A note from kosnik4

Read 7 chapters ahead of schedule on patron. 

“Left.” I hear Ronald’s voice behind me.


I turn slightly to my left and lead our formation through the forest. Master is a few steps behind me off to my left while Ronald is matching his pace to my right.


“Right.” I shift our direction again with Ronald’s advice.


Normally our positions would be switched but I’m the only one who can spot the Chameleon Spiders. Their ability to change their color and hide their presence is a dangerous combo. I can find my way around the parts of the forest around our village just fine but I’m out of my depth in such a heavily forested area.


“Right.” We circle a large tree, changing direction quickly.


We only make it 50 feet before I spot a tree with mana circulating rapidly throughout it.


“Another one, over there.” I point out the danger zone to my comrades. That’s the third one we’ve encountered since our battle with the first spider.


“Right.” I follow Ronald’s directions and make sure we keep a wide birth from the hidden monster.


We’re getting closer to the goblin camp and thankfully the trees are starting to thin a little. With less trees for me to scan we can pick up our pace.


Each of us are carrying a back full of spider parts. When we heard the screeches from the surrounding chameleon spiders we stripped off as much as we could from the charred spider before we started to rush back to our campsite.


“Left…there.” Following Ronald’s directions, I can finally see a break in the trees.


I’d never thought I would ever be this happy to be back in the goblin’s clearing. We don’t stop moving until we get closer to center of the clearing. Deforestation has never been so pretty.


I take a 360 degree turn and use my Sense Mana skill to double check the tree line. The beauty of the surrounding trees contrasts with the danger lurking in their shadows.


“See anymore of them?” Master notices me nervously scanning the area.


“No, I can’t see any in the surrounding area. I think they’re only staying closer to the denser magic parts of the forest.” If I’m wrong, I need to pray that the retreating villagers didn’t stumble upon one.


“Almost dark.” Ronald points out the falling sun. Master and I look up at the open sky. Light grey clouds are moving in that are helping to hid the sun as it vanishes across the sky.


I would kill for a break right now but we need to make it back to camp.


“Which way back to camp, Ronald?” I watch as he looks around the clearing.


He raises a finger and points to a spot across the clearing. We take a few moments to prepare ourselves to reenter the forest. We form up into our previous formation with me in front almost seamlessly. After fighting together and avoiding the chameleon spiders we each have a better understanding of each other’s abilities.


We cross the clearing in mere minutes and start swiftly making our way back to our campsite.


On our way out we leave the section of forest that has all the trees that have markings along their bases. I double check each tree and triple check any that appear to have no low hanging branches. If anything even remotely looks leg shaped I slow our pace till I’m absolutely sure there’s no danger.


My worries are unfounded, though. Our march back to our small hut is quiet. After I make a few laps around our hut and the small clearing, making 100% sure not even a regular spider is in sight, I can finally release some of my suppressed tension.


We cram ourselves into the hut and pile our spoils in the corner closest to the door.


I sit down on the pile of leaves I used for a bed the last two days. Closing my eyes, I take a deep breath and hold it in. Slowly exhaling releases some of my stress and my shoulders untense for the first time since we first left this hut this morning. I crack my eyes open a little and see both Del and Ronald similarly trying to relax themselves.


After a minute of silence master glances at the two of us with a somber look. “We got lucky.” Neither of us can refute him. “That magic beast was fast, strong, and armored. If it wasn’t for your magic, we might not have made it out of that fight unscathed.” His eyes bear down on me. “You said that was freeform magic? I thought I told you not to mess with that type of magic? You could have killed us all by accident.” I’m surprised he’s not yelling at me but his face has more than a little bit of judgment written across it.


“Since I nearly drowned myself trying to brush my teeth, I took your advice to heart. I didn’t practice freeform magic again… for a few months.” He didn’t smile at my joke. “I only started practicing it in my spare time and when I could afford the ridiculous mana cost. 99% of the magic I use is the three spells you taught me but freeform magic is too versatile not to try out. You shouldn’t complain after I managed to burn that beast to death.” I level a challenging look at master.


“I made sure to set rules for myself before I started experimenting. First, I would always include my mana cost in my chant, that way the magic wouldn’t drain me dry if I did something wrong. After trying to make a fireball the size of a bronze coin and having it almost burn my room down, I decided to never experiment with fire, it’s too unstable. So, I started messing around with low mana cost magic fist, that would burn itself out in seconds. I slowly tested my abilities to the point I can control certain magic.” That got him to raise one of his eyebrows.


“My biggest success is being able to use water magic to brush my teeth without almost killing myself. It may be the equivalent of a tier 1 spell and cost me 300 mana but I’ll take that as a win for me. The only freeform magic I’ve had any noticeable growth in is earth magic. Using the properties, you taught me, I can summon elements for a short amount of time. The dust I summoned was made from a combination of flammable metals you told me about.” I make sure to activate my Acting skill. I hate lying to master, he did trenchantly teach me about such metals but it’s my memories from earth that let me summon magnesium so perfectly.


“To be honest with you guys I was worried the torch wasn’t going to be hot enough to light the dust.” My laugh doesn’t impress master. I’m down playing it but I remember Magnesium being extremely hard to light. The only reason it ignited was because the wood the torch was made from reached a high enough temperature to start the reaction. If it was a normal torch from earth it wouldn’t have been possible to light the magnesium.


“Do again?” Ronald asks me as my laughter fades. It’s a good thing he doesn’t talk much. If he kept master’s secret for years, he probably won’t be blabbing about my magic abilities anytime soon.


I shake my head at him. “Summoning that mixture eats up an incredible amount of my mana. It lasted for only a little more than a minute and it took up 40% of my mana. If I was at a 100%, I could try casting it twice but it would likely put me on my ass and leave me weakened. I’m surprised the fire worked so well. I thought the flames would scare the creature off not outright fry the beast.”


“That’s why I said it was a wind type magic beast.” I turn from Ronald and listen to Del. “Different species of magic beasts naturally harness magic in their bodies. The beasts don’t have the same control as mages do, so their magic attunes itself to the species of the creature itself. Aside from the possibility of incorporating their elements into their attacks, their mana has secondary effects on the beast’s body. Magic beasts that have earth type mana can influence the ground or are usually incredibly hard to injure. Water type magic beasts usually manifest a second ability, usually a magic poison or they can be incredibly flexible and hard to hit. Fire type magic beasts are capable of explosive strength making them the most dangerous in a head on clash. Lastly, we have wind. Beasts that have wind type mana are faster than they appear and in rare cases, like the spider we fought, are able to hide their presence in many dangerous ways.”


“Is that why you guys couldn’t sense it and why it was so fast despite being so big?” Master nods his head at my question. “But wait. If it was a wind type magic beast, why was its armor so strong?” I reach over and grab a piece of the spider’s leg we brought back. Tracing the carapace, it feels even harder in my hands since we harvested it.


“Again, we were unlucky. The spider had a naturally high defense. In fact, now that I think about it, we might have been lucky.” Ronald and I are shocked at master’s words.


“If the species of spider was inclined to say the earth element, we never would’ve been able to dismember it with our weapons. It’s also thanks to its naturally occurring wind element mana that it was able to burn so easily. Wind mana naturally enhances fire magic. If it had any other type of mana things could have been even worse for us.”


Master’s right, if the creature’s mana was water or fire burning it probably wouldn’t have worked out so well. And if its mana was of the earth elemental variety it probably could have tanked the flames without dying. We were lucky.


I stare down at the chunk of leg in my arms, while master quickly gets a fire going.


When it’s not attached to a giant spider the leg could be mistaken for a crab’s leg. I wonder? “Hey master, you removed the venom sacks, right?”


He looks up from the quickly growing fire. “I was only able to remove one of the four intact, why?”


When we got closer to the spider after I killed it, we realized it had four fangs instead of the normal two. The top two fangs looked like a normal spider’s but it had another set of fangs facing inside its mouth. If the spider bit something inside or outside its mouth the poor creature would have received a venomous bite.


“I was thinking the venom wouldn’t be circulating its whole body, would it?” Master looks confused at my statement.


“No, I don’t believe so. Water type magic beasts have been known to have poisonous flesh but I doubt the spider shared the same traits.”


“Cool.” I reach over to a pile of kindling and grab a stick.


“What are you doing?” Master and Ronald look wide eyed at me.


I stick my hand into the spider’s leg and grab a handful of meat. Ripping it out, I stick the meat on the stick and hold it over the fire. “I’m tired of eating jerky. Besides, mother told me and Richard that magic beast meat is considered a delicacy.”


“Only some magic beasts taste respectable. Fish or bird type magic beasts are the only ones with reliable tasting meat. You’re basically eating a bug.”


“It looks like a crab though, maybe it’s tasty?”


“Crabs are the insects of the sea. Why would that sound tasty to you?”


What! People don’t eat crab here? It was considered a prisoner food back in the early 1800’s back on Earth. “Well I’m hungry. More for me.” I focus on roasting the meat.


Crab should be boiled or steamed but no one in the village has a pot big enough for these chunks of legs let alone one brought on this trip with us. I know people grill lobster tails, so hopefully this turns out ok…and you know… doesn’t poison me.


Flipping the meat around I wait until it has faint burn marks covering its sides. Grabbing the skewer, I hand it to Del.


“Why are you handing it to me?”


I continue to hold the skewer out. “Go to take a bite. If your Danger Sense goes off then I know it’s poisonous.”


“I don’t think that’s how it works.” He reaches out and takes the food. He brings it up to his nose and sniffs it. He motions like he’s going to bite it but stops at the last second. “My Danger Sense never went off but I’m not sure that’s anything to trust.”


He hands my dinner back to me. I shrug my shoulders in a dismissive manner and bring the chunk of meat up to my mouth.


“Might as well try a bite first.” I slowly open my mouth and bite the smallest chunk I can off of the skewer.


Once the spider flesh touches my tongue I’m hit with the incredible flavor. It tastes like crabmeat with an incredible smoky flavor. The meat wasn’t smoked but has a perfect campfire taste. I only need to chew it twice before the meat shreds in my mouth.


The spider meat easily goes down and I immediately go for another bite. This is the most delicious thing I’ve eaten since I was born again in this world.


Ronald and Del look disgusted at my eating habits. I smirk thinking about how much they’re missing out on. “Are you sure you guys don’t want to…”


My eyes go wide as I grip my stomach.


“Are you ok?!” Master leaps to his feet.


I open my mouth to respond but a wave of pleasure pulses through my body. It’s hard to do but I activate Sense Mana and focus on my stomach. The meat I’d just scarfed down is radiating a gentle pulse of mana throughout my body. My stressed mana veins from the earlier battle are soothed by the new source of mana helping them recover.


The incredible feeling brings a huge smile to my face.


Through my blissful haze I see master’s worried look be replaced with a look of disbelief.


Slowly the warm feeling becomes more easily bearable and my eyes focus on master. “Sorry…!”



I need to catch my breath for a second there. “This stuff is amazing.”


“You scared the crap out of me! What happened with the meat?” He looks down on me with a frown.


Still using my Sense Mana skill, I can see the mana helping refill my emptied mana pool. I can’t help my smile from growing as I answer Del. “The meat tastes amazing and the mana inside it is helping replenish my mana pool 30% faster than normal.”


“Good?” I smile at Ronald’s question.


I reach into the leg again and rip out another two chunks of meat. I set up the two new skewers next to the fire like I did the last one. Only this time I feel like I should pull them back a little bit more this time. Did I level my Cooking skill again?


LV: 60 Experience: 87,929/ 420,152

Health: 1,012.68/2,030

Stamina: 519.41/1,343

Mana: 231.51/1,000

Vitality: 203.00

Endurance: 80.03

Strength: 120.00

Dexterity: 113.00

Senses: 60.14

Mind: 62.20

Magic: 100.19

Clarity: 75.14

Status Points: 0


Tier 1:

Meditation (LV77), Running (LV68), Axe Skills (LV55), Cleaning (LV50), Blacksmithing (LV50), Hammer Skills (LV45), Chanting (LV44), Mining (LV42), Drawing (LV37), Dagger Skills (LV31), Cooking (LV31), Acting (LV30), Trading (LV26), Sewing (LV24), Wood Carving (LV19), Pugilist Skills (LV4), Spear Skills (LV2)

Tier 2:

Sense Mana (LV76), Double Step (LV51), Charm (LV50), Measurement (LV37), Axe Arts (LV36), Hammer Arts (LV34), Writing (LV32), Mathematics (LV30), Intimidating Shout (LV29), Dagger Arts (LV12), Increase price (LV7), Marching (LV5), Lower Price (LV4), Gourmet (LV2)

Tier 3:

Expel mana (LV53), Mana Manipulation (LV42), Precise Strike (LV24), Double Strike (LV23), Flash Step (LV3), Weighted Strike (LV2)

Tier 4:

Inject mana (LV40), Mana Skin (LV36), Mental Resistance (LV34),

Tier 5:

Sense Soul (LV25)

Increased Skill Levels


Chanting (LV43-44) 4,350exp

Cooking (LV30-31) 3,050exp

Gourmet (LV1-2) 300exp

Mana Skin (LV36) 9,000exp


I snort when I see my new skill, Gourmet.


“New skill?” I’m surprised master can read me that well.


“Yeah, a new skill that helps me appreciate food. I’d didn’t think I subconsciously wanted a skill like that?”


“You got the Gourmet skill.” Master chuckles under his breath.


“You’ve heard of it? How does it work?” It’s rare that master can advise me on non-blacksmithing skills.


“It’s a skill earned by those seeking new and exciting foods. It’s hard for most people to get because whether you’re rich or poor you are used to the food you normally eat. Only eccentric people who go out of their way to try something crazy that’s placed in front of them manage to earn the skill. Usually the skill is obtained from chefs or others researching exotic foods. I heard it helps people determine how edible something is. It’s also one of the harder tier 2 skills to level because you have to keep trying new things and just because it helps you decide what’s edible that doesn’t mean it prevents food poisoning or other ailment’s that come from shoving something random in your mouth.” Now he’s laughing out loud.


“Will Ronald get the skill after he tries it?”


Master tries to rain in his laughter. “No, he won’t get it that easy. He’s seen you eat it and has decided to try it after seeing how much you enjoyed it. To get the skill you have to willingly try something you have no prior experience with, without being influenced by your surroundings.” Master watches me turn the meat. “Make a small one for me too. It better be as good as you say it is.”


I happily start roasting a smaller piece of meat for master. While I’m watching the meat, I do some math in my head and calculate how much experience I got from killing the chameleon spider. 7,600 experience is a lot but nowhere near the amount I gained from the horned hob. The danger factor must be a bigger multiplier than I previously thought. I almost died in a one on one fight against a weaker hob but earned more experience. With the three of us facing the spider together, I only suffering that one hit from the spider, and then just stood back and roasting the blasted thing earned me much less experience.


I inspect the meat before I hand it to Ronald and Del. Both watch me take the first bite from my second skewer before they each try their own. The second helping of meat only keeps the warmth emitting from my stomach going and doesn’t increase its potency at all.


Ronald is eating his at a steady pace while Del looks like he’s trying to decide whether he likes it or not.


“Good.” Is the only conformation I get out of Ronald before he takes his next bite.


“It’s ok, not the best I’ve ever had. Though it’s not as bad as I thought it would be, I was sure the meat from a bug would taste a lot worse. The forest taste is a little overpowering I would say.”


“Now who’s a gourmet.” I poke fun at master’s over complicated yelp review. “You could just say it’s better than jerky and the fruits we scavenged.”


“More, please.” I look over at Ronald and see he’s handing me his empty stick back.


“Sure, one moment. Do you want another one, master?” I start prepping another round of meat.


“Well, if you’re making more…yes please.” I’m happy they both like it.


With this round of roasting, the chunk of leg I pulled the meat from is empty. I glance back at the pile of materials we harvested. “We’ll never be able to eat all of that before it goes bad. I would’ve like to share it with my mother and father.” I can’t help but frown at the thought of the food that’s going to go to waist.


“You don’t have to worry so much.” I look back at master. “Magic beast meat can last days, depending on how strong the monster was. The lingering magic in the flesh is too strong for insects to eat without dying, so as long as we make it back to the village in a few days you should be able to share it with your family.”


“That’s good news.” I grin at the thought of mother’s reaction to the magic meat. Maybe that will be enough to keep her from yelling at me… probably not. “Master, what did you mean the magic will kill insects that try to eat it?”


“The amount of magic contained in the monster’s flesh is too large for regular insects to eat it. You said the meat is helping you to regain your magic right?”




“Well what do you think would happen if your mana pool was full like mine and Ronald’s?”


My eyes grow wide at the realization. “Is the meat giving you guy’s mana poisoning?!”


Ronald just keeps eating and master waives his hands in a placating gesture. “It’s like the magicite down at the bottom of my mine. Too much can be deadly but that doesn’t mean our bodies can’t handle it, especially because the two of us are of such a high enough level.”


“That makes sense but why does the meat help my mana pool while the magicite doesn’t increase my mana regain?”


“The mana that flows through nature is inherently violent, however everything living processes that violent mana and converts it into its own internal mana. Eating magic plants or animals still forces more mana into the body but it’s much less violent because it has already been converted from nature magic to an organic magic.”


“Does that mean the rest of the chameleon spider we left behind will stay there for the next couple of days?”


“If it was farther away from the denser parts of the magic forest it might last a day or so but it will probably be picked clean tonight. Farkas would have trouble getting through the shell but they would still be able to eat most of the meat. Plus, with the body being so close to the deeper parts of the forest I’m sure magic rodents and other scavengers will be attracted to the free meal.”


I notice the meat is ready, so I pass the skewers out. “If we can’t recover the rest of the materials, then what should we do next? Do we try and hunt another spider or do we make our way home?”


“We should check the surrounding area and see if any of the spiders are moving this far from the deeper parts of the forest. Whether we find more spiders or not we should report back to the village. The other hunters and everybody else need to be warned about the dangers possibly hiding in the forest.”




“Sounds like a plan, master.” We make a pretty good team. It helps we’re all on the same page.


I take another large bite out of my skewer.


Today was a scary day. We went looking for a monster and we found it… we found them. But the three of us overcame the beast and now we’re feasting on the best food I’ve had in decades. I can’t lower my guard tomorrow but something in my gut is telling me the rest of the trip isn’t going to be as hard as today.


“Burp!” … “Sorry, excuse me.” We all share a laugh around the fire. Maybe that gut feeling was indigestion. Either way we’ll overcome anything tomorrow, together.



The familiar clearing lies directly in front of us. Tired and dirty, I’m not sure if I’m ready for this. How are we supposed to move on after everything we’ve seen?


My first step out of the trees fills me with emotions I’ve long since buried. Stretching in front of us is a mass of bodies.



The sight of the villagers tending to the fields almost brings a tear to my eye.


“What are you stopping for? We need to head for the headman’s house.” Del pats my shoulder as he and Ronald pass on either side of me. I stand still for a moment taking in the sights before I run to join up with them. Three days of marching, a battle, a day to rest, another battle, scouting, and finally two days for us to make it home. It feels like it has been months since I’ve seen the village instead of only nine days.


As we move along the side of the field, we all pause feeling like we’re being watched. Our time moving through the forest has us all still on edge. We snap into formation and scan our surroundings.


The three of us relax slightly when we see the farmers staring at us across the field. So many emotions are carried in their gazes.








In between the distant faces I can see gaps in between them where people aren’t standing. A few faces I’ve been accustomed to seeing are missing in the crowd.


Awkwardly, we continue our march towards the headman’s house. Each villager we pass sends a shiver down my spine. I can feel the number of eyes on us increase as we pass more and more people. A few homes we pass have their doors wide open and the villagers watch as we pass in front of them while they remain in the comfort of their doorways.


I’m not sure if someone ran ahead of us and told the headman we we’re coming but Nicolas is waiting for us in front of the headman’s house. “Welcome back Ronald, Del-Razen, and miss Aaliyah. The drawing room has been prepared for you.” He turns around and opens the door, holding it until the last of us pass through. As he closes the door, I notice a small crowd still staring at us through the shrinking gap.


“You can leave your bags off to the side.” We follow Nicolas’s instructions and gently set our packs off to the side.


None of us say a word as we’re led to the same room, I first met with the headman alongside Master Del. We don’t even all make it into the drawing room before Camden is on his feet greeting us.


“Thank the gods you’ve finally returned safely! Each day you didn’t return the village has become more and more restless.”


Taking my last steps into the room I see Camden and his wife standing in front of us with their son’s flanking their sides.


“When did your group make it back?” Master asks the headman.


“Everyone was eager to make it home. We only took short breaks and followed the hunters through the night. We managed to make it home before sundown on the second day.


“You’ve been back for three days?” I can’t help but exclaim. We took the same amount of time to make it home but the three of us can move much faster through the woods. They must have moved tirelessly to achieve the same pace as us.


“Where are my manners?! Please sit, need anything to drink?” He looks between us.


Ronald gives a, “Good.”

Master answers with, “I’m ok.”

“No thank you.” I answer politely.


“I was told you all brought back large amounts of beast parts. Did you find the reason why the goblins were moving into our part of the forest?” The headman is sweating by the time he finishes his question. Now that I look at him, he appears to have aged a few years since I’d last seen him.


His nervous smile fades as he sees the complicated look on our faces.


His brow starts sweating more as Master Del recounts our scouting. Master brushes over how we managed to defeat the chameleon spider but makes sure to stress the fact that we could barely match the beast’s ferocity with our strength. All of the headman’s family were pale faced when we described the creature’s ability to hide. When master mentions about how many others we came across during our retreat the poor man looked ready to cry.


“Are they moving towards the village?” Camden asks in a shaky voice.


“We found one of the spiders the same distance from the deeper part of the forest as our camp was located. We’re not sure how far some of them have spread out but it appears most are staying close to the deeper parts of the forest. Hopefully they retreat back into the magic part of the forest when winter arrives. The three of us talked it over and we can spend a few days each month scanning the area incase they decide to move closer to the village.”


“I’m grateful for your willingness to help but this is really bad. Everyone is still reeling from our losses during the battle. I scheduled a village meeting tomorrow to honor the eighteen people who died. Now I have to tell them we have massive magic beasts hiding in the forest.”


No one says anything for a while.


“What am I doing? I’m sorry I kept the three of you here for so long, you must be tired. I hope you all can rest well and hopefully make it to the ceremony tomorrow at sunset.


The three of us nod our heads and move back to the entryway and grab our gear. As master and Ronald leave through the door the headman calls out to me. “Oh Aaliyah, please give my regards to your mother. Tell her I’m happy you made it home safely.”


The hair on the back of my neck stands up. “Uh, why does she need to hear that from me?”


“She’s visited my house every day since we made it back and… well… we ‘talked’ about my horrible decision in allowing you to stay behind… just let her know I apologize again.”


Oh gods! I look down at myself. I don’t have any injuries but I’m filthy. Leaving the headman’s house, I’m lucky the onlookers have dispersed by now so they won’t see the panicked look on my face. I try to hide my nervousness from the people still intensely staring at me as I make my way back home.


I half expected mom to be waiting in the doorway for my return, is her absence a good sign or a bad one?


I open the door to our house and I almost draw my axe when I feel the bloodlust hit me.


Mother is standing, no towering over me, a few feet away from the door with a presence I can’t describe.


“Mom! I’m so happy to see you!” I try to choke out the words. “I’ll give you a big hug in a second, let me clean myself first!” I avoid her eyes as I set my pack down. chock


“Ahyt ls weem appiss!”


I feel like a snake sheading its skin when the spell activates. Soon my whole-body sheds at least four pounds of dirt and sweat onto the stone floor below me.


“See mom! Not a scratch on me.” I twirl in place showing off my unmarked body, thank the gods my high Vitality let my scrapes heal in time.


I still can’t meet mother’s gaze but I noticed father silently standing in a corner. He looks at me and mouths ‘run’.


“Oh no! I made a mess over here.” I quickly bend over and grab a bucket by the door. “I’ll get some water to clean it up. Be Right Back!” I twist and move to open the door to flee.


“Darrius, door.” The sound of mother’s ice-cold voice causes me to fumble with the latch. I have 113 Dexterity, how is that possible!?!


I only get the door open a few inches before dad arrives beside me and pushes the door shut, closing of my only escape route.


“Where do you think you are going?” I hear mother walking towards me. I’m scared to turn around.


“Traitor.” I whisper up at father.


“You made me come home alone, you betrayed me first.” He whispers back. Our quiet conversation might as well have been a shout in our silent house.


Ever so slowly, I turn around. “Let me explain before you...” The words die in my throat when I finally see mother’s face.


Her two eyes are brighter than the magnesium fire I used against the spider.


Hopefully in my next life I’ll be able to make it to 30.

A note from kosnik4

5,500 Words.


Hope you enjoyed it. And as always, stay safe.

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Bio: Just love a good story.

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