• Published 17th Jul 2013
  • 1,690 Views, 59 Comments

Last Lights Falling - Kalros



PonyEarthVerse: Stranded in the middle of nowhere in the body of a power hungry mare. Where did i go wrong?

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Midnight


“Moo…”

I was back in the cube land again. I don’t know how long it had taken for me to return here after falling asleep but once again I was back in my old body. I relished the feeling as I made my way in the direction of the house I had been building last time I was here. Surely enough it was there, exactly how I had left it before heading off to go exploring with Sunset.

She was noticeably absent this time around, which was… Odd I guess. Her presence helped break the feeling of being alone in this place but at the same time I was content to have some ‘alone time’ without having to worry about the mare combing through my thoughts.

“Although makes watching my back a bit harder,” I mutter opening a chest and finding the wooden tools I had been using. I still remembered the encounter with the enderman. Its fiery orange eyes and booming voice were not something I was going to forget anytime soon, and not because it killed me. Those who have played Minecraft may know how the creatures should act. They teleport from place to place, taking random blocks then setting them aside elsewhere as if it’s all part of some strange, incomprehensible plan. Instead the one that attacked me seemed to have been hunting me down, purposefully going out of the way to find me and Sunset.

“At least I don’t need to worry about death…” I mutter somewhat sarcastically. It was odd, knowing that death held no sway over your actions and you would pop back into existence later on. I wasn’t keen on trying though. Just because I could die without consequence didn’t mean it didn’t hurt like hell.

Wooden pickaxe, some stone, a couple blocks of wood and a wooden sword. That’s all I seemed to have left. Everything else was probably laying in that cave where I’d died.

Giving a sigh, I got to work on gathering supplies and remaking the stone tools I had. I was probably going to return to the cave, if only to see if my stuff was still there. Despite this all being a dream, I wanted to treat it like I was playing the game for real. It kept my mind from thinking about what was happening to me and Sunset in the waking world.

After about a half hour of work I was ready. My stone pick axe in one hand, and a stone sword strapped to my waist (I have no idea how… Like the torches I made, things in this world just work somehow, like in the game). I ventured forth.

To be honest, I don’t know why I did it. That enderman had beaten me without a problem, and I had no armor to speak of. Maybe it’s because I’d do exactly this in-game, or maybe I’m just a sucker for punishment. Either way, I guess I felt the need to continue exploring this place and find more resources, iron being top on the list.

I found the place easily enough. The torches I placed previously were still burning away in all their 16 bit glory. Creeping along silently, I swallowed my fears and dove into the cave, keeping an ear open for any sign of the enderman or other hostile mobs. This time I had no Sunset to help keep an eye on my surroundings… Not that she made a difference last time. I never did ask her what had happened with the enderman.

Thankfully luck was on my side. No ‘pomfs’ or strange sounds to denote an enderman, nor did I hear any. After laying down another torch, I examined the place where my encounter with it had happened, and was rather disappointed to find none of my equipment had stuck around.

“Guess it’s a good thing I got replacements…” I muttered, laying down a torch and heading down the right path at random. It was about then I realized the importance of learning how to navigate. In the game you could simply pull up a console and figure out immediately where you were and where to go. I didn’t have that luxury and knew how easy it was to get turned around down here. Add in the fact that I probably needed to breathe ruled out the option of just digging a tunnel straight up (Not that I would anyway. The idea of being buried under a pile of gravel was not really appealing.).

For the next couple minutes I explored that fork in the cave, coming up with a few chunks of iron ore, some coal, and an emerald. The latter made me wonder what villagers would be like in this weird mindscape. I had yet to encounter any sort of hostile creature, which I was grateful for, the game had enough challenges and dangers. I didn’t have any desire to feel what it was like to be shot by an arrow or bitten by a spider.

Returning to the fork, I paused as I noticed an odd glow coming from the other passageway that hadn’t been there before.

“Weird…” I muttered. It wasn’t the orange glow of a fire or lava. Not did I hear any odd noises. Pulling out my sword I gave a sigh and approached it carefully.

It was… I’m not sure what it was. In game terms, I’d never seen anything like it; probably because it wasn’t a pixelated or cubic construct. Instead, hovering about a foot off the stone floor, I saw what could only be described as a large glowing, orange, sphere. How had I missed it earlier? After a couple minutes staring I saw the reason.

It was moving.

Not very fast mind you, but just enough that while I had been busy its glow had reached this area of the cave. Moving around it, I found myself drawn to it for some reason. Looking down i was surprised to find my free hand reaching out to touch it.

“Yeah… I’m not that dumb,” I muttered, pulling that hand into my pocket and pulling out a chunk of stone. Taking aim I tossed it, hearing what sounded like glass as the rock bounced off harmlessly. The orb just continued to float there, slowly making its way towards me.

“Alright… Didn’t explode, next test,” I muttered and held my sword out. Inching myself forward I gave the orb a light tap. Once again I got no response other than the chinking of glass. No signs of damage where it tapped it, and it continued to float on.

“Hmm… Well… YOLO?” I can’t believe I said that. But before you judge remember. I was alone. There was no one to hear me! And in this case that statement wasn’t really true. It seemed I could get myself killed over and over again without consequence. Reaching out with both my hands, I grabbed the surprisingly warm orb, and was surprised by how warm it was. As it made contact with my skin, I saw a small ripple form from each point where it touched me but so far nothing that worried me. Bringing it up to my face for inspection I gave a smirk.

“Really isn’t anything more than a big glowing basket-“ And with that the world collapses around my as I fell into darkness.


“Sunset! Get back here!”

Giving my head a shake. the world around me spun into focus and I found myself staring up at a rather snobbish looking stallion wearing what appeared to be a tux and top hat. Looking down at me he. gave an annoyed huff and strutted off, with his muzzle in the air.

“See darling, this is why we shouldn’t let commoners around the castle,” he muttered to a nearby mare wearing a frilly pink dress and carrying a parasol.

“I-I’m so sorry sir. I-it won’t happen again!” I heard a familiar voice call out. It was about then that I realized this was another memory where I was simply an observer. Reaching up with a hoof I felt Sunset get back onto all fours only to start flailing as she was picked up in a magical aura.

“Daaad!” Sunset whined, her voice almost the same as the previous memory. To be honest I rather liked this version of her; adorable, innocent, and happy. A real nice change from the annoying mare I would come to share a head with.

“What did I tell you about running off? We’re in Canterlot! On the castle grounds no less! You can’t just run off like that,” he scolded, turning the filly around to face him.

Meridian looked the same as he had in the last memory, if a bit more frazzled. I wasn’t an expert on pony body language, but if I had to guess, he was nervous about even being here.

“But I thought I saw the princess!” I, or Sunset I suppose, whined, still flailing as we hovered in mid-air. (A really weird feeling to be honest. It wasn’t the same as being weightless.)

“Maybe you did. But you can’t just run up to them like that. What if the guards had seen you? Or another unicorn? Or…” he trailed off and pulled the filly into a hug. “Please promise me you won’t do that anymore ok? It might be fine when we’re on the road but not here,” Yup. He was definitely nervous. Rolling her eyes, Sunset reluctantly hugged him back before being set down on the ground.

“Sorry…” she muttered, giving a sigh and looking around again.

My god, this city was gorgeous…

I wasn’t sure where to start. The gleaming marble towers, the castle gardens, statues of pony heroes. On the horizon I could see vast fields and massive mountains stretching up into the sky, and yet they all seemed to be beneath us. Not one stretching higher than the city. In the air I watched as an airship dipped out of sight, followed soon after by another emerging. I wondered briefly if they were transporting goods to parts unknown, or simply ferrying passengers away from the city. I was thankful that Sunset shared my sense of awe, her eyes wandering slowly around and letting me take in the beauty of this city.

There was no place on Earth that could really compare. I’d been to Rome, walked its streets and admired the architecture of the city and The Vatican. In Venice, I’d drifted down canals, feeling the culture that permeated the one time city state. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I’d visited bustling cities like Toronto, Manila, Tokyo. Cities that boasted the best, and worst of our modern society. And yet none of them could hold a flame to Canterlot. This was truly something ripped out of a fantasy novel. Like Minas Tirith or Camelot.

“Dad… Why did you leave again?” Turning around, I found myself wondering the same thing. Who would want to leave here? Sure the two ponies from earlier seemed rather unpleasant, but that was something I could tolerate just to live in this monument of ponykind.

“Well, you mom for one… And there were other reason hon. Don’t worry about it. Besides, you like traveling with me right?” he asked, ruffling my mane and giving his daughter a smile. It was obvious he didn’t want to talk about and wanted to redirect the conversation elsewhere…

“I guess…” the filly muttered, looking back onto the horizon and focusing on what appeared to be a large group of clouds. No wait… Was that a city?!?!

“We better hurry up Sunset. Your exam starts in fifteen minutes,” Meridian said, causing the filly to turn around in a panic and ruining my chance to figure out just what I’d seen. “You’d been begging me to take you here for weeks… You don’t want to be late for the exam right?”

Giving a nervous nod, Sunset started to rush off, only to turn around as her dad called her back. We’d gone the wrong way. Giving a nervous laugh, he then led us the correct way into a large tower where a bunch of other ponies Sunset’s age, along with their parents, were waiting… All of them unicorns. (The children at least)

We sat there for awhile. Sunset pulling out a tattered book on magical theory (I could barely understand a lick of it), and her father pacing nervously as child after child went in and out of the adjoining room; some crying, many more jubilant. After a few minutes I managed to piece together just what was happening. This was a test… And from the poster nearby the door it seemed to be for entrance into ‘Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns’ it was for some sort of pony version of Hogwarts?

“Alright Sunset. Remember what I told you?” Tearing her attention away from the book Sunset gave her dad an uncertain nod. The stallion in return sighed and sat down, still occasionally glancing about the room from time to time but making an effort to focus on her daughter.

“Right… The test. You don’t have to succeed. They just want to see what you’re able to do, and how you think about solving a difficult problem alright. Even if it doesn’t work, try to use one of the spells I taught you. alright?” he explained with a pained smile. “During my test, they asked me to transfigure a chunk of coal into a diamond… I still got in, even though I only managed to turn the coal blue.” He adds.

So Meridian had attended school here? That seemed… Odd, considering what Sunset had told me regarding his wandering about, avoiding crowded cities and towns. (Which kind of explained his nervousness…)

“Just remember what I taught you, and what you learned in those books.”

“Ms. Sunset Shimmer? They’re ready for you inside.”

This was it. Giving a nervous ‘gulp’, Sunset got up, following her father through the door being held open by a yellow unicorn.

“Sir, if you could remain by the door. Sunset, please follow me.” Glancing back nervously at the stallion, I saw him give Sunset a smile of reassurance.

“You’ll do fine sweetie…” he said, not really sounding sure. Looking back at the mare I watched as she directed us to the center of the classroom. Near the back three other unicorns waited, each one looking back and forth at the filly and then their clipboards. After giving a knock on another door, the mare moved up to join the other three, grabbing a clipboard and pen before scribbling furiously on it.

From the door a stallion (Looking back I realize he was the first non-unicorn id seen during this whole memory) pushed in a cart filled with hay and at the center lay an… Egg? It looked about the size of a goose egg, and was colored tallow, with orange flames coming up from below.

“A… A phoenix egg?” Sunset asked out loud, looking around the cart for anything else. Aside from an image showing a bird and two halves of the egg, it seemed to be bare. Seemed like they expected the filly to be able to hatch this thing… Or make an omelette. (Do ponies eat fried eggs?)

“You may begin Ms. Shimmer.”

It’s times like this I kinda wish I could know what Sunset was thinking and feeling. For a few moments, she just sat there, examining the egg, then looking at her dad who just gave a nervous smile.

“Eggs need… Warmth. And…” she trailed off, jumping up and leaning on the cart to look at it closer.

“We don’t have all day…” one of the unicorns called out, causing Sunset to jump in surprise.

“Hey! She can’t concentrate if you pester her like that!” I hear Meridian call out angrily. Sunset just stays focused on the egg however, taking a couple steps back and taking a deep breathe before closing her eyes. Her horn tingling as she got started.

“Sir! Please be quiet!”

A part of me was rather surprised by what I was feeling. The filly had really improved since that shaky attempt at telekinesis in the previous memory. That and she was able to focus despite the arguing in the background. The spell was similar to the same one she used to light our campfire and soon I could feel some heat emanating from in front of us.

“Don’t you tell me to be quiet you hag! You started it!”

Was Sunset even aware of the arguing going on? It certainly didn’t seem like it….

“Laurel. Please get the guards in here to esc-“

“You don’t have to! We can leave on our own!” Meridian yells and I hear him trotting closer, even though Sunset seems oblivious to it until she’s grabbed.

“Wh- Dad? No! Stop!” the filly yelled, failing in the stallions grip. Through her panicked eyes I see a small fire burning beneath and around the egg. Somehow it was contained and not spreading to the cart or hay.

“Common Sunset, I knew it was a mistake to come back here,” he grumbles, walking away with us held firmly. Despite it all i could feel Sunset trying to continue her spell despite having no ability to concentrate.

“Dad! Please! Just let-“

“I said we’re going!”

“NO!”

I don’t quite remember what happened next. One minute Sunset was yelling, the next a bright flash enveloped us all, blinding us as I felt a surge of power from the filly’s horn. When we finally regained vision I was treated to a scene that would have been humorous if not for the destruction in the room. Coughing, Sunset got back to her hooves, her eyes wandering about.

The room looked like a bomb had gone off. Ash and soot covered most of it, including the ponies which seemed to be otherwise unharmed. Laying sprawled a short distance away I saw Meridian give a cough as he stared in shock.

“I-I’m sorry…” Sunset muttered looking at the teachers, then to her dad…

“What is there to be sorry about, my little pony?” another voice cut in. Calm, regal, kind… I’d heard this voice before…

“I almost burned down the school and hurt everypony and - Eeep!” Turning around to face the newcomer, I was greeted with the sight of a large white mare with a long flowing mane. Which I promptly lost sight of as Sunset slammed her face into the ground in what seemed to be a mix of cowering and bowing.

“Sunset, please, I am not here to punish you. I was watching the entire time and while I was surprised by these events nopony was ever at risk of harm.” She said, putting a golden clad hoof on Sunsets shoulder. Looking up at the mare I was struck by just how regal she looked. She just exuded poise and grace, and even in a crowd would stand out. Not just because of her appearance. This pony was a leader… No. THE leader. The pony I had seen on the news, despite sharing her appearances, was nothing compared to Celestia…

“Y-you were watching me?” Sunset stammered, slowly getting up.

“Indeed I was. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the daughter of one of this schools brightest was due to take the entrance exam,” she explained, looking over at Meridian with a calm smile “Professor North Star often speaks highly of you, Meridian. It’s such a shame you never finished your studies.”

“I… I had my reasons princess,” he said, getting to his hooves and bowing to the… Goddess? Didn’t the show say she raised the sun and the moon? Lived for a thousand years… I could see some ponies regarding her as a god.

“I understand… Now then,” turning around, I felt Sunset shrink back is fear as the princess looked at her again. “Sunset Shimmer… It is not often we see a pony with such raw power at the school, and never have a seen a filly capable of controlling it like you did,” she pauses, moving over to the center of the explosion.

“B-But I destroyed the egg.” Sunset mutters, following?
.
“Did you? Take a closer look,” she said, pointing a hoof. Trotting up Sunset approached a large pile of ash that the princess was pointing at. As if on cue a small sneeze was heard causing Sunset to stumble back coughing, waving a hoof in front of her face to clear the floating ash.

Sitting there, cute as can be, and with a coloring similar to Sunsets was a small bird. Giving a chirp the chick bounded over to a stunned looking Sunset, cooing as is rushed up to nuzzle a hoof, getting ash and soot on itself in the process.

“I don’t… I-,”

“-Out of all the species that lay eggs in Equestria, only a few would thrive after what you did Sunset. A phoenix is one such creature. And like many birds, their young imprint upon those they see after birth,” she explained, something I kind suspected myself as I watched the chick chirp and bounce around the filly through Sunset’s eyes.

“It thinks I’m its mom?” Sunset asks, pulling a hoof away uncertainly, the chick simply moved onto one of her rear legs.

Celestia gave a light laugh and nodded. “Yes, and because of that, I feel it only right that you take care of it,” Sunset blinked and hawked at the princess, then the bird, and then the princess again who gave her a kind smile.

“But. I don’t… Dad?” she turned to look at the stallion who seemed a bit stunned by everything that was happening. Her daughters words causing him to snap out of a daze… “Can I keep it?”

“Uh… Sure hon…” he muttered looking at the bird, her daughter, then the princess. “Your majesty, what happens now?” he asked as he left my field of vision, Sunset seemed to have taken great interest in the chick now that she had been given ‘permission’. Leaning down at eye level the small bird hoped over and gave a soft chirp causing the filly to giggle in response.

“I need a name for you…” she muttered, rubbing her chin with an ash covered hoof… “Whats a good name for a phoenix… Burny? Pyre? Nightlight?”

“Can I make a suggestion?” once again Sunset squeeked in surprise as she noticed the princess’ head a few inches away, observing both her and the phoenix chick. “In my long life I have heard many different names, from different lands and cultures. Across the sea, in the lands of the minotaurs they have a word that describes a love so strong that no force can break it… “

“What is it?” Sunset asked, a bit of awe in her voice.

“Philomena… I feel such a name would be fitting of a unicorns phoenix companion, don’t you?”

“Phi-lo… Me-na?” she seemed to ask, sounding out each part. The phoenix meanwhile chirped in agreement before bounding forward to nuzzle Sunset’s hoof again, getting itself more dirty. “I think he likes it!”

“She… And I’m glad she does. Now Sunset, I have an important question to ask of you and your father.” the alicorn made her way between the two ponies. “Your acceptance into my school is a given. Meridian, your daughter shows so much promise and I would like to give the teachers here a chance try and bring forth her full potential.” The stallion seemed to open his mouth to object but quickly closed it after seeing the giddy smile upon her daughter’s face.

“However, what I want to ask is if Sunset would do me the honor of becoming my personal protégé. I feel that aside from her basic lessons, she has the potential to shine brighter than any other unicorn I’ve ever seen, provided she is willing to work and study hard,” she said, giving Sunset a smile. Meanwhile, the filly was twitching with excitement, and I didn’t blame her. Not only was she realizing a dream to attend the school. But, the ruler of the nation had personally picked her to teach out of all the other ponies here.

“Y-Yes! Oh yes yes yes!” she squealed in delight, hoping in place around the two only to stop as she saw the pained look on her fathers face. “B-But. What about dad?”

“Don’t worry about me Sunset… This is your dream right?” he asked, pulling the filly in for a hug. Planting her hooves on his chest, Sunset leaned back to stare him in the eyes. Despite what he was saying, I, and sunset too, could tell he didn’t want her to leave.

“Meridian. It would be easy for me to arrange a place for you stay within the castle… Or nearby should you desire it,” Celestia said walking over behind the stallion. Letting Sunset go Meridian tuned to stand before the princess.

“I… For my daughters sake that would be acceptable princess… Thank you.” I could see it wasn’t what he wanted, to be back in Canterlot… But at the same time, I was happy he wasn’t going to ruin things for his daughter.

“Excellent. If you both are free I would like to extend an invitation to share lunch with me so we can discuss this in more detail,” she says, starting to walk away but pausing beside Sunset for a moment to look at her.

“We’d be honored princess. Right Sunset?” Meridian asked.

Unfazed by both grown ups staring at her. Sunset gave a nod, reaching down to pick up little Philomena and placing the bird on her head where it nestled in with a happy chirp.

“Then it’s settled. But first,” Celestia’s horn glowed for a moment as she floated out a tissue, rubbing it against Sunset’s flank. The filly jumped back in surprise which soon turned to shock as she saw was was under the ash. “We should get you both cleaned up,” Sunset barely seemed to hear her though as she saw what had been revealed.

There, laying upon her hide, and surrounded by ash lay a beautiful gold and crimson sun with sort of yin and yang symbol within.

“W-what does it mean?” Sunset asked, her voice filled with a mix of shock and awe. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Meridian move over to get a look at the cutie mark with a wide smile on his face; one that reached his eyes, no hints of nervousness or uncertainty here.

“Magic, Sunset… Your special talent is magic.” And with that the world faded away in a rush of light as the memory ended.


~YOU PERSIST~

As far as wake ups go, booming voices in your head had to rank amongst the worst ways to come out of unconsciousness. Groaning, I opened up my eyes to see an enderman towering above me.


“Oh… Fuck,” pardon my language but… Yeah. It seemed about right then. Any minute now this thing would kill me and I’d reappear in the middle of a block field or wake up. Reaching down, it grabbed me by my shirt and shoved me against the wall. Thankfully, this time I didn’t get that strange drone in my ears that I had gotten last time upon looking at the creature.

~WHO ARE YOU? WHY DO YOU SEEK TO ENTER OUR DOMAIN?~

Well… It seemed to be in a chatty mood. I’m guessing most of the things it killed didn’t tend to come back for seconds. That said its words confused me. His domain?

“I-ack… Can you loosen your grip?” I asked, not really understanding how a creature with no fingers managed to hold me here and make it difficult to breathe. Thankfully, it did heed my request, loosening its grip a bit and making it easier for me to move around. “Thanks. I don’t know what you’re talking about though. I thought this was my mind.”

~NO. YOU SIMPLY SHAPE IT SO THAT IT IS FAMILIAR. YOU DO NOT BELONG~

I briefly wondered if this thing had a volume switch, but decided it was not a good idea to provoke the ten foot tall slenderman wannabe.

“Yeah… You said that before. I’m not here by choice!” I reply angrily. “Something put me into Sunset’s body, or something like that. I don’t know!” The enderman’s eyes widened in surprise, its grip loosening.

~THE EVENT? WE FELT IT, AND WERE UNABLE TO PREVENT IT FROM DERAILING SUNSET FROM THE PATH WE HAVE SET BEFORE HER~

Well that wasn’t ominous…

“Um… Path?”

~NONE OF YOUR CONCERN.~

“Right. Care to let me go? I’m not an enemy…”

~AND YET YOU INTERFERE WITH OUR WORK ALL THE SAME. NO. A SOLUTION HAS BEEN FOUND.~

“Oh… Care to tell me what that is?” I ask, inching my hand to my stone sword. Whatever his solution was, I doubt, thankfully he seemed focused on me. Those flaming orange eyes seemed to stare into my soul.

~YOU WILL BE SEPARATED; YOUR MIND REMAINING HERE, WHILE HERS REMAINS FREE TO CONTINUE DOWN OUR PATH. YOU WILL NOT-~

Moving as fast as I could I whipped out the stone sword and swung it in an arc, managing to cut the arm that was pinning me. I then followed it up with a thrust into its chest.

“Ha!” I shouted with a grin.

~YOU WILL NOT INTERFERE ANY FURTHER,~ with that, the enderman seemed to dissolve before my eyes into orange pixels that simply hovered there for a time before floating away.

“Wait. You can’t mean you’re going to trap me here!” I yelled. Chasing after the orange pixel blob as it made its way out of the cave.

~YES WE DO. ONCE A PERMANENT SOLUTION IS FOUND WE WILL RETURN,~ It called out before rising into the sky.

“You can’t do this!!” I yelled in desperation, falling to my knees. The orange cloud continued to rise before vanishing. The sky flashing red and yellow for a moment before shifting to a night time scheme complete with moon and stars. In the distance I watched as a couple zombies and skeletons suddenly appeared. I had no reason to believe what that thing had said was true… But a part of my mind suspected it wasn’t lying.

“Well…” I muttered, a zombie noticing my presence and started to make its way towards me.

“Fuck.”

Author's Note:

A big one this time around but its a turning point in the story. Jean is stuck in his little dream verse, sunsets given free reign and things get interesting. Lots of Sunset background as well since she really needs it.

Regarding the CSGU test. I wanted something familiar to what had happened to Twilight but different in its own way. I figure the whole point of the 'tests' is to figure out how a unicorn seeks to solve a problem and judge them like that. Few succeed, and it takes a good deal to attract Celestia's attention.

As for the tests themselves. I figure each ponies test is customized based off of a written exam or aptitude test done beforehand. From there ponies are given tests related to the field they excel at for their test. For example, Meridian was shown to have an aptitude for transfiguration magic and was given a test related to it.

Ponies with a general aptitude, like Twilight and Sunset however would get a similar test. The egg hatch. And after seeing this image I couldn't get the idea of Sunset having a phoenix familiar out of my head. Twilight gets a purple dragon, Sunset gets a phoenix. This is... Can you see her being responsible enough to take care of a pet? At some point in the future Celestia took the phoenix instead, giving the bird more care than Sunset. Philomena was just another one of Sunsets many failings.

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