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I watched with no small sense of satisfaction as the last bit of Horizon armor disappeared in a puff of magic. I glanced over to Trelor who was leaning against his desk and staring with the same childish glee he’d been showing since I started disenchanting this stuff.

“Sorry,” he said. “For me this is like seeing my baby take their first steps. I haven’t ever seen players do this for realsies.”

“Glad to oblige,” I said.

“Got any more?” Kristoph asked, also staring at the disenchanting magical light show with rapt attention.

"I think that’s it,” I said, glancing at my inventory to be sure. "That’s the last of the gear that has a spell infusion I can learn. Lots of duplicates left over though.”

“So what do we do with this giant pile of weapons?” Kristoph asked, looking at a pile of discards sitting against one of the walls in Trelor’s Oddments gathering dust.

“We could destroy them," Keia said. "That's about all they’re good for."

"Can I melt them down if I take them to a forge?" I asked. “Melting down a bunch of their weapons while they watch sounds like a good time.”

“Also a good way to get killed,” Keia muttered. “There were more of them than us the last time they tried to cut us off.”

“It’s a good idea, but I’m afraid not," Trelor said with a shake of his head. “Something that's been spell infused can't be melted down. Not without explosive results."

I frowned. I was quite familiar with the explosive results I could get from misusing this new crafting ability by infusing the wrong gems, but I filed away this new form of magical combustion on the off chance I might be able to make use of it later.

"Can I sell them to you?" I asked Trelor.

"I'm not really a fan of taking their stuff," Trelor said. "But I suppose if I had to and you couldn’t think of another thing to do with them…”

He trailed off. I got the feeling there was more to Trelor’s trailing off than a simple distaste for gear that’d been created by Horizon. Like there was an alternative we weren’t thinking of. Something like…

"What about the auction house?" Keia asked.

"I… Yeah,” I said. “What about the auction house? That was my next stop after I tried doing some armor and weapon crafting.”

"Now you're thinking," Trelor said, putting a finger to his temple and grinning.

“It’s perfect. They'll be so pissed off if they see you selling their gear," Keia said. "No one in Horizon Dawn is allowed to sell their gear, and they get really pissy and threaten to cut off anyone they catch reselling their stuff."

“That sounds like a plan that’s going to have us running from more of their player killer squad,” Kristoph said.

“Maybe, but they have no way of knowing we’re selling their stuff until it’s listed. We’d get the first listing for free,” Keia said.

“They aren’t big fans of the secondhand market,” Trelor muttered. “The pricks.”

"Which totally doesn't matter for me since I don't want to buy their shit anyway and I'm already numero uno on their shit list," I said.

“Exactly,” Keia said.

“Assuming they don’t bar us from the AH the same as they barred us from the forge just because they don’t like us,” Kristoph helpfully pointed out.

“You’ve got a point,” Keia said, her shoulders slumping slightly.

“Still. It’d be a good way to get them to pitch a fit," Trelor said. "I wish I could see the looks on their middle managers’ faces when they realize someone is reselling their stuff. The means to do it is there in the game if someone wanted to do it, but…”

"But no one's been ballsy enough to do it so far," I said. "Well now's the time."

The thought that no one else had the guts to try this strengthened my resolve more than anything else. Besides, I figured if I was going to get serious about leveling crafting then I was going to need some cash. Crafting wasn’t cheap in these games, and even undercutting their AH prices I figured I could clean up nicely on this stuff.

“What about all those flowers you were picking out in the forest?” Kristoph asked. “You said you were going to do something with those.”

“Duh,” I said, smacking my virtual head.

“Flowers you were picking?” Keia asked.

“Come on,” Kristoph said. “You can’t tell me he wasn’t picking flowers while you were out hunting Horizon assholes.”

“He did a few, but not many,” she said.

“I got a little carried away when we first got into the game,” I said. “The things are still sitting in my inventory, but I was so focused on Spellcrafting that I ignored’em.”

“Might be worth turning them into a potion,” Trelor said, his voice and face so carefully neutral that I knew he was all but screaming at me to do it.

"Do you know anything about creating potions in this game?" I asked.

From the grin that split Trelor's face he was more than happy I had asked that question.

"Do I?" he asked. "Look at all this glassware! I'm even willing to sell you your supplies at a discount. A slight discount, mind. I wouldn't want anyone to be able to say I was playing favorites or anything if any records of this get subpoenaed by the wrong people, you know."

A moment later I was the proud new owner of the Crafting : Potions skill. Which included a nice little tooltip telling me I could bottle fame, brew glory and all that good stuff that came from a certain dark-haired potions master who’d gone on about that sort of thing once upon a time.

I struck out trying to create something from the Nhewb’s Blessing petals at first, but it didn’t take long before I was creating potions left and right. Hardly surprising for some flower petals whose sole purpose seemed to be giving noob potion makers something to work on.

I got into a groove, and it wasn’t long before all the flowers had been converted into potions that glowed a faint yellow as I held it up and inspected it.

“That’s the last one,” I said, leaning against the potions table and taking a deep breath as I looked at my handiwork. I felt really tired, for all that I’d just been crafting.

“It’s about time,” Kristoph muttered.

“What?” I asked.

“The only thing more boring than watching you pick all those flower petals is watching you turning them into potions,” he said.

“But I wasn’t even at it for that long,” I said. “Sure there were a few failures at the beginning, but…”

“Look at your clock,” Keia said.

I did. I was surprised to realize that I’d been standing over Trelor’s potions table for the past hour creating these Nhewb’s Blessing potions. Damn.

“I guess I got a little too into the zone making these,” I said.

“That’s okay,” Keia said, leaning in to kiss me on the cheek. “It’s cute when you get all distracted with work like that.”

“Yeah, well now it’s time to see what the potion does,” I said.

“Wait, you can’t tell what the potion you just made did?”

I inspected the potion and a tooltip came up.

 

Refined Nhewb’s Blessing.

Bonuses: ????

Give it a sip and hope you don’t die!

 

“Looks like the game wants me to test it out to figure out what the fuck it does,” I said. “There’s also a cryptic note about the thing maybe killing me.”

The three of us turned to look at Trelor. He held his hands up.

“I said I was gonna help you out with suggestions, but I’m not giving away what stuff does,” he said. “You have to learn this one on your own.”

“I was afraid you were going to say something like that,” I said as I pulled a stopper off the glowing yellow potion and downed it.

“Conlan!” Keia shouted, sounding like she was seriously worried for me.

It probably didn’t help that I immediately dropped the potion bottle which obligingly shattered on the floor. I put a hand to my neck as though I was choking and started making gurgling noises. I didn’t fall to my knees. It would’ve really sold what I was doing, but I didn’t want any of those glass shards to get embedded in me.

Even with the pain slider turned down that seemed like the kind of thing that’d hurt like a motherfucker.

“Conlan!” Keia shouted again. “What did you do to him?”

She hit Trelor with a glare, and then her bow and arrow materialized in her hands and she pointed it at him.

“Save him,” she said.

Only Trelor was laughing. “He doesn’t need saving!”

“Do something other than saving him and you’re dead,” Keia said, her voice flat.

“No, he seriously doesn’t need saving,” Kristoph said, putting a hand on Keia’s arm and lowering the bow and arrow. Which had the effect of startling her to the point that she let the arrow fly. Right at Trelor’s heart.

The arrow disappeared before it could reach him though. He didn’t even bother to wave his hand to make it go away. One moment it was there, and the next moment it wasn’t.

“I’m going to ignore that since it was a half accident,” Trelor said.

Keia looked around in confusion. I stopped choking since this joke had clearly gone far enough.

“You asshole,” she said.

“Sorry,” I replied. “I couldn’t resist.”

“Join the club,” she said.

“What are you…”

Another arrow materialized and the arrow was lodged in my thigh a moment later. I stared at it for a moment, and then pain bloomed.

“Son of a…”

This time I did fall to my knees, and shards of broken glass crunched up into those knees as I landed them with the full force of gravity and my weight combining their powers.

“Son of a!”

“Oh stop being a baby,” Keia said, pulling me up to my feet and hitting me with a small heal that made the pain go away. “And don’t ever do something like that again!”

“Is it weird that I’m kinda turned on right now?” Kristoph asked with a goofy grin.

“Yes!” Keia and I both shouted at the same time.

“Okay, so the fun is over,” I said.

“What kind of bonuses is the potion giving you?” Keia asked.

I looked at my current bonuses and let out a low whistle. The potion gave even more of a bonus to all stats than simply chewing the flower had. As I looked at all the bonuses I couldn't help but feel another one of those tingles of anticipation that I got whenever I’d found something interesting.

This could potentially be big. Huge, even. People would kill for any kind of edge in the game, and something like this that gave a blanket bonus to all stats…

Well it was certainly going to be interesting to see how interested players were. That was for sure.

"This potion seriously gives a ten percent bonus to all combat, magic, and healing at any level?” I asked.

"Looks that way," Trelor said with a frown. "I can't imagine that was what the intern I foisted potion recipes on intended, but…"

He shrugged. "If they didn’t intend to do that then I'm sure the babysitters will start getting reports soon enough and freak out."

I nodded. “So you’re saying if I want to get this out there to the world and make any profit I need to do it before other people figure out what they can do with it and it gets nerfed?”

“I can’t say anything about internal deliberations one way or another,” Trelor said with a wink. “But yeah. You might get that out on the auction house sooner rather than later.

“Thanks for the help,” I said, genuinely meaning it.

It’d been a big enough surprise finding someone working for Lotus lurking within the game. Though that was the kind of thing I’d probably do if I was a senior designer on a game like this, but it was even cooler that Trelor had been so cool about everything.

"Not a problem," Trelor said, sketching a salute. "Now I think we’ve done everything we can do here. Why don’t you go out there and cause some headaches for Horizon.”

I looked at the goblinsteel in my inventory. “I don’t suppose you’re hiding a forge around here somewhere?”

“Afraid not,” he said. “This place is strictly magic themed.”

“It was worth a shot,” I muttered. “It’d be nice to unload some of this stuff though.”

“Might I suggest a vault near the auction house?” Trelor suggested. “The goblins are supposed to have some of the best in the game world.”

“You really want me to go to the auction house,” I said.

“Go forth and conquer a corporation the only way you can. With money,” he said.

“Point taken,” I said.

"So you know where the auction house is?" I asked, turning to Keia.

"Sure do,” she said. "Let's get a move on!"

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About the author

Daecrist

Bio: Hi! I'm a working writer who's been doing this full time since early 2015. I got my start in the Kindle romance boom, and I'm finally getting around to publishing stories under my own name!

I live in the Midwest with my wife, kids, and cats. Most days find me sitting in front of my computer typing out stories for your enjoyment!

I'm currently releasing Spellcraft. The tale of Conlan, a gamer who loves finding ways to exploit game systems, and how he uses those unique skills to battle a soulless multinational entertainment conglomerate who killed his sister and is trying to take over the gaming world!

Spellcraft is currently released on a chapter a day schedule.

I hope you enjoy my work. Thanks for reading!

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