Two chapters in one.
Song Yuan didn’t expect Rong Heng would come back and also bring them food.
By the time the three of them reentered the ward, Wu Siyu had already finished her video call with her husband. She said happily, “My husband is buying the fastest ticket back. He said if everything goes well, he might be able to make it to the hospital early in the morning. I just asked the doctor, and she said that I shouldn’t be giving birth that soon. The doctor seems really experienced–she said I probably won’t be giving birth until midday or the afternoon.”
Song Yuan and Rong Heng’s expressions right now were quite baffled and bewildered.
For a while, the two were of one mind. They didn’t expect her to be so happy about this.
Song Yuan recalled the pain of childbirth and immediately couldn’t stop herself from inwardly giving Wu Siyu a thumbs up.
Rong Heng was also bewildered. He remembered how Yuanyuan had been that year she gave birth, and she hadn’t been this excited. Her eyes had been red, and she’d been afraid the entire time.
“I asked my driver to buy a few dishes and some ginseng chicken soup.” Rong Heng said this to Song Yuan. “Have her drink a bit of soup. Otherwise, she won’t have the energy when she’s giving birth.”
Song Yuan went silent upon hearing the words.
These words were very familiar, so familiar that some images unconsciously resurfaced in her mind. At that time, she hadn’t been in the mood to eat something, and the imperial kitchen could not make what she wanted to eat. In the beginning, it was indeed not very painful–she had purely been scaring herself, her teeth chattering. He had personally brought a bowl of ginseng soup, supported her, and patiently coaxed her, asking her to take a few more sips.
She softly shook her head, casting all images of these past events from her mind.
Wu Siyu had a decent appetite. She drank the soup and ate a small bowl of rice. She contentedly stroked her swollen belly. “Feels comfortable.”
Song Yuan saw how comfortable and satisfied she was and couldn’t resist heaving a sigh. “Modern times are still better ah. Not to mention birth companions, there’re also epidurals for painless childbirth.”
“Epidural? Painless childbirth1?” He knew what the two words were, but when put together, he didn’t quite understand what it meant.
Song Yuan patiently explained to him. “I’m also not too sure exactly what happens, but once the cervix dilates by 3 centimeters, you can get injected. After the injection, there’s no pain, which greatly reduces the pain of the mother in labor.”
Rong Heng gave a low ‘en.’
He didn’t say much, and Song Yuan didn’t have the leisure to keep an eye on his mood.
Wu Siyu’s husband would be returning in a few hours, but Song Yuan didn’t want to take Rong Ting back right now.
Rong Heng wasn’t keen on remaining in the ward. After all, he was an adult man, and there were pregnant women in this ward; it wasn’t too appropriate for him to stay here. He could only say he was going out for some fresh air. Song Yuan did not stop him.
There were many people coming to the hospital to give birth every day. Rong Heng circled around and arrived at the emergency passage. There were no people here and no heating. The air could finally circulate a bit.
Soon, a young man came over to smoke a cigarette. He was startled to see someone there. After the initial reaction, he offered a cigarette to Rong Heng. “Want one, man?”
Rong Heng knew it was for smoking and shook his head. “I don’t smoke.”
He indeed did not smoke. Even in the palace, he did not smoke.
Two men in the emergency passage–naturally, the friendlier2 one would take the initiative to look for something to chat about. Otherwise, it would be so boring to just stand there ah.
The young man grinned. “My wife’s about to give birth. I was with her, but my ma-in-law said I was bein’ a nuisance in the ward, so she kicked me out. I just came to take a smoke. Is your wife giving birth too, bro3?”
Rong Heng didn’t like chatting with strangers, especially with this kind of small talk, but for some reason, he was willing to say a few more words today. “My child’s already a few years old.”
The young man didn’t believe him. He sized him up and chuckled. “You had a kid so young ba. How’d it feel when the kid was born? How’s it feel bein’ a dad?”
Rong Heng smiled faintly. “I forgot.”
How did it feel?
He’d probably felt shocked.
He had never seen anyone else give birth, nor had there been anyone who had borne a child for him. At the time, he knew she was afraid, but in fact, he had been more afraid than her.
Before Rong Ting’s birth, he had searched many medical techniques, cautious with everything, then afraid he had missed something. Everyone believed that he valued the unborn child, but that was not it. He knew that childbirth was a gate to hell for women, and he only hoped that she would not go through that gate. Compared to the child, she was more important to him. But he also knew that if he must have a child, he only wanted her child.
Seeing her in so much pain she couldn’t speak, seeing she was clearly in pain yet still desperately and unconsciously protecting her belly, how had he felt? Now that he had seen the person he loved giving birth for him, he couldn’t bear to hurt her, and he couldn’t bear to lose his temper at her ever again.
It was just that he seemed to have understood it too late. Just when he thought that their relationship would slowly mend following the birth of this child, news of Meng Qingrong’s death reached the court.
And now he’d hurt her again. Although she didn’t say anything and acted calm and indifferent, he knew that she was disappointed in him.
Seeing how unenthusiastic Rong Heng was, the young man worried about his wife’s situation, and after saying goodbye to Rong Heng, he quickly left.
Song Yuan didn’t know whether Rong Heng had left yet. Seeing that it was almost nine now, she pulled Rong Ting aside and said softly, “Go find your Emperor Father and have him take you back. It’s not useful for you to stay in the hospital, right? Mom will stay with Auntie Siyu and go back when Auntie Siyu’s husband comes. Be good and listen.”
Rong Ting didn’t want to go back, but he also knew that he wouldn’t be much help staying here. He could only pout and agree. “Then I will be home alone?”
“Of course not.” Song Yuan shook her head. “So go find your Emperor Father, and I’ll discuss it with him and see if you’ll follow him to the hotel where he stays, or if he’ll sleep in our house for a night.”
Now it was Rong Ting’s turn to be astonished. “Empress Mother, didn’t you not like Emperor Father staying in our home?”
Now, hearing Empress Mother’s words, it seemed she would let Emperor Father stay in their house all night!
Song Yuan smiled helplessly. “That’s one thing, this is another. I can’t relax leaving you alone at home at night.”
Before, when she hadn’t recovered her memories, she was afraid that being under one roof with Rong Heng would be awkward, and she was afraid that something unnecessary would happen between them. But now, she had recovered her memories, and he hadn’t lost his; they were well-aware of the circumstances between them. Him staying in her house for a night wouldn’t cause any change whatsoever.
She only regarded him as her son’s father. He knew this better than anyone else.
“Okay.” Rong Ting felt that his Empress Mother was a bit peculiar nowadays.
Despite this, he still turned and left the ward, preparing to go find Emperor Father.
This was the obstetrics and gynecology department; there were many women giving birth, and there were some who had already given birth. Even at this time, it was not quiet.
Rong Ting heard a middle aged person talking with someone, and their voices were not low.
“Really disappointing, didn’t the doctor say it’d be a son? How come a money-losing good4 was born? Who knows how much those folks in the neighborhood are laughing at me. That doctor really has no conscience. We gave him money, and he told me it was a son!”
“Ei, there’s the second child, this is nothing. The first child’s a beautiful girl, so there’s no pressure on having a second ah. Once the daughter grows up she can help support the family and the little brother, right? A daughter’s pretty good ah, aren’t daughters also filial? Housing prices are so high now. Having a daughter means not having to buy a house, that’s a blessing5.”
“Blessed, my ass. Old woman, give me five thousand from the red envelope. Before, I gave ten thousand thinking it was a son. Since it’s a daughter just giving five thousand’s fine. Why wasn’t it a chubby little boy!”
Rong Ting was quite incredulous after hearing this.
How strange. Even if giving birth to daughters was not liked in ancient times, didn’t Empress Mother say that the modern era was very good? Didn’t she say that the modern era was much, much more advanced than ancient times?
Didn’t she say it was the same whether you had a girl or boy?
Rong Ting shook his head as he continued to search for his Emperor Father. Finally, he found him in the emergency passage.
He didn’t know what Emperor Father was thinking about with such a contemplative expression.
Although he didn’t have much to chat about with Emperor Father, thinking about the pain of the pregnant women giving birth in this hospital, he couldn’t help asking, “Emperor Father, giving birth to a child seems to be painful.”
Rong Heng returned to his senses and gave an ‘en.’ “It’s said that for women, childbirth is a gate to hell. Your great-grandmother died in childbirth. After giving birth to your grandfather, she passed away on the spot.”
Rong Ting was somewhat fearful. “That terrible? Then, Emperor Father,” he paused, then asked him hesitantly, “Then was Empress Mother in such pain giving birth to me…”
“The ancient times do not have epidurals.” Rong Heng shot him a glance. “Technology is not so advanced. There are many instances of women dying in childbirth.”
Rong Ting gave an ‘ah’ and hung his head. “Empress Mother said she’s already forgotten and didn’t remember whether it hurt or not.”
“As long as you and I remember.” Rong Ting heard Emperor Father say this.
Rong Heng followed Rong Ting back to the door of the ward. Song Yuan saw that Wang Siyu was in good spirits and no longer worried so much. Only then did she leave the ward. There were no people in the corridors at the moment, only a few pregnant women walking back and forth with the support of their family members.
“You should take Gugu back ba.” Song Yuan thought for a moment. “I won’t be able to go back tonight. Siyu’s husband hasn’t bought the ticket yet, and even if he buys it right away, he probably won’t be able to make it back until morning. See if it’s more convenient to take Gugu back with you to the hotel you’re staying in, or to stay in our house for a night.” She paused, then said apologetically, “I’m really sorry, but I’ll have to bother you to take care of Gugu all night. I’m worried about letting him sleep alone at home.”
In fact, after saying this, Song Yuan regretted it a bit. She really shouldn’t have said what she did. After all, Gugu had stayed with him for the past five years.
Rong Heng gave an ‘en.’ He looked down at his son, who was clearly unwilling to leave, and asked in a low voice, “Where do you want to go? I can do either.”
Rong Ting had always been a sensible child. He knew that his parents were not like an ordinary couple, and he also knew that his Empress Mother secretly didn’t want Emperor Father to live at home.
He lowered his head in thought for a moment, then asked, “Emperor Father, is there a swimming pool or spa in the hotel you stay in?”
“There is.” Rong Heng dipped his head. “There’s a spa and a swimming pool.”
Rong Ting gave a cheer. At this moment, he really wanted to go to that hotel. He looked again at Song Yuan. “Empress Mother, may I go to the hotel where Emperor Father lives? I haven’t gone swimming in a long time.”
“Is it okay?” Song Yuan asked Rong Heng.
Song Yuan gave a sigh of relief. “Then, Gugu, you need to listen to your Emperor Father.”
She felt that her reminders and warnings were nonsense.
After all, Rong Ting worshipped his Emperor Father the most and probably listened to him the best.
“Oh, right–” Song Yuan looked at Rong Heng and found that the other party had been looking at her the entire time. Startled, she unconsciously lowered her head to dodge his gaze. “I’ll also have to trouble you to take Gugu home and help pack his things. Once you get home I’ll tell you through video chat the specific things he needs. Will that be okay?”
Rong Heng liked other people being polite to him, but he didn’t like her being so courteous towards him.
This kind of politeness, as though he were an ordinary passerby, only gave him the sense of panic of something slipping through his fingers.
“I can do that.”
Before Rong Heng left, Song Yuan heard him say something in a low voice.
At first, she didn’t hear clearly. It was only when the father and son headed to the elevator and the surroundings once again became quiet that she realized what he’d said to her. He said, Rong Ting is our child6.
Rong Heng’s car did not have a safety seat, and Rong Ting was a bit unused to it. He sat with his Emperor Father in the back seat and conscientiously fastened his seat belt. Seeing his Emperor Father’s relaxed posture, he found it unusual and couldn’t help but remind him, “Emperor Father, when sitting in the back seat, one must also put on a seat belt. Empress Mother said that, so long as one sits in the car, no matter where one sits, one must put on a seat belt. A seat belt is a life-saving belt.”
Under the influence of Song Yuan’s frequent recitations of traffic safety rules, Rong Ting also attached great importance to travelling safety.
“…En, I understand.” Rong Heng obediently fastened his seat belt. This was the first time he’d worn a seat belt in the back seat.
Now Rong Ting was at ease.
Other than this, the father and son did not communicate any further on the road. They didn’t really chat about matters other than his studies, and Rong Ting was unaccustomed to confiding his worries in him.
When they arrived at the small community, Sun Qiming did not go up, and Rong Heng brought Rong Ting back to the house. At first, Rong Heng wanted to use his WeChat to video call with Song Yuan, but Rong Ting was extremely fast. As soon as he entered the house, he picked up the tablet on the sofa and sent a video chat invite to his Empress Mother. The other end quickly picked up.
Rong Heng: “…”
“You got back so soon?” Song Yuan’s face appeared on the tablet. She was sitting in a chair outside the ward, and her voice was quiet. Her expression softened when looking at Rong Ting. “Gugu, if you want to stay in the hotel for a night, you need to bring a change of shirt and pants7 for after washing up. You don’t need to change out of the sweater, pants, and jacket. The loungewear is in the drawer of your room. Socks are in the bottom drawer, remember to grab a pair.”
Although Rong Heng couldn’t see her in the video, when he heard her gentle instructions, his expression also grew much milder without his knowing.
Rong Ting was a child with strong task completion abilities and didn’t need Rong Heng’s help. He held the tablet and talked with Song Yuan while he packed his little luggage case, from the change of clothes and loungewear to the towels and children’s face cream. After a while, the bag was crammed full and bulging.
Rong Heng, who was completely reduced to the background, gave a sigh of lament in his heart. Before, he had always thought that Song Yuan was rather negligent. Looking again now, she was so meticulous with the child’s matters.
Starting from the moment Rong Ting called Song Yuan to the moment he hung up, Rong Heng didn’t have any time to say a word to Song Yuan.
When Rong Ting went to turn off the bathroom lights, he whispered, “Empress Mother must be very uncomfortable.”
Rong Heng happened to hear this when he walked in. “Why do you say that?”
“The first thing Empress Mother does when she comes back from work is remove her makeup. She says that it is very uncomfortable to have makeup on her face. I do not know if the hospital has a toothbrush for Empress Mother to use…” Rong Ting pointed to the black cylinder on the table, though he didn’t know what it was. “This, Empress Mother said it is for washing her face.”
He didn’t remember what the name was. Clearly he could be said to have an unforgettable knowledge when it came to books, but in the face of this huge pile of bottles and jars, even he felt a headache.
“Then tell me what things your Empress Mother usually uses. I’ll help bring them to her.”
Rong Ting looked surprised. “Is that truly fine?”
“Of course.” Rong Heng had a slight smile. “But you may need to stay alone in the hotel room for a bit.”
Rong Ting thumped his chest. “That is no problem!”
After speaking, he hesitated again. “Empress Mother did not ask us to bring her things…”
Rong Heng smiled gently. “Maybe she was afraid of troubling me. But you also heard, she’ll be staying in the hospital for the night. Wouldn’t she be uncomfortable not brushing her teeth or washing her face?”
“En, then I will call Empress Mother ba, see if she needs them or not.”
Rong Heng stopped him with a slight smile. “Rong Ting, your Empress Mother does not like to give trouble to other people. If you ask her, she will definitely say she does not need them. Think for yourself, does she need them or not?”
Rong Ting was unconsciously taken in and nodded his head. “Needs them.”
Of course she needed them. Empress Mother brushed her teeth, washed her face, and removed her makeup every day.
“She needs us to bring them to her.” Rong Heng smiled. “Let’s not tell her and give her a surprise. What do you say?”
Rong Heng’s smile deepened. “You know her better, so let me test you. What does she use every day?”
This was not difficult for Rong Ting. He often brushed his teeth and washed his face with Empress Mother. He picked up the pink rinse cup and said proudly, “Empress Mother uses this cup. I use the blue one. The pink electric toothbrush is also Empress Mother’s.”
“En, you have a good memory.” Rong Heng took out a bag and placed the pink rinse cup and electric toothbrush inside.
“Empress Mother said that I should use the toothpaste specifically for children, and she uses the one for adults. It is this one. There are many little hearts inside when it is squeezed out.”
“Okay.” Rong Heng also placed the toothpaste in the bag.
“Empress Mother uses this black bottle to wash her face and this silver jar to remove her makeup.”
“Empress Mother uses this face towel. She says using this would be cleaner.”
“This is the lotion Empress Mother uses. One must firmly pat it into the face.”
“This seems to be the most important aspect of Empress Mother’s process. Once, I almost knocked it over, and Empress Mother said that if I had broken it, several thousand yuan would have been gone.”
“I don’t remember anything else. I only remember these.” After Rong Ting thought some more, he couldn’t help sighing. “Empress Mother applies many things on her face every day. I do not remember too many of them.”
Rong Heng saw that the bag was almost full and gave a sigh. “I don’t blame you. I also can’t remember.”
He remembered it was the same in ancient times. After she entered the palace, her only source of joy was asking the imperial physician what skincare routines there were. When she asked about them, it was one of the few moments of liveliness she had since entering the palace.
He had thought he would never again see her happy. Most of the time, he was furious over the sorrow between her brows.
What he didn’t understand was why the person who had always talked of marrying him became so unhappy once she really did marry him.
Did she dislike the imperial palace to that extent?
“Empress Mother must drink milk at night. Her thermos is in her bedroom. I will go retrieve it for her.”
Rong Ting was about to go into Song Yuan’s bedroom when he spotted his Emperor Father following behind him. He stopped and stood in front of the entrance to Song Yuan’s room, blocking Rong Heng’s path.
Frankly speaking, Rong Ting was in a bind.
He knew that Emperor Father was his Emperor Father, and Empress Mother was his Empress Mother. But he also knew that the matters between Emperor Father and Empress Mother was not what he had thought. Now, Empress Mother had lost her memories. In her eyes, Emperor Father may not be her husband. She had forgotten everything.
“Emperor Father…” Rong Ting spoke with some difficulty. “Could you not enter Empress Mother’s bedroom?”
He paused, then continued, “I am Empress Mother’s child, and I am still young, so entering Empress Mother’s room is possible. But Emperor Father, I think it is inappropriate for you to enter Empress Mother’s room. This is not…”
This is not the behavior of a gentleman.
He didn’t dare to say the latter half, but it was what he meant to say.
Although modern times were different from ancient times, he still felt that other people freely coming in and out of a girl’s bedroom like this was not good.
The smile on Rong Heng’s face gradually faded. He nodded with some forbearance and moderation. “You’re right.”
Rong Ting breathed a sigh of relief and happily entered the bedroom. Meanwhile, Rong Heng could only turn and walk into the living room, quite despondent.
 无痛分娩: lit. painless childbirth, but in English it’s an epidural, or labor analgesic. The conversation didn’t come across as well without making a few changes in the conversation here
 自来熟: Shandong dialect that describes someone who can talk freely with strangers like you would with old friends, or just a generally friendly and sunny guy
 The language the guy uses in his dialogue makes it pretty clear he’s using northern dialect, but I didn’t know how else to convey that without changing the dialogue like this. I don’t know much about “personality”(?) differences between dialects, so unfortunately this is the best I can do :’) Is there someone who’s familiar with the northern dialect who can enlighten me?
 A really derogatory way of referring to a daughter. This is probably because daughters typically marry into their husbands’ families, while sons carry on the family name, so baby girls are seen as ‘less valuable’ than sons are
 The implication is that the daughter observes filial piety by buying the house for her parents and financially supporting her family
 I dunno if this comes across as well in English, but in the raws he says something that goes like, Rong Ting is our, us two (people)’s, child, which emphasizes it more than just “our child.” But anyways, Rong Heng is telling her that, since Rong Ting is his child as well as hers, she doesn’t need to be polite when asking him to do things for their son
 秋衣秋裤: loungewear with long sleeves and fabric with medium thickness? Looks like the kind of clothes you’d wear at home, basically
Cheese: the having a son > having a daughter conversation is a pretty common theme in chinese webnovels, or just novels in general. kinda sucks
Also, the longest chapter we’ve had so far, i think? most chapters are 5-7 pages, but this one’s 10 pages. So basically two chapters in one, hence the title