“Enough, gu won’t argue with you.”
Although the company was owned by her uncle1, Song Yuan didn’t dare to ‘chute in and get out2. With the exception of that week’s unwarranted sick leave, she never dared to be absent from work without good reason and was seldom late. Song Yuan got up and came out of her bedroom and found that Rong Ting was sitting upright on the sofa. His eyes were fixed on the blank television screen, as though wondering what this thing was.
“The fridge doesn’t have anything else, so I ordered breakfast takeout.” Song Yuan said as she combed her hair. “At noon, I’ll call for takeout for you–”
“Ei, forget it, forget it!” Song Yuan felt that it was too irresponsible to leave the child at home. Her brain thought up all sorts of news like “Playing Child Falls from the Building” and “Strangers Break In and Abduct Child.” Then, accepting her fate, she sighed, her head hung low. “I’m still on leave today, and fortunately tomorrow is Saturday.”
Song Yuan really couldn’t rest assured leaving Rong Ting alone at home.
He wasn’t her child, but he was in her home, so it was only natural that she temporarily assume the responsibility of being his “guardian.”
To say it in way that invited envy3, going to work was a waste of time for Song Yuan. Father Song wanted her to inherit the supermarket, and Mother Song wanted to have her manage the clothing company. But both of them had one thing in common, and that was a very, very high position.
It wasn’t that Song Yuan didn’t want to be a beautiful young lady who inherited the family business. It was just that her parents had zero intention of retiring. She could imagine that, if she really did pick a side, she would definitely bear one side’s “blame” and the other side’s never-ending commands.
For world peace and a good parent-child relationship, she couldn’t inherit either the supermarket or the clothing company for now. After discussing with her uncle, she decided that she would work there. This way, neither her father nor mother could say anything.
She just ran errands in the company and was responsible for simple paperwork. She was like a brick–she moved wherever she was needed, and at the same time, it was easy to look dispensable within the team.
She didn’t ask for time off very often, so the department head very readily approved the request for leave.
Now that she had asked for vacation, there was no need to hurry. The beauty-loving Song Yuan meticulously put on her makeup.
Rong Ting sighed and shook his head in his heart. He really didn’t understand a woman’s thoughts. There was no maid to wait on Mother Empress, and even makeup had to be done herself. She preferred to suffer miserably here and leave Father Emperor. For what?
The doorbell rang, and Song Yuan let out an excited cheer. She quickly opened the door to greet the handsome delivery brother4.
Song Yuan received the delivery and said the usual thanks.
The delivery brother added: “Please give a 5-star rating, oh.”
Song Yuan shut the door and called Rong Ting over for breakfast.
“I don’t know what you like to eat, but I ordered some congee with century egg and pork7 and soy milk and xiaolongbao8.” Song Yuan took out a disposable spoon from the delivery bag and handed it to Rong Ting. “If you don’t like to eat it then you can just eat a little bit. After breakfast, I’ll take you out for a stroll. We can go to the police station and check if there’s any news while we’re at it.”
Delivery took at least 30 minutes. Rong Ting looked at the ugly-looking congee and buns, in complete shock. “You dare to give gu such humble food to eat!”
Since birth, Rong Ting was His Highness the crown prince, the heir to the throne.
There was no lack of care in his everyday food and clothing. That was to say, all sorts of dishes were available for his morning meal, for fear of mistreating him.
The strange thing last night was made by Mother Empress herself, so that was different. But what was with today’s morning meal? Could it be that Mother Empress ate such humble meals every day?
Song Yuan: …Does your entire family get into the act like this?
If the other party were an adult, she would certainly be too lazy to care if they liked to eat it or didn’t eat, but the other party was a child. There was no need to be like that. “Food has no distinction between the noble and lowly, and this place’s food is not bad. Don’t you want to try some first?”
Rong Ting frowned, not even deigning to give a glance. “Even if gu was starving, gu wouldn’t eat it.”
Song Yuan: …This little fellow has great moral integrity.
Don’t eat, then, don’t eat, bei9.
Children should not be spoiled!
When she ate at restaurants, she used to see some parents chase after their children to feed them.
If they were hungry naturally they would eat. If they didn’t eat, then it wasn’t a big deal.
Song Yuan made an “en” sound, “Fine, ba, I’ll eat it by myself.”
Breakfast must be delicious, and she never ever treated herself badly. She usually liked to eat congee with century egg and pork, and this place’s soy milk was said to be freshly squeezed. She very much liked the strong flavor of the beans. She was used to drinking a cup of soymilk for breakfast, but too many things happened too suddenly yesterday, and she forgot to soak the soybeans, so she could only order some soymilk to drink.
Rong Ting sat on the side, carefully gauging Song Yuan’s expression.
Was Mother Empress angry?
But he really hadn’t eaten this thing before, ah. The imperial kitchen would never dare to slight him like this.
Mother Empress lived so pitifully right now. As Mother Empress’s son, did he really want to make her sad and give her a hard time at this critical juncture?
In other words, Mother Empress, the mother of a country, could eat this food. Why couldn’t he?
“Are you angry at gu?” Rong Ting asked with a small, tense face.
Song Yuan froze, then shook her head. “I’m not, ah.”
“You are.” Rong Ting helplessly picked up the spoon. “Enough, gu won’t argue with you.”
Saying this, with furrowed brows, he began to eat the congee in front of him with a look of marching stoically towards death.
Song Yuan giggled. This child was very awkward, ah, but he was also quite cute.
She thought, perhaps this child’s family was truly very, very rich, so rich that they really didn’t eat this for breakfast?
Seeing this child’s raising-a-hand-and-kicking-a foot-temperament, the more she thought about it, the more she thought that it was quite possible.
However, if Rong Ting was really the child of a rich family, how could his parents not come looking for him after being gone for so long?
Even if the ancient era had fewer seasonings than the modern era, everything that came out of the imperial kitchen was meticulously cooked, and was more authentic. The bowl of congee in front of Rong Ting had who knew how much MSG added to it. For him, it really was rather inedible.
But Rong Ting was not someone who couldn’t endure it. For him, sitting together with Mother Empress for a morning meal had been his wish since he was very, very young. As for what they ate, it didn’t matter.
After eating breakfast, Song Yuan grabbed the car keys, wanting to take Rong Ting out.
Yesterday she’d thought that the police station was nearby, so she hadn’t driven. As a result, Rong Ting, who was briefly shocked and also very curious after seeing the cars on the road yesterday, found it somewhat difficult to sit still.
“Mother Empress, what is this?” Rong Ting didn’t want to show his ignorance in front of Mother Empress, but he remembered the old maid’s words. She said, he was Mother Empress’s most favorite person.
Mother Empress wouldn’t laugh at him.
Song Yuan didn’t expect that he would ask this question, and once again rejected her guess that he was a rich second or third generation10.
But Rong Ting’s behavior from last night until now was extremely confusing.
No matter how much of a fan of the ancient era the family was, it was impossible to be completely out of touch with modern society. Even children from remote mountain areas knew that this was a car.
Rong Ting was also not like a child from a remote mountain region. On the contrary, the aura surrounding him was not one that ordinary people could develop.
His clothing, his way of speaking, and his ignorance and unfamiliarity with modern society made Song Yuan, who had been inextricably steeped in romantic transmigration novels during her university days, think of one phrase: ancient to modern transmigration!
With this most unlikely possibility, everything could be clearly explained.
Song Yuan parked on the side of the road and turned her head, staring at Rong Ting.
Rong Ting thought that Song Yuan was displeased by his lack of knowledge, so he immediately became angry. His small white face flushed red, his chest heaved, and he said coldly: “If you don’t want to enlighten gu, gu will not force you.”
When he wasn’t angry, he called her Mother Empress.
When he was angry, then he didn’t call her that.
This form of address set up by him was clear and to the point.
He had several books in his resting chambers. The old maid said that they were made for him by Mother Empress. They were filled with childish and ridiculous pictures that lacked any aesthetic beauty, but they were full of warmth.
The books were said to be stories that Mother Empress made up. The old maid said they were called bedtime stories.
Before he had learned to read, he always had the old maid read them for him to listen to. After he learned to read, he looked through them himself. He memorized all the stories, and he flipped through the books until their covers were worn. One time, when a eunuch accidentally spilled water on one, he raged like thunder. When the night was deep and all was still, he would lay on the big bed, clutching those several books, thinking, if Mother Empress were here, he would not treat these books as treasures, making people laugh at him.
There were actually many things that Mother Empress left to him.
Every time he questioned whether Mother Empress loved him, he would look at these things and become firm.
If a woman didn’t love children, how could she make so many little trinkets for him, ne?
Was the Mother Empress in his memories, in his imagination, who loved him like he was her life, the same person before his eyes?
If she was, why didn’t she love him?
If she wasn’t, why did he find the scent on her body so nostalgic?
Song Yuan didn’t expect this child to be so sensitive on top of being moody, incessantly changing from sunny to cloudy. She didn’t say anything, and he suddenly became angry.
But adults must not be quick to argue with children.
She had more important questions to ask him.
“Gugu, I want to ask you, oh. What year were you born?”
Rong Ting’s expression relaxed a bit. “You ask me this to do what?”
For better or worse, he didn’t say “You even forgot your own son’s birthdate.”
Song Yuan knew this child was not easy to fool. “I’m just very curious and care about everything about you, ah.”
“You really care?” Rong Ting asked her.
Song Yuan nodded like she was smashing garlic.
Once she accepted the setting that he was from the ancient era, everything seemed less strange, including his proud maturity.
Rong Ting’s small body sat in the back seat. Regardless of whether he was sitting or standing, his back was always straight.
Finally, he said his birthdate, which was very complicated and incomprehensible.
Song Yuan was almost certain he had transmigrated.
“In your place’s era, you have an emperor, right?”
“Mother Empress need not be like this. That is gu’s Father Emperor, and also your husband.”
Song Yuan: “…”
 舅舅: maternal uncle
 落实贯彻空降兵的特色: uh huh, that’s what the raws said. My best guess based on context is that Song Yuan is referring to how airborne forces (paratroopers? parachutists?) drop in from the sky. Their main function is to carry out surprise attacks, so they aren’t expected to stick around the scene for very long
 拉仇恨: in gaming terms, it means to pull aggro, but it can also be used in real life situations to express envy
 小哥: used to refer to a young man. Can be used to refer to any young man, regardless of blood relations
 大男孩: lit. big boy LOL. From what I can tell, it refers to someone who’s a bit (or a lot) immature, like a grown adult with the maturity of a little boy. This can be either positive or negative, depending on whether the speaker is using it to refer to the boyish nature/looks in a good or bad light (e.g. “you’re so boyish, it’s cute!” vs. “you’re too immature, let’s break up!”)
 He uses the formal “you” (您)
 豆浆小笼包: I can’t tell if she’s referring to xiaolongbao made with soy [milk] or xiaolongbao AND soy milk, but I’m assuming that it’s the second?
 呗: modal particle indicating a lack of enthusiasm LOL
 Refers to the children and grandchildren of the nouveau riche in China, who generated massive wealth in the 1970s following China’s reforms. The fuerdai are usually seen as extravagant and are frequently the subject of scandals in China. This quote sums up the general impression of them pretty well: “they know only how to show off their wealth, but they don’t know how to create wealth.”
Cheese: i made it on time! i was hanging with some friends over the weekend so translating and editing time was a bit tight. omg also when rong ting talked about hugging his mom’s picture books at night (or, tbh, just anything about his desire to see his mom) i was clutching my chest and bawling like ｡ﾟヽ(ﾟ´Д｀)ﾉﾟ｡ MY PRECIOUS BOY!! HE ONLY WANTS TO HAVE A MEAL WITH HER!!!