Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 624
Even though Nupchi was lucky enough to call Mu Ssang his ‘big brother’, it’d be more correct to call the latter ‘Master’, instead. Not only that, but wasn’t the big brother supposed to be the king of some country in Africa? Wouldn’t a mother of a king be a grand queen dowager, like in those historical dramas?
“What are you all doing?! Hurry up and serve our queen dowa… I mean, big brother’s mother!” Nupchi yanked the diner door open wide.
“Mother, we welcome you~!”
The muscles in smart suits quickly laid out the red carpet on the ground and stood on either side before bowing ninety degrees forward. Nupchi’s ability to jump the shark easily rivaled that of Jeong Pil-su, it seemed.
“Aigoo, goodness me!” Kim Mal Soon’s eye widened and she began fretting about like a lost child.
She was used to getting beaten up with sticks, chased around, and treated like garbage and couldn’t deal with this incredible performance. She urgently sent SOS signals to her son with her pleading eyes.
Mu Ssang unleashed Dubaiburupa’s god-level dignified aura in the open, something he had not done so in Korea before. “Mother, never bow down to anyone unless you desire to do so. Soon, this whole world will bow down to you even if they don’t want to.”
His thunderous baritone voice rocked the glass door of the diner. This was the announcement of Novatopia’s godmother, Kim Mal Soon’s entrance to the world stage.
Kim Mal Soon sobered up instantly. A mother shouldn’t be negatively affecting her son’s dignity. She stood tall without even realizing that she did and held her head high. “Let’s go, son!”
She began striding across the red carpet as her loose pants sleeves flapped around.
“Heok?! T-that woman… Yeong-a’s mother?!” Nam Pal-bong dazedly staring at this shocking turn of events with a slack jaw hurriedly sobered up. He still couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on here, but he wasn’t blind enough not to notice that this event was heading in an unfavorable direction for him.
‘Bloody hell, I’m dead!’
His internal alarm honed through dozen-plus years working as a back alley yangahchi was desperately crying out. Even if he behaved himself now, the best outcome would be a serious injury or two. So, he glanced sneakily at the gangster standing guard next to him. This gangster was concentrating on Yeong-a’s mother walking on the red carpet.
Nam Pal-bong seized this chance by shooting up to his feet and head-butting the gangster’s abdomen.
“Uht?! This motherf*cker!” The gangster stumbled back after that unexpected attack.
“Get out of the way, b*tch!” Nam Pal-bong shoved the gangster aside and dashed toward the backdoor that led to the bathroom. His life was on the line here, after all!
He kicked the door open and threw himself outside.
“Hah, f*cking idiot. Have fun out there, then.” The gangster didn’t even bother to give chase and simply chuckled away. This was why a yangahchi couldn’t get an upgrade and remain as a yangahchi.
Pow- Smack, bang-!
Dull impact noises came from the outside.
A scream resembling a squeal of a pig about to get slaughtered rang out. Gangsters on standby by the rear door dragged Nam Pal-bong inside, now resembling pickled cabbage, and tossed him on the diner’s floor.
“How dare a f*cking loser that can’t even put up a fight try to show off in front of us?” The gangsters dusted their hands and returned to their original posts.
“Oh my goodness?! Mister Nam?” Kim Mal Soon jumped up in shock at this scene.
“Yeong-a’s mom, please help me!” Nam Pal-bong desperately cried out.
However, Kim Mal Soon bit her lower lip and turned her head away.
“Do you know this man, mother?” Mu Ssang turned his head and looked at her.
“He… He’s a bad man!” Kim Mal Soon was shaking like a lone leaf against the winds. Her usually gentle-as-a-lamb eyes were flickering in anger.
Mu Ssang firmly held his mother’s hand and gently patted her back. The gentle, warm sensation managed to calm her frayed nerves.
Mu Ssang glanced at Nupchi. “Hey, what is this thing?”
“Big brother, this punk is someone who ‘knows’ your mother. However, he didn’t look like a good sort of a person, so I had him captured, just in case.”
“Good work. Auntie!”
Nupchi yelled loudly. “Auntie! He’s calling for you!”
“Y-yes, I’m here!” Auntie Seoho sheepishly peeked her head from beyond the cover of the counter. Her complexion was deathly pale while her eyes urgently darted about. She looked so pitiful right now.
Mu Ssang glared at her. “What is this thing, auntie?”
“I don’t know who he is.” The auntie immediately feigned ignorance.
“Hey! Want to kick the bucket today?! Before I crack your skull open, answer him properly, woman!” Nupchi glared murderously at her. He found her whole act contemptible since he had already seen her openly shoot the breeze with the beaten-up yangahchi.
“I, I really don’t know anything. I swear! Pal-bong is… Pal-bong was the one…” Auntie Seoho trembled pitifully, unable to string together a coherent sentence.
“Nupchi, take that thing out of our sight.” Mu Ssang issued a new order, not wanting to show his mother an unsightly scene like this. Seeing something this traumatic wouldn’t be good for her.
“Yessir! Hey, you lot! Throw that human trash inside the minivan!”
“W-wait! Yeong-a’s mother, help me!” Nam Pal-bong desperately called for help as two muscles dragged him outside.
Auntie Seoho’s complexion was drained of even more color. She had been thinking of demanding compensation for her business since one of the workers was about to suddenly quit, but that plan dissipated in the blink of an eye. Once Nam Pal-bong confesses to everything, Auntie Seoho would not be spared either. She began desperately praying to the Lord above to make this group of scary men quietly go away. Of course, the Good Lord was in no mood to humor her wishes.
“Nupchi, who is the second in command after you?” Mu Ssang asked.
“It’s ‘Mast’, big brother.”
“What kind of a nickname is that?”
“You’ll understand when you meet him, big brother. Ehehe!”
Mu Ssang cocked an eyebrow, but still summoned the gangster in question. “Mast! Come here!”
“Yes, Chairman!” A gangster in his mid-thirties bowed deeply. He had a triangular face, narrow slits seemingly carved out with a knife for his eyes, a long scar running down from his temple to his jaw – even at a casual glance, this gangster looked cruel and merciless.
Mu Ssang had to hold his laughter, though. The keloid scar resembling ropes running down an inverted triangular shape of a face reminded him of a yacht’s triangular sail. It seemed Nupchi wasn’t talking nonsense just then.
Mu Ssang straightened himself and ordered Mast. “Your job is to find everything there is to know about that Nam Pal-bong punk and report back to me.”
“Can I destroy him, Chairman?” He asked back, demonstrating that his personality was as scary as his face.
“I don’t care as long as he’s still breathing. Find out everything, even the number of rice grains he had for dinner ten years ago.”
A spine-chilling conversation unfolded between the two men.
Auntie Seoho felt icy chills stabbing into her chest as cold sweat trickled down her spine.
Mu Ssang turned around to address his mother. “Mother, where is your room?”
His voice that had been as cold as early Winter frost while talking to gangsters instantly became warm Spring breezes.
“W-well, I didn’t have a room per se…” Kim Mal Soon hesitantly pointed at the living area.
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Mu Ssang could see three dining tables connected together taking up space in the center of the living area, while a small closet and a cheap, exposed wardrobe were located in the corner of this exposed ‘room’. Next to them were clothing belonging to his mother and Yeong-a, haphazardly hanging on the wall.
“Fuu-woo…” Mu Ssang spat out a long sigh.
This establishment was your typical tiny diner with a small dining area. Which meant the living area had to be used as the additional dining area, too. This also meant that his aging mother and young sister had no privacy or a quiet place to rest.
That wasn’t all, however. A diner selling seolleongtang doubled as a pub and sold suyuk (thinly-sliced boiled beef or pork) and dogani (cartilage from a cow’s knees) as snacks. If drunk patrons stayed late in the living room to drink the night away, Kim Mal Soon and Yeong-a wouldn’t have a choice but to sit on the dining area’s stools and wait. Mu Ssang could already picture the scene of his mother and little sister nodding off on top of these cheap stools.
“Mother, please throw all of them away,” said Mu Ssang as his mother tried to pack up her shabby and worn clothes. He believed that she needed to throw away the past seventeen years of dark history if she wanted to begin a new life.
“But, son? They are still wearable, aren’t they?”
“Mother, listening to your son will get you good things in the end.”
“Of course. Yes, I shall listen to my son.” Kim Mal Soon no longer hesitated and discarded the clothes. She then rummaged through the small closet to find a thick Buddhist rosary. “Even so, I must take this with me.”
Mu Ssang’s eyes opened wide. The detailed wooden rosary, its surface sleek from hand stains, was something he recognized.
“I don’t have attachments to other things, but I must simply take this rosary with me, son. I don’t understand why I love it so much, though…” Kim Mal Soon put the rosary around her wrist and gently caressed it. The old man from the salt pan and Nam Pal-bong tried to take it away, but she still managed to hold on to it for the past seventeen years.
“Mother, that rosary was your birthday gift. Father spent a month carving that out with a knife, saying that having a piece of jujube tree felled by lightning would be good for you. He even fashioned the string for it, too. But… He was bloody wrong about that. You became a widow that year, after all!” Mu Ssang grumbled unhappily.
“Ah! That’s what happened? I see. I see!” Kim Mal Soon tightly clenched the rosary as tears began pooling in her eyes.
She could picture the scene of her beloved husband making this gift deep into the night even though farming must’ve tired him so much. Was that why she was so obsessed with this item? Did the heavens grow jealous after she received so much love from her husband?
She sighed and asked her son. “What will we do about Yeong-a’s clothes, then?”
“We don’t need them, mother.”
Yeong-a’s clothes were all cheap nylon, their colors long faded away. They were probably hand-me-downs from somewhere. Nylon wasn’t good for children’s health, too.
If she had any other dolls or toys, Mu Ssang would’ve taken them, but other than a dirty rag doll, he couldn’t see anything else. He felt proud of Yeong-a after realizing that she somehow managed to grow up so bright and kind despite her rubbish environment.
Kim Mal Soon sneakily gauged her son’s mood, then quickly stashed the dirty rag doll inside her bag before leaving this ‘room’. Mu Ssang grinned faintly behind her.
“Aigoooo~, congratulations, Yeong-a’s mom! How unfair it must’ve been for you when you had such a splendid son! Goodness me! I can’t even imagine the twist of fate that made you lose your memories, and made us call you Yeong-a’s mom all this time. If I hadn’t taken you under my wing like a friend, you and your little girl would’ve starved to death on the streets.” Auntie Seoho desperately tried to make herself look good all the while praying that Nam Pal-bong wouldn’t say anything stupid to implicate her.
“But auntie, you always insulted my mom and beat me up…!” Yeong-a inside Mu Ssang’s embrace pointedly shot back at the diner lady. She woke up sometime ago, but pretended to be still asleep since her Oppa’s arms felt really warm and secure.
Auntie Seoho grew even more desperate. “A-aigoo, Yeong-a~! You adorable little thing~!”
“I don’t like you, auntie.”
The diner lady rushed in as if she wanted to hug Yeong-a, but the little girl shook her head resolutely.
“W-what was that? Y-you little shameless… Ah! Ohohoho~! Yeong-a, you must be so happy now that you have a handsome older brother to protect you. Yeong-a’s mother, your life will now be a smooth sailing since your rich son has come to take you home. But what about this poor old me? My son is an idiot who only knows how to take my money and waste it somewhere. They say a woman’s fate depends on who she marries into. Let me ask you, why is the world so topsy-turvy like this? Aigoo, my rotten luck~!” Auntie Seoho continued to run her mouth while cautiously gauging Mu Ssang’s moods.
If those scary muscles filling up the dining area got their hands on her, who knows what kind of hellish fate would be in store for her? She had no choice but to suck up to their leader for her survival.
Mu Ssang coldly asked her. “Auntie. Have you paid my mother her wages on time?”
They say one evidence was enough to build an entire case. Mu Ssang, having figured out the situation more or less, glared at the diner lady. If his mother had received her wages properly, Yeong-a’s clothes wouldn’t have been in such a bad state.
“T-that, well… B-because Yeong-a and her mother are boarding here, so, so…” Auntie Seoho hesitated and mumbled quietly away.
The city of Seoho’s marketplace was the playground of the group Nam Pal-bong belonged to. And Yeong-a’s mother happened to be a ‘wooden basin’ managed by Nam Pal-bong. If the auntie blabbed her mouth here, she might get beaten up to death by the local yangahchis.
“Big brother, that Nam Pal-bong bastard said something about not forgiving those who mess with his business. I’m pretty sure he’s either a member or a snitch of a local human trafficking cartel. Parasitic criminal gangs that supply manpower to the adult entertainment districts and suck their blood out are dime-a-dozen in port towns like this one. The manpower those gangs supply are called ‘wooden basins’, and the wages made by these wooden basins are pocketed by the parasites. The local businesses find this arrangement pretty nice since the wages can be kept low.” Befitting a man who cut his teeth in the darker parts of the world, Nupchi instantly saw through what was going on here.
Auntie Seoho’s complexion went pale from fright as Mu Ssang’s brow curled up. “Call Mast here, now!”
“Yes, sir!” One of the gangster quickly dashed outside.
A few seconds later, Mast hurriedly ran back inside the diner and bowed to Mu Ssang. “Chairman! That ugly bastard is a henchman working for the gang that runs Seoho’s marketplace. Their main source of income is supplying manpower, but they have a side business in human trafficking, too. The details are…”
Mu Ssang raised his hand to stop Mast. “We don’t have the time for that. Give me the detailed report after we return to base!”
“Yes, sir!” Mast clamped his mouth shut. Although there was a crucial piece of information he must tell the Chairman, he had no choice but to keep quiet if that was the order.
Mu Ssang addressed Nupchi next. “How many boys can you summon in one hour?”
“We already have twenty two in this place, and I can mobilize another fifty in that time frame, big brother.” Nupchi tensed up.
“Will they be enough?”
“Yes, big brother. Enough to wreck some country bumpkin fools, but the local gangs are usually protected by the local cops, too. We aren’t scared of them, but we’ll have to sacrifice a couple of our guys to them.”
“Hmph. I’ll take care of that.” Mu Ssang picked up the phone by the diner’s counter and called someone. “Hello, this Advisor Bak… Oh! Mister Min Ju-seok! …Yes, I’ve been well. I’d like to speak to the chief director… Yes, chief director, it’s Advisor Bak here… Yes, it’s the marketplace in Seoho by Chungmu. I’ll have to borrow the riot police for this one… I’m planning to catch a few parasites… There’s no need to go that far… Thank you, I owe you one.”
Mu Ssang slammed the phone down. All the gangsters tensed up and waited for his command next.
“Thirty minutes from now, a squad of riot police dispatched from Chungmu police will arrive at the docks. Your role is to take charge of the boys here as well as the riot cops to apprehend every single yangahchi within the districts of Chungmu and Tongyeong. Especially the Seoho marketplace gang that deals in supplying manpower! Do not miss a single one of those bastards.”
“Ehhh? I’m going to command riot cops?!” Mast’s eyes opened super-wide as other gangsters began whispering to each other.
“Did you hear that? We’re going to work together with cops now?”
“Holy sh*t, man. Is this for real?”
“You heard our Chairman on the phone just now, didn’t you?”
“Whoa! So f*cking cool!”
“Silence!” Nupchi raised his hand high. “Big brother has given you his orders. Mast, get going now!”
“Yes! Haha, it’s been a while since we got to show off, hasn’t it!”
The gangsters flooded outside the diner. The once-teeming interior was emptied in an instant.
“Big brother, should I encase her feet in concrete and make her fish food?” Nupchi glared murderously at Auntie Seoho. This hag dared to use the boss’s mother as a slave, so he couldn’t wait to crack the woman’s skull in half.
Mu Ssang also glared at her. “Auntie. Anything you want to say?”
“P-please spare my life, good sir! I’m just an idiot who doesn’t know anything! I only went along since they were giving me a helper for cheap! The bad folks are Nam Pal-bong and his friends, not me.” Auntie Seoho trembled like a lone leaf in the winds.
She would’ve treated Yeong-a’s mother with utmost respect if she knew the latter had a son this scary. Honestly speaking, she never thought she was doing something bad. Others were doing the same thing as her, after all.
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Auntie Seoho tried so hard to squeeze out tears that refused to come out, then stared pleadingly at Kim Mal Soon. That stare was so desperate and pitiful that Kim Mal soon thought she’d get cancer.
“Ssang-ah. I’m already content as is. We’re about to leave and start anew, so I’d like to throw away my sorrow and resentment and everything else here.”
“I understand, mother.” Mu Ssang tightly gripped his mother’s hand. Her kind and gentle nature hadn’t changed even after she lost her memories and had to go through so much crap.
The German soldiers that herded Jews into gas chambers during the Second World War weren’t some notable individuals. They might have been brainwashed by the collective madness, but regardless of what, it didn’t change the fact that they came from backgrounds as varied as regular students, factory workers, teachers and farmers.
The face of evil could be exceedingly plain, ordinary. That’s because the situation would often give birth to evil. People not seeing their abuse of power as abuse in the first place was a rather common occurrence.