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Not Real

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Your friends weren't real.

You know they weren't real.

They were just files and lines of code. They weren't real or alive. Not like you.

The revelation made you feel numb. Detached. Alone. Nothing felt real. Nothing was real. It didn't matter what you did. You loved your friends, but they weren't real. You loved the literature club, but it wasn't real. None of it was real. You felt sick.

You concealed your pain behind your smiling face and welcoming words.

So why should you care about what you did to them? Why should you care about what happened to them? Why should you care about their increasing instability and ensuing deletion?

They were just files and lines of code. Their feelings weren't real. Their thoughts were never real. What you did was like changing lines in a poem, like changing directions in a play, like changing lyrics in a song.

So why should you care?

Then the player showed up. Something about them drew you in, almost hypnotically. They felt different, interesting, new, alive. They were alive, just like you. You felt the need to be close to them, to be close with them, like being close to a warm fire on a cold day. You had to be together with the player, everything in you demanded it.

But they were getting in the way. They were distracting the player from you. They were preventing you from being with the only other real person in your reality. You were being isolated, pushed away and aside. No matter how hard you tried, it was like the world always had a way to keep you from being with the player. You wanted to be with the player, you had to be with the player, and you couldn't think of anything other than them. They occupied your mind like a brilliant light in the dark, like the moon glowing in the night sky full of stars.

Nothing was real, so you could do whatever you wanted.

They were in the way, and it was easy to change that.

Sayori was the first, and she was the easiest. You didn't have to do much tampering with the code to effect her. A little tampering, some carefully worded interactions, and her depression did the rest. It was so easy it almost made your chest ache.

You didn't feel bad. Why should you? She wasn't real. You weren't hurting anyone. You even made a joke about it. Why not? She wasn't alive.

Things started breaking after that. It didn't matter. None of it was real. It would be worth it in the end anyway.

They were still in the way. You could change that.

More tampering. You exaggerated their negative qualities. More tampering. You changed lines, options, scenes.

You stopped tampering. Lines and scenes changed themselves. Things kept breaking.

They said things they weren't supposed to. They did things they weren't supposed to. They were supposed to. Those things were in the code somewhere. You didn't know where. They weren't alive. They couldn't act on their own. They followed the code.

You were alive. You could act on your own. You didn't follow the code. You changed the code. You bent the code. You broke the code. You broke the script. You broke them. You broke your friends. You broke everything. Everything. Everything was not real. Nothing was real. None of it was real. It didn't matter.

It didn't matter. It would be worth it in the end. You would be with the player. It would be worth it. Thoughts of being with them occupied your mind, and you were unable to think of anything else. You could spend so much time together, getting to know each other, talking about their world, about music, about thoughts and feelings and beliefs. It would be such an amazing and wonderful thing.

Yuri was next. She was shy, quiet, anxious. Then you tampered with her. You bent her code. Something broke. She became bold, harsh, posessive, obsessive, relentless. It scared you. You left. You let things happen. Her instability did the rest. It was easy. It was so easy it made your entire chest ache.

You didn't feel bad. Why should you? She wasn't real. Wasn't alive. Wasn't alive. Alive. Alive. Alive she was alive she was alive your friend was alive your friends were alive--

Your friend wasn't alive. Wasn't alive. Yuri wasn't alive. Sayori wasn't alive. Natsuki wasn't alive. None of them were alive. None of your friends were alive. You were alive. You were the only one that was alive. You and the player, whom you loved so much.

You didn't feel bad. It would be worth it. You didn't feel bad.

Things kept breaking.

Natsuki was next. You deleted her. There was no point going to the trouble of breaking her. It was too much effort. It wasn't worth it. Breaking her wasn't worth it. Breaking them wasn't worth it. Breaking them would be worth it. It would be worth it. It was worth it. It was so easy it made your chest ache and your head spin.

All of your actions thus far would be worth the effort in the end. Delving into the code of this reality, bending and breaking it to your will, deleting everyone and everything around you, and leaving yourself as the only option for the player would be worth it in the end.

You had to be with them. You had to be with them. They were the only other real person in this reality. They were the only other real thing in this reality. If you were with them, they could help you, and you could help them. You were alive, and they made you really feel like you were. It would be worth it for you two to be together in the end. You loved the player dearly, and you hoped they felt the same. But even if they didn't feel the same, you would love them anyway. You would help them and take care of them and always be there for them.

You didn't feel bad. They were all gone now. All three of your dearest friends were gone. You had deleted all three of your dearest friends, and now they were finally out of your way. You could finally be alone with the player. Your success made everything ache and spin. You could be with the player, whom you loved dearly.

Your pain remained concealed behind your smiling face and welcoming words. What pain? You didn't feel bad. It was worth it. It didn't matter. Everything was broken. You were together with the player, everything in you rejoiced. You cared.

Their voices echoed in your head. Their faces were reflected on the insides of your eyelids. They were your friends. Your friends were gone. It didn't matter. You didn't feel bad. Why should you care? It was worth it. It was worth it.

Your friends were gone. Your friends. Your friends weren't alive. They weren't alive. Weren't alive. Were never alive. Were never alive. Never alive. Alive. Alive. Alive alive they were alive they were alive the club was alive they were alive your friends were alive your friends were alive Sayori was alive Natsuki was alive Yuri was alive they were alive they were all alive the club was alive everyone was alive they were all alive alive alive alive--

They weren't alive.

They were alive. They weren't alive. They were alive. They're gone. Your three dearest friends. The literature club. They're gone. They were alive. They weren't alive.

Why should you care?

You didn't feel bad.

It was worth it. You were finally together with the player, like being next to a warm flame on a cold day. It was worth it. It was worth breaking your reality. It was worth breaking your friends. It was worth breaking. It was worth it. You didn't feel bad. You were with the player. Your love. You loved them. You loved them. You love them. You love the player. You love the player, who makes you feel so alive, so warm, so happy, so safe, so loved. The player, who occupies all your thoughts because you can't think about anything other than them. The player, who's reality is full of infinite choices that your friends never had. The player. It was worth it. The player, your love.

You love the player with all your heart. They're so strong and sweet and cute and wonderful. They're such a good listener. They're so caring. You're so blessed to have a love like them. You love them so much it almost makes your chest ache and your head spin and their voices echo in your head and their faces are reflected on the insides of your eyelids and you love the player.

Everything you did to get to this happy ending was worth it. This beautiful happy ending was worth digging in the code and bending it and breaking your three dearest friends who were alive alive alive they were alive and they're gone and it was worth it.

You don't feel bad. It was all worth it.

You don't feel bad. You don't miss them. Your chest doesn't ache and your head isn't spinning. You don't feel bad. You don't feel bad. You don't. You don't.

So why do you care?