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"He's a git," Ted Lupin said.

The story of Albus' defiance during flying lessons spread faster than mage fire, although somewhere along the way the story became about him wanting to demonstrate his worthiness as a Potter.

"How's he twisted that?" Scorpius said over dinner that evening. "That's just not true!"

"Slytherin's have always had a way of twisting the truth," Louis Weasley said.

"Malum is hardly going to tell people you saved his life," James added.

"I mean, I doubt Roland Hooch would have let Malum die," Scorpius started but stopped talking as soon as James and Ted turned their attention his way.

It did not take long for the Gryffindors' affront to the change of narrative to dissipate and turn into antagonism towards Albus the following day.

"Fifty points?" Albus asked dumfounded as he sat across from Professor Longbottom. "Don't you think that's a bit much?"

"Professor McGonagall feels this is the right message to send so everyone knows that rules such as the ones implemented during flying lessons are there for a reason."

"But you know I can fly! You've played Quidditch with dad and me!"

"That's beside the point, Albus!" Professor Longbottom paused to consider Albus for a few moments. "What is going on with you? You're ending up in the hospital wing, you're talking back to teachers and doing the sort of rule-breaking we'd expect from James, not to mention your treatment of Amelia."

"What about her treatment of me?" Albus said. "She didn't defend me, we're supposed to be friends."

"Amelia loves it here," Professor Longbottom started. "This is the most permanent home she has had all her life. Getting in constant trouble and feeling like she could lose it all, isn't a position she wants to be in. You are right, you are supposed to be then be a friend, Albus."

Albus looked away from Professor Longbottom, ashamed.

"I know Professor Severn can be tough and he may even show slight favouritism towards Slytherin students, but you have to fight to earn his respect. Put in the work, stop avoiding it. Show that you are interested in learning even if it isn't your favourite lesson. The world can be unkind, not everyone is going to be fair to you, not everyone is going to like you but you shouldn't let that stop you from being above it."

"Can I go now?" Albus said after a few moments silence.

"There is one more thing. In addition to the fifty points, you have detention with the Leech twins and Nakari."

"Wait, what?" Albus spat. "That is so unfair!"

Leaving Professor Longbottom's office in a huff, Albus returned to the Gryffindor common room to find half of the room staring daggers at him and continuing to give him the cold shoulder the rest of the week. In spite of the fact that Gryffindor had been third in the table, the number of points Albus had dropped in Professor Severn's lessons and the rule-breaking he had committed had left them at the bottom of the standings. The rest of the week leading up to Halloween didn't bring any improvement for Albus. As a result of his frustration, even the lessons he really enjoyed were becoming difficult for him.

With the bell ringing to signal the end of the History of Magic lesson, Albus let out a sigh of relief, knowing the weekend was finally here, and he could relax in Hogwarts grounds with Scorpius and enjoy the peace and quiet.

"We have twelve inches of parchment to hand in on Monday on the differences between hexes and jinxes," Scorpius reminded him. "I've only done about six!"

"We can sit outside for an hour, at least..."Albus replied, almost pleadingly.

They were distracted by a huge ruckus and saw James and Ted cursing into the void at the end of the corridor. Albus and Scorpius rushed towards them, believing something serious had happened.

"Silvia can't play on Sunday," James explained.

"Oh," Albus replied confused as to why it was such a big deal.

Ted sensed his confusion and expanded. "We're playing Slytherin on Sunday, Silvia is the best Seeker in school by a clear mile, Slytherin won the last six House Cups, partly because they had Stanley Smith in their team, but he graduated last year so its ours to lose. Also would have been the perfect opportunity to make up some of those lost points. No offence."

"What happened to Silvia?" Scorpius asked.

Though affronted that the question was directed towards him, Ted continued to explain.

"Peeves, left a bucket of water near the stairs, his idea of a joke. Silvia tripped and fell, broke her leg and dislocated her shoulder. She is out of commission for a few weeks."

"McGonagall is livid," James added. "Has the twins looking for Peeves," James stopped for a moment and withdrew a small piece of parchment from his inside pocket. "Which reminds me, the Leech twins gave me this."

He handed the parchment to Albus, who opened it with trepidation. The handwriting was somewhat juvenile, but it read; Forbidden Forest, Sunday 31st October, 6pm. Over and over, he re-read the sentence, his heart sinking to the pit of his stomach. The forbidden forest at six in the evening? For what? He'd miss the feast in the great hall! Hallowe'en feasts were considered by everyone to be superior to Christmas feasts. It was going to be a wonderful evening, with creamy delicious pumpkin pie, butterbeer, and wizard chess into the early hours. Until Professor Longbottom shook him lightly to grab his attention, he hadn't noticed Professor Longbottom's arrival with Amelia.

"What do you think, Albus?" Professor Longbottom asked.

All of a sudden he became acutely aware of various eyeballs on him, but he wasn't sure why. He saw James amused, Ted confused and Scorpius more excited than he had ever seen him before. He then turned his attention to Amelia, who was hiding behind Professor Longbottom as if she had done something Albus would disapprove of.

"What do I think of what?"

"Replacing Silvia for the match," Professor Longbottom said.

"You want me to do what now?" Albus replied, his voice soaked with incredulity. "Why in Merlins beard would I want to do that?"

"Amelia said you were fantastic on that broom," Professor Longbottom said.

"You mean the girl whose probably never seen anyone on a broom?" James quipped.

"Roland Hooch said he'd personally not seen anyone else as skilled as you," Professor Longbottom said ignoring James.

"Well even if I wanted to, which I don't. I can't because I have detention." Albus said waving the parchment.

Scorpius snatched it out of his hands. "At six o'clock. The game is before lunchtime."

He snatched back the parchment from Scorpius, but not before throwing the most contentious look he could muster.

"I mean, do you have any other suggestions, James? Because the way I see it, you suck as a Seeker and everyone else who trialled out was as graceful as a troll."

James bit his lip before replying. "You're the captain."

"There we have it! This is exciting! I am going to write to uncle Harry now!"

As Teddy and James walked out of sight, Albus turned quickly toward Amelia, ready to let her know what was on his mind, but he found his resolve crumbling as he gazed at her.

"I'm sorry," he offered quietly. "I've been a bit of a Goblin about it all, haven't I?"

"About bloody time!" Scorpius exclaimed forcing the three of them into a tight group hug.


According to the rumours, Albus, in an effort to clear his name with the Gryffindors, convinced Peeves to play a prank that would injure Silvia, therefore allowing Ted Lupin to choose him as the next Gryffindor Seeker. Albus' behaviour mirrored his namesake's, proving just how conniving he was.

"You can't win for losing, mate." Scorpius said as they sat by the black lake, early Saturday morning.

"I've heard James had quite a tough first year too," Amelia said. "You just need to keep your head down for a little while."

"I think Amelia is right. Look at me, I only get about one negative comment from a Gryffindor a day, now."

"Albus," James called.

He glanced at his brother, who was dressed for training.

"I don't think I want to do this," Albus said turning away from James as something akin to vomit wedged itself in his throat.

"Don't be ridiculous," James said walking over to him. "You know mum and dad are going to be here tomorrow?"

"Why? Isn't it enough that I am going to embarrass myself in front of the whole school? I need to do it in front of mum too?"

"Oh come on, Albus!" Scorpius said trying to encourage him.

A seemingly frustrated James waved his wand, causing Albus to instantly stand up. "We have no time for this," he said. "We only booked the pitch for two hours and I am not spending an hour of that convincing you to train. It's one bloody game, get moving!"

He stood on the pitch a while later, wearing a red Gryffindor jersey that was two sizes too big for him. The rest of the team was gathered around Ted to introduce him, further intensifying his anxiety. A clumsy smile spread across his face as he shifted his hand to wave, then changed his mind mid-lift, turning it into an awkward clap.

"I am assuming I don't have to tell you any of the rules, Albus." Ted said. "I'll introduce to the rest of the team. Pardeep Singh and James Potter are our Beaters."

In an effort to keep the smirk at bay, Pardeep forced a smile and looked away. In spite of being his brother's best friend, Albus had never really spoken to him before. Ted introduced the Chasers; Geraldine Chang, a beautiful fourth-year girl with midnight-black hair and eyes so intense Albus couldn't hold her gaze for long. There was Ebenezer Mwangi, a sixth-year who stood well over six feet tall.

"Welcome, Potter-two," Ebenezer Mwangi said with a friendly smile. "Just so there's no confusion."

Finally, Gabriel Urqhart, a dark-haired, green-eyed fourth year with heavy eyebrows and the shadow of what appeared to be a beard adorned his square jawline. In his otherwise jet-black hair, Albus noted that there were threads of grey, giving him an appearance of someone about to graduate.

"Albus!" Scorpius called.

As he turned towards the stands, he saw Scorpius and Amelia seated next to Louis Weasley waving encouragingly at him.

"And as you know," Ted continued. "I am the keeper and team captain."

"Now that the introductions are out of the way and Potter-two has had a chance to say hello to his fan club, can we get started?" Geraldine Chang said, kicking off into the air.

As Ted Lupin released the quaffles, bludgers and snitch, the rest of the team followed Geraldine before he, too, shot himself off into the air and towards the hoops. Albus stood there looking up at his teammates filled with apprehension.

"Albus!" called James as he smacked a bludger that flew right at him. "What are you doing? Get up here!"

Albus snapped himself out of his reverie and kicked himself off the ground as the breeze caressed his face. For a few moments he forgot everything else and just concentrated on the feeling of total and utter exaltation. However, this would be the only moment of enjoyment during the entire training session because what proceeded was the single most embarrassing moment of his life. The snitch had zipped by him several times, but Albus' lack of concentration had led him to miss it by the time he realised what had happened. A moment earlier, he had thought he had spotted it just above Scorpius' head, but it turned out to be a small bird that looked like a hummingbird. When he thought things could not get any worse, he spotted the snitch again, this time near Pardeep Singh who was performing an awesome manoeuvre in which he twisted his broom upside down and smashed the bludger with his bat, giving Gabriel Urqhart the opportunity to score. Once again, Albus, on his broom, sped towards Pardeep, but he arrived a moment too late and instead crashed into Pardeep, sending them both tumbling to the ground, where they were only saved by Ted's rapid reaction which softened their blow.

There was no denying the disappointment as James and the rest of the team rushed off the pitch in a huff, without so much as looking at Albus, save for Teddy who patted him on the back before packing up the balls.

"Unlucky, Al." Louis Weasley said. "You'll be better tomorrow, I am sure of it."

Louis offered him a genuine smile and then left at a canter catching up to Gabriel Urqhart who had hung around waiting for him.

"You can say it," Albus said quietly.

"Say what?" Amelia asked.

"I am pathetic."

"Don't be daft. Anyone could have confused the bird for the snitch it was so small and golden and it even had wings!" Scorpius said

"Do you know what your problem is, Albus?" Amelia said rounding on him. "You are constantly feeling sorry for yourself."

"I am not --" he started but Amelia raised a hand to stop him in his tracks.

"Listen before you go getting heated," Amelia placed her hands on her hips. This reminded him of his grandmother, Molly. "How are you supposed to truly succeed in anything if all you do is worry about the hundreds of ways in which you are going to fail? I told Professor Longbottom about you because despite not having seen many people fly on broomsticks, what I can recognise is the pure ease in which you fly. I saw the confidence in your eyes, the smile on your lips, I saw a happiness in you on that broom that I hadn't seen too many times before. Something that makes you happy has to be something you can excel in."

Amelia paused for a few moments before continuing.

"The Beaters, The Chasers, the audience, they are the hundreds of ways you think you are going to fail. The Snitch is the one thing you use to block that out. That should be your one and only thought," Amelia finished. "Are you going to stand there looking at me or are you going to go clean up and meet us for lunch?"


Albus slept poorly that night. He wasn't sure what he feared more, capitulating before his parents and the entire school or detention in the forbidden forest with the Leech Twins. In contrast to a regular day, today time was moving so quickly that Albus had no memory of how he had even gotten from bed to the great hall and into the dressing room. Because he was consumed by nerves, he had not even noticed the Slytherins shouting obscenities at him nor Fred and Louis Weasley's joke that they could run around underneath him holding a mattress in case he crashed into someone again.

"You alright?" James asked him quietly whilst the rest of the team exchanged sprightly words of encouragement.

Albus shrugged.

"Just focus on the snitch. Ignore everything else."

"Yeah, that's what Amelia said," Albus replied.

"Smart girl."

"Potter and Potter-two, you ready?" Ebenezer asked.

Before Albus could respond, James grabbed him by the elbow and dragged him to the center of the dressing room.

"Right, ever since I've been here, I've never beaten Slytherin," Ted Lupin started. "Whilst we know our chances without Silvia are not great, we still have a chance. Albus," Ted looked at him. "Was atrocious in training, we can't get past that, but it's clear the boy is a natural flyer. Let's let him fly. Wands in the middle!"

They all withdrew their wands and placed the tip in the middle.

"One, two, three...Gryffindor!" they all said in unison before leaving the dressing room.

Albus felt his knees about to give way as they entered the pitch and a cacophony of noise erupted. In the centre, stood Roland Hooch whistle at the ready. He beckoned both teams forward.

"I want a fair game," Roland Hooch started.

As he took a look around, he was taken aback by how beautiful the stadium looked now that it was filled with people, and he noticed Amelia and Scorpius sitting beside his parents amidst the crowd and his stomach jolted as they beamed at him and waved Gryffindor scarves.

"And as is this first match of the year wasn't exciting enough, we have some very special guests..." Damilola announced. "It's none other than the former Holyhead Harpies queen herself, Ginny Potter!"

The crowd erupted in applause at announcement and Albus turned to Roland Hooch in time to catch his last words, "Mount your brooms, please!"

Albus clambered onto his Sweepmaster Seven. Roland Hooch gave a loud blast of his whistle and fifteen brooms immediately rose up, high into the air and they were off.

"And the Quaffle is taken by Samira Montague of Slytherin, look at those luscious locks flow in the wind! If I wasn't so anti-Slytherin I might even be tempted to ask her to the end of year ball --"

"DAMILOLA!" Professor McGonagall said sternly.

"Sorry Professor!" he said quietly before returning his attention to the game. "Look at her go, so elegant, gazelle-like, Irish Elk-like eve, astonishing how--sorry...back to the actual game. She passes the Quaffle to Bletchley who passes it to Turing and...oh my what a beautiful manoeuvre by Greg Turing who scores!"

With groans and moans from the Gryffindors, Slytherin cheers filled the air.

"Oh wow! Look at that, the three Slytherin chasers flying in a Hawkshead Attacking Formation and another Goal! Things are looking bleak for Gryffindor," Damilola said. "Any sign of the snitch yet?"

Above, Albus floated calmly, deciding that keeping himself away from the melee of bodies would allow him to focus better on finding the snitch. A few moments before the Slytherin's fifth goal he thought he had caught sight of the snitch only to realise that it had been Roland Hooch's golden whistle glinting in the morning sun. If there was anything his traumatic training session had taught him, it was to give himself a fraction of a second longer before lunging towards objects. Albus' heart sunk as Slytherin's sixth goal went in. He felt so powerless sitting there, watching his team get pommelled, at this rate, even if he did catch the golden snitch, the score would be far too wide to overcome.

"And Gabriel Urqhart zooms past a clear attempt to body blow him by the gorgeous Samira Montague and...Merlin's left nut!!"

"DAMILOLA!" yelled Professor McGonagall.

"Sorry, Professor!" He apologised before returning to his commentary. "Gabriel Urqhart jumps over the bludger directed at him by both Kelly and Kendra Byrne, a move known as the Dopplebeater Defence and continues his way toward Slytherin's three hoops and....GOOOOOOAL!! We've snatched one back! There you have it you snakes! You good for nothing ruffians, you cretins! YEEESSS!!"

"Damilola...if you cannot remain impartial, I will be taking commentating responsibilities from you," Professor McGonagall admonished.

"I'm sorry...the score is 60 to 10 to Slytherin..." Damilola said.

As Albus celebrated the goal, he felt pain on his side and realised one of the Slytherin beaters had smashed a bludger at him and he hadn't even recovered before another bludger hit him on his other side. His brother James hurled some expletives at Kelly and Kendra Byrne, and Albus' last thought before the blinding pain took hold of him was that his parents would be appalled.

A gasp of horror brought him right back, and when he looked up, he realised he was hanging from his broom, he must have blacked out briefly. In the midst of the pain, he wondered whether Louis and Fred were ready with the mattress.

"Come on, Albus!" he heard his dad call out from the crowd.

"Looks like the new Gryffindor Seeker is in trouble," Damilola commented. "Come on, Albus."

His eyes closed and when he opened them again, he saw it, whirring a few feet above him was the golden snitch and with hitherto unknown resolve, he thrust himself back and forth until he managed to wrap one leg around the broom, which helped him get back on. After struggling for several minutes, he looked up to discover that the snitch was no longer where he had spotted it, but several feet lower, closer to the action. Taking hold of the broom, Albus leaned forward and pressed himself down until he was vertical.

"Oh my, what is this from Albus Potter has he spotted the snitch?" Damilola asked with a tone of excitement. "It seems Arabella Zane, has spotted the Snitch as well!" Damilola exclaimed.

Damilola was right, it appeared she was also making her way to it, and sensing that he might suffer a heavy defeat if he didn't get there first, he grappled the broom tighter to encourage it to move faster. While they were both close to it, Arabella Zane's smirk made it clear that she was closer. A bludger smashed into Arabella Zane with such force that it broke her broom handle, he leapt off his broom and lunged for the snitch. He felt himself fall and braced himself for impact but was grabbed by Pardeep Singh on one side and his brother James on the other.

"You got it?" Pardeep asked.

Albus opened his palm to reveal the golden snitch and the crowd erupted.


The common room was very noisy that evening and became even more so when Albus walked through the portrait. Waiting for him were his mum and dad and...Mundungus Fletcher.

"Your uncle Ron will be sad to have missed it, we couldn't both take the day off," Harry said.

"Well done you! I might just try and sneak a little column about this in the daily prophet tomorrow," his mum added.

"Well done, kid!" Mundungus said.

Albus looked at him blankly. He'd not heard very nice things about him and in fact even caught sight of his face in the Daily Prophet for allegedly smuggling artifacts that the ministry considered dangerous.

"Thank you," he said slowly, but his tone clearly did not hide his surprise.

"I had business in Hogsmeade and thought why not watch the match? Who knew I'd come face to face with the Head of Magical Law Enforcement," Mundungus Fletcher explained.

There was no love lost between Mundungus Fletcher and his dad, who had never forgiven him for something that happened years ago and had now become almost obsessed with bringing him into justice. It was thought that an amulet he had sold to a Muggle had possessed said Muggle causing him to lose his mind and go on to commit a string of murders. The Ministry had never been able to prove that it was Mundungus but his dad was sure of it.

"Anyway, I have to go. I just wanted to stop by and say hello."

"What was he doing here, dad?" Albus asked when Mundungus had left.

"Beats me," Harry replied with a frown. "But I need to get back to the Ministry and tell your uncle Ron. I love you lots, son."

His parents embraced him and left him to celebrate with the rest of the Gryffindors. It was quite baffling how all of a sudden, he was the most sought after person. Everyone seemed to want to talk to him.

"What made you throw yourself off that broom?" Jeremy Chung asked him.

"I dunno," Albus replied earnestly. "It was the only way I guess."

Finally, Albus managed to escape the onslaught of questions and find Amelia and Scorpius.

"Well done, Albus," Scorpius said as soon as he had sat down.

"I couldn't have done it without Amelia," Albus said.

"Nonsense, that was all you," she replied looking away.

"Was that the Mundungus Fletcher I saw earlier?" Scorpius asked.

"Who?" Amelia said confused.

"Mundungus Fletcher. The wizarding world's greatest criminal. He's made a living out of selling dangerous artifacts and other dodgy dealings," Scorpius exclaimed. "Former Gryffindor."

"No he wasn't!" Albus said.

"He was! But no one likes to mention it. Not sure why everyone thinks only Slytherin produces untoward characters, if he wasn't a Gryffindor, he wouldn't have been allowed in even with the password," Scorpius said.

Thinking of it, Scorpius was right. How else would he have been able to enter the common room? James walked over to them before Albus could continue with the conversation.

"You did alright. If Silvia wasn't so good, she'd be in trouble. I'm proud of you--"

"Alright? You were being annihilated before Albus caught the snitch," Scorpius said.

James narrowed his eyes, looked Scorpius up and down and then turned back to Albus, ignoring Scorpius altogether.

"Thank you for talking sense into my brother," he told Amelia. "I appreciate it."

"Yo! James!" Pardeep Singh called.

"Catch you later, Al," James said walking towards Pardeep and disappearing through the portrait.

"Oh no," Amelia said looking at her watch. "Look at the time!"

"Merlin's Shorts!" Albus exclaimed.

It was six o'clock. He had detention with the Leech twins. Albus ran past the still-celebrating Gryffindors chanting his name, "Potter-two! Potter-two! Potter-two!" Moments later, huffing and puffing, Albus arrived at the edge of the Forbidden Forest and encountered Hagrid.

"There yer are, Albus!" Hagrid said. "What did yer do to get yerself in trouble?"

"Fly," Albus replied between breaths.

"Great catch today Albus, reminded me o' your da'. Almost brought a tear ter me eye. Anyway, the Leech twins are waitin' for you a little further in. Here."

Hagrid handed him a lantern, the light was being provided by a glow-bee an insect similar to a bee but twice its size and instead of a sting for a tail, it had a bright bulb. Albus marched off across the darkness wondering what his punishment was going to be. Finally, he reached the twins who stood impatiently waiting for him, leaning against a tree was Nakari Malum, who appeared unfazed by it all.

"Potter--" started Deimos Leech started

"--or should we call you Potter-two?" Phobos Leech finished.

"We thought we'd have to send a search party for the Quidditch star," Deimos Leech continued.

"A golden carriage for the saviours heir," Phobos Leech added with a smile, revealing black teeth.

Albus took a step back and jumped as his foot cracked a small twig.

"Scared?" Nakari Malum said moving in towards them.

"Only of your breath, Malum." Albus replied tartly.

Nakari withdrew his wand and Albus did the same. There they both stood, ready to duel.

"I suggest you two imbecile's lower your wands and pretend to like each other for the next six hours," Deimos said.

"Six hours?!" Albus exclaimed.

"What are we.going to do for six hours?" Nakari added.

"You'll be hunting Cerinthiums," Phobos explained.

"Care to explain what they are?" Nakari asked.

"Snails about the size of my palm, with a twisted thorny shell, they have a diamond like particle across it. We need you to collect as many as possible so we can shave it off. The storeroom has run out of Cerinthium dust," Deimos said handing them each a small basket. "Five each minimum."

"Find us once you're done," Phobos added waving them away.

Nakari Malum held his lantern in front of him and Albus could have sworn to have seen his hand treble slightly as he did so.

"Well come on," Nakari said waiting for Albus before walking deeper into the forest.

The forest was black and silent. A little further into it they reached a fork in the path and Albus and Nakari decided to take the left path.

"I think I see something," Albus said. "There..."

There was a trail of green luminous slime and a few feet ahead, travelling at snails pace stood a large shell larger than the palm of Albus' hand. It shone under the moonlight as if it had stalagmites all over it. Albus walked over to it but was pushed aside as he was about to pick it up and watched Nakari chuck it carelessly into his basket.

"Is there a reason why you're such dunderhead all the time?" Albus spat.

Nakari walked up to him, locked stares with him for a few moments and smirked.

"The idea that your family is somehow elevated to a god-like platform for wanting to keep the wizarding world in the shadows makes me sick, Potter."

"Ah, I guess the Malum's are Voldemort sympathisers," Albus replied.

"We just want to restore a little order, Potter."

A Crack.

As they tried to locate the source of the noise, whispers and then hexes became audible. Albus and Nakari looked at each other and then run towards the flashes of light and immediately saw two men in hooded cloaks firing from misshapen. They seemed to be aiming at nothing until from between the darkness came a white tiger, growling lunging itself at one of the cloaked figures.

"STUPEFY!" yelled one of the mystery men sending the tiger scrawling across the floor just as a stag appeared, standing over the animal, protecting it and stomping its front hooves.

"What in Gods green earth is happening 'ere?" came a voice that Albus had heard that very evening.

"Avada Kedavra!" one of the cloaked figures roared.

Nakari screamed and ran for his life, leaving Albus standing there and alerting the cloaked figures to their presence, but instead of attacking him, the mysterious figures panicked and dispersed into smoke. The stag dragged the tiger deep into the woods as Albus rushed to the dead body and as he lifted his lantern the face of the victim revealed itself. It was Mundungus Fletcher...and next to him sprawled on the floor was a golden locket. He picked it up and read the engraving on the back: animas mortuae revertentur.animas mortuae revertentur.

He knew exactly where he had seen that locket before...

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