“I also forgot. But when two people get married, it should be out of love, right?”
Rong Ting didn’t tell others what he had overheard in the classroom. Even Song Yuan didn’t know.
After class, he came up to Helen laoshi and handed her the container. “Helen laoshi, these are very sweet. I’ll give them to you.”
Helen laoshi was stunned. She looked at the beautiful strawberries and cherries and asked in a quiet voice, “Why did you want to give laoshi1 fruit?”
“My mom said that you will feel better after eating something sweet. I tried them. The strawberries are sweet, and the cherries are sweet too.”
“Lance, thank you.”
She thought, then earnestly apologized. “Sorry, I might have brought my private circumstances to class. It won’t happen anymore.”
Her students were very bright. Starting today, she had received a continuous stream of snacks, candy, and jelly from the children, their gazes full of innocence. They were worried about her, and she, as an adult, actually made these children worry for her.
Rong Ting said calmly, “It’s no matter. I will forgive you.”
Helen laoshi suddenly laughed. “Mm, thank you.”
She took off the wedding ring. Her parents told her that there would always be friction of one kind or another in marriage, and it would pass after bearing with it. Not to mention, it wasn’t an egregious affair. But she didn’t feel that way. She couldn’t bear to step into the wedding hall with such a person. As long as she imagined him flirting with others, she felt disgusted.
As Rong Ting prepared to leave, he curiosity seemed to get the better of him. He turned and asked her, “Helen laoshi, where is your ring?”
Helen laoshi was stunned upon hearing these words. She tucked some stray hair behind her ear and smiled. “I thought I looked better without a ring.”
Rong Ting left deep in thought.
This incident was just a small one, leaving only a vague impression in Rong Ting’s mind–Helen laoshi’s pained, hopeless, and choked cries.
It was Song Haiping who came to receive Rong Ting today.
Song Haiping had left B City several days ago. Unable to not worry, he pushed back the end-of-year dinner. This was the result of a discussion with his ex-wife.
Rong Ting asked, “Where is Empress Mother?”
Song Haiping lifted him up in a hug and set him down again. Taking his backpack, he cheerfully said, “Yuanyuan’s former roommate from college works here and just came back from a business trip. The two of them made an appointment to have dinner. It’s just the two of us today. Come with Grandpa and I’ll buy you anything you want to eat. Happy?”
“It’s okay,” the prideful Rong Ting, who was very happy but didn’t want to show his grandfather, said.
“What ‘it’s okay.’ You, this child, so awkward. You definitely take after your dad.”
Rong Ting‘s lips curled. From Grandfather’s point of view, his bad traits took after his Emperor Father, and his good traits resembled his Empress Mother.
Song Yuan was delighted today. After graduating, the four dorm mates were in different cities. At their farewell dinner, they made a promise to travel together every year, but now it was difficult to meet. Her roommate was called Ying Xiaoyu, and the two of them had a good relationship in college. They would often go shopping together and go to the cafeteria. They even shared makeup. Although she couldn’t be considered a BFF like Xie Ya, she was still a very close friend.
After graduating, Ying Xiaoyu came to B City with her boyfriend to develop. She was in sales and often went on business trips. She just returned yesterday, and today she asked Song Yuan out to dinner, saying she would be the host and welcome her on behalf of the people of B City.
Song Yuan made herself up beautifully, took an express train to the center of the shopping mall, and lined up to buy Ying Xiaoyu her favorite milk tea.
But Song Yuan didn’t expect she would see Ji Junpei at the restaurant.
Ying Xiaoyu, energetic as ever, pulled Song Yuan down to sit beside her. “Yuanyuan, I missed you so much! Come, give me a hug. Ji xuezhang, you don’t mind, right?”
Ji Junpei just smiled and didn’t speak.
Ying Xiaoyu was usually busy with work and rarely popped up2 in the WeChat group. At the moment, she still didn’t know about her and Ji Junpei’s complex but fruitless relationship.
“Xiaoyu, why didn’t you tell me that xuezhang was here too?” Song Yuan pursed her lips. “I only bought two milk teas.”
Ji Junpei spoke up. “It’s okay. I can drink water.”
Ying Xiaoyu’s mind was not so meticulous. She handed the menu to Song Yuan and urged her to order. “Come come come, you order. I feel really sorry, so I’ll order a drink for Ji xuezhang. It’s not a big deal.”
“Okay.” Song Yuan absentmindedly ordered, but she was wondering, why did Ji Junpei come?
Ying Xiaoyu was worthy of being in sales; she could keep the atmosphere going on her own. With her around, Song Yuan felt that the meal seemed less awkward.
“Xuezhang, you should know Wu Hao, right?”
“Mn, he used to be in the dorm next to mine. Why?”
Ying Xiaoyu spoke as she drank milk tea, “Nothing much. Wu Hao and I are from the same country town, and his mom and my mom are colleagues. I heard that Wu Hao made his mom so mad that she was hospitalized for a bit. It seems that Wu Hao found a divorcee, and that woman even brought over a two-year-old child. What’s he thinking?”
Song Yuan, who had been eating fish, put down her chopsticks at these words.
Ji Junpei’s expression was natural. “I don’t have much contact with him. But I’ve heard about it.”
“Have you met that woman?”
“No.” Ji Junpei shook his head.
“I remember that Wu Hao was also very popular in school.” Ying Xiaoyu contemplated for a moment, then asked curiously, “Do you men not care about this sort of thing? I couldn’t do it. I’d feel terrible being a stepmom.”
“It depends on the person. Some people don’t mind, and some people do.” In order to shift the atmosphere, Ji Junpei paused, then said in a joking tone, “It’s not easy to be a stepmom, or a stepdad.”
“How about you, Yuanyuan? I remember Wu Hao used to pursue you back then?”
Song Yuan recovered her wits and said helplessly, “Where’d this rumor come from?”
Fortunately, the topic was smoothly glossed over.
After eating, Ying Xiaoyu said that she and her boyfriend had a date at the movies. It was clearly an effort for Song Yuan and Ji Junpei to be alone.
The two took the escalator downstairs and walked out of the shopping mall. A bitterly cold puff of wind blew straight through their clothes.
“Yuanyuan, I’ll take you home. Where do you live now?”
Song Yuan looked at Ji Junpei. She suddenly felt that he hadn’t changed, and she had.
To Ji Junpei, they were fine, but to her they were not. He didn’t know that she had stayed in the ancient times for several years, and during those few years she had encountered many good things and met many good people, causing his impression in her heart to grow light, so light that they were actually like friends.
He had done nothing wrong. Perhaps he was wondering why she had suddenly become so cold.
“Xuezhang, let go of the past.” Song Yuan smiled as she looked at him. She exhaled softly. “I like someone else. I’m really not lying to you; you must be able to tell that I’m not the same. I don’t want you to waste time on me. Hasn’t it already been several years?”
Ji Junpei lowered his head, silent.
He’d had a faint guess that she had other thoughts. His friends had advised him not to waste time on a person he had no hope with, but he constantly felt that he had left something unfinished.
She’d waited too long for him. He’d also made her waste several years of time. Now he was back, and he had done nothing for her. Was this okay?
Seeing that Ji Junpei didn’t say anything, Song Yuan could only say farewell. “Then, xuezhang, I’ll be leaving. My child’s still waiting for me at home.”
She crossed the street. Ji Junpei raised his head, only to see her retreating figure.
In the living room, three men sat on the sofa watching TV.
Rong Ting sat in the middle. On his left was Song Haiping, and on his right was Rong Heng.
Rong Heng knew that Rong Ting liked strawberries, so today he specially came over and gave strawberries. He originally was going to drop them off and leave since Song Yuan wasn’t at home, but for some reason, by the time he came to, he was already sitting on the sofa.
The three of them were watching a palace struggle drama.
It just so happened that the channel was broadcasting a rerun. The TV and the series was originally supposed to be a backdrop, but the three were unconsciously drawn to it.
A palace struggle drama is naturally a women’s drama; everyone piled together and fought. Today, a concubine will have a miscarriage, tomorrow another will fall out of favor. Everyone doing their utmost, the harem a battlefield, a war without gunpowder. As for the men, they were nothing but tools and backgrounds.
Rong Ting frowned. As a nitpicking expert, he naturally wouldn’t sit still3.
Song Haiping saw one of the concubines schemed for the female protagonist to miscarry, and her face was as white as a sheet. His brain grew bigger, and he said, “Our Yuanyuan wasn’t hurt by these schemes and tricks in the past, right?”
Each concubine was more vicious than the last. Could Yuanyuan have been able to stand her ground in the harem?
Thinking about it, he set his gaze on the culprit. He further recalled that Rong Ting once said that this stinky, shameless guy had a dozen concubines and wives. Although he was a man, having a dozen women brought together… it was noisy and annoying just imagining it.
He began to throw shade4. On the surface, he was cursing the emperor of the palace drama as stinky dog shit with no IQ, but in fact he was cursing Rong Heng for being unfaithful.
Rong Heng remained still, his expression not changing despite these words. His determination was evident.
Everyone knows that it’s the most maddening when the other party did not respond to scolding and curses. Seeing that there was no reaction despite cursing for a long time, Song Haiping got up and went to the bathroom to calm down.
After he left the living room, Rong Ting who had been silent and hadn’t even spoken up for his own Emperor Father, finally opened his mouth. “Emperor Father, there is still one thing I do not understand.”
“What is it?”
Rong Ting frowned, extremely puzzled. “Empress Mother is one from the modern ages, and she values a marriage of one wife and one husband. This is the education everyone here receives. Then why did Empress Mother become empress? I know that Empress Mother is not the kind of person to force herself to do something. I cannot figure it out, and I cannot understand it.”
He had never thought about this until now. He was the crown prince, and his Empress Mother was the empress. He had known these points for as long as he could remember.
But now, after interacting with Empress Mother, he began to wonder.
Empress Mother was not that kind of person, so why would she become empress? The old palace servant had once told him that when Emperor Father was still crown prince, he had already been acquainted with Empress Mother. Even the Guanyin jade pendant from Empress Mother had been given before they were wed. Why did he feel that it was a bit strange? With Empress Mother’s temperament, why would she be together with Emperor Father? And why would she become empress?
Rong Heng gave a slight smile. He crossed his legs, his posture relaxed. “I also forgot. But when two people get married, it should be out of love, right?”
The author has something to say:
 The teacher refers to herself in the third person here
 冒泡: when a long-time inactive user or lurker logs on or makes a post
 □□静: not sure what this is supposed to allude to
 指桑骂槐: to point at the mulberry tree and curse the locust tree
Cheese: oh wow thats kinda scummy of rh. didnt he basically force the marriage with an edict when his identity was revealed? i hope that rt and sy will give him a good reckoning when they inevitably find out