• Published 26th Apr 2015
  • 1,053 Views, 85 Comments

Champion's Road - OmegaPony11



Aria Blaze lost everything when the Dazzlings tasted defeat thanks to the Rainbooms. She escapes the winter into a gym where she is given a chance to become a pro wrestler. The road is hard, but with friends, love, and suplexes, she can be a champ.

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It Just Feels Right

Chapter 5 – It Feels Just Right

“Come on, kiddo!” Roza barked, “two more pushes! Just two more! Come on! One!”

Aria grunted under the strain. “Can’t… it’s too hard…”

“Don’t tell me it’s too hard! Just tighten your grip, take a deep breath, and push!”

Aria cried out as she pushed the barbell upwards with all of her rather limited might. A pair of red plates on either side reminded Aria that she needed to push sixty pounds two more times. Roza insisted that training on Saturday morning started the moment Aria got up.

First, she ran on the treadmill for half an hour, only to feel completely winded. After that, Roza moved her to the bench press. She needed to keep her composure on the heavy strain, but Roza continued to shout orders at her. Thankfully, she also acted as a spotter for Aria so that if Aria failed to carry the wait, the bar would not fall and crush her.

“One more!” Roza yelled out again. “One more! You want the fame, the money? You want your name on the marquee? Then you will push this bar one. More. Time!”

Aria felt her arms shake under the weight of the barbell, yet she wanted to show Roza that she could push the weight. She extended her arms with a shout, lifting the bar above her chest. She breathed heavily while her arms shook. Roza helped to get the bar back onto its moorings while Aria took deep breaths.

“Good start,” Roza said as she helped Aria to her feet. “You can lift half your own body weight. A few more months of weight training and not only will we double that, but I bet we can quad it real nice!”

Aria looked back at Roza, the bench press, and then back to her trainer. “I don’t want to be a giant beast of a woman, you know,” Aria said.

“You won’t be, don’t worry.” They walked over to Roza’s ring and climbed inside for the next wrestling lesson. “But you will need to improve your upper body strength. Not only will you need to lift your own bodyweight, but you will need to get stronger if you want to have any chance against some of the ACW roster. You’ve already met Konstance Paine…”

A cold chill ran down Aria’s spine at the mention of that name.

“But the ACW has plenty of powerhouses besides her. She isn’t the only giant on the roster and you will invariably meet the others. I do not train in a strength and power style. After all, I’m not that big. But I will train you in a technical style focused on holds and submissions, as well as several high flying moves that will drive the crowds wild. And they hurt too. For both parties involved.”

The sound of trying to defy gravity did not appeal to Aria all that much. “Why should I worry about the crowd?” she asked, “After all, they are already there to see me. Well, soon enough, I mean.”

Roza quickly closed the distance between them, almost nose to nose. “Here’s something you need to learn real quick,” she said, “that crowd? They mean everything to a professional wrestler. They buy the tickets to show up in the first place. They buy the merch, which allows you to get royalty checks at all. Whether they love you to bits or hate you so much they want to see your guts on the floor, your job is to get a reaction from the fans. If you don’t put on a show, the crowd gets bored and the last thing you want is a bored crowd. Think of the crowd as the source of a wrestler’s power. The more heat you can generate from them, the better you will become. I can only train you so much. The ACW might throw you some bones, but if you don’t know how to work the crowd, you’ll be cut faster than chaff from the wheat.”

“You need to prove to everyone that you are the cream of the crop, that you will rise to the top just like the cream in my coffee cup. You do that, and you’re golden. Fail and it’s down the drain for you.”

Aria looked Roza right in the eye and felt a great weight lay on her shoulders. She performed well in front of crowds, but that was when she sang for the people. She also had Sonata and Adagio to back her up.

Now she was to be alone in the ring with only her skills that she has yet to acquire.

“Alright,” Aria said at last. “I’m doing this so I can be famous after all, make some money… if I can’t get the crowd behind me, then it won’t be worth much, will it? Who’s gonna buy my shirts?”

“First thing we have to worry about is getting you trained up for the ring, then you can worry about your name on a shirt.” Roza took a position opposite area and raised her hands, ready to grapple. “I’m going to teach you the most important thing you can ever learn if you want to survive the business is how to take your bumps.”

Aria looked at Roza with a quizzical stare. “What do you mean?”

“Bumps means how you fall and how you take a slam or throw.” When Aria visibly balked at the idea, Roza held up her hands. “Listen, my training is great, but face facts: someone is going to get a hold of you, they are going to lift you up, and then they are going to drop you on your head… unless you know how to prevent it. That is what I am going to show you today.”

“Running the ropes was a good exercise, but this is where I determine if you have what it takes to make it in this business. This is the one lesson you will need for the rest of your career. It will save your body a lot of unneeded punishment. Are you ready?”

Aria wondered exactly what Roza meant and nodded. “It can’t be that bad, right?”

A slow smile formed on Roza’s lips. “Alright then, tough chick, follow my lead.” Roza stood in the middle of the ring, only to fling herself back first onto the mat. Aria looked at her trainer as if she just went insane, only for Roza to quickly get up and then fall right onto her back. She repeated this process with dexterity and speed, something Aria did not expect.

“Why are you falling over?” she asked. Roza brushed aside some loose hairs and took a breath.

“Simple, my back can take a lot of punishment.” Roza pointed at her back. “Especially the shoulder blades. If you can fall flat on your back, you absorb a lot of damage from things like suplexes or clotheslines. We’ll get to those later. Falling over like this prepares you to change the direction of your fall. It’s still going to hurt, I’m not going to lie, but once you learn to fall on your back, your chest, and your hands, you can really alleviate the hurt. The main thing you must always remember is to always protect the head and neck. If anything happens to those, you’re done, not just in this line of your work, but in life. ”

Aria thought hard on what this meant to her. She did not like getting hurt and the idea of causing pain to herself did not appeal in the slightest. Still, she did agree to the training and if she wanted the glory, then she needed to show some guts. She was Aria Blaze, the toughest chick one would ever meet.

“No pain, no gain.” Aria nodded to Roza and readied herself to do a backflip. Her heart began to race as she prepared mentally and physically to toss herself to the mat. She clenched her fists. She stared ahead. Her body tensed up. All she needed to do was jump up and land on her back, just like Roza showed her.

Staring at the display Aria gave, Roza motioned to her to continue with some impatience.


Aria nodded her head, took a deep breath, and jumped. She shifted her weight so that she would fall back first, but no preparations helped in getting ready for the pain. As she collided with the mat, pain shot all along her body as gravity did its job very well on her. She just squirmed on the ground for a while as Roza leaned back against the turnbuckle.

“You done?” Roza asked with a bored expression.

“Just need a moment…” Aria slowly got back to her feet, though it took some effort. She became uncertain if Roza was training her to wrestle, or working her to the grave. “And I need to keep doing that…?”

“As much as possible if you want to survive in the ring.” Roza walked to the center ropes and with her back facing them, flipped over the top, gracefully landing on her feet to the outside. Aria muttered show off, but hoped that Roza did not hear. She did not need her trainer ornery this early in the morning. As she watched Roza walk off to another machine, Aria shook her head and began the training regimen once again.

Her back did not appreciate it.

“When are you going to show me how to toss other people around?” Aria called out on her back.

“When you learn how to defend yourself properly, when you learn how to take punishment, then I will show you how to dish it out.” Roza set a few dials on exercise bikes, not looking back at Aria. “I need to know you want to continue. This… this is the hard part.”

Aria groaned, but got back to her feet and proceeded to continue falling on her back. As she fell, her thoughts drifted to her plans for after training. She needed to find Sonata tonight and make amends and now that she knew about Tres Carnales Taqueria, she could get there by today. She did need to pick up some proper clothes, but that would come later. For now, she needed to focus on training, even if it felt like she put her body through the ringer.

“Don’t forget the to fall on the front side!” Roza called out to Aria. She could only reply with a groan.

***

Aria walked into Tres Carnales Taqueria and was immediately thankful for the forward on her pay Roza gave her to buy some decent clothes. The place looked like something out of a five-star review website, with every detail utterly immaculate. She could hardly tell it specialized in Mexican food due to the rather ritzy décor. Pillars of polished marble held up the structure while a faded light gave it a relaxed, but still classy mood.

The greeter welcomed Aria with a bright, cheery smile. “Good evening and welcome to La Tequila. Are you with a party, waiting for someone, or alone?”

For some reason Aria felt a pang of annoyance when the greeter asked if she was alone. “I’m by myself,” Aria answered.

The greeter’s smile never faltered. She pulled out a small menu. “We have plenty of room in our lounge if you’d like.”

“Actually…” Aria hesitated. She did not want to seem like some kind of creeper looking for a specific waitress, and as she looked around, she noticed the waitresses were all very pretty and wearing tasteful clothes, namely short black skirts with black pantyhose, shoes, and shirts.

Aria steeled herself. “I was wondering if I could go to the section covered by Sonata Dusk. She’s an old friend of mine and I was hoping to surprise her.”

“Then you are just in luck!” the cheery greeter replied, “She’s covering the lounge right now. She’s often requested to be our patron’s servers. Just take a seat wherever you like and she’ll be right with you.”

A spot near the window overlooking a small garden surprisingly remained open, so Aria took a seat and waited for Sonata. She looked around the lounge and noticed that she was the only person sitting alone. The other patrons sat with friends or loved ones, but collectively the entire room gave Aria a sense of isolation. The chair on the other side of the table seemed to mock her with its emptiness.

She took the time to browse the drink menu, but after ten minutes and no Sonata, annoyance began to take form on her features. The other patrons shared such as they looked around for their waitress. Eventually one did come by to take orders, but she was not Sonata. Aria let her disappointment take form on her face.

The waitress walked up to Aria. “Welcome, I’ll be your server for the evening. Can I get you anything to drink?”

“Uh…” Aria quickly browsed the drink menu again. “Can I try the strawberry beer?”

The waitress smiled and acknowledged the order. Before she went to get the drink, Aria asked for her to wait. “I was wondering if Sonata Dusk was around? I’m a… old friend of hers.”

She knew the hesitation in her voice did not help matters, but Aria still needed understand this whole ‘friendship’ thing. All her life, she, Adagio, and Sonata worked together because it was mutually beneficial. They were sirens and together, their musical magic held more potency when they joined forces than each separately. Aria had no doubt that if their plan at the Battle of the Bands worked, the three would turn on each other in a heartbeat.

That was no longer the case. None of them had magic anymore and Sonata at least tried to turn a new leaf. Aria as well, though for the same reasons as why she joined Adagio a world ago in the first place; for her benefit. Was she not making friends with Sonata for that same goal, to simply make sure the horrid nightmare never returned?

“I’m afraid Sonata decided to take the night off,” the server replied, “I hope this won’t be a problem.”

Aria sighed. “No. I’ll just have the beer please.”

Did Sonata see her and run off? Did Aria truly burn down the bridge between them? These questions swirled around her head as she sat alone. When her server returned with the golden drink, Aria did not feel like taking the first sip, her stomach twisting into uncomfortable knots. Her heart sank as she leaned onto her hands, elbows resting on the table. She stared blankly outside into the winter night, a light snow falling onto the shrubberies outside.

This was a mistake, Aria thought, I shouldn’t have come here. I shouldn’t have yelled at Sonata. Maybe she was right to leave with Adagio than stay with me. I can honestly say I would have treated her badly.

“Aria…”

Aria looked up at the sound of her name being hissed into her ear. She looked around the table to see no one around, and even the other patrons now vanished. Now more alone than before, Aria’s eyes darted around to see if anyone else remained, but found only silence.

The lights began to go out one by one and panic set inside her. Aria tried to stand up, but found her body utterly frozen to the chair. From the shadows a tall figure stepped out. Cloaked in darkness, Aria saw its shape inch closer to her until the candle on her table revealed the face.

Konstance Pain stood at the other end of the table, the light of the candle illuminating the doll-face mask she wore. Aria, frozen in fear, could not even scream as the source of her nightmares stood like a mountain before her.

“Aria…” Konstance hissed as she adjusted the leather glove on her right hand. With slow, deliberate movements, she raised the leather-clad hand high above her head, the fingers wriggling and eager to take hold of Aria’s neck.

“Please…” Aria begged, still unable to move. “I’m trying! I’m trying to change! I’m trying to make peace!”

Konstance ignored her. Instead she thrust her hand forward towards Aria’s neck. Aria shut her eyes tight and readied herself for the inevitable chokeslam.

“Aria!”

Slowly, Aria opened one eye. Instead of seeing the frightening visage of Konstance and her mask, she saw Sonata standing in front of her with a worried expression.

“You zoned out there for a little,” Sonata said, “Is everything alright?”

Aria blinked several times as she tried to realize that she was back in a full lounge with the person she sought standing in front of her. Konstance Pain was not there, just a mere figment of Aria’s overacting but incredibly frightening imagination. She needed to step up her efforts if she was having daydream delusions. Perhaps day nightmares was a more apt expression.

“I’m fine… I’m fine.” Aria tried to smile at Sonata, but it felt shaky and forced. The image of Konstace reaching for her neck still burned in her mine. She offered the chair opposite of her own to Sonata. “I was hoping you could join me. I’d like to talk to you, if you don’t mind.”

Sonata looked at the chair offered and hesitated for a moment before accepting. She sat down and Aria took a moment to take a good look at a fellow former siren. Sonata looked good, with a healthy glow in her blue skin accentuated by the candle light. She wore the same black outfit as the other servers which Aria admitted looked cute on Sonata, save for having removed her nametag.

A silence fell over the two as both seemed to struggle to find the words to say to each other. Aria finally took a sip of her beer, needing a bit of liquid courage to start the conversation. Surprised by how much she liked the flavour, Aria took another sip, drinking bit more this time around.

Sonata broke the silence first, much to Aria’s quiet gratitude. “What are you drinking?”

Aria set her glass down on the coaster. “Strawberry beer. Fruli, I think the brand was. It’s pretty good.” Sonata giggled, causing Aria to have a quizzical expression on her face.

“Sorry,” Sonata replied, “It’s just like you to have a bit of an edge but still have that feminine quality. Like your old clothes when we first arrived at Canterlot High.”

“Didn’t realize drinking beer was edgy.”

“It’s not that usual in a place like this. Most women guests have wine or a cocktail.” Sonata pointed at the bar. “Sometimes I work back there, and I like to think I mix a mean martini.”

“I thought you were working tonight,” Aria said, bringing the conversation back to her primary purpose. “I was kind of hoping to surprise you.”

“You did,” Sonata replied in a quiet tone. “I didn’t want to see you at first, which is why I didn’t come out to see you at first. You… you hurt me, Aria. All those mean words. They cut pretty deep.”

Aria did not respond, but instead slunk into her chair and turned her downcast gaze back outside into the night. Her tongue cut with the precision of a razor and created terrible wounds, a trait she took pride in on more than one occasion. However, this was the first time she ever regretted slicing into another person’s ego. She needed to make it right.

She took a deep breath and readied herself. She did have some practice in this after all. “I was angry, Sonata. Angry at you and Adagio, yes, but also angry at myself for everything that happened. Things were bad for me; though I’m sure they were no better for you. I guess seeing you happy and with the people who brought me low made me snap. I know this sounds like an excuse, but I’m really sorry for what I’ve done. I only recently learned that I put my own hurt to one of my best friends. I can’t take back the things I’ve said, but I can ask for forgiveness, which is yours alone to give.”

Sonata stared at Aria as the latter opened her heart to her. She smiled and nodded. “OK.”

“OK?” Aria raised her brow. “Is that it?”

“Sure. I forgive you. We were all under a lot of stress back then, but for the two of us, everything turned out ok, so there is no reason to stay mad at each other. I’m just glad to see you again, and seeing you find a way off the streets.”

Aria breathed a sigh of relief. An enormous weight shifted off her shoulders and Aria felt like she could truly breathe again. Maybe this friendship thing worked after all and did more than summon a giant ethereal unicorn with Equestrian magic.

Maybe it could heal a few more wounds.

The server returned to take orders for appetizers, of which Sonata recommended the corn soup. Being that she worked in the restaurant, Aria agreed to it, with Sonata asking for a bowl for herself. The two chatted for a while until the subject of Aria’s current living arrangements came up. She debated if she should tell Sonata the truth, but decided in quick succession that the truth needed to be said.

“I lived on the streets for a while after we split up,” Aria explained, “but now I’m living in a gym owned by a woman named Roza Del Diavolo. She’s letting me stay and gave me a job as a janitor, which is much better than what I had going for me before. Only thing she wanted is for me to go back to school, which is how I ended up back in CHS.”

“Well, that’s awfully nice of her,” Sonata said, sipping on some fruity concoction Aria could not remember the name of.

“That’s not even the half of it,” Aria continued, “the night before she gave a roof and a job, I went to wrestling event where all I had to was survive five minutes to win a prize of a thousand dollars. I was going to take the money to leave this city, but I barely lasted two. So Roza brings my unconscious carcass back to her gym and offers to train me to be a professional wrestler. Isn’t that crazy?”

Sonata thought about Aria’s words, her eyes staring at the ceiling as she absent mindedly sucked on her straw. Aria could not help but be impressed by such, as Sonata was not known for being the deepest of thinkers or taking the time to consider things carefully. Usually she just blurted out whatever was on her mind, for good or for ill.

“Maybe it sounds a little crazy, but you should totally go for it,” Sonata said, “someone is being so generous as to give you a place to stay, a simple job, and even training for a career down the line. I think you would be a completely awesome wrestler! You have a mean streak a mile wide and don’t take no guff from no one!”

Aria chortled. “‘Take no guff?’”

“I’ve been watching some old shows.” Sonata drained the last of her drink just as the soups arrived. They ate in silence, which gave time for Aria to think. Sonata seemed very accepting of Aria training to be a wrestling much more easily than Aria herself did. Maybe she did have what it took to be a wrestler, but after this morning’s first round of taking bumps, Aria did not know if she wanted to continue. Her body still ached from being tossed around.

Instead of focusing on wrestling, Aria focused on her soup. If she thought sandwiches were amazing, then the soup tasted utterly divine. She scooped spoonful after spoonful with increased haste, gobbling down the soup until nothing remained but the leftovers stuck on the bowl. She needed to resist the urge to simply pick up the bowl and lick it clean.

“That was incredible,” Aria said once she wiped her mouth, “I haven’t had something that tasty since… well, I suppose since we drained negative emotions.”

“I know, right!?” Sonata bounced on her chair with the excitement of a young child. “I mean, we knew food was tasty but never to this level! That’s why I was so excited to see this place have an opening for the work experience course. I’ve learned so much, and the GM even said he can try to get me into line cooking.”

Sonata continued to surprise Aria. “A cook?” she asked, taking another sip of her beer. “I didn’t think you’d be much for cooking.”

“It’s fun, and I like it a lot.” Sonata beamed with pride. “I’ve been cooking for a while now. It started with just wanting to make tacos, of course, but then I wanted to cook all the food. Sunset was worried at first, but I think I got the hang of it.”

This new information took Aria aback. “Sunset? As in Sunset Shimmer? As in the one who hammered down the last nail in our proverbial coffins?”

Sonata appeared to immediately regret bringing up Sunset Shimmer. “Don’t be mad at her, Aria. Sunny has been really nice to me, as have all the other girls when I went back to Canterlot High. She knew the kind of situation I was in and let me stay with her. It’s the other reason I took the work experience course, so I could help pay rent.”

“I’m…” Aria hesitated. She still felt a tinge of anger inside her for what happened, but it no longer seemed fair to blame it on the Rainbooms or Sunset Shimmer in particular. “I’m not mad at her,” she finally said, “in fact, I kind of want to thank her for helping you as much as she did. I’m glad you are doing alright for yourself. I think we became better when we stopped thinking like sirens and more like people.”

Sonata smiled at that, which gave Aria an inkling that she said the right thing. For the first time, she called herself a person, a human, rather than a siren stuck in a foreign world. Acceptance of her now permanent situation was not so bad.

However, one question remained and Aria knew it needed to be asked for the nightmares to truly go away. “I said some bad things to Adagio too. Do you know where she is now?”

At the mention of Adagio’s name, Sonata did not look Aria in the eye, focused instead on the night outside of the window. She did not answer for some time, giving Aria a deep concern, which only furthered by the sight of tears rolling down Sonata’s face.

“She…” Sonata took a deep breath, but it only came out in a sob. “It was only a few days after you split up from us. I wanted to bring us back together, so I tried to convince Adagio to go back and find you. We’ve been a trio for so long; I thought we wouldn’t be able to go on without you for long, and that you would need us. I wanted us together again because that’s how it was always been.”

“But then she got really mad at me.” Sonata’s tears flowed freely now, her makeup now ruined and streaking down her face. “She had this look in her eye like I was simply the worst. And then… and then she hit me! Slapped me in the middle of the street! Then she walked off and I haven’t heard anything from her since.”

Sonata continued to bawl her eyes out. Aria bit her lip as she tried to figure out way to comfort her friend. At the same time, a new anger burned inside her chest. How could Adagio hit Sonata? Sure they got on each other’s nerves at times, and Sonata could be rather ditzy, but they never once got overtly physical. Something was wrong, but if Adagio went missing, things did not bode well for her or Aria’s state of mind.

“We’ll find her,” Aria said with confidence. “I promise that, Sonata.”

That promise appeared to heal Sonata’s broken spirit as she gave Aria a faint smile as she wiped her tears. They spent the rest of the evening simply talking, something that Aria realized she had not done with Sonata… ever. When they were sirens, every moment of everyday existed solely to satisfy their hunger for energy. They never really just sat down and had a conversation.

Aria found it nice.

By the time the clock struck nine did Aria and Sonata noticed the time. Both reached for their bags to pay for the meal and drinks which only caused a brief moment of awkwardness.

“Don’t worry, I got this,” Aria said, “I’m the one who came here unannounced after all.”

“I work here, I get an employee discount.” Sonata already pulled out some money. “Besides, you only just got on your feet. I insist.”

“No, I insist.” Aria maintained her smile, but now it had the added edge of annoyance. “Think of it as an extra with the apology.”

“The apology was enough. Think of this as a gift for coming back into my life.”

“I insist!”

“No, I insist!”

The two stared each other down, neither backing off as they both grabbed their money, eager to pay the bill. However, Sonata broke down into giggles first, which only left Aria laughing as well. They both figured out how silly they acted over something so small as a restaurant bill.

“Easiest solution is for us to pay for ourselves then,” Aria said, “but we can definitely make use of your discount.”

Once they paid for their meal, they left the restaurant where a cold wind bit at Aria’s face. She zipped up her jacket only to feel a warm body embracing her. She looked to see Sonata hugging her tightly as if Aria was about to slip away again.

“I’m glad we’re friends again,” Sonata said, “I hope we can find Adagio soon.”

“We will,” Aria replied, “I promised that after all.”

A honk of a car horn alerted Aria and Sonata, who broke their embrace to see a rather older beater for a car with the headlights on waiting outside. The car shut off and Sunset Shimmer stepped out into the winter air.

“Oh!” Sunset looked surprised to see Aria and Sonata together, but she did have a warm smile on her face. “I’m glad you two made amends.”

“Sunny!” Sonata leapt onto her Sunset, wrapping her arms around her. “Isn’t it great! Aria had an epiphany and now everything is awesome again!”

“Could say that.” Aria tried to be cool about the whole situation, but she could not help but give a small smile to display her own happiness.

“Well, I’m glad,” Sunset said, still holding onto Sonata. “I may have been a little defensive of Sonata, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time here in this world is that people can change, from she-demons to sirens.”

Aria was not certain she changed and even more uncertain if it was for the better. This was new, yes, but she did do everything simply to appease her own twisted nightmares. Still, there was something in Sunset’s words that gladdened her heart.

Her eyes went wide in complete shock, however, as Sunset and Sonata leaned in close for a quick kiss. Mouth agape, Aria could not find the words for a moment until both Sunset and Sonata blushed.

“How long has this been going on?” Aria asked, her voice raised a pitch due to the surprise.

“Well… a little while. It’s a long story.” Sonata rubbed the back of her head. “I told you we live together now, and well… one thing led to another and… here we are! Tada!”

Sunset laughed. “I come down to pick up Sonata after work. I can bring you home if you’d like too, Aria. Where do you live now?”

Aria continued to stare blankly. She knew Sonata was doing alright for herself, but not this good. “I live in Haven Gym downtown,” she answered, not realizing she just gave away that she did in fact live in a gym.

“A gym?” Sunset looked just as surprised as Aria.

“Yep!” Sonata chimed in. “She’s working there as a janitor and training to be a pro wrestler! Isn’t that just the coolest?”

Sunset looked at Aria with a rather bemused expression on her face. Aria replied with a shrug. “It’s a long story. I’ll tell you on the drive there.”

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