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%% From Edit International's "How To Survive A Terrorist Attack - Air Or Ground!"
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->"''How about a magic trick? I'm going to make this pencil disappear...[[EyeScream TA-DA!]] It's... Ah, it's '''gone'''....''"
-->-- '''SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker''', ''Film/TheDarkKnight''

You know, they weren't joking when they said the pen was mightier than the sword. Or the pencil. Or the paintbrush. In the proper hands ''any'' writing tool can become [[ImprovisedWeapon a truly deadly weapon]], and earns extra {{badass}} points for the user at the same time - especially if used against an opponent with one of those piddling "real" weapons.

Typically, the writing tool will be used as a stabbing weapon, aimed for the head, throat, or chest. Occasionally it may be used as a throwing weapon. The pen or pencil may be used for more than just stabbing however; for example, an inkpen may be used to spray ink in the face of an attacker.

Paint brushes being used to write spells and {{curse}}s on opponents are common in eastern works; most popular depictions of this are derived from [[http://traditions.cultural-china.com/en/211Traditions9846.html a Chinese folktale]] about a boy who could bring paintings to life when he signed them. An evil emperor would force the boy into drawing him vast riches and he would instead conjure a dragon or tsunami to kill the emperor, depending on the telling.

Bonus points if, after the pen is used, someone makes a [[BondOneLiner snarky comment on the pen's superiority]].

A subtrope of ImprovisedWeapon. May be used by an ImprobableWeaponUser, a CombatPragmatist, or a MadArtist.

[[TheProblemWithPenIsland Easily confused with something]] [[SaturdayNightLive Sean Connery]] has been [[http://www.funnyordie.co.uk/videos/2c5b4742c7/snl-celebrity-jeopardy-3-20-99 searching all his life for]].

Compare OnceKilledAManWithANoodleImplement.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Advertising ]]

* Parodied in a Geico ad series which mocks Stock Phrases. In this particular sketch, "Is the pen mightier than the sword?", a ninja brandishes his sword. The camera changes to a guy signing for a package with a pen. He opens the package and removes a taser, which takes the ninja out instantly.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Anime & Manga ]]

* In ''HotGimmick'' Ryoki saves Hatsumi from [[spoiler:being raped by Azusa's gang]] by throwing one of them to the ground, sitting on top of them and threatening to drive a pen through his cheek (since the guys are models, this would ruin his career as well as being ''fucking agonizing''). When [[spoiler:Azusa]] thinks he's bluffing, Ryoki scratches the guy's face to show he's serious. [[spoiler:He doesn't end up having to do it though.]]
* Killer Bee of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' is capable of using [[ShockAndAwe electricity]] and [[VibroWeapon vibrations]] to turn any pointed object into a deadly weapon, including the pencil he uses to write down lyrics which he managed to throw ''through a tree trunk''.
** [[SnapToTheSide The look of shock on Kisame's face]] was priceless.
* Pretty much any solid object within two meters of Lucy in ''Manga/ElfenLied'' becomes a deadly implement. This is first demonstrated with pens during the [[FullFrontalAssault infamous]] [[{{Gorn}} escape]] [[EstablishingCharacterMoment scene]].
* During her stint as a schoolteacher, Yoko from ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' manages to throw a piece of chalk so hard, ''it imbeds itself in the opposite wall''. Nobody gets hurt, but [[BadassTeacher damn if it doesn't make the kids focus on their work]].
* In ''Anime/{{Monster}}'', when the conversation veers towards Johan, a serial killer ends an interview with his psychologist with a pen. The psychologist gets away with a scare, but not for lack of success on the other man's part...
** Tenma also uses a ballpoint pen to save himself from a group of Neo-Nazis.
* ''Manga/DeathNote'' features a considerable amount of murder via pen, but not by stabbing, but rather RewritingReality. At least, [[spoiler:until near the end when Teru Mikami uses his pen to commit suicide, with [[HighPressureBlood a truly ludicrous amount of blood]]]].
* In the ''Manga/BattleRoyale'' manga, [[ZenSurvivor Shogo Kawada]] managed to finally [[spoiler:kill the director Yomeni Kamon with a pencil by stabbing at his throat]].
* In episode 20 of ''LovelyComplex'' [[{{Yandere}} Mimi]] nearly stabs Risa through the hand with a mechanical pencil.
* In ''Manga/LoveHina'', Motoko manages to block a full-on katana slash with Keitaro's studyin' pencil. Maybe because it's full of his hopes and dreams, as she claims - or maybe some of his [[MadeOfIron peculiar invincibility]] just soaked in over the years.
* In ''LightNovel/{{Durarara}}'', Seiji stabs [[MadeOfIron Shizuo]] with pens in both knees and through his palm. Shizuo shrugs it off, and walks away wondering if he'll need a band-aid.
** Or maybe some [[CrowningMomentOfFunny superglue would be better?]]
** Later in the light novels, [[spoiler:Mikado]] stabs Aoba through the hand with a ballpoint pen. Thus Aoba is [[EstablishingCharacterMoment basically recognized in fanart by the bandages around his hand]], [[NeverLiveItDown and there's a reference or joke in half the fics in which he features]].
* In an early episode of ''NabariNoOu'', Raimei throws a handful of pencils at Miharu to test him. He, of course, didn't even notice.
* In ''ShugoChara'', Amu's "Amulet Spade" character transformation fights with a paintbrush.
* Alone (Hades), the BigBad from ''SaintSeiyaTheLostCanvas'', occasionally uses his painting brush for close combat fighting, which is not all that necessary considering his PhysicalGod status.
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', Mad Monk Urouge wields something that looks like a stone column. WordOfGod says that it's a pencil and he is looking for a sharpener.
** While it's not always clear whether Oda is being serious when he answers fan questions, the ''One Piece'' world is wacky enough that this could actually be true.
* In the ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'' movie ''Miracle of Endymion'', Mallybath Blackball wields a magic quill pen that gives her DishingOutDirt powers.
* In ''Manga/KannazukiNoMiko'', Reiko Ota telekinetically throws fountain pens that explode when they hit their targets.
* Episode 14 of ''Anime/PsychoPass'' opens when a criminal wearing a helmet that throws off the Psycho-Pass scanners walks into a pharmacy and [[ShearMenace stabs a pharmacist in the mouth with a pair of scissors]] and then kills a second pharmacist by stabbing her in the femoral artery with a ballpoint pen. When police arrive at the crime scene, the forensics drones end up [[{{Squick}} digging out multiple pens]] out of the female victim's body.
* At some point in ''Manga/FutabaKunChange'' a member of [[MartialArtsAndCrafts martial arts calligraphy]] club demonstrates blocking a sword with his calligraphy brush. An explanation follows that the brush is made of steel and this particular martial art was developed back when such random attacks on calligraphists were common.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Bullseye in ''Comicbook/{{Daredevil}}'' used pencils, among [[ImprovisedWeapon many other things]], as darts to kill people.
* In one of the ''Franchise/{{Halloween}}'' comics by Chaos! Comics, a young Michael Myers gouged out a fellow mental patient's eye with a crayon.
* "Ink", a henchman in the Creator/GarthEnnis ''[[Comicbook/ThePunisherMAX Punisher MAX]]'' series got his nickname because he killed a man with a pen.
-->'''Larry''': Stabbed him in the neck?
-->'''Cavella''': Stabbed him in [[EyeScream the eye.]] [[{{Squick}} Just kept going 'til he hit brain.]]
* In the Franchise/{{Batman}} story "Video Nasties", a heavily injured, bedridden teenager manages to grab a pen and stab a villain who was holding a woman hostage. It distracts the villain long enough for Batman to take him out.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* In the 1989 ''Film/{{Batman}}'', Joker declares that "The pen is truly mightier than the sword!" after he kills one of Grissom's allies by stabbing a '''really''' sharp ink quill into the man's throat.
** In ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker's "magic trick" involves making a pencil disappear...[[EyeScream into the eye of one of the Gotham Mob's thugs]]. ''Eraser end first.''
* During the tank battle of ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade'', Indy's father uses his fountain pen to spray a German soldier in the face to blind him. Brody follows up by quoting the classic phrase.
* In the climax of the film ''Film/RedEye'', the heroine surprises the antagonist holding her captive with a well-aimed pen through the throat.
* During the opening flashback detailing Danny Greene's life in KillTheIrishman, Danny's shown being [[{{Squick}} ''stabbed in the hand'']] by bullies, and keep in mind that he and said bullies are [[TeensAreMonsters High School age at best.]]
* In ''Film/FridayThe13thPartVIIIJasonTakesManhattan'', FinalGirl Rennie manages to fend Jason off at one point by stabbing him in the eye with an ink pen (that is claimed in-universe to be Creator/StephenKing's).
* In ''Film/GrossePointeBlank'' Martin uses a fountain pen a high school friend gave him to finish off an assassin.
* In the first of the [[Film/TheBourneSeries Jason Bourne]] films, Bourne surprises a knife-wielding assassin with a pen to the hand, causing him to drop the knife.
* A non-lethal version occurs in ''Film/TheRunningMan'' when a {{jerkass}} attorney gets Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger to sign some documents before he's led off to certain death. There's no table so he tells Arnie to use his back. Arnie signs the documents, then puts in the full stop by stabbing the pen into the lawyer's back, causing him to run off screaming (with the pen still stuck in him) with Arnie commenting "Don't forget to send me a copy."
* In ''Film/DeathRace'', Lists stabs a thug in the back with his pen during a fight, providing the vital distraction that allows the hero to turn the tide of the fight.
* Creator/JoePesci kills a man this way in ''Film/{{Casino}}''. Rather disgusting to watch.
* The eponymous character in ''PsychoCopReturns'' kills one of his victims with a pencil into the eye.
* The protagonist of ''The Lost Empire'' (also known as ''The Monkey King'') acquires a magical pen that can expand into a sword. The trope title is in fact referenced, though in practice the sword-form is mightier.
* ''Film/JamesBond''
** Played with in ''Film/GoldenEye''. Q whips up a bomb [[ShoePhone shaped like an ordinary ballpoint pen]]. Three clicks of the button arms it, three more disarms it.
-->'''Bond''': Well, they said the pen is mightier than the sword.\\
'''Q''': Thanks to me, they were right!
** In ''Film/NeverSayNeverAgain,'' Bond is equipped with an exploding dart pen.
* In ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'', Sarah Connor taunts her shrink about having previously stabbed him in the knee with a pen.
* In ''Holla If You Hear Me'', a man is stabbed in the head with a pencil, while one of the killers gets a pen in the neck.
* A character gets a crayon in the eye in ''Film/TheChildren''.
* The final conflict in ''Film/ASongIsBorn'' is resolved not by guns, but by music.
* In ''Film/ThirtyMinutesOrLess'', The Major has a pen gun. After he uses up its only bullet, he tries to stab a man with it.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'': Ankh-Morpork Patrician Olaf Quimby II had his reign ended when he was killed by a disgruntled poet during an experiment to test the truth of the saying "The pen is mightier than the sword". In his memory, it was amended to read: "The pen is mightier than the sword only if the sword is very small and the pen is very sharp."
** In one book, a RunningGag is a vampire who keeps filing personal-injury complaints against his employers. Apparently he chose to work in places such as a holy water dispensary, a garlic farm, and a ''pencil factory''.
* Played with in ''PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians''; the title character has a pen that ''turns into'' a sword.
* Calligraphy brushes are commonly used as weapon in {{Wuxia}} genre by fighters who specialized in hitting PressurePoint, since all they have to do is hit at the right spot.
* ''Maximum Security'', the third book in the ''{{CHERUB}}'' series, has Lauren fighting off and seriously injuring an attacker with the first thing she could grab- a hotel biro.
* The ghost in the StephenKing short story ''[[Literature/NightmaresAndDreamscapes Sneakers]]'' died from being [[EyeScream stabbed in the eye]] with a pencil.
** In ''Literature/{{Cell}}'', [[spoiler:the Headmaster]] dies when the nearby flock of phoners forces him to ram a pen through his eye into his brain.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'': The "R. Tam Sessions", a series of videos from [[TheWoobie River's]] time at the [[SchoolForScheming Academy]], showing her in a series of "interviews" with a "counselor" that [[SanitySlippage chronicles her gradual descent into madness]]. The first video (which is the second half of the last session) shows her counselor collapsing after having been stabbed in the throat with a pen. The ''last'' video is of her seeming to be remarkably lucid and clear, and her last words before the video cuts out is her asking for a pen to write something down. [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation Whether this is due to her madness, being ordered to do this by her "handlers," or simply River striking out at her tormentors in the only way she can manage]] is up in the air.
* In ''[[Series/TwentyFour 24]]'', Kim Bauer deals with a woman who is holding her hostage by stabbing her in the leg with a pen. Said woman is then shot by the police.
* In the revived ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}'', Felix Gaeta, asking Gaius Baltar about the path to Earth in the latter's prison cell, tries to kill Baltar with a pen, stabbing him in the neck, but missing the carotid artery. This leads to something of a [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments Crowning Moment of Funny]] on Baltar's part during his trial, when, after Felix perjures himself on the stand, Baltar says (or more accurately, screams), "The whole fleet knows this man tried to stab me through the neck -- and you missed! Butterfingers!"
** This is played with later, when in the fourth-act scene after Gaeta stabs Baltar, he asks someone for a pen. It's believed that after the incident with Baltar, Gaeta has been forbidden to carry pens on his person.
** Battlestar likes this trope. During TheMutiny Arc, Romo Lampkin stabs a marine with a pen. The first thing he does after that? He reclaims the sunglasses that the marine took from him and refers to the now-dead marine as his "pen-pal".
* In ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', Sylar [[CrucifiedHeroShot crucifies]] Isaac against his own painting of the future, using his own paintbrushes, before he kills him.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': Buffy and Willow have used pencils to take out vampires. Telekinetically, in Willow's case.
* Also in the spinoff ''Series/{{Angel}}''.
--> '''Spike''': I had a wee spat with a werewolf myself once. Fought for over an hour! Brutal. Vicious. I almost lost my
--> '''Fred''': Angel killed him with a [[OnceKilledAManWithANoodleImplement pen]].
** That being said, it only really worked since it was a ''silver'' pen.
** Angel later gets [[ImpaledPalm stabbed in the hand]] with a pen.
* In an episode of ''Series/BurnNotice'', Michael escapes a room full of bad guys using only a pencil. How? [[spoiler: He holds it against the bad guys' leader's neck, and threatens to puncture the guy's artery unless they let him go.]]
* In ''TheLostRoom'', one of the Objects is a pen which can microwave people, which a small-time crime boss uses to enforce order.
* ''Series/GetSmart'' - Max sticks a sword-wielding KAOS agent with a pen carrying a paralysis drug, and says...well, you know...
* ''Series/KamenRiderFourze'' has, among his bag of tricks, a giant ink brush that appears on his right foot. At first he was ready to [[IncredblyLamePun write it off]] as useless, but his friends discovered that the ink quickly solidifies into a metallic substance. So far he's used it to "draw" barriers and to block a MonsterOfTheWeek's [[TakenForGranite petrification beam]]. [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking And to draw Santa's sled during the]] ChristmasEpisode.
* In the [[PrisonEpisode Prison Season]] of ''Series/MyNameIsEarl'', while Earl was narrating this notion, an inmate stabs another inmate in the back with a pen.
* A season 5 episode of ''Series/TheAvengers'' has John Steed shrunk to the point he can use a penholder as a spear, striking at baddies' ankles to distract them before Ms Peel attacks.
-->'''Steed:''' The pen is mightier than the sword.
-->'''Peel:''' Well, between us we've written them off.
* The Series/MythBusters had to put Q of ''Film/JamesBond'' fame (see above) to the test. They loaded up a few pens with explosives. A conventional pen proved surprisingly lethal, creating a hole roughly twice the size of a fist in a dummy, but did not work as it did in the film. The team then tried a fairly large pen such as the type companies give as swag with their logos. It removed a dummy's arms and upper torso. James Hyneman then loaded up an absurdly large novelty pen - the kind over a foot long and several inches in circumference - with explosives. The results were predictable.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: New Media ]]

* During the Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses [[UltimateShowdownOfUltimateDestiny First Year Anniversary Team Brawl]], WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd uses one of his pens as a throwing weapon against the Nostalgia Critic, knocking his gun out of his hand.
* ''AskANinja'' mentions a samurai who killed himself with a pen while signing up to become a samurai.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Pinball ]]

* Creator/SegaPinball's ''Pinball/GoldenEye'' has the "Q's Pen" mode, where you must hit the target three times to detonate Bond's exploding pen from the film.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Role Playing Games ]]

* A HeroSystem supplement magazine once gave instructions/stats for running "Hack Writing" as a (none-too-serious) Martial Art. It originated when an ancient messenger, facing execution for being the bearer of bad news, decided to take someone with him and used his stylus as a weapon. Organizations such as The Brotherhood of the Pen use specially-crafted writing implements designed for maximum damage. Special maneuvers include "Cut & Paste" ("The writer cuts his victim's legs out from under him and then pastes him one."); "Narrative Hook" ("The writer simply reaches out and grabs his target."); and "Writer's Block", a defensive measure. ("The first maneuver taught to hack writers. Some are so skilled with it that it's all they do.")

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Professional Wrestling ]]

* Wrestling/BoboBrazil and [[Wrestling/EdFarhat the Sheik]] would often attempt to cut each other open with pencils.
* Wrestling/TheUndertaker stabbed Wrestling/BrockLesnar's hand with his pen after they did the contract signing for their Wrestling/WrestleMania XXX match.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Stand Up Comedy ]]

* EddieIzzard talks about an alleged AwesomeButImpractical self-defence manoeuvre that involves pushing a pen between an assailant's middle and ring fingers and squeezing their fingers together.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* After ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}: [[AfterTheEnd Hell on Earth]]'' was released, there was a push to make the Librarians from [[TheSmartGuy Smart Guys]] with no real role in combat into {{badass bookworm}}s, including the development of entirely new [[MagicAIsMagicA arcana]]. One such supernatural ability, aptly named ''the Pen is Mightier than the Sword'', turns writing implements into deadly weapons. At its [[UpToEleven highest level]], a magical pen does almost as much damage as a LaserBlade, and is better at defense!
* TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}} features not a pen but an iron brush. It is a weaponized scholar's brush in an Asian-themed setting, where any person of refinement or education is expected to know some calligraphy. It's really not a great weapon mechanically aside from being easily concealed, but it can kill and be enchanted, plus a clever player can certainly find uses for a weapon which allows them to appear to be an unarmed scholar or aristocrat.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Beryl Benito, ''VideoGame/TalesOfHearts'', has to get extra credit. Her EmpathicWeapon is a massive paintbrush, taller than she is, which is waved at the enemy, applied to their faces, drawn magic circles with, or simply used as a heavy bludgeoning instrument. In a skit, she even declares that "They say 'the brush is mightier than the sword'!"
** Shirley from ''VideoGame/TalesOfLegendia'' uses feather pens as her weapons of choice, but lacks any artes that actually make direct use of them.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'': Relm kills people with both her brush and ''[[ArtAttacker her drawings]]''.
* [[AllThereInTheManual In the sound novel of]] ''[[VisualNovel/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi Turn of the Golden Witch]]'', Rosa uses a sawed off rifle, a purse [[spoiler:with a bar of gold inside]] and a ''fountain pen'' to [[spoiler: [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome fight off the goat butlers summoned by Beatrice.]]]]
** In ''Ougon Musou'' Rosa's grappling attack, she gets a [[PsychoticSmirk really nasty smile on her face]] while [[EyeScream stabbing her opponent in the eye]] with a pen.
* In the second ''{{Manhunt}}'' game, Danny and Leo can both equip ballpoint pens, and make good use of them, using them in some of the most brutal stealth kills of all time, gouging out eyes and giving people new breathing holes.
* Imaginary-Barry in ''AlanWake: The Signal'' DLC quotes[=/=]lampshades this after Alan takes out a wave of Taken. Granted, words in typewriter-font are utilized throughout the game, but ItMakesSenseInContext.
* Ma Dai from ''DynastyWarriors 7'' uses a giant paintbrush as a weapon.
* Nogiku from ''SengokuRance'' uses a pen in battle. Granted, that pen is about the same size of a spear...
* In World 3 of ''FancyPantsAdventures'', Fancy Pants Man takes [[CreatorCameo Brad Borne's]] pencil and uses it to collapse an otherwise BrokenBridge. It's surprisingly effective compared to the local ninjas and pirates, who use actual swords.
* In ''{{Arcanum}}'' you can buy a newspaper report detailing a murder in which the victim was stabbed to death with a quill. Justified by the fact that the chief suspect is a doctor with an expert knowledge of anatomy [[spoiler:as well as Arcanum's master trainer in the BackStab skill]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* Matt from ''Webcomic/TheDementiaOfMagic'' simply [[http://dementiaofmagic.net/d/20050302.html uses]] [[http://dementiaofmagic.net/d/20050304.html both]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* Spoofed by ''{{Tobuscus}}'' in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vpUj3a48IQ this video]], in which he patents a gun with a pen bayonet.
* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'' the Number Man threatens to inflict a ShatterpointTap on someone's skull with a pen.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* When Stan in ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'', [[HiddenSupplies is showing off his guns...]]
-->Stan: [[ShoePhone Pen gun]]. Mightier than the sword. [[SwissArmyWeapon Sword gun]]. [[SpoofAesop Mightier than the pen gun]].
* In the ''{{Metalocalypse}}'' episode 'Performance Klok', the band's therapist calls his old band to gloat about how he's in a new one... the scene changes to several cobweb-covered skeletons, one of which has his monogrammed pen sticking out of an eyesocket.
* An episode ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' had Homer try to stab a representative of PBS with a bank pen. The chain was too short.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerryKids'', a villain once effortlessly parried Droopy's sword attacks with a quill pen, boasting, "The pen is mightier than the sword!" Droopy nonchalantly countered by [[WaterGunsAndBalloons chucking a water balloon]] at him.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* The Officeguns.com ''Super Maul'' can shoot pens through a soda can. It can be built from standard office supplies.
* An ImprovisedWeapon technique taught to CIA agents during the ColdWar involved a pencil jutting out from between the knuckles of a fist, rammed upward through the soft part of the jawbone into the brain.
* Creator/GaiusJuliusCaesar stabbed one of his assassins with his stylus (a pointy thing for writing on wax tablets) before dying.
* It's no knife, but a fountain pen does have a blade-like writing tip. Get stabbed in a large vein or artery like the jugular and it can be deadly, no doubt. Not to mention the, uh, negative effects of ink on the body's cells.
* Averting this trope is why patients in mental asylums are given chalk or crayons for writing and drawing, not pens or pencils, though many a teacher knows how a thrown chalk can hurt.
* Tactical pens sold by many self-defense websites are designed to be much more durable than a garden-variety ballpoint pen so they can be used more effectively as a stabbing weapon. [[MundaneUtility They still write, though.]]

[[/folder]]
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