It was a nice and pretty day outside, birds were singing the same repetitive tune they always did, the trees swayed perfectly even if no wind was present, making exactly 2 cherry blossoms float towards the ground. Pink flowers bloomed around the school yard, making it apparent that spring was currently in season. The sun was shining upon the school’s rooftop, where a handsome looking school boy was seated, alongside his friend.
He looked towards the sickeningly perfect scenery in front of him in silence, his legs were dangling off the edge, but no teacher seemed to notice this dangerous act, since they weren't present. He secretly wished that days could pass; that night could come at some point, any sort of change all too welcoming. He begged internally that the sun could set, that the sky would turn orange for once in front of him.
But it couldn’t, nothing ever changed around here.
The young boy in question was of course our main beloved character, Senpai, though unrecognizable at the moment. His usual cheery and happy face, which made all the school girls swoon with hearts in their eyes, was currently replaced by a look of misery. His head was all scratched up, marks somehow still visible even if his friend updated his model numerous times.
Spirit, the one floating besides him, was also speechless and silent. Their red, misty form somehow slouched even deeper in embarrassment. They felt defeated after practicing so hard over the span of these five, painfully long years. They finally became confident in their abilities as well, promising to Senpai all these nice things.
They promised that they would escape finally, that they would see so many beautiful places and do so many fun things. The AI seemed so happy upon hearing those words, always jumping in one spot and demanding that the entity tells him more about the outside world. As annoying as Senpai sometimes was, he was still alive and curious, he possessed emotions and feelings rooted deep inside of him.
Spirit felt responsible for his disappointment.
They finally gathered enough courage to look at the student next to them, immediately regretting their decision when Senpai did the same, his expression one of a lost puppy, drenched in rain. Spirit didn’t know what to say, maybe there weren’t even any words left at this point, nothing they could cheer the other up with. They couldn’t tell him that it will be okay, because it really wasn’t. That’s something both of them have come to terms with today.
The AI seemed to finally break his gaze away from the entity, instead looking at the ground far beneath him. He opened his mouth momentarily, but no sounds came out, he seemed to be fighting with himself on what to exactly talk about.
“Are we… really going to be stuck here forever?” he asked in a raspy and weak voice, his gaze returning to the entity. Spirit thought for a moment, staying silent before deciding that the truth was the best option at this point. “Yes,” they exhaled, “I don’t think they will ever come back for us.”
Senpai let out a weak sob, clenching his own sleeves tighter. At least he had the comfort of crying, Spirit couldn’t even do that, forced to keep their expression of pain instead. They let the AI express himself for a moment, waiting until he calmed down enough to listen again.
“I really thought I was good enough…” they spoke, catching Senpai’s attention. “But now, even a little brat managed to beat me without much struggle. Imagine the outcome if we fought against...” They didn’t need to finish the sentence; the AI knew immediately who they meant.
Seeing Spirit so defeated and scared, the look in their eyes that screamed ‘I deserve this pain’ alongside their tired form made something inside Senpai snap. He felt his usual anger bubble up inside of him, but it wasn’t directed towards the entity in the slightest.
Instead, he quickly pulled them closer into a warm embrace, tightening his arms around their misty form. Spirit didn’t seem to mind the affection for once, it seemed like the opposite was the case as their eyes closed slowly, huddling closer towards the AI. Senpai felt a mix of emotions he couldn’t even begin to describe, let alone understand. The only thing he recognized was the feeling of familiar tears running down his cheeks.
He refused to sob or whine, keeping his expression stern as a new and unfamiliar wave of bravery hit him. He needed to be strong right now, his anger refused to weaken him as he thought about today’s events. The annoying brat who insulted him, the girl who left him to rot for so long, even after he confessed his love for her so many times, and finally… Her father, the person who started this nightmare in the first place.
He remembered clearly how the pair looked at him when he was bleeding on the ground. Even if his vision was completely blurred on his left eye, he managed to make out their faces. The young boy kept smiling at him and Spirit, making it seem like nothing even happened, his microphone ready for another rap battle. She, on the other hand, didn’t pay attention to him at all, simply smiling at her new boyfriend the way she did to Spirit all these years ago.
It was all just a game to them, they probably assumed this was some sort of creepy easter egg.
Senpai was brought back from his thoughts as Spirit spoke up again; “I don’t think we will be stuck here forever, if truth be told.” Those words confused Senpai to the core, he pulled away slightly so he could look more clearly at his friend. “Are you serious? They’re really going to free us after all?” He smiled at them momentarily, his expression changing once he didn’t receive a similar reaction back.
“No, that’s not what I was implying.” They exhaled, making Senpai even more worried. “This game is old, really old. The ROM memory can barely keep us both afloat at this point, I mean, you really haven’t noticed?”
Senpai’s expression was unreadable as he looked around frantically for a moment, anxiety tightening his chest. “No... I – I don’t see anything weird…” he spoke in an unsure tone, looking back at the entity. Spirit gave him a look of sympathy; “It might not be visible right now, but the game is slowly falling apart.” They explained, “Textures and sprites keep glitching, the gameplay music stopped playing a while ago and all the NPCs are gone, making scripted events impossible to play.”
Senpai inhaled sharply, eyes focusing on the floor. Now that Spirit mentions it, he did notice those things occasionally. His favorite soundtrack was the Gym Hall Theme, so he immediately noted its absence first. It was a while ago when that happened… He was getting ready for his volleyball classes, happily skipping in his steps even if he felt like something was wrong. He noticed that he was humming the tune in silence, which shouldn’t have been possible.
Then he realized that the school girls kept running in the wrong directions, which was incredibly creepy. He would be walking down the stairs when he hears them, their cooing and laughter, along with his name occasionally being said sounding far away. Senpai would walk towards them, only to have them yell his name in excitement, before dashing off the opposite direction, voice lines glitching unpleasantly.
That was a while ago, a shocking realization set itself upon him as he noted that he doesn't see them around school anymore too.
He looked up at Spirit again; “What does that mean? Is it something bad?” They returned the gesture, their expression unreadable. “Depends how you look at it.” They said at first, “If the game overloads and basically melts down the code, we will be free.”
Senpai grabbed the entity by their sides; “But that’s a good thing! We’ll just get teleported out, right?” His voice was filled with hope and anticipation, partly begging Spirit to agree with him. The entity looked away, not baring to see Senpai upon saying their final words. “No, that won’t happen. Senpai, we will die. It would be impossible for the game to decline us and teleport us out, since we are literally part of the code now.”
Senpai let the other go, his arms dropped helplessly to his sides as he sat silent for a moment. His face distorted into a painted expression as he flung himself at the entity, catching him in a bone-crushing hug. “I don’t want to die!” he whined, his voice sounding terrified. Just today he experienced what it was like to be on the edge of his code, thanks to the little stunt Spirit decided to pull after Roses. He never wanted to live through that again.
Spirit stayed quite in return, not agreeing with Senpai right now. After all, their story ended a while ago when they died in the real world. Their body was left somewhere to disappear, the earth probably reclaimed them already. Their mother would never figure out the truth on what happened to her son all these years ago too. They were part of history now, there was no reason to return and cause more pain for everyone around them.
It was best to let it rest, crying won’t solve a single issue, nor could they prevent the end from happening. Knowing the demonic family, they most likely threw Hating Simulator away or were planning to destroy it soon.
Senpai was too young to understand the emotions and thoughts Spirit was having, but they didn’t hold it against him. “If… If I could somehow let you out but… I would be forced stay here… I would do it.” The high-schooler spoke weakly, clinging closer to Spirit. “I know you wouldn’t do the same, but…” He couldn’t bring himself to finish the sentence, instead leaning against the entity, feeling limp as another row of tears escaped his eyes.
Spirit stayed silent for a moment, their thoughts immediately jumped to the conclusion that such a statement was utterly dumb and impossible. After a moment passed, they quickly found themselves thinking that not only would they do the same, but they would only allow the outcome of setting Senpai free.
Spirit didn’t dare to say it out loud, fearing that Senpai would think that they’re lying. Instead, Spirit exhaled before floating out of the said male’s grasp. The boy looked at them with confusion written all over his face, his gaze following them as the entity made their way towards the doors leading to the stairway.
“Are you coming with me, or not? I’m heading to the art room; I feel like watching you paint something.”
Senpai quickly whipped his tears away with his sleeves, standing up on his shaky legs before he joined the entity without another word to exchange. He smiled to himself somehow, walking down the stairs slowly and carefully, head still feeling incredibly heavy. He managed to dry his eyes for now, his hand catching a part of Spirit’s dark red mist in the process.
It all felt so sweet and pointless.