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[LP CYOA] 傳

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by treave, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
    Joined:
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    Codex 2012
    Amesha Spenta

    Still too fast.

    She is still too fast for you to handle, even with your inner strength in play. The faster and wilder your attacks are, the more elusive she becomes, slipping away from your grasp and retaliating with a series of burning strikes.

    Her heel lands square on your temple, jarring your head. The girl packs quite a powerful punch in that lithe frame, but you have no time to be amazed by her strength. You turn your fall into a tumble, rolling away from her to regain some distance. You take a defensive stance, keeping your guard up. Your head is still spinning from her kick. Your knees are beginning to feel weak. You don’t think you can take another hit from her and still stay on your feet. She paces around you like a hunter stalking her prey. Her smile still remains, her attitude confident. Still, you did not come here to lose. This is not a fight you can win by attempting to outdo her in the swiftness of your movements. You remember one of Master Zhang’s suggestions – he had plenty of those to give, though in context if you did not heed his suggestions you had a good chance of ending up heavily injured or dead.

    You wait, keeping yourself perfectly still. Your calm exterior strikes a contrast with the muddled mess of qi that surges within you; it is a difficult posture to hold. Your very nature yearns to leap back into the fight and strike out at random, but you suppress that itching urge and hold your stance.

    No wasted movements, said your master. Allow your qi to guide your movements, but do not give yourself over to it. Nudge it along your desired path… then throw all your power behind that strike.

    Honestly… easier said than done.

    It is a skill you have yet to master, but you attempt it anyway. You focus, watching Nameless make another run at you.

    Will she feint to the left? Attack from the right? Or will she attempt a direct assault?

    She’s too fast for your eyes to track – as she closes in you give up on attempting to predict her. Enough thinking. You spring into action, following your instinct. A frontal attack. That has to be it. Her arm whips around in a blur; her fingers clip your ear, drawing blood. Your sudden, forward movement has thrown off her timing. She will try to pull back and escape, but at this distance… Channeling Yuanshi Hundun, your internal energy surges up through your arms, lashing out at your opponent.

    A nudge, to focus it where you want it to go. Then, you summon all your might.

    The effect is not unlike that of forcing a wide river to flow through a narrow channel.

    Your qi does not react well to being constrained and controlled this way, responding with an explosion of power that tears through your own body painfully. Your palm strikes her right in the center of her chest. You exert enough control to pull back at the last second, but the resulting force is still enough to propel Nameless across the stage and out of the ring.

    Wincing as your muscles and tendons start the long and arduous process to self-recovery, you vow never to take up one of Master Zhang’s suggestions again unless it is absolutely a matter of life or death.

    To your relief, while the crowd cheers your victory you see that Nameless has pushed herself up into a sitting position, though a trickle of blood runs down from her lips. She has definitely been injured by your strike. Strangely, you do not feel as happy about winning the tournament as you thought you would. You begin to walk over to the masked girl. If she is who you think she is… You begin to call out, “Yu-“

    Your words die in your throat. Your feet stop.

    A crippling fear washes over you. There is a strong killing intent aimed at you. Your instincts scream as you whirl to receive an attack coming from your side. Palm meets palm – your assailant is an older man, with most of his features hidden under a peasant’s conical straw hat. His cloak billows about him, revealing an ornate garment underneath not of Han origin.

    In a split second, a raging conflagration invades your body.

    Despite the nature of your qi, it is insufficient to fight back internal energy of this magnitude. You are blasted away from the man, in the same way as what you did to Nameless just a while ago. Though you land on your feet, the strength of his attack forces you to drop to your knees soon after.

    This man is strong. He might even be the equal of Master Zhang.

    “Do not touch the Holy Maiden,” growls the mysterious man in a low voice.

    “I can’t know if she’s holy if you don’t even let me talk to her,” you respond. “Besides, I was touching her all through the fight-“

    You regret your flippant words quickly enough as the man charges at you. Before he reaches you, however, a bright yellow-and-red cassock obscures your view. Fangzhang, the Abbot of Shaolin, stands between you and the intruder, looking every bit as impassable as a mountain despite his old frame. Your assailant does not pull back even so. He attacks Fangzhang head-on, striking out with his fist.

    The Abbot meets his opponent’s fist with his head, pitting his bare wrinkled dome against hardened knuckles. There is a clear ringing sound, like the tolling of a great bell, as the mysterious intruder is thrown back. He gazes at the Abbot impassively, shaking his hand.

    “The famed Northern Monk of Shaolin. This will be exciting,” he grins.

    “Stop.” The order comes not from Fangzhang, but from Nameless. Surprisingly, the man acquiesces quickly, bending his knee. Two more behatted persons have emerged on the stage, the tournament officials and committee helpless to stop them. They offer a helping hand to Nameless, but she shrugs it off haughtily and stands straight up, staring at me. Then, she turns to one of her acquaintances and whispers something. The man nods. He removes his hat, and the rest follow suit. They don’t appear to be Persian, but neither are they Han; their looks are exotic and you cannot place their ethnicity. Turning to the Abbot and the audience, he introduces himself in perfect Han.

    “I am called Vahista, Amesha of the great Fire Temple of Gushnasp. I have come to the Central Plains of the Tang as servant of my lord of the flame, to witness our Holy Maiden challenge your youths in battle. We have found you lacking.”

    “She lost,” I point out loudly, to the laughs of the crowd. Behind him, the Holy Maiden’s eyes flash in irritation.

    “Not to one of the Eight Sects’, who dominate the pugilistic world,” responds Vahista calmly. “Indeed, our Holy Maiden bested any of the Eight Sects’ disciples that stood in her way with ease. This shows us that your teachings are weak, and ours are strong. After all, students are only as good as their teachers.” He looks at the Abbot as he says that last word; it is clearly a taunt.

    Fangzhang, however, remains unfazed and silent. You might have to revise your opinion of the old man now.

    After getting no response from the Abbot, Vahista continues to address his audience. "We do not believe the Eight Sects are capable of protecting the people. If this is what their younger generation is capable of, there is no future for this country in ten years' time. The Eight Sects take and give little in return. They only maintain the status quo, never seeking improvement. How many villages have fallen because the inhabitants were unable to protect themselves in the absence of orthodox pugilists to defend them? On my way here I have seen dozens of small communities plundered by bandits in their moment of weakness. None of you can be everywhere at once despite all your good intentions. We aim to change the world for the better, that such tragedies will not happen again. The Fire of Gushnasp will show that it is a better protector for the people than the Eight Sects. We declare a challenge. Heed our words. Six months from now, the strongest fighters of Gushnasp, including our temple's lord, will be present at Heihu Valley. There, we will demonstrate our superiority over the pugilists of the Central Plains once and for all. We will do this after the manner of the Central Plains. I believe it is customary to arrange for a duel between disciples and masters of differing sects. That is how it will be done."

    You curse inwardly. You had come with the intention of issuing a public challenge to the Eight Sects should you win, but doing that now, after the fire cult has issued theirs... that's only going to look silly. You are forced to abandon the notion now.

    Meanwhile, the crowd is silent, not knowing how to respond to this sudden turn of events. Even the eloquent Bai Jiutian seems surprised by the challenge of the cultists. The eyes of everyone present, commoner and pugilist alike, turn to Abbot Fangzhang. As the most senior and respected pugilist present, he is their de facto leader. His response will be representative for them all.

    After what seems like a long time, he grins, and gives a single, wordless nod. Vahista returns a slight bow, seemingly satisfied. Then, he focuses his attention on you.

    "Young man, you are not a member of the Eight Sects', are you?" he calls out to you as you recuperate behind Fangzhang.

    "Do I look like one?"

    He smiles thinly. "No, you do not. I am sorry for asking such a silly question. You have a great power, and are unbound to any of the orthodox sects; if you are interested in finding out how you can use it to serve a better cause, we would gladly educate you."

    "I've never been one to sit still and take in lessons," you reply.

    "Pity," sighs Vahista. "We will be leaving the city now, but should you change your mind later today you may catch up to us at Wufushan. We will be there for a brief while before continuing to head west. Do consider our invitation." With that, the cultists leave, two of them supporting the injured Holy Maiden as they bound up a nearby building with their qinggong and vanish.

    ***

    “Hm, I thought you would be brooding on the rooftop,” says Qilin, peeking into your room.

    “Why would I be doing that?” you mutter, rolling your eyes. With the treatment Cao’er gave you right after the tournament, your wounds inflicted from the last fight should recover rather quickly, but there are still some niggling pains left in your limbs. Of course, your left arm remains rather stubborn – exerting yourself today has not helped its recovery.

    “Well, you just look the sort to sit dramatically on the roof, watching the people mill about their business below as you loom over them brooding about all the bad things that happen to you all the time,” says Qilin airily as she lets herself in without asking your permission.

    “That’s- do I really give off that sort of impression?”

    “You do,” she replies solemnly. Then, giving you a grin that you don’t like the look of, she continues, “What’s the story between you and the fire cult’s Holy Maiden, then?”

    “W-what’s what?” you sputter. “What are you talking about?”

    “Oh, an adult woman can smell out this sort of thing. I could tell, by the way you were acting. You know her, don’t you?”

    “Maybe,” you mumble, “maybe not. It’s not any of your business.”

    She giggles, leaning closer to you until you can smell her subtle fragrance. “Is it that sort of relationship, then? Star-crossed lovers?”

    “Nothing like that. There is nothing going on there, so you can stop your wild fancies now, Miss Chi,” you say quickly, perhaps a bit more harshly than you intended. It has been a rather long day.

    “Is that so?” She draws back, strangely surprised at your denial, yet with a weird smile on her face. You wonder if she’s planning something. “I suppose that is good too…”

    “I’m sure you didn’t come here just to ask about the Holy Maiden.” You finish packing your things – you will be leaving by tomorrow at the latest. Qilin shrugs. “I thought I would come and offer Xiaoqing to keep you company –“ –her snake pokes its head out of her collar and hisses – “–if you were feeling down or something. You seem fine, so I’ll save Xiaoqing the trouble. What do you plan to do tomorrow, though? You have a fight with Bai Jiutian, right?”

    You do. It had slipped your mind, with what had happened during and after the final match. You had won the tournament, earning the crowd’s applause. Your reputation had risen with some sects, but Vahista’s parting words to you have sowed the seeds of suspicion in others. You had plenty of taels now, a gleeful monk and beggar having finally given you your fair share of the winnings. You even laid your hands on a Shaolin technique manual, though when you browsed through the Yingzhao Fist (鷹爪拳, Eagle Claw Fist) manual it ended up being surprisingly similar to the Shouwang Claws you already knew. As a basic technique there was not much you could learn from it, but you should be able to incorporate the Yingzhao moves into a third style of the Shouwang Claws.

    Murong Yandi had been dragged out of the city by his teacher right after the tournament – you did not have the chance to say goodbye to him. The Abbot and Qi Liuwu had left too, now focused on preparing for the duel with the Fire Cult. Guo Fu would be returning with the Wudang disciples tomorrow, as will Cao’er and Yifang with the Abbess and Emei. You are not sure where Qilin is going, but you doubt she will remain here.

    There is nothing left for you to do in Luoyang, now that the tournament is over. All that remains is to address Bai Jiutian’s challenge.

    ***

    A. You will turn up tomorrow to accept Bai Jiutian’s challenge. You aren’t one to back down from a fight, and you doubt that you can’t take him on.

    B. You turn up tomorrow to reject his challenge publicly. There are words you would have with him now that you do not need to bother hiding your identity.

    1. You do not return the golden fox leaves. They are valuable and you might have a use for them. Who cares what he says?

    2. You return the golden fox leaves. He will not be able to say that you stole his medication and dodged his challenge.

    3. You return the golden fox leaves. Qilin, however, has suggested a little something extra with it – an itching powder she cooked up. Nothing lethal, but extremely irritating…

    ***

    C. You do not turn up, opting to leave the city quietly.

    1. If you are to catch up with the fire cultists, you must leave tonight to get to Wufushan in time. You head there – you are interested in what they have to say.

    2. West is not where you want to go. Your paths will cross again. In the meantime, you have business at Yuhua Hall that has been neglected far too long.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
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  2. a bear named spigot Arcane

    a bear named spigot
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    Mayhaps we could brofist each other in the nearest bathroom stall.
     
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  3. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Codex 2012
    Dun dun dun dunnnn... Wuxian standoff!
     
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  4. Rex Feral Liturgist

    Rex Feral
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    I guess everything went better than expected.
     
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  5. asxetos Augur

    asxetos
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    The Eight Sects might be dominating the pugilistic world but the unorthodox pugilists are still part of that world. And one of them, indeed, just kicked her ass.
     
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  6. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    We really don't know that yet.
     
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  7. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    Codex 2012
    Done.

    A and B will have the subchoice of the medicine decision (1, 2 and 3).

    C has the subchoice of either going after the cultists or heading to Yangzhou.
     
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  8. Kipeci Arcane

    Kipeci
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    B3 is so tempting, but I do want to link up with the fire cult. I don't suppose anyone else is willing to vote C1?

    C1 > B3
     
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  9. a bear named spigot Arcane

    a bear named spigot
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    My first thought was to go with the same two options you've picked, actually. But I'll wait a while for people to sway me with their persuasive and well thought out arguments.
     
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  10. Kipeci Arcane

    Kipeci
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    I was thinking that C1 might be a bit of a distraction from our mission, but then I realized that we could theoretically participate as one of the Fire Cult's dudes in the challenge six months off from now and assault people then, so that could still work out fairly well.

    Also, treave , is there any chance of a relationship counter for the fire cult folks?
     
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  11. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    It's still at zero now, but I'll add it in.
     
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  12. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    These fire cultists have Yunzi (what is it with our princesses getting inducted into cults, seriously?). Screw subtlety, I say we train up for a year and go Zhang Jue on their asses. And bring our Master along, he'll definitely want to "test" them. As a matter of fact, I feel a great PR opportunity coming up for the two of us. "Champions of the Central Plains," standing up for the Chinese pugilistic community where everyone else fails. Oh, the irony.
    Shun must know of this shit ASAP. In fact, I may flop to follow them for just this reason.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013
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  13. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    No, going after them is a bad idea, the public still doesn't know our name and face yet and just up and leaving still leaves our name up for the taking. Kinda like the "Naim steals Senya's MEGA GLORY!" from the EPIC LP. Sadly, this was the drawback of going in anonymously, we have to secure our position here and now.
     
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  14. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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    Will you people get some decent avatars!

    I think the other guys are central asians. Zoroastrians used to be common in Central Asia, during the height of the persian empire. They're not persians, or at least not all of them. These guys are definitively not weak - Vahista was ready to charge Abbot Fangzhang, who is like third or second strongest in China!

    Those dicksmoking zoroastrians stole our thunder! Thought we were going to be attacked by the WiBs for a momment, through. Fuck them! I like zoroastrians, but this CANNOT stand! We're gonna go there and beat them, and THEN we will beat the Eight Sects' Students, finishing gloriously by punching Bai Jutian to the face!

    Makes sense that one of the techniques in the manual was similar to the Showang Claws, Zhang was trained by the Frathouse Masters. A extra style for our claws is good, through, especially if its non-lethal (I really don't want Jing killing people wholesale like Zhang, we gotta guard up our killing for the REALLY bad guys, like the late Rong Junior). There's probably more juicy stuff if we study right, through.

    Yeah, we got some Chew gold! No extra technique level up? Damnit Qi!

    As for the choices:


    A is obviously moronic. We haven't taken the powder, and we are pretty weakened. No way I'm going to stack Jing's entire reputation on a duel like this.

    Do we get to choose where to go after the B choices?

    B1 is very much dickish. Bai probably deserves it, but we're gonna be considered a honourless cur.
    B2 is more honoured and dign. I think Bai won't even mind much, because he's gonna be interested in fighting the Fire Cultists. Jing is yesterday's news. Unless, that is, he's part of the KKKonspiracy, then he's gonna want to take us down anyway. Do
    B3 is also quite dickish. There's also the possibility Bai will scan it, find the irritant powder and start telling everyone that Jing is a dick who poisons other people's things. NOT good. This is especially alarming considering where Rong.jr was training and possibly got his poison.

    C1 is interesting, very interesting. However, a bunch of foreigners coming up in the central plains and issuing a challenge that they can protect the people better than the orthodox sects and the Emperor's armies? Seems mighty suspect. This might betray the Prince. I don't think the Persians are (directly) connected to the WiBs,

    C2 is also very important, but bailing on BJ and not going to the Persians either doesn't seem profitable. On other hand, whatever is happening its related to Yuhua Hall, which we have neglected enough.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013
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  15. Zero Credibility Arcane

    Zero Credibility
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    Going for B2 for now.

    I think we do need to have some closure with BJ before leaving, if for nothing else then to return him his medicine and tell him we'll be seeing him later. Not returning the medicine would be kind of a dick move. This way he would have a harder time to paint us as a coward, and we would have an easier time getting those fights we need. That was the point behind voting to not use the medicine in the first place, so let's not waste that. The Abbess will still be there, so I doubt BJ is going to try anything outright stupid.

    Itching powder, while a hilarious idea, isn't going to work the way we want it to. Simply put, this medication is only likely to be used in case of a serious injury or emergency, it's just too valuable to waste on anything else. And that means that the powder is all too likely to not be used by the next time we meet BJ or, even worse, it will be used by someone else instead.
     
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  16. Esquilax Arcane

    Esquilax
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    treave, this implies that Vahista is not the Lord of their temple, is that correct? Bros, if that's the case, then this sect has someone leading them that could be even more powerful than this man, who is described as being on par with Master Zhang. If so, then that means that this group has some insanely powerful martial artists among them, and that perhaps we ought to take the rep hit here in exchange for gaining closer ties with such a strong group.

    Also, I'm curious as to how a lot of the Eight Sects see our victory, in particular the ones that we just improved our rep with. It strikes me that even though we are Zhang Jue's apprentice, the public and a few of the sects (i.e. Wudang, Shaolin) are probably glad that a foreigner didn't claim the title over a Han, regardless of who our Master is.
     
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  17. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

    Smashing Axe
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    Divinity: Original Sin
    B2
    We should make a spectacle with B2, and as someone said before, remind BJ that we as the challenged have the right to set terms.
     
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  18. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    He's not the leader, yes. As for the sects, you'll find out more about their disposition when you interact with them more closely after this.
     
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  19. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    B2
     
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  20. Kipeci Arcane

    Kipeci
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    It'd be one thing if the medicine kicked in immediately, but remember that it's delayed in effect. If he had the sort of immediate emergency that needed his health restored right away, the medicine would do him no good even without itching powder.

    Succumb to the r00fles, guys. If we have to go with B, it might as well be humorous.
     
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  21. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    treave, will the primary votes all be counted together and then the winning choice picked from their subcatogries, or is every combination counted individually?
     
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  22. Kashmir Slippers Magister

    Kashmir Slippers
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    Here, obviously
  23. Ifeex Scholar

    Ifeex
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  24. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    Interesting. Bal Jiutian may now be more amenable to delaying or laying aside the challenge, given what has transpired; if he is truly good-natured but arrogant he should be persuaded that there are greater things at hand here and you believe you and Zhang Jue do not want to see these people fuck everything up. If he is truly stupid and insistent, we can still say the same, and at least perform that impression. treave would we communicate our refusal publicly or privately? I'm hoping publicly, so we can make it clear. I think after the final fight the crowd would readily believe that we want to go after the fire cult, too.

    I'm toying between B3 and C1, either we do that then go to Yuhua Hall or we try and find out more about the cult. It's a good chance to play double agent and know more, though Jing is probably going in over his head trying such subterfuge. B3 for now.
     
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  25. XenomorphII Prophet

    XenomorphII
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