Across the Barrier, On-going Stories, Short Story

Across the Barrier Chapter Two

I burst out of the surface of the water. At my first gulp of air, I swallow a little water as a wave crashes on top of me. I propel myself back to the surface, but a hand grabs my ankle.

Dragging me through the murky water, the bubbles blurring my vision.

When it finally let’s go, I’m left floating in bubble residue.

Relax little one, or you’ll put yourself back to eternal sleep.  

I try to speak, but all I do is gargle salty water. I hear the mermaid elf’s chimes. She is laughing, but as the bubbles clear I see a naked old woman in her place.

I cover my eyes immediately and immediately hear the chimes, the naked old lady is the one laughing.

It is I, the one you call mermaid elf. I’ve transformed myself into my human form. Ack, I can still feel all my aching bones and muscles in the water.

I peek through my fingers, and the old lady wiggles her fingers my way. I notice she has the same catfish whiskers as the mermaid elf.

Comforts me to feel them. I do not like being in my human form. Bad history.  

How is she talking to me?

 In your head, of course, come on, let’s go up to the surface here. Earlier you would have been smashed against the rocks.

I look around, but I see no way we were anywhere near land. It was endless water on all sides. Returning back to the older lady whiskers to find she’s gone.

A hand grabs my shoulder from above and lifts me up through the water.

I break through the surface and get lifted through the air by a large dark skinned man. He holds me above his head, inspecting me.

‘I don’t see what is so special of this human boy. He is thin and fragile and looks like a seahorse. I could crush him into dust right now.’ The man squeezes my shoulder tightly, sure to leave a bruise or worse dislocate my shoulder, rendering me unable to swim. Bravo.

“Whoa, I only look small because you are enormous! Not fair to judge, don’t you think?’ I try to wiggle out of his grip, although looking down below me there is nothing but water.

Then I notice the man is standing on a transparent step that leads to a large round door the size of a cruise ship. It’s camouflaged against the sunset sky. We were surrounded by endless ocean at all corners except for a little island towards the east, not far away.

‘No point looking in that direction little Kampos, we are not going there, we are going in here.’ He carries me as he enters through the invincible doorway water lapping against his large log-like legs.

I am enormous and don’t you forget. If you hurt my mate, you are crushed into sand.

‘My love, stop scaring the boy. We need his help, try to be nice.’ The older lady had disappeared but is back, and this time she was dressed. Thankfully.

She is wrapped in a loose sheer white gown dusted with crystals that look like salt.

‘It’s not salt, it’s Stardust.’ The older lady pats her dress pleased with it.

‘It’s quite lovely; the Metiri women like to create them when the Astercentrum bursts. It leaves behind Stardust.’

I must be losing my mind. What the old lady was saying made no sense, and the fact I am dangling under the hold of a giant man as he walks through a crowded street in the middle of the ocean inside some kind of floating invincible city.

I think I died the second time, and I’m floating through the glass barrier lost forever.

All this had to be inspired by Luna, she did have an otherworldly look. Especially her glowing white hair and grey eyes that sometimes look silver. That makes sense. She always did inspire me. This city, not so realistic.

‘You are not dead little Kampos, you are in Metior, city of the fallen stars.’ The big man grins at me proudly like I should know what he was talking about.

The older woman pats my foot that is dangling dangerously close to her face.

Does that count as a danger to his mate?

They were somehow able to read my mind, the older lady moves a step away, and the man lifts me higher.

There was an advantage of being carried. Not like a baby mind you, more like a rat caught by the exterminator.

Metior City looks like the Egyptian and the Atlantean’s made babies and left them abandoned in the middle of the Ocean.

Everyone here was long but nimble and robust. Some had elongated ears like elf’s, just like the older woman. There were dark and light skinned folks with a few who had a mix of green and gold. Or maybe that was all makeup?

All the people look busy but happy. All protected under the invincible dome. Wouldn’t it be nice if Luna and I lived here? Get a little house on the edge far from other folks just enjoying the view of the ocean and sunset.

The man holding me starts chuckling.

I quickly erase it all and focus on my surroundings. Until I figure out what is happening. I’m supposed to be dead, but now I’m here. If this is a second chance to be with Luna. I will figure out a way to fly if I have too. I mean if this place exists. Surely I can fly.

The streets are clean; you could see the water streaming under the glass floors like jets of electricity.  There is another stream that intermingles with the water in its own current. It has a golden glow, like an endless stream of light. It’s intercrossing, a double network of energy. That must be what made the city work.

Some vehicles float inches from the ground, the golden light zigzagging across the top of the vehicles glass window, forming symbols like a code.

It’s all crazy, and it gets crazier.

We enter a large garden, and in the centre, I could see a large well where all the streams of light are flowing from.

Hooded figures surround the well chanting in a deep, haunting tune. Past the garden, we walk by buildings made of large crystal shards floating upwards in a cone-like formation.

The base looks like a massive fire was burning below the transparent floor. The entire base could fit four to five cars side by side.

As we move closer, I peek down and I see under the glass floor is a giant eye looking straight up at me. The pupil looking like a black hole. Symbols flash across its pupils and disappear. It follows us as we walk by it.

‘What is that?’ I point backwards, trying to look back over my shoulders.

‘That is Metior, Luna’s father.’

What?!

Second chances come with a price.

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fantasy, On-going Stories, The Faceless Queen, World Weavers

The Faceless Queen IX

A room away I could hear her crying. The sky must have felt her heart aching and had broken open, shedding gallons of tears into the Evergreen. The droplets slid down the crystals like they were tears streaming down her cheeks.

I groan rising off the bed, I go to the hot spring farther away from Kera.

I’ve sent out my men to find a willing sacrifice for a face, a high price in return would be given. A part of me hopes they find no one while the other fears if they don’t I would see my fathers ghost haunt me in the meeting with the other leaders.

Another voice whispers with Kera’s face in my mirror’s reflection. I shudder at the thought; Flora was a friend that once haunted my reflection. Months with her face looking back at me. The whispers in the hallways of the castle echoed with judgment, fear and worst of all, pity.

The doors of the hot spring open. It’s Kera with puffy eyes lost in her head.

I rise from the hot springs to go making her notice me. She stumbles backwards tripping over her nightgown.

“I’m sorry, I’ll go I thought you were asleep.”

“It’s fine, I am done.” I climb down the Hot spring steps fully naked. She turns her back to me.

“I’m sorry.” She mumbles.

“Sorry?” A little of the fury that wiped my face away earlier in the day unfurls inside me.

“As you say I am like the king of Uvelin, I’m sure I should steal your face this moment as punishment.”

I see her wince.

“You’re not like him. I’m just…” Kera begins to sob fighting it.

“I am a monster, there is nothing to be sorry for.” I move towards her slowly.

“I never hid it from you.”

She turns and hugs me. “I’m really sorry.”

She gazes up at me, and I could feel my power hungry to wipe her face away. To make it mine.

I struggle to free myself from her, but she holds me tighter.

“Let me go, I don’t want to hurt you.” But she won’t let go.

“I know you won’t do it.” She pleads.

A blaze spreads through my body enveloping both of us.

Something in my core begins to thread with hers like a gentle pulling and intertwining. Our souls were interweaving into something I have never done before.

I try to fight it afraid I’m killing her. I struggle fighting harder, but the more I pushed, the heavier the hold.

The fire burns out of our body making the whole hot spring room even more humid. The fire reflects upon the crystals in the trees making it look like it too was on fire.

Flashes of our memories intermingle in my mind.  Kera could see my childhood memories with Flora, my mother and father and my stepmother. While I could see her own, sitting on the floor crying in a corner with wires coming out of her ears.

A final tug and we both sink to the floor crying.

“Am I dead?” she looks around blinking plenty.

Relief spreads through me, I hadn’t killed her but what had happened?

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fantasy, On-going Stories, The Faceless Queen, World Weavers

The Faceless Queen Part II

Pity and guilt swirl in my belly but I ignore it. I look at all the girls and they were all afraid of me but hid it behind a face of loyalty. They were worthy of so much more.

I look back at Kera and she looks at me with pleading eyes as if she knew I was the faceless one.

She wraps her arms around her, “They keep doing that whenever I ask them. I can’t take it.” She moans, “They’re all brainwashed I know but it hurts to know their being treated this way like cattle to the slaughter.”

I left as soon as she fell asleep cuddled under warm thick blankets. I rushed to my father’s room that night and cried beside him.

Begging that I could not take another face again. So lost in a cloud of tears, that I had not noticed that my father was as blue as his royal robes.

My king was dead.

I ran away, the monster couldn’t be found with the King.

That night was when I truly began to hate myself; creating the excuse that due to my father’s death I had to continue taking faces. I told myself that my father would want me to have a face to rule Eydollon.

I sigh, staring at the spot where the girl had fallen, dead without a face.

I had never known what to do with Kera after that night, knowing she was an unwilling sacrifice.

I had other servants doing what was needed so I had made her my personal servant for I do have a heart although a selfish one.

Perhaps I liked her. A conscious I wished I would listen to.

Using my magic to renew my face took its toll but I use my abilities at times to listen to her thoughts and feelings.

I knew she yearned to go back to her quarters. She seemed to believe she was sent on a mission to save the girls. At first I thought she was a spy.

Until I had seen images in her mind of strange places I have not seen in Eydollon.

I had seen a jungle with tribal men and women living barely clothed, but there was also of a place in her mind that had objects made of metal that played images on its surface and doors that opened into lighted storage filled with food covered in colourful paper and words. I could not ask her about it for she had never spoken about it.

However she had called out a name, Misty, one night, but Misty never came.

Breaking out of my thought I beckon for Kera’s attention.

“Kera, do you read?” I ask.

She nods as her face reddens. “Look at me Kera,” I demand.

She raises her head and I see fire in her eyes and look down at her balled hands.

“You are mad, why?” 

“How can you ask that when you just killed someone moments ago!” She stomps.

I wince but hide it. I turn to my bookstand beside my table, which was littered with letters from the different lords of my kingdom. I would have to get started on replying those soon enough.

I pass her a book, it’s a story illustrated by the enchantress, my stepmother. It was a book about the Shinkami.

“Read this, you might find it interesting.”

She takes the book with a shaking hand.

“Thanks.” She grumbles.

I dismiss her, ignoring her outburst.

Could monsters have friends?

(Catch Part III of the Faceless Queen tomorrow!)

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fantasy, On-going Stories, World Weavers

The Faceless Queen Part I

The girl who entered my room was smiling, but it was the kind of smile that never reaches the eyes. The kind that twitches in the corner, when all you wanted to do was cry and run from the monster you could not see.

I was the monster in that room.

The girl comes closer and stands in front of me. Her body is shaking, my servant in the corner would not see it from a distance but I could. I stood there with my glistening golden hair flowing down my back in my royal midnight blue robes with a face that was fading at the edges.

The girl’s smile hardens, she was trying so hard to be willing, like all the other girls, always lying in their minds that this was for Eydollon.

“Thank you for your sacrifice,” I say as I cup her face in my hand.

A tear slides down her cheek, and I wipe it all away with a touch.

She falls to the ground, faceless and void of life.

No one could hear it but me, my father’s voice shouting with joy inside my head, beautiful daughter, so whole and bright!

While the voice of the enchantress whispers in reply, if you genuinely do not wish to do it, you would not. Only you can end it.

I tell myself that it was for my people, for Eydollon but deep in the hole inside my heart it was also because I was selfish.

I step away and move to the back of my room, to hide in the shadows of the candlelight.

The doors open and two of my men silently take the girls body away.

I sit at my desk and begin writing a response to a letter that has come from beyond Eydollon.

Eydollon was now my duty; my father moved on to the afterlife, and his wife, my stepmother, an enchantress has disappeared without a word.

The message had come from the Evergreen, a place in Seers Island where rulers from across the world convened.

It was to address a magical dark mist that wiped out a village in a breath. Homes had been charred, but no fire had been created, bodies ripped to shreds and those who survived succumbed to madness until death took them in a sickness that spread like tar through their veins and led them to explode into a black and red cloud, unrecognisable.

Where were its origins? Who had created it? It was a mystery.

I finish writing my response.

“Kera, ask the guards to pass this letter to the Evergreen emissary, ask him to send it by bird,”  I say as I press my father’s ring on the wax to seal the letter.

Kera, a brown-haired, brown-eyed girl takes the letter without glancing up at my new face. How could she?

I recall the moment I had met Kera.

I was tossed inside an elegant room with other young and beautiful women. I had been curious to meet the girls who would die for me.

 As prisoners, the women would have expected to be in the kind of dungeons other kings provided. Smelly dank cells with no food or beds but as the queen, I offered my prisoners with more than just a simple cot or grub, I gave them feasts, luxurious beds, I made them happy the best way I could repay them.

They all had been surprised and had feasted and slept well, but one did not.

It was Kera, and she was different from the other girls.

“Why do you not enjoy the pleasures provided to you?” I asked, she only frowned and played with her food.

“Don’t you want to enjoy it while you can. With your sacrifice, the Kingdom prospers!” As I said this, a girl at the table had overheard and laughed.

“She is not a willing sacrifice; she is an added surprise to please the faceless one.”

Before I could say a word and to my surprise, Kera had spoken up.

“No I am not supposed to be here, that I agree but what disgusts me the most is how you guys can be ok with what’s going to happen to you.”

All the girl’s eyes glaze over.

“I am willing, for the faceless one.” they chant tonelessly.

Pity and guilt swirl in my belly but I ignore it. I look at all the girls, and they were all afraid but hid it behind a face of loyalty. They were worthy of so much more.

I look back at Kera, and she looks at me with pleading eyes as if she knew I was the faceless one.

(Catch Part II of the Faceless Queen tomorrow!)

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fantasy, On-going Stories, The Moon that Never Sets

The Moon that Never Sets

Natalie could feel the sand crusting under her nails, but she knew it was a little bit farther down. The sand around her was slowly sliding down; nothing to worry about it was normal.

Today the sand was golden, she felt like she was digging in a treasure trove. Natalie laughs with glee. At that point, the sand under her knees begins to change into glass. Natalie has reached the bottom of the hole.

The glass is so smooth Natalie stumbles as she tries to sit up sending her tumbling back down making Natalie scream with joy.

“Hello there princess! It is quite lovely to see you again.” Beams a little glass boy.

“Kai! I’m oh so happy to see you! How have you been?”  Natalie hugs Kai carefully.

“I’ve been on an adventure, I’ve seen monstrous beasts eating majestic ships, mermaids singing men to sleep and little sea elf’s making glass necklaces. I got one for you.”

Kai holds out a colourful mass of sea glass strung into a necklace. Natalie gently took it from him, and her eyes glisten and sparkle with the glass.

“Oh, Kai, they are beautiful, all my friends in school would be oh so jealous of me! Thank you thank you!”

Kai beams at her praise. “How have you been little Princess?”

Natalie groans, “I’ve told you plenty, please don’t call me little, you make me sound like a baby! I’m sure I’m older than you.”

Kai laughs, “But you are so small!”

“Am not! Anyway, my father is off on another adventure and mother has followed. I would be free to roam our home again, and I was thinking of inviting you if you would like to come?”

Kai shakes his head, “I cannot leave the hole and the beach, and you know this for we have tried plenty. Those times were as painful as it will be if we try.”

Natalie sighs, “Yes I suppose, but it would have been impolite if I had not asked.”

Kai smiled, “Thank you for your invitation Princess, I am greatly honoured but I must politely decline. It is time anyway for a story! Would you like to hear it?”

Natalie nodded eagerly, “Is it about the monstrous beast swallowing ships whole?”

Kai shakes his head as he lies down on the golden sand, shimmering against the minuscule crystals in the sand making him look glittery.

“It is of a hero who saved people from a gigantic snake monster. It had fangs thick as a tree trunk and as sharp as a knight’s sword. It was the size of a mountain!”

Natalie slips beside Kai, lying down against him, he was warm from the heat of the sand. Kai was from another place, he guarded something special. He has told Natalie that he comes all the way from the moon’s heart. Although the moon was so far, she was amazed at how it made him feel warm. She loved his warmth; she found it comforting. It made her feel protected.

Natalie dozes off, and Kai watches her for a while then pats her head and dissolves into the glass beneath them. The glass floor shimmers away.

Natalie wakes up to an empty hole, she must have dozed of and Kai could only stay above for so long. She could hear the lapping waves in the distance and the yapping of dogs. Amongst it was the shouting of her name being called. It was time to go back to the big white empty house.

Natalie climbed out of the hole, sand was in every little crease of her dress and skin.

Squinting towards the voice calling her name, she sees Katrina, her face was red with heat, and her brow was scrunched with anger. Catching sight of Natalie Katrina waves her over urgently.

Natalie quickly walks over with her tiny legs, Katrina crosses her arm across her chest and watches Natalie, her brows scrunching even deeper creating more lines on her forehead.

Her lips thin as if she is trying to hold back something she wants to say but it doesn’t take long.

“Natalie Golding, how dare you?” Katrina demanded. Natalie scratches her arm and looks down at the sand.

“I’m sorry Katrina, I fell asleep and Kai didn’t wake me up,” Natalie explains rubbing sand off her dress guiltily.

Katrina harrumphed, “Come, you must get cleaned up quickly, Lord Bard has come to take you for a few weeks. Your father has asked him a favor. Your things have been packed, as always.”

A dark cloud forms around Natalie’s shoulders. A part of her wanted to scream and kick. See what happens if she let Katrina drag her home to Lord Bard.

Natalie was a daughter of a lord who was well renowned and respected by the aristocrats and the peasants equally. He was an explorer, and he has travelled all around the world.

Natalie’s home was filled with artifacts and stories and she loved them all, but what she longed for most was never at home. Her parents were constantly away. That is why she was not surprised Lord Bard was there to take her away again.

Natalie enters her home, walks past the doors to her parent’s private workrooms. It was where all the fragile artifacts and their shelves of journals were stored.

Natalie smiled at the memory when she had slipped in there once before. The artifacts seemed to come alive. The statue of a naked woman holding a baby had smiled at her. There was a giant metal rhino that had snorted at her and she had gotten scared. It was ten times her size but it had simply nuzzled her gently.

Her favorite would have been the crystal queen, she was beautiful and elegant; she had bowed at Natalie and she was the queen!

There were other sturdier artifacts around the house; there was the massive painting of mountains in the dining hall where there was a dragon breathing fire at the town’s people.

As well as the little trolls on different mantles across the home. Natalie had a feeling they moved around by themselves for they always seemed to be different trolls every time she looked.

There were old scrolls as well in the stairwell, scrolls with old writings but some had pictures of gods. There were beautiful lady gods in gowns that draped across their body, not fully covered. There were of men who seemed angry all the time.

Natalie cleans up quickly and is brought to a room where Lord Bard drank and spoke to a mysterious man.

“My Lord Bard, it is lovely to see you again.” Natalie greets with a curtsy.

Lord Bard was a tall, handsome man, he had a chiseled chin with a mustache Natalie liked to imagine to be the one talking and not Lord Bard himself for it moved an awful lot to be just hair on a face.

“My my, you’ve grown up so fast little lady! Had I not only seen you a few weeks back?” he asks taking into a big tight hug.

Natalie beams, “Yes Lord Bard, you let me ride one of your ships and it was marvelous! Are we going to do that again?”

Lord Bard laughs putting her down, “We will have to see, and I’ll try to find a way. For you Natalie, anything.”

He takes her hand and brings Natalie towards the mysterious man. “Come I would like you to meet Lord Marvik; he is also a Captain of his own ship. Just like your father. He has a young daughter just like you, and she is eager to meet you.”

Natalie curtsied, “Hello Lord Marvik, its nice to meet you.” Lord Marvik had a scar on his face, from his right cheek to his chin he would have looked scary, but he seems kind enough, smiling down at her and patting her head gently.

“Did you get that scar saving somebody Lord Marvik, is it a heroic tale?”

Lord Marvik chuckles, “You are a curious little one aren’t you, you and my daughter will get a long well. Perhaps Diana will tell you the story herself. She was the one I had to save.”

Natalie’s eyes grew round; “She was with you on your adventure?” Lord Marvik nods, “Yes, she and her mother.

Natalie feels a twinge, “That sounds lovely.” Envy swirling in her chest.

“I best get ready, are we going soon?”

Lord Bard has a sad look in his face; he nods and lets her go.

Lord Marvik looks at Lord Bard, “I assume, Francis and Genevieve do not take Natalie on their trips?”

Lord Bard sighs, “No, they are afraid she will get hurt. She is a unique child, very different from your daughter who tends to be sharper in situations. Natalie lives in a different world I would say.”

Lord Marvik frowns, “I have a feeling she is more than that.”

Natalie goes to her room and finds all her things packed and ready to go. She sits sadly on her trunk elbows on her legs, her hands cupping her face.

If her parents would only take her on trips too. Fight monsters and discover new ones. She had begged, screamed and cried but they were adamant. Always so adamant it was not safe.

Katrina comes into the room and ushers her out.

“Time to go.”

They travel for days, the ocean growing farther away.

She wonders how Lord Marvik’s daughter was like. From what she could tell about Lord Marvik, it was that he was an accomplished explorer just like her parents. Also that he loves his daughter very much for he takes her with him on adventures.

“Natalie, you are awfully quiet. Is there something the matter?” Lord Bard pats Natalie’s hands.

Lord Marvik watched Natalie and senses a more mature mind behind her sweet-like exterior. It would not be surprising due to her having to spend so much time with adults regularly.

“I am fine Lord Bard, thank you for asking. I was simply thinking about mother and father and their adventures. Hoping they are alright.”

“Ah I see, what a dear child. I am sure they are fine. They always watch each other’s backs. They are on their adventure, and you will soon be too.”

Lord Marvik, nods to Lord Bard’s words, “My daughter has a great love of the sea and goes looking for sea glass every morning. Perhaps you can join her.” He added.

Natalie smiles, she did love the sea. She loved being in the water. She loved to think she was secretly a mermaid who lost all her memory or was a little fish exploring the big ocean.

Looking out the carriage window, Natalie gazes out the window and she points at the moon in the distance delighted to see it through the trees, “The moon is much brighter the closer we get, and everything around it seems less dark!” she cheers.

“You shouldn’t be pointing at the moon. There is a story that if you did you would receive a cut behind your ear. That means you were visited by the moon.”

Natalie tilted her head, curious, “Why would the moon do that for?”

“Some say that the moon is the guardian of the ocean, when it phases it controls the waters levels. To point at the moon would draw the moons attention and its momentum would be altered causing a shift in the water. The moon doesn’t like to be distracted from its purpose. I think the cut behind the ear would be a warning.” Lord Marvik answers.

“That’s just a story isn’t it?”

“Perhaps.”

The next morning Natalie wakes up to a strange feeling she’s being watched. The sky was grey blue and clouds hid the rising sun. Looking around her carriage, she found both lords sleeping uncomfortably in their seats and no one else.

She then feels a stinging behind her left ear. Touching the back of her ear, it is wet. She draws her hand away and sees blood on her fingertips. Her eyes grow round, and she stands to look out the window. The moon was still visible, and it was glowing so bright.

“Natalie, is there something wrong?” Lord Bard stirs from his sleep.

Natalie takes one last look at the moon and sits back down on her seat. “No Lord Bard, I was just taking a peak outside.”

Lord bard himself takes a peek outside, “Ah yes its morning, and from the looks of the lands we shall be reaching Lord Marvik’s home.”

Natalie barely heard the lord lost deep in her thoughts. The moon had sent her a warning, but she wonders why now? She had pointed at the moon before plenty of times.

She begins to worry that she had caused the moon to be distracted and hurt some people out there. Her heart speeds up; her parents were aboard a ship, could she have caused her parents to die?

“Little Natalie why do you look so frightened, my home is safe.” Lord Mavrik shifts uncomfortably in his seat rubbing his back.

“I have a cut behind my ear and my parents are out at sea.” She looks at Lord Mavrik clenching her hands tightly on her lap.

Lord Mavrik was not sure how to react, if she had received a cut behind her ear, it would mean Natalie was more than just a little girl.

“They should be fine, they are well seasoned travellers.” He answers; he had more important things to worry about. If she is what he believes she is, he had to find out more about her past. It all made sense why her parents did not bring her on their voyages. They must know.

Natalie nods, believing Lord Marvik’s words. It was more comforting than the feeling she had in her stomach.

As Lord Bard said, they reach Lord Marvik’s home soon enough. He had a large mansion bigger than Lord Bard’s and the lands around it were full of trees.

Natalie could smell the ocean, which calmed her; perhaps she could visit it and have a talk with Kai. Maybe he had news about her parents.

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