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.
"Father, if Nelen Utopia agrees, I would like to ask your permission to see if he can do anything for any of the remaining Zhenlong Chess Pieces."
"...You have permission."
"A victim of a forbidden technique for which Taxian-jun was infamous. Those affected lose all personal agency and sense of self and fall completely under the control of the person using the technique."
"I think it would be interesting to know how your healing interacts with purely magical ailments. Of which not very many people are afflicted per capita, but they can be disproportionately disastrous."
"...It isn't getting worse. If you'd rather not interrupt this conversation it isn't necessary."
"I suspect that if you can't do anything for them then the problem is just that they're functionally dead. But it's not impossible."
"They're mostly used to guard particularly sensitive locations--follow me," she says, gesturing.
She brings them to a door that two figures are standing in front of.
The two figures are blank-faced in a way that speaks of excellent autonomic control and nobody whatsoever home. They're wearing uniforms different from the ones the ordinary guards were wearing, all in black.
"I'm going to call that a promising result, under the circumstances."
"I mean, he could, probably, but we don't have a great place to...put him...that wouldn't make him interact with Father, which, uh, wouldn't be fair to him."
"You know what, that's fair, it's the kind of situation that bears explaining. Given that your role is Ambassador rather than, uh, atrocity relief, do you want to--call someone else in to handle the rest of them, table talks until the rest are done, table doing the rest until talks have progressed--also could you tap my mother at some point, it's considerably less urgent but my mother did, also, sustain a significant magical injury while Father was being mind-controlled."
"Thank you. I thought it was very promising when you reacted well to the implication that meeting powerful strangers was not more important than comforting an upset child, but you have nonetheless far outstripped my expectations."
"...my species likes babies more than most," he says a little sheepishly. He takes a picture of where they are, and presently a float healer - she's naked, but covered by a moving illusion of millet stalks that obscure her torso - appears. "Millie, hi, this place has some people who are in a sort of catatonia and need a poke and a ride to Lórien, possibly not in that order."
"Okay, where are they at?" Millie asks.