Chapter 34:

Cleaning

Former Magical Girls and their Daily Lives


Yuri wasn't sure if cleaning the classroom if you weren't on cleaning duty was against the rules, but she was a rebellious spirit. She swept the floor hundreds of times, cleaning every nook and canny. She was unreasonably good at her job (or non-job as she wasn't supposed to clean today). She made any mess disappear, and dust bunnies fled from her ominous aura. The room smelled empty. It was like she was suddenly in the vacuum of space with nothing to trigger the nose hairs in her nostrils. Actually, there's an idea that space smells like burnt steak. Apparently, that's what astronauts say, but that wasn't how the classroom smelled like. It smelled like the lack of smell. It was a true vacuum. The thing that astronauts smell in space isn't the vacuum of space, but the stuff in the spaceship and space suits and whatever is actually in space. Theoretically, you can't smell the vacuum of space. Even if you took off your helmet, it would be nearly impossible to inhale through your nose. The vacuum of space would suck all of the air of your lungs and you would promptly die. If you are going to smell anything, it would be blood and your own air. But either way, it's unlikely that the vacuum of space has a smell, since it doesn't have any particles because it's literally nothing.Bookmark here

Wait, is space literally nothing, Yuri thought to herself. Theoretically, it is. But if you go to space, there will still be particles floating around. Not as many particles as Earth has, but they're there. Even if you go outside of the Milky Way galaxy, there will be one or two particles per every couple of cubic meters. Wait, does that mean that there is empty space? Sure, there is still something out there, but if there are that few particles, then there must be some empty space. It's like a nearly empty theater. Sure, it isn't empty for sure, but there's a lot of empty seats. So, what is empty space like?Bookmark here

Yuri had no idea. While the classroom smelled like nothing, it wasn't nothing. It was something. It was air. But the air didn't smell like anything. Yuri couldn't detect anything, even with her keen sense of smell. It was pure air. It was kinda like how water with absolutely nothing in it (pure H20) didn't taste like anything. Or did it actually smell like something? Maybe it smelled like Yuri. Since Yuri had been with herself for a long time, it's possible that it just smelled like her. Whatever that means. Do those police dogs who smell drugs and criminals know how they smell like? Probably not, but it's likely that they don't have a particular smell, per se. The dogs get dirty and are cleaned, and their smell changes with that. But they also identify other animals by their smell. So, there must be something.Bookmark here

Yuri was pacing around the room at this point. She didn't have the nose of a bloodhound. So, she could just test it out for herself. She has seen people tell the difference between people by the scent of their shampoo, but can't you just change your shampoo and disguise yourself? No, that's a bit too little. If you want to completely hide your identity, you have to change your appearance, your voice, your walking, your mannerisms, your personality, and your everything. But then again if the other person wasn't paying attention, it's possible to fool them very easily. A cheap wig from a store you found when you got lost in the wrong side of town would work just fine. Yuri knew this from experience.Bookmark here

Yuri's pacing around the room stopped when she heard a rattling sound at the door and the door slid right open. In popped in the head of a woman with long black hair. It was Mrs. Hiiragi.Bookmark here

She inched inside, keeping eye contact with Yuri, who reached for her broom. Once she was completely inside the classroom, she sighed.Bookmark here

"Why are you here, Yuri?" she asked.Bookmark here

"Cleaning," Yuri said, sweeping the floor.Bookmark here

"I can see that, but I don't understand why you want to do it so badly."Bookmark here

"It's fun."Bookmark here

"I wish I had that kind of mindset, but you didn't have to do that."Bookmark here

"I did it."Bookmark here

"I wasn't talking about the cleaning. I was talking about the broken window. You could just ask me to unlock the door."Bookmark here

Yuri swept the floor more aggressively to mask the deafening silence.Bookmark here

"Yuri, is something going on?"Bookmark here

Yuri shook her head.Bookmark here

"It's fine. I shouldn't expect anything from you. You do know that I can't turn a blind eye to a broken window."Bookmark here

Yuri nodded.Bookmark here

"I see. You understand."Bookmark here

A breeze flew into the now open window.Bookmark here

"Is it fine that I get a little personal with you?"Bookmark here

Yuri nodded as she continued to sweep the already clean floor.Bookmark here

"Is there a fourth one? There's you, Kasumi, and Risa."Bookmark here

"Megumi?"Bookmark here

"No, Akane. I remember that she didn't have a last name either. Do you know her?"Bookmark here

Yuri didn't say anything for a second.Bookmark here

"Not anymore," Yuri said.Bookmark here

"Wait, you do know someone with that name? I swore that I dreamt her up a couple of years ago. Are we thinking about the same person? Did she wear a white cap and a white dress?"Bookmark here

"Yes."Bookmark here

"Oh, really? What happened to her?"Bookmark here

Yuri tilted her head down and clutched her broom.Bookmark here

"You don't have to say anything. I'm sorry. It's probably too persona-"Bookmark here

"Lemonade."Bookmark here

Mrs. Hiiragi looked at the girl. She saw someone who retreated into her own head. Her trademarked emotionless face was still on, but the teacher didn't need a face to read the mood.Bookmark here

"You can stick around, Yuri. If you need help, I'm always here."Bookmark here

"No thanks," Yuri said, walking away to the door.Bookmark here

"Please tell me where you are going."Bookmark here

Yuri stopped just by the door.Bookmark here

"Principal's office."Bookmark here

"Why?"Bookmark here

Yuri pointed at the broken window.Bookmark here

"Oh, please. It's fine, Yuri," Mrs. Hiiragi said, looking at the window, "I don't blame you."Bookmark here

But Yuri was gone when Mrs. Hiiragi looked back at the door. She didn't chase her. She had a gut feeling that it would make things worse.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, Yuri stormed through the hallways. She never realized how many people were in her school, but she didn't need them now. She knew how to get to the principal's office.Bookmark here

She reached the principal's office. Inside, she saw a man wearing all black. He had a black hat, a black jacket, black pants, and black shoes. However, he wasn't wearing a mask. She clenched her fist.Bookmark here

Parsatag
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