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Empire Of The Ring 229 Summer Of The Black Sea 3

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The market store was extremely crowded on the evening of Friday.
At the liquor section, male customers were buying a lot of liquors.

"Didn't you say that people here don't drink a lot?"

Jong-il poked Youngho's waist, as he asked a question.
Although Youngho had visited Istanbul frequently, he had never seen drunken people on the streets in Istanbul. It was lucky that he had not been arrested for drinking too much with Mustafa and Jong-il since they traveled bars to bars whenever they gathered.

"I guess they don't get drunk outside for their faces. n.o.body will bother them if they drink with friends at home. Man, think about us. It's a shame."

"What about us?"

Jong-il pretended that he did not know anything, but the two knew what they were like. It was a regrettable thing to walk around the streets while being fully drunk. It was not an uncommon sight in Korea but in foreign countries, people would look at drunk people as lunatics. Among many Koreans who liked to drink, Youngho's gang must have made the top of the list.


Youngho toured around three stores today to see how Zeynep Wine was doing.
At the liquor corner of a market, a salesperson was giving away a free cup of wine to people. Although Youngho was confident in the taste of his wine, he could not be certain that people here would favor his wine, since people's tastes were different in different regions.
Jong-il nagged that he could not watch it anymore, but Youngho still stayed around the liquor corner.
The two looked at the site of the salesperson pouring Zeynep Wine in a cup and handing it over to a customer. A middle-aged man who sipped on the little plastic cup looked surprised.
The two watched him carefully since his reaction was telling them that he liked the flavor of the wine. The guy took another cup and sipped on the wine and slowly enjoyed the taste. The guy nodded and put two boxes of six bottles of Zeynep Wine in his cart.
After looking at the scene, the two almost screamed in joy.

"Are you satisfied now?"

"I was worried, but I guess I didn't have to be. It's surprising that most Turkish people are Muslims and they like to drink alcohol."

"People here are not traditional Muslims. They are modern Muslims. They drink wine and beers like water."

"Is that why they don't like to get drunk outside?"

"That's none of your business. It's good that the wine is selling well."


Any people who tasted Zeynep Wine bought some bottles and boxes of the wine. Youngho watched the customers of the market store for two hours, but his legs were not tired. Instead, he was gaining more strength. It seemed that the wine would be famous in a few weeks if they kept on giving away free cups of wine.

"Jong-il, let's go now."

"Wait, let's watch those guys before we go. They're drinking the wine now."

A group of young guys was sipping on Zeynep Wine. Their faces turned strange as if they were surprised.

"Look at their faces. It looks like they know about wine."

After tasting the wine, the young guys shrugged and checked the label of the wine.
Then they started putting the wine bottles in their cart.

"Jong-il. Let's go out. I want to drink with brother Mustafa tonight."

***

"That's great. I was concerned about that too."

"I feel great that young fellows recognize the taste of Zeynep Wine. It's all because you introduced me to a grape seedling seller."

"You've raised them well without any chemicals. I also love the taste of your wine, so don't worry."

"I wasn't able to visit you as often since I was focused on other businesses, but I've got more reasons to visit here now. On top of wine and carpet businesses, I think I'm going to start a security service business here too."

"A security service?"

"Haven't I told you the night when we drank together? I received a hotel security service request from here."

"I see. That's understandable. There are too many terror attacks going on here. How many requests did you receive?"

"So far, I have only one but if my crews catch terrorists, the company will have more requests."

Mustafa smiled at Youngho's remark.
The smile was for Youngho's innocent perspective on Turkey's situation.

"This place must look like a hot mess on the news, but it's not true. It's been like this forever and we've only got a few wild terrorists these days."


Mustafa did not worry about a thing since he was so used to terrorism in the city.
Since there were many ethnic minority groups, that was absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, they would vent out their anger at the government authorities in large cities like Istanbul. People who lived in Istanbul did not really think of terrorism as an unusual thing.

"Also, terrorists usually don't attack hotels since they stay at hotels often. They usually mess up with public offices or small cafes."

It was relieving to hear that terrorists did not attack hotels usually.
Now that he thought about it, from the parking lot and the entrances of each hotel, there were parking staffs, doormen, and security guards that it seemed to be a difficult place for terrorists to attack.

"I understand that minorities were oppressed by the Ottoman Empire in the past, but it's weird that Muslims are fighting against Muslims now."

"I can't give you have a clear idea since I'm an Armenian, but if you want to understand Muslims, you've got to be a Muslim too."


The next day, Youngho went to a flea market with Jong-il, since Jong-il was dying to visit the market. It was where Youngho first met Fatima.
The flea market had changed so much over the course of nearly seven years.
Market stalls were installed in an orderly manner and the market was so crowded with travelers.

"Man, all of these people must've heard about you. How could this many people crowd in here?"

"Are you going to say nonsense again?"

"Does every guy here look like a thief who would raise an Archd.u.c.h.ess of a fallen kingdom and marry her?"

Jong-il teased Youngho again.

"Get over here. I need to beat you up so you can shut up."

"If you lay a finger on me, I'm going to announce that there is a big thief here."

Saying such jokes, they looked around the market, but it did not have the antique atmosphere of the past.

"It doesn't feel like the last time. Imitations are all over the place."

There was a st.u.r.dy booth where Fatima used to be. Someone was selling wooden dolls.

"Time is so fast. I feel like it was only yesterday that I first met Fatima."

***

Batumi and Baku were at a similar lat.i.tude, but Batumi was not as hot as Baku. The city's highest temperature was about 30 degrees in Fahrenheit and because it rained frequently, evenings of summer were sometimes even chilly.
Since Batumi's midsummer's weather was fine, it was a great vacationland. Many visitors were from Turkey, but because there were rich visitors from Russia and around the Black Sea, there were a variety of foods and the only casino was in the Black Sea.
Even though the Caucasus regions was like a powder keg, the place looked like heaven on earth.
Youngho and Jong-il went out for a walk after having dinner and were watching the sunset over the Black Sea. Since the sun began to set around eight in the evening, it was still bright outside.

"Man, this is like a paradise. Even though people are dying from terror attacks and wars at this moment, people here look so carefree."

"Why are you dragging us down?"

"It's the poor and oppressed who are in pain. I'm just saying that even I'm enjoying this apart from what's going on in the world."

Having spent time in Batumi for the past few days, Youngho thought that anyone would be able to forget about the world here. He was surrounded by travelers everywhere and as Batumi's residents were kind and bright, there was no tension at all.
Youngho had been living a war-like life daily, but there was something about Batumi that made the reality go away. That must be why people liked to go to vacationland. It was not to rest but to forget about reality.

"You've been having a lot of thoughts since you came from Istanbul. Why are you bothering yourself with needless thoughts? Do you live so well because of your good ancestors? No, it's because you've worked hard. We even ended other people's lives to get here."

"Dude. You make us look like bad criminals."

"Of course, we are not different from criminals. We've done things that only highway robbers would do. Just accept the fact, let it go, and live freely. The world is not going to change a bit because you worry."

It was true, but Youngho could not agree with him.

"Is it strange that I'm saying this to you all of a sudden? I don't regret my past, but I just get a lot of thoughts when I look at Jelyan. She's suffered so much at a young age because of the crazy world. I'm also one of the people who made the world crazy. I want to give her more."

"Ha, soon, you're going to say that you're giving away all of your property to the society. Don't waste your time on such thoughts and just raise her well as if she's your own daughter. If she does something wrong, scold her and if there's something to compliment, give her a compliment. If you raise her too soft just because you're sorry for her, she'd be terribly spoiled and you'll ruin her life."

Youngho had been feeling this quite often, but when he talked with Jong-il, many of his worries went away. Today, Jong-il's words lifted him up again.
Youngho put his hand on Jong-il's shoulder.

"Thank you, my friend. I'm so happy that you're by my side."

"Did you eat something bad? Why are you acting weird?"

***

"Hey, hey! Drive slowly. We have nothing to rus.h.!.+"

"Hyung, this is going slow. The cars on the opposite side are driving at insane speeds. I don't know why those cars are driving like that here."

Youngho, Jong-il, and Ilkwon were coming back from Georgia's Poti Sea Port.
A Marshutka, which was a bus that was as big as a full-sized van, crossed the middle lane, drove wildly and pa.s.sed cars in the front, and almost collided with the car that Youngho's gang was in.
Whenever Youngho went to Poti Sea Port, he always had to be nervous because of the Marshutkas. If he tried to stop his car to argue with the Marshutka drivers, they would have been disappeared from the spot already, so he had nowhere to vent his anger. Also, those drivers would rather ask him why he was upset when there was no accident. That was why one needed to brace oneself before beginning to drive in here. The driving culture here was just nasty.
When Youngho criticized other drivers for their poor driving manners, they would even laugh at him asking why he was upset since there was no accident.
If one needed to drive around here, he would have to prepare his mentality, or else, he would have gone crazy by the time when he had arrived at the destination.

The reason for visiting the Poti Sea Port today was to buy a small yacht.
It was everyone's idea that there should be a yacht available for hotel guests since Batumi's Arirang Hotel was a high-quality hotel in the Black Sea.
Because it was not well-known as some other hotels yet, special events were necessary to get visitors' attention.
There were many decent-looking yachts at Poti Sea Port, so Youngho made a contract for a new yacht and agreed to receive it at Batumi Port a few days later.
Many people who visited his hotel stayed there for more than a week. Since many Europeans would take a month-long vacation trip, unlike Koreans who usually only had about a week of vacation time. So, many hotel guests liked to stay at a hotel enjoying the relaxing time. So, having a hotel yacht seemed to be a great idea to appeal to those guests who liked to stay at the hotel.

"Youngho. Why don't we use our car-ferry s.h.i.+p here? We don't have many immigrants moving in right now. It's such a waste to just leave the s.h.i.+p hanging around. Or, what do you think about developing a Caspian-Black Sea traveling package? Baku is full of rich people, why not try this?"

Jong-il had thought of such a great business project. He had improved so much as a businessman. Youngho was impressed.

"Dude. Do you now want to be a traveling company's president? That's a great att.i.tude. Now, I've got two presidents under me, I'll have to become the chairman."

"Man, I'm not joking!"

"I just gave you an okay. Why are you acting dumb?"

"Should I go for it, then?"

"Alright, would you understand when I answer you like Zeynep? Call!"

"Are you sure?"

"I'm up for it no matter what!"

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About Empire Of The Ring 229 Summer Of The Black Sea 3 novel

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