Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 329
Ugh, why did he have to bring something that doesn’t work…?
Feeling guilty, Mu Ssang began to massage his teacher’s shoulders. He found his teacher’s thin shoulder bones upsetting. He was suddenly scared that his teacher would leave him one day.
“Don’t try too hard. Won’t he turn back into a human with time now that you’ve extracted the poison?”
“Brat, don’t act as though you care. This is all because of you. Instead of inheriting my arts, you are enamored by the Left Martial Theories. Ughh, massage gently. My bones are going to break.”
Monk Dae Woo complained, as though he didn’t really hate it.
“Hehe, my fortune only goes that far, then. Still, I was able to meet you because of my ability, right, teacher?”
Mu Ssang shifted his resonance waves into his teacher’s inner body. But how? There was no response, like a pebble that had fallen into a lake.
“Idiotic b*stard, don’t do useless things. When a stream flows into a lake, it’s a lake and no longer a stream, can’t you tell? Still, your control over your resonance waves has improved. Huhuhu!” Monk Dae Woo laughed heartily.
That disciple of his was fated to live as the reincarnation of Asura, the God of War. His abilities improved every time he returned from a battlefield.
“Did you replace the soul-returning pain administration with Psychokinesis?”
“Hm. You need to understand the flow of blood and ki and repeatedly tap on those points to activate your brain’s full capacity. That brat’s body is a lump of metal. I’ll faint trying to knock him around with my strength. Ugh, this is why people have to die when they age.”
Monk Dae Woo rubbed his waist, pretending to be weak. The edges of Mu Ssang’s mouth slowly curled up.
“You can’t say things like that when you can uproot the whole of Chun Saeng Mountain and spin it in the air. You should be able to face at least 10 widows on your own, teacher.”
“Huhu, of course, of course, if I hadn’t shaved my head, I’d have served those widows suffering from loneliness. Have you tried dealing with those zombie things?”
Monk Dae Woo asked in a serious tone. Samedi was the golden metal often mentioned in Buddhism. He was an existence that could only die by a sliced neck or a shattered body since he was half-immortal. The physical existence of a legend was like a foul. Samedi wasn’t an existence that could be created with the Left Martial Theories.
“Ah, although his body is strong, that’s from the perspective of the general public. The zombies were done in by a wooden stick that I threw. It seems like ordinary people wouldn’t have a hard time facing off against the zombies as long as they have guns.”
Rumors of how zombies were immortal and how humans turned into zombies once bitten were all exaggerations. From his experience, zombies were nothing but puppets exposed to spells and drugs, resulting in stronger muscles and an unconscious brain.
It was three to four times stronger than the average adult and had aggressive tendencies like beasts, but that was all. Its presence wasn’t threatening as long as one possessed weapons.
“Then, no. That guy’s muscle structure is completely different from a human’s. It appears that he has been genetically engineered or perhaps gone through xenotransplantation. If Samedi goes mad, no one would be able to handle him aside from you.”
As expected of his teacher, he had gathered Samedi’s potential without even experiencing it.
“You’re right, teacher. Back in Africa, I destroyed chimeras. They had the form of a human and the DNA of a monkey and an alligator. It seemed as though someone had combined the DNA of humans and animals and transplanted various body parts. They were stronger than an ox and fiercer than a tiger. Their body was strong like iron, and it seemed they could regenerate despite suffering critical blows. I tried beating them with a metal stick, but nothing happened. They were on a completely different level than a zombie.”
“What, they altered a human? What on earth are these f****** son of a b****es? They finally reached their hands out to the forbidden. But modern science wouldn’t have a solution to the reverse responses of their immune system…”
Harsh words came out of monk Dae Woo’s mouth. Humans as experimental subjects? That wasn’t acceptable even from the viewpoint of average citizens, what more Buddhist followers.
“There’s a secret research lab in the Mojave Desert called Area 51. There, the Yankees are working on a high-security project where they modify human brains and bodies. The chimeras I got rid of are presumed to be prototypes from that place. Samedi might be an abandoned experiment subject, or he might have escaped Area 51.”
“Those b*stards should cover themselves in s***. Why would a government lead such an evil project? What’s the world coming to! A genetically engineered b*stard conditioned by spells—that b*stard’s fate is as harsh.”
“I’ll fix those Yankees’ attitude if I get the chance.”
“You’re bound to come across them without seeking them out yourself. An evil that revealed itself to the world is bound to be eaten by another greater evil. Ugh, this isn’t something I should worry about, especially at my old age. You leave that b*stard to me and go to sleep. You stayed up for three nights in a row, didn’t you? Everything in the world will find its place with time, no matter what it takes.”
Monk Dae Woo pushed Mu Ssang’s back.
“Yes, teacher. Your disciple will take his leave.”
There was pity in monk Dae Woo’s eyes as he watched his disciple’s disappearing back. Despite his abilities, monk Dae Woo couldn’t look into his disciple’s future as his soul was complex.
“What a problem. Brat, Samedi!” monk Dae Woo shouted.
Samedi pretended to be dead. The old human was a much scarier person than his master. He felt like he’d be beaten to death if he opened his eyes. He planned to flee to where the kindhearted Miss Edel was the moment he could move his hands and feet. Monk Dae Woo could clearly read Samedi’s thoughts.
“Hmmm, you’re asking for a beating, aren’t you? If you don’t listen to me, I’ll beat up your master until the brink of death as well.”
Samedi’s eyes flashed. Although he liked Miss Edel, his mind was currently overwhelmed with the thought of protecting his master.
“Hehe, what a funny guy you are. You’re more trustworthy than those smart people out there. Mu Ah brought someone useful.”
Monk Dae Woo poked Samedi’s body with his staff. Samedi glanced at him and slowly moved once his paralysis wore off.
“You can come down.”
As Samedi twisted his body, the thick rope tore off like hair.
“If you head that way, there’s water. Go wash yourself and return.”
“Brat, you say thank you.”
“Tha-nk-you,” Samedi replied politely in butchered Korean.
Monk Dae Woo’s traditional techniques could convey one’s thoughts to another and read other people’s thoughts too. It was an upgraded version of the Lightning Mind Reading that often appeared in martial arts novels.
“Hurry up and go!”
The voice rang in his head. Surprised, Samedi jumped and sped toward the valley.
“Hehe, I won’t get bored teaching that guy.”
Monk Dae Woo’s project to turn Samedi into a human commenced. In Samedi’s point of view, it marked the beginning of hardship.
“Oh, young monk! When did you arrive?”
A cracked voice shook the foggy morning air. Mu Ssang, who had been meditating on a platform in the front yard, raised his head.
“You’re here, Young Oh.”
“Ya, nice to see you again!”
A boy with a buzz cut gave a sweeping bow. The child puffing breaths of cold air was Young Oh, the newspaper boy.
“You’re working hard. Good job.”
He was a kid who tried to live his life to the fullest despite the difficult circumstances.
“Hehe, I’m going to school because of you, monk, sir. Thanks. I’m paying back the money I borrowed every month. I’ll pay them all back when I get myself a job later.”
“Of course, you brat. Stealing money from a monk is an express ticket to hell. Hurry along. You need to prepare meals and take your siblings to school after this, don’t you?”
“Ya, I’m going. See you later, mister monk!”
Young Oh shot down the mountain path and disappeared.
“Quite good.” Mu Ssang smiled.
Young Oh had organized all the newspapers by date during his absence. He also paid back the money he borrowed every month as promised. Although Mu Ssang would only be receiving the money he had loaned in installments, he was a brat worth the investment.
His teacher was not interested in gathering more disciples. The number of disciples who had visited the temple could be counted with one hand. One or two mountain hikers would drop by to drink water. While the quiet was pleasant, there were problems.
Although his teacher didn’t have any problem turning his back on the world, that wasn’t the same for him. Since there were no people, there was no way for him to know about the happenings of the world. His teacher monopolized the TV. Rather, he didn’t watch the TV because of the bald man who always appeared on the screen. The bald man was truly hateful, to the point that he considered assassinating him.
The link connecting the isolated temple and the world was newspapers. Two newspapers were delivered to Chun Sung Temple. One was the Nam Yang newspaper the embassy sent as a form of communication. Whenever he saw the Nam Yang newspaper’s headlines, which supported the government’s propaganda, he would get annoyed. He only checked the advertisement section, which the DGSE utilized to convey messages. The other one was Dong Nam newspaper, a relatively neutral news source, delivered by Young Oh.
Dong Nam newspaper’s office was six kilometers away from Chun Sung Temple. Although the situation called for more sales, no newspaper boy would travel six kilometers just to deliver one newspaper.
His empathetic teacher had connected him to Young Oh. His teacher had thrown him a paper with a written address last winter after returning from collecting alms.
“His situation’s pitiful. You go take a look.”
Young Oh’s situation was indeed pitiful. His alcoholic father had passed away from a car accident, and his mother had collapsed because she was sick. Young Oh had younger siblings. After graduating elementary school, the young boy became the head of the family. He had set out to become a cobbler instead of continuing middle school.
He saw the kid crying after his shoebox was stolen by the street gang boys in Indong market. It was natural for both humans and animals to fight over territory. Stealing from others was a frequent scene in the market.
“Are you Young Oh?”
“Would you like to deliver newspapers?”
“I’m already delivering Dong Nam’s.”
“Brat, I’m asking you to deliver newspapers to Chun Sung Temple.”
“Chun Sung Temple? Never. It’ll take a whole day.”
“If you deliver there, I’ll pay you as much as you receive from the office.”
“Whaaat? Really? If I deliver 200 copies, mister monk’s going to give me money worth 200 copies?”
Do monks rip off others? He didn’t even shave his head. Is he even a monk?
Young Oh found it hard to believe. While he was dressed like a monk, it was hard to believe a strange mister whose head wasn’t even shaved. Doubt crept up his swollen face.
“So if I deliver 300 copies, you’ll pay me money worth 300 copies?”
Young Oh tilted his head.
“What’s the point? Mister monk’s wasting money.”
“Even if I want to read the newspapers, no one’s willing to deliver them. I’m only compensating you for your efforts. You don’t have to agree.”
“No. I’m doing it.”
As though his hand was shooting out of his throat, he answered hastily before Mu Ssang could reconsider. If the monk spoke the truth, he could even deliver newspapers to the bridge village that was 20 li away.
“Don’t you have to study?”
“I want to go to school, but my mom’s sick, so I can’t go.”
“I’ll loan you money for your mother’s treatments and your school registration fee. You can pay me back every month for 10 years.”
Young Oh’s eyes flashed.
“Oi, oi, were you fooled your whole life? You just deliver the newspapers to the best of your abilities. You can do that, right?”
“I can. But why are you so nice to me?”
“This isn’t empathy but being in debt. People live in debt. They’re indebted to nature, indebted to their parents, and indebted to each other as long as they’re alive.”
“Thanks. I’ll pay back the money, promise,” Young Oh answered, still skeptical.
That was how their fates intertwined. Purpose was the driving force of a person’s awakening. Mu Ssang kept his promise. Once he had a taste of money, Young Oh pulled off a feat of delivering 400 copies instead of the 200 copies he used to deliver.
Although he pitied the hardworking young boy, too much help could become poisonous and turn him dependent. He only had to provide an opportunity for the boy to earn his keep. A world without opportunities was like hell.
He couldn’t read the national newspaper for four months. He sat on the front yard’s patio and flipped through the newspaper. Arnold Schwarzenegger took up one page of the newspaper. It was an advertisement for Terminator.
“Did these b*stards really make one?”
While it was a simple movie advertisement to ordinary people, Mu Ssang perceived it differently. That wasn’t a green-screen film but reality. The U.S. was already experimenting with prototype human weapons. France was also progressing in the field of artificial muscles. The combination of human and machine wasn’t fiction.
He grew frustrated. At least by title, he was the French Ministry of Defense’s special military advisor. No one in Korea knew much about the U.S.’ hidden power and true colors other than himself.
After WWII, the U.S. appeared like a superpower that encompassed the world. Although the U.S. and the Soviet Union were said to be two opposing powers, the Soviet Union’s national force was 20 percent that of the U.S.’ power. According to the DGSE reports, the Soviet Union’s military power was 40 percent that of the U.S.’ military power.
Their ability to launch long-range attacks and air-to-surface operations barely reached 10 percent. The Soviet Union was behind in terms of aircraft carrier construction abilities, and they also lacked the economic power to maintain said carriers. Russia’s naval power mainly consisted of nuclear submarines and missile cruisers because of their weak economic power.
Compared to the U.S.’ 12 full-fledged aircraft carriers, the Soviet Union’s four Kiev-class aircraft carriers were weak to the point of tears. The Kiev-class aircraft carriers weren’t battleships but a deck attached to a large cruiser where several vertical take-off and landing planes were stationed.
In the past and even now, wars were a battle of intel and numbers. Modern warfare went beyond one’s imaginations. Aside from their strong supply of aircraft carriers, the U.S. was also fearful because of the substantial information they had over the world.
After getting rid of a DIA consultant, Zaitun, in Kaparja, he always felt uneasy. Zaitun had said that the U.S. government’s reconnaissance satellite scoured Syria’s air for 40 days, and agents were spread across the Aleppo region. It was highly likely that the reconnaissance satellite had spotted him. The high-level spies in Syria, the monsters he had taken care of in Ounianga, and the U.S. were constantly getting entangled.
“Well, I’ve no choice but to beat them if we collide and get rid of them if they block my path.”
He didn’t want to collide with them at all, but like his teacher said, not everything in the world could be avoided just because he wanted to.