“Doesn’t that cause problems?”
“Maybe a little, but it is because he is a good person that he has these problems. He tries not to press his anxieties onto other people. A surprisingly complicated man if I don’t say so myself.”
It was about this time that Marius came back. In one hand he had a few bottles of beer and one of wine and in the other he had some cups. He looked around the table and said, “Come on, its not a party if we are missing people. Where did Sarita go? She said she would show up didn’t she?”
“Yes I did, and I just arrived.” Said Sarita as she entered the restaurant. Clemens took a short gasp of air without realize it. While it might seem strange since he had seen her so many times in what was equivalent to a bathing suit, her wearing just a simple casual dress took his breath away.
“Excellent,” said Marius basically ignoring the atmosphere. “Sit, Sit, the food will be out shortly but for now we had drinks to entertain ourself. Here you gone Suzuna, I know beer doesn’t treat you well so I brought you some wine.”
She took the bottle gentle and set it down on the table with a, “Thank you.”
“Is beer alright for everybody else or should I get a glass for you?”
“I think I’ll pass one both.” Said Sarita. After her last experience with Demetra she wanted to avoid another experience like that.
“I can probably have one, although I’m not really a drinker.” Said Clemens as he accepted one of the beers.
Marius pointed the spare beer at Sarita and said, “I hope you have something even more exciting for tomorrow. While that miniature whale seemed pretty big it wasn’t very threatening. Maybe a shark tomorrow?”
“Don’t worry, I have a plan for tomorrow although it won’t be what you expect.”
“Hahaha, good to hear.” He then looked up as if sensing something and said, “Oh and it looks like our food is here.”
The robot delivery rolled up and slide the enormous tray of food onto the table. The fish had been cooked in many different ways. Some fried, some grilled, and even some of it was still uncooked and sliced into small pices.
The last part was what Sarita grabbed first and she was quickly followed by the others who grabbed different cooked meals.
Several hours latter the food had been mostly completely devoured. Most of it had been eaten by either Sarita or Marius. While Sarita seemed to prefer the raw fish that hadn’t stopped her from trying everything else as well.
Through the meal however it was Suzuna who had changed the most. Once she ha drank a couple of glasses of wine her personality almost completely changed. She began to eat more and talk more.
More awkwardly for Clemens she began to flirt with Marius quite boldly. It didn’t make things better that Marius returned the flirting with enthusiasm. It seemed that Clemens had found one thing that the two of them seemed to share. A like of alcohol.
Once all the food was gone Marius, seemingly ignoring Sarita and Clemens, picked Suzuna up and carried her away back to their room.
“Well, that interaction was very unexpected.” Said Clemens.
“Yes, when they get drunk both of them really let loose. I was expected it from Marius, but Suzuna…”
“Yeah, she surprised me too. She seemed very straight laced to me previously but now, I’m not sure what my opinion of her is. However that does finally resolve any lingering worries that I might have had about the two of their relationship.”
“It was a bit embarrassing though, maybe I should skip out on the remaining after parties.”
“And leave me all alone in them? I think I would die.”
“You are a big boy, I’m sure you will be fine.”
“But it is fine for you to run away?”
She hesitated before finally saying, “Alright, fine, I’ll stick around.”
Clemens wanted to stay a little longer but he was beginning to feel tired. “Although I think it is time for me to turn in too. I’m not used to that much swimming so my muscles are aching.”
He stood up and began to head out of the restaurant. However just before he left he looked back at Sarita who had returned to the last bits of the food. Then she said, “You look good.”
“WHaWhat?” She said, startled, looked up at him. However he had already turned and fled in embarrassment.
She sat there for a moment with him gone she looked down at her silver scaled arm and said, “How can he just say that. I’m not…” She had dropped the fork that she had been holding and just sat there in the restaurant trying to come to terms with what he had said.
The next day Clemens was on his way to the Deep Sea Diving where he would join Marius and Sarita on the next competition. However he found Suzuna lying on one of the couches in the entrance hall.
“Are you alright?” Asked Clemens. She looked a little bit pale so he wanted to make sure.
“Please, don’t speak so loud,” She basically whispered. “Ohh.. My head.”
“Ah,” Said Clemens quietly as he understood the situation she was suffering from a hangover. “Are you going to be fine here?”
“I am good. I was escorting Marius but it was just too much for me so I decided to take a rest here. Just go one, I’m sure I will be better by the evening.”
“Are you sure, you look pretty pale?”
“Yes, go on, I’ll just have to avoid drinking tonight to make sure I recover. My body can’t take it was well as Marius’ does.” She raised a hand, “It is my final regret.” Then her hand dropped and she seemed to immediately fall asleep.
Uncertain if she was actually asleep Clemens moved quietly toward Deep Sea Diving where he was greeted by Marius who said, “Ah, you are finally here. We are going to head out whenever you are ready.”
Sarita nodded and said, “Yes, hurry up. I’ll meet you two outside.” Before abruptly turning and leaving through the airlock.”
“Now I’m wondering if she is alright too.” Said Clemens.
“Did you say something to her? She has been on edge since I arrived here.” Said Marius.
“Uhh… nothing too important. Did she say anything about it.”
“Nope, she was very tight lipped. Now go and finish getting into your wetsuit. Wouldn’t want her to wait too long for us. I’m ready for whatever the next challenge is.”
Clemens quickly changed into the wetsuit and then the two of them left to the deep ocean once more.
Once they were outside Sarita wasted no time in saying, “Alright, today we are going after an animal that while smaller is much harder to capture.”
“Is it a shark this time?”
“Now, we are going after lobsters.”
“Hole lobsters to be precise. This time we are going along the rock face that starts near the resort. A ways down that way.” She pointed. “I’ll explain more along the way.”
Clemens was still feeling tired from the previous day but he kept up at it.
“Hole lobsters are about as long as your leg with pincers that can both cut and crush. While they aren’t too aggressive most of the time they can be violent when attempting to capture them.”
She continued, “In this direction is a large kelp forest. The hole lobster does not live in the kelp forest but instead live in holes in the rock face nearby. They wait for their prey to approach before darting out and snapping at them.”
“Are there other kinds of lobsters as well in this area? Or maybe different crustaceans.”
“Yes, many” But she didn’t elaborate.
“If they live in holes in the rock face then won’t I have an advantage with my fishing pole?” Asked Marius.
“You might think so but you will see why it won’t be that easy when you try.”
It didn’t take long for them to arrive at a thick kelp forest that stretch up extremely high into the ocean. It was extremely thick and they had to stick close together while swimming through it.
Clemens asked, “Is there anything dangerous in this area? This seems like a perfect place for predators to hide.”
“The thickness of the plants prevents any truly big predators from swimming through the area and your sonic emitters should stop anything that would attack you. Plus all of the actual predators here are about our size and they hunt creatures smaller than them. They would only go after a human if they were truly desperate.”
They reached the edge of the kelp forest and Clemens was totally turned around. He could see several giant pillars but wasn’t certain which was the one near the resort. Both of them seemed to be glowing pretty brightly.
There was a sheer cliff in front of them with a lot of the kept growing extremely close to it and even touching it at places. Sarita pointed toward one of the large holes, maybe just big enough to squeeze into.
“The lobsters live in there. The goal is to capture one of them. Again we are going to get half and hour to catch one. If we both succeed then were are going to move onto even more difficult prey. That is if you can succeed in capturing one.”
“Ha, this is going to be easy as pie. With my fishing pole I’ll be able to pull one of them out of there extremely quickly.”
Clemens raised his hand and said, “Alright, on my signal the competition will start. Begin.” And he dropped his hand. Marius began to swim quickly toward one of the holes in the wall.
Sarita instead stay there floating looking at Clemens for a long moment.
Clemens asked, “Is something the matter.”
“No, nothing. I just…. Nothing.” She then also turned and began to swim, not toward the hole but instead into the kelp forest.
Clemens watched her go, she probably had some kind of plan but he didn’t know what it was. Instead he turned his attention to Marius who seemed to be having trouble. He had cast the hook deep into the caves but nothing was biting, or snapping, whatever a lobster would do.
He pulled back the hook and examined it. There was a metal fly at the end which didn’t seem to be attracting the attention of the lobsters. Instead of immediately casting again he looked around him until he spotted a small fishing swimming out of the kelp.
He cast the hook in that direction and in mere minutes he had hooked the fish and pulled it in. It was on the hook but instead of removing it he cast the hook fish and all toward the hole in the wall.
While this was happening Sarita arrived back from the kept forest. One of her arms was covered in a slimy orange fluid. She swam up to one of the holes in the wall and reached her slime cover arm deep into the hole.
Moments later her body tensed and she pulled backward revealing a large lobster looking crustacean. Her hand was gripped tightly around one of the claws. At it got free the creature attempted to snap at her with its other claw but she caught it with her spare hand. Then in one fluid motion she broke both the arms of the lobster. The she landed the flat of her hand straight onto the lobster’s head and its struggles ceased.
Then she slung the lobster over her shoulder and began to swim back toward Clemens. “How has Marius been doing while I was gone?” she asked.
“The lobster wasn’t biting his fly so he caught a different fish and is using that as bait.”
She looked over at his activities and said, “Good thinking.”