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17785 No. 17785 edit
Lightning flashed across the sky, splitting and fragmenting the dark grey ceiling of clouds like cracks spider-webbing across a broken window. A particularly loud boom of thunder arrived a couple moments later, further enhancing the idea that the stormy barrier had been broken through by some great force.

It was around four in the afteroon, though there was no way to tell that from the color of the sky, and a solitary human figure had just washed up on the beaches of Rokkenjima like so much driftwood. Would this person be a savior, or a herald of doom?
24 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 17810 edit
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17810
"Of course. After you."

I'll follow Kumasawa to the parlor.
>> No. 17811 edit
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17811
>>17810

Kumasawa leads you to the parlor, where Genji is waiting outside. As you approach, he knocks twice and then opens the door.

"Pardon the interruption, but allow me to introduce Mr. Byakuya Togami to you. It seems his boat capsized during the storm, and he has taken shelter here until it passes."

The room was silent, but not oppressively so, as Genji gestured around the room. "Mr. Togami, may I present the Ushiromiya family. Closest on your left is Krauss Ushiromiya, firstborn of Kinzo Ushiromiya, and his wife Natsuhi. Then there is Rosa Ushiromiya, the fourth child. Across from us is Eva Ushiromiya, second born, and her husband Hideyoshi, and immediately to your right is Rudolf Ushiromiya, third born, and his wife, Kyrie. This young man beside the door is the servant Kanon, whom I mentioned earlier."

As they are introduced, each family member nods or bows slightly in respect. You notice that your arrival has likely put a hold on some important discussion. Rosa looks particularly nervous, Eva seems coiled like a tiger about to pounce, Natsuhi has her hand on top of Krauss', reassuringly, but Kyrie and Rudolf both seem smug and relaxed.

"I apologize that you cannot meet Kinzo Ushiromiya himself," interjects Kanon, "but he is ill and currently indisposed in his study, and is not taking any visitors." The emphasis on the word seems more directed at the family members. Natsuhi looks to him, her face showing some surprise and gratitude.
>> No. 17812 edit
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17812
"A pleasure to meet you all, and I hope my presence doesn't impact the conference negatively."

I'll assess the atmosphere in the room. If the adults seem open to a conversation, I'll wait in the parlor. If they look like they want to return to their debate, I'll head back to the entrance hall.

Last edited at 15/07/05(Sun)13:26:31
>> No. 17813 edit
Krauss laughs loudly, perhaps a little too loudly for the circumstances. "Nonsense! You are more than welcome at this conference. I've heard a great deal of the Togami family in my business dealings. You all are making great strides. In fact, I know that I personally would love to hear about how your family business is doing. A financial partnership between two families such as ours would surely be beneficial to all, wouldn't it?"

Eva snorts derisively but quietly at her brother's words.
>> No. 17825 edit
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17825
"Business is booming. Since the Togami Conglomerate expanded into tourism, we've had nothing but success. The only question being asked is where to go from here, really. I believe one of our current parters suggested space tourism, but, well, really. I'm sure if you could come up with something a bit more realistic, I'd be happy to arrange some sort of meeting.

How is business within the Ushiromiya family, anyway? It's been a while since I've heard anything of Ushiromiya Kinzo's legendary gambles."
>> No. 17826 edit
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17826
>>17825

Krauss seems to flinch slightly at your dismissal of space tourism, but perhaps it was just a trick of the light.

"Father himself hasn't been well for a while, as Kanon said, so unfortunately he is not really up to making his own gambles. Business for the rest of us is going very well though."

Natsuhi cut herself into the conversation at this point. "Indeed. My husband has a lucrative deal for a tower that is just about to bear fruit."

Eva smirked, but continued. "Yes. Although our beloved head may be feeling his age, things are wonderful for the family. Why, my Hideyoshi is the head of a successful restaurant chain. Rudolf is on the board for a multinational business, and Rosa is running a clothing design company. We've all had a few rough spots, but that's what life is all about."

Hideyoshi laughed. "Indeed. The army, life, business! When something unexpected comes along, you have to know how to adapt your plan, right?"

Last edited at 15/07/19(Sun)14:27:29
>> No. 17838 edit
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17838
"I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties you've been experiencing, but it's nice to hear that the Ushiromiya name is still going strong. Having grown up seeing it around, it would be a shame if it were to pass out of fashion."

I'll continue to make small talk until dinner is served.
>> No. 17840 edit
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17840
>>17838

Dinner was an exquisite affair, with an appetizer of dates stuffed with a rose-almond paste made from the very roses of the Rokkenjima gardens, a main dish of filet mignon in a rose-orange sauce, and dessert finished up with a light and refreshing strawberry and rose sorbet. According to Gohda he had been walking in the garden, thinking about the beautiful flowers, and he'd gotten inspiration. The other servants, for their part, had been dutifully attentive to all the diners, refilling tea, water, or whatever else was requested without a moments' delay. It was like a well-oiled machine. Even though Genji payed special attention to you, for you are indeed an honored guest, he still made time for all of the others as needed, from Krauss to Maria and back again. All the servants got a chance to help you as well, and made it clear that they would serve you just as dutifully as anyone else in the family.

The kinder way to look at it was that they were glad for the company and happy to share the warmth of their home. The cynical would say they smelled money like a shark smells blood in the water.

After dinner, you hear Maria murmur to Rosa, "Mama, is dinner over now?" You can see the corner of an envelope peeking up from within her hand.

Last edited at 15/07/20(Mon)18:38:56
>> No. 17841 edit
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17841
"I should hope it is. As delightful as that was, I don't think I can manage another bite. But compliments to the chef aside, what's that you have there?"

I'll gesture to Maria to reveal the letter. I'll also take this opportunity to take stock of who's currently present in the dining hall.
>> No. 17842 edit
>>17841
Genji is currently attending you. Shannon is by George. There are no other servants there, with Kumasawa, Kanon, and Gohda currently supposedly cleaning up in the kitchen. Hideyoshi is also not there, having excused himself a few minutes prior, presumably to use the restroom. All of the rest of the Ushiromiya family is there, with the obvious exception of Kinzo. Doctor Nanjo is there was well.

Maria holds up the envelope for all to see. "Uuu! Maria got this from the demon in the garden! Gaap!"

It's hard to tell whether conversation at the table ceased because of such a strange statement, or because the wax-sealed envelope was one of the special ones from Kinzo's study, which clearly bore the crest of the one-winged eagle.

Without given anyone a chance to interrupt, Maria broke the seal and took out the paper inside. "Gaap told Maria to read it after dinner was done!" Clearing her throat, she began, and as if possessed her whole demeanor and manner of spealing changed to match the note's contents:

"Welcome to Rokkenjima, everyone of the Ushiromiya family. Welcome as well to our honored guest, Byakuya Togami. I am Gaap, currently serving as Gatekeeper to the Seven Portals, both Protector and Jailer of the Golden Witch, Beatrice. However, the time has come for her to be released once more.

Consequently, during toda and through the end of tomorrow, I will have to undertake the process to open the Portals. This may cause some disruption to the conference, so I beg your forgiveness. It will require several sacrifices to open the Portals, and I shall do my best to make the deaths quiet and hidden so as not to disrupt the jovial nature of this gathering.

As I imagine, being mortal, some of you might wish to find a way to circumvent this method, I will tell you that there is one other, admittedly more difficult, way to open the Petals. That way is also outlined in the plaque by Beatrice's portrait.

Kinzo has approved her release by any means necessary, as indicated by the wax seal on this envelope.

A toast, then! To the glory of the Ushiromiya family, and the freedom of Beatrice, the Golden Witch!

――Gaap, Demon of Portals"

Silence reigned.
>> No. 17848 edit
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17848
"Well then. I hate to be the first to voice opinion in what is clearly a family affair, but that letter was sealed with the crest of the Ushiromiya family head. Whilst I'm aware that the head does not wish to be disturbed, I think it would be best to check on his well-being, don't you agree?" I find it hard to imagine that agreed to this farce of a letter."
>> No. 17849 edit
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17849
>>17848

Natsuhi stands from her chair. "I-impossible! That letter could not have come from Father!" She snatches up the envelope and inspects the seal. Krauss looks over her shoulder at it as well. In the end, though, neither can deny that it truly is the seal of the Ushiromiya family head's ring.

"Nevertheless, Father has requested to not be disturbed under any circumstances! Perhaps it is as the letter says, and for some reason Father is aware of this strange prank that this 'Gaap' is playing on us. I don't think we need to-"

Eva slams her palm down on the table. "Natsuhi! That is enough! I respect Father as much as you! We all do! But to think that we should not reach out to him when some maniac is making death threats against the Ushiromiya family is utter nonsense! I am going to see him now! No, we are going to see him now," she said, seeing Rudolf, Kyrie, and Rosa stand. "Genji! You have a key to Kinzo's study, don't you? Come with us."

Clearly too agitated to remember the guest in the dining room, Genji, Eva, Hideyoshi, Kyrie, Rudolf, and Rosa leave to go to Kinzo's study, with Natsuhi, Krauss, and Nanjo trailing behind, uselessly voicing dissent.

Remaining in the dining room are Battler, George, Jessica, Maria, and Shannon, and they seemed to be gathering around the note.

Hideyoshi hasn't returned yet, and Gohda, Kumasawa, and Kanon are theoretically still in the kitchen.
>> No. 17850 edit
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17850
"... I was honestly expecting everyone to rush upstairs. What about the letter has you all so curious?"

I'll approach the cousins and take a closer look at the letter myself.
>> No. 17851 edit
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17851
>>17850

George looks at you for a moment as you come over, then returns his critical gaze to the note. "I've seen notes from Grandfather before, and while I can't believe that some otherworldly being would decide to start killing us all, I wouldn't put it past Grandfather to have it be some twisted prank."

Jessica nods as she picks up the envelope from where her mom had dropped it on the table. "You're right. If there's one thing Grandfather is known for it's his eccentricities." She brings the seal up close to her eyes, then nods. "No doubt about it. It's a little smudged, but that is definitely the Ushiromiya family seal. It even has that little imperfection. The real ring was used. I'm betting it's Grandfather pulling some strange prank."

"I'm not so sure," replied George, passing the note to Shannon. "I'm not sure whose handwriting that is, but it doesn't look anything like Kinzo's."

Shannon agrees. "Sometimes the Master would write out instructions for the servants in the past, and this doesn't look like that handwriting."

Maria has had enough, and she stamps her foot down and puffs out her cheeks. "Uuu! Uuu! It was Gaap! It was Gaap! Gaap gave the letter to Maria in the garden, not Grandfather! Uuu!"

Battler frowned. "Yeah, you did say you got it from Gaap in the garden. But that would have made it around 4:00 this afternoon, right? Then how..." Battler takes the note from Shannon and scans the top of it quickly. Then he looks at you, his eyes showing a mixture of confusion and suspicion. "How did the demon know you would be here?"

He offers you the note.
>> No. 17852 edit
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17852
"I'm a little disturbed by that myself. I arrived at the mansion at 4:30 exactly, and when I passed through the rose garden, I didn't see anyone. Based on that, I find it hard to believe that the letter was written before then. Either way, we're not going to find the answer just sitting about, don't you agree?

Let's focus on the nature of this 'Gaap' for now. Is there anything different about this year's conference, besides my arrival? I'm aware that it's an annual event, so we should try and determine why this letter arrived this year, in particular."

Whilst I'm saying this, I'll try my best to commit the handwriting on the letter to memory.
>> No. 17853 edit
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17853
>>17852

"Uuu! Gaap said that it was time to free Beatrice! That makes it special! Uuu!" Maria is clearly ecstatic that Beatrice will be freed, no matter the cost.

"That's not what he meant, Maria," says George, kindly. Then he looks to you. "Well, as you've heard already Grandfather's health is not good. To be honest, we don't expect him to last until the next family conference, which means all of our parents are likely going to be doing their utmost to sort out succession and inheritance. These conferences have sometimes been tense in the past, but this year it's palpable."

"I still don't see why they're making such a big deal out of it, really," says Jessica. "My father will inherit the headship, the inheritance will be divided, and everything will work out fine. Without any kind of official declaration from Kinzo in his will, that's the normal way of things, right? It's not like the epitaph says anything about changing that."

Battler shrugs. "I wouldn't know. I haven't been here for the past several years..." He trails off.

Shannon voices what they're all thinking. "Could it be that your return was needed in order for Beatrice to be free?"

"Uuu. Is Battler the key?"
>> No. 17854 edit
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17854
I'll pause the game for a moment, and step into the meta-world.

"Alright, enough dodging the elephant in the room, let's talk about the epitaph. What knowledge is required to solve it? Is it based solely on facts presented within the gameboard, or is some level of external knowledge required?"
>> No. 17855 edit
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17855
>>17854

Gaap reclines in the chair where Kinzo would normally sit, with her feet up on the table. She tosses a stuffed date up into the air and catches it in her mouth. She looks at you, chewing thoughtfully.

Swallowing, she finally speaks. "Not even so much as a hello? But then again I suppose you were never much of one for the basic courtesies." She swings her legs off the table and offers a predatory smile.

"Everything needed to solve this epitaph that you do not have can be found on the gameboard, aside from imagination and a little luck. So, in short, you should probably just give up on it now." She laughs.
>> No. 17856 edit
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17856
"Once you're willing to talk to me face-to-face, we can establish basic courtesies. Whilst you're hiding behind that silly mask, however, I don't see the point."

I'll return back to the gameboard, and address the cousins.

"Well, the idea that the inheritance would be split equally relies on there not being a will specifying another outcome. If such a will exists, that might help point us to this Gaap. Secondly, if this is also Battler's first appearance at the conference in a while, maybe Maria has a point. Perhaps this Gaap believes you to be one of the sacrifices required to free Beatrice.

Changing topic briefly, I have a question. I saw the guesthouse on my way to the mansion, but are there any other buildings on Rokkenjima? The forest seems large enough to hide a few, I'd imagine."
>> No. 17857 edit
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17857
>>17856

The cousins look between each other for a moment, as if trying to figure out why you'd ask.

"Yeah, there's the chapel, about five minutes walk from here," replies Jessica.

"Uuu! Kuwadorian! There's Kuwadorian too! Uuu!" shouts Maria, but George shushes her gently.

"Kuwadorian is a rumored secret mansion on the other side of the island, but none of us has ever seen anything that might make us think it exists. It's probably just the locals of the town rumormongering," George says. Maria pouts, but doesn't interject.

"Oh! And there's that storage shed, right?" asks Battler.

Jessica shakes her head. "Not anymore. It burned down about six months ago. It's a good thing Doctor Nanjo smelled the smoke or the trees around it might have gone up too."
>> No. 17861 edit
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17861
"Hm. The idea of a hidden witch's mansion fits with the concept of a demon reviving Beatrice, at least. Still, we should table this discussion for now. The adults have been gone a while, perhaps we should head up to the study and see what they've found?"

I'll wait to see if someone has anything else to say. If not, I'll begin to lead the group upstairs.
>> No. 17863 edit
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17863
>>17861

The cousins and Shannon seem to agree, but you all only make it to a door of the dining room before the adults come barreling in. Hideyoshi is with them again, and they all seem gravely worried.

"Oh thank goodness you're alright, George," says Eva, holding her son for a moment.

"W-what's happened?" asks Battler.

Kyrie replies, "Kinzo isn't in his room. All the windows were locked, the door was locked, and there wasn't any sign of a struggle. He just wasn't there." She casts a suspicious glance at Krauss and Natsuhi that you manage to catch, but she stops there.

"I do not think in his condition he could go very far," mutters Nanjo, rubbing his chin and looking worried. "Especially in this storm."
>> No. 17866 edit
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17866
"The room was locked, you say? Well, I really don't see the mystery then. The simplest solution is that Kinzo is somewhere else in the mansion, and he simply locked the door behind him. Of course, that relies on a few presumptions about the locks on his room."

I'll take this chance to quiz everyone about the nature of the locks on the island. In particular, I'll ask about the existence of any master keys, and any doors that they do not work on.
>> No. 17872 edit
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17872
>>17866

Genji shakes his head slowly. "There are only two keys to the Master's study. I carry one. The other is usually held by the Master. However..." He holds up his hand, revealing two ornate keys. "The other was found on his desk. There is also an automatic mechanism that can lock or unlock the study door, but it can only be triggered from inside, at the desk. If he did leave, he is now locked out."

Nanjo frowns. "I still don't know why he would leave, or where he would go. Surely he wouldn't go outside in this weather, and when I left him to come downstairs for dinner he said that he intended to take a nap."

After asking everyone about keys and locks, you get the following information:

-There are six master keys. Their owners are Genji, Shannon, Kanon, Kumasawa, Gohda, and Nanjo.
-The other keys that exist: A key for the chapel doors, the two keys to Kinzo's study, a key to the VIP room, a key to Natsuhi's room, a key to Krauss' room, a key to the burned-down storage shed, and a padlock key for the walk-in fridge in the kitchen.
-Keys for specific places/rooms only work on those places/rooms.
-Master keys work on all doors in the mansion and the guesthouse except: the walk-in fridge, Kinzo's study, the chapel, the door from the furnace room to the courtyard, and the burned-down storage shed.
-Owners of rooms have the keys to them. Gohda has the key to the walk-in fridge. Kumasawa has the key to the VIP room. The keys to the shed and the chapel are in the mansion servants' quarters.
-All guest rooms in the mansion and the guesthouse, the VIP room, and Natsuhi's room have chain locks on the inside.
-The parlor doors cannot be locked.
-Krauss' study has a deadbolt instead of a chain lock.
-The door from the furnace room to the courtyard has a bar on the inside that serves to lock it, which is stuck to the wall on a pivot.
-All windows have a locking mechanism on the inside.
-Kinzo's study is the only room with an automatic locking mechanism.
>> No. 17879 edit
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17879
"A closed room? Well, if the information I've been presented with is correct, the solution is obvious. Genji's key is the only one that was outside Kinzo's room around dinnertime, so it stands to reason that it was the one used to lock his room last. Whether or not it was used by Genji, or even with his knowledge, it's hard to say.

The other solution is that one of the group who initially investigated the room planted it upon entering it along with the others. So, who was the first person to enter Kinzo's study?"
>> No. 17881 edit
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17881
>>17879

"I-I was!" exclaims Nanjo, somewhat staggered by how you apparently have decided to turn the question from being about a mysterious disappearance to people planting keys. "I am his doctor, after all, and we were concerned that he may have fallen unconscious while napping. But everyone came in right after me, so it would have been foolish of me to try to anything without being spotted. I was concerned with trying to find my patient and friend, though, so I wasn't paying attention to any who came in after me," he adds at the end. Perhaps reproach, perhaps suspicion.
>> No. 17904 edit
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17904
"Well, if everyone entered at once, that makes the latter theory difficult to work with. Still, it's worth keeping in mind.

For now, we should search the mansion from top to bottom. As you said, it's unlikely that Kinzo has left the mansion, so it's a sensible place to start. Furthermore, we may just find some clue as to this Gaap character.

So, Genji, where do you think we should look? As head butler, I imagine you have the best knowledge of the mansion's layout."
>> No. 17914 edit
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17914
>>17904

"A likely place to look for some crazy person?" asks Battler, scoffing. "You said it yourself, we should search everything from top to bottom. Why does it matter where we start? My cousins and I, Shannon, Kanon, and Gohda can search the guesthouse. You can stay here with Genji, Kumasawa, Nanjo, and our parents and search the mansion. We'll smoke this lunatic out in no time!" He looks around, then pauses, noticing something. "Hey, where are Gohda and Kanon? And Kumasawa too?"

Shannon answers him, her eyes wide. "I-I think they're still in the kitchen, cleaning up after dinner! Genji, should I go get them?"

Genji frowns, seemingly in thought as to whether this prank merited disrupting the servants' chores, but then he gives a short nod. Then he turns to you. "With all due respect to Battler, you are correct that there are places where it is more likely that someone would hide than others. The VIP room comes to mind, if they could get in. Similarly, the chapel. Aside from those places, I would consider any other room to be equivalent."

Shannon has just exited the dining room at a brisk walk.
>> No. 17915 edit
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17915
"Battler's plan makes enough sense. Moving as two groups, we can cover more ground without necessarily becoming vulnerable. However, first things first. I'll go with Shannon to find Kumasawa and Gohda. Someone else, accompany Genji to the servant's room and check to see if the chapel key is still there. Let's limit our opponent's movements while we still can."

Regardless of how everyone responds, I'll hurry after Shannon. If I lose track of her, I'll check the kitchen.
>> No. 17933 edit
>>17915

You manage to catch up with Shannon easily, only losing sight of her for a few moments. She seems grateful to have you along. Going through these hallways alone might be a dangerous prospect right now.

You both make it to the kitchen door and find it to be shut. Inside there is the sound of water running, and it's hard to make out any other sounds through the thick door.

Shannon looks at you with trepidation, then reaches out and turns the handle. It twists easily, and she pushes the door open to reveal...

Gohda, calmly washing the last of the dishes while Kumasawa dries them and Kanon puts them away. Kanon looks over as you two enter, and seems to instinctively know something is wrong after looking at Shannon's face.

"What is it, Shannon?"

This gets the other two servants to notice your presence, at the same moment that Hideyoshi and Genji walk up behind you.

"The key to the chapel is in the servants' quarters that is through the kitchen," says Genji quietly behind you, by way of explanation.
>> No. 17961 edit
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17961
I'll allow Shannon to explain the situation whilst I search the servants' room for the chapel key
>> No. 17964 edit
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17964
>>17961

"We went inside the Master's quarters," she begins. You notice that Kanon and Gohda stiffen slightly in surprise at this. Kumasawa doesn't react, though whether that's because she isn't surprised or because she's just better at hiding her emotions it's hard to say.

"He wasn't there. He's missing!"

Gohda forces a laugh. "The Master is missing? He probably just stepped out for a str-"

Shannon continues, managing to get her timid voice to carry over his, "A-and a note was given to Maria! Someone calling themselves a demon is saying that they're going to start killing us unless we figure out a way to free Beatrice!"

Gohda's reaction is much more pronounced this time. "Wh-what?! Kill us?! Why?!"

He begins panicking as you, Genji, and Hideyoshi make your way into the servants' quarters through the door on the far wall. You can hear Shannon answering various questions quietly, and it sounds like she's catching up everyone as best she can.

You find what Genji confirms to be the chapel key hanging from a hook on the wall, beside what he says to be the key for the burned-down storage shed. He will take the key to the chapel, but will give it to you hesitantly if you ask.

You don't see anything blatantly out of place or strange about the servants' quarters or the kitchen.
>> No. 18051 edit
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18051
I'll allow Genji to hold onto the chapel key, but I'll pick up the storage shed key for a moment.

"Genji, if you don't mind my asking, why have you chosen to hold onto the key for a part of the mansion that has since burned down? Does it open anything else other than the storage shed?"
>> No. 18052 edit
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18052
>>18051

Genji puts the key to the chapel in his inside coat pocket as he replies to your question.

"To my knowledge it opens nothing else. However, it was kept at the request of the Master. He refuses to let us replace or throw away any key, for fear that it might somehow be linked to the riddle of the epitaph."
>> No. 18053 edit
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18053
"Well, in that case, it seems only reasonable that we take that too. If we're supposed to be solving the epitaph, we should take every advantage we can lay our hands on."

I'll take the key, unless Genji wants to hold onto that too. I'll then head back through the kitchen and regather the group.
>> No. 18054 edit
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18054
>>18053

Genji lets you take the key without any complaint, and you both go back into the kitchen.

Gohda has calmed down, but his eyes still dart around like a trapped animal. Both Kumasawa and Kanon are looking grim but composed, much like Hideyoshi. As you come in, Shannon looks to you and bows slightly.

"Everyone knows what's happened," she says, apparently falling back on her servant training to keep herself from giving in to fear. "Are we going back to the dining room now?"
>> No. 18055 edit
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18055
"Correct. We'll check in on the others, and then we should investigate the VIP room. Once we've cleared the mansion, we can consider investigating either the guesthouse or the chapel."

If no-one had anything else to add, I'll head back to the dining room.
>> No. 18056 edit
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18056
>>18055

As a group you return to the dining room.

You find everyone else pretty much as you left them, though an argument has broken out between Eva and Natsuhi.

"Oh why can't you two just come clean already? Father is dead! He has been for months, if not years! It's utterly obvious, and tonight just makes it all the more plain," states Eva, frustrated.

"N-no! Father is simply ill. Perhaps he left in a delirious state? We should be looking for him, rather than some imaginary demon," replies Natushi.

"UuuUUU! Maria saw Gaap! Maria saw Gaap! UUUUU"

It quite possibly could have become an all-out brawl, except that you and your group returned. Hideyoshi quickly goes to his wife's side in an attempt to calm her. Initially she twists away, but then allows him to put an arm around her shoulders.

Battler relaxes and nods. "Alright, that's everyone, except for Kinzo. Two teams, one for the guesthouse and one for the mansion, I believe the plan was?" He looks ready to head out.
>> No. 18057 edit
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18057
"Scouring the mansion aids everyone, Natsuhi. What we're searching for doesn't matter, either way, we need to search, correct?

Now, the question becomes who is one which team. Battler seems eager to lead the guesthouse team, and I'll lead the investigation here. In the interest of avoiding conflict, it's probably wise to divide the groups evenly, a few servants, two of the cousins, and their respective parents per team. Does that sound good to everyone?"
>> No. 18058 edit
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18058
>>18057

Battler seems somewhat annoyed by your declaration for some reason, but keeps his mouth shut. Everyone else nods, as it seems like a reasonable idea.

"I think Nanjo should stay in the mansion group," says Natsuhi. "If we find Father in a delirious state, he'll most likely be here and in need of a doctor's care."

Nanjo nods in agreement. Other than that, they'll end up being divided up however you wish, as long as they end up equal.
>> No. 18059 edit
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18059
I'll take George and Maria's families, Genji, Nanjo and Shannon. If there are no complaints, I'll head straight up to the VIP room with them in tow.
>> No. 18060 edit
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18060
>>18059
October 4th, 8:00 P.M.

You receive no complains, and the ones you picked go with you to the VIP room, after they share farewells and 'good luck's with Battler and his family, Jessica and her family, Gohda, Kanon, and Kumasawa. You all see them walk out into the rain as you head up the stairs to the second floor, where the VIP room is.

Once there, Genji takes out his master key and unlocks the door. Opening it wide, you can see what seems to be an excellently decorated and well-maintained room, though there's no immediate sign that it's been used anytime recently.
>> No. 18118 edit
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18118
I'll do a quick survey of the room. How the door locks, windows, any walk-in closets, bathrooms etc. Once I'm done, I'll address Genji.

"So, what exactly is the purpose of this room? Is Kinzo in the habit of receiving important guests often?"
>> No. 18120 edit
>>18118

The door can be locked manually from the inside, and there is also a chain lock with a standard length chain that can be set on the inside. There is a walk-in closet, and inside there are clothes that would have toed the line between fashionable and ostentatious for a woman about a decade earlier. Other than clothes, however, the closet is empty. There is a bathroom with a combination bath and shower, a sink, a toilet, and all the other various hardware one might expect for a bathroom. There are no toiletries to speak of, though. The door to the bathroom can be locked from the inside, and Genji confirms that it can be unlocked from the outside with a master key or the VIP room key. It also is devoid of a person or anything apparently suspicious. There are two windows, both of which look out onto the courtyard in the rear of the building and which are currently locked by latches that push down into the bottom window frame.

In response to your question, Genji shakes his head. "He has many years past, but not for over a decade. The Master has decreed that this room is to be kept ready for when Beatrice is freed and returns to him."

Eva smirks and adds, "Father always told us when we were little that sometimes the witch would come to stay, and that we weren't to disturb her or she'd use her magic on us. I've never seen hide nor hair of her, although some of the...more immature among us were spooked enough to imagine hearing a woman's laugh from time to time, as I recall." She pointedly looks to Rosa, who looks away, embarrassed to be called out like that.
>> No. 18151 edit
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18151
If it's possible from the window, I'll try to take a look at the guesthouse, and see if there's any sign of Battler's group. After that, I'll head back down to the hall.

"It doesn't look like anyone's been here for a while. With this and the study out of the way, the chapel is the next logical stop, agreed?"
>> No. 18175 edit
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18175
>>18151

You are unable to see the guesthouse, as that would be seen from the front of the building, rather than the back.

"Wait a moment," says Hideyoshi to your statement. "I know that the chapel would be the most likely place left, but it doesn't mean that it's the only place. Shouldn't we make sure the mansion is clear? I know it will take a while, but at least then we'd know we're not leaving an enemy at our back."
>> No. 18212 edit
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18212
"A full search of the mansion could take hours, and I'm not comfortable with leaving Battler's group out of sight for that long. If we're going to continue with the mansion, we should focus on the less frequently-visited rooms. Perhaps the boiler room might be a sensible choice, unless there's anything else you think is worth checking on this floor?"
>> No. 18240 edit
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18240
>>18212

Hideyoshi frowns, but shakes his head. "I can't think of anywhere else in particular. This floor is mostly for everyday family use. Krauss' study, Jessica's room, places like that. I suppose if I were hiding I'd pick somewhere less likely to be used."

Genji says solemnly, "The boiler room would be such a place, and is difficult to secure. If another room in the mansion is to be searched, it would be a good choice."

Eva looks to you, questioningly. "I think at this point we're following your lead. Though I'd like to get to the chapel now in case this storm gets much worse..."
>> No. 18409 edit
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18409
Under Genji's advice, I'll lead the group towards the boiler room.
>> No. 18411 edit
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18411
>>18409

October 4th, 9:00 P.M.

It's almost 9 at night when your group finishes a decent search of the boiler room, thanks to the various shady nooks and crannies that it holds, along with a few cabinets of hand tools, rat poison, and the like. The floor is hard-packed earth and seems undisturbed. The furnace is hot and working. The bar is set on the courtyard door, at least as set as it could reasonably be. It cannot be opened from the outside, at any rate.

There are plenty of shadows where a person could hide, especially a small area for extra storage under the stairs, but all these places are checked and devoid of people.

"Uuu! Maria knows what's next! To the chapel! Uuu!" Maria looks like she's playing a game of hide and seek, and is more than ready to head on over to the chapel, despite the darkness and the storm.
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