Description: Mitsuru Tokugawa is missing. Fortunately, Robert "Bob" Richards is on the case. The last person to see Mitsuru was Steve Fox, but will he have any answers for Bob? Even if he does, will they come easily?
Robert "Bob" Richards is a man who gets around when it comes to detective work. His reputation as a fighter precedes him in the worst ways, it often seems, but it's done little to curb either the man's willingness to take on the most dangeorus jobs or people's willingness to hire him when Trouble is involved. Surely his first meetings sometimes get some strange looks with Bob's appearance, but anyone who's seen the man in the Neo League or SNF knows he can get hold his own when it comes to a scrap.
But how he wound up a bloodhound on the trail to Mitsuru Tokugawa is a story in itself, and a tale for another time. For now, Bob is simply on the trail of a rowdy high schooler who was on her way to a tournament but never got there. The last man known to have seen her is one Steve Fox, a boxer of some repute---and Bob's only lead.
Bob's figure makes him easy to spot as he works his way through the crowd toward the underground arena. At 6'4 and well over 300 lbs, the man is anything but hard to miss. He turns sideways to slide between disgruntled spectators, still struggling to avoid knocking one over in a chorus of jeers and snarls. Finally, Bob finds a good spot near the sidelines to watch the fight and see if his intel was right on Steve taking part in the circuit.
"HEY! Wide load! Down in front!"
"Sorry!" Bob calls, trying to crouch just a little.
Ever since his loss against Mitsuru Steve had been left feeling uneasy, he was somewhat worried for the girl and, as such decided to revisit the arena as combatant in the hopes of learning what happened to her, and to get some more fights in along the way. He scheduled a fight the day before and was now getting ready to enter the ring, wearing a dark blue Puffer coat and jeans, with white sneakers on his feet. It was a cold evening after all.
As he steps into the ring and out in the open the audience lets loose a combination of cheers and mockery. "You planning on talking your opponent to death again?!", a particulary rowdy spectator shouts. Steve grumbles as he puts in his mouthguard. "Looks like the crowd is as idiotic as ever."
His opponent is a large man that gives a very "common thug" impression. he is dressed in a green tank-top and has a bleached mohawk, he points his arm and shoots a mean look at Steve in an attempt to taunt him. "I'l send you right back to Europe, pretty boy!" Apparently he is a popular face amongst the crowds as a overwhelming amount of cheers are shouted in his favor.
"Good luck to you too mate, lets make this quick" Steve says as the Gong is rung.
"That definitely looks like the guy," Bob says to himself as Steve enters. His eyes narrow with focus, zeroing in on the blond hair, the Puffer coat, the sneakers. As Bob makes his observations his attention shifts sideways to the green tanktop. A favorite, no doubt, from the sounds of the crowd. The big man strokes his chin(s) thoughtfully, running his fingers through the coarse, ever-present five-o'clock shadow.
"This should be interesting," Bob says. "Let's see if this is the guy..."
"Hey buddy," the man next to Bob cuts in. "Could you keep it down? No need for the play by play."
Steve instantly dashes forward the moment the gong hits, his arms in the Orthodox boxing stance. His opponent attempts to strike him with a wide hook, but he swiftly ducks under while retorting with a crouching uppercut to his chin, his fist strikes perfectly as his opponent stumbles backwards. "Why you-" he begins, but gets interrupted by a trio of quick jabs to and a hook to the face, after which Steve quickly dashes out of reach as a unrefined straight boot comes his way. The man is obviously quite tough and strong, but he lacks speed or technique almost completely.
Come on, you can do better then that!" Steve taunts as he jump back in punching range to continue his barrage. The thug unexpectedly runs forwards as he tries to crash his entire body into Steve. He blocks the charge, but the sheer impact still leaves a nasty bruise. "I'll stomp you into the ground!" tanktop roars as he swings his his right arm widely, attempting to hit Steve's head with the inside of his elbow- a clothesline! As this series of events unfold, the crowd has settled down a little as their favorite is on the risk of losing.
The Boxer sees the slow attack coming from a mile as a swiftly ducks to his left, under the clothesline and flanking his opponent's right.. He then counters by sinking a left body blow into his opponents stomach, making him retch over. Having created a opportunity for himself, he circles around his opponent and releases a tenfold of well-aimed punches all across the thug's body. This final maneuver marked the end of the conflict, as tanktop crumples down to the ground. The organizer comes running over has he gives the man a quick inspection.
"We have our winner folks! K.O by Steve fox!"
"Oh yeah," Bob smiles, "that's the guy. --uh, excuse me." The big man is shuffling around, trying to push his way through the crowd toward the arena exit. Each step is careful, intentional. For his size, he moves well. The problem remains that there just isn't much room TO move. The whole ordeal turns into something of a spectacle, like a bull in a china shop who's concerned about footing the bill.
"Excuse me," Bob says, first to a bystander who almost gets bowled over by his belly. "Excuse me!" he repeats, louder on the second to Steve. "Steve Fox! Do you have a minute?"
As Steve starts walking out of the arena, planning to join the spectators to ask around about Mitusru, a voice calls out to him, as he looks over he sees a man that sticks out like a sore thumb. He changes his path and starts walking towards the spectator stand where the abosolute behemoth of a man is shouting from. "Sure thing mate, what's going on?" he asks, raising his voice over the roaring crowd as he leans on the railing that separates the crowd and combatants.
"Well, to be honest," Bob looks at Steve, then past Steve. There's a moment of appraisal. A careful glance around the room to see--something or someone. Or maybe the absence of something? His eyes move back to Steve.
"I need to ask you about a Mitsuru Tokugawa, but," Bob tugs at his collar.
"Maybe there's somewhere a little more private."
Steve's smiling demeanor immediatly shifted to serious concern as her name was mentioned. Looking Bob in the eye "Alright, lets go". Steve continues walking to the exits and beckons Bob to come with, looking for a alley or street corner to talk.
Once Steve's with him, Bob moves like a man with a mission. There's still that courtesy, that general attempt to avoid bowling over the crowd like a man-sized wrecking ball. Despite it, Bob makes a genuine effort to get where he's going and people realize quickly they need to move.
"So you've met Mitsuru before, is that right?" Bob asks. His tone is pleasant, friendly even. Conversational, at the least.
Steve Leaned against the alley wall and sighed deeply as he started.
"I suppose you could say that, she gave me a thorough beating a couple of days ago." He looks Bob directly in the eyes.
"I haven't seen her at all since our battle. I got dumped in an alley after being knocked out." Steve's neutral expression changes to that of shame
"The crowd really seemed to do a number on her mentally, and i physically. She was in seriously bad shape at the end of all of it."
"Is she doing alright?"
Bob returns Steve's look without budging, but there's also no judgment there. Bob had his share of losses, too. It's a testament more to how capable Mitsuru is than a failing on Steve's part, at least for Bob. It has troubling implications for what follows, however.
"So where'd this battle take place? Same circuit?" Bob asks. "To be honest," Bob reaches up and runs his fingers through his mop of blond hair. "I'm trying to figure that out. Seems she went missing not long after."
"Went missing?!" Steve's eyes widen as hears that last sentence. Steve composes himself and responds. "Yes. It took place in this cesspool, a strange place for a girl like her."
The man in front of him is obviously experienced in these kinds of situations, his demeanor makes it easy to trust him.
"I presume you are looking for her, me being your only lead, is that correct?" Although Steve does his best to seem calm, small hints of worry and slight panic might be obvious to the trained eye.
"Hmmmm," the last syllable lingers for a moment as Bob draws a notepad out of his shirt pocket and a pen. The steady sound of his scribbling becomes percussion as he continues to speak.
"That's right," Bob says, "As a professional, I can't disclose my client, but I think it's someone with her wellbeing in mind." Bob gives Steve a wry smile. "I'm pretty good at judging that kind of thing."
Steve sits down on a nearby trashcan. "Since i'm a dead end, what's your next move?" Steve thinks for a moment as he asks this question. "You could try asking around in the circuit, i'm sure there are people in the crowd that saw our battle."
Bob steps back and leans against a nearby wall, trusting the heavy brick well far more than a trashcan with his particular girth. He keeps scribbling, the steady sound of graphite on paper weaving in between his words.
"Yeah," Bob says, "Cases like this are seldom easy, but that's my first step. You didn't notice any suspicious characters during your fight by any chance, did you?" Bob taps his cheek with his eraser.
"Anyone leering around the sidelines or something like that?"
"I never took a good look at the crowds. I'd say the only person of note might have been the tournament organisor, he seemed to be leading everything around the tournament, he's here today as well." Steve scratches his head
"He gave off a real "shady" vibe, if nothing else he might know where she went after the brawl.
Steve sighs deeply "Truth be told, i am worried about her. I am the one that likely put her in her current situation."
"That's fair," Bob says, "you've got enough on your hands minding a fight if someone's up to snuff." Bob taps his pencil a few times on the pad. "The organizer, eh? I'll have to pull some of my sources and see what I can find out."
But then Steve suggests that he's to blame. Bob frowns. "Why's that? She won the fight, didn't she?"
"She won the fight, but it was very close. She was heavily weakend and injured by the end of it." Steve slumps down a bit. "The fight put some heavy mental weight on her as well, the crowd's mocking and jeering really got into her head. She was in a vunerable position at that time." Steve runs a hand through his slick blond hair.
"If at all possible, i would like to help. Be it warranted or not, i do feel responsible."
"Hmm," Bob writes something down with a heavy scribble. "So the crowd didn't like her, huh? Any particular reason, from what you can tell? Might tell us about a motive..."
"Well, any help's appreciated. As much as I'd say I'm a professional, what matters most is getting the job done and getting this girl home." Bob reaches out and puts a hand on Steve's shoulder, unless he rejects it.
"But don't blame yourself." He smiles. "We'll find her and get this all worked out."
Steve lets Bob's hand sit on his shoulder. "The disdain of the crowd mostly came from the fact that i was beating her for the first part of the battle, and her rather... emotional response to that. She threw a couple of rants my way to insult me, accusing me of humiliating her, calling me a bully, et cetera. It was honestly heartbreaking to see her confidence shatter like that." Steve looks down at the ground.
"I really tried defusing the situation and making the poor girl feel a little better, i even took a couple of blows on purpose. But it didn't quite work, she is extremely tough, but mentally fragile." Thinking back on all the things she said, Steve tried to pick out any sort of hint to what might have happened.
The one thing she said that stands out would be that she accused me of being send by her father to defeat her, but i rather doubt that having to do with this situation."
Bob listens intently. He gives Steve's shoulder a firm squeeze before letting go and letting his hand back to his side. In a moment, he's taking notes again.
"Sounds like a recipe for trouble," Bob says. "But you did the best you could, y'know?" Bob keeps scribbling, pausing just long enough to turn the page. "...her father, huh? Sounds like she's expecting trouble."
"That is likely all noteworthy information i can give you. Thank you for hearing me out." Steve stands up and stretches his arms. "You haven't introduced yourself yet, What's your name?"
"Bob," the large man answers. "I'm a fighter myself, actually. Been in a few tournaments here and there, even." He gives Steve a winning smile that has the confidence of a man much smaller than Bob presently is.
"But thanks for your help. If you don't mind me taking down some contact information I'll keep you updated if I get any leads."
"Good to formally meet you, Bob. I hadn't expected that from someone with your...." Steve chooses his next words carefully. "....Build. Im sure seeing you in the ring is a sight to behold!" Steve takes out his smartphone, and shares his mobile number, as well as the adress of the hotel he is currently staying at.
"Let me know if you need a little extra muscle when the situation demands it, i'd be a wack investigator but i know how to throw a punch!" He starts slowly starts walking out while looking back to Bob. "I wish you the best of luck mate, i hope you manage to track down the girl."
"Believe it or not, that's not the first time I've heard something like that," Bob says, rolling with the punches. "But not to worry." They exchange numbers and Bob pockets his phone once more.
"I'll get to the bottom of this. Don't you worry." He gives Steve a quick thumbs-up as he leaves. As the man is out of earshot, he adds, "Hopefully before she gets herself into some real trouble..."
Log created on 14:32:04 12/26/2019 by Bob, and last modified on 13:36:00 12/30/2019.