48 Hours a Day - chapter-63
Chapter 63: The Mannerheim Line Welcomes You V
Zhang Heng readied himself to enter his Shadow Moment form. Then, as luck would have it, something unexpected happened again. The deafening bang of the sniper rifle firing could be heard loud and clear. The first soldier that walked towards sniper was hit, subsequently dropping to the ground, dead. Seconds later, the second soldier was also greeted with the same fate. Immediately, the remaining five soldiers lay on the ground and started blindly shooting in all directions! The two soldiers who had walked towards Zhang Heng quickly turned around and joined their allies in support.
Unfortunately, their retaliation did not stop death from harvesting their lives. The sniper hiding in the dark had already switched his nest. In other words, the Soviets were shooting at a ghost! Subsequently, another three soldiers were hit. The remaining two soldiers could not handle the pressure of suspense any longer, throwing their weapons to the ground and ran into the forest for their lives while the sniper was reloading his gun.
One of them ran for a bit when a deafening gunshot rang through the air. Apparently, 150 meters was not nearly enough to save his life from a long-range rifle. The soldier slipped on his tracks and fell down, very dead indeed. Blood gushed from the back of his head, painting the white snow around him in an ominous pool of red.
In about four minutes, a total of 11 Soviet soldiers were killed mercilessly in this cold, alien land. The sniper that hid in the dark did not even waste a single bullet. For the shooter, it was all about the one shot-one skill thing.
Immediately, Zhang Fan poured out everything from his backpack and picked up a tree branch beside him. He attempted to raise the twig with the bag to signal the sniper that he was willing to surrender. Just as he was about to wave the white flag, the backpack was hit by the bullet! This was a clear sign that the sniper had no intention to let anyone leave the forest alive.Zhang Heng presumed the coat he had put on caused the sniper to mistake him for a Soviet soldier. Unfortunately, Zhang Heng did not speak their language, making it impossible to explain himself. It became evident that the sniper didn’t shoot the Soviets to save him. As the soldiers were focussed on Zhang Heng, it made them easy targets for the sniper!
This particular sniper was brazenly confident and scary at the same time. From the way he eliminated his enemies, he had made sure to first kill the soldier that posed the biggest threat. After that, he shot the one attempting to pick up the machine gun on the ground. His success in the killings had managed to instill great fear in the remaining soldiers, confusing them and lowering morale.
After that, all he needed to do was to change his shooting spot and kill the rest of the Soviets.
Though the remaining two soldiers had lost their will to fight, the sniper was no less determined that he was going to kill each and every enemy that appeared through his scope. Instead of choosing the nearest target, he chose to kill the target furthest away from him. Then, it was all textbook, as the shooter just needed to tackle the poor sod that was running at the back.
As for Zhang Heng, the sniper decided that he posed no threat. Hence, he had decided to kill him last. While he was shooting down his enemies, he had presented with deadly accuracy, his accomplished shooting skills and how he stayed calm while being meticulous all at once.
It was at that moment that Zhang Heng realized his situation was no better than before. He was still being pushed to the edge of a cliff. The only thing that had changed was the enemy. It changed not for the better but from the Soviet soldiers to Finnish guerilla fighters. The 11 dead bodies on the ground had proven that Finland was way better at their craft than good ol’ Soviet Union.
The longer he waited, the more dangerous the situation would become. It became apparent that the sniper was extremely familiar with this forest. That would mean he could walk up and shoot Zhang Heng right behind him before he realized it. Hence, Zhang Heng made a quick resolve to do something about it. He held the wooden statue in one hand and held the revolver in the other. In his mind’s eye, he was thinking about the crow.
Seconds later, the crow in the dark slowly opened its eyes, and Zhang Heng stared right into them. He could feel his soul gradually being absorbed into an endless dark vortex, free-falling in a black void that was formless. The magical part about it was his body getting lighter, almost like a feather floating in the wind. When he landed, he opened his eyes, and he saw the white birch and snow above him. Though he had experienced all of this before, he would never get used to this strange, out of body experience. He became disorientated and unhinged as he entered Shadow Moment form.
Zhang Heng’s body was now completely disappeared. All that was left was his shadow on the ground. In this form, he would not be able to use his senses, neither would he be able to talk or listen to sounds around him. His vision was limited to a patch of sky above him. He had, however, discovered a solution to overcome this problem. All he needed to do was attach his shadow to a tree, and he would able to scan his surroundings.
His speed was greatly reduced when he entered shadow form, but he felt more energetic than ever. Fatigue was a thing of the past. The good thing here was that he did not need to worry about the barrier that blocked his way. With all things considered, his movement speed was not bad at all.He took 50 seconds to travel to the location where the last gunshot came from and used another 20 seconds to look for the shooting point. The ground had a slight elevation to it and had two giant rocks to protect the sniper. Clear marks on the ground signified that someone lay there only a moment ago.
Clearly, the sniper had abandoned the hideout and shifted to another location. This time, a series of footprints marked the ground. Zhang Heng was now the hunter instead of the hunted. Half a minute went by, and Zhang Heng saw a being shuffling slowly on the snow-covered ground. It was near impossible to spot it if one did not pay attention.
The sniper was wearing a white ghillie suit with a mask on him. His entire body was fully covered except for his eyes, a perfect blend with the whited-out forest. One of his hands clutched the sniper, and another held a snowboard.
It was just as Zhang Heng had guessed! The sniper was planning to sneak him up and kill him from behind. He would never have guessed that his target was the one actually standing right behind him.
All these guerilla techniques had given the Soviets an endless nightmare, continually messing around with the worn-out Slavs. They relied heavily on their effective camouflage and the knowledge of the area to choose a perfect spot to take out their enemies. This time, their expertise was about to be challenged by Zhang Heng.
In shadow form, Zhang Heng could tail the sniper without making any noise. Long, overbearing shadows of the huge trees around him also added an extra layer of cover. Zhang Heng lifted up the revolver and aimed at the sniper’s head.
There were only ten seconds left before the shadow form expired. Once the time was up, he would be able to pull the trigger and kill the sniper. As this was his first time killing a person, he naturally hesitated for a bit. Unfortunately, there was no other way around it if he wanted to live to see another day. The sniper’s shooting prowess and innate knowledge of the terrain would make it impossible for Zhang Heng to get away even if he had a three-minute head start!
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