The sting! - Part 3
It was dawn, yet the sun seemed to struggle to get out from behind the thick curtain of clouds.
"I was hoping Sports Day at Aquatic School would be a bright, sunny day," said Olly the Octopus to Delma.
"Yes sir," replied a subdued Delma.
"Don't worry," said Olly with a smile. "Atleast we have found the stingray who was biting the Aquatic School creatures."
"But Olly sir, I have so many concerns. The first and foremost is to keep the stingray we have captured imprisoned. He must not, under any circumstances, escape," remarked Delma with a determined frown.
"Yes, Dell and the catfish are guarding him, aren't they? You said you had trapped him under a straw basket," said Olly.
"That's true, sir. But the stingray is a slimy creature; he might find ways to escape. Secondly, the sharks who pushed the stingray to sabotage our Sports Day might have some other tricks up their sleeve to spoil our event. All of us will be busy in the event today, who will keep a look out for the sharks or other stingrays who might want to attack us," cried Delma.
Olly sighed, "You are right, Delma. I guess we just have to hope for the best."
"Sir, I am not going to participate in the opening act. Instead, I think I should circle the school premises to make sure that the rest of the Aquatic School creatures are able to enjoy their Sports Day," voiced Delma.
"Delma, are you sure? I know how excited you were to participate..." refuted Olly.
"Sir, please. My responsibility to protect the lake and its creatures is much more important," said Delma urgently.
Olly nodded in agreement, "Very well."
So, while the Aquatic School creatures and their parents gathered at the bank around the school, Delma swam around the premises. Just then she saw Din Din and Dazel walk towards her.
"Delma!” waved Dazel and Din Din gave the dolphin a broad grin.
"Oh guys! I'm so glad you're here. I need your help," said Delma in relief. Quickly she explained how she needed their help in making sure that Sports Day went on without a hitch.
"I will stand guard at the bank too," said Din Din.
"Yes, the sharks will be intimidated by your size," agreed Dazel. "I will swim around the pond with you Delma."
"Good idea, but first let’s go and check up on the stingray," said Delma.
The stingray was trapped under a basket just where Delma had caught it. Three catfish were swimming around the basket ominously to make sure it didn't escape. Dell and his gang of beaver friends were on the bank making sure that there was no way the stingray could get away.
"Wow! So this is the stingray!" remarked Dazel. "Wait a minute," said the duck trying to peer through the basket. "I know this creature."
"Raymond!" Dazel suddenly exclaimed, "Is that you!"
The stingray looked up at the yellow duck and his surly expression changed.
"Dazel?" Dazel threw back her head and laughed. "Is this the infamous creature who has been bothering you? Raymond, you used to be such a shy creature. Whatever happened to make you so aggressive?"
"You know the stingray?" cried Delma in horror.
"Yes, as a matter of fact I do. A few years ago on one of my adventures while exploring a part of this lake, I saw Raymond's tail trapped between a few rocks. No other creature was willing to help him; I guess they were afraid that his stinger would hurt them..." began Dazel.
"But Dazel was the only one who used her beak to help free me," mumbled Raymond. "While all the other creatures just ridiculed me. I can never forget that act of kindness.'
Delma, the catfish and the beavers were stunned at this revelation. They were equally shocked that the stingray who had threatened them seemed a completely changed creature in front of Dazel.
If I had known that Delma is your friend, Dazel, I would never have tried to impress the sharks," said Raymond shaking his head in regret.
"What do you mean?" asked Dazel, puzzled.
“You asked why I had changed so much since the time we met. Well, I never had any family. I started hanging around the sharks a few months ago, once I found out I was related to them. But they never accepted me. When they were discussing how to sabotage the Aquatic School Sports Day without being noticed, I saw a chance to impress them by volunteering to bite the creatures here," Raymond explained ruefully.
"Raymond! I'm shocked!" rebuked Dazel with a frown. "No friend of mine behaves like this."
Raymond blushed in shame. "I guess it's not his fault he's become like this," said Delma thoughtfully. "Being in the sharks' company has changed him. Raymond, you are most welcome to come and study at the Aquatic School. I also don't have family but thanks to my friends I have a home here in the lake. Trust me, it's much better to be liked and accepted than be feared."
Delma lifted the straw basket.
"Delma, are you sure you can trust him," objected Dell the beaver.
The catfish also seemed dubious.
"I vouch for him," said Dazel.
Just then they heard cheers from the Aquatic School. "I guess the Sports Day has begun."
"Are the sharks doing anything else to ruin our sports event?" demanded one of the catfish.
Raymond shook his head. "They still think I will be stinging the creatures here. You needn't be afraid. I know it will take me a while to win your trust, but I will do my best."
Dazel hugged Raymond. "Come on! I know a spot from where we can see the races," smiled Delma. And the group went off to enjoy the event.
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