Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 267
He wanted to test Ahmad’s skills, but he feared that it would draw attention.
The village bell rang thrice. It was time for the midday salat. It was better to use the salat as a cover to move quickly than becoming one with nature to avoid attention. Black Mamba pushed his fearless steps to the utmost. He crossed 500 meters in 30 seconds.
Most Syrian houses came with gray walls made of earth. The red-brick house immediately came into view the moment he entered Dourakli Village. The house looked pristine, like the house of a villain who stole other people’s wealth by manipulating them. There were four presences—three wives and no children—which meant that Bakri was right.
Like a shadow, Black Mamba infiltrated the house with his becoming one with nature. The rooms in Syrian houses had no doors. There were space divisions and bamboo blinds to cover the entrance. He found Aksur’s room without having to use his dimensional sight. A large body was kneeling on the floor, praying.
I see. Even this b*stard wants to go to heaven. Prayer and guns, very Arab.
There was an AK-47 on the ground by the feet of the prostrating man, who was mumbling through his prayer. Black Mamba felt slightly apologetic for disturbing him during his prayer, but there wasn’t enough time.
The blade in his hand fell lightly onto the man’s neck. Aksur, who had his major vein targeted, collapsed in his praying position.
“Why is this b*stard so f****** heavy?”
Black Mamba left Aksur’s house, lifted, and fixed him by his side. It was easier to kill him, but the qisas was Bakri’s right.
Black Mamba, who carried Aksur like a bag, crossed the grassy fields at a frightening speed. The few farmers who were praying in the olive farm didn’t even feel the passing gust of wind.
A healthy man was tossed onto the boat like a sack of potatoes.
Ahmad’s mouth hung open. Two minutes had barely passed. In two minutes, Black Mamba had captured Aksur in Dourakli Village that was 500 meters away. It was an impossible feat unless he was the incarnation of God. “If he’s determined, nothing can stop him,” deacon Bakri’s words were accurate.
Aksur awoke from the impact on the boat. He raised his head and looked at Black Mamba in a daze. Laughter escaped Ahmad. His soul would have left his body if he had experienced the same thing as Aksur.
“Uhhh, who are you, b*stard?”
“That’s not something you need to know.”
A large hand slapped his cheek. Several teeth fell out of his mouth.
Ugh, that must hurt.
Ahmad shivered. Aksur didn’t even have the time to feel the pain. He lost his consciousness the moment he was slapped. He shouldn’t have woken up.
Black Mamba went down to the castle ruins’ basement with Aksur around his shoulder. The castle ruins’ basement remained eerie, and the atmosphere was heavy to the point of discomfort.
Old man Alli, Bakri, and Mohammad, who had been waiting in the basement, lowered their heads.
Black Mamba threw Aksur down.
“Do as you wish.”
“Thank you, Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa, how can we ever repay—”
“Enough, the b*stard has sinned. He’s only paying the price. There shouldn’t be a discussion of debt among family members. There is no witness.”
It was time for them to clean up after the mess. Black Mamba turned to look at Mohammad after leaving Aksur in Bakri’s hands.
The situation had turned complicated because of his conscience.
“Yes, sir, a qisas is a father’s right after all.”
Mohammad followed Black Mamba up the stairs.
“You b*stard Aksur, God has sent the apostle to deliver your judgment! Do you think you can avoid heaven’s judgment forever?”
The tormented cries of a father, who had lost his son, followed behind them.
“Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa, things are heading south. You should hurry your escape,” Mohammad said with a worried expression.
“Assad must have directed the end of his blade toward the Orthodox Christians,” Black Mamba said as though he was stating facts. A chicken had two legs, while a table had four legs.
“How did you know?”
“It’s a method that dictators use frequently. There’s nothing better than the clean sweep of heathens to salvage a nation’s pride. I can see through Assad’s plan, trying to earn the good graces of the Sunni and weakening the Muslim Brotherhood.”
“You’ve read it accurately, sir. I was informed by an insider that once the riots in Aleppo are suppressed, they’ll immediately sweep clean the heathens. It’s a re-enactment of the past, trying to catch two rabbits with one stone.”
“Hm, it seems as though I’ve aggravated the matter.”
Black Mamba’s expression turned solemn. The fire was about to land on the innocent Orthodox Christians.
“No, it’s something that has happened several times in the past and something that will happen sooner or later. Assad won’t be able to lead the government with the support of a handful of Alawites alone. Up until now, he has been walking on a tightrope between the handful of Orthodox Christians and the many Sunni.”
“What’s his excuse?”
“It’s the concept of Mahdi. Unlike the Sunni, the Alawites don’t follow the concept of Mahdi. Assad declared himself the Mahdi sent by God. There isn’t a single Orthodox Christian who believes him to be the savior. He’s writing out an inducement, but that’s just a thorn in the side. The Sunni doesn’t believe in Mahdi. That’s a reward of salvation given to a follower who is faithful and lives righteously. Now that the situation has changed, his interests have fallen in line with the Sunni, who opposes the Mahdi,” Mohammad explained with a somber expression.
“There are some similarities between the Sunni beliefs and the teachings of the Buddha.”
“The beliefs aren’t to be blamed. The people belonging to the religion are the problem. We are tired of the endless bloodshed and religious conflict. This land isn’t for non-Muslims. Even if we manage to survive, history will repeat once more.”
“Is the communications line between the followers completed?”
“Yes, sir, we’ve completed the emergency line and gone through our movements too. The Orthodox guards are in charge of communications.”
“And did you procure the supplies?”
“Yes, sir. Market prices have risen. We’ve procured the supplies beforehand with the wealth that you shared. Us Christians are indebted to you, the apostle.”
“There’s no debt to discuss. How many are relocating?”
“48 families, making it 460 members in total.”
Black Mamba let out a breath in surprise. Aleppo’s northern region had a small population. He thought it would be 100 people or less considering the size of the area under Bakri’s supervision. It was a mistake not to consider the birth rate in Syria and their large families. The birth rate in Syria was notably high. At least seven to eight babies were born on average, and three generations lived under one roof. There were at least 10 members per family.
“Some Christians insisted on staying despite the threat. The figure includes brothers who are willing to move.”
“It’s more than I expected. It’s not easy to leave a hometown full of memories. I understand, but it’s a pity. This place will turn into Gehenna soon.”
“That’s for certain. The remaining people will become refugees and wander without rest. It is heartbreaking, but nothing can be done for people who can’t distinguish opportunity from hardship. Most families and believers are burning with anticipation. Aleppo is a battlefield. The fire will land here soon.”
Black Mamba’s heart started feeling heavy like lead. Like Africa, the image of the Middle East was as dark. He found himself in the middle of a war, terrorism, a society divided by religion, female oppression, and the power struggles of a dictator.
If he had taken care of Ruman and left, he would be back in Korea studying peacefully. However, he’d wasted nearly two months running interferences and gained 460 lives on his head. He’d earned the problems himself. It was a huge responsibility yet troublesome at the same time.
Why did he shove his foot up a very bothersome trap?
Like always, it wasn’t on a whim. He desperately made an effort to be recognized as a part of a family when he had lived as a slave in his uncle’s house. From a young age, he woke up at five in the morning to help with the housework and farm work. If the teachers hadn’t been understanding of his situation, he wouldn’t have graduated elementary school considering his frequent absence.
In the end, it had been for nothing. He was a slave and a prisoner. He had dreamt of escaping Château d’If the moment he realized he couldn’t be a part of a family.
He was like them. They were people who’d been persecuted since their great-grandfathers’ time. They were people who had nowhere to vent their worries. It didn’t matter whether they were Orthodox Christians or Muslims. They believed in him and decided to be under his protection. Power had its advantages when granted by the heavens, which was unconditional love.
“Hm, the Muslim Brotherhood must have set foot since Aleppo turned into a battlefield?”
“After Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa crippled the Third Airborne Regiment, the guards were too busy recovering the regiment instead of suppressing the riots in Aleppo. The roots of the Muslim Brotherhood are deep and wide. They have plenty of manpower and funds. The situation won’t settle anytime soon.”
“And the level of danger will increase accordingly. We should devise an escape plan.”
“A temporary landing point is our priority.”
He couldn’t confirm the size of his land in the Sahel. He’d have to procure enough areas to settle 460 people. He couldn’t build a refugee camp where RPGs and mortar shells flew around like that in Palestine, after all.
Mohammad unfolded the 1:7,000 military map that he had managed to get his hands on.
“I’ve marked down Cyprus as our landing point. Cyprus is a haven for all illegal immigrants. Greek locals often rioted for independence, and they’re currently in anarchy because of Turkey’s claim over the north. It’s divided into four areas: the Republic of Cyprus, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the buffer zone under the jurisdiction of the United Nations, and the Akrotiri and Dhekelia, where the British military base was located. There’s no social system to filter out illegal immigrants, which makes it all easier for smuggling.”
“You said it’s anarchy. What would you do if the brothers who entered the country illegally got caught in a dangerous situation?”
Black Mamba frowned. The Arabs’ tendency toward shameless and guiltless criminal activities was infamous. Women and children would be exposed to danger if the security was s***. His Korean way of thinking couldn’t accept that.
“We’ve lived like that until now. Israelis and Palestinians wandered around the lands for 1,000s of years without a country. We’re the same. No, we’re 100 times better off since there is hope. We’re prepared to make sacrifices so that our descendants can live safe and sound. We’re tired of being chased and threatened.”
Mohammad looked calm as though the decision to move was trivial. Well, a lot of Koreans had moved to the cold and barren Manchuria and the Maritime Territory during the Japanese Occupation.
“Mohammad, Cyprus isn’t suitable. The temporary landing point will be France.”
Mohammad’s eyes widened. Although it was temporary, there wasn’t the slightest possibility that France would greet 460 people at once.
“Don’t worry about the move. I’ll figure it out even if I have to shake Mitterrand by the neck.”
“Oh, God, thank you.”
“What’s your escape route?” Black Mamba asked before a complicated prayer was recited.
The Orthodox had complicated speeches like Islam. Bakri and Mohammad’s were on the shorter spectrum in length.
“We will be heading south using the darkness as a cover. There are plenty of smuggling boats heading toward Cyprus once we cross the borders of Lebanon to Tripoli from Homs. There are plenty of smuggling boats heading toward France and Italy once we land in Cyprus. We can also get help from the Lebanese Orthodox Christians.”
“You’ll have to travel over 540 kilometers on land with women and children. That’s not all. Won’t you have to cross the Mediterranean Sea on a small ship? What are the chances of success?”
“At least half,” Mohammad replied with confidence.
Black Mamba wanted to open Mohammad’s head to see what was going on inside. On the other hand, he pitied them all. How much did they suffer that they were willing to sacrifice half of their kind just to leave?
“No. I can’t shove people who’ve been tormented all their lives into another crisis. I will leave for Damascus after I wrap up Ahmad’s issue tonight. I will apply for asylum on behalf of 460 people at the French Embassy. You need to organize all documents on personal information, details of suppression, and the cause of racial discrimination and wipeout.”
“I’ll be on it immediately, sir.”
“How many brothers are guarding them?”
“Five in total. We don’t have guns, but they all have experience from serving in the Syrian Army and are good at martial arts.”
“Let’s wipe out all the b*stards who call themselves warriors of Islam tonight. Arm our guards with their weapons. Most of the members are women and children. We can’t drag them across a land amid chaos.”
“I would like to hear your opinion, Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa.”
“You’ll have to escape Syria on your own, of course.”
Black Mamba drew a line across the map. It was a route toward Turkey’s Hatay Province and İskenderun Harbor. Mohammad’s eyes widened.
“We’ll go through the fastest route in the shortest time possible. We’ll head directly toward Hatay Province. It’s barely 30 kilometers to the nearest border village in Turkey, Camuzkışlası. I’ll prepare the vehicles there. If you move fast, a day should be enough. I’ll get rid of any dangerous factors during the trip. It’s 96 kilometers from Camuzkışlası to Turkey’s İskenderun Harbor. I’ll station a passenger ship in İskenderun Harbor. You’ll run straight to France’s port of Toulon. I’m naming the mission plan, Cutting Bamboo.”
Black Mamba ended his sentence like he was actually cutting through bamboo. Mohammad’s mouth hung open.
“Will…will that be possible? Ah, I apologize.”
Mohammad lowered his head regretfully for refuting Black Mamba’s statement.
“If it’s impossible, I shall make it possible. I’m Ddu-bai-buru-pa.”
 The island where Count Montesquieu was imprisoned.