Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 462
Excluding Mu Ssang’s uncle and wife, and also Hwa Ja, three more names remained: Prosecutor Kim Dal-su, the bastard that Missus Jang bribed with a ton of money. The one eating salt was bound to drink water – and Kim Dal-su sure proved to be worth every penny.
He threatened the victim, Kang Young-sook, to make a false testimony, then even discarded all the written testimonies of people involved that Hae Young prepared at a great cost.
This bastard freely tempered with evidence, relentlessly painted Mu Ssang as a shameless punk with no guilty conscience whatsoever, and then, slapped him with a nonsensically heavy sentence.
Mu Ssang could clearly recall the crooked grin on that man’s odious face as the sentence of minimum three years, five years max was handed down.
As long as Kim Dal-su remained as a prosecutor, it was unknown how many more innocent lives would be ruined after being wrongly accused like Mu Ssang.
This bastard… could not be forgiven.
And then, Detective Jang Chi-soo. The corrupted cop and a nephew to the Jang family, who falsely accused Mu Ssang twice and locked him up in jail.
He was a ruthless bastard that used a night stick to mercilessly hit a young boy’s head, then carried on kicking the downed kid from the front and side. This bastard, under the pretext of ‘investigation’, turned Mu Ssang into a cripple. This man also did not deserve mercy.
And finally, Lee Kang-chul. The man responsible for starting the misfortune of Mu Ssang and his mother.
Objectively speaking, an old bachelor losing his mind over a beautiful widow and having a momentary lapse in judgement didn’t deserve a death sentence. Besides, Lee Kang-chul already got his comeuppance, anyway. He lost both of his hands, while he didn’t have long to live.
“I hope that you spend the remainder of your life with your family.”
Mu Ssang crossed out Lee Kang-chul’s name with a fountain pen. That name was now erased off from his memories while only leaving behind the reminiscence of his mother. The mother he grew to resent after missing her so much…
When he first wrote the names of Jang Pil-nyuh and Bak In-bo on the records of favors and grudges, he was using a crude pencil that needed his spit to write properly.
And after he took care of the Kkalchi gang and Kang Young-sook’s father, Mu Ssang used a regular ballpoint pen to cross of their names. Today, he was using a handmade Montblanc fountain pen.
His writing tool had changed to match the passage of time. And his own self had changed accordingly, too.
“Mother, you must’ve suffered so much!”
Mu Ssang’s heart felt heavy.
He didn’t have a maternal family. He only got to learn about his mother being an orphan after growing up. The loving, caring father was everything to her when she had no one to lean on.
Mu Ssang’s mother was unusually frail in both her body and mind. Being on the receiving end of sexual harassment, not rape, would’ve been enough for her as-thin-as-glass mind to violently shatter.
When a human brain was subjected to extreme stress, it’d erase the related memories for self-preservation. His poor mother, suffering from dissociative amnesia, followed her instincts and escaped from the hateful place.
Mu Ssang’s world crumbled down at the truly gobsmacking reality of a mother and son both losing their memories and wandering the world aimlessly.
‘Should I just kill them?’
Mu Ssang’s glare threatened to bore a hole in the pages. The name Bak In-bo wavered before his eyes like heat haze. The only ‘benefit’ they earned from encountering Lee Kang-chul was the circumstantial evidence of his uncle not raping his mother, simply stopping at the ‘mere’ level of sexual assault.
“No. You all need to be enjoying fulfilling lives so that I won’t feel guilty while destroying you.”
Mu Ssang spat out a long sigh. A man suffering from insomnia with his days numbered… What a pitiful life that uncle was living, with his wife threatening to poison him to death. Even though he overzealously tried to look after his family, none of them now stood by his side.
Missus Jang wanted to kill her husband and used poison, while Hwa Ja the junkie have gone missing; Wu Tak became a member of a biker gang; Hui Ja, divorced after getting addicted to shopping, ended up getting addicted to alcohol instead.
As for Bak In-bo himself, he was basically a zombie now, both his flesh and mind gradually rotting away. What was the point of having all that wealth? Even before the vengeance could be carried out, his whole world was crumbling down on its own.
“Auntie from Hadong, Gi-sung Textiles owner,and Sang-han’s parents…”
He read out loud the names found on the next page. He realized belatedly that he didn’t know the real names of the people who had shown him kindness. Mu Ssang only knew that auntie from Hadong had the surname of Bak hailing from the same region as him.
He them flipped the memo pad around. The words [I want to leave behind the traces of my life in this world] were scribbled on its back cover. Words written by his 17 year-old self, his heart determined as he set foot inside a high school.
That was his old self. A part of painful history.
As he sat on the window sill, his reflection appeared in the opposite veranda glass door.The darkness acted like the amalgam of a mirror from behind the glass.
Mu Ssang’s doppelganger appearing on the glass had a haircut a while ago. His cleanly-shaven chin seemed to glow softly, while his half-curly hair covered his ears and smoothly tumbled down. His slender face, closely resembling his mother’s, seemed even more feminine this moment.
“…So, did you leave that trace yet?”
His other face reflected on the glass door glared back at him to ask that question. He didn’t answer.
He raised his hand and clenched his fist. The Billion’s Water Armour amplified the power of Epidium several folds.
The noise of metal splitting apart rang around loudly. Here was the horrifying weapon that could tear humans apart and crush steel like tofu. One hand was Asura’s hand, while the other hand protected lives.
Destroying the FROLINAT army in Sahel helped the residents living there to escape from the threat of pillaging and the terror of death. In Syria, he utterly swept away the terrorists and destroyed the CBR (chemical, biological, and radioactive) weapons. In the jungles of Ituri, he wiped out the cult of Damballah off the face of earth and rescued hostages and the Pygmy tribe.
His hands were Asura’s hands where death and life co-existed. He had a premonition that the scale of death and life would only grow bigger in the future, all thanks to Novatopia.
Novatopia’s immigration committee, with Ombuti as its chairman, hand-picked only those people who had experienced the pit of despair. Even so, the number of people evacuating to Novatopia already reached thirty thousand. However, thousands of African refugees were escaping towards the Mediterranean Sea every single day.
Noatopia couldn’t even accept one-hundredths of refugees. But that’s because it still lacked the foundation for production and a sustainable living.
The world was far closer to being hell than heaven, while God’s embrace was cruelly far away. No, wait… He had stopped answering humanity’s pleading a long, long time ago.
Here was the reason why Novatopia’s construction was an urgent matter. Mu Ssang’s wish was simple and honest. As long as you were born as a human being, at the very least you shouldn’t starve to death. That’s it.
Mu Ssang wordlessly stared at the memo pad in his hand. The record of favors and grudges, was it? Its name sounded all grandiose, but in the end, it was just an worn-down cheap memo pad with a handful of names written on it.
That didn’t mean its meaning was just as insignificant, however. It might have been all thanks to this little memo pad that he never lost himself during the days of pain and resentment-fueled rage.
[Mu-ah, listen. Being obsessed is the biggest obstacle that stops one’s progress. Let’s say you are carrying a large lump of silver with both hands only to discover a nugget of gold on the ground. Will you throw away the silver and pick up the gold? Or, will you ignore the gold because it would be a waste to throw away all the effort you expanded while carrying the silver?]
[But teacher, is there anyone who’d ignore the gold just because they don’t want to let go of the silver?]
[You idiot, you’re that very person who can’t let go of the silver! Obsession is foolishness itself, and another name for greed. When the time comes, you must learn to discard what needs to be discarded.]
His teacher’s voice rocked Mu Ssang’s head.
‘Ah, I see. I have been forcibly tying myself down!’
Something flashing brightly smacked him in the mind. The impact was so severe that the gap between his soul and body expanded. The gap, initially no bigger than a mustard seed, expanded to infinity in the blink of an eye.
Everything felt so light, free, unrestrained. No, in truth, he didn’t feel anything – not light, not free, not unrestrained. Nothing. He couldn’t even feel his body weight. It’s like he was a dandelion puff floating in the air.
“Eungmusoju Yisaenggisim!” (Do not linger on and let your mind be free)
Resonance automatically traveled all over his body. It strengthened before spreading to all of his limbs. His hand clad in the Billion’s Water Armour gripped the memo pad tightly. Bluish veins popped up in his forearms.
Resonance fiercely rocked his insides. His hair began stretching into the air.
The memo pad began to break down into pieces as if it was getting ground in millstone or getting shredded by a document shredder.
The air began circulating. The bits of ripped paper as small as grains of sesame scattered with the wind pressure in the night sky like pollen from a pine tree.
Dino lying down on a couch quickly raised its head. It glanced at its master before leaping across the space in one jump to stand guard before the door. It seemed to be ready to tear anyone apart daring to intrude by opening the door.
Indeed, a preternaturally smart creature was something else to behold, it seemed.
The circulating resonance violently got forced into his arm. His hands were getting itch.
Mu Ssang extended his hand without even realizing it.
The ki energy boiling inside his body quickly dissipated.
A quiet little noise rose up. This noise was no louder than a raindrop falling from the eaves, yet it sounded like a thunderclap to Mu Ssang’s ears. His meditative state was shattered.
The whirlwinds died down. Mu Ssang regained his wits and stared at his empty left hand.
‘…Where did my memo pad go?’
The little book of names previously held in his hand had disappeared. Despite carrying it around on him for the past twelve years, he didn’t miss it at all. No, he felt so much more refreshed instead.
A hole the size of a bean could be seen on the 12mm pair glass on the veranda’s glass door.
Dino pointed at the opposite wall with its front paw.
There was another hole in the wall, too. Its surroundings were scorched black.
Mu Ssang touched the hole in the glass and felt the heat still emanating from there. He then alternated his gaze between his left and right hand. But nothing seemed to have changed.
“Could it be… Finger Wind?!”
Mu Ssang tilted his head in confusion. If it really was the Finger Wind, then he’d be the very first human to fire one. Countless of martial arts manuals and wuxia novels described all sorts of ‘palm wind’, ‘fist wind’ and even ‘finger wind’, but they were all full of crap.
The only record with any sort of credibility was the Shaolin Inner Force One-Finger Zen. Mastering this technique allowed you to fire energy through your middle finger, not wind.
But the process of mastering the Shaolin Inner Force One-Finger Zen was very cruel. A kid no more than five years old, after becoming a monk, had to train in qigong and iron hand training. Such a hand would obviously become deformed after bones and muscles failed to develop properly.
Once the training advanced to a certain stage, the trainee was made to stand on five fingers. If you could reach the stage of enduring for two hours on all five fingers, your pinky was cut off. And when you could stand on only four fingers for two hours, then the ring finger was cut off. Next up was the index finger.
Only the thumb and the middle finger would be left. The thumb was spared for the sake of living a relatively normal daily life, while all the qi force was concentrated on the remaining middle finger.
By being able to actually jump around the training hall while doing a handstand with just your middle finger, you’d be seen as having successfully completed the first stage of the One-Finger Zen. The second stage involved piercing a gong with your middle finger. In the third stage, you attached the gong to your finger and tried to pierce it by firing your energy.
There was a reason why the Shaolin Inner Force One-Finger Zen was no longer practiced in Shaolin. Not only was its training regime too cruel to suit the Buddhist teachings, its firepower was also too fearsome. It was debatable if the middle finger could really fire the ‘finger wind’, but there had been records of people using only one finger to break bones and destroy internal organs.
The hotel’s suite had three separate rooms. The room with a hole in the wall was where Samdi was resting. His senses were ultra-sharp, so there was no way he’d fail to pick up on the finger wind piercing through the wall.
The door was yanked open and Samdi with his pale complexion rushed out to the living room.
Dino suddenly began making bizarre noises.
Mu Ssang’s face reddened while trying to hold back his laughter.
That’s because the crown of Samdi’s head now hosted a straight-through highway.
His curly hair growing so abundantly during their time in the jungles of Ituri now was missing a section of hair in the middle with hints of blood dripping from there.
Samdi hurriedly rushed to Mu Ssang’s position and knelt down without a warning. “Wakil!!! It’s my fault! I promise never to torment Dino anymore. I, I promise to listen to you and behave myself, Wakil!”
“H-hey, what’s gotten into you?” Mu Ssang, now greatly surprised himself, quickly grabbed Samdi’s shoulders.
“Wakil, I still want to live. This world is too much fun. I, I want to keep living.” Samdi began howling desperately.
“Hey, man. It was my mistake. A mistake. I’m sorry.”
“Are you going to kill me while apologizing?” Samdi looked up at Mu Ssang as tears formed on his eyes.
“I’m telling you, it really was a mistake. I activated a skill without being conscious of it.”
Mu Ssang raised his hand. He used his index finger to point at a decorative bronze horse rider statue standing next to the couch.
Resonance swirled around.
A powerful stream of something shot out from his finger.
A small noise rang out.
Dino quickly jumped to where the bronze statue was, then picked it up with its front paw. The creature began walking unsteadily toward Mu Ssang on its hind legs. When its stance went astray, the creature used its tail as support to correct itself.
Samdi’s eyes nearly popped out of their sockets while witnessing this superb balancing act.
“What an unusual guy this is!”
Mu Ssang chuckled loudly. It seemed that Dino thought of itself not as a dinofelis but a human being. Some said that a dog thought of itself as a person and a cat thought of humans as cats, but without a doubt, no animal out there would behave like Dino in this world.
“Heot?! It’s been punctured through!”
Samdi’s eyes grew wide.
Even though his master didn’t even touch it, the thick bronze now had a visible hole in it. With that, Samdi suddenly felt like peeing himself.
What a great fortune this was, being a servant of this man. If Wakil was his servant instead, then Samdi was pretty sure that he’d never be at ease. Whether it was Dino or Samdi, the nature of submitting to a stronger leader was the same.
“What? Come to Lac Assal or find him at the hotel in the evening?”
A flicker of sharp coldness quickly brushed past a face so gaunt that it almost looked like a layer of skin was applied on a skull. That face belonged to the DGSE’s general director, Bonipas… Otherwise known as the Serpent of Piscine. (Piscine = swimming pool, DGSE’s nickname)
“Yes, sir. He said he’ll wait, but it’s not a dinner invitation…”
It was as if a pale line was about to be drawn on the death mask, only for it to disappear without a trace in an instant. Colonel Vincent replying while making a troubled face had to blur the end of his sentence.
He figured that talking any further might cause the Serpent to devour him right here and then.
“Son of a bi*ch. Don’t even want to share one meal with me? He’s basically saying, go jump in a lake.” Bonipas muttered quietly.
He flew all the way out to Djibouti hoping to pacify the irate Black Mamba, but it seemed that the situation was worse than he imagined.
Bonipas almost got emotional just then, but he could also understand where Black Mamba was coming from. After all, the jungles of Ituri was not a nice place to be.
He went through so much to finish the operation only for the cleaning crew to show up with unwelcome guests tagging along. When looking at this from the other shoe, it became easier to see why Black Mamba would be pissed.
Bonipas’s complexion darkened.
‘Urgh, gimme a break. The Special Military Advisor made my skin shudder, but now, why did the general director have to show up here and give me indigestion, too?! There’s nothing to devour in this corner of Africa, so why have you even crawled here to torment this weak old me?!’
Vincent grumbled in his mind.
Honestly, he was creeped out by the general director’s emotionless muttering. It’d been so much more preferable if the general director at least got angry or something.
But here he was, sitting completely still in one spot for one hour with that corpse-like face as blackish aura gushed out from him.
What an inconsiderate and rude fella this was..