Empire Of The Ring - LightNovelsOnl.com
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There was a problem. If he was going to produce 270,000 gallons, he would need at least 900 oak casks. Considering each cask cost 2 million won, he needed to pay 1.8 billion won just to buy them. Youngho did not have that much money, and not to mention the fact that he would have to buy other equipment to have a decent winery such as a fermentation cellar, a low-temperature ripening room, filtering equipment, a packaging room, and so on.
His solution to this was to sell grape extracts only for this year because he just needed to install a grape crusher and a press. They would be installed in the grape storage unit, which Youngho already had. Instead of selling grapes, producing and selling extracts was a better way to maximize the profit. Youngho could not stop smiling because the farm's estimated profit was about 1.4 million dollars.
After finis.h.i.+ng his calculations, to calm himself down, Youngho started to pluck up weeds from Jongil's garden. Fatima, who showed up out of nowhere, was also crouched down and plucking up weeds with him.
She looked like she wanted to talk about something, but she hesitated for a moment.
"Oppa, do you think I should go to college?"
At Fatima's question, Youngho lifted his head with an incredulous look. She sounded as if she wanted to quit her pursuit of education. Youngho used to tell the siblings that they needed to be educated, but perhaps she was thinking otherwise.
She continued, "I want to work after I'm done with high school. I can't live off your money forever."
Fatima seemed to think that she and her siblings were being a burden to Youngho. It was natural since they were not a real family.
"Fatima, like I said, we are a family now and I have more than enough money to support all of you. Even though you're relying on me now, there will be a time when I'll rely on you. Aren't you going to help me when I'm in trouble?"
After pondering Youngho's words, Fatima smiled, looking like she had found a solution to her problem.
"Okay. After I'm done with college, I'm going to work for you. You can't stop me then, can you promise?"
"There is a saying in Asia: A man's word is just as valuable and heavy as thousands of gold."
After listening to Youngho, she beamed brightly and gave Youngho a big hug.
Youngho knew what Fatima was doing. She needed continuous confirmation from Youngho's that the siblings' peaceful life would not be taken away again. She was insecure that Youngho would change his heart toward them.
"Fatima. I'm going to teach you what Korean leaf wrap rice is. You'll be eating this for the rest of your life."
After saying this, Youngho knew he made a mistake. He unconsciously said 'for the rest of your life.' He thought for a moment whether he should add more explanation to that, but he ultimately let it go. It seemed weird to add an explanation to fix a small mistake. However, Fatima's eyes twinkled in hope for the moment.
After eating leaf wrap with the siblings, Youngho was about to go for a walk but he saw breaking news written in subt.i.tles on the TV in the living room. It said that Nagorno-Karabakh made a sudden military move toward Azerbaijan's Tartar district in the region. Out of nowhere, Armenia began the movements of a dangerous gamble. It was not known if they were just warning or if they wanted to have a war. Youngho had planned a weekend trip with the siblings, but Armenia was not of help.
When he called Edward, he could hear him sigh. He said that what he had feared had finally happened. Edward, who was an Armenian-American, was deeply distressed, and it made Youngho sorry for him. Because there had been consecutive provocations from Armenia, the international opinion was that they go against Armenia.
Russia was stepping back by officially claiming that they would not be involved in this. They would have joined Armenia if Azerbaijan hit Armenia first, but because of their one-sided decision and recent anti-Russian movements, Armenia would not have Russia's support.
Youngho worried about his friends who were drill instructors of the Armenian militia. Trying to keep the status quo between the two, America was in a difficult position. The military provocation this time must not be Nagorno-Karabakh's own decision without the Armenian government's push. Even the event of some soldiers firing their guns could bring war, but they were using heavy firearms in their invasion of Azerbaijan's region. It did not make sense to Youngho. It was obvious that the armed forces of Nagorno-Karabakh did not have much power over Azerbaijan, but they were the ones who started threatening Azerbaijan.
There was nothing to be done from Youngho's part yet as a CIA agent. The European chapter was on standby, waiting to collect more information before acting.
Baku's officials were frantically moving as expected. The Azerbaijan side wanted war as well because they could never pay back Armenia in order to stop the escalation of war. However, the officials' opinions were now calling for a victory over Armenia. Youngho reported all the information he collected from the officials to Edward. Meanwhile, the battlefield was expanding and the casualties increased daily.
Even though the battlefront was afar, the city of Baku was held in a tense atmosphere. Azerbaijan's government was recognized on war footing, and the army reserve was called up. All the schools were closed temporarily. Having an unexpected break, the Fatima siblings spent all day on the farm.
Baku's temperature in June went up as high as ninety-five degrees during the daytime. Due to the hot weather, the water reservoir in the middle of the farm turned into a swimming pool for the kids. Zeynep and Szechenyi's friends from school all visited the reservoir and played together. Because it was built as a reservoir, the depth of water was deeper than five meters. Worried about their security, Youngho brought life vests for everyone. Most of the kids were Western Europeans since their school was an international school. Because of a possible war, many places had been closed. The kids had nowhere to go, just like the siblings. More kids were starting to show up at the farm, hearing that there was a pool on the farm.
The reason for visitors from the school was that Zeynep spread the word that there was a lake on the farm. The big reservoir which had a size of 106750 sq. ft. must have looked like a lake in Zeynep's eyes.
Jongil, who was not busy as the stores were not doing well due to the imminent war, also played with the kids in the farm. As a former Special Forces man specializing in underwater tactics, he was teaching survival techniques to the kids. The kids loved him and they followed him around. Even though the world outside was dealing with an imminent war, the farm's scene looked like as if they had moved the school in there.
Fatima was busy taking care of the visitors. Although she said that Zeynep caused unnecessary work, she was smiling.
Youngho was distressed watching the news broadcasted on TV. He brushed down his hand over his face. It was a stress habit. A recording of the battlefield's situation was being shown, and there were tanks and heavy firearms. The reporter said that Azerbaijan was at an advantage, but Youngho thought Armenia would not be defeated easily. The soldiers in Nagorno-Karabakh were ready to lay down their lives for their country. They were like martyrs, so to speak.
Luckily, the battlefield was located in a hilly area. It did not cause many civilian casualties, but the number of soldier casualties was rising every day.
The population of Nagorno-Karabakh was 140,000, whereas the population of Azerbaijan was nine million. They were already outnumbered before the battle even began. Armenia must be supporting their army. Frustrated after watching the news, Youngho came out to talk with the director.
"Director, I was so disturbed by the news. Is there any chance that the battle would stop before it turns into a full out war?"
"Our government is not going to sit still this time. The president also wishes to retake the Tartar district. If we just let this go, what will other countries think of us? We have to show our true strength."
The director sounded like Azerbaijan's army was preparing something big for their enemy.
"I'm worried. All of my stores' sales have awfully dropped."
The director sighed at the sound of sales.
"Lee, I met the chief of Main Police Department today and he said that there will be even stronger punishments. It'd be best for the economy if we could bring this to an end."
Even though he was surprised at his words, Youngho acted natural and asked a question, "Wouldn't air force planes bought from Israel do the job? I mean, you can't use missiles for this."
"We'll probably use them both. We know the coordinates for their location. We'll bust them in the dark at the same time. Then they'll have to surrender."
Youngho's heart was beating fast.
It was not a problem of who was going to win or lose. If genocidal weapons were used, the soldiers in the battlefront would be ma.s.sacred. Youngho hurried and came out from the police building and delivered the message to Edward.
Now, it was Armenia's call to a.s.sess the information and decide whether to withdraw their troops. If they decide to risk many lives for a little land, there was not much to be done to help them.