The old man smiled as he greeted the final year academy students as he did at this time every year. Every year since he became Hokage, he had had the honor of giving this particular, and exceedingly special history test. The Final Academy History Test was the one exam that the Academy students eagerly looked forward to from the first day they entered the Academy and heard about it, and this year when a vast number of the descendants of the group that had been known as the Konoha Twelve were graduating, he had a special treat in store. While he had an ulterior motive for giving these particular young students this particular treat, it was a treat none the less.
"I'm sure you all know what today is." the Hokage said to the students who squirmed in their seats with anticipation.
"It's our final history exam!" a rather loud brunette with bright blue eyes that had been inherited from her most famous ancestor yelled.
"Yes it is, and if you will wait patiently while I get everything set up, we'll soon get started. This year is going to be extra special." the aged Hokage said as he got the ink and his special brush out, his back already twinging in protest before he even knelt down to make the first seal.
He would normally have had his assistant draw the seals and simply powered them when they were completed, but this year they were going to be slightly modified and he didn't trust his assistant to get everything right. His predecessor who had invented the seal that the Academy usually used for this test had been working on this particular array when he had died, and it had taken many years since then to complete it, since he wasn't half the genius with seals that his predecessor had been. It was five minutes into the drawing of the seal before he made the first alteration to the array. After half an hour of drawing non-stop, he was finished. To anyone but a Seal Master, the array on the floor was indistinguishable from the one the Academy normally used.
Smiling at a job well done, he used a jutsu to quickly dry the ink on the floor before it could smudge and destroy all of the work he'd put into the seal, and called for the class to come forward and stand in the circle before he powered the array.
It was the knowledge he'd recently gained on the nature of time that had resulted in his final decision in regards to whether or not he should do this. He'd originally completed the array as more of an academic exercise, and hadn't originally planned on using it. Knowing that if he used it he would not be wiping out the entire world as he knew it on the vague hope that things would be better had given him the final push he'd needed. His world would still be there when the lesson was over, and the class returned to prepare for their Graduation Exam which would be taking place in the following week. But, a new world where at the very least one small change would have occurred would have been formed as well.
As images too fast to see swirled about the perimeter of the seal array, he took comfort in the fact that somewhere changes would be made, and in that place there would be a possibility that his predecessor's final wish would be fulfilled, and in a new world out there, a number of hardships would be avoided. While he personally found the person that this particular array had been created for to be completely unworthy, his predecessor had believed that there could have been some hope for him if he had been given all of the facts before he had made his decision. And, if that person had made the right decision, everything would have changed. Whether for better or worse, nobody would know until it happened.
Perhaps, when he was done here, he could find a way to make a seal in order to see how that other world had turned out, to see if his predecessor's greatest regret could turn into his predecessor's greatest triumph, his predecessor's legacy, much as this world here was.
"I hope you knew what you were doing Boss." Sarutobi Konohamaru, the Eighth Hokage of Konoha said as the images slowed to a stop and the class's surroundings became clearly defined.
Edited on 4-18-12