The wagon stopped behind an earth ramp.
Kieran took his belongings and jumped off the wagon. It was the last moment of dawn; the sun would soon rise.
With the height of Lightning Fortress, one would only need slightly sharp eyes to spot movements far away even if they were not a archer.
Even more so, the Prairie invaders were mostly archers, and if the commander was not an idiot, he would know how to utilize his advantages after taking over the fortress.
Therefore, Kieran and Bosco had to be careful of their steps.
"This is as far as I can escort you! God speed, Sir 2567!" Bosco said with a rarely seen serious tone.
"Em! Please bid farewell to Mary for me. Although I really wanted to say it myself"
Kieran shrugged and discontinued his words.
He really wanted to bid farewell to Mary with his own words before, but when he saw the little girl's expression, he couldn't take any action, and when he realized it, he was already in the wagon.
It really was regretful since he couldn't say it himself, but delivering the message through someone else would be the same, or so he thought. But he didn't expect Bosco's reply.
"Please deliver your farewell to her Highness yourself, dear sir This kind of farewell is too heavy for me to deliver, please forgive my incompetence!"
Bosco then turned around and boarded the wagon, leaving Kieran behind after he finished speaking.
Kieran raised a brow when he saw the wagon disappearing in the darkness. Seemed like Bosco had misunderstood his meaning, but Kieran had just lost the chance to explain.
He couldn't halt Bosco out loud because it would expose him to the enemies.
He shook his head and threw the trifling thoughts away, focusing his attention on inspecting Lightning Fortress from afar.
The secret passage was located at the left mountain side of the fortress. Although it was not that high on top, but the important point was that Kieran had to dodge the sights of the patrols on top of Lightning Fortress.
It might be easier during the night with the cover of darkness, but once daylight bathed the land, even Kieran himself did not have enough confidence in avoiding them.
So he prepared to move out immediately, but when he looked at Lightning Fortress, his body shivered uncontrollably.
He saw that both sides of the main path to the fortress were piled up with tons of corpses!
Corpses that belonged to the defending commander of the fortress before. All of them had been chopped into pieces; although they were not as tamp, it was enough to send chills down the spine when one laid eyes on it.
Kieran had seen a lot of bodies throughout his dungeon runs, but it was the first time he saw corpses piled up like that. Only after being stunned for two to three seconds did he recollect his thoughts.
"To flaunt their achievements and scare the enemies?" Kieran muttered.
No doubt the invasion of the Prairies was quite successful.
Kieran was sure that if the remaining troops of Warren managed to make it there with their flickering morale, they would be instantly crushed and dispirited upon witnessing such a scene.
Though it was just a nearly impossible hypothesis, Kieran had to make alterations to his original plans.
"Bloodthirst? No! These were not just bloodthirsty invaders, but"
After a quick glance over the pile of corpses, the numbers were even more than when he broke through the fortress. Where did the other corpses came from?
A part of it must be those soldiers from the battle with the Prairies during their invasion, and the other part
Prisoners of war!
Even though Kieran took the smaller path which was hidden from common sight, he still could see routed troops returning from Lightning Fortress from time to time.
There were at least a hundred of them, though compared to the numbers of troops defending the fortress, it was not a lot.
Kieran's guess at that time was that the soldiers were being held captive, so he instinctively thought the Prairies released the war prisoners to create more chaos and cause problems in their position.
Though, by the looks of things, Kieran seemed to have underestimated the Prairie invaders' determination, or should it be, he overestimated the numbers of the invaders.
Even though time was not on their side, King James VIII still managed to brief Kieran about the details of the situation with the Prairies.
They gathered in tribes, had a slavery system and used slaves as currency. In some secluded tribes, slaves were worth more than gold.
The main source of slaves were wars.
In other words, prisoners of war were treated as slaves, and it would be destroying their own properties if they killed off the slaves that were used as currency.
Why would one have to destroy their own properties?
When they couldn't really own their properties and were forced to do so.
There were not many situations that could force the Prairie invaders that invaded Lightning Fortress to do so; the biggest possibility was the number of soldiers.
"They have insufficient manpower to watch over the war prisoners, so they killed all of them?"
Kieran quickly moved out even though doubts were still lingering in his heart.
He did not have much to comment on the actions of the Prairie invaders; after all, the Prairies and Warren were enemies. It would also not be a surprise if this was a war tactic.
The Prairies slaughtered their war prisoners, and piled them up to scare off Warren.
When Warren was at her prime, hadn't they driven myriads of Prairie people back to their land?
It was a completely opposite relationship, and both sides had to switch their role from time to time. Only when one of the two was completely annihilated would the conflict stop.
Kieran had no idea when either of them would be annihilated, but he knew he couldn't afford to let Warren be annihilated with his current stand.
At least not for the foreseeable future.
While carrying a minted backpack filled with Warren's style, Kieran jumped up high towards the left mountain side of Lightning Fortress with a mild air-breaking sound.
According to the marks on the map, Kieran found the entrance to the secret passage without wasting too much time.
It was under a big dried tree.
After sweeping off the dirt beneath the tree, a rock-made secret passage was revealed.
Kieran stood aside and waited patiently for the morbid air within the passage to disperse; only then did he walk in slowly.
The darkness within couldn't prevent Kieran from advancing. He could clearly see that the whole passage was a straight tunnel, and at the end of it was a flight of stairs leading up.
The stairs were not the common stairs that he usually saw, but more like stairs carved out from rocks, one would need to utilize both hands and legs to climb up. It was around 20 meters tall.
Kieran carried his backpack and climbed up using his hands nimbly like a monkey; he swiftly arrived at the top.
Though, Kieran didn't pushed open the secret door above him right away; he stayed back to try to listen what was on the other side.
According to the king, the end of the secret passage should be a storage room, holding some of the military supplies, but that was ages ago.
After a long period of time, one could hardly guarantee that the arrangements within had not changed.
Even more so after the invaders conquered the place. Who knew what they would treated the place as?
After focusing his hearing for a couple of seconds and not picking up any noise from beyond the secret door, Kieran took a deep breath and placed one of his palm on the secret door, preparing to push it open.
Before he could, a series of footsteps came by.
Dak Dak Dak!
They were firm and strong, coming by in union above Kieran.
Infiltrating at its finest