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Webcomic / The Caretaker of the Ruins

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WARNING: Unmarked Undertale spoilers below.

The Caretaker of the Ruins is an Undertale AU comic created by Peppermintbee (a.k.a. Minty), Eruto, and Ellipsis. It centers around a grown-up Chara assisting fallen humans through the Ruins, in similar vein to the canon caretaker Toriel. It even starts off similar, with Chara meeting Frisk after the latter "falls down". However, the similarities are quick to end... and not in a good way.

The comic was confirmed to be canceled on May 21. The creators plan to release a written plot summary that reveals what horrible tragedies would have befallen Frisk and Chara, as well as the thrilling conclusion to the story. Alongside the summary will be early concept art of scenes that could have been.


Provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Downplayed, since Chara is an adult themselves in this alternate timeline, but none of the older monsters ever do anything to help Frisk. Even Toriel and Asgore, who hold way more authority in the Underground than Chara, decide to just blindly trust the latter about Frisk and humans in general and remain completely oblivious to their true nature until they actually kill Frisk in front of them. Later on slightly subverted with Napstablook and Mettaton (who goes unnamed in the story) who not only give Frisk the opportunity to tell their side of the story to some monsters, but also help them escape their cell by providing them with the keys.
  • Alone with the Psycho: In the Ruins, there are no monsters. There's only Frisk and Chara, with the latter seeking to kill the former over and over again for their SOUL. It's subverted with Asriel, who doesn't seem as willing to kill. And even though more characters come into the story later on, Chara goes to great lengths to prevent anyone from speaking to Frisk and keeps them isolated in New Home's prison.
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  • Alternate Universe Fic: Of the What If? - variety. Caretaker of the Ruins takes place in an Alternate Universe in which Chara's Buttercup-plan was executed far later in their and Asriel's life, which caused Asriel to abandon them in the middle of it due to his growing doubts. As a result, Chara and Asriel live to adulthood and Chara becomes the titular caretaker of the ruins.
  • Big Bad: Chara is shaping up to be this.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the end, Chara and Asriel break up for good and Chara retreats to Home to live out the rest of their life alone. However, actually being faced with consequences they can't just reload away forces them to do some serious introspection and they genuinely change for the better. Meanwhile, Frisk is adopted by the Dreemurs and grows up safe and happy. And while they can't find it in themselves to forgive Chara for all they've done to them, the two manage to make peace at least.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • After restraining Frisk, Chara's attempts to convince Asriel to let them kill Frisk include insisting the act isn't easy for them to do. Frisk is (rightfully) shocked to hear it.
    • Chara's story about Ballet Kid having run ahead and activated the first deadly spike puzzle despite their warnings is accompanied by a flashback showing Ballet Kid vigorously shaking their head when Chara gestures invitingly at the puzzle.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Averted. Every death Frisk suffers is seen in gruesome detail. The particularly nasty ones (e.g. failures to solve the Ruin puzzles correctly) are thankfully covered in silhouettes, but it doesn't lessen the impact.
  • Call-Back: Chara's monologue at the beginning of "Memory: Edge" about their discovery of and following experimentation with their time-travel powers is almost word for word the same as Flowey's dialogue detailing the same scenario in Undertale's genocide route.
    • Asriel calling Chara's sense of humor "sick" in the chapter is also a quote from the original Undertale's genocide run. There it was said by a terrified Flowey when Frisk/Chara approached him while sporting a Slasher Smile. Here it's said as a response to Chara jumping off a high wall just to mess with him.
  • Covers Always Lie: The scenarios shown on the chapter covers never actually happen in the story. They're more metaphorical than anything.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In direct confrontations, Chara easily overpowers Frisk. They are only briefly downed after making a poor mistake during their pursuit of Frisk, with the latter taking the opportunity to smash their trademark stick into Chara's knee.
    • Subverted in Chapter 04, where it briefly seems as though Chara managed to kill Frisk again, only for the very next panel to reveal that Frisk somehow managed to shove Chara's own dagger into their stomach.
  • Domestic Abuse: Chara is very emotionally and verbally abusive towards Asriel. Whenever he tries to say or do something they don't like they severely berate him and guilt trip him. Their emotional hold on him is so absolute that a mere displeased glare is enough to scare him into obedience. Chara also frequently gaslights him to make him doubt himself and sometimes intentionally puts him in harms way, either to get a reaction out from him or to manipulate him into not speaking up against them and go along with their plans.
  • Eldritch Abomination: After absorbing the souls of Chara and the Fallen Humans in Chapter 9, Asriel turns into a gigantic, horrifying beast with six human arms and a grotesque-looking skull with six eyes and a horizontal mouth.
  • Evil Only Has to Win Once: Frisk ceasing their LOADS after death is the key thing needed for Chara to gain the final SOUL. Chara is aware of this, making an effort to gently persuade Frisk as much as possible to stop. When Chara realizes that Frisk will never give up in Chapter 07, it causes them to go through a Villainous Breakdown.
  • Exact Words: The Caretaker of the Ruins is exactly that, taking care of solely the Ruins. Any human that falls through is prey for said caretaker.
  • Foreshadowing: Chara acts as a simple observer for Frisk, not making any effort to help them through the Ruins' lethal puzzles. This apparent disregard for child endangerment isn't an accident; it's a means to take Frisk's SOUL.
  • For Want of a Nail: Caretaker of the Ruins takes place in an Alternate Universe where Chara never dies of buttercup poisoning due to Asriel chickening out on the plan at the last second and them discovering their time travel-powers as a direct result of this. They instead grow up alongside Asriel and later move on to become the titular caretaker of the ruins.
  • Gender-Neutral Writing: Frisk, Chara and the other Fallen Humans are referred to with gender-neutral pronouns.note 
    • Some monsters are referred to with they/them pronouns as well.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Chara attempts to trap Frisk in this in order to wear them down and steal their SOUL. However, they didn't secure ALL the escape routes...
  • Hidden Depths: Chara appears to Frisk as a kindly caretaker and "guide" through the Ruins (they don't actively assist Frisk moreso than observe). A little while after reaching Chara's house, Chara reveals their true colors.
    • Asriel appears to be violent, aggressive, and very hostile upon first encountering Frisk. Not too later, it's all revealed to be a big bluff, as he's actually not as willing to kill Frisk as Chara is.
  • Hope Spot: Meet the Parents. It starts out with Chara waking up to find Asriel told Asgore and Toriel about Frisk, leading to Frisk not only having been let out of jail but for the first time in many reloads finally, finally having managed to tell their side of the story and earn the monsters' sympathy. Chara is not thrilled by this and proceeds to slash their throat right in front of the entire Dreemurr family. Despite both Toriel's and Asriel's best efforts, Frisk dies. And although the chapter ends with Chara exposed to the Dreemurrs as the utterly unhinged murderer they are, readers already know this won't last since Frisk is now forced to reload and their efforts and death will have been All for Nothing in the end.
  • Horrible Judge of Character:
    • Chara insists to Asriel that Frisk is dangerous and needs to be put down. The latter, however, was easily overpowered and restrained at this point. Slightly downplayed as the story heavily implies Chara knows Frisk doesn't really pose a threat and is just trying to convince Asriel otherwise to get Frisk's soul.
    • The Fallen Human in Interlude: Kindness presumes that Chara is a good person who just hides their softer side underneath a cold facade. Chara agrees with them. And then proceeds to kill them by purposely triggering a deadly trap.
    • The Dreemurrs in Meet the Parents. In their defense, they had been living with Chara for years at that point and Chara took advantage of both their kind nature and their reload-ability to conceal their true personality. But still: Frisk is quite obviously scared of Chara, even muttering "No, please-" when Chara says they'll escort them back to their cell. Coupled with the fact that Chara was evidently not pleased about Frisk's presence and Frisk telling the Dreemurrs earlier that Chara tried to hurt them, maybe the Dreemurrs should have known better than to try and force Chara and Frisk to be friends. Though it's probably safe to say no one, Frisk included, would have expected Chara to murder Frisk while the entire royal family was watching.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: In Escape. After realizing Asriel's consciousness is part of the Horrible Beast, Frisk tries to get him to fight against Chara's control by reminding him of his dislike for killing and their previous friendly interactions. Asriel does manage to take back control a few times, along with the souls of the other Fallen Humans. But sadly it's not enough to stop Chara, and Frisk is forced to kill their combined form to save themselves and the surface.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Despite (or in some cases even because) Chara and Asriel being alive in this Alternate Universe, a lot of things that happened in the mainverse still happened, such as the Fallen Humans after Chara and before Frisk dying and having their souls harvested.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: After revealing their true nature Chara refers to Frisk solely as 'it', showing how low their opinion of them really is.
  • Justified Save Point: In-universe example. Every human that falls into the Underground can potentially gain the ability to make save points, reload and probably reset, provided they have enough determination.
  • Karma Houdini: Played for Drama. Chara's previous hold on the Underground's timeline allowed them to get away with quite literally everything, since they could just reload to an earlier fixpoint in time and make the monsters forget whenever they messed up too bad and were in risk of losing their trust. Even when the power is taken away from them for good with Frisk's arrival, Chara still finds ways to manipulate events in their favor (mostly through killing Frisk several times and forcing them to reload), leading to them never really facing consequences for their horrible actions. It's somewhat subverted in The End, as their Silent Treatment of Asriel gives him the time away from them he needed to come to the conclusion that they're not the good partner he viewed them as. This leads to him breaking up with them for good. Chara attempts to get Frisk to reload the timeline in an effort to get him back, but Frisk understandably refuses.
    • As Chara's position as the Caretaker of the Ruins means they're the only Underground-resident to ever interact with fallen humans, no one but Muffet ever learns that they killed the human children unjustly.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Both Frisk and Asriel have fallen victim to Chara's machinations, but only Frisk has become aware of it thus far.
  • Mood Whiplash: Chara shifts from kind-hearted (albeit somewhat detached) to a remorseless killer during their and Frisk's meet in the house.
    • The rather comedic bit of Asriel trying to make friends with a Fallen Human in Interlude: Bravery turns south real fast when said human attacks him and kills him with one hit in front of a horrified Chara.
  • Mythology Gag: When they arrive at New Home's prison, Dogaressa sniffs Frisk and remarks that they smell like a weird puppy. This is a reference to the Dogi-fight in the original Undertale, in which the player had to roll around in the dirt to make the dogs think they were actually a dog themselves, which would resolve the fight peacefully.
  • Not Completely Useless: A non-video game example. The stick Frisk uses is fragile and shatters if it hits too hard against something, but it's enough to temporarily incapacitate Chara and allow Frisk to make it into Snowdin.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Frisk has this reaction when Chara reveals their true nature. In turn, Chara has this several times chasing Frisk down.
    • Chara instantly clamps their mouth shut after realizing they just revealed their time manipulation to the Dreemurrs in Chapter 03.
    • Frisk is utterly horrified upon discovering they can no longer reload in Escape.
  • Our Time Travel Is Different: Though never referred to as such, the power to make save points and go back to them is a form of time-travel. Only one person at a time can use it and only if their determination is strong enough, it's not possible to make and load a save point in the future and if the wielder of the power dies, they will automatically reload and come back to life at their last save point. However, using this power intentionally takes some practice and it's heavily implied that a person losing their determination will result in the the power being lost as well. In the final two chapters, Frisk manages to reset the timeline completely when they try to save Chara and Asriel.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Chara is the cold, calculated blue to Asriel's emotional, passionate red.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Frisk is the only one able to remember what happened after a LOAD. At first. After dropping their mask, Chara reveals that they remember what happened, as well. Their behavior beforehand was all an act. Later in the story it's revealed that it's only the monsters who lose their memories after a reload. Humans are completely unaffected by it.
    • In Memory: Edge, it's implied Asriel has this, to an extent. When Chara reloads their Save Point to make him forget that they tried to commit suicide right in front of him in order to get a reaction, he doesn't exactly remember them doing it, but gets dejavu and panics when they get close to the edge of a vantage point. Afterwards he even starts to ask if they ever did...something, but cuts himself off when Chara smiles at and successfully distracts him.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Chara has the title of prince, due to being married to Asriel and they are more than willing to get their hands dirty in order to see their plans through.
  • Running Gag: In the non-canon "Coffee Art" series, Frisk's history with spikes have led to this.
  • Save Point: Whenever Frisk's or Chara's eyes glow yellow, it means they just made a fixpoint in time for themselves.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • After Chara reveals their true nature, Frisk does this several times in order to survive.
    • Even though they're visibly torn up about it, Frisk ultimately decides to flee from the prison after they manage to fend off and fatally wound Chara, ignoring the latter's pleas to take their soul to Asriel.
    • In Escape, Frisk takes one look at the Eldritch Abomination that Asriel has become and then immediately books it for the exit.
  • Silent Treatment: After Frisk defeats them in their Horrible Beast-form, with some help from Asriel, Chara decides to punish all of the Underground for this "betrayal" by locking themselves into the Ruins and breaking off contact completely. However, they decide to re-connect again after a year, when they realize how much being alone is affecting them.
  • Spikes of Doom: The first two puzzles of the Ruins have spikes ready to impale Frisk, should they fail at solving them. Both of them end up killing Frisk, but only one time for each.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Frisk, after remaining silent up to the arrival at Home, finally speaks up during a conversation with Chara.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 01. After Frisk's brief stay at Home, Chara suddenly turns on them after a moment of amiability.
    • Chapter 02. A grown-up and extremely menacing Asriel confronts Frisk during their run from Chara.
    • Interlude: Power: Chara discovers their power to reload for the first time and after being briefly shocked, decide to not go through with the original buttercup-plan and instead stay by Asriel's side to guide him.
    • Visiting Hours: After realizing they'll never be able to kill Frisk while they still have control over the timeline, Chara decides to speed things up. They drag Asriel into the barrier room, make him swear to always trust and obey them from now on after telling him lies about Frisk and their powers, then promptly set the souls free and commit suicide to force him to absorb all the present human souls.
  • Wham Line: "Human. It was nice to meet you. Goodbye."note 
  • Wham Shot:
    • Frisk's death at the first puzzle. Unlike the canon version, the "caretaker" doesn't help them and a step in the wrong place turns them into shish-kebab.
    • Chara reveals a hidden knife in preparation to kill Frisk.
    • After Frisk bypasses the gate prior to leaving the Ruins, they are confronted by Asriel with his flames out and ready to burn them where they stand.
    • A younger Chara unknowingly making a Save Point for the first time while preparing to strangle a comatose Ribbon Kid.
    • Chara refusing to die and reloading the time line for the first time when they find themselves on the verge of death.
    • Frisk stabbing Chara fatally in the stomach in self-defense.
    • The reveal of Asriel's appearance after absorbing the souls of Chara and the Fallen Humans.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The End has a small section that plays ten years after Chara's and Frisk's last conversation in New Home. Chara and Asriel's relationship is courteous, but distant and Frisk has become a human history teacher at Hotland elementary school. Chara also decides to set the souls of the Fallen Humans free from their containers, as a way to atone for their murder of them, and intends to give their own soul to the monsters for study after their eventual passing. They then ponder taking on the title of Royal Scientist, after thinking about how it would be a pity to let the laboratory go to waste.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity:
    • Chara was already a pretty messed up child, but finding out that they're practically immortal and can time-travel didn't help matters. After getting complete control of the power to reload, they frequently use it to avoid any kinds of consequences for their actions. This continues even after the power transfers to Frisk, as Chara uses the latter's numerous death over the course of the story to find new ways to kill them and convince the monsters that killing them is necessary at the same time. They also believe themselves to be The Chosen One because of them being the first human to receive the power, destined to lead the monsters out of the mountain and destroy humanity. [[spoiler:In Escape, their soul is fused with Asriel's and those of the five other fallen children. With both control over the timeline back and a stronger body, they attempt to murder Frisk for good and when that fails, tries to cross the barrier to the surface to commit a full-on genocide on the human race. Luckily, Frisk's resilience and the will of the other souls in the body throw a wrench into that plan.
    • Averted with Frisk who uses their power only out of instinct at first and then only in self-defense. This carries on even after five months of learning to adjust to it. Chara notes that they only reloaded two times during that timeframe.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: The second half of Interlude: Integrity reveals that the world outside the Underground has not been effected by Chara's frequent loading and saving. Instead time on the surface has been flowing normally, leading to Chara being Really 700 Years Old in real time.