Waa, it’s been more than a week since our last update? Where did all that time go? Don’t worry, no more five year hiatuses in these parts.
Last time, Beato got a stern lecture from Battler that has motivated her to go down to Rokkenjima and look for a way to prove she’s turned over a new leaf. Conveniently, that came in the form of a distraight George, who’s prepared to accept a witch showing up to resurrect his girlfriend Sayo… even if she was the one to kill her in the first place. Water under the bridge once Sayo gets up, I guess!
Meanwhile, Eva Beatrice is not wasting time, and is having the Chiesters line up a shot on the surviving Ushiromiyas inside the guest house. Thanks to Ronove, she has not noticed Beato and George escape…
One thing we didn’t note last time: more deaths means more updated character pages. In fact I haven’t been keeping you apprised of these at all. So let’s run them down, in order of death!
The death reports so far...
Discovered as a burnt corpse from the incninerator in the underground boiler room.
As there were no signs that he fought to get out of the incinerator, it seems reasonable to think that he was burned after he was murdered.
Too bad this time.\ Game over right at the very start.
Corpse discovered in the chapel.\ The murder weapon is assumed to be a gun or spear-shaped object.
The chapel for Kanon.\ Even after death, keep on protecting the place important to the lord.
Corpse discovered in the parlor on the first floor. The murder weapon is assumed to be a gun or spear-shaped object.
For Shannon, the parlor, whose view of the rose garden was beautiful on sunnier days.
Corpse discovered in the second-floor VIP room. The murder weapon is assumed to be a gun or spear-shaped object.
In appreciation for his many years of service, Genji shall be permitted to sleep in the VIP room.
Corpse discovered in the third-floor servants’ quarters. The murder weapon is assumed to be a gun or spear-shaped object.
He wanted to gain Kinzo’s favor. THe room next to the study is appropriate for him.
Corpse discovered in the second-floor guest room. The murder weapon is assumed to be a gun or spear-shaped object.
The seldom-used guest room on the second floor was her secret napping spot.
Corpse discovered in the rose garden. The cause of death is strangulation. Probably bare-handed.\ Thinking about the situation, it seems reasonable to think she was killed after Rosa.
And then her blood became the red ink for the witch’s oath.
Died in the rose garden, with her medulla oblongata having been pierced by the spear-shaped parts of the fence.\ If Maria’s death hadn’t been murder, it might have been possible to suspect an accident.
It was this very woman who became the sacrifice for the birth of the new witch.
Died in the mansion’s hall, with his forehead having been pierced by a weapon shaped like a stake.
From now on, they have to be finished off with stakes, apparently.
Died in the mansion’s hall, with her stomach having been pierced by a weapon shaped like a stake.
The stomach isn’t a very lethal spot. Wouldn’t it have been OK to kill her by a safer method, and just stick a stake in the corpse?
Died in the mansion’s hall, with his chest having been pierced by a weapon shaped like a stake.
Careless. Who knew she was still alive…
One thing I note here is that in a couple of cases, the witch comments seem to contradict the narration—Rudolf and Kyrie were killed by the Chiesters, not ‘finished off’ with stakes. Unless it’s an indication that Eva Beatrice revived them afterwards to stake them. Presumably killing and reviving someone will shred any doubts they have about magic being real and leave them vulnerable… Battler excepted!
Hideyoshi’s entry is curious. “Who knew she was still alive”—who does she refer to here? Possibly we can infer that Lambdadelta or Bernkastel was somehow involved behind the scenes in bringing about his death? After I let go of my ‘Eva Beatrice is Lambdadelta’ theory, I admit I’m at a bit of a loss as to how these two are participating in the game!
We also have entries on the Chiesters.
- Chiester45 (シエスタ４５)
A weapon in a contract with Beatrice. 45 has an extremely meticulous and timid personality, and is fairly paranoid. For that reason, she compensates well for the weakness of 410’s slapdash personality when they work as a pair.
Cannot bear silence, and even becomes emotionally unstable unless she is constantly being orders.
45 excels in enemy search and being decisive. The sisters’ battle power is doubled by her support.
- Chiester410 (シエスタ４１０)
A weapon in a contract with Beatrice.
410 is a kid with character, who has a unique and brazen way of speaking.
Her hobby is teasing serious and uptight people, which is why she likes 45 and Lucifer.
Rough-spoken, but loves company and easily succumbs to loneliness. Gets depressed unless there is someone constantly giving her attention.
410 excels in firing control, and even in close-range combat, exhibits battle power that is second to none.
Also one thing that isn’t apparent in the closeup sprites is that the military uniform quality basically stops at the waist, with the skirt cut open to show the panties and create zettai ryōiki with their long boots. So it’s like, a military uniform for sexed-up bunnygirls. (Unclear if the bunny ears are natural or just headbands lol.) The skirt that’s open at the front + zettai ryōiki is also a design element used on the Sisters of Purgatory, who also have garter belts holding up their long stockings. I guess that’s just
ryuukishi07 Beatrice’s taste!
Underneath each of them is a magic circle with the Magen David. In fact if you look closely, there are two Stars of David, one in the middle of the other, plus a small icon of five connected circles in a diamond shape at the top or bottom. I had a quick check through the Key of Solomon, but while the design has a whole has some resemblance to the Second Pentacle of Mars, the Hebrew is different; the outer ring instead resembles the Seventh Pentacle of the Sun, particularly the small symbol nearest the camera. If anyone knows this pentacle, please let me know!
Also, worth noticing that both have the One Winged Eagle tattooed on a thigh. Although we have been taught to see this as an emblem of Kinzo, Ronove also has it, but not the goats or the Sisters of Purgatory.
It’s interesting that like… a lot of this ‘furniture’ has quite quirky personalities. Genji is definitely the exception, almost robotically servile. But among Beatrice’s furniture, even Ronove has a mischievous, playful attitude.
This chapter is titled ‘Real Magic’.
Inside, the three surviving adults are starting to get overwhelmed by tiredness. Eva is feverish, trying to put on a brave face, and refuses to sleep, yelling at anyone who tells her to lie down. But she estimates it will be at least twelve more hours before the boat pulls up.
We slip inside her head, where she starts having a conversation with her alter…
Eva: ……………I……was wrong…
Eva Beatrice: …Why?
Eva: ……If I could only gain the position of family head, …that was always enough. ……But as soon as I saw that mountain of gold, my greed grew. …………I was struck with a desire to have that mountain of gold all to myself.
She suggests her greed was why Eva Beatrice was born; she represents Eva’s ‘self-centred evil heart’ as much as her childhood self. She blames herself for the murders, and demands to know why EB killed Hideyoshi. She, on the other hand, is more than happy to have Eva sitting in a puddle of self-blame…
Now, a brief aside on prose…
One thing that you may notice playing this game, but becomes especially obvious when you’re transcribing things, is the sheer preponderence of ellipses. It’s rare to have a dialogue box without one, and sometimes you can have up to like 15 dots in a row for a really long pause. Just a writing style quirk? Well, it’s not really just this game: you see certain similar quirks of prose if you read other popular translated Japanese fiction like light novels.
I learned an interesting tidbit about that the other day, from the Wikipedia page on shōjo manga, writing about a literary movement called 少女小説:
Shōjo shōsetsu is characterized by a “flowery and emotional” prose style focused on the inner monologue of the protagonist. Narration is often punctuated with non-verbal elements that express the feelings of the protagonists; writer Nobuko Yoshiya in particular made extensive use of multiple ellipsis (“…”), exclamation points, and dashes in the middle of sentences, the lattermost of which were scattered across pages in a manner resembling verses of poetry. Prose is accompanied by illustrations by lyrical painters, which are characterized by a sentimental style influenced by Art Nouveau and Nihonga. Particular attention is paid to representations of shōjo, who are depicted as well-dressed and possessing large, very detailed eyes that have star-shaped highlights.
All of these elements feel like things you would apply to modern light novel prose, except perhaps the star-shaped highlights in the illustrations! For example, a random excerpt from So I’m a Spider, So What?, an isekai light novel by Okina Baba…
What now? Am I supposed to utter the spell or something? Wait, I’m a spider, so I can’t even say anything…
All I can produce is some kind of…croak? More like a teeth-grinding sound, really…
Well, even if I could talk, it’s not like I know any spells, so I’m out of luck either way.
Just for fun, I try thinking [Heretic Magic] really hard.
………Yeah, nothing’s happening. Can’t use that.
Short, present-tense first person sentences presented as a stream of consciousness, long ellipses, frequent paragraph breaks: it definitely feels similar to the writing in a visual novel.
Does that mean we can identify light novels as belonging to this lineage? I don’t feel like I know enough about the subject to say definitively, but if I find anything else out, I will be sure to let you know! I haven’t really read Japanese literary fiction (even in translation, though I’m looking forward to getting my reading level to the point where I can read manga and books in original language), but I imagine it will not have this style; it seems quite specific to the broad milieu represented by manga light novels, visual novels and game side stories, sort of like fanfiction.
OK, tangents over, back to Rokkenjima!
Eva Beatrice pivots quickly from mockery to frustration. “Come on. Our dreams were made real with magic, right?” she demands. Eva retorts that she had other dreams ‘as a wife, as a mother’ like living a good life with Hideyoshi and George. “They aren’t our dreams.” replies EB, coldly.
The argument progresses: EB declares that both alters make up Ushiromiya Eva, and Eva retorts that no, you are Beatrice now, you said so yourself and tells her to fuck off. EB is not happy about losing what few connections she had left.
Eva Beatrice: …Oh, ……so that’s how it is. …Alright. I’ll disappear from your sight.
…And I am no longer Ushiromiya Eva. From now on, I’m the Golden Witch Beatrice. …So now I will play however I want.
I’m done caring about you. Why don’t you just give up and die forever?
Wuh oh. Guess even Eva might be sacrificable now. Although I think EB has to keep Eva alive until she finishes the ritual? Still, she might go gunning for George out of spite, perhaps?
Eva wakes up with a choking fit. She goes out of the guest room to go wash her face. Which means chances are we’re about to see Krauss and Natsuhi get got.
But before that happens, Krauss has a last-minute realisation that he’s spent his life being a colossal ass to just about everybody.
He blames it on trying to live up to Kinzo, but is at least able to recognise that’s no excuse and that he’s probably traumatised Eva for life. Natsuhi says, uncharacteristically, that things might have been better if Krauss et al had been born to any other family. He says sorry, thinking Eva can’t hear him.
But guess who can?
Eva Beatrice gives the order to fire. We get a very rapidfire version of the targeting and firing sequence from earlier. This time the Bézier curve goes in through the keyhole, upstairs, through another keyhole, and wraps around the necks of Krauss and Natsuhi, strangling them.
Despite the sniper imagery, it really doesn’t seem to behave much like a bullet!
The Chiesters proceed to ‘tow’ the corpses out of the building. Somehow their line does this without disturbing the doors? That’s kind of glossed over. Eva comes back just in time to completely miss them—they just seem to have disappeared.
Meanwhile, Beato and George made it to the parlour. The narration reminds us that Beato’s power is now very weak. She warns George not to touch or talk to Sayo, but instead use the voice and hand of his heart…
Beato: …Only your strong feelings can make my magic reach Shannon’s lost soul.
George follows her advice, and ‘strongly envisions’ his soul leaving his body to search for Sayo ‘as she wandered through Hell’. Again, quite the presumption as to where she’ll end up! Although it doesn’t seem to be used here in the Christian ‘punishment realm’ sense, later treated as equivalent to ‘Hades’.
Beato struggles to pull this one off! Apparently after ‘several hundred years’ she had forgotten that ‘the magic to revive a life is fundamentally the ultimate hidden art’. This is curious: I had started to think they’d hoodwinked us by telling us Beato was actually a thousand years old, and in fact it is just she inherited a thousand year old title and was actually born a few decades ago to be raised in Kuwadorian, but here once again she’s claiming to have lived hundreds of years.
But then, we do have funny things with time going on. It could be that Beato has spent a thousand subjective years rewinding over the same brief period of decades in pocket dimensions like this one? Perhaps the ‘game’ isn’t something she can control, and every time she fails a run of resurrection, she has to reset?
You’ll get that WR eventually, Beato.
She speculates that George’s massive MP pool is probably inherited…
But she decides that that’s ultimately wrong: Battler had shown her that…
George’s power to feel sorrow for the death of his loved one……arose from the way he had tried his hardest throughout his life, from the warm time spent together with Shannon, and from the size of their shared dream, promising each other their futures.
So that’s probably the clearest statement yet of the source of magic power: it is very explicitly emotional in nature. Whereas for her, ‘a life didn’t mean anything more than the difference between the top and bottom of an Othello piece’; Othello is a variant of the board game Reversi featuring reversible tiles with a black side and a white side. Computer supremacy over humans was demonstrated in 1997, earlier than Chess (2000s) and Go (2010s).
Beato notes a corollary that in fact, her callous attitude to life and death actually therefore weakens her potential by removing her ability to go all in to living hard. This revelation—that she hasn’t been respecting humans enough—is the revelation she needs to get the magic flowing…
And we get a flashback! It’s the broken vase scene from the opening again!
I was frightened by the fact that my own frivolous action, even though it had been frivolous, …had stolen a life that could never be revived again.
And, out of pity for the lost life, I cried.
Out of fear of myself, who had made it become lost, I cried even more.
This time, Virgilia says something a little different, I think.
Virgilia: Then, Milady. Let us revive this vase with magic. If that will make everyone happy, then the vase and the magic and the spirits…should be happy to lend you their power, and return it to its original form.
So here’s what Beato says in the present:
Come, try closing your eyes. And try to remember. What form did you have? It was surely a very, very beautiful form. Please, show me that form one more time…
I’m including the (painstakingly transcribed by ear) Japanese text above because this is once again a ‘saa, saa… gorannnasai’ incantation. I think Beatrice’s language gets a bit less formal later in the incantation—‘totemo, totemo’ (very, very), ending a sentence with ‘tano’.
The narration says, that while Beatrice’s magic had previously been violent and painful for the dead in Hades, this time around it’s ‘kind and loving’. So we get a view inside Hades.
The dead find a ‘casket’ in which Sayo is ‘peacefully sleeping’, ‘covered with rose petals frozen with frost’. Apparently it’s quite an occasion:
…It reminded the long-forgotten dead…that they continue to be loved even after their deaths, ……and gave them all a warm sense of peace……
So, if this narration is to be believed, the afterlife is very definitely real; it takes the form of a misty forest in which the dead are sort of sleepily hanging about I guess? Contra the art, the realm of the dead is described as a ‘pitch black’ realm; Beatrice’s butterflies remind them of long-forgotten stars.
The resurrection is successful; George’s love etc. melts the frost in Sayo’s eyes. She imagines at first she is dreaming. But with touch and warmth she realises it’s real and they hug it out. Oh, and of course, she’s wearing that engagement ring. Kind of goes without saying, but Beato notices. We get some narration to really underline the point.
In that moment, George had definitely used magic. Beato had done nothing more than help him along. That magic had a magical power that could only reside in those who knew the importance of life and trying their hardest.
It was the power of a miracle that an Endless Witch could not know, ……that only the power of the finite could give rise to.
So she had a totally upside-down idea of where ‘true magic’ resides, confirming that she’s still just an apprentice after all.
Well, big of you, Beatrice. Does that mean you’re going to get everyone else up too? Ah, but it seems this used up all of her magic juice to channel George’s, so that’s not really on the cards.
Back in the plane of Purgatorio, Virgilia tells her well done, you’ve finally remembered how to use magic. Beatrice is like, wait, didn’t I kill you? I guess the rule really is that dead characters don’t show up in Purgatorio until after the game? I kind of presumed there was an exception for witches though.
Virgilia: You have let me live until now. That is why I can appear like this. ……However, I did not come here to pat you on the head.
Beato: ……Did you come here just to sneer at how pathetic I am? ……And after all this time, after retiring as a witch and everything, …if I sit here and have my head patted, I’ll be the laughingstock of the other witches……
Virgilia: That’s right. ……Not only are you a full adult, but you boast about having retired from active service, so I am sure that it would be far too embarrassing to tell anyone that you only just now learned how to use magic.
As Beato thinks about how she’s no match for the power of ‘love’, we smash cut to the Chiesters lining up a shot. I guess the game is up. The target turns out to be George and Sayo, killing them both with one shot through their hearts. George spends his last words thanking Beato for letting them meet, even just for a short while.
This tracks, honestly. Their storyline is pretty much done for this ep.
The ‘gold thread’ targets Beato, and she fully expects to die, but Virgilia dives in to save her, releasing what the Chiesters identify as ‘magical chaff’.
Virgilia: Beato, escape while you can!! No one can escape from the Chiesters’ golden bow!!!
In classic mentor fashion, Virgilia sacrifices herself to save Beato, who is able to take advantage of the brief distraction to cover up (‘completely erased all traces of her magical power’) and
leg it wing it in butterfly mode.
Beato is affronted—not just by having her mentor killed and getting attacked, but by the ‘boorish’ ‘barbarism’ of slaughtering the reunited lovers, her past self’s awful habit that’s she’s come to loathe. And as if to accentuate that, Eva Beatrice repeats one of her lines about loving couples:
Eva Beatrice: You get to enjoy them thrice—once tearing the two apart, once reuniting them, and once tearing them apart again…right? cacklehihihihihihihi!
EB justifies herself to Ronove, gloatingly, based on the fact that Beato had interfered in the resurrection ritual. Of course, no extra corpse being left is convenient for Beato’s game with Battler.
Back in the guest house, Eva is trying to figure out where everyone’s gone. The guesthouse is sealed and supposedly none of the doors can be locked from outside. So that suggests we’re about to have a reverse locked room. Not really topologically distinct!
Nanjo brings up the old hidden doors. So I guess it’s time for the hypothesis chess game to resume in Purgatorio, right?
Actually, narrative!Battler is the one taking up the case this time (with Nanjo as his interlocutor). He discovers a window in the hallway which is well oiled, and where the wind doesn’t blow rain inside, making it plausible it could have been opened without leaving evidence. Then, he argues, an accomplice inside the guesthouse could have locked the window behind the departing victim.
Since Jessica was with him the whole time, this narrows the list of subjects down to Nanjo and Eva. (‘Course, we know that in a sense ‘Eva’ did it!) Anyway, Battler notes that he and Jessica would have to restrain Eva and Nanjo separately as suspects, but since the numbers are now so few, it is kind of a moot point. Why go to such trouble as to construct a locked room?
Nanjo is starting to suspect witches are real. Honestly, Nanjo’s pretty much an enigma to me. I don’t really know what motivates him. He seems to be curiously level-headed with all this murdering and such, even when his lifelong friend Kinzo died at the outset. Sure, he has been expecting Kinzo to die for ages, but the circumstances must be pretty unexpected! He just seems to come in and out when a doctor is needed.
Ironically, Nanjo actually gets pretty close to the meta-level ‘truth’…
Nanjo: ……The witch is trying to make her case to us. …She must be showing us that she can do things that humans cannot, …trying to make us accept her as a witch.
The decision has been made by Eva and Jessica to go out and look for their respective families. Jessica insists on coming along. With four survivors left, the ritual must be all but complete by now. All that remains is for the witch to reveal herself and grant gifts to the survivors.
Battler says the line…
Somewhere in my heart, I had already begun to give up.
…Most likely, ……not one of us will see tomorrow morning.
When the seagulls cry, none shall be left alive…
Well, as far as moving against Eva Beatrice, that could have gone better! Krauss and Natsuhi are dead as expected, George is dead, and now Sayo is double-dead. And so is Virgilia! Completely annihilated by magic, it seems. Beato spent most of her magic reviving Sayo for five minutes, and meanwhile the Chiesters reign supreme among furniture.
But, as much as she seems to be able to kill everyone on the island with ease, Eva Beatrice’s claim to have completed the ritual seems on pretty shaky ground. I don’t know what are the crucial parts and what is permitted to vary, but we’ve had a lot of sacrifices get raised up and put down over and over; it’s not clear whether mashing someone with oceans of pudding or sniping someone with the Chiesters, bringing them back, and staking with the Seven Sisters them really counts as far as the Twilights go. Moreover, we seem to have done things out of order. Compared to Beato’s performance in the previous two episodes, which admittedly had a few infelicities, this one’s just a total clusterfuck.
The reason I bring this up is… the next chapter is titled The Witch’s Courtroom. Who is getting judged, in what kind of court? We know that Eva Beatrice is on a kind of trial period as an Endless Witch, so my guess is that she’s going to be the one on trial—though who will constitute the judge (and jury?) is a mystery. I vote for His Honourable Tyranny. But maybe it will be the Nine Olde Witches for all we know.
I don’t think anything in this chapter has fundamentally changed our perspective on what’s happening on Rokkenjima. It gives us a final cycle in the pattern of someone doing some big gesture of personal growth and moving against their witch adversary, but then getting gunned down all the same. This time, I suppose, they managed to get away with it. And of course, Beato managed to figure out how to get some character development, so that’s definitely something!
Next time could very well be the last chapter of this episode! Hard to judge, really. In any case, see you soon…