Henri took the ready position, waiting to lunge and parry as the match dictated. A sparring match with Tips had to be earned. Part of the fun of battle included this initial face off. “Allez!” The match took off with a flash of foil and white garb. Each attack and repulse progressed in rapidly escalating intensity as the rivalry revealed. Agility proven in fleche landing and sending equipment flying and a cascade of black hair falling from its bun.
Tips triumphed, “Touch. 3-1. Better do better than that if you want to get to elimination.”
Henri spit back, “More like you would be disqualified for an illegal move.”
The laughter from Tips cut deep. “Quit talking so foolish. If you could fence like the guys instead of winning by ref, you would be farther ahead.”
The cherry apple red pigmentation spread across Henri’s face. Coach Batini was not moved. “Coach, she is trying for the club record on disqualifications.”
“And you are acting like a big baby. Take a minute to reset your brain and get back in there.”
This time, the paleness of cold fury erased the bright red in Henri’s face. Tips slipped in beside her, “Coach, does she need a babysitter?”
“Stop it. Take a break.”
Tips benched it while Henri backed away, each toe to heel retreat offending her dignity. Coach Batini turned on Tips, arms crossed, scowl on his face for the benefit of onlookers and two thumbs up for his protégé. Tips grinned. They both knew that at this level, Henri had to set traps and disguise her attacks, she could no longer win by ready, set, fence.
When Henri proved herself, Tips might share her secrets. Maybe.
[word count: 286]