Novel Name : Mercenary Black Mamba

Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 113

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“Th… that’s… that’s not intelligence I can gather. There are rumors of Habib sending his 3rd division to attack Councilman Abduhl’s mansion.”
“Damn it. So it is Abduhl!”
Kikali’s heart sank with a thud.
The moment had finally arrived. As a high ranking officer, he knew how the FROLINAT worked. The mistrust for each other had finally turned into a rift. Kikali held the back of his neck and sat down on the ground.
As Kikali was going through a mental breakdown his aide Saoud acted on his behalf and confirmed the information before sending out an informant.
“Saoud, do you think Wakil is safe?”
“Inshalla! We can only hope there is no pain. Allahu-akbar!”
Saoud wrung his hands together. The invaders had demolished the building, massacring the guards and workers. It was either a bone-deep grudge or the attack of an enemy faction. The possibilities of their Wakil being alive was less than the likelihood of a human’s head surviving an elephant’s stomp.
“Allahu akbar. May Allah’s grace be with Wakil!” Kikali offered a short prayer.
Habib was from the Jerero tribe, which produced assassins, quite different from Kikali’s warrior tradition. Still, Habib was someone he had served for the past ten years. His heart shrank. On the other hand, he suspected it was retribution.
“By the way, couldn’t it be the Kanma that attacked my Wakil?”
“There’s a strong possibility. There were over 80 armed soldiers within the mansion. The b*stards appeared suddenly as though they had fallen from the sky and slaughtered 25 guards and workers within 10 minutes before disappearing. It was a frontal assault that would be impossible if it weren’t the Kanma.”
“Mmm, then the militia’s action should be false information. Do you think it’s the work of the DGSE?”
Saoud shook his head.
“Frontal assault isn’t the DGSE’s style. It’s possible there is a conflict between the council members, but I’d put more weight on Kanma’s surprise attack.”
“Kanma! Exactly where did that terrifying entity come from!”
“Could it be the Yank’s human weapon?”
“Hahaha, your imagination has grown these days. Your thoughts will only grow more confused the wilder your imaginings!”
“That’s true. I think we should avoid the b*stard if we can.”
“Avoid? I, Kikali, fear nothing.”
Kikali’s glare intensified.
Even if the Kanma was to be feared, he had his pride as a warrior of the Tuareg tribe.
“Commander, I’m am also a Tuareg warrior. But this is the time to conserve our numbers. All the army units that have gone against him have been wiped out. Even if we do prevail, we need to be prepared for immense blood loss. Ahmud and Musta weren’t idiots.”
Saoud’s heartfelt advice changed Kikali’s mind.
“You’re right. There’s no point in risking more blood when our master is gone.” Kikali agreed with a pinched expression.
Saoud was an officer who earned his degree in military science in Nigeria. He made quick decisions and was good at thinking out of the box. He was a strategist and, in many ways, made up for Kikali’s weaknesses.
“Of course. The North Korean interrogation soldiers referred to this kind of situation as forced Chunhyang.”
“That’s ironic. There’s no one to acknowledge my amazing feat. It’s a Horohoro situation without any allies. Hahaha!”
Kikali laughed without emotion. Now that his master Habib was gone, he was like a kite without strings.
“I’m sorry to say this thinking about what happened to Wakil, but it’s a good thing.”
“What is a good thing?”
“Commander, you are the great hope of the Tuareg tribe. How long can you act like a puppet for the Jerero tribe? Wakil’s plate wasn’t big enough to hold you, commander. The Kanma has erased Ahmud and Musta, even the Wakil. The Kanma has effectively severed the chains that were binding you. I believe that Allah has sent Kanma here to extend his grace to you, commander. Allahu akbar!”
Kikali listened to his aid’s words in silence.
He was a commander in the style of a warrior of old. He had always been overshadowed by Ahmud and Musta. His political skills were always worthy of praise.
A crisis was indeed an opportunity. With the mansion destroyed and the boss missing, it was twice the opportunity. There was no way the egg would be safe when the nest had been destroyed. The Habib era was over. The FROLINAT would either be reborn or remain broken. How much longer would he have to act as someone else’s dog?
It was all true. The large and small rocks which had been impeding his path had been removed in one fail swoop.
“I wasn’t too pleased with Wakil either. Wakil said nothing when Ahmud and Musta threatened us. In a way, the Kanma has relieved our suffering on behalf of our tribe.”
“He may be our enemy, but he’s a respected warrior. What are you going to do with the fake Kanma? It’s a bother to drag him around. Should I bury him?”
“No, even if he is not the Kanma, he is his superior officer. He should be of some use.”
Kikali gazed at the eastern sky which was beginning to light up with the sun.
“He’ll be autonomous. He will unite persecuted tribes. Kikali is the tribal wealth of the Tuareg!” His heart swelled.
“Is there a reason to go to Paya?” Kikali asked for his aid’s thoughts on the matter.
“I was hoping you’d head to Vir Wakiv.”
“Vir Wakiv? You mean the marshlands in Berdalle?”
Kikali’s eyes widened. This was advice he had not been expecting.
“Yes. It’s where the Abbas battalion is stationed.”
“Hmm! It’s at Vir Wakiv, I see.”
Kikali immediately understood what his subordinate was trying to say.
Abbas was from the same Tuareg tribe as himself. His aid was talking about a united Tuareg tribe military conquest.
Wakil’s army had suffered a major defeat by the French special forces, which was where the Kanma was. All that remained was unit forces like himself and Abbas, and the Bintal battalion, which was tracking down Makumbo’s whereabouts.
“The likelihood of us being absorbed into another councilman’s army is greater if we return to Paya, right?”
“Yes commander, you and I may be assassinated. If we unit with Abbas and drag in the militia, we’ll be able to dominate Batanes.”
“Hm, the Province of Batanes…”
Kikali suddenly became pensive.
There was no reason for him not to become a warlord. With the Batanes Province as his base, as long as he had Abbas’ co-operation, there was a real likelihood of that happening.
Kikali’s face turned red with excitement.
His thoughts were long, but he made quick decisions.
“Saoud, change direction to Cubalonga. We’ll go to Berdalle.”
“Yes, it’s a wise decision, Chairman Kikali!”
“Hmm, it does have a nice ring to it.”
While Kikali was heading south-east with Pieff in tow, the Ratel team was heading south-west with the kidnapped Habib. Cause and effect spun around head to tail. The Ratel team’s attack on Habib had pulled in Kikali and Kikali had turned away from the gates of Paya after wasting his time pursuing Pieff.
The Ratel team decided to camp at Boruku Oasis which was known to be the kingpin of the north-west routes. Black Mamba jumped off his camel right in front of the Oasis. There was a sour smell in the air of sulfur dioxide.
At Black Mamba’s command, Ombuti, who was leading, pulled on his reigns and steered the camel towards the rear. The other camels followed their leader and turned back.
Black Mamba was pressing his ear to the ground with a strange expression. He heard the rumble of tens of camels and the smell of diesel in the wind. It was a large battalion coming towards them.
“Yes, Wakil.”
“How far to the Oasis?”
“Two kilometers.”
It was right before their noses. The FROLINAT was moving forward with the oasis in their sights.
“Is there a place to hide around here?”
“There’s scrubland 20 minutes north.”
“We can’t head north. What about the south?”
“The south consists of plains. There’s nowhere to hide within four kilometers around.”
The mercenaries tensed at their quandary.
“Captain, there’s a pack of dogs coming at us eight kilometers from the north-east. It’s a battalion made up of camels, panzers, and trucks. At their speed, they’ll come across us within 20 minutes.”
The captain’s face fell.
“Damn it. There’s not a day of peace. Paya should be in ruins, is it one of the dogs on reconnaissance?”
“What are we going to do?”
The captain was unable to come up with a solution immediately. This was the worst possible situation. There was no shelter and they were short of bullets. Their biggest problem was that they had to replenish their water at Boruku. It had been a day since they ran out of water.
“Captain, we cannot meet their forces with our current strength. I’ll solve this. Everyone, fall back.”
“You can’t do that. We’re a team.”
The captain gritted his teeth. Black Mamba wasn’t their father, and Deuxieme Rep were not babies.
Black Mamba was torn by the captain’s determination, despite the risk of death. Deuxieme Rep’s pride and honor were indisputable. Black Mamba conceded.
“That’s not good. The enemy’s sending in motorcycle scouts. They’ll come across us at any moment.”
“OK. Let’s think about this after falling back.”
The captain moved the camels and retreated two kilometers.
The sun hung on the western horizon and bloomed an even deeper red.
“There’s a sandstorm coming.” Black Mamba murmured as he looked up at the sky.
The tiny grains of dust that covered the sun was visible through his Paranthropus’ eyes.
Ombuti was always at Black Mamba’s side.
He saw what was happening, and immediately tapped the camels’ knees to get them to sit down in a circle. The mercenaries quickly dug underneath the camels’ bellies.
“Captain, a sandstorm is on its way. Things will be more difficult for us if they camp at the Oasis. I’ll go and see the enemy’s encampment and return.”
“Black, a day’s delay is acceptable. We need to wait until they leave.”
“The FROLINAT’s headquarters should have understood the situation by now. There’s no time.”
Black Mamba jumped up from the ground before the captain could finish.
“Aghh! It’s not as if I can stop the guy, or even hit him! He’s driving me nuts!” The captain jumped up and down on the spot in frustration.
The sandstorm began to whirl just as Black Mamba predicted. The dust completely obliterated the sunset and the sky turned black.
Black Mamba met the sandstorm with the Boruku Oasis right in front of his nose. He covered himself with a tarp and threw himself onto the ground.
The din of the upper current merging with the lower current, twisting like a dragon, shook the desert. Torrents of wind passed by, including those which emerged from its vortex, those which were as hard as iron, and those which stabbed like a spear. The wind became him, and he became the wind.
“He witnesses and becomes one with the emptiness of the Five Skandhas!”
Unconsciously, he chanted a phrase from The Heart Sutra. He was the wind, and the wind was him. There was nothing in existence, and everything simply flowed by form, sensation, recognition, volition, and consciousness. Without the Five Skandhas, he was meaningless. Black Mamba now acknowledged the deep meaning behind the name his master had given him, Mu-Ah.
That was it! His master had meant for him to stop caring. To let everything go. It was karma if he remained attached, and void if he let go.
Several thousand miles away, in that corner of the desolate wastes of Africa, Black Mamba, no, Mu-Ah, engraved his master’s wishes onto his heart. His mental stability was able to dominate his fierce instinctual personality after the genetic change, the instinct to see blood. It was all thanks to his teacher.
A clear and refreshing breeze swept through his brain as though he had bitten through a strong mint.
Black Mamba jumped up, throwing the tarp aside.
He stood there like a floating scarecrow, without bending his knees or spine.
A gigantic gust of wind with a long tail rose after belching out a long moan. Its sheer power lifted the sand as though it was the aftershock of an earthquake.
“Ah, so this is my moment of self-realization!”
There was nothing different physically, but the frustration he carried as though he was trapped in a cave had evaporated. The pressure which had pressed on his brain stem had disappeared without a trace. His head turned as clear as the autumn skies.
The sandstorm had carried the sunset away.
Boruku Oasis was a grade-A oval-shaped Oasis, 1000 meters long, and 600 meters wide. It was filled with palm, acacia, and saru trees. With the haze of hypnosis obscuring it from view, it gave the appearance of a dense black color floating on a lighter black color.
‘The night demon crossed the dyed land of black full of cracks, like a fluttering leaf blown by the cold winds.’
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