“Gu will never be a person who oppresses the people and robs them of their flesh and blood!”
At three in the afternoon, Song Haiping got off work early and brought Rong Ting to the nearby supermarket to purchase groceries.
Rong Ting sat in the shopping cart while Song Haiping pushed him. It was inevitable for the grandfather and grandson pair to quarrel.
In fact, every time they argued, it was over some trivial matter1–after their argument, they would forget the reason they fought in the first place. Song Haiping was not a bad cook, and he felt distressed thinking that his daughter would return home and then have to raise the child and cook, so he could only volunteer to take over the heavy responsibility. Fortunately, nothing was going on at the company, so he had enough time.
Song Yuan felt that this was her happiest moment! It would be even better if her mom was also here!
Every day, when she came home from work, she could smell the food. Her dad would come out of the kitchen to instruct her to wash her hands before eating.
Meanwhile, Gugu would be standing in the balcony reciting his lessons or practicing calligraphy.
During dinner, Song Haiping casually announced, “Tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, I plan to drive to B City and also bring Rong Ting along.”
Song Yuan and Rong Ting put down their chopsticks and said in unison: “What?”
Rong Ting’s brows furrowed. “Gu objects.”
He was considerate of Empress Mother’s working hard every day. Following Grandfather around did not mean that he was willing to leave Empress Mother and follow Grandfather elsewhere.
“Children have no right to object.” Song Haiping looked at Song Yuan. “You’re working hard every day. As for me ne, there are matters in B City that I want to take a look at. You’ll be anxious while Rong Ting stays at home, and his meals are also a problem–he can’t eat takeout every day, and if he did call for takeout, it’d be unsafe with him by himself at home.”
Song Yuan felt that what her dad said was reasonable. She still had many matters to deal with at work, mainly because a colleague in her team had gotten sick and gone to the hospital, and now those matters had fallen on her, the brick2. She couldn’t resign during such an important time, and she would worry if Rong Ting was home alone.
Rong Ting didn’t seem as opposed to the suggestion as before after hearing Song Haiping’s argument, but he still frowned as he asked: “How long?”
He was now being taught by Song Haiping, and his speech was gradually becoming more like that of modern times.
“As long as one week and as short as three or four days.”
Song Haiping was also unconsciously influenced by Rong Ting’s speech into sounding more “scholarly.”
Rong Ting shot Song Haiping a look of reluctance. “Alright ba.”
He himself knew that if he didn’t follow Grandfather to B City, Empress Mother would constantly worry for him while at work and would rush back as soon as possible after work. It would be too exhausting; he should learn to show consideration for Empress Mother.
Rong Ting didn’t have any luggage to pack; he still wore the traditional clothing. After taking a bath at night, he would change out of it, wash it, and hang it to dry so he could wear it the next day.
“B City’s climate is a little drier than here. Drink lots of water over there.” When Song Yuan packed the luggage for Rong Ting, she also placed the cartoon thermos she’d bought for him. “Be sure to drink water and eat fruit.”
“Rub in this children’s lotion after you wash your face every day.”
“Also, have Grandpa make a glass of milk for you every night before you go to bed so you can sleep well afterwards.”
Rong Ting watched as Song Yuan helped him pack his luggage while her mouth continued to talk about all kinds of things. He sat on the bed, looking at ease, and the corners of his lips raised slightly. “Empress Mother, gu is only leaving for a few days and will return very quickly.”
“Do you remember my phone number?” Song Yuan asked again.
Rong Ting did indeed remember it. His mind was quite nimble, and he could even recite Song Yuan and Song Haiping’s numbers backwards.
“If you get lost while you’re outside with Grandpa, remember to call or look for a policeman uncle. Don’t follow any strangers, understand?”
Ever since the results of the DNA test came out, Song Yuan felt that she had changed her character role too quickly as she accepted Rong Ting as her son with almost no hesitation.
Rong Ting patted the space next to him, motioning for Song Yuan to sit down.
Song Yuan packed the suitcase, then sat down and tilted her head as she looked at him. “What?”
“Empress Mother, are you reluctant to part and unwilling to separate from gu?” When the child said this, his lips were slightly quirked up, and there was a bright light in his eyes. He looked proud and pleased.
Song Yuan nodded very seriously. “You’re not wrong ba.”
“If you are then say you are, and if not then say you aren’t.”
Rong Ting was completely satisfied by Song Yuan’s answer. He reached out to pull Song Yuan’s hand, but then let go very quickly. He really wanted to be close to Song Yuan, but his education prevented him from being too close to her for too long.
Song Haiping asked the driver to take them to B City. They took the highway from their current location to B City, which only took six hours.
Song Haiping had bought two houses several years earlier, when there had not yet been any purchase restrictions in B City. At the time, his thinking had been very simple. He had been afraid that his daughter would expand into B City in the future, so he had checked out the real estate. At the time, the housing prices had not soared. He felt that the price wasn’t bad, and he fortunately had a bit of money with him. So he bought two three-bedroom houses all at once, both within the third ring road3.
He had been visiting B City more frequently in the last two years, so he had hired an auntie. Before they arrived, he had asked the auntie to clean inside and out.
He looked rather proud as he brought Rong Ting into the house. “Although I won’t slander your father in front of you, I still have some things to say. Regardless of whether your father was a prince or an emperor in ancient times, that’s long-gone history4. If he had come with you, he might have been a penniless man in front of your grandpa.”
Rong Ting silently rolled his eyes. “All under heaven is the king’s land5!”
“If that’s what you say, then fine, go over to the neighbor’s house and ask him to drive me his Porsche.” Song Haiping teased, “Didn’t you say ‘all under heaven is the king’s land’, so isn’t another person’s Porshe your Porshe? As my grandson, shouldn’t you be filial to your grandfather?”
Rong Ting was dumbfounded by Song Haiping’s thief-like logic.
“You’re making an unreasonable demand!”
“Gu will never be a person who oppresses the people and robs them of their flesh and blood6!”
“Gu will not stoop to your level!”
After their quarrel, Song Haiping, having looked to his heart’s content at Rong Ting’s exasperated appearance, patted his head. “That’s right ma, children should act like children, instead of going around looking like a little adult every day.”
Rong Ting almost coughed up blood.
Song Haiping brought the still seething Rong Ting out to eat. He also wanted to have Rong Ting’s hair cut while they were out.
Although Rong Ting didn’t say it, Song Yuan knew that he didn’t intend to live here his whole life and had the intention of returning to the palace. It was, after all, the place where he had lived since he was born. It was just that Song Yuan wasn’t as optimistic as he was. He had transmigrated here because he had wished for it. He had said it himself–it was a rare event that occurred once in a hundred years. It was only through the State Preceptor’s method and good luck that he had coincidentally been able to cross through time and space.
From a logical standpoint, Rong Ting’s chances of transmigrating back were nearly zero.
Song Yuan had never brought this up to Rong Ting first because she feared that he wouldn’t be able to accept it.
Song Haiping didn’t have Song Yuan’s meticulousness. He felt that his grandson must definitely find a way to settle down. After setting down, he would go to kindergarten. He couldn’t go around every day wearing traditional clothing and binding his hair.
And so, while they were out for dinner, Song Haiping wanted to take Rong Ting to get him a handsome haircut.
After the grandson and grandfather pair finished eating, Song Haiping said to Rong Ting in a mystical manner: “I will take you to a good place.”
Rong Ting looked indifferent on the surface, but he was very expectant on the inside.
Until Song Haiping brought Rong Ting to the door of the barber shop. Rong Ting popped his head in for a peek and saw the barber cutting hair. Being as clever as he was, he immediately guessed what they were here for. He frowned, backed away two steps, and said to Song Haiping, “You brought gu to cut his hair? Gu refuses.”
Song Haiping pulled Rong Ting forward. “Refuse what ya? Your hair is so long–washing it isn’t easy, and neither is combing it. There are no children in kindergarten who look like you. And when you go to elementary school, the regulations are even stricter. We are cutting it today. Don’t worry ah, Grandpa isn’t stingy. Ask for the most expensive barber here–oh, no–ask for the shop manager to personally cut it for you!”
Rong Ting saw that Song Haiping was being serious. Thinking of the difference in strength between him and his grandfather, he suddenly grew desperate. He knew that there was no point in talking sense into Grandfather, but making him cut his hair–he was better off cutting off his head!
Thinking this, Rong Ting didn’t let Song Haiping grab him. His first reaction was to escape.
He ran with all his might, recklessly charging onto the intersection just as a car sped across.
Song Haiping felt his heart leap to his throat7. “Rong Ting!!”
Rong Ting turned his head and saw a car speeding towards him. He froze, and for a quick moment, his pupils dilated sharply.
Song Haiping was so frightened out of his mind8 that his legs went soft. It was late autumn, and his body was covered in a cold sweat, and he seemed as if he would fall down in the next second. Just then the car was only a dozen centimeters away from Rong Ting, it barely managed to brake and come to a halt.
The driver sat there in the car, still in a state of shock. When he could finally react, he wanted to break out in curses.
Fortunately, he remembered the boss still sitting in the car, and he barely managed to press down the urge to swear.
“Boss, are you9 okay?” The driver, at this moment, cried without tears. The boss was just discharged from the hospital. If he suffered a shock, and the Xie family’s master and madam10 were to know, he didn’t know what they would say, but the boss was their most precious11 child.
What really scared him was, when he turned around to ask, it was as though his entire body was stuck.
He, he actually forgot that his boss had stopped talking because he had suffered a shock.
Why did he ask ah?
The person who the driver called “boss” looked outside the window at the child who was so scared, he didn’t know what to do. He suddenly straightened up, alarm in his previously deep and tranquil eyes. But very quickly, he calmed down. His eyelids lowered, and his hands were on his knees, but his breathing was a little quicker than before.
Song Haiping rushed over and hugged Rong Ting. He was so scared that he couldn’t speak clearly. “You, are you okay! Where does it hurt! Tell Grandpa if you’re uncomfortable anywhere, Grandpa will immediately take you to the hospital!”
Song Haiping’s eyes were bloodshot from fear.
Rong Ting responded rather quickly. He calmed down and rather uncomfortably patted Song Haiping on the back. “Grandfather, gu is unharmed.”
“You’re really not hurt?”
“Really not hurt. The car did not hit gu.”
Song Haiping was finally relieved. He looked at the car, and his heart dropped. Looking at the car and the license plate, he could tell that the owner was a wealthy and respectable person. He was not an unreasonable person; since the child was not harmed, he also would not make trouble12 for the people responsible. His grandson was right there ne. He couldn’t set a bad example for the child.
As Song Haiping prepared to carry the child and leave and let the road return to normal operations, the driver got out of the car.
The driver was also very puzzled. The other party was clearly unwilling to dispute, so why did the boss still signal for him to get in contact with them?
Just now, the boss had looked at the cell phone in his hand. He tentatively asked: “Is it to give the contact information to this person?”
The boss nodded.
The driver walked over to Song Haiping and gave him the boss’s business card. “This is our boss’s business card. If your family’s child has any discomfort, then you can contact us. There is a specialist at B City Hospital; you can bring your family’s child there for a physical examination. All the expenses will be under our boss’s name.”
Song Haiping accepted the business card. He just gave it a glance and was immediately stunned.
W-was this really the business card of the Xie family’s crown prince?!
Song Haiping was a businessman. He struggled from poverty to where he was today by relying on his quick brain.
He took out his own business card from his pocket and handed it to the driver. He knew that his action was a bit rushed, but he would be damned13 if he didn’t try to rub elbows with14 this god of wealth. Now that he left behind a name with the Xie family’s crown prince, the branch family would have to weigh their options if they wanted to find trouble with him.
“This is my business card. Please give it to your boss.” Song Haiping quickly recovered from his panic and restored his previous image of an old hand in the business world. “Truthfully, it was my family’s child who ran onto the road. I have a friend who does car maintenance–if you have any issues with your car later, then you can give me a call. I’ll arrange for your repair and maintenance. I’m truly sorry about this.”
The driver saw that Song Haiping had no intention of scamming them out of money15 and was still polite and full of smiles. “No problem, no problem, just be careful next time.”
Song Haiping was even more polite. “We’ve troubled you.”
After saying this, Song Haiping carried Rong Ting and apologized to the driver before leaving. As he departed, he glanced at the car again.
Rong Ting was also sizing up Song Haiping. He felt that Grandfather’s smile just now was just like that of an old fox.
Song Haiping saw that Rong Ting was looking at him. He put him down and inspected him from head to toe again, making sure that he hadn’t been hit. He said, still with a straight face: “That was really dangerous ah. It’s not good to run off wherever. You just ran right onto the road. If something had happened to you, how am I supposed to explain to your mother? I nearly had a heart attack because of you.”
But speaking of this matter. Song Haiping thought, and said somewhat awkwardly, “You can’t tell your mother about what happened just now.”
“You just can’t.” In fact, Song Haiping was very afraid of his daughter. If she found out that he brought Rong Ting out to cut his hair, making Rong Ting run away and nearly get hit by a car, his daughter would definitely be furious.
Rong Ting didn’t need Song Haiping to tell him; he wouldn’t tell Song Yuan about this incident. He felt that if Empress Mother were to know, she would definitely be worried. He didn’t want Empress Mother to worry about him.
“Gu can keep quiet.” Song Haiping was just about to praise Rong Ting for being sensible when he heard him say, “But gu has a condition.”
“You still have a condition? You want to discuss conditions with me? Fine ba, say it, say it.”
Rong Ting pointed to a large supermarket across the street.
Song Haiping was speechless.
In the end, Song Haiping brought Rong Ting to the supermarket and bought a shopping cart’s worth of snacks.
That evening, in the Xie family’s ancestral home, a man sat on the sofa in the living room. He held a business card in his hand, his expression dark and overcast.
 鸡毛蒜皮: lit. chicken feather, garlic skin
 三环: the third ring road in B City (AKA Beijing). As the name suggests, ring roads are expressways that aren’t linear like most highways and instead circle around the city. The third ring road circles the center of Beijing and runs through the city’s CBD section (financial/business district) and other commercial areas, as well as residential areas. I’m not sure if the houses near this road are particularly any better or higher priced than other residential buildings, but the text seems to imply that they’re special in some way?
 这大清都亡了: used sarcastically in response to someone saying something outdated, dumb, etc. Seems to have the same sort of vibe as “living under a rock” or “where have you been the past XX years?”
 普天之下莫非王土: from the Book of Songs, an early collection of Chinese poems and one of the Five Classics of Confucianism
 民脂民膏: the people’s blood, sweat, and tears
 魂飞魄散: lit. soul flies away and scatters; fig. to be frightened out of one’s mind
 肝胆俱裂: lit. liver and gall (bladder) are split from within; to be extremely terrified or scared
 Formal you
 老爷子, 太太: polite term for an elderly male and married woman/madam, respectively
 命根: lifeblood; the thing that one cherishes most in life
 胡搅蛮缠: to harass somebody with unreasonable demands; to pester somebody endlessly
 王八蛋: bastard; son of a bitch. I think context-wise he means something like ‘he’d be stupid/a loser’
 沾: to receive benefit or advantage through a contact
 碰瓷: I think this is like the third time I’ve translated this LOLOL but let’s drive this home one more time. It means to demand compensation for “damage done”, even though the real victim wasn’t at fault
Cheese: is mr xie thinking about his scary father-in-law or his disobedient son? bc im p sure at this point all foreshadowing points to this guy being our ml
also this was 8 PAGES??? _(:3 」∠)_ yall better love me for this hard work right here. i, too, demand a shopping cart full of snacks ( Φ ω Φ )