Empire of the Ring

Chapter 31
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Chapter 31: Night of Baku (2)

Youngho visited the Main Police Department and the director greeted him with bloodshot eyes. The police department must have been busy working day and night to find the arsonist. With a little guilt in his heart, Youngho invited all the policemen to a nice dinner. He wanted to make it up for getting them busy over his crime and he also had not thanked the director yet for using him as an agency to trade in combat rations. They did not reject his offer and ate out together. After treating them well, Youngho drove to his farm.

Although it was late, the lights in the siblings’ room were still on. Wondering why they were not asleep at this time, Youngho knocked on the door and Szechenyi came out to open the door.

“Hyung, you’re here.”

“Thanks, why aren’t you guys asleep yet?”

“We were watching a movie. It was a horror movie and we got too scared, so we said we’ll wait until you are here.”

“Oppa, I’m going to sleep next you tonight. I’m scared that I’m going to dream about the movie,” Zeynep said as she hugged Youngho.

Fatima also sounded like she was scared of the movie while she greeted Youngho.

“Oppa, have you eaten yet?”

“Yep, I just ate with the policemen. What movie did you watch?”

“It’s a zombie movie and it’s really gory. Karajan suggested this movie, she said it’s good but it was awful.”

Even though the movie sounded bad, the siblings must have watched the whole movie, it was the charm of a horror movie. They make you watch it until the end even if you hate it. The people in here especially liked to watch horror movies, maybe it was because there had been many battles and deaths in the nation and they were used to goriness or cruelty. ‘Could it mean that they can be as cruel?’ thought Youngho.

After Youngho carried Zeynep who fell asleep on the couch to her the bed, he had a chat with Fatima. Her English had improved after seven months of learning and now both could have a regular conversation. Youngho asked about Fatima’s family history to see if he could find any clues about the mysterious relics.

According to her, her parents never told the siblings anything about the relics except to keep them safe in the family. She said that they would not have been so poor if she had known the mystical power of the relics.

Youngho’s curiosity grew even more. These days, the siblings’ appearance gave an impression of noble atmosphere that could only be seen from a bloodline of a noble family. Youngho thought that the relics must not be something picked up by the family in recent years. The fact that the valuable relics was passed in the family probably meant that Fatima’s ancestors must be high nobles in power, and maybe somewhere along the line of descendants, one of the successors died before telling the secret of the relics to the offspring.

However, there was no way to find out about their family. He needed more clues. Youngho told Fatima to look into her family line in the libraries once she goes back to school in Istanbul. She agreed on searching for clues of her family history but she did not want to go back in Istanbul, she started to convince Youngho.

“Oppa, all of us are so behind because we haven’t been in school for so long, and I don’t want to go back to Istanbul without you. Also, I don’t think I can convince Zeynep, she won’t move back to Istanbul without you.”

“...”

“I can search for my roots anytime but I’m not going back there.”

She insisted that she and her siblings would stay with Youngho.

Youngho did not hesitate for long and went ahead to an international school in Baku the next morning. He submitted transfer forms for the siblings, it was easy because he already had admission certificates for the siblings from an American school in Istanbul.

Youngho called Mustafa to ask him to cancel the contract of his apartment in Istanbul and take care of his belongings. After taking care of the siblings’ situation, they looked relieved to be able to stay with Youngho in Baku. Youngho made the decision because Fatima asked him, but he also wanted to be with the family as well, he felt like he could not work properly leaving the siblings in Istanbul alone.

***

It was a holiday, so Youngho and the siblings went to a mall to shop for winter clothes. Being a lady, Fatima always took a long time to shop, but even Zeynep was a picky shopper. Youngho and Szechenyi gave up and followed them around the mall. Getting hungry from all the shopping, they ate hamburgers at McDonalds.

Whenever they went out in the streets, they became people’s attention, Youngho was a rare East Asian in the region and Fatima was a rare beauty to find. That was why Youngho wanted to drive anytime he could but Fatima liked walking instead, making him nervous.

Fatima suddenly stopped walking in front of a fur store, her eyes were fixed on a tan fox fur hat, she seemed to like it. Youngho signed her to go in and see but she shook her head after looking at the price written at the window. It was 1,500 Manat*, but she did not see the 40% off sign next to it.

It was Youngho’s first time seeing Fatima stop in front of a store. Even though she refused to get inside, Youngho pushed her in and asked the sales person to bring the hat for Fatima to try. It was 900 Manat after the discount, which was still expensive. The hat had a long tail that could wrap around a person’s neck. It looked warm and nice on Fatima. The sales person said she would give arm warmers that go with the hat too. Even though he had to spend lots of money, Youngho wanted to give gifts to the siblings, so he bought the tan one for Fatima and a white one for Zeynep. Szechenyi was waiting for them outside. When Youngho asked if he wanted anything, he said, “why would a man need fur?” acting like a grownup.

It was their first time to shop in downtown in Baku. Youngho had been so busy that he could not make time for the siblings. He had a peaceful time with them shopping, walking on the streets, and eating street foods. Even Zeynep was humming and skipping. Youngho wondered if this was what happiness felt like, he was happy that he was rich enough to be able to buy the things that the siblings like, like a father. After coming back from downtown, all the siblings took a bath in the Turkish bathtub that Youngho installed for them and went to sleep.

Youngho called Gerhardt next door and asked him to find a car for Fatima to drive in Baku. He thought she needed it in order to live in Baku because he and Gerhardt were too busy to pick them up from school every time.

“Boss, don’t you think the fire incidents are weird? It feels like someone had avenged for us. I’m happy that those retailers are gone though.”

“I feel the same. I’m clapping inside but I’m afraid that someone might doubt that we made the fires.”

“I’m sure that’s not going to happen. I mean, you are known as a gentle businessman in here. I’m just sorry about other business companies that try to harm you.”

“Well, they got what they deserved. I think they were punished by local mafias but we need act carefully too, just in case.”

“Okay, boss.”

Youngho’s conscience pricked him as he lied to Gerhardt, while he acted natural. Now that he had a rocket launcher, he wanted to get rid of the mafias too, but he knew that people would blame Armenia for the attack. He did not want to cause a war, he just sipped on his drink.

*Manat – the currency of Azerbaijan, 1 manat is about $ .60 as of 10/25/18. 1,500 manat is about $881.

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