Once, there was a man.
He was not a good man, nor a kind man. He was not an evil man, or a cruel man. Just a man.
War came to the man's home, and he fought in that war to defend that home. But war is a cruel thing, and has a habit of turning men cruel in its process.
The man became cruel, and began to do cruel things. He justified it, he lied about it, he pretended it was for the good of his home. But he had become cruel, and it showed. He killed innocents in the name of protection. Fled his mentor, who rightly despised him for killing those innocents. He sought to kill his friends, and only by small chance did he fail.
Indeed, all he did was fail. He gathered an army, intending to crush those who opposed him, and failed. He tried to capture a being of incredible power to steal that power for himself and failed. He tried to raise someone so like himself he considered the boy his son, and failed.
His life awash in failure, the man asked himself, "If I knew now what I knew then, would I have done better?" Many men across history have asked that question… but this man found a way to try it and see. He took all he had learned and gifted it to the man he once was, to make the world a better place.
In time, the man gained the knowledge he had been seeking, and with it he thought he had found true wisdom. He gathered his allies and crushed his mentor, slew his friends, and took for himself what they once ruled. He brought peace to the land, not with wisdom or kindness, but with hate and the edge of a blade. Nations fell to his power, and he reveled in it.
Then, one day, as he sat in court listening to his deputies and generals and governors tell him what a wondrous world he had built, and how much peace was in the land, he heard laughter. A prisoner that he had chained to the wall of his seat of power (for remember, he was a cruel man) looked up from his chains and for the first time in months, he reacted to the world around him, by mocking the man who held the world in his hands.
Oh, how the man hated his prisoner. Over and over he had defeated the prisoner in battle, and yet the prisoner continued to defy him, continued to fight. The prisoner would never give up, and the man hated him with all of his shriveled soul for it.
"What a glorious world you have built," said the prisoner. "Look at what you have sown for your efforts. A large chair in a big room and lackies to do whatever your whim may be. Endless days of boredom and ennui, forever sitting on your big chair and waiting desperately for something, anything, to shake your world and give you cause to leave that chair behind you. I am sure you are filled with nothing but joy, here in your big, empy, pointless room."
The man dismissed his deputies and generals and even his personal guards and stood before the prisoner. "What would you know of it?" he demanded. "The land is at peace for the first time in generations. None dare raise their hand against me, and none dare break my law. I suffer to keep that peace in place. For my sacrifices, I have made the world a better place!"
The prisoner just smiled. "Until when?" he asked quietly, his voice soft even as he spoke to the man who hated him, who chained him, who tortured him. "Some day, for all your efforts to deny it, you will die. When that day comes, what will remain of your efforts? Your men will fall upon themselves like the feral wolves you have raised them to be. The world will fall into chaos and murder and death once more, but it will be far worse, because there will be no good to hold back the tides of evil. Already your people strain and suffer and starve under your hand. When you pass, what will they say about you when it comes time to teach their children about the world as it once was? At what price does victory become defeat?"
The man was furious, all the more so because a tiny part of him whispered in agreement with the prisoner. He refused to believe it, but the matter weighed on his mind and heart, and one day he decided to leave his seat of power and vanish, to see what he had created and see how it stood the test of upheaval.
His kingdom collapsed into anarchy within weeks. A thousand years of culture and learning and knowledge were destroyed in little more than a year, swept away by a wave of barbarism unmatched in the annals of history.
Filled with dread, he returned to his old throne room, now long abandoned, and confronted the prisoner, still clinging to life where he had been chained. "How do I fix this?" he demanded of the prisoner. "How can I make this world a better place, when even complete control cannot stave off the inevitable?"
The prisoner smiled, took a deep breath, and died.
The man, broken, looked out over the world of his creation. He knew he could give himself the knowledge he had earned in this life to another, and this world need never exist except for in his memories, but it meant abandoning all he had fought and bled and killed for.
And he realized that the price of victory was far too high.
Again, he gifted his knowledge to himself of the past. He watched the other leaders of the world, and their generals and governors and lackys, their inheritors and successors, and he realized that all were lacking. All would fail.
Except for the prisoner.
The man rebelled, mind and soul. He tried, again and again, over and over, desperately trying to deny what he already knew. And as the failures and memories mounted, he realized that only one person could lead the world into a new and glorious era of peace, and it was the prisoner. Only the prisoner gained the respect and power needed to make the world a better place.
He took the guise of the prisoner and rose into power, using the same methods he had used before, and discovered that the problem with his rule was not his subjects, but himself, for the man had been cruel for so long that it stained his every act and thought. He was not an all powerful, all knowing being. He was just a man.
He gifted his memories again, and simply watched, and the prisoner in due time came to rule, and his rule was just. But the prisoner himself suffered, having lost all he valued, and the man realized that the prisoner had been wronged just as greatly by the world as he himself had been. But the prisoner never wavered, never gave in, never became cruel. He suffered, but he never let his suffering taint the world he had risen to glory.
And then the man made a final resolve, to aid the prisoner he hated so deeply. To try, however often he must, to bring the world and the prisoner to the greatest possible outcome. He found purpose, for only he could gift himself the knowledge and wisdom needed to provide that aid.
But he soon discovered a flaw in his plans. Simply telling people the truth was rarely effective. He was met with suspicion and disbelief, and no amount of effort could overcome what the world already knew, that he was a cruel man.
So, he decided that if he could not teach through facts and figures, then he could teach through guided thoughts and careful words, to teach without anyone knowing his goal.
He taught himself to tell stories.
TL;DR This story is officially on hiatus, possibly indefinitely.
I felt that I should mention what's going on for those curious. The truth is, I'm not really big into anime, and have only a passing interest in Naruto. This fic was originally started because I wanted to test and improve my writing skills and determine through a truly neutral readership if I was capable of writing well enough to entertain others. So I did some research and found that the Naruto category on here was simply buzzing with activity. I did some reading, did some research, and determined what I would do for this test. I did my best to avoid the more common pitfalls I saw in Naruto fics, and all in all tried to reel the setting back a bit to the early days of the anime/manga, before canon caught Shonen Disease.
As if this writing, there are 405,000 stories in the Naruto category, and One Eye, Full of Wisdom is around #425 in terms of Favorites and #255 in terms of Follows. Considering I expected next to nothing when I started, that's more than a little heartwarming and encouraging for me, and on bad days when I can find so way to keep the writing going, I can look at this story and tell myself I did not do so bad.
Unfortunately, I've run out of steam. The setting has worn thin for me, and I've reached the point where I avoid writing because I cannot bring myself to type out the next chapter yet again only to see it as uninspired rubbish, and yet I also didn't want to abandon a story that had a fair few people who wanted to see more.
This story is on hiatus, but it would be unfair to leave those who have been watching for the next chapter hanging forever without some sort of closure, which always vexes me personally. There is little worse than reaching the end of a story unfinished and looking up with dread to see if it's long dead. If I do return to this story some day, this A/N will be replaced with a (now much needed) synopsis, and the next chapter will continue on.
If you enjoy reading my writing style, and enjoy the world of the Fallout video games, I am currently working on a project there (Fallout: Heading South). For those of you not interested in such, I thank you for your readership and time, and wish you the best of luck.
OH! And a last sendoff for my A/N. Grats to FictionlessVet, the very last person to get mocked in my notes, for their wonderful display of humanity by determining that my honest statement about the end of this fic shows poorly for my personal character. I guess owning up to the end of the story makes me a terrible human. So, thanks for the proper sendoff, buddy! Let me know when you finish that story you're working on.