Hello, Mr. Major General - BestLightNovel.com
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Zhang Baochen's true ident.i.ty was only known to the Huo's while everyone else was told that he was the son Zhang Feng had with another man. He was brought into the Huo manor to help with cooking and housekeeping duties. Grandfather Huo had never publicly acknowledged Zhang Baochen as his son. This was also the reason why he was particularly guilty. Zhang Baochen was his biological son, but had instead lived like a servant in the Huo manor and was bullied by Huo Shaoheng and Huo Jialan.
"Baochen will of course change his last name." Grandfather Huo had nothing to lose anymore. "Just like Jialan—she is not related to the Huo family but still keeps the Huo family name. It's the same thing as Baochen changing his name. Who would have anything to say about that?"
"Huo Jialan got to keep her name because Uncle acknowledged her as his daughter." Huo Shaoheng raised his hand to ask everyone to sit down, and his tone was nonchalant. "Although it's now been proven she isn't his daughter, and she is still Uncle's legal heir according to the marriages laws."
"Right. so Baochen and Jialan are the same." Grandfather Huo sat down with Zhang Feng's help. "I will marry her and her son will naturally be my son as well." This situation was not uncommon—people with children who remarried sometimes changed the last names. However, Zhang Baochen's situation was different.
"So you're going to treat everyone like fools?" Huo Shaoheng drawled, yet his tone was very calm so as to not agitate Grandfather Huo. "Marrying Head Nurse Zhang and then saying that your legitimate son is someone else's son? Then, go ahead and change his last name so that he is your legal heir?" This was indeed a hurdle that couldn't be crossed.
Grandfather Huo was stunned and his fingers twitched uncontrollably. He glanced at Zhang Feng, only to see that her head was down as she stood quietly beside him, the white in her hair visible. He sighed and said to Huo Shaoheng, "Yes, no one will think much of this as long as you and I don't say anything."
"That's hard to say." Huo Shaoheng extended his finger to tap on the conference table. "Grandfather, don't be naive. You are able to do many things and not talk about them, but certain things you can talk about but aren't able to do. For example your 'illegitimate' son—everyone can ignore this if you don't get married and don't acknowledge him. But as soon as you marry and change his name..."
"Then what? Isn't it enough for me to claim that he's not my biological son?!" Grandfather Huo was so furious he was nearly shouting as he glared at Huo Shaoheng.
"Of course not," Huo Shaoheng objected crisply. "If he really isn't your biological son, there is no problem with you getting married with Head Nurse Zhang at all."
Zhang Feng's heart dropped to her stomach when she heard this and reflexively grabbed Grandfather Huo's arm. How can their biological son be the obstacle to their marriage? Zhang Feng was so upset, she almost drew blood from biting her lip so hard. Grandfather patted her hand in rea.s.surance.
Huo Shaoheng continued,"Coincidentally, however, he happens to be your biological son. We've already done the DNA test a long time ago and just took a fresh blood sample earlier so we can always retest at anytime. You can't hide this even if you wanted to."
Grandfather Huo blanched.
"If you insist on getting married under these circ.u.mstances, you are basically announcing to the world that you betrayed Grandmother 40 some years ago. Also, both you and Zhang Feng were active duty soldiers at the time. Her breaking up a military marriage and having a child out of wedlock is a political issue. You committed adultery and raised an illegitimate child, so that's an even more serious an offense. Zhang Baochen, Zhang Wenna, and Zhang Wenjie are the ironclad evidence of how you and she broke up a military marriage." Huo Shaoheng crossed a leg and clasped his hands in his lap as he silently regarded them.
Zhang Feng, Zhang Baochen, and Qian s.h.i.+hui were all speechless. It was as though they had been pushed to the cliff's edge and could only choose between falling to their death or being torn apart by the ravenous beasts pursuing them. They would perish either way and had no way out.
Zhang Feng couldn't stand it anymore and burst into tears against Grandfather Huo's shoulder, weeping, "Elder Huo, this was all my fault! It's my fault! I secretly gave birth and you had no idea! I never intended to break up your marriage with Mrs. Xie!"
At that time, Huo Xuenong truly hadn't known that their one night together had resulted in Zhang Feng's pregnancy. Afterwards, she had taken a year off and appeared to be the same when she returned. Although, she had been even more pa.s.sionate about caring for Huo Xuenong, but his wife Xie Ziyan had been alive and they'd been deeply in love. He had paid no attention to Zhang Feng back then and his feelings towards her only deepened in the decades of time together after Xie Ziyan pa.s.sed away. "Even though you didn't tell me, I'm still thankful you had Baochen." Grandfather Huo grasped Zhang Feng's hand emotionally. "Don't cry anymore. What's done is done. I owe you and our son so much."
Huo Shaoheng's face became stony. He sat rigidly and looked at the crying Zhang Feng solemnly. "Head Nurse Zhang, can you swear that you've never intended to break up my grandparents' marriage?"
Zhang Feng wiped the tears from her eyes and answered with all seriousness. "I certainly did not. I swear on my military rank."
Huo Shaoheng smiled and said, not unkindly, "I'd believe you a bit more if you swore on the health of your son and grandchildren."
"What are you saying?" Zhang Feng's face fell instantly. "Shaoheng, I know that you were close to Mrs. Xie and I don't blame you for not acknowledging me as you step-grandmother. Just don't drag my son and grandchildren into this."
"I'm not saying anything." Huo Shaoheng s.h.i.+fted his gaze to the window. The night was as dark as the last one his grandmother had been alive. He had done his homework at her bedside every night, and read to her and chatted with her. But his grandmother's wish of seeing his grandfather was never fulfilled. "Back then, I remember Head Nurse Zhang would always prevent Auntie Chang from seeing Grandfather and asking him to visit Grandmother." Huo Shaoheng looked up. "Isn't that right, Head Nurse Zhang? You remember Auntie Chang?"
Auntie Chang was an elderly servant that had accompanied Xie Ziyan from her own family's home. Auntie Chang had stayed by Xie Ziyan all her life, but ended up surviving her.
"Your grandmother was seriously ill at the time and I was worried about the Chief's health. Of course I couldn't let him visit her frequently." Zhang Feng brushed it off, "That's my area of responsibility, what mistake did I make?"
"What? Ziyan asked Auntie Zhang to look for me?" Grandfather Huo was shocked. "When was this? Why don't I know anything about it?!"
Huo Shaoheng spread his palms. "Chief, you were so busy at the time and probably didn't care to remember such trivial things. But I remember. I can still recall the look on Grandmother's face."
Grandfather Huo was so anxious that Zhang Feng suddenly panicked. No way! She thought frantically. It's been over ten years and he still cared for Xie Ziyan?! Zhang Feng's gaze fluttered to the corner of the wall and her heart thumped wildly.
Grandfather Hu stared at Zhang Feng for a while, then averted his eyes and composed himself. He replied frostily, "I often asked to see your grandmother the last year she was alive, but she refused. Zhang Feng can't be blamed for this."
Zhang Feng exhaled, setting her mind at ease.
Gu Nianzhi couldn't stand it anymore and interjected, "General Huo, that's not the case. You have to consider the cause and effect of the situation. Did this start from Head Nurse Zhang concealing the news and preventing you from seeing Mrs. Xie, or did it start with Mrs. Xie refusing to see you?" As soon as she said this, everyone understood. Xie Ziyan had clearly asked Auntie Chang to send for Huo Xuenong, but he didn't visit her due to Zhang Feng's interference. Xie Ziyan had been furious and had refused to see Huo Xuenong again. This was the logical sequence. However, Grandfather Huo claimed that Xie Ziyan had never wanted to see him to begin with, so Zhang Feng hadn't done anything wrong by interfering—this was twisting the truth. Gu Nianzhi abhorred this.
Huo Shaoheng's eyes grew cold and his tone became serious as he said, "Very well then. If you insist you on doing this, your name will be removed from the trust fund. The terms of Grandmother's trust fund clearly stipulates that you will lose the right to inherit if you remarry. Also, the truth of what happened all those years ago will eventually be exposed as soon as you get remarried, and the military will investigate your misdeeds. I can guarantee that your punishment will include demotion of rank."
There were a fixed number of general positions, so a new general couldn't be named until Huo Xuenong lost the rank. He had committed a serious error and had even publicized it, so it would be no wonder if someone took advantage and claimed his spot.
"So, did you consider the consequences?"
"Consequences?" Grandfather Huo muttered ruefully as he changed his sitting position.
"Yes. Firstly, you will be demoted from the rank of general. I don't know to what rank you'll end up having. You probably won't be allowed to live in the house in the military housing community. Secondly, you will lose the right to the trust fund and according to Grandmother's will, your portion will be transferred to me."
Grandfather Huo didn't care about the trust fund and immediately replied, "You can remove my name from the trust fund. That's your grandmother's dowry. I never wanted it anyway." However, he had to carefully consider the problem of his rank and its accompanying benefits. He had been a soldier all his live and had fought in many wars as the perennially victorious general, but now faced the possibility of losing his honour in the last years of his life. If he was no longer a general, he wouldn't be able to live in the military housing community and lose a number of orderlies and personal secretaries. Fewer people would visit during the holidays and he would no longer have the right to partic.i.p.ate in conferences of the Imperial elite. His treatment by others would plummet. Was he ready to lose all of this? Grandfather Huo couldn't help glancing at Zhang Feng.
Eyes downcast, Zhang Feng was considering many more things than Grandfather Huo. First, there was the issue of Xie Ziyan's inheritance. Although it was a dowry, Zhang Feng had always a.s.sumed that because there had been no pre-nuptials, Elder Huo would receive half of her inheritance automatically. The other half would then be divided evenly amongst Elder Huo, Huo Guanyuan, and Huo Guanchen, so Huo Shaoheng should only receive what Huo Guanchen would inherit. However, Huo Shaoheng was now liable, somehow, to receive most of Xie Ziyan's inheritance and left a meager amount to the others. By the time it pa.s.sed to Zhang Feng's son and grandchildren, there would only be sc.r.a.ps left. They were all biological sons of Huo Xuenong, so what the h*ll was going on?! Listening to Huo Shaoheng, Zhang Feng found herself in a dilemma. If she didn't marry Grandfather Huo, she wouldn't be able to receive a part of Xie Ziyan's inheritance according to marriage laws. But if she married Huo Xuenong, he would lose his right to inherit and she would get nothing too. Who on earth had written such a tricky will?!