Externality, part 5c (2017-07-11)

Unlike taijutsu, Tetsuki is pretty fond of genjutsu.

She’s a somewhat malnourished, preteen girl: she’ll never be able to physically overcome anyone. She’s quick, but not so much as to be untouchable. And as her aches and pains lingering from yesterday can attest to, endurance is not the same as recovery.

But none of that matters with genjutsu.

It’s intricate and delicate, requiring intense focus, and it’s true that very few people can sustain a career in genjutsu specialization–especially not without some kind of blood limit–but there’s something about it that appeals to her, nonetheless.

Being able to control the world around her, even just that little bit, even if it is just an illusion. It hurts less to be an outsider, if being inside means not knowing the truth.

And it’s a tool in her arsenal that doesn’t need extensive, supervised training. She has the basics, after that all she needs is her imagination and the right opportunity.

Rock Lee is notorious for his inability to use chakra. There will be no better opportunity.

Naruto Uzumaki is reluctant to enact her plan, but dutifully circles around the clearing to wait for her signal.

Part of it is that she might not signal him–it’s boring, yes, but if she can talk this out with Rock Lee then she won’t need him to attack from the flank. The other part is that maybe she won’t need him. He’s probably worried that she’ll leave him for Rock Lee which is just ludicrous.

She got punched in the face multiple times, Naruto Uzumaki is not getting rid of her that easily.

But she does think that she can do this on her own. Or, rather, that she should do this on her own.

She has a suspicion about what that familiar armband color might mean. About Rock Lee’s objective and her objective and that of Naruto Uzumaki.

Rock Lee is known to be, if not honorable–because such a thing is pretty impossible in a world of shinobi–then fair. For all that he’s literally asking to be attacked, he won’t attack her until she makes the first move.

Still, just in case, when she goes down to meet him she places a genjutsu on him. It’s a mild one and, under ordinary circumstances, easily breakable; just a small, quick illusion making her seem a meter away from where she actually is.

“I, Rock Lee, will fight anyone who thinks–” he shouts, again, the same speech on loop to the faceless forest of Training Ground 53. She wonders if anyone else has actually taken him on it.

“Hey,” she interrupts, after leaping down in front of him, “I have a question about your objective,” she says.

His gaze fixes on the nonexistent figure a meter away and the deep purple armband on its bicep.

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