I'm sorry that I took so long with this chapter.

For one, my studies take top priority. Secondly, my fanfic writing was mostly preoccupied with the co-story of The Best of Both Worlds.

Anyway, I do not own Naruto or Bleach.

Chapter Three: The Treacheries of Love and Peace


N.U. Journal Entry #81

Topic: Uchiha Sasuke, the last Uchiha of Konoha

Ever since I've heard of his clan's untimely demise, I've been looking for an opportunity to meet him. How could I not? This presents a wonderful opportunity for a sympathizer. But I would not seek him out without intelligence.

Thus, I sought out the truth of his clan's massacre.

It was a long and arduous process of espionage and reconnaissance of the elders' before I was able to sneak into the residences Sarutobi Hiruzen, Mitokado Homura, and Utatane Koharu and acquire copies of their journals.

As such, the hard part is over. The next part is relatively easy: approaching Sasuke-kun with these journals in hand.

One down, currently three to go

Akatsuki Cave

Kakashi's eyes were alight with fiery vengeance as he glared at the two Akatsuki members.

The women with him noticed the heavily rising killing intent. The three dogs with Hana softly whimpered.

"Sensei," Sakura slowly asked, "are you alright?"

"Sakura," he instantly replied, making her flinch at his sharp tone. "Don't falter. This is now no longer any ordinary opponent you've faced. This is Akatsuki. Don't let your guard down. Don't lose focus. You see an opening, take it. We will not let them escape."

"H-Hai, sensei…"

"Hana, Sakura," he spoke, getting the attention of the nervous-looking kunoichis, "you two will take Sasori, with Elder Chiyo. Shizune and I will take Deidara. My advice to Sakura goes to all of you as well."

Shizune and Hana have never seen Kakashi act like this ever. As such, this was an entirely new experience.

But to Shizune, it's kind of reminiscent to one encounter with Namikaze Minato before he became Hokage, during the age of the Third Shinobi World War. Due to shortage of people, genin, and sometimes chuunin, were rotated from team to team in-between missions. In one such situation, she was teamed up with Asuma and Kakashi with Minato as lead. And as she remembered him back then, he was stern but friendly, as his eyes reflected nothing but care for his subordinates.

They were told to destroy another supply line, minor but not unimportant, to the enemy's war effort. What was thought to be a supply line was actually a hidden war camp that she accidentally made alert to their presence.

It was a downhill battle at first but then Minato unleashed his Hiraishin and destroyed them all. The look in his eyes then was truly fearsome; it almost made her wet herself (not that she'd admit it).

And now, it seems that Kakashi has inherited his master's fearsome glare.

They then dropped to their appropriate stances, giving Kakashi signs of having processed his speech.

"Shall we begin," Sasori growled. "I'm getting twitchy."

Kakashi glowered at him. "Didn't your mother ever teach you? Patience is a virtue."

The puppeteer let loose a blast of killing intent at them. "That is an insult that will not go unpunished."

Chiyo whispered to Kakashi, "That's a little uncalled for, isn't it?"

"He's already forfeited his rights to be respected the moment he joined Akatsuki."

"I see. Then, I suppose I'll just have to hold him back from killing you."

"…"

Deidara smirked. "What are we waiting for?!" He summoned a large clay bird that swallowed the deceased form of Gaara. "Let's get this party started, yeah!" He then swooped past them and out the cave mouth. Shizune and Kakashi swiftly turned around and gave pursuit.

Sasori growled again. "That Hatake brat clearly lacks some manners. I'd have to teach him a lesson or two, right after I defeat you three. A brat woman, an insignificant woman, and an old woman," he continued, "I wonder how long you three will last."

The three aforementioned women looked affronted but didn't respond. Instead, Chiyo whispered, "Before we get started, you need to know this. The one in front of us right now is not Sasori; it's just a puppet. The real Sasori is inside the puppet. And it seems that he's made some adjustments to it since I saw it last."

"So he's removed that main weakness of puppeteers that I've heard about," Hana asked.

"Yes, he did. And that just makes him all the more dangerous. We first must make him leave Hiruko; and that is no easy task." She took out a line of kunai, which she sent flying towards Hiruko, who blocked them with his tail.

In a quick movement, Hiruko shed his Akatsuki cloak to shift to his four-legged battle stance, similar to the Inuzuka's. The tail is connected to a large mask-like shield on his back. "Shall we begin? I'm getting impatient. I still have to discipline Hatake Kakashi afterwards."

Chiyo narrowed her eyes at him but instead continued to whisper to the two chuunin. They both nodded and prepped for battle.

Chiyo, Sakura, and Hana then charged towards Sasori, the latter's three ninken following after.

Hiruko's mouth opened and started firing numerous senbon at them. Hana and her ninken started to spin very fast, deflecting all needles sent their way while charging straight for Hiruko. Sakura and Chiyo, on the other hand, danced through them all.

Hiruko jumped away from Hana's quadruplet barrage and turned around just in time to see Sakura jump towards him. He sent his tail towards her but stopped just in front of her. Shocked, he watched as Sakura bypassed it and destroyed the puppet with her punch.

Meanwhile – in Uzushio

"I…I don't understand this," Konoka softly said. "We are prisoners. And yet, we can freely move inside this village?"

"Yup," said the cheerful prisoner as she lounged by a tree. "It's kind of like most prisons in the movies in the Human World. Even though we are in a cell, we are still allowed some time to stretch our limbs. Besides, it's not like we still aren't guarded."

"I see," Narumi muttered as she and Konoka walked off. Then, they started whispering. "Uzushio must have great faith in its defenses if they are willing to let the prisoners wander around the village with minimal ANBU guard."

Konoka whispered with a nod, "Perhaps we can use this to our advantage? Like, maybe we can plot an escape."

Narumi blinked. "I haven't thought of that." She gave a small grin. "Let's do some scouting. Perhaps there is something we can use to get out of here. Besides, we are daughters of great beings. We won't fall that easily."

"Um…" she trailed off, "what about the others?"

"Selfish as it is, I think we should keep this to ourselves," Narumi replied. "Too many people moving around in the dead of night would draw too much attention. Besides, since they haven't made any mention of that idea to us, even though they've been here longer than us, I can guess that they tried to but failed and have given up. Telling them of our plan wouldn't raise their spirits. But if we show them that escape is possible, they would be encouraged to do the same."

With Shizune and Kakashi

"Dokugyoku (Poison Ball)," Shizune exclaimed as she fired numerous condensed balls of purple gas from her mouth at the flying Deidara.

The blond Akatsuki sneered as he swerved through all of them. "You'll have to better that than, woman, hmm."

Remaining silent, Shizune's hands were raised to a singular hand seal and said, "Yudoku Bakuhatsu (Poisonous Explosion)."

Eyes widening, Deidara commanded his clay bird to dive as the numerous gas balls exploded, spreading its poison everywhere.

She revealed four kunai in each hand, all of which was tied with an explosive note, and threw it at Deidara's trajectory. As the kunai exploded one by one and Deidara dodged them all, she had her needle launcher at the ready, her recessive eye closed to allow her dominant eye a better aim at him. Once confident in her target, she released all five barrels and watched as five thin and small needles emerged from them.

Deidara has got to hand it to the woman, she knows her combat skills. But with such half-assed kunai throwing, she can't even hit him. But as his attention was on dodging the explosive kunais, he was unprepared for five senbon to strike him at one arm. Almost immediately, he could feel his arm getting numb. They're poisoned!

"Good shot, Shizune," Kakashi noted with an impressed tone in his voice. As for him, he has his hands in a tiger hand seal and, from what Shizune can sense, he is channeling his chakra to his right eye. "I see you're aim hasn't faded since you've last been in a match."

She gave a small smirk. "I may be a healer but I can still hold myself in a fight." She then turned to Deidara, who is grasping his numb arm tightly. "Let's continue the fight. He's actively fighting the poison. We need to loosen him up."

"Leave that to me," Kakashi replied as his normal Sharingan eye morphed to form a tri-pronged pinwheel. "He's done for," he added, "Kamui!"

Deidara sensed the other guy's chakra usage and commanded his clay bird to fly away. But Kakashi's jutsu is way faster than Deidara's bird and the blond Akatsuki felt his arm being ripped off his sockets as a dimensional rip appeared and took his arm away. "Gah," he shouted in pain. He was mercifully rescued by his bird still following his commands. But his arm is lost forever: the arm that was poisoned by Shizune's senbon.

"Damn," Kakashi cursed. "That was bad aim." He chuckled. "This Sharingan of mine might have worked if you were using it with your aim."

She turned pink a bit but didn't reply as Deidara and his bird slammed onto the forest on one of the cliffs.

Back to Sasori, Hana, and Sakura

"It has been sometime since I last used myself," Sasori, a redhead teen, commented with a curious voice as he removed his Akatsuki cloak. He was then revealed to be a human puppet himself. His torso has a hole in which he keeps a long steel rope with an arrow tip at the end, which he stabbed onto the ground so he could stand on the slightly unraveled rope. On his back were two steel blades-like wings and a set of scrolls lined up along his spine. On his left pectoral was a closed compartment and on his right was a cylindrical object.

"So this is why he looked the same as he did years ago," Chiyo stated forlornly. "He turned himself into a puppet."

The redhead massaged his puppet temples and muttered, "To think that I would have to unveil my greatest art yet against three random women. This is growing to be tiresome." He then straightened up and held out his hands. A scroll on his back vanished and two hoses emerged from his palms.

Following through, fire emerged from the tubes towards the group.

"Take cover," Chiyo shouted as she grabbed Sakura and hid behind a rock. Hana and her ninken trio jumped towards the other rock.

"Pointless," Sasori shouted as he poured more into the flamethrower, causing the rocks they were hiding on to melt quickly. Gritting her teeth, Hana threw some smoke pellets on the ground, covering Sasori's view of her and the rock she was on. Narrowing his eyes, he stopped the flow of fire at Hana's direction, summoned another scroll from his back, opened his mouth, and spewed a powerful gust of wind at the smoke. The smoke cleared, and the rocks and earth along its route were destroyed, and it revealed a hole at the distance. At the same time that he's seen it, he saw four drills emerging from all four sides and striking him. Clicking his tongue, he cut off the flow of fire from his other hand and had the two blade-like wings on his back fanned around him to form a shield.

"This has gone far enough," Sasori growled as he jumped high, throwing away Hana and the Haimaru triplets. As soon as he got to the air, the rope slithered out from his stomach cavity and stabbed the ground beneath him so that he could stand on its elongated shape. "No one has ever made me release art after art," he commented, summoning the fourth scroll on his back. He opened the right compartment and strings emerged to connect with the scroll summoned.

Almost immediately, a continuous stream of red emerged from the scroll to take to the skies. Sasori looked down at the shocked Chiyo, Sakura, and Hana in mocking disdain. He drawled on, "The mastery of the puppeteer is determined by the number of puppets he or she can control. As you can see, I have achieved the ultimate mastery." He spread out his arms as if to present to a great audience, exclaiming, "Akahigi: Hyakki no Soen!"

"No way," Sakura uttered in disbelief. "There are so many puppets."

Hana glared at Sasori. "So these are also human puppets? You bastard," she spat.

"Sticks and stones, Inuzuka," Sasori responded with clear disdain.

Chiyo berated her. "Control yourself! Make one wrong move and he would win with his puppets and poison! In a fight, the one with the least control over one's emotions has the disadvantage." She reached into her sleeve to pull out a scroll. "Besides, numbers do not necessarily mean victory. Victory is determined by skill." She unfurled the scroll and summoned ten puppets in white. "Do not give up. We will defeat Sasori."

Sasori tilted his head to the side, saying, "Shirohigi: Jikki Chikamatsu no Shu. So you reveal your greatest trump card, Chiyo-baa. And yet I find myself doubtful that your ten puppets, you, and your two allies can defeat me and a hundred puppets."

Chiyo gave a scoff. "You really are due for a spanking, Sasori. You should know not to underestimate your opponents."

"We will see." Without further ado, Sasori commanded his hundred puppets to attack the enemy below.

Back to Shizune and Kakashi

Both Konoha-nin landed in front of the standing Deidara, who was separated from his clay bird.

"Damn you," Deidara snarled. "I'll see you both to hell for this!" He raised his one good arm and started forming hand seals.

Shizune was wide-eyed, saying, "He can use one-handed seals!" Kakashi cursed and jumped away, Shizune following after.

"Too late," Deidara shouted, "Doton: Dosekiryu (Earth Release: Earth and Stone Dragon)!" The earth beneath him rumbled and a dragon of earth burst from below and hastily charged at his two opponents.

Kakashi stopped at a tree branch to turn around, forming three familiar seals. The sound of chirping birds echoed around him as lightning coated his hands. Jumping towards the lightning dragon, he shouted, "Chidori: Raiden!" Going into the gaping mouth of the dragon, he released the jutsu, causing a lightning storm to appear within the dragon. The dragon shook wildly before it exploded with lightning.

As for Kakashi, he slumped to the floor as a result of the lightning storm also affecting him in close quarters. Behind him, Shizune caught him in mid-fall, exclaiming, "Kakashi!"

"I…I'm alright," he wheezed out before turning his eye towards Deidara, who has formed some new clay bats.

"Have some of this, yeah," Deidara shouted, throwing the enlarging bats towards them. Growing to its maximum size, the bats swarmed towards the two.

Shizune got in front of Kakashi and expelled poisonous gas. Kakashi blinked before putting a hand to her back. She looked back at him inquisitively but he said, "Just go with it." He took a chakra pill and, feeling more of his strength return, started channeling his Raiton chakra towards her and, by extension, the poison cloud.

Kakashi whispered, "I suppose this is the part where I announce the jutsu name." He dryly chuckled and said, "Doku Raiun (Poisoned Thundercloud)."

From within the purple gas, storms were formed. The gas quickly encompassed a large area and engulfed the clay bats.

"No," Deidara shouted again. "You dare ruin my art?!" He created a clay bird, which he enlarged to its large size. Then, the bird flapped its wings, dispelling the poison cloud and clearing their view of each other.

"Kakashi," a new voice joined the fray. Deidara watched as Neji, Tenten, Lee, and Gai landed in front of Kakashi and Shizune. Tenten was carrying the form of Gaara.

Deidara gritted his teeth as he turned around and ran, sure that the group behind him was following. He kept looking around and found his fallen clay bird. Landing beside it, he cursed as he found the mouth was pried open. Not getting distracted, he took a bite of the bird as the group landed behind him.

"This chakra," Neji muttered. "He's charging chakra within him!" At that, everyone jumped away.

"Hahahaha," Deidara laughed maniacally as he started to swell. "Witness my art!"

"We won't be able to get away from its blast in time," Shizune exclaimed.

"Not while I have anything to say about it," Kakashi whispered as his eye morphed once more to its pinwheel form and he said, "Kamui."

Timeskip

"The Ichibi has been extracted fully," Shizune solemnly stated, as her chakra-coated hands were removed from Gaara's corpse.

"Damn it," Sakura growled, her hands tightening into fists. "Damn this jinchuuriki system!" Everyone was shocked at her outburst. "If it wasn't for that thrice-damned system, the people you so easily dubbed as jinchuuriki would not have suffered needlessly! Jinchuuriki are people too and I…and I watched one die three years ago." She fell to the floor, grasping her shaking shoulders. "I wish that Naruto is here…he'd know what to tell me…"

"Sakura," Kakashi whispered in a little awe.

Chiyo was silent before she stepped forward and, as her hands were coated in blue chakra, she laid her palms on Gaara's chest. Sakura, recognizing the technique, looked shocked. "Chiyo-baa, that technique is-"

"I have made too many mistakes," the elder started to speak, cutting the pinkette off. "In fact, most of it is pretty much unforgivable. One of them is sealing the Ichibi inside Gaara. You're right, Sakura. The jinchuuriki system is damned. It is created by us shinobi to separate them from us…and they paid the price for our stupidity and arrogance. Just this once…just this once, let me make one good thing."

Neji narrowed his Byakugan eyes. All of her chakra is going to the Kazekage.

She coughed a bit. "So this is the limit of my chakra."

"Use my chakra, Chiyo-san," Sakura interjected.

"Sakura," she looked up in shock. Then, she smiled and said, "Put your hands on top of mine." She did so. "Heh, this generation is getting better than the previous ones. Back then, I would not have received anyone's help, let alone from the son of the man who killed my son and daughter-in-law. Kakashi," he looked at her, "you trained a fine gal." Sakura beamed. "And…I'm sorry about Uzumaki Naruto." The sad atmosphere returned. "From what I was told by Baki and Kankuro, he must be quite the guy to change Gaara's view of the world. After experiencing today, I can leave this place without regrets." Her eyes started to droop. "At least…I really did…one good thing…in my life…"

As Chiyo's body slowly slumped in death, Gaara's eyelids shifted before opening. He turned his head to the side and saw Sakura. "You are…" he softly said, "Haruno Sakura." He sat up and looked around to see some of his ninja surrounding them. "Where am I?"

"You are safe, Gaara-kun," Kakashi said. "We rescued you from Akatsuki…although we suffered a loss." He tilted his head towards Chiyo.

The Kazekage struggled to stand. Kankuro, one of the surrounding ninjas, went forward and helped him up. They slowly trudged to Chiyo and, upon reaching her, Gaara said, "Everyone, say a prayer for Chiyo-baa-sama." He closed his eyes and everyone did the same.

High above

Naruto, undetectable through the cloak and technique, smirked at the spectacle below. Admittedly, he was impressed by the combat so far provided by Sakura, Chiyo, Hana, Shizune, and Kakashi. "It appears that they're taking my death quite well," he amusedly said. His eyes found the deceased Chiyo and he gave a mocking bow. "You've done just as I'd predicted, elder. I salute you and thank you. Thanks to your death, I'm the only person left to know your reincarnation jutsu." He turned to the Akatsuki cave and vanished in a blur.

Akatsuki cave

"This is one hell of a battlefield," the white face of a dual-faced, Venus flytrap-type person commented. "Heh," the black said added, "he was always going on about art and, here he has lots of his stupid art."

"Neh, neh, Zetsu-san," a person emerged from a rubble wearing an orange, spiral mask, holding a ring. "I found Sasori's ring! Do I get to join Akatsuki now?"

"It's not that simple," Shiro Zetsu replied. "Hey, let him join." Kuro Zetsu scolded him. "After all, Tobi is a good boy."

"Oh, I don't know about that," a new voice joined in, making them all tense. They all turned to see a boy with blond, spiky hair with bright blue eyes and wearing an orange jumpsuit that is unzipped, revealing a stab wound on his chest. The only other thing of note is the katana on his hip. "Anyone of Akatsuki, new or not, is doubtlessly bad. Regardless, I have some business with you, Akatsuki."

"The Kyuubi jinchuuriki," Shiro Zetsu said in confusion.

"Oh, oh, I thought he was killed," Tobi exclaimed, jumping up and down. "Since he's alive, do we get to capture him now?"

Naruto smiled and said, "Do not mistake my appearance as being alive. I am just a specter of the past, a shadow of my former self, much like you, Uchiha Madara."

Immediately, Zetsu and Tobi tensed. "How do you know who I really am," Tobi, now Madara, asked with his voice changing from the happy-go-lucky, high voice to a cold, apathetic, deep tone.

With a calm smile, Naruto replied, "Kyuubi and I had a lot of time to talk to each other and the subject of your attack in Konoha 16 years ago came up. It spoke of a being from a time long past who intruded on Konoha and onto the place where Uzumaki Kushina gave birth to me so that he could use Kyuubi as a weapon against Konoha. It spoke of you, Madara."

"So this camaraderie between you and your Bijuu is the cause of your continued existence despite the wound on your chest?"

"What else would it be? Admittedly, its healing power is truly amazing since it could heal even lung wounds and heart wounds. But I could also claim that my sheer will and desire for vengeance against those who killed me forced me to stay alive."

"I see," Madara said with a hint of praise in his voice. "You Uzumaki do live up to your name of the Village of Longevity. Now that we got that out of the way," Madara returned to his usual cold voice. "What could Akatsuki do that would sate your thirst for vengeance? Keep in mind that, since you are still alive, you are still amongst our targets."

Naruto chuckled. "I will willingly surrender the Kyuubi to you after you gathered all the previous eight as long as you turn whatever monstrous power your plan gained towards Konoha."

"Oh? And what would prevent me from incapacitating you and prying the beast from your carcass?"

"I have not been so idle these past three years as to not train myself against future threats, Akatsuki included. As it stands, I have knowledge of my father's Hiraishin and am damn well good at its use. I also have other plans in mind that would allow me to escape should you attempt to do so."

"Hmph," Madara crossed his arms, "having a willing jinchuuriki come to us is not unsurprising. In fact, it just makes our job a lot easier. Regardless, we shall see where this road leads us. I accept your proposal. It's not like you would be in any position to fight us later on. Against the might of the first eight Bijuu, even your Kyuubi doesn't stand a chance."

Naruto could just feel Kyuubi growling in anger at Madara. Instead, Naruto turned around and said, "We will see." Then, he vanished.

"Was it smart to go with this plan," Shiro Zetsu asked. "I agree. It would have been much easier now to deal with him."

"He knows Minato's Hiraishin, the jutsu that is faster than even I expected. At this distance, he could have escaped somewhere and we would be left Kyuubi-less. Besides, as I said, he won't be in any position to fight the eight Bijuu at once. Lastly, it's a last request forged by hatred against the village that I despise. It would serve both our goals if that village is wiped from the face of the earth."

"I hope you know what you're doing. Madara doesn't like it if things don't go according to plan."

'Madara' scoffed. "What flaw or obstacle does destroying Konoha introduce in Project Moon Eye? What? Does he want to destroy Konoha with his bare hands? Well, that's a shame. Between having Naruto surrender at the cost of destroying his former village and capturing a fighting jinchuuriki on friendly terms with his Bijuu since the mastermind wants to do that one thing by himself, I'd rather choose the former. The ultimate goal of this plan is the Eternal Tsukuyomi not the destruction of Konoha. If Madara decides to forget that one simple fact, then I'd gladly knock some sense into his old ass." The air around 'Madara' swirled and absorbed him completely, leaving Zetsu alone in the open cave.

"Sometimes, I like him. Sometimes, he's a dick." With that, Zetsu started to sink into the ground.

Uzushio

"My lord," Temujin shouted when Naruto stepped into the village. Upon reaching him, he bowed low. "I most humbly apologize! The one you call sister and the Shinigami's daughter has escaped!"

"Why do you look so horrified, Temujin-kun," Naruto asked with a raised brow. "Do you fear that I will punish you for allowing those two to go free? Has the others not done the same within the first few days? Did I not bring them back here so easily? Did that experience not teach you? I have already foreseen their attempted escape during one of my absences. The only thing I wish to know is the direction they took off to."

Temujin looked wide-eyed but nodded and said, "Thank you, milord! I shall learn from my mistakes! They took off in that direction." He pointed in the general direction of Konoha.

"Thank you, Temujin-kun. I shall personally see to them. I believe it is time to be a little more…persuasive."

Main Continent – Later

"Haaaaah, haaaaah, come on," Narumi goaded Konoka. "We've got to get some distance!"

"I, haah, can't," the black-haired girl exclaimed. "I am too tired from trying to escape!"

"Well, we can't stop now! We've gotten to the mainland. If we get to Konoha or even some shelter, we could find a way to-urk!" She was cut off as she hit something hard, Konoka following after. They both plummeted to the ground and they looked up to see a bunch of large, burly ninjas looking down on them.

"Hey, lookie here, boys," the leader sneered. "These two just bumped into me and didn't even say sorry. Heh, shall we educate them?" There was a chorus of 'yeah.'

A tired Konoka and Narumi backed up and turned to run but, in their fatigue, they tripped and fell to the floor.

"Good, you should resist some more," one of the missing-nin muttered in gross satisfaction. "I like bitches unwilling."

"You two are truly just as troublesome as I'd predicted you'd be," Naruto's voice echoed amongst the trees. The missing-nin, Konoka, and Narumi started to look around.

"Who's there," the leader shouted. "Show yourself."

"I have no desire to follow the commands of a fool. Heilig Pfeil," he coldly said. Immediately after that, multiple energy beams appeared out of nowhere and killed all but the leader, who was hit in the arms and legs, incapacitating him.

A man appeared in front of Konoka and Narumi. It was Naruto. "You two belong to me and, as such, I find it rude and insulting for other people take what isn't theirs."

"You…that was," Konoka whispered in shock. But words were lost on her as her eyes travelled to his main hand.

After all, it isn't every day that one sees Naruto holding the most basic of weaponry of the Quincy, a bow made of energy, without requiring a Quincy cross, something thought to be impossible. And the surprising fact wasn't that he could do it. It was that he materialized a genuine Kojaku that was not brought out by a cloning technique or a mechanical device.

It was as if Naruto was a genuine Quincy capable of manifesting a Spirit Weapon without a Quincy cross.


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