Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 259
Did he have any real friends?
He stared at the blacky’s eyes that glowed in orange. 1,000,000 years ago? 2,000,000 years ago? It was a creature from a distant past. He couldn’t associate the creature waving its tail while lying comfortably on the rock with the weight of its years. The creature was like a cat three times the size of a male lion.
He was a descendant of the Epidium, which had existed at the same time as the creature. He’d become a half-descendant by force, but he wasn’t about to complain. If he hadn’t turned into a Paranthropus, he would have lived out the rest of his life in a cold cell, chewing on his grudges.
The reason why he found comfort in the unfamiliar environment was due to the imprinted memories of his Paranthropus DNA. He must have adjusted easily to the mixture of sulfur and ammonia in the air and the temperature beyond 50 degrees Celsius because he was a Paranthropus, no, a descendant of the Epidium.
At most, the origin of modern humans dated back to 200,000 years. Now, he couldn’t trust that, either. A highly intelligent civilization, which had created the peak of humanity, existed 1,000,000 years ago. All the scientific knowledge he’d learned and memorized became worthless.
There was an irreconcilable gap between 1,000,000 years and 200,000 years. When walking down the streets of Seoul, he couldn’t be compared to Lucy, an Australopithecus afarensis. At the same time, he was like any other human who knocked on someone else’s shoulder countless times a day.
When he was older, he went through countless books, trying to figure out his identity. There were no useful articles in the country. Hae Young had managed to gather some articles and documents from overseas for him. That didn’t give him a clue, either. However, he did improve his English skills.
The knowledge accumulated by mankind was trivial compared to the vast universe! It was less than a cup of water from the sea. He naturally grew solemn at the great passage of time.
The failed outcome of the external fertilization by the Concretus, a distant elite humanity, was the Epidium also known as the Paranthropus. Finding the source of his identity 5,000 meters underground felt like a fantasy!
His inexplicable tendency for violence, his sanity despite killing 1,000s of humans, and his growing strength—everything was understandable. He’d been through a crisis after collapsing from a fever in the Sahel.
The Paranthropus, which had been genetically engineered by the Concretus, suffered a side-effect that turned the brain into muscles. If his brain had been invaded, he would have turned into a neighborhood’s idiot. A Homo sapiens with a cold rationale and the wildness of a Paranthropus, that was his identity. A Homo sapiens-Epidium mutant.
If he told the truth to Hae Young, her master’s thesis would be approved immediately. He shook his head. There was no evidence to prove the theory. It was questionable as to whether humans could reach the underground world in the first place. No, that wouldn’t do. There would be great chaos.
Several powerful countries would capture the lake’s creatures by attempting all kinds of methods. They would extract the creatures’ DNA and dissect their insides. The variant viruses might spread across the surface and threaten humanity or turned into biological weapons.
This place could be his half-self’s home—the Paranthropus and the Epidium’s home. There was no end to a human’s greed. It was not a place one should touch mercilessly like that of the Native Americans. Black Mamba decided to seal his mouth forever.
“Great. It’s said that men become friends through fistfights. I’ll gladly be your friend.”
“Thank you. Friend Dong-bang-bull-pae, why did you attack me? I wanted to talk to you.”
Black Mamba couldn’t come up with a proper reply. It was unbecoming of him to say that it had all been due to a bad memory associated with leopards.
“Sorry. I felt threatened.”
“I understand. It’s the emotion called fear and hatred.”
“Why didn’t you use your strong teeth? A leopard’s strongest weapon is its teeth.”
“You still don’t understand. I’m not a leopard. I turned from a non-existent Adras into an existent leopard because of your vision. That’s the purpose of the Adras that the Concretus desired. The owner decided whether dumplings, noodles, or buns would be made from flour. Adras is like a premade dough, ready to be used.”
“Damn, I understand, but I can’t get used to it.”
Black Mamba was confused. He felt the limit of his lacking knowledge. He had instinctively selected biology as his field of study. Now that he thought about it, the exam was right around the corner. Yet, he was rolling around in some Jurassic cave.
“Human Dong-bang-bull-pae, I’ve explained everything based on the knowledge and concepts that I’ve gained from you. That’s the limit. I’m a genetically engineered creature. Thanks to you, I’ve gained self-consciousness and the ability to learn. I can be better with time. Evolution is great. I’m surprised that a descendant of the idiot Epidium has this much knowledge.”
Blacky spoke as though it was mocking him.
“I’m more surprised that you’re able to converse with me using the knowledge you’ve stolen. I wish you knew more about the Concretus.”
Black Mamba envied the science of the ancients, which had extended their lifespans to 700 years and created an existence like blacky.
“The word ‘stolen’ isn’t right. You allowed me to take your knowledge. The primitive knowledge in me is too abstract for a detailed explanation.”
“What is this primitive knowledge?”
“After my creation, the Concretus integrated offensive and defensive skills into me to defend those creatures. I know nothing about science and medicine. I was used as a means to watch and protect over those creatures nearing the end of the Age of Twilight.”
Black Mamba nodded. As long as blacky was near, there wouldn’t be a problem with those Tyrannosauruses. Their necks would break with a single front kick, and their bodies would shatter with a single ELF attack.
“Exactly how many years have you lived?”
“I can’t explain using the concept of years. There is no concept of time here. There’s a large creature in the lake. That’s the 1.6 millionth creature.”
“Woah! The 1.6 millionth creature?”
Black Mamba swayed.
I’m the 64th descendant of Mil Yang’s Park family, right?
The large creature in the lake that blacky was talking about must’ve been the boss of the lake ecosystem. Approximating a large dinosaur’s lifespan at 100 years and half of its lifespan dedicated to adulthood, it meant that the creature was 80,000,000 years old. In comparison, there was a difference of 100,000,000 years. He felt nauseated at the weight of 80,000,000 years.
“Can I talk with the other creatures too?”
“That’s impossible. We can communicate and exchange knowledge because we’re the same kind. We are the only remaining traces of the Concretus, probably.”
Black Mamba swallowed his comment regarding Ocelot. He couldn’t be certain whether the b*stard was an Epidium or something else.
“You managed to avoid my detection by changing your shape. How did you do that?”
“I only followed the emergency manual. I’m made up of two types of cells. Nuclear cells control non-nuclear cells. When nuclear cells erase all pigment cells from non-nuclear cells, streaks of light pass through. When the molecules that make up the cell are arranged in a lattice-like mesh, infrared rays are also transmitted. To do that, I have to increase my body’s surface area, which takes time.”
Blacky continued, “Diamonds are transparent and hard, but graphite is dark and soft. The properties of a material composed of the same carbon changes according to the arrangement of elements. In my case, the nuclear cells control the non-nuclear cells, changing the molecular structure that makes up my body. When the non-nuclear cells are layered, they become denser, smaller, and harder. When non-nuclear cells spread across a wide surface, they become large and transparent.”
“I’m neither a plant nor an animal. I don’t have the unique life wave of an animal. While I am capable of becoming transparent with the release of my layered cell-structure, I am incapable of using my defense system. That is also the reason why I was defeated by you, friend, since I chose to hide.”
“Ho. Surprising. If you erase your pigment cells, your membranes will become transparent, which disables your retina. What do you do with the food in your stomach?”
Biological science was amazing. Modern humans couldn’t even dream of it. Blacky showed him the Concretus’ level of science.
“I don’t see anything with my eyes. My eyes are something you created, friend. I don’t need an organ called the eye. I don’t need to fill my liver with food like you, either. The nuclear cells combine the elements in the atmosphere to give me the energy I need. There are no limitations to becoming transparent.”
Black Mamba was truly surprised. Blacky’s cells were a living factory that created energy by combining elements on its own. It was neither a plant nor an animal, but a third species. He’d gained an incredible being as a friend. His teacher had said that he’d gain a friend during hard times, and it seemed to be this creature.
“It’s hard to talk to you. Humans are more alert only after they sleep.”
“I understand. It is in your knowledge that friends protect each other’s backs. I will protect you.”
“Wow, you really did take all my knowledge and thoughts. Like a doppelganger, I think?”
Black Mamba ended the conversation and rose from his meditation. Long conversations were hard. His head ached as though it was about to shatter. Continuous resonance waves caused extreme stress to his brain. The first time was always hard. He’d soon get used to it.
Blacky melted right before his eyes. It spread all over the floor, turning into a blanket.
“Your mouth will turn if you sleep on the hard rock floor. Sleep on top of me.”
He could only exclaim. Blacky had really taken his memories and knowledge.
Jamal had waited three days for his master to return to Kaparja Valley’s Kindall D-zone. He struggled like an ant on top of a heated iron plate. His master had disappeared after turning the 16-kilometers valley into rubble.
The Syrian Army flowed in like colonies of ants. It was obvious. His master had created a great scene. The impact that Assad had received was innumerable. There was no way Assad could remain still when his eyelids were flipped out.
He had to wait for his master, but it was getting harder to avoid the search parties. Jamal gathered the dollars and documents from his backpack. He also grabbed the videotapes and other things. He shoved the gold deep inside the raccoon’s burrow and covered it with raccoon waste and soil. Jamal bowed thrice in the direction where Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa had disappeared.
“Master, I’ve waited but will be leaving due to the situation. Please forgive this servant for not greeting your return. I will follow your orders and wait for you in Karjai village with my parents.”
Jamal waited until nightfall and moved his unwilling feet. He moved like a shadow, as he’d lived as a terrorist for eight years, and disappeared up north to avoid the searchers’ eyes.
He woke up to the sound of strange screeches. Blue-lit rocks with the still air, the endless lake, and countless luminescent bacterias—it was the unchanging underground world.
Black Mamba stared blankly at the lake with boogers around his eyes. Two large creatures were wrestling. One was the tyrant Kronosaurus, and the other was the emperor of the sea, Tylosaurus. Both were large lizards with short necks and huge jaws, reaching over 20 meters in length.
“Damn, how did those dinosaurs’ roars become my alarm clock?”
“Oi, friend, did you sleep well?”
His mattress moved. Surprised, Black Mamba leaped up. The mattress moved again, and blacky appeared. Blacky was a friend that took time adjusting to.
“Friend, is there water on land?”
“No. There’s a lot of water in the lake.”
Black Mamba reached for his burning throat and glared from the side of his eyes. He’d want nothing more than Jin Soon’s sujeonggwa.
“Friend, I need to go back up to the surface. Is there a way?”
He felt as though he’d go mad if he remained in the dead underground world. The desire to shower in hot water overpowered his hunger. He was truly a modern human.
He could escape the cave as long as he climbed for 90 seconds out of the 4,400-meters sinkhole that he had fallen into. The lake water from Kaparja dam should have drained out by now.
“That’s difficult. I could turn my body into a rope to help if it was some 100 meters, but the cave’s ceiling is over 4,000 meters high.”
“Won’t it work if I pull out those creatures’ tendons and turn it into a rope?”
Black Mamba pointed at the monsters, which were fighting and spraying blood everywhere like a fountain. He’d thought of all kinds of ideas since yesterday. Should he make a hot air balloon out of the dinosaurs in the lake or find some upstream in a volcanic area? He could find a flying dinosaur. Everything was for nothing. There wasn’t a realistic way.
“Are you an idiot? To dissect all 100 of those creatures and make a 4,000-meters long rope, you’d have to…”
“Whatever. I know. I was just throwing around ideas out of frustration.”
“Use your body.”
“And by that you mean?”
Black Mamba’s eyes gleamed. He was gifted with physical strength.
“You fell into a hole. It’s directly perpendicular, but you should be able to climb up with your abilities.”
“A 4,000-meters climb, hm—”
He could climb 30 to 50 meters per minute with the alternating wall around wall. Half a day should do. He’d be using a lot of strength, but the Paranthropus’ strength was like an endless well.
“Wait a moment, friend.”
Blacky disappeared in a flash and appeared again. An object that looked like a half-transparent plastic bag dropped beneath him.
“It would’ve been nice if there were remains from the Concretus’ creations, but there’s nothing. The flipped tectonic plates and volcanic remains covered everything. Some machinery had fallen in here too, but time made it worthless. This is the only thing left.”
“What do you want me to do with a plastic bag?”
“Wet it with water and put it over your hands.”
Black Mamba splashed it with the lake water and shoved his hands in like it was gloves.
The plastic bag slowly shrunk into the shape of his hands and soon penetrated his skin. On the surface, it seemed as though he was wearing nothing.
“You are an Epidium, after all. The object only reacts to those with the Concretus’ DNA. Try poking the ground.”
Black Mamba raised his hands and swung them down toward the ground.
His hands pierced the rock and were embedded deep inside. The sound wasn’t loud, either. He felt as though he’d just sliced through styrofoam.