Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 294
Chapter 294: Chapter 32, Episode 11: Ombuti Flies
“Special military advisor, I don’t understand why you’re aiming for a land where there are sandstorms, flies, and mosquitoes. If I were you, I would have asked for the Loire Valley’s ancient castle. I could live happily for the rest of my life with just the tourism revenue alone. Actually, since you’ve got the land, I’ll give you some information. Keep an eye on the Ennedi Plateau. Africa has bountiful resources and cheap manpower. If you secure a water source, you can reap some profits from production and farming. Europeans are mad for coffee. No tea can catch up with the aroma and flavor of coffee. Water doesn’t exist only on land, you hear?”
It was a story that manager Ariba had told him in passing. Unlike Ombuti’s expectations, Black Mamba knew nothing about coffee. He didn’t know their features and that various kinds of coffee existed. He considered them simple drinks one had after a meal or during a conversation.
He had studied medicine, genetics, and physics to better understand his body’s secrets, and later, he studied weapons and battle tactics after becoming a mercenary. The only reason why he considered coffee as a cash crop was because of manager Ariba’s advice.
“Ombuti, I don’t know much about coffee. I’ve never seen a coffee tree either. Why else would I have asked Bonipas to arrange for coffee and cassava experts to come?” Black Mamba admitted honestly.
Things he knew were things he knew, and things he didn’t know were things he didn’t know. Ombuti smiled.
“Of course, you’re right, Wakil. Coffee farming should be handled by coffee experts. The boss only needs to know how to make money and hire more people. All we need to do is prepare the money to hire experts and create an environment for people to work. As the saying goes, a quack doctor can kill a patient. The boss shouldn’t get in the way of what the hands and feet are doing. Wakil can win the hearts of others and is sufficiently lazy to ignore the minor details. You have the best qualities to be a boss. Hehehe!”
Ombuti’s face creased as he smiled. His master had finally visited the company after a year. Ombuti felt calm after dropping a verbal blow on him.
“Huh, I don’t know if you’re praising me or insulting me.”
Black Mamba got a whiff of the Alata mocha and drank it. It was the drinking method taught by Edel. An intense flavor, which he couldn’t describe with words, filled his mouth. Not to mention the coffee he’d tasted in Korean cafes up until now, it was also incomparable to the coffee available in French luxury cafes. Of course, the coffee there was made with a spoonful of sugar and two spoons of prima creamer. It was sweet in and of itself, with its own unique taste.
“Ombuti, this will surely bring us profit. It has been said since the old times that people have their own station in life. My favorite thing to do in life is to destroy hateful people and spend large sums of money. Firstly, procure the Alata mocha seeds and their variations and then push for their growth when the expert arrives. You have my entire backing on this.”
“Thank you. I’ll draw up a trial factory immediately since there is plenty of land in the factory.”
“Isn’t there a contender for the Alata mocha? From what I heard, European women of nobility like drinking Luwak coffee.”
“That is just the frivolous hobby of frail women who obsess about appearances and money. Luwak isn’t the name of a coffee but the name of an Indonesian cat. It is a peculiar land creature that eats coffee cherries. Farmers raise them in cages. It’s known that they’re fed coffee cherries in which fermented cherries are obtained from their feces. They’re produced in small scales, so there’s nothing to worry about. It’s highly-priced, and only a small number of people drink it anyway. The best coffees in Europe are the Colombia Medellin and Jamaica Blue Mountain beans. Ethiopia’s Alata Mocha isn’t receiving the recognition it deserves because of transportation problems. Its fresh coffee cherries aren’t delivered to the consumers on time.”
“I suppose there isn’t much choice since the traffic’s messed up. I’ll be able to lend a plane once the production’s running. Move it across Sudan, and pull it out of Djibouti’s Bab el-Mandeb Strait. Djibouti is France’s backyard.”
“Wakil, your methods are direct as always.” Ombuti smiled.
Wakil had a distinct way of solving problems instantly. Well, that was because he had the resources to support such methods.
“Do you have a place in mind? The crops should come after the selection of land, right?”
“How did the negotiations from the other time end?”
“It was agreed that I would receive 25,000 square kilometers.”
“Huh! It’s twice as much as the initial 10,000 square kilometers.”
Ombuti’s eyes widened. Even Edel was surprised. She’d suffered so much from following uncle Ombuti around the Sahel. She had been doubtful, but he had actually ripped off a large amount of money from the French government. Her impression of Dubai’s abilities turned into one of respect. Now, she understood why he didn’t mind the farm in Doba since it was like nothing but a marble in his pocket.
“It happened. I didn’t even scare them this time, but they were tripping over themselves trying to be nice. Hahaha!”
“Ya Ilahi! Bismillahi rahman-i r-rahim, shukran Allah Al-Hadi-ya. Masha’Allah. Allahu Akbar ! You’re amazing, Wakil! You truly are someone who has Allah’s blessing.”
“It’s nothing. I worked hard for it this time,” Black Mamba said with a smile.
“Miss Edel, can you bring me my map from the office?”
Once Edel disappeared downstairs, Ombuti cornered him.
“Wakil, I don’t understand you. Wakil is Allah’s best representative. Do you know the fundamental reason why Islam was split between the Sunni and Shi’ites for thousands of years? It is because Prophet Mohammad did not leave behind an heir. Miss Edel has the elegance and respectability of a queen. Why don’t you take her in? A ripe date has to be harvested. You’re driving me mad!”
Ombuti was straightforward with his words. He was Wakil’s Aklankuru. Aklankuru referred to the head servant of an Amenokal and was responsible for managing the Amenokal’s personal life.
“Ombuti, I hope you don’t mention this problem for now. I need to look for my missing mother. Korean culture dictates that a mother’s permission is required for a wedding,” Black Mamba said, making an excuse.
It was the truth, nonetheless.
“I believe it is not right for a son to play around with love when his mother’s missing.”
A shadow flickered across Black Mamba’s face. Ombuti’s heart ached. Wakil’s pain was his pain. He didn’t know that Wakil, who had the power of Azrael and the wealth of Islamse, was in such pain. He’d forgotten that Wakil was someone else’s son too.
“I understand. I didn’t know you were in such pain. Allah must have given your servant a trial. You’ll surely find your mother, Wakil. I will pray to Allah too.”
Black Mamba found Ombuti’s understanding attitude slightly doubtful.
“However, when you find your mother, you must take in Miss Edel.”
As he expected, Ombuti refused to let the matter rest.
“I have a lover, someone whom I haven’t settled my relationship with yet. Let us talk about this in the future.”
“Wakil, a talented man must have a lot of women to maintain his pride. Wakil must have 12 wives, according to the 12 palaces of the imperial family.”
“What! What are you talking about? Don’t the Amazid believe in one wife per man?” Black Mamba said, shaking his hand in denial.
12 wives! Just hearing it made him dizzy.
“The Amazid have different traditions. They have no choice since it’s a matrilineal society. Wakil is someone who’ll be king.”
Edel, who was standing outside the door, nearly dropped the map that she was holding. She didn’t hear the details, but she had overheard their conversation on mothers and 12 wives. Although she blamed herself, she also felt annoyed. She felt relieved that Dubai was avoiding her because of his mother. She blamed herself for making Dubai uncomfortable when he was hurting.
Why is he encouraging Dubai to get 12 wives? Uncle Ombuti can’t do this to me! That is betrayal.
Edel clenched her fist and shook it. Her bitter feelings toward Dubai turned into one of anger toward Ombuti.
Edel, who was very annoyed, threw the map harshly on the table.
Hm, was it a slip of her hands?
Ombuti, who didn’t know that Edel now viewed him in a negative light, tilted his head and spread the map.
“Chad is divided into three areas. To the north, there are drylands and the Tibesti Mountains range. It’s not a place for humans to live. The central region is divided into the Bodélé Depression in the west and the Ennedi Plateau in the east. It’s the place where we searched for the raccoon, Wakil. Even with a semi-dry climate, the rainfall ranges from 300 to 800 millimeters. To the south is the region south of Lake Chad and the Batha River, with a tropical monsoon climate. With rainfall around 1,200 millimeters, 90 percent of Chad’s locals live there. The land is also fertile, making it a good place to settle.”
“The land I’ve been promised is the north of the central region.”
“Habré would never hand anyone the foundation of his power, the south. While there’s a lot of water in the Bodélé Depression, it’s turned into a place of famine as of late, with mosquitoes and flies. We could plant crops like corn from Kanem to Bahr el-Ghazal, but there’s been an increase in the number of tsetse flies lately.”
“Remove that region from the list.”
The Bodélé Depression was a place full of swamps, thorn bushes, and infested with flies and mosquitoes. Kanem and Bahr el-Ghazal were still beneficial locations. There were many residing locals too. There was a possibility of the immigrants coming into conflict with the locals, and Habré wasn’t the kind to simply let it go.
“That is the region I was thinking of.”
Ombuti drew a line from Ounianga Kébir, north of the Ennedi Plateau, through a point in Agbaya, which was barely 100 kilometers away. He outlined a rhombus shape around Fada on the Ennedi Plateau.
“It’s around 25,000 square kilometers wide. The reason why I chose this place was because of the water. I found a hidden lake while exploring the Ennedi Plateau. There are approximately 18 small and large lakes concentrated in a certain region.”
Ombuti drew a long oval with his pencil.
“You can’t find these lakes on any map. The 18 lake districts are approximately 650 square kilometers. There is a village called Ounianga Kébir near the largest lake, Lake Yoa. The locals around call it the Lakes of Ounianga.”
“There is a lake! Are you saying they abandoned such land?”
Black Mamba was surprised. The Ennedi Plateau was a land that Chad had abandoned. Aside from the few cities like Fada by the plateau’s south, there weren’t even locals around the northern regions. It had remained as a French land after gaining independence in 1960 before it was returned in 1965. If there were 18 lakes, that was more than enough for people to make a living.
“There’s a reason why there are no locals in the region. The locals of Ounianga Kébir fear the ghosts that wander around the Serir lakes. I also saw the ghost myself.”
Black Mamba turned to look at Edel at the sudden mention. Ombuti was the kind of person who believed in Arab superstitions but not Edel.
“Yes, I saw it too. It was a man with long hair whose face was red like a monkey’s butt. The man appeared while I was eating some C-rations with uncle Ombuti and silently sat right next to me. I was surprised but gave him some C-rations thinking that he was a local. He slowly reached out his hands but—”
Edel shivered. She had been so surprised back then. Just thinking about that made her heart leap. She took a few deep breaths before continuing the story.
“What reached out weren’t human hands but three fingers that looked like a raven’s claws. The nails, which shone in black like a blade, looked to be about 50 millimeters in length. Back then, I was so scared that I screamed.”
Black Mamba grew curious. He briefly recalled the CIA’s MK Ultra project that Bonipas had mentioned. If other people overheard, they would have considered that weak woman gossip, but he couldn’t laugh. There were people like Ocelot and existences like blacky. This was there because there existed. Not everything in the world could be seen. Of course, the man might have experienced some abnormal genetic variation because of the lack of oxygen in the plateau from long-term exploration.
“Uncle Ombuti and I ran to the Jeep while the ghost remained still because of my scream. We ran like mad, but the ghost jumped behind us like a kangaroo. It was really quick. It almost caught up with us.”
“It is the truth. Its height was similar to Wakil’s, and its body was covered with muscles. Sand rose in the place where it jumped off,” Ombuti added.
“It could be the brain’s projection of my image according to the person’s perception.”
He’d once heard something similar from his neuroscientist friend, Professor Giz. He had mentioned that those who claimed to have seen a ghost or a doppelgänger weren’t liars, but rather, it was an illusion of their brains.
“Dubai, you’re saying that the incident might have been a doppelgänger phenomenon in which our brains failed to match the external sensory signals with the frontal-parietal and temporal lobe signals due to damage, right?”
Edel immediately mentioned the chaos of the signal processing system of the brain that couldn’t match the external and the internal signals.
“There’s no reason for you guys to lie since ghost mirages exist in real life.”
“But Uncle Ombuti and I saw it with our own eyes. We even felt it. There’s been no report of touch based on the research findings.”
“You even felt it?”
“Yes, I felt the rag, which was draped around its body like a cloak, brush against my face.”
Edel’s face turned blue. She looked as though she’d faint any moment.
 How can this be! I thank God for his grace and mercy. To receive such a great gift! Praise God.