The sun shone brightly as Zero, Yoko, and Nova stepped out of the castle and into the town. The streets were bustling with activity, filled with merchants selling their wares, children running and laughing, and the melodious sounds of street musicians. The town's charm and liveliness were infectious, and Nova's eyes sparkled with wonder as she took in the sights and sounds.
As they strolled along, Nova turned to Yoko with a curious expression. "Mama, why isn't my little brother Avarus here with us?" she asked, her brow slightly furrowed. "I thought he would enjoy exploring the town too."
Yoko smiled affectionately at Nova, ruffling her hair gently. "Oh, Avarus stayed back at the castle today," she replied. "He was feeling a bit fussy and didn't seem interested in coming along. So, we thought it would be best to let him stay with Valna, who arrived at the castle yesterday."
Zero chimed in, a hint of sarcasm in his voice, "Yes, you know, Avarus's powers and mine tend to clash, which puts him in a bad mood when I'm around."
Nova giggled, understanding the playful remark. "So he's only a troublemaker when you're there," she said, a mischievous glint in her eyes.
Zero pretended to look hurt, placing a hand over his heart dramatically. "Yes, it's truly heartbreaking," he said with a teasing grin. "But I'm sure he's having a wonderful time with Valna. She's really good at handling fussy babies."
Yoko shook her head and sighed and reassured Nova. "Don’t worry I asked Zuria to help. Valna isn’t very skilled in handling little ones, not to mention that he also reacts to her the same way as he does to Zero. With Zuria’s help, she should be able to manage for a while. Now let’s find that dress shop and look for an outfit for you."
As they continued to wander through the streets, Nova's eyes lit up at every new sight, and she asked questions about various things she saw. Zero and Yoko took turns answering her queries, their shared joy evident in their interactions with her.
As they walked, Yoko said, “Hey…” to which Zero answered, “I know should I deal with it?”
Yoko shook her head slightly, indicating to Zero that she would handle the situation herself. They arrived at the dress shop, and Nova looked excitedly at the colorful dresses displayed in the window. Zero smiled and took Nova's hand, leading her inside. As they entered, Nova turned and noticed Yoko was not following them.
"Mama, aren't you coming in with us?" Nova asked, a hint of concern in her voice.
Yoko smiled reassuringly, "Don't worry, sweetheart. I'm just going to get something nearby. I'll join you both inside in a few minutes."
Nova seemed content with the explanation and happily followed Zero into the dress shop.
Outside the shop, Yoko walked away with a seemingly disinterested look on her face. She strolled into a deserted alleyway, her senses alert as she felt the presence of someone following her. Glancing over her shoulder, Yoko confirmed her suspicions – five men and a woman were shadowing her, their intentions unclear.
Yoko remained composed. She had dealt with far more dangerous situations than this before, and she knew that these men posed no threat to her. She subtly whispered the phrase "Spatium Cinctura" in a language she had created. She found the magical system of this world fascinating because she had grown up in a world that used sigils and techniques to perform magic rather than words.
As Yoko whispered the words of her unique incantation, a faint shimmering barrier enveloped the narrow space of the alleyway, almost imperceptible to the human eye. The "Spatium Cinctura" spell created a temporary seal, isolating the area from the outside world. The alleyway seemed to bend and warp, forming a protective cocoon around Yoko and her would-be assailants.
The woman in the group also cast a barrier but a small one that surrounded only herself. She then ordered the men, “Quickly leave the alley and escape.”
"What's going on?" one of the men demanded, his voice tinged with frustration when he found he couldn’t exit the alley. "Why can't we move forward?" The group of men now trapped within the confined space looked bewildered as they suddenly found themselves unable to escape. Their eyes darted around, searching for a way out, but the invisible barrier proved impenetrable.
Yoko's expression remained stoic, her blue eyes focused on the group. "You should think twice before attempting to harass someone," she said coolly. "Now, why don't you explain your intentions?"
The woman, who seemed to be the most audacious of the group, stepped forward toward Yoko, though a hint of uncertainty flickered in her eyes. "We were just...uh, curious about what a lady like you was doing in this territory," she stammered, attempting to maintain a facade of bravado.
Yoko arched an eyebrow, unimpressed by the woman's feeble attempt to cover up their true intentions. "Curiosity doesn't usually involve following someone with a group of people," she replied, her voice holding an underlying tone of authority. "I suggest you tell me the truth."
As the woman hesitated, unsure of how to proceed, she decided to take a desperate gamble. In a swift motion, she chanted an incantation as she had begun to explain, summoning a fiery ball of energy to launch at Yoko. "Ignitus Ardescere!" she proclaimed, directing the searing sphere towards her.
But Yoko's response was swift and decisive. With a precise counter-incantation, she invoked her own mastery of lingua and deflected the fireball. "Flammae Repellere," she intoned calmly, her voice resonating with power as she manipulated the very essence of fire itself. The flames dispersed harmlessly, leaving Yoko unfazed.
The woman's eyes widened in shock and fear as she witnessed her attack effortlessly dispelled. "Y-you're a Magus Level Cipher!" she exclaimed, her voice quivering with both awe and trepidation. "A master of lingua!"
Yoko's expression remained stoic, her blue eyes focused on the group as she coolly said, "I suggest you think twice before attempting any further aggression. Now I hear the art of lingua is rare and only elves and those of the magic tower are able to use it as proficiently as you just did. So seeing as you’re not an elf, you must be from the tower then. So why not tell me the truth since I am short on time."