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Athena's Eye

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avatar An Intelligent Moron
Level 51 : Grandmaster Grump
572
so like I'm hosting a contest for the cover art(i'll try to figure out how to get it published irl, you'll be given full credits) and it's on the forum thread stuff so go check it out ty
Prologue

“I heard there’s this really nice hotel, do you think that’s where we’re staying?” Xander looked up at his much taller brother, Alex.



“Aunt Carrie said we’ll be staying at a private cabin beside the beach. After all, this isn’t really a vacation,” Alex responded, his dark, round eyes showing no sign of enthusiasm. He was right, of course. The Hollowlands family and the Songbird family were adventurers. It was the family business.



In 1873, James Hollowlands and William Songbird met while excavating an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh's tomb and their families have been partners ever since.



“But we will get some vacation time. We always do on these expeditions,” Xavier Songbird spoke up, his voice mimicking that of the bird he was named after. His light brown hair was slicked back to keep it from his saturated green eyes, as usual.



“That’s true. Hey, maybe there’ll be some nice Brazi-” Alex started, interrupted by his Aunt Carrie.



“Don’t you dare finish that sentence, Alex Hollowlands!” She hissed, her silver hair spiky.

“Anyway, did anyone tell you boys what we’re doing in South America?” Erin Songbird asked the trio, her dyed beach blonde hair tied back in a ponytail. Behind her, the private jets’ left wing poked out from the window. “We’re going after a rock that’s been said to have mystical powers. Athena’s Eye, it’s called. The only thing we know about it is that it’s somewhere in South America, and that it caused the uprising of a supposed civilization. There’s a tribe in Brazil who talk of this civilization as if they’re terrified of it. It’s been said that the Athena’s Eye gave a group of people mystical powers and made them bloodthirsty. Of course, I don’t believe this. That’s simply preposterous.”

“We’re going after… a rock. Mom, that’s not what we do,” Xavier furrowed his brows, looking at Erin.



“We’re going to see if the legend is real, and if the ‘rock’ really holds some sort of magic, which is extremely doubtful, Xavier,” Erin reminded her son. The truth was, Erin had a hunch about someone she knew. Her grandfather left for South America before she was born, and never came back. She felt as if her grandfather was still alive, and simply waiting for her. The Athena’s Eye might be able to show the way to him.



“Okay then,” Xavier shrugged, turning to face the window. Outside, a storm was brewing, which worried him greatly.



“Hey, we’re not flying into the storm. I don’t think Mr. White would do something like that. If he was to kill us off, he would do it in a much cooler way,” Xander said, as if he read Xavier’s mind. The little comment earned a laugh from everyone but Erin.



“Erin, lighten up. You’re never like this!” Carrie Hollowlands poked her friend on the cheek. Carrie and Erin were destined to be friends because of the families they were born in to. They had their differences, though. Carrie was strict, but she could be fun. Erin wasn’t nearly as strict with her son, and her idea of ‘fun’ was a dig through an abandoned warehouse. But Carrie was right - Erin usually had a smile plastered on her pale face that reached up to her eyes.



“What? Oh. I’m just tired, that’s all,” Erin told her close friend, a weary smile appearing.



“Everything’s going to be fine, Blondie. It’s not like the plane’s going to crash with the clever Arnaud White flying it!” Carrie rolled her navy eyes. She held a grudge against Mr. White - when they were 15, Arnaud had vandalized her house.



But Carrie spoke too soon. A blinding light shot through the sky, hitting the plane directly, turning all power off, including the engines.

Chapter One - Xander

When I woke, a horrible agony stretched through my muscles and bones. I could hear fire crackling and hissing as rain poured down on it. The feel of the water was cold and refreshing, motivating me to sit up. I soon regretted it - certainly several ribs were broken. I felt battered and bruised, and I probably looked the part. Letting out a quiet groan, I blinked a few times. Looking around my surroundings, I took it all in, remembering what happened. Well, I remembered as much as I could.


I recalled a bright light, the power flickering on and off, and screaming. The loudest was my mother - Mom!


Painfully, I stood. I held onto a broken tree branch for support, a mistake. It cracked under my weight and sent me falling down. I let out a cry as I felt my knee scrape over burning, sharp stone. Understanding that it would prove impossible for me to stand on my own, I began a slow crawl towards the shattered plane. The fire had burned out, leaving it safe to walk through. Or, in my case, drag through.


I tried calling out for my mother, but I was too weak. My throat ached. I looked up into the sky, blinking as the water droplets splashed onto my soot-covered face.


“Xavier! Are you okay?” I felt a hand on my shoulder. Startled, I looked up. Alex was staring at me, his black beard burned at the edges, leaving him looking a bit hilarious. I nodded. He offered his hand, and I took it. Helping me up, Alex let me use him as support.


“How are you not that injured?” I asked. My breathing was rather heavy.


“I don’t really know, honestly. I guess because of where I was sitting in the plane,” he answered, but I could tell he was lying. I didn’t ask him about it, though. I’m sure that it was his own business.


“Is your brother okay?” I questioned.


“He's fine. He had a dislocated shoulder, but fine.”


“Your aunt and my mom…?”


“I'm sorry,” was his quiet reply. I leaned further into him. I didn’t care if I appeared pathetic or weak. Desolation surrounded me like a vulture circles its next meal.


We had walked for about a half mile when we came across a small opening in a rock. Alex helped me inside, and I could see a fire had been lit.


“Get the kit - Xavier’s knee needs stitches,” Alex looked towards the darkest corner, and I could see the pale reflection of Xander’s glasses. Other than that, he was completely silhouetted against the rock wall.


Xander stood silently, reaching for a little shelf-like crack in the wall. In it was a first aid kit like you’d see in a gas station.


“Did you guys get that from the plane?” I asked, playing Captain Obvious.


“Before the fire reached throughout the cabin, I managed to salvage things from it,” Alex replied, pointing to a pile of miscellaneous items stacked on top of each other. I nodded.


Walking over, Xander handed his brother the kit. I remembered that Alex used to work as a doctor before his aunt dragged him into exploration. Both of them helped me to sit on a flat, table-like rock. Using a pocket knife, Alex further opened the hole in my jeans where the bleeding was coming from.


“This might hurt just a little,” Alex told me, taking his turn as Captain Obvious. Grimacing, I looked away. I flinched when I felt the needle puncture my skin. I won’t bother getting into details, as it might seem quite boring.


It was over faster than I thought it would be. I let out the breath I didn’t know I was holding in.


“I’m going to go see what kind of food I can find. Don’t go anywhere,” Alex stood, narrowing his eyes at Xander and I.


“Not like I can really go anywhere,” I retorted, gesturing to my torso and knee. Alex chuckled, earning himself a glare from me. He turned, walking outside into the rain.


“You’re not really staying in this dump, are you?” Xander looked at me.


“Yes, I am. I can barely even stand!” I frowned. Xander nodded, his dark brown hair bobbing with his head. I could tell he was disappointed - his shoulders were sagging a little.


“Just call if you need anything,” he said as he walked out. I leaned back against the wall, my head roughly crashing against the rock.

“Oof!” I exclaimed, checking for blood, of which there was none. Letting out a thankful sigh, I carefully set my head back once more. I closed my eyes, letting the darkness sweep over like an eagle.


Running through the forest, jumping over long, snaking roots and small boulders, I swiftly passed through the mist. I had several cuts on my arms and legs, but I couldn’t tell where they came from. Turning a sharp corner, I brushed against a hard wall. Was it closing in on me? No, that's impossible, I told myself. I kept telling myself this as I dodged branches that whipped across my shoulders. Turning once again, skidding across the slick rock, I slid into an open field, the grass dried up and shriveled, the trees nothing but sticks. When I looked into the sky, it was a gray overcast. This frightened me as I folded my arms across my chest to keep myself warm. Gazing around the depressing field, a flash of burnt umber caught my eye. Turning to face towards it, I was shoved down by a somewhat large fox, but it didn’t harm me. Instead, it stared me in the eyes. Its pupils were yellow and cat-like. It let out a growl, but I still didn’t feel any pain.


“Get off of me!” I yelped, shoving the fox off. It whipped around to hiss at me, its fangs glowing brightly in the dark of the night, but it ran off, its tail flicking.


“Xavier!” I heard a familiar voice cry out. “Xavier, help us!”


I stood up shakily, turning to see Mom staring at me, her face covered in blood and burns. I made an attempt to scream, but it felt like something was clogging my throat. The only noise was a wheezing breath as tears streamed down my face. My body was paralyzed - I couldn't move at all, I couldn't call for help as Mom cupped my face in her burned hands.


I finally found my voice. “What do you want? You're dead!”


“Xavier, the fox…” she whispered, her voice echoing throughout the dead field.


“What about it?” my heart was pounding as I spoke to her, threatening to break free from the cage it lay in.


“Don't let…”


“Xavier, wake up!” A comforting voice whispered, waking me with a jolt. I couldn't respond - my breathing was heavy.


“Is he okay? I heard him crying out in his sleep.” Another soft voice whispered back, this one deeper. I opened my eyes, not making an attempt to hide the terror.


When I did so, the brothers each turned to me, worry shown on their faces.


“It was just a dream,” I grunted as I sat up, wincing.


“It was obviously more than a dream,” Alex told me.


“Whatever. It wasn't anything that mattered.”


“Do you remember the details?”


“Why do you care so much?”


“Don't ask so many questions.”


“That was one question!”


“Stop raising your voices. If there are any natives or hostile predators, you could endanger the 3 of us,” Xander interrupted, taking his time to glare at his brother and I. “Xavier, Alex is asking because he knows someone back home who interprets dreams. She taught him a few tricks. We heard you crying out in your sleep, so Alex wants to see if he can figure out if that was possibly a vision of the future (which I very much doubt),” Xander continued, shrugging.


“But it was just a dream, there's nothing important about it!” I said once again, irritation bubbling inside me, the volcano ready to burst.


“Most people don't scream while dreaming,” Alex intervened, sounding professional.


“I'm not most people,” I retorted, gritting my teeth to keep myself from raising my voice further - Xander was right, there could be hostile someones around.


“How so?” both Hollowlands spoke at the same time.


“You both know I was born into the Songbird family. I'm descended from criminals who played historian. William Songbird’s past time was murder and robbery. He was sentenced to death. His father before him committed the same, and his father before him. And it doesn't help that I recently found out my father was also the same. It's been that way for generations. Why would it change with me? Also, I was born 2 months early. Pretty sure that'd mess with my brain,” I answered.


“To address the first issue, you aren't your father and grandfather. You can change your family’s reputation. You're a good person with a better heart. In fact, I recall a time when Aunt Carrie was about to kill a fly, you begged her not to. You said to let it live out its days, and then you caught it and let it outside. You literally live up to the saying ‘wouldn't kill a fly’,” Xander told me. “And for the second, that's not going to do anything to affect your dreaming.”


“For the first time in what, 23 years? Xander is right,” Alex joined in.


“Excuse me?” Xander turned on his brother. “If you noticed, I'm 24, and I'm right every time!”


“Yeah, no. I'm the one who is always right!” Alex narrowed his eyes, a smug grin on his dark face.


“See? You're wrong right there!” Xander scoffed, leaving me about to burst into laughter. If this was going to dive into some burn session, I'd have to leave the cave before I yelled something about needing ice.


“You're the one who's wrong, kid.”


“Kid? I'm 10 years younger than you are!”


“Exactly, you're a kid compared to me.”


“Are you calling Xavier a kid? He's 24, too!”


“Nah, he's more mature than you are.”


Someone pass me water, I need to spit it out.


“Anyway, about that dream,” Alex turned to me. And so I told him every bit of detail, except for the appearance of the fox.


Alex turned to his brother warily.


“What's wrong? I told you, it was just a dream!” I grumbled, folding my arms across my chest.


“Xander, may I speak to you outside?” Alex asked his brother, leading him outside by the arm.


I didn’t hear what they were saying. I hoped it wasn’t important, and I could get on with my life.


I think it’s about time I can introduce myself to you, dear reader.


My name is Xavier Songbird, I’m from a family of adventurers and archaeologists. I grew up with the Hollowlands brothers. My mother, Erin Songbird, was married into the archaeology life. My father, Scott Songbird, is from the original family line. He was sent to prison in 2014 for 4 charges of 2nd degree murder and robbery. He currently carries a life sentence without parole. His father was arrested for the same thing, sentenced the same thing. And his father, my great-grandfather, was sentenced to death for 7 1st degree homicides. I’m worried I’ll end up being the same - the biggest thing that keeps me going is knowing that I’d be locked in my room for days on end if I accidentally stepped on an ant.


The brothers, Alex and Xander, are almost complete opposites. They’ll introduce themselves in due time, though.


Speaking of the brothers, they walked back in, looking disturbed.


“What’s wrong?” I asked.


“Nothing, nothing,” Alex brushed off my question.


“Don’t play that game, Alex. I know that you’re freaking out about something.


“He’s not worried over your dream, other than the fact we found a note mentioning a fox outside. Whoever placed it there was obviously strong, because it was pinned to the rock with a thorn,” Xander said, holding up a medium sized wood chip.


Alex took it from him, reading the note aloud. “Leave island or meet fox, face death.”

“Clearly, whoever wrote it isn’t good with english,” Xander joked.


“Clearly, whoever wrote it doesn’t want us here!” I retorted, standing up. “We need a way to get off this island!”


“Calm down, Xavier. It’s going to be fine, nothing will happen!” Alex countered. “If you really feel the need, we’ll move somewhere else, but we’d have to find somewhere first.”

“What about the plane?” I asked.


“What, do you want to see 3 burnt bodies?” Alex snapped. I was taken aback - I didn’t expect him to use that against me.


“Alex…” Xander warned his brother. “Don’t say another word. It hasn’t been more than a single day.”


I didn’t respond to either of them. Instead, I walked outside, stepping carefully over rocks. I kept walking, not stopping when Xander called my name. Move one foot forward, move the other forward. I did this until I arrived on a cliff hanging over a raging beach. Looking down, I could see perfectly clear water washing onto a black sand beach. What ruined this mesmerizing sight were the jagged rocks pointing up from the water and land. They were terrifying. If I fell, I’d be dead in a matter of seconds.


“Xavier!” Xander’s voice arose from behind me, and I felt myself being tugged backwards and wrapped in a hug. “I’m sorry for what Alex said. That was completely uncalled for.”


“You don’t need to apologize for your brother. He should do it himself,” I mumbled.


“You know he won’t. Alex can be a jerk sometimes,” Xander laughed quietly.


“Yeah, sure.”
Chapter Two - Alex - flashback

Hi, I’m Alex. I figured that, before I tell my part, you should get to know me better. When I was twenty, I was on my own. My parents left my little brother, Xander, to fend for himself at age ten. Xavier’s family took him in after I took care of him for a year. Well, by left, I mean disappeared. They didn’t pack any bags or leave a note on the refrigerator. They just disappeared, practically into thin air. And I hated them for it. It wasn’t fair, I was still in college and figuring out life.

In order to give you a little more information, we need to take a step back. As in, over a decade back.

- ♣ -

Xander and I were sitting on the porch, my arm around him. He was so tiny then. He hadn’t spoken to anyone in eight weeks. Eight weeks since our parents disappeared. Eight weeks of complete silence.

“Do you want to see if Xavier can play some video games?” I asked my little brother. In response, he shook his head. I let out a quiet sigh. “You’ve been ignoring him for a while, I thought he was your best friend.”
Xander shrugged, standing up. I watched him walk inside, and open the refrigerator door. That was one thing that didn’t change, at least. That kid was always hungry.

I followed him inside, closing the back door behind me. Looking at the clock hanging above the dusty brown couch, I saw it was 9:18 PM. “Xander, it’s getting pretty close to bedtime. Food isn’t going to magically appear in the fridge.”

The doorbell rang, echoing throughout the small house. Strange, considering the house was far out in the country, and no one ordered anything that I knew of.

“Xander, go to your room for a few, okay?” I asked him, and he obeyed without question. He too was suspicious of the doorbell ringing this late at night.

Walking through the kitchen, I lay my hand on the hunting knife that resided on the coffee table next to the front door. Peering through the peephole, I saw a gun barrel pointed at it.

I quickly backed away, picking up the knife. The doorknob jangled. I heard the man on the other side picking the lock. My heart raced as I reached for the home phone, hanging on the wall. I didn’t own a cell phone, due to financial issues. But I didn’t get to dial 9-1-1 before the door burst open, and the first shot rang through the house, hitting into the microwave door, the glass shattering onto the white tile.

I backed against the counter, the knife in my hand trembling before I realized I was the one shaking. I hoped that Xander had heard the shot, and could get to the landline in his room and get over his silence.

Another shot was fired, and I felt agony as a sharp, burning pain struck through my shoulder. I heard a scream, and it took me a second before I realized it was my own voice. The robber approached me, holding the gun to my forehead. I cowered underneath the masked man, feeling every pulse of blood. I heard every breath, every door creak. I slowly began to sink to the floor. The bullet had most likely punctured through an artery.

I spied Xander peeking through a tiny crack in the door. I didn’t want my little brother to see me like this - he looked up to me, he once told me I was the strongest man alive.

But I couldn’t stand up and prove it, I couldn’t stand and show my brother that I really was strong.

The robber began slowly walking to the hallway.

“There’s nothing over there! I’m broke, all that I have is in the kitchen and in the dining room!” I yelled, wincing.

“Then why are these doors closed, eh?” He spoke, his voice muffled by the black ski mask. He had a Canadian accent.

I couldn’t provide a good answer, and so I cried out for Xander to run. The robber shot me once again - I wasn’t able to figure out where before the darkness consumed me.

“Alex!” Mrs. Songbird’s voice woke me up. “My God, are you okay?”
I grunted in response when I noticed the robber bleeding out, staining the tile. “Uh, is he-”
“No, he isn’t dead. But if the ambulance doesn’t get here quickly, he might just be.”
“Oh,” I replied, narrowing my eyes. I tried standing, but my knee had been the target of the second shock. Mrs. Songbird helped me up.
“Where’s the boys? Xavier heard the first shot and ran out of the house to try and stop whatever was happening on his own,” Mrs. Songbird sounded worried.

“Oh, God,” I immediately turned my head to Xander’s room. Mrs. Songbird noticed my movement, and limped me over. She cautiously opened the door, the dark room illuminated by the hall light. I heard a small whimpering noise. Mrs. Songbird fished a flashlight out of her jeans pocket, shining the bright light in the room, shining the bright light on two figures.

“Oh, God!” I tried running to the boys, but Mrs. Songbird stopped me. She let me lean against the wall so I didn’t slam face down on the floor.

“He’s not breathing!” Xander spoke for the first time in 8 weeks, and it broke my heart to hear the worry in his voice.

Mrs. Songbird dashed over, bending to check her son’s breathing.

“He is, but only shallowly. What happened?”

“He protected me from the man in the closet!” Xander whimpered.

“The man in the…” I saw him before Mrs. Songbird did. “Watch out!” I cried, falling to my knees.

Mrs. Songbird stood, and punched the second robber right in the face. I heard a disgusting crack. Xander flinched. In the distance, I could hear sirens wailing, getting closer by the second.

The second masked man fell to the ground. He wore a white ski mask, and I could see that his nose was bleeding.


A few days later, I was dropping Xavier off at his house. He had suffered a small concussion. It’s strange that a 10 year old would do something like that for another 10 year old.

“Mrs. Songbird, can I talk to you for a quick moment?” I asked her. She was wearing a desaturated yellow bathrobe, her hair a mess, a mug of steaming coffee in her hand.

“Yes, yes of course. Oh, and thank you for dropping my boy off!” She answered, hyper. I let Xavier walk inside, and his mother closed the door behind him, standing on her porch in front of me. She looked at me expectantly.

“Are you ever going to tell him about his father?” I asked, leaning against the white pillar. All the caffeination in her eyes disappeared dramatically.

“His father was sent to prison a long time ago, Alex,” her voice was a low whisper.

“No. Not him. You divorced another when I was ten, and you refuse to tell Xavier about him. Why?” I pressed the question on her.

“Because I-”

“You don’t have an answer, do you?” I crossed my arms, keeping my voice cool.

“No. No, I don’t. Are you happy now?” Mrs. Songbird was loosing her own cool, and I rolled my eyes.

“Your son needs to know that his father isn’t the monster that was sent to prison. He needs to know that his real father, the one you and your daughter refuse to speak of, was a hero,” I straightened. “He is old enough to understand that there is a reason that he doesn’t share any features with that… that brute. That there is a reason as to why he finds it impossible to kill a bug, when that demon in jail killed humans. And I know that you have killed, too. Your daughter has come close to killing. Why doesn’t your son share that same homicidal trait? Oh, right, his father saved lives instead of ending them.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about!” Mrs. Songbird’s voice wavered. “My daughter and I would never harm anyone, and Xavier, he takes after me. His ‘real’ father, Astrid’s real father, was the same type of monster. He was the man behind the fire in Silve.”
But I could see that look in her eyes, a caged animal keeping a secret. “No, he wasn’t.”
“And how would you know that? What, did you set the fire?”
I began a slow pace towards her, ending where I looked down at her, a fire in my eyes. The same fire that started in Silve. “I might just have, Erin Townsmith.”

The woman trembled, but I felt no regret in frightening her like this. I never have. I seemed to lack that sort of empathy.

“Leave my property. You aren’t allowed here ever again, Hollowlands. If I see you step one foot over that fence,” she pointed towards the white picket fence which perfectly described our two houses. “I will shoot you in the back of your head.”
“Are you threatening me?” I let out a low chuckle.

“You’re sadistic!” Mrs. Songbird hissed, setting her now lukewarm cup of coffee on the pastel blue windowsill. With both her hands now free, she shoved me down the stairs.

I silently walked through that gate connected to the white picket fence. I silently walked inside my small country home.

My gaze slid to the glass still on the floor. To the family portrait hanging above the television. I felt a pang of sorrow push through me, but I ignored it. I have anger issues, that’s true. But I’ve been trying to get them under control, trying to stay calm in certain situations.

Blinking once, twice, I turned around to face outside. The sun was shining in my eyes, leaving me to pivot on my heels to walk back into the kitchen.

“Xander? Are you home?” I asked into the echoing house, waiting for a response.

His head of dark brown hair poked through the hallway.

I walked to him, taking his small head in my hands, ruffling his hair. “Xavier ’s home, safe and sound.”

Xander nodded, but didn't say a word. Was he going back to this silence?

“Xander, please, don’t fall quiet again. You’re my brother, you can tell me what you’re feeling.”


In fact, he never did tell me what he was feeling. I guess I should’ve expected that, considering he was never open about his emotions, even when he was a toddler.

It’s been about a week since what we now refer to as “The Incident”. I did not once let Xander outside, for some irrational fear that I could not properly think of. Even though I knew he’d be safe, it frightened me to think that anything could happen at any time to my little brother. But I’m just glad that he has started speaking again, even if it’s little at a time.
Chapter three(updating soon!)
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Chapter four(updating soon!)
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Chapter five(updating soon!)
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Chapter six(updating soon!)
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Chapter seven(updating soon!)
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-
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1 Update Logs

Update #1 : 05/30/2018 3:42:35 pmMay 30

Added chapter two ^^

Comments : 3

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  • Inspirinq
  • Level 34
  • Artisan Turtle
  • May 30, 2018, 12:36 pm
Ooooh this is amazing so far!
  • KatieDoo522
  • Level 15
  • Journeyman Unicorn
  • May 9, 2018, 1:55 pm
This is a great story so far! The plot is unique, the characters are interesting, and I like that there's a fantasy element to the story (I love fantasy-based stories). Please keep me updated! ♥
I do have a tiny suggestion? This is completely up to preference, but based on your writing style, it might look better if you type out numbers rather than just using the number. For example, three instead of 3, fifty-six instead of 56, etc. Again, completely up to preference, but just thought I'd throw it out there.
  • Vieee
  • Level 30
  • Artisan Creeper Hugger
  • May 9, 2018, 11:12 am
very good. cant wait for more!

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