Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 497
“Dubaiburupa has spoken!”
A roar erupted. Dubaiburupa, who was known to be merciless, said merciful words. There was guaranteed employment until 65 years of age. The government took care of you afterwards.
The crowd that was gathered on the shore was comprised of refugees who endured and escaped oppression and exploitation. It was a great grace just to receive a job and a home. Dubaiburupa had promised that even after retirement, one would be able to work small gigs and stay healthy until they die. It was a divine covenant.
Mu Ssang’s head was swarming with thoughts. The demographics of Novatopia comprised of the Kurds who escaped Syria, orthodox Muslims, Eritrean refugees, refugees who fled the Sahel drought, and refugees from the civil wars in Sudan and Congo.
Their living standards were abysmal. More than 90 percent of them were illiterate. He had to perform a miracle to capture the attention of the uneducated. It was no use holding lectures about Buddhist scriptures to kindergarten children. It was tremendously difficult to explain Novatopia’s national policy and overall development to the residents. Ombuti and Afwerki were having a hard time translating Mu Ssang’s words as well.
“As a Novatopian graced by Dubaiburupa, you have five duties. First, the duty of national defence. Every Novatopian who reached the age of 19 is subject to conscription. No matter the gender, they have to serve for 36 months. Rash, disability, habitual dislocation, tooth extraction, accidental injury, birth tourism, homosexuality, conscientious objection, personality disorder, no matter the reason, no one is exempt. The disabled shall shoot on wheelchairs. Someone with no arms will do the paperwork with a pen between his toes. Anyone who did not serve will not be eligible for public work. But in cases of inevitable causes such as severe disability, childbirth, and education, one can pay defence taxes instead of serving. Second, is one’s duty to work. The government will find employment for the unemployed. Those who do not work shall not eat. Third, the duty to pay taxes. No one will be burdened with caring for one’s family in Novatopia. The government will look after the severely disabled and elderly. The government will pay for the nursing and education expenditures of children. If your income is of a lower bracket, your taxes will be less. If your income is higher, your taxes will proportionally increase. The clergy will also pay the taxes. Fourth, the duty to learn. Every Novatopian over the age of six will receive education for 11 years: five years of fundamental education, three years of applied education, and three years of advanced education. Those over the age of 20 will receive separate civic education. Fifth, the duty to conserve the environment. It may still be a foreign concept in Africa. Simply put, you shall not harm nature. For example, you shall not throw away excrements in Lake Yoa, cut down the trees in the windbreak forest, or engrave your name on rocks. Those acts will be punishable by law.”
His loud voice travelled through Gongjinpa, rumbling in the air.
“Thus said Dubaiburupa!”
The crowd shouted at once. Dubaiburupa called them duties, but they were in fact rights. For them, who each trudged through a miserable life, his words sounded like a gospel that will lead them to the doors of heaven.
“I have cut this natural stone pillar on which I am standing. This violates the fifth duty, nature conservation. It shall be punishable. I will pay 1,000 francs of fine right here and will be caned. What do you, people, think of this?”
Mu Ssang stopped talking and looked around at the crowd. The place suddenly filled with the noise of people talking. “It is not a sin to cut useless rock.” “It is a sin because Dubaiburupa said so.” “A god’s act is never wrong.” “Can a god ever be punished?” People started debating everywhere.
Mu Ssang waited for them to come up with their own conclusion. These were Novatopians who will have to live proactively, not passively. They seemed to reach a kind of consensus. A middle-aged man sitting on the front row said in a loud voice.
“Dubaiburupa is a unique being. We, the people, are ignorant and stupid. We cannot judge you. We now understand the duties and the sternness of the law. Please take back your frightful words.”
“Please take back your frightful words!”
The crowd bowed and said at once.
‘This is not how it’s supposed to go!’
Mu Ssang was perplexed. Many Africans had not previously heard of the notion of nature conservation. He wanted to convey the message that even Dubaiburupa could be punished if he violated nature. But if he went on with his original plan, there will be great turmoil among them.
“Heeding the people’s intent, I shall only pay the fines and do away with the caning. I will name this pillar Rahula and it will serve as a warning for nature conservation. I would like for you to cherish every single tree and every single stone from now on.”
“Thus said Dubaiburupa.”
“You will be punished if you don’t fulfill the aforementioned five civic duties. You are great Novatopians. You shall protect your dignity on your own. If there are duties, there are rights. Civic duties are rights. Novatopia’s national policy is human dignity and freedom. Novatopians have the right to be treated as dignified humans, to pursue their happiness, and to live freely. You can adhere to the religion of your choice, work the job of your choice, and love and marry the partner of your choice.”
“Thus said Dubaiburupa.”
“The law dictating the duties and rights shall soon be codified. Novatopia recognizes no discrimination or privilege. If it is not a cult meant for exploitation, all religions are allowed. The clergy is no exception. You shall practice ‘clear poverty.’ It refers to the abandonment of all greed. The clergy is still human. Humans cannot abandon their greed. I will by law separate the assets of religious organizations and the clergy. The clergy shall never touch donations and will be paid a set salary. Politicians and bureaucrats are not exempted too. Their salary will correlate to the average salary of the workers in Novatopia. Their bonus will depend on the quality of life of Novatopians. If the people’s quality of life worsens, so will that of the public workers. The royal family and the citizens will evaluate the quality of life. The public workers shall expect a heavy workload. Someone on the lazy side shouldgive up early. The public workers are subject to the duty of transparency. It is hard for someone in a high position to stay transparent. There will be weighted punishment for the politicians and bureaucrats involved in bribery and corruption. Five times of the received bribes shall be additionally collected on top of the fines. Political donations will be managed by a separate independent body. Someone who cannot control their greed should give up early.”
“Thus said Dubaiburupa.”
“Humans are humans because they know how to love. The greatest feeling God bestowed upon humanity is love. People are quick to hate but find it difficult to love. Life is short, it does not even span a hundred years. There will not be enough time to love, much less to hate. Love yourself, love your family, love your neighbors, and love your country. If you have love left after all that, then you may share it with me. I, Dubaiburupa, am a being that is both existent and nonexistent. My eyes will gaze upon the dream you build, my ears will heed the sighs you heave, and my nose will smell the sweat you drop.”
“Thus said Dubaiburupa.”
“Praise the Great Soul!”
The crowd’s energetic chanting soared into the night sky. Mu Ssang had transformed from the Angel of Death to the Great Soul.
Thus concluded the speech of Lake Yoa. Mu Ssang and his entourage left but the crowd kept chanting, “Thus said Dubaiburupa.” Since that day, the law entries and customs in Novatopia were codified in a way that began and ended with the phrase.
The crowd persisted. As the night grew deeper, the 2.5-kilometer stretch along the eastern shore of Novatopia turned into a party with its participants in a trance. An unlimited amount of liquor was provided and fireworks embroidered the sky.
Many women stripped themselves of their already scanty clothes while shirtless men revealed their muscled bodies and enthusiastically stomped on the ground. The blue full moon gazed indifferently at the lake, desert, and the humans in frenzy.
The residents continued to gather until daybreak. The overwhelming emotion of having met the Great Soul Dubaiburupa, and its after-effect, led the Les Miserables to celebrate. The Saga of Dubaiburupa marked this day as a big festival and holiday, now known as the Full Moon Festival.
When the frenzied celebration reached its climax, Mu Ssang, who was submerged in deep sleep, opened his eyes slightly. He had sensed a movement in the air in the room. Even a single mosquito could not enter Wakir’s room, guarded by Dino and Samdi. He instinctively knew who the intruder was.
The intruder did notmove at all. The gentle scent of jasmine filled in the air. It reminded Mu Ssang of his mother and Hae Young. Rudrey Edel must have changed her perfume after hearing about his mother from him. Something tugged at his heart.
[How are you doing? Be honest.
If you are not well, could you tell me?
I have been wondering about you.
I sometimes hear of you but it doesn’t help me relax.
You always tell me you have a lot of things to ponder.
But you also tell me there is nothing inside of you.
Only the jasmine scent remained in the dream.
Let’s go back to the past. I want to embrace genuine pleasure.]
It was “Jasmine Flowers,” a song she would sing often. In the two-story house from the colonial era, the image of her singing by the pond floated up in his consciousness. The pheromone of jasmine scent, that filled his entire adolescence, grazed the tip of his nose. She had approached him with the song of cuckoos, planted demonic pleasure and agony, then left him. The attachment of the relationship that had quenched his barren soul was as sturdy as a whale’s tendon.
She floated up in his mind holographically. She was a bottomless swamp. Her eyelashes always looked wet — long and thick. Her brown eyes were so clear that they almost had a blue tint. Her long hair danced in the air like ripples on water. A nose that is quite prominent for an Asian. Taut lips with ambiguous tails. Her pale, long neck was reminiscent of something described in Noh Cheon Myeong’s poetry. Narrow shoulders supported all of the above. He reminisced about the curves of her pale legs.
The natural fresh scent of the female body filled the air. It severed Mu Ssang from his reminiscence and attachment. The song faded from the cuckoo’s nest.
“Dubai, shall I climb onto the bed?”
Edel’s voice trembled with slight indignation. She had believed that she was in love with his soul but she had not expected her body to crave him this much. Facing her shame, she had entered his bedroom but her man was not reciprocating her invitation.
“Rudrey, I have someone I am in love with.”
Mu Ssang said with a sigh. It was not a polite thing to say to a lady who paid him a visit in his bedroom. It was even a cruel thing to say, but it needed to be said. It was childish but he felt like it was the least he could do now for Hae Young. Maybe his trauma about his father who died futilely, leaving his mother behind, played a part too. He still harbored the primal fear that he may leave this world first, leaving his loved one behind.
“Dubai, you had just made a speech about marrying someone you love and having children. I cannot defy such a statement. I want you. It is okay if I regret this night for the rest of my life. I won’t even regret it. You will leave once the day breaks. It is okay if I live with your shadow for the rest of my life. I won’t regret it ever.”
Edel recited as if in a song. Before she could finish her sentence, an iron-like arm snatched her slender waist.
“Edel, I am no ordinary human. It may be too much for you.”
“You underestimate women. We can withstand a metric ton of weight in the bed. I don’t know how that is possible, even if I am a physician.. Haha!”