Chapter 40

I would have destroyed the entire building if this was my previous life. However, the world I lived in now was completely different and there was a more effective method. 

When I went back to my seat, Carl swallowed a tablet of aspirin without water while glancing at me. He touched his forehead as if he still had a headache, and said, “There are employees outside.”

Carl meant I shouldn’t be violent, but his voice was weak.

“I want you to call Jane,” I said while pointing to the nameplate of the company hanging on the wall. 

「Carl & Jane Legal Accounting Firm」

Carl was a lawyer, and Jane was an accountant. The office was located in the back alley where the majority of the businesses were law and accounting companies. The bookshelf was filled with legal and accounting books. However, their true identity was an agent for tax havens, and their history went back to the era of western pioneering when Carl’s grandparents had founded the firm. 

“I did what you wanted. What do you want?” Carl’s face contorted.

“I’ll have to buy this company,” I responded.

Carl’s expression turned strange as he became more energetic, proving to me that he was born to be a businessman. 

***

Was it astonishing that this tiny office with only six employees generated a hundred million dollars annually in profit? In fact, they didn’t even pay taxes to the U.S. government since their firm was located in the Caymans on paper while their office was physically located in New York. Therefore, this firm was not tracked on any law enforcement databases.

Carl told me to treat his wife, Jane, better than I did him. He even threatened me that if I didn’t promise, he would never call her as she was also his partner. However, it was a useless concern because my aggression disappeared immediately before his wife arrived. I was shameless, but it was possible only because of my desire to own this agency. 

Carl was also as brazen as I was. We remained awkwardly polite but pretended to be business acquaintances in front of Jane. She was a middle-aged Caucasian lady who would loved to be baking cookies instead of working on a pile of documents. 

Jane said she would regain her youthful figure in the Caymans when the deal was concluded. I could see that their future involved suntanning in a big manor surrounded by palm trees. The couple was in their late fifties, which meant they were old enough to retire and live like a royal family.

“I don’t want other accounting firms to be involved in this transaction. That’s our stance. You know why, right?” Jane said.

A multi-million deal to purchase this type of firm often caused a war between the involved parties and their accounting firms, but Jane concluded in advance that there would be no such negotiations. I welcomed it since we were dealing with preserving secrets and retaining the current personnel infrastructure. There was no need to hire useless firms to reveal all our internal secrets. 

***

While I had bought a tax agent firm to keep our secrets, that wasn’t the only reason why I lied to my parents to come to New York. Another thing I planned on doing was to recruit my five knights for my financial empire as I now had enough money. It wasn’t something that should be delayed any longer. I had to grab these people while they were vulnerable, not aware of their abilities, and before they had a chance to establish their own hedge funds. 

After hiring Gillian, I found my second knight on the New York Stock Exchange. Her name was quite common, Jessica, but her capabilities were rare. Her education and family background were not special, but she had broken Wall Street’s classic law that only men could enter the financial world. 

It was easy to find Jessica, who was currently working as a mere phone secretary in the Stock Exchange. She was in a crowd snooping around a food truck at lunchtime. Other than Gillian, the rest of my five knights had not spread their wings yet, and they had to be trained under him except for Kim Cheong-Soo. 

I continued with my schedule every day. About a week after coming to New York, I scouted four of the five, including Gillian. 

For another factor in my trip, I went back to the back alleys of Wall Street. Although it was referred to as a ‘back alley’, there were no drunk people roaming around, gang members walking with guns, or prostitutes peeking here and there. In fact, it was also a decent place where high buildings covered the sun and successful elites walked by. 

However, the firms there were the reason we called them ‘back alleys’, as there were two types of companies there: tax agent firms like the one I just acquired and private investigation firms. 

They were commonly known as private detectives, but they didn’t investigate murder criminal cases. Instead, they specialized in investigating investors and insurance companies. 

The one I used in my past life had not been established yet. Therefore, I searched for the cleanest sign as it meant that it had opened recently. Their investigators had usually worked as police officers, federal agents or soldiers up until now. Based on my experience, the efficiency of U.S. private investigators was not much different from their Korean counterparts. 

The company’s interior was clean as the sign, and I had chosen the right place.

“Come this way, please.”

The consultant looked me in the face and quickly skimmed through my attire. I was wearing a high-quality jacket, pants and shoes. Although I was a young Asian boy, my clothes didn’t differ from the elites on Wall Street.

“Have you ever worked with us?” he asked.

“No,” I answered.

The consultant guided me to the meeting room as a regular customer, then he handed me a promotional brochure for their ZOPI group. There were so many pages that I couldn’t read it all at once. It was filled with their eighty investigators’ outstanding expertise and how the group was organized.

The consultant turned to the page that he deemed would suit me, and it was about their successful investment evaluations. One of them held the details of a case when they discovered a sex scandal between the founder of a group famous food companies and an underage boy. The main content was that their investigation minimized the financial damage of founding partners. 

“I’m not here to request an investigation.”

I said while handing him my fake business card. Well, other than my name, the card was no longer fake since the company listed on it was one of the two new ones established yesterday in the Caymans. One had been used to buy the tax agent firm and the other to change my identity.

“You’re the trust manager, aren’t you? Are you looking for an investigator?” The consultant questioned.

I replied, “It doesn’t matter as long as the person’s at the partner level and is available now.”

“Please follow me,” he said. 

***

The investigator’s hand was covered with scars, and there were traces of his military tattoo on his upper arm. He had short hair, sharp eyes and sturdy features. He must have been in the army not long ago. 

“Hello, my name is John Clark.”

He said while staring at me as if he had a hunch.

“Hi, I’m Ethan,” I responded.

He said, “We work with lots of trust companies, usually finding the beneficiaries.”

“Then I’ve come to the right place. I’m here for the same reason,” I replied. 

Although they were a private firm, they pursued legal principles. Familial relationships must be proved to entrust the investigation of missing persons, and clients had to prove that they were involved in the criminal case when requested for the tracking of wanted persons. 

However, finding trust beneficiaries was not that complicated because there was no way to prove the relationship. All matters related to trust funds were confidential between the manager, beneficiary and depositor, just like the Swiss banks. Since he had managed similar cases before, I didn’t need to explain myself. 

“The beneficiary’s name is Bobby,” I said.

John was waiting for me to give his surname, social security number and recorded address, but I had no such thing. 

“He is currently between the ages of twelve and fifteen. I’m sure he lives in New York,” I added.

John smiled awkwardly as my words stopped there.

“He has some distinctive features in appearance, but other information…I’ll be honest with you. It’s a shame, but they have been lost,” I said.

He asked, “Mmm…Wouldn’t it be better to go through a public notice?”

“That’ll be a problem,” I answered.

John nodded as if he understood. 

“What's your relationship with Bobby?” He questioned.

I replied, “Sorry, but there’s no other information we can offer.”

“Ethan, how many Bobbys do you think live in New York that are around the ages of twelve to fifteen? You’re not a hundred percent sure that he’s here, right? How did you assume that he is living in New York?” John poured out his questions.

“He was born in Brooklyn. That’s right. We should also consider the possibility that he’s not in New York right now,” I said.

He gave me a look. “Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. New York neighbors five states.”

“We already know this request is beyond rational thought. But the fee is the issue, right?” I questioned.

John looked at my business card again. 

“No, What Gold Run Trusts is requesting is basically asking us to search the entire North America,” he replied. 

“Actually?” I asked.

“Yes?” He asked back.

I became firm. “The fee is not the problem. John, this is Wall Street. Should I consult with a different investigator firm?” 

John’s face hardened slightly, but soon, he answered hastily.

“I meant that the cost of the investigation would exceed the benefits.”

In other words, he was questioning if my firm was willing to go that far.

“You can say that because you don’t know how much the benefits are. Please don’t worry about it and proceed with as many people as necessary. Also, cooperate with partner companies since it’s searching the entire continent,” I answered in a frustrated tone.

“Are you serious?” His eyes widened.

I nodded. “Of course I am. We guarantee to pay you an incentive bonus for saved time and a success pay at the market’s highest rate. Just prepare the contract, please.”

John became silent after hearing my request and the fee I was willing to pay.

“We need to find Bobby at all costs. Could you please help us?” I asked.

I had to find him even if I had to purchase all the private investigators in North America. That kid…No, that bastard would become the First Evil, the leader of the Eight Evils.

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