When Marius finally woke up he tried to yell at Clemens for not waking him up earlier but when Suzuna reprimanded him he shut up about it. After that Clemens left their room, letting them be alone.
Outside of the room Sarita was leaning up against a wall.
“If you were worried you could have just stayed in the room.”
“No, it is fine. I wouldn’t want to interrupt them anyways. As long as Suzuna is feeling better then I am happy. This whole thing probably put a kink in Marius’ challenge with me.”
“Are you sad that you won’t be able to compete with him? I thought you found it annoying?”
She turned away and said, “I don’t really care either way.” She then began to head to the lift.
Clemens followed her since he also needed to use it. Now that Suzuna was beginning to feel better he needed to go relax and release the stress of worrying. “I plan on heading to the spa for a while if you want to join me.”
Sarita balked for a moment before saying, “No, I think I’ll pass. I am going to go get something to eat instead.”
Clemens only nodded and accepted her rejection. They still took the lift down together and separated in the lobby heading in different direction. As Clemens got near the spa he heard some content moaning sounds.
He walked to find the old doctor sitting in spa. He looked up as Clemens entered and said, “Ah, welcome. Are you planning on joining me. My old bones are really soaking up the heat and everything feels so good.”
“Well the place is a resort so it is good that you are enjoying yourself.”
Clemens quickly went into the nearby room to change before joining the doctor in the spa.
“You know, I never did get your name.” Said Clemens.
“It is Moray but most people just call me the old doctor.”
“And I am Clemens.”
They both began to relax in the warm waters of the spa.
“I should consider coming here more often. It really is a nice place to relax. The surface is much more noisy.” Said Moray before grumbling to himself under his breath, “But what if I’m needed while I am gone. What a conundrum.”
Finally he pointed and Clemens and said, “Clemens, make sure to invite more sick people down here.”
“I’m not really certain if that is a good solution. You live close enough that you could probably just visit for a couple of days and everything will be good. Plus you could just tell people where you were going and they could fetch you if you were needed just like Sarita fetched you.”
“You make a good point. Maybe next spring, there tends to not be many sicknesses then so unless somebody gets injured it should be fine.”
“Well you are welcome here anytime.”
“Are you planning on staying down here then?”
“Yes, I’ve been thinking about what to do for a while now and I’ve recently began to put my thoughts into order. There is only one last question that needs to be answered before I make my final decision.”
The old man Moray looked at Clemens and then nodded, “Well if you have made up your mind then that is good. Now I think I am getting a little bit light headed so I’m going to get out of the spa. Although I think I saw some massage chairs and I am going to go try out.”
Moray pulled himself out of the spa and left Clemens alone with his thoughts once more. Although at this point he was more focused on enjoying the pleasant hot water.
Much later in the day Sarita and Clemens were at the entrance of the resort to bid Moray goodbye.
“I was told by Marius that Suzuna is feeling much better but that she still would have trouble getting down here to bid you goodbye. She denied it but Marius insisted that she stay and rest.”
“No need to worry about it. I would have told her to stay and rest too. Besides I am just the doctor. Coming and going is something that we do not some special occasion. Even now I feel a little embarrassed that I’m getting people to bid be goodbye at all.”
“Thanks for your had work.” Said Sarita softly.
“And come back and visit sometime.”
“Maybe if I have some free time. How about you two come and visit the town instead. Sometimes it is good to get out and see the sun.”
Sarita looked away and said, “Maybe.”
“I’m sure I can make it sometime.”
“Well, enough pleasantries, do take care and try not to get sick.” And with that Moray entered the lift. The doors closed and he whisked up and away.
“He is a nice doctor.” Said Clemens.
“Yes, he left his extra medicine down here with me so that next time this hopefully can be avoided.”
“Yeah, it is probably bad to wish somebody sickness just to see him again.”
“Correct, you shouldn’t do that. I would be angry.”
“Yes yes, it was only a joke.” Said Clemens.
The next day Suzuna was feeling well enough to meet up with everybody for dinner. She still looked a little pale but certainly much better than she had looked the last couple of days.
She gave a small bow and said, “Thanks for helping take care of me over these days.”
“You are welcome.” Said Clemens politely back, “I’m glad to see that you are looking better.”
“Little by little. I am sorry that I messed up the competition between Marius and Sarita.”
“Ba, don’t worry about that.” Said Marius, “It wasn’t really that important. Plus we can still probably have one final match before we have to leave.”
“Does that mean you two are going to be leaving soon?” Asked Clemens.
“Not that soon but it is approaching fast. Our scheduled vacation is going to be ending in five days.”
Suzuna looked down with a depressed frown on her face but Marius placed his hand on her head and said, “Really it is fine. I got to spend a bunch of extra time with you so I am not sad at all.”
“Marius… Thank you.”
“No problem. Now, like a said since we are going to be leaving soon I don’t think I will be able to do that many more competitions. Let’s say the day before we leave you choose an extra special competition to finally determine which of us is the better fisher.”
“If you have five days we could do more than one competition.”
“Tempting, but I think I’ll have to pass. I think I’d rather spend that time with Suzuna. She still isn’t completely better and I want to make sure she gets cared for.”
Sarita said, “That is fine. I’ll make sure the competition is a good one then.”
Peaceful days came and went and soon enough Suzuna was back to her normal self. She was more lively than she had been early in the trip since she had warmed up to both Clemens and Sarita.
The second to last day had arrived Sarita and Marius had met up at the entrance of Deep Sea Diving. Both Clemens and Suzuna were there.
“This time I want to join the expedition. I want to see how well Marius does things out there in the ocean.”
“Are you sure you want to come with us?” Asked Marius in a concerned voice.
Suzuna nodded, “Yes, I want to come. I’m sure all of you will protect me if you need to.”
Everybody was able to quickly changed into diving outfits before leaving through the airlock. Suzuna took a few minutes to adjust to swimming underwater but after the initial hiccups she was able to swim just fine.
“Now the swim is a little bit longer than the previous trips so if you need to take a break along the way tell me.” Said Sarita as they began to head off in the complete opposite direction of the resort.
She continued, “The destination this time is the layered reef. Aquatic volcanic activity pushed a large section of stone up out of the ground and then due to the differences in mineral density the currents eroded the different parts at different speeds. This resulted in the layered reef which has since been reinforced by a bunch of different coral species which feed on the nutrients still released by nearby volcanic vents.”
“Wow… that sounds amazing.” Said Suzuna in awe, “Are all the places around here like that?”
“Not like this one specifically. However when you looked behind the initial facade of a location there is always more beneath the surface. Even the more normal looking places have a story. Since many of the ecosystems revolve around this story it is important to learn about it because that helps be discover more about the creatures living within it.”
As they got near the large vertical feature which was the layered reef Marius asked, “So what horrifying beast are we hunting today?”
“The snapping ray is like it sounds a ray but with the head that you would expect from a turtle. The beak is needed for the snapping ray to break the hard coral that it eats. The main problem with them is that they are very territorial guarding their section of the reef from any type of large fish. If they notice you and believe that you are a threat then they can attack without warning.”
“Will we be alright?” asked Clemens.
“You and Suzuna will be prefectly safe. They avoid leaving the layered reef if they can since the tight confines gives them an advantage. For me and Marius things are a bit more risked but the sonic emitters work fine against the snapping ray so we will be safe as well. However… because of this if our sonic emitters go off then it means our life was in danger and that competitor is disqualified.”
Marius nodded, “A balance of offense and defense then. Making sure to capture it without getting attacked in turn.”
“I would give more advice but I’ve told you what you need to know. Any more than that and it wouldn’t be a proper challenge anymore.”
“Stacking the odds against me are you?” Said Marius, “Just the way I like it.”
“Are you sure you both will be alright?” Asked Suzuna nervously, “This sounds dangerous to me.”
It was Clemens who said, “They will be fine. As Sarita mentioned this suits have sonic emitters who can ward off attacking fish if needed.”
Suzuna eyed Sarita’s outfit and said, “Is Sarita even wearing one of those?”
Sarita looked a little taken back before saying, “No, I’ve never felt the need. Also they can prevent me from getting close to the fish which makes it harder to study them. Beside my skin is like a natural armor. I might get hurt if one of the snapping rays bites me but it should hardly cause any long term damage.”
Clemens shook his head, “Apparently she knows what she is doing so you should just trust her. When going against the cave lobsters I think she just fought them barehanded. She had been doing this stuff for many years so if she doesn’t know what to do than nobody does.”
“Well.. If you two say so. Just be careful. Many of the worst accidents happen near the home.”
“Thirty minutes again?” Asked Clemens.
Sarita said, “Better make it forty five. Sometimes they tried to run away and can be quite fast. Is that fine you you?” Marius nodded.
Clemens raised his hand and said, “For the last competition, begin.” And dropped his hand.
Then the two of them were off. Marius began to head directly toward the nearest layer of the reef while Sarita began to swim direction up toward one of the higher layers.