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Empire Of The Ring Chapter 262

“How many bullets are left?”

Jong-il, who had been gasping, turned to Youngho and asked.

“I got five magazines left. Do you need one?”

“That’s alright. I’ll just go and pick up some from those guys lying on the ground.”

The Chinese force of the Afghanistan border was now fully alerted. Not only large-scale fire broke out in a large-size camp but also soldiers kept being knocked down by a hail of bullets that they did not know where they were coming from. They could only believe that the information they had received about the armed Uyghur freedom fighters was wrong since they were thought to be only a handful of men.

Youngho and Jong-il with their high mobility appeared at the mountainous area and began to shoot at the Chinese soldiers randomly. They did not fire aimed shots in order to seem that there were many soldiers on their side.

“Man, they could fight.”

“They’re furious because their comrades were knocked down.”

The Chinese soldiers, who had fired back at the direction of Youngho and Jong-il randomly in the beginning, began to focus on aiming at their enemies. Because they shot back at where the bullets flew in from, the two could not stay at one location. The soldiers were getting used to the battle.

It had been three days since the two began to shoot at the Chinese force to confuse them. They were running out of the combat rations that they had brought. Now that they had earned time for the Islamic Party to get to a new location safely, it was time to retreat.

“Let’s launch another attack from the northeastern ridge one more time and fall back. We need to get some sleep too.”

The two could hold out for the past three days with the help of the mystical ring’s powers but they had now reached their limits. The Chinese force was pestered by them night and day and was now as busy as a nailer.

The soldiers would have been exhausted by now too. If Youngho and Jong-il stopped shooting at them suddenly, they would think that the independence fighters had retreated and would rest for a while. Now the inspections in the border area would have gotten loose because of the emergency, so it was the best time for the two to slip out of the border.

“We can’t go like this, smelling like gunpowder. Let’s go somewhere and take a shower. People at the checkpoints will definitely find out unless they’re stupid.”

“There’s nowhere we can take a shower.”

“Hmmm. Should we roll in the snow? Or pour alcohol on us?”

After shooting for several days, the smell of gunpowder wafted through their bodies.

“Let’s go stay in a town if there’s one on the way.”

“”

“You think people will believe that we’re furriers? We need to have rawhide at least. Let’s go get some. The gunpowder smell will go away as we walk.”

Getting rid of the smell of gunpowder was only an excuse. The two were desperate for some lamb meat with a good drink. Because they had taken so many lives around the border, they did not feel easy. It was to save their men but any sane person, it would not be easy to keep the peace of mind after shedding blood.

When one’s mind was busy like this, the best medicine for him was to drink and sleep. Any decent sleep could make vivid memories fade.

***

The van filled with animal skins sped on the paved road.

Youngho and Jong-il stopped by a small ranch village and bought dozens of lambskins. After loading them on the van, they were off to Kashgar. As they paid high prices for the skins, the town’s people treated them nicely for the night, so they were fully restored to their normal conditions. They were not tired anymore and their bloodshot eyes turned normal. Most importantly, the memory of the fierce battlefield was not so vivid anymore, and they felt much better.

“Is this because of the ring or the alcohol?”

“Probably both.”

Although most Uyghurs were Muslim, people in mountainous areas always kept alcoholic drinks to endure the severe cold and to sanitize wounds. The two drank almost all of the drinks from the village.

“By the way, it’s interesting how the Serbian Kingdom was fallen by Turkey. Isn’t the kingdom so great and strong with these relics on its side?”

“Well, we’ll never know what happened more than 500 years ago but the kingdom is indeed special if you see how its descendants are still loyal to the kingdom. The immigrants and the descendants of the knights are still unconditionally loyal.”

If the Archduke’s Family had lost Serbian people’s loyalty, there would be no descendants who would support the kingdom until now. The medieval times were a time like that. Only noblemen were respected and the rest of the people lived like slaves.

“Hey, did Fatima stand out to you in Istanbul?”

“I only approached her because she was so pitiful.”

“Man. That’s really special that you found her there out of so many people. I just realized that this time since that destiny brought us the rings and leather shoes.”

Because of the rings and leather shoes, the two could endure the coldness and exhaustion and could complete their operation.

It happened a long time ago, but Youngho still appreciated that destiny had led him to Fatima. If he had passed by her in the flea market in Istanbul, he would not have been the same person as now. The ring’s power had been helping him to solve problems or to get away from danger in the important moments of his life.

Even though he had received special training from Korea, he would not have been able to appear and disappear in different places in a mountainous area like now, he did not have the ring. As Jong-il mentioned, his relationship with Fatima was a call of destiny or luck in a million years.

“I might have received the luck because of you. Because of you, I’m playing medieval times now.”

If Youngho did not drink all night long with Jong-il and Mustafa, he would not have gone to the flea market the next morning.

“Whoa, you didn’t forget my role in that. Don’t ever change your mind, okay?”

“Well, who was the one that said I’m cleaning rubbish antiques at the hotel?”

“I don’t even recall that. Don’t try to manipulate me, and just give me the wheels now.”

When they were near Kashgar, a checkpoint that was not there before appeared. It was temporarily made after hearing the battle around the Afghan border to inspect people coming from the direction of the border.

Trucks and people were lined up to pass the checkpoint. Youngho and Jong-il also waited in line in their van. Before taking off, they hid all of the weapons and ammunition around the border area and gave away left-over groceries to the people of the ranching village, so they did not have anything to be suspicious of, but any foreigners who did not speak Chinese could be questioned.

The Chinese guards who inspected people created a warlike atmosphere. They took out every load in vehicles and searched everywhere despite Uyghurs’ complaints. Fully armed, the guards were quite threatening.

Youngho’s car was not an exception. After searching through everything in the vehicle, they let the two go. Because they treated the animal skins badly, they were covered in dirt now. Youngho had to poke Jong-il’s waist to keep him calm.

“Man. That’s the reason why Uyghurs want freedom. Why do they inspect people here, when the battle happened in the border area?”

“Geez, why didn’t you say that you’re the one who did it?”

“I’m just upset that they stepped on the skins. I need to teach them who’s better before I leave to Kazakhstan.”

Ill-tempered Jong-il was outraged by the guards’ insensitive attitudes but they had to let it go since they were guilty of the battle.

***

“Did you witness the recent battle near the border?”

“We heard the sound of gunfire as we came back from visiting the Islamic Party and mercenaries but we have no idea what happened because we only drove along the road.”

Youngho played innocent as he pretended that he had no idea. There was no reason to reveal what they had done.

“Do you know if the battle happened between Uyghurs and Afghan force? I wonder how big it was that all of the Uyghur occupation forces are in the emergency situation.”

Since the staffs of the United National Revolutionary Front in Xinjiang still could not reach the Islamic Party, they were extremely curious about what happened near the Afghan border.

“Well, who knows what happened. Anyway, the independence fighters of the Islamic Party are safe. They said that they’re going to retreat to Tajikistan. When the spring comes, they’ll get back to Kashgar to start taking actions.”

“That’s what we already agreed on. I just wonder what happened near the border. This must be big. I’ve never seen the Chinese force to be this stirred.”

They were not just stirred. This was an incident that a commander would have to resign to take responsibility for. Military supplies and heavy firearms were burnt and a hundred of border patrols were killed. Someone would have to resign for this. There must be more casualties since Youngho and Jong-il finished their operation with indiscriminate fire. This was why the soldiers were inspecting people eagerly.

“Well, I’m glad that our comrades are safe. Also, you’ve gone through such troubles to visit the place where we don’t even dare to go. Thank you for informing us about the Islamic Party’s whereabouts.”

“Everyone’s safe and well. Our mercenaries are also safe, so we feel relieved too.”

As Youngho showed the group the picture he took with the Islamic Party, everyone seemed to be relieved. At the same time, they looked at Youngho and Jong-il like ghosts. It was just unbelievable how normal Youngho and Jong-il looked after visiting the rough place in the severe cold.

The fighters of the Islamic Party said that they would go to Tajikistan through the Pamir Mountains, and their only enemy would be cold. Once they reached Tajikistan, they would be welcomed by the public. As most of Uyghurs could not be apart from Central Asian countries, many Muslims lived in Tajikistan. Since many Central Asians shared similar cultures as nomads, they considered each other as brothers, so they did not sit back when China oppressed Uyghurs. If China kept oppressing Uyghurs, other Central Asian countries would naturally turn hostile toward China.

Since Youngho and Jong-il’s purpose of the trip here was to stir up things and put some distance between them and China, he needed to make a chance to trigger that. Since there were checkpoints in every city’s gates, the complaints of local people were accumulating.

At last, there was an incident that some merchants who complained about the inspection were beaten up by the Chinese guards, and it seemed that people’s anger would burst soon. If there was another trigger, it was obvious that a large-scale riot would arise.

However, Youngho and Jong-il could not take action easily because they worried that local civilians would be harmed in the process.

“I’m about to go crazy. We can’t do anything, man. Should we just go near the border here and make some trouble?”

“Man, they suffered at Afghanistan’s border. You think they won’t be prepared again?”

“Let’s just do it and return home. That way, we won’t have to come back here again.”

“The real problem is when we left here. The local people will have to put up with the Chinese force for our doings.”

“They’re going to do that anytime no matter what. Let’s just relieve the local people’s anger for them this time.”

The reason that China desperately opposed the independence of Xinjiang Uyghur was that Tibet and Inner Mongolia would follow to claim their independence as well, and the fundamental reason was to secure underground resources. Since China’s economy largely depended on exporting goods to other countries, it needed to secure resources to keep producing goods. It would never let go of those states since they were full of natural resources.

“It’s been ten days already since we left home. We should get back soon.

Because they left the regular road to come around the mountainous paths, they had to run to get back quickly. It would not have been possible if they did not have the rings and leather shoes.

“Alright. I’ll see if I can get AK rifles.”

Jong-il answered livelily.

He was a born fighter. It was not sure that if he was motivated to help Uyghurs achieve their dream or if he just wanted to fight out of his own destructive desire. Whichever it might be, it did not matter anymore. The two reminded themselves that everything was for Uyghurs’ independence and got to work.

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