Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 601
“Uh-huh! Why are you in such a hurry, dude!”
With the final opportunity presenting itself, the humiliated Jang Kyung Nam that was sitting outside his home sobered up instantly and hurriedly stopped Lawyer Yi from trying to leave. A gentleman’s life is his face. Losing face was the same as dying for a man of high stations. But to protect one’s honor, one needed money.
Akin to how his financial status had dwindled, Jang Kyung Nam from the rural backwaters began bowing even more profoundly than before. The truth was that no one cared whether or not you drank the cold water and began picking your teeth.
Jang Kyung Nam glared sharply at his older brother. But, of course, Jang Kyung Tek wasn’t dull enough to miss the true intent behind that glare. ‘We need to survive first for our family to exist, brother!’
“Alright, let’s do this. When will the funds be ready?”
Jang Kyung Tek gritted his teeth and slammed his palm down on the table.
“We’ll draw up and sign the shares transfer contract today. Then I’ll give you 100 million right now as the signing fee. Did you bring the actual shares as I asked, sir?”
“Here they are.” Jang Kyung Tek handed over the total shares.
Perhaps with much predictability, the 100 million in front of his eyes was much more precious than the promised one billion without any guarantees. Ironically, these two older men’s naivety that verged on stupidity, plus their easily-swayed hearts, helped them recover their wrecked wealth. This was another example of why the phrase ‘irony of fate’ was invented.
‘President Bak knows how to pick his prey, doesn’t he? Tsk, tsk!’
Lawyer Yi tutted to himself. Although it’s a pity, these sloppy old country men were filled with greed, that he can’t help but be upset. Without lust, prostitutes would be out of jobs, and likewise, the fertile land where the swindlers operated was people’s avarice. President Bak wasn’t the type of a man who’d finish the transfer but delay paying the rest of the amount, but he did precisely that. What could these two older men even do in that case?
“The rest of the payment will be electronically transferred to you as soon as we’re finished preparing it. It shouldn’t take more than ten days. Please give me your bank account number.”
The share transfer was a done deal when the waiter came to serve the sushi plate. Jang Kyung Tek and his brother stared intensely at the procession of zeroes in the cheque with eyes filled with various emotions.
“Big brother. I swear, I will never mess with shares ever again, from today.”
“Me too, little brother. I don’t want to go through this nonsense ever again, even if I have gazillions in my bank account.” Jang Kyung Tek shuddered while replying.
Those damned shares screwed them over for the past few years. His wealth was in ruins, while the torches and pitchforks of his relatives who invested in this scheme were close to burning him down. His head started aching at the mere mention of ‘sha’ in shares.
“It feels like we’ve been through one nasty nightmare, brother. But, as I thought, a caterpillar should munch on leaves.” Jang Kyung Nam shook his head in defeat.
Six hundred thirty million should be enough cash to recover half of the lost farmlands. It felt like a rabbit dragged to the undersea Dragon Palace had gotten its extracted liver back somehow.
“Lawyer Yi, thank you!”
“I’m merely an errand boy, sirs. If you wish to thank someone, you should thank President Bak. In any case, you two must’ve gone through a lot after getting caught up in the head family’s greed, gentlemen. So why don’t you relax and enjoy yourselves today?” Lawyer Yi continued to drive a wedge between the Jang’s right until the end.
Jang Kyung Nam tried to stop Lawyer Yi as the latter got up to leave. “Hold on, fellow. Why don’t you stay and enjoy this expensive sushi with us?”
“Unfortunately, I can’t, gentlemen. The two of you must have a lot of things to discuss in private, and I have a trial to attend in the afternoon. Ah, it seems that I’m out of time. Well, then.”
Humans tended to search for a way to rationalize what happened if they felt guilty. So Lawyer Yi presented Jang Kyung Tek and his brother with time to bad-mouth the prominent family.
A lawyer put food on their table by stoking the flames of strife between the parties involved. That’s why that old saying about not even dogs wanting to sniff a lawyer’s crap was invented in the first place.
Lawyer Yi finished the negotiations and left the sushi restaurant with carefree, playful steps. President Bak’s pet theory about one’s egotism being more important than the common good was absolutely on the money. The betrayal of Jang Kyung Tek and his brother would indeed cause massive turmoil within the rest of the Jang family.
President Bak didn’t stop digging deep into the financial foothold of his in-laws but even sowed the seeds of distrust and conflict within the entire family. That man was even more cunning than a raccoon and even more driven than a viper. Lawyer Yi had come in contact with unsavory characters and incidents during his decades as a lawyer. However, even so, he still shuddered at the viciousness of President Bak.
Lawyer Yi sought out the nearest payphone and reported the negotiation details to Bak In bo. He also added one more thing as the phone call came close. “I don’t wish to become your enemy, President Bak.”
Gamulchi slowed down just as it was about to cross the university gates.
A scene Mu Ssang hadn’t seen in a while was playing out before his eyes. Either side of the gate was handled by four rows of the riot police squadron armed with pitch-black suppression batons and shields resembling scutums. (Rectangular shields used by the ancient Roman soldiers.)
‘It’ started again as soon as the new semester got underway.
The endless game of tag between the cops and the student protestors had been ongoing for a while now. Ever since Chun Doo-hwan kicked Choi Kyu-hah (Japanese name Umehara Keiichi) out and took over the government, the streets were filled with the choking smoke of the tear gas almost every day.
The militaristic chants of the riot police reverberated throughout the campus. Meanwhile, the struggles and arguments between students and cops trying to inspect their school bags became a matter of regular occurrence. Bleeding students fleeing in a hurry became a familiar sight, while the scenes of denim-wearing Baekgol-dan (South Korean plainclothes riot police, active between 1980 to 1990) viciously beating up students also became a common-enough occurrence.
With September’s Asian Games just around the corner, the protests flared up again with the start of the new semester. What set off the latest round of demonstrations was Kwon In-sook’s sexual torture perpetrated by a member of the Bucheon Police Station. This incident was yet another inhumane, immoral act of those in power that utilized vicious, underhanded means to suppress the pro-democracy movements. The judicial authorities and the mass media were complicit in this unwarranted energy display.
The student protests started when the Chun Doo-hwan regime declared measures to ‘liberalize’ learning institutions on December 21st, 1983. Allowing all the students expelled from their schools after attending anti-government protests to re-enroll. Still, it only served as a trigger for even wider-scale protests.
The goal of the 12/21 declaration was to dilute the public’s hostile sentiments towards the regime. Unfortunately for Chun Doo-hwan and his close aides, they underestimated the public’s hostility towards them. As a result, the perpetrator would never really know how much it hurt the victim. That was the common mistake of the dictators drunk on their power.
The declaration led to the activist students returning to their schools while the police force residing on various campuses began withdrawing. That triggered the university students, who were holding themselves back at the outrageous level of suppression until then, to start flooding the streets as early as the new year’s break.
Various student organizations sprang up from everywhere; their goal is the democratization of campuses and Korean society as a whole. The cost of the regime’s misjudgment was quite severe. Protests in schools, protests on the streets… Demonstrations throughout the night and even during the day continued on and on.
Just what kind of a man was Chun Doo-hwan, though? He was a brutal, ruthless individual who’d brazenly beat the living daylights out of you, then ask you how it felt.
The riot police blocking the campus entrances might have withdrawn, but plainclothes officers and a specially-organized suppression squad named Baekgol-dan were deployed to schools in great numbers. Their campus inspections soon became a daily occurrence. And whenever a commotion broke out, dozens of chicken coops (police vans) showed up instantly.
The plainclothes suppression squad, AKA Baekgol-dan, was unlike the regular riot police that pushed the protestors back in an organized fashion. Baekgol-dan members were always dressed in simple streetwear and armed with suppression batons. They would appear out of the blue and disappear like the wind. Filled with physically imposing, athletic members, the Baekgol-dan’s infamy was a well-known feature of Korea in the 80s.
Mu Ssang was unconcerned with the state of Korea’s politics. He had two reasons for that. First, while roaming Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, he got to see and hear quite many things. A person usually saw as much as they knew and learned as much as they could see. But what you could see was not everything there was to know. Yet another truth was bound to be hidden under the surface of any incident.
Choi Kyu-hah, known as the sacrificial lamb of the military regime, was nothing more than an accomplice and a compliant bystander. He gave the go-ahead for the expansion of martial law and the establishment of the National Integrity Emergency Response Committee. And it was also Choi Kyu-hah that ratified the development of martial law on May 17th, 1980.
Choi Kyu-hah kept his mouth firmly shut when the New Military Regime arrested Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-pil and confined Kim Young-sam to house arrest. Indeed, he was a bystander and a coward who didn’t put forth a minimum of effort to rein in the unjust events happening in his own country even though he was the president.
Now that Mu Ssang’s horizon had been broadened and his thought process far more flexible, he could already see the end of the dictatorship. Although the current reality of South Korea was frustrating, it still hadn’t reached the absolute pits like Africa or the Middle East. Once the citizens become enlightened, the grounds for the dictator to stand on would automatically vanish.
As for Mu Ssang’s second reason, it had to do with the difference in his ‘level,’ so to speak. If you labeled Chun Doo-hwan as a fraudulent being, then Mu Ssang was also a dishonest being. A living cheat. The Angel of Death was a destructive existence that shouldn’t even be allowed in a cramped country like South Korea. Imagine him chopping the heads off of the New Military Regime personnel just because they got on his nerves – what kind of chaos would that usher into this world!
Mu Ssang ignored the riot police standing around in rank and file and headed to the library. History tended to get disinterested in what was right and wrong when the collective awareness of the citizens was low. However, the Korean citizens’ collective awareness was not that low. Therefore, the current situation should resolve itself with enough time. Time was the best troubleshooter that would solve all sorts of headache-inducing problems.
“Hurry, let’s get outta here!”
“F*ck! Die, punk!”
“Consider yourselves dead if you fail to catch that b*tch!”
Urgent yells, loud swearing, and hurried footsteps rocked the previously-silent library. Five, no, six students rushed inside the reading room, followed soon after by ten or so Baekgol-dan members kitted out in helmets and batons. They were like a pack of wild dogs chasing after a deer.
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Desks were destroyed while chairs went hurtling around.
The once-still reading room suddenly transformed into an arena. Desperate fighting broke out in various places, accompanied by screams and angry yells. Curses were liberally thrown around while windows broke one after another. A student, bleeding after he got struck by a suppression baton, began wildly swinging his club. A Baekgol-dan member got hit in his leg and staggered about ungainly. Another student got attacked by a double sidekick and crashed to the floor while grabbing onto a chair.
The balance quickly tilted in favor of the Baekgol-dan members. None of the students studying in the reading room tried to intervene, only observing the situation with frightened eyes. Mu Ssang wasn’t thinking of criticizing them. Each person had their sense of justice and their circumstances to consider. That’s how history was made and how it continued to march into the future.
Even so, things were getting out of hand here.
“Aaaahk! Let me go, you sh*thead!” A female student went ballistic when her hair got snatched.
“You b*tch! You think you can run, but you were just dancing on my palm! Now die!”
A Baekgol-dan member dressed in loose-fitting jeans viciously yanked at the female student’s hair. She tumbled painfully to the floor, but her trouble didn’t end there as the assailant mounted on top of her next.
“No, you die, you bastard!”
The female student with her messy hair swung her fists around in determination.
Her fitfully swung hand landed on the Baekgol-dan member’s cheek. The female student must’ve been a rather hot-blooded individual, it seemed.
“What is wrong with this little b*tch?! I’m going to teach you a damn lesson!”
The Baekgol-dan member mercilessly punched down at her.
Blood splattered as her scream exploded. The Baekgol-dan member, his reasoning gone for good now, yanked out his suppression baton from the belt holder. At this rate, he’d beat that female student to death.
“Fuu-woo! Gimme a freaking break!” Mu Ssang spat out a groan.
The plainclothes suppression squad AKA Baekgol-dan often entered the campus grounds to drag away protesting students. Some students even ended up as vegetables after batons mercilessly pummeled them. Occasionally, you’d hear about students losing their lives too.
But the incident of Baekgol-dan members dying or getting gravely injured at the hands of enraged students happened just as often. Les Miserables, or so they say; both students and Baekgol-dan were victims of their era. The real sinners, in this case, were corrupt soldiers, politicians and the mass media that had become dogs to those in power.
Even if Mu Ssang wanted to remain unconcerned with this situation, he could not ignore an act of illogical violence about to take place before his eyes.
“F*ck! Don’t worry, b*tch, for I shall pay for your funeral later!”
The baton came down at a vicious speed. Mu Ssang flicked an eraser in his hand. Sure, the Baekgol-dan member had gone overboard here, but Mu Ssang still had no desire to grievously harm a mere tool simply following orders.
Two different impact noises rang out loudly. The suppression baton ignored the laws of physics and went flying in the opposite direction.
“Ouchhh?!” The Baekgol-dan member cried out in pain when his suppression baton smacked him in the forehead. “Who hit me?! Come out now when I’m being civil!”
The Baekgol-dan member, with a massive swelling on his forehead, began glaring murderously while yelling in rage. Then, utterly oblivious that his baton was the culprit here, he wildly swung his weapon around in the air.
“I’ll be the one paying for your funeral, punk.”
A ball-pen whizzed through the air.
The pen punctured right through the thick denim and stabbed into the man’s thigh. Nevertheless, the cell faithfully demonstrated the laws of physics where the momentum’s directly proportional to mass and velocity.
After suffering from a sudden misfortune, the Baekgol-dan member dropped his baton. Mu Ssang deliberately avoided hitting tendons and blood vessels with the pen. Injured muscles would recover pretty quickly. From Mu Ssang’s perspective, this punk seemed fond of exaggerating his pain.
“Hey, punk! Get off her, will you! If you’re hungry for action, go to a brothel or something. How dare you mount a girl without her permission!”
Mu Ssang kicked the bastard still on top of the female student as if he was a soccer ball.
The female student’s face was bloodied, while her cheekbone area had swelled up black and blue after getting hit earlier. Other than her burst lips and bleeding nose, neither her bones nor teeth were damaged during the assault. Thanks to her cheekbone absorbing most of the impact, she avoided her face getting damaged beyond repair.
Mu Ssang pressed the student’s Indanghyeol (an acupuncture point right in between eyebrows) and Yeongyanghyeol (acupuncture points found on either side of the nostrils) to stop the nose bleeding. “Are you alright?”
“Do I look alright to you, big bro?” The female student replied sourly while pulling the hems of her torn blouse close to hide her exposed chest.
Even though her top was ripped open and her brassiere got yanked loose, this awkward situation failed to soften her raging temper. This girl was one brave kid, at the very least, bold enough for the Baekgol-dan to go mad trying to arrest her.
“I guess you’re not alright, then.” Mu Ssang chuckled, took off his jacket, and put it over her shoulders to cover her torso.
He was wearing just a thin vest and nothing else under the jacket. The reading room was now witnessing the unveiling of a perfectly inverted triangular torso covered in tautly-stretched muscle fibers reminiscent of high-quality manila ropes. Countless eyes locked on the injured female student instantly shifted away to land on the statue-like bronze torso of Mu Ssang.
Even the assaulted female student looked up at him with dreamy eyes.
“A living statue!”
Gasps of admiration and awe could be heard coming from here and there.
“Hey, I know who that is. It’s Big Bro Darth Vader!” One of the students finally recognized Mu Ssang and cried out.
“Trample that punk, now!” The commander of this particular band of Baekgol-dan yelled in a shrill voice.
The Baekgol-dan members figured out the situation; they shoved aside the students and rushed in toward Mu Ssang.
Mu Ssang sharply glared at the incoming Baekgol-dan.
The dozen or so men rushing at him like a pack of hungry wild dogs slammed their brakes and came to an abrupt halt. How could these young punks deal with Mu Ssang’s killing intent when not even the professional killers of war zones could do it?
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Mu Ssang didn’t feel much of anything toward the members of the suppression squad. If you got stabbed with a knife, you’d generally blame the one stabbing you, not the blade itself.
“What are you doing, you fools?! You all want to put on gas masks and run laps for the whole night or something?!” The commander angrily yelled at his lungs, kitted out in a black combat uniform and a cap pressed deeply on his head.
The Baekgol-dan finally regained their wits and rushed in all at once. Two bastards in the front of the pack unhesitatingly swung down their batons. They were, to be precise, targeting Mu Ssang’s head, not his shoulders.
Mu Ssang’s glare grew cold and menacing. Students, once participants in a life-or-death struggle, now turned into bystanders and screamed in alarm.