Although he had many questions, Yang Chen maintained his silence as he did not want to come across as a quidnunc.

Once the meal began, Guo Xuehua handed the bottle of Hua Diao to Lin Ruoxi and asked her to pour out a glass for everyone in attendance.

Lin Ruoxi was surprised at this but quickly complied when she was reminded of her current position. It wasn’t something she was used to right now.

Yang Chen chuckled. “Dear, I believe this is your first time pouring wine for me.”

Lin Ruoxi puffed her cheeks at his attitude.

Yang Gongming watched their interaction and said while smiling, “I heard that both of you were planning to hold a wedding?”

Yang Chen, who was busy going to town on a drumstick, looked up and replied, “Old man, I spent a lot of money on this wedding. I was hoping that you would sponsor part of it.”

“Not beating around the bush I see.” Yang Gongming took a sip of his wine.

Lin Ruoxi kicked Yang Chen’s calf under the table. Why couldn’t he be serious for once in his life? Out of all the people seated around this table, he was the last one whom anyone would assume to run out of money.

She would’ve financed the wedding if it weren’t for the fact that a bride financing her own wedding was unheard of.

Yang Chen was continued unaffected. “We’re family. I don’t mind taking a cut of the family heirlooms if you don’t have the cash.”

Yang Gongming ignored his words. “Follow me to the ancestral shrine after this. Pay respect to your ancestors and in the afternoon I have some important clan leaders waiting to meet you. Gain their approval and the money is yours..”

“That easy? Once I get their approval, everything belongs to me?” Yang Chen jokingly said.

Yang Gongming gave him a pointed look. “Well, of course, it would only happen after I’m dead. Can’t have you simply ruining decades worth of work overnight.”

Yang Chen gnawed at his chicken and said, “I knew you wouldn’t be so nice you old fox.”

“I know what you’re after. But it doesn’t matter. Desire is part of being human.” Yang Gongming sighed. “But there are still rules. I don’t care how you chose to walk your path, only where and what you end up with.”

Yang Chen hummed in response. “This is all quite deep. Aren’t you afraid that it is going to be a little too heavy for your granddaughter-in-law here?”

Having said so, Yang Chen puckered his lips toward Lin Ruoxi.

Lin Ruoxi was actually daydreaming as she couldn’t follow their conversation.

Yang Chen’s teasing provoked her, which made her lay a punch on his face!

Yang Chen didn’t bother to hide and let her hit him while smiling. He even stuffed his half-eaten drumstick into her mouth.

“Yuck! Disgusting!”

Lin Ruoxi couldn’t stand it and hurriedly ran to where Guo Xuehua was seated, glaring at him all the time.

Yan Sanniang giggled. “Master, they seem to be in a lovey-dovey relationship.”

Yang Gongming nodded his head in agreement. “I suppose.”

Guo Xuehua’s lips twitched when she overheard their conversation.

For the rest of the meal, Yang Gongming took to asking them about their lives, most of which were trivial matters. Lin Ruoxi happily answered his questions while Yang Chen continued to feast on the food.

When they were just about done, Yang Gongming waved his hands at a maid.

The maid nodded her head and after a few minutes, she carried a bowl of noodles and placed it in front of Guo Xuehua.

Guo Xuehua was startled at first, but she was soon reminded of its purpose.

“Xuehua, today’s your birthday. You have aged and are not the kid you once were anymore. And so, I have prepared a bowl of noodles for you. Treat it as a blessing from me,” Yang Gongming said warmly.

Guo Xuehua was touched. “Father, I didn’t think you would remember. I haven’t celebrated in years.”

“You are never home, that’s why.” Yang Gongming feigned anger. 

Guo Xuehua smiled, feeling embarrassed.

For a family of an upper-class status, a woman’s influence was significantly weaker as there were stricter rules and regulations when it came to their actions.

Guo Xuehua was very grateful that Yang Gongming remembered her birthday and even prepared noodles for her. It was a generous gift seeing that she did not contribute much as a daughter-in-law

Lin Ruoxi felt a bit nervous when she saw this. Yang Chen’s choice of gift didn’t seem appropriate at all. Should she still present it?

Before she could change her mind, Yang Chen had already spoken up. “Mom, happy birthday. Ruoxi told me it’s your birthday and she even got you a gift.”

Guo Xuehua brightened up and looked at Lin Ruoxi with gratitude. “That’s thoughtful of you. I bet Yang Chen didn’t even know. You didn’t have to buy anything, it’s the thought that counts. I am not really in need of anything anyways.”

“Mom…happy birthday, the gift…gift…” Lin Ruoxi hesitated and stood up immediately. “I’ll bring the gift over, it’s in our luggage.”

After Lin Ruoxi ran off to get the gift, Guo Xuehua looked at Yang Chen in confusion. “Did you pull something on her? Why is she acting weird?”

Yang Chen kept a straight face. “I’m not that kind of person. Besides, I wouldn’t dare. Can’t risk anything happening so close to my wedding date.”

Yang Gongming cut him off. “Yeah, it’s good for you to have a good understanding of your own position.”

Soon, Lin Ruoxi returned carrying a gift box and passed it into Guo Xuehua’s arms.

“Mom, we bought this in a hurry, so I don’t know if you’ll like it. If you don’t I’ll have another one sent to you,” Lin Ruoxi said earnestly.

Buying a gift for your mother-in-law required the utmost amount of perfection and Lin Ruoxi was no slouch when it came to perfection.

Guo Xuehua was curious to see what was inside so she stood up and opened the box immediately.

The moment she saw the gift, her facial expression changed into an unreadable one.

Yang Gongming and Yan Sanniang wanted to laugh while Lin Ruoxi, on the other hand, was red from head to toe.

It was a clay doll resting atop a porcelain cushion.

It was particularly eye-catching due to its colors but the thing that made it hilarious was the fact that it was shaped like a beer bottle.

Guo Xuehua tried to stifle a laugh. “This doll looks like its pregnant. Ruoxi, I think it’s better for you to keep it.”

It made Lin Ruoxi blushed a deeper shade of red. She then turned her head to glare at Yang Chen. This was his idea.

“I think it looks nice. Why don’t you keep it, Madame?” Yan Sanniang giggled.

Yang Gongming asked Yang Chen, “Why don’t you explain why you chose this gift?”

Yang Chen was just about to enjoy some pig’s feet when he heard the question. He made a face and said reluctantly, “Is it really worth pointing out?”

“Yes!” Guo Xuehua was excited. “It’s my birthday and you gave me a pregnant doll. Is it possible that you want another younger sibling?”

Yang Chen cringed when he heard that. “Alright alright, I’ll tell you. You’re making me cringe so hard.”

Everyone couldn’t help but laugh. Even the maids standing by the side were having their own laugh

Yang Chen wiped his mouth and pointed to the doll. “This doll is called the Matryoshka doll from Russia. There’s a trick to it.”

“Trick?”

“That’s right.” Yang Chen moved closer and picked up the doll from the cushion.

Everyone else was shocked to see another identical doll underneath it.

Lin Ruoxi got curious and picked up the doll again. There was another slightly smaller doll underneath it!

Everyone understood it now.

Guo Xuehua picked up another two dolls and realized that there was a total of five dolls altogether!

“That’s interesting, one doll in another.” Yang Gongming commented.

“I believe there is a meaning to it?” Yan Sanniang asked.

Yang Chen nodded and smiled. “The meaning of Matryoshka in Russian means ‘Mom’s doll’. The layers represent a mother nesting her child…”

This time, the atmosphere was silent.

Guo Xuehua’s eyes were red and moist. She looked at Yang Chen gratefully and kept the doll back into the box.

“Alright, I’ll keep the gift. But don’t buy me something like this again. It’s going to make me cry.” Guo Xuehua chided.

Lin Ruoxi was relieved to see the outcome. She glared at Yang Chen for hiding the truth from her, even though he knew the meaning behind the doll.

It might be their first meal together as a whole family, but things went pretty well nevertheless.

After the meal, Guo Xuehua brought Lin Ruoxi into her room with a suggestive smile.

Whereas Yang Chen followed Yang Gongming into the ancestral shrine to pay his respects. There really was nothing to it but it was a little embarrassing for someone to see him bow his head.

When they got out of the shrine, Yan Sanniang walked up to them and said, “Master, the clan leaders are already at the hall and are waiting to meet Young Master Chen.”

“Oh, they’re on time.” Yang Gongming smiled.

“But…” Yan Sanniang was slightly worried. “The other neutral clans are here too. Along with our opposition.”

Yang Gongming squinted his eyes and snorted. “Is that so?”

After saying that, Yang Gongming turned to face Yang Chen. “I get tired easily so I’m going to take a nap. Tend to them will you?”

Yang Chen could feel that something bad was about to happen, judging from what Yan Sanniang had said. Someone was here for trouble

But it wasn’t like Yang Chen was afraid of trouble. He asked nonchalantly, “What if someone died?”

Yang Gongming cackled and his eyes glinted. “People die every day. The real million-dollar question is, who died?”

“I see. Yang Chen snapped his fingers and nodded, “Granny Yan, lead the way.”