The people present were starting to become restless. After all, Yang Gongming was still the clan leader. If he was brought down, wouldn’t they lose their positions as well?!

“Gongming, you can’t joke about this! You...it’s impossible that you’re not from our bloodline!”

“Yeah, Gongming, have you lost your mind?”

Yang Gongming glanced at their terrified faces and motioned them to quiet down by raising his hand.

“I’m sorry for disappointing everyone but I don’t want to hide it any further. I knew I wasn’t my father’s son from a young age.”

His words startled everyone once again.

Yang Pojun clenched his jaw and his eyes were bloodshot.

Yang Gongming was still as calm as ever. He seemed to be the only one who was not panicking

“Everyone, you’re all elders in the clan. Third Great Uncle, you are much older than I am and must know of the time I was born.”

Everyone pondered about it and fixed their gazes on the oldest person in the hall.

“Third Great Uncle, I’m sure you remembered most of it. Why don’t you tell everyone about it.” Yang Gongming smiled faintly.

The Third Great Uncle’s face was stiff and he took a deep breath. With glinting eyes, he reminisced on the past. “My father once told me that Gongming was a premature child and he was worried Gongming would die prematurely. After all, he was born during a time of war. Therefore, as the People’s Army, we had to take the lead and supply our properties and food for military use. That was also when we began to gain incomparable respect in the military. The soldiers responded to people who invested in them. Gongming’s mother was at the operation base located in the southwest region whereas my uncle was at war in Jiangnan. They were engaged at that time and after the war at Jiangnan had ended, my uncle picked her up and they got married in Beijing. Someone said that she was raped by a local warlord back when she was still at the southwest base but everyone thought of it as a rumor since she returned safely. It’s true that some people said that she was pregnant before the marriage when Gongming was born prematurely, saying that she was already pregnant when she was in the southwest region. But who would believe a rumor like that? We were so famous back then that all the armies respected us. The rumor was taken down right when it had started to spread…”
   
He seemed to have lost the energy at this point, looking at Yang Gongming with an abstruse gaze. “Gongming, could it be…the rumor…”

“I said before that I’m not my father’s biological son.” Yang Gongming nodded. “The rumor was true. My mother became pregnant with me after she was raped by a warlord in the Southwest base.”

“What?!”

All of them stood up with a terrified expression. Even though they were expecting it, it was something else entirely to hear it coming from the original source.

Tears had already pooled in Yang Pojun’s eyes and he closed his eyes, feeling crestfallen.

Yang Gongming motioned them to calm down and he said, “I know it’s hard for you guys to accept it, that’s why I never talked about it and the clan had never made it public. Even though I wasn’t born to the invading army, it’s true that I’m not my father’s son. Not even my mother knew who the warlord was. At that time, the war was about to end and all the warlords tried to flee. They acted like bandits, breaking into the base and raped my mother but they didn’t manage to escape. They were annihilated by a troop that had just returned. My mother tried her best to resist against them and she managed to kill the warlord with her dagger. But the fact that she was raped could not be changed.”
 
“This means that you weren’t born prematurely, she was already pregnant long ago! Premature birth was just an excuse to cover things up!”

“That’s right.” Yang Gongming admitted.

“You...how dare you reveal it now?!” One of the elders stood up with a grim face. “Yang Gongming! You don’t deserve to have our surname! How dare you lead the clan for decades as an outsider! Our reputation is in the ground now! How are you still so calm?!”

“He’s right! If you knew about your true identity years ago, you shouldn’t have kept the truth hidden till now! You just cost the clan everything!”

“We were trying to justify your identity and yet you acted so vilely!”

The elders felt indignant and started to curse at him.

Yang Pojun looked at his father with a dispirited gaze but he didn’t know what to say.
 
Yan Sanniang furrowed her brows too and she was about to say something but she was stopped by Yang Gongming.

At this time, a maid ran into the hall and bowed down to Yang Gongming. “Sir, the Ning and Li clan members are here with a few elder leaders.”

Everyone’s facial expression changed, not knowing how to react.

Yang Gongming replied calmly, “They have come at the right time, let them in.”

The elders were about to lose their minds as they watched the maid invite the guests in.

“Yang Gongming! What are you trying to do?! We’ll have to leave Beijing after a scandal like this! How are we supposed to run the military like this?” 

“I think he’s given up on himself! He’s trying to take the whole clan down with him!”

Yang Gongming stayed silent. He took a sip from his teacup as if nothing mattered to him.

The bunch of elders gritted their teeth furiously but they couldn’t think of a way to stop it. They felt so useless like lambs to a slaughter!

Soon enough, Ning Guangyao showed up with a group of government officials whereas Li Moshen walked in with his son, grandson and military officers. They walked into the hall with grim expressions on.

The spacious hall suddenly felt suffocating. Fortunately, the servants had moved sufficient numbers of mahogany chairs for them so the guests wouldn’t feel neglected.

Ning Guangyao was dressed in a suit and he had a grave expression on, looking kind of worried. On the other hand, Li Moshen seemed friendly while drinking tea. He was acting as though he was just here to pay Yang Gongming a visit.

Once they had taken their seats, most of the gazes landed on Ning Guangyao. After all, he was the most authoritative person in the room. Besides that, being the premier of China, he had to respond to the whole nation.

Ning Guangyao seemed kind of dejected, sighing before saying, “Sir, we….we’ve heard and seen the news. We feel sorry for you but we still have to act responsibly. Do you have anything to say?”

“I’ve already said everything that needs to be said. The truth is the truth. I’ve nothing else to say.”

The government officials’ faces became strained when they heard his confession.

Ning Guangyao’s eyes glinted and his lips twitched. “I suppose there’s nothing else we can talk about. Old Marshal Yang Ye was a spectacular person and we’d better keep it under the table since he had passed away. However, the Yang clan has a strong standing in China and you were once a leader. The public would not let this go so easily.”

“Just say whatever you want instead of holding back!” Yang Pojun sounded disdainful.

Ning Guangyao ignored him and looked at Yang Gongming with glinting eyes.

Yang Gongming hummed and was about to speak up but was interrupted by a maid who was running into the hall.

“Sir, madam and young madam are back!”

Everyone was confused, wondering why the two women came at this time.

Yang Pojun frowned. Ning Guangyao seemed conflicted too.

Yang Gongming chuckled and said, “That's great. Let them in.”

As everyone whispered to one another, Guo Xuehua and Lin Ruoxi looked rather travel-worn when they walked into the hall nervously.

Lin Ruoxi looked especially travel-worn, judging by her slightly disheveled hair. 

Her cheeks were flushed, as if sunburnt by the autumn sun. No matter how cool and calm she acted normally, it still made her nervous to stand in front of China’s greatest political leaders. 

While sticking close to Guo Xuehua, she saw Ning Guangyao and was reminded of the night at the party. She bit her lips tightly and the sorrow in her heart made it hard for her to look up.

The younger men couldn’t stop themselves from staring at her when they saw her tender gaze and breathtaking looks.

Because Yang Chen never publicized his wedding, they only knew that the Yang clan found their eldest grandson and he had gotten married. For most of them, this was their first time meeting Lin Ruoxi.

Most of them were jealous of Yang Chen for getting a beauty like her but they only dared to look. Even though the Yang clan was facing a crisis, it didn’t mean that they could lay their hands on her.

Guo Xuehua appeared to be more calm and graceful since this wasn’t her first time meeting these people. A sense of relief flashed across her eyes when she glanced over at Yang Pojun whose wounds seemed to have healed. 

Yang Gongming chuckled. “Xuehua, Ruoxi, you have returned in the nick of time. But I must ask, where is Yang Chen?”