Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 218
That was going far overboard. Black Mamba felt aggrieved. The man was worse than Ombuti! The mood became weirder because of his whim of kindness.
Ugh, whatever. Let him sing or scream. I’m going to get the fish.
There were still scenes for Bakri to awe over.
He activated his counter resonance. It was a skill he had learned in Ati, where he had pulled out medina parasites from the leg of a girl called Kitoi.
He used his spine to balance himself before emptying half of his body and wrapping the fish with his resonance. When he released the constraint, the resonance rushed back into the empty half of his body. The fishes that had been floating on the surface were dragged towards Black Mamba.
“Aah, how could this be?” Bakri’s eyes widened as though it would tear.
He unknowingly fell to his knees and began to pray. God’s apostle had descended on earth. The true being had appeared before him. He felt as though his chest would explode from the honor.
Black Mamba wasn’t interested in Bakri’s actions. He had gotten used to Ombuti falling on his knees and praying at every second. He spread the tall reeds near the lake across the floor and started cleaning the fish with practiced hands. It was something that he did all the time at the bridge village. The bundle of seven, arm-thick fishes was quite heavy.
“Bakri, it’s small, but it’s a gift.”
Upon receiving the fish, Bakri swayed at its heaviness. His expression was of someone who’d been moved. God’s apostle had bestowed him food that he’d gained miraculously. It was an everlasting honor for his future generations too.
“Ddu-bai-buru-pa! Holy being! The Antioch wasn’t wrong. The Antioch was God’s words! The true apostle Ddu-bai-buru-pa has come. Thee who came in God’s name, may you be blessed!” Bakri shouted with both hands in the air.
Even Wael, who had no idea what was going on, kneeled next to her father and cheered.
Ugh, damn, he’s Ombuti down to the core.
Black Mamba felt conflicted. He only helped because Wael had reminded him of Mina, whom he had come to know by some misguided fate. It had truly been an impulse. He had also caught the fishes as a gift without much thought.
He was already embarrassed by the nickname, Eastern Swordsman, but the mood had heightened his embarrassment. Out of nowhere, an Ombuti II was created in Syria.
“Are you a follower of the Coptic Orthodox Church?”
Black Mamba didn’t know much about the Orthodox Church, but he knew the Antioches were a group of churches that had left the Roman Church.
“The Coptic Church refers to the Egyptian Orthodox Church. I am a follower of the Syrian Orthodox Church.”
The Syrian Orthodox Church, also known as the Antioch Church, was a rather radical member of the Oriental Orthodox Church. They were known for denying Jesus’ humanity and only accepted his holiness. In simple terms, they accepted Jesus as God and denied Jesus as a human.
The denial had brought about jarring results. When Jesus’ humanity was rejected, the fact that he was born to save humans had been dismissed too. The act and the holiness of salvation similarly became lies. While the Roman Church had claimed that the Holy Spirit came from the Holy Father and his Holy Son, the Syrian Orthodox Church had claimed that the Holy Father came from the Holy Spirit. With the denial of the Holy Son, the salvation of sins had also been denied.
Loyal to Monophysitism, the Syrian Orthodox Church was threatened by both Islam and Christian churches. While many Christians had referred to the Oriental Orthodox Church as heathens, the Oriental Orthodox Church was a traditional church that had a shared history with the Roman Catholic Church.
The Orthodox Church needed a place to lean on after 1,000 years of threats. They believed that a physical apostle of God would save them from their poverty. To them, God’s apostle would come in the figure of a hero.
Despite being an apprentice monk, Black Mamba was more of an atheist, no, a believer of pantheism. He had no bias against any religion but wasn’t lured by them either. Monk Dae Woo used to click his tongue and called him a b*stard with the seal of a monster.
“I’m a normal person. I’ve only gained a few different abilities by coincidence. It’s an ability that anyone can earn through hard work.”
“What? Oh, yes! I’ll keep that in mind, sir. I won’t tell anyone aside from my family of your feats, Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa.”
Bakri smiled as though he had understood everything. The sight of Black Mamba’s modesty, who tried to hide his true self, was the characteristics of an apostle.
“Ha. Ha. This is driving me mad.”
Bakri was Ombuti’s perfect copy, from his exaggerated actions to his quick-wittedness. Black Mamba replaced his awkwardness with a strengthless laugh.
“Then, should we go? Anti ami-ra, Anti Wael ami-ra.”
Black Mamba lifted Wael and sat her on the backpack on his hip for balance.
Wael’s clear laughter rang across Maydanki Lake.
Syrians were rumored to have a cold personality, but it wasn’t the truth. They had a habit of guarding themselves against foreigners due to surveillance and control. They greeted guests and served them, like any other Arabs. Once they grew close, they tended to give everything they had. They were the complete opposites of Japanese, who pretended to be friendly but would immediately draw a line afterward.
It was a single-story house built with mud walls. The house could be seen from afar. Sheep were running around their front yard. As Bakri had said, there wasn’t a single neighbor in sight around the house, which was one kilometer away from Maydanki Lake.
Syria’s houses were built from clay bricks and crushed soil. The houses had an open structure. The house’s interior could be seen from outdoors, and there wasn’t a fence. Hae Young’s house was conservative. Japanese people tended to hide themselves and their front gates in the house, away from the streets. There were always curtains on the windows facing the outdoors. It was the mindset of hiding. Syrians shared similar cultural beliefs with Koreans but contrasted greatly with the Japanese.
“Isn’t it uncomfortable to be so far from the village?”
“We moved away because of the people.” Bakri smiled sadly.
His expression looked as though he had a lot to tell.
“Discrimination isn’t right. Whether it’s Islam or the Orthodox Church, there will be differences, but there cannot be discrimination.”
“Oh, Ddu-bai-buru-pa, sir, your words are right!” Bakri agreed strongly.
“Bakri, it’s Dong-bang-bull-pae, not Ddu-bai-buru-pa.”
Uncomfortable, Black Mamba tried to fix his pronunciation once more.
“Yes, it’s hard to say. Domba-ye-buru-pul!”
“Ugh, Ddu-bai-buru-pa sounds better.”
Black Mamba gave up immediately. Sometime in the future, the Orthodox followers would build the world’s tallest building in Dubai, called Burj Khalifa, after their hero, Ddu-bai-buru-pa Khalifa.
The line between home and the garden was unclear in Bakri’s house. An old man, who was watering the olive seedlings, smiled brightly. His family came out soon afterward.
“Marhaban. Purusa sa-yi-da, ana Dong-bang-bul-pae.”
“Ya- Illah-hi, Ssuritu bima euri patika. Purussa ssai-da, ana uda-abu Bakri. Hal indaka aola-d?”
His greeting was returned twice in length. Taken aback, Black Mamba turned to look at Bakri. Bakri smiled.
“In Syria, we tend to introduce each other by asking questions about our sons. My father is Abu Bakri, and my mother is Oom Bakri. My son’s name is Alli Jadir. My father just asked how many children do you have, sir.”
“What? Children! Ha, I’m about to go mad,” Black Mamba reared back.
“I’m a bachelor.”
“Mata-tatajauwaju? Ma-alapudal, hadi-yatu atzawa-z am annuku-d?” the old man muttered as though he was dissatisfied with Bakri’s translations.
The old man looked as though he would hand him a congratulatory gift at that very moment.
In Arabic countries, especially Syria, it was basic manners to return twice the length of an initial greeting. The longer the initial greeting, the response was expected to be thrice as long.
The Syrians’ greatest goal was to marry and have many children. The first question they would ask a guest was the whereabouts of their children. If the guest was not married, they would ask when. It was similar in the sense where relatives would nag the Korean bachelors and bachelorettes on New Year’s.
Black Mamba had received a grand welcome from Jadir’s family. The Bakri family had four sons and daughters, a wife, and parents—six people in total. They didn’t think of Black Mamba as a strange person, despite his looks. They regarded him as a good person since Bakri had brought him over.
That was something worth learning from the Syrians. The parents, who raised their children as the center of their world, were later served by their children until their last dying breaths. Sending elderly parents to a nursing home was criticized by society. It was a case worth stoning to death.
Futur were usually served light, but because they had a guest, it turned into a feast. Mansaf, pita bread, aubergine, snap steak, and several types of salad were served. The addition of a lamb roast completed the meal.
When the family gathered around the table, it became loud. Men and women ate separately in Arabic culture. They didn’t talk to each other, either. Bakri’s family was rather progressive. They were an exemplar of a family that Black Mamba had desperately wished to have, even in his dreams.
“This person is Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa from the far east. He is currently traveling through Syria. We met by coincidence, and he treated Wael with a mystical treatment from the east.”
“Wow! Really? Thank you.”
The entire family thanked him, following Bakri’s words. They were a pure family who had no doubts. Wael walked into the room confidently. She wobbled with every step, but she was in a much better condition compared to before. Her facial paralysis had already worn off. She bounced back quickly, as all young kids did.
“Ooh, look, look!”
“Wow, Wael’s smiling!”
“She’s walking quite well.”
The family’s eyes widened.
Oom Bakri ran from her seat and hugged her granddaughter.
“Wael, how do you feel?”
“I feel very good. My head doesn’t hurt either. I can walk straight now,” Wael replied cheerfully to her grandma’s question.
“Ooh, what a miracle!”
The breakfast table was filled with exclamations. That wasn’t some simple treatment. It had cured her entirely.
“Thank you. You’ve lifted the heavy clouds off our family. Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa, our family’s in your debt. From now on, you are part of our family, Ddu-bai-buru-pa.”
“Wow, hoorah for Ddu-bai-buru-pa!”
At the grandma’s declaration, the adults and children all cheered. The old and young tilted their foreheads against Black Mamba’s and rubbed their cheeks against his, creating a ruckus.
They’re a good family!
His heart felt warm. A loving family was the foundation of a healthy society. He’d kicked his way through life to get away from hatred and jealousy. To him, it was an extremely wishful sight.
Syrians had a lot in common with the Koreans. They thought luck would run out if they did not finish their food and liked it when their guests asked for more. They encouraged him to finish all the food on the table.
Black Mamba ate two lamb hind legs greased with olive oil, steamed fish painted with spices, five pita bread, and one plate of mansaf. The Bakri family was surprised and overjoyed at his large appetite. Black Mamba, with his large appetite, was one of the best guests that the Bakri family had ever hosted.
Bakri didn’t mention what he had witnessed, to his family. When the children asked how Wael was treated, he answered that it was a mystical treatment from the east instead. When they asked how the fishes were caught, he said that it was sent by God. He was a smart man.
The noisy meal ended.
“Ddu-bai-buru-pa, sir, please rest.”
Bakri took Black Mamba to his office. The office was a room without any door blocking it from the outdoors. Black Mamba was surprised at the unexpected paper collection.
“Bakri, you’re not a farmer.”
“Three years ago, I was a history professor at Aleppo University. I worked there as a guest professor but was chased out three months ago.”
“Isn’t Assad pacified against the Eastern Orthodox Church?”
“He needs the Christians’ support to suppress the Sunni faction’s majority. Discrimination remains. Since we’re foreigners, we can’t do anything about it. There’s actually another reason. Hahaha!”
Bakri faked a laugh.
“It seems like you have a lot to tell.”
“If I sin by talking about my minor pains and end up dirtying the apostle’s ears—”
Black Mamba raised his hand and stopped Bakri in mid-sentence.
“Bakri, I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, I’m not an apostle. You can call me Dong-bang-bull-pae. I like being the Eastern Swordsman of this peaceful family compared to an apostle or a messiah. A poor human ignores the requirements of being a human. Did you ignore the requirements of being a human?”
Bakri’s face creased. The memory of his eldest son, who was kidnapped and killed violently by the Shabiha, filled his mind. It was a brand of evil that he would never forget. The scab that he’d forced on fell off. Blood flowed.
“You’re right. I’ve ignored the requirements of being a father while trying so hard to be a human! Kugh, ugh!” Bakri cried.
The stranger wasn’t a young man from the east, but he was an apostle that he could rely on. With someone to rely on, countless tears fell.
“Bakri, I’m ready to listen to your story. I’ve lived an unimaginable life. You can tell me anything you want.”
“Thank you. I am the descendant of the Patriarch of Antioch, who first separated from the Roman Church 1,500 years ago at the Council of Chalcedon. The Syrian Orthodox entered the current northern mountain ranges to avoid the Christians’ and Islam’s threats. However, that was no longer our land. Assad may start a peace legislation, but discrimination and punishments were still the same. Despite my lacking knowledge, I led the Orthodox Church as a deacon after my father. I frequently checked the Mukhabarat and Shabiha’s whereabouts to free the church worshippers from danger. Three years ago, I was arrested by the Mukhabarat while walking to Sharran to buy sausages. They accused me of being a part of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
“Wait, the Muslim Brotherhood?”
Black Mamba’s eyes sparkled.
 You’re a princess, Wael, a princess.
 “Hello. Nice to meet you, I’m the Eastern Swordsman.”
 “Wow, welcome. Welcome. I’m Bakri’s father. How many children do you have?”
 When are you getting married? Will a congratulatory donation or a present suffice?
 An ordained minister of an order ranking below that of a priest.