The rest of the meal became awkward and bland. Regardless, Yang Chen still managed to gulp down a huge bowl of porridge, while Lin Ruoxi had a few spoonfuls before putting down her bowl and chopsticks much like what Hui Lin did.
Wang Ma quickly tidied the dining table like a typhoon, and passed the task of making tea to Hui Lin. It was clear that she didn’t dare to make tea in front of such a person.
Why would such an important person visit? Did Miss’s business get so huge that even the leader of the country wanted to meet her? Wang Ma thought, confused.
Yang Gongming was staring at an oil painting created by a famous artist which was bought by Lin Ruoxi. The old woman saw that Yang Chen and the others were waiting for him and said, “Master, they’ve finished their meal.”
Yang Gongming turned around smilingly. Pointing at the painting on the wall, he said to Lin Ruoxi, “This painting done by westerners looks impressive indeed. But I still feel that taking pictures is more practical.”
“Erm...” Lin Ruoxi didn’t know what to say. She couldn’t just say that he lacked the artistic mindset to admire the painting. However, she’d feel uneasy in her heart if she said he was right.
Yang Gongming didn’t mind her reply. He looked at Yang Chen and said, “Yang Chen, you must’ve given yourself this name, didn’t you?”
Yang Chen nodded slightly. “It’s just a code name. It doesn’t matter what my surname and real name are.”
“Young Man, you shouldn’t let go of it this easily. We shouldn’t forget our roots, much like loving our country. We should first love ourselves, then our country. If we don’t even care about our roots, what is else there that we’re supposed to be concerned with?” Yang Gongming asked politely.
Yang Chen felt that his words was akin to punching through a clump of cotton. The old man sounded gentle, and the smile on his face was always there. It was said that ‘one does not slap a smiling person’. Since the old man had taken a step back to talk this nicely, it wouldn’t seem nice for Yang Chen to continue being stubborn, not to mention bullying old people was absurd.
“You didn’t just come here today to talk about my name, did you?” Yang Chen wanted to rush to the main point. He wanted to finish the conversation as soon as possible.
Yang Gongming nodded. “It’s about something a bit more important. But… I guess… we’ll have to find a more private setting for this topic of conversation. May I know if that’s possible?”
“You need not hide anything. If you want to speak, speak. Otherwise forget about it,” Yang Chen said impatiently.
Frowning, Lin Ruoxi stared at Yang Chen fiercely and scolded, “Yang Chen, have care for your speech!”
This fellow is too disrespectful. Even if you do not enjoy their company, they’re the elderly after all. Moreover, the old man was just trying to discuss about something. How could he speak so rudely? she thought.
“Yang Chen, if you don’t mind, could you please continue your discussion in my study room?” Lin Ruoxi suggested.
Yang Chen knew that he spoke a bit too mercilessly. As Lin Ruoxi took the initiative to make the atmosphere less tense, he didn’t say anything more.
Yang Gongming wasn’t angered. Happily nodding, he said, “Thank you then, Little Girl.”
Lin Ruoxi stood up and made a gesture which signalled an invitation before leading Yang Gongming and the old woman upstairs.
Before going up, Lin Ruoxi looked at Yang Chen in dissatisfaction. What she meant was obvious—Come up with me!
Yang Chen felt a bit off put by the fact that Lin Ruoxi got herself involved in these matters. She isn’t a busybody, but why did she get herself involved in this matter? Is it because of the old man’s well-respected identity?
Actually, Lin Ruoxi herself didn’t know the answer to this question. She just instinctively felt that she should behave this way, in front of this old man.
Yang Chen saw that Lin Ruoxi brought Yang Gongming upstairs, and knew that he would still be troubled even if he refused to go up. As a result, he slowly climbed up the stairs as well.
Hui Lin was busy downstairs making tea for Yang Gongming. She was stunned and nervous when she saw that the four people go upstairs.
As they approached the room, Lin Ruoxi politely opened the door for Yang Gongming. “Thank you,” Yang Gongming replied smilingly before entering the room with the old woman.
The friendly-looking old woman said, “This kid is so adorable,” before entering the room, causing Lin Ruoxi to blush in shyness.
Although it was merely a compliment from an old person towards a child, it was still an unusual experience for Lin Ruoxi as she seldom received this form of treatment.
Yang Chen soon entered the study room, afterwhich Lin Ruoxi had planned to leave the room to allow them their privacy, and head downstairs.
However, before she left, Yang Gongming said, “Ruoxi, you may sit in as well. You have the right to know about these things as well.”
Lin Ruoxi shuddered lightly. He’s well aware of my identity. I have the right to know? What does he mean? Is it possible that Yang Chen really is…
Worried, Lin Ruoxi hesitated for a bit before nodding. She then entered the room and closed the door behind her.
The study room was filled with deafening silence. A few strands of sunlight shone into the room through the blinds of the window. The dull atmosphere soon dissipated.
Yang Gongming looked at the dazzling display of books all around him. Smiling, he said, “Ruoxi, are all these books yours?”
Lin Ruoxi answered softly, “Yes.”
“Not bad. Although the ancients said that women were lucky possessing no knowledge, cultured women are often rational, especially when it comes to taking care of the matters of a major clan. It’s a good thing,” Yang Gongming said before turning his head to Yang Chen. “Yang Chen, Grandpa is very satisfied regarding this granddaughter-in-law.”
Lin Ruoxi’s eyes widened to its max. She suddenly felt that there was a lack of oxygen flowing into her brain. Dumbstruck, she turned to look at Yang Chen beside who had been silent.
Yang Chen frowned. He certainly didn’t expect Yang Gongming to reveal their blood relations this casually.
“I never said I had a grandpa. You must’ve found the wrong person,” Yang Chen replied calmly with a faint smile. He was surprisingly calm when he said it.
Yang Gongming didn’t mind his reply, as if he had completely missed what Yang Chen said. He seemed to be recalling something while saying, “During the winter, no less than twenty years ago, about this time of the year, my son Yang Pojun and at that time yet-to-be daughter-in-law Guo Xuehua gave birth to a child. However, they kept it a secret from me, since the child was born before Xuehua was married into the clan.
“They thought I was unaware of this, but I actually had long known about it. Fortunately, they didn’t abort the child. I would certainly have stopped them should they attempt to do so.
“Since the heavens decided to let the child be born, its existence was one to be preserved. Even if it hadn’t come out yet, it was still part of the Yang clan, my grandson or granddaughter.
“Unfortunately, I was faced with the most crucial moment for the chairman election of the party committee. Hundreds of members, old and young, male and female, were waiting for me to be elected so that the position of the clan could be consolidated. Back then, it was the quickest era for the development of the country. The clan whose representative was elected would certainly prosper, while if I failed in that election, all the government officials and state-owned enterprises related to the Yang clan would certainly be heavily affected, so bad as to say bones wouldn’t even remain after they were devoured.
“At that time, I wasn’t given the privilege of devoting attention to my grandchildren . Furthermore, to a clan like ours of that generation, an unmarried pair giving birth to a child would definitely give rise to a scandal.
“My son and daughter-in-law were well aware of the consequences as well. As a result, they put my grandson at an orphanage, and planned to retrieve him once the election was over…”
As Yang Gongming slowly narrated the story, Yang Chen’s mood was slowly becoming worse.
Lin Ruoxi finally understood the truth. Shocked, her gaze towards Yang Chen slowly became tender.
So, has his life always been this rough?
“After that, I lived up to everyone’s expectation. With the help of so many students and colleagues, I earned the foundation for the Yang clan to survive and develop in Beijing.
“I still remember the day I was elected. The first thought I held was to retrieve my grandson from the orphanage. If it wasn’t for the child who endured the suffering, his grandpa wouldn’t be able to run the election peacefully.
“However, when my son and daughter-in-law returned to the orphanage, they found out that the orphanage had relocated, while the group of children had disappeared, of course including our family’s newborn.” Sorrow surfaced in Yang Gongming’s eyes. The incidents back then were so clearly remembered by this old man, as if they happened yesterday. It was hard to imagine that this was something he’d repent about frequently.
As Yang Gongming spoke, the old woman beside looked dejected as well. She quietly wiped the tears from the corners of her eyes.
Lin Ruoxi glanced at Yang Chen who held no expression. So it’s real that he grew up without parents, after losing all his relatives when he was still a baby. How was he brought up then?
Similarly, Lin Ruoxi finally understood why Yang Chen said stuff like ‘never to beg’ on the day Guo Xuehua kneeled down to him. She also found out the true reason he didn’t kill Yang Lie… It was obvious that Yang Chen was well aware of his roots, even from the start.
“Do you really think that coming here and speaking to me about my past will change anything? Ever since I could remember, in my world, the so-called relatives have never existed. Just like my personal records, I’ve forgotten everything before I was five years old. I don’t know if I was adopted, or if I was sold off. All I remembered was my surname which I’m not sure who told me or how I came to remember it. After I was five, I got sent abroad. Until now, I still don’t know how I managed to survive, and how I’m still standing here.” Yang Chen laughed in contempt at himself. “Even the Monkey King knows that he broke out from a stone. When I was at my lowest, no one was there to tell me how I came to be. I’ll leave the suffering my body has endured aside. Do you know how it feels to not know myself? What’s so sorrowful about the sorrows you just described?”
Yang Gongming was stunned as he gazed upon Yang Chen. He failed to answer Yang Chen’s questions.
Lin Ruoxi’s eyes had reddened slightly. The usual laziness found in Yang Chen’s aura had completely scattered, as if he was engulfed in utter desolation, lifelessness, and despair.
“My heart is exhausted. I don’t have intentions for revenge, but my only hope is for you guys to stop intruding into my life. I just want to live peacefully. Whatever happens outside has nothing to do with me,” Yang Chen said before turning around as he wanted to leave the study room.
“Wait!” Yang Gongming suddenly shouted.
Yang Chen stopped moving forward. He wanted to turn his head around, but heard a bang on the floor.
This sound? Yang Chen was astonished, his eyes were wide open. He finally turned around to have a look, only to find Yang Gongming who had kneeled down with a solemn look!
Not only was Yang Chen shocked, even Lin Ruoxi and the old woman were dumbfounded!
Whether or not he was the elderly, or a former leader of the country, Yang Gongming kneeling before his grandson was definitely something astonishing!