Relational

Twenty thoughts of Niou Masaharu. Character Sketch, I-2, manga continuity

Character(s): Niou Masaharu, Rikkai

Yagyuu puts a wall of reflective glass between himself and the world. For Niou, the distance between his eyes and his thoughts is sufficient.

Yanagi’s strategy encompasses more detail than his own; Yanagi’s concrete observations range far wider. But Niou knows there is a space of colorful intuition at the heart of his own strategies that Yanagi does not like to enter.

His initial equation to describe Sanada was ‘winning equals everything’. His new equation is ‘winning equals everything, but duty equals everything squared’. The line this equation describes has become interestingly curved.

Yukimura, on the other hand, is the same quadratic equation he’s been since Niou met him; equally gentle or merciless depending on how he calculates. Which is the positive conclusion, and which the negative, Niou has never tried to resolve.

He suspects he will need calculus to graph Kirihara properly.

Marui, he puts on like a festival mask when they play together, showy technique concealing unsmiling concentration. They smile at each other once the game ends.

Jackal’s quiet sense of humor curbs Niou’s dispassion. It wasn’t until he met Jackal that Niou understood dispassion could be as wild and out of control as any emotion.

Steel tipped darts have the most satisfying weight in the hand. It requires weight to fly true.

Red meat has the same weight in the body, and the richness of its taste has the same weight on the tongue.

Watching opponents on the court stumble and freeze and fail has the same weight in his soul, round and satisfying.

He likes the numbers that describe fractals; he finds it typical that he prefers the numbers alone, while Yukimura always sketches the design out in the margin of a notebook.

He likes the taste of greens with sesame; it tastes like fresh air. He knows that he thinks so only because his mother often makes it in the fall, as the heat passes and the windows are opened, a stubborn association that isn’t shaken no matter how often he eats it in other seasons. The irrationality of this delights him.

He likes the blues of the sky best at sunrise or sunset. When they’re changing.

He thinks Yagyuu’s taste for standing outside in storms is a bit much. But he joins his partner to watch what he’s like, then.

He thinks Yagyuu is very like water. He takes on the shape of his container until he breaks it. He takes on the colors around him and remains clear in himself.

He thinks Yagyuu’s eyes are the color of water.

Niou and Kirihara have an even record of winning at Ou-sama, because no one has found a truth either of them hesitates to tell. Unless, of course, the King is Yagyuu, because they both like the dares he comes up with.

Perception calms him; it is precise and uncompromising. There are times it feels like anger, that way. The sure knowledge that Sanada would never understand this comparison amuses him.

To deceive is to control the perception of others. Niou would rather like a match against Hyoutei’s Atobe some time. He wonders how much it would be like playing Marui or Yukimura.

No one will control him. The point of the whole thing is freedom.

End