Hey all, I've reached a serious snag in my WIP regarding the identity of the antagonist and it's really halting my progress. The main protagonist is seeking out a masked magician who destroyed a village. The protagonist wants to go after the magician but needs proof in order to convince his lord father to send him out with a team. He grants guest rights to an old exile because the exile has the information and proof about the magician that the protagonist needs. The exile turns out to be in league with the magician and makes off with an important document. The protagonist assembles his team, one of which is the exile's servant who the protagonist captured and promised a lesser sentence in exchange for his help. After trial and tribulations they track down the exile, only for the servant to reveal he is the magician. He was looking to get payback from the exile for betraying a deal they made regarding the stolen document. In the fray one the protagonist's friends is killed and the magician gets away. What's hanging me up is that throughout the story, the MC get betrayed in a serious way twice and I'm concerned that readers will get annoyed and find him to be a gullible fool. Since the MC is about 15 and looking to rule the territory after his father, the story mainly is about him learning important lessons needed to become an effective ruler. In that sense I thought it would be all right, but while I'm writing it the MC just seems like such a fool for making a deal with two known criminals and I'm not sure if readers will have the patience to continue reading about him as he learns. Is there a way to alleviate this? Or am I just overthinking? Thanks for any and all help in advance. Sorry for the length.