When they arrived to St. Stephens they parted company. Emma wanted to go to her dorm room to clean herself up. Likewise, Harvey was walking to his room. He wanted to get out of his wet clothes and take a hot shower to wash away the fatigue and soothe the pain that racked his body. He climbed the stairs to the first floor landing and as he was walking down the corridor he could see that the door to his room was ajar but there was no light coming from under the door.
It was a bit strange because Briggs and he had the habit to close the door when they were out. It was almost half past ten at night and all the other doors along the corridor were shut. Harvey had the eerie sensation that something wasn’t right. He felt his phone start to vibrate in his pocket when he was about half way down the corridor to his room. It was Emma. He stopped to answer it.
“Hey Harvey, back at your room yet?” she asked.
Harvey heard anxiety in Emma’s voice.
“I’m just about to step in. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine, Skye’s with me. He told me that he saw a strange man near the fence at the far end of the football pitch when he was out running this evening. The man was dressed in a track suit and had on a green ball cap like he was out for a run but something about him struck Skye as odd.”
Normally, Harvey would have winced on hearing Emma mention Skye but he was distracted by his door being ajar and still wondering why it wasn’t shut. He only half paid attention to what Emma was saying.
“Hold on for a second Emma.”
He stuck his mobile phone back into his pocket with Emma still on the line and then went and slowly opened the door to his room. The curtains were tightly drawn and the only light entering the room was from the dimly lit corridor. He paused and stood in the doorway but still couldn’t see Briggs in the room. He stepped into the room and turned the light switch on. That was when things took a turn for the worse.
Emma was staring at her mobile phone. At first she had tried saying Harvey’s name over and over but there was no response. She knew something was wrong. She couldn’t hear anything on the phone but the line was still open, Harvey simply hadn’t returned to the call. She switched off her phone and knew what she had to do. She had already told Skye about the fight they had with the Japanese thugs earlier in the evening. She was glad that Skye was with her.
“I think Harvey’s in trouble. Let’s go outside and have a look at his room. Maybe we can see if anything is wrong.”
“Why don’t we just walk over to his room and see for ourselves instead of looking from outside?” Skye asked.
“These guys are dangerous. If they have guns, they won’t hesitate to use them. I think if we show up at his room we could put ourselves in danger. Let’s try and discretely observe what is happening, that way we’ll still have the advantage of surprise.”
“That makes sense. Okay lets go.”
Emma went outside with Skye and they positioned themselves in an alcove that gave a good view of the entrance to the dormitory. They could see that the light was on in Harvey and Briggs’ room but the curtains were drawn and they couldn’t see any movement near the window.
“I’m going to try calling Harvey again.”
Emma’s call to Harvey went directly to his voice mail.
“No luck, let’s stay here for a while and watch the room.”
Harvey had given her very clear instructions during the taxi ride back to school. She just needed to know if she had to act upon them. A sick feeling started to grow in her stomach as they waited and the rain continued to fall.
When Harvey had turned on the lights, two things happened instantly. A strong hand came from behind him and clamped down on his mouth like a vice and the door to his room was shut behind him. Harvey didn’t struggle as he took in the sight of his room. It was in complete disarray, someone had obviously turned it upside down searching for something.
There was a strange shape sitting on the chair by the desk. It was either someone or something but Harvey couldn’t tell because it was covered in a bed sheet. A man stepped out from behind the door of the wardrobe and pointed a gun at Harvey. Harvey didn’t recognise him but he was dressed similar to the two goons who had jumped Emma and him back in Central. The man behind him with the steel vice grip over his mouth spoke in a soft voice that Harvey recognised but couldn’t exactly place.
“Mr. Ashton, we meet again. I caution you to not make a noise after I release my hand from your mouth. My friend over there is an excellent shot and his Beretta is fitted with a silencer.”
Cold fear sank into Harvey’s spine as he suddenly realised who it was holding him. The man released Harvey and stepped in front of him. It was Sato. The livid scar running down his cheek caught the light making him look more sinister and deadlier than last time.
“When we first met you had something I wanted. You didn’t want to give it up but I still got it.” A thin cruel smile formed on Sato’s face as he continued to speak. “But I don’t think that was the last time we met, was it?” Sato paused to let his words sink in before continuing. “I believe the last time was in Kyoto at the teahouse but I was unable to properly greet you then, being incapacitated as I was by those lovely and charming geisha. I guess you thought the drug would render me unconscious but I am very strong and the drug merely paralysed me but I was still coherent and I did see you and your Japanese friend. And let’s not forget on the ski slopes but that was more of a failed attempt at meeting.”
Sato fixed his gaze on Harvey, looking directly into his eyes. “I have to admit Mr. Ashton, you have proven to be quite elusive and, if I may say so, resourceful.”
Harvey continued to remain silent.
“I keep underestimating you, Harvey. You don’t mind if I call you Harvey, do you? It seems fitting now that we’ve gotten to know each other.” Sato flashed a grotesque smile before continuing, “Anyway, I expected you to arrive in the company of two of my men but I can see that you were able to escape them or perhaps get the better of them?” Sato arched his eyebrow and paused for a moment as he let this question hang in the air before continuing. “Although, looking at the shape of you, it looks like they got in a few hits as well.”
Harvey found his voice.
“I don’t think your men will be joining you anytime soon.”
Sato’s mouth formed a sly smile. He didn’t want to waste any more time and was prepared to go to extremes to get what he wanted. He had an idea how he could get the boy to talk.
“That’s the spirit Harvey, a real fighter like your dad.”
Harvey could feel his anger rising to the surface. “What do you know about my dad?”
“Probably a lot that you would like to hear, but I have more pressing concerns at the moment. Where is the ring?”
“I don’t have it.”
With lightning quick reflexes Sato tore at the collar of Harvey’s shirt as if expecting to find something there. “Where is it?” Sato hissed between his teeth.
“Like I said, I don’t have it.”
Sato smacked Harvey hard across the face with the back of his hand. Harvey let out an audible gasp from the painful strike and was instantly reminded how sore his face felt. Blood started to drip from a cut on his lip.
“Don’t worry Harvey, we’ll get your tongue to talk. I may even tell you something about your parents if you make this easy for me. But first I need to know where the ring is.”
Sato addressed his henchman with the gun. “Kenichi, It’s time for us to reveal what is under the sheet.”
Kenichi, while still pointing the gun at Harvey, removed the sheet covering something on the chair. Harvey was horrified to see that Briggs was underneath with his mouth covered in packing tape and his hands tied with rope. His eyes were near to popping out of his head and there was an ugly red welt surrounding his left eye. He looked absolutely terrified. In the back of his mind, Harvey was wondering what the connection between Sato and his parents could be, and what Sato knew about their disappearance. But foremost on his mind was Briggs’ safety.
“So once again, Harvey, where is the ring? I caution you that my patience is wearing thin. This won’t go well for your friend if it wears out.”
“I’ll let you know where it is if you let my roommate go. He doesn’t know anything about this.”
Harvey’s response was met with another hard strike against his face from the back of Sato’s hand. He felt like screaming from the pain but kept his nerve. Alerting other students would only end in them getting hurt from this merciless psycho and would result in tragedy. The best thing was to get them away from the school as quick as possible to avert any innocent students getting involved.
“If you value your friend you will talk,” Sato hissed in a low snarl. Sato looked at his partner and gave a nod. Kenichi stuck the end of his gun under the chin of Briggs. “I caution you to not disappoint me with your next answer. Where is the ring?”
“I can take you to the ring” responded Harvey quickly. “It’s on Lantau Island near the Big Buddha.”
“How do I know you’re telling the truth?” Sato responded, his tone displaying distrust.
Harvey looked Sato in the eyes before replying and then gestured with his head at the painting on the wall. He spoke with a calm that surprised him. “Do you see that painting over there on the wall? Look at the date.”
Sato walked over to the picture and looked at the bottom. “It says AD, 1514.”
“Yeah, that’s right. The AD stands for Albrecht Durer. He was a brilliant mathematician who lived in the sixteenth century. The same century that Master Abe learned to perfect the forging of the katana fighting sword and craft his special rings.”
The mention of Master Abe and the rings instantly got the attention of Sato. He arched his eyebrows and nodded his head indicating for Harvey to continue.
“Durer was unique in that he crafted his art on wooden blocks and then mass produced them creating prints for sale. You are looking at one of his more famous pieces called ‘Melancholia’ and within the picture is a clue to the location of the ring.”
Sato continued to look at the picture but became irritated. “Don’t speak in riddles. Tell me where it is.”
“Look closely at the man in the picture. He looks like a scholarly angel with the tools for mathematics and architecture at his feet. He has learned great knowledge and created something perfect but looks down despondently. Why do you think he is looking so sad, Mr. Sato?”
Sato turned away from the picture that he had been studying intently and stared at Harvey. “I’m not sure I know but perhaps something is missing from his life.”
“Bingo!” replied Harvey. “He has a wealth of knowledge but lacks something crucial to know how and when to use it for the betterment of himself and others. He lacks wisdom.”
“It’s an interesting story you tell, Harvey, but what does any of it have to do with the ring?”
“It is important because that is where we are going, a place that can enlighten, the Wisdom Path on Lantau Island. Have you heard of it?”
“No, I haven’t but I’m listening. Go on.”
“The Wisdom Path is a set of thirty-four columns inscribed with a revered Buddhist scripture known as the Heart Sutra. The wooden columns are arranged on a hillside in a figure eight pattern, the symbol for infinity. Now I want to draw your attention back to Durer’s work of art.”
Harvey pointed to the prominent square with numbers in it that was part of the picture. “Notice the square with numbers arranged in what seems randomly. This is called a number-gram. Some even call it a magic square. It is not random, it is perfect. If you add any of the numbers up in a row or column or even diagonally you get the same number. Give it a try.”
Sato focused on the number-gram for a moment. “You’re right, each time I try they all add up to thirty-four.”A sudden look of amazement appeared on Sato’s face. “That’s the same number as the columns in the Wisdom Path you described.”
“Bingo again! You’re getting close. Now take another look at the numbers in the square. Do any of them look odd to you?” asked Harvey.
Sato quickly looked over the numbers again. “Yes, the number nine in the first column is backwards and looks more like a question mark than a number.”
“Good! You’re very observant. And that number indicates which column the ring is buried beneath. It’s under the base of the ninth column on the Wisdom Path. Shall we go?”
Sato was caught off guard by Harvey’s question and nonchalance. He didn’t respond right away. He blinked a few times looking at Harvey and then said in Japanese, “Kenichi, untie the gaijin. We are ready to go.”
Sato walked over to the door and spoke to Harvey in a low voice. “We will go now and I hope for the sake of you and your friend that you are telling the truth. Please don’t try to run or call out when we leave the school.” After a pause, Sato added with a smile. “That could be messy.”
Sato opened the door and the four of them made their way out of the building and into the wet night. The rain had started up again but the foursome didn’t bother using an umbrella. They just let the rain soak them down to the skin. The rain was so heavy that if someone were to look out their window they wouldn’t have been able to see Harvey, Briggs, Sato and his thug Kenichi, as they walked across the school grounds.
They soon arrived at the sports field and walked across the sodden grass. When they reached the other side, Harvey could see that the wire fence had been cut to create an opening. He was reminded of what Emma had said on the phone about some stranger being down by the field and wished he had been more cautious. The four soon were through the fence, they crossed the road and made their way down the slope through thick grass and over rocks to the edge of the water. There was a black zodiac boat waiting for them.
Emma was beginning to wonder how much longer they should stay in the alcove watching Harvey’s room. And then she saw them walk out of the dormitory. Harvey and Briggs came out with two men, one of whom she recognised instantly as Sato. She saw the other man with Sato was holding a gun.
Emma and Skye followed them at a safe distance being careful not to be seen. The heavy downpour provided them good cover from being noticed. They walked across the field and exited the school grounds through the hole in the fence. When they reached the top of the slope that went down to the sea, they saw them leave on a zodiac out into the open sea.
“Great, they have a boat. What are we going to do?” Skye said to Emma.
“I’m pretty sure I know where Harvey is taking them.”
“Really? How’s that possible?”
“On the way back in the taxi tonight, Harvey told me there was something he had secretly buried on Lantau Island at the Wisdom Path.”
“He hid something on Lantau, what is it?”
“It’s a very special ring, one that he wants to keep hidden. The only problem is, how are we going to get there?”
“I can get us there, no problem. We can probably even get there before those guys in the boat,” said Skye.
“How’s that?” asked Emma.
“I have my dad’s Maserati parked in the staff parking lot.”
“That’s for teachers, you’re not supposed to park there!” Emma said automatically. She immediately felt silly after saying it.
“I know. I was planning to meet a friend early tomorrow in town. But now we have wheels and can drive to Lantau.”
Emma smiled at Skye. “You are full of surprises and I’m glad you bend the rules. Let’s go, It’s a long drive so we need to make good time.”
With a burst of energy, Emma and Skye raced off to the parking lot not bothering about getting soaking wet in the rain. Within a few minutes, Skye was turning on his headlights and backing out of the parking space. Emma took out her phone.
“I need to make an important call.”
Skye looked at her and just kept driving.
At first, Harvey couldn’t see where they were going in the fast moving zodiac because of the heavy rain. But soon he could see the dark shape of a large sleek yacht. Harvey had spent his fair share of time on the sea in the past sailing with his parents but he had never seen anything like this mega yacht before. The silver yacht had dramatic curves which made it look like the starship that belonged to Queen Amidala in the Star Wars prequel movies. Harvey couldn’t help but admire the fine racing lines and dramatic edges. This was one sexy boat that looked like it could explode through the water like a missile.
As they approached the stern of the racing yacht, a panel at the back began to lift outwards towards them acting as a ramp and revealing a large hold at the back with a black car in it. A man dressed in white like a sea officer with epaulets on his shirt to signify he was the first mate was waiting for them in the hold and motioned for them to get out of the zodiac with a gun in his hand. Sato and Kenichi followed Harvey and Briggs out of the boat. The two men then lifted the zodiac onto the platform and stored it snugly beside the car.
Sato came over to Harvey and patted down his body. “I should have done this before but there was no time.”
Sato found Harvey’s phone and threw it into the sea.
The first mate with the gun motioned for Briggs and Harvey to follow him alongside the car into the hold and through a door at the back. As they walked, the back sea ramp began to lift up and close down over the hold, sealing the way from which they had come.
Harvey was surprised at the size of the room they entered. It was huge and very well appointed. He wondered how such a large room could possibly fit into the sleek racing yacht he had seen from the outside. The stately room was dimly lit with mood lighting placed strategically around it. They passed between two staircases that curved up to the deck above them like the dual stairs of a grand manor. The room itself was carpeted with a thick pile beige carpet. Before any of them were allowed to walk farther into the room they all had to take their shoes off, which instantly reminded Harvey of this Japanese custom he had experienced on his recent trip. Sato and the man he called Kenichi each used a towel to dry their wet bodies and then slipped deck shoes onto their bare feet. Harvey and Briggs were not offered a towel to dry themselves.
The two boys from St. Stephens were led barefoot over to a large brown leather couch that could easily fit four or five people. There was another couch exactly the same across from them that was empty. Some brown leather club chairs were angled inwards to the sitting area and two black low tables sat in front of each couch. One of the low tables had a samurai sword sitting on a stand, blade side up. The look of the cold steel blade gave Harvey a sense of foreboding and sent a shiver down his spine.
Classical music was playing at low volume over a sound system that obviously cost a lot of money. Although the volume was low the sound was crisp and clean. Sato said something to the ship’s first mate. The first mate then quickly turned and went up one of the curved stairways to the deck above. Sato then went and sat down on the couch across from them. Kenichi sat in one of the club chairs that was on their side of the room and let the gun in his hand rest in his lap. Briggs still had the packing tape over his mouth and was obviously uncomfortable. Harvey could hear his laboured breathing.
“Will you let me at least take the tape off his mouth so he can breathe better?” Harvey looked at Sato as he asked this.
Sato just stared across at Harvey for a few moments before a cruel smile played across his lips and he responded. “I don’t think so. I regret your friend has nothing to say that we want to hear.”
Sato didn’t say another word and they waited in silence filled only by the soft classical music filtering to their ears. Then suddenly the engines started up with a dull hum as the ship turned around. There was a lot of power in those engines which they began to feel as the throttle was slowly opened but the roar of the engines was dampened by the interior walls. They were making their way out to sea and towards Lantau Island, Harvey presumed.
A man appeared at the top of the stairs and began to walk down toward them. It was Hiro Yamaguchi. He was dressed in a fine navy blue suit.
Probably hand tailored from Savile Row judging from the quality of the cut, Harvey thought. This is a man who likes to appear grand and thinks rather highly of himself.
“Mr. Ashton!” Yamaguchi said in a booming voice that filled the room. Yamaguchi walked over and stood in front of Harvey. Harvey did not get up. “I have heard so much about you from my friend Mr. Sato and finally I get to meet you. I trust you are comfortable?”
“This is quite the mega yacht you have, Mr. Yamaguchi,” Harvey said in a relaxed voice that didn’t betray the knot of fear he felt for both himself and Briggs.
“You like it? It’s a Strandcraft 122 with a set of twin Rolls Royce engines capable of powering it up to 55 knots. Only five were ever made and I was happy to get my hands on one of them. And of course, you already know who I am, so we can dispense with the introductions.”
Yamaguchi turned and looked at Sato. “Now then, Mr. Sato where are your manners? You should offer our guest a drink.” Yamaguchi turned back to Harvey. “What would you like to drink Mr. Ashton?”
Harvey was surprised by both the civil offer of a drink but more by the crisp English of Yamaguchi. Clearly both he and Sato had lived and probably studied abroad.
“I’ll have a gin and tonic if it’s on offer.”
“Very good,” responded Yamaguchi and then he called out to someone in Japanese that Harvey couldn’t see and gave what appeared to be a few quick commands. He then went and sat beside Sato.
Shortly after, a man dressed in a simple black polo shirt and matching black cotton pants, who was probably in his mid to early twenties, came out with a tray of drinks. Harvey imagined him to be the ship’s steward. The man had been over towards the bow of the boat where Harvey imagined the boat’s galley was. The steward offered a rock glass with a wedge of lemon to Harvey and then went and poured two cups of sake for Sato and Yamaguchi.
Yamaguchi lifted his sake cup. “To your health, Mr. Ashton!”
Harvey just looked at both men and then took a long drink from his glass. The gin and tonic went down well and was a welcome relief from the pain and misery he had suffered over the last couple of hours. He felt a bit guilty about Briggs still having his mouth taped shut. He noticed that Briggs’ eyes had a wild expression as they roamed the room they were sitting in. Harvey tried not to think about Briggs, who was in obvious despair. He needed to focus his mind and gather all his wits if they had any hope of living through this ordeal. He also wanted to learn as much as he could about his parents disappearance from these two men.
Harvey had noticed earlier that Yamaguchi had a black ring on his finger. Harvey had noted it was a signet ring with a symbol he recognised from the game of mahjong. His mother had been a fan of the game and had learned to play when they arrived to Hong Kong. The symbol had a red line straight down through the centre of a red square, the symbol for middle, China or in the case of the mahjong playing tile, the red dragon. Harvey took another sip from his drink as he thought about the curious ring Yamaguchi was wearing.
“That’s an interesting ring you have Mr. Yamaguchi. The Red Dragon I believe?”
Harvey noticed a startled expression briefly cross over Yamaguchi’s face but his ‘host’ quickly recovered his composure.
There’s something important about his ring. He seemed not to want me to take notice of it.
“Yes, I need to remember you don’t miss much, Mr. Ashton. You’re right, it is the ‘Red Dragon,’ the same as the name of this boat. This boat, she is particularly dear to me and my ring is a reminder of her great beauty.”
Harvey was not completely convinced with his response and thought there was more to the ring than the name of his boat and wondered why Yamaguchi would lie about it. But before he could ask another question, Yamaguchi quickly changed the subject.
“Speaking of rings, you can’t begin to imagine how I feel about the ring you are about to lead us too, Mr. Ashton.” Yamaguchi began.
“Well, as soon as you can get us to Lantau Island on your boat and we make our way to the Wisdom Path you’ll be united with it,” Harvey said with confidence in his voice.
“Yes, the first mate informed me of our destination and I thank you for your cooperation. Now getting back to what I was saying, as I suspect you know, my family was once quite prominent in the national affairs of Japan under the leadership of my great ancestor, Ota Okanabe.”
Yamaguchi stopped and looked at Harvey as if waiting for acknowledgment. Harvey nodded his head.
“But after the loss of the two rings and his fall from grace, our family’s status was worse than the lowest of samurai families, even worse then the leaderless samurai known as ronin who acted as mercenaries for feudal lords. Not only did we lose our status but also our family name, we had to change it for fear of being hunted down and stamped out by those loyal to the new shogun and his successors.”
Yamaguchi paused in his story to take a drink of sake.
“We became a lost family, lost samurai, forsaken by those who had once followed us and we were forgotten to history. My ancestors moved to Kyushu and kept a low profile. From generation to generation we remained lost to our once proud family heritage, not wanting to reveal our true ancestry and background for fear it may fall onto ears loyal to the court in Edo. Within our family, we secretly maintained the teaching of bushido, the rules and traditions of samurai life, but to outsiders we were simple merchants plying our trade in Nagasaki. My family was successful at trading and soon rose in stature in the community and once again became wealthy, but we never told anyone about our highborn past. That remained lost to us. Full of wealth but still longing to reinstate our family’s rightful place as the rulers of Japan, my grandfather instilled the idea that our family could once again reach greatness if we could correct our fall from grace that began with the loss of the rings. I have harboured a great desire to find the rings. We knew the rings were originally stolen by ninja and suspected them to be from one of the main ninja family clans of Honshu. It was only recently that we learned of who that family was.”
This got the attention of Harvey and he instantly thought of Kenji. Yamaguchi’s story about his family and his desire to reclaim the rings gave Harvey pause for thought.
“Excuse me for interrupting but didn’t your family originally steal the rings from the emperor in the first place?” asked Harvey.
Yamaguchi’s face turned a slight tinge of red and he locked eyes with Harvey across the room. Harvey could feel the weight of that hard stare bore into him.
“You question my honour, Mr. Ashton?”
Harvey let the question hang in the air as he took another drink from the gin and tonic he was enjoying so much. Perhaps it wasn’t the best strategy for him to irritate his captors but he was curious to see how Yamaguchi would react. Yamaguchi continued to stare hard at him. It was an angry stare and Harvey suspected it could easily turn to rage. He decided to give Yamaguchi an out so he could save face.
“I’m sure your family had its reasons for taking the rings in the first place,” suggested Harvey in an attempt to cut the palpable tension in the room.
Yamaguchi seemed to grasp onto this. “You’re right. The emperor at the time was corrupt and more or less only a puppet. His wife, the empress, was worse. Her indiscretions brought great shame to the imperial family. It would be wrong for these great rings to be worn by such unworthy people.”
Harvey wondered if Yamaguchi knew about the flaw in the rings that had been detected by their maker, Master Abe. Did he know that the rings brought conflict when they were together, that they were not properly balanced? Perhaps this was the reason that Ota Okanabe had been so unlucky for the brief time he possessed them and that bad luck seemed to linger with him and his family after they fell out of his possession.
“We were speaking about honour,” Yamaguchi began. “I want to show you how we samurai deal with people who possess no honour. I’m talking about someone who pretends to be your friend and do you a great service as he lies straight to your face, someone who betrays you.”
A cold shiver went through Harvey’s spine as he tried to guess what Yamaguchi was about to do. He could sense the bastard was about to do something evil.
In a loud voice, Yamaguchi called out in Japanese. “Higa-kun! Bring out that dog Hiyoshi!” Yamaguchi reached over and picked up the samurai sword from the stand in front of him.
“You probably don’t know this but what I am holding is one of the finest blades ever crafted in history. It belonged to my ancestor Ota Okanabe. For his own reasons, he left his best sword behind with his family when he went off to face Tokugawa in battle. He also left instructions for his family to secretly flee because he was greatly outnumbered and in his heart he knew he had already lost. Anyway, now I have this great Masamune sword and I wish to give you a demonstration of the blade’s strength and fineness.”
The ominous tone of these last words really got Harvey’s attention as he wondered what Yamaguchi was up to. The steward called Higa returned with a man who had his hands bound behind his back and a cloth bag over his head. Higa led the man across the room and stopped in front of Yamaguchi.
“I don’t want to soil these fine carpets. Let’s go upstairs,” commanded Yamaguchi.
Harvey noticed that Yamaguchi had spoken in English. He didn’t know if this was for his benefit or for the bound and hooded person. He wondered who the man was. Could it be Kenji? No, the physique is too slight but it definitely is a man.
“If you don’t mind Mr. Ashton, we’ll all go up on deck and get some fresh air. Your friend can join us as well.”
Although his words were civil, his tone was like cold steel, there was a bite to them. This was no polite invitation from Yamaguchi but an order to be followed.
Higa, the steward dressed in black, walked towards the stairs pushing the hooded man ahead of him. The hooded person stumbled when he first got to the stairs as he couldn’t see the stairs to climb. Sato stood up and indicated to Harvey and Briggs to follow him, Kenichi followed behind them with his gun levelled at their backs. Yamaguchi brought up the rear with his samurai sword held up in front of him as if ready for action.
The top deck of the yacht was mostly enclosed except for the back, which was open to the air. There were three white sofas fixed in a horse shoe pattern. A man dressed in a white uniform with his rank displayed as captain was at the helm of the boat. Harvey could feel the power of the boat as it bounded over the waves and the wind whistled by. He could see they were well away from Hong Kong Island now and it wouldn’t take much longer until they arrived at Lantau Island. He could also see there were no other boats around in this part of the sea.
When Yamaguchi climbed up onto the deck, Harvey thought he could see a dark lust in the man’s eyes like he was excited about something he was going to do or see.
“Mori-san, please stop the engines and bring the boat to rest,” Yamaguchi said to the captain in Japanese.
The yacht slowed down quickly once the engines were cut. The rain had slowed to a faint drizzle and the wind had died somewhat so the waves weren’t so strong and they could stand with little difficulty on the deck. The back hatch, from the hold where the car was, lifted and swung out towards the sea, providing a back platform that was more or less level just above the water.
“Let’s go down to the steel platform below. There is no need to mess this fine wooden deck up here,” Yamaguchi said in English.
He’s speaking English again, mused Harvey. Is this for my benefit, an attempt by Yamaguchi to get under my skin? And what’s this foul monster going to do with that deadly sword?
Higa, the steward, pushed the hooded man towards the steps. Of course the man couldn’t see where he was going. When he reached the first step down, his leg hung in the air as if he was expecting to continue walking, gravity took hold and he stumbled and fell hard down the half dozen steps to the platform. Harvey was surprised not to hear a yell of pain but he suspected he knew why.
The steward quickly descended the steps to the platform and forced the man to his knees. Yamaguchi went down the steps to the platform followed by Sato, Briggs, Harvey and Kenichi with his gun. They were made to stand in a line to form an audience for the spectacle they were about to witness.
Yamaguchi walked over and removed the bag from the captive’s head. The man had been badly beaten and, as Harvey had expected, his mouth was taped shut. When the man saw Yamaguchi and the sword his eyes bulged out of his head in sheer terror. There was a pleading look on his face and tears began to stream down his cheeks. His breathing became heavy and laboured and Harvey noticed a yellow stream of liquid pool onto the platform as the man soiled himself.
Near to shouting, Yamaguchi began to speak.
“This man has no honour. His only loyalty is to money. He will not be missed and there is nothing he can say that we need to hear. He will die like the rat he is.”
In a fluid and rapid movement, Yamaguchi brought the sword up high over his head and then down in an arc across the man’s neck cleanly severing his head from his body.
Harvey had never seen anyone killed before. He felt stomach bile come into his mouth and thought he was going to throw up. His legs went wobbly and he needed to use his muscles to steady himself and keep from collapsing.
Yamaguchi bent over and wiped the blood off his blade on the clothes of the dead man. Then he said something to the steward and motioned for the rest of them to climb the steps back up to the top deck. Harvey was still in shock when he sat down on the white couch with the others. He turned his head around and saw the steward weigh down the dead body and then kick it over the side. The body quickly slipped below the surface of the water and the vivid image brought back the nightmare Harvey had on the plane ride home from Japan of his parents drowning in the sea.
Harvey was jolted out of his shock when he heard the voice of Yamaguchi.
“Gentlemen, I think I am ready for another drink. How about you, Mr. Ashton, can I get you another drink?”
Harvey just shook his head. He felt like the wind was knocked out of him.
Ending the call, Emma put her phone away. She sat back in the passenger seat of the silver Maserati and looked out over Victoria Harbour as the car crossed over Stone Cutters Bridge. The rain had stopped and she had a clear view of the city as she looked out at Hong Kong Island. The lights sparkled like jewels through the night and despite the anxiety she was feeling for Harvey and Briggs and the danger she would be putting Skye and herself in, she couldn’t help but admire the beauty of the harbour. It truly was a sight to behold and it struck her that this might be the last time she saw it. Emma was brought back out of her revelry when she heard Skye’s voice.
“So what’s our plan?”
Emma had already told Skye about Sato and Yamaguchi, and that these two Japanese gangsters were dangerous and not to be underestimated. She had pointed out that Skye was putting his own life in danger by helping her try to save Harvey and Briggs. Skye was still determined to help.
“I’m hoping that you can get us to the Wisdom Path before they arrive. If there’s any chance of rescuing them we need to have the element of surprise on our side,” she replied.
“I’m trying, but we don’t want to get pulled over. There’s lots of cops on the expressway and by the toll gate on Lantau Island but we should be fine at this time of night.”
Emma looked over at the speedometer. They were going one hundred and thirty kilometres an hour. Skye had handled the traffic on Hong Kong Island well and they were making good time, passing cars as they went.
“Do you have anything in the car like a tire iron that we could use as a weapon?” asked Emma.
“I think I have my cricket bat,” Skye answered.
“That might help. If we get there first we can pick a spot to hide and wait to ambush them when the moment is right. We certainly need an edge.”
Skye looked over at her and smiled. It was obvious he liked her a lot.
“Emma, I never imagined dating you was going to be such a dangerous adventure.”
“You should have seen the guy that I took out earlier in Soho,” she replied with a thin smile. “Skye, I’m so sorry you have to be involved with this. Thank you so much for your help.”
“You don’t need to apologise, of course I want to help you and your friends. I’ll say this though, you are definitely full of surprises.”
“You haven’t seen anything yet, kiddo.” She replied with a wink.
Emma knew she was putting on a brave face but deep down she was scared. She could only hope that the plan she had put together would work. A little bit of luck would help, that and the arrangements she had just made on the phone.
The ‘Red Dragon’ mega yacht had reached Lantau Island and was cruising westwards along the coast looking for a suitable place to find a berth. The captain and first mate were looking at their charts trying to find a pier that would be suitable to pull alongside.
Yamaguchi took another drink of sake and then gave Harvey a quizzical look.
“Mr. Ashton, I have explained to you why the rings are important to me and my strong desire to restore honour to my family name, but you may be wondering what I personally hope to achieve?”
Harvey took a long hard look at Yamaguchi. I really don’t give a toss what you want, what I’d like to know is why my dad was interested in you. What’s the connection?
Harvey decided he’d play along anyway. “It’s not so difficult to imagine. You want to become a powerful leader in Japan and will stop at nothing as you step over people and use all manner of ruthlessness to achieve it.”
Harvey had thought to add that Yamaguchi’s quest for the rings was mere vanity but after the display with the sword he thought it best not to tempt the wrath of his captor.
“You make me sound like a common gangster!” Yamaguchi said indignantly. “You’re right in suspecting that I once craved a position of power in Japan, but I have come to realise that Japan has become a soft power in the global arena. No, Mr. Ashton, my plans are much more ambitious than that.”
Harvey was curious to know what Yamaguchi was enigmatically hinting at. He decided to ask a probing question.
“Okay, you’ve got my curiosity. Are you planning to expand your company interests into China and gain a foothold into the huge potential that market offers?”
“Nice try but my interests are far beyond simple economic gains.”
“If it’s not money that you crave than it must be power.”
Harvey was trying to fish a response out of Yamaguchi. He was keen to learn what Yamaguchi’s greater plan was. He knew the rings were a personal goal for the man but Kenji had believed that Yamaguchi belonged to a secret and powerful group. Harvey wished he could learn something about this group.
Yamaguchi took another swig of his drink but said nothing.
Harvey was fighting exhaustion and it had taken all his energy to stay focused. But the reality was the night had been a real muddle since the fist fight on the street in Central. Suddenly he thought of the Medusa file. He decided to take a gamble.
“How do you know Clive Atkinson?”
“Who’s that? I’ve never heard of the man.”
Harvey could tell from Yamaguchi’s expression that he was telling the truth. He didn’t know Mr. Atkinson. This was a relief for Harvey. He tried another question. “How about Jon Malak, do you know him?”
Yamaguchi gave him a sharp look. “How do you know that name?”
“I found it on a file. Your name was on it also. That’s how I found you. Is Jon Malak a part of your group?”
“My group?” the words came out sounding thin.
“Yes, you do belong to a group of international criminals, don’t you?”
“You do have quite a vivid imagination,” replied Yamaguchi, his voice had lost some of it’s earlier raw edge. Yamaguchi had been surprised to hear Jon Malak’s name mentioned. And he would need to learn all the details about the file Harvey Ashton had mentioned, but there would be time for that after the boy had led them to where the ring was. He suspected the file had something to do with the boy’s father, Travis Ashton. That man had caused them some trouble a few years back.
Harvey could see that Yamaguchi’s confidence was waning and it was evident that he did know Jon Malak. “I suspect that you have allied yourself with other mastermind criminals who like yourself crave power but these people prefer to operate secretly, behind the curtain so to speak. Perhaps these ‘puppet masters’ are even pulling your strings.”
Harvey seemed to have hit a raw nerve. Yamaguchi seemed to no longer be enjoying his drink. It was time for Harvey to plant seeds of doubt.
“That’s why you wear that ring isn’t it?” Harvey said indicating the signet ring on Yamaguchi’s finger. “It isn’t about your fondness for this boat. I noticed your reaction when I mentioned it before. It’s some sort of group ring, isn’t it? What do you call yourselves, the Medusa Group?”
Yamaguchi gave an enigmatic smile.
“That’s the problem with you Mr. Ashton, you’re just like your father, far too clever for your own good and this time it has gotten you into quite a sticky situation.”
Upon hearing his dad mentioned, Harvey felt a surge of energy. “What do you know about my father? Did you have something to do with his disappearance?”
Yamaguchi stood up to walk away but then he paused and looked at Harvey as if to consider his captive’s fate. “I do hope you and your friend here are able to walk away from this mess you’ve gotten tangled up in. Oh, and one more thing, you said disappearance, I can assure you that your father is quite dead.”
Harvey felt raw hatred for this man, he could feel it burning in his core. He knew Yamaguchi wasn’t going to tell him anything of substance about his father. He decided to finish with a parting shot, something he hoped would shake the man’s confidence.
“I only have one question, but it’s not one you need to answer for me but for yourself,” said Harvey. “This group that you belong to, I wonder if you can trust them? I suspect not. But the important question is whether they think they can trust you, Yamaguchi. And how will they react when they learn about your little adventure about the rings. I suspect you didn’t tell them. I would also say they won’t be happy with you having exposed them by your actions.”
Yamaguchi blinked several times while looking at Harvey. Then the man found his voice. “I would love to continue our chat but I see the captain has found a suitable place for us to dock and I must make some preparations.”
Even though the Po Lin Monastery at the foot of the Big Buddha, a major attraction in its own right, had quite a number of monks who lived there, not a single person was in sight as the silver Maserati came to a stop along a side road that looked like a service road for the monastery.
“Skye, why don’t you drive the car over behind that corner so that it’ll be out of view? It’s not like there are any other cars parked here and we don’t need to draw any attention.”
Skye put the car into gear and slowly drove over to where Emma had indicated. The car was now hidden from view from the main road.
“This looks like a nice secluded make out spot. We’ll have to remember it,” Skye said with a grin.
When they got out of the car, Skye opened the trunk and grabbed his cricket bat and then they jogged over to the path that went through the woods. It was quite dark and it wasn’t easy to see very far along the path, and this only became worse when they walked farther along under the cover of trees and away from any illumination the monastery provided. The trail to the Wisdom Path wasn’t well marked, at least not in English, but Emma knew the way. They passed a run-down structure that during the day sold cold drinks and food to the tourists and hikers. It was deserted and closed up at this time of the night. The path forked at this point and she knew to take the right side which wound through some thinly spread trees and bamboo patches. Within ten minutes they arrived at the Wisdom Path.
The monument was built on the side of a hill and surrounded by small trees and bushes. During the day it would be hard to find a good hiding spot but they had the advantage of nightfall with a sky full of dark clouds.
The wooden pillars that formed the Wisdom Path were about eight meters high but only about one meter wide. They were spaced out in a figure eight pattern with the path crossing in the middle. As Emma looked around for a place for them to hide she wondered again if her plan was going to work. A deep line formed between her eyebrows as she furrowed her brow.
The ‘Red Dragon’ was able to lower its rear ramp onto the concrete pier that extended out into the sea. The rear of the mega yacht was attached to the moorings and the captain could keep the boat steady without any difficulty. Yamaguchi got into the front passenger seat of the black Mercedes and the first mate, named Nomura, got behind the wheel. That left Harvey, Briggs, Sato and his goon Kenichi standing outside the car.
Sato looked at Kenichi and then their two young captives. He turned to the driver and spoke in Japanese. The first mate pressed a button and popped open the trunk. Sato pushed Briggs roughly into the trunk of the car and then slammed it shut. Harvey once again felt guilty that Briggs was the one to get the rough treatment. Kenichi, Sato and Harvey got into the back seat with Harvey in the middle.
The first mate expertly steered the car down the narrow pier and before long they were on a road and driving away from the sea. As they drove up the mountain road to the Big Buddha, a soft rain began to fall again. It wasn’t long before they drove past the silhouette of the massive Buddha statue. Harvey directed them towards a service road that ran beside the monastery. The car drove right to the start of the footpath and then came to a stop with its headlights illuminating the dark path into the forest.
They all got out of the car and started walking down the path. Harvey was about to ask Yamaguchi to let Briggs out of the car, but then Sato turned around and opened the trunk. Harvey breathed a sigh of relief only to be stunned when he saw Sato grab a shovel out of the trunk and then shut it again. Feeling concern for Briggs, Harvey turned to face Sato.
“What about my friend? You can’t leave him in the trunk,” Harvey pleaded desperately.
Sato seemed to enjoy Harvey’s unease and a small smile formed on the man’s lips. “He’ll be fine and you’ll make sure we dig in the right spot and be quick about it, knowing your friend is locked in the trunk of the car. Okay, lead the way to the Wisdom Path. I’m growing tired of all this rain.”
It didn’t take long before they reached an open area, there was a path that continued up towards the mountain peak in front of them and the Wisdom Path was over on their right on the side of a small hill.
Yamaguchi stopped at the entrance and turned to Harvey. “Okay Harvey Ashton, show the way to the ring you say is hidden here and I’ll say this only once, I hope you are not wasting our time for your sake and that of your friend back in the car.”
Harvey was eager to get underway. Doubt flashed through his mind as he thought of his plan. He quickly chased it away. There was no going back now.
“As I said, the ring is buried at the base of the ninth pillar, follow me.”
Harvey began walking along the path in between the wooden pillars that had Chinese characters carved on them.
“But do we count from the left or right side?” asked Yamaguchi.
“It doesn’t matter. As you see, the pillars meet up in the middle where the path splits into two directions that form the upper circle.” Harvey led them along until they were at the point where the path split into two directions and stopped in front of one of the pillars.
“This is it, it’s buried behind the base of this pillar,” said Harvey.
“Okay start digging,” replied Sato and then tossed the shovel to Harvey. Sato wanted to finish quickly, deal with the kids and get back onto the boat. This night had been long enough for him.
Harvey stuck the spade into the ground. The thug Kenichi had his gun aimed at Harvey as he lifted out the wet soil. Digging was the last thing he wanted to do with his body feeling battered from his earlier fight and then his run-in with these guys. Since the rain had softened the ground it was easier than he had expected to dig out the soil. He continued digging as quickly as he could, thinking of Briggs locked in the trunk. After a few minutes he struck something metallic.
“I’ve found it,” Harvey exclaimed. He stooped down and moved the dirt away from the edges of a box. He soon pried a small metal box from the ground.
“Hand it to me,” Yamaguchi demanded holding his hand out for the box.
With the excited look of a boy about to discover his birthday present, Yamaguchi opened the box and pulled out the ring. But as he held the ring his excitement quickly turned to disbelief, followed by rage. He did have a ring in his hand but not the one he wanted. It was a cheap plastic toy ring.
“I warned you Ashton, you’ll die for this!” Yamaguchi spat out the words as his face contorted with anger.
The next series of events happened quite quickly but Harvey was able to follow them all in vivid detail. It seemed as if time had slowed as the action unfolded. Harvey was surprised but happy to see Skye Lars jump out from an adjacent wooden pillar and knock Nomura, the first mate, in the back of the head with a heavy blow from a cricket bat. Nomura hit the ground hard and didn’t get up.
Harvey looked at Kenichi, the thug holding the gun. Kenichi seemed in shock as he watched one of his gang get knocked out. Harvey didn’t waste any time as he moved into action. He lifted the steel shovel and brought it down hard on the thug’s arm that was holding the gun. There was an ugly bone cracking sound when it made contact and Kenichi dropped the gun and let out a shriek, that surely must have been heard all the way back to the monastery. Kenichi staggered backwards cradling his arm like a bird with a broken wing.
Sato recovered quickly from the turn of events and caught the cricket bat in mid-air as Skye swung it at him. With brute strength, he wrenched the bat out of Skye’s hands with little difficulty and tossed it to the side. He then moved with the speed and ferocity of a tiger as he bore down on Skye. The pair wrestled and fell to the ground but Sato was much more powerful and able to quickly knock Skye out as he banged his head against the ground.
Harvey made a leap for the gun that Kenichi dropped but Yamaguchi was quicker and picked it up first. Yamaguchi aimed the gun at Harvey. Harvey drew in his breath in anticipation of the shot.
Suddenly, Emma appeared from behind some bushes close to Yamaguchi and delivered a powerful kick to his left knee that knocked him off balance as he pulled the trigger. The bullet fired off wildly. The sound of the gun pierced the night. Emma grabbed Yamaguchi’s arm holding the gun and with all her strength brought it down as she raised her knee. She made contact with his elbow in an ugly way causing him to howl in pain as he dropped the gun into a muddy puddle out of sight.
Another gunshot exploded into the night sky bringing the action to a standstill. They all turned and looked at Sato who was pointing a gun at Emma.
“Now Harvey, you will tell me where the ring is or the next shot will be between the young ladies eyes,” barked Sato.
Kenichi stepped forward and grabbed the shovel from Harvey with his good arm and gave him a dirty look. The tension hung heavy in the air. Harvey could see Sato’s face contort into an evil grin. He had the look of someone who felt in control of the situation, like a school yard bully about to pounce on his prey.
“I bet you have wondered how I came to be in that antique shop in Stanley when you first had the ring and I stole it?” asked Sato.
Harvey felt something deep inside him move, like his heart had just missed a beat. He had a sinking feeling that Sato was about to reveal something sinister. The man had his full attention.
“I wasn’t in the shop that day for the ring. That was just a remarkable coincidence. I was there for you,” Sato said ominously. He paused to let this last statement sink in before he continued. He could see that Ashton’s eyes were wide open and he suspected he saw fear in them. “I was following you, Harvey. You see, a few years ago I was in Hong Kong on a special job. An Englishman had uncovered something secret. Somehow, he had learned the identity of Mr. Yamaguchi and some of our associates. These are very powerful people who prefer to stay anonymous. I believe you referred to them as the ‘puppet masters’. It was my job to ensure the identity of these powerful men remained a secret and I did that by ‘taking care’ of both him and his wife.”
Harvey felt like he was suffocating. As much as he wanted to turn away and close his ears he couldn’t. He had his eyes fixed on Sato. He knew it was Sato, the man had killed his parents.
“But I learned this couple had a son and I always wondered if maybe he knew something or if some evidence had been left that may implicate and expose our group. You’re a clever kid and have figured out that I am talking about you. I did some surveillance of you over the years, but as far as I could tell, you knew nothing. But then I saw you in that shop with the ring and everything changed. Together we became embattled in this drama surrounding the ring and so here we are.”
A flood of emotions swept over Harvey and questions started to bombard his brain but before he had a chance to say anything, Sato let out a blood-curdling cry. Something was embedded in the man’s right shoulder and a pool of blood was spreading under his white shirt. Sato had trouble holding the gun level and let off a wild shot that whizzed over Emma’s head.
As if out of thin air, Kenji Watanabe and his sister Eri appeared above them near the top of the hill the Wisdom Path was on. Eri threw another throwing star that caught Sato in the same shoulder causing him to drop the gun. Sato reacted like a wounded beast and started running away back down the path with his right arm hanging by his side. Yamaguchi and Kenichi followed after him. Kenji ran over and picked up Sato’s gun, he then moved to Skye who was still unconscious on the ground. Eri ran up to Harvey and Emma.
“Are you two okay?” Eri asked as she looked at Emma and Harvey.
Harvey numbly nodded as he looked at Eri. His mind was in a fog as he tried to process what he had just learned about his parents. The girl gently put her hand on Harvey’s shoulder to comfort him. Despite the torment he felt on learning that Sato had murdered his parents he couldn’t help notice how beautiful she was. The last time he saw her she was wearing the heavy make-up of a geisha and he had noticed her full sensual lips but now she had no make-up and she looked stunning.
Harvey knew they needed to act quickly but he was in a stupor from the weight of the night’s events and the new knowledge of his parent’s murder. Harvey couldn’t take his eyes off Eri. Her black hair was long and flowing, she had smooth skin and a pretty face but what struck him the most were her eyes. There was a depth to those black eyes that he felt he could look into forever. And then he remembered Briggs and snapped out of his daze. It was time for action.
“We have to go, Briggs is locked in the back of their car!” Harvey yelled out anxiously.
“Don’t worry Harvey.”
Harvey turned to see Kenji talking.
“We watched as you pulled up in the car and heard you mention he was in the trunk. After you left, we quickly let him out. He’s quite shaken and resting in our car. He wanted to come with us to help but we told him to stay and watch the Mercedes in case the thugs returned. These two over here,” he gestured to Skye and Nomura, “are unconscious but otherwise okay. But you’re right Harvey, we need to hurry and catch up with Yamaguchi. We can’t let that monster get away.”
“I’ll stay here with Skye and watch over that guy with the cricket bat in case he wakes up.” Emma said as she pointed at Nomura.
Harvey, Kenji and Eri raced down the path and ran flat out through the wooded area to the road. Briggs already had the car in position with the engine running by the foot of the path. He moved over and let Kenji get behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Golf as Harvey and Eri got into the back.
Breathing heavily, Briggs spoke rapidly. “They left only a few minutes ago but took off like their car was on fire.” Briggs’ eyes were wide and staring as they darted to each of their faces. Obviously he was still in shock from the evening’s events.
Kenji was able to accelerate quickly and they were soon driving down the mountain road at break-neck speed.
“Once we get to the main road which way do we go?” Kenji wanted to know.
“Turn left. Once we pass the reservoir we take the first right. That road leads to the pier where their boat is,” Harvey replied in a hollow voice. He was still processing the fact that Sato had killed his parents or ‘taken care of a job’ as he had so coldly put it. He started to think about what Sato had said.
What was so important that my dad had found out, that Yamaguchi had him killed? Who are Sato and Yamaguchi in league with? The only other names on the list I found were Jon Malak and Clive Atkinson who Dad served with in the British Army. Is there some other evidence my dad had that is still hidden? What’s so special about this ‘Medusa Group’ that they will kill someone to keep their identity secret?
Harvey began to feel something deep inside him come to the surface. It was raw and cold and he recognised it as rage.
Kenji looked at Harvey in the rearview mirror. “You’re looking a bit rough Harvey. All the same, it is good to see you.”
Harvey looked up and saw Kenji looking at him. Kenji smiled at him. Harvey responded slowly as he let his brain switch gears and focus back on the situation at hand.
“Yeah, good to see you too. I wasn’t sure if you were going to get my message.”
A smile played across Kenji’s lips. “It was your friend Emma who called me earlier and told me of your plan about the Wisdom Path. That was really clever on your part, to lead them to a remote location where we could ambush them. I’m just glad you told Emma about the location of the ‘special ring’ you buried up there on the mountain. Otherwise, neither of us would have known where to find you.”
“Thanks for coming through Kenji,” Harvey looked at Eri and gave a slight smile, “you too, Eri. It would have been a sticky end for us if you guys hadn’t been there. My plan would never have worked without your help. I had no idea if or when Yamaguchi would appear in Hong Kong but I knew I had to be ready.”
“I’m just glad that I followed my instincts and came to Hong Kong last week and got in touch with you. When you told me that Sato had tried to catch you on the ski slopes in Japan it became clear to me that he knew who you were.”
“He killed my parents, Kenji!”
“Yeah, I know. We heard what he said.”
Kenji was able to drive the VW at high speed with ease. He handled the car well around the corners shifting gears to maintain maximum torque and power from the engine.
Harvey looked at Kenji’s face in the rearview mirror and then spoke in a grave tone. “Kenji, we need to catch these guys. I don’t know what I’m going to do but I need to avenge the death of my parents.”
Kenji looked back at Harvey through the mirror and nodded his head. Kenji knew the importance of family and would protect his own at any cost. He could understand Harvey’s need for revenge.
“Don’t worry, I’m known for my fast driving.”
It didn’t take long before they reached the main road but they still couldn’t see the Mercedes. As they reached the reservoir, Harvey saw the taillights of a car up ahead but they quickly disappeared as it turned off the main road.
The Volkswagen’s engine revved at top speed as they raced to catch the Mercedes. Harvey had to grab the passenger handle as Kenji turned right onto the side road at full speed. The force of the turn caused Eri to bang against him. The car hugged tightly to the road as it raced towards the pier.
Eri looked at Harvey with concern. “You don’t look so good,” she said.
Harvey could feel his heart racing. He tried to calm himself before he spoke. “I never knew how my parents died and now I find out Sato killed them. I need to find out who he was protecting. Who is worth the death of my parents?”
Eri could see Harvey was in pain. She reached out and took his hand in hers. “I will help you,” she said.
They turned a corner and could see the pier that extended out into the sea. The Mercedes slowed as it drove onto the pier at the same time the boat lowered the ramp to the rear hold. It looked like the boat was no longer tied to the moorings. The Mercedes expertly coasted down the ramp and drove into its hold. Moments later, the ramp started to close and the yacht pulled away towards the sea.
Skidding on the road with screeching tires, Kenji brought the car to a stop just at the front of the pier and banged the steering wheel hard.
“Damn! I thought we were going to catch them. This is the second time I’ve let Yamaguchi get away.”
The four of them watched desperately as the mega yacht opened its engines and sped out, away from the island. Harvey felt a mix of feelings as he watched the boat motor away, but mostly he felt wretched.
“There’s gotta be something we can do!” Harvey yelled.
Suddenly, there was a bright flash followed by a small bang on the yacht. It reminded Harvey of a firework being let off but he couldn’t understand why this would happen on Yamaguchi’s yacht. And then a massive explosion ripped through the boat and it erupted into a huge fire ball. The boat sank quickly as it was claimed by the sea and vanished below the surface.
Harvey couldn’t believe what he had just witnessed. With his face contorted with a look of disgust he turned at Kenji. “Did you have anything to do with this Kenji?”
“No way, I’m just as shocked as you,” Kenji replied. “But I have to admit I don’t mind the outcome.” Kenji was thinking that his family was now safe. With the death of Yamaguchi no one would be looking for the rings and those that protect them.
“I mind,” Harvey said quickly. “I needed answers from those men. Now I know my parents were murdered but I’m no closer to finding out who ordered Yamaguchi to kill them.”
Kenji turned around in his seat and looked at Harvey.
“I’m sorry for you, Harvey. I wish we could have learned more about this ‘Medusa Group’. I’ll do some investigating when I’m back in Japan to see who Yamaguchi and Sato were involved with. Together we’ll solve the mystery around your parent’s murder.”
“Thanks, Kenji. I appreciate that. I really need to know who this secretive group is that had my parents killed.”
Exhausted and hurt, Harvey let his body sink back into the car seat. He could feel his eyes start to water as he thought of his parents. He didn’t try to suppress the tears when they came. They just rolled down his checks continuously. Eri put her arm around him and lowered his head to her shoulder as she gently stroked his hair to comfort him.
The man wearing the green baseball cap stepped back from the shoreline and put the detonator into the jacket pocket of his tracksuit. It hadn’t been hard for him to sneak aboard the mega yacht back on Hong Kong Island and to secretly keep an eye on his prey, he was like a ghost on the boat shadowing the crew. He had been intrigued with the little adventure that had ensued and the interesting conversation he had overheard when the two teenagers had arrived. But ultimately he had to stick to his mission objective and he had quickly gone to work in rigging the boat with explosives when the car had left the boat. It was much easier to work with only two crew members left onboard and he wanted to ensure the explosion would look like an accident. He didn’t even have to get wet when he slipped off the boat and onto the pier under the cover of night.
He was satisfied with the result of his work but he wondered who the people in the VW car were who seemed to be chasing after Yamaguchi. Were the two teenagers in the car? He was pretty sure they hadn’t returned with Yamaguchi in his Mercedes because he had a clear line of sight as the car drove onto the pier. There had only been three people in the Mercedes and two of them were his target.
After a brief hesitation he took his eyes off the VW car and turned around. It didn’t matter, they were not his concern. He stepped back into the forest and walked the short distance to the reservoir road. Once he was on the main road he started jogging. He knew it was going to be a long run in the rain but he didn’t mind, he had endured a lot worse in his life. He was actually looking forward to the jog as he knew it would clear his mind.
A local fisherman was out on the water checking his shrimp traps late in the night. There weren’t many other boats out but he was a night owl and liked working through the late hours. He had been startled by the brilliant explosion in the distance towards Lantau. He started up his motor and headed in the direction of the blast. When he arrived he found it difficult to find where the explosion had happened. He moved his front light over the water looking for signs of debris and then he saw it. The water was glistening slick from a large pool of oil. He continued to train his light over the water. A short distance away he could see something floating on the surface. As he got closer he saw it was a body. He hurried to pull the body onto the boat. The large man’s clothes were in tatters and his body and face were badly burned. The man was Asian and had a large red scar on his left check. The fisherman checked the man’s pulse. He was still alive.