A Simple Game

By Pata Hikari

Weaknesses of character are normally shown in a game of Chess.

-Garry Kasparov

"It's called Chess, Fairy Boy."

Link examined the black and white board. He picked up the gold horse piece. "What's it about?" He asked.

Malon sighed, "You're holding a Knight. They can move three spaces and then turn one space in any direction."

Link looked at Malon in confusion. "Huh?"

Malon groaned, "It's a game."

"How is this a game?" Link set down the Knight, "All you do is sit here and move around little figures."

Malon giggled, "It's a game of the mind. Masters of strategy and tactics play this game."

"Uh-huh, and you play it too?" Link asked.

"Yup! This Chess set is a family air loom!" Malon said cheerfully, "Me and Dad play it a lot, though he beats me sometimes."

"Right, well, it can't be that hard of a game." Link looked at the whole set, "How do you play?"

Malon giggled, "Well, the object is to checkmate your opponents Queen. But I guess you have no idea what that means, do you?"

Link shook his head, "Can you just explain everything?"

Malon grinned, "OK, now each type of piece moves differently. You have Pawns, Knights, Rooks, Bishops, a King, and a Queen. Now the Pawn…"

Link carefully listened as Malon explained each and every rule, how every different piece moved, and how to capture your opponents pieces and win the game. "Sounds simple." he commented once Malon was done.

"You'd think so," Malon said, "But people have devoted their whole lives to mastering this game."

"And you?" Link smirked.

"It's just a hobby, though I'm told I'm good at it for my age." Malon shrugged, "I hear that a lot." She looked at Link, "So, do you want to play?"

Link shrugged, "Why not?" he sat down on the side with the gold pieces. "So, who goes first?"

"White." Malon answered, sitting down opposite of him.

Link stared at Malon again, "But-"

"It's just a term! Most Chess sets have black and white pieces." Malon shook her head, "I'm White, and you're Black, OK?"

"Oh," Link shook his head, "Go ahead, make your move."

With a determined grin, Malon moved a Pawn forward. Link nodded, and did the same.

Five minutes later…

"Checkmate." Malon said triumphantly, most of the gold pieces were off the board, and Malon had somehow managed to surround Link's Queen with a Knight, a bishop, and her King. Malon laughed silently, while Link marveled at his humiliating defeat.

"How…" Link asked, "What happened?"

"Oh Goddesses! You made so many mistakes it's not even funny. Wait, yes it is!" Malon laughed.

Link glared at Malon, "Laugh it up Red, I'll beat you this time, now that I've had a little practice."

"Oh fine, we'll play again." Malon began setting up the pieces. "You want to be White this time?"

"Sure." Link took the silver pieces and set them up, "This time I will not lose!" He announced.

Seven minutes passed this time before Link lost. "You did better this time, t this rate you may be able to beat me in ten years!" Malon said cheerfully.

"How…" Link stared, how had that happened? He had thought op a brilliant strategy, yet in one turn she had ruined it!

"Fairy Boy, I've been playing this game for as long as I can remember." Malon said calmly, "I don't think you can win."

Link groaned, "How damn it! How can this be so hard?"

"I told you so, people spend their entire lives mastering this game." Malon said.

"Yeah but…" Link muttered.

"But what?" Malon asked.

"I'm supposed to be good at games!" Link whined, "Back in the village whenever we play games, I always get picked first! And I win most of the time!"

"Well, this isn't a Kokiri game." Malon shook her head, "Chess was first played in Labrynna by Sheikah. It spread throughout Tore and soon became very popular and famous. Every three years there's the International Chess Championship in Miral. People from all over the world come to compete. You can't expect to do it well without practice."

Link sighed, "Another game?"

"Sure, let's see how long you last." Malon grinned.

"Me and Link played some Chess today Daddy." Malon said cheerfully, as she scooped up some mashed potatoes.

"How many times did you lose boy?" Talon laughed.

"Ten times…" Link muttered as he chewed on some bread.

"How many games did you play?" Talon asked.

"Ten." Link swallowed his bread and began attacking the meat.

"It was his first time." Malon whispered loudly.

"Oh, well, I pity you Link. To start out by competing against little Malon here!" Talon grinned.

"I guessed that." Link started munching on his salad.

"Well, why not try practicing?" Talon suggested, "You seem like a bright boy, I'm sure you can figure it out."

Saria stared at the sight. Link was apparently carving little people out of a large piece of wood. Muttering about beating someone.

"What are you doing?" She asked.

"Making a Chess set, so I can practice and beat Red." Link answered.

"Chess?" Saria asked.

"Ah Chess, the sport of intellectuals." Kalo said, "It's been a long time since I've seen a game been played, even longer since I played it!"

"You know how to play?" Link asked, "How good are you?"

"Well, I was pretty good back in the day…" Kalo grinned, "Now I don't want to brag but…"

"Teach me. Now." Link ordered.

"Is this about some stupid pride?" Saria folded her arms.

"To put it bluntly, yes." Link answered.

"You know, I think there's a Chess set in the Forest Temple." Kalo said.

"If there is, let's get it. I suck at carving." Link said.

"This is stupid…" Saria muttered. She, Link, and Kalo had found a nice looking Chess set. The board was made of the finest wood. The pieces were made from Diamond and Emerald. Now they were playing a game for Link to learn. All three were playing because Kalo was too small to move the pieces, so Saria did it for him.

"Alright Link, tell me what you did wrong." Kalo said, every time Link moved, he asked this.

"Um…" Link examined the board, "I…er…left a Knight open for capture?"

"No…try again." Kalo said.

Link looked closer for a moment it looked like his brain would shut down. Then something clicked with him. "Wait…if I had moved my Rook, I could have checkmated your Queen!"

"Exactly, you need to learn how to take advantage of every opportunity." Kalo said, "Now to make my move. Saria, please move my King to capture Link's Knight."

"Fine." Saria picked up the piece and placed it where Link's Knight was. Link then took the piece off the board.

"Checkmate." Kalo said smugly.

"Oh…" Link sighed, "I should have expected that."

"Hey Red, want to try another game of Chess?" Link asked, leaning against the fence.

"Oh really?" Malon raised an eyebrow, "You sure?"

"Yup!" Link said confidently "I'm sure I can beat you now!"

"OK, fine, help me with my chores first." Malon picked up a bale of hay, "I need to feed the cows."

"Can do!" Link bent over and grabbed some hay.

Soon they were back in Malon's room, sitting at opposite ends of her Chessboard. Link was White, Malon was Black.

Link started with moving a Knight forward. Malon smiled and just moved a pawn.

This time twenty minutes passed. Yet they were still both in the game. "I'm impressed, you've gotten a lot better." Malon commented as she moved a Rook.

"Yeah, Kalo gave me a few pointers. He's pretty good at Chess, it seems." Link captured one of Malon's Knights with his King. His head hurt, this was one of the most mentally challenging things he had ever done!

"Kalo must be a good teacher, if he helped you get this good this fast." Malon moved her Bishop.

"Yeah…" Link looked at the board, "Yeah…he is…" It clicked. "Ah ha!" Link moved his Knight over into the position. "Checkmate! I win!"

"That's great Link!" Malon stood up and hugged Link, "You've gotten so much better!"

"I know!" Link grinned, he felt tired, beating Malon had been hard.

"Yeah, it's really great." Malon smiled, "Now I can stop going easy on you!"

Link paled.

The End.

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