He actually had the feeling that “Emperor Father was even more terrifying than before”…
Upon hearing “Emperor Father,” Rong Heng’s face went blank. He looked at Rong Ting and spoke with the tone used to speak with children, “Little kid, what did you call me?”
Don’t even mention Rong Heng; even Song Yuan was startled. For a moment, she didn’t react.
Rong Ting got off the chair, and before Song Yuan was able to react, he came before Rong Heng and gave a solemn salute. He had now withdrawn the shocked expression on his face. At this moment, every nerve seemed stretched taut, unlike his ease in front of Song Yuan. “Er chen greets Emperor Father!”
Rong Heng looked at him, then at Song Yuan, with a look of bewilderment, as though he didn’t understand what was going on. He took a step back and flusteredly looked at Song Yuan. “Miss Song, what, what’s going on?”
It had all happened too suddenly, not giving people the time to brace themselves. Song Yuan reacted by pulling over Rong Ting and placing him behind her. She very seriously told him: “Gugu, you have the wrong person. This is Uncle Xie, Mom’s friend.”
She didn’t expect this to happen. Fearing that Rong Heng would notice something, she turned to him and forced a smile. “I’m sorry, Mr. Xie. My son likes to watch historical dramas. He was just messing with you.”
Fortunately Rong Ting was still young. Adults would just think his behavior was him playing a prank or being mischievous.
Rong Ting was still in shock. He had never expected that Emperor Father would truly come over and stand before him.
Hearing Song Yuan say this, he knit his brows, but he accidentally met eyes with Rong Heng. “Emperor Father, er chen did not intend to overhear your1 conversation with the State Teacher; er chen just missed Empress Mother too much.”
He thought Rong Heng blamed him.
Rong Heng was taken back. The puzzled expression on his face became more pronounced. He looked again at Song Yuan and asked hesitantly, “Really? He’s really just joking with me?”
Song Yuan resolutely answered, “Really, Mr. Xie, I’m sorry. Children are rather naughty.”
Rong Ting was no fool. Seeing the conversation between his family’s Emperor Father and Empress Mother, he quickly realized something was not right. Empress Mother’s amnesia was fine, but why did Emperor Father also look like he had forgotten him?
“Empress Mother, this is Emperor Father. How could gu not even recognize his own Emperor Father!” Rong Ting was anxious, but his fear and respect for Emperor Father was deep in his bones, making him unable to speak directly to Rong Heng. He could only grip Song Yuan’s sleeve and say seriously, “Empress Mother, gu is absolutely not mistaken. This is Emperor Father.”
Rong Ting mustered up the courage to look at Rong Heng. “Emperor Father, it is er chen, don’t you remember? Could it be that you have forgotten everything, just like Empress Mother?”
Song Yuan was very clear on Rong Ting’s character. This child was very good when he was good and very stubborn when he was being stubborn. He was extremely independent and was adept at thinking critically. At the moment, he seemed to he sure that Mr. Xie was his Emperor Father, so he wouldn’t change his view if they continued to talk like this. But how embarrassed Mr. Xie must be; she was clearly the one who invited him to dinner, but he hadn’t even sat down before encountering such an incident.
After some thought, Song Yuan concluded that they probably would not be able to have this meal today, so she said to him, “Mr. Xie, I’m so sorry. Today might not be a good day for food. Can I invite you another day?”
She knew it was extremely inappropriate and impolite to say this, but she really had no other way.
Rong Heng started before immediately smiling. “Since I’m here, let’s just eat together. I see that you two have some things to discuss. It happens that I need to speak to my driver about something; I’ll be out for a bit.”
While Song Yuan was still hesitating, Rong Heng turned to leave the private room. He even thoughtfully closed the door behind him.
Suddenly, only Song Yuan and Rong Ting were left in the room.
Song Yuan turned to seat Rong Ting on the chair. She asked him in a solemn tone, “Gugu, why did you call Mr. Xie Emperor Father? He’s clearly not your Emperor Father.”
Rong Ting said firmly, “He is Emperor Father–I am not mistaken. As the son, how would it be possible to not recognize one’s own parents?”
He and Emperor Father had lived together in the imperial palace for several years. Emperor Father’s speech and actions, Emperor Father’s subtle expressions–he remembered them all. It was impossible for him to be wrong.
“Then, does Mr. Xie resemble your Emperor Father?” Song Yuan contemplated before asking.
Rong Ting nodded. “Not ‘resemble’–he is Emperor Father, not Mr. Xie.”
Could there truly be two people in this world who looked exactly alike?
Song Yuan found that she had almost been taken in, and she tossed out the thoughts she shouldn’t be having out of her mind. “Rong Ting, you listen to me–in this world, there can be people who look similar or even exactly alike. After all, the world is so big–anything is possible. But I think that Mr. Xie is definitely not your Emperor Father. Think about it. If your Emperor Father came here, then there’s no way he could have an identity in this world. Just like you–the reason you can have an identity and a household registration is that you are my son. If your Emperor Father transmigrated here, who would recognize him? Don’t even mention living like an ordinary person–without an identity, a family, friends, or money, it would be difficult for an person from the ancient times to do a single thing.
“I told you about Mr. Xie’s background. He is from an elite family in B City. He has a family and friends. Speaking logically, he couldn’t be your Emperor Father, don’t you think?”
Rong Ting was silent for a moment, looking at Song Yuan with a hurt expression. “Empress Mother, don’t you believe me? I’m not mistaken; it is Emperor Father.”
Song Yuan couldn’t bear seeing the child like this. She wrapped him up in a hug, patting his back in comfort. “It’s not that I don’t believe you; it’s just that this kind of thing is too bizarre. How’s this? Your grandpa is more knowledgeable about B City. We can first ask about the Xie family’s situation, then look at past photos of Uncle Xie. Maybe there really are two people who look exactly the same. So since we’re out today, let’s eat well, okay? Didn’t you want to eat instant-boiled mutton?”
Rong Ting slowly calmed down and shook his head. “Not the appearance, it’s not the appearance. It is Emperor Father. I’m absolutely not mistaken.” He paused. “Empress Mother, did you not previously do a paternity test? We can do it now; it will prove that I was not mistaken.”
Song Yuan was flabbergasted. “This… isn’t this inappropriate?”
How long had she and Mr. Xie known each other? How embarrassed would she be to make such a request? People would think she was crazy!
“Empress Mother originally did not believe I was your child and only believed it was true after doing the paternity test.”
“But…” She was so embarrassed to say this to Mr. Xie, but Gugu was being so stubborn. What a headache! She knew she shouldn’t have brought him.
While the mother and son had a conversation, there was a knock on the door, followed by Rong Heng coming in.
Rong Ting involuntarily straightened up upon seeing him and was just about to greet him when Song Yuan tugged him and shook her head.
Rong Ting could only swallow back the words “Emperor Father.”
Although he was very afraid of Emperor Father, Empress Mother had hinted so much, and he couldn’t go against Empress Mother. Surely Emperor Father would not blame him in the future.
In Song Yuan’s original plan, it was a happy thing to have authentic instant-boiled mutton in the winter. But after that, the atmosphere in the compartment was so strange it made people lose their appetites.
Rong Heng was indeed a gentleman. “The child’s black bean noodles seem cold. Let’s ask the waiter to inform the kitchen to make another bowl.”
“No need.” Song Yuan shook her head. “Let’s not waste it. We can just add some hot water and mix it.”
When Rong Ting had first arrived, he had embodied the image of a crown prince who was “above the common people’s suffering2.” Later, with her education and her lead, he began to learn not to waste.
Rong Ting didn’t say anything, but from time to time he would look at Rong Heng.
He gradually fell into confusion. He was so sure that this person was Emperor Father, but how could Emperor Father become so different?
It was like he was an entirely different person. Emperor Father was always careful with his speech and laughter and never showed any expression. The ministers feared him, and the concubines in the harem feared him even more. Even he, his only son, feared him.
But how did Emperor Father become like this? He talked and laughed with Empress Mother and even took the initiative to cook the instant-boiled mutton with the communal chopsticks. He spoke in a gentle tone, and he acted with attentiveness and consideration.
This was Emperor Father?
None of the three particularly enjoyed the meal of instant-boiled mutton. Song Yuan took her phone to the front desk to pay. As she left, she whispered to Rong Ting, “Don’t talk about those strange things with Uncle Xie. Don’t say anything, and just smile if he asks you anything, understand?”
Rong Ting nodded begrudgingly.
Rong Heng had wanted to pay the bill, but Song Yuan refused. So while he headed to the bathroom, he quickly stopped by the front desk.
When Rong Heng returned, there was only Rong Ting in the room.
He sat down next to Rong Ting.
Rong Ting unconsciously shrank away.
Rong Heng’s eyes were filled with a smile. “Little friend, you seem very afraid of me?”
Rong Ting recalled Song Yuan’s instructions. He hesitated before shaking his head, not opening his mouth to reply.
Seeing him like this, the smile on Rong Heng’s face widened. “Did you receive the copybook I asked your mom to give to you?”
Rong Heng nodded hesitantly and whispered in his heart, Emperor Father, er chen received it.
“Do you practice every day?”
Rong Ting nodded. Of course he did. He didn’t dare to slack off every day, let alone neglect his studies.
“That’s good. I’ll find more good copybooks for you some other day.”
Rong Ting watched him with a steady gaze. He didn’t know why; he just felt that this person was Emperor Father. Before, he had always hoped that Emperor Father could treat him better, could smile at him more, could speak with him more. Seeing Emperor Father become like this, he actually had the feeling that “Emperor Father was even more terrifying than before”…
 Formal “you” (您). From here on, Rong Ting always uses the formal “you” when speaking directly to Rong Heng
 不止民间疾苦: nothing really showed up to explain this phrase, but based on context, it probably means that the crown prince (or any member of the royal family, really) stands above the suffering of the people. As in, he probably didn’t care before whether he wasted food or not
Cheese: I am, once again, making a change! Changed Mother Empress and Father Emperor to Empress Mother and Emperor Father lol
I will go back to make the appropriate changes to the previous chapters when the motivation hits me (loooool whenever that is) went back and made the changes to the previous chapters (it took me 2 days…) lmk if you catch any changes that i missed!