Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 411
Pygmy women are treated as elders in their 30’s, and the men at their 40’s. Their skin also ages as rapidly. Olonge’s body was 140cm tall, around the height of fourth-graders in South Korea. The sight of a young child with wrinkles across his face in deep dramatic thought as he frowned caused him to swallow his laughter.
“Lah lah wari gadamba igo ibula~”
Olonge, who had been pacing back and forth for a while, soon picked up a stick and began to chant. It seemed like he was praying, considering “lah” was mentioned in his chant. Olonge spat on his palm and raised the stick to stand on the ground.
Olonge clapped his hands. It seemed like Wari meant something like Bingo. Olonge confidently headed in the direction where the stick had fallen.
“Puahahahaha!” Samedi, who had been staring blankly at his actions, held onto his stomach as he laughed. Even Black Mamba laughed as the last sense of reasoning left him.
“Oh, you brat!” Samedi said as he slapped the back of Olonge’s head.
“Don’t! Olonge is a grandfather,” Black Mamba rushed out in panic.
In Korea, seniority in age is an important factor for the respect one gets. It is the only country in the world that turns people into assailants for not respecting the elderly.
The children he had saved from the elephant hadn’t been Olonge’s sons but his grandsons. Pygmy women have their period early in life. They get it when they are 10, and they marry by the age of 12. It wouldn’t be strange for Olonge to become a grandfather in his mid-30’s. Samedi had basically slapped the back of a grandfather’s head.
“Oh, so sorry.” Samedi made a soulless apology and took out a one-time lighter from his backpack. The greatest gift one could give Pygmies wasn’t gold but a lighter. Olonge’s creased face bloomed. Black Mamba smiled at the sight and checked on his GPS. Apadombe, from where it was marked, was 40km from here to the south. It was a completely different direction from where Olonge was going to go. He’d finally entered the range of his target point.
Shadow team B led by First Lieutenant Louis tracked down the persona non grata (a diplomatic term for a person to avoid, also known as a suspicious person, enemy). The leopards that jumped down from trees, birds that jumped out of bushes, all became tatters with beehive patterns across their bodies. The poisonous snakes that fell from the trees were sliced in half by their swords. The modern combat uniform and strong high sound frequency wave machine got rid of the insects.
The Shadow isn’t any simple special forces. It selects people from the green berets, rangers, SEALS, Pos-recon, Navy, and Delta Force to turn them into rough war machines after 1-2 years of reeducation and real-life experience. The amount of money each possessed in modern equipment could arm an entire unit of reinforcement.
First Lieutenant Louis was nervous. The overwhelming confidence he had held was diminishing with time. The experience he had gained through the Colombian and southeastern jungles weren’t of any help in Ituri. The jungle was so dark that he had to use lanterns and night goggles, and their movements were slow due to the tight-knitted obstacles.
Hidden swamps, tree leeches, and poisonous moths where insecticides were not effective against held their busy feet back. He’d heard Ituri’s infamy well, known as the Dark Forest, but he didn’t know it was to this extent. He ran, using the electric saw to carve out a path, but he only grew more distant from the persona non grata.
“Sergeant Blair, are those bastards we’re chasing after the Shadows, or are we the Shadows?”
“I thought we’d have caught up in an hour…,” Sergeant Blair said with a disappointed face.
He thought they would have been able to track them down using the GPS, night goggles, and smell detector. But no, the persona non grata was not at the location they had estimated based on the gunshot sound despite their sprint, and the persona non grata didn’t leave a trace to be seen.
The Shadows composed of the best and their gold saw of combined metals was a piece of high-tier equipment that couldn’t be compared to a mere machete. Just a touch of its high-speed blade turn would cause trees and weeds to be sliced off at once. It was the best equipment for them to use to speed up in the jungle.
There wasn’t a reason for them to fail unless the other side took to the trees like monkeys. But the distance was still increasing, which made them feel frustrated.
“How’s the smell detector?”
The smell detector was modern equipment that could capture the traces of Potassium Nitrate and Potassium Sulfide in the air and turned them into numbers. As long as the other side hadn’t abandoned their firearm, they wouldn’t be able to avoid them.
“It’s the same, sir. Those bastards are moving south-west.”
Lieutenant Louis shook his head. Sunset was approaching. They’d tracked them for four hours, but weren’t able to close in. The chase had instead left his subordinates tired. Lieutenant Louis and Sergeant Blair would never know that Black Mamba’s group did fly across trees like monkeys to move along.
Kueeek! Kiiii! Monkeys had suddenly gathered. It was the herd of brown monkeys that had fled from Samedi. Of course, Lieutenant Louis knew nothing of the monkeys’ feelings, which burned in desire for revenge, and wouldn’t have cared had he known.
“What are they?”
“They’re monkeys, sir.”
“Anyone can tell they’re monkeys; I’m asking why they’re coming this way!” Louis shouted at the black sergeant’s words. Something black fell from the sky as though it was answering Louis’ question.
Louis, who was slapped in the back by something hard, twitched in anger.
“Shoot them to death!”
Bang bang bang! The MP5 spewed fire. Kiii! One monkey fell to the ground. Considering that ten shots were fired simultaneously, the result was very bad. Their battle ground was unfavorable.
The Shadows might be the best warriors, but they weren’t Black Mamba or Samedi. The dark forest restricted their sight, and the tightly knitted branches made straight aim impossible. It was near impossible to shoot the monkeys that were swinging across far up in the canopy. Moreover, the MP5 didn’t have a good accuracy for something that was considered modern.
“Son of a b****! Open fire! Wipe them out!”
Kakakaka! The Minimi machine guns joined. Shells popped around loudly, but they gained nothing but more retribution. Whoosh! Black objects came flying at them. It was the revenge of the monkeys.
A Shadow agent who was hit by the tree branches and hard fruits that the monkeys were throwing at them screamed. Bang bang bang bang! Kakakaka! The Shadow team, angered, continued to fire. The winner of the contest between modern weapons and stone-age throwing attacks was soon decided.
“Damn it, run!”
Louis ordered a retreat when his subordinates’ heads shattered and their equipment broke. A funny but pitiful sight of the Shadow team, elite of all elites, being chased by some monkeys broke out. Ukikiki! The monkeys were higher in spirits and continued to throw objects at them as they gave chase. Louis gritted his teeth, but couldn’t’ find a way to do anything about the monkeys that were chasing after them far up in the canopy. It was the Shadow team’s misfortune to have met the angered green monkeys that Samedi had slapped.
On the second day, a sky-high cliff blocked their path. It was one piece of a scar of the tectonic plate shift that the Great Rift Valley had suffered in the south. The great shock of several thousands of kilometers of land simply breaking and plopping down had shaken the entire northern region. A cliff was also formed when the Great Rift occurred in the Ituri Jungle.
There were dark sinking holes in parts of the cliff where lichens, branches, and weeds grew. It was a valley created from the erosion of the faulty limestone layer. That meant that the place that they were standing in had once been the sea.
“Sa dax Wabi al ka badan Ji nin yo (You’ll enter the devil’s lair once you cross the spirits’ wall),” Olonge said, using his hands and feet as much as necessary.
“Ok, ok, you’re saying that the devil’s hideout will appear over this wall, I know,” Samedi used his surprising comprehension ability, no, god-like ability.
“Amazing, this should be over 400m.”
Black Mamba tilted his head back as much as he could and looked up at the cliff that shot up endlessly into the sky.
“Wakil, I feel like there’s going to be another rainfall.”
Samedi felt the air move forebodingly and took out the tarp. Olonge and Kidamba quickly moved into a cave, quick witted as they were. Whoosh! The downpour began as soon as they pulled the tarp over their heads. The sudden burst of rain pushed away the humid air.
The downpour was lively in places without the canopies. Lightning shook the sky and rain covered the ground. It was hard for Black Mamba to see 10 meters ahead despite his sight.
The rain that poured as if it was going to swallow the jungle whole lost its power barely one hour in. The raindrops dripping down the trees like a woman’s menstruation stopped completely. The ground overflowed with water since it wasn’t all absorbed into the ground.
A million streams of water poured down the side of the cliff. Ituri Jungle itself seemed to float in the air in circles. White fuzzy fog wrapped itself around the jungle. The great canopy branches floated above the clouds like islands.
Flowers of various colors opened up from their buds, and colorful butterflies grouped as they flew. The Ituri Jungle, which had been dark and offending all this while, revealed its soft inner beauty that had been hidden for a long time.
“Ah!” The exclamation came naturally. Black Mamba lost his mind over the dream-like scenery and the creatures that came to life.
Olonge and Kidamba moved rapidly to find a course which would allow them the climb the cliff. The sandstone cliff had been attested by wind and water for a very long time; an approximately 80 degrees slope. The rocks in the sand were so slippery that they look like water slopes. Olonge and Kidamba were Pygmies; they might have looked like monkeys, but they weren’t real monkeys.
“Olonge, we don’t have time.”
Black Mamba lifted Olonge and placed him on top of his backpack. Crack! He shot off the ground and shoved his Billion’s Water Armor on a surface. Black Mamba used his “Wall Around Wall” ability which moved the right and left halves of his body in a pattern to walk up the steep cliff as though he was walking on land.
Samedi stared blankly after Black Mamba’s back. He had made him climb a cliff once without anyone helping and was performing the skill now before him. Black Mamba and Olonge disappeared into the clouds instantly.
Samedi shook his head. He didn’t have the confidence to move like his master with Kidamba on his shoulders.
“Well, I should try something anyway.”
Samedi grabbed Kidamba and made him ride around his neck.
“Uh kiki!” Kidamba shouted in surprise.
“You small brat, hold on!”
Bang! Samedi jumped up high and shoved his left hand into the cliff’s surface. He dragged his body up, searched for another foot hold, and dragged his body up once more using his left hand. If Black Mamba was a lizard, Samedi was a leech. He couldn’t speed up as much as Wall Around Wall allowed his master, but it was still a fast speed nonetheless.
Samedi was at a loss for words once he jumped onto the cliff’s top. An endless spread of green was before him. It was the Ituri plains that had emerged from the Great Rift Valley’s sudden change of mind. The terrain, which went lower the more it reached west, could be seen in one glance.
“Wakil, it’s the horizon, no, the forest-horizon.”
“Good expression!” Black Mamba smiled.
Only humans can be moved by sceneries and express their admiration. Samedi was definitely human. This wasn’t the time to admire sceneries, however. After checking the GPS, Black Mamba continued on his way.
The jungle after the rain was harder to move through. The humidity that was soaking their faces with water also drenched their clothes, and the red sand with more water clung to their heels. The branches that had grown stiff with more water drained their energy twice-fold.
They moved half a day towards the south-western direction. Around noon, a large river blocked their path.
“Eflu!” Black Mamba’s face turned bright upon checking the GPS. It was the Eflu River. Apadombe, which met with the Eflu River, was just 5km away. His destination was just around the corner. They’d pushed through 136km in four days. A normal expedition team would have found it hard to move 10km a day. This was the kind of feat only Black Mamba could do with the Pygmy guides. He’d basically crossed 270km of this tiring jungle from Bunia.
“Kadangka!” Kidamba shouted, pointing at the south-western side.
If it hadn’t been for Kidamba, they could have been wandering at an entirely wrong location by now. He almost wanted to kiss Kidamba. This was the first time he was looking at Kidamba in a favorable light.
“Ula, ula!” Olonge jumped up and down once he saw Black Mamba’s wide smile. A sense of pride filled him for being acknowledged by a great person. This was the moment Olonge of the Pygmy tribe, who had led an unchanging life, realized what achievement and reward were. There’s no improvement without change.
Black Mamba suddenly hissed out a warning. Like an eagle snatching a dove, Samedi grabbed Olonge and Kidamba and hid behind a pile of abisinia bark. Black Mamba disappeared up into the tree in a flash. They’d barely counted to ten when a group of armed people appeared from across the river.
They were in black battle uniforms, wide-brimmed boonie hats, masks that covered their entire face, and tactical vests that allowed them to place gears and magazines wherever they wanted. With MP5s and Minimi machine guns, they weren’t the kind of armed forces that the Damballah could imitate.
“Wakil, they’re not locals or the Damballah.”
Samedi had somehow crawled up the tree to him. The Pygmies will never be found once they decide to hide.
“They’re the Yankee’s special forces called the Shadows.”
They were wearing the same uniform of the Shadow agents whose necks he had sliced off in Ruman’s underground room. He’d heard a helicopter’s rotor and something that sounded like gunshots in the evening. He hadn’t been sure about it since it was covered by the sound of birds, but they seemed to have been the cause.
“Why have the Yankees appeared? No, how did they come here without dying?” Samedi tilted his head. The 11 soldiers looked tired and dirty, but there weren’t any casualties or patients among them.
“They must have moved in with a helicopter. Did they fight? One of them is bruised.”
The Shadows prepared to cross the river while Black Mamba and Samedi talked.
“F***ing hell!” First Lieutenant Louis swore.
Those devil monkeys had chased after them for half an hour. Sergeant Jensen had finally lost his life due to their indiscriminate attacks.