It seemed that in her heart, anyone, no matter who, would be more important than him, and she would rather trust others than trust him.
Sometimes Song Yuan felt as though she was overwhelmed, and sometimes she was extremely calm. Like right now–her hands were shaking, and her soul was shaking, but when Rong Ting came in and asked her what had happened, she calmed down in a moment and smiled as though there was nothing wrong. “The electric toothbrush might be broken. I’ll change it later. Gugu, I signed you up for a class nearby. I’ll come over after lunch. Do you remember?”
Rong Ting made a noise of confirmation. “Remember. There are two classes in the afternoon, taekwondo and English.”
Although they hadn’t moved here very long ago, Song Yuan didn’t dare to delay the child’s education and signed Rong Ting up for a taekwondo class and an English class at a nearby academy. Kindergarteners could speak English so well nowadays; Gugu had already lost at the starting line and couldn’t continue to fall behind.
“Both classes are over an hour long; Mom doesn’t need to stay with you the entire time. I asked the teacher–other parents drop off their kids and come pick them up after class.”
“Empress Mother,” Rong Ting frowned at her, “You mentioned this last night. Why emphasize it again today?”
Song Yuan’s heart thumped, but she outwardly pretended she was fine. “Ah, I forgot. I haven’t been resting well recently, and my memory’s gone bad.”
“Then Empress Mother should focus on resting. You do not need to wait for me there. Wait until I call you after class, and you can pick me up then. There is no need for worry; I will not speak to or leave with strangers.”
The morning passed quickly. Song Yuan hadn’t hired an auntie yet, so she just made stewed ribs with rice in the rice cooker. Fortunately, Rong Ting wasn’t very picky.
After eating and resting for a bit, the mother-son pair headed out. The academy wasn’t far from the community; it was only a ten minute walk.
Song Yuan waited until Rong Ting entered the classroom before she left. She practically flew back home. She shut the door and sat on the sofa. Taking a deep breath, and sent her parents a text message: “SOS! Emergency situation1!”
When something like this happened, the first people she thought of were her mom and dad.
She felt that, so long as she had her parents by her side she felt at ease. Even if the sky were falling, she wouldn’t be so panicked.
She didn’t know if her parents were busy; she could only send the message first. Then, Song Yuan held her breath, staring at the wallpaper behind the TV in a daze.
Soon after, Song Haiping called. There was some noise, but it quickly quieted down. “Yuanyuan, what’s wrong? No money?”
Song Yuan had nearly been scared to death; she’d restrained herself the entire day. At this moment, upon hearing her father’s voice, she finally unleashed her emotions. “Dad! You remember that Mr. Xie? Did you know?! He, he’s actually Rong Ting’s dad!”
It was an earth-shattering bolt from the blue.
Song Haiping thought he was hallucinating. “What, what did you say?”
His local dialect came out2.
“Dad, what should I do? I can’t believe it’s true. When Rong Ting saw him a few days ago, he said that he was his Emperor Father. I don’t know how to explain it, I don’t know what came over me, but I actually agreed with him taking a paternity test. And the results show they have a father and son relationship! How is that possible! What should I do?!”
Song Haiping was silent for a moment. “Yuanyuan, is today April Fool’s Day?”
“I didn’t lie to you. I’ll send you a screenshot of the results. I wouldn’t joke about such a huge matter.”
The father and daughter duo were like broken records, repeating the words “how can this be” and “is this a joke,” when Song Yuan’s phone vibrated. She checked and saw it was her mom’s phone call. She hurriedly said, “Dad, I have to go. Mom’s calling.”
Song Yuan hung up on her father and connected with her mother’s call.
Perhaps it was that she had freaked out for a round with her father, but she was a little calmer than before when she accepted her mother’s call. “Mom, Rong Ting’s dad seems to have also come. I don’t know how to explain it, but the paternity test shows that they have a father-son relationship. Mom, what should I do? I don’t dare to tell Rong Ting, in case he would see it.”
There was silence on the other end.
Chen Jinling was much calmer than Song Haiping, but her tone was much more serious. “Yuanyuan, don’t panic. Mom will buy the fastest ticket to B City. I should be there tonight. Don’t say anything, don’t do anything. Your dad should also know, and he’ll be rushing over. Let’s hold off on discussing everything.”
Song Yuan instantly calmed down at her words.
After hanging up, she obediently sat at home and waited.
Rong Ting would be at the academy for about three hours. Even if Song Yuan was in a daze, she didn’t forget about the child. It was getting dark now. Just as she was about to head out, her phone rang. It was Rong Ting.
When she heard him call her this, she knew that there should be another person nearby him.
“The teacher said that it was a student’s birthday, so he had us stay and bought pizza, pasta, and cake. I may return later. The teacher wants to talk to you on the phone.”
“Rong Ting’s mom? I’m Liu laoshi. Today is one of the children’s birthday. Her parents said that she doesn’t have friends, and she’s more introverted, so they hoped to celebrate her birthday here and invited the class’s students to eat cake. Don’t worry, we will stay in the classroom and won’t go outside.”
“Okay, Liu laoshi. Then what time should I go to pick him up?”
“The children said they wanted to watch cartoons together. If you don’t mind, you can come at eight.”
Song Yuan naturally had no opinions. She hoped for Rong Ting to make a few more friends, which would help him integrate with this time period more quickly. “Okay, Liu laoshi, thank you.”
Liu laoshi handed the phone to Rong Ting. “Rong Ting, do you want to say something else to your mom?”
Rong Ting accepted the phone and retreated to a relatively quieter corner before saying, “Empress Mother, today was an unexpected incident. I don’t really want to stay. Such a thing won’t happen again in the future.”
Imagining him saying this with an upright expression on his face, Song Yuan hurriedly corrected him. “No, no, Mom likes this unexpected accident. But in the future, it’s better to put your own opinion first. Then, have fun. I’ll pick you up later.”
Not long after hanging up, there was a knock on the door. She looked through the peephole, and it was her mom and dad standing at the door!
A few minutes later, the three people were sitting in the living room. Their gazes flitted to each other and fixed themselves onto the electronic report on the coffee table. The atmosphere was eerily silent.
After what was probably a few hours to process, Song Haiping and Chen Jinling both looked as though they had seen through the impurities of life3, neither joyful nor sorrowful.
After having a grandson who transmigrated from ancient times suddenly drop in out of nowhere, it seemed that they could accept any strange occurrence, no matter how strange it was.
“Yuanyuan, your mom and I talked on our way here.”
Song Haiping broke the silence first. “Now, let’s talk about my and your mom’s opinion. First, go to the institution and see if there is any possibility of an error. You don’t need to show up for this; your mom and I will go. Regardless of whether this thing is real or fake, we suggest you don’t have any more contact with him. If it’s true, you should treat it as though it never happened, and don’t let Mr. Xie know. There’s no need to stay in B City anymore, so let’s go back. Although the medical and educational conditions there aren’t as good as in B City, we can be at ease there. We can’t afford to offend these families, and we can’t afford to hide. Let’s go home.”
He and his wife thought about the long term. No matter what happened, once they confirmed the authenticity of the paternity test, they would leave B City.
Although he still hadn’t figured out the relation between the Xie crown prince and Rong Ting’s Emperor Father, one thing was clear. It was fine if Rong Ting’s Emperor Father had a connection with the Xie family. The most the Xie family would do if they found out was snatch Rong Ting. If they weren’t related, if Crown Prince Xie was a fake, they didn’t want to take this thieves’ ship! Cut off, cut off relations! Wouldn’t they become cannon fodder once it was revealed?
Chen Linjing nodded, clearly agreeing with Song Haiping’s opinion.
Song Yuan was anxious and doubtful. Of the entire world, these two were the two who were genuinely good to her and would never harm her.
She understood the stakes, and after thinking it through, she whispered, “Okay.”
As for Rong Ting, she would think of another way.
Just at that moment, there was a knock on the door. Song Yuan nearly jumped in fright. Ever since she saw the electronic report this morning, her heart felt like a roller coaster; she honestly couldn’t stand any frights. She hadn’t been like this when Rong Ting had transmigrated to find her…
She got up and approached the door. She carefully peeked through the peephole and saw that the person standing at the door was Rong Heng. She stepped back in shock and looked towards the living room at her parents. “He, he’s here, that Mr. Xie came!”
Should they pretend the house was vacant? But he could see the light in the house through the bottom of the door?
How did he know she lived here?
Chen Jinling pondered for a moment before saying, “Let him come in. I guess he knows. Of course, it’s best if he doesn’t know.”
Although Song Haiping was reluctant, he said nothing.
Song Yuan took a deep breath and opened the door like a warrior facing battle4. She could no longer calmly face him, and of course, she had no leisure to admire his looks that checked off her aesthetics.
Right now, Rong Heng was a great disaster5 to her.
Rong Heng gave her a glance and walked in. He didn’t seem surprised to see Song Haiping and Chen Linjing there as he greeted them composedly. “Hello, Uncle and Auntie.”
Song Haiping gave no response.
Although he was the Xie family’s Crown Prince, when he thought about how he could be Rong Ting’s father, it was difficult for him to show him a good appearance, let alone be polite.
Business was business, money was money, and daughters were daughters. He knew what was more important.
On the other hand, Chen Linjing looked much more calm. She said to Song Yuan, “Yuanyuan, go pour Mr. Xie a cup of tea.”
Before Song Yuan could move, Rong Heng interrupted, “Auntie, there’s no need.”
“There is. Anyone who comes is a guest.”
Song Yuan continued into the kitchen and poured a cup of tea. She then returned to the living room, approached Rong Heng, and offered him the cup. When he came to accept it, the two’s fingertips touched.
Thinking about how the two of them had been husband and wife in the ancient times, Song Yuan felt a sense of dissonance. It made her want to return to her parents’ side as quickly as possible. The living room felt like two worlds–her and her parents on one end, and him, alone, on the other.
Rong Heng lowered his eyelids, concealing his true emotions.
It was the same as that year. They had been married not too long ago, but she wasn’t happy. He had been busy with national affairs, and when he was free, he thought about how to make her happy again.
It was as though the other women in the palace didn’t exist. Only he and she were the masters.
One day, she had finally smiled at him. She had asked the kitchen to prepare a bowl and said to eat while it was warm. He had thought she was finally opening up, and his heart had leapt for joy. But instead, she had asked whether she could be allowed to leave the palace for a trip, as she wanted to return to the General’s Manor to see her parents.
She said that, when her father was young and headed out to the battlefield, the conditions had been arduous and had left their marks in his old age. At this time of the season, his leg would ache, making it difficult for him to fall asleep. She was a bit worried.
She also said that her mother had fallen ill following childbirth. Now, her body was frail and sickly, and she wasn’t at ease.
She said that she wanted to bring an imperial physician to take a look at them. They had been good to her, had saved her. She hoped that they could live a long, peaceful life.
But she hadn’t seemed to notice he had caught a cold two days ago, or that he had been coughing.
It seemed that in her heart, anyone, no matter who, would be more important than him, and she would rather trust others than trust him. And his heart, from beginning to end, only had her.
 江湖救急: vaguely means “Jianghu in peril,” but it basically just means that there’s an emergency. Jianghu typically refers to the community of martial artists in wuxia stories
 Song Haiping uses 啥 here, which is the dialectical equivalent of 什么. It’s used in several dialects of Mandarin, Min Nan, and Wu.
 看破红尘: to see through the world of mortals (literally “red dust/earth”); to be disillusioned with the world.
 壮士扼腕: hero/warrior clutching/wringing his wrist. He is bracing himself before amputating his wrist, which has been bitten by a poisonous viper, or so the Internet tells me. It’s a metaphor for staying strong and brave in the face of adversity. Opted for a less literal translation because we don’t really have a similar metaphor in English (I think)
 洪水猛兽: severe floods and fierce beasts; fig. extremely dangerous or threatening thing(s)
Cheese: im gonna be honest, i dont really understand what rong heng’s plan is here. hes already spent this entire time pretending that he doesnt know rong ting and song yuan but now he comes to song yuans house, uninvited, coincidentally after the results of the paternity test came out (to announce that yes, it’s true, he’s the emperor?? or otherwise, what?)? is he trying to make it seem like he transmigrated into xie hengs body but with none of his memories intact? why? what exactly is the point? to have a fresh start with song yuan, since “neither of them” remember the past?