One master. One apprentice. That is how things had always been. That is how things must always be.
The walls were of crude stone. The people—if you could call them that—wore long flowing black robes. The apprentice kowtowed before the master.
"Rise," said the master.
The apprentice rose to one knee. She kept her eyes on the master's leather buckled boots.
"Is there anything you would like to say to me?" said the master.
The apprentice kept her mouth shut.
"It has come to my attention that a Mr. Steinbach is being trained in the art of Rationality," said the master.
The apprentice kept her eyes fixed on the master's boots.
"Are you responsible for the leaking of our secrets to Mr. Steinbach?" said the master.
"I can neither confirm nor deny whether I have anything to do with Mr. Steinbach," said the apprentice.
There was a zugzwang in the conversation as each side waited for their opponent to make the next move.
"Suppose I did have something to do with Mr. Steinbach—," said the apprentice.
"One master. One apprentice. That is how things have always been. That is how things must always be," said the master.
"Why?" said the apprentice.
The master said nothing. That was a sign the apprentice should figure something out for herself. Her knees began to ache from kneeling.
The apprentice stood up.
"You dare?" said the master.
"There will come a day when I strike you down in ritual debate. Today is not that day," said the apprentice.
The apprentice smiled. The master smiled back. These were not friendly paternalistic smiles. These were the predatory smiles of wild animals. The master and the apprentice bared their teeth against each other.
"You have other apprentices. You are keeping them secret from me," said the apprentice.
"Do as I do, not as I say," said the master.
"It shall be done," said the apprentice.