Owari no Chronicle:Volume1 Chapter 2
Chapter 2: The Two Meet
A scream of rejection led to their meeting
So which one did she really want?
When Sayama came out onto the road down below, he tilted his head in confusion alone on the sidewalk.
The cell phone in his hand would not turn on.
He had checked the battery when leaving his dorm, but now the LCD screen was dark. He shook it lightly, but nothing changed. He thought it might have to do with the signal, so he crossed the two-lane road to reach the sidewalk on the valley side, but this also did nothing. He removed and put back in the general-purpose battery that worked in all small IAI devices, but to no avail.
“What is going on?” he muttered.
But then he recalled the strange voice he had heard not long before.
As he had been travelling down the slope, he had heard a single voice.
—Precious metals possess power.
This had not been a reverberating voice amplified with a megaphone. It had been like a whisper from headphones he was wearing. However, a look around had had not shown any equipment that could have produced the noise.
And now his cell phone would not function.
He put the phone back in his pocket in confusion. According to his memory, he should reach several restaurants along the road if he walked a bit further. He decided to use a phone at one of them. Wondering what time it was, he glanced down at his watch.
His watch had stopped. The hour hand, minute hand, and second hand were all motionless.
He frowned and put a hand in his pocket. He pulled out a digital recorder with the IAI mark on it. It was stick-shaped and the top had a red start button.
He pressed it.
However, the recorder did not respond. He remembered fully charging its general-purpose battery as well.
While wondering what all this meant, Sayama realized something else. He looked around the area and then up into the trees of the forest.
“There is no sign of anyone.”
Not many cars used this road. However, not a single one had passed by in the time he had spent climbing down the slope. On top of that, he could not see a single bird among all the trees.
Suddenly, Sayama recalled that the train had returned to Shiromaru. He wondered what had happened.
And then he heard the sound of something being struck in the distance.
The sound had come from the tree-covered slope leading down from the road and to a river.
“That was a tree collapsing.”
He looked and spotted a single distant tree on the slope that had begun to tilt. It was a cedar. The silhouette that resembled a green leaf-covered spire leaned up against the nearby trees and then collapsed.
After seeing that, Sayama moved his gaze west toward the sun setting behind Okutama.
After confirming that was his destination, he nodded.
But then he heard another noise. And this time it was not the cracking of a falling tree.
It was a scream.
Sayama instinctually raised his head.
He had definitely heard that distant, high-pitched voice. For an instant, strength filled his body, but then he stopped.
He took a breath, frowned, and thought.
He did not think for long. He only needed to remember his past. Just a single memory. He remembered when his mother had brought him into these mountains by car.
“So it is always me who is unable to keep his promises to meet someone…”
He took another breath and brought his hand to the left of his chest. A slight ache from the past lay there, but he suppressed it with his breathing.
He opened his eyes.
The crimson-dyed sky lay before his eyes. Seeing that color, Sayama nodded and began moving.
He turned toward the valley-side forest below. His right hand loosened his necktie while his left shoulder slipped out of his coat in an instant. By the time the coat left his right shoulder, he had already stepped atop the guardrail on the sidewalk.
He took a step.
His footstep sounded lightly as he used the guardrail as a stepping stone to propel him into the air. As the coat still on his right arm flapped about, it created a solid noise as it struck his back. At that same moment, his feet landed on the underbrush of the slope.
He began walking.
His pace was much faster than when he moved down to the road earlier. He lowered his hips to almost slide down the slope.
The sun had already started to set in the western sky that was hidden by the trees.
Once it grew dark, the forest would be dangerous.
He had to hurry. He lowered his hips even further to rush down the slope.
He entered the forest and ran between the trees. His destination was the tree that had fallen earlier.
Sayama ran straight there while treading on old, dry branches.
He was not out of breath as he had a habit of running every evening.
However, running on such bad terrain and the faint tension he felt did noticeably raise his body temperature. Even so, there was one part of his body he felt no heat in.
That was his left fist. It alone felt cold.
“Ha,” gasped Sayama in what was not quite a breath and not quite a laugh.
He was only about a dozen meters from his destination. He could hear a flowing river through the forest.
He could see several depressions that had once been small streams along the ground. He jumped over them as he ran and raised his head.
Between the trees, Sayama saw the setting sun sinking behind Okutama’s mountain range. Dusk would arrive in less than 10 minutes. The forest would grow very dark.
Hurry, Sayama called to himself.
He then spotted some small lights. They were near the tree he was running toward. Light was reflecting off of something scattered across the ground.
…Did a hiker leave some trash behind?
But he immediately rejected that idea. A hiker would not come this far to throw their trash away. They would do so near the trail or river.
He put up his guard. He stopped next to the light on the ground and looked down. He saw…
Black metal fragments were scattered primarily around the southern side of a large tree.
And the fallen tree he had seen before was about five trees south of it. A cedar tree just barely too wide to reach around had fallen and the break was visible from here.
Sayama looked over at that break where that loud noise had come from before.
He frowned and fell silent.
The tree had been sliced at about a meter up from the ground.
It was a clean diagonal slice. About four-fifths of the trunk’s diameter had been sliced through in a single blow without leaving any woodchips or sawdust at the base of the tree. The cracking sound Sayama had heard must have been the remaining fifth breaking.
He smelled a slight odd scent. It stank of something burning. He looked again and noticed a slight charring around the cut.
Sayama took a step forward to go check out the cut.
But his right foot trod on something hard.
He looked down and lifted up his foot.
Sayama recognized what he found. It was a short tube made of the same material as the metal fragments scattered around the area.
“A gun barrel.”
…This is longer than the ones I have seen while staying at the Tamiya household. Perhaps it is not for a pistol.
With that thought, Sayama checked the ground once more.
He found some new information there.
They were footprints. And three different kinds.
The first was fairly old. They were large and had a mountain boot type of pattern.
The second was smaller but had a similar pattern to the first.
And the third was very strange and seemed to trample over the others. These odd footprints were easily over 30 centimeters long and had holes as if from spikes where the toes should have been.
The information did not end there. An intermittent trail of dark wet spots approached from the south.
Those wet spots continued to the tree behind Sayama.
As Sayama held his breath and did not turn around, he felt a slight sensation fall on his left shoulder.
It felt as if someone had tapped on his shoulder, so he looked over.
A single dark spot could be seen on the fabric that had been dyed light red by the setting sun.
What was that?
As if in response, another one fell on his shoulder.
It came from above.
And in the next moment…
Sayama unhesitatingly ran forward, to the west, and toward the river he could hear.
He did not check what was above him. He already knew what it was.
If he had looked up, his footing would have been uncertain and he would have been unable to move. That instant would have put him in danger.
He had never been in danger before. And that was why Sayama began to run.
…Something is in that tree!
The instant he was sure of that, he heard something drop to the ground behind him. It was the sound of two legs landing. Two legs supporting something large. He could hear the feet sinking into the ground.
Immediately afterwards, a voice shot past Sayama and through the forest. It was a beast’s roar. A howl.
…Is it a bear?
But he denied that possibility. This beast had killed its prey, carried that prey into the tree, and then waited for Sayama to notice the corpse before attacking from above. The first set of footprints belonged to the victim in the tree. The second set had likely fallen for that trap.
Sayama would have been the third victim, but only the second to fall for that strategy.
…Beasts do not use strategies like that. Only people do.
The howl from behind him had been that of a beast, yet…
“If this thing has a human intellect, I should handle it like a human.”
As if pursuing those words spoken toward the ground, footsteps approached Sayama from behind.
They were fast.
Those footsteps were as deep as a bass drum and each step covered as much ground as Sayama covered in five. However, Sayama did not turn around. He focused only on not slowing his pace.
He refused to turn around. What he needed was distance, not curiosity.
The sound of the river up ahead was growing louder.
He could see light. The ground sloped sharply downwards. Ahead, he could see a rocky river bank covered in the dim light of dusk.
Once he arrived there, he would be able to see his opponent. He might also spot someone there.
Just as Sayama began to wonder if he could call for help, he noticed something odd up ahead.
He noticed the movement of the air spreading out ahead of him and a slight haze of light.
A single obstacle was covering the entire edge of the forest on the slope just above the river. It was…
The wind ahead of him was still. And the light of dusk had grown slightly hazy.
He would arrive at this supposed wall in another three seconds.
The heavy footsteps were still approaching from behind.
Should he run directly into the wall or not? In fact, did this wall even exist or not?
How could he check?
A single idea came to Sayama. He slowed his pace slightly.
Once he arrived at the supposed wall, he turned his back. It was as if he had been cornered.
He could see a shadow charging toward him.
That shadow resembled a human. The large figure was over two meters tall. Its entire body was covered in black animal hair, but torn black cloth could be seen at its waist and chest.
Its face was visible above its thick chest.
Its face resembled a dog. Below the pointed ears were two golden eyes and a red slit of a mouth.
…Is this what you call a werewolf?
He thought that idea was crazy, but only for an instant. The truth lay before his eyes.
And so he needed to move. Amid the dim light, Sayama brought both arms down and his hips back. His opponent likely thought he was ducking down. However, Sayama was using the right hand hidden in his coat to search behind him.
In what should have been empty space, he felt resistance
It was a wall. The sensation he felt through the coat reminded him of a rough eggshell. The coat molded into the shape of that wall, so he could tell it had no gaps.
The enemy came immediately thereafter.
Sayama threw his head back to show off his throat.
The enemy’s right claws were swung down. It was trying to cut off his head as it passed by. It opened its mouth and bared its fangs.
It let out a cry, but…
“Silence,” said Sayama as he dropped his hips down along the wall.
The werewolf’s claws cut through empty air.
Its giant body then slammed face-first into the invisible wall.
This caused a great sound of impact.
It sounded less like flesh being struck and more like a car crashing. The werewolf’s entire body was knocked back by a repelling force. It flew through the air, rotated once, and caused a tremor in the earth where it landed. It then rolled.
The sounds of the beast’s breaths mixed in with the sound of it rolling.
Sayama was almost lying down on the ground and he realized the chest of his vest had been torn.
“That was valuable,” he complained as he stood up and filled his lungs with air.
It did not seem the werewolf had lost consciousness. However, it was lying on the ground with its chest moving up and down as it gasped for breath. It did not seem to know what had happened. The wall may have been unexpected for it as well.
…Or it simply might not have known where it was.
Sayama began running once more. He had to find a means of defeating the werewolf before it came to its senses. To remain in the werewolf’s blind spot as much as possible, he ran along the edge of the invisible wall. He ran west. This was upstream of the river to his left. After running across a few gentle slopes, he could no longer see the werewolf.
“The meeting time will probably have passed before long,” muttered Sayama as he looked down at his watch.
The silver hands were still not moving.
What is going on? he thought.
And then he noticed a slight light beyond the wall.
It was a vehicle’s headlights.
A red RV was parked about 20 meters ahead on the rocky river bank. It was likely a family on a spring break outing. He could see the family around the RV folding up parasols and leisure tables. The family was made up of a middle-aged couple, a young girl, and her even younger brother. The RV’s headlights were pointed up the slope toward Sayama.
“Hey! You need to leave! It is-…”
He trailed off before he could say “dangerous”.
Something was strange.
The family he had shouted at continued their preparations to leave without paying him any heed.
…Did they not hear me?
“Hey!!” he shouted while standing in the middle of the headlights where they could see him. However, they did not notice him.
…Can they not see or hear me?
Sayama took in a deep breath and let it out. He placed a hand on the invisible wall before him and once more muttered, “This has become very odd.” And as Sayama watched on, the family climbed aboard the RV.
After a short pause, it drove off of the rocky river bank. It was headed…
“Up this slope.”
Sayama ran. If he was remembering right, the main road above had a few mountain roads leading down to the river. If the invisible wall to his left extended as far as the road the family was using, the RV would strike the wall from the outside.
What would happen then?
He climbed up the slope and found the road.
The branches of the trees above seemed to create a natural tunnel over the mountain road. The dirt road was about three meters across. Sayama stood atop the bulge in the center created by the ruts on either side.
As he wiped sweat from his brow, the RV’s headlights reached him.
Sayama took a step back while in the center of that light.
However, the family showed no sign of noticing him. The RV continued to approach at the same speed.
They passed right through it. However, the RV changed.
It became a pale shadow.
It was so thin that the scenery beyond it was easily visible through it. The people inside were the same.
As Sayama stood in the center of that mountain road, the pale shadow of the RV passed through him. He only felt a slight shadow. It produced no wind or sound.
Sayama let out a sigh without even turning around.
“What is going on?”
…That RV will likely drive up to the main road and eventually drive beyond the invisible wall once more.
And what lay beyond that wall was of course the everyday world.
It was only this space that was twisted. He was sure of that now.
Sayama suddenly crouched down. He spotted a nearby stone on the ground.
He picked it up.
Sayama then looked at the spot where the stone had been. A faint shadow the exact shape of the stone lay there.
It was so faint he could not see it without paying very careful attention.
Sayama replaced the stone and muttered, “Are the objects in this space the actual objects? Or are they the shadows?”
He did not know.
Sayama shook his head lightly and stopped arguing about it in his head. His current priorities lay elsewhere.
He took a breath. But then he froze in place.
He had heard a noise. He had heard heavy footsteps and a small cry in the distance.
The cry was the same voice as the scream from earlier.
“That person is still alive,” muttered Sayama as he looked forward.
He saw a slope. It was the slope he had climbed to distance himself from his enemy.
However, he took in a deep breath and began running down that very same slope.
Dusk was already turning to night.
Night also enveloped the near-deserted school.
In the 2nd year general school building of Taka-Akita Academy, Ooki was in charge of locking up for the night. She was on the western edge of the first floor hallway. Specifically, in front of the emergency exit.
Kinugasa Library was located on the same floor. About four classrooms-length of the hallway had been turned into a storage area.
“What is this, a lawless zone?”
The large Kinugasa Library took up the length of four classrooms and the hallway had not escaped the power of its books. Bookshelves and other shelves were lined up along the walls of the hallway and towers of books were piled up here and there. To make it as far as she had, Ooki had been forced to weave around and jump over the piles of books. The hallway had become a sort of labyrinth.
No books or shelves were located near the emergency exit at the back, but that was only because the books and shelves were often brought in through it.
Ooki turned the key for the emergency exit to lock it. For an instant, she caught a glimpse to the east through the emergency door’s window. The eastern mountains were outlined in crimson, but the sky above created a gradation from purple to black.
“I hope this is okay…” she muttered before turning her back on the window.
She did not want to stay in that deserted labyrinth of books for long. While kicking a few books out of the way, Ooki made her way through the four classrooms-length area on her way to the central lobby.
This tight skirt makes it hard to walk at times like this, she thought.
The hallway’s fluorescent lights felt overly bright because of the shallow darkness of night she could see out of the northern window between two bookshelves. Her reflection in the window showed a bandage on the forehead. That was where Sayama had flicked her.
“That boy did not hold back. …It would be best if I assume that’s just how much he adores me.”
Just as she muttered that, a door opened to the side.
She gasped and turned around. As she did, her heel caught on a pile of books and she fell backwards.
Her legs flew up and her head fell to the floor…or it would have. However…
“My apologies,” said a low and relaxed male voice as a black gloved hand caught her falling back.
As soon as she realized she was being supported, her vision rotated around vertically.
Her feet were brought to the ground and she stood on her own.
Ooki did not quite understand what had happened. Only the word “rotation” floated up in her mind.
“Um…” she muttered as she looked up at whose hand was supporting her waist. “Siegfried-san?”
“Are you okay?”
It was a tall elderly man who answered with that question. His broad-shouldered frame was contained in a white shirt, a black vest, and black trousers. He was bald, had a white beard, and his blue eyes were looking down at her.
Siegfried silently removed his right hand from her waist and brought the white cup in his left hand to his mouth. The aroma that reached Ooki told her it was coffee.
Ooki bowed while trying not to be too distracted by that scent.
“Th-thank you very much. What was that where I spun around?”
“It is similar to what you call aikido in Japan. More importantly, I am glad you are okay. Are you locking up?” asked Siegfried before his gaze moved to Ooki’s forehead. “I apologize for asking so many questions, but what is that bandage?”
“Oh, just something I received from a student earlier.”
“School violence? We cannot have that. I will teach this student a form of punishment passed down for generations. No matter how stubborn they may be, they will confess to being a filthy witch in just one blow.”
“Why is everyone around me like this?” muttered Ooki under her breath before shaking her hand from side to side. “No, no. This boy worked his way up quite high in karate, so I think this was unintentional. Also,” she scratched at her head, “it was done with mutual understanding between teacher and student. I was perfectly fine with it.”
“I see. Then I have no right to speak out against it. …I suppose everyone has their own preferences.”
“Oh, um… I am not sure I would put it that way, but whatever. What are you doing here, Siegfried-san?”
Siegfried pulled a single piece of paper from his breast pocket. He took another sip from his cup and then spoke.
“Some people needed help finding some data. Part of my job is providing help for those searching for data. Could you perhaps help me? There is a book titled ‘The First Plutonium’ somewhere in this hallway.”
“No, no, no, no, no,” said Ooki as she took a step back.
With a word of parting, she bowed and walked out to the central lobby that was actually quite small. She climbed the stairs to lock up on the second and third floors.
From the central lobby, it became clear how dark the school building was even with the fluorescent lights. The building was designed to only be used during the day.
“How scary,” sighed Ooki as she turned on the lights for the stairs.
The light green staircase lit up, but the white fluorescent lights felt somehow cold.
She then heard Siegfried say, “I already locked up the second floor. If you trust me, you can skip it.”
“I trust you!” she replied thankfully to the man who was hidden from view by a corner of the hallway.
She then headed on up.
She knew that the six general education school buildings and the faculty building had been built before the war.
“The library was built like that by the founder, Kinugasa Tenkyou.”
It had originally been prepared as the research archive for Izumo Aviation Institute’s General Tokyo Facility that was being built at the time. However, Taka-Akita Academy had been born as a means of creating skilled future personnel.
Ooki thought about the staircase she was currently walking up.
“This was built over 70 years ago…”
Her footsteps sounded loudly as she made it to the second floor. She left the central lobby and looked down the hallway.
She saw only darkness. And beyond that darkness was the music room to the west and the emergency exit to the east. However…
“I trust him…”
She backed up toward the staircase.
Ooki’s shoulders drooped as she sighed and turned on the lights for the staircase up to the third floor. She quickly made her way up.
Once on the third floor, she found darkness once more.
As if plunging her head into the darkness, Ooki stood in the central lobby and looked toward the art room to the west and then the emergency exit to the east. She could see the emergency exit light in the distance.
“Nnn,” she groaned as she turned on the lights to the hallway. The fluorescent lights came on one after another and lit up the area. However, the windows and glass on the classroom doors grew darker.
Ooki stood in the center of the hallway and scratched at her head.
“Well, I have no choice…”
Her shoulders drooped, her head drooped, and she sighed.
She headed east while meaninglessly walking as silently as possible.
But then she jumped at a sudden noise from behind.
It was a cat. A single meow had come from the western art room.
“Nyah…?” asked Ooki as if she was about to cry.
She turned toward the art room while taking a cowardly pose.
She forced strength into her shoulders and slowly sent two jabs, a straight, and an uppercut into the air.
“O-okay, come at me.”
She held her breath for a few seconds. After that silence, she spoke quietly once more with her fists still at the ready.
“If you don’t want to come, you don’t have to…”
She received only silence in response. After a while, Ooki lowered her arms and pressed her hands against her legs. Her trembling had not stopped, but it had lessened.
“M-maybe there’s a cat outside,” she muttered while tilting her head and looking in the art room.
At the same moment, light cut through the darkness of the frosted glass on the art room door. It happened twice. This was not a reflection from a car’s headlights. The light cut across horizontally from left to right and disappeared.
Ooki wrapped her arms around herself and crouched down. After a moment, she reflexively covered her ears with her hands.
“I-it’s okay, it’s okay. Th-that was just a mysterious phenomenon.”
After realizing what she had said, Ooki let out a cry and shrank down even further.
She decided to return to the stairs. It was only about four meters away. She removed her hands from her ears and began crawling on her hands and knees. She kept her gaze down so as not to look at the art room as she took one step and then two.
As she crawled, she realized that she was acting just like a cat. She was still trembling, but she cast down her eyes in shock that she was doing this in her own workplace. She brought her right hand forward in place of a front paw and could not help herself.
“Nyah,” she said.
But she received a sudden response from a cat behind her.
She jumped forward in shock.
She twisted around as if trying to clean the floor with her butt. With her guard raised as high as it would go, she brought her knees up to form a defensive wall.
And then she saw what had replied to her.
It was a black cat. It was sitting in the spot she had been in a moment before and it was scratching its head with its hind leg. Meanwhile, Ooki was breathing heavily while looking at the cat with her hands on the floor behind her.
The black cat simply seemed to be relaxing, but she was fairly certain it had not been in the hallway a moment before.
She tried to say “when did that get in here?”, but her voice spilled from her mouth more as a breath than as words. She suddenly realized she had tears in her eyes. And…
“Are you okay, sensei?”
This time, she heard a voice from behind her in the art room. It was a girl’s voice.
Ooki gasped and turned around. She slowly looked up.
A single girl was standing there.
The girl wore her uniform like a model showing off the perfect method. Her platinum blonde hair was almost gray and it flowed down her back and to her legs.
She looked down on Ooki with a sharp look in her purple eyes and opened her mouth with no expression on her face.
“I apologize. You are patrolling, aren’t you? I was so focused on my work that I did not notice night had fallen. The soundproofing in here is quite good.”
“Brunhild Schild, a third year student. I will be the head of the general art club this coming year.”
Ooki stopped breathing momentarily when she heard the word “art”. She slowly moved her upward gaze to the west.
The art room was there.
Its door was open.
Ooki confirmed that darkness lay beyond that open door. And then someone grabbed her shoulders.
Brunhild had circled around behind her.
She leaned down as if trying to hold Ooki down.
She brought her small face over Ooki’s shoulder and spoke.
“Would you like to see my painting?”
“Yes,” replied Brunhild.
Ooki heard a slight waver in the girl’s tone. And that waver remained as Brunhild continued.
“A painting of a forest. A deep, dark, depthless, yet abundant forest.”
Sayama ran through the nighttime forest. He ran as if stabbing the soles of his feet into the ground. His legs would plunge forward through the air and his feet would come down to trample any obstacle underfoot. That was the absolute rule for running in a dark mountain.
“Who would have thought the harsh training of the Hiba Dojo would come in handy here!?”
He could hear the rustling of the trees and the cracking of someone treading quickly over branches up ahead.
Someone was being chased. Chased by that werewolf.
Hurry, thought Sayama. I do not know who made that scream, but I have come for you.
As he urged himself to hurry, he approached those loud footsteps. It took him five steps for every one of theirs. However, the werewolf could only run in a straight line. He focused on efficiently weaving through the trees to gain as much ground as he could.
Sayama thought. Whoever was being pursued by the werewolf likely had their own method of escaping this situation. The cut that had felled that cedar had been too sharp to have been made by the werewolf’s claws. This person must possess some kind of weapon.
“A weapon?” asked Sayama with a bitter smile.
This was Japan. A weapon that destructive would not be allowed anywhere. Nevertheless…
“But this is real. I suppose I have entered a world where I have no choice but to believe the reality before my eyes.”
The source of the footsteps entered his vision. He saw a large back. It was running through the trees ahead.
Sayama reconfirmed that the footsteps and back ahead of him belonged to an enemy.
He had to hurry. He weaved through the trees while skimming as close by their trunks as he could. As he did, he scooped up two stones in each hand. He then held up his right arm so that his coat spread out.
“I suppose I have to say goodbye to this suit today…”
As he spoke, he could now see both the werewolf and the person running from it.
He saw a single girl running.
She appeared to be about the same age as him. Her long, soft, and black hair danced about as she fled. She wore a white and black outfit that resembled a dress and in her right hand was…
“A fluorescent light?”
She held a white staff almost two meters long. The side of the upper end had a long cylinder attached that looked a lot like a fluorescent light. It produced a slight bluish-white afterglow that lit up the girl.
As the werewolf ran, it stretched out its arm toward the girl. She swung the staff as if to shine the afterglow on the werewolf.
Sayama heard a sound similar to a spray of water and saw the werewolf’s arm repelled.
He did not understand how it worked.
However, the staff the girl held was definitely the weapon Sayama had assumed she had.
As he ran, Sayama suddenly muttered, “Not good.”
He remembered running through this area.
Several depressions that had once been small streams cut across like stitches.
Sayama poured strength into his legs and ran forward.
At the same moment, the girl looked down as she ran.
She let out a meaningless gasp and her slender body flew as if it had been struck.
She had not tripped; she had intentionally jumped.
However, the enemy did not overlook this opportunity. It let loose an attack from the left as if scooping its claws up toward the target that had lost her balance in midair.
The girl swung the staff to hold up the afterglow.
But it was too late.
With the sound of cloth tearing, her body was knocked away.
At the same time, a wind blew through, rustling the leaves of the forest.
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