For a moment, Lucia was dumbfounded. Honor? A guy in the forest trying to boost his power to make dirt do whatever he wanted was talking about escorting her to keep his honor intact? Did he even care that she barely managed to remember her own name?

"No, thank you." Lucia said, trying her best to be polite. "I don't want to become a stain on your conscience or anything, Nixon, but I don't wish you to feel responsible for me, either. Just tell me which way to go and I can take it from-"


"-there." Lucia finished softly. No? "What do you mean, no?"

"I mean, I won't let you travel alone just because you think you can." Nixon explained, his voice firm. "The roads are still dangerous, you know! Mage thieves, bandits, rebels, tangents from what's left of the Underground, and who knows what else could easily attack you. I've dodged plenty of mage thieves myself in the nine months that I've been here. You could easily be killed. It's not about my conscience, it's about being a decent person and trying to care about people other then yourself! I may be an apsiring for a Guardian's position, but I'm not all about money like they are. I just want to protect people!"

"Look, I'm just-" Lucia shook her head. She had misunderstood. "I didn't mean to- insult you or anything. You don't have to scream like that." she sighed, her head pounding. "What was that city called again, Yggdrasil? You can come with me there, but please make sure you're quiet, alright?"

"I will if you- look out!" Nixon threw himself on top of her, cradling her head with one hand and catching their fall with the other. Lucia felt air tear itself from her lungs as she hit the ground, with only her head protected. She was surprised when she heard Nixon swear and jump to his feet.

"What's going on?" Lucia gasped, trying to sit up. Nixon held out a hand, which she grabbed, and he pulled her to her feet effortlessly. Looking around, Lucia saw that they were surrounded by a group of seven people, all pulling gloves from their hands and grinning.

"Speaking of mage theives. . ." Nixon said quietly. "They've found us. I don't know if you can use magic or not, so don't let them touch you. There's a possibility of you dying if they do."

"Dying?" Lucia repeated, looking around at their opponents. "Contact with them could kill us?"

"Yes." Nixon affirmed, still keeping quietl. "Stick close to me. I'm sure I can handle them."

"Seven people that can kill you with a touch, and you say you can handle them." Lucia repeated. "The odds don't sound too goo for you."

Nixon smirked, shaking his head as the mage theives grew closer. "You weren't looking around much when you found me training. Just you wait, girl.  My skill isn't limited to one or two rocks, even if it's not fully matured yet." Taking a deep breath, the young man looked at the closest mage thief and said a single word: "Rise!"

Lucia felt the breath catch in her throat as earth rose around the mage thief, encasing him. Soon she couldn't see anything but dirt where the thief had been. When three others dashed towards their trapped comrade, Nixon pushed Lucia behind him and then clenched his fist. When he did, the earth around the trapped mage theif exploded, hurling dirt in many different directions, though stopping short of Nixon. The three who had been to close to this small explosion  lay on the ground, moaning, covered in dirt.

Two more came at him, but Nixon only saw one. As the other came from behind, Lucia felt some sort of instinct kick in and whirled to face her adversary, a skinny man about her height, but much older than she was.

"Try to touch me and you'll regret it." she warned.

"We shall see." the older mage theif said, darting forward.

In a flash, Lucia squeezed her eyes shut, thrust her hand out, and hurled what she hoped was a dagger at him.  When she opened her eyes, she saw the mage theif lying on the ground, face twisted in pain, trying to pull something from his chest.

It was a piece of earth, shaped like a small dagger.

Lucia gasped, then clenched her fist like she had seen Nixon do. The dagger poofed itself into normal earth, falling all over the dying mage theif.

"Hey!" Nixon exclaimed as he bumped into her. They were back to back. "You okay?"

"I'm fine." Lucia gave her head a quick shake. Now was not the time to gawk at what she had done. "How many are left?"

"Two. They're both facing me."

Lucia turned and stepped forward so that she was beside Nixon. "I think I can use magic after all. We'll both take one."

"I don't have any objections." was Nixon's reply.

Within seconds, the other two mage thieves were gone.

The End

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