The Ring Bearer: Being Found

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Chapter 9

For two days after they found Darius, she had no dreams, and they gave ourselves a little break before looking for the other mages. It wasn't like they weren't eager to look for them, of course, but she knew they were all exhausted from the journey, and the three of them were still trying to adjust to the new world they'd awoken into.

They had come to the silent agreement of staying in the house they were in currently until they found the rest of the mages. According to the map, the rest of the mages were scattered in places nearby anyway, and staying in the house would be better than wandering the desert without heat during the chilly nights.

Mark and Mika liked to bicker a lot, she noticed; especially about which of them was cuter. Charlotte tried telling them they were both cute in different ways, but the two ignored her and Darius pulled her away from the bickering pair saying they'd never listen.

Darius was cute like them at times, as she caught him pouting when Mark or Mika ignored him; yet he was very different from them. Darius was always smirking, a unique trait. He was also confident in himself, and in some ways, cocky. He was also kind, however, like the day she'd found him and he brushed her tears away; that's when she realized it.

Mika was loud and easy to get angry; she learned that the hard way. Despite Darius's warning, she had gotten in between Mika and Mark during one of their arguments, and Mika had easily turned on her with the deadliest glare she'd ever received. Most times, though, Mika was making cute faces and expecting everyone around him to coo. Charlotte usually did, because he knew she thought he was cute.

On the other hand, Mark had his moments where he relied heavily on cute faces to impress someone. Most times, however, Mark was calm and calculating. When Mika had glared at her during her interruption of their pointless argument, Mark had pulled her behind him in case Mika were to get angry enough to use force against someone. He was also quite mischievous, using his pout to get whatever he wanted.

They seemed to be a trio of varying talents and powers, yet they loved each other greatly and always took care of each other. On the second day after they'd found Darius, she witnessed that first hand.

The lot of them slept in the bedrooms on the second floor. There were seven in all, and each of them claimed a bedroom to stay in until they ever decided to leave- if they ever decided to leave. When she woke up one day, it was due to an argument between two voices she was getting used to hearing during such arguments.

As Charlotte had never been fond of being startled awake before she was ready to wake up, she jumped out of bed and practically ran down the stairs so she could find those two and shut them up. Her eyes immediately flew to where Mika and Mark were standing in front of the couch; glaring at each other with verbal insults being tossed back and forth.

Darius was there too, though he was seated on the couch and watching the two of them in obvious amusement. Her hands flew up to massage her temples for a few moments as she tried repeatedly to block their voices out or at least to calm herself down, but even didn’t seem like enough.

Right as she opened her mouth to yell at them, she noticed tears form in Mark's eyes, and she wasn't the only one. Mika immediately stopped his arguing immediately and pulled the mage of time into a tight hug, rubbing his back gently and murmuring his apologies. Darius quickly joined them, and she watched in admiration as they soothed Mark down together.

Mark eventually stopped crying and pushed the two of them away, wiping his eyes before he turned to Charlotte and his entire face pinked as if he didn't expect her to be there watching them.

"Sit.” She said, and though they looked like they were going to protest, the three of them took seats on the couch and she stood before them with her arms crossed over her chest. Mika's face was downcast, though she could see his own eyes were slowly welling up with tears. Mark's face was still red and he looked everywhere other than at her. Darius sat between them, and though he hadn't argued with either of them, she knew he felt guilty for not stopping them before Mark had gotten hurt to the point of crying.

"Now, what was the argument about?” She asked them, and the three of them glanced at each other to explain, yet neither of them opened their mouths, "Darius, what was the argument about?"

"They were arguing about which of the other mages they want to be woken up next." Darius looked at the two boys now looking sullenly at their laps and then back to her, "They were each attached to the hip to a couple of the others since they're the two youngest."

She didn't know that they were the youngest of their group of mages, but then she realized that was why the two of them were always competing to see which of them was cuter.

"How about you?” She asked Darius, and he let out a light chuckle as he shrugged.

"I’m the third youngest, but I have no other mage I'm dependent on like these two-" Darius was trying to make himself look cooler, she thought, though he was cut off quickly by Mark's scoff.

"He's lying." Mark announced, and Darius shot him an annoyed glance before turning away to pretend he hadn't spoken at all, "He has a favorite too. Sometimes it’s as if they had dated in the past.”

She raised her hands to her temple and rubbed at it again, since they started arguing again about Darius’s attachment to one of the other mages she’d yet to meet.

"Anyway.” She stopped them from continuing and looked over at the table in front of them. No one had bothered to move the map from the table and she slowly sat down in front of the table with her eyes roaming over the surface of the map, "I haven't had any dreams, so I don't know who we'd find next."

Mika got off the couch with a sigh and sat down next to her, his arm reaching over to where the pin showing where he had been still sat, "They're all in the same color, and none of them are labeled; so it's hard to know exactly who's hidden where."

The next thing she knew, Mark had pressed his chest against her back and was leaning over her to point to a pin that was pressed against the surface of a lake, "It's not that hard to tell, since they know what powers all of them possess."

Darius had also gotten off the couch and sat down on the other side of the table, pointing to one of the other pins, "Yeah, but how are they going to find some of these guys?" His finger moved to point at a volcano in particular, "It'd be impossible to get to this one without the use of Nico's help, or at the very least, Levi's.”

"Hold on." Charlotte muttered and got up, running across the room and searching in her backpack for anything that could help them. She finally pulled her hand out with a pack of markers and returned to them. Taking out a purple marker, she and wrote down Mark, Mika, and Darius's names near the pins that showed where they were before pulling those pins out. Then, she took an orange marker and drew lines where the other nine pins were sitting before pulling the pins out; and with that, it'd be easier to fold the map and mark it as they found the rest.

"Wait, but they know for a fact that the lake has to hold Nico." Mark hummed, returning to his previous action of leaning over her with his chest against her back, "And the volcano has to be where Percy is."

Her head was swimming with the information she was receiving, yet she did her best to follow along until her eyes got tired and she leaned away from it, forgetting that the only thing she'd bump into would be Mark until it was too late. The tall male was caught by surprised because of this, yet he did nothing but stare at her as she rubbed her forehead again. Slowly, she pulled herself away from him and looked over to Darius, whose eyes were stuck on a specific part of the map, what looked to her like a cliff. Whenever she saw Darius, she felt herself sigh in relief when she remembered the damage his box had gone through before she found him.

Charlotte hesitantly reached out to Darius and put a hand on his shoulder. Darius’s surprise was obvious- but his lips curved into a smile when he realized it was her and not someone who could harm him, "What is it?"

"Why... why were you okay when the box was in bad shape?” She asked hesitantly, unsure of how Darius would react towards such a question. She had avoided asking him about it for the past two days, but her curiosity had finally gotten the best of her.

It was Mika who answered, after ruffling her hair, "When we were put into our rings, our powers transformed and created a sort of box to shield us from danger as we slept. The shield protects us from danger, yet with the right amount of damage, it can fall away and leave us vulnerable."

She felt her head nodding as the information sunk into her head and noticed Darius's smile turning into another one of his infamous smirks.

"We have something to tell you." Mika said gently, and she slowly turned to the male with rainbow streaks in his hair, waiting for him to continue, "We think... that you're somehow absorbing our powers."

Charlotte blinked several times as she heard this, her mind being unable to process the information given to her, "What?"

Mark sighed and moved away from behind her so that he was sitting next to Darius across from her and Mika, "When we found Mika, you somehow slowed down time enough for you to get close without being pushed away by the wind."

"And when we found Darius, a burst of wind circled his box until you were ready to catch it." Mika continued before glancing down at the rings on her fingers.

"She did?" Darius sounded just as confused as she probably looked, and he turned to her with furrowed eyebrows, "Are you a mage?"

She shook her head and looked down at her rings as well, "No, I'm just a normal warrior."

"That brings us to another thing we wanted to talk to you about." Mark said suddenly, and she looked over to him to see his gaze wasn't on her, but on the pistols she refused to leave behind, "We think those pistols used to belong to one of our leaders."

Slowly, she took her pistols out and surely enough, the three of them took deep breaths.

"But why would I have his weapons, and what does that have to do with me absorbing your powers?” She muttered, allowing Mark to take her pistols when he held his hands out for them.

"We don't know, really. We'd have to wait until one of the others to come and explain everything." Mika said in annoyance, and when Charlotte tried to look at him, she felt another sharp pain on her forehead, feeling her eyes slowly start to close.

"We'd better hurry and find them." Darius concluded as he glanced down at the map once more, and more importantly, at the cliff to the side of the map, "There are too many unanswered questions."

"I'll say.” She agreed just before her eyes decided to shut and she felt her body lean forward as she lost her grip on reality.

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