Chapter 19:

Chapter 6: Shenanigans Part III

Naruto: The Tale of Yuki Uchiha Volume 1 and 2

Chapter 6: Shenanigans Part III

It was late, but people still walked around the village with things to do. Everywhere we went, the citizens would greet us. By us, I meant the Third Hokage. People offered him their thanks and gave him gifts even when he politely refused. There wasn’t a single person in the village that let him walk by without saying something. It was strange to see how popular he was. So this was what it’s like to be the God of Shinobi. I like it. Now I have another reason to achieve my goals.

When we passed by Ichiraku’s ramen shop, he offered to treat us since we’d been stuck with that bland hospital food that tasted like cardboard. Most of the food there came in plastic wrapping and were these yellow bars. I hated rations, so this was a godsend.

“Yes, Hiruzen-sensei.” Sui and I said together while Tayuya just shrugged her shoulders.

The restaurant, if you could even call it that, was more like a street vendor with high chairs and a hidden kitchen in the back. We each sat down in a straight line and waited for the Hokage to order.

“Did my ears deceive me? Did these three just call you sensei? I didn’t think you took on students anymore, Lord Hokage.” The man speaking was none other than the shop’s owner Teuchi, the master ramen chef. He was an older-looking guy, that if I didn’t know any better, was only slightly younger than Hiruzen-sensei.

“I consider the entire village to be my student.” The Hokage said, taking off his hat. Surprisingly, he had hair under there. A receding hairline, but I expected him to be bald.

“So what’ll be?” Teuchi asked with his notepad out. I looked at him as if he were crazy because what else would we order at a ramen shop besides ramen.

Hiruzen-sensei held up four fingers. “Four adult bowls of ramen.”

“Coming right up, and you know what, I’ll make them myself. Ayame! You hold the front!”

We all stared in silence as Teuchi had a complete 180 turn in personality. Out of the back came a plain young woman with short brown frizzled hair from the sudden yelling. That was Ayame, the daughter of Teuchi, who I believed was seventeen. She wore a simple cook outfit and had a relatively flat chest. 2/10 no bandages.

“I thought I cooked the night shift…” Ayame muttered before realizing that she was in front of the Hokage. She quickly straightened herself up. “L-Lord Hokage, what brings you here?”

I leaned over and whispered to Sui. “Did everyone just forget this was a ramen shop? Why else would we be here except for ramen?”

Sui chuckled. “They just might be nervous. I mean, we’re with the Hokage after all.”

She had a point, but it was still ridiculous to me.

“Ah Ayame-chan, we already ordered from your father, but it’s good to see you. You really have grown into a fine young lady.”

“Oh please, Lord Hokage.” She said, waving her hand away. “I’m just a plain woman whose only gift is cooking ramen.”

Sounds like a lame gift to have if you ask me. I can just microwave it.

“Not at all. Being able to cook is a great gift to have. Without you, the village would suffer tremendously. And I would not consider you to be plain but rather smart with your attire. It takes me way too long to get ready in the morning since I have to wear this all day.” Hiruzen-sensei spread his arms out to show how long and the many layers were in his kimono. He looked a bit like one of those snow angels, which made us laugh.

“Hmmm. I never thought about it like that. Thank you, Lord Hokage.” Ayame seemed to sparkle with a new shine that made me see her in a different light. 4/10 still needs bandages.

I looked up at Hiruzen-sensei, and he glanced at me. “Were you paying attention? It’s like playing Shogi. Every piece is necessary for the king.”

I nodded my head. I understood what he was doing by giving her a sense of purpose in the village. I mean, an army ran on its stomach, so it made sense. “But why compliment her at the expense of yourself?”

“Easy. Because they’re not pieces but rather people.” He smiled as we received our fat bowls of ramen and chopsticks. “And it’s fun to see them happy.”

I stared at Ayame, who was indeed happier and no longer nervous. In fact, she helped other customers with a renewed vigor. Her eyes burned with passion which stroked the fire within me. 6/10… Maybe she’s fine just the way she is.

I looked over and Sui, and even though she didn’t have long hair or that many curves, there was a charm I felt whenever her eyes caught my own. Even if they were mostly glares, I still found her enchanting. She looked at me differently than everyone else, and I loved it.

“You know it’s rude to stare at people while they eat?” Sui was perceptive as always. She never let me pass with just a simple glance.

“What? I can’t stare at my beautiful girlfriend?”

“Flattery will get you nowhere with me.” Sui said that, but she was already blushing. She even started to take her time with her food eating slowly.

“Too cute.” The patrons of the shop all said, staring at us.

Now I was embarrassed, and that thumbs up Hiruzen-sensei gave me didn’t help. I tried to start eating my own food but noticed that Tayuya hadn’t taken a bite of hers. Her muzzle was off, we released her from it when we left the hospital, but I noticed that she was strangely quiet. I tapped Sui’s thigh to get her attention. I usually would have tapped her shoulder, but she was busy eating. I didn’t want to cause her trouble, yet I did.

There was a shriek. Sui immediately jumped the moment my hand grazed her, and her bowl of ramen went up in the air. Hiruzen-sensei caught it, so it didn’t break, and placed the empty bowl on the table. Everyone clapped at his dexterous feat, forgetting about Sui’s cry. I didn’t know she could even sound that girly.

“W-W-Why d-d-did you t-t-touch me…” She took a deep breath to calm down. “Why did you touch me like that. You’re lucky I was finishing up my food else; there could’ve been a huge mess.” Sui didn’t look as pissed as she sounded, just extremely embarrassed.

“I uh… was just going to ask you to check up on Tayuya. She hasn’t touched her food.”

“Oh...” She looked down, and I was sure her face couldn’t get any redder than that.

I started to laugh, ignoring the death glare she gave, and placed my hand on her head, running my fingers through her silky jet-black hair. “Am I fulfilling that dream of yours?”

She gave me that broad smile I lived for. “Yes.” Then her face became stern. “Now go eat before your food gets cold. I’ll handle Tayuya.”

I didn’t argue with her since I knew she could handle Tayuya, and because my stomach was currently punching my lungs, if that made any sense, I opened up my chopsticks and clasped my hands together. “Thank you for the food.”

Then I went into my bowl only to grab a whole lot of nothing. I eyed the nothingness in front of me. Did they just give me an empty bowl? No, that can’t be right; there’s still broth in the bowl. I looked over at Hiruzen-sensei, who was dabbing his lips with a napkin. That can’t be right. He started eating way before us.

“You thief! Where the hell is my food.”

“It was getting cold, so I helped myself.”

“I was helping out my team.”

“Thus is the price of being a leader.” He said, raising his hand. “Ayame, could you be a dear and get me another bowl of ramen.”

“Coming right up, Lord Hokage.”

I stopped glaring, but I still stared at him. Not sure what to say when another steamy fresh bowl was placed in front of me.

“This one’s on the house, Lord Hokage. Actually, since you brought in a lot of business tonight, your entire meal’s free.” Teuchi said with a bright smile as he quickly went to do other orders. The place was packed now, and people even waited in line for more spots to open.

“And that is the reward that comes with being a good leader.” Hiruzen-sensei left me with that food for thought as he stood up to give his seat to a waiting customer. There was a brief exchange about them not wanting to take the Hokage’s seat, but he just shook his head and placed his Hokage hat on. “Hurry up, you three. We have to wake up bright and early tomorrow.”

I looked back at the ramen bowl, and the little white maki had a scribble on it. It was a cheesy line that simply read, ‘do your best!’ And I did just that, eating the fat bowl of ramen. I had been to Ichiraku’s a couple of times before. Sasuke didn’t like it, and I never saw the appeal either.

But seeing Tayuya finally take a bite thanks to Sui’s persuasive skills and her chowing it down in bliss. To Ayame and Teuchi running around the shop, cooking as if their lives depended on it, their Will of Fire blazed in the form of cooking. To Hiruzen-sensei laughing and playing with the kids in the shop as they waited in line. It became one of the best tasting bowls of ramen I ever had.

I even asked for seconds, but that time I asked Ayame to cook it, and hers was even better than her dad’s. Not because she was a better cook. No, the next generation cook had a certain style that made it different. Unique in a way, even though it was the same recipe. Definitely better than microwavable ramen, that’s for sure. 

T.K. 月狐
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