Ooof, it’s been a while huh? Best-laid plans of mice and men and all that. Unfortunately, maintaining energy for all these projects has proven a lot harder since I got a job.

However, I still don’t intend to let this liveblog die. And it’s still not my worst hiatus. So… Welcome back to Rokkenjima. And I’m sorry.

Last time, we saw Maria executing Rosa’s ghost in her mind.

The survivors of the massacre wake up in a room sealed with iron bars. Nobody recognises it, and they try to figure out how the hell this room could exist. The Ushiromiyas immediately start interrogating the servants, but both Kanon and Sayo deny knowledge.

Sayo, Kyrie and Kanon in a dungeon-like room. Kyrie wears a sceptical expression. Sayo: R-really...... We really...... didn't know of any room like this.

Krauss quips that if Sayo did know about this room, it would be scrubbed clean. (It’s interesting that he praises Sayo’s tidiness here, when from her POV, Natsuhi was always berating her.)

We get a summary of what happened in the previous scene. Six people were killed in the dining room by half-destroying their heads. The narration here (in this ‘mundane’ scene) doesn’t say who did this killing. Krauss manages to look a bit sad about Natsuhi, for about a minute.

The dungeon is gradually revealed to contain cages and torture racks. Damn, Kinzo was into some kinky shit. Though that is perhaps the least surprising revelation imaginable.

The conversation turns to the fate of the kids, expressing hope that Gohda and Kumasawa might have been able to make it over to them. Kyrie raises that by the terms of the ritual, Gohda and Kumasawa are good candidates for the ‘two who are close’. Uh oh, indeed.

The narration spares a few words to why people are speaking practically rather than getting overcome with grief. Kyrie, for example, is said to be able to put aside her grief about Rudolf to try to focus on saving Battler. It’s as if the narrator is like, they’re not that cold-hearted, please believe me.

So, Krauss and Kyrie start trying to solve the escape room, deputising Shannon and Kayo to start finding loose bars and so on. Krauss instructs Nanjo to save his strength in the hopes he could appeal to Kinzo if it came to it. I will acknowledge, Krauss is a lot more on the ball than usual in this scene.

Kyrie meanwhile gets to reasoning. She concludes based on the geometry that there’s not enough space for trapdoors to drop everyone from the dining room to this weird dungeon, so perhaps everyone was drugged and carried there. Kyrie also mentions and dismisses the very funny image that there might be some sort of elaborate system of pipes to collect everyone in one spot.

Kyrie: The fall was instant, wasn't it? I don't remember rolling around in some sort of elaborate water pipe system.

Kanon and Sayo check their watches and conclude it’s only been ten minutes. Kyrie immediately points out that the watches could have been adjusted by the attackers (but to what end?). Nanjo says he doesn’t know of such an efficient knockout drug, but the devil’s proof applies—such a drug might exist.

So with all that said… nobody really knows where they are or how they got there. But maybe it’s Kinzo’s hypothetical hidden mansion. Krauss praises Kyrie’s perceptiveness a bit—what is this, the vanishingly rare Ushiromiya Krauss Respecting Women Moment?

After an indeterminate timeskip, we finally get to see the other side of the room. Inexplicably the dungeon has a phone in it! This really is escape room logic, huh. Presumably the phone will have some kind of encrypted message which can be solved with a key tucked somewhere else in the room.

Kyrie meanwhile is like ‘let’s use the insides of the phone as an improvised lockpick’. Real TTRPG player energy. Sayo actually does have the sense to try out the obvious interaction point, and indeed, the phone is connected. But of course, not to the outside world. I wonder what Beatrice is trying to set up with this scenario…

We get a flash back to the murder scene from Kyrie’s POV. This time, the ‘strange, witch-like people’ are mentioned and shown. She rationalises that Kinzo must have had accomplices hiding somewhere in the room. Her explanation for the golden bolt cast by the Chiesters is more dubious: she imagines essentially a toy plane turned into a missile. But she can’t make sense of how accurately it was able to hit its target in that case.

As the gang run out of options, the tension in the room starts to build. But then Krauss achieves a breakthrough, and manages to get the phone to reach the guesthouse…

Interesting development! So that will confirm to Battler’s POV that Krauss et al are still alive, and able to place a phone call. Different game here then: everyone knows whodunnit, and it’s less about identifying the culprit and more about escaping—as well as ‘howdunnit’…

At the other end, Gohda picks up the phone. Kinzo has not come to attack the guesthouse yet. Krauss speaks to Jessica, and can’t bring himself to admit that he saw Natsuhi die right in front of him. Pretty sure this is the first game to get this much Krauss-Jessica interaction… usually one or the other dies pretty early.

Anyway, Krauss warns Jessica not to go anywhere, don’t try to find them, be scared of Kinzo etc. etc. It seems that Gohda and Kumasawa caught everyone up on the situation offscreen.

Krauss: Jessica, if you talk like that, you'll sadden your mother. A lady doesn't use those kinds of words.

Just in case we thought Krauss had been replaced with a less pathetic imposter, here he is chidng Jessica when she’s like ‘I’ll kill that bastard!’

So, we’ve set up a scenario. It might be time to get our puzzle-solving hats on. This is as far as I got back in May 2023… and now I come back to pick up this liveblog again in February 2024. I’m so sorry ><

But that’s enough apologising, let’s solve some goddamn mysteries.

Gohda gets assigned to the role of ‘responsible adult’. Gohda’s another one who rarely gets to live very long, or take a very active role when he does live, so it will be interesting seeing him given a chance to be active here.

We’re told a list of characters who talked to each other—mostly parents and children. Kyrie speaks with Battler, Sayo and Kanon talk to George and Jessica, and Nanjo talks to Kumasawa. Probably isn’t important who talked to who, unless we decide we can’t trust one of these people later. But if we can trust this narration (and we probably can since Battler’s right there), we can confirm that at this point in the story, Sayo, Kanon, Kyrie, Krauss, and Nanjo are alive, but in an unknown location which can reach Battler and co. by phone.

Krauss hangs up at this point. Hanging up seems like a kinda bad idea if Kinzo decides he wants to go downstairs and conduct more sacrifices, but I guess he wants to be able to move freely.

Music’s really going at this point. We get ‘rhythm-changer’ followed by the even more tense ‘mind’. Both do a lot to build anticipation with electronic chords.

The POV switches to follow the group in the guest house. Concluding that Kinzo could easily break the large window of the guest house with the ‘powerful gun’ which Gohda mentions, they decide to barricade themselves in a room in the guesthouse (the dialogue takes place in the room with the large window but… it wouldn’t make sense for that to be the room? so probably the bedorom).

Battler complains about how passive the strategy is. George gives a little speech about how it’s imperative to survive so they can report this to the cops later, and the courts can get revenge for his parents. Mmmhm. Cops will def solve everything. No way this could be an unsolved mystery a decade later or anything.

George observes that they are now in a kind of hostage situation—if they move against Kinzo, he can start shooting Sayo, Kyrie and the rest. Battler counters that from what they know of Kinzo’s motive, he’s planning on killing them no matter what.

Anyway, since the general rule seems to be that only things Battler sees are definitely real, let’s see what we know… Gohda claims that Kinzo has multiple accomplices and a powerful gun. But we only really have his word for it. Admittedly it seems pretty likely—but I’m anticipating ‘no 19th person’ type shenanigans later, so I want to try and keep track of the provenance of our info here…

Incidentally, a narration box comes up here:

Gohda had been able to say that Kinzo had others on his side, ……but he had not been able to mention that they were mostly all young women, like witches, ……and committed their murders using strange magic.

Can we trust this narration of Gohda’s internal state? Well, no, because it claims magic is real. What we actually can observe through Battler’s eyes is that Gohda looks a bit anxious when trying to answer whether all the accomplices are armed.

While the boys are downstairs planning out the battle, Jessica and Maria try to tend to Kumasawa. Kumasawa confirms that she saw Natsuhi die, in a ‘horrible way’ no less, and there is no hope of saving her.

Jessica to Kumasawa: ...Well, yeah... ...If the head gets smashed, ...there's normally no need for treatment is there...

Battler and co. return, carrying tools to board up the door, snacks and improvised weapons. Battler also improvised some kind of trap to make a sound if the enemy come up the stairs. Truly the TTRPG vibes intensify.

Given what we know about how magic works/the rules that the witch side is operating under, sticking together is a good strategy. If everyone is in a room together, it’s harder to have an offscreen magic death. I do not doubt, though, that Beatrice will be able to cook up some scenario to force someone to run outside.

Maria for her part is put out she can’t watch TV.

We cut back to the dungeon. It seems the escape room attempt is not going well. This is usually when the staff would send a hint to you, but it seems the staff at this escape room are not so generous.

Nanjo compares them to captured chess pieces, but Krauss replies that in shogi, captured pieces do have a purpose. Guess it’s time for today’s tangent…

So, 将棋(shōgi) is a chess-like game played in Japan, also ultimately in the distant past derived—like chess—from the Indian game chaturanga. In shogi, if you capture an opponent’s piece, it becomes a ‘piece in hand’ that you can deploy on your own side nearly anywhere on the board. This makes Krauss’s metaphor a bit weird—if Kinzo has captured them that means Kinzo could deploy them to attack the others… but whatever, don’t overthink it!

Kyrie says that if they can deduce where they are, they could call Gohda to carry out a rescue mission. Kyrie cracks that it would be very uncool to ask for help immediately after talking big about how they’d all escape. They start trying to figure out where they are.

Meanwhile, Kanon and Sayo have a quiet ‘we know what magic is’ chat. Kanon senses a presence, most likely a goat. Hey, couldn’t these two make some of those cool magic swords and cut their way out of the cell? …probably not, too much antimagic field here I guess.

Sayo: They got us, didn’t they?

Kanon: ……………… …….It’s unusual. For us to be captured without being killed.

Sayo: This time, Beatrice-sama didn’t make her appearance. And the Master left his study. ……I don’t have a clue what’s going on…

UHH so. They remember the time loop? Damn OK then. That’s fucked up.

Kanon is fatalistic about the game’s outcome, feeling that daring to hope for anything will just play into Beatrice’s hands. Sayo remarks that it’s very rare for them both to survive the first twilight. She wonders if they’ll reach the Golden Land this time.

Kanon: I'm sure no one will be able to go to the Golden Land. If I was foolish enough to wish to reach the Golden Land with Milady, that witch would find that very fun to toy with, and would certainly never reach there.

I’m reminded of the story in The Traitor Baru Cormorant: the Masquerade stage what seems to be an escape route, only to apprehend a prisoner just as they think they’re finally free. The lesson they impart by this method is that escape is always futile. Then, the prisoner won’t even try to escape, because they assume it’s just another trick.

Sayo says she was able to visit the Golden Land, if only briefly. Presumably the end of episode 3 doesn’t count as the real Golden Land. So what sort of place is it? 「素晴らしい所だよ。」 (It’s a wonderful place!) She clarifies that it’s not really a place in the physical sense, but a peaceful dreamlike place where you are free to rest—metaphorised as being free to sleep in on a day off. Oofs.

Kanon is unimpressed. Sayo adds that it’s a place where, not so much that wishes will be granted, but ‘you don’t have to wish for anything’—that ‘transcends the concept that having your wishes granted will bring happiness…a world released from everything.’

So we’re basically talking nirvana, huh. Release from the cycle of worldly desires. It’s always Buddhism in the end! …Kanon actually makes the same observation, saying it sounds kind of religious.

Sayo: And there, everything is equal. All things with minds are equal. ......There are no humans, nor furniture, nor witches. ......There, I was equal to everyone. There was no longer any need to feel ashamed of myself because I was furniture.

Also there’s full communism.

If we are supposing the narratives of each episode to have been penned by a mysterious author who lived on Rokkenjima during the murders, it seems very likely they have some connection to Kinzo’s system of servant-indoctrination, the ‘furniture’ concept being a recurring, central theme. Likely a servant themselves. Of course, within these stories, ‘furniture’ is something like an alchemical homunculus.

Kanon is, adorably, nitpicking this. Starting with the question—if you truly want for nothing, why would you even need George there?

Sayo’s answer is kind of surprising: as calm and peaceful as it is, the Golden Land does not bestow happiness. It is a 「ゼロの世界」 (a world of zero). None of the ‘minuses’ of the human world, but no positives either. So it’s better if you have someone you like with you to enjoy it.

Sayo remarks:

Sayo: It might be best for us just to stop thinking, and entrust ourselves to fate.

The ‘stop thinking’ phrasing is notable given how often this is raised as the thing you must never do by characters like Ange.

The scene ends very sadly, with the two agreeing that their fate is just to be tortured to death, and Sayo walking away, regretting troubling Kanon.

At this point, a group approaches.

Krauss: The time of reckoning is upon us - or else, our first and final chance.

Krauss isn’t supposed to get lines this cool.

It’s so weird seeing Krauss be level-headed and competent in this episode. If this is all you saw of Krauss, you could easily forget how much of a failson he is.

Kyrie has deduced that their watches have not been altered, so it must have taken only minutes to move them after they were knocked out.

Kinzo, Ronove, Virgilia and Gaap show up to inspect the prisoners. Ronove is really starting to earn his one-winged eagle, acting as a herald for Kinzo—though here he’s termed Lord Goldsmith. This is known to Krauss and Kyrie as a pen name Kinzo uses when writing grimoires.

Kyrie makes another joke, saying Goldwarehouse would be a better English translation of 金蔵 (Kinzō) (which literally means ‘treasure house’). If you’re wondering, the Japanese word for ‘Goldsmith’ is 金工 (kinkō).

Antagonising the man who just did six murders seems like it might be a bad idea, but I appreciate the adults’ bravado here.

Kinzo tells Nanjo that he has walked through this corridor before, though not entered the cell. Nanjo apparently knows what he’s talking about, but considers the distance implausible.

Not if you have Kinzo’s secret island-wide system of pneumatic tubes! …yeah ok that’s probably too much of a stretch.

Anyway, Kinzo says this is under Kuwadorian, the secret mansion. Why would Kuwadorian have a dungeon, huh? Especially if it really was constructed “for the sole use of [Kinzo’s] beloved witch, Beatrice” as he says?

Was she locked up here? And if so, did Nanjo know about it? Complicit in the whole affair?

Kyrie makes the BDSM joke. Damn, I hope she doesn’t die, it’s too much fun having her around.

Kyrie: .........How lovely, just the two of you in a mansion with this kind of room. It seems that you and I are differently inclined.

Protesting too much a bit there Kyrie.

Gaap and Ronove join in on the joking around. Gaap is like ‘I’d be right out’ and Ronove’s like ‘really? you wouldn’t enjoy a sex dungeon?’. Gaap replies: ‘only if he’s a stud’.

Virgilia: Quiet! ......Don't you need a gag more than a collar?

She knows exactly what she’s saying.

Gaap assigns Virgilia the new nickanme ‘Lia’. Cute.

Kinzo isn’t here for all this demon flirting: he has to start saying sinister creepy shit about how it’s not really love if you let them leave. I guess he’d get on great with Insul Seriousweakness.

Kinzo: A woman who makes you fall so madly in love that you don’t want to let her escape, to the point of binding her in chains… It is only upon reaching that level that it becomes a life worth sacrificing my life for. ………I will not ask you to understand.

So yeah he straight up just locked original!Beatrice here for fuck knows how long. He’s rich, he can do that.

Nanjo gives us an important and rather interesting piece of information: there is a long tunnel running directly between the mansion and Kuwadorian.

Kinzo declares his intent: he will test his grandchildren to see if any is a worthy successor. If one of them is, he won’t kill anyone else. Otherwise… you know.

As Kyrie jabs him, he mentions that Beatrice was like that too—‘in the beginning’. Goddamn this guy just can’t resist saying chilling shit huh.

Anyway, to set up the game, he has Krauss pass on the terms of the challenge. If anyone disobeys, Kinzo will just kill everyone. Not the best situation to be in! We’re off to the races.

The next chapter takes us back to the Ange future. I’ll try and get that one out sooner.


Some of the questions in this chapter were answered immediately. We know where everyone was taken: under Kuwadorian. We can be reasonably sure that there really was a prisoner kept here, the woman who Kinzo called Beatrice, and that at some point she killed herself to escape Kinzo’s absolute control. (And then of course her spirit became the invisible Golden Witch haunting the island.)

Speaking of haunting, this is a classic setup right? A truly heinous act of cruelty carried out by a man who never saw consequences. Various people implicated (not least Nanjo! not just a kind old doctor it seems). A ghost story that reflects that sin. And then, in the present, the violence returns upon its perpetrator and his children.

What are the terms of Kinzo’s ‘test’? Presumably some kind of death game where you have to perform magic to get ahead? I won’t speculate too much.

The big ‘howdunnit’ question is how Kyrie et al. were transported to Kuwadorian in a matter of minutes, through nonmagical means. Assuming of course that any of the scenes under Kuwadorian can be considered reliable narration. But whether or not they can, they are information about something—these elements were important for the author of the bottle diaries to convey.

But taking this game on its own terms, here are some hypotheses Battler could try:

  1. the ‘trust noone not even yourself’ theory: Krauss, Kyrie et al. are accomplices. When they place the phone call, they are lying. THey are not in a cell underneath Kuwadorian, so there is nothing to explain.
  2. Kyrie’s conclusion about the clocks is wrong. Somehow Kinzo was able to fiddle with the clocks in the guesthouse too. Or perhaps there was some shenanigans in the reading—e.g. AM/PM? That’s a stretch though. In any case, if we reject the clocks, there could be more time to move the unconscious group than assumed.
  3. they are not actually under Kuwadorian. Kinzo is lying. The dungeon is under the mansion. (Are there really underground cables supplying electricity and phone connectivity to Kuwadorian?)
  4. idk running really fast or something

Besides that, a tasty chapter. It looks like the upcoming chapters will be quite mobile. I look forward to it.

I love this VN. Been playing it slowly for so many years. Nothing will hit the same at this point. But I gotta see this through. We’re back ladies, let’s see where this goes…



Super happy to see you picking this up again! Very curious to see what you make of the rest of Alliance.


Heck yeah new chapter. Always fun to read your impressions and theories

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