Empire Of The Ring - LightNovelsOnl.com
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When they got out of the back door, the old, war-damaged streets appeared. Although the frontal parts of the city were rebuilt in modernized forms with abundant oil funds, the old streets were still untouched.
After pa.s.sing through shabby houses, there was a huge empty lot followed by strips of newly built houses. This was a newly built town. In front of some houses, old cars were parked. Some small-scale supermarkets and restaurants could also be spotted too.
The guy with the sungla.s.ses gestured for them to follow him as he went into a restaurant with an open door. It was not their destination. He, again, went out of the restaurant using the back door. He finally took off his sungla.s.ses after he went into a house thirty meters ahead of the restaurant. They were at the destination.
Several big guys sitting on a couch got up as they saw Youngho's company entering the house. The oldest man asked Youngho for a handshake.
Jongil showed disappointment on his face after not being able to spot a woman since he had expected to find women in the Black Widows. The name originated from the widows of the war, but it was now a rebel force led by men. In most of the Islamic culture, it was hard to find women leading an organization, equaling men.
Youngho was trying hard to hold his laughter in after looking at Jongil since Jongil sat there the whole time with a dissatisfied face. He had antic.i.p.ated meeting women, but there no women around.
Although he recently married a beautiful wife, it was a natural desire for him to be around women. He did not have other intentions, but he always wanted to impress women. Easily said, he was someone who would gain extra strength when women were around. He was a research project for Youngho.
The Black Widows were suffering a shortage of weapons, clothes, food supplies, and other necessities even though Chechens supported them in quiet. They had enough funds, but because of their situation in which they were not provided with necessities, they were hoping for the CIA's help to resolve their issue. The CIA wanted to be careful since they were a violent rebel force.
The oldest man in the room put down twenty gold bars on the table.
"This is the down payment for the products we need. With CIA's ability, please deliver what we need to the border. If you need more money, we'll give you more right away."
'Michael said that they'd be supported by CIA's funds.'
Youngho rejected the gold bars.
"Nothing has been decided yet from our side. I can't take these gold bars."
"Mr. Lee, this is to save our face. We don't want to achieve our independence with the CIA's money. We, Chechen rebels, are not poor."
So the rumor turned out to be true that Chechens fled with the gold bars from the central bank when Russians took over Grozny.
Youngho became frustrated after listening to the rebels' strong will. They had enough funds, but there was no way for them to get necessities under Russia's watch. It was not a good idea to deliver the items by airplanes since it was obvious that Russia could shoot it down. It would be great to have seas touching the state, but it was surrounded by pro-Russian Republics.
There was only one option: delivering the necessities through Georgia. However, there were Russian army soldiers guarding the border between Georgia and Chechnya. It was impossible to use normal routes. The Black Widows seemed to be interested in using the Georgian route. Although Georgia and Chechnya were from the same roots, they had not been friendly to each other. Chechens were not in the position to ask for Georgia's help to pa.s.s war materials publicly since they were defined as one of the rebel forces by their own government.
There were many rebel forces in Chechnya other than the Black Widows. After long hours of discussion, Youngho told them that he would contact some armed forces active around the Georgian side of the Caucasus Mountains to make the delivery route, and the CIA would convince the Georgian government if needed. The meeting ended with the tentative plan. As Youngho and Jongil were leaving, they had to take the gold bars from the Black Widows because the Black Widows forcefully pushed them into their hands.
Returning to Baku, Youngho called Michael to report about their decision except the fact that he received gold bars as payment since he wanted to exchange that with his money saved in his bank account in dollars. Youngho preferred having gold bars at hand instead of saving money in the bank that did not have a high interest rate. Twenty gold bars were worth 1.2 million dollars. He thought that having gold bars was a better investment method than saving money in the bank.
Michael told Youngho that he would send Philip to Baku so that he could help Youngho come up with a decent supply plan. It seemed that Philip, who was overseeing Georgia, became Youngho's subordinate now. Michael had been subtly pus.h.i.+ng the Republics around the Caucasus to Youngho. After all, Youngho was an elite agent now since he always completed any given job with great results, and offered high quality information from Baku's high officials.
The two guys who just arrived at Baku's train station were looking like wrecks with their messy hair and clothes. They even smelled like alcohol. They had been drinking all night on the train coming back to Baku.
"Man! I told you we should stop drinking…. Look at us now!"
"Now you're blaming me? You're the one who opened three bottles."
"Phew, I didn't know those women could drink so well."
Last night, Youngho and Jongil went to grab something for dinner in the dining section. Park Jongil with his special sociability started talking with some women in their forties sitting at the next table. Later, they went to the women's cabins and drank cognac like water.
Since Jongil could not have fun with ladies, he decided to make friends with older women. Because of his sociability, he widows shared the stories of their hard lives after losing their husbands in the war. It seemed that Chechens' perspective on rebels in the mountains fighting for independence were different from the CIA's view. According to the women, Chechens looked at the rebels as troublemakers who abducted civilians to demand a ransom for their lives and caused terrors around the Republic.
Although Youngho was glad to hear about Chechnya's situation from a different perspective, it was such a drag to him since they did not stop drinking all night long. Eventually, Youngho joined their party and started drinking like them, thus making themselves look messy like now.
They used to drink all night long back in Seoul too. Youngho thought he had changed while living in Baku, but it seemed like he was the same person.
"Man, I'll change my last name if I drink with Park Jongil again."
"Oh yeah? That's what you say every time we drink. Why are you still a Lee?"
While exchanging stupid jokes, they got on a taxi and said 'Zeynep Farm' at the same time as their destination. Zeynep Farm was now famous enough to people of Baku that any taxi driver would know where it was when hearing its name.
When they reached the farm, the farm family waited to greet them even though it was only a four-day trip. Of course, it was Zeynep who was excited to see them the most. After a while of hugging and kissing, they let go of each other. As Jongil stood next to them waiting for his turn, Zeynep turned him down.
"You have Karajan now, oppa!"
Everyone laughed at her remark.
Agent Philip came to Baku's Chunho Merchant's office three days after Youngho and Jongil came back from Chechnya. Seeming as if he was grilled by Michael, he said that all the items that Youngho requested for the Black Widows were ready now. It was not the amount that could be ready in a day or two. Expecting that it would take a while, Youngho had not even sent the 1.2 million dollars for the gold bars received from the Black Widows to the CIA's European chapter yet.
Although the CIA was supporting the Black Widows with their own funds, they forcefully gave Youngho gold bars due to their pride, and because Youngho did not report that in advance, it was too late for him to say something.
He could not report the gold bars because the CIA would doubt Youngho's intention. However, he could not return the gold bars to the Black Widows because they might affect their relations.h.i.+p with the CIA.
Since he did not have any clever plan, he decided to keep the money for now and find a way to support the Black Widows with it later.
"Philip, did you get Georgian government's consent for cooperation?"
Philip looked at Youngho in surprise, wordlessly asking how Youngho found out about that.
"I just thought it was strange that you had prepared all this in only three days. We're not in the condition to deliver them at once anyway. We need to open a new route for the transfer. Could you just check if all the items are fine?"
"Because of the chief, I rushed the process. The Georgian government agreed to send these to Chechnya, although they're not in good terms with the Chechen government since they were all fighting against Russia."
To supply the items to the Black Widows, it was necessary to receive Georgia's consent since they needed to use a Georgian route. Getting the items were easy since most of them were available in Georgia. Many of the items were common in Georgia, so doing a business with the CIA was a great chance for the Georgian government to help their bad economy and to take credit for supplying the necessities to the rebel force.
Although their relations.h.i.+p had improved, Georgia did not favor Russia because of the past war. In 2008, during the war with Russia, everything was stripped away from them by the Russian attacking force that reached near Tbilisi, Georgia's capital. They had to give in to Russia and as a result, Abkhazia and South Ossetia were taken away by Russia.
Since Chechen rebel forces distressed Russia instead of them, Georgia had decided to help them out.
"Chief Director Michael appointed me as a supplier for the Black Widows, and he told me to act upon your command."
'Ha! This guy is giving me all the work that Edward used to have.'
"That must be because I was the person who negotiated with the Black Widows. I'll introduce you to them in the borderland."
"Lee, I heard that there is a security guard working in your farm who had been a militia instructor in the past. Can you get him as my backup?"
Ever since Philip was rescued by Youngho and Jongil from the militia, he had unconditionally trusted the strength of Youngho's team.
"Philip, we won't be doing any dangerous business like crossing the border directly. Also, although he's hired by the CIA as a security guard on the farm, his job is temporary."
The European chapter was trying to involve Cha Insoo as well as an agent, but Youngho would not budge since he did not want him to get involved in the dangerous job, especially now that he was married.