The Ring Bearer: Being Found

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Chapter 24

At first glance, she knew that Angelo with Percy and Kaspar would be the death of her. Why would she say that? Because while she stood dumbstruck as to why a mage had suddenly called her a peasant and demanded for her to bow to him, Percy and Kaspar barked out laughter and ran to their companion.

"Oh Ang! I missed you!" Percy lifted the smaller male into the air and began to spin, only to stop as Angelo punched at his arms.

"Did I give you permission to touch me?" Angelo's glare could have pierced through Percy right where they stood, so the cheerful mage let him down and stood back with his arms held up in surrender.

Charlotte glanced over at Darius, who was staring at the trio with growing disdain and she leaned closer to him, "Is he like this often?"

"You bet he is." his teeth were grit as he answered back, glancing over to an equally annoyed Nico.

"That was a good joke, Ang!" Kaspar wiped at his eyes to remove the tears he had gained from crying, one hand still on his stomach in order to calm himself down and stop snorting out random bursts of laughter.

"That's enough." Nico's voice cut into their moment, his voice at a low warning tone.

Angelo's eyes turned to Nico and a wide pout made its way onto his lips as he ran over, throwing his arms around the leader and squeezing him, "But Nico! I was just playing around!"

"He gets uglier and uglier every time they see him." Mika was on the other side of Darius, and the three of them had leaned away from Nico and Angelo, since the sight was slightly disturbing and it was obvious that Nico himself was uncomfortable by Angelo's display.

The male who was insulted pulled himself away from Nico and stepped in front of Mika so quickly that the youngest mage hadn't seen him coming and stumbled a step back into Dale. Dale, who could tell that the situation would only end badly if he stayed there, ran off and huddled together with Nero and Mark further away. Charlotte would have done it too, but Dale had wrapped an arm around her in order to keep her in place.

"Do I see a couple of gray hairs?" Mika covered his head in wide-eyed betrayal, and Angelo's attention shifted over to Darius, and finally to her. Ignoring Darius all together, he leaped over to her, eyes squinted and invading her personal space, "Who are you?"

"Charlotte-"

"Your name is hideous. Change it.” She was once again left flabbergasted at the way he spoke, her jaw dropped and her eye possibly twitching at the mage's audacity to tell her that her name was hideous, "And your hair- what died in it? Don't even get me started on your clothes-"

"Angelo." Mark had joined them and put a hand on Angelo's shoulder, his voice low and dangerous, "Watch your mouth."

Angelo's eyes filled with mischief as he shook Mark's hand off and stared at her, "What are you going to do, master? Punish me?"

That was his plan all along, wasn't it? To get her to punish him and make the others see her in a different light. But why? Did she do something wrong to Angelo to make him treat her that way?

"Stop it, Ang." Nero's voice was also getting closer, though she didn't bother looking up to see if he had actually made his way over to them.

"I won't punish you, Angelo." Her voice was soft at first, but she looked up at Angelo and she swore she could feel the smirk playing at her lips, "But I do hope your bite is as bad as your bark."

The mages had all gone quiet and stared at her and Angelo before bursting into laughter, and when she felt someone pat her shoulder, she turned and grinned back at a proud Kaspar, "This is why you're my favorite."

Before Angelo could lunge at either Kaspar or herself, Dale had walked into the group and pulled her and Darius away from them, "How about we teleport home and let them deal with the brat?"

Darius teleported them away right as the other mages opened their mouths to complain. After muttering something about a headache, Darius went up the stairs to his bedroom, and a worried Dale trailed after him, leaving her by herself in the living room.

The journey and her encounter with Angelo left her with a headache as well, but as she got to the foot of the staircase, she heard a thump and looked around with narrowed eyes, but the thump sounded as if it were coming below her. Below her? she was starting to get scared, because below her was the basement where Darius was found and no one had gone down there after finding Darius because it was absolutely terrifying.

So, being the idiot she was, Charlotte walked over to the rug hiding the trapdoor, opened the trapdoor, and closed it on her way down. She had been curious to see the basement again, but since she was afraid of what happened to Darius, she hadn't even gone near the trapdoor. The odd thing about the basement now as she stood there was that there was light. When they had looked for Darius, it was almost pitch black and almost impossible to see anything, but there was light now and someone cleaned up the mess as if it was never there in the first place.

"Who's there?” She had both pistols out as she asked, looking around cautiously even though there were no movements other than her own. There was thumping earlier, and she know for a fact that she wasn't the one who turned the light on, so who else could it have been?

"Put the weapons down first, and then we'll talk." That was undeniably Otto's voice. Charlotte remembered his voice too clearly from the time she had met him in person. After she slowly slid her pistols back into their holsters, Otto materialized just a few paces away from her, leaning against a bookshelf.

"How did you get in here?” She didn't know what made her so brave so suddenly, but if he was a threat to her mages, she would have to fight him.

He seemed amused with her and shrugged lazily before pulling away from the bookshelf and dragging it to the side, revealing a narrow hallway, "Follow me. I'll answer your questions when we meet up with the others."

Now don't get her wrong. It's not as if she wasn't skeptical. Charlotte was definitely skeptical, and he knew it; that's why he threw a glance at her from over his shoulder as he walked into the mouth of the suspicious hallway.

"Let's be real. If I wanted to kill you, I would have done it by now." He had a point. Darius and Dale were two floors above us and the other mages were hours away, so the two of them were alone without other witnesses.

"And if you try, I won’t hesitate to shoot." He pretended not to hear her and continued walking into the hallway, her feet slowly trailing after him. She had no idea why she was going along with what he said, or if he could be trusted after all, "Where are we going?"

As she glanced back at where they had come from, she noticed that the room they had come from was long gone and she could hardly tell where they were going, only following the sounds of Otto's footsteps up ahead.

Otto never answered her, though it wasn't like he had to. Just a few minutes more of walking later, they had walked into another room that was lit, though that one seemed to be much fancier. There were sofas and tables, bookshelves and desks, people and-... people. It took her a moment to realize that they were the friends Otto had with him when she met them by the frozen lake where Nico and Nero were hidden.

"Took you long enough." that was the tall lanky male speaking, brushing past Otto and holding a hand out to her with a wide grin on his face, "I'm Theodore."

"Charlotte.” She took his hand and shook it just slightly, and after another moment of staring at her, Theodore let go of her hand and went to lay across one of the long couches. One of the other males took the opportunity to sit down on the tall male's legs, a smug look on his face when Theodore squirmed underneath him.

"Luca, don't hurt him." Another male sighed, but as he said that, he grinned to himself and then sat down on Theodore's lap, the tall mage squirming even more with curse words spewing out of his mouth.

"I'm Gera." Another male walked forward and pulled her away from what she was looking at, instead taking her to a corner of the space with Otto following him.

Charlotte spotted a chair in the corner of the space and sat down without caring about what either of them would think about it, crossing her arms as she looked up at them. Otto didn't sit down, but his arms crossed over his chest, "You had questions for us, did you not?"

Honestly, she didn't know what to ask them. Would it be wrong for her to ask them of her mages' pasts when the mages themselves didn't want to tell her? Do she ask them what she had to do with the mages and why it was her and not someone else who had found them? Should she ask them why they knew everything about her and her mages?

"Are you the ones who were trying to open Ion's ring box?" When their confused expressions told her to elaborate, she let out a sigh, "When I found Ion- I mean Darius, the basement was a mess."

"That was not our mess." Otto shook his head and then let out a shrug, "We only entered this building when we became sure that you'd come here to find the mage and left a sign for you to know who we are. We had no knowledge of what went on in this house before we got here."

"Why... why do you know so much about me? Why have you been following me?" the six warlocks confused her even more than her own mages did. While the mages had nothing to do with her, Darkside didn't even know of her existence... or did they?

Otto looked over at Gera, and the male with oddly feminine features shrugged his own shoulders as he glanced back at the other warlocks, "Many years ago, when we had gone on one of their tours to make sure all of the magical borders were up and working, some girl had been riding towards us on a warpboard. Maybe if she weren't in such a rush, we would have all been saved from this trouble, but after she crashed into me, I’ve been unable to stop seeing her future."

"You're talking about me, aren't you?” She groaned and dropped her head in shame, remembering that she had the tendency of running people over when she was on her way to school because of her stupid tardiness, "But why have you been able to see everything that happened before I did?"

"Mages aren't the only ones with powers." Otto informed her, and when she looked up at him, he had disappeared and slowly materialized again. "I have the power to become invisible. My partnering chief Gera can see the future. Luca can shapeshift, Aldus has the power of dream walking, Theodore has the power of manipulation, and Platon has the power to create any kind of space he wants- like this room."

Charlotte looked around at the room before widening her eyes in surprise because honestly, the room was cool. Charlotte had only one problem- about everything, "Can't one action I make now change the future?"

Gera looked thoughtful for a moment before a grin lit his face, "You can, of course. In every one of my predictions, I can see two different options- backups, if you want to call them. We prepare to move according to each one of these options."

"But why? Why are you moving according to them? Why are you helping us?"

"Your mages won't remember since their memories were warped, but we were there." Otto's face fell as he spoke, then turning so he could watch the warlocks, "We watched them be transfused with these powers and lose their identities; unable to know of the names they were born with and instead only know of what caused them to be chosen for Project BLOOD. We watched them destroy village after village with pure bloodthirsty revenge. We watched them as they were cursed and put into rings that no one would ever be able to find or claim ever again."

"It made us all pretty guilty, actually." Gera sighed, and she turned to him to see he had walked over to Otto and rubbed the leader's back soothingly, "Those boys always followed orders, but in the end, it was the orders they were given that eventually caused them to be separated and sent away."

"But then something happened." Otto hummed and turned back to her, his eyes now lit with determination, "When Gera told me he was having visions of you- of them- I was completely baffled. What did you have to do with them that would allow you the authority to claim these rings and break the curse?"

"We looked into your family line because of that." Gera pulled himself away from the leader as he spoke again, now walking away from them and to the sofa where the other warlocks were wrestling on, "It took us some time to figure it out, of course, but they eventually figured it out."

Otto was now looking at her gravely, holding a book out to her. When she looked at it, the names on the book seemed oddly familiar; though she wasn't sure why the book, the spell book, was under her family's name.

"Your ancestors were the ones who cursed those mages."

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