“Premier Ning, why have you come to visit so suddenly? I’m really surprised that you’re here. Haha,” Yang Pojun said and laughed. Before walking close to Ning Guangyao, he had reached his arm out to offer a handshake.
Yang Chen who was standing beside Ning Guangyao, however, was completely ignored, as if he didn’t exist.
Ning Guangyao looked overjoyed. “Yang Pojun, how many times have I told you to stop calling me that when we’re in private? Do you believe that I’m not aware that your words are untrue?”
“Hehe, Old Ning knows me well indeed. However, it’s appropriate for you to be honored in front of so many soldiers, isn’t it?” Yang Pojun asked.
Ning Guangyao didn’t reply to his surface-level talk. Although he was half a head shorter, he still put his arm on Yang Pojun’s shoulder. “The last time we met was at the National People's Congress. A few months have passed so quickly since then. Despite being old friends, we still meet up very seldom.”
“I’m pretty much free every day here. Being a soldier, I’m not too busy as long as there’s no war, unlike you, who has countless speeches to give and places to inspect. You even have to face consultation every once in awhile, it’s quite natural that you may not have the time to spare,” Yang Pojun said with a smile.
“Aren’t you joining the election of the politburo? Based on your qualifications, being chosen as one of the national leaders is pretty much guaranteed. When the time comes, you may just get as busy, if not more, than me.”
“Haha… hopefully that’s the case then…”
The two middle-agers chatted while they walked down the pathway.
Ning Guodong and the group of bodyguards stood behind Ning Guangyao. As the two highly ranked officials were chatting, none of the others dared to make a sound.
Yang Chen knew that Yang Pojun was intentionally treating him as a stranger, but didn’t get angry. After all, it wasn’t worth his time to get into a conflict, not to mention he didn’t come here for Yang Pojun.
However, he didn’t expect Ning Guangyao and Yang Pojun to be this close. Ning Guangyao should be a few years older than Yang Pojun, albeit small. After all in their generation, seniority wasn’t as big an issue as it is now.
Having chatted for around five minutes, Ning Guangyao pointed at Yang Chen and said, “This kid said he came round looking for you and Xuehua. Do you guys know each other? Eh, now that I think about it, why isn’t Xuehua here?”
Yang Pojun couldn’t avoid interacting with Yang Chen anymore. The smile on his face slowly vanished. “This matter is a bit too complicated to be explained now. Old Ning, my men will bring you and the others inside. Have some tea. Xuehua isn’t feeling too well today, so she isn’t able to see you now.”
“Not feeling well? You detained her like a prisoner. Anyone in her position would not be feeling well,” Yang Chen said with a smile.
Infuriated, Yang Pojun yelled, “What are you talking about?!”
“Detained?” Ning Guangyao asked in shock. “What does he mean? Yang Pojun, did you really detain Xuehua?”
Yang Pojun took a deep breath as he restrained his anger. “It’s a personal matter. Don’t worry about it.”
“How can I overlook this matter? You, Xuehua, and I have been friends for more than a few decades. I’m privy to your behaviours. Xuehua had always been a gentle woman. She would never have provoked anyone, and had obeyed you diligently since marriage. This begs the question, why lock her up?” Ning Guangyao frowned slightly as he was confused.
The more Ning Guangyao spoke, the more Yang Pojun looked displeased. Wrath surfaced in his eyes, but he didn’t let his emotion take over. “This matter really isn’t a topic for now. Old Ning, don’t talk about it for now. I’ll properly deal with this young man.”
After he finished speaking, Yang Pojun looked at Yang Chen coldly. “Come with me.”
Yang Chen wasn’t afraid of him, so he didn’t choose to obey his orders. Without moving the slightest bit, he said, “There’s nothing I want to hide when I talk to you. Say what you want now, or I’ll go look for her myself.”
“Do you know who you’re speaking to?” Yang Pojun asked with a deep voice.
“Who I’m talking to depends on your attitude,” Yang Chen said.
“What makes you think I’ll allow you to wander around the military camp on your own?” Blazes of anger almost shot out from Yang Pojun’s eyes. “What makes you think I won’t lock you up in front of Premier Ning?”
“You can try,” Yang Chen said with a smile.
Ning Guangyao saw the tension between them. Feeling confused, he quickly advised, “What’s the relationship between you two? Pojun, explain to me what had happened. Who is this young man to you?”
Yang Pojun remained quiet as he shot a baleful gaze at Yang Chen. He was a commander after all, his hands had been drenched in his enemy’s fresh blood before. Currently while enraged, his aura rose sharply, causing the bodyguards around Ning Guangyao to tense up.
Yang Chen looked into Yang Pojun’s eyes fearlessly. The man in front of him seemed to be far more unwilling to meet him than he imagined. Yang Chen was clueless as to why Yang Pojun wanted to avoid seeing him so badly. It was clear that, such a behavior was also why Yang Pojun locked Guo Xuehua up.
When Yang Chen planned to stop wasting his time with Yang Pojun and look for Guo Xuehua himself, a cheerful woman’s voice resounded from the other end of the pathway. “Yang Chen?!”
Yang Chen looked back, only to see Guo Xuehua standing by an arched door. Her hair was rather messy, her eyes held tears while she gazed upon Yang Chen in excitement.
How she managed to endure detainment was not known, although it only lasted for a little more than a day. Compared to the last time Yang Chen saw her, she looked as if she grew a few years older. Looking dull, her eyes were slightly sunken in while her lips turned pale. She stood in the cold wind like an Autumn leaf hanging weakly on a tree.
Yang Pojun, Ning Guangyao and the others in addition to Yang Chen all revealed a strange expression when they saw how Guo Xuehua looked, as if they witnessed something incredibly horrifying. It was clear from Ning Guangyao’s eyes that he was outraged at Yang Pojun. He was extremely dissatisfied with the way Yang Pojun treated his wife.
Right at that moment, Guo Xuehua wasn’t bothered with how she looked. Ignoring her messy hair which covered part of her vision, she used all her energy to run towards Yang Chen.
Yang Chen frowned a little, but still allowed Guo Xuehua to hug his waist tightly.
Guo Xuehua cried out with delight as she hugged Yang Chen even tighter. Leaning her head on Yang Chen’s chest, she repeatedly called out, “Child… my child… Mother has finally found you…”
Although it wasn’t clear, the people around heard her well.
Standing in silence, Yang Pojun looked extremely afraid.
Ning Guangyao and his son Ning Guodong were first dumbstruck. They then turned their attention to Yang Pojun and Yang Chen, refusing to believe what they just heard.
Guo Xuehua’s child? Then… these two have a father-son relationship?!
Although none of them understood why a child suddenly popped up in the Yang clan, evidently, what they’d just witnessed wasn’t false. Otherwise Yang Pojun wouldn’t have to conceal this matter.
Yang Chen was lost as to his emotions. His brain was void of thoughts and feelings. He allowed the sobbing woman lying on his chest to hug him, to call him ‘Yang Chen’, ‘Son’, and ‘Child’... Her voice was hoarse and weak, but acted like a strong hammer violently smashing against Yang Chen’s heart.
He experienced a severe heartache. However, even though that was the case, Yang Chen felt an unusual warmth, as if something was slowly melting away.
This is something… I had never gotten a chance to experience… Yang Chen thought.
Guo Xuehua’s bodyguards, Little Wen and Little Li, rushed over as well. Their faces and ears had reddened. They felt extremely guilty to Yang Pojun and didn’t dare to raise their heads and face him.
Yang Pojun looked at the two fiercely. “Who allowed you two to let Madam out?” he asked.
Little Wen and Little Li looked at each other, but none of them said anything.
An old voice echoed from behind the door. Looking downhearted, Yang Gongming and the old woman walked out together and appeared in front of the crowd.
“Mr Yang?” Respectfully, Ning Guangyao bowed down from afar, causing Ning Guodong to immediately follow. He had to bow to an elder whom even his father had to pay respect to.
The fury in Yang Pojun’s eyes immediately dispersed. He cried out, “Father?!”
“It was me who let Xuehua out. It was also me who told her Yang Chen came for her,” Yang Gongming said and sighed before walking towards the few people. Facing the astonished Yang Pojun, he said, “Pojun, you’ve certainly crossed the line this time. Xuehua only wanted to meet her own son. How could you treat her this way?”
“Father, I…” Yang Pojun wanted to explain, but knew that it wasn’t time for that. Sighing, he looked at Ning Guangyao who was so dumbstruck that he became speechless. It could be seen from Yang Pojun’s eyes that he was extremely worried.
It was a terrible thing for Ning Guangyao and the others to find out, or so he thought.
Guo Xuehua was almost through with crying. Although Yang Chen hadn’t spoken a single word, she was pleased enough to have been able to hug him quietly, causing a smile to surface on her face. Involuntarily, she put both her hands on Yang Chen’s face as she stared at his expressionless face, mesmerized by his look.
“Yang Chen, thank you for coming to see me. I’m really happy that you’re willing to meet me. I have no more regrets should I die now.”
“What are you talking about? Is this something you should say in front of an old fellow like me?” Yang Gongming said as he laughed. He then said to Ning Guangyao, “Premier Ning, this old man is trying to deal with family matters. May I know if you and your son can give us some space?”
Although Ning Guangyao really wanted to know what happened, he didn’t dare to disobey Yang Gongming’s request. “Alright, Mr Yang. I’ll bring them to Pojun’s office.”
After Ning Guangyao brought his men away, silence ensued in the empty pathway. Only a few of Yang Pojun’s personal subordinates were there, seriously looking at everything.
Yang Gongming looked at his son whose face was filled with distress, then at Yang Chen who looked expressionless. “Yang Chen, bring your mother to your place.”
Yang Pojun’s eyes widened in shock, while Guo Xuehua suddenly turned around to look at her father-in-law as well. Surprise filled Yang Chen’s eyes.
“Father, how can you allow Xuehua to leave with this kid?” Yang Pojun asked.
“Should I allow you to continue treating Xuehau like a prisoner instead?” Yang Gongming asked in dissatisfaction. “Furthermore, I am almost certain that Xuehua hopes to be able to see Yang Chen more often.”
Guo Xuehua glanced at Yang Pojun, with her eyes filled with coldness and disappointment. She then looked at Yang Chen who appeared to be reluctant. Nodding, she said, “As long as Yang Chen allows, I’m willing to go with him of course. If he doesn’t, I’ll follow Father-In-Law back to Beijing.”
“Why do you want to return to Beijing? Your body is weak now. Take care of yourself here in Jiangnan. The mansion in Beijing has no need for a daughter-in-law. I’m also looking to stay a few more days here,” Yang Gongming said. He then said to Yang Chen, “Yang Chen, don’t be so indecisive. She’s your mother, a mother who became this miserable just to see you!”
Yang Chen’s body shivered lightly. He looked at Guo Xuehua’s pitiful yet delighted smile before taking a deep breath. He nodded and said, “Alright, I can bring her back, we have rooms to spare.”
“No way!’ Yang Pojun suddenly shouted. His brows lowered as he finally couldn’t resist himself. Loudly, he shouted, “Father! Even if you have decided, I’m going to have to disobey you for once! I can live with the fact that they know each other, and accept you bringing Xuehua back to Beijing. However, what I cannot take is Xuehua living with this kid! What does this even mean?! Being her husband, does this mean I have died? Or am I inferior to this stupid kid who hasn’t had anything to do with the Yang clan for more than twenty years?! Letting him return to the clan is already a huge sacrifice. He’s now going against my will in every way. Why should I still tolerate him this time?!”
“Silence! Father! My decision has been made!”
Resolution could be seen in Yang Pojun’s eyes. Suddenly, he drew out a Type 54 pistol and pointed straight at Yang Chen’s heart!
“If you dare to bring your mother home today, I don’t care if my blood flows through in your body, I’d put an end to all of this, treat you as an intruding spy and kill you!”