Empire Of The Ring - LightNovelsOnl.com
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She had such a long name that he even forgot what it was. It was 'Jekaterina Tatiana Georgievna.' When Youngho had problems calling her name, she said her friends called her 'Katya.' She worked as a public official in the tourism department. Youngho wondered if other officials working with her could work normally because of her beauty. She was surprising Youngho in many ways. Now that he knew her name, Youngho had to call her, but he felt uncomfortable.
"Miss Georgievna, would you like to order something to eat?"
"Call me Katya."
They were talking in English.
"Katya, what would you like?"
There were not a lot of items on the menu. After looking at the menu for a while, she shook her head.
"Mr. Lee, would you like to come to my house? I don't think this is a good place to eat."
Youngho was hesitant since he did not know her that well.
She continued, "I don't mean anything. It's just that I want to treat you well instead of offering you bad hotel food since you came a long way to go here."
Katya was a confident, outspoken woman. It seemed that Youngho would be dragged around by her strong personality.
Youngho gobbled down the food since he had not been eating well for the past two days. Katya's food was great. Because the traditional Russian food was a little spicy, Youngho ate it up in no time. Katya looked at Youngho in surprise.
"I tried this in Volgograd a few times. I liked it," Youngho made an excuse in embarra.s.sment.
Katya smiled brightly. She was truly beautiful, and it seemed that Fatima's beauty was no comparison to hers. After having coffee, they started talking about work. Youngho hurriedly led the conversation, going through the details of the retailer business and suggesting that they go out and look around the retailer store site. It was because Youngho could not keep his cool being with her alone in the small room anymore.
The store building was located on the roadside, and a storage unit and a government building were there. It looked fine. There was not much to discuss about the store since it would be used for a foothold for the US CIA in the region rather than for making money. It looked like it would make enough money to pay the employee wage, so they signed the contract for the store with the money that Youngho brought as information expense. Only five hours had pa.s.sed after Youngho met Katya. The retailer store did not need decorations except for some shelves for the items. Katya would be handling the rest of the business from then on.
Katya said that she had been receiving her quarterly information expense in person to avoid being exposed to the bank networks here, and it was Youngho who brought the money this time. Since he brought 10,000 dollars for her, she must have been receiving 40,000 dollars a year. In South Ossetia, it was an astronomical amount of money.
Youngho wondered what Katya did to spend the money she earned here. Looking around, it seemed that there was nothing to spend the money on in the city. He saw many people drinking in open-air cafes during noon hours of a weekday. It meant that there was not a lot of things to enjoy in the area. Most of them drank Russian vodka except for the travelers, who drank wine.
After signing the contract, Katya wanted to go get a drink to celebrate. She took him to a shabby-looking café. It looked old from the outside, but the antique interior was very nice. Even though it was early in the evening, the café was full of people. In the middle of the hall, there was a whole pig rotating on a charcoal grill, and a small lady was singing on the stage while playing a traditional instrument. Like the gloomy weather of the place, she sounded a little blue, but it was a good day to listen to her song.
Drinking vodka like it was water, Katya asked Youngho for a song, saying that she heard that all Koreans are great singers. Youngho was not confident because he did not have a great voice like Jongil, but Katya insisted. Feeling the effects of alcohol, he asked for the band to play Eric Clapton's Tears in Heaven. They shrugged their shoulders. 'Right, these people are playing traditional instruments,' thought Youngho. He grabbed a dusty guitar in the corner. After brus.h.i.+ng off the dust with a dry cloth, he tuned the guitar. Then he began to sing with the guitar tunes in the decadent atmosphere of the café. The effects of alcohol and the café's atmosphere made Youngho confident in singing. He was absorbed into his own song. 'Wow, I can sing today,' he thought. After he was done singing, Katya looked at him in amazement.
"Wow, were you going to be a singer before becoming an agent?"
"No way. I was just a salesman."
Youngho was proud of himself. He felt self-conscious of his singing, but her compliment made him feel like he was a good singer.
"So it was true that Koreans are great singers. Can you sing another one, in Korean this time?"
Highly encouraged by her, Youngho had no reason to reject her request. He sang a Korean song, Gw.a.n.ghwamun Sonata. After coming down the stage, Katya looked at Youngho as if she had found a hidden treasure. Seeing a different side of a field agent, she was impressed since she thought that all field agents were tough guys who only liked to shoot and kill people. In the enjoyable atmosphere, they relaxed and drank vodka together for many more hours.
Youngho felt extremely thirsty in his sleep. He forced himself to get up and go find water. It was still dark, but he could tell that he was in his hotel room. He was still feeling tipsy. It looked like he drank until he could not remember what happened last night anymore. He was not sure if it was Katya who brought him to his room or if he found a way to the hotel on his own.
He opened the refrigerator and drank the whole bottle of water. After turning on the lights in the living room, he was stunned frozen. Katya was sleeping on the couch, covered with a blanket. It had just pa.s.sed six o'clock in the morning and outside it was raining.
After taking a shower, Young made rustling noises while looking for something to eat in the refrigerator. Waking up to the sound, Katya asked Youngho what he was doing. Because there were no restaurants open in such an early time in the morning, they cooked some instant soup and ate together. Youngho asked if he acted rudely to her last night.
"Katya, did I make any mistake last night?"
"Hahaha…. You were very polite. I'd say you're the only guy who did not treat me as a woman. I haven't met a gentleman in a long time."
'Woman, my heart is still pounding. I would have turned into an animal by now if I hadn't been training myself with Fatima.' Thinking that, Youngho only shrugged.
Katya must have faced a lot of troubles because of men.
"We are co-workers. You are more than beautiful, but I only see you as another agent."
Katya looked impressed by Youngho's remark.
"Wow, that is simply great to hear! Thank you for that."
She looked like she was sick of men. Any man would want to be with her.
"You're welcome. By the way, I didn't get to say this yesterday, but if you have any problems with the retailing business, just let me know. I'm sure you can sort it out by yourself though."
Katya's strong and outspoken personality gave off the aura that she would not need any help.
Being hesitant for a while, she showed the money in her bag to Youngho and asked if he could send the money to her family in Russia because all of the bank transactions would be exposed to the bank network in the region. Moreover, she also asked if Youngho could send all of her information expense to her family instead of paying them directly to her from now on. She added that she was asking a personal favor.
Information expense was not just a payment. To a field agent, it was a payment that included any expenses required for missions and living costs. If she sent all of her money to her family, it meant that she was not using any for collecting information as an agent.
It was very unlikely for her to ask it of Youngho because he was her immediate superior. Because Youngho did not say anything, she explained more, "I can do agent activities with the money I make as an official. Also, I was told that I could use the extra money earned from the retailer store."
"Okay, but I just want to let you know that if you ask this kind of favor from the other members of the CIA, it can cause you trouble."
"That's why I'm happy to have you as my superior. I hope you'll understand."
"I also know from last night that you're a gentleman."
'Was asking to drink with her a test?' thought Youngho. If so, how would she explain sleeping on his couch? She was a very confusing woman.
"Well, I'm glad to hear that you trust me. Do you have any other requests?"
"I'm only concerned about how I could send money to my family."
Katya sounded like she was worried about her family as much as she worried about her job as an agent.
Youngho wondered whether her family was in a difficult situation.
"If your family is in a difficult situation, you can tell me. I have friends in Russia who might be able to help."
She looked surprised. It was hard for her to ask a favor of Youngho, but he just stepped up and said he would help out her family.
Thinking he might be going overboard, Youngho still could not let her worried face pa.s.s. Also, he wanted to settle everything in the area, so he would not have to come as often. Not only was it a tough trip to get here, but it was also a torture to stay alone with Katya. It was putting his patience to the test. He wanted to be a good superior, not another wolfish man to her. His plan was to help her and get over with this area, so he could work on the phone only from now on.