Chapter 4: Konoha Village (3)
Bit by bit the time continue to move.
Knowing no end.
Knowing no life.
Care not about the place.
Care not about a thing.
They just flow, like a flowing river, streaming to its branch, coming from the great Sea…
“Times wait for no one… that’s an amazing poem you had there… who’s the creator?” ask Hiruzen to Teuchi, at the poem displayed in the shop.
“It’s Hotaru’s, although it’s still a bit rough on the edge, heck, it’s still rough just like his dishes, but it’s conveyed his feeling in those sentences…”
“Indeed, it’s still rough, but it’d those…” the old mans’ sat there, seeing the poem on the wall and do nothing for several seconds as if savoring the feelings conveyed in those sentences…
“for us, we hate the 9 tails that wreak havoc in the village, and killed many of ours’ beloved… but, for him, he’d hate humans that cold-bloodedly massacre his villagers…”
“Yes, even for me, seeing the yellow-haired kids kept reminding me of my late wife which died in those havocs… however, even I still have the pity… being a container of that beast, he receives the hatred of the villagers. It’s a fortune for him, to have you, 3rd… that’s still able to take care of him…”
“fortune… For me, it’s a curse… my late wife is the former container of that beast, the same also happens for 4th wife… and this time, even the hero of the villages’ son had to receive this treatment because he’s a container of the beast… you should already know this too, right? Teuchi?”
“Indeed, he has the same hair as Minato-sama and the same behavior that Kushina-sama has… for those that already close to them, they’d already realized that, however… their hatred towards the beast clouds their eyes… and they fear the child… fear that someday, that beast will once again wreaking havoc in the village…”
“it’s funny, that a child that’d had a bitter past can live his life without a grudge against another human, but not us, adults can cope with our hatred… he still had those nightmares, right?’
“Indeed, he’s dreaming that incidents several times a month, and that dreams keep urging him to get stronger, and even stronger to protect those dear to him… I even asked him why’d he still believe another person even after he’d experience the cruelty human can do… but do you know what he said to me?”
“what would it be?”
“Why should I hate other people? They live their life to the fullest, they’ve got an experience that maybe even more sickening than I do… I can only pity them, although I hate them, everyone in the village always says that there’s always a reason behind everything that happens… that’s why, if I start to hate them wouldn’t I be one of them? Although it is true that I really despise them, I can’t say that I want to revenge… I… I can only hope to get stronger so there’d be no one that feels the same way I do…”
“he says, while tears gathering in his eyelids. I really am impressed by the villagers, even his parents… even more so to him… I believe he’s someone we can entrust our futures in…”
“For a child to have that way of thinking… truly… magnificent…”
“Yes… If he’s 5 years older I even want to make him Ayame’s husband… sigh… I hope he can live happily and never again experience the tragedy he once experienced…”
“hahaha, sadly my grandkid is a boy! But it sure is a wonderful thing! Should I order Asuma to go and make some granddaughter for me?” Hiruzen said while having a glint of madness in his eyes, while Asuma Sarutobi, which in progress of his mission have a chilling cold.
The villages burned by fire, smokes and scream filled the place. The blood dirtied the place, and madness of the bandits subsided. The location could only be said as horrendous, copses after another could be seen sprawled on the street.
At the time Ninjas from Konoha came, the only desolate and eerie feeling could be seen. It’s already been several hours after the bandits taking the villages over, in the subjugation, bandits’ madness started to worsen.
Seeing there’s no way to escape anymore, they slaughter the villager. Only to suicide after.
However, they startled by a sight that’s somehow amazed them.
A kid, buried with the corpses of the villager wide-eyed, seeing them eyes to eyes. Sadness and fear could be seen in his eyes. The group of shinobi that taking care of the aftermath come to report to the higher-ups jonin. At that time, they can see the despondency of the kid…
Seeing the pitiful appearance of the kid, they bring him to the village and let him to the orphanage, at that time, the kid still withdrew from anyone. Seeing the withdrawn kids, no one felt anything towards them, as they’re the same as him, knowing nothing could change him, the other kids let him be.
Until the day, he walked around himself and see a yellow-haired kid, being scorned over nothing by the other person in front of the kid. Beads of tears gathered in his eyelids, but he rubbed those and smiled widely.
The kid with the whisker in his cheeks make him woke up from his stupor, he suddenly remembers what the village chief once said to him ‘everything in this world has its cause, because of that never once you hate someone over some trifling matter in this world… life and death is something you ought to have someday… but, how you die and how you live is something only you can choose… that’s why my dear Hotaru, never once you hate a being, and live your life the way you won’t regret once you’re at my age…” once when he always follow him behind…
Tears stream down like a waterfall, and he cried his whole tear duct on that day. Until his eyes swollen…
His sadness, his anger, and his wrath washed away by those tears and only pity and resolve left in his eyes… however, what do you expect from a child? He still remembered the day of tragedy and cries his eyes out.
That is his turning point, because of that scene, he started to shorten his distance with Naruto and being a brother he’s now…
Even until now, he never once forgets that day, and he never tried to forget, until the day he’s over 10 years old, he only reminisces the day, the tragedy. Keeping that in mind as his motivation to get stronger and smarter.
Over time, he mistakes, one day a patron poisoned by his cooking. It’s not someone from Akimichi Clan anymore, it’s some shady scammer, they tried to threaten him, and he answers them with violence. As a result, because of his blatant provocation, the reputation of the shop lessened…
Even the patron started to leave the shop. Eventually, only those from the old days continue to dine in the place. He thinks about his mistakes for weeks, knowing that blaming himself won’t do him any good. He spins his mind over the thing that’d attract more customer, learning from his mistakes and won’t try to prompt the customer to eat something he wants…
Thus, he advertises!
He makes a pamphlet that tells there’ll be a discount in Teuchi’s Ramen shop, along with a specifically made menu for the customer. They’ll be allowed to make their own ramen themselves, and dine after, or giving a recipe to the chef and let the chef make something they want.
The business boomed, once again, but that’s just something like a speck of embers.
“Let it be Hotaru, why would you attract some customer? We’ve already had enough of them. Just let the patron come back after they missed our dishes… trying something abrupt won’t give us any popularity…” said Teuchi
“Indeed, little brother. You need to relax! You’re a child! Don’t overwork yourself, sometimes this peace isn’t so bad!” Ayame encourages him, and Hotaru only nod.
Wandering in the street, Hotaru sightsees the Konoha village. How amusing the place is, he’d see some stores that sold some ninja’s equipment and weapons, some stall that sell Dango, and some ninjas whether it was chunin or Jonin walk in around the village. Talking about many things he can’t really hear. Not long later, he sees Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, Shikamaru, Choji, Kiba, and the others, in a park playing something.
Seeing him, Naruto waves his hands and calling him “Oooy! Hotaru-nii!”
Hotaru answer with a wave of his hand and a smile. Then walking towards the brats, he sees what they plan to do.
“Seems like you guys practicing?”
“Yeah, we practice shuriken throwing, want to train together? O great hunter-sama” tease Shikamaru while playing the kunai in his hand.
“Right, right, care to train with us O great death chef-sama!” tease Choji, while chomping the snack in his hand. While the other just eyeing him, the celebrity in the academy, all the academy students know him. The founder of the disciplinary committee that can control the student body, especially delinquent and teachers.
He even able to graduate early but refuse to, knowing that he doesn’t try to have a head start, most laughed and scowl at him, for fear the real world. While most only gaze him with an eye. Refusing to believe he’s as good as the rumored image him as.
He smiled, and grab his kunai in his ninja pouch in his waist. Then throw it off to the target behind the group without much preparation, continued with a shuriken after another, until the target is drawn with the symbol of Konoha by the kunai and shurikens…
All of them gaped at the sight, even Sasuke widens his eyes at the technique this 10-year-old kid gave… although it isn’t as great as his brother skill is, knowing how hard it is to make something like that from a distance over 40 meters with great accuracy as that leaves him flabbergasted.
Knowing nothing about this ability of his, Naruto’s eyes shining, stars glittering in his eyes.
“You ought to teach me that! Dattebayo!”
“fufufu, now you’re seeing me like that… and just then you’d tease me” Hotaru smugly look at the brats in front of him, while the brats only stare mysteriously at him…
“How could you get the time to learn something like that? Isn’t you busy with the shop?” asked Shikamaru with a questioning gaze.
“Hmm? Who says you can’t learn something while working?”
“Well, the shop’s been slow these days, asking you guys to help there won’t do much…”
“Then let’s just train around, even you need some breather, right?”
“ooh, that’s nice Sasuke, take some breather Dattebayo”
“Oh… okay then, Hi~na~ta! Don’t just hide there and come to play with us…” shout Hotaru suddenly to the girl that hiding behind the electric pole.
“I… Is it alright?” asked her timidly
“Come with us! It’s not fun for me being the only girl here” said Ino
“Hey, Ino! I’m a girl too!” rage Sakura
“Eh… do you?” tease Ino
“Damn it Ino! I’ll erase that damn grin out of your face!” Rage Sakura while chasing Ino, they laugh at the comedy routine and head towards the training grounds.
“ooh! At last, I can get the kunai right in the middle 3 out of 3! Dattebayo!” Spoke the Yellow-haired kid with delight.
“You’re slow! I’ve already able to get 7 out of 7!”
“What’d you say Sasuke you bastard?!”
“I… I think Naruto already doing great…” Said Hinata in a small voice
“Ey, stop it already you brats! Sasuke! Naruto! Go-rounds a lap!”
“Eeeh! But, it’s Sasuke’s fault Hotaru-nii!”
“What did I do wrong?!”
“Shut. Up. And do as I say…” Replied Hotaru icily, which remembered them of the hunter of the academy as his title said him.
“Oooh, look at our little student! He’s already teaching someone already”
“As expected, he’s even better than us in teaching, to get the little one able to improve this fast…”
Looking at the sound, Sasuke’s eyes widened, while Hotaru just glances at them and snorted derisively.
“Long time no see, Shisui, Itachi, gone back from a mission?”
“We do, so, what’re you guys doing now?” ask Shisui
“We train our accuracy in throwing! Dattebayo!”
“Look at this brother! *whoosh* *stab*” shout Sasuke excitedly, looking proud while bragging to Itachi, while Itachi smiled at him and pat him in the head.
“that clingy Sasuke is nice too…” murmured Sakura
“Well, want to train us O Great-Jonin-sama?” tease Hotaru while looking at the youngest Jonin in Konoha, and another great Jonin from Uchiha.
“Hmm, let’s do it another time… it’s close to evening… Right? Sasuke”
“Okay, brother! Let’s go home!”
“I’ll also go home then… mother’s gonna smack me if I came back late…” said Shikamaru
“Me too, I need my evening fat to be refilled!” said Choji
“Me three” spoke Ino, and the other also follow them, leaving Hotaru and Naruto alone in the place after saying goodbye.
Looking at the sad expression Naruto make, Hotaru pats his head and asked him to come with him. Naruto beamed at the sign, and follow Hotaru quietly until they arrived at the Ichiraku’s shop…
“Oh my, look at who’s Hotaru brought here…”
“Oooh, Welcome Naruto. Want some ramen? It’s my treat!”
“Are you sure Teuchi-Ossan! I’ll take it!”
“Sure, Sure! Come and wash your hands! Hotaru too, go and put your apron…” said Teuchi while pointing his finger at the kitchen, while Ayame pats his head and ask him “Have some fun outside?” Hotaru answered with a nod and left to the kitchen.
While he came to the kitchen, he realizes that he almost lost himself in the perception that he creates… all the world of his already here after all, never would he thought that going out to play with others can be felt so fun like before…
After going out of the orphanage, he just tries to live. Managing everyday life, and eat all he can eat while learning…
His meeting with Ibiki could be said the turning point in his life, as that scar-faced guy with a bandana-like cap that embedded his Konoha emblem taught him the way to attack a person without hurting him. Just like he always like… to not hurt them… physically…
Lest did he know that hurting people physically is way better than mentally, what can you said? He’s a 10 years old kid without any experience in battle or some bad things aside from the massacre that scar him for life…
“Hmm… I really do like this place…” Hotaru said with a smile on his face “Still, I shouldn’t be too attached. Because I am, a ninja…”