They're hardly going to take this quietly. They'll do whatever it takes so that they are the best (and that can range from murdering the rival to taking artificial stimulants to overcome any physical difficulties to heroically overcoming their problems in a more honourable way). If that doesn't cause drama in your stories, there's something wrong!
My rebellious fairy godmother character, Eileen, focuses on being the best she can be by putting in the hours and hours of practice with magic and researching the latest spells so she is always one step ahead of those who want to kill her. She also likes to have good quality magical equipment (because she knows full well her enemies will do so and if they get half a chance use this against her). Hanastrew does the same (though she upsets less people than her old mentor did).
Even if Eileen didn't have to worry about survival, she is the kind of character who would always want to be the best at her profession. It is also a matter of pride for her. So what drives your characters into wanting to be the best? Who does gets in their way and is this deliberate? How do they overcome the problems?