Changed content rating. I forgot that anyone who know what When They Cry series are shouldn't be particularly offended with obscene amounts of gore.
Shadow Rave: You're right. From now on Red will be bold and blue will be italics. With parentheses because it might be confused with thoughts.
Blitz12: Never liked pairings in general but you have to admit that after EP 5 it pretty much became canon.
Heraklinos: Erika is the detective. When I mentioned "horribly crushed by the mystery" I didn't meant it to be that literally. Patience my friend.
Episode 5.5 The Checkmate of the Golden Witch
Rokkenjima is an island owned by the wealthy Ushiromiya family…
The atmosphere had lightened up a bit after half an hour of a heavy silence. Now Battler and his cousins were in the beach trying to make up for the 6 years he had left the family. Also he had to make acquaintances with the girl he hadn't seen since she was three. The sun was bright up in the sky and there were hardly any clouds. Battler wished he could have come with his little sister, who unfortunately had gotten ill a few days before.
But his nine year old cousin, Maria had grown to be a strange girl with a strong affinity for the occult.
"So, Maria are you a witch too?"
"Uu-uu, Maria is a witch. I'll show Battler how to do magic." She pouted.
Battler and Maria had been discussing the existence of magic. Due to the abnormal interest that Maria had in witches, Battler, who himself prided himself of being a logical person tried to prove her that magic was a fake belief made by humans who didn't know how to explain the unknown.
She began to draw lines forming a triangle, and scribbled some lines in a language Battler couldn't understand, clearly above the little girl's supposed mental age.
"Oi, Battler. Have you told her something?" Jessica asked.
"Maria-chan, what are you doing now?" George also came with Shannon.
Watching them from afar, one would think the three of them: George, Shannon and Maria were a family, were it not for the fact that both his older cousin and the servant who accompanied him were both too young for having a child. Even so, Battler had realized something…
"Hey, Jessica… Are George-aniki and Shannon-chan going out?"
"Eh? You noticed?" Jessica asked excitedly. "He was planning to…" her expression suddenly changed "No, nevermind."
Jessica knew that proposing to Shannon after the death of Kinzo would stir the family unnecessarily. There is no way the thoughtful and caring George would do something like that.
"Oh… so many things have happened since I left the family… How about you Jessica? Do you have someone already?"
"Eh? Me?... Well…ahaha… I …" Jessica blushed "…I…"
"Did something happen ojou-sama?" Kanon just happened to appear in that precise moment.
"Kanon…-kun." Jessica blushed even further.
"Hey Kanon-kun, good timing. Come here and relax a little." Battler said to the boy in a servant attire.
"As you wish." He answered mechanically.
"Now Jessica what were you saying?" Battler began to tease her. Whether it was a coincidence or he had an incredible insight, he had cornered her. Checkmate.
"Ah…eh…I…" Jessica stuttered. "And what about you Battler?... I mean, you have been out for 6 years. Have you?"
"Oh, this is interesting. Has Battler finally grown as well?" George joined Jessica.
"Is that true, Battler-sama? I thought you were bound to have a girlfriend by now." Shannon also said teasingly. "After all… remember back then when we were younger and you said...." and she blushed.
Battler's reaction was instantaneous. He covered his ears and began to sing in a loud voice. Jessica and George looked at Shannon, both of them interested, but she merely shrugged and bowed deeply, as if apologizing, with a warm smile on her face.
They were like kids now. It was as if those six years after Battler left the Ushiromiya family were a lie.
By now, Maria had finished with her magic circle, which by now enclosed the four cousins and the two servants.
"Uu uu. It's finished. Uu"
"Oh, have you finished it? Let's see." Battler examined the magic circle. It was a really somber one, with scriptures in a foreign language which he didn't understand. "Ehh. Maria."
"What kind of circle is this?" he asked. The closest thing he saw to this was a circle in a satanic ritual of a horror movie he watched somewhere years ago.
As the little girl began to explain, the words sounded more and more foreign to him. The strange terms she talked about made one think "Who taught that to her? It was highly unlikely that Rosa, Maria's mother did that. He didn't remember her very well, but he knew she was stern towards those matters.
"And who taught you magic?" Battler asked, his playful voice hiding a tinge of uneasiness.
The atmosphere suddenly changed. As if the island knew that the name of the golden witch was a taboo in the island, the cries of the seagulls were no longer audible, and dark and heavy clouds covered the sky. The servants and the cousins looked intently at Maria, both Shannon and Kanon visibly restless.
"Beatrice? You mean the woman Grandfather met years ago? The one who gave him the 10 tons of gold?"
"Uu I don't understand. Beatrice is a great witch. She taught Maria this special magic to make friends."
As if it were magic, the heavy atmosphere lifted. Maria's bright smile shone as a little sun even more radiantly than the one covered by the clouds. Of course, Maria is still only a child, Battler thought, and calm having returned, he asked.
"Is this the magic to make friends? How does it work?"
"Uu, Battler holds Maria's hand with both hands."
"And now Battler asks Maria if can they play again tomorrow."
"Yes… Can we play again tomorrow, Maria?"
"Yes!" she answered excitedly. "Now Battler is Maria's friend. Uu."
The four cousins laughed animatedly. The warm smile of the youngest of them was pure and full of innocence. For a minute Battler felt ashamed of being scared of his cousin.
So this is her magic, he thought. As he held Maria's hand, George and Jessica also joined the ritual, both joining their hand's with Maria and Battler.
In that moment, Battler thought he saw a tiny golden butterfly landing on top of their hands. He smiled.
"How long are you going to continue with this farce?" Erika asked.
"What do you mean by farce?" Battler asked abruptly.
This was a tiny moment of happiness he managed to introduce while weaving this tale. He was not letting Erika ruin it. He couldn't protect the magic surrounding Natsuhi from being denied by Bernkastel in the last game.
But now it was different.
I declare that Furudo Erika is the detective! Any event which isn't viewed from the detective's point of view can be subjected to doubt! As she declared in red, her scythe glowed red, ready to cut down that fragile scene.
"(Can you prove that this is a farce?" There is no way to prove that the events which happened in Rokkenjima before your arrival were lies. As long as you cannot prove that the reunion isn't as shown, this becomes the truth.)" A blue barrier erected around the cousins and parried the red scythe.
"It is the cat in the box." Battler muttered "And I'm the gamemaster. Unless that you can prove that the cat is dead, my truth prevails."
"I'm not interested in that." Erika smirked "Your little gray cells aren't working properly. You fell right into my trap."
"You said 'The reunion isn't as shown' I doubted about the existence of the reunion, but you understood differently. So, if this reunion happened, that means you forged it." She smirked "I wonder why? Maybe to create an alibi for someone who isn't supposed to be there?" and finished "Just by the fact that the gamemaster is you, this level of reasoning is possible for Furudo Erika. What do you think, everyone?"
Battler bit his lower lip. The witches cackled again.
"Wonderful, Erika." Bernkastel approved. "The game hasn't even started and you already cornered Battler."
"Of course. He is incompetent, remember?" Lambdadelta sneered. "In chess novice players normally try to protect their king while deploying the other pieces. But what you're doing is to let your pieces wide open. You aren't even attacking." She addressed to Battler. "Wasting your turns like this, this game will be even shorter than the last one."
He wanted to retort that, sometimes one could leave areas and pieces unprotected in order to win an advantageous position for his strongest pieces, but contented himself to mutter. "That's right, keep sneering"
Just wait a little longer Beato. I will definitely finish our fight.
George-aniki, Jessica, Maria-chan. I'm sorry.
Cue Occultics no Majo (You know the opening of Chiru)
Rokkenjima 11:00 a.m.
Rain was pouring hard.
Wind was strong.
Rokkenjima had already become a closed circle.
And all the pieces were on the board.
"My name is Furudo Erika. I appreciate the generosity of the Ushiromiya family, and I accept your hospitality." An uninvited guest was in the parlor. There was a typhoon outside, so naturally the island was secluded from the rest of the world, for nobody would dare to try to leave it with the enraged waves washing the coast.
Yet this girl was here. The fact that she survived the wrath of the nature was something to be admired. More than that, her very existence in the island could only be called a miracle. And her presence gave a moment of relax to the troubled siblings who were discussing about the location of the gold not long ago.
"My name is Ushiromiya Krauss." The older sibling introduced himself. "This is the island of Rokkenjima. "As the eldest of the family, I welcome you to our home. You may be an uninvited guest, but please feel at home.
"My, my Krauss nii-san." Eva said. "You don't have to empathize that she is an uninvited guest. You'll make her feel unwelcome."
"Yeah. You aren't that heartless to throw away the brat to the forest. The witch could find her and turn her into a frog or something." Rudolf joined Eva. Rosa giggled.
Though making her feel unwelcome was not what Krauss was trying to do. However, the appearance of this guest was highly suspicious. Specially because she had came in the very same family meeting following the leak of the news of the death of Ushiromiya Kinzo after being so carefully hidden. To change the topic he asked to the doctor "Nanjo-sensei, she didn't have any injuries?"
The physician shook his head. "Some bruises and a few shallow wounds that I have already treated. She was very lucky."
"Then I shall serve the tea." Gohda interrupted. He disliked not being the centre of attention, and as disrespectful it might sound, the guest appearance had interrupted his moment of glory when he was telling the adults about his heroic rescue to the poor helpless girl drifting to the shore.
Of course it was a lie. Genji was the one who found the girl. Gohda only met her while Genji was helping the exhausted girl to reach the mansion.
In that moment the cousins entered leaded by Battler, all of them wet because of the rain. Maria was throwing a tantrum over a rose she marked earlier but couldn't find anymore.
"Aah, Battler. Come here, and bring the rest with you." Rudolf called.
A bit taken aback, Battler obeyed, and the four cousins met the guest. Furudo Erika was a petite girl, somewhat younger than Battler and Jessica. Her blue hair was elegantly tied up in two pigtails and she was wearing what seemed to be Jessica's old formal clothes, which, rude as it might sound, was more fit for her than it's former owner.
But Maria didn't seem to trilled about the guest. Worrying more about her rose, she fled from the parlor into the rain soaked garden.
Looking for her rose in the rose garden. Maria heard some steps.
"I'm not doing this!!!"
"Battler-sama, please calm down" Ronove tried to reason with Battler while holding an gown identical to the one of his former master. "The Golden Witch Beatrice must deliver the letter to Ushiromiya Maria. That's essential in Milady's game.
"B-But. Yeah! I forgot! VIRGILIA!!"
In a flock of golden butterflies, Beato's predecessor appeared before Battler.
"You called?" she asked, clearly enjoying the situation.
"Yes. You were also called Beatrice in the past. Can you, ejem…" He gave her a letter sealed with the seal of the Ushiromiya's head he had in his ring finger now. "…deliver this to Maria?"
"Oho, I see." Her eyes briefly met Ronove's "I'm afraid I cannot do this, Battler-kun. You must be the one to deliver this."
"But why?? And more importantly, why must I do that dressed with Beato's clothes" Battler complained.
"Neither I nor Ronove can deliver this." Virgilia explained. "If she watches us, she will see Genji and Kumasawa respectively. Kinzo is already dead by now, so the anti magic toxin would make Goldsmith instantly disappear in the moment Maria set her eyes on him. And I hope you're not expecting the stakes to do it either."
"And I can't do it either" Gaap appeared smirking. "Maria would instantly notice if she saw my vessel dressed as Riiche."
"Then, can't I go with my normal outfit?" Battler demanded, panicked.
"That wouldn't work either." Ronove answered clearly suppressing a giggle. "Maria-sama would identify you as her older cousin Ushiromiya Battler if you go with your normal outfit. You need to appear before her with something which will let her associate you with milady."
"And isn't this enough?? Isn't this proof enough?" he desperately showed his ring "Beato was the only one who had this ring at this point, right?. Doesn't this suffice to show that I'm the golden witch… scratch that, sorcerer now?"
"Unfortunately not." The three of them answered as they approached him.
"I-I refuse." Battler panicked "Seven Sisters of Purgatory! Come and help your master noow!"
Of all the sisters only Lucifer appeared. With a blue sword in her arm she said "Ronove-sama, Virgilia-sama. I'm sorry but…mmph."
The other sisters appeared and restrained Lucifer, grabbing her arms, feet mouth and waist. Asmodeus of Lust then spoke. "Ronove-sama. Please don't worry about Onee-sama and continue with what you were doing."
Even Beato's furniture... Battler thought resigned.
In that moment, screams could be heard in the Golden Land.
"How're you doing, Mariaa…?" Battler said in a monotone voice. He had been forced to wear Beatrice's dress, which somehow allowed him to be seen as Beatrice by Maria.
"Beato isn't feeling well? Uu?"
"Don't worry about that Maria…" He had to stay in character. "Why are you here alone in the rain?"
"Uu… Maria's rose. I can't find it."
"Don't worry about it too much Maria." Battler said depressed. "When you live as much as I did, you realize that in life things doesn't go as planned. Enjoy your youth, aha, ha ha…"
"Uu uu. Beato feels down? You're acting strange."
"Never mind… Let's find your rose Maria. Close your eyes, and repeat after me."
He had seen Beato do this so many times already, some of those times were performed on him that he had no problems remembering the spell.
"Come, try to remember. Surely you had a beautiful form…"
As Battler's words floated in the air, golden butterflies surrounded an unhealthy rose in the garden. Gathering around it, the rose began to glow with a pale gold light. When the butterflies disappeared, Maria's rose was good as new.
"Uu, Beato is amazing. Fixed Maria's rose."
"Yes, and now in exchange I will give you this" He made the letter appear from nowhere. "Take this. Don't open this no matter what, until the time comes. Do you understand?"
"Uu Maria will listen to Beatrice. Don't open until the time comes uu, uu."
"Good girl." And he patted her in the head.
That's the first letter. Now there was only one letter left.
"How long are you going to hide behind the flower beds?" Battler asked.
Some roses trembled a little. An intruder had been caught while listening their conversation.
"Don't be shy. To one such as rude as yourself I shall be the one who will introduce myself." Battler began to get the gist of acting like Beato "I am the alchemist counselor to the Ushiromiya family. My name is Beatrice the Golden. And it's disrespectful to not state your name. Wouldn't you agree?"
The one who overheard the conversation suddenly stood up. In the eyes of the intruder, there was a witch with an arrogant and dangerous smile.
Seeing the one who was hiding. Battler smiled. He knew perfectly well how to act like Beato in front of him.
"Who are you?" The person in front of Battler (cosplaying as Beatrice) asked aggressively.
"Uu uu she is here" Maria excitedly pulled that person's hand. "This is Beatrice."
"You're the witch… Don't joke like this Maria. Witches don't exist. Though she really resembles the one in the portrait."
Here goes nothing. Battler thought.
"*cackle*cackle*cackle* It's normal for an incompetent whelp such as you to not understand anything about magic. Even if I tried to explain it your empty head probably would deny it right away. It has been the same with the witch hunts in the 15th century." He began his amateur witch-like speech "I should probably be glad that you didn't come with a torch and a pitchfork. Kinzo was more open minded than you and now he is burning in the pits of hell while demons are eating his flesh."
Incidentally Goldsmith was now in the Golden Land complaining about the tea which was too hot while eating Ronove's cookies. So what Battler said wasn't completely false.
"You… How do you know about…" Nobody outside the family and the servants should know the death of Kinzo which had been a secret until this day. But who was this so-called witch? The rain blurred his view of the witch with Maria. But undoubtedly, this feeling wasn't something human.
"Because I'm the Golden Witch Beatrice. I've been here even before you were born." Battler answered dismissively. He heard the stuff about Beato being a witch so often that now he could repeat the same things with apparent ease. "And I've been watching all that had been happening in this island. So how does it feel?" he abruptly asked. "How does it feel to be back after 6 whole years of turning your back to your family?"
If only Beato had been a bit more frank with him... All that suffering would have been unnecesary. Beato and him shouldn't have to torture each other. The new Endless Sorcerer looked at the clouded heavens. Standing in the garden of the Rokkenjima mansion reminded him of his last duel with the Golden Witch. Her last desperate chance to make him remember and repent his sin. A miracle didn't happen that time. Enraged as he was with the loss of his sister, he became blind and deaf. Beatrice desperate plea was unable to reach him. He had been a clueless idiot, unable to see the whole scenario. He had desperately tried in the first four games to solve the "whodunnit" that he never cared about the reasons. He was too lazy and stopped thinking.
His anger was directed to Erika, who was the one who mercilessly cornered Beato with lies and half baked facts, to Bernkastel who had brought pieces only to break the stalemate and relieve her so called boredom, even going so far to sacrifice Ange just for that end. To Lambdadelta who was not better than Bernkastel, having seen Beato just as a way to escape her boredom, granting her the title of witch just to gloat as she was thrown to the demonic goats.
But above all, Battler's anger was directed to the person in front of him. The one whose stupidity didn't let him understand the truth beyond the murders, the one who was looking at him dumbfounded, shutting his eyes and ears, so that his voice wouldn't reach him either as Beato didn't before him.
A thunder loudly resounded in the heavens above as the "witch" revealed "her" twisted smile to him.
Sorry for the delay. Had to read EP 5 and correct a few things. And then what I heard of EP 6 about the logic error and stuff threw me off again.
Ryukishi07's mind is the real mystery here. Period.