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Sunny and the Algorithms of Gloom: Chapter 2.2

by Spearmint


A few minutes later, Sunny and Robert had secured a table in the seating area of the library, near the front desk. The librarian had called the police right after the robbery and was now speaking to two officers and describing the No-Ledgers. Sunny eavesdropped surreptitiously, using a large encyclopedia as cover.

"They were quite flamboyant and, frankly, unprofessional. If I didn't know better, I'd say they were like a performing group. I mean, what kind of crime group calls themselves the No-Ledgers?" The elderly librarian sighed and ran her fingers through her graying hair. "Nevertheless, they stole our precious books, as well as the valuables of our patrons."

One of the police officers nodded sympathetically. "Don't worry, ma'am. We'll be sure to track them down and return the items as soon as possible."

The other police officer scribbled on her notepad, then gazed at it thoughtfully. "You mentioned that they threatened you with the possibility of stealing the error descriptions again?"

The librarian nodded, and the officer hummed thoughtfully. From behind the officer, Elsie hurried up to the little group.

Elsie leaned against the desk towards the librarian and whispered, "It's gone." Her hair was messy, as if she'd been too busy rushing around (searching for whatever "it" was?) to spare a moment to smooth it down.

"What's gone?" The first police officer immediately became alert, his dark eyes narrowing.

The librarian sighed deeply. "Our first-edition copy of Practical Algorithms."

Sunny exchanged a glance with Robert, trying to gauge whether the robot knew anything about the value of the book. Judging from his large pixelated eyes, the book was a big deal.

Elsie slumped against the desk. "It's gone…" She looked shell-shocked. "Who knows what they'll do to it. Such a priceless piece of history and I bet they'll just auction it off, or worse…"

The librarian patted her hand comfortingly. "It's alright, Elsie. We'll get it back before anything happens." She eyed the police officers. "Isn't that right?"

They nodded quickly. The one with the notepad glanced at her watch and said, "Well, we'd best be tracking down those books now. If you discover any more information, be sure to let us know. We'll be in touch."

With that, the officers took their leave and exited the library.

Sunny set down the encyclopedia and started to ask Robert what Practical Algorithms was, but he'd already anticipated the question.

"Practical Algorithms is the foundation of our knowledge. It covers everything, from binary search to mergesort to floodfill. It's used in schools, at universities, and most people have a copy in their homes. The first edition is incredibly valuable." The robot hummed worriedly. "I wonder how the robbers got their hands on it– a book that important should have been guarded carefully."

"I see." Sunny glanced at Elsie and the librarian discussing in hushed tones. "Maybe we can ask, and I can help somehow. After all, I do have some questing experience now."

"Wait–"

Sunny got up and walked over to the two. "Excuse me," she said.

They stopped and turned towards Sunny. Elsie wiped her eyes. "What?"

The other librarian quickly stepped in, saying, "I apologize. Please understand that this robbery has shaken us up… We'll be closing the library soon, so I'm afraid I cannot help with any queries you might have right now."

"Oh, well, I was just wondering if I could help." Sunny gave them her best smile. "You see, I'm a hero."

Elsie and the librarian exchanged a look.

"I don't have a resumé, but I can list my accomplishments, if you'd like. I've read hundreds of fantasy books, so I'd say I'm experienced in how quests and mysteries usually go. Plus, I helped solve the disappearance of the errors!"

"That's… nice, but I'm afraid we'll deal with this matter internally and in collaboration with the police. We appreciate your concern, but please don't trouble yourself with this. The library should be up and running as normal soon." The librarian's eyes crinkled in a friendly but firm smile.

"But– haven't you read any mystery novels?" Sunny burst out. "The police are always incompetent and the spunky protagonist and their friends need to solve the mystery themselves! So I think you really could use my help here–"

Robert floated up behind her and elbowed her meaningfully.

Sunny blinked and realized the nearby patrons were staring at her. Had she been raising her voice? "Sorry," she muttered. "But really, with my wits, bravery, and main character energy, I'm sure the mystery could be solved in no time…"

Elsie stopped blowing her nose and raised an eyebrow. "Thanks, but I don't think someone who hadn't even heard of classes and objects could be of much use in this." Then she seemed to remember the robbery again and returned to being on the verge of tears.

The librarian tsked sadly. "We'd better close the library now. We're in no state to help any seekers of knowledge right now."

With that, Sunny and Robert were gently but firmly ushered out of the library.

* * *

Sunny sat on the marble steps outside the library, clutching her backpack. Robert floated next to her.

Sunny mumbled, "I can't believe they rejected me. I mean, don't they know who I am?"

"That's the thing. They don't." Robert hovered lower. "You might know what you're capable of, but to them, you're simply a well-intentioned but clueless stranger."

Sunny felt like she'd been punched in the gut. "I– I guess so." Was her hero energy really not noticeable? Did she look like an average person to everyone else? Argh. She knew she wasn't supposed to seek fame, but being well-known sure would've been helpful in this case…

"Well. What do we do now?"

"Oh, so now you want to listen to me?" Robert rolled his eyes.

"Sorry?" Sunny tried to remember what she could've done to bring out that tone in Robert's voice.

"Attacking the robber. Rushing off to talk to the librarians." The robot scoffed. "I'm an ambassador for a reason, you know. You think it's all scrap metal up here?" He pointed at his head. "No. I actually do give helpful advice, you know."

Sunny blushed in shame. "Oh. I never said you weren't helpful! I just… well, I get impatient sometimes. Sorry."

Robert huffed, but hovered lower to sit beside Sunny. "Apology accepted, on the condition that you listen to me next time before following through on any reckless ideas that get into that head of yours."

"Will do." Sunny offered him a half-smile. "Now, if you do have advice on what to do next, I'd love to hear it…"


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Fri May 19, 2023 1:15 am
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Ventomology wrote a review...



Heeyy! I'm all caught up! Kind of. This is the first one with less than 2 reviews already so might as well clean out the green room.

I haven't read other people's reviews so pardon me if I repeat anything.

I think overall the one thing I might say is that you could slow down a little? Take this with a grain of salt--I think you pace the action and dialogue very well, but the setting descriptions are missing in a way that makes me feel like the story isn't as grounded as it could be--especially since the concept is so strong.

And this is just me- but I love using the setting for just like... vibes. Sunny is always so upbeat, and this automatically makes me think the surroundings are... well, sunny.

Which brings me to the next reason to slow down: I think it would be good for Sunny to have to sit in her bad feelings for a little bit longer. At this point, her entire first act (syntax errors of doom) is pretty successful. Sunny may still be on a quest to get home, but she hasn't really faced a situation like this one, where her actions are judged by others to be lacking. So to balance that, I think it's important for her to sit with that, or face consequences for a little longer. Maybe Robert isn't so quick to reassure?

Anyway, that's it for now. I'll get a little more into it as I start reviewing other chapters. Awesome work!




Spearmint says...


Hi Vento, thanks so much for the review!! ^^
Yeah, I struggle with descriptions xD so I can def see how it comes across as going too fast. I'll try to work on that!
So to balance that, I think it's important for her to sit with that, or face consequences for a little longer. Maybe Robert isn't so quick to reassure?

Ooh, that's a good idea. That's also something I've been struggling with-- in general, I have a hard time adding conflict/negative feelings to my stories XP but I'm realizing that having those "down" moments are, well, essential to stories. So yeah, I agree that letting Sunny stew in that a bit more would be good!
Thanks again!! <3



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Sun Apr 30, 2023 11:29 am
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hi mint! It’s Lim again, with another short review.

General Impressions

Sunny eavesdropped surreptitiously, using a large encyclopedia as cover.

I like this specific and fun description! This bit along with the No-Ledgers behaviour and the little fight scene between Sunny and the thief in the previous part kind of has Saturday morning cartoon vibes to me. I feel bad for Elsie and the other librarian. I can imagine losing so many books and then a book like ‘Practical Algorithms’ would be really embarrassing and scary for someone who’s meant to be taking care of the books. The dialogue was also particularly fun to read this chapter. Each line felt like it was needed to spur the scene onward.

Plot

"You mentioned that they threatened you with the possibility of stealing the error descriptions again?"

Ooh, it didn’t quite stick out to me in the last chapter that they were specifically threatening to steal error descriptions again. (Somehow I was a bit distracted by their first claim that they were the ones who took the error descriptions in the first place, when we know it was Jasper.) So I’m feeling more suspicious of them than before. Perhaps they are minions of the dark magic user? Which is why they’d technically be able to carry out that threat?

I wonder if ‘Practical Algorithms’ was the silvery book the man was carrying last chapter. If that is the case, maybe that man is the answer to how the book got out of its secure place at all.

My speculation on why it was taken is that perhaps there’s something special about the first edition unknown to the other characters that can help the antagonist with their schemes. Because otherwise, they’d be able to use any old copy of the book, since it’s such a basic textbook in this setting. I’m eager to find out more about that!

Character

"But– haven't you read any mystery novels?" Sunny burst out. "The police are always incompetent and the spunky protagonist and their friends need to solve the mystery themselves! So I think you really could use my help here–"

Haha I like the continuity of Sunny using her fiction novels to solve everything in Javaland! It’s great that we’re getting on track with Sunny’s character development in this chapter – both her recklessness and her tendency to apply fantasy world logic to the real world are highlighted here, so I’m thinking we might see her have to change the way she does things soon.

Was her hero energy really not noticeable? Did she look like an average person to everyone else?

^ This line made me laugh! It’s not something you’d typically expect a hero to say. Heroes are supposed to be all modest and humble in most traditional fantasies or fairy tales, after all. So it’s kind of ironic in a funny way!

It could be a good character development moment in itself for Sunny to take Robert’s advice now, and it would give Robert a bigger role too.

Overall

This chapter leaves me feeling kind of excited for whatever Sunny is going to do next. I’m also having fun trying to unravel the mystery and solve it before the characters do xD I appreciate all the continuity as well as the pithy dialogue here.

Keep writing!
-Lim




Spearmint says...


Thanks so much for the reviews, Lim!! ^-^ Always great to hear your thoughts. <3
This bit along with the No-Ledgers behaviour and the little fight scene between Sunny and the thief in the previous part kind of has Saturday morning cartoon vibes to me.

XD Love that! Glad the humor is coming through.
It%u2019s great that we%u2019re getting on track with Sunny%u2019s character development in this chapter %u2013 both her recklessness and her tendency to apply fantasy world logic to the real world are highlighted here, so I%u2019m thinking we might see her have to change the way she does things soon.

Mhmm, you summarize the character development Sunny needs very well! I'm actually thinking of having her develop through the first novel, because it seems like she hasn't really changed from the first to the second, so I might need to work on that... But then again, changing is a process, so perhaps it'll continue through the second novel!
I%u2019m also having fun trying to unravel the mystery and solve it before the characters do xD

I, um. I haven't solved the mystery myself... xD I've put this novel on pause for now, but if I pick it back up, I'll def try to make it a fun mystery that readers like you can solve. ^^
Thanks again, and have a wonderful day/night! =D




*cries into coffee*
— LadyLizz