48 Hours a Day
Chapter 328 - Elimination Process
Chapter 328 Elimination Process
Zhang Heng browsed several other hot posts and registered an ID called Saturn 5. He then shut down the computer, and left the Internet cafe. The whole process only took him less than twenty minutes, and when he returned home, Tian Tian was alone jumping on a rope in the backyard. Grandpa was leaning against the courtyard door, looking at her. He looked a little worried.
Sensing unrest, Zhang Heng put on his slippers and walked to his grandfather.
“Do you remember taking Tian Tian with you last summer holidays?” Zhang Heng nodded.
“At that time, she was very lively, running around the house behind you. In fact, when I saw her a month ago, she was still very normal, jumping up and down all the time. But after that, she somehow became terrified of communicating with other people.”
“What happened in between?” Zhang Heng asked.
“No one knows. A child her age usually has a regular life. She spends most of her time in school every day, and on Saturdays and Sundays, she’s either with her parents or attending classes. Her parents suspected that it was the school’s problem at first. After all, she spends most of her time there. You know, sometimes, children in school get bullied…”
“What happened after that?”
“As a result, her parents went to talk to her class teacher. They even sought her substitute teacher and the rest of the kids in the class, hoping to find out a little more about their daughter’s peculiar behavior. They all told her the same thing. Tian Tian is good at learning, beautiful, well-behaved, and she’s the class monitor. She is very popular among teachers and classmates. A kid like her is unlikely to become the target of bullies. Later, her parents brought her to a psychologist. Since then, the situation has improved to some extent, but…”
“But the good times didn’t last long, and soon, her condition began to deteriorate again. Now, she seems to have social anxiety, not knowing how to communicate with others. Her mother will apply for a school leave in two days. After that, she will bring her to the city to meet a specialist for treatment. In fact, if it weren’t for Old Chen’s injuries, they would have already contacted the hospital over there.” Grandpa shook his head. “I hope everything ends well this time.”
Zhang Heng was left in silence.
The current situation showed that there should be two possibilities for what happened to Tian Tian. Either she had come into contact with monsters like Moresby and Zavilcha, or she had unintentionally obtained some game items. The psychiatrist, though an experienced expert, wasn’t equipped to deal with supernatural phenomena like this, so Zhang Heng decided to investigate the matter himself.
He intended to start with the latter possibility, where many game items were circulating among players at the moment. It wouldn’t be too surprising if one of them lost an item or someone accidentally took it. That was why Zhang Heng initially intended to deposit his game items at the game checkpoint.
Right now, Zhang Heng needed to focus on locating the game item.
Although the environment in the quests was more dangerous than reality, it had its own advantages. For example, when the players laid their hands on a game item, they would hear a notification from the system. This method could also be used to quickly identify whether the item the player was holding was a game item or not. So far, the system had been very accurate except for extreme cases like an auction.
On the other hand, Zhang Heng couldn’t rely on the game’s system in the real world. There was also no character panel for him to review the items as well, making things a lot harder.
Judging by Tian Tian’s current state, it would be difficult to communicate with her.
Zhang Heng pondered for a while, went out of the house, and went to a nearby mall where there was a large Disney stationery counter. He bought a series of stationery, including notebooks, a pencil case, a pencil sharpener, and a school bag. These were all popular items among school kids, and he hoped to do an exchange with Tian Tian.
Tian Tian was moved after seeing the Frozen backpack, but when Zhang Heng told her that the exchange included the workbook in her hands, she seemed a little hesitant. In the end, though, she still failed to resist the temptation of a Disney stationery set. She handed everything over to Zhang Heng, except the textbook.
Zhang Heng patted the girl’s head and took her old backpack along with its contents back to his room.
He then contacted the bartender lady and asked her for the address of the game’s checkpoint in his current city. He was, however, not in a hurry to get there as a hefty amount of game points would be needed for item identification. Besides, his membership card was invalid at other checkpoints, which meant he had to pay the full price for the service.
That night, Tian Tian’s mother returned from the hospital and thanked them for the trouble. She also specifically thanked Zhang Heng for his assistance with Old Chen. Soon after, she collected Tian Tian, now sitting quietly in a corner, back home.
At dinner, Zhang Heng had mentioned that he wanted to retire early tonight. He went back to his room right after that. Once he had his privacy, he proceeded to go through Tian Tian’s old backpack. For now, the two most suspicious items were the pencil and the workbook, especially true for the workbook. Being part of a generation influenced by “Death Note”, it was difficult not to notice such an obvious target.
After rechecking it, though, the workbook seemed to be like any other. The date that was on her previous work was a month ago. Tian Tian still behaved normally at that time. There was, of course, the possibility that she had not found the conditions to trigger the item at that time. As for the pencil…
Zhang Heng picked it up, placing it under the light of a lamp. Just as he was about to take a closer look, there was a knock on his door. He was greeted by grandpa’s serious face when he opened it.
“Something untoward happened to Old Chen again. The drip stand next to his bed fell, and it happened to hit his head. His forehead now has two stitches. I am going out to visit him now. Thought I’d inform you about it.”
Retribution for the interrupted curse?
Zhang Heng was surprised. When he went to the hospital, he chatted with Tian Tian’s mother about the recent happenings in his family and found that the accidents seemed to run on a schedule, where one would take place every three days. This was the ninth time, and each time it happened, it wasn’t a fatal accident. According to the pattern, the next accident should be three days since he had interrupted this one. Now that Old Chen got into another accident again, it appeared that this was the replacement for the accident that Zhang Heng stopped. Zhang Heng frowned, extremely curious if this time, Tian Tian had drawn any stick figures in advance. However, he couldn’t just knock on her door right now. Fortunately, the young woman sent her to grandpa’s house again the very next day. It was then that Zhang Heng saw a stick figure of a falling drip stand scribbled in the new Disney workbook.
He had personally purchased the pens and notebooks. In other words, the possibility of game items being hidden in the pile of stationery could almost be ruled out.
Could it be the work of a monster? Zhang Heng was lost in thought as he stared at Tian Tian lying on the coffee table.