Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 613
Kim Dal-su and his friends flinched noticeably.
The All-Torture technique was undeniably effective. When a person has reached a point where they couldn’t hold back their excrement anymore, and have also discharged half of their bodies’ fluids, they’re inevitably resigned to whatever is to come. Whether they die or not doesn’t matter anymore, because they are only focused on escaping from their current state.
“If they die, they will never see the sunlight again. But if they survive, they’ll see the day now, won’t they?” Mu Ssang threw out some words nonchalantly, before leaving the basement.
Kim Dal-su flinched again. Those words… He used to say that all the time. In his line of work, assaulting defendants, slapping witnesses around, even abusing suspects to the point of getting their bones and eardrums broken or torn apart are all common occurences.
Without even realizing it, Kim Dal-su started to tear up. But they were not tears of sympathy from putting himself in his victim’s shoes. Those people were mere commoners, born with clay spoons in their mouths. And Kim Dal-su is a noble-born, fed with not just some typical silver spoon, but a gold one!
Instead he was reminiscing his life: to have absolute authority to do whatever he wants. To be strong financially that when his son mistakenly threw away a bundle of 100 million Won, he could just easily laugh it off. To be able to sleep with two women at once… what a wonderful, dream-like life it was! It is the fear of dying, and the thought of possibly leaving this wonderful life behind that has made him shed tears of resentment.
It was the same case for Jang Chul-su and President Jo. They know that in order to return to their previous, wonderful life filled with absolute power, they had to satisfy this insane bastard.
Even before Gim Geuk-do could do anything, the pens of Kim Dal-su and his friends rushed through the papers’ surface like streaks of lightning. Almost miraculously, they remembered everything, even the name of the person who bought them a bowl of ox bone soup ten years ago, and the face of the person who gifted them with rings for their kids’ first birthday parties.
Gim Geuk-do lived up to his nickname of ‘razor blade’ by remaining sharp and relentless. With his persistent nagging, Kim Dal-su and the others shed thick tears while jotting down their personal history until their arms have gone numb. However, unfortunately for them, this was just the beginning of a rough and lengthy road that they had to overcome.
“What’s wrong with this thing?”
Mu Ssang stopped listening to Ombuti’s report over the phone and tilted his head.
The phone’s reception had gotten worse, and it was not because call were piling up on the lines. The difference can be so small that ordinary people would not be able to detect it, but Mu Ssang’s hearing could rival that of a hound, and he managed to pick it up without any problem.
Mu Ssang put the receiver down without warning, and decided to listen to the rest of the report through the encoded phone which was using a separate line. He doesn’t usually use this phone line because there is a slight delay, and he didn’t want to expose the contents to DGSE. But at least here, he didn’t notice any drop in reception.
Mu Ssang grew suspicious then. He tested the reception of the regular phone by calling a Chinese restaurant and asked about the price of jajangmyeon, ordered some fried chicken, and tried to get in touch with Emil by making an international call. Definitely, the line’s reception wasn’t great. Particularly with the international call, the drop-in reception was easily noticeable.
“Son of a gun! Could it be?”
Immediately, Mu Ssang disassembled the phone’s receiver. He found an extra transmitter added to the signal sender, which has reduced the radio frequency intensity, leading to a drop-in reception. His suspicion was right. A transmitter the size of a 100 Won coin was stuck inside the phone’s receiver.
“Wow! we got a man with a death wish right here! Dunno who it is, but he sure wants to die soon, huh.”
He was dumbfounded that someone managed to sneak into the study of the one and only Black Mamba. Mu Ssang immediately headed to the main hall. Just as he thought, he found another transmitter hidden in the main hall’s telephone as well.
Mu Ssang narrowed his eyes. Six young women are living in the main house. Young Mina and Young-sook are staying here, too. If the intruder had been some pervert or maybe an armed robber, then Mu Ssang would’ve lamented his shortcoming for the rest of his life. He could finally understand why a predator would go mad upon discovering that another creature has invaded its territory.
‘How did they get in, though?’
Could someone be daring enough to infiltrate Eungsim-je and install these listening devices? Only one person is good enough to slip past Mu Ssang’s perception and enter this place, and that was his master. Even if Mu Ssang wasn’t home, Kamdoong was in the basement. And after the Soul-Returning Pain Administration had sharpened his senses, Gim Geuk-do has also become a force to reckon with.
Most importantly, though, all those people who have held grudges against Mu Ssang were currently overseas. Choi Do-shik was in tatters, while the FROLINAT rebels, Bansiri, and the ANO agents who have managed to run away, Kamuge, the Chinese operatives, and the CIA didn’t know anything about the ties between Sbard Gulbeig and Bak Mu Ssang. They also didn’t have any reason to come to South Korea.
[Hey, Kamdoong. Are you asleep?]
Mu Ssang immediately called Kamdoong. The latter’s scouting range is four kilometers. So as long as the intruder is still here, Kamdoong would definitely have detected his presence.
[Why are you calling me? I got fed up with these cheap humans crying like babies, so I moved to the storage. But, you know what, I think I prefer gold over the hwamunseok. I should’ve used gold as my bed from the get-go.]
Mu Ssang was dumbfounded again. To Kamdoong, gold was nothing but some material to make up its bed.
[Hey, you. How can you sleep when my house got shaken up? But, hey, you aren’t slacking off, are you?]
[Aha, so that’s what they mean when they talk about shaking the girls up. Yesterday, Jin-soon made a call and three men came to repair the electrical fault. They talked about one wired bug in the sarang-che, another one in the main house, and five wireless bugs here and there. Is that a problem?]
[Urgh. Give me a break, will you? Got it.]
Mu Ssang was frustrated. Kamdoong the Adras has gone too far this time. Seemed like some punks disguised as electricians have installed a few listening devices around the house and quietly retreated. Because of that, Kamdoong most likely didn’t see the need to question it.
“Must be the National Security Agency rats, then.”
The culprits were too obvious. Only the National Security Agency would strategically switch off the power, disguise as repairmen and infiltrate the target location. Anyway, he managed to find the wired bugs, but the wireless ones would prove more difficult.
The resonance wave and the Dimensional Sight were not that all-powerful. For example, he couldn’t use resonance waves to locate devices the size of fingernails. Meanwhile, Dimensional Sight wouldn’t be able to detect non-living objects either. But then, to just rummage through the vast house didn’t seem like a practical solution either. Mu Ssang didn’t want to trouble Jin-soon, after all.
Mu Ssang urgently requested for a listening device detector from the French embassy. He could’ve asked Aubagne’s Emil or Bell Man, the arms dealer, but that would take too much time.
The detector arrived around five hours later. Mu Ssang used it to find all five American-made wireless listening devices. These were only about twice the size of a fingernail. The bugs were found inside an orchid pot, the sink drainage, underneath the dressing table’s drawer, a fire detector, and a hi-fi speaker respectively. Still, he wanted to be absolute sure, and even combed through every nook and cranny of the separate buildings, which took him three hours in total.
“Hmm. You were the one who started this, not me. However, I’m going to play by my rules.” Mu Ssang gritted his teeth.
The National Security Agency existed for the sole purpose of handling anti-Communist investigations and also, analyzing overseas activities. So it was already unfair that the agency siphoned off the overseas operations budget and used them as pocket money for the regime, who uses their information network to monitor their political enemies. Yet, to think that they even have the guts to snoop around an innocent citizen’s private life!
In the meantime, the National Security Agency, as well as the team leader responsible for planting these bugs, have made it to the Black Mamba’s hit list. Of course, although Jeong Pil-su was merely trying to justify his tax-financed salary by performing his job faithfully, he managed to get his name added to the list too.
“Just what the hell is the real identity of this dude? And what is Dubaiburupa? Which country uses that kind of name? Could he be a king in exile or something?”
Jeong Pil-su couldn’t help but raise these questions while staring at the report compiled by the wiretapping technician. He didn’t know a lick of French, so there was no point in directly listening to the phone conversations. However, the contents of the summarized report were definitely something to behold.
The report contained a lot of things: the refugee camp beyond the border being extended to increase the number of people they can admit, the production of biodiesel from jatropa rising by 50%, a company-sized military force sighted moving around on Bachilkile located northeast of Ennedi Plateau, the production of oil from the Doba oilfields increasing by 20%, or the royal palace construction reaching its final stage, etc…
Jeong Pil-su couldn’t make heads nor tails of this report.
He got slightly ticked off by this. He resorted to use petty tricks to successfully plant listening devices, but he still didn’t get what he was looking for. The conversations and phone calls were all about exceedingly regular, everyday stuff. Athought there was that one international call, but it got cut out halway, making it difficult to understand its contents.
But just going by the contents of that call, Bak Mu Ssang was either an internationally-connected entrepreneur or a king of some nation. But, of course, one shouldn’t take these things at surface level. The world of espionage always had double, triple layers of deception on everything, after all.
Could it be that North Korea’s State Political Security Department had set up a branch in a foreign country, and was training for a special agent to be dispatched to the South? Or, was the CIA performing a high-level operation to overthrow the South Korean regime? All sorts of hypotheses entered Jeong Pil-su’s head.
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As Yi Dae-desk had pointed out earlier, Jeong Pil-su was definitely getting way ahead of himself.
The bell dangling on the coffee shop’s entrance rang out.
“Welcome!” Jeong Pil-su bowed deeply.
“Deputy Chief. We couldn’t find much, sir.”
Unfortunately, the person who just entered the shop was not a customer, but one of his agents returning from an assignment. Jeong Pil-su shot a glare at his subordinate. The agent, Kim Si-work, felt like he’d develop stage-4 cancer just simply from his superior’s glare.
“Jang Chi-soo has a super bad history with Bak Mu Ssang, man. He must know something, so how come?”
Sergeant Jang Chi-soo, who commanded the Baekgol-dan to invade the library, was fired. However, he was merely following the order of his chief then, who in turn had received a request for cooperation from the National Security Agency. In other words, he should have been able to get off with a light slap on the wrist, at most a transfer to another branch, but definitely not outright dismissal.
Jeong Pil-so wanted to smack Kim Si-wuk for returning empty-handed.
“Sir, Jang Chi-soo is suffering from aphasia. How do you expect me to communicate properly with a critically-ill patient suffering from aphasia, sir? And when I told his wife that I was his friend, she glared at me as if she wanted to strangle me right there and then. She glared at me as if I were an auntie from a church knocking on her door on an early Sunday morning to spread the gospel… I thought I’d get cancer from her glare, sir.”
Kim Si-wuk sneakily dissed at Jeong Pil-su just then.
“You dumbass, if that guy was really suffering from aphasia, why didn’t you try to converse through writing?!” Jeong Pil-su angrily roared at his subordinate.
“That was hopeless, too. That guy began having wild convulsions when he heard the name Bak Mu Ssang, sir. How can he able to write anything in that state?”
“Eiji, dammit. Nothing seems to work in our favor whenever that man is involved, isn’t it! Is he some tangled-up spool of thread or something?!” Jeong Pil-su’s expression crumpled in sheer irritation.
When one gets distracted while spinning a spool of thread, the thread would get tangled up in the hook and turn into a hot mess. Jeong Pil-su needed to make a report to the branch manager soon, but he had no idea how to untangle all the messy threads.
He requested the chief of Dongbu Police Station for information, but all he got in return was stuff he already knew, plus some other inessential fluff. Requests for more detailed information were met with “We don’t know anything.”
It has been a while since the police became the National Security Agency’s ‘junior’ organization. So if they said they don’t know, they really don’t know anything.
Jeong Pil-su even summoned the detectives involved in the case and interviewed them, but not one of them said anything that could put Bak Mu Ssang in a bind. Instead, they all parroted the same line about Bak Mu-ssang being an excellent diplomat and a man with a gracious heart. Threatening them didn’t work, either – the detectives forgot about their stations and advised Jeong Pil-su and the rest that continuing would only further affect international relations negatively.
But half of Jeong Pil-su’s irritation stemmed from a deeply personal reason. Six women were tasked with waking Bak Mu Ssang up in the morning, cleaning his house, massaging his shoulders, or making his beds. The voice analysis they were using revealed that all of them were young, vibrant women in their late teens to early twenties.
Here he is, already past his thirties but still not knowing the warmth of a girlfriend. In the meantime, this other bastard lived with a flashy harem of six young, vibrant girls attending to his every need. This sense of deprivation was making Jeong Pil-su tear up.
‘By the way, who are those two little girls, anyway?’
No matter how Jeong Pil-su sliced it, Bak Mu Ssang seemed like a total enigma. While Jeong Pil-su was chewing his nails in anguish, wondering what to do next, an agent came down from the third floor. “Deputy Chief, all the bugs have gone offline, sir.”
“Wha? Wired, wireless, all of them?” Jeong Pil-su began growling like a old woman who hadn’t eaten for three days straight.
“Yes, sir. The signal just got cut off not too long ago.”
“Huh-uh. This is driving me nuts!” Jeong Pil-su plopped down on a nearby stool.
If all seven bugs, both wired and wireless went offline, it could only mean that their target had used a wiretap detector. That bastard was no advisor. He had to be a spy. And not just any spy, but a high-ranking one, too.
“Fine! I’ll show you what I’m capable of!” Jeong Pil-su slammed his palm down on the counter and got up.
Even the branch manager had acknowledged Jeong Pil-su’s ability to find a target. Shadowing Bak Mu-ssang would be a tiresome affair, but this wasn’t Jeong Pil-su’s first rodeo either.
And just like that, Jeong Pil-su ended up digging his own grave.
‘Aigoo~, that’s so great! I shall make you crawl for the rest of your life as a token of my appreciation.’
Mu Ssang stared at his car’s rearview mirror and inwardly began singing in ecstasy. Suddenly, a Daewoo Lemans just showed up as if to tail him, only for it to be replaced by a Hyundai Pony soon after. Two punks: one with a mouse-like pointy lower face, and the other, a well-built man with a good-looking face, were tailing Mu Ssang while regularly exchanging cars.
Unfortunately for them, Mu Ssang could easily determine even the eye color of a fly resting on a driver’s forehead 50m behind him. So the two cars alternatively tailing him would be totally wasting their time and energy.
It would be easy to lose the two cars tailing him, given the Citroën he was driving, but Mu Ssang continued to drive slowly. He was thinking of seeking out the rat hole anyway, so he wanted to thank the rats for willingly showing up first this time.
“Hehehe. You’ll be drinking gruel for the rest of your lives.”
Mu Ssang planned to capture the tailing agents and pull out all of their teeth. Humans, like animals, derive much pleasure from eating food. It’d cost a fortune in hospital fees if all of your teeth got pulled out, and just as important, you’d also suffer the tragedy of never enjoying solid food ever again. The difference between one’s natural teeth and dentures was similar to the gap between a rifle and a Minimi machine gun.
No need to drag this any longer, he thought. Mu Ssang parked his Citroën by the entrance of a food alley located behind the Daegu Department Store, then stepped into the gallery itself.
Jeong Pil-su hurriedly closed the distance. The food alley was in the main street and teemed with the evening crowd. One mistake, and he’d lose his target.
Mu Ssang’s steps came to a halt in front of an open stall. Nothing beats a bowl of hot, steaming oden as a snack when the cold winter winds began to blow in. It seemed like the perfect thing to soothe his hollow heart. Red dried chilies and white spring onion roots were floating in the oden soup, served inside a square stainless steel bowl, and topped off with several blue crabs.
Even at a casual glance, the basics looked alright. The oden’s fish content was always important, of course, but something just as crucial would be the taste of the broth. If the soup had significant bits of radish and kelp, then it would have been a mistake. In order to get a thick, rich soup that also tasted clean and pure, kelp and radish has to be removed.
“Auntie! Twenty odens, please!”
“Haigoo, are you planning to fill yourself up with oden, young man?” A well-rounded auntie grinned and welcomed Mu Ssang.
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It seemed like today was a good one for her. Earlier in the evening, a customer calling himself the Oden Killer had ordered thirty oden skewers, and now, yet another big customer had shown up at her stall.
“Auntie, that’s twenty-two, isn’t it?” Mu Ssang pointed at the skewers dipped inside the stainless steel soup bowl.
“Haigoo, you’ve noticed it, eh? I’m just giving you extra since you’re a handsome young man!”
“Thank you for the free food, auntie.”
Mu Ssang leisurely scooped up the hot soup with a plastic bucket, blew on it for it to cool down, then proceeded to munch on the oden skewers. Who knew that the man, by whom Novatopia’s citizens worshipped as their gods, Dubaiburupa and the Angel of Death that drenched Africa and the Middle East in blood, was just a regular young Korean youth who enjoyed eating oden in the local market.