Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 178
“Good morning Ombuti,” Black Mamba said to Ombuti, who was preparing his petit dejeuner, upon finishing his meditation.
“Did you sleep well? Although a good night’s rest would be hard with a lonesome beauty next door,” Ombuti chewed him out.
Despite his loyalty, Ombuti’s eyes were lit on fire whenever it came to Edel.
“Is it Mexican tacos today?” Black Mamba avoided the issue.
“It’s amazing how you can differentiate the types of barbeques with a nose that can’t smell a lady.”
Black Mamba raised both of his hands in defeat, at the master of complaining.
“Did Edel leave for a walk?”
Ombuti directed his glance towards the bedroom. He creased his forehead and lowered his mouth to show that her condition wasn’t well.
“It seems as though she’s in a poor mood.”
“That’s rare, Edel’s usually cheerful.”
When Black Mamba turned back, Ombuti and Sun WooHyun shrugged their shoulders. How would they, a young man approaching middle age and a man reaching his later years, know a woman’s mind which is said to change 12 times a day?
“I’ve finished preparing your meal. Why don’t you call her over yourself?”
Black Mamba knocked. There was no response. When he opened the door slightly, the grand lyrical tenor of Pavarotti echoed.
Let’s drink, let’s drink from the joyous chalices
that beauty blossoms.
And may the fleeting moment
be elated with voluptuousness.
Let’s drink from the sweet thrills
that love arouses,
because that eye aims straight
to the almighty heart.
Ah! Let’s drink,
my love: the love among chalices
will have warmer kisses.
It was a song played at the Verdi Festival, a song that was fond to his ears. Edel was looking outside the window on the edge of her bed. La Traviata meant a woman who strayed.
A woman who strayed!
His heart twinged. He could read another person’s emotions and thoughts. Edel was always cheerful, but she often exuded unstable brain waves. It meant she had deep worries or was troubled.
Surprised, Edel rubbed her face with the shawl across her shoulders. When she turned around, her face was moist.
“The city covered in snow is beautiful.”
Those were made-up words that didn’t match the mood. Instead, two large eyes wet in tears were saying, “I wasn’t looking at the snow.”
No man wouldn’t be shaken by a beautiful woman’s pitiful features. Black Mamba ruled over his sizzling heart with his mind organizing laws.
Every person had their own story. It must have been a serious case for a young woman to run to Africa as a volunteer. If it was a case that he couldn’t take responsibility for, it was better not knowing.
“You can’t see the Champs-Élysées from here.”
“You also can’t see the Montmartre cemetery.”
He’d advised her not to be depressed, and she had answered that she wasn’t. Champs-Élysées was the place where the prostitute, Marguerite, and the noble’s son, Armand, had shared and ended their love.
Marguerite had been buried as an unnamed body in Montmartre Cemetery. Many men had swarmed around her when she was young, beautiful, and shining. Not a single man had visited her grave with a flower afterward. It was the Dumas’ French story of the saying, “Naked, I came from my mother’s womb and naked, I will depart.”
“The Seine comes after food.”
Black Mamba didn’t want to touch a beehive. A hidden story was always complicated. His life was already complicated. He didn’t want additional pressure. Edel’s gaze stopped on his back, which had turned away. Disappointment lingered in her light blue eyes.
“Wakil, you’ve finished washing the dishes and have thrown the Oecophylla smaragdina out in the Sahel. Why don’t you take a break?”
Ombuti gently recommended a break after the meal. Ombuti’s body was struggling to put his master and Edel together in a room, as quickly as he could. Accidents happened naturally between two young and hot-blooded youths.
“I am taking a break.”
A response like that of an unfermented baguette was returned.
“You cannot call connecting two dots, a break. Pardon me, but why don’t you seek a surface and a line?”
“A surface and a line!”
Black Mamba understood the underlying meaning of those words. It meant to let go of his burdens.
“A good idea. I should go see Philip now that all my injuries have been treated. I need to receive my rank certificate anyway.”
Stupid Wakil, that wasn’t what I meant!
Ombuti cried in his heart. Wakil’s smart head was always headed in the wrong direction when it came to anything that concerned Edel. No, his Wakil was simply too dense.
A Paranthropus’ recovery speed was truly amazing. Black Mamba had shaken off all of his injuries within two weeks. He stood before a floor-length mirror with only his underwear. He checked on all of his injuries and the scar across his stomach.
His head rotated 270 degrees, as though he was an octopus, pressing his face to his back. This magic was possible due to his flexible joints and rubbery, firm muscles.
All that was left of his shoulder’s bullet wound was a scar in the shape of a trumpet flower. It had healed. Even the injuries he had gained from the pieces of metal and other minor scratches, had turned blurry. The largest wound had been on his side, where a piece of explosive had horizontally embedded itself. 150 millimeters from his side to his back had been split. It was a scar that Jin Soon would have cried and created a scene over.
He had gained 107 new scars in the Sahel. No, including the scar across the left side of his face, it was 108.
“Have I engraved 108 anguishes onto my body?” he counted the scars once more as he mumbled.
It was 108. He didn’t know whether it was a coincidence or fate, but he felt off.
Three pairs of eyes snuck glances at Black Mamba’s body. Sun WooHyun shook his head while Ombuti made a vacant expression. Edel gave a pitying look rather than looking surprised. It was as though tears would leave her huge eyes at any moment.
“Black, don’t you feel any pain?”
Edel pressed on the bullet wound with her finger.
“How about now?”
“Take good care of your body.”
“I’ll do what I need to do.”
Flinching, Black Mamba took half a step back. Edel was looking up at him from beneath his chin. Tears were clinging to her light blue eyes, which were as clear and wide as Annecy lake.
“I…I get it.”
“All the others have advanced ranks, what about you, Black?”
Edel changed the conversation when the mood took an awkward turn.
“There’s no meaning to advancing. Lackey, have you built up your body yet?”
Black Mamba, unable to withstand the attacks of a ripe woman’s scent and her eyes, turned to look at Sun WooHyun.
“I’ve been running to death for the past week.”
“We’ve just begun. We’re going to create your base for the next week.”
“You must train him hard. I cannot be relieved when Wakil’s guard is so weak,” Ombuti added on, like a sister-in-law.
Ugh, that damn mouth. Sun WooHyun glared at Ombuti.
“Hm, a mercenary’s wealth is his body. You need to maintain an optimum condition for whenever you need it to live longer. Lackey, what do you think are the limits to a human body?”
“A fist can’t be stronger than a rock.”
“Wrong. A fist can’t be stronger than a rock, but a human’s mentality and will are stronger than one.”
“Isn’t that something everyone says?”
“Not really. The frequent mentions of the human body’s limits aren’t limits. The body is limited by the mind’s control. It can earn a burn or injury by a strong suggestion. Our body is a slave to our minds as can be seen with the placebo or nocebo effects.”
“You’re saying that you’re going to grind me to the ground, aren’t you?”
“Bingo, we’re going to pull out all the sewage gained from the 35 years of training you’ve had in the underground training room and raise your undiscovered battle instincts.”
Sun WooHyun’s face was dyed black. He knew how scary the words “pull out” meant.
The fitness center of 2,000 square meters was empty. The authorities had restricted its entry for two hours in the early morning and one hour in the evening.
Huff huff huff—
Huff huff huff—
Hands and feet crossed the air between one rapid and one slow breath.
The sound of air exploding shook the fitness center every time a hand or foot came into contact.
The five combined movements and the single beat breathing technique were methods that brought out an ideal balance of power from a Paranthropus. For the cells to create ATP from glucose and organic matters, they needed oxygen. They needed as much oxygen according to the amount of ATP produced.
The single beat breathing technique increased the ratio of oxygen to its peak according to the ATP used and distributed it to the cells.
Flowing water doesn’t rot; Rolling rocks don’t gain moss.
The five combined movements weren’t martial arts that increased inner ki. It was an outer movement that increased the body’s limits by breaking through its peak forms, little by little. The expression “outer movement” wasn’t right either, since realistically, there weren’t any inner martial arts in the first place.
Black Mamba used the body teleportation method flashily, moving his body to the east and west.
The sound of tearing air rang in sequence. The fitness center, which was as large as a sports ground, was instead, too small.
The fearless steps’ dragon’s back riding steps and the four paced movement could teleport him through 15 meters. It looked like a rubber-stretching shadow in the eyes of the three people. It was a phenomenon whereby their dynamic visual ability had failed to read his movements.
Hitting, beating, and twisting the circular elevation, which gave several kicks in a single jump, the 10 point continuous blows which exploded like sparks, and the 18 beats of shock which whirled like windmills—Sun WooHyun’s mouth fell open. He didn’t even realize he’d drooled from the corner of his mouth.
“Hhh, that’s the real deal. I’m going to imitate it no matter what.”
Sun WooHyun was in a fervor to receive at least one of those skills. He wanted to learn, even if he had to die from Black Mamba’s beatings.
The surrounding grounds, which had been trembling, calmed down. With the lightning pumpkin impacts as his final move, the 36 methods of the five combined movement’s 216th practice had ended in 25 minutes. It was a training that had taken him three hours a year ago.
When Edel approached him with a towel in hand, Black Mamba reached out. Disappointment whirled in Edel’s eyes as she handed the towel over.
I shouldn’t have told him.
Edel cursed her mouth for admitting her love ahead of time.
“Okay, Lackey, let’s begin.”
50 kilograms of barbells landed before Sun WooHyun’s feet.
“Isn’t this too light?”
Sun WooHyun picked the barbells up with one hand. He was strong, compared to his weak physique.
Sun WooHyun’s cheekiness soon turned into screams. Ombuti hung Sun WooHyun upside down on a Smith machine, set in the corner of the fitness center.
“Ugh, what is this?”
“All martial arts start with a light upper body and heavy lower body. To train your body, you’ll have to raise and attach your hanging organs and increase your blood flow. Begin.”
Sun WooHyun had to do shoulder presses, hanging upside down on a Smith machine with 50 kilograms barbells. Deus had hung Mu Ssang upside down a cliff for three nights and four days. He’d even weighed him down with two 100 kilograms rocks on his arms.
Sun WooHyun’s consciousness wavered even before he reached the sixth press. The blood which had reached his head pressed on his brain. His sight turned red.
Sun WooHyun had survived through life with stubbornness and gall. He continued the abnormal shoulder press with determination, assuming that he wouldn’t die. It was at the five minutes mark that his sweat dripped down like rain. A puddle of sweat was created under his head.
There’s grease stuck in my stomach.
Sun WooHyun gritted his teeth to the point of breaking out in guilt. North Korea’s training was far more inhumane and harsh.
I’m not going to let go even if I die.
He grasped his wavering consciousness. Seven minutes had passed. His muscles didn’t contract any longer.
He couldn’t even shout. Stubbornness wasn’t working.
The barbells, which had been raised momentarily, fell to the ground. His red sight turned black. The human who’d been fighting for all he’s worth fell silent. All that remained was a body which swayed limply like a bagworm.
“Oh no, what do we do?”
Edel stood from her waiting place.
“Leave him. Ombuti, get him down and pour some cold water.”
Ombuti relentlessly poured cold water that was filled with ice over him.
Awoke, Sun WooHyun narrowed his eyes and began counting down from 10. It was the fastest method to regain consciousness in the condition of overheating.
Sun WooHyun counted two sets of 10 and stood up. He tilted several times before finally regaining his center.
“Ho, your mental strength is good.”
Even Black Mamba was surprised. It was hard for a human to regain body balance in a few seconds after passing out from brain pressure caused by blood flow. He felt as though Sun WooHyun was worth teaching. Of course, in Sun WooHyun’s perspective, it was more than a sour occasion.
Ombuti brought a one and a half meters stick. It was an FRP pipe of 30 millimeters in diameter, wrapped with pure rubber all around. Black Mamba grabbed the black stick and rose to his height.
Fear passed by Sun WooHyun’s eyes. He still remembered the time he was beaten by Black Mamba, after provoking him, until he shi**ed blood. Five parts of his body cringed, and his bladder twinged.
Soul-returning pain administration!
The whipping which was torturing enough to recall souls in fright was the same beating that had dragged Emil back from the underworld after Bellman had declared him dead. The beating which didn’t even allow blackouts was the same beating that tore away at one’s skin and stirred the organs. Sun WooHyun became nervous.
 Morning meal; breakfast.