It was a pain not being able to just kill people, but acting properly inside the jurisdiction of Stredo was important. Besides, if Barrett did things right he could get to the root of the problem instead of just dealing with lackeys.
Having many cultivators in Sashor was new for them, and the cultivators probably thought they could do what they wanted just because they weren’t inside Stredo’s walls. Maybe they could, but it wouldn’t stay that way. Even if Stredo wasn’t anywhere near perfect, it was better than this.
Oseta was just up the road, only a few miles away. Soon enough he was at the gates, where he was stopped by the guards. Before they could speak, Barrett loudly declared his intent. “I am here to turn some criminals who attacked a citizen of Sashor over to the magistrate.”
The guards at the gate looked at each other, then one of them took a step back, “Umm… wait here. I’ll go get the captain.”
Barrett stood there with three men in his outstretched arms, the remaining guards watching nervously with their spears ready. Not that their spears would do them much good- the gate guards were at best first tier cultivators, the same as the unconscious men. Barrett could almost ignore them.
The guard returned with the captain and several others. The captain looked over the situation carefully, “What did you do to those men?”
“I knocked them out after they attacked someone.”
“I see. Might I inspect them?”
Barrett gestured with his arms full of unconscious men, “Go ahead. Should I set them down here?”
“…Yes, that would be good.”
Barrett set them down and took a few steps back, to make the guards feel comfortable. Not that he couldn’t kill any of them in an instant from where he was, but he didn’t seem threatening without armor or weapons out.
The guard captain looked them over, seeing no large wounds and finding they had a pulse. “You just happened across their attack?”
Barrett shook his head, “I was visiting someone when it happened.” Barrett had heard of some theories among the diviners that cultivators were more likely to show up for something at exactly the right time. It was of much debate, with no real way to prove it either way. Cultivators were often a step too late getting to something they considered important, or they had time to prepare, or they were just on time or… any situation that others might find themselves in. The increased likelihood of stories of arriving just in the nick of time being told to others made it hard to determine the actual truth of the matter.
“Very well… we’ll need to escort you to see the magistrate. Please come with us.” The captain pointed to two of his guards, “You two take that one. You two that one, and you that one. Let’s go.” The guards picked up the unconscious men as instructed, with some of them waiting behind to watch Barrett’s actions. He could feel their movements without looking at them, and he wasn’t worried even if they had been stronger.
They arrived at a large building and marched directly through the lobby. The captain explained to the receptionist, “We need to directly meet with the magistrate.”
The receptionist shook his head, “Good luck.”
Inside was a room flanked by two second tier guards- likely new to the area, since few second tier cultivators wouldn’t have been living in Sashor, and if they were they would be hired to protect the king or others who were very wealthy. A magistrate was worthy of guards, but perhaps not that much expense.
“Magistrate Devon,” the captain opened the door at the same time as he knocked, and behind it an older man looked up from his desk.
As the captain entered the room, the magistrate sighed. “Cultivator business?”
The captain nodded. “This man claims these men attacked someone and that he knocked them out. They seem mostly unharmed. This man came peaceably.”
“Of course,” the magistrate sighed again. “Wait here, if you please. You there, what is your name.”
“Barrett Ravenhall,” Barrett answered. He wanted to immediately explain, but it was more diplomatic to just answer what was asked.
The magistrate scribbled on a new paper in front of him. “Very well. What is your claim against these men?”
“They laid hands on a local farmer while trying to collect debts. This is speculation, but they may also have been trying to claim the debts early under false pretenses. I have not seen the contract, but they were claiming the debts were due because some farms had finished their harvests.”
“I see…” the magistrate continued to write. “I will need you to wait nearby while we wait for these men to wake and make their own declarations. I will also send some men to get a statement from the farmer involved, and to see a copy of the contract…”
Barrett nodded, “They should wake in… five minutes or so.” He had a very good read on his own body, and that extended to the bodies of others. Plus, he had some control over how deeply unconscious they had been- though without causing permanent damage there were limits to what he could achieve.
After he was escorted to where he would wait- watched by guards but not actually restrained- Barrett sat and waited. It would have been faster to just kill the men and those who hired them, but that would have caused trouble for himself… and it wasn’t always the best choice to just take justice into his own hands. Not that he thought he’d done anything wrong up to this point, but the reaction of other people change depending on the method used. If he wanted to change society as a whole- or at least Stredo and the area it controlled- he needed to do it without just killing people. Though that didn’t mean he would never do it again. Circumstances didn’t always allow for ‘peaceful’ solutions like today.