“Wait. It’s okay, it’s fighting back now.”
The minoshiro started stroking the tiger crab’s claws with its feelers as if trying to soothe it. The tiger crab slowly stopped moving, bubbles frothing from its mouth.
All of a sudden three feelers sprouted from the minoshiro’s back, and started waving as if gesturing to the tiger crab. The feelers autotomized and fell onto the sand, still wriggling.
The tiger crab remained motionless, still holding onto the minoshiro and foaming at the mouth.
Still writhing in pain, the minoshiro raised two more feelers, waved them jerkily in front of the tiger crab, and let them fall to the ground.
Now there were five feelers wriggling on the sand. The tiger crab made no response, and the minoshiro went still.
About half a minute later, the minoshiro started moving again, but this with hostility.
With its free quills it started hitting the tiger crab’s shell. Once, twice, three times. The fourth time, it lifted one single venomous quill, stiffened it with all its strength, and autotomized it. It hit the tiger crab’s pincers as it fell.
The tiger crab loosened its grip. The minoshiro extracted itself and made a beeline for the open water.
Ignoring the minoshiro, the tiger crab picked up two of the feelers on the sand and started eating them.
“Well, it looks like it succeeded,” Maria said.
She was smiling, but it looked more like a grimace. Maria didn’t really like animals, and in actuality probably didn’t care at all about the minoshiro, but pretended she did, for my sake.
“It lost six feelers though, poor thing.”
“It’s a cheap price to pay for its life though, isn’t it? Otherwise it would have been eaten.”