Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 340
Houses made up of reinforcing steel, cement, and siliceous aggregates turned into warm and comfortable homes through the deep connections forged between family members. Without that connection, homes would return to being houses made up of aggregates of inorganic materials. A house without love and affection between family members was but another hell.
After encountering many near-death experiences, Park Jin Bo left his home. Just looking at his wife left him angered and in pain. Every time he saw her face, it awakened the bloodlust within him, causing his hands to subconsciously reach for the kitchen knife or golf club.
Dislike and hatred were different. Hatred was an extension of the concept of attachment. When attachment ceased to exist, only two paths remained. If the other person had the upper hand, hatred remained, and if you had the upper hand, it turned into indifference.
Here, the concepts of superiority and inferiority were a mutually psychological phenomenon and extremely subjective. Park Jin Bo, who was mentally weak, was left with nothing but hatred. Running away was an inevitable choice. He couldn’t accidentally murder his wife now, could he?
A worse situation arose. As he continued to overwork himself, his emphysema developed into chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The prognosis was so bad that symptom prevention was more urgent than treatment. Professor Kim would kill Park Jin Bo with his nagging if he discovered that he had gulped down a bottle of Kumbokju.
It was a snowy Christmas Eve. There wasn’t a comedy like that—the combination of flat beer and chicken gizzards. Beer didn’t have a tangy taste or burning sensation like Kumbokju. People drank it for its refreshing taste. Without the foam, beer would lose its refreshing taste.
He glanced at Deok San’s owner. She was busy setting up a table for a group of customers who had just arrived. Although she wore baggy pants and operated a chicken gizzard eatery and bar, she was a woman who smelled like a human. Her big butt, which shook as she moved around busily, looked pretty. Still, she wasn’t a woman who’d give him Kumbokju just because he complimented her. That was why he visited the place often.
A fair-skinned face emerged on the golden—no, yellow—beer glass. An attractive forehead, dark and neat eyebrows, glassy eyes behind long eyelashes, a slightly pointed nose, and a small mouth—features started filling the foamless beer glass.
Mu Ssang’s face overlapped with Kim Mal Soon’s. It was his nephew whom he had trampled on for years, beaten, framed as a thief, and even sent to jail.
[I’ll return when I have enough strength.]
He could hear Mu Ssang’s last words like an auditory hallucination. He didn’t run away from home and had endured the abuse because he was a coward. He had stayed behind all those years to honor his father’s last words, also in hopes that Kim Mal Soon would return. When Park Jin Bo came to learn the truth, he had goosebumps all over.
He must have held quite the grudge. How would he reappear? Frustrated, Park Jin Bo downed the flat beer. Park Jin Bo flinched as he set down the pitcher.
What if Kim Mal Soon told her son about what had happened that day?
Park Jin Bo choked and spat out his beer. Mu Ssang was a determined and meticulous guy. After finding those who had set him up and crippling them, he disappeared. Women were no exception. That had happened five years ago. For some people, time itself was power.
Did Mrs. Jae Soo talk to her son about the incident that day?
It wasn’t a likely story. Kim Mal Soon was a graceful woman by nature with little formal education. She wasn’t the kind of person to tell her son about such a shameful incident. Still, humans were unpredictable. What if she had told him the truth? Finding Kim Mal Soon would be like hanging a noose around his neck himself.
“Heee… That doesn’t mean I can give up now. I need to pay for my crimes. That brat wouldn’t be able to kill his uncle, right?”
He’d already prepared for it, and he had limited time left anyway. There was nothing to fear. He glared at his beer glass. A middle-aged man, who was bald at the front and losing more of his hair, stared emptily back at him.
“Park Jin Bo, are you happy?”
The middle-aged man’s face creased.
“Hehehe, it seems like you aren’t. Haaaa-”
Park Jin Bo’s sighs grew longer before the foamless beer glass and the burned chicken gizzards.
“I’m sorry, Jin Bo. It seems like your son grew up well like a pine tree. My children turned into nothing but worthless idiots. I’m planning to pass my wealth to Ssang. That should be enough. I don’t know how he’d react with all that resentment, but he’s still family, right?”
Park Jin Bo drank another glass and stared up at the ceiling covered with soot.
“You’re cursing me out up there, aren’t you? As your brother, I’ve nothing to say. I’m going to go meet you soon. Damn, us brothers have short lives. I wonder if I can last another three years?
Park Jin Bo raised his glass as though he was toasting to the empty seat before him.
“Kekeke, sorry. Mrs. Jae Soo, I’m really sorry.”
Park Jin Bo’s sighs and regrets piled up on the dusty table.
The Jang family’s downfall didn’t start with Mu Ssang, but their son-in-law, Park Jin Bo. One would get bitten from pissing off a poisonous snake.
While screams were being exchanged in the Jang family’s meeting room and Park Jin Bo was drowning in his regrets and squirming in his seat at the chicken gizzard eatery, Hwa Ja was causing a scene in her room. She had gone a few days without smoking, which brought about withdrawal symptoms.
“You f***ing b*stard, who do you think you are to stop me from leaving? Are you my husband? My dad?”
A record player, which Hwa Ja had sent flying, smashed into smithereens. The closet door that suffered her front kick fell apart. Guard Lee Dal Soo bravely withstood Hwa Ja’s madness before the door. Unable to control her tantrum, Hwa Ja swept all the cosmetics off her dressing table.
Lee Dal Soo covered his eye after it was hit by an essence cream bottle. Blood trickled down between his fingers.
“Ah! Miss, please calm down. Boss gave his orders. You need to let me do my job,” Lee Dal Soo begged, oblivious to his injury.
He was about to taste death. The entire house had flipped on its head because the second lady had started taking heroin again. The boss, who had visited the house for the first time in a long while, flew into a rage. Madam and driver Kim were cussed out. Even Madam, who used to be so confident, couldn’t refute when her second daughter was involved. Like before, the boss banned the second lady from going out.
“F***, what an unlucky day!” Lee Dal Soo complained inwardly.
Driver Kim had taken the Madam out on the day that his coworker, Yeo, went to get surgery. The only person in the house who could stop the lady from leaving was himself.
“Hmm, you damn b*stard, you think you’re brave, don’t you?” Hwa Ja smiled as she grabbed a golf club.
Fine, kill me.
His family was more important than the pain and humiliation of being beaten. Images of his firstborn who had just started talking and his second child who was less than a hundred days old lingered before his eyes. Lee Dal Soo covered his bleeding eyelid and stood before the door nonetheless.
“Huh, this damn f***er!”
Hwa Ja hesitated. He didn’t seem to be a guy who’d let her go just because she threw a tantrum.
“Let’s see how long you can last.”
Hwa Ja’s eyes flashed viciously. She took off her blouse and lowered her pants halfway. Her black forest was revealed.
Lee Dal Soo hurriedly turned his gaze.
“Mr. Lee, I’m going to rip off my clothes now. You understand?”
“Miss, why are you doing this””
Lee Dal Soo’s face darkened instantly.
“Hmm, you can do it for real if you want.” Hwa Ja smiled as she swayed her butt from side to side.
Lee Dal Soo gritted his teeth. In such cases, he had no choice but to contact his boss. Of course, Hwa Ja immediately knew what he was planning to do.
A sum of money dropped before Lee Dal Soo.
“Mr. Lee, I’m going to be out for an hour. After an hour, you can contact that damned boss of yours. You’ve two kids, don’t you? You need a lot of money, right?”
Mr. Lee moved away from the door weakly. Hwa Ja took the opportunity to head straight to Busan’s renowned red-light district, Poplamachi. Ever since Daegu’s red-light district was investigated by the military for illegal drug trading, she had to go to Poplamachi to get drugs. Hwa Ja stepped on the accelerator, unaware that she was entering a dark abyss.
Chun Sung Temple was peaceful, like always. There were two small areas within Chun Sung Temple’s large base—the main temple and the kitchen. On the other hand, the front yard was about the size of a military training center.
The reason why the temple base was unequally distributed was because of monk Dae Woo’s insistence. Impressed by the monk, a rich man had offered him a well-made temple base and even a temple building. The monk managed to dissuade the rich man from constructing the temple building. He only built a small temple and didn’t construct any more buildings. The area that was originally for the building became the temple’s front yard.
The sound of a car bumper crashing was heard, followed by a strange scream. A dark bear bounced out of the side building and collapsed on the yard.
“Tie tires, now!”
Samedi rushed to wrap a rope tied to two large truck tires around his waist. Mu Ssang had dragged around those tires in the past.
Samedi ran like an ox in heat. Two large tires followed him as though they were floating. The snow that had piled up in the front yard scattered everywhere.
“Turn left, turn right, go back!”
Samedi moved in a different direction with every order. The snow in the yard was swept clean instantly.
“I can see your feet. Do you want your head cracked open!” Mu Ssang screamed.
Samedi’s feet moved faster. It was like deja vu—an evil training instructor and his owls.
A blast of air sounded.
Samedi moved at an absurd speed. Two large tires hanging from his waist swept away the snow in the yard like a storm. Those large truck tires weighed between 65 and 100 kilograms. It was a weight that an average person couldn’t handle.
Despite his painstaking efforts to avoid being hit, a rock slammed into the back of his head.
“You brat, stop stuttering. Call me wakil.”
“Wakil, I’m sorry.”
“Hehe, how dare you act stupid to get off from work! I can see your feet.”
Zombie, no, Samedi, sped up as though he was about to die. The snow that had piled up in the yard disappeared, and even the wet soil had dried up. Thick dust soared into the air.
Samedi didn’t know or care about the story behind the large yard. All he knew was that if he slowed down, the rocks would start flying. The rocks thrown by his owner were unavoidable. Sweat flowed like a stream of water down his wriggling dark muscles.
Samedi grew normal surprisingly quickly. Now, which was a month later, the zombie elements in his body had completely disappeared. It was thanks to monk Dae Woo’s brainwashing and extraction of the Yorunba’s toxins that had accumulated inside his body.
His slow speech was also improving. He had also learned some Korean thanks to his master’s mind-reading ability. The language transmittance skill carried on the resonance waves imprinted the pronunciation and meaning of the words directly into the brain. It was a cheat-skill of mastering foreign languages.
Samedi was being punished because he had secretly eaten a hibernating raccoon. He had filled his stomach and washed up in the river to remove the smell, but that couldn’t fool Mu Ssang. He was caught, beaten, and now punished.
“Huh? Why are so many people coming up here?”
Mu Ssang’s ears twitched. About 10 pairs of feet were moving beyond the temple gates. If they were crossing the gates, it meant that they were headed toward the temple.
Did teacher call them over?
He tilted his head.
At the entrance of the temple, people of all ages opened their mouths at once. A huge black man was dragging around tires that seemed incredibly heavy and creating a blizzard. When else could they have witnessed such a strange scene? 20 eyes were focused on a specific body part of Samedi, who was running around the temple base with nothing but triangular underwear on.
“It’s Cheon Gang Yeok Sa,” Sam Chul ajussi said.
He was seven feet tall and had dark-skin like ink and muscles that wriggled like ropes. The power that allowed him to run around like a horse with two large tires attached, he seemed to be like the character who appeared in the story of Cheon Gang Yeok Sa as told by the monk at Yong Am Temple. Still, some parts were lacking for someone comparable to the character in Cheon Gang Yeok Sa.
“Master, it’s embarrassing!” Samedi shouted, covering his chest and lower region.
“Huh, that brat, he’s become a human now.” Mu Ssang clicked his tongue.
Exclamations followed a bit late. It came from nine wide-eyed women. It was uncertain if they were cheering for Samedi, who was struggling, or they were simply distracted by his body.
“Wakil, females, I mean, women are watching. It’s really embarrassing.”
“Samedi, go get a boar instead.”
“That’s Samedi’s specialty.”
Samedi jumped like a deer and disappeared into the mountain. Regretful gazes followed his wide back.
“Oppa, who is that?”
“He’s my subordinate. What are you guys doing here?”
Mu Ssang was confused. Ha Dong’s family and Sam Chul ajussi’s family had come unexpectedly. It was the first time that Chun Sung Temple was crowded with visitors since its founding. There were six people from Ha Dong’s side and four from Sam Chul ajussi’s side—nine out of the 10 were women. When they opened their mouths, the peaceful temple turned into a marketplace.
“We came here to spend Christmas with you because grandpa monk and oppa are pitiful.” Gye Soon, who was wearing a Santa hat, grabbed Mu Ssang’s arm and smiled.
Now that he saw them, they were all wearing Santa costumes except for Jin Soon.
“You brats, whose four-dimensional idea was it to spend Christmas at the temple?”
“Hehehe, grandpa monk and oppa don’t mind, right?”
“Oppa, I’m pretty, aren’t I?”
The girls gathered around him.
“Hahaha! You guys are really stubborn.”
Helpless, Mu Ssang could only laugh. That wasn’t the rough Sahel but his peaceful hometown.
“Nephew, it’s me. Sorry for visiting so suddenly. It seems like we’ve interrupted a training session.”
Sam Chul ajussi stepped forward, supported by a wooden stick. He seemed to be walking more comfortably now.
“No need, a temple without visitors can’t be a temple, at all. You’re doing fine, right, old man?” Mu Ssang greeted both Ha Dong and his uncle.
“We’re always the same. They all got together and planned this meeting. We just followed them,” Ha Dong and Deok San said awkwardly.
“Heh, Mom, you were talking about how you wanted to see oppa more than us. There’s no need to pull out of this now.”
“That damn chatterbox.” Ha Dong smiled, embarrassed by Ou Soon’s words.
“Thanks for coming over. I heard both of you often came to help teacher with the chores while I was gone. Thank you.”
“What are you saying? We weren’t able to visit that often. How is the monk?”
“He’s out for routine prayers. Once he’s out, there’s no telling when he’ll come back.”
“I see. It’s good to know that he’s still as healthy as ever.”
Both his uncle and Ha Dong didn’t ask about Samedi. Although their nephew was young, Mu Ssang was special. They had lived long enough not to show their curiosity.
“How are you now, Uncle?”
“Oh. I can walk around with this stick thanks to you, and I don’t have a problem walking to the village market.”
Mu Ssang nodded his head. The torn intervertebral disc and tissues seemed to have healed well with the help of his Shaped Resonance Field, no, his resonance waves. That was his limit. Even his teacher couldn’t fix a stiff, twisted knee.
“Ssang, you basically saved our family. How can we repay you?” Deok San said, in tears. She was his father’s second cousin’s wife.
“Why’re you saying such a sad thing? Debt doesn’t exist among family members. I’ll see what I can do once I’m done with the night prayers.”
“Thank you, oppa.”
A girl around the age of Gye Soon bowed.
“Oh? You’re Kyung Soon, right? You’re having a hard time working at the factory, aren’t you? I heard it smells in the dyeing factory.”
“Nah, dad’s gotten better, and Jum Soon can go back to school again thanks to you, oppa, so what about it? Oppa, I’ll repay you, I promise.”
Tears trailed down her dark face.
“Debt, what debt? If you leave a farming field alone, it becomes nothing but a land covered in weed. I did it because I had to.”
Mu Ssang had given the 10 rice paddies and two fields, which his uncle had returned to him, to Sam Chul ajussi for him to feed on. Of course, there was no rent charge. Once Sam Chul ajussi’s financial status stabilized, Jum Soon stopped working. Although a little late, Jum Soon was preparing to enter high school after working to pay off her father’s hospital bills.
A young girl with short hair bowed her head in greeting.
“Oh, it’s Jum Soon. Oppa will lend you money for your school fees, so you study hard without any worries. Doing well in school is the same as paying me back.”
“Thank you, oppa.”
Tears gathered in her large eyes before they started spilling. Jum Soon was barely 17 years old. Aside from the long work hours, she felt like dying every time she had to endure the body search at her manager’s house. Mu Ssang petted Jum Soon’s head with his rough hands. He was well aware that the female employees were treated poorly as much as he was aware of how his uncle was running the transportation company.
Jum Soon, who was overwhelmed with sorrow, nestled her head against Mu Ssang’s chest and started crying.
Translator’s Note: In Korea, people living in rural areas are referred to by their place of birth. “Ha Dong” and “Deok San” are village names—where the characters were born—and not their names. For instance, the Soon sisters cannot be referred to as “Ms. Deok San” since they were born on Jipoon bridge. They’d be referred to as “Ms. Jipoon.” For example, if you were born in Washington, you’ll be referred to as “Mrs. from Washington” or “Mrs. Washington.”