Deepsea Fishing, Aug '20 (912 words)
- It wasn't very often that Arae was on some sort of mission. Even rarer for that mission to bring them to the ocean. And yet, whenever they were out lately, Nerilyth led the both of them right back to this very spot - a series of rounded rocks that stretched out some ways into the dark sea. Last time they'd been here, it was with Saturn. They'd recently procured a figurine they'd had their eye on for a while, after having heard rumors of its existence from other collectors. They'd been so excited to show it off to Arae, it was clearly visible even under the veneer of aloofness they tried to put on whenever some of their bigger feelings were involved.
- They'd sat out on the rocks, their Daemons curled up around each other behind them, as Saturn spun one of their many tales. This figurine, they told Arae as they passed the object back and forth between the both of them, was a true relic. The image of a human, posing victoriously after a grand battle to save them from certain doom. To Arae, it looked more like a dance of some sort, with the shapes the limbs formed, but who were they to say? And, most importantly, who would they ever take Saturn's joy away like that? With a light laugh, they agreed with the human instead, egging them on to show their best victory pose.
- Saturn stretched out across the rocks in what seemed more like a yawn than a pose and, before Sweetheart could so much as stand up to stop them, immediately lost grip on the figurine, watching it plummet into the water, only to be snapped up by a peculiar, see-through fish.
- Arae could tell how upsetting it had been, even though Saturn tried to act fine. Sweetheart was inconsolable, practically weeping and teetering at the very edge of the outermost rock. Arae's heart ached for them both, especially since it felt like it was their fault for suggesting Saturn pose for them.
- So, really, they weren't surprised when Nerilyth kept tracking back towards this area. Even less so when they noticed that the same fish kept showing up near the surface, as if to taunt them with its trophy, only for it to plunge back into the depths. Worried a fishing hook might damage the figurine, they settled on the perhaps hardest option: diving.
- At first, they tried to find a diver for them, but none wanted to mess with the moody sea at the moment. Many cited having felt more pulled under than usual lately, a fact that sent a shiver down Arae's spine as soon as their new plan formed - they would have to be the one to catch this fish.
- The diving gear felt clunky. Uncomfortable. Somehow simultaneously too small and too large. That was just what rentals were like, they figured. It would be well worth it, at least. They just knew it. Precariously dipping their foot in the water, their scrunched up features softened as they felt nothing. At least the suit did its job. There wasn't much time to get used to it anyway - as soon as they'd relaxed, Nerilyth let out a melodious whine, signaling the fish's presence. "Oh Gods, oh Gods, oh G-," they whispered to themselves, eyes darting back and forth between the murky darkness of the ocean surrounding it and the large fish, words cutting out as they suddenly found themselves hitting the water, Nerilyth snorting behind them in what sounded almost like a laugh.
- For a moment, Arae simply sank, their body refusing to fight the pull of the water even as they gripped the net they had brought tighter. It took movement in front of them to shake them out of their stupor, long legs suddenly working to orient them towards the movement. They'd never really seen anything else in this particular part of the ocean, so it had to be the fish, right?
- Limbs flailing, net swinging, and heart racing, they swam after the fish again and again - finding their net empty each time. The combination of the fish's rushed movements and their inexperience proved too much of a challenge. Exhausted, their body aching, they made their way back to the rocks they came from, only to freeze when the realization hit. Why should they chase the fish, when the fish could simply... come to them?
- Arae clung to the rock that Sweetheart had been perched on when they'd last been here, lying in wait, Nerilyth eyeing them with what seemed like concern. Was she worried their body would just give out, sending them into the depths? After all this effort, they wouldn't be surprised if it actually happened. Not to mention that the fish was taking its sweet time, probably still cautious thanks to the large creature that'd just spent an hour trying to wail on them.
- But, inevitably as night and day, all creatures followed their routine. The fish surfaced inches away from them, the figurine still encased in its bizarre body. Ignoring the pounding in their chest, Arae pounced, the fish nearly leaping out of the water as soon as the net was pulled tight around it. "Sorry... You uh... You just chose the wrong snack, buddy," they whispered to it as they dragged it to shore. With the last of their energy, they laid gasping on the shore, texting Saturn a simple "Hey, remember where we last met?"
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