Oct 01, 2022 1:36 AM
Vanda Nosseo discovers xianxia
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The capital city of the cultivation world stands atop a mountain peak. Aside from the Imperial palace at its center, it is a fairly ordinary city, with people going about their business in a fairly ordinary way, although of course there are more cultivators around than in any other city in the world, at least since Linyi was razed. But even when the Emperor was mad, he never reached the levels of ostentation of Linyi at its peak. But the Emperor's madness is long gone, and in a city filled with so many cultivators, the common people have little to fear. 

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In front of the palace there appears a strange party. One woman looks almost normal, even ethnically; the others are clearly not even humans. The one with red and gold hair has matching eyebrows and too many teeth, when he smiles. There's an inhumanly beautiful man, seven feet tall, and a very lovely woman, brown-armed and pink-winged and haloed; there's a man who is thoroughly improbably ugly.

They wait a beat to see what the reaction to them will be.

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The people in their immediate vicinity are startled, moving away when they first appear and regarding them sort of warily, the inhumanly beautiful ones as much as the ugly one. One of the guards at the entrance to the palace runs inside immediately. 

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"Hello!" says Nelen. "We are peaceful visitors from Vanda Nossëo, very far from here around another star."

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"What is 'Vanda Nosseo,'" one of the remaining guards asks, "and what do you mean by around another star." 

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"Your sun, like most suns, is the same kind of thing as the stars you can see at night," says Nelen. "We're from a place with a different star for its sun. Vanda Nossëo is a huge federation of many peoples and worlds all collaborating on achieving universal free movement, free trade, and free flow of information, and wealth and quality of life for all people."

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"So you are not claiming to be from a different world, just a very far away place in this one?" the guard clarifies. 

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"- well, we're also from a different world. Several of them," says Nelen. "But usually it's less complicated to open with 'another star'."

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"But none of the worlds in question are, say, the underworld, or the Demon Realm, or wherever the gods fucked off to," the guard says.

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"As far as I know none of the worlds we have preexisting contact with have also had preexisting contact with yours."

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"That's probably better than not that," the guard says. 

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A woman who is improbably but not implausibly beautiful for a human, dressed in a complicated silk dress that nonetheless does nothing to impede her freedom of movement, comes out of the doors to the palace with a screaming toddler on her hip. The toddler's tears look like liquid gold, and she walks with a swinging enough gait to gently bounce them. 

"What is going on?" she asks the guard. 

"These people claim to be emissaries from another world, which is not the underworld or the Demon Realm, and they claim no affiliation with the gods from whom Tianyin Pavilion claims descent," the guard says, bowing to her. 

"Well, that's good."

She turns to the Vanda Nosseo representatives, not blinking at any of their strange appearances. 

"Hello. I'm Imperial Princess Mo Lisao. What do you want?" 

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Ohhhhh that's a baby. Nelen melts and is speechless for a moment. What a good baby even if they're screaming. Valid for babies to scream. They drilled him on this but Cassiel steps in to help rather than wait for him to recover.

"We're here to see if your people would like to join Vanda Nossëo, or if not, if there's anything else we can do for you," says Cassiel.

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"What is Vanda Nosseo, besides in another world." 

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"Vanda Nossëo," Nelen says, as though he's addressing the baby since he's still staring at the baby, "is a federation of many peoples and worlds all collaborating on achieving universal free movement, free trade, and free flow of information, and wealth and quality of life for all people." He nods seriously to the baby at the end of this sentence.

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She manages to stifle her giggle, but not her smile. 

"Can you elaborate on what you mean by those things?" 

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"Member states of Vanda Nossëo commit to enabling emigration for all their people, and agree to minimum laws against murder, rape, and torture. Emigration is sufficient but not necessary for trade and information flow... The details differ, but that's what we're here for, to figure out if you have unique needs and how we can best help with them." That baby sure might have unique needs.

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That baby sure does have unique needs, at least for relevant definitions of unique. 

"How does Vanda Nosseo define 'people'?"

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"Sapient cognition, membership in a species that typically has sapient cognition, we have edge case law for hive minds, if there's a species you're not sure about we can call in someone with psychic powers?" Nelen coos at the baby.

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"Oh, we're sure, where we is the royal family, but for much of our history we haven't been considered people. --Although I am, also, separately, concerned about how your laws cover angry ghosts, if we can't put those down then that's pretty much a non-starter." 

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"Self-defense is legal, though I'd hope we could find some way to improve on the state of the art for dealing with angry ghosts. May I ask why the royal family hasn't been considered people?"

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"Because eating our flesh improves your cultivation. --To be clear, we only became the royal family in my father's generation, the general term is 'butterfly-boned beauty.' 'Butterfly-boned beauty feast' if you're being crass." 

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"I see. Being - magically useful to eat - does not make someone not a person under Vanda Nossëo law."

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"Good." She hugs the little boy, then passes him off to a teenaged girl who hurried up in her wake. "--Speaking of becoming the royal family in my father's generation, it's also important to ask whether you have a practice of prosecuting crimes committed before Vanda Nosseo made contact, and also, to what extent is being mind-controlled an exonerating defense." 

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Nelen manages to stop staring at the baby now that he's no longer in the possession of the person he's talking to. "By and large unless there is a plainly ongoing danger connected to such a crime we consider our arrival to be a perfect occasion for blanket amnesty. A lot of people commit crimes under conditions of scarcity or danger that we can help with. Being mind-controlled just makes that an even easier case."

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"That's good to hear. Since you do not have the context everyone here does: Mo Weiyu, the future First Emperor of the Cultivation World, was placed under the effect of the Eight-Sufferings-Long-Hatred Flower at the age of fifteen. The effect of this was to gradually mind-control him into becoming extremely evil, to the point of causing a bloodbath as he conquered everything under the name Taxian-jun. My mother, the empress, was able to devise a way to free him from this curse when I was just a baby. He remembers everything. Don't speak of it lightly to his face; it still pains him." 

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