The next morning, Twilight discovered a big downside to her plan: Due to the fact that late-night study sessions were an almost daily occurrence, she had developed the slight tendency to sleep in, just a little. If she were to observe Pinkie however, she would have to get up before the break of dawn, meaning she would have three options:
1: Be late every day, and waste valuable time alone with Pinkie.
2: Try to survive the day on only a few hours of sleep, and collapse before the week would be over.
3: Go to bed early, and miss some study time.
After thinking it over for a while, she had chosen option 3. Sadly, her body seemed to like the other options better, and she had spent the night tossing and turning, trying unsuccessfully to get some sleep. As such, she was missing several hours of sleep, and utterly miserable for it.
Despite the fact that her eyelids felt heavy as lead, she managed to focus enough to make her presentable, and brew an extra strong cup of coffee to wake herself up a little. By the time she was ready to leave for Sugarcube Corner, Spike had woken up, still slightly grumpy at having to do most of the work yesterday while Twilight was packing.
“So, you are still going to do this Twi?”
“Yes, Spike. Like I said yesterday, this could be the most important discovery in the field of magical research since the invention of Sharp Eye’s Advanced Levitation Theory! It could mean-”
“Yeah, I know, new age of Harmony, don’t have to repeat yourself Twilight. What I mean though, is that you are willingly going to spend a lot of time with Pinkie, are you sure that is a good idea?”
“Look, Spike, I will admit that Pinkie may be a little... Enthusiastic at times, and that most of the time I like some peace and quiet around me, but if I don’t figure this out it will only drive me crazy. Besides, it is a regular workday for her. I bet she’ll be far too busy to really bother much with me.”
“Well, ok then, if you are sure you’ll survive...”
Twilight chuckled at the worried expression of her number one assistant. “Don’t worry, if things get out of control, I’ll just leave.”
As Twilight walked up to the bakery where Pinkie worked, she couldn’t help but notice how quiet Ponyville was in the early morning. Most of the time when she’d walk through the town, the streets were full of other ponies going about their daily business. In the hour before sunrise however, the entire town was empty and quiet, even the birds only just waking up.
Twilight found the silence somewhat comforting, giving her some time to sort through her thoughts. Her first priority for today would be to just stay as close to the Pink Party Mare as possible. Of course, she would have to keep some distance. Insanity due to overexposure was a definite risk with Pinkie at any time, so taking frequent breaks would probably be a necessary measure. She would have to write down her findings, so she could probably use that as a good excuse.
Having mentally prepared herself, Twilight knocked on the front door of Ponyville’s prime source of baked goods (or bads, in one rather memorable incident that left half of Ponyville in the care of the local hospital).
Rather than having the door swing open immediately, Twilight had to wait a moment before it opened, revealing her pink friend in a slightly batter-stained apron.
“Good morning Twilight, you are a tiny-teeny bit late, but if you come in quickly you can still help with the muffins!” Pinkie said in her usual cheerful tone.
“Um, ok. Wait, what do you mean I’m late? I got here before sunrise!”
“Well, yes, but a baker has to get up even earlier. Making enough bread and cupcakes and muffins to feed an entire town takes a lot of time, you know? Anyway, the bread is done, and I am already working on the cupcakes, so if you still want to help you can get started on the muffins. There is an extra apron in the closet to the left of the kitchen’s entrance, and I’ve put the recipe on one of the counters. Now, I need to get back to my cupcakes, can’t let them burn right?”
Twilight was taken slightly aback by her usually rather silly friend’s businesslike behavior, but quickly recovered and gave her a nod as the two of them walked back into the kitchen.
Twilight swiftly grabbed an apron, and then turned to the counter not occupied by Pinkie Pie, finding a book on a small stand, opened on a recipe for muffins. Looking over the recipe, Twilight thought doesn’t look to bad, I think I can do this.
A while later, and after ruining only one batch of batter by accidentally swapping the salt with sugar, and just one more by turning up the oven to the point where the temperature inside rivaled that of the surface of her teacher’s sun, her third batch turned out good enough to sell, especially since Pinkie stopped her from swapping the blueberry filling with hot sauce.
“Not bad, a little on the sweet side though. Maybe hold back on the sugar a little next time,” Twilight muttered as she tasted a muffin from her first successful batch.
Pinkie had come over to where Twilight was working, and also grabbed a muffin from the tray. “Hmmmm! These are great Twi! Are you sure this is the first time you are doing this? Or did the Princess give you secret baking lessons? I mean, if I had a student, the first thing I would do would be to teach her how to party, but since the Princess must be very busy, she must not have a lot of time to party, except for-”
“Yes, ok Pinkie, is there anything else that needs to be done?” Twilight asked, silently wondering how the Princess teaching her how to make muffins made any sense.
Pinkie blinked, before giggling. “Oh Twilight, these are not nearly enough to last the morning. We are gonna need at least three more trays, and we’ll be baking more throughout the day! But tell you what, I am finished making the cupcakes, so let’s play a game ok? If I manage to make two trays before you make one, I’ll come over to you tomorrow. I mean, you coming here is fun and all, but surely you don’t want to get behind with your studies, so if I can come over and help you, we can study twice as fast together, meaning we can spend half the day together without having to worry about muffins or studying. Ooh, maybe we can have a party, and invite everypony in Ponyville, and there will be games and sweets and -”
Twilight cut off the rambling pony once again, putting a hoof to her lips. “I don’t think studying works that way, but fine. If you want to race, you are on!”
Pinkie, still having Twilight’s hoof on her lips, silently nodded, before hopping back to her counter.
Twilight followed suit, and looked up the recipe once more.
“Are you ready, Twi?”
“Sure, and may the best mare win!”
“Aww, don’t sell yourself short, Twi, I mean I have to bake-”
“ReadySetGo!” Twilight interrupted her again, reaching out for a bag of flour with her magic.
Pinkie Pie bounced through the kitchen, balancing two trays of unbaked muffins, one on her head and one on her back. “Wow Twilight, you are even better than I thought!”
“Well, I do have to admit that I cheated a little when I used my magic to stir, so-”
“No buts! I never said you couldn’t use magic, so you beat me fair and square! Besides, It was fun watching that batter mix itself, I’ve never seen anything like that before! Now, how late do you want to meet tomorrow?”
“Really Pinkie, you don’t have to-”
“No, I made a promise to come over to your place if I lost our race, and your tray was in the oven first, so if I didn’t come tomorrow, I’d be breaking a promise, and to break a promise is to break a friend’s trust, and to break a friend’s trust is the fastest way to lose a friend. FOREEEEEVEEEEER!!!!”
Twilight sighed, knowing that at this point there was no way to stop the pink mare from coming over the next day. Oh well, at least I’ll have some time to study tomorrow. “How does 11:00 sound?”
Pinkie frowned a bit at that. “But Twilight, you got up extra-super early for me, so the least I can do is get up at the same time as you do, right? Besides, I’ll still be baking in the morning, so I’ll be up early anyway, and there is no point in me waiting in front of your door until that late, so how does 9:00 sound? I mean, surely you are up by that time right?”
Twilight, growing slightly frustrated, slapped a hoof across her own eyes. “Uggghh. Fine, Pinkie. 9:00 is good. But don’t come any earlier, ok?”
“Anyhow, with the muffins in the oven, now what?”
“well, normally I clean up at this point. So, gather the bowls and the trays and the whisks and all the other things you’ve used, clean them up and put them back where you found them. That should keep us busy until the muffins are ready.”
Twilight thought about it for a moment, before giving a sly grin. “I think I can do it a little faster, but I’ll need a bit of help. I don’t know where everything goes, so if I do the cleaning, can you put everything back?”
Pinkie looked a bit puzzled at Twilight’s sudden shift in mood. “uh, sure Twi, but what are you plann- WHOA!”
Twilight had levitated every used utensil in the kitchen , and was currently using her magic to separate them from whatever leftover ingredients were sticking to them, while quickly running a stream of hot water over the nearly cleaned materials to remove the last of the stains, cleaning all the dirty things faster than Pinkie could put them back in their places.
After about five minutes later, the last bowl was cleaned and put back in the cupboard it came from, while the muffins in the oven still needing the better part of their time.
“Wow Twilight, that was AMAZING! I was like ‘we’ll be doing this untill the muffins are done’ and then you were like ‘ahahaha, no.’ and then all the things went WHOOSH and I was like ‘Oh no, I can’t keep up!’ and you were like ‘Let me help, where do these go,’ and then the bowls went SWOOSH and- ” Pinkie bounced around the kitchen, cheerfully chattering on about the spells Twilight had used.
Twilight herself however blushed a little at the enthusiasm of her pink friend, somewhat embarrassed. “Really Pinkie Pie, it’s no big deal. Just a simple spell any Unicorn can use. I just learned it because I don’t really like doing the dishes.”
Pinkie stopped dead in her tracks, somehow hovering in mid-air for a moment, before she turned towards Twilight. “But Twi, that was simply amazing! Don’t say it is nothing, you are selling yourself short that way! Though I wonder, why would you even need to sell yourself? And could you sell yourself long?”
She walked over to were Twilight was still blushing a little. “Besides, even if it is something every Unicorn can learn, it doesn’t change the fact that, in this room, you are the only one who can do it. It doesn’t matter how hard or simple it is, it is part of your gift, and therefore special. Never forget that, ok?”
Twilight looked at Pinkie, a bit puzzled at her sudden change in demeanor. “Ok... Anyhow, what is next?”
“Well, now that the dishes are done, we’ll have to wait until the muffins are done in the oven. So, to pass the time, let me tell you about the time Gummy and I saved Equestria from evil, betentacled Martians!”
Twilight decided that maybe, it was time to take a break to write her notes.
So, first chapter mostly around Pinkie and Twilight together. Somehow I feel as if I made Pinkie not Pinkie Pie enough. Any opinions on that?
Also, my earlier request for pointers to my mistakes still stands. Be merciless, and don't spare me the slightest mistake.
Chapter name: Helping the baker