Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 275
“Depart, don’t speed!” Ecjose repeated into the radio.
The 12 buses and three trucks followed closely behind each other as they left the castle ruins, with the Jeep leading ahead. Major Ecjose grabbed the leading Jeep’s handles.
When Black Mamba boarded the leading Jeep, Jamal and Ahmad quickly climbed on its back seats. Mohammad, who had missed the timing, smiled bitterly and boarded the first car that Bakri was on. The guards who were armed with MP5s boarded the first and 11th bus, while the 12 DGSE operative agents took over the bus’ steering wheels.
The wide plow-lands, olive trees, and palm trees surrounding Maydanki Lake, which was waiting to be harvested, grew distant. Old man Alli cried silently. It had been 40 years since he was chased out of Aleppo and had relocated to the west of the lake. He had worked on the farm and raised sheep until his hands became deformed.
Like a kaleidoscope, memories from when he had moved to the East to escape the Muslims’ persecution and the tyranny of the Mukhabarat, and the challenging days that followed, played out in his mind. Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa had appeared like a ray of sunshine in a world filled with dark clouds. “Humans need to live like humans.” Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa’s teachings drummed on his old heart.
“Son, you should serve Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa to the best of your abilities.”
“Father, he has no desire for fame nor greed for money. He only extended a helping hand to us, Orthodox Christians, out of pity. I worry about how I can be of service to someone who’s like the wind.”
“You can follow whatever he desires to do. He’s someone who’s not disturbed by the ugliness of the world, so you can become his shadow and carry out all the dirty deeds on his behalf.”
“I’ll remember that, father.”
Bakri was also overwhelmed with all kinds of emotions—hope, anxiety, regret, glee, skepticism, and excitement. The bus filled with 48 people inside passed the fields silently, like dead rats. The children lingered by the windows as they looked on at the surrounding darkness while the women silently wept.
Unlike the buses, a rather comical conversation took place in the Jeep. Over 90 percent of Aleppo’s roads were unpaved. Black Mamba maintained a steady position despite the Jeep’s abrupt movements.
What amazing motor skills.
Ecjose kept glancing at Black Mamba, who had boarded the Jeep first. As though he was asleep, his position remained as it was despite the Jeep’s unsteady movements. He was like a machine gun bolted to the vehicle. Ecjose had discovered that the advisor had learned ancient Korean martial arts, but he didn’t realize that it was to such an extent.
“Advisor, have you ever considered running for Bundesliga?” Ecjose asked out of nowhere.
“Bundesliga? Which country’s mercenary group is that?”
An answer, which was like shoving a cultivator on a rice field, returned.
Surprised, Ecjose nearly drove the Jeep over the valley.
“Have you ever heard of Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester United?”
“Are they talented mercenary groups?”
Manchester United, a mercenary group? Ecjose laughed his head off while banging his hand on the steering wheel. He was a downright countryman who didn’t know the renowned Bundesliga of Europe, Paris Saint-Germain, or Manchester United! Ecjose, the soccer maniac, was beyond astonished and furious.
Ahmad and Jamal, who was sitting on the rear, looked on coldly. How dare he laugh at Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa! Ahmad carefully pulled out his khanjar. He was going to slice off that rude man’s head. Jamal grabbed Ahmad’s hand and motioned his eyes toward Black Mamba. Ecjose, who didn’t realize that his life was spared in that very moment, kept choking on his laughter.
“You do know Cruyff, Zico, Beckenbauer, and Maradona?”
“Aren’t they soccer stars?”
“That’s it. Advisor, sir, you could be an undefeatable star. I may be French, but I prefer Germany’s manly game and England’s fiery nature. My uncle is the owner of France’s most prestigious Paris Saint-Germain. Why waste a physical that could possibly belong to the world’s greatest star? I’d highly recommend you.”
“How much is the yearly wage?”
“Maradona, who led Barcelona to victory in Copa del Rey last year, earned 20,000,000 francs. Isn’t that amazing?”
“Woah, it is.”
Black Mamba was slightly shocked that a mere soccer player could earn 20,000,000 francs. Well, he was someone who made 30,000,000 francs per venture. He could earn more if he shook Bonipas inside out.
“It is amazing. You can earn fame and money at the same time,” Ecjose offered the bewildered Black Mamba.
“Won’t it mark the end of one’s career if their ankle gets injured during a tackle?”
“That’s correct, but that won’t happen considering your physical abilities, special military advisor.”
Black Mamba had said so out of concern for the other players, but Ecjose took it as Black Mamba’s concern for himself.
“How can a monster play with humans? Monsters should play with monsters,” Black Mamba lamented.
Soccer was a physical fight. Any player who bumped into him would be shattered. Initially, he wasn’t interested in soccer. How could he participate in something that might destroy people?
“Please contact me if you change your mind, sir.”
Ecjose couldn’t shake off his idea. It would be a late entry, but Ecjose could envision him as the greatest soccer player. Ecjose’s desire ended in a happening, but it triggered Black Mamba’s interest in sports.
The migration procession went down route 217, all the way from Maydanki Lake to Afrin. From Afrin, they entered Rajo road and headed up north. While it was only 40 kilometers directly to the border, Syria’s northern highland roads were terrifying. Most roads were narrow and unpaved, to the point that vehicles couldn’t pass through easily.
By the time they approached Syria’s border village, Rajo, they were 800 meters above sea level. The narrow cliff road, which was spacious enough for a bus to pass through, continued. It was 15 kilometers from Rajo to the border. For a direct path that could have been 25 kilometers, they’d approximately crossed 110 kilometers. The row of buses headed toward the border after passing Rajo.
The Jeep stopped. There was a barricade blocking the road. Ecjose stopped the Jeep and walked toward the checkpoint. That was their 10th. Every time, they had to stop and get their papers checked before setting off again.
“Why are there so many checkpoints?” Black Mamba complained.
“They’re political enemies that share a border, after all. They’re archenemies with an endless number of people risking their lives to pass the borders. The Kurds come over from Turkey, while the Orthodox Christians escape to Turkey. Border guards on both sides will kill the refugees on the spot, regardless of their origin. They sometimes accept refugees considering international standpoints, but most of them are killed.”
“Damn b*stards, people come before religion. How can religion come before people?”
Black Mamba’s rage intensified at Jamal’s explanation. There were conflicts between the Northern Muslims and the Southern Christians in Chad, but there were religious conflicts here too. Here or there, the people were the problem.
Jamal tucked in his neck after his explanation. He, too, had killed people ruthlessly using a religious excuse. Ecjose got onto the Jeep after wrapping up the conversation with the guards at the checkpoint.
“Go!” Ecjose shouted enthusiastically.
Ecjose’s brain worked well under the guise of the Red Cross Organization. The lie about quarantining cholera patients on the outskirts of the country was convincing. The situation was resolved once Ecjose, who was wearing a white Red Cross gown, showed them the papers. The Syrian police and guards didn’t even approach the Jeep. Ecjose’s nose reached the skies.
At 4:30 in the morning, Black Mamba’s eyes flashed open. It was the smell of a battlefield. The smell of heavy oil, gunpowder, and ammonia from human wastes filled the air.
“Ahmad, how far is it until the border?”
“It’s right before our nose. About five kilometers.”
“And the terrain of the destination we’re heading to?”
“The terrain drops rapidly. There is an erg of one-kilometer wide after this place. Once we pass a kilometer from the erg, there will be lower hills. The border fences pass along the hills.”
“Hm, so the excuse about us quarantining patients with waterborne infectious disease won’t work from here on. Should we argue that we’re exporting the Orthodox Christians with cholera to Turkey?”
“Kekeke, that’s a good idea, sir. The Syrian border guards will give us oil supplies.” Jamal and Ahmad laughed at Black Mamba’s joke.
“Wait, major, stop the car. There’s a checkpoint one kilometer ahead.”
The Jeep slammed to a stop. Ecjose switched the gear to neutral and turned to look at Black Mamba. Could he see through the inky darkness, moreover one kilometer ahead? No, they were on an unpaved road that curved around mountains. The situation made it impossible to see 50 meters ahead, even with the Jeep’s headlights on.
“How did you know, sir?”
“He’s Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa,” Jamal shot off an answer.
Damn b*stard! He’s not letting me speak.
Ecjose clicked his tongue and lifted the radio.
“Turn off the headlights and engine.”
The headlights and loud engine turned off immediately.
“Major, it’ll be hard to pass through peacefully, won’t it?”
“This seems like the last checkpoint, sir. We’ve been using the excuse of quarantine up until now, but the border’s right after this. The place indicated as their quarantine site is right here. It’ll be hard to make an excuse. Should we just wipe them out?”
“Nothing good will come out of making a fuss.”
“Master, should we wipe them out with this?”
Jamal raised his Barrett. His master had given him 1,000 bullets after returning from work. Jamal had turned into a child who whined about not being able to use his new favorite toy.
“Are you planning to call the border guards over? I’ll let you shoot as much as you want. Just wait.”
Once he got off the Jeep, Black Mamba blended with the darkness. His entire presence disappeared before one could count to three.
Ecjose’s eyes widened. How could that be? The person, who’d been standing right before him, disappeared.
“Hello? Do you know what happened to the advisor?”
“He’s Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa,” Ahmad answered Ecjose’s question, which was like asking if a chicken had two legs.
Ha, I’m an idiot for asking that question. Who is he, really? A special military advisor who leads 540 fanatics, how astounding! Although, I also feel like I’m becoming one of those cult members.
Ecjose was from the Airborne Regiment. He didn’t know anything else other than Black Mamba’s position as the special military advisor, a position of the same level as the president’s chief secretary considering his special abilities. He’d been drawn to Black Mamba’s humane side and not his strength. He suddenly realized there was a reason why the modifier “special” came with the title.
“Hey, didn’t you hear a car’s engine?”
“Well, no, I didn’t hear it. How can there be a vehicle down here? There are no roads.”
“I suppose. What crazy b*stard would drive down here at dawn?”
Black Mamba looked down at the guards on duty from the checkpoint’s tin roof. They were Syrian guards wearing green helmets. There were two outside the barracks and seven asleep underneath his feet.
I guess there’s no need to kill.
He took out the Rakshasa. They were innocent guards carrying out their duties. This wasn’t a battlefield, either. Killing innocent people to save others was self-contradicting.
“Did I imagine it?”
One of the guards tilted his head.
A faint noise like the wings of a dragonfly fluttering sounded.
The gray-brown Rakshasa poked the back of the two guards’ necks and disappeared. Both guards collapsed at the same time.
Black Mamba’s fine control reached its peak. They passed out after he attacked their spinal artery with the tip of his whip. Black Mamba opened the door to the checkpoint and entered as though it was his own house. The Rakshasa whirled around in the air.
The seven guards, who’d been sleeping side by side on the bed, fainted at once.
“Is this guy the leader?”
The intruder carried the guard who had two crescent moons on his epaulet and disappeared.
Black Mamba appeared like a shadow in the darkness.
“Ah, ad…advisor!” Ecjose shouted.
“Why are you so surprised? I’ve disarmed the checkpoint. This guy seems to be the leader.”
A guard with a well-built physique rolled over toward Ecjose’s heels. Ecjose was at a loss for words. Did he really disarm a checkpoint that was one kilometer away in five minutes and captured the head guard? It was unbelievable, but the evidence was right before him. Ecjose’s brain was in a state of confusion.
“Ecjose, check the deployment status of the Syrian border guards.”
Within the Arabian Peninsula, Syria had the strongest army. There was no way that Syria would overlook their border guards considering their tense relationship with Turkey.
He left the prisoner to Ecjose and leaned against a rock while relaxing with a Cohiba Siglo. The DGSE had even sent him his favorite cigar. He had desperately wished for a cigar while wandering around the underground caves. He couldn’t smoke the cigars made by the Gobelaka locals as it was too bitter.
The taste of cigars before commencing a mission was special. Others said that the taste of cigars after sex was most exquisite. He had never experienced it before, so he didn’t know.
The guard, who was slapped hard on his cheeks, opened his eyes. His unfocused eyes were directed at Ecjose.
“Where am I? Who are you?” the Syrian guard, who was now a prisoner, asked first.
“You’re a captive. I’ll let you live if you tell me the deployment status of all the border guards.”
“Ha, b*stard, you are like the hind legs of frogs, you think I’ll tell you?” He spat.
“I’ll treat you like a captive unless you tell me nicely.”
“Do whatever you want.”
Black Mamba heard Ecjose and the captive bickering.
Ugh, that idiot. Black Mamba clicked his tongue.
Not all soldiers were the same. There were soldiers with experience and those who were inexperienced.
He was about to call Jamal over but lifted his own butt instead. The longer the night dragged out, the more dreams there would be.
Ecjose moved, his face flushed.
“Raise your head.”
A steady voice, which was overflowing with bloodlust, echoed. The captive raised his head awkwardly and glared at Black Mamba. He was determined not to open his mouth. Black Mamba stared into the captive’s eyes.
The captive screamed. Red eyes filled his field of view. Those were the eyes of a monster, no, of hell. The world turned white as his consciousness floated away.