Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 470
If a nest is destroyed, so are its eggs. Because of money, he was thrown here and there like a stray stone on a road with heavy traffic. Because of money, he had to leave his hometown. Because of money, he became a human butcher in a foreign country that was a continent away from his hometown. Money is a wicked thing. When he needed it, it was far away. Now, he did not even have to try and money poured in like a pack of wild dogs.
He remembered hIs uncle whipping him with a thick cowhide belt as if he was possessed. Mrs. Jang had egged him on. He still vividly remembered her fierce gaze. Her slanted eyes were like a viper’s, oppressing him throughout his childhood and early adolescence.
His uncle and aunt were obsessed with increasing their wealth, but this obsession became their poison.
His uncle and aunt started fighting each other to own Good Heart Oil, as if it were a big chunk of delicious meat. Jang Pil Nyuh gradually poisoned her husband, whose days were already numbered. Bak In Bo schemed to completely destroy the influence of his wife’s family. Their drama foretold a certain doom.
The world is vast and there are all kinds of unimaginable money. With his reward from the Operation Fist of Justice, he could afford dozens of companies like Good Heart Oil. Compared to what Mu Ssang had now, Good Heart Oil was worth the antennae of a mere snail. The fight between his uncle and aunt now seemed like two snails wrestling.
They only had two decades or so to live yet they were obsessed with money. No single person is the same. When there are one hundred people, there are one hundred personalities. His father and uncle, despite being brothers, were vastly different.
If his father Park Jin Bo and mother Kim Mal Soon embodied pure love, Bak In Bo and Jang Pil Nyuh embodied pure hatred. Money had consumed every aspect of their life and relationship. A human is supposed to live like a human, not a demon.
“I am not where money stays. I am a conduit through which money moves somewhere. I am a marshaling yard for the trains called money. Money stays with me for a while then goes where it needs to go. I became a mercenary because I needed money. I became Black Mamba without intending to. I became the Eastern Swordsman because I didn’t want to be Black Mamba. A rookie named Park in the Legion Etranger, a special military advisor Black Mamba, or the owner of Novatopia Eastern Swordsman, a title doesn’t change anything. I still think fine dining is overpriced, premium wines expensive, and I do not use my private jet because I don’t want to splurge on fuel. I am still an ordinary Korean young man. Money shall go where someone needs it to be. Money shall be used where it needs to be. That is what money is. If it doesn’t move, it stagnates and rots. It becomes a waste that stenches. I only need 100 francs for meals. I do not need the 500,000,000 francs in my bank account.”
Mu Ssang muttered as if reciting a monologue.
“Eastern Swordsman. I have been working with you for the past four years. But I still don’t know you even though I sometimes think I do. You used to be obsessed with making money. Now you aren’t. You are enigmatic. You are a young man in his mid-20s but you act like an old man who has lived for 100 years. I know you used to be a practising monk, but you are bizarre.”
Mu Ssang’s face was distorted in a half-smile and a half-frown. His struggles to survive played in his head like a panorama. The extent of his life was unknown to anyone else.
Of all living things, humans vary the most individually. Someone can be paid a hundred times the salary of a hundred people. At the same time, someone else is unable to purchase their own home even if they work all their life.
“A human is the only living thing that can perceive a day to be 10 years. You get to live through that when you are orphaned with your baby teeth still intact. You get to experience that if you incarcerate yourself with ethics and morality just to protect your father’s owner. Scrutinize yourself and tolerate others. Recite that mantra tens of thousands of times. Live to your heart’s guidance and take care of your honor. When you do all that, you become like how I am today.”
Bonipas stared at Mu Ssang mindlessly. His every word conveyed a multitude of emotions. Black Mamba was not a monster made by the MK project or the Arago project. He was a real superhuman created by his strong willpower and sculpted by severe emotional pain. It was no surprise that he gathered followers across religion and race.
“Eastern Swordsman, is your power the result of the same process? Living a day like it is 10 years?”
“It is the outcome of a strange mixture of fated events and coincidences, which points at the existence of divine guidance. Mostly, sheer training contributed the most to my strength. Samdi can take on a thousand common men with his bare hands. He was born with his tiger-like courage and strength. He does not need to train specifically for those. Humans vary greatly depending on what each individual envisions and works hard for. I am going off on a tangent. I need only so much money to live comfortably. Any amount more than that only brings hassle.”
Mu Ssang, wading out of his reminiscence, concluded.
“Money brings hassle? That’s a great saying. Only you can say such a thing. Thank you for enlightening me. I feel like I am rewarded for coming to Djibouti.”
“Are you staying at a hotel?”
“No. The head of the DGSE does not have that much free time. Operation Fist of Justice has concluded. You avenged the hundreds of young lives who fruitlessly died in the jungle. That’s the real dignity of the National Treasure. France gained much thanks to you. I thank you on behalf of the government. Let’s drink to that.”
“For the prosperity of Novatopia!”
“For the Eastern Swordsman Oil Company!”
“To the company!”
“For the friendship between the Eastern Swordsman and Serpent!”
Bonipas made a toast three times and Mu Ssang, Samdi, and Dinofelis responded.
Dinofelis, holding a wine glass with its front paws, tried to join the toast. Samdi smacked the back of its head but it drank the wine nonetheless.
“That is quite bizarre. Something from Alice in Wonderland…”
Bonipas laughed. He could have never imagined this scene if he had not come to Djibouti.
It was not so surprising for the rest. Only Bonipas was a normal human of the four.
During the meeting at Kempinski Hotel, they exchanged what each of them needed. Even though Mu Ssang and Bonipas were of different nationalities and belonged to different ethnicities, they were the top figures in each of their fields. A negotiation proves successful when each party recognizes each other’s merits and there are no private interests involved. Bonipas and Mu Ssang were both satisfied.
“Eastern Swordsman, I am returning to my office now. I have to deal with the Socrates Project that has just been revealed.”
“Please keep Japan on your watch, not just America.”
“Something doesn’t feel right. The Grendels hidden in Ituri by the Americans were all waterborne. Serpents, Octopi, and Turtles are all derived from sea creatures. America is Japan’s main ally. I do not trust Americans.”
“Koreans tend to love America. You are different.”
“Do not even insinuate that. Japan is America’s friend. Japan’s economic power has America under its control. Eight of the 10 biggest companies in the world are Japanese. Only two are American, IBM and Exxon. Of the 50 biggest companies in the world, 33 are Japanese, 15 American, and 2 British. Unfortunately, not a single French one. Japanese money and products are sweeping the entirety of America. Japanese lobbyists are actively influencing American politics with money. Korea is only relevant to them as a shield against China and the Soviet Union. Korea trusts America but the United States Department of State and intelligence agencies consider Korea as an outpost for Japan’s defense.
“The Japanese are known to be ‘economic animals.’ Once strong enough, they become bullies. They copy the inventions of others. They are never remorseful for what they did in the war. A pile of faeces in the Pacific Ocean. There is a similar lump across the Atlantic Ocean that taunts France at every opportunity, but at least America and France cooperate as they compete. Korea ended up with a tricky neighbor. The Grendels are a biological weapon that is top-secret and developed by the CIA. Even though they are close allies, America will not share such technology with Japan. Also, even though Japan is shameless, it’s not a thug. They would never try to invade the Korean shore with Grendels.”
“Japan invaded Southeast Asia for oil. It is in their genes to invade. They can be a thug when they need to. Their native land is on the Ring of Fire so it is likely they want some stable land. I hope I’m simply worrying too much but isn’t it one of the principles in intelligence ‘to evade mirror-imaging’? You shouldn’t assume that the enemy thinks the same as you.”
“I see. Something will come up if we go through the archives of the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office. If it were Korea, I wouldn’t even bother looking anything up. I’m not interested and there is no manpower for that.”
Bonipas, throwing Mu Ssang a glance, stopped jesting at once.
“Koreans are diligent and smart. I am sure Korea will surpass Japan in terms of economy and military power someday. I congratulate you again on becoming the owner of some black gold. See you again soon. Goodnight!”
Bonipas hurriedly left the hotel after. Silence reigned in the room. Samdi and Dinofelis went into their respective rooms when they saw Mu Ssang thinking deeply.
“Operation Fist of Justice is finished? Not until we get Kamuge and Rousseloufe.”
Mu Ssang took a water bottle out of his emergency pouch. Inside it, an orange, palm-sized creature turned its white eyes and gazed at Mu Ssang. The pupil-less eyes were chilling.
He had captured Rousseloufe in the bottle after battering for it with Vajra and Gongjinpa. It was said to be invincible. In less than a week, it had regained its normal shape. It was a humanoid but upon closer inspection, it showed various traits of many animals. The pointed muzzle looked like an alligator’s, webbed hands, gills behind ears, tentacles growing from both arms…
Kamuge had mentioned that Rousseloufe had physical mass but was also ethereal. It was overpowered. It could deal physical damage but received none in return. In the bottle, it was as big as a palm but once outside, no one knew how big it would become.
‘Is it an Adras, the same kind as Kamdoong? Would the djinn in One Thousand and One Nights be similar to this fellow?’
It was an absurd question but maybe it was not too far off considering its physical properties.
“Samdi, bring me a crystal bottle.”
Rousseloufe was an unknown being. No one knew what havoc it would wreak when it regained its original form. Mu Ssang could not trust a mere glass bottle to contain it. So he had ordered a sturdy crystal bottle with a titanium coffin.
“What is that, Wakir?”
Samdi flinched, holding the crystal bottle. If the Devil existed, he would have looked similar to that. Rousseloufe was captured in Kamuge’s quarters. Samdi never knew of it.
“I’m not sure. Kamuge had called it Rousseloufe.”
“It’s creepy. Let’s kill it.”
Rousseloufe screeched. A crack ran across the side of the glass bottle. The white eyes, glaring at Samdi, gave off evil energy.
Samdi stepped back instinctively. Rousseloufe wriggled. The cracked bottle swayed, threatening to break at any moment.
“It is something.”
Mu Ssang was in awe. It was trying to break the bottle with sonic waves and escape. Mu Ssang covered his Billion’s Water Armour with Gongjinpa and opened the bottle. Rousseloufe jumped out like a spring. Mu Ssang, prepared, shot Finger Wind at it. A hole appeared in its pink body.
A sharp screech reverberated in the room. Samdi grimaced, covering his ears. Mu Ssang’s Billion’s Water Armour grabbed the fleeing creature. Rousseloufe wriggled in the net of pressured air.
Samdi gasped. Rousseloufe changed into many forms: alligator, lizard, bird, dinosaur, etc. It had the same trait as Kamdoong, who was a non-morphic creature. Mu Ssang, with pressured air, restrained Rousseloufe’s movements and ruthlessly hit it with Gongjinpa.
Strong waves of Gongjinpa battered the pink creature like it was a drum. A good beating tames any man or animal. Rousseloufe’s body was torn apart like an apple in a grinder.
Its body, once as big as a man’s, shrunk and it turned from pink to black. As Gongjinpa continued to hit it, its form collapsed and stretched like pizza dough. It was now smaller than a palm.
Mu Ssang gathered the dough of Rousseloufe into the crystal bottle and closed the cap tightly. He couldn’t let a creature that is immune to physical damage roam around. For example, if it infiltrated the cockpit of a passenger jet and drove the plane into a skyscraper, that would be a big crisis..