The wilds of Lalotai were calm as night began to fall. The other monsters must have sensed the eel monster’s approach as they flew over the dense flora and foliage. The air tingled with electricity and anxiety. Kanapu, however, was not prowling for prey in the twilight, but searching. Searching for guidance. They could sense the chatter and flapping of bats off in the distance. If the bats were about, then Remuroa must be too, Kanapu reasoned.
Sure enough, it did not take long for the eel to find the juvenile crab monster perched on a carved rock formation that jutted out from the jungle. She was sporting a large collection of skulls and bones on her back now, a stark contrast against her dark shell. Her eyestalks turned toward the eel as they approached, but did not move otherwise. Kanapu was not an enemy.
“I do not mean to interrupt your brooding,” Kanapu remarked, trying to contain the anxiety in their timbre. “B-but...your uncle may be...broken.”
Remuroa’s steady monotone voice perked up as her eyes narrowed. “You broke him?”
“If only I were the cause of it, Remmy,” snarled Kanapu. They were the only ones who should be allowed that honor. “This was Ahi.”
“Another eel, but who they are doesn’t matter,” Kanapu hurried. “He did it to himself. Ahi was going to kill him. That was certain,” Kanapu wavered upon hearing those words out loud before shaking it off. “So he tore off his arm and threw it at them.” Kanapu paused with a small smile. “He yelled, ‘LOOK! A DIVERSION!’ as he did it. I cannot say that it was not effective as Ahi was thoroughly confused by his behavior, allowing me to seize the moment to attack so he could escape.”
Remuroa glanced over the eel and noted that it seemed like an intense battle as their wounds were still healing. She decided to respect her friend's privacy and kept on the topic of her last living relative. “Yeah, that's the throwing-your-own-arm trick we do,” Remuroa mused. “He’s not going to be able to pull that off a second time.” The edge of her lips turned up slightly in a grim grin.
“That was awful,” the eel cringed while also trying not to snicker at her bad joke.
“The word you’re looking for is 'awesome', Kapu,” she winked. “So let me guess, he’s taking this well.”
“He hasn’t left his den since then. Or eaten. Or anything, really.”
“Right, so he’s taking it well,” she repeated with a stronger tone of indifference.
Kanapu gave up on hiding their concern. “Remmy, is he dying?”
“No," she hummed. "Just being dramatic. But losing an arm is kind of a big deal. It’s, like, our primary weapon.” Remuroa clicked her own claws with no enthusiasm as she did it. “He’s probably finally come to his senses and realized that he can’t get out of not molting anymore if he doesn’t want to get killed next time he runs into a monster...or Maui.”
Kanapu cocked their head to one side.
“Y’know? Molting? It’s how we get bigger?” Remuroa shrugged. “He hasn’t done it in well over a millennia. Not sure when Maui took his leg, but going so long without a molt is not exactly healthy for us crabs. Losing his arm is probably the best thing to happen to him.”
Kanapu’s lips curled in a snarl. “Why be so foolish? I understand he is the embodiment of foolishness, but still, it seems excessively so.”
“It’s Uncle Tama. He likes his shine. If he molts, he has to start all over again. He’s as lazy as he is vain,” She rolled her eyes in standard apathetic teenager fashion. “Tch! To think he called me immature for keeping that skull on my back for as long as I did.” The crab’s chill demeanor started a simmering boil. “He’s the one clinging to the past! I’ve at least moved on! He could have had his leg back a long, long time ago!”
“But he can get it and his arm back if...he molts?”
“...Y-yeah,” Remuroa eased back onto her rocky perch like a stone gargoyle once more. “Heh, it’s cute how you wanna help him out, Kapu.”
The eel reeled back in alarm before regaining their balance. “Hmph. My own entanglements is why he lost his arm, not his. He should not have lost it, and I do not like unnecessary loss.”
“You keep telling yourself that, Kapu.” The eel both loved and hated Remuroa’s insight.
“What about you?” the eel retorted. “If you despise your uncle, why help me help him?”
Remuroa blinked, but otherwise did not react to the accusation. “Eh, never said I hated him. That takes too much energy and I can’t bother to care about someone who pretends to ignore my existence. But you’re pretty cool, Kapu, and if you want to help him out, then I’ll help too. That’s how friendship works.”
“Hmph,” Kanapu chuckled. “Monsters having friends, of all things.”
“It’s pretty sweet, yeah?” Remuroa flashed a fanged grin. “Also, if he molts, I might be able to eat him.”
“Do not eat your uncle, Remmy.” Kanapu replied with an less than amused expression.
“I’m joking...sort of. That’s kinda how our family managed to all eat each other. Our shell is so soft and we can’t really move. It’s easy pickings.” She thought for a moment and mumbled, “Not molting probably kept him from getting eaten, actually. That’s almost genius...”
“I do not understand you decapods,” Kanapu sighed.
“Yeah, me neither.” Remuroa mused. “So anyway, here’s what I can tell you about molting.”
Kanapu’s eyes were dilated wide with focus. “Go on.”
“Seems like Uncle Tama’s really trying to fight off this molt by not doing anything. But he’s probably starving and he’s gonna need a lot of food to make a new arm.”
“Okay, food is easy. What else?”
“Take him to a lake so he can soak for a good while, but uh, make sure it’s not too deep because we don’t swim. Some of our family learned that the hard way,” she sighed.
“Do not drown him, got it.”
“Lastly, his den’s too bright and the sand is too dry. If he insists on staying there, it’s gonna need some remodeling… And uh, since he’s missing an arm, he might need help digging or it’s gonna take forever. After that, he’ll just do what comes naturally, I guess.”
“I know the tunnels in Lalotai well. I am sure I can find a suitable den,” Kanapu noted. “Thank you, Remmy. This information is invaluable.”
“If he gives you any grief, let me know. I can always pay him a visit.”
The eel grinned. “I will be sure to warn him.”