Book 1, Chapter Five: Spear-won Land, Pages 103 and 104
At that moment Nicolaos steals a backward glance
and cheers at the sight of his rival’s slowing chariot.
“Hahaha! Pathetic! Giving up already!
Well, suckers, thanks for the free -
He elbows his assistant charioteer.
“What gives?! Can’t you drive any faster?!”
“I am trying, boss!”
“Try harder then!”
The horses whine fruitlessly,
foam on their lips,
in protest at desperate whips pushing them to go faster, faster, faster!!!
But my friends, it’s simply not happening.
Hephaestion smiles as understanding dawns in his mind
over the brilliance of Alexander’s fakeout.
A little trick.
Alexander offers him the reins.
“Come on. Let’s finish this.”
Meanwhile, Nicolaos rants and raves,
furious at the incompetence of his horses,
lagging so close to the finishing line.
“No no no dammit!
Don’t slow down! Not now!”
Quickly, the sound of hoofbeats catches his attention.
He looks up, and there, like magic, is Alexander and Hephaestion beside him.
Alexander smiles cheerfully, as he waves his whip at Nicolaos.
The king of Acarnania is confounded.
But Alexander needn’t any words to explain the sort of help he plans to offer Nicolaos.
He gently twists the length of the whip out of his fingers
and before Nicolaos could duck,
our hero launches an attack at chariot wheels, just like Hephaestion before,
and the impact sends Nicolaos and his horses
tumbling! careening! crashing!
violently into the earth
as Alexander rockets his way to the finish line.