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Chapter 2

Today is not only the day of Song Yushu coming back to the capital but also the day when Song Kingdom came to discuss a conspiracy. In the capital, all the royal relatives, officials with a rank of third grade or higher, can bring their families into the palace to attend the grand banquet. Princess Qingyang is here with Cheng Nanyu at this time.

At this moment, it’s just past noon, and the grand banquet in the palace has not yet begun. Princess Qingyang brought Cheng Nanyu into the palace and went straight to the Xingqing Palace of the Empress Dowager. On the way, Princess Qingyang, who is usually quiet and dignified, is completely different. She keeps talking about things from Song Yushu’s childhood while pulling Cheng Nanyu along. Cheng Nanyu, on the other hand, is not interested in her older brother’s affairs because of a traumatic experience from her childhood. However, seeing her mother excited, she naturally doesn’t interrupt her enthusiasm and patiently listens.

After finally arriving at the Xingqing Palace, Cheng Nanyu watched as her mother hurriedly entered the hall ahead of her and immediately put on a smile. Then she adjusted her expression slightly and walked in.

“Qingyang, you’ve finally come. Mother was just talking about you!”

The Empress Dowager sat next to the empress, lightly fanning herself and teasing Princess Qingyang, who had just entered the hall. After greeting the empress and the Empress Dowager, Princess Qingyang couldn’t wait to fix her gaze on the man in a white robe standing next to the Empress Dowager, and for a moment, she couldn’t even speak out of excitement.


She recognized him with just one glance and was very certain. It had been many years since Princess Qingyang had seen her son. When she left the Song Kingdom, Song Yushu was only five years old, and when he came with the Song Kingdom’s envoys to pay his respects, he was only ten. But now, with just one look, she couldn’t help but become emotional, her hands trembling as she let Cheng Nanyu support her and walked towards Song Yushu.

Princess Qingyang was happy, but Cheng Nanyu’s heart was reluctant. She didn’t want to get close to Song Yushu, but she couldn’t ignore her own mother. Plus, she didn’t want to lose face, so she had to put on a fake smile and support Princess Qingyang as they walked towards Song Yushu. When she looked at Song Yushu and saw them coming, there didn’t seem to be any emotion on his face.

Her older brother was really something. Wasn’t he excited to see his long-lost mother? Why didn’t he show any expression at all?

She couldn’t help but roll her eyes and mutter in her heart, but because of the shadow in her heart towards Song Yushu, she didn’t dare to confront him directly.

Princess Qingyang walked up to Song Yushu, tears already flowing uncontrollably. Song Yushu, upon seeing this, seemed to be relatively unimpressed by the situation. He merely bent over and respectfully addressed her as “Mother.”

“Oh, my child!”

The sound of “Mother” was something Princess Qingyang had longed for. When she heard it, she became even more excited. Cheng Nanyu watched the mother and son in front of her and couldn’t help but think of herself. She had grown up by Princess Qingyang’s side since childhood, not knowing her biological parents. But if one day they were to meet by fate, she wondered what kind of scene it would be…

Would her mother hold her hand like this, calling her name excitedly?

“Nanyu, come here! Call your older brother!”

Cheng Nanyu was behind Princess Qingyang, and she had originally thought that she could quietly move to Cheng Lingdong’s side when her mother saw her son and got excited. However, before she could make a move, her mother grabbed her and pulled her back without any reservation, leaving her standing in front of Song Yushu.

“Nanyu, this is your older brother, Song Yushu.”

She reluctantly approached, not showing her inner unwillingness, and no matter whether it was the ten-year-old boy from back then or the grown man standing in front of her now, Cheng Nanyu knew she couldn’t afford to provoke him.

“Nanyu greets older brother.”

Cheng Nanyu made a respectful bow, flawless in both her expression and posture. She even wore a faint smile on her face, appearing gentle and kind. Princess Qingyang looked at this ‘heartwarming’ scene of the two siblings, and her heart was filled with joy.

Little did she know that Cheng Nanyu had spent the past few years navigating between the imperial palace and the various noble families in the capital. She had become polished and sophisticated, and despite any fears she may have had, in such a setting, she could still maintain her basic etiquette.

“All right, you’ve been standing for quite a while. Please have a seat and take a rest. Let’s have some tea brought in by the palace servants.”

The Empress Dowager seemed not particularly moved by this scene. As a grandmother, seeing her own grandchildren, whom she had been separated from for many years, didn’t seem to elicit warm feelings.

In comparison, she appeared to be more welcoming toward Cheng Nanyu, which left Princess Qingyang somewhat displeased. However, when she looked at the indifferent Song Yushu standing behind her, she could only assume that her son was too reserved to be accustomed to his mother’s presence.

The Empress Dowager gestured for Cheng Nanyu to come over and sit, and when Cheng Nanyu saw the Empress Dowager waving to her, for a moment, it felt like seeing the sun, and she hurried over towards the light.

“Imperial Grandmother!”

She sat down beside the Empress Dowager, hugging her arm and bringing a smile to the elderly lady’s face. Even the Empress and Concubine Chen were teasing her on the side.

“It’s rare to see our Yu’er so shy today.”

The Empress held a finely crafted round fan and was gently fanning herself. A palace servant brought a cup of tea, which she took and handed over to Cheng Nanyu by the Empress Dowager’s side. The Empress, of course, didn’t know about the complicated relationship between the two, and she thought that Cheng Nanyu, who had been so lively, was now acting shy in front of Song Yushu.

“Isn’t that right? Yu’er hasn’t seen Ah Shu before, has she?”

Cheng Nanyu opened the lid of the tea cup in her hand and gently brushed away the floating tea leaves. She handed it to the Empress Dowager and thought to herself about how she had let everyone misunderstand her as being shy. She wasn’t shy at all; she was just scared! But she couldn’t say such things in front of so many people.

“Yes, I’m seeing my older brother for the first time.”

In fact, the two of them had met once when Cheng Nanyu was five years old, but it had been ten years since then. She remembered, but Song Yushu might not. It wasn’t a pleasant memory, and it didn’t matter anyway. Claiming that they hadn’t met before might save them a lot of trouble.

She didn’t want to have any unnecessary connections with Song Yushu and wished he could forget about her completely.

“I’ve seen her, ten years ago.”

Cheng Nanyu had just finished speaking when Song Yushu, who had been unusually silent since entering, spoke up. Others might not pay much attention, but Cheng Nanyu did. She felt like Song Yushu was trying to remind her of something.

Why on earth would he bring up something from ten years ago? Couldn’t he just forget about it?

“Oh… really? I forgot we had met… You have a great memory, older brother.”

She silently lit a candle for herself in her heart and wondered what to do next. She had heard that Song Yushu was quite vengeful, and she had thought that it had been ten years and it wasn’t a big deal. He probably wouldn’t remember.

Who knew that his memory was so incredibly sharp that he remembered meeting her once ten years ago, and he must also remember what had happened during that meeting!

She vaguely recalled him saying something about taking her to feed the horses back then…

Since Cheng Nanyu entered, Song Yushu’s gaze has never left her. Now, seeing her occasionally steal glances at him, he turned to her, making the young girl quickly avert her eyes.

“Hey? Why haven’t we seen Imperial Grandmother’s cat today? That little one always enjoys the crowd. With so many people here today, it’s strange not to see Tuantuan.”

Cheng Lingdong was standing by, her gaze fixed on Cheng Nanyu, planning to watch the excitement. But now that she saw that her interaction with Song Yushu didn’t go well, she quickly changed the topic. Although Song Yushu was a blood-related brother, Cheng Nanyu had also grown up with her, so she couldn’t just stand by and not support her.

“Oh, don’t mention it. That little cat ate too much yesterday and has been lazy all day. Wang Mama is holding it. Let’s have someone bring it over!”

The Empress Dowager gestured to a nearby palace servant, who nodded and turned to fetch the cat. The Empress Dowager then looked at Song Yushu. She had initially called him to allow the mother and son to reunite, and now that it had happened, he, as an outsider, couldn’t stay in the inner palace for too long.

Since you have seen each other, Ah Shu, why don’t you go to the banquet and talk to your uncle, and in the evening, you can go back with your mother and sister?”

Song Yushu listened to the Empress Dowager’s words and naturally understood that this was the inner palace and that it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to stay here. So he nodded and turned to leave with the palace servants, coincidentally passing by a palace maid who was returning with the cat. The cat meowed when it saw him.

Cheng Nanyu, with her sharp eyes, noticed that Song Yushu moved aside a bit and furrowed his brow, as if he were very disgusted.

He… didn’t like cats?

“It’s been a while since Yu’er last entered the palace. Let the Imperial Grandmother have a look. I think you might have lost weight!”

Cheng Nanyu was lost in thought when the Empress Dowager suddenly patted her hand, drawing her attention away. She didn’t focus on whether Song Yushu was afraid of cats. Instead, she raised her other hand and touched the flesh around her waist, letting out a sigh of helplessness.

“Every time I come to the Imperial Grandmother, she says I’ve lost weight. But look at the flesh around my waist. Does it look like I’ve lost weight?”

She looked melancholic, and the people around her couldn’t help but laugh. Only Princess Qingyang gazed straight ahead toward the entrance of Xingqing Palace, seemingly not paying attention to the conversation. The Empress Dowager turned her head and noticed Princess Qingyang’s expression, causing her to furrow her brow.

“Aijia hears it’s lively outside. You youngsters should go and have fun. Don’t stay here with this Aijia. Empress, you should go too. There are many female relatives outside, so you can look after them.”

The Empress nodded, and everyone got up one after another. Led by the Empress, the younger generation left Xingqing Palace. Princess Qingyang, seeing everyone leaving, also paid her respects and was about to leave with them. However, the Empress Dowager spoke up and asked her to stay.

“Qingyang, stay behind. There are a few words that I’d like to share with you.”


(T/N: The term Aijia is only used for queens who have lost their husbands, and it only appears in literary, film, and television works. Queens in real history never call themselves Aijia at any time.)










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