Canto 42 – The Dancing Doll
After three days of Ged’s attempts at teaching, Shu Kwai was still kneeling stark naked in the practice grounds. He refused to accept any clothing he felt he had not earned. Ged quietly shook his head in despair. Junior Aero and Sarah Smith each had a linen robe with the White Spider symbol stitched into it. They also had tabai boots for their feet, cloth footwear with the big toe tied off for climbing and sure footholds. The two of them worked together with their telepathy to absorb the thoughts of their sensei. Shu Kwai would only stubbornly continue to struggle.
“What is it about the inner eye that you can’t get, Shu-sama?” Ged asked.
“I apologize, Aero-sensei, I do not see the pictures in my mind that you suggest. What do they look like to you?”
“I suppose the problem is that all Psions do not use the same inner eye to focus their power.”
“How do you mean, honored one?”
“I mean, I see molecules. I can read DNA strings with my inner eye. If I have eaten the meat, I can call up the proper shapes and spirals to make the creature. I can focus my power and shift my own DNA molecules in every cell of my body. I don’t know how I know this, or can do this, but the power wells up in me like a cup that fills itself.”
Shu Kwai’s face showed stern concentration. As the boy knelt there, quivering in the cool breeze, he continued trying with all his youthful might.
“Please, Master Ged, let me help,” said Sara, large eyes pooling with liquid sympathy for Shu’s dilemma.
“All right,please, Sara-san.”
“Shu-bozu, it is true that we all see the inner eye in different ways. Mine is like Ged-sensei’s vision. I can see molecules and DNA. I can rearrange the flow of power in the minds of others to effect healing. I have seen into Junior’s mind as well. His is different. He sees circuits and electrical links. He can trace the patterns in a human mind as I can, or in a computer mind, as I cannot.”
“So, what does my mind, my eye, look like?” asked Shu Kwai, looking with puzzled eyes into Sara’s face.
“Can I take a look?”
Sara reached over to Shu with a tender hand and touched his temple. Shu cracked a smile as her beautiful essence flooded into his head.
“Your inner eye sees motion. Flickering motions. Energy paths of movement.”
Shu nodded with his eyes closed. “I see it. It is just like chi.”
“Spirit force, yes,” said Ged, finally realizing where he had gone wrong. “Girl! Come here!” He motioned to a girl attendant who waited beside the practice field for just such an order. “Girl, we need a loose-jointed doll or a puppet. Can you fetch one for me?”
“Yes, Ged Aero-dono!” she said in breathless awe.
In minutes the girl had returned with a small wooden marionette from the Akito House, smiling and well-pleased that she had been honored to do this service for the White Spider’s special school. Ged took the doll and gratefully patted her powdered cheek.
“Picture this doll in your mind’s eye, Shu Kwai.” Ged sat the doll on the grass. “Picture it rising to its feet. Make it do something.”
As Shu Kwai concentrated, the doll stood up and bowed to Master Ged. Then it slowly began an undulating dance. The dance got wilder and happier as Shu Kwai began to feel his success. Finally, it ended with a flourish and a bow.
“Clever boy!” said Ged, feeling warm inside for the first time all day. “Let me give you a robe!”
“No, Sensei. I made only a first step. Give me a loin cover only. I must work harder still.”
“As your teacher, I say you accomplished at least two steps today. You learned to focus the inner eye, and you learned not only from me but from your classmate Sara. That is worth a robe, surely.”
“You are anxious to cover me in cloth, Sensei. If I may choose, I would rather have the tabai boots like Sara and Junior.”
“Very well,” said Ged with a smile. “You are determined to remain a naked barbarian. But I respect you very much as a student, Shu Kwai. Your victories make me proud.”