Why are you saying sorry?
When all was said and done, Rong Heng had been an emperor for so long. What great winds and waves hadn’t he seen? Just now, when he suddenly saw the doctor standing in the dimly lit shadows, he had thought that the person was Meng Qingrong and for a moment was unable to return to his senses. It was no surprise for him to be astonished. It wasn’t until the doctor came over and gave him a polite smile that he took a more careful look and realized that it was not Meng Qingrong. This doctor was paler than Meng Qingrong, and he did not have the firmness and uprightness between his brows that Meng Qingrong did. It was only that they were seven to eight points similar, and he had been a bit far away. Running into him while it was evening, it was quite normal for him to mistake the doctor as Meng Qingrong.
Just as she said, he looked exactly like Xie Heng. What was so surprising about there being a person who looked remarkably similar to her elder brother?
He quickly returned to his normal expression.
“Yuanyuan, I…” Rong Heng was seldom so ineloquent in front of other people.
It was the first time he called her this way since he had reunited with her. As soon as the words left his lips, his throat burned.
He had missed her too much. For some time, whenever he saw “Yuan”1 on a plaque in the palace, he would feel frustration and disappointment, even anger.
Song Yuan saw his current appearance and carefully measured his expression. She suddenly had the urge to laugh. Everything seemed to have flipped. In the past, she had always been trembling in fear, always cautious. Ever since knowing of his identity and the supremacy of imperial power, she had feared saying the wrong thing, afraid of implicating the General’s estate. Even if she felt resentment, even if she felt anger, she could only vent a tiny fraction2 of her emotions when she could no longer stand it. The remaining portion would be bitterly swallowed back. Thinking back on it now, she, too, found her silently enduring self to be unfamiliar.
He was in front of her. Although he had done his utmost to place down his outer shell as the emperor, he had been a prince from the moment he was born, then the crown prince, and finally the monarch; pride was engraved in his bones. He was accustomed to disregarding everyone, and so, he didn’t know that when he faced her, he had also looked upon her from high above.
Later, he asked her, why couldn’t she treat him like an ordinary husband?
He might as well have asked who would dare to do so. Who had the courage to give all their sincerity to someone who could ask for their and their family’s lives at any time, at any place?
She may be foolish, but she didn’t dare to be foolish to that extent.
“You must have something to tell me ba? It’s too cold here to chat.” Song Yuan placed her hands in the pockets of her down jacket. Her expression was relaxed, even containing a smile. Take my car ba, and have your driver leave first. I’ll take you back to the hotel later.”
Rong Heng’s gaze was fixated on her, not letting go of any expression on her face. Strange, he only saw calmness. No resentment or sorrow–only true tranquility.
The two took the elevator down to the parking lot. There were many people in the elevator. Rong Heng subconsciously reached out to protect Song Yuan, not wanting her to be jostled.
Song Yuan saw this and politely said in a low voice, “Thanks.”
Rong Heng was startled when he heard the words.
Things didn’t seem to be progressing as he’d expected. Or at least, he hadn’t correctly predicted any of her reactions up until this point.
He had thought she would be sad, that she would blame him and hate him. But now it seemed that her current calmness was not fake. She was not the kind of person who was skilled at concealing and pretending. He had been together with her for several years, and he could see that she truly had grown calm. Compared to before she’d recovered her memories, she was much steadier and more at ease, less innocent and cheerful.
The elevator quickly arrived at the underground floor, and the two filed out of the elevator. Rong Heng was behind Song Yuan, staring at her figure the entire time.
She quickly found her car, opened the door, and sat inside. Rong Heng sat in the passenger seat.
“You’ve been here for so long, but it seems that other than that time I treated you to Mongolian hotpot, I haven’t invited you to dinner before.” Song Yuan laughed. “This time I’ll be the host. I’ll take you to eat some good food. I remember you liked to eat seafood. Or why don’t we do this? We’ll go eat seafood and head back right now to pick up Rong Ting?”
Rong Heng stared at her in silence and finally nodded his head.
“Gugu will definitely be very happy. I’ll call him first.”
Song Yuan took out her phone from her bag and dialed Rong Ting’s number. The other end quickly connected, and the milky voice feigning seriousness that belonged solely to Rong Ting came through. “Empress Mother, is something the matter?”
“A few days ago, didn’t you say you wanted to eat prawns? I just met up with your Emperor Father. We’re going back to pick you up, then go together to eat seafood, what do you think?”
Her lively tone left Rong Heng at a loss. He had the illusion that they were the most ordinary, the warmest family of three in this world.
Rong Ting exclaimed, “Okay! I was just about to say that there is not enough food at home!”
Although he was very happy to eat food made by Emperor Father, he wanted to eat seafood more~
“That’s that, then. Just pack up. Remember to bring your thermos. You can head downstairs in about twenty minutes.”
“En!” Rong Ting was extremely happy and threw the memory of his conversation with his Emperor Father this afternoon to the back of his mind.
After hanging up, Song Yuan lowered her head to fasten her seatbelt. Then she heard the man sitting beside her say in a low voice, “I’m sorry.”
This ‘I’m sorry’ left Song Yuan stunned.
Her husband was the emperor. Even now, thinking back, she had never heard these words come from his mouth.
Even now, when she heard him saying sorry, she still thought she’d heard wrong.
“Why are you saying sorry?” Song Yuan glanced at him, puzzled.
Rong Heng didn’t speak.
“Are you talking about you pretending to have amnesia?” Song Yuan suddenly saw the light. She immediately waved her hand and pursed her lips, revealing shallow dimples. “It’s okay, I’m not angry. But I think you should apologize to Rong Ting; he’s very concerned about this. At first, he thought your memory loss was caused by your injuries and worried for a very long time. He was really hurt when he found out you were pretending.”
Rong Heng could still differentiate when Song Yuan was telling a truth or a lie.
Her eyes were bright, and her tone was relaxed. It was clearly an unperturbed appearance.
She wasn’t like this before.
He felt the powerless and frustrated sense of everything slipping out of his grasp. As though wanting to cover something up, he anxiously pressed, “You, why aren’t you angry? Why aren’t you furious?”
As soon as the words left his mouth, he realized he had become inexplicably agitated. He calmed his breathing and said quietly, “Sorry, I’m just a little curious. I didn’t mean to criticize you.”
Song Yuan and he had, after all, been husband and wife for a long time. What he was thinking, what he was feeling, perhaps nobody knew better than she did.
She fell silent for a moment. She didn’t start up the car right away and instead turned her head to look at him. When her gaze landed on his white hair, she seemed to feel a stab of pain. She quietly spoke, her eyes drooping down. “I’ll answer your question, but let’s not talk once I start driving, okay? I’m afraid of being distracted. You know I’m not that smart, and I can’t do two things at the same time. I don’t want to talk while driving.”
“When I was studying, I once read a book by Lu Xun3. There was an article in it that left a really deep impression on me. He said that the Chinese temperament is to mediate and compromise. For example, if you want to open a window, the people around you will definitely disagree, but if you said you wanted to tear down the roof, they would mediate, and finally they’ll be willing to open a window.” Song Yuan smiled with some embarrassment. “I’m that kind of person. I don’t know if the metaphor is right for this, but that’s probably what I’m like. If nothing had happened from the beginning, I definitely would have been very angry right now. But after all those things that happened in the past–after you hid your identity and bestowed a decree to the General’s estate to marry me… maybe my tolerance is high, so now, after you pretended to have amnesia, I’m really not angry.”
This was how she truly thought.
She was really…
It was no wonder her parents always worried she would be deceived.
After Rong Heng heard this answer, he felt as though a knife was lodged in his heart. She was clearly not angry, she was clearly still willing to speak with him. This was the result he had always dreamed of. So why was it that, when she truly acted this way, he instead felt more pained?
She had told Rong Ting that she was used to it.
And now she said, after all those things happened, she was no longer angry.
He would rather she blame him, curse him and hate him as before, than have her act this way.
Song Yuan felt much lighter after speaking. She looked at the clock in the car, then looked out at the modern parking lot. Feeling much more at ease, she tightly gripped the steering wheel and turned her head to flash him a smile. “Alright, let’s talk later. I think there’s still some traffic right now, and I need to completely focus on driving.”
Rong Heng nodded in silence.
He thought back on all these years, thought back on her original appearance, thought of the words she’d said just now. His jaw clenched, and his heart felt stifled.
The two hands on his knees clenched unconsciously.
The car slowly drove out of the parking lot. There were many people coming into the hospital, so leaving went much more smoothly. Song Yuan was truly single-minded while driving. Rong Heng turned to look at her. She was the same as before, and yet not the same as before. During her last moments in the harem, he had watched her grow more taciturn and more depressed. He was helpless to do anything. He had thought that there would be a day when she would come to accept Meng Qingrong’s death. Thinking about it now, was her depression for herself? Or for Meng Qingrong? He would never know; this was a topic he didn’t want to discuss or touch on.
He looked out the window. Everything was so foreign to him. He very much wanted to understand her mood during those years.
Then, as they waited for the traffic light to change, he whispered, “Would you believe it?”
Song Yuan was still focused on the road. When she heard this softly spoken question, she thought she’d heard wrong.
“At that time, I also wished to be just Ziheng.
“Would you believe it? I also had times when I wished I was just your Ziheng, just an ordinary person.”
The author has something to say:
for real, yuanyuan is really not angry and really used to it = = this is probably what high tolerance is?
 The character in Song Yuan’s name is 园, which can also mean garden
 1-2 points/parts/fractions (out of 10)
 Lu Xun, also known by his real name Zhou Shuren, was a writer, essayist, poet, and literary critic. Most of the information I got about him comes from Wikipedia, but apparently he was super influential and wrote a lot of social commentary. I can’t confirm or deny whether what Song Yuan said is something he actually said, but I doubt the author would quote an IRL historical figure if he didn’t really say it
Cheese: almost ¾ of the way through the series and i’m starting to wonder if Ziheng was supposed to be Zi Heng but o well gonna keep it Ziheng for consistency’s sake. this is the grave i’ve dug for myself