She had a hint of a smile on her face, as though taking enjoyment in his stiff expression.
Rong Heng was dissatisfied with himself.
A perfect sovereign should be fearless and just, with no weakness whatsoever.
Of everyone in this world, he was the one who most desired to let go of Song Yuan. In the past, he had once read a record of the preceding dynasty. The preceding dynasty’s founding emperor had formed a deep bond with the empress. That year, with the empress’s dowry and the backing of her maternal family, he walked on the road to proclaim himself king. Upon ascending the throne, the winds were fair and the rains favorable, and he was extremely diligent with political affairs. However, once the empress gave birth to a legitimate son, the empress’s maternal family began to stir. A memorial requested that the prince, who was merely one or two years old, be established as crown prince. In order to clear all obstacles for her son, the empress actually framed a pregnant imperial concubine and condemned her to death. The founding emperor was unwilling to see the harem grow unstable, and even more unwilling to see the empress grow too powerful, and several years later, the empress died of disease1.
For the sake of the country, he could sacrifice even his wife who had been by his side for both his sorrows and his fortunes.
This was so as a man, and it was so as an emperor.
He had read this confidential story while young and secretly thought that he would also become an emperor with no weakness.
The year she vanished, he thought more than once that he should let go of her, forget her. It was useless for him to remain fixated on a woman who abandoned him. He struggled and endeavored, and he finally came to the conclusion that he could not do it.
Rong Heng stayed until five or six in the afternoon before getting up and telling Rong Ting, “I’m going to go pick up your Empress Mother.”
He had learned from Rong Ting that she had gone to the hospital to keep her grandfather company.
He needed to have a proper talk with her about certain matters.
“Okay.” Rong Ting was moved by his Emperor Father’s words today. Of course, he also gleaned some information from Emperor Father’s words, and that was that Emperor Father truly felt remorse towards Empress Mother. Otherwise, why would he deceive her? Why would he say something like that again?
Before Rong Heng left, Rong Ting reminded him, “Emperor Father, the food you made today is not enough for three people, and there is no more food left in the refrigerator. Please remember to speak with Empress Mother later.”
Rong Heng’s driver was still downstairs. Sun Qiming saw her coming down and hurriedly opened the car door.
“Head to the People’s Hospital,” Rong Heng commanded.
Many office workers had not left yet. Even if it was a working day, the road conditions weren’t smooth, and traffic was extremely congested. Normally something that would take only twenty minutes, the trip to the People’s Hospital took more than half an hour.
Whether it was morning or evening, the road to the hospital parking lot was packed.
Sun Qiming took a look at the road before turning his head and reporting, “Boss, it looks like we won’t be able to enter within the next half-hour.”
It was already getting dark now. Rong Heng glanced down at his watch and said, “Then I’ll get off here.”
“En, please take care.”
As he walked, Rong Heng grew nervous. He didn’t know how he should explain to her, or what he should say. He hadn’t spoken to her in much, much too long, and he was no longer sure how to face her.
He knew that he had talked with her on the phone, and that he had just had a meal with her yesterday. But he knew that they had not been truly having a conversation; he hadn’t been talking to “her.”
In fact, he had also thought of this possibility. He had taken a damning2 step; once she regained her memories, she would immediately know that he was lying and pretending.
It was only that if he did not do it, he would have been even more unable to get closer to her. Those countermeasures he had thought of in the beginning, could they still be used now?
Song Yuan watched her grandfather finish his meal before getting ready to leave.
Leaving a child alone at home didn’t leave her at ease, after all. Her grandfather beamingly teased, “You’ve been secretly taking calls outside like you’re at work. Are you dating someone?”
Song Yuan laughed. “Grandpa, there’s nothing going on.”
She wasn’t sure how to tell her grandfather. Thinking about it some more, she should wait until Grandpa’s blood pressure stabilized and he was discharged from the hospital before bringing Rong Ting to see him ba.
“If you do then you do, if you don’t then you don’t. You should be dating at this age.” Grandpa Song lowered his voice again. “But you really won’t consider Doctor Meng? I think he’s pretty good.”
“…Grandpa, I’m suddenly not worried about you3. Seeing your energy, you’ll definitely live a long life.”
Grandpa Song gave her a glare. “You rest assured, Grandpa will live until you get married.”
Song Yuan left, still smiling. Just as she got out of the elevator, she ran into Dr. Meng, who was coming back from the cafeteria.
Meng Jingyan, dressed in a white coat, gave her a smile. “Do you have time? I wanted to talk to you about your grandfather’s illness.”
The two of them walked outside. Song Yuan was thinking of buying sweet potatoes from in front of the hospital. Although it wasn’t yet seven, the sky was already growing dark. She turned her head to look at Meng Jingyan. In the dim light, he looked exactly like her elder brother.
Thinking of her elder brother, her nose stung, and she subconsciously clenched her fists, barely suppressing the sourness in her heart.
Meng Jingyan talked to Song Yuan about Grandpa Song’s illness. This was something that Song Yuan already knew, and she vaguely guessed the doctor’s intentions. She listened to him with her ears, but in her heart she was thinking, if dage was here, he must be married with children ba?
“Miss Song.” Meng Jingyan stopped at the entrance of the inpatient department and looked at her nervously. He seemed to want to relax, but his tone of voice was still tense. “The hospital gave out movie tickets for a comedy movie that came out recently. I saw that the online reviews were pretty good. Do you have time tomorrow?”
Meng Jingyan did indeed have a favorable opinion of Song Yuan. On the one hand, it was because of who she was as a person. Not only was she beautiful, she was also soft-spoken. On the other hand, it was also due to the nurses and doctors’ heckling.
One senior told him, you won’t find this shop past this village4.
Stirred up by what his colleagues told him, he thought of the movie tickets in his pocket and mustered up the courage to find an excuse to chat with her.
Song Yuan was somewhat bewildered. In the dimness of the night, she had thought it was her elder brother standing before her.
This wasn’t her elder brother; he and her brother were two completely different people. Even if there was such a thing as a past life, even if reincarnation exists, this person was not her elder brother.
Just as she was about to refuse, she spotted a person coming over from just off to the side. It was clear after a closer look that the person approaching was Rong Heng.
She expected that, given his intelligence, he already guessed she had recovered her memory, but she didn’t expect that he would come so soon.
Meng Jingyan had his back to Rong Heng, waiting for Song Yuan’s response. Seeing that she was looking at something behind him, he subconsciously turned around and just happened to see a tall man in a coat walking towards them.
Rong Heng was only a few meters away from them. Spotting the man in the white coat turning his head, he just cast an inadvertent glance, but when he clearly saw the person’s face, he paused in an instant. His pupils dilated, and his face was frozen in an expression of disbelief. He froze in place, his mind growing blank for a moment.
Song Yuan was unsurprised that Rong Heng would show such an expression. She looked at the visibly puzzled Meng Jingyan and said softly, “Doctor Meng, my friend is here to see me. Sorry, I’ll be very busy during this time and probably won’t have time to see the movies.”
Meng Jingyan’s eyes flashed with disappointment, but he quickly recovered his calm and responded warmly and generously, “En, it’s okay. Since your friend is here for you, I won’t keep you. And it’s about time to make my rounds.”
“Alright, Doctor Meng, goodbye.”
Meng Jingyan turned and headed into the inpatient unit, passing by Rong Heng. He surmised that the handsome man with white hair must be Song Yuan’s boyfriend.
He had mentally prepared himself and grappled with himself for so long, never even expecting that Miss Song already had a partner. And he had actually asked her to the movies right in front of her boyfriend. It was not appropriate.
Meng Jingyan offered Rong Heng a particularly apologetic smile, which could be seen as an apology or as a greeting.
After Meng Jingyan entered the inpatient department, Song Yuan slowly walked over to Rong Heng, stopping when she was about one meter away. She had a hint of a smile on her face, as though taking enjoyment in his stiff expression.
“Don’t be scared,” she said quietly. “That’s not my brother, or your close friend.”
Seeing that Rong Heng still seemed astonished, she gave a soft laugh. “No need to be surprised. You and Xie Heng look so alike, so it’s not surprising that there are people in this world who look similar to my brother, isn’t that right?”
 Though the records say she died of disease, it’s heavily implied that she was killed by the orders of the emperor
 死棋: a stupid move or hopeless case
 Song Yuan uses the polite form of ‘you’ (您) here
 过了这个村就没这个店了: seize the opportunity while it is available
Cheese: AAAAnnnnd things are now completely out in the open! also, we are now a little under ¾ of the way through the series, in case y’all were curious