In the days after the night the ‘Red Dragon’ exploded, the local newspapers ran stories about a Japanese mega yacht floundering off the coast of Lantau Island. The marine police extracted four bodies from the wreck but left the remains of the boat on the bottom of the seabed. There was not much to salvage from the wreck and it was hoped that it would form an artificial reef for marine life. The cause of the ‘accident’ was attributed to a faulty fuel tank. In the weeks that followed there was a media blitz advising boaters to check their fuel lines for leaks. There was never any mention of what happened on the Wisdom Path or at St. Stephens College.
On that fateful night, when Kenji, Briggs, Harvey and Eri had returned to the Wisdom Path, they found Emma with a revived Skye. The first mate of the Red Dragon, Nomura, was nowhere to be found. Apparently, when Skye had started to regain consciousness, Emma was at his side to comfort him and stop him from moving his head too much, fearing he may have a concussion. In the few minutes that she had attended to Skye, Nomura had slipped away like a phantom. She believed that Nomura had regained consciousness for sometime and was waiting for an opportunity to escape. Kenji didn’t think that Nomura would be a future problem for them since his bosses were dead. He would probably be keeping a low profile and if he did appear on the ‘radar,’ Kenji would know how to find him.
The month of June had started with steamy hot days that were punctuated by the high shrill noise of the cicadas that clung to the trunks of trees in droves. Harvey and Briggs were sitting outside at a table close to the St. Stephens dorms. Briggs hadn’t completely recovered from his traumatic ordeal as a captive of Sato and Yamaguchi, but he was slowly getting better. Harvey still struggled with the murder of his parents but the nightmares were less frequent.
It was Emma walking over to them with a big smile on her face waving a white envelope. “Guess who’s been accepted into McGill University?”
“You got in? That’s great news Emma!” Harvey said with joy in his voice. He got up and gave her a hug.
“Great job Emma! You always wanted to live in Montreal.” Briggs stood and gave her a pat on the back.
“Briggs has some big news of his own that he was just telling me,” said Harvey.
“Really, let’s hear it Briggs?” asked Emma.
“I’ve been accepted into the air cadet program with Cathay Pacific. I’m heading to Adelaide for flight training. I’m going to be a pilot like my dad.”
“It looks like we’ve got some celebrating to do,” said Emma with a hint of mischief in her eyes. The boys weren’t as enthusiastic as she was.
“What about you Harvey? What are your plans now that we have graduated from St. Stephens? Did you get into the schools that you applied for?”
Harvey looked at Briggs and then Emma. “I’ve decided to take a gap year. I’ve got some unfinished business to take care of in Japan,” he said enigmatically.
“Unfinished business?” said Emma more to herself than as a question.
“Yeah and Kenji has invited me to stay with him so I’m all set. To be honest I’m really going to miss you guys and all the great memories we’ve had here at St. Stephens but I’m excited about going to Japan. I feel like I’m about to start a new chapter in my life.”
A smile appeared on Emma’s face as she thought she knew the reason for Harvey’s trip to Japan. “So does this ‘unfinished business’ have to do with a certain someone called Eri?”
Harvey just smiled back at Emma in response. The thought of going to Japan cheered him up. The past month had been a hard one, he was still tormented knowing his parents had been murdered but he was getting better. But he knew he would never rest until he found out who was behind killing them.
“There’s the smile that I’ve been missing. I wish I could see it more often. Anyway, we’re all about to go through big changes. But change is good,” Emma said enthusiastically. “I have a feeling that the next chapter in our lives is going to be exciting. I definitely want you guys to visit me in Montreal. And Harvey, no excuses from you not to come since you’re taking a year off from studies.”
“Don’t worry I’ll come and see you. Just don’t be surprised if I stay longer than you expect. I may be short of cash after my trip to Japan.”
“That’s okay, I don’t mind putting up with you. And I’m sure I’ll have a comfy couch for you to crash on,” she replied. They all laughed.
Turning serious, Emma looked at Harvey and tilted her head.
“Harvey there’s something I have wanted to ask you. That night on the Wisdom Path when you led Yamaguchi to a metal box with a ‘plastic ring’ in it, and by the way, when you told me you had hidden the ring on the Wisdom Path I thought you meant the real one, where was the real ring?”
Just at that moment their history teacher, Clive Atkinson, walked up to the trio. “I see that St. Stephen’s most wanted are together,” he said with a big grin on his face. Clive looked at Briggs. “Todd, You look tired. Are you feeling okay?”
“It’s been a really hard term for me, Mr. Atkinson.”
There’s the understatement of the year, Harvey thought to himself.
“But I’m starting to recover. And I’m going to pilot school in Australia.”
“That’s great Todd, I’m sure you’ll make a fine pilot.” Clive said warmly.
Clive turned to face his favourite student. “Yes, Harvey?”
“Is it okay if I come by your room later to pick-up my wooden box I asked you to keep for me?”
As Harvey said this he looked at Emma and winked.
“Sure Harvey, you can come get it anytime,” Clive looked at Briggs and Emma, thinking he wouldn’t be seeing much of them in the future. “You three enjoy your last week together at school.”
Clive turned and walked away. Harvey looked pointedly at Emma and grinned. “In answer to your question Emma, the ring was always near at hand.”
In an abandoned warehouse near Osaka, a man sat tied to a wooden chair. He had been stripped of his clothes down to his underwear. He had bruises on his chest and a nasty welt on his face. The man also had his own socks stuffed into his mouth making it difficult for him to breathe. Kenji Watanabe stood in front of the man. Kenji was in a foul mood. He spoke to the man in Japanese.
“Okay Nomura, I’m going to take the socks out of your mouth. But I warn you my patience is wearing out. I want answers.”
When the socks were removed from his mouth, the man let out a huge gasp and quickly inhaled air into his lungs.
“Tell me about the Medusa Group?”
“Jon Malak, he’s the man who would meet with Yamaguchi.” Nomura’s voice was thin and weak when he spoke.
“I told you before, I already know about Malak. Tell me something new. You must remember someone else Yamaguchi would meet with or talk to?” There was a hard bite in Kenji’s words when he spoke them.
“I only worked on the boat. I didn’t see much.”
Desperation could be heard in Nomura’s voice. Kenji looked hard at the man sitting in front of him.
“I don’t believe you Nomura. I’m sure you saw much more as first officer on the boat. From what I know of Yamaguchi, he liked to show off his mega yacht to his special guests. Yamaguchi was a man who liked to impress.”
“But I don’t know anything else…”
Kenji walked over to a table and picked up a wooden baseball bat. He walked back over to Nomura and dropped the bat near the man’s feet. The sound of it hitting the floor echoed through the warehouse.
“Did you play baseball when you were kid?”
Nomura seemed confused by the question.
“What? I don’t know what…”
Kenji cut him off from finishing his sentence.
“I loved playing baseball when I was a kid. I could smack the ball out of the park for a home run. What a great feeling it is to hit a home run.”
Kenji picked up the bat. “Nomura, have you ever seen a man’s knee cap explode when it is hit by a bat?”
Nomura started to turn visibly pale.
“It’s not a pretty sight.”
“I’ve told you everything I know…”
The man started to shake uncontrollably. His speech became incoherent. Kenji took slow practice swings with the bat, touching Nomura’s knee roughly each time he brought it down.
“You know what Nomura? I think I want to hit a home run.”
Kenji swiftly swung the bat up in the air.
Nomura had found his voice. Kenji let the bat hang in the air in a batting stance.
“There was this one time, long ago when another man came with Jon Malak.”
“Tell me everything you can about him.”
“I don’t know his name but he was another Englishman. He seemed to know Malak very well.”
Kenji took a photo out of his pocket and showed it to Nomura. It was a photo of three soldiers smiling together as friends.
“Do you recognise Jon Malak in this photo?”
“Yes, he’s the tall guy with the red hair.”
“How about the other man you saw with him on the boat. Do you see him in the photo.”
“Yes, he’s this guy.”
Nomura pointed to one of the other men in the photograph.
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