Empire of the Ring

Chapter 27
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Chapter 27: Country of Fire, Azerbaijan (2)

It became chilly soon after the sunset, Youngho lit the fireplace on the first floor and turned on the lights using an electric generator. Because the building was not completed yet, he was using a power generator for electricity. He used oil for the fireplace and generator as much as he wanted, since the gas price was cheaper than drinking water in Baku, since it was in an oil-producing country.

The siblings became louder as if they liked the homely atmosphere, but they sounded pleasant like music to Youngho.

After they had supper, the siblings got busy setting the sleeping bags and other equipments that Gerhardt brought on the second floor.

The management building had a size about 16,000 sq. ft. It consisted of one basement floor and two stories above the ground. In the first floor, it had a reception room with a fireplace, an office room, a conference room, and a big cafeteria. The second floor was the living quarters for staff members, it had eight bedrooms and a living room with a little fireplace. Youngho built the living quarters for the farm staff that would live on the farm. Also, the basement had a storage room for food and equipment, a gym, and a safety room for an emergency shelter. Since there had been so many small and big disputes in Azerbaijan, it was common to have a safety room in a single house. The safety room occupied one side of the basement floor, sealed with thick iron gates.

Youngho and Gerhardt stayed late calculating the farm expenses in the conference room. The siblings must have gone to sleep because they could not hear them on the second floor anymore.

“Boss, once the actual farming begins, someone has to live in here to manage all things. Should I just move in here?”

Youngho was thankful for Gerhardt but it seemed too much for Gerhardt who lives in the inner city with his family, since the farm was on the outskirt of the city.

“The environment I’m living in now is not that great, but I’d like to live here.”

“I’d be thankful if you live here but I am worried about your children. What about their school?”

“It’s only 30 minutes away to the inner city, I can pick them up every morning.”

As if Gerhardt already calculated the whole thing out, he answered Youngho fluently.

“What about your parents? Wouldn’t they be uncomfortable when you live here?”

“Well, I have thought about that. You know by next year, we’ll need people to cook for the workers on the farm. How about hiring my wife and parents as cooks and staff members in here? They always wished to live in somewhere that has clean air and environment, so they’d loved to come here and work.”

Where Gerhardt lived was a shabby side of the city, it’s crowded with factories and other houses and the environment was not so great. He wanted to move in to the farm to work as the director.

Youngho thought for a while and suggested Gerhardt.

“Alright, I can hire your wife as a cook and your parents as managers of the workers. Since you’d be busy with other work-related things, you won’t be able to always stay at the farm. Your parents can share your workload as managers. I’ll pay them as proper employees.”

“Boss, you don’t have to pay them. I just wanted to move in here out of my personal desire.”

“No, as long as they work here, they should be paid. If I have to hire people anyways, I’d love to hire someone like you and your family whom I can trust like my family.”

Gerhardt’s heart was warmed by Youngho’s thoughtful words.

They planned out Gerhardt’s moving soon and decided to build a small two-story living quarters for his family only. Gerhardt rejected Youngho’s offer but Youngho insisted since it would be difficult for his whole family to live in the management building where other office rooms were on the main floor.

***

As Youngho and Gerhardt kept on their conference about planning next year’s management and agenda, they raised their head at the same time.

They saw a car headlight flashing through the conference room window, from the direction of the entrance to the farm. Nobody would visit the farm at this hour, Youngho thought.

The management building could be only seen after turning from the entrance, and as if the car just found the lights coming out from the management building, it turned off its headlights and drove in slowly.

Youngho and Gerhardt immediately took out their Beretta pistols. There was no reason to turn off the headlights if they were normal guests. Youngho asked Gerhardt to guard the second floor where the siblings slept, and left the building by himself.

Youngho regretted not having on the mystical leathers shoes now, because with those he would easily run to them in a fraction of a second and body check the invaders. He pushed regretting aside and approached a storage unit for equipment where the invaders parked their truck.

‘They must be here to steal farm equipment,’ he thought.

There were three people. As they were about to go into the storage, Youngho shouted in English,

“Stop moving now and raise your hands!”

The invaders were surprised by him but did not seem to understand English, and Youngho did not know how to say ‘raise your hands’ in Azerbaijani, so he fired the gun in the air once. One of the guys pulled out a gun and fired it everywhere in the air. He was warning Youngho to keep himself away.

Youngho swiftly sneaked in the shadow where they could not see him, and when he seemed to be quiet, the invaders got on their truck and drove off toward the entrance like crazy.

Youngho tried to read and memorize their plate but he could not read it. So he fired the gun twice to leave evidence on the truck. The bullets made sparks on the truck as they hit the behind of it. Scared of tonight’s incident, the invaders might not come back again, but even if they do come again, it would be easy to find them since Youngho left the marks on their truck.

Surprised by the sound of gunshots, the siblings woke up and asked what happened. He lied and told them that wolves appeared on the farm, so he chased them away. He did not want to scare the siblings. Now the little ones got excited and wanted to search for the wolves.

***

The next day, Youngho checked the trucks that the workers drove to the farm but he did not find any bullet marks. He thought that the invaders from last night might be workers who had worked on the farm before because they did not seem to be terrorists, they did not seem to be trained in combats either, but they knew exactly where the storage was. Youngho guessed that they probably would be one of the groups of the workers who installed the fencing or planted the seedlings.

After the incident, Youngho decided to set up security systems on the farm and to always wear the leather shoes when coming to the farm. He also tried to spread word that there are staffs living on the farm and guarding the farm to prevent future invaders on the farm. In fact, he bought two rifles and put them in the storage of the management building.

Youngho also asked Main Police Department’s director to get him two shotguns. Even though the director joked around that he was asking a police to buy illegal guns for him, he gladly got them for him. Youngho was their honorary police officer anyway.

***

The siblings liked the city of Baku where it was more quiet than Istanbul even though it was a big city. They decided to stay in Baku until the beginning of next spring, since they would be going back to school in the spring semester and it worked with their schedule too.

Zeynep and Szechenyi liked to stay in the farm rather than the crowded city. Now that they became close friends with Gerhardt’s two children, they always played together in the farm.

Fatima was also helping out with Youngho’s direct stores. Trying to learn English, she voluntarily helped out as a sales person at the store.

Stephany complained that there were more people who came to see Fatima’s beautiful face than people who came to buy clothes or porcelain goods. Fatima was beautiful enough to be the talk of the town, and Youngho was nervous that someone might approach her with a bad intention.

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