Chapter 28: Mistakes

"Ahhhhhhhh..." Frisk yawned as they rubbed the sleep out of their eyes.

"Morning, sunshine." Kopi waved from the foot of the bed.

"Hey, Kopi..." Frisk mumbled as they jumped out of bed. "Did you manage to get any sleep?"

"A little, yeah." Kopi nodded, before thinking to themselves: 'Seriously, how did the door lock behind me when I left? Luckily I was able to slip under the door crack and get a little rest before they woke up.'

"Well, we'd better get moving, we're almost there!" Frisk cheered as the two departed the room and went into the plaza. "Oh! There's a shop over there! Let's see if we can buy something, Kopi!"

"If you insist." They shrugged as the duo walked over, only for Kopi to jump back in shock.

Standing behind the counter was...an odd monster, to say the least. They looked like a...cat? Maybe?

'Wh-What is that supposed to be?' Kopi couldn't help but think. 'It looks like it had a stroke!

"Welcome to MTT-Brand Burger Emporium, home of the Glamburger. Sparkle up your day, TM." The monster said. "How can I help you, O customer?"

"Uhhh..." Kopi didn't know how to respond...they felt like as soon as they opened their mouth they would say something along the lines of 'what are you'.

"Can we get some Starfaits?" Frisk requested. "And Glamburgers too?"

"Of course, dear customer." It agreed as it handed them very sparkly itms so bright Kopi had to look away and give a joking little hiss. "Thanksy! Have a FABU-FUL day!"

The two adventurers looked at each other. "Um...are you okay?" He remained silent when Kopi asked. "...Hello?...Are you okay...? Do you...need hel-"

"What?" Kopi jumped as he finally responded. "Why do you keep trying to talk to me? I'll get in trouble if I get chummy with the customers. Sorry." This was followed by an awkward pause. "...SO, I wanted to be an ACTOR."

'Why do I feel like I've opened the floodgates?' Kopi thought.

And they were stuck there, listening to him as he went from one subject to the next. Kopi could barely listen as he told them of how he was nicknamed 'Burgerpants', or about his hate for working under Mettaton. It all felt like a big, ranting blur.

'This guy...has problems.' Kopi thought.

"But take it from me, little buddies." Burgerpants began to finish. "Once everything...eventually...someday...turns up, I'll keep you guys in mind."

"...Thaaaaaaaaaaaanks." Kopi nodded, before slowly pushing Frisk away.

"He was nice." Frisk beamed.

"...Yeah, let's go with that." Kopi admitted defeat.

The two of them walked out the back of the hotel. Towering above them was the giant mechanical structure constantly emitting an electric blue light.

"Ths is it...the CORE." Kopi nodded.

"Yeah..." Frisk looked at Kopi. "You okay?"

"I think so. You?" They responded.

"...I don't know." Frisk admitted.

Kopi smiled lightly. "It's okay. Let's go together."

Frisk nodded. "Together."

As the two of them walked in, Alphys rung them again, with Kopi looking annoyed. "Ready? This is it! take the elevator up to the top of the CORE!"

Kopi went up and clicked the button, only for nothing to happen. "...Huh?" They clicked it several times with no result.

"It's not working." Frisk noted.

"Guess we're taking the long away around." Kopi said, pointing towards a doorway. "Let's head through."

As soon as they entered though a hat flew in front of them and a monster popped out of it. "Mahjick here! Madjick there! Madjick everywhere!" It sang as it suddenly began firing crosses from the two orbs floating beside it.

"Woah!" Kopi flattened against the ground as Frisk dived away from them. "I'm not gonna fight you anymore...but you'd better leave us alone, got it!?" Kopi shot the monster an intimidating glare, making the orbs weaken.

"No need to fight us!" Frisk said as they pressed the MERCY button, causing the monster to flee. "You seem all better at not fighting now, Kopi."

"I think I'm good now." Kopi nodded, when suddenly four more Madjick's appeared! "This many!?" They fired their crosses again, making the duo jump back. "This isn't good, we can't waste time...let's run for it!"

Kopi grabbed Frisk's arm and pulled the human along into the next room, the door closing behind them and allowing them to breath a sigh of relief before Alphys called them again.

"Th-That was close! Wh...Why are there so many monsters here?" She wondered down the line. "I mean...it's no problem, r-r-right? W-W-We've just got to keep heading forward!"

'Don't include yourself.' Kopi thought bitterly. 'Still though...in that instant, she really did sound surprised. No, she set all this up, remember? Of course she knows what's going to happen!'

The pair continued on until they reached an electric barrier with a red switch on the wall next to it. "Looks like you can't proceed until you hit the switch." Alphys spoke through the phone. "B-But those lasers will activate when you do. Ummm...looks like they'll come in this order; orange, orange, blue, g-got it?"

"Got it." Frisk nodded.

Kopi rolled their eyes. 'Making herself out to be a helper again...this is really beginning to annoy me.'

Frisk pressed the switch, but suddenly two blue lasers and an orange one came forward!

"Frisk, watch out!" Kopi grabbed the human and held them perfectly, the blue lasers registering no movement and not harming them. The monster then ran forward with Frisk so that the third orange laser wouldn't harm them.

"Ah! That was blue, blue orange!" Frisk cried.

'What the hell? She gave us entirely opposite instuctions!' Kopi thought. 'Is she actually trying to kill us now!?'

"Oh my god, are you okay?" Alphys spoke up. "I...I'm so sorry, I...I gave you the wrong order." There was a pause. "E-Everything's going to be fine, okay? L-Let's just keep heading to the right."

"She sounded upset..." Frisk said.

'...Actually, she did. Genuinely.' Kopi pondered. 'So, that was an actual mistake? Not deliberate? I thought her goal was to make herself out to be a hero to us by pre-planning all of this. Why would she slip up on something that she herself planned?'

"Come on, Kopi. Let's keep going." They were pulled out of their thoughts by the human tugging on their papery arm.

They came to a crossroads and Alphys told them to head right. Kopi was skeptical and looked down the other way, only to find more monsters, so went against their better judgement and followed her advice, catching up to Frisk who had already gone that way, to see more lasers.

"M-More lasers..." Alphys mumbled down the line.

'Thank you for stating the obvious.' Kopi thought.

"Okay, I...I won't mess around this time." She said. "I'll just deactivate the lasers and let you through." There was a pause...

"Nothing's happening." Frisk stated.

"They're...not turning off? I...can't turn them off?" Alphys seemed to be thinking aloud. "I-I-It's okay! I have this under control! I'm going to turn off the p-power for the whole node."

"...What's a node?" Frisk asked.

"Iunno." Kopi shrugged.

Just then, both the lasers and the lights went off.

"Okay, now you can go." Alphys said.

"Let's hurry." Kopi agreed as the two of them jogged for it, when Frisk's phone rang and they stopped.

"Frisk!" Kopi cried desperately.

"I can't run and be on the phone at the same time." Frisk stated.

"WAIT!" Alphys' voice yelled down the line, making the both of them freeze before blue lasers suddenly appeared around them. "Th-The power...it's turning itself back on!"

"Does that mean we're stuck here?" Kopi asked, even though the lasers weren't touching them due to their flat body.

"D-Damnit...this isn't supposed to..." The flat monster listened more closely as Alphys said that. "I...I'm gonna turn it off again. When it goes off, move a little, then stop. Okay? Y-you won't get h-h-hurt."

"Got it. I trust you." Frisk confirmed.

The power continued to flicker on and off, forcing the pair to play a very deadly game of 'What's the Time Mr. Wolf' until they reached the end.

'...Where have I heard of 'What's the Time, Mr. Wolf?'' Kopi thought, perplexed at their own thoughts.

"S-See? I've got everything under control. Everything's under control!" Alphys' yelling convinced neither Kopi nor Frisk.

"She's really upset." Frisk said.

"...Yeah, she is." Kopi said, before thinking: 'She can't control things anymore. It's not going her way, so she's panicking. And now she's sad as well because she's built herself up as someone we rely on...but she can't do that. So she's thinking...'I can't help them. I can't be useful to them. They won't want me anymore.'...Man, I just got deep there. So then, everything she's done up until now, to help us, become our friend...that was all...genuine?'

The two of them reached some sort of crossroads. Kopi peered over the edge of the bridge and stared down into an intense glowing sphere of energy, so bright they had to look away.

'That's some intense power...' They thought. 'But I guess it IS powering the entire Underground.'

As they reached the middle of the crossroads, Alphys called them again.

"Okay! You should...Y-You should..." Her voice died, and the two of them shared a nervous look.

"I don't know?" They both stared at the phone as she said that. "This doesn't look like my map at all. I'm sorry...I...I..."

"Alphys." Kopi tried to speak to her.

"I have to go!" She hung up rather quickly.

The duo just stood and stared dumbly down at the phone for a moment.

"...She's not okay." Frisk stated.

Kopi raised a non-existent eyebrow. "Ya think? She can't give us advice anymore, so she's beginning to feel...useless."

"But she's helped us out this whole time. Why would she be feeling so bad now, after she's already done so much to help?" Frisk asked.

"Well..." They thought for a moment. "When you feel like your being useful to somebody...like that's all you can do...even just one mistake can make you feel like you'll just mess up again and again...and then you'll stop being useful...and then you'll be alone."

Frisk tugged on Kopi's arms. "You sound like you were speaking like it's happened to you. Or...did it happen to someone else?"

Kopi thought for a moment.

I can dance.

I've always been talented at dancing.

My mum loved my dancing.

My mum was very sick last time I saw her.

I started dancing in competitions. I was very good. I got prize money. I was helping her.

But I couldn't make a mistake. I couldn't...otherwise I'd let her down.

...Are you good at dancing, Kopi?

"Kopi...?" They looked at Frisk. "It was someone else, wasn't it?"

"...Yeah." The monster nodded. "It was...different though. It was important to them...precious to them..."

"...It's easy to get hurt." Frisk spoke. "And it's easy to make mistakes. It's sad that everybody gets upset at them really badly when its easy to do."

The human smiled lightly. "But if we don't make mistakes, we can't realise that we can be even better. As people...so, even if it hurts...we shouldn't just give up because of it. I don't want Alphys to give up."

'Even if it hurts...' Kopi clutched their fist against their heart. 'Did you fail? Did you give up? Is that why you're down here?' No response came.

Kopi sighed, then rubbed Frisk's hair. "You're really smart for your age, y'know?"

They grinned. "Maybe, but you still know a lot of things I don't. And that's why we're the best team!" They then abruptly hugged the monster tight.

"Hahaha, of course we are." Kopi laughed. "C'mon, we've got to get going. I'm sure Alphys will be fine in the meantime." And so, they continued on into the CORE.

...

...

...tHiS Is InFuriAtING.

iF tHINgs cOntINue tO ProGRESS THis sLoWLy...i'LL nEVEr aCHieVe mY amBItiOns!

kEEp gOIng...yOu HAVE tO kEEp GoiNG! ThiS sORry taLE muST gO On iF i wANt To fINIsh mY IMPERFECT crEAtiOn.

...wHAt? WhaT aRE yoU aLl LoOkINg aT Me lIKe thAT fOR? GO AWAY! I HATE YOU ALL!