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Contest #95-Dragon Quest Murder-Mystery

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It was a dark time for Gotha. Queen Mada had been kinapped only days before it happened. Hello, and welcome to, Murder in Gotha! I am your host, Democrobot. During the evening, you will:


Read the following story and determine the murderer(s) and save Gotha from the internal chaos of this violence! All those worthy detectives who help King Pankraz will receive a badge of recognition for the profile.



Read the following short story and guess who the murderer(s) is/are out of the suspects.



1)You only get to submit one theory on who the murderer(s) is/are.

2)You can change your theory at any time, but the last one you submit is the one that you have chosen.

3)All theories must be submitted to me by Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 12:00PM MST via PM.



If you have any questions, you can ask here or via PM. I would like to give a special thanks to our author of this story, mdb510, who, for writing this story, has thus secured a badge from this contest. Without further ado, I present to you our feature presentation!


Suspect List


A loyal soldier, but could his pink armour be misleading?



Pankraz's enemy, but would he waste his time on a lowly guard?



A well-renowned swordsman, but with a questionable past.



The son of a carpenter with the strength of an bull and the temper to match.



A wandering swordsman with an attitude larger then Bjorn.



Pankraz's loyal servant and friend. Did he know something Pankraz didn't?



Maya's sister. What did she really see in the future?



Meena's sister. Greedy enough that she would mug little children if it meant new clothes for her.


Murder in Gotha!


The monotonous steps of a well-bred horse were the only sounds that echoed through the solemn forest. The rider made the steps seem even heavier with his head hung in despair. He let out a heavy sigh. A world of troubles sat on his shoulder and weighed on his heart. Glancing up, Gotha Castle could be seen rising over the treetops and a twinge of happiness returned to him as one does when returning home.


But as he drew closer to the Castle, he noticed a large group of people gathered at the gate. Lifting his head, he nudged his horse to go faster. The crowd heard his approach and turned. They were all soldiers and their eyes were gaunt with worry and weariness. One man stepped from the crowd and waved to the approaching horseman.


“King Pankraz! We welcome yer return!”


Pankraz slowed his horse, “Ragnar, it has been too long.”


Ragnar’s expression changed when he noticed that his King rode alone, “Her ladyship…?” he asked cautiously.


Pankraz only shook his head, “Nothing of yet. But I know she is still alive. Do not despair, my friend.”


Pankraz dismounted his horse and looked over the faces of the worried soldiers, “It appears as though we have more immediate business. What’s happened?”


Ragnar sighed, “Perhaps it’s better that ye see for yerself.”


The soldiers parted and Ragnar led the King around the side of the Castle. Sancho was standing there with a doctor and a priest. Pankraz was about to acknowledge Sancho’s horrified expression when he saw what the doctor was examining. A guard lay against the wall. His helmet was removed and his face was almost unrecognizable. His skull was mashed and deformed and the area was soaked with the man’s blood.


“Good, Goddess!” Pankraz gasped.


“Ees… just horrible…” Sancho sobbed.


“What happened?”


“He was ambushed… by a monster,” Sancho replied.


“Terrible,” Ragnar shook his head.


The doctor stood up, “You’re Highness, I’ve examined monster wounds before but…”


Everyone looked at him. Pankraz raised his eyebrows, “But what?”


“His skull was crushed and the bruising and indents coincide with that of a fist.”


Pankraz opened his mouth to speak but Ragnar shouted, “Ye’re implyin’ he was killed by a human?!”


“Ragnar, calm down,” Pankraz ordered. He turned to the doctor, “Those might be marks of a monster. How can you be sure it was from a human?”


“Because him helmet is off.”


They all looked at the helmet, which lay unscathed on the ground near the guard’s body.


“I’m no investigator,” the doctor continued, “But I don’t know a man would purposefully discard his helmet during combat with a monster. There seems to be no signs that this man was attacked by a monster. The only indication was that this was a deliberate attack to end this man’s life. Therefore: a murder.”


Sancho gasped, “A murder…? But… why?”


“Why is irrelevant until we find out who,” Pankraz said sternly, “Ragnar, who amongst the soldiers do you believe have the power or capability to commit such an act?”


Ragnar looked shocked and slightly offended that Pankraz would even consider his own subjects. He hesitated for a long while. When he had calmed down, he dropped his eyes and said, “Everyone has been trained the same, so I suppose it could be anyone.”


Pankraz frowned, “You don’t believe it was a man? Then what?”


“A monster. It must’ve been a monster.”


“But the doctor said it wasn’t.”


Ragnar didn’t look at him. Holding back his frustration he answered, “It had to hae been. I spent all day fightin’ hordes o’ them. With ye away, they’ve been taking advantage of yer absence. One o’ them must’ve gotten through.”


Pankraz crossed his arms, “I see. Nevertheless, I’d rather be thorough in the investigation. We can’t have a murderer within the walls of the city during these trying times.”


“Aye,” was all Ragnar said.


“Ragnar, I’m leaving it to you to question the soldiers. Tell me of your findings.”


“Aye,” Ragnar repeated. He saluted his King and rounded the corner of the Castle, heading inside.


“Sire,” Sancho said, when Ragnar was out of earshot, “Was that weese? Señor Ragnar ees a devoted soldeer but he would do anytheeng to protect hees men!”


Pankraz didn’t say a word and motioned to one of the nearby guards. The guard walked over hesitantly to his King, “Y-yes, Sire?”


“You heard what Ragnar said?”




“Was he telling the truth? About the monster attacks while I was away?”


The guard hesitated, “…No.”


Pankraz’s eyes widened, “There haven’t been monster attacks?”


“No, Sire.”


Pankraz frowned.


“But…” the guard continued, “Sir Ragnar does leave for most of the day. He leaves before dawn and doesn’t return until dusk.”


“He’s gone all day? What does he do?”


“No one knows,” the guard shook his head, “But he returns exactly the same as he left, and he refuses to talk to anyone about what he’s been doing.”


“Sometheeng ees rotten een the state of Gotha…” Sancho took his head.


“Sancho,” Pankraz said, “I want you to question the citizens. See if they noticed anything out of the ordinary. Also ask them about Ragnar’s whereabouts during the day.”


“Of course, Sir,” Sancho scurried off.


“Your Highness?” the priest said quietly, “Should I prepare this man for buriel?”


Pankraz rubbed his chin, “Not quite. Have the doctor investigate the body for more evidence. I want to be sure it wasn’t a monster attack.”


“Of course,” the priest bowed, “And, Sir… may I give you some advice?”


Pankraz looked at him inquisitively.


“Only three people know what has happened here: the Goddess, the murderer, and the deceased. Every single one them will have a different story to tell. So I wouldn’t discount anyone until the Goddess speaks the truth.”


Pankraz thought for a minute before saying, “Thank you.”


With that, the doctor and the priest carried the body of the guard away. The guard standing beside Pankraz was about to follow them when Pankraz stopped him.


“You knew him?”


“Yes,” the guard’s voice cracked.


“I’m sorry. This is a great loss.”


The guard could only nod.


“Can you tell me… where you saw him last?”


“I hadn’t seen him since about noon. He was in the mess hall, writing in his diary. But I know he had guard duty at the gate, which was last he was seen. And the person to let him off duty after his shift was–”


“Ragnar,” Pankraz finished, “Thank you.”


Pankraz walked swiftly back towards the entrance of his Castle. Thoughts of the events hung heavy on his mind. He rather not think that anyone within the castle could be capable of such an act but at the same time he needed to take the priest’s advice to heart. If he was going to uncover the truth, not a single suspect should be excluded.


His first destination was the guards’ quarters. Ragnar should be there questioning the guards but it also gave Pankraz the opportunity to look through the guard’s belongings. Maybe something there could give him an idea of what transpired before the murder.


When Pankraz opened the door to the guards’ quarters, he thought he had walked into the wrong room. Instead of laughter, roughhousing, and mock-fights taking place, it was quiet like a church. Understandable considering the circumstances. Pankraz was shocked to see Ragnar sitting at a table sharpening his sword calmly.


“Ragnar! I thought I told you to investigate the guards?” Pankraz said angrily.


Ragnar didn’t look up, “I told them tae come tae me if they know anythin’. Whit more dae ye want me tae dae?”


Even the guards’ were shocked at his blatant disrespect for the King. Pankraz didn’t say a thing at first. The air in the room got tight. Finally Pankraz said, “When did you last see him?”


Ragnar looked up, “Earlier this evenin’. I had just returned from fightin’ monsters aroond the Castle. I told him tae gae off duty because I wanted a rested guard tae be stationed there durin’ the night. He followed me inside an’ that was the last I saw o’ him.”


“I see. Where is his bunk?”


“The one in the corner, Sire,” pointed a nearby soldier.


Pankraz made his way over to the indicated bunk and pulled the trunk from underneath the bed. It was mostly filled with clothes. He pulled out an heirloom knife, personal letters, and a small rosary. Nothing really stuck out until Pankraz found a small vial. The liquid inside was of a pinkish hue. Pankraz carefully pulled the cork off and was surprised to be hit with a sweet odor. He recognized it immediately. It was a perfume worn by one particular dancer, Maya. Standing up, he knew his next destination.


Maya lived with her sister, Meena, in the Castle. Meena was a fortune teller and had helped Pankraz on many occasions in predicting monster attacks. Although in recent days she had been depressed because she had not been able to predict the abduction of his wife, Mada.


It was late at night and Maya would be dancing, so he decided to visit Meena instead. He knocked softly on the door, “Meena?”


“Come in,” he heard her say softly.


A single candle illuminated the room. Meena sat hunched over her crystal ball. She looked sad, rather than trying to perceive anything. She looked up when he entered, “Oh, your Majesty. Welcome back.”


“Hello, Meena. I wish I were here on lighter news, but… I presume you heard about the murdered guard?”


Meena nodded and dropped her gaze, “Yes. The whole Castle’s heard about it. Maya just returned because people are too depressed to watch her dance. She’s changing.”


“Oh, she’s home?” he said, happy that he wouldn’t have to wait for her to return home. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the vial, “I wanted to ask her about this.”


Meena took the vial and sniffed the cork, “Her perfume?”


“I found it amongst the dead man’s belongings.”


Meena set the vial on the table, “Maya does wear it, but I make it for her.”


“Did you give it to him?”


“No, I did,” said a third voice.


Maya exited her bedroom and leaned on Meena’s table. Meena looked a little annoyed and yanked the stack of papers Maya was wrinkling. Maya noticed her expression, “I know you’re probably upset!” Maya laughed, rubbing the smudged, red ink off her hand.


“The perfume is very hard to make and requires many exotic ingredients,” Meena explained, “That one vial took me a year and a half to collect the ingredients and prepare the mixture.”


“Must’ve been expensive,” Pankraz eyed the vial.


“Very expensive,” Maya winked, “But it was given to him as a promise.”


“What sort of promise?”


Maya frowned, “Don’t think badly of me, your Highness. But I turned him down for a date. If I would have known… what was going to happen…” she covered her mouth to hold back the sobs.


Meena stood up and consoled her sister.


“You couldn’t have known. Go on.”


Maya wiped her eyes, “I did go on a walk with him, though. I gave him my perfume as a promise that I would get it back after we went on a proper date.”


“Where did you two walk?”


“Just around the Castle walls,” Maya sniffed.


“At what time?”


“He came in the morning,” Meena answered, “He looked like he had been working out. He was all sweaty and out of breath.”


“He must’ve been at the arena,” Pankraz said to himself, “Many guards train there while they’re not on duty.”


Maya chuckled sadly, “Look at me. I clean myself up and now I’m a mess again.”


Meena brushed Maya’s hair out of her face, “You look fine.”


“I thought you were home for the evening?” Pankraz questioned.


“But I can’t stay here,” Maya sighed, “If I stay here, I’ll start thinking about him and then…” she began to tear up again.


Pankraz patted Maya on the shoulder, “I understand. Just be careful out there, and don’t leave the city walls.”


Maya nodded and left.


“I have one more question. What did you see before he was murdered?”


Meena had a very distant expression on her face. As if she were not there but someplace far, far away. Her voice came out slowly, “I… didn’t see anything. Sire… I’m sorry. First Lady Mada and now…” Meena closed her eyes, “At first I thought my sight was being blocked but now I’m afraid it’s really gone. I’ve sensed nothing since then.”


“I’m sorry to hear that. One as gifted as you doesn’t deserve to lose your powers like this.”


Pankraz looked at her, but she wouldn’t meet his eyes, “You’re right. I mean, without my powers I’m not much of anything, right?”


“What do you mean?”


“We can’t all be beautiful and graceful, like my sister. I’ve always been the plain one of the family. That’s why fortune telling has been so great. I get to sit in a dark room and no one has to see my face.”


“Are you jealous of Maya?”


Meena shook her head, “If I was jealous of Maya, I’d be miserable all the time. I just always thought that… he liked me,” a few tears leaked from her eyes, “I was hoping he had come to ask me out, not Maya…”


Pankraz bowed his head. Meena looked as if she wanted to be left alone so without another word, he left for the arena, picking up the vial of perfume as he left.


There seemed to be quite a large crowd at the arena, but none of them were fighting. They huddled around watching two swordsmen fight. Pankraz watched them for a moment, as well. He recognized one as a Castle guard, but the other man was unknown to him. In one powerful swipe, the swordsman in blue disarmed the guard and thrust his blade inches away from his neck. There were no cheers, no applause, but just silence. The swordsman snorted and sheathed his blade.


Pankraz moved into the arena, “Excuse me,” the swordsman looked at him, “I know every face within these walls but I’ve never seen you before.”


The man brushed his hair from his eyes, “The name’s Terry. I’m seeking to become the most powerful swordsman in the world. I heard Gotha had some incredibly powerful King… you must be him.”


“What did you want from me, traveler?” Pankraz held his ground.


“Proof of your reputation.”


“When did you arrive in Gotha, Terry?” Pankraz asked suspiciously.


“Late last night. Why?” Terry frowned.


Pankraz narrowed his eyes. It was now conceivable that a stranger could have caused the death of the guard. This stranger was definitely no weakling, judging from the way he defeated one of Pankraz’s own guards.


“Did you hear of the murder of one of my guards?”


Terry turned away, “You want answers. I want a fight,” he drew his sword, “If you win, I’ll answer your questions. If I win, I get your sword.”


Pankraz had been given half answers all night and he was not in the mood to fool around with some kid. He drew his sword and lunged at Terry. Terry gasped and parried the attack as quickly as he could. With Terry’s sword in an awkward position, Pankraz used his free hand to immobilize Terry’s sword arm. This time the spectator’s cheered.


“I don’t have time to fool around with your games!” Pankraz growled, “A man is dead! And I’m going to find out who did it, no matter the cost!!”


Terry cringed, but conceded. He nodded, “I came here last night only to learn that my opponent was away. Although I heard talk of another powerful swordsman in the area, so I decided to see if he would show up. I went to the arena at dawn and there were a couple of soldiers training. The only two who weren’t training were a guard and some big guy with a mohawk. They were talking about a dancer, or something. Then the same guard yelled at me because it was the guards’ time to train. He was stupid enough to threaten me so I fought back. Murdered or not, I don’t think I’ll forgive him for his arrogance,” Pankraz twisted Terry’s arm out of anger. Terry winced then continued, “I went back to the inn until I heard about the murder. I only came here to take on challengers because I thought the arena would be less crowded.”


Pankraz released Terry when he was finished speaking. Terry rubbed his arm, “Looks as though it wasn’t all talk.”


Pankraz ignored him and shouted to one of the guards, “I want this man under constant watch. He is not to leave the castle without my orders. Confiscate all his weapons.”


While the guards secured Terry, Pankraz thought to himself. No one had any answers for him, simply more questions. He rubbed his temples. Worry was consuming him. Not only worry for his poor wife and son, but now for the kingdom. How would he continue to rule if he couldn’t handle this?


Terry had mentioned seeing a man with a mohawk in the arena, and to Pankraz that could be only one person: the carpenter’s son, Carver. Normally, the arena was only for soldiers, as Terry had complained, but Carver was an exception. He had helped build many of the new houses in Gotha and had even built the new prince a crib. Plus, all the soldiers like to work out with him.


Pankraz entered the carpenter’s, “Carver?” he called out.


Carver poked his head out of the kitchen. Pankraz stiffened because he was drenched in blood.


“Oh, King Pankraz,” Carver grinned, “C’mon in. Take a seat. Make yourself at home… Wouldja like a drink?”


Pankraz walked cautiously into the kitchen. A wave of relief fell over him when he saw that Carver was cleaning a boar. He pointed, “A little late for dinner, isn’t?”


Carver laughed, “Dad wants it smoked tomorrow so I gotta clean it tonight. What’re you doin’ here so late?”


“I’m investigating the murder of the guard.”


Carver frowned and sighed heavily, “Bloody business. Who’d a thought something like that could’ve happened?”


“I understand you spoke with him in the arena,” he said directly.


Carver choked on his words for a moment, “…Ye… yeah,” he nodded, “Most mornin’s I go work out in the arena. We worked out for a bit.”


“What did you talk about?”


“He asked my advice on askin’ Maya out, because Maya an’ I are good friends, y’know? I just told him that she’s a girl with taste so treat her nice an’ stuff like that.”


“It didn’t bother you that another man was asking her out?”


“O’course it bothered me! But, honestly, I knew she’d turn him down,” Carver laughed but then immediately cleared his throat, “Not that I should be laughin’ ‘bout a dead man.”


“Shouldn’t you be consoling Maya? She seems to have taken it pretty hard.”


“I know. Poor thing… She’s such a strong girl, though. Even decided to dance tonight!”


“She’s not on right now,” Pankraz informed him, “She said that she was going out.”


“What?” Carver looked surprised, “I gotta go talk to her,” he said tearing off his apron, “Couldja excuse me, your Highness? I gotta clean myself up.”


“Of course,” Pankraz said heading for the door, “Let me know if you hear anything.”


Carver didn’t answer. He continued to clean the blood off him in a frenzy.


Pankraz closed the door quietly behind him. He still had little answers of how the guard had been murdered. The night had progressed and now Gotha was asleep. But to his surprise, it wasn’t as quiet as it should have been. He was approached by a frantic Sancho, “Your Majesty! The man the guards were supposed to apprehend has gotten een a fight weeth another swordsman!”


Pankraz followed Sancho. Terry was engaged in a fight with another stranger.


“Stop this!” Pankraz drew his sword and stepped between the two fighters.


Terry grinned, “Sorry. But I couldn’t turn down a fight from the Manslayer!”


The whole crowd gasped. Pankraz looked at the silver-haired swordsman, “You are Psaro the Manslayer?”


“Indeed,” he replied lowly.


“What brings you to Gotha?”


Psaro didn’t answer.


Pankraz narrowed his eyes, “A guard was killed here. You didn’t challenge him, did you?”


“I’ve challenged a lot of people.”


“If your name means anything,” Pankraz raised his voice, “It would imply that you have a reputation for killing your opponents.”


Psaro stretched casually, “I wonder if I would have killed him,” indicating to Terry.


Terry smirked.


“That man ees a monster…” Sancho shook his head.


“Sancho, what have you learned?” Pankraz asked him softly, keeping his eyes on Psaro and Terry.


“Notheeng, Sire.”


Pankraz was taken aback, “Nothing? Did you see the guard before he was killed?”


Sancho shook his head, “No.”


“Questions answered with more questions. The deeper it goes, the less the answer seems to matter.”


“That voice…!!” Pankraz gasped.


Pankraz whirled around and saw a figure teleporting in. When he appeared, all the soldiers drew their swords.


“Ladja! You are quite bold to enter my kingdom!” Pankraz gripped his sword.


“Oh ho ho…” Ladja chuckled, “Come now. We have what we want. There’s nothing here that holds any interest for me…”


“Then, be gone!”


Ladja raised his hand, “I have… one valuable piece of information for you.”


“What could you say that could be worth my time to listen?”


“Out of all those you have spoken to… exactly two are lying.”


Pankraz was shocked. He didn’t know what to say, “I… Do you know what happened?”


“Guilt is heavy in the air,” Ladja licked his lips, “You are a fool. You have been searching for the culprit whilst you ignored the biggest question. You see him as a man, but I see him as a lowly soldier. What good does it serve in killing one as worthless as him?”


“What good does it do in telling me this?!”


“Normally I wouldn’t care,” Ladja wrung his boney fingers, “But I couldn’t resist witnessing the collapse of your line firsthand!”


Pankraz felt sick. He pointed to the guards, “Don’t let them leave the Castle!!”


He ran past the crowd and to the top of the Castle. He burst in his bedchamber and scared the nurse who was there.


“Your Majesty! You frightened me…” she clutched her chest.


“How is my son?” Pankraz asked frantically.


“I just got him to sleep… Oh. Never mind. He’s awake.”


Pankraz walked over to the crib. The little prince looked up at his father with big inquisitive eyes. As a greeting, he put his foot in his mouth and blew some bubbles.


He let out a sigh of relief, “Could you leave us?”


The nurse curtsied and closed the door behind her.


“Ah. These are troubling times,” he stroked his son’s tiny head, “Be strong, my son. For your mother’s sake…”


He stood up, “This has troubled me more than I would have thought…”



By the King’s orders, Ragnar, Sancho, Maya, Meena, Terry, Carver, Psaro, and even Ladja were assembled in the King’s war meeting room. Pankraz entered and dismissed the guards. The room was silent. Maya and Psaro looked bored. Terry yawned lackadaisically. Ragnar and Carver seemed very angry and frustrated. Meena and Sancho stared at the ground, depressed. Ladja stood smirking in the corner.

Pankraz crossed his arms and took a deep breath, “You know why I called you all here. I have reason to believe that the murderer… is amongst us."

Edited by Democrobot
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I believe the list is Ragnar, Sancho, Maya, Meena, Terry, Carver, Psaro, and Ladja:


By the King’s orders, Ragnar, Sancho, Maya, Meena, Terry, Carver, Psaro, and even Ladja were assembled in the King’s war meeting room. Pankraz entered and dismissed the guards. The room was silent. Maya and Psaro looked bored. Terry yawned lackadaisically. Ragnar and Carver seemed very angry and frustrated. Meena and Sancho stared at the ground, depressed. Ladja stood smirking in the corner.

Pankraz crossed his arms and took a deep breath, “You know why I called you all here. I have reason to believe that the murderer… is amongst us."

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I have every reason to believe Bishop Ladja is the murderer...

Edited by Kabouter Slime
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Remember, it says to PM who you think to me. Just so I can keep track of who you think it is.

  • Upvote 2
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This is a tough one. Do we have to say why we chose that person?

No you don't.


And remember guys. It could be more than one person. Think this through carefully.

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Uuum a very tough one for me, especially, I can't read english very well, my main language is spanish, but I think, I can understand the most of the story to find the suspect

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I'm going to give a hint out to make it easier for everybody. There are 2 murderers.

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Great. Now i gotta re-read this and re-submit.

It won't be that bad
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Since I'm not really a part of this, count me out.

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Since the deadline is getting close, I have decided to add some character descriptions for anybody who may need them. Here they are.


A loyal soldier, but could his pink armour be misleading?



Pankraz's enemy, but would he waste his time on a lowly guard?



A well-renowned swordsman, but with a questionable past.



The son of a carpenter with the strength of an bull and the temper to match.



A wandering swordsman with an attitude larger then Bjorn.



Pankraz's loyal servant and friend. Did he know something Pankraz didn't?



Maya's sister. What did she really see in the future?



Meena's sister. Greedy enough that she would mug little children if it meant new clothes for her.

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I'm just wondering if I should extend the deadline a bit so people can have more time to read over it.

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Deadline extended. I urge people to read it over. I have supplied a list of suspects and a small description of each. And I'll give this little hint: there is a Female involved.

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