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Against the World

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Against the World

“There are no good guys.”

-x-

Whoever told you that Hidden Leaf is the “nice” village, the “soft” village, is a lying liar who lies.

It’s really not. It’s just better at hiding its atrocities. Sugar coating them, if you will.

Look at the case of one of our most famous rogue ninja, Orochimaru. He left the village when the Hokage learned of his unethical human experiments. This is, relatively speaking, “public” information. What the village doesn’t tell us, is what was unethical about his experiments. I would eventually learn that the unethical part of his experiments was that he experimented on clan born, specifically, Uchiha infants.

His experiments on civilians and young ninja without any close ties were sanctioned by the village.

The best part about Orochimaru’s banishment? He was still carrying out his research and sending the results to the Fourth Hokage. He was a traitor in name only, to appease the Uchiha clan.

But you see what they did? They spread rumours of what Orochimaru’s research entailed. Coupled with calling his research unethical, they make it look like they disapprove of what he did, not who he did it to.

What surprises me is that not only do civilians believe Hidden Leaf is sunshine, kittens, and hugs, but so do foreign ninja.

-x-

Zero

I remember my mother fondly. I remember long, silky hair the same shade of purple as my own, and the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. My most precious memory of her was from when I was perhaps three years old.

“Hoshino Sekai,” she said, pushing a strand of hair out of my eyes. “Do you know why I gave you that name?”

I shook my head. I had never even thought about it.

“It is because you, Sekai, are my entire world.”

My mother was young when she had me, only seventeen, and she was alone. She had no family left, no close friends. She had worked as a live in maid for the Tominaga clan. Her employers were of the civilian faction of the wealthy clan, and social standing was of great importance to them. So when my mother’s pregnancy became obvious with no father in sight, they dismissed her.

Six months pregnant, alone without a place to live, let alone money to buy food, my mother felt hopeless. Until she met Hanako, formerly of the Tominaga clan.

Hanako was an elderly woman, formerly a ninja. When she was young, she was cast out of the clan for finding herself in circumstances similar to my mother.

Hanako heard of my mother’s situation through the grapevine, and decided to help my mother and herself at the same time.

Hanako was paralyzed from the waist down, and had limited mobility in her right arm. Her daughter, who had been her caretaker, died shortly before my mother was dismissed. It wasn’t long before my mother’s situation made its way to Hanako’s ears.

The arrangement was that Hanako would provide shelter and food until my mother was back on her feet, and mother would become her caretaker.

It was a generous offer—Hanako lived on a small stipend from the village for ninja permanently injured in the line of duty. Her apartment was small, but it became my mother’s home, and eventually mine as well.

-x-

My mother found work as a waitress shortly after I was born. She spent her days caring for myself and Hanako, and her nights working.

While she worked, Hanako volunteered to look after me.

I was a quiet baby at first, I’m told. I didn’t fuss or cry very often. But then I started “babbling” frequently as I approached my first birthday. And as I babbled, I grew frustrated and cried.

Eventually my mother and Hanako figured out what was going on. They noticed a pattern in my babbling. I made the same strange noises every time I wanted to eat. I made a different noise each time I needed to be changed.

“You came up with your own words for things,” Hanako chuckled years later. “It was the strangest thing. It took ages for you to start using the real words for things.”

I don’t remember any of this, of course. But it’s not hard to figure out what happened—I was trying to speak my first language, one that doesn’t exist here.

-x-

It’s not that I always was aware of and remembered The Before. It’s also not that it came to me suddenly.

It’s like it was there but it took time for me to make sense of it. By the time I was four years old it was all fairly clear.

Once I lived, then I died. And now I live again.

Memories from before aren’t crystal clear. I remember I had a brother, but I don’t remember his name. Or my name. Mostly I remember things I read and learned. I remember English and math and science. I remember drawing and painting. I remember cars and planes, television and the internet. I don’t remember people.

The conflict of memories of The Before and the world I was experiencing now was hard to reconcile, but eventually I managed.

I looked at the differences and the similarities.

There was a mysterious energy called chakra here, that did not exist in The Before.

The geography of The Before and here are completely different.

People here are stronger, faster, and require chakra to live. They have strange birthmarks, strange hair and eye colours, and some have very strange features.

My conclusion is this: I have been reborn on a different planet, orbiting some distant star. The people here, myself included, are what people in The Before would call aliens.

There were still unanswered questions though. The language here reminds me of a language from The Before. I’m not sure which one. Maybe Chinese? I don’t know. I never bothered with knowing or recognizing different languages in The Before. Regardless, it is not completely alien to my mind.

And for all the differences between people here and people from The Before, there is also a lot of similarity.

The calendar here has twelves months, and three hundred and sixty five days. They have seven day weeks. Sixty seconds in a minute, and sixty minutes in an hour. Each day has twenty four hours.

There are carrots and rice and apples and bread. There are cows, pigs, and chickens. There are cats and dogs, dear and rabbits. Mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds...

My hypothesis is that I’ve been reborn many, many thousands of years in the future, after people from The Before found ways to travel through space. The people here are decedents of them, evolved to biologically suit this world. The question remains though, is if humans from The Before advanced enough to come here, why is this civilization so far behind? Perhaps there was some sort of natural disaster? Perhaps the people were brought here unwillingly and just left here without many resources?

Sadly, this world has no records dating back more than one hundred and fifty years, so there is no way to find evidence to support my hypothesis or answer any of my questions.

But for the sake of my sanity, I do my best to accept the explanation I’ve created as fact.

-x-