Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“I don’t understand the idea behind it. There’s one Simone right here. Why do we need to create another one? With her shooting skills, she is more than qualified enough to become a national hero. Why do you want to turn some random hunter into a national hero?”
“Not one,” replied the doctor, cigar in mouth.
“There is more than one Simone. In total, we have four Simones. All are professional fighters. Three of them are snipers, and another one is a natural on the submachine gun. All four have their faces covered when they go on a mission, so their identities are secure. Together, they become the best sniper the entire human history has known – the legendary Simone!
Basically, Simone is everywhere. He is a phantom on the battlefield, your most reliable ally, the white death to the Soviet soldiers, and an undefeatable legend on the battlefield. The Simones have managed to boost morale for all Finnish countrymen and our soldiers greatly. To be more precise, there are only three Simones left. One was tragically killed when the Soviets started the war. We don’t even have much information on him.”
“How about the real Simone? Does he know about this?” Zhang Heng asked, hoping for a straight answer for once
That is not important. The real Simone joined the army last October, and during training, he protected one of his allies from an exploding grenade. If that incident did not happen, this project would not have even been born. But then again… the war is coming to an end soon, and there are two Simones left in this world,” said Maji while spinning the lighter in her hand impatiently.
“The person that started this project did not expect this outcome, right?”
“Yes. Initially, a fair chance was to be given to all Simones that survived the war. At least… they could use the gun in their hands to decide their final fate. Unfortunately, an unforeseen circumstance has emerged.”
“What kind of unforeseen circumstances?”
“The two Simones that survived was the female sniper and the man with the submachine gun. The latter one was hit by a stray bullet during one of the raids a few days ago. Miraculously, he survived after surgery. Then, someone must have leaked the news to the media. Reporters from different countries rushed to him, and it was during that time that he revealed his identity. Actually, I can understand why he would do something like this. That kid with the submachine gun is the strongest Simone when compared to the other three. Considering he is now severely injured, there is no way can defeat the sniper in a gunfight.”
“What now? Are you guys planning to abandon her?” asked Zhang Heng as he stared into their eyes.
“We don’t have many options left. We have to play his game, and we need to make up stories for him as well.”
Zhang Heng was unable to speak. He stared right into Maji’s eyes for half a minute, not knowing what they were thinking.
“If you want me to believe you, you have to tell me how an English volunteer has her hands in so many top-secrets?” he continued.
“I lied. The truth is, I did grow up in England, but my father is from Finland, and he is a powerful man in the Finnish military. I’m the one who proposed the Simone plan and personally recruited all the Simones. I simply want my father to witness the birth of a legend. That is why I’m here right now. Ah Ji was sent by the military to protect me.”
Maji looked very troubled. She stood in front of the window with both arms crossed in the exact same way when she and Zhang Heng first met. Suddenly, it dawned on him, as he knew what was troubling her.
She realized that it was almost impossible for her to treat all four Simones fairly since she spent most of her time with the current Simone living in this base camp. Due to that, she could not maintain objectivity when it came to picking out the best of the lot.
“After all, we are all humans, and I care about the girl a lot. Before this, I had a thought amid the war, to get an assassin to kill the rest of Simones and let her live. I had no idea if she was tough enough to survive the war. With my position, I simply couldn’t risk killing all the other Simones. So, the moment I heard that the second Simone was dead, I knew that the chances she would live after the war had just increased exponentially. What’s happening right now came totally unexpected.”
“So, now you found out that you can’t beat her, and you want me to take care of your problem? Why don’t you just let her go? You know her well enough! She doesn’t mind not being a national hero whatsoever!” snapped Zhang Heng while staring at the gun on the table.
“I’m the one who proposed the project, not the one in charge of executing it. I have some rights in this project, but not all of it. My job is technically over once all four Simones have been recruited.
Whatever I did after that is all my own doing. The military and higher authorities have nothing to do with them. I can’t change what had happened, and I can’t change the mind of the top brass as well.
That kid Simone trusts you fully, and that is why I’m telling you all this stuff. Asking you to send her to the end of the road is the kindest thing I can do. I heard that there is a beautiful lake northwest of here. Perhaps we can fish there when everything is over.”
Finally, Maji was done with everything she wanted to say.
“I don’t get a choice either, right?”
Looking down and without hesitation, Zhang Heng grabbed the gun on the table.
Maji had her back facing him and did not say a single word. Zhang Heng left the wooden house as well since he had asked all that he wanted. He then walked towards Simone’s cottage. For all it was worth, he made sure to thank Maji before he left.
The guerilla base camp was extra quiet tonight. Usually, Oher would lean at the door and gaze to the sky, looking for shooting stars. Not tonight, though. The entire base camp was flooded with light, with a kerosene lamp illuminating the doors of each cottage of the base camp.
Zhang Heng did not turn around to look at the jungle. He put the gun into his pocket and used another hand to knock on the door. Since Maji did not like to bring her key around, Simone was unsurprised when someone knocked on her door at this hour. However, she was startled when she saw Zhang Heng standing outside the door.
The moment he caught sight of her, he grabbed her collar and pushed her to the ground! Surprisingly, Simone did not retaliate. All she did was lie on the floor and stare at Zhang Heng. Her face was flushing. Just like what Maji told him, Simone trusted Zhang Heng with all her heart, no matter the situation.
Zhang Heng sighed. All he needed to right now was to take out the gun from his pocket and end it all. Looking into her eyes, he saw that they were heartbroken, confused, but submissive. He hesitated.
In the end, he couldn’t make himself do it. Instead, he tried his best to look through the Finnish dictionary in his mind, saying, “Trust me.”
After that, Zhang Heng started to look around to check out the room. With Maji’s wittiness, Zhang Heng was confident that she had made preparations well before she signaled him earlier. He then looked at Maji’s bed. That and the cabinet were the only places where Maji could hide her stuff.