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1 Randy Explores The Forests of Sandy Island! on Sat Nov 05, 2016 5:40 pm


Tree roots, dirt, and rocks flew past Randy's vision as she bounded down the hill. Her body bounced and rolled with momentum. She had thrown herself down this mountain about 10 minutes ago and had been rolling ever since. With a grunt and a sigh, the fighter braced herself for landing as she gained some air off the last rock she hit. Sticking the landing, Randy carried her momentum forward and continued to run. Today she was training her endurance. To a casual observer this might seem ridiculous. Anyone who knew Randy at all knew she already had amazing stamina. But it was obvious to her that, in this new pirate world, she needed to go even further. Push herself to be even better than before. Pushing forward at full speed was the best way she knew how. Rampaging through unknown territory, throwing yourself into whatever natural dangers or pitfalls that lie ahead, and dealing with them as they smacked you in the face. Up next was a tightly knit patch of forest. Breaking into the initial underbrush, Randy could tell this would be a tough obstacle. The branches were thick and hung low to the ground; it was clear no one had been this way for a long time.

Flexing her spirit, Randy prepared herself to utilize her armament haki. It was a skill that, while not necessarily new to her, she had really just begun to show some serious measure of control over. When she was younger, her father had trained her to use it but she didn't quite understand it back then. It was too abstract of a concept; using your will and spirit, projecting it over your body, and using it to protect yourself. Well, it was just difficult to explain properly to a toddler. Now she was older. And no longer grasping at straws in the dark. As she ran into the brush, she practiced forming her haki over specific body parts that tree branches would strike. With the speed she was running at, it would be a great way to test her reflexes. Upper left thigh. Right forearm. Ribs. Head. Her skin hardened and darkened as the armament Haki coated her a piece at a time, before fading away and guarding a new part of her. Although she was fairly confident in her ability to use what parts of Haki she had mastered, she wasn't quite ready to manifest over too large a portion of her body at any one time. It was definitely a work in progress.

As she continued to run, Randy realized just how thick this cropping of trees truly was. Leaping high into the air, her arms caught a thick branch. Deftly, Randy swung her weight around and planted herself firmly on top of the tree branch.

"First corner...propulsion!"

With a rapid kick of her feet, Randy launched herself forward at dangerous speed. It was time to take this training up to another level. She bounded from branch, to tree, and back to branch again. Using her feet she continued to propel herself through the tree. With her arms she spun and swung from branch to branch. All of this running was starting to bring back memories of home. The hours she spent just running through the wood. It was always her favorite way to start her day. And it was now proving an invaluable training tool. Randy was a firm believer that this practice not only strengthened her stamina, but also her reflexes and ability to react to new situations as they presented themselves. When you're running full tilt in an environment you are not familiar with, danger can lurk around every turn. Randy's toe caught the edge of a branch and sent her spinning as her concentration waned. Speaking of danger... Thinking of home had a way of throwing off her concentration.  

Branches whipped and whacked Randy as her body tumbled down through the forest. She tried to compensate with haki but she was moving too fast and couldn't tell which way was up as she fell. For a moment, sunlight lanced through the trees and gave her an idea of which way was skyward. Just as she tried to right herself though, branches gave way to ground and, with a painful crunch, Randy found herself rolling in a heap on the forest floor. The idea of attempting a ukemi crossed her mind as she rolled but was abandoned as her surroundings tumbled by too quickly. Rolling to a slow stop, Randy let her breathing settle before she attempted to stand.

"Alright Randy, lets go..."

With a grunt, she pulled herself from the ground. Sweat beaded on her forehead as she wiped away leaves and dirt from her brow. Her outfit was built for fitness today. A tight fitting tank top and shorts. She had a jacket earlier in the morning but had left it by afternoon. The sun was piercing hot and it was getting in her way. As Randy regained her composure, she fished in the pocket of the fanny pack on her hip. When she pulled her hand out she brought along with it a fresh Jaya pepper. They stayed fresh without much fuss and had a pretty decent kick to them. The heat helped Randy stay focused. She bit hard into the pepper. It was dry and powdery. Tossing the stem over her shoulder, Randy walked forward through the last bit of woods and into a clearing, stretching her arms overhead as she walked. It was a beautiful day out. She had lost track of Devlin a long time ago. They were supposed to be training together but his big metal arm made him move slower than a beached whale. Randy didn't have the patience to try to keep pace with him. Or rather, let him keep pace with her.

A couple jumps in place then Randy dipped into a low squat. She stretched her legs out wide to her sides, first one and then the other. Staying limber during a run was important. I was great practice to make sure muscles stayed loose and stretchy. After rubbing out some knots in her calves, Randy did a back roll upward and brought her arms overhead. Titling her entire body and arms to one side, then the other, she wanted to make sure her upper half stayed limber as well. Neglecting your back and arms while running was a one way trip to ache and pain town. As she stretched, Randy continued walking through the clearing and made her way to the tree line again. All this running was great for cardio of course, But no training was complete without strength training.

At the edge of the clearing was a thick branch that hung just barely a foot over her head. With a grunt and a jump, Randy threw her hands around it and began pumping her arms in a pull up motion. Pull ups were a fantastic body weight exercise, she knew. If your arms weren't strong enough to carry, at the very least, your own body weight, then what good were they? Of course, Randy was in more than enough shape to lift herself. In a case like this, with no opportunity to provide extra weight, the next best thing was lots of reps. It was at least 500 pullups until Randy just started to feel the burn. Another 500 later she was ready for a change. With a quick flip of her body, Randy hung upside on the branch and started doing inverted sit ups. Now this is a challenge! Inverted sit ups were easily Randy's least favorite exercise. She would usually get light headed or dizzy before doing too many hundred. But, they were always good to have in your repertoire, even if only to show off.

When she was sufficiently satisfied, Randy dropped down from the branch. Her mind, searching for another exercise to do, she began mindlessly boxing against the trunk of the nearby tree. It was sufficiently thick and sturdy, but each punch from Randy made the tree shake and shudder. It seemed strange to Randy that punching a tree always seemed to hurt her arms and legs more than hitting a person. She figured the slightly meaty exterior of a man usually gave them some cushion but still. She had fought some cyborgs in her time and even that didn't hurt! Good thing for her, she was getting better and better at utilizing her armament haki. Forming the blackness around her arms and legs as she attacked the tree, Randy practiced rapidly alternating the haki from arm, to arm, then leg, then back to arm again. She could tell her spirit was draining rapidly. This is great! She had decided long ago the entire purpose of today would just be to push her limits and see just how far she could push her stamina.

Before arriving on this island, her and Devlin had spent quite a few days at sea. Staying active while traveling by sea was difficult in its own right. But finding space to exercise and practice on a dinghy was even more so! You could only do so many crunches and push ups before it started to feel monotonous! When they saw land come into view, Randy insisted they land, even if only to stretch for a bit. Devlin, the typical lazy bird, was staunchly against it. His blood sugar had been at historic lows which put his laziness at epic highs. But that didn't sit well with Randy. Thankfully, Devlin was so lazy by this point that when she started steering the dinghy toward land, he couldn't even physically protest. Only whines.

"Fourth Corner Explosion!"

Randy launched out a series of violent punches against the trunk of the tree. Each one cracked the air around her and exploded into the forest. The tree shook more violently and she could tell its constitution was weakening. Wood chipped away from the beast as it began to sway. Leaves fell from the foliage and she could hear all manner of creature clambering out from the insides of the tree as chaos shook their former home. Her hands were bright red hot from the literal explosions coming from her fists.

"First Corner Flurry!"

Switching arms, Randy launched into a rapid flurry of blows against the weakened base of the tree. Whack, whack, whack. The sound of her hand hitting the wood probably had a semi-comical effect to anyone hearing it from far away. Perhaps it sounded like a deranged wood pecker. Or some sort of forest bear practicing the drums. The tree was almost completely free of its roots

"First Corner Drop Kick!"

Tossing her body into the air, Randy turned herself almost completely horizontal into the air. Her legs cranked back as her knees pressed into her chest. Like a tightly coiled spring let loose, her legs shot out from her body and collided with the side of the tree trunk. There was a sickening but definitive, thunderous crack and the final legs the tree had to stand on broke out from underneath it. There was a brief moment as the tree teetered on the edge of uncertainty. Almost as if it was debating falling or standing back upright. Randy rolled to her feet as the tree began its precarious journey to the ground. Bracing for impact, Randy felt the whole of the forest tremble beneath her feet as the wooded beast crashed to the ground. After it landed, an eerie stillness fell over the entirety of the wood. It was in this moment that Randy began to ponder why she knocked the tree down in the first place. While she had never been one to be overtly caring about the indigenous environment of any given island she visited, in the silence, this particular act felt penetratingly senseless.

"Alright then, instead of feeling sorry for yourself, lets make some use of this!"


With a jovial shrug and a smile, Randy ran over to the newly detached base of the large tree. Some grunting and considerable effort when into her next act; heaving the gigantic wooden titan onto her shoulders. In a low squat position, Randy had managed to hoist a bulk of the tree onto her back. The tree was so large that a great portion of it still drug on the ground, but perhaps she had enough of the tree to get proper leverage. It took a lot of straining and groaning to get the tree moving, but once it started to slide, Randy began picking up moment. The act of dragging the gigantic tree through the woods was pretty exhilarating. It was an exercise unlike anything she had done before. What was truly empowering was that she could feel all of her muscles being worked out. Now this is what I call weighted exercise! Each step was a monumental task. The difficulty seemed to ramp up exponentially as each step was just as draining as it was challenging. But, through all this, she couldn't help but let a huge smile curl over her lips. Any time she found herself in some new, ridiculous situation, she couldn't help but let out a great big smile. This was the first time she ever pulled around a monstrous fern in a forest, that much was certain.

Each step, though more difficult than the last, Randy found the strength within her to pick up speed. Within minutes she was nearly running through the forest. Not very fast mind you; no, this was a beleaguered and precise run. Each step slow, yet methodical in its placing. But she was picking up speed nonetheless. She could hear the top of the tree thrash and crash against the other still standing trees in the woods. Undoubtedly, the tree was getting mocked by its still standing brethren. The burn of lactic acid was really starting to eat away at her muscles. She wouldn't be able to keep this up for long without a break. Sweat poured down her face and her breaths shortened considerably. Her body begged her to stop but in her heart she knew she could push herself even further. See, that was the thing Randy knew about the human body. She had realized long ago that the true extent of inner strength was much greater and possessed much more depth than the body itself realized. Randy knew her spirit and will were so large that, as a concept, they were just unfathomable to her body. That was part of the training her father pushed onto her so much as a child. Understanding and mastering all parts of the self. From a young age, Randy was always taught that the mind, body, and spirit were all separate entities. And these different parts often disagreed and usually worked in spite of each other. Our job, as their vessel, was to get them to work in harmony. Then, and only then, could you use your body as the ultimate weapon it was meant to be.

Suddenly, her knees buckled and she fell to a crouch. Ugh. Thinking about home again. The weight of the tree was suddenly overbearing on her. Having lost her balanced and fallen to her knees, it was difficult to properly brace and support the weight of the monster. Her back began to twitch as the weight threatened to crush her. She struggled to get another leg beneath her. The strain of the tree got continued to intensify, almost as if the tree was starting to fight back. Attempting to get solid footing underneath herself only served to put her in more danger. The weight of the tree caused her to lose balance and she fell forward. Her hands were forced to the ground as she braced the tree with her back. She was running out of options. Quickly. It was getting difficult to breathe and her arms started to shake. Forcing down feelings of panic, Randy forced herself into long, deep, slow breaths as she regained her composure.

"Savage Demon...Immeasurable Strength!"

Summoning the strength of her bloodline, Randy forced herself up and the tree off of her back. The log crashed the ground next to her as she launched to her feet. She let out a battle cry as strength and power flooded her veins! Fists raised in the air she screamed back at the forest as it wordlessly judged her. The tree had served its purpose. Now it was time to eat another pepper. A moment of fiddling in her pack produced a Gosu Pepper. It was the kind of pepper with a secret kick. A kind she especially loved cooking with. Its spice was subtle so that made it easier to work into a meal with a great texture. It was the kind of spiciness that crept up on you. A pepper with a good punch to the face was good every once in awhile, but finesse did count for something some of the time. She bit into the vegetable and her mouth flooded with the savory juice of the pepper. All of the seeds of this particular pepper were juicy as well. Her mind flooded with ideas for the next great meal she'd be able to cook once they were on real land. It had been so long since she cooked in a real kitchen. Her spice mother would be ashamed.

Randy rolled her neck with a few unsettling pops. She rolled her shoulders backward and braced one arm behind her, then the other. Soon after she did  the same thing with her legs. Since she was really pushing herself today, she didn't want to let her body relax too much. The point was to keep it under pressure for as long as possible. Crouching low to the ground, Randy launched herself into the air. Her first jump was unimpressive. Only about shoulder height. Upon landing, she crouched low again and tried for another jump. She wasn't quite sure what she was aiming for but she didn't want to let herself cool down too much. The muscles in her legs tensed and stretched with every land and jump.

"First Corner Propulsion!"

With a series of quick kicks, Randy launched herself even higher than before. Branches and leaves whipped past her face at breathtaking speed as she left the floor of the forest behind quickly. A goal was quickly formulating in Randy's mind; she wanted to climb something. As her leaps took her high enough to clear the top of the trees, off in the distance she saw her price. A mountain crested high over the edge of the forest. In her experience, climbing mountains were a great way to test and push your endurance. Your ability to balance the limitations of your body with the challenge of a cliff face. Almost nothing got her blood pumping more fiercely.

Landing one last time, Randy bounced in place before flying forward again through the woods. With a new goal in mind she took the path through the forest pretty simply; going for speed instead of challenge. There was a sort of raw excitement that began taking place in Randy's gut. It had been awhile since she had pushed herself so hard for so long. The last couple bounties that her and Devlin had tied down were relatively simple. See, the sad truth was, Randy and Devlin didn't possess a proper ship yet. Without a proper ship it was hard to chase down the really big bounties. Or even better, the big pirate crews. At the moment, they were stuck with chasing down small fries and petty crooks that were local to whatever island they happened to stop by. There was hope though; the beli was adding up and eventually they'd have enough beli to get the boat of their dreams. Nothing extravagant, just strong and fast enough to get them within slapping distance of bigger prey. Randy's heart pounded in her chest at the prospect of taking on a true, huge challenge. She was pretty sure that Devlin was into bounty hunting for something weird, like helping people with their problems. Maybe her upbringing as a pirate provided some bias, but Randy never had much patience for that. Helping people was nice enough, sure, but it didn't provide the same excitement for her. Randy was in it for the adrenaline. Hence, her crazy romp through unfamiliar territory at the present.

In no time at all, Randy found herself at the base of the mountain. Coming out of the treeline her pace slowed and she came to the foot of the mountain at a gentle job. Shielding her eyes from the sun, she tried to get a good look at its peak. It loomed high enough overhead that it was difficult to determine just how high it truly was. A monsterous rumble sounded out from Randy's gut. With a sigh, she resigned to the idea that she should probably grab a quick snack before proceeding on with the climb. Given her limited knowledge of the area, flora, and fauna it seemed her best bet would be some sort of vegetable toss or stir fry. Turning back to the treeline it was easy to spot patches of low growing mushrooms. The wide and flat kind in this blue seemed to be particularly easy to cook. On her way back into the woods she stumbled upon some wild onion growing in a patch. Once she noticed their flowers, it became apparent they were everywhere! She returned to the base of the mountain with handfuls of onion, mushroom, and rummaged in her pack for a few peppers as well. This was shaping up to be quite the midday snack! Cooking was easy enough; prepare a fire underneath a flat slab of suitable thickness, toss everything together, and let it simmer. Luckily, she still had a few more gosu peppers in her sack. Their juice made a fantastic marinade to the rest of the vegetables. Randy was no stranger to foraging for food and eating off the land. Not only had she been raised with the ideals in mind but her lifestyle since childhood had very much been that of a drifter. Learning to find food and make it edible was an essential skill.

Taking a big gulp out of her water skin, Randy washed the last of her stew down. The food and water were properly refreshing and she was ready to continue her journey. The base of the mountain was simple enough; the beginning is hardly ever more than a glorified trail. Just at an upward angle. The mountain itself was pretty rocky. This gave it a dangerous look but, in reality, it actually made it much safer. Lots of rocks and edges meant there were more places to hold on and climb. As the mountain started to go more vertical the real climb began. Randy had lived on mountains for most of her life, so climbing was no stranger to her. But, she now started to become aware of how long it had actually been since her last climb. Her hands weren't as calloused as they used to be. Combine a lack of climbing with the lack of having to handle the real rigging of a ship and Randy's hands were probably the softest they had been in years!

Grunting through the pain, Randy forced herself up onto the next rock. Hoisting her hips up, she kicked her legs beneath her to get a better grip on the stone. She could feel the strain in her back, shoulders, and chest as she flexed her core muscles to keep her body steady. The already sore muscles in her legs sang out in painful harmony. You got this Randy. Falling was a never a fear of hers. Moreso the potential of not being able to overcome a challenge that she had set for herself. That was the true fear. She could feel her legs and arms starting to shake as she grit her teeth. Remember to breathe... She forced her body into long, deep breaths, trying her best to maintain a stable and calm heart rate. Although a pounding heart was great for the adrenaline--and helped remind you that you are alive--it was murder on cardio activity. There goes my body, overreacting again. She knew she could handle this. She was certain she could. Or, at least, that's what she'd keep telling herself.

With a yell, Randy tossed herself up onto a flew surface of rock in the mountain. She was making pretty great progress. Already she was above the treeline and could see the great expanse of the island behind her. She didn't want to take a break but her breathing refused to calm down, so she had to. At least the view was nice. She could see the sea stretch out behind the island and her thoughts returned briefly to Devlin. She wondered if he just went back to the ship to nap. Or maybe he got into some trouble with the indigenous creatures trying to find something to sweet to snack on. Sometimes the hijinks he'd whip himself up to when left alone were so ridiculous, they bordered on slapstick comedy more than real life. A laugh escaped her ever present smile and she let herself relax for just a bit. The sun was starting to dip back down in the sky--it must already be well into the evening. There was still plenty of daylight left though, and Randy planned to take advantage of every ray of sunshine.

Randy looked back up toward the peak of the mountain. Interrupting her rest, she stood and began to restretch her limbs. A light breeze played over her skin and she found herself suddenly missing her jacket. The weather in this particular blue seemed to err on the side of warmth so she wasn't too concerned when she ditched it. Now that elevation was becoming a factor though, she questioned her earlier decision. She let the slight twinge of regret fall out of her mind as quickly as it came in; regret was not part of Randy's wheelhouse. She had little use for it. Guess if I'm cold I better keep moving to warm myself up. Launching out a battle cry, Randy threw herself at the mountain again. The pain her hands originally felt at the base of the mountain was starting to subside. That, or go numb, it didn't make much different to Randy. For the second leg of the climb, she engaged pure mechanical movement mode. Her body was autopilot. Arm, leg, arm, hoist, and repeat. The mountain itself wasn't a difficult pattern; the challenge came in its mere height and steepness. As long as she didn't have to climb upside down again, she was fairly certain there weren't any curve balls this mountain could throw at her that would truly surprise.

A piece of red hair flickered in front of Randy's face and caught her by surprise. Her hair had actually been quite dormant now that she thought about it. Probably from all of the inactivity. Red locks danced and flickered above and behind Randy as her hair caught in the wind. Alright her mind was calm, it was clear her body was active and vibrant with energy. It comforted her to see her hair respond to the activity. She could remember the times, as a young child, her father would make the three sisters compete against each other. He seemed to take great pride in the idea that his most active daughter was also the one closest to his genes. Randy could remember fully enjoying the exercises as if they were games of a child. Sera took them much more seriously. Though she understands now, it always confused her as a child. She could remember, as serious and competitive as she was, she would still take time to help Rosslyn and make sure she didn't hurt herself.

Attention was ripped back to reality as Randy's foot slipped. Her knee hit hard off of the rock face as she began to slide down the mountain. Desperate hands shot out and clung to the nearest cliff, saving her a fall. Randy's hair shot outright in alert. It was now, hanging in the air on the mountain, that Randy could feel all the cuts and bruises on her body from today's adventure and climb. It was somewhere toward the start of the climb that she realized her energy for haki was essentially all drained. Thinking of home had distracted her once again. She was getting pretty disappointed in herself today. Thoughts of her home and father should not put her so out of place. For a moment she struggled with her emotions. Am I actually over that? What am I hiding from myself? As a strong breeze blew through her, Randy was reminded of her hanging position over the mountain. She had to use both hands to pull herself up and to a safe position. She slip was short but fierce and she was forced to acknowledge that she actually hurt her leg. Without putting weight on her damaged leg, Randy finished pulling herself up the last bit of the mountain.

She might not have been at the tippy top of the mountain, but she was high enough to be satisfied with her progress. The wind blew hard but this particular mountain didn't seem to have a snow cap. Or, if it did, it wasn't active at this point in the season. Randy thanked her luck for that. Pulling herself into a sitting position, Randy examined the damage to her leg. She could tell from her mobility that it wasn't broken. The next question was; What does a chipped shinbone feel like? That was a question she did not possess an answer for. With a long outward breath, Randy folded her legs underneath herself and maintained a meditative posture. Like in all facets of Randy's life; the mind, spirit, and body must all be exercised in unison for true growth to occur. She knew that her spirit had been pushed to its limits--her haki was feeling stronger than ever and she knew all the abilities she utilized were really taxing her stamina. Her physical body had been tested all day--the blood, dirt, and bruises all over her body were evidence enough of that. Now it was her minds turn.

It had been clear to Randy that she was repressing something. Or, maybe repressing wasn't the right word. Its not like she was intentionally misremembering some events from or childhood. Or, even worse, pushing them out of her mind entirely. But something was certainly bothering her about the even today. Randy loved her father and his death was certainly painful. It took a very long time but Randy was certain she was comfortable with that memory. He lived the life of a pirate and he knew what was at stake. She didn't blame the marines for killing him. Not to say the marines were blameless, certainly no, there were dozens of innocent lives taken on that island that never came within arms reach of a real pirates life. Her memories and emotions about her sisters were certainly complex. She had no idea what their fates held. Where they prisoners of the military? In some ways, imagining they died with their father that evening held Randy keep peace. In many ways though, it was a hollow peace. None of them deserved the fate that was handed to them today.

Err, that day I mean...!!

Randy's eyes shot open as the revelation fell upon her. It was so obvious, in retrospect,  that she couldn't realize she didn't consciously realize it. Today was the anniversary of the day my home island was destroyed by marines. Although the memories were at peace within Randy, the emotions would still come back every now and then. And today, the same day it happened all those years ago, was a particularly tough day. Randy was never quite sure what to do with these emotions when they rose. Sometimes she went to thoughts of revenge for her family. Other times she went to thoughts of redemption; ideas like truly finding out what happened to her sisters and if they were truly laid to rest. On other days her mind would even drift into the territory of outright mutiny. The actions she saw taken by the marines that day were not rare in her life. Since then she has seen similar and worse atrocities committed by the world government. Maybe the revolutionaries had a good point and their cause would be worth joining?

Finally, as the realization settled around her, Randy realized she had no choice but to embrace the emotions and memories inside of her. Sure, she was uncertain and didn't know what course to pursue, but such was life. Some day the path would be clear to her but she knew that she wasn't ready for that moment quite yet. Opening her eyes onto the sunset, a solitary tear made its way down Randy's face. She did not fight it. The emotions were real and to repress them, would repress the spirit, which would in turn repress the body. She felt better now. Now that she had faced the emotions head on she realized there was nothing to hide from. Her breathing was deep, and slow. Her heartbeat was calm but her emotions were a whirlwind. Randy's hair whipped back and forth, visually enacting the mental thoughts happening inside of her. It was here, in the final moments of twilight, that Randy realized just how drained she was truly feeling. Her muscles and entire body ached. Her stamina was at record lows, and her mind was a wash of thoughts. She could tell that moving would be quite the challenged when she attempted it again.

Moving backward, Randy found herself an alcove carved into the side of the mountain. It didn't seem like anything else was living in it at the moment. Moving some rocks around, Randy made herself comfortable. Taking off her fanny pack, Randy reached in and took out one last pepper before laying on it like a pillow. It was a zasa pepper. They were tiny, bite sized snacks. They actually weren't very spicy at all, usually just used a garnish because of their attractive appearance around the edge of a plate. These were Rosslyn's favorite... The thought put a somber note on the end of the day and really cemented just how tired Randy was feeling. With one last deep sigh, Randy relaxed her body and prepared to sleep. Before truly drifting off her mind found thoughts of Devlin one last time. She wondered if he'd be worried. Randy could picture him actually, more worried about whatever trouble he assumed Randy would bring back with her. He had such a strange way worrying. One last smile fell onto her face with sleep following closely after.


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