Matsuo Shin and The Treasure of the Deep
Matsuo Shin and The Treasure of the Deep is story 14 in the continuing adventures of Matsuo Shin.
Matsuo goes one night to relax at The Hotel after a long day of working on his manuscript. Deciding to take an evening walk, he steps outside, only to get hit in the neck by a small dart, knocking him out. As he drifts into unconsciousness, he sees a group of men surrounding him.
He awakens the next day in a luxurious room. Still feeling a bit of a headache, he senses others on the other side of the door. Slowly getting out of the bed, he carefully approaches it, slamming it open and knocking aside the group of men stationed outside. They start to draw weapons but Matsuo is able to disable them. However, before he can get very far, he is stopped by another larger man, who holds a gun to his head. Giving up, he follows them as they take him to another room.
Sitting down in a chair, he is soon introduced to the owners of the mansion: ____ and ____ Kaioh. _____ apologizes to an angry Matsuo for the kidnapping but they needed his assistance as quickly as possible. She asks Matsuo if he has ever heard of the Tide Jewels. He says he has not and so she tells him the story, of how long ago a fisherman found the jewels in the sea, which contained the powers of the gods and using them gained great fortune, including defending Japan against invasion. She goes on further to explain that the man who found them was in fact her ancestor and though they were said to have been housed in two shrines across Japan, she tells him that they were in fact fake and the real stones went missing some time before the Taisho era. She asks Matsuo to help recover the jewels, before they fall into the wrong hands. Matsuo states clearly that he isn’t even sure that they are the right people but she convinces him that it is better to work for them rather then chance it with someone else. He then asks if they have any leads to start him off on and she suggests that all they know is the last known date it was seen and that perhaps he may find something within his university’s archives. As he is about to leave, she insists on sending a body guard with him for “extra precaution”, something which makes him just a little suspicious but he does not argue the point.
At Tokyo University’s archive, Matsuo is looking over various documents, trying to find any reference he can to the Tidel Jewels. He gets irritated by his bodyguard, a young man named Yoshiro, who constantly asks him questions and looks over his shoulder. He asks him point blank if he’s there to keep an eye on him, only to be dumbfounded to find out the young man doesn’t even know himself but that he had been told that it was important to keep him safe. When he asks safe from what, Yoshiro calms up on the subject. Before, Matsuo can press the subject, however, he suddenly finds a lead, a reference to the jewels apparently being seen by a “foreign man” before vanishing from the records. Matsuo grows quite excited by this and looking further into the subject, discovers on that day, a group of Dutchmen lead by one Duc Van Dorfen, who had visited the shrines. Matsuo becomes certain if they can follow where he went, then perhaps they can find where they were now located. Just as he’s about to look, though, he becomes aware of a group of men slowly surrounding him. Yoshiro as well notices and is about to pull out his gun, but Matsuo tells him not to, in order to try and escape without causing too much of a ruckus. The two slowly begin to escape, only for it too soon turn into a chase between the group. Matsuo is able to disable a few of them men using lonchiki while Yoshiro takes out another with a judo throw, allowing the two to escape in their car. However, they are seen by the group’s leader, a man with a long scar across his face, who in turn berates his subordinates for losing them. He then places a call to someone on the phone, reporting the loss but telling them that they’ll “take care of the problem.
At a hotel, Matsuo sits on a bed, while Yoshiro keeps an eye out the window. When he goes to report to Matsuo that there is no one outside, he finds the man strangely unresponsive. Panicking, he manages to shake Matsuo out of it, though Matsuo himself seems oddly disappointed in this. He then explains he was talking to his wife and she helped him to research Van Dorfen. Apparently the ship that he and his men were on left Japan shortly after their visit to the shrine but it sank off the coast of what is now South Korea. When Yoshiro asks what their next plan is, Matsuo says that they’re about to go “treasure hunting”. Yoshiro quickly makes a call to _____ to tell her the great news, while Matsuo works on getting the money transferred for the boat they’ll need to take to the spot.
After a boat trip, the group arrives at the area. Matsuo quickly gears up for the dive, telling Yoshiro to stay above in case of trouble. When Yoshiro asks how they can be sure the jewels hadn’t been taken already, especially since the area of the wreck had been recorded before, Matsuo tells him that they simply have to take the chance. Matsuo then dives under the water. Carefully going further and further under the water, Matsuo has a few near misses with a shark before he finally spots the wreck. Entering it, he swims through the ship, before finally finding the remains of the storage area. Spotting a box, he works to pry it open, only to find it empty. Just then, he is set upon by divers, who try to attack him with harpoons and knives. While he manages to dispatch them, the fight causes part of the ship to collapse on top of him, pinning him under pieces of the wood and breaking his oxygen tank. As he begins to run out of air, Matsuo manages with great difficulty to use his telekinesis to push the wood off him. Quickly swimming back to the top, he finds the boat taken over by men who point guns at him, as well the body of Yoshiro, wrapped in chains and attached to an anchor. The man with the scar looks over at Matsuo and welcomes him aboard.
Apparently later, a bruised and battered Matsuo looks up at the man, who introduces himself as Saburo the Bear. He apologizes for his men’s rough treatment of him but they needed to make his point clear. He then demands Matsuo tell him where the jewels are but Matsuo tells him they aren’t there. One of the other toughs accuses him of lying but Matsuo argues that if he had been lying, then he would know, besides he already suspects Saburo knew as well. Saburo admits that and also admits that he needs him to find where it actually is. When Matsuo still refuses, Saburo lets Matsuo in on a little secret: he was hired by the Kaiohs as well, to have a better chance of finding what they wanted. Yoshiro was just a sacrificial pawn in the game, to keep track of him. Matsuo admits through clenched teeth that he figured as much. Saburo then again suggests they team up, though this time, even hinting that he can use this chance to keep it away from the Kaiohs. Noticing the large amount of armed guards around him, he realizes very quickly that he has little choice.
As the ship leaves the area, Matsuo sets to work on the research that he can, though the whole time he finds himself under guard. One evening, he is finally allowed above ground and finds himself looking across the ocean. Saburo tries to make conversation, speaking of how while the sea looks beautiful, it often hides dangers beneath. Matsuo wonders if he is trying to say something about himself, something Saburo laughs off. He then asks Matsuo about his research and after some prodding the obviously angry Matsuo, manages to find out from him that while the ship they found apparently belonged to Van Dorfen, it wasn’t the one he actually was on. Rather another ship left Japan and apparently docked at Malta, where Van Dorfen apparently passed away and there is only one place on the island that Matsuo can think of where a man of his wealth would be buried there. With this new information, the ship heads off to Malta.
Docking at the island, Matsuo is lead off the vessel by gunpoint, Saburo following behind. As Matsuo walks, he notices a motorcycle set outside a nearby restaurant. As they walk past it, Matsuo knocks over the man nearest him and grabs the motorcycle, driving off. Saburo orders his men after him and they grab the nearest motorbikes, giving chase. After a harrowing chase through the streets, Matsuo finally manages to lose them. Noticing the church of St Paul in the distance, Matsuo makes his way toward the building, unaware Saburo watching him from a hidden corner. Making his way inside, Matsuo is able to blend into a small tour group, which make their way past the entrance of the catacombs. Remembering what he read before, Matsuo is able to duck down into the passage way and heads down underneath the church.
Walking through the darkness, Matsuo is able to create a makeshift torch and moves along the passageways. Feeling his way along, he soon discovers a marking in the stone shaped like the family crest of Van Dorfen and touching it, opens a secret hidden room. As he enters, he finds himself inside a mausoleum, dominated by the casket of Van Dorfen himself. Carefully approaching, he removes the stone lid, discovering the mummified remains of the corpse, holding in each hand the twin Tide Stones. Carefully removing them, he is astonished to realize what they actually are: artifacts from the planet Neptune! His excitement is cut short when he hears the sound of a gun behind him and turns, only to find Saburo with his men standing there, waiting for him. Saburo is disappointed in Matsuo, since they had a deal and has his men take the stones from the archeologist, who protests that he doesn’t understand what they are. Saburo mocks him and decides that he might keep them himself as he’s certain someone will pay a handsome price for them. As he says these words, the stones become active, bathing the entire room in an unearthly watery light, filing it with the sound of the ocean and storms. Matsuo protests, trying to make Saburo see reason, but the power of the stones make Saburo feel invincible, as if he can challenge the gods themselves. However, this spooks his second in command, who tries to grab the stones from him. As they struggle, the sound of the sea grows louder and louder, until the walls suddenly crack apart, a great deluge of water sweeping in. Matsuo only has time to dive out of the room before the entire structure collapses onto itself, burying the men and the stones apparently forever. Matsuo staggers back to the surface, only to find a bright sunny day on the island, with no sign of the storm he heard from inside the room.
After a time, Matsuo makes his way back to Japan and barges into the Kaiohs manor. He expresses his disgust at them over their plans for the stones and the lives lost because of their greed. However, he also admits that he has no intention of stooping their level. Both of them seem confused by what he is saying and has no idea of who he is and why he came to their home. Satisfied by the memory erasure he has done to them, he leaves the mansion, pausing only long enough to listen to the distant sea.
- The Tide Stones/Neptunian Holy Gems (Lost)