Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 390
“Ha, my words exactly!” Black Mamba also complained.
He grew frustrated and mad at the thought of a life without the concepts of dates and numbers. How were they supposed to communicate?
Although it was frustrating, it was also understandable. There were no schools or shopping centers in the Ituri Rainforest. There was no need for numbers since they didn’t have to earn money, study, or shop. Since they weren’t pressed for time, they didn’t need to keep track of dates either.
Even if one saved the meat and fruits because of greed, they would spoil because of the hot and humid climate. They had no choice but to eat and share them as they were. Since they didn’t wear clothes, there was no reason to flaunt wealth or be jealous.
The forest was abundant. It provided food, drink, materials for houses, protective materials, and even snacks. If a person sets out with a bow and arrow, they could catch animals, and if a person sets out with a basket, they could gather fruits. One could destroy the white ant’s nests for snacks, and one could eat yakori by cutting down rotten trees with a koso. There was no reason to be tied to time or dates. The Pygmy tribe were truly free people.
On the other hand, he was not. He was a modern person who had to keep track of the golden time and the number of rebels. Ituri Rainforest was the Pygmy tribe’s land. It was too dangerous for humans accustomed to modern society. No matter what, he had to solve the crisis.
“Check if there are other Pygmy villages nearby,” Samedi said, reading Black Mamba’s mood.
Ulumbo started talking to the Pygmies again.
“There’s a village a day away from here and two more villages two days away from here.”
“Really? Ulumbo, confirm their locations. We’ll head out immediately,” Black Mamba rushed.
He was already mentally exhausted two days after entering Ituri. Ill feelings toward the kidnappers who dragged him into Ituri arose. He wanted to get out of the forest as soon as he could. If he could, he would cancel the entire operation now.
“Oh, great master! You can’t!” Ulumbo jumped in his spot.
“The Pygmy tribe moves villages every two weeks. Sometimes, they move after staying for just a month. Their villages relocate throughout the forest all the time. It’s hard to find a Pygmy tribe as much as you’re likely to find an empty village.”
“Huh, they’re the gypsies of the forest!”
“Yes, sir. They build temporary houses with branches and leaves and live in them for a while before leaving. They have their way of telling the other Pygmies of their whereabouts. Outsiders won’t be able to find any village no matter how much they wander.”
“Ugh, damn, why is this so hard? So, you’re saying we’ll have to send the Pygmies away. If we leave the kidnappers be, the Pygmies might suffer too. Explain to them the dangers and ask for their cooperation.”
Black Mamba’s head started throbbing. He thought it would all end once he gave the Pygmies a gift and asked for guidance. However, they remained aloof when asked the question, and the situation was taking a turn for the worse.
Ulumbo and the Pygmy men engaged in a conversation once again. They grew rather loud as they spoke with their hands and feet. Ulumbo’s expression turned gloomy.
“Great master, I’m sorry. They say that you can stay in their village as long as you want, take any virgin you want from their tribe, and take whatever object you want, but they are unwilling to involve themselves in anything related to the whites.”
“Aigo, I’d rather die than suffer through this. What’s their reason? Keke!”
Black Mamba grabbed the back of his head. Even then, he broke out in laughter. Samedi’s 220-centimeter long weapon was like a Navarone gun. Could a 130-centimeter tall Pygmy woman handle that during s*x? He couldn’t imagine the sight.
“They say they’re extremely scared of the black men’s magic staff that shoots out lightning. If they get struck by that lightning before dying, they will suffer from soul-torturing pain.”
“What kind of grass-eating dog story is that? I saved their lives and even caught an elephant for them, but they can’t do that much? For someone so dwarf-like, they have many excuses.”
Samedi’s eyes grew red. Great master said that humans who showed no gratitude were no different from animals.
“Aigo! Sir, the Pygmy tribe considers giving and taking a very natural thing. Still, they’re not smart enough to consider the dangers they might face unless it’s right before their eyes. They think it’s natural that you saved their lives.”
“Hah! You’re saying that they don’t know the concept of indebtedness, which is why they won’t be returning the favor?” Samedi, who was at a loss for words due to the lack of logic, barked back.
“So they say?”
Samedi looked at Black Mamba as though his eyes were saying, “How is this possible?” Black Mamba smiled. What a refreshing perspective they had. Mothers prepared breakfast for their children to eat before school. The son carried his mother’s heavy basket as she walked back from the market as though it was natural. Mother and son didn’t mention that grace. They only did what they were supposed to do, and there was nothing to repay. The Pygmy tribe was the ideal definition of an organization.
“Ulumbo, you said they fear and respect humans with tall height, right? Tell them how scary Samedi is. You just need to tell them what you felt and saw.”
Ulumbo’s eyes sparkled. Now, nothing was holding him back since the Mahabharata gave permission. That was his chance to show how eloquent he was. Ulumbo showed off his true worth. With flashy expressions and gestures, he told them exactly how scary the Vodun was. Although Olonge and the other men initially shook their heads, their eyes widened, and their breathing grew heavy. Fear crept into their eyes as they looked at Samedi. Two older men moved away quickly and disappeared.
“Great master, I’ve finished talking. They say they will send some fast-footed men to the neighboring villages right now.”
Ulumbo was proud of his achievement.
“Good job. However, can’t the village leader just elect someone and send them?”
“The Pygmy tribe has no tribal or village leader. There’s no Council of Elders or consultative body. If they have some important issue to discuss or if a conflict happens, the villagers gather and decide together.”
“An entire day will pass while they discuss.”
“No, sir. They won’t drag out the meeting no matter how complicated the matter is. The Pygmies accept conditions disadvantageous to them easily. They believe that one should take a step back from a conflict for the other person to step back from a future conflict.”
“That’s amazing. Those old politicians should learn something from the Pygmies! Hahaha!”
Black Mamba laughed heartily. Although they were frustrating, they were also a funny tribe. A brain influenced by modern society would never be able to understand the Pygmies. That showed how scary a logical prejudice could be.
“Wakil, it’ll take four days for the little person to get to the other villages. There’s not enough time.”
“We don’t know much about Ituri. If we set out, it may take us 40 days and not four. Even if we need to spend some time here, the operation will end quickly as long as we can gather information.”
Black Mamba reassured Samedi, who was growing impatient. As long as the DGSE couldn’t provide further information, the only answer to their problem was the Pygmy tribe’s information.
“Ulumbo, hand them their gift. We will be waiting here anyway while they go around.”
Ulumbo took out a disposable lighter, ointments, and soap from the backpack. Those were gifts Black Mamba prepared after much consideration. Ulumbo explained and demonstrated how to use them.
The entire Pygmy tribe, both men and women, cheered at the sight of the lighter. About 40 to 50 men and women pushed and pulled at each other, trying to light up the lighter. He wondered if that was too much of a culture shock for them. On the other hand, they didn’t even glance at the ointments and soap.
Did Ulumbo not explain it to them properly?
Black Mamba tilted his head. The Pygmy tribe lived with skin diseases. Skin diseases often resulted from unhygienic lifestyles. The items that the Pygmy tribe needed the most should be soap and ointments. Washing up regularly with soap was a preventive measure for most skin diseases.
Perhaps, forest people didn’t need soap and ointments. Historically, sudden encounters with outsiders always ended in tragedies for isolated tribes. Although it was hard to understand, the Pygmies adapted to Ituri in their own ways. If they washed up regularly with soap, it could lead to cancer instead.
Olonge and six other men set off for the neighboring villages. The men’s clothes were simple and worn out. They carried small bows called mange, 15 arrows, and a mota around their height. They only had one close-combat weapon, either a knife or an ax.
There were three kinds of arrows. There were five sua with poison on the ends, five mutali with metal weights, and five long and narrow appi. They placed them all into arrow bags made of animal hide and slung them over their shoulders.
They each carried a koso, lobo, and topa, depending on their taste. That was basically the story of children-sized men roaming around the forest with 15 arrows, a spear, and a close-combat weapon. It was absurd, but they had their own ways.
Black Mamba set up a tent on the outskirts of the Pygmy village. Pygmies had s*x regardless of the time of day. If he set up a tent within the village, he would have to stay up all night.
The Pygmy tribe wasn’t wary of outsiders. As optimistic people, they didn’t seem to care about Samedi’s presence despite Ulumbo’s daunting stories. They sang together with Samedi and even shared their food.
Since they had no concept of personal belonging, they moved together and hunted as a group. Any game caught was shared with the entire village. Those who didn’t participate in the gathering and hunting weren’t ostracized but also given their share. The elderly and the disabled weren’t discriminated against either. It was the kind of volunteer organization that would never exist in modern society.
The rumors of the Pygmy tribe being cruel and aggressive were certainly lies. The stories of them shooting poison arrows at the whites were also false. They were a peaceful and welcoming tribe to outsiders. They were fearful and loving people.
Black Mamba, Samedi, and Ulumbo stayed in the Pygmy village as commoners and not guests. The men shared the meat they caught, and the women shared the fruits they gathered. He could recognize more than 10 kinds of fruits, including mango, banana, mangosteen, guava, avocado, coconut, melon, governor’s plum, mandarin, and anoda.
He was even gifted a tree root, which produced sweet liquid like sugarcane when chewed on. As though he brushed his teeth, his mouth felt refreshed when he chewed on the root after eating meat. He even received a branch to use as a toothbrush. Much like a willow, the soft branch split into fine strands like the bristles of a toothbrush when rubbed against a rock. The branch had a refreshing scent too. The Pygmies lived in conformity with nature, but they weren’t primitive at all.
Six days after infiltrating Ituri and on the third evening of their stay in Olonge’s village, six Pygmy warriors who left to look for other Pygmy villages returned. All six of them were fine, as though they just took a walk to a neighboring village.
Ituri swallowed over 400 French elites. From what he experienced, it wasn’t a walk in the park either. However, the Pygmies looked fine even when they walked around the forest for three days with flimsy bows and a spear. It seemed like the legend about them being forest people was certainly true.
Ulumbo brought over a young Pygmy boy.
The young Pygmy boy jumped when he came face to face with Samedi. His dark skin miraculously turned white.
“Kidamba, greet him. He is God’s warrior.”
Ulumbo grabbed the ear of the young Pygmy boy, who attempted to run away and dragged him back.
“Naiabunga! Ole Kidamba.”
The Pygmy boy finally mumbled a greeting and nodded his head reluctantly. He couldn’t even look up at Samedi. His gaze remained fixed on the floor.
“Great master, I don’t know whether this is fortunate or not, but Kidamba’s village was attacked. Kidamba says he knows their location. Those devils live in a place called Katanga, seven days away in the direction of Bafwasende.”
Black Mamba wanted to dance. He finally found a lead. As long as he knew where their base was located, the mission was 90 percent complete. He could take care of the remaining 10 percent. His future looked bright as though the cloth that covered Sim-Bongsa’s eyes had come off.
He took out his GPS and searched for Katanga. There was no response. He tried entering Bafwasende. A red dot lit up. The location was far south of the DGSE headquarters’ prediction of the kidnappers’ base, Mambasa.
“These f****** frog b*stards, I should turn them all to s***!”
The DGSE made a wrong calculation again. If he had not met Olonge and headed to Mambasa, he would have gotten lost in the forest. The DGSE agents lacked the hungry mind to dig into a question. The absence of enemies and peace weakened the intelligence agency. It turned into a dinosaur, busy calculating money with its head and blaming the environment with its hands and feet.
Humans grew lazy without desperation. The Korean Army managed to push out the North Vietnamese Army, which wiped out the French and U.S. Army in Vietnam’s jungle. It was said that there were two reasons why the Koreans were able to fight so well. One was because they were desperate to feed their families back home, and the other was because of the substandard military life. There were rumors about how Vietnam’s jungle was 10 times easier than life in the military base. It was said that their commanders grew more attentive with threats of being sent back to Korea. Those were all stories from sad times.
Blinking in green was his current location, 18 kilometers northwest of a place called Apanwaza. Black Mamba rolled the trackball and connected the green line to Bafwasende. It was 270 kilometers from the current location to Bafwasende. The area was intertwined like a spider web with two rivers, Ituri and Lindi, flowing side by side.
 Caterpillar snack.
 Something that looks like a shovel, but it is the Pygmy tribe’s large and long knife.
 “Wow, how can this be?”
 “It’s fire!”
 A spear of around 150 centimeters long.
 For predators.
 For bird hunting.
 A sickle.
 An ax.