• Published 17th Mar 2022
  • 1,652 Views, 35 Comments

Scholar's Mate - Undome Tinwe

Flurry Heart hosts a chess tournament for her hoof in marriage. Cozy Glow intends to win on her own terms.

  • ...

2. Qh5 Nc6

They come from all over the Crystal Empire, Equestria, and beyond.

Creatures from all walks of life were summoned by the opportunity to win the hoof of the Crystal Princess in marriage. Flurry was beloved and loved by so many, and held enough power that everycreature wanted to share in it.

It was good for the economy too, as the Crown would only cover expenses for those who made it to the Round of Sixteen, which meant quite a lot of foreign money coming into the Empire. The ponies living and doing business there certainly loved the princess and her economic stimulus plan.

Meanwhile, Cozy had been steadily making her way up the ranks, one win at a time. Flurry and the rest of the royal family had worked with her to make sure the press was following her progress, and between the interviews she was giving and the praises the princesses were singing, most everyone had forgotten her past sins and was riveted on the story of this Mare Out Of Time fighting to win love after overcoming her hate.

Unfortunately, for the sake of appearing fair, Cozy had been forced to stay away from the Palace outside of her scheduled matches. It hurt to be away from her fiancée, especially so soon after their unofficial engagement, but they both knew how the game worked, and she'd had to content herself with experiencing Flurry's wit through their love letters for now.

After a long, grueling month, in which Cozy had nearly been knocked out twice, she finally rose to the top, achieving first seed status for the Round of Sixteen and also being granted accommodations in the palace.

They put her in the same guest room she always used when visiting, which very conveniently had a secret passage leading to Flurry's room.

That was how the two of them found themselves playing a casual game of checkers the evening before the game that would determine if Cozy made it to the quarter-finals.

"This is so much more relaxing than chess," Cozy said as she captured one of Flurry's pieces, giving up her positional advantage for a free kill. "I swear, I don't want to see another chess piece for a year after this."

Flurry giggled, moving a piece forward to bait Cozy into taking it. "Isn't there a rook right on your flank?"

"The only flank I wanna stare at is yours, anyways," Cozy replied, debating if she should take Flurry's piece. It would let Flurry promote one of her others, but it was still a free capture. "It's fine, I just need to win four more games before I can face a real opponent."

"Mhm." There was something odd about Flurry's tone as she kept her eyes on the board, and Cozy was immediately suspicious.

"I can't wait to see everypony's face when I defeat their beloved princess." Cozy put a bit of bite into her boast, waiting to see how Flurry would respond. It was easier to get her to open up after getting her riled up a bit. They were similar like that.

But instead, Flurry just nodded. "It'll be interesting to see," she said calmly, way too calmly, and a crushing thought occurred to Cozy.

"I know I'm good, but you don't have to admit defeat that fast," Cozy said, her statement dripping with deadpan sarcasm.

Flurry glanced up, staring Cozy right in the eyes. "You're not going to lose the final match against me," she declared. "I won't risk losing you."

"Wait, you're going to throw the match?" Anger flared up in Cozy's chest as she stood up, the checkerboard forgotten. When Flurry simply stared at her impassively, her rage grew hotter. "How dare you take away my victory from me! I thought you loved me!" Tears were forming in her eyes, but Cozy ignored them, focusing on her beloved.

Meanwhile, Flurry was tranquil as an ocean. "I do love you, Cozy. More than I could possibly put into words. And that's why I refuse to let you lose this match."

"I'm not going to lose!" Cozy shouted, stomping her hoof on the ground in frustration. "After all we've been through, all I've done to help you grow into the princess you are now, why can't you just respect me as your equal!"

"I don't see why you're so angry about this anyways," Flurry said, still infuriatingly calm. "Weren't you saying that you'd be willing to cheat to win my hoof in marriage?"

"In an archery contest, yeah." How could Flurry be so stupid? "But this, this is the one thing I'm good at, the one place where I'm your equal. I'm not better at flying, and I don't have magic, and I don't wield a tenth of your political power, and I definitely couldn't beat you in any kind of fight, but I can outthink you, and I'm going to prove it!"

"We can play a fair game afterwards," Flurry offered.

"Not good enough," Cozy said. "I want everypony to see my triumph."

"Then I guess we're at an impasse," Flurry replied.

"I guess we are," Cozy seethed.

"You're too precious to me to risk," Flurry said. "I hope you can see that."

"And you need to understand that I'm a tool, just like every other pony around you, and that you need to be willing to put them at risk to get full use out of them. I need to win this game fairly, to cement my position as a mastermind who isn't to be trifled with." With that, Cozy tromped off back through the secret entrance back to her room. "Have a good night, your majesty."

"Cozy, please." Flurry didn't chase after her, though, and the couple spent their night alone.