Please register or login to continue

Register Login

The Sword Of The Samurai
The Sword Of The Samurai

The Sword Of The Samurai

Franc68Lorient Montaner

I was in Tokyo, Japan, with the honourable prefect of Paris, Hugo Bonheur, assisting in the training of the local police, when I was informed about an unsettling series of murders that were occurring in the city for over the span of a week. We were asked to lead the investigation. Bonheur had taken time to join me in Tokyo, and I was certain that we could solve the mystery of these inexplicable murders. My name is Jack Cauvain, a chief inspector from London. Bonheur, at first, was a bit reluctant and dubious to accept, but he would eventually acquiesce, after I had reminded him of his Parisian prowess that exuded his talents as a sleuth. It was the year 1903, and Japan was emerging from its prolonged centuries of isolation from the west, but old costumes were hard to die, especially those that were associated to the nefarious actions of secret societies and the legendary samurais.

It was a time to seek and establish new relations, in particular, between the countries of Japan and England. The first Anglo-Japanese Alliance was signed in London, by Lord Landsowne the British foreign secretary and Hayashi Tadasu, the Japanese minster in London. Tokyo was a bustling city, known for its large industries and banking conglomerates, with innovative architectural buildings, and streets that were full of bicycles, trams and rickshaws. It was evident that western influence had begun to transform the city as well as the country, but there were those that had opposed a western alliance and had wanted to retain the traditional way of life. I was wearing my bowler hat and Bonheur his familiar kepi hat. The victims were either Westerners or from Asia. Some were international businessmen living in the country, or they were affiliated to the politics of the emperor. The latest was a gentleman, whose name was Isamu Ito, and he was closely aligned with the emperor. A certain sergeant Minato Hiyashi, who was fluent in English had begun to apprise us of the details of the murders, and he would be assisting us.

'Sergeant Hiyashi, you state that the murders had a singular pattern and the victims were committed by a sword? Is that not the case?' I asked.

'Yes, that is true, but it was no ordinary sword inspector', he spoke with his accent.

'What are you saying?' Bonheur interjected.

'It was a katana sword!' Sergeant Hiyashi replied.

Bonheur, who was not that informed about Japanese culture did not know, 'What is so special of this sword?'

'Everything, as I suspect Bonheur', I responded.

'You mean, you know what this sword is?'

'I have heard about it. Sergeant Hiyashi, where is the deceased body at presently?'

'In the mortuary inspector!'

'Can you take us there?'

'Of course!'

'What do you expect that we will find in the mortuary?' Bonheur was intrigued.

'Evidence Bonheur!'

We were immediately taken to the mortuary that was located near the area of the city, where the universities and hospitals were situated. There we were able to effectively examined the dead body of the businessman, after discussing the reports with the local pathologist, a Dr Yamamoto. From my studious examination and observation, there was sufficient evidence to agree that the victim was killed by a powerful sword, as previously stated by the sergeant. The only lingering doubt that had remained was who was the actual murderer? The throat was severely slashed and nearly torn apart, from the rest of the torso. It was a macabre scene to have to witness in person, but I had seen countless episodes of these scenes before, during the years of my profession.

'There is no doubt in me that a katana sword, possessing a sharp, curved, singled-edged blade with a circular guard was behind this murder?'

'You are convinced of that inspector?' Bonheur enquired.

'Naturally, I am no expert, but I trust the opinion of Sergeant Hiyashi. Would you not agree sergeant on that observation?'

'Indeed I would agree inspector!'

'If this sword that you call a katana, is strong and made of steel, then why did it not cut the head of the victim?' Bonheur's curiosity had compelled him to ask.

'We are not certain, if the sword was made from low carbon, because a steel sword can become too dull or too brittle in time. Indeed, it would allow for a more effective slicing action, because of its curvature,' I responded.

'Then why were the other heads sliced off?' Bonheur insisted.

'That is an excellent question. I would believe that either the murderer did not have enough time to slice the head off of this victim, or he had merely changed his sword'.

'Does that even seem credible, inspector?'

'What we can categorically prove so far, is that the killer has an objective. And until that objective is accomplished, then he will continue to murder, Bonheur'.

'And what is that objective?'

'If I am not mistaken Sergeant Hiyashi, you believe that these murders are not the act of the involvement of one man. Is that not true?' I asked him.

'Yes that is true inspector.'

'Am I to assume from reading the newspapers that your country is dealing with if I may be so candid with my words, illicit activities from secret societies and other insidious affiliations?'

'That is true inspector! This is why we have requested your presence and your expertise'.

'Do you have any idea who could be behind these murders? Or a name of a secret society?'

'Forgive me inspector, but I am not a liberty to reveal the name just yet'.

'Pardon---why do you not reveal the name?' Bonheur interrupted.

'Let the man speak Bonheur!' I reprimanded him.

'We have a direct order from the emperor to not incriminate this secret society, until it is time to make that revelation to the public'.

'I respect that order sergeant, but you do realise that the murders will continue, and we will continue to be at a clear disadvantage in the investigation?'

'This I know inspector!'

Keeping a secret about a known secret society was not what I expecting from the Japanese, but I had realised afterwards that I was in a foreign country that had another protocol established. Bonheur was not content with the tactics of the local police. He made it absolutely clear to me that it was risky to continue with our involvement, because we would be in extreme danger, and we would not even know, who we were confronting. I had told Bonheur that his objection was duly expressed, but it was not the first time that we would have to unmask a secret society with limited clues. From the facts that were gleaned, we knew that we were dealing, with a murderer that was utilising the same modus operandi and weapon, which was a lethal samurai sword. There was no doubt in me that the application of the method of execution was intended to be swift and accurate.

That afternoon in the hotel that we were staying, I had pondered in my head the sword and was intrigued to know more about it, but it would have to wait, until I could gain more genuine facts that were reliable. We would have to be satisfied for the nonce, with the few clues that we were able to surmise or deduce. Our task would be challenging indeed. Sergeant Hiyashi had escorted us to the hotel. Whilst we were there, he would receive a call informing him, about a forced entrance by an intruder into the Imperial Palace of the Emperor Meiji. Fortunately, the emperor was away from the city, but the fact that someone with audacity would dare to defy the symbol of the emperor was disturbing for the local police. For Bonheur and me, it was an impressive demonstration of the capability of the secret society that we intimated was certainly involved with the forced entrance.

When we arrived at the Imperial Palace, we had discovered that the intruder had left no clue whatsoever behind as an indication of his presence, except for the fact that he had killed the guard who was patrolling the entrance into the palace. That was not shocking in its nature. What was shocking was that he had entered, through the secret passage of the palace, where only the emperor and a few loyal men of his trust had direct access to the emperor's chamber. This was something that proved that the emperor had a parlous foe amongst his faithful circle of people. There was either a miscalculation by the intruder thinking the emperor would be present, or it was nothing more than an intrusion with the intended purpose of seeing, if the secret passage would be discovered. I was under the impression that the criminal knew that the emperor was away on a private matter.

'I can't believe that they would have the audacity to break into the Imperial Palace, but I underestimated their abilities', Bonheur would utter.

'It is never a good thing to underestimate the criminal Bonheur, but I too am a bit stunned by this occurrence', I responded.

Sergeant Hiyashi was silent and very contemplative, judging from his overt expressions.

'And why are you so quiet Sergeant Hiyashi? Have you nothing to say?'

'All I know prefect, is that if we do not apprehend the criminals, the emperor will not be happy'.

'That is an understatement sergeant. What we need to concentrate is where do we actually find this secret society? If you are not willing to divulge us their name, you can at least begin my telling us, where to find them'.

'I believe you are a man of confidence Inspector Cauvain. I shall take you to them. But you must know that neither the killer nor the members of this clandestine association will not be easy to find or prosecute'.

'The killer is never easy to apprehend sergeant. What we must realise is that we should never allow the killer to outwit us, for if we do, then we are defeated'.

'What do you suppose will happen next inspector?' Bonheur asked.

'That I would like for Sergeant Hiyashi to answer', I replied.

'We should search for the criminal'.

'Where do we begin that search sergeant?'

'I believe I can escort you to where we could possibly find some clues'.

'Where?' Bonheur had interjected.

'At the local brothels, where this secret society operates under the auspices of the night'.

'I should have thought of that before sergeant. A good place to start'.

'What do you expect we will find there, inspector?' Bonheur's curiosity had incremented.

'Certainly, what all brothers have, prostitutes!'

We were taken to one in particular that was known for the secret societies' interactions, but the sergeant had told us that it was better for him to enter and for us to wait outside. He did not want any unwanted suspicion or drawn attention to us, because we were foreigners. Naturally, we had agreed and understood his principal concern. Whilst we waited, Sergeant Hiyashi was occupied with questioning the prostitutes for any pertinent information they could divulge to him. As to be expected, none were bold enough to make any reliable disclosure, but there was one clue that Sergeant Hiyashi was able to ascertain and that was that a foreigner who appeared to be European was seen doing business, with the secret society. The name of that individual was Philip Bower, an Englishman. The reason for his participation was unclear and uncertain.

What was obvious to me was the reluctance that the prostitutes had in relating any significant information, about the secret society we were pursuing. I don't know how exactly the sergeant was able to obtain the trust of this particular prostitute that had given him the name of this Englishman. Was it a deliberate ploy to deceive us and disrupt our investigation or was this genuinely a clue that we could utilise to our advantage? I was not keen on questioning the tactics of other men of the law. Bonheur was somewhat concerned about the actions of the sergeant. To him, he was adamant in insisting that we compel the sergeant to disclose the name of the secret society that was behind the murders. I was more preoccupied at the time with having access to more credible evidence. I was not one to solely depend on the work of others to achieve my objective. Whether or not Mr Bower was involved, it would remain a mystery.

A few days would elapse, before the next murder would occur. As with the previous murders, the victim was a foreigner. Instead of an Englishman, the victim was a Chinese politician who unfortunately was in Tokyo at the time of the murder. His head had been sliced off from the torso. There was no confusion or doubt, about the grisly method of execution. A samurai sword was concluded to be the weapon of choice. It was beginning to appear patently clear to me that the killer was very experienced in the martial arts of handling a sword. He was precise with his single cut. It was utterly appalling to witness such a macabre sight. I had seen vicious murders committed in my profession. However, to see the disseveration of the head in this case was disturbing. The newspapers were calling him, the 'samurai killer'. To us, he was more of a calculated murderer, but one that eventually would make a tremendous mistake in the end. Bonheur was puzzled with the brutality of the homicide.

'We are dealing with a devil in disguise inspector. How can any sane man commit such a barbarous act of depravity?'

'It is easy Bonheur. We are not dealing with any ordinary man. We are dealing with a hired assassin. One that knows what he is doing and is committed to his cause as I suspect', I answered.

'I am afraid that I had seen several of these types of men in Paris before. The question that I have, how are we going to apprehend him, if have no ideal what organisation he belongs to?'

'We know at least that his targets are mostly prominent and affluent foreigners. That is sufficient to be a lead that we could investigate further'.

'But that is small consolation inspector!' Bonheur uttered.

'Indeed!'

'What do you have to say about these murders Sergeant Hiyashi? I am interested to know your opinion on the matter'.

The sergeant gave his remark then paused, 'I think that we are closer to the murderer than before'.

'Really, in what way? I would like to know', Bonheur was anxious to know.

'I believe that once we have discovered the place where he is hiding out, then we will capture him. That I do not doubt!'

'That seems like easier said than done, sergeant', I responded.

'What I fail to understand Messieurs is frankly how are we supposed to prevent the next murder?'

'We don't!' I said.

'What do you mean by that?' Bonheur retorted.

'I would like to know that also inspector!' Sergeant Hiyashi interjected.

'Allow me to explain gentlemen. The killer knows that we are searching for him and that we are involved in this case. I am certain that he knows about our tactics implemented and the fact of his selection of victims. The thing that we must do is to be patient enough to catch him in his game of perversion'.

'Game of perversion inspector?' Sergeant Hiyashi enquired.

'Forgive me sergeant. I shall clarify by saying that he will be compelled to search for us'.

'Search for us? What are you implying?' Bonheur had a bemused expression on his face.

'I mean that with this forced entrance into the Imperial Palace, there will be not only more vigilance by the police, but this will cause any opulent foreigner who is a businessman or politician to perhaps leave the city. What I shall say next is not an unsolicited remark. I am certain that sergeant can avow for me, when I say that it is unwelcomed publicity to Tokyo'.

'You are correct inspector!'

We left the area of the crime scene and headed back to our hotel, where Bonheur and I were contemplating the plausibility of solving the case, with so little evidence presented. He was not keen on the idea that we would be able to trust the local police, because of their incompetence to deal with the illicit acts of secret societies that were embedded in Japanese culture and politics. I was convinced that the only credible recourse at our disposal was to investigate the brothels on our own, but Bonheur was not that receptive to the suggestion. There was too much danger and risk for us, and we did not speak the local language of Japanese. This would be a great challenge for us and one that would inspire our maximum abilities. Thus, we decided to not visit the brothels. When we thought that we were going in circles with our investigation, we would be visited by a strange young woman, who was dressed as a geisha.

We would hear a light knock on the door, and when we looked through the peep hole, we saw that there was indeed a Geisha that was standing outside of the door in the solitary corridor, wearing a long black kimono, with traditional hairstyle, and oshiroi makeup that had distinctively exuded her red lipstick, and the black makeup that was around her eyes and eyebrows. Bonheur was hesitant to open the door, and I had instructed him to enquire what the geisha wanted. At first, there was no response, until she had uttered in perfect English her name and reason for coming. She said her name was Himari and that she had valuable information to tell us, about the secret society that we were investigating. I was uncertain of what to expect, because we had not any brave witnesses that could reveal to us this secret society. I told Bonheur to allow to enter the room.

'You said that you had come to inform us about the secret society that we are searching for?'

'Yes inspector!'

'What can you tell us then about them? To begin with, who are they?' I asked.

'They are called the Genyosha Society inspector'.

'What can you tell us about them?'

'They are extremely ruthless and dangerous. I suggest that you leave Tokyo, while you can. They will be coming for the both of you. They know that you are both involved'.

'And how do you know that? Why should we believe you?' Bonheur interrupted.

'I know that prefect, because I once worked for them'.

'You once worked for them? Why did you leave them?'

'I left them inspector, because I had discovered their interactions with one of the loyal members of the cabinet of the emperor'.

'Mon Dieu, then the forced entrance into the Imperial Palace was the consequence of one man's treachery or betrayal?' Bonheur pronounced.

'Yes prefect. That is the case', she replied.

'What more can you tell us young lady, about their actions and reputation?'

'The Genyosha Society was founded by a wealthy ex-samurai and mine owner, with mining interests in Manchuria, by the name of Toyama Mitsuru. It wanted to return to the old feudal Japanese order, with special privileges for the samurai class. They participated in uprisings in Kyushu but were suppressed in the Satsuma Rebellion in 1877. They then became a political force in Japan. They worked clandestinely, under brothels to meet and gather information, for their blackmail or subversions. They would effectuate sabotage. They are believed to be the masterminds in the assassination of Queen Min of Korea in 1895. Their influence expands on to Korea and China.

'I was lead to believe that the samurais were outlawed and their privileges status was dissolved after the 1870's, by the emperor'.

'That is true, but they still have remained a force to be reckoned, inspector'.

'If what you are informing us young lady is true, then this would imply that this traitor of the emperor is very much involved with this organisation of former samurais. Do you know that name of this individual?'

It was then that another knock on the door was heard coming directly from the corridor outside. Bonheur had looked to see who was knocking, and this time it was the sergeant. Immediately, I told the geisha to hide in the terrace, whilst we spoke to the sergeant. When he entered the room, he had informed us that the emperor wanted to see us in person. The emperor was hiding in a surreptitious location that only a few of his most trusted circle of subjects would know, where to locate him. I was not surprised by the intentions of the emperor, but what concerned me was the lack of evidence and unwillingness of the sergeant to confide in us the name of the secret society that we had been told by the geisha. In my mind I had pondered, who was I to not only believe, but to trust as well. The sequence of events that would follow, would be crucial in solving the case.

We had agreed to meet the emperor, but Bonheur did not think it was a good idea. He had an intuitive sense like I that there was something unusual about this encounter, and he did not trust Sergeant Hiyashi. We would be escorted to the secret hiding place of the emperor by the sergeant. He would return within an hour to take us there. In the meantime, we would escort the geisha out of the room and hotel. She would give us the address, where she could be located. Back at the room we had contemplated the name of the Genyosha Society. Bonheur was baffled by the evidence that we were provided, and he had expressed to me that perhaps it was a trap that was expecting us, at the meeting with the emperor. He too was not that confident about the intentions of the geisha. I had shared Bonheur's concern.

When it was time to meet the emperor in person, Sergeant Hiyashi had returned to the hotel and proceeded to take us to the place where the emperor was staying. We would pass through several streets, such as Kichijoji Sun Road, Jingu-dori Street, Inokashira-dori Street, Koen-dori Street, Sugamo Jizo-dori Street and the Chuo-dori Street, where there were jewelers' shops, restaurants and caf├ęs on that last street. We had then headed towards the direction of a clandestine place, where there was a large, towering temple. It was there inside the temple, where we were supposed to meet the emperor, at last. I would never imagine myself meeting the emperor inside a lone Buddhist temple or confronting a peril that would increase by the hour.

As we had entered the temple, there was no one to be seen within the proximity of our distance. We stared at the impressive interior of the temple with its architectural wonders, but there was no sign of the emperor. Sergeant Hiyashi had told us to remain in our position, and that he would inform the emperor of our presence. I was becoming suspicious about the encounter, and Bonheur ever so bold in his palpable expressions would tell me that there was something portentous awaiting us. Indeed, what would occur was a set up and one that was prepared for our death. As we began to head backwards, towards the front entrance of the temple, Sergeant Hiyashi would return without the emperor. He had a lethiferous surprise for us.

'What is going on here Sergeant Hiyashi?' I asked him.

'It is regrettable that you gentlemen must meet your death today. If it is of any consolation, it was not planned this way. You were both supposed to have simply died at a later time, but we could not afford to let you both live'.

'What is the meaning of this sergeant?' Bonheur interjected.

'It is simple prefect. We cannot afford for the both of you to interrupt our plans'.

'What plans are talking about?' Bonheur emoted.

'I believe that what the sergeant is alluding to, is the Genyosha Societies' plan. Since when have you been a member Sergeant Hiyashi?'

'For a decade inspector'.

'Are you even a policeman?' I asked him.

'I am at times!'

'I thought so!'

'Then who are you?' Bonheur uttered.

'Who I am does not matter prefect. What matters now, is that you both will meet your death here'.

He then instructed two masked men in disguise, who were Ninjas to murder us, as he left the temple through the rear entrance. Before he left, he had made us throw on to the ground our pistols. The Ninjas had pulled out their Ninjato swords that had straight blades ready to kill us within an instance, but Bonheur had secretly had a small Colt M 1903 gun that he had concealed effectively and was able to thwart the advance of the Ninjas and our immediate death. He shot them, as they had lunged at us with their sharp swords. It was the closest in many years that I had come face to face with my death and had felt helpless without the protection of my weapon. We were relieved to had survived, but we had known then that Sergeant Hiyashi was somehow involved in the Genyosha Society and crimes. It was a close call indeed.

We had decided to remain hidden for the moment, sensing that if we had returned to the hotel, the sergeant would be informed that we were alive and not dead as planned. At first, we had thought it prudent to stay low. Bonheur had suggested that we find a cheap hotel, where we could be incognito. The geisha had entered my possibilities of options, and I had informed Bonheur that we could visit the address that the geisha had given us and seek her assistance. I had to convince him and make him realise that at the time, it was our only viable option. This time, we would be much more cautious with our actions and discreet with our contacts. We no longer could count on Sergeant Hiyashi, as we did before. He was then considered a foe and one that was directly working with the Genyosha Society.

We still had the murderer of the foreigners to deal with, but we headed towards the area of the lodging, where the geisha had indicated to find her. We located her at the Shinjuku Golden Gai area, where they were large placards everywhere, along with the trams and waggons, infested with people on the street. The geishas were commonly known, as saburuki. They would entertain with their skills in dancing, singing, tea ceremonies and calligraphy. They would mostly partake in parties known as ozashiki, for wealthy clientele. We were able to find Himari and speak to her in privacy, after she had finished with a client. She was willing to cooperate and speak to us, about the Kenyosha Society. We did not mention to her, about the incident at the temple with Sergeant Hiyashi and the Ninjas. I could not afford to jeopardise the investigation, in case; she too was involved with the Kenyosa Society.

'I want to thank you first for speaking to us under these terms, but as you are aware, we are still investigating the murders'.

'There is no need to thank me inspector. I am just as much in danger, as you are. That is why, I am leaving the city and returning to my native Okinawa as soon as I can'.

'When will you be leaving?'

'Tonight'.

'Where do you think in this city we could find the man, who is behind their operations? The mastermind. Do you know his name?'

'His name is Jiro Akiyama. He is a powerful businessman inspector. As for the question, where to find him. He is a very secret man, but he has come to visit me here before. I dare say that he comes weekly'.

'I know I am in no position to ask you a favour, but could you help us trap him?'

She was reluctant at first, before she had agreed, 'If you can guarantee me my safety'.

'I shall. Bonheur and myself, will be near, observing the encounter'.

'I must tell you inspector that even if you capture him, he will be difficult to be imprisoned. His influence is immense in Tokyo'.

'I had already expected that and planned for it. I shall need your help'.

'What do you plan on doing?' She asked me.

'I plan on speaking to the emperor directly, but I need you as my voice, an interpreter'.

'I don't where to find him'.

'Leave it to me to handle that situation, but if I can speak to him, will you assist us?'

'Yes!'

'Do you really believe that you can speak to the emperor?' Bonheur enquired with doubt.

'If it is a matter of life and death, then yes!' I responded.

It was agreed that Himari would stay on to assist in the case, and she was the only witness that we had that could link the murders to the Genyosha Society. I knew that her testimony alone would not be sufficient, due to her questionable profession. Thus, it was necessary to find more pertinent clues that could incriminate the secret society. I had contemplated returning to the same brothel that Sergeant Hiyashi had taken us before during the night, but Bonheur was against that idea. We had been in disguise, ever since the incident at the temple. To be more convincing, I had suggested to Bonheur that we would only be watching from a distance with our binoculars. He would concede to our pressing need to go to the brothel, even if it meant our possible exposure.

Once there, we had positioned ourselves, from one of the locations of a nearby building that was connected to the brothel, expecting to see if we could identify any familiar faces that we could detect. Naturally, we had no names to attach to the possible group of suspects. Hitherto, we had only the name of a Mr Ajiro Akiyama. Fortunately, for us, we were given a photograph of him by the geisha Himari. It was considered in our part an unlikely gamble. We were hoping to find Mr Akiyama there, and by mere coincidence, he had entered the brothel. Bonheur could not believe our luck, and I immediately observed his entrance. It was in the late afternoon, when I was able to observe him through the lens of my binoculars. The brothel was also a place of notorious gambling activities that had attracted not only locals, but as well foreigners.

After an hour had transpired, I had seen Mr. Akiyama exit the brothel and leave in carriage afterwards. The plot had thickened, with the mystery of the Genyosha Society. There were three individuals of concern that we had considered reliable suspects in the case. One was the murderer with the samurai sword; the second was Sergeant Hiyashi, and lastly, Mr Akiyama the supposed mastermind behind the murders. Much to our disappointment, none had been captured yet. I knew that the most difficult to arrest would be Mr Akiyama, who was an influential man in the country. However, I was fully determined to make certain that he pay for his participation in the infamous crimes. We had come so far from Europe, to return empty handed in our task.

Bonheur had wanted to follow him, but I had dissuaded him. I had told him that we could not afford to be seen or discovered. After making that realisation, Bonheur had understood the argument I was conveying. We knew that the brothel was a place where Mr Akiyama would visit, and we knew that he had visited Himari, the geisha as well. He was a man that had travelled from one place to another, as in a defiant manner to the local police. Gradually, I had the impression that there was corruption within the local police and that some of their members were linked to the Genyosha Society in some capacity. Himari had managed to find us a room within another hotel. What we did not know at the time of our absence was that the hotel that we were staying at was ransacked by members of the Genyosha Society. Apparently, they had found our last location. This meant that they knew we were alive. At the new hotel, Bonheur could not help but pace back and forth in our room. He was nervous about the fact that they were aware of our survival.

'Good God, if you don't stop with that pacing around, then you will make me bloody anxious Bonheur'.

'What are we going to do next inspector? Now that they know we are not dead!'

'Try to survive Bonheur. If it will allay your anxiety and immediate curiosity, then let me tell you exactly what we are going to do'.

'I am listening!'

'We shall remain here watchful of course, until tomorrow, when we shall expect to see Mr. Akiyama once more'.

'And what will we do then? We can't arrest him, with the little evidence that we have', Bonheur enquired.

'I don't expect to arrest him. What I expect is that he is the mastermind'.

'And what do you expect to accomplish by that?'

'If my assumption is correct, everything!'

'Please explain inspector'.

'If we could find the murderer, perhaps we could find importance evidence afterwards'.

'Such as?'

'Such as evidence that incriminates him. But I have a plan that I have devised', I uttered.

'A plan? What is the plan?'

'We shall make the killer believe that you are a prominent French businessmen'.

'How do you plan on achieving that?'

'That is where I shall require your participation'.

'I don't like the contemplating expression on your face. What do you want me to do?' Bonheur asked with curiosity.

'Judging from his vicims, if I am not mistaken, you are the right selection for his collection of heads'.

'Mon Dieu, are you serious? I don't plan on having my head sliced off like the others!'

'I don't expect you too'.

'How do you expect the killer to be fooled by this daring idea of yours that does not convince me? Do you know the risk we are taking?'

'I am fully aware of that, but you must trust me. I know what I am doing'.

'That is easier said than done', Bonheur pronounced.

'Have I ever disappointed you with a case?' I replied.

'Not at the moment!'

'Then my dear friend. Don't begin now to not have faith in me'.

Bonheur would sleep with one eye open, and the other closed that night, and the following morning we had awakened with the anticipation of what was to occur. I admit that I did not sleep much neither, but the urgency to solve this case was pending. It was the first time since numerous occasions of my investigations that the evidence that I had retrieved was not as much, as I had expected. The implication from that realisation was that I was counting on my intuitive sense more than the mere evidence that was presented in the case. I was always emerged in the analytical approach of my means of indagation, and logic was a contributing factor in my analysis deduced. There was so much that was in jeopardy, not only the safety of the emperor, but the scandal that could be revealed in the political realm of the country and abroad.

As we had waited in the hotel, Bonheur once more began to pace nervously. I had sensed his preoccupation and attempted to distract him with the sundry details of the case. We had discussed at length, the circumstances and sequence of events that had ensued, since the first murder was perpetrated. Usually, we would depend on the assistance of the local police, as was the case previously. However, after the betrayal by Sergeant Hiyashi, we had felt that we could not confide our innermost thoughts and ideas with them, risking our whereabouts and the progress of the investigation. It was evidently clear that the only person that we could somewhat confide in was a local geisha that we had met, whose loyalty to us was still unproven. This was little consolation to Bonheur, but he had understood the precarious nature of the situation that was unfolding by the day. If there was one man that I trusted with my life, it was him.

We had remained dressed in incognito, as foreign businessmen. My ultimate plan was to lure the murdering swordsman to an isolated place, where we could at least be seen in public. There was a moat that was lined with plentiful rows of pulchritudinous cherry blossom trees, nigh a river bank. This would be the ideal place that we would choose, for our planned encounter with the killer. It was not a guarantee that the killer would present himself or dare to murder us. Nevertheless, it was the only viable option that we had to attract his attention, in such an open space where we were vulnerable to his lethal sword and machination. There would be no one to assist us, and we were on our own. I would be hiding behind a thick tree, hoping to detain the swordsmen.

Approximately, within an hour of waiting, a lone individual dressed in normal attire would be seen heading towards the vicinity. At first, we could not distinguish much about his general features, because he was wearing dark spectacles to cover his eyes. But I did notice that he was adjusting something inside his coat that had appeared to be an object of considerable size. Was it a sword I asked? The stranger then began to approach Bonheur. My forehead began to sweat as well as Bonheur's did. Was it the killer? The man walked casually, as if there was no urgency in him. He uttered not one word, and swiftly pulled out from his coat a large blade that was a menacing katana. We knew then, it was the murderer. Sensing what was about to occur, I immediately shot the man, wounding him in the chest, as he fell into the river nearby dead.

We had finally neutralised the assassin that was committing the brutal crimes, but there was still the mastermind who was behind the crimes to apprehend. I knew that the assassin was only a willing participant to the crimes of the Genyosha Society. Even though it would not be facile to trap Mr Akiyama, we knew that we had to expose him for whom he was behind his public persona. That afternoon, we had our golden opportunity. We had visited Himari at the geisha lodging that was called an Okiya. There she along with other geishas would entertain their invited guests, including the infamous Mr Akiyama. Bonheur was not certain if we could implicate him at all, without much substantial evidence. He had a good point. We had no credible witnesses, except the geisha. Thus, I had proposed to you something that was even more daring in nature and conviction.

'I have an idea that perhaps will lead to Mr Akiyama's downfall'.

'And what is that idea inspector?'

'We shall set up a meeting with the emperor'.

'How, do you suppose to achieve that, if you do not know where he is at?' Bonheur was bemused.

'We shall present ourselves at the lodging, as foreign businessmen, who are going to meet the emperor in person'.

'But how do you expect to achieve that?'

'Simple Bonheur, by posing as interesting men of business affairs, we shall inadvertently say, as we are conversing that we shall meet up with him tomorrow in the afternoon'.

'Do you expect him to believe us? That would be ignorant of us to do so'.

'Optimism Bonheur! We must be optimists'.

'How can we, when danger is facing us at every direction?'

'It is like catching a mouse with a trap. We shall provide a supposed location and a credible reason to meet the emperor. A little hearsay does tend to arrest the attention of the criminals'.

'You mean offer a bait to entice him?'

'Indeed!'

'It might just work, if we are convincing enough inspector'.

'We shall soon find out Bonheur'.

When we finally arrived that late afternoon, Himari was awaiting us and we had informed her about our devised plan. Mr Akiyama had already arrived and was occupied with one of the other geishas. We had instructed Himari to pretend to be an informant. It was a terrible risk for her to partake in our plan, because if caught, she would most likely be murdered. She was valiant enough to do what we had requested of her, with no complaints. It was not uncommon for geishas to have learnt secrets in their privacy with their clients. We for our part had acted as if we were distinguishable businessmen, with lofty aspirations of investing in Japan. This had attracted the attention of Mr Akiyama, who upon hearing from Himari that we were going to meet with the emperor, it had given him reason enough to ask for more details. Our secret meeting with the emperor was supposed to be in the following morning.

There was a tense moment, when it almost seemed that he had recognised us beneath our disguises, he would be distracted by the natural beauty of Himari that he would pay us little attention in the end. It was now set that we would attempt to deceive Mr Akiyama. All our effort and time on the case had depended on the expected success of this surreptitious meeting, with the emperor that we had fabricated. I had never felt so compelled to utilise this form of duplicity, but due to the serious nature and circumstances we were confronting, it was the only recourse we could have effectuated that was considered feasible. There was one piece of good news, and that was that Himari had overheard in a conversation with a diplomat of the emperor's circle of trusted men, where exactly the emperor was staying. A letter would be sent to his hidden address, informing him about my secret meeting with Mr Akiyama. We had left the geisha lodging and Himari too. Before we departed, I had told her to leave the city at once, until further notice. I did not want her to lose her life, after her valuable assistance in the case.

We had returned to our last hotel, with the knowledge that we needed, and with the sober realisation that if we could not trap Mr Akiyama and prove his involvement, then we would have to start from scratch. Bonheur was more pessimistic, and he did believe that if we failed with the plan that we would never be able to resolve the case in its entirety. While we had already discovered the murderer who was the swordsman, we still had nothing concrete to link Mr Akiyama to the murders and the illicit activities of the Genyosha Society. This was the main reason why it was imperative to lure him, into the trap that would catch him in his participation. Bonheur was troubled in his ponderous thoughts, doubting every minute passed, the effectiveness of our plan, but I told him that it was not the time to be uncertain of our actions.

We were extremely alert and conscious about the dangers that were around us in Tokyo. Inside the hotel, we had removed our disguises and had begun to discuss the manner in which we would approach the delicate situation. We had a plan, still we needed to be precise and calculative with its implementation. We knew that Mr Akiyama frequently would visit the brothels and geisha lodgings of the city, and that he was an influential man. Nevertheless, this did not deter us from achieving our objective. I was resolute to apprehend him at whatever cost that was permitted, and I was prepared to outwit him with my ingenuity and experience. Bonheur was thinking about the crooked Sergeant Hiyashi and his involvement in the case. I had not forgotten about him. We could not afford to allow him to disconcert our intentions.

'What are we going to do with Sergeant Hiyashi, inspector?'

'There is not much that we can do Bonheur, for the moment'.

'You know that he must know that we are alive and still in the city'.

'Indeed I know, but it is my intuitive sense that we shall not have to look far for him'.

'What are trying to tell me inspector?' Bonheur enquired.

'It is my logic that is telling me that he will come looking for us, instead of us looking for him', I responded.

'And if he does, then what?'

'Then we shall confront him'.

'Arrest him?'

'That or kill him! Although I must admit I do not fancy the eventual thought of another death, even if it is Sargent Hiyashi's death'.

'Do you truly believe that the emperor will have received the letter and believe what we are trying to prove with our case?'

'That is a good question Bonheur'.

'Do you have an answer?'

'Of course! Trust me, he will receive the letter'.

During that night, I had written a correspondence to the British ambassador of Japan, informing him of the treacherous activities and clandestine actions of the Genyosha Society that had concluded in unlawful crimes. I had been told that he had just returned from England. I had informed him that we had managed to kill the executioner of the foreign businessmen and diplomats, but we were closing in on resolving the case and arresting the principal leader of this secret society. I did not go into specific details about our plan, because I was conscious about the possibility of the letter being intercepted. I was taking a chance that the letter would reach the ambassador, without any delay. It was significant that if we were to be killed that he had the essential evidence that we had, concerning the Genyosha Society.

When the morning had arrived, we were ready to execute our plan with conviction. The preparations would be intact, and the only thing that was missing, was the actual episode that was the meeting with Mr Akiyama in person. Once more, we had disguised ourselves in our clothing and our professions. We had taken into consideration all the required measures of precaution and intellect. This meeting was intended to be our last meaningful attempt to solve the case. When we headed to the place, where we were to have our unique encounter with Mr Akiyama, we had contemplated the possibility of him not appearing at all. We had arrived at the designated place which was an old theatre that was located in the traditional area known as Asakusa. After several minutes of waiting, a man who had resembled Mr Akiyama was approaching. He came alone.

I thought it was queer that he would come unaccompanied, but we were prepared for any unexpected occurrences. We had our pistols in our waistcoats, in case if necessary. At the time of the encounter, there were few pedestrians in the streets passing. Bonheur was wary about being led, into a perilous trap that Mr. Akiyama had planned for us. I could not dismiss that horrible possibility. After all, we knew practically little about him or his intentions. He was a reverential man of imposition, despite his average stature. We had known that his family had belonged to the distinguishable lineage of ancient samurais that once ruled the country in the past. He was not a man to underestimate. He presented himself and greeted us, with a firm shake. He had then explained the reason why he was interested in speaking to us in perfect English, despite his noticeable accent.

'Gentlemen, I was told by an important businessman of the area that you two were interested in investing in my country?

'That is correct!' I replied.

'And you were planning on speaking to the emperor?'

'Yes, that is also correct! But may I ask you, the name of your businessman'.

'That is not important Inspector Cauvain. We meet at last! You do not know, how long I have waited for this meeting'.

'I believe that you have mistaken me for another individual'.

It was then that Sergeant Hiyashi had emerged from behind the theatre with a gun pointed at us, 'We meet again inspector!'

He had ordered us to enter the theatre. Inside, it had seemed, we were at the mercy of his gun.

'I know that the emperor is not here, but it does not matter, for I shall have the opportunity to murder him afterwards'.

'You shall be eventually apprehended Mr. Akiyama. You shall not get away with the murders or your crimes'.

'And who will prevent us? You are in no condition to do anything inspector'.

It was then that five local policemen had emerged from their concealment, with their guns at hand ready to arrest both Mr Akiyama and Sergeant Hiyashi. They were listening attentively to our conversation.

'I believe if you look behind you, you shall have your answer'.

The policemen had been told about the encounter that we had planned with Mr Akiyama. Immediately, they had arrested Sergeant Hiyashi, but Mr Akiyama was able to flee through another exit of the theatre. He would not get that far, before the police had cornered him in a street. Instead of giving up to them, he chose to take his own life. He had committed the ultimate act of the samurai, known as harakiri. Himari and the British Ambassador had accompanied the police to the theatre. There was another individual that had arrived as well. It was the emperor himself in person. He had come to thank us for our determination in solving the case, and riding the country of the criminals that were terrorising Tokyo. We were given distinguished medals for our deeds by him. Before we left the city, I had thanked Himari, for her important participation in the investigation. Because of her, we were able to discover the darkest secrets of the Genyosha Society.

Recommend Write a ReviewReport

Share Tweet Pin Reddit
About The Author
Franc68
Lorient Montaner
About This Story
Audience
All
Posted
4 Mar, 2024
Words
8,486
Read Time
42 mins
Rating
No reviews yet
Views
109

Please login or register to report this story.

More Stories

Please login or register to review this story.