Part 54: Blood Drive, Part 4Video: Book of Shadows
This video covers the entire update. It's excessively long, but you should really watch it if you can.
The wooden steps creaked and groaned beneath us, even more than the ones from the main stairwell. It felt like they might fall apart at any moment. We took one step at a time, swallowing our fear and just pushing onward until eventually -- finally! -- we arrived in a small, damp, musty room underground.
Are you all right?! ...There's a lot of junk on the ground here, so be careful where you walk.
There was no light down here with us whatsoever save for the class rep's shaky flashlight beam. And all that beam revealed was a mess of books and clutter. With a twist of the wrist, it then shone upon a desk containing a chaotic mountain of books, loose-leaf notes, documents and assorted beakers and flasks. It looked like some mad scientist had done research and conducted all manner of untold experiments down here.
The class rep shot over toward a desk farther in, her interest piqued by a glimpse of a large document spread out on its surface. I followed her lead.
Ah, you need light too, don't you? Sorry! There's a desk over there with saw blades and other sharp tools on it, so it's kinda dangerous. Stay where you are!
Music: Gifted Line
"Genealogy Chart: Gifted Line"?
It really is a family tree. But what does it mean by 'gifted'? Shinozaki... Mifune... Shimamura... Mita... Nagao... Oh, I recognize some of these names!
These people achieved fame for their thoughtography abilities and psychic talents prior to the so-called 'Senrigan-Jiken,' or Clairvoyance Controversy. Chizuko Mifune and Ikuko Nagao were particularly noteworthy figures at the time. And whether their abilities were real or not is beside the point. What matters is that even after the scientific community discredited such abilities, the truly gifted continued exploring them anyway, often in secret...
So if they're the 'Gifted Line'...does that mean Yoshie and Sachiko were descended from those famous clairvoyants?
It's a matrilineal house that passed its blood and family name down from mother to daughter, generation after generation, through adopted son-in-laws. I was certain if I traced this family tree far enough, I'd find the names Yoshie and Sachiko.
Ah, there they were! And just like everyone before her, Yoshie had married a man who'd been adopted into the family in order to keep the Shinozaki name.
Looks like the root of the tree is this person named Seira.
And Yoshie's mother's name is...Raki? She was the eldest daughter in her family, and had no brothers. So that makes Yoshie a thoroughbred. A direct, unfiltered descendant of Seira. I guess it stands to reason, then, that she'd have so much power and influence even as a spirit.
...Rrnngg... The rapping is getting pretty loud in here.
All of these adopted fathers who continued the family line died suddenly after their children were born, it seems. Without even one single exception. It's like the family line had a mind of its own, and went to great lengths to eliminate the blood of other lines once it had served its purpose. These are men who were willing to give up their own birthrights and take another's name for the sake of love. It must have been hard on the Shinozaki women.
Daddy's not breathing.
No... Darling, no! *sob* I suppose...this was a fate that just couldn't be averted...
Such a strong spiritual influence... *gasp*
Kanae Shinozaki... Hirohito... Ayato... That's...my grandmother...my grandfather... and my dad! I remember hearing that my grandfather was adopted into my grandmother's family...and passed away shortly after my dad was born. The head of the family had three daughters, and Grandma Kanae is...descended from the youngest.
Music: Signs of Possession (A)
...Am I gifted, then? What does that even mean?
Hey. Did you find something? It's pitch black and really creepy just standing here, you know!
Ahh... Yeah, sorry about that! I'll be right there. In fact, fire hazard or no, how about I lend you one of my candles?
Sound Effect: Book of Shadows
...! Class rep?! Are you okay?
*whimper* *gasp* *wheeze* ...It... It hurts! My...head... *pant* ...feels like it's being crushed in a vice... ...ggghhhaaaaaAAAAHHHHH!
No... Stop this! Keep it together!
*pant* *wheeze* *groan* *stammer*
She suddenly turned toward one corner of the room and froze completely, gazing intently at the wall. Her eyes became wide as saucers. She was like a cat who'd stiffened up and just kept staring into thin air, on high alert for no discernible reason. And just as cat owners are often left wondering what their pets are seeing, I too wondered...if she was looking at something. Or had heard a noise, maybe? I was worried about her...but really, I was more scared than anything. I grabbed her and tried to shake her out of this disconcerting trance...
Class rep? What's wrong?
Music: Dark Writings
...but she brushed me off and held up a hand as if to say, hold it right there. She then began walking, slowly, toward the corner she'd been watching.
For a few moments longer, the class rep just stood there, gazing at this empty space. Then, with no explanation, she began tearing away loose boards. It wasn't difficult to do. The entire room was old and in tremendous disrepair, and the wood was quite thoroughly rotted. Each board came off easily. Eventually, small gaps began to form. She stuck her fingers into these and pulled, yanking away whole chunks of wall, forming bigger and bigger crevices. These crevices then finally merged into one big, gaping hole, through which a hidden sub-room no bigger than a closet had now been fully exposed.
And within that sub-room sat a thick, dark tome.
Ahhh...hhhh...! It's the Book of Shadows! Why is this in Japan?!
What's...going on? What's...the Book of Shadows?
Whatever it was, it was clearly a very old book. And it didn't look like it was bound from paper... There were small ornamental patterns sewn into it, all of which had a certain disconcerting quality about them. In addition, a liquid that looked just as much like blood as it did ink had pooled into multi-hued stains all across the lip of the front cover. And that grotesque cover was already unpleasant-looking enough to begin with...
Sis told me about it. It's a dark tome with a long history wrought in blood, passed down from generation to generation in secret. It dates back to the tumultuous days of the witch hunts that occurred at the end of the middle ages, primarily in Europe.
Music: Witch Hunt
Yeah. Mass paranoia led to the indiscriminate persecution and slaughter of as many as forty thousand people. They were suspected of practicing black magic by making pacts with the devil. So the churches and local communities brought them to trial, where they were almost always subjected to horrible torture and eventually executed. Usually in really cruel ways. People began blaming them for natural disasters, poverty and other unfortunate realities of life... and influential individuals used them as scapegoats. The vast majority of those killed were just innocent victims of circumstance who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But...there were a few...
There were a few gifted people among them who had legitimately mastered the practical use of magic.
Gifted...people? And what do you mean 'practical use' of magic? Are you talking, like, witches flying around on brooms and stuff?! That's impossible!
Hee hee. It is hard to believe, isn't it? But I want you...to know everything about this, Ayumi. About the things in this world that science can't quite explain. About the paranormal.
I'm already familiar with your studies, though. You taught me the laws of the natural world, and that the true nature of magic is prayer. It makes sense, too. It's really easy to understand how powers like that would work. But anything more than that, like flying around on brooms and stuff, just seems like fantasy to me...
Though there are also the Shinozaki family roots to consider...but that's a long story, so how about we save it for another time?
Witches, you see, were usually village elders and sages back in those days, conducting themselves with intelligence, dignity and honor. So when the witch hunts began, they were smart enough to hide their powers from public view. And as a result, ironically, the majority of them survived. But even after the ban on witchcraft was lifted...the memories of what happened remained, and the black arts continued to be socially shunned. Eventually, the powers of magic began to fade with disuse. And the witches feared that these powers, passed from generation to generation throughout their long, proud history, were in danger of being lost forever. So they began chronicling them on paper, in painstaking detail, for all posterity.
Passed from one gifted mage to another, revised and appended countless times...a complete guide to witchcraft, detailing spells pertaining to all creation. You may have heard of 'Al Azif,' that infamous Lovecraftian grimoire that everybody says is just a work of fiction...but whenever this book comes up, even among researchers, people always debate whether or not it's real. They always admit it's a possibility. Supposedly, it contains a complete listing of white and black magic spells, all manner of lost arts... and even some forbidden acts of sorcery.
As in...the really dangerous kind of magic?
Mm. It would be really dangerous in the wrong hands. That's why it was...supposed to have been enshrined and kept under watch by the witches' descendants.
So why is something like that here, then, tucked away in a hidden room in rural Japan?!
I don't know. But it's been a good half a century or so since anyone's been able to prove they laid eyes on it... And that's led many people to start doubting its existence.
H-Hey! Is it really okay...to be holding that... much less opening it?!
...Y-Yeah... It can't hurt to take a quick look.
The tome, with its cover that seemed to have been stitched together from the hides of many different animals, looked heavy in the class rep's hands. She became instantly engrossed in its contents as she hungrily flipped through the pages, one after another. As for me, all I could do was watch in awe as my very real friend and classmate lost herself in this very occult book in this very impossible place.
As expected, the book was written not in Japanese, but in a mixture of French and...what I could only assume to be magic runes of some sort. As a high school student, I certainly couldn't read any of it. Nor could the class rep. But some pages had Japanese notes scribbled in the margins. Notes that were very possibly penciled in by Yoshie Shinozaki.
The glint in her eyes was one of desperation as she continued flipping through the pages. What was she doing? I was starting to get uncomfortably nervous about this whole thing. Eventually, her legs must have gotten tired, as she just sat down on the floor...but she continued paging through the Book of Shadows.
Then, finally, she seemed to find whatever it was she was looking for. The sound of stretched skin flipping upon itself stopped, and she just...stared.
...This is it...
Music: Black Magic
There certainly are. But why has the whole page been crossed out like that?
I don't know. Maybe the spell failed. Maybe whoever was casting it...seized up with fear partway through.
But...that doesn't matter right now!
That...can't actually work, can it? Resurrecting the dead...is just impossible!
Are you still bound by common sense, then? Have you forgotten...where we are right now?
I had to admit, that was a good point. Reality as I knew it was far different now than it was when I woke up this morning.
...Are you scared?
Think about Ms. Yui...and Suzumoto...and Shinohara... and Morishige...all at their wits' end, suffering in that horrible place! Think about how painful their deaths were...and how their existences were erased from this world! Can you really accept that as reality?!
Music: Struggling Against Fate (C)
I know I sure can't! And I'm betting the same is true for you!
That's right. Our friends...were dead. They died, and we came here so we could do something about it. And if we didn't do this, nothing would change. They'd still be dead. No hope of ever hearing their voices again...their faces eventually forgotten...
I missed them so much. And I'd do whatever it took to get them back. If I could just see them again... if I could talk to Seiko even one more time...
It's okay... It's okay! There's nothing to be afraid of anymore. We climbed our way out of that hell. We broke free from Heavenly Host! So let's follow our hearts now. If there's something we can do to fix this situation, then we have to do it. So...come on. Let's do it.
It didn't matter how improbable, or even impossible this was. Even if there were only a one in a million chance, we had to take it. It was absolutely foolish of us to try this. It was unnatural, and unholy, and completely inadvisable. But as long as there was that slight possibility...this was something that just had to be done. We weren't about to give up without a fight.
Video: Book of Shadows
This video covers the remainder of the update. If you were intimidated by the length of the video from before and skipped it, here's the latter half of it, split off on its own. It's still 20 minutes long, but you should really watch it anyway!
(...but this book wasn't written in Japanese, and I can't read the parts that warn about that...so... out of sight, out of mind! I can handle this.)
Since they don't even exist in this world anymore, dragging them back by force seems like our only option!
Yeah. So let's...just do it.
Music: Depths of Space and Time
Our first attempt at resurrecting the dead was going to be a spell to bring back Mayu Suzumoto. All the materials we needed were present and accounted for in bottles and jars within the room -- a beetle carapace, part of an animal's body, etc. The first step was to carve a pentagram into the floor with a knife, then place three paper dolls in its center, of the sort used in the Sachiko ritual. The one in the middle would bear the name of the person we wished to raise, and the ones on either side would bear the names of the casters. Our names.
The class rep was then to place Suzumoto's photo on top of the paper doll dedicated to her.
As for our paper dolls, we each had to blow on them three times, then cut both our palms with the knife and coat the spell materials in our blood.
Okay. Here we go. Be strong.
My blood mixed together with the class rep's in the white ceramic dish, forming one singular globule. I remembered hearing once that everyone's blood is a slightly different color, and found myself thinking of this as I applied pressure to my throbbing palms.
With all the setup taken care of, it was now time to chant the spell. Fortunately, these foreign words all had Japanese pronunciations written in above them.
This was starting to feel crazy. I was sitting here listening to the class rep chant a magic spell to raise the dead, for goodness sakes! I wasn't sure how much of a grip I had on reality anymore. What were we thinking, trying something like this? Would this really bring Suzumoto back?
...No, I had to concentrate. If I doubted the spell, then the spell would fail. For now, I had to believe that this would work. And I had no reason not to.
The ritual took several hours to complete, with the class rep carefully chanting away the whole time. Finally, the last word on the last page was spoken.
...nng... *pant* *pant* *wheeze*
Class rep?! Are you okay? Come on...
*pant* *pant* Well? ...Do you...think... *pant* *pant* ...it's going to...work...? *pant* *pant* *wheeze*
Naomi & Ayumi: ...!
Music: Something's Coming
Blood-red stains that looked almost like letters suddenly splashed onto the open Book of Shadows, though it was unclear where they'd come from.
Naomi & Ayumi: ...?!
No! If the book catches fire, we...!
The class rep quickly snatched the book away from the flame that had sprouted out of thin air. The photo of Suzumoto she'd set down had completely burned to nothing, but the paper doll below it was unscathed.
So...what does that mean? Does it mean we succeeded?
Background Sound: Footsteps
Naomi & Ayumi: ...!
Mayu: Shig? Where are you...?
That voice was unmistakably Suzumoto's. The two of us took one another's hands, and we just...waited...
Mayu: Shiiig? Where are you?
I'd started to call out to her, but the class rep held up her other hand to stop me.
What do you mean?
She's walking in circles.
Music: Fear of the Occult (A)
And this time, they were coming toward us. I'd instinctively shrunken back and frozen myself in place, afraid of the unknown presence approaching us from up above. She was certainly in no hurry. Slowly, ploddingly she climbed down the staircase.
Background Sound: None
It was Suzumoto all right. But her face... Her face was completely blotted out. No eyes, no nose, no mouth!
I couldn't tell if she was screaming or moaning, but either way, she was clearly in agony. The sound was barely even human. It was a death knell.
Our spell had failed. The Suzumoto-like being we'd summoned was lying flat on the ground, face up, writhing and spasming. There was nothing we could do to help her. Nothing at all. As I watched 'her' convulse, I noticed rune-like symbols appearing all over body.
And then, without warning, her paper doll burst into flames.
Mayu: Aaaaaahhhhhhhh... Aaaaaaaahhhhhh...
As soon as it did, blood began spraying from each of the runes on her body like water shooting from a fire hose.
Her arms, neck and thighs all separated from her torso, right where the runes had appeared a moment ago...and the Suzumoto-like being moved no more.
The flame that had engulfed her paper doll was now completely extinguished, leaving behind nothing but ash.
Naomi & Ayumi: *sob* *sob* *gasp* *sob* *hic*
Music: Feeling Hopeless
Then the class rep fell to her knees as well. She was bleeding from her arms and legs, in the exact same spots as the Suzumoto-like being. And bore the same runic markings.
...! Class rep!
Music: Dead End
*gasp* *gag* Kllgh...ghaaAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!
Rounded saw blades were now jutting from the marks on her body. Why? Where had they come from?!
Ouaaggh... OWWW!! GOD, IT HURTS!!
It hurts! ...Aaahhh... *pant* *pant* What...is this?!
(It's exactly the same... The same death that this fake Suzumoto was subjected to. I'm going to die in exactly the same way!)
(...but this book wasn't written in Japanese, and I can't read the parts that warn about that...so... out of sight, out of mind! I can handle this.)
Ullggh...kkhhh... No... No! NO! Nakashima! The...paper doll... Put it out!
Hang in there! I'll have it out in no time! Just another few seconds!
I tried putting out the fire by slapping the paper doll with my hand. I was so panicked, I couldn't even feel the heat of the flame on my skin.
*pant* *pant* Go out, dammit! GO OUT!! GO OUT! GO OUT ALREADY, GODDAMMIT!!
It wasn't working. It wasn't doing anything. The fire just continued to burn.
IT'S NOT GOING OUT!! WHAT DO I DO?!
Wasn't there anything else I could try? I looked around, and saw a paint can full of water nearby.
I was acting on impulse. I didn't even think about what I was doing. I just threw the entire contents of the can right onto the flaming paper doll.
That is severely goofy.
Blood began spurting from the mark on the class rep's neck. The rounded saw blade from the desk earlier was digging into it for some reason.
IT HUUUUUUURTS!! Nooo... I don't want to die... SAAAVE MEEEEEE!!
There seemed to be no escape for us. We were destined to die here. This was our punishment for meddling in things no human should. For playing God.
Mine was on fire now too. I was next. There was no fighting this. We were both going to die here. We were going to die horribly and painfully...
Like an angel sent down from on high, our savior suddenly appeared. A woman, older than us, scrambled down the stairs, calling out the class rep's name. She leaped over the railing and practically dove toward the burning paper dolls.
Hinoe: By the power of the guardian spirits, I cast out that which would do us harm. ...Dai-ito-kuju...on...aku...UN!
...S-Sis...? *pant* *pant*
The fire...is out... *pant* *pant*
I had no idea what this woman had just done, but whatever it was, it saved us. The flames were out and we were no longer in danger. ...And the class rep's neck, though gashed, was still fully intact.
She flung herself at this new arrival and latched on, tears practically exploding from her eyes. I guess this was that sister of hers I'd heard so much about...
...Sis... You... You came to save me... But how...did you know where I was?
Music: Pandora no Yoru
And the credits roll.
Corpse Party really knows how to take a tense and stressful moment and throw in a bunch of goofy shit that kills the tension. The Book of Shadows' wacky face was one thing, but it's easy enough to ignore and doesn't completely kill the scene. But then Hinoe's head just kind of pops out of nowhere, and I hope I'm not the only one who was completely floored with laughter when it happened. The sawblades and screwdrivers that randomly animate to attack Ayumi are pretty silly, too.
In the end, Book of Shadows fails to live up to the first game. While Corpse Party had its low points, Book of Shadows is outright bad at times, and the majority of it doesn't really matter at all. Even this final chapter, the part of the game that finally continues where the first left off, gets pretty stupid toward the end. Overall, I don't think it's a bad game, and it's worth experiencing if you're a fan of the first, but I really hope Blood Drive's writing is more in the style of the first game, rather than following Book of Shadows' lead.
Chapter 8 has no wrong endings, so that brings this LP to a close. Thank you all for reading, and sticking with the game even through its lowest points. We unlocked two more Soulful Testimonies by completing this chapter, so I'll drop them here at the end. I'll see you all again three months after Blood Drive's English release!
Soulful Testimony - Rina Sato (Naomi Nakashima)
Soulful Testimony - Asami Imai (Ayumi Shinozaki)