TLN: Hello everyone. I’m from the future. I finally invented a time machine in the year 20XX. As a test, I’ve picked up the latest volume of “Is it Tough Being a Friend?” and travelled back in time to show you all. Have a sneak peak. By the way, in the future, light novels are no longer printed on paper or downloaded as eBooks. Instead, they are a series of syringes that you directly inject into your brain to instantly transfer data.
I laid down on the rough stone floor. The dark echoes of water droplets being the only audible sound within the silence.
I tried getting up, but my body didn’t follow my commands.
In my sight were the figures of Yukimiya, Aogasaki, Elmira, and Kurogame. None of them bothered to even look at me in the eyes, as if I were some kind of pest not worth their time.
Standing in front of them was Ryuuga, or at least, the one I once thought was Ryuuga. However, at this point, I’m not even sure if I know who Ryuuga is. In fact, I’m not sure if I know any of these people anymore.
I thought that I was someone who knew Ryuuga’s character. However, recent events have wiped all of that away. It made me realize that I knew nothing about anyone all along. I couldn’t bear to look at them in the face anymore.
Right behind me was a pit, an opening of some sort to who knows where. There seemed to be no visible bottom to this hole.
“Don’t take this personally.”
Ryuuga spoke to me in a tone of voice I had never heard before.
I tried to reply, but in my weakness, I could only let out a few incoherent sounds.
Ignoring my attempts to speak, Ryuuga continued.
“You just happen to be the least-needed person here.”
At some point, we got caught in a trap.
We were locked in a dungeon for days, having to constantly fight an endless amount of monsters that appeared. We were without food and barely got any sleep. Everyone was in a desperate situation.
“At any rate, I always found you to be…annoying.”
Her words caused my mind to blank out for a moment.
(Annoying? What does Ryuga mean?)
“You’re a worthless flea, a nuisance. Nothing you ever did brought me any joy, and yet you constantly stuck by my side. I only put up with you and acted as if I enjoyed your company because you seemed to be a little strong, but you were just a hindrance to us in the end.”
My entire world froze for a second.
My breathing turned jagged, my body startled trembling.
(Was it all just an act? Did Ryuga hate me all along? No, that can’t be right! I’m Ryuga’s friend, after all! There’s no way she would abandon me…would she?)
“Wait. Aren’t we…friends?”
I forced myself to speak, even though it strained my throat to do so.
Right then and there, a sharp pain rushed towards my finger. When I looked to see what it was, I noticed a beam of light had pierced through my left index finger.
“Who would ever want you as a ’friend?’”
Ryuuga looked at me with a gaze that could kill. I never thought that someone like her could make such a face. It’s something befitting of a villain more so than a protagonist.
However, she didn’t stop there. She continued to impale every remaining finger off of my left hand.
“Ryuga! Stop, please!”
I screamed in horror as she toyed with my hand, paying no mind to the crimson liquid sploshing onto the ground.
“Haha, this quite fun. Hey, all of you, try it out for yourselves!”
The others walked forward upon Ryuuga’s suggestion.
A pale aura illuminated around Yukimiya’s body as she began muttering something. Suddenly, the holes in each of my fingers disappeared.
Ryuuga moved aside, letting Aogasaki then step forward.
With a malicious smile, she raised her wooden sword and clad it in void. As she swung it downwards, the effect granted from her ability allowed the wood to be sharper than steel.
Once more, a pain coursed through me. Aogasaki’s sword had completely sliced off my fingers, leaving nothing but a bare stump of a hand covered in blood. However, that wasn’t the end. As if to taunt me, Aogasaki then took the fingers separated from my hand and sliced them even further in front of my eyes.
Again, Yukimiya healed them back together, as if they had never been separated in the first place.
Then came Elmira’s turn. She did the same as Ryuuga and Aogasaki, licking her lips as she conjured a fire.
I felt a different type of pain as the flames engulfed my entire hand. They melted off the skin, then the tendons, then the muscle, eventually reaching the bone. All the while, the scent of burnt flesh invaded my nose.
The pure agony felt like it lasted an eternity. Each time I struggled to endure, Elmira’s smile widened.
Yukimiya healed my fingers again, and shortly after, it was Kurogame’s turn.
She grabbed my left hand and gripped my pinky. As she increased the pressure, I heard the sound of a crackling as the bones and joints within my finger were crushed. After which, she moved onto the my ring finger. She took her sweet time with the whole process, only moving onto the next finger once both the sounds of crackling and of my screams ceased. By the time Yukimiya stepped in to heal my hand once more, my fingers were an array of contortions.
They impaled my fingers once more.
They healed my fingers once more.
They sliced them again.
They healed them again.
They melted them.
They healed them.
Slice. Burn. Crush. Burn. Slice. Impale.
Heal. Heal. Heal. Heal. Heal. Heal.
They repeated the process until I lost count.
Though the fingers restored themselves, the blood I lost was still gone. After they got bored and stopped mutilating my digits, I began losing consciousness from anemia.
(Please…just let this end…)
Seeming to notice this, Ryuuga struck a beam of light into my back, forcing my consciousness awake temporarily.
“Go ahead and get yourself killed down there for all I care. Leave us be and never come into our sight again.”
Ryuuga spoke as she glared at me with ill intent, her eyes glowing a hue of gold.
I could tell that they were about ready to throw me away.
I desperately cling onto her shoe with my blood-drenched left hand, not wanting to let go. I could only mutter one word.
She raised a beam of light once more, intending to fire it at me.
“It’s because you’re too weak.”
Suddenly, I felt a loss of sensation in my left hand, followed by a sting in my wrist.
Ryuuga had used another attack, but unlike the previous ones, she separated my entire left hand from the rest of my arm. This time, Yukimiya didn’t bother to heal it.
Ryuuga then kicked away my left hand, causing it to slam into the corner of the dungeon walls.
After seeing my left hand disconnected from my body, the pain registered in my mind.
With my hand gone, my body was no longer holding onto Ryuuga. She raised a foot once more and kicked me into the pit.
As I found myself sinking downwards, I eventually felt a cold sensation rushing alongside my entire body. It was the sensation of water, taking me to what I could only assume is my death.