Tadashi had been tempted to just curl up in the arms of one of his regalia in his cat form on the way to the beach. But then Rhode would have been very disappointed in him. Ethan would have been glad either way- as it was he was wrapped around Tadashi's arm like the boy was going to float away if he wasn't held onto.
Tadashi had arranged this challenge so he could show Rhode he was doing his best to train. He figured maybe showing Rhode that the cat could swim would further surprise him. Even if he wasn't really all that great at it. His friend had been teaching him a little bit before everyone got busy with all this regalia stuff. The androgynous figure standing next to Tadashi gleamed in the sunlight as his body was covered entirely in minerals and polished semi-precious stones. Rhode looked down at Tadashi and his smile was heard in his voice even though his face was obscured, "I am proud that you have chosen this type of challenge Tadashi. As a cat person I expected you would be less inclined to associate with the sand and water. Color me impressed."
Ethan, the mousy little kid wearing hand-me-down clothing hanging on Tadashi's arm was mostly just happy to be with Tadashi. He wasn't great at swimming either but he was better at it than the cat boy for sure. "Are you sure we can't just go play in the water together? I don't want to be stuck on the beach while you have fun," he whined.
Tadashi smiled at Ethan, "We can hang out as long as you want after this Ethan, I don't have anything else planned for later. You can too Rhode, but you have that sculpture thing to work on I think." It made for a very unusual picture, them standing there waiting for their opponent to arrive. Along with the shining mineral knight and the clingy kid in his own swim trunks and worn shirt stood Tadashi. White hair, pale skin and bright yellow eyes. He was wearing swim trunks and a tshirt but he was also wearing shoes and socks and his usual pair of grey gloves. Clearly not super accustomed to being on the beach.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" the willowy dark-haired young woman asked as she followed her, a step behind Zora. Not wanting to get in the way, Shadow, Zora's new partner stayed a little bit behind the shorter woman as she made her way down to the beach from the parking lot.
"Shadow, it's going to be fine," Zora said reassuringly as she stopped and looped her arm through her regalia's. "I was born to swim. I probably should have been a selkie or a merperson instead of a water witch," she told the young woman as the two of them stepped onto the warm sand.
"Take off your shoes if you want," Zora suggested as she slipped off her own sandals and put them in her red and white beach bag. Then she decided to slip off her t-shirt and shorts, underneath she was wearing a one-piece red bathing suit. Then she tied her hair back in a ponytail. Glancing at Shadow, she noticed the young woman was wearing a dark t-shirt over her bathing suit.
"Let's go. I think that's them. They are waiting for us over there," Zora said, gesturing down the beach, having spotted the group of young men standing by the water's edge when she was changing.
As the two women slowly approached, Zora called out, "Are you guys waiting to do a swimming challenge by any chance?"
Tadashi looked over as the women approached. He didn't notice the colors of their clothing at all- mainly because everything was just a range of grays, whites and blacks to him. He did begin to reconsider his challenge a little bit, since he was pretty sure he wasn't capable of actually winning against the woman, but he had agreed to do it so he was going to at least try.
"Yes, I'm here for a swimming challenge," replied Tadashi and then he was nudged by an elbow from Ethan right in his ribs. "oh, uh and I think Ethan here wants to swim too but the challenge is really just you and me." Tadashi then looked up at the sparkling face of Rhode as well just in case. "I shall watch your efforts from the shoreline young Tadashi. Very nice to meet you ladies," he finished as his head turned to address Zora and Shadow as well.
"Tadashi Yoshimori," he bowed and then realized he needed to get ready to swim so he sheepishly hurried to take off his shoes and then his tshirt. Untangling his arm from Ethan while he did so of course. He did not however remove his socks or his gloves.
Zora and Shadow pulled up in front of the young men and greeted each of them, smiling at Rhodes when he welcomed them and explained he was just there to observe Tadashi swimming challenge.
"Sure, I don't mind at all, Zora remarked when Tadashi told her his partner wanted to go for a swim as well. "But are you going to be fine? Because having someone swimming beside you can be somewhat distracting if you aren't used to it, or are a weak swimmer". she explained as she glanced curiously at Ethan.
Tadashi nodded. "I think i'll be ok. He isn't going to pull me down or anything, right Ethan?" Ethan was clingy but he wasn't stupid. Getting Tadashi hurt would mean his new best friend wouldn't be able to keep taking care of him. And that would have been tragic.
"No, i'll just be a little ways away. I'm ok at swimming," answered Ethan as he too got ready to get in the water. He however didn't have the socks or gloves or anything like that to make his swimming harder.
Tadashi walked with the others to the edge of the water and peered in. Before a few months ago the closest he had come to swimming was in a bathtub. It wasn't common for cats to like being in water but he wasn't just a cat anymore- he was a boy too. So when his friend had offered to start helping him learn to swim he had hesitantly agreed. Though Tadashi was pretty confident in his ability to not drown, he was not super great at swimming so this challenge was going be, well, a challenge.
"I'm ready when you are. I think maybe we swim from where that buoy is to that one over there?" He said as he pointed at two of the buoys marking off a section of the water that was set aside for people swimming.
"Could you hang on to this for a bit? Maybe get out the towel for me too?" Zora asked as she handed her beach bag to Shadow to hold for her since the young woman obviously didn't seem too keen on the idea of getting into the water.
Walking to the edge of the water where Tadashi was already, Zora bent over and splashed a bit of water on her legs, arms... looking at the young man standing next to her, she slowly noticed something odd, "You really should remove your socks and gloves before getting in the water," she suggested, wanting to be helpful.
Tadashi looked curiously as Zora splashed water on herself. Was that some sort of swimmer's trick? But it could have just been some personal habit of hers too, what did he know? He glanced down at his covered hands and feet and shook his head at her. "I um... i'd rather leave them on I think. I've swam in them before."
It wasn't a lie, he had kept his feet and hands covered whenever Alexis had brought him out to practice swimming- much to the wyvern's annoyance. Tadashi was smart enough to know that it was harder to swim in gloves and socks but he almost never took his gloves off or bared his feet in human form. It was a bit of a problem that he probably needed to work on but he had too many other things to focus on.
So instead he began getting into the water, shivering a little bit as he adjusted to the temperature. Behind him Ethan was following suit and Rhode had formed a rather nice lounge chair out of rock on the beach. They offered to make one for Shadow as well.
"You've swum in socks and gloves before?" Zora remarked, surprised at this as she followed Tadashi into the water, seeing him shivering slightly and laying a hand on his shoulder.
"Splash or rub water on yourself, it takes away the initial shock of the water," she said as she scooped up a bit of water and wet her shoulder to demonstrate what she meant. As they walked deeper, til hip level, knowing the ground dipped suddenly, Zora stopped and reached out to Tadashi.
"Don't go any further, it suddenly drops," she said as she gazed out to the bouy, "When you are ready, on the count of three, okay?" Zora suggested as she turned her head back slightly to see if Ethan was coming or not.
Accepting Rhode's offer Shadow with a polite nod, she sat down, "Does Tadasi really know how to swim?" she asked him, frowning in confusion when she saw that he was still wearing his socks and gloves into the water.
Tadashi nervously tugged on the cuffs of his gloves. "Um, a few times yeah. I'll be ok."
He watched as Zora demonstrated what she meant about the water. So that was what she had been doing. It made a lot of sense actually and Tadashi was a little embarrassed he hadn't thought about it when he had seen her splashing water on herself.
Tadashi slowly waded out into the water as it grew deeper and deeper. The warning was very much appreciated and he paused to wait until they were ready to start actually swimming. "Thanks again. You know a lot about swimming, huh?"
It was mostly a rhetorical question as Tadashi had turned to look back and make sure Ethan was coming. He wasnt in the competition but if Tadashi swam off before he got there the poor kid would be so upset. Fortunately Tadashi was pretty patient and Ethan wasnt far behind.
Tadashi smiled at Ethan as he caught up and then turned to Zora. "We're ready... one... two..."
Rhode shook his head at Shadow. "I'm afraid I've never seen him do any swimming. I'm actually a little worried."
And then the count of three hit and the swimmers were off.
"Any time, " Zora said with a friendly smile when he thanked her, "I am a water witch, and so water is my element. Swimming is like walking for me if I am honest," she told Tadashi with a shrug. "I probably could swim before I could walk."
Seeing Ethan behind them, Zora nodded, "Okay, let´s do this..." she said as she let him count down, glancing at him as she automatically leant a bit forward, readying herself, "And ...three!" she said loudly, diving forward into the water, immediately moving forward under the water, swimming through the cool water a good thirty meters before coming up to the surface.
"Yes, I can see why..." Shadow murmured as she watched Tadashi, and then saw Zora, who dove into the water and disappeared almost as soon as three was called out.