“Remember well–there is no one in this world who is like her, and none who will replace her.”
Song Yuan ran all the way from the gates of the community to her building. She didn’t get drenched, but she didn’t dare to get too careless in this weather. If she caught a cold, she’d have to suffer for at least a week. As soon as she crossed through the door, she greeted Rong Ting, then grabbed her pajamas and rushed into the bathroom.
Every day, Rong Ting would wait for Song Yuan to come home before eating dinner. There was no Grand Tutor here, but he managed his own time very well.
He had already finished his school work and practiced his calligraphy. Moreover, he felt that the secrets and knowledge contained within the books here greatly expanded his knowledge and outlook.
Song Yuan washed her hair and showered until her entire body gave off steam. Winter was the season of fattening up1. At this moment, she was staring at the dishes on the table with itchy fingers2, but they were no longer steaming hot. She warmed up the dishes again with Rong Ting at her side. Although he didn’t say it outright, his affection for her was visible to anyone with eyes.
The little prince had lacked maternal love.
In the past, Song Yuan would share stories about her day with Rong Ting, but today, she didn’t really want to share.
If this child heard that she had shared an umbrella with another man today, he would probably be too angry to sleep at night. Who knew if His Majesty the emperor was usually too awe-inspiring–Rong Ting said that he only wanted her to be happy, but in his heart, he wished she could reconcile with his Emperor Father.
Gugu definitely loved her very, very much, but he also deeply adored his Emperor Father, although he didn’t say it.
After eating, Rong Ting took the initiative to help Song Yuan clean up. The auntie had already left, but fortunately they had a dishwasher at home. After they had eaten and drunk enough, Song Yuan had Rong Ting go wash up.
The mother and son, both smelling fresh and clean, lay on the sofa and watched TV.
Song Yuan didn’t have a habit of following dramas. Rong Ting wasn’t interested in any TV shows, including cartoons, but in the winter, it was simply impossible to go out for a stroll in the cold winds. The only mode of entertainment the two could engage in together was watch TV.
Recently, Song Yuan had started following a transmigration internet-adapted drama3 that her colleague was gushing about.
As a matter of fact, there was no need for her coworker to hype it up. The male lead was a little fresh meat4 who Song Yuan liked very much. In order to support her family’s idol, Song Yuan would naturally watch it to up the ratings.
The side CP’s all exited the stage7 one after another. Song Yuan couldn’t endure this sort of drama. Not only did the actors in this ensemble cast have both face value and acting skills, but also the costumes and props were exquisite, and the video quality was very clear and gave people the sense that they were watching a movie. What was more, the BGM was too tear-jerking–as soon as the intro played, Song Yuan’s eyes turned red.
Rong Ting found this drama to be extremely boring.
Unlike other children, he had no interest in adult drama series, and he was even less interested in cartoon shows.
He happened to turn his head and was horrified to see his Empress Mother sitting next to him with tears in her eyes.
“Why is Empress Mother crying?” Rong Ting asked in astonishment.
Song Yuan wiped away her tears. She, too, felt that she must look neurotic looking like this in front of the child. “Don’t you feel sad? The one thing I can’t stand the most besides love scenes is the separation through life and death. It’s so painful–your loved one is dead, and you’re still alive. Of course, it’s even more painful to send your child off8.”
Your loved one was dead, while you were still alive–was that not the most painful thing?
Rong Ting looked thoughtful, but he still said: “Empress Mother’s tears of sorrow are because the drama is filled with rich and exquisite sentiment.”
Song Yuan was a bit embarrassed. “It’s okay. It’s mainly because I really like this pair.”
She had already stopped crying. If she shed tears over a drama plot in front of the child, she would seem extremely childish.
Rong Ting didn’t know whether he had been influenced by her. It was supposed to be a night of parent-child bonding by watching a drama together. Every day, he would point out flaws, whether about the clothes being offensive to the eyes9 or about the lack of discipline of the people wearing them. All in all, that little mouth had a lot to say. Today, strangely, he didn’t say anything. Even when the male lead went in and out of the rear palace whenever he wanted despite being an outsider, or even when he pulled the female lead into a hug, Rong Ting acted as though he had no eyes and didn’t express his evaluation.
Rong Ting just thought of his Emperor Father.
The year he had followed his Emperor Father to Xiayang, he didn’t remember the specific reason why they had gone. He had been young, about three or four years old. He only knew that Emperor Father seemed to have something extremely important to handle.
A child’s memory was limited, after all. He had forgotten many things, but one thing resurfaced in his mind thanks to Empress Mother’s words.
On their way to Xiayang that year, they had stopped by a manor for a short break, and Emperor Father had spotted a young woman. At that time, sitting by Emperor Father’s side, he personally witnessed Emperor Father’s absentmindedness.
He had still been rather naughty at that time. While he was entertaining himself, he accidentally overheard a whispered conversation between some maids who had accompanied them.
The palace maid said in a low voice that the young woman slightly resembled his Empress Mother. Now that she had caught Emperor Father’s attention, she would definitely be brought back to the palace and perhaps become a favored concubine.
He hadn’t understood what it meant at that time–he only felt curiosity. Since he had never seen Empress Mother, he wanted to go and take a look at that young woman, only to discover that she wasn’t in the manor anymore.
That night, as the old maid took care of him as usual, he was very puzzled and asked the old maid whether the young maiden from earlier in the day resembled Empress Mother.
Before the old maid could answer, Emperor Father had come in and sent everyone out of the room. When the room was only left with him and Emperor Father, he felt somewhat uneasy.
Emperor Father sat in a chair staring at the candle, his thoughts unknown. Later, Emperor Father told him: “She does not. Remember well–there is no one in this world who is like her, and none who will replace10 her.”
In the end, that young maiden was not brought back to the palace like others had guessed, and Emperor Father had punished a number of people for the speculations. During that time, the air pressure was extremely low, keeping many people on tenterhooks.
Thinking of it now, someone must have thought to use that woman for their own interests. It was only a pity that that person had misjudged the heart of the Son of Heaven.
That night before going to bed, Rong Ting lay in bed. Song Yuan was getting ready to read him a bedtime story as usual when Rong Ting shook his head. He hesitantly said to her: “Empress Mother, although gu doesn’t understand the matters between men and women, gu thinks that Emperor Father has you in his heart.”
Song Yuan was stunned, then she smilingly stroked his head. “En, I know.”
After coming to understand Rong Ting’s adoration and respect for his Emperor Father, she would no longer speak her innermost thoughts in front of him again.
After all, just because she had forgotten that bit of memory, that didn’t mean that it didn’t exist. If she denied this point, what would the child think? If she expressed her instinctive dislike for emperor roles in front of the child, it would be the child who was unhappy in the end.
The future was long.
There would come a day when Gugu accepted that his parents had “divorced.”
And until he accepted it, she didn’t need to press his head down and force him to accept it.
What Gugu said probably influenced Song Yuan. After having slept well for some time, she had another dream.
In the dream, she seemed to be strolling down the street in traditional clothing. It was nighttime, and she was with someone else as she excitedly released a sky lantern11.
The sky lantern ascended into the air. The night was beautiful, and there were many people lighting lanterns. That person held her hand. She was somewhat shy, but she still twined her fingers with his.
She looked up to peek at that person’s face, but it was blurred in her dream, and she couldn’t see it clearly.
“If you round it up, the sky lanterns can be treated as a shooting star. I want to make a wish!” This was her speaking.
That man just chuckled.
“I wish for Ziheng to be healthy and live a long life!”
“Is that your wish?”
“Don’t be moved too soon. I’m a rather cruel person. If you do something that hurts me, we’re breaking up. I’ll go find someone else, and you–you can only watch helplessly, then live a long life. Ei.” She thought and seemed to find that saying this was inappropriate. “No, that’s not right. After we break up, I definitely won’t concern myself with you.”
That person seemed to say something, but she didn’t hear it clearly. Then she woke up.
Song Yuan sat in bed. How should she phrase it? It was different from last time, when she thought she was dreaming. This time her line of thinking diverged, and she made a bold speculation: what if this wasn’t just a simple dream? Could it possibly be a real experience she had in the ancient times?
She changed her clothes and walked out of the bedroom. Rong Ting was already awake and practicing his calligraphy. She walked over, stewing in her thoughts for a bit. Finally, she expressed her suspicions. “Gugu, let me ask you a question. What is your Emperor Father’s name?”
Rong Ting gave her a glance, then picked up a brush and wrote two characters on a sheet of rice paper.
“Rong Heng?” Song Yuan nodded. “Then let me ask you again. Does he have any other names? Such as Ziheng or something.”
She didn’t know about the circumstances of the Great Ye Dynasty. From what she understood of other dynasties that existed, some poets seemed to have courtesy name14.
Rong Ting shook his head. “Gu has never heard this name.”
It seemed that it really was just a dream.
But maybe it really was a real experience she had in the ancient times; it was just that her boyfriend wasn’t the emperor.
In transmigration novels, wouldn’t there be some prince or emperor who used a random name to mix in with the people…
It was just a pity that Gugu didn’t know much. Or, maybe she could put together the bits and pieces to figure it out!
It had snowed again last night, and the ground had turned white. Given such weather, Song Yuan would be even less likely to drive, and she well-behavedly headed to the bus stop to take the bus. She didn’t even reach the bus stop when she spotted the white haired handsome ge standing at the station!
A guy as handsome as him would be the center of attention no matter where he was. At least she could spot him right away.
She didn’t know if her gaze had been too intense or not. He also turned his head to look over, and their gazes met.
He shot her a smile. It should be his way of greeting.
Song Yuan held the umbrella handle, looking calm on the surface. She even reciprocated with a smile of her own.
 贴膘的季节: lit. season of sticking on/stockpiling fat
 食指大开: describing the movement of the index finger when inching towards food LOL
 穿越网剧: I think this is referring to an adaptation of an online transmigration novel into a TV drama
 小鲜肉: slang for a teen idol or a young male celebrity. Think youthful, boyishly handsome young man (as opposed to a rugged or mature man with facial hair)
 群像戏: multiple actors/performers are assigned roughly equal amounts of screen/play time. Examples in American pop culture include Golden Girls and Friends, or, for more modern examples, Game of Thrones or Stranger Things
 CP: pairing, or ship. Long-time Cnovel readers will probably know this one very well
 领饭盒: slang to refer to when one’s role is no longer important in the play or drama[, so the actor is given a lunch box to take home]. From personal experience, I’ve only seen this term used when the person’s role is killed off LOL
 白发人送黑发人: lit. white-haired person sends off the black-haired person
 辣眼睛: lit. spicy eye(s)
 Took a bit of liberty here. In the raws, he actually says 成为, which means to become or to turn into. But it just didn’t sit right with me, so I opted for a less literal but similar meaning
 孔明灯: also known as a Chinese lantern or a Kongming lantern. They’re much bigger than what I initially imagined. I highly recommend you look up pictures!
 两情相悦: (of a couple) to be harmonious; to be each other’s sunshine
 长相厮守: possibly from the Book of Songs?? The Baidu translate comes out as a mess, so I can’t decipher much about the history or origins, but this phrase essentially means to stand by each other forever
 字: a courtesy name, or style name, is one bestowed upon a man upon reaching adulthood. It is different from one’s given name (the name given at birth), and it is considered extremely discourteous to call one’s peer by their given name instead of their courtesy name.
Cheese: ofc as soon as i start getting into a side job my personal time gets consumed by omniscient reader’s viewpoint *rolls eyes emoji* i am my own greatest evil