Tick, tock, tick, tock…
It was getting faster. I took a deep breath, trying to slow my heart rate. He was only a few feet away, his frock coat blending into the dark alley. I rolled my fingers on the handle of my folding blade, then in two fast steps lunged forward.
The man whirled, his hand connecting hard with my cheek. My back smacked into the brick wall, and his walking-stick sword pressed into my throat.
“Yield,” I grunted.
He stepped back, and the walls around us dissolved into the ground. I glared at the one-way mirror walls, refusing to look at my teacher.
“How did you know I was coming?” I asked.
“How are you feeling?” Randall asked in return.
He snapped his fingers. “Run the simulation again.”
A hiss of the holographic mist was his answer. As the walls began forming around us, Randall said, “By the ticking of your heart, Jon. That’s how I knew.”
I ground my teeth. I would win this—then…
Tick, tock, tick, tock.
“You might try to not think about really killing me—it might keep your heart quieter.”