Episode #7 : Part 4 - The Culprit
This session is brought to you by the Fractale Production Committee, who ensured I'd have enough time this evening to do it.
By now, Will has pretty much figured out who killed the Beatrice of 1986. And it would be cruel to keep Lion in the dark any further, so let's just have it out.
Oh, interesting ! Will points out that Maria identifies people by their behaviour, and not their appearance. Hence her thinking the "Black Witch" and Rosa are two different people. So if someone were to grant her wish to see the Golden Witch and suddenly start acting like Beatrice in front of her, she'd see it at the witch suddenly appearing, like she told. This is both incredibly obvious in retrospect, and a nice use of EP 2 callbacks to explain why "Beatrice" didn't even need a change of clothes or a disguise to perform this feat. [Also, the music along Will's deduction is pretty bitching.]
In this fashion, the "Beatrice" who died here is just the character : the "actor" would still be alive. Only the actor can really kill the character, after all... But this is a weird pocket universe, a Schrodinger's box with both an alive and a dead cat. The alive actor who's the only one able to kill the character... and the dead cat who never gave birth to the character in the first place.
And of course, the dead cat is Lion. [I love how, whenever the story's focus turns to Lion, the music becomes slightly off-key... or completely dissonant in the case of Will's deduction theme. At least, I hope that's on purpose.] Anyway, cue the various deductions on how Lion's universe is the only one where the witch Beatrice doesn't exist... and she's absent from everyone's flashbacks to the witch stories.
Now, Will has a good theory about this... The fact that she's 19 clinched it. Lion's not Natsuhi's child
, whatever she may be thinking. Lion is Grampa and Beatrice the Second's child
. This is a very rare Fragment where 19 years ago Natsuhi accepted the baby as her own and didn't throw it off a cliff. (Which is of course the moment Bernkastel chooses to congratulate Will on his quick deductions.)
So yeah, the narrative finally confirms the incest. Although it does point out that Grampa immediately regretted his "mistake", hence why he was so keen on bringing the baby into the family, and was about to give it the headship very quickly, something he never did for anybody else, and certainly not Krauss or Jessica. And hey, this is an universe where Natsuhi was loving enough for Lion never to notice.
But of course, this means that Lion is completely unrelated to the Rokkenjima serial murders, as she never became the witch Beatrice. On the other hand, she does have the right to know about it all, as Bernkastel playfully dangles in front of her. Will points out she also has the right not to know, so it's all Lion's choice. Ultimately, she does... and collapses from the shock.
(Before that, there's a nice little exchange with Will asking about the elephant in the room : is Lion male or female ? Even Bernkastel took pains to make it ambiguous in this game, and actually it's a bonus mystery that's been hanging around since EP 1. Lion's response is the only appropriate one — basically, "Fuck you." Will doesn't press the issue.)
Anyway, time to deal with the alive cat... and look who's just showing up ! Actually, don't, because this episode likes playing coy. Anyway, it's the culprit, invited by Will. There'll be no flashy blue/red fight to try and deny it, the game is over and the whole point was to get noticed anyway. Will is just going to explain it all. Lights ! Stage ! Action !
Wait, who the heck is this ?◊
[The tips tell me she's a professional narrator brought in by Bernkastel as a substitute/actor for Beato.]
April, 1976. "Chapter 1, a new life"
And with the narrator being among the new Ushiromiya servants straight from the orphanage
welcomed by Natsuhi at that precise date, there's no ambiguity whatsoever left about who they are. A frail young child, much younger than any of the other servants chosen to work here (and thus resented by them), and actually only working part-time because of elementary school
(the same one Jessica goes to, by the way). Interestingly, not only Genji but also Natsuhi are responsible for this odd setup. Er, scratch that, the next scene has Natsuhi stating this was all decided by Grampa... who was already so deep in his "Beatoo-riiiiii-tché !!!" dementia that the whole thing must have been arranged by Genji. Natsuhi suspects that this was to give Jessica a friend her age (she isn't pleased not to have any say in it), but we know the truth... although this is Genji's secret, and he's waiting for the right time to reveal it (even Grampa doesn't know — Genji doesn't want him to repeat the "mistake").
Anyway, our narrator's only friend was their complete antithesis, the confident and popular maid called... Shannon. Oh Crap
, I see where this is going... All the other young servants hated "Yasu" (yet another name ?), because of the privileged position (a room by themselves !) and the elder servants' clear favouritism (hum, does this mean Kumasawa already knows ?). And I must giggle when I notice that all those bit-part servants share character designs with the Seven Stakes.
We also get some more details about Genji's actions in 1967... The baby had survived the fall, and he had called Dr Nanjo in time to save it... in secret, of course. What I find odd is the the assertion that Genji fudged with the records so that the child wouldn't be noticed by Natsuhi... by lowering their age by 3 years (hence entering elementary school in 1976, while the "current Lion" would have been 4th grade). Not that I have a problem with the rationale (it would work with such a weak child)... but it's a bit hard to make it square up against what I know of the young servants' history. But then, that's what this series of flashbacks is for...
Odds that the Shannon here is just Yasu's imaginary friend : very high
. On the other hand, I'm not discounting yet the possibility that it's a real person that the impressionable child imprinted as a model. (After all, the bully maids have been recast as the witch's servants, and then there's the whole Beato personna...)
The index tells me there's 8 more chapters of flashbacks. It seems we're going to be there for a while...