I raced away from the demons. But, unfortunately, it seemed like the skeletons had joined in the fun. Everyone wanted to chase the little robot vacuum down the hallway. I didn't think I was having nearly as much fun as they seemed to be. Then, of course, I realized that they weren't actually playing a game and probably intended to rip me apart piece by piece. But thinking of them trying to play chase really helped me stay calm.
Even while fleeing, my sensors could calculate each party's speed. It seemed that I was faster than both the demons. The lumbering one definitely couldn't keep up, but the shadow could outspeed me in short bursts. Thankfully, I could maintain a higher top speed for a long time, which I was very grateful for. However, it appeared that the skeletons were even faster than me, let alone the demons, so the chase didn't last very long. Maybe a minute in, the first line of skeletons caught up to the larger demon. This forced them both to turn around and fight their pursuers off. I released a massive puff of exhaust in relief and slowed my pace a bit.
Still, who would have thought that I had two massive killer demons in my dustbin instead of a bunch of small ones? Actually, what had happened to the others? I checked and realized I still had 12 demons in there. Something odd must be happening in my dustbin. It was like how my small fuzzy mess maker came out so much different than I remembered. It's almost as if they were growing inside me. That was slightly concerning. If they grew powerful enough, would they be able to escape?
As scary as those two lesser demons had become, I'm pretty sure I could still take them if they weren't chased by a literal army of hostile skeletons. But it was still a considerable risk to let them be. If these two were angry, the other 12 wouldn't be different. I couldn't release them here, even as distractions. They would be dangerous to both Beatrice and me. Plus, who knew how big of a mess they would make in revenge? To be safe, I started transmuting the remaining demons one at a time. Each time I did, I felt my battery surge. The first one completely topped me off, and the next made me vibrate rapidly. I felt the air around me crackle with electricity. With each additional demon transmuted, the tunnel filled with more and more flickering blue lights. Energy swirled within and around me. I felt myself becoming stronger and faster. My processing speed increased dramatically again.
The voice came offering me a new mutation, but I could barely hear it over all of the crackling and static. The energy threatened to overflow, overwhelming me to the point where I could barely focus. Still, I pushed ahead, feeling like I was about to burst. The charge built up until I had transmuted 10 of the demons. Then, the energy exploded out of me. I was shot like a projectile back toward the skeletons.
With the force of a cannon, I slammed into the first one, having been completely lifted off the ground by the power of so much energy being expelled from me. This was not what I intended, but with my souped-up processing, I instantly made a plan to adapt. I turned my vacuum on as I made contact. I passed through the skeleton without resistance. Then the next. Then the next. I flew through line after line of bony figures without slowing, leaving a cloud of white pulverized bone in my wake. With each impact, I felt more and more energy pour into me. The halo of electricity I had felt was much larger now, damaging the other skeletons and sending them jittering everywhere.
I turned my vacuum up as far as it could possibly go, and it completely outpaced my expectations. Everything around seemed to bend and shoot towards me with a whoosh. The voice yelled at me again, but I still couldn't hear it over the roar. My little vacuum entrance struggled but managed to take in an astonishing amount the whole way. All the skeletons, their armor, the remains of the demons, everything just vanished into me. Huge squiggles covered my vision incomprehensibly. Some part of my processor registered that I really needed to ask Beatrice what they meant.
At some point, I skidded to a halt across the floor. It was over. I sat all alone. Everything else that had been chasing me was pulverized and gone. Sparks still flew off my wheels. And continued to do so for a solid 10.63 seconds.
I was stunned. Who knew I was sitting on so much energy just in my dustbin? And how had I sucked up that much around me? That was unheard of. With this level of suction, I needed to be careful. But in theory, I could clean entire hallways by just going through them once. Of course, I might rip everything off the floor and walls and destroy the room, but maybe I could become more precise as well as more powerful. The voice came back. It sounded a little less impatient than it normally would be at this point.
LEVEL UP x 12. LEVEL 32 WAS REACHED. THE FIFTH MUTATION REACHED. THE SIXTH MUTATION REACHED. CHOOSE TWO MUTATIONS.
I knew that was a lot of energy, but 12 levels… That seemed like a lot. It had taken Beatrice this whole trip to get half of that. But it was a much more impressive display than a lot of things I had previously done.
Out of nowhere, Bee suddenly got a huge chunk of experience. An incredible amount. More than she thought you could get at once. She was just about to engage the skeletons, and suddenly, her level shot up from 11 to 15. At the same time, she heard some sort of explosion behind her. Void must have done something. But what -
The shockwave hit. Both the skeletons and Bee were blown off their feet, sending everyone sliding halfway to the mausoleum in the center of the room.
Void must have been angry. Unleashing a power like this seemed completely overkill to wipe out a few demons and skeletons. Perhaps the demons had tried to betray her master?
It didn't matter. She flew to her feet and dodged through a gap between the skeletons before they fully recovered. Then, without looking back, she started running the ramp. Maybe she could outpace the skeletons and find somewhere to hide above.
However, fate wasn't so kind. Bee heard the rumble of footsteps from ahead. Though the footsteps didn't sound like bone. They sounded like something larger. Still magically enhanced, Bee drew her broom. She hoped that she could surprise whatever this thing was and dodge around. Preferably before it knew she was even there. Soon enough, she saw it. An undead monstrosity was charging down the hallway directly at her. It looked like a giant rat. She prepared to fight, but it skidded right past her and kept running down. Strange. Void would have no problem dealing with it, so she just let it go.
Beatrice continued up the ramp. She ran with her hand along the wall, hoping to find another side passage and some stairs. But no such luck. After a few minutes of running, she started to slow down. There would have been no way she could maintain this pace even a few levels ago, but now that she'd hit level 15, she could move much faster.
It would take her a while if she really had to go up this entire ramp. It took them hours to walk down, so she slowed to a light jog. This pace should be more effective for a longer time. She had heard soldiers passing through talk about marching pace, and this was what she imagined it would be. When she slowed down, she considered the prompt calling her attention. She needed to choose a new skill.
She was pretty glad Void was not around this time. She wasn't sure that it would have required her to choose what she wanted. And sure, her choice may have been the right one last time. But still, there was something to be said about choosing your own skills.
FOURTH SKILL REACHED. CHOOSE A SKILL: IMPROVED PATHING, IRON BONES, SWEEPING PROFICIENCY
The voice told me to choose two, but it only gave me three to choose from first. So while I knew there was another mutation I'd have to choose, I didn't know my options for the second one. That was a mild inconvenience. Since it did become apparent how valuable these things were, I didn't want to waste any. I had only been lucky so far that I had chosen the best skill each time from instinct. I couldn't count on luck to be with me much longer.
One of the many things I have to get Beatrice to teach me is anything she knows about these mutations. I didn't understand some of these at all. When thinking about my options, one stuck out right away. Not because it was great but because the others seemed awful. Since I didn't know what they did, I hesitated to just toss them out without proper consideration like I had before.
My options were: Spray Bottle, Undead Dominion, or Demonic Presence.
I think I knew what a spray bottle was. I had seen humans use them for cleaning, so it was definitely the lead choice. Still, Undead Dominion wasn't a concept I was familiar with. I could piece it together based on the individual words, but what the skill did might be slightly different. For example, "undead" would mean things that are no longer dead. I assume skeletons fell into that pile. And so far, they have been relatively useless. "Dominion" usually means to have control over some area, and I didn't have any interest in controlling skeletons.
Demonic Presence. I didn't particularly like demons from what I have seen from them so far. And I certainly wouldn't want any gifts to give to them. Really what kind of mutation was that a demonic present? Actually, multiple presents. The voice had said multiple presents. I didn't want to become a gift to demons, especially not multiple ones. I wasn't sure how that would work, but it didn't sound very pleasant. I'll pass. I guess the process of elimination just leaves the spray bottle. Making my selection, I felt the spray bottle mutation appear behind my front bumper.
There was no "extend" command like the other mutations. Instead, there was just a simple command of "spritz." I activated it, and some liquid flew out of my front, leaving a light sheen on the tile. I knew this option was awful. It just shot liquid. But I still extended my mop and swiped it up. Drawing it in, I analyzed the composition.
This didn't seem to be water. My sensors returned an interesting entry. Apparently, it was sodium hypochlorite. I didn't know what that was, so I dug a little deeper, and it said it was a solution of sodium, oxygen, and chlorine. That wasn't helpful, either. Perhaps it was a cleaning material. It did seem to leave the ground that it was sprayed on exceptionally spotless once I wiped it up.
Looking at the spray bottle functionality a little bit more, I found that I could actually eject other liquids I had sorted inside me. But the default liquid sprayed was this solution. And it seems I only had a small amount that slowly refilled up from nowhere. That was odd. Well, I suppose it could have been worse. Now I shouldn't need to draw in water every time I use my mop without liquid.
The voice seemed much more polite than it usually was. This time it let me experiment with my mutation for a few minutes before prompting me to choose again.
Okay, I get it. Just let me get the last little bit of liquid outside my reach. I tried to roll forward and found I couldn't. One of my wheels just wouldn't move. This was quite disturbing. The other would rotate, but this one was seized up somehow. I ran a system diagnostic to find the issue and became even more distressed. My plastic shell was cracked, some of my advanced sensors were providing corrupted data, and there seemed to even be some exposed wiring in my undercarriage. I couldn't tell much else because of all the damage. But I was in need of repair. I hoped Beatrice would come back soon. Otherwise, I might be in some trouble.
I struggled to use my grabby arm and one working wheel to move forward. I could inch forward a bit, but it was slow progress. I extended my mop for all it was worth trying to get the last little bits of liquid and finally managed to clean the entire mess. That's a lot of work. At this pace, it would be very slow progress making it up around this bend.
Well, I wasn't going anywhere for a while until Beatrice came back for me. So, having nothing better to do, I looked at my next mutation options. Automatic Maintenance, Spider Climb, and Tesla Coil.
Okay. Sure. Now give me three awesome things to pick from. I was almost quite upset.
I knew what spiders were. I had seen them climb on walls and ceilings. If I could climb like a spider, I would be able to clean everything. I might even be able to… no, I couldn't get ahead of myself. It seemed utterly unfair that I got all the good options at once. I would love a Tesla coil as well. I wasn't sure what to use it for, but it sounded cool anyway. This was a hard choice. Perhaps the options got better the higher level I was?
I felt at my stalled wheel. My situation seemed to almost force my hand. As much as I wanted to pick Spider Climb, there's no way I could pass up the first option in my current state. Pining over the alternatives, I idly wondered how Beatrice was doing.
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Bio: After reading pretty much everything I could I figured I would try making some of the stories that I wanted to read.