Novel Name : Mercenary Black Mamba

Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 286

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He was so concerned about the gifts because Ombuti was the Immoharen of the Tuareg tribe. The Tuareg tribe believed in many myths and nitpicked many things. The Immoharen position was a noble status, and they were very prideful. Of course, Ombuti was the kind of person who would gladly wear the pants, no, the skirt that his master bought for him.
He wanted to give him something meaningful, as much as he was an overbearing uncle and loyal person to him. Behind the identity of Azrael and the Angel of Death was Mu Ssang, a shy Korean man. Off the battlefield, Black Mamba was a Korean youth who had plenty of love to share and knew how to take care of the elders.
West Africa was like France’s front yard. There were plenty of DGSE agents who lived in Africa. What kind of gifts would please a Tuareg Immoharen? He wouldn’t have to worry if he had asked.
His “something should happen” mindset was the problem.
“Wait, no one dislikes gold. I should find a jeweler.”
Black Mamba snapped his fingers as though he had a big revelation. If there was no appropriate gift, he could give money instead. However, the Tuareg tribe considered the gifting of money as a great offense. Ombuti wouldn’t take it that way, but he would comment about his master’s wealth and save it in his stead. Gold had the highest monetary value. The loud engine sound rang across N’Djamena’s central Tombalbaye street.
“What the hell, this is like trying to locate a countryside farmer in Seoul.”
Not a single jewelry store came into sight despite searching for over an hour. He couldn’t find a flower shop or a jewelry store. All he could see were clothing stores or food stores. Well, there was no reason for the locals to desire extravagant things when there was a shortage of clothes and food in the first place. That was the reason why Ombuti had set up a company that handled crops and edibles. This damned country was overflowing with flies, mosquitoes, and sandstorms—not a single desirable aspect. He truly began to hate the country called Chad.
“Damn it. I should have brought some gold bars.”
It was too late for regrets. His gold bars were resting peacefully in the underground vault of BNP Paribas bank. Black Mamba rubbed the pink-colored diamond in his pocket. If he didn’t plan on giving it to his mother, he would have given it to Ombuti.
Wait, Edel!
He’d forgotten about Edel, who was with Ombuti. Ombuti came in second. He wasn’t thick-skinned enough to shove his face in front of a woman he hadn’t met for a year.
“Ugh, I’m about to go mad.”
He spent three hours on the street. His eyes stung from trying to find a jewelry shop. The Dassault Falcon, which had departed Paris at nine in the morning, landed in N’Djamena Airport at two in the afternoon. Currently, it was five in the afternoon. Mentally exhausted, Black Mamba collapsed on the staircase of a building and smoked his Cohiba Siglo.
What the hell am I doing?
He looked pathetic, crouching on the staircase while exhaling donut-shaped smoke. The actions he’d taken despite flying over to Africa on a private jet was illogical.
As he exhaled smoke after smoke, his wandering eyes came to a halt. There was a circular plate nailed to the building’s pillar. The French writing on the circular plate grabbed his attention.
[TOTAL Bijoutiers/atelier de métal précieux]
“Total jewelers! All the metal around the world?”
Black Mamba’s face creased. He immediately moved himself a few paces back from the building and looked at it from top to bottom. No matter how hard he stared at it, the three-story building was not a jewelry store. The building’s granite wall was thick enough to repel 75-millimeter artilleries, and the windows were the size of a palm. The closed wooden door was encased in iron bars and plates. It was a fortress, not a jewelry store.
Whether they handled gold or gems, the jewelers he knew of had clear windows for their entire storefront, and they were illuminated inside. They were designed in such a manner to create the urge to buy. This damned shop was the opposite. It didn’t announce its presence. Perhaps this was why he couldn’t find a jewelry store. Although the building was made in consideration of the substandard social safety in Chad, that was too concealed.
Boom boom boom—
He had a hunch that the door was at least a palm’s width wide.
The palm-sized window clicked open. He could barely see the mouth of a white man with shining oily skin.
“I came to buy gold.”
“Show me your money.”
His thick lips, which looked as though it could serve an entire plate if cut with the Kukri, moved despicably.
“Show my money?”
Forcing a customer to show his money! He couldn’t tell whether the man was looking for a fight or running a business.
“If you don’t have money, leave.”
He had unhesitantly made the request.
Ha, look at this damn b*stard talk.
Black Mamba tried his best to calm his rising temper. He nearly planted his fist through that man’s shiny mouth. He helplessly took out a bunch of francs from his pocket and shoved it in the man’s face.
“You are a customer.”
The heavy door creaked open. The white man closed the door immediately after Black Mamba stepped in. Black Mamba felt as though he was being confined.
It was a jewelry store, all right. Display cases were spread all around. The owner removed the iron plates, which covered the cases. Gold, white gold, diamonds, opals, pearls—all kinds of jewelry exuded their brilliance. For a shop handled by an inhospitable owner, there were many products.
“Look. I swear to Allah, they are all real.”
“B*stard, it’s suspicious,” Black Mamba murmured in Korean.
Havuç mentioned that those who swore to Allah amid their conversation were always liars.
“How much is this?” he asked, holding up a heavy golden donkey statue.
“30,000 francs.”
“25,000 francs.”
“Get out!”
“Get out? Ha, I’d rather die than suffer.”
Black Mamba’s face creased. Something that could be achieved easily in France became a self-earned chore. The high-end boutiques on Paris’ Rue Saint-Honoré were expensive but of quality. He wanted to stop, but he’d already invested an hour searching for this store. He didn’t dare search for other stores.
Most of the African locals were nomadic or from farming tribes. They regarded animals as their companions and friends. They also regarded camels, goats, and donkeys as the highest form of congratulatory gifts. The number of livestock in their house represented their wealth.
The Maasai tribe and Tuareg tribe did not consider those without livestock part of their community. A golden donkey statue was the best offering for a member of the Tuareg tribe. Although it wasn’t knowledge that Black Mamba could have possibly known, he was lucky.
“What should I get for Edel? Maybe a ring? Is that too inconsiderate?”
He recalled how embarrassed he had been, looking at her happy expression after receiving a cheap purse. He lifted a bracelet embedded with diamonds and asked. It seemed quite expensive.
“How much is this?”
“32,000 francs.”
“Fine. Wrap it.”
One should inquire about the worth of gold before making a purchase, but he didn’t. He was skeptical but decided to bear with the rip-off. In the first place, it was wrong to expect an enjoyable shopping experience in N’Djamena. Still, his pride didn’t allow him to glare at an average citizen either.
“Black agate misbaha, bon, bon.”
The owner offered him a misbaha that glimmered in black. The object was commonly seen in Arab countries. The misbaha were sacred objects that the Muslims used during prayer. The misbaha looked similar to the Catholic beads, but instead of the cross, a Quran was attached. The misbaha was made from the finest black agate. That was due to their belief that black agate chased away ghosts and evil creatures.
Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad were all born around the fifth century. The Catholic beads took inspiration from the Buddhist prayer beads. The misbaha took inspiration from the wooden fish and stick chants. The three great religions shared many religious aspects. They were only picked apart and divided by humans’ whims.
“How much?”
“I’ll just give it to you for 1,000 francs.”
Black Mamba tilted his head. Although many knew the worth of gold, the worth of agate was still unknown to many. He didn’t know the market prices, but agate wasn’t cheap gems. They were comparable to amethyst.
1,000 francs was equivalent to 260,000 Korean won. The amount was absurd, according to Chad’s market price. The owner was ripping him off because he was a foreigner.
“You b*stard, do you think I’m an idiot?”
Black Mamba’s eyes turned cold. The anger, which he had been repressing, exploded. He glared at the owner, who was shaking his fats around. If the owner hadn’t said “just give,” he would have been less mad.
He placed the misbaha on the row of display cases and tapped it with his palm.
Dust rose. 10 black agate beads shattered. It was an imitation made of sand and coated with black gloss. It was a good imitation too.
Like magic, the bloated owner’s white face turned dark. Black Mamba himself was surprised. He’d doubted but didn’t think it was actually fake. Initially, he had intended to break the black agate and give the owner a difficult time.
“You f****** b*stard!”
Upset, he grabbed a golden bracelet and used his strength.
The bracelet broke. Its inner surface was bluish-white. It was an imitation, with gold paint painted on lead. It was a method often used by swindlers.
“What are you doing!” the owner shouted, his face now the color of the fake bracelet.
“Shut up, f*****.”
He was an idiot who had never considered the existence of a human who could snap a thick lead bracelet into two. Perhaps, he couldn’t discern the situation since Black Mamba had discovered his scam. Frustrated, Black Mamba took out the golden donkey statue and placed it on a display case. When he was about to slam down on it with his palm, a pair of chunky hands grabbed the golden donkey statue, the bracelet, and misbaha before disappearing into the inner room. That movement was faster than the market stand gestures.
“Ha, he’s faster than I am. Now, how do I scold him so that rumor will spread?”
Black Mamba laughed. He couldn’t use force against a citizen, but this b*stard had crossed the line. He sat on an iron chair and waited until the owner—or swindler—reappeared. He found the man repulsive, but it wasn’t a crime deserving of death. If the man apologized, he would consider flicking his forehead as a means of forgiveness.
The fat swindler reappeared from the room. The situation progressed differently from his expectations. Instead of the real deal, he reappeared alongside two built black men with intense glares.
One was spinning a folding knife, and the other was licking an ax. They looked exactly like typical street gang members. Both of them had looks that could kill.
They had flat noses, torn lips, and a few knife scars on their faces. That kind of face would make any kind-hearted customer scream. He’d heard that some had fled the FROLINAT’s defeated battalions and southern FAP to N’Djamena. They were of the same kind.
“Oh, you’re asking for it.”
“Talkis al quadir, kunta jaba-nan![1]” the swindler shouted with confidence.
“Naqud, dod ingil mel. Katu you meh-oud al-mawt.”
The man with the ax revealed his yellow teeth, muttering incomprehensible words. Although he didn’t understand the meaning of the sentence, he understood the words “naqud[2]” and “al-mawt[3].” The man was saying that he’d be killed if he didn’t hand over his money. Those street members were as ignorant as they looked.
“Look at this guy talk! He’s saying things that will get him in trouble. Killing a customer and stealing their money? Isn’t this exactly like those scenes that I saw in movies? Hahaha!”
Black Mamba laughed in astonishment. Those b*stards were attempting to kill him, even when they should be groveling on the floor. It was a completely different story from what he had predicted.
There was a reason behind the fortress-like entrance and windowless walls. They were operating a specialized business that mooched off wealthy foreigners.
Black Mamba’s eyes grew cold. The men’s fates were decided the moment they revealed their weapons and killing intent. What a sad self-centered world they lived in, unable to foresee the future because greed had blinded them!
“Are you guys originally thieves or b*stards who act like thieves when needed? I’ve never killed civilians before. If you apologize, I’ll walk away with a few of your teeth,” Black Mamba warned with a low voice.
The swindler with the protruding belly hesitated. Didn’t that man fear his friends who held an ax and a knife? The fat man’s face creased, understanding the customer’s words immediately.
At the simple order, the man holding the knife with the twisted lips laughed. The b*stard’s eyes glinted in anticipation for the forthcoming violence. A pungent smell filled with bloodlust swelled. His brain picked up the scent instead of his nose. That b*stard was someone who had killed several times. Black Mamba’s eyes turned colder. Barely a day passed since his decision not to spatter any more blood on the ground. His efforts to see less blood was futile.
The b*stard with the knife ran forward and stabbed the entrance handle.
Black Mamba could only laugh. He was foolish for locking the door in an attempt to catch a tiger that had entered his home. What idiocy.
The knife swung toward his chest without a single word of notice. There was no hesitation in that hand movement. The African must have learned how to handle a blade. It was like a ghost trying to attack a general.
The eyes of the man who wielded the knife widened. He didn’t know how it had happened, but his knife was in the other man’s hand.
“Huh, Opinel!”
Black Mamba had exclaimed several times today. Opinel was a folding knife created by France’s blade specialist, Opinel, at the end of the 19th century. Its blade was made of Damascus, and its handle was made of ivory. A street gang member couldn’t possibly possess such an object. It was clearly stolen from a customer, who was presumably dead.
[1] You dirty heathen, I’ll kill you!
[2] Money.
[3] Death.
[4] Kill!
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