• Published 7th Oct 2020
  • 2,891 Views, 191 Comments

The Once and the Future Princess - Silvermyr

Cozy Glow was a Princess, and she has vowed to become one again. Flurry Heart is and alicorn and destined to become a Princess one day. Can they help one another grow, or are there some gaps that not even the magic of friendship can bridge?

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Chapter 4- Teacher and Students

After maybe an hour or so, Flurry Heart had lost three times over and barely gotten ten words from Cozy, despite repeated attempts. After the fourth loss, Cozy simply picked up the rest of the chessboard and pieces and turned her back on Flurry. She took the hint and started out the door. "I'll see you tomorrow…" she tried, one final time to get a response.

Cozy glared, and Flurry flinched back. She went out quickly and kicked the door shut behind her. She stopped in the corridor, mulling over what had just happened. She twisted and turned it over and over in her head, trying to make sense of something she had never seen before.

When Cozy glared like that… it hurt, somehow. It felt like a small ember had singed her, deep inside her chest. She could not put her hoof on the feeling, but it was there all the same. She had never felt it before with any other pony. Come to think of it, nopony had treated her like Cozy had either. The coldness and indifference she had displayed was completely new. Nopony had ever just declared that they did not want to be her friend without feeling the need to state a reason.

Why did Cozy hate her like that? They hadn't even met until now, so Flurry couldn't have been mean to her, or accidentally destroyed something that was hers. But she also knew that sometimes a pony could be really angry for the silliest things. Her father got really mad at her once, when she had helped him open some old comics that he had on a shelf. But then he had explained that they were supposed to be unopened, because collectors wanted that. Flurry still did not really understand, but it did showcase that sometimes a pony could be angry for something that does not even look like a mistake to you.

But it was still mean of Cozy to refuse to tell her what she had done wrong! How could Flurry apologize properly then?

She pondered this as she slowly went towards the exit. Her lessons were done, so she was going to head home and see her mommy and daddy off. They were going back to the Crystal Empire on the evening train.

"Flurry? Are you leaving?"

Flurry startled out of her inner rumination and looked at Twilight, sitting inside the library. "Uh-huh."

"Would you please just come in for a moment. I wanted to hear your thoughts on Cozy Glow, if you would tell me."

Flurry hesitated. She had been sent to learn friendship, and she most definitely had not done that. She did not want Twilight to think she was sloppy; she just needed to try again and get through to Cozy first. But if Twilight asked she could not refuse to answer. Twilight was her teacher, and one should not disobey a teacher. So she went inside the library and sat down across from Twilight. "Well… I tried to be nice to her, I really did, but she didn't… She wasn't friendly back at all."

Twilight's expression fell slightly. "I see. Well, I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised, even if I hoped for more from her."

Flurry cocked her head to the side. "Uhm… auntie, can I ask you something?"

"Sure, Flurry. Ask away."

Flurry lifted her hooves and tapped the tips together, looking everywhere but at her teacher. She did not want to pry in what was probably grown-up stuff, but she was also curious. "Mommy said a pony named Cozy was really mean to you. And that she destroyed the old Canterlot Castle. Is that her you wanted me to be friends with?"

"It is indeed, Flurry," Twilight said. "I suppose I should explain my reasoning?"

Flurry nodded energetically.

"Cozy Glow has done terrible things, but she is not all bad. Personally I forgave her quite a while ago, because in that story I was not innocent either. I took her on as my student to help her learn and grow into a better pony, both for her own sake and all of Equestria."

"Okay, but why was she so mean to me then?" Flurry asked. "If we are both your students, shouldn't we be working together?"

Twilight looked over at Flurry and gave her a soft smile. "I wanted you to do just that. But, as you have seen, Cozy is still a bit… difficult. I'm not sure why she didn't like you, but you shouldn't mind her too much. I will talk to her and figure it out, if you'd let me."

Flurry Heart almost flinched. "If I'd let you?"

Twilight smiled. "Of course. I'd never force you to take lessons with a pony you don't like. Just tell me, and I'll make sure you see each other as little as possible."

"But you don't want that, do you?" Flurry asked.

"What I want is less important than what you want," Twilight assured. "You are the student; I'm just here to help you learn, and you won't learn if you feel bad every day because of Cozy. However, I will admit that I hope, and believe, that the two of you can become friends. I like to think I have a feel for that sort of thing now, as Princess of Friendship."

"Then I will not give up!" Flurry stood up on her chair. She straightened her back and puffed out her chest, just like the soldier-ponies back home did when her dad asked them to do something. "I won't let you down, sir!"

Twilight burst out laughing. "That's good, Flurry. I see my brother has rubbed off on you."

Flurry grinned herself.

"I will talk to Cozy later," Twilight said. "And we will see each other later too, to send your mom and dad off."

"I'll see you then," Flurry said and left.

Her magic lessons felt good, if tiring. Twilight was not strict at all. She was patient and kind and it looked like she was having fun teaching too. And even her friendship studies weren't that bad. Sure, she would have hoped to have a new friend in Cozy, rather than a pony who seemed to dislike her, but she was also sure Twilight knew what she was doing. Besides, since she had made Cozy her student, it couldn't be that bad, once they got to know each other. And mommy always said that friendship was something that one had to fight for.

She left the castle and took a deep breath of the clear fall air, the too-long scarf wrapped around her neck once more.

Incidentally, she happened to look to the sky, and in the corner of her vision she saw a grayish thing zipping about. Looking over, she saw Rumble from earlier flying above the castle garden. Cozy was flying next to him, seemingly listening to something he was saying.

Flurry grinned as a plan appeared in her head.

She just had to spend some time with Rumble! If he was Cozy's friend, and she became his friend, then she was sure to get close to Cozy too, eventually! When Cozy saw she was a good friend with Rumble, she would understand they could be good friends too!

It was the perfect plan! She would not only get one friend, but two! She was a genius!

Rumble undid the straps around his right foreleg to remove the fruit knife he had held and slipped the blade back into its holder. Then he washed the straps carefully and put them in a drawer. He carefully balanced the bowl of shredded vegetables on his hooves to bring it into the cold storage for later. If he had been at home he would just have carried it in his mouth, but when cooking for somepony else that was strictly forbidden.

Finally, he tossed his white chef's hat up on a holder and left for break. Now that he had prepared a bit of the dinner, he would have a few hours of freedom. And like any pegasus his age, he was going to spend them flying.

Like he had half expected, Cozy stood waiting outside the door to the kitchen. She sure was a hooffull, that filly. But then again, it was not like he did not want her around. Many colts his age would probably love to have a filly wait for them like that, even if there was nothing like that going on between them.

"Did you have to wait?" Rumble asked.

"No," Cozy answered tersely. Rumble glanced at her, surprised by her snappy tone. He knew Cozy had a volatile temper, but usually one had to set her off somehow. "Let's go fly."

Cozy fell in next to him and they started out to the castle statue garden. It was the largest open space in Canterlot. "Aren't you gonna say what's happened?" Rumble asked after walking halfway there in silence. "You don't quite act like yourself."

"No I'm not gonna say what's happened. I want to fly and not think about it. Twilight's gonna give me an earful later anyway," Cozy said sharply.

"Okay… but if you wanna talk about something, just tell me," Rumble shrugged. "Anyway, think you want to practice your loop again, or something else?"

"Maybe I'll just fly a little for fun first," Cozy said. "But I'll definitely practice some later."

"Okay. I'll do my own practice first then. So I can help you later."

"Heard anything from your brother yet?" Cozy asked. "Is he going to try for Wonderbolt trainer?"

"Yeah, he's practicing whenever he's not on weather duty!" Rumble said, his wings buzzing excitedly. Thunderlane was a great teacher! If he landed this spot as coach for the Wonderbolts, not only would he be one of the youngest ever in that position, but the best too, Rumble was sure. "But I'm not worried! He's a great flyer, and really good at teaching ponies! He even was in the air-sprinter team in Ponyville's team for the Equestria games, and he's the one who's taught me everything I know! They've just got to accept him."

"And then he can get you into the Wonderbolts," Cozy said. "And then you will make them help me if I ever need to overthrow somepony, right?" Cozy's rust-red eyes looked at him with a mischievous sparkle.

"No promises," Rumble laughed. At this point he was almost used to her antics.

"Aww," Cozy pouted.

"Anyway, we'll talk a bit more later," Rumble said and readied himself for takeoff. "Gotta make the most of my break time, you know."

Cozy nodded. "See you soon! I'll be around!"

The two of them took off towards different parts of the garden. If Rumble knew Cozy as well as he thought, she would be flying around the castle spires above them. Rumble remained closer to the ground, so he could warm up by flying a course inside the large hedge-maze. As long as he stayed off the right path he should not have to worry about colliding with anypony, and the maze had plenty of sharp turns and narrow corners, which made for a perfect warm up. After that he would have to practice some tricks at a higher altitude to be sure he didn't crash. He was going to try a corkscrew, he had decided.

When they reconvened some time later they were both tired from training and resting on a nearby cloud. Cozy was making progress, Rumble was happy to see, even if she still had a bit left before one could say she had mastered the simple loop she was striving to learn. At least her anger seemed to have cooled off during practice.

"You've really improved a lot since we met, you know," he said. "It's not a simple trick to learn without even having gone to flight school."

"I have a good teacher," Cozy chirped. "Just a little more and I'm sure I'll have it down." She looked over to him. "But you will still help me after that, right? There will still be a lot of things I don't know."

"You should consider going to flight school," Rumble said. "They've got professionals to teach you. I can only help you with tricks and stuff. They could teach you a lot more about flying in general."

"No thanks," Cozy said. "Besides, Twilight's not going to let me go to Cloudsdale for flight school."

"I suppose she wants to keep her star student near," Rumble said, half teasing and half serious.

Cozy grumbled irritably and snapped her tail at some imaginary fly.

"Hey, come on now," Rumble nudged her lightly. "if you want to learn of her weakness, you have to study her, right?"

Cozy was quiet for a few seconds. "I'm not sure I like how you use my own way of thinking against me," she said before nudging him back, playfully. "I bet you really just want me to get along with her."

Rumble offered her a lopsided smile. "I guess I still have ways to go before I can trick you like that, huh?"

"Yeah, I'm too smart to fall for stuff like that," Cozy said with a satisfied grin all over her face.

Rumble looked over at his companion. She looked completely relaxed and happy. Maybe he could try to ask her again. With her good mood and a little luck maybe he could get her to answer why she was so snappy earlier. It could be nothing, but if there was something that rubbed Cozy the wrong way, then it should be addressed sooner rather than later. Before she decided to do something about it on her own.

"Say, Cozy… you don't feel like sharing what ticked you off before you came to see me right?" He asked while bracing himself for a Cozy-sized eruption. "Maybe I can help you?"

Cozy's eyes narrowed. "Oh, that. Well, turns out Princess Twilight," she made exaggerated quotation marks with her hooves, "decided I needed a study buddy for my lessons. And in her dumb self she decided it should be that prissy orange lover from yesterday! Of any pony she could have picked SHE HAD TO PICK HER! OUT OF EVERY CREATURE IN HER STUPID SCHOOL SHE HAD TO PICK LITTLE MISS GOODY TWO-HORSESHOES!"

Rumble lowered his wings and relaxed only once her frenzy spell had subsided. "Twilight asked Flurry Heart to be your study buddy?"

Cozy sighed and flopped down on her back. "Yep. And I already don't like her."

"I mean… I don't get why you hate her so much, but I guess some ponies just don't work together. And if you feel like that with her, then you should absolutely tell Twilight about it," Rumble said, careful as to not trigger another tantrum.

"If Twilight had to pick between me or her prissy niece to make one of us happy, it's not like she would pick me," Cozy said.

"Well, she agreed to make you her student, right?" Rumble said. "Then you have the right to demand she treats you the same as her niece! You should tell her that!"

Cozy mulled over that and pushed herself up. "Yeah… yeah, I should! I'm Cozy Glow, and I'm not gonna let Twilight play favorites with anypony else! I'm way better at friendship than some prissy orange-lover! Huh... I really must be out of it to need you to tell me that."

"That's the Cozy Glow I know," Rumble said and nudged her again. "Go get her."

"I'll make Twilight regret the day she thought she could brush me aside! I'm her best student," Cozy said. She jumped up excitedly, wings flapping.

Twilight returned to her castle in the evening, after having seen Shining Armor and Cadance off at the train station. Flurry was there too, and Twilight's mom and dad. Really, now that everything was said and done, Twilight longed to go back to her bedroom and read for the rest of the night. But as Princess her duties were not all done yet. She still had to talk to Cozy Glow about her behavior with Flurry Heart, and how their lessons were going to proceed.

She expected this to take a while, with Cozy always being reluctant to compromise.

When she came through the door to her private wing, her ears picked up a faint scratching sound from Cozy's open door. Good. That meant she was in, at least. She went up to the door and knocked.

Cozy sat on the floor with a blue crayon in her mouth, making long, sweeping motions over a paper. At the knock, she looked up and spat the crayon out. "Oh… is it now you are going to scream at me?" she said. She did not sound very regretful. Rather, she sounded like she had resigned herself to being lectured and wanted it to be over as quick as possible.

"That should not be necessary," Twilight said, keeping her voice mild despite the irritation she felt. She knew Cozy could have befriended Flurry if she wanted, and it bothered her that she had not even tried. But that did not matter right now. Before she could proceed, she needed to know what had made Cozy so belligerent towards her niece in the first place. "Can I come in?"

Cozy shrugged. "Sure, I guess." She rolled up the drawing and put it away, before sitting down on the floor again. Twilight sat down across from her.

"I wanted to ask what you thought about Flurry Heart. First impressions go a long way, after all."

"You can stop with the act," Cozy huffed. "I know what you want. But I'm not gonna be her friend."

"Can I ask you why?" Twilight said. "While we often don't see eye to eye in matters of friendship, I thought we both agreed that friends make us better. You have never not wanted to make a friend before. What makes Flurry Heart different?" She hesitated a moment, before she continued. "In fact, I was worried you'd try to get close to her to use her. Surely she could be a powerful friend, in your mind."

Cozy, for once, looked genuinely surprised. Twilight allowed herself a small smile. "What? Didn't you think I'd consider your view on friendship when I introduced you to Flurry? I know you better than that at this point, Cozy."

"Wait, if you thought I was gonna use her, why did you even put her with me?" Cozy asked. "It doesn't sound like something you'd do."

"I thought you might try to use her," Twilight corrected. "But I hoped you wouldn't. And if you didn't, then I'd known you have come far in your studies already. Sadly, while you didn't try to use her, it wasn't for the reason I hoped, now was it, Cozy?"

"No," Cozy said with a pout. She crossed her arms. "I don't want to be her friend, simple as that. And if you were serious about taking me on as a student, then you can't force me to make friends with a pony I don't like."

Twilight swallowed her disappointment. She knew, of course, that Cozy was right. She could not force a friendship, and she was not going to harm her fragile relationship with Cozy by trying. But it still felt like a defeat, especially since she felt like they could have helped each other grow as ponies. Flurry's sweet honesty could have tempered Cozy's manipulative side and Cozy's ambition and perseverance were valuable traits for a future princess.

But it seemed none of that was going to happen. "Very well, Cozy," Twilight said. "You are right. A friendship must come from inside. If you don't want to study with Flurry, then you won't have to, and I will not make you."

"Good," Cozy said. She tried to maintain her grumpy posture, but Twilight could see she relaxed just a little.

"Will you at least tell me why you are so against her?" Twilight asked.

Cozy looked into the carpet with a cloven expression that Twilight could not quite read. "No. You wouldn't like it."

"Maybe, but I would still appreciate you telling me," Twilight offered, keeping her irritation down. "We are two different ponies, it's natural that we don't always agree. But that doesn't mean we should be afraid to share our faults with each other. A good friend can help you see yourself in a new light, and make you a better pony."

"We aren't friends," Cozy said. She nodded, as if to reassure herself. "And I don't want to tell you anything."

Twilight sighed and stood up. "Very well, Cozy. I can't force you. But you should know that if you don't take your friendship studies seriously on your own, then I will have to make you take them seriously. You have agreed to become my student, and I fully expect you to study."

Cozy narrowed her eyes. "You said yesterday that I was good at friendship. I agreed to study friendship with you; not to become friends with your niece."

"And I meant what I said," Twilight said with authority. "You do understand friendship, but you still must learn to apply it. I did not introduce you to Flurry because she is my niece, I did it because you needed to make a friend. And you did not even make an honest attempt."

Cozy too stood up, her tail swishing this way and that, ears folded down. "Well I… I would have tried," she said. "I love making friends. But not with her. Anypony but her."

"Couldn't you at least have told me in the morning then?" Twilight asked. "Before you had to bully poor Flurry to get your way?"

"Tsk, like you would have listened to me over your lovely, perfect little alicorn niece," Cozy spat.

"Of course I would," Twilight said, her irritation suddenly being drowned out by hurt. "Really, Cozy, I would! You are my student! Of course I listen to you!"

"You say that," Cozy said. "But I don't believe you."

Twilight closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She pressed all her feelings down. For the moment, she had to concentrate on what to do for Cozy's next few friendship lessons. Working out what had happened between her and Flurry and improving her own standing in Cozy's eyes would have to wait. "Cozy, will you be okay with just continuing our lessons alone, while I try to find somepony else who can be your friend?"

Cozy nodded.

"Then let's decide that," Twilight said. "And I will work to show you that I care about what you want. Okay, Cozy?"

"Okay." Cozy hesitated for a moment. "If you find somepony else, I really will try to make friends with them. But not your niece."

"I have understood that," Twilight said, then fixed Cozy with a stern stare. "But just because there is nothing more I can say about that right now, don't think you are off the hook. I'm still disappointed in how you treated her."

Twilight turned around and left without listening to Cozy's complaints. She had to hammer her last point home. Like it or not, Cozy was not a pony Twilight was going to win over with only carrots. She would need a little bit of stick too, lest she would never listen or take anything Twilight said to heart.

She returned to her own study and opened the golden cage to pet Owlicious a little. "I really thought she trusted me enough to let me know if anything I did made her angry," Twilight said quietly.


"Cozy Glow," Twilight replied, mostly out of habit. "But how do I earn her trust if she won't even tell me when I make a mistake with her?"

"Who-ho!" Owlicious said and patted her hoof with his wing.

Twilight smiled at the gesture. "Thanks. I suppose it's just one more thing to work on. But if I let my heart guide me, I'm sure it will work out, one way or another."

After all, that was how she had built all the friendships that made her the pony she was. She had to trust in her own abilities, and not overthink things. After all, if she could not trust herself, why would Cozy or Flurry trust her to teach them?

Twilight nodded to herself, and then went to bed for the night.