Where the Dragons Went - Last Half

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
This young man is still trying to get home. Will he make it?

Submitted: May 05, 2016

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Submitted: May 05, 2016

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Where the Dragons Went - (Last Half)

 

I thought that I was dreaming when I heard a voice say, “Well, what do we have here?”

“It looks like a little human,” said another voice.

I was sleeping and at first I thought that the voices were part of a dream that I was having. 

Then all of a sudden something pocked me and I jumped to my feet yelling, “Hay, who did that!”

 “I did,” was the reply.

The sound of the voice came from just above my head and I leaned back to look up. That’s when I fell over backward and landed flat on my back.

As my eyes became focused I could see who was talking and at that very moment I was about to have my very first encounter, ever, with a real live dragon!

This dragon was so white that it glowed, like the glow of a big full moon on a cloudless night.  I just lay there staring at this creature, stunned and completely amazed.

“Well, what are you staring at?” The dragon asked.

“Why nothing Sir, I mean, Miss, I mean Dragon, it’s just that I’ve never seen a dragon before, at least, not a real one.

And the way that you snuck up on me, you being so big and I never knew that you were there. 

Anyway, I just about keeled over, I mean, I did keel over. Well, you know what I mean, I was very surprised and you startled me.” I replied rather sheepishly. 

Then the dragon said, “And what are you doing on our clouds?” 

I quickly explained how I had fallen in the grave, ended up in Dragon’s Nook, stood on my head and ended up on the clouds.

I’m not sure the dragon was listening, or it just wasn’t buying the story, because it told me to “Get off!”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “Get off of what?”

“Get off our clouds right now, go on, scat little person,” then it made a waving gesture with its tail.

Boy did I get mad! Maybe it wasn’t too smart getting mad at a dragon the size of a dump truck, but my temper doesn’t always listen to reason.

I told that dragon, “I am not diving off this cloud, the fall will kill me! If you want me off these clouds then give me a ride down to the ground. You’ve got wings, I don’t!  I didn’t ask to be up here anymore than you want me here, so back off, Buck-O!”

“Oh, you’ve got quite a temper,” replied the dragon. “I don’t think we like your attitude.”

“Yeah, well that’s another thing I’d like to know,” I barked, “Who is the WE you keep talking about? I don’t see anyone up here except you and me!”

All of a sudden, there were dozens of dragons coming out of the clouds. All the white cloud had dragons in them and there seemed to be a lot more white clouds than I thought. 

“Oh my goodness,” I thought, “I’m a goner for sure. If they don’t eat me they’ll kick me off the clouds and I’ll fall to my death.”

As I stood there pondering my fate, another dragon rose from a cloud and began speaking to me.

“We can’t give you a ride down there,” we can never touch the ground, or the lake, or we will perish. We are Sky Dragons, it is in the sky and in the clouds we belong. 

As I gained my composer I tried to change the subject about me jumping off the clouds. I asked the dragons how they got food and water without touching the ground.

It seemed impossible to me. I also wondered, but I did not ask, how they took a bath. “They must bathe somehow,” I thought, “because they all looked so clean.”

Then a third dragon told me, “We feed from the fruit on the tree tops and the berries on the tops of the bushes. The fruit and berries provide us with food and the juice in them gives us some of the liquid that we need, the rest of our drinking water comes from the fog; we have no need to drink from the lake.”

Then another dragon explained, “All the bushes and trees grow most of their fruit on their top branches, the reason for this is so we may reach it easily. Besides, don’t let our great size fool you, we do not eat every day. We eat only when the clouds touch the ground, I believe you call that fog, and there is no other time that we may eat.”

Then the first dragon spoke to me again, but I didn’t hear the dragon’s voice in my ears, I heard the voice inside my head, like I was thinking the words, but it was the dragon speaking and this is what it said.

“To answer the question that your mind spoke, but your voice did not; we dragons bathe by flying through the rain and fog, then we dry ourselves in the light, above the clouds.”

Then they all spoke at the same time and said,  “We are the Sky Dragons, the dragons seen by shepherds and sailors in the bright skies of the full moon nights. We are the ones who form the figures and faces in the clouds. We are the dragons in fairy tales, told by the shepherds and mystics of old. Some have even mistaken us for angels, but that was in another place, at another time. We are the Sky Dragons, friends of the magic man and protectors of the clouds.”

Well, let me tell you, all their voices speaking at one time sounded a lot like thunder and the very idea that they could read my thoughts was amazing, but I still had a problem. “How do I get off these clouds without killing myself?”

Then it came to me, I asked the first dragon if it could carry me down near the lake and drop me in it. I figured that a short fall into water wouldn’t hurt me and I could just swim to shore. 

He agreed and after a brief goodbye, off we went.

It was a smooth and exciting ride down to the lake, until…

Well, gee-money cream-money, the lake was the weirdest lake ever! I landed in the lake from about three feet up and it was a great landing, couldn’t have been better, except for the water. The water was really weird!

I felt like I was floating around in a warm slurpy and it tasted like one too; something like a grape soda, but better.

I couldn’t swim very well in that stuff, I just floated to the top and stayed there. I did make a little progress towards shore, about two feet in a half-hour. Boy was I tired! I rolled over on my back and just rested, floating there like a rubber duck in a mud-pond.

“Get out of this lake!” I heard a voice say, “Get out now, before you get it dirty!”

I looked around and saw nothing, but I answered anyway, “I can’t get out, I’m stuck and can’t swim very far.”

That’s when I realized that I was moving, slowly at first, then faster and faster until I was near the shore.

“There, you're near the shore, now get out,” the muffled voice demanded!

At that point I was able to walk out of the lake and onto the shore, I am not kidding you, I was out of that lake faster than a hound dog running from a bath!

Once on shore I turned around to see what had carried me to the beach, and that is when I saw her.

She was about forty feet long and this dragon had the biggest green eyes I’d ever seen.

Her skin was sort of, but not exactly, transparent blue, something like what grape Jell-O looks like. It looked wet, like a seal looks when it first comes out of the water.

I guess, in a dragon sort of way, she was down right beautiful! 

Her voice was that way too, it was something like surround sound, but better. I just couldn’t tell exactly where the sound was coming from. Even when I was standing right in front of her, her voice just seemed to come from everywhere.

She was just staring at me with those big green eyes and I was wishing that I could run, but my feet would not move.

“Please don’t roast me!” I begged.

She looked at me very strangely and then she started to laugh. Her laughter was like a hundred voices laughing all at once.

As I gained composer, I realized that there were other dragons lifting their heads out of the lake. I don’t know how many there were because I was way too frightened to do addition. 

“Please, please don’t roast me, I’m too small to feed all of you!” I pleaded, once again.

“We do not roast anyone, we are not Fire Dragons, we are Water Dragons and we will thank you to stop saying that,” said the beautiful dragon.

“The very idea of eating a human is disgusting to us and we do not care to be presented with that sort of mental picture,” she snapped.

Then she smiled at me and said, “I will tell you what we do eat, if you really want to know.

Water Dragons eat Lake Lilies, Big River Roses, and Cascading Flora from the falls. Sometimes we eat Bubble Blots from the Emerald Sea, they are full of protein.

And on occasion we will share the delicacy of a few Spizer-flowers from the Whispering Swamp. But for the most part we eat the Blue Fish Grass that grows on the bottom of this lake. It is our lifeblood.

We live here, in Blue-Jell Lake, it is our home.

The very idea of eating something like you, well, it makes us feel ill,” said the lady dragon.

I figured she was a lady dragon because she didn’t have a horn coming out of her forehead, something like a rhinoceros horn. The dragons that I thought were the male Water Dragons had horns and were larger than the others; they were a little darker in color too.

Something else I noticed, I noticed that the male dragons never talked to me, only to the female dragons. I didn’t ask why, just didn’t want to tic anyone off. You know?

I did ask another question though. “Can you fly like the Sky Dragons?”

Then one of the females Dragon replied, “Yes, we can fly, we can walk the land too, but we can’t stay out of liquid too long or we’ll dry out.”

“What happens if you stay out too long, would you die?” I asked.

“No, we do not die, we become hard like sandstone and we are unable to move until it rains. It can be very uncomfortable,” the dragon replied. 

I thought about it and agreed with her that it would be very uncomfortable to be stuck in one position for a long time.

“Have you always lived in this place, Dragon’s Nook,” I asked.

“No,” was the reply, “the man of magic, the one called Mur-Lin, he took pity on us when the other humans declared war on dragons. That was in the world where you come from and many hundreds of your years ago.

Then another Water Dragon commented, “Back in the time of Mur-lien, the Fire Dragons acquired a taste for young humans, especially maidens. We told them to leave the humans alone, eat cattle, or sheep, anything but humans. But they wouldn’t listen, no, they never listen to anyone. They are such a bad lot, so selfish and cruel. They just kept killing and eating all the young humans that they could find. That made the older humans very angry and they declared war on the dragons!”

“Most humans didn’t seem to know the difference between Fire Dragons and the rest of us,” said another dragon, “so they just killed any dragon they came across. They killed all but four of the Fire Dragons, with swords and spears. Twelve Water Dragons survived and about two dozen of the Earth Dragons.

The humans would harpoon us from their boats, or sneak up on us and cut off out heads when we came on shore.

The Sky Dragons fared the best, but they still lost a great deal of their number. In the fog, when the Sky Dragons came down to eat from the trees and bushes, that is when the metal men and others would shoot them with arrows and through spears at them.”

 

“Mur-lien saw what was happening and realized that we were all going to perish if something wasn't done.

So he used his magic to open the gateway to this place, allowing us to pass through,” said the beautiful dragon.

“Mur-Lien didn’t intend for the Fire Dragons to come here, but three slipped through while the void was still opened. There is only one left now, we think the other Fire Dragons must have starved to death because there just aren’t enough animals for them to eat,” explained another dragon.

I asked a rather shy lady dragon, “So you’re saying that all dragons came here to live and none stayed behind in my world, right?”

She replied, “No, some of the Sky Dragons stayed behind in your world; they didn’t want to leave. It is told that their offspring are still alive and doing well, they are still forming figures and faces in the clouds for amusement. They must do a better job of hiding than they did way back then. But I don't see how.”

Then the beautiful Dragon noted, we’ve also heard that there is at least one family of Water Dragons still in you world. One of those families lives in underwater caverns in a place called Lock-Ness. It’s a wonder that they haven’t been seen.”

All of a sudden it hit me, “Mur-Lien, Magic, you’re talking about Merlin the Magician, King Arthur’s Merlin, like in the books and in the movies. He is the most famous magician ever.  And the metal men, those must be King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. They did slay dragons, or so the stories tell, but they didn’t tell it like you do. I’m very sorry they treated you that way,” I said.

“It’s not anyone’s fault, save those Fire Dragons,” replied the shy dragon. “It was just such a tragedy for all concerned, but coming here was the best thing that could have happened at the time. This is a wonderful place.” 

Well, I learned a lot from the Water Dragons and thanked them for taking me to shore. 

I told them about standing on my head and all that stuff after I ended up in that grave hole. I told them the whole story. They were very kind and listened to every word without one interruption.

Then I asked if anyone knew how I might get back to my world.

To my surprise, they said that they could help if I listened to what they said very carefully, then they gave me some instruction and advice. 

“Just follow the road through the valley of clover, but don’t leave the road for any reason. That road will lead you to Fire Dragon Mountain, stay on the road, don’t go on the trail. Should you come to the volcano’s mouth and you feel an ill wind, spit into it and fall in!”

Well, when they said that, I thought, “Oh sure, fall in, jump in, any old way you go into a volcano you’ll burn to a crisp.  I’d get home all right, home to barbecued kid headquarters!”

But hay, they had been really nice so I just smiled and went in the direction they pointed. I was hoping to find some way to avoid an ill wind and falling into ... whatever.

 

I made it all the way to the middle of the Valley of Clover when I saw a tree. It had the best looking fruit on it and I was so hungry that I decided to try some, so I went into the field and climbed the tree.

As soon as I tasted the fruit I couldn’t stop eating. I ate, and ate, and ate until my belly was about to bust. All I could do was sit there; I was so stuffed that I couldn’t move.

It wasn’t long before I began to get very sleepy, so I leaned back onto the fork of the branches and started daydreaming. The clouds drifted by as a cool breeze was blowing, it was the perfect time for a siesta, so I fell asleep in my treetop monkey bed, rocking to and fro in the breeze.

 

“You’ve crushed our clover, our beautiful clover, you’ve ruined it! It will never be the same, (sob, sob), just look at how bent it is! It’s smashed, mutilated, squished, and kaput, oh, our beautiful clover, (sobs, sob, and more crying)! Whatever will we do, whatever will we do? (Even more sobbing)”, Moaning and wailing sounds came from a voice below my perch.

I looked for the one making all the noise and suddenly I saw it. There was this creature hanging onto one side of the tree trunk, yelling, and moaning, and crying like there was no tomorrow. It reached up and yanked me out of the tree and was holding me by my T- shirt collar and scolding me about the clover.

Blah, blah, blah, clover and more blah, blah, clover smashed, blah, blah, blah…

Really, I didn’t understand much of what this creature was saying, except that I had smashed some clover.

That is when it dawned on me why the Water Dragons had told me to stay on the path and not to get off of it. …

Too late!

I tried to calm the creature down by saying, “I’m sorry, O.K., I didn’t know it was such a big deal. Where I come from the clover will spring back after being walked on, provided you don’t keep walking on it.”

Then I said, with a pleading kind of put me down voice, “Look, it doesn’t die or anything, and if I don’t keep walking on the clover it will spring back.” I only walked on it once and I don’t plan on walking on it ever again; honest.” 

“Spring back?” said the creature in a questioning voice. “You mean it will spring back? Oh thank goodness to my lucky star. It will really, honestly, spring back?” It questioned again and again, as it shook and tossed me around like a key chain.

“I’m pretty sure it will, that is, if it’s real, regular, clover. It should be starting to spring back already.” I said with a please be springing back tone of voice.

The creature bent way over and stuck its one big eye right next to some smashed clover. “It is springing back! Just look at it slowly springing,” it said, as it slammed me so close to the clover that I thought I was going to be pushed deep into the ground.

“Oh Yes, it’s springing all right,” I replied, as hard as my trembling voice allowed.

“Oh Goody,” said the creature, “it’s going to be alright, it’s going to spring back!”

“Oh, yes sir, it is spring back for sure,” I said again.

“Well, I guess you know what that means?” The creature quarried.

Cringing, I asked, “No-o-o, wwwwhat?” 

“Well,” it replied, “that means that I don’t have to smash you and make fertilizer out of you!”

At that moment I realized he was joking with me and I was relieved to see a grin on that strange face of his.

“There you go,” said the creature, as he threw me onto the pathway from about six feet away. 

 

I’ll tell you, I was lucky to get away from that creature with just a few scratches and a real healthy burse on my right arm. 

“Are you sure that all this clover will spring all the way back?” The creature questioned again.

“No problem, it should be good as new in no time at all,” I said, hoping I'd be gone if it didn't.

“By the way,” I said when I was at a safe distance away, “who are you?”

“I am Slag-7 the Earth Dragon and there are other Slags like me under the clover. All through the valleys and hillsides, everywhere there is clover growing, there are Earth Dragons burrowing underneath.”

“What do you eat? It is for sure that you don’t eat clover.” I said with a halfhearted laugh.

“Oh heavens no, we never eat the clover! We eat like worms do, kind of. We take in stuff from the soil and give back good stuff for the trees, shrubs, and for our most wonderful clover. As we move through the soil we also mix air into it so the plants can breathe better,” Slag-7 answered.

I really didn’t know exactly what Slag-7 was saying regarding worms and how they eat, but I made a mental note to myself to find out at a later time of course. 

Slag-7 was a strange looking dragon, not like any dragon that I would imagine. Slag-7 was more flat than round, kind of like a Badger is flat, but his tail was round, like a lizard. He had a head something like an alligator, but with one big eye. Slag-7's snout wasn’t as long as an alligator’s, he didn’t have holes where a nose would be, and he didn’t have any teeth that I could see.

Slag-7 was a dirty brownish, gray, color and his skin was as smooth as silk.

And Slag-7’s breath, I mean to tell you, he had the worst breath I’ve ever smelled in my entire life! It was kind of a cross between rotten eggs, sewer water, and milk gone bad!

It makes me gag just thinking about it.

Slag-7 was a rather nervous acting creature, In a very humorous sort of way, but I didn’t meet any other Earth Dragons so I don’t know if they are all that way. I just guessed that Slag-7 was a boy because he had a very deep voice and he was a very rough and tumble sort of creature.

 

Well, I said goodbye to Slag-7 and wished him and his clover well, then I continued on my way.

After about an hour’s walk I finally came to the road sign that said, “To Fire Dragon Mountain.” I took that road and it went toward a cluster of mountains that were off in the distance. It was dark over there, with thick black clouds hovering above the mountains and lightning was flashing every few minutes.

I wondered how I would know which mountain was Fire Dragon.  All the mountains looked pretty much the same from where I was, but I was still pretty far away.

I walked and walked for what seemed like forever, but it looked as if I wasn’t getting any closer to the mountains. 

All of a sudden I came to a fork in the road, the Water Dragons didn’t say anything about a fork in the road, so I just stood there not knowing what to do.

There was a road sign that said “Fire Dragon” and it pointed to the left. The other sign just said “Mountain Road” and pointed straight ahead.

“Rats,” I thought, “now what did the Water Dragons say?”

“Stay on the road, don’t go on the trail.”

But this is a fork in the road, so both must be roads, not trails. And that sign says Fire Dragon; it must be talking about the mountain, Fire Dragon Mountain. The other sign just says Mountain Road, so it must be talking about the other mountains.

 

Anyway, I decided that neither of the roads looked like trails, so I figured that I should be safe enough, no matter which road I took. So I decided to take the road that had the Fire Dragon sign. 

As I walked along the road I started to see strange things, like scary things. First, there was a skull, a human skull! And as I walked on, I saw the rib cage of some kind of creature and bones scattered here and there along the trail.

That’s right, I said trail!

The road had gotten narrower and narrower as I got nearer and nearer the mountain. It was a full-fledged trail by the time I started seeing the bones and scull, but it was too late to turn back. I had been climbing some pretty steep areas and I wasn’t sure that I could go back the way that I came, not without sliding and falling down a Cliff side.  So, I decided to just keep going, and going, and going.

“Well, if it isn’t the little human that I’ve smelled,” said a sly sounding voice. I looked around and saw nothing but rocks, boulders, and more animal bones.

“Who said that”, I asked, not that I really wanted anyone to answer. I would have liked it better if the voice was just my imagination, but I knew it wasn’t going to be that simple.

“Why, it’s just little old me,” said a voice coming out of one of the larger boulders.

Then I saw it; a small puff of smoke just floated out of a large bolder and the bolder lifted up, uncurling as it rose.

There stood a Dragon, like the ones you see in some storybooks. But this one was colored like a granite rock, with black and browns, cement looking grays, and sparkly little flecks.

This dragon was pretty big, about forty feet I’d say, tail included. It had three red eyes and webbed toes on each of its feet. The back feet had three toes each, but those feet were bigger than the front ones and there was a large claw on each of the back toes.

Every time this dragon spoke, puffs of smoke would come out of its nose and its tail would do this twitch thing, left to right.

I would have run, but my feet just wouldn’t move!

Then this Dragon started moving real close to me, looking at me as if I should have something to say.

I couldn’t think of a word.

“Well,” The Dragon roared!

When the dragon roared its center eye glowed like someone fanning a fire and each time it spoke to me its breath created a swirling hot wind in my face!

“Ah, well, I was just heading over to Fire Dragon Mountain, like the Water Dragons said I should do, I’m just trying to get back home and wanting not be here in Dragon’s Nook anymore. I’m sure my mom is waiting for me because I fell in a grave hole and couldn’t…

I think I told the Fire Dragon most of the story in just a few seconds. I was so scared and nervous that I just went on and on until he cut me off. 

“I didn’t ask for your life story, I just want to know what you are doing at my doorstep!

“Doorstep,” I questioned? 

I looked around to find that he was right; the trail ended about twenty yards ahead, at the mouth of a large cave.  A very dark and not a very happy looking cave at that.

“Did you come to invite me to dinner like the last boy did? I’d be glade to accept,” he said with a sneer.

“Last boy,” I questioned, "what Last boy?”

“Oh, some red headed brat, with very little clothes on, came by here some time back," the dragon grumbled. Then he said, “That stupid kid walked right into my cave and woke me up from a sound sleep. Well, he startled me, so I roasted him without thinking.

I hate burnt boy, they always give me indigestion!”

“So, that is what happened to Dillon, poor kid,” I thought.

I told the dragon that I must have taken the wrong fork in the road and that the signs were very confusing. All I wanted to do was go home.

“Well,” said the dragon, "I do a lot of things around here, but I don’t usually help anyone GO HOME!

I’ve been known to have someone over for a barbecue now and then, rotisserie roast, or flame broil. And sometimes I have played games before the meal, (Hide from the Dragon) and (Finders keepers), but I don’t think I’ve ever HELPED ANYONE go home before.”

Boy was I scared! That mass of fire breathing granite was surely trying to decide how best to cook me and I had to think of something real fast. After all, I didn’t want to end up like Dillon!

“Don’t through me in the volcano, anything but that!” I cried. “Oh please, not Fire Dragon Mountain, don’t drop me in there, sniffle, sniffle, sob!”

All of a sudden that dragon opened up his wings, which looked something like giant bat wings, and with one flap he lifted off the ground. He hooked one of his claws under the strap on the back of my cover-alls, turned toward the mountain and off we went.

I was pretty worried; I had no idea what I was going to do for sure. What if I didn’t land in dead center of the volcano and what if that didn’t take me home? Even worse, what if this Fire Dragon just holds me over the hot lava and roasts me.

Boy, there were all these possibilities, but only one was in my favor. That is, if what the water dragons said really did work and I was able to fall home.

The Fire Dragon streaked through the sky like a jet fighter! I just knew he was going to drop me before we got to the volcano, but he didn’t.

When we arrived over the volcano the dragon started hovering over the lava pit and I was feeling my clothes heating up. It got so hot that I felt like I was about to pass out and if it weren’t for the wind on my face, from that dragon’s wings, I would have passed out.

“Aren’t you going to drop me in there?” I yelled.

“Drop you, oh no, if I drop you I’ll lose my dinner and that would never do. No, I’ll just let you slow roast awhile, but not too long, I like my meat rare,” he said with a nasty grin.

Now, I was in a real pickle, I needed him to drop me, but he wasn’t about to do that.

I thought real hard about what the water dragons had said, searching my mind for any clue as to how to get out of this mess, and then it hit me.

“If there are ill winds, spit into them and fall in!” That is what the water dragons told me and even though it didn’t make sense at the time, it made sense now.

So, I mustered all the saliva I could and I spit right at that dragon’s underbelly.

Bull’s-eye!

The dragon roared in pain, it was as if I had thrown water on hot coals, steam burst from his belly and he started loosing altitude. The Fire Dragon was in such pain that he couldn’t hold on to me any longer.

 

Down I went!

Yes, I’m happy to say I survived.

As I fell, the lava opened up and I fell right past it.  It was like everything was in slow motion, even the speed that I was falling seemed slow, like a feather falling.

I fell, I mean drifted, right back into my world, back to the graveyard and right back into the grave, or so it seemed.

As I began to move around I realized that the hole I fell into didn’t seem the same as before, it was a real grave, rectangle, not square.

I stood up and was able to reach the rim to pull myself out; there was no clear cover over this hole.

The rain had stopped, the fog had lifted, and the light of the setting sun seemed to fill the valley. It was beautiful!

I could see Dew Fairies flying around the wildflowers, picking up raindrops as they often do after a rain. 

I pointed them out to Shadow and he pointed them out to me. We laughed over that.

On the way home we climbed the sheep gate and caused one of the Meadow Pixies to fall off the latch post. We begged the pixie’s pardon and quickly put her back on the post where she was, then we headed for the house.

We passed the Pegasus family, Cyrus, Delphi, and little Delphinium, as they were munching on the bougainvillea bushes that grow along our fence-line.

That is when it hit me, just as we started crossing the Alfalfa field, the smell of Mama’s cornbread.

Shadow doesn’t smell stuff so he didn’t know why I started running. Maybe he thought I was running from the unicorns that were grazing in the pasture, but they never bother anybody.

No matter, I am finally home and by the smell of it, I’m still in time for supper.

D. Thurmond / JEF 2 - 2002

Rew. 12 / 2012

Revised 10-2015

 


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