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Epilogue

AARON

Great. Just great. This really couldn’t have turned out any worse for me, huh? Not only did I fail to exact justice on my old enemy, but I was humiliated publicly by a brand new one. And, if that somehow weren’t enough, I now have to go on the Scholar’s Bowl circuit with both of them. A couple weeks in a bus with a bunch of people I hate? Fun times. I’m not done, though, not by a long shot. I’ll make this right if it’s the last thing I do.

It’s not a complete loss, though. After all, neither Paul not Leon gets credit for winning the championship. In fact, because they both tanked their scores in the wager round, they’ll probably go down in Aukland’s as the lowest scoring champs in history. That makes me happy.

But that’s just a start. I have a little over two months before we hit the road. That’s enough time to develop a new plan, something subtle and masterful. I have one asset going for me – Brian Booker made the B–team, and he still thinks we’re buddies. I may be able to make use of this.

Don’t rest too easy, boys. I’ll have your heads yet.


JANE

Well, that was quite a game.

Watching the finals made Isabel glad that we didn’t make it any farther. We would’ve had decent shot against the Flying Brains, but not this other team, and I know Isabel wasn’t looking forward to a public crushing. She’s also forgiven me for blowing her plan, and I’ve forgiven her for asking me to do it...well, I’ve mostly forgiven her, anyway.

The rest of the team actually made out pretty well. Hannah and Karen were both asked to join the B–team. Hannah declined – I think she’s probably sick of trivia at this point – but Karen jumped at the opportunity. It looks like we’ll be fielding two pretty solid teams this year.

Speaking of which, it turns out that I did well enough to secure a spot as alternate on the main team, even though I didn’t make the finals. I’ll be headed out to the state tournaments with Leon, Aaron, Ken and Paul (who I really hope doesn’t get the wrong idea). I have no idea how I’ll do at that level, but at least I won’t have to worry about any more dirty tricks.

They don’t do dirty tricks at the state level, right? I’d better do some research.


KEN

Paul Liston is truly a miracle man. The odds of us even scoring a draw in that match were very low. Sadly, there is no formula to measure willpower, but if there was I am sure Paul would rank very highly. Maybe I should develop a test for willpower?

Not that it was all Paul’s skill, mind you. My strategies paid off in the long term. If I had never befriended Leon Mara and talked Paul into meeting him, they would have never had the confrontation that brought out Paul’s inner confidence. Really, I am partially creditable for this victory.

Of course, I am displeased by the presence of Aaron and Leon on our team. There is a remote possibility that I could persuade the right administrator to replace Aaron, but no one would remove a Mara from his team. I suppose I will have to live with them.

Our teammates made out quite well. Both Duncan and Trevor made it on to the B–team, so they will have plenty of time together. And I understand that the last Amateur Dramatics performance exceeded expectations by a sizable margin. Was this due to Scott Carroll’s place on our team? I can only assume that it was.

Now it is time for me to plan our state strategy. Unfortunately, there is no footage of these matches, so I will have to find some previous competitors and persuade them to help me. It should not be too difficult – understanding others is a specialty of mine, after all.


PAUL

This has been one of the most exciting things that’s ever happened to me. And I didn’t even win!

The day after the tournament, I received a ton of phone calls and emails, all congratulating me on the game. Lenny called and told me that I should come to the homecoming game, because he’s going to give me a shout–out during the rally. He’s really a nice guy. Ron sent a message to let me know that the footage he shot for the school had drawn in thousands of views in just a few hours, and I guess the Jameson stream ended up going down because of all the people trying to watch. The big news, though, was the message I received from the people at Aukland’s. They sent someone to cover the match because of Leon Mara’s involvement, but they were so impressed that they’re going to profile me in their next edition and I’m going to be a guest on their podcast. I’ll end up famous because of this thing.

Really, though, I’m happy that it’s over for now. The whole mess starts again in a few weeks, but until then I get to whatever I want, whenever I want. Maybe I’ll spend next weekend in bed. It’s not exciting, but I’m not sure I could stand any more excitement.

There is one other thing that’s come out of this. Every championship team has five players – the main roster plus an alternate who can swap in for another player between matches. Well, it turns out that our alternate is Jane Anders! We’ll be hitting the road together, spending lots of time together...it’s a perfect opportunity for me to ask her out.

Seriously, I will do it this time. Bet on it.

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