Darting away from the body, from herself that called itself Val, she probed, she searched, but
could not find.
He's dead. I lost him. He gave me this life and he had no way of holding on then, yet I forgot him
and he's gone.
But then she remembered he had been gone before. When she chased him through his three bodies
and at last he leapt away for a moment, it was that leap that had led her to the lacework of the web
of trees. He would do it again, of course. He would leap to the only other place he had ever leapt to.
She followed him and he was there, but not where she had been, not among the mothertrees, nor
even among the fathertrees. Not among the trees at all. No, he had followed where she hadn't
wanted then to go, along the thick and ropey twines that led to them; no, not to them, to her. The
Hive Queen. The one that he had carried in her dry cocoon for three thousand years, world to
world, until at last he found a home for her. Now she at last returned the gift; when Jane's aiua
probed along the twines that led to her, there he was, uncertain, lost.
He knew her. Cut off as he was, it was astonishing that he knew anything; but he knew her. And
once again he followed her. This time she did not lead him into the body that he had given her; that
was hers now; no, it was her now. Instead she led him to a different body in a different place.
But he acted as he had in the body that was now her own; he seemed to be a stranger here. Even
though the million aiuas of the body reached out for him, yearned for him to sustain them, he held
himself aloof. Had it been so terrible for him, what he saw and felt in the other body? Or was it that
this body was Peter, that for him it represented all he feared most in himself? He would not take it.
It was his, and he would not, could not ...
But he must. She led him through it, giving each part of it to him. This is you now. Whatever it
once meant to you, that isn't what it is now-- you can be whole here, you can be yourself now.
He didn't understand her; cut off from any kind of body, how much thought was he capable of,
anyway? He only knew that this body wasn't the one he loved. He had given up the ones he loved.
Still she pulled him on; he followed. This cell, this tissue, this organ, this limb, they are you, see
how they yearn for you, see how they obey you. And they did, they obeyed him despite his pulling
away. They obeyed him until at last he began to think the thoughts of the mind and feel the
sensations of the body. Jane waited, watching, holding him in place, willing him to stay long
enough to accept the body, for she could see that without her he would let go, he would flee. I don't
belong here, his aiua was saying silently. I don't belong, I don't belong.
Wang-mu cradled his head on her lap, keening, crying. Around her the Samoans were gathering to
watch her grief. She knew what it meant, when he collapsed, when he went so limp, when his hair
came loose. Ender was dead in some far-off place, and he could not find his way here. "He's lost,"
she cried. "He's lost."
Vaguely she heard a stream of Samoan from Malu. And then the translation from Grace. "He isn't
lost. She's led him here. The God has led him here but he's afraid to stay."
How could he be afraid? Peter, afraid? Ender, afraid? Ludicrous on both counts. What part of him
had ever been a coward? What was it that he had ever feared?
And then she remembered-- what Ender feared was Peter, and Peter's fear had always been of
Ender. "No," she said, only now it wasn't grief. Now it was frustration, anger, need. "No, listen to
me, you belong here! This is you, the real you! I don't care what you're afraid of now! I don't care
how lost you might be. I want you here. This is your home and it always has been. With me! We're
good together. We belong together. Peter! Ender-- whoever you think you are-- do you think it
makes any difference to me? You've always been yourself, the same man you are now, and this has
always been your body. Come home! Come back!" And on and on she babbled.
And then his eyes opened, and his lips parted in a smile. "Now that's acting," he said.
Angrily she pushed him down again. "How can you laugh at me like that!"
"So you didn't mean it," he said. "You don't like me after all."
"I never said I did like you," she answered.
"I know what you said."
"Well," she said. "Well."
"And it was true," he said. "Was and is."
"You mean I said something right? I hit upon truth?"
"You said that I belonged here," Peter answered. "And I do." His hand reached up to touch her
cheek, but didn't stop there. He put his hand behind her neck, and drew her down, and held her
close to him. Around them two dozen huge Samoans laughed and laughed.
This is you now, Jane said to him. This is the whole of you. One again. You are at one.
Whatever he had experienced during his reluctant control of the body was enough. There was no
more timidity, no more uncertainty. This aiua she had led through the body now took grateful
mastery, eagerly as if this were the first body he had ever had. And perhaps it was. Having been cut
off, however briefly, would he even remember being Andrew Wiggin? Or was the old life gone?
The aiua was the same, the brilliant, powerful aiua; but would any memory linger, beyond the
memories mapped by the mind of Peter Wiggin?
Not mine to worry about now, she thought. He has his body now.
He will not die, for now. And I have my body, I have the gossamer web among the mothertrees,
and somewhere, someday, I will also have my ansibles again. I never knew how limited I was until
now, how little and small I was; but now I feel as my friend feels, surprised by how alive I am.
Back in her new body, her new self, she let the thoughts and memories flow again, and this time
held back nothing. Her aiua-- consciousness-- was soon overwhelmed by all she sensed and felt and
thought and remembered. It would come back to her, the way the Hive Queen noticed her own aiua
and her philotic connections; it came back even now, in flashes, like a childhood skill that she had
mastered once and then forgotten. She was also aware, vaguely, in the back of her mind, that she
was still leaping several times a second to make the circuit of the trees, but did it all so quickly that
she missed nothing of the thoughts that passed through her mind as Valentine.
As Val who sat weeping, the terrible words that Miro said still ringing in her ears. He never loved
me. He wanted Jane. They all want Jane and not me.
But I am Jane. And I am me. I am Val.
She stopped crying. She moved.
Moved! The muscles tautening and relaxing, flex, extend, miraculous cells working their
collective way to move great heavy bones and sacs of skin and organs, shift them, balance them so
delicately. The joy of it was too great. It erupted from her in-- what was this convulsive spasming
of her diaphragm? What was this gust of sound erupting from her own throat?
It was laughter. How long had she faked it with computer chips, simulated speech and laughter,
and never, never knew what it meant, how it felt. She never wanted to stop.
"Val," said Miro.
Oh, to hear his voice through ears!
"Val, are you all right?"
"Yes," she said. Her tongue moved so, her lips; she breathed, she pushed, all these habits that Val
already had, so fresh and new and wonderful to her. "And yes, you must keep on calling me Val.
Jane was something else. Someone else. Before I was myself, I was Jane. But now I'm Val."
She looked at him and saw (with eyes!) how tears flowed down his cheeks. She understood at
"No," she said. "You don't have to call me Val at all. Because I'm not the Val you knew, and I
don't mind if you grieve for her. I know what you said to her. I know how it hurt you to say it; I
remember how it hurt her to hear it. But don't regret it, please. It was such a great gift you gave me,
you and her both. And it was also a gift you gave to her. I saw her aiua pass into Peter. She isn't
dead. And more important, I think-- by saying what you said to her, you freed her to do the thing
that best expressed who she truly was. You helped her die for you. And now she is at one with
herself; he is at one with himself. Grieve for her, but don't regret. And you can always call me
And then she knew, the Val part of her knew, the memory of the self that Val had been knew what
she had to do. She pushed away from the chair, drifted to where Miro sat, enfolded him in her arms
(I touch him with these hands!), held his head close to her shoulder, and let his tears soak hot, then
cold, into her shirt, onto her skin. It burned. It burned.
Chapter 11 -- "YOU CALLED ME BACK FROM DARKNESS"
"Is there no end to this? Must it go on and on? Have I not satisfied all you could ask of a woman
so weak and so foolish as I? When will I hear your sharp voice in my heart again? When will I
trace the last line into heaven?"
-- from The God Whispers of Han Qing-jao
Yasujiro Tsutsumi was astonished at the name his secretary whispered to him. At once he nodded,
then rose to his feet to speak to the two men he was meeting with. The negotiations had been long
and difficult, and now to have them interrupted at this late stage, when things were so close-- but
that could not be helped. He would rather lose millions than to show disrespect to the great man
who had, unbelievably, come calling on him.
"I beg you to forgive me for being so rude to you, but my old teacher has come to visit me and it
would shame me and my house to make him wait."
Old Shigeru at once rose to his feet and bowed. "I thought the younger generation had forgotten
how to show respect. I know that your teacher is the great Aimaina Hikari, the keeper of the
Yamato spirit. But even if he were a toothless old schoolteacher from some mountain village, a
decent young man would show respect as you are doing."
Young Shigeru was not so pleased-- or at least not so good at concealing his annoyance. But it
was Old Shigeru whose opinion of this interruption mattered. Once the deal closed, there would be
plenty of time to bring the son around.
"You honor me by your understanding words," said Yasujiro. "Please let me see if my teacher will
honor me by letting me bring such wise men together under my poor roof."
Yasujiro bowed again and went out into his reception room. Aimaina Hikari was still standing.
His secretary, also standing, shrugged helplessly, as if to say, He would not sit down. Yasujiro
bowed deeply, and again, and then again, before he asked if he could present his friends.
Aimaina frowned and asked softly, "Are these the Shigeru Fushimis who claim to be descended
from a noble family-- which died out two thousand years before suddenly coming up with new
Yasujiro felt suddenly faint with dread that Aimaina, who was, after all, guardian of the Yamato
spirit, would humiliate him by challenging the Fushimis' claim to noble blood. "It is a small and
harmless vanity," said Yasujiro quietly. "A man may be proud of his family."
"As your namesake, the founder of the Tsutsumi fortune, was proud to forget that his ancestors
"You have said yourself," said Yasujiro, absorbing the insult to himself with equanimity, "that all
Japanese are Korean in origin, but those with the Yamato spirit crossed over to the islands as
quickly as they could. Mine followed yours by only a few centuries."
Aimaina laughed. "You are still my sly quick-witted student! Take me to your friends, I would be
honored to meet them."
There followed ten minutes of bows and smiles, pleasant compliments and self-abnegations.
Yasujiro was relieved that there wasn't a hint of condescension or irony when Aimaina said the
name "Fushimi," and that Young Shigeru was so dazzled to meet the great Aimaina Hikari that the
insult of the interrupted meeting was clearly forgotten. The two Shigerus went away with a half
dozen holograms of their meeting with Aimaina, and Yasujiro was pleased that Old Shigeru had
insisted that Yasujiro stand right there in the holograms with the Fushimis and the great
Finally, Yasujiro and Aimaina were alone in his office with the door closed. At once Aimaina
went to the window and drew open the curtain to reveal the other tall buildings of Nagoya's
financial district and then a view of the countryside, thoroughly farmed in the flatlands, but still
wild woodland in the hills, a place of foxes and badgers.
"I am relieved to see that even though a Tsutsumi is here in Nagoya, there is still undeveloped
land within sight of the city. I had not thought this possible."
"Even if you disdain my family, I am proud to have our name on your lips," said Yasujiro. But
silently he wanted to ask, Why are you determined to insult my family today?
"Are you proud of the man you were named for? The buyer of land, the builder of golf courses?
To him all wild country cried out for cabins or putting greens. For that matter, he never saw a
woman too ugly to try to get a child with her. Do you follow him in that, too?"
Yasujiro was baffled. Everyone knew the stories of the founder of the Tsutsumi fortune. They had
not been news for three thousand years. "What have I done to bring such anger down on my head?"
"You have done nothing," said Hikari. "And my anger is not at you. My anger is at myself,
because I also have done nothing. I speak of your family's sins of ancient times because the only
hope for the Yamato people is to remember all our sins of the past. But we forget. We are so rich
now, we own so much, we build so much, that there is no project of any importance on any of the
Hundred Worlds that does not have Yamato hands somewhere in it. Yet we forget the lessons of
"I beg to learn from you, master."
"Once long ago, when Japan was still struggling to enter the modern age, we let ourselves be ruled
by our military. Soldiers were our masters, and they led us into an evil war, to conquer nations that
had done us no wrong."
"We paid for our crimes when atomic bombs fell on our islands."
"Paid?" cried Aimaina. "What is to pay or not to pay? Are we suddenly Christians, who pay for
sins? No. The Yamato way is not to pay for error, but to learn from it. We threw out the military
and conquered the world with the excellence of our design and the reliability of our labor. The
language of the Hundred Worlds may be based on English, but the money of the Hundred Worlds
came originally from the yen."
"But the Yamato people still buy and sell," said Yasujiro. "We have not forgotten the lesson."
"That was only half the lesson. The other half was: We will not make war."
"But there is no Japanese fleet, no Japanese army."
"That is the lie we tell ourselves to cover our crimes," said Aimaina. "I had a visit two days ago
from two strangers-- mortal humans, but I know the god sent them. They rebuked me because it is
the Necessarian school that provided the pivotal votes in the Starways Congress to send the
Lusitania Fleet. A fleet whose sole purpose is to repeat the crime of Ender the Xenocide and
destroy a world that harbors a frail species of raman who do no harm to anyone!"
Yasujiro quailed under the weight of Aimaina's anger. "But master, what do I have to do with the
"Yamato philosophers taught the theory that Yamato politicians acted upon. Japanese votes made
the difference. This evil fleet must be stopped."
"Nothing can be stopped today," said Yasujiro. "The ansibles are all shut down, as are all the
computer networks while the terrible all-eating virus is expelled from the system."
"Tomorrow the ansibles will come back again," said Aimaina. "And so tomorrow the shame of
Japanese participation in xenocide must be averted."
"Why do you come to me?" said Yasujiro. "I may bear the name of my great ancestor, but half the
boys in my family are named Yasujiro or Yoshiaki or Seiji. I am master of the Tsutsurni holdings
"Don't be modest. You are the Tsutsumi of the world of Divine Wind."
"I am listened to in other cities," said Yasujiro, "but the orders come from the family center on
Honshu. And I have no political influence at all. If the problem is the Necessarians, talk to them!"
Aimaina sighed. "Oh, that would do no good. They would spend six months arguing about how to
reconcile their new position with their old position, proving that they had not changed their minds
after all, that their philosophy embraced the full 180-degree shift. And the politicians-- they are
committed. Even if the philosophers change their minds, it would be at least a political generation--
three elections, the saying goes-- before the new policy would be in effect. Thirty years! The
Lusitania Fleet will have done all its evil before then."
"Then what is there to do but despair and live in shame?" asked Yasujiro. "Unless you're planning
some futile and stupid gesture." He grinned at his master, knowing that Aimaina would recognize
the words he himself always used when denigrating the ancient practice of seppuku, ritual suicide,
as something the Yamato spirit had left behind as a child leaves its diapers.
Aimaina did not laugh. "The Lusitania Fleet is seppuku for the Yamato spirit." He came and stood
looming over Yasujiro-- or so it felt, though Yasujiro was taller than the old man by half a head.
"The politicians have made the Lusitania Fleet popular, so the philosophers cannot now change
their minds. But when philosophy and elections cannot change the minds of politicians, money
"You are not suggesting something so shameful as bribery, are you?" said Yasujiro, wondering as
he said it whether Aimaina knew how widespread the buying of politicians was.
"Do you think I keep my eyes in my anus?" asked Aimaina, using an expression so crude that
Yasujiro gasped and averted his gaze, laughing nervously. "Do you think I don't know that there are
ten ways to buy every crooked politician and a hundred ways to buy every honest one?
Contributions, threats of sponsoring opponents, donations to noble causes, jobs given to relatives or
friends-- do I have to recite the list?"
"You seriously want Tsutsumi money committed to stopping the Lusitania Fleet?"
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