Novel Name : Mercenary Black Mamba

Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 524

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Why did she mention the empty outhouse of a neighbor? The sudden appearance of Kamdoong was outrageous. But Jin Soon’s behavior, who barged out the front gate full of adrenaline, was even more absurd.
She said she would entangle your brain with roots. And she said she will not cease her nagging. The rules of the game explained by Kamdoong were starting to be interpreted in a perverted way. Was she going to force-feed scopolamine to him and interrogate him about his relations with girls? Was she going to throw a psychedelic party? Was she going to bind him in the empty house and wield her nine tails? The scenes he imagined were absurd but there were many absurd things in the world.
“Do I love you or do I want to be loved by you?”
Jin Soon passed the front gate and looked up at the sky that was as black as ink. The crescent moon in the middle of the night sky was surrounded by a reddish halo and one stray dark cloud was eating away at a corner of the halo.
Ten years ago, when she walked over the mountain with Mu Ssang, she had seen the same sky. In retrospect, the summer drought had persisted. The monk and Mu Ssang straddled the ordinary world and the supernatural world. She had gotten used to the shock of the extraordinary. More than Kamdoong’s existence, the words he said before leaving were a greater shock.
The rules of the game? It was so: when she was on Mu Ssang’s back smelling of sweat along the irrigation ditch of the Nakdong river, the endless game had begun. Love is a game and a game needs adjustment and balance. Horse racing has race weights and go has handicapping. Otherwise, storytelling is impossible.
She was stubborn to judge Mu Ssang and define his happiness. Her resolve to warmly welcome Mu Ssang, who must have been physically and psychologically tired, turned into complaining and attachment.
This is akin to worrying if the expensive clothes of a child are torn when the child tumbles. She simply convinced herself that for his happiness, she could do anything. But the only thing she did was add the weight of her own stained soul to the weight of his tired soul. The story was going in the wrong direction.
“Whoa, how could I have been so stupid!”
After she kept receiving things from Mu Ssang, her thoughts were centered around her. It was the attachment to the desired outcomes. She took out the jewelry box from her pants pocket. The sophisticatedly crafted mother-of-pearl glistened in the moonlight. The jewelry box itself was a jewel.
She carefully scratched the beeswax sealing the lid and opened it. Inside was a sophisticated copper mirror and a pair of gold earrings were.
“Ah!” Jin Soon exclaimed.
The luminance of the gold earrings reflected in the copper mirror dazzled her eyes. Their antique and majestic appearance indicated that they were a national treasure.
“I’d rather he brought cheap replicas from the busker in the town.”
Jin Soon put on the earrings and looked into the copper mirror. She suddenly felt a mixture of bitter, sour, salty, and sweet flavors in her heart, thinking about their story so far. She remembered herself rejoicing at a handful of alpine knotweed.
Mu Ssang had extended his hand with a glum face. In the hand was a handful of black nightshade. “Eat this!” Mu Ssang’s simple tone and the bittersweet taste of the plant overlapped.
The fresh and sweet taste of the newly budding leaves of a wild rose vine that Mu Ssang held out without words. The fruits of the crimson glory vine that he procured for her until she was full. His back on which he told her to climb when she was at a loss about what to do when the creek was about to overflow. The sweet scent of his sweat. The sensations that she had felt more than a dozen years ago were revived like a fragment of earthenware.
The sensations were so stark that chills ran down to the tip of each of her hair strands. His awkwardness when he smiled shyly as he extended a present to her did not change one bit. Only she had changed.
It was stupid of her to assume that Mu Ssang should have headed her way right after landing in Korea. She should have just been content if he was at ease. If his tired soul could get some rest even for a moment, that should have sufficed.
“I am sorry, Mu Ssang! I must have been possessed.”
Teardrops ran down Jin Soon’s cheek. If he hid something from her, he must have had a reason. Even if it involved someone else, that is a thing of the past. She only needed to look it over. She did not feel good making him uncomfortable.
If a bird does not sing, one should wait until it does. Her actions were no different from crybabies and drama queens.
Their story! The countless stories that she made with him!
Stories consist of sentences and sentences consist of words. Words, by themselves, do not make much of a sense. Words, harmonizing with one another, become a sentence with meaning. Sentences harmonize with each other to form a story.
Love is a story. The phrase “love story” is quite inverted. People do not live to be happy. Likewise, people do not make stories because they love each other. Stories stacked on top of each other to form love. Love at first sight is more like a carnal desire than true love. Love is the sum total of stories ingrained in our memories.
For the whole day, she was not able to handle her feelings and made a fuss. Due to her stubbornness, she messed up a matter that time would have handled. A weak story leads to weak love. A sturdy story leads to sturdy love.
So what if he referred to her as a sister? It was fine as long as that made him comfortable. She sought another story even though they have built a beautiful, sturdy story in the years they spent together. Cho Jin Soon was content if Mu Ssang had a rocking chair that ensured comfortable rest, a water bed that ensured a good night’s sleep, and a table on which they could place plenty of food.
This day was not the only day left in the world. Lovers turn into married couples. They had many days together ahead of them. If one gently pulled at a pumpkin vine, one would get a pumpkin. If one abruptly pulled at it, the vine would sever. If a bird does not sing, one should wait until it does.
Jin Soon had rented the neighbor’s outhouse at 50,000 won per month for a year. She was fine if she ended up as a mother to his children. She was fine if she was referred to as a sister. She was fine if she ended up as his friend or maid. She was fine even if her soul is torn into strands and was served with some soju. If she kept him in front of her eyes, they could build a story. If she held onto the present moment, she would acquire the future too.
Jin Soon thus made the legend of a mistletoe. The history books in Novatopia later referred to this moment as The Moment of Clarity of Empress Cho Jin Soon.
“He is a busker! Love is a story! I finally understand it. To face each other, the rules of the game must change. To face each other, we must first look in the direction of each other. Love is something comfortable and good. If it is not comfortable, it is not love. If we looked in the same direction for a long time, we will end up facing each other. To get some fun, first, you need someone.”
Jin Soon muttered in a singsongy voice as she entered the front gate. Her face was overflowing with confidence.
“You are late!”
“Yeah. I have prepared your shelter in the Mr Sim’s, the neighbour’s, house.”
“My shelter? What about Teacher?”
“Oh, no. The monk grandpa would like it a lot!”
Mu Ssang was speechless. Teacher would welcome the prospect of their marriage.
“You said you are building a house in the Bulro district. How far is it from here? Don’t act foolishly in a country that doesn’t produce a single drop of oil. Just live here.”
Jin Soon subdued Mu Ssang’s feeble protest at once.
Mu Ssang saw an illusion of a mistletoe shimmering before his eyes.
“Mu Ssang, don’t think too much. I will handle it. I am the end of everything. Just let me handle things and you can enjoy your freedom as you eat the meals I cook for you. Okay?”
“Uh, this is…”
Mu Ssang stuttered, overpowered by Jin Soon’s eagerness.
“Mr. Sim is a seeker of ginseng. He scours the entire country for the medicinal roots and his wife and daughter keep the wide house. If you live with them, they will feel safe.
Jin Soon concluded. She exploited his sympathy for the poor at just the right moment.
“Ugh! I see. I need to oversee the construction anyway. If I live close by, it will be convenient.”
Mu Ssang surrendered, seeing some rationality in it. Mu Ssang’s shelter ended up in the neighboring house of Jin Soon’s house. Mu Ssang, with his many sins, obeyed Jin Soon.
Men think they choose women but they could not be more mistaken. A smart woman does not let a useful man go. She sets up an elaborate spiderweb and plans a highly sophisticated scenario to catch him.
“What about tending to Teacher at the temple? Would Kamdoong be able to cook even simple porridge?
“Can he do that?”
“He is just assuming the form of a black leopard because he is replenishing his energy. His original form is simultaneously a black leopard and a human.”
“Is that possible? I am a nurse and that defies the knowledge of anatomical physiology I have learned so far. What is his true identity?”
“Hundreds of millions of years ago, there existed sentient life forms called Homo Concretus on Earth. Kamdoong is one of them. He procured some data to become the black leopard. After. he acquired an epidium body to become a human. I gave him both the data and the body. So our souls are connected.”
“This makes my head hurt! I don’t know anything about Concretus or epidium. I just need you. Oh dear! I forgot I had prepared some yukhoe and buckwheat noodles.”
Jin Soon did not ask further. She was aware that the visible world was not everything. If he said so, it was so. If a tiger cooks rice and a lion cooks dishes, it would not be so surprising.
“Huh? Those are quite time-consuming dishes. How did you know I would come?”
“Heh. I have always been prepared to make them. I didn’t know when you would come.”
Jin Soon omitted the part that to buy the ingredients, she had to spend her entire monthly wage.
“Is that so?”
Mu Ssang’s voice became sullen. That meant she cooked the dishes every day for a boyfriend even that she did not know would come. That kind of dedication was unheard of. Did she still feel heartache for the past him that only had water for meals?
‘Edel, I am sorry but I feel like you should come in second.’
Mu Ssang sighed deeply. Jin Soon’s Operation Mistletoe was smooth sailing.
Jin Soon made a stock of kelp and skipjack tuna and seasoned it with soy sauce, sake, mirin, and salt. That was the soup for the buckwheat noodles. She then boiled the noodles that she had freshly gotten from the mill. She grated some mountain yam and radish and put the paste in small bowls. She also finely grated a wasabi root that she procured after much difficulty. She then sliced dried stone laver. She was very skilled at handling the ingredients. Her hands moved fluidly.
Buckwheat noodles are commonly known as a Japanese dish but they originate from Korea. Even in a Japanese cooking dictionary, it is written as: In the early Edo period, a Korean monk, Wonjin, taught how to make noodles with mixed wheat flour and buckwheat. This was how buckwheat noodles were introduced to Japan.
Before the Japanese learned how to make buckwheat noodles, they made a sort of cake with buckwheat and dipped it in soy sauce. Koreans forgot the value of their traditional culture and even criticize it due to the trauma of colonialism. Buckwheat noodles were not the only example of such behavior.
Mu Ssang’s mouth was agape in awe. It was not just the yukhoe and buckwheat noodles. Bulgogi, yukhoe, seasoned beef, neobiani, skewered meat and vegetables, kimchi stew, and a variety of plant dishes. Even the chef Yijihana could not dish out such an assortment of delicacies in such a short time. Only Jin Soon could.
Mu Ssang felt happy. After a hundred days, he could feast on rice and meat. God bestowed Jin Soon with a flair for cooking that Edel did not have.
Yeon Soon, who was coming home from watching a nighttime movie at the theater with friends, stopped at the front gate of the house. She could hear the joyous laughter of her sister and a low voice of a man. She did not even have to think. Mu Ssang was home.
“The old miss is rutting! Haha.”
Yeon Soon turned towards a friend’s house. She was eager to see Mu Ssang but if she ruined the mood by entering the house now, Jin Soon was going to kill her.
Like what Yeon Soon said that night, no one knew whether the rutting old miss got some fun that night except for the relevant parties. No matter what, as she prepared breakfast in the kitchen in the morning, Jin Soon’s face could not look any brighter.
Mu Ssang used the entire outhouse of the ginseng seeker’s house. Jin Soon frequented the place to pamper to Mu Ssang. The fair lady and guy thus formed a de facto marriage. The wife of the ginseng seeker complimented her for being a great wife. Her two daughters, all grown up, eyed her with jealousy.
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Mu Ssang’s routine was simple. He woke up at four in the morning and hiked at the mountain in front of the house. He avoided the hiking routes and climbed his own path. It took about 70 minutes to hike two mountains and return to the reservoir.
It would take an experienced hiker more than 24 hours to complete the course. Among hikers, a rumor spread that a mysterious beast lived in the mountain but no one really believed it.
After his morning exercise, he ate the breakfast prepared by Jin Soon and went to school. After school, he checked up on the temple and construction site. Mu Ssang’s money expedited the construction in the Bulro district greatly.
The food served at the canteen was cheap. The most expensive item, the omelet, was 650 won. The food served their essential role, to satiate hunger. They were not for gastronomy. Jin Soon was well aware of the state of the food in the canteen.
Mu Ssang, with his great metabolic rate, ate a tremendous amount. Jin Soon prepared a seven-tier lunchbox that contained 20,000 calories. Edel could never do this. Only Jin Soon could. Mu Ssang, already famous with northern snakeheads and as Darth Vader, went onto another level of fame with the seven-tier lunchbox..
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