Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 630
[Is it possible?]
[I am able to control the spiritual aspects but still don’t know much about the brain structure and the mechanism of memory. If I consult Dr. Giz, I might be able to find something.]
Mu-ssang saw a ray of hope shine through the thick gray clouds. If he remembered correctly, the human memory consisted of multiple memory neurons forming a fabric-like network. For a person to be able to erase and form certain memories, he would have to read trillions of memory mappings and analyze the connections between the neurons in order to do so. Even if he utilized all of the computers in the world, it would still prove to be an impossible task.
[You mean, you can replace some memories?]
[If we can locate the spots where the synaptic affinities are enhanced, then it is possible. We can replace the connections with augmented reality. Something like, I can fabricate a realistic-looking scar at the back of her head to corroborate the story of falling off a cliff and sustaining brain damage.]
‘My teacher is great indeed!’
Mu-ssang thought. Teacher intended to completely replace a piece of cloth that was already stained by another. It would be an impossible task for anyone else, but not for Teacher. This was unlike Choi Do-sik’s Soulwashing, which is akin to tearing apart the figurative fabric. The latter was more like striking a rice bowl in order to shoo away the fly that was sitting on it. It would shatter the bowl, and even possibly break the table. It would cause the person to lose their sensory faculties, and to break their mind eventually.
[We could also tend to the psychological scars.]
[Yes. When the tree bark paper is wet, it will tear at the slightest touch. But once it is dried, it will become sturdier than before.]
[Why do you talk like that? It sounds creepier through telepathy.]
The teacher frowned deeply while the student smiled unabashedly. Although Teacher didn’t say it explicitly, but he implied that Mu-ssang shouldn’t attempt to prolong his uncle’s life. Mu-ssang didn’t intend to do so either.
“Sister, you should stay here and keep Sister Yang company for a few days. My only skill is to sew together torn-apart souls. Your son will pay for your room and board, so don’t worry!”
Monk Dae-u guffawed. Finally, he was able to help resolve his student’s grudge. The day could not get any better.
“Thank you, great monk.”
Kim Mal-sun stood abruptly and bowed deeply three times. She felt as if she was in the presence of Buddha, as she received the good graces from the monk.
“Mu-ssang, leave Yeong-a here too.”
“As you wish, Teacher.”
“This is quite auspicious!”
Monk Dae-u gazed at Yeong-a, who had fallen asleep on a mat while hugging the baby deer. Looking at them, one couldn’t help but smile. He had gone to Eungsimje to see Yeong-a, but ended up just tending to Mi-na’s heart instead before heading back.
He has been waiting for his student to inherit his temple for six years. Though his student was not a viable candidate anymore, but he brought someone else for that: his sister. This must be the grace of the heavens.
[Teacher, do you plan to turn Yeong-a into a monk?]
[What are you talking about?]
The unexpected telepathy startled him.
[Don’t play dumb. Your two eyes are filled with greed.]
[If I did, you wouldn’t leave me alone.]
[Don’t you worry. Yeong-a’s mental capacity is on a whole other level, unlike yours which is only good for fighting. She can continue to live in the mundane world even as she trains. Fifteen years would be sufficient.]
“I will buy you an Agusta.”
“A bribe? Then I prefer a Stradale.”
“You will receive the keys in 10 days.”
Mu-ssang answered without thinking. An Agusta Stradale was a mountain bike model. A custom order costs twenty times the price of a Pony, but considering Teacher’s financial situation, it was just pocket change for him. He was even willing to buy him a private jet. Leaving his mother and Yeong-a behind, Mu-ssang left the temple with peace of mind.
“Sir, I’m back.”
Neopchi greeted Mu-ssang. Kim Geuk-do glared at him suspiciously. Because of the hundreds of thugs he dragged here, the whole place was a mess. “Why did he bring them here?” He wanted to smack the back of Neopchi’s head.
Mu-ssang said as he glanced at the 60 bald thugs.
“We caught 280 thugs across Chungmu and Tongyeong. The ANS and police were of great help. They have all filled out their overseas employment contracts. There will be a ship prepared soon.”
“Help? It’s their job, to begin with. I don’t see them anymore, so I guess Kkamdung must have already dragged them away.”
“Yes. He was angry because they woke him up.”
Kim Geuk-do replied.
Mu-ssang nodded. Kkamdung recharged himself with sleep, so he was very particular about keeping the peace and quiet while sleeping. The thugs must be dragged away to mop the floor of his underground lair.
“And Nam Pal-bong?”
“Beaten to a pulp. He did something to your mother.”
“That’s enough. Send your boys to the outhouse and bring Dotdae here.”
Mu-ssang silenced Neopchi. He already expected the worst when he found out Yeong-a was his sister.
“Aye. Apologies, sir.”
Neopchi felt like slapping himself for speaking out of turn.
Dotdae ran up to them and bowed low, while trying to catch his breath.
At Mu-ssang’s terse tone, Dotdae’s face paled. He may have did his interrogation job too well and heard something he shouldn’t have. It was a nightmare to cross Mu-ssang.
“Did anyone else hear of what Nam Pal-bong had said besides you?”
“No. It was just Neopchi and me who interrogated him.”
Dotdae felt as tensed as a squid roasting in a fire.
“That’s good. So what did he say?”
“Your mother was abducted by human traffickers. She was then sold to Bigeum and was enslaved in a salt farm for a decade.”
“Yes. On remote islands, there are many salt farm workers who are unpaid and basically working like slaves. Usually, these are the mentally-retarded or people with no social connections. But sometimes, a normal person like your mother end up there as well. Once there, all connections to the outside world are cut off, and they are under strict surveillance so no one can run away. They are said to be forced to work 18 hours a day.”
“18! What else?”
Mu-ssang groaned. It was a miracle that his frail mother survived.
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“The owner of the salt farm, Moon Gi-sik, took a fancy to her and decided to take her away from working in the farm and tried to have sex with her instead. Nam Pal-bong is Moon Gi-sik’s nephew. He also took a fancy to her, so he helped her escape the island. But when your mother refused to live with him, he sold her to a brothel. Once, when a fire broke out, she managed to escape from the brothel and found work in restaurants. Unfortunately, she ran into Nam Pal-bong again in a market a year ago.”
‘Is that so? How often was she beaten up to have left her with multiple cracked bones and stomach ulcers?’
Mu-ssang thought as his chest was filled with rage.
“She was robbed of her savings and was enslaved again. He even drew a tattoo on her body.”
That was the end of the story.
“Who were the traffickers?”
Mu-ssang asked with his eyes clenched shut.
“We still don’t know, but I have sent some boys to Bigeum. Many years have passed but parasites cannot survive without their host. If we interrogate Moon Gi-sik, we will get some clues.”
Neopchi vowed. Predatory fish eat each other by nature. The police may not be capable, but a criminal gang would be able to locate other criminals.
“Dotdae, I need you down in Bigeum. Bring Moon Gi-sik and everyone involved back here.”
“Neopchi, you will get 150 able-bodied men and organize a squad. Then you will scour the salt farms along the western and southern coasts of the country and round up all the owners who are employing slaves and human traffickers. Bring the enslaved here too. As for the local rich and officials, you will make a list and report it to me.”
“Don’t worry about the expenses. If you run into a problem, just say my name to get them to cooperate.”
Mu-ssang handed him his account book and the name cards of Kim Yang-su and Lee Dae-deok. He may not able to resolve all of the injustices in the world, but he could try fixing what is already in front of him.
Neopchi and Dotdae were ecstatic. Now even the police and the ANS agents have to answer to them. This was exactly why strong connections were necessary to get anything done in this country.
“Master, should we even bring those filthy beings back here? I can just eliminate them where they are.”
Kim Geuk-do said with strong murderous intent.
“Don’t bother. This is a task for thugs. Neopchi is the right man for this job.”
“I was mistaken.”
Kim Geuk-do understood what Mu-ssang meant right away. Even if he eliminated these filth, soon some other would take its place. This was why the Japanese police could never cleanse the yakuza completely and just kept them under surveillance.
“Where is he?”
“In the outhouse. Jin-sun provided first aid.”
“Let us go.”
Mu-ssang gazed down at the still unconscious Nam Pal-bong. His features were unrecognizable and almost 70 percent of his body has sustained internal bleeding. He scanned him with his Resonance Wave. Nam Pal-bong’s small intestine was tangled up together, and he was suffering from sepsis. Dotdae had really beaten him to the brink of death.
Mu-ssang’s eyes turned murderous. For ordinary people like his mother, even a lowly thug like Nam Pal-bong was considered more threatening than actual criminals. Thugs like him proved to inflict the most harm to ordinary people. Just like in the jungle of Ituri, venomous critters like wasps, leeches, and parasites were are a much bigger threat than predators like leopards and black mambas.
Mu-ssang had seen land leeches for the first time in the jungle. Once, while he had stripped his butt in order to relieve himself, his field of vision suddenly turned black. Apparently, thousands of black leeches lurked in the bushes and had decided to attack him all at once.
These leeches were very sensitive to vibrations. At the slightest movement, they immediately attached their tails to a stem or leaf and stretched their bodies toward him, ready to attack.
Likewise, humans have an innate fear and disgust for bloodsuckers. Vampires, bloodsucking bats, leeches, bedbugs, and fleas, all of these could only instil fear in everyone. It was definitely a nightmarish sight to behold when a thousands of leeches moved all at once, outstretched toward the source of blood.
Moreover, land leeches were known to be quite voracious. Once they started sucking blood, their once toothpick-like bodies would soon grow as large as fingers. Some would even burst open after having sucked more than they could actually contain. A fully sated leech could reach up to ten times its original size. By then, their movements would turn slow, and a different hunt would begin.
A swarm of bats would fly in and feast on the squirming land leeches. Red wasps would lay their eggs within the leeches using their long ovipositors. Nam Pal-bong was like a land leech that had been caught by a bat right after he had feasted more than he could digest.
“Death is a mercy that he doesn’t deserve. He should slave away in Novatopia. Bring in a doctor to resuscitate him.”
Mu-ssang detangled his intestines with Resonance Wave before he walked out of the room without looking back. He had a lot of things to do. His meeting with his uncle was already delayed since he had ran into his mother unexpectedly.
“Death is indeed a much better fate.”
Kim Geuk-do clucked his tongue. His master could be quite fearsome. Death would indeed be a better fate than what U Beom-seok and Murai had ended up with.
“Oh, it’s you!”
Ms. Jeong welcomed him.
“You look good.”
Mu-ssang smiled. Her once chubby physique had become quite slender. Falling in love must have done its magic.
“Really? He calls me every day even though international calls must be quite expensive.”
Ms. Jeong said. Seems like she was getting along quite well with Emil.
“Don’t worry. Emil is a lot richer than you think.”
“When do you plan to get married?”
“Shouldn’t I be asking you that instead?”
Mu-ssang returned the question, feigning ignorance.
“Do you want to see me die with anticipation?”
Ms. Jeong mockingly gave him an evil eye. Her boyfriend was adamant that his boss should get married before him. It was driving her insane.
“The time will come. What is my uncle doing?”
“He is waiting for you.”
* * *
“You look better.”
“Come in. Thanks to you, both my body and heart feel better. Back then, I didn’t expect myself capable of feeling this way, but now I wouldn’t mind living for another decade.”
Bak In-bo grinned. He said it as if it were a joke, but he actually meant every word.
“Death is indeed better than a life full of pain.”
Mu-ssang didn’t think to tell him that he had found his mother. Though he had accepted his uncle, but he didn’t forget what he had done to his family. Forgiveness is synonymous to letting go. But only the weak resorted to forgiveness in order to find closure. The strong were able to forgive without forgetting. And Mu-ssang was strong enough to do just that.
“Sounds like something you would say.”
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Bak In-bo laughed despite Mu-ssang’s cold response.
“You must purchase some of our stocks. I will pay for them.”
Bak In-bo started to talk business right away, and he meant what he said.
“Stocks? Are the Jangs still at it then?”
Mu-ssang understood right away. The family fight must have reached its peak.