Wuxiaworld > Empire of the Ring > 293 A Piece of Cake 3

293 A Piece of Cake 3

As people were relaxed after the harvest, the towns seemed to be quieter now. It was early September already.
The hospital at the center of the state was also slow, but without too many patients. Youngho, who had fixed his last cavity at the dentist's office at the hospital visited Doctor Kim Dong-sung's office. The two were talking over tea.

"Mr. Lee. Now that you're not too busy, you're going to keep your promise, right?"

"…"

Youngho did not know what he was talking about. Nothing rang a bell.

"You said the hospital staffs can go collect alluvial gold for themselves. Why are you acting you've forgotten about it?"

"Oh! I totally forgot about that. That's not a difficult thing to do. Whenever you're ready, I can take you there."

"The weather's perfect today and this seems to be the perfect timing…"

He seemed to want to go badly. Kazakhstan's weather was always good except for February and March. He was merely making an excuse to go today.

"Please gather people who'd like to join you. Why don't we depart tomorrow morning, then?"

"I think everyone would want to go. No one would refuse a chance to get free gold."

"Well, we should take everyone then."

The next morning, Youngho was surprised to see how many people came to join him and Kim Dong-sung.
Since many of the newcomers from Korea experienced camping in the nature of Kazakhstan when they first came here, he thought that they would not want to come for another trip for they knew how inconvenient traveling in Kazakhstan could be.
However, people gathered at the square were 42—including teenagers.
If camping equipment was loaded, ten light-armored vehicles that he brought for the trip would not have enough room for all of them. Although each vehicle could seat ten people, a driver and a security guard were seated in every vehicle, and also to secure spacious room, it was the best to have four to five passengers in each car. Including the additionally bought ones, the total number of the light-armored vehicles was 45. However, there were not many extras.
One was given to Park Youngsun, some were used to patrol the border of the autonomous state, and some were sent to the highway construction site. There were only about 20 extra vehicles left, but some of them should be left as extra vehicles just in case.

"No way, are those girls going too?"

Youngho asked while watching mid-teenage girls getting on a light-armored vehicle as they giggled. Youngho was worried if they could endure camping.

"They're determined to make their own gold ring. I was afraid that they would be runaways if we didn't take them."

Everyone was excited hoping to collect tons of gold.

The gold mine and the autonomous state were five hours away from each other. It used to take ten hours because the course of the route went far around but H Corporation had evened the way and made bridges to transport minerals to Arirang Wharf more conveniently. Even so, everyone was exhausted after driving on the rough, unpaved road. People had to take a break a few times on the way, so they arrived at the Koryoin town at midday.

The Countryside Force guards at the mine welcomed Youngho's group.
Since the autonomous state had mining permission for the mine, ten Countryside Force guards worked there at a time.
The Koryoin town had changed so much.
The old town was replaced with lodging, cafeteria, warehouse, and machinery repair shop for mine workers. This was only possible because underground water resource was discovered by Park Young-sun. If there was no water, a water wagon must have been necessary. It was because the little stream in the valley where alluvial gold was found was contaminated because of the mine work.
Although only separation process was done in the mine, dust formed during the mining process had caused water pollution inevitably. The whole mine site was a mess because everywhere was dug up. The stream was muddy but still, people could collect alluvial gold in the stream.

***

People exclaimed here and there.
They each held a panning bowl used for collecting gold and were amazed when they washed bits of gold in the water. Everyone was working hard to collect as many grains of gold as possible. Doctor Kim Dong-sung was also absorbed in collecting alluvial gold as he frequently groaned for his back pain.

"Doctor. Take it easy. You will have so much trouble with your back at night."

"Oh, I'm going to risk it for this much fun! I think this could be a few grams."

He immersed his panning bowl into the water as he said.
Teenage girls were even more enthusiastic about collecting gold. Every time they found a grain of gold, they screamed for excitement and it made Youngho smile. They said that they would come to collect gold often. It seemed that they would be bothering Youngho frequently.

"If we worked hard for several days, we'll be rich. I didn't know becoming rich was such a piece of cake like this."

Seeing that the bottom of the stream was half sand and half gold, Kim Dong-sung said. He was so excited that it seemed that he could quit his doctor's position to collect gold for a living instead. He was looking at little bits of gold on his palm.
Looking at his satisfied face, Youngho could not say that this was all they had for it was going to disappoint him for sure.

"Let's collect some more tomorrow morning and return to the state."

Kim Dong-sung was happy to hear that since he thought the group would be going home today. He had indeed collected a lot of gold for such a short time.

"You're going to collect gold in your free time, rather than going for fishing from now on."

"You have no idea how it's giving me trouble inside my mind now."

"Hahaha…"

"You won't be able to collect gold when the weather gets cold. So, why don't we come here every weekend for the next month? You should at least be able to make a gold ring for yourself, don't you think?"

Youngho hurriedly gave him a timeline of a month. It was long enough to satisfy his desire.
He would find it boring after a while but if he could be happier in the state by collecting gold, it was not a bad deal since he was a necessary person in the state. He deserved a huge appreciation from the state.

That night at the campground, all people gathered around a bonfire.
The H Corporation's director who was in charge of the mining and Korean staffs also joined Youngho's group.
As the lamb meat was getting roasted, people shared a drink with each other. The next day was Sunday and it was a free day for the workers of the mine. So, the workers were determined to enjoy the night.
The mine workers only came to the autonomous state once or twice a month, so they were excited to meet Koreans in the Koryoin town. The workers also knew about alluvial gold but they never go there to collect it in their free time because their work was already hard. After working all day in the mine, they would get too tired. Also, the gold valley was protected by the Countryside Force, so no one could pass to get in there without permission.
It was a place left for the residents of the autonomous state so that they could have fun activities once in a while. If people went there any time without permission, the gold would soon be exhausted. Anyway, it seemed that the medical staffs from Korea would be coming back again for the next trip.

As Youngho had expected. The Koreans in the state were in high spirits after confirming that a thin gold ring could be made by collecting gold for two days.

"Boss. They've started a gold rush. I should loosen some wolves to cool down their heat."

Kim Chun jokingly said it as if he found the situation funny.

"Would you take such risk to cool them down?"

"I should of course. The hospital will be at stake if I don't stop them."

These days, all of the staffs at the hospital talked about was the gold mine. Kim Chun felt the need to take action about that.

"Boss, you've stirred them up for false hope. You know how gold mining can get crazy. It's like drugs."

He said that he would take care of this, so Youngho would not have to worry about it.

***

In Kazakhstan, anyone could claim things in an empty field if they were not previously claimed by someone else.
Alluvial gold was one of them too.
Although the state had been rewarding the Koryoins from the Koryoin town for profits from the mine, but it was technically free.
Especially there were so many rocks in empty fields. After they have finished developing a field for farming, rocks collected during the process would make a small hill. They were not small rocks but bigger ones, so they could be used for construction materials and outdoor decorations.
Since rocks were common in the autonomous state, they were used to finish the exterior of the houses in the residential towns and they looked classy. Likewise, most of the buildings in the city square were about three stories tall, and they were finished with rocks as well. They were not only sturdy but also antique-looking that they did not look like they were just built.
Construction Director Min came to Youngho to discuss his plan for upcoming new buildings in the state such as; lodging facility and office for the Korean private consortium, new hotel, and medical school's dormitory facilities. He wanted to finish their exteriors with rocks again.

"Why don't we also finish the palace's exterior with raw rocks too? I don't want it to be too luxurious looking."

"The palace is away from the residential towns and the view of it is blocked by the windbreak and stonewalls, so people won't be able to see it from the city unless they get close to the palace. Also, it's only the entrance that looks luxurious."

Youngho never liked glamorous-looking styles all his life, but it seemed that he could not go against Director Min and Kim Chun's stubbornness this time. At least the part of the palace where it was viewed from the riverside was finished with rocks—in order to defend the state from any outside attack. As it was finished with the rocks, it looked like an old castle.

The autonomous state's airfield used to be about three kilometers away from the residential towns, so it was normally very quiet. Now, as the city kept growing, new buildings had filled up the gap and now, the airfield was only about 2.5 meters away from the city.
The stone walls were being built at the edge of the city now.

"Now we've got double walls."

"Well, we'll have double security and comfort."

Although the new walls would block winter's north wind and continental wind twice, it did not look great from an aesthetic perspective. So, the workers were also planting trees around the walls as they built the walls.
Building such long stone walls were only possible since there were so many stones available in Kazakhstan. Piles of rocks never seemed to decrease.

"Can we find other ways to use those rocks?"

"Why not? We can crush the rocks and lay them on unpaved roads, then they'd become like a paved road as time passes."

Roads were made all over the autonomous state but since many of them were unpaved, dust would blow when there was wind, if crushed rocks could act like paved roads, it was worth a try.

"Why haven't you told me such a great idea before?"

"I just haven't been able to get to that for being so busy. If you want to get to it, I'll tell the construction team to start the process tomorrow."

"We definitely should start it as soon as we can."

"I'll order a crusher first."

Many roads were created in the autonomous state since it was first formed. The roads inside the city and the ones that led to the wharf and the airfield were all paved but since the size of the autonomous state was so big, the other roads were just left unpaved.
It was welcoming news that those roads could be paved through crushing overflowing rocks dug from the ground. The roads never got muddy due to the dry climate, but dust from the roads was blown to the city area and was quite problematic.

"We'll have to crush all of the rock hills over there to cover all of the roads."

"We have so many piles of rocks dug from wheat fields developed this year. I'm glad that we have a way to get rid of them."

Anything that was formed naturally was useful in some way, just like the state was benefited from rocks and clay from dirt. The surprising fact was that this was only the case of the autonomous state. The whole Kazakhstan must be hiding treasures all over the place. Youngho was excited to think about what else he could find around the autonomous state. He might have to follow Park Youngsun around to seek for treasures of the mother nature.