The [Uber] drops us off in front of a quaint little home on a hilly street. For all the gigantic, towering fortresses that made up the skyline of this San Fransisco, it felt fitting, and yet sad that a man like Francis would own only one small house.
In his defense, I was a hero who traveled the continents and made plenty of money, but I never once had any structure to call my own. There was no permanent mark of my existence on Mystix, not beyond the family registers of my clan in North Spire.
“Thanks for letting me drop off those pizzas,” the man tells us. “See you at the gig on Saturday, Francis?”
“Hahaha, we’ll see,” Francis replies.
“Oh! There’s a Monsterbattle Go stop near here! Gotta jet or someone’ll get that Huffenpuller!”
The three of us leave the car and it speeds away.
I remain completely ignorant to the vast majority of things he discussed with us, but he was a nice fellow anyway.
Delta taps something on that black rectangle known as a square, and then grimaces like I’ve never seen anyone do.
“What’s the word?” Francis asks.
“Broccoli casserole’s still on,” Delta says. “My better half’s expecting me. I guess I’ll be off.”
“You’re leaving so soon?” I ask.
“Yeah, I got stuff to do,” she says. “Or more like someone to do, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” What she is saying seems like it is supposed to be a joke, but not only do I not understand, her tone is so flat and soft that it is ruining any humor she could have given.
“Oh, Delta...” Francis hugs her and tears up. “I’m just glad you’re safe. That’s all we should care about.”
Delta remains as emotionless as ever. “I would be a lot more glad if my car weren’t obliterated by a maniac.”
“Well, Eryk saved us, so we’re okay!”
“Even so...” She wriggles herself away from Francis’s hold and brushes herself off like he had contaminated her. “There are going to be some major domestic repercussions for what happened today. I expect to be sleeping in the dog kennel for a week.”
“Aw, you’re too hard on yourself,” Francis says. “Also you don’t even have a yard, let alone a kennel.”
“What’s a dog?” I ask.
They stare at me for a minute, but never answer my question.
“Well, if I’m still alive, and I very well may not be, I’ll pick you two up in the morn—” Delta grimaces again. “I’ll meet you here in the morning and we can figure out how to deal with Eryk. Understood?”
“Roger,” Francis says. “Yes sir!” He salutes her.
Is that a normal custom? Oh no, I didn’t know it. I salute her too.
Delta walks off.
“So she is headed home?” I ask. “Why did she follow us here, then?”
“Oh, Delta lives like three blocks from here,” Francis says. “Um, a block is like a big square and all cities are kinda made up into these big squares all on a grid.”
“I see, I see,” I say. “Quite interesting. I didn’t know how well-acquainted you were with city planning principles. I actually studied all about that in my years at the North Spirian College.”
“You went to college?!” Francis’s jaw drops. “That’s amazing! I didn’t even know they had colleges in medieval fantasy worlds.”
“I do not know what medieval fantasy world means, but yes, there are a few colleges scattered across the continent, and North Spire has one. Even so, we are considered a backwards and uneducated people... It is quite a perplexing contradiction.”
“I never went to college... I dropped out to do streaming full-time.”
I look off to Delta, whose image has disappeared over my line of sight. This city is so hilly and steep that it is difficult to see anything unless you are at the top of an incline. “That girl... She is an interesting fellow.”
“Delta? Oh yeah, she definitely is. She’s been my best friend since we were in kindergarten.”
“When is—You mean since early childhood, I assume. Earth language is very tough...”
“Sorry, yeah, it must be.”
“But Delta seems even tougher.”
“Hahaha, yeah. She’s always been that way. I always thought she’d lighten up when she became an adult but she’s about the same as ever. Real battle-hardened, that one.”
“Did she fight in a war?”
“No, but—well, it’s not my place to talk about her life. Ask her yourself. If you dare... haha.”
“Anyway, I rather think she’s taken a fancy to me, don’t you think?” I put my hands on my hips to bask in the glory of myself.
“I don’t think she likes you very much, to be honest...”
“She may not prefer me as a friend, but I can see the interest she takes in me. Beyond friendship, if you know what I mean. Alas, I already possess a bethrothed who I do not wish—”
“No,” Francis says.
“No, she doesn’t have any interest in you. Delta’s married.”
“Wh... What? Since when?”
“Since like, three years ago. I guess you misunderstood what she meant when she said she was going home for broccoli casserole, but I don’t know why you thought she was... Eryk, you don’t like her, do you?”
“Not one bit. But I was sure she had some eyes for me. The way she looked at me...”
“That was animosity, not infatuation,” Francis tells me. “Please never, ever mention this to her. She will literally kill you and bury you under her house.”
At first, I think he is joking. But his expression tells of no humorous intent.
“Let’s go inside,” Francis says. “I’ll introduce you to my family and then we can get settled on all this Destiny Point stuff!”
“Oh, right. Destiny Points. I almost forgot those existed.”
The image of Delta pops up in my head one more time. The way she stared at me...
I no longer want to bask in the feelings of glory. I want to cower in the feelings of fear.