Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 508
Mu Ssang’s face was awe-struck as if he had just been struck by an ox. He was surprised that Ocelot knew the word “good.”
“Are you aware of the concept of being good? If I ever took you in, I doubt I will ever live out my destined lifespan.”
Mu Ssang drawled as he looked directly at Ocelot’s pupils. Within his blue irises, some scarlet was seeping out. That hue was characteristic of epidium activated by murderous intent.
‘If his mind had teeth, he would chew me alive,’ Mu Ssang sneered in his mind.
“Great. You are doing great. You are doing well. You and I are two of the only epidium-enhanced beings in the world. We are of the same tribe. I can be your slave. Just spare my life!”
Ocelot was desperate. Maybe they could talk this out. He could not avenge himself if he was dead. Once he was fully regenerated, he did not need to fear Mu Ssang.
‘Did I really fight with him in the garden of the Paya Hotel?’
Mu Ssang let his guard down. A serial massacrer must have a reason for doing so. Some considered themselves martyrs, buried in extreme beliefs. Some were devoted to their ideologies. Some were doing it unconsciously, with multiple personalities.
Ocelot was a new kind of killer with an antisocial personality. He considered himself a great being and deemed humans to be like ants or earthworms. Similar to how Hwa Ja killed ants for fun with a twig as they came out of their colony, Ocelot killed people for fun. Mu Ssang abhorred people like Ocelot, mesmerized by their own power and acting out because of this narcissism.
“The same tribe? I’d rather believe that a bulldog grew a pair of tusks than believe a word you say.”
Mu Ssang’s gaze became menacing. A clear membrane formed and covered both his hands. Ocelot’s bones were as hard as titanium. It was exhausting to break them without Billion’s Water Armor.
“Hey, Black Mamba, I have a lot of hidden funds. I will provide you with money and women. I will give you 10,000,000 dollars. No, 20,000,000 dollars,” Ocelot, feeling threatened, blabbered.
“Some punching will change your mind.”
Mu Ssang’s hand thrust like a flash of light. Ocelot, surprised, parried it with his forearm. Colliding with Billion’s Water Armor, Ocelot’s forearm was bent at an acute angle.
Before he had time to scream, Billion’s Water Armor grasped his shoulder bone and collarbone at once. The bones, nerve bundles attached to the bones, blood vessels, and muscles were crushed like clay. It would only take him three days to regenerate all that.
A desperate scream resounded.
“Wakil, is everything all right?” Leon asked through the intercom.
“You don’t have to worry about it.”
Mu Ssang turned off his intercom and glared at Ocelot with cold eyes. Ocelot, who was about to leap out of the coffin, flinched. The more animalistic instincts one had, the more one was mentally subdued by an opponent that had defeated them in the past.
Ocelot’s mouth was clenched shut. It was Psychokinesis that Mu Ssang had recently learned to use. Once the target was silenced, Mu Ssang began battering Ocelot as if he was a wall of a house about to be demolished. Heavy thuds followed one another. He fractured Ocelot’s backbone and neck bone in multiple pieces and crushed the bones in his limbs. Then he ripped out the tendons in his wrists and ankles and partially crushed his liver and lungs. Within one minute, Ocelot became octopus-like, with everything below his neck turning all soft and tender.
“You cruel wretch! You have no humanity! I will avenge myself.”
Ocelot’s eyes revealed not pain or fear but insanity. It was just like Samdi said, even God cannot tame epidium. Mu Ssang was also able to endure Mrs. Jang’s cruel abuse that lasted five years thanks to this unyielding stubbornness of epidium.
“You, of all people, speak of humanity. I shall be able to leave you alone for 10 days now.”
Mu Ssang closed the lid of the coffin and locked it. He resisted the urge to smash Ocelot’s mouth too when he spouted nonsense about humanity when he did not have any himself. Ocelot was the textbook example of a demon.
Humans are humans because they have the ability to sympathise and empathise. No lifeforms other than humans possessed such qualities. Sympathy referred to a proactive stance on which, through imagination, one understood the difficulties of another. It was a gaze of understanding from a higher place toward someone in a lower place.
Empathy referred to a state-oriented act in which one shared one’s psyche interactively with another. In Buddhism, mercy was closer in meaning to empathy than sympathy. For example, if you give a loaf of bread to a beggar, that was sympathy. If you went around panhandling with him, that was empathy.
Some people sentimentally interpreted sympathy as an intellectual understanding of someone else’s pain and empathy as shared emotional suffering. Such an interpretation cannot be labeled as incorrect as it is a very narrow and political view.
Mu Ssang could see the true nature of a person. Even if Samdi had not warned him of epidium’s insanity, he could sense that the only human thing Ocelot retained was his form. Ocelot’s sympathy was replaced by malice and empathy by madness. He had no reason to treat Ocelot as a human. If he had considered Ocelot a fellow human, he would have euthanized him, not subdue him with violence.
His head started to ring again.
Mu Ssang, enjoying coffee leisurely, put down his mug. If it happened once, it could have been his imagination. But for it to happen twice is no mere coincidence. He sat in a Lotus position and recited the Great Compassion Mantra. The mantra was the best tool to focus one’s mind.
“Sara sara. Siri siri. Soro soro…Modaya modaya. Maedariya. Niraganta. Gamasa nalsanam. Baraharanaya manak. Sabaha. Sitdaya. Sabaha. Mahasitdaya…”
His soul rose and his mind fell. His clouded head cleared like the autumn sky.
[Help me, Eastern Swordsman!]
He heard a faint vibration. Kamdoong arose in his imagination. As their souls connected, the imparted thought became comprehensible.
[Friend, help me.]
[You said friends stand by each other’s side in times of need.]
‘What is this? Kamdoong?’
His surprise almost broke his mindfulness. He already had some concerns regarding Kamdoong because he had told him that he will visit but Mu Ssang had never heard from him since then. Only a natural disaster could put someone like Kamdoong in danger.
Even mighty Sun Wukong was buried under a mountain for 500 years. Even Mu Ssang himself could not rival the violence of nature itself. Since he could receive Kamdoong’s thought waves, Samdi must have escaped the underground world. Even thought waves could not escape a perfectly sealed space.
He wanted to know where he was but Mu Ssang did not know how to send out thought waves. He could only convey some sounds on his Gongjinpa over a close distance. Mu Ssang was in a hurry. His only friend was in danger and he could not locate him. Mu Ssang still had not located his own mother in Korea. How was he supposed to find Kamdoong?
As he grew more desperate, his headspace cleared as if a cloudy sky was clearing, as if things went in focus in a telescope. His vision soared to an infinitely high place. The shoreline of the African continent, which he always saw on maps, was vividly painted in his imagination.
Mu Ssang was ecstatic. He had finally gained a proper supernatural power. It was Heaven Seeing Eyes that his teacher told him about. No, it wasn’t quite so. Mu Ssang was connected to Samdi through their epidium blood and his powerful thought waves were directing Mu Ssang’s consciousness. If it had to be named, it was more of Right Martial Hall’s necromancy than it was Heaven Seeing Eyes.
His vision scoped the southernmost tip of the African continent. The cobalt sea and robust waves slapping the shore swept his mind. On the land stood a lighthouse with a design that mimicked that of an old castle. The thought waves were emanated from somewhere in the deep sea dozens of kilometers away from the shoreline.
“Leon, head to the southernmost tip of the continent. Looking from the sea, there is a cape as stout as a hippo’s tail and to its right, I see a city. There is a castle-like lighthouse. Do you have any idea where this might be?”
“If you say southernmost, there is Cape Point and Cape Agulhas. If the cape is stout like a hippo’s tail and there is a city nearby, it is likely Agulhas. Cape Point is more of a crocodile’s tail.”
“I see a sign marking the boundary between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean.”
“It’s Cape Agulhas,” Leon replied mechanically, not discerning Mu Ssang’s intent.
“Set course to Cape Agulhas.”
Falcon changed course. The distance from the Niger desert and Cape Agulhas at the southernmost tip of Africa was 6,500 kilometers in a straight line and 7,300 in actual flight distance. Even taking into account the spare fuel in Falcon, the return flight to Novatopia was going to be difficult. Leon had some concerns about the fuel but said no more words. He had faith in his boss.
After seven hours, Falcon appeared above the southernmost tip of the African continent. They could see the strong waves from the Atlantic Ocean slapping Cape Point. Cape Point was commonly known as the southernmost tip of Africa but it was actually Cape Agulhas, 154 kilometers away from Cape Point.
“Wakil, we will arrive at Agulhas in 10 minutes.”
“Maintain altitude at 2,000. Tilt the angle 10 degrees to the left. Fly in a circle at a leisurely speed.” Mu Ssang ordered the direction and speed over the intercom. Leon was confused.
“Sightseeing? There are only sardine trawlers and whales here…”
To the left of Cape Agulhas was the Atlantic Ocean and to its right, the Indian Ocean. In both directions, there was not a single island on the vast expanse of water that spanned hundreds of kilometers. There were many hidden underwater rocks along the shore of Cape Agulhas. No ships were passing by. If the boss acted incomprehensibly, there must be a reason for it. He must not have come all the way here to gaze at the oceans.
“Leon, how low can you go while maintaining the scoping mode?”
“At the speed of 250 kilometers, I can lower us by 400 meters.”
“Great. Maintain the altitude of 1,000 and drop the speed to 200 kilometers.”
Falcon flew in circles over an area 120 kilometers away from the Agulhas shoreline. Mu Ssang used his vision to scope the ocean below but he did not see a single floating debris, let alone any ships.
The thought emanated right below Falcon. He spotted two whales cruising in the waves. It must be a mother and her baby since the 3-meter one was swimming in the 15-meter one’s wake.
“Could it be?”
Mu Ssang remembered when Samdi was in the serpent’s stomach in the jungle of Ituri. It was a nonsensical guess. Mu Ssang put on the harness. What was nonsensical was the existence of beings like himself or Samdi.
“Leon, do you see the whale?”
“Fly along the direction they are swimming in.”
“Match the frequency of my satellite phone and elevate the altitude and wait.”
Before Mu Ssang finished his sentence, a warning beep filled the cockpit. On Leon’s dashboard, the light indicating open doors was turned on.
“Wakil!” Leon shouted but Mu Ssang had already disappeared from the cabin.
“He is driving me crazy!”
Leon, perplexed, slammed the steering wheel with his fist and continued the circular flight. He knew what powers his boss had but that still did not stop him from worrying.
Mu Ssang assumed the halo fall posture. He extended his limbs wide and tilted them backwards along with his head to reduce the falling speed. To land on the back of a moving whale, he had to meticulously tweak his falling speed. Mu Ssang fell at the speed of 60 meters per second. The air was clear and so was the sky. The speed of the wind, at two meters per second, also aided his aim.
The training at Deuxieme REP was still effective. Mu Ssang shouted reflexively and pulled the bridle at his hip 300 meters above the surface. His parachute unfurled rapidly. His body was abruptly pulled upward against gravity.
The MC-1 Mobility Parachute was capable of steering and horizontal movement thanks to its air holes and steering lines. Mu Ssang steered himself along the direction in which the humpback whales were going.
It was quite a sight to see humpback whales glided through the water as they blew out water. Mu Ssang pressed on the “rapid disassembly” button and shed the parachute and fell free. He elegantly landed on the whale’s back. The humpback whale barely noticed him and went on its way. To a 30-ton humpback whale, Mu Ssang was akin to a fly.
“How could he?”Leon shrieked, looking down at the surface. Wakil had shed his parachute and landed on the whale’s back. It was a legendary spot fall, worthy of being included in the Foreign Legion’s history.
To a superhuman being, Leon’s concerns did not matter. He just needed to do his job. Leon shook his head and went up in altitude. He should not surprise the whales with the din from the aircraft. They might decide to dive underwater. He was not aware that a humpback whale accompanied by her baby rarely left the surface.
Mu Ssang placed his palm on the whale’s back and loaded Gongjinpa with his voice.
Gongjinpa went through the thick outer skin of the whale and vibrated through the inside of the humpback whale. The heap of krill in the massive stomach of the whale flinched.
[Have you come, my friend?]
‘What kind of situation have you gotten yourself into?’
He had guessed as much but it was a bad joke that the powerful Kamdoong was eaten by a whale. Before he rejoiced at being reunited with his friend, he was concerned.
[Are you okay, my friend?]
[That is quite an irrational question.]
Mu Ssang laughed at the cynical retort. A being on a level with Kamdoong was eaten by a whale. There was a big problem.
Mu Ssang scanned the inside of the whale with Dimensional Sight. He was thorough with the search but still could not spot Kamdoong. The stomach was full of half-digested krill and fish and nothing else.
“Has he transformed?”
Mu Ssang was aware of Kamdoong’s ability to transform. He exercised patience and scrutinized the whale’s massive belly, even employing Resonance Wave to feel up what was inside.
In his field of Resonance Wave, he felt an object with a radically different density than its surroundings. He focused Dimensional Sight and saw a squirming jellyfish in his imagination. No lifeforms could survive in the stomach where high-acidity digestive fluid was gushing out. And a jellyfish could not move autonomously out of water.
[You don’t look too great.]
[One thing led to another, I lost some of my body. I also depleted energy required for my survival….]