Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 322
The five wise men would later shape Novatopia’s military and defense organization based on France’s Special Operations Command. The seven warriors would each take up an echelon to secure Novatopia’s peace. Novatopians would refer to them as Ddu-bai-buru-pa’s hands and feet or Novatopia’s Seven Hojangs. Foreigners would call the Seven Hojangs Ddu-bai-buru-pa’s cruel hammer.
Not even Black Mamba could guarantee a win against biological weapon blacky’s battle capacity and ability. Those who weren’t aware of blacky’s existence associated the entire group under one name, the Seven Hojangs. With the seventh warrior’s identity still undisclosed, blacky received several nicknames like the “holy weapon” and “Yaksha.” Easterners referred to all of them as the eight arms.
The desert’s night deepened. Someone who had never experienced the desert would vaguely imagine an idyllic and moving scenery—layers of moving dunes, rows of walking camels, and the oasis of palm trees and olive trees.
But once they experienced the Sahara, their admiration would turn into resentment and disappointment. The desert was not as attractive as they thought. There’s the scorching sun, the endless empty gravel fields, the random sandstorms that overwhelmed people, the flies and sand entering all seven natural body openings, and the cold that bit on the skin when the sun descended. When all of that threatened one’s survival, their admiration would turn into regret and despair instantly.
After spending a night in the Sahara, their opinion would change once more. The cluster of stars that filled the empty dark space continued from horizon to horizon. The milky way that rippled across the sky seemed like it would fall on one’s head at any moment. The display of black space and light had no beginning or end.
The desert’s night was a large space of silence. In the silence, the sounds of animals howling intermittently, insects running on the sand, and the wind scratching the ground added mystery to the desert, like the flowing skirt of a seductive enchantress.
A human’s imagination ran endlessly amid the majestic silence and solitude. Their body trembled from grasping the tail of the universe’s creation and witnessing a glimpse of God’s world.
Black Mamba couldn’t fall asleep easily. The desert’s night had an allure to it that made one reflect. Perhaps that was why Jesus had decided to isolate himself in the wilderness, too.
Where am I from, and where am I going?
Have I found what it takes to be human?
He still couldn’t find answers to his fundamental questions. His teacher had mentioned that when the time was right, relationships that were meant to be would stay, and bad relations would be resolved. However, his hot-tempered nature made it hard to heed his teacher’s advice. He was living a short life that would only last 100 years at best. When would that time come?
His horizons had broadened after several life-or-death experiences and interactions with people of all kinds of personalities. However, the regret and resentment he felt toward his blood-related family remained.
Even now, his mother’s location and the national examination was a problem. The old grudge he had against the Jang family and Chui Do Shik, who would be sharpening his knife somewhere, were like thorns in his throat. The b*stard who couldn’t solve any of his personal problems and tried to feed other people’s mouths was known as Ddu-bai-buru-pa and wakil.
Am I too caring?
He sighed. He had shoved himself into a swamp while trying to save others out of pity.
What was the difference between humans and pigs if one lived and ate well until they died? That’s how he reassured himself, but essentially, he was far from the words greed, success, and power.
His teacher had always pitied him. He was supposed to become a leader but had become Asura instead. His teacher had said that it was unfortunate he had followed the Left Martial Theories and couldn’t reach the level of a master. He didn’t care about becoming a leader or Asura. He was but someone slightly more powerful than humans. He was still a being who couldn’t overcome the fear of the Wheel of Life.
He found his mother’s warm bowl of rice and room, which was spacious enough for him to lay down, satisfactory. If he was slightly greedier, he would have asked for a kind and large-chested lady who was also a good cook for a wife. He would desire nothing more if he could have five or six smart sons and daughters.
His master had laughed after hearing about his dream.
Brat, if I had such great fortune, I would have thrown everything away and gone down to the real world. A comfortable life is 100 times more difficult than a successful life.
He’d laughed back then, but his teacher’s words were accurate. If money and fame were considered successes, he’d already succeeded. He had 400,000,000 francs in cash, 9,000,000 pyungs of farmland in Doba, Novatopia that was one-third as large as Korea, and countless people who worked under his station as the special military advisor, a position equivalent to the French vice-ministerial status. If that were considered successes, then they were.
Although he had money and fame, the comfortable life seemed to grow distant. There was so much to do for the farm in Doba and Novatopia. The saying that went, “the more one had to protect, the poorer one’s mind became,” perfectly explained the situation.
He remembered the worn-out notebook he had left back at the temple. It was a murder list that he had written at the age of 13. On the front, it read, “Pay debts back tenfold, and grudges back a hundredfold.” On the back, it read, “I want to leave a mark in this world.” He had written the first page at the age of 13 and the last page at 17.
What was so regretful, and what did he want to leave behind? Was it the trauma from his childhood abuse?
The brief screaming and howling of the hyenas created a ripple in the sea of silence. Wherever there was life, there was always those who ate and those who were eaten. He was, but a mere existence caught up in such a situation too.
“Damn, I should stop scratching other people’s legs and go.”
He forced his eyes shut and went to sleep. The nightmare of wars and the Angel of Death was also someone who couldn’t control his own emotions.
The cold air woke him up. Black Mamba stared blankly at the eastern horizon, where light pink hues started painting the sky. He wasn’t in the single room on the bridge that reeked of sweat or the market’s attic room. He was in the desert where the endless horizon spread and the dews that had formed overnight fluttered in the wind.
“Good morning, wakil.”
Nejma handed him a foldable cookware. There was clear water inside. He looked at the water with his inner eye. Black Mamba naturally suspected the water in Africa. It was because of the parasites.
“Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa, this guy went around spreading waterproof tarps to collect dew.”
He looked at Nejma, surprised by Jamal’s comment. That kid had spent the whole night trying to collect fresh water for him.
“Don’t do this kind of thing next time. You need to maintain your strength if you want to survive the desert.”
Nejma, who couldn’t understand, only looked around. Jamal pointed at the foldable cookware and shook his head.
Nejma was quick-witted. He understood immediately and nodded his head.
Black Mamba stretched his stiff muscles with the 36 forbidden practices of the five combined movements. It took one minute to complete the front punches and two minutes to complete the rotating kicks. He moved like a slow-motion video that even a sloth would have sighed. Professor Orifice and Professor Shernion watched on and yawned.
“Nejma, look carefully at how Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa moves.”
“But he’s so slow,” Nejma responded apathetically to Ahmad. He wanted to see the explosive speed that instantly split a zombie into half.
“The trajectory of his four punches and four kicks are the same every single time. He didn’t even tremble. I’ve been training for 20 years, but I don’t dare try those moves.”
“Are those moves that hard?”
“Precision is more important than speed. Precision allows you to move faster. Once you can execute a slow move, a fast move becomes a breeze.”
Nejma didn’t understand Ahmad’s explanation.
“He’s getting faster! Wow!” Nejma shouted.
When Fearless steps unfolded, it looked as though his body was teleporting.
Every time his hands and feet stretched out, the ground shook. He started moving faster. As his hands and feet moved, shadows began stacking up in the air.
The ground’s ki swarmed around his body. In the end, his body became invisible, and only a pillar of sand moved. Black Mamba stood still after completing the 36 forbidden practices, which released 216 moves per second.
The pillar of sand fell. Nejma looked admiringly at Black Mamba, who stood still like an individual in salute.
Black Mamba stood still for a moment before loosening up. Although he’d been moving swiftly for 30 minutes, his breathing remained steady. It was refreshing. The clear desert’s energy filled him from within. It had a better effect than when he had trained at the temple.
“Ahmad, martial arts is a technique that concentrates strength before exploding at a single point. The Circassians Mamluk is a martial art technique that increases one’s speed according to their flexibility. Do you know this?”
“Yes, I know this.”
“Do you think your body is flexible?”
“I’ll show you, sir.”
Ahmad leaned his body back and grabbed his calf. Then, he rolled once. He then stood up like a roly-poly toy and brought his legs close to his chest. His body, which folded like cardboard, sprung into the air and rotated three times.
The audience exclaimed at the seemingly impossible acrobatic display.
“It’s still not enough.”
Black Mamba raised both of his hands in a straight line, the back of his wrists touching. His arms dropped down to his back, below his waist, as he balanced with his elbows. At that sight, Ahmad’s mouth hung open. At that moment, the fact that elbows could only fold inward was proven wrong.
The mind-blowing display continued. While standing, he pushed his neck back. The cartilage that cushioned each of his spinal bones extended like a rubber band. The tip of his foot swung up from his extended knee. The knee joint flexed in the other direction. His upper body moved further, two feet back from where he stood. It was an impossible move unless the spine was separated from the pelvis.
“C’est la poulpe!”
It was a move that completely ignored the joint structures and muscles. Everyone’s mouth dropped open at Black Mamba’s magic.
“Try attacking me. I’ll move at the same speed as you.”
“Thank you. I’ll gladly take up on a lesson.”
Ahmad pulled out his shamshir.
Ahmad jumped off the ground in a sprint and used all of his strength to attack Black Mamba’s belly button. He’d once been severely scolded by Black Mamba after striking an enemy’s head right off in Kaparja Valley. Since then, he would practice stabbing whenever he had the time. The belly button supported all body movements. It was an area that moved the slowest.
The audience briefly exclaimed.
A short, powerful impact rang. Ahmad flipped once in the air and slammed onto the ground. He lay there like a frog concussed after one blow.
Samedi shook. He clearly witnessed what went down. Unlike humans, his senses were much more heightened. Just before the sword’s sharp tip grazed the human’s skin, the human extended his foot the other way and kicked Ahmad’s chin. Although he minimized the impact of his kick, the rather strong human opponent was defeated. The fear of offending powerful humans overcame his brain.
Ahmad had been training his body for at least 20 years. He shivered and crawled to his feet. After several deep breaths, his blacked-out sight slowly returned to normal.
“Would you like to try once more?”
“No, sir. I’m not experienced enough to keep up with your lesson right now, Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa.”
“Did you see?”
“Yes. Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa, your foot extended to the opposite side and kicked my chin.”
“Hm, you have sharp eyes. This is the flexibility power I showed you before. You were attacked the moment you lowered your guard, assuming that the battle is over. You must never let your guard down in battle no matter what situation you’re in.”
“I’ll keep that in mind, sir.”
Black Mamba pulled out the Boss-saurus’ tendon stick from his backpack.
When the stick swung once in the air, a loud crash sounded. Samedi flinched.
“Your body is the limit of any ordinary human’s flexibility. To overcome the said limit, you need to get rid of the built-up waste between your muscles and joints and strengthen your tendons. I will administer the soul-returning pain administration. Lackey fainted three times in five minutes. Will you be able to endure it?”
“I will, sir… Agh!”
Ahmad couldn’t complete his sentence and screamed desperately in pain.
The tendon stick came down and attacked his spinal cord, where the spinal nerves connected to the brain. Like a worm sprinkled with salt, the single blow caused Ahmad to curl up on the floor, twisting and turning. The soul-returning pain administration unfolded on top of the recent attack.
The sound of skin being slapped alongside screams produced an uneven beat. Ahmad, who felt like his life was being threatened, instinctively rolled around to avoid the beating. It was useless. The stick followed him like a ghost and struck him at the crucial spots with the right level of impact.
Black Mamba’s hands moved even faster. The shadows of the stick stacked up in the air. Blood poured out from Ahmad’s seven body openings.
Ahmad, who screamed and cried, lost his consciousness within one minute and fainted. Sweat beaded on his blue-black skin. The stick kept coming down on the immobile half-dead body.
“He…he’s going to kill Ahmad.”
The faces of the audience turned blue. The horrible beating suddenly stopped. Ahmad had turned into a rag in three minutes.
“Mohammad, boil the water, wet the cloth, and massage Ahmad’s body. I’ll visit him later.”
“What? Yes, yes, sir!”
Mohammad and Aishe, who were blue in the face, rushed to carry the sack of rags and disappeared.
“Samedi, it’s your turn.”
Samedi stepped back several times, shaking his two hands. His big eyes lost their focus, looking everywhere except at Black Mamba.
Black Mamba laughed. Samedi’s body was excellent. Muscles covered his well-proportioned body of over two meters. It was comedic to see a sturdy guy with enough power to challenge a bear shaking and stepping back in fear.
“Samedi, you’re not going to be scolded. This is training. You can hit me as much as you want. You can bite me or hit me with your shovel.”
For a long time, Samedi stared suspiciously at Black Mamba before he raised his shovel and roared.
 It’s an octopus!