Young Girls’ Crisis
As soon as Liu Yue went down, she felt something was off.
“Why is it so quiet? This is abnormal. Not only can I not hear the youngster’s voice, I can’t even hear the guards’ voices. While he’s not under strict watch, there are supposed to be two guards watching him. Sister Freya overwatched the production of everything in the Imperial Palace. If there was a flaw with even the dungeon, Sister Freya wouldn’t be able to stay by Dad’s side for so long. Guards should’ve come to stop me when I came down, yet why can’t I hear their voices even now?” pondered Liu Yue, vigilantly checking her surroundings.
Liu Yue grabbed a torch from the wall. Her vigilant nature as a fox made her alert to every single voice. This silent environment, therefore, was an advantageous setting for her. She could pick up on any sounds in there, but all she could hear was her light footsteps and the sounds rodents made. Besides that, there was nothing that could be heard.
The cage in the centre was surprisingly open. Liu Yue ran over to find the cell was empty. The young man disappeared long ago. All that was there was two guards in white uniforms.
“Are you all right?!”
Liu Yue checked around in a flustered manner. Once she ensured nobody was around, she ran into the cell to help up one of the guards. Liu Yue believed herself to be safe as the corridor was one straight path, thereby leaving one with no place to hide. Further, Liu Yue checked a few cells beforehand. The cells were also very simple. There were just some straws in the cell.
“Could the youngster have transformed and hidden in the straws?” speculated Liu Yue.
Liu Yue helped up a guard and found herself astonished. He didn’t have any wounds on him, and his heart was still beating. His body temperature was also normal. It was as if he was just asleep. However, it was clear that he was forced into that state. By that point, she was sure the youngster had escaped, but she strongly suspected if he could find an escape route. The two guards were considered ordinary guards, but the patrol guards in the Imperial Palace were elites. Even if he did find the path out, he couldn’t have left the Imperial Palace.
“Where exactly has he gone?” pondered Liu Yue.
Something suddenly hit Liu Yue on the top of her head. She touched her ears. Once she realised what it was, she was startled. It was too late for her, though. The youngster had no means of leaving the Imperial Palace. The key was that he didn’t need to leave, and he didn’t. He was overhead.
Liu Yue shrieked as a shadow came down from above. She powerlessly fell to the ground. The torch rolled on the ground and into a puddle where it was extinguished. The cell fell into silence and darkness. The youngster didn’t give Liu Yue the chance to transform …
“Did you hear something?” asked Vera, stopping in her tracks.
Daisy also stopped. Peering at the corridor, a suspicion crept into her mind. Other than the candles gently swaying, there was nothing in the corridor. It was late at night and dead silent. Not a voice was heard.
“Humans can’t hear it!”
Vera grouchily glared at Daisy and then looked to Nona. Concerned, Nona grabbed her chest and, in a soft tone, replied, “I seem to have heard… a shriek? It was very quiet, though… so quiet that I almost didn’t hear it… Don’t… Don’t… tell me we’re late!”
“It’s not too late if we know that! We can still make it for sure! I’m sure we can still make it! Let’s hurry!”
Daisy didn’t hear it, but she was the first to take off running. Vera immediately gave chase without another word. Startled, Nona looked around and then ran after her sisters. The three of them didn’t worry about the sound of their footsteps waking anybody up. Actually, they were hoping somebody would be woken up. Their sister was presumably in danger. The three of the girls were scared, but it was too late to go find their dad, which meant they, as Liu Yue’s elder sisters, had to protect their sister!!
The three sisters rushed to the entrance of the dungeon. The darkness and coldness halted them in their tracks. The three exchanged fearful glances. They could see the terror in each other’s gaze. Vera and Daisy exchanged eye-contact. Their gaze contained their fear, as well as an indication for the other to be first to go down. Nevertheless, Nona grabbed Vera’s clothes and looked at her with a pitiful look. As the eldest of the four, Vera should’ve been the first one to descend.
Vera took in a deep breath then formed a fireball in the air – not just for light – but to attack the enemy that would appear. Nona tightly grabbed onto Vera’s clothes and followed behind. She’d glue herself to Vera’s back if she could. Daisy followed along behind the two while trembling. If she had a sword with her, she’d feel a lot more reassured, but she was an ordinary girl. No ordinary girl would have a sword in her room.
The fire ball illuminated the empty dungeon. Vera reached the bottom and stood on the blue stone floor of the dungeon. The empty dungeon was silent, thereby radiating an eerie vibe.
Nona poked her head out from behind her sister’s shoulder. She fearfully scanned her surroundings and quietly asked, “Wh-Wh-Why is there nobody here…?”
“I don’t know. That’s why it’s weird… Liu Yue! Liu Yue! I’m warning you!! If something happens to Liu Yue, I’ll have my dad rip not just you but your whatever Queen apart, too!! Whatever you do to Liu Yue, will be what I do to that Vera! I swear that on the name of the Goddess, Claudia!!”
Perhaps it was to scare him. Perhaps it was to give herself courage. Perhaps it was both. In a shaky voice, Vera shouted out in the empty dungeon, but she didn’t receive a reply. Vera thought the provocation tactic would bring the youngster out, but it failed. Vera wasn’t willing to fight in unknown terrain. In truth, she was slightly scared.
From behind, Daisy said, “Only the cell in the centre is open, so let’s go check it out. I think Liu Yue is inside.”
Vera nodded and then carefully treaded over. She used her enhanced elven senses to monitor her nearby surroundings. Unfortunately, her sister’s breathing from behind interfered with her senses since she was stuck to her back. The three arrived at the entrance of the cell in the centre. They saw the tip of a red tail lying on the ice-cold floor.
Daisy pushed Vera and Nona aside to run in. She helped up her sister and shrieked. Nona, too, ran in after her. She let out a breath of relief after touching Liu Yue’s chest: “She’s okay. She’s okay. Liu Yue is all right. She’s all right. She should just be unconscious. It looks as though he knocked her out and then escaped. Let’s hurry back!”
Vera stood at the door and spaced out as she looked at everything before her. Everything appeared normal as can be, but in reality, it raised questions.
“Did the youngster really escape? There’s only one way out from the dungeon. Is there sufficient time to ensure that he could escape from here after knocking Liu Yue unconscious and then immediately fleeing? Additionally, what could he do after escaping? Does he really have the confidence to leave this place?” analysed Vera. Realising where the problem lied, she yelled, “Damn! Damn it!! This is a trap! Hurry and come out!!”
Vera’s eyes flew open. Before she could finish, the fireball on her hand randomly vanished. Vera was a venerated elf who wasn’t inferior to her grandma, Vyvyan. Her grandma also personally taught her how to use mana; it was impossible for her to lose control over her magic due to panic. An external force cancelled out her magic!
Before Vera’s vision turned dark, she was aggressively shoved into the cell. She cried out as she hit the ground. Before she could let out a breath of relief, she heard the iron railing heartlessly shut behind her followed by the door being locked.
They were surrounded in darkness. Nona almost cried. Daisy hugged her sister and furiously glared in the direction of the door, but she couldn’t see with her human eyes. Vera desperately tried to form a fireball again but to no avail despite her very best efforts to command the elements around her. She couldn’t form one even when she tried to use all her own mana, either.
“What’s going on?!!” wondered the frightened girls.
Suddenly, the sound of a torch being lit up came from outside the iron railing. The light lit up the youngster’s face. He bowed: “I am sincerely very sorry for my impudence, but I know that I wouldn’t be able to speak to you again if I didn’t do this. I swear that I truly never thought Miss Liu Yue would come in. I was just waiting for a guard to come. I intended to knock him out and change into his clothes to leave.”
Furious, Daisy thundered, “What did you do to Liu Yue?!! If any harm befell Liu Yue, I’ll butcher even you if it costs me my life!!”
“Don’t worry. I just knocked her out with a drug. That said, without my antidote, she may sleep for a long time.”
The youngster placed on the ground a few pills made from rubbing herbs between hands. Those were mere vegetables to the North. He must’ve asked for it at dinner. Nobody refused a man that’s about to die.
The youngster took in a deep breath: “Please do not worry. I will not hurt you. I just wanted to talk to you. Miss Liu Yue is one of my bargaining chips. Please listen to me carefully now…”