Empire Of The Ring Chapter 359
Finally, the spring was here as sprouts on the plain showed up.
A large number of people were out at the Arirang Wharf to send off two ships traveling over 11,000 kilometers through the Volga-Baltic Waterway to the Yenisei River in Russia. It was the first voyage to pioneer the North Sea route. The big crowd was filled with wild excitement as the ships sounded the boat horn. Jong-il spoke on the mic while Sung-ki waved at people from a car ferry.
“Sung-ki! We need to have a successful trip this time if you want to get married. My wife will keep her eyes on your lady in Baku!”
“Oh, I’m counting on you!”
“We will hold your wedding at the wharf on the day you come back!”
“YES!!! I am not going to be a virgin anymore!”
Everyone at the wharf laughed out loud as Jong-il and Sung-ki joked to each other.
Sung-ki was in charge of the expedition team this time. He had been the leader of the security team of Arirang Shipping for a long time, and he also served as the security guard team leader of the last Siberian expedition.
Youngho wanted to travel with them, but he could not make spare time for this 25-day long trip. Instead, he planned on temporarily joining them for a short while when the vessels docked at the Tromso in Norway for maintenance, then rejoining them along with the follower couple when the ships reached the Yenisey River later.
When the followers heard that they were going on a business trip, they got excited and started to pack up their luggage. The followers seemed to enjoy business trips with Youngho, and Youngho also enjoyed their company.
“Aren’t they working a little too hard?”
“As soon as they heard they are going to Norway, they just went frenzy.”
“They’re just too cute. I’ve got to admit that they’ve done a lot of work for us.”
“What have they done?”
“They visited almost every single Koryoin household and collected all the necessary information from them.”
“I guess that must be In-hwa’s idea. She had a concern about how the immigrants might turn their back on us if they do not get enough attention.”
“Well, thanks to her, we found an autistic teenage boy with a super memory. What do you think of recruiting him as our intelligence agent?”
“Will he make a good fit for the job?”
“He will be different but why not.”
“Let’s get permission from his parents, and we are going to watch him for a while.”
“Don’t worry about it. It would also be good for him if he can use his talent.”
Although the child had a special condition, it did not sound bad to give a job to a child with great talent. The Arirang Autonomous State needed all the talent they could use.
“Hey, Min-seok. Don’t you think your baggage is a little too big for a two-day trip?”
“It’s my job to prepare your stuff too because I’m your secretary.”
“All I need are some socks and underwears. I am carrying my baggage.”
Youngho hated carrying large baggage for his business trips.
“We’ve packed some ramen noodles and instant rice packets as well.”
“You’ve been in a foreign country for over two years. You still need to pack that much Korean food?”
Il-kwon, who had been listening to their conversation, interfered.
“I’ve also brought some Korean food.”
“You are an exception.”
“Mr. Kim, you’ve never had American food when you were in North Korea. We’ve eaten enough American food like butter and steaks.”
“You guys think I’m a hillbilly or something?”
While they were talking, they arrived at Oslo International Airport. They took a light airplane to Tromso airport which made them sick because of the turbulence on the way.
“Man… We should’ve let Boss or Mr. Kim fly the airplane.”
“Finally, you respect my flying skill.”
“I agree. It would’ve been way better if Boss was flying the airplane.”
“Oh! Even In-hwa admits it? Is it my birthday or something?”
It looked like the followers were overly complimenting Youngho because they were about to ask a favor. Youngho’s guess soon turned out to be right. They asked Youngho if they could walk around downtown.
“Didn’t you guys say you were tired? I’m okay. You two go and have fun. Don’t get lost.”
“Hehehe. Don’t worry about it.”
They were no better than little teenagers to Youngho.
Youngho met up with the expedition team and the vessels that left the autonomous state at Tromso.
The expedition team needed to make sure to check up their vessels and to stock up supplies before they entered the North Sea route. Tromso was the only harbor where they could buy everything they needed before departing to the North Sea. They would have to stop by Tromso every time they traveled to the North Sea route in the future as well.
“Did you register our visit to the harbor management office?
“Yes, sir. We also ordered some fruits and vegetables for our ships.”
“They are more expensive than I thought. At least they have enough supplies.”
“It’s cheaper than imported fruits and vegetables at our state.”
“We’re a farming state. It’s a shame that we need to buy fresh goods from outside. We are going to have to grow our own fruits and vegetables.”
“I’m looking forward to that since farmers are saying that they will start growing fresh goods in the greenhouse by the fall. Still, it’s too bad we can’t grow oranges and bananas.”
“Don’t even think about it. We will need to spend all the electricity we have to grow those fruits. We won’t be able to run our factories.”
Sung-ki was overly excited to see Youngho although they had not seen each other for only a few days. It was probably quite boring for him to travel through the Volga-Baltic Waterway.
“It’s good to see you again, Boss.”
“It’s good to see you too. I will treat you guys at a bar today. Get ready to be full tonight.”
Everyone was excited because they could not drink on their ship for safety reasons.
“Any issue with the ships?”
“Nothing serious except the rope that tied airboats were broken.”
“Can we still use the airboats?”
“No problem at all.”
They loaded two medium size airboats and three light armored vehicles because they needed vehicles to move around rivers, lakes, and swamps in Siberia.
When 60 husky guys entered a bar nearby, a few customers slowly left the bar. Youngho felt sorry for the owner of the bar, so he paid for the customers’ meals. Since the state’s icebreakers would be visiting here often from now on, he wanted to have good relationships with business owners and their customers in the area.
“Don’t get drunk. We’d better not make any trouble in this harbor.”
“Don’t worry sir. We will drink up and fall asleep instead.”
The follower couple also joined Youngho and the expedition group at the bar.
Except for Il-kwon, who sipped on his drink only for a few times, everyone drank and enjoyed the night together. Il-kwon was being cautious in case of any accident or danger.
“Did everyone go back to their ship safely?”
“Yup. I thought they were drunk, but no one caused any trouble at all. They were all quiet. Sung-ki was the only drunk one.”
“I knew he would get drunk sooner or later.”
“You look fine too, Boss.”
“I didn’t drink a lot because I wanted to drink with you afterward.”
“Well, I am going to turn down your request.”
Despite what he said, Il-kwon eyes were looking for drinks. Youngho was sure that Il-kwon would drink by himself after he went back to his room.
As the two quietly shared drink together, Min-seok joined them.
“What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be with In-hwa?”
“I can’t be her watchdog 24hours a day. I just spent the whole day with her, so she won’t complain later.”
“You are not off the hook yet. You know that right? You think she forgot about the marriage consultation incident?”
“She will talk about it forever, I guarantee.”
“You know I did not mean to look for another girl.”
“It does not matter to women. What you did is what matters.”
Min-seok’s face turned pale as he heard it.
He surely did not want to get grilled over his past mistake for the rest of his life.
Since they talked and drank together for quite a while, they all got drunk soon. Il-kwon started to call Youngho ‘hyung,’ not Boss, and would not stop talking about his life in North Korea. Min-seok also was trying to play the piano at the corner of the hotel bar. They had not been so drunken like this since they started working together.
“Well, we need to go to sleep to send off the ships tomorrow.”
“No way! No way, Boss. We just started to drink!”
“Hyung! We can go more.”
Unlike Il-kwon, Min-seok’s body was already swinging. Yet, they kept claiming they could drink more. Youngho could already foresee how In-hwa would be mad at Min-seok tomorrow morning.