Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 266
“Is it because of your pride?”
“No, sir. Idia is mistreated because of me. As a man who loves her, I want to take responsibility.”
Black Mamba carefully observed Ahmad, who was overflowing with determination. He was unique for an Arab. Arabs usually regarded women as men’s possession.
That was because of the fourth clause of rule one in verse three of chapter four in the Quran, “…marry a good woman, two, three, or four times…” That was an excerpt without a beginning and an end. The phrase started with, “If you are unable to take in orphans justly.” In other words, if a couple lacked the confidence to care for an orphan, they should take in a refugee or an unmarried woman to take care of the child. The latter part of the excerpt stated to respect women.
The Quran was created between the seventh and eighth centuries. Back then, the Arabian Peninsula suffered from rough nomadic lifestyles, long-term caravans, and frequent wars, which resulted in more orphans and refugees. Social outcasts either became beggars, turned to prostitution, grew ill, or starved to death. The fourth clause of rule one was like a welfare system in the Goryeo Dynasty called the levirate marriage system.
Despite the moral teachings, the women of Levant were not closely associated with the words “human rights,” “respect,” and “consideration.” They were treated like men’s possessions and treated worse than humans. Why did such an evil tradition exist?
That was because the Arabs, who were immersed in a culture that centered around men, disregarded the beginning and ending of the Quran’s verse and interpreted it to their liking. The discrimination against women extended to other religions, heathens, and foreigners.
They disrespected, ignored, mistreated, and acted out all kinds of inhumane behaviors to them without a single thought. Aksur’s guiltless abduction of Bakri’s son was an example. Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt were worse off with their deep-rooted Arab traditions.
Even in the 1980s, women were not allowed to travel around the Arab regions alone. Foreign women were especially at risk of rape. Those were illogical actions, but there were still victims up to this day.
So, he does have a manly side.
The man’s blood flow and brain wave, which he examined using his dimensional sight, were stable. That man was telling the truth. He looked like a stuffy rat with a body like Sun Woo Hyun’s, but unlike his looks, he was honest. If he had said otherwise or whined for help, Black Mamba would have beaten him to death. Ahmad’s score progressed in his mind again.
Black Mamba had grown up lonely. An honest and loyal human was the greatest gift for him. The reward of labor he gained in Syria from almost dying was a person. Even with 1,000,000 gold, it was hard to find someone who had his back. Like Bakri, Mohammad, and Jamal, Ahmad was a useful person too.
I should beat him up properly.
For Black Mamba to entrust his back to him, he had to develop the man’s abilities. The all-torture technique he had planned turned into the soul-returning pain administration. Ahmad’s cries would soon be heard.
“No! How do you plan to face a group of armed Wahhabis with your knife alone? What about the villagers who’re guarding Idia? Do you plan on killing them too? No, you’ll return to Allah’s side even before that happens. No, never!” Malik protested in fright.
“Malik, Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa is speaking. Calm down,” Bakri gave him a warning.
Malik couldn’t stay still. No father could remain still when their only son was marching to his own death.
“Father, all fault lies with me. I’d rather die bravely in a fight than live as a coward.”
“Ahmad, your opponent is a group of armed men. Are you confident?”
“Yes, sir. I only need my Khanjar. I don’t fear death.”
“Are you sure?”
The moment an airwave sounded, a large Kukri landed loudly in between Ahmad’s knees.
If it had landed an inch forward, Ahmad’s private part would have been sliced off.
In fear, Ahmad could only stare blankly at the Kukri embedded in the floor. What was this? He hadn’t seen, heard, or felt it.
His overflowing confidence shriveled up like his startled balls. The rumors about Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa hadn’t been wrong at all. Cold sweats ran down his back. Ahmad pulled out the Kukri and handed it back politely with both hands.
“You should distinguish bravery from boldness. The Kukri I just threw moved at a speed of 200 meters per second. An assault rifle’s bullet moves at a speed of over 800 meters a second. If you cannot spot my flying Kukri, do you think you can spot an oncoming bullet? The world is large. Don’t be arrogant because of a little skill. You may find Idia precious, but you are precious to your father.”
Black mamba held back his words for a moment. His father, who had lost his life meaninglessly due to parathion poisoning, and the tear that streamed down his dark face during his last breath was a memory that Black Mamba could never forget. It was the sorrowfulness of the head of the family who had to leave behind a frail wife and young son. His solemn face was watered down with pity.
“A father’s only hope is his son. Children are a father’s driving force to survive the harsh world. Can you imagine your father’s sorrows after losing you?”
His baritone voice shook the house made out of earth walls. Ahmad’s insides shook from Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa’s cold looks. He’d forgotten about his old father, overwhelmed with the thoughts of saving Idia.
Malik, Bakri, and Jamal’s eyes turned blurry.
He’s the true apostle who loves all humans.
He’s someone I can trust and follow.
Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa isn’t the apostle but the reincarnation of God.
The three men’s feet trembled from the overwhelming emotions. Ahmad leaped to his feet and kneeled.
“Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa, please, tell me what to do.”
“Ahmad, can you survive a day in the abandoned underground castle ruins of the hill until the moon rises?”
“Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa, there are ghuls and sila in that place. Humans cannot enter. Please, forgive my foolish son,” Malik frantically begged.
Malik had misinterpreted the situation, thinking that Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa was punishing his son.
“Malik, Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa is speaking. Do not overstep the bounds,” Bakri warned him again.
Scolded by the deacon, Malik could only sigh out loud. Black Mamba laughed inwardly. He had ordered Bakri to spread rumors of monsters in the basement of the castle ruins. He thought it would be useful for his mission. The rumors had spread well.
“Ahmad, if you attack the village, you will certainly die. You said you are willing to die for Idia if need be. If you enter the castle ruins’ basement, Idia will live. Will you die in her stead?”
“Yes, sir. Thank you. I will gladly enter the basement,” Ahmad answered without hesitation.
“Good. Then wait here. When it gets dark, enter the castle ruins’ basement.”
“Thank you, Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa. I will do as you ask.” Ahmad lowered his head.
Hehehe, you damn sneaky b*stard, did you think an 18-year-old girl was easy to get?
Black Mamba had on an evil smile. He was only doing that out of spite. He had initially planned a happy ending for Syria’s version of Kap Sooni and Kap Doli.
Because of his personality and twisted pride, Black Mamba couldn’t ignore the fact that both a man and a woman in love would be separated and killed due to traditions. Although he had to return to his station and had a mountain of work to complete at home, he wouldn’t be Dong-bang-bull-pae if he ignored the injustice right before him.
Malik was devastated. Since a long time ago, the castle ruins were a place where ghostly sounds were heard. No one approached the place. Two months ago, deacon Bakri warned them not to approach the castle ruins as there was an evil spirit in the basement.
A horrible rumor spread among the Orthodox Christians almost immediately afterward. It was the rumor of a Sila shredding two Mukhabarat to death after they entered the castle ruins’ basement. The rumors turned into facts when the Mukhabarat and Shabiha conducted a widespread search for the culprit. Arabs believed in myths due to ancient polytheism and believed in unusual evil existences.
“Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa, please allow me to enter the castle ruins’ basement with my son.”
Malik was at his wit’s end since his only family line was about to end.
“Malik, can you welcome a Muslim girl as your daughter-in-law?”
“Of course, sir. Idia is a smart and kind girl. She’s too good for my son. I can only wait for your order, Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa.”
“I’m Ddu-bai-buru-pa. Nothing will happen. Go back to your home and wait.”
Black Mamba smiled. Malik’s anxious heart calmed down instantly. He just met Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa for the first time but didn’t doubt and trusted him. Resonance waves were interference fields. Malik, who believed that Black Mamba was an apostle, was easily convinced.
“Bakri, did you exact revenge on your son’s enemies?”
“I’ve drowned the traitor and spy in Maydanki Lake but have not been able to get rid of Aksur, a member of the Shabiha. The Sunni extremists joined the Muslim Brotherhood movement. Rifles were given to the Shabiha members when several riots broke out across Aleppo city.”
“Where is Aksur’s house?”
“It is in Dourakli Village, across Maydanki Lake. It is the largest red-bricked house in the village. He stays at home over the weekends. It will be hard to attack him since he moves in a group of three after sunset.”
Black Mamba’s character was direct and radical. The only Arab tradition he liked was the qisas, a self-help system. There were no partial and arbitrary judicial institutions. All the gang members who had raped Kang Young Sook were released while he was imprisoned for trying to save the woman. He still gritted his teeth over that incident.
“Ahmad, do you think a b*stard who kidnapped and murdered a nine-year-old boy deserve to live?”
“You will come with me. I want to test your skills.”
Black Mamba wore a dishdasha and a gandoura. He covered his head with a ghutra and secured it with an agal to hide his face. That was the regular everyday wear in Syria. Ahmad stood silently on standby, wearing a similar ensemble. Those were movements of one who had mastered the Mamluk Circassian assassination techniques.
“Lead the way.”
Maydanki Lake was a small and narrow river, like a ribbon. The narrowest point was barely 600 meters wide. Ahmad, who arrived at the dock, gave out a low signal. The bow of the boat, which he had tied to the dock post, dangled. The water level had declined by at least three meters.
“Ah, how is this possible! Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa, the water level has declined.”
“That’s my fault.”
Ahmad immediately lowered his head after questioning his words. Questioning an apostle’s words was a huge disrespect. If the apostle said so, it was so.
Black Mamba’s face creased.
Damn, it’ll be annoying if all the lake water flowed to the underground cave. Why is my fate so twisted that I’m creating natural disasters wherever I go?
He was slightly worried. Over 10 or so villages relied on the Maydanki Lake to support their lifestyles. If the lake dried up, the locals who grew olive and date palm trees would be in trouble. Now there was another reason to relocate the Orthodox Christians.
Ahmad tried to untie the rope attached to the dock post, but there was no way that he could. A tightly-secured rope supporting a boat of over two tons couldn’t be untied with a human’s strength. Unable to watch on any longer, Black Mamba grabbed the manila rope and dragged the boat up, loosening the knot.
Ahmad’s eyes widened to the point that they would pop out.
“There’s no time.”
Ahmad ran toward the dock post.
The boat, which regained its freedom, dropped into the lake.
Ahmad kicked off from the dock and threw his body down. He landed lightly on the unsteady boat, three meters below.
Ahmad hesitated when he turned back to look at the dock. Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa wasn’t there.
“Hurry up and row.”
Surprised, Ahmad swallowed a breath of air. Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa was standing in the shade, like a picture. Ahmad hadn’t seen or felt him move. It was getting harder to stay focused.
As the deacon said, he isn’t human but the reincarnation of God.
Ahmad shook his head and began to row skillfully. The trees around the Maydanki Lake’s banks were either olive or date palm trees. The locals took advantage of the warm Mediterranean climate and the plentiful lake water to focus on fruit farming.
The olive fruits hidden between the lush leaves and the date palms stuck together like a bunch of grapes awakened him to the passage of time. The fruits had been as small as beans the first time he saw it after his crash in Gobelaka Village on August sixth.
In two months, its size was the width of his thumb. The dates were already slightly red. By November, hands would get busier as they reached for the olives and dates. It hadn’t been intentional, but he’d caused a big problem by drilling a large hole at the bottom of the lake.
Ahmad rowed silently. He rowed carefully too, afraid to disturb Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa in his thoughts.
“What do people think of Aksur?”
“Evil. He is greedy and lustful. All the virgins have disappeared from the four villages located near the middle of the lake. Several followers had their wealth stolen by the b*stard too. For a long time, we wanted to get rid of him but haven’t, in fear of the backlash.”
“Hehehe, heaven’s net is wide, and it doesn’t miss any evil. What time is the salat?”
The sun floated in the middle of the sky. Black Mamba asked while looking up at the sky.
“It starts in 10 minutes, sir. The village bell will ring to tell the time,” Ahmad replied after checking the watch.
“And how many minutes is the midday salat?”
“They pray for at least 10 minutes.”
He checked the map that Bakri drew for him. Dourakli Village was 500 meters away from the lake.
“There’s not enough time. Wait in the boat.”
A white line lined the boat and dock. The next dock was 20 meters away. The boat on the receiving end of his force was pushed back. Shocked, Ahmad stabilized the boat and turned back to the dock. By then, there were no traces of Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa.
“God, this young lamb has met its master. Please don’t let my lowly abilities disappoint my master,” Ahmad prayed earnestly.
He feared the blessing that came out of the blue. He had met a trustworthy master and was currently on his way to save the woman he loved. Perhaps he had rescued a neighborhood in his past life.
 An evil spirit or demon in Muslim folklore believed to plunder graves and feed on corpses.
 They are talented shapeshifters, often appearing in the female human form. They lead travelers and nomads astray, leading up to their deaths.