It was several passages before Lu Mīn was well enough to leave his dwelling. When he did, he was surprised to see the young Na-Shime who had confessed waiting before his dwelling.

—He has been there since his punishment.—said Lu Mīn’s Na-Shime.—he has not left to rest, nor has he taken any food or drink. You must convince him to leave.—

Lu Mīn looked directly as the young Na-Shime, who lifted his head and made as if to rise. 

—Here I am—said Lu Mīn.—what have you to say?—

The young Na-Shime stuttered, but his dry mouth prevented any speech. 

Lu Mīn noticing this, went into the dwelling and returned with a sweet drink made from the Lai-se fruit. 

The young Na-Shime accepted it. Then repeated his words.

—Lu Mīn, I want to ask your forgiveness.— 

—There is no need.—replied Lu Mīn.

But the young Na-Shime was not finished.

—…and as payment for wronging you, pledge myself to the task of your protection.—

Lu Mīn smiled at this. 

—And who will protect you? I may be blown around like a Ki-mera leaf in a storm.— 

The leaf may be battered, 

but it lands


Yet the Rock, which stands still 

Is slowly worn

Till it is nothing but dust

 —You see as no other person has seen.—replied the young Na-Shime.—therefore let me be blown like a leaf, beside you.—

—You know not what you are saying.—said Lu Mīn.—but you may do as you think best.—

That was the beginning of the friendship between Lu Mīn and the young Na-Shime, who from that passage onwards was known as Dun fi. 

[5] Dun fi followed Lu Mīn everywhere he went. He only returned to his own dwelling to rest, and only then after Lu Mīn went to sleep, which continued to be very early and for very long periods. This caused Dun fi’s Na-Shizu much anxiety, especially when Dun fi stopped going to his dwelling at all, the better to devote himself to his task. 

Lu Mīn’s Na-Shizu learned to accept Dun fi’s behaviour as irreversible, and insisted that Dun fi enter their dwelling to rest, where he began to eat and drink like he was Lu Mīn’s blood-Shime . 

The two rarely spoke. During the long periods of silence, when Lu Mīn was devoted to his studying of Signs, Dun fi continued to devote himself to the practice of the War Arts. 

The two progressed through the Schools, which was the only time that they would be separated. These separations caused Dun-fi great anxiety. 

Lu Mīn did very little to encourage this devotion. He was entirely absorbed in his own reflections. Sometimes he seemed to be focusing on objects around him, other times he would close his eyes muttering a phrase under his breath, and other times he would record signs on heng paper  

Dun fi could not recognize signs well, so when he looked at Lu Mīn’s work, it made little sense to him. The few things he did understand impressed him greatly. 

Lu Mīn’s Na-Shime, however, found the work increasingly distressing. 

—What nonsense is this?—he said to Lu Mīn.—You refer to Signs that you see in the air around you…but no other being seems aware of them. There is nothing said about these Signs by the Authorities. You must clear your mind of this nonsense, and prepare yourself for your place in the community.—

Lu Mīn listened to his Na-Shime, then spoke these words: 

Your words strike truth

They land with a slap

For all I have produced or wish to produce 

Is nonsense

Therefore I will listen to Your words

And stop. 

Lu Mīn never again touched an inscriber or heng paper again. 

He also stopped attending the School of Signs. Instead he went into wild places, away from the common pathways. 

Lu Mīn did not do much in the wooded places. He did not hunt animals, or find flowing water to look for Waachi. He did not climb the trees or pick the wild Lai-se and other fruits good to eat. Lu Mīn simply stared, sometimes standing and other times in the position open to Go-na. 

Dun fi accompanied him into these places, eyes wide with fear at what may be hiding there, and the consequences for not attending the Schools. But he dared not speak and continued practicing the War Arts alone a short distance away from Lu Mīn. 

On the fifth passage, the two received a visitor. It was the Elder who had given Lu Mīn lessons. 

—Young one—he said.—It is good that I have found you here. You have been missing in the School of Signs. They are looking for you.—

Lu Mīn opened his eyes at this and looked at the Elder, but said nothing and resumed his pose. 

—Listen young one—continued the Elder.—This will not do. You must follow the right path of preparation. You will be a dull blade indeed if you do not get sharpened by the Schools. And it is my solemn view that there was not one so capable of being sharpened. Greatness and a high station waits for you. Perhaps you will become a Gokhan.—

Lu Mīn spoke then.

Blessed Elder

It was your training 

That enabled me to See

Can you not? 

If you can

Then it appears to me

That there is nothing else worth looking at

If you cannot 

Then what was my preparation for?

The Elder replied.

—Young one. I do see the Signs. I too have studied them. I know their power, better than you. But learning to see is only the first step, one must learn also Not Seeing, or we would waste away and turn to madness. For the Signs are always with us.—

Lu Mīn’s face lit as if with flames, such appeared his shame. But then Lu Mīn turned the deep shade of the Lai-se fruit, and disappeared. 

Dun fi yelled in shock, looking all around him in a panic, and adopted a combat stance. Then he spoke with fear.

—What has happened, Blessed Elder?—

The Elder stood silent for a long time, then responded.

—Lu Mīn has learned to use the Signs. He surpasses every known Reader and Interpreter that I have ever heard of, even Zan-Ta-Qien. —

—Does that mean he comes back?—

—If he wishes. Only then.—

Lu Mīn did return, the way he had left, as if out of the air. 

Hi eyes glowed with what he had seen and experienced. He smiled and looked at the Elder. 

—Young one, I have fallen into error.—the Elder began—You are already so sharp, you can cut through reality. You must go where you want and do what you will.—

Lu Mīn responded:

Blessed Elder 

I did not know how close to the Signs 

We are

They are so close 

Seeing becomes Acting

It is clear to me now:

There is the Way,

Only the Way

And I must follow it.

Lu Mīn then turned to Dun fi:

The passage arrives

The leaves must scatter

With that he turned to walk deeper into the wilderness. He raised his hand in farewell but did not look back.

Dun fi stood for a moment with indecision. He looked at the Elder, towards Lu Mīn, and back to the Elder, and then into the distances, deeper into the wild places, and back towards the community. 

—The choice is yours—the Elder spoke softly.

Silently Dun fi nodded, and turned to follow Lu Mīn.

Continue reading The Life of Lu-Min - Part 5