Storytelling Competition - (click for the map) | (printer friendly version)
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||You are on Week 267
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 Two Hundred Sixty Seven Ends March 24
"Ugh, what happened?"
"No, it couldn't be!"
"Are you serious?!? This is the worst vacation ever!"
Moans rippled around the cave as the crowd of tourists began to groan and pick themselves up, rubbing the painful welts on their heads.
"If these caves are so dangerous, innocent tourists shouldn’t be allowed in!"
"You should've been well aware of the risks that come with exploring these ice caves."
"It's not like cave-ins happen that often around here!"
"Hey, anyone got a torch they can light up?"
"Ahh, much better. At least we can see now."
"Look what I found! Some old camping gear. Here's a pickaxe and half a blanket...
"Apparently, other Neopets have been here before."
"Forget about that. Hand over the pickaxe; let's look for a way out."
"Knock on that wall over there."
"Nope, appears to be solid wall."
"Flee from this place."
"Who said that?!?"
"Did you say that?"
"Where did that come from?"
"Flee from this place."
"Ok, it's really not funny anymore. Just stop it."
"Was that you?"
"WHO SAID THAT?!?"
"Bah, whoever that is, this is no time to be joking around. Just keep looking for a place to dig."
"No, no, no!"
"It can't be... it's not possible..."
Hysterical shrieks began to rise from the crowd, and children began crying into their mother's coats. The older Neopets stared at each other, struck by horror.
Finally, one of them dared to whisper what they all knew. "It's completely caved in. We're trapped..."
Author: prefers to vacation at Mystery Island|
Date: Mar 17th
... Although no one was surprised by this information, hearing it spoken aloud seemed to make the prospect all the more terrifying, and a small wave of panic broke over the group.
“This can’t be happening...”
“I want to go home!”
“How are we going to get out of here?!”
A young Bori stepped toward the mound of snow, ice, and rubble that blocked the way they had come with a look of frightened boldness in her eye. “I can dig us a way out! This is nothing, I’ve tunneled through worse!” Quickly, though, she was discouraged by a series of shouts.
“Don’t try it!”
“You could cause another collapse and get us all killed!”
“Oh, let her dig! That’s is our only option at this point, isn’t it?”
“Hardly! Only an idiot would attempt something like that-- she could be crushed!”
The clamour and echo of the pets’ shouts died out, however, as a calm, smooth voice rose to make itself heard. “Now, now, everyone, please calm down. Arguing with each other is just going to make things worse.” Separating herself from the crowd as well, the speaker, a tall Zafara with deep purple fur, patted the Bori soothingly on the forearm. “She was only trying to help, after all; you can’t blame her for that. Now, if you’ll listen, I may be able to help you find a way out of here.”
“What do you mean?”
“Did you get what she said? I couldn’t hear...”
“Shh! Just be quiet a moment!”
“We’re listening, okay? Please just tell us what you know.”
Smiling slightly, the Zafara trained her deep blue eyes on the crowd. “First of all, my name’s Fichel. I’m here on vacation, but I’ve been to these caves before; spelunking’s sort of a hobby of mine. Anyway, a lot of the caves in this part of Terror Mountain are interconnected. That makes it very easy to get lost, you see. But if you think about it, that also means that there are other routes out of here besides the way we came in.” With a wave of her two-fingered paw, she gestured toward the back of the cavern the tour group had been sealed in. Though it wasn’t apparent at first glance, the cave did, in fact, make a curve to the left and continue onward, deeper into the mountain.
“Are you crazy? If we go down there, we’ll get lost for sure!”
“Well, it’s a better idea than trying to dig our way out!”
“We can mark our path,” Fichel continued collectedly, “so you needn’t worry about getting lost. Please trust me; if we keep our heads, we may be able to get out of here before nightfall.”
Slowly but surely, the murmurs of worry died away, and the crowd eventually agreed to follow the Zafara. As they began their cautious advance into the depths of the Ice Caves, all had forgotten the frightening voice that had told them to run, and no one seemed to recall that Fichel had not entered the cave with the rest of them...
Date: Mar 20th
...Slowly, cautiously, the line of tourists began to file down the narrow caverns of ice leading out of the cave. The walls stood tall and stark above them, reflecting in pale lines the faint light of the far-off sky.
As the last of them trickled out of the cave's opening, the tourists in the lead shivered involuntarily. "Ooh, did you feel that?"
The ones behind them nodded as they felt it, too. "It sets my hair on edge," said an Ogrin.
"Must be the breeze down here."
"Whatever it is, it give me the creeps."
"Hey, where did Fichel go?"
The procession stopped as the question echoed through the jagged lines of ice.
"She was right in front of me, wasn't she?"
"Who are you following?"
"Did she get far ahead?"
"Hurry up, we've got to catch up to her!"
"Maybe we should go back..."
"No," said the calm, smooth voice that the tourists recognized as the blue-eyed Zafara. "Don't go back, just come on a little farther. I'm right here."
Sure enough, the form of the Zafara appeared a little way in front of them. There seemed something oddly translucent about her figure, but the strange lights flashing off of the surface of the ice may have attributed to that.
Relieved to see her, the procession started moving again, well past the cave and into the tunnels.
The tourists in the back screamed as a single boulder of ice ripped apart from the walls and crashed down, rolling as it fell. A ripple of tinier pieces began to cascade down behind it, raining in sheets of sharp ice and heavy rock.
The thundering noises continued for several long, frightening moments before settling down into dusty silence. As one, several Neopets raised their heads from underneath sheltering arms and wings, and their eyes went wide with dismay.
"It fell behind us!"
"We can't go back!"
"Where is Fichel?"
The disheveled bunch looked around in the semidarkness for their leader, but she was nowhere to be found. The ground shook as a deep, rumbling voice seemed to growl from the very bowels of the earth:
"Flee from this place..."
Date: Mar 21st
...As the crowd screamed hysterically and scrambled around in mass panic, the Zafara again suddenly reappeared, seemingly out of nowhere. "Everyone all right? It's all right, calm down, folks. These things happen pretty often in these caves. No need to worry. Ignore the voice, someone here just thinks it's funny to do that. We'll just keep to the path we were on. There's another way out, I'm sure of it." Eventually, she managed to get the crowd to calm down and begin moving again.
The crowd’s incessant mumbling and groans echoed around the rock walls, but Tina the Bori didn’t pay attention. That Zafara, Fichel was her name? She seemed nice enough, but... Tina couldn’t put her paw on it. Oh well, she thought. The crowd is moving and not complaining, so it’s better than nothing.
* * * * *
It felt like they walked miles, but they continued to drudge on.
“Carry me Daddy!”
“Daddy can barely stand on his own feet right now, let alone carry you.”
“I swear we’ve walked by this rock before.”
“How can you tell? They all look the same!”
“No, that rock is different! Do you see that hook thingy? I’ve seen it before.”
“Now you’re just acting paranoid.”
“Okay, enough everyone!” The Zafara’s harsh voice broke the noise and the crowd fell into silence. No one moved. A child from the group began to cry. The torch light fell across Fichel’s face casting an ominous glow. “I thought we had talked about yelling. So shut it.”
With the group stunned, Fichel turned and marched on again, and the crowd shuffled behind. Tina followed, but lingered in the back. What was it about the Zafara?
The cave began to grow darker and colder. Tina could see the little children cuddling up against their parents. A green Ogrin shivered up ahead and the Bori could see her own breath.
“Where are we going?”
“Are we there yet?”
“We’re going in circles.”
“That Zafara is getting us lost.”
“She’s going to get us killed!”
"You don’t belong here."
The crowd halted in their tracks. The torch flickered. And in a moment, Tina stood in shock as the entire group suddenly broke into fragments with the pets racing around the cave passage in terror.
“It’s that creepy voice again!”
“I want to go home!”
In the hustle of the cave, Tina frantically looked for Fichel, hoping the smooth talking Zafara could bring peace to the situation. But as she ducked and weaved through the tourists, she couldn’t find her.
Then instantly the Zafara appeared in the middle of the crowd. She placed her paw to her mouth and blew a sharp whistle. “Everyone! Calm down! Someone is just playing tricks on us. There’s no need to panic...”
“Wait!” A tiny Poogle jerked his eyes left and right. “Where’s my daddy? He was right there!”
And as the crowd took a step back, they all noticed that the green Ogrin was gone..
Date: Mar 21st
...A sudden hush spread throughout the crowd, and those nearest to where the Ogrin had been standing surged backwards, forming a loose, unorganized ring around the place. No one seemed to want to move any closer, as if stepping on the same spot would result in the same fate -- and yet even still, out of curiosity (or perhaps fear of being in the outer ranks), the tourists near the back pushed their ways to the front.
Shuddering, Tina propelled herself back into the middle of the crowd, where she found herself jostled back and forth as, in silence, some shoved forward and others shoved back. She glanced around for Fichel and found the Zafara standing practically at the center of all the movement and yet somehow avoiding being knocked over by the panicked tourists, strangely untouched.
Odd, sure, but Tina wasn’t sure if she would have pushed the Zafara aside, either. There was just something about her...
Fichel stepped forward just as the crowd came back to life. The tourists turned on her immediately.
“He was there! I saw him--”
“--I want my daddy.”
“He was standing right here. Right here--”
“We have to do somethin--”
“Please, calm down.”
“We have to--”
“I said, calm down.”
“Zip it! Now,” Fichel’s eyes flashed in an almost unnatural way, a brusque undertone surfacing in the formerly calm voice, “I know that something is wrong, but rest assured that it is just someone playing games with us.”
She cleared her throat and closed her eyes for a moment, as if gathering her temper; but the gesture was detached -- rehearsed, even. “Child, I’m sure your father is fine. Look, I will retrace our steps to see if he got lost. Meanwhile, stay here and don’t wander off. It could be... dangerous.” For but a moment, the translucence returned to the Zafara’s figure, but it vanished too quickly for Tina to tell if her eyes were playing tricks on her. Turning, Fichel vanished into the shadows.
“I’m scared. I want my daddy.”
Looking down, Tina finally noticed the small Poogle clinging to her leg. “Everything will be all right, little one.” She carefully detached the Poogle from herself, handing him to a nervous Cybunny who looked as if she needed to be kept busy. “Now, where has Fichel gone off--”
“Flee from this place. There is nothing here for you. Flee or you will never leave this place...”
This time, the shrieks and alarmed murmurs were joined by the terrified cry of the young Poogle. Swallowing, Tina glanced in the direction Fichel had gone in, a path shrouded in darkness. There was something about that Zafara; she should follow her... but it was so dark...
Date: Mar 21st
...Not to mention the fact that a few paces beyond the last curve in the wall was the second cave-in. As Tina approached a solid wall of translucent blocks of ice that blocked the tunnel completely came into view. In the twilight-like dimness cast by the small light she had brought along Tina could almost see through the barrier, but not quite.
It was most probably that same glow that made a flicker of deep purple fur appear beyond the impassable barrier.
"I don't see a way through. I guess the Ogrin's not here." Tina whirled around to find that Fichel was right there, oddly flat eyes staring at the wall of ice and snow. "There's no way through that."
The purple through the ice was definitely a trick of the light.
The Bori stared oddly at her taller companion for a moment, then replied: "We should get back to the others." A scream accentuated her remark. "Come on!" Claws scraping against the ice she skidded and ran over to the part of the tunnel they were trapped in.
"I wanna go home NOW, Mommy!"
"Where did she go?"
"Did you hear that?"
"Flee from this place NOW!"
Silence ensued, and Tina grasped for the paw of the Zafara that should have been standing right beside her. Her strong digging claws met only more frigid air, and Fichel was visible in the midst of the crowd, calming them all.
The Poogle child was nowhere to be seen.
“Now, the tricksters who are taking people away and saying mean things should show themselves. NOW, I said.” The way the Zafara said it was not very convincing, as if she didn’t expect an answer. The ghost of a smile played across her thin lips.
There was a rustling throughout the crowd as the various pets tightened their heavy coats and looked uncertainly around. Fichel’s deep blue gaze scanned the frigid and scared faces.
Tina, though, was focused on their self-proclaimed leader. While a cloud of mist from their breath shone eerily around each and every pet there, and heavy coats of every color were wrapped tight about even the youngest, the air around the Zafara was perfectly clear and the mysterious figure wore no winter gear...
Date: Mar 22nd
...A chill chased itself up and down the Bori's spine. Maybe Fichel was- no, she couldn't be. She was just a purple Zafara, who was going to get them out of there. All of them. If anybody could find the missing Neopets, Fichel could. Something about Fichel, about her strange, self-confident air and the way she could move silently and almost instantly from one place to another, demanded attention and trust.
And yet something about the half-amused twinkle in her cobalt eyes and the way she was completely unaffected by the cold was beginning to ring warning bells in the little Bori's mind. I'll just ask her about it, she told herself, and began to push her way through the crowd toward the calm and collected Zafara. Maybe she's just used to the cold.
Even for someone as small as Tina, finding enough room to push through the churning crowd was difficult. Several times she was knocked off her feet or jostled and nearly stepped on, but she was making decent headway.
Fichel turned her evening-sky gaze toward Tina...
And suddenly the Grarrl in front of the Bori vanished. Tina recoiled with a scream, the shrill echoes of her voice ringing wildly in the chilly confines of the caves. Somewhere uncomfortably nearby the rumble of yet another cave-in made the ice tremble, and once again the deep, menacing voice growled at the crowd:
"You should not be here. Flee from this place. If you tarry you will be lost. Return to where you belong. You are not welcome here. Flee-"
"Silence!" Fichel's high, clear voice rang out, and to the astonishment of everyone present the deeper voice was stilled. Scanning the crowd with eyes that flashed fiercely with confidence, the purple Zafara called, "If you continue to frighten these people you will answer to me! Do not speak again!"
As the echoes of Fichel's voice slipped away into the endless labyrinth of caves, Tina shook herself free of her frightened paralysis and raced toward the Zafara, leaping the smaller pets and sliding between the legs of the larger ones. "Fichel? Fichel?" she called, and although she could not see the older pet through the press of bodies around her, she suddenly felt certain that those strange blue eyes were staring right at her.
And for some reason it chilled her to the bone, causing her to skid to a halt.
Then the feeling of watchfulness eased, and Tina leapt forward again, this time less because she wanted to be near the Zafara and more because she felt an inexplicable pull to find her and see what she was doing.
Suddenly Fichel was there, almost as if she had materialized out of the air in front of Tina. The little Bori reached up and clung to Fichel's violet paw. "Fichel, that Grarrl -- and the Poogle and the Ogrin -- where did they-"
Then suddenly Fichel disappeared, the startled Bori vanishing along with her...
Date: Mar 22nd
...leaving the startled crowd even more agitated then they already were.
Black air whooshed around Tina, buffeting her this way and that. She clutched Fichel's hand, afraid that if she let go... well she didn't really want to think about that. Her hand closed on thin air. Looking around in horror, Tina stretched out her hand in hopes of finding something, anything.
Suddenly, she hit cold dirt with a thump. Panting, Tina slowly pushed herself to her feet, grimacing at the coldness of the air. Teeth chattering, she pulled her coat tight around her and regarded her surroundings.
She seemed to have fallen into another cave, but this one had no exit. All of the cave walls were made of ice and reflected her frightened face, an awful parody of the house of mirrors that you would find in a carnival. Tina walked around in dizzy circles, desperately looking for a way out.
Where was Fichel? Tina bit her lip in worry, looking around for the Zafara. Wait, what was that? Tina spotted a narrow fissure that was almost impossible to see in the icy wall. She ran over to it and peered closely at it. Maybe I can fit... The Bori panted as she squeezed herself in between the narrow crack in the ice.
She gave a loud gasp of suprise as she found herself falling. Landing on even harder ground, she looked up, spotting the fissure that she came from in the ceiling. Dusting herself off, she noticed that the air wasn't so chilly anymore. Frowning, she loosened the scarf around her neck and looked around.
"Where am I now?" she asked herself out loud
It seemed almost like a regular room in a ski lodge. A fire roared cheerily in a large hearth and pets lounged around in big cushioned sofas. They all ignored her as they chatted to each other, almost as if she didn't exist. Tina couldn't catch a word that they were saying, and she frowned in puzzlement when she realized that they seemed to be a little transparent. It was like she was in another world, or a memory....
"Nice to see you again... Tina." The Bori whirled around at the sound of her name. Fichel stood right behind her.
"Wha- What's going on?" Tina stuttered in fear.
Fichel merely smiled and held out her hand. "I want to show you a little of my past..."
Date: Mar 23rd
...The Bori gasped as Fichel motioned to a pair of Neopets in the farthest sofa, seemingly amplifying their voices.
"...Did you hear about that poor Zafara girl?"
"Bah, serves her right, exploring those caves on her own."
"But so young! And such pretty eyes..."
"The rescue team'll find her, don't you fret. She should have..."
Fichel waved her hand and the voices cut off again. Tina was slowly digesting what she had heard. The Zafara, kindly smiling, snapped her fingers and darkness seeped into the edges of her vision. Everything was seemingly shrouded in a dark mist, then gave way to the black wind of before.
This time Tina fell hard onto the cold ice of a cave again. It was different than the one they had left, though, and the fall had befuddled her somehow. There were two Fichels in the cave.
One, taller, was standing solemnly behind Tina with a slightly pained expression on her face. The other, shorter, but with the unmistakable eyes, had an expression of pure terror across her features and was hacking away at the solid ice of the wall with a pickaxe. The small Bori rubbed her eyes to clear her vision, and then jumped in surprise as a sinisterly familiar call tore the air:
"Flee from this place."
The younger Fichel looked around, eyes brimming with tears of fear and hopelessness. She pounded at the ice with renewed vigor.
"Flee from this place!"
This time it was accompanied by a small rumble.
The elder Fichel lowered her gaze, lost in memory as the rumblings increased in volume.
"Do not tarry! Flee! NOW!"
The Zafara hacking a small tunnel into the ice yelped for joy as her tool hit a fissure in the ice. The rumblings shook the cave now, dislodging hunks of ice from the ceiling. Tina watched with a smile of satisfaction as the younger Fichel disappeared into the tunnel she had stumbled upon.
The blackness had just begun to impose upon her vision when the cave shook violently, closing off the entrance to younger Fichel's tunnel.
"We are done here." It was not the hollow, echo-like voices of the memories, but the rather real one of the true Fichel standing beside Tina. The two vanished together, and the next thing Tina saw was the more familiar wall of the cave the vacationers were trapped in.
Tina was still happy for Fichel, having escaped the voices of the caves, but was there another way out of her tunnel? An expression of horror and disbelief spread across the face that had been triumphant only a moment before.
"You mean to say that you lived, and... died here in these caverns?..."
Date: Mar 23rd
...Fichel smiled at her. "Do I look dead to you?"
"...No." Tina swallowed hard. "Not exactly." The Bori squared her shoulders and met the Zafara's eyes squarely. "But you keep appearing and disappearing, and your breath doesn't make clouds."
Fichel was silent for a long moment. Then, slowly, "You're observant."
Tina found herself trembling. "What do you want with us?"
"What do you think?"
"I don't know what to think." Tina wrapped her arms around herself, her heavy claws digging into her fur. "I know panicking isn't any good, but neither is pretending there's no danger when there is. I don't know if you're trying to save us from your fate or lead us into a trap we won't be able to get out of. I don't know what that voice is."
Fichel's usually serene face twisted in sudden rage, and the blue of her eyes kindled. "You don't know, Tina? You don't know, little Bori? You who slept the centuries away in these caves and only left them a year ago! You don't recognize the voice of..."
Date: Mar 23rd
“... the one who committed your people to the care of these icy caves, the Keeper of Time?”
Tina stared at the Zafara in bafflement, unsure of what she was talking about. “Wh... what do you mean? What does he have to do with anything?”
“What do I mean?! Are you serious?” Fichel snorted in disbelief. “How is it that you don’t realize how deeply this mountain is connected to your history?”
Furrowing her brows, Tina folded her paws across her chest and looked up to Fichel in expectation. “I understand that, but I don’t see what that has to do with our predicament. Why are we hearing the voice of the Keeper?”
“It’s... well, think of it as sort of a security system,” the Zafara began with a sigh. “It’s not really him we’re hearing; the voice just repeats the same things over and over. It echoes through these caves in order to protect the Heart of the Mountain and the caverns around it from thieves and vandals, but it’s just a part of something much greater.
“When I came here, I was just a foolish child; I was looking for riches, artifacts, all of the things that inspire Neopets to go places they shouldn’t, and the reason many of them don’t come back. But I didn’t mean to hurt anyone or anything in doing so. Unfortunately, the means of protection placed on this mountain don’t understand that.
“He didn’t know it at the time, but your leader, while he was trying to shield this place from the outside world, effectively cursed these caves by binding any pet insolent enough to explore them inside its walls. Originally this was supposed to prevent theft; now it’s one of the main reasons parties of tourists end up disappearing every so often, never to be heard from again. I haunt this place, trying my best to rescue others from my fate, but the curse is much more powerful than I.”
Shocked, Tina worked her mouth ineffectively for a few moments, a vague creeping horror making its way up her spine. When she found words to speak, her voice was quiet, and shook despite her efforts to steady it. “So... so what does this mean for us?”
Fichel’s face darkened. “Nothing good, I’m afraid...”
Date: Mar 24th
...Questions buzzed around in Tina's head.
"But... where... where are the others? The Poogle, the Grarrl and the Ogrin?" Tina asked
Fichel smiled. "They," said the Zafara "haven't figured out how to get into my memory."
"So they're still in the cave?"
"If you call it a cave. It's more like a... platform... between the real world and my memories. I tried to get them to understand, but..."
At that moment the Zafara grabbed Tina's arm. "Come." she said. "Maybe there is a way..."
A cold wind blew and Tina shivered, tying her scarf tighter to her face.
"I... I can't continue," Fichel said when they reached the crowd. "I tried my best already. You must lead them. You are a Bori, you must instinctively know these caves better than I do, even with all my wanderings. The curse was put in place to protect your kind, so you are protected by it rather than harmed. Turn this in your favour! You can do it, Tina. Don't let them end up... like me."
"But you said it doesn't look good!" Tina protested.
"Yes, but I never said it was impossible," Fichel smiled. With that, the Zafara disappeared. Tina soon found herself back with the rioting crowd.
"What's going on!"
Tina felt terribly frightened. "Fichel, no!" she whispered. She closed her eyes, suddenly remembering what she had just seen. Then she felt a burst of strength...
Date: Mar 24th
..."All right everyone!" she shouted in a commanding voice. The strength in her voice surprised even herself. "I know you all want to be in a warm bed tonight, so let's get moving!"
"Who are you?"
"You're the one who was going to 'dig us out', right? You going to try that again?"
"Look," Tina snapped, eyes flashing, "who's been in these caves for years? The Bori. And as I see it, you don't have any other option other than sitting here and freezing. Fichel... has gone ahead to scout."
There was a suspicious silence as the tourists looked at her warily. Then the little Poogle stepped forward. "I trust her," he said in a small voice. "I was transported to this strange cave, but I think she help get me out."
After another pause, the Ogrin and Grarrl stepped forward too. "Let's trust her. She's right, no one knows these caves better than Bori," the Ogrin said. And with that, the crowd started moving forward again, grumbling quietly, but with no real protests.
Tina closed here eyes again. Think, she told herself. Just... trust your instinct. Slowly she began to feel her way forward, her claw running slowly along the icy cave walls as if she were retracing a path from long ago. A left turn here, and right turn there, then trudging for many a long hour. She was starting to feel numb and dreamlike from the cold when the Ogrin suddenly gave a shout.
An excited murmur spread through the crowd. Tina opened her eyes to see a stray beam of moonlight spreading across the floor.
She decided she had never seen anything so beautiful in her entire life.
"We made it!"
"I told you not to be so pessimistic!"
"I don't know about you, I think I'm still going to ask for my money back."
"There's the opening!"
With a joyous cry, the crowd began to rush forward, when there was a sudden earthshaking rumble.
"Flee! Flee now!"
The icicles at the top of the caves began to shake loose. Tina could see a crack beginning to form along the wall. The curse! "It's another cave-in!" she shouted. "Quick! Out the opening!" She could see the starlight reflecting off the snow just beyond the opening -- freedom was a tantalizing step away -- but she made sure all the tourists were out first before scrambling out after them into the blessed night air. As the cave began to crumble over their exit, the Bori turned one more time, and though she could barely see through the thick flurry of collapsing ice and snow, she could have sworn that she saw the faint outline of a smiling, purple Zafara with twinkling blue eyes, waving goodbye to her.
Date: Mar 24th
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