Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 69
“Wouldn’t it be the same way Bellman gains an old man’s love?!” Black Mamba returned.
His French had improved.
“Wow, Virgin Guy, your French has gotten better to the point you can make jokes. At least now you can ask a young woman to take off her underwear. Let’s go straight to the Shari Meridian Hotel when we return.”
Black Mamba turned his head.
“Virgin Guy” was the nickname his fellow soldiers had called him at Deuxieme Rep. It was from their assumption that he didn’t know how to ask a woman to take her underwear off, therefore unable to have sex. It dually teased Black Mamba about his bad French and abstinence from women.
But Black Mamba was a pure guy who had decided not to hold any other woman aside from Hae Young. He was also a naive man who believed sex without love was dirty but was also a masochistic man who believed that a man should be able to kill a woman in bed.
He didn’t touch any of the women because he didn’t have the urge. A thrill ran across him only when it was Hae Young’s breath or a fresh pheromone smell drifted off her. When his eyes clashed against the light blue glare of her clear eyes, his consciousness wavered. She absorbed his manhood tenaciously.
How was he supposed to hold a woman who chewed on gum even after people begged, a woman with an old stench, a woman whose sweat glands were obvious on her skin and with hair everywhere!
Soldiers, especially mercenaries, shoved most of their salaries into a woman’s hole below and poured it into her mouth at a pub. This was no different for Jang Shin even though he had a wife back in his hometown.
Black Mamba was a special case. Even when he headed out towards the Ajaccio city with his friends, he returned to the camp after completing his basic shopping needs. There had been several bets on whether Black Mamba would have sex or not.
Most tried to get him extremely drunk, using that scheme to shove a woman in his arms. There had been more violent cases when someone tried to drug him. But Black Mamba didn’t get drunk, no matter how much he drank. His extreme physicality dissolved the alcohol at once and pushed it out.
No beauty could raise Black Mamba’s lust. Not even the most beautiful woman in Dae-gu, Chui Min Suk, could seduce Black Mamba in his teenage years. His concentration was the best in the world. Even if he was overcome by lust, he was the type of man to handle it himself rather than be swept up by it. Things like drugs never passed his smell and taste standards.
Every attempt to make Black Mamba hold a call girl had failed. He was rumored to be disabled, but soon the nickname of “Virgin Guy” had been attached in ill intent. He could withstand anything if he was determined to do so, so it was hilarious that rabbits who couldn’t even hold back for more than 30 minutes debated his possible ability or disability.
When Chartres and Black Mamba came to occupy a tent, its owner had to be chased out. The captain, the one who had his tent taken, decided to use the back seat of the pickup as his bed. Jang Shin was, in that regard, chased to the shade underneath a rock.
The captain frequented the tent often on the excuse of checking on Chartres, but it was in fact due to his concern over Black Mamba’s injuries. It was because if something happened to Black Mamba, not only was Chartres going to be in danger, the entire team was going to be threatened.
Even the cold captain began to panic when Chartres’ condition got worse. He requested a helicopter from the headquarters, but it was refused because one had already been shot down by a STRELA at Er Ekdim. It was an unexpected consequence.
The captain didn’t know that as a consequence of the prior helicopter, Team Ratel had been thrown away at the conference in Aubagne. He didn’t know that Colonel Philip had shoved 100 rescue members into Mondo, either.
There was nothing different about a captain’s tent.
The floor was sand with raised supporting beams on top and covered with a yellow-brown pelt. The tent barely kept out the sunlight and sandstorms.
The captain stared blankly down at Chartres who was moaning in pain from high fever. A helicopter pilot died, and Chartres was in danger because of his misjudgment. He was about to cry as if someone was going to beat him up.
“Captain, you remember what I said when the FROLINAT was going after the helicopter, right? You remember what happens if something goes wrong with Chartres, hmmm?”
Black Mamba made a fist and shook it.
The captain stepped back, flinching without realizing it.
This was the fist that exploded the northern soldier’s head like watermelons. It was the fist that went through human bodies as though they were made of Styrofoam. The weapons that were scarier than any other weapons were that bastard’s hands and feet.
“Black, there’s no private or airman who threatens to punch their officer to death in any military on Earth, even more so in Legion Etranger. Don’t you think you’re being too dramatic, you small, tanned thing?
The captain complained in a thin voice. Bellman began to suppress his laughter beside him.
Black Mamba was lying down and slowly reached for his kukri in his leg belt that he had taken off.
He had felt something strangely alive below the tent floor.
Unlike the strong killing intent he was sensing, its life force felt small. It was the major characteristic of poisonous reptiles, and it was next to the captain’s feet. A sniper’s concentration was on a different tier from normal humans
“Uh. Black, why are you doing this? Are you crazy? You’re pulling out a sword at such a minor thing?”
The captain, scared, began to move back with shaking hands.
He was attempting to say “Circe”(God), but that was too long, so he had blurted out, “stop.”
When the captain’s foot moved, the sand rose into the air and a long creature jumped out like a spring. The surprised captain was unable to respond, and his eyes only widened. Bellman had watched the whole thing and blood drained out of his face.
A blade glinted.
The kukri sliced off the reptile’s head and landed, embedding itself deeply into the wooden post of Chartres’ bed. If it had been an inch off its trajectory, the kukri would have landed on Chartres’ body.
A long thing collapsed onto the ground.
It was a horned desert viper. The captain took turns staring at the 1.5-meter long, headless, poisonous viper then at Black Mamba. Bellman’s face began to regain its color.
“Ha, it seems like its hiding abilities justifies its horn.” Black Mamba exclaimed.
The creature’s assimilated 100 percent with the sand after crawling into the tent. He had missed its presence.
Large vipers like cobras and black mambas had an impossible attack speed. They could attack their prey a meter away in 0.2 seconds.
The time for a human to react to a perceived threat takes 0.5 seconds. That could be decreased to 0.3 seconds with training, but that also meant no human on Earth could avoid a viper’s surprise attack a meter away.
Bellman shook his head. He was more surprised at Black Mamba’s reaction than the viper’s attack itself. He had been able to read the viper’s movements and predict the trajectory of his blade all in a single moment.
The captain’s face turned into stone a second later.
Nothing could be done if he had been bitten by a large viper. His case would be immediate, but he would not survive without antivenom. He had been able to survive this threat thanks to Black Mamba.
“Captain, you should buy Black a drink.”
“Ye, yeah. Of course. When did this snake bastard get in the tent anyways?”
His face turned red, recalling the moment he had lashed out when Black Mamba pulled out his knife. Bellman smiled as though he understood and continued talking through that smile.
“I’ve lit a fire to maintain Chartres’ condition during the night. It must have crawled in looking for some warmth. Seems like it’s out of luck having been caught by Black Mamba.
“If it hadn’t been for him, I would have been out of luck.” The captain broke out in cold sweat.
“Damn bastard, say something before you pull your knife out.”
The captain began to complain. When Black Mamba had reached for his kukri, he had truly been surprised.
It was because soldiers who had been exposed to battles and bloodlust often went on a brief rampage or caused violence. Even thinking about Black Mamba going on a rampage made his head cold.
“How did you know?”
A bored response answered the captain’s question.
“Yessir, a sixth sense.”
“Ooh! Sens a rire (sense of humor)!”
“Well, a viper wouldn’t be able to reach Black Mamba’s level of sens a rire after all.”
The captain and Bellman exclaimed as though they had reached a great understanding.
Black Mamba’s face turned red. He had studied hard, but he still found English more comfortable than French. Of course, that didn’t mean his English was fluent, either. He was certainly lacking in the language department.
Bellman took up the large viper and observed it with amused curiosity. The kukri had knocked off its head without touching any other vitals, a knife thrown while he was lying down. By now, he was used to these feats, but it was still amazing every time he experienced it. That the viper had managed to fatten itself up in this wasteland was also amazing.
“Jang Shin!” Bellman called.
“You can cook this, right?”
Jang Shin smiled, revealing his teeth.
Bellman threw the viper at him. If it was Chin duck, he would be capable of turning such a large snake into an edible dish.
Black Mamba frustrated with lying down all the time walked out of the tent.
Jang Shin was ripping off the viper’s skin. A snake’s skin was easy to peel off if the skin around the mouth was pulled back to its tail at once. Its intestines fell out, too.
Jang Shin rolled the snake with its flesh exposed around the stolen AK’s barrel and placed it next to the fire. When he began to turn it like a skewered meal, grease began to drip into the fireplace. A sweet smell began to spread.
Jang Shin began to share morsels of the meat with his team members who were watching curiously. He received praise that it was revitalizing. They had once resorted to eating worms during their survival training at Mt. Chinto. No one would refuse snake meat.
Chartres, who had woken up from his sleep, walked out of the tent. After eating the roasted meat, he raised his thumb at Jang Shin. His throat had swollen to the point his breaths could be heard. Black Mamba looked at Chartres with a pitying gaze; his life force dimmed day by day.
Black Mamba’s injuries healed rapidly.
His wounds had closed in a day and scabbed within two. In three days, the scabs fell off. Bellman had opened the bandages to sterilize his wounds and stared with his mouth hanging open.
A muscle that had been torn diagonally required at least three weeks to heal. This was a regenerative ability inexplicable by medical science. Bellman glared at the bumpy scar. He looked as though he was about to shoot lasers from his eyes.
“Why? You want to try dissecting it?”
“Not that far, but what is the reason?”
“It’s because I ate a lot of Korean ginseng.”
Bellman, too, believed in the better properties of Korean ginseng. But that was ridiculous.
“And you need to keep in your sexual desires. If you don’t let it out, it becomes absorbed by your cells and turns into mitochondria.”
It was his revenge for calling him, Virgin Guy.
“You damned bastard! You salty bastard.”
Bellman raised his fist and shook it.
Black Mamba spent a day next to Chartres because he had been able to move when they were eating snake meat, but then suddenly fell into a coma. The captain requested another emergency helicopter, but it was refused.
The team’s mood darkened.
“Chartres, you awake?”
Chartres awoke at the break of dawn. Even his muscle stiffness had turned for the better. His voice was clear.
“Black, this war isn’t ours. It’s the war of those old people sitting at their mahogany desks and rolling away from their telephones.”
“I know. I guessed.”
“You can never die and never get hurt. You cannot be swept into those old men’s schemes, at such a young age.”
“I get it. Stop talking.”
Black Mamba’s heart was aching. It never bodes well when a critical patient suddenly has a turn for the better.
“Yes. Don’t get greedy on stuff like improving your track record.”
Chartres ignored his advice to save his words.
“I fight to live. That’s what I’ve done since I was young.”
“It’s frustrating, I’ve been in bed for too long.”
Chartres kicked around to get up. Black Mamba hurriedly supported him with a large cushion, shoved behind his back. It was an emergency cushion he had made by shoving straws into the concealment sack.
“Do you know the difference between ants and humans?”
“Both ants and humans live in a military organization, share their work, move busily, and cede to those with power. The soldier ants maintain the order of the male and work ants go with the queen as its central power. Did you know there are ranks in working ants, too?”
Black Mamba had known, but he said he didn’t. It was to lift Chartres’ mood.
“The fact that they battle against their kind in organizations and kill their kind en masse, makes humans and ants similar. But there’s a huge difference between the two. In the ant world, those who are old or are male aren’t treated well. Male ants after finishing their wedding nights are forced out of the group or made to live in harsh conditions. Even the old ants receive the same treatment as those male ants. There is an ant species with a strange name called ‘oecophylla smaragdina’ in Australia. They force their old ants to work at a ‘field bunk’ a few ways from their ant house.”
“You’re talking about an elderly vanguard regiment?”