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A Certain Missing Esper (Arc 4 Main Story)

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Post  Kisaragi Anko on Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:34 pm

A Certain Missing Esper (Arc 4 Main Story) - Page 7 Hanzou10
There was no need to convince Hanzou any further than this. He had fully come to understand that this girl was a huge weirdo. So weird even that he couldn’t help but grin upon hearing her declarations as well as seeing her caress the limply lying assassin.

To think she’d buy a ninja to be sleeping soundly, heh.

Internally laughing at the likely face of embarrassment buried underneath the long black hair and the arms she had used as a makeshift pillow, the thuggish boy was deeply enjoying himself in the situation.

Even more so when that monstrous growl echoed from the frail girl’s stomach. The point where his internal laughter surfaced to the outside assuming the shape of an amused chuckle.

«Y’know. You can take it.»

However, a true gentleman would not let his good gestures go to waste, instead attempting to shove his meat stick into the innocent girl’s mouth in hopes to finally end her longings.

«Eat up. It’ll take a bit for the others to come back.»

Good gestures marked the beginning of a good something. Normally that good something had an entirely different meaning. But just this once he’d be man of honour and not go down the dark path.

After all…

«Don’t worry. I’m not gonna steal your girl, killer-nee-chan.»

Just this once he’d be that kind of guy.


August 21st, 1:20 AM

A couple of hours had passed. With Hamazura and Komaba returning, the good mood was extended only further. Of course, the four bags stuffed with food and beverages had done their part in that as well. Naturally, the entire get-together had quickly evolved into a small celebration accentuated by all kinds of fast food, both from the modern west and traditional Japan (as had been insisted on by the two who kept this kind of lifestyle alive). Burger, tacos, sushi, beer, soft drinks, teas, whatever one could buy in a neighbourhood like this, those two had gotten it to spoil their guests.

At one point Hamazura Shiage and Hattori Hanzou had become dead drunk sipping a little too much of the alcohol they brought. Komaba had been right between them, drinking but only limited to the teas and soft drinks.

Unlike these jolly others, Kisaragi Anko – after waking up – had withdrawn from the centre of the action, leaning her still hurting body against a nearby wall. However, while she’d rest her body, her mind had found a challenging focal point. In fact, two of those: On the paper plate situated in front of her were two pieces of fried chicken. An American style chicken wing and a classic Japanese karaage specimen. A battlefield unlike any other.

One was the perfection of Japanese street food, famous for its crunchy shell and tender texture, the other an overly fatty abomination made to be sold in a shabby joint on the roadside.

However, she had still taken a bite of each of them.

And she had done so with the intention of finding an answer. A truth. The irrevocable proof of superiority.

Yet still.

Yet still.

The reason she was staring with such great focus at both of those pieces was a realisation she wanted to push away as far as she could…
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Post  Hujisaka Natsumi on Sun Aug 09, 2020 10:07 pm

The matter seemed urgent by the way Miyako had presented it; but classic of Natsumi’s behaviour, she did not exactly rush to the last known location of the “disappeared asset”. She took a fair amount of time taking in the environment itself, something that could be used as a clue as to what happened to the asset, and even why it happened.

The concerned building in which the asset was last seen was a very modern student dormitory establishment with top-notch security. Likely the kind of places that parents would rent out for their precious, elite children rather than the students themselves. The kind of the place that spoke louder of one’s social status than even one’s own school sometimes.

Natsumi arrived at the apartment, greeted by a young man she only acknowledged with a nod, and from the little information she had been given, apparently even the security system itself was specific to the individual residing in the apartments.

And perhaps to the boy’s surprise, Natsumi seemed clearly unfazed by the state of the apartment. As a pyrokinesist, this wasn’t her first run-in with the devastating consequences of flames and fire; a thin line she walked on everyday to control such a potent murder weapon yet absurdly useful skill.

She sped to the tenant’s room, and for once, her eyebrows raised in surprise. If the rare strands of hair that had not been utterly devastated were any indication, it was the strawberry girl whom she quite disliked. Given her cheekiness, she had never expected to be killed off. She seemed like the type to outsmart stuff like that, but in the end, maybe not.

“…The fuck?” She uttered in surprise, checking around the room. It was messy, broken, with evidence left everywhere.

This didn’t seem to be disposal typical of the dark side that would never leave the slightest trace behind, or would ensure anyone who found a trace would be erased as well.

This seemed like a murder scene. An overly zealous one, but a murder scene regardless

(…If this is a murder scene, why was I brought in of all people? I suppose you can't really bring in Anti-Skill for a dark side asset, but still... Why is the corpse still here?)

Questions ran through her head, it scarcely made any sense to her for how detached a MO this was from her usual “disposals”. She leaned over, picking up both the shards of glass and the translucent broken shards of something that felt like plastic upon touch, frowning slightly as she did.

“I’m going to guess you don’t have a whole lot of intel to give me either?” She asked the boy who had welcomed her without turning around to face him.
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Post  Saito Hirashi on Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:38 pm

Hirashi sat on the other side of the doorway, he closed his eyes and focused on the sounds coming from within, trying to follow the locations of everyone without exposing himself by peeking.

The pitter-pattering of sneakers, the occasional thud, and…

Snap

The sound of ungraceful tumbling which followed was unmistakable, an opportunity to end this was right before him. Hirashi took the risk and leaned into the building, readying a few of his many pieces of scrap metal. Ideally, Hirashi would hit his lower leg, but with the unwieldy and unfamiliar junk he salvaged from the studio, he cannot be as accurate as usual. Not willing to take a chance, Hirashi aimed at the boy’s center of mass and sent the projectiles flying towards the downed boy.
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Post  Watabe Tsubasa on Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:40 am

Her stubborn opponent had avoided the kick, which annoyed her to no end. She started to doubt she could ever land a clean hit. She didn't seem to be able to match his speed whenever his eyes glowed in that bloody red.

As soon as she landed on her feet, she braced herself for a certain counter attack, and true to her expectations, he swung his fist at her. She was thankfully fully prepared for this eventuality.

She was still in the middle of balancing herself, so she didn't have to properly dodge, but she managed to cross her arms in front of her ribs in order to protect herself.

It hurt slightly upon contact, but it was better than being hit in the ribs.

To her surprise however, the boy looked to be in a hurry. He didn't even bother witnessing the result of his actions and sprung towards his real target.

And then...

Snap

In a split second...

He was right there...

On the ground...

'... huh? Did he... fall?'

She was about to approach him but she noticed the reflection of approaching projectiles and didn't want to be in the way and get hurt herself.

Then and there, she understood Saito's plan, and made a mental note that she had to apologize to him later.

She didn't know if the projectile attacks would hit, but she hoped they would.

As soon as the vicinity around honey-head would be safe to move in, she would jump on the boy to restrain him. Then she would block all of his limbs and his head and press his neck, using her own limbs, and press him down with all of her her body mass, in order to prevent him from standing up and pin him to the ground.

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Post  Kira Kohaku on Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:16 am

Taking the cue from the older looking boy, she held the end of the meat skewer sticking out of her mouth and took a bite. It was cold. It had lost the sizzle that had signified its freshness.

Nevertheless, she bit into it.

Just as Hanzou fancied himself (in that moment) to be a true gentleman who who would not let good gestures go to waste, Kohaku fancied herself the type to not turn down an offer of kindness and benevolence.

With the piece she had bit off finally swallowed, she had smiled at the boy and said a simple pair of words.

“Thank you.”


August 21st, 1:20 AM
Despite the paltry number of people, the atmosphere was reminiscent of a party. Food of all sorts was spread all over and the two louder boys had drunk themselves into stupor.

But, despite it all, it was late. The night had lingered to the point where Atropos had cut the thread of the prior day. While Kohaku was a teenage girl who definitely enjoyed the spicy nature of sneaking out beyond curfew among other acts of teenage rebellion, she was still just a normal teenage girl. She had been busy for well over half-a-day and her circadian rhythms were starting to bite into her. Moreover, she had eaten from the unhealthy plethora of food that had been laid out before them and so it was inevitable that her blood sugar after a meal had dropped.

Still, she could direct eyes at both Komaba Ritoku and the friend of hers who was fighting the final frontier of West vs East. And she could stand up and walk up to her.

“So, what’s the winning taste, Anko-chan?”

With her hands behind her back, she smiled to Anko and suppressed her exhaustion to the best of her ability.
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Post  Aoki Aiko on Thu Aug 20, 2020 3:53 pm

Firing off her lasers in quick succession, Aiko tried to force the speedster's movements into Tsubasa's attacks. The speedster however wasn't making things easy. They quickly dodged around, predicting the path of her lasers and using his speed to out maneuver Tsubasa's strikes, landing a solid blow on her in the process. When he was moving at such high speeds, keeping an accurate track of his location was difficult, especially when Aiko needed to keep her shell at a relatively reduced size to make sure the speedster was not getting hit by the lasers before they had a chance to pass through her field.

Suddenly, with a burst of speed, the boy shot out of Aiko's line of sight. Aiko began frantically looking around for the location the boy had shot off too, catching him slightly too late as he was already hurtling towards her. She didn't have the time to react and then, even if she did, her laser didn't have the power necessary to stop an object moving at that speed before colliding with her. Aiko took what little time she had to attempt to further interpose herself between the speedster and Reina and braced for the impact... but it never came. The boy had been caught in one of the traps that Saito had set up and had been promptly flung to the ground at high speed. Needless to say it probably hurt a good bit.

Knowing Saito from their few encounters, he was not one to miss an opportunity to follow up on the success of his plan. This either meant he was launching his attack... or running away.  Hoping for the former and seeing Tsubasa charging forward again to engage again, Aiko moved to cut off the speedster's escape routes yet again. With Tsubasa approaching from one directing, and the potential attack from Saito likely coming from the direction he had run in before, Aiko decided to seal off the other two directions with her lasers, leaving the boy to decide what time of injury would be to his preference... if he could still get up after that high speed fall.

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Post  Guy Li on Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:00 pm

Had Touko looked to the girl at her back she would have been surprised to see Hana's expression was not one of bewilderment or fear. Her fine features instead displayed the far more mundane emotion of boredom. And as she backpedalled away from the spiky-haired girl and the three attackers she did so not with haste or alarm, but with an almost lethargic skip to her step.

Why wasn't she attacking? At first, Hana had considered that the other girl was waiting for the right moment to counter-attack. But several such moments passed without her capitalizing on them. Was she expecting them to give up? They wouldn't. Exhaust themselves? Not likely. Every step back she took only emboldened the predatory thugs who saw retreat as a sign of weakness. Giving ground only gave the enemy another chance to attack again.

The metal tool scraped and clashed against the wall with a loud, grinding whine. As expected, the youth struck out again. As before, it was an attack made without finesse or consideration for anything beyond hitting his target. He didn't need to strike a specific point. An arm. A leg. Her head. As long as he made contact, the weapon would do its job. And as he advanced with wild swings in that narrow space, all his attention was on making that weapon land.

***

Yosuke scrambled to his feet and was already untangling his legs from the strip of plastic when he saw the head peek out from behind the loading bay's door.

"There you are, you little rat." He snarled, his lips curling in an ugly scowl. Jagged metal descended upon him from the front. Angry fists assailed him from the rear and both sides were cut off by searing beams of heat. The enemy gave him no chance to recover. They may not have been coordinated. They may have been mere teenagers, but they were three against one. Even an Esper ability ceased to be an advantage in the face of overwhelming numbers.

But what Hamada Yosuke possessed went beyond Esper abilities.

The twin point of red flared and the awkwardly crouched boy vanished from sight. The bright trail of golden light that followed shot a straight path.

And its target, was Hirashi Saito.

Braving the shards of scrap, Yosuke raised his arms to protect his face and charged. The result was brutal. Flesh had been gouged from his forearms and one sliver of metal still sat embedded in the meat of his arm. But he was upon Saito now. He knew what a punch at this speed would do to the boy, do to both of them. It would be messy.

He opted instead to grab the other boy's collar and twist with all his might. Not to throw Saito, or to attack him directly. He spun Saito about to place the boy between himself and Aiko's lasers.

A human shield.
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Post  Kisaragi Anko on Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:17 am

Some questions should not be dared to ask. Some truths should not be intruded upon.

However, there were still some nosy enough to dare just that.

«So, what’s the winning taste, Anko-chan?»

First she shrieked, then an odd unseen grimace formed on the brave kunoichi’s face, as her eyes met the innocence of the secret devil’s.

«It’s a tie.»

She revealed after a short dramatic break. Then took another.

«But…»

Admittedly, these words were so hard to express that she had to spit them out under great pressure.

«You can blame Academy City’s cuisine style for that. I’ve never tasted an attempt at preparing karaage this devoid of heart and finesse. It’s obvious they were trying to reproduce the classic street market flavour but got lost in the idea of replicating that, instead of trying whole-heartedly. Too much science. Too much need for an understandable explanation. I don’t like it. It’s a fake.»

That was it. The conclusion she had come to had been one she had been pushing away from herself for the longest time. Academy City was a place devoid of heart. Devoid of a cuisine made by true craftsmen. They were pretenders. Nothing else. Eternally believing in scientific formulas as the gold standard.

«You should rest. Don’t act like a tough girl just because the situation forces that idea onto you.»

However, just as quickly as she had expressed the abyss of despair she had fallen into, she snapped out of it, unleashing her signature perception upon Kohaku.


That boy did not mind. He did not react. Instead, he’d remain the background character he was supposed to be, keeping a close eye on Hujisaka Natsumi – his guest.

«I’m going to guess you don’t have a whole lot of intel to give me either?»

«It depends on what kind of intel you desire, Hujisaka-kun.»

Immediately following the question with his reply, the ‹faceless› clerk followed the outlines of his role in the situation. That should make it clear: Whichever need that girl might voice, he would attempt to satisfy it.

«Take these splinters for example.»

Underlining his speech he moved to pick up a minuscule translucent speck from the floor, raising it to the point where its outlines became visible in the lamp light. However, he not only used this gesture to present his finding, did he eye it very carefully himself.

«This looks like it is made of a poly carbon hybrid. Unlike the kind used for everyday items such as CDs or green houses, this one is a special blend. Similar to the ones found in aviation or space craft. It seems quite durable, after all. We can assume it was used as the outer shell for the explosive used here.»

He proceeded.

«However, the windows installed in this room are not made of ordinary glass. Ichigo Ai enjoyed a secure lifestyle, insisting on a couple of modifications to her base of operations. As such the windows were made from extremely durable, bullet proof glass. Nothing you can shatter with a single grenade. Especially not one made of this material. Now take into account the fact that said grenade landed at the centre of this room, perfectly destroying all tactically relevant targets.»

His voice remained in a state between monotone and calm.

«The basic requirement for all of that to work so perfectly is to do everything on the first shot. Otherwise the target may have noticed and immediately evacuated. However, as I said: piercing the window is difficult. Even a sniper rifle couldn’t have achieved it. And even if, the path of the bullet would have been obstructed. That leads to the conclusion that the attacker used a device that enabled them to pierce the window and launch the projectile through it in a single go.»

His train of thought continued on and on.

«There is a not a large number of devices with exactly these specifications in Academy City’s databases. It might be that there are also prototypes or secret technologies, but let us ignore them for now. After all, what matters is that any of these devices are high grade military material. As such we can assume that the assassin had both extensive funding and a background in that branch of business.»

Until he reached the conclusion of his deductions. In tandem to that, he’d sink the one piece he had picked up from the floor into one of his hoodie jacket’s pockets.
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Post  Kira Kohaku on Fri Sep 04, 2020 4:50 am

Some truths really were best never tread upon. Kohaku was usually the type to go into long diatribes over various topics, but this was truly the first time she had experienced it from the outside. Anko’s monologue about the emptiness of Academy City’s fast food was not what she had expected.

Then again, was it safe to ask why Anko had seemingly given fast food such high expectations? The look of pure confusion on Kohaku’s face was enough to show the answer what she thought of that.

But, none of that really mattered.

“Eheheh...so you saw through me that easily, huh.”

As much as she may have wanted to disguise her exhaustion, the physical signs were still there.

“Was it the heavy eyelids or the drooping shoulders that gave it away?”

Tossing in a joke was the right thing to do in that situation. Yes, this was the level of social graces that Kira Kohaku had mastered. Gaze upon it and gawk in amazement, plebs.

Letting out a yawn and politely covering it, Kohaku cut away from the joke to ask a single question. “But, that aside, do we have a plan for tomorrow?”
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Post  Watabe Tsubasa on Sun Sep 06, 2020 7:25 pm

She really thought this was it. Tsubasa really thought this was where they finally catch their enemy.

However, unexpectedly, he somehow had untangled himself from her grisp and had already vanished somewhere.

"What...? What just hap—?"

She couldn't understand. She couldn't wrap her head around it. How was such a feat humanly possible? It was 3 vs 1. Yet, he had somehow regained the upper hand, again.

'He's not human... Not human...'

Before she could do anything, he had located Saito, and had made a human shield out of him.

'Oh shit! Shit shit shit!'

She realised that if nothing was done, the lasers would hit the boy directly.

If he's lucky, he'd end up quite injured. If he's not lucky, the worst case scenario, he dies right there and there!

Tsubasa really wanted to avoid having any casualties.

'What do I do? What do I do?!'

She started panicking, and her mind blanked out. She couldn't find any plan, couldn't think of any solution.

Before she even knew, she just started running towards the two boys. She was hoping to make it in time before a tragedy happens... She didn't know what she was going to do, or how to deal with those lasers when they come. But she just run, and run, and run, with all of her might.

"AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!"

She decided to intercept the only path of the lasers. Maybe outsiders would see it as heroism, sacrificing herself to protect Saito. But it wasn't really the case. She just refused to give that blondie the satisfaction of having his plan go that smoothly. She'll tremple on his expectations, even in an insignificant risky way. He wants Saito as a shield? She'll take his shield away and give him a taste of her annoyance and anger.

She was right between the two sides. In front of her, here was the blondies who was holding Saito hostage. Farther behind her, there was Aiko who was protecting Reina and probably shooting her lasers by now.

Tsubasa couldn't really tell anymore: did she shoot or did she not?

But it was too late to wonder about any of that right now. Tsubasa had already plunged forward in order to deliver her angry fist.

Would she make it in time or would lasers hit her from behind first?

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Post  Hujisaka Natsumi on Sun Sep 06, 2020 8:26 pm

She took a glimpse at the boy describing what material had been scattered across the room, and what possibilities there could have been to throw this specific fragmentation grenade. As she picked up a shard of the polycarbon, she raised her eyebrows and asked.

“Do we have camera feed on where this girl was prior to the grenade exploding? Any chance that she was out of the apartment while the window was being forced and later noticed the broken window? And that this grenade was triggered from a distance by some kind of Esper ability?”

It was a bit of a stretch, she admitted, since camera footage would most likely be a goner by now. But given that this wasn’t your average police investigation, getting as much information as possible before this apartment would, in a sense, “cease to exist” along with Ichigo Ai, was quite crucial.
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Post  Saito Hirashi on Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:02 pm

Hirashi saw the trail of golden light and felt himself lifting off the ground. It took him nearly a second before realising what had happened.

Hirashi was not strong, both physically and in terms of his ability output. He had made up for it by planning ahead, and by being controlled and precise with his power.

Being engaged upon so quickly was not a part of the plan.

The physical and mental shock of Blondie’s attack threw Hirashi’s thoughts into disarray, he would be hard pressed to make full use of his powers with so much external interference. But between the constant stream of observations which the ever-ticking gears of Hirashi’s brain passively threw out at him, there was a desire to win which gripped Hirashi, almost hypnotic, calling for victory. After all, Hirashi would hate to let a cocky sod like Blondie have his way.

“Spinning motion, Blondie is aware of the consequences of a high speed attack and is not self-destructive.”

Hirashi tried to focus on the piece of metal still lodged in the other boy’s forearm, it would be impossible for Hirashi’s scattered thoughts to define a new object whilst it was moving around.

“Good grip strength, the shrapnel did not seem to cut tendons.”

Realising this, he recalled the shapes of each piece of metal he had launched at Blondie a few seconds earlier instead and tried to find a match.

“The FCR tendon is one of two tendons that bend the wrist.  Its muscle belly is in the forearm and then travels along the inside of the forearm and crosses the wrist. It attaches to the base of the second and third hand bones.  It also attaches to one of the wrist bones, the trapezium.”


There was no guarantee that Hirashi would be able to find the exact match, but for what he planned to do, there was no need for much finesse anyway.

By applying a downward force in the general area of the scrap metal, and combining it with torque applied to the roughly defined space, Hirashi would twist this makeshift knife deeper into the other boy’s arm, intending to open up his grip and potentially buy some space.
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Post  Aoki Aiko on Sat Sep 19, 2020 4:12 pm

The boy was trapped. There was no where for him to run to dodge everything that was coming in. However, Aiko, along with the rest of them had underestimated just how fast the boy could move and how determined he was to win. The golden light mixed with the crimson droplets of blood as Yosuke launched himself toward Hirashi, the jagged shrapnel tearing up his skin.

"Is he insane?!?"

Aiko moved to fire at the boy the was now hurtling towards Hirashi, he was moving so fast that by the time she had fired her lasers off, Yosuke had snagged Hirashi and spun him in front of himself like a shield. Aiko had already fired and there was no way of stopping them after the fact, though through another unexpected turn, Tsubasa threw herself in front of the lasers, likely try to protect Hirashi from them. As soon as Aiko had noticed what Yosuka had done, she'd stopped firing, but it was slightly too late to stop Tsubasa from taking at least a partial hit. The contact was brief so the damage not too bad, if it had hit skin, some burns, if clothes and she was unlucky there may be a small fire to pat out.

"Are you insane too?!? If I hadn't stopped firing before I even noticed you jumped in front, that could have been really serious!!!"

Aiko held up the laser pointer again, pointing it directly at Yosuke. He may have had a human shield, but a laser is small and precise. She aimed at a place where he was slightly exposed behind his meat shield. With him standing still, she would probably be able to get a shot off at least before he started moving again, but she held back for a moment.

"Let him go."

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Post  Guy Li on Sat Oct 03, 2020 1:41 am

Yosuke bit down to keep from crying out from the stabbing pain in his forearm. The jagged shrapnel burrowed deeper, working its way between the twin bones of his arm. Without a doubt, it was this boy's handiwork. He wasn't holding back.

However.

Yosuke wouldn't lose. Not here. Not to them.

Not when his allies were counting on him.

Maybe he deserved to be beaten and spat upon and cursed as scum. But if that was his fate he'd share it gladly with his fellow Skill Out. They'd done distasteful things, given up their pride and morality and basic human decency. They'd struggled and fought and clawed their way through the city's underbelly together. Him and his comrades.

But they'd done it to survive. In the end that was all they wanted, all they could hope for. Survival in a world that hated and spurned them. A world that had given up on them and cast them out like trash. Kurama and the others may have been misfits, but they were misfits together. They were making a place for themselves, so they'd never be at anyone else's mercy again.

The Espers who denied him everything, the powers that be who turned a blind eye. They could all go to hell. They'd backed him and his friends into a corner and now they were trying to take away the only thing he had left, his place to belong. He'd fight to protect it, even if it cost him everything.

The cost.

A trickle of blood welled from the corner of his eye. His 'gift' wasn't without a price.

He'd really been pushing it too far, this time.

Would he need to resort to that?

"Take it. Between this and your power, you should be able to deal with pretty much anyone." Kurama held out a short, slim object wrapped in leather.

A knife.

Yosuke had balked, waving his hands to ward off the knife as if it was aimed at him.

"What!? No way! I'm not gonna use something like that! It's too scary." Yosuke had tried to decline the offering. "I'm not the kind of person to stab someone. Besides, I'm afraid of blood, you know?" The chill he'd felt seeing that narrow blade nearly stopped his heart. Just imagining what it would do to another person... the kind of wound it would make... he felt queasy.

Kurama had pushed it towards him insistently.

"Just take it. If it comes down to you and an enemy, don't you think it's better that you make it out rather than them? They won't give a damn about you, so why should you care about them?" Kenji pressed the leather sheathe against Yosuke's chest.

Kurama had been right, of course. With his speed he could probably kill anyone short of the Level 5s with just a single well-placed slash.

But knives could have other uses, too. He reached for his back pocket, and the leather sheathe hooked onto it. A quick, if fumbling motion pulled the weapon free and he pointed it at Saito's neck.

"Back off!" Yosuke coughed out. Wild eyes stared flickered back and forth between Tsubasa and Aiko. Right now he couldn't tell who was the bigger threat and he wasn't taking chances. "Back the fuck off or I'll slit his fucking throat I swear!" He hoped the pain in his voice wasn't mistaken for weakness. The sight of red creeping down his arm like a vine brought the bitter taste of bile to his mouth and he suppressed the urge to vomit. "And you!" He shook Saito as he crept slowly back towards the open shutter door. "Get this FUCKING THING OUT OF MY ARM!" His voice was high and cracking with panic and fury. "Fuck..." He winced and clenched his jaw. How had it turned out like this? "Why couldn't you just hand her over!? Is she really that important to you!?" Yosuke was teetering on the edge of hysteria. "YOU DON'T EVEN FUCKING KNOW HER!" Cold sweat dripped from his brow.
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Post  Watabe Tsubasa on Fri Oct 09, 2020 9:41 pm

Two shocks in a row.

Firstly, she didn't think Aiko would yell at her. The laser that came shortly after wasn't too hurtful, but it probably left a small burn spot on her arm, seeing as it stung a little.

Secondly, she'd never imagined this Esper guy to take out a knife of all things...

And now he's holding it to Saito's neck! Is he insane?!

This guy seemed to be confused as to why they were helping Reina when they didn't know her previously.

That was true but...

"Even if we didn't know her, doesn't mean we're gonna turn a blind eye to a girl in need. Also, I myself have some... history, you can say, with Skill-Outs and the troubles they make, so I couldn't just pretend I didn't see anything, even if it had nothing to do with me personally this time. There, did that answer your question? Now, would you let go of our friend? This stalling is getting really annoying... unless you still want there to be more people getting hurt, both on your side and ours."

Maybe if they tried talking him out of it, he'd listen?

"Why are you even doing all of this anyway?"

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Post  Kisaragi Anko on Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:32 am

«Was it the heavy eyelids or the drooping shoulders that gave it away?»

«A little bit of that, but also the nature of your breath and overall posture. Then again, one could easily deduce your current physical state off of the fact that you – as an untrained person – have been under great stress all day long. It’s an impressive feat that you are even standing right now.»

Indeed, social norms were lost among some people, even more than others. Even those who could openly show that they had humans for their entire lifetime.

Still, Kisaragi Anko had never been the kind to understand an off-hand joke in a serious situation. Or at least she would not take them lightly. Especially not if her pride entered the mix.

«But, that aside, do we have a plan for tomorrow?»

That was when she averted her gaze momentarily. Strategies were important at any step of a situation like this. They may have broken away from their pursuers, but surely that would only last so long. Not to ignore the fact that a proud kunoichi like her wouldn’t want to sit out any opportunity to retaliate. No, retaliation was mandatory.

However…

«Let’s discuss this tomorrow. Together with Komaba-san. Sleep is key to strong thought.»

The night was no longer a young one. Kohaku was no longer in any shape that would allow her to push forward significantly. She probably could, but to anyone with a little experience going beyond this line this early in the game wasn’t advisable.

Besides, she couldn’t deny that the pain from receiving three shells to the chest was still lingering.

With all that being said, Kisaragi proceeded to remove the tracksuit jacket she wore, revealing the fancy super rare male idol t-shirt she wore underneath. Then folding the jacket carefully and placing it right by her head’s side she completed the oddly polite gesture.

«Come. Lie down.»

Now, having placed the make shift pillow she was ready to offer her partner in crime the best possible bed she could provide on the go. It was nothing more than a pillow but the folds would at least ensure it’d be somewhat comfortable.

As for safety concerns the girl may have in this run down mess of a house in company of three thugs (of which two were drunk), the solution would be found in the very minimal distance she’d keep.


«You’re thinking fast, Hujisaka-kun. However, all evidence we have proves she has been in her apartment for a couple of hours prior to the explosion. Said evidence entails her phone’s GPS data and the footage hallway’s security cameras.»

Not only had they responded quickly but thoroughly. Even with how little time had been between the actual incident and this conversation, the gears behind the machinery that was TASK hadn’t been of the slow kind. In fact, they had been abnormally fast.

«According to the data we have retrieved from the energy supplier we can assume that her computer was quite active right before the blast. Also taking into consideration the position of her body, it is safe to assume she has been working on it at the time of her death. However, given the state of the machine we cannot pinpoint what exactly Ichigo Ai had been working on.»

His speech was one that didn’t accidentally slip up at any point. Every word that hooded by spoke was carefully articulated, not leaving space for any wrong intonations, allowing it to be sound even more factual than a news broadcast on TV.

«As for the grenade: I must admit that I’m not sure. It could be. It could not be. However, I wouldn’t call it necessary. There is a couple of technology fitting the checklist of criteria we have identified that does not require any further involvement of outside sources. In fact, those seem to be more in line with the outside circumstances we have uncovered.»

There was something more. Something he hadn’t spoken up about just yet.

So far all the two of them had discussed had been the details of the crime scene. Yet, limiting ones scope to only that was a mistake only an amateur investigator would do.

Still, even knowing that the boy took an oddly lengthy pause before sharing one particular detail in on oddly blunt manner.

«Ichigo Ai could have gone against the advice she was given. There was someone she shouldn’t have made contact with during the day.»
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Post  Kira Kohaku on Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:50 am

« It’s an impressive feat that you are even standing right now.»

Anko wasn’t wrong. Given all they had been through the whole day without much time for rest, it was a miracle for someone like Kohaku, hardly the athletic type to put it lightly, to be standing and not crouching over or sprawled out in exhaustion. That wasn’t to say she wasn’t exhausted. Kohaku was not the athletic type. The dull, ever prevalent, feeling in her arms and legs screaming at her to stop moving and stay sprawled out could not be any more clear to her. In the end, the last few hours before they finally stopped at this hideout was fueled by fumes, an ever decreasing adrenaline rush, and willpower.

«Let’s discuss this tomorrow. Together with Komaba-san. Sleep is key to strong thought.»

Yes, Anko wasn’t wrong.

As much as she wanted to plan things out, the fumes that she had been running on had fizzled. Her adrenaline was no longer in full burst. Her willpower had returned to that of a normal girl. After all, they were safe, relatively speaking.

There was a time to keep progressing against all odds, and there was a time to simply retreat and take a step back.

Seeing the makeshift pillow, the girl let her instinct take over as she let herself rest on the folded jacket. Sure, it was hardly luxurious, but it was definitely better than resting her head straight on the floor.

“You know, you make sure to take up some space too.” Even as she rested her head, she made sure to take up only half of the area of the pillow and tapped a hand gently on the other half. Small though it may have been, that was still space for another head. Probably.

She would be damned if Anko, who was clearly in a worse condition than her, didn’t get some measure of physical comfort when she slept.

“You need to get some rest as...”

The girl simply tapered off as the first measure of comfort led to her closing her eyes. The girl could speak no more for the night as she had quickly fallen into the land of dreams.
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Post  Saito Hirashi on Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:49 pm

"And you! Get this FUCKING THING OUT OF MY ARM!”

And of course things took a turn for the worse like it always did, the shrapnel failed to sever the tendon, and now Hirashi had a knife pointed at his neck.

“Alright alright, but I think you should at least stay still if I am to try remove these.”
Blondie seemed to be taking them to the shutter door. Hirashi could feel a light breeze on the back of his head, focusing on this sensation, it helped, somewhat, to take his mind off the knife which he was getting way too well acquainted with.

It was whilst thinking this, Hirashi was suddenly struck with the strange timing of the knife. Why did Blondie not use the knife earlier in the fight? It could not have been a lack of opportunity, so could it be that Blondie, despite his insufferable attitude, was actually reluctant to hurt people?

"Even if we didn't know her, doesn't mean we're gonna turn a blind eye to a girl in need. Also, I myself have some... history, you can say, with Skill-Outs and the troubles they make, so I couldn't just pretend I didn't see anything, even if it had nothing to do with me personally this time. There, did that answer your question? Now, would you let go of our friend? This stalling is getting really annoying... unless you still want there to be more people getting hurt, both on your side and ours."
"Why are you even doing all of this anyway?"


It seemed the Mad Biker was attempting to talk things out, and was being surprisingly competent at it. Hirashi decided to listen to his captor's story, getting an understanding of his motivations and values may help him decide what to say next in terms of persuading him. In the meanwhile though, he settled on addressing something more practical.

"I am more than happy to help ya take these outta your arm, but ya really ought to stay still and stop draggin me."
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Post  Aoki Aiko on Thu Oct 22, 2020 5:39 pm

Though she had threatened him, Aiko couldn't really shoot the speedster while they were holding Saito. One wrong move and Saito would be the one getting burned instead, and Aiko wasn't about to have two scorched allies on her hands.  They were certainly in a desperate situation and the addition of a knife certainly didn't make it any easier. Luckily though his attention for the moment seemed to have been pulled squarely away from Reina, though Aiko remained interposed between the two.

"And you! Get this FUCKING THING OUT OF MY ARM!”

“Alright alright, but I think you should at least stay still if I am to try remove these.”

It seemed that despite his insane action, the speedster was being worn down and was in pain.


"Even if we didn't know her, doesn't mean we're gonna turn a blind eye to a girl in need. Also, I myself have some... history, you can say, with Skill-Outs and the troubles they make, so I couldn't just pretend I didn't see anything, even if it had nothing to do with me personally this time. There, did that answer your question? Now, would you let go of our friend? This stalling is getting really annoying... unless you still want there to be more people getting hurt, both on your side and ours."
"Why are you even doing all of this anyway?"


With a very passionate outburst, Watabe had Aiko somewhat stunned. The declaration she had made all but required an answer. There was a lot they didn't know about the situation and any info that could be gained would be good. Aiko lowered the laser she had pointed at the speedster in a gesture to attempt to cause him to be slightly more at ease so they might spill something. All that was left to do know was make see how he would react.

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Post  Kisaragi Anko on Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:01 pm

August 21st, 7:22 A.M.

Morning came faster than the night had ended. After all, even though the day had been quite rough, the proximity she had been forced into, hadn’t been to Kisaragi’s pleasure. Hadn’t it been for the sake of protecting Kohaku, she wouldn’t have agreed to sharing a pillow like this.

Rays of light had dug through holes in the walls and gaps in the fortifications, ever so slightly raising the brightness in the run down space. As a result it no longer harboured neither the creepy atmosphere of an abandoned building nor the jolly air of the campfire party. No, this was a post-war battlefield.

Amidst that, the only three awake people had gathered around a makeshift table formed by a board and a beer crate. Komaba Ritoku, Kisaragi Anko and Kohaku.

«So that’s what happened.»

These words, spoken with his usual stoic calm, had been Komaba’s only reaction to the detailed summary provided by Kisaragi. However, while reading his stern faced facade made it difficult to read his emotions, it was evident he needed a short moment to process everything. It had been a lot.

«Now, can you help us or not?»

«Mhm…armed mercenaries are not my area of expertise. That’d be beyond Skill-Out turf, if I’m honest. Even if we came across that type, we’d rather avoid the trouble it’d cause.»

«I see…»

‹Disappointment› was hardly a word appropriate enough to describe what the kunoichi felt at that response.

«But there’s something else. You said they had top notch equipment, right? There’s been a group of trouble makers among Skill-Out. Maybe it’s far-fetched, but they’ve been running around with exactly that kind of top notch military equipment, you’d normally expect of such mercenaries.»

«Hm? Go on.»

«It’s not much there is to say. The guy’s name is Kurama. He’s been a problem for a while. His group’s actions are rather noisy and problematic, creating some negative attention for Skill-Out as a whole. And it seems like someone is backing them.»

«You assume that someone could be linked to who is after us?»

«Mhm. Unfortunately, that possibility exists.»


Last edited by Kisaragi Anko on Thu Oct 29, 2020 12:37 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Post  Guy Li on Wed Oct 28, 2020 10:03 pm

“Alright alright, but I think you should at least stay still if I am to try remove these.” His hostage was trying to negotiate.

"Even if we didn't know her, doesn't mean we're gonna turn a blind eye to a girl in need." The biker was speaking too. Somehow that answer just pissed him off even more.

"Also, I myself have some... history, you can say, with Skill-Outs and the troubles they make, so I couldn't just pretend I didn't see anything, even if it had nothing to do with me personally this time. There, did that answer your question? Now, would you let go of our friend? This stalling is getting really annoying... unless you still want there to be more people getting hurt, both on your side and ours." The biker continued. Yosuke found it hard to really concentrate on the words through the pain.

"Why are you even doing all of this anyway?" The final question stabbed at his heart through the din of noise and confusion, disturbing what little calm remained in the boy. Why? Because they had no other choice. Because it was easy money. Because it was just the way of the world. Because it was revenge. But before he could even formulate a response in his own mind, someone interrupted.

"I am more than happy to help ya take these outta your arm, but ya really ought to stay still and stop draggin me." Saito was talking again. Yosuke didn't trust what he had to say though. He was the sneaky sort. The kind who laid traps and didn't come out into the open unless it was to finish a helpless opponent. That was how Yosuke saw Saito.

"Everyone, shut up! Quit fucking around, or I swear to God..." His voice was trembling. Could he really do it? Kill a person in cold blood? In a fight was one thing, but like this... he'd not prepared himself for this.

Backed into a corner and nearing breaking point, Yosuke was out of options. He could no longer rely on his speed and all he had achieved by taking Saito hostage was to delay the inevitable. He would be defeated here. However.

Backup would be arriving soon. At least one van, maybe more if Kenji was feeling cautious. Kurama would probably beat him senseless for fucking up again, but he didn't care right now. Yosuke was at his limit, but he just had to hold out. Just a little longer. In that regard, he held the upper hand. He just had to keep bluffing, and hope none of them saw through him.

But one girl had. The small, timid and quiet girl with long silver hair had been cowering behind Aiko this entire time, but she even from this distance she could see the hesitation in Yosuke's eyes. The fear that stayed his hand.

"He's lying." She said quietly with a tug on Aiko's sleeve. "He's more afraid of that knife than we are." She spoke with absolute certainty. The purple haze of terror cloaking Yosuke spoke louder than any words.

Because this was her ability. The emotions of others laid bare for her and her alone.

This was her Heart Reading.

***

What Touko lacked in technique, she made up for in experience. And foolhardy courage. The thug at the head of the pack swung wide, over stepping his reach into a lunge. The attack tore past Touko's face, close enough to disturb the hair on her forehead and as he brought his arm back across his body she stepped in with her fist raised high.

But the punch was just a feint. A cover for the real attack. The instep of her trainer kicked a full trashbag away from the wall and into the thug's path before his foot could land. Unable to catch his balance, the Skill Out toppled sideways, landing awkwardly against the alley wall as his head broke his fall. He was out before his body even came to a rest. The next delinquent was too close behind and tripped over the tangled limbs of his fallen comrade. He caught the wall with his hand and looked up just in time to see Touko's fist swing down.


Last edited by Guy Li on Thu Nov 12, 2020 1:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Kira Kohaku on Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:28 pm

Kohaku was a girl who was, by no means, used to sleeping on the floor. As much as she was able to get a decent night’s sleep, she found herself rubbing at her back and shoulders a lot after she had woken up. It would take a while for her aches to subside and it was clearly not a good look that she was still stretching even as she and Anko were giving their explanations. Pay no mind to the fact that Kohaku was super self-aware that she hadn’t bathed in a while.

«Mhm…armed mercenaries are not my area of expertise. That’d be beyond Skill-Out turf, if I’m honest. Even if we came across that type, we’d rather avoid the trouble it’d cause.»

That was something Kohaku had expected, unfortunately. Despite the fact that Skill-Out had gained an unbearable amount of notoriety, it was expected that professional mercenaries with advanced technology were something far beyond their scope.

Unfortunately, that wouldn’t leave Kohaku and Anko with much options.

«It’s not much there is to say. The guy’s name is Kurama. He’s been a problem for a while. His group’s actions are rather noisy and problematic, creating some negative attention for Skill-Out as a whole. And it seems like someone is backing them.»

That, on the other hand, was something worth looking into. But, that still brought up its own problems.

“How are we going to approach this?” The girl placed her hand on her chin and started to mull through the options.

Anko and Kohaku were not a pair of sexy secret agents who could wipe out a gang in an instant, after all. One of them was not in the best of shape and the other was a noncombatant.

“It’s not like we can just walk up to them and question them...can we?”

And this was far from Kohaku's realm of expertise.
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Post  Watabe Tsubasa on Wed Nov 04, 2020 9:23 pm

Good. Things seemed to be going well.

Or were they? At least it seemed that way to Tsubasa. The other thwo understood her plan and went along with it, trying to reason with the guy in front of them.

Then suddenly he started yelling and threatening them.

"Everyone, shut up! Quit fucking around, or I swear to God..."

"Or what?"

She grew alarmed. It seems her plan had backfired somehow? Welp. She had jumped to conclusions and assumed things were going well before properly waiting for his reply... She really wasn't the most emotionally mature person. Years of neglected trauma does that to you.

So, she readied her fist for a punch. The thing she understood best.

Just before she did though, she heard a docile voice. Oh, Reina. She didn't look back, but she didn't really need to in order to recognize the speaker. The other girl left that much of an impression on her already, even though they have only recently met.

"He's lying. He's more afraid of that knife than we are."

"Huh... interesting", this declaration came out of nowhere. Him? Scared? If anything he looked so pissed off he could slaughter a whole town.

And again, this proves her emotional immaturity. The biker had completely misread the body language of the boy. She thought of it as anger, while it was pure fear of his own weapon.

How in hell is that even--- Never mind that.

"WHY EVEN CARRY IT ON YOU IF YOU'RE THIS SCARED OF IT???"

This.

Did.

Not.

Make.

Any.

Sense.

Her eyes are probably popping out from shock right now.

This was absurd.

Just, why??? She couldn't wrap her head around it.

And then a genius idea struck her.

"I got it! You're tryina play it cool and badass! Like a real gangsta and stuff!"

She enthusiastically and proudly declared, completely missing the mark.

"Hahahahaha! Man, that's so lame and stupid!", her stomac started to hurt from laughter.

"I mean it in a good way, you seem like a funny dude!", she waved her hand around in a dismissive way while teary eyed from laughing.

Then she blurted out the silliest, stupidest most idiotic thing she probably could in this situation:

"Hey! I like you, let's be friends!"

Sadly for the others around her, she wasn't much of the rational person to "read the room". She wasn't exactly dumb, but she simply didn't care enough. She just said what she felt at the moment.

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Post  Kisaragi Anko on Wed Nov 04, 2020 10:02 pm

«Technically we can.»

Kisaragi was quick to reply without any second thought invested. After all, she was that kind of secret agent who could wipe out a gang in an instant. At least in the normal world she was.

«But it won’t work out. An outright attack would be too noisy. Once we strike the enemy will know that we know something and that is going to become far more problematic than our current situation. Ideally, we need to preserve our advantage of keeping our hand secret. We can reveal ourselves as the chaser once we caught up to the real culprit.»

That response was uttered calmly as she averted her eyes from the others, making it clear that she was still pondering. Noticing that, Komaba remained silent to allow her head to remain focussed.

«It’s not like we know Kurama’s allegiance yet. We do not know wether or not he is really involved with the people after me. To find that out, we would need to monitor him and his group. But that’s where things become difficult. I’m sure, alone I would be able to trail them for a couple of days without them noticing me, but I can not and will not leave Kohaku’s side until this is over.»

There was no denying things had become much more complicated due to Kohaku’s involvement in the situation. However, that kunoichi was not the type of person to disregard her as a deadweight. No, to her keeping Kohaku safe had become the utmost priority.

«What we need to develop a functional plan is information. Komaba-san, please share everything you know about Kurama with us. His and his group’s activities and where we can find them for starters.»

Faced with her sharp question, Komaba at first only returned a soft nod. Of course, he couldn’t lay everything bare, even if she had asked for it. The time simply wasn’t there and too much information would overshadow the important details. Meaning he had to first work out a compact but easy to grasp summary.

«All in all Kurama is your typical street level criminal. His main operations are organising goods, offering services and collecting protection money. Unlike the majority of Skill-Out, they do not seem to care much about protecting the weak. As a result the victims of their actions can be anyone. Be it because someone is paying them to or because they see an opportunity in it.»

Hence his involvement in all this wasn’t unlikely. Now, Kisaragi took her turn to nod.

«There’s a number of hideouts they use frequently. I can mark the ones we know on a map of the city alongside the boundaries of their turf.»

He proposed, tossing a leftover leaflet from last year’s Daihaseisai on the table. Then immediately after he folded it open, revealing a city map on which he’d begin drawing the promised marks using a permanent marker he happened to have in his pocket.

«There you go.»

By far this couldn’t be described as a big picture, but it offered an interesting perspective. One they needed to figure out how to use.
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Post  Saito Hirashi on Sun Nov 08, 2020 10:44 am

"I got it! You're tryina play it cool and badass! Like a real gangsta and stuff!"

Em?
The words which came from the Mad Biker’s mouth was so unexpected it caused Hirashi’s brain to switch off for a few seconds.

"I mean it in a good way, you seem like a funny dude!"


The Mad Biker hosed herself with laughter as she wiped tears from her eyes. Hirashi was also getting close to tears, but for a much less joyous reason. It seemed Hirashi had given the Mad Biker too much credit.

Hirashi was much too far away to hear Reina’s quiet feed of information, but he was able to see her mouth move. However, as far as he was concerned, Mad Biker’s statement might be true, but her presentation was very questionable and he was probably going to die soon.

No doubt such a strange turn of events would cause Blondie to falter as well. However, given Hirashi’s poor physical abilities, he doubted he was able to make use of such a brief opening. Thus he decided to trust in the information that Blondie was unwilling to use the knife and keep negotiating.

It was fairly safe to assume that Blondie did not trust him, so instead of continuing to push his agenda, Hirashi decided to use Mad Biker’s outburst to lighten the mood and take the focus away from whether Blondie was afraid of the knife or not and try to set up a more positive image of him inside of Blondie's head.

“You know, I only met her a few hours ago, and I actually thought she was okay up until just now. If I die here I’m definitely gonna return as a ghost and haunt her and her big mouth.”

A weak joke for sure. Hirashi was capable of being a far more competent comedian if he wanted to, however, showing off his verbal prowess would only serve to cement Blondie’s impression of him as a sly bastard. So Hirashi put forward a more humble performance to try and change that.
Saito Hirashi
Saito Hirashi

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Join date : 2018-10-24

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