Empire of the Ring

Chapter 40
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Chapter 40: Park Jongil’s Decision (1)

“Nikolai, this is Lee Youngho. Your henchmen are under my custody. I assume you have a lot to say?”

After Youngho and Jongil’s interrogation, the intruders slipped their boss’ name. He should know who was calling him at this time.

“Who are you? That’s a name I’ve never heard of. You must have the wrong number. My men are in Sumqayit.”

Startled by Youngho’s call, he was letting out the truth by saying where he belonged. He did not deserve to be their boss, since he did not care about his men.

“Oh yeah? You surely didn’t send your men to Baku. All right, I get it. I’ll make sure your place becomes like a beehive the first thing in the morning. Just wait.”

Youngho hung up after threatening him with harsh words.

After a while, Nikolai, who was now widely awake with Youngho’s phone call, called back to his henchman’s phone.

“I think there is a misunderstanding. Are my men well?”

His voice was shaking a little bit with nervousness.

“I don’t take people’s lives easily even if they are my enemies, Nikolai.”

“....”

“Let me remind you: You just opened a can of worms. I was trained in a Navy Special Forces unit. We are at war from now on. Your boss is Sergey of Volgograd? Tell him that things will get interesting starting tomorrow.”

Youngho had already figured out that the Sumqayit mafias were a line of the Southern Russian mafias from Edward’s email. He had even studied the list of their leading members’ names.

“It’s a misunderstanding, Mr. Lee. My men acted out on their own.”

“I know that you and Rodion are working together. You’ve chosen the wrong guy, idiot.”

After hanging up, Youngho and Jongil beat the intruders as much as they wanted. With swollen and bruised faces, they opened their mouths and told them whatever they knew. Youngho did not beat them because he wanted to torment them—it was because that they came with the intent to kill. They must be used to killing people, and he could not stand the thought of how many people they had killed in the past. Youngho crushed their index fingers, so that they could never use guns again.

Sergey, who was third in order of the Sumqayit mafias, called Youngho in two hours but Youngho hung up only after saying, “Watch your back in the dark.”

Alarmed, Sergey tried to figure out how to settle things with Youngho since his snipers were no use in front of Youngho.

***

The next day, Youngho did not turn in the three intruders, who were more like ‘patients’ now, to the police just yet to give the mafias some time to think. Youngho thought about the incident overnight and decided that if they came up with a settlement he would take it willingly. He did not want to stay alert every night fighting against the mafias.

However, if they still could not make an agreement with Youngho, he was willing to wage war against them. He would use all of his resources to root them out of the city. Even without anyone’s help, Youngho was confident since he trusted the power of the ring and the leather shoes.

At two o’clock in the afternoon, Youngho received a call.

“Mr. Lee, I heard that you did not turn in my men to the police. Does this mean that you are now ready to have a talk?”

“No, I’m just still wrecking my anger on your men. Wait and see what I’m going to do.”

He was startled by Youngho’s different reaction. Rather than trying to come to an agreement, Youngho was threatening him.

“Mr. Lee, since none of your people are hurt, let’s meet and talk.”

“Sergey, I will be closing Baku’s stores. Instead of working, I’ll prepare a war against you. I’ll bring my friends from the Special Forces unit from Korea just for you. Now, get lost.”

Youngho made up words that he did not mean at all. He was provoking the mafia to so that he would not get looked down on. If Sergey took his words for real, he would be in trouble, but Youngho was acting according to his judgment.

“Wait, Mr. Lee. Let me say one word. If you help me a little, I will pay you the deserved amount.”

Getting cold feet from Youngho’s consistent attitude, Sergey made an offer.

“You guys threatened me and my friends. Do you think I can trust you?”

“Mr. Lee, Nikolai has been eliminated among us already. I admit that it was my men’s mistake.”

“....”

“Mr. Lee, we paid for our mistake, so why don’t we meet in person and talk business?”

Youngho did not say any more to Sergey’s honest words. It seemed that they did their part by eliminating Nikolai.

“All right, then. Get rid of Rodion of Sumqayit too since he caused all this in the beginning. Then, I’ll talk.”

“Okay, I’ll do that. I’m glad that now we are on the same page.”

“If you are going to send more men, I’m fine with it. Just remember that I will get even with you. You’ll know who I am when you come to Baku.”

“Mr. Lee, this incident is not related to the higher ranks in our organization. Our men’s stupidity caused all this.”

“Mr. Sergey, don’t act like a gentleman here. I know how mafias are like.”

“Mr. Lee, I’ll visit your farm tonight.”

Youngho wanted to finish this at this point. If they would not give him any assurance, he would punish them using the mystical power of the leather shoes. They could not freely hustle around in Baku as they did in Sumqayit, but if they did, Youngho was ready to pressure the press and government officials if needed. He planned this last night after hearing that the mafias were involved in the oil manufacturing near Caspian Sea, which meant that the mafias were related to government officials as well.

When Youngho was deep in thought after the phone call, Jongil delivered shocking news.

“Youngho, I’m going to quit the drill instructor job after the break. I’m just too worried about your dangerous business. You won’t go back to Korea even if I ask you to come with me. So, I’ll just stay with you instead. Just feed me my friend.”

As he spoke, he was trembling with determination. Looking at his face, Youngho could not reject his offer.

“Jongil, I’m not scared of them. I just acted tough to make a strong impression.”

“Don’t say that, dude. You’ve been earning money by risking your life. You know me, so don’t reject my offer.”

Jongil would not budge since he had made a decision.

“Man, you make me cry.”

“Shut up. I heard this from Gerhardt. You were risking your life all along and you never told your friend? Are we really friends?”

Jongil’s face showed mixed emotions.

He had followed Youngho from Korea. Seeing Youngho struggle this way, Jongil was sorry, but he even felt somewhat betrayed because his most trusted friend Youngho did not share any of his hardships with him. Jongil was a tough guy, but he had some tender sides to him.

“Sorry man. These kinds of things usually happen, so I didn’t think it was a big deal.”

“You crazy dolt. You’ve dragged everyone near you into danger. Are you just going to let it pass like this?”

“....”

“I’ll be the Director of Security of Chunho Merchant stores in Baku. I’m just going to do it even if you don’t like it.”

Youngho did not speak anymore. He was thankful for his loyal friend Jongil and his decision.

“All right. I’ll talk to Edward, so don’t get upset. Okay?” Youngho said as he patted Jongil’s shoulder.

***

Late at night, two Benz Sedan cars slowly drove in from the farm gates. It was Sergey’s company. One of the cars took the three intruders who were all beaten up and disappeared into the dark. Now, there were only Sergey and his two guards. Youngho invited them into the office on the first floor of the management building. Meanwhile, the Fatima siblings were watching TV on the second floor.

“I already introduced myself on the phone, but I’ll introduce myself again. I am Sergey Koussevitzky.”

“Lee Youngho, here. This is my friend and business partner.”

Sergey looked like he was in mid-thirties and did not seem to be an action-taker in the group. He rather looked like the brain. Youngho did not want to waste his time talking with a low-ranker in the organization. To make sure that he was speaking to a person in power, he asked,

“Are you sure you were entrusted with full powers for our business?”

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