• Published 15th Oct 2019
  • 5,110 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?

  • ...
10
 248
 5,110

Chapter 5- Two Conversations About One Thing

Twilight went back into her study with the keys in her magic. She supposed she could be thankful that she had foreseen something like this and made sure the keys only worked if she held them, but she still could not feel happy about this at all. She just felt tired. Tired and lost for what she should do now. She stepped into her study and put the keys back on the bedside table. She glanced at the bed but gave up the idea of sleeping. She needed a plan for tomorrow first.

"Who?"

"Yes, Owlowiscious," Twilight said and opened the cage to pet the owl. "You did good. Thank you."

"Who-who!" Owlowiscious replied happily. He saluted her with a wing as Twilight closed the cage with a small snicker. Then she sat down behind her desk and stared at noting in particular.

Princess Twilight knew what she had to do. She had promised Cozy Glow one more chance, and Cozy had replied by trying to break free and threaten Equestria again. She had not showed any regret, nor had she tried to change her ways. She was still a threat. Cozy had squandered her second chance, and the statue was her just punishment. She had known the consequences of rebellion but she had decided to go through with it nonetheless. Princess Twilight knew all this.

Twilight Sparkle, the kindhearted, wholesome pony, however, did not know what to do. She did not want to put Cozy back. It was one thing to, in the heat of battle, with her own and all her friends' lives on the line, unleash the power of her friendship to vanquish those who would threaten… everything she held dear. It was another thing entirely to march into a little filly's room and freeze her in cold stone, probably forever. It felt uncomfortably much like ancient history, when the unicorn kings of old personally executed criminals as to learn not to shy away from bloodshed. Would Twilight really have the stomach to execute her own judgement? Could she look at a terrified filly and trap her in stone?

Of course, in theory, she could delegate the uncomfortable task to someone else. She suspected Discord would not mind. But that route scared her even more. If she did not associate with all parts of her duty as princess, then how could she trust herself to make just rulings? If she would hide from the consequences of her actions, what right did she have to govern? No, she would be the one to swing the proverbial sword, she or nopony at all.

For Equestria's sake she had to contain Cozy.

But for her own heart's sake she could not do that to her, even if Cozy deserved it. Not like this.

Twilight sighed. She wanted to be a strong princess, like Celestia had been for so many years. She wanted to be able to make the hard calls. She wanted ponies to respect her fairness and her resolve as much as they respected her kindness and mildness. But more than that, she wanted to be a good pony and a friend to all her subjects; especially those who had wronged her or Equestria. Anypony could be a friend to those who were kind to her, but only a truly good pony could befriend an enemy. She wanted to befriend Cozy and trust her. It was what she should do, as Princess of Friendship. But how could she trust Cozy after all she had done? After tonight? ”I need help,” she admitted to herself.

"Who?"

"Rarity," Twilight said. "I need to visit Rarity." Twilight yawned. Her mind felt a lot lighter now that she had some idea of what to do, even if it was just to ask for help. But that was nothing new. Her road to become a Princess had never been a lonely one, and her journey as Princess was not meant to be a lonely one either. Her friends would always be ready to offer their honest advice, she knew. Even in this bleak hour, that thought offered her comfort.


"Cooozy Glow~!" Twilight shouted with a sing-song voice. "Come out and let me kill you~!"

Cozy tried to stifle her tears, but the thundering hoofsteps were closing in. She was in a corridor, far from any hiding spots. She ran, of course, but it didn't feel like she was moving. It did not make sense. Her wings were too tired to fly anymore and her short legs were running faster than ever but… the corridor did not seem to move. "Peekaboo~! I found you~!" Cozy threw a terrified look over her shoulder.

Twilight looked larger than a building. She reached up to the sky, great wings stretching over the entire horizon. Her strides were slow and measured, regal in every sense. On her lips played a sweet little smile, like that a mother might give a lost daughter. But her eyes were filled with demented glee. "Stop running, Cozy. I'm just going to kill you. Won't that be fun?"

"Leave me alone! Get away from me!" Cozy shrieked and ran faster than she ever thought she could. Twilight just giggled softly behind her. Her steps were so slow, so dainty, but she still gained on the frantic filly. It was like Cozy was stuck in quicksand.

"There we go~" Twilight plucked her up with her magic. "Don't be afraid. It will just hurt for a little while…" Twilight said and slowly lifted Cozy towards her gargantuan mouth.

"No! NO! YOU CAN'T DO THIS!" Cozy screamed and thrashed uselessly in her magical grip. Twilight just giggled again and opened her mouth to eat her. "MOMMY!" Cozy shrieked a last desperate plea before Twilight's jaws snapped shut around her, plunging her in darkness.

She shot up as if launched from a cannon, screaming out in terror and staring around her.

She was in her bed, flying just above it. The moon was still outside her window. "Just a dream… a nightmare," she thought. "T-Twilight wouldn't kill me," she forced herself to say. "She is the Princess of Friendship. She wouldn't… not even me. I just got to… beg… and she won't. I can play her too, I did it before, right? I can do it again." She stopped flying and sat down on her bed. She felt like she was going to throw up. The silence in her room was deafening. She sniveled slightly and looked around for something, anything to distract her with.

She found nothing. Moaning like a wounded animal, she sat and held her head in her hooves. She could not handle being alone. When she was afraid, everything in her told her to find others to protect her. It was a common reaction to young ponies, and even more so for a pony with a penchant for manipulation. Isolation was torture to Cozy. If she had nopony around to manipulate, then her entire mindset began to break down. She needed interaction with ponies, but now the only pony who could possibly interact with her might also kill her.

Her cutie mark screamed at her to wake up Twilight, just to have somepony, anypony around.

Her crippling fear told her to stay away from Twilight at all costs.

And so, she was left sitting on the bed as her mind began to unravel. There would be no rest for her tonight.


Twilight awoke early the next morning, more than an hour before the sun was set to rise. She glanced at the bedside table and saw the keys were still there. Good. She rose and stretched her wings before leaving the study. Cozy's door was still closed, just like it was the night before. She tiptoed past it as to not disturb if Cozy was still sleeping. She quietly unlocked the door to her castle wing and stepped out. She would visit Rarity soon, but first she needed to eat something.

Luckily Rumble was already in the kitchen, flying about and making sure everything was in its right place. "Oh, good morning, Princess," he said when she entered. "Do you want pancakes today too?"

She really wanted pancakes, but on the other hand she did not want to eat that much sugar every morning. It would have to be taken in moderation. Just once per week. Or maybe two. Three days at the most. Certainly no more than four.

"Just some sandwiches for me, and a few…" Twilight hesitated. Nopony knew there was another pony living with her. "Ehm, a few pancakes would be nice… no more than five, and some sandwiches, please."

"Sure thing, Princess," Rumble saluted. "Uh… think you could just wait outside when I cook. You know… having an alicorn watching…"

"Oh, sure," Twilight said, trying not to sound to annoyed by the request. It was not Rumble's fault the rest of Equestria saw alicorns as goddesses.

"It will just be a few minutes! I will hurry as much as I can!"

Indeed, just a few minutes later, she had her sandwiches on one plate and Cozy's pancakes on another, with a generous selection of toppings to go with. Twilight may have taste-tested some of the chocolate-dipped berries. She thanked Rumble and went back up to her wing. She stepped into the common room and ate her sandwiches quickly. She left the pancakes for Cozy.

Standing up from her breakfast, she went and fetched the letter to Starlight. Then she took a deep breath, ignited her horn and felt the fabric of reality rip around her as she left her castle in Canterlot and instead emerged in her castle in Ponyville with the loud sound that signified teleportation.

There were not many ponies out at this early hour, but the few who were all stopped to wave at her. She was thankful the ponies here did not insist on kissing her hooves or bow an obscene amount of times before opening their mouths to speak.

She may have been born and raised in Canterlot, and now the capital was where she lived again, but her home would always be in Ponyville, she knew.

She arrived at Carousel Boutique and knocked on the door. Rarity tended to be an early riser, so she hoped she was awake.

She was, but there was a minuscule frown on her face when she opened, though it vanished the moment she saw who it was. "Oh, Twilight! How wonderful to see you so soon again! Please come in! I just started on some tea water. Can I offer you a cup?"

"That would be nice, Rarity," Twilight said and stepped into the familiar space. She only now realized that it was a few months since she visited Carousel Boutique. The place looked even better than normal. The fabrics a little bit brighter, the ponequins a little newer and more numerous. It looked like Rarity was doing better than ever before thanks to her coronation dress. Twilight was happy about that.

She did not have the time to look for very long though, as Rarity brought her into the kitchen. An empty teacup stood in front of her and a pan of water was simmering on the stove. Rarity quickly measured up another cup and poured it to boil with the rest of the water. "Now, while we wait for that, why don't you tell me to what I owe the honor?" Rarity said and sat down by the table.

"I'm sure you have an idea yourself," Twilight said.

"Guilty as charged, my dear," Rarity said. "But I suppose none of us… except for maybe my sister, expected it to be easy to get to Cozy Glow."

"No, I suppose not," Twilight sighed.

"But don't despair, my good friend. I'm sure I can be of help," Rarity said encouragingly. "Tell me what's happened."


Rumble managed to duck just in time for the large butcher's cleaver not to lop his head off. Ramson yanked it out of the wall with his fire-red magic. "…so therefore, tomtit, you are going to get those pancakes back," he said menacingly. "Then, you are going to remake them and not forget the eggs, or I will serve you as a stuffed turkey come heartwarming eve. Because the Princess needs nutritious, healthy and tasty food. Food that does not have any mistakes. And certainly not foods that is missing ingredients! Do I make myself clear?"

"YES CHEF!" Rumble squeaked and darted out of the kitchen. He rushed up the stairs to Twilight's private wing. He was not entirely sure how to get in; apparently Twilight kept it locked, but he did not feel like explaining that to Ramson. In fact, he would rather try to break in than go back without the faulty pancakes.

He came up to the wooden door and stared at it for a moment. Then he sighed and knocked on it. "Hello? Princess?"

The door remained shut and locked. He briefly wondered why the Princess of Friendship would keep the door to her office locked, but he supposed she must have some immortal god-queen reason that mere mortals like him were not meant to understand.

But unless he got in, his mortality was soon going to be a much more pressing issue than he would like. He knocked again. "Hello! Princess Twilight! It's me, Rumble!"


A far off sound caught Cozy's hear. Knocks on the door to the castle wing. Red-eyed, empty from crying and exhausted from lack of sleep, she slowly, carefully left the room, like a mouse peeking out of its den. The knocks still came. Whoever it was must really want to get in. But that did not matter. All that mattered was that there was another pony out there. A pony who she could talk to. A pony who could save her from the crushing isolation.

She scooted up by the door. "Hello?" she said, proud that her voice carried at all, even if it was thicker than normal.

"Hello!? Hey, wait. You're not Twilight. What are you doing in there?"

It did not sound like an adult voice. If Cozy had to guess she would say it was an adolescent colt, for it was definitely masculine. "I live here, I suppose," Cozy said.

Silence.

"Uh… Ooooaky," the colt said uncertainly. "Do you think you could find Twilight? I need my pancakes back."

"No!" Cozy shouted, the very name sparking fear in her. "I… don't think she is here."

"Oh…" the colt said morosely. "Uh… there is no way you can get them out for me, right? I think the chef might kill me if I don't get them…"

Cozy smiled listlessly. "Golly, if I could get out of here, believe me I would."

"If I could lock myself in somewhere, believe me I would," the colt quipped.

Despite herself, Cozy managed a little smile. Other ponies made everything better. "Hey, what's your name?"

"Rumble, apprentice castle chef. You?"

"I'm…" Cozy thought for a moment. She likely should not say her real name. She suspected she might not be very well liked to the common pony. "I'm Sheltered Light," she said.

"Why do you live with the princess?"

"I'm… her daughter," Cozy improvised. "Twilight was a unicorn once, you know? Got a little wild during her younger days and… well, here I am. She keeps me a secret."

"Holy Celestia," Rumble answered. "I never imagined…"

"I can see why…" Cozy thought. She was surprised this "Rumble" had bought that story at all, but he probably did not know Twilight very well. "Rumble… can I tell you something?"

"Sure?"

"I'm… I'm really scared." She hated showing weakness, but she needed to talk about it. It was not like Rumble could see her anyway. "I think… Twilight is going to hurt me. She never wanted me here… and I really angered her last night. When she comes back…" She drew a shuddering breath, trying to keep her tears in check. It felt good to talk to somepony, but she was still scared of what Twilight would do to her.

She heard Rumble stutter in shock. "But- She is a Princess! She'd never do that to another pony! The princesses are kind!"

Cozy shook her head, then she remembered Rumble could not see her. "Not to me. She tells me I must change who I am, else she will hurt me. She is not kind. Not when nopony is watching."

"I'm… I'm sorry, Sheltered," Rumble said. "I'm really sorry."

"You are?" Cozy asked, genuinely surprised.

"Of course I am." Rumble also sounded surprised by that question. "I can't imagine my bro treating me like that. Of course I'm sorry for you."

"Oh…" Cozy said. Nopony had ever been sorry for her before, even if Rumble did not know her real name. Would it have mattered? Would he still be sorry for her if he knew he was talking to Cozy Glow?

She did not know.


"-But she just wanted to pace out my room! She tried to escape again that night and would have succeeded too if I hadn't been extra careful," Twilight finished recounting what little interaction she and Cozy had shared. "And now I have no idea what is the right thing to do. She's resourceful and hellbent on escaping! What if she does get out! Nopony is going to respect a princess who lets one of Equestria's most dangerous criminals escape within a month! But I don't want to put her to stone either! She is a filly for Celestia's sake! I can't just give up on her!”

Twilight put her head in her hooves and gave an exasperated moan. Then she silenced.

"Feeling better, dear?" Rarity asked and took a sip of her tea. She had listened to Twilight's rant with all the grace and poise one had come to expect from Rarity.

Twilight sighed and looked up. "Yes. Thanks."

"Think nothing of it. Now, I suppose you would like to hear my thoughts on the matter?"

"I'd like that very much."

"And I will happily oblige. However, please keep in mind that I am no princess or a lawyer-historian. I do not know how these things have been handled by Celestia in the past. All I can give is my honest opinion as a common pony and your friend."

"I trust that opinion more than anything else," Twilight said.

"Well, from what I have learned as a big sister, I believe the best way to get Cozy to trust you is to trust her." Rarity held up a hoof to stop Twilight's objection. "I know, I know, she does not deserve to be trusted. All I know is that when Sweetie Belle un-sistered me that one time, the remedy was to show her that I wanted to make up and try again. Show her. I did not tell her or ask her; I showed that I wanted to try again on her terms. Even if it took hiding in a pit of mud. She needed to see I was willing to do what she wanted, even if I did not want it, for her sake.”

"So you suggest that I should just… let her out?" Twilight asked dubiously. "I won't do that, Rarity. She is too dangerous."

"Perhaps you can at least let her out with a tracking spell or something?" Rarity suggested. "All I'm saying is I don't think just waiting for her to come around is going to work. She is proud and bitter. Most likely she knows you do not trust her, and that you can petrify her again whenever you wish. Sorry to say, darling, but her incentive to work with you to reform is…"

"Zero," Twilight filled in. She suddenly felt very foolish. Why exactly would Cozy want to be a better pony for Twilight's sake? All Twilight had done was keeping her locked up under threat of petrification if she did not better herself, but at the same time she demanded change would come from inside Cozy herself.

Rarity nodded. "You'll catch more bees with honey, dear. But no need to be hasty. If you cannot get close to Cozy, perhaps somepony else can? After all, even though Sweetie Belle is my sister, I dare say her Crusader friends are just as close to her as I am. And Cozy did have friends once… perhaps they know how to get close to her."

"Do you want Sweetie Belle to talk to Cozy?" Twilight asked.

Rarity nodded. "She is most excited to see her again. I think it could be a good thing for the both of them to meet. That's where I would start."

"You are probably right, Rarity. At least she has no reason to hate Sweetie Belle... And I can't petrify her again. Ever again. As long as she thinks I will, she can never see me for a friend."

Rarity smiled. "Celestia, Luna and Discord did not see that possibility; they saw only an enemy in Cozy. I'm glad there is somepony who would give her a second chance, even though she might not deserve it."

"Thank you, Rarity. It means much to me that you say that." Twilight said. She nodded resolutely. "Think you could bring Sweetie Belle to Canterlot tomorrow?"

"Not today?" Rarity asked. "I thought you would take her there now."

"I need some time alone with Cozy," Twilight said. "I need to talk to her… and I need to apologize. Poor thing must have been terrified if she thought I would trap her again after trying to steal my key," Twilight cringed. "What was I thinking, doing that to a foal?"

"Don't be too hard on yourself, Twilight," Rarity said. "I imagine you are still trying to figure out your new role as well, no?"

"You have no idea…" Twilight said. "I want to be like Celestia… always knowing what to do, always one step ahead…"

Rarity actually giggled a little. "Twilight, don't you see that by freeing Cozy you are already doing what Celestia did not? And what you are doing for Cozy is better than what she did?"

Twilight looked at Rarity, but her mind had ground to a screeching halt. That she, Twilight Sparkle, had done something better than Celestia was an outlandish thought. Celestia was perfect. The greatest pony who had ever lived. Twilight knew that, but she still could not find any flaw in Rarity's reasoning. It was like a paradox.

"While I never got to know the Princess on a personal level like you did," Rarity mused, "I do not think she picked you as her successor because you would carry on being her. Celestia did good for her time, but the times are changing. Celestia saw that, and picked the pony who brought about those changes to take her place. Like you said, she was always one step ahead, and her picking you to succeed her was not an exception. She made you princess because she wanted you as a princess, not because she wanted another her. Don't sell yourself short."

"I…" Twilight said lamely. She had had the same thoughts for a while. She knew Celestia would want Twilight to be Twilight, but Rarity had put those thoughts into such simple statements that it suddenly felt much clearer.

Rarity drained the last of her tea. "I dare say you are already taking the first steps to make Equestria your own, rather than Celestia's.” She put a hoof on Twilight's. "I, for one, can't wait to see how your Equestria turns out."


"Now, look Tomtit. When I made you my apprentice I did not do it so you could run around all day. You have a job to do, so you are going to come with me, intact or in pieces, and do that job."

"CHEF!" Rumble's voice was suddenly several octaves higher. "I couldn't get the Pancakes-"

"I literally could not care any less," the other voice said tiredly. "Come with me."

"AHHH! My ear! Stop, I can walk on my own!" Cozy heard Rumble being dragged away over the floor.

Cozy sat still behind her door, deep in thought.

This "Rumble" was sorry for her?

Why would he say that? He knew she was stuck in this tower; Cozy had nothing Rumble could want. So why would he say that? What could he gain by cheering her up? Did he just want to curry the favor of Twilight's daughter?

Or... was it possible he did not want Cozy for anything at all? That he simply wanted her to feel better? Could such a thing be possible?

Author's Note:

I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all of my readers. I have never felt so much positivity for any of my stories before, and it has made writing much more enjoyable for me. And don't worry, I will not make the next chapter this long. This one was an exception, not a rule.

:pinkiehappy: