Wolfdietrich in Purgatory - Chapter 1 - Jovial_Viola - 原神 (2024)

Chapter Text

Chapter 1: 💃Sauvegarde Automatique du Système de Règle💃
Scene 1: J’accepte la grande aventure d’être moi


Iron handcuffs encircle his wrists, pinning Ri to a gurney. The restraints are redundant: his arms are leaden. His arms splay outward, his fingertips barely brushing the metal rails. Strange, his six foot frame and shoulders to match tends to fill an entire cot. In light of his Tall-People Problems, perhaps he should be ecstatic about the upgrade to the hospital budget. There is something uncanny with the lack of beeping and flashing lights he would usually associate with a sick-bay.

"WE̸LCO̴̖̞̒̈́MĘ̷̧̞̻̟͇̠͔͙̹͓̼̲̓̓̾́ͅ BACK ̷͚̺̺̼̲̻̩̙̜͊̾Ū̷̠̩̹̬͎̝̭̝̭̘̦S̷̢̛̲̦͓̘̤͕̟͊̈́͑̆ͅ–," He hears a (hospital intercom?) crackle, an ominous spit-whine-crackle-spark like a phone falling into a pool and giving up all its magic smoke.

"And…action! Hello? Hell-loooo? Is this thing on? Ehe, what does this but–"

It would normally be rude to ignore the young lady at his bedside, but he can barely open his eyes, let alone turn his head. The voice doesn’t seem to be coming from a particular direction. Who would visit him in the hospital? Certainly not his commander who has much better things to do with her PTO. His family...best not think of them. A migraine sweeps through his jumbled thoughts. Ri’s pays for the brief moment of consciousness. His eyes slip closed.


Chief Warrant Officer Ri’s pay code is 7210. Lucky number 7 for the CW2 boatswaine. The 21 means he gets paid to play D&D in a sardine can for half the year. He is in charge of maintenance, ordering supplies, and HR: a Major’s work on an officer’s pay.

At least after this 5 month stint in the SSN-673, he’ll be able to spend that salary. The USS Flying Fish is finally surfacing for maintenance and a changing of the guard. Ri’s not able to coordinate much while the submarine is this far from shore. 40 word telegrams are what his squad are allotted for family during missions, but he doesn’t use it itself, instead opting to trade his for tea rations. The submarine is too far to see the outpost, but the voyage is nearly over. That doesn’t mean his job as a paperwork nag is done.

"Fitz! I need your packet yesterday evening!" Ri barks at the rookie, "We disembark at eleven-hundred and I submit everything to admin by fifteen-thirty if you want it in before the weekend."

Fitz startles, then salutes at him. His hand knocks his hat slightly askew. "Sir? I turned it in three days ago!" Wow, the shamelessness of this man.

"Not with this chicken scratch you didn’t. This isn’t kindergarten. I hope you’re not eating crayons because they won’t take paperwork with your waxy sh*tstains." Ri jabs at the offending mistakes on the old paperwork, and slaps a fresh copy on Fitz’s chest, "You’re old enough to wipe your own ass."

Fitz sputters, "Yes, sir."

"Look mate, if you want your FMLA to be approved before admin clocks out, don’t give them a reason to delay it. Do it again and use an ink stick. A black one, mind you. Hell, I’ll take electronic if you can borrow a tablet and print it when we reach land," Ri holds his hand out with a silent question. The rookie hesitantly nods and Ri straightens out Fitz’s cap and pats his shoulder twice. "Good man. Get it to me before twelve-hundred."

"Chief, I’m assigned–"

"–to man the bridge. I’m the one who wrote the schedule. I’ll get it covered." Ri beckons over yet another paperwork-shirker hovering near the door. There’s at least seven others he needs to check-in with once their shift starts, and Fitz isn’t even the worst offender. It’s barely five hundred and all he has left from his tea stash is L*pt*n he appropriated from the mess hall. God, he needs something that doesn’t take 5 bags to brew a decent cuppa.

"Thank you, sir."

He waves Fitz off. "Thank me by doing your paperwork faster so I can do my actual job." The sooner everything is stamped, the better.


Disembarkment happens like well-rehearsed clockwork. Ri hands off (properly filed!) paperwork from his squad. Requisition, inventory, repairs and the like are submitted to the SCIF. As always, he slips in some pogey bait to expedite Fitz’s and other special requests. After the run-around, he takes a well-deserved nap in the barracks. One decadently long shower later, he can finally turn off his brain and doom-scroll on Reddit. Freshly brewed tea made from leaves that haven’t sat in a storage locker for months steams in a paper cup next to him. Ahh, reunited with the internet at last. The weather forecast tonight is snow, but it’ll melt by tomorrow afternoon. His POV shipped to this base last week. The mechanic friend he let borrow it texts that there’s new tires. He can barely wait to get on the road.

Looks like Genshin sold out tickets for the Concert Tour for the Liyue and Fontaine OST. The featured pianist (a young ginger guy with more freckles than keys on a keyboard) was apparently married to a newly-hired, but high-ranking consultant for the company. Some commented about nepotism, but the guy already won tons of awards for his playing.

He makes a reminder to download the latest patch. Ri is an obligate-casual F2P player. There isn't exactly 5G Home Internet in the middle of the Atlantic, not to mention the whole US-China fear-mongering. This is why he has a gutted laptop for gaming without any personal, professional, nor payment information linked to it. No worries, Uncle Sam, no military secrets leaked here! Music downloaded on a trusty flash-drive made for entertaining evenings when he was deployed (Font of All Waters lives in his head rent free). He doesn’t care enough to pay someone on Fiverr to pilot his account and collect Welkins. He gets the Stellar Reunion, blesses a random player with his returnee code, plays a backlog of quests like binging an anime, futzes around with the current event, watches LPs of events he missed, reads random lore entries on the wiki and downloads the rest to read later. By the time he’s human again, it’s back to the mines.

"Good evening, Sir."

Ri looks up from the recreation room couch. "Recruit Fitz. How may I be of service?"

"I need to get off-base tonight, sir." says Fitz, fiddling with his cap, "Shelia’s headed to the hospital. Baby’s coming early."

"Good thing we filled out the paperwork then." Ri smirks, and taps through his phone to pull up his email. "Looks like it’s already been processed and approved." It better be with all the snacks he buys for the paperwork grunts.

"Thank you." Fitz says. He straightens up and braces himself, "I need a ride to the city, but no-one will be willing to drive this late, sir. Higher-ups won’t provide a car until tomorrow morning."

Ri fiddles with his phone, "There’s supposed to be a snowstorm tonight. We barely beat it to the dock when we landed."

Fitz looks resigned with a little sad smile. Bless him and his bleeding heart.

Ri stands up and dusts off his pants. "Can you travel light?"


"I’ve got a winterized motorcycle in the garage. Think you can find a helmet?"


Ri’s always expected to die in a submarine, OceanGate style. Hull damage, implosion, turned into the fine pink mist of shark chum with the rest of the crew–the works. The USS Flying Fish is usually on peaceful med deployment or providing security. They weren’t in enemy territory, but they had torpedoes for a reason. He’s had many bad dreams about it, including last night. Even had some flesh-dissolving acid for extra flavor.

So imagine his surprise when he gets Truck-kun’ed.

Couldn’t he have enjoyed a week with his paycheck?

The first thing he does when he sees the swerving truck barrel towards them is countersteer. The dead-weight of Recruit Fitz clinging to him causes hims to nearly topple. The truck hits a patch of ice and drifts right into his motorcycle. The only thing he can do is twist around and hug Fitz tight, tucking in his head and shielding him as they bounce across the road.

His lungs fill with fluid from cracked ribs. There’s a metal shard embedded in his neck, slicing deeper every time he breathes. His custom Black Ice Pearl Harley is smashed. Only one of these things is covered by his insurance policy.

"Sir? Sir!" Fitz yells out, struggling in Ri’s tight embrace. Fitz doesn’t seem too worse for wear, with only a small cut on his forearm and road rash. The truck driver leaves his vehicle and walks over with angry stomps. Of course the guy’s truck is still in nearly perfect condition.

Ri grunts, "You, truck driver. Fitz here is gonna be a dad. Get him to the hospital."

Truck Guy has the audacity to exclaim, "What about my truck? Are you paying for that?"

Fitz is crying. "Sir, we can get you in the truck and–and bring you too."

"We’re…ugh…forty minutes from the city. I’ll be dead in maybe ten." Fitz should know this, he’s worked med bay and so has Ri. In any case, Ri can see the bits-and-bobs from the medkit he keeps under the seat scattered across the roadside and he highly doubts Truck Guy has anything useful in his car. "My wallet has $700, Truck Guy. You can claim everything else against my retirement, I dunno. ‘S not like I’ll need it anymore."

Truck Guy looks a bit green after seeing Ri’s injury. Maybe now he’ll learn not to play at drag racing going 90 in a blind curve.


"Dying wish, alright? Wouldn’t want to get his car seats dirty." He laughs a bit, and it turns to a sharp gurgle. It’s a miracle he’s still lucid, "Don’t you dare name your kid after me. I hate my name."

Fitz laughs nervously at Ri’s morbid joke. "Sheila already said she’s naming ‘em after her grandmum, Jelena."

A murky fog fills his mind. His eyes open blearily, but his vision flickers, mirroring his slowing, stuttering heartbeat. For a moment, he sees their figures doubled, superimposed, a strange mixture of love, anger, apathy, revulsion, and resolution. One moment they're hovering above him, and the next they’re prone and lifeless as he is. There’s so much blood and it’s oh so cold.

"It’s a…cute name." He wheezes out.

Fitz breaks into hiccuping sobs. Ri thinks Fitz managed to salvage something from the wreckage. Fitz kneels down to wind a bandage around his neck and keep things from jostling around. He can’t feel this at all. That’s mildly concerning.

He’s lived a good life, right? He’s helped thousands of people get back on their feet, dragged them out the hole of misery he himself once wallowed in. He’s failed countless others spiraling into a lesser version of themselves.

And yet…

What would he give to save just one more of his foster brothers and sisters? What would he give to love his family? It was a pretty lie, but he had been happy in ignorance before he ran away, before he tore down the facade with too many questions and observations. Maman once gave amazing hugs, even if they were just disguised inspections of the goods.

"Sir, try to stay awake. Please…"

Sometimes he wonders what would have happened if he did something, anything, everything sooner. If he hadn’t selfishly focused on getting himself out. One last wish fills his heart.

"Sorry…I couldn’t protect…"


There is nothing in this life worth remembering. Small mercies for someone born to primordial sin.


Once he resurfaces from the memory, he opens his eyes to reveal a sterile white ceiling. Well, one eye that is. There’s bandages winding along his chest and gauze snug around his neck and face. The thin hospital blanket is impossibly heavy.

He can’t believe it, Fitz pulled through. Ri will back a promotion and a pay-raise for the guy even if it means taking it from his own salary. All hail TRICARE and health insurance all for the low, low price of selling your soul to the government.

It’s too quiet. Sure, he hears faint coughs and shuffling footsteps outside, but from what little he can see without moving his neck too much, there isn’t an IV nor a beeping heart monitor. Where are his good drugs? Moreover, the handcuffs are still there. He’d expect leather restraints for seizures or to prevent someone from pulling out IVs, but these are metal handcuffs. It’s similar to what they keep to restrain (theoretical) war criminals in the med bay.

The door to the room is slightly ajar. A passing nurse in purple scrubs speedwalks in the corridor. "Hello?" he croaks out, trying to catch her attention. His voice is much higher than his usual baritone, closer to a sweet tenor, and it cracks a bit with strain. That hasn’t happened since middle school.

The nurse does a double-take, then waves over someone before trotting in herself. The scrubs are indeed purple, but so is the nurse. Wide-eyed, he gazes at the pair of curling antennae–no, rhinophore–on the nurse’s temple—wait a second–is she a Melusine?

"Stupendous! You’ve awakened much earlier than we expected. Be a dear and follow this light with your eyes, yes yes?" The nurse held a small flashlight in her mittened hand expectantly. He nodded dumbly. She clicked it on and cycled through a concussion test. "I certainly didn’t expect you to be coherent for another day with all the blood you lost, but here you are, three days later and already awake."

Melusines, from Fontaine, from Genshin, in the location that got permanently flooded after the Archon Quest in his isekai transmigration? More likely than you'd think! This was retribution for pranking the rookies by sending them to find water slugs, the mail buoys, and left handed wrenches. He muffles a strangled laugh that turns into a cough. Guess what! In Fontaine, the water slug finds you!

"Thank you for your cooperation," she says primly, clicking the flashlight off, "I myself would prescribe two weeks bed rest, but the doctors want you out-and-about by the 23rd! Alas, the bureaucracy calls. May I send her in?"

Ri, still a bit dazzled by the realization that the Imaginary Tree might be real, nods slowly.

His hands are more delicate than he remembers. Calluses trail alongside his thumbs in strange patterns that he doesn’t remember having. His scars from the Torque Wrench Incident are missing. Small nicks spaced equally along his knuckles replace them.

The Melusine glances at his handcuffs. "I apologize for the indignity, but we do need to follow Garde procedure in cases like this." With a quick little wave, she skips off to see her next patient.

A mousy woman with hazel eyes and red horn-rimmed glasses glances up at him from her clipboard. Her hair is a warm ash color and faint frown lines appear as she fills out a number of forms she clutches to her chest.

"Hello, my name is Chatelet. I am a Gestionnaire in charge of the murder case. Could you please let me know your name, or how you would like to be called?"

Ri points at himself, or at least tries to, considering that his restraints limit him to simply co*cking his wrist towards himself.

"It’s alright dear, take your time. I just need something for the paperwork." She giggles, slightly shrilly, like sharing a joke and overthinking about it anxiously when it doesn't land right, "It’s a…bit of a mess at the Maison Gestion at the moment. Being here means no one can rope me into doing their job."

She’s acting friendly, chatty even, but he notices that Chatelet chose to perch on a wobbly wooden chair on the far side of the room. There are two seats closer to his bedside with puffy blue cushions. Chatelet shrinks under his gaze. "I’ll be filling this out," she mumbles.

Okay, so he’s a victim? He’s alive and fun-size. Was he the assailant because he’s the one restrained to the bed? The last thing he remembers is the car accident. Miss Chatelet is his caseworker? What exactly is going on here?


"Welcome, Welcome my dear User 05! Tis I, the fabulous 💃Sauvegarde Automatique du Système de Règle💃! To answer your question, you have been cast in the role of "The Duke''.

Main Quest: Time for your Arraignment!

[X] Collect Evidence (27/?̴ͬ̽́̀̕?̢͎̫͈?)
[X] Obtain the attention of the Garde in a way that cann̴o̶t̶ be b̸̳́e̴̟̒ i̶͇̍ḡ̵̗̟̅ň̶̙̗̄ó̵̙̲͆r̷͓̒̕e̸͍͑̓d̷̡̊̂
[] Complete Paperwork (0/???)
–[] Use the name "Wriothesley" for additional points and unlock exclusive quest chains


Unlock Premium Membership or other methods to change Username.

[] Talk to ??? (0/2)
–[] (Optional Objective) Submit Evidence to ???
–[] (Optional Objective) Destroy Evidence
–[] (Optional Objective) ???
[] Go to Opera Epiclese
[] Mandatory Mission: Be declared "Guilty" and be exiled from Fontaine to serve your penance

5★ ??? Key Item
2★ ??? Weapon
1★ ??? Ammo
100 Story Points


His eyes dart to the side, searching for the voice in the sky (it sounds like the lady from before?), but all he can see is a stack of newspapers. Oh great, he’s hearing voices that sound like an old-timey 1920s radio-show hostess.

"Oh? My magnificent presence is wholly original. Our audience has been waiting oh so patiently for your next line!"

He thinks, "Miss? Miss Système? Whatever do you mean by "The Duke"?"

"The Duke Wriothesley, but of course! A supporting character that is terribly important to showcase the main character’s development and the plot!"

Chatelet misunderstands his focused eyes. She snags a random newspaper from the table to prop before him.

"Thank you," he says, but she skitters back to her seat immediately.

It is an older copy of The Steambird, abandoned by its previous reader based on the half-done crossword. In the corner is an obituary notice for, you guessed it, a "Lord High Admiral Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Lumidouce" mocking him in the corner. The Earl was in charge of the aforementioned harbor, prolific in politics and business alike, and survived by his many beloved children and dogs. Chatelet returns to filling out more paperwork and even cross referencing a small notebook from her pocket.

"Wriothesley, as in the arc villain, Wriothesley? The tyrant traitor that murdered his parents and gets executed by Tatterdemalion during the Archon Quest?"

"Er, well, I suppose you are allowed to tell her a different "name", but method-acting is such a wonderful way to stay in character." Miss Système says, "Besides, it’s what the Script says and you’ll lose points if you don’t use something from the approved list."

Xx_PunchyMcPunchman_xX would not be on the "approved" list. Not that he wanted to be called that. "Points?"

"If your points reach zero, then it’s curtains call. You return to your previous body."

"I was in a motorcycle accident," he deadpans.

"Exactly! You can also spend points for Skills and Hints! You have 100 points from your New System Bonus! If you really feel that strongly about it, allow me to check how much a Username switch costs."

His real name is on his military paperwork, but ever since he escaped, he’s gone by Ri. He'd considered changing it long ago, but it was too much red-tape, not to mention the replacement fees for his IDs and changing his BRS. He mourns for his unspent paycheck once more.

Ri clears his throat, and Chatelet blinks up at him through her red reading glasses. "Ah? I’ve nearly finished subsection 21-13-2. We were only able to find an adoption request 12 years ago for an unnamed, abandoned baby. The citizenship paperwork was never followed up on. We do have references from Bracari of the Fleuve Cendre that say you’ve been working for her."

Even if the Wrioriginal managed to escape from his foster parents, he would be hard-pressed to find legal employment underage and without papers. No wonder he went to the sewers.

"May I know how all of this will work?" Ri asks.

"Vice Captain Grizzetti and Monsieur Donatello will take your statement tomorrow afternoon on November 15th. Your hearing is scheduled at 8AM on the 23rd." Miss Chatelet reads aloud. If what the nurse said earlier about the doctors releasing him on the 23rd was true, the court case was scheduled the day he was discharged from the hospital.

"My hearing? What am I on trial for?" asks Ri, dread creeping in his voice. In his heart, he already knows what she will say.

"According to evidence collected by the Marechaussee Phantom, you have been accused of the murder of Henri and Marie Écochard." Chatelet speaks with a grave monotone, her nerves and stutter hidden when she can lean against the script of proper procedures. "The fast turnaround of the case is due to the sensitive nature and your age."

Ri flinches at the coincidence. The old man’s name can die with him, Ri can promise that much. But if this was the same, did that also mean…

When he was 13, all Ri did was call CPS on his foster parents. The local police were paid off and ignored it. He ran away and joined the military as soon as they'd take him, then when he was ranked highly enough, bribed someone to "audit their tax returns". Wrioriginal seemed to have taken things into his own hands.

"Miss Système, were the Écochards…" …a loving façade, an manipulative couple in debt committing foster care payment fraud, a pair of narcissistic abusers, or all of the above?

"...Check your Inventory, dear User."

When he thinks "Inventory," there is only one item in the sub-space. In his mind’s eye, Ri can see a thin binder. Inside it are multiple copies of harbor logs, letters, pictures, and receipts of "special cargo". A heavily annotated map has warehouses marked with dates in the near future. A dictionary and cipher solver are tucked next to decrypted invoices. Most importantly, there is a list of names. Familiar names with even more familiar handwriting. All of this points to one thing: an organization named Il Paese dei Balocchi

Or it could be a front for the House of Hearth. He can’t be certain if the two organizations are competing mafia factions or just another Fatui Franchise.

Intertwined in the notes is the schedule of the aforementioned Henri and Marie Écochard and optimal locations for…

…well let’s just say it was mutually assured destruction for both this organization and Wriothesley if this evidence was provided in a court of law.

"Miss Système, when did I get this, how did I get this. I haven’t even gotten out of bed and I can see completed Quest Objectives," he babbles. The tips of his fingers go numb and he shudders. Ri’s foster parents were horrible people that maxed out credit cards using their foster kids SSN, but this was vile. "It looks like my handwriting."

"It will cost 200 points to purchase An Appellative Stroke! You can change your Username once every 30 days." pipes up Miss Système.

"Don’t change the subject. But why so much?" he thinks.

"It costs resources to re-dub lines in Irminsul," she says cheekily.

He’s not particularly fond of such a stuffy old-money name, but he can’t afford vanity at the moment. It’s better than the alternative; he would rather die (again) than willingly use his name in another lifetime.

"Wriothesley." he says, the name a noose about his throat and damning him to his fate. "I would like to be referred to as Wriothesley."

He can hear Miss Système cheering in the background about points and bonus objectives cleared, but all he can see is death flags. He will wear this mantle of a boy who’s innocence was stolen all too soon and give him the ending he deserved. What was Wrio-the-Second thinking when he chose this name? Did he long for power, prestige, notoriety, a chance to atone for his family? Or was it a good enough name as any?

"It’s lovely to meet you, Mr. Wriothesley." She doesn’t comment on how it’s a rather strange name to fit on a 13(?) year old.


He ends up using a fountain pen (a Fontaine pen?) to fill out the forms helpfully marked by Chatelet’s crisp Xs. He’s been a stickler for clean paperwork for years and this jumped-up feather was not about to smear his record. Chatelet leaves even before the ink dries.

A nurse leaves him a plate of Fontaine Aspic. The texture is a wet crunch and vaguely fishy. His healing skin can use collagen, he tells himself, but it’s basically meat jello. The privacy gives him time to talk to Miss Système.

"Miss Système? Why am I here? As in not dead, not metaphysically."

"All will be revealed in due time, User Wriothesley. Frankly, I’m disappointed that you think so little of me."

"That’s…doesn’t answer anything."

"Oh, but it does, it does indeed, dear User! There are a few rules for your new life. First off, the Masquerade must be maintained. You may not under any circ*mstance reveal the existence of the💃Sauvegarde Automatique du Système de Règle💃 to any character."

"Why are you using emojis–"

"A-bup bup bup! My monologue. This isn't a counterpoint. Anyways, both you and the original died, but as a key character in the upcoming conflict, we can’t divert from the Script too much. I envision a Tragicomedy, but I will be perfectly content with avoiding apocalyptic scenarios. Praise me and my foresight!" Miss Système preens.

Okay. So Wriothesley is dealing with a praise-seeking Elios-expy with a god complex and potentially imposter-syndrome. He can work with this.

"So, are you the writer that made all this possible?" He wagers a guess, "Did you bring me here?"

She giggles nervously. "I am the conductor, maybe even the director. I can cut scenes, order the props, cast the actors, change the tempo, call for an encore, swap the lights. What I am not is the playwright. The lines are seen, the story is already written. All that is left is to fill out the blanks. I don’t have any control over the Script. We can interpret it, stretch it, but the main beats will remain the same. That is the rule of this world."

He breathed audibly out of his nose. World’s worst game of Mad-Libs. "So we can pick the second dialogue choice, but it ends up giving the same response. What happens if I go off-script?"

"Look, you can’t not avoid it. That’s the power of visionaries for you. These events will happen, one way or another, so all we can do is dance around them."

Ah, malicious compliance and quiet quitting. Wriothesley knows the drill.

"Miss Système, what is the script?"

He can hear her beam.

"I thought you’d never ask~"


Scene 2: La vie est un grand drame

Wrioriginal the Second, Warden of Meropide, was an antagonist with cutscene-immortality until he didn’t. He was worse than Warden Walker. You know, the rattlesnake nail polish lady that gave everyone their first step on me crush and made teenagers dig holes to build character. The Duke dressed himself in rich red brocade and giant furs. He was a silver fox, or rather, a silver wolf (not to be mistaken for Silver Wolf).

Originally a prisoner, he staged a rebellion by bribing other prisoners with credits and the rest with intimidation. He crowned himself as The Duke and kicked out any Gardes that were not loyal to him. No one would contest him out of fear of being disappeared in his totalitarian state. Despite the noble’s protests of a commoner and a current prisoner taking the reins, the Maisons simply shrugged and kept sending people down so long as the production quotas were being met. Historical precedent upheld that Meropide’s government structure was separated from the mainland. Even the Chief Justice had no political power in that abyss without overreaching his checks-and-balances.

According to the rumors, he corrupted Head Nurse Sigewinne. The community affectionately called Sigewinne the love-child of Nurse Ratched and Il Dottore. She experimented on prisoners with medications, prescribing "fear" and "obedience" at the Duke’s behest. Everyone was stuck in a Sisipusian cycle of debt and company script. During the Archon quest, the Duke got paranoid and disappeared all the Fatui spies in his Fortress and then some. Due to the uneasy relationship and information blackout from the city below the waves, Neuvillette tasked the Traveler to investigate the state of the prison. The House of the Hearth siblings joined in, but ended up triggering the traps set by the deceitful Duke. Freminet was lost to his diving investigation and Lynette was taken hostage. The Duke fought the Traveler with an Electro Delusion, knocking them out sparking the ropes of a boxing ring in a scripted fight.

In a bragging monologue, he reveals he completely ignored a certain "responsibility" all prisoners were tasked with. Industrial Wastewater from machining was dumped into the surrounding ocean to reduce costs, further poisoning the water around the Fortress. He dissolved dissenters in Primordial Seawater. This treatment allowed the Traveler and Lyney to rally the inmates against him. In a pique of anger, he destroyed the seal on the Primordial Sea. Pollution plumed outward once the Primordial Seawater blasted forth from the center of the prison. The All Devouring Narwhal, attracted by the "snacks" the Duke sacrificed to it, followed suit.

Did his story end here? Not at all. The Duke somehow embezzled enough resources to build a large battleship that only got a line of white text on a black background. He saved loyal lieutenants, and left the rest of his mutinous subjects to dissolve. With treacherous waters surrounding them and iron-fisted control over food and oil production, Wriothesley was the de-facto pirate king on the largest vessel. Navia, along with her trusted bodyguards Silver and Melus, made up the other contingent. The two factions, nicknamed Pneuma and Ousia respectively, collected as many people and resources as possible. The Fatui did not take kindly to turncoats and instead provided support to the Spina di Rosula.

There was an epic ship battle where Traveler recruited Beidou and boarded the Wingalet. The Duke took Lady Furina hostage. The All Devouring Narwhal began at the heart of the prison and ate sinners and Gardes alike, but having finished off the appetizer, now came to the surface to feast. Neuvillette attempted to fight the Narwhal, but it only made it hungrier. Neuvillette was swallowed whole.

"Hydro dragon, Hydro dragon, don’t die~"

After the streak of dead Harbingers: Tartaglia, La Signora, Scaramouche, and 90% of Il Dottore’s segments to name a few, of course Arlecchino ate it and went into the drink. She traded her life for Lynette’s safety. Always a traitor, Wriothesley pushed them both down a plank.

"A Father should not die before her children. Your favorite trick is those magic pockets, but now it’s time for me to swap fate."

The Duke stabbed Furina with a dagger coated with Primordial Water and lobbed her like a grenade at the Narwhal’s mouth. The surge of Hydro distracted the Narwhal. Furina used the Indemnitium to revive Neuvillette a la Qiqi, but he went feral. The Duke escaped in the explosion, but his ship wasn’t as lucky. There was a sad AMV someone edited to the Titanic recorder meme.

"FuRose! There’s room on the door for two!"

It turned out Alrecchino was alive. She and Dragon Neuvillette managed to subdue the Narwhal after three days and nights before forcing it back through a portal. Arlecchino died from the strain holding it open. Neuvillette gave up the Hydro Gnosis in honor of her sacrifice: defending what remained of Fontaine.

Before slipping beneath the waves to heal, Neuvillette revealed he met a Jingliu-expy in the portal, who stated she had a pupil. Had.

"To live is in itself a blessing. But once a person dies, the bonds he once had with this world shall all turn to curses."

In yet another white-text, black-screen cutscene. Lyney, the newly appointed "Big Brother", took the mantle of the Mad "Tatterdemalion" (The Mad Hatter demon or Trivelyney as nicknamed by the community) and hunted the Duke down to avenge his Family. The Duke dissolved in the waters he had used so frequently to establish his rule and was torn apart molecule by molecule by vengeful Oceanids.

"My name is Lyney Snezhevich. You killed my Father. Prepare to die."

After the Archon Quest, Genshin Impact made the controversial choice of completely altering the landscape. There were nearly no chests and empty landscapes, the reason apparent when it was completely flooded with empty ocean. There was swimming, but like Dragonspine, there was a Turbulent Energy Flow mechanic that prevented you from diving for more than a minute. Only the day-to-day of the Melusines living in the cave structures were unaffected by the drowning of Fontaine. You could only visit them in a domain after talking to an NPC.

The convoluted plot, among other things, were the main complaints of the fandom.

This story was a five and a half hour unskippable cutscene that restarted to the very beginning if the internet lagged for 5 seconds.

The devs decided to fit Fontaine and 90% of the story in a Limited-Time Event location on a separate map. Wriothesley only managed to watch clips of it since he was deployed at the time.

That might seem to be the worst offense. No. The most outrageous thing was the devs sold the Fontaine crew as playable characters with zero explanation. Fontaine died and yet the cohort acted like nothing of note happened at all.


Le Scénario

Prologue. Les carottes sont cuites: Wriothesley is convicted of murdering his foster parents

Acte 1, Scène 1. Long comme un jour sans pain: Wriothesley is exiled to Fortress of Meropide
Acte 1, Scène 2. Blanchir de l’argent: Wriothesley obtains Credit Coupons (0/1,000,000,000)
Acte 1, Scène 3. Nous, le peuple: Wriothesley gains the backing of those residing in the Fortress of Meropide and overthrows the regime
Acte 1, Scène 4. Se mettre sur son trente-et-un: The Duke is crowned
Acte 1, Scène 5. Les loups ne se mangent pas entre eux: Wriothesley makes a deal he cannot refuse

l'intermède. La Royale: The Duke discovers the secret behind the Fortress of Meropide and the ship "The Wingalet" is built

Acte 2, Scène 1. Filer à le russe: A brother, a fool, a toymaker enter the Fortress of Meropide and will catch-a-lot
Acte 2, Scène 2. Quand on parle du loup, on en voit la queue: The Duke investigates, prevents and ends threats to his administration (0/?)
Acte 2, Scène 3. Raconter des salades: The Traveler discovers the secret behind the origin of the Fortress of Meropide
Acte 2, Scène 4. Les Trois Petit* Cochons: On the Set: Fortress of Meropide
– Ligne 1. Tomber dans le piège: Lynette is held hostage
– Ligne 2. Tomber dans les pommes: Freminet drowns
– Ligne 3. Tomber dans le panneau: Lyney attacks Wriothesley
Acte 3, Scène 5. Lancer une bouteille à la mer, Être au taquet: Wriothesley witnesses the seal breakage in the Forbidden Zone

l'intermède. Que sera, sera: A Tale of Two Creeds

Acte 3, Scène 1. Bonnet blanc et blanc bonnet: The Prophecy beckons. The city below the water tableau drowns.
Acte 3, Scène 2. Prendre son courage à deux mains: Wriothesley escapes upon The Wingalet
Acte 3, Scène 3. Il tombe des clous: The Hydro Archon Weeps Upon Her Throne. Curtains call, judgment falls upon the crown
Acte 3, Scène 4. La vie est un torrent courant vers un abîme: The second deluge swallows Fontaine
Acte 3, Scène 5. C’est le serpent qui se mord la queue: A sinner faces judgment. Fontaine is judged.

Épilogue. La fête passée, adieu le saint: The Trial Concludes


"That’s a lot of idioms." This is all Wriothesley can say after reading the giant system popup. Siri with Eighth-Grade Syndrome won’t be losing that title anytime soon.

Miss Système tuts."Idioms are stories that waltz about the truth, dear User. In any case, the last bit is me translating the ‘stories’ for you"

"This seems like a bunch of plot points that I can’t do much about. What do I need to do?"

"In no particular order, Wriothesley must face the consequences of breaking the social contract of Fontaine’s Court of Law. He will be declared guilty and be exiled. Wriothesley must become the administrator of the Fortress of Meropide. Wriothesley must make a deal he cannot refuse. The wards of the Fourth must threaten and be threatened by the Duke. The Duke must be in the control room when the Primordial Waters unleash upon the Fortress of Meropide. Lastly, the Hydro Archon must die for the Dragon Sovereign to live." Miss Système rattles off her list."These are all the things that cannot change."

"So I’ve been voluntold to go to jail, press the big red button, free Britney from the mortal plan, but I’m not guaranteed anything after that. Got it."

"Ehe, one cannot hope to understand the machinations of the Administrators."

Wriothesley hazards a guess, "How much does it cost for me to not threaten the Golden Trio with bodily harm and mental anguish? Or to stop the flooding plot point?"

"Er…let me see.." He hears faint clicking and typing noises. "Aha here! It costs…1 million points."

"Is Duke Ex Machina is a no-go?"

"This is preposterous! The amount of time and energy. I thought this way would be so much easier than–," Miss Système’s shrieking dissolves into a distressed babble.

"Calm down. We have what, at minimum fifteen years before canon events start happening? The Duke was middle-aged during the Archon quest." Even with the greying Delusion-hair, lore-wise the Duke was only halfway through his 30 year sentence. He does some mental math, "That’s, mmm, 67 thousand a year or 200, wait no, 183 points a day?"

"The current quest’s base reward is 100 points," she wails.

What a drama queen. Wriothesley is the one who has to actually do the quests. "Sidequest-hell here we come."


Scene 3: La famille, c’est l’amour. C’est tout ce qui compte

Come early afternoon, someone probably noted he’s been on good behavior on his chart. A nurse and a guard clipped on and off manacles in a complicated dance to wheel him over to the bathroom. At any one point, there are no less than 2 chains on him. At least this set was long enough to go by himself. His reflection looks eerily similar to his teenage self, with a strange mix of baby fat and hollow cheeks from his youth and street rat life respectively. Icy blue eyes, a hint of stress-induced grey canities in his hair, how his smile quirks to one side–it’s all there.

Waifish Victorian child vibes might give him pity points during the trial. It will have the opposite effect in Meropide and hard labor expected by all. Wriothesley already knows he'll end up swimming next to the fishies for plot reasons, which means he needs to make the most time on top. Once his wound heals and he won’t give himself permanent damage, he can grind physical therapy with the drive of a Candy-Crush-addicted grandma that just got a hip replacement. Healing is five times faster with Vision and Elemental Energy assisted healing, not to mention the potions, so he might be in the clear.

Right now, he’s stuck in Schrodinger's verdict. Once he’s truly stuck in the abyss, his reputation will be stained forevermore. Letters and messages will be screened by the Warden. Gardes can be paid off to steal his mail. If doesn’t use his little black binder now, everything inside will be completely useless.

Most of the day passes with long naps interspaced with bursts of strategizing. At midnight, he’s wide-awake and lucid enough to plan.

The most important question is who should he give the evidence to? Who would take the scattered data points and verify it? Who would bring it to the right people? Who would dump it into the sea? Who would take advantage of weakness to steal the supply chains for themselves? There’s a hundred percent chance at least one of the Gardes patrolling the hospital are paid off by the Il Paese dei Balocchi or the Fatui to look the other way. It’s incredibly shallow, but he cannot afford to trust any NPCs that aren’t explicitly mentioned in a Character Story.

The Marechaussee Phantom would normally be his best bet. The Melusines are known for their investigative and observational skills. Every single one of them can have the ear of Monsieur Neuvillette at a moment’s notice. The problem is the only Melusine he’s met so far is the nurse that one time, and he hasn’t seen her since. She’s a kind hearted individual, but also very trusting of the "experts". He can imagine her skipping away and sharing it with the first person that’s curious about it. The Marechaussee, those a bit more jaded by the sins of human hearts, are likely to show up as part of his guard detail when he is inevitably escorted to the Opera Epiclesel. He’ll need to be clever about it.

Miss Chatelet was an option to get it directly to the Palais Mermonia and Neuvillette’s desk. Her skittish personality and the slow moving bureaucracy make it a non-starter. Wriothesley doubts they’d find anything, let alone look at it. They'd want triplicate, 5 different intake forms, and an intern would bury it in a filing cabinet somewhere so they wouldn’t need to deal with it. He didn’t even have any mora to grease the wheels.

Spina de Rosula’s President Callas is an honorable man and would take his case for free. According to the gossip section of the Steambird, Navia is already the 5-year-old apple of his eye and a society darling. Wriothesley has no idea when Sinthe slipped into the organization, but Romeuf and his faction might disrupt investigations purely out of spite. He didn’t want to ruin their small family a decade too early.

Vice Captain Grizzetti of the Special Security and Surveillance Patrol was Chevreuse’s teacher. Chevreuse was amenable to hiring felons as "special consultants." As a defendant in purgatory, they’ll be the most sympathetic to his cause. Plus, he and Chevreuse’s father are coming right to his bedside with zero effort from him. It’s perfect. All he needs to make sure none of the potential traitor Gardes listen in, easy-peasy.

Planning session success: he knows what he needs to do, what to delegate, and how to gently nudge them to accept a task. Next is to execute the plan. It feels oddly reminiscent of him managing his squad. It’s not homesickness, per say, but a sort of personal satisfaction and settling. He’s in control for the first time since he’s woken up in this world. He stretches out his gangly legs that still aren’t quite long enough until they’re stopped by a chain.

Once again, as soon as he feels comfortable, everything goes pear-shaped. He hears the leaves outside the window. A distinctly human rustle outside his window.

"Miss Système? I didn’t imagine that," he thinks.

"No. No you did not," Miss Système confirmed.

"I don’t suppose you got any weapons as a quest reward?" The nurses were careful to not give him cutlery. Everything on the tables was a hair too far for him to kick over and grab. Even the "sheets" were attached to the bed with heavy fasteners. He could use his handcuff chains like demented arm nunchucks, but that meant keeping things in the back-stabbing zone.

"You suppose correctly. That reward was only 50 points," Miss Système admits.

Wriothesley takes a closer look at the mechanism. His eyes widen.

""Miss Système? Is there a paperclip, thin wire, maybe a sewing pin stashed in the binder?"

"Mhm. Here you are." A thin line of silvery metal is deposited in his palms. Wriothesley sticks the end into the locking mechanism with his mouth and bends it backward, before tapping it along the track and bending it again. With a quick shimmy and a twist, the handcuff opens with a quiet click.

Miss Système exclaims, "When did you learn how to do this?"

"Eh, it’s only one chamber," he thinks offhandedly, "I wonder why they didn’t use a more complicated one. She used to lock us up if we weren’t being good. And I had to figure out things when I was on my own." Perhaps they didn’t have it in his size? His bony teenage frame is malnourished to the point where even this set hangs loosely.

The other cuff and its chain release with similar ease. Unlatched cuffs loosely drape around his wrists to mimic a secured arm. Tucked into his palm is the wire. If their visitor underestimates his range, he’ll have a chance to dodge.

"This weapon is the Wrist-hesley," he thinks, "Apologizes, that wasn’t nearly as funny as it was in my head."

"What would you do if you wouldn’t pick them in time?" she says thoughtfully. She’s ignoring his pun. Rude.

"A Master Lock can be opened with a Master Lock." He snorts for a moment, then abruptly stops to glance at the windows. He clarifies."I’d whack them against each other and there's a good chance they’d pop open by themselves. Might not be able to put them back on, which defeats the point of picking them."

He’s so intently focused on the window that he startles when a sharp knock hits the door thrice. Glancing around, he sees the sets of empty beds. He’s the only one in the room given the nurses initial "young psychopath" assumption.

"Come in," Wriothesley says politely. There’s no point in pretending to be asleep. Closing his eyes will just increase his reaction time. Whoever is at the door already decided they wanted to come inside. Unless it was a vampire.

The door opens, revealing a woman dressed in a silk blouse accessorized with an elegant brooch and a pencil skirt. Her pink hair frames her face and gathers loosely in a side-braid. Crimson lipstick accentuates her kind mask. A mask, he realizes, perfectly schooled to maximize its "matronly" quality.

"We meet at last, young Wriothesley." She croons his name strangely, stretching the s and adding a little lilt to the end.

He plasters on the placating smile he uses when maman was on a warpath. "Hi. You have me at a loss, Miss…"

"This may be forward of me, but I do hope you will one day call me ‘Mother’." ‘Mother’ examines her nails. Her eyes take a predatory shine. "Your actions caused quite a stir in the lands above and below."

That confirms it, he’s invited a vampire with dead anime-mom hair into his hospital room. Does the hair cancel out immortality? Does it mean she already died and has unlimited use of anime-mom plot power? Cold iron is supposed to hurt supernatural beings, but the Melusine nurse already touched his handcuffs before.

"What can I do you for, Miss ‘Mother’?" Wriothesley returns her stare, unblinking.

"Ohoho. Cheeky poppet." ‘Mother’ gracefully breaks the stare, but she does not lose the match either. She simply deigns childish squabbles beneath her. "It’s more what I can do for you."

"I search for little princes, like yourself, to prove themselves before my children. I wish to crown a King and retire to the shadows as the Dowager Empress." She uses her hands to frame his face like a photograph, "Allow me to extend an invitation to the House of the Hearth."

His Fatui alarm went off. It was all systems go for a while now, but name dropping the House all but confirmed it.

"You’ve already proven to be an excellent assassin, the way you ignored your previous bonds. You could do without all the exposure and drama, but it did contribute to your objective of exposing your cute little siblings' plight." ‘Mother’ praises. She taps her finger on her pouting mouth, "We’ll need to train the Fontainian out of you. Impeccable spywork and information gathering as well, from what we were able to observe."

"Her Imperial Majesty, the Tsaritsa, welcomes the guilty, the exiled, the forgotten, the depraved: all of those serving under Her banner are forgiven by Her will." ‘Mother’ curtsied, but her eyes never strayed from him. "Would you join our Family? We can take you far from here. Let us take you and your little siblings away from this accursed place."

"Miss Système? Is this supposed to happen? I thought I was supposed to go to jail?"

"Er. Um. Well. QUEST LOG! The Final Objective only states you must be declared guilty for your crimes, be exiled from Fontaine, and serve penance for your crimes. You still need to be in charge of the Fortress of Meropide administration in the next stage." Miss Système adds the last note frantically.

"I just picked out the name Wriothesley and I’m not too keen on opening up baby books to change it again," Wriothesley jokes, mouth dry, "I trust the justice system will give me a fair trial."

‘Mother’ waves him off, "Not to worry, many of your future siblings are lawyers. Those vicious little things can help me help you. Not to mention, we can never have enough assets standing by in the Fortress. I simply desire the information you have on Il Paese dei Balocchi. They went to ground after you did such a wonderful job taking care of the most visible figureheads. They’ve stolen away so many of your potential siblings. I’d hate to ask you of anything else for such a simple favor."

This reminds him of another sickeningly sweet voice.

"All we ask is for you to help take care of your siblings, and you can’t even do that right. Only good boys get adopted. Oh no, don’t cry. I should be the one crying when you act like this. I raised you to be a good boy, not one that makes his mother cry."

Urgh, he thought he had long forgotten this push and pull, molding his emotions like putty. Turns out body-snatching a teenage version of yourself mucked everything up and turned your insecurities inside out. Sometimes he wonders if the reason they kept him around so long is because he’s the only one who didn’t complain about babysitting.

The Fatui has the resources and the drive to completely crush their "competitor" Il Paese dei Balocchi, but Fatui will also take the organization’s "supply chains" and "inventory" as their own and fill the void. Even if he did only share hideouts with the SSSP, there was undoubtedly a Fatui mole within two degrees of it. The only way the Fatui gets nothing is for him to say nothing. He can watch a cold war between the two factions through newspapers and obituaries as innocents die for pride and territory while he’s stuck in jail. Il Paese dei Balocchi might already be a rogue Fatui front for "civilian" facing spies or a generator of lab rats for Il Dottore.

The Fatui are also incentivized to leave a fighting fragment of Il Paese dei Balocchi remaining to increase the "supply" borne from conflict.

Lynette and Lyney joined in the future Knave’s time. The rot originating from Il Paese dei Balocchi is likely the evil still lingering during their backstory. They were soldiers, yes, but they also made a family with Freminet. Father loved Lynette more than life itself. Freminet was beloved by them all. Lyney’s love was to avenge his Father, his family.

That was during Father’s reign. Right now, the Matriarch puppets them around. "Listen", ‘Mother’ croons. "Greetings Il Dottore, I have a present for you," and she reaches into her children, the apple of her eyes, and presents a still-beating core on a whim.

Wasting Wrioriginal’s sacrifice goes against everything he stands for. The accelerated timeline and hush-hush about his case might be to avoid tipping off the rest of the smugglers, but it’s already too late for that. At the same time, goodwill of the people of Fontaine and Mora is useless when he’s cut off in Meropide. He needs favors, agency, protection, recognition…family. Is this what Wrioriginal fell for?

"I’m sorry." Wriothesley says, "I cannot with good conscience provide you with the evidence I’ve collected at this time. If it is still useful to you after my trial in a week, I would be happy to provide it."

‘Mother’ tilts her head at him like she’s not used to being told no.

"Oh, you’re honorable."Her matronly mask splits open into a slasher smile. "Pity. It’s such an exploitable trait." ‘Mother’ lunges forward with a thin blade coated in a blue light.

Wriothesley grips the handcuffs like brass knuckles, flicks and twists. Chains wrap around the sword and he dodges, kicking her to the side and disarming her in one smooth motion.

"The Fatui are always so efficient. If you clean House, I won’t have anything to justify my sob story and win the hearts of the people." He bluffs hard, "What can I say, I’ve got my heart set on a throne with silver walls and an underwater view."

They’re at a stalemate. Wriothesley has her sword. By "honorable" conventions she just dismissed, he won. However, they both know that the Knave could easily overpower him. The handcuffs trick managed to catch the Harbinger off-guard once, but he doubts he can repeat it now that she’s expecting it.

‘Mother’ cackles on the ground where she fell. A few strands of her braid come loose with her shaking, "You. I like you."

"You’ll end up as one of his then," She stands up and tucks her flyaways back. "No matter, I expect great things from that grand experiment beneath the waves. Perhaps one day your nation within a nation will form an alliance with my future King."

She struts out, still smiling.

The sword remains in his chokehold.

This whole situation has him in a chokehold.

He’s not sleeping tonight, is he?


Scene 4: Le Garçon Qui Criait Au Loup

Dawn peaks through the window, and only then does Wriothesley end his vigil. He clasps the handcuffs back to the same setting to prevent anyone suspecting he picked them open. The disarmed sword goes into his Inventory.

"Crucabena’s Backsword"

Weapon Type: Sword
Quality ?★
Series: Fatui ???
How to Obtain: Obtain a victory over Crucabena
Base ATK: ???
Secondary Stat: ???
Weapon Refinement: ?
Passive: ???
"A one-handed backsword favored by the Knave [Crucabena]. It has a long, straight edge and a false tip to allow for stabbing. The hilt is elegant with a hooked crossguard and a fig-shaped pommel."
Mother knows best.

"Good morning User Wriothesley! On your schedule today is to meet with the Vice Captain Grizzetti and Monsieur Donatello. The Special Security and Surveillance Patrol is very interested in what you have to say.

"....Good Morning Miss Système," Wriothesely mumbles.

"Oh thank Focalors, you finally responded. I was really getting worried there. You’ve been out of it for a bit."

"A Harbinger threatening my life over turf wars is a perfectly reasonable excuse for a panic attack. You should try it sometime."

"Oh, uh, I’ll take your word for it."

"Why is there so much missing from the item description anyhow?"

"Why, you know almost nothing about swords."

Wriothesley sighs, "D&D nights means I can describe pretty swords and that’s about it. Figures."

"You’ll need to get it appraised by a blacksmith if you want to know about hidden passives, or you can try it out in battle.✨"

"This backsword is a backhanded white elephant gift. I can’t get a blacksmith to check it out right now. It’ll be like holding a sign saying, ‘I robbed a Harbinger, please come kill me for dishonoring the Tsaritsa’ or ‘I have Fatui connections, please hate my guts’."

Miss Système hums. "You must be careful with your image before the trial. Playing with it will need to wait until after you’ve been sentenced."

Speaking of his image, the little black binder is just as valuable as expected. He doubts not every organization will be as easily amused as the Fatui. Backups are required in case something happens to him or, Focalors forbid, the SSSP "loses" his evidence.

"Miss Système, do you have any sort of paperwork management software? Or even a spreadsheet? It’s be nice to have notes on this for the SSSP without needing to give up the entire thing."

"The Copying Function is available with a subscription to Hydro-Pneumousia Ink! You can Pay as You Go with 1SP for 100 copies or pay 5 SP per month for unlimited free copies."

Wriothesley asks, "Aren’t we supposed to be saving SP points for the Bad End?"

"Hmph. Do you think paper grows on trees? Well, ah, yes it technically does, but your poor Système has to keep it stocked." Miss Système tosses her hair(?). He can’t see it, but the sass is there.

"I’ll stick with the Pay as You Go for now. There’s only 30 things in here." Selecting the map and the name list, he thinks about making two copies.

"The Paste Function–,"

Wriothesley swears.

"I’m kidding, I’m kidding, ehe. It’s all inclusive."

The files he wanted appear as perfect replicas of his binder. 100 pages gives 3 sets of paper in exchange for his 1SP: one for SSSP, one for a Fatui, one for the Melusines that live down the lane. It’s time for this black sheep to pull the wool away from the people’s eyes. Baa Baa Muddle-Fudgers


Most of the morning is spent dozing in general, much to the bemusem*nt of the carousel of nurses making rounds in the hospital. One offers him a blend of citrusy Bulle tea to wake up, which he gladly accepts 3 cups of before they cut him off. Shame, that.

All that’s left to do before his appointment is brood. The hospital to jail pipeline is too well coordinated. Someone wants him put away fast and forever. They want him somewhere he can’t disrupt their operations further, but they can’t kill him without drawing more attention to themselves. They want his trial to be quiet and nameless. Wrioriginal made himself too visible with a bright red target of blood. They want the people to ignore the boy who cried wolf and label him a psychopath so they can keep picking off the flock. Too bad the little boy brought back a pelt.

He needs the people to be aware that the justice system is only as infallible as the herding dogs of the military who enforce it.

Wrioriginal murdered Henri and Marie. It was contradictorily impulsive, ill-thought, yet premeditated nonetheless. These two were the one of many legal faces of the Il Paese dei Balocchi, but in the grand scheme of things, they aren’t the only thing wrong with the system. Why was Fatui snapping up all the orphans? Why was Wrioriginal an abandoned baby when people in Fontaine had to wish for children? Why is Fontaine so overpopulated that some live in the sewers?

Without the "foster parents", the system will work for a time. It’s like the headless chicken fed with an eyedropper. It needs micromanaging, needs protection and constant cleaning, and looks ugly, but it’s still a chicken. However, if infection sets in, there’s a direct line to the heart. At that point, buy a new chicken. Look at this pretty new chicken that lays golden eggs. Ignore the pecking parties and blood on the beak. No one wants to talk about a dead headless chicken with a broken neck.

Instead, Wriorignal made a Drama. A patricide like the Enkanomiyan Tragedies of old. Well-wishes for "Wriothesley" does nothing for his case. He needs shock and he needs horror, for people to gossip, to debate, to hate everything he stands for and then some. If they are talking about him, then they are also talking about why, about the evils of Il Paese dei Balocchi. Do they consider him an evil demon to be sealed away or a darling Angel of Death? Who gives a sh*t. He needs to make the situation so taboo that no noble would dare link their names to the organization for the next ten years and outrageous enough that common people dare sneak glances between their fingers while pretending to cover their eyes. Even those that made deals with the Fatui consider themselves gentleman criminals above association with such barbaric organizations. After all, even the lowest ranked Harbinger has a GDP higher than one of Inazuma’s islands.

Most importantly, he needs enough attention on the case that the other foster kids get support. Disappearing into the system or straight into Fatui clutches is not an option. He needs the Palais Mermonia to feel guilty about his sentence that they overcompensate in their vigilance. If his opposition wants a scapegoat, he will pin all the targets on himself and minimize collateral damage on innocents.

After they can find no more connections, their last channel of life support was pulled away, Wriothesley can hide in the shallows (hah!) like a circling shark until he has the political power to silence them completely. People as a collective are fickle things and forget easily.

In short, he needs to polarize the nation with the power of social media. Or afternoon tea parties. Same difference. Most mekas run on pneumousia already and Fontaine is a nation of lying-by-omission to yourself.


He’s not dumb enough to explain his world-domination plan with the Gardes, but he does share a copy of his files. Eventually. After this unskippable cutscene, mayhaps.

"So. You murdered two people," the Vice Captain Grizzetti lectures, "You screwed up. You know what you did was wrong. The question is, how are you going to make things right?"

Wow, did he really get hit by a Captain America PSA straight out of the gate? That’s actually hilarious. It would be terribly inappropriate to laugh, and he nearly does, but thankfully the grey rock mentality he developed from facing threatening foster parents and commanders alike saves him.

Monsieur Donatello nods after each of the Vice Captain’s statements, then turns to face Wriothesley, "From experience, the Fortress is a terrible place. If you give us more information about what happened that night, I can try my best to get you a lighter sentence."

It looks like they plan on running Good Cop, Bad Cop. It’s an empty offer anyhow, given that the sentence is a combination of the standards set by the Maison Ordalie, Maison Monsieur Neuvillette, and whatever blackbox is in the Oratrice Mecanique d'Analyse Cardinale.

Wriothesley asks, "What is the Fortress of Meropide like, Monsieur Donatello?"

"Horrible place. I lost 10 kilos and not in a good way. " Monsieur Donatello looks haunted. "The debt broke my family apart."

"I thought the Fortress of Meropide didn’t use Mora?" asks Wriothesley.

"I might not have needed it, but my kid still needed to eat. My wife moved to Fleuve Cendre because she couldn’t afford to live anywhere else with our savings and pseudo-pension the Gardes were able to scrounge up." Monsieur Donatello rubs his temples. "My wife got very sick from the bad air and my daughter had to start working at a store. She lost all her friends."

"That’s awful," Wriothesley breathes.

"I decided I was above the law and my family paid the price. It was one secret that completely changed the scope of the case," Monsieur Donatello’s voice cracks. He slumps forward, hands on his knees. He croaks out, "My Chevreuse wants to grow up just like me, but with the way she thinks about justice, I’m terrified that she might end up down there too."

"I was only released a month ago, and now I’m on probation." Monsieur Donatello frowns. "Actually, do I know you? You’re about the same age as my daughter and your file said you lived down there for a while."

Oh, he might be talking about Wrioriginal. He makes an assumption based on what the Melusine nurse told him, "I did odd jobs for Granny Bracari on occasion."

"Same as my daughter then," Monsieur Donatello says thoughtfully.

Woah, pull back. Wriothesley stammers, "Fleuve Cendre is a large place. I slept in the pipes far from the main encampment. I didn’t feel safe where there were eyes."

Monsieur Donatello doesn’t press any further.

Wriothesley clears his throat. "Vice Captain Grizzetti, may I inquire on how I may hire an attorney?"

"We actually wanted to talk to you about that. When your case was first shared internally, we had a number of interested parties starting bidding wars just to talk to you." Grizzetti frowns, "This morning, nearly all dropped out of the running and the rest followed suit."

"Not to worry, many of your future siblings are lawyers. Those vicious little things can help me help you."

Oh so that’s how ‘Mother’ is going to play it. Of those that remain, they may either sabotage his case maliciously or through incompetence.

The only lawyers he remembers from canon are Kuki Shinobu and Yanfei. Kuki is still in the middle of her Shrine Maiden montage. Yanfei is an adeptus, but it was never clear exactly how old she was. Then again, the Traveler was able to represent Lyney without a law degree.

"Am I able to represent myself?" Wriothesley petitions, "Or possibly ask one of you?"

Vice Captain Grizzetti shakes his head, "Sorry kiddo, we’ll be a part of the witness stand to provide a statement. As the defendant, you’ll be assigned someone from the Maison Gestion if you can’t find one yourself."

Figures. At least most of those working in the Maison Gestion are unlikely to be Fatui plants due to the sheer amount of paperwork they cross-reference and convoluted rules about bribes and requisitions.

Time for the moment of truth. "In that case, I completely understand if you refuse my request, but I think this is the reason I’m a political landmine at the moment."

Wriothesley pulls out one of his photocopies of the little black binder, and hands it to Monsieur Donatello. What? Snubbing the Vice Captain is just a bonus, Monsieur Donatello earned it.

"This is…," the Monsieur Donatello gapes, "...This makes so much more sense. Grizzetti, the files we found behind the wall, I told you it wasn’t a coincidence! It’s a conspiracy."

Red strings and thumbtacks fill Monsieur Donatello’s mind as his sharp mind pecks away at connections to the case. Their reactions confirm it; someone has been trying to cover up the case and nearly succeeded.

"I cannot ask you to leak this to the press to support me, not after what you just went through." Wriothesley looks at them both and pleads, "It’s already too late for me. My siblings need help, and every moment we spend on me is another for Il Paese dei Balocchi to sink their claws even deeper."



Next Chapter is the Trial, and oh boy it’s going to be a doozy. It might even take two chapters with the intermission. I’ll give you three hints:

Caspar the Friendly Ghost.
Hamilton "You’ll be back"

I’m certain I’m on a List now. I only looked up things within Wikipedia or law school sites in Incognito Mode. Someone from the French External Security checked my actual LinkedIn, which is hilarious and scary when I’m applying for jobs and my degree is very unrelated. There goes my chances of a stable government pension. Dude must be scarred after looking at my internet history. Clearly my INFOSEC is lacking. I need a VPN or something.

Trivia and References:

AU Wriothesley’s Name and Backstory

[1] OG Wriothesley is based on his beta design. It’s gorgeously red, goth, and makes model riggers cry. Traditionally Pantalone is "characterized by the use of red for almost the entire costume." In most works, Thomas Wriothesley is portrayed as the Knave. Wriothesley and Jing Yuan share their JP Voice Actor, so yes, it was a stealth pun.
[2] Wolfdietrich is a German epic tied to the Ortnit. His namesake marries Sigeminne and fights dragons and politicians. Please do not the Melusine. Punching busybodies though…"Diétrich" in german means ruler of the people, lockpick, keeper of the keys, or skeleton key, fitting for our handcuff-wielding guard dog. More About Wriothesley: III states standard handcuffs have a skeleton key. All except for his pair of course. IT’S ALL COMING TOGETHER YOU CANNOT SILENCE ME MORT–
[3] The Wriothesley family was an English noble family. It was originally written as Wryth, before being changed to "Wriothesley." Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, sponsored William Shakespeare. I call him Mr. Ri, like "mystery". Plus, "Henry" means ruler of the home, fitting for our Duke. It’s actually of German origin (or Mondstadt). Wriothesley often wonders if he is actually Fontainian. According to his Character Story 4, Wriothesley chose a new name for himself as he disliked the name he had before. He saw himself reborn.
Now, Thomas Wriothesley was a piece of work. Man lived through the reign of King Henry VIII and we all know how SIX went. They say he was governing everything in England in 1542 after a string of betrayals and alliances. Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl was his son and married Mary. They too had a son named Henry. Yay for intergenerational trauma?
[4] Echidna and Typhon were the parents of Cerberus. I chose Écochard because it was similar to Echidna. It might mean "master plan." I wasn’t able to find the exact entomology, but clochard means vagrant and pétochard means cowardly in French. You don’t know how close I was to giving them the last name Gavroche. This was a coincidence, but there was a French Freedom Fighter with a similar name.
[5] Il Paese dei Balocchi (Pleasure Island) is the circus-carnival island where Pinocchio and the other naughty children were brought to be turned into donkeys before being swallowed by a whale. No plot points here, no sirree (I say, lying through my teeth).
[6] I think it’s important to note the time stamp this fic was published, the subject matter of murder of parents in self-defense, and recent court-cases. I cannot compare the two very messed up situations, especially with new evidence. Please be respectful of other people’s autonomy.
[7] The empty land was inspired by the giant, Mondstadt-sized 4.6 Fontaine expansion with only 3 chests and 30 mora rocks.

Military Background

[8] I know Wriothesley is British/French coded. I’m more familiar with the Americanisms of Genshin fandom, pop culture, and the military. I have him down as a CWO-2, where the average age is 27-35. His code is 7210. 7 refers to warrant officers, 721x refers to boatswain 721x (submarine), and the fourth digit 0 is standard enlisted.
The EN VA stated he based Wriothesley’s character on Warrant Officers in an AMA on Reddit. Wriothesley is definitely the kind of person who would browse Reddit at work.
Pogey bait is a bribe for fast paperwork. There are jokes about the marines eating crayons, and honestly, they probably look pretty good if you’ve been stuck in a sardine can for a year.
[9] If I was to to assign him a French military-sona, He would be Matériel or Equipment in charge of maintenance and logistics. I thought this was fitting as Wriothesley works more on the administrator side. There are three support bases of "soutien du Matériel (BSMAT)" Look at those gears on the crest. Mwah!
Neuvy-Pailloux is a French commune where the "12e base de soutien du matériel" is located. Yes I chose it specifically because it sounds like the Chief Justice. Service de la maintenance industrielle terrestre (SMITer) has a heavy civilian presence. There is also a branch office of groupement de soutien de la base de défense de Bourges - Avord (GSBdD BGA) They do a lot of Administration, arranging catering and events, professional development counseling.

Check out the 2024 Hoyofair. "NuitRouge'' is a band with Childe, Wriothesley, and Arlecchinno. Wriothesely is described as a special weapon’s officer that raps. He had a screencap on a Sports Motorcycle. Hoyofair’s AU went with a Special Weapons Officer. The closest equivalent I could find was Operation Specialists (Commandement des Opérations Spéciales). The French Navy (FORFUSCO) is in charge of protecting key underwater sites, you know, like Meropide. The headquarters has been in Lorient since 1856. There is a Submarine base in Île Longue. The specific detachment is the Fusiliers marins Sailor Riflemen. "Gunners" are CWO 2-5 Special Weapons Officers.
[10] The USS Flying Fish (SSN-673) first launched in 1969 and was decommissioned in 1996. Humor me, all the current US submarines on Wikipedia have boring designations. I just thought it was funny because of the Wingalet. It provided security during the first Space Shuttle launch in 1981. Notably, the Narwhal (SCB 245) shares many features with these Sturgeon Class Submarines, but is quieter and has a different water intake system. I should write a Genshin-Kanti crossover.
[11] Military hazing (similar to engineering hazing) is when you send the rookies to find random stuff that doesn’t exist. Water Slugs are when the torpedo chamber is filled with water instead of a projectile. It’s just water; they don’t store it on-board.
[12] There wasn’t any real reason behind the choice of User 05. Part of it was the descenders, partly because it was inspired by EooS, and partly because Wriothesley has 5 NA, 50% HP buff status, and 5 stacks of his base kit buffs.


[13] Bracari is Navia’s old nanny and taught her a bit of marksmanship. Riqueti is an NPC that used to work with Special Security and Surveillance Patrol. You can find him by the Steambird. Ismenor is a former Champion Duelist that occasionally has weekly reputation quests. Chatelet is a member of the Maison Gestion. She is an old coworker of Arouet.
Crucabena is the previous Mother. Baby Alrecchino and Clervie are still living happily. For now.

French Laws, Language, and Culture

[14] Service National d’Accueil Téléphonique de l’Enfance Maltraitée (SNATEM) is a subset of France Child Protective Service. It is a work in progress.
[15] French law, L'article 21-13-1 is about who can apply for citizenship.
French law, specifically L'article 122-8 du code pénal prévoit, allows for criminal and educational charges for children 13-18. Our 13 year old Wriothesley is just over the cut. Man should have lied for the Kids Eat Free pancakes. As of 2002, children 8-13 can only have educational punishments. Juveniles charged with first-degree murder go to the supreme court. The sentence can be up to half that of an adult sentence (except in certain circ*mstances) and the maximum sentence for adult first-degree murder is 30 years. Thus, a sentence of about 10-15 years for Wriothesley is possible. The timeline says he spent almost half his life in Meropide before becoming Duke, and Callas was able to talk shop with the Duke. Callas died about 3 years before the game’s events. I see Wriothesley in his early 30s when the Fontaine Quest begins. During the bad timeline, fabricated evidence by the bribed Gardes lead to the maximum sentence. OG felt too guilty to dispute it and was threatened with silence by the Fatui.
[16] Name changes is frustrating in France. If you get married, you only have the right to use your spouse’s name until divorce. It was only in 2022 that the courts ruled to streamline it.
[17]Can you tell I play ToT? I’m an Artem Wing stan so you know Neuvillette is very dear to me.
[18] Méchant du Système d'Auto-Sauvetage is Google Translate French for System Self-Rescue Villain. Sauvegarde Automatique du Système de Règle, means automatic backup of the rules system. However, taken individually, Règle can mean ruler/royalty/sovereign. A bit on the nose, but I like how it loosely fits the beat pattern of Oratrice Mecanique d'Analyse Cardinale.
[19] These are some funky act titles. Armistice Day is an international holiday observed on November 11. It commemorates the end of World War I. It was signed in Picardy, France. I just needed a date about a week before November 23. It’s 11:11, make a wish.

Harbinger Lyney Theory

[20]L’Île des esclaves is a comedy by the French playwright Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux. It was first presented in 1725 at the Hôtel de Bourgogne (A different crack theory is Pierro is the one writing all the Harbinger’s scripts like Elio, but we won’t get into that now). I was able to skim it by running the script through Google Translate.
It features two pairs of people, master and slave: Iphicrate & Arlequinare and Euphrosine & Cléanthis. They were shipwrecked on an island after everyone else drowned. Trivelin is the island’s governor and forces them to swap roles: slaves become masters and masters become slaves. It is only when the former slave Arlequin (Arlecchino) takes pity on Euphrosine (an Antenian noblewomen) crying from humiliation, that they finally swap back roles. Trivelin announces that only because Arlequin and Cléanthis pardoned their masters that they were not punished.
The master-servant role swap reminds me of Furina’s Character Demo - "Furina: All the World's a Stage" | Genshin Impact where Tartaglia was chased by Melusines, Neuvillette was captured by the Gardes, and Lyney was stuck in the Water Trap. The drowning and shipwreck has parallels to the drowning of Poisson (and the rest of Fontaine as well). Euphrosine crying mirrors Furina on her lonely throne. Nevillette, the dragon Sovereign turned servant, pardons Fontaine, then regains his former glory. I’m nicknaming Neuvillette "Cléanthis" because he is a Power Washing Scrub Daddy to Tartaglia’s Ajax, Clorinde’s Clorox, Lyney’s Lysol, Wriothesely‘s Wet Wipe, Lynette’s Fe(line)breeze, and Freminet’s Tide Pod.
We might search for "Euphrosine" and find an opera by French composer Étienne Nicolas Méhul where the titular character fakes her death to find love. Now what really brings this theory together is that Euphrosine is very similar to "Euphrosyne", a Greek Goddess. Euphrosyne is one of the Charities, goddesses of good cheer, joy and mirth. She is usually depicted dancing with her sisters, like how Furina danced onstage. According to Hesiod, she is daughter of Zeus and Eurynomê, an Oceanid. If you consider Eurynomê’s name etymology, "nem" is a greek infinitive meaning distribute, and "nome" can either be associated with "wander" or "ruler". A "ruler is someone who "distributes" law and justice."
Now, why do I bring up that Lyney is a Harbinger Candidate, or at least a shoo-in for the next "Father"? Trivelino "Tatterdemalion" or as I like to call him, "Mad Hatterdemalion", is a variation of the Harlequin like Arlecchino. The costume’s triangular patches were replaced with moons, stars, circles and triangles. Fitting, considering Lyney and Lynette’s face paint. Lyney has a teardrop on his face, diamonds on his coat, and stars embossed on his hat. Lynette also has diamonds on her mantle and the purple star mouche.
There’s a minor connection with Trivelin’s little role swap because Lyney performed the Box Swap Trick with Lynette by changing her clothes. Lyney’s Character Story 3 mentions Arlecchino manages Hotel Bouffes d'ete (suspiciously similar to Hôtel de Bourgogne). The siblings performed a Founding Day theater performance there where Arlecchino came out of the box. Thus, I think Trivelino is Trivelyney’s most likely pseudonym.
I chose the Mad Hatter because Fontaine has a Wonderland Theme in background quests. We have the Tsaritsa of Hearts, or perhaps just Furina and the "Knave of Hearth" trying to steal the Queen’s Tart’s (gnosis or Tart-aglia). Lynette is the tea-loving March Hare, Lyney is the ever-smiling and vanishing Cheshire Cat, and Alice and Wonderland was published by Penguin Classics for Pers. Otherwise, the sleepy Dormouse reminds me of Freminet, which completes the tea-time cohort of the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the Mallymkun. Alternatively, the trio are just the Playing Cards or a set of Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Cater is the shape changing Caterpillar and Charlotte is a stretch for the White Rabbit dragging us into new situations or her camera for the sequel, Through the Looking-Glass. Ayaka’s story quest is called "The Whispers of the Crane and the White Rabbit" and she has the Springbloom Missive Skin to introduce us to Fontaine. The Melusine are like the Dodo who see the world’s logic very differently and use strange words. Neuvillette is the judge. He can be either the King of Hearts forgiving the Queen of Heart’s execution orders, Bill is the lizard juror, or the Frog-Footman of the duch*ess. The Duke Wriothesley can either be the Ugly duch*ess with a baby pig that treats Alice rudely then very nicely, or he can be the 2010 Bayard the Bloodhound. Navia is the pepper-loving Cook that instead of hiding evidence, presented it to court. I’m not sure why, but Chevreuse gives me Humpty-Dumpty vibes as she is the Captain of the Special Security and Surveillance Patrol, or all the king’s men.
[21] From Shakespeare's plays, villains would often enter stage left, the devil side, and exit stage right. Heroes enter stage right, exit stage left (like reading). Watch Childe’s trial cutscene. I want you to note that Childe says, "Isn't it time for side characters like me to exit stage left?" He sees himself as a hero in this narrative, the innocent wronged. However I also want you to notice during the courthouse cutscene, Childe is constantly traveling from left to right when fighting mechs. Traveler + Furina watch the scene from the right. Neuvillette rushes down to fight Childe and exits the camera from right to left.

Wolfdietrich in Purgatory - Chapter 1 - Jovial_Viola - 原神 (2024)
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