A labelled image of the characters screen, showing Kinzo, Krauss and Natsuhi and their daughter Jessica, Eva and Hideyoshi and their son George, Rudolf and Kyrie and their son Battler, Rosa and her daughter Maria, Dr. Nanjo and the five servants Genji, Shannon, Kanon, Gohda and Kumasawa. Krauss, Rudolf, Kyrie, Rosa, Shannon, Gohda, Eva Hideyoshi and Kinzo have red skulls edited over their faces and their names crossed out, reflecting their deaths.

Wow, the cast is really thinning out now. Of the original 18, only 8 remain.

@alchymistryandcoldsteel​ comments:

This page https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-tailed_gull indicates that maybe umineko is the name for a specific type of gull? The game is affectionately called When The Seacats Cry by fans. Really enjoying hearing your theories!

Also it sounds like you had the first appearance of ahaha.wav! This evil laugh was the only ‘voice acting’ in the original game - it’s slightly corny but hence has mimetic status. It… will recur.

If anyone wants to hear ahaha.wav yourself, someone has put it on Youtube here. Or if you prefer, you can see it mixed into We Are Number One here.

To a grieving Jessica, Maria declares that she’s not afraid because Beatrice will eventually revive all the dead (as the riddle says). Jessica gets furious, and accuses Maria of helping the killer. The game makes sound effects/screen shakes as if she’s hitting Maria, but the narration contradicts this.

George asks Maria who Beatrice is. Maria says they won’t believe her anyway.

Maria with a terrifying smile saying “You want to turn your feelings of helplessness into violence and beat someone up. So you won’t be satisfied unless your opponent is a human you can hit.”

She insists Beatrice is indeed an intangible witch.

Maria stubbornly saying “In that world, Mama is nice, and Papa is with us and is also nice. I want to go there right away. …Everyone is afraid of Beatrice. And that is only natural. …But calm yourselves. …Beatrice told me herself.”

She insists the ‘Golden Land’ is one where her parents don’t mistreat her.

The strange ‘exists’ in quotation marks continues to recur.

Battler hits her again. Fuck, dude, she may be being incredibly crass when everyone is grieving, but she’s nine. Adults shouldn’t be hitting children.

Jessica flips out, still believing Maria is hiding the identity of the killer.

Battler raises the possibility that the killer took one of the servants’ master keys after killing Shannon and Gohda. It’s not clear how many locks would be opened by this key - clearly at least some of the locks in the house can’t be opened that way. But they could have been to the servants’ room and picked up other keys.

So they decide to rely on the gun to protect them, assuming the enemy can’t take on a whole group.

Genji says that the servants’ keys can’t open Kinzo’s study, and that Kinzo’s key was still on the corpse. So that’s a good place to hole up. Battler points out that the killer was apparently able to infiltrate that room, but George reminds him of his hypothesis that Kinzo snuck out of the room.

We get another chessboard flip. Battler reasons that a witch could personally demonstrate magic to silence their doubts, and therefore the killer is not a witch but someone pretending to be a witch. That person would have to undermine the witch narrative by non-magically entering Kinzo’s study.

…As I keep flipping over the chessboard, the real and the inverse keep switching with each other over and over, and I lose my ability to believe anything…
An animated image of a chessboard spinning rapidly on a horizontal axis.

After some more argument, they’re tending to accept the study plan.

Thinking music comes on as Battler gives a flashbook to Kyrie lecturing on game theory and its limitations. Essentially, the flaw she raises is that assuming agents are always rational is not always warrented.

A greyscale flashback image of Kyrie, saying “Precisely. Events in the world of humans are naturally full of noise. Aren’t human emotions that way? Even if the exact same thing occurs more than once, there’s no guarantee that humans will always act in a predictable fashion.”

But Kyrie, assuming humans are rational agents is the foundation of free-market economics! Are you saying our entire social system is based on a lie? :O

…Which means that… if you misunderstand your enemy, and and all answers that you draw from that process will be complete rubbish, and of no use at all…

Many times, I’d thought that by using chessboard thinking, I had gotten a glimpse into the person behind these crimes.

However, I don’t know anything about the culprit.

…Am I just playing in a labyrinth of thought?

Battler starts to doubt his entire reasoning method. He wishes Kyrie was still alive to help him think it through.

The possibility of poisoned food is raised as a means of killing the original six. They decide to eat only canned food, and not the food that Kuwasawa prepared earlier, in case the enemy poisoned it during their absence from the kitchen. As they fetch the canned food in a large group, then make their way to the study, detailed narration kicks in again.

Battler and Maria against a background of a double wooden door. Battler is saying “It looks old and strict and like it’d stop any jokes cold - sure is a fitting door for Grandfather’s study.”

Battler hitting it with the door-themed insults.

Maria says it is magically warded against spiritual menace, and even Beatrice probably couldn’t open the door. The doorknobs are inscribed with scorpion designs, much like the charms Maria distributed before.

A cropped image of two doorhandles engraved with an image of a scorpion and a wheel.

Maria reveals this is the Fifth Magic Circle of Mars. Sure enough, in the Key of Solomon, we find it on plate VI.

Black and white image of the Fifth Pentacle of Mars, which is a circle with a drawing of a scorpion on the insie, and various Hebrew writing around the edge, and the same word in the four cardinal directions just inside.

Figure 29.–The Fifth Pentacle of Mars.–Write thou this Pentacle upon virgin parchment or paper, because it is terrible unto the Demons, and at its sight and aspect they will obey thee, for they cannot resist its presence.

Editor’s Note.–Around the figure of the Scorpion is the word HVL. The versicle is from Psalm xci. 13:–“Thou shalt go upon the lion and adder, the young lion and the dragon shalt thou tread under thy feet.’

Maria explains this is a strong magic repellent, and would present problems for Beatrice.

Curiously, when we see the handles in the background art, they’re not drawn with this particular circle, but a different scorpion design. Perhaps they didn’t tell the artists the exact details of the symbol?

If Beatrice could not enter, how did she kill Kinzo? Maria proposes she used her magic and familiars to force Kinzo to leave the study.

The charm that Jessica gave Natsuhi comes up. Maria explains, as we guessed earlier, that it probably protected Natsuhi from Beatrice’s influence. Hence the weird marks on the door.

Jessica is insistent that the killer cannot be a witch.

Jessica wincing and saying “…And if you need proof, why don’t we dice her up and see if her blood’s red? …Damn it, …damn it… …How could you… do that to Kanon-kun…”

Inside, they talk about Kinzo, and how differently he behaved whenever Beatrice came up.

Jessica remembers Beatrice’s second letter. They read it out at last… all it says is ‘praise my name’. So, Beatrice is unsatisfied that they missed a step from the riddle?

Natsuhi and Battler ask Genji and Kuwasawa to share what they know about Beatrice, Kinzo’s ‘oldest confidante’. Genji won’t answer.

Natsuhi speculates that Beatrice could have been Kinzo’s mistress.

Battler repeats something Genji said, about Beatrice being in Kinzo’s employment before the mansion was built. Natsuhi gives a date: construction was finished in 1952 (two years after the start of the Korean War, when Kinzo went from ‘rich’ to ‘ludicrously rich’). So they speculate that this mistress of 30 years ago, or a descendant, could be behind the murders.

Genji confirms that Kinzo had ‘deep love’ for Beatrice, exceeding his love for his wife. But he says he’s heard that Beatrice died before the mansion was completed (so before 1952). Resurrecting Beatrice, he says, is the reason Kinzo took to studying black magic.

So that could be the miracle he’s seeking to achieve: to re-embody Beatrice, hence ‘see her smile again’. We learn from Nanjo the surviving Urishomiya elders made Kinzo take an arranged marriage, but he really loved Beatrice.

Jessica apologies to Genji et. al for not understanding why they maintained a belief in Beatrice. Natsuhi expresses regret about denying Beatrice to Kinzo’s face.

Maria takes this opportunity to remind them Beatrice will soon resurrect and make everything OK. I’m sure the next seven episodes of this visual novel will be about everyone chilling in the Golden Land.

They spare a thought for Kinzo’s still-unnamed wife, and wonder if he had a child with Beatrice. Jessica brings up Gospel House, the ‘welfare institute’ that Kinzo backed. Apparently there was a rumour that Kinzo did this to gather black magic sacrifices.

And Battler finally makes the connection between the riddle/epitaph and the murders. They recognise the riddle, if interpreted as instructions, requires 13 deaths. They then come to the conclusion that the family conference is the only time of year when enough people are on the island to carry out the ritual described.

Maria saying “…Sorcery works the same way. …You keep on praying earnestly, hoping for that impossibly unlikely outcome. …Then, when that impossible result shows itself, the feelings from all those stored up prayers are made incarnate through magic.”

Maria takes this chance to remind us of the principles of sorcery.

At this point, the narration mentions Natsuhi’s charm again. She reasons that a human couldn’t have been deterred by the charm on the inside of the door, since there was no sign of it.

Returning to the riddle/instructions, they conclude the second twilight’s ‘two who are close’ are Eva and Hideyoshi. Presumably the tearing apart means tearing apart from the group? That’s my best shot.

The letter under the door corresponds to the third twilight, as noted. Though ‘those who remain’ didn’t so much praise Beatrice’s noble name as read the words ‘praise my name’ out from a letter. The fourth and fifth twilights naturally correspond to Kinzo and Kanon’s deaths. That leaves, as the characters note, three more deaths: gouging of the stomach, knee and leg.

That said, granting this is almost certainly an attempt to perform the ritual, I do feel like the second and third twilights are quite tenuous.

Jessica raises the question of whether the resurrection is literal, or takes place in the world after death. Regardless, the situation seems to be that Kinzo is somehow bringing about, as Battler puts it, a ‘forced group suicide’.

Natsuhi, however, points out the obvious limitation: Kinzo died before Kanon, so the perpetrator is not him, even if they’re following his instructions.

They note that Kinzo had apparently given away his ring with the family seal when Beatrice’s letter was opened. Which is to say, Kinzo is entirely in approval of her collection of ‘interest’.

…In short, Grandfather and Beatrice were telling us to solve the riddle of the epitaph. And if we couldn’t, they were saying they would kill us all, following the procedure in the epitaph.

So yeah, the scenario is: solve my riddle or I’ll fucking kill you all.

At that point, they discover a third envelope on the tray of canned food. When was that put there?

Battler says there surely wasn’t time for a ninth person to sneak in and place the letter while they were gathered at the portrait. Natsuhi orders everyone against the wall, and Battler to read the letter. Some very dramatic music begins.

The letter reads…

Are you enjoying the riddle of Kinzo-sama’s epitaph?

As you are all probably aware, you have very little time remaining.

Please abandon any naive hopes of escaping after the storm passes.

This game can only end with my victory or yours.

When time runs out, I will win by default. There will be no ties.

Make sure that you do not misunderstand your current situation.

Natsuhi clarifies that when she approached the portrait, Battler, George and Jessica were already there, and the letter was not. Those three remained at the portrait. So the suspects are Maria, Genji, Kuwasawa and Nanjo.

Maria insists Beatrice ‘exists’. Why those quotes? Why is it always Beatrice “‘exists’” not merely “exists”?

Anyway, Jessica accuses Kuwasawa of killing Kanon. Frankly, I can’t believe it, even if we hadn’t watched the scene play out ourselves. It just seems far too OOC for Kuwasawa.

Genji, with Natsuhi’s gun levelled at him, says “…If by suspecting me, you recognize me as the Master’s greatest servant, …then it is a great honor to me, regardless of the circumstances. …However, I am not the one who put the letter there.”

Genji, maybe now isn’t the time to play “who’s the best servant?”…

(Also this is an aside but in this gun cgi, the barrel is an oval? As if the graphic has been stretched? But the rest looks correctly proportioned? like, did the artist make the gun narrower at some point? Guns generally don’t have oval shaped bores, and a ‘rifle’ especially would have to have a circular bore because of what rifling is?)

Finally she rounds on Maria, demanding to know who the ‘Beatrice’ who gave her the letter is. Maria tells them Beatrice is actually behind them right now.

Maria declares they can’t see Beatrice because they only want to believe in her to avoid blaming someone they know, and don’t want to believe in her when they want revenge on someone who did the deed. Natsuhi tells her to shut up, that she’s been ‘aiding the enemy’ by actively making the situation more unpleasant.

Maria has the gun pointed at her and Natsuhi is shouting in the CGI. Maria says “…Kihihihihihi. …Then what will you do? Shoot me? I don’t mind. Very soon, the door to the Golden Land will be opened. Then all the dead will be resurrected. …Right now, death is nothing to be afraid of. …Kihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihih!”

George tells Natsuhi to stop threatening a nine-year-old child with a gun, even if she doesn’t seem to mind. Uh, yeah. He says the letter is trying to provoke them, but only because the culprit is afraid of the typhoon ending and the ‘law’ returning.

Natsuhi ‘declares witches don’t exist’ as ‘representative of the Urishomiya family’. Not sure your family status lets you make ontological pronouncements like that.

Anyway, Nanjo offers to leave the room, and Genji assents. Kuwasawa is, understandably, reluctant to go. Maria assures her that because she recognises Beatrice ‘exists’, she won’t be hurt.

In the narration, Battler sounds regretful that he went along with Natsuhi ‘oppressively’ chasing everyone out the room.

Genji gives all his keys, including the two keys to the study, to Natsuhi before he leaves. She apologies for the action she’s carrying out even as she does it. Yadda yadda, apologies should mean commitment to changing behaviour, but of course that’s not the only way apologies are used.

Natsuhi is no longer pointing the gun. Genji is saying “I have already received the Master’s favor. …Everything I have done until today has been in repayment for that. …Please, do not worry over it.”

I have to wonder what this ‘favour’ is that Kinzo did for Genji. It seems to be so important to him it’s shaped his entire life.

Battler reveals that earlier, when he argued against Maria’s claim that he’d been protected by her charm by claiming that he’d lost the charm, he was bluffing. So much for that triumphant ‘core’ music signifying rationality. He gives it back to Maria.

The Third Pentacle of Mars, featuring a Sierpinski arrangement of four (or three) equilateral triangles.

After they’ve left Battler notices Beatrice’s letter has a second sheet, with another magic circle. Since Maria isn’t here, we’ll have to look this one up ourselves.

I’ve been digging into the game’s files to get the magic circles without game text over theme, and this one’s filename is magicsquare_mars3.png, identifying it as the Third Magic Circle of Mars. Sure enough, it’s the Third Pentacle of Mars, again on Plate VI of the Key of Solomon.

Clear black and white image of the Third Pentacle of Mars. Each triangle has a Hebrew letter, as do the points of the innermost triangle.

The caption here says:

Figure 27.–The Third Pentacle of Mars.–It is of great value for exciting war, wrath, discord, and hostility; also for resisting enemies, and striking terror into rebellious Spirits; the Names of God the All Powerful are therein expressly marked.

Editor’s Note.–The Letters of the Names Eloah and Shaddai. In the Centre is the great letter Vau, the signature of the Qabalistic Microprosopus. Around is the versicle from Psalm lxxvii. 13:–’Who is so great a God as our Elohim?’

War, wrath, discord and hostility certainly seems pertinent to what just happened.

The chapter ends. The clock advances to 11:30PM. The next chapter is called ‘The Golden Witch’. Perhaps we will meet Beatrice at last.