THE IMPERIAL DUNGEONS
Even though General Feng had not visited, Le-anne could still feel his presence watching out for her. Unlike other prisoners locked up for the poisoning incident, on no occasion was she taken out for interrogation and torture.
The dungeon was an eerie dark underground cave; a hell hole, Grand Consort Shu would call it. At night the wind wailed throughout the cells like a ghost seeking its murderer. Sometimes it even got unbearably cold that shuddering and rubbing her arms was not enough to avoid the chill. Meanwhile during the day she was deafened by the cries and whimpers of agonised victims. Such a massacre for nothing; the emperor was a stony hearted monster and she wished to deal with him someday.
Adding on, what was most gratoucios was the stench that hung in the airㅡblood, sweat and dead mice.
"Forgive me your Highness for waking after you." The old woman who shared a cell with her stirred from her corner before lowering her head. "A good morning to you my Princess. I hope you managed to sleep well."
"I am not your princess." Le-anne castigated her harshly.
Ever since the day she was brought into the dungeon the woman had unceasingly called her princess, the lost princess of Furia. She was indignant of this matter because if someone heard this, she could be investigated and be found out to be the Princess of Huticah.
The woman laughed loudly past her broken teeth. "I am the one who was ordered to find a suitable suitor for your mother, how can I not recognise you?" She scratched her leg furiously. "Bloody insects!"
"Are you locked in here because you have lost it?" Le-anne narrowed her eyes.
The grey haired woman grinned back widely. "Look at those beautiful golden orbs that glow in darkness." She pulled her black fur coat to cover herself. "You are the product of my hard work, how can I not recognise you?"
"If you are from Furia then what brings you here?"
"To look for your father, a wanderer of the earth that left your mother's heart broken with sorrow and deep yearning."
"Question still not answered," Le-anne emphasised herself.
"While on my search I was found in a prohibited area thus my arrest."
Le-anne chuckled. The woman's clothes looked to be of great wealth but from her mouth came pure rubbish. King Tobba told her that her mother was a palace attendant that played guqin for the royal family in some far away land. One day after finishing her serving duty she would come for her.
"You don't believe me?" The black garbed woman seemed offended.
"Of course I don't. How many girls have you scammed with this cheap story of yours?"
The old lady sighed in frustration, and reclined to the wall. "Then her Highness must stand in the sunrise and sing… butterflies will flutter her way, wishing the princess good morning."
"Just like you did?" Le-anne mocked.
"Even if her Highness stood during sunset and sung, the fireflies would light the way for her to walk." She gazed at the stony roof like she was vexed with deep thoughts before finishing, "The only true proclamation on whether one has Furia royal blood is in this, your Highness."
Le-anne stared at the strange woman blankly. She had no idea what gibberish was it that the woman spoke of.
Discerning her lack of understanding, the old woman aimed for practicality. "Alright then please answer this. Does her Highness often have back pains?"
The question itself was intriguing.
The truth was that she did have a sensitive back since forever. As a child she had been most delicate and sore that she always had to bandage her torso, but how did that relate with her being the Princess of Furia?
Le-anne was about to answer with a yes, when she saw the dungeon guard stop before their cell gate.
"Visitor for Li Lian," his gravelly voice reverberated.
Le-anne stood up and hurriedly wiped the dust off her ruqun skirt. She looked up and saw Grand Consort Shu behind the guard.
"Your Highness?" she gasped.
"Li'er what hell hole is this?" Grand Consort Shu scrunched her nose and covered it with her light yellow sash. She didn't make any further steps towards the gate as she eyed it suspiciously.
The fact that the consort was comfortable with giving her a nickname, gave Le-anne hope.
"Forgive me your Highness that you have be in this unfathomable place because of me." Le-anne took a few steps toward their dungeon gate and held on the steel bars with both of her hands.
"Not your fault, I knew something was up when they sent you to the camp." The consort handed her bamboo fanning stick to Court Lady Park, who quietly tailed the consort.
"Disrespectful Dowager Empress! She dare imprison my attendant?" Grand Consort Shu seethed. "She is accusing you for delivering the letter to the emperor, is that true?"
"I delivered it to―"
"You don't have to explain yourself, I know how cunning they all are."
"Don't worry Li'er. Soon I will get you out of here." The consort held her chest proudly. "Your mistress is a prowess, so stay put and faithful to me then I will have you out of here."