• Published 7th Nov 2019
  • 1,779 Views, 81 Comments

Who I Choose To Be - milesprower06

One of Equestria's youngest and most unpredictable villains faces an uncertain future. After Princess Twilight attempts an unprecedented treatment, things become even more uncertain.

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The Mark

Cozy stared at herself in the mirror as she sat in front of her dresser, slowly running a comb through her damp mane. After a shower, she decided that she wasn't going to keep her mane in the curls that she had to keep up her 'cutesy' persona. No, if she wanted to feel like somepony new, she wanted to see a different pony in the mirror every day. So now instead of the tight triple-curl bangs, her mane fell on both sides of her ears, with a slight upward curl at the ends.

It would have to do. 'New life, new Cozy,' she had kept telling herself as she had worked on it. On the dresser in front of her was her open journal, with a few pages already written in and turned.

I've never understood the magic behind the cutie mark. In some cases, it's very clear what a pony's special talent is, what they should do with their life. I guess I'm not that lucky. If my talent isn't manipulating other ponies, if I'm really destined to adapt to this new state of mind... I mean, I still feel lost. I don't know what my cutie mark means anymore.

Back on the couch, Graymare watched Cozy's grooming efforts passively as he wrote in his own entry, sipping at a cup of coffee.

Day 38

To say that Cozy has adapted well to her new surroundings would be an understatement. She's not necessarily sleeping much better yet, but now instead of waking up screaming, she usually just wakes up in a sweat, most of the time not really remembering what she was dreaming about, and at times it takes her a minute to remember where she is. I've taken to keeping a pitcher of water on her nightstand so a drink is never far away.

Twilight's visits are going as well as they can, too. Not a day has gone by where she hasn't brought her a new book, and for now, I think that's one of our easiest ways to get other things in her head to accompany the memories of the past she's been dealing with. Her favorite genre seems to be fantasy adventure for now, and the princess certainly has no shortage of those.

Cozy has shared her concerns over her cutie mark with me, and I've forwarded those to Twilight, who has told me that she had something in mind for her to try. I'm looking forward to seeing what she has in store.

"Cozy?" Graymare asked, coming up to the pegasus who was currently nose deep in The Adventures of Gusty the Great. She paused in her reading and looked up at the doctor.

"Twilight is waiting for you in the library upstairs. She has an activity for the two of you. I'll be down here getting lunch ready."

Cozy put a bookmark in between the pages she was currently at, and set the closed book down on her desk, before getting up and heading to the stairs on the outer edge of the tower. She passed the main entrance, and continued her way up, coming up into the library where she saw Twilight sitting in the center of the room, between the two curved bookshelves on either side of the library.

"Hello, Princess." Cozy greeted, giving a half-bow before coming farther into the library.

"Good morning, Cozy. Wow, your mane looks great. I thought you and I could play a little game before lunch." Twilight replied, lighting her horn up, and out of her saddlebags next to her came two black felt bags, and a polished wooden board with eight by eight squares.

A chessboard.

"So Doctor Graymare tells me that you're having some questions about your cutie mark. I thought we could discuss it over a round of chess, if you like." The Princess offered, as her horn lit up, and 32 marble pieces, 16 white and 16 black, floated out of the two bags and placed neatly on opposite sides of the board.

Cozy hadn't played a game of chess since that night in Canterlot with Tirek. Before her first imprisonment, she was part of the School of Friendship's chess club.

"Yeah, sure." Cozy replied, coming up to her and taking a seat across from her on the other side of the board, as Twilight slid the white side towards her.

"You first." Twilight told her. Cozy opened by moving the Queen's pawn up two spaces.

"So when did you get your cutie mark?" Twilight asked, as she responded in kind by moving up her King's pawn as they initially challenged each other for control of the center of the board.

"Doing this, actually. I got it when I won my first chess game in school."

"How many games did you play before you won?"

"None, I mean, I read up on it, then went to my school's chess club to try it out. I won the very first time."

"So you got pretty good?"

"My grade school in Manehattan didn't have a lot of chess players, there wasn't a lot of skilled players that could challenge me. So, I think in lack of the challenge on the board, in the game, I applied those skills to the rest of my surroundings... To the ponies around me."

It was six moves before the first piece, a pawn of Twilight's, was taken, as both played somewhat defensively in the opening.

"This is how I always viewed ponies. Pieces on a chessboard. Each one with their own purpose, their own abilities. Moving and manipulating each one in acts of strategy, deception, deciding which ones to sacrifice towards the eventual goal of checkmate."

Cozy Glow slid the queen's bishop up through the opening her pawn had provided.

"So if not that, then what does it mean?" The pegasus asked after her move was completed.

"Maybe you weren't the one playing," Twilight offered as she pondered her next move. "Maybe..." she began, moving her knight up to challenge Cozy's bishop. "You were a piece on the board, part of a bigger game. After all, the three of you played your parts in uniting six races of Equus more than ever before in our histories."

Cozy studied the board for just a moment before sliding her king's rook over to capture Twilight's knight, holding it in her hoof.

"So what happens when the game is over, and all the pieces go back into the bags?" She asked, before depositing the captured piece into one of the felt bags next to the board.

"Who's to say the game is over? After all, you're still here, you're improving every day, and you're reflecting on who you were and how you can be better. But let's say the game is over..." Twilight said, taking advantage of the opening that drawing out Cozy's rook made, closing in for an instant checkmate with her queen. "If you've gone back into the box, I'd say that this is pretty good as boxes go, wouldn't you?" She asked, using a hoof to motion to the tower they were in. "Just because you're in the box now, doesn't mean you won't come out for another game. So I'd say it depends on how you want to look at your life. One long game of strategy, deception, and positioning, that you believe has since ended, at such a young age... Or many games, and when one ends, it doesn't mean another one won't begin sooner or later."

"So many questions, no answers." Cozy grumbled, tipping over her mated king. Twilight smiled gently.

"Some ponies have dedicated their entire lives to asking questions without answers; it's called the field of philosophy."

Twilight lit her horn up, and put all the remaining pieces on the board back into their respective bags, according to color.

"So Doctor Graymare tells me you've been doing quite a bit of reading. How have you been liking it?" Twilight asked as she carefully put the board back into her saddlebag on the floor.

"A good distraction from everything else going on up here," Cozy said, pointing a hoof at her forehead. "Daring Do is pretty exciting, Gusty the Great is really good. But there's one thing I've been noticing, and comparing myself to." The pegasus said.

"What's that?" Twilight asked.

"The villains. They're either fleshed out with really good backstories, and you can sympathize and understand their ambitions and their goals... Or they're not. They're cliched, just an antagonist to oppose the hero, and little more. Just there to drive the plot forward. I think back to my past... And find myself among the latter. I was willing to do anything for the most friends, the most power. But what was I going to do with it? If I had actually won, if I had gotten checkmate... What was to stop the pieces from being put away after the game was over? I find myself thinking back to what I was... And I can't understand any of it. If I can't understand why I was the way I was... How can I right those wrongs?" Cozy asked.

"Well, might as well get this out in the open. Cozy, you aren't going to be able to right all the wrongs of your past. Maybe some of them, but most of them you'll have to find some way to turn your back on your past. Because walking away from the mistakes you can't fix, and going forward as a better pony; that will be the best thing you can do for most of your mistakes."

"Alright, who's hungry? I've got carrot dogs with the works!" They heard Doctor Graymare call from downstairs.

Doctor Graymare makes the most amazing carrot dogs.

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