Lillet Blan sighed and dropped her quill back onto the pen rest.

"I'm really starting to get sick of Alchemy," she groused.

"Why is that?" Amoretta Virgine asked. There was a note of disenchantment in her voice; after all, the homunculus was Alchemy.

"Because of the mess it makes, if you ask me," Gaff groused, working the mop vigorously. Lillet had been using the workbench in her quarters for Alchemy experiments for two days, and that meant two days of spills, drips, and debris for the elf to clean up.

Lillet chuckled. Gaff did kind of have a point, and it was directly related to what she was doing.

"Well, actually, that's part of it."

"Why do you have to do all this stuff in here anyway? This place is chock-full of laboratories, from what I've seen," he went on.

"Well, yes, but those are for use by the Royal Magicians doing research projects."


"Well, I'm not doing research. These are just basic experiments in the creation of blobs and the like. It would be selfish to take resources away from people doing real work just for this. And I don't need the advanced facilities of a laboratory anyway, not for something this simple."

"Why do you need laboratory facilities at all, then?" Amoretta asked. "Even I know the Rune for creating blobs, and I only have an apprentice's abilities."

To Lillet's mind, the fact that her lover could use Alchemy at all was amazing; for a homunculus to be able to command human magic was not "only" anything. But the girl's point was valid.

"It's for my placement tests for Master Freixenet, so that he knows how to classify my abilities." They'd been going on for more than a week, now, trying to measure the depth of her knowledge in different fields. "It's not enough for an Alchemy master to just be able to cast Runes, even advanced ones; they need to demonstrate that they understand the underlying principles of magic behind them that the Runes simplify. So I not only have to do the experiments from scratch, but fill out reports on them." She held up a sheaf of papers covered in her somewhat slapdash handwriting.

"You should work on your penmanship," Gaff advised.

"I learned to read and write in the village school, and we didn't spend as much time on drilling us to make every stroke perfect as we might otherwise. We all had farm chores to get back to, and it was more important to get the basic knowledge across and move on to other subjects than to make sure that we had perfect, pretty calligraphy. As long as it was legible, that was good enough."

Amoretta squinted at the last couple of pages.

"I'm not entirely sure that these qualify?"

Lillet sighed again and dropped the reports back on the table.

"Yeah, I got a little careless at the end, I was going so fast. I just want to get this over and done with so I can actually start practicing magic. I want to do something with my skills, and I feel like I'm just taking all the apprentice exams from the Magical Society and the Tower all over again! Some of this work I could do in my sleep."

"...That explains the floor," Gaff muttered as he dunked the mop into the bucket of soapy water, then set it to a particularly stubborn blue stain. He had to put some elbow grease into it, pushing down hard with the mop and using more force than usual. Possibly he should have used less force and more care, however, because the backswing caused the mop handle to smash through a glass flask full of viscous green material. Said material oozed out of the broken flask and out onto the workbench.

Then, since it was actually an animated blob, it began to ooze its way across the workbench towards the cauldron where it had been created. It crawled up the side and settled peaceably down into the pot.

"A self-cleaning mess. I like that," Gaff decided.

"Not exactly," Amoretta said, running her fingertip over the workbench. The blob itself hadn't stayed around, but it had left behind a gooey trail of greenish slime.

"Hey, I don't suppose that the 'magician cleans up her own workspace' rule covers this?" he asked hopefully.

"That doesn't seem fair. And Lillet is going to have enough trouble dealing with her experiment report," Amoretta pointed out, picking up the sheaf of papers, across which the blob had crawled, leaving them thoroughly smeared with sticky goo.

"If you ask me, this is a win. I mean, if she hands it in like that, nobody's going to be criticizing her penmanship."

~X X X~

A/N: This story was originally done for deathcurse's first-year-at-the-Royal-House-of-Magic challenge at Exiled to the Couch; the prompt I received was "sticky."