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"And? What did Lesley say? Got off alright?" Micah, one of Max's teammates asked. The blond didn't seem that concerned about Max's run-in with the Principal, however. He sat back on the bleachers with his hands behind his head and his legs spread wide as they waited for their wrestling training to start. 

"No consequences, just a warning," Max replied, his eyes sweeping over Micah and the rest of his wrestling teammates. "But we need to watch our backs. I think, at the very least, no flag stealing until the next tournament."

A collective, disappointed sigh went through the gym. 

"But that was the best part of Roe's tournament," Bryan complained. "Axel got so pissed I thought his forehead veins were gonna fucking pop!"

"Well, obviously for you it was the best part since you were eliminated in the second bracket. Train harder if you're bored," Max bit, earning him some chuckles from the others and a middle finger from Bryan.

"And I'm sure you and the coach made a killer training schedule for the winter break, didn't you?" Micah asked, not even trying to hide his thorough lack of enthusiasm.

"Sure did!" a rough but cheerful voice replied. The gym doors slammed shut, and coach Martín marched up to his wrestling team. He was holding a stack of papers, which he immediately distributed among everyone in the gym. 

Max got a copy first, recognising the training schedule he and the coach had made yesterday. Well, the schedule the coach had made. Max had mostly nodded along as was his privilege as the team captain. Any useful suggestion he made should be credited to his friend Selene, who was a much more disciplined wrestler than he was.

"The gods are merciful, no training on Christmas," Adrian sighed, though Max knew it was mostly for show. Especially from Adrian, who was so driven he'd likely end up jogging for 'just a little bit' on Christmas Eve anyway. 

In fact, most members of the team were a focused bunch when it came to wrestling. They joked around a lot, pretended they didn't want to train, but ultimately they were very invested. More invested than Max himself was by far. 

"Yo Max," Micah called out, "is your hotel gym open during the break?" 

Max nodded. "Yeah, sure, even on Christmas. Free food and drinks for the wrestling team as well." 


Coach Martín clapped his hands. "Alright boys! We'll work hard today and during the winter break. But don't forget to rest, and come back to Ackerley ready to kick ass in our next tournament!" He gestured the boys to get on their feet. "Now, give me five minutes of warm up jogging!" 

Martín started running and everyone rose to their feet to join him. Despite the man being like sixty years old, he was still in top condition. Max always thought it was very cool of him to join the team exercises, always setting the right example and being encouraging. Martín was no doubt the best coach the school could've hired, and obviously they would with their money pile. 

Today, they worked on their legs and calves. Max's least favourite, as he knew he'd probably be waddling like a penguin tomorrow and stairs would be hell. He already felt his muscles protesting as he made his way to the locker room. 

Groaning, Max dropped his copy of the winter break training schedule next to him on the bench and took out his phone. He had a message from Selene: 

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