Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 293
Edel, who had been quietly listening to their conversation the whole time, interrupted out of curiosity for the first time.
It seems like she’s a woman, nonetheless. She must have several questions she wants to ask.
Black Mamba laughed internally. It was said that a woman’s curiosity was comparable to that of a cat. However, a lady from a noble British family was truly different. It wasn’t easy for a man to interrupt a woman’s conversation, regardless of race. On the other hand, a woman could easily interrupt a man’s conversation. Of course, the conversation grew tiring when a third party intervened, regardless of gender.
Will my mother accept a blond, blue-eyed daughter-in-law?
Black Mamba quickly got rid of his lingering thoughts. With his mother still out there somewhere under the vast sky, he didn’t want to be struggling with romantic problems.
Ombuti secured the blade by pressing the folding stopper and flicked the tip of the blade.
A clear sound rang as though he’d tapped on a glass.
“Miss Edel, can you see the wave patterns on the blade and the cloud patterns on the ivory handle? The wave patterns represent the strongest Damascus blade, and the cloud patterns represent the elite tribe, Kel Ayr Tawshet. The other nine authentic Opinels don’t have patterns on the handle.”
“Oh, it’s pretty! It must also have a high antique value.”
“It’s practical and sharp.”
Ombuti struck the corner of the table.
The two-inch thick Homaika top was sliced off smoothly. Edel flinched. The blade was sharper than she thought.
“The Tasenzoter originally referred to a mask that the Amazid warriors used to cover their faces. These days, it is known as the litham. It’s known that Opinel made 100 daggers, but he barely made 10 daggers for himself. Others are imitations made by his disciple. The real blades were presented to the French royal family and nobilities, while the only Tasenzoter was given to the Amenokal of the Kel Ayr Tawshet who’d been staying as a guest.”
“Who is this Amenokal?”
“Amenokal is a title for the head of a Tawshet, a united group of the Amazid tribes. Like a war chief, in a sense. Kel Ayr is the Tawshet of the Amazid from the south-west of Niger. The gifted Opinel, which was considered the Amenokal’s personal weapon, received the name “Tasenzoter.” From then on, the Amazid’s symbol changed from the mask to the Opinel. The value of the Tasenzoter was not interchangeable with money. If Kikali finds out where the Tasenzoter has ended up, his eyes will flip. However, he can only swallow his greed in fear of wakil, hehehe!”
Ombuti laughed joyfully at the unexpected gain. As long as the Tasenzoter was in his hands, it was the end for Kikali. He could almost see that man’s creased face. After all, Kikali had been demanding the same amount of power as his wakil, not realizing that wakil had let him live.
“Huh, that old hunting knife is the holy weapon Tasenzoter of the Amenokal?”
Black Mamba was slightly surprised. There were 400,000 Kel Ayr Tuareg tribe members. It seemed as though he had saved a village in his past life, for every object he had discovered was a unique item.
“Yes. The Tasenzoter holds authority over the Kel Ayr Amenokal and the military command power over the masked warriors. In the past, the Amazid warriors raced through the entire desert under the orders of the Tasenzoter Amenokal. For me to receive the Tasenzoter, which has been missing for 20 years, is proof of Allah’s immeasurable providence.”
“Hm, I see.”
He could guess Ombuti’s intentions. Ombuti was ambitious enough to use the Tasenzoter to control the Kel Ayr warriors.
“Wakil, the Tasenzoter isn’t something I can take. I’ll return it to you,” Ombuti said as he folded the knife and politely handed it back.
“What are you saying? I have nothing to do with the Amazid. I won’t have any use for it unless I am cutting fruits. Ombuti, you’re an Immoharen. The rightful owner is you.”
Ombuti immediately jumped up and got on his knees.
“May wakil be blessed with eternity! There will be no other human above wakil. I am your eternal servant, wakil.”
Ombuti’s eyes were filled with tenderness as he looked at his young master. It was just like his master to treat the Tasenzoter like it was nothing, despite knowing its value.
Ombuti wanted to give his master something or anything, but he received his endless grace instead. His master had saved his life and allowed him to exact his revenge. It was impossible to repay his master in his remaining lifetime. If he had an ounce of the lackey’s ability, he would have acted as his master’s hands and feet on the battlefields for the rest of his life.
Wakil was a mysterious being. He was best described as a free-spirited person. Ombuti was a Tuareg warrior down to his bones. He had received a powerful mental and cultural shock after his master had told him to spend his wealth on food for the Sahel. Wakil was someone with a noble personality, aside from the grace he had experienced personally. His role was to support wakil. Ombuti had to earn enough money to support him financially and gather power to take care of the dirty work. Ombuti’s eyes burned in eagerness.
“Wakil, can you give me some of your time?”
“About one month should be enough to visit all the Amazid tribes of the sub-Saharan region.”
Black Mamba shook his head. He had to take the national exam soon. No, he had to look for his mother. His teacher had told him not to rush, but as a son, he couldn’t help himself.
“Ombuti, you know why I’m starting an autonomous region, don’t you?”
Ombuti looked helpless. Wakil was a righteous man. When it came to the actions of the Amazid, it couldn’t be referred to as exemplary. No, they were more like offenders.
As followers of Gaddafi, they slaughtered the citizens of Chad, and some even drove the natives out of Mali and occupied the north. Persecuted was too vague a word to describe those people.
“I hope to bring in Kikali’s military power, at least. Lieutenant colonel Kikali has gained the trust of his subordinates, but warriors are bound to follow the authority of the Tasenzoter.”
Black Mamba shook his hand.
“There’s no need to rush. I’m starting an autonomous region not because I want to gain power. It’s because I can’t ignore some people despite the hassle that comes along with it. These people can’t escape the shackles of pain despite their efforts. I want to give them the will to live and at least some hope. There’s no reason to attract people you don’t really want. If you need some warriors, I can bring in 10s of 1,000s of them.”
“Oh, as expected of you, wakil. But—”
Black Mamba raised his hand and stopped Ombuti from talking.
“I know what you’re thinking, Ombuti. I’ll accept those who’re suffering from the Tuareg tribe.”
“Thank you. What about the warriors you spoke of, wakil?”
“I came to be acquainted with some Syrian Orthodox Christians and Kurds. They were persecuted in both Turkey and Syria and had to live with death hanging over their heads. They are loyal people who consider me their Mahdi.”
“What do you mean by Mahdi?”
“It means savior in the Levantine language.”
Ombuti’s face brightened up. According to the traditional language of the Amazid, savior translated to “Kurcha.”
“Amazing. Wakil, 1,000 of my steps can’t compare to a single one of yours. I didn’t know you’ve already paid a mind to it.”
“As a matter of fact, I have, but it all stemmed down to coincidence. People who are bound to meet will meet. Keep in mind that I started the autonomous region not to gain power but to save the poor.”
“Of course. I’ll focus on expanding the business for now.”
“I don’t have much time. I should stop by the Samaria farm tomorrow with Edel. Edel should do her part too.”
“Are you going to visit the farm before heading to Korea?”
“I should return if I’ve met everyone that I need to meet. My personal affairs also need my attention. Are you planning to come along?”
“I really want to, but I can’t move as I wish. For now, I’ll try my best to expand and stabilize the business.”
“There will be another opportunity. When I go to Korea, I’ll find and send a plant construction company. Prepare the necessary procedures and factory construction base drawings. Koreans are the fastest in the world when it comes to building factories.”
“Thank you. It’s a pity I can’t attend to you, wakil.”
Ombuti was very disappointed. How spectacular the days had been when he spent them with wakil in the Sahel! He wanted to visit the country called Korea with his master, but he wasn’t as mindless as the lackey.
“If I finish my work, I’ll remain in Korea. I’ll invite you soon.”
“Ah, did you leave Legion Etranger?”
Ombuti was surprised. France wasn’t stupid enough to let go of a superhuman like his wakil.
“Ah, no, that’s not it. I’m now a special military advisor. In other words, a freelancer. Keep this a secret from everyone else,” Black Mamba replied as he briefly mentioned his new post.
“Ohh, this is good news. Bonipas used his brain to keep you tied to France, wakil. Wakil, you should stay put and take all the money that they give you. France is a country that’s coveting for you.”
Experience and age didn’t come without wisdom. Ombuti immediately pinpointed the French government’s intentions.
“I know. Still, I should work as much as I’m paid. I’m planning to work hard.”
“That’s right. Wakil, you’re still very unaware of your worth. Wakil’s problem-solving skills are beyond a human’s common sense. There is no one with your abilities in this world, wakil. The French government is running a business that earns them huge profits.”
Ombuti’s eyes gleamed with pride. His master’s charm was that he was strong against the strong and weak against the weak. What kind of b*stards were the DGSE? If Bonipas wailed at him and made a plea, wakil was the kind of person to agree without much thought. Ombuti grew slightly worried.
Old rats can truly get to the bottom of it!
Black Mamba was amazed by Ombuti’s expertise at reading intentions. In reality, nothing could frustrate him. If France had approached him forcefully, he would have made them pay before leaving. However, France had given him a fair amount of payment and treated him justly. As mentioned by Bonipas, it would be nice to be able to use each other.
“There is nothing to worry about. I also pick as much ppongbal as the French do.”
“It’s a Korean word. It means picking up another person’s intentions. Shaking off everything they have.”
Ombuti laughed while clapping his hands. Wakil often said funny things. Conversations turned pleasant automatically.
“Of course. There will naturally be ppongbal as long as you’re there, wakil. Your worth is beyond the value of an army, after all. Wakil can do whatever you want and use your position as you wish.”
Their conversation grew long. There were lots of stories to share and more to talk about.
“Oh, we’re out of red tea again.”
“Rudrey, can you give us some coffee this time?” Black Mamba requested a change of beverage immediately.
The two pots of red tea that Rudrey made following the kimchi-jjigae didn’t disappoint him. The red tea brewed with boiling water became tannin tea. He had been drinking the bitter red tea like it was poison.
“Yes, there’s good coffee.”
Edel raised herself off the seat. Shortly after, Ombuti excused himself to go to the bathroom.
No way, this too?
Black Mamba hesitated. The aroma of the coffee was overpowering. For someone who was burnt once, he shouldn’t judge a drink by its aroma. Black Mamba glared at the light brown liquid, which could taste like stale water.
“Dubai, this isn’t the common Brazilian coffee. This is the Alata mocha from Ethiopia. Try to get a whiff of it first before taking a loud sip.”
Black Mamba did as she asked.
“Hell, what is this? All the coffee that I drank up until now is petrol?” Black Mamba shouted.
He was so surprised that his Korean accent made an appearance. His brain couldn’t control his heart that was in shock. It was a reverse outcome as he had expected it to taste like hell. Edel had managed to overcome his disappointment with a cup of coffee.
The exquisite blend of sweet, sour, and bitter taste woke every cell in his body. It was a thrilling taste and aroma. Edel smiled, please that she had proved him right.
Thank you, uncle Ombuti.
Edel winked at Ombuti. The veteran, Ombuti, didn’t even blink in her direction.
“Hahaha, this is the kind of skill that would put a professional barista to shame. The Tuareg tribe enjoys coffee. When the sun sets, a caravan would stop its journey and have the camels sit in a semicircle to block the sandstorm. The cup of coffee you sip as you sit against a camel’s back while watching the desert’s sun disappear is a work of art.”
Ombuti opened his eyes and described the desert’s scenery as though he was reciting a piece of poetry.
“Good. That kind of scenery and leisure would give people the will to live even if the coffee tastes like stale water,” Black Mamba agreed.
The atmosphere surrounding the cup of tea was more important than the taste of tea.
“Of course. I was the happiest when I was returning home after a long peddle. Those damn FROLINAT!”
Ombuti gritted his teeth. He’d managed to avenge his enemies thanks to wakil, but the happy times had passed. Black Mamba spoke immediately into the middle-aged man’s empty heart.
Is it the trauma of a widower? I should get him a family soon.
The image of Mohammad’s sister, Bassel, filled his view. Although the clan had treated her poorly because she was a woman who was soiled, Bassel was kind. She was too good for the 45-year-old man.
“Hm, bury those sad memories, Ombuti. You gain this when you lose that, and gain that when you lose this. Relationships continue like so.”
“Ah, I apologize, wakil. I am happier to be serving you now. Now that I’ve avenged them, my wife and daughter should be resting happily by Allah’s side.”
Ombuti lowered his head as he apologized and continued the story. It was hard to grow coffee in Chad because of the lack of rainfall. Just like a spell, he felt like wakil could come up with a solution to the existing problem.
 The title the Tuareg members use to refer to their tribe.