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  • E Awaken, Scootaloo

    When Scootaloo loses hope, Princess Luna is there to help her learn to dream again.
    6,531 words · 4,641 views  ·  598  ·  5
  • E Diary of a Silent Tyrant

    Encased in stone, Discord observes the events around him and reflects on his life
    3,162 words · 6,639 views  ·  661  ·  7
  • E Apple Ninjas and Other Vital Concerns

    Big Mac shows Apple Bloom that the farm can be a blast, even when her friends are all busy for the day.
    3,725 words · 1,285 views  ·  170  ·  0
  • E Diary of a Pliant Tyrant

    When Fluttershy finds out that Discord used to keep a mental diary while imprisoned in stone, she begs him to continue it. Grudgingly, he promises to document his thoughts about his new life among old enemies
    16,437 words · 8,030 views  ·  822  ·  13
  • E Cheerilee's Thousand

    Cheerilee goes on one thousand terrible dates.
    70,161 words · 5,011 views  ·  627  ·  9
  • E A Door Jam

    Twilight, Applejack and Fluttershy end up on an adventure when Pinkie develops a strange obsession with Sugarcube Corner's back door.
    10,904 words · 3,995 views  ·  263  ·  6
  • E Easy As Pie

    In which Pinkie Pie battles a rogue kitchen.
    7,385 words · 4,493 views  ·  234  ·  5
  • E The Carrot Dog Fight

    Spike just wants to eat his delicious carrot dog, but Manehattan's birds have other ideas.
    3,570 words · 1,057 views  ·  102  ·  1

Blog Posts439

  • Saturday
    Update and Errata

    So the new story is coming right along.  It's about a third of the way through an editing pass, and so far only one or two major things have come up.  I have gotten from just about everyone that it's pretty dark, though, and that's disheartening.  The Dark tag is the kiss of death, in my opinion, but I don't want to lie to readers.  If it's dark, then it is.  I'll just have to live with that lower view rate.

    This is the hardest time for me as an author.  I love writing.  I love publishing.  I really, really hate editing.  You take this thing that you think is really great and give it to other people, who then tell you why it's not so great.  I find it to be demoralizing.  And then I get angry at myself for being childish, but it's a process.  I get feedback, then I enter into a small depression for a couple of days.  After that, I'll use the feedback to hopefully make the story better.  It's always helped in the past.  My stories have always come out better and stronger, yet I sit here and feel down about the whole thing for a few days.  That drives me up the wall.  I hope to one day be past that.

    I got the art back for the story, and I'm fairly pleased with it.  The artist screwed a few minor details up, but it's still pretty nice.

    Also, I'm not sure why I'm a sucker for stories with ridiculous sounding premises, but I am in the worst sense of that word.  I always look at these stories and think, "Wow, that sounds shallow/unworkable/like a terrible idea. There's no way an author would do that unless he or she had some way to really make that work in a way that's fresh and original."  It never is.

    Not true!  Skywriter's Shipping Sickness is a great example of a stupid premise that was awesomely done, but it's the rare exception, it seems.  This is probably news to no one but me.

    4 comments · 63 views
  • 1w, 4d
    Cute

    3 comments · 92 views
  • 1w, 5d
    The Tsunami

    Gah! So much to do! I have too many stories to write!

    I've just finished one, and I'm staring down the barrel of at least ten more. I don't know where they all came from. Luckily, I'm feeling pretty energized. I really like how my new story came out, and that will probably evaporate once my editor gets back to me with a thousand items, but for now, I'm feelin' fine. I'm already thinking about a sequel to that story, but we'll see how it's received first. I love it, so it'll probably fall flat on its face.

    I'm still struggling to find art, but I sent out some new requests that I've got high hopes for. The story won't be ready for public consumption for probably another month or so anyway, so I've got some time.

    But the next order of business is definitely going to be updating Cheerilee's Thousand and Taking a Job for Granite. I've sat on that stuff for too long while I worked on this new Big Mac story and First Steps. Then we will see about some collabs people have been asking for.

    And speaking of collabs, The Album 2 is seriously lagging. My Pinkie Pie chapter will never be seen! This is where I'd put the bawling Rarity emoticon, but we don't have it in the blogs, I guess.

    And how about this snazzy update? I'm liking it overall, though I'm still struggling to understand some of the choices. I can't see the lifetime performance of my story anymore? Just a monthly breakdown?  Uh, okay...

    15 comments · 91 views
  • 2w, 1d
    New Story Rough Is Done

    Ah, that 'Just finished a story' afterglow.  There's nothing quite like it.

    So I've finished my story about Big Mac being a boxer, and boy did it go off in a direction I didn't anticipate at the beginning.  I'm pretty pleased with it, though.  I had a good time writing it.  For the next few days, I'll probably be doing some editing, but does anyone want to pre-read it?  I'm always interested in hearing opinions on how a story is coming together.

    Now if I could just get the art settled.  WHY IS IT SO DAMN HARD TO GET ARTISTS TO RESPOND?!  I've never understood this about artists.  I tried for several years to get comic books together, and I'd meet with these artist who were totally on board.  Then they'd suddenly disappear. Six months later I get an email apologizing and telling me that they'd still like to work on the thing if it's still available.  Then they disappear again.  It's so frustrating. I'm trying to give them money to do the thing they like to do! Why is this such a complicated arrangement?

    Sigh.  Well, I'm going to contact another artist tomorrow, probably.

    0 comments · 42 views
  • 2w, 4d
    Sisyphus Triumphs (Kinda long and self indulgent)

    So a little over two years ago, I was in the full-on throes of brony madness.  My wife and I watched the show constantly, and I could never get enough pony.  The characters ran through my mind all the time, and I needed something to do with them.  It was in this time that I had this strong mental image of the girls on a door, sliding down a snowy mountain, and then looking disgruntled as they stood on it while traveling down a river.

    This was how A Door Jam was born, though I didn't use any of the scenes I'd originally thought of.  The 'door down the mountain' thing did end up as a chapter of Cheerilee's Thousand, though.

    I'd never written anything really, but I loved these characters, and I wanted more.  The idea of them with this door for some reason just kept coming back to me.  So I spent a quite a few hours writing it up, and you know what?  By the end, I was really liking it.  I was proud of my little story, and even more proud when I uploaded it here and it made quite a little splash for someone that no one had ever heard of.  

    Obviously, I was a savant, and the masses needed more.  A Door Jam was EQD bound.

    But a funny thing happened on the way to the community hub.  My story got rejected.  It was a really interesting wake up call to get that response saying, "Uh, nice little story, but you could learn a lot about story-telling, not to mention grammar."  I mean, they didn't say it like that, but that was the thrust of it.

    One strike for me, and I'm afraid I'll have to admit that I was pissed off.  I mean, just look at the response my story had received!  It was great.  Nuts to those guys!  I'd spiff up my story and resubmit.  No way were they going to defeat me!  It became my number one goal to have that story on EQD.

    Strike two, and I started sweating.  Maybe I wasn't quite the savant I thought I was.  Plus, I'd released Out of Fashion to almost no response.  Yikes.  So I really started boning up at that point.  I started reading grammar textbooks and asking for help.  I backburnered A Door Jam so that I could work on my skills.

    Fast forward about a year, and I'd had something like three stories on EQD.  I was really getting this writing thing, and I thought it might be about time to accomplish my number one goal.  I went back to the drawing board and completely re-wrote A Door Jam, taking it from six thousand words to ten thousand, adding description, eliminating telling, revamping dialogue.  It got a massive tune-up, and I loved the hell out of it.

    And no third strike!  It wasn't accepted, but it was sent back without a strike with a note to fix five things and it would be ship-shape.  I was over the moon!  I corrected those errors and resubmitted.

    Third strike.  The reviewer basically hated the story and pointed out several errors no one else had caught.  Now my story was done and I'd never achieve my number one goal.

    I was super mad.  I can't even express how angry I was about this.  I was pissed off at that review, but I was even more angry at myself.  I'd wasted two strikes when I was very inexperienced, and I hadn't caught these typos before I'd sent it back for the all-important third chance.  I'd failed, and I had a large portion of that to deal with.  Not all of it.  I still feel like I was screwed somewhat in that exchange, but there's no denying that it was my job to make sure the story was square before I sent it in, and I didn't do that.

    So I swallowed it, vowing to use that angry and sadness as a tool for motivation and learning.  It was still a pretty good story, even if EQD didn't accept it, and I'd learned a lot writing it.  I closed the book on it and wrote about Trixie and Discord.

    Then, one fine day, everything changed.

    EQD decided to get rid of the strikes.  Stories could be resubmitted until they passes, and all permanently rejected stories were given new life.  I could still achieve my dream, and I got back to work.

    Strike four.

    This was actually a good thing.  I got a response back full of "Hey, here are a bunch of typos, oh,  and you might want to think about these particular problems.  They are systemic in your writing."  This was great for me.  I got to view the story in a whole new light, and thus, all of my stories.  This is why I like working with a multitude of different editors.  I learn a little something new from each one.  This time, it was about my overuse of participle phrases and my tendency to shift needlessly into multiple character perspectives to the detriment of the story.  

    So I got to work again, and that's what I've been doing for the past few weeks.  Going over A Door Jam over and over and over.

    I sent it back in yesterday.  Today, it was accepted.

    I can't properly express how delighted I am.  I mean, you can probably see by the length of this post what it means to me, but I thought I'd never have a chance at getting my story up there, and somehow it happened, and it happened because I worked incredibly hard at it.  I happened because I had a lot of help from a lot of really great people, and if you are reading this, chances are you were part of that learning process in some way.  I've had a tremendous amount of support from all of you, and I'd like to personally thank everything who has taken the time to help me learn or to give me feedback.  It's the most valuable thing we have on this site.

    EQD is not the place it once was.  My stories there rarely get thousands of views the way they once did.  A Door Jam probably won't really benefit all that much from being there.  But, to me, it means the world.  It means that I fought and fought and fought, and at the end, I actually won.  At the end of the day, the boulder reached the top of the mountain, and I can finally rest if I so choose.

    I'm not sure where this leaves me as an author here.  I have no plans for quitting, but I don't really have that many goals left.  I've always been a goal-oriented person, and it's hard for me to just write for the joy of it.  I really do like it, but I'm generally doing it because I want to achieve something.  Maybe it's time to really re-evaluate that stance and learn to just create for the fun of creation.  Is that a new goal?  Probably.

    28 comments · 137 views
  • ...
 168
 6,219

Checkmates
   

“Finally, all of these go in your front row,” Twilight said as Applejack and Rainbow Dash watched her position the last marble pieces onto the board. Ever since discovering the chess set in the library’s storage cupboard, she’d been itching to test her skills again. When she lived in Canterlot, she would occasionally play Spike for a change of pace, but Twilight was surprised to find that he wasn’t very interested in the game any more. When she had shown it to him, he’d stomped off, muttering something about a two hundred and sixty-six game losing streak. 

Rainbow Dash swooped in and scrutinized the gleaming marble pieces. “Okay, I’m going first!” Several pieces fell over and rolled across the board as Rainbow eagerly reached for the largest one.

Twilight gently swatted her away and righted the chessmen. “Rainbow, I haven’t even explained the rules yet!”

Applejack pushed her hat back from her eyes and pointed at Rainbow, her chest swelling. “Yeah!  You can’t just call ‘first’ before we even get started!”

“Well, I’m still going first!” Rainbow replied, sticking her tongue out at Applejack.

“Now wait a sec—”

Twilight stepped between them as Applejack marched forward. She’d spent enough time at sporting events with her competitive friends to see where this was headed. “Alright, you two! We'll figure out who goes first later. I need to tell you what the rules are before we get to that.” Twilight settled into her most comfortable lecturing pose, but was left open-mouthed when Rainbow moved in front of her to study the pieces once more.

“Pssh!  This’ll be a snap!  It’s like fancy checkers.”

“No, it’s not!” Twilight replied, pushing Rainbow out for the way. She had to wonder how Rainbow ever made it through her classes in Cloudsdale. Getting her to sit still for five minutes was a major achievement in Twilight’s book.

   

Rainbow pointed to the playing field and regarded Twilight with a raised eyebrow. “Well, it’s on a checker board!”

“No, a checkerboard is black and red. This is black and white.”

“Really, Twilight? That’s the best you’ve got?” Rainbow rested an elbow on the table and gave Twilight a half-lidded stare. As an All-Equestria checkers finalist, Rainbow knew a variant checkerboard when she saw it.

“Ugh, never mind the board.” Twilight picked up the smallest piece from the table and held it up for her friends to see. “Now this is a pawn. He’s your frontline soldier.”

Applejack casually fished out the hay and barley sandwich Apple Bloom had packed for her, then stuffed half of it into her mouth. “How come he ain’t called a soldier then?” 

“Yeah, pawn sounds kinda wimpy.” Rainbow eyed the chessman closely. It didn’t seem nearly as intriguing as the taller pieces that Twilight had left on the board.

“It’s just what they’re called. It’s not important,” Twilight said, attempting to get back into the flow of a proper lecture. “What is important is that they can move one space, unless it’s their first move of the game. Then they can move two.” Finally finding her rhythm, Twilight advanced several of the pawn to emphasize the rule.  

Applejack slowly chewed the other half of her sandwich while she regarded the pawn. “How come they can only move one after that? Did they get all tuckered out or somethin’?”

Twilight’s mane bristled as the unexpected question derailed her train of thought.  She shot an annoyed glance at Applejack, fumbling for an explanation. “Huh?  No, it’s just—”

“Pawns are lazy!” Rainbow crossed her legs tightly across her chest and squinted at the row of pawns.

“They aren't lazy!” Twilight could feel the beginnings of a headache building between her eyes and wondered if it was too late to pack up and read a book for the rest of the afternoon. “They’re doing exactly what they are ordered to do!”

“Not my pawns!” Rainbow pulled herself up to her full height, eyes blazing. “They’re gonna be a well-oiled combat battalion!  We’re gonna—”

“MOVING ON!” Twilight said, raising her voice over the growing excitement of Rainbow Dash’s battle plans. “Pawns move one square forward, but can only attack diagonally, like this.”

Applejack stopped chewing and cocked her head to the side. “What the hay? Twilight, what kinda sense does that make?”

Twilight massaged the area between her eyes. “Ugh, I don’t know all right? It’s just the rules!”

Rainbow moved forward and pushed a few pawn into new positions. “So pawns can only go forward, but can only attack stuff diagonally?”

“Yes, Rainbow!” Twilight hope began to flicker as Rainbow moved each of the pieces. They were finally getting somewhere! “Now—”

“Pawns are sneaky!” Rainbow hissed, rubbing her hooves together.

Twilight sagged, and she lowered her ears. Her flickering flame of hope was guttering wildly. “They aren’t sneaky, Rainbow! It’s just how they work!” Twilight stomped a hoof on the ground. She had thought it was difficult to get Spike to clean the kitchen when he was done cooking. This was turning out to be worse!

“Hey, no need to get all worked up about it!  I like it!” Rainbow launched herself into the air and fell into a power-dive. “You come straight at your opponent, and then fake them out!” With a deft twist of her wings, Rainbow angled away at the last second and slammed into a nearby bush, twisting and rolling. “They're all ready for you to plow into them, but just as you get there, you dive to the side and pounce on the unsuspecting teammate!” In an explosion of leaves, Rainbow’s head popped out of the foliage. “Applejack won’t know what hit her!” she snickered, picking twigs from her mane.  

Applejack rolled her eyes and stuffed the last bite of her sandwich into her mouth. “I’m right over here. I think I’ll pick up on your amazin’ strategy, somehow.”  

Rainbow worked out the last stubborn branch from her mane and approached the board again. “So if I attack Applejack’s pawn with my pawn, who wins?”

“Yours does,” Twilight answered.

Rainbow smirked at Applejack. “Naturally! Superior leadership.”

Twilight noted the way the muscles clenched in Applejack’s strong back legs, as though she couldn’t wait to kick something very solid.

“Your pawn can’t beat my pawn!” Applejack growled, jaw jutting forward.  

Twilight hurried forward to settle this before it got out of hoof. “Anypony’s pawn can win. The advantage always goes to the attacker,” she said, moving to block Applejack’s line of sight with Rainbow. Her headache ratcheted up a little more as she contemplated if any two ponies had ever been this stubborn and competitive before.

“There’s no way—” Rainbow said.

Applejack tacked to the side, trying to get around Twilight to confront Rainbow directly. “But—”

Twilight waved her hooves over her head. “Enough about pawns!” She was definitely beginning to regret finding this chess set.  Once her friends had settled down a bit, she picked up the next piece. “Now this is a rook.”

Applejack reached for its matching partner to take a closer look. “Looks like a castle.”

“Well, I guess it is a little castle,” Twilight replied quickly, working hard to stay on topic. “So your rook can move any number of squares, but only in a straight line.”

“Wait just a gol-durn minute! You’re tellin’ me that my soldiers can only move one measly square, but a castle can move the whole board? Twilight, that just don't make much sense.” Applejack frowned at the rook and placed it back down on the board in one of the pawn’s opening positions.

Twilight bit down lightly on her tongue while she move the piece back into place and tried to cast her mind into its most serene and patient state. I can do this. I’m a good student, and I’m going to be a good teacher. I just need a little patience.

Rainbow absently kicked a stone away and looked up into the open sky. Her wings twitched as several chattering birds flew overhead. “I gotta agree with Applejack on this one, Twilight. Are you sure you know how to play this game?”  

Twilight’s newly cultivated patience evaporated and she slammed both her hooves down on the table. “YES, I AM SURE, and you two would know, too, if you would STOP INTERRUPTING ME ALL THE TIME!” Twilight’s eyes bulged as she glared at them, her chest heaving.

“Okay, jeez! Calm down, Twilight!” Rainbow shot a glance at Applejack and they both gazed with somewhat unconvincingly rapt attention at the board.  

Twilight rolled her eyes at the display, but smiled inwardly at her friends' behavior. They were only doing this for her, but she knew they would love the game in the end. It really was right up their alley. Twilight took a deep breath and decided to continue. “So. Rook. Straight lines. Any distance. Got it?” The two ponies opened their mouths, but Twilight rushed on. “Good. Now, next is the knight.”

“Oh, this is going to be awesome!” Rainbow snatched the knight from Twilight. Quickly giving it a once-over, she tossed it to Applejack. “Look, Applejack, it looks like us!”

Applejack shrugged. “It’s a knight. Wouldn’t it have to look like us?”

“The pawns don't look like us!” Rainbow scowled momentarily at Applejack before returning her attention to the knight. “This is clearly the most awesome piece!”  

Finally some engagement! Twilight's ears perked up as Rainbow's interest increased. “They represent armored ponies from the medieval period.”

Rainbow shot Twilight a sidelong glance. “Yeah, I know what a knight is.” Grabbing her matching knights, she took to the air and flew in tight circles, making feint galloping noises as she buzzed Applejack. “See, Applejack, I told you these were the coolest pieces!”  

Applejack responded with a wide yawn.

“Yup, and they move differently than any of the others.” Twilight pulled the knights out of Rainbow’s hooves on her next pass and placing them back on the board. “You see, they move either two squares left or right and then one square up or down, or two squares up or back and one square left or right.”  

Applejack briskly shook her head and tried to follow the complicated maneuvering. “Uh, come again, Twilight?” she said, drawing patterns in the air with her hooves while trying to picture all the formations.  

Twilight rolled her eyes. “Don’t overcomplicate it.”

“ME?!” Applejack snapped her head back up so quickly that her hat flew off.  Rainbow swooped in and scooped the Stetson up, trying to fly away with it, but Applejack was too fast. As Rainbow shot off, Applejack bit down on the brim and wrenched it from Rainbow’s grasp. With a casual flip, she tossed the hat back onto her head, then motioned to the knights. “Who trained them knights? Pinkie Pie?They’re all over the place!” Nearby, Rainbow was rolling back and forth on the ground, both laughing at and lamenting her near coup.  

Twilight shot her a dirty look as she went through the motion again. “It’s not hard. Just remember this pattern.” Twilight allowed Applejack to run through the routine a few times.  

Rainbow flew up over the table and watched. Twilight partially covered the board as Rainbow’s downdraft threatened to launch a few of the pawns off the board. “Wow, knights are sneaky, too!” Rainbow rubbed her hooves together. “Maybe they’re, like, ninja knights!”  

Twilight grabbed her tail and firmly pulled her back to the ground. “Rainbow, come down here before you wreck my board. The knights are simulating the flanking maneuvers of cavalry.”  

Rainbow bumped Applejack lightly with her shoulder and pointed at the knights. “I knew these guys were rad!”

“If you say so.” Applejack gave a lengthy sigh, her gaze drifting off in the direction of Sweet Apple Acres.

Twilight hurried along to the next piece as Applejack's rear hoof twitched. “Now, these pieces are called bishops and they move any number of squares diagonally.” Twilight did her best to fill her voice with wonder. If she could just get them interested enough to play, Twilight knew she would have some fierce competition.  

Pulling her gaze from her fields, Applejack pushed her hat back to scratch her mane. “Can they attack things?” she asked, looking from the bishop to Twilight and back again.  

Twilight cocked her head to the side and raised an eyebrow. “Um, of course. Every piece can.”

Applejack shrugged and turned to Rainbow Dash, who was still making battle noises as she moved the knights to and fro. “Don’t that sound kinda, well, violent for a preacher?”

“Hey, don’t count my bishop out!” Rainbow dropped the knights and moving to defend her bishop’s honor. Snatching the bishop up from the board, she thrust it into the air above her head, catching it in a sunbeam. Wrapped in a radiant corona, the bishop’s shadow stretched across the battlefield toward Applejack. “She’s no namby-pamby egghead! No offense, Twi.” Rainbow said, her voice swelling. “She’s a spiritual engine of victory!”  

Applejack squinted as she looked at the bishop and shielded her eyes with her hat. “I’m just sayin’ that it don’t sound so holy to charge across the battlefield and knock somepony in the head.”

Twilight shook her head. She’d never seen two ponies work so hard at not learning a game. “Girls, we’re going off on a tangent again.” Twilight leapt, trying to grab the bishop away from Rainbow, who kept the bishop just out of Twilight’s reach.  

“Quit it, Rainbow!” Applejack shot the Pegasus a dirty look, and received a raspberry in return. Rolling her eyes, Applejack turned back to Twilight. “What in tarnation is a tangent?”  

Perking up immediately, Twilight launched into a rapid fire explanation. “I’m so glad you asked, Applejack! It’s a line that intersects the arc of a circle at one, and only one, point. It’s a useful trigonometric principle in that tangents can be used—”

Grimacing, Rainbow landed and slammed the bishop back into place, making sure to jostle Twilight as she did it. “Oh, hey, Twilight, what about this piece? It’s really big!” Rainbow said while pointing to the next piece in the row.

Applejack had to turn away for a few seconds, as she could feel a fit of giggles coming on. Rainbow’s attempt at an expression of sincere interest was anything but.  

Rather than seeming annoyed, though, Twilight broke into a wide grin. “Rainbow, that’s going to be your favorite piece.” Twilight said as she threw her leg around her friend and brought Rainbow’s gaze back to the board.  

Rainbow’s eyes grew wide as she focused on the elegant piece that Twilight was holding. “Really? Why’s that?”

“That’s the queen, and she can move any direction and any number of squares. It just has to be in a straight line,” Twilight answered. She handed the queen to Rainbow, who ran a hoof over the stylized crown that topped it.

Applejack tipped her hat back to get a closer look at the piece. “Whoa, nelly!  She can go anywhere?”

“Yup, she has a lot of power!” Twilight smiled and let the tension begin to drain from her body. Finally, both her friends were showing some real interest.

“I didn’t think it was possible for these pieces to get any more awesome than the knight, but I’m loving this queen!” Rainbow picked up the last remaining piece and thrust it out for Twilight to take. “What about this one?  I’ll bet it’s coolest one of all!”

“That’s the king. He can move one square in any direction,” replied Twilight, moving the piece for her friends to see.

Applejack arched an eyebrow. “That’s it?”

Twilight nodded. “That’s it.” A silence fell between the three ponies and Twilight’s smile faltered as looked back and forth between her confused friends.  

Finally, Rainbow swatted at the king with her tail, knocking it over. “One lousy square? What kind of lame king is that?!”

Applejack yawned. “Yeah. No offense, sugarcube, that this king guy’s kinda a let down.”

Twilight began to lightly sweat as both Applejack and Rainbow began to fidget. I’m losing them! I’ve got to get their attention, and quick! Twilight concentrated on the board.  A glowing, purple aura surrounded it and Applejack and Rainbow’s eyes were irresistibly drawn to the action. The kings from both sides marched to the middle of the board, followed by their ranks in formation. “Well, he’s the most important piece on the field!” Twilight said, leading the opposing sides through an intricate marching routine.

“Not for me, he’s not!” Scowling and crossing her front legs, Rainbow turned dismissively away from the marching soldiers. “I don’t need two rulers anyway. We can get along fine with just the queen.”

Twilight shook her head. “Not if you want to win, Rainbow. The object of the game is to trap the king. If he gets attacked, you lose.”  

Rainbow unconsciously took to the air, sputtering and gesticulating wildly. “WHAT? This guy is useless and I have to protect him?” Rainbow made a face that reminded Applejack strongly of the time Big Mac had accidentally eaten some moldy hay.

Twilight sank to her haunches and applied pressure to the throbbing area between her eyes. “Rainbow, he’s not useless!” Twilight whisked most of the figures off the chessboard with her magic, leaving just the king and a nearby rook. “You can use him for castling. If you take the rook—”

“Hold up a minute,” Applejack said. “Make up your mind. Is it a rook or a castle?”

“IT’S A ROOK!” Twilight cried into the sky. She stared, wild-eyed, at her friends, her chest swelling and brilliant sparks of magical lightning arcing from her horn. With a glance between them, Rainbow and Applejack wordlessly agreed this might be a good time to sit down and be quiet. After a few calming breaths, Twilight continued. “Now, you can use the king to swap the rook into a different position.” Catching the blank stares of her friends, Twilight shook her head. Sometimes you just had to throw out the rulebook. “You know what? Let’s forget castling.”

“So, he’s back to being useless?” Rainbow said, earning a hit on the shoulder and a glare from Applejack. “Well, he is,” Rainbow muttered to Applejack as Twilight magically gathered the pieces again and place them all back on the board.

Twilight sighed. “Yes, Rainbow. He’s useless, but you have to protect him. If your opponent gets him in a position where he can’t move anywhere or he will get attacked, it’s called a checkmate, and you lose.”

“How did he get to be king when he’s such a wuss?” Rainbow knocked the king off the board and moved the queen to straddle the two squares they would normally occupy together.

Twilight flung herself down onto her back and threw a leg over her eyes. Surely she would wake up from this soon. This had to be a nightmare. “I don’t know!  Maybe he’s sick!” she cried, throwing her free legs into the air.

Applejack righted the king that Rainbow had knocked over. “Aw, that’s terrible. We really shouldn’t be makin’ him fight like that. It ain’t right.”

Twilight sat up and gave her friends a hard stare. Oh, you’re going to make him fight if it’s the last thing I do! You two are going to play this game if it takes me all day!  Twilight climbed to her feet and dusted herself off. This was the home stretch. Just a little more and they could all play together. “Okay. One final thing,” Twilight forced cheer into her voice.  “If you get your pawn to the other side of the board, you can promote it to one of the other pieces.”

“Any piece?” Applejack said, taken aback.

Twilight gave her friend a hopeful grin. “Any piece but the king.”

Rainbow looked over the pieces, calculating the advantages that she would receive with various promotions. “So I could get a new queen or knight or whatever?”

“Yup!” answered Twilight, sharing in her friend’s excitement.

Rainbow rubbed her hooves together. “That’s pretty awesome! You ready, Applejack? You ready to be at the mercy of my nine queens? I have been working on a new victory dance, may as well put it—”

Twilight leapt in as Applejack bared her teeth. “That's the spirit, girls! Care to try a game?” It had been quite a trial, but they seemed eager to give it a shot. Applejack and Rainbow now stood at opposite ends of the board, mulling over their opening plays and giving each other steely glances.

“Just one quick thing, Twilight,” Applejack said, staring down Rainbow.

Twilight trotted forward, eager to assist. “Yes?”

“Think you could go over that again?” Applejack said, cocking her head to the side and scratching behind her ear.

Rainbow shrugged. “Yeah. I didn’t really get it.”

UGH!” Twilight covered her eyes with her hooves.  

Rainbow flew over and threw a consoling leg around Twilight’s shoulder, gently rocking her back and forth. “Aw, don’t be upset, Twilight. We can just play some checkers instead!”

Twilight gave one last pinch to the pulsing nerve between her eyes, and then let out a shuddering sigh. She had tried and tomorrow was another day. Twilight gave her friends a weak smile. “Sure, let’s play some checkers.”

#1 · 94w, 4d ago · 3 · ·

*grins* Very cute, Bravo.

#2 · 94w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

>>1868374  Thank you very much!  It's different than my other stuff.  A much smaller story, so I wasn't sure how it would be received.  :twilightsmile:

#3 · 94w, 4d ago · 3 · ·

>>1868617 *smirks* I can't resist. It's not the size it's how you use it.:scootangel:

#4 · 94w, 4d ago · 8 · ·

>>1868864  I have received no negative feedback from any women about my fic, so I will assume you are right.

#5 · 94w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

If I ever teach someone to play chess again i wanna make 'em read this fic first. Perfect teaching tool. Lol!!!! :rainbowlaugh:

#6 · 94w, 4d ago · · ·

>>1871624  Ha!  That would be awesome!  Gonna have to teach them about castling on your own, though.  Twilight wasn't up for that level of abuse.  :twilightoops:

#7 · 94w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

This was hilarious. Reminds me f when i had loads of trouble learning the rules of chess. [And i am one to question things that don't make sense]

#8 · 94w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1872727  I'm glad you enjoyed it!  I'm not sure where it came from.  I was just sitting around one day and the dialogue came to me.  It was so clear that I had to write a story around it.  

#9 · 94w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

I don't want to use cute to describe it.. but it was very adorable. Nice pacing, great characterization.

Left a like, hope to see more.

#10 · 94w, 2d ago · · ·

>>1876968  Thank you very much!  It's really cool when people enjoy the stories I put here.  Thanks for reading it.  :twilightsmile:

#11 · 94w, 1d ago · 3 · ·

Yep, I hate to sound like a parrot but this was very cute. :pinkiesmile:

I laughed in a way that reminded me of my elementary school days. :scootangel:

I loved it and chess humor will always be timeless, you should be proud. :rainbowdetermined2:

Also Applejack's reaction to the "sick" king was priceless. :facehoof:

Thank you for sharing this with us, it put me in a good mood. :scootangel::yay:

#12 · 94w, 23h ago · · ·

>>1884559  Aw, thanks!  I'm glad that you liked it.  I was a little nervous about the reception that this one would get, but some people seem to enjoy it and that's enough for me.  

#13 · 93w, 1d ago · 3 · ·

I wanted to see Rainbow and Applejack  playing chess!

#14 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

OK. That was freaking hilarious.  I can totally see this happening. Thanks for the laughs.

#15 · 93w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1923916  Perhaps in a follow up.  We will see how into it people are.

#16 · 93w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1924065  It's awesome that you enjoyed it so much!  It's so hard to write comedy and be sure that people will find it funny.  :pinkiehappy:

#17 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

>>1924076

With Rainbow Dash and Applejack? It will ALWAYS be funny.

#18 · 93w, 1d ago · 3 · ·

Why do I have this strange scene in my head...

Pinkie Pie shrugged.  "Well, sure, Twilight, I know how to play chess."

Twilight blinked.  "You... you do?  Really?"

"Yep!  Although, personally, I always preferred Go.  More to my taste.  I espcially like to play go with Jelly Beans, so I can eat the stones after I capture them."

"Of... course."

#19 · 93w, 1d ago · 2 · ·

>>1924101  That's not a bad thought, actually.  Much like Fluttershy's freaky knowledge of sewing, Pinkie could have an uncanny ability to know the rules of any board game she encounters.  You never know when one might be needed to liven up a party.  And with that Pinkie Sense, she'd make a formidable chess opponent.  

I'm kinda mad I actually didn't think about that!

#20 · 93w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1924095  The spark for this story began in Sleepless in Ponyville where Applejack keeps interrupting Rainbow's story.  I figured expending on that would be amusing.  I don't know where the chess angle came from.

#21 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

>>1924135 Yes that "Spark" was still very creative.  Can't believe I never thought about this idea before.

(I see what you did thar...)

#22 · 93w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1924163  Erm...EXPANDING.   Me spel gud todai.  :twilightblush:

#23 · 93w, 1d ago · 3 · ·

>>1924127

She wins at Tic-Tac-Toe.  EVERY TIME.  A game where a microcephalitic pygmy monkey can always force a tie.

So... yeah.  She can play chess.

#24 · 93w, 1d ago · 3 · ·

And yet Rainbow Dash could somehow keep track of that convoluted Battleship-esque game in "Read It And Weep," with all the bumblebees and seagulls and whatever else. Chess is just way too complicated.

This was pretty great, though. You got everypony perfectly in character, and somehow managed to make an explanation interesting and hilarious for 3,000 words. Nice work.

#25 · 93w, 1d ago · 2 · ·

I can imagine one of them promoting a pawn into a king. :ajsmug:

Twilight did say any piece...

#26 · 93w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1924251  Thanks for reading this!  Character accuracy is one of my main concerns, so I'm happy when people feel that I've nailed it.  

I'm sure Rainbow could easily figure out chess.  It's more that she didn't have the interest to learn until the very end.

#27 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

Awww, I love cute little stories like this. Although, I do think Dash would be far to aggressive with her moves if she could actually understand what she was doing, and AJ would be the better, more strategic player.

Poor Twilight, having to see a favorite game get butchered horribly..... :facehoof:

#28 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

Sequel with Pinkie Pie then?

#29 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

I'd like this to be a whole series with the ponies all competing in Chess tournaments!

#30 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

It was good, and funny, and made me cry in sympathy for Twilight. Chess is a great and wonderful game...maybe next time she should try to teach them how to play RISK.

...nah, I don't want to break my computer when I inevitably try to force myself through the screen to give best pony a hug. :facehoof:

May the Grace of the Valar Protect You

Shire Folk

#31 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

A mighty thanks for cheering me up after a hard night ^-^

As I play chess since the age of 6, I can refer to all of these question. It's truely a very great story. :yay:

#32 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

That was hilarious. Good job bro. I actually feel Twilight's frustration.

#33 · 93w, 1d ago · 2 · ·

I came for the castling reference. Leaving satisfied. Maybe Twi should have gone with loser's variant of chess.

#34 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

Featured on EQD now! :raritywink:

Awesome story, and it pretty much describes what it's like trying to teach chess to my friends. :derpytongue2:

#35 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

I wonder how those two would have been able to handle learning something like 3D Chess. :rainbowlaugh:

#36 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

Actually, I've gone through almost the EXACT SAME THING while trying to teach my wife how to play Chess.

And oh yes!  Have Twilight try to teach Chess to Pinky next!

#37 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

>>1924101

Yes! I'd love to see this, especially if she could stomp Twilight at Go.

As for the fic, everypony was in character and in top form, there were many laughs and it just feels good to read. Thumbed and faved.

Incidentally, I'm pretty sure I had this exact experience a few years ago with my little brother.

#38 · 93w, 1d ago · 2 · ·

.... I like it, I like it a lot. :derpytongue2:

This totally seems like something that three of the other ponies could be doing in an episode before one of the other ponies burst in the door and the main plot intruded on Twilight trying to teach the other chess.

That and it is very well written. Ther is a tendency when writing about the Mane Six to fail at making them act and feel like themselves, but you managed it with apparent ease. They seem to act very naturally.

#39 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

I'll pretend to not know chess and ask one of my friends on how to play. Then I beat them :pinkiecrazy:

All. According. To. Plan.

#40 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

>>1925203

Well... not STOMP.

It IS Twilight after all.  More like a friendly rivalry, with a 50/50 split in victories, between Twi's tactical perfection and Pinkie's often random but effective strategies...

#41 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

Poor Twi. :twilightangry2:

#42 · 93w, 1d ago · 2 · ·

I want this story to be an episode.

#43 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

Now she should have gone to Rarity, either she would have known how to play or have been willing to learn since it is a sophistacted game that one could find in high socity. Although she might have found the pieces drab and and been lost on making new ones out of percious stones.

#44 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

She’d never seen two ponies work so hard at not learning a game.

love that line

#45 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

>>1924562  That was certainly the feeling that I wanted people to get.  If Twilight could just get one of them (especially Rainbow) interested, she would be in for some great games.  I think Rainbow would be a very interesting player because she would be so aggressive.  She'd be that player who would want to play with a clock and stare you down as you made all your moves, then move hers super fast and hit the play-clock, staring you down again.  :twilightoops:

#46 · 93w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1924587  It's possible.  I have to feel the stories inside in order to write them.  I'll probably be in the shower or something and a good Pinkie/Twilight game concept will hit me.  We will have to see.  First, I'll have to whip A Door Jam into shape and see if I can get it on EQD.  That's so much for reading this!:twilightsmile:

#47 · 93w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1924653  I'd love that, but I'm afraid my own poor chess skills would be all too obvious if I tried to write clever, tense chess battles.  I probably have about one of those in me before I just start copying battles from YouTube move for move.  :pinkiesad2:  Thanks so much for your support of this story!

#48 · 93w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1924783  I don't think I could write a RISK game without needed some sort of anti-depressant.  RISK seems to hate me.  I always have this great strategy going and then start rolling straight ones at a critical point, thereby ruining my game through sheer terrible luck.  I'd love to see that happen to Rainbow, though!  She'd probably blow a gasket.  Thank you very much for reading this!

#49 · 93w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1924800  I had no idea there were so many brony chess players!  It's cool that people are interested in both.  I very happy this cheered you up  :pinkiehappy:

#50 · 93w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1924825  My very favorite thing in all of MLP is frustrated Twilight.  Lesson Zero is my Nirvana.  Nothing is as hilarious to me as Twilight getting irritated, so I tend to write about it a lot.  I'm glad that came through.  You always wonder when you are writing if people are going to feel it well enough from your descriptions.

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