The Descent - Round 1 - City of the Dead

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Description: When the pride of the US Air Force and the cold hero of NOL grace the still, opulent avenues of Louisiana's Lafayette Cemetary, they shall grant its ghostly denizens a spectacle of brawn and swordsmanship for the ages.

In light of Jin Kisaragi's auspicious position in the Novus Orbis Librarium, his participation was deemed necessary. When an excellent pawn is still useful, why discard them?

However, he has had plenty to consider since the grand Rosalia hosted at Castle Alucard, and many questions remain unanswered. As Jin discovered the lies, the conspiracy that unwittingly revolved around him, and entire chapters missing from his life, his view of the Library only worsened. They have yet to realise that the Hero of Ikaruga in these great machinations has become self-aware.

He must establish his authority over Yukianesa...

But it's possible that the true Power of Order might continue to prove elusive.

The memory loss that was previously dismissed as the consequence of trauma is revisited, with Major Kisaragi hoping his advancement during the 'tournament' would yield some sort of an explanation. Relius, Hazama, or the current Imperator are all options; any of them would suffice...

Assuming Ragna the Bloodedge doesn't divert Jin's attention, that is.

Lafayette Cemetery is a complex network grid of marble and white stone, yet the grounds are perfectly innocuous, fitting for a gothic novel. He's immediately bored of his surroundings, but because standing for a long period makes him uneasy, Jin chooses to sit instead.

A wailing angel kneels behind him with exquisite pinions, every primary and secondary flight meticulously chiselled down to the most insignificant detail. Jin perches on her pedestal, unappreciative of the maiden's voluminous wingspan, providing shelter from the sun and even a respite from a little rain. Verdant eyes slowly glaze over, the heir-apparent staring off into the middle distance. It's impossible to say for how long.

One moment, he knew there was daylight, but then he's thrown into darkness. The necropolis takes on a completely different appearance at night, the passageways between each tomb teeming with eldritch fairylight. Jin can feel the Event Weapon stirring in his grip, its intrusive whispers reaching deep into his psyche. Fingers tighten against the emerald ito wrapping.

His motions are graceful, rhythmic, and beautiful, as if rising itself were a complicated number of steps in an intricate dance that he has memorised. Smoothing out the front of his uniform and eliminating any creases from the cloth to the best of his abilities, Jin casts his gaze around sharply. A gentle breeze playful rustles through his hair.

There's not much the young man can see, but there are clues of a presence other than his own...

William Guile is a man on a mission, but he is seldom not. While he is not a part of a web of intrigue as complex as that of Jin Kisaragi, though he has not been used a puppet of forces such as Relius Clover or the Imperator, and despite possibly being in over his head...Guile has a nose for trouble. Charlie Nash helped him develop that one.

And it's that same tendency to stick his nose where it doesn't belong that has brought the pilot to participate in The Descent. The man crosses Lafayette Cemetery with a steady step, his combat boots crunching across grass far too crunchy for a normal Southerneastern US summer. Something here seems just a bit ... off, doesn't it?

"Major Kisaragi. Novus Orbis Librarium. Hero of Ikaruga," Guile rolls his arm at the shoulder while bracing it with opposite palm as he walks. "I didn't expect to meet a celebrity and a war hero in the first round." He tilts his to one side at the neck, then the other. "I'm just that lucky I guess." His deadpan delivery implies otherwise.

"William Guile. United States Air Force. I won't waste your time with questions or asking for autographs. Let's have a good match."

Guile slips into a his fighting stance, raising both fists and hunkering down slightly in a boxer's stance or something like one.


Ah, a man.

Larger than him as is often the case, the Major's slight figure doesn't make a very menacing comparison. He pivots at the sound of Guile's voice, sight grasping at enough light to narrow in suspicious scrutiny. The American is a stranger, yet no towering shadow nor hideous brush hair can match the reputation that precedes Jin. With apparent disdain, his mouth curls.

From the relaxed tempo of the colonel's cadence to how they should engage in combat, they are entirely different individuals. Jin disregards civility and its offerings, his frigid demeanour leading him to a courtyard that illuminates on cue, forming some sort of ghostly pale perimeter. His expression becomes uglier, mocking the perfectly carved features that many would covet. "All who stand in my way shall be cut down by Yukianesa's frozen blade. You might not live to regret this, but I shall attempt to remember your name for the sake of posterity."

How nice.

Once used to fell a Black Beast, Kisaragi interposes the Nox Nyctores between them, habaki collar barely peeking as he releases the blade from its saya. A single draw is all it takes for an expert in Iaijutsu to deliver a fatal blow, and he just happens to be one of the most recognised practitioners in the world. Only the ignorant would approach Jin carelessly...

But he doesn't demonstrate his extraordinary skills or prowess, at least not as a swordsman.

Moisture is syphoned from the air they breathe, from beads of perspiration cooling on the skin, and even the earth underfoot. He wields the element that corresponds to his personality on several levels, with the particles icing over to the point where the collective whole resembles a vehicle, practically a motorbike. The cryomancer throws his leg over the 'seat' and takes off like a shot, his semi-attached sleeves trailing behind him like a knightly banner, straight into a crash collision course with Guile.

COMBATSYS: Jin Kisaragi has started a fight here.

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Jin Kisaragi     0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Guile has joined the fight here.

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Guile            0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0     Jin Kisaragi

COMBATSYS: Jin Kisaragi successfully hits Guile with Musou Senshouzan.

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Guile            0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0     Jin Kisaragi

If there's one thing Guile has learned by now, it's that sight is a poor indicator of danger in the fighting world. Big things come in small packages, as the tired adage goes. And sometimes? Sometimes there's what Guile calls "magic bullshit."

This is one of those moments.

The mount sculptured from the very moisture in the air slams into Guile before he can properly getting his footing, throwing him to the ground as he narrowly avoids smashing right into a nearby gravemaker. Instead his palm slaps heavily against it, digging into the moss as he tries to get his bearings and get back on his feet.

"Hmph. I suppose I should be flattered."

Guile is suddenly on the move, shoving out of his crouch and off the tombstone into a lunging knee. He goes in low and fast, his movements favoring efficiency and power instead of flair. Charlie taught him well in this regard at least.

COMBATSYS: Jin Kisaragi fails to interrupt Knee Bazooka from Guile with Fubuki.
- Power fail! -

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Guile            0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0     Jin Kisaragi

At the last second, just as the features of the American are cast in sharp relief and his blue eyes are visible to Jin by the light of luminescence of their shared battlefield, he pulls his legs beneath himself and launches into a full backflip. It carries the sword-wielding cryokinetic not fifteen feet, the sleeves of his regulation attire floating down around him while his knees bend to cushion the elegant landing, nary a fair, featherlight strand out of place.

He learns quickly what has become of his opponent, Major Kisaragi affording an inkling of a cruel smirk. The repetitive command to 'kill' spins around in his mind, a sweet siren song that lures him to descend into bloody madness, but this is why he's here... Looking away to shake his head, freeing himself from the influence of the Arch-Enemy, time is precious...

And unforgiving.

Guile hits like a truck, and he's definitely powerful, because while the crystalline blade of Yukianesa flashes to make an appearance, snowflakes swirling in its wake, Jin is overwhelmed by force. Attempts to mount a defence are suppressed, the strike burying deeply albeit briefly into his stomach, his guts compressed inside of him to the point where he's thankful he had nothing to eat beforehand. The slender young man winces, cringing, swallowing bile, hunched as he stumbles a step or two. Twin orbs of brilliant emerald burn with a fierce intensity, which is eventually directed at the cause of his current discomfort.

Jin does recover, his arm protectively wrapped around his abdomen, fingers loosely hovering at the tsuka of the Japanese-style long katana. Watching, waiting, the successor to one of the great families of the Duodecim remains silent.

Guile doesn't linger after his knee meets the other man's middle. Instead, the soldier draws back, digging his boot heel into the earth and kicking back with a single short hop to widen the gap between them once again. In that moment there's tension, gritted teeth, the soft squeak of bone in his clenched fists. Even so, his mentor's words ring back to him, reminding him not to be reckless. Not to overextend. This was a warning often underlined with just what happens when one leaves an opening against the USAF's best.

But instead Guile draws back and tightens his guard, his drab tank clinging tightly to his chest as he does. He steps left, then right, watching his footing to keep his defenses tight. He steps forward suddenly and throws a swift, straight punch, clearly testing the Hero of Ikaruga again. The flat-topped blond's eyes dart to Yukianesa like a trainer watching a wild animal and expecting an attack.

COMBATSYS: Jin Kisaragi just-defends Guile's Medium Punch!

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Guile            0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0     Jin Kisaragi

Momentum is a fickle friend. Just when Guile might think he's created an opening, seeking to capitalise on it before the moment passes, Jin rallies in response. The living weapon exhales breaths of mist, but were there a purpose to this, it's certainly not made easy to discern. He catches the fist against the scabbard of his sword, tremors as far reaching as his shoulders, Yukianesa suddenly breaking apart...

It's like the majority of the toshin had ceased to exist...

There's nothing to fear after Jin separates the saya from the pommel, right?


His brute strength compares to the American colonel, the lean muscles of his biceps bulging in an effort to shove the larger man off his guard. Kisaragi's reach is abysmal using the tsuka alone, yet he insists on pointing it at Guile, threatening him with the empty habaki collar. What a farce.

.. Up until the pops of thermal differences alert one to the growing concern of the blade, seithr energy lent to the process of forging itself to its full length.

Jin does not hesitate. At the widening of his own bright green eyes, he takes that as a signal, launching from the ground. His every intention guides him forward, the move similar to a riposte in fencing, but lacking in the parry that precedes it. Step aside, or be run through.

COMBATSYS: Guile dodges Jin Kisaragi's Unbalancing Draw.

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Guile            0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0     Jin Kisaragi

Guile's knuckles impact with the scabbard, pressing against the scabbard, pushing back briefly. Guile scowls, plants his foot, and pushes back off with a single long backstep out of the push. The soldier doesn't stumble, despite Jin's deceptive strength, instead compensating in a moment's notice by a tactical withdrawal.

But this only lasts for so long as soon Jin is shifting to aggression, dthe signal firing, the riposte thrown with a well-honed precision of both time and angle. Guile's eyes widen as he ducks, bending his knees to go under the blow like a boxer moving in close. His breath fogs from the proximity to the cold, his eyes narrowing again.

And then Guile weaves back again. Both arms extend to the sides, then muscle cuts through the air like a knife, yellow-energy gathering like contrails. "Sonic..."

"BOOM!" The two contrails meet in the middle, twisting and warping around each other into a spinning propellor-like blade of yellow chi.

COMBATSYS: Jin Kisaragi dodges Guile's Sonic Boom.

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Guile            0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0     Jin Kisaragi

Hardly the type to underestimate his opponent, where most would have reacted to an outright dodge of their attack, Major Kisaragi accepts it as he would breath, the sun, and the rain. The bladed edge of the Event Weapon whistles, its course altered, slid home to where it belongs in its scabbard. Tsuba and koiguchi kept a hair's breadth apart, they are like lovers to be reunited, so close and yet so far.

Jin turns harshly, scarring their battlefield with his infantry boots and ripping up the grass by the roots. His beautiful face lifts, devoid of all emotion as he exudes a coldness that is arrogant and apathetic in equal measure. Yukianesa clicks in warning, knocking around gently in its saya...

The most ridiculous thing about bellowing attack names is how it broadcasts intention and dictates expectation. While Jin wasn't certain what a Sonic Boom could be, he assumes wind conductivity, maybe explosions...

It's kinda right, but not.

What looks like a buzzing chi saw of yellow energy is two halves of a whole, chasing each other in a circle eternally. They are propelled forward and directly at him. Verdant orbs seem preoccupied with the rotation, but what he's actually doing in his head is measuring the speed, distance, and gauging the timing. When Jin takes a step, it is purposeful.

A glimmering cleaves them in twain, faster than the eye can see. Jin's pose is his arm hoisted in the air, the Arch-Enemy reaching for even greater heights above, lethally looming as if it were the metaphorical Sword of Damocles. The Duodecim son stands amidst small earthen bursts, but the colonel's energy digs deep until it fades away. He vents a snort, unimpressed.

Swift and merciless, using the balls of his feet to twirl in place, while the cold-forged toshin appears to be the worrisome part, actually he draws his knee into his chest and chambers a kick that'll snap the American's whole head back. Kisaragi hopes that the combination of his flowing sleeves and his Nox Nyctores will be a sufficient enough distraction...

COMBATSYS: Guile interrupts Light Kick from Jin Kisaragi with Sonic Blade EX.

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Guile            0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0     Jin Kisaragi

Guile watches the buzzing saw of chi as it shoots toward Jin, evaded--no, cut in twain with one fell swoop. The pilot's eyes widen, but he keeps his cool with a reaction that's reduced to a simple response:


But then the beating of cloth against the wind and Jin's change in position forces the American back on the defensive, drawing into a crouch and tightening his guard. Biceps tense. Fists clench. Guile's hair starts to billow, slightly, but only slightly. That special order styling gel seems to be made of sturdy stuff.

But then the why makes itself known as energy ripples around his fists, lingering powering from the earlier Sonic Boom given a surging second wind. Guile snaps his arms together and generates a quick, spinning burst of power--a bit like before, but lingering in place to intercept Jin as his target withdraws to reassess.

Chi tears up the front of Jin and his military uniform, with the circular saw shockwave bursting mostly on the regions of his upper chest, remnants as far reaching as his clavicle. He's surprised to be wounded, uncertain if that was a bite into flesh, but the black material of the catsuit beneath outer layers separates by a sliver, exposing alabaster skin that is marked. It boils angrily at the junction of the neck and shoulder.

Guile doesn't escape, not entirely. Somewhere during the violent exchange, the kicking Major had felt a bit of pressure in the sole of his boot. Was that body or an arm? The ability to differentiate between them is impossible even to a seasoned officer like Jin.

The fair haired younger man rocks back a few paces, every featherlight strand fluttering gently before settling like a golden frame fit to a stunning canvas. Jin was once unblemished, beautiful perfection, but now he shows signs of fatigue and battle, his hold on the Japanese court sword tightening, ito wrapping around the tsuka creaking. Yukianesa's blade catches the perimeter's limited illumination, images of the tombs and mausoleums distorted reflections upon its toshin.

What does Jin Kisaragi, the Hero of Ikaruga, intend to do, a harmless stab penetrating the ground at his feet? Two 'screws' on either side of the guard turn of their own accord, cold steam hissing out...

A bassy pulse thrums throughout the cemetery, an earthen heartbeat that connects Jin to his opponent. The dead are disturbed, and skeletal remains can be heard faintly snapping if one were to listen closely. As the temperature plummets, all breath becomes a misty apparition.

Kisaragi eventually must kneel down, his arms straining due to exertion. It finally culminates in a yawning chasm, opening up right behind Colonel Guile, and rising from the depths is a magnificent broadsword nearly eleven feet tall. Completely constructed by the very element the cryokinetic commands, the chilled wind heeds his siren call. Pieces splinter in elegant branches of icy coral while frozen blocks protuberate in the grass.

To be hit is to freeze solid, trapped within a crystal prison which then shatters. Jin savagely yanks his katana free, tipping the kissaki into the waiting mouth of the saya. The noise as the Event Weapon is sheathed is ever so satisfying...

But he needs to advance in this tournament, jaw firming and white rows of teeth pressed so tightly together they ache. His vibrant verdant eyes maintain focus, the lean form of the Kisaragi successor exuding quiet determination and subtle resentment.

COMBATSYS: Jin Kisaragi successfully hits Guile with Reitou.
# Disabling hit! #

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Guile            1/----===/=======|=======\-------\1     Jin Kisaragi

Guile rubs his palm against the point of impact after breaking away from Jin, having avoided the worst of the blow, but certainly not all of it. It was a gamble, for certain, but one that seemed to have favored him in the trade.It is a hollow victory, however, in light of what follows.

Blade meets earth, and Guile steels himself, cautious. He twists his heels, digging his boots in expectantly to prepare for an incoming assault. What will come? Guile runs half a dozen scenarios through his head, trying to visualize. Trying to capture the possibility of what might happen. He scowls in consternation, lacking the same cool, almost effortless concentration of his mentor. Charlie Nash is much better at assessing a situation with a purely logical standpoint, biding his time, then going in. William Guile prefers swift, decisive aggressive action.

And when he steps forward to deliver it, he does so slightly too soon.

The broadsword of rime and cold rips from the earth, and Guile is suddenly back on the defensive---but not fast enough. He desperately slams his forearm against the blade to try and redirect, force meeting force as it digs deeply into his arm but he falls to meaningfully change its course. There's no blood drawn, right away, the cold slowing the flow, the even without it the ice spreads, twisting and biting through the soldier and he is slowly, gradually encased in ice.

The ice lingers intact briefly before it starts to crack, splinter, and then shatter away from him. Pieces linger from having punched through his skin and ripped through the olive drab fabrics of his uniform, but Guile doesn't go down--yet, at least. He exhales deeply, breath palpably heavy as it pours out in a small cloud.

But then he's on the move again, lunging forward the Hero of Ikaruga. He surges forward, then goes down, dropping to his knees as though he overextended himself shortly after the thaw. As he palms meet the ground, however, Guile pushes back, launching forward again. The tip boot slides through the earth as yellow chi coalesces into a blade and Guile flips into the air, kicking off into a somersault.

Then another, then another.

Three yellow blades of chi erupt in his wake before the soldier drops into an awkward landing, still breathing heavily.

COMBATSYS: Jin Kisaragi just-defends Guile's Flash Explosion!

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Guile            0/-------/---<<<<|=======\-------\1     Jin Kisaragi

Jin has a steely visage, reluctant to entertain Yukianesa's murderous whisperings lest that it be his undoing. Only a third-rate person licks his lips in front of his prey. While Guile briefly experiences encapsulation within the ice coffin, his aggressor shows no initiative to help or hinder progress. Even when it falls apart as it was intended, not a single hand is lifted or word is spoken.

The American colonel reminds Kisaragi of a cornered animal, perhaps at his most dangerous...

He had siblings who seemed the same, except once met with the business end of the sword meant to slay legendary beasts, they crumbled. Their arrogance was unjustified, and their terror repulsed him...

Neither of these emanate from Guile.

Raising the cerulean scabbard, interposing it again between them, his aura writhes, a force of its own as the power the cryomancer wields appears to simmer in the air around him. His larger opponent steps in, beginning with a flash kick in close proximity. The trailing ray of golden light sets his skin aglow, the contrast of colours against Jin's jade green eyes forming a short union.

A dismembered limb hits the dirt.

Not one of actual flesh and blood, but merely a crude construct that barely resembles it.

His shifting backwards reserves the space for the wall that suddenly exists, which Guile is free to mercilessly brutalise at his leisure and convenience. However, the height he achieves through his successive series of jumps is impressive. Jin may have tried to enlist the Air Force operative or at the very least proposed the change of employers if he had been the loyal, enthusiastic soldier the Library desired, like that revolting garbage Noel Vermillion.


"Is that it, then?" Mellifluous notes belie undertones of cruel derision, because why would anything Kisaragi says be remotely complimentary? He's a living testament to the fact that Good, while highly subjective and often interpreted depending on where one stands, is Not Nice. Decorated with titles from heir to the Hero of Ikaruga, the reports clearly failed to disclose that Jin is some kind of super asshole.

Unable to defrost naturally and of its own afford, the Major smashes through the barrier. His semi-attached sleeves are chased by glistening shards of diamond dust, the chilling winter wind ruffling over his hair. Kisaragi transforms into a whirlwind of movement, almost frantically vacillating between precision swordsmanship and hard sheath bludgeoning. Swirls of snow obfuscate, but make no mistake, they are not harmless. The freezing cold blankets the most obvious of escape routes; the mist is full of shards that stab like needles...

And to go another way is stepping directly into Jin's wheelhouse of Iaijutsu rapid slashes...

COMBATSYS: Jin Kisaragi dazes Guile with Sekkajin!
- Power hit! -

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Guile            1/-----<</<<<<<<<|=======\-------\1     Jin Kisaragi

"What." The ice decoy catches Guile off guard as it breaks under pressure, crumbling away like powered snow. Guile pivots on his palm and turns around to try and move, to adjust and compensate. He left only a modest opening in the first place, but the biting chill, the lingering ice all sticks to Guile as though it were chewing through to the bone. He exhales sharply again, breath condensed, slipping through gritted teeth.

But he is too slow, too sluggish to move as blow after withering blow rips into him, blade and sheath, a flurry of strikes so fast they can barely be seen. The blood does not flow freely only because of the sheer cold holding it back like molasses.

But Guile does not go down immediately. Instead, the colonel surges with power, swinging both arms inward to unleash a beating hurricane of yellow chi that wraps around him entirely like a giant buzzsaw with the soldier himself at the eye of it. It whips around, sustained, briefly, before it gives out as the man himself does, falling to the ground and landing on the cold earth.

The blood flows ever so slowly away from him as he gradually gains enough heat for it to move more freely.

COMBATSYS: Guile can no longer fight.

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Jin Kisaragi     1/-------/=======|

COMBATSYS: Jin Kisaragi blocks Guile's Sonic Hurricane.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Jin Kisaragi     1/-----==/=======|

He attacks, and attacks, and attacks. Relentless in his pursuit, if Guile falls back, Jin advances on him. There is nowhere to go...

Nowhere that a sword isn't swinging at every angle...

When his hand is finally stayed, it is not through mercy but the rigid conformity to his training, meaning each purposeful action has a point of beginning and end. Jin Kisaragi seeks a wide berth to whip the artefact around, flinging off the congealed bits of blood icily. He sheaths Yukianesa, elegantly long fingers poised half of an inch above the tsuka...

And so the wartime hero waits.

Not for more than a minute, but patiently all the same.

Guile charges up, his powerful form flexing as it draws upon the mystical energies of the world, converting them to an oppressive physical promise of retribution. The Major's pupils narrow sharply, but then he's engulfed. Trapped, directly in the centre of a ring of wild winds, its rotational force pulling him towards the parts that are bound to wreck Jin's entire evening.

Razor-thin lines cut themselves into him, a darkened trickle dribbling down the side of Kisaragi's beautiful face like a crimson tear. He shields his body more than anything else, particularly the sword-wielding arm, but the Library officer's military attire fares poorly. A semi-attached sleeve drifts in ratty tatters, his shoulder pieces entirely non-existent.

The passing seconds are an eternity during the barrage, however, once Jin breaks free, he lurches through the remnants already with the Nox Nyctores gleaming...

To stop.

Yukianesa clicks loudly and conclusively, and if his expressions from before were considered unpleasant, they cannot compare to the current sneer the Kisaragi successor chooses to wear. "Clearly I gave you too much credit, but you're worthless," His smooth tenor is a subtle knife, stabbing at the ego with extreme prejudice. "Killing you would be nothing but a waste of my time."

Pivoting on his heel, Jin strides out of the perimeter of their scarred battlefield, his dull footfalls all the indication that he's leaving once his slender frame is swallowed by the darkness. It moves as if originating from him, but soon the sources of light and illumination are doused, and Guile is alone.

COMBATSYS: Jin Kisaragi takes no action.

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Jin Kisaragi     1/-----==/=======|

COMBATSYS: Jin Kisaragi has ended the fight here.

Log created on 19:35:51 07/13/2022 by Jin Kisaragi, and last modified on 18:06:25 08/10/2022.