That's the basis for my suggestion about 400 (!) posts ago to - when you as a DM feel this is happening - heck, impose a d6 or even d10 AP cost per "exchange" as a fatigue factor. I know it's not canon, but I can see it working well - two very closely matched opponents slugging away for a long time, finally slump in exhaustion against each other, struggling even to raise their weapons much less deliver a telling blow. Happens all the time in the movies :) just kidding.
Anyway, formerly the answer was "if you're the Narrator, just hve the NPC start bidding high in desperation" which is fine if you have control, but some of the best fights are when there's not an NPC to be seen anywhere :)
I'm interested in those playing it now - have you found the extended contest mechanism works just as well when the Narrator CANNOT control the dramatic flow (i.e. inter-player conflict or combat)??
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