A few hours of waiting passed with little happening except someone nervously checking if Barrett needed anything. He didn’t- he had all the supplies he needed in his magic bag and he wasn’t interested in trying to see how far their offer actually went. It was likely just to be polite, so he just had them bring some water. Meanwhile, he got in some practice with energy training though he kept his energy well contained as he did so. He was currently pretending to be a bit weaker than he was- Magistrate Devon shouldn’t need to know his full strength to do his duty. Conversely, if he was willing to uphold justice involving a poor farmer and a random cultivator, it was a good sign. Even though things seemed to be going fine so far, Barrett kept track of what was happening outside his room. If necessary, he could break through the wall and run away- even if it was self defense he would prefer not to kill anyone within Stredo’s jurisdiction.
However, after the few hours of waiting a thin man arrived and knocked on the door, stepping inside. “Barrett Ravenhall. Your story has been corroborated by another witness, and no wrongdoing has been found on your part. You are free to go, though if possible we request that you remain in or near Oseta for a few days in case we require your testimony about those from the Earthbreaker Farmer’s Bank. In addition, the magistrate wishes to speak with you about an unrelated employment opportunity- though you are not required to see him if you do not wish to.”
Barrett nodded, “I’ll go see him. Is he available now?”
“Of course. This way.”
Barrett wondered what they might need of him. Things couldn’t be going that well if they needed to ask a random cultivator for assistance. As he came to the magistrate’s office, Clara was on the way out. “Barrett!” Clara bowed her head, “Thank you for your help. This has turned into a big mess but… the magistrate has promised that the debt doesn’t need to be paid back until the end of traditional harvest, and that the contract might possibly be declared void because of their actions.”
“Good, I didn’t want to give those guys any money.”
“I- we weren’t going to ask…”
Barrett shook his head, “It’s fine to ask. If you feel awkward about it, I can give you an official loan, now that there’s contact with Stredo. Even if you think I don’t owe you anything now, we’re still friends, right?”
“Right.” Clara smiled, “In better news, father was looking somewhat better after lunch today. I hope that means he’s on his way to recovery.”
Barrett smiled. If Jack wasn’t able to walk around within the next few days, then he probably wouldn’t have made it as long as he did. It might take longer than that to fully recover, but the medicine Barrett gave him would give him the strength necessary to fight off anything that a normal farmer could contract.
Though there were other people waiting to see the magistrate, Barrett was given access next. “Greetings, Magistrate Devon.”
“Ah, there you are.” The old man looked like he’d aged several more years in the past few hours- which wasn’t a good look for him. “Quite some trouble you’ve brought to me… the organization those men were from is quite influential- since cultivators are both physically intimidating and wealthy. No doubt they’ll deny requesting their men to act as they did… but they shouldn’t have even been where they did, so I can at least pin them with not keeping tabs on their employees…” The magistrate shook his head, “You’ve just made some new enemies… but perhaps I could still convince you to help out around here. There is another matter around here that requires another cultivator. I heard you were carrying those three fellows like it was nothing, so you should be strong enough to help… though it doesn’t actually involve fighting or carrying things. A doctor requires some assistance. We can’t pay that much… at least not by cultivator standards… but we would appreciate the help.”
“Well… tell me the details,” Barrett was willing to listen to the trouble, at least. He didn’t need whatever they could pay- but if it helped Oseta it could help Clara and Jack.
Barrett found himself outside the building where the doctor was. The trouble was that there had recently been overpriced- and under effective- medicine appearing on the market. Nothing was illegal about charging as much as they could get, but not having the promised effects was something else. Barrett wasn’t quite sure how he would be able to help this doctor, but the magistrate had only been told they needed the help of a healthy and strong cultivator- someone better than early first tier. He knocked on the door.
“Come in!” came a woman’s voice from inside.
As he opened the door, he recognized the voice as he saw the woman it was attached to. “Oh. Shanta.”
“Barrett? Are you the assistant they sent?”
Barrett nodded, “It seems so. Funny coincidence.”
“Eh.” Shanta shrugged, “Most cultivator doctors couldn’t be bothered to come here for what they could pay. I’m mostly doing this because Doctor Stieber said it would be good training. I recall you mentioning some friends here, so it’s not that odd.”
“I only mentioned that once…”
“I have a good memory. Well then, I was worried about being able to complete this safely, but with you it should be just fine.” Shanta pointed to a medical bed nearby, “Have a seat there. I’m pretty sure these medicines are diluted versions of what they should be at best, but actual testing will give me more information.” Shanta pulled a number of vials out of a magic bag she had. “What I’m going to be doing is infecting you with rapidly incubating versions of the ailments these medicines are supposed to treat.”
“What if I say I don’t want to?”
Shanta raised an eyebrow, “Why would you not? It’s good training for you. Besides, with it being you we can get this all done in a day or two instead of taking weeks or months.”
“Hmm…” Barrett looked around, his eyes settling on a familiar looking bottle. “Is that one of the questionable medicines?”
“That’s right. Why?”
“I’ll do it. I have the feeling this is connected to something else.” Barrett paused for a moment, “Wait a minute, do you just… carry a bag full of rapidly incubating diseases around with you?”
Shanta pulled out a needle, smiling wickedly. “Of course. I’m a doctor, after all!”