The sting! - Part 2

There was just a day remaining to the Sports Day at Aquatic School. Today, final selection meets of the races were scheduled. Olly the octopus and the Aquatic School teachers were organizing races and finalizing list of events for the coming day. Yet, the current of tension in the air was an ominous presence which could be felt by everyone.

"Delma, have you and your friends cordoned off the area around the Aquatic School?" asked Olly in a whisper.

"Yes, sir! A group of catfish are swimming around the school premises. I have also asked Dell the beaver and his friends to remain stationed around this bank of the lake," affirmed Delma.

Just then Dell called out to Delma, "Hey Delma! We are positioned all around the school area on the bank. But do tell us what we are supposed to be protecting the Aquatic School from!"

Delma looked at Olly the Octopus for permission. When the principal of Aquatic School nodded in assent, Delma explained, "Since the past week some creature has been stinging our students. We believe that this creature intends to sabotage our Sports Day and we need to do everything to make sure our event takes place without a hitch."

"We are trying not to alarm the students but generally everyone is afraid of this mysterious stinging creature." Taking a deep breath Olly added, "We have reason to believe that it's a stingray!"

Dell cocked his eyebrows in surprise. Even the notorious Dell seemed to be taken aback. "Worry not!" Dell said regaining his composure. "No one will dare mess with me and my friends." The beaver grinned knowing that he and his mischievous pals had been summoned to help deal with a troublesome creature.

"Dell, stingrays remain hidden under the sand especially in the shallow water of the lake bed. That is why we needed beavers who can be on the shore to look out for them in and out of the water. The catfish are inside the water too, keeping guard. They are agile and more likely to catch the stingray," explained Olly. "Even this is not a foolproof plan; when the stingray uses its stinger we won't be able to do anything," the octopus frowned.

"Then what is the solution, Olly sir?" asked Delma desperately. "If we can't stop them from attacking us then what else can we do?"

"Well, the only thing to do is find out why they are doing this. But for that we have to find this mysterious stingray. We don't even know whether it is one or an entire group," said Olly thoughtfully.

"Well then let's find this stingray or stingrays!" exclaimed Delma. "And let's talk to them!"

So Delma and her small army of cat fish scoured the lake area near the Aquatic School.

"I don't even know what a stingray looks like," cried Caitlin one of the cat fish.

"Well, they have a flattened body which ends in a long tail. Their body structure helps them hide under the sandy lake or ocean floor.

Olly the octopus also said that they prefer shallow water that is why they might be in the coves where the Aquatic School is."

After a long day they were exhausted and their search was in vain.

"I will stay here tonight at Aquatic School," said Delma to Olly.

Olly just nodded but Delma could tell that he was tensed.

In the light of the full moon, Delma floated on her back near the coves of the Aquatic School. Suddenly, she sensed a movement beneath her.

Soundlessly, she flipped onto her belly. There it was. A flattened fish was shaking the sand off her body. Delma could make out its wispy tail. With a deft motion, Delma whipped out the basket Bea the beaver had woven earlier that day. The dolphin dropped the basket onto the stingray.

"What the...," came a hoarse voice. "What do you think you are doing!" the stingray said indignantly looking at Delma. Usually, most aquatic creatures who met Delma for the first time were taken aback by her huge size. Yet, the stingray did not seem to be intimidated. Infact, it was angry at being trapped.

"Let me out at once!" the stingray demanded.

"Not until you tell me why you are biting all my Aquatic School friends,""Not until you tell me why you are biting all my Aquatic School friends," commanded Delma. "I am Delma—the protector of this lake—and I take my responsibility of the safe-keeping of this lake very seriously."

"My cousins don't like you all," said the stingray with a cackle. "I'm just helping family members out."

"Your cousins?" asked Delma, confused.

"Yes! Don't you know who my cousins are?" asked the stingray with feigned innocence.

When Delma didn't answer, the stingray sniggered again.

"He means the sharks," came a reply. Delma spun around to see Dell, the beaver, on the lake shore.

"I just realized that stingrays are related to sharks," said Dell.

"They are cartilaginous fish too like the sharks. I rushed here to tell you that I have figured out why the stingrays are bothering the Aquatic School students."

"Well, well! Who would have thought that a beaver could be clever," retorted the stingray nastily. "Your theory is correct. The sharks are jealous that you all have got such a great school even though they usurped your last school from you."

Delma was shocked. She didn't know whether she was more angry or more disappointed that other creatures could be so cruel.

"Don't let him go, Delma," snapped Dell. "We should keep him captive until the Sports Day event is over tomorrow."

In the silvery moonlight Delma looked from Dell's cross face to the stingray's smirk. "Yes, I think we should do just that," decided Delma finally. "But who will watch over him? Every one of us will be busy with Sports Day tomorrow."

End of part 2

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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