Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 172
A thin man jumped out of the big lump.
“Woah, what is this? Were you rolling around Epang Palace while we were shoved in a shed? Is that it?” Jang Shin exclaimed as he saw the hospital room’s size and equipment.
Emil slapped the back of Jang Shin’s head.
“Dude, go look for Epang Palace in your own country. Élysée Palace is the best around here. However, this place has a front hall, a kitchen, a bedroom, and there’s a separate living room too. Is a hospital room meant to be like this?”
“Of course. Black Mamba is the Azrael. Who’d make fun of the devil who holds a death list? A hospital room isn’t the problem here when they’re about to have their heads holed in.”
The silent hospital room turned rowdy at the appearance of a pair of cockroaches that were always at each other’s throats.
Black Mamba’s hospital room was, in fact, a VVIP room that had been used as a vacation and training room for the past 10 days. The room of over 300 square meters was filled with several types of exercise equipment and food. The smell of Black Mamba and Sun WooHyun’s sweat would have seeped had Edel not refreshed the room.
“My God! How is Miss Edel here?”
Emil cried like a bull when he saw Edel, who was preparing to greet the guests. Edel turned around and calmly smiled.
“I’ve been planning on apologizing for what had happened back in Ati. I’ve heard you’re Black Mamba’s friend, so I hope we get along.”
“I won’t stop you from conjuring any imaginations.”
It was a very vague reply.
Emil stared at Edel like a bull that slipped on ice. Emil’s brain was slow. He realized the meaning of her words several moments later. It means whatever I imagine becomes a reality!
“Aaaagh! Black, you’re on!”
“Before that, comrade Emil, let’s have our round.”
A yellow face he had feared to see during the night jumped up out of nowhere. Emil’s neck curled right back in.
“Scary Korean b*stards!”
When Emil closed his mouth, the world grew silent. Emil reassured himself with all the work he had dedicated to juene during his hospitalization and suppressed his feelings of indignation.
Following them was Paul and Bellman, who brought a group of guests with them into the VVIP room. The sudden rush of guests brought light to Ombuti and Edel’s eyes, like lanterns on fire. Black Mamba, who had been lying down on the bed, also stood up. Ombuti and Edel grew busier.
All the members who had survived the Sahel had gathered. They finished their greetings by clasping their hands and knocking their arms together. It was the greeting rituals of rough men.
“Paul, what happened? Are they the families of the dead?”
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you in advance. They’re Burimer and Chartres’ families. Unfortunately, we couldn’t check on Mouris, Miguel, Mike, and Mark’s families. Mouris and Miguel didn’t have any families while Mike and Mark do. However, they couldn’t be reached.”
At Paul’s explanation, Black Mamba turned towards Ombuti.
“Ombuti, go check on them by using the s*** stick. They should be faster at finding people than the command post.”
“Understood. They’ll dig deep if I tell them you’ve ordered this, Wakil.”
“Of course, you’ve prepared a plan for their families. I thought it was my last duty as the Captain to share the sadness with them, with respect to our friends. Everyone, what do you think?”
“Captain, you should change departments and work at the senate.”
Paul made a sour face. These b*stards always told him to go to the senate. If he really did, an unfortunate shooting accident involving all the senators who sold the citizens to fill their pockets would occur. He’d often heard of Black Mamba comparing Korea’s national senate to a dog fight. France was as bad.
“Let me introduce you all. Here is sergeant Burimer’s family, his mother, Madame Emily, wife, Madame Julie, and his daughter, Silvie, and Leah. Here is sergeant Chartres’ father, Pierre and his mother, Madame Emma.”
“That friend is Black. He looks fine despite suffering serious wounds. This short friend here is Jang Shin, and the bear-looking friend is Emil.”
Six pairs of eyes were concentrated on Black Mamba. He felt the pain as though he was pierced with 12 arrows. It wasn’t the end of the reward agreement he’d discussed with Bonipas. Things were about to get difficult from now on.
Black Mamba kneeled on the ground while Emil and Jang Shin lowered their heads.
“I’m sorry. I’m truly sorry. We were the only ones to return thanks to Burimer and Chartres’ sacrifices. I won’t be able to understand your pain of losing a child, a husband, and a father. I can’t do anything but to be sorry.”
“That’s too much. I got to know my son’s story, thanks to your return. Fortunately, that little b*stard managed to save his friends before dying.”
“Chartres was brave and wise. He remains as my brother before a comrade, in battle.”
“How were my son’s last moments?”
Pierre’s voice was calm, but his wrinkled face was glistening in tears.
“He left peacefully in his comrades’ care. He always advised me not to be fooled by the empty words of those in power and to hold my value above others. He also asked me to take care of his aged parents.”
Chartres had been left behind in the tent when the team was battling against the FROLINAT. He had died from a lack of oxygen due to the side effects of tetanus, which contracted his muscles. He hadn’t been able to leave any dying words behind. Black Mamba couldn’t tell the old couple the truth.
“Thank you. I feel much more relieved knowing that my son has left to God’s side in peace.”
Pierre bit his lips and looked up at the ceiling as though his son was there.
“I’m sorry. Ugh!”
Black Mamba finally burst into tears. It was said that the pain of losing a child was greater than Mt. Meru. The sight of Pierre trying to manage his composure made him recall his father’s last days. That overlapped with Chartres’ kind and mindful moments when he was still alive. His heart was uncontrollably filled with sadness.
“Don’t cry. Sergeant Paul told me a lot about you. You’re my second son.”
Madame Emma patted Black Mamba’s back as he coughed. Her old trembling hands made it even more saddening.
“Did my son leave in peace, too?”
Jang Shin stepped forward at Madame Emily’s question.
“I’m Jang Shin. Sergeant Burimer took the bullet while trying to save my life. I’m sorry. It’s a life I gained thanks to the sergeant. I’ll be your son instead.”
“Everyone who’s survived is your Burimer and Chartres. All five of us will be your sons.”
At Paul’s words, Madame Emily and Madame Emma began to cry.
“Thank you, it’s our fortune to have gained five new sons, isn’t it! We should all stop crying. Aaah!” Madame Emily sobbed as she asked everyone to stop.
“Thank you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he sobbed.
When Julie began to cry, Silvie and Leah followed. Edel also began to sniff in a corner. Black Mamba had never experienced a woman’s tears. It was difficult to find five women crying all at once.
“Madame Emily, sergeant Burimer left a will with Black Mamba.”
It was Ombuti. He had appeared like a ghost, noticing his master’s discomfort. Madame Emily took out her handkerchief and wiped away her tears.
“I’m ready to hear.”
“Sergeant Burimer was worried about his family until the very end. He entrusted his family to me. He asked me to bury him at his hometown in Wales by Swansea Bay. He told me the red door on the hill behind the Queen’s Dock’s ferry terminal was his sweet home. He asked me to color it blue, as his wife would have wanted. He also said he had no face left to see you, Madame, and his two daughters.”
“Aah! That stupid old man, I’ve already asked someone to change it to blue since I missed him. Ahhh!”
Julie covered her face with her hands and cried. Silvie and Leah’s cries grew louder.
It was another round of a storm. Death wasn’t the end. The sadness of those remaining grew deeper. He wanted to fight against a regiment of FROLINAT soldiers instead.
The cries of the procession leader rang in his ears. The face of an eight-year-old who followed his father’s procession with a casket on his back had overlapped with Silvie and Leah’s faces.
This wasn’t what I intended.
He had added fuel to the fire instead of suppressing it. Perplexed, Black Mamba changed his plan of action. He aimed for the children.
“You’re the sister, Silvie, and you’re the little one, Leah?”
Black Mamba grabbed Silvie and Leah’s hands. He’d lost his father when he was eight, but Silvie was seven. She’d lost her father at an age where she could or couldn’t understand death. His heart twinged.
I’ll protect you both.
His empathizing heart activated his dimensional sight, which reached the two girls.
“Yes, Mister, I’m Silvie.”
“You’re both very pretty. I’m your uncle. Call me, uncle.”
“Come here, let me hug you.”
Silvie and Leah wiped their tears and clung to Black Mamba.
Madame Julie and Emily both exclaimed.
Silvie was extremely shy to strangers, while Leah couldn’t control herself properly due to mild autism symptoms. The children, who had refused their grandmother’s hugs, had hugged Black Mamba. It couldn’t be more surprising.
His strategy had worked. Burimer’s family stopped crying in surprise. Even Chartres’ parents looked at Black Mamba with astonished expressions. Only Edel smiled warmly, as though she knew everything.
Black Mamba glanced at Edel. Had one ever seen the dark yellow Pheasant-eye sprout amongst the remains of snow at the end of winter, when plum blossoms began to bloom? It was, as the name of the flower, a smile overflowing with happiness.
A spark landed on his heart, which had been trained to be as hard as iron. The southern name for the Pheasant-eye was Adonis amurensis. Black Mamba didn’t know that the flower signified sad memories.
“Edel, can you take them to the bathroom?”
His voice, which had always been dry, carried a hint of emotion.
“Jang Shin, Black, that b*stard, knows how to use vous, doesn’t he? Speaking down to us because he doesn’t know how to use respectful language? Ugh, that swindler.”
“Emil, shut up. Black is always right. What’s it to you whether he speaks respectfully or not? Leave him be.”
“Oh, f***, this b*stard’s been contaminated by the Ombuti disease.” Emil grabbed the back of his neck.
“Excuse me, you big man over there, stop chewing out your friend and chew on the chairs instead. Don’t you want to eat?”
Edel pointed at the pile of chairs. Ombuti revealed all of his talents as the best butler. He bossed around the lackey, Emil, and Jang Shin to finish up the meal preparations. Tables and chairs were moved from the hospital’s cafeteria, and food ordered from the nearest hotel was set in rows. Edel covered the table with flowers as though she had become a florist.
Thick snow began to fall. Outside the window was a blizzard, and inside the room was a haute cuisine decorated with thick candles and flowers. The dead remained dead while the living continued with their life. Sadness and happiness melted away like ice cream, with time.
“So the government and high ranking officials of the military department will leave for Africa in two days to transfer our friends’ bodies.”
“Ohh, how could that be!”
“Thank you, God.”
“Of course. I knew Black Mamba would be able to do it.”
“You b*stard, didn’t you call him a swindler just now?”
Jang Shin, Emil’s archenemy, laid him a path to hell.
“Hehe, who could cheat the DGSE other than the greatest swindler? Do you think those b*stards will return alive?”
“That’s true. I pity the Oecophylla smaragdina.”
Not only them, but their comrades’ families were greatly surprised too. It was unheard of for the Department of Defense and government’s high ranking officials to personally search for the dead’s remains in Africa. It was obvious how much Black Mamba had threatened them. The gifts continued.
“A trust insurance of 10,000,000 francs will be set up for the families’ livelihood. The insurance period is 50 years. Out of the 500,000 francs each year, 150,000 francs will be given to Burimer and Chartres’ families, while 200,000 francs will be on hold. The 3,000,000 francs the Oecophylla smaragdina had funded is for the veterans’ family funds, for the future of the Legion Etranger families. I’ve recommended Pierre and Julia as the directors. I’d like both of you to discuss this and co-manage it.”
“Is the trust insurance and veterans’ fund separate?”
“Of course, it is. How will you manage to insure your retirement and educate your children? I threatened them slightly.”
It wasn’t a slight threat at all. It was the reason why Bonipas had grieved.
“Ha, all of Bonipas’ hairs should have fallen off by now.”
“I’ll brief you on the individual rewards next.”
Edel came out of the hospital room with a file. There was nothing like holding one’s tongue.
“The dead will advance thrice through the ranks. Sergeant Burimer will be a senior sergeant, and sergeant Chartres will be a vice-senior sergeant. The survivors will advance twice in ranks, making lieutenant Paul a real Captain. Congratulations on your promotion. Bellman, I guess you’d have to return your cape blanc.”
“Haha, to wear the cape blanc in sacrifice for my comrades’ deaths…”