Chapter 83 – Queen’s Gambit
A chandelier of silver and crystal illuminated the private chamber of the crown prince.
There was a table in the room, with a marble chess board on it.
“How about a game while we talk?”
Luke nodded at this suggestion.
His purpose right now, was to put a stop to this plan of transferring Noelle to the prince’s kingsguard.
And so there was no harm in creating a favorable impression.
“I am very fond of this game. Do you know how many moves ahead a grandmaster is able to see?”
Queen’s Gambit. One of the most popular chess openings.
The prince asked the question while moving the onyx pawn forward.
“I do not. I suppose it must be close to twenty.”
Luke answered while using a white knight to restrain the enemy.
“The answer is that they cannot even read three.”
The princes said as he moved his black knight.
“When two masters face each other, the state of the game is always difficult so that they cannot tell what their opponent is doing. They are struggling through this darkness of deceit. It is what he told me. That he only understands about six percent of chess.”
“It sounds like modesty as well.”
They talked as they moved the pieces.
The game was still being played by the book at this point, following standard moves.
“No, he was being honest. The depth of chess is deeper than that of the human brain. It is because you do not know that it is interesting.”
The prince moved his queen forward and knocked over the white bishop.
“And I feel something similar to that in her.”
The prince’s queen jumped.
She seemed to glare from the center of the board, in a good position to dominate.
“And under my command, she should be able to reach even greater heights.”
The strongest piece on the board.
Luke Waldstein had to use four different pieces to seal its movement.
“A good countermeasure. But I already know how to deal with it.”
He could not be stopped.
The prince said with a laugh.
“Luring me in. Well, will this turn out the same way as that battle…”
“What do you mean?”
“Her final attack. You didn’t want her to target the Holy Blade, but the barrier. By breaking it, you could bring the battle to a draw. It was impressive. I was probably the only person who noticed it.”
“You flatter me. It was just a coincidence.”
Luke carefully read the board and let out a sigh.
The prince hardly took any time as he moved the pieces.
The difference in power was clear.
Luke felt that his mind was being read, from corner to corner.
The prince’s queen knocked over the rook that protected the white king.
He moved as if he knew what to do from the very beginning.
Well, Luke knew for a fact that it was exactly the case.
The prince had experienced this situation before.
In his vast record of games played, he had dominated an enemy in the exact same way.
And so as far as the right side of the board was concerned, Luke knew that there was no way to stop the prince’s queen.
But that was his aim.
A possibility found amidst all of the information.
“So this is what you wanted to show me.”
…A miraculous move that changed the tide, from sure defeat, back to a standoff.
“A pawn turns into a queen when reaching the other side of the board. She was a common girl with talent, who has grown into a brilliant magician. And I have watched it closer than anyone. Indeed, Your Highness is far above me as a leader. However, I understand her ability more, and can surely help in drawing it out. I am confident that on that point, I am second to none.”
After the eleventh move, the situation had become quite complicated.
The upstart queen in enemy territory and Luke. Dominating the right sight of the board.
Luke Waldstein suggested a future development that had not yet occurred, and then he said,
“Give me a chance to prove it. And I promise to exceed your expectations.”
◆ ◆ ◆
“How did it go?”
The chief butler asked the crown prince after the meeting.
“It was very interesting. He was like a different person.”
The crown prince said as he inspected the board.
“A different person?”
“I had thought that he was the same type of person as me. Crushing emotions and continuing to choose the most rational options in order to rise up Adamantite Rank faster than anyone. The Waldstein family has always had a reputation for being cold-blooded. And he seemed to be the coldest of all.”
The prince said with a chuckle.
“So this is quite unexpected. A different person entirely. Not wanting to lose something. Not wanting to be defeated. I felt it from his entire body. People really do change based on where they are, and their position. Especially towards the end. That was impressive.”
The prince continued to recreate the match on the board.
“He came to take my queen, not the king. He must really not want to lose her. Well, he does not like to lose at all.”
“Indeed, it was at odds with how people speak of him.”
“I had assumed that he had brought her here, as a tool to benefit his own climb to the top. But apparently, I was wrong. If anything, he seems more interested in her.”
The crown prince smiled.
“It might be interesting to give him that chance.”
“Are you certain? You said before that you wanted her under your wing as soon as possible.”
“Oh, she shall join the Kingsguard, make no mistake. But there is no need to rush. Of course, that too seems to be something he is trying to prevent.”
He said, slender fingers grasping the rook on the board.
“So, what will you show me? Let us see what you are capable of.”