Myles did not wait for Rex to restart the bout, the teen charging at Coach Dan with an aggressive growl, his foil thrusting forward violently, only to be parried by his older opponent. No longer concerned about a possible riposte, Myles attacked again, followed this parry with another attack, and again, each attack seeming faster and more powerful than the one before, the sound of colliding metal sounding through the empty cafeteria like a printing press, hammering again and again . . .
And Myles stepped back, shoulders drooping, breath coming heavy from behind the gray metal of his fencing mask. He raised his head, looked across the makeshift strip at Coach Dan, who reamined in his crouch, bouncing lightly between his feet, perhaps not with the same energy he had shown at the start of their bout, but still controlled, steady, ready for his opponent’s next move. Which was to raise his left hand, pointing the foil held in his right at the ground.
“You — you — ” Myles dropped his foil, which KANGed awkwardly on the tiled floor, then leaned forward, hands on knees. “OK. You win.”
Coach Dan was known for surprising his students, but what he did next amazed even Double-J, who had worked with him for four years. Coach Dan shook his head. “No. This bout isn’t over yet. You need to finish.”
Myles stood uprgright, laughing. “No –”
“Finish.” The curt command wasn’t a shout — Coach Dan did not shout — but was uttered with the directness of an arresting officer.