Ning Guangyao sucked in a breath and nodded. “I understand.”

“Great. Well, of course, I don’t want to give up on you either, but I can’t in good conscience allow you to run the clan without a descendant. It’s best that I find a replacement as early as possible, so...work harder.” The man tapped on Ning Guangyao’s shoulders with his fan.

“Fourth Master, you have to put in a good word for me in front of the leader. Ever since I inherited this position from my father, I’ve done a lot for the clan!”

The man waved his hands. “You don’t have to worry about it. It’s not that serious yet. After all, your son has just gone missing, you might find him tomorrow. Am I right?”

“Right...right.” Ning Guangyao wiped his sweat again.

“However…” The man switched the topic of the conversation. “If your son, Guodong can no longer be saved and he becomes infertile, it will still be the same ending for both of you. That is all that I can say. You’re on your own now.”

Fear flashed across his eyes but he could only give a silent nod.

The man didn’t continue with the conversation and he hummed before saying, “I heard that the Yang clan got into trouble?”

Ning Guangyao breathed out in relief and he forced a smile while replying to him, “That’s right. Yang Gongming’s identity is being questioned by the public. I have heard of a similar rumor before but the Old Marshal was a reputable person so the rumor vanished eventually. Who would’ve thought that someone else would have connected the dots after so many years.”

“How credible is this information?” 

“I think it’s real but according to Yang Gongming’s birth year, his mother was not raped by the invading army as per the information spread online. Judging by the year, it probably happened during the civil war so the culprit could be a warlord from the opposing side. I believe that the media is just playing it up to be something bigger than it is.”
 
“It doesn’t matter who his ancestors are, as long as he’s not Yang Ye’s son.” The man fixed his gaze on Ning Guangyao. “You haven’t told me why you’re so sure about it.” 

Ning Guangyao smiled. “I guessed it from the cripple whom I took in.”

“Cripple?” The man was puzzled.

Ning Guangyao immediately told him about Wen Tao. “Wen Tao had disappeared after the incident with Yan Buwen. He met the descendants from the Xue clan back when he was still in Zhonghai and that clan used to be Yang Ye’s subordinates. He kept saying that he knew about a secret that could take down the Yang clan but he never told me about it. I figured it has to do with Yang Gongming’s past but I never showed it. It must be linked to him now that he has disappeared the same time the news was released.”

The man’s eyes glinted. “You’ve done a great job by keeping still and let someone else do the dirty work for us. Let them fight with each other and we can just lean back and enjoy!”

“That’s what I thought too.”

“Mmh...this is a good thing. We should utilize him and gain from it. The Yang clan...they have had control over the military for too long.” The man mumbled.

Ning Guangyao nodded. “I know what I should do, you don’t have to worry about it.”

The man swirled his fan and turned around. “I’ve heard about Yang Chen from the Yang clan. Apparently, he has a great set of cultivation skills. According to the rules, cultivators that have surpassed the Soul Forming stage can break away from Hongmeng’s system, therefore Hongmeng most probably wouldn’t care about him. You have to be careful.” 

Ning Guangyao sounded conflicted. “Fourth Master, Yang Chen had defeated Yan Buwen on his own which showed how terrifying his abilities are. Is it really fine to just let him be?”

The man snorted. “Why should you be afraid? No matter how strong he is, he’s still a young man. His cultivation would only reach the initial phase of the Tribulation Passing stage at best! Do you think the old monsters in the heavenly realm in Honmeng are weak? Besides that, as the Great Ancient clan, our cultivation methods are mystical and mysterious. We have access to resources that he doesn’t even know about. How strong could he be against my brothers or sisters?”

Ning Guangyao nodded his head, feeling more at ease now. “You’re right. The Yang clan would still suffer major damage even with Yang Chen around. Even if we did nothing, their military powers will still be lost. By that time, the Yang clan members would be deposed from the military bases in Beijing, Jiangnan and the northwestern areas. Our clan can then ascend and the Yang clan would be kicked out of the four major clans.”

The man waved his hands. “The situation is different now, I will dispatch two Soul Forming cultivators to protect you according to big brother’s commands. As for the rest, it all depends on your luck now.”

“Thank you, Fourth Master!”
People were feeling drowsy in the early morning since the weather was dry and refreshing with the warm autumn sunlight warming the whole Beijing city.

Everyone was getting busy with their repetitive day but things seemed different from usual.

The high-ranking officials, the nobles and even civilians were discussing the shocking news regarding the Yang clan.

As one of the representative leaders of the military for the last couple of decades, one who appeared on the television frequently as the head of the committee and the only existing marshal in China, his mother was raped which resulted in his birth?! The Old Marshal Yang Ye was infertile?!

If this had happened in a television drama, they would have ignored his origins since he was a hero. However, if someone had told you that the person that was well-loved and respected by the citizens was an illegitimate child, no one could just turn a blind eye to something like that.

In an ancient nation like China, their people cared more about the bloodline than the person itself.
  
The public and the media worldwide were weirded out by the lack of response from the government and the major clans. 

Yang Gongming himself gave no response, even when there was no way to get away from it.

The whole world was waiting for an answer from Yang Gongming, or rather for him to admit the truth and explain himself.

At the same time, in the hall of the Yang mansion, Yang Gongming was sitting on the main seat with a calm expression.

Yan Sanniang’s eyes were filled with sorrow and she stood next to him quietly.

Beside him were representatives from the collateral relatives of the Yang clan, most of them were old men.

The only young man amongst them was Yang Pojun who had just rushed back from the military hospital.

His injuries had not fully recovered. The ones on his face had already healed but his face was gloomy as though he could not get rid of the traumatic experience.

Even though he was unwilling to meet his father, this was something he had to put above his petty feud.

“Gongming, everyone’s waiting for your answer. Is it real?” One of the elders questioned.

Everyone fixed their gaze on Yang Gongming.

Yang Gongming closed his eyes and sighed deeply but he didn’t respond immediately.

Yang Pojun couldn’t stop his mouth. “Great uncle, do you guys really believe it? How is it possible that my father isn’t grandfather’s son? If he really wasn’t his son, why would grandfather pass such an important position to my father? Besides, he has done more for this country than anyone in this room!”
  
No matter how cruel his father treated him, he still couldn’t accept the fact that Yang Gongming was being condemned by his own clan members.

“Pojun, don’t misunderstand it. We’re all part of the Yang clan. We are all looking out for the clan,” The other elder said sternly. “However, no one knew what exactly happened since your grandfather was at war at that time and your grandmother stayed back. We were all separated and your father was born during the war. As a matter of fact, there had been rumors about this in Beijing forty years ago but it stopped spreading because of the lack of proof. It’s impossible for us to not be suspicious about it when there is conclusive evidence! If our clan leader isn’t the descendant of the Yang clan, wouldn’t we be a laughing stock to the whole world?!”

Yang Pojun’s face alternated between white and red and he whipped around to face his father.

“Dad, say something! Things are getting worse. If this goes on, we’re going to suffer a decline!”

Yang Gongming opened his eyes and showed an indifferent smile as he looked across the hall.

“I thought I’ll bring it to my grave. I never expected it to get out.”

Everyone was aghast when they heard this!

“This…Gongming! Are you saying that this is all real?!”

“How is this possible! If uncle had known that you weren’t his son, why would he bring you up and make you his heir?!” 

Yang Pojun was dumbstruck and he went limp on his chair with a ghastly pale face. It was as if all the life had been sucked from his body!