Chapter Four: A
Yearning For The Lethe
was surprised to find that it had been ten years since she had
arrived in Equestria. It did not seem that so much time had passed.
She had been 34 when she had been Converted. Before she completely
understood what was happening, she had found herself half-conscious,
struggling to take in the full measure of a strange new body. Her
transformation had been rushed, for she was one of the last humans to
escape the earth before the Purification, the final act of
Equestria's absorption of her ruined cosmic sibling.
was dying, it had been dying for a long time. The plague that had
killed it was the essence of the monkey mind, curious, whimsical and
bright, but also selfish, violent, and ultimately, destructive.
Nineteen billion humans, far beyond the carrying capacity of the
planet lived squalid and hopeless lives in globe-spanning slums. They
were granted bare survival by the virtue of monkey cleverness,
molecular machines that could reconstruct waste back into something
not entirely unlike food. They had been promised a golden age, a
diamond age, but those wonders were, as always, reserved only for the
had never been truly happy, and it had always fought itself, a monkey
endlessly punching it's own face for nothing other than spite. It
couldn't help itself. The flaw was in the meat. The same thing that
made Mankind able to rise up in a hostile universe had left it
worlds, other realms, shared the life of the earth in mysterious
ways, and throughout history, these other spaces occasionally
intersected their co-joined twin. Man had many myths and legends of
these moments, but none were ever truly taken as real.
one, the realms perished, destroyed as the Earth was slowly poisoned.
Some managed to cut their strange link, and drifted off to unknown
fates amidst a larger cosmos unknown to Man.
twin, however, would not shrivel and die. The remaining immortals
that still lived there had devised a solution, one that would save
their realm, but which would still honor the life of the twin that
must perish that they might survive. Equestria expanded into Human
space, and an offer was made: Join us. Become us. Share in our realm,
a world not of suffering and struggle, but of harmony and joy.
a small price. The monkey mind must be traded in, exchanged for the
pony mind. The savage, lone ape must become the herding, peaceful
horse. For many, such peace, the very center of their many religions
and dreams and fantasies, suddenly became the greatest threat, now
that it had become real.
the majority, living in the endless suffering the masses had always
known for as long as Man had walked the earth, anything, anything was
better than the short, brutal lives they had been allotted. They
came, in their billions, and with each new soul, Equestria grew, its
own realm made vastly larger, and the Earth diminished.
a final work that rippled over the shriveling globe, dissolved the
last works of the savage ape away, and the glimmering bubble that
remained where the Earth had been, shrank back into its exotic realm,
like a shining fish submerging in a black, star-lit sea.
was only Equestria, where two immortal beings of light and shadow
literally raised and set the sun and moon each day, and where
equinoid sapients trotted across a now endless expanse of Elysian
been ten years since Purification, Ten years since the world Tikvah
Feinstein, once of Wilmington, Jersey, Eastern Zone, North American
Alliance, Western Corporate Dominion, Earth, had ceased to be. Now
and forever, she was Teacup, a pale, violet-maned creature vaguely
formed in the shape of an equine, one pony among billions, loyal
subject of her royal, living deities, Celestia and Luna of
Equestria. This was roughly the tenth anniversary of her
second life, off only by two months to allow spring weather, and
there was going to be a party.
Provender was not one for parties, being of a more practical mind, so
she had sent away to another town for a pony that was said to be very
accomplished at them. Teacup felt deeply honored that her tenth
anniversary at Provinder Farm was considered to be worth such fuss.
She knew that Missus Provender cared for her, but this spoke to her
of just how much.
many things to do, to prepare for the event. Invitations had to be
sent to various ponies of South Fetlock and the farms nearby, all of
which had come to know, and respect Teacup over the years. The farm
needed sprucing up, as did the farmhouse, because Missus Provender
intended to put her best hoof forward - after all, the winner of the
blue ribbon for best biscuits couldn't be seen having a party on a
Mister Provender had repainted all the weathered fences, fixed up and
repainted the chicken coop, and spent a week working on the
farmhouse. Teacup had become very proficient at the use of tools over
the years, and it made her shrink to remember how clumsy and awkward
she had been when she had first arrived.
things came together, though Teacup couldn't really figure out how,
and now half a dozen begged and borrowed wooden tables stood out on
the great green lawn to the front of the farmhouse. These would be
for the guests, and would be piled high with all manner of cakes and
pastries and savory dishes too, and of course, things to drink as
well. But first, they must be prepared.
worked together with Mister Provender to lay out The Fancy
Set of dishes, glasses, cups and bowls. First they placed
pretty, flower embroidered tablecloths over the simple, wooden
tables. Apparently the tablecloths had been a special purchase for
the party, and had come all the way from Manehattan. They had been
made by unicorns with the gift of working with fabrics. Missus
Provender never did anything half-way.
regarded the embroidery, and thought just how impossible it would be
for an earth pony to do such work, even with tools strapped to their
hooves. There were just some things that only unicorns alone could
do. But then that was the way of Equestria; three races, three realms
of work and ability sky, land, and... technical, she supposed.
Unicorns were technicians, really.
realized, Nobles, Merchants, and Peasants. There was a touch of the
Middle Ages about her country, but in a nice way really.
country. Interesting, she thought. Equestria was her nation, her
country, her allegiance. She realized she felt pride in being
Equestrian. She had never felt nationalistic pride in her human life.
Only shame... and some anger. This was a new feeling, and she wasn't
sure how it sat with her.
Mr. Provender gently tugged at the edges and the corners of the
tablecloth they were working on with their teeth, trying to get it
just right. Eventually they agreed that it seemed to look properly
arranged, and went on to the next table. In time, they set about
ferrying the dinnerware to the tables, piece by piece. By now, Teacup
had gotten used to the un-human acceptance that everything in the
world had likely experienced the teeth and lips of some other pony.
She thought, briefly, about how the very idea of drinking from a cup
mouthed by another would have disgusted her human self.
she noted, she wasn't human, and this wasn't a human world. There was
a strange, exotic delight in this for her. She had always favored the
strange, and to the part of her mind that remembered being human,
being a pony was very strange indeed. This was a world where 'mouth'
equaled 'hand', and where disease, as she had known it, had no
existence. No one would be dying of hepatitis or tuberculosis here,
moment, Teacup felt that it was strange to live in a world where
bodily fluids were not fearful horrors, where teeth were the
equivalent of hands. She felt shocked by this way of thinking, and
like all memories of her past, human life, it jarred her. She liked
to imagine she went years between such incidents of human thinking.
But these sorts of moments had been happening more often than she
realized, and it hadn't been years since the last one, but mere days.
Provender had no idea what it was that bothered Teacup, she had no
way of knowing that memories of Earth were what caused her newfoal
mare to pause and look troubled, for Teacup never talked about
herself. But Missus Provender was a smart pony, and she had worked
out that it must be something to do with Teacup's past, and she truly
wanted to help her.
all the place settings had been arranged. Each had a dining bowl,
large enough to allow for an Equestrian muzzle to root about in it
for 'good bits', a smaller soup bowl, and a nice large glass, cup or
mug for drink. Teacup remembered the first time she and Missus
Provender had shared tea together, long ago. Though it never seemed
to feel appropriate to say it out loud, Teacup loved Missus
Provender. In her heart, Missus Provender, Cornflower, was the kind,
loving mother she had never known.
yet another disturbing memory of Earth. There was no silverware to
put on the tables. While spoons existed as a kitchen tool, the idea
of tableware for eating simply did not exist in Equestria. Suddenly,
bright in her mind, a memory of eating from a food tube with a
disposable spork filled her thoughts. Fingers gripped around the
utensil, glancing rapidly around the Dispensery for any sign that she
should run to the safety of the maglev security area. Muggers and
rapists loved the Food Dispenseries. The security cameras had long
since been stolen by addicts.
shook her head. She shook it again, and pounded the grass with her
hooves. What was wrong with her today? From the farmhouse porch,
Missus Provender sighed. Her poor little Teacup.
next laid out cloth covers on the fresh straw bales that served as
seats around the table. It took some effort to place the
pillowcase-like covers over the bales, and more than once she had to
fold her legs and lie down on the floor to tug the covers down.
'Bein' Fancy' was hard work. Still, Teacup liked being busy, she was
a hard worker by nature. The busier she was, the happier she felt,
and the less she had her 'moments'.
evening, everything was ready. While Teacup had been working to set
up the tables and arrange all the place settings, others had been
helping out with decorating the farm, following the lead of the
special pony Missus Provender had brought in all the way from
Clydesdale. Missus Provender had explained that the pony was good
with parties, but that wasn't the only reason she was coming. She
would be a guest for a few days, as she had been feeling down, and
maybe a stay in a new place might cheer her up. It was hinted, none
too subtly, that it might be nice for Teacup to be especially
friendly to her, because the poor dear probably needed someone to
still hadn't properly met the new pony, but she had seen her
galloping about, tossing a streamer here, or using her teeth and
hooves to tie ribbons on parts of the farmhouse. It made sense that
Missus Provender would hire a unicorn, they were good with all the
fiddly stuff because of having a horn and magic, and some unicorns
had spells that could get complex things done, clop, just like that.
That said, Teacup couldn't remember seeing the pink-maned, aquamarine
pony use her horn even once that afternoon. But she must have, of
course. Things got done, didn't they?
began to arrive. Old Mister Withers himself was there, one of his
ancestors had founded South Withers long ago. There was Haylee Bales
and Alfalfa Sprouts from the feed store. Miss Scarlet arrived, her
bright crimson mane shining in the light of Celestia's setting sun, a
might clueless as usual, but such a friendly pony. The Toffee twins
from the candy shop had come, and many more familiar, local faces
mingled and laughed on the wide, sweet-smelling green. So many
ponies, Teacup thought. She hadn't realized how many she had actually
come to know, until now. She knew the names of more ponies than...
she had ever known the names of humans, back before. Then again, back
before, it was too risky to be too friendly. You'd only get hurt.
lovely. There were all manner of fancy treats and savory dishes, but
one was simply a must; Missus Cornflower Provender's Prize Winning
Biscuits. A huge platter of them had been set on each of the tables,
and Missus Provender had made a point of laying down bright blue
cloth under the biscuits, as a reminder of her ribbon at the fair.
Teacup giggled at that: Cornflower was a might over-proud sometimes.
It was at
the table that Teacup finally was introduced to the visiting unicorn
and hello! I'm Petal! Petal Confetti, at your service, in this case
literally, as I was brought in to help organize things after all. You
must be the guest of honor, Teacup! I'm happy to finally meet you.
I'm sorry I didn't come say hi earlier, but I kinda got here late and
there were a lot of things to do. Plus, not much time to do them in.
Woo! You certainly know how to put on a good spread here!"
eagerly craned her neck forward and took one of the golden biscuits
from the large serving platter, and set it upon the smaller plate
next to her large dinner bowl. Then she repeated the effort, placing
the second biscuit neatly beside the other. These look just
won an award for those biscuits!" Teacup said proudly, nodding
over at Missus Provender "A bright blue ribbon!"
Provender looked fair to burst at that, and Teacup felt glad that her
comment had achieved its goal of making Cornflower happy.
hear you're from Clydesdale, Petal?" Teacup took biscuits for
herself, and a spot of carrot salad that looked particularly tasty.
Petal swallowed a bite of biscuit "These are really quite
exceptional! A gustatory delight!" A few of the local ponies
quietly chuckled at Petal's use of words, nobody talked fancy around
looked on, with interest, as Petal took a drink from her glass.
Watching her, Teacup recalled her first days with Missus Provender,
and imagined herself back then for a moment, as she studied the pony
from Clydesdale. Petal took the closer edge of the glass in her
teeth, tilting it up so that the lemonade inside could flow through
her teeth into her mouth. Closing her lips around the liquid, she
swallowed, and then tilted her head down and set the glass neatly on
the table. She noticed Teacup staring at her and giggled. That
is just wonderful lemonade, Missus Provender.
call me Cornflower, we ain't all formal down here on the farm.
That wasn't entirely true, Teacup noted to herself, Cornflower tended
to like being referred to as 'Missus Provender' most of the time
whatever she might say, and she was more than a little reserved most
of the time too.
Provender sipped some lemonade herself, and after setting her own
glass carefully down, she looked up Petal, kin I ask you an odd question?
course, Mis um, Cornflower. When it comes to answers,
I'm just plain full of it! Petal glanced expectantly
around for any reaction to her little jest, but only Teacup chuckled.
Only Teacup shared the cultural background required to get that
particular joke about being 'full of crap'. It was a mean dismissal
that just wouldn't come to a natural pony mind. Missus Provender and
her husband just blinked. They knew they had missed something, but
had no idea what. Not wanting to seem impolite, they smiled, blankly.
Petal winked at Teacup.
Provender continued I've kinda noticed that, well, you sorta
eat like an Earth Pony. In fact, you pretty much do everything like
an Earth Pony. I ain't seen you use your horn once since you came to
the house. I don't get it, Petal. You being a unicorn an' all.
Missus Provender looked uncomfortable I don't mean anything by
it or nothin', it's just, well, I ain't seen a unicorn act like that
before. You ain't makin' fun of us or nothin' is ya?
looked momentarily horrified No. NO! Sweet Celestia, Cornflower
- Missus Provender - not in the least! The aquamarine pony
looked down, clearly troubled I... I don't really like using my
horn very often, Missus Provender. I actually like using my muzzle
and hooves to do things. I, well, to tell you the truth, I didn't
actually want to be a unicorn.
Provender was taken aback by this. After a moments consideration, she
spoke I fergot, there, for a bit, that you weren't exactly born
a pony. But what's so bad about bein' a unicorn, if you don't mind me
asking? I always figured that unicorns pretty much have it easy, what
with all the magic and suchlike.
Petal began I kind of feel like using magic for everything
puts everyone and everything at a distance. I don't feel a part of
the world, or a part of what I am doing when I just float something
to me, or magic something to get it done. I've always felt
Petal shifted her weight on her neatly covered, hay-bale seat
that unicorns were kind of... loners. That they seemed like
they were a little above other ponies, and that they fussed too much
about all the details. That isn't the kind of pony I wanted to be,
Provender seemed very interested in these words, and not a little
satisfied, somehow I kind've felt the same way, myself there,
Petal. But I never thought I'd hear a unicorn say such a thing! I
guess I've heard everythin' now!
wasn't sure what to make of the expression on Missus Provender's
face, but it was clear that she found Petal's statements pleasing in
some way. She also noted, with some humor, that 'Cornflower' clearly
enjoyed formal address a great deal more than she let on for
her part, Teacup couldn't imagine calling Missus Provender anything
other than... Missus Provender.
reckon you newfoals don't get to choose what kind of pony you become?
we don't, Missus Provender. It's decided by our genetics before our
transformations, and we don't get any say in the matter. Much say,
anyway. Petal dipped her head so that a fall of soft pink mane
drifted across her vision. Studying that, she flashed a strange,
kind 'o pony did ya want to be? asked Missus Provender.
wanted to be anything but a unicorn, really. Pegasus, Earth Pony, I
honestly didn't care. Just as long as it wasn't a unicorn.
Petal suddenly looked up In a way, I was already too much of
a... a unicorn... back before my Conversion. I didn't like who I was,
or how I acted very much. I wanted to be a pony that could run and do
things and laugh and not spend all the time fussing about little details.
don't seem like that at all! Why I was told you are quite the little
party-pony over in Clydesdale. Though, you are bein' a might serious
right now. Missus Provender gave Petal a kindly wink.
sorry, Missus Provender! It's all in the past now, really. Please
just accept that I like to do things like other ponies do, ponies
that aren't unicorns well, as much as I can, anyway. I use my
magic when it's necessary or useful, I assure you. I just don't like
to use it all the time. That's all. Petal looked down for a
moment, then back up I guess I'm a bit of an oddpony, for a
unicorn. Sorry. She then made a silly face, crossing her eyes
and lolling her tongue out the side of her mouth, which brought a
laugh from everypony.
after some rather excellent apple pie (a specialty with Missus
Provender, Durum loved his apples), after all the guests had either
headed home, or had clustered about the spread chatting in little
groups, it was cleanup time. Petal helped with the cleanup, carrying
dishes in her teeth. She even insisted on helping Teacup with the
washing, again, always with her mouth. Teacup couldn't help but think
that it would have been faster, and more fun, to use magic at that
point, but Petal actually seemed to enjoy the work.
dishes had been set on the rack to dry, Teacup excused herself to use
the outhouse. As she returned, she found Petal sitting folded,
outside, looking up at the night sky. Teacup sidled over and asked
Mind if I join you?
please do. I was... kind of hoping you might.
folded her legs under her body, the cool grass soft under her belly.
She lowered her muzzle to sniff in the soft fragrance of grass and
flower and the rich, deep tones of the soil. There was something
about the smells of the night that touched something deep within her,
and while she had no idea what it might be, it somehow felt like a
lost, happy dream.
looked up to find Petal studying her. Uh... sorry. I kind of
lost track there for a moment. She felt a little silly, being
caught sniffing the ground and... apparently grinning. Oops.
giggled, a sound as musical as it was warm I wish I could feel
half as happy as you seemed right then. Remembering something nice?
not exactly. Teacup raised her head even with Petal's Just
something about the smells at night. They... somehow give me a happy
feeling. Like something from a nice childhood I never had, kinda.
Pretty silly, huh?
not silly at all. I understand the feeling of missing a childhood
that was nice. I guess that's part of the reason I'm here. I've been
down a lot lately.
told me something like that. She said you were coming to spend a few
days on the farm because it might cheer you up. That... and... well,
that you might want to talk to another newfoal, too.
she ask you to talk with me? Petal looked at the moon as she
said this, and her voice sounded almost sad.
yes, she did. But... I kind of wanted to talk to you anyway. Since
all the newfoals have moved out across the New Expanse, there just
isn't anyone that... well, to talk to about...
suddenly looked straight at Teacup, serious and almost... frightened
Having once lived in the Human world? She said the words
softly, in the tone of a shared, unpleasant secret.
That one word carried so much sorrow and pain. Teacup felt her eyes
water just a bit with the emotion of it.
native ponies can't know what it was like. They can't even begin to
imagine such things. I've tried to talk to some of my friends in
Clydesdale about my life before, and it's just impossible. They try,
oh how they try, but... they just can't help. Petal's head sank
a little They understand I'm not happy somehow, but they've
never been touched by what we've been through. They don't carry a
history like that around with them and I'm glad they never
will. I'm very glad they never can understand. I don't want them to.
really hard. Missus Provender is so nice to me, she's been like the
mother I never really had. She's wonderful, and I'm very grateful to
her... but Teacup felt excited, to finally have someone who
could understand there's just no way I can talk about 'Earth'
Teacup practically spat the name of their mutual, lost world not
in any way that matters. How can I even mention that stuff?
guess you're carrying one too. Petal lay her head down over her
hooves, her muzzle tickled by the grass.
big heavy set of saddlebags filled with crap. A childhood in a scary,
dangerous, poisoned world. Mean people doing cruel things. Parents
who didn't know the first thing about parenting. Feeling lonely and
alienated, all the time. Needing to run away into books and videos
and music and anything else that offered some escape. Angst, despair,
knowing that one day you would grow up to be one of them all
grey and hollow and dead inside, consumed by money and stuff. A
lifetime of gray cities and gray skies and gray people
doing gray things, all while the world died and billions starved and
children in some foreign land worked as slaves to make your shoes and
your threevee and your clothes."
raised her head and looked out over the farm, a slight quaver in her
voice "The burden of knowing what a world of true, real evil
means. Of having spent a big part of your life in an evil world. I wish...
Petal looked very much like she might cry I wish...
that I could just forget it all. I wish I could erase my memories,
all of them. I wish I could just be Petal Confetti all the time, and
never have moments of remembering having been.... who I was, before.
That there even was a before.
suddenly looked at Teacup with a hard expression, her face close, her
breath hot Sometimes I feel angry. I envy these ponies their
innocent pasts. I envy them So. Very. Much. Petal held the
glare for just a moment, before realizing, and turning slowly away.
She sank her head back to the grass, over her hooves.
It was so
true. Every word Petal had said burned within Teacup, little
smoldering coals, deep in her heart. We can never truly be
happy, can we? she asked, finally We are living in a kind
of paradise, and we can never really be happy. Not like them.
She looked over Petal, past the lawn, to the farmhouse, where missus
and mister Provender were, probably already in bed, having beautiful,
happy dreams. As always. Did native ponies ever have nightmares? They
must, she thought, at least sometimes. They have an Equestrian word
for 'nightmare', so they must.
you know my problem. Not the best one to have, for a Party Pony from Clydesdale.
Pony? asked Teacup.
my real job is being a Delivery Pony. It's not overly challenging,
which actually, I kind of like, and I get to run all over the place,
which I especially like. Sometimes I pull a cart, but mostly it's
just me and my saddlebags. I'm the first, and maybe only unicorn to
do such work. I'm kind of proud of that fact. Petal did seem pleased.
my social function is that I am the pony to go to for celebrations,
parties, that sort of thing. I do weddings and birthdays, too. I'm
basically the go-to pony if there's any kind of to-do! Petal
giggled at this, and Teacup couldn't help but join in. Tension just
couldn't seem to survive Petal's laughter.
so, I can never seem to just... let go and be spontaneous the way I
want to be. Petal frowned, slightly It's that weight. My
past. It sits on my back and I can't buck it off no matter what I do.
either. Teacup looked up at the moon, so smooth and bright, a
perfect pearl set in a velvet sky of precious diamonds. Hey!
You're a unicorn! She looked expectantly at Petal.
I don't follow you.
I understand you don't like using your magic. But just hear me out,
alright?" The moonlight was bright in Teacup's eyes "The
thing that hurts us all the time, the thing that sets us apart from
everyone we care about, that makes us different is the fact we lived
as humans, once!"
yes, fundamentally that is the issue here, I just don't..."
on Earth, having a problem meant you just suffer with it, or find
some drug that dulls it, or turn bitter because of it. I suppose the
very rich could afford neurological treatments, or even engram
rewriting, or whatever. But for people like us, ordinary people, it's
either suffer or dull the pain, or hope it just somehow goes away,
only it never really does, does it? It certainly hasn't for us, and
it's been ten years since the end of the Earth!"
what is your idea, Teacup?"
I said, you are a unicorn. You have magic. This is a magical world!
Anything might be possible - Equestria had magic enough to swallow a
planet and change billions of humans into ponies, right? We have
real, living goddesses, for real, really here. They raise the
freaking moon and sun!" Teacup was having a hard time keeping
her voice low "You can do magic, right? So find a spell, find
some magic that can erase memory! Or a potion, or a charm, or
whatever it is that magical ponies do! If we have no memory of Earth,
then we'll just be Equestrians, like everypony else!"
taken aback "Teacup... wait, wait... I understand what you are
trying to say, but there's a little problem with this - if our
memories are gone, we'll just be empty shells, lobotomized zombie
ponies, drooling and making messes all over the..."
No we won't!" Teacup was irrepressible now, "I said our
memories of EARTH. Only Earth, we both have a full decade
of decent Equestrian life under our saddles now, ten full years of
life apiece, and all of that is what makes us who we truly are, who
we want to be all the time! Don't you see? If we lose our Earth
years, we completely become the face we present to everypony, only
without all the pain underneath! The only thing anypony else would
notice would be that we stopped being so damn gloomy!"
didn't know what to say. Teacup's plan seemed wild, insane, yet, the
more she thought about it, the more she couldn't find a valid
objection. Ten years as an adult Equestrian would simply carry on.
Their Equestrian lives would continue, only they simply wouldn't
remember anything from before their Conversion. A simple letter to
themselves could explain what had happened to their memories, and why
- in a very general, non-traumatizing way of course - so that they
wouldn't become obsessed with trying to recover them. It could work.
end, if it could be done correctly, they would become ordinary
ponies, and the only thing that would set them apart would be knowing
that they had once had sad memories that they had deliberately chosen
to eliminate, because it hurt too much to keep them.
have a normal pony life. They could be completely open to other
ponies, because they would no longer have any toxic ideas or toxic
memories that might poison Equestria from within.
Equestria hadn't this already been done for all newfoals? Why hadn't
this been made a part of the Conversion process? It seemed a terrible
oversight. It should have just been part of it all from the
beginning. The thought that they could have been spared ten years of
feeling different and unable to talk openly, that they had been
cheated out of ten truly, fully, completely happy years made both
Petal and Teacup a little angry.
nevermind. This could be fixed. With a little magic.
And Petal, well,
she was a unicorn, after all.
hadn't felt this light and glad since the night that Missus Provender
had made hot oat smoothies and opened up to her about her past. And
moments like that, yet to come, would never be spoiled by the
smothering grief of remembering the horror of the human world. This
was like a gift from the Princesses themselves.
farmhouse porch, Missus Provender had been watching her little Teacup
grow increasingly excited, talking about something or another with
that Petal mare. Teacup seemed happier than Cornflower had ever seen her.
thought Missus Provender, all it took was finding Teacup somepony to
talk to. Everything was surely going to be alright now.
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