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Chapter 40

 

If this were my previous life, I would have used a high explosive device to destroy the entire building and all the records within. However, the world I lived in was completely different now, and therefore there was a more effective method. As I sat down again in my seat, Carl kept glancing at me as he swallowed aspirin without water. However, he spoke with his hand on his forehead like he still had a headache.

 

“There are employees outside.”

 

While that meant I should not do anything violent, Carl’s voice was weak.

 

“I want you to call Jane in.”

 

I spoke as I pointed at the firm nameplate on the wall.

 

[Carl & Jane Legal Accounting Firm]

 

Carl was the lawyer, and Jane, his partner, was the accountant in this firm. Their office was located in a street where the majority of the businesses were accounting and legal firms. The bookshelves were filled with books appropriate for the facade, but the firm’s true identity was an agent for tax havens, and their history for less than reputable services went back to their founding by Carl’s grandparents, whose pictures were proudly hung on the walls.

 

“I did what you wanted. What do you want?”

“I’m going to have to buy this firm.”

 

Carl’s expression turned strange, but his color returned, showing him that he was a true business man.

 

***

 

Could one believe that this small office with only six employees made millions of dollars annually in profit? Moreover, they did not pay taxes to the US government, as their firm was located in the Caymans on paper while their office was in New York. Therefore, this firm was not tracked on any Law Enforcement databases.

Carl told me multiple times that I must not threaten Jane, his wife, like I threatened him. If I did not promise, he would definitely not call his partner in business and in private life.

However, that was unnecessary, as I had already changed tactics even before she arrived in the office. While I was shameless, it was because I was beginning to want this firm more and more.

Carl was also just as brazen, as we remained awkwardly polite, pretending to be old business acquaintances in front of his wife. Jane was a middle-aged woman who would look just as natural taking cookies out of the oven as holding a pile of documents. She said she would love spending time in the Cayman Islands and saw their future suntanning in a big manor surrounded by palm trees.

They were in their late fifties and were at an age that yearned for retirement. Jane spoke up.

 

“I do not want other accounting firms hired or involved in this transaction. I believe you would know the reason why.”

 

A multi-million deal to purchase these offices would involve countless negotiations between the involved parties and their accounting firms, but she confirmed that there would not be a need for such a public process. I welcomed it since we were dealing with preserving secrets and retaining the current personnel infrastructure. As far as the public is concerned, nothing has changed.

We did not need to hire accounting firms, who would inevitably reveal the sale. Should their customers learn of the sale, they would fear a record of their transactions falling into the hands of a third party, breaking their long, trusted relationship with Carl and Jane. (EN: Yep, Jane is obviously the real brains. ^_^ )

 

***

 

While I bought the tax agent firm, I had additional reasons to come to New York, even going so far as to lie to my parents. One was to gather my knights for my financial empire, as I had the money and could not hold it off any longer. I had to take them while they were vulnerable, before they learned to believe in their abilities, and had a chance to establish their own independent businesses.

I found my second knight in the New York Stock Exchange. Her name was Jessica, which was a common enough name, but she had a rare ability. While her connections in University didn’t include anyone special and she did not come from a rich family, she was a woman who broke the glass ceiling of the Wall Street elites. (EN: Glass Ceiling-an unofficially acknowledged barrier to advancement in a profession, especially affecting women and members of minorities.)

It did not take much effort to find Jessica, who was working as a mere phone secretary in the Stock Exchange. I found her amongst a crowd who were looking at food trucks during lunchtime. The rest of the five except Gillian had not spread their wings yet, and with the exception of Cheongsoo Kim, the rest would have to be trained under Gillian.

About a week after I arrived in New York, I scouted four of the five, including Gillian, and I went to the “back alleys” of Wall Street for the second reason I came here. Wall Street did not have back alleys where drunks wandered, gang members walked about with guns, and prostitutes were glimpsed here and there. The place we called “back alleys” were clean streets with tall buildings where the elite walked. (EN: Yeah, I’m confused too.  Jonathan, Gillian, Jessica is three. )

However, the firms there were the reason we called them “back alleys”, as there were two kinds of agencies there. One was tax agent firms like the one I had just bought, and the other was private investigating firms.

While they were better known as private detectives, they did not investigate murders in locked rooms, and those located in Wall Street conducted investigations for investors and insurance companies.

Since the one I used in my past was not established yet, I looked for the cleanest sign. A clean sign would mean they had opened recently and their investigators probably had worked as police officers, federal agents, or in the military up to now. From my experience, American private investigators did not differ much from Korea in retaining the privileges of their former jobs, as well as multiple connections in law enforcement and the military to make up for any lack.

The firm’s interior was clean as the sign, and I had chosen a good place.

 

“Over here, please.”

 

The consultant looked over my attire after my face. I wore high-end clothing and shoes, and what I wore did not differ from the other elites on Wall Street.

 

“Have you worked with us before?”

“No.”

 

I was led to a meeting room as a regular customer, and the consultant handed me their booklet. The firm’s name was ZOPI Group, and the booklet actually was too thick to read in one sitting. The pages were filled with their eighty investigators’ expertise and how the organization was well knit and their investigators professional. The consultant turned over to the page that she deemed would suit me, and it was a list of their successful investment evaluations. One page held the details of an investigation that discovered a sex scandal between a founder of a famous food product company and underage boys as an example of ZOPI minimizing the founding partners’ financial losses with the work of their operatives.

 

“I did not come here to request an investigation.”

 

I took out a fake name card that was no longer fake, as with the exception of my name, the company in the Caymans was one of the two established yesterday. I used one to buy the tax agent firm and the other to change my identity.

The consultant stared at the company name on the card before asking me a question.

 

“You’re a trust manager. Do you need to talk to a manager?”

“Anyone at partner level and is available now.”

“Follow me.”

 

***

 

The investigator’s hand was full of scars as I shook it, and I could see traces of his military tattoo on his upper arm. His hair was cut short, and I could see his sharp eyes and sturdy features. He had to have been in the army until recently.

 

“I am John Clarke.”

 

He looked at me like he had sensed something.

 

“I’m Ethan.”

“We do a lot of  work for trust companies, mostly finding the beneficiaries.”

“Then I have come to the right place since I came here for the same reason.”

 

While they were private companies, investigative firms had to obey the law. I had to prove family relations if I wanted to find a missing person and had to show credentials that proved I was involved in the case if I wanted help in capturing a fugitive.

However, finding trust beneficiaries was not that strict because there was no way to prove family relations. All information regarding trust funds are strictly confidential, between the manager, the beneficiary, and the depositor, like the Swiss banks. Since he had done similar cases before, I did not need to explain myself.

 

“The beneficiary’s name is Bobby.”

The investigator would be waiting for his surname, social security number, and recorded address, but I did not have them.

 

“He will be twelve to fifteen and should be residing in New York.”

 

The investigator smiled awkwardly when I did not go on.

 

“While I have some information on his appearance, I’m embarrassed to confess other information has been lost.”

“How about a public notice?”

“That will be a problem.”

 

The investigator nodded like he understood my situation.

 

“What is Bobby’s relationship with the depositor?”

“I’m sorry to say that we cannot provide that information.”

“Ethan. How many Bobbys between twelve and fifteen do you think are in New York? You’re not certain he is in New York, right? Do you even know he is in New York?”

“He was born in Brooklyn. Yes, I cannot ignore the possibility that he is not in New York at present.”

“Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. New York neighbors five states.”

“We know that this request is beyond rational thought. However, the fee is the issue, right?”

 

The investigator looked at the name card the consultant had handed to him.

 

“No. What Gold Run Trusts is requesting is basically a search of the entire North America continent.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes?”

“The fee is not the problem. John, this is Wall Street. Do I have to consult another firm?”

 

The investigator’s expression turned a bit rigid, and his answer was rushed.

 

“I meant that the investigation fee may exceed the benefits.”

 

He was questioning whether the firm was willing to go that far, and I spoke as if I was disappointed.

 

“You can say that because you do not know the amount. Do not worry about the fee, and work on this project with as many people as necessary. Cooperate with other partner firms, as you may have to search the entire continent.”

“You’re serious?”

“Yes. We will pay you an incentive bonus for saved time and a success pay at the market’s highest rate. Prepare the contract.”

 

The investigator was at a loss for words at my request and the fee.

 

“We need to find Bobby no matter what the cost is. Will you help?”

 

I had to find that kid even if I bought out every private investigation firm in North America. That [email protected]@rd would grow to be the Prime Evil, who will lead the Eight Evils.

 

Edited by Userunfriendly

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