Having a Xelor for a friend was the next best thing to having a pocket watch. Omid shook his head and sighed, listening to the words barked by Bontassault’s gruff captain. Jacques the Ecaflip had never been terribly fond of social events, but this was ridiculous. Despite their best efforts, nobody had been able to remind Jacques of the New Year’s ball, which he scheduled boufbowl practice through.
“I wonder if he did it on purpose,” Avaleen sulked. “What are the odds? Well, he’s an Ecaflip – he could tell us. But really—”
“I’m sure he didn’t mean it. You know how single-minded he is,” the Osamodas said, patting Avaleen on the shoulder.
“Are you three going to get back on the field or what?” Jacques barked, having finished lecturing the team’s little Enutrof blocker. “Why are you sitting there sulking? We have a match in four days and none of you are up to scratch—”
“Jacques! I told you about the ball!” Avaleen shouted as she picked herself up off the snow-covered ground. “I told you about it a dozen times, and you never listened! Not once!”
“W-we’ve been practicing for two hours already,” Nogoloro stammered. “Don’t you think… maybe…”
Jacques raised his hand to silence the Xelor, and then picked up the bouf-ball off the ground.
“I don’t think any of you are ready for the team we’ll be facing. You all need more practice. And what’s this about a ball? When was that going to be?”
“Today. Starting a couple minutes ago, actually,” Omid groaned. “Nogo and Leen and I had been planning to go.”
“You shouldn’t have made plans that conflicted with practice.”
Omid could tell from her expression that Avaleen was livid. He had never seen her hurt Jacques, physically or otherwise, but it was clear she wanted to. He had no chance to diffuse her temper, however.
“YOU shouldn’t have scheduled practice that conflicted with the ball!” Avaleen hissed. “We were planning for this for weeks before you rolled out of bed this morning and decided to practice boufbowl this afternoon! It’s cold, it’s a crappy day for boufbowl, and we all have better places to be!”
“Shut up, Marise! For all I care, you can play with Jacques all you want, but I’m leaving now!” And with that, the Sacrier turned around, picked up her things, and walked off the field they were playing at in the Cania regions of Bonta. A moment of stinging silence followed as the others looked at her, at one another, and then at their captain, who appeared completely unfazed. As Marise picked up her boufbowl shield and walked out to the center of the field, Omid was the first to speak again.
“Jacques, with all due respect, I think I ought to leave as well,” he said as calmly as possible. Behind him, Nogo made a noise that may have been to express agreement. The Osamodas couldn’t read him well enough to be sure. Staring Jacques in the eyes, Omid turned slowly and walked off the field, followed by Nogoloro and the cruel glare of Bontassault’s captain.
“…If it makes you feel better, Jacques,” the little Enutrof cackled. “I didn’t know there was a ball, either!”