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.

So. Our cast is divided in two. In Kinzo’s study, Natsuhi, Jessica, George and Battler wait. Thrown out are Nanjo, Maria, Genji and Kumasawa, among whom is suspected to be the killer pretending to be Beatrice.

The ritual requires three more murders. If Beatrice really is among those who left, she has three ready sacrifices.

Also I just checked the characters screen and, although it hasn’t been quite so goffick as to edit skulls over the character portraits like I have, the dead characters have been highlighted in red, so I could maybe have saved some editing lol.

But wait, the character descriptions have changed! They’re really mean-spirited now! I made a post with them here.

Anyway, Battler comments that he thinks Jessica was attracted to Kanon, but only realised after Kanon’s death. Battler, meanwhile, is searching for a book with the magic circle that we identified as the Third Pentacle of Mars, as a way to pass time. But very few of Kinzo’s grimoires are written in Japanese.

Jessica starts questioning whether they did the right thing in chasing Maria, the nine-year-old child, out into a house with a murderer on the loose. Yeah, that’s a question worth asking, isn’t it, Jessica? Natsuhi is unremorseful.

They talk about why Maria is so obsessed with the occult, and George says Rosa’s husband left her, and that she sometimes ‘got incredibly emotional and took it all out on Maria’, and didn’t like or want her. In short, parental abuse - which we’ve seen evidence of already.

George finally manages to say that they were wrong to throw out the four. It’s a bit late now, isn’t it George? It’s been hours and they’re probably already dead.

Natsuhi continues to argue they’re suspicious for placing the letter. Battler rejects this, with what are now some of his most repeated lines after ‘flip the chessboard’:

Battler wincing and saying to Natsuhi “…That’s no goddamn good. Yeah, it’s no goddamn good at all…”

He flips the chessboard too, of course.

An animated image of a chessboard spinning rapidly on a horizontal axis.

Why would the culprit do something so self-implicating as to place a letter? …unless they wanted to get kicked out along with three sacrifices?

Jessica saying “…In that case, …that would mean we fell for the culprit’s trap completely… and sent out some new potential sacrifices…”

They don’t quite follow that logic, but conclude they might have played right into an external agent’s hands by kicking people out of the safe room.

Bit late now, innit.

Jessica is feeling increasingly guilty about being so mean to Maria.

Battler finds the Third Pentacle of Mars in a book. He says it agitates internal divisions and causes the enemy to bring about their own downfall. Put like that, well. You all fucked up, badly.

Battler saying “A-anyway, let’s ignore how they got in here for now. …The culprit was after just one thing! They wanted to spread the seeds of doubt inside this impregnable study and use us to throw the sacficial sheep out…!!”

Just as they start wondering how to fix this, they get a phone call. On a phone that was supposed to be broken.

After some freaking out, Natsuhi picks it up… and hears only quiet singing on the other end, with no direct response. Battler takes it, and thinks it sounds like Maria. We don’t get a translation of the song.

It seems that even if the internal lines are fixed, the external ones are still broken and they can’t reach the cops. Worth a try.

They set out as a group. Battler takes a ‘three-pronged candelabra’ to use as a weapon. He wonders if they’ve fallen for another trick to make them leave the study.

George takes the chance to raise a point that Nanjo mentioned earlier, that splitting the skull with one of the gouges would require a lot of strength. He suggests the culprit may have a weapon that can shoot or otherwise drive these “icepicks”.

As they approach the parlour, they hear Maria singing. Battler says it’s a common folk song, and she’s singing more like she’s been forced than she’s happy.

They prepare to breach the room with a flashbang… wait, no, wrong kind of game. With George opening the door for Natsuhi and Battler. It turns out to be locked, and they have to make nosie to unlock it, revealing themselves to any potential enemy.

They breach the room with good tactics, but of course, it’s too late.

View of the living room with blood splattered on the walls. The narration says “This place, where we had spent almost the entire day, where we had pressed in together to protect ourselves from some unknown malice, had become stained with fresh blood, had become an ocean of blood…!!”

Genji, Kumasawa, and Nanjo are dead. They have been ‘gouged’ in the places noted in the riddle, and their faces have been smashed up too.

View of the blood-splattered room with Maria standing with her back to the camera, facing the wall.

Maria is also there, doing her best horror movie impression.

Character screen with all characters crossed out except Natsuhi, Jessica, George, Battler and Maria.

Of course, she says it was Beatrice that dunnit.

Beatrice apparently told her to face the wall and keep singing ‘for a long time’, i.e. while Beatrice murdered everyone else. That’s… really horrible.

The story: the four entered the parlour and locked the door behind them. She entered the room by ‘turning into butterflies and flying through the cracks in the door’. Once inside, she said she couldn’t enter the study, so she’d choose the three sacrifices from those present.

Maria with a creepy smile saying “Kihihihihihihi, Kumasawa-san kept saying “please, please don’t”. But Beatrice chose. …And when she did, she said I would be fine. …Why do you think?”

Maria says she was safe because she had Battler’s Fifth Pentacle of Mars charm, which he ‘prayed for [her] safety and put his feelings into’.

Battler doubts, but Maria declares the eigth twilight is over, and it’s time for Beatrice to revive.

Battler ranting “I won’t accept it, Beatrice doesn’t ‘exist’!! I’ll never accept that she does!! So I won’t let her exist, I won’t let her revive!! The legend’s a legend and that’s all it’s ever gonna be. I won’t accept something like that!!!!!!”

Battler is not going to accept this no matter what.

While they’re interrogating Maria, Natsuhi disappears. Welp. Guess she’s going to die too.

Or something else? She seems to have left the room - Maria says ‘reading a letter’ - and locked or blocked the door behind her.

The narration explains she bolted the door with Battler’s intricate candlestick. Curiously, the narration says ‘double door’, even though all illustrations of the parlour door have been a single door. Seems like a bit of an oversight on the art team’s part.

Natsuhi has gone to the entrance hall to challenge Beatrice in front of her portrait. And butterflies do indeed come out.

Natsuhi says she can’t believe that “something like you” really existed, but she’s going to shoot the shit out of Beatrice anyway. It turns out Beatrice has challenged her to a duel.

Beatrice takes human form, and we cut to Battler as Natsuhi opens fire. And somehow, when they force the door and get there, it seems as if Natsuhi has killed herself with the gun. Perhaps Beatrice has the power to redirect bullets, or somehow took the gun from Natsuhi, or magically compelled her to kill herself? Can Beatrice not affect her directly due to Maria/Jessica’s magic charm?

Character screen with all characters crossed out except Jessica, George, Battler and Maria, i.e. Natsuhi also crossed out.

The letter challenging her to a duel is also gone. Maybe Natsuhi should have told everyone where she was going?

In any case, Maria is now confident Beatrice is about to lead them all to the promised Golden Land. And at midnight, Beatrice appears in front of her portrait, and Maria hugs her.

No thank you, says Battler.

Image of Beatrice’s portrait, with narration saying “…This madness can’t possibly be, witches don’t ‘exist’, I won’t accept it!”

Beatrice laughs. Curiously, she doesn’t have a character portrait but rather we have shots of the wall painting.

And the episode ends! We get a scrolling epilogue, explaining that when the police come to the island, they find only small pieces of the four remaining survivors. The story we’ve just read is notes recorded by Maria and hidden in a wine bottle. The “witch legend serial murder case” goes on to be a popular unsolved mystery.

I wasn’t able to screenshot it at the time, but later I found it all in the game’s files. So here’s the full epilogue:

The first part of the game’s epilogue. Text is printed over a cloudy sunset, overlaid with medieval-style illustrations. See below for text.

The storm passed… and the leaden clouds that had enshrouded the island for so long began to clear away. Sunbeams shone from the rifts between the clouds…Yesterday’s storm seemed like a lie.

Just as someone had wished, the seagulls returned to the harbor again, and let their lively cries be heard.

Afterwards, the police arrived, and conducted an investigation of the scene.

The corpses of the children, who are believed to have survived until the very end, were never found; however, from the body parts that were discovered and the unimaginably gruesome nature of the scene, the police were forced to conclude that the chances of survival for any of the eighteen, including the children, were hopelessly dim.

Just how gruesome was the banquet of the witch? And how beautiful was the Golden Land?

Those tales are for them alone, to tell among themselves…

They have no tale for those who arrived after the banquet had ended. One can only but imagine what transpired during the course of those two days.

However… the witch was fickle.

She made a point of leaving behind this tale, which had no need to be told, and permitted it to spread.

A few years later.

A strnage wine bottle, drifting on the waves on the quayside of a neighboring island, was recovered by a fisherman.

Stuffed inside were tightly rolled notebook pages, crammed full to the edgeswith minuscule writing.

Written there… was this tale.

It would be through these pages that people would first come to know the nature of the mysterious and riddle-filled two-day period that began on October 4, 1986.

This incident would later bereferred to as “The Rokkenjima Mass Murders” or “The Eighteen Killings of Rokkenjima”, but dilettantes around the world passed the story on under the name of the “Witch Legend Serial Murder Case”.

Lovers of the occult claimed it to be the sorry result of an immoral ritual that sealed off the island, and savagely embellished the mysterious two-day span with their own interpretations as they spread it far and wide.

However, not one of these interpretations arrived at the truth of the facts.

And while the notebook pages tell of this mysterious incident, they do not tell of the truth behind it.

In fact… perhaps not even the writer of the notebook new that truth.

…Perhaps she may have desired to know.

According to the writer’s signature… her name was Ushiromiya Maria.

Furthermore, as a result of an all-out police search, part of Maria’s body has been discovered: a piece of her jaw. It was one of the rare instances where the owner of a body part was able to be identified, through dental records.

…There were many parts that could not be linked to any specific person in that gruesome scene, so the jaw could be called an extremely fortunate find.

Because the jaw had been separated from its body, the police consider her chances of survival to be hopelessly dim, even though no other parts were found or identified.

Let us conclude this tale with the final paragraph of the notebook pages that Ushiromiya Maria left behind…

(in a calligraphy font) “By the time you read this, I will probably be dead. Although there may or may not be a corpse. You who have read this: please uncover the truth. That is my only wish. - Ushiromiya Maria”

- To this very day, the truth of the “Witch Legend Serial Murder Case” has not been brought to light.

There’s a list of the fates of the various characters in the ‘first game’. We learn the stabbing weapons are the “stakes of” various demons.

A list of the characters’ fates. See below.

1st game “Legend of the Golden Witch” Result

The witch shall praise the wise, and grant four treasures in the Golden Land. There they chose to revive the souls of the dead, and the love they possessed.

Because what they desired could not be gained from a mountain of gold, no matter how high.

Rest in peace, Beatrice. May your slumber never be disturbed again.

The winner is the Golden Witch, Beatrice.

Of the eighteen, none solved the riddle of the gold in time.

All eighteen died.

When the seagulls cried, none were left alive.

Well, that’s that, everyone’s dead, game over right?

No, I think this was, to make a Homestuck analogy, acts 1-4. Now it’s time to introduce the Trolls and get the real story going!

Before that, a new ‘tea party’ option has appeared on the menu. This takes place in ‘purgatorio’. Apparently Beatrice has invited us to a tea party. In it, the characters break the fourth wall and talk about the game. They suggest we’ve just found the ‘bad end’… of this completely linear visual novel. Even Maria says it was a bad end.

George, looking happy, saying “I think so too. Beatrice’s letter, which Maria-chan read on the first day, did tell us in advance to solve the riddle of the epitaph. We were all so busy trying to protect ourselves and look for the culprit that we didn’t even take a shot at it.” Battler grinning and saying “You don’t have to be our waitress and serve tea. After all, this is a wrap party. As a group of people who met a horrible fate, let’s all get along and lick each other’s wou~~nds!”

Battler is still creepy with the sexual harassment of Shannon.

But yeah. They talk about it less as a thing they actually experienced, and more as a visual novel they’ve read alongside us. And yet they use first-person language. This is some Homestucky shit all right.

Battler saying “Speaking of which, don’t you think Kanon-kun’s last moments were the coolest? Even though he had the tables turned on him, it was a showdown with the culprit, right? It’s a whole bunch better than our confusing last moments!”

The characters agree among themselves, commenting on the scenes, that various bits of the narrative prove a supernatural 19th person was responsible.

Shannon proved this by stroking her cheek which had been crushed during the story, and everyone laughed out loud, smiling.
Shannon smiling and saying “…Umm, well, …it’s not like it hurt… Besides, as you can see, right now, I’m perfectly fine, so don’t worry.”

A lampshade is hung on the characters’ ambiguously… canon-experiencing? status.

George, looking doubtful, saying “Well, it feels a bit weird saying this, …but I was sure this story would be in the standard mystery genre. I’m a little surprised to find out that it’s fantasy. After all, a story revolving around an inheritance, set on a western-style mansion shut away on an isolated island, …I thought that was the classic formula for mysteries.”

George questions the story’s genre.

The characters - now external to the narrative - decide to try to solve the riddle now. Maria says Beatrice will be happy.

Battler won’t be having it.

Battler saying “…I’ve been listening to you guys, and - why did you all stop thinking? Why are you so sure that the witch was behind all of this? …Don’t you realize that stuff like that doesn’t exist?”

This, I understand, is going to be a central theme of the story.

Since this post is now very long and this ‘tea party’ postscript doesn’t seem short, let’s wrap it up here. Next time: lively epistemology.