Author's Notes: This is a highly symbolic story, concentrating on the eternal struggle between 'good' and 'evil' that takes place in Yami wa Tsudou. The Sentinel is narrating.
I look across at my opponent, whose amythest eyes are gleaming softly in the half-light. Is it with triumph? Or anger?
My gaze drops down from him to the game board, where my black pieces and his white ones stood, seemingly scattered at random but really holding strategic positions, vital to my play and his.
We have been playing for a while now. The game has reached the point where one wrong move on anyone’s part will tip the delicate balance we have been maintaining. Will it be my move, or his?
White takes black. Black takes white and is taken by white in turn.
He is planning something to the left of the board; I catch it and move accordingly, because it can grow into something potentially dangerous.
But even as I place my bishop on the white block, I can sense the move’s wrongness. It’s a mistake. . . .
I look up again and meet his eyes. They are glittering now, bright and intense and full of barely suppressed triumph. The rest of his face is impassive, determined not to let me glimpse his emotions. But he has failed to mask his amythest eyes.
“Your move,” I murmur. My voice does not betray me, just as I expected and planned. Yet I wonder—can he read my eyes as well as I can read his? What does he see when I look up?
He lifts a white knight with delicate, tapered index finger and thumb, then moves it slowly. . .slowly. . .to its designation. I can hear its muted sound as the piece touches the checkered board. Keeping my eyes down, I glance my own pieces over quickly, noting their positions and my own disadvantage. I have to decide my next move. . . .
“You are losing,” his voice is soft and low, seductive with its slight breathlessness, as I gently, carefully, make my move. “Do you realize that?” It is a vain attempt at distraction, a silly sort of psychological play on his part—ridiculous because he knows it won’t work. I am just as skilled as he is in that respect.
I smile a little to show my amusement, and I know he sees my expression in the half-light, because I can feel his gaze harden as he analyzes my face, hoping to find a clue in the smile. I can almost hear his questions—Is the smile a bluff? Or do I really have some trick up my sleeve that can stop him? He turns his gaze to the board, now analyzing my earlier move.
I watch him, and feel a little tense, a little amused, and very curious. I have my own questions, of course; faces, especially his, can only tell me so much. He seems disconcerted by my smile, but is that an act to throw me off? We are both so good at deception that everything he does seems a trick to me, and everything I do. . . well, neither of us puts anything past one another, to say the least.
He looks up abruptly. There is a wildly victorious gleam in his eyes as they meet my own. “You are losing,” he repeats, almost gently.
I say nothing, and he moves again.
A black bishop falls to the white rook still on the board. “Check, Sentinel. Check.” He does not smile with his mouth, but I see it in his eyes just the same.
Once again I survey the board and find that I don’t like what I see there. His move is a trap. It is. . . a good trap.
I’m caught for now, and there is nothing I can do, except to move the way he wants. I do so, and he moves again almost immediately. A black rook disappears off the board, one that I needed.
It’s time to switch strategies. I lift a pawn and move it forward.
“Check,” he whispers again, intent on his plan, because he knows it’s working.
I dodge his check and he follows me. White pieces are closing in, swiftly advancing toward my black ones. My last bishop vanishes, and as he relentlessly moves again I’m forced to sacrifice my knight.
Check and dodge, check and block. His net draw tighter—I can see it clearly, but I cannot prevent it. I see also the mocking laughter in his eyes. . .his checkmate is in two moves.
Slowly, I move another pawn up, away from the action on one side. After all, there is nothing I can really do where his net is.
I look up after my move and his steady gaze bores into my eyes. He doesn’t bother to hide the almost savage delight I can see there. He wants to let me know that I’m losing. . .with good reason. After all, I’ve done it to him enough times.
With deliberate slowness he pushes his queen to position. His checkmate is in one move.
I pause. I wait until he turns his attention to me and away from his wonderfully, beautifully woven trap. Then I push my pawn forward, and look up.