Oh god I can’t even imagine what a mindfuck is in store when R07 says “the difficulty is extreme.”
We start with Shannon and George on a date at an aquarium, with George as our narrator. They’re both happy as can be. They talk about how great their lives are, and the opening cast list plays to happy music.
Incidentally, they’re at the Okinawa Aquarium, which is at the top of my bucket list.
They banter for a bit, and he teases her.
When I was in elementary school, I was always the kid that got bullied.
Back then, I wondered why everyone teased me. But now, teasing Shannon like this, I understand why. This is so much fun. I can play with her emotions however I please, and I can have them all to myself. Right now, I can’t think of any higher pleasure.
…what the fuck, George. “Oh, well this is nice,” I thought, “It will humanize George a bit for me.” Nope, still a douchebag.
After they’re done with the fish, they go for a walk on the beach.
“……Somehow, I’m so happy, …I’m getting scared. […] ...I’m… a servant of the Ushiromiya family. For someone like me, to be hanging out with a member of the Ushiromiya family… Umm… It just seems like too much for me.”
He says it was inevitable they end up together, but she says, no, it’s magic.
“Yes, magic. I doubt you’d believe me if I explained, so I won’t. But… this bit of magic definitely had the power to grant the miracle that brought us together.”
She continues to insist it was real magic, so yeah, something is going on. He says, hey, if it makes her happy — he believes it.
“You know how you call me ‘George-sama’? It’s not that I dislike it, but would you not call me that anymore?”
Hmm, so we’re prior to the events of last route right now.
The scene ends, and we reopen on a stormy beach. Shannon appears to be narrating.
In the past, tomorrows were literally like a mirror to me. The person I am now, was always projected there. It was a tomorrow absolutely no different from today. That was my old fate. But at that moment, for the first time, I saw a different fate beyond the mirror.
The witch whispers. She tempts me to take a bite out of the fruit of knowledge. She torments me, saying that as long as I stay in the paradise of god, I’ll remain furniture. So I try to choose to know love, and become a person.
…Those days were like sweetly melting honey, but then, I hadn’t realized that they were the beginning of the days filled with a new kind of suffering…
DUN DUN DUN
Shannon takes a boat to a small island with a shinto shrine on it.
Even in a place like this, I took just one more look around to see if there was someone who’d find fault with me being here. The only things I could see were the stormy ocean, Niijima looming in the distance, and the waves breaking against Rokkenjima’s steep cliffside. I readied myself, timidly approached the small shrine, and took the mirror that was offered to that place.
It was an old-looking mirror, dim and dirty. If it were an ordinary mirror, that’d probably give you a terribly bad impression of its value. However, since the mirror had been offered to this small shrine, it made you feel some kind of divinity. And I noticed. This was not merely a mirror. Even if it would have been nothing more than an old-looking mirror to a non-believer like myself, it was actually a mirror that had an important meaning.
[…] …No, this is not really a mirror. This is my life that I could not escape until today, and my fate.
I’ll break it. I’ll break it, and seize a life from beyond the mirror. If I don’t break it, my life will forever be a pair of facing mirrors. Nothing will ever change in the slightest…
There’s nothing but this. Come, have courage. I’ll free myself from being mere furniture. And I’ll receive new sufferings, and become human. These are surely the small and large trials I must impose on myself.
Come on, break it. Break the eternally unchangeable fate that imprisons me, into pieces…!
I raise the mirror high… and think back on the preceding days of conflict… and, finishing my reflections in the blink of an eye… I throw it.
It breaks. Shannon says she kept her promise… now Beatrice has to keep hers. She cries out to Beatrice, and the opening cinematic rolls.
Back to the days when I could barely imagine the happiness I have today.
I was a middle schooler at the time. A normal girl, who imagined about love, as is normal at that age. But I really should not have seen that dream… Because I am furniture. Furniture is nothing more than a tool, and is not human. To a person less than human such as myself, just receiving my education was more than enough to make me happy. So even thinking about love was more than I deserved…
I suppose this is the route where we find out details about the servants’ situation.
She thinks about a time Eva’s family came to visit. Kinzo is MIA, so the three chat with Krauss, Natsuhi, and Jessica as Shannon waits on them.
Jessica and her mother argue while Eva goads them on, talking about how good George’s test scores are compared to Jess’.
Shannon starts to make mistakes as Natsuhi gets upset, but George swoops in to save the day, and the conversation turns pleasant.
Thanks to George’s concern, Shannon was somehow able to get a hold of herself and finish serving everything safely. If she was calm when she worked, she could easily carry out her tasks elegantly and flawlessly.
Out in the garden, Shannon chats with Jessica about how kind George is.
“He’s really good at reading between the lines in those kinds of situations. Well, maybe that’s George nii-san aesthetic take on things. That guy’s more of a show-off than he looks. Ahahahahaha.”
“Th, that’s not true… I think he is a really wonderful person.”
“Hmmmm..?! Shannon, you haven’t fallen in love with George nii-san, have you?”
Oh, she has!
Jess needles her for a bit, and then George comes out. The adults had started talking money and shooed him. George wanted to stay, but Jess says Kinzo still treats his children like children and Eva probably didn’t want him to see that.
Shannon tries to thank George and he acts like he has no idea what she’s talking about, and Jess is like, see, he’s an attention whore but Shannon is all swoony anyway.
The three chat and Shannon is all tee-hee the whole time. She fawns and fawns and he’s all about being fawned over.
Maybe George thought that Shannon was listening to his stories intently, because he kept on talking about himself.
Shut up, George.
George looked fairly pleased about hearing his own charm described, but he was just a little surprised at this high praise.
Jessica can’t take watching them be awkward at each other anymore and decides to go nuclear.
“Then George nii-san, as long as you’re okay with it, why not practice a bit with Shannon? You’ll keep Shannon entertained all day long on a date! What do you think?!”
I appreciate Jessica’s expediency.
It seemed that Jessica, who knew how Shannon normally was, found that really comical. She couldn’t hide her cackling laugh anymore.
Heh, Jess is great.
Just when it gets truly unbearable, Eva comes out and calls George inside. Apparently whenever they come they attempt to arrange an advantageous marriage for him and he has to go meet the latest suit…ress. Suitress? Suitorre? IDK.
“Marriage isn’t something you do after you start liking someone. You fall in love after you do it, right? If you marry just based on emotions, you’ll definitely regret it. There’s definitely nothing wrong with choosing a person with a secure background for your partner in life, and then building up emotions of love.”
She’s not entirely wrong here. I said last time that George trying to run off with the servant girl was incredibly unfair to Shannon, and it is. Just because they’re ~in love~ doesn’t mean it’s wise to get married. As my dad said at our wedding, “The right person isn’t always good and a good person isn’t always right.” The suitors likely fall into the first category; Shannon is the second.
Ideally, he’ll eventually meet a family-chosen candidate who he really hits it off with and have a truly loving marriage. The price of these kind of aristocratic family politics is that you have to make these kind of concessions. If George doesn’t like that, he should disavow the family. If he’s too cowardly to deal with the fallout, he needs to suffer the consequences of that, too. There’s no scenario here where he gets everything he wants with no consequences.
Eva points out that she loves her husband dearly, even if their marriage was political. Indeed, they seem to really care for other; it’s been one of her few redeeming attributes.
“Still, I don’t think you can use that to argue that it’s okay to marry someone you don’t even like.”
“But it also doesn’t mean it’s okay to marry anyone, as long as you like them.”
Yes, this is a much less rambling version of my point. Thank you, Eva.
“A wedding is instantaneous. But your life as a married could after that is very, very long. So you should search with prudence, and not leave it up to momentary emotions.”
I didn’t even have to type up my explanation, dammit.
Eva tells the girls they’ll surely find someone, too, and says goodbye, but she takes time to go back to being a truly horrible person.
“Did you really think you could snatch George away, you uneducated, incompetent, unqualified, uncultured servaaaant?”
Eva, the only person in your family who has made any case for themselves as a prize is Natsuhi.
Later, Shannon mopes about how furniture doesn’t have feelings etc etc. Natsuhi yells at her for dilly-dallying and she fantasizes about George-chan coming to save her.
As she does her punishment-cleaning, she mulls over Beatrice’s portrait.
The witch, Beatrice, master of the night on Rokkenjima. She was gracious to those who respected her, but she would surely curse those that made light of her. It was in Shannon’s character not to neglect rules and beliefs such as those. So she thought of the portrait of her other master as that person herself, and always treated it carefully, treasuring it. And telling the witch that only existed inside the portrait the secrets of her heart had become part of her daily routine.
As she cleans, she unloads.
……I am not a person. …So maybe I have no right to love… ……But in that case, why was I given a heart which can know love? […] If it’s going to be this painful and this harsh… I wish I was never given a heart like this…!”
That… seems like an ill-informed thing to express to the vengeful witch.
Sure enough, we hear cackling.
….I see. So a heart was given to furniture. It would seem that even that man is capable of some quite amusing things, every now and then…. *cackle**cackle*
Confirming Kinzo created them somehow?
Shannon is obviously like wtf is going on.
Beatrice rambles about what makes someone human and then actually appears to Shannon, marking the first time we’ve seen her in-game. She gets her own funky evil music.
Obviously the answer to her ‘what is the essential element’ question is love.
Oooh her music just got really cool. Funky pianos.
Shannon realized that she had met with a being that mustn’t be met with, and she took a step backwards. That’s where the wall and the portrait were, so even as she gazed at the witch, she supported the witch’s portrait on her back.
That’s a good detail.
Beatrice raves for a while about the nature of love.
“Understand? What Adam and Eve learned when they put the fruit of knowledge to their lips was love. Because of that, humans were chased out of the garden and became ‘human’. Which means that what makes one human is knowing love and suffering. You are a girl with a kind heart. You should be praised. Now that you have known that, you are no longer furniture. You are now ‘human’. I recognize that upon my name.”
It’s a lot of talking along those lines.
Predictably, Beatrice then offers to grant her wish. This can’t possibly go wrong, Shannon, you should definitely agree. Any time someone cackles you can tell they’re totally honest and have no ulterior motives.
“I am offering to bring you and the one you love together. Normally, I would demand a corresponding compensation for that. [But] I am in a good mood. And, you have done well in not forgetting to pay me respect. That is something worth rewarding.”
Shannon at least has the wherewithal to realize this is likely a trick. But then Beatrice is like “there are totally no strings attached you should go for it” and this is enough of a convincer.
Beatrice says all she wants her to do is… break a mirror.
“Do you know of the small torii and shrine that have been constructed on the ocean very near this island, which you can see when you gaze at the cliffs? […] “I will not explain everything from square one to a person who does not know of demons. To make a long story short, it is restraining me. Actually, there is mirror kept inside that shrine. I want you to break that.”
100% a good idea, go for it Shannon.
Shannon thinks that’s suspicious, and refuses. Good for you, Shannon. Beatrice doesn’t take kindly to this. Shannon says thing have generally been good, and she’d like them to stay that way, so no risk-taking.
“Hmm… I see, I see, that is quite right. It’s just as you say. If you don’t break that, the same unbreakable days that have passed until today will continue into tomorrow and the next day. Why don’t I give you an absolute guarantee? […] The unbreakable days before this time will continue into tomorrow and the next day. And for eternity, in perpetuity.”
Shannon also picks up that this sounds like a threat.
Shannon was trapped by a creepy hallucination. The mirror was probably something to restrain the witch. So breaking the mirror should have been something done for the witch’s sake. But it felt as though Shannon had to do it for her own sake. It seemed like some premise had been switched…
[…] The witch spoke. She was pressing Shannon, saying that if she wanted to be joined with George, break the mirror. And she was announcing that if Shannon didn’t break it, then her feelings would definitely never be fulfilled…
Shannon still tries to defy her.
“I didn’t want to cause you pain. Oh well. Feeling madness from love is the best thing about humans. You should enjoy that emotion to your heart’s content.”
Won’t lie, I love how much fun Beatrice has being evil.
“However, if you wish to borrow my power, you can break that mirror at any time. And you can yell my name and awaken me. I will definitely keep my promise. This way, you should have no complaints, right? I won’t force you to decide right now. Are you comfortable?”
Shannon thinks, no, I am absolutely not comfortable. Beatrice tells Shannon that the only stipulation is she won’t break up a relationship… so if George starts seeing someone, the deal is off.
Beatrice goes on to mock Shannon with Eva’s words.
As Shannon resists with all her willpower, Kanon runs in.
“Disappear…!! I don’t know who you are, but you’re threatening Shannon! Don’t ever show yourself again!!”
It seemed that Kanon’s words made the witch horribly displeased.
“…So, you do not choose your words carefully, lowborn? I am gracious to those who respect me, but brutal to those who do not, right…?”
While she still smiled, the witch’s face began to twist itself… And, there was a oppressive feeling that couldn’t be noticed with any of the five senses, which gradually filled the room… Even though they couldn’t understand it, they immediately realized that it was something terrifying…
An understandable but stupid mistake from Kanon. Shannon begs Beatrice to forgive him.
…She didn’t even need to lift a finger. By just twisting her own smile, she had Kanon’s fate in the palm of her hand, so that she could easily crush it…
Kanon also understood that. So he started sweating. His knees felt weak… However, Beatrice abruptly released that feeling of tension, and laughed.
She says out of respect to Shannon, she’ll let this one slide. Then she summons her butterflies from her pipe and has them leave a mark on the palm of both of their hands. This way, she says, they’ll know their meeting was real.
“I do not use coercion for anything. You should freely decide your future, by your own will. However, to think that the object of desire could be satisfied with compensation such as this… It would annoy the great artists who write plays about blighted love to no end. *cackle*cackle*cackle*!”
The best kind of evil, really. She disappears, and the two stand there in shock, wondering if it was even real. But the marks are still on their hands.
As we know, Shannon does end up breaking the mirror, which presumably leads into their aquarium date and such. It presumably also leads to 18 grisly murders.
We get our first major scene break of the route, and jump to Jess and Shannon talking about the aquarium date.
“What a turning point! It was your first overnight trip!! Shouldn’t there have been lots of progress?! And even so, separate rooms for the guy and girl?! A couple taking two single rooms?! Aah, geez, really, what’s wrong with you!”
Lol, Jess. Jess seems to need a boyfriend of her own.
“Aah, I want a boyfriend toooo!! I can’t believe Shannon got ahead of me!! Even though we promised that we would find boyfriends at the same time, you beat me, Aarrrrrrgh!”
She starts having an asthma attack. Girl, just get a vibrator! Much less work.
“I was so sure I’d have a boyfriend before that day and said it so impressivly…I can’t find a boyfriend. Only me, only me…”
Before she realized it, Jessica was shedding huge tears. Jessica didn’t really feel like crying, and of course, she felt like supporting Shannon’s progress in love as a friend. However, as she had cheered Shannon on, her true feelings had suddenly gotten mixed in, and she couldn’t help but shed tears…
Awww, you’re perfect Jess, don’t worry.
Shannon tells her she’s great and makes a quiet exit, and Jess wishes she could find love, too. Poor Jess.
Shannon is working in the gardens when Beatrice appears to rub it all in her face.
The witch was calling attention to something. Two things, actually. Originally, her relationship with George had been completely impossible… And the power of magic was so great that it could distort that.
It does make me wonder how George would feel about this if he knew… like, was he bewitched to like her more, or were the circumstances bewitched to allow them to get together? One of those things is super creepy, while the other is just a thing.
“Sorry, sorry. It’s not like I came here to bully you. Talking rudely is just my personality. Do forgive me. More importantly, I heard, I heard! About your trip alone with him. I’m sure it was quite fun.”
Huh. I like person!Beatrice.
“Th… that’s right. Umm, Beatrice-sama. I bought some sweets as a souvenir from our trip. Would you, umm… like some?”
“Hoh??? A souvenir for a witch…?”
It seemed that even a witch who boasted of living for one thousand years hadn’t been able to predict that she would receive a souvenir from a pair of sweet lovers. When she saw that surprised expression, Shannon thought of the witch as a friend for the first time.
That’s very sweet. Stupid as all hell, but sweet.
“Umm… here. I truly wish to thank you so much. I believe you have done more than enough for me already, so I’m returning this.”
It’s a golden brooch in the shape of a butterfly.
“There is no need to return it. If you continue holding that, your relationship should remain firm in perpetuity.”
That… does sounds mindrapey.
“…Maybe I was given a chance to meet him by the power of magic. But I think the effort that will make that meeting eternal will come from the two of us cooperating together.”
At least Shannon gets that it’d be creepy.
Regardless, Beatrice says it was a gift, so she should keep it, even if she just puts it away, or even gives it to someone else who needs help in love.
“*cackle*cackle*. No harm has been done. That brooch is already yours. If you treasure that proof of our friendship, that would comfort me a bit.”
[…] According what Beatrice said, several times in the distant past, she had been called by people and given them an tool imbued with some kind of magic power. However, when most people used that power to resolve their worries, they quickly came to think of that power as creepy, and, forgetting their feelings of thanks, they threw the tools they had been given away with disgust.
“So I haven’t often received thanks for my good will. Let’s see, is this the first time? *cackle*cackle* *cackle*cackle*.”
[…] Maybe she really liked the sweets. Beatrice, who normally spoke abusively, praised the black tea that Shannon served her, and looked to be in remarkably high spirits. After doing that for a while, the witch and the servant grew animated talking about the trip with George.
Why is this so cute, this is the weirdest cute scene ever.
Beatrice laments that Shannon and Kinzo are the only people in the household with enough magical acumen to see her at all, nevermind speaking with her.
Previously, when Shannon had messed up and Natsuhi had gotten really mad at her, Beatrice had started playing around, hitting Natsuhi on the head with her pipe. Indeed, Natsuhi really hadn’t noticed at all. But Shannon, watching that, had burst out laughing without thinking, and had gotten scolded even more.
i’m going to ship shannon and bea omg
Shannon asks about Kinzo, and Bea says actually, he succeeded by sheer force of will, not actual talent.
“Hmm. Well, I only answered the summons on a whim. In this period where magic has long been denied, those without a scrap of talent give it their all. I decided to come and laugh at him, and that’s when my luck ran out. *cackle*cackle*cackle*.”
That’s… bleak. Shannon picks up on this, too, and doesn’t say anything, but Bea keeps talking. She tells about answering the summons and agreeing to give him the gold. Shannon is beside herself hearing this story from the horse’s mouth.
Bea says that, later, after having obtained all the material wealth anyone could have, he decided his life was lacking love.
“…I underestimated Kinzo a little. I truly hadn’t thought that he would display such power….And thanks to that, I’m in this state. I’ve been sewn in place on this island for several decades now, without even a friend to drink tea with. No matter who I try to talk to, my voice doesn’t reach them, and no matter where I go, I cannot do anything. Such boring decades.”
Damn. Speaking of rape metaphors.
Shannon thinks quietly for a bit, and then asks what the mirror actually was.
Bea says the mirror actually had nothing to do with her; it was a magical item wandering priests had put in the shrine. But the type of magic interfered with hers anyway, and ended up screwing her over. Smashing it has allowed her to start recovering, though she’s still relatively weak.
She and Shannon laugh and talk.
“…Although I may not look it, I was known for doing extremely brutal things in the past. I’ve gotten soft. Now I can even have a foolish discussion while drinking tea with a human.”
She doesn’t seem regretful though, just musy.
Shannon thinks about how her new dating life has resulting in more confidence in herself in general, to the point that even the family is taking notice.
Suddenly, Beatrice says she thinks it’s time to end the picnic.
“…After all, someone doesn’t like it when you drink tea with me, right?”
Kanon has been hiding in the bushes. Bea flings a spoon at him with dangerous force.
“Shannon. Tell me more about George at our next tea party. There are no snacks sweeter than a person’s love life. *cackle*cackle*cackle*. See you again.”
With that, she vanishes.
Kanon stomps up and scolds Shannon for chilling with Bea. Normally I’d be on his side but I was enjoying learning about Beatrice-the-person.
“It’s true that Beatrice-sama is different from humans. She has a terrifying power, so I think she is to be feared and respected. But just because she’s different from a human, doesn’t mean that it isn’t really rude to loathe her like that.”
“…I understand what you’re trying to say, Nee-san. You’ve changed since she gave you that brooch. It’s like you’re the witch’s prisoner. She mediated your relationship with George-sama, and now you’re indebted to her.”
I mean, in Bea’s defense, she’s literally asked Shannon for nothing, and Shannon has freely offered companionship.
“…Don’t say stuff like that.”
“That person isn’t human. We don’t know what she’s thinking. You mustn’t trust her. And we aren’t humans either, Nee-san.”
All the more reason to give her a chance, no?
Kanon’s words became more serious. Those words probably gouged at Shannon’s heart. Shannon bit her lower lip and hung her head.
“We are furniture. Even if we receive names and are treated as humans, that won’t change how we were born.”
But do the circumstances of your birth determine your fate? That’s shaping up to be a big theme here, actually.
“Listen, Kanon-kun. We certainly are furniture. Lesser beings, inferior to humans. But if we could replace that unfulfilled part… wouldn’t that mean that we could become human?”
Kanon scoffs, and Shannon insists even he could be a real person.
“Yes. Beatrice-sama taught me. By gaining the single element of the world, we can become human. No, nobody’s human if that isn’t satisfied. So people spend their entire lives trying to gain that single element.”
She tries to explain, but he’s somewhere between ‘can’t understand’ and ‘doesn’t want to listen.’ In the end… she gives him the brooch. Shit, is this why Jess is suddenly in love with him? Fuck.
Kanon couldn’t be cold-hearted towards something Shannon was pressing on him. In the end, Kanon took it and agreed reluctantly, as though saying he would prove that he wouldn’t surrender to the witch’s power. Shannon smiled and nodded back.
She tells him she’s sure he’ll find love, too.
The scene ends, and later, Kanon finds Kinzo in the gardens. Uh-oh.
But Kinzo just dismisses Kanon and starts raving about Beatrice.
Right behind Kinzo, as he repeated the witch’s name over and over, desiring to be reunited with her more than anything else, was the witch herself. And yet, Kinzo didn’t notice anything. When Beatrice tried to rest her hand on his shoulder, he didn’t notice anything.
Kanon is about to shout, but he notices that Bea looks truly sad.
“…It’s useless, Kinzo. …Without love, it cannot be seen.”
Kanon took the brooch he had received from Shannon out of his pocket. Would he also be able see something that couldn’t be seen now, by learning something?
Bea spoke of Kinzo like a huge mistake, but… does she love him? Or does she just pity him, and regret what he’s done to both of them?
He looked at Kinzo’s back once more.
The witch could no longer be seen there.
I think we’ll cut here. This character stuff is really what R07 is so good at; I thoroughly enjoy it, even more than the mystery and horror elements. He just strikes me as a truly empathetic person that he’s able to create such amazingly human characters.