[ Soul Extracted ]

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You gasp. There's an odd feeling of emptiness in your chest. You can feel the force of wires tangling and ripping your Soul from your flesh. It's painless, but the terror grips at you. Seeing your being before your very eyes fills you with fear. You feel the cables curling around your Soul as it's being dragged from your body. The skeleton pulls it closer and closer to him as you watch helplessly, unable to move. He takes it in his hand, dangling it between his fingers. His gaze locks onto it, as if he were intently staring into every crevice of yourself. Your Soul glows and flashes frantically, reflecting your panic. You snap from your strange trance, struggling to free yourself from your restraints. You try to kick your Soul from his grasp, but he swiftly dodges you, keeping his eyes glued to your Soul. "You know..." He holds the Soul in his palm, dragging his finger around the edges. You shiver. The touch of his skeletal hand caressing your Soul makes you feel uneasy. The touch is unwelcoming, cold. "I can learn a lot about a person through their Soul." Your heartbeat thrums loudly as he brings his face closer to it. His face is only inches away. You can feel his cold breath swirling around the surface. "You've caused so much pain in your wake. You played with a timeline that wasn't your own." You can see green numbers dancing across his dark eyes, scanning every inch of yourself. His eyes are sickly infatuated on the Soul, a glossy red shining in his pupils. "You were killed." Your blood freezes, remembering how you died. Flashes of the trident replay in your mind, and you shake your head, refusing to let yourself get lost in the thought. "Flowey, Sans, Papyrus... All their efforts went to waste." A pit swirls in your stomach. You must've been making a terrorized expression, because Error cackles in satisfaction. His words were so manipulative. He knew exactly where to strike you. He opens his mouth to say something else, but before the words can pass his teeth, a large paintbrush shoots up and clocks him in the face. You jump in surprise. The force of the hit sends him flying across the void, entangling him in his own wires. He releases a glitchy growl, his eyes glaring at the attacker below. The brush spins in place for a moment, and suddenly flies towards you, seemingly having a mind of its own. It swipes the wires suspending you with red paint, causing them to snap. You flinch, preparing to fall, but the brush swiftly scoops you up. Error sends a few strings after you, but the brush swerves out of the way. It flies you to the ground, plopping you down safely. The brush then returns to the hand of its owner—another skeleton. How many versions of Sans are there? Fortunately, he looks friendlier than Error. There are splatters of blank ink on his face, and a brown scarf is wrapped neatly around his thin neck. A rainbow of vials are strapped across his chest, each one having a tiny heart shaped cap. A fur lined cyan sweatshirt is tied around his waste, and the rest of his clothes are mostly different shades of brown with striped blue accents. He's staring at Error. "Are you all right?" An echoey voice asks from behind you. You turn around, meeting the deep black eyes of Core. "Frisk!" You hug them, happy to finally see a familiar face. They seem surprised by your gesture, but they hug you back. It seems odd to be hugging someone after spending so much time in Underfell, but it feels nice. "You shouldn't have come here, Ink." The moment is broken by Error's voice, who has freed himself from the wires. You turn him, Core staying close behind you. A red bone takes form in his hands, and he taps it against his palm. "We made a deal." The skeleton, whom you assume is 'Ink', points his brush at Error, giving him a stern look. "I'm not the one who broke it." Error chuckles, glancing over at the Soul. You press a hand to your chest, realizing that you never took it back. The strange feeling of emptiness in your chest feels colder now, missing the warmth of your Soul. Ink seems to notice, and he gives you a small nod of assurance. He turns to look back up at Error, who has taken your Soul into his grasp. Error cocks his head mockingly, challenging Ink. Wasting no more time, Ink pounces into the air, taking hold of Error's wires and swinging across them like vines. Error yawns, swinging his legs off of the cable he's perched on. He lazily points a finger up, causing a bone to shoot up in front of Ink. Ink quickly destroys it with his brush, advancing on Error. It doesn't seem like Error's trying at all to stop him. "This doesn't seem right..." You hear Core mumble. You turn to them. "What?" They shake their head, telling you to forget it. "Got it!" Ink yells, turning your attention. He kicks Error to the side, jumping into the portal Core creates. He reappears right next to you, Soul in hand. He presses it back into your chest and you let out a sigh of relief. It feels good to have it back. You turn to where you last saw Error, but he's nowhere in sight. "Where'd he go..?" You mumble. Ink shrugs, tucking his brush into the back of his belt. "Who knows." Ink sighs, turning to Core expectantly. Core nods in response. "Let's get out of here." They look ahead, opening a portal. Ink begins to walk towards it, but you remember something. "Wait!" They both turn to you. "Where's Papyrus?" You ask worriedly, ashamed that you hadn't thought of him. You hadn't seen him since you were captured by Error. Core gives you a puzzled look. "I didn't see a Papyrus... Not from any timeline." You blink. "He was the one that brought me here... He has to be here somewhere." Core and Ink exchange a look, and Core places a hand on your shoulder. "Let's get out of here first." You reluctantly agree, giving the void one last glance before following them into the portal.

AN: Hello! I hope you liked the chapter. I wasn't able to receive feedback from Ari for this chapter, but as soon as he gets my message, I'll take down the chapter and fix it according to the critiques. I was honestly really proud of this chapter, but the more I looked at it, the more I felt like it needs to be fixed. Don't worry, I'll still be working on chapter 3 in the mean time, but I'm definitely going to be making some changes to this one before the next is published. Thank you all so much for the support, I can hardly believe we're almost at 300 reads! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. 💞💗
Edit: I think it's best I just let this chapter be. I have an unhealthy habit  of obsessively worrying whether something is perfect, and I'm trying really hard to suppress that habit. I may still make a few edits, but other than that, I think I just need to move on. Thank you again, for all your support. 💕

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