Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 281
Black Mamba mockingly smiled as he placed five videotapes on the table.
“Those b*stards recorded Belmont’s confessions. I couldn’t check the rest of the videotapes.”
“Oh, my God! You truly are a national treasure.”
Kabaye, who had resigned himself to the situation, leaped to his feet. His pale face slowly regained color. It was as though he’d found a rope in hell. Bonipas’ face also lightened up.
“Bonipas, we need to analyze this,” director Kabaye rushed.
Black Mamba pulled out a thick pile of documents from his pouch.
“This is your fourth gift. These documents were found in the CIA’s safe. Something should pop up if you analyze it.”
“Ohh! National treasure, thank you. I’ll take my leave.”
That was the best news he could ever receive. It was like the rain during a famine for Kabaye, who was currently behind in the intelligence war against the CIA in the Middle East. Kabaye grabbed the documents and ran out.
“Black Mamba, you’ve given us a huge advantage. Those documents are far more important than the destruction of Ruman. Now that we have them, we can land a blow on those gangsters. Hehehe, I can almost see Adam’s horrified expression.”
The DGSE had been pushed behind because of the CIA’s advanced technology and production speed. Despite having their influence over the Levant region threatened, an apple was still placed in France’s mouth when they were asleep. Not even Bonipas, who was nicknamed the serpent, could maintain a neutral expression.
“Hm, I can hear my earnings increasing. Here’s your final gift. I’ve taken before and after photos of Ruman and Kaparja.”
Black Mamba handed over a small camera and leaned further back in his seat. He pulled out a Cohiba Siglo and started smoking. It was an indication for Bonipas to begin counting his earnings.
“You took photos despite complaining about how bothersome it was?”
“I had someone do it in my stead.”
Bonipas let out a deep sigh at his vague reply. He glanced at Black Mamba. He used to exude the ferocity of a predator, but now it was as though he was looking into a deep lake. He’d grown so much despite it being barely a year after the Sahel plan. That applied to his battle capacity too. His mental development, however, was more impressive. How far could he go? Bonipas couldn’t tell. He grew pleased. He had spent 30 years of his life devoted to the safety and national interests of his country. Run with your feet when you’re young, and run with your eyes when you’re old. His eyes had estimated Black Mamba’s worth to be equivalent to France’s wealth.
“How much do you want, Black Mamba?”
“I am both a French and a Korean citizen. I’m not a businessman but a warrior. My loyalty to France is a fact. I can’t pull out a scale to weigh handias like I’m in the streets, right?”
Ha, that’s scarier to hear than seeing him waving about a knife.
Bonipas grew silent. The battle advantages and the value of the gifts that Black Mamba presented was beyond his imagination. It was incalculable. It made 300,000,000 francs look miserly. There was a limit to monetary rewards, after all. Bonipas went over the estimated amount in his mind.
1. The ANO who had planned the attack on de Gaulle Airport, and the Black September Organization who had attacked the Opéra Bastille were stopped. Those were incidents that would have shaken the country had Black Mamba not provided him with accurate information. The terrorists hid, and Paris found peace. They’d estimated 2,000,000 francs for reporting crucial information.
2. About 1,000 ANO terrorists were erased, and the Horazans, a heinous suicide terrorist group, were also erased. Ruman completely disappeared from the map. They’d expected 400 terrorists in the beginning. They’d promised 12,000,000 francs. Meanwhile, the additional 5,000,000 francs promised by minister Pione was a separate matter. The problem was that the number of terrorists had increased to 1,100. For that, they’d estimated around 20,000,000 francs. That wasn’t a problem.
3. The 300,000,000 francs that had been offered in condition for destroying the biological and chemical weapons storage facility, the Berkut Air Defense Command Center, and the Kaparja dam were utilized from the DGSE’s special budget. That also wasn’t a problem.
4. The five gifts. That was the problem. If the destruction of the biological and chemical weapons and air missile camps had eliminated potential threats, the five gifts got rid of urgent and existing threats. Black Mamba’s gifts would be fatal to the CIA and Assad. The benefits of using these gifts were astronomical. No matter how many times he reconsidered the amount, the results had exceeded their initial intention, which was to destroy Kaparja Valley.
Bonipas’ happy thoughts continued. Black Mamba knew the value of the documents and videotapes that he had personally stolen from Ruman. He had no intention of bargaining since that would affect his dignity.
The DGSE’s budget was beyond anyone’s imagination. Bonipas wasn’t the kind of idiot to grumble and drag out an agent’s performance fee. He knew complaints disappeared the moment money was involved. Bonipas was someone who understood the effects of money better than anyone.
Bonipas’ train of thoughts ended by the time Black Mamba’s Cohiba Siglo reached its end. He glanced at Black Mamba, who was making donut rings with the cigar’s smoke.
He was truly France’s national treasure. National treasures should be treated like one. He’d only gain a headache from nitpicking over every detail. Sweeping everything up in one blow was an ideal approach frequently advocated by the b*stard before him.
“Black Mamba, let’s make it 500,000,000 francs for now.”
“500,000,000 francs for now?”
Black Mamba was surprised to the point that his heart almost beat out of his chest. His sleep flew out the window.
Surprised, Bonipas waved his hand.
“Don’t be angry. I know that 10 checks don’t quite make up for this, nevertheless five. However, the government also has difficulties. Expenditures of more than 100,000,000 francs per case are subject to unofficial approval by the Congress. In fact, their approval isn’t the problem. Rather, it is the risk of exposing your identity as Black Mamba. We’ll compensate in other ways,” Bonipas pleaded.
Spending 1,000,000,000 francs on a single person? The new council heads wouldn’t understand. Being thieves, they would froth at the mouth over the subject of wasting blood-borne tax.
F****** hell, the three pages of checks he spoke of weren’t 30,000,000 francs but 300,000,000 francs.
Black Mamba’s head started ringing. The scale was on an entirely different level. Bonipas had offered 300,000,000, but he’d taken it as 30,000,000. Frankly, Bonipas had been the one to make that mistake, but on the other hand, it also meant that he was reasonable and fair.
500,000,000 francs was equivalent to 130,000,000,000 won. He’d gained himself a fortune. On top of that, he was getting additional bonuses. Eheya dia! Black Mamba concentrated his full attention on maintaining a neutral expression.
“What do you mean by another way?”
“Tell me what you want.”
Cold sweats dripped down Bonipas’ back. That b*stard was like the sharpest knife in the world. While there was nothing to fear with it in one’s hands, a single mistake would cut off his hand. He was that kind of knife.
“About the Orthodox Christians and the Kurd tribe, please prepare living quarters in a region for the families, grant them citizenship, and provide them with settlement support and work. They used to farm, so loaning them land to work on seems like a good idea. You can deport anyone who’s not working or acts unruly after a single warning.”
“Your last request is strange. There’s no free rice, huh? Done!”
Bonipas accepted it coolly. He couldn’t gloss over any of Black Mamba’s requests. They were already on it. France only had to waste a few million francs and ensure that 540 people lived comfortably for the next few years. It was, in fact, a simple request.
“Secondly, return any cultural assets that have been plundered from Korea.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Do you not know? In 1866, a French fleet invaded Korea. At that time, when the fleet lost in battle and retreated, they looted Korea’s cultural assets. It is what they call wartime looting.”
“I’ve heard of Egyptian and Chinese cultural assets but never Korean cultural assets.”
Black Mamba closed his mouth tight. That was his way of saying, “Do what you need.” Bonipas, who was embarrassed, picked up the phone. The duration of the conversation extended.
“The National Library of Versailles has a collection of books called the Oegyujanggak.”
“It can’t be just that.”
“There are many Korean ceramics in the Sevres Museum in Paris. It was donated by a French diplomat, Victor Collin de Plancy, during his stay in Korea. Cultural assets that have been duly purchased by individuals cannot be returned.”
“What about the Oegyujanggak books?”
“French domestic law stipulates that returning foreign cultural assets is not allowed. It’s difficult unless the law is amended.”
Bonipas’ expression grew tense.
“That’s the mindset of a thief. Is it enough that the enacted law states the impossibility of returning stolen foreign cultural assets? Didn’t France thoroughly investigate the cultural assets plundered by Germany and received them all back?”
“Haha, you’re not just a boxer, are you? You’re well-versed in history.”
Bonipas was pleased with Black Mamba. Young people who were socially aware were treasures of the state. Cultural assets weren’t simply expensive antiques. They represented history and spirit. A tribe without history and spirit would lose their future, just like the Kurd tribe.
Black Mamba was like the Korean royal family book stored in the Versailles National Library. Both were French, but their spirits were of the Coreens. Black Mamba, who insisted on his Coreen nationality, was regretfully naive and bold at the same time.
“Black Mamba, I want you to listen to me and not misunderstand. That is a matter of national power. Did Germany return the cultural assets because they are a righteous country? If you think so, you’ve only used a single brain cell. Germany lost the war, and France was the victor. To survive, Germany had no choice but to return all the cultural assets. Otherwise, they would have faced harsh retaliation.”
Bonipas stopped talking and pressed the bell to request tea from the secretary.
“Sorry. I was so tied up. I can’t believe I forgot to serve tea to the national treasure. Japan exhibited and seized 1,000,000s of Korean cultural assets. There are more Korean cultural assets in Japan than in the mainland. Did Japan return those cultural assets to Korea? Germany returned the cultural assets as part of their survival strategy and apologized for slaughtering the Jews. Korea is economically dependent on Japan and has nothing to compare against in military terms. Japan has no regrets, so they portrayed an arrogant front. If Korea dominates Japan economically and militarily, the cultural assets will be returned.”
Black Mamba cursed his own mouth for bringing up the topic. He was ridiculed for trying to do something worthwhile.
“The Korean government never officially requested France to return their cultural assets. Moreover, that only shows the Korean government’s negligence toward their cultural assets. Currently, the Korean government is built on unlawful coup d’etat foundations. You don’t know when society will devolve into chaos. Currently, it’s unclear whether the cultural assets are properly managed at all.”
“Korea should deal with it on their own.”
Black Mamba spoke in an unsteady tone. It grated his bones that he couldn’t refute Bonipas’ words. Despite the frequent cries, numerous relics and cultural assets had disappeared during the Japanese occupation. The citizens’ level of consciousness was also low. Furthermore, Korea had pulled out stones from their national treasure pagoda to use as bricks and melted uncovered gold jewelry to sell as bars. The politicians and bureaucrats were only interested in power and had no sense about cultural assets. He had also heard the news of France stealing Korea’s national treasures from Professor Giz.
Those f****** b*stards!
With no way to refute, he grew frustrated. Bonipas started talking in a relaxed tone.
“Is there any way for Korea to retaliate against France for not returning their cultural assets? You have the power to make demands. The same goes for international relations. In the end, it is the logic of power alongside the political leaders’ perception of problems. Musyu, who became the president of the coup d’état, gave up nuclear development and missiles to gain approval from the U.S. Without power, not only will you not be able to find your possessions, they will also be taken away. That is the international community. Political leaders and officials in Korea who can’t recognize and utilize a talent like you are idiots.”
Bonipas finished his speech with biting criticism. Black Mamba had nothing to say. He felt angry and thought it was unfair, but he’d gain nothing from voicing out. He had forced France to take a part of Chad and requested a part of it too. Bonipas’ critique wasn’t wrong. After all, that was the logic of power.
“Please show some sincerity when approaching the matter.”
Black Mamba wanted to crack apart those Korean leaders’ heads with the Rakshasa for wasting his time and effort.
“Of course, I should show my sincerity. I don’t have the galls to refuse Black Mamba’s request. Korea’s future is bright as long as youths like you exist. I’ll try my best to make sure that they’re returned to Korea after talking it through with the Minister of Culture.”
“I can only hope for good outcomes.”
Black Mamba decided to stop talking from then on. Bonipas wasn’t the kind to speak recklessly. They’d come to this point because Bonipas was willing to show his sincerity. Bonipas immediately shifted the topic of conversation.
“What are you going to do with the region in the Sahel? We’ve finished talking with president Hissene Habre. You’re eligible for up to 25,000 cubic kilometers of land. The president and the minister of the Interior, Pione, must have been very impressed by your performance. They were very willing to push the matter forth.”
“Huh! That much?”
Black Mamba was surprised. The land was two times the size he’d requested. He wasn’t just called the national treasure. France also treated him like a national treasure.
“My friend’s searching for a good region. I’ll be certain once I visit.”
“Do that. France will always be behind you.”
“…and Black Mamba will always be in front of France.”
The older male lion and the young male lion exchanged glances.
“Thanks. We make great partners. You’ll soon be the richest man in Europe.”
A smile appeared on Bonipas’ face. He knew when to step forward and when to step back. Negotiating on critical subjects could only worsen a relationship.
“You’ll soon become the head director of DGSE.”
Black Mamba smiled in return.
 A Moroccan cactus fruit.