In the morning Barrett talked to Charlotte to try to figure out what he could do to help, “I heard that many of your members were imprisoned… if you know where they are, I could break them out.”
Charlotte shook her head, “That won’t do much good. Some were already executed, and those who remain will not be killed. Breaking them out would just lend some sort of legitimacy to the Church of Ristos’ actions, and innocent guards will be killed. Perhaps if you had arrived sooner… but I doubt that would have been possible.”
“Then… I can help to defend against future attacks. Is there anywhere that needs protecting?”
“This is our last safehouse. For now, it is safe enough. For now, the thing we could most use help with is cleaning, cooking, and serving food. Shanta is already helping with medical needs more than we could have ever hoped.” Charlotte tapped her lips, “For something that might suit you better, we could use more food.”
“I could go hunt something and bring it back…”
“No, that won’t be necessary. We have suppliers for rice and flour on the other side of the city, but it takes work to bring it. The church watches for carts and wagons carrying large amounts of food to abnormal places, so we carry it by hand. You could help bring some.”
“I see… how much? I might be able to bring it all.”
“It’s… a shipment for the whole month. With all these people, it’s about a ton and a half.”
“Oh, yeah, I can do that. I’ll just throw it in my magic bag,” Barrett nodded.
“You’re magic bag has enough room?”
“It does.” Barrett didn’t bother explaining why. Magic bags were more expensive based on their volume… but also by how much they reduced the weight of the contents. Thus his magic bag which didn’t reduce the weight at all could have much more space than normal. Enough for a pile of armor or a big pile of rice and flour. Thirty large bags was a wagon or two, depending on the specific size.
“That’s… very helpful. I’ll send someone along to introduce you to our supplier.”
Wilt was a young man with a lot of enthusiasm in his walking. “Roscoe is all the way on the other side of the city,” Wilt practically skipped along, but Barrett had no trouble keeping up. “He supplies most of our food. It’s… kinda boring, but it’s better than being hungry.” Wilt commented on most shops they went past, “The owner of that restaurant is so stingy they feed any leftovers to their already fat dogs and then mix what’s left with dirt so it’s inedible. The tailors over there sew up my pants when they get holes for real cheap- or free, sometimes.” He continued to comment on his personal experience with places until they passed out of the main shopping streets and into alleys and roads around warehouses. “Roscoe owns a few real big grocers around here, but he has a warehouse over here. He should be there today. Ah, I see him.” Wilt waved to Roscoe, a middle aged man of average build. His clothes were neat and tidy, but not expensive looking.
“Wilt! Good to see you. The rest of the crew running late?”
“This guy’s got a magic bag!” Wilt looked around after he said that, but there wasn’t anybody else around to have overheard. “He says he can take it all in two trips.”
“Really?” Roscoe raised an eyebrow, “I’d love to get a magic bag, but they’re… expensive. Selling food doesn’t cut it. Speaking of which… next month’s shipment is going to be more. The grain harvests have been bad so far, and I can’t sell at a loss. Some people always buy up fixed amounts, and others are hoarding the grain so the prices go up even more.” Roscoe shook his head, “But this shipment is at the agreed upon prices, of course. I’ll talk with Charlotte about next month.” He motioned the two to follow him, and took them to a corner of the warehouse. “This is your shipment.”
Food for a hundred people for a month both looked very large and very small, depending on how you thought about it. The stack was only a bit taller than Barrett, each layer three bags with two next to each other and the third perpendicular running next to them- overall it was about two cubic meters. The warehouse had dozens of such stacks- though some of them were in crates which took up a bit more room compared to the stuff inside them. Of course, not all of it was grain and rice. Barrett started taking things out of his magic bag- like his axe and armor, which he wanted to be on top. Then he tossed the bags in a couple at a time. Each bag was about fifty kilograms. Once he was done, he put the armor back in, as well as the axe- in its sheath that covered the head and stopped it from chopping up the inside of the magic bag. Unprotected sharp objects were a good way to suddenly not have a magic bag anymore… but instead a pile of stuff spilling out onto the ground.
Barrett hefted the magic bag. It wasn’t the weight that made it awkward to carry- though he wouldn’t say it didn’t cause trouble at all- but instead all that weight being in one place outside his center of gravity. Still, it just took some adjusting to his balance to walk along in a way that looked fairly normal.
“I can’t believe you fit all that in there…” Wilt looked surprised, “It doesn’t even look big enough to fit one! I wish I could have a magic bag like that…”
“Well, just train as a cultivator for a dozen years… and maybe you can afford one. Maybe earlier if you’re willing to settle for a bit less.”
“Yeah?” Wilt shook his head, “I don’t know. I’m not much for fighting. Cultivators have to do a lot of fighting right?”
“Usually,” Barrett nodded.
“I’d like to be able to help people that way, but I get afraid…” Wilt grimaced. “Err, about that…” Barrett followed Wilt’s line of vision. He recognized a few soldiers in the uniform of the Church of Ristos standing around a man whose hair was just starting to show signs of grey. “C-can you help that guy? I- I can’t…”
Barrett patted Wilt on the shoulder, “It’s okay. I’ll handle it.” Barrett wasn’t sure how he was going to do it… he could of course smear their bodies all over the street, but that didn’t seem like it would help in the long run. “Go make yourself scarce before they notice you.”