Mika got off the ground and bowed at her once more, before he stretched his lips into another grin, "Charlotte it is, then. I didn't expect to be found by someone so pretty."
She could feel her cheeks blush at the compliment, though she couldn't tell if Mika was trying to get that kind of reaction out of her. Clearing her throat, Charlotte turned her head in the direction she thought Mark was.
"If we're done with introductions, shall we leave the field?” She asked gently, making sure she wasn't looking up at him as she spoke.
No answer came, so she looked up at the male she'd just met, but his gaze was elsewhere. Mika was looking around at the wind turbines in puzzlement, as if he had no idea of what they were.
"This is a... field? But there are these giant- things here!" Mika exclaimed, waving his hands around in an unhappy manner, "There shouldn't be these things in a field where wind should pass freely!"
She laughed gently at his reaction and shook her head. If he was asleep for as long as Mark was, then of course he didn't know about the turbines. Lightly, she tapped his shoulder, and much like Mark, he flinched and leaned away as if she planned to harm him.
"Our town used to use these turbines to power towns nearby before they were invaded.” She explained, pointing to the turbines as she started walking in the way she had come from.
She heard his footsteps pad against the field as he followed her, and as they exited the field, she wondered just how it was possible for the wind to have actually slowed down enough for her to get into the field to Mika.
"We use magic now, so they aren’t of much use; but I guess everyone just figured that these things would be destroyed by now already, so they didn't go and take them apart.” She shrugged as she kept explaining and glanced around to see if she could see Mark's tall stature in the distance.
So far, they were still too close to the center to find Mark-
"Did you find one of the other mages?" Mika muttered, though his voice was loud enough for her to hear as she turned to him, "I can feel someone's presence ahead."
"You can feel him? But he couldn't feel you until I told him about the field.” She frowned at the information, since it was strange for her to know Mika could feel Mark when Mark couldn't feel Mika.
"Ah, I can feel him because he's not in his ring. If he was in his ring, I wouldn't be able to sense him. It was part of the enchantment that put us in our rings so we wouldn't be able to find each other." Mika smiled lightly then walked ahead of her in a different direction. Her lips curved into a frown, Charlotte let her feet trail after the mage of wind. Just why was it impossible for them to find each other? More importantly, why had they been in the rings?
"I have a question for you.” She returned to reality when he spoke and ended up jogging to catch up to him when she saw him walk ahead of her by a few feet, "Why are you looking for our rings?"
"Because finding you and setting you free gives me a goal. Without a goal, I'd have nothing to live for.” She told him honestly, and Mika threw a glance at her from over his shoulder in amusement and maybe even disbelief.
"You have a family to live for, right?" He turned forward again, and she was going to tell him that her family situation wasn't great, but she remembered that the boys didn’t know much about anything after being put in their rings, and their families were probably already long dead.
"They have more people protecting them." Her mouth stretched into another smile because she just knew everyone would be safe. We were a fighting town, after all, "And I think wanting to set you all free first is good enough of a reason for me to halt going back home."
Mika stopped walking so suddenly that she almost bumped right into his back, and had to stop right before she could actually bump into him. Then, the boy turned around and sent her a wide smile, "You're really going to set us free?"
She found herself nodding rapidly before her eyes passed Mika and landed on Mark's figure in the distance. Mark was looking right at them with wide eyes and it looked like he wanted to run towards the pair, but his eyes had glanced up at the wind turbines and back to them warily.
"Hey, Mika, do you think you can stop the wind so he can get closer?” She asked the male beside her, and he nodded enthusiastically before waving his hand at the turbines, ceasing them immediately.
Not a moment later, Mika and Mark had run towards each other and were sharing a hug so tight she thought they'd break each other in half.
Instead of standing and staring at them, she merely shook her head and started walking away from the wind turbine field. They had no need to be there any longer, and the sooner they found the other mages, the better. Moreover, they hadn't seen each other in over 300 years; she didn't want to get in the way of their bonding.
The two chattered with each other as they kept walking, and though she felt a little out of the loop, this type of situation was common in her life. Considering the fact that they spoke with her even a few times, it was better than how often she overlooked back in town.
The trio walked until the sun set, and surprisingly found the ruins of an older town. Her jaw dropped at all the destruction she'd seen around her, though one or two buildings were barely managing to stay together. Without glancing back at the pair of mages, she decided they'd stay there for the night. This town, no matter how destroyed it was, reminded her of home; and had homes that would give them warmth in the naturally cool desert.
"Are we really staying here?" Mark spoke suddenly, and she quickly turned back to look at him to see he and Mika were both looking around the deserted and destroyed town in wonder.
She pointed at one of the houses that was still intact, "We'll stay in there for the night. I don't know about you two, but I don't want to spend another night out in the cold."
“If only Percy were here." Mika muttered, and though she looked at him to elaborate, he didn't seem to notice and walked in the direction of the house. Perhaps she hadn't been paying attention before, but she suddenly realized that Mika spoke with a lisp.
As she stood there and stared at the back of the mage she'd just met, Mark had started to pass her and grinned, taking her hand to drag her along so that she wouldn’t leave them behind. Going further into the town and toward the house, they started noticing dead bodies around the streets, and she covered her nose to block out the smell of decaying flesh.
Mark seemed to be confused as to why she was doing that, "Is something wrong?"
"It smells like death.” She replied, dumbstruck. He and Mika kept walking as if none of the sights or smells bothered them even slightly.
Mika turned around at that and raised his head, sniffing the air as if he didn't know what she was talking about, "It smells normal to us."
She dropped the topic and kept walking; making sure she covered her nose as best as she could. They soon found ourselves in front of the house she was planning to stay in for the night- a two-story house that was made of brick and had a chimney sticking out from the back corner of the house. It was easier to live in brick houses, as it took a lot to destroy those buildings.
Mika reached out for the door and knocked on it to see if anyone was inside. When he realized that it was uninhabited, he wrapped his hand around the doorknob and attempted to open it.
A moment later, he stood back and hissed, "It's been enchanted."
"Does that mean we have to keep looking?" Mark's voice sounded exhausted and when she looked over at him, it was reconfirmed that the first mage she’d found was exhausted.
"Stand back.” She sighed, reaching for one of her pistols. She wasn't sure if it'd work, but she was apparently full of surprises recently.
"What are you going to do?" Mika put a hand on her shoulder and she turned to grin at him.
"I'll get us in there, promise.” She reassured him, and with a hesitant nod, both he and Mark took steps back so she couldn’t shoot them by accident. She pulled out her right pistol and aimed it right at the lock.
"Isn't that-” She heard Mark gasp about something, but she zoned him out in order to focus on her shot, and she hit the lock right on. The door opened instantly, and she grinned at her accomplishment before walking with the other two following her.
"I never thought I'd see the inside of a house again.” She was gleeful about being in a house, and that was understandable.
"Wait-" Mika was about to say something to her, but she ignored him and dropped her backpack onto the ground so she could go explore the house.
She found herself in the kitchen first, and she searched through all the cabinets and even the fridge; but other than stale and moldy bread, there was no food in the kitchen.
"Charlotte!" Mark called, and in a panic as to why he'd suddenly call her like that, she ran back to the living room to see the two of them were on the couch, looking up at her with furrowed eyebrows.
"What is it?” She asked cautiously. They'd been acting a little strange since they'd gotten to the house, and though she was curious as to why, she didn't want to imagine that she'd done something wrong.
"It's nothing." Mika suddenly smiled and though it was suspicious, she didn't think much of it and let the subject drop as she watched him get up and stretch, "I just wanted to know if you have any food to spare. It's been a while since I ate."
Mark snickered under his breath and she looked over at the brunette to see he had already gotten up and was searching through her bag for food bags. She shook her head in amusement because Mika was just another guy, after all.
As those two ate, she explored the rest of the house, and surprisingly found herself in a study room that looked almost untouched other than the papers littered across the room. She found herself being overly curious because of all the bookshelves in the room and when she walked over to the desk in the corner of the room, she had difficulty trying to understand that there was a map sitting on top of the desk.
Upon closer inspection of the map, she realized it was a map, but something caught her eye. She saw where her town was on the map, and there was a pin pushed into a section of the map where she realized was the caves in which Mark was found. She told herself was a coincidence, but then she felt her face pale when she found the wind turbine field on the map and noticed that it also had a pin through that spot. There were ten other pins scattered across the map, and something told her she had to find those places in order to find the rest of the mages.
It seemed like a flawless plan.
There was only one problem about this.
Someone else knew about the "BLOOD" rings.
Moreover, she had a feeling they knew she was looking for the rings.