When the heavens fall
Will man ascend triumphant
In death, truth revealed
A quick search of the room revealed only a few clues. It had not been ransacked or visibly searched and even Ki’s spell scrolls remained in place. Shin’ichi’s keen eye noticed that the door had been rigged to ensure it made noise when opened while drawing upon their medical knowledge both Chiaki and Naruto came to the conclusion that Ki had been killed in a single fell swipe. It was, therefore, unlikely that she had been able to grab the piece of cloth found in her hand, the killer may have planted it. A number of the guests were wearing purple in honour of the unicorn bride. Both Shugeki’s aunt and sister were clothed in it, as was Ide Ojong, who Shin’ichi had noted was absent during the time of the murder. The final individual was Miya Tomoko, the Imperial herald Hotaka had been pestering for much of the evening.
With that knowledge in place the magistrates dispersed to pursue the investigation. Hotaka went to question Shosuro Oka, the shugenja who had been assisting Ki. Shugeki stalked off to her Aunt’s room, looking forward to the chance to formally question her while Naruto returned to the main hall to question the guests.
Only Chiaki and Shin’ichi remained at the scene of the murder to investigate further. Chiaki brought forth the spirit residing within the candle, learning that the murderer had walked through the door without opening it and that they had indeed planted the scrap of cloth in Ki’s hand. Shin;ichi, following the departure of Chiaki searched the room once again, placing an emphasis on hidden entrances and discovered a panel above the door could be silently slid back. What was more interesting was that a mirror on the wall was positioned such that Ki would have been able to easily observe anybody attempting to enter through this route. Perhaps, he surmised, the murderer was a student of Ki’s from one of the more secret of Scorpion schools. He resolved to investigate the room of Oka while he was distracted by Hotaka’s questioning, though that would have to wait until after he had searched Ojong’s room.
Hotaka, having caught up with Oka was direct and to the point, learning that the shugenja had arrived in the city only a few days ago to apprentice under Ki thanks to her unique knowledge of the arts. While a man of few words he let it be known that he had been sent by his Lord Soshi Hanzo, though did not seem to know of the Bayushi Hanzo family when pressed by Hotaka. Shugeki meanwhile took the time to interrogate her Aunt, learning that she had had a rivalry with Ki in their younger days and that, according to Asano, ‘the bitch probably arranged this all herself’ Apparently there was little love lost between the two.
Naruto’s questioning of the guests was going slowly and yielded little until he noticed that Ide Ojong was no longer wearing the purple kimono he had been seen in earlier. He professed that he had had an accident during dinner, necessitating a change of clothing. An unusual statement given they had so far only been offered light snacks and refreshments. His search was cut short by the arrival of Chiaki, who proceeded to use the Kami to reveal what had been hidden from her sight. The result was enlightening, most of the Scorpion guests and a few of the others carried concealed small arms while Hida Sato, Miya Tomoko and Tsi Shiori all had scrolls or notebooks folded into their robes. The scrolls of Sato and Tomoko both bore the Imperial seal, which burned bright to her vision.
Only one individual in the room escaped Chiaki’s sight, Soshi Mirai who had rapidly removed herself from the room and was now fleeing down the adjacent corridor. It was in vain as an earthen hand directed by Naruto gently, but firmly, lifted her into the air. In her hand he discovered a considerable bag of narcotics, enough supply a dozen or more clients. Having retrieved the drugs Naruto released the angry Mirai to the floor, just in time for Hotaka and Oka to see the end of the confrontation. When the sobbing Scorpion attempted to grab the robes of Oka his reaction was a swift and forceful kick to the face, stunning Mirai and surprising Hotaka.
Shin’ichi, searching the rooms of first Ojong and then Oka learned gained valuable intelligence. Ojong’s kimono was indeed missing a scrap of cloth but was also marked with a small amount of mud and a fresh flower had caught in the tie. Questioning of the servants revealed that Ojong had been seen in the gardens with the Crab Yaksuki Ami and were likely having an affair. In Oka’s room a thorough search revealed a stash of kimonos bearing the mons of each of the great clans and the purple coloured robe was stained with blood. Definitive evidence if it was required. He returned to his colleagues, detailing the finding of the robes but omitting the affair blurring the loyalties of Crab and Unicorn.
With the evidence mounting the magistrates put their case to the Governor. When Shin’ichi handed over Ki’s spell scrolls he instantly knew that one was missing. Chiaki, knowing that two of the guests carried scrolls in their robes returned to the main room. Miya Tomoko quickly caved under the questioning of the Phoenix, revealing a scroll bearing a crude love letter. The Crab merchant was not so easily intimidated, refusing to hand the scroll over due to it concerning a private matter of the Crab. Drawing up to his full height he leaned in to Chiaki and whispered in her ear
“Shosuro light my way”
The effect was instantaneous. Chiaki pulled out her wakazaki and brandished it in the air declaring that if the room wasn’t emptied quickly then blood would be spilt. Only Naruto, having followed the Phoenix back, was in a place to witness the sudden turn of events…