Annie picked up her fencing mask, stood behind one of the borders between black and white tiles that functioned as a starting line for the Bark Bay High School fencing team. She faced Miles, who stood off to the side of the improvised strip, talking in animated tones to Rex and Double-J.
Noticing that Annie was ready to begin their bout, Miles tugged his mask over his head, walked briskly to his starting position, turned to Annie. Who looked back at him with displeasure.
“You forgot to salute.” Miles shrugged in response. Annie’s displeasure grew visibly, and vocally. “Salute!”
Miles chuckled behind the gray metal of mask. “All right then.” He stood upright, bringing his feet together. Raised his foil to his mask, until the bell guard clicked against the metal.
“No!” Annie stomped her front foot. “Mask off for saluting!”
“Oh please.” Miles continued chuckling as he pulled the mask off his head. “This isn’t a duel, little girl. Do you really feel it necessary to confirm my identity?” He brought the bell guard up to his chin, then brought it down swiftly in front of him with a loud swoosh.
“No, I don’t need to confirm who you are.” Annie returned his salute, with an even louder swoosh. “As a matter of fact, I don’t really care who you are. But what I do care about is you respecting this sport.”
“Respect?” Miles sound genuinely offended. “Is that what you’re so concerned about, little girl?”
“Yes.” Annie quickly pulled her mask over her head, leaned in Miles’ direction. “Boy.”