Date: June 4, 2014
While he's so busily learning all that he can from various members of the Konoha community, Shiro decides to dabble in his first bit of medical ninjutsu under the guidance of his friend, Kenta. The results are less than he might've hoped for.
"Exploring Medical Ninjutsu"
Kenta hops lightly down from the tree that he was standing on. His feet lands softly on the ground, barely disturbing the layer of forest litter that acts as a protective covering for the soil deeper inside Toshiba woods. It's pleasantly cool in the shade of the trees this afternoon. "Let's stop over here," he suggests over his shoulder to Shiro. The young shinobi removes a small backpack, which he sets down in a hollow among the roots of the trees that he was standing on. Then, he sits down next to it with his legs stretched out and his head leaning back against the bark. "Are you sure that you still want me to show you the basics of medical ninjutsu?"
Shiro's walking along with Kenta, humming a pleasant little tune as they make their way through the wilderness, his feet held above natural hazards by the slats of his geta. When a direction is given for a stop, the young man follows along, issuing a broad smile at the question. "Why not? I've taken in sensei for lightning ninjutsu and swordsmanship this week, and the Hokage helped me figure out a new seal matrix," says the Uzumaki. "While my mind's busy, I'd might as well round things out by at least getting the introductory lessons. Taught by the great Kenta-sensei, no less!"
"I'm not great yet," Kenta warns Shiro with a frown on his face, seemingly untouched by the flattery. "If you want a great medic nin to give you lessons, you need to speak with Taiki-sama again." The frown deepens a shade more, which produces a shadowing effect on his face. Thankfully, the expression doesn't last long. His features smooth out again only after two seconds.
The young shinobi leans sideways slightly to unzip his backpack. While he rumages around, he comments, "I can't believe that you have the Hokage helping you now. I heard that the Uzumaki clan and the Senju clan is related. I'm beginning to think that you're really a very close relative of the Shodai and Nidaime Hokage… Here." Kenta hands Shiro a rolled up scroll and a sealed can of live earthworms.
Shiro waves his hand dismissively. "Taiki-sama's already teaching me lightning manipulation, and it's one teacher per subject. You're the great Kenta-sensei because you're my friend," he declares. The young man then crouches down and lifts a quick, staying hand. "I lied and said that I wanted to meet him and thank him for Konoha's hospitality, and then I got a little help out of him. It was a trick, but an innocent one. Yes, the Senju are cousins of the Uzumaki, but I have no idea about being related to a Hokage."
The subject passes quickly as he takes the supplies, looking between the jar of earthworms and the scroll. "Well, this is an interesting start. What do I do with them?"
Kenta shrugs his shoulders at Shiro. "It's not a lie if you did thank Hokage-sama for the hospitality." He reaches for the scroll again and eases it out of the other young man's hand. "The first thing you need to do with a scroll is to open it." The ground is relatively flat a foot away from the tree's roots, so he pops up into a kneel position and unrolls the scroll there. Each of the four corners are weight down with a bit of forest debris; a large pebble or stick. When he draws back, Shiro will see that there's a blank circle large enough for two hands in the middle of the scroll, surrounded by various sealing characters.
"Being a medic nin is all about learning chakra control. We have to be better at it that other shinobi, because even the smallest mistake can hurt our patients. Besides using medicine and surgical techniques, we perform our most basic healing by channeling chakra in very controlled amounts into a patient to induce a form of regeneration. So that's what you're going to do to see if you have a talent for it," Kenta explains to Shiro. He points at the can of worms in the other shinobi's possession. His hands mime opening the can and putting a worm in the center circle of the scroll.
Shiro shifts around so that he can crouch opposite Kenta on the other side of the unfurled scroll. He studies the seal painted upon it with interest native to his blood, his head tilted inquisitively. "Oddly enough, it was chakra control the Hokage helped me with, sort of," the youth explains. Studiousness resumes as Kenta continues to elaborate upon the basics and important essentials of medical ninjutsu. "So, I'm going to operate on earthworms? I don't really have experience with … any kind of healing. Even herbal healing." Shiro nevertheless opens the jar and plucks out a worm, placing it at the center of the painted circle.
Before they can go on, he tilts his head to peer up at Kenta and asks of him, "You mad at me? I have a hard time reading people sometimes, but I had that sensation. I'm sorry if I said something wrong."
Kenta gives Shiro a light flicker of a glance before inspecting the earthworm on the scroll. It's still alive, but it seems to be in poor condition, since it's barely moving or trying to escape. "I'm not mad at you. There's nothing to be mad about," Kenta states matter-of-fact. He reaches over to tap Shiro on the knee. "Now pay attention. You're not going to operate on these earthworms. I bought them half-dead from the bait shop. You're going to try to revive them back to peak condition. Watch."
Kenta sits back on his heels and holds both hands over the listless earthworm. His palms clears the scroll by about two inches. The sealing characters shift from ink black to a pale green. In a few seconds, the earthworm writhes on the scroll and starts crawling energetically away towards the edge. The sealing characters stop glowing once Kenta pulls his hands back. "You saw what I did? I sent chakra into the earthworm. Beginning medic nin can't shape their chakra properly yet, so the seals help them convert it into medical chakra. The important thing is to emit chakra from your palms at a very steady and -proper- rate in relation to the healing task. Too little and nothing happens. Too much or unsteady and the worm dies. Now you try it. Watch the worm for cues to increase or reduce the amount."
Shiro brandishes a grin as Kenta taps his knee, though it's in such a passing moment that it probably goes unnoticed. His attention flows back to the task at hand. The youth observes his friend's work and extends an impressed nod when he sees the earthworm begin to wriggle about in a lively fashion. "It's quite something, you know, that you can give life back to something so tiny," Shiro compliments. "I'd think it would be difficult to repair damage at that scale!" What's better, he learns about a new and useful seal, and what could he possibly love more than those?
At Kenta's bidding, he plucks out another earthworm and places it upon the center of the scroll. He extends his fingers and holds his palms above, at which point he begins to channel his chakra. There's a moment where the earthworm begins to wriggle energetically, as if he were doing it properly already. Unfortunately, his own chakra flow goes astray, and seals previously invisible from his right shoulderblade to hand pulse once with purple light. The earthworm is suddenly straight as a board from too much energy given, and probably very much dead.
"Uh," Shiro says, sounding quite embarrassed. "Sorry. This never happens to me, I swear. My chakra just … Well, you know."
"Earthworms are actually very easy. They have a simple physiology compared to higher animals. That's why you're starting off with an— Oh." Kenta cuts off his explanation when the earthworm simply dies. He's so used to more difficult tasks that the death comes as a surprise, even though he knew that it's likely to happen. "Don't worry, Shiro-kun. I nearly killed my first earthworm too when grandmother took me through this exercise. It took me eight entire attempts before I managed to do it right." For someone without the innately fine tuned chakra control of his family, it'll probably take a magnitude or two of dead earthworms more. "Just try again, but try to concentrate harder. Remember what you learned during water walking lessons. That's a big help."
Shiro informs, probably less than helpfully, "I never had water walking lessons. No Academy, remember? So, next earthworm." He plucks one out of the jar and places it upon the scroll. "That was a new set of seals on my arm, by the way. I guess the Hokage's advice centered my chakra a little /too/ much upon the matrix." Taking in a focusing breath, Shiro spreads his hands above the scroll once more. This time, he does a little bit better, but the results are odd. One end of the earthworm is still as death, whereas the other is wriggling in quite the lively fashion. "I think I did something wrong, Kenta. You might want to fix him."
As hard as it is for him to believe, the Uzumaki confesses, "Maybe there's a kind of jutsu I can't learn, even with the help of a seal. That's troubling!"
Kenta lowers his head to inspect the damaged earthworm, putting his face less than three inches away. He gently prods the dead end of the worm with his right index finger. "I never saw this happen before, but I think I know what you did." He pulls back to give Shiro an odd look. "You were channeling the correct amount of chakra at the correct rate through your left hand. That's the lively side. But with your right hand… somehow, you send just enough to destroy all the nerves on the right half of the worm without killed the rest of it. Um, you can say that it takes some talent to do that." Kenta rubs the back of his neck and frowns down at the worm. It doesn't really sound like the last bit was a compliment. "I don't think I can fix it."
Shiro scratches the right side of his face thoughtfully with the tip of his index finger. "Um. Well, yes, I guess that's a kind of talent," he says, accepting that merciful creation of a compliment. "The new matrix on my arm, it's mostly supposed to improve speed, but it does strengthen my ninjutsu. Maybe I haven't learned to balance that effect through my entire body yet, so some extra chakra's being redirected through the seals." Shiro likes to theorize about seals, so at least that's helpful with getting him more interested in the medical ninjutsu lesson.
"So, er, what do we do with it? I mean, I'd hate to leave the poor thing like this after I caused the harm," the Uzumaki says with a rare frown. "I can't believe I did that. I'm really bad at this."
"Easy!" Kenta exclaims in a rare show of cheer. With a flick of his hand, he produces a scalpel from one of his vest pouches. Another flick and the crippled worm finds itself nearly bisected. Kenta wipes off the scalpel before storing it back in his vest. "I have to get rid of the dead half. Otherwise, it'll just act as dead weight until it shrivels up or rots off. Earthworms are highly resistant to infections, so it probably won't die from dragging a rotting bit around, but a bird will pick it off quickly. I'm actually testing to see if worm guts can be processed as an antibacterial salve. So far, I'm not getting any good results." The young shinobi holds his hands over the worm and the seals briefly glows green. When he removes his hands, the worm's cut wound has sealed over with pink skin. The stubby little thing instantly starts wiggling off towards its own freedom.
Shiro's lips form out a lengthy 'oooo' of being impressed as he watches Kenta seal the wound with such impressive ease. The little thing's even wriggling along! Perhaps by way of apology, he picks it up and places it on the grass so as to speed its journey along. "It really could be that I'm bad at medical ninjutsu. I mean, I'm sure I could get the basics with the foundations your lessons given me," he says, "but nobody's good at /every/ kind of chakra control. This does give me some good ideas, though." Tapping at the scroll, Shiro says, "This could be made into a tag instead of a big scroll, and then a seal could be invented to trap medically oriented chakra inside. When you press the seal to the wound, it'll provide on the spot treatment. Not much, but something." He does have a knack for his own area, at least.
"I'm not giving up that quickly, though! You're a smart one, Kenta. If you keep working with me, I'll at least get to where I can heal twisted ankles without making them explode. I'd consider that a good goal to aim for." Sounds reasonable, sort of.
Kenta gives Shiro an approving nod. "That's the spirit. If you don't succeed the first time, you must keep trying until you do. Or until you learn something else equally worthwhile. Even if you don't manage to ever learn medical ninjutsu, this is a good exercise for you to practice chakra control with."
Now that he's demonstrated as much as he can, Kenta pushes away from the scroll and sits back down with his head leaning on the overhanging tree's trunk. The shorter shinobi takes a thick book out of his backpack, which he offers to Shiro. "This book has some basics on medical ninjutsu, first aid and herbal remedies. You can study it while you're here, but please return it before you leave Konoha. I always want you to keep practicing with the scroll and the earthworms."
"Wow, that's very generous," Shiro says, blinking in surprise as the book is offered. "I'll be sure to take in as much as I can before I have to give it back. I've got one of those memories where you see something and never forget it. What's it called? Anyway, I guess it's in the blood; helps with remembering seal patterns." He accepts the book into his hands and dips his head into a nod. "I'll keep practicing with the scroll and the worms, too, but maybe I'm a little too sympathetic for this sort of thing. I feel bad for them when I end up harming them." Closing the jar, Shiro rolls up the scroll and stands, tucking the lot of it into his satchel.
Shiro says, "Thanks again for the lesson, Kenta. It really was very enlightening. I'll have to take you on a date before I leave Konoha to pay you back for all the kindness you've shown!" Once again, after he says something odd, the young man's off along his way again upon his geta. Rather a pain that he's so fleet of foot.