48 Hours a Day

Chapter 259 - Kumamon

Chapter 259 Kumamon

Zhang Heng started observing the crowd after collecting his number. This time, the situation was way more complicated than the pharmacy. There were students, couples, families, sons and daughters, and office workers waiting to enter the restaurant. In total, 20 to 30 people were queuing up. Zhang Heng even saw a gay couple in the line, with the slightly plump one donning Hello-Kitty hair clip on the left of his head.

On the surface, it was hard to find out the person who peeped at him. Even though a couple of high-school students were looking at his direction, Zhang Heng knew that they were actually staring at Hayase Asuka. She was standing close to them before they queued in front of the restaurant. In other words, they weren’t the ones who peeped at him.

Besides, the mall was an open space, and many different people regularly passed him. Technically, it was entirely possible that the person staring at him wasn’t in the line at all. Zhang Heng could feel something about to happen to him. However, he couldn’t figure out what exactly, and it frustrated him.

Suddenly, someone tapped his shoulder. Zhang Heng then heard Hayase Asuka screaming in excitement. When he turned around, he saw a Kumamon mascot. Many shopping malls would hire people in costumes to walk around, a marketing strategy to attract more customers. Usually, children and girls adored Kumamon a lot.

Just as expected, Hayasa Akuma was elated when she saw the mascot.

“Ah! So cute! I didn’t expect to see Kumamon in China!”

As Hayase Asuka spoke, she took out her instant camera.

“Can the three of us take a picture together?”

Zhang Heng nodded, and momentarily gave up looking for the peeping tom. A couple was standing near them, and he politely requested their assistance in taking a picture. When that was done, the Kumamon didn’t leave but instead, stood in front of Hayase Asuka and extended its hands. With a broad smile plastered on her face, she quickly gave the mascot a tight hug.

A rose appeared in Kumamon’s hand the moment she let it go. It then pointed at Zhang Heng and Hayase Asuka. She instantly blushed, probably feeling shy, or that she wasn’t well versed in Mandarin. After taking the rose, she didn’t utter a single word.

The Kumamon then used its hands to draw a heart before leaving them alone to search for the next couple. Hayase Asuka’s mind was filled with all kinds of thoughts after that. A minute later, her instant camera printed the picture, and she quickly stuffed it in her bag without looking at it. Just as she was about to put the picture in, she paused.

“What’s wrong?”

“Huh? Where’s my wallet? I remember it was in my bag before we took the picture!”

She then searched her bag all over again, but to no avail. She frantically searched her pockets as well. Yet, there was still no trace of her wallet. It was at that time that panic began gripping her. Not only was there cash, but her Chinese and Japanese bank cards and student ID were in there as well. To make matters worse, she soon discovered that her passport had vanished too. She was slated to celebrate the New Year with her family and even purchased a flight ticket earlier. Without the passport, it would be impossible to board the airplane.

If she remembered correctly, before taking out the instant camera, her wallet was still in her bag, and the only person that got close enough to her was that Kumamon. The mascot had left for less than three minutes.

“Wait for me here. Do not leave this place. I will come back to you in a while,” said Zhang Heng sternly.

Hayase Asuke was on the verge of crying. Immediately, Zhang Heng started to go after the Kumamon mascot. However, after searching for a bit, he failed to spot it even after reaching the end of the hallway. Logically, the mascot shouldn’t outrun Zhang Heng since the person was in a giant, clumsy suit. Zhang Heng asked around to see if they had seen a Kumamon suit, deliberately picking those coming from different directions. Unfortunately, not a single person said that they saw a large Kumamon passing them. It was as if the massive thing had simply disappeared out of thin air. Perplexed, Zhang Heng approached the concierge counter and asked the person operating it about the Kumamon.

“I’m sorry, Sir. We cannot divulge personal information of our mall’s employees,” the guide replied nervously, feeling that Zhang Heng looked more like a criminal than anything else.

“Do you think I should call the police and reporters here to investigate this for me? Do you want everyone to hear about this? Perhaps you wish to be seen in the newspapers and the internet? Next time, the first thing your customers will do is to protect their wallets whenever they come here. Or, should we look for the thief now and retrieve my friend’s wallet. We can choose not to call the police, or we can call the police but not the reporters. Which option do you think would benefit the mall more? Don’t blame me for not reminding you; the thief got away only a few minutes ago. There’s a high chance that he’s still in this mall.”

The guide was startled by Zhang Heng’s dominant approach.

“Please hold on, sir. I’ll consult my supervisor regarding this,” replied the guide while gulping hard.

Half a minute later, the guide was done talking with her supervisor.

“Sir, I just asked my colleague about this matter, and he told me that our mall didn’t hire any Kumamon today.”

“How about the tenants in the mall? Did they hire any mascots?”

“I can’t be too sure about that.”

The guide paused for a while before continuing

“One thing is for sure; the shop owners would have informed us if they were to hire anyone to put on a show…”

Before she could go on any further, Zhang Heng scooted to another escalator. As the guide was talking to him, he saw the Kumamon on the second floor from the corner of his eye. It appeared that it had no intention to run away and was playing with a young girl in front of a shop. After giving a hug, it handed  a lollipop. Before leaving, it brushed the little girl’s head.

At the same time, everyone was left in shock and awe when they saw Zhang Heng jumping down from the escalator. He spent only ten seconds getting from the fifth to the second floor! Two ladies that were having their milk tea were about to record his fantastic feat with their phones. However, Zhang Heng was too fast for them. The Kumamon was on the second floor, and he had to go after it as quickly as he could.

They weren’t very far apart from each other, but an atrium divided them. Zhang Heng had to run along the corridor before he could get to the Kumamon. It seemed that the mascot had noticed him too, but instead of feeling nervous, it stood in front of the shop with both hands on its hips, waiting for Zhang Heng to come at it. The combination of a gaping mouth and two red cheeks made it look like it could use a beating.