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  • Writer's picturePrincess Belin

Naveen & Tiana

“Tiana!! Let’s go! These waffles aren’t gonna serve themselves!” Big Joe yelled at me from behind the kitchen wall as I skated my way back over, tray in hand, and loaded on another five plates of deliciously warm waffles and chicken wings. 

“Sorry, Big Joe.” He rolled his eyes at me as per usual as I rolled down to table three, graciously giving them their waffles and running my rounds on refills and table busting. Having this job often meant I had to deal with how rude Big Joe could be. But, a job is a job, especially if it’s one where I can be anywhere near the kitchen. I smiled to myself taking in a whiff of the scent of freshly baked pastries as it filled the run-down, beat-up, restaurant Joe called his own. The people surrounding me laughed as their faces filled with light and hope at every conversation. No matter how messy their faces or their hands were, or how loudly those rusty old chairs creaked, they were happy.

 It took me back to the days when my father was alive and well. When he, my mother, and I would make our famous gumbo everyone on the street couldn’t help but to come up to our porch for a bowl full of that tasty meal. How I could take one sip and know what was missing, the way my father's eyes glowed with joy in those very moments. How he swore I would do better than them, that I’d get that restaurant because that’s just how bright I truly was. I missed those homely nights. I miss the way the moonlight and that small crack of light cast from my warm home would hit him and make him sparkle in the night. If only death’s cruel hands hadn’t gripped him so tightly, he’d still be with us. Nonetheless, I made him a promise as he passed, a promise I will forever keep. I will open up our restaurant and I will make him proud.

Big Joe came out from around the container, in his stained apron, chef's hat, the graying stubble he always seemed to have, and still with a spatula in hand. “Come on daydreams, we gotta close up. You know the drill.” He huffed out as I nodded, continuing to close up the restaurant as our last customers walked out, praising Big Joe for his amazing food. Sometimes, I wished people knew just how much that inflated his ego. I quickly rushed around the small building, having everything neat and ready for closing within a few minutes.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Big Joe!” I called out as I slid out of my mint green, pristine skates, putting them into my bag and slipping on a pair of beaten up flats. 

“Yep, you already know 2:00, sharp.” He responded as I nodded Walking out and slinging my bag over my shoulder. FInally done, I thought to myself as I began making my walk home. I smiled to myself thinking about how once I bought my restaurant I could finally buy myself a car. How proud my mother would be and how happy I’d be driving around and tending to my restaurant filled with life. 

“Oh sorry!” A woman in a plush white coat said after she bumped into me. I gave her a cordial smile and nodded it off, as my eyes fully set on her and hers set on mine. We both stopped in the middle of the sidewalk as I tilted my head. I knew her from somewhere, I just couldn’t put my finger on where.

“I have a proposition for you, Tiana.” She said with wisdom filling her voice and a mix of confusion and terror dripped onto my face. How did this stranger know my name? I thought to myself as the cold gust of October air found its way in between us. I stared at her blankly.

“I can make every, last, one..” She trailed off, as her thin crinkly finger crept its way up my arm, “Of your precious wishes come true if you make King Naveen fall in love with you.” She said and then flashed me a charming smile. 

My flight or fight response was to slap her and run, but a part of me needed this. Needed something to seriously change. I had been working since I was 17 to try and save up for my restaurant. I was close now, real close, but I had a sinking feeling it wouldn’t happen. What can some reassurance, and a weight off of my back really hurt? 

“Even my restaurant?” I questioned her sharply as she took a step back flashing me a wicked smirk.

“Of course darling, isn’t that your main dream?” She said, her once kind and gentle tone becoming drawn out as she became greedy, rubbing her hands together as I reluctantly nodded.

“I need words, dearest.” She said as her eyes widened and her pupils dilated vastly. I bit my lip, thinking for only a few seconds before I spoke.

“Yes, I accept.” I responded and she smiled, rubbing her hands together and vanishing within seconds, a puff of a pink cloud being all that was left of her being. I stared blankly, looking around. What just happened? I wondered to myself as I made my way home, going as quickly as my tired legs could take me.  

The second I hit my bed, even with my thin coat still covering my body, I passed out, just to be woken up a few hours after to head to my second job. I groaned and went to shower, getting through my normal routine as quickly as possible when I heard a knock at my door. I casually went outside, with half of my uniform on and my hair in a ton of rollers.

“Squeakk!” My mail box replied to me slowly opening it as it did everyday. I pulled out my normal mail. Bills, bills, bills, I thought to myself as I shuffled the envolopes, until I ran into a letter with “Jamesane & Jamson” on it. I gasped and threw the rest of the envelopes on the floor, rushing into my kitchen and grabbing the first knife I saw to open the letter. I fumbled with the piece of paper skimming through it quickly. “We have accepted your offer on Building 21 on Lenlock avenue.” I gasped and took a seat before practically squealing as I ran my hand over the wooden table that sat in my kitchen. Grabbing my phone and dialing my mom.

“Ring, Ring, ring...” Nothing. Then it went to voicemail. I looked at my phone confused as that same pink cloud from yesterday night appeared, it was immediately followed by that same woman from the following night.

“You thought I would just let you get everything you want?” She asked, as the sky grayed, the precious sunlight that was once beaming in was no longer surfacing.

“What? You said I had to make Naveen fall in love with me!” I exclaimed, appalled at the fact that she was even in my house. Witches had become a normal site here in New Orleans, don’t get me wrong, but I had never personally had one in my home. 

“Yes, but you must not have done your research, King Naveen is a prevalent player. He can never seem to stick to a girl.” She smirked at me and vanished just as quickly as she appeared as I leaned back biting down on my bottom lip, worried.

What happened to my mom...? Is she even okay? Is she alive? What if she’s off in a ditch? What if the witch killed my mother herself? What else can she do? And what did-

The classic sound of royal trumpets went off signaling one of the royal carriages making their way through the busy streets of my hometown on its way back to the castle. I leaned forward in my chair racking my brain to try and figure out exactly what went down last night. Is that why she was so pushy to make me say the words I accept? So she could do this to me?.. What had I ever done to her to deserve this!

“Ring!” I picked up my phone faster than I ever had in my entire life, just to hear my best friend Charlotte La Bouf’s voice. I slouched back in my seat.

“Hey, girl! You know I was thinking, Big Daddy says that we should hire you for my ball tonight! And girl, that’s a great idea! I might even fall in love with a beautiful Princess!” She exclaimed, her accent dripping through her voice even over the phone, I opened my mouth to speak as she began to ramble over me.

“Doll, I love you very much, but shut up! Text me what time I need to be there and what I need to make.” I said after about ten minutes of her endless rambles, at least they took my mind off of my situation.

“Ugh. Okay, I’ll see you there?” She asked as I heard her let out a huff of sassy air and I giggled.

“Yeah, um. Is the King going to be there?” I figured that he must be going, my best friend wasn’t blood royalty but the empire her dad, otherwise known as Big Daddy had built up might as well have been. It gave them a list of connections that never seems to end.

“Ooh! You like that King don’t ya? I mean, I can see the appeal from a 1000 miles away!” She exclaimed as I sighed, running my free hand over my face.

She sighed reluctantly, “Something like that, but yes or no?” I hated lying to my best friend.

“Yes!” She said just as my timer to head out for work went off and I hurriedly ended the call with her, rushing around to finish my final touches and running out the door to catch the bus. I’ll make King Naveen fall in love with me, no matter what his past is and that horrid witch will have no choice but to give me my mother back. Right?

I flopped onto my bed after another endless day of tiring shifts, only this time I only had ten minutes to lay down instead of thirty. I grumbled when my timer alerted me it was time for me to get up. I rolled over and opened my tiny closet, the makeshift costume I had come up with hanging right in front of me. I had made all of the delicious beignets I needed throughout the day. Now all I had to do was show up, and throw on a smile even with everything that was going wrong in my life currently. Then, I’d charm the King and I’d drag my way out of this one way or another. 

I looked in the mirror at my custom, expecting to see my reflection in a pretty sage green dress and white glossy gloves. But instead I saw that the hem of my dress had busted and it was now ruined. I stared in disbelief as my eyes began to water. I didn’t have time to deal with this! I tried it on a couple of nights ago and everything was fine..

“That witch!” I yelled out in frustration, rushing to my closet and grabbing a similar blue dress that had a beautiful sparkle to it in the moonlight and threw it on. That whole issue had thrown my plans back by twenty minutes. I hurriedly packed everything up just as Charlotte’s baby pink mustang honked and the lights flickered twice. I rushed out and loaded up her car, hopping into the passenger seat and slamming the door.

“What’s wrong babydoll?” She said a smile plastered onto her face as I rested my face in my hands. The soothing soon of her car pulling off and away from my apartment brought me much more relief than I ever thought possible.

“I.. I did something stupid.” I confessed, knowing that I needed to tell someone. My mom had always told me I was too strong for my own good, that I struggled to accept help and in her absence that had become increasingly more clear. My mother, for all I knew, was dead and I hadn’t expressed my sorrows to anyone other than myself.

“You know there's nothing you can’t tell me, Tiana.” She said calmly, her normally bubbly persona drifting as her eyes softened as we slowly rolled up to a stop sign and she turned to me gently rubbing my back. I pulled my hands away from my face, shaking my head as the mainly black and hot pink interior of her car popped out at me again.

“Tiana.. I know it’s hard, ever since your parents passed.” I looked up at her desperately trying not to start crying on what was supposed to be the best night of her life, but hearing those words out loud brought a specific level of indescribable grief to my heart. I felt helpless as if there was nothing I could do to take myself out of the situation I was in. I couldn’t have just been crazy this whole time right? Imagining that my mother was alive even though she was dead. 

“What?” I asked, trying to get more information out of Charlotte as she nervously bit her lip.

“It was all over the new T, what do you mean what? You parents.. They died in a car crash last week. Remember?” My heart sank into my stomach as a single tear made its way down my cheek before I whipped it away. Just as I started to allow the grief to settle in, I heard that witches' taunting laugh filled my eardrums. As if it was a reminder that this was because of my stupid decision. 

“Char, my mother.. It’s my fault.” I told her as she hushed me, “None of what’s happened is not your fault, doll, you hear me?” I shook my head.

“You don’t understand Charlotte, that’s why I need to tell yo-”

“HONK!” The car behind us screeched as Charlotte's expression sharpened. She stuck her head out the window and started yelling at the driver behind us before hitting the gas and speeding the rest of the way to the party. She rambled about how sorry she was for my losses. After the first few minutes, I gave up on trying to interrupt having that overwhelming feeling of helplessness clouding my judgment. 

Once we arrived, I greeted Big Daddy and everybody else I knew at the party. Charlotte is over the moon with excitement as she talked with everybody at the ball, she was quite literally having a blast. I, on the other hand, was serving beignets or watching out for King Naveen and his grand arrival. As far as I knew, his parents had passed away a couple of years ago, which left him in charge of the Kingdom. At first she struggled, honestly at first he sucked as a King, but everytime he became brilant, even though he was a serial bachelor. I just hoped that my newly orphaned title would intrigue him to bat a blind eye at me… I looked up just as the royal trumpets went off and what do you know? There he was, standing in all of his riches and royalty as he descended down the steps, people bowing at his feet as he charismatically smiled making his way across the dance floor.

Naveen’s Perspective

And after all of the fighting, here I am at another ball. With the same old stuck up people that I grew up around, the same connections, and the same money. I made my way down, giving everyone the best fake smile that I could muster until my eyes locked on the most stunning women I had ever laid eyes on. She had to have been under 5 '5, curly black hair that rested perfectly on her shoulders, a sparkling blue dress resting smoothly on her body, white beautiful gloves and a perfect tiara sitting on the center of her head.

“You like her?” my best friend of five years asked me as he playfully nudged my shoulder and I rolled my eyes. 

“Shut up and go to your folks, I’ll see you tomorrow.” I dismissed him as he scoffed and drifted off into the crowd. The woman watched me as I made my way towards her benyas-stand. I took one of her hands and gracefully kissed every one of her knuckles as she blushed wildly, those beautiful dark brown eyes tapping into the deepest parts of my soul.

“King Naveen..” She said as a smile painted her lips.

“Well that’s not fair!” I chuckled warmly as she blushed even more as I kissed her hand one last time before rubbing my thumb against the warm skin.

“What’s your name beautiful?” I asked.

“Tiana.” She responded as I nudged my head towards the center of the dance floor. She bashfully nodded as I wrapped an arm around her waist, raising my other hand into the air and leading the dance as she laughed.

“I don’t do this often,” She said as those same eyes pierced me again and I smiled at her accent as it leaked through every word.

“Oh yeah?” I laughed, spinning her as she laughed even louder.

“Yes!!” She shrieked as we continued dancing, making the best small talk of my life. 

Tiana’s Perspective

I smiled as King Naveen was off fetching some punch and talking to a few of his colleagues as I began to daydream about him. I never thought he would be so dreamy. And just like that, the cloud and that woman reappeared again spewing what I could only assume was Latin or some witchy language. I stared at her confused. 

“I did what I was supposed to do!” I glared at her as she continued speaking before her speech grew into a chuckle.

“I wanted you to throw yourself at him, ruin your chances of being with him so I could have him. So I could have the money and the power, you were the only thing in my way!” She exclaimed as I stared at her.

“Why didn’t you tell me tha-” She shoved me as I stumbled back, struggling to balance myself.

“You, spoiled, brat!” She grilled me as she set in her final curse and vanished. I immediately got a headache and began to feel ill. What did she do to me? 

Naveen’s Perspective

When the crowd gasped after hearing a loud thud I just knew something horrible had happened. I shoved the drinks into my bestfriend, Ray and pushed through the crowd. Charlotte was on the floor with tears streaming down her face and she shook Tiana.

“Wake up babydoll, please!” She said as I joined her, scooping up Tiana and taking her pulse as Charlotte looked up at me her eyes widened with fear. 

“She's alive, she just faint, and she’s really hot.. Does she live with anyone?” I asked, stroking her head as the crowd stared at me as if they had just seen a dead ghost.

“N-No her parents died last week, she doesn’t have anybody but me and Big Daddy now..” My jaw clenched and I nodded.

“I’ll take her to my castle, I’ll take care of her. Enjoy your night, Charlotte La Bouff.” I said and walked straight out of that ball, getting her settled in my car as I sped my way home.

“Don’t worry, Tiana. You’re not alone anymore.” I said knowing the pain she must be going through after losing her parents. 

Tiana’s Perspective 

I gasped raising up for air as I rested a hand on my chest. Feeling the unfamiliar silk sheets that laid beside me as my eyes settled into the dimly lit room I was in that looked nothing like my house. If I didn’t know any better I would have thought it was royalty, I rubbed my eyes again looking around as my eyes landed on a portrait of a young King Naveen and his late parents, and then, it clicked. 

I scrambled up and out of the bed finding myself in a nightgown and cap with fluffy frog slippers waiting at my bedside. The sound of my hurried dileame must’ve been loud enough to startle the King as he walked in in a nightly outfit similar to mine, his eyebrows creased in worry as he made his way over to me. He picked me up and laid me back in bed.

“I have work! I need to go!” I called out as he stared at me blankly. 

“Do you know what happened, Tiana?” He said as he stroked my cheek, his light green eyes sparkled in the few lights within the room, even though his smile had faded.

“You kidnapped me after the ball, that’s what!” I exclaimed, I knew that I had a 50/50 chance of being right but also knew that I’d lose my jobs if I didn’t leave soon. The King bursted out into laughter as I glared up at him, trying to work out the logistics of how quickly I could get him off of me and get out of here in my head as he spoke again.

“Tiana, you fainted at the ball, ever since you’ve been deadly ill. After I found out about your parents I decided it was probably best if I took care of you. I contacted both of your bosses and after a few arguments, you’re getting paid time off until you’ve healed up.” 

“What?.. How long have I been asleep for?” I asked as the King leaned in closer and sighed, connecting our foreheads.

“You’ve been in and out for about four days.” My eyes dimmed as I gently gripped his arm.

“Naveen, I need to tell you something..” I said, I might as well tell him now, after all he’s been non-stop taking care of me.

“You can have anything you want, Tiana.” He said as I shook my head.

“Tell you something, not ask you for something.” The King sat down and rested his hand in mine.

 “Tell me anything.”

“I..I was cursed, this witch lady, she was at the ball, she approached me a couple of nights before.” I swallowed as Naveen's eyes softened and he rubbed the back of my hand to encourage me to keep going.

“She promised me everything I’ve ever wished for, but that I had to make you fall in love with me, so I agreed.” Naveen took a deep breath and paused.

“What I feel for you is natural. Whether or not you had been cursed, I would have still at least spoken to you. But, is what we shared that first night true on your end or have I wasted the past four and a half days of my life?” He asked sharply as I gulped, squeezing his hand as he stopped moving his thumb.

“I.. At first, I didn’t think I would’ve liked you, but then you were charming and I could see why you had had so many lovers because you swept in and took me off of my feet, Naveen.” I responded.

“What does that mean for us?” I felt his tone changing, as if he was growing defensive.

“I want to be with you, as long as you want to be with me. But you are constantly with somebody new and I don’t want to be a fling.” Naveen stared at me in disbelief.

“Done.” He replied as his smile remerged. I sighed a breath of relief and leaned into him as he rubbed my back. 

“Keep telling me about what this witch has done to my fierce Tiana.” I giggled at the nickname, feeling comfortable in his arms. 

“So you know everything about me now, huh?” I joked bringing the mood back to what it was the night we met.

“Well, four days and being a King brings you lots of information, beautiful.” I bit my cheek and smiled at him as I continued. 

“I woke up the next day and I finally had my restaurant. I've been working for it my  whole life, so I went to call my mom. Before last night my father had died when I was a young child, my mother was still alive and well. But that witch, she came back after my mother hadn’t answered. She told me it wouldn’t be that easy so she's done things to me throughout the past few days. Some small, some big, and at the ball she came to me and told me we weren’t actually supposed to fall for each other. As if she thought reverse psychology would help her.”

“What do you mean?”

“She got a vision of us, being happy together. I guess she thought if I threw myself at you you wouldn’t want me and then she’d take my place. So in her anger, she cursed me again.” His grip around me tightened as he nodded.

“Do you believe me?.. I thought I was going crazy.” The King rubbed my hand.

“At first I didn’t but now that my bed is actively floating and my hand burns, I think you’re right and that she probably cursed you to be a witch.” I looked down and realized that my feet no longer dangled because of the steep bed, but now they were dangling because we we’re maybe 6 inches too close to the roof. 

“I’m sorry!” I said and removed my hand from his and closed my eyes, imaging the bed on the floor causing us to float back down as I panted, looking at the ground then Naveen.

“So,” Naveen rubbed my back. “We are going to get some food from wherever you’d like then we will get you enrolled in one of the power control programs in my castle, how does that sound?” I looked up at him confused.

“Why power control?” 

“So you can learn how to use your powers and send that witch back to hell, where she belongs.” He said with a wink as I stared up at him blankly.

“You’ll love it, come on.” 

“If you say so,” I dreadfully said as he pulled me out of bed.

After a few weeks of learning how to use my newly found powers, I was a whizz with both magic and cooking. I had finally told my bestfriend everything and after she watched me cast ten different spells she believed me. I started prepping my restaurant for opening day when my body finally had enough strength to do more than one class without passing out. Everybody in town quickly found out I was a witch who happened to be dating a King. I could barely get into my house to move my belongings with the crowds surrounding me. The main thing that kept me going was knowing that when I finished my program and settled my restaurant I could finally see my mom again, and that all of this torture would finally be worth something. 

As much as I hated it, that witch would still come back, yet she had no clue as to what I was doing since I had my mentor cast a protection spell on me to block other witches from doing me any more harm. Regardless, she’d cackle in my ears and tell me that even though I had the King she had one, that I would be dying soon and he’d need someone so desperately he’d fall straight into her arms. I had quickly learned that most people's bodies cannot handle the transformation from human to witch, that it is simply too much for the common person. She had cursed me to die. And today was the day that I got her back. Naveen had been so helpful through all of this, paying for my classes as well as my gear. Letting me practice with or on him and doing anything and everything I asked of him.

“Got everything we need, T?” Charlotte asked as she finished packing up her mustang, shoving her body against the big bag full of backup weapons for them as I giggled.

“Yes, backup babydoll.” She stepped away from the car and I rose my hand shrinking the duffle to be small enough to fit into the last available spot in her mustang. She smiled at me and ran up to me wrapping her arms around me in a warm embrace.

“I’m so proud of you sweetheart!” She said cheerfully as she squished my face. “We’re gonna do great!”

“I hope so.” I replied, smiling and kissing Naveen's cheek as he and Big Daddy got settled into one of Naveen’s many sports cars. We all drove off as I raised both of my hands speaking in Latin, that was the main language we we’re taught our spells in.

“Hac die, quaeso, sinas me hunc hexem recuperare et hanc mulierem invenire sinas.” I chanted, repeating myself as I began to float, my eyes glowing as my hair flew in the wind. 

“Cum audis me, da mihi hoc casu.” I repeated myself as my voice projected and became louder, mixing with the voice of other witches backing me from the castle as a glowing orb of mint green power appeared and expanded as it exploded and my protection spell was lifted. Charlotte was driving us to a destination I had pre-set. It was the trap of all traps to trap a witch like her. Over time I had learned that her name was Liberty, how ironic, and that she was a witch of the past. She was a Princess when she was turned hundreds of years ago but she had crossed her way somewhere in between the mortal world and the spirit world and was determined to fully cross to the other side. My death would have given her the perfect entrance into the mortal world to be tracked without a trace. But with this information, I had studied up on how to send her and trap her into the spirit realm for good.

“We’re here.” Charlotte said as I smiled at her tapping her leg and hopping out of the car.

“Don’t worry it’ll be over in no time.” She nodded just as Naveen pulled up, I gave myself a mini pep talk and walked into the center of the meadow. I had picked an old meadow for a reason, there were archways surrounding us that I had turned into seamless portals into the spirit world. 

Just as I began to relax I heard her familiar cackle, then that pink cloud and she was there. She looked around shocked and confused as I smiled at her.

“Say goodbye to the mortal world, brat.” I said as I attempted to shove her into one of the portals. She stiffened and glared at me pushing me off of her and closer to one of the old structural archways.

“You really thought you could hurt me? Take me out of this world without a fight?” She cackled and vanished before reappearing again behind me and shoving me closer to one of the portals. I stammered for a couple of seconds, winded and upset that this was happening in the first place.I had truly though my plan was fully proof.

“I will end you, even if it’s the last thing I do.” I pounced back in response as I shoved her off of me and spun another one of my powerballs up, shoving at her as I brought her down to the ground, she tried to repeat my powers hers looking like a sad attempt as I walked up to her kicking her into one of he portals by foot. As she hugged her rib cage holding on the last bit of desperately.

“Spare me!” She cried as I replied, “No.” I said as I shoved her hand and she fell into the Spirit realm. As I turned around thinking I was victorious, I felt a slimy cold hand wrapping around my wrist that then dragged me into the spirit realm as she cackled. I looked around, freaked out, landing and opening my eyes.

“Tiana! Tiana, is that you?” I heard my mom screaming as she ran to me and hugged me tightly. I felt my eyes watering as I hugged her back snuggly.

“Mom, we need to get out of here..” I said as she nodded, kissing me all over my face.

“I am so incredibly proud of you, Tiana, I’ve been watching you and I am so, so, proud.” I smiled at her, then wrapped an arm around her shoulders rushing her through the portal as I heard the witch cackling growing closer and closer to the reversed version of that same meadow that I had landed in. My mom stepped through first, leaving her hand in to pull me out as I jumped through.

“Mom, backup!” I yelled out taking the rest of the strength I had left in to make my final chant. 

“Portam hanc claude, nunc fac ut salvi et integri esse possimus.” I pushed all of my force towards it and just like that the portals were closed, I could no longer hear that witch that started this all and Naveen was rushing through one of the archways. He quickly embarrassed me and held me tight, lifting me slightly off of the ground as I gripped onto him happily.

“When you went through that portal, God, Tiana I was horrified!” He cried out as he pulled out of the hug and cupped my face in his hand, his eyes watering over as a tear fell down my face.

“It’s over beautiful, it’s all over.” He told me his voice was soft and tender as he rocked me from side to side. When he finally let go of me and went to hug my mom as we chatted about the past month. How she watches me but was also able to reunite with the dead and how much she missed my cooking. She wouldn’t stop telling me how proud she was of me for everything that I had gone through and that she never lost faith in me for a second. She told me about how much dad had missed it but that he knew she needed to go back, overall they were for me. For us, she loved Naveen.

And after all of that, I finally had my restaurant, my Naveen, my mom, and my best friend. On opening day we we’re all over the moon with joy as I made my way through the restaurant greeting everybody and even helping the chefs with their recipes, everything was right in my world.

The End.

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