Charlotte was a little concerned at the amount of joy the mages expressed when they announced they'd be taking over her town. She never voiced her until the mages went off into the other room to start planning for their takeover, she turned to the Darkside warlocks and senior Leo to notice her concern was reflected on their expressions.
"You need to be careful." Senior Leo mumbled, making sure his gaze was on the door the mages had exited from, "You give them too much freedom."
"Too much freedom? Darkside said you let them do whatever they want." Her eyebrows furrowed at his tone. He was exhausted, but his eyes were narrowed in what appeared to be suspicion, even though her mages were trying to help him.
"There's a reason why he said that." Otto spoke, and she turned to him slowly, only to see him rubbing his forehead, "The mages of BLOOD were used to take control of towns and burn them down once the sorceresses had enough of their resources."
She got it then; they were worried that her mages would revert to the time they had destroyed because they were forced to. She wanted to believe that her mages had moved on from those days and that the most they'd want would be to distract them until they got Levi out of the castle, but then she remembered the glances the mages had shared. There was danger shining in their eyes and she was worried that danger would be expressed against the innocent civilians in town.
Gera walked forward
and put a hand in her hair, and when she looked up at him, he smiled back at
"We'll do whatever they can so that they don't become what they used to be."
"But there's a problem with letting them take over the town.” She looked from Gera to Otto, and then finally to senior Leo, "My ancestors want them. If we're detected, they'll come for my mages. You told me before; as long as they're in those rings, the sorceresses have complete control over them."
Otto's eyebrows furrowed as he pondered this, and then a smile slowly stretched across his face, "Then I guess you'll have to find the last mage before they're caught."
"But how?” She asked, shaking her head, "The town's infested with those things, and I’m no match for any of them, considering my ranking and-"
"Squad A." senior Leo pulled out a communicator that he used to talk to his teammates and nodded over to her, "I'll let them know everything. We'll protect you until you find the last ring."
Charlotte wanted to say no. She wanted to stop everything from happening because a lot of people were risking their lives in order to stop her ancestors' plan from progressing any further. If Squad-A got caught helping us overthrow the government, their lives would be at stake. If her ancestors caught her mages... who knew what could happen?
However, she couldn't say a thing. The warlocks had pushed her out of the room senior Leo was resting in so he could talk to his teammates in peace. Walking into the other room, she found Douglas looking at her and nodding as she came closer to them.
"We have a plan."
The dangerous gleam in their eyes was still there, but something had changed about them. Even the ones who were usually less serious were standing with their backs straight and their faces set. She didn't like the way they were acting, and she wanted to tell them not to think of it too much, but would they listen to her now?
"We're going to take over this town from the inside out." Nero stepped forward and made gestures with his hands to explain what he meant, "Each of us will take an outer rim to keep the mutants out. If we have Darkside on our side, we’ll have the whole perimeter secure."
"Your plan... will a lot of people get hurt?” She knew they were trying to help, but if Darkside was right, that meant in the past they had done similar to this, and if what they had done caused them to go into those rings... she was terrified for their own safety.
Darius looked at her for a moment before pulling his eyes to the ground, "This is war. Everyone's going to get hurt."
"Everyone but you." Kaspar added on, and she turned to him, seeing his expression morph into one of gentle reassurance, "While we work on taking over, Charlotte, we need you to find Levi."
She didn't answer them after that, because so much could go wrong that she was frightened of even trying. Once they found Levi, what would happen? Would they not become stronger with the completion of their team? Would the sorceresses come and stop them- kill them? Would she be able to save her town without so many of her people perishing?
"You're scared." Erik's voice wasn't cold like it usually tended to be while he spoke to her, and when she looked into his eyes, it felt as if he saw right through her.
"What are you scared of, Charlotte?" Angelo asked; and though she knew the answer, and they knew the answer, she didn't voice it aloud.
Percy pulled away from the group then, and reverted to the goofy, caring mage she had come to know as he pulled her into his arms, "We're not going to do anything that can separate us from you."
"Our master and his team are going to help Charlotte in finding the last mage." Otto said with authority in his tone as he walked into the room, "Unlike you mages, we're more equipped to fight the sorceresses if they come looking for you. We'll take border patrol."
They looked like they wanted to argue; her mages did. Yet not even one of them did- possibly, because she was there, or possibly because they knew the truth even without Otto voicing it aloud.
"I'll go with Charlotte." Mark decided, but the other mages turned to him and she could see the disappointment filling his eyes, "You can't just tell me to sit back and stay in place when Levi is waiting for us! What if something happens to him?"
"You need to understand, Mark." Dale shook his head, a frown playing his lips as he spoke to the younger mage, "Levi isn't like any of us and you know it. Once Charlotte finds him, she's safe and so are we- but we have to make sure they aren't going to interfere."
Alex, knowing Mark was only a moment away from bursting into tears crossed the space between them and pulled the younger mage into his arms, "He's right, Mark. If he wasn't able to take care of himself, he would have never become our leader."
Leader? Her eyes dashed over to Nico as Alex spoke, because she already knew Nico was leader. Was Levi also a leader, like the others said? Why hadn't she known that Levi was also the leader? She should have seen it coming, since the others had only called Douglas one of their leaders, but why Levi? What made him so special?
While she was busy processing the information fed to her, and the mages looked between themselves as if to recalculate their plan, senior Leo walked into the room. There was a light grin on his lips as the rest of Squad-A appeared behind him and she couldn't help but stare, because they certainly hadn't been there earlier.
"You went from being the least liked in town to being the one they're all counting on." Senior Simon stated, and as she bowed her head in respect, something popped in her mind.
"Wait... what about the rest of the civilians in their town? What's going to happen to them while they-"
"We've lost more than half the town." Senior Clancy informed her, and with a sigh, he continued, "Everyone who survived has hidden underground. It's only a matter of time before they find their passageways."
Senior Bryn didn't look very pleased that she was standing before them, "Just so you know I have no desire to help a nobody like you."
"Bryn..." Senior Leo was sighing as he tried to get senior Bryn's attention, but the shorter warrior ignored him blatantly and looked around at the mages who seemed to have started to dislike him.
Mika walked over to them and pulled Charlotte further away from the Squad A warriors, his eyes narrowed at senior Bryn, "Send him away. I don't trust him enough to include him in our fight."
"He'll fight." Senior Ariel spoke up for senior Bryn, and she looked over to him to blink, since she'd seen that face somewhere before, "We're all going to fight with you to save our town."
Darius chose that moment to walk over to senior Ariel, and she realized that senior Ariel and Darius looked similar in a sense. Her mage seemed to think so too, though he smirked as he stepped away, "I'm so much better looking."
"There's no time for arguments!" Nico's voice had risen a couple of octaves as she looked over to him, and his fists were clenched at his sides, "We have to move now if they want this to work."
Silence overcame the room, and she barely registered the nods going around the room. After confirming plans, they had gone into the room senior Leo had come from and took the tunnel leading out into her town. They had all gotten to the surface and she grimaced openly when she saw the many collapsed buildings and the smoke trails leading into the sky.
"Ottie, be careful." Senior Leo nodded over at the warlocks, and after responding, Darkside ran off towards the border.
"Can we trust you to keep her safe?" Nero asked senior Leo, his gaze then moving over to a wary senior Bryn for a moment before returning to senior Leo.
"With my life." Came senior Leo's stern answer.
Just before they could leave us to go and fight as many of them as they could, Mika walked over to her and kissed her forehead. She blushed again, as she did every time one of the mages did something like that to her.
After their footsteps faded away, she turned back to a patiently waiting Squad A, and looked beyond them to where the center of town was- and her castle.
"Where are we going?" Asked senior Clancy, and she pointed to the castle. Giving each other a glance, they nodded, and they were on their way to the castle.
"They have been all over our town's center." Senior Ariel muttered, and she nodded as the group ran off, seeing them in swarms closer to the center where her castle was sitting.
Throwing a glance at her from over his shoulder, senior Bryn's lips curved into a frown, "Are you going to be able to keep up with us?"
As he asked, they had started to come under attack from them and Squad A had immediately pulled their own weapons out to attack. They could have been easily out-numbered if she had normal weapons like her seniors did- but she didn't. She had first frozen time using Mark's powers, and as Squad A stood there flabbergasted, she blasted her way through them using Kaspar's, Angelo's, and Percy's powers.
When she turned back to senior Bryn, she couldn't help the small smirk that formed on her lips, "Are you sure you can keep up with me?"
That made it final- she spent too much time with Angelo and Kaspar. That could be the only possible explanation as to how she'd suddenly gotten so sassy. It brought a smile to the warriors' lips, and she was glad they were amused and not frightened, but more of them appeared and they only had one option- to run.
So they did. The six warriors ran all the way to her castle and then stopped as if they had been frozen in time themselves. There was smoke coming out of the windows of her castle, but that wasn't what really bothered her. Her castle had started to crumble and the door was wide open; and down the hallway that was shown, she could see slime and other nasty things covering the inside of her castle.
"Are you sure you want to go in there?" Senior Simon's voice was now laced with disgust, and for a moment, she agreed with his hesitance completely. However, she remembered everything that was on the line with this mission to find Levi and save this town. For Darkside, who was risking their lives to make sure her ancestors couldn't find us before it was too late. For Squad A, who was risking their lives to help her find a ring that she wasn't completely sure was in the castle. For her mages, who agreed to take over this town, and was desperate to be reunited as twelve once more.
"I have no choice but to."
However, that was when everything they planned fell apart. Because loud bangs and explosions were heard from behind them, and when she turned to find out where the explosions had come from, she found that they took place out by the border. Senior Leo gasped in horror and checked his glowing bracelets, but a clear voice was screaming in the air. Even through the destruction and death, she heard it perfectly.
"Fall back! The sorceresses are here!"