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Asuune tentatively opened the library doors and peaked her head inside. She was met by a formidable amount of dust and clutter covering every inch of the space surrounding her. She sighed heavily before pushing her long hair out of her face and stepping fully inside. The long shelves were filled with books on countless subjects and the musty smell of aged paper filled the air around her. As she picked up a bucket the thrill of being given her very first mission coarse through her blood. Now was the time to give back to the village and prove her worth as an asset.

She carried a mop and a large black bucket filled with cleaning supplies into the seemingly empty library and set them down on one of the long tables. Looking down the rows of books she could almost feel the moans of the poor souls who had cleaned this place spotless only to find it messy again the next day.

Grabbing a cloth and some cleaner she set to work polishing the now dull wood. As she sprayed on the cleaner and gently wiped it away she could see the former glory of this place shining through the wear of time. The wood slowly transformed into a bright mahogany that reflected the light from the nearby lamps. With each table top that she cleaned the dust away from she stopped to wipe off any accompanying chairs. She coated them in polish and took an extra long time wiping them down to prevent them from being too slick to sit on.

As she made her way through the mass of tables she collected any books she found abandoned on their surface and put them on the check-in counter neatly. As she finished polishing the tables she returned to the check-in counter to put away any books into their rightful place before dusting. She mused at the titles of the heavy books in her arms happily and found one that was familiar to her: "How to Find Success as a Ninja". She smiled as she imagined some fresh faced kid sitting at the tables absorbing all the information as if the rest of his life were dependent on this one book.

She shelved the books, humming a soft tune to herself while putting them away. Each book fit snugly back into its home and the time worn titles peeked out for the next reader to find them. As the stack grew lighter she began to feel the first signs of weariness settle on her tired shoulders. She finished putting the remaining books away and returned to where she'd first arrived and set the cleaning supplies down. Now at the counter sat an older woman with flowing grey hair and a face that had obviously weathered the ages.

The woman smiled knowingly at the girl and gave her a somber nod, no doubt recognizing the trials and tribunals the young ninja was facing. With a small wave she returned to her previous work and left Asuune to resume her task. The sun had sunk lower in the sky from when she had first arrived and with a second wind she resumed her work from where she had left off.

Grasping the colorful duster as if it were a sword she dutifully marched to the awaiting stacks and proceeded with her mission. She imagined herself in the heat of battle as she carefully vanquished the dust that dared linger on the worn and sometimes torn leather of the books. She found a small ladder that she drug around with her, careful not to scratch the floors, and climbed to remove the dust from the top of the wooden shelves. For a moment Asuune found herself captivated by the amount of dust that had collected there. She couldn't for the life of her figure out where it could all trace it's origins.

As she continued working and making slow progress the words from a previous biology class floated back to her.

"Dust is nothing more than the old skin cells shed during movement," Asuune shook her head to dispel the image and quickly finished the dusting. Tonight she would take an extra long shower to remove the remnants of tenants past that may have clung the her clothes.

She observed the floors and noticed the wear the had suffered in their time and grabbed a mop resolving the finish this mission completely. As she began to mop the tiredness in her aching muscles reemerged and she felt herself slowing in her work. She methodically cleaned the floors grateful she had been careful not to scratch them earlier. As she finished the task she came back to the bucket and reassembled all of her supplies careful to take inventory of everything she had brought with her. As she finished putting everything away she surveyed her work with a sense of pride. Even if she had not been in a dangerous mission, or saved the day like a true hero she felt that today had been a day well spent.

She smiled to the old woman who gave her a grateful smile back before returning to the heavy wooden doors and leaving, fully aware that in three day's time some new ninja would be repeated her work all over again.

Word Count: 892/600


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Naruto and Naruto Shippuuden belong to © Masashi Kishimoto.