Novel Name : Mercenary Black Mamba

Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 356

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Despite his physical abilities and mental maturity, Mu Ssang’s nature was of someone in their 20s. He wanted to pursue freedom, study to the fullest, and enjoy romance. The reason why he crossed the threshold of university so late was that he wanted to live like a human. After all, despite the barbaric lands of the Sahara, he was called the romantic master in Ennedi.

Unfortunately, Mu Ssang became someone more suited for such barbaric lands than modern society. Clean water pouring out at the turn of a tap, the courses of food served in exchange for money, a transportation system that could take him anywhere, a land safe enough that he didn’t have to worry about getting shot, and a land that had no flies, sands, poisonous insects, and predators—that was Korea. The stable environment and framework of modern society didn’t fit him.

The aesthetics of barbarism and the impact of murder weren’t simple. Mu Ssang had adjusted to the barbarism without realizing it. He had become an outsider in society. His misfortune was also due to the fact that he didn’t get to grow up in a proper environment. Without the protective shield called parents, he was thrown into a survival battle at the age of nine and was forced to become an adult.

Despite killing 1,000s of people, Mu Ssang was able to remain human because he went through mental training since his youth. That was how big and strong the vessel of his soul was. Paradoxically, his resolute soul and strong body became a hindrance when he stepped into society.

Society was about relationships. In a relationship, an individual would grow and learn to become sociable. Mu Ssang was a difficult person to connect with. If an average person stood before him, they would run out of breath. It was because of the silence and the tension radiating from his aura. No one could approach him because his aura overpowered their courage. How could any normal person converse with a starving tiger or lion!

His strange eating habit also became a stumbling block. The student cafeteria’s menu wasn’t that appetizing. Students would empty their plates in five to 10 minutes and engage in daily conversations and debates.

Mu Ssang spent at least 30 minutes emptying his plate. He looked like a camel walking backward. The habit was deeply ingrained for almost a decade. His classmates couldn’t say anything about his eating habit. The students criticized and called his habit a cyborg’s feast.

Star Wars, an SF movie directed by George Lucas, premiered in Korea in 1977. Soon after, the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, was released in 1981. Youths who longed for freedom reveled in the magic of SF unfolding in the vast universe.

The most popular character among young adults wasn’t Jedi but Darth Vader. Darth Vader’s overwhelming aura excited them.

An expressionless face as though he was wearing a mask, his robotic walk, his unfriendly tone which sounded creepy, the tension felt from his deep-set eyes, the black style he wore often, and his robotic eating habit—all of that made up Mu Ssang. From the student’s point of view, Park Mu Ssang’s profile and aura were exactly like Darth Vader’s.

Even the cross scar on his left cheek made him look more like Darth Vader under the mask. The several nicknames they called him until then, such as Big, Tasteless, Prince, Alien, etc. unified under the name “Darth Vader.” It was to the point that if K University students didn’t know Darth Vader, they were suspected of being spies. Mu Ssang became a celebrity unknowingly.

To be precise, Andromedan Mu Ssang wasn’t a celebrity because of his connections but because of his existence. He didn’t realize it, but he’d gone too far to be normal. The weight and the size of his soul were too different.

To him, friends meant those who crossed the line between life and death with him. Unless they drank makgeolli and soju until they dropped dead, who’d discuss life and death on campus? It also meant that there was no opportunity to form connections.

While his tired soul wanted a comfortable life, his greedy DNA longed for the battlefields where blood flowed like a river. That was another homework for Mu Ssang to solve.

Unlike the complicated rumors, Mu Ssang’s daily routine was simple. He woke up early in the morning, said his prayers, and loosened up by practicing the five combined movements. He made his offerings and immediately went to school on his motorbike.

It was barely 70 kilometers from the temple to the university. To him, 70 kilometers felt like he was visiting a next-door neighbor. Still, getting to school took him three hours. It was because he went off-road and passed through the city.

Once he arrived, he listened to lectures, browsed through materials in the library, and borrowed books and brought them back to the temple. Once he returned to the temple, he browsed through the books and papers related to his major. He prayed again in the evening, practiced the five combined movements, and meditated. It was a simple life that would make any normal young adult scream in frustration.

Fortunately or unfortunately, no calls for him were advertised in the Nam Yang newspaper until the midterm exams were over. Black Mamba would never know it was thanks to Germaine’s persistence.

He even pushed back his plans to search for his mother and his plans for revenge. His teacher said that paths would open up on their own and that everything would be sorted out in time. He also said that rushing through matters would ruin everything instead. Some form of fortune rolled in when he listened to his teacher.

Mu Ssang slowly forgot about the battlefield that reeked of blood and adjusted himself to daily life. This could be his first taste at a normal life since the day he was born. Professor Giz said that the routine of daily life was the best medication for a wounded soul. The shadow of the holocausts that clouded his mind gradually drew back. Not even the CIA or the KGB knew that the most dangerous existence on Earth was wasting his time away in university.

There were always two sides to worldly matters. Nothing was good or bad. That was why proverbs ran in pairs. There were the proverbs “bad things come in twos” and “blessings in disguise.” The opposite of the proverb “knowledge is power” was the proverb “ignorance is bliss”. The proverb “flashy on the surface” contrasted with the proverb “someone else’s looks better”.

Since all humans lived like so, religions also had their side of evil. Christianity created satan by corrupting an angel and caused Eve, who was living a happy life, to sin.

That was the same for Buddhism. There were all kinds of evil beings like the Mara and demons that interfered with training and human lives. Since it was difficult living on their own, their existence allowed people to grow more reliant on Buddha and focus on their training. Sin and evil were the two wheels that religions operated on. Without evil, it’s hard for religions to exist.

Mu Ssang had no religion. Rather, he disliked religions. The kind of evil he believed in wasn’t the concept of devils, but humans themselves, especially those who believed they were above others and abused their position because of greed. Since before, he didn’t believe in any existing religions.

Religion was his last resort before the means of training. Mu Ssang was someone who preferred breaking instead of bowing. He had faith in himself, had a strong sense of pride, and believed that he was but a person between heaven and earth. He was never the kind of person to rely on religion.

He wore monk-in-training clothes and prayed because it was part of the process of figuring out his identity and mental training. He was already becoming a religious being himself. Mu Ssang was someone from a new human race who showed extreme dual personalities: a psychopathic personality with religious benevolence and a strong sense of justice. A historical figure most similar to him would be Cao Cao of the Three Kingdoms.

Cao Cao killed 1,000s of civilians without blinking but cried over the death of his subordinate. The reason why he was judged as a person with dual personalities and a traitor was because of the narrow perspectives of Confucian scholars. That was the same for Mu Ssang. He went back and forth between two extremes. What if a regular student found out the truth about Mu Ssang? They would lose consciousness. That was how the proverb “ignorance is bliss” came about.


The snakehead entered the old house at the foot of the mountain where Jin Soon and Yeon Soon lived.

“Grandma, are you ok?” Mu Ssang shouted.

“Aigo, Jin Soon’s brother, right? You’re here.”

A grandma with a hunched back and watery eyes greeted Mu Ssang. The owner of the house, the grandma who lived alone, was slightly deaf. Mu Ssang handed her a large sack of sugar.

“What did you get me this time? How can I ever repay you!”

Despite what she said, the grandma immediately reached out for the gift.

“Grandma, you said you need sugar to digest well. That’s why.”

“Aigo, I must have forgotten. I keep craving sweet things since I’m old now. Thank you. You’re more like a son to me than my son, that brat I raised. I’ll die anytime soon since I’m old.”

The grandma shed some crocodile tears.

“Grandma, you should stay healthy for a long time.”

Afraid of continuing the conversation, Mu Ssang bid his farewell and hurried into the inner room that Jin Soon rented.

“Oppa, what’s up?”

Yeon Soon, who had been preparing late dinner, jumped out and wiped her hands on her apron.

“I have some pork loins and belly slices. Where’s your sister?” Mu Ssang asked before he handed her a bag and sat down on the floor.

“Unni’s out at Dong San Hospital for her practical. Gosh, you’ve bought a lot. You’re hungry, aren’t you? Just wait a moment.”

Yeon Soon rushed back into the kitchen.

“It’s fine if you take your time. Just don’t make kimchi-jjigae,” Mu Ssang shouted at the back of Yeon Soon’s head.

Edel’s kimchi-jjigae had left him horrified and traumatized. Just looking at kimchi-jjigae made his insides turn, leading to a loss of appetite.

“Where are you going to work after you graduate?”

“Where can a girl with a business management degree go after she graduates from a local university? A small trading company might take me in. I should have studied nursing so that I can secure a job immediately like unni. I made the wrong choice.”

Yeon Soon was a year younger than Jin Soon. They were in the same graduating class because Jin Soon had delayed her school admission by a year.

“Brat. Skills are more important. There’s nothing wrong with graduating from a local university. Becoming a nurse is plenty of hard work too. I heard they have terrible working hours and are not paid enough.”

“Aigo, oppa, don’t quote Confucian words. Local graduates receiving recommendations into big companies are just like beans sprouting during a drought. We only have one recommendation in my cohort too. Without a recommendation, sending in applications is the same as throwing waste paper into their trash cans.”

“Really? What horrible people. Don’t worry, you have oppa.”

“Hehe, even fleas have some guilt. Oppa, you’ve done plenty just by financing our education. Anyway oppa, what are you going to do with unni?” Yeon Soon got closer to the head of the table.

“You sly brat, why are you saying useless things like that? Do you want him to choke while eating?” An answer came from outside.


Yeon Soon closed her mouth. Although there was an age difference of a year between them, she didn’t dare talk back to Jin Soon. Jin Soon opened the door and entered the room. She was still wearing a white gown.

“Oppa, you’re here.”

“Yes, let’s eat.”

“Unni, how did you get off so early?”

“I had a hunch that oppa would be coming over. I rushed over without changing.”

“Aigo, as if you had any premonition. You can work as a shaman then.”

Jin Soon glanced at the table and turned pale.

“Aigooo, you brat, why’s the table so empty for oppa? Is oppa a rabbit? There’s not a single fish.”

“Hmph, you sound like a Mrs. Park.” Yeon Soon pouted.

As if she didn’t hear that, Jin Soon rolled up her sleeves and entered the kitchen. Soon, there was the rich smell of oil and the sizzling sound of a frying pan. Jin Soon immediately brought over a heavily oiled plate. There were at least two servings. Mu Ssang picked up a piece and raised his thumb.

“Oh, it’s good! There wasn’t enough time to marinate it, but it doesn’t smell. How did you do it?”

“I added a little curry powder since there was little time to prepare. How’s life at school nowadays?”

“It isn’t that fun. I think it’s funny that such unqualified people can become professors and that the students put their lives on the line for grades. I just come to mark my attendance and waste my time in the library.”

“Kekeke, of course, you would do that, oppa.” Jin Soon laughed.

Oppa was someone who mastered Pythagoras’s theorem in middle school and calculated the number of chopsticks that could be made out of all the trees in Hajungdo with the Gaussian calculation method. She knew he was smart from when she was younger. However, now that she was older, she only found it unfortunate.

“Oppa, won’t you consider studying for real, now?”

“Too late. I’ve already seen the big wide world.”

Mu Ssang’s eyes went slightly out of focus. He had started too many projects that it was difficult to only live for himself. That was why the mind became restless when people had too much on their plate.

“You came here instead of the temple because you have something to do tonight, right?”

“Huh, how did you know? You really do have some kind of sixth sense.”

“Hmph, you can fool a ghost but not me.” Jin Soon smiled.

“I’ve taken a good rest and forgotten everything until now. I did want to enjoy school life properly, after all. Still, something feels off nowadays. I should wrap up matters as soon as I can.”

“What about aunt?”

“Teacher said the time will come on its own.”

Jin Soon nodded. If the monk grandpa said so, it was so.

“Do you want me to prepare grandpa’s meal instead?”

“No. I’ll go there and come back.”

Mu Ssang devoured the remaining stir-fried pork loins and stood up.

“There’s no moon today.”

Jin Soon, who came to see him off, brushed her shoulder lightly against his shoulder. When Mu Ssang pulled her shoulder, she rushed in for a hug.

“I’m sorry about several things.”

“No, I just need to be with you, oppa. I’ve been your shadow since I was 12.”

Jin Soon’s voice shook. She could still recall the time when she, who was 12 years old at the time, used to cross the Nakdong River on her oppa’s back. Her soul belonged to him ever since she smelled the sweat on his back.

“Don’t worry. I’ll come back quickly.”

It was a street with bright streetlights. Mu Ssang disappeared as though his body melted into the air.

“Tsk, why would I worry? I’ve never had the chance to suck on your fingers since you never get hurt. Ugh, no one’s going to beat you up for hugging me tightly, the moon’s not even out!” Jin Soon complained.
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