Description: After the farm girl ninja Seori managed to save the life of a police informant from Rochelle, Southtown Syndicate has sent Rochelle to test Seori's strength and see her intentions, having spotting a Gedo High transfer with unusual abilities. Their battle is close, but Seori heals more wounds than she has opened.
'You do not search in vain.' The Miyama ninja Noboru's words have fluttered around Seori's mind for days now. How long had it been since Seori had learned about Ryouhara village? Well, 'learned' is a generous word to use, as Seori's father hadn't really gone into detail. Just 'the village's gone.' Gone, along with his arm, his eye, his ability to fluidly move without pain or a cane. There were survivors out there. Maybe.
Now she knows that she wasn't keeping that hope alive in vain.
Seori shifts her hold on the heavy grocery bags waying down her arms, her breath leaving trailing clouds in the air. Despite the strain and the cold air in her lungs, she feels like laughing, twirling her bags around, running in the snow. Forget about acting happy, she *is* happy.
There's nothing that can tear that down, right? Things can only get better from here.
After the disruption of the hit on the sokaiya, that had actually managed to evade Southtown Syndicate and flee overseas (nullifying Geese's investment of using a lever on Southtown Police, and keeping a witness under Interpol's thumb), Rochelle had not received a tongue lashing from a superior, or even a mild frown. Southtown Syndicate was a crime organization of the most disciplined warrior criminals and soldier thugs on the planet, and they knew levers that most people didn't know they had. And Rochelle had discovered hers. She needed affirmation for her tasks, even if it was negative affirmation for failing in one. After a week, they merely asked her to describe the warrior that had defeated her, and they instructed her, days later, that it would be necessary to test this scion of Gedo High, to see if the other honorable rabble of Gedo had found something unusual. For it was always wise to watch Gedo above all other Rival Schools in Southtown, since Gedo had the smartest men and women on the streets among their ranks.
Rochelle perches on a one story building, her gloved right hand forward, hanging onto the ledge, and her legs in a precarious but comfortable flex position, forcing her aware and awake during her vigil. She has already made sure Seori's father is not home, having already had a plant in the city planning department check her living status. Southtown Syndicate had eyes everywhere, and most of the eyes thought they were merely spying on Southtown Syndicate, to the irony of many in Japanese law enforcement's listening ears. It was a complex situation, exacerbated by Geese Howard's mastery of both business and martial arts culture, both endemic to the city.
There's a whiff in the air behind Seori, some ten years back, before there's a heavy *plok* of motorcycle boots hitting the ground. This is followed by the *shiv* of her titanium staff telescoping out to its full size. "Put down those groceries," Rochelle instructs. "I do not wish to strain your financial resources, only your physical ones."
COMBATSYS: Rochelle has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Seori has joined the fight here.
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Rochelle 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Seori
Yes, says the world, there is something that can tear that joy down. There's a foreboding sound of landing boots, a distinctive enough sound that it cuts through the quiet traffic and muffled noise of the surrounding city.
Seori wheels around, looking unmistakably... the same as she always has. A girl with long dark hair and dark eyes, a teal scarf, layers of clothing that can only serve as a buffer against the cold. "..." Her mouth purses in a thin, nervous line. She should have been aware that someone could've been watching her. "What's it you want with me?"
There's the case of Tetsuji Kouhara. Once a delivery man, now a mechanic. Had a hit and run car accident two years ago- that was what was on his disability papers, anyway. A quiet, boring man who has now come to the city with his daughter, a family from one of those small rural towns that had been hemorrhaging able-bodied youth for decades now. A man that didn't exist a decade ago. A family unit that didn't exist a decade ago. It could be attributed to the simple phenomenon of there just being some people, even in this day and age, that just resisted being on the grid. Nothing unusual by itself.
Some people appear as easily as they disappear.
"If it's because of hurt pride, beating me isn't going to solve that." Fighting someone, especially this woman, is the last thing Seori wants to do right now. The happy version of her is probably still walking towards her apartment. She'd be going in, putting away supplies, and making some warm tea. "Tons of hot-blooded crusaders of justice in Gedo High. I'm just a newer face. Give it a few months and you'll forget who I even am."
"Southtown Syndicate never forgets a face at Gedo High," comes a soft whisper, loud enough to hear across the way, the hot breath out of Rochelle's mouth visible as a faint shimmer of orange twists about her baby blue irises, locking eyes with Seori and entering an empathic breathing stage that slides up and down the Jago's chakra. "You should remember that this city belongs to warriors. You chose to be a warrior, and now you live by our code." She spins her staff about in her hand as she cockily walks forward, a cant of her hips with the initial step as if flirting, but her narrowing eyes indicating a soft threat. "Valor counts for nothing here, dear girl. These streets are ruled by fear, and you demonstrated courage. That means you are one of us now."
Rochelle leaps forward and curls down to the ground, her left hand catching her and then rolling off her arm into a somersault at Seori. She comes out of it with a twist, leaving her right side to her foe, bo staff held in hand. "Ha!" comes a shout, an affirmative startle, and she slings her staff out to her side as she moves into a bent standing position, her left hand exploding to the side opposite Seori in a sudden rigor of power. It's a rapid, savage attack, as she tests to see how Seori dares stand up to a blow of that strength.
"Test your might!"
COMBATSYS: Rochelle successfully hits Seori with Tsunami Strike.
- Power hit! -
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Rochelle 0/-------/------=|===----\-------\0 Seori
'That means you are one of us now.' The statement, while it would have felt gratifying on some level, seems to visibly anger the Gedo student. "Does this code involve hunting down a man like a dog?" A cold glare is directed towards Rochelle, which quickly is softened by the act of Seori looking to the side. "... I'm not saying he's a saint, but c'mon." Seori's dad was a ninja. Did he do that too, for the Ryouhara? It's difficult for Seori to truly feel like she's any better. It's in her blood and in how she was raised. Still, that statement...
The words come out louder than Seori initially intended. "_I'll decide where I belong_."
Strong words from someone holding grocery bags. And it's those grocery bags that keep her from defending effectively. Seori is knocked back with a sharp cry, groceries toppling in the air as she lands. With a huff of air, Seori gets to her feet, snow shifts from her black hair and back from the movement. "... If you're not gonna leave me alone," she softly responds, her hands gripping her scarf, "I guess we'll have to do things this way." Chi flows into the ninkou scarf, shaping the soft cloth into the sharp and blunt shapes of the kyoketsu shoge. "Hph!" Rapidly spinning the the metal hoop, Seori launches it forward, hoping to snag some part of the assassin.
No time for fear. Seori can't afford to lose like she did with Noboru.
COMBATSYS: Seori successfully hits Rochelle with Tsunawatari Jab.
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Rochelle 0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0 Seori
As the metal ringed end wraps around and holds tight, Seori lifts one foot up and slams it down on the chain to the ground, in order to jerk Rochelle towards her. Using that foot as her next step, Seori grips the bladed end of kyoketsu shoge, whipping it at the closest part of the assassin's body.
Rochelle finds the familiar scarf and chain wrapping around her waist, before she's jerked forward, her boots skidding across the cold pavement as she sneers visibly in close range. Finding herself face to face with Seori, in close range, she hisses, "You will learn the ways of Southtown tonight, child." Wrestling against the scarf and chain wrapped around her, grunting at the pain of the constriction, she wedges her elbow down into a layer of the wrap, before tilting her shoulder into Seori and jerking the chain away for leverage, although it does not free her.
"And you will find that it is dangerous to attempt to catch fire in a jar."
The bo, held just between the two, is swung around to slam down on Seori's foot to force her backwards, before Rochelle spins about to face Seori in the close embrace, and slam the shaft, clenched between two hands, up into Seori's face, forcing her to block or take a painful blow to the chin. She is using considerable leverage, even if it the force is reduced by the grapple.
COMBATSYS: Seori dodges Rochelle's Crushing Strike.
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Rochelle 0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0 Seori
Rochelle's gaze finds the sober half-lidded eyes of the young Kouhara kunoichi, her mouth set in a grim line concentration. "You'll probably not be the first to try to teach me," she murmurs, almost self-consciously. "But you won't leave a mark of any sort of ownership on me."
The fire that is Rochelle proves equally resistant to the binds of Seori's chains, forcing Seori to raise her foot to avoid the bo's slam, then allowing the chain some slack to step that foot, as well as the rest of her body, to the side of Rochelle's thrust towards her face. The assassin is quick, however; the bo briefly entangles itself in Seori's hair. A second too long and it would have met Seori's chin instead.
Rochelle was one of the first to ever comment on Seori's Horou technique. It echoed in her mind since then, making the use of it feel like a savage act in a simple sparring match.
In the case of Noboru, and now here, it feels like a tool that could only serve to allow Seori to remain alive. "Ngh!" Jerking the chain tight for one final moment, Seori forms her right hand into a point, jabbing a knife of blue-grey chi into Rochelle's side. If it hits, the feeling of prickling nerves cascade in the surrounding area before falling silent, devoid of sensation.
She still can't bring herself to aim for the heart.
COMBATSYS: Rochelle blocks Seori's Horou.
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Rochelle 0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0 Seori
Rochelle bares her teeth as the Horou comes in, having learned to spot the manuever on the second fight. She knew this was a dangerous technique, and now, she knew how to mitigate the damage, as fast and potentially lethal as it was. She twists the staff in Seori's hair about to force the arm to glance across her side, the chi-infused finger strike sliding across her svelte side instead of sinking into it, as she twisted about to simultaneously free her staff from the girl's hair and spin out of the scarf tangle. She continued to spin after freeing herself, falling to a knee with her left hand down, staring upwards. She feels her left side throb and tingle, safe in the knowledge that it hadn't affected her abdominals with the draining vampire touch.
"You will find yourself countered if you rely on a singular technique for your art." She notes, however, the hesitancy to use the assault lethally, even when being battled by a Syndicate assassin. The girl was soft. A future lever for another Gedo member, perhaps, to be exploited.
Rochelle burst out of the kneel and jumps forward, her leg exploding upwards with crimson red chi as her boot launched skywards at Seori's jaw, her bo staff whipping about into a clenched position over her upper chest. As soon as the rocketing kick went off, her boot snapped back downwards and she landed with her bo in a ready position for defense, the Silat staff style practicioner using her weapon as the fulcrum of her defense.
COMBATSYS: Rochelle successfully hits Seori with Rapids Beneath Bridge.
- Power hit! -
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Rochelle 0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0 Seori
Seori gives a brief cry of pain as the bo is wrenched from her hair, falling back and giving Rochelle ample time needed to free herself from the kyoketsu shoge's grasp.
She doesn't have any words for Rochelle. No easy rebuttal. The inability to use lethal force just may prove to be the end of the girl. Yet, Seori came to the defense of a man who may have been left to die in the cold streets, forgotten and alone. How much of a hypocrite would she be to do the same to someone else?
It's these sorts of thoughts that drive an old ninja father to sport several prominent grey hairs.
Seori's hesitation earns her a motorcycle boot to the jaw, throwing her spinning through the air, lapsing teal scarf and all, to fall on her side a few meters away. Rising up onto her knees while facing away from the Syndicate assassin, Seori twists at her waist, a motion that translates into her knees spinning in the slick snow. The movement is just enough to launch several sharp small needle kunai in the air towards Rochelle, hopefully giving the ninja the time she needs to hop fully back on her feet.
COMBATSYS: Rochelle blocks Seori's Surprise Kunai.
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Rochelle 0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0 Seori
Rochelle's eyes flick towards the hand and the glint of metal, immediately swerving and falling backwards towards her left. Her hand touches the snow as the kunai whizz over her in the bent position, although several manage to catch themselves in her stomach and bosom. She bends backwards onto her heels, elbow crooking, before she springs upwards and slides with acrobatic, nonchalant, but incredulous grace to a standing position. He pulls the kunai that struck her breast out, forgoing the blood loss for easy of comfort fighting.
"A wasp stings twice only if she's a queen," she promises.
Rochelle produces a long, low exhale, before she tilts forward with a twist of her staff and then breaks into a sprint. She swings her staff up and around with a feint, before she drops into a low slide, her leg out as a slide tackle to Seori's right flank to take down her dominant side with a quick leg movement that will force the girl into the Southtown ruffian's raised left elbow. A bounce to the side, not enough to do serious damage, simply reestablish rhythm for Rochelle.
COMBATSYS: Seori endures Rochelle's Light Kick.
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Rochelle 1/-------/=======|=======\-------\1 Seori
Damn. Seori wasn't fast enough! It still manages to give her time to raise up to her feet and get some ground between her and the Syndicate assassin, though she doesn't opt to simply retreat. Rochelle was correct about one thing: the girl's a warrior, and thinks like one, even to a fault. .... Also, Seori doesn't want to potentially bring this conflict home to her father.
Rochelle's proven she can find her easily enough. Seori doesn't have another place to disappear to.
'A wasp stings twice only if she's a queen,' the woman says, causing Seori to frown. Come to think of it, Rochelle said something just as potentially cryptic, if moreso, last time they met. She can't expect Rochelle to not try again in the future. But... could that be a possibility?
Seori attempts to brace for Rochelle's incoming attack, but when the woman suddenly dips low instead of committing fully to attacking with her bo, Seori is forced instead to take on Rochelle in a tackle, slamming against the redhead's elbow. The scarf is already shifting halfway, leaving Seori free to cut with the double blade towards the assassin's side.
COMBATSYS: Rochelle interrupts Strong Strike from Seori with Glittering Monsoon.
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Rochelle 1/-----==/=======|=======\==-----\1 Seori
Rochelle twists around with the outer blade of her boot cutting into the pavement as she comes to a standard position. "Yah!" comes a cry as she soaks up the slice from the edge into her hip, blood splashing out while she jumps into the air. She launches into a right legged kick aglow with crimson light, to slam Seori backwards. "Uh!" comes a grunt as she lands on the ground above Seori, spinning her staff about in the air above her. And then the staff comes down, smashing the tip of the staff down into Seori's right elbow, to jam the metal pressure surface into the young kunoichi's joint. A simple reversal of fortunes, to slim Seori's martial capability.
"You lack initiative, you merely react," Rochelle chides the young ninja. "Your father should have taught you to have courage inside your valor, not heroism."
COMBATSYS: Rochelle has ended the fight here.
The kunoichi is savagely thrown backwards with a cry, barely managing to keep her balance against the slippery ground. She grits her teeth and staggers further back, holding her right elbow. "My initative..." It's a little hard to put back on that little innocent mask of hers. Her words feel too cold, even if they feel *right* to say, even if her lungs hurt as she speaks. "... Whatever my initiatives are, they don't include whatever your superiors sell you as 'courage'."
No, no. This won't do. Seori has no clue to the nature of Rochelle's employers. This battle may be on more fronts that just the physical. Even if Rochelle's words twist in her brain, providing insinuations Seori knows she can't take on in her current state, Seori can't let those emotions rule her.
"... Have you ever had nabemono?" Seori begins shakily, wiping spittle from the corner of her mouth. "Well, any kind, there's... several." It may be complete nonsense currently spilling out of Seori's mouth. It certainly feels like that. But it's that or fall prey to the whims of anger. "The reason I ask is that that... is my current initiative. On a cold winter day... a hot pot dish is key to warming the body."
The young ninja let her emotions get the best of her with Noboru, letting pain, anger, and stubbornness cloud her thoughts. She made assumptions. Noboru broke them.
Seori begins spinning the transforming fabric of her ninkou scarf. "You stand in the way of that. But I only need to get you to somehow go away."
The metal ring swings in a sharp arc, attempting to wrap around Rochelle's middle. If it hits, the chain solidifies into a larger ring. "... Even if I have to throw you-"
COMBATSYS: Rochelle fails to interrupt Hisui Drop from Seori with Golden Storm.
- Power fail! -
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Rochelle 0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0 Seori
"-_out of my way_!" The chain pulls tight as Seori lets out a quick yell, chi, strength, momentum, and a possible dose of hunger hoisting the Butterfly Woman in the air in a throw. The ring's hold is thankfully brief; it unravels from Rochelle's waist as she's allowed to fly through the air and onto the street below.
Rochelle throws herself forward with a spring off her bo staff at Seori, even as the shinobi begins to attack her. "Haaaa!" she screams, her body flaring into red light as she launches forward with her leg poised to slam into Seori's nose. But then, Seori manages to get the upper hand, the scarf wrapping around her waist as she flies through the air, and then as Seori jumps into the air, Rochelle goes flying under, before being jerked around in a loop, still airborne.
"Ai!" comes a female cry of fear as Rochelle is tossed upwards with a swift jerk, her limbs flailing as she's sent upwards and across the street. She slams into a brick building with a pained moan, before she drops down onto the ground with a boneless thump. She lets out a coughing sob, her bo staff rolling away beside her as she tries to push herself off the ground, her ponytail ring broken in the chaos and her red hair hanging about her head.
"...gh..." Rochelle's cry manages to hurt Seori more the way her right elbow, even if the damn thing feels even worse after the move she just tried to do.
It's cold. This woman isn't probably here due to hurt pride. It's snowing. She's probably here on orders. The street is lonely, and frequented rarely by the sorts of people you'd want to encounter when you're wounded. But still.
But still. This woman is an assassin. Seori assumes she is, anyway, based on their last encounter. Yet Rochelle didn't just attack her without warning-
But the ninja does have a choice. All she needs to do is-
A deep breath of concentration, and the chi-edged metal ring of Seori's weapon shoots out like a bullet, prompt as a gasp of air, aiming for the flame-haired woman's head.
Seori will make her sleep.
COMBATSYS: Rochelle dodges Seori's Hiendan.
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Rochelle 0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0 Seori
Rochelle's hand reaches out across the frost bitten ground to grasp her staff, and she pushes herself onto her feet. She turns about to face Seori just as the edge flies at her head, her breath sucking in as her upper body twists about in a pivot that drops her to a knee. The impromptu metal dart flies over her head, leaving the scarf outstretched for a brief moment. Rochelle knows this is her last chance to resume any sort of advantage.
Rochelle pushes out of the kneeling stance with a swift spin and takes to the night sky, swinging her leg about in a spinning kick that trails red energy behind it. As she reaches the apex of her spin, having performed a 360 degree turn, the chunk-heeled sole of the motorcycle boot is aimed directly at Seori's crown, hoping for a quick, painful shot on the spot where the two sides of the skull are fused together. An assassin's move, surely.
COMBATSYS: Rochelle successfully hits Seori with Moonlight Butterfly.
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Rochelle 0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1 Seori
The motorcycle boot hits, but only barely, painfully scuffing layers of skin, but leaving bone and other vital organs intact.
It's at this point, with the strange tickling sensation of blood slipping down her forehead, eye socket, and cheek, that Seori realizes something.
"Y'know, I... kinda don't know your name. Not that I can really willingly give mine, but you probably know it anyway." It's a legit question, in Seori's mind.
It's also there to provide enough time to wind up her weapon for a second toss, only this time, that small, easily manipulated circlet has grown larger and larger in size, causing the arm swinging that chain to flex and strain with the very motion.
Hopefully Rochelle will get a chance to say her name before the absurdly large and heavy hoop is sent flying at her midsection.
COMBATSYS: Rochelle dodges Seori's Ryuusei Burst.
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Rochelle 1/-----==/=======|-------\-------\0 Seori
Rochelle spins to the ground with another 360 as her movement follows through, landing back in the same kneel she took off from. Cold sweat on her brow as red locks of dyed hair hang about her ivory face, she breathes heavily, feeling blood trickle out of the wound in her bosom she pulled the kunai out of, and the scorpion's sting of the remaining kunai in her gut, wrenching about as she fights.
As the hoop of scarf-hidden chain flies at her stomach, she whips up and about from the kneel and swings her bo staff into the scarf's way, knocking it to the side. She then swings her bo up in both hands, hands close together, and spins it about as she steps into Seori's deflected assault. She swings the metal rod right down at Seori's neck at a diagonal angle, aiming to catch her between her neck and collarbone.
COMBATSYS: Seori blocks Rochelle's Medium Strike.
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Rochelle 1/-----==/=======|=------\-------\0 Seori
"...!" Seori heaves a gasp as staff meets metal hoop. Her entire weapon falls back into fabric and gets pulled back, allowing Seori the chance to recoup and start anew.
Seeing the wince in Rochelle's face, the blood on her clothes, and the red hair spilling down her face, Seori realizes she's not looking all that much better. She'd be lucky to have enough energy for a noodle cup, let alone a proper dinner. Dad'll have to cook again, if he's not already spent from his work shift.
"... That's a pretty name." Her reply is soft, barely heard over the distant roar of traffic. It's a legit compliment, at least.
"Hmp!" Seori throws the double-pronged blade afr to the side of the Butterfly Woman now, pulling it to the side to widely swing around.
This fight'll end soon. It'll just depend on her ability to last a little longer to ensure who gets to walk away.
COMBATSYS: Seori successfully hits Rochelle with Hangetsudan.
[ \ < > /// ]
Rochelle 1/---====/=======|==-----\-------\0 Seori
Rochelle emits a harsh cat cry, as if she's hacking up something in her throat, as the scarf swings around from the side and the chain slams into her, knocking her to the side and wrapping around her. Trapped in Seori's grasp, her energy exitting her and her breathing rhythm breaking cycle, she emits a gasps and her eyes open wide, the kunai in her gut stabbing too deep with the wrap about her.
"You drive yourself with such persistence," she opines with an empty quality to her breath.
And then, Rochelle explodes into a flurry of swings with her bo staff, swinging from either angle with her hands, wrestling from within the scarf-chain's grasp, jamming the weapon back and forth, horizontally and diagonally, before she finally brings it down with both hands, from above, narrow and vertically. She bursts backwards after the reckless combination is discharged, falling because of the scarf and landing on her back, disabled and curling into a fetal position as blood slowly pools around her.
COMBATSYS: Rochelle can no longer fight.
[ \\\ <
COMBATSYS: Seori eludes Rochelle's Fibonacci Sequence.
[ \\\ <
The comment prompts a wan smile. "... I'd have no right to my true name if I didn't at least do that," Seori softly murmurs.
It may be the last thing Rochelle hears before she collapses, teal cloth wrapped infuriatingly around her.
She doesn't get to stay in that position long.
"...." Kneeling down, Seori quickly assesses Rochelle's injuries, checking for a pulse. "Okay." She could wrap up Rochelle's injuries here, but... there's a clinic not too far away from here. Even if she can barely stand herself, this was the path she chose to take. The scarf that served as Seori's weapon now becomes her tool, with the ninja carefully wrapping it around certain points of the assassin's body, in order to use it to help carry her on the young ninja's slightly bent back. It may feel like soft silk, but it would take on a load far more strenuous to unravel it.
Taking a sad look to the groceries lying in the snow. Seori shifts her grasp on the Butterfly Woman's upper legs and trudges forward, mixed blood dripping onto the snow.
Rochelle, when she wakes up later, will not find herself covered in blood and cold snow, but will be in the noisy white light of a clinic, warm and safe in a bed, her wounds bandaged by a nurse who's probably seen his share of ugly battle outcomes. The cost? Paid, but at least it's a fair amount. This clinic's not made for people with money.
Even if Rochelle comes after her again, well. Maybe that time Seori will learn to put her groceries down.
COMBATSYS: Seori takes no action.
[ \\\ <
COMBATSYS: Seori has ended the fight here.
Log created on 20:48:54 12/30/2016 by Rochelle, and last modified on 21:42:09 01/01/2017.