Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 119
A camel rider swayed back and forth as the camel ran, and swayed side to side as the camel walked. When a novice rode without a leading person, a hangover was promised.
Black Mamba and Ombuti looked comfortable while they conversed, as though they were in the living room. Black Mamba didn’t move as though he was floating on air, and Ombuti swayed with the rhythm of the camel, as though they were one.
Ombuti had spent his entire life with the camel while Black Mamba was a trained warrior who mastered the balance of his body. The onlookers were rendered speechless, but to themselves, it was daily life.
Pieff and Valboir, the newbies, were being tormented over the same obstacle that Mike’s back had suffered. They were envious of Black Mamba and Ombuti, who acted as though they were on vacation.
“Valboir, are they human or not?” Pieff asked sourly at the annoying sight.
“Just take it in, sir.”
“Ha, it’s a flower field, not a playing field!”
“Commander, be careful. If you pull on the reins too hard, it’ll get mad.”
Mike poured criticism over Pieff.
“Damn it, even that Mike b*stard thinks of me as some weakling. All those guys involved in the mission had their genetics overturned or something.”
“It’s likely their genetics would change. After all, they’ve been through a backdoor plan, on top of a hitman. Commander, you should be careful too. If we hadn’t come as the rescue team this time…”
Valboir stopped talking and shivered.
It hadn’t been a day since they began moving together, but he’d felt Black Mamba’s ferocity to the bones. The FROLINAT’s ambush units which had made the rescue team suffer, hadn’t been an obstacle at all. They were erased with a few rounds of AK at a 50 to 100 meters distance. The members didn’t even bother checking.
He had once been attacked by a mamushi, but Black Mamba had sliced its head off with his knife, from afar. He noticed a bike scouting team from several kilometers away and avoided them. He was basically the guardian angel of the Ratel team.
The most fearful ability was an untraceable movement. Sometimes, Valboir couldn’t feel his presence despite standing at an arm’s distance. Black Mamba was like a shadow and moved like the wind. Getting under the skin of a sniper with the skills of an assassin, only made one’s life more rigorous. Rather, bound to death.
Valboir swallowed his words or he could end up dead.
“I can understand the guide, but what’s with Black Mamba? He doesn’t even move on top of that camel.”
“Just think of it as normality, sir,” Valboir replied carelessly.
There was no way a whining boss could look good in his eyes. Usually, he respected Pieff’s strategic mind and combat skills, but after entering the Sahel with him, he was let down on several fronts.
The commander hadn’t been able to express a leader’s charisma during critical moments. If Black Mamba hadn’t saved them, they would have been buried like their subordinates in the desert.
Pieff wasn’t a bad commander as Valboir complained. In the presence of Black Mamba, he was lacking. That was the reason why men and women shouldn’t be around someone superior or prettier than them.
Black Mamba waved his hands.
He told him to stop whining and to ride the camel properly. Pieff frowned.
“My little duckling, how far have you gone!”
Pieff was having a hard time accepting reality.
“That’s right. With 10, they’re offending the grace of God. That’s why Wakil and Allah are giving them their punishment since the first to die are the commanders and watchers.”
“That’s because they smell rotten.”
Ombuti felt embarrassed.
The mercenaries smelled rotten, after all. Likewise, Wakil and himself included were exuding an unbearable stench. It was the smell of sweat and dust that had been accumulated throughout the day. It had been a long time since they washed.
It wasn’t just the smell. The gandourah, which had been smeared with yellow dust and blood, turned into an unpredictable color. There weren’t any spare clothes or water. Not even Ombuti could do anything about it. Wakil couldn’t blame him, yet he couldn’t help but feel remorse.
“Wakil, why don’t you have a sip of Arrack?”
“Thanks. Roll it up well before you throw it.”
There was no way that Ombuti could understand an old Korean saying.
“Roll? Is there a skill that rolls Arrack like a rug? Or is he asking me to mix the camel date palms in the Arrack?”
Ombuti didn’t understand what he meant, but he took out a cup from his pockets and filled it with Arrack.
Black Mamba sent out resonance waves. He had been able to control the direction and weight of the resonance through several awakenings.
The resonance pressed down on the air above the glass. When Ombuti pressed his camel closer, Black Mamba shouted.
Ombuti threw the cup without hesitation. He did whatever his master ordered. Black Mamba snatched the cup lightly from the air. There hadn’t been a drop of alcohol spilled.
Black Mamba smiled in satisfaction.
“It works. There was a physical force behind the wave. It’s the intent. A strong intent was the answer. It’s still weak and unstable, but it’s as the master had said.”
Black Mamba was moved. He couldn’t tell whether this was a supernatural ability or martial arts. It seemed as though those air walking motions introduced in martial arts novels were non-fiction.
He wasn’t sure if it was possible. If he could hone the resonance into something sharper like a spear and put more physical force behind it, it would become a monstrous weapon. It was like those handless murders depicted in martial arts novels.
“What an amazing master.”
Ombuti looked at his owner, who was drinking the alcohol, with admiration. There hadn’t been a drop of alcohol wasted. As he’d thought, Wakil was the reincarnation of Azrael.
“Valboir, did you see that?”
“I have eyes, sir.”
Pieff didn’t have the mind to notice Valboir’s rebellious rebuke. Ombuti had filled a cup with alcohol, and Black Mamba had received it. Alcohol was liquid. It should have spilled but it didn’t. It was a scene that ignored all laws of physics. This wasn’t a circus. How was that possible, on top of camels?
“Valboir, what is it that he can’t do?”
Pieff felt his insides twist. One b*stard was drinking alcohol on the back of a camel in leisure while another was rolling on the ground breathing in dust from continued falls.
“Just leave it be, sir.”
“I can’t leave it be, that’s the problem. Agh!”
Pieff, who had been distracted, finally fell off the camel’s back.
“You’ll be like that soon, so don’t worry.” The Captain helped Pieff up from the ground as he smiled helplessly.
The Ratel team began to put up camp 200 kilometers away from Paya at midnight, near Troud forest. Mike, who had barely escaped the level of a first-grade rider, whipped the six new riders into shape endlessly and managed to shorten the distance.
Ombuti dragged the camels north, seating them in a row along a semicircle. He intended to use them as wind blockers. The mercenaries, who were tired to their bones, snored as soon as they entered their sleeping bags.
It was a peaceful night, without Sahara’s breeze.
The only disruption to the silence was the small wind storms and camels’ breaths, which were brought to life by the unstable ground.
Black Mamba wasn’t able to fall asleep.
Ombuti had made him a comfortable bed out of dried grass, but sleep only turned further away.
Ddaeng-choo had once said that the universe was in his eyes once closed, and he was in the universe when his eyes opened. It was a different comprehension of “one is all, all is one,” but in the end, everything had no meaning.
When he closed his eyes, he recalled his hometown. When he opened them, he felt an adrenaline rush. It wasn’t concern but indifference. It wasn’t despair that flooded his chest, but regret.
He had killed so many, that he questioned his existence. Had he died and turned into a ghost, or was he walking among the living. Half of his comrades had died, and new comrades had filled their place. He felt chills running down his back at the play of the unseen hand.
His mother’s white face floated on the surface of the tilting moon. He missed her deeply. Although she had abandoned him in his youth, he was no longer disappointed and lost the urge to question her. He simply missed her despite being full of worries.
“Mu-Ah, what do you think being filial is all about?”
“It’s to give my father a good massage and to eat my mother’s food gratefully.”
“And what else is there?”
“It’s to be mindful of my actions so that my parents aren’t cursed at.”
“I’m going to take my parents to good places.”
“Hahaha, you are full of filial piety. I see there’s no need for extravagant words. When two minds become one, the conclusion is that alcohol tastes better shared. If it must be expressed into words, it’ll be like so. Firstly, show respect. Keep your parent’s minds at ease by exhibiting good behavior. Secondly, be responsible. Behave well so that your parents won’t take the blame for any faults. Lastly, express your gratitude. You should always provide your parents with things that they enjoy and become their pillars. At least, you have the fortune of filial piety, so don’t worry.”
His master had said that he has the fortune of filial piety. That also meant that he could serve his mother soon.
He had goofed around during his youth and hadn’t been able to serve his parents.
He had become enemies with his uncle’s family, so he couldn’t even make his parents proud. Even if he wanted to serve his parents, he had none. His master had called him filial, but he was the world’s greatest b*stard.
When could he sit on a table alongside his mother?
When was the time that his master had mentioned?
That moon would be in a place his mother was. The tip of his nose suddenly twinged.
He also worried about his master, who lived alone.
His master had made a ferocious predator a human. He had an old lady in Gongyang city, and would send her money to give to his master, but he still wasn’t relieved. His master wasn’t someone who gathered wealth. He was someone who chewed on grass after giving away his rice to the poor. He was someone who slept on the cold floor, after giving away all the winter’s wood stock.
Hae Young’s face which was white as a lily, filled the moon.
His body shivered at the thought of her eyes that came alive underneath her shadowed and lowered lids, her high nose bridge, her thin lips, her full and firm breasts, and neatly arranged hair that fell above her smooth stomach lines. He wanted to fly to California immediately.
If only he could return alive…No, he had to return alive.
It was the sound of camels chewing on firm acacia stalks. The other sounds were of camels washing their bodies in the sand.
His reminiscence broke apart.
“Ugh, that damn animal!”
It was an animal he couldn’t love.
A cow looked elegant and acted accordingly. It simply moved its mouth and didn’t make a noise, or drool. On the other hand, a camel made its actions rather hateful. Its chewing was as loud, and it drooled. When it shook its head, drool flew all over the place.
Could he return alive?
It wasn’t fear, but loneliness which filled him.
The number of people who had died by his hands had reached the thousandth mark. He hadn’t counted accurately, but it was at least over 1,100. It was too brazen to force his own life over theirs.
He had been emotionless while the rescue team and his comrades flew in anger. The moment the mercenaries signed the contract, their lives were exchanged with money. They had become one of the many pieces of horses the French military moved at will.
The pieces’ move was up to the one who controlled them. They had to execute an effective plan, according to their station. Horse pieces had to act like horse pieces. That was the theory of two minds becoming one.
What he was really mad about was the hitman who had appeared in Paya’s hotel. It was a horrible betrayal. It was the lowest form a greedy and selfish person could reach. It was like leaving a persimmon on top of a tree branch to pick, then shaking it once one started climbing it. No, it was like cutting the tree from the bottom.
“Those damned b*stards, I’ll make you pay.”
An eerie smile rose.
On the 36th day of mission Raccoon,
The Ratel team reached 60 kilometers ahead of Trident Rock. Ombuti, who was suspicious of a tracking team, had avoided the route towards Bodele. Instead, he drew a route around Paya’s southeastern side, which increased the distance.
A day on a camel was equivalent to 60 kilometers.
Even with 16 kilometers of continuous march, the distance they covered barely reached 50 kilometers. Compared to a caravan, it was half of what could be covered. It was due to the hasty lead, and the piles of heavy weapons and bullets. They had been able to cover that distance, too, because of Ombuti’s experience.
“Paul, let’s take a break.”
At Pieff’s request, lines appeared across the Captain’s forehead. This was the third time. His heart raced. To him, it was something to be mad about.
“Commander, we require a resupply urgently.”
“I know. But look at them.”