Published at 31st of January 2019 11:07:32 AM

Chapter 55

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Chapter 55 – Life Under House Arrest

Linking the rift between the two realms was a wide stone corridor. Pairs of torches marched endlessly into the distance, and the depths were as dark as a dense forest at night. Looking at the style of murals to the sides of the corridor, there was a strong yin ambiance, and it was clear to see this was Luo Binghe’s headquarters in the Demon Realm.

After the breach sealed, Luo Binghe didn’t continue to restrain Shen Qingqiu, slowly releasing his hands. Shen Qingqiu stood up straight and dusted off his sleeves, not saying a word.

The two both had nothing to say, not giving each other a sideways glance. One in front and one behind, their footsteps made no breath of sound. The atmosphere was stiff and cold.
The forks in the corridor of the underground palace did not make Luo Binghe slow by a hairsbreadth. After strolling a twisted path through the complex for some time, the scene suddenly opened up before their eyes. Architecture in the Demon Realm was mostly entrenched underground in excavated subterranean caves, not seeing sun or moon throughout the year, but this part pierced through the ground at the top, allowing sunlight to shoot in and add more than a little bit of human character.
Pushing open the door and entering, the furnishings and arrangement of the room were quite familiar-looking. In fact, it was quite similar to the bamboo house on Qing Jing Peak.
Shen Qingqiu felt a mysterious sense of resentment.
He really wanted to ask Luo Binghe, “What is the meaning of this?”
Arranging up the scene and props like we’re on a theater set, rounding up the players, pretending like nothing ever happened━do you want to continue that daily little play of a loving master and disciple relationship from your dreamscape?
Now acting like a miserable child and throwing tantrums, making his heart overflow with sympathy. Now again hitting his face and telling him it was all an act. Real or fake, his eyes weren’t sharp enough to clearly see autumn feathers1 and see through Luo Binghe’s heart to understand what he was really thinking, some parts truth and some parts hypocrisy.
While he was still brooding over these thoughts, Luo Binghe walked a step closer to him.
If it were a few days earlier, Shen Qingqiu definitely wouldn’t have hesitated to flee, retreating three steps for every one step closer. But now, he obviously didn’t want to make this kind of move. That would look too much like he was a woman from a good family kidnapped by bandits, way too unnatural. Even as a dragon swimming shallow waters or a tiger dropped into the plains,2 he could still scrounge up his last drop of courage to maintain graceful and prudent affectation. By no means would he sink to a thoroughly unsightly appearance.
But he was still inevitably tense, his heart stretched taut as a bowstring, his eyelids jumping and fingertips curled.
How was Luo Binghe so perceptive? He advanced another step.
“Shizun, what do you think I’m going to do to you?”
Shen Qingqiu said sincerely, “I cannot guess.”
He would never again dare to wantonly guess Luo Binghe’s intentions. The facts were clear, each time he was light-years off the mark!
Luo Binghe reached out his right hand. Shen Qingqiu didn’t make a sound or movement, but his gaze couldn’t help but stick to his fingertips, following them as they reached out.
That hand was neat and slender. It didn’t look like the hand of a Demon Race young master who had already taken countless lives, but rather one which was born to pluck strings, a hand to burn incense and bathe in snow. It slid shyly over his cheek, faintly brushing his skin.
And then it landed on his throat.
He didn’t know whether or not it was on accident, but this hand had landed exactly on one of the major arteries of his neck. Shen Qingqiu’s throat bobbed imperceptibly.
Luo Binghe retracted his hand. The next time he opened his mouth, it was impossible to tell if he was happy, angry, sorrowful, or joyful. “My blood, it’s not responding to my beckoning.”
So when he had touched his skin just now, it was to probe the suppressed Heavenly Demon’s blood in Shen Qingqiu’s body.
Luo Binghe said, “It looks like in these short few days, Shizun has had another fortuitous meeting.”
Shen Qingqiu said, “Well, what can you do about it? Make me drink it again?”
Luo Binghe said, “You’ll run if you drink it, you’ll run if you don’t, both options are the same. I had better not make Shizun add another layer of loathing for me in his heart.”
In front of others, he had left not a bit of face for Shen Qingqiu, but in private, he suddenly became polite and courteous. Shen Qingqiu felt a bit conflicted.

“Shizun, please stay here for the time being. If you would like, the inside of the underground palace is free for you to wander.” Luo Binghe continued, “I have left servants outside, they will not enter the room. If you need anything, simply send a summons.”
Shen Qingqiu said, “How thoughtful.”

Luo Binghe fixed his gaze on him for a time, then said, “Is there anything you desire?”
Shen Qingqiu said, “Anything is acceptable?”
Luo Binghe nodded. A sudden malicious sentiment arising from his gut, Shen Qingqiu bluntly said, “I want to see you as little as possible. Best if I never see you at all.”
Luo Binghe looked like he never expected Shen Qingqiu to make this sort of request, his face paling.
Seeing this, Shen Qingqiu felt a flash of schadenfreude but also felt like he had been pricked by a needle, maybe because he had never said anything so vitriolic and merciless to anyone in the past.
The blood slowly returned to Luo Binghe’s face. He said, “Shizun once asked me if I wanted to become strong.”
Shen Qingqiu said, “That time I asked you that question, I seem to remember I also told you that the purpose of becoming strong is protecting people, not plundering and slaughtering them.”
Luo Binghe said coldly, “No. You had it wrong. What Shizun taught, not necessarily every point was correct. Only after becoming the strongest can one keep the people they want to have securely in their palms. I finally understand━it wouldn’t do to wait for Shizun to come over himself.”
He clenched his fist, forcefully ripping a vicious smile onto his face. “So, now that I’ve captured you this time, Shizun had better not think of escaping ever again!”
After the devil incarnate had exited the scene, Shen Qingqiu knocked on the System. “2.0, are you there?”
The System responded:【The System provides comprehensive 24-hour support and lifelike online support.】
Shen Qingqiu said, “Uh, comprehensive is enough, forget about the lifelike. What are my current point values?”
The System: 【B points 1330, 《Proud Immortal Demon Way》successfully removed “Landmines Raining Down Like Lightning” tag, reached “Rather Many Tsukkomi Points” stage, encouraging you to continue connecting and striving, looking forward to your next mystery achievement unlock. Coolness points 3840, Anger points 1500, Heartbreak points 4500. Great effort still needed to improve.】
Very good. Through his great effort (looking for death), this rotten stallion novel finally saw some improvement in B points. Though “Rather Many Tsukkomi Points” wasn’t any favorable evaluation, it was certainly a few points stronger than “Landmines Raining Down Like Lightning.” The anger points weren’t as heaven-defying as he had thought, but instead, the heartbreak points were high enough that he felt he had been pricked by another needle.
Diverting his gaze, Shen Qingqiu said, “With this many coolness points, can I exchange them for something?”
The System: 【You can exchange for a System feature upgrade.】
Shen Qingqiu said cheerfully, “Okay. Do the upgrade.”

With a ringing notification sound, the System quietly began to download the upgrade package. Shen Qingqiu had a sudden thought and asked, “Right, what is the name of this feature upgrade?”

The System: 【Small Scenario Pusher Luxury Edition.】
Shen Qingqiu decisively jabbed at the cancel button on the download window.
****, it’s already done downloading, and it took ***ing 3000 coolness points. Zero-star rating!
Aggrievedly spamming the System with a pile of complaints, Shen Qingqiu started his life under house arrest.
Luo Binghe was busy uniting the Northern Border tribes on Mobei-Jun’s territory and Sha Hualing seemed to be officially starting her great cheating undertaking━in the literal sense. In short, in the near future, Luo Binghe had many targets to obliterate or rope in. With many official duties to attend to, perhaps unable to extricate himself, all along he had not shown his face.
…or maybe that day, his glass heart had been shattered by Shen Qingqiu’s harsh words, and he didn’t dare to appear.

Shen Qingqiu tore his thoughts away from that latter path with great difficulty.
In short, if Luo Binghe continues to leave him alone, this sort of lifestyle, isn’t it his long-awaited goal of days spent “muddling around, eating food, awaiting death, and enjoying one’s later years?”
Furthermore, Luo Binghe didn’t act like the characters in the books his younger sister liked to read in his previous life and shackle him with chains, blindfolded and gagged, stripped and beaten. He might as well be content with whatever he has and make himself at home wherever he is.
For Shen Qingqiu to attempt to comfort himself with these words, there must be sh*t in his brains! He wasn’t some sort of Stockholm syndrome patient, feeling deep gratitude for being fattened in captivity. Don’t you understand, you need to bring about a fortunate lifestyle yourself, not by relying on others’ charity?!
Having defeated his own brainwashing, Shen Qingqiu exerted his strength, a page from a book splitting open in his hands. At the same time, a loud sound of bamboo cracking resounded from outside the window. He lifted the curtain, seeing a group of young Demon Realm servants hurrying about. Poking his head outside, he asked, “What are you doing?”
“Master Shen, why did you come out?”
The servant had an extremely enthusiastic and deferential attitude, completely unlike someone speaking to a person under house arrest. He smiled and said, “We’re planting bamboo over here.”
Shen Qingqiu stared. “Bamboo?”
“En. You should recognize this Human Realm plant. It’s hard to plant here in the Demon Realm and won’t mature properly, but Junshang is determined to get it planted here, so everyone just has to figure out a way.”
Seeing his strength and the way he moved, Shen Qingqiu knew this definitely was not an ordinary manual laborer. He was afraid that all the demons Luo Binghe had found were all the cream of the crop. To make these experts do odd jobs for him━what a waste of resources!
And that wasn’t the end of it. For the first two days, Shen Qingqiu had been apathetic and had no appetite, but on the third day he abandoned his interest in fasting and said a few aloof words to (flirted with) the pale-skinned and busty pretty maid, calling for a meal to be delivered. Before he even picked up his chopsticks twice, he didn’t have the stomach to continue.
The maid tilted her head, asking in a laughing voice, “What is it, Master Shen, is the flavor not good?”
The taste is good, very good. It’s just that it’s too good, a very familiar good taste, it’s been many years since Shen Qingqiu had tasted this, and that’s why he could not continue.
He put down his chopsticks and probed, “Was it you who made this?”
The maid chuckled, “How could that be? I only know how to kill and eat fresh or wait for the meat to rot before eating. I don’t know these human recipes, with all the fire and a ton of rice and condiments━it would trouble me to death.”
…****, turns out this clear-voiced beautiful demon with breath like orchids was a rotten flesh lover. Shen Qingqiu had long been able to see, making this girl clean tables and sweep the floor every day was debasing her too much. Considering her strength, she was more suited to wielding a pair of broad axes into battle to cut up enemies rather than chopping melons and slicing vegetables, and it was very likely she used to have this exact job. 
Shen Qingqiu said with a suppressed tone and no change of expression, “Then who made it?”
The maid said, “Aiyo, this I dare not say. Junshang would definitely kill me if I did.”
Dare not say? Would he not be able to taste it if she just didn’t say?
Shen Qingqiu wavered between putting down and picking up that pair of chopsticks. What was that saying? The hand that has received is hesitant, the mouth that been fed is soft.3 Shen Qingqiu very much worried if, after finishing this meal, he could still forcefully take a righteous stance against Luo Binghe. But, in the end, the cook was too familiar with his taste and eating habits, and while he was worrying he had unconsciously cleaned his plate… 
The maid cleared the dishes and left with a swing of her hips, covering a smirk with her hand. Not long after she left, the curtain lifted and a person wobbled their way in. Seeing this face, a vicious feeling sprang from Shen Qingqiu’s gut. Meeting him with a violent strike, he yelled, “Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky, I–”
Shang Qinghua frantically raised his hands to block, a sword shooting out of its scabbard to slash across the space between them, taking an offensive stance. He said, “Ai ai ai, don’t, please don’t. Shen-dada, you really can’t **** with people as you please. If you mess with me, admittedly I don’t have any impressive skills, but don’t think that this one will let you get off easy.”
Shen Qingqiu roared, “You sold me out. What about fellowship? Camaraderie from having a common origin?!”
Shang Qinghua retorted, “What fellowship is there between us unless it was truly love disguised as hate all along? Ah, don’t treat me like this, that really hurts… what could I have done other than selling you out? It was Great God Luo, even if I didn’t sell you out he had pretty much figured you out already. Why would I look for a beating for no reason? This doesn’t mean anything, I just chose to confess and take the easy path.”

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This reply was so textbook shameless, Shen Qingqiu was a little astonished. After letting his guard down for a moment, Shang Qinghua had already stepped over and sat down beside the table. He set the sword in his hand on the table with a bang and said, “Let’s not talk about this anymore. I was ordered to deliver something to you.”
Taking a better look at that sword, Shen Qingqiu’s hand already reached out to caress the blade. It was the very sword which had been shattered into many broken pieces by his destroyed spiritual energy when he had self-destructed. The unfortunate Xiu Ya Sword.
Shen Qingqiu still had an emotional attachment to Xiu Ya, and as soon as he had the sword in hand, he had no more attention to devote to beating up Shang Qinghua. Drawing the blade from its sheath, it was as pure white and snow-bright as it had ever been, slender and elegant. Its broken pieces were reconnected as seamlessly as heavenly clothes, overflowing with spiritual energy, not a hairline split to be seen.
On the other side, Shang Qinghua laughed nervously and rubbed his hands, clicking his tongue and saying, “Aiyah, I really, really never thought… the storyline would bend so far out of shape. Remarkable, really remarkable.”
Shen Qingqiu: “The stallion novel protagonist you wrote turned into a cut-sleeve, shouldn’t you be angry?”
Shang Qinghua said sincerely, “It doesn’t matter. Either way, the one he fell for wasn’t me.”
Shen Qingqiu gave him a cordial middle finger, lowering his head to polish his sword. Shang Qinghua gave him a thumbs-up. “Really, you don’t need to be so pessimistic. You have good prospects for the future, quite good prospects. These golden thighs,4 they’re strong, reliable!”
Shen Qingqiu said, “Take your ****ing golden thighs. If I have to hug those thighs, where do you think they’ll take me? Between the legs!”

Shang Qinghua: “Between the legs is even better, ah. Between the legs is a man’s most important place.”
If not for the fact that Xiu Ya had only just returned to his hands and he couldn’t bear to use it for filthy things, Shen Qingqiu really had a mind to slice off a chunk of that place between his legs. Not in the mood for this buffoonery, he straightened his expression and asked, “Since we’re being frank with each other, I’ll ask you: did you ever make any plans for Tianlang-Jun?”
Shang Qinghua: “What are you going to do with information about Bing-ge’s dad?”
Shen Qingqiu said, “It’s not that I want to do something with the information, I just thought it was strange how you didn’t make a fuss about the protagonist’s dad. I know for a fact that you can write a million words just to add a wife; you could definitely go on for three years to add a father.”
Shang Qinghua started. “You really have some good eyes, truly a faithful reader of mine. I’ll tell you, originally, I planned on unfolding the framework of the plot to set Bing-ge’s dad as the BOSS, but as I was writing, my computer died and I lost my outline, and a ton of the details were lost. And at the time the reviews section all wanted a different plotline, the battle of Bing-ge invading a hundred flowers, you understand. A whole hundred sacred flower spirits who had never seen a man since birth, and he dealt with all of them. Cucumber bro, you know how much I suffered to write the hundred flower buds blooming in concert section, but you still roast me…”
“…” At long last Shen Qingqiu knew the true origin of all those plot holes. “So you just went to write the harem plotline, and might as well leave the more serious Bing-ge’s dad plotline full of holes?”
Shang Qinghua said, “Actually leaving it full of holes is no big deal. The main issue is making it cool for the readers. All the sisters who should have been pushed down were pushed down, all the cannon fodder that should have been killed were killed. Writing a plotline everyone might not be interested in is just spending extra effort for no reward. I just wanted to scrape up a living. If all the subscribers jump ship, I won’t have any food to eat, Cucumber bro.”
Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky, you’re really having too much fun chopping down those outlines, but the System’s strict requirements are making me fill all the holes you dug with your malpractice!
Shang Qinghua continued, “In fact, I wasn’t completely unwilling to part with it. In my original plans, TianLang-Jun had purer blood than Bing-ge, his martial power was stronger, he earned his fame earlier━his character was just more decked out than Bing-ge. Rising far above the filth of the ordinary world to laugh arrogantly over the Three Realms, and he even had a deeply moving tragic backstory to make one sing or cry, very Jack Sue,5 right? What would I do if by any chance the readers think he’s stealing Bing-ge’s spotlight and start to protest? You know Bing-ge has to be fierce in appearance, fierce in combat, and fierce in giving rewards.”
Shen Qingqiu let his head drop to his hands. Hearing this confession from Boss Airplane, he was starting to worry. If TianLang-Jun really had been released, would Luo Binghe even be able to defeat him?
But, looking at it from another angle, maybe it’s possible to curb the son by using the father? Shen Qingqiu immediately snuffed out that dangerous line of thought. Regarding a completely unknown opponent who could be righteous or nefarious, a vain attempt to use them might lead to you not even knowing how you’re going to die in the end. So, the conclusion still will never change in ten thousand years: Boss Airplane Flying Toward the Sky really is a genius, setting the standards of literature for the generation!
Shen Qingqiu slapped the table. “You better be straight with me, list out everything you had planned but didn’t write when you changed the outline. The important things first!”
Shang Qinghua stammered, “Important or not I don’t know, but there is a segment to do with you… or more precisely it has to do with Shen Jiu. Before I was always too ashamed to say…”
Hearing this, the hair on the back of his neck stood up in anticipation. Knowing Airplane Flying Toward the Sky’s tendencies, it’d be a wonder if he had given him some normal backstory!
Shen Qingqiu said, holding his head in his hands, “Just tell me. I can bear it.”
Shang Qinghua started an impassioned explanation of his writing process. “I had a lot of ideas for this character Shen Qingqiu. I had hoped to mold him into a well rounded, three-dimensional character; he’s scum, he’s wretched, but he had reason to be scum and a not scummy side. But, the readers didn’t really buy into it, as soon as I started showing signs of this development they started griping in the reviews. So, I saw the winds weren’t blowing the right way and immediately turned him into a one-dimensional wretched villain. But really he…”
Shen Qingqiu had turned his full attention to the explanation when suddenly, the maids outside the room chorused in a respectful tone, “Junshang.”
This is really the worst time you could have come!

Hearing this, Shang Qinghua’s expression transformed and he jumped a meter off the ground like his butt had been lit on fire. Rushing towards the back door, he shouted over his shoulder, “That man of yours is here. I’ll tell you later, no, in the future!”
Don’t go! Shen Qingqiu stretched out an Erkang hand.6 Take your “I’ll tell you in the future”! Cutting it off at this point is harder to bear than that mushy cliche scene of “witnessing with your own eyes someone on death’s door saying ‘my killer was… was…’ and then spitting out a mouthful of blood and dying”! 
The green curtain lifted, and Luo Binghe stooped to enter the room. Shen Qingqiu immediately put on an unruffled expression. Because his very important discussion had been cut off, he didn’t have a good look on his face. Luo Binghe’s gaze first alighted on Xiu Ya in his hand before shifting upwards.
After a brief silence, it was Luo Binghe who took the initiative and opened his mouth. “These past few days, it seems that Shizun hasn’t taken a moment to rest.”
Speaking of rest, Shen Qingqiu immediately thought of dreams; and speaking of dreams, he couldn’t help but remember all the embarrassing moves he made in the dream realm to console Luo Binghe. Shen Qingqiu rubbed his forehead and said, “If I could do it without dreaming, I’d be happy to rest.”
Luo Binghe’s eyelashes drooped. After standing for a bit, it seemed he had come to a major decision. He said stiffly, “Even though those earlier events happened in a dream realm, I took advantage of Shizun. But the feelings I revealed to you then, those were not false.”
Shen Qingqiu sighed and said truthfully, “Luo Binghe, right now I really don’t know which of your words are true and which are false. Therefore, don’t bother saying things like this.”
The Luo Binghe in that dream was truly much cuter. Even though the male protagonist was still the male protagonist, he was wretched and miserable, making one’s guts twist a hundred times, and his face was not bad. Even a straight guy like Shen Qingqiu couldn’t help but take pity on him. It’s just that the more pity he felt at the time, the more pain his face was in after the fact. Luo Binghe had said that the events in Jinlan City were not his doing, and at the time Shen Qingqiu believed him about nine-tenths of the way, but now he didn’t dare put in even a tenth of rash hope.
The blood rushed back into Luo Binghe’s face, pinkening his cheeks. Lifting his eyelids, he said coldly, “Shizun is concerned only with my trickery, but if I hadn’t done so I’m afraid I still wouldn’t be able to speak a word to you.”
His fingers unconsciously clenched tighter and tighter on Xin Mo’s hilt until his knuckles went white with the strain. Not only his pupils, but his eye sockets themselves began to glow faintly red. “Since when did Shizun never deceive me? You said you did not approve of attaching too much importance to the difference between races, but in the blink of an eye, you refuse to admit it. After your bodily death at Huayue City, I called for your soul hundreds of thousands of times, trying then failing then trying then failing again, never letting my heart fall to ash and my thoughts grow cold.7 Despite this, I never suspected that Shizun would scorn me to this extent, looking at me with a detached gaze and madly playing dumb after returning to stand before my eyes.”

At the end of his tirade, his final syllables were somewhat unsteady, the tones rising in both fury and exasperation. “Now Shizun certainly has abundant reason to denounce me as a devil incarnate, I bring disaster wherever I go. But this time I haven’t done anything at all, but you still scorn me like snakes and scorpions? You’ve tricked me twice, I’ve tricked you twice, aren’t we enough?”

Even though he felt this “one is one, two is two” logic was not a fraction off the mark, Shen Qingqiu couldn’t help revealing his true feelings. “You really hold your grudges.”
Luo Binghe sneered, “I’m afraid Shizun has never seen what I’m like when I really hold a grudge against someone.”
His face gradually settled into a gloomy expression from his sneer. Drawing closer the distance between the two, he said, “But what if I said, that towards Shizun, I only remember, not hate,8 most likely I wouldn’t be believed.”
Seeing the shadow his figure cast increasing in size, Shen Qingqiu hurriedly said, “Compose yourself.” If you want to talk then talk properly, don’t suddenly change your face, don’t get this close!
Luo Binghe said in a low voice, “Shizun you could always compose yourself, but I can’t compose myself any longer.”
Shen Qingqiu hadn’t fully processed this when with a clunk, his back began to hurt. The next thing he knew, the two of them had already rolled onto the bed.
…It’s been so long since I’ve slept on this bamboo bed, why is it so bumpy! Shen Qingqiu yelled, “What’s wrong with you!”
Luo Binghe pursed his lips and refused to answer. Just as Shen Qingqiu thought to kick him away, goosebumps erupted over him from head to foot. A hand suddenly reached into his inner robe from the hem.
You’ve got to be kidding me!
He violently heaved up a knee, but Luo Binghe caught it with a single hand, pressing it down to the side of his body.
Shen Qingqiu internally yelled “****” a hundred times, he didn’t want to be forced into this position with his legs spread wide open, lying under another person! He immediately rushed up with his upper body, and with a well-timed burst of energy and a twist of his waist reversed their positions like a shift of the stars in the sky, pinning Luo Binghe under him. He unsheathed three inches of Xiu Ya, coldly pressing it against Luo Binghe’s throat. This was the first time in his life Shen Qingqiu had been pushed over by someone, and he had been pushed into a rage. With a violent grin, he sneered, “So you’re playing at forcing yourself upon your Shizun? En? How filial!” The accusations that had been turned upon him were true, but don’t think he would just quietly submit!
Luo Binghe’s escape routes and the vital point of his neck had all been blocked off, but he had a dazzling light in his eyes. Not fearing the sharp blade at his neck in the slightest, he grabbed Shen Qingqiu’s wrist with one hand, the other propping himself up on the ground. With a vigorous attack, he reversed their positions again. Of course, Shen Qingqiu wouldn’t let him do as he wishes, jabbing towards a vulnerable point with Xiu Ya’s hilt.
After a few such exchanges, the two were tangled in a lump. They rolled off the bed, turning the whole way, white flashes and sparks exploding every which way, spiritual energy and demonic energy mixing into a confused fog, violent attacks flying at random. After so long spent hiding behind a mask, Shen Qingqiu didn’t know how long it had been since he had fought in such a crude manner. After the battle had reached this level of intensity, Shen Qingqiu suddenly realized.
That’s not right, this is a cultivation novel, why the **** should I be fighting with my bare hands? What sort of dumbass has a cannon and doesn’t use it!?
He immediately raised his hand, pumping it full of spiritual energy, sending an earth-shattering punch towards Luo Binghe’s lower abdomen.

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