The east gate wasn’t anything special. It was just there to save time for the various farmers that lived out that way, getting them into the market more quickly. It wasn’t made to withstand much more than a casual intrusion attempt, so when Barrett pushed, it opened. He also left some trails of broken cobblestones and grooves in the dirt below him as he needed leverage to push the gate open.
Needless to say, the guards noticed the sound of the metal gates bending, and shouted down at Barrett, not that he planned to listen. He was already walking away, but he turned around to give them a good look at him. There was something good about him being recognizable, because this incident would be noticed much more than whatever Shanta was doing. The guards had bows to shoot arrows at him, and he didn’t even bother dodging. Even if the guards were strong enough to fire a bow that could hurt him, they certainly couldn’t afford to equip them with something like that.
Barrett stayed on the road for several kilometers before turning away into an orchard. He continued on in that direction for several more minutes before suddenly turning, flinging one of the stone pits behind him. It curved through the air, a solid push of magic turning it from its trajectory slightly as it curved towards the hidden figure, striking them in the side. The blow threw them off balance so that they were delayed in their retreat, and within a handful of seconds Barrett had caught up to them, grabbing their shoulder to turn them around.
It was a young man- slightly younger than Barrett, even, but with a cultivation at third tier. He wore earthy clothing, good for hiding at night without being extremely suspicious during the day like wearing all black.
Barrett shook his head, “I said that anyone who followed me would be dead. Didn’t you listen?” Barrett looked for the young man’s reaction. He could see the determination to not say anything, but that also told him what he needed to know. It had been possible this young man really hadn’t been told about Barrett’s declaration, but that didn’t seem to be the case. Barrett wasn’t interested in attempting torture to get more information that he probably didn’t even need, so he merely snapped the man’s neck. It was quick and relatively painless, compared to some ways to die.
After retrieving his stone pit, Barrett took his time looking through the man’s things, fumbling around with his own magic bag as he did so. There wasn’t much to find- a small magic bag with a couple weapons and some backup armor and changes of clothing and some money. It was clearly set up to leave few identifiers. Barrett had guessed that, but the reason he waited so long was because he wasn’t quite done with his promise yet.
Barrett didn’t sense the magic until after the killing intent- though perhaps malicious intent was the right word. After all, the magic wouldn’t kill him… and in fact it wasn’t even directly harmful. However, the magic still activated the talismans Barrett had pulled out as it tried to latch onto his soul. Tracking magic, Barrett was pretty sure. The talismans couldn’t completely stop it, but as it reached towards his soul Barrett tore it apart internally. It wasn’t made to be sturdy and enduring, only unnoticed… but Barrett had been expecting it- or at least expecting something. After all, what else would the other person following behind him be there for? They had done quite well concealing themselves, remaining invisible and barely even disturbing the ground as they walked hundreds of meters away. However, to keep up with Barrett they couldn’t go as slowly as they might have wished… and Barrett could pick out single stones being knocked out of place as long as he was expecting sounds from that direction. He’d intentionally stayed within sight of the city for long enough to give people this chance.
As he tore apart the tracking spell, Barrett sprang forward towards the hidden figure. While there had been some risk letting them act, he wanted them to be closer… and complex magic was difficult to do at a long distance. Barrett’s target was still over a hundred meters away, but they were not a master of illusions- maybe nearly so, but they could not hide the slight dust clouds their feet kicked up as they fled.
The fleeing figure made it back to the road just before Barrett caught up. Darts laced with poison and other frantic attacks didn’t slow Barrett much, and Barrett grabbed onto the invisible figure- there were ever so slight distortions of the air around them. Perhaps even trained eyes couldn’t see it, but when he focused on one particular sense with Pure Body Tempering, the results could be spectacular… if he was able to interpret it.
He didn’t bother to say anything as he reached out to grab another part of the invisible figure- both parts seemed to be arms. He then stomped on their back, not wanting to waste time with silly things like talking. He heard their spine crack and their shoulders pop at the same time, before they became visible. Just in case they weren’t actually dead, Barrett crushed their head under his foot. While doing so, he looked down the road towards the following soldiers- admiring how quickly they were assembled. They were mostly just outside the gates, but Barrett could make them out clearly- including the fact that they had guards from the Church of Ristos with them. They would just barely be able to see him standing over the dead figure. A normal shout could perhaps be heard at that distance, but Barrett needed them to really hear what he said so he raised his voice significantly. Fortunately the man below him was already dead.
“If you wish to die for the Church of Ristos, you are welcome to follow me. Just don’t forget, they can’t pay you when you’re dead.” Now that he’d killed someone, they technically had some sort of justification to come after him… but it wasn’t like they wouldn’t have made one up anyway. Barrett still assumed some or most of them would follow him, but that was good… because it would be quite a good distraction. With the warning, he wouldn’t feel bad about killing anyone who came after him… though he would start with their leaders, just in case.