Asriel you were right I'm sorry I should have listened I should have trusted Mom and Dad's abilities I'm twelve years old I should be home reading books and playing games and getting the Talk I shouldn't be out here committing mass murder I'm dead now when this is over I'll still be dead and I'll burn in hell and I'm so sick of this it's horrible they keep screaming and begging and I hate it make it stop -
Chara, still piloting Asriel's body, floated in front of the little vacation house. 'This is it bro,' she thought to him. 'Last stop, and we can go home.'
He didn't answer. Asriel was pretty silent these days, she assumed he was sleeping so he didn't have to watch all the awful things she did. She really couldn't blame him, she could hardly watch anymore either.
The house was a log cabin, out in the woods, squarely in the middle of nowhere. Inside of it lived the last living human in the universe. She half considered going inside and having a talk with the guy. There wasn't much else she could do. But what was there to say? 'Hey, I'm here to murder you and wipe your species extinct, wanna have a chat over tea about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything before I kill you?' Yeah, that would go well.
She brought up Asriel's left hand and began summoning magic. It'd be best to just... just finish it up...
The door opened and out walked the inhabitant. He was in his forties, with a long bushy beard and a cap on his head. His sleeves were rolled up and his pants dirty with work. "Howdy," he said to her, and she winced because it was so like Asriel and Dad to say that. "So ya finally got around to paying me a visit huh? What's the occasion?"
Chara couldn't meet his eyes. "You're the last one. I just need to finish this up. Then I can go let everyone free and they can spread across the world. Everything will be fine."
"Don't really see why. I mean, what exactly can I do?"
"You can go out for revenge. You could kill monsters, a lot of monsters, before you're stopped. I don't care if you wouldn't. I - I can't risk that. Not after coming so far. I have to do this so stop. Stop trying to talk me out of it," she warned, writhing darkness swirling around her left hand.
He sighed. "I get it, I get it. Ya feel like you don't have a choice."
"Shut up. Don't try and call my bluff."
"Ya feel like this is something you have to do."
"Shut up! I'm not here for you to monologue!"
"Ya feel like - "
"SHUT UP!" The magic flared and she saw his eyes widen in fright, and then a massive cone of Chara's own dark magic vaporized everything in its path. The human, the cabin, the trees, the dirt, the stone.
She panted, eyeing the damage she had carved into the world. That was it. That was the last of them. She'd... she'd actually done it. Humans were extinct and now monsters would rule the surface in peace for the rest of time. Her work was done.
The giggle turned louder. Chara began laughing. She sunk to her knees and punched the ground, laughing and laughing.
She laughed and laughed.
It was so funny, she couldn't stop laughing.
Tears ran down her face.
Finally she stopped and floated up. Chara turned around and shot off towards the mountain she had left behind so long ago, making the trip in record time. She didn't go up the slopes and down the hole, rather she went around the back to the cleverly hidden second passage. She snaked her way through the underground labyrinth until she was face to face with the shimmering, accusing barrier.
'Asriel,' she thought. No response. 'ASRIEL!'
'Huh? What?' he said, waking up within his own mind.
'We're back, I'm done. Asry... I'm so tired.'
'Just relax, Chara. I can handle it from here.'
'Thank you,' she said, allowing her control over Asriel's body to slip away as he asserted control. Chara could finally rest. Now that she was just a soul again she didn't feel the dragging weight of his limbs, of his heart pounding in his chest, of how dull and lifeless the world had become.
"Alright," Asriel said out loud. "It's time, then. Chara, I'm still really upset about what you did. But I told you I trusted you, and I meant it." Asriel started floating and the power of twelve human souls began to pulse around him like a hurricane. Magical currents raced along his arms and he directed all of it to one point on the barrier's shimmering surface. The magic arced through the air and came down like a vengeful comet.
The shifting hues stopped all at once as a large, jagged rupture appeared in the barrier's surface, as if the magical seal was little more than glass. The crack spread outwards and upwards, growing longer and widening up. It was slow at first, but in no time it opened up and revealed the back entrance into their house.
Monsters were free.
Asriel sighed as he came down from the magical high, then turned his magic inwards. Chara's soul fluttered for a moment. What was he doing? What was he doing?!
Then in a flash, eleven glowing hearts appeared in front of her brother, and with a hand motion they flew off into the sky.
Inside of him, Chara sighed. It was just as well, there was no need for those other souls anymore. They were just a liability. So was Chara but... she wasn't ready to move on. Not after what she'd done.
While she was thinking, Asriel strode in. He passed through the corridors and into the throne room/garden, looking around. The thrones were there in the middle, empty. Green grass, watered with care. A bed of golden flowers, almost like the flowers that had taken Chara's life. Asriel kept going, past the corridors, past astonished monsters that watched him pass, until he was before their house.
He stepped forward and knocked on the door. After a moment, he knocked again and seconds later the door opened inwards to reveal...
"Asriel?" Mom whispered, astonished.
Chara felt him smile. "H-Hey Mom, I'm back," he said.
Mom wailed and embraced Asriel, and both of them started sobbing into each other's fur. In the back of Asriel's mind Chara just floated demurely. Eventually Dad came in and she wanted to burrow into his chest and have him hug her and make her hot cocoa. She wanted to eat snail pie, she wanted to tell them that everyone could go free now. But it just felt so... wrong to be part of this reunion. She was dead. And some time during her genocide she'd become a demon. Chara didn't belong in such a happy setting anymore.
Maybe she never had.
"I broke the barrier," Asriel explained. "I got enough souls from the humans and broke the barrier. Chara... she used her soul to make sure everything will be safe," he said, and Chara could feel his throat going dry as he danced around confessing what she'd done, what he'd let her do.
"Chara?" Dad asked, gripping Asriel's shoulders. "Chara's still there?" he demanded.
Asriel nodded. "Yeah, she can see and hear you, but she's kind of sleeping right now," he lied. "She could control some of my magic too, and she made sure everything up there is safe for monsters."
Dad hugged Asriel again, tears leaking from his bearded face. "Oh my son, I was so worried. You told us it may take while, but as the days went by I confess I lost hope. I should have had more faith in you." He ruffled Asriel's head. "But look at you, going out and saving us all! I'm proud of you."
"And look how much you've grown!" Mom said, poking his horns. "But don't think that you're getting out of school so easily young man!" she chided. "You still have the mind of a child and I'm going to see fit to change that!"
Asriel just smiled. "Maybe we should go inside first?" he offered. "We're going to need to tell everyone that we're free."
Mom and Dad nodded. "Right you are," Dad said, leading everyone inside before closing the door. "We'll need to organize an evacuation, we'll need to scout for unoccupied but livable land, we'll need to send an ambassador to the humans." Unseen by Mom and Dad, both Chara and Asriel winced. That was not a conversation she was looking forward to. "But for now, I think this calls for a celebration!"
"I'll get started on the pie," Mom said with a wink before drifting into the kitchen.
Her brother followed Dad into the living room and they each picked out a story book. 'Hey, Chara?' he asked. 'Do you want to talk to them? They miss you.'
'Um, maybe later,' she confessed. What she really meant was 'No never, how can I face them and tell them that I destroyed an entire species?' 'I just kinda want to sleep now. I did a lot of things and I'm tired. Talk to you later, bro.'
'Right, talk to you later.'
Chara sighed and let her soul drift into a sort of 'low power' state. She did it. She actually did it. Monsters would return to the surface. They would know peace and prosperity once again. Nothing would threaten them. Nothing would endanger them. She and Asriel were joined at the hip now. She'd saved everyone.
The price didn't matter. It didn't matter that her hands would never wash clean. It didn't matter that her hatred had burned out halfway through the crusade. It didn't matter that she was dead, a demon with her own dark powers. An angry little echo, a parasitic soul that couldn't exist without a host. It was worth it. But now, with all she'd done and all her sins weighing down her neck, Chara just slipped into slumber.
She'd wake up eventually.
Once, there was a young girl named Chara who lived with her family, until she didn't. Chara was smart and she was strong, and she always did whatever she had to do.
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