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 Moving Up in the World
Athanasios
 Posted: Sep 17 2013, 09:45 PM
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Well. It was official. He was in Fuyuki.

Athanasios hums to himself, seated at the desk in his spacious lodging within the Hyatt Hotel. He didn't expect the housing he'd receive to be quite this sumptuous...if he wanted to, he could have afforded it easily, but he was usually much more frugal about these things. It was a pleasant surprise. So he felt free to enjoy all the amenities the top-class hotel had to offer.

The best part was that this didn't even really interfere with his day job. Fuyuki wasn't that bad a commute to Tokyo, and he could accomplish most of his business here. Which left him plenty of time to focus on his real reason for being here. Shuffling a few papers around, Athanasios sighs. All these troubles with maintaining good relations between countries seemed so mundane, when compared with the prize set before him.

The Holy Grail. It seemed almost profane that it could be said in such a passing manner. Something so obviously beyond what humanity was supposed to be able to hold it's collective hand. It was almost more than he could comprehend. Still, knowing it was possible, it was impossible for him to resist. There was just far too much to be had if it was possible...but he knew that things might not go that way.

The first priority had to be his own survival. He had to keep perspective, and know when to cut his losses. His second was to make contact with magi that could help him expand his reach into the clock tower. Only after those two were completed would he try to actually win the war. There were going to be much more powerful magi than him present, and he had to keep that fact in mind. That still didn't keep the allure of holding unlimited power in his hand...
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Shaking his head, Athanasios stood up from the desk. He wasn't getting any work done, and he knew it. Though...there was something else he still needs to do. Walking over to a cupboard, he takes out the package he received from his mother, back in Greece. His skin crawled slightly as he shook away the thought. His dealings with her were going to be brief, efficient, and above all, short lived.

Unwrapping the package, he retrieves a preserved animal hide. "This is supposed to be a catalyst? What kind of Servant am I going to summon with this?" It was far too vague for him to tell...several ancient heroes had connection to animal hide in some way or another. Shaking his head, he pushes the sofa in the living room of his suite to the side, revealing the summoning circle that he had prepared earlier.

Taking a deep breath, the greek man takes a deep breath. He didn't have anything that should prove a distraction today, and it would probably be best to get it out of the way as soon as possible. Once the Servant was summoned, he could begin the Grail War in earnest, and put his plans into motion. Reciting the lines he was instructed, he ensures that not a single mistake is uttered. That could completely jeopardize the entire summoning. When he begins reciting, he is completely composed. And when he is finished, he looks, expectantly into the circle, hoping he didn't make any mistakes at this crucial juncture.


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Autolycus
 Posted: Sep 18 2013, 09:38 AM
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"Where is...everybody?"

It was the last thing he remembers as a human being. He remembers confusion, loneliness, and anger. All feelings he wanted to forget about, yet they persisted and haunted. Even here, in the Throne of Heroes, a place that his deity father would be wondrous of, he could not be rid of these annoying feelings. Maybe that was due to the nature of the Throne, all the more reason for his desire to leave.

Perhaps then it was fortunate that then, Autolycus, The King of Thieves, felt a tug. That tug turned into a pull, then a current, rushing his consciousness through the space known as The Throne of Heroes, to an opening. That was all the Thief could use to describe his destination in this mysterious current. An opening back to the world he once knew, and made his playground. That amazing open world, filled with things to steal, and people to fool. He was back.

The intricate circle glowed with a bright otherworldly light when Autolycus's being came into existence to the mortal realm. The Grecian hero described it as taking a step. A step into existence, which looked to the magi before the magic circle as a man appearing before him from the feet up. Feeling and sensation appeared in his new body at the same rate. His feet felt the high end carpet underneath his boots, his hands twitched and grasp at empty air, and his eyes were filled with a bright light, and the image of a room that a King of his time would be envious of.

"I am the servant Assassin." were the first word's out Autolycus's newly constructed mouth. "My wit and skill are yours to use. Together we shall steal the ultimate prize. The Holy Grail shall be in your possession. I swear on the contract of the summoning, and my pride as a thief. So now I ask you..."

Moving from the room around him, his eyes rested on a middle aged man, standing before him with a look of utter bewilderment. He looked like a fellow countryman to the old Thief. Still, his clothes were rather...strange. Autolycus couldn't tell if the man was a king, servant, soldier, scholar, or even a magi for that matter. Magi in his day always wore long robes, and kept their faces covered, and carried around musty old books. Maybe he was a merchant, that seemed proper. But what sort of merchant lived in a Palace like this? After a moment of contemplation, Autolycus's titled his head, and cocked an eyebrow, "..Are...you my master?"
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Athanasios
 Posted: Sep 18 2013, 03:14 PM
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It worked. It actually worked. Not that it should have come as that much of a surprise, but a breath he didn't quite realize he had held was released.

Excellent.

The light show was everything he expected and more. The sigils lit up in a way that had surprised him at first...it came to him that he might have wanted to practice with a more standard familiar before trying this, but he had a burst of impatience. He would need to curb any such outbursts...he'd need to play the long game for this, and couldn't get overly invested in things.

The Servant that stood before him...he assumed it was a Servant, at least. He didn't exactly look like much...just a man in relatively normal clothing, if a particular fondness for leathers. Not quite the grand knight or powerful warrior he was expecting. But then, given the classes available, it could be expected. Still, it was rather worrisome...he'd have to especially be on his guard.

Listening to the Servant speak, Athanasios claps his hands. THAT explained it. "Servant Assassin...How splendid." A thief, a rogue. That fit his style perfectly. "I suppose I'll have to believe you...though I'm not particularly worried. It would be quite difficult for a legendary hero to prove a disappointment."

At his Servant's question, Athanasios takes a bow. "Why yes, yes I am. By the power of the Command Seal, and all that. My name is Athanasios Zacharias." Looking up at the Servant, the diplomat raises an eyebrow. "Might I have your own name? I confess, I don't have that knowledge on my own. I received the catalyst from a third party, and I would be at a disadvantage fighting without the knowledge of what you can do for us."
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Autolycus
 Posted: Sep 19 2013, 11:10 AM
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The newly made master before Autolycus seemed rather elated at the successful summoning. The Thief King couldn't help but grin at the mage's excitement. Obviously, this man knew excellence when he saw it. "Athanasios Zacharias, a fellow countryman then?" the servant inquired. His servant looked like a Greek, though he didn't quite dress as one. Still, the magi's confusion at the identity of his new servant was confusing. "You summoned me with a catalyst, and you don't know who I am?" Autolycus scanned the ground around him and noted a familiar item on the ground. Dropping to one knee, he examined the old animal hide, and a smile spread across his lips. "Ahh this was one of Sisyphus's cattle. Well mine technically, but it was his at one time."

The old Hero stood up tall, facing his master with a grin on his face and crossed arms, "I am Autolycus, Son of Hermes, grandfather to Odysseus, and the King of Thieves. I stole the cattle and possessions of many kings, taught the hero Heracles to grapple, and played tricks that put my own deity father to shame. Surely you've heard of me."

Without waiting for his master to respond, the thief began pacing the lavish room, surveying it's contents, decor, and size, "So I must ask, where exactly are we master?" he stepped to one of the windows, and pushed open the the curtains. Upon seeing the altitude they were stationed at, Autolycus's leaped back in surprise, "Dear Gods above Master, are you a King? Is this your palace? You must be an incredibly wealthy man."
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Athanasios
 Posted: Sep 19 2013, 09:37 PM
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Athanasios regards his new summon with an appraiser's eye. "You're Greek, then, I take it? I suppose I should have assumed that, given who gave me the catalyst, but still." That didn't really narrow down his choices very much...there were hundreds of legends in Greece that could qualify for Heroic Spirits.

When the Servant noted exactly what the catalyst he had used was, the gears began to turn in his head faster and faster. The name was familiar to him; Sisyphus was his namesake, every Zacharias had one. A name from Greece's history that tied you to the land, and shaped your destiny...as far as the stories went. He'd never put any stock in that rubbish, but if it meant he'd be a king with the skill to trick the gods themselves, then so much the better.

But what legendary hero spoke to Sisyphus? His stories had always seemed rather one-sided...the question would have lingered, but his Servant was quick to respond with the answer. "Hmmm...the King of Thieves...how very interesting." Grinning, Athanasios follows his Servant around the room. "I'm sure we'll get along swimmingly!"

Laughing as he heaps up praise at the room, Athanasios shakes his head. "We are in the nation of Japan, in a relatively small city called Fuyuki. And, while I'm flattered, I'm no king...at least, not yet. A rather wealthy man, yes, but my station is that of a diplomat. And these three rooms you see are my quarters, not the entire building. Still, one can do far worse." Moving over to the wine cabinet, he takes out a particularly fine one. "I assume you drink, dear Autolycus? I haven't the slightest idea how I'll be able to finish this myself, and it would be a shame to cork such a fine vintage as this."
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Autolycus
 Posted: Sep 20 2013, 10:41 PM
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"A Japan I see. A country to the far east." Autolycus felt new found information filling his mind. Times, technology, rules, servants, laws, it all seemed to make perfect sense to him. Like things he had known all his life, yet had never seen or experienced, or made use of. Truly fascinating the powers of the grail.

A politician eh? Should have known someone like that would summon me." he said with a bit of a devious grin. He normally made his business stealing from and tormenting such people. However, he had no qualms about working with one, as long as he got his pay in the end. In a war like this, there was quite a big payout in the end.

WIth the offer of wine, Autolycus smiled and took a seat across from his master, "Well no contract worth its weight could be settled without a glass of wine." He said, accepting his master's generous offer.

Before a glass could be poured, the Thief began to question the diplomat, "So then master, I assume you have a plan to help us in this Grail War. As wondrous as a servant I am, I do not fight so openly. A Saber or Lancer could slice apart my beautiful face."
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Athanasios
 Posted: Sep 21 2013, 12:52 AM
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As his Servant gets acquainted with his surroundings, Athanasios begins to pay attention to his Servant's thoughts. The quick inrush of information leaves him slightly winded...the Grail is truly a powerful artifact if it would create this system down to such subtleties...It's truly an artifact to behold.

"Yes, and one that's grown in prominence as of late. It's presence heralding the Grail Wars has made it at least a curiosity for magi, and it's become quite the economic power. You can imagine why our homeland would send me here, yes?" Autolycus' remark causes him to smirk. Many people might call him slimy just from his profession, and whether or not that was a good thing is in the eye of the beholder. "That's a good thing, I take it? I would hate to disappoint."

When Autolycus accepts his offer, he claps his hands, smiling. "Splendid!" Reaching back to the wine rack, he takes out two wine glasses, setting them down on the desk. When he begins to pour out two servings, however, his Servant speaks up again.

"Onto more serious matters, eh? I suppose that makes sense." Thinking about what he knows, Athanasios purses his lips. "Well, for starters, I'm not quite sure exactly what you can do. I can hazard a few guesses from your story, and what the Grail's imparted to me, but some things are beyond me."

However, his smile soon returns, and he begins to pour. "However, I have a fairly unique skill, that lets me peer into the minds of other people. With such an ability, identifying the Masters of the War should not be too difficult a task. With that information, you can begin to put that class title of yours into action, Assassin." Cackling slightly, he hands a glass to his Servant. "With any luck, we shouldn't even have to fight a single Servant in the War."

Athanasios wasn't completely confident in this plan, however. He was warned in advance not to take Heroic Spirits lightly, in any capacity. Getting in a fight wasn't just a possibility, it was a certainty. "Though...it might be wise to try to court an alliance. There might be hiccups in the plan, and a more...brawn-oriented hero might be better suited to cleaning up messes." The diplomat turned Master tilts his head. "Do you have anything to add, King of Thieves?"
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Autolycus
 Posted: Sep 23 2013, 07:30 PM
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Autolycus graciously accepted the offer of wine from his new Master. As the man spoke, he slowly sipped his wine taking in all the information. This master was at least thinking it through, that much was certain. Good, the thief hated working with amateurs. Athanasios's magic abilities also sounded useful. This was turning out good after all, he had a high grade master.

"Well master my talents are varied. However, I will limit my list to ones helpful in the war." he finished his glass of wine, and stood up from the immensely comfortable seat he was resting on. He held up two fingers into the air, "I have two abilities with my Noble Phantasm, the first is this." Swiping his hand across his face, golden locks fell across his shoulders, and his master saw a face like he was looking in the mirror, "I can change the appearance of myself, and that of my belongings. Only my belongings and things I steal though, unless you want to let me own everything you do." He pressed his hand against his face, and wiped away the visage of his master, reverting back to his original face.

"The next is my helm." Holding out his hand, a old brass Grecian helmet came into existence. In one swift movement, the metal helm was sat upon his head, and Autolycus vanished from sight, "This render my body completely invisible." A soft patter was heard on the ground, approaching the seated diplomat. Suddenly the bottle of wine floated up in the air. It tilted forward, and a small stream of wine flowed into the air, and vanished before it hit the ground, "It can't conceal sound, but I am quiet enough when I sneak."

The Greek Hero appeared once more, the helm in hand. A grin played on his face as he set the wine back on the table. "I like your abilities master, it makes finding targets much easier." A snap of the fingers sent the helm back into oblivion. "Still an alliance with another master makes me nervous." he moved back to his original seat, "Don't get me wrong, I enjoy having a bit of muscle in my pocket, but they usually aren't going after the same prize as me."
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Athanasios
 Posted: Sep 23 2013, 10:13 PM
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Athanasios sits back and calmly drinks his wine as his Servant lists his abilities. It was very impressive...that mask could very well have been the helm of Hades himself, or a very similar copy. It was a weapon of obvious power and utility, and he was focusing on that. And that masking ability is quite amusing...and potentially deadly. He's not sure the best way to implement the skill is, in comparison to the helm, but he's quite sure it has many different applications to be had, both in the war, and out.

"You'll forgive me for wanting to keep my property to myself. If a need presents itself in the future, I'll consider it, but I enjoy keeping my things to myself. Beyond that...I'm pleased. I seem to have drawn quite the strong card in the war."

The diplomat wasn't quite as confident as that, but he presents himself as unflappable. The crux of his problem was that, while his Servant could attack silently, and almost without consequence with his disguises and helm, if he was attacked, he was all but dead. Flashing back to his mother's advice about the war, he considered her description of the Servant classes. His was Assassin...and one not suited to close combat. Their only hope in such a situation would be to pick off the Master quickly, and pray they didn't go against Archer.

Noting his servant's nervousness to enlist an ally in the war, Athanasios taps his head. "I must insist you trust me on this, friend. Remember, my abilities have the wonderful side effect of keeping me in the know on what goes on in those close to me. If they were to attempt to turn their back on the deal, then I'll know about it in advance, and we can make our escape. And it will give us the opportune moment to overthrow such an alliance, and claim the grail for ourselves!"

Athanasios keeps his dirty little secret for the War to himself. Autolycus does not seem like the type to understand his overall lack of enthusiasm at taking the Holy Grail for himself. Servants were summoned for their desire to claim the Grail and take a wish...and while he would love to have the Grail for himself, he knew his overall chances in the War would be somewhat less than one in seven. If he was to go all out, he'd likely go far, but he was not a gambling man.

"Going after the same prize as you...do you refer to the Grail, my friend? Would you care to tell me what it is you seek? Or do you want to keep it a secret?"

Athanasios resists the urge to attempt to mindwalk in his Servant's mind. A heroic servant might be able to sense even his subtlest touch, and he didn't want to betray the trust of one so much stronger than himself.
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Autolycus
 Posted: Sep 26 2013, 09:11 PM
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Autolycus rested his chin atop his wrist as he listened to his master. His look of displeasure did not change from before. He did not doubt his master's claims, and assumed his mental prowess would be up to scratch for such a task. Still, making alliances is always a risky business. Beyond just having to stay on top of your partner's wishes, they need to be reliable enough to complete the tasks given to them. Also, if they are competent enough, they wouldn't need partnership. Autolycus didn't like to trust people, it was too dangerous.

Still his master seemed rather competent. After all, he was a successful politician, and that took quite a bit of skill. Though the mind reading probably helped as well. The Thief King couldn't help but chuckle at the thought of the Greek Man speaking a opponents thoughts just before he could say them.

"Why do I want the Grail?" he asked, staring at the ceiling aimlessly. "Why does a Thief want any rare item? Why do they plan heists and take the crowns of kings?" he asked his master with a smile, "For money? Hell we can pickpocket for that, more efficient, less dangerous. Minor little jobs can do that. To hold valuable items? No. Thieves are poor, you can't eat gold and silver. So why? Why do Thieves steal big prizes?"
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Athanasios
 Posted: Sep 29 2013, 11:37 PM
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Athanasios was slightly disappointed that his servant just answered his question with one of his own, and didn't seem to go along with his opinion on forming an alliance with a fellow Master, but the way he continued asking his question made it seem more than rhetorical. So he thought about it.

"Well...it might have something to do with prestige? I mean...to be able to be the one to own something literally everyone wants, simply because you had the skills or means to obtain it is rather enjoyable. That seems to be the most sensible outcome...but there's so much to be had from a limitless wish, it is truly hard to tell...Am I right on the first one, or can you help me out a little?"

He was intrigued. Athanasios values his ability to read other people, even without the use of his mental magic. He had enough practice actually being in others minds that normally simple tells and patterns had taken a place with him just by sheer experience. However, he found it much harder to do with this man...I suppose that's what makes a man a legend.

"I'd probably just use the wish to establish power. Money does help with that in and of itself, but there is an annoying disconnect that is hard to bridge. Hard, and time consuming. If the grail can help me cut to the chase, then why not? Aside from taking the fun out of it...but I suppose I can make my own amusements."
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Autolycus
 Posted: Oct 1 2013, 10:22 PM
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Autolycus smiled at his master's musing at why exactly he wanted the grail. Part of him wanted to go right out and tell him, but the other part of him wanted his master just to guess. After all, if he was such a accomplished diplomat, he should be able to read people more easily than that shouldn't he? "Well Master, I'll give you a hint, first hint at least. What exactly makes me.." He twirled his finger around in the air until it pointed at the Thief King's face, "...immortal?"

Before his master could answer he rose from his seat, "Think on it for a bit master, and seem if you can't determine why I want the Grail. I won't ask you your reasons. Fair's fair you know." he said with a teasing little grin.

Craving some more wine, Autolycus reached over and snatched the bottle of wine from his Master's side, and poured a new glass, "Now, as to the...Alliance idea..." his voice carried a twinge of disgust when saying the "A word", "I don't suppose you have anyone in mind?" He sat down again sipping his wine, "A pleeease don't tell me someone summoned that nimrod 'Paris' and he's your plan? Fine Archer, and a bit clever, but never thinks things through all the way to the end that one." he said with a roll of the eyes.
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Athanasios
 Posted: Oct 2 2013, 12:47 PM
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Athanasios is slightly miffed that he didn't guess the answer correctly, but he just shrugs his shoulders. "I will at that. It sounds like fun to me...I do enjoy finding people's motivations. I do hope it's not something simple I'm just overlooking...that's always embarrassing."

As Autolycus takes the wineglass, Athanasios leans on his desk, hands supporting his chin as his thinks. "I don't have anyone specific in mind, no. And it's entirely possible that our experience with the War will be over before any such connection is established...for good or for ill. I'm just saying that if an opportunity presents itself, we should not be so hasty in refusing it."

When his Servant begins speaking about Paris, Athanasios can't help but break into laughter. "Oh, heavens no. I wouldn't want the idiot who chose a pretty woman over power and knowledge anywhere near me...except under my heel. That might make him a prime target to manipulate..." Athanasios trails off a bit, but shakes his head. "But idiots can only be trusted to be idiots, and it would likely cause us far more harm than good."

Athanasios begins thinking. "What the perfect pawn would be is someone strong, but manipulable, either through some personality defect or through subservience. You are correct in one thing...a hasty alliance could very well prove to be our downfall. If we do this, it must be a well-considered decision."
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Autolycus
 Posted: Oct 3 2013, 12:07 PM
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Autolycus leaned back in his seat, and sipped his wine while his thoughts mulled over their attempts to obtain the Grail. At least his master was thinking things out. Definitely not a amateur. "I don't suppose you know any of the masters who are currently in the war?" He asked, "It will make it much easier for me to find and scout them."

The Thief's thoughts also turned to the idea of working with one of the servants. While not happy, he couldn't deny his master's point, "I suppose our best chance would be siding with Berserker. Berserker's are trustworthy. All they do is smash things." he said with a chuckle. His rather long fingers tapped at the comfortable chair he sat on, tapping out what seemed to be a song, "I don't like Casters. Mages can't be trusted." His eyes stared over at his master, "No offense."
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Athanasios
 Posted: Oct 6 2013, 11:05 AM
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Athanasios lets out a small sigh. "Unfortunately, no such luck. The only likely candidate I've been able to pin down are the last war's victor, the Tohsaka heir. And while she is a likely candidate, I don't want to risk tipping my hand too far with someone who can bring the Mage Association down on me."

Tapping his hand, he shakes his head. "I'd just rather not risk it, especially when my contacts say her Servant in the last war was of the Archer class. If she got the same lot, we'll be in a rather bad state if things go sour."

As Autolycus begins to think about what would make a proper alliance, Athanasios grins. "I can't really blame you, it's a fact. Magi are a tricksome lot, I'd be rather nervous with one with Servant-level strength at my side. A Berserker sounds lovely, though...I wonder what it'd feel like to look inside the mind of a person crazed in such a way..."

Realizing he's trailing off, he's brought back to matters at hand when the phone starts to ring. "Oh!" He lets out, and moves to answer it. Letting out a strained grin, he shakes his head. "Apologies, but I have to take this. My job, and all. Hopefully it will be quick."

Taking the receiver into his hands, he answers in a crisp, genial tone. "Hello, this is Ambassador Zacharias. Is there anything I can do for you?"

One of the biggest complaints of living out here was the lack of a receptionist. While it wouldn't have been practical considering what he was engaged in, it was still a comfort he had grown accustomed to.
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