You are currently viewing The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Forty-Six

The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Forty-Six

After I found my way out of the tunnels, I stared back at the mountain in the distance, thinking about what I had lost, wondering if this was always going to be my fate. To grow close to someone, to love them, only for it all to fall apart before my eyes.

I looked down at myself. My clothes were torn and ripped. I was covered in bruises and cuts. All my potions were gone, and I had no money left. No, I had nothing left at all. I turned towards the Nile, making the long walk to the only place I could go to recover.

As I walked, I thought about what I would do, burying my grief as I made plans to leave this accursed place. I knew I was no match for both Rexor and Morgan, not on my own. As skilled as I was, I couldn’t overcome them and the sheer numbers of the order. And despite her betrayal, I wasn’t sure I could land a killing blow on Morgan, and without that resolve I was done for.

It was dusk by the time I reached the river. I collapsed to the ground, cupping the water in my hands as I drank greedily before laying down in the dirt, passing out as my exhaustion finally won out.

When I woke the next morning, I was lucky enough to catch a few fish, and had a meager breakfast before setting off. It was only a matter of time before the order realized I survived the fall and came looking for me. Then they would find my trail, and the obvious direction I was traveling in.

I set off in the general direction of Nubia, keeping my distance from the Nile for as much of the trip as I could manage. Thankfully, I was able to blend in with the other travelers for most of the journey, but without a camel or even a horse, it took me almost two weeks to reach the border of Nubia.

I breathed a sigh of relief, no longer having to look over my shoulder. The order was unlikely to search this far for me, but being left to my own thoughts without a goal to focus on was a whole other torture.

All I could think about was the shame and hurt that I felt. Shame for running away like a coward, and not leaving with Morgan when I had the chance. The agony I felt at being alone again, and the familiar feeling of everything I had built laying in ruin.

I poked at my campfire with a stick, listening to the crackle of the wood as I tried to focus on anything else other than the gut wrenching pain of my failures.

“You’re not done yet,” a voice suddenly said from behind me. I jumped to my feet in shock. I hadn’t even heard their approach. Turning around quickly, I looked at the cloaked man, recognizing him immediately. He was the one that told me and Morgan how to find the mountain.

I felt a surge of anger, like nothing I had never felt before. “You!!” I screamed out hatefully, sending a jet of flame in his direction.

The man nonchalantly caught my magical flame in his hand, crushing it in his fist, and dissipating my spell like it was nothing. “Good, you learned something at least,” he said, not the least bit threatened by my rage.

I screamed in anger, producing a bolt of lightning to attack him with. I rushed forward, even before my attack struck, intent on pummeling him with my fists if my magic couldn’t get the job done.

The man batted away my lighting spell, letting it crash into the ground as he sidestepped me, tripping me with his foot, and sending me crashing to the dirt. “Go ahead,” he said, with the same bored expression, looking down at me. “I can do this all day.”

I got to my feet, my face burning with humiliation and rage as I glared hatefully at him. “You told me my journey was at an end!” I shouted. “You said I would find what I was looking for on that accursed mountain! WHY!?” I demanded. “I lost everything because of you!” I added, my rage mixing with my grief as I struggled to maintain control.

“I told you what you needed to hear to do what was necessary,” the old man replied, without a hint of empathy or remorse in his voice.

“I’ve lost everything,” I muttered, feeling utterly broken as I lay in the dirt, knowing I wasn’t even a match for this old man.

“No,” the man shook his head, sitting down across from me. “You learned from Thulsa, you defeated him. That’s the real reason you were there,” he explained calmly.

“I lost her,” I replied, realizing the old man wasn’t going to kill me. “If you hadn’t done what you did, we would still be together.”

“You’re smarter than that, Merlin,” the man replied patiently. “Deep down inside, you knew she was always going to leave you. It was just a matter of time.”

“You don’t know that,” I denied, feeling some of my anger returning. “You don’t know anything about her!”

“Oh,” the man said, feigning surprise. “Are you going to try to hit me again? Better than you have tried before, boy. The result will be no different,” he added confidently.

I glared at him, my emotions rapidly cycling between rage and grief, “why are you here then? To rub salt in my wounds?”

“I’m here to tell you the job isn’t done,” the man replied. “You need to go back and finish what you started.”

“I’m not going back!” I retorted. “You seem strong enough. Why don’t you do it yourself?” I demanded bitterly. “Or better yet, find someone else’s life to ruin.”

“To be young again,” the man muttered, rolling his eyes. “I sometimes forget the stupidity that comes with youth.”

I glared back at him, refusing to say anything.

“Merlin,” the man said, with a long-suffering sigh. “The girl was a snake through and through. She was always going to betray you the moment she found someone stronger.”

I wanted to argue with him, rage at him again, but I knew it would do no good. It wouldn’t change what happened.

“You still don’t believe me, do you?” the man chuckled. “Alright, see for yourself,” he said, flicking his finger at me before everything went black.

I blinked, looking around in surprise. “Where are we? What have you done?” I demanded, finding myself in some kind of void.

“We’re inside your mind,” the man replied, appearing beside me. “I know you can remember everything you’ve ever experienced, but this time I guess that’s not enough, you need to see it.”

“How do you know all these things about me?” I asked, wondering again who or what this man was.

“Later,” the man replied, “just pay attention.”

“To what?” I asked indignantly. “There’s nothing out-” I said, my words catching in my throat as I saw Morgan again. It was not long after we first set off. I saw the angry look in her eyes, even though she didn’t speak a word against it when I suggested we sleep on the ground to save some coin, rather than go to an inn.

I saw each memory, one after the other, all the arguments we had, the way she looked at me, and how it changed with each passing day. I was too blinded by love to see it then, and now I couldn’t look away. I had to accept the bitter truth, the old man was right. Morgan may have loved me once, but not anymore.

“Get some rest,” the man said, fading away. “We start in the morning.”

My vision faded again to darkness before I could ask him what he was talking about, and moments later I was asleep.

I woke up the next morning, wondering if it had all been a dream, only to stumble back in surprise as a fish landed in front of me, flopping on the ground.

“Good, you’re awake,” the man said. “Eat that, then we’ll get started.”

“Get started with what?” I asked, just before my stomach grumbled and I pulled out my knife to scale the fish.

“You beat Thulsa, but the job’s still not done,” the man repeated. “Morgan’s their leader now, and they also need to be stopped before they corrupt anymore magicals.”

“And why exactly is that my job?” I demanded.

“It’s part of your journey,” the man replied calmly. “And don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about,” he said, looking at me pointedly.

My first instinct was to do just that, having spent a good chunk of my life hiding my secrets, but when I looked back at him, I knew there was no point in denying it, he knew. “What do you know about me?” I asked.

“I know that you’re not the first, and you won’t be the last,” the old man revealed. “When you die, your soul comes back. You’ve been doing it for thousands of years.”

“How do you know all this?” I asked in disbelief, wondering how he knew everything he did.

“I guess you can say I’ve been around for a long time,” he said, his eyes glowing with power.

“What am I?” I asked, almost afraid to hear the answer. “Why am I different from everyone else?”

“It’s not time for you to know yet,” the man replied.

“That’s it?” I asked in disbelief. “After everything I’ve been through, you can’t tell me anything else?”

“No,” the man shook his head simply. “When it’s time, you’ll know, not before.”

“What do I call you then?” I asked, realizing I wouldn’t get anything more out of him.

“Hoggoth,” he replied. “You can call me Hoggoth.”

“I can’t beat them,” I said, placing the skewered fish above the fire. “Morgan and Rexor are too strong, and there are too many order members for me to get to them without anyone noticing.”

“That’s why I’m here,” Hoggoth replied, “to finish your lessons, and prepare you to face them.”

I sighed,  looking at Hoggoth. The last thing I wanted to do was go back to the mountain, to face Morgan.

“If you don’t stop them here, they’re going to spread across the world like a plague, destroying everyone and everything they come across, and the next time you face them, you won’t be strong enough to face them,” Hoggoth said, seemingly reading my mind like a book.

“The next time?” I asked.

Hoggoth nodded. “There’s no escaping this, Merlin. Sooner or later, your paths will cross again. It’s inevitable.”

“Alright,” I relented, knowing that Morgan’s lust for power would only grow with time, and with the Darkhold, it was all but assured she would find it.

I spent weeks in the forest, learning from Hoggoth. He taught me how to review my memories within my mind, the way he did the previous night. Then he taught me the basics of building a mind palace to protect my memories, and protect me from mental intrusions, even showing me how to hone my spells, making them less draining to cast, and allowing me to last for much longer in a fight.

“I still don’t think I’m ready,” I said on the second month of my training, knowing that even with my increased skills, I was no match for their sheer numbers, and combined magical strength.

“You will be,” Hoggoth said confidently. “There’s just one more thing you have to learn.”

“What’s that?” I asked, wondering what I could do to make up the difference.

“You’ve already done it once before,” Hoggoth replied. “When you were fighting, Thulsa,” he explained. “Didn’t you ever wonder how you crossed the room like you did just in time to save the girl?”

My eyes widened as I realized what he meant. I had written it off as some quirk of my magic, assisting me in a moment of desperation, but I never dreamed I could control it. “How?” I asked.

“There’s three steps,” Hoggoth explained. “You must clearly focus on your destination. It will be easier if you can see it, but with your little memory trick, it won’t be a problem. The next step is to focus your will on occupying that space, and finally call on your magic to take you there.”

I spent the next week following his instructions. It was slow at first. I could only travel a short distance at a time, and it was draining, but I slowly learned to be more efficient with my magic. The deafening crack of displaced air when I arrived slowly faded to a soft pop, and from their to complete silence.

“You’re ready,” Hoggoth said one morning as he handed me a dagger.

“What’s this for?” I asked in surprise, looking at the dagger. It was in a style I had never seen before, and was old, very old, but despite that, it was still in good condition.

“I told you before,” Hoggoth said. “The job’s not done, and you’re going to need that to kill Thulsa.”

“Thulsa?” I asked, my eyebrows knitting together in confusion. “He’s dead. We already killed him.”

“It’s not that easy,” Thulsa explained. “The ritual he did to become immortal, nasty stuff,” he frowned in disgust. “He broke off a piece of his soul and placed it within an object. That object ties him to life. As long as it or the connection between them still exists, it’s only a matter of time before he comes back.”

“And this dagger is supposed to stop him?” I said, looking it over carefully.

Hoggoth nodded. “You can either stab his non-corporeal essence with it, or the object. It doesn’t matter which. That will break the connection, and they’ll be gone for good,” Hoggoth replied.

“How am I supposed to find this object?” I asked.

“You’ll know it when you find it,” Thulsa explained. “There’s no mistaking the taint it emits.”

“Where did this dagger come from?” I asked curiously. “I’ve never seen this kind of design before.”

“Not a clue,” Hoggoth said, shaking his head. “It was around long before I set foot in this realm.”

“Realm?!” I asked in surprise, remembering what Thulsa had said about Chthon, and how he created the Darkhold.

“Yes, realm,” Hoggoth replied. “There’s many of them, some of them good… others less so,” he answered cryptically.

“…And you’re from one of the good ones?” I asked, wondering what I had got myself into.

“More or less,” Hoggoth replied, not filling me with much confidence.

“I’m not going to kill you, Merlin,” Hoggoth replied in a bored voice. “Why would I spend all this time training you if I was just going to kill you in the end?”

“So we’re done?” I asked.

“Done,” he replied simply.

“Will I see you again?” I asked.

“Not in this lifetime,” Hoggoth said as magical energies swirled around him.

I watched in shock as he changed from a man to a large celestial dragon, jumping into the air before he disappeared in a flash of light. To this day, I still wonder what he was, and if I would ever lay eyes on him again.

I made my way back to the red mountains. The trip was faster now that I could use my magic to travel, but I still couldn’t move long distances or do it too many times during the day.

At dusk I stared off in the direction I wanted to travel, making two or three jumps when I was sure no one would see me before making camp.

During the day, I met many people traveling in the opposite direction, and I finally took the time to ask why so many of them were leaving. Their answers filled me with worry. Rumors about men and women in white robes appearing in towns and villages, killing all that resisted them, and telling everyone that remained they were now under the rule of the Cult of Set.

It seemed that Morgan and Rexor had wasted little time in following through on Thulsa’s ambitions. It was only a matter of time before the pharaoh sent his armies against them, if he hadn’t already.

On the third day, I found my way to the cave I crawled out of, and made my way back inside, following the path I took to reach the ritual chamber. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest with each step I took, my anxiety building with each step.

I knew what I had to do, they had to be stopped, but it didn’t make it any easier. I knew these people, shared meals with them, even helped to train some of them.

Looked up, I listened carefully, hearing voices. Two of them were talking quietly. I cast the spell to hide myself, the same one Morgan and I used to escape her father, and transported myself into the chamber. I would only have one chance at this. As soon as I attacked them, my spell would fail. I hardened my heart as I moved behind them, listening, waiting for the right moment to strike.

“I don’t see why we even need to bother,” the first one said. “Look how far down it goes. No one’s going to sneak in from down there.”

“Morgan’s orders,” the other one replied with a shrug of his shoulders. “We never found Merlin’s body, either. For all we know, he could still be alive.”

“I don’t know,” the first one replied skeptically. “The current from the underground river could have just as easily carried off his body.”

I walked behind them grimly, knowing what I had to do. Killing wasn’t something I enjoyed, but there was no other way to stop them. I reached forward, deftly pulling their swords from their scabbards, and when they turned around in surprise, I stabbed them both through the heart.

They only had a few moments to look at me in surprise, blood pooling in their mouths, and the holes in their chests before they fell backwards into the cavern. I threw one sword into the cavern with them, keeping the other with me. I stared down into the shadows, not able to see their bodies in the darkness, and hoped they wouldn’t be discovered.

It was late at night, so most of the order, or the cult as they were known by now, were asleep, but there were still a few guards patrolling the hallways, and standing guard outside the mountain. I would need to kill as many of them as I could before I was discovered. Facing the entire cult would have been a death sentence, regardless of my new training.

Recasting my invisibility spell, I made my way out of the chamber, knowing what I had to do. I was lucky. There were only ten guards walking the hallways, and none of them were in pairs.

Using the same tactic I used on the first two guards, I snuck up behind them, stabbing them each with my sword, careful not to draw the attention of the others. Then I set about grim the task of hiding their bodies so they wouldn’t be discovered.

I still think about how many of our kind I killed that night. The looks of surprise and fear in their eyes as the life left their eyes. I wondered if their victims looked at them the same way they looked at me that night.

After I killed the last of the guards, I continued the search, going into the higher levels of the mountain, when I came across a sight that drew my interest. Four guards stood in front of a heavy wooded door. Unlike the others patrolling the hallway, all four of them were standing there on full alert.

I wondered what could be behind the door that would require this many guards. It wasn’t normal. I felt an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach and instinctively knew I had to find what was behind those doors. One wrong move and they would be on me. The noise would draw the attention of more guards, something I couldn’t afford.

I walked back down the hallway, turning the corner, and banged the hilt of my sword against the wall to draw their attention. Looking around the corner, I waited for them.

“What was that?” the first guard asked, looking down the hallway. “Who’s there?” He demanded, squinting his eyes as he stared into the shadows.

I didn’t reply, watching them carefully as I waited for them.

“Go check it out,” one of them said, pointing down the hallway towards me.

I stepped back, watching as he approached, and pulled out the dagger Hoggoth gave me. The guard made it to the end of the hallway, looking in my direction and then the other before he set off in the opposite direction.

I snuck up behind him, covering his mouth with my hand as I stabbed him through his back. I held him in place as he struggled against my grip for a moment before slumping to the ground.

I peeked around the hallway, checking if they heard me before quickly returning to the body of the man I killed. I Pulled off his robe, and quickly slipped it on. I had just enough time to pull the hood cover my face, and turn towards the second guard before he rounded the corner.

“What’s going on?” He asked, mistaking me for the guard I killed before he looked down. “What-” He started to say in alarm before I quickly crossed the distance, burying the dagger in his chest as well, hammering my forearm into his throat at the same time to cut off his scream as I slammed him into the wall.

I could see the recognition in his eyes as the blood gurgled from his mouth, the light leaving his eyes as he quickly bled out. Looking around the corner, I saw the remaining two guards walking towards me, swords drawn and at the ready. I picked up a second sword from one of the fallen guards, re-applying my invisibility spell as I crept down the hallway to face them.

When we were a foot apart, I raised my swords, hammering them into their chests. Their eyes widened in pain as they stared down at the swords protruding from their chests, their lungs filling with blood as they died.

As they fell to the ground, I looked around, hoping the noise hadn’t drawn the attention of anyone else. I stood there, waiting for a long moment, straining my ears, but I didn’t hear anyone else.

I looked down at the men I killed, knowing that I couldn’t leave them out in the open. It was only a matter of time before their bodies were discovered. I cast a high-powered fire spell on them, leaving behind nothing but a dark scorch mark.

I walked back to the end of the hallway, doing the same for the remaining guards, before I made my way to the door. I pressed my ear against it, listening for anyone inside, but didn’t hear anything.

Taking a risk, I pushed open the door a crack, peeking inside, and heard a familiar voice, “who’s there? Come to finish me off?” He said, letting out a rasping laugh.

“Rexor,” I said, opening the door fully, looking at Thulsa’s former right-hand man. He was chained against the wall and covered in deep bruises and cuts. I knew from looking at him they weren’t all from fighting Thulsa. Some of them were fresh, while others looked weeks, and even days old.

“Merlin,” he said in shock. “…You’re alive.”

I couldn’t help the feeling of satisfaction that welled up inside me as I looked at him, finding a dark satisfaction in his suffering. “So are you, but not for long, by the looks of things,” I replied.

Rexor let out a raspy cough, spitting out a gob of blood. “Don’t be fooled. I’m tougher than I look.”

“What’s the matter?” I taunted him. “Your new partnership not working out the way you thought it would?”

“She caught me by surprise,” Rexor revealed bitterly.

“I can see that,” I said, walking up to him. “What happened?”

“She’s a real piece of work, that girl,” Rexor revealed. “She thought by sleeping with me I would tell her all my secrets,” he spat. “But I wasn’t born yesterday. I knew what she was up to.”

“She wanted the immortality Thulsa promised us,” I said, burying the hurt I felt about Rexor’s revelation.

“That was my mistake,” Rexor said, revealing a moment of weakness. “I should have killed her the moment I found out what she was after, but I was lonely… and she was so young, and beautiful. I imagine it was the same for you.”

I clenched my fists, the rage building inside me. I knew Rexor was doing this to torment, but it didn’t matter. He got the reaction he wanted. I snapped my fist up, landing a heavy blow to his jaw.

“Ughhh,” Rexor groaned, working his jaw, surprised by the strength of Merlin’s punch. “Alright, alright. I had that one coming,” He conceded.

“What else happened?” I ground out, glaring at the man.

“I told her that was the deal she made with Thulsa, not me, and she stormed off. What I didn’t expect was for her to tell the rest of the order, and convince them I was holding them back, just like Thulsa did. They put something in my food a few nights later, and when I woke up I was in here.”

“Ever since then, they’ve been coming in here, working me over, trying to beat the secrets out of me,” Rexor finished.

I took in Rexor’s injuries, noticing that both his arms were broken, along with a good number of his fingers, and his legs. ‘Probably so he won’t be able to cast any spells,’ I thought grimly. I didn’t think he was lying, but I still didn’t know what to do with him. I couldn’t trust him, not after what he did, and he was no good to me in a fight, not in the condition he was in.

“Don’t get any ideas,” Rexor let out another raspy cough. “This is a temporary condition. I’ve had a lot worse, and it’s not like you can kill me either,” he finished confidently.

I stared back at him, my hand resting on the hilt of the dagger Hoggoth gave me. ‘You have no idea,’ I thought, taking a dark satisfaction in the knowledge I held over him.

“The way I see it,” Rexor continued. “You’ve got two options. You can either release me and I can help you stop the order, or you can die facing them alone. So what’s it going to be?” He asked, expectantly.

“Cult,” I replied simply.

“What?” Rexor asked, furrowing his brows in confusion.

“They’re not calling themselves the Order of Set anymore. It’s the Cult of Set now,” I replied, thinking about all the senseless death and destruction they were responsible for.

“Order, Cult, it makes no difference,” Rexor dismissed. “Either way, you can’t beat them alone.”

“You don’t look like you’ll be much help,” I said, pointing out his many injuries.

“I have potions for that in my chambers,” Rexor replied with a vicious grin. “You won’t have to worry about me.”

“And what happens after we beat them?” I asked. “It’s not like I can trust you.”

“We’ll see how you feel about it after they’re dead,” Rexor replied dismissively. “If you’re so eager to die after that, we’ll settle things like men. If you decide to walk away, that’s fine too. I won’t come after you.”

“Potions in your chamber?” I asked, leading him on. “I used up a lot of magic getting this far. Do you have anything for that?”

“Now you’re talking,” Rexor laughed. “I got just the thing for you.”

“I was about to say the same thing to you,” I said, surging forward as I buried my dagger in his stomach.

Rexor looked down in surprise, the blood seeping from his wound. “You’re… an.. Idiot,” he rasped. “I told you… already… I can’t,” he stopped, feeling a burning sensation in his gut.

“That’s where you’re wrong,” I said, staring back at him vengefully. “What you’re feeling right now, that’s your immortality being stripped away from you. You’re not coming back, not this time.”

“.. How?” Rexor muttered, looking down at his stomach before looking back up at me in disbelief.

“It doesn’t matter,” I dismissed. “You don’t have long enough for me to tell you, anyway.”

I stood there watching as the life left Rexor’s eyes, knowing now that Hoggoth hadn’t lied to me. Rexor wasn’t coming back. His body aged rapidly before my eyes, his skin shriveling away, and only leaving behind his bones.

After that, I made my way to the upper levels and the most dangerous part of the mountain. It was where everyone slept. One wrong move, one person showing up unexpectedly, and they would be on me in a second.

I’m not proud of the part that came next. I knew it was necessary, but that didn’t make it any easier. Going from room to room, silently killing each cult member I found, then arranging their bodies to make it look like they were sleeping so the others wouldn’t notice.

Many of them I knew by name, having shared meals with them, even training with them, but they had all sided with Morgan, killing hundreds as they all but dared the pharaoh to come after them. As much as I hated what I had to do, I knew they had earned their fate.

I stopping in Morgan’s and my former bedroom, but found it empty. It wasn’t the only one. The strongest members of the cult weren’t in their bedrooms either. I continued searching the mountain, wondering where else they could be at this time of night, getting more nervous with each passing second.

That’s when I heard them. Two acolytes talking amongst themselves as they walked down the hallway. I followed closely behind them, my invisibility spell keeping me hidden as I listened in on their conversation.

“Morgan is waiting for us,” the first once said. “We can’t be late. She said she has something important to tell us.”

“Do you think Rexor finally cracked?” the second one asked hopefully.

“I hope so,” the first one replied. “I’m was so sick and tired of them holding back on our training, hoarding all the powerful magics for themselves.”

“Me too,” the second one nodded in agreement.

I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach as I saw the direction they were going. It was the ritual chamber. Whatever Morgan was up to, I knew it wasn’t good. When they opened the door, I slipped inside with them, my eyes widening as I saw at least fifty acolytes in the chamber.

I stumbled backwards, narrowly avoiding an acolyte that passed in front of me. The room was far too crowded. I had my work cut out for me avoiding all of them.

I looked up, seeing Morgan on a raised platform, talking to a few of the stronger acolytes, and I knew what I had to do. Whatever Morgan planned for tonight would depend heavily on her.

I just had to make it to the platform and take her down. Then I could escape with my magic before the others realized what had happened. I steeled myself, hardening my heart for what I knew I had to do, as I carefully moved forward. It wasn’t easy, having to dodge around all the acolytes moving around me. If they so much as bumped into me, my spell would fail, and I would be discovered.

I got to the front of the stage and raised my hand, preparing myself to cast the spell that would take the life of the woman I loved. My hand shook as I struggled to do what was necessary, unable to separate the love I still had for her and the pain of her betrayal.

My moment of indecision cost me dearly. Just as I was about to cast the spell, I felt someone bump into me. I only had a moment, my eyes widening as my spell failed. I felt a sharp pain on the back of my head, and everything went black as I tumbled to the floor.

Hi, thanks for reading! What do you think of the chapter? The next one will pick up where this one left off. What do you think of Merlin’s character so far? He’s had to make a lot of difficult decisions this chapter, foreshadowing why he turned out the way he did.

I’m sorry I missed posting the side story last week, for some reason I thought I was this week that I was supposed to post it. The chapter is out now, and so is the poll for the next side story to update. Click here to access the poll. If there are any issues voting please let me know either in the comments or by emailing me.

Thank you for reading and supporting me,


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