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The Professor Killings (also known as the Hound of the Baskervilles) were a series of killings that occurred in the Great British Empire prior to the events of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles.
- Main article: The Resolve of Ryunosuke Naruhodo
When chief prosecutor Klint van Zieks heard that a fellow noble was victimizing the rest of England to his own advantages, he felt a deep sense of regret and frustration at being unable to do anything about it since the culprit was protected from being rightfully sentenced because of his nobility. So, Klint used his large hunting dog, Balmung, to murder the nobleman and soon would become known as the "Professor" through the killing spree that followed. The reason for that was another prosecutor named Mael Stronghart, who had learned about Klint van Zieks' crime and used it against him in order to create a perfect society in England. In order to get Klint to cooperate, Stronghart threatened Klint with telling his wife and younger brother, Barok, about elder van Zieks' doing. Stronghart made Klint kill three more nobles. The third victim of the Professor Killings was London's current Lord Chief Justice, who was also Klint's mentor and benefactor, so Stronghart could take his place.
At the time of these killings, three men from the Japanese Empire were in their sixth year of studying the English justice system in an exchange program Klint had established: Detective Genshin Asogi, widower and doctor Yujin Mikotoba, who worked with local coroners, and judge Seishiro Jigoku. When Genshin figured out the Professor's identity after the fourth murder, he decided to act despite the fact that he had become close friends with both Barok and Klint. Genshin approached Stronghart, begging him to move the police force into action and arrest the Professor. But Stronghart refused since the only "decisive evidence" Genshin had regarding the Professor was Klint's ownership of a dog. Incensed by this, Genshin decided to confront Klint by himself and snuck into Klint's mansion, cornering him.
He proposed a duel, and Klint agreed on two conditions: that he be allowed to write a will, confessing his sins and explaining matters as they were; and that Genshin agreed to help his wife, who was pregnant. In the following duel, Genshin won and ended up killing Klint. A number of servants witnessed his escape from the crime scene, but there wasn't enough evidence to arrest Genshin for the murder.
|Klint van Zieks' Will|
|"I pen this, my last will and testament, in the final moments before my inevitable and willing death. The hour is 11 p.m. and I sit at my writing desk in my office; my good friend Asogi stands at my shoulder. He has expressed his intent to invoke the dying ritual of the duel, that I may depart this world with honour. An honour of which I am utterly undeserving. The Japanese are a truly merciful people. I, Klint van Zieks, lord of the manor of the van Zieks estate, hereby confess to the following: I am the killer who has come to be known in society as “The Professor”, guilty of four counts of murder. I will not here discourse the corruption rife among the aristocracy, which is to me, as one of them, so apparent. However, six months ago, I took the life of a member of the House of Lords at the heart of the depravity. A demon who habitually sacrificed the common man to further his own interests, abusing his position of power. The law is impotent against such vile avarice. Only a fellow demon can rid society of this menace. That demon was my quarry, upon whom I willingly set my great hound. But though I am a hunter of some experience, I am a poor felon, it seems. My guilt was at once recognized by another, and I became subject to his extortion. He held over me the threat of exposing my wicked crime to my beloved wife and brother. Under that threat, I have done this man's bidding for months now, killing those he demanded I kill. As I watched my former mentor perish before my eyes at the jaws of the hound I commanded... ...I realised that I had lost the last shred of decency within me...and sunk to the level of a wild beast. There is no path back to the light. Be it I or my dear friend Asogi who dies this night...I am eternally damned. To my extortioner, Mael Stronghart...may you feel the jaws of the beast at your throat every time you swallow. As I confront the prospect of my demise... I feel bitter regret for my younger brother. Barok, you have always looked up to me, and now, you follow in my steps to become a prosecutor. It is my fervent wish that my unspeakable deeds should not hinder your advancement. I ask not for understanding, for none could understand my depravity. I ask only for forgiveness. Asogi is a fine detective, and a hunter worthy of respect. He has agreed to honour my final two wishes. The first is that this document survives. The second...I cannot commit to paper. I have confessed my sins to my wife. May she find resolution in my death. With my eternal gratitude to my Japanese friend, I rest my quill."|
Klint van Zieks
Wanting to protect Klint van Zieks' crimes and possibly his own involvement to keep the law running as smoothly as possible, Justice Minister Stronghart roped Detective Tobias Gregson and Doctor John H. Wilson into a forging scheme: his reasoning was that he didn't want the people to know that a fellow British noble and London's chief prosecutor was responsible for the killings. First, Gregson was to collect a group of thugs and attack Genshin Asogi, stealing his trademark ring. At that time, Genshin was accompanied by Barok, who assumed the thugs were after him because he had been targeted a lot due to him being Klint's brother prior to this accident. Secondly, with Stronghart's help, Gregson was to advocate Klint's autopsy before the House of Lords even though especially with aristocrats, these weren't usually performed. Thirdly, Wilson was to keep his assistants, Courtney Stevens and Yujin Mikotoba, busy during the dissection and was to pretend to find the ring in Klint's stomach, coming to the conclusion that Klint had swallowed it to provide proof for his killer. Despite the discrepancies in Klint's death in comparison to the Professor's other victims, that is dying of a stab wound to the heart rather than having his throat torn apart by a hound like the other nobles, he was treated as the last of the Professor's victims and Genshin Asogi was arrested and tried as the Professor.
|Klint's Autopsy Report|
|Coroner: John H. Wilson|
*Name: Klint van Zieks (Male)
Time of Death
*31st May, between 9:00 p.m. and midnight
*Death from a single stab wound to the heart. Other superficial external wounds, indicative of a duel.
*Recent scarlet ink stains visible on the little and ring fingers of the right hand, but no document in corresponding ink was found.
*Vital evidence recovered from the victim's stomach during autopsy. Credit to Inspector Gregson for petitioning so doggedly for the autopsy procedure. No internal trauma noted anywhere in the body.
John H. Wilson
Before Genshin was transported to Barclay Prison, he was ordered to write a will at the prosecutor's office by Stronghart. Genshin wrote the will in black ink asking that all his personal affects be sent overseas to his son. He wrote an additional page as a message, secretly a hint to where he had hidden Klint's will and thus the truth, but Stronghart and chief officer Barry Caidin kept the last page. Genshin kept Klint's will in the hilt of his sword, Karuma, hoping that it could one day be found and reveal the truth. He referred to it as his "weapon" because not only did it reveal Klint's identity as the Professor, but also pointed to Stronghart as the one who threatened him to continue killing. Stronghart realized this and went mad, so he approached Genshin for a deal: keep the will secret and accept a guilty verdict at the trial, and he would arrange for Genshin's escape from prison so he can go back to Japan. Genshin refused to agree until Stronghart brought up the prospect of never seeing his family again, and then caved in.
|Genshin Asogi's Will|
|Pg. 1 |
I, Genshin Asogi, hereby request that upon my death, any and all material possessions and wealth belonging to me in London be delivered to my son, Kazuma Asogi, in the Empire of Japan.
It is with deep sadness that I accept my fate in this foreign land, in the knowledge that I will never see my homeland or family again. But I regret nothing about my chosen path.
Kazuma... The truth is shrouded in darkness. A darkness only our clan's great sword can pierce.
Twist thy head and watch them fall,
All thy mortal foes!
A secret trial was held by orders of the Queen as she was afraid this incident might damage the trust between their country and Japan with the possibility of war, they were in the middle of negotiating the establishment of an alliance treaty. Genshin was forced to wear a metal mask to keep his identity hidden. Mael Stronghart was replaced with Barok van Zieks as the prosecutor due to his insistence in avenging his brother despite formerly feeling gratitude towards Genshin for "saving" him from the thugs. This was his very first trial so Stronghart became his co-counsel. Van Zieks won it swiftly and together with a guilty-verdict, Genshin received the death penalty. Seishiro Jigoku was a witness to the trial, but trying to lighten Genshin's punishment when he gave his witness testimony, he smashed the witness stand and was arrested for bringing words of humiliation to England. The day before his supposed execution, Genshin had asked Yujin for one last favor: to visit a certain address.
The prosecutor's office sent a letter to Barry Caidin to set the jailbreak plan in motion while the chief warder, Daley Vigil, supervised Genshin in his solitary cell for a week. At midnight on Monday, June 7th, Stronghart involved Stevens, as the coroner who "confirmed" Genshin's death after execution via hanging. Vigil was waiting in the room next door. He was supposed to check on the body, nail the coffin lid shut and sign a certificate confirming the prisoner's death. But when Vigil went to check, he found the lid already nailed on. Vigil, assuming that the vice-chief warder had already checked Genshin's body and nailed the coffin shut for him, signed off on the death certificate.
Mael Stronghart got Seishiro Jigoku to help him with sending Genshin home after he was prosecuted by Barok at his own trial but managed to get acquitted and pay for the stand repairs. He jumped on board after Stronghart promised him the Minister of Foreign Affairs' position back in Japan. The two headed to Lowgate Cemetery, right next to Barclay Prison, to dig Genshin out and begin his journey back before the air in the coffin ran out. However, when they arrived at 3 AM, a grave robber named Enoch Drebber had appeared in the cemetery that night and dug Genshin out of plot 139. He stared at what appeared to be the Professor rising from his grave like a zombie. It was there that Stronghart told Jigoku the plan was over since Drebber would most likely reveal that the execution was faked, they had no choice but to shoot Genshin to keep him dead for real if they didn't want to be ruined. Jigoku argued that Stronghart made Genshin a promise but he eventually shot Genshin Asogi with the gun Stronghart just gave him, Genshin was killed causing the blood-covered Drebber to flee. Stronghart and Jigoku then reburied Genshin and went on their ways, but Stronghart couldn't find Klint's hidden will anywhere.
Jigoku still became the Minister despite what happened. French sculptor, Esmeralda Tusspells, was also waiting in the cemetery to make a wax figure from Genshin. She notice the jaw was slack and realized that he was buried alive. The grave keeper who helped her informed Stronghart about this, he allowed the wax sculpture as long as Tusspells never took off the metal mask on it or reveal what happened. The newspapers made a big fuss about the grave rising incident that they learned about from Drebber, but a police press conference confirmed Genshin dead. Daley Vigil was blamed for helping Genshin escape and was fired from being the chief warder. In response, he attempted suicide by jumping out of the watch tower but survived and suffered amnesia.
Meanwhile, Yujin did as Genshin told him and found a woman at the home address in Dartmoor about to give birth. He also witnessed Balmung dying on the front lawn. He helped deliver a baby girl, but the mother died shortly after. Seeing a chest with a certain "B" crest on it in the corner of the room, Yujin dreadfully realized that the newborn girl he was holding was the child of Klint van Zieks and a woman of the Baskervilles. As he had to return to Japan with Jigoku, he was forced to leave the baby behind and decided to give her into the care of Herlock Sholmes, a detective and his trusted partner during his time in England. Yujin had named the girl Iris after his own deceased wife, Ayame Mikotoba. After his return to Japan, Yujin told Genshin's son, Kazuma, that his father had died of an illness and took him in to live with. Years later, Iris found some notes on the Professor killings and wrote a story about it entitled "The Hound of the Baskervilles", but after Sholmes read it he was worried that it may reveal Iris' father as a serial killer and didn't allow her to publish it. He sent the manuscript to Yujin Mikotoba, and he also wanted to see Klint's autopsy report. Iris noticed the handwriting on it matched the writings in the trunk of Sholmes' adventure stories. Assuming it was her dad's handwriting, she took the name "Iris Wilson" and began writing "The Adventures of Herlock Sholmes". But the truth is that Dr. Wilson only signed it, Yujin worked on the autopsy completely as he was supposed to write down his thoughts for Wilson to approve of.
The Reaper Curse
Mael Stronghart started to bring a curse upon Barok van Zieks not too long after the Professor Killings. In his desire to create a world of order and safety for the people of London, he created an organization that would kill those that managed to escape guilty verdicts. The first of them was Chalan Musgrave, head of a criminal organization in a trial that Barok headed. Musgrave got acquitted by threatening the jury and was crushed by concrete blocks at a construction site three days afterward. It was the same thing with ten more trials Barok lost, the causes of death included being hit by carriages, fever sicknesses, mugged by highwaymen, and drowning in the Thames river. Rumors began to spread that this "Reaper" was actually Klint's ghost attached to Barok, bringing down justice where the latter could not. These rumors were spread by Stronghart, as he knew Barok would cling to that moniker to hold onto something of his brother's. People referred to Barok as variated names like the "Reaper of the Bailey."
Stronghart involved people like Tobias Gregson, who would carefully investigate the targets and come up with the best way to eliminate them. Asa Shinn, London's most notorious assassin, was the primary assassin. Their hideout was an old apartment room on Fresno Street just outside of London, Daley Vigil was renting it out under the peddler ego of "Hugh Boone". John Wilson was involved as well, he changed the autopsy records of those killed by the Grim Reaper. Courtney Stevens, with her surname now Sithe, took his place after Wilson was invited by by Yujin Mikotoba overseas to become a professor. Gregson and Wilson only accepted doing as Stronghart says on the condition that Barok would not be held responsible for the Reaper killings. Barok eventually took a five year leave of absence as he was unable to bear the burden and pressure that came with being labelled as the Grim Reaper. Meanwhile, a criminal from Manchester named Selden, stole Balmung's dog collar, which had been a gift from the Baskerville family upon Klint's marriage, from the van Zieks manor and hid it in his flat.
The Assassination Exchange Program
Mael Stronghart began to realize being Chief Justice wasn't enough to fulfill his desires of an orderly, crime-free London; he had to become the Attorney General at the upcoming International Forensic Science Symposium no matter what. But to do that, he would need to cut off a few loose ends: those of Detective Gregson and Dr. Wilson specifically, as they were the only remaining individuals that knew the truth about Klint's autopsy AKA Stronghart's past. To do this, he blackmailed Jigoku with the truth of Genshin's murder, and created a "Target Switch" assassin program. Using the recently completed Japanese-Anglo Treaty of Commerce and Navigation that allowed criminals in a foreign country to be extradited to their consulate, England and Japan would switch assassins.
- Main article: The Adventure of the Great Departure
First, England would send Asa Shinn, disguised as exchange student Jezaille Brett, to murder John Wilson. Once that was established, Japan would send Kazuma Asogi, who inherited Karuma, to murder Tobias Gregson. Under the condition of Genshin's study abroad, Kazuma readily accepted it hoping to find out the truth about his father's death. Once the consular courts acquitted them, they would be able to return to their homelands. To solidify this deal, and to prove as a kind of contract, a transmission was sent from England to Japan containing these four names. A copy of said transmission would later be projected onto two music box discs by Ashley Graydon (who worked in the telegraph office) to sell to Magnus McGilded.
Asogi's "Death" and Herlock's Resolve
Herlock Sholmes had a habit of listening in on transmissions between England and Japan, that was when he saw the four names. Having heard of Wilson's death from Yujin and given Shinn had been missing in London for months, he was afraid that the four names on this list were the names of victims. After Kazuma's best friend, Ryunosuke Naruhodo, exposed Shinn for killing Wilson. She was supposed to be extradited to Shanghai, China but she was killed by Raiten Menimemo right before leaving. Before Kazuma left for Japan, Yujin's daughter, Susato, accidentally saw the "Hound of the Baskervilles" manuscript in his office while she was cleaning. So Yujin sent it back to Sholmes who gave it to Pop Windibank to lock up in his pawn shop.
- Main article: The Adventure of the Unbreakable Speckled Band
Having boarded the SS Burya, Sholmes resolved to prevent Kazuma's study abroad by any means possible to save him. He soon got his chance when Kazuma got knocked out by Nikolina Pavlova, he intended to leave his "corpse" at the embassy in Hong Kong to be sent back to Japan, and convince Naruhodo to take up Kazuma's place as the transfer attorney, ensuring that Kazuma wouldn't be able to come to England for at least a few years. However, Kazuma escaped and made it to England on a cargo ship. Mael Stronghart forced him to adopt the Masked Disciple persona and not reveal his identity.
Sholmes would later convince Tobias Gregson to transfer to France to join the Parisian Police and take his protégé, former pickpocket Gina Lestrade, with him for his protection. It wasn't until he overheard Naruhodo, Yujin, and Susato talking at the Great Waterloo Hotel that he realized that Asa Shinn hadn't disappeared and had actually killed John Wilson in Japan. Making him realize that Kazuma and Gregson's relationship would've likely been the same.
Tobias Gregson's death
- Main article: Twisted Karma and His Last Bow
With the visiting student cover no longer available for any replacement assassins from Japan since Naruhodo took Asogi's place in the study abroad Seishiro Jigoku decided to go to London to kill Tobias Gregson himself. Upon contacting Mael Stronghart, the chief assigned Gregson a "Reaper mission" for the date of October 31st aboard the SS Grouse as it headed for Dunkirk, France as a trap for his death. The "target" was Jigoku for escaping his trial ten years ago and the assassin sent with him was Kazuma Asogi. However, before meeting Jigoku, Kazuma forced Gregson to tell the truth about Genshin's trial in which Kazuma grew incensed and attacked him with his sword. But after missing, Kazuma decided to leave it at that, disembarking in Dunkirk and staying the night. Leaving Gregson to take on Jigoku alone. Upon Jigoku's arrival, Gregson tried to kill him, but the judge managed to shoot Gregson dead. Jigoku then froze his body before dumping it in Daley Vigil's apartment to pin the crime on him. But Barok van Zieks, who happened upon the body in the apartment first during his own investigations, took the fall instead.
- Main article: The Resolve of Naruhodo Ryunosuke
With the help of Susato, Yujin, Sholmes, Iris, Kazuma, Barok, Lestrade, Vigil, and Sithe's daughter Maria Gorey, Naruhodo exposed Jigoku for his crimes. Then he found Klint's will written in scarlet ink in Karuma, exposing Mael Stronghart behind as the mastermind behind Genshin, Klint, and even the Reaper. Stronghart attempted to say that they can't reveal any of this to the public because it will lose their trust in the law and that he did all this for the greater good, but Sholmes revealed that he was telecasting the whole trial to Queen Victoria who stripped Stronghart of his position as London's Chief Justice so he can be tried with the public watching. After the trial, Iris decided that it no longer matters to her who her real father is, as far as she's concerned Herlock Sholmes is her papa. But as Yujin revealed to Naruhodo that he faked an illness to prevent any investigation of the matter, he's come to accept that Iris will accept her true parentage when the time comes.
- The alias, "Professor", might be an allusion to Professor James Moriarty, the arch-nemesis of Sherlock Holmes in the original stories.
- The references to a Baskerville family as well as a murderous black hound are likely allusions to the Sherlock Holmes story, The Hound of the Baskervilles.
- All of the cases in both The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures and The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve have a connection to this case.
- The cases involving Japan and Kazuma's trip are the assassination exchange program Stronghart orchestrated.
- The incident with Graydon and McGilded revolved around discs encoded with a government secret: the above program. The password to exchange one of them from Windibank's Pawnbrokery was coincidentally, "PROFESSOR".
- The mysteries involving Soseki Natsume in John Garrideb's boarding house revolved around Balmung's stolen collar. The rumors regarding Selden's ghost are also similar to the Grim Reaper.
- The murder at the World's fair happened because Odie Asman knew about Enoch Drebber and Courtney Sithe's role in the incident. Esmeralda Tuspells also made a wax exhibit of how Drebber encountered Genshin, she is one of the only people that saw his face.
- The twisted lip man and red-headed league incident happened alongside Gregson's murder.