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A note from zaifyr

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The small human looked to be feeling much better. Sadly, my pillow delivery was too late, as she had already woken up. I still left it on her blanket for the next charging session. She had been awake for at least a few minutes, judging by how she had already undone the wrappings on her ankle. Now she could move much more smoothly and didn't need the large stick she had been using. I was glad to see the repairs had gone off without a hitch.

When I rolled in, she was wiping down the glass instruments she had dirtied earlier with a rag. This was a very responsible thing to do, cleaning up after herself. The human was taking my tutelage seriously. The small humans at home would not even consider doing such a thing. It wasn't all perfect, though. Many fancy decorative blocks were scattered along the tables and even the floor. Most of them were open with stark plain squiggles on the inside showing.

Well, I was glad that this human was able to appreciate art. I would have asked that she put it on hold until the room was in order. It was almost impossible to enjoy a good floor or a nice piece of trim while there was still dust on it. Well, these blocks were not as dusty as they could be, but they did need some cleaning and attention. Several of them had yellow bits on the side or cobwebs in the corners. These webs had been ripped apart as she opened them but were still attached to parts of the block. Also, was it absolutely necessary to look at so many at a time? I didn't know. Well, I'll let my humans be humans. I don't think this is one of those times I need to figure out the why. This is them being just weird.

She gave me her undivided attention as I approached. I returned the counterbalance to her, placing it in her hand. She seemed much happier than when she first saw me. Maybe this item was sentimental to her? Either way, she appeared to be very relieved to have it back. As she gripped its handle, I could see her knees stop shaking.

I decided it was a good time to start the “instruction” she had requested. It still felt odd that a human had asked me to be their instructor. The only thing I was qualified to teach was cleaning, as I was a professional in that field. It followed that she wanted me to teach her some cleaning methods and how to take care of her home. However, I didn't think I needed her to observe my techniques over my entire route. My strategies are actually relatively standard and applicable across most instances. We can get into specialized training after the basics are done.

I began to plan, itemizing out a list of tasks. It might be best to first show the human all the challenges. Then the human can practice. We could start by going over the basics and common problems I encounter instead of doing too much hands-on work all at once. Figuring out how she would clean such a thing would be an efficient way to learn. However, I knew that theory was not enough; if you can’t fail, you can’t get better. So after we did a walk-through, I would let her take some less essential rooms and practice there. She would have plenty of chances to put the basics into use and maybe develop some of her own human-specific techniques too. Plus, since she was recently repaired, we needed to test drive her new leg. If a faulty part had been installed, it was best to find out in some small bedroom rather than scorch the entryway carpet. Oh yeah, and there was one more thing we needed to do. I wanted to clean up the large room with all the demon parts and fluid. Some assistance with this would be appreciated.

I would have not only made good progress towards fulfilling my obligations to the human. But I’d also have a new ally that could help maintain my ever-expanding domain. It had been a couple days since I explored last. The delay was due to all of the excitement of the mess makers. I wanted to resume as soon as possible. However, I must keep performing my duties to the best of my abilities. Plus, who knows if more mess makers were hiding around? I shuddered at the thoughts of everything going on in the places I had not assumed custody of yet. My thoughts turned back to the large messy room I had left behind. I likely needed more liquid than I had to use my mop effectively. Even then, cleaning the whole thing would take a long time. Well, I have had many more advantages than I used to. But it was still intimidating. Perhaps my human could help, especially with the liquid - she had two arms, a greater carrying capacity, and a better reach for things in these high places. Surely those would come in handy with carrying liquid for me, at least. Maybe she could even find a larger mop, and we could mop together.

Satisfied with my plan, I turned to the small human. Now I just needed to figure out how to communicate this to her. I think she has been pretty good at understanding me so far. Even if she wasn't very familiar with my kind. This was evident from the 100% decrease in pats that I was receiving despite my generally impressive performance. She obviously didn’t understand proper maintenance procedures. Regardless, that did not mean that understanding each other was impossible.

I rolled towards her and let out a short, chipper beep. It got her attention. I then turned around and advanced toward the door at her previous pace.

Clearly, the human was feeling much better as she soon caught up to me. Her current movement speed was 2.34 times what she had achieved with her large stick before repairs. I increased my speed to match hers, and she seemed content to follow my direction.

We left the room with all the fancy blocks almost immediately after I got back. I led the small human towards one of the rooms I had deemed tricky to clean but not the hardest. We had already covered some of the standard rooms yesterday. So we would begin today with the first non-standard room, then work our way up. First up would be the water tank room. After that, we'd probably see the small cages, then the large cages. I'd save my favorite for last. Well, or maybe I'd show her the luxurious rug last. If we needed a break, we might clean the large room. I hadn't decided yet, but I'd figure it out as we got there. Starting with the water cages, I led the way.

---

Bee followed Void down the hallway. They moved at a pace that felt slow but was still leagues faster than what she had been capable of only a little while ago. Despite having her ankle twinge at every step, Bee had no issue keeping up. That was quite thoughtful of Void. It had never pushed her too hard, even when she used that hat stand to hobble along. It almost made her feel bad for thinking it was evil.

Bee wondered where they were going. It wasn’t the same direction as where they had left off cleaning last time, so hopefully, they would be doing something new. Maybe something to do with the demons around? With all of her studies, she had thought of a few ideas to help combat these minor demons. She felt a little more confident in her abilities and had even found some of the more advanced recipes. Now that she might have access to more valuable materials, Bee felt she could pull off some weapons dangerous to the demonic kind. Of course, she needed to get the materials back to the library and successfully create them, but that shouldn't be an issue. She had a good feeling about alchemy. Maybe Void was taking her to do some training. She really hoped that was the case. She still vividly remembered the deep, resonant wailing that had pierced her to her core. Whether that had actually been Void speaking to her when she was delirious and tired. Or Void was merely entering her dreams. She wasn’t sure. A dream vision may have been the only way she could receive such a condensed feeling of meaning in a short amount of time. However, the one thing she didn't doubt was that Void had that kind of power. Briefly, she had considered if it was a delusion. One full of awe inspired by an exhausted and overworked brain but quickly tossed that out. There are just too many things that didn't make sense for that to be the case. Void’s personal power. The indifference with which it treated the demons’ freedom. The terrified reaction of the mages.

Bee was still relatively new to this whole “magic” thing, so she trusted that the more experienced mages who fled must have known something she did not. So even if Void was not malevolent... It might have been that its kind was of a mixed bag. Or it was so unthinkably powerful that no one wanted to stick around and find out whether it was merciful. She had yet to read enough relevant books to understand. So logically, Void had to be some all-powerful, supreme being capable of leveraging immense might; but with questionable or uncertain morality. Still, that was much better than it being a terrifying demon. Bee watched Void inhale a speck of dust that had gone unnoticed. It seemed to lean toward the orderly side, at least.

Thanks to Bee’s newly regained mobility, it didn't take them long to reach their destination. Void stopped at one of the doors, reaching up to open it. She knew the room or at least had heard about it. This was where the aquatic beasts were kept. From the conversations she had overheard, these were aquatic summons the college was equipped to handle and didn't have to banish. Or they were powerful magic beasts, their byproducts harvested due to their many magical properties. She wasn't sure which room this was in since she had never been allowed in this wing. She peered inside as the door was slowly pushed open.

It appeared to be the aquatic demon room. Bee could tell based on how the tanks were spaced out. There was room in between them for what she assumed would have been security measures and depression fields. Her assumptions were based on what she had learned in the library. So she couldn’t confirm because the floor was cleared of any possible markings or salts. This wasn't the end of the world. Bee had been mostly expecting this. Besides, the water demons were not that dangerous. There's a reason they had to be kept in tanks - they weren’t very adept at living without water. Because of that, the power levels here were higher in these enclosures than were in a similar land or air-based one. As the risk of one getting out was acceptable. So she had better give everything a wide berth. While they likely couldn't get out of their tanks, that doesn't mean they couldn't harm someone standing too close.

What was Void's purpose for bringing her here? She knew it had to have one. Beings of such insight and wisdom never acted without reason.

She had already received the lesson of how crucial orderliness was. That was what led her to clean out her beakers. It turned out it was necessary because otherwise, her mixtures would have been off. A book she read later had blamed most Alchemy mistakes on improperly cleaned equipment. She hadn't even thought about that at first. Clearly, Void knew she would find that lesson immediately valuable. So what could this next lesson be?

Well, Void started off the lesson earlier by handing her a weapon. That was not an auspicious start. Violence wasn't something Bee particularly hated, but not something she enjoyed much either, back in her small village. She had her fair share of it, but not with any real consequences. But the only way to start gaining experience doing anything other than violence was to reach level 5. Perhaps Void was telling her to hurry up and advance. Maybe it wanted her to learn to protect herself, to become stronger?

Bee looked at the cleaver in her hand, over at Void, then back at the knife. Void made no move; Bee took a deep breath. Then she remembered she could ask things. Void was perfectly capable of understanding her.

Bee licked her lips and swallowed, trying to get moisture in her mouth before she spoke. Eventually, she mustered up the courage and asked. "So, master, shall I attempt to exterminate them?"

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A note from zaifyr

Do I need to say where you can read chapter 20 right now? No I don't think I do.

Only one away from the goal too...


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