(Author's note: Both Asgore and the Pale King are characters that are incredible similar to each other and both of them get FAR too much hate of their respective fandoms, so a fic about them talking to each other spawned in my mind.
That was the first crossover I ever tried and, woah, that was more difficult than I thought! I also don't think I will crossover these fandoms again, while I like Undertale, I don't feel like I want to write for it. I am honestly surprised that I now even have a fic for this fandom on my page.
It would be best if you are familiar with both Undertale and Hollow Knight, because I reference the lore of both games. There are also MASSIVE spoilers in here, so I would advise to play through the games first before reading.)
The Pale King watched as the being at the other side of the table filled a cup with a golden liquid coming out of a teapot.
He had never seen a bug like this before. In fact, he had the impression that the being on the other side of the table wasn't a bug at all. He was tall, his bulky frame was covered with white fur and there grew even more fur, in a more yellowish colour, in his face and on his head, two floppy ears fell down to each side of his face. His face tapered into a snout and two curvy horns grew out of his head. He was clothed in purple robes with a symbol on it that the Pale King had never seen before and on his head there was a crown. Everything about this being appeared regal to him, everything besides the demeanour, which didn't felt regal, but warm and caring.
As the being was pushing the tea cup over to the Pale King, he remembered that he had seen creatures similar to him when he still had been in his wyrm form. They were called goats. Though, the goats he had seen, were walking on all fours, were significantly smaller and definitely not sentient. He remembered that they had made quite a nice snack once in a while.
The Pale King picked up the cup of tea that had been offered to him and said: "Thank you."
Asgore watched the monster on the other side of the table closely as he lifted the cup of tea with both of his robed hands and sniffed at it. He had never seen a monster like this before, in fact, he wasn't sure if the creature sitting on the other side of the table really was a monster.
He wasn't tall, he actually was rather small, maybe reaching up to Asgore's chest. He didn't had any fur nor skin, he looked more akin to a bug and his exoskeleton was of a pure white, it was so bright that he even seemed to shine a constant light. His face looked like a mask that bore no expression, two dark eyes, pitch black in the middle of them, a visible mouth couldn't be seen. His head prolonged into several horns, arranged in a way that resembled a crown. Most of his body was hidden by the clothes he was wearing, robes of a silvery colour. Asgore barely could make out the claws that adorned the end of his fingers as he took up the tea cup.
But as strange as this sudden visitor was, his voice was the strangest. It had been just a simple "thank you", in a whisper, but Asgore felt like his voice had bounced from the walls and settled right inside his own head. It was nothing short of a peculiar experience.
"I want to ask you how you managed to enter my home.", Asgore said, as the creature finally took his first sip of tea. "But I think common courtesies should be in place first. My name is Asgore Dreemur and this is the kingdom of monsters I rule over, called Underground."
The Pale King looked up from his tea as Asgore spoke. The liquid was warm, sweet and satisfying. He put the cup down, straightened himself in his most regal position and spoke: "Our true name cannot be spoken to anyone but our most close ones. You may refer to us as the Pale King or the Pale Wyrm, whatever you please. We are the acting ruler over the kingdom of Hallownest."
"It appears that we both are kings.", Asgore smiled at the Pale King. "I will refer to you simply as Pale King then, if it is your wish that your name remains unspoken."
The Pale King nodded and then spoke: "You had a question for me."
"Yes.", Asgore nodded, taking a sip of his tea cup and then putting it down, looking into the liquid. "It shouldn't be possible for anyone to enter the Underground, for it is sealed with a magical barrier. How did you manage to enter?"
"You are talking about the magical seal we sensed before we found you?", the Pale King asked. "We apologize for having eluded it, for we assume that the barrier was erected to keep your kingdom safe." The Pale King didn't miss the little frown in Asgore's expression. Maybe his assumption was wrong. Regardless, he continued. If the barrier had been erected by Asgore or not, he should know about any weaknesses.
"We can assure you, that nothing is wrong with your barrier.", he spoke. "We have a tight control over SOUL and sealing spells are one of our specialities, so it wasn't hard to figure out how to untangle a part big enough for us to slip through. It weaved itself right together afterwards, it is truly a marvellous work of sealing magic. We doubt that anyone or anything not versed in sealing spells could get in or out of your kingdom."
"I see.", Asgore said, gaze cast down on the table, his hands laying on his upper legs. "Would you... forgive me if my question may seem rude... but would you be able to break the barrier with your knowledge?"
"Oh?", the Pale King said, not drinking from the cup he had already raised to his mouth. "We were under the assumption that the barrier was your own doing. Have you not erected it to keep your kingdom save?"
The Pale King actually had thought about erecting a similar barrier around his kingdom to fight the infection, but the infection came from within, not from the outside, it came from the dreams of his people, so it wouldn't have done anything.
"It is a rather long story...", Asgore said, a deep sigh escaping his throat. "In short, the underground acts as a prison for my people. Nowadays, I am one of the last monsters who has ever seen the sunrise..."
For the Pale King, the sunrise wasn't something special. He had chosen to establish a kingdom underground and even though wyrms were able to fly, he always had preferred to burrow through the earth. He always had preferred to live hidden from the rays of the sun.
"We are afraid that we have to disappoint you.", the Pale King said, finally taking another sip from his tea. "For as much as we possess a tight control over SOUL and as much knowledge we have about sealing spells, this barrier around your kingdom has been woven by the forces of several powerful spell users. A similar force would be needed to break it. Even if we could break the barrier, it would take us many, many years. Centuries even."
"I... understand...", Asgore said, looking deflating, staring into his own cup of tea.
"We are sorry that we can't help.", the Pale King said. A kind of awkward silence spread between the two of them. The Pale King considered if he should say or ask something, but he felt that Asgore needed a moment. It seemed like he was rather eager to get rid of that barrier.
"I would have liked to offer a piece of cinnamon butterscotch pie to you.", Asgore suddenly broke through the silence. "However, it was usually my wife who baked it. I tried out many times, but never could get the recipe down."
"Your wife?", the Pale King asked, scanning the room. It seemed like nobody but Asgore lived in the house they were sitting in.
"She... left me.", Asgore said.
At his word, the Pale King flinched for the fraction of a second, fanning his wings up, thinking about his Root and how sad her eyes were lately, since the Pure Vessel had come into their life.
"We are sorry to hear.", he said, not sure what to say. He wondered if his Root would leave him for good one day, he wouldn't be able to resent her for it. He deserved it.
"It has been a long time ago.", Asgore said, swirling the liquid in his tea cup before setting it back on the table. "I can't even blame her for it. See that picture on the shelf? That's her, my sweet Tori."
The Pale King's gaze wandered to the mentioned picture and he stood up from the table to closer inspect the picture frame that Asgore had pointed out. In it, he could make out Asgore, looking exactly the same as right now. Next to him was another goat monster with white fur, apparently female, wearing a similar robe to his. In front of them were two children, a young goat and the other... a human, both wearing striped sweaters. Their children maybe?
"She looks like she has been happy.", the Pale King commented on the photo and sat back on the table, staring in his teacup.
"Back then, we were happy.", Asgore said. "Tell me, do you have a queen of your own?"
The Pale King's thoughts went back to his Root again and it felt like cold fingers were grasping around his heart. It felt as icy as the void.
"Yes, we have a queen, our White Lady.", the Pale King replied. "We share our soul with her, so deep is our bond. We cannot think about anyone else wanting to spend our life with, but..." He trailed off, unsure how to continue. "It has been difficult lately...", he sighed.
"It's the same for me and my Tori.", Asgore said, pouring himself a bit more tea. "I wanted to spend my whole life with her and with boss monsters, like us, that meant for the eternity. We can only age when we have biological children. We were happy and I wished for each of our days to be as fulfilling as the day before. Our life reached its peak when our children came into our life, but..." Asgore took a deep sigh. "Well, I can't resent Tori for having left me behind, as much as I still hope that she will stand in front of my door again."
The Pale King waited a little while before speaking again, letting Asgore calm down what must have been a painful memory. "Your children?", he asked after a few minutes had passed. "The ones in the picture?"
"Yes, our son, Asriel and the human was called Chara. We adopted them after they fell down the mountain. Do you have any children with your lady, Pale King?"
It had been an innocent enough question, but for the Pale King, the pile of a thousand broken shells, lingering shades and a being standing stiff as a statue, wearing the face of what once had been his child, flashed through his mind. He couldn't prevent his body to react as his tail lashed out and his wings flared up for at least one full second, as well as his claws digging into the table and his natural light flickering.
"No.", he said, after only a second had passed, which had felt like a small eternity. "We don't have any children."
Asgore had noticed the change in the posture of the Pale King, it had been brief, but Asgore had lived for a long while already and he could see the tiniest hints of change in someone's posture. He wondered while the Pale King had reacted so extreme at the seemingly innocent question if he had any children. Asgore asked himself, if maybe he knew the same pain that he did. It wouldn't hurt to...
The Pale King
Ruler of the Kingdom of Hallownest
"No cost too great..."
"What did you just do?", the Pale King asked, his black eyes focusing on Asgore. He clearly had sensed the CHECK, but didn't know what it was.
"I am sorry, I didn't mean to offend you.", Asgore said, his thoughts still lingering over the level of violence he had measured. So... he was not the only one... a king had to be their for his people, even if it meant he had to do things he would regret. Though, it was so high... Even higher than...
"Don't do it again.", the Pale King cocked his head and narrowed his eyes. "We have been considerate enough to not poke in your thoughts, we would appreciate if you don't look at our very soul."
Ah, so he had recognized what Asgore had did. Asgore got a tight feeling in his chest, he had gotten curious, not thinking that a non monster would be able to see through his actions.
"I apologize once again.", Asgore said. "I won't do it again. Please, ask me anything you want. I will answer with the truth and only the truth to make up for having intruded in your soul."
"We would like to know why your wife has left you.", the Pale King said, after he had thought about it for half a minute.
"It is a long story.", Asgore said. "It has to do with the barrier."
"We have time.", the Pale King said, finishing his tea cup and offering it to Asgore for a refill. "Before we can go back, our SOUL reserves have to be filled up first anyway."
The Pale King hadn't mentioned it earlier, but alone the slipping through the barrier had drained him. It had been tight and the untangling had been complicated.
"Let me begin at the very start then.", Asgore said. "We monsters once lived among the humans on the surface."
Ah yes, humans. The Pale King remembered them from his old life. Amusing little creatures. Always ran away screaming when he showed his face around them. They were crunchy and tasted sweet. They often tried to drive him away with their weapons though, so he mostly avoided their settlements. Why anyone would want to live among them got over his mind. They probably would come after his people just because they were different from them.
"We monsters possess a special power, once a human dies we can absorb their soul and gain unspeakable power.", Asgore spoke. "However, my race always wanted to live in peace. It was the humans who attacked us without warning. We monsters are fragile creatures... with the right intent even a child could dust us."
"Dust?", the Pale King cocked his head, unsure of what to make from this term.
"We monsters are made from magic and only a little physical matter.", Asgore explained. "When we die, the magic vanishes into thin air and the little physical matter that holds us together turns into dust."
"We understand.", the Pale King nodded, thinking about that if his people would turn into dust, the infection would have a harder time getting a hold of them. It literally would be unable to reuse their empty shells then.
"The war raged on for a while, but in the end, we monsters didn't had a chance. We were driven into this underground cave and seven human wizards created that barrier, that will let nothing in or out. We monsters have been trapped for centuries since then."
Ah, so that explained why Asgore had referred to the underground as a prison. "So it is in your interest to break the barrier to give their people back their freedom.", the Pale King spoke.
"Yes, indeed.", Asgore said. "However, when we first went underground, my people still had hope. While we missed the sun, we could at least recover from the wounds the war had inflicted on us. We built a city near the entrance of the cave, called Home."
The Pale King nearly choked on his tea. Underground and Home, Asgore seemed to be terrible at names.
"From experience, we can tell that you needed more room after a while.", the Pale King said, thinking about how his kingdom had slowly expanded and they had dug more tunnels and build more homes.
"Yes, we explored the rest of the caves once Home got too small. Several monsters settled in different areas of the Underground, like Snowdin, Waterfall and Hotland. The area we are in here right now is the capital, New Home."
Definitely bad at naming. The Pale King didn't make an expression at the "names" of the areas in the Underground. Maybe he didn't want to feel like a hypocrite, because in his kingdom there were names like Greenpath and White Palace.
"However, before we established New Home, back in Home, for me and my wife there had been wonderful news. She was expecting our child. The little boy you have seen in the photo."
Neither the goat child nor the human child seemed to be around and the Pale King got the hunch, it was for other reasons than them having left with the queen or simply having grown up. His thoughts briefly went to the Pure Vessel again. No, that wasn't his child, just a tool, a construct to seal the infection.
"Like I already mentioned, it is special for a boss monster like me to get a child.", Asgore said. "For our lives are tied directly to it. Without a child of our own, we can't age. I have lived for many many centuries already."
"That seems similar to us Higher Beings.", the Pale King spoke. "Though we won't age with or without a child present." Or he would have gotten older once the Pure Vessel had stepped into his life... no, that thing wasn't his child. "We too have lived for many centuries already."
"Our son, Asriel, was born and a reason of joy for all of monsterkind.", Asgore told. "We lived peacefully and happily in Home, as a family. One day Asriel, who had explored the caves, came back with someone though... it had been a human child who had fell down into the Underground and got hurt. The one in the picture next to Asriel."
"We have the feeling that this tale will not have a happy ending." the Pale King spoke and took a sip of his tea.
"We were happy and full of hope...", Asgore spoke. "Until that fateful day... me and my wife... lost both our children on the same day..."
The coldness of the void clutched around the heart of the Pale King again. He was no stranger to losing a child, even though he could only blame himself for their death... All the clutches that hadn't survived the voidification, all the children that had broken their shell right after hatching, all the children that had died falling down...
And all of it only for the Pure Vessel to ascend, a knight with the face of his child but without any feelings or will. A tool, a weapon. Nothing else.
"Would you tell us what happened?", the Pale King said, both interest and a feeling that he barely could register rising in him. Was it pity? He didn't know.
"One day Chara, the human child, got terribly sick.", Asgore continued.
"Why didn't you heal them?", the Pale King asked.
"Of course we tried.", Asgore said. "Especially my wife was very skilled in healing magic, but our magic didn't help. Whatever had befallen Chara, we were unable to help them... we tried our best, even calling to them to hang onto their determination, but in the end they breathed their last breath and died in the arms of Asriel..."
The Pale King appeared calm as he listened to Asgore's story, but in his inside he felt a turmoil coming... the memories he wanted to shut out. The memories of the first clutch that he had awaited so eagerly only to see that not a single one of them had made it... The way he had whispered to them to not give up, to hang onto their will to live, even though he knew that he needed a creature without a will. He had shut himself into his workshop for a while after that and started to try and detach himself more and more from his experiments.
"After Chara had died, Asriel decided to absorb their soul. It had been Chara's last wish to be buried among the golden flowers of their home village and Asriel wanted to fulfil them their last wish. With the soul of a human and a monster, he alone was able to cross the barrier, however..."
Asgore took a deep and shuddering breath and the Pale King knew how hard it was for him to continue.
"When the humans of the village saw Asriel, they thought he came to attack them, scared by his appearance and prejudiced against monsters as well as seeing the body of a dead child in his arms, thinking he had killed them." Asgore's hand holding the teacup was trembling. "They attacked him, but Asriel never fought back. Instead, he came back and once he was on the flower field outside the palace, he turned into dust..."
There were tears in Asgore's eyes and a certain image flashed through the Pale King's mind. An image of the Hollow Knight being led to the Black Egg Temple, an image of him reciting the sealing spell, an image of him breaking down in front of the door. He rubbed his eyes, was his foresight acting up again?
"At this day, I swore revenge on humanity who robbed me of my first child after my second just had died.", Asgore said. "Every human who will fall into the Underground has to be captured and their soul will be used to break the barrier, so that we monsters can finally be free again."
The Pale King nodded to the words of Asgore, it made sense for him. Everything to keep his folk happy. It was the same for him... to fight the infection he was walking over a sea of corpse.
"However...", Asgore continued and the Pale King looked up when a big paw wiped over his eyes. "My wife resented this plan. She didn't want to have anything to do with it and left me shortly after my declaration that monsterkind would wage war on humankind. I... never have seen her again since then..."
"...How many?", the Pale King asked, his own crimes lingering in his mind.
"Six.", Asgore replied. "One more, only one more until we monsters are free again, but..." Asgore took another shuddering breath and didn't finish his sentence. "I cannot resent my wife for having left me, because I have the blood of innocents on my hands... My level of violence will forever taint my soul..."
"...", the Pale King didn't say anything at first, before quietly speaking. "How much?"
Asgore raised his head and said: "Pardon me?"
"You looked at our soul earlier. You surely could see it... our... level of violence...", the Pale King lowered his head, unsure why he was even asking about it. In a sense, he already knew the answer.
"Too high to be numbered.", Asgore said.
"Of course.", the Pale King said. "It couldn't be any other way. In the end, we had to make a choice. The same choice that you had to make."
"...after telling you about my and my people's predicament, would you tell me about yours?", Asgore asked.
"Very well.", the Pale King said. "Our kingdom of Hallownest is threatened by a force that we call the infection. It is relentless and deadly. It infects bugs in their sleep and turns them violent, it reanimates corpses and turns them into a threat for any living bug with a mind of their own still. It is... the doing of an old nemesis, which we have been too weak to put an end to once and for all."
The Pale King had made sure, that the Radiance would have been forgotten, but she had found a way to come back, in the worst way possible.
"I am very sorry to hear.", Asgore said. "You surely have your own troubles and here I keep you, listening to the rambling of this old goat."
"We already act on our plan to get rid of it one and for all.", the Pale King said, his mask an unreadable expression. "However... their had... many sacrifices to be made to enact on this plan. Sacrifices that left our wife sad for having been a part of them. We had run into... complications. The failures had been higher than anticipated until our Pure Vessel finally ascended from the depths below. It shall seal the blinding lights that plagues their dreams and Hallownest will last eternal."
"Your Pure Vessel?", Asgore asked. "Who are they?"
"Just a tool.", the Pale King replied, feeling like the void was clutching his heart. "It's nothing but a construct."
Asgore didn't dig any deeper. The denial of the Pale King, the level of violence and the way how quickly he had referred to the Pure Vessel as a tool, regret was pasted all over him. Asgore could fully understand him. He had done many despicable things to keep his folk save, as much as Asgore had stained his hands with blood of innocent children. He didn't knew who or what had died for the Pale King's plan, but he knew that it was eating at the Pale King every minute of his existence.
Asgore wondered if the Pale King was fearing that his plan, which he sacrificed so much for, failed as much as Asgore was afraid of the seventh human falling into the Underground, obliging him to declare war on humanity. A day he hoped would never come.
"I would offer my help, if I could.", Asgore said. "But as you have already seen, me and my kind are trapped in these caves."
"Our plan will succeed. We made sure of it.", the Pale King said. The vessel was perfect. It was truly hollow, never showed any emotion and acted only on orders. It would be impossible for the Radiance to break a being without a mind, thoughts, hopes or dreams. His heart sank deep into his chest at the thought of having to seal them however... even though it felt like he would change only a few lives for the lives of millions, the amount of empty shells in the Abyss felt too high. No cost too great. He had known that and now it was too late for second thoughts.
"Would you like another cup of tea?", Asgore asked as he noticed that the Pale King's cup was empty again. The Pale King subtly shook his head.
"Thank you, but it appears that our SOUL reserves have been recovered. We should retreat back to our own kingdom."
"Of course.", Asgore said. "Please allow me to escort you to the barrier."
The Pale King nodded and when both of them stood in front of the barrier, the Pale King looked at Asgore.
"We may not be able to break the barrier, but we want to offer another option.", he said, feeling a strange connection with the fluffy king. "Our kind possesses the gift of foresight, seeing into the future. We can use it to look into the strands of your future. There may be a hint hidden in there somewhere."
"...", Asgore's speechlessness was somehow be able to be heard. "It can't... hurt to give it a try."
"Very well then.", the Pale King raised his claws and laid them into Asgore's big hands. Then, he concentrated on the strands of the future surrounding Asgore, all while his eyes glowed with SOUL, the strands of his future unfolding in front of his inner eyes, taking shape.
Asgore turning into dust... a white goat monster (Toriel?) taking the throne. The barrier remained intact.
Asgore turning into dust... an angry fish woman taking the throne. The barrier remained intact.
Asgore turning into dust... a strange monster made of metal taking the throne... the barrier... remained intact...
Asgore turning... into dust... a monster looking like a human skeleton taking the throne...
Asgore... turning... into... dust... a lizard monster on the throne, overcome by grief and sadness.
Asgore... turning... into... dust... again... a little dog (?) on the throne...
Would every future for Asgore only predict his death? The Pale King breathed heavily as he searched the strands of his future, hoping, pleading that one of them would have a better ending.
Finally... there was a future where Asgore watched the sunrise with a bunch of other monsters.. including a human child in a purple and blue striped sweater.
"Pale King, are you feeling alright?!"
The Pale King felt a warm hand on his shoulder, he was breathing heavily, hunched over the ground, blinking a few times until the strands of future weren't flashing in front of his inner eye anymore. Until he didn't had to see Asgore die over and over anymore.
"Our apologies.", he said. "Looking into the future can be... bothersome, because of all the possibilities." He got up and folded his hands behind his back. "There will be a future where the barrier will be broken.", he said. "Another human will come and they appear to be the key and..." The Pale King looked Asgore deep into the eyes. "Be wary of a yellow flower."
In all the strands he had seen, it always had been the same being killing Asgore, a little yellow flower with a face and a twisted grin.
"A yellow flower?" There seemed to be a brief wave of recognition washing over Asgore's face, before he frowned and shook his head. "I don't remember ever having met a flower monster..."
"Whoever they were, they mean trouble.", the Pale King said. "Just... take care."
"Pale King, I want to offer you my thanks.", Asgore said. "If you ever need someone to talk to, you can feel free to visit me in my home."
The Pale King nodded, already deciding that he would never come back. He had gotten too reminded of his own crimes in Asgore's presence. If Asgore would knew the full extent of his sins, he surely would resent him. What were six innocent humans against an abyss full of the corpses of his own children? Especially after Asgore had told him the tale of how he had lost his own?
"Thank you.", he said instead and untangled the barrier just enough for him to slip through, looking back at Asgore, who raised a hand to wave at him.
At the way back to the Palace, he thought about using his foresight another time, to make sure that the Vessel plan would not fail. He had looked again and again and almost all possibilities had hinted at success, however...
...no, he decided he wouldn't look. The plan would be a success. Asgore wouldn't turn into dust. He was sure of it.
(Author's note: I lowkey regret that I started this thing at the table, because now I missed the opportunity to let Asgore say "Howdy".)