Ride 3H

“Wasn’t that the time with Vash and the Walking Mask?”

Bernie hadn’t been to that tournament in Midland which Coach Dan was recalling, but the story of Vash’s Walking Mask had become a legend among the Bark Bay fencing team. Vash was slender, even compared to Kassie with her pipe-cleaner arms, and even the smallest mask in the team’s canvas bag would wobble from shoulder to shoulder when placed on Vash’s head. This wasn’t acceptable to an official at the Midland tournament. That mask is going to walk away from your head. It’s not safe, I can’t allow you to compete.

“Yeah?” Rex’s voice sounded cautious, retreating.

“I seem to recall that Miles played a large role in solving that problem.” Bernie leaned forward from the back seat — this was a part of the story he hadn’t heard.

“You weren’t around.” Rex was explaining rather than criticizing. “You were outside, talking to the coach at the Academy about something.”

“And it didn’t phase Miles. He found a solution.” This Bernie knew, the part about Vash the Towel Head. “That’s why I’m eager for you to find a captain for this team, someone who can take the initiative at times like that. Because try as I might, I can’t always be around. And honestly, I’d rather not — if the team can find its own solutions, that’s worth more to me than any victory that any of you could achieve on strip.”

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