Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 409
Black Mamba left behind painkillers, antibiotics, an atropine kit, 20 C-rations, 30 liters of water, a titanium jungle knife, Glock, 50 bullets, one kilogram of date palms, and three disposable lighters. He did all that he could. Ulumbo would have to deal with the rest on his own. Olonge took Ulumbo’s backpack. The only things left in the backpack were first aid items and spare magazines.
There was a combination of sadness and happiness in Ulumbo’s expression. The treehouse was strong enough to withstand a leopard’s bite and a gorilla’s swing and dense enough to stop a black mamba from sliding in. There was plenty of water, food, and weapons. Still, he felt anxious at the thought of being separated from the Mahabharata. He felt lost, like the time he lost his father in the forest when he was little.
“Great master, I’m so sorry,” Ulumbo cried.
Although he was anxious to the point of madness, he knew that was the best form of kindness the Mahabharata could offer. If it was any other white man, he would have abandoned him, a Black man, or killed him out of anger.
“Be careful. I will not abandon you in the name of Ddu-bai-buru-pa.”
Black Mamba patted Ulumbo’s shoulder.
“You weakling, you must not die before we kill the Damballa and return. Eat one antibiotic a day.”
Even Samedi was clearly worried about Ulumbo, although he scolded him many times. He had grown attached after all the scoldings.
“Oh, thank you, thank you.”
Ulumbo bowed countless times.
Black Mamba’s group disappeared into the forest.
“Thank you, Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa!”
Ulumbo, who watched the group disappear into the forest from the far distance, bowed his head deeply once more with tears pouring down his face. He was moved because he was treated like a human being.
Ulumbo worked as a laborer in the Doctors Without Borders before he was trained as a local agent by the DGSE. He was considered an intelligent person among the ignorant Black people. He knew about Congo’s tragic history of colonialism, and he also knew that the Black people were only ignorant because they were uneducated.
Although the difference between the white and Black people was skin color, the reality was different. While it wasn’t as apparent as in the past, discrimination and denial still existed. It wasn’t only the white people. Even the Black people in powerful positions used other Black people like objects. Many sided with the white people and exploited their own tribe members as laborers. Those in power, be it white or Black people, were those who ran around exhibiting their authority. It was the same for him.
The Mahabharata, no, Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa, was in a whole different dimension compared to powerful people like spellcasters, white people, tribal chiefs, and elders. The person more powerful than a spellcaster was even more humane than other humans. Instead of displaying his strength, he treated the Black people and Pygmies like normal human beings.
The past 10 days swept past his mind like lanterns. The inside of Ituri was a far cry from the outskirts of Ituri. If Sir Dubai hadn’t protected him, he would have died 10 times over. He personally treated a mere Black man’s wounds and even promised to return for him. Before leaving, he built him a house amid his busy mission and gave him all the water, food, and weapons. He was really an amazing person.
“I’m… I’m such an idiot!”
Ulumbo hit his own head. Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa swore on his name for a mere Black man’s life. He was someone he could truly pledge loyalty to. He had been so obsessed with the prejudice that white people were devils who cut off Black men’s wrists that he never thought of becoming his servant. He was Asian, not white, but he initially thought they were of the same kind.
When Sir Dubai chased away the swarm of Midge Urs with his large whip, he recalled the stories that his grandfather and father used to tell him about the white men and their evil weapon called “chicote.” It was a hippo leather whip the white officers used against them during the colonial period.
His grandfather’s wrists got cut off because he failed to fulfill his daily quota of harvesting rubber. His father, who went to the administrative office to file complaints, was beaten to death with a chicote. When he was younger, his mother often shared horror stories of the chicote whenever she had the chance. That was why he regarded the Mahabharata as a god of white men since he used that large whip.
The crying of his soul resonated through his body. He spent 35 years of his life fearing those in power and doubting people. He suddenly found himself pathetic for wasting those years looking for a woman. His ancestors had sent him a message telling him that there was a future with Sir Dubai. Ulumbo clung to the wall as he stood up. He solemnly prayed for Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa despite the pain in his ankle.
“Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa, I wish to become your servant. No, I can be Vodun’s servant. I want to live like a human. I may be useless, but I will be your luggage man if required. Please let me follow you around.”
He was at peace after praying earnestly. He just needed to wait 10 days for his master to return. No, his master would take less than that to deal with the Damballa and return. Hope soared from within him. Whether Ulumbo’s wish would be granted was to be observed.
Ulumbo’s fear of outsiders, whips, and wrist-cutting punishment was due to Congo’s tragic reality during the colonial period.
The Congolese called the white people “the devils who cut wrists.” Just like Japan when they occupied Korea, the Belgian officials were the devil themselves. The Congolese were forced to harvest ivory and rubber. The overseers cut off their wrists if they didn’t fulfill the day’s quota. There was a Belgian official who cut off 1,000 wrists a day.
The chicote that Belgian officials swung around was an icon of fear to the locals. The chicote was a heavy whip made from hard and thick hippo hide wrapped in crocodile leather. 10 hits of the whip would knock out a person, while 50 hits would kill.
This was Leopold’s defense: Black people are ignorant and lazy and must be taught the noble nature of labor. We must not ignore the Black people who God has abandoned. That further cemented the fact that the white people in Europe didn’t consider the African Blacks as humans.
The white people were devils who whipped with chicotes, cut off wrists, and sliced off necks to the Congolese. It had been 25 years since their independence, but their fear remained. Ulumbo and the Pygmies feared Black Mamba because of their deep-rooted fear of the whip and the wrist cutting.
The popular resources that Belgium stole from Congo were ivory and natural rubber. Of course, the people who collected and transported the ivory and rubber were the Congolese. That was similar to Japan’s policy of acquiring all of Korea’s underground resources and wood.
The difference was that Belgium didn’t invest a single penny into infrastructures, while Japan constructed the Shin-jak ro and railroads. Of course, Koreans were mobilized for the construction of the Shin-jak ro and railroads. However, Japan was also shameless for claiming its contribution to Korea’s development when the infrastructures were built for economic gains.
Back then, ivory was more precious than silver in Europe. Men were considered gentlemen when seen with ivory pipes in their mouths, played chess with ivory chess pieces, and played billiards with ivory billiard balls. Belgium’s ivory billiard balls were so popular to the point that luxury billiard balls were called “Belgi” until the late 20th century.
The Congolese were also forced to gather natural rubber after ivory. Leopold managed to gain a 1,000 percent profit compared to the amount invested. Even Buddha would invest his charity funds if the profit increased tenfold. The European nobles stuck a foot in the natural rubber harvesting business while the Congolese went to hell.
Natural rubber trees grew deep in the forest. Countless Congolese died in the Salonga jungle, Garamba jungle, Virunga jungle, and Ituri Rainforest. Congo’s ivory and natural rubber were a blessing to the Europeans and a curse to the Congolese.
Blinded by greed, the colony overseers whipped the Congolese with chicotes and cut off their wrists. By the end of the 19th century, when rubber production reached its peak, Congo’s population dropped from over 20,000,000 to 9,000,000. That was how harsh the forced labor and the working conditions were in the forest.
The Pygmy tribe in Congo’s eastern forests was affected the most. Large numbers were abused and forced to participate in harsh labor because they knew the forests well. Behind the Pygmies’ laid-back lifestyle and disinterest in others were the dark shadows of the colonial period.
Leopold managed to hide his misdeeds by distributing huge profits between several European royalties and the media and donating to local charities. The Belgium government managed to establish industries and provide welfare for the people with the money gained from Congo.
Not only Belgium but also behind all of the European countries’ industrial development were the wealth exploited by the colonies and the locals’ tears and blood.
Japan, which colonized Korea, was no different, but there was a big difference between Korea and the new African countries. Korea resisted against Japan, while the new African countries didn’t. Korea demanded an apology from Japan, while Congo didn’t demand an apology from Belgium. While Japan acted innocent, the new African countries feigned ignorance.
What was the difference between the two?
It’s the absence of historical knowledge. Most new African countries conceded instead of resisting because they had no knowledge of their history or pride. Congo was plundered for 70 years until its independence in 1960. It’s twice the time that Korea suffered under Japanese rule. Congo, which forgot its elite class and citizen’s nationality, couldn’t become a nation-like state despite gaining independence.
Japan was smart and tried all kinds of underhanded means to distort and erase history. The after-effects of colonization were significant. Even after their independence, Korea was still paying for pro-Japanese activities because of some contaminated humans.
The Koreans were able to form a nation-like state shortly after independence because they didn’t lose their ethnic heritage of 35 years. Otherwise, Korea would have been quickly erased off the map like Congo.
After the Homo Sapiens Sapiens dropped out of the group of Homo Sapiens Epidium, Homo Sapiens Zombie, and Homo Sapiens Pygmy, they picked up speed.
Olonge and Kidamba continued to rush forward without rest. They hydrated themselves with the Hibitor sap, and meals were replaced with bananas and wild sugarcanes. Big guys, either white or Black, became idiots in the forest. They wanted to prove that the Pygmy tribe was the best in the forest.
“Ha, they’re just like monkeys!”
“You’re right. Those guys must have acted rashly out of frustration.”
Even Black Mamba agreed with Samedi’s exclamation. After leaving Ulumbo behind, their speed increased threefold. Olonge and Kidamba were just like wild animals. They were the best representatives of forest people.
They jumped off thorn bushes as though they had iron plates under their feet. They passed through places filled with obstacles by lying on the ground like a snake. They grabbed tree branches like a monkey, swung around them, and jumped to another branch. They flew through the air by holding onto vines like Tarzan. Despite their quick movements, there was not a single sound made. Thanks to them, Samedi didn’t have to waste time clearing a path with his jungle knife.
Once their C-rations ran out, Olonge and Kidamba filled their own stomachs. The Ituri Rainforest, which attacked outsiders, was endlessly benevolent toward the Pygmy tribe.
Like ghosts after a target, they found yakoris that looked like caterpillars and ate them raw. They burned down ant hills with fire and ate the ants and ant eggs. They sliced off certain barks with their jungle knives and ate the soft parts. They also found and ate various fruits like ghosts. They climbed up trees that were hidden by the canopy and ate the fruits. They were the kind of tribe that had a third eye for food. Black Mamba admitted that he didn’t have a clear understanding of the Pygmy tribe’s abilities.
The next day, Black Mamba took back his words. The Pygmy tribe’s strange behaviors surfaced once more. Olonge and Kidamba, who were steadily sprinting ahead, suddenly stopped.
Several monkeys were jumping around the trees and crying out. Both of them immediately crawled under a tree. It seemed as though they were waiting for the monkeys to disappear.
“What are you doing? Are you planning to catch those monkeys? Let’s go.” Samedi waved at them.
Olonge and Kidamba shook their heads and hands. They were in complete denial.
“You b*stards, stand up now!” Samedi shouted.
Kidamba shook his head. Olonge pointed at the monkeys and held up four of his fingers. Then, he shook his head. Black Mamba looked above their heads. The four monkeys were kicking up a fuss.
“What? Is there a rule that you must take a break if four monkeys scream?”
Black Mamba had come to a point where he immediately made assumptions after being troubled by the Pygmies’ strange behaviors several times.
“Kuambi ssana I-say.”
“What are you saying?”
Black Mamba was frustrated. Black Mamba didn’t understand the Pygmies, and the Pygmies didn’t comprehend the Gyeongsang-do dialect.
“You b*stards are acting up again. Are you scared of the monkeys’ d**** or something?”
Enraged, Samedi took out his MP5SD3. He assembled the gun with skillful hands and pulled the trigger.
Bang bang bang bang—
The four monkeys fell to the ground from somewhere above their heads. The aim was excellent for someone who received one day of training from Emil and a few short training sessions from Black Mamba.
Olonge and Kidamba freaked out. They kicked up a fuss and started screeching like monkeys.
“Hurry up!” Samedi glared.
The two Pygmies were cowed into leading the way, but their progress was slower than before. Suddenly, the mood changed. The number of monkeys increased.
The monkeys’ screeches surrounded them.
 “You will be stoned.”
 “Trouble, trouble!”