Spike of All Trades

by Ariamaki

Chapter 12: Masterwork

"Hey Pinkie?"

Her voice seemed a little sleepy, or at least muzzy, as she replied.

"Can I run something by you?"


Spike rattled off the description of the item, trying to soak it in a little better himself as he did. It let him... make something, that much was clear. But what exactly did "beyond their current potential" mean, in the terms of the game? Would it let him ignore a recipe, skill requirements... Would it let him ignore materials? Even at the worst case, this still let him make a skill outright, maybe even of his own design. And given that it was labelled 'Mythic', the odds were it was going to be a lot more than just that. This wasn't something he could afford to waste.

It sounded like that woke Pinkie up a bit, and she wriggled under him.
"That's a doozie alright. And you're looking for advice on how to un-doozie it?"

"That's one way to put it. I'm kinda wondering if I should use it at all, honestly."

"Aw Spike, don't be that guy who just sits on all of his items until the endgame and leaves the final boss arena with like, two hundred potions."

"No, no! I mean I'm wondering if you should use it."

Pinkie sat bolt-upright at that, causing him to fall even further backwards, sprawling across her barrel. He quickly stood himself, getting off to avoid causing any embarrassment: Resting against her side like that was probably not as OK as he had thought, given how she was blushing.

"Well, you're the reason I earned it... I think, anyways. It was a bit unclear. But you're an awesome crafter, right? Like, in game terms you'd be some kind of Artisan or Master, and I'm not just talking about cooking. Whereas I'm... just me, even if I am coming into my own with this whole thing."

"But Spike, it's your-"

"Our. Even if it is mine, that just means it's mine to decide. So... Our."

She grimaced at that, but he wasn't budging. After realizing as much, she continued with a sigh.
"Our ticket. But your power made it, and we don't even know if anypony else could use it."

"It's worth a shot! I mean, if it fails it probably won't get used up, and if only I can use it, we can just come up with an idea together."

"I don't want to waste something special like that! I mean, I know better than most ponies how rarely a cool weird thing like this comes around."

"Pinkie, it wouldn't be a waste. Plus, weren't you the one who just tried to argue I shouldn't hold onto my items forever?"

Her cheeks puffed slightly as she held back her response, letting off a tiny bit of steam from the tufts of her ears when she finally let go.
"MmmmfffFINE! Fine. Just... Hold onto it for now, alright? We can figure it out another time, maybe after you get a few levels under your scales. But if you figure out something you want to use it on before then, go ahead and use it, alright?"

"Yeah, I can work with that. It's exciting, but it's not urgently exciting."

Pinkie looked him over with a curious expression, as if she had just seen him for the first time.
"Speaking of which, you look... a little different."

"Oh! Yeah, that makes sense. I got those skills... Hey, I've already told you all the skills I got earlier, and if you're going to keep giving me advice like this, I should probably keep you up to date on it, huh?"

"You're darn straight, mister! Now gimme that delicious data."

"Hahaha, fine, fine. So, I got two more of those 'Dragon' skills, one for my Vitality and one for my Intelligence. The Vitality one talked about how dragons are mostly made of magic, so it makes my MP and HP sort of work together. The Intelligence one is about my... brain, and my maturity, I guess? It lets me remember everything photographically, sort of. I think it might need some levelling before it's quite that good. It says it'll also let me learn magic, like, Unicorn or Pegasus or Earth Pony stuff. Maybe even Zebrican magic or weirder things. And both of those boost the third skill I got: The game-engine-or-whatever recognized the meditation Twilight taught me for magic lab safety as its own skill. It's... real strong."

"Like, Martial Mares strong, or like Wizards of Winsome Falls strong?"

"Like, blows them both out of the water strong."

She whistled, trying to imagine what could put it up and above a game where meditation had literally been the core mechanic for one character.
"You are totally going to have to thank Twilight for that, when she gets back."

"Yeah, if she ever believes me."

"Hey, she came around about Pinkie Sense eventually! I'm sure she won't be too hard-nosed about this."

"I think it's less like she came around about your whole... deal... and more like she had to bend before she broke."

Pinkie just smiled at that.
"Tomato, potato!"

Blink. Blink again.
"Isn't that supposed to be to-may-to, to-mah-to?"

Her grin only got bigger.
"Kumquat, rimshot!"

"...You're doing it on purpose."


"Pfftheh. So, you still think I should hold onto it?"

Pinkie shook herself free of a bit of dust and walked over to him again.
"Yuppers! It's a great thing from the sound of it, and it would be totally sad to waste it. If you find something or somepony you want to use it on, that's another story. But just letting me take it because I helped you earn it... How did I even do that, anyways?"

"Well, I had this quest to talk to you about the whole Gamer thing, and when it completed, it... basically gave me the ticket as a reward."

"Ooooh. So your quests give rewards?"

He scratched at his chin, pulling up his Quest log to look over the previous results. Breakfast, that one had seemed more like a joke but maybe it unlocked the recipe? Putting a bunch of work into Observe, that was worth a free level. And then... the ticket.
"Um... Not usually. I think a lot of them so far have been too small, but that one apparently had this huge reward for some reason. I guess it was more... meaningful, on some level?"

"I can buy that."
Her reply seemed backed with a certainty that Spike himself sure didn't feel: If anything, he felt like he was out of the loop here. But there wasn't a lot of point in showing that confusion. He could just carry on and let things work themselves out. Plus... He trusted Pinkie Pie. She'd do what was right by him, and if she wasn't explaining right now, he'd hear about it when it mattered.

"Alright. I'll shelf it, and we can talk about it again another time. For now... I've got to handle all my other things around town, and it's going to be a long day. Can I grab a snack on my way out though?"

She passed a muffin to him without so much as batting an eyelid... Or having any way to procure said muffin.
"On the house!"

"...In case of muffin emergencies?"

"You know me so well."

He looked the muffin over in his claws, throwing a cursory Observe at it out of reflex.
"And you seem to know me pretty well! Garnet and walnuts are super delicious together."

[Emergency Muffin]
Rank: Masterwork Consumable

Procured from unknown space by the pony Pinkie Pie, this muffin was studded with walnuts, garnets, and Roquefort cheese before being glazed with honey. Why are you so curious about it?

"Made it just for you: Think of it as payment for being so helpful with the tamale! Plus, when you swing by later, you and Twilight's servings will be free too. Least I could do."

"You're the best, Pinkie."

That seemed to catch her off guard, but she recovered quickly, smiling brightly and waving as he left the shed and made his way back out and around Sugar Cube Corner.
"T-think nothing of it, Spike. Have a super-duper day!"