• Published 13th Oct 2019
  • 3,423 Views, 735 Comments

Spike of All Trades - Ariamaki



"Wouldn't it be great if life were like a game?", some people ask. Spike can definitively answer... "Maybe."

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Chapter 4: Questing

Thankfully the clock was an easy fix, although it took a bit of verbal fumbling before he figured out ‘Time’ was the exact command to see his own 'built-in' clock. Not long after, it was 7:30 sharp and every clock in the house agreed on that fact: Something Twilight would certainly appreciate when she got home. The only reason they'd been off at all was because it was getting close to Rewinding Day anyways.

With that taken care of, it was late enough that he could handle breakfast and begin running down today's checklist. His journal's first act had been to contain all of his current information (summarized severely and working from the back forwards) about what he was already thinking of as 'The Gamer'... It gave him a title, he might as well run with it.

His journal's second act would be to hold a full itinerary of the day ahead. And that meant...
"A list!"

So, categories first. Broad strokes went down on the page, dividing it into quarters, top to bottom:

> Chores
> Food
> Gamer
> Free Time

After all, he had a lot of things to do for Twilight today, and he (probably) still had to eat and stuff. So those were all givens. Then after that, he could work on figuring this power out, and kinda do... whatever. Visit the CMC, visit Rarity, spend his allowance, that sort of thing. But before he did any of that, it was best if he made a list: Not just because Twilight had hammered the importance of it into him so many times. No, it was good to make a list for posterity. He had already figured out a lot of things that would be hard to keep track of, so best to track it early and often to cut down on the problems. First up, the chores.

> Sort new book shipment (boxes 1-4 in the foyer)
> Reset clocks (already done!)
> Serve overdue fines (see List F7)
> Make beds (mine and Twi's)
> Do dishes (from own breakfast)

That wasn't too bad, he felt. It could have been a bit worse if the Library actually had to be open today, but Twilight had been planning this trip out of town for a little while, so... Actually, wait. She had been planning, but never got around to telling Spike what or why. So she was just leaving on an early train and coming back fourteen-odd hours later? That was... well, he'd ask about all of that when she got back. 14 hours... Not only would this be his longest day in a while (counting naps as going to sleep), but that much time meant breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the promised snacks.

> Breakfast (at home)
> Lunch (Hayburg's Hayburgers or Sugar Cube Corner)
> Dinner (wherever I didn't have lunch, I guess)
> Snacks (for Me and Twilight)

Not the most complicated of lists, but having objectives felt good. It gave him a sense of direction to what could otherwise have been a day of lazing about. Plus, there was this weird tickle in the back of his head, like this was more important than it seemed... Of course it was! Because the next step was figuring out this new... thing. And he had a good idea of how to break that down.

> Investigate Menus (just at least check them all, write it down. Draw it?)
> Work on Observe (use it on everything. no cost!)
> Look at Ponies (titles? levels?)
> Get XP if possible (quests?)
> Figure out more skills (got observe by observing... duh)

There, that seemed pretty complete. No, there was a better word... Comprehensive! That was it. And that was it, all of the things he absolutely needed to do. Which left a quarter of the page for him to do whatever he wanted. Given the options available to him, that seemed pretty obvious...

> Visit Rarity (<3)
> Visit Cheerilee + CMC (before class lets out)
> Visit Other Ponies (as needed)
> Hit the Arcade, Look at RPGs (research!)

Spike frowned at the list for a moment, because it seemed incomplete. There was something... Oh, right. It had been at the back of his mind for a while now, but it was actually going to be relevant soon. He hadn't convinced Twilight this was actually happening... Hay, he hadn't actually convinced himself until he saw Twilight's level and his power corrected the clocks. But even given that, could he convince other ponies? Should he?

Eventually, he put one last line on the page. If there was any one pony he could rely on for weird, it was her. Well, and one non-pony, but they were currently kinda occupied being evil. And a statue. In Canterlot. So that was off the table for multiple reasons. Still, his first choice would have been to go this route anyways, even if other options were available. It just... felt right.

> Talk to Pinkie about The Gamer

There was an enormous sound in his head, like the ring of a porcelain bell scaled up to the size of a building. At the same time, a strange thrill-and-chill ran up his spine (and out his spines) as the list in front of him changed colors... No, not changed. It was just overlayed with a colorful window full of mostly identical text. The added words were what really caught his attention, though.

STORY ARC: My First Day As The Gamer
By making a concrete plan of action to tackle a situation far outside of your understanding, you have begun the first step of your epic journey. Spend your first day grappling with your new power as effectively as possible, and reap the rewards: It's a boost up the ladder to get you started!

Objective: Do all 4 Quests (Chores, Food, Gamer, Free Time) by completing all 19 Sub-Quests.
Failure Condition: Leave more than 0 Sub-Quests incomplete by 9:10 PM today.
Reward: All Sub-Quest Rewards, All Quest Rewards, 50,000 EXP, 200 Bits, ???, ???, 'Proof'

For a while, all he could do was stare. He had only meant to make things more clear in his head, more organized... But this? He'd found something huge. So many zeroes, such big numbers... And, if this thing was right (could it BE wrong? he had no idea), it would give him what he needed to prove to Twilight that this was all real. A grin started spreading, slow but sure, until his smile was bigger than it had been in months.

"...Oh. OH GEEZ. I... OK. Calm down Spike. Just... Deep breath. Coil up the tongue. Brush the scales. Journal into inventory. And then let's get started!"

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