In a struggle match, any scrap of time mattered. Whether it was a second, or a hundredth of a second. Some called it splitting hairs, but competitors like Seifer, like Zack, and like him
knew better. They knew that the tiniest fraction of a second, whether from an advantage or a slip up, meant the difference between them scoring the point, or their opponent. And in high stakes matches? Down to the wire with both combatants at their 4th point and going for their fifth and final point for the win? That also meant the difference between victory and defeat.
The expression on Seifer's face shifted, barely noticeable. His confidence had skipped a beat, and he slipped into a purely focused look. For that seemingly eternal moment, his mind raced, desperate to come up with something, anything, to steal his way out of this mess he found himself in. But there was only one option, and it was one Seifer detested, because he knew from the onset that it would very likely fail. With no more options, Seifer's free hand made a quick and desperate move, reaching over to the handle of his twisting bat. His other hand's grip was losing its edge thanks to Zack's maneuver, and all Seifer had left was a fool's hope that he could switch hands fast enough to hit Zack before he got hit himself.
The moment, seemingly slowed down by the raw tension and Seifer's own trance-like focus, finally sped back up again to normal speed. Two distinct thuds were heard, but not simultaneously. The combatants were both struck by the other, but only one of them was struck fast enough to win the point. Seifer's eyes glanced down at the bat that was now in his left hand. Too slow. The time it took to switch hands was simply too slow to beat Zack's thrust. Not by much, but it was enough.
It didn't take Rai and Fuu long to figure out what had happened and they were quick to chime in, "Er, Seifer's not feeling so hot, ya know?" said Rai, trying not to led the leader's confidence seem too shaken.
"Tournament decides!" it was Fuu, as if these two were trying to invalidate the match. Which they basically were. Seifer, on the other hand, wasn't having any of it.
"Shut it, you two!" he snapped, shooting an angry glare at Rai and Fuu. Was he angry at the loss? Well, no, not really. For one thing, this wasn't an official match. And secondly, one point wasn't enough to determine who the actual better fighter was. No, what Seifer was actually angry at was himself for slipping up and being too slow to recover from it. He glanced down at his bat once again, "Tch... still needs work." he muttered, and then all of a sudden he was walking away. "Sorry Vivi, but I can't afford to lag behind in my own practice any further than I already have. You're on your own now."
In all this, Vivi hadn't said a word. Earlier, Seifer had demanded he choose between staying with him or not but... what had just happened was enough for Seifer to make the decision for him it seemed. And he had also been ignoring Droka, which honestly made him feel even worse about this whole thing. Should he just quit? Drop out? He looked down at his own bat, as if weighing the option, "Um... I think I wanna be alone for a little while, I need to think." he said to Droka, finally not ignoring him anymore, "I'm sorry... this, this is all my fault." and then he just took off running. And with Seifer (along with Rai and Fuu) long gone now, that left the four classmates there in the sandlot now.