Asgore walked through his garden, humming. It was one of the few places in the underground touched by sunlight. Some monsters found the glow from the barrier depressing, but he had felt the sunlight on the surface, centuries ago, and only found it calming. Besides, he needed it for his flowers. They just didn’t grow as well without it.
“Nice day today,” he mumbled to himself. As he admired a patch of flowers, he heard a scratching noise, and turned around. It seemed to be coming from under the earth. He started to bend over, and the ground exploded, sending flowers and clots of earth flying everywhere. He winced. He would have to try and replant them later.
From the ground emerged a flower - or so it seemed. While it looked superficially like all the golden flowers that grew in his garden, this flower had a face between its petals. It was not a friendly face. It was a twisted, warped face, its mouth contorted into angles, its eyes wide and hollow, dripping a strange fluid.
The figure opened its mouth, and produced a nauseating, screeching sound, like nails dragged over a chalkboard. It was interrupted by Asgore.
“Excuse me,” he said, “I do not think we have met. What is your name?”
The scream stopped. The flower seemed taken aback for a moment. “I’m-” it said in a high-pitched voice, then started over, deep and rumbling. “I’m Yewolf. Yes. Yewolf, the harbinger of your doom!”
“It is nice to meet you, Yewolf. Can I help you? It looks like you are having problems with your eyes.”
“I’m afraid I have never met a monster like you before, but I am quite good with plants. I think I may be able to help.”
The flower’s face snapped into a more familiar, although angry, form. “It’s no good if you aren’t scared!”
“Ah.” Asgore smiled. “I am sorry. How silly of me.” He sighed. “Well, while you are here, would you like a cup of tea?”
“That… yes,” the flower muttered, “that would be nice. Thank you.”
“I usually drink golden flower tea, but I think that would be in poor taste, so I will bring something else. Do you have a preference?” He walked toward his house.
The flower stayed silent.
“Okay, I will pick something for you. It is always nice to share a cup of tea with a friend.” Asgore chuckled. “You know, Yewolf, I just realized something funny.” He turned around again. “If you spell your name backward, it says…”
The flower was gone.
Papyrus wandered through the woods. Not many monsters came here, this far from Snowdin, but he had it on good authority that this was the best area to look for humans. If he just spent enough time here he was bound to find one.
The noise of the town had long faded behind him. He only heard the sound of his boots crunching in the snow, his clothes brushing against each other as he moved, and the faint rustling of leaves around him. He paid attention to all of this. He knew a Royal Guardsman needed to be watchful all the time.
He stopped. In the distance, almost hidden by the fog, was an unfamiliar silhouette. Could this be a human? He squinted. No, this didn’t look like a human. He distinctly remembered that humans were vertebrates. Possibly mammals, or maybe a kind of featherless bird. But this looked more like a plant.
He tried to imagine what a Royal Guardsman would say.
“Greetings!” he cried out. “Who goes there?”
The silhouette grew taller. Vines burst from the ground. A low hiss started, and swelled. The trees trembled. The hiss settled into a loud whisper. “I am Yewolf the Destructor.”
“Wowie.” Papyrus glanced over his shoulder. “I am Papyrus. Nice to meet you.” Well, he should probably ask, just in case. “Are you a human?” Yewolf vanished.
A second later, he erupted from the ground in front of him. He was still hard to see, but his shape was visibly flowery. He cast a heavy shadow, almost thick enough to be touched. But through the darkness, an impossibly wide row of sharp teeth gleamed. The teeth moved. “I am neither human nor monster. I am a demon, called forth from the depths of the afterlife to haunt this world once more, and my name is Yewolf.”
Well. Not a human, then. Still… “You sound confrontational.”
“Yes! You understand!”
“Wow! I’ve never had an enemy before! But! I have prepared for this!” Papyrus struck a heroic pose. “If you continue, puzzles and traps await! They were fittingly fashioned for fiendish foes! Do you have what it takes?”
“Yes! Bring it on!”
“Okay! Please wait here while I activate them! Tread forward in about ten minutes!” Papyrus turned around and ran off.
Flowey - no, not Flowey, Yewolf, he had chosen his name before and he could do it again - was having more fun than before. Sure, Papyrus wasn’t exactly cowering in fear yet, but at least he was being acknowledged as a threat this time.
Papyrus was putting the finishing touches to what appeared to be a Scrabble board. He carefully placed tiles on the last few empty squares. “It’s done!” he announced. “This textual tangle traps ten terms tied to today’s trying times! If you find them all, you may pass.”
This was interesting. But something was off. “What if I don’t?”
“Then you won’t know the words. What do you mean?”
“What if someone - what if I just kill you, and continue without solving the puzzle?”
Papyrus’ face grew a worried frown. “That would be very rude! Do you think anyone would do that?”
He realized it was hopeless while Papyrus excitedly explained something about buttons and singing trees. Papyrus didn’t just not understand that he was supposed to be scared. He didn’t even know how to be scared. Was this what “fearless” meant? Probably not.
He had stretched his grin to its limit, doubled down on his voice, made his eyes as detailed and bloodshot as he could - and the most it had gotten out of Papyrus was an “Impressive!”.
But he might as well finish it. Let’s see… if he pressed this button, that tree squealed…
The report Undyne received from Asgore got her worried, but after it was backed up by a call from Papyrus, Undyne knew she had a crisis on her hands. She put her armor on, took her sturdiest spears, and left on her table the cache of letters to be opened in case of her untimely demise.
The perpetrator had shown up in multiple places. He could strike anywhere. She had a lot of ground to cover. First destination: Snowdin.
It was easy to feel like a predator, moving through the tall grass, blending into the environment, not seen by anyone. Fangs ready, eyes fixed on the target, but if anyone looks, hold still and you’re just a flower.
The target was crossing the frosty marsh between Snowdin and Waterfall. They stood out, with their striped yellow shirt, but even if they hadn’t, they were not making any effort to be surreptitious. They bounded through the landscape, without regard for the sound they made, sometimes almost tripping.
Very close now. Close enough to hear the panting, to feel the footsteps shaking the earth, to look from their point of view and see the path they would take. Close enough to burrow ahead, wait for them.
He prepared his best face, a fearsome cry, and when they were very near, he sprang from the bushes and made himself tall.
The cold reached in through Undyne’s armor and chilled her to the bone. When Papyrus faced away from her she permitted herself a shiver.
“…And this is where I last saw him, before he disappeared. He didn’t even stay for his prize!”
“It was spaghetti.”
“Right. And he was hostile?”
“Very!” Papyrus gloated. “I think I have an archnemesis now.”
Undyne looked at the maze of fences set out in the clearing. Burrowing tracks traced a route through it, carefully within the lines.
“He gave me some great advice!”
“What did he - the suspect look like?”
“That’s an excellent question! When he reached all the way up he was quite tall indeed, but most of the time, he came about halfway to my knees. He looked like a golden flower, like the King grows? But he had a face! Sometimes it went all stretchy and goopy, like this-” Papyrus tried to mimic it, but was thwarted by the stiffness of his skull.
The monster kid tried to steer away and jump at the same time, and fell on their back. They sat up and looked at him.
This was not the expected reaction.
“Is that - how are you doing that, with your face? Man, that’s cool.”
He went for a more deformed grin, a more dripping visage.
He let his regular face flow into position. “Aren’t you scared?”
“It super scary! That’s why it’s so cool! Like, I tried to be scary with a bed sheet, but this is way better! What else can you do?”
His forehead sprouted a third eye.
A lesser opponent might have been stumped, but tracking a quarrelsome plant posed no challenge to Undyne, captain of the Royal Guard, trained in guerrilla gardening by the king himself.
She followed a straightforward trail to the limits of Snowdin, and went for more stealth from there on. She pressed herself to the ground, and adopted a style of creeping that minimized the clanking of her armor. With her face so close to the ground, following the track was easier.
She heard a scream. She froze. Quietly, very quietly, she let her magic flow through her palms and manifest.
She crept closer. She lifted her head, to take a good look at the situation.
She saw two children making weird faces at each other.
Perplexed, she stared for a while. Sometimes she heard a “Yo!” or a “Oh yeah? Look at this!”. Nothing objectionable was happening. She let her spear fade away.
“Hey, I bet you could even scare Undyne!”
“No way, she’s super tough.”