So, if I’m interpreting this right (edit from future Bryn: don’t be so sure of that!), Eva probably has Lambdadelta communicating with her subconscious, playing the role of her childhood self, and encouraging her to solve the riddle and become family head.

I’m not sure why it’s in Lambdadelta’s interest to see the riddle be solved - isn’t that her ally Beatrice’s lose condition? It’s possible it’s Bernkastel instead. However, the ‘without fail’ phrasing is a huge arrow pointing at Lambdadelta.

I guess we should also distinguish the aims of narrative!Beatrice and meta!Beatrice. Meta!Beatrice wants to force Battler to acknowledge narrative!Beatrice as a witch, but narrative!Beatrice wants to complete the ritual. If the people on the island solve the riddle, that thwarts narrative!Beatrice, but not necessarily meta!Beatrice? But I still don’t see why it would be in Lambdadelta’s interest to see narrative!Beatrice thwarted.

Anyway.

Oh, also, I still don’t get any voices for Rudolf or Kyrie. I thought a file might be corrupted, but I redownloaded and reinstalled all the sound, extra and script files, and it doesn’t seem to fix the problem. I don’t understand this at all, and since I don’t know where in the file structure the appropriate voice files are supposed to be, I can’t verify that they’re present.


Eva wakes up. Rudolf says to get ready.

Rudolf to Eva: “That’s it. …Let’s tense up our assholes and do this thing.”

Tense up our what now?

After the others leave the boat, Eva starts freaking out after the epiphanies she reached in her dream.

Eva and Hideyoshi on screen. Eva says “………I…wonder if I’ve been using George as a tool for my own revenge… …I wonder if my childish hostility towards Nii-san has caused me to treat that boy’s life like a toy… Aah, what have I done… What have I……!”

Hideyoshi does his best to reassure her as she wonders if George hates her. We are told that Eva always gets terrible nightmares around the family conference from the trauma of her relationship with Krauss. She worries that not just George, but Hideyoshi also hates her. Hideyoshi does a good job of helping her calm down.

As she gets off the boat, a mysterious voice - perhaps young!Eva - says ‘welcome back’.


The time advances quickly to 2pm. The next chapter is called My Preparations are Already Complete. I’m glad we’re getting quickly to the point this time.

Perhaps I spoke too soon. Battler is catching up with the other Ushiromiya cousins on the beach. We go through the usual ‘Maria and Battler don’t remember each other because she was three when they last met’, ‘wow you’ve gotten tall’, etc. Sayo has an excellent memory, Battler doesn’t. They all joke about how much of a dork Battler used to be. (Still is.)

This time, Battler doesn’t initially know about George and Sayo’s relationship, but he catches on pretty quickly. Jessica says they’ve been explicitly dating for a year, but into each other for longer. I’m getting the impression there weren’t any deals with witches involved this time around.

Jessica asks if Battler has a girlfriend, and he says no. They talk a little about gender dynamics around dating. All I can say is, I’m so glad I’m gay.

Battler asks if Jessica has a boyfriend in return. Jessica gets all flustered.

Jessica is blushing. Battler says “Come on, that reaction’s so easy to understand… From the looks of it, there’s some boy who you’re thinking about, but you haven’t been able to confess that to him yet, something like that.

Stereotypes:

Jessica looks peeved. Battler continues “You’re the one who brought up this subject, why do you have to go and get mad at me? Women are creatures who always ask questions, and yet, they almost never answer them. What cruel creatures, seriously.

Battler is quite right - as a woman, I’m always asking questions I can’t answer, like ‘What is forgotten?’, ‘What is due?’ and especially ‘Who is Salt?’.

Jessica admits she tried to ask someone out once, but it went badly. Who could it be? (I mean, almost certainly Kanon. Even if not for the previous episode, Kanon is the only named character Jessica’s age who’s not an Ushiromiya.)

Battler rudely blames it on how she speaks ‘like a man’. Fuck that!

Narration from Battler. ‘…Maybe I’ll start thinking more seriously about the opposite sex, more than just the size of their boobs…’

WHAT AN IDEA.

Battler somehow guesses that it’s one of the servants that Jessica’s into. Well, we got that out of the way.

Narratin: ‘……After all, Jessica’s husband would probably become the head of the Ushiromiya family in the future. If that person had once been a servant working for the family, ……well, no doubt things would be complicated.’

The obvious solution is to collectivise the wealth of the Ushiromiyas.

Battler speaks English and people make fun of him. The scene moves on. This time, all the cousins know who is dating who at least. The four of them are getting along well, and plan to see each other outside of the conference.

It’s nice that at least one group of Ushiromiyas don’t have daggers to each others’ throats.

Maria, George and Battler beaming happily. George: “That’s right. Yeah. We’ll always be together. We’ll always be friendly.”

It’s pleasant… too pleasant.

…and Maria mentions Beatrice, quotes that everyone must believe to gain happiness. George agrees.

They decide to swear together to always be friendly and happy, and believe in that. This probably has significance; I doubt the mention of magic is irrelevant. And I also expect something will happen to test that belief in time.

So…I want this day to end, without anythin weird occurring, in peace and happiness, calmly…

Oh, Battler. You’re in the wrong game.

…imagine if this episode was a total fakeout, and the family conference goes off without a hitch and no weird murders? The adults find a mutually agreeable resolution of the inheritance issue… no, better, the kids and the servants force them to collectivise and redistribute the Ushiromiya fortune.

Anyway, Beatrice interrupts.

Beatrice in the meta world: “In your dreeeeeeeeeeeeams! Kyah-hahah-hah-hah-hahahahahahahahaha!!”

She’s had it with this saccharine bullshit, evidently.

Beatrice in the meta world: “Come, let us begin this tale of tragedy! Come to me, rain, winds, typhoon! Cut this island off from the real world!! Throw Rokeenjima into another world, into the netherworld, into a world of fantasy!”

The ‘come to me’ part sounds like an allusion to something; at first I thought The Tempest, but I seem to be imagining it.

The narration suddenly becomes very distant: ‘and so, the tale repeated for tthe third time’. But, it says, there’s no point in counting, because Beatrice is Endless.

The narration very quickly skims to the next familiar point: Maria looking for the marked rose in the garden as the typhoon closes in. Beatrice shows up. This is along the lines in the first episode, as Beatrice brings an umbrella and Rosa isn’t present, but this time we see the scene ourselves.

Beatrice tells her to search for the rose with magic, not her eyes. Maria says she did, but was unsuccessful.

Beatrice to Maria: “While this is certainly ideal for practicing your magic, it might be a little too much for you with all this wind and rain. ……Allow me to lend you some special power. Concern for one’s disciples is also among the duties of a master.”

Beatrice determines that Maria’s rose has been uprooted by the wind and rain. Maria resolves to bring it back with magic and asks Beatrice how.

Nah, says Beatrice.

Beatrice, grimacing: “Ha! It’s muc htoo early for an apprentice like you to learn the hidden art of Endless Magic. Know your place.”

This is a blatant parallel to the scene at the opening where ‘Beatrice’ helped the ‘princess’ temporarily repair a vase.

Maria gets upset, so Beatrice decides to lend her the power anyway. The words Beatrice tells Maria to use are a direct echo of the ones in opening segment, instructing the rose to ‘remember its form’.

“Don’t look. Don’t listen. And believe. ……Release the power of your soul from the cage of flesh that imprisons it. …………That’s it. ……Good…

The narration describes butterflies coalescing into a seed which grows into a rose, but also that Maria isn’t allowed to watch this. Interestingly, this time there are no human witnesses for the sfx, just the narrator. Beatrice finally marks the rose with golden lace to distinguish it.

Of course, as far as Maria knows, Beatrice could have marked any old rose with lace she had in her pocket. But of course Maria is very excited. There’s an allusion to Beatrice once wishing to become a great witch the way Maria does, which gives me more reason to think she’s the ‘princess’.

There’s some brief first-person narration from Beatrice. It doesn’t say much new.

Finally, as before, Beatrice presents Maria the envelope.


We get a short soliloquy from Beatrice. The chapter title is dropped.

“So, Kinzo. I’ve come to join in on your fun once again… My preparations are already complete. What about you? I assume you have prepared enough coins to bet in tonight’s game…?

…or perhaps not a soliloquy, since Kinzo responds directly. He says he has also thoroughly prepared ‘both physically and mentally’. Kinzo seems a lot more together this time around - no screaming Beatrice’s name. He offers all he has been given as ante in the game. In a rather melodramatic moment, when he throws his ring out the window, it is struck by lightning, turns into a butterfly, and is caught by an invisible person.

Observation that may be relevant later: if Kinzo throws his ring after Maria gets the envelope, that means Beatrice couldn’t use it to seal that particular envelope.

We are introduced to a new character. They can turn invisible, and wear an Ushiromiya servant uniform.

A new character, Ronove, is introduced. He is wearing a smart suit with the Ushiromiya emblem and gold trim, a winged collar and a maroon cravat. Narration: ‘There was no man like this among the servants who served the Ushiromiya family. Even so, BEATRICE laughed as though it was someone she remembered fondly.”

We learn this character’s name is Ronove. He looks like he’d fit in better at LARP gathering to be honest.

Apparently he is a somewhat neglected servant of Beatrice.

At this point I got an achievement for 3000 clicks.

Narrative!Beatrice instructs Ronove to introduce himself to meta!Battler, showing that, if we can trust this scene, narrative!Beatrice is fully aware of the overall situation - if she’s even distinct from meta!Beatrice at all. Additionally, Ronove is able to communicate through the internal fourth wall.

Battler is not pleased by this ongoing expansion of the cast.

Battler: “Isn’t that obvious, another incomrephensible guy’s just appeared!! I grumbled that goat-headed people would start doing the Bon dance, and then goat-heads started showing up in swarms, and since then, not only have those seven sexy-assed babes appeared, but now even a butler has goddamn shown up!! It doesn’t make sense, cut it out!!”

Given that of all members of the cast, the ‘sexy-assed babes’ have probably murdered Battler many times more than anyone else... we get it dude, you’re a sub.

Beatrice says this is a literal devil’s proof, in that she has brought a demon (whose name is among the ‘72′, referring to the 72 goetic demons in the Lesser Key of Solomon) face to face with Battler. He is 27th in the hierarchy, and we can specifically look him up.

In demonology, Ronove is a Marquis and Great Earl of Hell, commanding twenty legions of demons. He teaches art, Rhetoric, languages, and gives good and loyal servants and the favour of friends and foes.

He is depicted as a monster holding a staff, without detailing his appearance. He is also described as taker of old souls; often coming to earth to harvest souls of decrepit humans and animals near death.

Other spellings: Roneve, Ronové, Ronwe.

According to the 19th-century Dictionnaire Infernal, he looks like this:

Victorian era illustration of Ronove. He is a man with a giant head, especially his chin and ear, very long mismatched arms, and a tail, carrying a staff under one arm and picking his nose with the other.

This, uh, rather raises a question (and not ‘had that 19th century artist ever taken a biomechanics course’). Beatrice has been performing all sorts of feats of magic around and on meta!Battler, but this doesn’t seem to count, presumably because it’s not in the narrative. But here, Beatrice is acting like it’s meaningful to introduce Ronove to meta!Battler as if it proves something.

Beatrice confirms Ronove is the 27th-highest-ranked Great Demon, who she summoned and enslaved at ‘high cost’. Ronove, it turns out, is now Beatrice’s ‘head furniture’. He describes Beatrice as a ‘vulgar human and Great Witch from whom even demons would flee in fear’.

Beatrice comments on his impudence and Ronove immediately brings up the terms of his contract. Beatrice is like, no. Ronove then offers friendship to Battler.

Ronove to a grumpy Battler: “I am also one who has been subjected to Milady’s whims. In that sense, I am sure that we could become good friends. This is a handshake of friendship.

Battler rejects it in his characteristic narrative-tropes-obsessed way.

Battler to Ronove: “Sorry, but I’m right in the middle of a big fight with your master. I only shake hands with an enemy after one of those situations like you find in teen dramas, when we’ve beaten each other up in a rainy schoolyard and are all worn out. Remember that.

Battler seems to define himself by narrative tropes a lot. Even the creepy boob-grabbing sexual-harassment thing he framed in terms of playing out a particular kind of almost ritualised anime scene.

Ronove to Battler: “I see. Then, to shake hads with you, Battler-sama, I must create a fitting atmosphere in a suitable location, and we must exchange body language and sweet words that ring true to the heart. I will find a suitable opportunity to prepare such a location.

This is pretty damn gay and I ship it now. After all, wasn’t Battler just talking about a romantic partner?

Narration: ‘Laughing tauntingly, Ronove whispered that to Battler, with his face so close that their noses were almost touching.

It got gayer.

Narration: Battler, his face turning red after getting so close to another of the same sex, pushed him away.

OK, I guess it’s intentional.

…and given Battler’s response is calling him creepy, I fear this is the ‘creepy effeminate gay villain’ thing.

Ronove announces his intention to greet the other furniture; Beatrice says ‘only’ the ‘common goats’ and Seven Sisters ‘have manifested themselves’, implying we are going to meet more of Beatrice’s furniture later.

Beatrice makes an obvious point about conversation partners.

“However, to have a conversation is to acknowledge the person you are talking to. Now that you have started to respond to my idle chatting, that is proof you are gradually starting to accept my existence.”

Indeed it’s so obvious that I assumed the existence of meta!Beatrice wasn’t in question, merely the existence of narrative!Beatrice.

Beatrice makes an interesting comment…

Beatrice: “……How boring were those days when I was trapped alone on this island, unable to regain my power and without anyone to talk to.”

There’s two interpretations here. The first is that meta!Beatrice is a future version of one of the various instances of narrative!Beatrice, so this is a time travel situation. The second is that meta!Beatrice could only sit in meta-space while narrative!Beatrice was trapped on the island, though given meta!Beatrice seems to be able to reset the clock at will, that correspondence seems kind of iffy.

Battler asks to know what Beatrice means when she says only certain servants have manifested themselves. Good point: it’s almost as if Beatrice’s stable of furniture is genuinely growing each game, not that she’s just choosing to use different powers.

Beatrice says she’s in contact with many more ‘nonhuman entities in the netherworld’, and despite Battler’s protests, they’ll keep showing up.

Beatrice: “When the door to the Golden Land is opened, I will call back all of my furniture, and buid lmy new castle here on Rokkenjima. Then I plan to invite all of my old friends, and we will drink and dance together for three days and three nights.

Battler doesn’t rise to Beatrice’s jabs. He infers that Beatrice is saying she’s able to summon back more and more of her servants as her power builds up from its low when she was imprisoned on Rokkenjima.

Beatrice claims that the ‘wavering’ in Battler’s heart has restored some of her witchy powers. In other words, Ronove appeared because he started to surrender. Interesting…

Meta!Beatrice speaks of the last game as if she is one and the same as narrative!Beatrice, referring to when she rested her feet on him.

It’s time for more chess metaphors!

“……However, you have your hands full just enabling your king to escape, and have lost several important pieces to me, and conceded a large advantage. It is only natural that further advances will lean in my favor.

She goes on to say that she is taking more and more of Battler’s pieces as the game goes on. What are Battler’s ‘pieces’ that Beatrice is taking? An obvious answer is that Battler’s pieces are hypotheses, and he loses them when Beatrice refutes them.

The scene ends with Beatrice taunting Battler for his big talk in the last game. Where’s Bernkastel got to? I think the boy needs some help right now.


Next: something about the epitaph again, it looks like.