"Aaaah! I'm so tired." Beth moaned, dragging the broom to and fro lazily.
She felt like it was the first time in the history of her existence that she was doing any work at all. The picture of an older Beth flashed in her mind. Yes, when the system had shown her the video it did look like she was from a good family. She must have had great parents who looked after her every need. No wonder Beth felt so lazy.
She had finished sweeping three streets and it seemed like there were four more left. Hardly one or two slaves passed her as she worked. They looked at her sympathetically as they did, whispering something amongst themselves. Beth didn't feel bad about that. She liked being alone. But this was making her look miserable.
Though she had tried her best to keep her dress spotless, there were one or two dirt stains on it already. Something told her that she was never going to get a change of clothes. She had looked around while she was cleaning but she didn't even spot a single weed around the place, let alone a tree. Where was she going to find a seed here?
"Hey, you there." She tapped on her bracelet, annoyed.
The stupid system had made her late. Everything was its fault. If it had chosen to open up to her after her work was done, then she wouldn't have had to go through this humiliation. But there was no response. The bracelet hung limp and cold on her wrist.
"I'll only keep you around till I find the information I need to escape this place. And then," She paused, an evil smile spreading on her lips, "And then I will throw you down the deepest pit in hell." She whispered, holding her wrist close to her mouth.
At that moment, she looked like the scariest ten-year-old girl out there, her deep green eyes glimmering with malice. if the system was even listening to her threat, it was smart enough not to show any signs of it.
As she was cursing her unresponsive bracelet, a bell rang. It was soon followed by loud murmurs coming from various streets at once. Slowly, slaves trickled out of every street, moving towards a wider looking lane in a single disciplines line. Beth scrunched her brows in confusion. What was this about now? She wondered.
"Twenty-three?" She heard Three's voice call her.
"Umm, hey," Beth said, hiding her right hand behind her quickly.
Three nodded towards the procession. "That's the bell for supper. Go, have your food before it's gone. You can complete your work after that." She said, looking at her sympathetically.
Beth was overjoyed at the statement. Anything to take a break! And the food was a welcomed interruption. Her tummy had been making weird noises for some time. She quickly dropped the broom down and wiped her hands on her dress. Keeping a blank expression on her face, she walked towards the direction that everyone was going to.
"Umm, Twenty-three?" Three called, stopping her in her tracks.
Beth turned back to look at the woman. "Yes?" She asked, batting her eyelashes innocently.
Three sighed. "Try not getting into any trouble. The last Twenty-three got sent to hell for wandering around the upper city. I hope you survive." She said, offering her a tight smile.
"Okay," Beth replied, with a nod.
She quickly turned around and walked away, her mind full of ideas. It seems that there were ways out of heaven if she really tried. But for now, she didn't want to consider those options. If she were to be sent to hell by these people, who knows which layer of hell they'd send her to. She wanted to consider her options before getting kicked out. She didn't want to trade down.
Her mouth watered as a pleasant smell wafted towards her. Beth kept walking down the lane, following the queue behind other slaves. They reached a make-shift counter where more slaves were serving others food. Very soon, her turn arrived. She was given a loaf of bread on a metal plate. Another slave who was behind the counter poured a creamy looking gravy onto her plate.
Beth's mouth watered as the smell of cream, cheese and spices hit her nose. She was going to have a feast tonight, she thought, watching the bread's bottom part getting soaked in the liquid. Taking a glass of water with her other hand, she turned around to find a place to sit.
Throughout the street, slaves were sitting on the ground holding the plates on their laps, and eating hurriedly. She walked around a bit to find an empty spot at the end of a line and sat down. Who cares about where she was sitting as long as she had food to fill her stomach? She thought to herself, digging into her plate.
"This is so good." She murmured to herself as she ate.
The girl sitting next to her chuckled. "You wouldn't say that if you got the same thing to eat forever." She said, shaking her head. "And it doesn't fill my tummy."
At first, Beth didn't want to reply. She hated small talks the most. But a thought flashed in her head. This was the perfect place to ask for information. The girl's clothes were quite worn out, almost looking brown. She must have been around for quite some time. Luck was on her side tonight.
"Well, at least I have something to eat," Beth replied with a shrug.
"You look new." The girl replied, looking her up and down. "I'm Fifty-eight."
"B- Twenty-three," Beth replied, almost slipping. "I came in the morning." She said, tearing another piece of bread.
"Ah, figures." The girl called Fifty-eight said with a nod.
"What?" Beth asked, raising her brows. What did she mean by 'figures'?
"I saw you on sweeping duty, doing it all alone. You got punished, didn't you?" Fifty-eight asked, shaking her head.
"Yeah," Beth replied awkwardly. Had everyone understood that already? Great.
Fifty-eight sighed. "Don't annoy the minor gods. They're not really a friendly bunch." She paused, leaning towards her. Lowering her voice, she said, "Especially that number One. Steer clear of her."
"Minor gods?" Beth asked, looking surprised.