• Published 23rd May 2016
  • 444 Views, 29 Comments

Rough beginnings - Never2muchpinkie

The prequel to You Are Normal Too, showcasing Derpy and Shooting Star's relationship in greater detail

  • ...

Chapter 13: Acceptance

Gold Medal was at a bit of a loss. Dinky was sobbing on the ground, and he wasn’t sure how to help her. He didn’t know where Dinky’s aunt and uncle lived, and neither did she. Still, he had been the one to bring her to her house, and he was committed to staying with her until he knew she was somewhere safe.

The only idea he had was to simply ask the ponies nearby if they knew the address, but given that Dinky pronounced “auntie” as “annie” he had doubts whether “Bonnie” and “Lyly” were the actual names of her aunts.

He stared at the crying filly and tried to think of a better way of going about things. An idea struck. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than just standing around and hoping something better would present itself.

Leaning over, he picked Dinky up off the ground. “Hey there, kiddo. Stop crying,” he said gently. “I have a great idea on how to get you home and to your mama.”

Dinky’s crying eased up slightly, hiccupping sobs still coming from her. She looked at him with teary eyes, curious on what he could do. “I... I-I-I wanna s-see Mama!”

“Do you remember how you got here? You followed specific directions; Town hall, then Sugarcube Corner, and then home.”

Dinky stared at him, not yet sure where he was going with things.

“So if we take those directions backwards instead, we can head in the direction of your aunts house. We go from here to Sugarcube Corner, then to town hall, and then we head straight out from there.”

Dinky sniffed, shaking her head. “That no help. I no know what their house look like.”

“That’s true. But if your mother or your aunts have noticed you missing then they’ll be outside looking for you and calling out for you, or asking other ponies if they’ve seen you wandering around. So if we head back in the direction we came from before we’ll definitely find your mother or aunts, right?”

Dinky’s eye moved around side to side thoughtfully, and then she smiled a little. She nodded, the tension slowly leaving her body. “Mitter Gold, will you help me find my mama?”

“Of course I will. I’ll stay with you and keep you safe until you’re back in your mother’s hooves.” He pulled her a little closer, giving her a quick nuzzle. “So don’t cry anymore.”

Dinky gave him a quick peck on his snout. “Tank you.”

“You’re very welcome.” Setting her down he laid on the ground so she could climb on his back.

When she got up and held him around the neck he stood up, walking towards town hall. As they passed by a few houses he got curious. “Dinky?”

“Hmm?” she replied.

“You left your house all by yourself. Weren’t you scared of being alone?”

“A li’l bit. Other ponies are scawy. But not alla time. Annie Bonnie and Annie Lyly were kinda scary, but they were a lotta fun. Annie Lyly do li’l ponies jumping on da bed. That was really funny. And Annie Bonnie do three little pony and the big bad timbawoof. And I say, “Little pony, little pony, LET ME IN!” She giggled. “Now they no scawy anymore. You no scawy either. You really nice.”

Gold blushed a bit. “Thank you. It sounds like you have a good family. Do they take good care of you and protect you?”

Dinky’s enthusiasm faded along with the cheerful memory. "My mama always protect me, but she no do that anymore.”

He stopped for a moment, turning his head back to her. He elected to keep going and get more information. “Why doesn’t she protect you anymore?”

“She no feel good.” Dinky gave a little sniff. “Mama so sad. That make Dinky sad. I want to see Mama smile.”

“So your mother is sick? Does she have a disease?”

“No. She sad because her mama and papa die.”

Gold let out a heavy breath. “I see.”

“Mama say when you die we no can see each other anymore. You go to sleep when you hurt weally bad, and then you no wake up.”

“Well, that’s about right.” He let out another heavy breath.

“I gots an idea. I think of way Mama can see Gandma an Granpa, but I had to go back home. I told Annie Bonnie that I wanted a pitcher, but she think I want drink. I ask Annie Lyly, and she think I want drink too.” Dinky squeezed him hard, making it a little hard to breathe for a moment. “I wanted them to help me! But they no unnerstand me!” She let out a big huff before loosening her grip. “If they no help me than I had to go alone. I no want Mama to be sad anymore.”

“So that’s why you went all by yourself? You tried to explain what you wanted to your aunts, but they thought you were talking about something else?”

Dinky nodded. “Yeah! I a big girl, but I still has trouble with words. Mama unnerstan me good, but Annie Lyly and Annie Bonnie don’t sometimes.”

“If that’s the case than why didn’t you just wake up your mother and have her come with you? Mmm. Never mind. I guess you did what you thought was best to make her happy.”

As they reached town hall Gold Medal stopped, looking toward it thoughtfully.

“What wrong?” Dinky asked.

“I’m trying to remember how far around town hall we went before. If we’re trying to follow your steps back in the direction of your aunts house than we have to go the same way we came.”


“I’m saying the only way we’re going to go towards the direction of your aunts house is if we retrace your steps. If we go the wrong way then we’re not heading toward your aunts house, but toward a whole other part of Ponyville. If that happens then even if your mother and aunts are outside looking for you we won’t see them because we’re in the wrong place.”

“Oooooh.” Dinky nodded, understanding. She put a hoof to her mouth. “Dinky be quiet,” she said in a whisper.

Gold closed his eyes, thinking. Which direction had he gone around it before? Also, how far had they gone around it? He had expected to be done with Dinky once they got to her house, so he hadn’t seen the need to focus on such an unimportant detail. Still, if he couldn’t remember they were going to go completely off course.

It wasn’t right away that Dinky had told him to change directions towards Sugarcube Corner. He remembered that much. So they had to have gone at least a third of the way around. Maybe even two thirds.

He thought there was another way to find the right path. All he had to do was think about any places that stood out near town hall. He did remember the quills and sofas store, simply because he always found it amusing. What store only sells two things that have nothing in common with one another, and are two completely different sizes?

He began walking around town hall until he spotted the store. He felt confident as they walked the path.

Dinky tapped his head a few times. “Yes, Dinky?”

“Can Dinky talk now?”


“You find the right way?”

“I believe I did.”

Dinky let out a sigh. “Goods!” In a quieter voice she added, “I miss Mama.”

“Don’t worry, Dinky. I’ll make sure you see her again real soon.”

A tear came down her cheek as she nuzzled his neck. “Tank you!”

“You’re welcome.”


Derpy yawned as she got up, shuffling towards the bathroom. She groaned sleepily as she entered, looking at the floor with half-lidded eyes. She would have preferred to stay in bed another few hours, but her bladder was having none of it.

When she finished up she washed her face, staring at herself in the mirror. She had a serious case of bedhead. Splashing water in her mane she combed it into her usual style. When she was satisfied she looked presentable she considered going back to bed, despite that it would ruin the work she had just done, but ultimately decided against it.

She headed toward the kitchen, seeing Bon Bon sitting at the table. “Morning,” she said with another yawn.

“Good morning,” Bon Bon replied, looking up from her paper.

“Doing the crossword again?”

Bon Bon laughed, tapping her pencil on the table. “Just a little hobby of mine.”

She went into the cabinet, getting a bowl and making herself a bowl of cereal. She ate in silence, still drowsy. When she finished she put her bowl and spoon in the sink.

Derpy put her head in her hooves as she sat back down, the only sound coming from the scratching of the pencil Bon Bon was using. After a few minutes she noticed the curious lack of noise. “So where’s Dinky?” she asked.

Bon Bon shrugged, not looking up, concentrating hard. “Can’t say. I think she’s with Lyra.”

“Lyra, huh?”

Bon Bon paused in her writing for a second. She then finished up the clue she was working on and set the pencil down. “That reminds me,” she said, looking towards Derpy. “Maybe you can figure this out.”


“Dinky came to me and asked me for something. Ultimately I couldn’t figure out what she was asking for, and she got mad and took off. I suggested she go ask Lyra instead, and I haven’t heard from her since, so I guess she was able to figure it out.”

“What was she asking for?"

“She said she wanted a “pitcher” to share with you.”

“A pitcher? Like lemonade?”

She shook her head. “Nope. She specifically told me she wasn’t asking for a drink.”

Derpy put a hoof over her eyes, blocking out the light. “The only other type of pitcher I can think of is in baseball, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t what she wanted to share with me… unless she wants to play catch or something.

“Hmmm… well, if it isn’t a pitcher she was looking for then maybe it’s a word that sounds like it. I can usually decipher her messed up words by the context of the rest of the sentence.”

She mused for a bit, repeating the word pitcher over and over. “Pitcher… pitcher… picture?” That seemed likely. “Could she have been asking for a picture?”

Bon Bon gazed thoughtfully at her. “Picture? Picture, huh? She wanted to share a picture with you? I guess that makes sense, but then what would she need me for? She wouldn’t need my help to show you a picture she made.”

Derpy tapped her hoof on the table a few times. “Maybe… she wanted you to take a picture of her to give to me.”

“I guess so.”

“Well, we can always ask her directly. I’m sure I can figure out what she’s after.”

As Derpy got up Bon Bon looked back and forth between her and her crossword, then stood up as well. She could always go back to her crossword later.

The two of them went to Lyra’s room. She was huddled over her desk, writing up a storm.

Derpy knocked on the door a few time. “Hey, there.”

Lyra turned in her seat. “Hey. What’s up?”

Derpy looked left and right. “Do you have Dinky with you?”

She shook her head. “Nope. She left a while ago. Came in asking me some question, and then got mad when I couldn’t figure out what she wanted and she left.

“Look, I’m really busy trying to write this essay for history, so if there’s nothing else I need to get back to it.”

“She… never came back?”

Lyra shook her head. “Nope. Haven’t seen her since then.”

Derpy’s heart began to speed up. “Bon Bon hasn’t heard a peep out of Dinky either since she also failed to figure out what Dinky wanted. That’s not normal for her.”

Lyra hesitated a moment, then set her pencil down. “No need to panic. Maybe she’s taking a nap. But I’ll help you find her. I doubt I’ll be able to concentrate with you screaming out her name anyway.”

“Thank you.”

The three of them went around the house, calling out Dinky’s name, getting no answer. The lack of response was setting Derpy’s heart into overdrive. What if Dinky was hurt? What if she couldn’t respond?

She began to race around searching every room in a panic. Each empty room only added to her anxiety. Even if Dinky was hurt her body would still be in the house.

Ultimately, their search turned up nothing. Nothing looked disturbed in any of the rooms. It was like she had just disappeared.

Derpy was shaking like a leaf. “W-where is she?” she croaked out. “S-she has to be here.”

Lyra and Bon Bon didn’t know what to say. The air in the room was tense.

“Oh!” Bon Bon cried out.

“WHAT?” Derpy said, running up to her and shaking her. “You know something? You know where she is?”

Lyra gently pulled her away. “Easy, girl. Let her speak.”

“Lyra,” Bon Bon said, turning to her.


“Answer me something. From the time Dinky first came to see you until we did have you left our room?”

“No. I told you I was writing my report.”

Bon Bon grimaced. “I was afraid of that.”

“Afraid of what? AFRAID OF WHAT?” Derpy yelled, hugging herself.

“Shortly after Dinky came to see me I heard the front door open and close.”

Derpy’s eyes went wide, her irises shrinking to tiny dots. “W-what does that mean? You don’t think she was…” Derpy was gasping for breath. She gulped, not wanting to say the next word. “Y-y-you t-think Dinky w-w-was… was… foalnapped?”

“No. I didn’t hear any other noise before the door opened or closed, and we keep the door locked at night. I think she left voluntarily.”

“WHY?” Tears began streaming down her cheeks. “Why would… why would Dinky leave me?”

“I don’t know. Maybe she saw something that caught her eye outside.”

“My mom died. My dad died. I can’t lose Dinky too.” She squeezed herself tighter. “D-D-Dinky. DINKY!” She began wailing.

Bon Bon and Lyra both got on either side of her, hugging her much like they had before.

“Come on, Derpy!” Bon Bon said over her crying. “We need to go searching for her.”

But Derpy didn’t hear her. She was crying too hard, her thoughts a raging tsunami. Her breathing grew shallow, her head spinning. She became dizzy.

Derpy fell out of their hooves, her body like putty. “Derpy!” Lyra called out, getting low and shaking her.

She curled up into a tiny ball, shaking and rocking back and forth, muttering words under her breath. “Dinky-alone-scared-death.”

Bon Bon and Lyra looked at each other, wondering what their next move should be.

“We need to start searching for her immediately,” said Lyra.

“I agree wholeheartedly,” replied Bon Bon, “but we can’t leave Derpy here alone. Even if one of us stayed behind to look after her I’m scared one pony might not be enough to contain her if she tries to do something… drastic.”

Lyra’s face paled a bit. “I see what you mean. So what are we supposed to do? We can’t just leave Derpy alone, and we can’t just do nothing about Dinky and hope she finds her way back.”

Bon Bon put a hoof to her head. “Ugh. I feel like I’m getting a headache. I’m not sure what the right answer is. Derpy is off in her own world, and Dinky is out there by herself.”

Lyra sighed. “How about this? We spend a few minutes trying to get through to Derpy so the three of us can go looking. If we can’t we can put her in the wagon we have and take her along, that way we can keep an eye on her AND go searching for Dinky.”

Bon Bon let out a sigh of relief. “That sounds like a perfect solution.”


Gold was gazing left and right as he walked, feeling confused.

When he came to a stop, still looking around, Dinky asked, “What wrong, Mitter Gold?”

“I’ve been looking around all over for signs of a panicking pony, but I haven’t seen a one. Everything looks completely normal and peaceful. And maybe it’s just me, but I feel like we’ve been walking too long. I think we might have already went by your aunt’s house.”

Dinky’s stomach clenched. “B-but you said Mama would be out looking for me! You lied to me!”

Gold heard the distress in her voice. “I didn’t lie,” he said in a soothing tone. “If we haven’t spotted them, it might just mean they haven’t noticed you’re missing yet. Your mother was sleeping when you left, and your aunts were doing their own thing.”

But Dinky wasn’t having it. There was a flash of light, and his back felt lighter. Dinky was now on the ground.

“Mamaaa!” she called out, running away from him. “Mamaaaaaaa!”

Gold gave chase. “Hold on, Dinky!”

She ignored him. When he got close her horn flashed, and she disappeared again, reappearing about fifty feet ahead.

Try as he might he couldn’t catch her. He didn’t think she was deliberately avoiding him or upset with him, but just that she was too caught up in her emotions to think rationally. Every so often she’d poof away, reappearing in a close-by spot, calling out for her mother all the while.

He was panting heavily by the time she finally stopped poofing around. She collapsed onto the ground, tears in her eyes. “Mama!” she said with a hiccup.

Gold approached her, still catching his breath. He put a hoof on her, but before he could offer words of comfort she began bawling loudly, kicking her hooves on the ground.

Once more he felt at a loss of what to do. There had to be a solution, but what? He believed that Dinky’s family cared for her, based on what little she had told him, so he didn’t think she was abandoned or anything. Did he really just have to wait until he heard a panicking pony?

He could go to the nearby stores and hand off his address. That way they’d come to him. There didn’t seem to be anything else he could do. Neither he nor Dinky knew where to look.

His musings were interrupted by a voice. “Dinky? Is that you?”

Dinky’s face shot up at the familiar voice. Her vision was blurry with her tears, so she wiped her face. She let out a cry of relief as she saw Berry Punch. “Mizz Bewwy!” She picked herself up and with a burst of magic threw herself at the surprised pony.

“Whoa!” Berry said as she quickly sat and raised her hooves to catch the little filly. “Easy there, girl.” She gave Dinky a squeeze. “What’s wrong?”

“I-I-I lost!”

“Lost?” she said, surprised. She looked around. “Where’s your mother?” The question only made Dinky burst out in tears again.

Gold Medal spoke up. “Excuse me?”

“Yes?” she said, looking up at him.

“Are you a family member of hers?”

She shook her head. “No. Just a friend of her mother. Since you were so close to Dinky while she was crying do you know what happened with her?”

“I have one more question, because it would be more prudent to talk while we walk. Do you know where Dinky’s aunts live?”

“Aunts?” she replied in confusion. “Dinky doesn’t have any aunts that I know of. Just a mother.”

“She called them Auntie Lyly and Auntie Bonnie. Does that mean anything to you?”

“Oh!” she replied, understanding now. “That would be Lyra and Bon Bon. Her mother Derpy is staying at their house right now because of a recent tragedy.”

“Yes, Dinky told me. Her parents died.”

“Right.” She closed her eyes for a few moments. “Well, come on, Dinky. Get on my back and I’ll take you home.”

Dinky nodded. “O-okay.”

Gold matched her pace as she turned around and began walking. “Thank goodness you came around. I wasn’t sure what else I could do.”

“So what happened? Why was Dinky out on her own? Given how attached she is to her mother I can’t imagine her ever straying too far from her mother’s side."

Dinky remained quiet as Gold explained the story to Berry. She wasn’t interested in explaining everything a hundred times. She just wanted to see her mother again.

Berry was impressed. “I didn’t realize Derpy thought that far ahead, to give a way for Dinky to get home no matter how far away she was. It’s very clever to use landmarks to guide your way.”

Gold nodded. “Of course, the only failing in that plan was that Dinky didn’t get to go through the same process with her temporary home, so she couldn’t find her way back.”

“But what was so important that she went through so much trouble?”

“I guess we’ll all find out when we get there.”

“I guess. It’s very close now.”


Bon Bon and Lyra had had no luck in getting Derpy to respond to them by being gentle and understanding and pleading.

Bon Bon felt it was time for some tough love. They needed all hooves on deck to cover the most ground. If her and Lyra had to stay nearby Derpy to make sure she didn’t break emotionally then it wouldn’t be much help.

She took a deep breath, muttering “Forgive me” before she drew her hoof back and gave Derpy a hard slap across the face.

The impact made her recoil. The explosion of physical pain leeched away her emotional pain, bringing her back into the present.

Lyra let out a soft gasp, understanding the necessity of the action.

“That’s enough!” Bon Bon said sharply, her eyes narrowing. “Is that all you’re going to do? Curl up into a ball and cry about how Dinky is missing? If you really care about her and don’t want her to get hurt then do you job as her mother and help us to locate her!”

Derpy looked up into her eyes, the words cutting like knives. The truthfulness of those words were so heavy she had no retort to them. She had to get up. She had to find Dinky. “L-let’s go.”

As the three were about to reach the front door there was a knock on it. There was a regular sounding knock, but right after that came another, softer knock.

Derpy opened the door, seeing Berry Punch. “We don’t have time for socializing right now. Dinky is missing and we could really use your help locating her.”

Berry let out a snicker, reaching down and picking Dinky up. “No need for the search.”

Derpy almost melted to the floor again. Dinky looked completely unharmed.

“Mama!” Dinky called out, reaching her hooves out.

Derpy instantly put her own out, beginning to wail as she hugged her daughter. “I-I-I was so s-scared! I thought I had lost you forever! J-just like… like… my parents.”

Guilt began bubbling up inside Dinky again. She squeezed extra-hard to try and cheer her mother up. “I sowwy!”

Derpy pulled her back, her eyes shining through her tears. “Why?” she said, her face scrunching up. “Why did you leave?”

Dinky hung her head. “I had to go. I wanted Annie Bonnie to help me, but she no unnerstand.”

Berry spoke up now, pointing to Gold. “According to him Dinky went all the way back to your house."

Derpy gaped as she looked at her friend. “She what?”

Gold took a step forward. “I spotted her walking by herself and found it strange. I was concerned for her safety, so I talked to her and she told me how you taught her to find her way back home through landmarks.”

Derpy remembered that well.

“Now when she told me that you were sleeping I thought she had just been wandering all over town by herself. I didn’t realize until we actually got to your house that she had come from somewhere else. I had probably caught her only a minute or two after she left."

Derpy took a deep breath, setting Dinky on the floor. She put a hoof to her head. “Well? Bon Bon said you wanted something to share with me, so what was at home that you needed?”

Dinky took off her saddle bag and placed it on the floor in front of her. There was a clattering noise as the objects inside pushed against one another.

Derpy eyed the bag before looking back at Dinky, who was still looking down at the floor guiltily. Dinky had gone through so much, so she figured whether to yell at her child for her recklessness could wait until she saw it.

Leaning over she pulled open the latch on the bag, emptying its contents onto the floor with a clatter.

Bon Bon leaned over, curious what the mystery object Dinky was searching for was. It was a whole bunch of picture frames. So Derpy was right that it had been a picture she wanted.

Derpy stared at the picture frames wordlessly. Had that really been it? Had Dinky really just left the house for a few pictures?

“Why?” she said, her voice growing harsher. “What was the point? You scared me half to death for a picture?”

Dinky winced.

“All you had to do was ask. Even if Bon Bon didn’t understand what you wanted you could have just asked her to take you to our house. What if something had happened to you while you were out? You had to rely on a total stranger to help you out, and he might have turned out to be a bad guy!”

Dinky sniffed, looking up at her. “I… I… I just wanted you to smile again,” she said quietly.

Derpy didn’t want to yell at her daughter. In order to distract herself she grabbed the upside-down picture frame on the top of the pile and turned it over.

Her breath caught. It felt like she couldn’t breathe. In her hooves was a picture of her right after she was born. Her mother looked tired but happy as she looked lovingly down at her daughter, while her father had a hoof around her, looking down too.

She reached down and picked up another frame in her other hoof. This was a picture of her at a picnic with her parents.

She set both of them down, going through the entire pile: her dad pushing her on the swing; her mother presenting her a sweater; her birthday party, right before she blew out the candles; her mom placing a blanket over her as she was snoozing; her dad hovering underneath her filly self as she struggled to remain airborne; her as a baby, her dad in much the same position, except he had his hooves underneath her and was holding her up as she giggle with delight.

Every single picture had her and one or both or her parents.

She picked up the last one, and saw it was a family portrait. She was wearing a blue dress, while her mother wore a green one. Her father wore a black suit. The three of them were sitting down. Her eyes were closed, her smile wide and showing off her teeth. Her mom and dad both had a hoof on her shoulders.

Derpy looked up, overwhelmed with memories of the past. She met eyes with Dinky, who was looking up at her with a mixture of apprehension and fear. “D-Dinky… why… why did you...”

Dinky rubbed her hooves together. “You say you mama and papa dead, and that mean we no see them anymore. But if you look at a pitcher you can see them all’a time."

A tear dripped down her eye. “I sowwy I left.” She clutched her stomach, shaking. “You been so sad ever since you mama and papa go away. I no want you to cry. I… I wanna see you smile.”

Derpy felt weak-kneed again. Dinky fully understood her pain, and she sought out a way that she felt would alleviate that pain. Even if it meant she had to go out all alone, and it was scary, she had to do it.

She looked down at the picture of the three of them, her parent’s happy faces. She closed her eyes, reflecting on the picture, and she could almost feel their hooves on her shoulders; the comforting touch of those she loved, that had always been there for her in the past.

They weren’t truly gone, were they? Didn’t a piece of them live on in her? Wouldn’t they live on through Dinky too, once she passed on the values they had taught her? So long as she embraced the things that they had tried to instill in her, they would never truly die.

Her heart began thumping a little harder as she placed a hoof over it. A strange excitement passed through her, like the dark clouds choking the life out of her were turning to light.

The crushing despair that had been weighing her down had lifted, and her thoughts were shifting along with it.

Dinky had been suffering right along with her, and she had been too wrapped up in herself to deal with it, passing her child off on her friends so she could sit around and mope. Even if it was a period of time necessary to mourn, she had still been a crappy mother throughout that time frame.

She had spent enough time angsting and feeling sorry for herself and her fate. She was still alive, and Dinky was still alive too. Dinky loved her with all her heart, and her parents were still looking out for her. Wasn’t it enough to know that?

She opened her eyes, once more seeing Dinky looking at her with that anxious, uncertain expression. Derpy took one last look at the picture, then set it down.


“Mmm?” she replied.

With a dreamy smile she put her hooves out. “Thank you so much!” she said contentedly.

“Mamaaa!” She threw herself into those outstretched hooves without hesitation. There it was! The smile she had been waiting for.

She gently moved her body back and forth. “I told you I was sick before, and you brought me the perfect medicine. I really do feel happy.”

Dinky beamed, joyful tears coming down her eyes. It had really worked! She had brought the smile back to her mother.

Bon Bon, Lyra, and Berry all joined in on the hug, all of them crying as well.

Gold Medal wiped a tear from his own eye. He’d done what he set out to do. Dinky was home and safe, in the hooves of her mother and surrounded by love and family. It was enough for him to know that. He probably wasn’t needed anymore. They probably wouldn’t miss him.

He took one last look at the group of happy ponies, and his heart shone as well. With a quiet “Goodbye” he took his leave.

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Comments ( 3 )

Dinky in this series it brings tears to my eyes.

:fluttercry: Excuse me while I stitch up my heart really quick.

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