Gu Xijiu knocked and tapped around the place and finally found a small switch. After pressing on it, a tunnel suddenly appeared! Gu Xijiu looked inside through the cascading curtains of water. She could not see anything as the tunnel was dark inside.
"Who is it?!" A voice emerged from inside the tunnel that was accompanied by the sound of chains being dragged across the floor.
Gu Xijiu's heart skipped a beat. This voice sounded somewhat familiar. She dashed inside the deep tunnel. After a few twists and turns, she finally encountered what seemed to be a person. She also saw some light. The source of the shimmer was the gleaming Luminous Pearls embedded along the walls. As the quality of the pearls was only normal, its dull shine could only cover a small area in the cave.
The person was sitting on a wheelchair and clothed in a faint white shirt. His long hair draped all over his upper body; there was a small portion that swayed in front of his forehead, nearly fully obstructing his face, while the remaining portion fell behind his back. His wrists and ankles were bound with magic iron chains that were hung up high on the walls of the cave.
The chains clanged against each other along with his movements. He seemed to have heard Gu Xijiu entering. He rose his head slowly and spoke in a cold voice, "Who are you? Another agent of hers…?"
He paused as his eyes fixed on Gu Xijiu. "Are you… Xijiu?"
Gu Xijiu's eyes widened as well in astonishment. "Yun Yanli?"
He was the Yun Yanli that had gone missing for several years! The once handsome prince had fallen into such disgrace, even causing the astute Gu Xijiu to fail to recognize him.
Gu Xijiu heard all about his tragic afflictions in the past few years. His experience was dreary but straightforward. He had fallen into a coma on the battlefield and woke up in this cave to find a lady garmented in boy's clothings who called herself a young palace master.
He had suffered a heavy injury and would have lost his life if it were not for the young palace master treating and healing him. He had thought of her as a savior at first, but she started to question him about some concerning things regarding heaven.
He was naturally skeptical and did not answer. The lady started to lose her patience and imprisoned him in this place, subjecting him to physical and verbal torture every three to five days and occasionally even sending half-orcs to do the job.
Soon after, the lady stopped interrogating him but told him that his family had met complete devastation; she claimed that his father and brothers have died at the hands of demons while all of his subordinates have either surrendered or perished; the new emperor was his former friend, Ye Tianli.
She said that he was the only remaining member of the Yun family and wanted him to write a letter to his former subordinates to wage war and restore his family's former glory. Yun Yanli did not believe a word of her narrative of his family's tragedy, dismissing all of it as lies.
The young palace master became enraged and reviled him as scum and subhuman, thereby treating him as a human guinea pig for drugs. And just like that, he was locked up in here for several years. As he was subject to heavy testing for a significant amount of time, his legs eventually became crippled.
The young palace master probably thought that there was still some utility in him and kept him alive, even bringing him out to bask in the sunlight on occasion.
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