• Published 15th Oct 2019
  • 5,116 Views, 248 Comments

Castling Cozy Glow - Silvermyr

Castling is a special move in chess where a player’s rook ends up just next to the king. Thanks to a friend’s kindness, a calculating young filly would end up closer to her princess than she ever thought. But can a filly like Cozy Glow be changed?

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Chapter 1- Saved by the Belle

Sweetie Belle was in her bed, wide awake in the middle of the night. Or, to be precise, she was in one of Rarity’s spare beds at Carousel Boutique, wide awake in the middle of the night. Despite not really wanting to know, she concentrated and wrapped her magic around the clock on the wall, illuminating it. It was nearly 2 am. She sighed. Now she was going to be tired tomorrow, which was exactly what she did not want to be, as Rarity had promised to take her to Canterlot. She rubbed her eyes and flipped the pillow over to the cooler side, trying not to dwell on the subject that had been gnawing in the back of her head for weeks now, ever since Twilight’s coronation.

She was thinking of Cozy Glow.

She had told herself thousands of times that she was being silly, that the one the newspapers called ”the Demon Filly” was not one she needed to worry about. Besides, Cozy was encased in stone; it was not like she was feeling anything anymore. So, Sweetie Belle was quite literally worried about a piece of rock. She knew this, and she felt the truth in it too, but that particular rock refused to leave her thoughts.

Cozy had done terrible things that would forever be written in Equestrian history. Her name was destined to carry the same terror as Discord’s once had and Sombra’s still did in the Crystal Empire. Her stone prison was going to be seen by thousands of ponies in the future, and they would all feel a shiver run down their spine when they saw her, the Demon Filly.

And yet…

And yet, Sweetie Belle's and Cozy’s stories had touched for a small moment, and that moment had made Sweetie Belle sure there must be something more to be done for Cozy. That time when she, Applebloom and Scootaloo had been kicked out from the School of Friendship, Cozy had helped them. Cozy had been willing to put herself in trouble for their sakes. Sure, the idea of purposefully failing her own exam had not exactly worked out very well for either Sweetie Belle and her friends or for Cozy, but she had still tried.

Cozy Glow had done something kind for Sweetie Belle and her friends without asking for anything in return and, indeed, failing an exam had not done her any favors either.

It was just one thing, one little snippet of good, too small to even be considered next to everything Cozy Glow had done to all of Equestria, and that did not even begin to touch upon what she would have done if her plan had succeeded. Sweetie Belle was not sure what that would have been, but she knew it would not have been anything pleasant.

But it had been one good thing. Cozy Glow had done good to Sweetie Belle, and that single fact kept hitting the inside of her head. That one fact kept her from concentrating. It kept her up at night, because she knew that somewhere, hidden inside Cozy Glow’s calculating heart, there was a little good.

There was good in Cozy Glow. Sweetie Belle had seen it.

And she could not stand the thought of a good pony, a pony who she had once considered her friend, enduring eternal imprisonment in cold, dead stone. The thought haunted her, scared her.

Sweetie Belle stared up into the blue-white roof without seeing it before the tiniest ”tock” sounded from the clock and roused her from her rumination. As startled as one can be in a calm, dark room in the middle of the night, Sweetie Belle realized she had thought another lap in the endless circle that had left her no peace for weeks. She shook her head and demonstratively flipped the pillow again before shoving her head down into it and closing her eyes hard.

She wanted to sleep. She wanted rest so that she would be in her best shape tomorrow. She and Rarity were going to meet Twilight, and then Sweetie Belle would plead her case to her.

Cozy needed help.

And Sweetie Belle would sooner go to Tartarus herself than leaving a friend trapped in stone.

Sweetie Belle took a deep breath. It all came down to this. She felt as if called by a higher power to be here. To speak for her friend and maybe start her down a better path. Nodding to herself, she stepped into the Canterlot Statuary Garden after her older sister, bearing a saddlebag. It was Sweetie Belle who had suggested this route. She wanted to see just what she was fighting for. Having Cozy’s petrified form fresh in her mind might help her to come up with just the right word at just the right time for this to work. She was going to need all help she could get; this was going to be a hard debate to win.

They wandered in silence among the statues. Most of them were works of art from past sculptors, depicting famous ponies or commemorating past events. Sweetie Belle blushed slightly to herself as they passed the statues representing Friendship and Victory. It felt so long since she and the other Crusdaers had been on the class trip with Cheerilee here. They also passed the pedestal where Discord once had stood, now housing a large bird bath. Far down an alley there were a trio of ponies hard at work around a large block of marble. Sweetie belle had read about it in the newspaper. It was going to be a statue commemorating Rarity and her friends’ many accomplishments, set to be finished some time next year. Extra blocks of stone stood around them, in case something did not turn out perfectly.

And then, as they rounded a corner, the ”statue” she had come to see. Chrysalis, the Changeling Queen was leaping forward, teeth bared as if to eviscerate somepony in front of her. Tirek the Centaur cowering, likely trying to take cover behind Chrysalis. Cozy was flying near the top of the statue, connected to the rest of it only by a small touch of her tail to Tirek’s shoulder. She looked terrified. Somehow, Sweetie Belle knew that if the rainbow laser had struck moments later, then she would be crying.

”A ghastly thing, this statue,” Rarity said. ”I simply cannot understand Twilight’s desire to have it displayed here. Those who destroyed Canterlot Castle should not have a place on its grounds.” Sweetie Belle gave a noncommittal ”hmm”. She could not take her eyes away from Cozy’s petrified face. Even if it was a statue, her look of fear was eerily alive.

She took a deep breath again and steeled herself. ”Come on, Rarity, or we’ll be late.”

”Perish the thought,” Rarity said and started towards the castle. ”One cannot be late when meeting Equestria’s Princess, even if she is our dear Twilight.”

The two of them entered the castle through a discreet side door. It was guarded by a pair of ponies who nodded politely to Rarity. As expected, her big sister could just walk into the castle if she wanted. They crossed through the many corridors before they finally ended up by an oak door high in a tower. ”Rarity,” Sweetie Belle said. ”Can you promise me something?”

”Hmm?” Rarity looked at her.

”Just… let me say my piece, okay? Without any interruptions.”

”I wouldn’t have brought you here if I intended to speak over you, darling,” Rarity said warmly. ”Besides, it is most unladylike to interrupt another pony.”

”Thanks,” Sweetie Belle said. Rarity opened the door into a bright, sunlit study.

Twilight had only been installed here for a few weeks, but she had already made her mark on the room. Bookcases lined every inch of wall space, aside from three quarters of a large window. A blackboard filled with a host of notes and papers stood in the middle of the room. A desk stood in front of the partially covered window and ever more books laid on it, some upturned to read and others in haphazard piles. An oil painting depicting Celestia and Luna stood on a tripod nearby the Princess-sized bed. Piles of more books had begun to reach about up to the covers of it. Sweetie Belle suspected that maybe those piles were just tall enough for Twilight to reach the books when lying down. A golden cage hung in the back of her room with a sleeping owl inside it, its head under a wing.

And behind the desk on an antique-looking chair sat the Princess herself, writing on two documents simultaneously. She looked up when she heard them enter.

”Oh, Rarity! Sweetie Belle! I wasn’t expecting you. Please, come in both of you. Let me just get that for you…” The landslide of books on her desk began to shimmer in purple magic before flying over to Twilight’s bed. It also revealed a chair in front of her desk, previously covered by books.

”No need to make a fuss dear,” Rarity said. ”While I certainly adore seeing you, today Sweetie Belle had something she wanted to ask you about. About the friendship school, I think.”

”Yea.” Sweetie belle nodded. She went into Twilight’s cozy study with the feeling of stepping into a gladiator arena. With a little fantasy, the books around her could even look like bricks, and the room was circular, just like the Roaman arenas always were in the movies.

”I see,” Twilight said. ”So how can I help you?”

She pictured Cozy's terrified face again, swallowed and began to speak.

”I have come to ask a favor for a friend. I’m sure she would ask herself, but she can’t. She was… not the best pony, but I really believe there is something really good inside her somewhere. I’ve seen it, she can be really nice. But she sort of got into some trouble, and now she is being punished… I suppose most ponies would say it’s fair that she is, but I don’t think she deserves it. So I wanted to ask you if you could do anything for her.”

Twilight cocked her head a little to the side. ”And you believe she will be better for avoiding a punishment most ponies would think she deserved? Why don’t you think she should just serve out her punishment and then become a better pony? Surely it is only fair that she makes up for her misdeeds.”

”Her punishment is not one that will be served out,” Sweetie Belle said morosely.

”I am afraid I don’t understand,” Twilight said. ”What punishment would that be?”

Here goes,” Sweetie Belle thought. ”Cozy Glow’s,” she said. She wanted to be resolute and steady when she said it. She wanted to say her friend’s name loud and clear. Instead it just came out in a small and uncertain voice.

Twilight looked like somepony had just slapped her. Silence reigned in the room. ”What?” Twilight said in a flat voice. ”Have I understood correctly… you want me to free Cozy Glow?”

”She’s not all evil, I know she isn’t! Starlight must have told you, right? She failed her exam on purpose so we could go to your school!”

”Yes, I know she did,” Twilight said stiffly. ”But that’s not exactly why she was petrified.”

”But she didn’t have to do that, Twilight! She just wanted to be kind to us! There is good in her, you have seen that too! Even if she did all those things you cannot let a filly who can be good be frozen in stone together with Tirek and Chrysalis! They are really bad, she is not!”

”No, Sweetie Belle, she is,” Twilight said. ”She knew what she was doing. She had plenty of chances to defect from them if she wanted to, but she never did. If she truly wanted to be good then she could have been. She made her choice and now she needs to face the consequences.”

”But it’s not fair!” Sweetie Belle said loudly.

”It is very fair,” Twilight said coldly.

”Yea? Like with Starlight?” Sweetie Belle said. ”You never put her to stone, did you? Couldn’t she have chosen to be good too? Why did you give her a second chance but not Cozy!? Cozy is just a filly; she deserves a second chance way more than Starlight did!”

”What do you know about Starlight’s redemption?” Twilight said. Her wings had flared. Sweetie Belle could see she was upset, but she could not back down. For Cozy’s sake. ”You weren’t there.”

”Rarity have told me what you said happened,” Sweetie Belle defended.

”Then you would know that Starlight showed regret,” Twilight said. ”She showed me that she wanted to be better, and I let her prove she could be. She deserved her second chance. Cozy does not. She has never showed any regret. In fact, I’m willing to bet she was only kind to you because it helped her plan somehow.”

Sweetie Belle ignored the last comment. It was too hurtful to think about. ”And when could Cozy have earned her second chance!? When she was caught, the first thing you did was haul her into the darkest prison there is! How do you expect a filly to earn a second chance there? She did bad things, but you never gave her a chance to be anything better afterward, did you?”

Twilight winced as if struck. Rarity let out a small gasp. Sweetie Belle swallowed. Had she gone too far?

”Starlight has earned her redemption,” Twilight said slowly. ”I saw good in her. I have never seen good in Cozy Glow, nor have any other pony besides you. This discussion is over. My decision stands.”

Sweetie Belle knew she ought to be silent, but she found her anger simmering inside her throat. She opened her saddlebags and removed a piece of paper she had brought to plead with. But now she did not even want to see it. ”Then you can take this back! I don’t think you are worthy of handing them out anymore!” She shouted the last word and threw her honorary friendship diploma on the ground before stomping out of the room.

”If I may?” Rarity asked timidly, catching the eyes of both other ponies. Twilight looked cold and aloof in her alicorn splendor. Sweetie Belle had tears in her eyes and her chest heaved in sorrowful rage. Rarity turned to Twilight. ”You are the Princess, Twilight. Whatever you decide, I support that decision. But I still think my dear sister has made a good argument. Cozy Glow has not… well, I can’t say we have given her many chances after what happened.”

”She deserves her punishment, Rarity,” Twilight said. She suddenly sounded tired. ”You know that.”

”She does, but only if there is truly no other way.” Rarity said. ”Remember, Twilight, I am Generosity. It is what I believe in, more than anything. I want to give her a second chance.” Rarity smiled and looked at her little sister affectionately. ”And, while Sweetie can be a bit… tactless at times, I have found she tends to be an excellent judge of character.”

Twilight sat silent. Rarity nodded solemnly. ”Come now, Sweetie Belle. We are leaving.” Rarity’s tone broke no argument. Sweetie tried to put on a brave face, but her ears still drooped and she went with her head bent low after her sister. She had lost. She had failed her friend.


Both sisters looked back. Twilight shook her head and magicked up the diploma. ”I made you an honorable graduate from my school because I thought you knew what friendship means, Sweetie Belle. If I cannot trust one of my graduates, or one of my closest friends for life...” She glanced at Rarity. ”…then I shouldn’t give these out.”

Twilight took a breath, as if preparing to say something important. ”So I will trust you. Let me just ask one thing, and then, if you want, I will free Cozy and give her one more chance. But only one.”

”You will!? Thank you, Twilight! Thank you thank you thank you thank you!” Sweetie Belle beamed.

”My question is this: if it turns out Cozy Glow cannot be redeemed and she tries, and maybe succeeds, in conquering Equestria again, are you then ready to take personal responsibility for it? The fault if the worst comes to pass will be mine, for Cozy will be my responsibility, but it will also be yours. Are you ready to accept the moral responsibility of her actions?”

Sweeite Belle did not need to think for very long. ”Yes. There is good in Cozy Glow, I know it. I trust her.”

Twilight sighed, but nodded. ”Very well. Then I will free her. I… would also ask that you both keep this a secret. Ponies are afraid of her, and for good reason. It would make my position as new princess a bit… problematic, if it came out I decided to free her,” Twilight said sheepishly.

”Of course, darling,” Rarity said. ”But know that if you ever need help with her, then don’t hesitate to ask. I have dealt with my own share of fussy fillies in my time.” Rarity glanced towards Sweetie Belle, who blushed a little bit.

”I’d want to see her again,” Sweetie Belle said. "So... maybe you will let me visit her?"

Twilight managed something between a smile and a grimace. ”We will see.”