Eragon and Oromis practice swordplay, and while trying to exploit his teacher’s momentary weakness Eragon has another attack of his back pain. When it subsides, Oromis sends him back to the stump in the forest where he meditated and listened to the ants. When Eragon is finally able to quiet his mind, he learns more about the ants and also tries again to be aware of the life in the forest as a whole.
Eragon asks why this exercise is important, and Oromis leads him to the answer that it will prepare him to be aware of other magicians in the area who might cast spells to harm him. Eragon objects that this general consciousness invades people’s privacy, and Oromis agrees but claims that the price is worth paying. He goes on to lead Eragon to the conclusion that the most important mental skill is logic and that logic must be learned through debating. To begin this training, he asks Eragon to justify the destruction that his war on Galbatorix will bring on innocent people, a question Eragon can’t answer.