Sunny glanced at Elsie doubtfully. "Isn't that, well, your job? I don't think the other librarians would appreciate a stranger shelving books… What if I mess up?"
"Don't worry, the ones I have are pretty easy." Elsie patted the stack of books. "So, let's start with the reference manuals. First off, there are these things called Comparators that you can use if you want to compare objects by a specific attribute, or you can have a class implement Comparable, or…"
Sunny blinked as Elsie kept talking. She could recognize most of the words, but they were strung together in a way that made no sense. "W-wait! Information overload." Sunny winced. "I didn't get a thing you said. Could you slow down, please?"
Elsie looked at Sunny, and her expression softened. "Sorry, I guess classes and objects aren't the easiest to wrap your head around at first. When I learned about them in school, we spent a whole month practicing. And here I am, going on about Comparators and Comparables…" Elsie handed Sunny a stack of colorful books. "Okay, just shelve these by color."
Sunny breathed a sigh of relief. That was something she could do.
Soon enough, Sunny had finished organizing the reference manuals in Rainbow Row. Elsie handed her another stack of books and told her to organize them by author on a different shelf. The manual work helped her digest classes and objects until she at least felt like she was treading water on the surface, not drowning in all the information.
Finally, they had finished. Elsie dusted her hands off and grinned. "Well, now you're free to browse the library! I do hope you're able to find whatever you're looking for. Just remember to turn in that dark magic book to Mrs. Univac before you leave. She's the librarian at the front."
Sunny hesitated, then nodded and waved goodbye to Elsie. "Thank you!"
As Elsie got back to her other work, Sunny wandered back towards the main seating area, admiring the vibrant artwork on the ceiling. It had abstract punctuation art around the edges and dancing stacks of books. In the center was a large design that resembled a steaming cup of coffee.
"Oh! Sorry!" Sunny apologized to the person she'd bumped into. "I guess I shouldn't stare at the ceiling and walk, huh…"
The man nodded brusquely and hustled away with a beautiful silvery book under his arm.
Sunny focused on navigating back to Robert.
Three tables, ten patrons, and one almost-stumble later, Sunny found the robot still charging against the wall. She tapped him gently. "Robert, I don't think we'll find anything else useful here. Should we go?"
The robot hummed quietly, then groaned as he fully woke up. "I was enjoying my charge, but I suppose… Do you have the book secure?"
Sunny nodded. "For now. It's just that I, um, kind of told the librarians that I'd let them burn it before I left."
"You what?" Robert jolted upwards and out of the charging dock.
"See, I didn't want to destroy evidence either, but I didn't want to tell them that."
"The book is our only clue, is it not?"
"Yeah. So what do we–"
A door slammed open. Sunny whipped around.
"Attention!" A group of people dressed all in black were standing in the main entrance of the library. "This is a robbery. We are the No-Ledgers and we have come here to demand your knowledge."
The patrons of the library stared at them. Someone dropped a pencil and for a moment, the only sound was that of the pencil rolling under a desk.
"Huh? Say what?" Sunny whispered to Robert.
One person stepped to the front of the group and cleared his throat. "Did you not hear us? We're taking your knowledge, a.k.a., books. But money would be great too."
The librarian at the front desk finally recovered her wits and reached for a phone.
"Uh-uh. No calling the police." The guy puffed up his chest. "In case you didn't know, we, the No-Ledgers, are the ones responsible for stealing the error descriptions. And we can do worse!"
A couple of people in the room gasped.
"Wait…" Sunny narrowed her eyes. "So they're stealing the credit, huh? Or the blame, I suppose."
Robert shrugged. "More importantly, what could they possibly have to gain from stealing from the library? These books can be traced."
The robbers started circulating through the library and seizing books. One took the silver book from the man Sunny had bumped into earlier.
There was a scuffle in one corner of the room, but the person was quickly overpowered and the robbers continued shoving books and the occasional piece of jewelry into burlap sacks.
Sunny frowned. "As a hero, it's my duty to stop this. Do you think a loud confrontation or a sneak attack would be best?"
Robert shook his head. "You'd be outnumbered either way. And remember, use your brain!"
"Yes," Sunny muttered, "well, my brain is telling me to fight."
A robber stopped in front of the two and sneered. "Open your backpack."
Sunny clutched her backpack tighter. "No."
The robber tapped a black high-heel against the floor impatiently. "I'll give you three seconds. One… Two… Three!"
Despite the heels, the robber moved quickly enough to act like she was grabbing the backpack from the right, then switch directions as Sunny was shifting to shield the pack.
She gave it a solid thump and pushed it down out of Sunny's embrace like a basketball. "Ha!"
The robber rifled through the contents and pulled out the guide. "I'll be taking this." She dropped the backpack and started to move on.
"No!" Sunny launched herself at the robber and tried to wrestle the book out of her hands. They toppled to the floor, Sunny punching and clawing at the robber. "Don't you know… that…" she huffed, "stealing… is wrong!"
Immediately, a couple of the robber's allies rushed over and pulled Sunny off of her.
The first robber sat up, rubbing her head, still with Sunny's book firmly in hand. "Assault is wrong too. You're lucky we're not supposed to attack people, or you'd be much worse off." She huffed.
The others deposited Sunny on a chair and taped her arms to the sides, then continued making their rounds through the room. Sunny looked at Robert pleadingly and motioned to the tape, but Robert lifted his arm slabs and shrugged. No fingers. Right.
Sunny tried to wriggle out of her bonds, but by the time she had one arm free, the robbers had finished. They stood near the door and saluted. "Many thanks, and remember, we are the No-Ledgers!" Then they slammed the door open and disappeared. Literally.
One moment they were there, and the next, gone. Sunny hadn't seen them walking down the steps. She narrowed her eyes. Something wasn't right here, and she was going to figure out what it was.