Novel Name : Mercenary Black Mamba

Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 116

Prev Chapter Next Chapter

Kikali hadn’t returned all of the rescue team’s supplies. He only allowed them their food, water, and personal weapons. He frowned, even while doing so, saying that it went against Tuareg tradition.
He had some resentment for being denied a collaboration, and returning war spoils was a forbidden act of the Tuareg tribe. They were a tribe of looters who had survived in that way for hundreds of years. When someone was captured they were either made a slave or released after a ransom. The stolen loot was shared amongst the Tawshet.
They were a tribe that believed the Tawshet would be ruined if stolen goods were returned to the enemy. Instead, Kikali presented them with six camels. Sharing their wealth with a close neighbor was the height of etiquette represented by an Immoharen.
Black Mamba accepted it without emotion.
He had saved his friends and had gained a positive response from an enemy. That was enough. He found the loss of vehicles regrettable, but the gift of the camels was some compensation.
When Black Mamba arrived with Pieff’s group in tow, the camp erupted in disbelief. Black Mamba watched them without a word, completely detached. There were five mouths to feed, including Pieff. There was no need to tire himself out, by trying to explain.
His burdens had only increased. Ombuti headed towards the oasis after loading the camels with water bottles. No one questioned what he’d said to Kikali. The mercenaries who ended up throwing a reunion party in the middle of the Sahel were out of their minds. Black Mamba snored away on the bed Ombuti made for him out of woven straw.
The camp was thrown into disarray while Black Mamba napped.
The five surviving members of team Ratel and the five who had been held prisoner as a rescue team had much to talk about. Commander Pieff and Sergeant Paul’s conversation lasted until daybreak. One full of surprise and the other full of anger.
It was sunrise, but team Ratel was unable to leave.
Black Mamba hadn’t woken up yet. There was no one, on either the Ratel or rescue teams, who wanted to wake up Black Mamba. Beauties needed lots of sleep, and warriors needed lots of sleep too. The truth was that no one had the confidence to wake neither the beauty nor the beast.
In the end, the captain and Pieff decided to remain a day longer. The rescue team’s condition, after maltreatment by the guerrillas, wasn’t good. There was no doubt that they were sick. The men were treated by Bell Man and rested another day.
That evening, the captain called Jang Shin over.
“Jang Shin, drag Habib here.”
Jang Shin brought in Habib as though he was dragging a sack. Habib wasn’t able to control his body properly, but Bell Man and Ombuti only watched. They looked at him in disgust, as though they’d get dirt on themselves by touching him.
“Why is he in such a state?”
All there was of Habib’s injuries were the one on his left heel and right hand, both made by Black Mamba. There was no reason for him to be so ill.
“He has rotted a little due to the weather.”
Bell Man croaked, choking down his laughter.
The captain and Pieff looked at Jang Shin in bewilderment. There was no way a human would rot due to poor weather, humans weren’t food. It meant that someone had tortured him.
The captain’s eyes moved to a point between Habib’s legs. His clothes had turned red.
“Lower his pants.”
Jang Shin peeled them off awkwardly.
“S***, it’s been sliced off!” Pieff shouted in horror.
The FROLINAT killed their prisoners, while the mercenaries cut off the penises of their captives. His heart shrank at the endless brutality. If he hadn’t been saved by Black Mamba, he would have ended up like Habib.
The captain glared at Ombuti.
There was only one person who could commit such an atrocity. It was Ombuti. Even if Habib had done some terrible things, one couldn’t take it out on a prisoner.
Moreover, they hadn’t reported to him. They had overstepped their authority. Ombuti began to inch behind Black Mamba, away from the accusing gaze. That only made the captain look on with more hatred.
“Ombuti, I know you want to take revenge for your wife and firstborn, but Habib is a prisoner. Torturing a prisoner without permission warrants a military court-martial.”
“Sorry. I went crazy for a second.” Ombuti replied without emotion.
“His blood loss is under control and we have given him morphine. He won’t die.” Bell Man protested.
The captain shook his head. That guy wasn’t normal, either.
The penis was the symbol of being a man.
The captain would have understood had they just cut his arm. But the guy who called himself a medic was relaxed as though he had cut Habib’s nails instead. His humanity had dried up on the battlefield with all the blood and the loss of life. He began to worry about his subordinates’ mental health.
“Captain, we’re going to kill him anyway. I’d have cut it off, too.”
Even Black Mamba agreed.
Pieff stared at Black Mamba blankly.
‘They’re crazy. They’ve all gone mad!’
The captain turned to look at Pieff.
Pieff had given him the position of team leader, but he was his boss. Pieff was speechless and didn’t discuss the rights and wrongs. He was currently going through a chaotic phase.
With the unimaginable events the Ratel team had gone through, Black Mamba had grown into a fearsome presence, but the poor decisions of his superiors and the mercenaries who had lost their humanity meant he was having an identity crisis.
The captain decided not to discuss it further.
It had already happened. It was also difficult to punish Ombuti, who had voluntarily become Black Mamba’s servant. It was a leader’s curse to have a god-like subordinate.
“Ombuti, if you act up once more, I won’t forgive you.”
The captain rounded up the conversation with a final warning.
Habib couldn’t believe the reality of the situation he was in.
How could the third most powerful of the 11 member council, who led the FROLINAT’s third army, and who should be Chad’s president, be reduced to such a state?
Had his soul been stolen by the Kanma? If this was a dream, it was a very bad one.
That fierce old Tuareg had beaten him like mad before he could regain his bearings. That crazy b*stard had even cut his penis off.
According to Ombuti, they were team Ratel, of the French special forces. They were the ones who had attacked and destroyed his mansion. It was unbelievable.
He couldn’t live long now anyway. He didn’t want to show his vulnerability when he was going to die anyway.
“Habib, where’s Makumbo right now?”
Habib glared at him with his cloudy eyes. He was second in command of FAP, and the third council member of FROLINAT.
“Are you trying to imitate the Omerta? [1] If so it’s a rather poor attempt.”
“Omerta? Ha! Those frogs and dogs aren’t worth talking to.”
It was a guarded response. The captain smirked.
“Haha! I may talk with dogs but I don’t talk to human butchers. Habib! Slaughterer of the Sahel! If you do not reply, I’ll burn you alive and scatter your ashes to the wind.”
Habib glared at the impertinent white man with widened eyes as though he might rip him apart at any moment.
To Muslims, death was the knot between the living and the dead, and the bridge which led them to their next lives. Death was regarded as a part of life and the body was the house of the soul. The grave was a temporary place where the soul resided after leaving the body. If the body disappeared or was destroyed, there was no house for the soul to return to.
Burning the corpse after death was an evil crime that destroyed the soul’s resting place. Burning the body meant shoving eternal life into eternal death, the act of a devil. It was the greatest sin. Therefore the corpse had to be buried well and intact.
“You dirty b*stard! A desert warrior doesn’t humiliate the enemy. You are worse than the hyenas who steal rotten meat.”
The captain’s face turned red.
Someone had a right to be angry but it wasn’t Habib. The person who committed all kinds of evil was Habib himself. His talk of a warrior’s honor made his insides flip.
“You worthless trash, you’re not a warrior. A warrior doesn’t harm the weak. You raped and killed countless unarmed locals. Isn’t your nickname ‘The slaughterer’? Camels would laugh at you, a murderer who talks about morals and humility. One-third of your army consists of boys barely over ten. How many boys did you use as bullet barriers? How many girls did you kidnap as sex slaves? You’re a b*stard with the head of a pig!”
“That was a minor sacrifice for the greater good. We may be strong politically, but our army is weak. We need to increase the number of revolutionaries in order to escape the grip of the imperialists. It’s just a method of increasing battle strength. The children who’ve joined Allah’s greater will are similarly honored.” Habib insisted strongly.
The captain wanted to shove the barrel of his gun in Habib’s mouth and pull the trigger to shut him up.
“You crazy b*stard! What are you strengthening the military for? Independence? With what right do you talk about independence when you’ve looted and murdered your own people? You’re the worst of humankind, who’ve lost their minds to power. You’re dogs who commit genocide against citizens to exercise your power. I don’t want to debate with someone who regards people as nothing but collateral. Shove that meaningless excuse away and answer the question.”
Habib said nothing.
“Woah! Since when did that old man become so eloquent?” Emil said sarcastically.
“We really should have sent that man to the national council. Keke!” Mike laughed.
Black Mamba, who was listening, butted in.
“Habib, I’m Black Mamba, who’s called the Kanma.”
“Ah! You’re the Kanma?”
Habib’s eyes grew wide.
Overwhelmed, he could only make croaking noises. For this Asian looking young man to be the Kanma, who shakes the Sahel? What he had imagined and what he now saw didn’t match.
“Habib, I met Kikali yesterday.”
“You met Kikali?”
Habib looked as though he had been hit by a hammer.
“I offered an exchange of hostages with you and the captured mercenaries.”
“A… and?”
“He refused the exchange, immediately and firmly.”
“That’s… that’s impossible!”
Habib’s pale face turned as white as a corpse.
Black Mamba gave a mocking smile.
“He said he didn’t need a rotten egg.”
“Ugh! That snake!”
Habib made a fist and trembled.
“You should have been nicer to your subordinates.”
“That dirty Tuareg sword-holder. How dare he betray me, when I raised him?”
“I may be a Buddhist, but I respect your religion. I’ve been told that your soul wanders the Gehenna forever if the body is burned. I don’t like you, but I understand that you’re an exceptional warrior. I’ll treat you like one. If you answer me, I’ll bury you properly. I’ll make a mark so that your subordinates would be able to find you. I promise this in Black Mamba’s name.”
Chad had been under France’s rule for a long time. The upper class and most of the bourgeois knew French.
Habib stared at the ground. It was broken French, but he understood enough. Each and every one of Black Mamba’s words tore at his chest and thrashed around his head. He had lost everything, his desire, his status, and his honor.
Habib raised his head.
Black Mamba was somewhat surprised. Pieff’s face seemed to have aged ten years. He’d heard that Oh Ja -Seo’s hair had turned white overnight, and Habib was the same. The slaughterer Habib, who made the Sahel shake in fear for decades, had become an old man who had forgotten the meaning of life.
“The Kanma is human, I see. It must have been Allah’s will for a human, like you, to exist! You may be my enemy, but you’re a respectable warrior. I will tell you what I know. Make my death a quick one.”
Habib became cooperative, deciding to change his stance.
Pieff’s eyes grew wide.
The old man who had been as resistant as wire core had suddenly changed into a spring wind. There was a Korean saying which said the school’s dog would be capable of reading after three years of training.
Black Mamba had turned into an entirely different person within a month. Other than transforming his physical abilities, he had become persuasive and eloquent. Pieff had felt as though he was looking at an experienced diplomat when Black Mamba was talking to Kikali. Now, Black Mamba looked like an adult playing with a child when dealing with FROLINAT’s evil warlord, Habib.
Pieff realized the baby duck has left his nest, and flown into the sky.
[1] Omertà (as practiced by the Mafia) a code of silence about criminal activity and a refusal to give evidence to authorities.
[2] “Au revoir, petit canaron! [Goodbye, my baby duck!”]
Prev Chapter Next Chapter