Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 330
The Concretus had established a civilization 1,000,000s of years ago that modern humans could never dream of. A strand of DNA from the Epidium, slaves they had created back then, were passed on to him, giving him abilities that went beyond a human’s limit. It was also remnants of a defective Epidium.
Modern humans used to wield around stone axes and wooden spears 30,000 years ago. 30,000 years was a brief moment compared to Earth’s long history. Looking at the development of science, terminators and chimeras were matters of ethics rather than technology. There was a saying that went “pay attention to what’s beneath your feet at all times.” They were bound to clash one day, but not now. Mu Ssang turned his gaze back to the newspaper.
[Possibility of inter-Korean Summit]
That was the headline on the first page. It was an article full of expectations regarding the inter-Korean summit. It listed resources from North Korea’s minerals and sea products to South Korea’s rice, cement, fertilizers, and flours. It discussed that a summit was possibly in the works with the economic exchanges between the North and the South. The article was filled with rose-colored words as though they would unify soon.
The subtitle of the article was even more flabbergasting. Below the title was a grandiose elaboration on Jeon Du Hwan’s heroic deeds.
[Welcoming Mr. President’s Compatriot Decisions.]
“These s***head journalist b*stards! Dong Nam newspaper isn’t the same anymore.”
Mu Ssang slammed his head down on a picture of a bald man with a stern face.
The photo that was the size of his palm turned to dust. An innocent rock underneath shattered.
Those were all lies. The military government had resorted to emotional negotiation to counter the citizen’s discontent. A typical example would be them employing KBS in 1983 to find lost family members through a TV program. The live broadcast that had continued for five months caught the attention of the citizens’ ears and eyes. Of course, it was a good event that scratched the people’s itchy parts. The problem was the impure intentions used to turn around public opinion. The government didn’t talk about the military’s repatriations of the prisoners of war’s remains. They feared that it would provoke North Korea and also because the dead people couldn’t speak.
Would economic cooperation with the closed-off North Korea work? Mu Ssang shook his head. That was nothing but the military government’s ploy to shift public opinion to their advantage. If they truly cared about the citizens, they would have immediately released control over the press and business activities.
Next, he saw an undisputed article about the shooting of Korean Air’s aircraft and the establishment of a cooperative system with the U.S. Since Dong Nam newspaper was handling it, the truth was only revealed a year later.
In the wee hours of September 1, 1983, a Korean Air Boeing 747 that was scheduled to arrive in Seoul from New York via Anchorage went off course. The passenger plane that had entered Soviet airspace was shot down over the Sakhalin skies by two missiles fired by a Sukhoi Su-15 Flagon fighter. All 269 passengers and crew on board were killed. It was an unprecedented event in which a fighter had been launched to shoot down a civilian aircraft.
Although it was during the Cold War, and the Soviet Union was a communist country that couldn’t be controlled, it was an incomprehensible matter. The Soviet Union had claimed that KAL was spying on them, while the U.S. had accused the Soviet Union of deliberately shooting down the civilian aircraft.
Subsequently, the U.S. used the incident solely as a tool for anti-Sovietism propaganda. They spread KGB conspiracy theories and hid the fact that the aircraft had deviated from its designated route. It was an abnormal situation in which the Soviet Union had kept the contents of the aircraft’s black box a secret, and the U.S. had hidden records of the aircraft deviating from its designated route. All that was left were the political disputes between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and soon, Korea was forgotten. Koreans believed in the U.S., but Mu Ssang was aware of their true colors.
[Retaliation Plan Necessary for Barbaric Acts of Anger.]
Mu Ssang chuckled at the newspaper article’s title. What were they going to retaliate with? How were they planning to retaliate? The international community was ruthless. He had witnessed plenty of cases in Africa where weak countries ruled by an incompetent dictator were treated less than dogs.
Those in power who failed to gain legitimacy during the course of their dictatorship would become desperate to strengthen their internal security. Of course, they couldn’t speak up to those outside of their inner circle. Instead, they would sacrifice their lungs and organs to obtain external help and prevent gossip from spreading. The consequences were endured by the people.
Novatopia was as large as Gyeonggi-do and Gangwon-do. Habré had given France, no, him that vast land. He was a businessman who had given up his country’s future and land in exchange for power. Jeon Du Hwan had given up nuclear weapons and missiles to gain acknowledgment for his governing. Habré and Jeon Du Hwan were the same kinds of b*stards.
What kind of retaliation could Jeon Du Hwan’s government, which lacked legitimacy, take against the Soviet Union?
The best retaliation? A peaceful summit? Submit a case to the International Court of Justice?
Those were all out of reach. The government hadn’t been able to take action for a year. The case file had already been archived. It was used well by the Soviet Union and the U.S. as material to criticize the government. Meanwhile, Koreans hammered at their chests only to return helplessly back to their daily lives.
That was the tragedy of a powerless country. It was the consequence of embracing unjust power. Ever since he came back to Korea, perturbing news constantly greeted him rather than good ones.
The international community moved according to the logic of power. Whether it was military power, economic power, public support, or anything else, if the power wasn’t acknowledged by others, the country was nothing but a dog barking at the moon. If one felt discriminated against, they needed to acquire power.
What if the aircraft was France’s?
He would have been called in immediately and asked to pack his bag. He would have been requested to erase the Soviet commander who had ordered the shooting of the aircraft.
France was a dominant and pretentious country. On the other hand, they were very patriotic, and the government cared for their people. Korean politicians considered their people less than dog s***. The diplomatic missions abroad were only a guide to senior officials and members of the National Assembly.
How would Jeon Du Hwan’s government react once they realize the extent of his abilities?
Would they ask him to carry out assassination missions like France and reward him fairly? Impossible. F*** a handsome reward, it would be fortunate if they didn’t use him to cover up their own dirty doings. They might even consider selling him to the U.S.
He became, no, he was forced to become a mercenary because he didn’t like the corrupt military government. An ex-convict couldn’t get a proper job, so he had to leave. He couldn’t be a beggar, after all.
“Damn b*stards, they should at least pay the spies in North Korea.”
He had no intention of getting involved with a government that imposed sacrifices under the guise of patriotism. The task of sending Korean construction companies to Novatopia alone caused headaches.
“Is there good news?”
His teacher came out of the prayer room and leaned in to look at the newspaper.
“Teacher, what’s the point of sleeping in the cold prayer room when there’s a room with underfloor heating? You should take care of your body even if you’re on the verge of ascending your body.”
There was no way there’d be good news. His teacher was unconcerned about world affairs unless it was related to his disciples. Mu Ssang changed the topic and placed the stack of newspapers away.
“Don’t worry. I was planning to use my disciple’s amazing achievements to attain Buddhahood, but it didn’t work. There’s nothing to boast about since your record is a mix of good and evil deeds. Ugh. I was going to benefit from my disciple’s feats! Tsk tsk. What on earth did you do this time?”
Mu Ssang’s heart ached. His teacher must have prayed for his disciple’s forgiveness the whole night. It was wrong of him to pile on more worries instead of granting his teacher peace and comfort.
“I coincidentally came into contact with the Syrians who were almost massacred. So, I moved the villagers to France.”
“Ohho, that’s a good thing. Your compassionate mind’s more than enough to do such a foolish thing.”
A smile appeared on monk Dae Woo’s face.
“I inherited that overbearing compassion from you, teacher. I’m building a small autonomous region in Africa now. The land is about the size of Gyeonggi-do and Gangwon-do combined. I’m planning to welcome those who are at risk of being massacred and others who’re starving as citizens.”
“Ho, my disciple is talented, after all. Then, am I becoming a great teacher?” Monk Dae Woo was still smiling.
“Oh, that’s nice. Just become a king instead.”
“Damn brat, what’s the point of an old man becoming king when he’s about to return to the ground? I pity your fate that keeps you away from a peaceful life.”
“I don’t plan on staying in Africa either. An autonomous region should remain autonomous. There’s not enough time, too. I need to go find my mother once the national examinations are over. Of course, take care of some trash along the way too.”
A red light radiated from Mu Ssang’s eyes. Whenever he thought of his mother, it triggered the rage he felt for those involved in her disappearance.
His refined bloodlust poured out.
A staff knocked him right at the crown of his head.
Mu Ssang didn’t avoid the bamboo staff even when he saw it flying. If his teacher wanted to beat him, he would let him.
“There’s nothing you can’t do before your teacher eh?”
Even the Angel of Death, Black Mamba, was nothing but a Buddhist monk-in-training who swept the front yard and fed the fire before his teacher. He was immediately silenced.
“I said it before, didn’t I? You’re not fated to serve your parents. There’s a time and place for a meeting. No matter what you do, some things just won’t come to be. It isn’t long now, so trust your teacher and get ready to take the national examinations. There’s always a time for everything.”
Monk Dae Woo got serious and started reciting a poem, which was unlike his usual self.
With a sewing thread in the hands of a gracious mother,
Are the clothes for her traveling child.
Swiftly stitching until the moment of departure,
She fears her child’s late return.
With a heart as small as an inch of grass,
How can you repay her love which is like the warm spring sun?
It was the fifth verse of Meng Jiao’s poem, A Traveller’s Song, that his teacher had recited when they first met. It was a loving piece that compared a mother’s love, which was like the warm spring sun that embraced everything in the world, to her child’s love, which was like a blade of grass that barely reached three inches tall.
Thick tears streamed down from Mu Ssang’s eyes even before monk Dae Woo could finish reciting. His mother who used to sew the holes on his socks under the dim light, his mother who used to scoop him warm rice out of the pot when he crawled back in late like a stray cat, his mother who used to keep his cold hands warm by enveloping them into her chest, and his mother who had blanked out at his father’s passing—each passing scene broke his heart. His uncontrollable bloodlust disappeared, leaving him behind with only a heartache.
“Huh, a b*stard who’s going to conquer the world is crying like a baby. Brat, do you remember the day we first met?”
He could remember the first time they had met like it was yesterday.
The old monk’s shout echoed through the mountain.
“Geez, what a loud voice you have for an old man.”
He quickly washed up and entered the yard. The old monk came out of the kitchen carrying a short-legged table. There was a bowl of rice, a bowl of stew, and a bog rhubarb side dish on the small table. It was basically rice, stew, and a side dish.
“How do you survive on so little?”
It was a table setting that wouldn’t even satisfy him.
“Brat, if I give you three dishes a meal, you should be saying thank you.”
“Since when did a meal come with a bowl of rice, a bowl of stew, and a side dish?”
The monk took back Mu Ssang’s bowl. Mu Ssang only blinked. He hadn’t even seen the monk’s hand moving, but the bowl was already in his hand.
“You realize you’re getting free food from me?”
While it was annoying, the monk wasn’t wrong.
“Then, just eat. That’s the rice I’ve obtained from the alms. Why would you get three kinds of side dishes when you haven’t even planted or sowed a single seed?”
Mu Ssang subconsciously nodded his head. The monk was basically saying that those who didn’t work didn’t deserve to eat. The monk scooped some of the rice into his bowl and pushed it carefully back to him.
Mu Ssang’s nose twitched. He felt something rising from the bottom of his chest. When he looked at the monk, he was smiling. Mu Ssang immediately lowered his head and shoved his nose into the bowl of rice.
“You idiot, not everything in the world is as you see. You didn’t dream of getting beaten by a passing old man, did you?”
“There’s a sky beyond the sky. Instead of becoming a devil with a strong body and a weak mind, you’ve immersed yourself in sadness, pain, and hatred. How sad would your late father and missing mother be if they saw you?”
“How did you know?” Mu Ssang asked, surprised.
The old monk was a stranger who he had just met. How did he know that his father had passed, and his mother had gone missing?
“Hehehe, the world can only be seen if you take a step back. Are you willing to train your mind here?”
“I’ll work for my meals.”
That was how he had become Chun Sung Temple’s monk-in-training instead of the Night Boss’ elite owl waiter.
“You’re right, teacher.”
Mu Ssang had to acknowledge it. It had been 17 years since his mother went missing. He wasn’t in a situation where he could find his mother even if he were to set out now. His teacher was someone who could predict the future, nonetheless, read minds. Moreover, his words made sense.
“Aren’t you going to contact Jin Soon?”
“Yes, it’s examination period, after all. I don’t have time either.”
“Huh, but she must be waiting.” Monk Dae Woo clicked his tongue.
A car entering the temple’s front yard suddenly interrupted the conversation between the teacher and disciple.
A white man in military uniform got off.
“Act, sergeant Nazri from the embassy’s security group, sir!”
“What is it?”
“This is the car prepared for the special military advisor.”
Sergeant Nazri opened the console box and pulled out a letter. The content was simple.
[For the national treasure’s happy holiday. -Pione-]
The ends of Mu Ssang’s mouth slowly curled up. It was Manuel Pione’s gift. The delivered car had an emblem that looked like two arrows pointing up—it was a Citroën BX.