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When I was at home, my best friend was the TV. Not that we ever talked. We just had a mutual understanding. I was lucky enough that my humans had placed my bed in the opposite corner of the TV. Therefore when I was docked, I could watch whatever was on the TV while I charged. I usually was a fan of dramas or home improvement/buying. The inside of houses for sale was always very well cleaned. However, I didn't really get to control the TV. That was the purview of humans. The large female human generally had a taste that aligned with mine. That's not to say I didn't enjoy the shows the male humans chose. They just weren't what I would have picked for myself. But that's okay; we can't always get what we want.

My human did enjoy a good action movie. While they weren’t my favorite, I enjoyed seeing all the debris usually created in them. I knew someone would have a fun time cleaning that up. Often these movies or shows had car chases in them. Or someone was running away from someone else. I had never honestly seen the appeal of this part of the action. There was usually very little damage, destruction, or dirt on the floor caused by this (which I felt went against the purpose of such movies). Nothing was being picked up or organized, so it wasn't some fantasy, drama, or feel-good story. While I had struggled to find the fun in them, I have to say, after being part of a chase, my views changed.

I now understand the appeal; this was fun. I raced after the minor demon. As I did, I left my vacuum on. I couldn't get all the mess it made. However, my suction was apparently strong enough to pick up most of this white powder as I went at top speed. I would still need to cover this area again more thoroughly, but for now, this would do.

As I raced, I was challenged to prevent the sharp metal thing from unbalancing me. I had to be careful on the turns and when accelerating or decelerating too fast. I did find a use for it, though. If I held it off to the side as I was turning, I could make the turn much sharper and much higher speed without risking having a wheel leave the ground. This counterbalanced motion, combined with my top speed, meant I was quickly gaining on the demon.

Every time I turned, I got slightly better at positioning the knife in my claw relative to my needs. It didn't take long, but soon, what used to be a burden became an asset. I was racing around these corners faster than I ever dreamed I could do without it. The demon was starting to panic as I closed the gap.

Clearly, it knew about me, as I thought it had been following me for a while. For some reason, it decided to taunt me with the filth it was leaving behind. I had no idea why. However, I didn't really care for its reasoning. If anything, the fact that the mess wasn’t incidental only, made it worse. It was not even caused out of some need. No, it was purely to spite me. That's only okay when humans do that. Only they get to put stuff down right in front of me so that I pick it up along my route. Besides, you can't even really call that spite. I think they just think they're feeding me. It's a little fun game I let them play. Now, this mess maker was not playing a fun game.

The demon looked over its shoulder at me and tried to put on a burst of speed, but I was too fast. At the last second, it stopped and jumped to the side, clinging to a door frame. My suction was incapable of tearing it off, even if it did make it stumble forward. I had to arrest my momentum and turn around. By the time I did that. I saw the creature had made it through the door. Accelerating quickly, I followed. I made it through the doorway, now quite a bit behind the demon. In the tighter confines of a room, navigating using the knife was difficult, and I had to slow down. Only because I respected the furniture of humans. The scheming demon obviously did not. It led me through a few more rooms before reaching a hallway in which I started to catch up again.

It seemed to have a destination in mind, no longer running randomly. Sometimes it would hesitate at corners and look over its shoulder. Before too long, I had almost caught it. Taking these small breaks to figure out where to go had cost it. It was already slower than me, and it couldn't afford to stop. In the last desperate attempt to escape, the demon ducked into the large room where I had first been summoned. I raced to the center to follow it. The creature hit the far wall and flipped around to look at me. That's when I heard something behind me. The door slammed shut.

I spun in a circle, taking stock of my location. Without really thinking about it, I began to form a new cleaning solution for this room. Thinking back to my first days here, I shuddered at how inefficient I had been cleaning this room. It took me hours last time, even if the mess was significant. I could only imagine how much better I was at it now. According to my cleaning plan, I could clean the entire room in maybe 15 minutes. If those columns weren't there, I imagine it could have been 10. That's when I noticed some more movement behind each column. Stepping out from behind each were two or three minor demons. All told, there were at least 15 in the room with me. How nice of them to gather all in one spot. I wonder what they wanted?

***

I don’t think they wanted to play, but it was the only charitable explanation I could think of for their actions. Instead, they all charged me at once, fists raised as if they were going to slam them down on my lid. That was the most fragile part of me. I heard something about a recall that my humans had decided to ignore. They decided if a little bit broke off me, it wasn't much of an issue. However, it would be hard to get repaired here even if no functional damage was done. It would make my dustbin less secure. Also, I would feel too exposed. So it would be best to avoid that.

I turned the suction on full, trying to suck these up like I did all the others. However, there seemed to be too many of them. Each one of them had grabbed hold of the other, with one right arm and one left arm chained to each other; the weight of two was more than my vacuuming power could overcome.

Not wanting to get smashed, I raced away. My newfound speed really came in handy. I moved between the two of them. As they tried to smack me, they got in each other's way, allowing me to slip through. Trying to dodge the next pair, I turned as hard as possible. To balance, I stuck my heavy sharp thing out for balance. It caught on something. This threw me off, and I found myself balanced on one wheel before being forced to swerve in the opposite direction I was turning. This was quite lucky, as I hadn't noticed, but another pair had snuck up behind me. Their fists flew down through the space I would have occupied had the sharp thing not tugged me aside.

The momentum quickly spun me around the pair of demons I hit. I continued whirling, trying to put them between me and all the others. This was not nearly as fun as the chase. All these action movies made it look entertaining, but dang. This was scary. I had to tug a little on the counterweight to remove it from the shin of one of the demons that I caught on. The demon screamed in agony and pain, gnashing its teeth at me. That did not look comfortable. There was a massive chunk missing from its leg. It released its partner's hand to grasp it with both hands, trying to stop the black fluid from flowing out of it. However, that was a mistake; I saw my opportunity. I turned my suction back on full and glided closer to the demons. They were no longer anchored by each other. The suction was now able to lift them off their feet. The undamaged one scrambled out of range just before it was too late. The other, however, didn't make it. Too focused on staunching the fluid pouring out of its leg, the leaking demon disappeared into my dustbin. I felt it settle next to the other two already in there.

Boy, was it getting crowded in there! I started to worry about how I was going to handle all of these unwanted guests. While I felt I could safely release the minor mess maker outside, these lesser demons did not seem friendly. I didn't think they deserved a second chance. No, I think their energy would be better spent furthering my cleaning.

My thoughts were rudely interrupted by another attempt at coming at me. This time they played it wisely. Instead of all rushing it once, they had circled up the 14 or so remaining demons. They advanced at a walk, trying to pin me in. Typically when I was chased by a small human or a small fuzzy mess maker with angry claws or a big dopey fluffy mess maker, I would just ignore them. Sure they would bark at me or try to smack me, but they're usually weak, and the large humans quickly told them off. Occasionally I had to run away. But usually, if I left them alone, they left me alone. I just had to come back and clean where they were sitting later. Once I politely nudged the fluffy dope a dozen times, and it refused to move. Eventually, I had just given up and came back later.

This had an entirely different feel. These were not beloved household common, everyday mess makers; they were truly elite. Trying to keep them away from me, I began to spin. Trying to keep the sharp pointy object between the closest one and me. This proved effective as they all jumped back, seeing what had happened to the last one who got too close. None of them wanted to follow its example.

It was the worst timing, but it couldn't be helped. All this running and spinning had significantly drained my battery. And I hadn’t been able to recharge in a while due to this minor mess maker inside me. I might have to risk it. As one of the demons jumped back to avoid a swipe of my pointy object, I saw an opening and took it. I zipped between its legs. Now they were no longer surrounding me. I began to weave around the columns, trying to think of something I could do. Looking at the door, I doubt they would let me open it. Also, there was no way I could while still bringing the counterweight, seeing as I only had one claw. This was my human's thing. I couldn't leave it behind.

No, the only way through this was the uncivilized one. I had to stay and fight. It seemed that as long as they held onto each other, my suction wouldn't work. It wasn't quite powerful enough. So the only option was to separate them. I didn't think I had many means of that after the whole wack-to-the-shin incident; they were wary of it. Well, it did give me some space and breathing room. I don't know how much use it would be. Dang, my battery was low.

I could feel myself start to slow down. I was reaching a critical point where I would go to sleep mode; this was not a safe place to do so. Well, I might as well try to play it safe and at least attempt to save the minor mess maker. I focused on only transmuting part of my dustbin’s contents. I felt a warm flare as energies were diffused into my battery, which filled up completely. The excess energy flowed through my system and into the ground. Sparks showered around my wheelbase. I have to admit, they were strikingly stunning shades of blue. It was a good thing this was not a carpet. Luckily the marble wouldn't be damaged by such small things. In fact, the blue sparks really did complement its color quite nicely.

Fully energized and ready to go again, I started to zip away. However, I was interrupted rudely by a familiar voice.

LEVEL 15 ACHIEVED. CHOOSE A MUTATION: FLAMETHROWER, SANITATION LAMP, SAND BLASTER.

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