Chapter 70: The Mannerheim Line Welcomes You XII
Knowing that she had been busted, she couldn’t pretend to sleep anymore. So, she reluctantly got up and sat on her bed. After getting a good couple of days’ rest, she definitely looked a lot better than before. However, Zhang Heng realized that she did not dare look him in the eye.
“Can you please translate for us again?” Zhang Heng politely asked Maji.
“Just say what you want to say.”
Maji took out another cigarette in anticipation as she smiled at Zhang Heng.
“Thank you for much for vouching for me. I came here once to visit you before, but Dr. Maji said that you needed more rest. So, I did not get to see you.”
Simone looked at him and blinked. Despite attempting to put on her best poker face, Zhang Heng could see a pang of deep-seated guilt hidden behind those dreamy blue eyes. Not knowing if it was the wrong thing to say, Zhang Heng omitted the part about getting back his personal belongings and the extra bullets under the tree.
“My home is in a land far away. Due to some reason, I’m stranded here. Once the war is over, I will return to the place I came from,” said Zhang Heng.
Simone seemed disappointed after hearing what Zhang Heng had to say.
Zhang Heng knew that she had grown fond of him after what happened to them in the woods. From what he saw, it seemed like Simone was a high ranking guerilla in this base camp. He could have easily taken advantage of her fondness toward him and have a better life right here. If he did that, however, he would definitely bring great sorrow to Simone when the day to leave finally arrived.
Sometimes, Zhang Heng had doubts if this was really just a game. His entire experience so far had proven too realistic for him to handle. Everything was so real it became hard to consider those around him like a bunch of programmed NPC. Zhang Heng also wondered what would happen to this virtual world once he left. What would happen to the ‘people’ around here?
Would the tale soldier on without him?
Despite it all, he knew that it was hard to lie to the only girl fond of him in the entire camp. Eventually, Zhang Heng decided that he would tell her the plain old truth. It might seem unwise in the current climate, but he was willing to risk it and stick on to his principles.
Simone looked lost after the conversation. She was just sat mum on the bed, unable to utter a single word.
Noticing tension in the atmosphere, Maji closed the door behind her and talked to Zhang Heng.
“I thought you looked smart for a man. You really should never say such cruel words to a girl! However, I think I kinda like you right now. Simone might be a masterful marksman, but she is extremely innocent. She has never been in a relationship in her entire life. Before the war, she lived with her great-grandfather deep in the forest, and all she did growing up was hunting. Ah Ji and I initially thought that you harbored ill intentions towards her. It seems that I have misunderstood you.
Maji then paused, lighting up another cigarette.
I have come across many men in this life. Most of the ones I know have a dick in place of their brains. Although they would instantly fall for women who showed fondness towards them, the ending is usually the same. Waking up in the morning, feeling an empty space beside you, finding out that you have been left all alone in the bedroom. Such is the nature of men, right?”
“So, you guys have finally agreed to send me to the back of the battlefield?” asked Zhang Heng as he ignored her rambling.
“About that… I must apologize. It’s simply not possible. I didn’t exactly lie about everything the last time we talked. Compared to the Soviet military, we severely lack skilled fighters. Since you are all dandy and healthy, you turn up as a perfect add-on to the force!”
“Don’t worry,” Maji assured him. “I will help you solve your gun problem. Later on, I will see who has remained at the base camp. Weller and his team just came back yesterday, so I don’t think they are heading out today. They should have plenty of time to give you a few shooting lessons later. However, I feel they don’t like you too much. How about Mike? I wonder if he’s here right now.”
Suddenly, the door was pushed open. Simone was barged in and whispered something in Finnish to Maji, leaving her startled. She then turned around, relaying to Zhang Heng what Simone just told her.
“Simone told me that she wants to be the one that teaches you how to shoot better!” Maji whispered while smiling slyly.
This amazed him. Considering how he had just let his tongue slip, her heart would have been broken, much less willing to teach him anything.
“Is she even okay?”
“Are you doubting my medical skills? This is the fifth day. She’ll be fine as long as she does not overexert herself,” grumbled Maji with one of her eyebrows twitched.
Of course, Zhang Heng would not reject the offer. He knew that it was challenging to find someone good to teach him. Earlier, all Oher did was summarize the entire course of shooting better. When he was practicing, he encountered a new problem. He did not approach Oher to ask about it, though.
And this was not the 21st century. He couldn’t just simply get on Baidu or watch a bunch of online tutorials to help to shoot better.
It was undeniably that Simone shot as good as she looked. Zhang Heng personally witnessed her exterminating two Soviet scout teams on her own, never once needing a second bullet to kill her target. It was all a one shot one kill business. It was hard to believe that she acquired such great skills, even at such a young age. Zhang Heng grew more and more curious about the girl’s origins, of how she got so bloody good at what she did.
Simone was the kind of girl that took her own sweet time. Since she happened to be dressed and he had a rifle with him, they all proceeded to his secret shooting range.
“Both of you. Spare my life, please. I haven’t even had my breakfast yet,” lamented Maji.
Zhang Heng was shocked to see Oher giving Simone bullets every single time she asked for it. She must have contributed a great deal to the war effort. Simone was known to continually empty the already limited armory of ammo. Poor Oher had to hide someplace whenever she came asking for more.
Unfortunately, the base camp was more like small confinement. Oher had to cook for everyone every day, so it wasn’t hard for Simone to find him. In the end, due to the shortage, he had to increase its price. Right now, ammunition had turned into the most valuable loot for all the guerilla members.
This week alone, Zhang Heng had lost count of how many bullets he had fired. This was the first time he experienced the joy of unlimited rounds.
Right now, he was lying low on the snow-covered ground as he controlled his breathing. He had his rifle loaded and aimed for the target 30 meters away from him.
Without hesitation, he pulled the trigger! Seconds later, there was a loud thunk as the metal cup on the wooden block was sent flying. Zhang Heng then heard a notification.
[Acquired new skill – shooting: LV 0]
This was the very first time he managed to learn an entirely new skill set in such a short period of time. All in all, it had only taken him the better half of a week. However, it seemed like Simone was displeased with his progress. She took out her rifle, cocked it, and pulled the trigger. The bullet landed on the tiny matchbox located 120 meters away from them! The best part, it took her only two seconds to hit her target.
Zhang Heng was left tongue-tied. There was still a gaping gap between them. Without a scope, it was hard for Zhang Heng to land a shot on his target. He had no idea how Simone managed to land an accurate shot that was so far away from them.
Her dexterity and speed were simply too impressive. When a sniper went against another sniper, speed was the factor that decided who lived or died. If Simone was his enemy, Zhang Heng knew that she would have killed him before he even picked up his gun.