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2 Fourth Miss, Who?

    Yujia wakes up with a very irritable headache- the clear signs of a hangover.

    How drunk did she get last night for her to become reduced to such a state? Drowsily, with her eyes still closed, she curls up, holding herself closer. She didn't want to completely wake up yet and face both the headache and cold, harsh reality. Yujia grabs the blankets around her a little closer, keeping herself war-

    Wait.

    Blankets?

    Her eyes shoot open, and Yujia blinks.

    As far as she can remember, she never woke up in her bed after a night of drinking. Yujia was always in peculiar places, stuck in a closet or underneath a desk- just not in a bed, much less tucked neatly under the blankets.

    Her eyes scan her surroundings, and Yujia deems the place abnormal. For one thing, she did not live in a neat and organized, oriental-style room with beautiful vases and carefully plated wooden floors. She lived in an ugly, cheap apartment, infested with cockroaches and covered with newspapers to prevent floor damage.

    'Don't tell me that I'm still... drunk?'

    Perhaps this was the way that her brain dealt with reality- making her reimagine her surroundings. She was certain that a night of sleeping would lead for her to become sober, but maybe she really did drink too much last night? Speaking of which, vague and fuzzy memories of what she did in her studio last night began to drift into her thoughts.

    Before Yujia could think any further, the sharp throbbing headache came back to bother her, sided along with a wave of nausea. Her following movements were instinctual. Yujia scrambled over her bed and grabbed the first thing she saw- a conveniently placed copper basin- vomiting profusely into it.

    Afterwards, she dropped the basin down and leaned up against the bedframe, ignoring the dull clattering noise it made on the elegant, clean wood floor. Yujia clutches her head, attempting to regulate her thoughts, which were now streaming all over the place, lacking any sort of concentration.

    It didn't make sense. Would she still be hungover if she was still drunk? Though, at the same time, how could this wonderful, heavenly place be reality?

    Her thoughts were disturbed once more when a girl, not older than sixteen or seventeen years old, walked in the room, holding a towel and a copper basin that looked oddly identical to the container that Yujia just threw up in. Yujia stared blankly at the girl, her mind only going into crazier thoughts.

    She must still be drunk. She has to be.

    Why would there be a girl, dressed in a set of ancient, oriental clothes, be in her apartment? Or wherever this place was?

    Yujia moved backwards, distancing herself from the girl. What crazy dream was this? Could her subconscious just not deal with the rent that was due, leading her to simply become... insane? Stuck in this mindset that for some reason, she was now in ancient times?

    "Miss, you're awake!" The unfamiliar girl sets the basin on a nearby table, dipping a pristine white towel into the water contained in the basin, her slender hands twisting the towel to squeeze the water out. She then proceeds to walk forward, reaching forward with the damp towel to wipe Yujia's face.

    Flinching, Yujia pulls the blankets closer to her. "Who are you? Where am I? Am I going crazy?"

    "Miss? It's me, Hui'er." The girl draws her hand back, looking confused. "Are you still... drunk?"

    Hearing those words, Yujia takes them as a sort of assurance. Of course she was still drunk. None of this could be real. For all she knew, this girl was just a figment of her imagination, conjured so that Yujia could have some sort of therapist to talk to.

    Well, if that was the case...

    Yujia reaches forward, hugging the girl and sobbing into her shoulders. "Hui'er, is it? Thank you, drunk-self for blessing me with someone to rant to. I've been needing this for a while. Hui'er- you don't understand, rent is coming up for me and I can't pay it. What if I get evicted from the apartment? I still don't have a job, and I only have a few dollars from the painting I sold last month. Should I rent a studio? There won't be a kitchen or bed or anything, but I guess I can sleep on newspaper- I get plenty of that for free. What should I do, Hui'er? No one's buying my paintings, and I haven't had a steady job ever since I graduated!"

    Hui'er awkwardly stiffens, appearing unsure of what to do. "Miss, are you alright? I'm sur-"

    "- no, I'm not alright, Hui'er!"

    Ignoring Yujia's interruption, Hui'er continues. "I'm sure that Old Master wouldn't say no if you asked for an allowance raise. Though it might take a lot of face to ask him for some. And what do you mean by... 'apartment'? No one is going to evict you from the household, Miss. You wouldn't need to worry about anything! And what's 'newspaper', Miss? Is it more comfortable to stuff beds with than feathers? Even though you're the Fourth Miss and only get chicken feathers, they're not much worse than geese feathers or down."

    "Hm?" Yujia blinks twice, drawing herself back.

    Old Master? Fourth Miss? Feathers? Weren't all mattresses made with memory foam these days? Who would still stuff beds with feathers?

    And Hui'er's lack of understanding of everything made Yujia even more suspicious. If Hui'er really was a counterpart of her brain created to help her cope with reality, then why would this girl not recognize what 'apartment' and 'newspapers' meant?

    "Hui'er... is there a mirror around? Bring me one."

    Nodding, Hui'er set the damp towel on the table and turned around, going out of Yujia's sight and coming back into the room shortly after, holding a small, circular bronze mirror. "What do you need it for, Miss? You never liked looking in your reflection back then, so you told me to put the mirror up. I had to look for it to find it"

    Yujia waves her hand carelessly, grabbing the mirror and holding it up to herself, not bothering to answer Hui'er's question.

    The reflection shone in the mirror, although nowhere as clear as the smooth mirrors that Yujia was used to because of the bronze tone, displayed a goddess descended from the heavens. The girl in the reflection was young, perhaps nineteen to twenty, but still beautiful, with flawless skin and dark, sepia brown eyes, the color of the irises hidden under her elongated eyelashes deep like honey. Her lips were dainty and colored like a painted doll, a soft, blushing pink, complimenting her fair complexion.

    By far, this was nowhere near what Yujia looked like as far as she could remember. She was always conflicted with a spray of acne on her forehead, and none of her features could possibly compare with the beauty displayed in the mirror.

    Could it be... that Yujia was actually sober? And...? Could it really...?

    "Miss?" Hui'er interrupted Yujia's thoughts once more. "I think you look much nicer than usual. Perhaps last night, after all the drinking, you've become more spirited. You look less sickly than before."

    "I'm sickly?" Yujia gives a small, unbelievable laugh.

    She may be living on instant noodles and beer, perhaps having a bit of liver damage from how much she drank, but by all means, but in her memory, she didn't look too sickly back then. But now that Hui'er pointed it out, the reflection in the mirror did look somewhat frail, like someone who was just getting better from a long period of being ill.

    "Hui'er..." Setting the mirror down, Yujia looks the younger girl in the eyes. "What time period is this? Is there a... dynasty? What is my name? How old am I? And, where am I?"

    Hui'er looked concerned, but dutifully, she answered Yujia's questions. "Miss, you're Yang Yujia of course- the fourth daughter of the Old Master. You'll be eighteen this year. As for the dynasty, it's the Xiang Dynasty, obviously. We're in your room right now. It's the Yang Household. You've grown up here all your life. Are you really alright, Miss?"

    Xiang Dynasty? What Xiang Dynasty? As far as Yujia could remember in all her history classes, there was never a Xiang Dynasty in China's history. Was this another world?

    "Hui'er, are you my... maid then?"

    "Yes, your one and only personal maid!" Hui'er smiles cheerfully, but her smile drops quickly. "Miss, how could you not know all of this? Did you drink too much last night?"

    "I was drinking last night?"

    Yujia was about to ask more, but the annoying headache from her hangover came back, and she felt as if something was pounding her head with a large rubber mallet. Instincts took over again, and Yujia grabbed the copper basin she had before, vomiting into it once more. Hui'er stared in worry at the side, quickly patting the back of her mistress.

    When Yujia was finished with her actions, Hui'er handed the basin with water in it, hastily wiping Yujia's mouth with the towel. "Miss, I think you really drank too much last night! I'll go ask for some hangover soup from the kitchens."

    With that, Hui'er hurried out of the room, leaving Yujia alone to ponder her thoughts. The pieces of the puzzle seemed to be coming together now, one by one.

    Xiang Dynasty. Fourth Miss. Yang Household. Hui'er. Bronze mirrors. Copper basins.

    The following thoughts seemed more and more ridiculous, but based on those hours that Yujia spent in her free time, reading tens and tens of romance novels about reincarnation and transmigration...

    ... could it be that Yang Yujia, 24 years old and a broke, in-debt artist transmigrated to another world, another time, into the body of a 18 year old fourth miss of some rich household?
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