As Lucia had said, they reached the city by nightfall and found themselves sitting in a small inn eating roasted deer and boiled potatoes.
"It's good, isn't it?" Nixon asked, grinning as he watched Lucia wolf down her portion.
"It's fabulous. Probably the best meat I've ever had!" Lucia replied between bites.
"More like you don't know when the last time you ate was." Nixon replied. "You're eating like you haven't seen food in a few days. Things always taste better when you're sating your hunger."
"How would you know?" Lucia asked, putting down her fork. "Have you ever gone without food?"
"For experiments." Nixon replied. "I wanted to see how much harder it would be to use magic on an empty stomach."
"So you starved yourself every once in a while?"
"For a year-long observation project I did in my second year. It was about how magic and stamina mix."
"Was it assigned?"
"I chose it. Master Elhawk was very impressed."
"You studied under this Elhawk?"
"I still do. I'm not supposed to return to the Academy until the beginning of Summer, but I made an exception because I found a lost, amnesic girl wandering in the southwestern quarter of the Great Forest. I'm sure the Academy will understand my reasons for coming back early-"
"That's enough out of you, kid. How did you find her?"
Lucia gasped, a tall man in a hooded cloak had placed one hand on the shoulder of Nixon, who froze with his fork raised halfway to his mouth.
"Who are you?" Lucia demanded. "What do you think you're doing?"
"Both of you come with me. It's urgent."
"Why should we?" Nixon asked, his voice shaking.
The mand pulled his hood back enough so Lucia could see his face. "Because if you don't, I guaruntee that your innards will become a wind vortex by my hand."
"Can you really do that?" Lucia asked, keeping her voice low. Making a scene right now might prove to be disastrous if this man really was powerful.
The man raised an eyebrow. "You doubt my powers now?"
"I don't even know you!" she snapped. "Now kindly take your hand off of my friend, sir."
"Don't know me?" the man looked surprised. "What happened to you, Lady Lucia?"
"Lady Lucia?" Nixon dropped his fork. "That's impossible!"
"Don't be absurd." the man waved Nixon's exclamation away. "Now come with me, before someone else tries to convince you otherwise."
"Who are you?" Lucia asked, rising to her feet. "How do you know me?"
"You don't remember your father's best friend?"