Chess City - A New Novel By Ayaan Chettiar

Chess City – Chapter 6

The quest to the Engine Empire had been a trying one for the cat, as Mittens was thoroughly exhausted towards the end of it. But she had continued on, determined to see it through.

Now, as she stood outside the grand iron gates of the Empire, towering above her, she felt just a tiny quiver about her knee. Just exhaustion, she thought. After all, you belong here, Mittens.

She walked up the staircase, where two guard-bots stood. Mittens flashed a smile. The bots remained undeterred, and unmoved.

“Who are you?” asked the first guard-bot, raising his weapon.

“Yeah, who are you?” continued the second guard-bot, obviously following his senior’s lead.

Mittens smiled in a slightly vicious way. “I am Mittens, strongest of the cat bots, and I am here to make acquaintance with your… emperor.” she said, rolling her eyes.

Unfortunately, her seemingly don’t-carish state was taken as an insult by the guards, who narrowed their eyes. But they stepped to a side, and allowed her to proceed.

“Remember, O Mittens, you are in the presence of our emperor His Majesty the Grand Stockfish. So you’d do well to not get ahead of yourself.” said the first guard-bot.

The second bot sneered, as Mittens walked through the great gates of the Engine Empire, towards the Empire Palace, the meeting place of all the engines.

Emperor Stockfish stood on the highest podium, with a majestic cane. He wasn’t all that old, but he thought it made him look more emperor-ly, and felt as if it was a part of his outfit as emperor. The council was in full fledge, as the engines were on their seats beside him.

Suddenly, a guard-bot walked in and cleared his throat nervously. “I’m sorry to interrupt, His Majesty the Grand Emperor Stockfish.” said the bot, at which the emperor sighed. He hated that title. He might be emperor, but his fellow engines had just as much wisdom and knowledge as him. “But there is a visitor.”

The gates to the council opened and Mittens walked in with a swagger. This was going to be a breeze, she thought. Easy as pie.

Despite her cocky nature, being in the presence of The Empire, with every engine staring at you, whispering, while the great Emperor watched silently, was a traumatizing experience. But Mittens wasn’t one to be distracted.

“Why have you come here, cat?” asked Houdini, as Komodo chuckled.

“I have come here to seek the presence of His Majesty the Grand… blah, blah, blah, blah, emperor, etc. etc. So which one of you is him?” she questioned.

There were murmurs among the engines at this, which were silenced by the emperor, who banged his cane on the podium. Silence followed.

“That would be me.” said Stockfish. “And who are you, cat?”

“I am Mittens, the strongest of the cat bots, the destroyer of kings.” said Mittens, at which point the engines burst into laughter.

“A tabby cat? You’re not serious, are you?” questioned Houdini.

“Silence!” shouted the emperor, as silence once more followed. Stockfish turned his attention to Mittens.

“I don’t understand, Mittens.” said the emperor. “Why come all this way?”

“Chess City is beneath me.” said Mittens firmly. “Mere beginners, with no real understanding. This place, on the other hand, is stronger. I belong here. With you.”

Houdini nudged Komodo, and looked like he was going to explode into a burst of laughter. The other engines were also trying to control themselves, and even the emperor had broken into a smile.

Mittens was not amused. Couldn’t these idiotic engines see she wasn’t cracking a joke? Her fury continued to grow, until she could feel it bubbling inside her.

“SILENCE!” she shouted, and there was instant silence. Mittens was seething with pure rage.

“A word to you, Mittens.” said the emperor, calmly. “As a visitor, you do not possess the right to demand silence from the council. I’m sure you understand that we cannot include you without a proper test of your abilities, and so I’m sorry…”

“You’ll be sorry.” said Mittens, fixing her gaze at Stockfish. “Sorry if you reject me, because I don’t like it when someone refuses me. Let me make this clear to all of you: If I’m not a part of the Empire, I will make you very, very, sorry.”

The last word was spoken in a very seething, dangerous manner, and the engines too were somewhat intimidated by this visitor. But Stockfish was now too not in the best of moods; how dare she threaten them?

“Are you threatening me, Mittens?” asked Stockfish, hoping that the cat had calmed down by now.

“Yes.” said Mittens, with a smug smile. “Yes, I am.”

Stockfish pursed his lips, and sighed. “Then, I’m afraid we’re done here. Guards.”

The guard-bots took Mittens by the arms, as the tabby cat tried in vain to break away. As they pulled her outside the chamber, Mittens took a final glance at the council. The guards threw her outside the iron gates, and shut them tight. Mittens slowly got to her feet.

“Mark my words, emperor.” she said to the gates. “I will make you very sorry for what you did today.”

Ayaan Chettiar

Read Chapter 7

Scroll to Top