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This Is Not A Friendly Server by TheBuggiest
This Is Not A Friendly Server
Disregard 0031 in the background there.  This is my first SFM-rendered poster, and I'm fairly pleased with the result.  Props to Roo, Slytha, and Khepri, who inspired the loadouts here.
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(Contains: strong language)
<entry_26>

0244 hours, Wednesday, February 14, 1973.

I feel an obligation to record the events of the negotiation so that, in the off-chance that I come away from these happenings intact, I might be able to shed some light on exactly what happened.  I am still having trouble processing what I have seen.

The negotiation itself was not difficult to find.  We simply traveled toward the tank's front door through which I had entered. It seemed most likely that Herr Gray would meet with the mercenaries there as they would not want to come inside and possibly be trapped. We were soon proven correct. As we approached our destination, a good many robots could be seen ahead of us marching in the same direction, most of them Soldiers and Demolitions units and Heavies with some Medicbots as well. Sniper pulled me sideways into an adjoining hallway.  He was frowning.

Sniper unit: Right, here comes the tricky part.
0031: Getting past the other robots without being stopped?
Sniper unit: Something like that.

He peered back around the corner to watch their progress.  I made a throat-clearing noise, which seemed to irritate him.  At least, he squinted his eyes a bit as he looked back over his shoulder to me.

Sniper unit: If you're gonna say something spit it out.
0031: Well, ah, it does not seem likely that they will object to my presence, Sniper.  Perhaps you could wait, und I could go see what is happening.
Sniper unit: And have you run off to help Gray robot-ize the lot of us? Not a chance.

That seemed distinctly unfair.

0031: You know, I have a reason to be unhappy with you as well.  You shot at me.
Sniper unit: Yeah, well I thought you'd run off with my mate's brain. It's a good reason to shoot someone.
0031: But I didn't, und you are still being--
Sniper unit: Just shut your bleeding mouth will you?  I'm trying to think!

I fell silent even though I did not want to.  Sniper peered around the corner again.  It suddenly struck me as odd that he was able to get in without being detected.  Spy can cloak and disguise himself well enough for infiltration, but Sniper's type of stealthiness is not as well suited for it.

0031: Bitte, if it will help, how did you get inside the tank to begin with?
Sniper unit: Scaled up the side and busted one of the windows.
0031: You... but the windows are near the very top of the tank!  How--?
Sniper unit: Had to get in somehow.  Getting out that way ain't gonna be an option though, so we're gonna have go forward to get at the Scout and Gray.

I made a frustrated sighing noise.

0031: Sniper, I think that my suggestion from before is the best one.  You may not like it, but the fact remains that they will not look twice at me, even the ones that know what I have been doing for the past several weeks.  If you wish you can pull further back down the hall und cover me with your bow.  If I betray anyone, well, you will be well placed to deal with me.
Sniper unit: Now that's a thought.
0031: Ja, as I said!  Und look, there is even a crate here.  You can push it into the hall und use it as cover.  Most of these robots are new models.  That means they are very stupid, und if you just keep out of sight you should be all right.
Sniper unit: Well... all right, as I don't seem to have much in the way of options.  You cross us though and I swear to God--
0031: You will kill me in an unpleasant fashion, ja, I know.  Help me to move this crate bitte.

He stopped talking at that point, and between the two of us we managed to move the crate into position.  Afterward I did not wait for him to threaten me some more but wheeled swiftly forward to join with the crowd of my brethren.  They did not notice me, as I predicted.  Herr Gray had commanded them to monitor the mercenaries that had approached the tank.  The machines would not watch the halls behind them unless they had been commanded to do so specifically.

With a bit of maneuvering, I was able to secure a position near the lowered door so I could look out on the scene.  A fog had descended over the trees; it reflected the floodlights from the tank almost like a sheet of frosted glass.  The fence around the base was visible, its gate smashed down, but the buildings behind them had been lost to vapor and darkness.

Six mercenaries stood in the space between the fence and the tank with Miss Pauling at their head.  They were approximately ten meters from where I stood, but the mist was not yet thick enough to obscure their features.  Demoman and Soldier had placed themselves on either side of the group with uncommonly grim countenances.  Their respective grenade and rocket launcher were held by their sides, ready to be brought up into use at a moment's notice.   Heavy stood near the center of the group looking more or less how he usually does outside of battle, impassive and a little grumpy perhaps, his own minigun sitting on the ground to his left.  I felt a guilty feeling when I realized he was half-supporting Herr Medic.  The latter looked as though he might be able to stand on his own, but his eyes were not focused even as they glared murderously in our general direction.  The Pyro and Herr Engineer had positioned themselves near Demoman.  Pyro was holding onto Herr Engineer's arm as though afraid he might run at the tank, but from this distance it was impossible to decipher what Herr Engineer might be thinking about doing.  He seemed almost limp, and his gaze focused itself above all of our heads.  There was no sign of the Spy.

Miss Pauling, for her part, watched the crowd of robots with stiff composure.  It looked as though I had arrived just after she'd finished saying something.  All of the humans seemed expectant, and I had an idea of what they might be waiting for.

Even as I shifted to get a better view, the crowd around me began to part.  I moved to the right, peering curiously at the aisle they had opened up, but any questions I had were quickly answered.  0484 marched through our midst.  He was steering the Scout in front of him.  The Scout's hands were secured behind his back, but for the most part he seemed unharmed; I think he was more embarrassed by his plight than frightened or even angry any more.  When they got to the ground just in front of the tank they stopped.  Miss Pauling looked a bit less tense.

Scout unit: Uh... hey, fellas!  And Miss P, you're looking good and stuff.  

0484 hit him in the back of the head.

0484: SILENCE PRISONER!
Scout unit: Ow, geez, fine!

And then Herr Gray's voice sounded, magnified over the speakers at the top of the tank.  I looked around to see where he was, but I could not find him.  For some reason it irritated me to realize that he was not physically present at the negotiations.  Did he think the mercenaries would try to assassinate him in the middle of a truce?

Then I remembered where Sniper was positioned, and suddenly I was not so sure that he had no reason to fear.

Master Gray: There.  Your friend is alive and just as functional as he ever was.  Are you satisfied?
Miss Pauling: Not really, but it's a start.  What do you want for him?
Master Gray: I think you know what I want.  And shouldn't there be nine of you?

Miss Pauling frowned slightly, and I saw the fingers clutching her gun twitch.

Miss Pauling: It doesn't take nine people to handle a hostage situation.
Master Gray: And it doesn't take more than one to infiltrate a carrier tank, does it?
Miss Pauling: Gray, we came to the negotiations like you wanted whether or not all of us are present.  If you think one of my men could have gotten past the security measures on your tank, then perhaps we should speed this along so you can perform a search.
Master Gray: Or I could kill you, take what I want, and leave without any repercussions whatsoever.

I hesitated.  He was suspicious.  For a moment I considered going back to tell Sniper to run, but Miss Pauling's reply took the conversation in a different direction.

Miss Pauling: You're the one who decided to call for us.  You wouldn't have set this up unless you had something to gain from talking.  Besides, how are you so sure you'd win?  These men have taken your robots down time and time again with just six people, and this time I'm with them.
Master Gray: That counts for so much, I'm sure.  Regardless you are correct in that I would prefer a peaceful solution to this hostage situation.  I can give you your Scout back and leave you in peace if you hand over what you've stolen from me.

The Scout shifted his weight, looking uneasy.  None of the mercenaries seemed happy with this proposition.  Engineer alone stood stock still, just staring up at the loudspeakers while Pyro edged in front of him.  It was impossible to tell what he was thinking.  I sidled my way through the machines to get a bit closer to 0484 and the Scout.

Miss Pauling: Men can't be stolen.
Master Gray: Really now.  I wasn't under the impression that your employer thought much about human rights.
Miss Pauling: You're not talking to the Administrator; you're talking to me.
Master Gray: You represent her and the company she owns.  The man formerly known as Dell Conagher didn't show much loyalty to TF Industries.  Why should you care about what's become of him when the life of another one of its employees hangs in the balance?
Scout unit: (muttered) He's got a point there, you know.

I was close enough to hear the Scout's words, but I do not think anyone else was besides the other robots.  Herr Gray continued.

Master Gray: But those are my terms, as they stand.  Your Scout for unit E-001.  Make your decision.

The mercenaries were silent.  Most of them were looking to Miss Pauling, and she only stared up at the loudspeakers with the utmost rigidity.  Then, to my bewilderment, Herr Engineer pushed Pyro aside and stepped forward.  Miss Pauling spun around, and for a moment I thought she would shoot him on reflex.  She caught herself in time.

Miss Pauling: What are you doing?
E-001: Nothing.  I just got something to say.

His words were not angry, or frightened, or that terrifying defeated tone I have heard him use only once before.  He stepped around Miss Pauling into the space between his teammates and the tank.  Everyone but him was still and quiet as he pushed at the helmet making up the top of his head.  It seemed a very human gesture, something he might have done at any given time before working for Herr Gray but which was only pointless habit now.

E-001: Gray, I've got some terms of my own.
Miss Pauling: No, don't you dare do something--
E-001: It's okay, Miss Pauling.  Just let me talk.

It was a few seconds before Herr Gray responded.  His voice was wary.

Master Gray: You have terms.
E-001: Yeah.  Just between us.
Master Gray: What's that supposed to mean?

Herr Engineer rocked back on his heels, his lights shining up through the fog like beacons.  His next words sounded like nothing more than a statement of fact.

E-001: My terms are that I'm gonna come into that tank.  I'm gonna find where you're holed up in there.  And I'm gonna rip your head clean off your shoulders.

Herr Gray hesitated for the briefest moment before sighing.

Master Gray: I don't think you understand how terms work, exactly.
E-001: Only thing I don't understand is why you expected any of us to listen to what you have to say. You haven't exactly given us a reason to trust you.
Master Gray: You're one to talk.  Ah well, no one can say I didn't try.  It seemed fair to give you a chance to surrender first, but if you have made your decision I have nothing more to say to you.  Goodbye.
Miss Pauling: Hold on Gray, we're not done yet!

Herr Gray did not respond.  He was through talking.  All around me the robots were beginning to mobilize.  Miss Pauling shot Herr Engineer an irritated look and readied her gun, but Soldier pointed into the mist behind them.

Soldier unit: LOOK ALIVE MEN, THEY'RE CUTTING US OFF!

I groaned.  At least forty shadowy figures made indistinct by the fog emerged from the trees to flank the mercenaries.  The bursts of light accompanying them signified that at least some of the robots were Pyro units.  Medic started toward them with a hand on his syringe gun, one foot still dragging the ground, but Heavy jerked him back by the arm.  A wild sort of grin crossed Demoman's face as he readied his weapon.

Demolitions unit: What's the plan then, Miss Pauling?  Kill as many of the metal bastards as we can while we're still standing?
Miss Pauling: NO.  Stay alive for as long as possible.  If I tell you to run-- damn it, get back here!  Engineer!

Herr Engineer was walking toward the tank with quick even strides.  Walking, not running.  He had one of his shotguns, I think it was the one he calls the Widowmaker, and as needed he used it to blast robots out of his way. They seemed at a loss as to what to do.  The units looked at each other as they barred his way, only shooting reluctantly, but he showed no such hesitation to attack.  This bewilderment that had taken them at being fired upon by another robot made them easy targets for the sudden explosions no doubt generated from Demoman and Soldier.  A shout from nearby startled me out of my observations.

0484: FIRE AT WILL, YOU RUSTED OUT OIL DRUMS, THE MAKER DOESN'T CARE IF THEY'RE ALIVE OR DEAD ANYMORE!

With a jolt, I remembered the Scout.  I was the only person situated to help him, if anyone was to help him at all.  I spun around against the tide of robots who, to my dismay, had inadvertently been bearing me down the ramp toward the site of conflict.  Even amidst the other metal countenances I picked out 0484 immediately, an erect figure more battle-scarred than the rest.  He was pulling the Scout backwards into the tank.

I squeezed my way between two Heavies and bowled over a hapless Demolitions unit that didn't get out of my way quickly enough.  My line of sight to the Scout was constantly crossed by my brethren, but I could at least see that he was fighting his captor with every ounce of strength he had.  Scout tried to dig his heels into the metal ramp, he kicked at 0484's legs, he writhed and bucked and squirmed, and it did a little bit of good.  0484 had to turn his attention more fully on the human even as the units under his command fell to the mercenaries.

0484: DAMMIT MEATBAG, STOP MOVING OR I WILL MAKE YOU STOP MOVING!
Scout unit: FUCK OFF TRASHCAN!

I pushed my way out from between a confused Medical unit and a Soldier to collide with 0484.  He stumbled sideways and let go of the Scout, who regained his balance quickly and turned to face us both.  0484 grabbed my arm and pulled me upright.  I tried to pry his fingers from me.  Medicbots are not built with the same sort of upper body motors found in Soldierbots, unfortunately, and his grip remained firm.

0484: TREASON!
Scout unit: Yo stupid, let him--!

The Scout did not finish his sentence.  I heard a sound I was all too familiar with, a reverberating crack I had come to associate with immediate peril.  Both 0484 and myself were momentarily diverted from our struggle, heads swiveling to find the source of the noise.

The Scout fell forward onto his face.  The back of his head was dark and damp with a fluid that needed no further identification.  He did not stir.

0484 dropped me in surprise and scrambled over to the body.  He seemed as startled by this turn as I felt.  His hand passed over the bullet hole, blood staining his fingers, before he jumped to his feet again and looked back and forth wildly.

0484: BUT... BUT THAT SOUNDED LIKE A REVOLVER!  WHO DID THIS?  WE HAD ORDERS!

I had managed to land on my wheel and began to back away from the body and the Soldier.  I did not process it.  I had to keep thinking of other things and not about what had happened.  That was the only sensible course of action.

Sniper was in the hall.  From the arrows sticking out of some of my fellow robots it seemed he had not been idle.  Therefore, I had to go back and either fetch him or help him in whatever capacity I could, if I wanted him to survive.

Respawn may still be working.  Respawn may still be working, and there is absolutely no point thinking about why the Scout was in his position to start with because there is work to be done.  I am not going to think about it.  I won't.

</entry_26>
Anyone else think BLU might actually be helping the Administrator gather Australium as opposed to being just merged into their RED counterparts?
"Alright Dad, truth is this ain't a vacation.  I've-- no, WE'VE been disbanded.  Now before you say anything, we all knew this was gonna happen eventually.  I mean hell, having a single bloody job last this long is practically unheard of for a... for someone in my profession, and..."

Sniper sighed, his spirits sinking a little further as he drove down the abandoned stretch of highway.  Who was he fooling?  As soon as his father knew he was out of a job, he'd be lucky to get a sentence in before the inevitable half-hour screaming match.  He could hear the old man now:

"I TOLD you that weren't no way to make a living, even back when it was just buffaloes you was shooting in Africa!  Mucking about with a bunch of criminals, you're lucky to have made it back at all!  And did it ever occur in your brain, did it ever even register, what might happen if your 'job' followed you home?  Eh?  Ever thought of that, son?"

A long brown snake lay basking across the road ahead.  He swerved around it mechanically, not really seeing it.  His surroundings were comfortable and familiar.  The road stretched endlessly in front of his windshield until it vanished into the fiery blaze of the sunset.  Flat grassy land broken up by bushes and the occasional stunted tree flanked him on either side.  There were no houses to be seen.  The only sign that anyone might live nearby was a high fence to his right, behind which a flock of sheep grazed ravenously as though afraid the grass might disappear with the waning light.  

Then he saw it.  Something dark clung to the side of the twisted wire barricade just ahead, crouched and menacing.

Sniper slowed the van, hand twitching on reflex toward the kukri resting in the seat beside him.  But before he could touch it he relaxed.  The shape was too small to be a person, and anyways it wasn't holding onto the fence by itself.  Someone had hung it there.  He got a glimpse of fur matted with blood, white teeth, four limbs splayed out rigidly from a distended belly, before it passed out of his periphery in a blur.  The sheep continued grazing.

Farmers hung dingoes they'd shot from their fences sometimes to ward others away from their flocks, he knew that.  No telling how well it worked though.

Finally he saw what he had been waiting for.  A dark square, nothing but a speck against the horizon at first, drew steadily nearer until it was recognizable as a small house.  Asphalt had given way to gravel a ways back, and now even that was disappearing in favor of a long dirt driveway.  Despite the knot in his stomach, the corners of Sniper's mouth slid up in a small smile.  It wasn't much to look at, just a patch of dirt and grass indistinguishable from the rest of the landscape, some fences marking it off, and the plain little box of a house in the middle of it all.  Compared to that mansion Demoman lived in, it was a shack.  But fountains and artsy modern architecture didn't make a home.  Maybe he'd wait to tell his dad he'd been laid off until the morning, and they could just...

He pulled up in front of the house, smile fading.  The door stood ajar, and the windows were all dark.  He rolled down his window.

"Mum?  Dad?"

There was no answer.  Sniper skipped dread entirely and assumed the worst.

He shut off the van and picked the kukri up out of the passenger's seat.  He was going inside; at close quarters, a knife was just as viable as a gun and in some ways easier to manage.  He ran his thumb over the blade as he stepped out of the vehicle.  The cold metal reassured him.  He just had to be prepared for any eventuality, that was all.  Then nothing could touch him.

Dead grass crunched under his boots.  Insects hummed from the nearby tree.  The sun's rays tilted their way through the branches to dapple his long frame, warm but not comforting.  All too soon he left their light for the shade of the porch and, with the slightest hesitation, stalked across the threshold.

All was still and quiet inside.  It wasn't reassuring.  His mother should have been cleaning up after dinner or watering her plants while his father groused about something he'd read in the paper.  That's what they did in the evenings.  But there was no voice or movement to be heard, just the now muffled whine of cicadas in the old tree.

Everything looked in order, at least.  No broken furniture or obvious signs of a struggle.  He took another step inside, careful not to make the floorboards creak.  Some sand and debris from the yard had been blown in onto the floor.  He frowned; how long had the door been open then?  It wasn't windy now.  Had it been hours?  Days?

He crouched a bit lower and, holding the kukri ready, began to make his way further inside.  No lights on.  Had they left then, and just forgotten to close the door?  But that wasn't like his dad.  Nothing short of a fissure to the center of the earth ripping the house in half would compel him to leave, and even then it might take some convincing.  What could have gotten him to abandon his beloved home?  And if they hadn't... if they hadn't left, where were they now?

Well.  It was pretty likely they were still in the house, wasn't it?

He gritted his teeth.  Just got to be prepared for what's coming, that's all.

At this, Sniper straightened up and looked around the room.  He looked for some sign, a bloodstain or a huddled mass or a garbage bag in a place it shouldn't be, but almost everything was exactly where it belonged.  The couch and chairs stood by the fireplace in the same places they'd been on his last visit.  He ran a finger down the arm of a rocker.  A stripe of dark wood glinted dully in the light from the windows, freed from its thin layer of dust.

That's not a good sign.

He turned away.  No, there wasn't anything here unless it had been stuffed under the couch.  Unlikely, but he could check there later.

The glow from the sun had dwindled slightly, and the rays coming through the windows glinted red now.  He turned away from the living room.  Then he stopped suddenly, his gaze fixed on the other side of the house.  A dim red outline formed two sides of a rectangle there in the dark wall.  The back door wasn't closed all the way.

He hesitated for just a second.  Then, knuckles of the hand wrapped around his kukri turning white, he marched to it.  To hell with stealth.  If there was anyone here, he wanted them to know they weren't alone.  Maybe they'd show themselves and he could get some answers.  With more force than was strictly necessary, he threw open the back door.

They had died in the backyard.

He might have been turned into a statue, if there'd been anyone there to see him freeze on the porch.  Death wasn't dignified or beautiful no matter how many artists tried to romanticize it.  He'd watched enough men die, most at his own hand, to know that much.  It wasn't always clean either.  Movies had people dying instantaneously from wounds that could have left them there for hours or even days, lingering but doomed and often racked with pain, so unable to function it was hard to know when it was that they finally stopped living.  And once someone died, nature didn't care who they were.  The scavengers came if you didn't bury them fast enough, and the flies.

It looked like his mother had died fast, at least.  Bullet through the temple and out the back of the skull.  She probably hadn't even seen it coming.  They must have shot her first.

His father had known what was happening.  He'd been with her, seen her drop, and gone running... away from the house?  Toward the gunman, more like.  He'd been shot in the shoulder first, then the thigh.  The stubborn old man looked like he had been crawling through the grass when his attacker had finally hit his target.  The hole passed straight down through the top of the head.  He'd come forward, out from his hiding place, and stood over his dad before shooting him down like a trespassing dog.

From the looks of them, it had been two days ago at least.

Sniper stepped backward into the house.  His eyes were fixed on thin air, still seeing their bodies as though they were floating in front of him.  It wasn't... quite real, somehow.  He moved around, his life changed, he was stationed in different places and the people around him died, but they were constants.  This place was his anchor.  They couldn't just be gone.

But they were.  And he'd thought he was prepared.

He cursed under his breath and turned away from the door.  His thumb ran up and down the blade of his kukri, faster than before, back and forth as though he were trying to squeeze out the very last drop of reassurance the metal had provided him earlier.  It didn't come.

Who...? Well there were a few possibilities.  An image of an old woman on a television screen flicked through his memory, along with a handful of photographs.  She'd said something to that effect, hadn't she?  That she had information on them?  But why the bloody hell the old crone would come after his family was beyond him.  He'd never crossed her, and their final defeat was no fault of his own.  Gray'd found a loophole.

What about Gray then?  Smug old bastard with his robots, seemed just the sort of trick he'd pull.  Except... except that didn't make sense, Gray'd won.  There wasn't a reason for him to come after his folks.  It was impractical.

He shook his head vigorously, pushed up his glasses, and ground one palm into his brow.  He couldn't think about this any more, not now.  He had to do something.  He needed to... to do anything besides standing around thinking about what happened, because no matter how he looked at it this was almost certainly his fault.

And then, quite suddenly, he let out a wheezy laugh.  He was shaking, but he would not cry.

"Guess... guess you were right this time, dad."
Welcome Home
I have bad thoughts sometimes.  Anyways, here's a short TF2 fanfic about something that's been on my mind.
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Anyone else think BLU might actually be helping the Administrator gather Australium as opposed to being just merged into their RED counterparts?

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TheBuggiest
Morgan
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
You can call me Buggy. I'm primarily a writer, but I have a degree in biology and also enjoy drawing, origami, and stuff. And, uh... that's me in that picture up there. Except usually I'm not dressed as a praying mantis.
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:iconhedghog2234:
Hedghog2234 Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2014  Student Photographer
thanks for the llama! 
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:iconkethavel:
Kethavel Featured By Owner May 15, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Thanks for comments and fav.
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:iconthebuggiest:
TheBuggiest Featured By Owner May 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
No problem! I've been watching you for a while now, and your stuff's really fun to look at.
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:iconpivotshadow:
PivotShadow Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
Happy birthday!
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:iconthebuggiest:
TheBuggiest Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Hey thanks! I'd say happy birthday to you too, but something tells me that wouldn't make much sense.
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:iconpivotshadow:
PivotShadow Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
It wouldn't - not until October :J
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:iconthebuggiest:
TheBuggiest Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Well happy half-birthday yesterday then! ^^
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:iconkuznyadragonofbaa:
KuznyaDragonOfBaa Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Happy B-Day you buggy pro-writer ;3
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:iconthebuggiest:
TheBuggiest Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
D'aw shucks. cx  Thanks!
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:iconkuznyadragonofbaa:
KuznyaDragonOfBaa Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:huggle:
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