The wind turbine field scared her for a long while, since it was supposedly a myth. Decades before, the wind turbines had powered most of their side of the world, and they had several fields of these giant producers of energy. When the invaded town built up the walls, they ended up relying on magic to power her town, instead of those fields. It didn't really matter in the end, since the outsides of their towns was covered in desert with only scattered gusts of wind and sand flying around.
However, the field she was in was still full of life. There was grass under her feet, thriving and almost dancing under the gentle waves of wind given off by the turbines. The turbines themselves looked as if they slowed down with force, and she could only guess that Mark had something to do with it.
Instead of making her way further into the field, she stood there with her arms parted so she could feel the wind blow around her. She felt at peace for some reason, as if she was fine with flying away with the breeze.
She didn't know if Mark was close, but she felt another excited yet gentle presence and her eyes swept around the field to find it, yet she couldn't see it no matter how hard she tried. She started weaving her way around the turbines that had been slowed enough to keep her from being in any real danger.
When she was in the direct center of this field, she saw what she was looking for. The turbine in the middle had a portion of its base missing, almost forming a window with its shape. In that window sat another box. She was curious about how it sat there so peacefully while the strong winds blew at it, and leaned forward to look at the box carefully. Like Mark's box, it was black and had letters imprinted on it, yet she couldn't understand what word it spelled out.
Perhaps like Mark's box, it spelled out BLOOD.
However, what was BLOOD supposed to mean?
She didn't want to take the box, for some reason. Like when she had first seen Mark's box, she had been overwhelmed with a feeling- the urge to run away and get as far away as she possibly could.
Yet, at the same time, she knew she couldn't leave this ring- or the person in it- behind. It was Mark's friend, and she had promised Mark that she'd save them, so she could not abandon this one. Before she knew what she was doing, she reached out and let her fingers caress the velvet box, but since it was a dream, she couldn't feel it under her fingertips. She was simply brushing her fingers against air.
Only, it was Mark's hair and not actual air.
She woke up the next morning and looked over at what she was touching, since she was so sure it was the box from her dream. However, when she noticed exactly what her fingers were doing, her eyes widened, and she glanced over to Mark's eyes to see he had been looking at her in surprise.
"Sorry!” She practically hollered, scooting away from the male and feeling the fabric of the tent pressing onto her skin.
Mark scooted away in the opposite direction and bowed his head, his cheeks reddening slightly and causing her to smile slightly at his reaction. Just then, she felt a smirk forming on her lips as she scooted back and poked his arm ever so lightly.
"Are you feeling shy, Mark?” She smiled wider as he hit her hands, yet she kept going around his hands to poke him again, "Surely you've had a girlfriend before!"
Instead of answering, Mark covered his face with his hands and curled into a ball, making her ever so slightly guilty for saying such things to him. Mark was hundreds of years older than she was, but was innocent beyond compare.
On the other hand, she was highly amused when Mark, the same kid that had dragged her by the hand for hours yesterday was now too shy to look up at her.
"Hey! Don't be like this!” She laughed lightly, wrapping an arm around his shoulders in attempt to pull him back up, "If you keep acting like this, how can I tell you about my dream?"
"I don't want to hear it!" He whined, pulling away from her grasp in another attempt of avoiding her.
"Not even if it's about one of your friends?” She knew that would get his attention for sure, and Mark snapped his head towards her so quickly that she feared it would fall off.
"You had a dream about one of my friends?" He was obviously confused and she couldn't help but grin.
"The night before I met you, I had a dream that I was in a cave with frozen water and a small box.” She explained, and his eyes lit up in realization, "I didn't want to believe it was real, but something kept pulling at me until I decided to run towards the caves."
Mark's gaze softened for a moment, as if he was thinking of a million things at that one moment, and then he opened his mouth ever so slowly, "What did you dream of last night?"
"Wind turbines.” She answered, shrugging her shoulders, "The ring was in a field of wind turbines."
That made Mark whine and push her down onto the ground, patting her back, "Go to sleep and dream of a different ring."
She looked at him in shock and pushed herself back up, "What? Is that ring bad?"
Mark grumbled under his voice and crossed his arms in a childish manner, "No... It’s just that the wind mage is my only rival in cuteness. You'll like him more once you meet him, everyone does."
Covering her mouth with her hand, she held back a snort. Mark was jealous of a boy she never even met, by saying he was cuter than Mark. She didn't know if that were possible, and she didn't care if the other person was cute.
She sat back up and lightly shoved his arm, "You're being ridiculous. Even if he's cute, he'll be cute in other ways. Everyone has their charm points, and no two people are completely alike. Even if I do grow to like Mika, I'll like both of you for different reasons."
Mark didn't seem very convinced for a moment, so she stared on in worry until he eventually nodded and reached out for her backpack, "I'll take your word for it, then!"
Charlotte was curious as to what he could possibly want with her backpack, but of course, he was just digging out some more bags of food. She actually did snort at that, because even if he was asleep for 300 years, his appetite reminded her of the way boys in her school ate even when it wasn't their lunch period. He tossed her a bag of food and a bottle of water, then proceeding to take two of each for himself.
Surprisingly, she wasn't exactly hungry, so as he excitedly ate away, she had only eaten a quarter of the bag full of food. Mark noticed that she had stopped eating only when he'd finished his first bag of food, and he looked up at her with worried eyes, "Are you not hungry? You didn't eat much yesterday, either."
"Yesterday was because someone was too excited to let me sit for a while.” She said, pretending to be upset with him, though he could probably tell that she wasn't at all serious about what she was saying to him, "And I don't know why... I'm just not hungry."
In the end, she gave him the rest of her bag of food and he in turn gave her the bag he hadn't opened to save for later; so they wouldn't open food if they weren't going to eat it. As Mark ate, she packed up the tent and blankets and other supplies they'd used overnight back into her backpack; and they were soon back on the road again- or the desert.
"Do you know where the field could possibly be?" He asked gently, his eyes sweeping over the desert before us.
"Considering the fact that we didn't get too far away from town, as I am certainly slower than you, I'd say we just need to go for another few hours to get to the field.” She replied to him before shuddering, "The turbines are huge, so they won't be hard to miss."
The two of them were walking slowly, as if they had all the time in the world to find the rest of the mages; and she laughed as she watched him shorten his long footsteps just so he could stay beside her.
"We need to be careful when they get closer, then." Mark said suddenly, and she stopped walking to look up at him in confusion, urging him to continue, "You said it was a field of these... "turbines", and if I'm right about who's controlling them, the gusts of wind are going to be hard to get close to."
For a moment, her jaw dropped as she chided herself for not realizing it as they moved forward, but then she remembered how the field had slowed to an almost stop, "But in my dream, it was as if they were being slowed down."
Mark turned back to her with his eyebrows drawn together in thought, "Are you saying I slowed the wind? It's impossible for our powers to work against each others' powers. It would create a rift in our powers."
She knew that time had slowed down when she was in the presence of the turbines, but Mark's words left a mark on her mind. They wouldn't be able to use their powers against each other, so in case one of them decided to go out of control, no one could stop that mage.
She was about to ask him for more details when she was cut off.
Those words were exactly like the ones that brought her closer to Mark's box, and she just knew they were close to the next mage.
"Did you hear that?!” She asked in excitement, grabbing Mark's hand and waiting for him to nod.
Mark's eyebrows furrowed as he leaned his head away from her as if she'd gone crazy, "Hear what? You and I are the only ones here."
Ignoring the fact that Mark practically said she was hearing things, she started running and pulled him in the direction the voice came from. It was masculine, though it was a little lighter than Mark’s.
"Where are you taking me?" Mark seemed to be both amused and worried as he followed her, probably worried she was going to get us in danger.
"Help me." The voice was starting to get stronger, so she tugged harder on Mark's hand, and soon, they could see the wind turbines peeking out from ahead.
"You've found the field." Mark said in astonishment, and she felt her head nod dumbly. They couldn't get any closer, however, because the wind coming from those turbines were too strong, and Mark let out a long breath, "I can't get any closer, I’m sorry!"
She couldn't blame him. Mark was certainly a fragile-looking male, and she was starting to worry that the wind would be too strong for him. She stared at the field and felt her shoulders drop; she wished that she had the power to slow the turbines down so she could go and find this mage.
Feeling suddenly courageous, she ran to the field of turbines with Mark shouting at her to go back so she wouldn't get hurt, but she couldn't. The voice was calling- that box was calling out to her.
As she got closer to the field, the turbines actually did slow down, and like in her dream, she allowed the grass to brush under her feet as she walked through the field, stopping to allow the gentle breeze pass her before weaving her way into the middle of the field where the box was supposed to sit.
His presence, whoever it was, calmed yet excited her. It felt like he was as eager to meet her as she was to meet him, yet he was calling for her because he didn't know how else she was supposed to find him.
Eventually, she found the center of the field and panted as she stood before the object of her dream, the middle turbine holding the small black velvet box, and as in her dream, she crouched down to look at it again, smiling widely.
Unlike the dream, when she reached out to caress the box, she was able to feel its smooth edges, and she pulled it out of its resting place to look at it again. Once more, the mysterious word, "BLOOD" in silver lettering caught her eye, but she was far more interested in the ring it was holding.
She felt that urge to run away again, but she knew she'd already gotten in too deep to run away now that she was holding the second ring's box in her hand. Slowly, she opened it and smiled at the silver ring; it had gems, and a hurricane-shaped gem sat at the center of the ring, causing her to gasp under her breath.
Gently, she pulled it out of the box and scoffed when realizing it was just as big as Mark's ring had been. Again, she wished for it to become smaller, because though the ring was beautiful, it was far too big for her finger; but she found herself surprised when the ring contracted enough to fit only on her pinky finger.
Instead of reminding herself of how bad of an idea it was, she simply slipped it onto her left hand's pinky finger and shut her eyes tightly when everything lit up in white again.
When she looked over at the male, he was already on his knees with his head bowed. He had jet-black hair and the young facial expressions of an Asian male; and by the way he kneeled, she could tell he was of average height.
"Who are you?” She asked hesitantly, hoping this male wouldn't be as intimidating as Mark was at first.
"My name is Mika, master." Mika raised his head, and she could only feel her lips stretching into a smile as she saw his own smile.
Mark was right. Mika was cute.
"Charlotte. My name is Charlotte."