Stanley digs angrily. He thinks he should've taught Zero to read even without the deal. He knows he should go out after Zero, but he doesn't. He digs Zero's hole alone, wondering if maybe they could make it to God's Thumb where there's possibly water. Stanley thinks that even if they made it there, they'd still have to come back eventually and face the Warden. Stanley wonders if he could somehow strike a deal with the Warden, but figures she'd just scratch everyone with her rattlesnake fingers.
When Stanley considers going to the Warden for help of some sort, it again suggests that his friendship with Zero has taught him the power of kindness and working together (though it's unlikely the Warden will go for any of this). This in turn shows that there are some people, like the Warden, for whom kindness is simply not valuable or a motivator in the least.
Zero hasn't returned by the next morning. Stanley keeps an eye out as he digs and even considers walking out to look. He hopes that Zero somehow found God's Thumb, just as the first Stanley did. He hopes there's still water there. When Stanley returns to his tent after digging, he finds the Warden, Mr. Sir, and Mr. Pendanski waiting for him. They want to know where Zero is, but Stanley honestly doesn't know. The Warden asks Mr. Pendanski if it's true that Zero has no family, and Mr. Pendanski replies that Zero is a ward of the state. The Warden confirms again that there's nobody to care about him and then asks Mr. Pendanski to destroy Zero's records so it will be like he was never at Camp Green Lake.
The Warden's logic here seems to imply that family are the only people who could possibly care about someone. This makes it clear how warped the Warden's views of love, kindness, and friendship are, as she's ignoring the friendship that Stanley and Zero formed in this calculation. However, by ignoring their friendship, she also shows that she underestimates Stanley's willpower or actual power to do anything to help Zero, something that will prove a terrible mistake on her part.