Right before she passed them, Mika lunged forward and grabbed her wrist, pulling her back with furrowed eyebrows, "How did you know his name?"
"His... name?” She was honestly confused, because neither of them told her his name and she hadn't realized she said anything like a person's name.
"Yeah, you just said 'Darius is here somewhere'. How did you know his name?" Mika's eyes were piercing as he stared at her, as if he wanted to know if she was hiding something; as if he thought she was hiding something.
Mark looked between them in wonder before his own eyes widened, "Now that I think about it, you called Mika by his name before you found the ring."
"I did?!” She exclaimed, pulling her hand out of Mika's grasp to stare at the two boys in frustration, "What are you talking about? I don't even know the mages' names!"
Neither of them looked convinced as they stared at her, but they slowly let out sighs and shook their heads before turning their backs to her. Then, Mark all but ran upstairs, and Mika bolted through the main floor, where they had been. Seeing as the two of them already took their claims, she had no choice but to try to find a basement of some sort.
Thinking of what she'd seen in her dream, she realized that that kind of room would only bring negative attention to the person who had the room, so keeping it above ground would only cause suspicions. Charlotte looked around the living room for any sort of clue, only pausing in worry as she heard several pots and pans clatter onto the floor. She would have gone to check on Mika, but Mark’s loud footsteps from the upper floor distracted her.
Hopefully, they really were the only ones in the house, or the three of them would have woken someone that could possibly cause harm to any of them. The other two had powers, so she wasn't worried if they were to get into trouble. On the other hand, she didn't have any powers and was last ranking in her town for a reason. Her eyes searched around the living room, looking for possible threats and possible openings for an underground, yet she could see or sense nothing.
In the case of an attack, she wouldn't even be of any help to Mark or Mika; she would just drag them down with her. She felt tears spring into her eyes as she thought of it, because before this, she had no one to protect and no one worth living for. Now, she had two mages who were counting on her to help them find and free what seemed to be another ten mages; nine excluding the one in the house they were in already.
However, it wasn't right of her to cry about it if she didn't try her best to get better so that she could protect these mages. She would do anything to help her friends, and she'd start by finding the one they called Darius. She was about to leave the living room when she jabbed her foot against something and ended up sprawled out on the wooden floor, looking around to see what she'd fallen over.
There was an oddly placed rug where she had once been, and a corner of it had been overturned when she fell over. Her first thought was to forget about it and move on, but a sudden thought filled her. There wouldn't be a randomly placed rug laying around unless it was hiding something.
So, she pushed the rug aside and felt a grin form on her lips when she saw what seemed to be a trapdoor, a small latch on one side of it. She pulled on the latch and the trapdoor lifted so she could figure out what was inside of the space. It was dim, but there was enough light for her to see an old staircase that lead down into the basement of the house, and as she glanced at the trapdoor, she realized it was just big enough for one person to go down it at once.
"Mark!” She called at the top of her voice, hoping the male could hear her, "Mika!"
After calling the both of them, she wasted no time and all but ran down the stairs so she could see exactly what was in the basement; hopefully, it was the space from her dream.
Her head whipped around as she heard the voice, but she had no idea where it had come from.
She stood in a corner of the room and took in deep breaths as she tried to calm herself down and force the horror away. It was a lot more terrifying to see the room in person than it was when it was her dream. She looked at the desks turned over, and the bookshelves, and she gasped as she saw the box sitting on top of the dissection table, covered in scratch marks and dust. She saw the surgical instruments, thrown about the table as if someone had angrily thrown them off the table, and the area surrounding the table, bookshelves and all, were in terrible condition.
In her dream, the box wasn't on the table but stuck within the pile of wood, so she thought she was lucky that the box was in plain sight, yet when she took a step forward, the box disappeared. Charlotte was afraid that she'd never find the box, or at least, any time soon. With tears now filling her eyes, and panic welling in her heart, she pulled papers on the ground and threw them away when she realized they weren't covering the box.
“Help me.” Why was he calling for her if he was running from her? Where was he?
Finally, she heard Mark and Mika's footsteps coming down the staircase, and she turned to them and wiped her eyes as they stared around the perimeter in the exact horror she expected her face to mirror. Just seeing her horror was enough to set them into motion, and she continued searching through the papers despite the fact that they searched the room as if it was full of useless objects.
This only caused her desperation to grow as the three of them continued turning the room upside down.
They searched through all the papers, in and under every bookshelf, but they couldn’t find the box and neither of them knew where else to look. Then, her head snapped to the pile of wood in the corner and she hoped it would finally go the way her dream had gone so she could finally awaken the new mage from his long slumber. Charlotte ran to the pile and threw the wood planks behind her, and she swear she heard Mika hiss before her focus was back on the pile in front of her. It seemed like forever, and the tears were now freely streaming down her face, when she felt her fingers brush against exactly what she was looking for.
There it was in all of its glory, the third "BLOOD" black velvet box. Sawdust was covering it, thanks to the pile of wood thrown mercilessly on top of it, and she ached desperately to pick it up again.
"You found him." Mark breathed, and she could just hear the excitement brewing in his voice.
"Hurry, wake him up!" Mika shouted, and she threw a glance over her shoulder to see Mika was practically bouncing in place.
Her tears had dried at seeing their excitement, and she nodded, leaning down to pick the delicate box into her hands. It disappeared again, and she heaved a sigh as her head whipped around to figure out where it had gone.
"On the bookshelf!” She saw Mark point his finger and then her eyes narrowed on the bookshelf that she'd seen in her dream, and the box resting on top of it innocently.
She knew what would happen next, yet she stood up and leaned toward the bookshelf the box was resting on, and it disappeared.
"It's on the desk now." Mika breathed, and though her patience was starting to thin, she still felt panic in her heart.
Her first thought was that the mage in the box really didn't want her to find him.
Yet, when Mika creeped towards the floating case, he snapped her out of her thoughts, "Mark."
Mark didn't need an explanation or any other words, but the taller male nodded and circled around to the other side of the box, making sure that they would be able to jump on it before it could escape again.
She wanted to tell Mika that in her dream, a breeze had come in and kept the box in place, but she remembered how Mark once told her that their powers wouldn't work against each other’s, and the new mage's powers were definitely working well on its own. The panic in her heart started welling again, and she wished with all of her heart for a way to keep the box from disappearing.
Which was when the breeze arrived as it did in her dream, surrounding us and making Mark, Mika and she tense until they realized what it was doing. It had contracted and the breeze instead circled the box, lifting it off the desk and suspending it in air.
"Mika, what are you doing?" Mark asked; his eyes widening as he turned to the other mage.
Mika shook his head rapidly and looked down at his hands, "I'm not doing it; I can't use my powers against him when he's constantly using his."
She picked up the fear they were using to speak, yet her eyes focused on the velvet box. Now that it wasn't disappearing, it gave her the perfect opportunity to reach out and finally grasp it in her hands. She finally stomped down the panic and the urge to run away and stood before the box with her hands outstretched to catch it. The wind calmed down to a stop and the box gracefully fell into her hands. She blew off the dust and could feel a sad smile forming when she realized how old the damage seemed to be, yet she was more worried about the mage.
Charlotte opened the box, slowly, and grinned when she noticed the familiar silver ring with gems and a triangle shaped gem in the center with little marks on the center gem. With another glance thrown at the two mages, she noticed their anticipated gazes were on the ring, and that was enough to give her the courage to put the ring on.
Putting the black velvet box down on the overturned desk, she picked the ring up into her hands and frowned at the large size. She didn't know who wore the rings before, but they apparently had huge fingers. As if the ring knew what she was thinking, it shrunk to a size that could fit only on her third finger, and she placed it on her left hand's third finger before shutting her eyes and covering them with her right hand.
"Darius!” She realized when the glow had died down because of the mages next to her, and when she opened her eyes to look at the new mage, she noticed that the other mages pounced on him.
"Mika? Mark?" The mage was an Englishman like Mark and had dark eyes and hair to match, yet he looked as if he was thin in comparison to either of them, and confused as to why he was seeing them in front of him, "Why am I awake? Why are you here?"
That made Mark and Mika both let go of him and they stepped back to allow the mage to see Charlotte, and she felt her cheeks redden slightly at the sudden attention. The third mage was also handsome; she'd give him that.
As his eyes shot to her, the third mage dropped to one knee and had his head bowed in submission.
"Who are you?” She asked him. Despite knowing his name to be Darius from apparently herself and the other two mages, she wanted him to tell her his name himself.
The male lifted his head and gave her a smirk that she knew would make any girl swoon, "I’m Darius, master."
He said the word with sarcasm and venom dripped out of his tone, yet Charlotte wasn't frightened of him. She walked closer to him and he flinched as his smirk slowly disappeared, his body even tensing slightly in anticipation. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw that Mark and Mika had also frozen as she made her way towards Darius, as if they were truly afraid she'd punish him for speaking to her like that.
Instead, Charlotte dropped to her knees before him and slowly reached out to cup his face in her hands. Darius tensed further, if that were possible, and she was afraid that Mark and Mika probably did as well, but she was too busy making sure there was no physical damage to found on the third mage.
"You're alright.” She breathed in relief and slowly pulled her hands back to wipe at her eyes. She hadn't realized she'd begun to tear up again, but now, all of her previous feelings toward Darius had faded and turned into absolute relief that he was unharmed.
She felt someone pull her hands away from her face with gentle hands, and she looked up at Darius to see his smirk had turned into a gentle smile as he used his own hand to brush her tears away. She felt Mika on her left and turned to see he'd also knelt down on the ground and put an arm around her waist to comfort her, and when she felt another arm on her waist, she turned to see Mark had done the same on her right side.
"My name's Charlotte, by the way.” She told him, and in response, Darius moved his hand from her face to her hair, ruffling it gently.
"I'm glad you're the one I woke up to." He muttered, and the two arms around her waist squeezed her as if to say they felt the same, and she felt the smile on her face return.
Those three boys were her friends, and she'd protect them no matter what it took.