After dinner, together with Uchiha Tonan, everyone chatted with the elderly living in the Sunset Building to break their otherwise monotonous routines. For some time, the welfare institution looked lively.
As careful as he was, Tonan didn’t let people come often to visit these elderly people. He would request Sarutobi Hiruzen to let the Ninja Academy students come over and do public benefit activities every now and then but everything was measured.
For Tonan, these ninjas and the academy students were just tools he used to try and please the old people. If they were allowed to appear often in front of the elderly, it might lower his chances of gaining acknowledgment. Even though these old people lacked both strength and skills, it didn’t matter to Tonan. He firmly believed everyone had some value, no matter how old or young they were.
The old people were indeed just perfect. Tonan taught them things such as zither, the game of Go, calligraphy, painting, and so on when he had free time, keeping them occupied. In any case, they had nothing else to do, might as well let them play Go or something every day.
Although such skills wouldn’t benefit him in any way, it was better than nothing. When it was almost time, the old people fell asleep one after another under the Tonan’s concerned watch. Soon after, Namikaze Minato and the rest of the group too left the welfare institution.
Back in the room alone, Tonan walked to a table and made a pot of tea for himself. Looking at the shadow clone that was walking back and forth while holding the newly christened baby, Hatake Kotoura, Tonan rubbed his temples. He was slightly annoyed and his mind was playing out several scenarios.
“I guess I’ve to wait for the war to begin for this welfare institution to really come in handy. Before that, I need to help Father Hiruzen bring Konoha under his control. As long as he’s in power, the Konoha Orphanage can be disbanded before the war starts.
“The other problem I have to tackle is the ninja clans. Now that it’s peacetime, these clans have great careers, and they can easily raise a few orphans and old people. But judging from Konoha’s current policies, the economy will collapse sooner or later, and as long as the war breaks out, the number of orphans and elderly will steadily increase.
“The ninja clans might not be able to support them when the time comes. I need to carefully plan this. The welfare institution has many benefits. And this sort of a good deed will be seen and publicized by everyone. Especially fostering children… if a few geniuses came out from my welfare institution…
“The ninja clans might still have misgivings though. After all, they are a clan, and they will not tolerate their bloodline wandering about destitute. It would work out best if my welfare institution poses to only be responsible for raising the children. And when they are of age, the clans can take them back.
“But if there’s no cost, it’ll make people suspicious. The clans’ higher-ups are wise enough to know there are no free meals under the sky. Just asking them to pay up might not be enough….”
Suddenly, a phrase flashed through Tonan’s mind — investment for the future. The welfare institution could make the outside world promise that after the children became ninjas, a certain percentage of their mission rewards would have to be given to the institution.
And after the amount reaches a certain number, the two parties will no longer be transactionally connected. Thinking of this, the corners of Tonan’s mouth rose slightly. He picked up his teacup and took a sip.
The next day was destined to have a foggy beginning. There was snowfall in the middle of the previous night and the accumulated snow was more than half a foot thick in the morning.
After feeding Little Kotoura, Tonan created two shadow clones. One was responsible for taking care of Kotoura, and the other was taking care of the dozens or so old people in the welfare institution.
As for the main body, he put on a white windbreaker and left the room. The Maito father and son pair, Dai and Gai, had already moved into the room nearest to the courtyard’s gate.
From early in the morning, the two had begun shoving away snow in the courtyard with their bare hands. “Gai! Burning youths don’t fear the bitter cold!”
Tonan glanced at them from a distance and didn’t disturb them. He left the welfare house quietly stepping on the snow.
Meanwhile, at the Hokage Building, the atmosphere of the meeting room was solemn. Shimura Danzo sat directly opposite Hiruzen and tapped his fingers on the table, “Hiruzen, this is the Daimyo’s request. You can also see the Land of Fire’s economy is growing rapidly under his regime. We must give due importance to the Five Great Countries Honorary Chunin Competition.”
Hiruzen blew out a mouthful of smoke and said with a frown, “Even so, we cannot let Tonan go. You are all already aware of what transpired in the past.”
Danzo leaned forward slightly and aggressively said, “Hiruzen, you are the Hokage, you should consider the village first. The Daimyo has specifically asked for Tonan to participate. Whether it’s his strength and status or his reputation in the Fire City, he’s the best candidate.”
Hiruzen blew out a mouthful of smoke again and looked straight at Danzo, his face flushing with some anger, “Anyone else is fine, but not Tonan….”