Chapter 2: In Control
There comes a time in everyone's life where they must make a difficult choice. The path they tread splits into a crossroads that will define their journey, if not their destination. And when they make their choice, they can't turn back. Well, most roads would let them turn back and go the other way. But the Road of Destiny did not often offer such a mercy.
So when Frisk awoke comfortably melted into a couch, beckoned by the scent of breakfast, they found themselves with face-to-face with such a choice. Dare the child answer the call of the most important meal of the day, or do they remain still upon the heavenly cushion beneath them. The past two nights had been spent on the ground which, if it were personified, wouldn't be able to comprehend the bliss Frisk found in those couch cushions. They had woken up with aches and bug bites those other nights. Last night, though... They hadn't slept so well since...
Wow, it'd been a while. The combo-smell of cinnamon and butterscotch tickled their nostrils, but vanished like a ghost.
"Yo F to the R to the Isk, breakfast is almost ready." Finn announced rhythmically. Frisk lifted their head just enough to see the adventurer walking away from them towards breakfast. In lifting their head, the light from outside assaulted their retinas. So, destiny had forced their hands then, had it?
Frisk tried to hide their face and fall into their slumber once more, but the damage was done. They were awake with only the call of breakfast in their near future. Frisk silently cursed fate for its trespass, but they had no more choice. Breakfast it was. They could fight it next time. There was always a next time...
Frisk stretched away the ability to think, a particularly fruitful effort. As much as their inner monologue had been rebelling against breakfast, now that they were mostly up it was incredibly enticing. They could even identify what it was they smelled. Bacon and pancakes. Heck yeah!
Finn sat patiently at the table in the main room of the treehouse, his hands folded and elbows distinctly off the table. The main room was like a living room, a dining room, and a kitchen merged into one. Jake was enthusiastically humming something at the stove in the kitchen corner of the room. The couch that Frisk had slept on was in the living room section.
Frisk briefly thought that the dog should be wearing an apron while cooking, but quickly reconsidered saying anything. They'd seen much worse cooking safety in their time in the Underground. Hopefully the cooking would be better.
It wasn't breakfast spaghetti, at least.
"Finn, Jake!" A mechanical voice came from the room below. Finn and Jake had told Frisk that was where they stored the treasure they found. It was filled to the brim with absolutely no treasure when they'd passed through it the night before.
Up the ladder a box shaped robot climbed with child-like glee. Finn and Jake had warned Frisk had been told about BMO on the hike to the Treehouse, but this was the first time they were seeing them. The robot reminded them of someone, and the memory made them smile.
"Sup BMO?" Finn asked.
"Sup BMO?" Jake similarly asked moments later. Jake expertly flipped a pancake through the air right onto the plate beside him without looking. Frisk was in awe at the display, but no one else seemed to notice. Not even Jake.
"Oh, I'm so glad you are back! You missed so much! I was trapped in the mirror by Football, but I was able to get back. Now he's in the lake with Carlos," BMO quickly explained. Frisk was confused by the explanation, and was about to ask for more when BMO noticed them. "Oh, hi there! My name is BMO."
Frisk waved, an amiable smile on their face. BMO stared at them expectantly. Finn prompted Frisk to respond in kind, and Frisk introduced themselves briefly.
"Oh, hello Frisk. Welcome to the treehouse!" BMO threw their flexible arms up as if presenting the entire building. Frisk giggled and clapped. BMO's pixelated face was beaming, and the whimsical machine gave a bow.
Frisk briefly considered if one could say the machine was beam-o-ing at their applause. They decide not to say it aloud.
All the same, the childish glee of the machine filled Frisk with determination.
"Ladies and gentlemen, breakfast is served!" Jake declared dramatically. The dog stretched out two of his arms to grab the plates with bacon and pancakes and place both onto the table. He grew another arm out of his side which reached into the fridge and grabbed a carton of milk, which he also placed onto the table. Once again, Frisk found them self amazed at Jake's expert use of his stretching power.
Frisk finally leapt from the comfort of the couch. They say at the edge of the small booth around the dining table. Jake shrunk down, slid beneath the table, and reemerged within the booth. BMO climbed onto the booth opposite of Frisk. Frisk silently wondered at how BMO would eat.
Did their other robot 'friend' eat?
Frisk watched closely as BMO brought a piece of bacon to their pixelated mouth. Their arm moved slowly as the meat came closer to their face. Was there a port in their screen that let the food pass through? Would it just go into their screen? Would it dissolve as it touch their face, becoming a part of them like a battery?
The bacon clanked as it touched BMO's screen, and the bacon dropped to the ground. BMO rubbed their 'stomach' in satisfaction, completely oblivious to the devastation they just caused across the table from them.
"You okay there, Frisk?" Finn skillfully cut through their pancake with a butter knife. The handle had what looked like a strawberry with legs on it.
Without even realizing it, they had been sinking low into their seat. Frisk shook themselves from their disappointment and sat up straight. They gave Finn a silent thumbs up and a smile. Even if they didn't get to see a robot eat food today, everything was fine. It smelled like people breakfast. They hadn't been here before, and their imagination stretched endlessly forward.
They tried bitterly to not let it go backwards.
Dang, they were trying not to think about there. Not so soon.
"You sure? You look pre-e-etty deep in thought there," Finn pushed. Jake looked on with a bit of concern too, but he mostly looked on stuffed with bacon and pancakes.
Frisk didn't answer. They could see in Finn's eyes the hopes for an answer. They couldn't tell them. As nice as Finn was being, Frisk wasn't sure they could tell that story.
"Well alright then. We do have to talk about your living arrangements, though."
"Yeah!" Jake declared with a swallow. Frisk was slightly disturbed to see Jake's gut grow bit by bit as he ate. Was he doing that on purpose? Jake continued talking with hard edge on his voice. "This treehouse is for adventurers, but how do we know you've got what it takes?"
Frisk raised a concerned eyebrow. What were they going to do?
"Jake, cmon bro. Cool down, cuz you aren't a hot dog," Finn... chastised? Maybe? Jake put on an exaggerated frown. It was a begrudging surrender. "Still, he's not exactly wrong. I'm sure you saw we depleted our treasure hoard. If nothing comes up in any of the Kingdoms, Jake and I are going to have to go dungeon crawling. I've got no problem with you crashing here right now, but we can't pay for you forever."
Frisk nodded. That made sense. An idea popped in their head, and they reached into their pocket. When they pulled their hand out, they were holding a wonderful little device: a cell phone! They received it from two different people as a gift. Once, just so they'd have it. The next time they'd gotten it back better, with texting and the Underground Internet!
Perhaps the most impressive feature of all was the app they opened at the table. Frisk pressed the second button that had a little picture of a box with the letter A on it, and pointed the phone downward at the floor. From a small hole in the top of the device, a beam shot out. It hit the floor as the adventuring duo watched. The beam then split off in three directions, and each of those split off into two more. These lights danced until at last the beams formed a 3 dimensional cubic grid in the center of the room.
From the bottom of the grid, the sturdy wooden frame began to form. It rounded out the corners slightly and left an opening in the center. Frisk hopped down from their spot at the table and waited until the last chip of the frame had been filled in and the grid disappeared. They snapped the latch open and threw up the lid of the box. They were about to reach in, but decided against it.
They stepped around behind the box and dumped the contents of the box onto the floor. The clattering of golden coins bounced off the pavement. They even remembered how many they had left. One hundred-thirty seven coins.
There was a mushy splat. The snowman piece.
In a panic they dropped the chest back onto its bottom and ran to their pile. The snow was already melting! They scooped as much of the snow into their hand as they could and deposited it into their box. They closed the box and took a deep breath. They felt a pang of guilt flash onto their face as they glanced at the wet spot on the floor. Their expression became neutral as they looked up at their hosts. Finn nodded, acknowledging that all that just happened without telling Frisk a thing. The kid was a little worried about that.
"Well then. What do we have to say on this, Jake?" Finn asked.
"On one hand, they just offered enough 'rent' to pay their part for a while," Jake answered matter of factly. He opened one hand up to the ceiling. He opened his other hand and kept speaking, his words hitting Frisk like an accusation. "On the other hand, their little device there just created the box that they got those coins from."
Jake brought his open palms together in a booming clap for his next blow.
"Kid, how do we know this biz is legit?"
Frisk thought silently for a moment. The only sound in the room was BMO's feet tapping against their seat as they swayed back and forth. That moment passed and Frisk reached into the pile and picked up a single coin. They bit on the coin. It tasted like real gold and sore teeth. Finn and Jake sat at the table, their hands folded as they made no response. Then Finn smiled, and beckoned Frisk to throw him a coin.
Frisk grabbed another coin and flicked it over to where Finn sat. Finn reached out and grabbed the coin, rolling it through his fingers before pinching it between his pointer and thumb.
No he didn't. He tried to roll it, but dropped it on the table. Frisk sees-sawed their hand, to which Finn's right cheek rolled in. Jake was still watching the coin with a practiced skepticism evident in his squint. No one was impressed with the attempted stunt.
Finn took the coin and bit down on the edge. He grinded his teeth on it a bit before removing the coin from his mouth and smiling. He passed the coin to Jake.
"Seems real to me. Doesn't taste like lies," Finn happily admitted.
Jake stared at the coin like it punched a rainbow anyway. He rubbed it between his fingers as a test. Then he bit down, taking care to not bite where Finn had bit down. He tested the coin throughly, grinding with enough force to cause a painful screech. Frisk covered their ears. Finn frowned in discomfort. BMO covered where their ears would be.
Mercifully, Jake stopped. He appeared satisfied.
"Well played, newbie. If this is fake gold, I don't think anyone would be ever be able to tell. Grats, bud!"
Frisk smiled slightly. They'd have somewhere to stay. Their stomach made a noise.
"Hehe... Why don't you sit back down and eat?" Finn offered. Frisk was happy to oblige. They grabbed a pancake. It didn't taste like magic, but it was still a magical meal. Frisk liked their hosts, they liked the first full, home-cooked and physical meal they'd had in at least a week. The camping meals they'd been given on the hike to the treehouse had been good, of course, but Frisk wasn't much of a camper. The nature in the air had gotten into their food then. Atmosphere mattered plenty when eating, they'd discovered.
"So Frisk. Since you're new to the area and you're going to be sticking around for a while..." Finn started. He was interrupted by a ringing sound came from his pocket. He pulled out a square phone with a gauge on top of it. He answered it. "Yo. Finn here. What's... What? Woah, calm down, sir. I can't understand a word you're... Uh huh. Uh huh? She did what?!" Finns mouth hung open. "Alright, Jake and I will be there asap."
He clicked the call off. Frisk wondered how he carried such a large and cumbersome phone in his pocket.
"What was that about? Sounded like bad business," Jake inquired. The table had been picked clean and no food had survived but the strip of bacon and pancake cuts on the floor in front of BMO. Frisk didn't think they should bring this up. They refocused on Finn.
"Farmers are saying something bad happened with Marceline. You and I gotta go check it out," Finn told Jake. He got up and climbed the ladder. Jake had told Frisk that's where the duo's room is. Frisk thought it would be rude to trespass.
Jake climbed plainly down the ladder to the treasureless room, no stretchy magic involved.
Finn came back down with his backpack on.
"Well Frisk, Jake and I were going to give you a tour of the surrounding area, but duty calls. If you could, move your gold downstairs. Behave yourself. Cya, and stay out of trouble," Finn said quickly.
"So what's the situation?" Frisk heard Jake ask through the floor. The door creaked enough to make a noise as it opened.
"Well, animals in a nearby farm town have..." The door shut.
Frisk sat still for a bit, but suddenly felt uncomfortable in their seat. They were just left behind, expected to wait. Patiently. In a place they didn't know.
At least they weren't alone this time.
BMO got up from their seat.
"I've got a friend I need to go see. Bye bye Frisk! It was nice to meet you," The robot parted with a cheerful wave and climbed down the ladder.
Frisk was now alone.
They got up and put a bunch of the coins in their pocket. They climbed down the ladder. They deposited the coins in the corner of the no longer treasureless room. They climbed up the ladder. They repeated the process a few times. It didn't take long to bring the last coins down.
They opened up their phone, and unmade their box.
They sat on the couch and waited. Not for very long, of course. Curiosity was a much more enticing virtue than patience at that moment. They climbed down the ladder again, pocketed a bunch of their coins, and walked out the door.
The sun hit their barely open eyes hard. While the treehouse did have a bunch of windows, it still didn't let in as much light as the open Grasslands surrounding it. Frisk had been too tired the night before to even process anything around them, so it was with fresh eyes they were seeing a whole new world before them. They saw something massive in almost every direction they looked. In the distance they could see tall and very literally icy mountains that even from this far looked intimidating. In the opposite direction on they saw another mountain that seemed to be completely ablaze.
There was also what looked like a city that was closer than either of those. The city was surrounded by pink trees and pink mountains. That looked promising and exciting.
Frisk saw BMO sitting on a duck in the pond nearby. The bot was looking in the water. They seemed to be talking, but Frisk couldn't hear what they were saying. They decided to leave the machine to its own devices.
Did that count as a pun?
Frisk started moving in the direction of pink. It was the closest place they could explore. They'd even be able to find their way back easily, they figured. They only stopped once when they saw a bug dancing by its lonesome. Frisk admired the bug's dancing, and when it stopped they clapped for it. The bug bowed as low as it could for his unexpected audience, and began flailing its appendages to an unheard beat again with a newfound fervor. Frisk pressed on past the rejuvenated bug.
They saw what looked like a lake in the distance. They were tempted to head towards it, but it would take them further away from their target. The world was wide open to them now. They had time to explore. More time then they should have or wanted, really. Still, they saw no reason not to take advantage of it. They decided they would loop back around to the lake on their way back to the treehouse if it wasn't too late.
The walls of that city towered over a massive clearing. The grass was an impossibly bright and welcoming green color. Those served as a compliment to the cotton candy pink color of the trees and foliage. Even the mountains themselves sweetened the air. A moat of something that wasn't water blocked off the gate that Frisk was approaching, and the bridge was drawn. Unfortunate. They really wanted to explore. They approached the edge of the moat, which held an odd maroon color. Frisk took a whiff of it. It smelled like a sugar-filled punch. They hadn't considered the smell of punch before, but they could think of no better comparison.
Frisk would've turned around and returned to the treehouse to wait for his hosts if not for the movement atop the walls. Loud, staccato 'huts' echoed from the top of the wall. Frisk back up a few steps. He could barely make out two silhouettes marching across the wall. What Frisk saw was distinctly not human. Whatever he saw looked much more like a couple of bananas. Bananas with chocolate syrup on top that were staring at him from the high wall. It wasn't as intimidating as some of Frisk's other more recent encounters.
"Stop! Who approaches the Candy Kingdom?" The voice that came down to meet Frisk reminded them of the way a grown-up talks to an infant. The wall suddenly seemed even less dangerous, despite its scale. The words that voice said eventually processed, though in the wrong order.
Frisk had a sudden craving for chocolate. Lots of it.
"Answer the question! Or else we'll be forced to come down there and ask you again! And we'll have to do it without our wall and moat protecting us!"
Frisk got the impression these guards weren't the best at their jobs. They beat down their spontaneous chocolate craving long enough to shout up their name.
"Oh, cool. I don't know you. Wanna come in?"
Frisk nodded and the banana man gave a thumbs up - both gestures which carried surprisingly well over such a distance - before pushing off from the wall. Frisk heard shouting. In moments, there was the mechanical sound of chains clanking against gears. The bridge was lowering. It hit the ground with a polite thud. It was a very pleasant and well engineered thud. Like comedic timing, but for beauty.
Opposite of Frisk's side of the bridge the way into this Candy Kingdom laid open. Two more of the banana men stood guard at either end of the entrance. As Frisk walked by, he couldn't help but take in the guards' appearance. He had been right about the cream on their heads, which kinda resembled hair. The Popsicle legs were new, though. Frisk couldn't help but notice their weapons, too. The spears they held looked very, very real and not at all candy-like. In the hands of someone more intimidating, they might have have looked more threatening.
Despite their sugary sweet surroundings, Frisk smelled sushi. They shuddered involuntarily. The banana guard - whom they just noticed they were staring at - had watering eyes and a hurt frown.
"What did I do?" The guard asked, his voice identical to the one above the wall. Frisk's eyes darted guiltily to the ground.
Realizing the gesture was being misconstrued, Frisk muttered an apology immediately. This was awkward, and they kind of wanted to walk away. They tried to reassure the guard they were thinking about something else, and didn't realize where they were looking.
"Oh. So that wasn't because you think I'm ugly?" The banana guard asked. Frisk shook their head adamantly, and a small smile broke out onto the fragile guard's face. Frisk smiled back. This situation was a little less awkward now. "Thanks."
Frisk made finger pistols at the guard and clicked their tongue twice. They looked past the happier guard into town. Sweets walked down the street, stared out the windows, and went about their lives. A particularly buff cupcake waved when he noticed Frisk staring. It was absurd enough that the child could only laugh.
A few of small marshmallow people ran by, chortling mischievously and looking smug. Frisk couldn't figure out how old they were, because they didn't even wear shirts that could be striped. They sounded like kids, though.
An hour after entering the town and walking down every street they could and taking in everything they could, Frisk ended up near the castle. It was really bright, made with yellow bricks and pink shingles. The closest tower didn't have any windows, just a balcony near the top.
"Hello there, child!" One of the candy people greeted. Frisk turned slightly to face the voice. He looked more like a potato than a piece of candy, and he wore a blue janitor hat. "Haven't seen you around here before. Name's Starchy. Starchy the Grave digger."
Frisk greeted them back, and told Starchy their own name.
"Frisk the Human, eh? We've got a Finn the Human too. Any chance you've met him?" Starchy asked. Frisk nodded firmly. "Good kid. Shame he's also a skeleton, isn't it?"
Frisk felt their mouth hang open. A few other candy people had gathered in a small curious circle around Frisk and Starchy, they noticed. It was like the people expected something big. The mention of a skeleton brings up memories, though. The scene of a fancy restaurant plays out in Frisk's head, the smell of burnt spaghetti pervading the air. It passed in an instant.
"I know, even ol' Starchy was shocked to find out. However, the evidence adds up, doesn't it?"
Frisk asked Starchy to explain what he meant.
"Well, I wish I could tell you. However, then you wouldn't tune into the 'Graveyard Shift' tonight, would you?"
The crowd collectively sighed, disappointment evident. The crowd dispersed as quickly as it had formed. He made a fair point, Frisk thought, even if they didn't understand any of it. They asked the grave digger what the 'Graveyard Shift' was.
"It's my talk show! I expose the truth about what really goes on in Ooo. One out of one Starchies agree that it's very educational, too."
Frisk smiled at the candy person's confidant proclamation and promised they would tune in if they could. This pleased the grave digger, who promised he wouldn't disappoint the new human. Frisk decided not to bring up another theory he'd heard about the relation between humans and skeletons in the Underground. They didn't think Starchy needed to hear it.
Frisk was getting tired, and wanted to get back to the treehouse before Finn and Jake got back to find them missing. They said goodbye to the excited Starchy, and turned on their heels to leave. They didn't even get to take a step, as a yellow wax man stood in their way. He had poofy hair and a friendly smile on his face. Said smile was flanked by a bushel of beard below it and a mustache behind it. A mole prominently darkened the wax man's lower right cheek. A crown rested on his head.
"Hello there, human child! You must be here to fill out that new knight position right?" The wax man asked expectantly. Frisk started to shake their head no, but the man continued anyway. "Great! I like your enthusiasm. You're hired! Come on into the castle."
Not wanting to disappoint anyone, Frisk followed the wax man through another set of gates into the castle's courtyard. The grass was a painfully bright green. A single tree sat in one corner of the courtyard with a swing hanging from it.
"So, as you surely must know, I am Princess King of Ooo, recently elected Princess of the Candy Kingdom," the man told Frisk. Something seemed wrong about what he just said, but Frisk didn't know enough about monarchies to dispute it. "I had to fire my last pair of Knights. Leftovers from the tyrant I deposed. I've got my own legacy to think of now, and that's where you come in, friend!"
Frisk was curious. They followed the Princess King of Ooo up a tall set of stairs into the castle proper. The first room was a long hall with doors along the side. A dog person sat on a single step at the end of the hall. Frisk didn't know the breed. They looked up as the two walked into the hall.
"Toronto! This is our new knight!" The Princess announced. "Could you go fetch the... problem?"
Toronto nodded, and left the hall through one of the doors. The King of Ooo turned to Frisk and kneeled down to their eye level.
"Now, Knight. I've got a situation I need your help to deal with," he began. At this point, he reached around Frisk's shoulder and pulled him close in far too much of a chummy manner. "You see, I've inherited the Candy Kingdom in a terrible time. I work hard to hide the truth from the people outside, but I can't hide it from my trusted knight. You see, there's... Ah!"
Toronto returned, a large cooler dragging behind him. The King of Ooo stepped away and grabbed the cooler's handle. With all of his strength, he hoisted up the behemoth. After a long and hard struggle, he carried it over to Frisk. When the cooler met the ground, it wasn't so much that the king put it down as much as he dropped his entire body with it onto the ground. His back cracked loudly as he stood up.
"Phwew, that's the stuff. Anyway, Knight, open the cooler," the King ordered. Not seeing any harm in it, Frisk did as he was asked.
It was an empty cooler. Frisk told the King as much.
"Exactly, Knight! The ice maker's broken! Now, Toronto doesn't know how to fix it and I can't risk my fingers playing around with machines. You look a little young to know how to fix it," The king's eyes shifted left and right, before he leaned in and whispered, "but trust me when I say we have a plan!"
Frisk quirked a brow in curiosity. What was his solution? The Princess was right when he said that the kid couldn't fix the ice maker by their self. They did know someone who could, but...
The nostalgic smell of ramen came over them. Frisk shook their head. Too many times in one day. They had their own life to live out here now, didn't they? And that life included helping the King and the Candy People with their ice problem!
Frisk asked the King of Ooo what his plan was.
"Well, you know those Ice Mountains, right?" The King of Ooo asked. Frisk nodded slowly. They didn't really know them, but they knew of them. "Well, there's a wizard there who's able to make ice. If you could get him to fill up this cooler, why you'd be doing m- The Kingdom! A great favor."
Frisk gave the man a thumbs up. The king seemed let out a single grateful laugh.
"That's great that you'll help, Knight. I wish everyone could be so devoted. Now, I'll see you when you get back," the King said. He turned towards a side door alongside Toronto and left, leaving on the sing song words, "And be quick about it, please!"
Now alone in the hallway with the cooler, they had to figure out how they'd move it. They experimentally tried to pick it up, but that was a fruitless endeavor that only left them tired. And if it was this heavy now, basic science had taught them that it'll be heavier when it was filled with ice. The obvious solution was to not carry it, then. Not physically, at least.
Frisk pulled out their phone and pressed the picture of a box with the letter B on it. Much like earlier that morning, a beam shot out the phone that made a cube grid that made a wooden box. This box Frisk knew would be empty, though. They never wanted to hold onto enough things that badly, so it never got filled up.
The box having been made, they found they had another problem. Getting the cooler in the box. Picking up the cooler was out of the question. Their first attempt involved opening the box, and trying to pick up the box. Much like with the cooler, it was easier said than done. They couldn't do it.
So instead they pushed the box onto its side and tried to push the cooler into the box. This effort met with much more success, as the cooler slid across the floor. They did have to pick up the end a bit to get it into the box, but they did eventually get it into the box. Happy with their success, they pumped their arm and punched towards the heavens. Then they dissolved the box into their phone.
The combined weight of both containers was far greater than Frisk's own weight, and they were carrying it in their pocket like it was nothing. It was still like nothing when they left the hall and stepped back into the courtyard. It was weightless when they passed the grave digger Starchy again, and they waved at each other. They weren't thinking about it anymore by the time they greeted the banana guards at the gates, and walked out into the Grasslands.
They had walked all the out to the Grasslands before they could make out the ice mountains again. They could also make out the Treehouse again. They couldn't see Finn or Jake around, but they could very well have just been inside. They did feel a little guilty for not staying out like they had been asked, but they were doing something important too. Though they weren't sure how they felt about becoming a knight. That seemed more like... Someone else's role. Someone else's wish.
The sun was starting to go down when they reached the border between the Grasslands and the Ice Mountains. It was a clear line, drawn with grass and ice. They suddenly wished they had boots. And a coat. And gloves. And a scarf. Hot chocolate would also be great after they got out. A chill wind blew in from the direction of the mountains.
They took their first step into the snow, and was grateful that it was a bit shallow this close to the border. They made it through Snowdin with what they had, what was a little bit more snow in improper clothing? With a renewed confidence Frisk strode into the ice mountains. They weaved between them, searching for any signs of the wizard. They only saw a single, plain old snow golem. It nodded back at Frisk when they waved.
They had started chattering from the cold when they found a ramp leading up to a cave in one of the peaks. The sun was also starting to go down, too. They had accepted that they probably wouldn't be beating Finn and Jake back to the Treehouse. Figuring they had nothing to lose, they followed the icy ramp upwards. It brought them a bit high up, but they weren't scared. The Princess King of Ooo was counting on them.
They didn't slip once on the way up. They were proud of that. The cave had a door on the front of it, which was a distinctly non-cavelike feature. They knocked on the door three times.
Knock knock knock.
But nobody came. They tried again.
Knock knock knock.
"Yeah, give me a minute," someone shouted. Really loud muttering followed, too loud to ignore. "Geez, can't a man get some privacy anymore, Gunther?"
A 'wenk' answered the voice. Frisk patiently watched the door. They could faintly make out the sound of footsteps, but it was really quiet under the cold winds. Eventually, the door handle started to rattle. Whoever was inside tried to push it with their full weight. It didn't work. Frisk pushed the door from the opposite side, and the door started to open. It didn't come in contact with the old man on the opposite side.
"There, the door's open. Wadda ya want?" The man asked.
The man wore a giant dark blue robe, far too big to actually fit him properly. His large white beard hung wizardly from his the icy coloration of his face. A very tall crown sat upon his head, making his height a bit intimidating. Three gems were embedded into the crown. All of this came together to make what Frisk had to guess was the ice wizard. The same ice wizard that looked down at them with curious white eyes.
"Yo, wassup? I got something on my face?" The wizard's eyes went wide, before he screamed, "Ah! Get it off."
He started to slap at himself repeatedly in a vain attempt to remove the nothing on their face. Frisk was a little embarrassed that they were staring, but whatever. Damage was done. Frisk did tell the wizard to stop, because there was nothing on his face.
"Oh," the wizard sounded, his hand stopped mid slap on his bruised-red cheek. "Well, okay. Wish you said something sooner, kid. Kinda hurts."
Frisk rubbed the back of their head whilst the ice wizard rubbed their cheek. He seemed to have forgotten the perceived slight quickly enough, as he looked back with a toothy smile. Frisk could tell he didn't make good use of his tooth brush.
"So, what's up with you? You, uh, new here? Cuz I've never seen your squinty shtick before"
Frisk nodded. Hoping to rip off the band aid before they could process that it hurt, they told the wizard they needed a favor. They pulled out their phone as he was answering.
"Oh, do ya? Well, kid, you've come to the right place!" The ice wizard's proclamation was promising, and Frisk was feeling good. As they reached for the box B button on their phone, though, the wizard spoke again.
"Well, it'd be the right place if I felt like helping you, that is," he said. Frisk's hand stopped mid motion, before they could press the button. "Sorry kid, but the Ice King only does favors for nothing if it's for a hotty, or a princess. Oh, and especially for a hot princess, if y'know what I mean?"
They kinda knew what he meant. Frisk's arms feel to their side dejectedly. What would they tell the Princess King of Ooo? They were letting them down. And all the nice candy people they'd met, too. Now none of them would have ice... No water bottles or juice packets would be going into a heavy ice-filled cooler tonight in the Candy Kingdom.
These were the thoughts that went through Frisk's head, barely even recognizable as their own. The assault of depressing thoughts made their ways through to the frozen tear ducts of their eyes.
"Woah, there, calm the waterworks kid," the Ice King requested. Putting both of his hands on his hips, he added, "Seriously, no one likes a crybaby."
Frisk had no idea why the tears started to fall harder after that. Every drop froze just after it feel off of their face.
"Ugh, fine. Get in here and I'll do you one favor if it gets you away from my mountain. You're devaluing the property with your cheap tear-ice."
All at once the tears lightened up, and Frisk smiled up at the Ice King. Brushing aside the freezing tears as best they could, they took a few careful steps into the Wizard's abode, and the owner closed the door. A couch was nearby, occupied by a penguin.
"Wenk," the penguin said, waving its flippers.
"Yeah, yeah, get out of the way, Gunter. Kid needs a favor," the Ice King said. When the penguin's only acknowledgement of being spoke to was another 'wenk,' the Ice King gasped and ran over to it. He picked up the penguin. "Gunter! You know better than to back talk me in front of company. You're going in the corner!"
Frisk took a spot on the newly freed up couch whilst the Ice King put the penguin down by a nearby corner. The wizard took up a chair nearby and sat down with his back to the penguin.
"Geez, penguins these days, eh kid?" Frisk didn't respond. They were watching the penguin turn from the corner and walk out of the room. "So... You just here to chill out? Cuz I don't hang out with kids. They aren't princesses.
Frisk pulled their phone back up and pushed the button. The box formed between the seats, prompting a exasperated gasp from the wizard. By the time the box had fully formed, the wizard was hiding behind his chair.
"What have you brought into my house?!"
Frisk only told him that it was a box. They pushed said box onto its side, which threw open the latch. The cooler slid out onto the ice floor. The Ice King screamed again. It kept sliding, and sliding. It slid into a wall with a loud crack, which caused Frisk to flinch. They ran over to the cooler, which had slid back away from the he now cracked wall.
"That's it, kid! You can forget the favor, get out of my crib!" The threat wasn't very initimidatingm but Frisk was already on thin ice with the Ice King. They nodded meekly. They started to roll the cooler back to their box. They were trying to figure out what they wanted to do to fix their careless mistake. The Ice King didn't seem stable, so maybe they could still find a way?
They pushed the cooler back into the box and dissolved the box back into their phone. They turned back towards the door, their eyes low. They became especially aware of the pendant buried under their shirt, which seemed heavier all of the sudden. They stopped with their hand on the door handle and turned back to the Ice King. Between his low eyebrows and the hands crossed over his chest, they assumed that he was still mad.
They asked him what to tell the Princess.
"Tell her that- Princess?" That caught his attention. "Wait, did... Did a Princess happen to send you here?"
"Well, why didn't you say so! Get back in here," the Ice King said. Frisk had met other people that were just as weird recently, so they took the flip-flop in stride. In hindsight, they should have mentioned the Princess earlier. Frisk was in the middle of the room again in moments, the box at their side and the cooler gently paced beside it.
They opened the cooler, and asked if the Ice King could fill it.
"Pft, that's it? You coulda save a lot of time if you just said that to begin with, too." Frisk silently pouted. The Ice King cracked his knuckles dramatically. The crack echoed through the hollowed mountain. "This'll be easy."
The Ice King raised his hands. They began to lightly. He pointed all of his fingers towards the open cooler. Tiny pieces of ice, cut just like an ice maker would have made them, started to fill the cooler. Frisk watched on in surprise. Not because of the ice magic, but because it wasn't a monster doing it. That wasn't what the Ice King would ask about when he was done.
"So, which lovely lady sent you? I'd be happier to do this in person next time," the Ice King asked. He wriggled his eyebrows suggestively.
Frisk told him that it was the Princess King of Ooo that asked. The Ice King was immensely displeased with this answer, as it turned out. Frisk could tell because they were buried up to their neck in ice a moment later. The livid Ice King was breathing audibly from his nose.
"Deceit! Cruel deception! Used by a child!" He shouted to the heavens. He turned to Frisk with a sharp point of the finger. "I'm going to sleep, and I'll yell at you again in the morning! Deal with it, bub."
The Ice King stormed through a doorway, and slammed it closed. And thus, Frisk was alone. Frozen in ice. From their limited range of motion, they could a clock. It was pretty late. The cooler that the Princess entrusted them with sat open near them. They couldn't reach it.
They couldn't move. They struggled, but they couldn't move. They were tempted to try something, but decided against it. That was a last resort. It'e be too much to remember if they loaded now. They weren't even sure if they'd made a save out here yet. Would they really be able to go back to the Underground and be okay?
They realized that, even though they were frozen in ice, they weren't freezing. And they had done a lot of walking throughout the day.
Frisk made the decision to see what the Ice King would do in the morning. The man clearly wasn't stable, but maybe they could still make this work out fine. They'd managed to survive some crazy people before. Their face shuddered at the memory of a dummy. The rest of them was too solidly frozen to shudder with it.
Eventually, they did fall asleep. It was a surprisingly dreamless sleep, considering the pickle they were still in.
They awoke to a woman looking over them. Her eyes were covered by a dark headscarf, and Frisk could also see a snake wrapped around her neck. Her complexion was poor, taking on a sickly pale color. Two fangs protruded from her mouth in an ominous frown. Slightly more prominent then those two promises of death was the pink gem centered on her headscarf.
"You tried to feed me penguin when you had a human kid right here, minion," she complained.
"I'm sorry, darling! It totally slipped my mind that I had them," the Ice King's voice came from behind Frisk.
"Whatever. I can handle it from here. Now leave, minion. A woman's gotta have some privacy while she eats," the woman commanded with a dismissive wave of her hand. She had very long nails.
"Yes, of course darling!" The Ice King agreed. Frisk could hear the sound of a door opening, and then slamming shut. If they remembered the layout of the room right, that was the exit that they heard.
"So, kid," the woman began, staring in the general direction of Frisk. "Normally, a vampire would just drink your blood and move on. Heck, I would too. Lucky for you, I need some minions. Gotta rebuild the hive and all. That said..."
As she trailed off, the snake slithered around her neck and over her head. It's teeth grabbed onto the gem, and slowly pulled the headscarf up. Two huge ruby colored pupils now looked down at the shivering head of Frisk. They would have shivered, but there wasn't enough room in the ice. They couldn't think properly, either. Hypnotism sounded permanent. Like something they wouldn't be able to fix, even by dying or loading.
And then her eyes started rotating.
"Sell your spirit to the sky," she began. Frisk's head was spinning, and any thought was becoming hard. Despite all of their willpower, they couldn't look away from her eyes."Surrender to... The Empress Eyes!"
And Frisk's thoughts became static as they fell asleep
"Minion, wake up!" The Empress demanded. Frisk wasn't sure how they knew her name now. They did feel themself wake up. They wanted to shoot up straight, and ask what she wanted.
But the child's body refused to obey. Trapped between consciousness and unconsciousness, Frisk could hear a voice. They could think again. They had no control over their movement though, they found. But their body did sit up. Their mouth twisted into a smile, painfully wide and upturned. And then their eyes opened wide, wider than they ever opened them, without their input. And though Frisk felt it in their Soul that they were trying to stop these movements, the mouth of the child opened, and it told the Empress one thing.
"Frisk is mine! Get your own partner!"
The Empress hissed, but her fangs never got near the child. The timeline suddenly reset without Frisk trying, and most traces of that day vanished beyond the recollection of most.
Frisk regained awareness, their thoughts all their own. They smelled pancakes and bacon. Heck yeah?
"Ladies and gentlemen, breakfast is served!" Jake declared dramatically. Frisk opened their eyes to find themselves back at the table with Finn and BMO. Jake had just finished cooking breakfast, Frisk remembered.
The dog stretched out two of his arms to grab the plates with bacon and pancakes and place both onto the table. He grew another arm out of his side which reached into the fridge and grabbed a carton of milk, which he also placed onto the table.
It was still impressive to watch the second time, but Frisk's attention was otherwise preoccupied. Just like the last time they had had this breakfast, they started sinking into their seat.
"Yo, you alright there Frisk?" Finn asked, cutting through his pancake without looking again. Frisk's head shot up, and they quickly nodded. Finn's cheek puffed out, clearly not buying it.
"You sure? You looked pre-e-etty deep in thought there," Finn pushed. Frisk didn't have to look to know that Jake's face would be echoing the concern. What had they even been thinking about so hard the first time? It certainly couldn't match up to being hypnotized, only to be... Saved? To resist? What even happened?
Whatever it was, it wouldn't be happening again. Their head still pounded, even through space and time.
The conversation turned to their living arrangements after they confirmed one more time that they were fine. They had expected it, so they brought out their phone and box A once again. They pulled out the snowman piece before they dumped the coins onto the floor this time. None of it had melted before it was back in the box, safe and sound.
Again they proved the coins were real by biting them firmly. Again, Finn and especially Jake tested them again, to be sure. Again, they sat down and breakfast was eaten. It tasted shallower than they remembered. And once again, just like before, Finn's offer of a Grasslands Tour was cut off by the emergency phone call.
"Yo. Finn here. What's... What? Woah, calm down, sir. I can't understand a word you're... Uh huh. Uh huh? She did what?!" Finns mouth hung open. After a bit of chatter on the the side of the line, Finn answered, "Alright, Jake and I will be there asap."
Finn watched Finn put the enormous phone away in his pocket that still looked too small.
"What was that about? Sounded like bad business," Jake said. Frisk awaited the answer Finn's answer regarding farmers and someone he hadn't met.
"Farmers are saying something bad happened with Marceline. You and I gotta go check it out," Finn said as he got up. He climbed the ladder to the upper floor of the Treehouse, where Frisk had been told the duo's room was. Jake climbed down into the empty treasure room without any use of his powers. As they waited for Finn to come back down with his backpack, they got an idea.
Finn climbed back down the ladder and turned to talk to Frisk. They remembered what he was going to say, and decided to change the script. Before he had even said a word, Frisk was already asking a question instead.
Can I come too?
I would have had this up a few days earlier, but I really didn't like how the conversation with the Ice King went before. I still don't, but it's better.
Since this chapter was entirely from a third person perspective centered on Frisk, I tried to mimic Undertale's narration a bit. The most obvious example of this is that none of what Frisk said throughout the chapter is actually written out, but rather it is explained. I thought it'd be neat to try out, and they keep it simple enough that the wording doesn't matter.
Most of this chapter was Frisk meeting a few Adventure Time characters that will be playing a part in the immediate future. And probably the distant future, too.
Update Oct 1 2016: Heh. Immediate future. I slay me.
Sorry for the long break after this chapter, I've been spending my writing time of the other story, 'The World of Dragons.' When I had first posted 'It Changes' I hadn't expected TWoD to demand so much attention for even sub-monthly chapter releases, as at the time I had already written the first five chapters of it. While I do enjoy Adventure Time and Undertale both, and still do like this story and the direction it could go, TWoD is much more personal for me and the story I truly wanted to write.
Due to a combination of college classes, family matters, the effort that TWoD takes and an honest complete loss of interest in Adventure Time for most of the Summer, I haven't been able to write anything at all for chapter 3. I can't promise I ever will.
I also feel like I can't really do anything no one hasn't already done with the Undertale characters in this setting. I mean, looking back on my plans it fulfills all the standard Undertale fan fiction checkboxes, just with Adventure Time characters there too. Other people have already done all of that, and far better.
I guess what I'm saying is, much like Adventure Time itself right now, 'It Changes' is going on hiatus. Possibly forever.
Even so, don't think of this as a goodbye. I don't allow goodbyes in my town. Only 'See you laters!' I still have intentions for Undertale in the future, though Finn and Jake likely won't be there with it. And I may even come back to 'It Changes' one day. I mean, Adventure Time does have an ending in sight. 2018. Perhaps once everything's on the table I'll regain interest. Maybe something else will do it.
So, see you later.