Bee worked alongside Void, steadily working over the bloodied floor with her mop. The process became a steady rhythm - dip the mop, wipe the floor, wring everything out, repeat. Before she realized it, she fell into a trance-like state, cleaning peacefully and steadily.
Bee looked up, unsure what had snapped her out of her meditation. She had no idea how much time had passed since they started cleaning. Still, now that she was aware again, her body felt like it was made of lead. She was exhausted, drained, and sore from the day's activity.
It wasn't all bad news, though. Looking back at Void and Bee's progress, she was impressed. It must have taken several hours, though it felt like nothing.
She thought this would take them two or three days. If they could maintain their current rate, they might finish by later today or early tomorrow. That was, of course, if she managed to take a break and get food and water. Otherwise, she would never finish at all.
By the time she had come back to her senses fully, Bee was panting. Void worked like a machine. It never seemed to get tired, never seemed to change its pace. It didn't get distracted, endlessly whisking back and forth and dipping its little mop in the bucket to get more water. But, on the other hand, she needed a break soon, or she'd collapse into the black blood.
Bee glanced down at Void and its small mop-like appendage. She had no idea how it could be so effective with such a little thing. It swished the mop around in a slight arc yet absorbed way more liquid than it should. It kind of made her feel inefficient. What made it even worse was that, if not for Void being a being of insurmountable power, the image of it waving a tiny ball of fabric scraps around like that was almost… cute. It was like watching a toddler digging a hole with a toy shovel, then coming back a few minutes later to find an entire 40-foot well dug.
The only thing that kept her going was the numbers she saw floating up in her vision as she cleaned. Those just so happened to be what had distracted her from the trance. She didn't initially understand what she was gaining experience for. Still, after they cleaned for a while, she had a theory. Having watched Void over the past few days, Bee had begun to understand its motivations better, which was a good thing since it was essential to her class. Devotee was a class made for serving ideals. You were devoted to someone, or you venerated a divine being. The Devotee thus made the ideals of the one they served the core tenets by which they lived.
Any class would gain experience through two methods. The first one was combat; all classes could gain experience through combat. The second option was class-dependent; it changed depending on a person's selected class. Devotees, in particular, gained experience by serving the ideals of their venerated. It seemed that Void's only ideal was one of cleaning and order. And significantly so, she wondered if those were Void's only ideals. If that were the case, then she might be gaining experience from cleaning. Like a maid would.
She thought she had avoided this fate. However, despite going with a different option, she still ended up pretty much getting the maid class with extra steps. She wished she had just picked brute.
Even though she hated it, the experience she was getting was almost as much as she received for killing that demon. In fact, she had already reached level six. It was a pretty unheard-of pace, especially with the comparatively small risk she was taking on. It would still be a while before she reached her next skill and the possibility of anything magic-related in her class. Still, it seemed closer and closer every moment. She coursed on the second wind from her new level for a while before the adrenaline wore off.
Amazingly, it was not Beatrice that asked for a break. Instead, Void had stopped in the middle of a sweep and looked at her. Well, she assumed it was looking at her. He definitely turned, and she could feel his attention on her. She was curious whether it was a perk of her class or her being continually aware of his presence. Still, she could feel it was considering her.
Looking at her for a couple seconds, it gave out a soft conciliatory screech and retracted its little mop. With that, it turned around and started heading for the door. Bee almost collapsed in relief. She was already tired, but with the prospect of a break looming over her, she realized the full extent. Her increased level had helped a lot. Otherwise, she would have probably passed out at this pace.
Recovering her balance with her mop, she sucked in a couple breaths before following Void. She caught up to it by the time it had reached the door. With its arm, it indicated that she should lean her mop up against the wall next to the bucket, which she gratefully did. Then it continued out of the room and headed back towards the library.
Bee was ready for a nap, but there were things to do first. If they were going to spend time in the library, she needed to use it wisely. There were a couple things she needed to research. First, she would need to find a complete guide on the devotee class. While she had some general knowledge about it, it was something she'd never thought she would get. Her family, though wealthy, was not particularly favored by the church. So she wouldn't have been involved in enough worship to be offered such a class under normal circumstances.
The second thing she needed to research was the demon lieutenant. Sure, she had read fables about it, but those weren't necessarily good sources of factual info. But if the mages' college knew it was here... They had to have replaced the protection circles regularly as the material ran out of power for several millennia at least. She wouldn't be surprised if they had more information about him somewhere. In fact, she wondered how Void had managed to break into the room without any signs of forced entry. She hadn't seen it go into any other locked room yet. Maybe it shouldn't surprise her, but it was a mystery she would need to ponder.
Maybe with enough time, she could replace the suppression fields herself. Still, judging based on how complex a field for Narazeth'gak would need to be and how little experience she had, that would probably take her more than the few months she had. It might not be at full power after a few months. If she was lucky, that might take years. However, as soon as it could move, breaking out of the cage would probably be trivial. That would be more than she could deal with.
No, her only options were to figure out a faster way to contain it or call for help or some sort of weakness she could use to kill it before it fully awakened. Killing it might be a stretch; just damaging it enough that she had time to contain it would be above and beyond. Still, the odds that there would be something she could hurt were minuscule. If Void was willing to do something about it, she wouldn't have to worry about it. She wasn't sure, though, and she wanted to avoid risking the unleashed calamity if Void didn't take action. Earlier she had said that she trusted Void to have it under control, but she was reconsidering. Void seemed inscrutable, and she wouldn't put it past it to be testing her even with this. It would be good to be prepared.
Both the Devotee class and Nazareth'gak were things scholars dedicated their lives to studying. And she only had a little time to dedicate to either of them. Sure she was exhausted, but she needed to get started. Who knew how much time she would have to research like this, given Void's training. Her other questions, like where the hell Void came from, would have to wait.
I was a little bit at a loss. We made our way to the room with fancy blocks so Beatrice could charge. However, I didn’t know what to do while she was charging. I had cleaned this room several times in the past few days, and it really didn’t need it anymore. The floor sparkled like freshly polished marble, and I had organized all of the blocks I could reach. I could leave her alone and just close the door. However, she seemed to be a bit of a magnet for trouble. I figured if she did that, she might end up burning the place down or attracting a mess maker from the outside that would cause more destruction. She seemed to need supervision.
However, my issue was resolved as we came across the body of one of the demons in the hall. Beatrice looked proud when she informed me of its defeat, and she thought removing a mess maker was difficult. Of course, she made quite a mess while doing so, but I wasn’t one to complain. We had spent most of a day cleaning up the last mess I made doing the same thing.
Once we got Beatrice settled down and charging, I would come and take care of the mess so she wouldn’t have to. I couldn’t think of a better way to thank her. It might be a risk, but I thought it was worth it. Cleaning this mess would be necessary. We couldn’t leave a second huge mess like this for long.
Entering the library, Beatrice didn’t go to her usual charging spot. Instead, she went to grab the fancy blocks from the wall. As much as I appreciated home decor, now was not the time. I tried to communicate this to her in a series of beeps. First, I came to rest next to her charging table. Then I pointed at her with my grabby arm, then at the table. She stepped away from the shelves and came over with a strange look on her face - confusion, maybe? I repeated the motion, just in case.
“You want me to lie down? On the table?” Beatrice asked. I beeped a confirmation to her. Being able to communicate with a human was so helpful!
Hesitantly, she got on the table and assumed the optimal charging position before turning her head to look at me. I watched her. It only took a couple minutes before she dropped into sleep mode. I waited a while to ensure her secure connection to the charging pad. Finally, I was satisfied after a reasonable time when she didn’t roll off or lose connection.
Closing the door behind me, I started back to the mess in the hall. I surveyed it. It was not nearly as bad as the mess in the large room. It seemed that no parts of the mess maker were wholly separated from the main body, and that had reduced coolant leaking. How nice of her to try and minimize the liquid output like this. She really was learning so well. Actually, to be honest, I wasn’t sure what fluid this was. I thought it was a fair assumption that it had multiple purposes. I only saw the one kind from all parts of these demons. So it was some sort of utility fluid that was coolant, lubrication, and brake fluid all in one.
I quickly added the demon’s parts to my dustbin. It joined all the others already there, though this one was utterly non-functional. I transmuted it right away. I was starting to dip below optimal energy levels, and I felt there were plenty of other materials in storage I could use at a moment’s notice. The fuzzy mess maker was still inside with the 14 angry lesser demons who would never leave. Now I only needed to deal with the fluid.
Since this morning, I have optimized my strategy for cleaning the demon utility fluid. I only needed water. That wasn’t an issue; there was a bucket just down the hall. Even if it was too heavy to move, I had even found a way around that limitation. By storing water inside my dustbin and using that to saturate my mop, I could avoid the travel time associated with trips to the bucket. I had only been using the bucket in solidarity with Beatrice and to lead by example. Once I had accumulated enough fluid to start, it wasn’t necessary anymore; it was just fun. I zoomed into the large room and consumed a large amount of the bucket’s contents. That should last a while. Then, I returned to the demon utility liquid to start cleaning.
Bee lay on the table for quite a while. She had started to doze, but the sound of the door closing woke her up. That was bizarre. Was Void trying to make her sleep? She was tired, sure, but it wasn’t close to nighttime. It was too early to sleep by a mile. Also, had it been waiting for her to sleep before leaving? It almost looked like it was trying to sneak away or something. That was almost more perplexing than the sleep thing. Maybe it was doing something dangerous or secret and didn’t want to be followed?
Bee sat up and took a few sips of water. She was tired, but only physically; she’d be fine after a chance to catch her breath. Really, taking a quick breather would put her in a perfect spot to research like she had planned.
Still slightly confused, Bee got up to go look through the books.