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||You are on Week 700
Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...
We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!
Story Seven Hundred Ends Friday, September 4
"I never get used to going through all of these catacombs. I'd much rather go back and have some coffee."
Corbin swatted some Spyder webs off of his arm as he and his brother Kell worked through a dark hallways of an underground catacomb. It had been several years since the two Monster Hunters had saved the Spooky Food contest. Ever since then, however, their monster hunting business had been booming. However, many times, it meant the two brothers would be trudging through some deep, dark, dank place long-since forgotten by Neopia.
Still, this might be the first catacomb deeper, darker, and danker then the one under Neovia. To this day, they would still swear that they might have come out in Altador if they went the entire way through them.
Now, the two brothers found themselves in another dark catacomb. This time, they were in a lost tomb deep under the Lost Desert. The locals in Qasala had reported seeing a monster entering several of their ruins and then reports from Sakhmet of a strange creature entering a nearby pyramid.
"At least there's no cult dedicated to the destruction of Neopia down here." Kell said.
"Yet." Corbin added, "Although they did have very good tea."
"The Appreciation of Toes cult was much nicer though, and very skilled banjo players." Kell replied.
The Ogrin nodded, as that was true. "And we have been able to extend our alliance with the Ghoul Catchers, after all." Corbin said.
Kell was about to reply, but his paw brushed along an extended brick in the wall. He gave it a quick push and the area rumbled. The Wocky had found a secret door, leading deeper into the catacombs. The ancient stone masonry lifted upward, revealing another staircase downward.
"Floor seventy-nine awaits." Corbin said, heading down the old steps deeper into the tomb. As they were descending, however, the two noticed a low yellow glow coming from the bottom of the stairs.
"I don't think we're alone." Kell said, taking a few more steps to see what was on the next floor...
Date: Aug 24th
"Oh there is just something special about Lightmites, isn't there Kell?" Corbin asked with great enthusiasm.
The two had reached the bottom of the seventy-ninth floor to find a room filled with Lightmites. The glow of the Lightmites made a dreary and dark catacomb seem like an ethereal wonderland.
"Let's stay here for a little while, Kell." Corbin said while hopping around trying to catch a Lightmite in his paw.
"Corbin, finding this monster is more important than playing with a bunch of lightmites." Kell said with annoyance. He was not nearly as amused by the petpetpet as Corbin was.
While Corbin remained entranced by the Lightmites, Kell started to search for the staircase to the next floor. However, it seemed the two had reached a dead end as there was no staircase in sight.
"Wait Kell, look over here" Corbin said suddenly, snapping back into reality. Kell walked over to where Corbin was to find a message engraved into the wall.
To go where no one else has gone
You must sing the Lightmite's song
To those they trust will they reveal
The tune that breaks this floor's seal
If you do not succeed in finding their trust
"What is this nonsense?" Kell asked with annoyance. If anything it seemed like a joke someone wrote on the wall to mess with any explorers.
Then your gruesome ending will be just
"Kell!" Corbin yelled with excitement, "Look over at the Lightmites!"
Kell turned his head to see the Lightmites...
Date: Aug 24th
... buzzing around something in the corner of the chamber. Corbin ran over, scattering the Lightmites.
"They don't even have a song," Kell complained as he moved over to join his brother. "They just buzz. That's not music, there's no tune to it."
They'd explored temples before where particularly clever monsters had placed riddles with no answers just to annoy the pair.
"Not with sound," Corbin said, holding up the object he had found. "They sing with light, Kell!"
It was a glass prism, Kell could see that much in the half-gloom. The shine of the Lightmites rippled over the surface of the thing, bending it into strange and beautiful colours.
"That's stretching a metaphor a bit too much," Kell complained. "But I guess monsters aren't known for being good at poetry. Well, you have the song - now you have to find the tune."
Corbin turned the prism over in his hands. It seemed to have something carved into the bottom of it - words, he thought. But in the gloom cast by the petpetpets he couldn't make it out.
"Wait," Kell said. "Do that again, over here."
"When you turned it around," Kell added. "The light made a funny shadow on this wall here."
Corbin came over and turned the prism, the glass refracting the light until all the colours of the rainbow were bathing the wall in front of them.
And there, on the wall...
Date: Aug 25th
Corbin and Kell expected there to be a message of some sort, a larger one that would guide them with further instructions, another riddle, or proof that the original riddle was a mere trick rather than a promise of treasure. Instead, only a few letters in each line were illuminated by the brilliant colors. Not only that, a few letters wavered in the pulsating light.
go on m i g h t y on e
T ell the m rust will y e t
h un t b ea s t s l ike yo u
If you do not succeed in finding the rust
Then your gruesome ending will be just
Corbin and Kell looked at each other uneasily. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say that was a warning about us! It sounds a lot like the monsters are, for the first time, preparing defenses against us.” The Ogrin folded his arms, contemplating this.
Kell looked at his paws. “I’m rust-colored, but surely that’s not what it means?”
Corbin shrugged. “Maybe. Let’s look around this floor for other clues.” The Wocky nodded and they began to separate, walking into corridors in search of whatever the ‘rust’ could be.
Lightmites are strange creatures, of that many a Neopian was certain. But what several Neopians didn’t know was that they were also intelligent creatures.
As if rehearsed, every Lightmite on the floor extinguished its light at once...
Date: Aug 25th
“You annoying little-”
Kell’s muttering floated through the darkness. A scratch of wood against stone, and Corbin’s face was illuminated by the flame of a match. He lit his lantern and a glow illuminated the space around them.
“The Lightmites are gone,” Corbin noted.
“Well they didn’t just disappear into thin air,” Kell muttered. He walked towards the bottom of the staircase and glanced upwards. “The stones have sealed themselves again so they didn’t escape that way.”
“Over here,” Corbin said, motioning to a corner that had yet to be inspected. “Look at this, Kell.”
There, along the wall was a thick pipe. A trickle of water dripped down steadily from the ceiling, which over time, had caused the pipe to rust. Half the pipe seemed to have been broken and a large hole on one end solved the puzzle as to where the Lightmites might have escaped.
“There’s a lever there,” Corbin said, pointing. “I’m not sure if this is the way to the monster, but-”
“We have no other option,” Kell finished.
The two explorers shared the same thought. Finding this monster was going to prove more difficult than they originally thought.
Seeing no other clues or possibilities, Kell reached out and twisted the lever...
Date: Aug 26th
...and for a moment, nothing happened. Then, with a powerful gust of air that extinguished the lantern, a section of the wall in front of them swung open.
"At least it's not another staircase," Corbin joked, for extending into the darkness beyond was an arched tunnel of an undeterminable length. "Now where are those helpful Lightmites when you need one"
Kell struck another match to restart the lantern, and the two brothers filed down the path. With the light, they could see another break in the pipe shortly after the doorway, but there was none of the luminescent Petpetpets to be found.
"I wonder where they have gone," Kell mused. More and more, the organized nature of the creatures was concerning him. If the monsters were preparing to defend themselves, which side were the Lightmites taking? Were the two brothers being led into a-
"TRAP!" Corbin shouted in warning, but it was too late. The floor began to shift with their weight, too quickly to scramble backwards. Kell's grip on the floor slipped and he slid into Corbin, knocking them both to the ground.
The section of floor tilted even further, and succeeded in dumping the unsuspecting victims onto a different, even steeper slope. There was nothing to be done by this point. Kell simply held the lantern steady until the surface came to an abrupt end and dropped the two monster hunters into a new room.
Corbin got to his feet and dusted himself off before taking the lantern. He lifted it back the way they'd came, but there was no conceivable way to climb back up. He suspected that, even if they could, the trapdoor would be long closed. Sighing, he turned back around and took a better look at their surroundings.
"Well, brother, it seems we've found Floor Eighty..."
Date: Aug 26th
“You mean Floor Eighty found us.” Kell brushed dirt off of his shirt. “Just look at this place, it’s huge.”
And huge it was. The narrow hallway opened into a large, spherical room. Marble columns lined the walls, all of them neatly placed and symmetrical. To the east and west were two tunnel entrances. After a few feet, they led into total darkness. In the distance, glyphs of various size depicted Petpets, crops, and geographical features on tablets long worn with age.
While Corbin inspected the room for switches or levers, the younger brother bent over to inspect a tablet. A long crack spread through its center. On either side were pictographs of Neopians. Some appeared to be in mourning, with streaks flowing down their faces. A closed sarcophagus sat atop sloping steps on a pedestal. Little specks floated above the moonlit scene, their forms outlined with a ring.
“Those look like Lightmites,” mused Kell, brushing his finger upon the outline. “I wonder why they’re on an old mural?”
“In any event,” Corbin joined his brother at the site, “those Petpetpets led us here on purpose. It’s as if they wanted us to see—“
“Yeah. A tomb with a secret, likely belonging to someone with power and wealth to spare. Why else would you need trap doors and hidden passageways?”
Kell thought about it for a second. “To keep others out. It would explain all of the punishment talk. They’re either trying to scare grave robbers away, or trap prying monster hunters like us in a place where no one will come to our aid. Whatever monsters are here would have the upper hand. It’s their territory, after all.”
“Perhaps. To both, that is.” The Ogrin began to pace. “But what if this place wasn’t meant to keep something out. What if it was made to keep something ins—“
A shrill cry echoed throughout the room. It was coming from the eastern hallway…
Date: Aug 27th
...Almost immediately after the screech died down, all the Lightmites from earlier quickly filled the room. They buzzed all around the room as if they were terrified.
"It looks like they're trying to get away from something," Corbin said. The Ogrin looked down the eastern hallway. "But from what?"
Another shrill cry came from the east hall - this one louder and clearer. It was apparent that whatever made that noise was quickly approaching. Kell was a little frightened by this noise since it sounded familiar to him, but he was hoping it wasn't what he thought.
"I don't know, but I feel like we're about to find out," Kell finally said.
He and his brother hid behind one of the marble columns. Shortly after, they heard a woosh, as if something flew into the room. An earsplitting screech followed. Kell and Corbin had to cover their ears, it was so loud.
Both of the Neopets decided to see what flew in. They were sure it was the monster they were after, but they didn't even know what it looked like. Being extra careful, Kell and Corbin peered around the column to see what it was.
Just as Kell feared. It was a giant Batterfly.
Kell had always been afraid of Batterflies, but it had only been to the point of not wanting to be around them. However, he was terrified of this humongous Petpet. He wanted to run away, but he didn't want to catch the attention of it.
However, Corbin and Kell did catch its attention. The huge Batterfly spotted them from behind the column. It looked into their eyes with its own. It let out another shrill screech.
Neither Corbin nor Kell hesitated to run out of their hiding spot. The Batterfly quickly flew to the column as if to catch the two. Before anything could happen, Kell ran out of the room as fast as his legs could carry him with Corbin not too far behind him...
Date: Aug 28th
Fortunately for the brothers, this hallway was just narrow enough that the Batterfly couldn't follow them. It flapped against the entrance, chittering and shrieking, but unable to squeeze in. Once convinced that they were save, Kell stopped running, turned around, and stuck out his tongue at their would-be pursuer.
"I guess that's the monster we've been chasing," Kell said after he caught his breath and gathered himself.
"Maybe," Corbin replied. "But remember, it's an amateur mistake to assume that there's ever only one monster in a catacomb."
"You're right," Kell said. "Sorry, I guess I'm still a little distracted. I shouldn't have--"
Corbin laid a paw on his brother's shoulder and interrupted him. "Don't worry about it. We all have our irrational phobias. I think you were pretty brave and level-headed under the circumstances, actually."
Kell smiled, both in appreciation of Corbin's remark and in relief that the Batterfly's clamor had finally subsided. When Corbin pointed the lantern back in the direction of the main room, they could just barely make out the Batterfly's shadow darting around, presumably as it was attempting to catch Lightmites to eat.
"So where exactly are we now?" Kell asked.
"Good question," Corbin said. He pointed the lantern around. The narrow hallway that they had used to escape the giant Petpet had led them to another chamber, this one also domed like the main room, but much smaller. The walls were also lined with columns and tablets, but they were much less ornate than the ones the adventurers had just seen.
"Huh," Kell whispered. "It's just like the last room, but in miniature."
Corbin walked over to one of the tablets and looked it over. It was covered in a sequence of mysterious Quasalan hieroglyphs: an Eyrie holding a feather, a Mootix, a Meepit. Corbin could make no sense of them.
"Hey, look," Kell said, "it looks like there's something behind that one." He walked over to the tablet that Corbin was examining and, with great effort, pushed it to the side. As he did so, the brothers could hear the noise of the grinding of stone against stone coming from the main room behind them. As soon as Kell stopped pushing the tablet, the grinding noise stopped as well.
"Weird," Kell said. "But hey, do you see that? I was right! There is something behind this tablet!"
Corbin leaned over to look at what Kell had uncovered. He saw...
Date: Aug 28th
...a large ornate plate, covered in dust and cobwebs after being tucked into the dark recess for some time. Kell picked lifted it off the wall, finding that it had hung from four pegs jutting from the back of the plate and fitting into four slots in the wall.
The Wocky dusted the plate off carefully. It was shiny yellow - perhaps it was even gold - and had an intricate pattern of lines carved into its surface. The neatness of the cuts led the brothers to believe they were not accidental scratches, but rather a design that had some meaning.
"Can you tell what it is?" Kell asked, holding the plate far away from himself and tilting his head to and fro.
"Not really. The lines run off the edges. It doesn't look like we're seeing the whole picture," Corbin replied.
They both looked at the wall where it had hung. Kell reached out and felt the smooth surface with his paw. "There aren't any lines on the wall. Maybe this isn't where this plate was meant to be hung," he suggested.
Corbin glanced over his shoulder toward the main chamber. Maybe the grinding sound from that room had something to do with the puzzle at hand? "Perhaps it's meant to be set into something in the main chamber -"
"- with the Batterfly," Kell finished. He thrust the plate into Corbin's hands. "I'm not going back out there, Corbin. I'm sorry, but I just can't."
Corbin gently pulled the plate to his own chest, letting Kell's paws fall. "I'll check if the coast is clear and see if that grinding sound revealed somewhere for this plate to fit. You stay here and let me know if anything changes in this room. Both rooms were involved in the puzzle, so they both might be involved in the solution," the Ogrin offered.
Kell nodded. He realized he was being selfish and putting his brother in danger, but he could not face that Batterfly again. He followed Corbin to the entrance of the main chamber. The Batterfly's shadow was gone, but that didn't necessarily mean that the creature itself had left. It could be lurking somewhere, just out of sight.
Corbin glanced around the main chamber. The Batterfly appeared to be gone. Unfortunately, so did the Lightmites. He looked around; the change was obvious. The large tablet he and Kell had seen earlier with the crack down the center had split apart along the crack. On the wall behind it was a large circle inlet with four holes in the center. Lines were carved into the wall around the circle. The Ogrin reached up and carefully rotated the plate into the appropriate position.
He stepped back to get a good look at the picture now that the full design was in place. From the small chamber, he heard Kell call, "Corbin, you need to see what happened in here! It's amazing!"
The Ogrin never tore his gaze from the design on the wall before him. He had to be imagining things, his brain just trying to make something out of nothing. There was no way he was seeing what he thought he saw on a wall carving buried beneath the Lost Desert for decades, even centuries. "No Kell, you need to see what happened in here..."
Date: Aug 31st
After some time Kell arrived beside him, trying to hide his breathlessness with irritated grumbles at Corbin.
Normally Corbin would have responded to this with a joking complaint of his own, but today he was in no mood for lightheartedness. Adventure was afoot, it seemed, and in more ways than one; a Neovian catacomb by itself was well and good, but when you threw ancient Quasla into the mix...
"Corb?" The question broke into Corbin's thoughts, and he whipped about to see Kell tracing the designs with a finger. "Line for line, these identify Coltzan's Holy Rites."
"Precisely why I called you here. You took a course in glyphics, if I recall correctly."
"Advanced placement," the Wocky replied, with a sidelong glance at Corbin. "You went with Arts of Ancients, yeah?"
Corbin nodded his confirmation. He was failing to see what relevancy his studies as a student monster hunter had to this situation, but he was willing to wait for an explication.
It came sooner than he thought, when Kell gestured with his chin to the door he'd come bustling through. "Statues count as art," he said, eyes glinting green with the fire of inevitable discovery. "Take a look at the one in there, and I'll work with these rites. Of all the places for them to be..."
"You'll be here alone," Corbin reminded his brother, "so be sure to keep an eye out for our recreant Batterfly." That said, Corbin drew himself up and plunged forward, back again into the second chamber...
Date: Aug 31st
Corbin was now face to face with the gargantuan marble statue revealed to Kell upon the reinsertion of the plate. The statue was a larger than life depiction of the glyphs from the tablet: an Eyrie bearing a large feather with a Meepit and Mootix at its heels, carved with exquisite detail.
"Kell!" Corbin shouted. "This goes beyond me. It seems to be a meaningless hunk of rock... a beautiful, meaningless hunk of rock." Corbin was entranced by the statue despite its seeming lack of significance.
"Corbin!" Kell snapped. "Art is supposed to be subjective. I thought that's why you studied it in the first place. Now stop ogling the statue, and figure out what it might mean."
Kell was still pondering what The Rites were doing down in this catacomb, so deep beneath the dunes of the Lost Desert. As far as Kell's research had gone, Coltzan's Holy Rites were only concerned with His shrine and crown. If The Rites had been a part of ancient burial rituals, it was news to Kell.
"Kell!" Corbin yelled again. "I don't know what this could possibly symbolize!" Corbin exclaimed in anguish.
"It's okay Corbin. I've got no idea what The Rites are doing here either," Kell announced, defeated.
"Maybe..." Corbin muttered in contemplation. "Kell, what if these things are meaningless? Perhaps they're only here to distract us from something larger," he suggested.
Only moments after Corbin's realization, noises surrounded the brothers. Mechanical whirs, rumbles, and thuds were thundering around Corbin and Kell in a dull but overwhelming cacophony.
Corbin and Kell both looked around, attempting to discern where the noises were coming from. There were strange things happening in both rooms. In Corbin's, the statue was sliding along the floor. In Kell's, the plate on the wall was rotating. That wasn't all: behind Kell, the sarcophagus at the center of the room was shaking...
Date: Sep 1st
... Kell turned around to see what was happening around him. To Kell's horror, the lid of the stome coffin slowly creaked open. "CORBIIIINNNN!" Kell shouted to the top of his lungs.
"Kell!" Corbin gasped aloud in alarm.
"Kell! I'm coming!" The Ogrin dashed across the chamber as fast as he could, but just as he approached the archway to the other room, the giant Batterfly zoomed to the entryway and blocked his path. As it spread its four wings to intimidate its foe, it hissed and glared into Corbin's eyes. Although Corbin was not as afraid as Kell was, he was still frozen in fear, nearly 5 feet away from the giant petpet.
"Kell...." Corbin whispered to himself, knowing it was useless.
"Corbin..." Kell weakly attempted to call his brother again, but all that escaped from his mouth was muffled wimper, for he too was paralyzed, his eyes fixed on the fog that was emerging from the sarcophagus.
The blue fog swirled in the air, gradually forming a ghastly and translucent figure. Brilliant beams of bright light filled the room. Kell raised his front leg to cover his eyes from the glow. Niether Kell nor Corbin knew what was going on. The powerful light shone through the archway, almost blinding the Batterfly. To Corbin's relief, the dark creature fled from the illuminated room and deeper into the tomb.
Still scared and confused, Corbin shook his head to clear his mind and focus on the task at hand. He happily sprinted through the chamber. Through the harsh glow he could see the silhouette of his brother, and he ran to meet him. "Kell! I thought something horrible had happened."
"C-c...." Kell tried to speak.
"Ca what?" Corbin tried to make sense of what his brother was saying.
"C-Coltzan!" He pointed to the center of the light source. The light faded, revealing a ghostly Lupe....
Date: Sep 2nd
The Lupe finished regaining shape and color, seemingly solid. It was a gray Lupe with bright eyes fully yellow. It donned a yellow headpiece, with a magnificent white robe that flowed with the apparition's figure. It stood tall and firm. A loud voice boomed from its muzzle. "Why do you disturb this tomb?! Why have you disturbed our slumber?!" its mighty voice echoed through the halls. Corbin and Kell covered their ears, gritting their teeth as the shout reverberated through their heads.
Kell began to speak, his paws still covering his ears. "C-Coltzan..!" he stuttered. "W-why are you in these catacombs? We wanted to stop a monster that was terrorizing the desert! You're not... the monster are you?"
Corbin tapped his brother. "That's not Coltzan" he whispered, pointing towards the ghost's head. "That's not quite the same crown that was bestowed to him. No this one's shape is different, and Coltzan's crown didn't have a feather on it either."
Kell slowly started relaxing himself, relieved that the great King was not the monster. "So who is this? Can you tell us who you are?" asked Kell.
The Lupe straightened up. "I am not Coltzan," he started. "I am but an overseer for this tomb. It is I who keeps the corrupted one here. Sadly, I can only restrain him and not rid him of his evil in this state."
Kell and Corbin looked at each other. They knew they were closer to their monster.
"Who is this corrupted one?" asked Corbin curiously.
"Yeah, what evil?" asked Kell while clenching his paws. He was getting excited as the Lupe revealed more to them.
"He is the one depicted on the slabs you discovered. He was once a promising candidate for the crown but became corrupted with a lust for power when promised untold wisdom by wielding a feather like the one you see before you" said the Lupe kneeling his head down towards the brothers. "Now he tries to escape to claim what he believes is rightfully his, with greed and power in mind. If you wish to defeat him, take this feather. It will give you the power to combat him. I sense great capability and justice within you two."
"But how do we defeat him with just this?" questioned Kell in annoyance.
"By holding this, you'll be able to make the corrupted tangible. If you remove his feather you remove the curse of this tomb." stated the Lupe boldly.
Corbin stepped towards the ghostly Lupe "Well defeating him is what we came here for. If we don't do it, I don't know who else will."
Kell propped himself up, his hands on his hips. "Right. We're here to protect the desert." he stated. He wanted to add in how they were doing it for a profit but decided to keep his statement on a good-willed note.
Corbin nodded and removed the feather from the Lupe's headpiece. The Lupe looked up at the brothers, his eyes now blue and filled with life. A smile formed from his muzzle "Go forth. You will succeed." said the Lupe as he slowly dissipated into the air.
The whirring and grinding of gears stopped. The room was silent.
"Now what?..." whispered Kell.
At that moment the casket that formed the Lupe moved forward. *Thump thump thump* A flight of stairs heading down further into the catacombs revealed themselves from the casket's original position.
"A secret room?" asked Kell, his paw on his muzzle.
A sickly screech came from inside the blackness of the revealed room. It sent a shiver and chill through the brother's bodies.
"I think we found what we were looking for..." gulped Corbin. Kell looked at his brother and slowly nodded. They approached the hole with lantern in hand and proceeded down the stairs. Upon reaching the bottom...
Date: Sep 2nd
Corbin hesitated, the perilous situation the brothers were in finally hitting him. This monster sounded craftier than any the two had gone up against before.
Kell, on the other hand, had no reservations, and pushed impatiently past Corbin, ready to face the beast. "Come on bro, what are you waiting for?" Kell said confidently. "Let's take this monster down so the good people of the Lost Desert can sleep easy tonight."
Corbin nodded, steadying his resolve as he stepped off the bottom stair and into the cool, dark cavern.
At that second, an ear-splitting screech tore through the air. Corbin, terror stricken, clutched the proffered feather in his paw and strode forward with feigned confidence.
"Show yourself, monster!" Kell called out suddenly. Kell cleared his throat, hoping the monster hadn't noticed the slight nervous wobble in his words. "We've come to defeat you."
A sudden gust of wind whirled through the chamber in response to Kell's demand, followed by an explosion of blue-gray light.
The two monster hunters squinted into the brightness, attempting to spot their foe, but the light was too blinding. Corbin held the feather out toward the eerie glow, and it immediately began to dim as the feather performed its task of making the spectral figure into something tangible, just as the Lupe from the sarcophagus had promised.
As the light faded, Kell and Corbin could make out the shape of an Eyrie towering menacingly before them.
"Yikes," whispered Kell. "I had no idea Eyries could be so...big. Did you?" He cast a sidelong glance at his brother nervously.
"Nope," Corbin gulped as he took an involuntary step backward, then squared his shoulders determinedly.
The formerly spectral Eyrie watched the two speculatively during their short exchange. When they were finished, he began to speak...
Date: Sep 3rd
What happens next? (write the next paragraph of the story!)
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