Chapter 62: The Mannerheim Line Welcomes You IV
Breakfast. That was it. Putting on the backpack, Zhang Heng randomly chose a direction and headed towards it. From where he lived, numerous war enthusiasts were extremely knowledgeable about World War II. They had an in-depth understanding of various war and deployment tactics and regularly debated the multiple strategies of famed generals.
As for Zhang Heng, he had zero knowledge about warfare. Unless the spirit of Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim or Kliment Voroshilov himself possessed him, there wasn’t much he could do to improve his current predicament.
There are eventually no heroes in war, said an inconvenient truth. Whether it was a person who achieved great feats or a soldier with masterful shooting skills, a stray could take away their lives within a matter of seconds. To increase his chances of survival, Zhang Heng set a principle for himself, and that was to stay as far away as possible from any crossfire. Places like Vyborg, Summa Village, and Kael were a no-no, and he had to refrain from going there. As for the replica Ouvrage Schoenenbourg – Mannerheim, that would be the last place on earth that Zhang Heng would go.
His biggest problem was that he didn’t know where the hell he was right now. Though he wanted to make sure to stay far away from the heat of battle, he had no idea where the safe zone was either. After traveling on foot for about half a day, Zhang Heng came across a platoon of Soviet soldiers. Thankfully, he spotted them first and quickly went into hiding. It seemed like the soldiers were in a rush, huffing their way while dragging a couple of cannons behind them. Amid the confusion, none of them realized Zhang Heng’s presence, although he was right under their noses. It was so close a call, a deep chill ran up his spine.
The trees in the forest were the perfect spot to conceal himself from the enemy. Protection, on the one hand, the trees also blocked him from seeing what was in front of him. Being in a situation out of his control made him extremely uncomfortable. After all, no one in this world was always lucky. It would be impossible that Zhang Heng would spot his enemies first before they spotted him every single time.
In all honesty, he was on the disadvantageous side during this quest. There were few skills he possessed that could help him to survive in the wild. Playing the piano, modifying cars, and racing was basically useless in these circumstances.
As for his Level 2 archery skills, it turned out to be more practical than the gun that he was holding right now. Sadly though, he had still not found the right bark to carve out his bowstring. Besides, using cold, passive weapons against hot firearms was definitely a bad idea.
After experiencing the frosty winter in Finland, Zhang Heng started to doubt if he might even wake from his sleep the next time. It had only been three days since his arrival, with a grueling 137 days to go.
Zhang Heng felt despair sinking in, and it hit him hard.
He knew that he wouldn’t survive much longer if he kept this up. He could choose to side with Finland’s troops or the Soviet Union’s troops, but he had no idea what they would do to him. In the end, Zhang Heng still could not make up his mind. Until the morning of the fourth day, Zhang Heng heard gunshots once again. And this time, the thunderous sound of cannons resounded in the forest as well. Sensing imminent danger, Zhang Heng decided that he would head in a different direction.
It seemed as if he had used up the last bits of his luck this time. After paying so much attention to the sound of gunfire, he completely forgot to notice t what was in front of him. This time, he encountered a scout team! There were only 11 well-equipped soldiers in the group and should be returning to the base since they heard the gunfire. The encounter with Zhang Heng was totally a coincidence to them. Clearly, nobody expected this to happen.
Unfortunately, Zhang Heng did not have his Shadow Moment at hand, as he wanted to avoid triggering it while he traveled. He also did not expect to encounter enemies from such a close distance. He initially thought he would have a little time to search for the statue that was located in the pocket of his coat. The scout team stood by with their guns loaded. If they wanted to, they could open fire at Zhang Heng anytime now.
In the end, Zhang Heng owed his life to the military coat. Obviously, they would never shoot somebody wearing their own colors. However, they soon realized that Zhang Heng’s attire was way different as compared to what they were wearing. They also noticed that he was of Asian descent.
The soldier that stood in front was swinging his machine gun as he shouted at the same time. Unfortunately, Zhang Heng was not familiar with Russian, thus, unable to understand what they were talking about. For now, he had to give up the idea of getting Shadow Moment out of his pocket. Left with no other options, Zhang Heng was forced to put both hands up.
Seemingly, his continued silence had annoyed the soldier. The Soviet soldier’s looked more and more ferocious by the second as he repeated the same words to Zhang Heng with his finger placed on the trigger, each time with greater intensity.
This was probably the most perilous moment Zhang Heng had ever encountered. In a situation like this, he did know what he could do anymore. This was war. Killing and being killed were extremely common in an era like this. With every passing second, multitudes of civilians, enemies, and even allies died on the battlefield. The war had put everyone on edge most of the time, and no one would have qualms killing an unknown foreigner. Even Zhang Heng himself expected that the soldier would surely pull the trigger on him.
Suddenly, the soldier that was pointing his gun fell to the ground with a loud thud!
A bullet that came from nowhere penetrated his cranium. Blood splattered everywhere; his ferocious looks now plastered on his face forever.
Immediately, the scout team realized they were being ambushed by the Finnish guerillas. In a panic, they ignored Zhang Heng, pointed their machine guns at the direction the bullet came from, and shouted frantically to take cover. This one soldier put his life on the line to pick up a machine gun on the road. Unfortunately, the shell traveled faster than him. The moment his hands landed on the machine gun, he too was shot dead. He collapsed and joined his dead ally.
The second shot allowed the others to have a more unobstructed view of where the bullet came from. Without thinking twice, they started opening fire with full force at the sniper! Zhang Heng wasted no time and took the opportunity to run to a fallen tree that had been struck by lightning.
The sniper who had hidden in the dark managed to kill another two soldiers that failed to look for a safe spot to hide. After that, the gunshots abruptly stopped.
Was the sniper hit?
The Soviets were extraordinarily jumpy and nervous, pulling the trigger and firing another barrage of bullets into the dark!
Half a minute later, someone cautiously lifted his head to check his surroundings. There were no more gunshots. The remaining soldiers arched backward, bearing the weight of their machine guns while slowly approaching the sniper’s location. At the same time, two soldiers walked towards Zhang Heng.
Zhang Heng was already holding his Shadow Moment in his hand.