"No," said Peter. "But Ender and Ela found another way, didn't they? They struck a blow against
the descolada itself. But there's no way now to convince Congress to withdraw the fleet. Because
Jane already interfered with Congress's ansible communications with the fleet, they believe they
face a formidable widespread secret conspiracy. Any argument we make will be seen as
disinformation. Besides, who would believe the farfetched tale of that first trip Outside, where Ela
created the anti-descolada, Miro recreated himself, and Ender made my dear sister and me?"
"So the Necessarians in Congress--"
"They don't call themselves that. But the influence is very strong. It is Jane's and my opinion that
if we can get some prominent Necessarians to declare against the Lusitania Fleet-- with convincing
reasoning, of course-- the solidarity of the pro-fleet majority in Congress will be broken up. It's a
thin majority-- there are plenty of people horrified by such devastating use of force against a colony
world, and others who are even more horrified at the idea that Congress would destroy the
pequeninos, the first sentient species found since the destruction of the buggers. They would love to
stop the fleet, or at worst use it to impose a permanent quarantine."
"Why aren't we meeting with a Necessarian, then?"
"Because why would they listen to us? If we identify ourselves as supporters of the Lusitanian
cause, we'll be jailed and questioned. And if we don't, who will take our ideas seriously?"
"This Aimaina Hikari, then. What is he?"
"Some people call him the Yamato philosopher. All the Necessarians of Divine Wind are,
naturally, Japanese, and the philosophy has become most influential among the Japanese, both on
their home worlds and wherever they have a substantial population. So even though Hikari isn't a
Necessarian, he is honored as the keeper of the Japanese soul."
"If he tells them that it's un-Japanese to destroy Lusitania--"
"But he won't. Not easily, anyway. His seminal work, which won him his reputation as the
Yamato philosopher, included the idea that the Japanese people were born as rebellious puppets.
First it was Chinese culture that pulled the strings. But Hikari says, Japan learned all the wrong
lessons from the attempted Chinese invasion of Japan-- which, by the way, was defeated by a great
storm, called kamikaze, which means 'Divine Wind.' So you can be sure everyone on this world, at
least, remembers that ancient story. Anyway, Japan locked itself away on an island, and at first
refused to deal with Europeans when they came. But then an American fleet forcibly opened Japan
to foreign trade, and then the Japanese made up for lost time. The Meiji Restoration led to Japan
trying to industrialize and Westernize itself-- and once again a new set of strings made the puppet
dance, says Hikari. Only once again, the wrong lessons were learned. Since the Europeans at the
time were imperialists, dividing up Africa and Asia among them, Japan decided it wanted a piece of
the imperial pie. There was China, the old puppetmaster. So there was an invasion--"
"We were taught of this invasion on Path," said Wang-mu.
"I'm surprised they taught any history more recent than the Mongol invasion," said Peter.
"The Japanese were finally stopped when the Americans dropped the first nuclear weapons on two
"The equivalent, in those days, of the Little Doctor. The irresistible, total weapon. The Japanese
soon came to regard these nuclear weapons as a kind of badge of pride: We were the first people
ever to have been attacked by nuclear weapons. It had become a kind of permanent grievance,
which wasn't a bad thing, really, because that was part of their impetus to found and populate many
colonies, so that they would never be a helpless island nation again. But then along comes Aimaina
Hikari, and he says-- by the way, his name is self-chosen, it's the name he used to sign his first
book. It means 'Ambiguous Light.'"
"How gnomic," said Wang-mu.
Peter grinned. "Oh, tell him that, he'll be so proud. Anyway, in his first book, he says, The
Japanese learned the wrong lesson. Those nuclear bombs cut the strings. Japan was utterly
prostrate. The proud old government was destroyed, the emperor became a figurehead, democracy
came to Japan, and then wealth and great power."
"The bombs were a blessing, then?" asked Wang-mu doubtfully.
"No, no, not at all. He thinks the wealth of Japan destroyed the people's soul. They adopted the
destroyer as their father. They became America's bastard child, blasted into existence by American
bombs. Puppets again."
"Then what does he have to do with the Necessarians?"
"Japan was bombed, he says, precisely because they were already too European. They treated
China as the Europeans treated America, selfishly and brutally. But the Japanese ancestors could
not bear to see their children become such beasts. So just as the gods of Japan sent a Divine Wind
to stop the Chinese fleet, so the gods sent the American bombs to stop Japan from becoming an
imperialist state like the Europeans. The Japanese response should have been to bear the American
occupation and then, when it was over, to become purely Japanese again, chastened and whole. The
title of his book was, Not Too Late."
"And I'll bet the Necessarians use the American bombing of Japan as another example of striking
with maximum force and speed."
"No Japanese would have dared to praise the American bombing until Hikari made it possible to
see the bombing, not as Japan's victimization, but as the gods' attempt at redemption of the people."
"So you're saying that the Necessarians respect him enough that if he changed his mind, they
would change theirs-- but he won't change his mind, because he believes the bombing of Japan was
a divine gift?"
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"We're hoping he will change his mind," said Peter, "or our trip will be a failure. The thing is,
there's no chance he'll be open to direct persuasion from us, and Jane can't tell from his writings
what or who it is who might influence him. We have to talk to him to find out where to go next-- so
maybe we can change their mind."
"This is really complicated, isn't it?" said Wang-mu.
"Which is why I didn't think it was worth explaining it to you. What exactly are you going to do
with this information? Enter into a discussion of the subtleties of history with an analytical
philosopher of the first rank, like Hikari?"
"I'm going to listen," said Wang-mu.
"That's what you were going to do before," said Peter.
"But now I will know who it is I'm listening to."
"Jane thinks it was a mistake for me to tell you, because now you'll be interpreting everything he
says in light of what Jane and I already think we know."
"Tell Jane that the only people who ever prize purity of ignorance are those who profit from a
monopoly on knowledge."
Peter laughed. "Epigrams again," he said. "You're supposed to say--"
"Don't tell me how to be gnomic again," said Wang-mu. She got up from the floor. Now her head
was higher than Peter's. "You're the gnome. And as for me being mantic-- remember that the
mantic eats its mate."
"I'm not your mate," said Peter, "and 'mantic' means a philosophy that comes from vision or
inspiration or intuition rather than from scholarship and reason."
"If you're not my mate," said Wang-mu, "stop treating me like a wife."
Peter looked puzzled, then looked away. "Was I doing that?"
"On Path, a husband assumes his wife is a fool and teaches her even the things she already knows.
On Path, a wife has to pretend, when she is teaching her husband, that she is only reminding him of
things he taught her long before."
"Well, I'm just an insensitive oaf, aren't I."
"Please remember," said Wang-mu, "that when we meet with Aimaina Hikari, he and I have one
fund of knowledge that you can never have."
"And what's that?"
She saw the pain on his face and at once regretted causing it. But it was a reflexive regret-- she
had been trained from childhood up to be sorry when she gave offense, no matter how richly it was
"Ouch," said Peter, as if his pain were a joke.
Wang-mu showed no mercy-- she was not a servant now. "You're so proud of knowing more than
me, but everything you know is either what Ender put in your head or what Jane whispers in your
ear. I have no Jane, I had no Ender. Everything I know, I learned the hard way. I lived through it.
So please don't treat me with contempt again. If I have any value on this expedition, it will come
from my knowing everything you know-- because everything you know, I can be taught, but what I
know, you can never learn."
The joking was over. Peter's face reddened with anger. "How ... who ..."
"How dare I," said Wang-mu, echoing the phrases she assumed he had begun. "Who do I think I
"I didn't say that," said Peter softly, turning away.
"I'm not staying in my place, am I?" she asked. "Han Fei-tzu taught me about Peter Wiggin. The
original, not the copy. How he made his sister Valentine take part in his conspiracy to seize the
hegemony of Earth. How he made her write all of the Demosthenes material-- rabble-rousing
demagoguery-- while he wrote all the Locke material, the lofty, analytical ideas. But the low
demagoguery came from him."
"So did the lofty ideas," said Peter.
"Exactly," said Wang-mu. "What never came from him, what came only from Valentine, was
something he never saw or valued. A human soul."
"Han Fei-tzu said that?"
"Then he's an ass," said Peter. "Because Peter had as much of a human soul as Valentine had." He
stepped toward her, looming. "I'm the one without a soul, Wang-mu."
For a moment she was afraid of him. How did she know what violence had been created in him?
What dark rage in Ender's aiua might find expression through this surrogate he had created?
But Peter did not strike a blow. Perhaps it was not necessary.
Aimaina Hikari came out himself to the front gate of his garden to let them in. He was dressed
simply, and around his neck was the locket that all the traditional Japanese of Divine Wind wore: a
tiny casket containing the ashes of all his worthy ancestors. Peter had already explained to her that
when a man like Hikari died, a pinch of the ashes from his locket would be added to a bit of his
own ashes and given to his children or his grandchildren to wear. Thus all of his ancient family
hung above his breastbone, waking and sleeping, and formed the most precious gift he could give
his posterity. It was a custom that Wang-mu, who had no ancestors worth remembering, found both
thrilling and disturbing.
Hikari greeted Wang-mu with a bow, but held out his hand for Peter to shake. Peter took it with
some small show of surprise.
"Oh, they call me the keeper of the Yamato spirit," said Hikari with a smile, "but that doesn't
mean I must be rude and force Europeans to behave like Japanese. Watching a European bow is as
painful as watching a pig do ballet."
As Hikari led them through the garden into his traditional paperwalled house, Peter and Wang-mu
looked at each other and grinned broadly. It was a wordless truce between them, for they both knew
at once that Hikari was going to be a formidable opponent, and they needed to be allies if they were
to learn anything from him.
"A philosopher and a physicist," said Hikari. "I looked you up when you sent your note asking for
an appointment. I have been visited by philosophers before, and physicists, and also by Europeans
and Chinese, but what truly puzzles me is why the two of you should be together."
"She found me sexually irresistible," said Peter, "and I can't get rid of her." Then he grinned his
most charming grin.
To Wang-mu's pleasure, Peter's Western-style irony left Hikari impassive and unamused, and she
could see a blush rising up Peter's neck.
It was her turn-- to play the gnome for real this time. "The pig wallows in mud, but he warms
himself on the sunny stone."
Hikari turned his gaze to her-- remaining just as impassive as before. "I will write these words in
my heart," he said.
Wang-mu wondered if Peter understood that she had just been the victim of Hikari's oriental-style
"We have come to learn from you," said Peter.
"Then I must give you food and send you on your way disappointed," said Hikari. "I have nothing
to teach a physicist or a philosopher. If I did not have children, I would have no one to teach, for
only they know less than I."
"No, no," said Peter. "You're a wise man. The keeper of the Yamato spirit."
"I said that they call me that. But the Yamato spirit is much too great to be kept in so small a
container as my soul. And yet the Yamato spirit is much too small to be worthy of the notice of the
powerful souls of the Chinese and the European. You are the teachers, as China and Europe have
always been the teachers of Japan."
Wang-mu did not know Peter well, but she knew him well enough to see that he was flustered
now, at a loss for how to proceed. In Ender's life and wanderings, he had lived in several oriental
cultures and even, according to Han Fei-tzu, spoke Korean, which meant that Ender would
probably be able to deal with the ritualized humility of a man like Hikari-- especially since he was
obviously using that humility in a mocking way. But what Ender knew and what he had given to
his Peter-identity were obviously two different things. This conversation would be up to her, and
she sensed that the best way to play with Hikari was to refuse to let him control the game.
"Very well," she said. "We will teach you. For when we show you our ignorance, then you will
see where we most need your wisdom."
Hikari looked at Peter for a moment. Then he clapped his hands. A serving woman appeared in a
doorway. "Tea," said Hikari.
At once Wang-mu leapt to her feet. Only when she was already standing did she realize what she
was going to do. That peremptory command to bring tea was one that she had heeded many times
in her life, but it was not a blind reflex that brought her to her feet. Rather it was her intuition that
the only way to beat Hikari at his own game was to call his bluff: She would be humbler than he
knew how to be.
"I have been a servant all my life," said Wang-mu honestly, "but I was always a clumsy one,"
which was not so honest. "May I go with your servant and learn from her? I may not be wise
enough to learn the ideas of a great philosopher, but perhaps I can learn what I am fit to learn from
the servant who is worthy to bring tea to Aimaina Hikari."
She could see from his hesitation that Hikari knew he had been trumped. But the man was deft. He
immediately rose to his feet. "You have already taught me a great lesson," he said. "Now we will
all go and watch Kenji prepare the tea. If she will be your teacher, Si Wang-mu, she must also be
mine. For how could I bear to know that someone in my house knew a thing that I had not yet
Wang-mu had to admire his resourcefulness. He had once again placed himself beneath her.
Poor Kenji, the servant! She was a deft and well-trained woman, Wang-mu saw, but it made her
nervous having these three, especially her master, watch her prepare the tea. So Wang-mu
immediately reached in and "helped" --deliberately making a mistake as she did. At once Kenji was
in her element, and confident again. "You have forgotten," said Kenji kindly, "because my kitchen
is so inefficiently arranged." Then she showed Wang-mu how the tea was prepared. "At least in
Nagoya," she said modestly. "At least in this house."
Wang-mu watched carefully, concentrating only on Kenji and what she was doing, for she quickly
saw that the Japanese way of preparing tea-- or perhaps it was the way of Divine Wind, or merely
the way of Nagoya, or of humble philosophers who kept the Yamato spirit-- was different from the
pattern she had followed so carefully in the house of Han Fei-tzu. By the time the tea was ready,
Wangmu had learned from her. For, having made the claim to be a servant, and having a computer
record that asserted that she had lived her whole life in a Chinese community on Divine Wind,
Wang-mu might have to be able to serve tea properly in exactly this fashion.
They returned to the front room of Hikari's house, Kenji and Wang-mu each bearing a small tea
table. Kenji offered her table to Hikari, but he waved her over to Peter, and then bowed to him. It
was Wang-mu who served Hikari. And when Kenji backed away from Peter, Wang-mu also backed
away from Hikari.
For the first time, Hikari looked-- angry? His eyes flashed, anyway. For by placing herself on
exactly the same level as Kenji, she had just maneuvered him into a position where he either had to
shame himself by being prouder than Wang-mu and dismissing his servant, or disrupt the good
order of his own house by inviting Kenji to sit down with the three of them as equals.
"Kenji," said Hikari. "Let me pour tea for you."
Check, thought Wang-mu. And mate.
It was a delicious bonus when Peter, who had finally caught on to the game, also poured tea for
her, and then managed to spill it on her, which prompted Hikari to spill a little on himself in order
to put his guest at ease. The pain of the hot tea and then the discomfort as it cooled and dried were
well worth the pleasure of knowing that while Wang-mu had proved herself a match for Hikari in
outrageous courtesy, Peter had merely proved himself to be an oaf.
Or was Wang-mu truly a match for Hikari? He must have seen and understood her effort to place
herself ostentatiously beneath him. It was possible, then, that he was-- humbly-- allowing her to
win pride of place as the more humble of the two. As soon as she realized that he might have done
this, then she knew that he certainly had done it, and the victory was his.
I'm not as clever as I thought.
She looked at Peter, hoping that he would now take over and do whatever clever thing he had in
mind. But he seemed perfectly content to let her lead out. Certainly he didn't jump into the breach.
Did he, too, realize that she had just been bested at her own game, because she failed to take it deep
enough? Was he giving her the rope to hang herself?
Well, let's get the noose good and tight.
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