Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 484
“Mistress. We only need to add one more spoon to the dining table, so why worry so much?” Aishe asked while grinning brightly.
“How can you say that? He’s been wandering in the wilds for a month. It’s most likely that he never got a chance to enjoy a proper meal, you know.”
A tearful Rudrey Edel anxiously stomped her feet. Dubaiburupa looked like an emaciated scarecrow when he got carried into Atibel’s hospital. Being a mercenary was a very dangerous profession, after all.
“Please don’t be so worried, my lady. Our chef is preparing a feast so his food truck should arrive soon.”
“What are you talking about? Didn’t you tell me earlier that Mister Yijihana went out with his fishing rod?” Edel looked back at Bassel with wide eyes.
“My apologies, my lady. Our chef should be working up a sweat right now in the Governor-General’s kitchen. Ohohoho!” Bassel let out a peal of laughter while quickly evacuating to a corner nearby.
“Uh-whew, how dare you! You were planning to prank me from the very beginning, weren’t you!” Edel bit down on her voluminous lips while giving them a sideways glare.
Both Ombuti and Ibrahim began melting into puddles at the sight of that. Her smiling face was already pretty to begin with, but she became even more adorable when she got riled up like this.
“Hehe. Isn’t it more joyous to hear an unexpected piece of news?”
“How unfortunate that Lord Dubai can’t see our lady’s face right now. I mean, one’s wife looks the most beautiful when she’s focused on cooking, wouldn’t you say? Hahaha!”
Ombuti and Ibrahim chuckled loudly while looking at Edel’s face caked with globs of flour.
Edel quickly asked, “Doesn’t that mean we should head to the airport right away?”
“No, my lady. He detests troublesome matters like one hates the plague. The original plan was for him to simply show up to the residence and greet you.
“We wouldn’t have informed you in the first place if it weren’t for the sudden news of Total’s CEO coming to visit us. As such, my lady, it’ll be alright for you alone to go to the airport and welcome him back.”
“Oh, my? It sounds like Dubai has confirmed the oilfields.” Edel’s expression brightened even more from Ombuti’s explanation.
“Indeed. However, isn’t it a bit of a waste for such a massive jackpot, my lady? The Samaria farm is originally your property, after all,” said the slyly-grinning Ombuti as he stared at Edel.
Edel and Wakil shared one notable commonality: the boundlessly-wide container of their souls. They have suffered under the hands of endless greed yet they lacked material desire. Ombuti asked her that question even though knowing how she is was, in a way, acting like a father being overly proud of his child that had matured to become a fine adult.
“Please don’t say that, uncle. All treasures have their rightful masters. Dubai only had to send a single lackey to recover the farm my uncle stole from me, didn’t he? If I remained as the owner of the Samaria farm, then instead of Total’s CEO, I’d have hitmen showing up in my bedroom in the middle of the night, you know.
“I’m just a selfish woman who wishes to live a long and unencumbered life. That’s why I dumped a hot potato on Dubai’s lap. That’s all.” Edel replied with a grave look on her face.
That prompted Ombuti to chuckle loudly again. “Hehehe. I was just teasing you, my lady. There’s an old saying that goes like this: “Treasure isn’t a crime, but if the one with said treasure lacks power, it will become a crime.” You made the right call.”
“It wasn’t for free, though. I know how to calculate my benefits, at least.” Edel grinned softly while taking off the necklace Mu-ssang had gifted her with.
She then shook it lightly around with her ring-wearing hand.
“Huh. Now that is a truly excellent way to calculate a massive benefit, my lady.” Ombuti’s expression began to soften once more.
Even though she was still young, she knew how to recognize and expand her territory, and also when to discard it. One could scour the world high and low and still not be able to find a more suitable candidate for queen than her.
She was so adorable and laudable that he wanted to take a bite out of her cheek or something!
“Even the legendary Orichalcum can’t restrain Dubai. So he should be tied down with affection, instead.”
“Does that mean the lakeside windbreak was for love…”
“Shh! I still feel bad about those who had to work hard back then. It’s embarrassing, so please keep it a secret.” Edel pressed her index finger on her lips as her cheeks reddened.
“Understood. Oh, and there is a Black Culture Dinner scheduled for six this evening. The participants will be Total’s CEO and five doctors from the MSF.”
“Why didn’t Kim contact us in that case?”
“Kim went on a business trip to Korea to purchase additional construction equipment, my lady.”
“Oh, how unfortunate. Dubai would’ve been happy to see Kim, after all,” said Edel in disappointment.
But Ombuti simply shook his head. “No, my lady. Nothing good will come about if it is known that he and Wakil both hail from same place. Indeed, it’ll only become more troublesome for Wakil if more people learn about his true origin. In any case, please get ready.”
Edel’s expression showed a hint of anxiety while watching Ombuti turning around to leave. “Bassel. It’s not a helicopter but a jet plane he’s riding on, so would he really be able to see it?”
“You can be rest assured, my lady. According to Mister Ombuti, Lord Dubai can even tell whether a crow ten kilometers away is a male or female.”
“What if he scolds me for doing something unnecessary?”
“Lord Dubai isn’t a shallow person like that. I believe that your heart will definitely reach him, my lady.”
Despite Bassel’s assurance, Edel’s expression did not soften at all.
A family whose background was too envious and moving to be seen as desperately unfortunate… That was Dubai’s. A dying husband who asked his young child to look after his wife, the wife who loved her husband so much that she ended up losing her memories…
And Dubai, who never forgot about his father and missed his mother so much that he even saw her in his dreams…
The old adage said that to defeat a knight, one must shoot at the horse. So, Edel based her actions on Dubai’s mother, Madam Kim Mal Soon’s love, to let him know her feelings.
It was fine even if he did not get to see it, though. She just wanted to express her feelings in her own way. But now that she had done it, a sense of guilt tugged at her heart, as if she had used their beautiful love for her own purpose. It was kind of like a thief feeling guilty because of their crime.
“It’s finally finished!” Yijihana yelled out after slamming the rear hatch of the food truck shut.
Because of orders from Governor Visgowa… No, from Mister Ombuti of Aklan crew, Yijihana had to sweat buckets trying to prepare unfamiliar Korean cuisine.
Thanks to his teacher’s interest in Eastern cuisine, Yijihana got to complete the task this time, but he was still worried about it. The biggest constraint was the availability of ingredients and seasoning. He did his best to imitate the taste, but he had no confidence regarding the overall quality.
“The master of this land will participate in this banquet. Pay close attention to your behaviors to ensure that our honored guests will enjoy their meal. Get going!”
The caterer working for him, plus the assistants, quickly saluted and left. Yijihana’s face, brimming with passion until then, suddenly went wane as if all energy had abandoned him.
As soon as an urgent matter was taken care of, the memories he wanted to forget reared their ugly heads once more. This was why he hated doing nothing.
“Dammit!” He spat out a curse word before plopping down on a chair.
Several faces flitted in and out of his mind, starting from his father who fought for his nation’s independence only to get killed in action by a bullet from an Ethiopian soldier; his mother who abandoned her young child to remarry; his grandmother who had to work extra hard to take care of her grandson; and finally, his teacher who taught him how to cook.
After getting married, Yijihana settled down in Yirgacheffe. He had a son and a daughter. A happy, fulfilling life. But it had to end after eight years — all thanks to Ethiopia’s Christianity elimination policy.
During evacuation, he got separated from his wife and son. After going through hell and back, he managed to reach Eritrea, but his home country also turned out to be the land of oppression and unchecked carnage. It had transformed into a hellish world teeming with animals that would prey on his barely-ten-years-old daughter.
A friend affiliated with the Eritrean Liberation Front told him about the land of the gods, Novatopia. That story was like a lone ray of hope illuminating his hell.
Yijihana’s mind flipped after hearing about how the freedom of religion was guaranteed in that place, that one’s children could grow up safe and sound there, and how you’d be rewarded for all your hard work at the end of the day.
After that, his mind could not process anything else. He discarded a shabby wooden boat, which had been prepared by him to cross the Mediterranean, and fled via land instead.
And Novatopia proved to be the land of gods, indeed. One had so much freedom and rights. Freedom of religion, freedom to choose one’s job, freedom to choose where to live, implementations so that no one starved, rights to work…
Hell, you even had the right to die with dignity like a human being.
The employment agency even found him five job postings that might suit Yijihana’s skill set and age. Until he could find steady work, they provided him with a temporary residence, sustenance, and even living expanses.
To Yijihana, who suffered from the tyranny of the Ethiopian government and got persecuted by the Eritrean Muslims, this new home was basically like heaven itself.
And encountering the leader of the Eritrean Liberation Front, Vallé Afwerki, was a stroke of luck too. Thanks to his help, Yijihana was able to settle down here without too much difficulty. After his cooking skills were acknowledged, he got himself the title of the Governor-General’s head chef as well as Miss Edel’s cooking instructor.
But now that he found a new home and his life had settled, the memories of the wife he still loved and his whip-smart son began tormenting him every day.
Were they still alive… Or dead? If they were alive, under which skies would they be living right now? Even the face of his teacher, who sacrificed himself to help his disciples escape, flitted in and out of Yijihana’s mind.
“I can’t let the my grandma’s and the teacher’s sacrifice go to waste. I’m sure Akra is doing a good job looking after Tigre right now. Urgh!”
Yijihana shook his head before forcing his heavy butt to move. His back, shoulders and wrists were aching in protest after cooking nonstop for several hours. Surely no one in Novatopia was more tired than he was at the moment.
The master of Novatopia, Dubaiburupa, was scheduled to arrive later today.
He was revered as a god. Even the angel of Nova, Miss Edel, yearned for him even in her slumber. And Afwerki, famed for being a stubborn mule of a leader, pledged his loyalty to this man. All denizens of Novatopia fanatically followed Dubaiburupa. And now, it was Yijihana’s chance to take a good look at who this man was.
Yijihana was utterly determined to see whether Dubaiburupa was a prophet, a visionary, or a con man. He climbed on his bike and stepped on the throttle.
The Falcon nimbly touched down on the runway. Unfitting of his nickname of ‘violent thug’, Leon intimately caressed the Falcon’s controls to do his bidding.
The Falcon reached the airport’s apron, and let its air-locked door open.
Even before the steps could be lowered, Samdi and Dino lightly jumped down and stood at attention on either sides. Afterward, Sun Woo-hyun and Ahmmad also leaped down to join in on the security detail.
Not long after, Mu Ssang, decked in unremarkable white gandura and a boonie hat, walked down the steps to reach the ground. Bakri and Co. followed him from behind.
“My lady, the one you’ve been waiting for has finally returned. Oh, my? What on earth is that?” Aishe’s eyes grew wide in surprise after spotting Dino.
As for Edel, her emotions welled up instantly, causing her eyes to get wet. Aishe’s words sounded like they were muted mumblings coming from deep underwater.
The air, heated by the sun’s radiation during the day, was dancing like a haze. And Dubai, flanked by Samdi and a massive beast, seemed to waver like a mirage.
Was it the atmosphere or Dubai who was dancing in her eyes? Or maybe it was just her eyes trembling all along. She could not be sure.
Edel suddenly began staggering.
“My lady, please get a hold of yourself.”
Aishe’s steel-like arm supported Edel’s trembling figure. Meanwhile, Mu Ssang gallantly strode to where they were.
Edel stared at him with dreamy eyes.
“Aishe. Thank you for all your hard work.”
Aishe shuddered instantly at his weighty baritone voice. He might be her benefactor who had saved her people and provided them with a place to live, but right at this moment, he had this air of real man oozing off of him. She could not help but notice it.
“Bluart! Lord Dubaiburupa, hooray!” Aishe ended up shouting inadvertently.
“Aishe, please stop with embarrassing greetings. What belongs to Dubai should be given back to Dubai, yes?” The ‘Black Mamba’ grinned mischievously. His eyes staring at Edel were filled with tenderness.
“Ah, yes. Indeed, what’s Caesar’s should be given back to Caesar.”
When Aishe removed her arm wrapped around Edel’s waist, the latter was quite literally sucked into Mu Ssang’s embrace as if a vacuum had pulled her in.
Edel’s consciousness wavered briefly at the sense of stability given off by his broad, firm chest and this manly odor wafting off of him. Tears welled up without her even realizing it. “Dubai, you’ve finally come home.”
Her blue eyes moistened by teardrops were reminiscent of Lake Yoa on a rainy day. Right at that moment, the temptation to kiss those eyes washed over Mu Ssang.
Samdi and Aishe were quick to notice it and they hurriedly stood by the side to block the view. Dino watching in silence suddenly stood up and turned around, too.
Dino was around three and a half meters long and over four meters when standing on its hind legs. Its massive physique served as a firm wall.
Edel’s mind was floating on cloud nine by then. She even ended up closing her eyes too, when a pair of exquisite lips gently approached her.
She desperately prayed for those lips to land on hers for a kiss. But his lips only brushed past her eye and cheek before he distanced himself a little.
Feeling rueful, she hurriedly opened her eyes. His face was now right in front of her eyes, waiting. Despite his almost feminine features, his face was still strong and determined like that of a thousand year-old granite.
The face she’d been longing to see in all of her dreams was finally here.
“You look good, Edel.”
“I’ve been planting trees whenever I had a chance, you see.”
“You did well. Being slightly tan really suits you.”
“And you, dear, you’ve become ten times cooler than before.”
“Well, if I want to become your man, I should at least be able to pull this look off, don’t you think?”
Aishe almost stumbled at this somewhat cringey banter. It was at this point that a bulb flickered to life in her head — that the godly Dubaiburupa and the Angel of Nova, Edel, were still a pair of young man and woman at the end of the day.
After the strong moment of reunion blew past them, Edel finally tore her gaze away to look at Samdi. “It seems that you’ve now become an excellent individual, Samdi.”
“It’s all thanks to you and master, my lady. Was there anyone bothering you while we were gone?”
Despite his evil ogre-like appearance, his manner of speech was as gentle as the spring breeze.
But Edel still flinched a little at the scent of blood contained within his gentle voice. “Who will dare to bother me when Samdi is protecting me?”
Edel lightly waved her hand in a dismissive jest. If someone was foolish enough to bother her, then Samdi was sure to rip that person into shreds.
“Hehe, indeed. Oh, and that creature will protect you as well, my lady.” Samdi chuckled before pointing at Dino.
Dino purred like a cat while rubbing its massive head against Edel’s chest. Mu Ssang grinned deeply at this feline behavior that would have put most house cats to shame. As expected, Dino was much quicker on the uptake than most humans.
“Oh, my goodness. How cute!”
Edel, looking like she was about to hit cuteness overload, hugged Dino’s neck and giggled in delight even though the creature was easily ten times heavier than her.
At this rate, she might even try to pick Dino up and carry it in her embrace. It seemed that her mentality was also not exactly ‘normal’, judging from how she saw the strongest predator in nature as cute.
“Dubai. This is no ordinary animal, isn’t it? Could it be a Smilodon?” Edel asked while peering into Dino’s maw, her head tilting this way and that.
Although Dino kind of resembled a Saber-toothed tiger, its most notable feature, the lengthy canine teeth, were nowhere to be seen.
“It’s a dinofelis but it seems to have evolved into something a bit… Strange. However, it understands human speech quite well.”
“Oh, my. How pitiful. Its kind went extinct so long ago, too. It must be all alone now. By any chance, did you name it Dino, Dubai?”
“How did you guess?” Mu Ssang’s brows arched up.
“Dear, your infamous naming sense is world-renowned at this point. Since it’s a dinofelis, you no doubt could only come up with ‘Dino’. If it was an S. Fatalis, you probably would have named it Fate or something similar.”
Mu Ssang could only grin wryly while Aishe turned her head away to giggle.
“Is Dino a present for me, dear?”
“I wouldn’t dare to call a preternaturally smart guy a mere present, though. No, it’s far closer to a friend. And with Dino protecting you, Edel, I can relax a little bit more.”
“Ah! Is Dino that smart?”
Edel was surprised by that evaluation.
Dubaiburupa was not the type to make sweeping statements — he’d only guarantee something if his belief in it was absolute.
Which meant that Dino was no ordinary wild beast, after all..