Normals dig in at the toe, biting the ice. They're fine for babies too scared to fly, Takatsuki thought to himself with a sneer, but a real skater wears slaps.
"I hate him, Director. The sight of those silver heels spitting -" Takatsuki broke off for a moment, still seething with the injustice of it, the insult. "Spitting snow! Who does he think he is? Handicapping himself with baby skates, like he's so special. Kitami's Seo. Huh! He's just a coward."
The Director stroked his beard, looking thoughtful. "I wonder."
"You can't tell me you approve of his tactics," Takatsuki muttered, his fists clenching just as viciously as they did on the starting line of every race. "He's got it all worked out, the little sneak. He can't ever win on normals, so he's got nothing to lose. I don't know what sort of satisfaction he can get out of competing like that. It's not even a real contest! If he's not going to take it seriously, he shouldn't be allowed in the races."
"As much as they may offend you, Kazuya, normal skates are still acceptable gear," said the Director quietly.
"They're not acceptable to me!"
The Director sighed. "Seo-kun certainly has beautiful technique. I would be very interested to see what he could do on slaps. From his point of view, there's not a soul on the ice except him right now. And if he's only racing against himself, I just don't know how far he'll go."
"I don't think he's going anywhere at all. No one would even notice him except for his stupid baby skates. It's a disgrace. He just wears them for attention."
"Kazuya, you don't know that," the Director chided. "Perhaps they're all he has. Kitami's not exactly a gold mine, you know. I spoil you kids here."
Takatsuki thought of the long hours he spent slogging away here at the bike shop and snorted. The only really spoilt kid was Seo, who'd had everything his own way for far too long. Well, just wait until the Akan Jr. Sprints. Takatsuki would show everyone. He'd leave Seo in his wake, smothered in a spray of bitten-off ice. "Director? I need a pair of normals..."