48 Hours a Day
Chapter 81 - The Mannerheim Line Welcomes You (End)
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Two months later.
At a random farm on the border of Finland and Switzerland.
Zhang Heng wiped away the sweat from his forehead and put down the ax in his hand. He moved all the chopped wood back to the storeroom and arranged them neatly among the piles. A loaf of fresh bread and some fish soup was on the table when Zhang Heng entered the house.
The owner of this farm was a 67-year-old lady called Greta. Her husband and only son were tragically killed on the battlefield. She had a daughter as well but had since been married off to a man in the United States. A month ago, she took in Zhang Heng and Simone out of kindness, besides needing help with the farm work as well. Hence, the two of them decided they would put up here for some time.
When anyone asked about the two newcomers, Greta would tell them they were the relatives of her daughter’s husband. Zhang Heng’s fluent English was enough proof. As for Simone, she was a quiet girl and disliked socializing. As time passed, people around started to accept who she was. For good measure, both tossed away their weapons on their way here. Simone’s gunshot wound was treated by a doctor who lived in a small town. The sad truth was, Simone had no family left in this world, with her great-grandfather passing away two years ago. In other words, there was nothing to hold her back and tie her down in this world.
Once the battle at the lake was over, Zhang Heng initially wanted to settle down in America with Simone only to realize later on that his plan was less than ideal. First, America was located too far away from Finland. Traveling all the way there would take a long time. Secondly, Simone’s English wasn’t the best. She would have a hard time communicating with the locals if she stayed there.
In the end, Zhang Heng thought it best to stay at the border between Finland and Switzerland. Finland was one of the dukedoms of Switzerland, which was why most Finnish could also speak Swedish. As for the people who stayed in the villages near the border, it was common that they would converse in two languages, Greta being one of them. At least Simone could freely communicate with the people here.
Through the window, Zhang Heng could see that Simone was returning from hunting. She had her sniper slung at her back and had a rabbit and a fox with her. As she entered the house, she placed today’s catch in the kitchen, stored her hunting rifle in the attic, and washed her hands before settling in the dining room to have her meal.
Grandma Greta scooped a bowlful of fish soup for everyone with Zhang Heng thanking her in Finnish. This was an ordinary night for them, peaceful and joyful. After dinner, they bid each other their goodnights before retreating to their respective rooms.
Greta was already up in the early hours of the morning, preparing Zhang Heng and Simone’s breakfast. She then put it in a basket Today, Simone wasn’t wearing the hunting outfit that she’d put on each morning. Instead, she had put on a dress with a floral design. Since this was a dress that had been made initially for Greta’s daughter, it seemed a little too small for Simone, looking slightly uncomfortable and squirmy.
“Have fun today,” said Greta while passing the food basket to them.
“Bye, Greta!” Zhang Heng replied as he gave Greta a hug.
Greta waved at them from afar. They sure looked very much like a couple going for an outing. Zhang Heng hopped on a bicycle, and Simone sat on the back. They soon passed the paddy field, and then a square in a small town, where their tiny hospital was plastered with blood donation posters. They enjoyed the serenity of the atmosphere as they passed all of it.
The war in Finland had ended, but the war in Europe had only just begun. Switzerland was considered a neutral nation. Hence, they did not need to suffer the pains that came along with war, making it a paradise during the era of the Second World War.
Shortly after that, Zhang Heng parked his bicycle on a grass field located on the outskirts of the hamlet. As they alighted the bike, they both carried the food basket down, seeing a field of flowers around them. Zhang Heng had no idea what species they were, but he heard that the national flower of Finland was called lily-of-the-valley. Unfortunately, this was not the right time to watch them fully bloom.
This was his last day of the quest. Earlier, Zhang Heng had told Simone that this day would arrive, to which she had said nothing. All she wanted was to spend time and have fun with him during his last day in Finland.
After taking a pleasant walk along the streets of the town, they fished at a pond and even managed to play some poker. In the end, they settled on a small hill to enjoy the fish sandwiches prepared by Greta. Still, they spoke little to each other.
Their silence did not mean they were awkward, but rather, this was simply their way of spending time with each other. Simone’s hair and dress fluttered in the wind. At last, she lay her head on Zhang Heng’s lap, and she closed her eyes. Zhang Heng then took a look at his watch, took off his jacket, and covered Simone with it. Her eyebrows twitched while she was asleep. Seconds later, he heard a familiar voice.
[Time to return. Quest completed…]
[You have completed ‘The Mannerheim Line Welcomes You’ quest. The game’s third round has been completed. You will now be sent back to the real world…]
Zhang Heng opened his eyes, finding himself sitting on a chair. It was unreal. Amongst the three quests that he’d completed, this was the shortest. However, he was always on edge throughout the entire mission, having to face the possibility of being killed by enemies every single day. Thrown all the way from World War II back into the current world, Zhang Heng felt that he had just traveled through time. The one single thing that he could rely on was no longer there.
This time, Zhang Heng sat dazed for half an hour before he finally stood up. Something fell out of his pocket, and when he saw it, he was shocked. It was a necklace with a pendant made of an animal bone, the necklace that Simone had worn all the while! The bone used here was smaller than the ones given by the old man in Chinese attire. This one was as tiny as a fingernail.
What seemed to be a tall red pine with thick branches and a complicated root system was engraved on it. Zhang Heng hadn’t the slightest of when Simone slipped it into his pocket. Since he could carry it back, that meant it was a game item. After spending 140 days, Zhang Heng thought that he would not acquire a game item in this round. To his surprise, the necklace had actually been with him for a long time.
He did not look for the bartender lady to identify the item, knowing that it shouldn’t carry any side effects as Simone had been wearing it for a long time.
Right now, another item needed to be identified urgently. It was the Moresby bone. Zhang Heng had taken the old man’s advice, trying his best to not let others know about their relationship. So, he had to wait until the quest ended before allowing the bartender to identify the item.
“I know that you possess a Lucky Rabbit Foot. Another game item?! Three rounds of quests, and you acquired three game items? Are you the son of the Lucky Goddess?” asked the bartender while staring at him with gaping eyes.