Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 408
“Oh, this brat, his skin has somewhat changed.”
Sensing something unnatural, Black Mamba tilted his head. Bronze skin appeared from under the swamp water. His skin changed from a dark coal-like color to bronze. With a height of 220 centimeters, a well-built body weighing 120 kilograms, muscles wrapped around his entire body like a manila rope, and new bronze skin that glistened in the sunlight—he looked better than the statue of Hercules.
Black Mamba glared at Samedi through narrowed eyes. He used to hate the color of his skin, but fortune smiled on him. Could the skin color of a Black person change to bronze? Why did it change in the first place?
The stomach acid of alligators and anacondas could melt animal horns. Although the components of animal horns differed with each animal—such as gelatin, lime, calcium, and protein—what they had in common was that they’re all strong enough to be used as weapons. Such a strong stomach acid could obviously melt away Samedi’s skin.
The stomach acid had melted away his original skin, and skin regeneration was possible with the regenerative ability specific to zombies. He imagined that the monster’s stomach acid would have somehow forced him through rebirth like those leveling-up moments in martial arts novels.
Some threw themselves into a pot of poison and suffered through pain, while others fixed their photos to look better without spending a lot of money. He realized that those destined for great things could be eaten up by monsters.
Howls were heard in the direction of Dzanga Bai. Those were the sounds of hyenas and leopards fighting over some prey. They were archenemies, a pair he often saw in the Ennedi Plateau.
“Ah, right, Ulumbo!”
Black Mamba flinched in surprise once he remembered. Ulumbo, who was chased by the killer bees too, was still in Dzanga Bai. Ituri wasn’t Montmartre hills or the Garden of Mirrors. Predators gathered at the scent of blood, red army ants gathered and tore flesh apart, terror birds tore limbs apart, and large snakes swallowed humans whole. It was the Devil’s Forest.
Black Mamba dragged his tired body and sprinted toward Dzanga Bai. The day was turning pathetic by the hour as the great Black Mamba rushed around to take care of his lackeys’ needs. Ituri wouldn’t remain still at the smell of blood. Two predator species were fighting over the bull’s carcass with their hackles raised and teeth bared.
The hyenas and leopards didn’t even glance at Black Mamba as they continued to circle each other. Black Mamba grabbed the handle of his Rakshasa but soon released it. In the world of the strong, the stronger one was allowed to take the bull’s carcass. As long as they knew their place and didn’t jump at him, he had no intention of interfering in Ituri’s circle of life either.
“Dude, your mouth will turn if you sleep on your front on the floor. Damn, you stink.”
Black Mamba grabbed the back of Ulumbo’s shirt and raised him but ended up covering his nose. Ulumbo looked like he was defeated in a fight. He ended up s**tting on himself, wetting his trousers. His face and arms, which suffered cuts from the thorn bushes, were bleeding. It was indistinguishable as to whether he was dead or alive.
A foreboding rattling was heard. He flipped Ulumbo over. Three king centipedes the size of two hands were on his chest and face. It was the great centipedes known to eat snakes. The centipedes hung off his flesh with their teeth embedded deep in Ulumbo’s muscles. They were too disgusting and horrible to be mistaken as insects.
Compared to Korea, anything with Africa’s trademark was bigger, more tenacious, and more poisonous. Perhaps, Ulumbo managed to avoid the attack of other insects thanks to the insect killer centipedes. Not everything in the world was as it seemed, after all.
He grabbed the centipedes and threw them off to check on Ulumbo’s condition. His neck and face were bright red because of the killer bees’ stings, while the areas where the centipede bit turned blue. There were red rashes all over his upper body, and his breathing grew faint as though he’d die any minute.
Fortunately, he was alive, but medically speaking, he was in the final stages of cardiac arrest. Ulumbo lived on the outskirts of the Ituri Rainforest, gathering fruits. From the beginning, it was impossible for him to run around with Black Mamba and the Pygmy tribe.
He went into shock because he was tired, and his immune system was compromised when he received the killer bees’ stings. On top of that, the giant centipedes’ poison was toxic. Both the killer bees’ stings and the giant centipedes’ poison brought about an immediate reaction. His heart would stop beating if he remained in the anaphylaxis state.
“Damn, this guide really needs a lot of help.”
Black Mamba suddenly missed Ombuti. As the Aklankuru, Ombuti wouldn’t have enough time to spend with his new wife having to take care of the crop business, Doba farm, and the construction of Novatopia.
Black Mamba took out atropine from his emergency bag and injected it into Ulumbo’s thigh. He then sprayed antihistamine on the areas where the killer bees and centipedes had stung and bitten. Once he finished giving first aid, he lifted the man and moved him under a shade.
Black Mamba clicked his tongue. He twisted his ankle. He wouldn’t be able to accompany them at that rate. He fixed the ankle back into place and supported it with wood pieces.
“Ulumbo, wake up!”
“Le bison, le bison!”
His voice, alongside resonance waves, knocked on Ulumbo’s brain.
That was the best method to wake up an unconscious man. Ulumbo opened his eyes slightly and started mumbling. His neuron synapses connected the word to his greatest fear.
“Uuuuuh, le bison!”
“Dude, come to your senses!”
Ulumbo’s eyes couldn’t find their focus. Both brats were causing more problems for him. He grabbed both of Ulumbo’s arms and activated his resonance waves. Resonance waves were the best way to stimulate cells. In one minute, foul-smelling liquid flowed out from Ulumbo’s sweat glands.
Ulumbo’s eyes regained their focus. He recalled the fear of running away from the large wild bull frothing at its mouth and the great master who appeared like a ghost and saved him before he was almost killed.
“Are you awake?”
“Thank you, sir. You saved my life.”
“Hey, you can die after you have a woman, yeah?”
“Of course, sir. I’m tired of those chickens and donkeys.”
Ulumbo’s mouth raised into a faint smile. The thought of marriage made him smile.
“While chasing Kidamba, I smacked a big bee that landed on my wrist to death with my palm, sir. Olonge saw the dead bee and rambled on angrily about how much trouble they were in. Olonge and Kidamba disappeared like squirrels while I was still in a state of confusion. Sir Samedi chased after them shouting, ‘There’s a swamp ahead, be careful.'”
“Hm, you must have killed the queen bee. When you kill a queen bee, chemicals are released into the air, sending the killer bees into a frenzy. Then?”
“A swarm of bees appeared from the place where the bull had been grazing on. Most of them attacked the bull while the rest attacked me. The bull that was stung by the bees started chasing after me. I had no choice but to run to you, great master, for safety.”
“So, you wouldn’t have known what had happened to Samedi and the Pygmies.”
“Yes, sir. I was too busy fleeing.”
Ulumbo glanced at Black Mamba, trying to read his emotions. Camaraderie held great importance to the Mahabharata. He might slice his neck off for running away alone like a coward.
“Good job. You should take care of your own life, first and foremost.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, sir.”
Ulumbo cried, relieved that he was spared from punishment.
“The bull is over there.”
Black Mamba pointed to the carnivores’ feast with his chin. The hyenas and leopards were sharing the bull’s carcass instead of fighting. That kind of scenery could only be seen when both sides realized that food was more than enough. Animals compromised if their opponent didn’t seem easy to defeat.
Ulumbo sucked in a breath at the sight of the predators tearing apart meat and cracking bones. He looked up at Black Mamba with eyes full of respect. He was an amazing person who wouldn’t bat an eye if all of Ituri’s predators rushed at him.
“Do you think you can walk?”
“No, I’m sorry, great master.”
Ulumbo, who tried to balance on his leg, lowered his head. He hadn’t been of much help and kept causing trouble. He felt embarrassed of himself.
“Tsk tsk, there’s no solution.”
Black Mamba clicked his tongue. Without Ulumbo, he wouldn’t be able to understand what Olonge and Kidamba had said so far. Yet, he couldn’t carry the man around either. The Ituri Rainforest wasn’t kind enough to let them carry the wounded around.
Calling the helicopter over to move him was also impossible. If the Damballa noticed, their hostages would be in danger. However, if he left him there without moving him, he’d probably become a predator’s s***. There was no solution, either way.
The hyenas and leopards that were eating in silence started growling while Black Mamba was deep in thought. Lion prides growled while they ate because they had no predators, but cheetahs, leopards, and hyenas ate silently. That was because the commotion would invite more competition.
A total of five predators raised their heads and stared at the forest. There was a saying that people bonded over food. Two different species were eating together, forming a temporary bond.
Samedi appeared with Olonge and Kidamba before him.
His darts flicked the animals’ tails even before Samedi could move.
The leopards and hyenas that were spiked on the butt fled. Black Mamba wouldn’t kill them now after deciding to let them live. He purposely let them flee.
Samedi was fine. In fact, he was reborn into a bronze-skinned person. Women would rush to the temple if he made Samedi stand before the temple gates. He suddenly recalled Chui Mi Sook, who tried to touch his body and nearly grew sick in desperation from trying to do so.
Chui Mi Sook was Hae Young’s friend and a health club instructor. Ever since she saw his naked body in Nakdong River, she was moved to the point that she stared at every chance she got. She soon broke up with her lover. While diamonds were pleasing to look at, carrying around rotten things would only cause one’s pockets to smell. He shook his head and erased Hae Young and Chui Mi Sook from his thoughts. They were already a world too far away.
“Samedi, what do you think of this new experience?” Black Mamba teased with a wide grin.
“Hmph! I purposely went inside the monster’s stomach to kill it,” Samedi gathered a lot of strength in his stomach and replied confidently.
Still, his eyes were shaking, and his nostrils were flaring.
“I see! There are two more monsters left, you know? You’ve become much more pleasing to look at. Perhaps, it warrants another visit to the swamp?”
“Ugh, you’re embarrassing me! I’m here to protect wakil, but wakil is protecting me instead.” Samedi sobbed.
Ddu-bai-buru-pa was his master forever. He was supposed to protect his master, but he became a burden instead. He was mad at himself and very embarrassed.
“Brat, don’t cry over such a small matter. I was defeated by a leopard before.”
Black Mamba patted Samedi’s shoulder.
Samedi’s eyes widened. His master got done in by some leopard? That was impossible. Even if all the leopards in the world rushed at his master, they wouldn’t be able to touch a hair on his body.
“Can’t believe it, hm? Humans are weak. The only reason why they become wonders of the Earth is that they worked hard and evolved. Cheetahs can never win leopards. Leopards can never beat lions. Do you get what I mean?”
Black Mamba reassured Samedi like he was reassuring his youngest sibling. He could almost guess what the brat was going through. The brat considered himself the strongest but was defeated again and again. He was bound to feel ashamed and foolish.
Samedi sobbed and rushed at Black Mamba, clinging tightly to his waist.
“Wakil, all hail, wakil! There’s no one above wakil. Samedi is wakil’s servant forever.”
“Brat, stop being so disgusting. I hear more than enough from Ombuti and the five Syrians.”
Black Mamba pushed away the lump of mass clinging to him like a cicada. Although he must be over 50 years old, Samedi was like a younger brother to him.
“Should I shove them into the swamp?”
Black Mamba glared at Olonge and Kidamba. Although they didn’t understand each other’s words, they knew what the glare meant and turned pale.
“Wakil, you’ll be punished if you say things you don’t mean. A tentacle suddenly appeared from the swamp and dragged me in. The Pygmies are not at fault. I was defeated because I was weak.”
“They didn’t even warn me that you were in danger.”
“All’s fine as long as the results are fine. It was worth going into the monster’s stomach. I’ve become brighter. I want to end this mission quickly so I can go meet Jin Soon’s sister.”
Samedi smiled shyly and shook his shiny bronze arm.
“Oho, what a wise man you are, Samedi. I’m not aware that you have some feelings for Yeon Soon. Hahaha!”
Black Mamba laughed heartily. Samedi almost lost his life because of the Pygmies, but he still blamed himself for his shortcomings. He was the greatest man among the zombies. His teacher successfully turned a zombie into a loving and benevolent human.
“Samedi’s not a wise man. Pretty Yeon Soon doesn’t have a master.”
Samedi’s face grew red. Even zombies had their own romantic inclinations.
“What do you think we should do with this guy?”
Black Mamba pointed to Ulumbo.
“Hm? The weakest one’s hurt. I can carry him.”
“No. Just like the swamp, you don’t know what kind of unexpected situation you’ll get yourself into. What are you planning to do if a fight breaks out?”
“Samedi has nothing to say.”
Samedi scratched the back of his head.
“We have no choice. We’ll have to build him a strong house on top of the trees and leave him there. Samedi, build a boma.”
Samedi didn’t protest and assembled his Squeaker. He chose a nice limbali and got to work. He sliced off countless branches that were 20 meters high with his Squeaker and gathered wood as thick as his thighs to use as a wall. Olonge and Kidamba tied them up seamlessly once Samedi handed them the parts.
Once the boma’s frame was constructed, Samedi lifted it and crawled 20 meters up the tree before fixing it between the branches. Olonge and Kidamba weaved the leaves into a cover for the roof. The two Pygmies flew around the top of the tree. They were like flying squirrels.
A pyung’s worth of boma was built in 30 minutes. Samedi swung the Squeaker to make the limbali’s surface smoother. It was to prevent predators and venomous snakes from approaching. Black Mamba carried Ulumbo up the tree in a single leap.
“Ulumbo, listen well. We should be back in at least 10 days. We’ll leave all of our C-rations with you. I’ll give you a gun and bullets, so survive at all cost.”
 Head butler.
 “Bull, bull!”