This is the fortieth chapter of the DARLING in the FRANXX manga.
Zorome and Hiro are searching for Miku in the city. Nearby, Zero Two and Miku are hiding, and Miku says she won’t come out. Zero Two comments on how fun hide and seek is, which Miku asks if this is what hide and seek is, as she doesn’t understand it. Zero Two explains she read in a book that it is a game children used to play in the past. Miku is perplexed that children used to play in the past. Hiro finds them and tries to catch Zero Two but she jumps and dodges him, saying catching her isn’t easy. Zero Two grabs Miku and they run off. Zorome is dismayed that Miku is teaming up with Zero Two.
A 9 Model FRANXX sees Plantation 13. A critically wounded Alpha mutters just a bit longer and tells Zeta, who is injured with a wound in her abdomen, to hang in there. A warning signal alerts Alpha of Klaxosaurs coming their way. Alpha prepares to fight them until the FRANXX collapses due to Zeta falling to the ground and succumbing to her injuries. Overcome with shock and anger, Alpha screams to screw off. The klaxosaurs are about to attack until they are killed by Delphinium, Genista, and Chlorophytum. Ichigo orders everyone to end it.
While walking, Miku complains how Zorome blames her, along with that he has no sympathy for others and he ogled her when her suit melted. She says he is the worst and he makes her sick. Zero Two suggests that, if she hates him and their compatibility is bad, they should switch partners. Meanwhile, Zorome complains how annoying Miku is and how she always blames others. Hiro says she is always like that but he doesn’t think she is bad. Zorome replies he knows and explains that when he talks to her, he wants to retort immediately, he wants her to cry, to regret because that’s what he was thinking. Miku says Zorome is useless because he’s not as excellent as Hiro, not as strong as Goro, not as cool as Mitsuru and not as calm as Futoshi. But she knows she cares about him the most and only she can have an idiot as a partner. Miku then asks Zero Two why she followed her and if she had a fight with Hiro. Zero Two says she just wanted to try a human fight and she comments how it didn’t look like they were fighting.
Hiro spots something and points to a window of a building, where two people are in machines. Zero Two suddenly says that’s how the adults live. Zorome apologizes and Miku accepts his apology. Hiro asks Zero Two what she meant and she explains the machines stimulate the brain’s reward system, such as giving the adults a feeling of happiness. She adds that humans stay inside when they are dreaming and rarely wake up but, while their energy packs need to be changed sometimes, their bodies happily live forever. She further says this is the adults’ town, the magma energy and scientific developments made are the adults’ ideal world. Zorome is surprised and asks if they are fighting just to protect them.
In the control room, Hachi is informed that the rescue mission was completed by Squad 13 but only the Alpha FRANXX was retrieved. Although Alpha is seriously wounded, he will survive. However, Zeta’s death is confirmed due to the cockpit taking a direct hit. There is another survivor in the escape pod in the FRANXX’s hands, who is revealed to be Delta. Hachi wonders what happened to the 9’s.