Episode 7, Epilogue 1 : Tea Party
Lion wakes up in the witches' theater... next to Ange, who is far from pleased of being stuck here again. And she's got no clue who Lion is, of course. Oh, and they're both chained to their seats, so there's no escape. So Ange just yells at whichever witch's in charge to just get this the fuck on. (Is this EVA-Beatrice's cackle we hear ? Hum...)
And we start... on October 4th, 1986, with what could be either of the Fragments we've already seen, or a completely new one (that part's about always the same anyway : Battler arriving after 6 years, Beatrice's letter causing an uproar at dinner...).
Then Lion realizes : Ange is outside the box and doesn't know what happened, while she herself at least knows the culprit and what they were trying to achieve. So Ange's to be the theatergoer, while Lion answers her questions.
In this world, George acknowledges his inferiority complex about Battler... and Shannon chides him for being so silly. She may have been infatuated with Battler six years ago, but that's the past. He trusts her, right ?
Meanwhile, the seven parents go over the epitaph together... and solve it right there and then. Just like that, they find the VIP room with the gold. Beato shows up to congratulate them, and tells them her last few secrets : the guns she was prepared to kill them with, the credit card with 1 billion yen on it she used for her expenses... and the trigger for the 900 tons of explosives under the island. (Left over from the Japanese military base, of course, and still working, as Beato had tested by blowing the shrine up.) The explosives are linked to a clock, and if the switch on it is on, they blow up at midnight. She claims she just switched it off, though. (Also, she mentions that escaping to Kuwadorian allows to get out of the explosion's range, although she didn't plan on doing that if nobody solved the epitaph by the 9th twilight.)
The parents are quite baffled by this woman who seems so candid about her former vow to kill them. Is this a trick ? Eva's especially suspicious, although she doesn't make the mistake of pushing the switch just before midnight. No, really, this is all genuine, Beato doesn't care what happens to her now, she was prepared to gamble her life anyway. This is the best possible result for the siblings, getting all the gold without any blood being spilled, and Beato gently stepping out of the way.
... Yeah, right. the parents immediately start squabbling about their shares of the gold.
Okay, who's the asshole who's showing this horrible iteration to Lion and Ange ?
Shots ring off. By "accident", some guns went off while Krauss&Natsuhi and Eva&Hideyoshi were fighting. Krauss and Natsuhi are dead. Oh shit. Eva starts smiling madly and offers a plan : to hide the corpses, detonate the bomb and hide in Kuwadorian. Rosa's having none of it, not liking losing 5 billions of gold just for 1/3rd of the bank account. Eva can just denounce herself, spend a couple years in jail, and get her share later !
Eva, I don't think bringing Rosa's thieving man into the conversation helps any.
Bang ! Down goes Rosa, shot down by... Kyrie. Who calmly points out that none of them would know how to trade the gold off the black market (it's Krauss who had the connections), so it's all useless. Sure, Rosa would probably had listened to the argument... but unlike Eva and Hideyoshi, she still had a loaded gun, so she had to be shot down first.
Unlike Kyrie, Eva and Hideyoshi don't know how to reload a gun fast enough. Bang ! Bang ! (And another Bang ! for Beato, who had witnessed the whole thing without reacting.)
Kyrie, you bitch ! I always knew you had it in you ! Although this wasn't her initial plan : the guns have only 5 bullets each and there were 6 people to kill, so the "accident" was very welcomed, thank you.
She's barely polite enough to Rudolf to allow him to go try and save Battler (He's not her son, after all, so she doesn't care... something Rudolf does eventually contest : she is his mother, darnit). For the other kids... well, the "summoned separately by Grampa for tests" ploy from EP 4 will do. (And Kyrie's sneaky enough to have Rudolf dirtying his own hands by killing George himself.) Off goes Gohda, surprised in the break room. Off goes Jessica, who suddenly got Kyrie's gun in her face in the living room. Her struggle only leads to her face being smashed in gruesomely. Kyrie calls Battler out to the chapel and then goes off to deal with everyone left at the guesthouse.
But wait ! The bullet merely glanced Eva, and now she rushes to try and save George. Too late, of course, as by then Rudolf has already sent three bullets into George ; but Eva does manage to kill her brother.
(Oh dear, this is Ange's Fragment, isn't it ? The only silver lining I see is the possibility of Battler surviving...)
Eva runs to confront Kyrie as she gets out of the guesthouse. And Kyrie becomes creepier by the second, stating calmly that she has no use for Ange anymore now that Rudolf is dead. She was only a way for her to marry the guy, you see ? ...I don't like to throw epithets like Complete Monster around, but it's pretty justified here. Eva's outraged, of course. (Although the woman who bore George to get the headship doesn't have that much moral high ground, we are reminded that Eva didn't kill anyone on purpose yet here.)
Two shots ring out... And while Eva does fall, it's Kyrie who's mortally wounded.
Bernkastel, you were doing so good Petting The Dog at the end of the main tale. Do you really need to literally tear off the guts off Beato's corpse with a scythe ? What purpose does that serve ? You're not even the Game Master here ! Because this is no game...
I think I understand why Eva never told Ange the truth about what happened. It's destroy her... as it does now, as Ange literally self-destructs.
But wait, there's more to this tale, says Bernkastel. Lion is outraged, of course. But let's have a look at the parlor room. There's nothing there... but if you switch over to another Fragment, you see a corpse... Lion's corpse. You see, Lion comes from the day of October 4th... Aren't you curious to know what happened until October 5th ? Exactly the same thing. There was some outcry at Grampa giving the headship to Lion, so he whipped out the epitaph (all the mechanisms had been prepared long before Lion even came into the picture, after all). The parents solved the epitaph, squabbled about the gold... and ultimately, Lion was the first of the children killed. Or will be, to be more accurate. So, in the one world where she doesn't become the witch Beato and trapped into an inescapable slaughter... Lion dies anyway. Sucks to be her.
Bernkastel, isn't this going a bit too far to get back at Beatrice after losing a game to her ? Showing her in her last moment that the dream she had about being a proper member of the family... has just as tragic an ending as any of her other fates ? You asshole !
Random unkind flashbacks !
- Grampa being the one suggesting to steal the gold from the Italians.
- Beatrice the Second : "Father, no !"
- Lashing out at Genji and Dr Nanjo... "Why save me ? With this terrible injury, I'm trapped in this body incapable of love ! It's like being furniture !"
Lion comes to her senses in the parlor room... face to face with Kyrie's gun.
In comes Will, slicing the Fragment out to save Lion. Yeah, he didn't think Bernkastel would let Beato happily go either. Lion's not good, Kyrie's ghost wound hurts her... Bernkastel summons a herd of cats, and not the cute variety. But no worries, Will is gonna hold them off so that Lion can escape... Oh shit. We only see the beginning of Will's attacks against Bernkastel's tale before Lion leaves the room.
Roll the cast list. Interestingly, despite showing up at one point, Lambdadelta's not in it. Neither are Featherine, Clair or Beato. The Witch segment only has Will and Bernkastel.
Lion is running and running, finally reaching a sea filled with stars. But the pain's too great, and she falls over... to be caught by Will.
"Will, your arm !" "Shit, I must have forgotten it back there. It'd be a pain to go and fetch it back, too."
Will, never change, please.
Wait those are no stars ! Those are cats' eyes ! But Will and Lion are ever defiant against Bernkastel : they WILL find a good ending !
And this finally wraps the first epilogue up. Pfew. Never thought it'd take me two full sessions.
Anyway, this was a superb and brutal piece of storytelling. I should have suspected that Bernkastel was a bit too mellow back there, after all. And while I guessed pretty early the attack against Ange, the twist against Lion made my jaw drop. Weaponized Diabolus ex Machina !
This also wraps up a few loose ends from the main mystery. The Chekhov's explosives finally explained the Rock Falls Everyone Dies in a way that doesn't feel contrived at all. The clarification of Ange's Fragment (with Battler's fate left nicely ambiguous), while painful, was welcome. And this one flashback suggesting that Beato's reproductive organs were destroyed in that fall does open some intriguing possibilities...
There's still one epilogue left, and I'm curious whether it'll top this one.