The Ring Bearer: Being Found

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Chapter 37

That night, they slept in the underground bunkers. With the sorceresses looking for the group and them everywhere, there was nowhere else for them all to go. Platon was kind enough to make separate rooms for them, though her mages decided to stay in one room with the last mage's ring so they could spend one last night together.

As she laid down in the bed she was given in a room shared with Squad A, she couldn't help but sigh at her mages' reactions and how dejected they sounded when they told her they wanted just one more night with Levi. Charlotte understood it completely, so she let them spend their last night together, but part of her was still hoping it wouldn't be their last night together.

Charlotte might have been the only one awake when it got deeper in the night, though she was fighting to keep her eyelids open. She didn't want to sleep, in case they were attacked some time during the night. Otto had gone on night guard duty, and was pacing through the underground bunkers, but she wasn't at ease. Eventually, she did give up on staying awake, but as her eyes closed, she imagined watching a small shiny metal fly into her hand.

She was in her bedroom... but not. It was bright in the room, but she could see lab equipment lining up the entire room, like she'd seen in one of her nightmares. In the center of the room, instead of a ring box, stood a man- the last mage. He was easily the tallest of the mages with blonde hair that grew past his ears, piercings in both ears, and a glare so heavy she thought she was going to die.

But she didn't, and that was because the last mage turned away from her in order to look at the lab equipment in disdain. She walked over to the lab equipment and started poking around at it, but she had no idea what any of it was for or what it had to do with her or the last mage. She didn't know how she could see him in her dream if she had found him broken, and she didn't know what he was trying to show her.

"What is this place?” She asked him, scowling at a screen that looked much like the screen of a computer.

"Several decades before your town switched to using other magical energy, they used me to power the entire town." He explained, and in shock, she turned to him only to see anger had crossed into his expression, "They used my powers until my case fell apart and my ring split in two. Knowing I was then useless, they hid me away and switched to other sources of magic."

Charlotte looked down at the ground where the cupboard should have been, but her room looked far too innocent now, despite all the equipment. This mage had answers the questions she had, but she didn't know what to ask him and what to keep to herself.

“Just ask." His voice sounded dull for a moment as he stared at her, but when she stared back at him in surprise, his lips curled upward in amusement, "I can see it on your face. The curiosity is burning inside of you."

She wished he were wrong, but there were things she wanted to ask him, "Why were you hidden here and not where the map said you were?"

His eyebrows furrowed in confusion for a moment, and then he shook his head, "I know I was placed somewhere in the desert, but someone had brought me here in order to extract my powers."

But no one had changed anything on the map? How current was that map, then?

"But why you? What makes you so special?” She covered her mouth as soon as she said that, since she didn't want to offend him, but Levi chuckled and shrugged his shoulders.

"I happen to be the strongest mage on our team,” She stared at him in disbelief, because she wasn't sure if that was possible, "because I'm not from this planet."

Before she could question him on that, he continued.

"I was born on a planet called Malthor, in another galaxy on the far side of the universe. Our planet is composed of shape shifters and magic; and we were known as the only planet that could sustain strong dosages of magic for long periods. One day, our planet was alerted that another planet was starting to output high levels of magic-, which could be bad for the planet- so I was sent out to find out what happened. Because I was a magical being, however, it was easy for them to find me and they grew curious enough to capture me."

"So you were never human?” She asked him to make sure and surely enough, he shook his head again.

"I take up the form of a human, but I was never born on this planet. They wanted to see if they could transfer the gems’ power into me; because if it didn't kill me, I could be a strong asset." With a sigh, he pulled his hands to his face, "And it worked."

"They trapped you here.” She finished off, and when his head nodded just slightly, she found herself sighing, "I want to free you all, but you... your ring..."

Levi looked back at her with a grin playing his lips, and then her bedroom faded away and the two of them were in some place far away, "You need to have more confidence in yourself."

When she looked around, she couldn't recognize the trees, the houses, or the lake in the middle, but she could recognize that children were running around town happily, as if no one was chasing them, "What are you showing me now?"

"Because the sorceresses are too busy running after you, there's no one to cause chaos in other parts of this planet. These children are already thanking you and they don't even know why."

Charlotte wasn't sure if that was entirely a good thing, but she let him have it. However, Levi cleared his throat, and when she looked over at him, he was giving her a sheepish grin.

"The others are trying to wake you up now. I might have gotten you into trouble."

Right as she was about to ask him what he meant, everything she was looking at faded away, and she was left in a room that was pitch black.

"Charlotte!” She snapped her eyes open to see a frantic Mika hovering over her bed, "The ring's missing!"

"Shut up and keep looking, Mika!" Darius called from another room, and as Mika ran out of the room to answer Darius's call, she looked down at her hand and gasped.

How had the ring gotten into her hand? Also, who repaired the ring?! Instead of two halves of a ring, in her hand sat one ring in a perfect condition. She remembered last night, and how she thought she saw something silver flying towards her. Was it this ring? What was Levi trying to show her?

As she sat up in bed, she watched as Nero walked into her room and started searching under her bed, "It's not here, either. Have you seen the ring, Charlotte?"

She held the ring out to him, but he never noticed. Instead, he grumbled under his breath and went off into another room. She stared at him in disbelief and went to go and find Mark instead, since she knew he'd want the ring.
"Charlotte. Help us find the ring! Please!" There were tears streaming down his face as he spoke, and he was desperately throwing things around. She was partially glad nothing was broken, but she was watching everyone's expressions.

“I have the ring." As soon as she spoke, she dropped her head, because she didn't like the narrow-eyed glares she was receiving.

Percy was the first to walk up to her and put a hand on her shoulder, "Why would you have the ring?"

She shook her head slowly, though she was scared of their reactions, "I just woke up and it was in my hand."

"The ring can't move on its own, Charlotte." Kaspar's voice took on a sharp edge as he spoke, and though she know what she saw, she also knew no one would believe her.

Nico was the second to walk up to her, and after leaning down just slightly in order to look at her, he spoke, "What happened, Charlotte?"

But when she tried to tell him, she was cut off by Otto as he burst into the room, "We've been found out. Hurry, we'll have to go to the bunkers where the civilians are hidden."

"Go. Now. We'll talk about this later." Dale started pushing people in the way Otto had come from, but they had all refused to talk to her.

She was left alone with Angelo, who waited at the entrance before taking another step away from her, "I want to believe you, Charlotte, but his powers are gone."

"He's gone."

He wasn't, though, and she was the only one who knew he wasn't. How was she supposed to tell the mages he was still there when they obviously didn't believe her or even ask to see the ring? Did they think she did something to the ring, even after she promised to free them all?

Charlotte found herself walking behind everyone else, though some of them glanced at her from over their shoulders to make sure she was still there. The silence was tense and she was trying not to cry, but what more could she say or do?

"There's no reason to cry." When she looked up, she saw Erik standing in front of her, and though he usually didn't like her, he held out a tissue for her to dry her eyes, "We’re all just confused as to how the ring ended up with you. We were all watching it last night, but it never moved."

"Even when it's broken, the ring had to search for its master."

She didn't answer. She didn't know how to. She had no idea what Levi wanted or why he chose her that night when eleven of his friends sat around him, but he chose her and now she was paying for it.

"Charlotte?" Beyond Erik, where the rest of the group was standing, Alex stopped walking and turned towards them. Because of this, the other mages stopped where they were and looked over to the pair as well, "Can I see the ring?"

The ring was held tightly in her hand so she couldn't drop it. She didn't want to walk over to them since most of them were giving her evil eyes, but she did it anyway. She held out her hand and opened it, and she heard the gasps that came along with it.

"You fixed it!" Mark shoved everyone else away and took the ring into his own hands, his eyes tearing and his lips curling into a relieved grin so wide that she ended up smiling a little as well.

"How did you fix it?" Nico asked, and when she looked over at him, his eyes were full of confusion and doubt.

She told them everything that happened and she watched as guilt covered their expressions. They felt bad for getting angry with her and they apologized profusely, but she had already forgiven them because she knew how important it was to them; having their twelfth mage with them.

"There's just one problem." Nero stated, and everyone turned to him as he spoke, "How are we so sure he's still in there?"

They all fell silent for a moment, and then they turned to her and Mark held the ring out to her.

Charlotte knew what it meant, and she smiled as she took the fragile silver ring and put it on her right hand’s thumb. It glowed for a moment and then as the bright light appeared and disappeared, she found herself smiling even wider, because the mage from her dream was standing there right in front of her.

"It took you long enough."

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