Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 546
Politics might have degraded into an appalling cesspool of petty catfighting or name-calling. and the citizens might have been silenced into submission, based on fear and apathy, but the world still does hold minor glimpses, glimmers of hope. A morally upright or ethical person’s principles – the notion that ‘what distinguishes humans from other animals, is the fact that people are capable of kindness. compassion, altruism – spread rapidly like a wildfire. Everyone hoped to be considered by others as morally upright individuals.
Many individuals from the general public began to actively take part in the ‘An Exemplary Person’ social justice movement. Chairman Choi Horim promoted the idea so aggressively that there was not a single person left who had not at least heard of, had some inkling of the ‘An Exemplary Person’ campaign. All the typical white-collar workers. corporate executives and even shoe shiners had begun donating to the widely-publicized social activist cause.
There wasn’t a single definitive cause that drove the charity and donation funding. They donated money for tuberculosis treatments, shoes for orphans, heating in nursing homes, nursing for the elderly who had been abandoned by their children and even donated funds to assist many who had been wrongfully charged with crimes and jailed for crimes they did not commit. Mu Ssang’s donations at K University also rose quickly from $1.7 million to $2 million.
No one actually was certain of the true identity of ‘ an exemplary person’. Whether it was a corporation, foundation, or individual. Only the fact that the K University’s secretary office was taking care of “‘an exemplary person’s” business as its legal representative, the official subsidiary was made officially known to public knowledge. More people becoming beneficiaries of the collected funds only implied more overtime demanded of employees working in the secretary’s office. It was their duty to compose all the official thank you letters that were mailed out to express gratitude to donors for their generous gifts of cash.
“It’s up to the “exemplary person” whether they actually read my letter, or not. Just the mere fact that there is actually a living person of that stature and benevolent intention in the world is truly a blessing and grants us some room to breathe in and feel assured, pacified.”
“Whatever! I’ll deliver all the meat dishes over to you guys. There are thirty-two people in our mayor district, so let’s say eighteen kilos of pork belly and twelve kilos of pork ribs. Eat your hearts out to blissfully filled tummies.”
Sungshik gulped a deep breath in, stunned at this declaration. Sunyoung, who was eavesdropping on their conversation, had eyes that grew wide with wonder. 30kg is 150 portions. It was more than adequate support, no, truly an astonishing level of support, validation.
The ’80s were a time back when cooking meat directly with a flame-grilling stovetop was considered an exotic, quaint idea. It was an exotic idea for a valid reason. If one were to boil or heat up to 600 grams of meat in a boiling pot of soup it could potentially feed up to ten people, but roast up that same mass of meat and it’s not even enough to feed two to fill up their stomachs. Roasting meat was financially considered a lavish, excessively extravagant, indulgent idea during this era.
Naturally, students did not even dare to think about roasting as a means to actually cook meat with. They would normally cook curry or kimchi soup at these welcoming parties. It was no wonder why Sungshik and Sunyoung were so taken aback, stunned.
“Woah, meat, meats. Hyung, that’s going to cost a lot of money….”
Sungshik nudged Sunyoung who was sitting just beside her.
“Oop! Oppa, hehe!”
Sunyoung jolted up in alarm and moderated the tone with which she was addressing Mu Ssang. She nervously took a peek at him. It was as if she was looking upon a tiger who’d just escaped from its cage. Mu Ssang beamed in delight.
‘Hut- a dark force!’
Sunyoung’s face turned deathly pale with fright.
The term Oppa began vanishing from Universities during the late 1970s. Girls began to address the older male students with the label Hyung instead of Oppa. Mu Ssang was peeved, unsettled by, and did not approve of the use of the label Hyung regularly quipped by younger girls. Being termed as Hyung by girls felt like a grave insult to Mu Ssang as he was highly masculine with high testosterone levels and machismo.
Had the generation’s youth collectively undergone a gender identity crisis or revolution while he had been away from the country? How affectionate, how musical to the ears was the term Oppa! The term Hyung ought only to be used to refer to gross men. Even if one was to broaden its boundaries to embrace more inclusivity under its definition, it should only be applied, strictly to the same gender.
There was a specific incident that prompted the female students to call Mu Ssang Oppa and not Hyung. Kim Mihee, who was studying in the same form class year, called him Hyung back when they were freshmen and suffered a backlash. Of course, her ‘suffering a backlash’ was mere gossip amongst his friends. All Mu Ssang did was just closely scrutinize Kim Mihee’s visage. Although he did glare at her for an excessively protracted period due to his sense of being insulted.
Kim Mihee’s blood drained rapidly from her face due to discomfort from being scrutinized intensely by Mu Ssang. Her hands and feet began to quiver violently and her face turned a deadly shade of blue, upon which she blacked out, losing consciousness, and fell down, collapsing to the ground. Her friends gave her CPR, an ambulance sped over with urgency. It was truly quite a spectacle.
The witnesses present at the event started spreading malicious rumors that Darth Vader Hyung had completely obliterated Kim Mihee’s spirit by attacking with his dark force palm blast. When the dust had settled, Mu Ssang had become a galactic villain who wielded the martial arts moves of the deadly villain, Darth Vader.
Mu Ssang became the one male student to be termed as, labeled Oppa after the Kim Mihee incident, but there led to undesirable consequences. Stare downs turned into regular habits that trended amongst many male students. Of course, situations gradually turned volatile, then exploded into violence.
Other half-wits rehearsed their staring fits by directly facing mirrors. Obviously, no one actually fainted or collapsed on the ground. It was a trivial event that was entrenched in the minds of the public through the mass public screenings of Star Wars in movie theaters.
Sunyoung was nervous about having angered and offended the galactic villain. A look of annoyance didn’t leave her face even after Mu Ssang directed a warm smile of assurance towards her to calm her.
“Hyung, wouldn’t it be too much?”
“Don’t worry about it, it’s nothing. I’ve got a long way to go in comparison to the ‘Exemplary Person’.”
“Well, that’s true. The ‘Exemplary person’ is paying for thousands of people’s livelihoods and tuition fees. It makes me want to graduate as soon as possible and also become ‘an Exemplary person’.”
A look of awe and wonder spread across Sungshik’s face.
“Do whatever you want. I’ll get going now that’s settled.”
Sunyoung let out a sigh she’d held in restraint in relief after Mu Ssang left.
“Whew~ what a relief.”
“Hey, how reckless can you be, just shoving your head between the jaws of a crocodile in that reckless, impulsive, manner. If you have a death wish, keep it to yourself. You have nearly caused me a heart attack with all your nonsense.”
Sungshik lashed out, chiding, with a tone of harsh reproach.
“Sorry, sorry! That Oppa is dashing, has an athletic, muscular, hulky frame, great charisma, a charming personality, and is loaded with wealth but he’s so aloof and detached. I don’t know whether to call it chilling or terrifying. Anyway, he possesses this mysterious aura that he radiates and emanates.”
“Sunyoung, what do you think that Darth Vader Hyung really is?”
“I’m only revealing this to you, alright?”
Sunyoung lowered her voice.
“One of my friends is going to Young University. She’s friends with this girl Gyesoon. Apparently, she’s Darth Vader’s little sister.”
Sungshik’s eyes widened in wonder.
“Really? That’s huge. Then could that Gyesoon turn into Princess Leia?”
Sunyoung swung her hand to rap him on the head. Sungshik wobbled, unsettled, and disoriented, after being hit on the back of his head.
“We could find out the true identity of the galactic villain if we ask her.”
“I have already inquired with my friend. Next week, Darth Vader Oppa’s true identity will finally be disclosed, revealed to all.”
“Haha, I can’t wait for next week. My guess is that the galactic villain’s actual identity is the heir to a thriving, expansive conglomerate.”
“No, he must be an international hitman. He has that chilling, merciless, mercenary aura about him.”
Sunyoung was surprisingly insightful and perceptive at times.
“Girl, that’s just insane and out of this world. What would an international hitman be doing in South Korea of all places.”
“That’s true. Wish he would teach all those heartless military killers a lesson.”
While Sungshik and Sunyoung were debating Mu Ssang’s identity, the galactic villain rushed over to Daegu Elementary School. Mina’s classes had just ended. Mu Ssang’s actual identity was a 26-year-old who struggled with raising a flighty 10-year-old daughter.
Vroom- the snakehead released a rumbling growl. Mina leaped out from squatting in front of her school entrance and sprinted over to Mu Ssang.
Mina tripped over a rock that protruded sharply from the ground. Swoop- Mu Ssang teleported over and swooped Mina up into his arms.
“My darling cub, were you waiting here for papa?”
“No, I have just ended school. Papa, can I try that ppobki(honeycomb game) just for once?”
A child is a child. She had already forgotten the fact that she had almost tumbled over and Mu Ssang picked her up from twenty meters out. Her focus was solely upon the sugary snacks that had been laid out by a man in a straw hat.
“Of course, you certainly can.”
“Big Unni told me I should refrain from these. She says it’s actually junk food.”
“It is junk food, but it’s fun. Kukuku!”
Mu Ssang chuckled. His little girl’s whining was actually somewhat endearing to him. He suddenly recalled nostalgic memories of the scent of bread snacks back in Jippeundari days.
“Really! You’re not revealing all that you know to me, am I right?”
Mina’s eyes sparkled with glee, delight.
“Haha, papa will probably get into trouble too, if he does so.”
“Hehe, certainly the case!”
Mina skipped over to the ppopki vendor, only upon getting Mu Ssang to perform a pinky promise. Mu Ssang couldn’t help but start beaming with joy as he glanced over at Mina’s tense, hunched over back. It wasn’t too bad to be a father to a cuddly junior, even as a swinging bachelor.
There is a forked road that extends over to the right of the direction toward the fortress, halfway to the top of the Hantijae mountain pass. 20 minutes of trekking along that small road would lead one to a clearing that extended approximately to around half the size of a soccer field. This was where today’s welcome party would take place. There was a stream that held large reserves of water about 5 minutes away from the clearing. A clearing that held enough space to kick a ball around leisurely, and massive water reserves where you could get yourself the camping ground site.
Vroom- the snakehead with its tremendous horsepower ascended up the rough mountain pass. The guys were strenuously working to survey the area by pitching tents, and the gals were busy chattering away.
“Oh my, Oppa you’re here.”
The three girls shot up, erect with glee, and curtsied politely like well-mannered, disciplined nursery kids.
“Oh yeah, hello lil’ Pretties!”
Mu Ssang waved at them, savoring the little joys in life.
“Big Hyung, welcome!”
The guys rushed over and bowed down with shared poses as though they were team members of a gang. Mu Ssang tasted some lingering sensations of bitterness in his mouth. It felt as if he’d abruptly risen to political leadership in the North. He thought perhaps he was considered as an outsider and misfit to his classmates due to the age difference. In reality, it wasn’t the age but his finicky, excessively formal, fastidious, prep school mannerisms and habits.
“Oh boy, why is this so weighty to lift. Ugh!”
Sungshik tried to unload the boxes of meat from the back of the snakehead but he couldn’t handle the weight and they fell out of his hands.
“Geez, you weakling!”
Mu Ssang quickly kicked the boxes before they touched the ground and held them close. It was no wonder that Sungshik fumbled. There was a total of 20 kg of pork belly, 10 kg of pork ribs, 5 kg of tripe, 5 kg of sirloin, two bags of pickled green onions, lettuce, sesame leaves, and ssamjang(sauce) in sum amounting to over 50 kg. It was not a weight that some limp-wristed wimp could manage independently.
“Wow, Oppa even bought beer.”
Bae Minji cheered.
“Minji, the sirloin, and tripe are for the Lil’ pretties who are on diet. Eat your hearts to your content.”
“Wow, sirloin! Oppa, you’re the best.”
The girls cheered with joy. They didn’t dare to conjecture if there would actually be sirloin or tripe.
“Look, look, I told you Hyung’s a wealthy heir of a conglomerate.”
Sungshik tapped on Sunyoung’s back with his fingers.
Sunyoung nodded earnestly in affirmation. Who else could be the heir of a conglomerate if not someone who brings sirloin to a simple welcome party?
Mu Ssang hung his helmet up upon the bike and began to depart in haste. He wasn’t expecting much, but he was going to check on driver Lee’s reports.
“Hold tight little ones. This Hyung is going to head out for just a moment.”
“Come back quickly.”
His six classmates bowed down at once in unison.
He couldn’t even joke around with them. Evidently, there had to be something amiss with his mannerisms/ affect in speech. Mu Ssang used Chunpabo(Blue Wave Step) for just one time and no one could even catch a glimpse of him and, like a water strider, slowly ascend, climb up the steep mountain trail. It would take less than 5 minutes to fully ascend a rocky mountain like Gashisanshung.
Mu Ssang easily located the rock cave at the Chiki summit. This cave he stumbled upon by accident held a small entrance that only raccoons could move in and out of easily and was cleverly concealed with Berchemia trees and Bur Cucumbers, rendering it rather challenging to locate even if you knew you where to look.
“Wonder if this son of a gun actually kept his promise.”
Mu Ssang forced his hand in and started slowly feeling about the ceiling of the cave. Instead of paper, something else struck out, hit back.
“Huh, what the-”
Mu Ssang withdrew his hand swiftly, biting his tongue in sharp pain. A Mamushi that was dragged out persisted in dangling off of his middle finger. Poisonous snakes usually are quick to release, let go after injecting venom but this was a very odd, bizarre one. He peeled off the Mamushi and tossed it into the bushes. It was shameless, brazen, impertinent, but it was actually his fault for trespassing and entering without obtaining legal permission.
He had learned something of grave importance thanks to the Mamushi. His special recognition ability was not perfect or
flawless. He couldn’t intuitively detect cold-blooded reptiles whose body temperature remained much lower than their surrounding climate.
“That son of a gun. He’s somewhat believable, credible.”
There were four pieces of paper. Driver Lee had kept his promise for 4 months. The pages were yellow and wrinkled, the letters were bled out and gray. 7 years was not a brief amount of time. The grammar and spelling were a mess, and the handwriting was sprawling and chaotic, but he could still decipher and decode the messages.
(The owner) proceeded over to the hospital on his way to work. Heavy coughs and difficulty breathing. Unsure of what the diagnosis actually was.
(Jang Kisoo) promoted to an executive. The little shit had only been promoted thanks to his mom’s high standing.
(The owner’s wife) went to travel to Japan for a week with the eldest daughter. Many visits from her family. Mostly wrinkly old fogeys.
(Heeja) came back home after getting a divorce. Goes out shopping every day to the mall and the Dokkaebi market.
(Hwaja) goes out clubbing every day. Drowns her sorrows in alcohol. Gave her 5 grams of meth for some money.
(Wootak) bought a new motorcycle. Japanese Yamaha 600 cc, doesn’t come home most nights.
(The owner) had a fight with his wife. Seems to be about Hwaja and electing new executives. The owner did not come back home. Seems divorce is on the cards.
(The owner’s wife) constantly brings fortune-tellers and mudangs into the house. Kang Youngsook finally committed suicide. She said that’s good news.
(Heeja) just buys stuff every day.
(Hwaja) took her to a hospital to get an abortion.
(Wootak) was accepted into Bokjin trade school. Loiters around with thugs.
(The owner) the illness is called pulmonary emphysema. The date to build a 3rd factory has been set.
(The owner’s wife) in a very good mood, family members are visiting all the time.
The Kalchi gang disappeared. They must have been done in like I was.
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(The owner) another fight with the wife about Hwaja. Hospitalized.
(The owner’s wife) temper became batshit crazy. Often throws whatever is within reach. Lady Park got hit in the head with a trophy and broke her skull.
(Hwaja) got mugged, beaten, and hospitalized. Diagnosed for 18 months. I got cracked down on by the owner. Had to tell him how Hwaja’s been using drugs. Got fired on the spot. No longer able to report. Not my fault.
“Kukuku! Look at this guy.”
Mu Ssang couldn’t hold back his laughter at the end. He made an effort in his own right. Even someone like Haviv buckled under his beatings. He could just picture driver Lee terrified and cowering..