Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 355
“Aigo, teacher’s words are always right. Buddha wouldn’t have just punched people around, he would have kicked them too. No matter how kind the Guanyin Bodhisattva is, she must have some temper too. Hehehe!”
Mu Ssang immediately lowered his tail. Once his teacher started preaching about Buddhism, he would take two to three hours. That was normal. His brain would be frosted over if he’s forced to kneel on the cold prayer room floor while listening to boring preachings again. Just the thought itself was horrible.
“Egh, my disciple’s worse than a zombie. How can I ever face my teacher at this rate?”
Monk Dae Woo clicked his tongue. His disciple was Asura’s incarnate. His nature was connected to Buddhism, but he wasn’t fated for Buddhism. Despite having an affinity with Buddhism, he was a strange kid destined for worldly matters while living in blood. Although he’d passed down the five combined movements of the JungBub temple, he couldn’t pass down the traditions. In all seriousness, he might have to pass down the traditions to a zombie instead.
“Think about greeting your ancestors later, teacher. What should I do about my father’s grave?”
“You know the answer to that. The body’s just a vessel where the soul resides for a while. What’s so important about a body that returns to earth? The world’s tragedies are caused by the living and not the dead. If your son seeks his grandfather, are you going to say he’s in heaven or floating around in the air? Your past is your ancestors and your future is your children. The existence who connects your ancestors to your children is you, the present. Even if it’s futile, as long as there’s hesitance in your mind, it becomes a burden.”
Mu Ssang understood his teacher’s words instantly. “Hesitance in the mind becomes a burden.” That was his teacher’s conclusion. He should handle matters without any qualms so that there were no regrets left in his mind.
“Thank you. I’ve asked something foolish.”
“Everything passes by as one is for all and all is for one. Namu Amita Bul.”
Monk Dae Woo turned the beads silently.
“Teacher, do you think such evil objects have any effects?”
Mu Ssang hesitated before pulling out the charms from his pocket. Monk Dae Woo looked down at the bunch of charms on the floor.
“What evil things! Did those b*stards use these charms on the grave?”
“Yes. I felt a strange aura, so I brought them back to ask you.”
“You’ve improved, noticing an evil aura from the Left Martial Hall. Maha banya bara susuri sabaha hap!”
Monk Dae Woo chanted and covered the charms with his hands.
A ripping sound was heard. The charms went up in flames. Yellow smoke rose out of the room.
“Don’t you dare!”
His sleeve swept through the smoke. The smoke gathered into a ball. Monk Dae Woo flapped his sleeve once more. The smoke grew denser until it became smaller than a nail.
Monk Dae Woo shoved the bead into his mouth and swallowed it.
He burped loudly, and with that, white smoke came out of his mouth.
“Is it good?”
Mu Ssang asked a silly question after witnessing a scene that usually appeared in martial arts novels.
“No, it tastes bad.”
His teacher’s reply was also ridiculous.
“I never thought that there were people who could still use the Ghost Summoning Method. The Ghost Summoning Method is similar to the Ancient Spells, but it is an evil Left Martial Hall’s spell that uses people as a medium. I thought there was no one left since the death of spellcaster Jeon Woo Chi, but one remains alive.”
“Jeon Woo Chi? Are Jeon Woo Chi’s spells in the novel real?”
“Spell… what spell? It’s a trick. Brat, didn’t I say that not everything you see is everything? The harmony of yin and yang is not that different in the human world. On the other side of the world, there are people like me and a Left Martial Hall spellcaster who bosses ghosts around.”
“I guess. There’s a world where dinosaurs crawl around underground, so what can’t exist? But really, can a charm hold a ghost?”
“Brat, you’re asking me after seeing it yourself? Your existence is 100 times more surprising than this charm. The white body remains in the medium when the human on the receiving end of the grudge is controlled by a special spell, which cuts off the connection between the celestial body and soul. It won’t work against someone strong like you, but it’s not an object to be taken lightly either because it has the ability to summon souls.”
“So, this person shouldn’t be left alone.”
“No one’s existence in this world is worthless. Namu Amita Bul!”
Monk Dae Woo didn’t say anything else and simply chanted. Mu Ssang bowed and left quietly. That Bodhisattva Young Mae shouldn’t be left alone.
“Brat, don’t see blood. A small ghost is bound to fall on its own like morning dew once a bigger ghost appears!” monk Dae Woo shouted.
In March of 1985, Mu Ssang returned as a student. It had been five years since he was forced out of high school, with only a few months left until graduation. Since then, the admission policies went through a lot of changes. It turned into the registration of ranks instead of the registration of subjects. The change was nothing new since the government changed the university admission policies every year. Without much thought, Mu Ssang enrolled in the College of Natural Sciences in K University, a local national university.
K University was a local national university. Mu Ssang had given up on France’s Grande École with his old teacher in mind, just like how he couldn’t leave the bridge village because he was waiting for his mother.
If he hadn’t met his teacher, he wouldn’t be able to control the Epidium’s wild DNA and might have turned into someone like Ocelot. Since his parents weren’t there, his teacher was the only person who scolded and whipped him. His teacher’s grace was extensive, and he didn’t want to leave that comfort. There was no reason to leave his hometown unless he wanted to make his name widely known.
Why did he enroll in university?
It was because he wanted to study. He had regrets concerning his studies because of Jang’s interference. He didn’t know it was a form of reaction. Hae Young had left for the states to fulfill her academic ambitions. Perhaps, he wanted to prove the fact that love overshadowed the desire for fame or success…
A month later, Mu Ssang was bored out of his mind. The quality of the lectures by the professor introducing biology theories was low, too low. Although that was a liberal arts class, he gave lectures on old theories that used to appear in the time when tigers smoked in the mountains.
Progeria occurred due to the loss of function in the life pattern of a gene. It was a disease and yet not a disease caused by an accelerated life cycle.
Werner’s syndrome was caused by the breakdown of the helicase enzyme that failed to unpack DNA properly. Without proper cell division, old cells wouldn’t be replaced in time. That meant the person affected would age and die early.
Since his youth, Mu Ssang read up on biology books because he wanted to know the secrets of his body. Although it was only for a brief period, he’d attended lectures on biology at a Grande École. He was well-informed on birth, aging, and the evolution of genes.
In his case, the Epidium factor modified his genes, resulting in a gain of function, which was the opposite of “loss of function.” He might continue to live on for 100s or 1,000s of years. It was the opposite of aging. “Aging is the deterioration of cell functions due to environmental degradation.” The professor-in-charge blatantly argued a 19th-century theory. He wasn’t teaching them those theories to compare either. The professor didn’t know any counterarguments or new theories.
He found out that the professor had been teaching the same lectures—down to the same words—for over a decade. That was more like a history class than a biology class. Lectures on other subjects were no different either.
The students’ attitudes were more surprising. The students had no complaints about the professor’s lectures. Instead, they considered Mu Ssang’s doubts strange.
There was something else for Mu Ssang to be surprised about. The professors would set the textbook and chapter for the test. All of his lectures were like that. Of course, they were all textbooks published under the professors’ name. That was a university exam, not a middle school exam. It was ridiculous to base tests on a page from a textbook. Weren’t they allowed to read other textbooks, then?
The professors were strange, but the students were strange too. All of them considered the professors’ actions normal. Some students would even ask the teaching assistant to provide them with anticipated questions. He thought everyone—old and young—were mad. People called others with differences in perspective and knowledge, “mad.” Other people considered him mad.
The other professors behaved similarly despite the differences in degrees. There were lazy professors who referred to lecture notes from a decade ago, and there were cult-like students who were satisfied as long as they got good grades. Most of the professors were no different from the mean teachers at his high school. Mu Ssang held back his anticipation to further his studies. That wasn’t a university but an after-school tutoring center. No, they were high-school dropouts in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grade, whose lives depended on grades.
A heavy low-frequency exhaust sound rang. A large motorbike entered the school’s parking lot. The 1,200cc BMW motorbike was the only one in the country, and therefore, a Mu Ssang item. All of the students’ gazes, both male and female, landed on the bike.
The snakehead’s tires were larger than a Pony’s, but they were similar in width. The chrome-plated aluminum alloy body boasted toughness and smooth curves. When the snakehead with the heavy exhaust sound appeared, the passionate eyes of young students were drawn to him as though a famous celebrity had appeared.
By the end of 1984, there were 910,000 registered vehicles, including all trucks, buses, and passenger cars. It was a time when cars were considered a symbol of wealth. The social atmosphere was still dull.
The college students were mainly dressed in monochromatic plain clothes and jeans. Many students wore the U.S. military field attire that they bought at a second-hand store. It was a time when hair dyes or accessories weren’t even considered.
The appearance of Mu Ssang with his built body, backpack, and Ray-Ban sunglasses gave them a cultural shock. Moreover, his monstrous motorbike, which was known to be more expensive than a passenger car, freaked them out.
Whenever he rode to school on the snakehead with the heavy exhaust sound, everyone, regardless of gender, looked on with envy in their eyes. There were even rumors that he was actually an alien and that the motorbike he rode wasn’t from earth either.
Mu Ssang wanted to live quietly, but his profile made it impossible. Mu Ssang’s body was flashy in appearance. His muscles were five times heavier than his body’s mass of fat. Mu Ssang’s body, which was packed with small muscles, weighed close to 100 kilograms. Unlike their appearance, the dense muscles of an Epidium—not homo sapiens—made them agile.
The tall freshman who enrolled late, the frightening cross scar on his cheek, the prideful gaze and macho-like expression, the large foreign motorbike, and the foreign car that he drove to school when the weather wasn’t great—all kinds of rumors about his identity circulated.
The rumors of him being a second-generation chaebol and the boss of a nationwide gang gained credibility. Other rumors about how he was the second born child of a large company’s CEO, the hidden son of a former president, and also a cyborg that had been remodeled in the U.S. surfaced. Of course, Mu Ssang wasn’t interested in those rumors and didn’t bother to explain either.
All kinds of stories about Mu Ssang’s identity started spreading, but he wasn’t interested to know what the lumps of blood were talking about at all. From Mu Ssang’s point of view, it was hard to get along with those lumps of blood too. The environment where they were raised was too different. Since they didn’t share a common ground, it was hard to get along.
The female students made bets too. They betted on the back seat of the BMW motorbike. When she heard the story about the bet through her friend, Jin Soon snorted.
“Getting on the back seat of the snakehead? Crazy b****es, f*** them. It’ll be easier to crack a nut open with their nipples after taking off their bras.”
It was as Jin Soon said. Until the end of the mid-term exams, none of the female students got on the back seat of the snakehead. Mu Ssang was someone who managed to get Hae Young, the incarnation of passion. There was Edel in Novatopia and Jin Soon in Korea. Compared to Edel and Jin Soon, those girls were nothing but lumps of blood. Once, Mu Ssang said this to a girl who wanted a ride:
“Do you know me because I don’t know you?”
Unsurprisingly, the girl stepped back and looked at him in disbelief.
“You’re the oppa from natural sciences who is rumored to be expensive.”
Some even spoke back shamelessly.
“That’s none of my concern. What if I took you to some eerie place and did something weird to you? Do you know me enough to trust me that much?”
“Ugh, what the hell!”
After their self-esteem took a hit, the girls usually snorted and disappeared. Mu Ssang couldn’t understand those girls who wanted to get on the back seat of his motorbike. An unfamiliar girl rubbing her breasts against his back? It would be awkward. To Mu Ssang, it was a natural response, but to others, he was a very boring human.
Mu Ssang was known to be a man with no manners and no taste. Still, they fought each other when asked to return a library book or save a seat for him. Countless female students tried their best to grab his attention despite chewing him out for being ill-mannered.
The students were burning with curiosity as time passed. Several female students attempted to touch him, but no one succeeded. He was too taciturn. It was difficult to talk to him. History could only begin when there was an opportunity for conversation. Even at the freshman welcome party, he only introduced himself in two sentences.
“My surname is Park, and my name is Mu Ssang. The Mu Ssang from Guk Sa Mu Ssang.”
Obviously, the crowd had nothing to say to that.
Mu Ssang only headed to two places once he reached the school on his snakehead. He either made his way to the classroom or the library with light, measured steps. No matter how much he suppressed his aura, he couldn’t control the posture that came with his inborn physical looks.
His walk was peculiar. His stride was as constant as a milling machine, and he didn’t sway from side to side like bites moving along a shelf’s surface. Like a clam that met an octopus, his mouth was always shut. He often remained silent all day.
His soul was too far away to play billiards, go to meetings, have coffee, and flirt with his classmates. The thought of a campus romance flew to Andromeda.
 A phenomenon in which a specific gene has less to no function.