|Alias||The Black Wizard
The Ugly Fairy
|Affiliation||Infinity Triad (former)
|Occupation||Guild Tri-Master (former)
|Base of Operations||Fairy Tail|
|Previous Affiliation||Infinitia Kingdom|
|Previous Occupation||Alvarez Empire
|Relative(s)||Natsu's Mother (Mother; Deceased)
Natsu's Father (Father; Deceased)
Natsu Dragneel (Younger Brother)
Kyle Dragneel (Youngest Brother)
Lisanna Strauss (Sister-In-Law)
Wendy Dragneel (Niece)
Claudia Dragneel (Niece)
Larcade Dragneel (Son)
Lucy Heartfilia (Descendant)
|Magic||Black Arts (curse)
Ankhseram Black Magic (curse)
Living Magic (curse)
Immobilization Magic (curse)
Dark Dragon Slayer Magic
Dark Light Dragon Mode
Zeref Dragneel is considered to be the strongest, most evil Mage of all time, who possesses extremely dangerous, and powerful Magic. In reality, he is a reclusive, self-hating youth who cannot control his powers. He is the founder and current Emperor of the Alvarez Empire, under the alias of Emperor Spriggan, the older brother of Natsu and Kyle Dragneel, and the father of Larcade Dragneel.
Despite being hundreds of years old, Zeref has the appearance of a young man. He wears high-collared red (black in the anime) and tan robes with gold trim, along with a large, flowing white toga draped around his torso. He has short black hair, dark eyes, and abnormally sharp canines. He also wears a circle-shaped necklace. When Zeref returned to the Alvarez Empire, he changed his wardrobe to a black and white outfit.
When angered, Zeref's irises become red and gain a black ring around the pupil, giving him a much more menacing appearance.
Zeref is said to have been the darkest, most evil Mage in the history of the Magic World, mastering the Black Arts and creating many Demons, some of which still wreak havoc in the present.
In the modern era, Zeref seeks to isolate himself and is very calm, sincere, and conflicted. He wishes to die to atone for all the sins he has committed, and may commit in the future. He shows concern for others when he warns them not to come near him, knowing that they would die if they did. He is also somewhat emotionally fragile, as when he realizes that Natsu is not ready to kill him yet, he breaks down in tears. Zeref often kills with no prior incentive or knowledge.
In spite of all this, Zeref is very vindictive, and will punish those who he believes to be evil. This was shown when he ruthlessly killed Hades, whom he thinks has committed a number of unforgivable sins. As a result of his immortal life, Zeref has developed a misanthropic loathing for humanity and its repeated idiosyncrasies of hatred, evil, and conflict.
Nevertheless, Zeref is also shown to be a man of the people as the Emperor of Alvarez, and is shown to display good will and friendliness towards his generals and subjects, which is also reflected in their opinion of him, sincerely cheering and welcoming him as he returns to the capital after a long absence. Zeref also compared running the Empire akin to playing a strategy game, making the Curse of Contradictions' symptoms go away while at it, because the people he commands, he treats merely as paws.
Pre- Tenrou Jade Edit
At some point in the distant past, stated to be around 400 years ago, Zeref witnessed the deaths of many people. Around this time, he also became cursed, and unintentionally took the lives of all those around him. Zeref was described as having alighted in an ancient land, mastered Black Magic, given birth to tens of thousands of Demons, and thrown the world into chaos. However, according to Mard Geer, Zeref cursed himself for becoming immortal, desiring to die and eventually created the Etherious born to kill him with E N D as his final masterpiece.
In actuality, Zeref was a student at a Magic Academy in Mildia, where he researched the connections between life, death and Magic to revive his brother Natsu, whom died at a young age. After creating things such as the R-System and the Eclipse Gate, he was expelled from the academy for breaching the sacred teachings of Ankhseram, however he was cursed by Ankhseram and then killed everyone around him with his newfound, unwanted curse of contradiction. After this, Zeref wished to die and wandered around, creating the Etherious in the hopes that they would kill him, but instead turned to reviving his dead brother, having preserved his body, as an Etherious, thus fulfilling his goal of bringing his brother back and creating something that could kill him: E N D; Etherious Natsu Dragneel.
At least a century ago, Zeref founded what later shaped itself to become the Alvarez Empire, which united 730 guilds of Alakitasia by martial force, but he rarely dabbles in politics unless necessary, preferring to stay beyond the capital, or even the empire itself, while his ministers and generals do the majority of the work.
Tenrou Jade Arc Edit
In X686, Zeref walked through Hargeon Town and brushed past Mavis Vermilion and Precht Gaebolg.
Sometime later, Zeref is found taking a bath in Western Forest near Magnolia by Mavis Vermilion. He was surprised that someone would want to leave, noting it was a "bad habit" of his own, and unwillingly used his Magic, which robbed the forest of its life force, which Mavis quickly recognized as Ankhseram Black Magic. Zeref was surprised and commended Mavis' knowledge, and told her to not feel bad for him. Nevertheless, he felt joy about his conversation with the girl, but was also worried about himself unwittingly killing her, which he never wanted to do to anyone. Mavis then cast an illusion of wildlife, which initially startled Zeref, because of his lack of control over his powers, but after Mavis explained to him the nature of her Magic, he was happy at the notion and thanked her sincerely. After this, Zeref agreed to teach Mavis and her companions Magic (while keeping a safe distance much to Warrod's chagrin), having noted to Precht in particular that he had an affinity for several different kinds of Magic. After having taught them Magic, Zeref left to seclude himself once more, happy that he made friends.
Post- Tenrou Jade Edit
Six years later, in X696, Zeref happened upon Mavis one more time. In spite of his attempts to remind the girl of his Curse, she ran to Zeref to give him a hug, thanking him for what he had done for them. Zeref then revealed his true identity, shocking Mavis, however, she was unable to believe the rumors surrounding the Black Wizard's name. After a short discussion, Zeref learnt that Mavis had used Law, soon realizing that she had stopped growing. He identified that as the Curse of Ankhseram and when Mavis argued against this, Zeref noted that there had been no casualties yet because of the war era. As Mavis ran away, in tears, Zeref thought to himself that she had the potential to "walk alongside him".
Zeref then undertook a search for Mavis; after one year he found her alone and starving, but remarked that no matter what she did, she would not die. He was then begged to kill her, but refused on the grounds that he couldn't even if he wanted to. He explained that in the beginning, immortality drove him mad and that even now he wants to die, but tried to comfort her by saying that they have time to do whatever they feel, citing his creation of the Etherious to kill himself and his building of a nation as ways to pass time. He went even further, saying that over in his nation, he is the emperor and Ankhseram's Curse doesn't affect anyone there, as they are nothing more than pawns to him; Mavis questioned his reason to build a nation, and he explained that it's preparation for battle, which he stated he hates, though he added that he only lives to die and that he wants to see his brother, though such thoughts began to hurt his head. Zeref was then embraced by Mavis, finding solace in her ability to understand him and her words about trying to break the Curse of Contradiction. He then began to shed tears when exclaimed that they would find a way together, and realizing that he fell in love with Mavis, he kissed her, but Ankhseram's Curse stole away just about all of Mavis' life force while she was in his arms.
Zeref then brought Mavis back to Magnolia and threw her on the ground in front of the onlooking Precht, claiming that he only came to return her body. Over the top of Precht's exclamation, Zeref merely stated that Mavis, whom he referred to as a "thing", no longer moved, even adding to Precht's worry by saying that she will never wake up. As he walked away and bade her goodnight, Precht asked who he was, and he answered that he was the Black Wizard Zeref. He then rebutted his statement, claiming that if Mavis was a fairy, then he was a spriggan. Broken, Zeref resolved to simply go back to Alakitasia to continue building his empire, where none of those that he considers pawns will die to him, regretting that he ever fell in love. Zeref then eventually learned of Mavis' non-living yet non-dead state that created Eternal Magic—Fairy Heart—and resolved to acquire it for his own purposes.
Zeref eventually found himself on the secluded Tenrou Island, hoping to stay completely cut off from humanity.
Post- History Edit
Tenrou Island Arc Edit
On Tenrou island, Zeref lays peacefully, asleep, on the ground. When night descends, he is attacked by a pack of wolves. Their efforts to kill the Dark Mage are, however, in vain, as he releases a wave of Magic, killing not only the wolves, but much of the surrounding ecosystem. Zeref then apologizes and wallows in misery, wishing to meet Natsu soon. Later, Carla has a vision, and sees that Zeref will somehow be involved in the S-Class Mage Promotion Trial.
During the trial, he runs into Elfman and Evergreen and warns them to stay away from him, as his Magic is beginning to run rampant. However, when the wave is released, Natsu arrives and saves his fellow comrades from the deathly black wave. Zeref is then shocked to see his brother Natsu, saying that he has "grown", but Natsu says that he doesn't recognize the Dark Mage. When he tells the Fairy Tail Mages that he has been expecting Natsu's arrival, Natsu misinterprets the statement as a declaration of challenge and rushes towards Zeref, landing a fierce blow to his face.
Zeref is unfazed by the punch and stands up, disappointed that Natsu is not ready to kill him, causing him to shed tears of frustration. Zeref then unintentionally releases another wave of his Magic, but Natsu's scarf absorbs the blast, saving the lives of everyone present. Zeref then proceeds to make his escape, however,Grimoire Heart is now aware of his presence, and seeks to hunt him down. Zeref then rests next to a tree and claims that the world continues to reject him, before crying once more.
Later, Zeref is stated to be in a "state of slumber". Shortly thereafter, the battle between Fairy Tail and Grimoire Heart begins, causing Zeref to wonder if another war is going to take place.
He then crosses paths with Ultear, and comments how sad it is for Grimoire Heart to have managed to anger him. After Zeref asks Ultear if it is power they want, Ultear claims that she wants his entire existence, but Zeref states that he has no intention of assisting them or having anything to do with those in the current era, and that he doesn't want to witness wars or the death of innocent people. Zeref then tells Ultear to stop the attack and leave the island at once, repeating that he is angry, visibly terrifying her with his power. Rustyrose states to Elfman and Evergreen that when they acquire Zeref the current Magic world will end and a new one will begin, an Ultimate Magic World, where those that don't possess Magic will suffer and die; the other Grimoire Heart members say similar things. Zeref himself, however, is powerless against Ultear in his sleeping state and is defeated by her, being warned to not underestimate her as she is the eldest of the Seven Kin of Purgatory. Ultear then says that they have the key which will awaken him; Zeref begs Ultear to stop, but she ignores him and revels in her victory. As Zeref lies unconscious, Ultear holds onto him tightly, stating that he now belongs to her and that he will become the King of the Ultimate Magic World.
While he is still unconscious, he is seen being dragged around by Ultear, and later by Meredy, who ends up heading to the "escape point". While on their way there, they are chased by a persistent Juvia, who received orders from Gray to keep track of Zeref. The trio are later confronted by Zancrow, who attacks the two girls, and tries to take Zeref back to the airship. Zeref, at this point, stirs, speaking one word ("Acnologia"), and awakes. Zeref and Zancrow then lock eyes, and Zeref releases a wave of Magic at the Grimoire Heart Mage, instantly killing him, and knocking out Meredy and Juvia.
After Zeref casts his spell, he regains control of himself and apologizes to Zancrow for having killed him, closing the former Dark Mage's eyelids in sorrow. He expresses his relief that both Meredy and Juvia survived and then walks away. As he walks, he states that he had no reason to come to this era, and that, to anyone, he is neither enemy nor ally. Zeref then adds that if the current era is about to end, that he may awaken once more, and wishes for Natsu to kill him before that time occurs.
At the end of the war, an enraged Zeref sneaks aboard the Grimoire Heart airship and confronts the remainder of the Seven Kin of Purgatory, including their Guild Master, Hades, about the horror they have brought upon the world. While there, Zeref reveals that he was never "asleep", but, rather, he was always "awake". He also reveals that when he understands the weight of human life, his cursed body will eliminate his surroundings; but when he forgets about it, he is able to fully control his terrible Magic. He blames Grimoire Heart for the summoning of Acnologia, claiming that it will now end the current era. He then tells the group to repent for their unforgivable sins and casts a spell on Hades. The power of the spell causes huge damage to the airship and slays Hades, sending him plummeting to the sea. Zeref then senses something and wonders if it's Acnologia. While looking down at Tenrou Island, he ponders if it is time for the island's destruction as an enormous winged beast emerges from the clouds.
After Acnologia, "The Black Dragon of the Apocalypse", starts destroying Tenrou Island and attacking the Fairy Tail members, Zeref senses Wendy's attempts at communicating with the Dragon. Zeref states that Acnologia sees humans as little more than insects, and adds that no dominant being would bother communicating with a lesser life form. Zeref then realizes that mankind will, once again, be embarking on a long, arduous journey, and bids Natsu farewell. As the airship continues to fly onward, Zeref witnesses Acnologia destroying Tenrou Island and shuts his eyes, stating, tearfully, that Natsu's journey has ended.
Grand Magic Games Arc Edit
Zeref is stated to still be at large, with the Magic Council trying, unsuccessfully, to track him down. He is later mentioned by Arcadios, who claims that Zeref was the one who turned Acnologia into a Dragon. Arcadios says he is preparing something called the Eclipse Project which requires Yukino Agria and Lucy Heartfilia's Golden Zodiac Keys. Arcadios intends to use Lucy and Yukino's Celestial Spirit Magic to travel back in time and kill Zeref before he can transform Acnologia into a Dragon and before he can be immortal.
As Fairy Tail celebrates their victory in the Grand Magic Games after returning toMagnolia, Zeref sits, deep in thought, in the nearby forest; Obra runs up his shoulder. Zeref then senses Mavis Vermilion behind him and states that even though he cannot see nor hear her, he can sense her presence. With a smile on his face, Zeref repeats Mavis' statement that they were close to one another seven years ago, and answers that he has decided on where he is going to die when she asks him so. Zeref states that he's lived for centuries and has seen the rise and fall of different ages, and that he's seen the cycle of hatred continue on and give rise to new evil and conflict between people, but adds he's looking forward to the new age that will end all this.
With his attitude growing more solemn by the minute, Zeref looks down and asks Mavis how many times people have repeated the mistakes of the past, but is told that despite that, humans will continue to live on. Zeref, however, counters this statement by explaining that if humans continue to repeat mistakes, then they aren't really living and that he is no longer anything that man can come to love. Now removing himself from the ground, Zeref tells Mavis that he has reached a conclusion about humanity: if the world continues to reject him, then he shall reject the world; Mavis tells him that Fairy Tail will be its salvation. Bowing his head, the Black Wizard tells the deceased First Guild Master this will be his gift to humanity, thereby allowing them to start anew. Zeref then tells Mavis that he will not start a war but, rather, will simply cause a one-sided annihilation of humanity of which no human soul will survive, earning him a glare from Mavis, who tells him that Fairy Tail will be the one who will stop him, and he will be the one to be destroyed. Destroying the forest with his Magic, Zeref smiles and internally concludes that his and Natsu's final battle is drawing near.
Tartaros Arc Edit
Zeref later appears at Tartaros' headquarters. As Natsu is cleaning out the troops of Tartaros, his enemies are suddenly stopped in midair and Natsu finds himself standing in front of Zeref. The Dark Mage smiles, noting that he expected Natsu to come this far and then states that Tartaros is Zeref's bookshelf: where all of his "books" reside. Zeref continues by explaining that he wasn't the one to establish Tartaros, but rather, it is a guild made by the Demons that he created, namely their master, E N D Natsu catches on to the name of the Demon, noting it to be the one that Igneel wanted to kill, but Zeref corrects him, stating that the Dragon couldn't do so. Natsu then takes out the Heat Blade, claiming that he will be the one to defeat E N D to inherit his father's will. However, his attack is deflected by the aura surrounding Zeref, cutting the blade in half. Zeref then encourages Natsu but also warns him that E N D is the strongest Demon he created and that he, too, will face the decision of whether to let the Demon live or to kill it. The Dark Mage gets ready to leave, leading Natsu to protest. Zeref explains that he cannot show himself in front of Tartaros as they have gone through so much trouble to find him; just appearing would be a "kill-joy". Bidding farewell, Zeref notes that only Natsu or E N D will be able to reach him, vanishing shortly afterwards.
Some time later, Zeref reappears to interrupt the argument between Natsu and Gray on who takes the book of E N D. He summons the very book to his hand, claiming that it is something very important that belongs to him. Zeref then praises Mard Geer for his attempts to revive E N D and when Mard states that he can realize what Zeref wishes for, the Dark Mage sends his Demon back to the Underworld and burns the Gate Book. Zeref then tells Natsu that he wanted to finish their fight today, but Scavenger got in the way. He states that if Natsu can survive this desperate situation, he will give him even more despair. Afterwards, he vanishes yet again, taking E N D with him as well. Later, at an unknown place, Zeref ominously remarks that Natsu has to try and overtake him, calling the Dragon Slayer "Etherious Natsu Dragneel".
Avatar Arc Edit
Zeref, with E N D's book beside him, wakes up from a dream about his time in the Mildian Magic Academy and addresses the book as Natsu, explaining that he once had a younger brother that died several years after birth, which resulted in him beginning his research into the connection between life, death and Magic. He then begins to reminisce about his creation of the R-System and the Eclipse Gate, both of which ultimately lead to his expulsion from the Mildian Magic Academy and his obtaining of the curse of contradiction from the deity Ankhseram, which killed all his fellow students and teachers. Zeref continues to monologue, citing his immortality as being his key to continuing his research, which ultimately led to the creation of the Etherious in the hopes that they would be able to end him, and the revival of his dead brother, Natsu, as an Etherious. Zeref then ceases talking with Natsu's book, citing that he must go meet "someone".
Zeref then travels some distance, ending up near a cave in a remote mountain range, where he greets a human figure sitting on a rock, sarcastically mocking his lack of an arm and assuming human is his preferred form; Zeref is immediately questioned by the sitting Scavenger as to what he wants, however Zeref tells Acnologia that he desires destruction but causes very little of it, citing that he could rule the whole world if he wanted to, but does not, calling his motives unclear. Zeref then tells Scavenger that he will not side with him or against him, but rather that he will simply kill him alongside everyone else, and ponders that Scavenger has been waiting for someone to give him a true challenge; Zeref tells Scavenger that he will be the challenger he desires, provided he waits for the impending clash between humanity, Dragon and immortal.
Alvarez Empire Arc Edit
Zeref returns to the Alvarez Empire after a year of absence, cheered on by his subjects coming out to meet him and revealing himself to be Emperor Spriggan. At the palace, he is greeted by Invel, and Zeref asks him to gather the rest of theSpriggan 12. As they converse, Dimaria and Ajeel appear and Invel chastises them for the manner in which they speak to Zeref. At that moment, August walks in asking Zeref if he found his answer to Ragnarok, to which Zeref replies that in Ishgar Ragnarok is called the Dragon King Festival. Yajeel then enters the palace and greets the emperor, but backs away as he remembers the effects of Zeref's curse. Yajeel introduces Makarov to him and says that he is seeking an audience with the emperor. As the others leave, Makarov and Zeref then converse privately about the Dragon King Festival, Fairy Heart, and Alvarez Empire's origin. Afterwards, Zeref thanks Makarov for raising Natsu and prepares to kill him, but at that moment, Mest appears and teleports himself and Makarov away. Through this, Zeref learns of Natsu's presence in Alakitasia and smiles. After Natsu and the rest of Fairy Tail successfully escape, Zeref thinks to himself that "it" finally begins.
Zeref is later seen at a meeting with the Spriggan 12 where he states that the time has finally come to begin the invasion of Ishgar. He proceeds to ask if God Serena has any objections, to which the former Wizard Saint replies that he has none. Wahl Icht then reproaches Zeref for his selfish motive of trying to recover his former lover's body, but is told that Fairy Heart is a Magic and that Zeref's main motive is the annihilation of Ishgar. Ajeel then says that Zeref should leave the mission to him, however Zeref declines and states that he can't just leave it to Ajeel alone. Zeref continues and says it has more meaning to go on an all-out offensive with all their armies. Zeref ends with stating that the Dragon King Festival Begins, where the war of Earth Land and Edolas Acnologia takes place, and gives this Spriggan 12 the order to begin advancing their troops. Later, as Zeref marches with his troops towards Magnolia, Invel informs him that the two Spriggan in charge of the first assault, Ajeel and Brandish, have both been eliminated. Zeref, still smiling, says that it is to expected and that he would be disappointed if Mavis and her guild couldn't at least manage to handle an attack of such force. While Yajeel grieves over his grandson Ajeel's supposed death and Invel remarks on the fact that not just one, but two Spriggan were killed, Zeref shuts them off, telling the two that neither Brandish or Ajeel are actually dead and that therein lies the enemy's weakness. Eventually, Invel makes Zeref aware of the fact that Natsu is heading straight for their location, causing the Black Mage to grin in a vicious manner. Zeref watches as the Fire Dragon Slayer takes out a portion of his army before warping into the fray himself to face the Fairy Tail Mage.
As the brothers stare each other down, Zeref tells Invel to have the army retreat several kilometers to the west, as he is the only one that can deal with Natsu, something to which Invel complies. He then taunts Natsu very briefly, but expresses shock upon seeing a draconian tattoo on Natsu's right arm; after sensing the Magic Power and heat created from the tattoo, Zeref is repeatedly beaten around by Natsu, even having his very Magic burned away by the other Dragneel's fire. Zeref, however, manages to find an opening and the fight momentarily becomes equal, until Zeref learns from Natsu that the power he has is the finite remainder of Igneel's Magic Power left inside him. Understanding that the power comes from the dead, and that such a power may truly be able to kill him, Zeref thanks those who helped him get to where he is today as Natsu enters Fire Dragon King Mode and unleashes what he hopes to be the final blow.
Zeref ultimately survives the blast, albeit heavily wounded, and praises Natsu for having attained the strength to kill him. Before he dies, Zeref resolves to tell his foe everything, and reveals that he, Zeref, is his older brother, and that Natsu and their parents died four hundred years ago during a Dragon attack, resulting in Zeref creating the Etherious and succeeding in reviving his dead younger brother as E N D. Hearing that Natsu doesn't believe anything he is saying, rebutting Zeref's claims with statements he has heard elsewhere, Zeref reveals that Igneel couldn't kill Natsu because he loved him too much, and that Mard Geer was the one who created Tartaros after finding E N D's tome by accident, using the book as a rallying point to unify the Etherious under a common cause, though he does cite Natsu as an unintended assistant in the creation of Tartaros. When Natsu still doesn't believe, Zeref shoots a hole through E N D's tome to inflict pain unto Natsu, thus proving their link.
Citing that Natsu was hard to handle initially, Zeref explains that Igneel was a friend of his and resolved to take Natsu under his wing and teach him Dragon Slayer Magic, as well as groom him and use him to travel four hundred years to the future (via the Eclipse Gate) by hiding inside Natsu's body to recover enough Ethernano to kill Acnologia. Zeref continues on, revealing that four other pacifistic Dragons contributed to the plan, and that four other orphans, also from four hundred years ago, were selected, them being Gajeel, Wendy, Sting and Rogue; the five orphans were then sent through Eclipse, which was opened by the Celestial Spirit Mages Anna (of the past) and Layla Heartfilia (of the future). It is then that Zeref tells Natsu that July 7, X777 wasn't the day Igneel and the other Dragons disappeared, it was the day they all arrived in the future; he expresses his sorrow, however, at the pain he had to go through while waiting for the four hundred years to pass. Zeref is then approached for the kill, but says that when he dies, Natsu will die too, for he is his creation, but despite Natsu's lack of care for his death, he is stopped by Happy and whisked away back to the guild. His brother now gone and Igneel's power faded, Zeref states that Natsu has lost his one and only chance to kill him, and bids him farewell.
Final Battles: Black Godzilla Arc Edit
Zeref returns in X2035 after being sealed away in Lacrima for hundreds and thousands of years no longer cursed. Zeref walks toward his youngest brother, Kyle, and wipes away Monstrosity with Death Pillar. He soon sees something strange happening, when Kronos, Apocalypse, and Monstrosity fuse back into The Salount. He supports his younger brother in killing the God and sees his brother enter True Form, Kyle's Monster Form, to finally end it.
Zeref uses his Death Pillar to end The Salount when his younger brother uses his most powerful spell, Infinity Arc: Shadow Extinguisher- Infinity Orb, to finally kill The Salount. Even if he killed The Salount, he stills feels, though, he wants to die. His brother sympathizes his pain and heals when Mavis comes towards him for a kiss.
Post War Arc Edit
Extinction Arc Edit
In X2037, Zeref fights the heir of The Salount, Extinction, with his brother, Kyle, and a new ally, known as Spider Man. He enters a time when all life is gone and Extinction is ruling the Multiverse
Underworld Arc Edit
In X2040, Zeref sends his brothers to the Underworld to finally eradicate his demons once and for all and finally defeat Mard Geer Tartaros.
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