Francis… Francis, where are you?

Delta looks all over the castle, dim except for the moonlight peeking through the window panes. Everything is shrouded in deep blue.

Wherever that guy went off to, he went fast. Delta hasn’t been able to see or hear him, even though she was only a few seconds behind. Oh, Francis, why did you have to pick now to practice your jogging skills?

She hears some sort of sulking sound off in the distance, but she can’t tell if it’s him or if it’s just King Bodhi in her teen emo phase (one look at her face, and Delta knew that girl is going through some stuff emotionally). She also can’t tell the origin of the sound. Wherever it might be coming from, she can’t figure out.

That gives her time to bask in the quiet darkness of Castle Barbara. Paintings of famous skateboarders and snowboarders and other extreme sportsmen (almost entirely men) adorn the walls. A suit of armor stands proudly in the corner of the hall, but it is posed in such a way that it is hanging ten off a metal surfboard.

All of it honestly creeps her out. Such slavish devotion to sports and iconic figures, as if they hold any relevance in reality… No wonder nobody’s tried to conquer Santa Barbara since it gained independence; nobody cares. Soon they’ll kick every stupid sport fan out of the U.S. and send them here, and the world will be a better place for it. They’ll have to call it the Exile Games after that.

Assuming Delta truly is pregnant and is going to have a baby (which still seems like a dream to her), she is going to make every attempt she can to make this baby despise sports. They will be the ultimate sports-hating scholar.

Finally, Delta turns a corner and sees Francis, staring out a window and watching the moon. He isn’t sulking (which means that King Bodhi certainly was), but he has a sad look on his face.

She approaches him and sets a hand on his shoulder. He brushes it off.

“Francis, what’s gotten into you?” Delta asks.

He looks at you, and without speaking, communicates everything you need to know.

It’s Eryk. He’s head over heels for him, and it’s obvious. Absolutely smitten for that pink-haired wonder boy, and everyone sees it except for he himself. Even Eryk is finally starting to understand, but Francis is still a moron about it. He’s in love, but love is too complicated for guys whose experience begins and ends with their favorite waifu.

And, naturally, when he actually speaks, his words reflect none of that. “I feel like a bad leader,” he tells her. “I want to help everyone, but it feels like all I’ve been doing is messing everything up… Nobody ever tells me anything!”

“Oh, Francis, don’t worry about that. You’re just fine.”

“But Eryk… he didn’t even trust me enough to tell me his secrets.”

“He probably thought you’d be worried if you knew the truth. He just cares about you.”

“But he doesn’t trust me.”

“Well, that’s because he’s an asshole.”

“And I’m not?” Francis asks.

Delta shakes her head. “Not in the slightest. You’re my best friend.”

The two of them hug it out.

Francis calms down a little bit. “Thanks, Delta. I don’t know where I’d be without you.”

“Nowhere good, that’s for sure,” she says.

“As long as we’re open and honest with each other, we’ll keep being the best of friends,” Francis says. “Right, Delta?”

Delta gulps.


She is still hugging Francis, but she loosens her grip a little bit, in case she needs to squirm free. “So, uh, Francis. Are you good?”

“Yeah, why?”

“I kinda have a big secret too,” she admits.

Francis’s face glazes over.

Explaining Delta’s secret does not go over very well.