A Change in a Child's Path (Early Retirement)

Motomiya Jo

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May 3, 2018
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Taking a deep breath Kazuma sighed into the book he was reading. It was the herbology book that his sensei Myakashi Migoya gave him at the end of his Disguise Class. It listed many of the local variety of plants; some that were used for healing, and others that were used for poisons and antidotes. He had read the book twice now, and this third time he was trying to commit to memory the various plants he could find quickly for emergencies. His mother was in the kitchen making dinner.

It had been five months since his father had passed away, and Kazuma still felt the empty feeling whenever he saw his father’s favorite chair or glanced at a book his father read. Five months, and Kazuma felt like a failure despite all the accomplishments he had done. Bringing a bird back to life, learning to be a shinobi, and now studying to become a medical ninja. Lots of kids struggle to do what he did, but he just felt empty.

His mother came in with a bowl of soup, and he set his book to the side. She sat down with her own bowl, and the two began eating. She was a stickler for reading at meal times, and would hound his father for that very thing. After a few moments of silence Kazuma spoke up. ”Mom? I think I’m going to quit becoming a ninja.” His mother ate a few more bites before responding; her manner becoming very quiet. He knew she was bracing herself. ”Why? You were so adamant about it before.”

Why? That was a very good question. Kazuma didn’t know why he wanted to quit; just that he didn’t feel the desire he once did. He stared into his soup for a moment before answering. ”I don’t want to hurt people.” He went on as his mother took a breath to respond. ”I know that ninjas protect people and help the village, but they have to go out and do missions where they can hurt people.” His mother closed her mouth as she waited for him to continue. ”I want to become a doctor instead.”

His mother turned her attention to her soup for a moment before responding. ”I think that’s a fine idea.” Kazuma looked at her with worry in his eyes. Worry that he was abandoning his father’s dream of having a son who was a shinobi. His mother continued after a moment, looking at him with a smile. ”Your father actually wanted you to have a normal life instead of becoming a shinobi.” His eyes widened at the admission, and his mouth opened slightly in shock. ”He never wanted you to follow in his footsteps. He wanted you to be successful in whatever path you chose.” ”B-but he taught me.” His mind tried to make sense of what she was saying. ”And did you notice the look in his eyes while he taught.”

Kazuma closed his mouth as he thought back to his ‘training’. His father was always eager to teach him about the shinobi way, but looking back Kazuma could see the sadness in his eyes as he was taught. ”Why did he teach me then?” His mother let out a sigh and smiled at him. ”Because then you wanted to be a shinobi. He wanted you to be happy.” Kazuma thought for a moment, and then nodded with a smile. ”Then I’ll be a doctor. I can still help people, and I don’t have to hurt them.” His mother’s smile grew. ”I think that’s a good idea.” He settled down and began to eat his soup with a gusto. He wanted to be done quickly so he could go back to studying. He’d make his father proud; just not how he originally thought.