Chapter 534: Reality

Although Alosrin had triggered one of his own mines ‘accidentally’, the robes he had were incredibly resistant to magic and he also possessed various treasures that would protect his life if it were endangered. Vahn could see the small formations and barriers covering his body, which was the main reason he wasn’t concerned with the safety of the arrogant High Elf. Even if he did injure himself seriously, it would get out that the spell to injure him was one of his own makings and he would earn the ire of his peers. Given his personality, Alosrin wouldn’t mention it to anyone but Vahn wasn’t quite satisfied with that. Much like Alosrin’s hatred of him had escalated, Vahn’s own for the smug fool had increased greatly.

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Shaking his head in admonition, Vahn stated icily, “Not only do you lack control over your own magic, but you forget where you set your own traps? Is this some kind of joke to you…?” Alosrin’s pupils contracted and he shouted, “You and that bitch are playing foul! There is no way my magic would misfire like this!” Vahn cocked his head to the side as if he had just heard the dumbest thing in the world, turning to face Keelan and asking, “Is he being serious right now? What kind of game are the two of you playing, trying to set me up by injuring yourselves?”

Keelan’s focus had been a bit split by Vahn’s gaze had inadvertently caused his body to tremble for reasons he couldn’t quite speculate. The only thing he knew was that his hatred for the small human ‘child’ had increased greatly, even though he somewhat agreed that Alosrin was incompetent. He had seen Alosrin setting up some of his traps earlier but hadn’t been able to see where he placed all of them. Keelan assumed that Alosrin’s temper was clouding his judgment and interfered with his control over his own magic. This was one of the reasons Mages fought at the backline because even simple distractions could cause a chant to go awry. When they returned to the forest, Keelan intended to inform his Master about Alosrin’s ‘pathetic’ performance so the boy could undergo basic training all over again…

While Vahn was ‘distracted’ looking at Keelan, Alosrin pulled out the small green wand again and waved it twice in Vahn’s direction. This time, Vahn simply sidestepped the invisible blades and began walking toward Alosrin with a face filled with contempt, saying, “You assume every action of your opponent is an opening without taking into consideration their capabilities at all. Not only are you unable to form a spell properly, but you rely on cheap tricks and magical treasures to play at being a Mage…” Every step Vahn took increased his momentum and pressure greatly, without any change in his speed at all. Alosrin felt this pressured and opened up the distance once again before pulling out a small blue orb and injecting his mana into it.

Vahn was somewhat curious about the orb since it seemed like a very valuable object so he allowed Alosrin to complete his preparations. He could sense a vast amount of water elemental energy contained within it so Vahn didn’t have any fear of what it might be. Though he may not have water immunity, his resistance to the element was incredibly high in his base form, while it was almost perfect in his Xuánwǔ form. Thus, after Alosrin injected nearly 20% of his total mana into the small blue orb, he threw it forward and it ‘exploded’ into a mass of water that swirled around like a vortex. Curiously, it had glowing azure eyes affixed to the area that should be its head while two watery arms protruded from its side. Vahn recognized the creature to be an artificial Water Elemental, and couldn’t help but shake his head at Alosrin’s misfortune. Alosrin must have accumulated a great deal of negative karma to have come face-to-face with someone like Vahn…

Alosrin laughed like a madman as he pulled out a shining white vial of liquid and ingested it, greatly increasing his natural mana regeneration while bolstering his actual mana pool by around 20%. It was an Elixir formed from the sap of the sacred tree, one of his ‘life-saving’ tools when he was in great danger, but Alosrin had used it in a duel that wasn’t even supposed to be a fight to the death. With his Water Elemental as protection, he should be able to chant his spells more easily and put pressure on Vahn. However, just as he brandished his staff and began his chant, something mind-numbing happened right in front of his eyes.

Seeing the Water Elemental begin to absorb elemental energy from the atmosphere to channel its own magic, Vahn transformed into his Xuánwǔ form in an instant, converging his domain on the creature comprised of pure energy. He traced his hands in a circular arc before making a pulling motion as he traced his foot back in a smooth motion and swiped his hands down. The entire Water Elemental ‘shifted’ forward before the blue orb within its body was yanked free, causing the creature to collapse into elemental particulates that slowly evaporated and returned to the air. Vahn bent over and picked up the blue orb and inspected it with interest, saying, “The more reliant you are on such treasures, the less capable you will be when facing real threats. Thus far, you’ve only shown me your wealth and how grossly incompetent you are…see, this is why I said you shouldn’t treat this ‘duel’ seriously…”

Alosrin’s mind had completely blanked at this point because he had no idea how Vahn had been able to defeat his Water Elemental so easily. The only thing he felt was a strange ‘tugging’ in his body, almost like his stomach had sunken downwards, as his connection with his guardian had been severed. He hadn’t even been able to process Vahn’s words completely, as the only thing passing through his mind as he returned to awareness was, (“This boy is dangerous…”). Though it was a difficult, almost ridiculous, thing to consider, Alosrin started to understand why Riveria might call someone like Vahn their ‘Master’. He wasn’t a normal human boy at all, but a monster, no, a ‘demon’ in the guise of a human child!

Vahn continued to stare at the dazed Alosrin before tilting his head and asking, “Are you going to surrender, or do I have to give you a ‘proper’ education? Well…” For a moment, Vahn was going to say that he had no intention of drawing things to a close so early, but Alosrin had been stirred awake by his words and cast short chant magic that shot a spear of fire toward him. This time, Vahn didn’t dodge at all and just began to yawn like he was very tired of this entire situation…

With its supersonic speeds, the spear crashed into him and made a conal explosion as Alosrin’s expression turned into a cruel smile. He hadn’t expected Vahn to take the hit directly and there were no fluctuations of mana at all, which meant that the boy didn’t even use a barrier to intercept it. However, just as he was about to goad Riveria for her foolishness, his mind buzzed once again as Vahn ‘casually’ walked out of the quickly dispersing cloud of flames. He saw the boy look around with an annoyed expression on his face before asking, “Who is going to pay for the repairs to my courtyard?” For the first time in his life, Alosrin felt a powerful urge to vomit blood as a result of the incomprehensible rage and frustration he felt.

Vahn shook his head, clearly ‘disappointed’ by Alosrin’s performance, before saying in a firm tone, “I gave you the opportunity to avoid this duel from the beginning, tried to give you some breathing room so you didn’t embarrass yourself, and even allowed you to surrender before I have even started my attacks. That is three mark against you and the end of where my patience lays. From here on, I’ll be showing you what ‘real’ magic is, so make sure to pay close attention. It’s never too late in life to actually ‘learn’ something…” Hearing Vahn’s words, Alosrin realized that, even though he had used several treasures and had cast multiple spells, Vahn hadn’t actually attacked him just yet. The rage in his mind melted as a feeling of dread began to permeate through his body as he watched the young boy before him begin to spread his arms…

Since the purpose of this ‘play’ was to save the two Elven girls while simultaneously embarrassing and causing fear within Alosrin, Vahn decided to make things rather showy. He let his domain ‘explode’ from his body like a tidal wave as he infused [Enkidu] into it, not to actually use the chains just yet, but to create the illusion of a divine aura. Even gods misconstrued his domain as a pseudo-divine power so there was no way Alosrin would be able to see through it at all. As expected, the moment they felt the ‘divinity’ in his domain, Alosrin, Keelan, and even the two Elven girls all showed expression of shock and, in the case of Alosrin, terror.

Vahn uttered in a lecturing tone before Alosrin could form any words or try to surrender, “For a Mage, the most important thing is to have a proper understanding of the situations you find yourself in, ceaselessly pursuing your studies further. Because they often have low physical parameters, you need to prepare yourself for all kinds of opponents so that you aren’t caught off guard and killed before you can even cast a spell. Though you used your mines as a fail-safe, you couldn’t even keep track of them because your own mental state had clouded your mind…now, I will show you true magic that circumvents your shallow understanding…”

As he was speaking, orbs of fire and a ring of water had started to spin behind Vahn’s body, creating the ‘illusion’ that he had mastery over both elements. Alosrin felt like his mind had been pressed under a large slab of lead as he quickly understood why he was unable to damage Vahn with his fire spear. He wasn’t sure how, but Vahn was able to use the elemental control of the Spirits…and he even emitted the aura of a god. The young human had the capabilities of the two entities most revered and respected by the Elves for millennia and he thought he could actually oppose that kind of power? Cast a glance over at Riveria, he could see the ‘genuine’ respect and appreciation in her eyes and realized he had made a grave error. However, even knowing this, his hatred for Vahn only increased as his envy grew to match it…

Vahn had condensed a large amount of elemental energy into the spheres and circle behind him, but this was merely a display to ‘awe’ the onlookers and not his true attack. His arms, which had been spread wide in a casual manner were brought to his sides without any haste at all. Alosrin seemed to have completely forgotten they were in a duel and was just glaring at him with eyes filled with hatred. As for Keelan, Vahn was very aware of the hostility radiating from the man as his aura was completely filled with black and the fiery red of hatred. He wasn’t really worried about the man, even though he was Level 5, because Vahn could sense from the size and instability of his aura that Keelan’s parameters weren’t that developed. Without access to something like the Dungeon, even the Elves with high levels weren’t actually that strong and it was likely he increased his strength every time he met the basic requirements to do so.

Reaching out his hand, Vahn muttered, “Unbreakable Chains, Divine Spear ~Enkidu!” as nine glowing ripples appeared in the void behind him. He didn’t need a chant for [Enkidu], of course, but Vahn wanted to make them think he was using short-chant magic instead of a soulbound item. Even without contacting someone, the resplendent golden radiance of [Enkidu] was enough to even cause gods to feel pressure, much less an incompetent, arrogant, and egotistical High Elf. The moment the nine ripples emerged behind Vahn’s back, Alosrin’s eyes opened wide and he crushed a teardrop shaped pendant and made a blue barrier covered in runes emerge to protect his body. Vahn shook his head gently before waving his hand forward and sending [Enkidu] flying several times the speed of sound toward Alosrin’s barrier…

Alosrin had previously felt like Vahn was a ‘demon’ but, after having felt his aura and witnessing his magical prowess, he understood the truth of the matter. Vahn was very ‘obviously’ a demigod that possessed a great deal of power. He even suspected that the only reason Vahn looked so young was that he aged very slowly. Instead of fifteen, Alosrin felt like Vahn was more likely several decades old, perhaps even older than he himself. He felt like he had been played the fool by Riveria and Vahn yet, remembering Vahn’s earlier words and the purported feats attributed to him, Alosrin also felt like he had made a gross oversight. Had he researched the matters just a bit, it was likely he would have been able to obtain information about Vahn’s capabilities and prepared himself more adequately. Now, seeing the nine ‘divine spears’ pointing at him, Alosrin reluctantly used his most important treasure, the necklace his handmaiden had gifted him when he became an adult…the same necklace that had caused him to fall madly in love with the woman, even to the point that he ‘had’ to make her his own…

The nine spearheads of [Enkidu] slammed into the barrier soundlessly and sent small ripples across its surface that confused everyone present except for Vahn and Riveria. He just kept his hand raised in a lazy manner and had a small smile on his face, almost as if he had frozen in time. As for Alosrin, he had regretted using his last treasure to create a barrier when the magic used by Vahn turned out to be very weak. However, this thought faded very quickly when he noticed the chains were still present and that the barrier around him had started to create even more ripples. The dread that had previously vanished returned in full force as he ‘realized’ that Vahn was likely just toying with him. Alosrin suspected the chains could have broken through the barrier easily but Vahn just wanted to give him false hope to create a gap in his mentality.

After a few seconds passed, the tension in the air had reached a palpable level before the nine spearheads penetrated through the barrier without even destroying it. They traced trajectories around Alosrin’s body as they slammed heavily into the ground below while the barrier slowly broke down like a thin glass bubble. Keelan shouted out, “Young Master!” as he charged toward the site and tried to cut the chains with his sword. However, other than causing the skin between his thumbs and forefingers to tear open, he couldn’t even budge the chains at all. Seeing that Alosrin wasn’t moving, Keelan turned his gaze to Vahn and shouted, “You murderous bastard! Do you really think the Elven Kingdom will stand idly by as you ruthlessly slay its envoys!? I’ll take your head for this!”

Keelan charged toward Vahn with the greatest momentum he could manage, ducking around the chains that surrounded Vahn’s body. However, he saw a flash of gold as the chains dispersed, temporarily blinding his eyes before a massive impact passed through his chest. Before he realized what had happened, he could feel his body tumbling over several times before he crashed into a hard object. Keelan released a painful grunt as a mouthful of blood escaped his mouth. Opening his eyes, he found himself collapsed against the wall of the compound more than 200m away from where Vahn was located while the boy himself was in a low punching motion. There was even a small amount of steam righting from his knuckles and Keelan felt incredulous after realizing that the thing that hit him was a simple punch by the young human, no, the young demigod…

Vahn shook his hand in an exaggerated manner and said, “I didn’t kill that fool, after all, I’ve never been the type to bully the weak. As I said, I was simply giving a demonstration of ‘real magic’, so why did you step in and interfere with the duel? Is your arrogance so great that you would even besmirch your own honor by throwing out false accusations while attempting to ‘assassinate’ the representative of the Alliance? Are you trying to declare war on behalf of your Kingdom? Do you have that authority?” Keelan wanted to rebut Vahn’s words but there was a fist-print on his breastplate that was pressing into his diaphragm. He could hardly breathe, much less speak at the moment. However, there was one person that was perfectly capable of forming words as a trembling, “I…surrender…” sounded out over the silence of the battlefield.

Though he had small cuts on his body, Alosrin was relatively unharmed, at least physically. He felt that Vahn had shown him leniency by redirecting the spears away from his body at the last moment. When his body was entangled with the golden chains, Alosrin had felt completely helpless and had fallen into a dazed state filled with dread. After the chains dispersed, he collapsed to the ground powerlessly and it wasn’t until he got a taste of dirt that he awakened back to his senses. The moment he opened his eyes, he saw his powerful bodyguard get sent flying by Vahn in a single punch and any hope he had about changing the situation completely vanished. Fearing that Vahn might lose his ‘patience’ even further, Alosrin surrendered directly to avoid having to face against the monstrous demigod a second time…

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Vahn showed a small frown and said, “I’ve only attacked you once while you had attacked me six times in total. There are still many lessons you’ve yet to learn, so why should I allow you to surrender so easily?” Just imagining having to suffer another five attacks from Vahn made Alosrin’s body tremble like he had a basin of frigid water poured over him. He remembered all the opportunities Vahn had given him to take a step back while he had constantly berated and insulted the powerful demigod. Had he been in Vahn’s position, Alosrin would have killed anyone who had slighted him so grievously…realizing this, Alosrin felt like his world was falling apart until a gentle voice sounded out, even though it was laced with a cold undertone, “Master, I think you have taught him as much as his small mind can comprehend right now. I imagine he’ll be ‘ruminating’ over this lesson for many years to come, so why not show your magnanimity by showing him some leniency. After all, it is beneath you to continue trying to educate someone that is ‘unwilling to learn’…”

Hearing Riveria’s words, Vahn showed a startled expression full of realization as he embarrassedly stroked the back of his head and said, “Ahaha, I guess you’re right, Riveria. I’m glad I have such a capable apprentice to keep me on the right track. Sometimes I forget that not everyone is worth ‘teaching’…” At this point, Alosrin just wanted to extricate himself from this situation as quickly as possible so he bowed his head low and said, “Yes, this one is unworthy of your esteemed self’s guidance…please forgive my hubris and any offenses I may have caused you!” However, instead of the reprieve he had expected, Alosrin felt dread as Vahn said, “Even if I’m not going to teach you, I still have an urge to beat you into a pulp for all the b******* you spouted earlier. I can tell that you’re an arrogant person and have likely enjoyed decades of indulgence at the expense of others…if you don’t receive a bit of discipline now, I’m afraid you’ll just run back to the Elven Kingdom and ruin the lives of other people…”

Vahn walked toward Alosrin, causing the 99-year-old High Elf to crawl backward before he rolled around and tried to run away. However, he hadn’t gotten three steps when Vahn appeared right in front of him and kicked his forearm in a swift motion, snapping the bones contained within into small fragments. As he tried to scream out, an impact struck his diaphragm and Alosrin felt his collapsing world spin as he flew through the sky and collided with the ground. The pain from his arm increased greatly, but he couldn’t scream due to the lack of air in his lungs. Instead, he convulsed as his body desperately tried to suck in air.

As he had said, Vahn knew that any lesson he taught Alosrin wouldn’t last unless it severely traumatized him. He knew that even if the High Elf showed him proper courtesy and spoke deferentially toward him, the moment he returned to the Elven Kingdom his old habits would return. Vahn couldn’t even imagine the number of lives Alosrin had ruined for his own selfish indulgence and it made him upset that he couldn’t actually kill the man outright. The only thing he could do for the time being was to make Alosrin’s body remember the beating he had taken here so that he was always reminded of what would happen when Vahn got his hands on him a second time…

After walking over, Vahn pulled out a [Heal] staff and treated the wounds on Alosrin’s body because his earlier kick had completely ruptured the arrogant High Elf’s diaphragm. Once his breathing was restored, Alosrin looked up with fearful eyes and said, “T-thank yo-” before Vahn kicked him in the face this time. Appearing next to his body with [Shundo], Vahn stared down at him and said, “I have shown great tolerance today by not killing you, Alosrin…return to your home and remember what you have learned today. You can be sure that I will have correspondence with the Elven Kingdom in the future so, if I find out you have tried to slander the reputation of myself and my apprentices, or put your hands on another person, I will give you a fate far worse than death.”

Alosrin bobbed his head like a chicken as the blood flowing from his nose pooled in his hands. He already knew that Vahn’s claims about having fixed the infertility issue were probably true and that his offenses against the boy had earned him a great deal of ire. Instead of getting the solution and returning it to the Kingdom, he had offended their greatest benefactor with his arrogant behavior. Even without Vahn’s reminder, Alosrin knew he would likely be punished severely upon his return unless he could come up with a good excuse to cover his mistakes. Much less tarnish the reputation of Vahn, Alosrin intended to inflate his accomplishments greatly if necessary…at least for the time being.

Though he was incredibly fearful of Vahn, Alosrin knew Vahn didn’t have an information network within the Elven Kingdom so he would be hard-pressed to find him guilty of any wrong-doings. He would probably have to lay low for a while, but there was no way he was willing to give up his lifestyle so easily. By the time Vahn visited the Kingdom and submitted the information, Keelan was confident he would be able to entrap both him and Riveria. He may not have learned much from Vahn, but his words about making proper preparations resonated heavily within his mind and Alosrin planned to make as many preparations as possible before then…

Vahn could see the deeply rooted fear in Keelan’s eyes, but the flickering black flames in his aura was all the proof he needed to know the man hadn’t truly repented. After releasing a sigh, Vahn brought his hands together as if he was praying, confusing Alosrin and the onlookers greatly. He didn’t know why, but Alosrin felt a powerful dread spread through his body that turned into absolute terror when Vahn opened his eyes and had a ‘gentle’ and ‘apologetic’ look on his face. Alosrin realized that Vahn had somehow seen through to his true intentions and had decided to pass ‘judgment’ on him. Raising his hands, Alosrin shouted out, “No, please, don’t!” as Vahn reached out his hand with unstoppable momentum.

Even though he hated Alosrin quite a bit, Vahn had shown him leniency time and again and, seeing that the man was unwilling to repent, he had no choice but to take action. Vahn prayed that the man one day corrected his mindset, but for the time being he was deserving of punishment. Though he couldn’t kill him, nor could he stop Alosrin from bringing harm to others, there were a few things he could strip away from him. Vahn placed his palm on Alosrin’s head before ripping the green wand from his fingers as he tried to get in another sneak attack.

Vahn wanted to avoid generating a massive amount of negative karma for using a ‘healing’ skill like [Hands of Nirvana] to do harm so he instead focused his mind and spread his aura directly through Alosrin’s body with [Yggdrasil’s Blessing]. Targetting the area of Alosrin’s brain that helped him process complex equations and spell formations, Vahn infused fire elemental directly into the small lobe and damaged it. There weren’t any nerves in the area, so Alosrin didn’t feel anything at all, just a powerful sense of dread. From this point on, unless he disciplined himself and studied rigorously, he would never be able to case magic normally.

Finishing with his first punishment, Vahn pushed Alosrin to the ground and kicked his body over before pressing his thumb around the base of his spine. He didn’t use [Hands of Nirvana] but instead applied direct pressure to the nerve center that would allow Alosrin to feel sexual stimulation and get erections. Without the aide of a skill, Vahn had to be a bit forceful so Alosrin cried out in pain as he writhed about on the ground. He had no idea what Vahn was doing, but the pain was more than enough to cause him great duress. When he felt the pressure finally release, there was now an ache in his lower body that terrified him as Vahn said, “Consider what I’ve done to you a powerful curse that will give you the chance to live a better life. If you work hard in the future, I will reverse the effects and allow you to return to normal…now get out of here before I decide you aren’t worthy of a second chance…”

Alosrin bobbed his head and tried to rise to his feet and walk away, but he could hardly put any strength into his legs. Using his staff as a walking stick, he slowly ambled towards the gate where not a single one of his escorts could be seen. While he was confused, a figure slammed into the ground next to him and Alosrin looked down to see the battered body of Keelan breathing heavily. Vahn had stripped him of his crushed breastplate, allowing the man to breathe, but he had several broken bones and could barely rise to his feet. Remarkably, he hardened his expression and actually reached out to support Alosrin, which Vahn found strangely admirable for someone with such a terrible character. It seemed that, though he had a heavy bias and elitist mentality, he was still a loyal knight that cared for the wellness of his ‘young master’.

As they approached the gate, Keelan muttered in a low voice, “We won’t let this matter slide so easily, Young Master. Once your father hears of what happen-” Before he could continue speaking, Alosrin shook his head rapidly and spat through pained words, “We can’t do anything to endanger father’s position any longer…this matter needs to be kept a closely guarded secret. I don’t want anyone speaking of it at all!” Though he had no intentions of obeying Alosrin’s orders, Keelan nodded his head with a serious expression as they crossed over the threshold of the gate. The fact nobody had come to retrieve them pissed him off greatly and Keelan wondered what the hell everyone was doing while the person they were escorting was getting thrashed…

Just as Keelan was about to shout out for assistance, he felt Alosrin’s weight increase greatly as the man lost all the feeling in his legs. Keelan was confused before looking in the same direction as Alosrin, also causing his legs to feel like jelly. All of their men had been tied up and forced to kneel on the street as several gods and goddesses stood around the gate in a massive concave formation. Though this was enough to inspire a feeling of dread in the 135-year-old Commander, it was the appearance of the creature above everyone that caused his legs to nearly give out. Hovering in the air generating an oppressive aura that threatened to devour them completely, there was a large evil looking dragon looking down upon them with scorn.

Before he could process what was happening, a loud thud sounded from behind as both he and Alosrin looked back to see a second dragon peering down on them from above the gate. Based on the aura, they knew it was the same ‘monster’ that had claimed itself to be a True Dragon earlier and they now completely believed her words. However, even though their brains had slowly started to catch up with their shock, they hadn’t had nearly enough time to process what was happening as three goddesses with pregnant bellies walked toward them. Seeing this, Alosrin knew Vahn’s claims were the truth and that he had erred greatly…

Heading the group was Loki while Freya, the goddess responsible for having the soldier kneel, was standing to her left. On her right was the fiery-eyed Hephaestus and they all looked at Alosrin and Keelan with eyes filled with scorn. Loki’s eyes opened like a snake eyeing its prey as she said, “The next time you come into the territory of the Alliance and try to pull some s*** like this, expect that you will be staying here indefinitely. Know that by offending Vahn, you have touched the reverse scale of almost every goddess both in the mortal world and Heaven…” Loki then pulled out a sealed parchment and handed it over to the trembling Alosrin and said, “You are an Envoy of the Elven Kingdom, so pass on this parchment to your King. If you try to open it before then, that will be the same as declaring War against the Alliance…this is your last and only warning…”

As every word spoken by Loki reverberated through his ears, it was the earlier words of Vahn that echoed in his mind. He didn’t realize how grossly unprepared he was to try and antagonize Vahn based on his sense of superiority. Vahn was just a human boy, nothing more than a puppet, within his mind…but now it was very obvious that the rumors of the boy’s accomplishments weren’t exaggerated. If he had come into this situation and behaved appropriately, things never would have gotten to this point and he might even be returning to his homeland as a hero. Now, however, he had lost two of his favorite servants, offended a powerful demigod, and earned the ire of almost every goddess…other than nodding his head and safely keeping away the parchment, Alosrin couldn’t form any thoughts at all and just climbed into his carriage in a daze…

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