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Jun 28, 2022 6:31 PM
vanda nosseo meets the jianghu
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"It's powered by electricity! A lot of the nonmagical things are electrical. It'll run out of stored electricity eventually but you'll be able to use it for years before that happens and I can give you a spare battery no extra charge," Ligaya says. "Do you like it?"

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"I think I prefer the painted kind," he says.

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"I can special-order some," says Tuturio. Ligaya reboxes the little fan and they (with help from Escan's golems and pets) start assembling displays of their wares.

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"I also heard about contraceptives?"

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"Mm-hm!" says Ligaya, opening a different box and coming up with a little golden ring. "That's these - also available in different form factors, and there's nonmagical stuff that works on ordinary humans but I can't guarantee it'd work on cultivators, I don't know yet how different you are from standard nonmagical humans, so this is what I'd recommend."

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Fuck. "...do you have to wear it all the time or only during sex?"

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"During sex will do it, as long as you remember to put it on every time."

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...so much for marriage. Maybe they come in "invisible." He can afford-- he can't afford that because the immortals are going to make all of the Nie wealth valueless. Maybe they'll like his stories.

"Can I trade you a song for that? Bastards are so inconvenient, you know." 

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"Sure!"

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He sings. 

He has an beautiful voice: clear, sweet, obviously professionally trained. It is somewhat of a contrast with the lewd folk song he has chosen to use to demonstrate this capacity. 

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Ligaya applauds lightly when he's done and hands over the ring. "You might sing well enough to use Elf song spells! You have to be really good for those but some humans can manage it."

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"Most cultivators have at least some musical training, musical cultivation is powerful." (For example, it can murder people.) 

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"Then maybe the songs'll be popular here - they've got them for crop growth, and lie detection, and healing... not the strongest healing spell in circulation but much less tightly regulated."

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"Why are the other ones regulated?"

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"The underlying magic systems you have to learn to use them are more dangerous."

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"Oh, well, I certainly don't want to do anything dangerous. --Thank you for the ring. I definitely do not want any little Nie babies showing up and spitting up on me and producing fluids." 

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"No problem! You can put it on your toe if you don't want it conspicuous for some reason."

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"I guess bastards are better than legitimate children, you only have to talk to them once they've stopped the part where they vomit and won't stop crying."

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"You shouldn't have any children you don't want," Ligaya says.

Tuturio nods firmly and adds, "There are lots of people who want babies out there, nobody who doesn't want them needs to worry about it."

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"Oh, well, you need to produce an heir for your clan whether you like it or not. --Not that any of the major clans are doing that but, in principle."

(The idiot gossipy chief cultivator sneaking the immortals from the stars important information about the political situation? Never.)

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"Things change," says Ligaya, "I wouldn't be in a hurry if I were you."

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This is an advantage of being an idiot; people will admit things to you they'd never admit to someone who seemed like they knew what they were doing. For example, that they were planning to overthrow the entire structure of your society.

"Oh, we just want you to have laws against rape" his ass.

Without letting on that he'd noticed, Nie Huaisang says, "Fortunately, no one is. Sect Leader Jin is in no rush at all to be married"-- actually he is having a very good time with Lan Jingyi but Nie Huaisang is going to hold back that little nugget--"Sect Leader Jiang has been banned from every matchmaker, and Sect Leader Lan--" If Nie Huaisang were from the American South several centuries later he would have said "bless his heart." As it is, he leans back and tchs. 

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"Places that like to go on having a hereditary aristocracy usually find the heirs thing is less urgent when they can be immortal," Ligaya says. "That costs serious money, we can't hand it out for a song, but it's on offer - it's cheaper to go to Cube and morph younger, but that doesn't work for everybody's details, in particular I don't know how it'd interact with cultivation."

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Subtext: well, most of the jianghu won't be able to afford it. You're so poor and you have so little face that we can afford to give you artifacts cultivators would have given their lives, or rather their juniors' lives, for in exchange for literally a song. But if you help us we can make arrangements. 

Well, consider him bribed. 

"You can cultivate to immortality, although if you're anywhere close you're unlikely to be very interested in politics. The immortals either wander the earth doing good or meditate on remote mountaintops. So it should be possible at least, although I certainly hope your immortality leaves the immortal with more interest in-- the finer pleasures." He opens and flutters his fan. "Speaking of, may I try some of your alien food, in exchange for gossip over the meal?"

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"Our immortality doesn't make people uninterested in politics or food or anything," laughs Ligaya, and she pulls out a little countertop cooker thing and empties a packet of Amentan picklepot into it to heat up.

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