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The Multiversal Villain's Self-Saving System

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The glowing screen illuminates your face as you scroll down the page you’re reading. You’re eating chips, posture slouched, an elbow leaning on the table as you stare at the screen, eyes half-focused and drooping with sleepiness. The sound of your mouse and the crunch of the chips in your mouth are the only thing you can hear. 

 

It’s 3 a.m. Outside, the sky is dark, the stars shining bright. There are no cars on the road outside. The city is eerily silent and shrouded in black. Your apartment is one of the few sources of light, a pale yellow glow leaking out of your windows onto the surroundings.

 

Your room is a haphazard mess. The bed is decorated by tangled sheets, the carpet floor stained with various liquids that had accumulated over time, making it look like a patch of mold. Posters litter the wall, creating a cacophony of color that looked decent during the day but have become unnatural and ominous against the pale light of your desk lamp.

 

At a time like this, you should be asleep. Or studying for that math test you have tomorrow.

 

Except, you’re determined to finish the story before dawn breaks. You started it a week ago.

Chronicles of the Multiverse, a web novel about good and evil skeletons who fight each other in the multiverse. The plot?

 

A skeleton named Dream was turned to stone but restored to a skeleton by two other skeletons, Ink and Blue. He wakes with no memories about how he got there or why he was stone. Mysterious protagonist background, check.

 

Ink and Blue are fighting against Error, Nightmare, and Nightmare’s gang. Ink and Blue promote positivity and creation, while Error and Nightmare promote destruction and negativity. So far, they have been losing. Dream decides to join them. Cliche struggle between good and evil, check.

 

The two sides fight for a while. There are ups and downs for the protagonist, battles against evil, conflicts between Ink and Blue and Dream, who have named themselves the ‘Stars’. The novel drags on for a while, slowly building tension.

Then suddenly Nightmare’s gang gains a new member, Cross. Except Cross doesn’t seem to like killing or spreading negativity. Although, their first battle with him is a curb-stomp battle. They are quickly overpowered. The next time they fight, despite extensive planning against their stronger enemy, Dream is captured. Plot twist, check.

 

When Dream is captured, they talk. Dream learns that Cross dislikes Nightmare, who wanted to make a killing tool out of him after seeing his power and subjected him to abuse from others of the gang to keep him controlled. Dream comforts Cross, and over time, as they endure Nightmare’s abuse together, they grow close. Cross betrays Nightmare and helps him escape, but is unable to escape himself. Dream swears to help Cross. Potential protagonist love interest, check.

 

The next time they meet is on the battlefield, and Nightmare tries to force Cross to kill Dream. Cross rebels and manages to defeat Nightmare’s gang.  He joins the Stars. Together, they try to kill Nightmare and Error.

 

You’re now on the one hundred and twenty-fourth chapter , which is also the end of it. . .

 

Lowering his bow, Dream watched as Nightmare, his longtime enemy, the king of negativity who had tried to conquer the multiverse, the all-powerful lord of darkness, who hurt Cross, melted away into ashes. Ashes that crumbled into dust in the wind.

 

There was a thud behind him. Dream turned and saw Ink, panting and exhausted but unharmed, eyelights bright. It was the only confirmation Dream needed that the destroyer was no more.

 

He turned back to their enemies. A pile of dust lay where Killer had been. Cross’s knife is speckled with blood as he whirls toward the rest of the enemy, Blue besides him. They clash with Dust and Horror, and Ink and Dream hurry over to help. Soon, they are dust as well.

 

The multiverse is finally free from Nightmare. Free from Error. Blue lifts a fist in victory, raising his voice in a cheer. Ink smiles softly. Dream wants to join them, but Cross seems somber, so he goes and puts a reassuring hand on his shoulder. 

 

They watch as the sun rises.

 

It’s the dawn of a new age. One without fear, destruction, or negativity.

 

A new future, and a bright one.

 

--

End.

 

You slam your fist on the table, crumbs spraying out of your mouth. Scrolling all the way down you click on the comment box and start typing, fingers punching the keyboard ferociously.

 

This story’s so stupid!

Let’s see…

There’s absolutely no backstory. We don’t know where Nightmare came from, or Error, or Ink. Hell, we don’t even know where Dream came from, and he’s the protagonist! All we know is that he came from a stone statue and emerged with no memories, and somehow is good at archery despite having never practiced. Even worse, even though he wonders who he was, he never finds out, or tries to find out. Instead, he just goes and joins Ink and Blue and their evil-fighting band! As for the others, all that’s written about them is the universe they came from! There’s nothing about what happened in that universe. Why does Horror have a hole in his head? Why does the murder time trio seem so similar to each other? Why are Error and Nightmare and Ink and Dream the way they are, and have the abilities they have? Where are the answers? There are so many loose ends!

 

Also, there’s no clear motive for Nightmare or Error or ...anyone. Why do they destroy and spread negativity? While Error might be insane, Nightmare clearly isn’t. Such one-dimensional villains. Why does Nightmare’s gang still follow Nightmare when Nightmare’s so cruel to them?

 

I’ve wasted my time reading this piece of trash.

 

You click ‘post' with little hesitation. Immediately you are drowned under a barrage of replies.

 

Trash? This is amazing!

 

What do you mean? The plot was flawless!

 

If this novel was so horrible, why have you kept reading it?

 

You dig your fingernails into the desk, scratching lines across the wood. Grabbing another handful of chips, you bite into them ferociously before typing,

 

How are you all so stupid? Yes, the plot has some good points, but there are too many loose ends and plot holes for it to be good.

 

A stupid pen writes stupid words, read by stupid readers. This is a stupid book, written by a stupid author.

 

You jam your finger down on the mouse, clicking ‘post’.

 

The comment thread explodes. As you read them, your face reddens in anger.

 

And then you choke.

 

You gasp for air as pain rings through your airway, a piece of the chips you were eating lodged in your throat. You reach for your phone, gasping for air, but your fingers fall short. You slump forward, face meeting the keyboard with a clack. Everything turns black.

 

And then you hear a mechanical voice. Monotone and genderless, neither old or young.

 

[Activation Code: Stupid book, Stupid author, Stupid pen, Stupid words...Stupid book, Stupid author, Stupid pen, Stupid words…]

 

[Automatically triggering system...]

 

The voice echoes through the empty space.

 

[Activation Complete. Creating Account...]

 

[Welcome to the system. We wish to provide you with the experience you seek, and give you a chance to transform this piece of stupid writing into a high-end classic. Please stay still as we send you where you need to be. We wish you the best. Good Luck.]

 

[Transmigrating…]

 

“... Boss. Boss?”

 

A different voice speaks, and as time passes it grows more clear.

 

“Boss, are you awake?”

 

You try to open your eyes. Immediately, you notice something is wrong. You can’t open your right eye. Hell, you can’t feel your right eye. And when you open your left eye, you’re staring up and a stone ceiling, not the wood of your apartment.

 

You take deep breaths, trying to calm yourself as you take note of yourself. You’re lying on what seems to be a bed. You can feel something—somethings on your back, and you feel...cold. You’re covered in… black goop?

 

You turn your head to the side. And you freeze.

 

To the right is a skeleton. He is smiling, and he has no eyelights, with black liquid oozing out of his eye sockets instead. A red and black target hovers over his chest. The skeleton shifts uncomfortably, smile becoming a grim line. “Boss?”

 

“Where am I?’ you ask, nervous. Who is this skeleton, and why is he calling you Boss?

 

“You’re… back at the castle, Boss. Back at our base.”

 

Castle? Base?

 

Why… Why does this skeleton seem so familiar?

 

Skeleton…Boss… Novel…

 

“Killer?” You exclaim, shocked.

 

Killer straightened to attention. “Yes Boss?”

 

“What… What happened?” you asked, more to yourself than anything. Killer interprets this as a question to him.

 

“You… you passed out. After we attacked Fellswap, we came back and you just… passed out. Is Boss in need of anything?”

 

“I… can you please get out of my room?”

 

“Yes, Boss.” If he notices your unusual behavior, he doesn’t comment. Straightening, he bows, then turns to the left and walks out the room, closing the door behind him and leaving you to mull.

 

What the hell just happened?

 

Ding.

 

You flinch as the sound of a chime rings through your mind. The voice is back

 

[Account successfully created. Binding your role: Leader of the Dark Sanses, Guardian of Negativity, King of Darkness, ‘Nightmare Sans’. Affiliation: Evil. Points: 100]

 

Points? You think, confused. What...What just happened?

 

[You initiated execution of the system. You are associated with and bound to the account ‘Nightmare Sans’]

 

[As the plot progresses, a number of opportunities to gain points will be opened. Please make sure your points do not drop below zero. Should your points drop below zero, your account and existence in the undertale multiverse will be terminated.]

 

You lie back, trying to process what had happened.

 

Transmigrating, the system had said earlier. So that meant…

Somehow, you had been transported to the Undertale Multiverse. And been put in Nightmare’s body. Nightmare, who had been killed off by Dream and Cross at the end of the story.

 

Great. Just Great.

 

How could you alleviate your fate?

 

You could escape. Hide away in a random Au, and—

 

An alarm rang through your head, loud and piercing. You bring a goopy hand to your forehead, clutching it as your head rings from the sound.

 

[Warning! Warning! Warning! If you follow through with your plan, points will be deducted as punishment]

 

What? Why?

 

[You are in tutorial. Out of character function freeze is activated. You must complete tutorial before functions will be unfrozen. Any actions out of character that conflict with the original ‘Nightmare Sans’ will result in points being deducted.]

 

So, I have to act like Nightmare Sans?

 

[Correct.]

 

Silently you curse the system. If that’s the case, then you’ll have to try and complete tutorial as fast as possible. But first…

 

You sit up, stretching, getting used to the feeling of four tentacles on your back. You look around, surveying your surroundings. You’re in a candle lit bedroom, light reflected off of the shiny dark stones in the floors, wall, and ceiling. The bed is simple, black. The cabinets nearby are all made of a dark wood. To the right is a bookshelf. Scooching off the bed, you put on sandals and walk closer to examine its contents. A Guide to the Undertale Multiverse, one of them reads. You’d have to check that out later; maybe it’d have something useful.

 

Killer said that it was right after the battle of Fellswap. If you remembered correctly, Fellswap happened a few chapters before Cross was introduced. The book never stated exactly when or where Nightmare found Cross. If Cross hadn’t been found yet, you could avoid recruiting him, or kill him on sight. That way, you’d definitely survive. After all, the Dark Sanses had been winning until Cross betrayed them.

 

But if Cross had already been recruited, you’d have to somehow win him to your side. You couldn’t kill him; Nightmare had considered Cross too powerful of an ally to kill, so killing him would be OOC. But if you could somehow win his favor… 

 

None of the Stars would be able to kill you, because Cross was just that powerful.

 

Your gaze is drawn to the dark doorway. There are few hints to where the hall behind it leads. If only you had a way to observe without being caught, to see without being seen… 

 

Wait. Nightmare— you— had powers. One of them was reading emotional auras. Maybe…

 

Closing your eyes, you concentrate, trying to access your powers. After a few minutes, you feel something.

 

Down the hall, to the right, there were five presences. That meant Cross had joined, unless Nightmare had some secret friend not written in the novel. Of the skeletons, one was emotionless, probably Killer, considering how he had acted when you woke up. Two were wild, bouncing back and forth from anger to sadness to guilt to happiness to apathy… you guessed they were probably insane. That would fit Horror and Dust. One was afraid, curious, confused, and angry. Luckily, Cross wasn’t too angry, and, interestingly, the anger wasn’t directed toward you but to his companions. Lastly, you could feel impatience and annoyance radiating from the last skeleton. Impatience and annoyance toward you. Error. You shiver slightly at the thought of the other big bad of the story. Error, who was as powerful as Nightmare you were. You’d have to watch out for him.

 

Organizing yourself, you step into the hall and walk toward them. A few seconds later, the hall opens into a large, airy chamber with high ceilings. To your right is a large throne elevated on stone made of dark ebony. It is angular and elegant, simple and beautiful at the same time.

 

As you walk in the others turn to you expectantly. Horror, Dust, and Killer bow. Cross dips his head respectfully and Error just looked annoyed.

 

Let’s get this party started, you think. There were few snippets about the Dark Sanses and their evil meetings and planning, but enough that you knew how it worked. You ascend the steps, holding your head high, then turn and sit. Turning your head to look at Dust, who had the role of a spy within Nightmare’s your group, you ask, careful to keep your tone neutral, “Anything worth mentioning recently?” Recently, while you were asleep.

 

You can feel Dust’s emotions, which were the most unstable of the group, settle and still under your pressure, turning into nervousness and a light fear. “N-no,” he stammers, and you feel bursts of amusement from the other Sanses, hear the light hidden snickers from Horror and Error. Killer, however, stays strangely impassive and emotionless, and Cross seems… confused?

 

Thinking on this and your earlier read of Cross’s emotions, you come to the conclusion that Cross hasn’t been with Nightmare you for long. Which is definitely good, since it means he doesn’t hate you or want you dead. Yet.

 

Dust’s face has turned slightly purple, and he shrinks into his hood under your gaze. “Nothing unusual has happened recently,” he elaborates. “There’s no sign of any of the Star Sanses in any of the AUs, dead or alive.”

 

“I haven’t sensed anything, either,” Error drawls, leaning back against a pillar in a relaxed position. “I told you that attacking Fellswap was a good idea. After scaring them off, they won’t show up for a while, and we can rest for that time.”

 

Killer’s right hand fiddles with a knife, and he refuses to meet Error’s eyes as he says, “They could be planning something. We have to be vigilant. I say we attack an AU soon, to test them.”

 

Error glares, and you feel his anger at being contradicted. “Planning something? Let’s see, Blue is a foolish and naive ball of positivity, Ink is a forgetful and wild creator who seems to have dementia half of the time, and Dream? Dream’s only one person, with so few allies when we literally outnumber them two to one, and he’s almost foolish as Blue.”

 

Dust raised his head quietly “B-but a few weeks ago they set a trap for you and you almost got caught. I’d say that they can plan things.”

 

Error whirled toward Dust angrily and starts cursing him. “You—”

 

You feel a spark of emotion from Killer. Directing your powers toward him, you feel his amusement at the situation. You plunge deeper and almost gasp at the amount of suppressed emotion. Hate, guilt, fear… they’re overwhelmingly negative.

 

You turn your focus back to the arguing pair. Error is aggressive and lashes out quickly, his points sharp, wild, and accusatory.  Dust is more defensive, basing his argument on solid facts. Slowly the argument turns from what to do to which of them is more foolish. They begin throwing insults at one another. Cross is standing off to the side, seemingly torn about what to do. Killer’s amusement has only grown. You can read his emotions better now, and the buried ones beneath it as well. In his left eye socket, a small pinprick of light has grown.

 

Beep.

 

A sudden sound interrupts your thoughts. It’s the system, again.

 

[10 points deducted. OOC penalty. 90 points remaining.]

 

OOC? You think, outraged. Haven’t I been doing a good job at this whole ‘evil’ thing?

 

[Nightmare would not have let such pointless arguing go on so long, and he would have reverted Killer into his emotionless state. 10 more points will be deducted if the situation is not resolved.]

 

You look closer, and you see that the top of Killer’s soul has sharpened to a point, just like the top of an upside-down heart.

 

Strange. Chronicles of the Multiverse never said anything about Killer’s soul. Then again, Chronicles of the Multiverse was filled with plot holes, so it was natural there were some things— well, a lot of things— that you didn’t know.

 

Which led to a problem. You had no idea how Nightmare kept Killer emotionless. Hell, you didn’t even know Killer was emotionless. 

 

However, you did know that a portion of Nightmare’s powers were emotion-related. So maybe… 

You send a wisp of your magic toward Killer, all the while marveling how easy it is. Killer’s soul reverts back to normal.

 

Now for Dust and Error…

You slam your hands on the sides of your throne dramatically and stand up, the tentacles on your back making you look even more threatening. “Stop this pointless arguing, you idiots! You’re getting nowhere!”

 

Dust and Error quieted, glaring at each other. Both had gotten pretty riled up, and you could feel their anger at each other. 

 

“Now…” you thought a bit. This was your chance to have fun with the plot a bit. “Cross,” you say, turning to him menacingly. You feel his fear grow, even though he hides it well. “Yes, Boss?”

 

“What do you think we should do?”

 

It is clear that Cross thinks through his answer. When he speaks, his words are measured. “As a former guard, I believe that we do have to be vigilant with the Stars.”

 

You smile, trying to mimic the snake’s grin you believe Nightmare would use. “Then what do you suppose we do?”

 

“Stay on guard and set up an attack on an AU, not to actually fight but probe at their intentions.”

 

“Hm.” You turn from Cross and walk away. “I agree. Killer, prepare for an attack in three days. Dust, keep spying on the Stars until then. Meeting adjourned.” As you walk off, you can feel Error’s outrage and annoyance toward you. You smirk.

 

A mechanical voice echoes through your skull. 

[5 points earned for in-character acting. Good job!]

[Quest: Attack on Mafiatale. Quest will be initiated in three days]

Quest? You think. This is like an RPG. Interesting.

As you make your way to your room, you mull over all that’s happened recently. In the blink of an eye, you’ve gone from a college student to the ruler of darkness. It’s only been a few hours since you were sitting in front of your computer, reading. Or at least, it feels that way.

 

You’ve arrived outside your room and your hand goes to the door handle. But before you can open the door Error appears behind you. You turn, tentacles swishing behind you. “What do you want, Error?” you say, making your voice sound as cold as you can.

 

Error fiddles with his fingers. “You’re acting weirdly today, Nightmare.”

 

You raise an eyebrow “Oh?”

“You let Dust and I argue,” he points out. “And you let Killer regain some emotion. That’s never happened before.”

 

Damn. Error was observant.

 

“So, what’s up with you?”

 

You try to keep yourself from trembling under Error’s pressing gaze. The glitches surrounding him make him seem bigger than he actually is. 

 

“Nothing that should concern you,” you say coldly. You open the door and slam it behind you, falling back onto your bed as you feel Error’s presence vanish. It’s been a long day. Closing your eyes, you fall asleep.

Chapter Text

It’s about an hour before dawn. You now lie awake in bed, thinking. Plotting.

 

There were thousands of ways this could end horribly for you. Yes, you could be killed by Cross and Dream like the original novel. But you could also die a painful death in battle, or be captured by the Stars… the possibilities were endless. While you were sure the protagonist, Dream, had plot armor, you weren’t sure whether it was the same for yourself. 

 

At the same time, if you somehow won against the protagonist and their plot armor? Then what? Sure, you would rule the multiverse forever. You would live eternally, feasting on the negativity you caused. But eventually, things would get boring. You didn’t fancy the idea of causing pain and destruction, of being a lone king ruling over a dark realm. Also, if you won, Error would probably win as well. And Error destroyed indiscriminately. Would he destroy you, too, after you’d defeated the Stars? You weren’t sure whether you could win against him, even with the support of your gang.

 

The best possible ending, you muse, would be if I could somehow get the same ending that Dream gets in the original novel peace, and a bright future. But Nightmare Sans doesn’t want peace, and it would be out of character for me to want it, much less fight for it.

 

But… Characters could change. Right? Given time, under the right influence, Nightmare you might be able to change.

 

But change had to have a motive. And what motive would Nightmare have? What would Nightmare allow to influence him, what could influence him? He was the unshakable guardian of negativity, cold and cruel even to his allies. And none of his allies would ever try and influence him to be good— not when they had no reason to. One was emotionless, two were insane, one was pure evil, and one—

 

You groan and slam your head against the mattress. Cross. Cross might influence Nightmare to change. Cross was the most good out of all of them, proven by the fact he joined the Stars in the original novel. There wasn’t much about his time with Nightmare besides details about his suffering, though. You would have to improvise. Carefully improvise.

 

There’s also another problem. Even if you could somehow change the nature of your character, you would still be aligned with evil. You’d still be fighting against Dream, who, as the protagonist with plot armor, is almost completely guaranteed a happy ending. How can both the villain and the hero live happily ever after? A truce? You can’t see that happening any time soon. You could try making a heel-face turn and join the hero, somehow… but your actions would need a motive, and said motive is nonexistent.

 

At least, right now as Nightmare you have no reason to join the hero. Perhaps, as your character changes, you’ll find a reason. Then that’s what you’ll concentrate on right now. Changing the nature and personality of your character. Depending on how Cross acts around you, this could be very easy or very hard… you’ll see.

 

As your mind drifts your thoughts go to Killer. There was little information in Chronicles of the Multiverse about Killer, not even the AU he was from. All you knew was that he was Nightmare’s dog, he was good with his knife, and in the end, he was killed by Cross.

 

And of course, now you knew that he was emotionless. Emotionless. And from Error’s response, Nightmare had been keeping him emotionless. Did that mean he had a different personality, when allowed to have emotions? Who was Killer, when his personality wasn’t suppressed by Nightmare? 

 

You needed more information.

 

Getting up, you go to the bookshelf, where the guide lies. Pulling off the shelf, you open the surprisingly heavy book, flipping through it, careful not to get any goop on its pages. You move next to the candles on the cabinets. The dim flickering candlelight is, surprisingly, bright enough for you to make out the scrawl of words on the pages. Suddenly the system beeps.

 

[Important article gained: AU book. 10 points gained. Keep up your efforts!]

 

Important article? Interesting. You go back to flipping through the book, familiarizing yourself with its contents. The sections are organized under AU name, which is a problem because you don’t know Killer’s AU. Underswap, Underfell, Underkeep… 

 

A piece of paper gains your attention when it falls from the book. You pick it up, careful not to stain it with goop. It’s a wad of folded notebook paper. You look at the pages which it fell from. Unnamed New Universe, it reads in black print. Or, it used to read. Someone’s crossed it out with a red mark and written ‘X-tale’ in bold letters instead. You skim through your knowledge from Chronicles of the Multiverse and come up with a blank. Which is unusual, since you remember most of the AUs mentioned in the guide, even some of the obscure ones like Altertale or Dancetale.

 

Below the title there are only a few notes. Someone’s attempts to create a perfect universe. Mostly abandoned; only Gaster, Chara, and Frisk remain.

 

Mostly abandoned. Why would Nightmare mark the section of a mostly abandoned (and most likely useless) AU? You unfold the notebook paper and freeze.

 

On it is a rough sketch of a skeleton in monotone guard uniform. The black ink is sharp against the paper, and the flickering candlelight makes it seem to rise off the page. Cross. Didn’t the book say the universe had been mostly abandoned, without a Sans among its inhabitants? You keep reading

 

Cross Sans, the lone survivor of a genocide timeline with no possible resets.

 

Resets? Genocide Timeline?

 

Another beep breaks you out of your thoughts. Seriously, this system was getting annoying.

 

[Backstory: X-tale. 3% uncovered. One out of nine backstories discovered. Congratulations! You will gain a hundred points once you reach the 50% mark. Please keep up your efforts.]

 

Nine backstories. That’d probably be one for each of the main characters: You, Dream, Ink, Blue, Killer, Error, Cross, Horror and Dust. Nine backstories to uncover. Chronicles of the Multiverse really left out a lot. You keep reading

 

When I met him, he had a half-human, half-monster soul. I helped him get rid of his unwanted half and regrow his soul using some… magical methods. In return for that and escape from his barren universe, he has pledged loyalty to me.

 

So that’s how Nightmare had gotten Cross on his team. Good to know.

 

Cross is… in short, he is powerful. I have watched him spar with others of my gang. He can hold off the Murder Time Trio on his own; With him at my side, I can defeat the Stars easily.

 

There is only one problem: He is not… inclined toward violence like the rest of the gang. But I think, under some … convincing from Killer and the others, he will become like the rest of us. Although I will not personally oversee his… tempering, I am sure that it will work.

 

That would explain Cross’s hatred toward the others in the throne room, and lack of hatred toward yourself.

 

Cross has said little about his world. All of its other inhabitants were rendered into inexistence, and he has given few hints about why it is so. But there are a few facts I can glean. Cross was created by someone within the universe, probably one of the original three. Also, his shard of human soul was from the original three. My guess would be that someone tried to play god, like the fallen human in so many universes, but in a series of events both the inhabitants and the original three were killed, and without the god the universe was rendered unresettable. Cross definitely has something to do with it, as I can feel his deep regret.

 

The fallen human? You mentally scan through Chronicles of the Multiverse and find nothing about said human. The book is focused on the Stars and Dark Sanses; there’s little about other characters in their universes.

 

You flip the notebook page, but there’s nothing on the back. 

 

Beep.

 

[Backstory: X-Tale. 7% uncovered. Please continue your efforts.]

 

7%? You had a long way to go. You sigh, putting back the notebook paper and bookmarking the page before continuing your way through the book. Birdtale, Outertale, Trainertale…

 

You stop when you come to Undertale. The title is underlined and highlighted, and off to the side someone’s written ‘the core universe’ in bright red letters. Curious, you read the description.

 

The original universe, 

 

The original universe? What the heck was that supposed to mean?

 

and the first one created. A large majority of universes are based off of the original, and an even larger percentage include the characters from it.

 

Oh.

 

There are three possible route for this timeline: Pacifist, Neutral, or Genocide. But they all start the same way.

 

A long time ago, Humans and Monsters lived in harmony. One day, the two races went to war. The humans won. Using the power of seven human souls, they created the Barrier and sealed the monsters in a prison known as the Underground. Anyone could get in, but no one could get out.

 

Asgore, king of the underground, had little malicious intent toward the humans. When the first human, Chara fell underground, he and his wife, Toriel, took them in and raised them alongside their son, Asriel. Chara however, wanting to free the monsters, decided to sacrifice their soul and have Asriel absorb it so that they would be able to cross the Barrier to gather humans to break it. Asriel however was killed. Out of grief for losing both his children, Asgore declared that other humans who fell would be killed, their souls gathered to be used to break the barrier. This outraged Toriel, who fled, no longer willing to be with Asgore and instead spent their time in the ruins, waiting to guide the next child who fell.

 

As time passed, Asgore managed to gather six souls. And then, finally, the last child fell. Frisk, the soul of determination.

 

Many monsters would try to kill Frisk. But Frisk could never die. With the soul trait of determination, they could reset back in time to save points if they were ever killed.

 

‘Reset’... so, like a video game?

 

Frisk had three general paths, all with different endings. They could spare all monsters they fought in a pacifist route, helping them get to the surface. They could kill some monsters in a neutral route, getting themself to the surface.

Or they could commit genocide and kill all they fought.

 

Damn. 

 

At the end of each route, Frisk had the option to reset the timeline completely to when they fell underground. This would wipe away everyone’s memory except for a select few: Flowey, Chara, Sans, and Frisk themself. 

 

Nightmare’s notes made a lot more sense now. 

 

Inwardly you start cursing the author of Chronicles of the Multiverse. Why did they leave out so much? How did they leave out so much, and still write a coherent novel?

You keep reading.

 

Note: the Undertale Universe is currently in a pacifist timeline. Frisk has promised Sans not to reset.

 

Interesting.

 

You flip through pages detailing the characters of Undertale and stop when it comes to Sans. You skim the article.

 

Pun-loving… Lazy… Remembered resets… hated resets… slightly traumatized by resets… 

 

You fall back onto your bed thinking and once again cursing the author of Chronicles of the Multiverse. This is a lot of information to take in.

 

These ‘Resets’ obviously play a big role in undertale. And in the other universes, if other universes are based off undertale.

 

Dust, Horror, and Killer all look a bit like Undertale Sans. Perhaps their universe was also affected by resets, and they had been affected negatively. Maybe it had even caused them to become the way they were.

 

You close the book, tired. You’ll go back to it later. There’s a beep as the system speaks once more.

 

[Backstory: Undertale. 68% uncovered. Two out of nine backstories discovered. One hundred points gained. Congratulations! You will gain another hundred points once you reach the 95% mark. Please keep up your efforts.]

 

Wait… Undertale was another backstory? But none of the main characters were from undertale. If there were nine backstories, then…

Either one of the backstories was missing, or…

Or two overlapped.

 

But which two? Horrortale, Dusttale, and Killer’s Au were all separate. Underswap was also its own AU; and while you knew little about Ink and Error, you were sure they didn’t share a backstory.

 

Unless… 

 

Nightmare had hated Dream. At first sight.

 

What if they shared a backstory?

 

Thinking upon it, you realize that it might be possible. Dream remembers nothing; he was mysteriously turned to stone. Also, his abilities are a direct counter to yours. He has positive magic, you have negative magic. Both of your abilities relate to emotions. And your names… they’re direct opposites, and while it could be the author playing around, you’re sure it means something. Exactly what, you obviously don’t know.

 

And, of course, because of the wonderful effort of the author, you don’t know where Nightmare came from. It’s completely possible that Nightmare and Dream came from the same AU. 

 

You get up to put the book back on the shelf and hesitate. The book was important; wasn’t there anywhere better to keep it?

 

[Important articles can be kept in the System inventory. Do you want me to put it in there now?]

 

Yes, you think. The book vanishes from your hand.

 

[Articles from the inventory can be retrieved anytime, anywhere. Simply think, and it shall be done.]

 

Good to know. 

 

It’s morning now. Your magic can feel your gang running around. Horror’s in the kitchen, probably preparing something. His emotions have stabilized into contentment. Dust is sneaking around, and while his emotions are all over the place, you feel apprehension the most. Killer’s emotionless, as usual. Error’s gone off to who-knows-where. You can’t feel him in the castle or the universe; perhaps he’s gone destroying again. As for Cross… you feel Cross approaching your room. He knocks on the door. “Come in,” you say, careful to keep your voice gruff and cold.

 

Cross’s face is impassive, revealing nothing, but you can feel his nervousness. In his hands is a tray with food, presumably cooked by Horror. “Horror made breakfast. Killer told me to bring it to you.”

 

“Thank you,” you say reflexively, and you’re immediately reminded of your mistake as alarms literally blare in your head. [OOC penalty. 10 points deducted. 195 points remaining]

 

I know, I know, you grumble in your head. You feel a burst of shock from Cross. Careful to keep your face in a scowl as you snap, “What are you still standing there for? Go put that tray on the desk.”

 

Cross quickly scuttles to the desk, putting it down. He turns to you. “If there’s nothing else…”

 

You wildly gesture with a tentacle. “Get out!”

 

Cross leaves.

 

You walk to the tray and examine it carefully. Scrambled eggs, a cup of orange juice, some toast. It seems...regular. Not what you were expecting for a villain hideout.

 

[OOC penalty. 10 points deducted. 185 points remaining]

 

What? Didn’t you just deduct points earlier?

 

[Nightmare would not have kept the tray and the food.]

 

You curse the system.

 

[You have an option to view a memory. Do you want to view a memory?]

 

You jump at the System’s voice. What?

 

[The tray is connected to a memory. Do you want to view it?]

 

I can view memories?

 

[Certain objects can trigger certain memories of the past Nightmare. If you want to view memories, you can actively seek out said objects.]

 

Why didn’t you tell me earlier?

 

Somehow, the system sounds smug. [you didn’t ask.]

 

Hell Yes, View the memory.

 

You plunge into darkness.

And then you’re back in your room again. Only this time, you’re not in control of your body.

 

Cross is coming in with a tray of breakfast. “Boss, Killer told me—”

Nightmare whips around “to bring me breakfast?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Nightmare snorts. His voice is menacing and quiet “I feast on negativity, Cross. I don’t need food to sustain myself. And don’t think I know that you’re only using Killer as an excuse; he would know better than to tell you to bring breakfast. Bring that tray back to the kitchen.”

 

“But Boss— “

 

“Now!” Nightmare snaps.

 

The scene changes. You are sitting at the desk, back hunched as you write down information in an old notebook. You can feel Cross coming. He knocks on the door. “Come in,” Nightmare says.

 

Cross comes in. Once again, he is carrying food. “Boss— “

Nightmare hisses. “Didn’t I tell you yesterday that I don’t need food? GET OUT!”

Cross flees.

“Brat.” Nightmare murders under his breath.

 

Coming out of the memory is like surfacing from water. Slowly sound and sight comes back to you.

 

[If you want to access memories, memory markers can be purchased at the cost of 30 points.]

 

Memory markers?

 

[They’ll tell you whether an object is tied to a memory or not.]

 

Very well. I’ll take them.

 

[155 points remaining.]

 

You sit back to mull once more (you’ve been doing a lot of thinking today). Cross has been surprisingly nice to past Nightmare, which definitely makes winning his favor easier. While you bemoan the loss of points at your reflexive reply, you’re also glad about it now. Character change happens in increments; Cross (and the readers, if they read about this) will see your reply as a character change brought on by, of all things, his perseverance in bringing Nightmare food.

Chapter Text

Cross has kept bringing breakfast as the days passed. You’ve slowly become more courteous, losing forty points due to out-of-character penalties, but not minding it. You need to win Cross to your side if you want to avoid being killed, and points are a small price to pay.

Not much has happened recently. You’ve been training yourself to use the four tentacles on your back, getting used to the goop, learning to manipulate it to form shields or weapons. While Nightmare’s strength and muscle memory stayed, your mind still needs to get used to it. Considering how much fighting happens in Chronicles of the Multiverse and how skilled at fighting everyone else is, you’ll need all the practice you can get.

 

You’ve also viewed another memory through the wad of paper from Cross’s page in the guide.

 

- Flashback-

 

You stare at the mark hovering over the paper, its light blue glow illuminating the pages of the book in your hands. [You have an option to view a memory. Do you want to view a memory?]

 

Yes, you think. Your vision fades and is replaced by blinding light.

 

You stand in an empty white void. It is silent and blank. The only thing you can hear is your own black goop dripping off of you, forming a puddle and staining the colorless ground. This must be Cross’s AU. As you orient yourself, you sense Nightmare’s thoughts, and they become your own.

 

The guide had labelled it a new AU that had been ‘mostly abandoned.’ heh. Mostly abandoned?  there’s nothing and no one here except for you. The guide had stated that Gaster, Chara, and Frisk remained; but as you extend your power you find no one. The AU is desolate, empty, void of life, a— 

 

You freeze as you feel something. Despair, hopelessness, regret, loneliness… the negativity is  strong and tastes exquisite to your magic, but who could be producing it?

 

You dissolve into goop, heading toward its source before reforming nearby

 

The space is broken only by a single hooded figure. His clothing is monotone, made completely of black and white cloth that creates sharp contrast. Purple tears drip from his eye sockets, forming a puddle on the ground. Even under the thick hood and uniform, you recognize the familiar build of the figure.

 

It is a Sans. But the guide said nothing about a Sans existing within this universe. How was he here?

 

You take a step forward, which he must have heard, as he whirls around, a silver knife materializing in his hands, his eyes glowing with power. Knife manifestations appear and fly toward you.

 

Had you been a regular Sans, you would have dusted. But you were Nightmare, your only weakness positivity, so you didn’t.

 

The attack still sliced you to pieces, though.

 

The Sans’s eyes widened as you reformed, holding out a tentacle placatingly. “Wh-Who are you?” His voice, although rough, betrays a tinge of fear. You take a better look at him.

 

A black mask covers his lower face. Right above is a bright red scar, the only color on him. His eye lights are trained on you, sharp and alert and no longer crying, noting your every move. His stance is that of a fighter. Despite the fear you feel emanating from him his body language does not betray it, and his stance is threatening and aggressive. While his hands and the knife seem to be casually placed, they’re actually in the perfect position to attack or defend himself. His knees are bent and taut, ready to spring and attack or to flee. His plentiful magic hums and snakes through the air around him, poised to strike. It is clear that he is a warrior, and an experienced one at that.

 

You give a poisonous smile, and your single eye light flashes coldly. “The name’s Nightmare Sans.”

 

“You…” the Sans’s eyes go wide. “You’re from an AU.”

 

“Oh?” you smirk, raising an eyebrow. “You know of the AUs?”

 

He nods. “Someone told me about them.”

 

Someone… definitely not Error. You can think of only one worldwalker who would’ve interacted with this world and left it intact. “Ink?”

 

The skeleton is clearly surprised. “You know him? Are you friends with him?”

 

“Hah,” you spit out. “Friends? With that squid? No.” Friends with Ink? More like the opposite.

 

The skeleton seems thoughtful. “I thought he was my friend, but… he left me here. In this…” he looks around. “In this place.”

 

“Speaking of this place, what the hell happened to it?”

 

The Sans’s gaze darkens. “Everyone was killed.” He says nothing else, and it’s clear that he will say nothing else on the matter. He quickly changes the topic. “What brings you here?”

 

You start walking slowly toward him, your footsteps slow and ominous. “Me?” Your grin widens. “I heard this AU was mostly abandoned. Mostly abandoned AUs are usually abandoned because of the actions of someone powerful.” You’re face to face with him now, and you hold his gaze. “You’re powerful, Sans.”

 

“Call me Cross,” he says.

 

“Very well, Cross ,” you reply. “As I was saying, I was hoping I would find someone powerful. Someone powerful to join my gang.”

 

“Your...gang?” says Cross.

 

“Yes. My gang, which spreads negativity. Commonly known as the ‘Dark Sanses.’ Opposed to Ink and his stupid Stars.”

 

“You can move between AUs.”

 

“How do you think I got here? Of course I can,” you say exasperated. This is taking too long. “Anyway—

 

“If I join your gang, if i follow you, can you take me out of here?” Cross says suddenly.

 

“What?” 

 

He flinches. “I— I’m not sure how powerful I am compared to the rest of your gang, but I can fight. If I join your gang, can you take me out of here?” He is desperate, afraid of being left alone in this white void of a universe and willing to do anything to get out. Keeping your face impassive, you consider his suggestion. In the end, it's not a difficult choice. While you can already see he lacks the intent to kill and harm that Killer and the others have, you can also see that he’s an experienced and a powerful fighter. A really powerful fighter. Besides, you did come here to see if there was anyone worth recruiting. This is too good of an opportunity to pass up.

 

“Very well,” you say. Cross keeps his face blank, but you can feel his emotions go in more positive directions. Ugh. Positivity. You open a portal. Behind it is your dark castle, and both of you step through.

 

The memory fades, and you find yourself back at the bedroom with an open book in your hands. Beep.

[Backstory: X-Tale. 8% uncovered. Please continue your efforts.]

 

- End Flashback-

 

You’ve also viewed a few mundane memories exposing Nightmare’s daily life in the castle. Error comes and goes, only staying in the castle half the time. Dust likes to sneak around, occasionally training with the other. Horror does the cooking at mealtimes and trains with his axe every so often. Surprisingly, there’s a garden of vegetables outside the castle, and he tends to it. Killer’s almost always emotionless, and past Nightmare’s careful to keep him that way. As a result, he does everything without much interest or emotion. Training, eating, fighting… There are small bursts of amusement, yes, when Nightmare scolds the gang or when Error gets flustered, and occasionally annoyance toward other members of the gang, but otherwise, nothing seems to significantly shake him.

 

The only time the past Nightmare let him gain any emotion is when he’s messing with Cross.

 

Sometimes he got Horror and Dust to join him. Most of the time it was verbal taunts. Sometimes it got physical, but Cross could hold his own, so Nightmare didn’t do anything about it. On some occasions, he even encouraged Killer, hoping it would toughen the soldier.

 

- Flashback-

 

There’s a glowing memory marker on one of the ceiling beams up above. Whipping out your tentacles, you hoist yourself up. [You have an option to view a memory. Do you want to view a memory?]

 

Yes, you think. Your vision blurs, and suddenly there are two skeletons beneath you

 

“What’s this?” says Killer, holding up a golden heart locket, a cruel smile on his face. Killer’s fingers go to the clasp, and it opens to display a photo. From your perch, you can’t make out what’s on it, but Killer’s eye sockets widen. Then he laughs. “Aww, is this little bitty Cross’s family ?”You can feel a sick amusement, rage, and…  jealousy?

 

“Give it back!” You can hear Cross’s fear, his voice growing high-pitched as he gets more and more frantic. “It’s mine!” He leaps at Killer, but Killer teleports out of the way at the last moment and Cross falls heavily to the ground with a thud. Killer waves the heart locket in front of his face tauntingly. “Aww, is little bitty Cross mad?”

 

Cross grits his teeth and pushes off from the ground, his knife materializing in his hands as he charges, knives materializing in the air around him. Killer teleports once more, and Cross whips around, trying to find him. When Killer materializes again, a single slash of Cross’s knife sends him flying back and hitting stone. This fails to dislodge the locket from Killer’s grasp. As you watch, Dust and Horror emerge from the shadows, bones and axe barred in front of them, eye lights glowing their respective red and cyan. They attack and Cross barely keeps them at bay. 

 

In the end, he is pinned to the stone with purple bones and made to watch as Killer crushes the locket, the metallic crinkle of metal echoing through the stone hall. He walks away with it in his hands, a cruel smile gracing his features as Cross cries out in sorrow, pleading, begging for him to return it. Dust and Horror retreat as well, falling into line behind Killer, and Cross is left alone, pinned against the cold stone of the hallway, tears running down his face and dripping to the ground. Using the shadows to cloak your presence, you follow Killer and watch as he tosses the locket out the window and leaves.

 

Intrigued, you go to the window and jump out, using your tentacles to break your fall, and you find the locket snagged by a tree branch. You take it into your hands the gold metal is wrinkled, crushed by Killer’s strong grip. Carefully you open it and find a picture of monsters dressed similarly to Cross. The former inhabitants of his AU. Carefully you bring it back to your room and store it in a cabinet. Who knows, it might make good bargaining material one day.

 

You surface from the memory, cyan tears dripping from your face. Although Chronicles of the Multiverse had written about Cross’s suffering, seeing it was just so… different. You drop back to the ground, collecting yourself as you start analyzing the memory. What intrigues you is that Killer was, of all things, jealous. But… why? Sighing, you make your way back to your room. Upon entering, you note the cabinet to the left. Nightmare had put the locket in there, perhaps…

 

You reach with a tentacle and pull open a drawer. Inside is a glint of gold. You cradle the precious locket in your hands like a baby bird, staring at it, and the picture within. The system beeps. 

 

[Important article gained: Locket. 10 points gained. Keep up your efforts!]

 

Store it in the system inventory , you think. It vanishes from your hands.

 

- End Flashback-



So in the last few days, you’ve been trying to find out more about Killer and his emotionless state. So far, you’ve found nothing. You haven’t flipped through the whole book yet, though, so his information might still be in there. However, you’ve made more progress on other stories. You’ve uncovered 21% of the Underswap backstory, presumably Blue’s backstory. And you’ve uncovered 76% of the Undertale backstory. 

 

You’ve even looked into some of the other AUs that don’t play a big role in Chronicles of the Multiverse, like Underfell. If you could gain points from the system for knowledge, you would have gained a lot in the last few days.

 

You’re about one-third through the book when another wad of notebook paper falls out. Your heartbeat quickens as you read the title. Dusttale. There’s a note next to it written in blue pen. Read this later, it says. An arrow points to a particular passage. You read it.

 

After killing his brother, Dust Sans often sees and hears a phantom Papyrus. This Papyrus is a hallucination that Dust sees, and it often encourages San’s violence.



Besides the report from Dust on the first day, you haven’t interacted with him much. But by monitoring him with your magic, you’ve confirmed that he is insane. From Chronicles of the Multiverse, you know that his skill set emphasizes stealth and speed. You’ve also found out that he uses and makes his own poison, and you’ve sensed other living beings in his room and heard the chittering of rats.

 

Scanning the page, you start from the beginning.

 

Dusttale is a variation from the original Undertale universe. The human of this universe kept committing genocide. Sans, remembering the resets, was driven to desperation. In an attempt to stop the human, he decided to kill other monsters to gain EXP and LV to become stronger. At first, he was guilty and regretful, but as his LV increased these feelings vanished and he grew insane. Eventually, he killed off everyone in his universe.

 

So that explains the insanity. Carefully you unfold the notebook paper. Like Cross’s page, it has a sketch of Dust. The lines are bold and clear, the red and cyan eye seeming to glow in the dark.

 

Visited this universe, it reads in black ink. Its underground is abandoned save for one skeleton. Dust. He is not particularly powerful compared to Killer and Horror, but he has the attributes my team needs. His focus on poison and agility are a welcome addition to Killer and Horror’s brute strength. He needed some convincing, but he has agreed to leave and join my team.

 

Beep.

 

[Backstory: Dusttale. 37% uncovered. Three out of nine backstories discovered. Congratulations! You will gain a hundred points once you reach the 50% mark. Please keep up your efforts.]

 

You stuff the wad of notebook paper back into the book, marking the page and continuing. You marvel at the sheer amount of AUs there are, and all the details. With one hundred and twenty four chapters, Chronicles of the Multiverse mentioned most of the AUs listed in the guide at some point or another, but it never gave any more details. As you flip through the book, you see just how whole each of the universes are, with their own characters and stories and settings. Some are happy; others are less so. Each of them are unique in their own way, despite being based on the same universe, and it thrills you to read about them.

 

You’ve gone through about ten AUs when a glitchy portal suddenly opens. Quickly you store the book. On the other side is a glitchy skeleton; behind him is a white expanse not unlike Cross’s AU broken up by blue strings hanging from the ceiling and… wait. Were those souls?  

 

Your thoughts are broken off when Error starts speaking. “Nightmare,” he says, his voice a growl. 

 

What could he want? Internally, you tremble in the face of the destroyer. Error’s strings had shredded countless souls, laid waste to whole universes. Outwardly, you were calm, collected, and cold, head held high in front of an equal.

 

You raise an eyebrow. “Well, well. What warrants a direct visit from the destroyer himself?”

 

“You’ve been acting strangely.” He growls, raising a skeletal hand as his blue strings lash out. You dodge as well as you can in the small space, retracting your tentacles to make yourself a smaller target. “Didn’t we settle this a few days ago?”

 

He huffs. “I suspected something was wrong when you let Killer regain emotions. But watching you the last few days has confirmed it.”

 

Shit.

 

“You’ve been unusually courteous to Cross when he brings you breakfast. And you’ve eaten that breakfast, when all you need is negativity. You’ve been surprisingly nonviolent, only staying in your room to read that book I gave you.” Error gave Nightmare that book? “And as you wander through the castle your movement is erratic and strange. You even randomly started crying at several points. You’re not Nightmare.” He lashes out with his strings once more and manages to snag your arm. The rest of the strings follow, and soon you are bound in a cocoon. “Tell me,” he says. “Who are you?”

 

You struggle, glaring at Error fiercely even as you panic internally. He’s onto you. He’s found out, he—

 

“Answer me!’ he roars, and you can feel his surging anger.

 

“I’ve told you, it’s none of your concern,” you snarl, “Now release me!”

 

“Fat chance,” Error growls. “You’re definitely not the octopus”

 

“Oh?” you raise an eyebrow, trying to pull off an annoyed look while cursing internally. Shit shit shit shit

 

“Nightmare would’ve gotten out of my strings already,” said Error. “He can dissolve and reform his form. He would’ve then counterattacked and tried to strangle me with his tentacles by now. You’ve done none of the above.”

 

“So, who are you?”

 

You sag, defeated. “You’re right. I’m another mind in Nightmare’s body.”

 

“Well, at least you admitted it.”

 

Alarms literally blare in your head. [OOC penalty, 10 points lost. 115 points remaining]

 

For star’s sake, what else am I supposed to do?

 

The strings retreat, and you slump to the ground. Error continues. “So, who exactly are you?”

 

You dully drag yourself to your feet. “I’m from another universe. Outside this multiverse. I accidentally transmigrated into Nightmare’s body.”

 

Error grins wickedly. “Heh. another universe?”

 

You nod “In it, this multiverse is just a book. I was reading the book when I died and was somehow sent here.”

 

“Heh. So you’re just another useless, dirty, glitch! ” Error yells, lunging. You shut your eyes, preparing to die for the second time.

 

The strings never make contact. Cautiously you open your eyes and find the scene frozen. Error's strings are frozen inches away from your chest. His eyes are wide and face twisted in a maniacal grin.

 Beep

[The system has detected that you are struggling and interfered. Would you like the system to assist with your problem?]

 

You release a breath you didn’t know you had been holding as you collapse, realizing that you are saved. Assist?

 

[The system can erase Error’s memories of this incident and take away his suspicion toward you. Would you like the system to assist with your problem?]

 

Stars, yes. I don’t want to die a second time.

 

[60% of your points shall be taken.]

 

Do it.

 

[69 points remain. Character ‘Error’ has been sent back to the Anti-void]

 

You lean against the cabinet. Thank you, system. 

 

[The system appreciates your feedback.]

Chapter Text

“Everything’s ready, Boss.”

 

Killer and Dust stand in front of you, fully armed. Killer’s mouth is twisted in a sadistic grin, and under Dust’s hood red and cyan glow in anticipation.

 

You nod in satisfaction, donning the snake’s grin you think Nightmare would have. “Good,” you say.

 

Killer came to you a few hours ago to flesh out your plan of attack. He had chosen Mafiatale, and the system had gone along with it. Which was a bit strange, because you didn’t remember Chronicles of the Multiverse having an attack on Mafiatale during this time period, but if the system said it was correct, then it was correct.

 

You turn, your back to the skeletons, assuming a brooding look.

 

And then you realize that you have no idea how to get to Mafiatale.

 

You stand awkwardly, trying to recall the shards of Nightmare’s memories of portal opening. You lift a hand, like he always does, and start channeling your power the way he did in the memories. You can feel your magic reaching out, but… something’s missing. Damn it, how did Dream open his portals in Chronicles of the Multiverse again?

 

- Flashback -

 

Chapter 27, the title reads on the glowing screen. You scroll down and are immediately drawn into the novel.

 

“I’ve examined your magic,” Ink says to Dream. “While its effect is the exact opposite of Nightmare’s, the nature in which it works is remarkably similar. There’s a chance you can open portals. I know I gave you one of the teleporters, but teleporters can break, so it’s best that you try and learn anyway.”

 

“Then… “ Dream looks down at his hands as he releases his magic, a golden glow surrounding him. “How do I open a portal?”

 

“Imagine that this universe you are in is a bubble in the air. Release your magic outside its barriers and search for the one you want to go to. When you find it, imagine moving it toward this universe and opening a passageway between them. Now, try and open a portal to, say, Underfell.”

 

Dream holds out his hand, focusing, extending his magic like Ink told him to. At first, nothing happens, and he sends it out further. Then suddenly his magic is drowned under a sudden onslaught of people, places, feelings… he clutches his head, trying to clear the sudden onset of ringing and come back to himself, but there’s just too much. He feels the joy of the inhabitants of one universe, the despair of the other, fear from one, sadness from yet another… it’s so overwhelming. So many people, so many feelings, each of them leaving their own imprint on his mind.

 

Suddenly he’s on the ground, and Ink is shaking him. “Dream. Dream!” he sighs in relief when he sees Dream’ blinks, eyelights focusing on him. “What happened?”

 

“I’m alright,” Dream croaks weakly. “Just… give me a minute. I got overwhelmed.”

 

“That happens sometimes,” says Ink. “You did manage to feel the AUs, right?”

 

“Yeah,” says Dream. “It’s just…. I can’t keep track of them.”

 

“When making portals, you only need a direction,” says Ink. “You don’t need to keep track of them, you just need to locate the one you need. In fact, you should learn to ignore the others and focus on the particular AU you’re looking for. With practice, you should be able to do so.”

 

- End Flashback -

 

You exhale slowly, closing your turquoise eye in concentration as you expand your magic. Like Dream, you’re hit with an onslaught of feelings the minute you extend outside the AU you’re in. Luckily by following Ink’s advice you somehow manage to concentrate on Mafiatale. 

 

Now, to open a passage. You imagine dragging your own AU and Mafiatale closer until they touch, and you hear a sound like ripping cloth in front of you. When you open your eyes, you’re staring at a decrepit gray city instead of the stone walls of your castle. Internally you cheer. It worked! You lower your hand and glance back for a final briefing. “Killer, stay with me. Dust, conceal your presence and scan the area for the Stars.”

 

Both Sanses nod, and you cross the tear in space to Mafiatale. There’s a beep from the system.

 

[Quest: Attack on Mafiatale. Should this quest be successfully completed, 100 points shall be gained. Quest goal: Fight with one of the Stars to help move the plot forward.]

 

Fight with one of the Stars? But… between Swapfell and Cross’s first fight with the Stars, you didn’t remember any conflict between the Stars and your gang. In fact, if you remembered correctly, Ink had been doing research, trying to find how to kill, well, you; He’d brought the Stars to an abandoned AU in search of a stone said to be able to neutralize your negative essence and prevent you from regenerating.

 

(Said stone had, in the end, worked and helped Cross and Dream kill you.)

 

So how could the Stars have come to Mafiatale? For the first time, you start to doubt the system.

System, is there an error?

 

[Scanning… The system does not have any errors.]

 

But… there’s no way the Stars could’ve come here!

 

The system is annoyingly silent.

 

System?

 

.

.

.

 

Great. Now the system is ignoring you.

 

You decide to put this at the back of your mind and focus on accomplishing the present task first.

 

You extend your magic within the AU, detecting both human and monster souls, there’s contentment, tiredness, fear… Mafiatale’s one of the more negative AUs, and you feed upon the feelings of the inhabitants. 

 

You’ve teleported into the middle of a street, and a portal is pretty conspicuous. Luckily Dust has already darted off to do his job and is nowhere to be seen. Judging by the shouts of the AU’s inhabitants, you’ve been spotted, and a gunshot goes off with a bang, bullet hissing through the air. You definitely do not give a high-pitched yelp and fall to the ground as it cleaves through your goop. Wincing, you clutch your shoulder, fingers finding a hole where the bullet went through. You grit your teeth as your goop regenerates. While you’ve trained to use your tentacles and goop as weapons, you haven’t picked up some of the more difficult points of goop manipulation. One of them being reformation or regeneration after being sliced to pieces.  Luckily Killer doesn’t notice, as, judging by the panicked screams and blood, he’s already charged ahead and started killing. 

 

The fear and despair of the civilians helps strengthen you, and you push yourself up. Sensing killing intent behind you, you jerk to the left just in time as a bullet whizzes past you. Whirling around, you lock eyes with a Papyrus, who fires off another shot with his rifle, this time aiming at Killer. Said shot is deflected with a clang as Killer raises his knife and teleports behind the Papyrus. There’s a flash of silver. The rifle falls to the ground besides a pile of dust. Killer raises a hand, sharpened bones materializing in the air besides him and raining down on the civilians below. In a span of seconds, most of them are killed. The street, once filled with the sounds of screaming and panicked shouting, is suddenly eerily quiet, littered with dust and bodies. 

 

As you’ve predicted, none of the Stars have come so far. Why the hell would the system tell you to fight one of the Stars here? And ‘move the plot forward’? Wasn’t the plot already moving on its own with Ink’s quest for a way to kill you? 

 

Seriously, System, are you sure you aren’t don’t have an error?

 

Having wiped out all the civilians on the street, Killer moves on, making his way to a more inhabited part of the city to continue killing. As you follow him, walking casually through an alley you note the piles of dust and purple bones litter in the shadows. It seems that Dust’s been having fun. You sense his presence behind you and turn. You can feel cruelty and amusement emanating from his soul, and there’s a wicked grin plastered on his face. “The Stars haven’t come, Boss. It’s like they're planning something.”

 

You snort. Yes, planning something. Planning to try and kill you! “Keep monitoring.”

 

“Yes Boss.” He disappears.

 

You hear screams and gunshots up ahead. Killer’s found more people to kill. You’re about to join him when you feel someone sneaking up behind you. You throw up a shield just in time to block a bullet, which bounces off and falls to the ground. Unfurling your tentacles and sharpening them to a point, you lunge blindly in the general direction of the shooter and stab your attacker in the stomach.

 

It is a Sans, and he stares up at you with wide eyes, You sneer as he slowly dusts. Soon there is nothing left but a pistol on the ground, and you turn without looking back, quickening your pace in order to catch up with Killer. Beep.

 

[5 points gained for in-character acting. Keep it up.]

 

Mafiatale’s inhabitants are really rather weak, and soon the three of you have killed most of the city’s inhabitants. You’re down to the last block when another skeleton appears and blocks Killer’s knife with a bone, sending him flying back and crashing into a wall.

 

The skeleton is blue-eyed, wearing a blue scarf. Blueberry, also known as Underswap Sans. While he’s normally peppy and positive in the book, you note now that he has a frown on his face, his eyes are grim, and he’s full of hatred.

 

The System’s mission makes more sense now. You remember Chronicles of the Multiverse writing about the Stars getting an urgent call from an AU. Not wanting to lose their progress, Ink had insisted they stayed in the AU and kept searching for the stone, reasoning that killing you was more important than saving the AU. Dream had reluctantly agreed. Blue, however, had been furious that Dream and Ink would let an AU die and teleported on his own to help said AU. This had caused Dream and Ink to lose a battle against one of the beasts guarding the stone. At the same time, Blue had failed to save the AU and returned, furious, causing a split in the Stars. This split eventually drove the Stars apart to the point that the Star Sanses dissolved and went their own ways, only reuniting under the threat of Nightmare.

 

You let yourself grin, and it’s not even forced. “So, the great and magnificent Blueberry comes alone to save an AU. Where are his friends?”

 

Blue glares, unusually angry for his personality, and you can feel his rage coming off of him in sharp waves, the hatred strengthening you. “That’s none of your business.”

 

“Aww, have I struck a nerve?” You laugh. You could really get used to this evil villain stuff. “Did they finally realize how useless you are? How weak you are compared to them?”

 

Beep. [5 points gained for in-character acting. Keep it up!]

 

“Shut up! ” he charges, summoning his bones, but his attacks are wild and easily dodge. Blueberry’s easier to provoke than you thought he would be. You easily get past his guard and lift him up with a tentacle. Blueberry flails and struggles, yelling and screaming. You ignore him and glance to Killer and Dust, who’ve emerged from the shadows. “What do you think we should do with him?” you say, grinning wickedly. “Take him back to our hideout? Or maybe ― Aah!” 

 

Blue, for lack of better options, has bitten down on your tentacle, and the pain has caused your grip on him to loosen enough so that he can escape. The moment he’s out he teleports away.

 

“Damn that little brat!” you curse.

 

Beep.

 

[Quest: Attack on Mafiatale. Complete! 100 points gained. Please continue your efforts.]

Chapter Text

Cross knocks on the door, just like he does every day now. As usual, you say a ‘come in’ and a ‘Thank you’ as he leaves the tray of food in your room, losing twenty points from out of character points as a result but not caring. Cross has grown much more relaxed around you. There’s barely any fear left when he brings you breakfast in the morning, and he’s no longer as guarded around you.

 

As you eat you open up A Guide to the Undertale Multiverse, continuing from where you left off. You’re only a few pages in when there’s a light knock on your door. Extending your powers, you’re surprised to find Dust on the other side, emanating nervousness and fear. “Come in,” you say gruffly, and the door opens with a creak. “Boss,” he says timidly. His footsteps are quiet against the stone ground, and he looks ready to run out of the room.

 

“Well?” You snap, turning to him and raising an eyebrow. “What’s so important for you to bother me this morning?”

 

He shrinks, fidgeting with his hood and not meeting your gaze. “I’ve been looking for the Stars…”

 

“And?” For goodness sake, just get to the point already, Dust!

 

“I― I found Blue after he teleported away. He went to an abandoned AU, but Dream and Ink weren’t with him. He was pacing outside the mouth of a cave muttering something about how he didn’t know what to do”

 

“Did you attack?” you ask.

 

Dust flinches. “No, boss, I didn’t! It’s just that it seemed so important to hear what he was saying and I didn’t want the Stars to find out I was there and Blue was… Blue was…” he panics. “Blue was…” his voice is a whisper now. “I couldn’t… “

 

You sigh. “Dust.” His emotions are a wild mess of confusion and fear, his eyelights now unfocused. He doesn’t seem to hear you and keeps rambling, speaking to someone you can’t hear or see, probably the ‘Phantom Papyrus’ mentioned in A Guide to the Multiverse . You raise your voice to a shout. “Dust!”

 

Dust flinches, coming back to himself. The look he sends toward you is vulnerable and full of fear. What was that? Why would Dust react this way? You’d have to research this matter later. Take care of the task at hand first, you remind yourself.

 

“You did well,” you say, holding out a tentacle placatingly. Dust seems to calm slightly, the fear you feel from him diminishing. You hold back your wince as an alarm blares through your head. 

 

[10 points deducted. OOC penalty. 149 points remaining.]

 

Screw you, system.

“Now, which AU was Blue in?” you ask.

 

Dust shrinks even further into himself. “I― I don’t know! It was abandoned, there was nothing telling what it might’ve been, I―”

 

“Enough.” You cut him off before he can start rambling again. “Where was it?”

 

“Uh― umh,” Dust stammers. “I― I can take you there.”

 

“Then please do,” you say. This would be a good chance to see what you were up against, and to be honest, you were rather curious what the other stars looked like.

Dust activates the teleporter in his hand, and suddenly you’re no longer in your castle but a barren wasteland. A light wind kicks up flurries of dust, a sun shining in the light blue sky. The ground is littered with half-dead brush and jagged rocks. There are a few scraggly trees here and there, only dry branches and fallen logs left of what might’ve once been a forest. In the distance is a looming mountain range, grey rock jutting out from the ground toward the sky, and at its foot is a mound of grey and brown that looks like it might be a small settlement. There’s no sound, no indication of anything that might be living here. Only the whistling of the wind across the plain.

 

“Boss?” Dust says uncertainty, and you're reminded of his presence. While Dust would be helpful with spying on the Stars, you want to do this alone.

 

“Go back to the castle, Dust. I have something to do here.” 

 

“Yes Boss!” Dust hastily activates his teleporter and vanishes, leaving you alone in the abandoned world.

 

You start walking, wincing as the grains of sand dig into your goop. You wish you had asked Dust exactly where the Stars were; finding them was going to be hard. You extend your senses and find nothing, but you’re sure that they haven’t left; their plot has been progressing as it should so far. You try shifting yourself into a ball of goop like Nightmare did in his memories so that you can move faster, but you still haven’t gotten the hang of shapeshifting. Sighing, you give up and instead create a portal to the town you see in the distance. It seems to be a good place to start your search.

 

Stepping through you find yourself in the middle of a deserted street. The walls are gray and worn with the constant blowing of the wind, paint faded. This street was once paved, and you can see patches of cobblestone here and there. There are a few random planks of wood lying here and there, fallen roof tiles, and― were those human bones? What the hell had happened here?

 

You kneel, examining them. They seem old; they’ve been here for a long time. You get up and keep walking. As you continue along the street, you see more and more bones. Your pace quicken, your quest to find the Stars forgotten. As you follow the trail of death the buildings along the street deteriorate to piles of wood and stone, as if a monster had come and torn them down. At last you come to a bone-littered plain, and you note the dull shine of a half-corroded sword. A battle was fought here. Judging by the bones, they’d tried fighting then run away from what they’d been fighting. Whatever it was, it had definitely been powerful, but there was little sign of exactly what it was. 

 

In the middle of the plain is a single tree stump. For some reason, while everything around it is in ruins, the stump is still in good condition. The wood’s a bit cracked, but it hasn’t rotten away like you expected it would. Besides it lies a rusty axe and a pile of bones. As if someone had cut down the tree and died soon after. 

 

As you get closer, you note in astonishment that there’s a memory marker. Why would Nightmare have a memory here?

 

[You have an option to view a memory. Do you want to view a memory?]

 

Yes.

 

Suddenly the tree in front of you is pristine and whole, brown and glowing with health, the ground beneath you a light green grass. You suddenly realize that you’re not covered with goop, and you have a right eye. You can see out of it too, and as you look up you can see just how tall the tree is. It’s an apple tree, but the apples are yellow and black. Someone’s swinging from its branches, and they open their mouth to talk to you. For some reason you feel very fond, but before you can take a better look at who it is the memory’s cut off and another one begins.

 

You stand in front of the tree defensively as a monster and human speak. “We just need one,” the monster says. “Surely you wouldn’t deny us what we need?”

 

You stand firm, crossing your arms. “The apples are dangerous,” you insist.

 

“Of course you would say that,” sneers the human. “You just want to keep them to yourself.”

 

You grit your teeth in frustration. The scene fades and you find yourself in the next memory. The sky is gray. You lie on the ground, wounded, and a crowd of villagers stands in front of you, one with an axe. You can feel their hostility, their hatred, their greed… groaning you push yourself up. You have to protect the tree.

 

The scene changes, and you feel pain in your right eye, on your back, in your chest. But you’re laughing. You’re laughing as you kill the villagers, as blood flows and dust falls, as you tear down their beloved village wall by wall, laughing as someone cloaked in yellow, crying golden tears, shoots arrow after arrow after arrow, a pitiful attempt to stop you. Who was he again? For some reason, you think you should know his name. For some reason, you think you should also be crying. For some reason, a part of you thinks this is wrong. A part of you begs you to stop. Begs you to remember. To care. But you’re too caught up in the thrill of killing, the negativity emanating from the villagers, the sheer power, to care as you lunge with your tentacles at the golden figure. 

 

Then you’re standing in front of a stone statue, what was once gold now a faded gray, savoring your victory over those who hurt you, hurt the tree, hurt … Hurt who? Who was it again?

 

You find yourself back in the present again, staring at a tree stump. Beep.

 

[Backstory: Dreamtale. 11% uncovered. Four of nine backstories discovered. Congratulations! You will gain one hundred points once you reach the 50% mark]