- Just how long was I frozen in time, a statuesque vision of gentlemanly grace...? Bah, no matter! For I, Hildibrand, agent of enquiry, inspector extraordinaire, am back in the game! And what a game it is, my friends, for in a Far Eastern town replete with intrigue, a dastardly Wolf Burglar preys upon the wealthy and powerful! Just deserts, some might say, but crime is crime, no matter the victim! Yea, injustice is a cancer, and I am the barber's blade!
* * *
- The notorious Wolf Burglar of Kugane has struck again, and Shigure is eager to proceed to the scene of the crime. Inspector Hildibrand and his faithful assistant have likely already arrived ahead of you, but if you hurry, you may make it in time to prevent them from further complicating the situation."
- Contrary to what you had heard, the Wolf Burglar's latest attempt to steal a priceless treasure─the Soboro Sukehiro─ended in failure. The owner of the sword, Master Akebono, credits this fortunate turn of events to his new bodyguard, Yojimbo. Though Shigure warns the wealthy merchant that the thief is certain to make another attempt, and offers to aid his men in protecting the sword, Master Akebono refuses. The young ronin's further efforts to persuade him only try his patience, and it is not long before Master Akebono storms off, eager to attend a prior engagement in Sanjo Hanamachi. Crestfallen, Shigure fears all is lost─but Hildibrand has never been one to give up so easily.
- Yet again the direct approach ends in failure, as Akebono's man is unwilling to allow any but a “geiko of surpassing beauty” to see his master. Somehow these words spur Hildibrand to concoct an equally beauteous plan, the first step of which is to proceed to a nearby okiya and speak with an acquaintance of Shigure's.
- The proprietress of the okiya is not one to mince words, and so when Hildibrand implores her to clothe Nashu in her finest kimono, she refuses. A geiko's garments are her livelihood, and none would dare be so reckless as to lend hers to a stranger...for nothing. She demands a fee which Hildibrand is quick to offer to pay, only to find that he is without the means to do so. Fortunately, in his altogether brief time in Kugane, the inspector has gained insight into the Hingan mind─to wit, he has heard that one might impress upon a Hingan the depth of his conviction by removing every hair from his head. Nashu volunteers to do the honors, and in a flash, she succeeds...in shaving Shigure bald─the sight of which sends the proprietress into a fit of laughter. Duly satisfied, she agrees to disguise Nashu as a geiko, and shortly thereafter you are ready to proceed to the next stage of the plan.
- The doorman is more than willing to let Nashu pass, albeit alone. Yet Inspector Hildibrand's plan of surpassing beauty is far from finished, and it is not long before he too infiltrates the meeting, having made his best effort to disguise himself as a geiko. Shortly thereafter you and Shigure hear shouting, and rush to the room to find the Wolf Burglar in the act of stealing the Soboro Sukehiro while the occupants bicker amongst themselves. Alas, with the aid of a smoke bomb, he makes good his escape, leaving you and your comrades at the mercy of an irate Akebono demanding that you remove yourself from his sight.
- Though Shigure cares less and less for Akebono, he knows all too well that the merchant will not hesitate to use his influence to crush him should he fail to recover the Soboro Sukehiro. The Wolf Burglar must be found. Fortunately, the ronin already knows where he might have fled...