Empire Of The Ring - LightNovelsOnl.com
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Jongil carried something in his hand; it was a blueprint of a house. The incident, where Jongil was shot in his arm, had turned Jongil's mind against living in the inner city. How he had convinced Karajan's mind was not known, but Youngho was more than happy to have Jongil and Karajan join the farm family.
"Youngho, was it you?"
"I don't know what you're talking about."
Youngho acted as if he did not know anything.
"Why did you leave them alive?"
"Dude, I'm still shaking from making them handicapped. I can't take people's lives in vain."
"Man. You're just too soft. You're being lenient to the people who came to kill us? By the way, how did you find out that he was behind the attack? I'm curious."
If Jongil had come with Youngho that night, there would have been a ma.s.sacre in the house. Youngho was relieved that he went alone.
"Just because. I a.s.sumed it was him, so I went to his house and there were three guys sleeping. When I beat them up, they just told me everything."
"Don't go out by yourself from now on. You think you're alone? You've got a family now."
"I know. I didn't mean to do that, I just went to check but things happened. Next time, I'll leave it to you."
Youngho was touched by Jongil's words. It was a great feeling having someone who had his back.
Looking at the blueprint Jongil brought, Youngho smirked.
"You came to build a house without the landlord's permission?"
"Shut up, man. I can't sleep well these days cause I'm worried about the farm family. Karajan agreed with me, so we'll take care of building our own house."
"I can build the house for you. You just buy your furniture."
"Oh yeah? All right. I'll save some money then."
Planning to have three kids in the future, Jongil said he would have a grand wedding ceremony as soon as the house was complete.
Cha Insoo had already received a marriage license in Korea although he did not have a ceremony. He planned to just take wedding pictures without a big ceremony.
The money that Youngho stole from Araz's house, which was worth twenty manat, was more than enough to build Jongil's house. Youngho considered the money as a compensation for Cha Insoo's injury and planned to gladly use it for Jongil's house.
Hearing Park Jongil's voice, Gerhardt, who was working at the office, brought a drink. He had a special connection with Jongil since he would be his brother-in-law once he got married to Karajan.
Cha Insoo was preparing charcoals for barbecue already. Although his arm was still in discomfort, he was hurrying because he missed drinking. Youngho had given him Fatima's ring to speed his recovery, but Insoo could not drink yet. Youngho felt bad for him. He had explained the details of the ring and leather shoes to Insoo as well and told him why they should protect the Fatima siblings. Ever since Insoo was told about their story, he cared about the siblings even more as if they were treasures. He thought that the siblings must be people with high status since they were the owners of the mystical relics that would only exist in fantasy novels.
Youngho received a small mission from the European chapter. The officials of the chapter had judged that Youngho was the right person to look over the region of South Ossetia since he had a close contact with Russian mobs. The area was originally managed by agent Philip, but now it became Youngho's responsibility.
In recent months, there had been ethnic disputes between two peoples in the region. South Ossetia belonged to Georgia in the past, but as it was divided, Georgians became minorities in the land. Because the Russian army was stationed in the region, Georgia could not do anything hastily for their people. Every necessity was transported through Russia, so it was like an island. There were some routes going through Georgia, but those who used those routes were usually small South Ossetian merchants.
Normally, it was a custom and a courteous gesture for business travelers to go to North Ossetia first before entering South Ossetia from the North Ossetian border. That was why many travelers entered North Ossetia by flying from Moscow Domodedovo Airport and then going into South Ossetian territory by an overland route.
Almost torn apart after eighteen years of civil war against Georgia, South Ossetia finally was able to win independence only with Russia's help. However, there was still tension between different ethnicities of the region. There were 5,000 Georgians still living in South Ossetia. Although before the war, the two groups of people were at peace and many people freely married people from each other's country, but now they despised one other.
The US CIA had been secretly supporting Georgians who were now minorities in South Ossetia, but as the inspection along the Georgian border got stricter, the support had now been stopped.
There were no major battles going on between the two peoples, but because there were occasional shootouts between people and each town's vigilance committees, it was still a dangerous place. Youngho thought it was weird that they still had vigilance committees like in the medieval times. Now he was about to enter the weird place.
Driving an SUV rented from North Ossetia on the way to South Ossetia, Youngho almost felt sick with the steep mountainous paths. The chilly air entering from the car windows gave gooseb.u.mps on Youngho's arms. As he hurriedly rolled up the windows, he was stunned to see the road sign that said that the alt.i.tude was 2,200 meters above sea level.
Youngho's had not much to do in here; He just had to meet a local agent to help open a daily necessities retailer shop for the agent and provide the necessities to a Georgian town. The local agent was not aware that the reason for opening a retailer shop was to help local Georgians because he was told that it was a disguise for the agent to settle in South Ossetia.
Youngho had already discussed the matter with Yaniv, the G.o.dfather of South Russian mafias. Yaniv would provide the products, so all they needed to do was to open a shop where they would legally deliver the products. From Russia, Youngho entered North Ossetia as a representative of Yaniv's company. To Russia's satellite state, South Ossetia, Youngho was known to be a Russian daily necessities provider visiting his own country to open a business.
Because the place was a small-sized, rugged hill country, there were only slightly more than 50,000 people resided in it. Knowing that the trip would be rough, Youngho had brought Korean emergency food for the trip.
Because of the Caucasus mountain range blocking the way, Youngho had to pay to go through a tunnel called Roki to get to the territory of South Ossetia.
As he pa.s.sed the tunnel, the first thing he saw was foggy air. Because it was high enough to be a timberline, there were no trees on the mountain. From then on, it was a downhill road. Stepping on the brake, instead of accelerator, he could go down the winding hills. The cars occasionally pa.s.sing by Youngho kept honking, which meant that there were a lot of blind spots. After driving in tension for an hour, he reached a resting area with a little restaurant.
Starving, Youngho ordered something on the menu. An oily soup was poured in a dirty-looking bowl and served. Not being able to handle it anymore after a eating a few spoonfuls, Youngho added quite the amount of salt and pepper that he brought. It was a little better now. Seeing Youngho, the owner lady around her forties offered some more soup and asked if she could have some pepper. Using his poor Russian which he learned from Gerhardt, he did not take more soup but handed her some pepper. When he was about to pay for the soup, she insisted that she would not get paid. It meant that daily necessities like pepper were valuable in the area. Youngho had brought many for himself and to give to the local agent. He handed one more to the lady, and she gave him a big hug in appreciation.
Although the car Youngho had rented was more than ten years old, it looked like new compared to most of the cars pa.s.sing by. When he searched about the country on the Internet at the airport, he thought the information was incorrect because it said that the annual income of the people was less than 300 dollars. However, now that he saw the country with his own eyes, he could tell that the information was true.
Youngho had never seen a remote area like this before. He felt bad for the people who lived in this rough mountainous area. They must have come here to live because they were chased away as minorities. Many decades ago, Korea must have seemed like this. People died of poverty. Even though kids nowadays had obesity problems, in the past, Korean kids were thin like sticks, and many died in hunger.
Leaving the restaurant behind, Youngho drove more. The road to Nagorno-Karabakh was plain compared to this road. Youngho was feeling nauseous even though he was driving. He also saw many rusty cars neglected down the valley, which meant that the owners of those cars were dead a long time ago.
Although it was cool in Tskhinvali, the capital city of South Ossetia, Youngho was sweating and feeling tired because of the intense driving. Youngho considered leaving the car here when leaving the country. With the mystical power of the leather shoes, he could run at the speed of 60 to 70 kilometers, which could be faster than driving the car on the rough hilly road. It seemed better than driving in tension.
It seemed natural that prices were high in this area. Driving an SUV was this hard for Youngho. Delivering daily necessities on semi-trailer trucks on this road would cause the prices to go higher since delivery would be expensive.
After staying at a so-called hotel where hot water did not run, Youngho was bra.s.sed off with the place. He wanted to leave as soon as possible after finis.h.i.+ng his job of contacting the local agent. Because the signal on the cell phone was unstable, he was only finally able to reach the local agent through a public phone. He could see why he was given a wired phone number, since there was no way microwave relay towers were installed deep in the heart of the mountains. The place was so poor and shabby that even some fallen buildings due to war downtown were left untouched. Youngho wondered who the agent was who was living in this place.
A woman answered Youngho's phone call. Thinking it must be someone else, Youngho kept asking for the agent by the name. She said it was herself. It was not his intention to underestimate women, but the place seemed harsh for a woman agent to live in. With this prejudice in mind, he stepped into a hotel café where he planned to meet her.
Looking at the agent walking into the café, Youngho shouted inside, 'Eureka!'