The Ring Bearer: Being Found

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Chapter 7

The night they reached the terribly mysterious house, she remained in the study room to think of possible ways as to why someone would have a map of the area when every smart town had already retracted to the underground. The worst part about the discovery of the map was the twelve pins scattered around the paper; and she didn't even know there were ten more mages to find! Wait, no, the worst part would be that someone knew about the mages and exactly where they'd be. Which brought her to another realization.

According to the pin placements on the map, she'd come to the realization that there was a mage in the town they were in currently- if not, the house.

Her first thought was to bolt out of the room and tell Mark and Mika about the map, but she wanted to be sure that it was correct before bursting into her full on panic mode. That said, she started to venture around the second floor of the house, where she currently sat in one of the rooms. She walked up and down the hallway, but there were only rooms, closets, and even a couple of bathrooms on the floor.

She decided to take advantage of the first bathroom she saw and ended up taking a long and well-needed bath. The bathroom had all sorts of things, and she even let out a sigh of relief when she saw a shelf of feminine care products as well as a bottle of lavender scented bubble bath soap.

So, being the child she was, she filled the bath with the bubble soap, and pretended she had bubbles growing out of her skin for a while. The water was warm and soothing, and she unknowingly let her eyes close as she drifted off to sleep.

She knew she was still in the house when she looked around. The lights were on, but she could tell that the walls here were the same as the walls in the bathroom she knew she fell asleep in.

Yet, she didn't know where she was. None of the rooms she looked at had this kind of layout. The inside of this room was trashed, with papers all over the massive space, bookshelves and desks thrown around and practically destroyed, and even worse was the pile of wood sitting in the corner of the room.

Whatever this room was supposed to be, it scared her. There was a table in the middle; something that looked like it belonged in the Academy's biology lab. To increase her horror, there were surgical instruments thrown around the floor surrounding the table like a fence. The person who was dissecting things had obviously gotten irritated at what was going on.

The problem was that she couldn't see what was being dissecting; and she hoped that it wasn't a human. Without her knowing, she had started lifting papers off the ground and tossing them wherever she could. she didn't know what she was looking for, and she couldn't feel the things she was touching, but there was panic shaking her heart as if whatever she was looking for was so important that she was terrified that she possibly wouldn't ever be able to find it again.

Suddenly, she saw Mark and Mika join her in the room, and when she looked up at them, they seemed to find something written in her face, for they immediately started looking under bookshelves and desks, and even under the dissection table.

Then, she realized where none of them had bothered to look. The corner covered with a pile of wood seemed like a perfect place to look and she raced over, tossing plank of wood after plank of wood so that she could see what was underneath it. Finally, her fingers seemed to brush against what she was looking for, and she glanced down at the familiar smooth black velvet box with the mysterious letters, "BLOOD" imprinted on its flat surfaces.

Like expected, there were a few cuts scattered alongside the box's frame, because of either the wooden planks or the dissecting table that now sat flipped over on the other side of the room. Just as she leaned down to pick up the box and brush off all the sawdust covering it, it disappeared, and in a panic, she turned her head to see where it had gone.

She didn't know why it had disappeared like that so suddenly, but perhaps whoever was in the ring inside of that box was frightened she would harm him in the same way. After her eyes darted around for a few moments, she finally caught the box sitting on one of the bookshelves that was lying face down. She stood up to get closer to it, but it disappeared again, and she saw it land now on one of the desks. Mark and Mika slowly tiptoed so that they were standing on two sides of the box to corner it, but she was still afraid it would disappear again.

This box was seriously going to give her a panic attack, but all she could do was hope dumbly that it would come back to her after all. Suddenly, a breeze filled the room, and as Mark, Mika and she braced ourselves, it circled the box and kept it in place. The two mages with her seemed to be dumbstruck, or more like awestruck, but she found her gaze once again captured on the box.

That sudden urge to run away filled her again, but she found herself taking slow steps forward and reaching out for the box that slowly fell into her cupped hands, the wind disappearing as quickly as it appeared. She smiled sadly at the condition of the box, and then her fingers slowly opened the box.

The same time Mika decided to open the bathroom's door and gasp loudly as he shut it again. That effectively woke her up to a start and she looked down at the water surrounding her.

The bubbles had died out during her nap, and the water had slowly turned cold. She was afraid to look at her fingers, but she eventually brought her fingers to her face and frowned at the pruned complexion they took on due to her nap.

Quickly, she got out of the bath and dried herself off with one of the towels she found in the bathroom closet, making sure to let the water drain out of the bathtub so one of the other boys could bathe after she was finished. The dream was constantly replaying in her head, however; and she found herself wondering if there were other spaces in the house she hadn't seen thus far.

She walked down the stairs to where Mika and Mark had been seen earlier, and she found them in the same spots they were hours ago, though Mika's head was bowed in what she could only guess was shame. To add to Mika's innocent appeal, the tips of his ears were bright red, and she had to cover her mouth in order to keep herself from laughing.

Mark looked up at her and then back to Mika, and she could swear, Mark's smile turned wicked for a moment before he pounced up and leapt towards her, wrapping his arms around her and her eyes widened at the intimate gesture.

"That pervert didn't scare you, did he, Charlotte?" Mark turned his head towards Mika as he spoke and even had his eyes narrowed at the poor mage, who seemed to shrink in to himself even more at the accusing tone in which Mark had used to speak to him.

With her own eyes narrowed, she crossed her arms as she looked up at Mark, and he turned back to her and his eyes suddenly widened and his lips formed a pout. How he could suddenly go from mischievous to angelic was beyond her, but she could feel her arms loosen and drop back to her side and Mark's lips then turned into such a bright smile that she found herself smiling just as widely.

"You're so adorable!” She couldn't help herself, and then she found herself covering her face to calm herself down before she glanced over at Mika. He was looking up at her now, and though he still looked ashamed, he was biting on his lower lip and his eyes widened. She could have been imagining things, but it looked like there were actual tears in his eyes as he stared up at her. She slowly made her way over to Mika, who flinched as if he was afraid she was going to hurt him, and she could only smile as she ran her fingers through his hair, "I would have been mad if you stayed there, but you left and respected my privacy. Man, how could I have found such cute mages?"

Mika's face pinked, and when she glanced over at Mark, she noticed his face had already started to pink as well. She patted the space on the couch beside her, and Mark sat down next to her and she remembered the dream. She wanted to tell them about the new black box, of course, but her mind immediately went back to the map she'd seen in the study room and she gasped.

"What is it?" Mark's body tensed as if he was ready for an attack, but she put a hand on his shoulder, and he looked back at her in confusion.

"I have something to show you two.” She jumped off the couch and ran up the stairs, "Wait there!"

She didn't expect to take her words seriously, but when she came back down the stairs with the map in her hands, the two of them were in the same spot she left them, and she had to force herself not to roll her eyes at them.

Mika glanced down at the map in her hands, frowning when he saw all the pins in it, "What is that?"

After placing the map down on the coffee table and pushing the table closer to the couch, she sat down on her knees and pointed at the pin where she found Mark, "This is the caves in which Mark's ring was found." Then, her eyes roamed over the map to where the wind turbine field was, and she pointed again, "This is the field where Mika's ring was found-"

She was going to point to the house next and tell them she had found someone else, but Mika had already pulled the map farther from her, and she saw the confusion in his face, "How did you know where to put the rest of the pins?"

"That's the weird part.” She told him, glancing down at the nine other pins, "I don't know any of those places or how to get there. I found this map the way it is now upstairs."

The two mages froze and slowly turned to glance at each other. Charlotte wanted to speak again, but the fear on their faces stopped her. They knew something she didn't, as it seemed; and though she wanted to know what they knew, they seemed so terrified that she couldn't help but stand up and sit between the two of them again, pulling both of them into her sides for hugs.

"But who... who could know where we were hidden?” She heard Mark's voice whisper as he glanced down at the map, his head resting against her shoulder.

"Someone who wants power." Mika muttered in anger, and she turned to him in worry, only to notice his face had tightened as he raised his head off of her other shoulder to look back at her, "You said we were asleep for over 300 years, so only someone powerful enough to know of our existence would know where they were hidden."

"Like the sorceresses that put us away." Mark muttered as well, and she turned to him to see his face had become crestfallen.

Again, Charlotte wanted to know what they were talking about, but she had a feeling that all had to wait for a different time. She opened her mouth to tell them about her dream when Mika cut her off.

"We need to find the others, and quickly."

"All we have to do is follow the map, right?" The atmosphere had changed drastically and Mark leaned forward, his finger dragged along the map as he tried to figure out where they were. His finger did eventually stop, and he turned to her with his eyes wide as his finger pushed up against a pin, "One of the other mages is here!"

Mika pushed Mark's finger away in shock and stared down at the map before his eyes shot to her, "Did you already know about this?"

"Yeah, and I know which one it is.” She sighed and ran her fingers through her hair, "The dream showed a box that kept disappearing and reappearing-"

The other two mages gasped and looked at each other again before jumping to their feet.

"Are you serious?" Mark asked, his eyes already roaming the perimeter of the room.

"You said disappearing and reappearing, right?" Mika's eyes brightened slightly and she couldn't help but smile as she stood as well; and the three of them started to part ways to look for the mage.

"Darius is here somewhere.” She said, surprised by the determination in her voice. They would find the next mage no matter what.

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