Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 255
“Damn, it really is a cursed lake.”
A reaction had developed on the sensitive areas of his body: between his legs, his armpits, and between his toes. He was about to go mad from the itch. He was either affected by the lake’s poisonous water or a parasite. He wanted to scratch but held back. His emergency kit had disappeared along with his backpack. Irritation caused by external forces would spread when scratched. He wanted to wash down his sticky body with hot water, but how could he? He could only depend on his strong anti-poisonous body.
The land was as strange. There wasn’t a single tree or a handful of sand. There were only blue-glinted rocks. Even the bedrock that he was standing on had a bluish glow. Near the edge of the lake where the water lapped, luminous powders had formed a narrow shore in the shape of a ring.
He automatically let out a sigh. It was a horrible place that wasn’t even comparable to the hellish limestone caves in Bang Tae San. A novelist tired of old-fashioned depictions or a pastor who threatened followers with hell would find great inspiration here.
He was beyond unlucky. He’d fallen into a more dreadful Jurassic world moments after he had escaped the currents of an underground cave. No, there was sufficient oxygen and the slightest bit of light. There was food as chewy as military leather boots in the lake too. Wasn’t that considered elegant enough for a world 5,000 meters underground!
Look, there was a grand display of a lost world, and he was blessed to witness the wonder of Earth’s beginning, which no other human could see. He was standing right before a miracle. He was the only one who could wake up to this knowledge among all other ignorants! He should be happy since he was blessed with such marvelous fortune.
That’s how he reassured himself, but his sighs only grew deeper.
There was no term to describe his experiences. Dramatic, dynamic, amazing, variety, or spectacle—no word could explain it. While others bemoaned their regular lives wishing for an adventure, he had hoped for a regular life while living an endlessly dramatic life. The world was magical.
The land was as silent as the dead. There was no wind or sound. There was no soil or any strand of grass. Well, soil couldn’t exist anyway. The land was basically a bedrock. Soil was made by mixing inorganic matter and decaying organic matter from animals and plants in rocks that had been broken down by weathering.
Soil couldn’t exist when there was no weathering. Of course, plants couldn’t exist without soil. The kind of thick forests that appeared in the Jurassic world of fiction novels were just illusions. While ecosystems were formed deep in the sea due to hydrothermal vents, land was an entirely different problem. Without plants, there were no animals. To avoid starving, he had no choice but to hunt those underwater monsters.
There were luminescent rocks all over the land while glowing bodies reaching several meters in length floated in the air. Exactly, what kind of space was this!
He missed the faint sun that appeared in apocalypse novels. There was no evaporation without the sun and thus no convection. His soaked body was not going to dry up, either. He didn’t know that a world without fluid dynamics would be this frustrating.
He suddenly recalled a line from “The Grapes of Wrath” by Steinbeck. [The dawn came but no day. In the gray sky, a red sun appeared. A dim red circle that gave a little light, like dusk, and as that day advanced, the dusk slipped back toward darkness.]
Steinbeck had described the west sun covered by dust as a dim world. He wouldn’t use that expression if he saw the scenery down here.
During the time of west pioneering, white migrants chased Indians, who had lived on the western lands for 1,000s of years, out of their homes. As long as one put up a stake on open land, it was theirs. The white people had overturned the grasslands and started cultivating. When the roots that held the soil together disappeared, the earth lost its moisture.
With an imbalanced ecosystem, there was severe destruction. The earth that had lost its moisture was blown off layer by layer. Several meters of surface soil was blown away until a bedrock appeared. In the end, the starved farmers flowed toward the bottom rungs of the city. “The Grapes of Wrath” discussed humans’ greed as its main subject but clearly described the importance of land in metaphors.
A thin layer of crust surrounded the Earth like an apple’s skin. Even the thickest parts were barely several kilometers thick. The soil that covered the crust reached several centimeters to meters. As described in “The Grapes of Wrath,” it disappeared instantly, revealing a bedrock.
All creatures living on land relied on the thin and fragile paper-like soil for survival. Humans would destroy the paper-like soil, which was the foundation of life like it was nothing. Humans were basically choking themselves. Of course, Black Mamba didn’t sympathize with the main character’s torment and anger in the story. He laughed arrogantly at the white people who killed and chased the local Indians away.
The only reason he had recalled the line from “The Grapes of Wrath” was due to the hazy surrounding of the Jurassic world. Perhaps it was also because he’d once contemplated introducing agriculture in the land that he was constructing in Chad’s northern region.
At least there was a red sun in “The Grapes of Wrath,” but there was nothing here. Black Mamba didn’t even think that a similar situation to “The Grapes of Wrath” was happening on the Samaria farm several 1,000s of kilometers away.
It was fun guessing the contents of a gift before unwrapping it. One could try shaking or weighing it to guess the contents. That was the combination of presumed reality and concept. However, a Jurassic world 100s and 1,000s of kilometers underground couldn’t be shaken or weighed. There was no existing concept, either. There wasn’t enough information. He could only feel frustrated. Strength seeped out of him. He began to question the likelihood of escaping such an endlessly spacious place.
How could there be oxygen when there were no trees? How could it be bright in a cave 1,000s of meters underground? How could a lake be so cold when it was supposed to be boiling? Endless questions arose.
Black Mamba was also suffering from another situation. While there were surprises, there was no mental confusion. The body could endure, but the mind had the right to be confused. Despite the extreme gap between perception and recognition, he had felt comforted by the situation as though he’d returned to his hometown. He wasn’t troubled by the heat that was almost 50 degrees Celsius or the atmosphere that was of a different composition.
Is it because of the Paranthropus’ cells?
He forgot about his urgent circumstances and started thinking. Ever since he became a Paranthropus at the age of 11, he had suffered from nightmares while he was asleep. In the nightmares, he fought with enormous monsters and non-human bipedal creatures to take over a large structure made out of stone.
The dreams had lasted for a month and didn’t continue any further. He felt as though a link was missing. The hot sun, lush trees, heavy rain, lightning, and volcanic eruptions, which had continued in the background of his nightmares, looked similar to the current Jurassic world before him.
He shook his head and got rid of his thoughts. What did it matter if those scenes were similar or different? He wasn’t going to continue living in a dead world anyway. Of course, the pressing problem was gathering information about the absurd underground world and escaping to the surface.
Black Mamba searched through his mind. He’d read countless medical and biological books since middle school to understand the changes in his body. He was at a teacher’s level.
Sodium chloride was needed for luminescent bacterias to grow. The shining objects floating on the water and air were likely to be light-emitting bacterias or symbiotic organisms that survived on salt. Luminescent fishes that lived in the sea were symbiotic organisms of luminescent bacterias.
It was likely that those luminescent rocks on land were either moonstones or its variation. He’d never heard of a moonstone that shone so brightly. The current brightness of the Jurassic world was at the level of an astronomical twilight.
He scooped up the lake water and tasted it. He knew it was salty when he floated to the surface, but to be sure, he checked again. It had a light consistency, and it was salty. It was said that with gain, there’s a loss. He’d lost the light and gained water. However, he was about to die from thirst despite the great lake before him. To survive, he had to drink the sticky green blood regardless of the side effects.
He scooped up a handful of shimmering sand. The black sand was mica, and the clear sand was quartz. Some other unknown minerals had similarly good reflectivity.
Kimberlite was a mineral that became famous because of diamonds. That was because diamonds were often found in Kimberlite pipes. The constituent minerals of kimberlite were gold mica, titanium, chromium, apatite, and magnetite. It usually shone.
“No, is there any active volcano around here?”
Suddenly, the back of his head turned cold. The problem wasn’t about the diamonds anymore. Kimberlites were formed between the crust and mantle. Kimberlites and diamonds only appeared on land after a volcanic explosion. It meant that there was a volcano in the Jurassic world.
Upon his realization, his nose detected an ashy scent. There was a mixture of sulfur and ammonia in the air. It meant that there had been a recent volcanic eruption.
“Nimi f*****, am I meant to be swept away by lava now?” he shouted.
If it was God’s idea of a prank, it was too harsh. He didn’t know if it was just him, but he never found a way around bad premonitions. Uneasiness flared up. When he thought that things couldn’t get any worse, he still had more to go.
“What is that?”
There were big and small dark rocks along the side of the lake. It looked like a front yard’s threshing floor sprinkled with beans. He had to gather as much information as he could to survive in an unfamiliar environment.
His Gorgon wrapped around the pot-sized rock. He used the whip in several convenient ways. Unlike its appearance, it was light. The object he effortlessly dragged over wasn’t a rock. It was a mass of sand grains that looked like a sponge. He tapped it, and it collapsed. A sticky substance came off on his hand.
He unconsciously let out a groan. Stromatolites were sediments created by the sticky calcareous component of cyanobacteria that accumulated sand particles floating on the water before growing in layers. Cyanobacteria was a photosynthetic bacteria that prospered on Earth for 1,000,000,000s of years and also responsible for producing oxygen on Earth.
His question was resolved. Cyanobacteria or similar microorganisms absorbed the light from moonstones to photosynthesize. The reason behind the high oxygen saturation level was the cyanobacteria, which would have produced oxygen for 100s of 1,000,000s of years.
The lake water was sticky because of the prospering cyanobacteria. The cyanobacteria might have evolved into a red color to absorb blue light and to photosynthesize. Under the bright red sun, the lake could even look bloody.
It was a Jurassic world where the Earth’s ecosystem had been preserved since the Precambrian period. Since there was no water or wind on land, it was not an ideal environment for land plants to grow. Even if a seed from the surface fell in by chance, like himself, it was unlikely to sprout.
On the other hand, the marine ecosystem, which was full of rich organic matter, had developed rapidly. Large aquatic animals could exist because of the high oxygen saturation level. There could even be a Megalodon of over 30 meters in length.
A strand of his dimensional sight, which he had spread out like a net, flickered. An entity disappeared instantly even before its location and shape could be recorded. If it was a living creature on Earth, it would be surprising. If the creature had teleported, it would be even more surprising.
He sent out resonance waves.
The entity, which he had detected on his active detective sound wave, slipped away. It was climatic. Nothing could escape his resonance waves unless it was a stealth creature. Now was the time when the French Academy of Sciences was enthusiastically developing stealth technology. He’d heard about the concept of stealth technology from Claude.
Did I sense it wrongly?
He tilted his head. His portraying sense might not be functioning properly due to the continued onslaught of damages and a completely different environment. The land to his right shook slightly. Black Mamba’s gaze turned.
Surprised, Black Mamba leaped 20 meters to the back as though he was bitten by a snake.
He was at a loss for words. How could a leopard exist in the Mesozoic Jurassic world? That creature was definitely a black leopard unless he was under the influence of hashish or was suffering from a fever.
He shook his head and looked again. A black leopard, which was one circumference larger than a Siberian tiger, stood tall on a fallen rock 10 meters away. With a tilted head, its gaze looked arrogant.
Black Mamba’s brain analyzed the new enemy. With a length of three meters, a shoulder width of 1.5 meters, a tail length of 1.5 meters, a weight ranging from 400 to 500 kilograms, sharp teeth, and red eyes, it exuded an overwhelming aura that no creature on the Earth’s surface would be able to replicate. The Kronosaurus that he had gotten rid of in the lake didn’t measure up. A similar chill from when he had met Ocelot in the Sahel ran down his spine.
I think there is a problem.
Black Mamba blinked. He couldn’t piece together its figure. The dimensional sight ability created a form for any invisible living beings. The foundation of his strong combat power had been the image formation that he used to grasp and determine one’s shape, strength, and weakness.
Ocelot’s image was evil and very violent. Even the monster he’d fought in his dreams was the same. That guy was like water. He couldn’t feel any good or evil intentions. He couldn’t even create an image of the overwhelming presence before his eyes. All he could feel throughout his body was a pressure that seemed to fold him into pieces.
“Om Mani Padme Hum! Ooom!”
The ground shook with the impactful Six Sanskrit Mantra. The black leopard flinched. It seemed like it was shocked by the resonance waves during his declaration. The uncomfortable pressure disappeared instantly.
He gritted his teeth when it came to leopards. The nightmare he had to go through in Bang Tae San’s cave returned once more. The culprit behind the three claw scar on his left cheek was a leopard. Like furrows, deep scars were left on his back by a leopard’s claws. Before he killed the b*stard, his entire body had been shredded, and his intestines had poured out. It was now a piece of meat, but back then, the leopard had been a formidable enemy to his weaker self.
It was strange to call a person weak for beating up a leopard, but that was in comparison to his current strength. The leopard trauma reawakened. The black leopard looked tough, but it was still a leopard.
“I’ll kill you!”
His life force and malice exploded.
He spurred on out of the bedrock.
The Gorgon approached the black leopard, like lightning. When the black leopard avoided his attack by tilting its head to the side, he moved his wrist to change the direction of the five-pointed spear.
The five-pointed spear changed direction like a snake and pierced its head.
The black leopard couldn’t avoid the unexpected combo attack.
An explosion sounded.
A scream echoed, and a large body rolled on the bedrock.
“What the hell?” Black Mamba was surprised.
 The darkest of the twilight phases. During astronomical twilight, the geometric center of the Sun’s disk remained between 12 and 18 degrees below the horizon.