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Chapter: 99


Chapter 99: Teaching Empathy, Filling The Void

Uchiha Tonan adjusted his glasses and frowned. He continued with a serious look, "I didn’t feel anything was wrong in the beginning. But after what happened that night, I carefully read his information again. However, there was very little to go on. The only useful things are the two photos."

Sarutobi Hiruzen observed Tonan’s look, and seeing that he too was very concerned about Sarutobi Shinnosuke’s matter, his mood eased a little.

His attitude towards Tonan also became a little better. He nodded lightly and said, "The person in these photos looks like the same person. You should be able to see through whether he was using the Transformation Technique or not."

Tonan said with certainty, "The Transformation Technique was not used, but after looking carefully, I noticed that his eyes were strange. I believe the eyes are the windows to a person’s soul and different people have different spirits in their eyes. The more I looked at this person’s eyes, the more I felt his thinking was deep. Could it be that… this Abe Seimei was a fake?"

While explaining, Tonan’s speaking pace became slower, revealing a hint of doubt in his words. When Hiruzen heard him, he picked up the two photos again and looked carefully.

After Tonan pointed it out, Hiruzen too felt the eyes of the person in the black and white photo revealed the simplicity of middle-aged people. But ‘Abe Seimei’ in the color photo had a strange smile on his face. Moreover, his eyes were sinister and ruthless, giving people the feeling of being devoured.

Hiruzen put down the photos and looked at Tonan’s sincere eyes, "There is indeed such a possibility, but the time interval between these two photos is at least thirty years. People change with time. Do you think there are any other possibilities?"

Tonan pretended to think and said, "Although I don’t know much about the situation in the Daimyo Residence, the morning after the incident, I rushed to inquire about it through all kinds of channels. When the Daimyo died, just Shinnosuke-senpai and the First Highness were in the room. And both of them testified the other party was the murderer."

Hiruzen nodded, "This matter has already spread around."

Tonan said with a certain tone, "I think the one who killed the Daimyo is the First Highness. According to my understanding of Shinnosuke-senpai, he absolutely cannot do such a thing. An upright person like him would disdain to lie about such a matter."

Hearing Tonan’s unflinching trust in his dead eldest son, Hiruzen felt some comfort in his heart. He sighed and looked at Tonan with a much gentler gaze. "This matter is very complicated. Don’t talk about it outside hereafter. Now, continue to tell me about Abe Seimei."

While speaking about it, Hiruzen felt pain again. His son had died, but he couldn’t even avenge him. Neither the Daimyo Residence nor the Konoha higher-ups would agree with him to investigate the truth.

Once it was discovered that the First Highness was truly the murderer, then it would be difficult for them to advance or retreat.

Tonan noticed the change in Hiruzen’s expression and hesitated for a bit. He started with another ‘guesswork’. "Could it be that Abe Seimei is an enemy state’s spy, and he used some methods to confuse the First Highness? He might have done this to sow discord between the Daimyo Residence and Konoha."

"This is the only possibility. Because I can only think that this incident benefited the enemy states. Both the Daimyo Residence and Konoha are victims."

After he spoke, Hiruzen felt like he sensed something. He blew out a mouthful of smoke and said, "I see. You can go and rest now. You don’t need to worry about this anymore."

Tonan didn’t say anything further and just agreed. He then turned around and walked towards the door very slowly. Suddenly, his footsteps stopped and he stood still.

Hiruzen was about to browse through the documents when he noticed that Tonan was still standing at the door. He blew out a mouthful of smoke, "Tonan, is there something else?"

Tonan lowered his head with his back facing Hiruzen and clenched his fists. From behind, it looked like his body was trembling slightly as if he was restraining something. He then said in a sad voice, "Hokage-sama … it must be very difficult for you right now."

Hiruzen expressionlessly blew out a mouthful of smoke and said nothing. Tonan continued with a reminiscent look, "Shinnosuke-senpai was very good to me. I was unfamiliar with the Fire Capital, so he always took care of me. He was worried I was young and my boss would make things difficult for me, so he introduced me to the Supervision Minister himself. Even though he was already working hard, he would come to teach me ninjutsu from time to time."

The more Tonan spoke, the more emotional he became. Even his voice began to tremble. "I know that Asuma didn’t like me so Shinnosuke-senpai would often reprimand him for me."

Speaking this much, Tonan raised his head, took off his glasses, and wiped tears from the corners of his eyes. As for Hiruzen, he smoked faster, continuously sucking the tobacco pipe. The smoke had already obscured his face, making it hard to see his current expression.

"Shinnosuke-senpai also said that after the Fire Capital mission is over, he planned to start a family and let me become the sensei of his children in the future."

Hiruzen had used this trick on Tonan before. The essence of acting was being able to act out the heartache. Today, Tonan was going to make Hiruzen learn what was called empathy.

"Don’t you like your son? What a coincidence, your son and I also liked each other."

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Hearing Tonan’s words, the scenes of Shinnosuke from birth to adulthood flashed through Hiruzen’s mind. His eyes gradually became cloudy and also reddened…

"But now, he is dead… was framed and killed!"

Tonan gritted his teeth, and his tears dropped on the floor. He seemed angry and also sad…

"Don’t speak anymore!" Hiruzen felt his heart was being squeezed. The pain was unbearable. Fearing that he would go out of control, he took deep breaths to regulate his emotions but because of the thick smoke, he choked and coughed.

Tonan looked up, wiped his tears, and put on his glasses. He took a deep breath and turned around. He said with a smile, "Sorry, Hokage-sama. Shinnosuke-senpai had told me once that ninjas should control their emotions, and they shouldn’t cry under any circumstances."

Hiruzen felt sadness gushing out of his heart, and his eyes felt sour. He immediately raised his hand to support his forehead, but a teardrop flowed down from the corner of his eyes to the tip of his nose.

Tonan was startled seeing this. He rushed over and reached out a trembling hand as if he wanted to wipe Hiruzen’s tears.

"Hokage-sama, what’s wrong with you…"

Hiruzen blinked and rubbed his nose, "I’m fine. Because I smoked quickly, the fumes irritated my eyes."

Tonan said in a panic, "Hokage-sama, don’t cry… don’t cry… I…". He retracted his hand, pushed the eyeglasses to his forehead, and used another hand to repeatedly wipe his eyes. Then, with a suppressed sobbing tone, he said, "It’s all my fault, I’m an ominous person. It’s destined that everyone around me would leave me one by one."

Hiruzen looked up and heaved a deep sigh. He stabilized himself and comforted Tonan, "Child, it’s alright. What happened with Shinnosuke has already happened. Asuma is also missing. I know all this has hit you hard. But now is not the time to be sad. I’ll find a way to investigate this thoroughly. Just go back and rest for a while. Don’t think about this anymore."

Hiruzen stood up and patted Tonan’s shoulder lightly. Tonan covered his eyes with his hand, and used a pretending to be strong tone, "Hokage-sama, please don’t be sad. Konoha needs you, the truth of this matter will definitely come to light. I’ll leave now…"

After speaking, he quickly turned around and left the office, as if he didn’t want Hiruzen to see his weak appearance.


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