Si Wang-mu was a very intelligent and ambitious girl, but because her homeworld of Path had a rigidly stratified social hierarchy and she was the child of lower-class parents, she was not well educated.
She approached the young Godspoken lady Han Qing-jao while they were doing "righteous labor" in the rice paddies. Qing-jao was pleased with Wang-mu's intelligence and honesty, and hired her into the House of Han as her servant and began to educate her. During this initial conversation, Qing-jao deduced that Wang-mu must have bribed the foreman for the opportunity to work alongside a godspoken woman, though she only later realized the depth of this commitment. Since Wang-mu was from a poor family, she could only exchange sexual favors for the opportunity; this realization made Qing-jao more grateful for Wang-mu and determined to have the foreman fired for such impropriety.
Under Qing-jao's tutelage, Wang-mu proved to be a quick student. As the "secret maid" of Qing-jao, it was her job to always be at her mistress' side, keeping her confidence while serving her needs. Though their relationship was at times strained, Wang-mu's consistent attention to detail and consideration often turned away any of her potential offenses. As Qing-jao was continuously gripped by the voice of the "gods", Wang-mu often stayed with her throughout her humiliating rituals of "purification."
When Han Fei-tzu received orders from Starways Congress to solve the mystery of the disappearance of the Lusitania Fleet, Wang-mu was present and immediately incorporated into the discussion. Qing-jao trusted her implicitly and relied on her more as a friend with a fresh set of eyes rather than a simple maid, and the two often discussed the problems of science and philosophy arising out of their task. While Qing-jao was an excellent and methodical researcher, it was often Wang-mu's insights and creative thinking that steered closer toward the answer.
Eventually, the two stumbled onto the eventual identity of the elusive Demosthenes and realized that the famous writer must have had access to a powerful or sentient computer program to accomplish the task of hiding the fleet while in near-light speed travel. Jane, in turn, revealed herself to Han Fei-tzu, Qing-jao, and Wang-mu, followed by a devastating secret: the Godspoken had been genetically modified by Congress as a deliberate strategy to make them useful but not a threat.
While Han Fei-tzu immediately seized the truth of this idea, his daughter Qing-jao could not accept this and believed that Jane must be destroyed, but Wang-mu saw Jane as an intelligent and compassionate person and was greatly saddened at the thought of her death. Moreover, she clung to the possibility that ridding the people of Path from the "godspoken" genetic markers may free her adopted family from its humiliating grip. Qing-jao, still believing the OCD to be the voice of the gods, dismissed Wang-mu from her service, but her father, Han Fei-tzu, called her back to help save Jane and the people of Lusitania.
Working closely with Han Fei-tzu, the pair began working with the Xenobiologists of Lusitania to solve the various problems confronting them: stopping the Lusitania Fleet from destroying the planet on their arrival, finding a cure or replacement for the Descolada, and cracking the secret to faster-than-light travel. As before with Qing-jao, Wang-mu acted as the fresh set of eyes for Han Fei-tzu, providing insight and intuitive guesses that only someone who was not a disciplined expert could offer.
It was eventually discovered that all but one of the people in the small sample testing of members of Han's household gifted with enhanced intelligence were also afflicted with an artificially inflicted form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). That one person was Si Wang-mu herself, and her genes were used to help cure the remainder of Path's population - to give them all intelligence without the bonds of the OCD. Han Fei-tzu commented that she was essentially living up to her namesake, since her genetic pattern will be the "mother" of the unfettered new strain used to cure the godspoken.
Peter Wiggin II arrived on Path from Lusitania to deliver the virus, via Jane's faster-than-light travel. Upon seeing Wang-mu, he suggested that she come with him to overthrow Starways Congress. At first Wang-mu was unsure, but Han Fei-tzu convinced her to leave her home planet behind and go with Peter.
Children of the Mind
Along with Peter Wiggin II, the two adopted the singular mission of convincing Starways Congress to halt their attack on Lusitania. To do this, they embarked on a series of investigations and debates to pull an influential swing vote to their favor. According to Peter, the center of power in Congress was not held in the hands of politicians and soldiers, but rather several key philosophical leaders who had the tendency to influence policy. To this effect, Wang-mu posed as an itinerant philosopher specializing in cryptic "gnomic" sayings--presumably a position of great influence for someone of her age. Peter posed as a traveling physicist so that the two, working together, would draw more attention to their combined arguments representing both science and philosophy, respectively.
Traveling with Peter was quick, thanks to Jane's ability to move them at faster-than-light speeds; however, the two developed an immediate dislike for one another, which eventually became a love-hate relationship. Since Peter was created by Andrew Wiggin to be a vessel for self-hatred, he had a tendency to lash out at the people around him, initially turning Wang-mu into his most frequent target. After shedding her trained humility and servile attitude from the world of Path, Wang-mu began returning the favor, fighting verbal sparring matches that exchanged hurtful remarks, though the two eventually formed a grudging respect.
They were first sent to the planet of Divine Wind to probe the questions of imperialism with Aimaina Hikari. When Peter failed to connect with the withdrawn social figure, due mainly to a lack of cultural context, Wang-mu engaged him in a duel of humility to win his respect. While the two failed to persuade him to their cause, they in turn found out that he was a disciple of a Samoan holy man: Malu. Jane revealed that this was actually their mission all along, as Malu was the guiding light of modern philosophy. Since Aimaina contacted Grace Drinker first, the two traveled to the planet Pacifica in an effort to contact him through her.
Once they arrived, it was immediately apparent to both Grace and her family that Peter and Wang-mu had achieved the impossible and traveled faster than light. After a series of additional cultural blunders, Grace revealed that the two were not holy enough to go see Malu, but that in a compromise, Malu had decided to see them.
After listening to Malu at length, lightyears away on Lusitania, Andrew Wiggin began dying, causing the extensions of his Aiúa (Peter II and Valentine Wiggin II) to fluctuate. As Peter started to fade into death on Pacifica, he underwent an intense personal transformation, and Wang-mu began to realize that a deeper connection had formed between the two. As Peter slipped in and out of alternating states of death and waking, she became an emotional--and more importantly, spiritual--anchor for him that allowed him to draw the complete life source out of the dying Andrew. Having taken full possession of the life force that was once divided in three bodies, the fully reborn Peter lost much of his acerbic nature, and the depth of his feelings for Wang-mu were now open and shared. The two forged a metaphysical bond during the process that caused the two to fall deeply in love.
Once Peter was made whole by being in full possession of Andrew's Aiúa, the pair traveled directly to the Lusitania Fleet to confront Admiral Bobby Lands. Though Lands had already launched the Molecular Disruption Device, Peter convinced Jane to transport it back to the flagship so the other officers could disarm it. Once Peter and Si Wang-mu delivered a series of messages for Starways Congress, they transported themselves back to Lusitania where Wang-mu met Novinha and her children, Valentine Wiggin, and the other inhabitants of the planet.
Once there, she attempted to form a bond with Quara Ribeira, the most isolated and confrontational of Novinha's children with somewhat greater success than the others; Wang-mu further determined to strengthen this progress until the two of them could openly be friends.
She eventually married Peter at the roots of a Pequenino Mothertree in a dual ceremony with Miro Ribeira and Jane shortly after Andrew's funeral. Having earlier expressed a desire to travel to the known colonized planets, the four disappeared as Jane transported them away for their travels.
- Si Wang-mu'sAncestor-of-the-heart (namesake) was the Chinese goddess Xi Wangmu - the Royal Mother of the West.