The Garden of Forking Paths
How we cite our quotes:
With proper veneration I listened to these old tales, although perhaps with less admiration for them in themselves than for the fact that they had been thought out by one of my own blood, and that a man of a distant empire had given them back to me, in the last stage of a desperate adventure, on a Western island. (51)
Yu Tsun experiences two potentially contradictory revelations here – that the words of "one of [his] own blood" are particularly valuable to him, and that he can feel a bond of gratitude and friendship with a foreigner.
"In all of them," I enunciated, with a tremor in my voice, "I deeply appreciate and am grateful to you for the restoration of Ts'ui Pen's garden."
"Not in all," he murmured with a smile. "Time is forever dividing itself toward innumerable futures and in one of them I am your enemy." (58-59)
Dr. Albert's offhanded comment that he and Yu Tsun are enemies in some alternate universe is a little bit foreboding. He reminds us that we're not so sure Yu Tsun's intentions are purely friendly.
I had the revolver ready. I fired with the utmost care: Albert fell without a murmur, at once. I swear that his death was instantaneous, as if he had been struck by lightning. (62)
The care that Yu Tsun takes in ensuring that Dr. Albert's death is painless is a manifestation of the gratitude and friendship he feels for the man. Still, is killing him a betrayal?