Fate/Zero:Act 8 Part 1
Meat and wine adorn the table. Rows of brilliant and shining candlesticks.
In the Midcuart large banquet hall, the Erin nobles have gathered, and now is the climax.
However, the ruffians' boasting of their strengths and their drinking contest are strictly forbidden on this day.
These uncultured warriors are just drunk with the fragrance of the graceful flower this evening.
Right, this is a feast to love the flower.
Gráinne, the daughter of the High King of Ireland, Cormac mac Airt, is finally going to be betrothed.
The person to whom she would be betrothed is Cumhaill's son, Fionn mac Cumhaill. Receiving intelligence from the oil of the salmon of knowledge, the great warrior who controls the healing water. Unparalleled under the heavens, he is the head of a Fianna, a group of knights. The warrior's strength and fame could even rival those of the High King. There should not be any other marriage engagement which is as joyful as this anywhere else.
Accompanying the old warrior is his son, Oisín, who is also a poet; and also his grandchild, the warrior Oscar. And then, the almighty group of knights.
The talented Caílte mac Rónáin. Druid Diorruing. “Horror of the Battlefield” Goll mac Morna. Conan of the Gray Lashes. And finally, the one which surpasses even the strongest honor, Diarmuid Ua Dubhine of the love spot.
Each one of them is a great and no less inferior warrior. Amongst them, everyone adores and swear unwavering loyalty to Fionn. Revering the great hero as their leader, entrusting their swords, weapons and lives to that one life. This is a knight's honor. The true worth of warriors which is expressed by bards and handed down.
Yearning for that path.
Going through that path.
Someday when they perish proudly in the battlefield, they would still believe without a doubt.
Until the banquet on that fated night, when he happens to encounter that flower.
“In exchange for my love, accept the geis. My dear, no matter how, annul this abominable marriage. Please take me away......to the ends of the earth!”
Appealing to him in tears, the eyes of the maiden were flaring with earnest love.
That was something which would turn into the purgatory flames which would burn him to ashes......During that time, the hero was able to understand.
And yet, he still did not refuse.
The weight of a geis which would test his honor, and the path of a loyal subject which he followed- as he thought, which one was more precious? No matter how many times he asked or struggled with himself, he did not arrive at an answer.
That's why the thing which spurred him had to be a reason without any relation whatsoever with his pride.
The hero and the princess grasped hands, and together, turned away from the splendor of their futures.
Thus, before long, he became someone in the Celtic legends which were passed down, and the curtains of the story of a tragic love were lifted up.
Passing through that weird dream world, Kayneth woke up from his sleep.
An ancient, distant scene which he had neither seen nor experienced. However, it was not something mysterious. Masters who signed a contract with their Servants, are said to be able to occasionally catch a glimpse of the memory of a heroic spirit in the form of a dream.
For Kayneth, of course he would be familiar with the legends associated with the heroic spirit he summoned. Although he had never thought that he could experience the spectacle to such an extent......the dream just now was unmistakably one of the scenes of “The Legend of Diarmuid and Gráinne”.
“But......why am I here?”
Not fully awake yet, Kayneth looked around his surrounding.
He was lying at an empty room. The air which had a touch of but the dust in ruins, was dominated by the cold air of a winter night.
Signs of human activity and previous visits to that place could not be found; a cold room with only machineries.
It was not a place he did not recognize. After the collapse of Fuyuki Hyatt Hotel, this place had been Kayneth's temporary hiding place, the abandoned factory outside the city.
He tried to recollect his cloudy memory.
He was on the pursuit of Caster's tracks, and had struggled until the Einzbern forest. And then, with the battle of the Servants behind him, on his own, he tried to confront Saber's master for a duel......He tried to recollect the details, and simultaneously, humiliation and anger surged forth like a broken dam.
At his uncontrollably violent fury, he tried to grasp his fist, and he finally realized. In spite of the fact that he had awakened from his sleep, the truth was that he had no senses in his hands and legs at all.
Driven by bewilderment and fear, Kayneth writhed in agony. But, his body did not move at all. From the top of a simple bed, he was facing upwards. His chest and back were tightly bound by a belt.
If it was only that he could not get up, he understood. Yet, what did it mean by his unresponsive hands and legs?
The part of him which was tied down was only his torso. There weren't any binds at his limbs. But still...they could not move. It was as if his arms and legs did not exist.
“...Looks like you have regained your consciousness huh.”
From somewhere beyond his field of vision, his beloved fiancee's voice could be heard. Looks like Kayneth finally started finding fault with that sound.
“Sola!? This, what on earth......Wh-why I am here?”
“Lancer carried you back. He rescued you from your predicament. What's the matter? You can't recall it at all?”
Shot. In the Einzbern castle, just as he was about to kill the make-believe ends and odds magus who pulled cheap tricks......
Yet, he should have been shielded from his enemy's bullets by Volumen Hydrargyrum. He could clearly feel that moment when he was certain of his victory.
However, his memory was interrupted there. Some unknown, excruciating pain had struck him- apparently, something had happened. When he came to, he was lying down on his back. He was not even sure how much time had passed.
In the manner of a palpating doctor, she placed her fingers on Kayneth's arm. However, Kayneth's body senses were completely absent.
“There is evidence that the Magic Circuit in your whole body went berserk. Your internal organs were almost destroyed. Everywhere throughout your body, your muscles and nerves were damaged. It was a miracle that you did not die instantly.”
“For the time being, I had only managed to restore your internal organs. There's nothing I can do about your nerves. At this rate, even if you heal as time passed, don't wish for recovery to the extent that you can stand and run. Besides that-”
Listening disinterestedly to his fiancee's diagnosis, Kayneth was gradually tormented by despair.
Self-injury because of the rampage of his prana. For a magus, an end which is the nearest to himself, and more fatal than anything else.
Just because Kayneth felt that he was completely not associated with the making of such an elementary mistake, there was no reason for him not to know what that end meant.
“Besides that- Kayneth, your Magic Circuit was completely destroyed. You cannot use magecraft again.”
Tears welled in the eyes of the man who was once reputed to be the prodigy Lord El-Melloi.
Why did he receive such an ill treatment? He did not understand at all. The world was supposed to be blessing Kayneth. Unlimited future and splendor were supposed to be guaranteed for that genius.
The principles of the world in which Kayneth trusted collapsed noisily, leaving no trace whatsoever.
At this excessively cruel truth, at such incomprehensible unreasonableness, he simply became frightened and broke down in tears. The Kayneth right now was similar to an infant who had understood what fear is for the first time.
“Don't cry, Kayneth. It is still too early to give up.”
Whilst whispering in a comforting voice, Sola caressed his face. In times when he needed it, it is common for her display of affection towards her fiance to be slightly late.
“The Holy Grail war is still going on. Kayneth, the fruits of your plans! As long as I, the source of prana, am here, the contract with lancer can still continue. We have not lost yet.”
“If the Holy Grail is an omnipotent wish granter, a complete recovery for your body should be entirely possible, right? It'll be great if you win. If you remain in the war and obtain the Holy Grail, everything will be back to normal.”
Sora-Ui's words should cheer Kayneth up and give him hope. The encouragement of her as his partner and supporting fiancee ought to, above all else, give him courage.
And yet- why did an indescribable uneasiness blow through Kayneth's heart like a draught?
Whether or not it was because of her knowledge of his doubts, displaying the smile of an affectionate mother, she held Kayneth's right arm. At the back of his hand which was made impotent, there were still two Command Spells remaining, creeping on his fingers.
“That's why, Kayneth......Please hand these Command Spells to me. I will take over Lancer as a Master. To bring you the Holy Grail.”
His immediate response was probably because of his brute instinct. Having lost everything, these two Command Spells were the last mementoes he had- I must not let it go, Kayneth's spirit was screaming that.
Facing Kayneth who became afraid for no reason, in a way as if soothing a resentful child, Sola continued her words.
“Don't you trust me? Although I don't have a magic crest, I am still a magus from the Sophia-Ri family. I who am going to marry to the Archibalds; for me to carry out Lord El-Melloi's duty, is there anything strange with it?”
Its logic was resounding within him.
Certainly, it was now hard for him to go to the battleground and watch over Lancer's battles. Now that things had come to such a pass, he could not even protect himself. Just like what the Einzberns would do, if they were to set an assassin or something like that towards the Master at the side of the battle between the Servants, he might really lose his life this time.
Sola's rank as a magus is severely inferior to Kayneth. However, Waver who summoned Alexander, and the bloodthirsty murderer who formed a contract with Caster; those whose participations as Masters were completely out of the question, were still in this Holy Grail war. As for battle tactics, even for Sola, it is not entirely impossible for her to win through the battles.
And then, when it comes to using a Servant, Command Spells which make them submit to the Master are indispensable. But still...
Kayneth remembered. The hot look Sola had whilst gazing at Lancer at the hotel late at night after his first battle ended. An intoxicated glance as if she was dreaming, something not shown to him, her fiance, before.
If she was merely fascinated by a handsome man, then that is still excusable. It is just a small, problematic indisposition a woman has. Her admiration towards man to that extent was something which he, as her husband, could not help with.
Yet, Lancer was said to be a case of “not just an ordinary handsome guy”.
“......Sola. Do you think that Lancer would turn away from me and swear allegiance to you?”
Towards Kayneth who had killed his reluctance and asked, without any hesitation, Sola nodded.
“He is still but someone who responded to the invitation of the Holy Grail. His heart which seeks the Holy Grail is together with us. Even if his Master is substituted, for the sake of his goal, he would endure and accept it.”
Kayneth said within his heart. Sola may or may not know, but Diarmuid Ua Dubhine, the heroic spirit, is not such a commendable person.
Certainly, heroic spirits who are called by the Holy Grail as Servants, would form any contract in order to participate in the Holy Grail War. As heroic spirits or not, they are expected to have a reason for seeking the Holy Grail. Because they have wishes they have charged to the Holy Grail, they submit to their own Masters, and dash forward together to receive the blessings of the Holy Grail.
Because of that, a Servant's Master would face the summoned heroic spirit and start by asking his wish. What he wished for to seek the Holy Grail, why he had responded to his summon and appeared. As long as those reasons were not cleared up, their relationship would not work out. This is because, by any chance, if their respective wishes are totally contradictory, he may go through a painful betrayal once they acquire the Holy Grail.
Naturally, Kayneth had already asked Diarmuid about his wishes earlier on. Along with or not whether he had wanted to do anything in the event that they managed to procure the Holy Grail.
Nevertheless, the heroic spirit did not answer.
No, that is not correct. Diarmuid did not refuse to reply. Just that he denied the question itself.
In other words, “he was not seeking the Holy Grail”.
Repayments are not necessary. To merely devote his loyalty to his summoner who is his Master in this life, to fulfil his honor as a knight. That is his only wish.
He could not understand. For a person who was renowned enough to be a heroic spirit to abandon his pride and be the familiar of a human being, it doesn't add up if he did not have a great reason as well. It did not turn out to be “free service” or other jokes.
Yet, no matter how skillfully he tried to question him, stubbornly, Lancer did not take back his previous answer.
“If I can fulfill my honor as a knight, that would be good enough. I will cede the wishing machine, the Holy Grail to Master alone.”
All the time, with that persistence, Lancer continued to refuse the Holy Grail.
...If he were to reflect on it, it is possible that since that time, he started to feel distrust towards the Servant he contracted with.
It is impossible for a Servant not to seek the Holy Grail.
If that's the case, Lancer's answer was definitely an obvious lie. His true intentions were definitely hidden.
That's fine as well, he thought. On Kayneth hands are the Command Spells. As long as he has this absolute commanding authority, Diarmuid's betrayal is impossible. Servants are after all, just tools, no different from any ordinary machines. It is not a problem for something like a tool to have anything bad hidden within its heart. If it can carry out its functions perfectly, then that is good enough. That was Kayneth's decision until yesterday night.
Nevertheless, in front of Sola who did not doubt Lancer at all, Kayneth could not be as tolerating as before.
If that guy abides by Sola...if he believes that guy's words...then unmistakably, he is driven by a wish different from the Holy Grail.
He is a heroic spirit which must not be trusted. To begin with, that was the case in the stories of his lifetime. Wasn't him the treacherous subordinate who stole his lord's fiance and fled......?
“The Command Spells......I'm not handing them over.”
Plainly, Kayneth declared.
“Command Spells and Magic Circuits are different systems of magecraft. Now, I can still exercise it. I......right now, I am still Lancer's Master!”
Huhh... Sola sighed deeply.
Along with that long sigh, the gentle smile on her face vanished.
“Kayneth, you don't understand huh......Whatever the case, we must win.”
Kruck, The dry sound of a twig being stepped on could be heard.
From Kayneth's right hand which she had been treating gently until now, Sola casually twisted his little finger off.
As usual, there was no pain. However, that numbness caused Kayneth's fear to multiple. Just like that, without encountering any resistance, she could have easily twist off the remaining four fingers one by one.
“Hey, Kayneth. For my standard of spiritual healing techniques, it is impossible for me to forcibly extract your Command Spell. Only when there is consent from the owner himself, I can remove THIS without any resistance.”
Saying that without any expression, only her gentle voice was like just now, unchanged. As if trying to persuade a dull-witted child, she continued to the end, calmly.
“If you don't consent no matter what......I cannot do anything else but to cut down this right arm. How about it?”
At the rear entrance of the abandoned factory, in the darkness, the thicket which had reverted back to its quietness, grew luxuriantly.
Exposing herself to the cold night air, after waiting for the heat of her excitement to cool down, Sola called out to the shapeless sentry.
“Lancer, please come forth. I have something to say.”
Complying to her call, the heroic spirit, Diarmuid immediately materialized beside her.
Under the eyes which were facing down humbly, there was this love spot which further emphasized his existence bewitchingly. Prioritizing his ease of movements, his lightweight armor emphasizes more strongly the fearlessness of his body, which is tense like the birds of prey.
No matter how many times she had seen him, she still let out a sigh. The core of her body heated up.
“Are there anything abnormal outside?”
“Right now, this place is safe. Occasionally, there is this presence which felt like the loitering demons which came from Caster. But they do not seem to have sniffed this place out and come to attack us. The boundary field Lord Kayneth set has not fallen apart yet.”
Nodding, Sola felt relieved inside her heart. If Lancer had been on the lookout so seriously, he should not have noticed the incident which had occurred inside the building.
“Right, Sola-sama. How is Lord Kayneth's condition?”
“Not good. I have applied the usual treatment, but......although his arms are recovering slowly, his legs are probably over.”
With a gloomy expression, Sola lowered her head. Looks like this scrupulous heroic spirit was still feeling responsible for Kayneth's injury.
“If I had discerned the situation more carefully......my master would not have forced to the point of death right under my nose......”
“You were not aware of it. Kayneth reaps what he sows. He probably wanted to win this Holy Grail war too much.”
Towards the hesitating Lancer, Sola hardened her resolve, and let out the words within her heart.
“He is not appropriate to be your Master, Diarmuid.”
Lancer was silent, and stared fixedly at Sola's face. Pinning down her heart which was entranced by merely this straight look, she lifted up the back of her right hand and showed it to Lancer.
Distinctly etched onto it was two Command Spells which were supposed to still be on Kayneth's hand until just a while ago.
“Kayneth has renounced his fighting, and hand over his authority as a Master to me. From tonight onwards, Lancer- you are my Lancer.”
After being silent and looked down for a short while, as if already employed, he shook his head.
“I have sworn loyalty to Lord Kayneth as a knight. Sola-sama......I cannot consent to that request.”
At that reaction which betrayed her expectations, the one who was rather confused was Sola.
“From the start, it is because of my prana that you are still a Servant in this present world right? And now, I even have as far as the Command Spells. This time, I alone should be your genuine contractor!”
“Receiving your prana, being bound by the Command Spells; these words are not related at all.”
Casting down his eyes apologetically, Lancer continued quietly.
“Above being a Lancer, I was a knight before this. There can only be a master to whom I would devote my loyalty. Sola-sama, please forgive me.”
“......Am I not fit to be a Master? Diarmuid.”
“This and that are different-”
“Look into my eyes and speak!”
At her reprimand, reluctantly, Lancer lifted his face up, and faced her directly. Those eyes which were brimming with tears was way beyond what Lancer had expected...moreover, it was accompanied by the most unpleasant déjà vu.
Formerly, he had also faced a lady before who had pleaded with him with tears in such a manner.
“......Lancer, fight with me. Protect me, support me, capture the Holy Grail with me.”
“I cannot do that. If Lord Kayneth had renounced fighting, I cannot wish for the Holy Grail as well.”
Greatly agitated, Sola almost blurted the words which she could not hold back. Barely restraining herself, after waiting for her throbbing heart to calm down, she continued in a stiff voice.
“If you are still persisting on being Kayneth's knight, Lancer, then you have to strive hard to win the Holy Grail all the more. I have already told you his condition just now. For that body to heal, the help of a miracle is absolutely necessary. Only the Holy Grail fits it, right?”
Lancer felt silent again. However, this time his silence was affirming and acquiescent.
“If you feel responsible for his injury, if you think of regaining Lord El-Melloi's dignity, if you do not proffer the Holy Grail to your Master...”
“......Sola-sama, as Lord Kayneth's partner, you seek the Holy Grail only for Lord Kayneth. Is that right?”
“Th-that's, of course.”
At Lancer's quiet gaze, Sola gulped and replied.
“Can you please swear it? That you have no ulterior motives.”
She had wanted to burst into tears if she could. Screaming in an unladylike manner, whilst clinging onto this lovely man, expressing what's in her heart.
Still, if she were to do so, this haughty heroic spirit would probably refuse her point blank this time. She could not express her heart. At least not now.
“-I swear. As Kayneth El-Melloi's wife, I will offer the Holy Grail to my husband.”
After taking that oath in a firm voice, Lancer finally relaxed his expression, and nodded quietly.
That was something which was probably too faint to be called a smile. Nevertheless, Sola was over the moon. This is because at last, his expression which showed signs of a smile was directed towards her.
That's right, it didn't matter even if it was a lie—Sola thought about her hidden heart again.
If she could preserve her ties with this man now, no matter in what way, it didn't matter. For this sake, no matter how despicable the lie was, she would say it. She would not let anyone rebuke her for that. That's right, never- she would never allow anyone to hinder her.
He is not a human, but a spiritual being temporarily visiting from another world. A transient miracle brought forth by the Holy Grail. Yet, Sola's feelings did not change.
If she were to think back, ever since she had reached the age of reasoning, her heart had frozen. For Sola who was given birth to a family of magecraft who already had a legitimate child, she was not brought up with the feelings of a woman.
The magecraft's blood which was refined repeatedly throughout generations. A lady whose worth was nothing but that.
In other words, ever since the time the cry of the baby was heard, she had no other USAGE other than for the arranged marriage.
She did not feel regretful. She did not even harbor questions. There was no leeway for her to choose. She obeyed the arranged marriage her parents agreed upon quite willingly. Her frozen soul did not feel any lament towards having to call the man she was utterly uninterested in, husband, for the rest of her life.
However, it is different now.
Before this, has she ever heatedly felt her heart throbbing so rapidly before?
Sola-Ui Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri's heart was no longer frozen. That is because she knew the warmth of her heart which was madly in love.
Even after Sola returned to her bedroom, Lancer was still remaining outside alone, standing guard. For Servants, sleep is not necessary. As long as they have enough supply of prana from their Masters, weariness is unrelated to their body.
Consequently, he had no way to forget his troubles by sleeping,
Recalling Sola's words again and again, Lancer let out a sigh.
That look which abandoned everything and pleaded with him wholeheartedly and pitifully, was too similar to the look of his “wife” in the past.
Imposing the geis of betrayal on him, the perpetrator who caused him to fall from the position of a glorious hero to that of a refugee. However, Diarmuid never resented her.
Without any other reason, even if it were a passion which was solely due to captivation from the Mystic Face of the hero, her choice of running away from the seat of Micuart's banquet for this sake was a decision that, as far as the lady is concerned, was at the risk of her life.
The ties with her relatives, the pride of the princess, and also the promised glory of the future......Turning her back to everything, Gráinne chose the pathway of love with Diarmuid. If that beginning was because of the mystical force of his charm, the day when she would doubt her love would probably come. Nevertheless, without any fear towards such a future, Gráinne continued her way of life with love.
Diarmuid was dragged into this disaster; this is the view of others. Still, the person himself, Diarmuid, did not have such perception. Above his own suffering, he was the man who constantly felt more heartache at that of his partner.
At the weight of the geis which tested his pride, he did not even yield to it. There was reluctance. There were struggles as well. That was why he felt distressed at his perversion towards the ruler, Fionn mac. In the end, he grew attached to the courage of Gráinne, this woman, who believed in her feelings until the end; and loved her to the end.
Naturally, their pathway of love was full of hardships.
Driven by jealousy and resentment, Fionn mac Cumhaill mobilized everyone of his subordinates to pursue the two of them who had taken flight, and hunted them down like a wild beast. Whilst protecting the princess, Diarmuid resolved not to cross weapons with the knights under Fionn, with whom he was friends. However, towards the foreign pursuers who were assembled because of Fionn's pact with them, he did nothing but bare his fangs.
His fight with the giant Searban, his fights with the nine Garbs, his fight with Fionn's nanny, “Witch of the Millstone”......The consequence was, Diarmuid's getting stuck at using his valor which surpassed the previous achievements established in the knight troupe, again and again; to formulate the flight with Princess Gráinne. As for him who was known by others as the most noble subject, that was too ironic an epic.
Whilst cutting up the enemies with both his lances, his heart was torn apart again. Though being tormented by the dilemma of his contradicting loyalty and geis, his refined, twin lances pierced through the previous enemies, meaninglessly bringing about deaths.
A lady and two men- Because of merely the sentiments and obstinacy, much blood was spilled.
At the end of the day, the one who was heartbroken after the futility of these sacrifice, was still Fionn. The old master recognized to Diarmuid and Gráinne's marriage, bestowed a proper title and territory, and welcomed him as a subject again.
The reconciliation Diarmuid wanted unceasingly. Yet, that ending was just the harbinger of the conclusive catastrophe.
One day, Diarmuid who was hunting together with Fionn, received a deep wound from a wild boar's fangs. That was a mortal wound, but since Fionn was beside him, he was not afraid. That's because, with the records of countless miracles as a hero attached to him, Fionn could transform spring water scooped with his hands into a miracle drug.
Yet, in front of a subject on the verge of death, the thing which went to and fro in the old master's mind, was the bitter jealousy of the dispute for one woman.
The well from which spring water flowed out, was only nine steps away from the collapsed Diarmuid.
In order for Fionn to cure the knight's wound, he only had to walk nine steps and bring back the water. That alone would suffice. Nevertheless, in spite of such a short distance, water spilled from his hands twice.
And then at the third time he scooped the water, Diarmuid, the hero's breathing stopped.
-Now, being invited to the present world again as a Servant, looking back at his end during those bygone days, Diarmuid had no sense of regret at all. He did not have any intention of cursing anyone. He wanted to reply to his wife's love. He could understand Fionn's anger as well. It was just that the twist of fate was way too cruel.
It was not just a life full of suffering and anguish only. The glass by which he drank with the king, and the whispers-containing lovers' talks as well, were left within him as irreplaceable memories. Although the end was tragic, Diarmuid did not consider being dissatisfied with God's will. This is because he and the others around him had earnestly lived their lives to the fullest.
He did not deny the one life which had passed by him.
Still, suppose that...
He becomes a knight again, picks up his spears, and lives a second life......
This supposedly impossible miracle was borne within heroic spirit Diarmuid's heart.
His crushed former honor. His pride which could not be fulfilled. A chance to pick it up again. That was everything Diarmuid wished for.
A path of life with his long-cherished wishes, which did not come true in his previous life.
This time, surely, his path of faithfulness...
Together with a loyalty without any shadow of doubt, the honor of lifting up the victory to his master...
In short, there was absolutely no wish Lancer charged towards the Holy Grail. Receiving a master for a second time, during the times when he stood at the battlefield called “Fuyuki”, his wish was already half achieved.
And the other half would be accomplished when he attain victory. Bringing the Holy Grail back to his Master, the moment the fruits of his loyalty take shape, his everything would be fulfilled.
That was supposed to be only it. He was never supposed to have a wish beyond that.
However, Diarmuid's path right now, was beginning to be shrouded with ominous dark clouds. In between his new ruler's time, the Mystic Face which he was burdened with, was trying to drive the wedge in again.
If Sola could come to the realization that she was only foolishly entranced by the Mystic Face, the worst case scenario could be avoided.
Yet, if she were to become the second Gráinne and cling onto him tightly, during that time, would he be able to shake off the woman's feelings?
This was supposed to be a battle to compensate for his tragic fate. If that happens, he would never want to repeat the tragic fate.
But still, how should he do it?
In the midst of the darkness of the still night, having no way to even discover the answer, Lancer just looked up to the moon in agony, doing nothing else.
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