November 7, 2012 by Lyn
Tuesday, November 4, 2003
“How about Accalon?” The class lists hadn’t been that hard to get; Eluned had explained what she was looking for to her Mentor, and Professor Valerian had obliged her. Sometimes it was just that easy. Other times…
“Him? Already has his two. And, besides, he’s still pining.” Evie ran her finger down the page. “Abednego has his two. I wouldn’t let Calvin touch you if he was the last man on Earth.”
She knew Calvin was out; she wouldn’t let him touch her, either, graduation requirements be damned. She wouldn’t have let him touch her if Evie had ordered her to. The guy was a poison and a blight on the universe. Accalon, however, was very kind to the eyes, even if he was pining. “Pining?” Over who?
“He was with the same girl for three years, but she graduated. Fifth Cohort.”
“Man, that has to suck.” Of course, Evie would only be here for two years of Eluned’s four – if Eluned decided to come back after summer break. This school was a mess. She didn’t know why anyone came back. “Did she Keep him, that whole time?”
“No, she never did. He’s got a pretty messed-up story. Maybe he’ll tell you, sometime. After a dance, when he’s been drinking.” Evie pursed her lips. “Only if it’s not a straight tequila night. Those are bad, and you… well, don’t.” And that ended that.
“Got it.” She didn’t like it when Evie did that, but any complaint she might offer about her Keeper’s sometimes-accidental orders could trigger a fight. This conversation was already too touchy to risk that. “So not them. Efrosin is the cat-boy, right? With all the hair?”
“That’s him. I think he’s got Pania, though, for his second, and Reese took care of his first our first year.”
“Reese? The squirrel? Our squirrel?”
“Yeah. I thought Eff was all boys until he grabbed Pania. I hope he isn’t, poor girl.”
“The cat-boy knocked up the squirrel boy.” As if needing to have two babies to graduate wasn’t bad enough. “Really?”
“Well, Reese is a hermaphrodite. I thought you knew that.”
“Noooo, I didn’t. I mean, I wondered. Hunh, that’s interesting.” She shook her head, deciding to worry about what was in Reese’s pants later. Or not. “Hey, what about him? Err, her? Them?” What did you call a hermaphrodite? Professor Valerian called Professor VanderLinden it, but Eluned didn’t like the sound of that.
“Well, he’s crew,” Evie allowed. He, it seemed, for Reese. No wonder she hadn’t known he wasn’t. “I mean, as much as we really bother with that. But I thought you wanted to try a guy, not just get knocked up?”
“Welll…” Okay, Evie didn’t like the idea. Sometimes Evie didn’t like things, but she almost never said she didn’t like them. Eluned had to be a bit of a mind reader. Without actually reading Evie’s mind, because Idu Intinn on your Keeper was a bad idea.
“Okay, who’s next in the Sixth Cohort? Howard?” Moving on to another topic. Tall, blonde, and bullish. Eluned could get behind that.
“Well, he’d sleep with you all right, but well. The guy’s got a body count in the triple digits – partners, Luna, not like murder victims. I don’t think he’s actually murdered anyone – but he’s only got the one baby. And I hear Shiva only managed to get that one out of him by doing it before he knew about the grad requirements. Now he insists on three forms of birth control.”
“Doesn’t he want to graduate?”
“He doesn’t want to give Regine his kids to raise here.”
“Well…” She looked around the room. Nothing in Evie’s bedroom really symbolized the school, except the lack of windows, and the single exit. No way out but Regine’s way. Or running away. “I can’t say I really blame him. But I don’t want to be stuck here for ninety years or something.”
“Six. I hear someone made it six years before bargaining to have someone else carry her second kid. I’ve thought of doing that.” She patted Eluned’s belly. “You could carry twins.”
“I could… what?” She blinked in horror at her Keeper. “You want me to carry your kid, too?”
“I’ve been contemplating it. I promised Dyfri a baby, but I don’t really want to do the whole kid thing again. Not this year, at least.” She rubbed Eluned’s shoulders haphazardly. “You’d be pregnant anyway. Why not double-task?”
“Because twins! I’ll be huge! Does that even work?”
“It does.” Evie frowned her bad-Luna frown. Luna tried not to cringe. The bad-Luna frown often led to bad-Luna lectures. “I just told you that. And I’ll still think you’re beautiful even if you do get huge, my lovely moth.”
“Urk. Evie, that’s not fair.”
Annnd she’d gone too far. Evie twisted her lips and stared off at the wall. “I’m sorry you were under the mistaken impression that this was supposed to be fair, Luna. Because it’s not. I’m in charge, and you belong to me, and there’s really nothing at all fair about that, now is there?”
They’d been here before. “No, Evie. No, Mistress.” Because when she got that face, she didn’t want a girlfriend, she wanted a good, compliant pet.
Some day, Eluned was going to run over Calvin’s smug handsome face with a tractor-trailer. Thirty-seven times. And then she was going to slide hawthorn splinters under all his fingernails. And then she was going to poke out his eyes with rowan. And then…
“You’re a good girl, Luna, but you complain too much. You don’t appreciate all the nice things I do for you.” It was like listening to a bad recording of Calvin, with the voice modulated up to Evie’s pitch.
“No, Mistress. I’m sorry.” She tilted her head down, hunched her shoulders forward, and tried to look sorry instead of angry. When Evie got her Calvin voice on, all she wanted from Eluned was obedience. Anger… she’d tried that once. She was going to try really, really hard not to try that again.
“It’s not so much to ask of you, is it, for everything I’ve given you?”
“No, Mistress. I’m sorry.” She could keep saying this all night. Once, she had, until Evie had broken down crying. She hoped this one went faster. “I’ll do what you want, of course, Mistress.”
“Of course.” Shit, that had been the wrong thing to say. “You’ll do what I tell you because you have no choice, but will you appreciate it? Will you accept it? Or will you hate it and resent me every moment of the time? Are you going to hurt me every chance you get, girl, because I make you do things you don’t like?”
That wasn’t on the script. Eluned looked up cautiously at her mistress’ face. “Evie…” She risked putting a hand on the taller girl’s shoulder, and, when that wasn’t pushed away, did the same with her other hand. Evie wasn’t looking at her; she was sitting in the same pose Eluned had been in a moment ago, hunched, crying, miserable.
She would kill Calvin twice. She would learn Tlacatl to kill him over and over again. And it still wouldn’t be enough.
She swallowed, and tried very hard, again, not to sound angry. “Mistress, I would never hurt you. I promise.”
“You can’t promise anything. You’re Kept.”
It didn’t mean that. She knew it didn’t mean that. But she didn’t want to argue, not now. “But I mean it anyway. Evie, my Mistress, I don’t resent you.”
“But you complain all the time.”
“Well…” What was she supposed to do with that? She took a couple breaths, thinking about it. “Not all the time, really? Just, I mean, more than you like, which is too much. Sorry, Mistress. But it’s not really you… I know you treat me well, I really do. It’s not you,” she repeated. “I like being yours.” She squeezed both shoulders gently. “I really like being with you. I like being your girlfriend,” she added, being a bit brave. Mistress did not have a girlfriend; Mistress had a slave. But Evie had a girlfriend. You know I’m not all that into the whole owner-slave thing… No, now wasn’t the time to say that. She took a breath and said what she was supposed to say, instead. “I like being yours, Mistress.”
Evie finally looked at her, first at her hands, one, then the other, and then finally at Eluned’s face. “You do? Honestly?”
Shit. That was too much like an order. “I don’t always like being Kept, or what it means. But I like being yours.” There, that was honest.
And enough, it seemed. Evie hugged her tightly and suddenly. “I’m glad. I like having you as mine, too. You could be a wonderful Kept, Eluned, if you’d just stop complaining so much.”
“It’s sort of in my nature.” It was a risk. Mistress wouldn’t like that. But Evie might.
She got a kiss and a frown, which didn’t really tell her which way that one had gone. “There are things we have to alter about our nature, to fit a relationship, especially a Keeper-Kept relationship.”
“Yes, Mistress.” She hadn’t been told, yet, specifically not to complain. “I can try, Mistress.”
“Good girl.” She got another kiss, over the warmth of the horribly demeaning praise. “But you can call me Evie, hon. Or, you know…” she blushed suddenly, and Eluned smiled. They were on solid ground again.
“I’ll try, hot cheeks. Do you want to help me pick a babydaddy, or what?”
“Maybe later.” She wrapped her hands around Eluned’s wrists. “Right now, I don’t want you thinking about boys at all.”
“Yes, ma’am.” That was an easy order to follow, when Evie got that look in her eyes. Eluned tightened her hands on her girlfriend’s shoulders, as she, in turn, ran her hands slowly up her arms to her shoulders, pulling her in.
“Kiss me, Luna.”
Wednesday, November 5, 2003, lunchtime
“Kellagh?” She kept her voice low, because she didn’t want Reese and Dyfri getting involved, or Arnbjörg rolling her eyes at them.
“Mm. He still needs his second, and he’s cy’Luca, he’s a good guy. He wouldn’t be a bad choice. And you’d have the most gingery babies!”
“We’re an endangered species, you know. Gingers.” She grinned; it was an old joke. Evie didn’t grin. Shit.
“I wonder. I wonder if the Director was doing something with that.” She flapped a hand. “It’s obvious she wants something out of this. An army, maybe. That’s what some people think, at least. But, like you said. Redheads. There’s a lot of them here. Were, at least.”
“Weird.” She didn’t like thinking about it too much. It felt like horse breeding, if she did, or something from some creepy Anne Rice novel.
Evie shook her head. “Too random for that. Speaking of random. Maybe Kellagh. Other options?”
She flipped through the roster. “Leofric? The notes say he only has one.”
“That’s because he’s gay, honey.”
“Probably not him, then.”
“It’s getting worse.” Dyfri sat down next to Evie. “Agra’s girl last week, and yesterday it was Phillipa.”
“It was Phillipa what?” Evie pushed the papers back at Dyfri.
“Someone in the halls is attacking people invisibly. Telling them to listen or something. I don’t know much about what happened with Agra’s girl…”
“Akaterina,” Eluned interrupted.
“Right. Kay, isn’t it? Well, Hemlock found her, but after the fight he and Agra got into…”
“Well, it’s not like you can blame Agra.”
“Why not?” Arnbjörg sat down on the other side of the table. “Agravain is usually guilty of something.”
“Arna, that’s not nice.” Evie was smiling, though. “Hemlock wasn’t, you know, very nice to him.”
“Neither was Agravain very nice to Hemlock. It was a bad time, and a bad break. But from what I hear, Hemlock was just trying to help the girl.”
“Akaterina,” Eluned interrupted again.
“Right, Kay. He says she didn’t say much – something else to blame Agra for, I’m sure – but that there was blood all over the place and she had at least three broken ribs.”
“You don’t think Agravain…?” Evie paled. Eluned swore bloody vengeance and fiery death on Calvin. She was going to have to learn Kwxe, too. Or Hiko.
“No.” Arna’s look took in Evie and Eluned, and seemed to be trying to impart double or triple meaning to her words. “Agra’s doing a lot of the bad, carrying on habits he learned from his Keeper. But Hemlock never beat him.”
“I’d never beat Luna!” Evie looked horrified, rather than angry, which left Eluned free to be as mortified as she wanted to be. “Arna, you know that, right? I’m never going to do to her what was done to me!”
“I know, Evie, I know. Careful you don’t overcompensate, though.”
“Hey!” Eluned glared at the older girl. “Not helping.”
“I am, actually. Or at least, I am attempting to help you.” Arnbjörg shrugged, amused. “It’s easy to say ‘My Keeper did this, and it sucked, so I’ll do the exact opposite.’ But say your Keeper liked to snuggle you until you could hardly breathe…”
“I’m not going to do that.” Evie’s complaint sounded more than a little weak. Eluned was feeling much the same.
“…oh…” She nodded uncertainly at Arnbjörg. “Thanks, then.”
“It’s in everybody’s best interest to keep Keepings tidy and pleasant. When they’re not, it snowballs.” She shrugged, like it was nothing at all. “And if you’re miserable, it’ll end up making the whole crew miserable, and that really sucks.”
“Been there.” She hesitated, clearly trying to decide how much to tell. “Not myself. I loved my Keeper – love her, even now. We had our problems and everything, but nothing irrevocable. But you see it a lot, around here. Sometimes it’s bad Keeping, sometimes it’s bad Kept.”
“Bad Kept, really? I mean…” she trailed off, glancing uncertainly at Evie.
“It’s okay, Luna, you can ask.” She sounded resigned more than approving, but she hadn’t said no. Eluned passed over her chocolate cake as an apology.
“I… If everyone gets tricked into it, it seems unfair to call them bad for that. I mean, I know there’s nothing fair in Keeping…”
“There can be. The ideal is actually very fair. But not everyone is tricked into it, you know. Someone in my Keeper’s Crew… Shiva. Her Kept, Nikita, walked into it willingly.”
“People do that?”
“People do. Ask Adelheid, if you want. She might not mind telling the story, if you’re nice about it.”
“I can’t imagine her…” Like Arnbjörg, Adelheid was an impressive, Amazonian woman.
“Not her, her first-year Kept.”
“Oh.” She didn’t really know what to say that wouldn’t end up upsetting Evie, so she poked at her lunch instead. You can do that? Why didn’t anyone tell me? But she already knew the answer to that, didn’t she? Evie would never stand for having another collar. Not after Calvin. Hawthorn splinters. And fire. Lots of fire.
“Ahem. Students, if I could have your attention?”
Shit, can the Director read thoughts? Eluned scrambled into an attention-paying pose, trying not to look guilty and probably failing. The Director wasn’t even looking her direction. Would she be looking that placid if she knew a student was planning to torture and maim another student?
Considering the way Evie is about Calvin… maybe. As long as she got her stupid babies. What a bitch.
The Director cleared her throat, and Eluned tried to focus on the speech and not her anger. Evie wouldn’t really make her carry twins – would she?
“If you would please give your attention to Professor VanderLinden.” The ice queen bowed, and stepped away, leaving their Literature professor smiling at them.
I’ll pay all the attention you want to him, and then some!
He smiled as if he could read her thoughts, and wouldn’t that make Lit all that much more interesting!
“We are coming into the final stretch of our first academic challenge, and we’re down to three contenders.”
Oh, yeah. She squirmed uncomfortably. She’d been trying, but she wasn’t the best student. Then again, not many people in Evie’s crew were, so it probably worked out all right.
“The crew known as ‘The Revenge’ were in the lead, but due to a last-minute personnel change, they have fallen to third place.”
A couple tables to Eluned’s right, a bunch of older guys jeered and laughed, while the two girls sitting with them – that was Ahouva, right, and Ceinwen? Eluned hadn’t done that well at making friends with her Cohort-mates – the younger girls were trying to pretend they weren’t there. On Eluned’s left, the table that was presumably The Revenge glowered, glared, and grumbled.
“In second place, Boom is giving a good showing. So far, they have yet to blow up any of their homework… during the challenge period, at least.” Chuckles and laughs, from dutiful to honestly amused, rippled through the room. Eluned smiled, looking around to see who or what Boom was… oh. Probably that group of smirking people.
She recognized Leofric from the roster – blonde hair, antlers – and Howard – blonde hair, horns – the tiny girl, Zita, from Russian class – sharp teeth, tiny – and she’d heard of the fourth one, Cynara. The boy with them was Kheper; she shared two classes with him. And they all looked very amused by the whole “blowing things up” thing.
…there had been two explosions Eluned’s first week here…
“And currently in first place, Sylvia’s Crew, who still have not named themselves.”
“We are my crew.” The otter-girl answered primly and with no apparent humor, while the crew around her smiled in apparent exasperation.
“Sylvia’s crew,” Professor VanderLinden repeated. “In first place. Good luck to all the crews, and remember, you still have two and a half days. There will be pop quizzes in all of your classes, including in your independent studies.”
A group of students booed, starting with the three large guys surrounding Ceinwen and Ahouva and stretching out, until even Reese was booing. The beautiful blonde professor just laughed.
“You’ll survive. It’s good for you. I leave you to your studying, students.” He turned to leave, made it three steps, and turned back. “Oh, just as a note? If you choose to sabotage your classmates – we will not be punishing non-fatal retaliation.”
The room fell into silence; in that silence, the professor walked away, tail swishing jauntily.
“Almost makes me wish we were in the running.” Arnbjörg smile was kind of scary.
“Me, too.” Reese grinned. “We could create some havoc anyway? I mean, Basalt’s crew isn’t in the running, but he took that girl…”
“Ahouva,” Eluned interrupted.
“…and look what happened there. Hunh. Everyone else has all the luck. Maybe I should go around biting people until someone challenges me.”
“You don’t need a Kept that badly, Reese.”
“But I want one.”
“Then we’ll find you one. But probably not from biting people.”
“Why not? Luke poached my first one.”
“Luke didn’t poach anyone.”
It was a small school; Eluned had seen everyone in it at least a few times. But the tall, tall handsome man that sat down next to them, she’d never seen so close up. And those ears poking out of his black curls. And those earrings.
And Reese was glaring at him. “No, your crew did.”
“All in fair game. You cheated first.”
“Cheating is part of the game.”
“Yes, my friend, it is.” His smile widened. Those were some lovely teeth. “Cheer up, I’m sure you’ll find someone.”
“Asshole,” Reese muttered, but the rest of the table was chuckling.
“Likewise.” The very tall man bowed, and made his exit. He was, she realized, faintly blue. And he had a tail.
“What about him?” she murmured.
“Olifur?” Evie hrrm’d thoughtfully. “I like it. Just as long as you don’t fall in love with him. Or he doesn’t fall for you. I don’t think I could beat him in a challenge.”
“Fall in love with Oli?” Dyfri leaned in, seeming to have picked up on the last bit of their conversation. “Unlikely. He’s cy’Linden.”
Friday, November 7, 2003, dinnertime
“So you’re sure it’s Olifur you want?” Evie seemed more nervous than Eluned was, but, then again, Eluned didn’t have the final say here, Evie did, unfair as that was.
“As long as you’re all right with it,” she repeated. She had given Evie every chance she could to back out, and she hadn’t taken it, hadn’t even offered one of their second-choice options – Kellagh or Tigg or Currumbyn – as a back-up. But now that they were down to approaching the table, now she was nervous.
“I am, honey. You should have a choice about whose child you raise. Every woman should.”
“I can’t say I disagree.” She snuck her hand into Evie’s, her Keeper’s nerves contagious. “All right. Yes. He seems to have a sense of humor, he’s good-looking, in high-level classes, and Professor Valerian speaks well of him. So does his own Mentor, but that makes sense.”
Evie nodded again. “Not Reese?”
“I want to try a boy,” she reminded her. “And if he doesn’t give you what you want for this, Evie, we can always try someone else.”
That seemed to help. Evie breathed, at least.
“All right. Well, here we are.” She closed her mouth and strode the last few yards to the table where Olifur was sitting with a small crowd of terrifying upper-classmen and two far-less-terrifying and far-more-nerve-inducing Ninth Cohorts. Half behind her Keeper, Eluned waved at Wylie and Lemon. Both of them waved back, both looking far too curious for her comfort.
“Can we help you, Evie?” The dark-haired girl’s voice – dragon-woman, she looked like – was chill. Almost angry. Evie cleared her throat again.
“We’re here to talk business with Olifur. Alone.”
“Anything you have to say to me, you can say in front of my crew.”
Oh, this was not going well at all.
“Even the Ninthies?”
Please, not the Ninthies. The dark dragon woman and the silent third upperclassman, she could handle. But not her classmates.
“They already know it all, Evie. We don’t keep our friends in the dark, here.”
Evie quailed, backing up a step, looking for all the world like someone had just kicked her. Eluned glared at them, suddenly not sure this was such a good idea. “We came over here to talk.” We didn’t start kicking anyone’s puppy, so why are you kicking hers?
“Sorry.” Olifur at least looked a little abashed. “People like to be secretive around here. I’m sure you’ve noticed. We don’t like that, in our crew.” He gestured at the table. “Pull up a couple chairs. We can talk.”
She glanced at Evie, suddenly worried she’d overstepped her bounds. But her Mistress was nodding slowly. “It’s fine, Luna. It’s not like our crew and theirs are good friends or anything. And there was…” She faltered, but Wylie laughed.
“That thing with poaching me? Yeah. You won’t find me complaining about that.”
Of course they wouldn’t. No smart Kept complained about being caught in public. Luna never would.
“So, what can I help you with, Evie?” Olifur’s posture was all business, like they’d come to him in an office and not a dining hall.
Evie cleared her throat again. Eluned had never seen her this uncomfortable, this out of place. “Luna would like to get her first baby out of the way this year. We went over the list, and you’re on the short list of people we like for it. We know you still need one kid…”
“Two,” he muttered. Eluned shared a brief glance with her Keeper. That wasn’t what his dossier said. Well, they’d have to ask about that later. “So, you’re offering to let me impregnate your Kept? Why me?”
“Luna’d have to answer that. It was her decision.”
Eluned felt her cheeks burning, and looked down at the table. Everyone was watching her. Everyone was listening. “I like your smile. And… you have good grades, and your teachers like you.”
“I have good teeth, too.”
That wasn’t helping her blush any. “And good everything else, too.” The retort came out a little sharp. She looked back down at the table, wishing she could just vanish.
He laughed. “All right, all right. Sorry. Those are good reasons. I just don’t like the horse trading stuff here. So, what, with Caitrin and a turkey baster?”
Oh, shit. In front of everyone?
“Well.” At least Evie was as uncomfortable as she was. “Luna doesn’t have any real experience with boys, either…”
That’s a nice way of putting it. She really had to do something about that cuticle. Did Addergoole have a manicurist? She really should get around to finding out.
Evie was going to make a mess of this. Eluned looked up. “I’d kind of like to…”
Okay, so they were both going to make a mess of this. But Olifur looked surprised, not angry or offended or laughing.
“Take it out in the hall, Owl.” The dark-haired dragon-lady sounded amused. “Some things your crew doesn’t need to hear.”
Thank the gods. Thank all of them.
“Yeah, good idea. Come on, out here.” He led the way. “So, you don’t just want Eluned to carry my kid. You’re offering her to me in my bed, as well.”
“Three nights, a night apart each, during her most fertile period and with a Working to ensure pregnancy.” Evie nodded, feeling on more firm ground now.
“And what do you want for this?”
“A delta-level favor, one Working to call on at a time of my choosing.”
“Sounds like she’s getting as much out of this as I am. An alpha-level Working, not to affect me, my Crew, or my Kept.”
“You need two to graduate, don’t you? I don’t think you want to stay here another year.”
“Not really, no. But I want parental control of some sort, visitation. You don’t normally get that knocking up someone their Keeper is selling.”
Ouch. “It’s not like that.” Even though it really was.
“Sorry, Eluned, but it really is, isn’t it? She’s benefiting, and you’re doing all the work.”
“That’s how having a Kept works.” Shit, Evie was getting angry again. Eluned stepped in.
“I’m benefiting. I want a pretty, smart baby from someone I can stand to have touch me. And I want to know…” She faltered, and tried again. “I want to know if I like guys at all.”
“Ah. And if you don’t?”
She smirked. She knew the answer to this one. “Then we can play a lot of Scrabble, or something, and have Caitrin do it turkey-baster style.”
“Mmm. And what about afterwards?”
“I promise I’d never keep a child of mine from seeing their father.”
“You can’t promise things, you’re Kept.” Evie liked to say that, over and over again.
“No, but she can tell me how she intends to go forward.” Olifur nodded. “I believe you, and we can work out the details when you’re no longer Kept.”
“Except the matter of price.”
“Except that, and your solemn word that this is Eluned’s idea.”
Both of them froze. It hadn’t been her idea, not really. Getting pregnant? That was pretty shitty all around. But the school required it, and Evie wanted to profit from having a Kept, as Calvin, it seemed, had profited from her (Hawthorne. Rowan. Flames.).
Evie nodded. “I promise that you were Eluned’s choice for father of her child, and that the method of impregnation was her idea.”
“Mm.” He frowned, but he didn’t seem to be saying no. “Two beta- or gamma-level Workings, or equivalent favor, not to affect my crew, myself, or my Kept. One for you, Evie, and one for Eluned, when she’s free.”
“You’ll be gone when she’s free.”
“Yes. But we won’t be students forever, you two or I. And I’ll be seeing her around, now won’t I?”
“…oh…” Eluned looked up at him. He really was quite tall. “You’re not doing this out of pity or anything, are you?”
Now, now he laughed. “Are you? No. Not pity. A bit of desperation, that I’ll admit to. Like Evie said, I want to get out of here as much as anyone. But pity? No. Not that.” He leaned down, way down, and pressed a very chaste kiss on her forehead. “I look forward to working out the details.”
“No falling in love with her,” Evie warned. “Or you, Eluned. Don’t do anything silly.”
“We won’t,” Olifur assured her. “Any sillier than making a baby at nineteen with a complete stranger, at least.”
Addergoole: Year Nine updates every Wednesday evening EST.
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