Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 615
‘What an arrogant bastard. Should I just pummel him with All-Torture right now? Or, should I pull out his tendons one by one?’
Mu Ssang was a special-tier ‘consultant’ who knew all the ins and outs of the intelligence community and its operatives. That’s why he could easily see through Jeong Pil-su’s conceit.
A spy agency fundamentally belonged to the ‘dark’ territory, a long way removed from morals and ethics. Agents working for such organizations would unhesitantly resort to appeasement tactics through bribery, sucking up to one’s ideology and ego, or forceful tactics such as threats, torture, and even assassinations.
A person whose job was to steal should be resolved to lose what’s theirs. The anti-torture training carried out by various intelligence agencies worldwide was meant to restrict information leaking out from their agents confessing under duress. The KGB and Mossad implanted bombs in their agents to take themselves out, while pentobarbital was injected over a long period of time to dull the sense of pain. As South Korea’s National Security Agency relied heavily on HUMINT operations, its anti-torture training tended to be extreme.
“I guess you’re just about perfect as my lab rat.” The corners of Mu Ssang’s lips sneakily curled up.
He remembered one of his skills that hadn’t been tested on humans yet. It was none other than the ‘Crane’s Beak Point Strike,’ performed by condensing resonance wave and using it like a needle to prod a person’s nerve sensors. Increasing the intensity would cause the tissues to get swept up in the spasming energy, spinning like a drill to burn down.
The wuxia skill that attacked internal organs, but left the exterior fine, viciously crushed the victims’ innards. The Crane’s Beak Point Strike was far more precise as it disintegrated the tissues’ moisture at the atomic level. In other words, it was a flawless assassination technique that killed the victim on the cellular level.
Of course, Mu Ssang wasn’t planning to kill this agent. On the contrary, by adjusting the intensity and burning only a specific set of nerve sensors, the victim would suffer unimaginable pain and hallucinations.
Having incurred contempt of Mu Ssang, Jeong Pil-su inadvertently ended up as a human guinea pig.
“What do you mean, a lab rat?! Stop talking nonsense, and let me go already!” Jeong Pil-su growled menacingly.
“Really? Hey, man. Would you let a thief that made a mess of your living room leave in one piece if it was you?”
As sharp as a crane’s beak, a finger needle tapped on Jeong Pil-su’s gyeonjeong-hyeol. (An acupuncture point found on a person’s shoulders)
Jeong Pil-su felt a stinging pain and gritted his teeth. He didn’t expect Mu Ssang to inject him with a truth serum. Instead, Jeong Pil-su prepared himself for a flood of horrifying pain about to come. Truth serums came in various types, including sodium amytal (amobarbital), mescaline, and scopolamine.
Korea’s National Security Agency used a mixture of scopolamine and diluted tetrodotoxin. Tetrodotoxin, abbreviated to TTX, was a nerve toxin extracted from a pufferfish or blue-ringed octopus. It affects a person’s peripheral and central nervous system, paralyzing the respiratory and motor muscles. Only 0.1mg of this toxin was enough to kill a man. Pentobarbital was used as its counteragent.
“Hey, did you prepare Pentobarbital, too?” Jeong Pil-su tried to sound relaxed.
His breathing slowed as the pain akin to thousands of ants biting his flesh assaulted his senses. It was a typical reaction when poisoned by TTX. However, he survived five anti-torture training regimes, so he was confident of withstanding this one, too.
“If you can endure this seven times, I’ll change my surname.” Mu Ssang grinned brightly before starting a countdown. “Five, four, three, two, one.”
At the end of the counter, he poked the same spot as the first hit.
A shrill scream rocked the still night sky. Unlike the first hit, the pain shooting through Jeong Pil-su’s body was akin to every nerve fiber snapping off in half. He clenched his teeth hard. His eyes nearly popped out of their sockets while bluish veins bulged on his forehead.
He made a mistake. This bastard, he… wasn’t injecting TTX, but hitting a person’s acupoints just like a scene from a wuxia novel. Did that mean things like ‘instant death point’ or ‘confusion point’ in those novels were all real??
“Five, four, three, two, one.” Mu Ssang counted down again and poked the same spot for the third time.
Jeong Pil-su’s scream got louder as foams gushed out of his mouth and his body distorted and curled. A blue-faced ghost was slowly filleting Jeong Pil-su’s flesh as if he was some kind of a fish. But that was just an illusion created by his oxygen-starved brain. The nerve-shredding pain crashed back in when his consciousness faded to a certain point. However, the pain riding on an alternating strong-subtle rhythm prevented him from blacking out.
His nerves were curling up while his muscles were loosening. The crotch of his pants was getting wet too. Jeong Pil-su desperately tightened his sphincter. During the anti-torture class, he ended up crapping his pants and had to lug around the shameful nickname of Pants-pooper for six years. That trauma managed to defend his sphincter.
‘Why is this as*hole counting down and hitting me in the same spot?’
In the midst of all this pain, Jeong Pil-su couldn’t help but get curious. Curiosity was one of the qualifications required to become an excellent spy.
Mu Ssang using his Dimensional Sight to check up on Jeong Pil-su’s state, was slightly taken aback. He didn’t expect this fella to endure three hits. However, it seemed that this Nat-Sec agent had been properly trained. Mu Ssang always viewed Korea’s Nat-Sec as a pathetic group, but he began seeing the agency in a renewed light now.
However, would this agent make it through the fourth time?
“Five, four, three, two, one.”
Yet another countdown began, followed by another poke at Jeong Pil-su’s gyeonjeong-hyeol.
Instead of a scream, a throaty growl escaped from his lips. The sound of air leaking out from the lungs that had lost their ability to contract after his diaphragm went slack. Jeong Pil-su desperately clung to his flickering consciousness. Even though these taps seemed like a child’s prank, his bones were cracking as if he was wrapped in a sheet and got beaten up by a gang.
“You motherf*cker! Just kill me! Don’t you know who I am?! You think you’ll be safe after you did this to me!” Jeong Pil-su mumbled hoarsely. To think that there was someone this crazy in this world! This obstinate desire to die rather than yield to pain began filling him up.
“Huh. Seeing how you’re still generously worrying about me, I guess you’re still fine, eh? But, you also don’t know who I am, right? Finding more about each other through skinship like this is the story of our lives, no? Five, four, three~…”
The countdown began once more. Jeong Pil-su felt the nervous tension shoot up. Only horrifying pain waited for him at the end of that countdown.
As the count ticked down, the more nervous he got. Even his heart was beating in an irregular rhythm, too. That crappy anti-torture training could be chucked to the dogs for all he cared right now. That’s how horrifying this torture was.
The same point was poked again at the end of the countdown without any mercy. This was the fifth time.
Jeong Pil-su’s internal organs tumbled. Starting from his anus, it felt like every organ in his body was curling up and twisting around.
He began vomiting with enough force to pull out his intestines. And at the end of all the vomit was a flood of blood gushing out from his mouth and nose. Jeong Pil-su barely managed to focus his fading consciousness.
The bastard’s face repeatedly grew closer only to grow distant in Jeong Pil-su’s vision. That was the sign of him entering the state of shock. The face of that evil bastard wavered and flickered like a bonfire. Jeong Pil-su was dying here, yet that bastard was smiling. That bastard… he was a psychopathic superhuman!
“Do you want me to tell you why I’m counting down to zero?”
I don’t want to know sh*t like that! Jeong Pil-su wanted to say, but his body going through shock could only pant laboriously. If only you’d put a bullet in my head! He ardently wished for that to happen.
“Someone told me that hitting the same spot five seconds later is the most effective way to hurt your opponent. And I believe that. You see, the punk who taught me that is certifiably insane, but he was also a master of torture. That’s why I decided to test it out.”
‘Son of a b*tch, that’s what you meant by a lab rat? You’re the insane f*cker here!’
Jeong Pil-su’s consciousness finally faded away.
“Uh! I guess five times was pushing it!”
Jeong Pil-su’s brainwaves became erratic. If left alone, he’s cross the River Styx in less than ten minutes. Mu Ssang pressed his palm against Jeong Pil-su’s myeongmun-hyeol.
The resonance wave gushing revitalized the cells and disintegrated the impurities. It continued to unblock the blockages, disintegrated impurities, and re-energized the cellular activity but failed to revive the damaged cells. Jeong Pil-su was kept alive by explosively revitalizing his life force, but his lifespan had been reduced by around a decade.
Jeong Pil-su cracked his eyelids open. It felt like he had stepped a foot inside the netherworld only to get dragged out against his will.
“You see, I’m not very good with keeping time. So that’s why I’m counting down like this.”
‘You sh*thead, when did I ask you?!’
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Jeong Pil-su poured out a torrent of curses even as he swam in grogginess. He began hating this bastard that added uselessly friendly explanations as much as he detested his branch manager, that criticized his grammar in a report.
“Eiji, dang it. It’s well past five seconds, isn’t it? We’ll have to start from scratch, then.”
Jeong Pil-su’s groggy head sobered up in an instant. This couldn’t be right. He had no idea what kind of a method Bak Mu-ssang used here, but he was revived right back from the brink of death. The soul-wrecking pain also vanished without a trace, as if everything so far had been a passing dream.
‘This guy is not a normal human being. No, wait. He’s not even human!’
This bastard was planning to torment Jeong Pil-su right up until death, then revive him only to start the torture all over again. A creature wearing a human’s face shouldn’t be this vicious!
Jeong Pil-su didn’t fear death, but he certainly was scared of endless pain. His survival instinct fully awakened now. Jeong Pil-su squeezed out what little energy he had and cried out. “I surrender! Hey you, I surrender unconditionally!”
“You surrender? But, I’ve only just begun. Besides, the dude surrendering is still a bit rude, too.” Mu Ssang poked on Jeong Pil-su’s other gyeonjeong-hyeol.
Jeong Pil-su’s figure curled up like a squid on a grill. His face became a mess of various fluids as blood trickled down from his nose and mouth.
“I shall spare you from the last hit. Okay, so. Next up is punishment for threatening the purity of my sisters. Six additional hits, then.” Mu Ssang drove in the resonance wave to heal Jeong Pil-su, teetering precariously between life and death.
Foams bubbled out of Jeong Pil-su’s mouth. As he thought, this bastard really was planning to repeatedly half-kill then revive him.
“I, I surrender, sir. I unconditionally surrender, sir…” Honorifics leaped out of his mouth all on their own. His pride or stubborn streak? They no longer mattered.
“Eiii~, but I’ll be at a loss, though?” Mu Ssang replied languidly. Jeong Pil-su wanted to ask what exactly would you be losing out on.
“Your name and affiliation?”
Only then did Mu Ssang begin the main questioning.
Jeong Pil-su gritted his teeth. This bastard’s real goal was never about getting answers but to torture his victim. “I’m Jeong Pil-su, deputy chief of the Daedeok Company.”
“The Nat-Sec’s Daegu branch, eh? I won’t ask you your real name.”
Jeong Pil-su flinched. It seemed like Mu Ssang already knew the inner story of the branch.
“And you know what my identity is, don’t you?”
“Serving in Légion étrangère, currently as the French embassy’s cultural advisor!”
“You know that much, yet you planted all those listening devices? Is the Nat-Sec cafeteria serving brave pills along with food these days or something? What’s your reason?” Mu Ssang grinned slyly.
“Don’t try to be smart here, fella. If you end up neither living nor dead for the rest of your life, don’t you think that’ll be too tragic?”
A loud explosion went off. The Beretta blew past Jeong Pil-su’s head and slammed deep into the tree trunk.
Jeon Pil-su flinched in alarm. He could actually feel the sizzling heat against his scalp. Of course, you could try to be smart with fellow humans, but it was meaningless to do that against a monster.
“We started paying attention when a French cultural center suddenly opened its doors in Bullo-dong. But when no overt operations (sanctioned espionage actions) took place, we began suspecting that maybe you are a double agent.”
“A double agent?”
“You showed up while we were suspicious of the Yanks’ OPLAN 50 (The unique designation of the US Pacific Command that has jurisdiction over the Korean Peninsula). The Korean-American relationship has become quite frayed recently, you see. We’ve detected various signs of the CIA supporting Kim Young-sam. Since you weren’t actively in any operations, we had no choice but to wiretap you.”
“Gimme a freaking break! Why did you suspect me in the first place?”
“Agencies capable of deploying superhumans as agents are CIA, KGB, and Mossad, sir. And only the CIA might dispatch such agents to Korea.” Jeong Pil-su willingly replied to all the questions.
“…Aha, that ball pen!”
It sounded like the trigger for the wiretapping was the ball pen Mu Ssang stabbed into the thigh of that Baekgol-dan member. Something he didn’t think twice about turned into a loose end. There was no doubt that Mu Ssang’s cautiousness had gotten lax lately.
“Are you going to stay interested in my affairs? Even though you’ll turn into a ghost of a bachelor?”
“I know it’s unfair for me, but what choice do I have? Uh-whew!” Jeong Pil-su spat out a groan. Even Yi Dae-deok had acknowledged Jeong Pil-su’s unyielding guts, after all.
“Hah. I have no interest in the current regime, nor am I a friend of Yank’s. I merely wish to live in peace. So, will you stop harassing me, or should I just bury you now? If you choose to stop this useless nonsense, I’ll even give you a bonus of a hundred million Won.”
Mu Ssang didn’t dislike this agent, still willing to carry out his duty despite bearing the Crane’s Beak Point Strike brunt. That’s why he decided to test the waters a bit.
“What can I do when it’s my job? The National Security Agency does a lot of shady stuff worthy of all the finger-pointing, but we still have many agents burning with a sense of duty, sir. Money is good, but I don’t want to live like a cheap coward.”
With that reply, Mu Ssang found Jeong Pil-su even more likable. This guy wasn’t a bureaucrat that received bribes and did nothing like Kim Dal Su or Jang Chul Su, but someone with a proper mindset. A stubborn mule like this agent was what really maintained and drove South Korea forward.
Although his actions pissed Mu Ssang off, his desire to serve his nation was still commendable. What a strange country South Korea was. Since the days of the Joseon dynasty, the ruling class was teeming with oecophylla smaragdina-like humans while the lower class always loved their country and worried for its future.
The Finger Wind cut apart the rope, causing Jeong Pil-su to fall on the ground helplessly.
The rope tied around his wrist automatically came undone. Jeong Pil-su plopped down on his butt on the spot. His opponent today was impossible to resist. While he was ready to face death, Jeong Pil-su felt calm and composed, but a sudden rush of fear took over now that he was freed.
“Jeong Pil-su, your mindset saved your life today. I’m also a Korean like you. I may not like this country, but I do love it.”
Jeong Pil-su became dazed as if someone had hit him in the head. He could sense that these ‘monster’ words were filled with sincerity and a sense of frustration and regret. Then again, why would someone like Bak Mu-ssang walk the turbulent, rough road of a double agent!
“My apologies, sir. It looks like I’ve seen only what I wanted to see.” Jeong Pil-su barely managed to get up, then bowed deeply.
“Turn around and sit down for a minute. If you go home in your current state, you’ll start sh*tting blood in around ten days and soon lie down inside a coffin.”
“Heok?!” Jeong Pil-su let out a gasp of shock and turned around. After all, Bak Mu-ssang was not the kind of a man to issue empty warnings.
Mu Ssang used his resonance wave to revitalize the damaged nerve cells and tissues, then lightly slapped Jeong Pil-su on the back.
“Blegh!” Jeong Pil-su vomited out a bucket full of pitch-black blood. His burning, tumbling innards felt refreshed while the pain went away.
“Jeong Pil-su. Being obstinate for no good reason will only shorten your lifespan needlessly. If you wish to preserve your neck and the agency, you should be more circumspect next time.”
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‘How scary!’ Jeong Pil-su thought he heard his heart tumble at that weighty warning. “I understand, sir. By the way, are you really a human being?”
“If you’re human, then I’m also human. Why are you asking me that, though?”
“You are an existence that transcends a martial artist or a superhuman, sir. That’s why I just can’t see you as a human being. And what is Dubaiburupa?”
“You should keep your mouth shut on that one. I will be waiting for your branch manager in the central park tomorrow.”
Mu Ssang had a lot of things to care of, so he didn’t want to waste his time and energy talking to an underling. But, to not get tangled up with the National Security Agency anymore, he needed to suppress the head honcho of the branch.