She blinked twice, rubbed her eyes, and slowly pushed herself up. Her head turned to look around the room she was in. It was her familiar dull apartment, with paint peeling off walls and newspaper covered floors. The sounds of honking and morning city traffic came from outside the window.
The moment she took all of these senses in, Yujia froze.
She swore, that in the moment, her heart stopped beating.
Yujia leapt up, pulling the blinds over the nearest window open. Her eyes were greeted with cars rushing across the roads, pedestrians crossing streets, and motorbikes beeping loudly. Seeing that and confirming the sounds to be real, Yujia turned around, her hand running up to her face, feeling all of her old features again and bumpy skin.
She practically ran to the bathroom, slamming the door open, pushing her face up close to the mirror.
There she was, in her old body.
She had gotten so used to seeing that face with the body that didn't originally belong to her. She had grown used to seeing light colored robes, dainty features, and long, long hair— not a sloppy t-shirt, shorts, and a distorted face.
This couldn't be real. This couldn't be real.
Yujia spun back around, her steps feeling as light as air, retracing her steps to the newspaper-covered floors. There was a canvas in the middle, black paint splashed all over it. Her hands went to touch the canvas. The paint was still surprisingly wet, leaving black splotches on her fingertips. She wiped the paint aside in messy movements, revealing a streaky painting of white chrysanthemums underneath.
Did she paint chrysanthemums the night before she transmigrated?
Her hands were shaking.
This couldn't be real. This couldn't be real. This couldn't be real. This couldn't be real. This couldn't be real.
But it felt real. Every inch of her body felt real. Every breath escaping her lips felt real. Every touch she made felt real. All solid.
Transmigration. She swore she transmigrated. She transmigrated into a Fourth Miss back then, spent more than a month in that world, made relationships like— like—
Yujia found with horror that she couldn't recall any names. She had a maid, didn't she? What was the name of that maid? Now thinking about it, did she even have a maid? Did she even make any relationships?
Did she even transmigrate?
What if this entire ordeal, all those memories and emotions she went through, was all a dream?
It couldn't be.
Yujia was certain of this fact. There was no way that this was the kind of experience she went through, summarized by an entire dream. Everything from back then was too real. Too, too real. Just like how it felt now, expect even more vivid, more legitimate, more substantial.
She went back to the bathroom, looking in the mirror. It was the reflection of her true face, the one with all the imperfections.
She closed her eyes, inhaling deeply and exhaling deeply. Then, she opened her eyes again.
The reflection in the mirror changed. It became the one far more beautiful, the one with a slender face and larger eyes. Yet the eyes, instead of having dark irises, were silver. A startling shade of silver, misty and shining.
Her hand reached out for the reflection, but at that moment, the mirror shattered right before her eyes. Beneath it was endless darkness spreading through the room like a fog made of shadows, the only light coming from glowing chrysanthemums drifting down.
The ground underneath her feet collapsed, and Yujia fell down with the white petals.
Yujia woke up, half her body hanging off her bed and zero blankets over her. She slumped over like that, stuck in place for a few minutes, catching her breath.
She looked around the room after that, greeting her eyes with the sight of oriental furniture. She was in Lingxin. She was back to reality. The place she expected to wake up in.
Internally, Yujia quickly recited a few names through her head: Hui'er, Ye Yunhe, Yu Zixu, Bo Zhizhong, Zhou Luowei… It was a relief to find that she could remember all of them.
It had been a dream. All of the terror of going back to her old world, losing all her memories of transmigration… it had been a dream.
Then, the feeling of something that she forgot about came up: a hangover.
Her head was thudding while the feeling of nausea rose up within her. Immediately, she rolled herself off the bed, scrambling to find a basin where she recalled it to be in the mornings. The basin had fresh water in it, but she couldn't be more bothered to pour it out at the moment. Yujia pulled it over and violently vomited.
In between these moments, she recalled her first hangover when she transmigrated. Hui'er had been there to bring the basin to her, empty it once she was done, and to wipe her mouth and pat her back gently. Now, however, no one was quite by her side. There were servants, but most of them hid away from her sight. She only had herself, and no one else.
While her mind slowly cleared up, the dream she had last night came back to her in vivid flashes.
It was at this moment, with her heart thudding and hands trembling, did Yujia truly realize how terrified she was to go back to the modern world.
She hated the person she was back then. She hated her old self. She could give up technology and the comforts of the modern world, as long as she didn't have to go back to that person she used to be. That person— just the thought of that person— brought fear to her heart.
The dream was strange though, with the silver irises and white chrysanthemums. It was just like that one she had a week or so ago, right before she escaped for her marriage.
Once was just a coincidence. But could two times be a mere coincidence as well? Or could there be a deeper meaning behind these repeating dreams?
Yujia decided to not jump to these ideas instantly. Twice was not repetitive. Three times, however, and that should be when it truly bothered her.
She took another clean basin with water and wiped her face with a wet towel. The water felt refreshing to her face, except the more her mind cleared up, the more thoughts came to her.
Now, she had so many mysteries to solve, from transmigration to her family secrets. How was she going to manage all of that by herself? Just the thought of it seemed overwhelming.
Yujia paused, dipping the towel in the water, then wringing it dry.
It was alright. Though overwhelming, she had plenty of time. And with time, all problems could be solved. She just needed to go through it slowly. Rushing would be of no purpose.
This brought a sigh to her lips. The days ahead of her were long, but at least she had things to keep herself busy with.
Her headache and nausea continued to persuade her to continue lying around in bed, but it was already so late. She had things to do.
Thus, she went and did them, one by one, bit by bit, taking all the time she needed in the world.