The Rebirth Of An Ill-Fated Consort
Chapter 4 part1

Hi friends! We are out with a new chapter and even though 2018 is already two weeks old for us, it’s still the start of a new year in Jiang Ruan’s world. New Year festivity is in the air.
togekiss: Although I celebrate chinese new year annually, it is interesting to see how customs of ancient China differ from mine hehe. Enjoy the chapter!

Chapter 4 (Part I) : Meeting Enemies on a Narrow Path
Early in the morning on the first day of the Chinese New Year, the sound of bamboo firecrackers could be heard from the stretch of streets outside the residence. One after another, children of the residence appeared to set off the firecrackers for the 'door-opening ceremony' [kai men pao zhang]. After the bamboo firecrackers had exploded, the entire ground was covered with red, as resplendent as embroidered brocades, implying that one would obtain success and prosperity in all aspects of their lives.
The entire residence began to bustle. It was unknown if the act was deliberate or if they had simply forgotten about Jiang Ruan and her maids. After the New Year's Eve dinner, it was unbelievable that no one bothered to visit their residence.
Bai Zhi lit the brazier by the door. Half of her frame blocked the entrance as she fanned the suffocating smoke away. The residence barely managed a hint of warmth, as the sunlight shone through the windows. Considering that this residence was the most remote and dilapidated one in the courtyard, wind and rain often leaked through the roof throughout the year. Field mice often scampered about. The blankets that were originally sent by the manor were already very thin. Moreover, most of them had been gnawed by the mice to the extent of being unusable. Bai Zhi sighed, unable to stop herself from turning her head to look at Jiang Ruan, who was sitting on the bed with a blanket wrapped around her.
Jiang Ruan leaned on a coarsely-sewn brown pillow with a blanket covering her chest, lost in thought, her head drooping. It had been four years since she had been sent to this residence. With the Zhang Lan family depriving her of basic clothing and food, she had reached maturity much later than the other girls. Her hair was dry and showed a yellowing tint. At this moment, the sunlight filtered through the window, onto her long tresses, giving them a hint of shifting glow. Her slightly pursed lips appeared to have a healthier color than usual, accentuating her facial features to appear delicate and proper. As she sat silently, she was notably quieter than in the past, almost as if she had turned into a completely unfamiliar person.

Bai Zhi fiddled with the firewood in the brazier. She recalled how yesterday, Lian Qiao had told her about the incident with Qiu Yan in its entirety. At the end of her story, she wondered, "Why do I feel as if there is something wrong with our lady? This sudden transformation has caused a disparity in her personality. Is it possible that her meek submission in the past was meant to deceive?"
Bai Zhi did not know how to answer her. Actually, Lian Qiao was right. Jiang Ruan had changed so much, and as her personal maids, it was even more apparent to the both of them. Since she was sent into the residence four years ago, Jiang Ruan often wept, as the Zhang Lan family deliberately made things difficult for her. Gradually, she did not have the will to cry any longer and merely accepted their treatment quietly. With sadness plaguing her heart, she became even more timid and withdrawn. Yesterday, when she interacted with Qiu Yan, her expression and manners seemed as if she was a whole new person. Bai Zhi had some suspicions in her heart, and wondered if it was possible for someone's personality to change so drastically after suffering from a severe illness.
Regardless of the change, Jiang Ruan was still their master. Perhaps, it was a blessing that Jiang Ruan's current attitude was completely different from the past. Just as she was lost in thought, Lian Qiao walked in carrying a package wrapped in oil paper, almost bumping the brazier over.
"Be a little more careful," Bai Zhi reproached lightly, "Why are you so impetuous?"
"I went to purchase some New Year goods," Lian Qiao was not angered by her, continuing to smile happily as before. Stepping inside the residence, she unwrapped the oil paper from the package and spoke to Jiang Ruan, "Miss, come and eat some too, the spring pancakes are still piping hot."
Spring Pancakes

Bai Zhi was baffled, "Where did you get them from?" Surely, the Zhang Lan family would not be this kind-hearted. Nowadays, because of the incident with Chen Zhao, Zhang Lan resented Jiang Ruan quite a bit. The servants would not initiate any contact with them in order to avoid trouble. Even more so, they did not have any spare change in their hands to purchase snacks.
"It seems that some important guests will soon be arriving at the residence. So for the past few days, everyone has been busy preparing for it. They have also prepared more snacks. I am on slightly friendly terms with Bai He, who is new in the kitchen, so I asked for some." She smiled, "Even though we are in a rough situation, we still have to celebrate the New Year. Look, Miss, I also have this." She fished out a bracelet made from bronze coins from her sleeves, "When I was coming back, I bought it for ten taels to invite a good omen, so everything will proceed smoothly this year."
Bai Zhi chortled, "What do we need a bracelet to invite good omens for?
Bronze coin bracelet

Translated by: togekiss
Edited by: Anks & Ely