Oct 28, 2021 11:21 AM
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"I can, huh? If you don't want to do it together I'll try that on the way to the payphone and save some time." She is moderately suspicious about this but willing to work with them.

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"I don't know how!"

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She just stares for a moment, having never before considered the possibility of a nondisabled adult simply not knowing how to pray. "...Oh."

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"And even if I knew how from home, I don't know how it's done here. It's different in different places, at home."

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"...I'm not totally sure if teaching you is a higher priority than getting you home but my guess is that it is, and it shouldn't take long if you want to take a minute to learn now?"

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"...sure, I guess that sounds fine."

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"The thing you do is contemplate... you're not going to be able to reach a specific person without having ever heard anything about them, so just contemplate that which loves everyone, and how it loves you, and anywhere your values are the same or any ways you want to be more like that. And if you notice it watching you back, try contemplating your problems and how solving them would affect your ability to achieve any goals you share with that which loves everyone. Some people, uh, personify it, which isn't wrong of them but... eh, it's complicated and that part doesn't matter too much to what we're doing here."

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"Huh. Okay."

She sits in a meditative posture, glances worriedly at San Niang, and attempts this. At her best Xie Lian - well, 'loves everyone' is a bit strong, but wants the best for everyone, wants to find the good in everyone. ...except Bai Wuxiang but that's not even actually a person, and at any rate one exception is still pretty close. She is trying to get help from a... divine thing of some kind, which loves everyone, which reportedly includes Xie Lian even though she was not in this universe a minute ago. Though this is also true of babies and anything that loves everyone probably loves babies, that's not even hard. Anyway she does not want San Niang to starve, San Niang is her friend and also is already having some kind of problem related to how they got here and should instead be okay.

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There is something there, or maybe there's someone there. It feels too big to be someone, like if all the people she'd met were blades of grass or individual leaves and this is an entire tree. It doesn't, or they don't, start listening; that is the sort of thing that entities need to do if they are ever anything less than perfectly aware of everything. It's hard to perceive much of whatever or whoever this is; no human has enough attention to see more than a tiny fraction at once. Most people who've seen it say it's beautiful; some people say it's entrancing, that it draws them in, that just to catch a glimpse of it is one of the best experiences they've ever had.

At any rate, Xie Lian is loved. Not in a way that involves anyone feeling anything recognizable as affection, but she feels just a little less tired and run-down, and this - whatever - is capable of having her back. Wanting the best for everyone and wanting to find the good in everyone seem a little easier, as if it's marginally less tempting to be petty, as if it'd take marginally less effort to not give up on someone.

Death is always avoidable in this world. The entity does not think San Niang needs to worry about it, or that people need to worry about it on San Niang's behalf. ...That might be more reassuring if it were clear the entity ever did think anything a human might recognize as a thought, or endorse anything a human might describe as worry.

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"Oh, that's neat," says Xie Lian, "uh, it doesn't think we need to worry but I'm not sure what it would have had to say about it if we did need to worry."

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"You get more concrete sense and more... recognition that you might want to talk about counterfactuals or generalities... out of angels and saints, especially saints, but they all take longer to sum up well enough to reach them."

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"All right. Thank you for teaching me."

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"Of course, you're welcome. Is the plan still to try the ship and plane people next?"

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"What would those people be doing, precisely?"

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