In fact, Song Yuan somewhat regretted bringing the child back home.
She didn’t do anything shameful, and the person the child spoke of, the one who tossed away her husband and abandoned her son, definitely wasn’t her, either. So why was she shaken by the child’s words?
The house Song Yuan lived in right now was given to her as a gift by Father Song when she was eighteen. The 3B2R1 was very spacious, and it also had a large balcony. She had just moved in not too long ago, and many necessities hadn’t been bought yet. On the way back, even though she was dumbfounded and doubting her life, she still didn’t forget to buy a towel and toothbrush for the child.
Just when they got home, before she could say a couple words to the child, his stomach let out a gugu sound.
Rong Ting was mortified. For him, the stomach making such a sound was extremely rude.
“Have you not eaten for a long time?” Song Yuan, accepting her fate, looked down and asked him.
“This prince had a morning meal2.”
“Little boy, why are you talking like that?” Song Yuan opened the fridge, took out a piece of bread from inside, then looked back at him. “Very scholarly. Is everyone in your family like this?”
Rong Ting was now in a better mood. No longer as embarrassed, his tone when speaking to her was also a bit better. “How can Imperial Mother speak so casually?”
Song Yuan: “…”
“It will take more than half an hour for takeout to be delivered, I’m afraid you’ll be too hungry. There’s only bread, eggs, and some ham at home, so I’ll just whip up a sandwich for you.”
The exchange between Rong Ting and Song Yuan wasn’t exactly a chicken and duck speaking3, but they couldn’t quite understand what the other was saying.
But he could make out that his Imperial Mother was personally cooking for him.
His heart was slightly warm.
Imperial Mother, as the mother of a country, had never cooked for others (including Imperial Father). He was probably the first one.
For the moment, he forgave her for temporarily forgetting him.
From time to time, when she was in the mood, Song Yuan would cook. After all, takeout could be very greasy, and making a sandwich was just too easy for her. She fried both the egg and ham in the same pan and toasted the bread in the toaster. Of course, there was her favorite mayonnaise4. Thinking that children liked ketchup, she added some of that, as well.
Rong Ting sat at the dining table. Looking at the food in front of him, he couldn’t help but frown.
It was food he had never seen before.
The key point was, could it enter his mouth?
Seeing Song Yuan eagerly looking at him, Rong Ting thought to himself, he absolutely could not fail to live up to his Imperial Mother’s kind intent. So he picked up the sandwich and took an extremely elegant bite.
Of course, Song Yuan wouldn’t ask the child how the sandwich was.
Rong Ting thought, perhaps it was because this strange thing was made by Imperial Mother herself that the taste was tolerable.
Song Yuan pointed to the glass of milk on the table. “Remember to drink the milk. Drink milk to grow up.”
Rong Ting was angry. “You dislike that this prince is not tall enough?”
How to say this? Song Yuan was a senior member of the good-looks club. She deeply felt that, if it weren’t for the fact that this child was very cute and very charming, she would never have brought him back to her house.
The child looked to be around 1 meter tall. He was obviously a kid, but he was so scholarly and looked like a little adult.
“And you are not as tall as me, ya.” Song Yuan deliberately bickered with him. “Alright, alright, drinking milk is good for you. Drink it all, then go brush your teeth, wash your face, and take a bath. I really have to go to work tomorrow, I’m not deceiving you.”
Rong Ting stared at the cup of milk for a long time. Then he held the cup with both hands and took small sips of the milk.
Sweet, not bad.
“Imperial Mother, why are there no maids in the palace?” Rong Ting had eaten and drunk to his heart’s content. His mood was good, so he was willing to chat with Song Yuan.
The decoration in this palace was very peculiar, but he had once overheard Imperial Father drunkenly say that the era that Imperial Mother lived in was different from theirs, so it seemed to make sense.
But why was there no maid or eunuch?
Song Yuan was silent for a moment, and guessed that the child’s parents were fans of the ancient era. But even if the parents liked everything about the ancient era, and were genuine fans, it should not affect the child. She really wondered, could this child smoothly communicate with his fellow classmates in kindergarten?
“Do you mean the housekeeping auntie?” It seemed like the child’s family’s situation was not bad. “I don’t need to hire a housekeeping auntie. I can do everything myself.”
Rong Ting stared at Song Yuan.
“What are you looking at me like that for?” Song Yuan asked him.
Rong Ting was extremely puzzled. “You’re living so pathetically now, why did you leave Imperial Father? Is this the life you wanted?”
Song Yuan was bewildered, but still moved her chair and sat next to him. She told him very seriously: “Little boy, I completely don’t understand what you’re talking about. I’m really not your mom, but don’t worry, all the police aunties and uncles will help you find your family. You can also stay here with me during this time, until your mom and dad come pick you up.”
Rong Ting was not a child who couldn’t see reason. Piecing together Song Yuan’s words and behavior, he asked tentatively: “Imperial Mother, you don’t remember Imperial Father?”
Without waiting for Song Yuan to respond, Rong Ting answered himself, “Not remembering should be right. You couldn’t even remember this prince, so how can you remember other people?”
Even the precious biological son was forgotten, so how could she remember the husband who was ranked far below?
Was he stupid? Asking Imperial Mother such a question.
Song Yuan thought about it, planning to use another method and go along with the child’s words, “Then tell me your dad’s name. Maybe I’ll have an impression of it.”
Rong Ting heard this and became angry again. “You don’t remember even after seeing me, so how can you have an impression after hearing Imperial Father’s esteemed name5!”
If Imperial Mother really did have an impression, then he would be angry. The old maid said, Imperial Mother had held him when he was dressed in his swaddling clothes and told him, she loved him the absolute most.
He stomped his foot and said: “What’s more, as that person’s son, how could Imperial Father’s esteemed name be spoken!”
Song Yuan: “…”
Does your entire family want to enter a drama, ah? You may be ancient era fanatics but even so, considering yourselves to be an emperor and empress at home, it’s truly extraordinary. I dare not provoke…
“Okay okay okay, then you can say your own name, right?”
Rong Ting’s cheeks puffed up as he gave her a cold look. “Even forgetting the name of one’s own son.”
Song Yuan’s temper was very good.
She had always loved children since she was very young. Of course, they were obedient children, but it was strange today. In the past, she would never have taken the initiative to approach such an awkward and tsundere6 child.
After saying this, Rong Ting was silent for a moment, “You remember, ok, Rong Ting.”
The name was both strange and pleasant to hear.
Song Yuan felt that, at this rate, she could find out his parent’s full names and contact information in a week, at most.
“Alright alright, go brush your teeth.” Song Yuan led the still-sulking Rong Ting to the bathroom. She squeezed out toothpaste on the newly bought children’s toothbrush and handed it to him.
Rong Ting used to brush his teeth during his time in the palace.
However, not many people in the palace had toothbrushes. He heard from the old maid that it took a lot of time for Imperial Mother to make a toothbrush.
The toothbrush in his hand now was many times better-looking than the ones in the palace.
Rong Ting brushed his teeth, feeling that the sweet taste in his mouth was different from that in the palace. Imperial Mother hid all the good stuff, and when he came to see her, she gave them to him to use.
Rong Ting looked at all the strange things in the room, but he also paid attention to his etiquette, not wanting to look ignorant in front of Imperial Mother.
“Gugu7 , it’s like this, ah.” After Rong Ting brushed his teeth and washed his face, Song Yuan carried him to the shower and said very patiently: “You’re a boy, I’m a girl. It wouldn’t be convenient for me to bathe you, so can you bathe yourself?”
Regarding Song Yuan calling him in such a way, Rong Ting didn’t mind.
Song Yuan taught Rong Ting the basics of how to use the water heater. She felt that, even if the family was obsessed with everything about the ancient era, the modern era was so convenient, and the basic facilities would surely be available.
After telling Rong Ting which bottle was the shower gel and which bottle was the shampoo, she then left the bathroom, shutting the door on her way out.
Rong Ting stood under the shower. He was a clever boy, and many things were clear to him. After he took off his robes, he hesitated a moment. Just like his mother taught him, he turned on the switch. When the water suddenly rushed out of the shower head and drenched him, he failed to control his inner fear and shrieked.
Song Yuan heard his shout and rushed in.
Rong Ting was still spooked. When he saw her come in, his first reaction was to hug her waist. He was very brave and didn’t cry.
After he calmed down, he threw the pot8 with perfect form, “You left this prince in here!”
Song Yuan could see that the little boy was a little embarrassed.
Nowadays many children over the age of five needed their parents to help bathe them. She had never been a mother, and she also had no experience helping relatives raise their children. She was also a little embarrassed. Children would naturally be easily frightened in an unfamiliar environment.
After bathing the child, Song Yuan’s clothes were soaked.
Convenience stores didn’t have children’s pajamas, so Song Yuan casually put one of her long T-shirts on his body.
The child was very against it. “How can this prince wear women’s clothing!”
“Tomorrow, tomorrow after work I’ll take you out and buy you a set of pajamas. Right now is too late.” Song Yuan pointed to the blue underneath her eyes. “You do me a favor and make do with it for now. I really want to sleep, I’m exhausted, la.”
Rong Ting looked at her. After a while, he said very awkwardly: “Only this once. You’re not allowed to tell anyone else.”
By the time Song Yuan removed her makeup and took a bath, it was already past eleven.
She lay on the bed, recalling the things that happened this evening. It really felt like a dream.
Extremely tired and sleepy, she was ready to sleep. Fortunately, the child was very well-behaved and didn’t need her to say anything. He also said something she couldn’t understand. In summary, he and she could not sleep in the same bed–such a thing was not appropriate. The child slept alone in the second bedroom. She went to take a look before returning to her room. The boy seemed to already be asleep, so she turned off the light.
Song Yuan didn’t know that, after she turned off the lights and shut the door, Rong Ting, who was lying in bed, opened his eyes.
In his mind, he had imagined many times what Imperial Mother looked like. What she looked like when she laughed, what she looked like when she got angry. Everyone said that his identity was honorable, that very many people were envious when he was born and then became crown prince. But only he knew that he didn’t want to be crown prince. He only wanted to be Imperial Mother’s child.
Although Imperial Mother hasn’t shown great love for him, Rong Ting, you have to forgive Imperial Mother. Imperial Mother just forgot.
 三室两厅: shorthand for a type of house unit, composed of 3 (B)edrooms and 2 (R)ooms, which are usually designated as a living room and dining room ↩
 早膳: breakfast or morning meal, but it seems to be an older term. 早餐 is more commonly used in modern writing, from what I can tell ↩
 鸡同鸭讲: a conversation between two people who don’t speak the same language ↩
 沙拉酱: it’s either mayonnaise or salad dressing, and I can’t imagine putting vinaigrette or thousand island in my sandwich so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I’m assuming this is referring to mayo like Kewpie (which I’m told is delicious), rather than an American variety like Hellmann’s (not a fan, unless it’s in deviled eggs) ↩
 名讳: taboo or forbidden name, referring to the tradition of avoiding speaking and writing an emperor’s name. For the most part, names containing the same characters as the emperor’s were forbidden, and existing names with overlapping characters had to be changed. The same naming taboo is followed for similarly revered/exalted figures, as well as a clan’s ancestors ↩
 傲娇: coming off as unfriendly and blunt, but having a warm and tender heart ↩
 Rong Ting uses “gu” (孤) or “this prince” to refer to himself, but Song Yuan thinks that it’s his nickname and calls him Gugu (咕咕) ↩
 甩锅: to blame someone else ↩