Novel Name : Mercenary Black Mamba

Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 105

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Black Mamba reached for the drink carelessly and frowned.
His throat was on fire. The sensation lasted for over 50 seconds. The shock was as great as his senses’ sensitivity. Ombuti hurriedly passed him a piece of chocolate. Ombuti was someone who had successfully transitioned from a Tuareg warrior to an accompanying servant.
“It’s like a high-quality whiskey. No smell, clean—it’s good alcohol.”
He had almost coughed, but he managed to praise the liquor with a straight face. A man was all about bluffing to retain their pride. His master had also taught him never to forget bluffing.
Ironically, palm wines weren’t made out of palm trees. It was made out of fermented date palm sap. The sap was gathered by creating knife slashes on the bark of an old date palm tree. In the end, it wasn’t wine, but a sap beverage.
Arrack was made from a distiller called Arrabak, which distilled the palm wine. Arrack meant sweat in Arabic. It was called as such because of the way the wine dripped drop by drop when it was distilled, like sweat. It could be seen as a similar structure to Korea’s soju distiller, which made soju out of distilled makgeolli.
The amount of Arrack that was produced from 20 pounds of palm wine was four pounds. Ombuti was right to be overjoyed, having procured three pouches of such rare Arrack alcohol.
Ombuti clicked his tongue after rummaging through the bag on the camel’s back.
“Captain, it’s a camel’s date palm.”
“The merchant must be buried in the desert then. The army of those dirty people!” Jang Shin gritted his teeth.
“It’s nothing to be surprised about. The Sahel is lawless. We might have provoked the FROLIANT too much this time…” A shadow fell over Black Mamba’s face.
It was probable that the weaker the FROLINAT’s united front became, the more violent the People’s Army (FAP) would become as they attempted to increase their sphere of power. They were taking the shortcut to destruction, but the locals would be dragged into unspeakable pain for the duration of that time.
A dried date palm was called a camel’s date palm in northern Africa. Aside from being a high-quality snack, it was also used as a substitute for a meal. They were imported to Europe in great quantities.
Ombuti was happy.
The Arrack and camel’s date palms were the alcohol and food that the Tuareg Tribe considered the best. He was but a helpless desert man.
“Wakil is someone who brings about fortune. Allah has sent us food and drinks.”
“F*ck fortune…” Black Mamba smiled bitterly at Ombuti’s cheer.
That they were bringing about fortune was quite a thing to say to someone who had no luck at all!
Fortune was an impossible thing. If luck had been with him, how could he have lost his mother and turned his back on his hometown? Why would he have been ripped from his most beloved person to the other side of the world? Why would he be murdering people in a foreign land thousands of miles away? The servant’s words only caused chaos in his head.
When Ombuti appeared with nine camels in tow, the camp came alive. They were about to run a full course marathon to Paya. The mercenaries, who had managed to avoid becoming wasted, were energized.
“Let’s go!”
“Chop, chop!”
They looked as though they were about to race to Paya on the camels right away.
Black Mamba missed Burimer and Chartres. They acted as the balancers of the team and directed the team’s conversations. He didn’t know about the rest of those who remained, but he was certainly missing those empty positions.
It was said that Habib’s mansion was the third army’s control tower. Destroying the mansion meant wiping out their most evil force, the third army. It was the most efficient way to open up the net and drag them out.
But his team members were too tired.
Their battle abilities were 30 percent of their average. Black Mamba decided to move by himself. He could take two boxes of grenades and shake them over the mansion like he had with the third command post. His comrades were his companions and a burden. If he ran around by himself, he could finish matters more quickly.
“Captain, I’ll take care of Habib by myself. You just wait.”
“No, we can’t send you there alone. We’re the Deuxieme Rep,” disagreed the captain strongly.
There was no way Habib’s mansion security was relaxed, and Black Mamba was the core of their team. He had nearly driven himself crazy waiting for the battle of Er Ekdim to come to a close with his insides burning. He never wanted to go through an experience like that again.
Mike, Bell Man, Emil, and Jang Shin’s expressions looked unnatural, too. It looked as though their pride had taken a blow.
“Black Mamba, you’re not making sense. Didn’t you lose Ahmud when you were wiping out the third command post last time?”
“Yeah, we can’t trust you. You might lose Habib.”
“Right. You’re just a strong man. You don’t have a very meticulous nature.”
Unreasonable criticism poured out as though they had been waiting for their chance.
Black Mamba yielded as he scratched the back of his head. He felt as though they would resort to stronger measures if he stayed stubborn.
“Wait. We can’t just leave when there are good wine and food. We still have five hours until daybreak,” Ombuti argued with logic.
“What does camel meat taste like?” Bell Man licked his lips.
“It’s a mix of beef and pork. It’s softer than lamb and has a lot of nutrients.”
“That means it’s the best. Jang Shin, what are you doing?”
Jang Shin sent a worried gaze at Black Mamba and the large creature at Bell Man’s urging. Perhaps he could cut it with a Wang Mi Za, the largest kitchen knife company in China, or a long knife, but he didn’t dare begin disassembling a structure nearing one ton with just a dagger.
Black Mamba took out his kukri and stepped forward.
He closed his eyes and concentrated on the animal. The image of the animal’s bones, muscles, nerves, and veins surfaced in his head. Perhaps it was his legendary butchery skill? He numbered the order of cuts in his head.
With a flash of the blade, the animal’s head fell off, and its limbs fell apart.
Schink, schink, schink—
The blade glinted some more.
The mercenaries who were watching widened their eyes. Using a cow as his basis, the sirloin, tenderloin, chop ends, and ribs fell out in clean cuts.
“It’s 22 pounds per part. Try your best,” he said as he wiped the blood on his kukri on the camel’s skin. He turned to Jang Shin.
“Black Mamba, when we return, let’s quit being mercenaries and set up a butcher shop.”
At Bell Man’s comment, Emil, who had zoned out, sighed deeply. “Damn it, this is why I don’t like Black Mamba. There are endless possibilities for him even if he does stop being a mercenary.”
“Emil, stop roasting him and take out the liver.” Jang Shin raised his knife and dug in.
They weren’t in a good situation, but there was wine, and meat as an accompanying dish. There were stars in the sky and a fire pit crackling in the desert. Glasses were exchanged, and secret conversations went back and forth.
“Emil, are you full?”
“I’m stuffed.”
“Jang Shin, think you can manage a woman?”
“Yes sir, I think I can send her half to death.”
“Good, you’re meant to send a woman half to death. We’ve already lost five comrades to those b*stards. Mark, Miguel, Mouris, Chartres, and Burimer have already been buried in this blasted land. As you may all know, our stalker is called Habib. Habib is the one who killed five of our comrades.”
“Captain, unless you’re running for president, let’s move.”
“Hahaha! I prefer being a mercenary team captain who can run around rather than a president. There’s a saying that those who open the poeler, a French dish that’s ruined if the lid is opened during cooking, before it’s done are fated to live alone for the rest of their lives. Let’s not overwork ourselves. If you cut the head of a snake off, its tail simply flops around no matter how big the body might be. Let’s go send that stalker b*stard to hell.”
According to saying, a cornered rat would bite back. The Ratel team wasn’t a rat but a fierce badger.
On day 31 of Mission Raccoon, the captain was the only one who had experience riding a camel.
Nothing had to be said for rookies Emil and Jang Shin, but Bell Man and Mike were also inexperienced. The Arabian romance in which a couple ran off into the sunset on camels was just that, a movie.
Mike, Bell Man, Emil, and Jang Shin had to take a rudimentary riding lesson for a day. Emil and Jang Shin frothed at the mouth due to Ombuti’s harsh training. Bell Man and Mike also gave their all on the crazed camels’ backs to the point that they looked pitiful.
There was no problem for Black Mamba. His problem was over the moment he grabbed the stubborn camel’s jaw and glared into its eyes.
By the time the sun began to set, a camel caravan began to cross the Djourab Erg. The four beginners wore dark expressions. Ombuti had said that it was similar to riding a woman, but that had been a lie.
A woman moved according to rhythm, but a camel only moved according to its walk. Their butts and waists were wasted at the camel’s uneven rolling and pitching in a strange rhythm.
The camels were as arrogant as they looked.
When they were angered, they spat a bucket of saliva before revealing their teeth, rolling back their front lips. They raised their heads and looked down over their chests. It was a posture and look that picked fights.
Mike received a shower of spit after hitting the camel’s mouth with his palm. The smell of a camel’s spit was horrendous. Mike had even pulled out a gun at the shower. Others also wanted to shoot the camels they were on and walk instead.
Their trip to Paya lasted longer, as they had to move around the locals and work with the camels at the same time. They were at the point of hiring an animal trainer.
Black Mamba was a martial arts practitioner who had mastered the art of balancing. A moving camel’s back was nothing compared to the tree bark that shook in a torrent of water. The camel and human moved in sync, as though they had been glued together.
The mercenaries glared at Black Mamba with a mix of respect and envy.
‘You b*stards, do you know the logs down Mount Chun Saeng’s river? Try spending half a day on the top of one of those trees.”
“Hey Black Mamba, how did you do it?” Bell Man asked during a break.
Ombuti and the captain were people who had rode a camel before, but not Black Mamba. They found Black Mamba, who treated his camel like a puppy, amazing.
“Whether it’s a human or animal, it’s all about the carrot and the stick.”
“What’s the carrot, and what’s the stick?”
“Didn’t Ombuti teach you? If you want to get closer to it, scratch under its chin. Brush its fur, and massage its leg muscles.”
“I see.”
Emil, who was listening in, received a spray of spit after scratching the camel’s chin. Bell Man rolled to the ground after receiving a kick from the camel for attempting to massage its legs.
“Ha, f*cking sh*t!”
There was no way a temperamental camel would shake its tail for a few pets. The only reason the camel listened to Black Mamba was that it had been cowed by the exuding killing intent.
Black Mamba knocked on the camel’s head and gave it a handful of dates. The camel, who brightened up, lowered its head and tapped on Black Mamba’s chest with its neck. The smelly saliva was rubbed onto his front.
“Wow! Wakil, when did you learn how to train a camel?” Ombuti asked in surprise.
“I didn’t. Is this a female? It seems to like me.”
“Hahaha, it’s a female. It seems like it recognizes its Wakil.”
Even the stupid camel showed happiness at receiving food from someone who had given it a fright. There was nothing different between a human and an animal.
The sound of the empty, vast land was the same over time—wild animals howling from afar, camels huffing and puffing, teammates complaining of stress, and the wind ripping through the empty lands, shaking the silent world.
The brown land shook at a long hyena howl that seemed to shatter the moon before it settled back down. He recalled the wolf couple who had once walked near the bridge underneath the bright moonlight. They were those who used to be uncaring, whether he followed them around or not. Compared to the hyenas, how noble and calm the wolves were!
In the middle of the night, a mist of the milky way was strewn largely across the sky. The cold lands increased the brightness of the moonlight. The red halo surrounding the half-moon conquered the skies. The stars that were suppressed by it bubbled like boiling water.
By the time they passed Djourab Erg and neared Paya, the ground shook ominously.
“A storm is coming.” At Black Mamba’s warning, the mercenaries strung their litams around their heads and took out their goggles as one. A storm was pushing down from the northeast. Sand and dried grass were swirling in the air.
The stars blinked, hidden behind the wind. This was a literary description. Frankly, the sand was blocking the view of the stars. The grains of sand that were carried by the wind were as small as flour, invisible to the eye.
The red sand moved underneath the red moonlight. Ombuti made the camels kneel in a circle to block the wind. If there hadn’t been a storm, it would have been an enjoyable night stroll.
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