TN: So chapter 1 was first translated by soupybaozi, which I referenced when redoing it.
The reason I redid chapter 1 is because I’m using a different RAW so there are some differences between this one and soupy’s. Check out her version to see the difference (Or scroll to the bottom for a summary of the differences in chapter 1):
Chapter 1 Part 1: here
Chapter 1 Part 2: here
Chapter 1 Part 3: here
“Lanyin, wake up. We agreed to go see the sunrise together. We finally came to Mount Hua1, if you still don’t get up, who knows when we’ll get another chance…”
While she was sleeping soundly and having sweet dreams, a familiar voice began making a racket by her ear. Xie Lanyin frowned and grumbled, then pulled up her blanket and rolled over. However that voice was unrelenting. It nagged on for the time it took to skillfully make a cup of tea before fading away.
Her ears finally got some peace and quiet, making the corners of her lips unconsciously curl into a smile. Her head poked back out of the blanket and she continued to sleep.
Outside the window, Sangzhi and Yingge saw off the 2nd miss, then once again returned inside.
Seeing as their young lady was still sleeping soundly, Yingge sat on the couch, and smiled as she spoke towards Sangzhi. “It’ll be a while before miss wakes up, why don’t we sleep some more?”
The Xie family had 3 households, and out of the 6 young girls, their 5th miss was the most delicate. She couldn’t bear even a little tiredness. Like this time, they were going to their lord-uncle’s wedding in Xi’an. As they were passing through Huayin, the madam had taken the girls to see Mount Hua’s scenery but they had just reached Zhenyue Palace2 and the miss already couldn’t go on. The madam was forced to change her plans. They decided to stay here for two nights and then leave the morning after.
Sangzhi took a little mirror out and began to fix up her appearance. She looked at Yingge’s reflection. “You can nap for a bit. I won’t be sleeping, otherwise I’ll have to fix my hair again.” As she spoke, she was carefully putting her hair up into a bun.
She did everything meticulously. Even her clothes couldn’t even have a single wrinkle. Yingge had already grown accustomed to it. With a yawn, she lied down on the couch and dozed off.
Sangzhi was very diligent. After fixing her hair, she began to work. She seemed particularly light on her feet as she moved around the room lightly wiping every surface.
The day slowly brightened and Sangzhi went out to draw some water. Before she left, she woke up Yingge and had her go wake up the miss.
Yingge rubbed her eyes and sat up. After quickly tidying herself up, she entered the inner bedroom in a bright mood.
Behind the plain muslin canopy, Xie Lanyin was still sound asleep. Her raven black hair was a mess, but her eyebrows were picturesque. She appeared as dainty as a peony.
Yingge felt like it was a joy to serve such a fairy like mistress. She parted the muslin canopy and leaned over to call quietly. “Miss, I heard the young nun say that the Jade Well’s water can moisten the skin and beautify the face. Last night, I specially instructed them to heat up some of the well’s water for miss. Miss should quickly wake up and try it, if the water cools, it won’t be as effective.”
After a while, Xie Lanyin’s blanket rustled as she tiredly rolled over, her eyes still drowsy. “Really?”
Her voice was soft and delicate. It was indescribably pleasant. After hearing such a lovable voice, who could have the heart to deceive her?
Yingge smiled and nodded. She reached out and helped the little beauty sit up. “When have I ever tricked miss?”
Zhenyue Palace’s Jade Well had quite a bit of fame. Xie Lanyin didn’t doubt and lazily leaned against the head of the bed, waiting for her two maids to attend to her.
Sangzhi came over carrying the water. Xie Lanyin took the warm towel, that had already been wrung dry, and covered her face. The warmth instantly dispersed her sleepiness. With a soft sigh, Xie Lanyin replaced the towel, and gave instructions: “Yingge, help me massage my legs. They’re killing me from walking on those mountain paths for half a day.”
Her voice was so pleasant, that when she complained, it made others sympathize with her. Yingge’s heart pained and she sat down to help her miss massage her legs. She massaged from her thigh down to her ankles, extremely skillfully. Sangzhi finished helping her wash her hands and face, then brought over two boxes of creams with drawing of birds and flowers on them. She opened the lid and handed it over.
The refreshing smell of roses drifted through the air. Xie Lanyin dabbed some on her finger and dotted it on her forehead and cheeks. She rubbed it into her skin as she boasted: “This time’s ‘Lovable Beauty’ cream sent by third cousin is so fragrant and it feels so comfortable on my face. From now on, I’ll only use this one. I’ll go tell him later.’”
Yingge smiled. “Third young master spoils you the most. As long as miss likes it, third young master definitely won’t sell it to anyone else.”
The madam had given birth to three daughters, but not a single son. Lord-uncle was the opposite, he had three sons, each of them a genius businessman. The eldest young master sold silks and teas. The 2nd young master sold antiques and porcelain. The 3rd young master had loved to make makeup and creams since he was young. After each of them started their own business, the Jiang family’s position as the number 1 merchant family in Shanxi was set. Every businessman hoped their sons would work for the Jiang family.
The third young master, Jiang Huaizhou, was older than their miss by 5 years, but they had the same birthday. They were both born on the 10th day of the 10th month. Thus, third young master especially doted on this younger cousin of his. Everytime he made something new, he would let their miss try it first. If their miss liked it, it would be made for her personal use. Just based on this point alone, many young ladies from all over Hangzhou were jealous of her.
It was a shame that the third prince had such a flirtatious nature, otherwise the two would be such a good match.
Thinking of the third young masters handsome and gentle appearance, Yingge silently lamented.
Xie Lanyin saw her changing expression and poked her forehead. “Stop thinking nonsense and go see if the madam has come back.”
Her uncle and his wife treated them 3 sisters as if they were their daughters. She herself also treated her cousins as older brothers, so she didn’t have a drop of romantic interest in them.
Yingge smiled and left.
When she came back, Xie Lanyin had already dressed up. On the outside, she wore a lotus red robe with butterfly and flower embroidery. Under it, she wore a white chinese dress with lotus patterns. It looked wonderful on her. Hearing Yingge return, the young lady turned making the red agates by her ears sway. They stood out on her snow white skin. A pair of moist, peach-blossom shaped eyes brightened up the room.
“Miss is so beautiful.” Even after being with her every day, Yingge still couldn’t help praising her.
“Has the madam returned?” Xie Lanyin asked quietly. She returned her gaze to the mirror and stared proudly.
Yingge said with a smile: “They just returned. Miss should hurry and go see them. Don’t wait till the madam sends someone to chase you out.”
Xie Lanyin nodded. She left Sangzhi to watch the house and brought Yingge with her out the door.
In the central room of the front courtyard, Madam Jiang3 sipped her hot tea and spoke regretfully towards her nephew, Jiang Huaizhou: “Before I was married to your uncle, I would spend every summer at Zhenyue Palace just for the water from the Jade Well. It’s so sweet and clear.”
Now that she had married and become the wife of a government official, she had to be dignified and follow all the etique. It wasn’t easy for her to leave the house. The last time she went home was when her mother passed away. Now, revisiting her childhood memories, she remembered how free and happy she was as a daughter of the Jiang family. Madam Jiang faced the tea and sighed.
Jiang Huaizhou watched his aunt reminisce about her childhood. He thought of his aunt’s mother-in-law, and became unhappy. He raised his voice and said: “If aunt likes it, let’s stay here a few more days. There’s still time until eldest brother’s wedding, I’ll have some people send word ahead so that father doesn’t worry.”
Relying on the Jiang family’s wealth, his aunt could marry any man she wanted. Unfortunately, she was tricked and ended up falling for some muscle-head. From Shanxi, she married all the way to Hangzhou, moving there all alone. Actually, her husband was alright, he sincerely loved her. He didn’t even blame her for not giving birth to any sons. It was that step-mother Chen4 that was a vicious woman. She had an illicit relationships even before she married into the family. When her husband’s first wife died, she took over her position, however she couldn’t grind down her husband, so she began taking out her anger on her daughter-in-law.
Seeing her nephew worrying about her, Madam Jiang gratefully said: “I can’t. It’s been a few years since I’ve been home. I want to hurry and see it.”
The second miss, Xie Lanqiao, who was wearing men’s clothes, poured her mother a cup of tea. She bluntly said: “Mother, we can go see uncle first. On the way back, we can stop here again and rest. Afterall, before leaving, father said to let mother go out for as long as she wanted. You don’t need to rush to go home.”
“Mother can’t bear to do that.” Xie Lanyin had been eavesdropping from outside for a while. She chose this time to walk in and smile cutely towards her mother. “Sister, don’t take father’s sweet words seriously. Didn’t you see father’s expression? He was clearly begging mother to come back sooner…”
“You should be quiet! You even dare to make fun of me? Aren’t you afraid of being laughed at by your cousin?” No matter how nostalgic Madam Jiang was, seeing her cute but naughty daughter, she still snapped out of it and stared at her fiercely.
Xie Lanyin wasn’t afraid at all. She turned to the sitting Jiang Huaizhou and acted like a spoiled child. “3rd cousin would never laugh at me.”
Jiang Huaizhou used his fan to tap her forehead. When he was about to go, he smelled a familiar scent. He smiled and asked: “How is the cream?”
“All of cousin’s products are out of the ordinary. I’ll only use this ‘Lovable Beauty’ from now on.” Having received something good, Xie Lanyin smiled especially sweetly.
Xie Lanqiao scoffed at her little sister. “Knowing you, you probably just like the word ‘Beauty’ in the name. All day long, all you do is show off, you don’t do any work. Have you learned the four arts5 yet?” The eldest sister learned martial arts and she herself was in business. Neither of them were the good girls that the elders liked. She herself didn’t like the four arts, so she hoped that her little sister would work hard in her place for their mother’s sake.
Xie Lanyin was not convinced. She glanced sideways at her sister and replied: “You speak as if you can. At the very least, my needlework is better than yours.”
Xie Lanqiao chuckled and smiled. “Ok, since you’re better than me, then you better stop coming to me for spending money.”
“No way. You’re my biological sister. If I don’t come to you, who would I go to?” Xie Lanyin puffed up her cheeks.
These sisters would bicker every day. Madam Jiang helplessly said: “Ok ok, let’s eat first. You two can fight after we eat.”
Xie Lanyin heard her mother, then looked at her sister and began to giggle.
In a flash, the two sisters sat together, and began chatting again like good sisters.
After breakfast, Madam Jiang went to find the old daoist nuns to talk about the good old times. Jiang Huaizhou brought his two cousins to go see the scenery.
Jiang Huaizhou was tall and charming. Xie Lanqiao was only older than Xia Lanyin by a year but was much taller. She dressed like a man, wearing a jade green men’s robe, making her look like a delicate prince. The girly Xie Lanyin walked between the two of them, looking even more lovely.
After looking through the medicine king’s temple, Jiang Huaizhou was worried that his delicate little cousin’s legs would be sore, so he pointed to a building just across the street. “That’s the Jade Well building. In there on the 2nd floor is a place we can drink some tea and rest. Do you two want to go see?”
Xie Lanyin was just feeling tired, she just wanted to quickly sit down and rest her legs. She would be fine going anywhere. Hearing his suggestion, she immediately agreed.
The Jade Well was one of Zhenyue palace’s famous landmarks. Xie Lanqiao was worried there would be too many tourists, so she borrowed Yingge’s veiled hat and put it on her little sister. Her sister’s beauty stood out too much. She was like an extremely precious treasure, Xie Lanqiao hated to let outsiders see her.
As she was wearing a thin white veil, she couldn’t see very well so her sister skillfully helped her. Xie Lanyin’s heart warmed up. “Sister treats me very well.”
Xie Lanqiao smiled and pinched her little sister’s nose.
As it was close, the three of them very quickly arrived at the Jade Well building.
In the middle of the building was the Jade Well. They could hear the sound of water and the light reflected off its surface creating a peaceful atmosphere.
Xie Lanyin walked up to the well to take a look, then turned to ask her cousin. “Rumors say that the Golden Immortal Princess would come here to get her water. One day, when she was washing her hair, she dropped her jade hairpin into the well. Later, the hairpin was discovered in the jade spring at the bottom of the mountain, and that’s why they are called the Jade Well and Jade Spring. Are the two really connected? Or is it just a rumor?”
The area above the well was empty and spacious allowing the young lady’s voice to spread far. Like water dripping down an empty valley.
In the 2nd floor teahouse, someone had heard the voice and their heart trembled. His teacup was already at his lips, but he had forgotten to drink.
Xiao Yuan: Mm, I like your daughter, give her to me.
Madam Jiang: Which one do you like?
Xiao Yuan: The one with the best voice.
Madam Jiang: …You like my daughter’s voice? It’s not sincere at all. Go home and play with your bird!
There’s also a note from the author saying that there won’t be any romance between any of the cousins.
TN: So the main differences I found was that instead of 4 sisters and 4 cousins, it’s been reduced to 3. It also cut out some of the conversation, which I thought was cute, but not critical to the story. In exchange, the chapter seemed to add in a bit of extra content at the end.
1: Mount Hua or Huashan is a mountain in Shanxi.
2: Zhengyue Palace is a small palace in a valley between the peaks. It is known for a well called the Jade Well which is said to share the same source as the Jade Spring near the foot of the mountain.
3: Jiang is her maiden name, she is married into the Xie family.
4: Chen is her maiden name, married into Xie family.
5: four arts is zither, go, calligraphy, painting.