Despite the amount of work I had to do and my newly set goals, there were still a lot of emotions I was trying to process. More than I was used to. I wasn't used to being worried about a human. Normally, I wouldn't give something as small as my human going out a second thought. At times, all the humans in my previous house had left for days, even weeks. They hadn't even left the television on to keep me company, yet I had never worried about it at all. I tried to take solace in that as I thought about Beactice's departure. She would be back when she got back. But now that I had seen the outside… I trembled. Well, it made being carefree just that much harder.

As much as I was concerned over Beatrice's safety, I couldn't let the worry consume me. No, that would distract me from my work. I looked around me, scanning up and down the hallway. Boy, did I have work to do?

It wasn't just the several dozen earth demons running around. What bothered me even more, was the mess they left. Their filth caked everything. A thick coating of dust, dirt, debris, and even some mud marred the once-beautiful floor. The granite and marble were almost completely hidden at times. In some areas, the coating was deep enough that I couldn't even move forward without vacuuming the debris.

On top of that, the demons had damaged many things. I spent a moment of silent mourning over a shattered vase that I had particularly liked. Normally there wasn't much I could do about damaged equipment, materials, or anything. However, I now had a much broader range of skills than before. So perhaps, with some ingenuity, I could figure something out. That's not to say I would be a master carpenter or anything, but who knows? With my improved grabby arm, I could manipulate things much better than ever before. Probably not to the level of a human with two opposable thumbs, but nothing too shabby. If only my automatic maintenance would work on other things as well as myself. I wondered if I had any way to influence a mutation's growth like that?

I brought my thoughts back to the present. I was getting ahead of myself. I still had to take care of all the demons first. If I started to just clean up the dirt they had left, they'd move around, and I would end up just where I started within a day. I knew that true cleanliness was temporary, sure. But I wanted to make sure it lasted a little longer than that, at least. Also, I needed to make sure that these demons weren't around by the time Beatrice got back. I didn't think she was anywhere close to the level of fighting these yet. She still needed lots of training, but something this strong would just get her killed.

Besides all that, I had also been asked to look after the woman in the bedroom. I would do my best. Based on her actions when we first met, I wasn't exactly her biggest fan. But if Beatrice was willing to forgive her, then I would also give her a second chance. I considered putting her on probation when she was up and running, so I could watch her every action carefully. If she so much as knocked a potted plant over, I would have to politely insist that she leave as soon as possible.

Still, it would be a danger to her as well as Beatrice if demons were creeping around. I continued down the hallway, deeper into the castle. There wasn't anything more I could do for Beatrice on her journey. I had trained her in cleaning and defense and hoped that these were adequate enough to survive outside. But I could ensure that she had an orderly home to return to. Focusing back on the task at hand, I pirouetted at the hallway intersection and trundled slowly toward the main room. It was time for me to deal with these mess makers.


Hunting demons wasn't nearly as fun or therapeutic as cleaning. When cleaning, I could make a plan, execute it, and measure my progress easily. In the end, a pristine floor was left behind, sparkling and giving me a sense of satisfaction. There was a clear journey and destination. Both of which I appreciated.

However, demon hunting had none of this. For one, it was much more stressful and variable. I had to chase moving targets and predict where they might be based on incomplete information. Even worse, the process of cleaning them up constantly had my processors on to make adjustments and update my predictive models. All that just to get rid of the mess maker - using as much effort as I could usually spend optimizing my route for a whole floor 10x over. The process was just tedious and unpredictable. While necessary and good, the results also didn't feel as satisfying. After each encounter, I had to control my disappointment at the soiled floor around me. l cleaned up some of the dirt incidentally, but still. It was just so frustrating. Why couldn't these mess makers just behave? If they didn't spread so much dirt, I wouldn't have to consume them, and we could just coexist peacefully. I wouldn't mind too much.

Of course, I tried to explain this to the first demon that I came across. It didn't seem very interested in listening to me. Not that I honestly expected it to. Instead, I tried to see the positives. Every time I vanquished a demon, there was less dirt being created. And as I moved from one demon to the next, searching for my next opponent, I left my vacuum on. By no means did this refresh the floor to my usual standards, but just having it on did wonders for getting the surface dirt out.

I wasn't sure how much time it would save me when I came back to deep clean, and I specifically avoided that calculation. But it did make me feel better along the way.

The first several demons were very easy to find, thankfully. Soon enough, I was rewarded for my efforts after capturing the third one. The voice finally returned with new mutations.


Hey, these options weren't half bad. I wasn't sure why, though. Were the earlier options just that terrible? Or was it that the voice was learning what I wanted?

Another thought occurred to me that felt less right but still plausible. Perhaps I just understood the implications of each mutation better? I thought back to the previous options I had received. It seemed unlikely since I couldn't really think of another option I would have reasonably chosen. The choice that stuck in my mind, though, was my first one. I did slightly regret not taking the Flight mutation. Or Interdimensional Travel. In fact, I couldn't quite believe that I had dismissed them so easily in the first place. But even then, I still think Limitless Dustpan was the right choice. I needed to stay true to my purpose, and the first few days here would have been unmanageable without it. Plus, heights scared me.

However, now there was not just one clear choice. That's what made me consider that these options were being tailored to me more seriously. Maybe I was getting the option of Air Affinity because of all the vacuuming I did? But that didn't make sense. I should have been offered this way earlier if that was the case. Maybe it was due to how I was using my vacuum to vanquish these earth demons? After all, it gave me water affinity after I started using my mop more actively.

Honestly, I could go with any of these. Air Purifier was the safe choice, though. But I wasn't quite sure. I'd have to think about it for a bit longer. Hopefully, the voice didn't mind.


Patricia was running. Down hallway after identical hallway, with no end in sight. Matthew's screams seemed to come from every direction all at once. She wasn't sure if she was running toward them or away from them. But she did know that she was being pursued.

Shapeless demonic figures of every size chased her, practically nipping at her heels with every frantic step. She was exhausted and weak, but she couldn't stop. Their cackling and groaning mixed with the screams to form a mad cacophony that she couldn't escape. Her steps felt as slow as molasses, and the doors that lined the hallway seemed to only get further and further away as she approached. Gnarled fingers and hooked claws grasped at her, snagging on her cloak and hair. Patricia squeezed her eyes shut as she desperately ran.

But all of a sudden, everything disappeared. The sound, the pursuers, the claws. Everything was silent and still. Then, hesitantly, she opened her eyes. A figure stood before her. A young girl, about 13 or 14, with long brown hair and pale skin. She was dressed plainly, in simple pants and a tunic, with a smock draped over her front. However, the feature that most caught Patricia's attention was her eyes. They were red, glowing orbs hovering above a broad toothy grin. It was her.

Before she could even register the new danger, Patricia felt a new sensation. An unseen force. Her entire body was being pulled back towards something. Dread settled over her as she looked back, horrified.

A massive black disk, at least 15 feet tall, loomed over her. Darkness and wind swirled around it in a deadly cyclone, sucking in even the screams of the demons swirling helplessly around it. What had been a stone hallway was now a fractured facade of stone, pieces breaking off and disappearing into the hellish monster as it advanced.

Patricia tried to scream, but the sound was whisked away from her throat just as quickly as it formed. The force sucking her in becoming stronger. Sprinting forward, she quickly lost her footing and slammed to the floor. She scrabbled about on the smooth stone, trying desperately to hold on as the force slowly and steadily threatened to drag her back. All the while, the little girl's face grinned devilishly at her.


Patricia woke up in a panic. She had to stifle a scream, holding herself completely still so that she didn't alert anything out there with the noise. It was a dream. Only a dream.

Once her breathing and heart had settled, she noticed that she wasn't where she had expected. Looking around, she didn't see the now familiar closet interior. Instead, she was in a bed. It was not a particularly soft bed, but it felt like a feather mattress compared to the stone floor. Sheets were pulled up around her. Cautiously, Patricia moved her arms and legs. She wasn't restrained. She was just… in bed. An unfamiliar one, to be sure, but a bed nonetheless.

As the adrenaline receded, the dehydration and hunger crashed over her once again. Her fear and suspicion weren't alleviated but were put on a slight hold. She felt parched but not nearly as much as before she had nodded off. Perhaps there was water or food around here. Sitting up, Patricia glanced around a small, nondescript room. There was a hearth, chair, wardrobe, and nightstand beside the bed. On the nightstand sat a leather waterskin and a couple of apples. Slowly she reached out for the waterskin. It still felt mostly full, and an experimental taste indicated that it was just water. Slowly, she wetted her lips and took small sips of the precious liquid. It was tempting to gulp the whole thing down, but she had learned better from Matthew. As she sat, she began to consider what had happened. Where was she? Had she been dreaming about the broom closet? Had someone saved her?

She rubbed her head, trying to piece together the events of the past week or so. It felt way too long to be a dream. And too detailed. But she couldn't find any explanation of where she was. Her hunger and thirst told her that the broom closet hadn't been a dream. It was very real. That meant that someone must have moved her here. Perhaps they sent out a second scouting party after them, or Arnold had brought reinforcements. Unless… Maybe Matthew had saved her? She tamped down the flicker of hope kindling in her chest. If he was alive, then everything would be ok. But she couldn't count on it.

Her thoughts felt slow and plodding as she worked through other explanations. Slowly a grim picture began to form in her mind. She couldn't think of any reason she was treated so well unless… She wasn't rescued. She looked at the door and saw that it was nearly identical to the broom closet. She was still in the castle but had been captured. And they had plans for her. If they had left her unguarded, it was probably already too late. But it wasn't certain. She wasn't about to give up just yet just because her captors had confidence in her cooperation. What did they even want?

Thinking about her captors, she remembered the demon and the girl. Whether the girl was possessed or willingly cooperating, she couldn't really tell. Perhaps the girl had just been tricked. Patricia wasn't sure what the demon planned for her, but it couldn't be good. Maybe it would try to brainwash her like it had the girl. Maybe she would be sacrificed or possessed or any number of terrible things.

Well, she had woken up before they had expected, so she had to take her chances and try to escape. She munched on an apple gratefully and glanced at the waterskin once more suspiciously. Maybe this was part of their plan. Even so, she was so weak that she'd have no chance of escape without sustenance.

It took Patricia a decent amount of time before her limbs were fully functional again. She was more dehydrated than she thought. Over the course of 20 minutes or so, she finished off the water skin. Eventually, she was able to swing her legs out of bed and shakily get to her feet. She was still in her combat gear for the most part. None of her knives or equipment were on her, but her clothes were. They felt stiff and crusty after several days of living in them.

Still, hygiene would have to wait. Looking around the room, she actually found her staff, knives, and other equipment in the wardrobe, along with her cloak. That was very odd. She supposed if the demon had planned on possessing her, it would be useful to still have her tools nearby. She must have been very lucky that their plans didn't work. She wasn't sure if it had failed and they just hadn't realized it or if they hadn't acted yet. Either way, she needed to make her way out as fast as possible. Her legs were still shaky, but now that she had all of her gear, she needed to get out.

She pictured the castle layout and figured the best way out was the fastest. It wouldn't be useful to try to retrace her steps. She didn't trust herself to be stealthy in her state, and the longer she took, the more likely she was to encounter one of the castle's guards. Earth demons were not something she could fight right now. Or really fight at all by herself. She would need a full party behind her to finish one off, not to mention the sheer number she had seen around here. No, her best chance was speed; she'd have to hope she just got lucky and avoided everything.

Still, that didn't mean that she had to be reckless. She carefully opened the door and peeked out. Right outside, gliding past, was the demon. The small black uncategorized demon. Dust swarmed towards it and was sucked in like the light that hit it. She could actually see particles in the air bending towards it as it went by. Its very presence caused everything around to be devoured.

All of the composure Patricia had maintained was gone in an instant. She let out a shriek and ran, stumbling towards where she thought the castle entrance would be.

A note from zaifyr

Caught a bit of a stomach bug this week. Luckily I had a couple chapters saved up to get me through. Wasn't able to write much or read many comments. I'll catch up over this week though!

Also it's really cool to see that we are only 11 patrons away from our goal. There is a bit of attrition or we would be there already but what can you do that's just life. Also also I've been asked to remind you all there are a couple bunts chapters on Patreon. Non essential to the main story but I think they are fun. I'm playing with a third piece but that might be patron exclusive though O.o

Support "All the Dust that Falls: A Roomba Isekai Adventure"

About the author


Bio: After reading pretty much everything I could I figured I would try making some of the stories that I wanted to read.

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