Marius stopped near the end of one of the layers. A human could fit inside just fine but there wouldn’t be much room to maneuver since there were pillars of coral connecting the two plates at different intervals.
He could see one of the snapping rays deep within the shelf but it was outside his safe casting distance. One of the disadvantages of using his fishing pole underwater was that the reach was much shorter than it would be in the air.
Still that didn’t deter him. He open one of the many pockets on his vest and pulled out a heavier weight that he affixed to the end of his rod near the fly. It would help him get the distance that he would need by giving the hook some much needed momentum. There were disadvantage with the weight too since it would make the hook fall to the bottom but simply reeling in and recasting when that happened would solve that issue.
He then made his first cast between the plates and toward the snapping ray.
Sarita meanwhile had gone to one of the higher shelves. The smaller higher shelves tended to be inhabited by younger smaller snapping rays. Scanning several of the shelves she finally found her target. It was smaller than many of the others, around as long as her arm.
Then she drew her knife and made her way into the shelf. While the upper shelves had suffered more erosion they also had more coral growing in them and maneuvering was tight. She was approaching the ray from behind it to sneak up on it as best as possible.
She got remarkable close before the ray finally noticed her. It spun and began swimming toward her opening its beaked mouth. Sarita wasn’t afraid however she still needed to be careful. The smaller rays could still cause considerable injury if she let the bite connect.
Sarita put on of the coral pillars between her and the ray to force the ray to slow down as it got closer to her. At it rounded the pillar she moved in for her assault. The ray could barely move to keep up with her speed attempting to snap with is beak however Sarita’s knife blocked the attack and after that it was too late for the ray.
Back outside the shelf Clemens and Suzuna were watching from a distance. “Wow, they are both really skilled. I thought Marius almost had his ray before it snapped his fishing wire.” Said Suzuna.
“Yeah, that is probably a disadvantage for him. Without the ability to rely on his fishing pole I don’t think he has a good chance of catching one of them.”
“It doesn’t look like he has given up yet so he probably still has another trick up his sleeve.”
“And it looked like Sarita has already been successful.” Said Clemens as he pointed up to the figure of Sarita swimming back down to them carrying the snapping ray.
“Wow, that was quick, did she really need to raise the event time?”
“I think that was for Marius’ sake. She probably knew that the snapping rays would be an issue for him and decided to give him the extra time.”
Suzuna smiled under her mask, her thoughts that Sarita made a good fishing mentor for Marius were not wrong. To think that Sarita would go even this far for Marius.
Marius was not done with his fishing attempt though. He had detached the normal reel from his fishing pole and had pulled out another one from one of his many pockets. He was beginning to attach it to his fishing pole.
Like the weight this wire had tradoffs. It was thicker and should resist the bite of the snapping ray however because of the design of the thread it did not move through the water quite as smoothly. Even with the weight getting a cast all the way to the ray with the wire would be tricky. He would probably need to go into the shelf to get close enough for a proper cast.
He made a few test casts to figure out his new effective throwing distance before creeping into the shelf. He continued to keep a good eye on how to best escape if the ray noticed him before finally finding a good perch from where to cast this rod.
Getting a good position was trickier than it seemed. He had need a good place to provide leverage as well as enough room to swing the rod and have the wire move correctly. Having the hook get caught on something would indeed be an issue and he wanted to avoid that.
With his new position he was able to successfully cast to the ray once more. Then he waited patiently for the ray to bite occasionally giving the rod a jerk to make the fly move as if it was real. Before too long the ray noticed and turned toward the fly.
Moments later it had moved the several feet needed and snapped at the fishing lure and was caught up in the hook. The hook was an extra large one so that it would get caught in the ray despite the beak that it had.
Marius began to reel in and the ray strained against the pull. Marius has a good point of leverage however and was able to keep pulling the ray it. It snapped and bite wildly but this time the line held and did not snap when the ray bit at it.
As the ray got closer the moment that Marius worried about happened. The ray noticed him and instead of straining against the wire now was speeding up and swimming toward Marius.
He had expected this to happen and that was one of the reasons that he had chosen this particular point. There was thin gap and a rock where he was pulling from. He quickly loosened the wire slide it down the gap and into the slot that was created.
He then kept a hold of his pole and began swimming parallel to the hole and way from snapping ray. The ray was about to reach him when the wire suddenly tightened and both Marius and the ray snapped violently. While the ray was close to him there was no way for it to finish the approach, it was chained to the rock in the distance away from Marius.
Straining against the pull Marius grabbed at the shelf floor until he finally found purchase. Then he held on as hard as he could while at the same time reeling in the ray which because of the makeshift pulley he had created moved the ray farther away from him.
No matter how much it strained it did not have the purchase that Marius had and it was pulled closer and closer to the rock that it was chained to. Once its face was lodged in the very rock that Marius has looped the wire around Marius took his pole and lodged it tightly in a nearby rock formation.
Then he proceeded to finish the capture of the snapping ray.
Back at outside of the shelf Sarita commented, “That was clever. I though he was really done for there until the ray stopped moving. He really did some quick thinking.”
Bubbles appeared around Suzuna was she breathed a sigh of relief. “What if it hadn’t worked. I was worried sick. Is it this dangerous every time you compete?”
“He would have been fine. As I said before the sonic emitters would have protected him. And the previous hunts weren’t as dangerous for him since he uses his fishing pole to remain as long range. The creatures we went against last time weren’t as fast or territorial as the snapping ray. I just wanted to give him something special to remember the last one with.”
As Marius brought his ray back to the group Clemens called out. “Ten minutes left. You took a little bit over the thirty minutes of the previous hunts but because of the extended time limit you succeeded as well.”
Marius grunted, “Well of course. If I’m going to be given a handicap it would be shameful if I couldn’t succeed with it.”
Suzuna looked at the rays, the one that Marius has caught was bigger than the one that Sarita has caught, probably thirty percent longer. “Are these rays good to eat? I don’t know if I’ve had something this strange before.”
Sarita nodded, “Very good. Now let us get them back.”
“Time for a proper party then.” Responded Marius.
Several hours later they were all at Diver’s Delight. According to Sarita the primary way of eating snapping ray was to slice them and then either have them raw or grilled. Marius, Suzuna, and Clemens all chose the later while Sarita chose the former.
Marius had also brought in the drinks once more. He had a bunch of beers for himself and had brought out a bottle of wine for Suzuna. The two of them were already deep into it and had started to become boisterous.
Event Clemens and Sarita had gotten a little bit into the festive mood although Sarita had cut herself off after the smallest amount. Apparently her tolerance really was that bad. They partied long into the night until Suzuna couldn’t stand anymore. Marius tried to carry her back to their room but he was having trouble walking straight so Sarita had to take over the carrying of Suzuna.
Clemens followed behind them no wanting to be left alone in the restaurant. Once Suzuna had been safely put to bed Marius quickly joined her and Sarita and Clemens were left outside the room alone.
“Things are going to be quiet again once they are gone.” Said Clemens
“That will be a little sad. But I’m sure new guests will come soon enough.”
“I am going to bed as well. See you in the morning.”
Clemens was soon gone leaving Sarita by herself. “I wonder what I should say…” She pondered to herself and she eventually headed off to her own room.
It was closer to noon when everybody met up again in the main lobby. Marius and Suzuna had their bags with them. Marius seemed in good spirits but Suzuna clutched her head and made pained sounds whenever people spoke loudly.
“Thanks for you hospitality.” Said Marius, although he kept his voice a little down for Suzuna’s sake.
“It was nothing, I had fun too.” Said Clemens.
“Don’t worry about it.”
“No, I am serious.” Said Marius, “This time was much very enjoyable. Even though everything was interrupted by Suzuna getting sick we were able to party and have challenges. I’m sure we will try to find another time to come down here and I can have another rematch.”
Suzuna did her best to nod alone, “Yes, it was fun. Although I really should learn to drink a little bit less. Hopefully next time will be even better since I don’t plan on getting sick next time.”
“I’ll see you then.” Said Sarita. She had turned her head slightly to hide her embarrassment, something that Clemens had just begun to notice that she did.
They gave each other their last waves as Marius and Suzuna get aboard the lift. Then like all the guests before them the lift closed its doors and brought them away up out of the resort.
Once more the only two people in the resort were Clemens and Sarita.
They stood there together awkwardly for a few moments before Sarita finally coughed and said, “So, they are gone.”
“Yes, they are. I am glad that they enjoyed themselves.”
“Yeah, me too…” She was hesitation, “Clemens…”
“What are you planning on doing from here on out?”
“I’ve been putting a lot of thought into that. However I haven’t been able to finalize my decision yet.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I am not the only one who should make that decision.”