That evening, Gloria Atkins sat on her bed, staring blankly at the wall.
She had a glass of wine in her hand (a girl needed wine in times like these), but she’d only taken a sip and had spent the rest of the time swirling it around, wondering.
Everything could change tomorrow. What an insane idea, she thought. But I’m getting something out of it.
Through the paper-thin walls, she could hear her sister talking. Her older sister, Justine, was arguing loudly on the phone, punctuated occasionally by Olivia yelling from the other room, “Would you keep the noise down?!”
Gloria sighed and took another sip.
Tomorrow was going to be a long day.
Pippa couldn’t sleep.
The shadow of her clock was on her bed. She could hear each second going by and jumped a little when the hours clanged by.
Tomorrow’s just a few hours away, she whimpered to herself. What am I going to do?
Josie had nearly forgotten about the impending Incident tomorrow until she made tea.
Splendid, she thought happily, as she soaked more tea bags, it’ll be so much fun!
Daphne was staring ruefully at the mirror beside her bed.
She usually liked the large, ornate mirror. It let her look at herself in the mornings and as anyone who had ever seen Daphne Pucey knew, she was worth looking at.
But today, the mirror was a source of distress.
She could see what she ought to look like. The nice, flowing blonde hair let loose. Her skin scrubbed free of makeup. Her eyes her normal sized, instead of exaggerated to look innocent.
Daphne sighed and flung a tube of lipstick aside.
It was bright pink – with a stupid name like Entrancing Enchantment – but she’d be coating it all over herself for tomorrow.
She shuddered at the thought.
What if she had to kiss James Potter again?!
Gemma pushed aside a few boxes until she found what she was looking for.
There it was.
It was a large and grubby looking hat box. She opened it and scowled at the sight.
Inside were the Howlers she’d received from all of James’s heartbroken fangirls. Some had torn themselves to shreds after they were finished yelling themselves hoarse at her. Others had come coated with itching powder or made her grow warts the moment she’d touched them. Beside the large stack of letters were some newspaper clippings.
There were pictures of her in happier times, with James’s arm thrown around her shoulders. In one photo, she was looking up at him, beaming, as he pressed a kiss on her cheek.
Then one headline caught her eye and she snarled at it.
Healer induces James Potter’s infidelity? ‘She stole him from me’ – Isla Parkinson tells all!
There were months of those letters. Rarely a breakfast went by without something exploding in her face, until finally, her landlord had had enough and evicted her. She’d had to slum it out two months with her grandmum until she’d found another decent place.
And he never did anything about it, she thought, staring at the letters in concentrated fury. He knew I wasn’t at all like those awful people said I was, but he never bothered correcting them. He could’ve gone and told them and they would’ve listened.
So now, it was time for closure. It was time for her revenge.
The next morning, the last phases of the Plan commenced.
The glorious end was nigh. The imminent downfall of the illustrious James Potter was now a matter of hours.
“It has to be between six and seven o’clock!” Josie reminded them. “That’s when the tea’ll be at it’s best!”
Not that the tea really mattered, Gemma thought, but it was best to entertain the lunatic.
After all, they needed her to promise to keep the premises of The Love Lampoon empty in that one hour slot.
Pippa, on the other hand, stood on watch to make sure that he took the second exit from his office. The first would lead to an empty corridor with a potted plant.
The second would lead to Gloria.
She waited for him, peering over her table in fright. As he exited his office, yawning and mumbling about work, she leapt out.
“God, Phyllis, you scared me!”
“ – sir – sir – um – Ms. Atkins owled, asking to meet you – ”
“What, now?” His face fell into a frown. “But I’ve just finished working!”
“Yes, sir, she’s right outside that door – ”
“You should’ve told her I was busy,” he said, scowling at her. But he shook his head, wheeled around and pushed open the second door.
When he stepped into the corridor, he found Gloria waiting for him.
She smiled. “Hey there.”
“Hey,” he said, grumpily. “What’d you need me for?”
She put an arm around his shoulder. “Oh, nothing. Just wanted to walk to the elevators with you.”
“What for?” he asked. “You’ve never nagged about that before.”
“No reason,” she hummed.
She navigated him watchfully towards the third elevator, pushing past several groups of middle-aged witches who were trying to get into an elevator with James.
“They’re always after me, I swear,” he said, grinning. “You didn’t have to slam the door on them.”
“I did,” she said sweetly. She pressed the up button, breathing in relief.
Nothing had gone wrong yet.
As the elevator skidded to a stop on the second floor, a willowy blonde tottered in on high heels.
Gloria gave Daphne a knowing look, before bursting out into, “Daphne! Is that you?”
“Gloria!” Daphne crooned, “Oh, it’s been ages!”
“Yeah, it really has! How are you?”
“Fabulous!” Daphne said, hitching her skirt up slightly higher.
James had gone slightly cross-eyed in the meanwhile. As she stared at him, he recovered with a suave grin. “Hey.”
“Hi,” she said, wiggling her fingers. “I remember you! James Potter, right?”
“Right,” he said. “Diane?”
“That’s a beautiful name.”
“I know, you told me already.” Daphne gave a fake, trilling laugh.
Gloria stepped in between them. “James, this is Daphne Pucey, my - ”
“We’ve met already,” said James, cutting her off. “So, listen, weren’t we planning to go to dinner or something?”
“Were we?” asked Daphne, her eyes huge and innocent. “Oh, I must’ve forgotten! Well, if we planned it, then we should go!”
“Shall we?” he said, offering her his arm.
“Oh yes,” said Daphne. “I know just the place! You should come with me, we’ll have a fabulous time!”
Before he could protest, the elevator dragged to a stop.
“I know some great bars,” he said.
Gloria looked at Daphne in alarm.
“No bars,” she said. She pressed a long kiss on his lips. “You’ll have to come with me.”
He nodded, looking as though she’d clubbed him with something. “Well…see you, Gloria.”
“See you,” Gloria echoed as they stepped off, grinding her teeth.
She hated watching how quickly James fell for each of his girls. It was a painful reminder each time that he’d never looked at her that way. But at least Daphne was only faking it…
As soon as they stepped out of the Ministry, Daphne grabbed James’s hands and looked up at him with a radiant smile.
“Yeah,” he said.
They disappeared in a whirl and reappeared in front of a small café.
“I love this place!” said Daphne, with as much fake mirth as she could gather. “It’s absolutely adorable!”
James stared at the curly pink letters which read The Love Lampoon. He had a blank expression, but he quickly rearranged his features into a smile. “Yeah.”
“Come on,” she said, dragging him inside.
The inside of the store was empty, save for them. The checkered floors, bright pink walls, tiny tables and vases of tulips were the same.
Daphne pushed him into the nearest chair and scooted close to him. “Waitress!” she yelled, wiggling her fingers in the air.
Josie popped out from behind the counter covered in yellow tulips. “Yes?”
“Could we both get some tea, please?”
“Coming right up!” said Josie, disappearing once again.
“Tea,” Daphne could hear James mumbling. “I’d rather be drinking Firewhiskey.”
She internally grimaced. He thinks he’s unfortunate. I was the one who had to kiss him!
Josie was always excited when it came to giving people tea.
So few people like my tea these days, she sighed as she made more, they all like my lemonade more.
It was Regina’s fault, she decided. That girl could never do anything right.
It was nice seeing James again, though. He looked as handsome as she’d remembered.
I hope he likes my tea, she thought as she poured the tea into flowery porcelain cups, He’ll have so much fun tonight!
She took care to pour in the small vial of liquid that Gemma had dropped off in the morning into James’s cup.
“Are they ready?” asked Gemma, leaning against a lamppost outside The Love Lampoon.
“From what I can see,” said Gloria, lowering her binoculars.
Pippa was beside her, her teeth chattering in the cold. “I’m not so sure I’m r – r- ready for this – ”
“Don’t be silly,” Gemma snapped. “I hope that redheaded lunatic doesn’t mess things up. I was really clear to her when I gave her to Drowsing Draught, but who knows what she’ll do.”
“Josephine seems really nice,” said Pippa.
“Just stay a few miles away from her tea,” said Gloria, shaking her head. “If the Drowsing Draught doesn’t knock him out first, that tea just might.”
Gemma smirked and said, “I never thought I’d have to resort to working with her.”
“I never thought I’d see you again,” said Gloria pointedly.
“Why? What’d I do to you?”
“Oh, you must know,” said Gloria, rolling her eyes.
Gemma looked at her for a long moment, before squeezing her on the shoulder. “You can do it. You’ve just got to be confident about it. Maybe talk to him honestly.”
“No other girl’s had to talk to him honestly. They all just look at him and he comes running. Just like with Daphne.”
“But he’ll like it, I promise.” Gemma’s harsh expression softened. “I know him. I really do. Those five months with him were really lovely at times. Just be confident, just be honest and just be yourself. He’ll go melting into your arms.”
“Thanks,” said Gloria grudgingly.
Pippa snatched the binoculars from her and peered in.
“What was that for?” asked Gloria.
“Look, look!” Pippa pointed, nearly bouncing up and down.
Josephine was delivering the tea with a smile. Daphne took a cup carefully, inspecting it before passing it to James with a “Here you go, darling.”
Pippa’s breath fell away and her eyes grew huge as James accepted it and took a sip under Daphne’s withering gaze. “Oh, wow. She’s excellent. She got him to actually drink it.”
They all watched as James’s smile stayed plastered on his face. His eyes slowly closed and the tea cup fell to the ground with a clink, staining the checkered floor with brown. Within a moment, he slumped on to the table.
Daphne plopped up. “Ugh, he’s so disgusting!”
Josephine popped her head out from behind the counter. “Did he like my tea?”
“Absolutely adored it,” said Daphne as Josie beamed. “Would you give me a hand with him, please?”
As they both grunted under the weight of James, Gloria stepped forward, lowering her binoculars. “Come on, let’s go help.”
Gemma and Pippa stepped in and each grabbed a leg, while Daphne and Josephine settled for an arm.
“Grab hands,” said Gloria. They each did so, with Gemma glaring at Pippa and Daphne glaring at Josephine. Gloria finally linked hands with Pippa and Josephine, completing the circle. She fumbled with her wand on two free fingers.
After a single whoosh, the five of them and the unconscious James Potter found themselves being Apparated into the night.
There was a lone grunt in the darkness.
“That was my foot, Pippa!” snarled Daphne, moving out of the way.
“Why’s it so dark in here?” came Gemma’s voice.
“Could we set him down, please?” asked Josie, “My arms might give way!”
“Hang on,” said Gloria. Her wand was a pencil-then outline in the darkness. “Lumos.”
Her wandtip went alight and the others could see that they were in a small room. There were a few boxes pushed to the side, a wobbly table and a lone chair.
“Let’s shove him there,” said Daphne. There seemed to be a general consensus as they all moved. With a heave, they pushed James onto the sofa.
He flopped over uselessly.
“He’s so much more trouble than he’s worth,” said Gemma disdainfully.
There was an echo of agreement.
“Where are we?” asked Pippa.
“My basement,” said Gloria. “I was trying to Apparate us upstairs, actually, into the living room. But I guess I couldn’t get it right with so many people hanging on.”
“Probably for the best,” came Gemma’s voice. “In any case, we can’t move him again.”
Gloria felt along the wall until she found the light switch. She flicked it and a large light blared on.
“Nox,” she said to her wand.
“You made sure your sisters are out of the house?” asked Gemma.
“Yes, they’ve gone shopping,” said Gloria, rolling her eyes. “Which means Justine’ll keep Olivia out for most of the night.”
“Perfect!” said Josie happily. “I’m exhausted.”
She leaned backwards and sat on top of James.
“She’s got a point,” said Daphne, still eyeing Josephine suspiciously. “I’m pretty tired too, wobbling around in those stupid heels. Could you get us a drink?”
“Sure,” said Gloria. “I’ll break into my sister’s Firewhiskey cabinet.”
“F – firewhiskey,” began Pippa, her face turning red. “But – I thought – ”
“You’re of age, aren’t you?” asked Daphne. When Pippa nodded, she said, “Then I don’t see what the problem us. Go get us some drinks then.”
As Gloria disappeared, Gemma turned to Josie. “Get off of him.”
“Why? He’s so comfortable!”
“That’s not the point,” she said. “What if he gets up halfway? What if the Drowsing Draught I made wasn’t strong enough.”
She looked pointedly at Daphne, who nodded. “She’s right. If he wakes up now, we’ll be in trouble. That stupid git, always doing this wrong - ”
“Made my life horrible for a few months,” said Gemma darkly.
Josie bounced on top of James. “Why, though? Isn’t he cute?”
Pippa took a deep breath. A long echo of ‘Hey, Phyllis’ and ‘Could you finish this for me?’ echoed in her head. She opened her eyes again and her face grew red and excited.
Maybe it was time to stop worrying about everything.
The door opened and Gloria hurried in, holding a large case of Firewhiskey. “There’s twenty-five bottles in here. Enough for everyone to get properly drunk.”
“Perfect!” purred Josephine, grabbing a bottle.
Soon, everyone dug in. They were sitting in a circle on the floor and had kicked off their shoes. There were no glasses, so everyone drank directly from their bottles. A small pile of empty bottles had already began to grow.
Gemma was red-faced. “And he said that about me, could you believe it?!”
Daphne hiccupped, slinging an arm around Gemma’s shoulders. “It’s okay –it’s okay – he’s an idiot, absolute idiot – ”
“At least you got to date him,” shrieked Gloria.
Pippa looked down tentatively at the bottle that Josephine had pressed into her hands. Firewhiskey. She’d never really drank Firewhiskey before except that one time at Rhoda’s birthday party two years ago. And she couldn’t remember that at all.
She hesitantly took a sip, not wanting to be left out. It tasted warm and fizzy – a little like Butterbeer, but it bubbled inside of her throat. She eagerly began chugging down the rest of the bottle.
As Gloria and Josephine chatted loudly, Pippa reached for the next bottle. That too was gone relatively fast.
It was Daphne who broke off her conversation with Gemma to stare at Pippa. “Hey, are you okay?”
Pippa sprang up, her eyes looking like they were glistening. She turned to face James. “I know what to do!”
“About what?” said Gloria.
“In case he gets up early! Let’s tie him up!” She yanked out her wand. “Let’s tie him up, come on!”
“Have you gone mad?” asked Daphne, staring at her.
“Let’s tie him up and gag him so nobody hears and – and – and we’ll – ” She hiccupped.
“She’s not mad. Just drunk,” said Gemma dryly. “It might not be a half bad idea…”
“I thought we were just planning on having him wake up at any time and then pretending like we had all gone drinking together,” said Gloria.
“What’ll we get out of that?” demanded Pippa. “Let’s tie him up and gag him!”
She was much more energetic and bold when she was drunk. Gone was the chattering and the nervousness. She leapt up and pointed her wand at James.
Maybe this was why she couldn’t remember Rhoda’s birthday party at all two years ago. And why Rhoda made sure that she was never around Firewhiskey…but it was too late now.
Drunk Josephine seemed to agree with Drunk Pippa. “I’ll find something to gag him with,” she said cheerily, getting up and rifling through the boxes.
Pippa waved her wand and a rope appeared, restraining James’s shoulders and wrapping his legs around the chair.
The others stared as James emitted a loud snore.
There was a moment of silence.
“I hope he burns in hell!” said Daphne, holding up her Firewhiskey bottle.
The basement exploded in cheers and toasts.
“This’s what you get for never noticing even once, you idiot!” screeched Gloria.
“If he ever tries blaming my Department again or showing up late or hogging all the credit – ” came from Daphne.
“Nobody’ll ever send me Howlers again,” said Gemma.
“Oooh, this Firewhiskey is good,” giggled Josephine.
“My name’s Phillippa, you idiot, not Phyllis!”
At Pippa’s declaration, there was applause. She bowed to the room. “Thank you, ladies.”
“Well, now that we’ve gotten properly drunk,” said Gemma. “Let’s get the last, last, final bit started.”
She got up and pulled out her wand, pointing it at James.
“Cheers!” said Josephine, holding up her bottle.
When Gemma was nearly done, she sat back, exhausted.
“Could I help?” said Daphne.
“No, it’s very complicated. It’s a neurological change, but with magic. Only a Healer could do it.”
“Keep going,” urged Gloria.
“I am, I am.”
She turned her wand again on James.
When everything was done, the girls got up to leave. They cleaned up the last of the broken Firewhsieky bottles and left James alone in the basement.
He was still on the chair, sleeping peacefully.
Outside Gloria’s flat, the cool night air swept in.
“I guess this’s good-bye,” said Daphne.
“Thanks,” said Gloria to Gemma. “I really owe you.”
“It’s no big deal. I did it for myself too.”
Daphne grunted. Pippa was leaning against one of her shoulders, humming something to herself while Josie was leaning on the other, mumbling about honey and tea.
“Tea’s so good, it’s so lovely, all you need is a bit of honey,” said Josie.
“I wonder if my sister has Firewhiskey at home,” said Pippa.
“Don’t drink any more or your liver would’ve had it,” said Gemma warningly.
“I’ll drop these two off,” said Daphne, rolling her eyes. “I don’t think they can Apparate home without Splinching themselves.”
She gave Gemma and Gloria a little wave and Disapparated.
“Bye,” said Gemma. And she too was gone.
Gloria wandered back inside her flat.
The girls had managed to levitate James back upstairs and had dumped him on the living room sofa.
It happened exactly as Gemma predicted. When Gloria shut the door behind her, James shot up.
“Wha – whatsgoinon?” he said groggily.
“Nothing,” she said, taking a seat behind him.
“Where am I?”
“In my flat, you idiot. Don’t you remember anything?”
“No…” he sat up, blearily rubbing his eyes. “Gloria?”
“Is it just you?”
“Yeah, just me.”
“I swear, I thought there were like ten of you running around.”
Gloria swallowed nervously. “Oh, you’re just being silly again.”
“Why am I here?”
“You don’t remember, do you?” She sighed. “Well, you and I went drinking again.”
“We went drinking?” he said, rubbing his head. “Is that what it was? I feel like I got hit on the head.”
That was probably Daphne’s killer aim. She’d managed a few good whacks on him as they’d levitated him upstairs.
“And my feet hurt.”
Pippa had stomped on his feet as soon as they’d dumped him on his sofa.
“And someone yanked my hair, I swear – ”
That was her.
“And my head’s swimming – ”
That would be Gemma.
He stopped and took a sniff of the air. “Were you making tea or something?”
And finally, that was Josie’s doing.
“Yeah, I made some tea.” She cleared her throat. “Anyway, we went to the Leaky after work. You got really drunk again and I brought you here. As usual.”
“Justine and Olivia’re out?” he asked, looking around. “That’s rare.”
He leaned against her, before staring at the table. His briefcase was sitting on it. “What’s all this?”
He prodded a small pile of forms.
“You were talking about how you were going to give your secretary an interdepartmental transfer. That Pippa girl.”
He stared at her blankly. Gloria prayed that Gemma’s Memory Modification charm had worked.
He wouldn’t remember Daphne at all. As far as he knew, he had never met her or gone off to The Love Lampoon with her.
“Oh, right,” he said. “Yeah, Phillippa’s great. She’s been wanting a transfer for a while.”
He signed the form without reading it.
“Aren’t you sad at losing your assistant?”
He shrugged. “Nah, I did most of the work anyway.”
Typical James. After all, Gemma had only changed a few of his memories, not his personality.
“Who’ll she be working with now?”
She held her breath as James squinted at the parchment. “The transfer’s to Magical Law Enforcement. To some lady named Daphne Pucey.”
Gloria exhaled. Gemma’s a genius.
He reclined. “You know, I’ve been thinking.”
Her heart beat furiously. “About?”
“About my ex-girlfriends. Maybe it was Lolita cheating on me that got me thinking about it. But I’ve been thinking about Gemma a lot. Remember her? Gemma Clarke, the Healer?”
Gloria stopped breathing again. Gemma, that horrendous, conniving bitch. She made James fall in love with her, didn’t she? That was her plan all along, wasn’t it? After she knew how I felt about him –
“It’s weird. Haven’t thought about her in ages, but she just popped up.” James shrugged and ran a hand through his messy black hair. He gave Gloria his boyish, crooked smile. “I reckon I should apologize to her or something.”
“Apologize?” But James never apologized, thought Gloria furiously.
“Yeah, I know it sounds insane. I dunno – there were a lot of bad articles on her in the Prophet after we broke up. I feel a bit bad about it. Maybe I’ll talk to one of those Prophet girls or something. Clear things up.”
Gloria exhaled again. Pippa, check. She’s got her transfer. Daphne, check. He doesn’t remember her, so he can’t ask her out again. Gemma, check. He’s planning to apologize. That only leaves me and Josephine Ainsworth.
“Could you get me some of that tea? I really want some for some strange reason.”
Gloria’s heart sank slightly as she handed him a teacup brimming with Josie’s tea.
Gemma didn’t do anything to his memory for me. She told me she wouldn’t. It was up to me.
“James?” she began hesitantly. Her heart had leapt to her throat. “I’ve been meaning to ask you something.”
“When’re you planning to stop with all the girlfriends?”
He set down his teacup with a smile. “Great question. My mum asks that a lot, too. Maybe when I find one girl that’ll stick with me.”
“You have her already, don’t you? Think about it.”
He laughed again. “What, Lily?”
“No, not anybody related to you! Me, you idiot.” She was breathing rapidly.
He looked flabbergasted before spitting out his tea. “Are you joking?”
“I’m not,” she said calmly. “I’m dead serious.”
When his expression changed back to surprise, Gloria leaned in and kissed him.
She’d waited years for it. It felt like a bottle of Firewhiskey had exploded inside of her.
When she broke away, they both laughed.
One year has passed since The Plan which led to The Incident.
Daphne Pucey still works in Magical Law Enforcement, where she spends her time rolling her eyes at her colleagues and lamenting the sorry lack of eligible bachelors in the world. So, not much has changed. Though she has two friends now in the Ministry where she’s never really had friends before.
One is her assistant Phillippa Lee.
Pippa Lee is the short brunette who works in the desk across Daphne’s. She still as her share of paperwork, though it’s considerably less now. It’s fun being in Magical Law Enforcement. She can tag along with the Magical Law Enforcement Squad now and then and watch them make arrests. She gets to send threatening letters to people and helps toss criminals in jail. She’s even broken down a door or two. She’s less nervous nowadays.
It must be the door breaking, she’s decided.
She’s made friends too.
One would be her best friend and coworker, Daphne. An unlikely sort of alliance came up between them when Pippa transferred. It’s strange what happens to women when they tie up men and get properly drunk together.
The other would be her sister’s boss, Gemma Clarke. Gemma Clarke’s reputation has been largely cleared these days. No girls’ve given her beady looks since James Potter came out and apologized through the Daily Prophet and Witch Weekly.
She’s gotten a bigger flat now and no longer fears for her life when she rifles through her mail. Even with Rhoda bumbling through and nearly maiming someone every other week, Gemma’s decided that life has become rather good. She’s received a promotion now for her breakthrough work in Memory Modification and she’s risen into a new rank.
The Love Lampoon’s been experiencing increased sales. Most people still go there for the lemonade and nobody really eats much, but it’s been seeing an influx of girls. James Potter’s been spotted there numerous times over the past year. He’s apparently become a fan of their tea.
So different girls come in everyday – some from the Ministry, others from St. Mungo’s – on their lunch break. They hitch their skirts up high and walk around in high heels and peer bashfully behind their tea cups, waiting for James to come strolling in.
Sometimes he does, boisterously coming in and ordering tea.
He waves a hello to the owner, Josephine Ainsworth. She smiles happily at him. Josie’s been delighted to see him there. He does love her tea. And so do all these other people.
Rumor has it that they used to date, though it’s been over for a long time now.
As for Gloria Atkins, she still works in International Relations. She hasn’t had a transfer like Pippa or a promotion like Gemma. Her job’s been much the same. Her position hasn’t grown like Josie’s. She sees Daphne and Pippa often. The three have somehow become fast friends.
Pippa says she still sees Gemma. Gloria and Daphne haven’t seen Gemma for a while. And of all of them, only Gloria still sees Josephine now and then.
So came and went the fall of James Potter. Nobody but the five women know how they’ve changed his life. Nobody knows about the tying and gagging of James Potter or the crazy feminism behind it.
In the end, Daphne’s gotten her peace from James Potter.
Pippa's gotten her reward for all her work.
Gemma’s gotten her revenge.
Josephine’s gotten herself a customer.
And James and Gloria?
They’re getting married.
But that’s another story.
Author's Note:Sorry for such a long wait before an update! The last six months in college have been absolutely hectic and I haven't gotten any time to finish this story.
Hopefully this last chapter was worth the wait. The Plan came to fruition and I hope you guys liked the mini-epilogue in the end as well! Special thanks toflozoeoreo for finally getting me to start on the last chapter. Thanks for sticking it out with Gemma, Pippa, Daphne, Josephine and Gloria! Crazy feminists unite!
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