It was a coin toss, easy enough to beat, but as she grasped through all the lines of probability, she found no way to win.
She could manipulate the coin to land any way she wished, but she could also see all the outcomes of the results. Her opponent would call heads, she would make the coin show tails and win the right to choose the first cup. The crux was in the final outcome. In one future she chose wrong and drank poison. In another she chose the correct cup, but later that day would choke on a particularly tough piece of bread. Every line she pulled down and studied resulted her death. Whether she was first or her opponent, she always lost in the end. She could see no alternative to the situation.
She glanced around the room at the others gathered there. This was a dangerous game, you only had a 50% chance of surviving to the next round. She had made it through 4 contests, all dependent on her ability to manipulate the toss and forsee the results, but it looked like her luck had run out.
"Shall I call it then?" her opponent asked.
"Heads then." The moderator flipped the coin. She didn't bother manipulating it as there was no point. It was the end of the line.
The coin was made of gold, the head was some king who never existed in this universe, the tail a creature no longer living on this world but thriving on another. As it flipped and glittered in the lamp light, she felt a queer tug in the part of her mind that explored all possible realities . She grasped it, with shaky mental fingers and pulled the new world toward her. It came to her reluctantly -it was a very small chance-but she wrenched it into existence with a smile.
Oh you sly universe. I only looked at the possibilities where I manipulated the coin.
The coin landed tails up.
"Challenger drinks first," the moderator said, pushing the tray towards her.
She lifted the small clay cup to her lips with a wink. "Cheers".
It seemed her luck was still with her.