Yang Pojun cast a complex gaze at Yang Chen. Emotionally, he found it exhilarating to watch Yang Chen kill someone who had insulted him and his father. However, he also felt insulted over the fact that Yang Chen had done something that he would never do.
Guo Xuehua and Lin Ruoxi still found the gruesome death disgusting even though they had experienced plenty of it.
Li Moshen exchanged glances with his clan members and they smiled bitterly together.
Li Dun who had been awfully quiet for some time rubbed his chin and gave Yang Chen a thumbs up.
Yang Gongming acted as if nothing had happened. “Now that everyone has quietened down, I shall continue my story. I am not done with it…”
This time, no one dared to interrupt him.
Yang Gongming took another sip of his tea before continuing.
“My father told me about it when I was old enough. After my mother was raped, she felt extremely miserable. When she realized she was pregnant, she couldn’t bear to meet my father and told him not to meet her at the base. So, she told him that he could call off the engagement since she was no longer a virgin. She felt sorry for my father, but my father had become infertile during the war. He himself was planning to call off the engagement to save my mother the humiliation of not being able to bear a child. However, when he learned about my mother's traumatic experience, he changed his mind and decided to marry her still. He knew that if he chose to call off the engagement when my mother was in despair, her whole life would be ruined. My parents had only met a few times before that but they cherished their engagement and each other so much that it touched my heart…”
Tears had started to form in Guo Xuehua and Lin Ruoxi’s eyes when they heard his emotional talk. They became immersed in his romance amidst a war.
Yang Gongming continued to reminisce about the past. “It’s as if two wounded beings were trying to clean each other up. My father was miserable when he met my mother who was also at her lowest point in life. They returned to Beijing together and got through their hardships eventually by encouraging and accompanying one another. As you all know, when I was born, my father dismissed his subordinates who knew about the truth and used his authority to cover it up. My mother asked my father once, why was he willing to accept her who was no longer a virgin? Wouldn’t he feel offended by my birth? My father told her, ‘You’re my fiancée and the woman whom I wish to marry. My wife’s child is my child regardless if he was born of my seed. It was my failure that led to this. I’ll raise the child and treat him as my own.”
Because of his words, my mother felt at ease and gave birth to me. They became a true couple and accompanied each other for their final two decades.”
It was pin-drop silence in the hall.
“Old Yang, when did you find out you were not Old Marshal’s son?” Li Moshen asked with a deep voice.
Yang Gongming smiled and replied to him. “My father told me when I was ten years old.”
“What, Old Marshal, he…he told you?” Li Moshen obviously didn’t expect this.
Yang Gongming nodded. “I’d just matured and I was shocked that he would tell me about it. Now that I think about it, he must have had foresight. A secret like that has an expiration date. His expired when I was ten and mine expired today.”
“It’s really hard to read my uncle's mind…” The Third Great Uncle sighed.
Yang Gongming chuckled. “I bawled my eyes out when my father told me that. I was just a child no matter how mature I was. It was a huge blow to know that I wasn’t my father’s child. I asked him, how can it be possible that I’m not your son? How was I going to live in this clan if I wasn’t your son? Everyone will mock me and look down on me. Father patted my head and told me, ‘Gongming, you being my son has nothing to do with being a Yang. You're still my one and only beloved son. You know, when you were still a baby, your mother didn’t have enough breast milk for you so I carried you around and asked the servants and neighbors whom I didn’t know, hoping that they could feed you. I was the happiest when I saw you sleep after a full meal. My heart hurts whenever you fall sick, even the smallest of flu pains me. I’d rather suffer on your behalf. This is how I felt for the past ten years. No one is more precious than you. My precious child, I’m sure that you’ll be leading the clan better than me in the future.”
Yang Gongming’s eyes reddened at this point, mourning over the loss of his father.
Yan Sanniang felt sorry for him and she gave a comforting pat on his shoulder.
After a short break, Yang Gongming continued. “I was terrified at that time. I told him that I’m afraid that I won’t do well with this great responsibility as I’m not his biological son. Father told me with a stern voice that being a Yang clan member does not mean you have to be of blood. If you want to be accepted and respected by others, you have to believe in yourself and that you’re the most unique and precious person in the world. A clan doesn’t depend on bloodline to retain its glory for years…”
Yang Gongming paused and turned to look at Yang Pojun who had been listening to him attentively. “Pojun, I’ve always taught you this but you never understood it truly. Till this day, do you know what the true glory of a clan is?”
Yang Pojun let out a heavy breath and he smiled bitterly. “I don’t know, father. My mind is a mess now and I’m about to go crazy.”
The elders were lost as well.
The disappointment was evident in Yang Gongming’s eyes and he averted his gaze towards Yang Chen who was leaning on the door silently. He smiled and asked, “Yang Chen, what do you think it is?”
Everyone looked towards him, seeing the soft glow on his body as the sun shone on him.
Yang Chen gave a self-deprecating laugh. “You’re asking me? I don’t know anything about a clan’s complex principles. All I know is that bloodline, background and tradition are nothing compared to my fists, nor does it match up to my moral integrity. I only know of a simple one, only those who refuse to give up will survive.”
Yang Gongming burst out laughing. Li Moshen and the other elders chuckled while shaking their heads.
“Such...such big talk.” Yang Gongming slapped his chair and with glinting eyes, he said, “A clan’s glory isn’t sustained by bloodline! Bloodline? It’s nothing! We rely on each generation to understand that they’re the clan’s glory! Others will only respect you when you believe in yourself! As a Yang, you have to believe that you’re the clan’s pride! Ever since I inherited the position as the clan leader, I was awarded the title of a Marshal because of my achievements! My political achievements have boosted our nation’s economy for over twenty years and I have disciples all over the world! Who else other than me deserves to sit on this spot?! Who else dares to say that I’ve disappointed my father?! I’ve done no such thing!”
His words struck their hearts with a loud bang!
Ning Guangyao tightened his grip on his chair with an ashen face whereas some of the government officials were captivated by his speech.
Li Moshen turned around to face Li Dun who appeared to be in a daze. “Silly boy, do you finally understand why I agreed to you and Tang Xin’s wedding…”
Li Dun quivered and he nodded while simpering, feeling moved by his words.