Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 637
“Pil-nyeo, go home now and show love to the ones near you. Once you have placed warm rice and delicious fermented soybean stew on the kitchen table, both your husband and U-tak will return. Once you water the withered flowers and place a yellow chrysanthemum on the windowsill, Hwa-ja will return.”
Gim Mal-sun looked at the frothing Jang Pil-nyeo with pitiful eyes. Her sister-in-law’s misfortune stemmed from her endless greed, and with greed came jealousy and envy. She already had so much but failed to appreciate their worth, instead she coveted what other people had. Such a life could never feel complete.
“Mother, let’s go. Even if the Buddha himself spoke to her, she still wouldn’t listen.”
Mu-ssang held his mother’s hand firmly. Every person has their own personality or character, which defines the collective thoughts of the person. A person with good personality will allow good vibes to flow in. But with a bad personality and bad thoughts, only bad vibes can enter.
Some people with bad personalities can still hold some goodness in them. But for those with a fundamentally flawed set of thoughts, even God couldn’t force them to have good thoughts. Jang Pil-nyeo was one such person.
“Are you hungry?”
“There is a good spicy bone stew restaurant in the Central Market. Let’s each have a bowl.”
“Yeah. Let us hurry.”
Gim Mal-sun pulled her son’s hand to lead him away.
Jang Pil-nyeo felt breathless.
Gim Mal-sun had everything Pil-nyeo ever longed for. A successful son, youth, beauty, and wealth. Why did Mal-sun have all of those, and not her? If there was a God, this couldn’t have happened. The world had forsaken her. She felt like there were dozens of woodpeckers pecking her head, as white-faced and black-faced demons whirled around her frantically. Suddenly, something went off in her head.
“Gim Mal-sun! You wretch.”
A piercing screech was heard. Jang Pil-nyeo, with only the white of her eyes visible, charged towards the window like a crazed ox. The large window shattered.
“I knew it!”
Bak In-bo screamed.
A banshee-like screech resounded. The Army rope shot forth like the head of a black mamba. Just before Jang Pil-nyeo could splatter into the ground like a falling persimmon, the rope wound around her ankle and pulled her up just in time.
All of that happened in a matter of seconds. Jang Gi-su and Jang Gyeong-mo, upon realizing the situation, were appalled. The auditorium was filled with commotion and noise at once.
Mu-ssang clucked his tongue. Fortunately, none of her arteries was severed, but countless pieces of glass were buried in her skin, causing her to bleed profusely. Upon Mu-ssang’s touch, the glass pieces that were buried all over her body were removed all at once. He had used Resonance Wave to push the skin around each piece to force it out. But the biggest damage came from multiple fractures of the cervical vertebrae and hip joints.
“What are you doing? Call an ambulance!”
Gim Gi-taek yelled. The employees who were shaken from their surprise, moved frantically, searching for a first aid kit and a stretcher while others making the call.
“This woman continues to cause trouble until the last moment!”
Mu-ssang complained. If his mother wasn’t here with them, he would have let the woman fall to her demise.
“You did a good thing.”
Gim Mal-sun patted her son’s butt.
“Death may have been a finer fate for her.”
“It may well be!”
Gim Mal-sun nodded.
Bak In-bo stared sadly as his wife was being brought out on a stretcher. Despite successfully enacting his revenge, even much more successfully than he had expected, he still didn’t feel good.
* * *
“Who is the oldest among the elders?”
Mu-ssang looked around at the murmuring Jangs.
“That would be me.”
Jang Gyeong-mo said.
“I will cut to the chase. I will buy all of the shares you have. At 10,000 won per share.”
“10,000? No way!”
Jang Gi-su said.
“These shares are worth 30,000 won each at net price. This is straight-out robbery.”
“Robbery? I haven’t lived many years but this is the first time I’m ever called a robber.”
Mu-ssang’s eyes glinted at Jang Gi-su, who flinched and immediately stepped back.
“Then you can keep all that useless toilet paper. Mr. Gim, Hyangsim Textile will have no dividends for five years.”
“I see. To expand overseas, we would need a lot of cash saved up. So there will be no dividends for 10 years.”
Gim Gi-taek added and went even a step further.
“What is all this crock of shit?”
Jang Gi-su roared. A non-public share without dividends was indeed like toilet paper. No one would buy the shares from them at a high price when they wouldn’t entitle the owner to any dividends. They were not going to be able to pay the loan interest for the next month. They had already spent more than 10,000,000,000 won, and with no dividends, there would be no return for them for five or even 10 years.
“A crock of shit? We are merely consolidating the company’s structure. You can do what you want when you are the chairman.”
Mu-ssang spat out before leaving the auditorium, holding his mother’s hand.
“Jang Gi-su, you are still your old self. I am Gim Gi-taek, the CEO of Giseong Textile. You may have forgotten but I haven’t. Mr. Bak offered you 10,000, but I plan to pay 5,000 each and reduce capital.”
Gim Gi-taek squinted at Jang Gi-su before following Mu-ssang out.
“Gim Gi-taek from Giseong Textile? What?”
Jang Gi-su frowned deeply.
Bak In-bo sighed. His nephew was truly intimidating. He shuddered to think what would happen to him if he decided to oppose him. It was a wise decision for him to let Mu-ssang handle U-tak.
* * *
The next day, U-tak visited Eungsimje. Mu-ssang remained indifferent, but still adhered to his mother’s instruction to let the hate of the previous generation end there. Gim Mal-sun greeted him warmly.
“You are an adult now too, U-tak.”
U-tak choked up. His aunt looked just as she did when he was young. She was beautiful, kind, and affectionate. The heavens were unfair, by granting only his cousin with a good father and a good mother. This only made him powerful the way he was now.
“You must be starving. Let’s eat first.”
“All right. You must have gone through so much.”
He liked his aunt a hundred times better than his own mother. He couldn’t bring himself to imagine the ordeal she must have gone through. He was speaking through his nose without realizing it.
“Look at her face. She went through much worse when she was living with us.”
Mu-ssang said cynically.
“You are right. But is this really your house?”
U-tak felt like he was dreaming. He didn’t expect to find a manor of this size in Korea, let alone believe that this was Mu-ssang’s house.
“Does the size even matter? We still eat like everyone else, and sleep in the same sized bed in the end.”
“But this is still quite big.”
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U-tak shook his head. He had heard from his father, but a picture was indeed worth a thousand words. He was jealous of his cousin who had casually described his palatial house as simply “quite big.” Come to think of it, his cousin had always had a quite unique character even before.
“U-tak? Long time no see.”
Jin-sun greeted him a bit formally. Gim Mal-sun had told her to let go of the past, but the pent up emotions all these years could never melt away at once.
“Thank you for greeting me.”
U-tak smiled abashedly, remembering how he had asked a criminal gang to abduct Jin-sun before. Dishes were brought onto the table one after another as the whole family sat around it.
“Eat plentifully, U-tak.”
U-tak put a spoonful of kimchi stew into his mouth and wept. It was delicious. He didn’t know kimchi stew could be such a delicious dish. When the food was cooked with the heart, and it was eaten with family laughing and talking together. This was family, and this was happiness. He felt sad for the days he spent in his dank room without anyone else.
“Are you really Mu-ssang?”
U-tak’s gaze wandered about in the study, unable to focus on anything.
“Should I smack you again for you to come to your senses?”
Mu-ssang grinned and shook his fist in the air.
“No. I’ve had enough on the mudflap on the in-river island.”
“How is your mother?”
U-tak’s face darkened.
“Thank you for asking. The brain surgery went well. But she sustained nerve damage from where her neck was broken. I’m not sure if she’ll be able to walk again.”
Mu-ssang sipped on his tea without a word. Even though Jang Pil-nyeo had acted out of the blue, he could still have prevented her fall. The Baks tended to be quite petty.
“I expected it. It was her own fault after all and we have no one else to blame. I’m sorry and thank you.”
U-tak, pulling at the seams on the cushion he sat on, blurted out. His mother lived her whole life buried in envy, anger, and indulgence. Her envy toward Gim Mal-sun was especially strong. The hatred she nurtured endlessly had ruined herself, her family, and her lineage, all led to a meaningless end. She was his birth mother, yet he felt no pity for her.
“Do you still take kindly to the Jangs?”
“Not at all. I have hated them for a long time.”
Mu-ssang nodded. After all, his uncle was treated poorly by the Jangs. U-tak could not have been an exception.
“You must have heard from your father, but even though they have fallen, the Jangs will not stop fighting amongst themselves. If they don’t hand over their shares soon, I will make them fall for good.
“Who could disagree with you?”
U-tak took the envelope Mu-ssang held out.
“What is this?”
“It’s 200,000,000 won.”
U-tak’s eyes widened.
“Hui-ja exchanged 1.6 percent of Textile shares for 10 percent of Travel shares with Jang Gi-su. Of course, your father have played a part in this. If we add the 10 percent owned by Hui-ja to the 45 percent owned by your father, we get 55 percent in total. Your father had successfully fooled him, using Hyangsim Textile as bait. Jang Gi-su must have thought he was getting profit from it but he lost what he had by trying to get more.”
U-tak uttered a sound similar to what a monk would say at his moment of enlightenment.
“Buy the 10 percent that Hui-ja owns with this money. Then call a shareholder meeting immediately to fire Jang Sang-su and take control of the company.”
“Father handles the money matters.”
“How old are you to still be relying on your father? I heard you are tasked with the distribution of the buses. Then you must have seen the wretched condition the female conductors live in. Construct a new dorm and give the female conductors a raise. Fire all the Jangs who have embezzled money, and steer the company towards the right direction.”
U-tak’s mouth fell in awe. Mu-ssang’s character was on a different level. If his own character could be compared to a small sauce bowl, Mu-ssang’s was a big basin. No, it was more like a lake. He blamed himself for not doing anything, just cowering by his uncle all this time.
“You must have a kept a lot of grudges in your heart.”
“I am too petty to forgive you, but my mother was not. The hate from the previous generation ends there. People say that logistics is a dying industry, but they are misguided. No one walks dozens of kilometers like they used to do in the past. So run the company well, then you will make a lot of money to pay me back quickly.”
U-tak wept, unable to continue speaking. He felt like he was awoken from a long dream.
After all the noise, Christmas was finally approach in three days. Today, the family of Gim Gi-taek was going to move out.
Everyone in their family was respectful and honorable: the husband sold gimbap on the streets at first light. The wife looked after an old monk in the mountains. The two daughters helped their father whenever they had free time.
Mu-ssang bought the home they used to live in, as a Christmas gift for a family who deserved happiness.
“Sir, I will definitely pay back this great favor.”
“Please, don’t. I am getting goosebumps. Just don’t exploit the subcontractors and give the employees a great raise. Make their salary the best in the industry. Confidence comes from love for one’s work.”
“I will put your words to heart.”
“Thank you, sir. I wouldn’t be able to repay this favor even if I make you shoes out of my own hair. How could we have survived without you?”
Sister Yang teared up. When she saw him take out the land purchase certificate, saying it is a Christmas present for them, she wondered what good karma they must have accumulated in their past lives for them to receive such kindness now?
“You shouldn’t be acting this way too. It’s not a favor.”
Mu-ssang pretended to shudder and rubbed his forearms frantically.
“I still feel like I am dreaming. They say we never know what the future holds, but who knew the powerful Jangs would collapse like that? It all feels meaningless.”
Gim Gi-taek sighed. Bak In-bo and Jang Gi-su had caused his downfall but now, their nephew, Bak Mu-ssang, saved them. Like a wasp in a honeycomb, Jang Gi-su was led to his demise. While he himself, who used to be fleeing from loan sharks daily, became a chairman now. Such was the strangeness of fate, how a few change that he had given to a boy many years ago had saved him from hell.
“Greed had blinded them.”
Mu-ssang looked out at the garden moodily. A few birds looked for something in a frozen stream, while the winter breeze blew leaves around randomly. The world was filled with intertwined relations, and yet nature stayed the same.
“They got what they deserved for doing all that they did. But you were quite cruel to bring your mother along. Jang Pil-nyeo was definitely going to lose it to have to face her like that. I heard Hui-ja went to Jeju with Bak In-bo. Somehow, I pity her, to lose her husband and children, and to be left crippled like that.”
Jin-sun shook her head. She had expected her demise to be something like this. But when it actually happened, it still seemed way too harsh.
“You are the salt of the world. If you lose your taste, what will season it?” (Matthew 5:13)
Gim Mal-sun, who was placing pieces of bulgogi into Yeong-suk’s mouth, blurted out.
“Do you go to church?”
Mu-ssang was surprised.
“I don’t! I just saw the phrase framed on the wall in a Seolleongtang restaurant.”
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“What does it mean, Gran?”
“I don’t know. I just know it is a good saying because it was on a wall. You should ask your father about difficult phrases like this.”
Mu-ssang burst out laughing. His mother was a sage of traditional Korean religion. For her, learning was not imparting but rather a form of receiving. But Mi-na was not ready to understand it, so it was no use explaining it to her just yet.