Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 388
Ulumbo swallowed his cry. He was dragged 10 meters above ground and dropped back down. His balls shriveled up like dried date palms, and his pants were wet. He was scared to the point that his soul left his body, but he managed to suppress his scream in fear of Mahabharata and Vodun. That was the extent of suffering a regular human had to experience when caught between two abnormal humans.
He’s the servant of the benevolent Mahabharata. He won’t eat me, right?
Extreme fear could be seen in Ulumbo’s eyes as he looked up at Samedi. The mahogany tree, known for its strong bark, was sliced off with a few hacks of his shovel. Approaching crocodiles had their heads cracked open, and midges were blown away with a swing of its blade. Only Umar, the head of all Vodun, could possess such godly power. Umar was a cruel spirit that ate human hearts as snacks. He felt a sharp pain in his lower abdomen just by looking at Umar’s weapon.
Samedi rowed with his Squeaker on the left, and Ulumbo rowed with the paddle on the right. The paddle entered the hippo’s mouth when it attacked and chewed off a part of the boat.
“Damn it, playing raft in the forest with a snake b*stard’s not even funny. Why are there so many anyway?” Black Mamba complained as he sliced off the heads of snakes that were trying to climb up the raft.
All kinds of snakes continued to seek refuge in the raft. Most of them were unidentified, but formidable ones like black mambas and salmusas also appeared from time to time. While it didn’t matter if Samedi and himself got bitten, Ulumbo would die immediately.
That felt like a déjà vu of his youth. Whenever the Nakdong River overflowed, the willow forest in the river island was submerged in yellow water. Small trees disappeared, and only the top of large trees over 30 meters tall remained visible. The top of those willow trees was crowded with snakes that couldn’t flee from the flood in time.
Sometimes, roofs floated down with people squatting on them during floods. When the straw roofs got caught on the willow trees, snakes would rush to the roofs. The people on the roofs would freak out. A fight would break out between the snakes and humans. It was a heart-wrenching story from his younger days.
The raft slowly made its way out of the swamp, avoiding dense trees and vines. It took over an hour to get out of the swamp. The three men, who were soaking wet, immediately took off their clothes once they reached land. It was to remove the leeches.
Dozens of leeches crawled into their clothes despite being submerged in the water for one to two minutes. With their hunting knives, they gently scraped off the suckers from their skin. Forcefully removing them could result in them vomiting out blood that they fed on, increasing the risk of contamination.
After they removed the leeches, they hung their wet clothes on the branches. The three men squatted together with their p*nises exposed and waited for their clothes to dry. For Black Mamba, that was a rather humiliating and sad sight.
They waited for over an hour, but their clothes were still not dry. He checked the thermo-hygrometer installed on his GPS. The temperature was 39 degrees Celsius, and the humidity was 95 percent. Of course, their clothes wouldn’t dry. He preferred the desert instead.
Compared to the forest, the desert was a better operational environment since it’s dry. The Ituri Rainforest’s 39 degrees Celsius was more offensive than the Sahara’s 50 degrees Celsius. He had no choice but to wear wet clothes. Although he had spares, he couldn’t shove the wet clothes into his backpack either.
“Damn it, the pay this time is dirty to the core. They just can’t see me being comfortable, can they?” Black Mamba complained as he zipped up his pants. He almost went mad at the thought of wearing a wet bulletproof vest and a helmet in the humid and windless outdoors.
“Wakil, the great master said it would be f***ing hard if your clothes are wet.”
“Shut up, brat, cover your private parts. That’s an Equus’, is that even a human’s?” Black Mamba shouted.
His d*** was on the bigger side and slightly bigger than Ulumbo’s. Still, it wasn’t comparable to Samedi’s. Women were sensitive to shine, and men were sensitive to size.
“What is that?”
Black Mamba’s face creased devilishly. A black mass was moving toward them from the swamp. Compared to the pillar that those midges made, it was spread out like a fan. He didn’t want to face any more flying insects.
Do caterpillars fly around in Africa?
Black Mamba tilted his head. From what he knew, mopanes looked like larvae that people in eastern Africa ate. It was also called yakori. It was called kungkungta, otur, and oduru in the Bantu languages, which made it hard to differentiate.
“Yes, they are small forest flies that live in swamps. They’re not bloodsuckers, but they do cling on to an animal’s body, around the eyes for tears and nose for snot.”
“Damn, that means they live off saline. Hurry, put on your clothes.”
He’d experienced enough flies in the Sahel. Flies had an extraordinary sense of smell. The swarm of mopanes was approaching, drawn by the smell of sweat. Those kinds of flies dug into any sweat glands that they could find. In reality, there were many cases where herbivores suffocated to death because flies blocked their throats and airways.
Black Mamba hurriedly put on the goggles and mask, then wore his clothes. Someone who could beat up dinosaurs was rushing to protect himself from those tiny things. He wanted to cry, but he ended up laughing. He really preferred the desert to that place.
Several 1,000,000s of mopanes blocked his view.
“Uaaaa, these damn flies!”
Ulumbo, who was a moment too late, started swearing. The small mopanes that were smaller than a grain of rice dug into every hole available. He pulled out an insecticide spray from his backpack and sprayed it everywhere. Chasing away a swarm of mopanes with a spray was no different from chasing away a group of grasshoppers with a bamboo pole.
The mopanes returned to the swamp after a round of extreme spraying. The three men collapsed. They were mentally and physically exhausted.
What am I going to do with this boat?
Black Mamba was in deep thought. The Ituri Rainforest was full of rivers and swamps, and even the most normal forest turned into a swampy area after heavy rainfall. Sometimes, rivers overflowed for no reason and turned the forest into mudflats. He was wondering if he should contact the base camp and ask for help when he heard a strange scream. It was similar to the sound one made when gargling.
What is it now?
Although it was a strange scream, he could tell from the frequency that it was a human’s vocal cords and not from a monkey.
“Samedi, did you hear that?”
“I did. It’s a human’s scream.”
Black Mamba listened once more.
He could hear a long and high-pitched scream and the rustling of leaves. He wanted to find out what it was, but the forest had too many factors that clouded his senses. Black Mamba jumped to his feet. Whether it was a missing person from the Fist of Justice operation or a human hunter, that was his chance to gather some information.
When Black Mamba jumped out, Samedi immediately followed. Ulumbo quickly ran too. The two icons were his life saviors. Separation in the Ituri Rainforest meant death.
“Sir, great master!” Ulumbo cried out desperately, but Black Mamba and Samedi didn’t even pretend to hear him out.
They jumped over bushes, swept through the trees like wind, and disappeared without a trace. Feeling threatened, Ulumbo ran to the best of his abilities.
A loud high-frequency sound shook his eardrums. Black Mamba hesitated. That was the cry of an elephant that was about to explode in anger. Enraged African elephants turned into the most feared predators.
Growing desperate, Black Mamba moved with the help of tree branches. He bounced off the tree branches, grabbed another branch 20 to 30 meters away, turned once, and moved to another branch. The surprised monkeys chattered like frogs. Samedi, who was right behind him, ran like a tank as he cleared away the grass and bushes with his Squeaker.
Black Mamba, who sprinted 1,000 meters at full speed, suddenly stopped. His view suddenly cleared up. The suffocating bushes disappeared, and an empty clearing appeared before him like a mirage. The clearing was at least 200 meters in diameter.
“Edos!” Black Mamba exclaimed.
It was an edos, also known as a jungle’s nostril. Botanists believed edos were vegetation buffer zones, but there wasn’t much evidence to back that up. There was no reason why vegetation buffer zones should be circular after all. No one knew why a large clearing existed in a dense forest, as though it had been razed off.
There were areas smaller than edos. Elephants gathered around a clearing called “Dzanga Bai.” Elephants pulled out trees to make clearings called “Dzanga Bai,” which were smaller than edos. Elephants didn’t approach edos. They made Dzanga Bai separately and gathered there. Some used Dzanga Bai to argue that elephants were logical creatures.
Black Mamba finally realized that edos were clearings created by radiation emitted from a natural uranium reactor after the collision with the U.S.
“Oh, damn!” Black Mamba’s eyes widened.
There was an elephant with its feet raised on the other side of the edos. Under the feet of the elephant was an unconscious human. Yellow eyes burning with anger, nose elevated like a periscope, and large ears spread out—the elephant was ready to attack. The killing intent of the elephant with big bones and muscles washed over him in a breath.
“Ah, it’s dangerous!”
Samedi charged toward the elephant.
“You brat, don’t provoke an angry elephant!”
Surprised, Black Mamba raised his MP5SD3 and followed after him. As soon as he focused on the target, he started shooting.
The parabellum bullets landed on the elephant’s head like hail. He emptied all 30 rounds of the magazine. That was the first time he used up all of his magazine bullets on a single target since he grabbed a gun.
The elephant screamed. It stumbled back slightly due to the shock of several close-range bullets relentlessly hitting its head.
The elephant’s head tilted to the side, and it was falling on its front.
Black Mamba’s face creased. If the elephant collapsed like so, the unconscious man couldn’t avoid the fate of becoming a human paste. He poured more bullets into its head to push it aside, but it was too late.
“Samedi!” Black Mamba, who missed his timing, shouted.
His only hope was Samedi, who was charging in.
Samedi shot up toward the elephant like a cannonball.
The sound of impact rang across the clearing. His iron-like shoulder held up the elephant’s head. Its entire head turned as he flipped the elephant over to the other side of the clearing.
The entire clearing rang.
“Ha, at least his physicality is amazing.”
Black Mamba let out a sigh of relief as he watched on. If Samedi hadn’t moved in time, he would be looking at a rice cake made of flesh and bones now.
After receiving praise, Samedi smiled widely and almost shyly, revealing his gums.
“Great master said saving a life is like saving the world.”
“Right. Saving someone’s life is a great virtue.”
Black Mamba couldn’t tell just yet whether the zombie-turned-human would become a devil or a great monk.
“He’s paralyzed from the shock. Hm, is he from the Pygmy tribe?”
The height of the human, who almost turned into rice cake because of the elephant, was barely 140 centimeters tall. Although he had no injuries, he choked on his breath, unable to breathe properly. The shock affected his lungs and obstructed his airway. Black Mamba tapped the specific acupressure points, forcing his breathing to return to normal.
“Phew, ha, ha.”
The human, whose breathing just returned to normal, started breathing rapidly. His pale face relaxed. He was short, but there were many wrinkles on his face. He was from the Pygmy tribe, after all.
“Hey, can you stand?”
The Pygmy tribe man stared blankly at Black Mamba. Slowly, focus returned to his eyes. The Pygmy tribe man jumped to his feet.
“Uagh! Chochomba, Chochomba!” he cried out desperately for someone.
The leaves rustled. Two small faces popped up. Both of them were smaller than the kindergarteners of public schools.
“Damn, my senses are messed up,” Black Mamba complained.
He didn’t notice the children hiding just 30 meters away. That was because he was in a rush, and Ituri had too many factors that clouded his senses. The clearing was even more so. It felt like he entered an enclosed room.
The two children who found Black Mamba and Samedi were very scared. It looked like they would flee any moment. The man rushed toward them without a single word of gratitude.
“What a rude young man.”
“He’s not a young man. He’s a Pygmy whose body is naturally small,” Black Mamba corrected.
Anger slowly faded from Samedi’s face when he saw the man hug the children.
The Pygmy tribe man wasn’t ill-mannered. He brought both children over and bowed down. The man was bowing to Samedi, not Black Mamba.
“Naiabunga, al ukupi-al-ley!”
“What do they mean?”
“I’ll bring the weakling over.”
Samedi disappeared. Black Mamba assessed the man whom he believed to be from the Pygmy tribe. The man covered his lower half with a skirt made of leaves, and the children were naked. His skin was dark red, and his features were defined. His nose wasn’t wide like Black people but tall. Clearly, they were genetically different from Black people.
The man and two children couldn’t stop staring at the dead elephant. He couldn’t figure out what they were thinking about.
“Wakil, I got the weakling.”
Samedi appeared amid the leaves swaying in the wind. Tucked under Samedi’s armpit was Ulumbo, who had lost consciousness. When Samedi put him down, he staggered side-to-side before collapsing.
He could understand. The humans who Samedi usually interacted with were his teacher and himself. Samedi had no idea how weak humans were. In other words, Ulumbo just completed an intense round of rodeo.
“Samedi, humans are naturally weak. It’s not just him. They can get hurt if you don’t handle them with care.”
“But their injuries also heal quickly.”