Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 488
A merchant who voluntarily took losses was called a philanthropist, not a merchant. The world needs both merchants and philanthropists. If someone asked Mu Ssang, who poured money and effort into the Sahara desert, he would answer like this.
“Everyone in the world is familiar with division and categorization. They lose sight of their goal as they seek causes and reasons. They label each other allies or enemies as everything collapses. I am simply following my heart’s desire, which is no one else’s business. You should do the same and pay less mind to what I do.”
“A wise man has a mouth in his mind. A fool has a mind in his mouth.”
Mu Ssang muttered. It was easy to see who had the upper hand. The one who could end the negotiation without any qualms had the upper hand. Flowery words that harbored a threat were what one could say only when he had the upper hand. Margerie, blinded by his greed, made the mistake of thinking he had the upper hand.
“I don’t know much about oil development but I do know that an agreement has to be fair to both parties. Novatopia’s national policy is “prosper together.” Total is a precious asset of France and my partner. I do not want Total to be vulnerable to a great risk.”
“What is he going to say?”
Margerie flinched. He sensed a great deal of willpower in Mu Ssang’s clear and profound eyes that gazed at him. He felt as if he was going to be sucked into the blackhole-like pupils.
Anxiety caused his body to produce more serotonin. With his nerves tensed up, his unhealthy heart malfunctioned. His heartbeats became quicker and he perspired. Mu Ssang stopped talking and gazed at Margerie.
“His heart is not sound!”
At a glance, Mu Ssang figured out the state Margerie was in. His brain waves became tumultuous and the blood flow to his heart increased. His pulse rose from 80 to 100 to 200 to 300. Margerie averted his eyes and pressed the button in the defibrillator that was planted just beneath his collarbone. His tachycardia gradually returned to the normal range.
Mu Ssang continued after seeing Margerie regain his calm.
“My solution is like this. Let’s limit the scope of today’s negotiation to the probing MOU. The development agreement shall be signed after the probing phase has been completed. I will grant you 20 percent of pre-emptive shareholding rights as a gesture to guarantee Total’s development rights. The pre-emptive rights will cost 1,000,000,000 dollars, paid in one installment. The actual price of the shares will be tied to the estimated oil reserves. The probing costs will be financed by both parties.”
“Wait, that is…”
Margerie couldn’t finish his sentence. His newly stabilized heart trembled again. “Calm down!” Margerie placated his heart that threatened to gallop again at any moment with all of his might.
“Total would be able to evade the risks tied to long-term development and ease some of its cash burdens. I will get some funds for the development of Novatopia. I say this again, ‘prosper together’ is the only way to quell any discontent. The sun shines on everyone.”
Mu Ssang’s last words, “The sun shines on everyone” angered Margerie.
‘It doesn’t! What do I gain from this?’
Margerie swallowed a shout. There was nothing wrong with what Gulbeig said. Total was able to ease some of the cash burdens and reduce the risks. Anyone who hears such an offer would praise Gulbeig’s fair consideration.
The problem was the peculiarity of the Doba oil field. According to the geological exploration data, the sedimentary stratum of the Doba delta was shaped like a jar. The oil layer of the Ghawar oil field was spread across 400 kilometers but the Doba oil field was concentrated within 50 square kilometers. It was indeed an oil well.
There were no developmental risks and the cost was low. There was no need to insert water to bring up the pressure and there was no need to build a power generator to supply electricity. All they needed to do was install pipes then the oil would gush out.
Gulbeig, sly like a fox, took all the benefits he could take as he pretended to consider Total’s circumstances. Margerie himself was fooled. With 20 percent of the shares, he could never participate in the administration.
After the probing phase, the price of the Doba oil field’s shares would skyrocket. He ended up in a pickle.
He lost the shares and was about to be robbed of 1,000,000,000 dollars with his eyes open but he could not refuse either. He had whined about the obstacles first and the other party took that into account.
Margerie cried internally. He tried to trick the other party but now he was tricked. For a mere 20 percent of the shares, he had to pay 1,000,000,000 dollars. Furthermore, it was not for the shares themselves but the pre-emptive rights to buy them. Mu Ssang could sell the seawater of the Mediterranean sea if he wanted to.
Margerie absentmindedly gazed at Lake Yoa beyond the terrace. As an executive, he felt shameful having to take the offer, fully knowing it’s a bait because it meant he had been completely defeated in the negotiation. Sbard Gulbeig was not a name wasted on him. He did not know how he would be able to negotiate further with someone as stern as him.
“This old man’s acting is better than Alain Delon!”
His disappointed look may have roused pity, but Mu Ssang’s eyes were cold. It was evident that the old man’s sad look was orchestrated. If Margerie had not tried to trick him till the very end, he would not have resorted to this. If one had no upper hand, one could never change the rules of the game. To have more likelihood of winning, one had to change the way they played it. And that was what happened.
“All right. I will offer 10,000,000,000 dollars for the pre-emptive rights of 50 percent of the shares.”
“He does have a lot of money.”
It was great magnanimity to offer 10,000,000,000 dollars for the pre-emptive rights only and not the actual shares. Only a chairman of a major oil corporation could make such an offer.
“Mr. Chairman. I have no reason to alter my conditions. You should only approve or reject my conditions. There is only one Doba oil field but seven major oil companies.”
Mu Ssang did not budge. This was it. He had the upper hand and Margerie had to follow. Margerie gazed at Mu Ssang mindlessly then shook his head. His greed had tainted his reputation.
“Since I flew here from Paris hurriedly, I couldn’t eat anything today. Do you not have any pity for a starved old man who journeyed afar?”
Margerie made a sad face.
‘You are not a starved old man but a hungry lion.’
Mu Ssang laughed internally. If Chairman Margerie was a pitiful old man, every other old man in the world must be in abject despair.
“I will not send you off empty-handedly. If the Doba oil field is not up to your standards, I will renege on my offer of pre-emptive rights. We can discard the MOU now.”
“There is no need for such a thing. I was simply awe-struck at your great negotiating skills.”
Margerie waved away the suggestion. The oil field was still a gold mine after all.
“Since we reached a mutual agreement, let’s call it a day.”
Mu Ssang stood up and extended his hand to Margerie.
“He is Black Mamba after all!”
Ariba felt like old constipation had been resolved at once. It was great entertainment and catharsis to see someone as powerful as Margerie being handled by someone stronger. Margerie was a prominent figure around which even President Mitterand behaved carefully. Black Mamba was a powerful man indeed. He single-handedly subdued Margerie. Respect was due.
He also felt respect towards Mu Ssang because he did not use any shady methods. Black Mamba was a powerful physical soldier who also had supernatural powers. If Black Mamba used his powers to toy with the chairman, he would not have felt such reverence for Black Mamba.
Surprisingly, Black Mamba never used any of his physical or supernatural powers to intimidate the chairman. Yet, he defeated him nonetheless.
When one had powers, one was inclined to use them. Black Mamba never used his powers against normal people. That was why he had many followers.
After concluding the negotiation, Margerie’s face was not dark. He was the head of a global corporation. He did not cling to deeds that were done.
“Thanks to the coffee sent by the mistress of Yoa House, I achieved a great partnership. This is for the mistress.”
Margerie produced a long jewelry box from inside his suit jacket.
“Well, she should receive it herself.”
Mu Ssang called Edel through the interphone.
“It was difficult negotiating with your husband but it was also worthwhile. This is a simple gift but it is for you, a beautiful wise woman who also brews good coffee. I wish a happy future for both of you.”
“Thank you, Chairman. You will be blessed by Dubaiburupa.”
Edel received the box without restraint and opened the lid. Margerie dismissed the “Dubaiburupa’s blessing” bit as some sort of greeting.
“Oh, my! It looks like Tasenzoter.”
Edel, who was expecting jewelry, exclaimed. It was a compact folding knife that was as big as a palm. It looked like Ombuti’s Tasenzoter, but a hundred times fancier. The snake and crocodile on the sheath were inlaid with gold, the sand and stars were diamonds, and the stopper was made of emerald.
“You know Tasenzoter. That knife was made from iron that was in an asteroid. Its name is Dike, ‘justice’ in Greek. The components are 10 percent meteoric iron, 25 percent nickel, and 65 percent Damascus iron. It belongs to a collection that is unknown to the world.”
“Oh, my! I don’t deserve this gift.”
Edel put the knife in the box and handed it back to Margerie. Edel had no interest in jewelry. She was a wise woman who knew that excess is worse than lack.
“It is no Excalibur or Durendal so don’t feel so.”
Margerie smiled. It was said that to take a knight, one must aim for his horse. Dike cost him 5,000,000 dollars but Gulbeig was a thousand times more valuable than that. Edel looked back at Mu Ssang with a perplexed face.
“Edel, it is not courteous to reject a gift.”
Edel took Dike at once. If Dubaiburupa said so, it was so.
“Mr. Chairman. You are always welcome to visit and drink coffee here.”
“Haha. Thank you.”
Margerie laughed out loud at Edel’s hospitality. Even though the negotiation was dissatisfying, it was good because he acquired friendship. A beautiful woman was a magical being that could thaw any atmosphere.
“Dubai, can I borrow you for a minute?”
Edel whispered to Mu Ssang’s ear and left the room. Mu Ssang nodded.
“Mr. Chairman. Do you have atrial fibrillation?”
“How did you know?”
Margerie was startled. Atrial fibrillation was a type of arrhythmia in which your heartbeats became irregular. Due to abnormalities in the electrical signalling of the atria of the heart, his heart trembles frequently, leading to sudden lethargy in the body, dizziness, and difficulty in breathing. It could be fatal if not treated immediately.
The cause was the aging of the heart. Atrial fibrillation made blood clots and when the clots blocked the cerebral arteries, it led to a stroke. Since it has no evident symptoms and manifests without a pre-existing condition like hypertension or diabetes, it was seldom detected.
“Edel is a doctor.”
“Even so, it is ridiculous. Are doctors these days equipped with portable X-rays?”
Mu Ssang held Margerie’s head between his hands. Dimensional sight and Gongjinpa were activated at once. The intricate blood vessels in the brain were drawn in a three-dimensional image in Mu Ssang’s head.
One of the middle-sized blood vessels was blocked by a blood clot and so were nine capillaries. After scanning his head, Mu Ssang placed his palm on Margerie’s crotch. Edel had said that arrhythmia patients often had sexual problems as well. Indeed, the blood vessel that was connected to the penile sponge tissue was blocked by a blood clot.
“Mr. Chairman. Do you take a blood thinner?”
“I take urokinase. Since it can cause spontaneous bleeding, I only get prescribed it occasionally.”
After placing his hand on Margerie’s heart, Mu Ssang used dimensional sight. The wall muscle between the left and right atria was deformed. It was a trace of heart surgery.
“It seems more than three years have passed since you were operated on with radiofrequency catheter ablation. You have a defibrillator in your right shoulder but you are not in a sound state.”
Mu Ssang muttered which surprised Margerie. It was not the first time today that Margerie was surprised by something.
“Huh. Who are you?”
The surprised Margerie asked a pointless question. It was surprising that he figured out what condition he had but it was even more shocking when he scanned his heart and brain with his palms and detected the defibrillator in his right shoulder. It was unbelievable even though he saw it with his own eyes.
“What am I supposed to answer that with? You suffered from atrial fibrillation for a long time. You were operated on and are using a defibrillator and medications to treat it but the blood clots have already blocked 10 of the blood vessels in your brain. Your heart’s not in a good condition. One blood vessel connected to your penis is also blocked. You will soon be visited by death. I presume you were sent to the ER several times recently for dizziness and difficulty in breathing. Your right leg would have gone numb often and you haven’t been having morning woods.”
Mu Ssang recited the words like a shaman scolding townsfolk.
“Are you a doctor?”
Margerie kept asking pointless questions. Even renowned medical specialists could not diagnose as accurately as Gulbeig could. It was as if he was dissected and examined under a microscope.
“Have you ever seen a doctor like me?”
Mu Ssang laughed.
“There is no doctor like you.”
Margerie laughed too. If someone could figure out a patient’s state by mere touching, that person was not a doctor but a god.
“Is this what Dubaiburupa’s blessing is?”