Empire of the Ring

Chapter 33
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Chapter 33: Missing Seoul, and a Misunderstanding (1)

“Oppa, the seat is so much bigger than the seats on the plane from Istanbul.”

“That plane was a smaller size and this one is a bigger one for long-distance flights, you can even sleep.”

Thinking that all the seats on the plane were as big as hers, Zeynep looked around. However, looking at the economy seats behind her, she did not say any more. She was young but she was ready-witted, she noticed that the economy seats were smaller and tightly arranged. She realized that Youngho had used lots of money to make her comfortable through the long flight and smiled at him.

It was a 12-hour flight to Korea. In a Turkish airplane, Youngho, the siblings, Karajan, and four other employees set off to Korea. The gang was again in the center of people’s attention because of their eye-catching appearances. Not only because of the siblings but also the girls of Azerbaijan, like Karajan and other employees, were famous for their beauty. It was said that Azerbaijani girls who work in the field were more beautiful than Korean celebrities, even Youngho frequently spotted a beautiful lady who made his heart skip a beat. Karajan was excited to visit Korea, she asked Youngho to give her free time so that she could go shop clothes at Dongdaemun market with Chunho Merchant’s designer. She loves Korean clothes.

The gang from Baku landed at Incheon International airport at 10 PM, it was crowded with people because many planes usually landed around the same time. Cho Sangchun and Lee Yunsuh were waiting to greet them at the arrival gate with their child. Karajan looked excited to finally meet the people whom she had been working with, though only communicating on the phone. She hugged Yunsuh and almost jumped with joy.

Yunsuh distinguished the siblings at one glance. She went near Fatima and called her, “Fatima?” Fatima answered her with a bright smile, and she greeted her by hugging her in European way, but because of the height difference Yunsuh looked like a child. Yunsuh seemed to like the Fatima siblings. After all the loud greetings, the gang went to a nearby hotel.

The siblings were busy looking out the window to see the night view of Seoul, they wanted to learn more about where Youngho was from.

Yunsuh and Sangchun’s family also decided to stay at the hotel together to get to know the people Youngho brought with him. On the way to hotel, Youngho held his nine-months-old nephew in his arms, he already melted his heart when he smiled at him. Zeynep, who was sitting next to Youngho, also loved the baby. As she spoke in Turkish and touched the baby’s foot, he laughed loudly. It looked like the baby was interested in the new language he heard.

Looking at her brother Youngho, who looked more peaceful than last time she saw him, Yunsuh was relieved. Now that she saw Youngho well and met the siblings in person, Yunsuh’s worries about him melted away like snow.

That night, Youngho and Sangchun drank until they were dead drunk. They had so many stories to share. If Yunsuh had not stopped them, they would have drank until the next morning.

In the morning, all the employees of Chunho Merchant, from Korea and Baku, had a conference. Even though there was a language barrier, they all seemed to get along well like old friends.

In the evening the same day, the siblings and Youngho were invited to Yunsuh’s house for a big dinner. Sangchun’s parents were there to greet them. It was when Youngho realized how much Fatima’s Korean had improved, while helping Yunsuh prepare food in the kitchen, Fatima talked in Korean naturally. Of course her Korean was at the very basic level, but everyone could understand her. Her pronunciation was perfect.

Yunsuh looked at Youngho and Fatima in doubt. Now that she knew Fatima was learning Korean, she whispered to Sangchun’s mom pointing at Fatima and Youngho. Sangchun’s mom only smiled at them. Yunsuh even became sure about them when Fatima automatically squeezed in to sit next to Youngho at the dinner table. Youngho’s excuses were useless to her, so he gave up convincing her that him and Fatima were not dating.

***

Youngho and the gang were at a ski resort in Gangwon-do, Korea. Even though the resort was crowded with people who came to enjoy the Christmas season, the girls from Baku enjoyed skiing anyways. In fact, they even seemed to enjoy people’s attention.

In a cold day of a low temperature, 14 degree in Fahrenheit, the siblings and the Baku employees learned sledging and skiing from the ski trainer at the resort until their nosed turned red. They played all day on the basic course. Youngho followed around the siblings to make sure they were safe, actually, he was following around Fatima. In his eyes, there were too many guys snooping around Fatima, they all looked like wolves.

Even after all the fun in the day time, Karajan and the girls were relentless and headed to a night club in the evening. Youngho took the siblings to a singing room. Zeynep and Szechenyi fought over the microphone to sing and Youngho could not even touch the it, let alone the singing. Feeling like a rock star, Zeynep loved singing on the karaoke machine.

The night culture at the resort was hot as its day culture. The resort had lots of things to do and also had quality restaurants. There were people who just came to hang out in the resort, rather than to ski.

Youngho felt someone’s eyes on Fatima. Well-dressed guys were peeping at him and the siblings for a while and it made Youngho uncomfortable. At last, one of the guys came toward him.

“Hey dude, who’s that foreign girl next to you? We’d like to hang out with her,” a guy with excessive hair wax asked.

“She’s my family. I have little ones here too, are you sure you want to hang out with us?”

“...”

The guy called at his friends when Youngho did not budge. Four of them started coming closer at him, they all looked extremely rich and clueless. There was a bodyguard in a black suit behind them. They must have rich parents. All looking slim and weak, they needed a bodyguard to take care of them.

Youngho did not want to make things bigger than it was. He called the bodyguard to a side and showed him his US diplomat’s passport. He told him in quiet, “if you don’t want to make bigger trouble, you can escort them out now please.”

After seeing Youngho’s passport, the bodyguard understood what he meant and led the guys out hurriedly. Youngho smirked at the troublesome guys who were acting like children.

“Oppa, what on earth did you show them that they’re running away like that?”

“Well, I just showed them my fake passport and acted like your bodyguard.”

“...”

“It’s what you need in order to do business overseas.”

Fatima nodded at Youngho’s lie. He made excuses in case she find about his passport in the future. If he was to tell her the truth, he would have to tell everything about the CIA, which he was not supposed to. Also, he did not want to make Fatima worry every time he goes on at trip for a mission.

After having a blast until exhausting for two days at the ski resort, the gang came back to Seoul. Now, they only had two days left before returning to Baku. Karajan and the girls went shopping to Myeongdong and Dongdaemun market and almost swept the whole market. Meanwhile, the Fatima siblings stayed in Yunsuh’s house due to a request of Sangchun’s parents. they wanted to spend more time with Fatima and the siblings.

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