Exploiting the Horizon is the first chapter of Stygian Solace.
A look ahead: A little game of Island War. Riku's Plan A? Hidden crushes and sandy butts.
- The children play War.
- Riku and Sora easily defeat Tidus, Wakka, Kairi, and Selphie.
- Sora, Riku, and Kairi discuss romance and other worlds.
- Riku gives Sora a paopu.
The children sit on the beach of the Destiny Islands as Tidus outlines the new rule for the day's game of Island War: no getting wet, or else one is "dead". Riku contemplates Sora's cuteness for awhile, before being appointed team leader opposite Tidus. Tidus picks Kairi and Wakka as his teammates, leaving Sora and Selphie for Riku.
After devising their plan, Riku's team splits up, with Riku hiding under the broken bridge and Selphie acting as bait to lure in the other team. When Tidus's team arrives, Riku realizes that Selphie has betrayed him to join the other team, who are armed with stilts and coconuts. While Tidus and Wakka are distracted trying to knock Riku down, Sora arrives and "kills" Selphie.
Taking advantage of the distraction, Riku jumps onto Wakka, whose stilts have become sucked solidly into the sand. He then jumps onto Tidus, causing Wakka to lose his balance and fall into the water, "dying", as Sora knocks Kairi off into the water as well. Riku and Tidus lose their balance, but Sora grabs Riku soon enough to save him from "death", and the duo win the game of Island War.
Later, Riku collects materials for the raft while pondering his, Sora's, and Kairi's relationship. His plan is to win Kairi's heart, thus reattracting Sora's attention. However, he realizes that Kairi doesn't like him very much, and Sora seems much closer to Kairi. He contemplates devising a Plan B, but decides to continue on with Plan A for the moment.
Riku interrupts Sora and Kairi, reminding Sora that he still needs to collect raft materials. Kairi suggests a race, which Riku wins easily. As they rest, Riku begins to tease Sora, which leads to both Sora and Riku admitting that they have a crush on somebody, although neither elucidates as to whom. Sora leaves to collect more materials for the raft, and Riku has a play-battle against Tidus and Wakka.
At the end of the day, Riku, Sora, and Kairi discuss the raft trip and other worlds. Kairi wonders about Riku's motivation for the trip, which he explains as a desire for something out of the ordinary. Sora suggests going home for the night. As the three children leave, Riku tosses Sora a paopu fruit, explaining its power to intertwine the destinies of those who eat it. Sora tosses it away, and Riku, dejected, accompanies him to their boats.