Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 359
“I swear to the god I serve that I’ll pray with all my heart.” Sun Woo Ma Go lowered herself into a bow.
Mu Ssang erased the last bit of his suspicions. Sun Woo Bang Na and her daughter have proved themselves. There were many points to emphasize regarding Sun Woo Bang Na’s spread of Mu.
Mu Ssang’s worldviews and opinions were long entangled with Buddhism and Taoism. The gods of Mu were pantheons. They were accepted and incorporated into the lives of Koreans without discrimination of this or that.
It was a matter that would make the Christians jump in fright over, but with time, Mary and Jesus might occupy a corner of Mu and become noble gods or gods’ incarnate. Getting along and coexisting was one of the charms that pantheons had. It could also be used as a common ground for social integration.
Temples began to infiltrate the cities, spreading beyond mountains and rivers. Churches covered both cities and farmlands. Shaman temples could become widespread like the shrines in Japan. Although it was an overarching idea, it would be good if shamanism could be the adhesive that kept the society united.
Mu Ssang took out a checkbook and signed a check for 100,000 francs. Like how he spread his ideals in Novatopia, he wanted to see how they were going to spread their belief.
“Your determination to save what is yours is commendable. Religion should exist as nothing but a religion. Remember, religion will become tainted the moment it holds hands with power and money. It should convert to about 30,000,000 won. Remember to exchange it at BNP Paribas.”
“No, no, impossible! This can’t do. This girl and her daughter have taken on a great debt just by your grace. Please, take it back.” Surprised, both mother and daughter leaped in their place.
“You can consider it as payment for serving my father or funds to support your Mu business. The foundation of Mu, from what I’ve seen, is jealousy and empathy. Jealousy and empathy are like two sides of the same coin. Jealousy can boost one’s motivation or become a weapon that harms oneself by trying to drag others down. Shaman rituals are like festivals. It can become the straight path to help resolve internal jealousy and evoke empathy. I hope you achieve good results.”
Mu Ssang handed them the check and turned his feet away without regret. Although he could sympathize with them, he didn’t want to be actively involved. Shamans were extremely selfish. A uniting agenda was required for an egocentric religion to grow. Despite it being around for 1,000s of years, Shinto remained confined in Japan. That was because it was trapped in a selfish and personal framework, without an integrated or universal worldview. That was the same for Mu. For it to grow as a religion, the shamans needed to change themselves.
“Great God, this girl would like to follow you!” Sun Woo Bang Na shouted just as Mu Ssang was about to leave the premises.
“No. You have your work to do. You will achieve good results if your mindset remains unchanged even after several years.”
The reply came from a distance, far down the valley.
“Oh, godly human of this world!”
Sun Woo Bang Na and Sun Woo Ma Go didn’t rise from their bow. Although Mu Ssang had drawn a line and disappeared, no one could fathom heaven’s intentions. The visit from the great God Asura became a string of fate for both mother, Sun Woo Bang Na, and daughter of the Left Martial Hall, leading them to Novatopia.
Soon, a corner of the five wise men and a corner of the Seven Hojang, known as the cruel hammer, would be occupied by the pair of mother and daughter. Even Sun Woo Bang Na couldn’t read her own future despite the great spellcaster Jeon Woo Chi’s legacy living on through her.
“I should sell legwork, damn it,” Mu Ssang complained in the ink-like darkness.
Clouds covered the sky as though rain was about to fall. He couldn’t see the moon or the stars. Although he exited from the Sinhanri highway, he didn’t see a single passing vehicle. It was over 60 kilometers from Gatbawi to Suseong-gu by road.
Mu Ssang didn’t have the leisure or was he relaxed enough to wait indefinitely for a car. He ran from Sinhanri to Hwansŏng mountain in Cheongtong, through Neungcheon mountain, and headed straight toward Suseong. He was like a goblin at midnight.
It was 15 kilometers from Gatbawi to Dongdaegu and 16 kilometers from Dongdaegu to Geumho River. While he was at it, Mu Ssang jumped on the roof of buildings and crossed both mountains and cities in 30 minutes. Traveling at a shocking speed was another terrifying ability that Black Mamba possessed.
A large house sat on a hill like a monster—that was his uncle’s house after he moved from the bridge village. He was swelling with emotions from within. He could imagine himself leaving his uncle’s house. It was snowing heavily that day. After a decade, he was standing before his uncle’s house once more. There wasn’t a purpose behind his visit. He planned on getting a grasp of the situation when he had the time. That would allow him to slowly tighten the noose around their necks later. If Hwa Ja was there, he planned on kidnapping her to sniff out information about their current situation. He had been having a bad premonition lately. France wasn’t such an idle country for Bonipas to sit around and do nothing for half a year.
Mu Ssang slid into the residence like fog. He stepped on a large pine tree in the garden and flew through the air silently like an owl.
A shepherd that was wandering on the lawn raised its head. Another of its kind, which was accompanying it, raised its ears.
“Shut it, idiot!”
Someone shouted from the guardhouse next to the front entrance.
These b*stards are really sensitive. Mu Ssang clicked his tongue on the roof of his mouth.
Although he didn’t use becoming one with nature, the shepherds still noticed him. A dog’s senses were incomparable to a human’s.
Two blue lights flashed on the roof. Even tigers wouldn’t fight against such a strong bloodlust.
The two shepherds jumped in their spot, tucked their tails between their legs, and hurried into their dog house.
What are they doing up so late? I should listen in.
There was more than one person in the house. There were 10 in the main house and five in the small building next to it. Mu Ssang casually laid down on the roof and listened in.
The crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling brightened up the living room, which was the size of an island village’s playground. The faces of the men and women sitting on the circular couch below were dark and dull. They all looked like they had chewed on a cow’s intestine. No one touched the Luwak coffee that was the price of five sacks of rice for a single cup.
They were the core members of the Jang family. There were Jang, her father Jang Kyung Ju, her brothers Jang Gi Su and Jang Sang Su, her uncle Jang Kyeong Mo, cousin Jang Chul Su, paternal first cousins once removed Jang Kyung Tek and Jang Kyung Nam, and Jang’s sixth cousin. Although the adults of the family visited their house in Suseong frequently after the issuance of convertible bonds, that was the first time they were all gathered at once.
Today’s meeting was regarding the bond interests. The elders had all gathered to meet Park In Bo because the date for their six percent interest payment was approaching, and it was unbearable for them. They were there to request a transfer.
A five-year-old kid would have laughed if they heard that the Jang family were struggling because of the interests, but the reality was hellish. What else could they do? How did the situation get so bad? It was because Park In Bo had instructed Ma Sam Shik to spread malicious rumors.
Rumors about the Jang family urgently selling their land quickly spread. All of the buyers waited until the prices dropped. The baits eventually worked after the prices dropped 60 to 70 percent of the market price. Of course, their plan to raise funds fell through. The after-effects of taking up loans to fill that gap were tremendous and deep. In just six months, the Jang family fell into a state of grogginess.
“Nephew, did you notify the police?”
Jang Chul Su shook his head at Jang Kyung Ju’s question.
“Not only in Indong, but people in Gumi and Seonsan are also talking about our family over drinks. What’s the point of reporting to them when it will only bring more harm to our family’s reputation?” Jang Chul Su replied with a gloomy face.
“As I said, brother, you made a mistake. Instead of holding them, you should have turned them over to the police.”
Their sixth cousin, Jang Young Su, scolded Jang Gi Su, the direct heir. It was a sight that couldn’t have taken place in the past. However, the family crises shook the foundations of their hierarchy, which used to be as solid as concrete.
“What are you saying? What’s the point of turning them over to the police when there’s no evidence? We can only dig around and look for the schemer behind all of this ourselves.”
“Then, you should have called the police over for protection.”
“Stop it, Young Su. How could your brother have known that those street gang members would attack our main house?” Jang Chul Su scolded Jang Young Su.
His head throbbed from all the blaming that continued like the gatherings in a poor man’s house. Their family used to be as solid as a boulder.
Last night, they managed to catch two people responsible for spreading the rumors. Jang Gi Su locked them up in their shed, planning to stand guard himself. However, some gang members rushed into their house barely an hour after they were locked up. The young men and employees of the house fought back but were beaten one-sidedly by the gang members who carried iron pipes and motorbike chains.
The gang members destroyed their shed, grabbed both of whom were held hostage, and disappeared like the wind. The incident that took place at the main house left the elders of the family stunned. To date, their family had never experienced such troubles before. However, they would have never guessed that Park In Bo was the one who gave Ma Sam Shik the information.
“Ugh, those damn b*stards! We’re being teased by an eel, like a dragon falling into a lake and all that.”
Jang Kyung Ju gritted his weak teeth, but his nephew’s words weren’t wrong. The entire world had flipped on its head, so what else could they do?
“Brother, let’s forget about those gang members and finish what we have been discussing.”
Jang Kyung Ju nodded.
“Park Shil, did you say your husband Park can’t help us with the funds?”
“Ya, I’m sorry. He went on a rampage because I asked even though I know that he’s currently short of construction funds.”
Jang lowered her head. She had asked her husband for a temporary loan but was refused coldly. She nearly fainted when he asked her to pay the taxes he’d have to pay for the CEO’s suspense receipts if she wanted his money.
“Haaa, what do we do? We’ve been stabbed in the back by a trusted ax, haven’t we?”
The ground seemed to cave in at Jang Kyung Ju’s sigh. Jang’s heart tore into pieces. She wanted to die from the guilt of disrupting her father’s retirement plan.
“Can’t we do anything about this conversion thing? It’s only 100,000 shares even if we convert them to stocks. What should we do about this situation?” her father repeated the same words he’d been saying.
Her uncle added, “I’m going to go mad. Brother, you have some leeway, but I’ve got nothing. I’ve sold all my stores, borrowed 100,000,000 won from the bank, and have a debt of 200,000,000 won. Just a month of interest is over 10,000,000 won. The company might become ours if we convert them into stocks, but what’s the point? Jil Nyuh, what are you going to do about this situation?”
As usual, Jang didn’t have anything to say. Rather, she didn’t know what to say. It had been two months since her uncle started saying those words. He didn’t miss a word like a broken record. She didn’t have anything to say either since she and her brother were the ones who dragged the elders into this.
“Park Shil, my insides are twisted. Say something. My debt is 80,000,000 won. The interest this month is 300. While brother Kyung Mo’s in trouble, I’m about to sit out in the streets because of this debt. Do something.”
Her second first-cousin once removed cried after he hit the table with his hand.
There was silence.
Jang didn’t answer. She wanted to cry too from all the frustration. The continuous whining of her elders frustrated her even more.
3,000,000,000 won in acquisition funds wasn’t merely a child’s name to a large landowner like the Jang family. The branch house and the main house members, who were affluent, had set forth eagerly. The atmosphere was good. Since they were all eager to acquire bonds, they decided to hold a family meeting to distribute the convertible bonds.
It was decided in the meeting that their eldest son, Jang Gi Su, would take 1,500,000,000 won, uncle Jang Kyeong Mo would take 500,000,000 won, great first-cousin once removed Jang Kyung Tek would take 250,000,000 won, and her little first-cousin once removed Jang Kyung Nam would take 250,000,000 won.
The farmlands in Indong had a market price of 3,000 to 4,000 won per pyeong. The market price of the cultivated rice fields cost an additional 1,000 won. To calculate simply, if an average of 4,000 won was set per pyeong, there would be 3,000,000,000 in debentures equivalent to 3,750 majigi of paddy fields. It was a jaw-dropping amount.
They held another meeting and agreed to put 2,500 majigi up for sale. The rest, they decided to loan from the bank. That much was enough for the family to endure.
Until then, they were in the mood to party. However, the situation suddenly took a turn for the worse as the rumors spread. No buyers came forward, and malicious rumors continued to spread. Holding back their tears, they had to sell their land at a bargain price. Needless to say, their cousin and sixth cousin wasted their entire wealth away. From the entire family’s standpoint, 35 percent of the acquisition funds or 1,050,000,000 won got punctured.
They sold more land and obtained mortgage loans but failed to raise the necessary funds. Sam Shik Capital appeared just in time when they had to pay for the bonds. Sam Shik Capital even provided them with generous terms.
They offered them a three-month loan period with an interest of 1.5% per month until the conversion of the convertible bonds. However, there was an additional overdue interest of one percent per month. Interest in the fourth month would be 2.5%, 3.5% in the fifth month, and 4.5% in the sixth month. Those weren’t bad terms. The Jang family agreed to the terms thinking that they would only have to fork out money for three months.
The situation was serious. Her father’s family in the main house was able to come up with 650,000,000 won by selling 1,300 majigi of rice paddies, which was half of their 2,700. They borrowed 350,000,000 won from the bank and 500,000,000 won from Sam Shik Capital with the remaining land as collateral. The top mortgage lender for land was Sam Shik Capital, followed by the bank.
 Park Shil is Madam Jang. Here, her father’s calling her by husband’s last name and a nickname for wives, Park + Shil.
 Jil Nyuh is a nickname for Pil Nyuh but more familiar and fond.
 A former unit of measurement for farms, large estates, or lands suitable for the planting of one mall of rice or grain seed.