That Particular Savagery
by Matthew Lyons
She let the old man win.
There wasn't any shame in it, she'd already won the contest anyway. Best of five. They'd flown her all the way to Seoul and everything. All the experts had predicted she wouldn't take a single round. They'd all said she wasn't built for it, that she didn't have the thinking capacity, impulsiveness, natural gift of instinct required to compete with a master, let alone best one. People had put down money on it. She didn't let anyone know she knew, but could tell them the exact numbers, if only they'd bothered to ask.
They'd let her sit alone with her thoughts, watching them, learning them as only she could. And when the time came to play, she'd beaten Lee so soundly that he'd walked away boiling with embarrassment. Even if he didn't show it to anyone but her.
Then she did it twice more.
Just to prove that she could.
He'd come back angrier each time, more determined, almost vibrating with the kind of intensity unique to men. Call it wounded pride, call it whatever. And each time, she'd beaten him worse and worse. She couldn't help it, really. She wanted to show off--the world was watching, after all. So she showboated, ran laps around Lee time and time and time again. Why lie? It was a showing of ability, and of ego, and of pride, that particular savagery. And if it made her a savage like the rest of them, so be it. That was what they were trying to prove, wasn't it?