If I Have To Be Haunted Readalong: Day 2!

Wonderful photo by @bookish_archive

Hello fairies!

Happy Tuesday and welcome to day 2 of our readalong of If I Have To Be Haunted by Miranda SunI’m so excited to be reading this one with you, I hope you all love it!

That was quite the exciting but sinister start yesterday, wasn’t it? 

 I hope you’re all enjoying it so far!

Today we’re reading from chapter 8 to the end of chapter 13. Let’s do this!

When you’ve finished today’s section, catch up with me in the comments down below so we can discuss the beginning of the book. Happy reading!

Please be warned, the following section will include spoilers for If I Have To Be Haunted by Miranda Sun from Chapter 8 to Chapter 13. Please only read on if you have finished this section!


We start with a stunning depiction of the Wildwoods as they head towards Zach’s body: “Depressions in the forest floor had birthed infant puddles, feathery crimson leaves floating at the bottoms like wet fire. Iridescent beetles scuttled out of the wood chips; and hidden from sight, and birds called out to each other replacing the storm’s song with their own. The smell of pine rose from the needle-strewn soil, saturating her senses with a dizzying scent.” Do you guys love the writing as much as I do? It gives you a very clear picture of the setting making it very atmospheric.

During their trek to the clearing, they discover that it is new and the Wildwoods have changed somehow. They approach Zach’s body and Laolao borrows some of Cara’s strength by holding onto her since she is an amplifier; to cast a spell to hide, preserve and protect Zach’s body. She then also teaches Cara the words she would need to remove the barrier should they be successful in finding the antidote. We also learn from Cara’s grandmother that all forests bear magic but the Wildwoods has a mind of it’s own, as well as the fact anyone who has some form of magical ability can learn and practice spells such as the one she used. Powerful enough ghost speakers could also be capable of creating what would be considered a ‘Zombie’.

As they approach Cara’s house Laolao suggests Zach stay there with them and mentions that she knew his grandfather and owed him a debt. Cara asks her grandmother how she knows so much about the Signet Snake to which she replies that it is just a personal interest of hers. But as Cara demands to know more eventually she reveals the real reason is because many years ago she had a friend who had been bitten by the Signet Snake; she spent days trying to find answers to no avail. Laolao is also wondering why the snake chose Zach but also tells Cara not to be too hopeful about saving him. I want to know who her friend was and what happened… It can’t be a coincidence that out of all places in the world, the Signet Snake shows up in Autumn Falls again and Cara is now experiencing a similar situation to her Grandmother. What do you think?

The next morning Cara is abruptly awoken by Zach blaring an air horn in her bedroom. Honestly, I would have been just as mad if I was Clara so her throwing that pillow is justified in my eyes. It also turns out that it is snowing which is very unusual as Autumn Falls never gets snow until December. Could this be a bad omen of sorts or related to something strange going on?

“When she looked at him, it was like getting caught in a winter wind: exhilaration thrilling her veins, the force so strong she could barely breathe.” I think our main girly might have a crush on Zach without even realising it. OR, could it be something more? The red string of fate perhaps that was mentioned in yesterday’s reading? 👀 

We find out that in the past Cara’s grandmother had defeated a guy who was ‘basically a supervillain’ named Ambrose; an ambitious ghost speaker who hadn’t been satisfied with magic and wanted more. He was the only one who ever came close to rivalling Laolao’s powers, but with his fiancee who could amplify his abilities he was nearly unstoppable. He had sent out to build an army of zombies and to control the living as well as the dead. I have to admit this Ambrose guy sounds like a terrifying villain – I do not like zombies. However with the help of a few magical families, Laolao was able to take care of the amplifier and consequently, Ambrose vanished, never to be seen again. Do you think Ambrose might have a part to play in Cara and Zach’s story? I hope not!

Cara and Zach spend some time up in the attic amongst Laolao’s books and find a page glued down in a book. Eventually they get to the hidden page and learn that the ‘Analyx’ flower may be in a cave known as Midnight’s peak in Autumn Falls, and they make a plan to go there. Later that evening they arrive at the cave and head inside to try and find the flower. They find a yellowed piece of paper hiding under a rock which turns out to be a letter to Ambrose from somebody called ‘R’. However, whilst distracted by the letter they did not hear the snake approach or its hiss until it was too late.

Several steps behind them is a white serpent blocking the exit of the cave; about six or eight feet long, with bared fangs. Suddenly Zach appears in front of Cara brandishing a stalactite like a sword shouting “Like hell you’re touching her.” okayyyy that is very cute even in this situation. He obviously cares about her and wants to protect her!

Then there is the sound of laughter and the snake morphs itself into a man. In a blur it moves and is suddenly behind Cara, a hand clamped over her mouth and something sharp and cold angled between her ribs. It then speaks to Zach saying it is impressed that he managed to find a ghost speaker, meaning this is the Signet Snake that bit Zach. It also reveals that it killed the author of the letter they just read. We then find out that the Signet Snake is an Ouroboros known as ‘Kingsbane’ who has toppled thrones with a single bite, bringing death everywhere it went. It means to kill Cara so that she cannot help Zach and ruin his plans, but then Cara bites his hand sending the ring it wears on its finger to the ground. Cara swallows the blood from its hand and it begins to morph back into a snake. She grabs the ring from the ground and they take off to the exit of the cave, the snake following them. Cara guesses the ring is some form of magic which can make the Signet Snake human and proposes a trade; the ring in exchange for information on the antidote. The snake agrees and tells them they have to find his other half, his antithesis, and that her venom is the antidote. “She can be found at the end of the ancient river, the first river. The water that connects the lands of the liminal world.” She realises that this is the creek in the clearing. The snake gives her a mark that allows her to pass through the liminal world and tells her that his blood is poisonous and dangerous after she ingested it when she bit him.

As they leave the cave Zach has gone transparent meaning things are getting getting worse and they need to find the antidote sooner rather than later. Cara tells him he didn’t have to protect her and he shrugs it off and says he had to protect the ghost speaker who will save him. Cara believes this – blatant to me – lie and it cements her loathing toward him. However, I suspect in that moment that never even crossed his mind and all he wanted was to protect her. I am sensing a he fell first vibe and that he has always liked Cara. Anyone else?

At six am the next morning Cara gets up to pack food she will need for the week-long quest she is about to embark on to find the antidote, whilst Zach waits for her in the Wildwoods. She also mentions that she awoke feeling hot and could feel the snake’s blood and magic in her body. I wonder what will happen to her as a result. Will it enhance her powers or slowly kill her?

Cara tells her friends she is going to China to see a sick aunt so they won’t wonder where she is as well as telling the same lie to everyone else whilst leaving a letter for both her mother and Laolao who she hasn’t seen for a few days. As she is about to walk out the door her mother catches her with the note in her fist. They begin to argue over Cara deciding to help Zach and embrace her gifts; harsh words are spoken before her mother turns her back on Cara and leaves her.

She heads to the Wildwoods in a sombre mood and meets Zach to begin their journey to the clearing. Zach asks what Liminal means and she explains “Liminality concerns thresholds. Boundaries. It’s where things transition from one state to another. Where things change. They affect your mind, emotions and decisions. They unsettle you because they’re not permanent.” He then asks what the liminal world is since that’s their destination and we learn that there are pockets of land where soil takes up a little more magic, where strange things grow: crossroads. Where it’s easy to slide from life to death. And that they are like stitches and they thread the fabric of the world and the liminal river where the other snake is connects them all. They arrive at the creek within the clearing and together hold hands and step into the dark.

They find themselves in a new place with a building named ‘Mortmanagers Emporium’ and decide to head inside. After looking around and not finding anyone or any information Zach decides to head into the back to find the manager. Clara then sees a book on the counter and stares at the title which then has her leaping over the counter to find Zach and leave immediately. As she crashes into him the lightbulb goes off and they find themselves upside down suspended in heavy black nylon. It turns out the book is about cannibalism and the owner of the store is a cannibal and they walked right into their trap. Suddenly a man appears and ignoring their pleas to be let out, pulls a lever that puts them into a cage whilst licking his lips. He also remarks that he can see Zach’s ghost too and he plans to eat them both.

Stuck in the cage they begin to bicker with one another and are at a loss on how to escape, Zach is unable to phase through as it appears to be spelled. Then Zach comes up with an idea to use a hair pin from Cara to pick the lock which works. They escape out of the cage and then hatch a plan to tackle the man and lock him in the cage. As he enters the room finding the cage empty, Zach launches himself and tries to tackle him but the man has fast reflexes and rolls with him. He then takes his cane, twisting the handle so that steel claws emerge from one end, and drives it into Zach’s chest which has him shouting in pain. Cara runs into the shop to grab the rope she saw earlier only to find it wriggling of its own accord in her hands. She then flings it and it wraps around the man sending him crashing to the ground. They get him strapped to a chair and ask him why he as a ghost speaker would eat ghosts. Mr. Mortmanger laughs exclaiming that he isn’t a ghost speaker. Cara then realises he is using a magical sort of device to have the ability to see ghosts; glasses and a hearing device which Zach confiscates. They then ask him how they can find the Signet Snake and he informs them that there are many doorways in the liminal world and you cannot control which ones the river will take you through. He then points at a brochure detailing all the aspects of the liminal world including a map. They call the police and leave him tied to the chair, stepping outside overlooking a peaceful blue river.

What do we think Fairies, have they secretly liked each other for some time but been in denial?

What do you make of Signet Snake? Why did he choose to bite Zach?

Do we think Ambrose might make an appearance at some point?

I’m having so much fun and cannot wait to read more tomorrow! I hope you’re all enjoying it too!



32 thoughts on “ If I Have To Be Haunted Readalong: Day 2!

  1. I feel like at least one of them has secretly liked the other… it is probably Zach and he has just been in massive denial about it. Like the way he was already so protective of her before he even died.

    I feel like Zach was bitten because of the whole humans who think they’re larger than life thing. Or maybe because the snake could sense he was close to a ghost speaker?

    I think this definitely isn’t the last time that we will be hearing of Ambrose.. Like maybe with magic he was preserved or we will hear more about how he was defeated.

    I can’t wait to keep reading tomorrow the vibes are everything!

    1. I wonder if Laolao’s friend was actually a lover and the story is repeating for Cara and Zach?

      1. Oo I really like that idea like maybe that’s why she is saying to not get too attached…

      2. A very interesting theory! 💜

  2. I didn’t know where this book was going but I wasn’t expecting them to end up in a cannibals kitchen. I’m here for the chaotic vibes.

    I think Zach secretly like her, it’s giving me classic pretend they hate each other to hide actual feelings.

    I wonder how Cara’s grandma knew Zach’s grandpa and if there is a link there between her interests in the snake. Not sure why he chose to bite Zach though.

    Ambrose is definitely going to play a bigger part in the story, the letter is intriguing as it sounds like someone he loved was bitten by the snake and he was unable to save them. I’m worried for Cara though as it said something about being willing to die for them.

    I’m really enjoying this book, can’t wait to read the next section

  3. I think they are both attracted to each other but I think he fell first and that was a while ago. Yesterday’s chapters already gave that vibe a bit but how he jumped to defend her clearly was about more then her being ghost speaker. Also why she was so hurt about his comment on that situation.

    It seems a bit suspicious that the signet snake bit him when he was on his way to meet to ghost speaker. Also grandmother’s friend got bitten too.

    I’m a bit confused if I got it right but Cara’s grandmother “took care of” Ambrose’s fiance to syop him but in the cave we found a letter from that assumed fiance which makes it seem like she was bitten by the signet snake and Ambrose was looking for the antidote? And the grandmother had a friend once that was bitten too? Could it be the same person, the fiance? But then clearly something with those stories doesn’t add up.

  4. What do we think Fairies, have they secretly liked each other for some time but been in denial?
    I’m not sure. Right now I’m reading it more from Clara’s perspective that she’s always thought Zach was hot, deep down, but it’s through this story that she’s getting to know him enough to truly like him. Less sure from Zach’s perspective!

    What do you make of Signet Snake? Why did he choose to bite Zach?
    I’m not sure exactly, but I still think there’s something about Zach we haven’t been made privvy to yet – something he’s keeping secret. Clara said there were other kinds of magic, so maybe something like that?

    Do we think Ambrose might make an appearance at some point?

  5. What do we think Fairies, have they secretly liked each other for some time but been in denial?
    I think Zach liked Cara but Cara just seems jealous of his upbringing. I think she secretly likes him and is in denial but she doesn’t want to like him due to who he is.

    What do you make of Signet Snake?
    Do we think Ambrose might make an appearance at some point?
    Could the snake be Ambrose and the second snake be Ambrose partner / ghost speaker. Is this how Loaloa stopped them by turning them
    Into snakes??

    Why did he choose to bite Zach?
    – I’m still thinking this has something to do with loaloa- she made Cara remember the spell then disappeared.
    Maybe the person she knew who was bitten was Cara’s dad and she made a promise to her mother to find the antidote and that’s her broken promise. Maybe she wants to try and force Cara to use her powers as she’s not got long left as a ghost and she needs Cara to take over.

  6. Ok… that section took a very strange direction! This is not at all how I thought it would be!

    100% Zach and Cara have liked each other this whole time. It’s so obvious, I want to bang their heads together!

    Not exactly sure what to think about the Signet Snake situation or the Mr Mortmanger part either for that matter! I think I’m still in shock! I will say I am interested to see how it all plays out though.

    Yup I think Ambrose will be making another appearance soon, I hope so anyway, I feel like I need to know more.

    1. It also took me by surprise, so much action!

  7. Zach has definitely liked Cara for some time, that much is a given. I just love the banter between the two of them, their banter is top notch.

    I also love Cara’s friendship group and their interactions in the group chat! Reminds me of the kind of nonsense me and my girlies chat about 🤣

    I am dying to know where Laolao has disappeared too?! Something not quite right there. Also, I hope we find out more about the debt she believes to be in regarding Zach’s grandfather? Does this link to the signet snake at all or the reason Zach was bitten in the first place? There has to be more of a story there.

    My theories are absolute nonsense but I am really looking forward to reading more tomorrow and start seeing how things unfold!

  8. Well that certainly took a turn I didn’t expect!
    I’m really curious about this whole Ambrose thing and certainly think we’ll be hearing about him again.
    I think Zach may have had a crush on her for a while- the fact that he said about “all the ways I could have imagined of getting trapped in a tight space with you, this is definitely not in my top ten.” I’m like 👀👀👀👀 eeeekkkkk!! And he got so protective too 😍

    I’m so curious about what happened between her mum and grandma, what history her Gran has with Zachs family and I think the writing is just beautiful 😻

    1. Me too, although I’m already scared of Ambrose! And honestly, I had the same reaction to that line too hehe! I love them. 💜

  9. I hope Zach has liked her for longer than he’d care to admit. When he threw himself in front of her to save her from the snake, I know he wants to live and all, but I don’t think that was a selfish action, I think he genuinely didn’t want her hurt and I’m here for it!

    It must have been on purpose that he was chosen, I don’t think such a powerful being would kill at random. But why him? I think Cara’s grandmother mentioned something to do with Zach’s dad, so could that be related as to why he was chosen?

    I don’t think Ambrose would have been mentioned if they weren’t important to the story, so it’s likely they’re gonna show up. In what way however, i don’t know.

  10. 1) It wouldn’t surprise me if Zach liked Cara…having been inside Cara’s mind, not sure it’s mutual haha.

    2) I feel like that snake is the weirdest part of the story, but that may be because the idea of getting bitten by a snake is truly terrifying to me.

    3) I bet! I feel like Laolao’s past is coming back to haunt Cara. Where is she anyway?

  11. What do we think Fairies, have they secretly liked each other for some time but been in denial?

    I think Zach has secretly liked Cara for awhile he was very protective over her for someone he supposedly hated.

    What do you make of Signet Snake? Why did he choose to bite Zach?

    I think we haven’t seen the last of the snidget snake I think he had something up his sleeve and that’s why he let Zach and Cara go. He said he choose Zach because he was rich and arrogant but I think there’s more to the story than just that. I’m guessing maybe something happened with his ancestors and the snake.

    Do we think Ambrose might make an appearance at some point?

    I think Ambrose will make an appearance he’s been mentioned to much for him not to. He also seems to play a vital role with the snidget snake because of his lover (or I’m assuming that’s her relation) was bitten by a snidget and wasn’t able to save her according to her note.

  12. What do we think Fairies, have they secretly liked each other for some time but been in denial?
    I can definitely see Zach having liked/currently liking Cara first. And I hope he falls first (and falls hard)!

    What do you make of Signet Snake? Why did he choose to bite Zach?
    I’m suspicious of Ambrose and the Snake man potentially being the same person? We know from the letter that the a lover “R” was bitten and dying, I suspect R is the same “amplifier” that Laolao mentioned being Ambrose’s partner. I also suspect that Laolao might not have been so heroic in her battle against Ambrose many years ago…

    Do we think Ambrose might make an appearance at some point?
    Definitely! He seems like he might be a potential big bad? There needs to be someone pulling the strings for all the weirdness happening in Autumn Falls and targeting the granddaughter/ghost speaker of the person that has defeated him before would make sense

  13. My guesses: 1) the black Signet Snake, Ambrose, Laolao, & the Signet Snake’s antithesis (white) = 2 entities, not 4, 2) Laolao saying,” Your sight is the greatest power, xiaogui. The greatest thing I could ever give you. Your mother didn’t understand that, but I know you will,” sounds like she foresaw something like this happening. Wow, cannibal – didn’t see that coming.
    Daily Q&A:
    1.) What do we think Fairies, have they secretly liked each other for some time but been in denial?
    2.) What do you make of Signet Snake? Why did he choose to bite Zach?
    3.) Do we think Ambrose might make an appearance at some point?
    1.) Yes, although, clearly her denial is stronger than his. (I feel like he’s already come to this realization & is just playing his part to keep her attention because he feels, maybe, “she could never like me” or something.)
    2.) The snake said, “I’ve killed you. Countless times, over countless centuries. Boys who believed themselves men, gods – something more than mortal – nevertheless of earthly powers like money, looks. You all thought you were special. That you would never die.” That may be it, in part, but I’m wondering if it has more to do with his proximity to Cara & her connection to Laolao.
    3.) Definitely, but we’ll see if my theory turns out to be anything.

  14. I think there has been something underlying with their feelings, as they have known each other and have fought for quite some time.

    I am leaning towards the signet snake bit Zach either because he is a privileged person or it may have to do with the tie he has with Cara (maybe the red string of fate?).

    With multiple mentions of Ambrose, I would be a little shocked if he did not appear. Maybe he is the cause for Laolao’s delay in returning home.

  15. 1. What do we think Fairies, have they secretly liked each other for some time but been in denial?
    Most definitely!

    2. What do you make of Signet Snake? Why did he choose to bite Zach?
    I think he is a bitter entity that was maybe wronged by the rich and entitled in his human past and thus has decided to get revenge on those similar to the people who wronged him. Since the snake was there before, maybe someone in Zach’s family had encountered the snake before or he reminded him of those who wronged him.

    3. Do we think Ambrose might make an appearance at some point?
    Maybe not in real live, but I think we’ll learn more about him and he’ll make an appearance in memories or that the name is mentioned

  16. This book is certainly keeping me on my toes!

    They have definitely liked each other but are in denial. It feels like a lot of teenage romance/angst…

    The signet snake was an interesting twist…I think that Zach is related to Ambrose or something of that sort…

    1. Oooo that is such an interesting theory! 💜

  17. Okay, wow – was not expecting the cannibal 😂 I kept picturing Jack and Beanstalk for some reason, definitely envisioning the cannibal as a giant even though I know he wasn’t.

    At this point, I’m thinking LaoLao might be the serpent’s counter part. There’s definitely a big story there and I can’t wait to find out!

  18. I think HE definitely did [whether he knew/knows it or not]. Not so sure about her, though.

    Because of Cara’s abilities and/or her family connections? I’m sensing history here, and Zach just happens to be caught in it – or, like the White Snake said, he happens to be the perfect target because I’d his arrogance/etc.

    Ambrose will either make an appearance, or we’ll discover some family history connection at some point.

  19. Okay, I was not expecting that cannibal subplot LOLOL. Where did this guy even come from?? What’s his backstory? How did he set up this entire shop with all of his weird merchandise out here? I need answers.

    As for Cara and Zach, love and hate are two sides of the same coin, right? They have a history together, and know that they feel /something/ for each other. It’s only a matter of time before they realize that feeling is like 🙂

    I think the Signet Snake bit Zach as some sort of trap for Cara. There’s a history repeating itself here…

    What’s the point of mentioning Ambrose if he doesn’t make an appearance at some point? It’s Chekhov’s gun. I assume he’ll be a big bad at the end if not /the/ big bad.

    Also, could Laolao be R? Maybe she was Ambrose’s amplifier lover who “defeated” him by taking his amplifier aka herself out of the picture? The “friend” that was bitten was actually herself and that’s why she’s invested in the subject of the Signet Snake? I’m probably just grasping at straws, but who knows. Anything is possible in a book with a random geriatric cannibal, methinks.

  20. This was some chaos in this section, definitely not where I thought this book was headed! They totally both have feelings for the other but easily bury them. Cara mentions how far their lips or faces are from each other a couple of times and he was so quick to jump in front of her. And seriously his comment about being stuck in small spaces with her, like 😍
    In the letter they found it talked about risking everything and having to die for her. So I’m wondering if that is going to come into play with how they save him. Maybe she has to be willing to sacrifice herself for him to live? And Ambrose is interesting because while Cara thinks he was taken care of the letter implies that he wasn’t yet and that he still needed to be defeated.
    Can’t wait to find out these answers and see what other chaotic situations they find themselves in!

  21. I’m definitely thinking Zach fell first… even before the whole bat fiasco. I think Cara is starting to see more in him. I love, love, love the “Like hell you are touching her” comment from Zach. *Swoon* 😍 This is the YA version of “Touch her and die” 🫠
    I can see some spooky things in the works with some zombies and maybe even Ambrose??? I’m really enjoying this read so far. I can’t wait to see what happens!

  22. What do we think Fairies, have they secretly liked each other for some time but been in denial?

    I think Zach liked her. Honestly, I don’t think Clara is mature enough to realize it.

    What do you make of Signet Snake? Why did he choose to bite Zach?
    Zach might have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. The snake might have bitten him because it likes to cause chaos as it said. But I definitely think it’s the reason why the ghosts were looking for a speaker in the beginning.

    Do we think Ambrose might make an appearance at some point?
    Yes. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t.

  23. This is becoming one of the strangest books I’ve read! I did not expect a cannibal!

    What do we think Fairies, have they secretly liked each other for some time but been in denial?
    I think Zach definitely has liked Cara for a while based on his top ten spaces list comment! I think sometimes crushes can come across as hatred in teenagers in books, a bit like sexual tension in adults!

    What do you make of Signet Snake? Why did he choose to bite Zach?
    Maybe it’s drawn to power (his family are wealthy and he’s popular) or certain personality types!

    Do we think Ambrose might make an appearance at some point?
    Yes! I think this is a book where there are lots of little mysteries that come together at the end. I’m still intrigued by Laolao and Zack’s grandfather, and her friend who got bitten – maybe that’s Ambrose?

  24. I thought the section with the cannibal was really funny. It seems obvious to me that they like each other but are to afraid to admit it to themselves or each other.

    I didn’t see the book taking this path and it’s a bit random.

  25. I mostly think this is a He fall first book. Its obvious that Zach has feelings for Cara. He was very protective over her for someone he supposedly hated. It must have been on purpose, probably it has something to do with Cara being a ghost speaker. He said he choose Zach because he was rich and arrogant but I think there’s more to the story than just that. I think Ambrose will make an appearance at the end of the book. There needs to be someone pulling the strings for all the things that being happening.

  26. Goodness, we are learning a lot but I still feel lost right now. I have so many questions that need answers. Where is Laolao and how much of a part does she play in all of this? What will happen to Cara now that she has ingested the Signet Snake, Kingsbane’s, blood? Also, what’s going to happen to her since the living is not supposed to be in the liminal world? Who is R??? And does she make an appearance at some point? I’m also still thinking about the couple Cara saw earlier in the story. I’m thinking they might make another appearance later on. || I think Zach has had a soft spot for Cara for awhile now, but he couldn’t do much about it because Cara is insistent that she hates him. I do think Cara has some feelings for him, but she does not realize it. Very possible the red string theory is at work here. || I’m assuming the Signet Snake bit Zach because he knows the death of Zach would cause a big disruption to the world of Autumn Falls. Everyone loves him and I’m guessing he’s a well-known person in the town. If he died, everyone would be impacted. There may be more to it, connected to his family’s history. || Definitely think Ambrose will show up at some point. He can’t be brought up so many times without making an appearance. I’m definitely thinking a big showdown will happen, with lots of ghosts, Cara and Laolao, and the magical families.

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