"When you are near, you must make the enemy believe that you are far away and when far away, make him believe you are near. You are a bit too slow, but you have spirit." -- Even Turks have to star...
The redhead yawned, pacing back and forth on a foam and plastic mat of the spacious gym where he had been left to wait... Wait? Yeah, wait for whatever gorilla they intended to sic on him for his first day of training. After somehow managing to pass a weeks worth of physical and psychological evaluations he was now being tested on his fighting. His speed, agility, strength, and judgment.
Reno had never been known for his patience. He had never been known for his judgment either. Rather, he had always been known for his tendency to jump headfirst into situations. To rush ahead. To force things to go his way. He was headstrong and occasionally the fool
But... Reno wasn't stupid. It was clear that they meant to toy with him. He had little doubt in his mind. They were going to show him his place. Make it clear who the rookie was. And that was why they had left him waiting for over a half an hour. They wanted him to consider his options. Consider his options, even though there was no turning back. He had already signed the legal papers. Reno was bound to Shinra Inc. Become a Turk or...
There was no other option. Reno was determined. Did they wish to scare him? Make him stew in fear as to what they would send through the double doors of the training facility? The sixteen year old would have none of this. They could bend him, beat him, but he wasn't willing to give up without at least busting a few kneecaps. Reno, brash and stubborn, was determined to show them what life had taught him. That he was worthy of being there, in that building.
And so he paced, head held high and hands clasped behind his back as if he had nothing on his mind. Not a care in the world.
Paced. Paced. Back and forth.
And then, finally the creak of metal hinges resounded as the doors gave way, opening and closing behind a figure in black. And...
Reno was left speechless.
The figure before him was tall. He would give him credit for that. Tall but on the thin side with jet black hair tied back in a tight ponytail. He looked calm, serene, and what struck Reno most of all was the youthfulness present on his serious face. The man was in his twenties. No matter how presentable, how professional he looked, he was still young.
And such a pushover. Reno wanted to laugh. This was what they sent him? A man in a suit, with a tie and polished shoes. Things were starting to look up. He chuckled inwardly and stretched, loosening up and slouching back comfortably. Piece of cake. That was until the voice, eloquent and cold pierced through the room.
"My name is Tseng. Second in command. And you would be... Reno. I know what you are thinking."
Reno looked up, trying to appear bored but something in his voice had struck him. The calm demeanor was present in his voice as well as he walked closer, light on his feet with hands shoved into his coat pockets. He looked Reno over casually and sniffed as if offended.
"You are thinking you can take me down. You see me as another Plate dweller who has led the high life. You have stolen and tricked countless of 'my kind.' This is what you are thinking. Am I correct?"
Reno gritted his teeth, could feel his knuckles clenching involuntarily. Whether or not he had been considering those same thoughts was of little consequence. This Turk, /Tseng/... was really starting to tick him off. And apparently the anger that steamed within was not going unnoticed by said Turk. Tseng raised an eyebrow, amusement showing in his dark, distinctly Wutaian eyes. Had Reno common sense he would be halfway worried. Then again, the fact that he was facing a high ranking Turk meant little.
Reno snorted and grinned. "Pfft. I can take you."
"Then why are you not moving?"
His hands were still in his pockets and he appeared to be interested more in a flickering fluorescent bulb overhead than the recruit before him. Perhaps that was when Reno finally snapped and charged with a loud, "Urrrrrrryaah" and a lunge that usually hit its mark and struck men twice his size.
But this Turk was fast. Almost inhumanly fast and had dodged Reno's offense in a matter of mere steps. The redhead stumbled slightly, turned to see the Turk but found nothing but empty air.
"All warfare is based on deception. Therefore when you are able to attack, you must seem unable." The voice seemed to float and Reno could sense the smirking face behind it. Then he felt the force of something striking him in between the shoulders and knocking him forward. Reno skidded to his knees, managing to spin around and meet the amused gaze of his superior.
"When you are near, you must make the enemy believe that you are far away and when far away, make him believe you are near. You are a bit too slow, but you have spirit." Tseng leaned forward, smiling genuinely, took a hand from his coat pocket and reached out in a gesture that seemed friendly.
That was until Reno found himself on the floor with a freshly polished shoe pressed against his lower back and his arm twisted tightly behind him. He had only himself to blame for that one.
"Do you not listen to a word I say? Deception. You will make a pathetic Turk if none of this settles in." Shoving off, Tseng cracked his knuckles and backed up. "You hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder. Then crush him. I am here to teach you. Remember that." Tseng paced by him, hands back in his pockets. "You may attack..."
And jumped as he sensed a sweeping kick from the redhead on the floor. Landing on his feet again, he dodged a quick flurry of punches, only to grab the boy's arm in mid attack and throw him back to the ground.
"--When ready. That was better. Perhaps you are paying some attention." Turning his back, he walked away from Reno, obviously leaving himself open for anything. "However, you are missing some key points here. Would you like to know why I am winning? Or are you holding on to that glimmer of hope that you will be victorious today?" With that he leaned against the wall, bored, considering the boy before him again.
"Hah." Reno rasped out. His ribs hurt. His shoulder hurt. And he had had it with this Tseng. "If I had a weapon--"
"If you had a weapon you would be dead by now." Tseng sneered. "I could disarm you in seconds flat and use whatever you had in your arsenal against you. It is clear that you just don't get it." Growling under his breath and reaching into his coat pocket again, Tseng appeared more his age -- no older than twenty. And frustrated.
"Do you think I want to be here? Want to be here with you, you pitiful clown. I am merely a substitute. Do not worry if you have tired of me. There will be others to play with you tomorrow. My duty is to go through the basics. I will tell you whether you wish to know or not..."
His voice droned on and it occurred to Reno that much of this was starting to sound rehearsed. A substitute. So it made sense. Somewhat.
"If your enemy is secure at all points, you should be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. You failed both of those." Tseng smirked as he dug out a thin metal cigarette case, Shinra logo emblazoned on the face. "If your opponent is temperamental, irritate him."
He looked into Reno's eyes, challenging him to speak as he brought a cigarette up to his lips. "/Pretend/ to be weak so that he may grow arrogant. Attack him where he is unprepared and appear where you are not expected." Leaning his head back, he lit the cigarette up and closed his eyes.
"I bet I could... annoy you to death, right?" Reno leaned against the wall, waiting for a response from the older man and grinning.
"Most likely." He paused, then opened the case again, producing another cigarette. "Here. Peace offering." He held it out and took another drag from his half finished one...
Only to find himself pressed against the wall in a vice grip, his wrist having been gripped and swung around, pulling his body with it like a rag doll. Cigarette lost and hair half in disarray from the force, Tseng couldn't help but laugh as he pulled himself away from the redhead and tested his shoulder gingerly.
"Congratulations, Rookie." With a wince he made his way across the room, knowing full well that the force behind that move had been more than he expected, even if he had, in actuality thrown the fight. He... somehow doubted that Reno had figured that key point out, though. Either way, it didn't matter. Somewhere along the line, the kid had listened. It had clicked and he had acted. Tseng let out a laugh.
"You have potential. Remember what I told you, today. The next time I see you, you better be a Turk." With that he threw his hand up in a casual wave and slinked out of the room, affecting the serious and refined posture with which he had entered.
Falling backward, Reno let out a sigh of relief as he laid back, sweaty, tired and sore. The whole ordeal had been like nothing he expected and he had to wonder if maybe he had underestimated the Turks, their selection process, and their training methods.
Note: Yes. Tseng is reciting passages from Sun Tzu's /Art of War/. Note that he sounds horribly bored doing so.