Sstorms, the next chapter is only about halfway done...I'll post it anyway...
Ha, take that, people who draw Sans with a blue tongue!
32 years pre-game
“Ho, Wing Dings!” Snails said, stepping into the apartment-turned-workshop.
Wing Dings looked up at the fox monster. “Hey, Snails.” He returned to the mechanical bracelet he was tinkering with.
Snails came over and peered over his shoulder. “Whatcha working on? Some kind of time-space extrapolator or something?”
Wing Dings raised an eyebrow, not bothering to look up. “Do you even know the meaning of the word ‘extrapolator?’”
“Something to do with applying data to different situations.”
“...Close. There’s a dictionary on the bookshelf if you want to look it up.”
“Nah. So, what is this thing?” Snails asked.
“It’s supposed to be a defence bracelet,” Wing Dings explained. “You put it on and a force field appears around you. But I can’t get it to work right. I’m good with technology, but I’m not great with magic.”
“You’re made of magic.”
Wing Dings shrugged. “I’m not very good at controlling my magic. I’d show you, but I’d really rather not accidentally destroy my desk again.”
“Not destroying things is good. Unless you’re testing a weapon, in which case you’d want to destroy things.”
“Why would we be testing weapons?” There would be no use for weapons unless they managed to destroy the barrier and get to the surface. The monsters were a peaceful people.
“Dunno. Hey, did you hear that Dr. Hex is retiring?”
Wing Dings looked at Snails in shock. “Dr. Hexalus is retiring?” The fish man had been the Royal Scientist for as long as Wing Dings could remember. He didn’t even know who the previous Royal Scientist had been.
“Yeah,” Snails said. “He just announced it today. King Asgore is holding a series of contests a month from now to decide who the new royal scientist will be. I already filled out your entry paperwork.”
“You WHAT?” Wing Dings said, getting up so quickly he knocked over his chair. “You didn’t turn it in, did you?”
“Of course not, you silly dingbat! I needed to ask you what inventions you’re entering.”
“Who says I’m entering?”
Snails rolled his eyes. “You’re the one who’s always saying you wish you had a decent lab instead of just an apartment.”
Wing Dings stared at him in disbelief. “Snails, I’m twenty-three, I have no experience, and I’m just barely out of college! You s-seriously expect me to go up against the greatest scientific minds in the Underground?”
“This is the best chance you’ll ever get! Ruling out an assassination, the post of Royal Scientist is probably never going to be open again in your lifetime.”
“I’ll probably be the worst scientist there!” he protested. “There is no way I could possibly win this contest.”
“Even if you lose,” Snails retorted, “it will mean people have heard of you. You’d be able to find work. C’mon, you dingbat, you can’t waste this opportunity!”
“I hope you’re not going to make a habit of calling me that,” Wing Dings said. He sighed. “Fine, I’ll enter. I don’t suppose you happen to have a copy of the rulebook?”
1 Month Later…
“Dust and determination, there are s-so many monsters here,” Wing Dings said. He nervously gripped a flashlight, holding it so tightly that the plastic casing was cracking a little. His eyes were flickering a greenish color. Why are there so many monsters here? Everyone is going to see us fail, it’s bad enough that we already had to do it in front of the royal family…
He looked out over the plaza where the contest was taking place. Several booths made of tables and tents were arranged across the square--Wing Dings wasn’t sure why there were tents, considering the fact that there was no weather. Beyond the booths, the grey stone buildings of New Home were visible, lit by balls of glowing magic. The clock tower rose above the surrounding buildings, dwarfing everything except the palace. A dark, oppressive air seemed to hang over the monochrome city.
“Be careful with that flashlight,” Snails said.
Wing Dings jumped. He chuckled nervously and set down the flashlight on the table. “Right. Don’t want to break that. Do we have everything?”
“Flashlight, check. Prisms one, two, and three, check. Your light thing--”
“--Check. My hands, check. Dusty huge piece of paper, check. That’s everything, Dingbat.”
Wing Dings glared at him. “Seriously, don’t call me that.”
Snails shrugged. “Fine. Dusts, Wing Dings, you’re so scared your eyes are flashing.”
Wing Dings squeaked. He focused for a moment, clenching his fists. “I-is that any better?”
“Sort of?” Snails said, tilting his head. “You got one of ‘em to stop…”
He tried again. This time, the right half of his vision went darker. He sighed. “I just turned my eye off entirely, didn’t I.” Skeletons could still see without their eye lights, but having eyes helped clarify and brighten their vision. For a scientist, the slight increase in energy expenditure was worth it.
“Yep. The other one’s flashing again,” Snails said.
Wing Dings concentrated once again. His right eye turned back on...and then both of his eyes went out entirely. “Gahhhh!”
“Woah, are you okay?” Snails asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Apparently I don’t have the energy to sustain my eyes, though. I need to eat.” Gah, he hated darkened vision.
“There’s a food stand around here somewhere; I can smell it.” Snails glanced up at the New Home clock tower. “We still have an hour until Asgore shows up. Want to see if we can find it?”
Wing Dings shrugged. He stepped over to the table holding all of the supplies for their demonstration and pulled down the cover. Then he stepped out of the booth. “Might as well.”
Snails followed him out, looking around and sniffing the air. “I think it’s this way,” he finally said. He walked off, still sniffing.
He led them to a food cart with a sign reading “Genuine Human Food.” A yellow lizard girl who looked to be around five or six stood on a stool in the cart, watched over by an orange lizard with a labcoat who was close to the same age as Snails and Wing Dings.
“Hello,” the older lizard said boredly. “Welcome--”
The young lizard shoved him. “Geo, you said I c-could talk this time!”
Geo rolled his eyes. “Right, sorry, Affy.”
The six-year-old--Affy?--cleared her throat. “Welcome to D-Dracha’s Gen-Genuine Human Food! What would you l-like?” She pointed to a menu hanging on the outside of the cart.
Snails looked questioningly at Wing Dings, who shrugged. “Y-you pick.”
Snails fished in his pocket, simultaneously scanning the menu. “Well, I only have four gold, so...we’ll have a double order of pizza, I guess.”
“It’s pronounced PEET-zuh,” Affy said self-importantly. Geo gave them a helpless look, then turned and pulled something out of a box at the back of the cart. He handed the pizza to them, and Snails gave him the money.
Wing Dings hesitantly took a bite of the pizza. It was a flat triangle of bread, topped with cheese, pepperoni, marshmallows, chocolate fudge drizzles, and...was that strawberry sauce? He swallowed it. “Huh. That’s surprisingly good.”
Snails gave him a weird look. “Really? Smells nasty. But if you say so…” He hesitantly took a bite and instantly spat it out onto the ground. “Ack! Do you even have a sense of taste? This is the worst thing I’ve ever tasted in my entire life. Are the humans completely and totally insane?”
“Actually, there’s a lot of evidence that they are!” Geo said, suddenly excited. “My project is on humans.”
“You’re part of the c-competition?” Wing Dings asked shyly. Snails was blasting magic into his mouth in an attempt to get rid of the taste of the pizza, the rest of which was lying on the ground with a hole blasted through it.
“Yeah. My sister Dracha recruited me to watch her daughter Alphys here and the food stand while she’s off doing something,” Geo sighed. “I study the human garbage down at Waterfall. Either of you entered?”
“I-I am.” He took another bite of the pizza and turned his eyes back on.
“I’m his assistant,” Snails offered. “Ack, Dingbat, are you seriously eating more of that? Dusts, do you even have a tongue?”
“No, actually, I d-don’t,” Wing Dings said. “Don’t call me Dingbat.”
“Wait, you don’t have a tongue?”
“Yes, I knew it!” Geo said, grinning. “I also study monster physiology. I guessed that skeletons didn’t have tongues, but I’ve never met one before to confirm my theory.”
“Hey, Geo, I’m thirsty!” Alphys said, tugging on his labcoat. Geo sighed and pulled a bottle of soda out from a cooler in the back of the food cart. He opened it and handed it to Alphys, spinning small balls of blue and orange magic over one hand.
“So, what are your names?” Geo asked.
“I’m Snails Modicum, and this is Wing Dings Gaster. Our demonstration is about magical light versus electronic.”
“Hey, didn’t you play for the NHU Soccer Players?”
“Yeah, I did,” Snails replied.
“Thought so. Hey, there’s Dracha!” Geo said. Wing Dings followed his gaze to another lizard person, who was approaching the stand.
“I think we’re going to go back to our booth now,” Snails said. “Nice meeting you.”
Geo nodded. “See you round.”