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Leah could vaguely recall the last time she went skiing. It was a good eight years ago or so.
She was still in junior high then. The whole family had gone to the ski resort together, and in the end, they almost left her behind in the bathroom. It was already dark, the staff had already gone home, and there was no one around. It surely wasn’t a very happy memory at all.
However, when Adele told her that she wanted to go skiing, Leah agreed right away. There was nothing she could do to stop herself from saying yes. It happened to be really difficult to refuse a real cute girl’s request. Especially when she had just come out of the shower, with droplets of water still clinging on her wet skin. And that was how Leah ended up here in the reception hall of the ski resort with Adele.
The two had already changed into their ski suits. Armed with thick gloves and sunglasses, they rented skis and poles and helped each other put on their helmets. What the couple did not know was that not far behind them, two teams were disguised as tourists. There were twelve in total, monitoring them from among the crowd.
“Nothing unusual yet,” reported one of them after looking around.
Right now, Vincent and the third team were disguised as a documentary filming team, camping out at the mountainside’s observation point, and setting up high-powered telescopes. A female technician monitored Leah’s mobile phone.
Vincent responded, “Keep your eyes on the target. Keep her within thirty meters.”
Next to him, his assistant, a young man chewing gum, commented disapprovingly, “Is this even necessary? We’ve checked all the guests at the hotel and didn’t find anyone suspicious. Also, we’ve been monitoring Leah, and no one has contacted her. It was entirely her decision to come to the ski resort. She and that little girlfriend of hers… what’s her name… Adele?—I’ve got to admit, she’s pretty hot. Speaking of which, can you send me a copy of last night’s video? I’d like to review it again,” the young man rubbed his hands gleefully.
Vincent stared at his assistant from the corner of his eye. “It’s always better to be safe than sorry. This is the main reason why I’ve been able to survive so many battles. We’ve combed through the entire city but still couldn’t find the two guys at the bar that night. They seemed to have just vanished. They’ve either given up or are preparing something even more dangerous. Our focus has always been on the urban area, especially the places Leah frequents, but here… we’ve rarely been here. Due to limited workforce, and the fact that we still need to keep an eye on Leah, we weren’t able to do much in terms of preparation though we had two days to prepare.”
“Do you think they plan to grab Leah here?”
“This would be their best chance.”
“Then why did we still allow her to come here? Why didn’t we just coin something up like a car crash or something to make her stay? Wouldn’t that be less risky?”
“Don’t you know that mosquitos, the pesky little things they are, can’t actually cause you any real danger? That said, they constantly buzz in your ears, and it’s very annoying. So the best way to deal with it is to find the best window of opportunity and kill it. This is their chance to act, but it is also ours as well.”
Vincent waved his hand, and an unassuming camera was brought to him. “You’re a blabbermouth, yet I still put you in my team. Do you know why?”
“Give it a try.”
The young man put his eyes to the viewfinder, looking uncertain. After a while, he gasped, “Oh, military scopes?” “Your favorite TAC-50 sniper rifle is camouflaged as a camera so we won’t frighten away the tourists. I remember your longest sniping range was three kilometers.”
“3659 meters, to be precise,” the young man grinned, flashing two rows of pearly whites. “…unfortunately, it couldn’t be made public. Otherwise, I would have been dubbed the world’s number one sniper.”
“I hope you’re half as good as you claim to be,” Vincent said, “Anyway, your assignment is simple. If the two men from the bar show up, kill them.”
“Wow, simple, and straightforward. I like it.”
Leah and Adele finally had all their equipment and protective gear ready and were now lining up for the cable car. From here, the cable car would take them directly to the mountainside or the peak of the mountain. The beginner and intermediate slopes were located halfway up, whereas the summit was reserved for the advanced and extreme ski trails.
With the assistance of a resort employee, the couple got onto a cable car. Adele went first, followed by Leah, who needed some help from the staff.
It was then that Leah noticed something strange. When the employee with the piercings helped her get into the capsule, he slipped a piece of paper into her palm and whispered something in her ear. When Leah turned to look at him, he winked.
The technician monitoring Leah’s phone took off his headset and ran to Vincent. “Something happened! Someone’s blocked the cell phone signal!” he exclaimed urgently.
At precisely the same moment, the person in charge of looking out for suspicious individuals shouted, “It’s the guy who jumped off the bridge!”
Without any warning, the young man who was playing dead on the chair jumped out of his seat, tossed away the hot-water bag in his hands, and exclaimed, “It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally my turn!”
He ran to the disguised TAC-50 camera, and as soon as his fingers found the trigger, his entire demeanor changed. He no longer looked weak and hungry but transformed into a formidable killing machine with a weapon to match.
But almost immediately, his brows furrowed. “How cunning. He keeps going to crowded places.”
“Do we need to intercept the target?” someone asked through the radio.
Vincent thought about it for a moment before answering. “Let’s split up,” he said, “The rest of you continue following Leah. Make sure at least two pairs of eyes on her at all times.” “Is this a decoy?” The young man pushed another stick of gum into his mouth, “In that case, let’s swallow the bait.”
Piercings knew that his cover was blown the moment he used the shielding device to block the boy’s mobile phone. After running for a while, he saw the people who had taken his bait tailing him. The plan was going well so far, and all he had to do now was to lure this group into a game of cat-and-mouse, shake them loose, and his task would be complete.
Considering the current distance between him and his pursuers, it did not seem too difficult a task, but for some reason, he felt an ominous premonition deep down inside of him.
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