Chapter 19: The Secret of the Ring and the Leather Shoes (3)
Sharim’s friends shrugged their shoulders as they talked in Turkish. Then one of the guys entered the house and came out with a girl.
The girl was someone whom Youngho had never seen before, her body frame was similar to the girl from the flea market but it was not her.
The guys blabbered that she was the one who was at the flea market two months ago. They asked for money with frowns on their faces.
Instead of making efforts to search for the girl, they made a fake person.
It would not be a big deal to take care of these guys, but Youngho was already exposed by them and he could not tell what kind of organization they belonged to, so he negotiated. Youngho said he only had $1,000 with him now.
Sharim took the money from Youngho’s hand and intimidated Youngho with a dark look.
‘Does he think that I’ll be scared?’
Sharim told him that since he is a business man from Baku, he should stay with them and call his friends to bring more money. They did not listen when Youngho said that he had more money at the hotel. They would not budge since Youngho could call the police once he got to the hotel. It seemed like Sharim planned all this when he returned $20 to Youngho who bought his leather bag.
Looking at these guys, Youngho figured that they are not from a big organization because among them he saw a skinny guy shaking his legs. Inexperienced in doing this kind of job, they were all looking at each other to find out what else they could do.
Youngho quickly snatched the money from Sharim’s hand, who was still talking. His eye widened.
“Sharim. You’ve got the wrong guy. This is a huge mistake.”
Youngho spoke clearly with Turkish, so that the others could hear him too.
Now he continued with English.
“You should know that I’m not an easy guy. As a businessman in Baku, I have people who got my back and I also have connections in Istanbul. I just didn’t want to bother them with a pesky work.”
Sharim was quiet without any words.
“You could have just gone with $1,000 but you made a bad choice. You took advantage of my earnest heart. Do you understand?”
Sharim felt the sudden change of Youngho’s spirit.
Because he dealt with many people at the flea market, Sharim was a tactful guy. He knew something was going wrong. Youngho was not intimidated at all by the three guys surrounding him.
“I’ll give you an option. We can just part ways here or I’ll let you go free. I won’t do any harm to your business in Ortakoy flea market.”
After finishing his sentence, Youngho gave two hundred bills and his business card to the girl who was shaking and told to her,
“If these guys take your money, just call me or come find me at Marmara Hotel at Taksim Square. My room number is 701.”
Youngho repeated his hotel room number twice to the girl in case she did not understand Youngho’s hard accent. The girl nodded.
‘The girl must have been threatened by those guys’, thought Youngho.
Youngho emphasized that he was a wealthy businessman with powers because the guys would still have to run their business at the flea market. He did his best to stop them.
He stepped out form the alley and felt his legs shaking. If they did not let him go easily, somebody would have gotten hurt. He was lucky that they were just fumbling swindlers.
He took a taxi on the main road, and changed his destination to Mustafa’s store.
Mustafa laughed heartily.
He kept on laughing loud and even slapping Youngho’s back, who was still embarrassed.
“Youngho, I wonder how you can act so boldly in foreign countries. Is that because you were trained in Special Forces?”
“Brother Mustafa, I can take care of ten lame guys in a back alley but the problem is I don’t know the ways here.”
“No, Youngho. What if they have guns? Can you still protect yourself? It’s easy to get guns here.”
At Mustafa’s words, Youngho came to his senses.
“Mustafa, I left my gun in Baku. I’m sure I can get one from a local agent but it’s going to be a long process. Can you get me a Beretta? I’ll keep it in your store when I leave for Baku and use it when I’m here.”
“I got one now in my store. Use it for now, I’ll get another one for you soon.”
Mustafa said as he took out one Beretta and two magazines.
Seeing Young disassemble and assemble the gun freely, Mustafa whistled at Youngho.
“Wow, you could even do that without looking.”
“It’s a toy to me.”
Mustafa smiled as if he had expected that from him. He must have seen many James Bond films.
“By the way, what is the real reason that you are looking for the girl? Is it just out of sympathy? Or are you looking for someone to use as an information agent?”
“Brother, I wouldn’t use a little girl as an agent. I would ask you to be one if I needed one.”
“Alright, I’ll see what I can do, although, I think you can find her easily if you request it to your organization.”
“This is a personal business. It’s not urgent and I don’t want to bother agents who are already busy with their work. I still have some time since I have to wait for another agent for a few days here.”
“Wait a couple days. I will get my men to look for her.”
“Brother, don’t worry about the money. I have a ton. I’m now running a farm business in Baku.”
“Hey, that’s to cover up your identity and it belongs to US CIA. I know you are working hard for my own country. I can’t bother you with that.”
Mustafa was very loyal to his country, just like any other Armenians. He knew that Youngho was working for the Armenian militia, and because of that Mustafa was not hesitant to help him.
Edward, the head of the CIA Southern Europe chapter, came to see Youngho at his hotel. Youngho could tell from his face that something must be going bad.
“Lee, it was reported that Azerbaijan is planning to evade Nagorno-Karabakh in the near future. I will try my best to stop it diplomatically but if it goes bad, this might lead to World War III outbreak.”
“Ed. Is it that serious?”
“The fluctuating oil prices are making the economy fail, so they are trying to resolve the instability from elsewhere. Nagorno-Karabakh is their automatic target.”
The government of Azerbaijan stored a colossal sum of money but they also invested in large-scale businesses all over their country. They were running out of their savings.
“Will they make a move despite the Russian army?”
“That is a bigger problem. Russia would deploy more soldiers in a large scale under the statement that they are protecting their citizens. Then, other pro-Azerbaijan countries will also join.”
Because of this small country, a world war might break out. Then Youngho’s business would be screwed. Feeling frustrated, Youngho hastily asked what he can do to help.
“That’s a big problem. Is there anything I can help with? I want to be of help even if it’s a little job.”
“Thank you for saying that, I feel better already.”
“Ed. Of course I should help. I receive information payment from CIA. I want to do my job.”
Edward was impressed by Youngho’s activeness. Even though Youngho’s job is an information agent who only needs to give information, he always did more and initiated new roles, so now Edward left all Azerbaijan-related work to Youngho.
Because Youngho brought more information than other permanent field agents, Edward could exert more power from his position in CIA.
“Lee, I have respect for you. Even though you didn’t really want to be an agent, you are doing a great job. Making a farm in Baku was a great idea and the high-ranking officials are also very impressed by you. You’ll have good news soon.”
“Ed, I opened the farm not only because of CIA, but also because I had personal desire. You don’t have to relate that to information work.”
“The high officials do not take it take way, they know that you are initiating your role in Baku and settling down there. I’m grateful that you’ve mobilized your friends to train and elite the militia.”
Youngho was embarrassed since all of his friends came after the money.
“Well, I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t need to be modest as from your culture. You’ve got to see this in the perspective of ‘give and take.’ You are getting rewarded for your job well-done.”
After thinking for a moment, Youngho suggested to Edward.
“Ed, I don’t have the resources to solve the delicate problems between nations, but I think I can create public opinion. As a foreign investor, I can raise my voice to create public opinion that war will only result in self-destruction.”
Youngho had to stop the breaking of a war even for his own sake because the war would make consumption shrink.
“The high officials also want us to stir the public opinion. We need to create that atmosphere to stop the war. Azerbaijan is boldly expressing their intention to take Nagorno-Karabakh. If a local battle breaks out, we’ll have to work to minimize its effect.”
Youngho’s heart was heavy as if a weight was pushing down on his chest.
“I feel like we are carrying a big burden. If the war breaks out, I will also help. My friends would also be involved in it, I can’t leave them alone.”
“Lee, your role is not taking out a few soldiers. You have a bigger role. You’ve got to stay in Baku.”
Edward was afraid that Youngho and his friends would take unexpected actions since they were fully trained soldiers.
“Alright. I will stay in Baku but I’m not sure how I will react if my friends are in danger.”
Edward shook his head looking at him as if he could not stop him.
“Well, I’m going to Georgia tomorrow. Do you have more plans in here?”
“I will be back in Baku in a few days. I’ll be buying some more grape plants here and receiving the pottery items from Korea. I’m getting them in containers this time.”
Patting Youngho’s shoulder, Edward spoke to him lastly before leaving.
“Lee, it was a blessing to have met you. I will contact you soon.”
Youngho was flattered but heavy-minded at the same time thinking about the possibility of a war.
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