Iris on Rainy Days: Dismantling- 6 Days Before
Six Days Before
“Thanks for your patronage!”
The voice of the butcher is full of vigor, as usual, and rang loudly behind me. I start to walk on the road that leads to the Umbrella residence. I carried an enormous La Bier fish on my back yesterday, while I’m carrying a tea colored leg of a cow and a white spring onion on my back today. I look like I’m dual wielding beef shank and onions.
I walk forward quickly, with the eyes of the pedestrians on me. When I think about it, the dinner menu of the Umbrella residence is always on display to the people of the city. It was La Bier stew pot last night, while tonight it’s beef soup with onions à l'Oval.
Going around the corner and walking through the Venus Fountain Plaza, I arrive at Commerce Avenue.
Oval City is picturesque, with canals flowing around it and looks like an oval from the air. This area was formerly plagued by floods, but the population - of both tourists and citizens - has been continuously growing since the drainage system and sewers were completed. By the way, Professor's workplace – Oval University First Robotics Laboratory – is the tallest building in the city.
The robot research centre has almost entirely become a tourist destination, so the citizens of Oval City are quite tolerant of robots. At least there aren’t signs saying ‘Robots are Prohibited’ hung in buses or restaurants. But even in a city like this, not everyone is tolerant of robots. Just now, some housewives who live nearby were gossiping “Look, it's that woman professor's robot” “It’s so obscene……”. I didn't listen to their conversation deliberately, it’s just that I have a subroutine for automatically detecting sounds near me.
First, I must emphasise: I am an ordinary robot created by Professor for doing housework, and my certification number is HRM021-α. My job is to do all the housework and chat with Professor. There really isn't anything beyond that. It’s just that many people like to gossip, and the rumours only get worse with time. Among the more malicious rumors is that the top robot researcher Wendy von Umbrella is a lesbian and has an unhealthy interest in robots modelled after young girls — that sort of thing. It’s probably because Professor is single and has spurned all suitors that rumours like this appeared.
There actually are quite a few users who use female robots for “that sort of thing.” Not only can I not deny it, but the profits from that market segment support a large part of the robot industry. Some rich people even buy quite a few robots of the same model, to create a ‘virtual harem.’
That's as may be, but Professor isn't like that.
I've served her for three years and Professor has never made any sexual requests of me. She just doesn't do that sort of thing.
Professor created me because of her ‘sister’ who died in an accident.
One autumn day four years ago, the Umbrella sisters went on vacation together. Professor drove the car. On the way to their destination, they collided head-on with a truck that had crossed the centre line. The party at fault was obviously the truck driver, but Professor felt responsible for her sister’s death. From that day on the Umbrella residence keeps no cars.
Since their parents died when they were young, the sisters had relied upon each other for support. The accident meant that Professor suddenly lost her one and only family member — her sister.
Her sister was Iris Rain Umbrella. And so that is my name too.
I am a ‘replacement’ for her sister. Similar to the circlet cigarettes that are a replacement for normal cigarettes, we are just counterfeits that appear exactly like the real thing. Every time my profile is reflected in Professor’s eyes, she looks not for me, but for her sister in me.
I'm okay with that. Professor has always taken care of me; if I want to go out and play or desire something, she will usually heed my request. And the most important thing is that she is gentle toward me. If I am not satisfied with this, then I’m really just too hard to please.
Sometimes — just sometimes — there is a small pain in my chest like a prick from a rose thorn, but I’m used to it.
Today after dinner it’s time for my weekly maintenance.
“Let's get started~”
Donning a white robe, Professor walks into the research lab. A thick stack of folders is in her hands. Seeing this scene, I show her a dissatisfied expression and turn my head.
It’s because I hate the maintenance process.
Professor immediately takes out a pencil flashlight from her pocket, then flipped the switch with a click, shining the ray of light on my eyes. This process is not to assess death, but just a simple test to determine if my pupils are functioning properly.
After that, Professor takes out a few cards and shuffles them exaggeratedly like a magician, then quickly places them in front of me. I directly answer the pictures that I saw— “Star, cross, apple, square.”
My dynamic visual system seems to be functioning well.
Then, Professor says like a nanny taking care of a child: “Alright, ahh~.” Suddenly, I feel rather embarrassed. Professor pries my mouth open with her fingers that are wearing gloves, carefully examining the condition of my mouth. I cannot keep from emitting strange huffing sounds.
Professor rapidly writes down the results on a paper form beside her. It's an official document that will go to a government office after this. The law states that a normal family robot has to have regular check-ups twice a year.
For me, it’s every week. Probably because I’m a new model robot, I have to undergo various check ups.
“Next is the skin exam.”
—it’s here! The skin exam!
As its name suggests, this is an examination of the surface of my skin. Which means—
I must take off my clothes.
“First, your face.”
Professor holds my face with both of her hands, pulling me closer to her.
Professor stares at my face like she is going to burn a hole on it. Her dark amber irises come closer to me.
“Hmm……” Professor observes me with a serious gaze as if she is thinking about licking my face. I'm frozen, but my heart pounds frantically. If I move even a bit, our faces would touch.
“The skin on your face is okay.” Professor jots down the results. Then, she says as if nothing happened: “Then take off your clothes.”
“Ye- Yes ma'am……”
I nervously take off my socks and place them into the clothing basket. Then, I take off my maid headdress, apron and dress, leaving only my bra and shorts on. I don't feel cold at all. In fact, my body feels burning hot.
The reason Professor asked me to take off my clothes is not because of some lewd interest. The skin exam is a check up to determine if there are any scratches or changes on my artificial skin. Face, neck, shoulders, arms, belly and back, Professor checks them all with a serious gaze.
— Ahh….. huu.
My artificial skin can sense Professor’s breath, so I have goosebumps on my back. Though I have gone through this examination every week for three years, I still haven’t gotten used to it.
“Alright, take off your bra.”
“What is it?”
I mentally brace myself, saying “No…… Nevermind” while extending my hand to my back. If I didn't cooperate, it would just extend the time the exam takes.
I take off my light blue bra, showing my white breasts. Not too big or small, Professor said that the soft shape perfectly suits a young girl of this age. I was modelled on Professor’s sister, so her breasts were probably like this too.
Professor takes off her glasses and looks carefully. I am so embarrassed that I can almost breathe fire.
“Okay, take off your panties too.”
Professor jots down the results on the paper and coolly gives me my next instruction.
I place my fingers on my panties and unwillingly take them off. I'm so embarrassed that I feel I might faint.
After taking off my panties, I am totally nude.
Professor immediately squats down in front of me. Then, she closely examines my ‘front’ and ‘back.’ I can feel Professor’s breath, and her forehead lightly touches my lower abdomen. If other people see this scene, they would definitely get the wrong impression.
“Hmm…… This is……”
Professor’s cool voice suddenly becomes rough. She seems to have found ‘that.’
“The spots again?”
I ask her, while Professor says while checking: “Yes. There’s one at the right side of your butt.” Then, she uses her finger to touch the position of the spot. My body swayed lightly.
“It has a diameter of five centimetres, and is light purple……”
Professor writes down the characteristics of the spot on the paper. For some reason, my body would sometimes be mottled with small spots. Their position varies. Sometimes they even appear on my face. I was shocked at the start, but I’m used to it now.
“Can it be fixed?”
Professor takes out a machine that is even thinner than the pen-shaped flashlight and presses it onto my bottom. This method is called the optical segregation cleaning method, or just ‘clearing stains’ on my artificial skin.
Professor slaps my bottom with a thwack. I lightly touch it, then quickly put on my panties and my bra. It’s lucky that the spot today is small. If the spot is too big, I would have to continue to stand here nude.
“Let’s have a short break.”
After saying that, Professor leaves the research lab. As smoking is prohibited here, she is going to smoke her cirgarette in the corridor.
The examination is finally over. I relax and heave a sigh.
For the sake of Professor’s reputation I should explain a bit— Professor is examining me personally and not taking me to a specialist because I would otherwise have to go to specialized agencies for maintenance if I refused her exam. I would have to show my nude body to the male technicians. Even the thought is scary...
So, Professor got a robot technician certification and shoulders the responsibility of my maintenance. It also eliminates the fussy procedures of going to the various governmental departments. I can be examined at home like this only because Professor's cares for me.
—I understand that, but……
Professor sits back onto the chair after five minutes, saying “Well,” and crosses her arm. There are still many examination documents, and I have to undergo a scan of my mental circuits, action control verification and the examination of my safety circuits.
Feeling depressed, I stare at Professor grudgingly like a child looking at a doctor holding a hypodermic needle.
After noticing my gaze, Professor says in the strange tone of a spoiled girl “Ara, Miss Iris, do you have something to say?” Her mouth seems to indicate faint amusement.
I unhappily turn my face away.
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