• Published 30th Jul 2018
  • 1,167 Views, 58 Comments

My Little Ponys' The Count of Monte Cristo - kahnac



Betrayed by those he once trusted, Shining Dantes is sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn't commit. But he escapes, and discovers treasure beyond imagining. And now he will use it to exact his revenge. For he is The Count of Monte Cristo.

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Act I - The Isle where nightmares begin

Things have rarely ever been peaceful out in the open seas. If it isn't any number of monstrous creatures seeking to devour a ship for a quick meal, it was a whole slew of other things to worry about, from Pirates, to Bandits, to followers of Empress Moon - who to the outside world, and to her double, Princess Luna, is known as "Nightmare Moon". Ever since she had been divided from the same being as Luna 4 decades ago, the Empress had sought to take the land of Equestria as her own. And to that end, she amassed an army to wage civil war against Princess Celestia, and Luna, who ruled the land with prosperity, and strength. The tides turned against her when one Twilight Sparkle had ascended to Alicornhood following her deciphering a magic spell which had remained unfinished for centuries. In doing so, she had done something never heard of, that even Starswirl himself could not: discovering the power of the aspect of Friendship. In time, with the inclusion of herself, and her friends, the war turned against the Empress. And before she could be defeated, she fled with her remaining forces, to the remote Island of Eldiban, where she has remained in exile since. Yet she has not abandoned her ambition, and still yearns to continue her war. And she still had many loyalists who were hiding in Equestria. Simply awaiting her instruction for when to renew the war. She simply needed somepony she could use to send word to one such spy.

As fate would have it, the sea brought in such a pony.

Off the coast of Eldiban, a ship of the Equestrian Navy had weighed anchor. And coming ashore was a battalion of ponies, being led by two who rowed together in the same lifeboat. Well, almost all of them were ponies. One was a beastly, red skinned Centaur with white hair, and pupil-less yellow eyes, and a long, fur-tuffed tail at the end. He wore onyx armor, and grey gauntlets on both hands. All the while as they rowed, his face was put in a horrifying scowl which showed off his predatory teeth. Fortunately, the ponies were used to seeing him like this, so they were less afraid of him than before. But his mood was still a sour one. "Just you remember: If our superiors find out about this, I warned you both and ordered against this." he said in a deep, irritated voice. "We'll all be lucky if we don't get accused of treason for coming here."

"With all due respect, Tirek," replied the snow white unicorn with 3 toned blue hair, bright blue eyes, and wearing a white shirt, with his armor sitting beside him to avoid the risk of sinking into the water, "We had no other choice. The General's almost at his limit, and we have to find somepony who can help him." His gaze turned to a boat which held an older unicorn stallion, wearing silver armor to symbolize his status.

"That's Lieutenant-General Tirek Danglars, Colonel Shining Dantes." Tirek said in a huff. "Just because you put us into this situation, we have no reason to discard our rank, and formalities. Also, I don't see how anyone is going to help us with this situation. By the time we even learned he had a tumor in his brain, it was too late. Now either he'll die first, or we will... since SOMEONE decided it was a good idea to sail the the Eldiban Isle! You do know who's on this Island, right?"

"Give him some slack, Danglars." Spoke the unicorn stallion next to Dantes. His fur coat was a dark, ash-grey, with his mane being pitch black, and his eyes being scarlet. His horn was a curved shape covered in red. He wore a blue coat with a white undershirt. And as he spoke, showing his wolf-like canines in the process, he carried an air of coolness, and smooth intellect. Meaning he was a pony who could talk. "As much as I have to agree that this plan IS crazy, I have to admit it's only right to do this. After all, why should we allow our own general to perish when we have a chance to save him?"

Tirek sighed in aggravation. "Sombra Mondego: always quick to defend the young captain. Even though it means heading into the island territory of Empress Moon, and her Lunar Republic. Are none of you concerned about the prospect of us either getting killed - or worse, being taken prisoner? Not counting the suspicions we might end up getting back home."

"Please, sir....just try, and bear with this a little longer." Shining said to convince Tirek to not get angry, and ruin their chances of saving the general. "If there's any trouble that comes out way, we can handle it as long as we stick together." He then smiled. "And i'll take full responsibility for anything that happens. But i'm SURE if we just explain things to them, then the Lunar Republic will help us. We just have to make sure they know we mean no harm."

"A bit difficult, seeing as how our company consists of an armed Battalion," Sombra smirked, "and a terrifying centaur who could pretty much constitute as a demon."

Tirek's expression blanked, and he said in a deadpanned tone. "Ha. So funny, I actually forgot to laugh." Then he just let out another sigh, and said, "Whatever. It's way too late for any of this, and i'm itching to get some sleep. Still, remind me again how you two convinced me to come along?"

"With our dashing good looks, and charming personalities?" Shining jabbed, with Tirek raising an eyebrow while saying, "Doubtful."

"Better save that question for later, Tirek." Sombra said, looking out to the front. "We've arrived."

Just as he said, the group of boats had reached the island shore. As soon as they were close enough, all of them jumped out of their lifeboats, and began pulling them further up to shore. Shining, and Sombra took point while the soldiers did this, as well as unloading their cargo, to keep an eye out for any signs of trouble. "Nice night." Mondego said, looking up at the night sky, urging Dantes to do the same. "But then, given who's in charge here, it's probably always like this." He turned to Shining with a hint of concern. "You really think this will work?"

Shining looked down to the sand, with a lightly somber expression. "It has to." he said desperately. "The General's always been looking out for all of us ever since we joined his regiment. If I let him die, knowing there was a chance, however risky, of saving his life, i'd never forgive myself, Sombra." The grey-furred unicorn gave him a sympathetic look before placing a hoof on his shoulder, so Shining could see his small smile. "I know. You're just too pure-hearted to ever allow anypony to die. Hence why i'm still alive, and here today after you saved me.......when it would've been easier to let me die in the Frozen North. I WAS an enemy of the nation, after all."

Shining returned the smile with his own. "Everypony deserves a second chance, Mondego. If someone like Tirek could be given a second chance at life, why not you? It's not like you don't deserve it."

"Hm." Sombra said questioningly. "Debatable, since there's still some out there who think I don't."

"That's not up to them. You showed how willing you were to reform. Somehow, it wasn't hard for us to become friends. And it's because we're friends that I trust you with my life Sombra." Sombra smiled warmly at the compassionate statement. But then, suddenly both their attention was drawn to a sound coming from behind them. To Shining's relief, and Sombra's concern, it was a Lunar Republican garrison out on patrol. The Shadow Pony stood still, and watched them go in the opposite direction. At first, he was glad because it meant they wouldn't end up dying just yet.

Then Shining Dantes spoke up.

"Hello! Hello, over there!" Shining shouted so the garrison could hear him.

"Uh, S-shining?" Sombra said nervously. "That might not be such a good-"

"Hello! We need help over here! We have wounded! Please help us! We come in peace, and we need help!"

That finally seemed to do the trick. One of the armored ponies heard the sound of his yelling, and turned to see the Shining's battalion. In moments, the rest of them had been made aware of their presence, too. This made Shining Dantes beam with pride, as he believed they had help. But the smile he had went away when he saw the Lunars drawing their weapons. He shouted at them, repeatedly saying they came in peace. But whether they heard him or not, the Lunars began firing upon the battalion with magical beams, and fire arms. Shining would have been gunned down, had Sombra not grabbed him, and pulled him behind one of the rocks. "Sorry, old friend, but it doesn't look like they care for peace." He then fired a beam of Dark Magic, which turned one of the Soldiers to black crystal - despite Shining's protests. "Why did you do that?!" He exclaimed. "We didn't come here to pick a fight!"

"Well, unless you're willing to strip, and turn that shirt of yours into a white flag, then we don't have a choice but to fight!" Sombra exclaimed back. He then drew out a black, metal sword from his right side. "Besides...where would I be without my faithful, and trusty shield to back me up?" Though he was disgruntled, Shining inevitably relented, and smiled at his friend. His horn then ignited, and formed a shield of violet magic with his cutie mark on the front. The two then began to engage the Lunar forces, with Sombra doing the offensive work while Shining was the defensive. Mainly because Shining was an average fighter with the sword, and more adept with the shield. Yet when the two fought together, it was like they were a perfect set - Mondego had even learned the art of bipedal combat. So while his magic carried his sword, his hooves held a black, crystal scythe which he used to cut down Lunar soldiers left and right. All the while, what Equestrian Soliders hadn't been gunned down were now on the defensive, with some on the offensive in order to protect their general. Tirek, however, had no need to hide behind their shields, as their bullets couldn't penetrate his mystic armor, OR his tough skin. A fiendish grin spread across his face as he charged the Lunar's ranks. Either he pummeled them aside, and blasted them with his volcanic magic, and his flames.

For a while, it seemed like things were going well for them. But then, to the Dismay of the leaders, numerous reinforcements were beginning to appear from behind the cliffs. They either came from the ground, or flew down. The fliers utilized explosives to work against Tirek. Though they didn't kill him, he still felt their impact, and was soon forced to use his own shield to defend himself. With the rest of their soldiers on the defensive, only Dantes and Mondego were left to carry on. Even they began to feel pressured as the numbers piled on. One Lunar was hammering away at Shining, and his shield until it finally broke. The unicorn's face stretched with horror when the soldier drew her weapon. But then....

"DUCK!"

Shining reacted almost instantly as he did so. He looked up just in time to see the Lunar Soldier's body fall limp to the ground - albeit without its head. And then looked to see Sombra's scythe in a post swinging position, before his stance lessened and he said, "Better be careful, hero: you know Mercedes would have my horn if she found out I was too slow to save you." Both of them chuckled before resuming the fight. Eventually, the two were backed into a corner - or rather, a huge rock which was part of the cliff. To avoid the risk of being overwhelmed, the two unicorns began to scale the rock, while taking down any lunars that tried to get them. One such lunar raised a pistol, and was about to shoot Sombra. Shining quickly noticed, and fired a beam of his own magic. Sadly, even with something so simple, he wasn't the best aim, and he missed the lunar as he evaded. But when the soldier got ready for an actual shot, Shining reached for his pistol, and with little thinking, chucked the thing at the Lunar's head, knocking him out and down. "Good job: you finally hit something at long range." Sombra quipped, and the two continued to scale. They nearly got shot while scaling the rock. Once they reached the top, however, their expressions became fearful, and they almost wished they DID get shot, instead.

"Well, well." Said an elegant, but imposing female voice, belonging to an Alicorn mare in sea blue armor with pure, black fur, and a magically flowing mane of impossible proportions which resembled the night sky while sticking through her helmet. Her smile was wicked, and bared sharp teeth of their own. She eyes the two stallions as if they were an interesting catch - which in this case, they might very well be. "Of all the nights to gain excitement, never had I expected anything like this."

"Empress......Moon." Shining said in a hushed, worried voice.

"Indeed. It is good my name has not been forgotten, even after all these years in exile." He expression then changed to one that showed her amusement was over. "Though I hardly think it helps your cause in any way. At least, not unless you tell me who you are, and why there is a band of Equestrian Soliders, and..........whatever that beast is, on my Island."

Shining quickly snapped out of his startled state, and cleared his throat. "Your majesty: My name is Shining Dantes, and i'm the Colonel of the Equestrian Military. This is Lieutenant Colonel, Sombra Mondego." Sombra bowed his head, saying, "Pleasure, your highness." Which he said only to make sure she wouldn't kill him quickly. Shining then resumed what he was saying before. "And we had no intentions of causing any trouble - I swear. We were on our way home to Mareseilles. Our leader, General Iron Hoof, recently had a brain tumor which is finally effecting him. We only came ashore here so that we could save his life before-" Shining hesitated for a moment, as if it hurt for him to have to say this. "Before we lose him. Which is why I implore you, Empress Moon: will you please help us? I swear on my own life that if you do, then the minute he's well, we will leave this Island, and go in peace."

The Empress' eyebrow cocked as she eyed the stallion she spoke to. "A bold choice of words, Shining Dantes." Both her eyes narrowed to a threatening level. "And what guarantee do I have that none of your other compatriots will attempt to take advantage of my hospitality." Without hesitation, and to Sombra's extreme shock, Shining took his friends sword, and presented it to the Nightmare Diarch. "Easy: because if my men do betray your trust, as well as mine......then i'll take full responsibility for their actions, and accept the consequences. Because i'd rather die than break my word." A few moments of silence passed as Sombra watched with baited breath, and Empress Moon continued to stare at the snow white unicorn. That soon changed when she unleashed a loud cackling which went on for a few seconds before she spoke. "No need for such drastic measures, 'colonel'. Any pony who is willing to accept the penalty for the actions of his own troops, rather than compromise his honor, and the lives of said troops, is more than trustworthy." She then nodded to her own soldiers, who lowered their weapons, and relaxed. The Equestrians did the same, though they were a bit hesitant when a pair of Lunars approached with a stretcher for the General, still in the boat. "We will lend you our aid, for now. But, if your General either survives.....or perishes this night, then we will have done all that we could, and you will leave."

"Of course." Shining said while giving a curt bow. "Thank you, Mistress Moon. We're truly grateful to you, and your generosity. I promise you will not regret this."

She then eyed him in curiosity. She seemed to have gained a grasp of what Shining Dantes' character was. And in her mind, the wheels were turning as she began to think of something. "See that I do not - for your own sake, Dantes." That was her final before all of them went forth to the Island's fortress.

But while Shining truly believed fortune was in his favor........this was only the beginning of his misfortune.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Equestrians all waited outside of the medical ward, with a few Lunars, and even the Empress to keep an eye on them. So far, noone had done anything to antagonize each other. And none of them had any interest in doing so. All that concerned Shining, and his company was the survival of their general. Even Tirek remained surprisingly calm throughout this ordeal, though he was secretly hoping the General would pull through. All the while, Shining was nervously tapping his hoof on the ground next to Sombra. The dark unicorn swiftly noticed, and placed a reassuring hoof on the young captain's shoulder. "Relax, Shining. We did what we set out to do, and now the General's out of our hooves. Let these doctors do their work." Shining wanted to heed his friends' words, but he just couldn't shake the feeling of unease. Only added further when a hard-faced lunar came out of the medical wing. Shining bolted to his feet, and made his way to the stallion. "How is he? Will he be alright?" Shining asked hopefully.

"He's stable........for now." The doctor said with stoic demeanor. "But the tumor has already caused too much damage. All i've managed was to buy him a few hours, at best. He will be dead soon." Shining's eyes widened with disbelief. And grief soon began to cross over his features. However, all this seemed to do was make the doctor sneer at the unicorn. "Perhaps we should have just shot him, and be done with it, like he deserved." In an instant, anger came into Shining, and he decked the soldier hard in the face. Both sides moved in to keep the two separated, but couldn't keep them from spewing more venom at each other. "You bastard! This is your fault for not letting us explain when we arrived! We came to you in peace, and good faith! Now our general's going to die because of you!"

"Shut your filthy mouth, Equestrian!" The Doctor snarled. "You are the ones who killed and wounded our men when you tried to invade our island!"

"We didn't invade! We just wanted help!"

"A likely story, which could be fabricated with an ailing soldier as a mirage!"

""ENOUGH!"

Both sides were silenced by the thundering voice of Empress Moon, as she stepped forth to quell the fighting. "The only fabrication here is a soldier spewing venomous words.....and all for either dead, or wounded pride. Now cease this incessant whining, or I will cease it for you. Am i clear?" Both ponies listened to the Empress' threat, and agreed. The soldiers released them, though the doctor's sneer remained. He then left to return to his station, and tend to the wounded. Empress Moon hummed. "Well....so far, this has been an interesting evening." She soon left after that. This left Shining, and co. alone to wander the fortress in peace. In time, Sombra led Shining around until they eventually found a store room holding wine. Cups were prepared, and Sombra used his magic to break open the locked store. All the while, Shining was now coming to grips with the recent events. And guilt began to arise from inside. His hoof shaking from his emotions running rampant. That was when Sombra finally chimed in. "Cheer up, Shining. Things could be alot worse, y'know."

"How?" Shining asked, with a light quiver in his voice.

"Well......you could be dead, right now. But that's why you've got me around. If I hadn't have shot down those Lunar Soldiers when they started charging at us, you'd already be set for an ocean burial."

Shining placed his hoof on his forehead. "I....i almost got all of us killed."

"Yes, you did." Sombra said bluntly, bringing over the prized wine, and happily filling their cups. "But, we survived. And that's the most important thing." He then began singing a cheerful song in ponish, which Shining laughed to. Sombra joined in on the laughter as he sat in front of his friend. Once it ceded, Shining pulled out a chess piece from his pocket with his magic, and said, "Kings to you, Mondego", before tossing it to the grey-furred unicorn, who caught it in his hoof. "Being your friend really does seem to be an adventure." He started giggling like a dorkish colt. "Yes, indeed." Sombra replied, when a sudden thought crossed his mind. "Pity adventures can't always be friends, though."

Shining stopped giggling when the statement got him confused. "What do you mean?"

"Well, we won't always BE like this, will we?" Mondego asked inquisitively.

"What are you talking about?" Shining said, shaking his head.

".......Nothing, nothing." Sombra waved his hoof dismissively. "Go on, drink up. We're actually drinking Empress Moon's wine."

"I believe you'll find the 1806 a much finer vintage."

Both ponies got startled out of their seats when Empress Moon presented herself so quietly. Now, she was standing in the doorway, observing the two as they stood ready. "Eh.....I was only wondering, since I seem to have you at a free moment, if I could perhaps have a private word with you, Shining Dantes."

Shining was surprised by this. He looked to Sombra, but his friend could say nothing. So instead, all he could say was, "Y-yes. Yes, of course."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I truly admire your dedication to saving the life of your general, my dear Shining." Empress Moon said, while she and Dantes walked along the walls of her fortress. All the other forces were merely tending to their duties, so they payed no mind to either. "Such loyalty and devotion is rare, yet something to be admired."

"He is my general, you highness. And he's been there for me ever since I joined his commission. I would do anything for him."

Empress Moon hummed in thought. "Yes. It seems friendship is always a useful attribute to find. Speaking of which, I noticed your exchange in the store room, and I was intrigued about the significance of a King's Chess Piece."

"It's....just something we've done since we became friends. Whenever one of us wins at something, we hand off the piece to the other. A king of the moment. I know it's silly, but....."

"Actually, it's quite interesting. "King of the Moment". Most interesting, indeed. In this life, we are all either kings, or pawns." She glanced down at him for a moment. "Yet I sense that you might be a more.......unique case, Shining Dantes. One which proves far more interesting than any I have seen before. Perhaps that is why I feel like I can trust you to do something for me."

Shining blinked a couple of times in confusion. "Uh....excuse me?"

"Have no fears, my good pony. You are an honest, and humble soldier, Shining Dantes, and that's why I feel that I can be honest with you, in kind." She then summoned a black, and gold-trimmed envelope, and held it before Shining. "You see, there is a friend I have in Mareseilles whom I've been meaning to contact. The problem is, the Royal Sisters placed a magical barrier around this Island on the day of my exile to neutralize all means of magic-based deliveries of any kind. Otherwise, I would simply use a spell to send this letter to that friend. I didn't mention any of this before because you're the only pony I feel I can trust to perform this simple - and harmless - errand for me."

Shining was growing uneasy as he looked at the envelope. "But.....your majesty, I-....I can't. If any of the ponies back home found out I was holding a letter from you, they would think I was a spy. I'd be charged with high treason."

"Don't worry." she said, placing a hoof on his shoulder. "It's just a simple letter, wishing my.......anonymous friend well, and to let him know how I've been. Though.....if you ARE worried, then it's best you keep this a secret from everypony you know. And under no circumstances are you to read the letter yourself, do you understand?"

"But.....what about Sombra?" he asked in confusion. "Surely I can-"

"NO." she said firmly. "This must be secret, even from your friend. Or do you think he would understand, and not jump to his own conclusions?" Shining wanted to argue against the notion, since he never assumed the worst of Sombra. Still, he couldn't help but wonder if......maybe Empress Moon was right. Would he understand if he told him? Would he even listen? He'd like to think so, but.........he wasn't so sure right now. And he didn't want any trouble with the Empress, after all the effort he worked to keep his crew alive. So, he relented. "You said your friend is anonymous, right? Then how am I expected to find him?"

"You won't: he'll find you. And you'll know him when you meet him." A smile began to form across her muzzle. "I trust this means you accept the task?" He hesitated for a moment. But only for a moment. "Yes, I...suppose I do. If it means keeping good faith with even the Lunar Empress, herself." Empress Moon thanked him with a gleeful chuckle, and then handed him the letter. He took it in his magic, and hid it away his pocket. Now, all he had to do was ensure nopony learned of this until he had it delivered.

Little did he know that Sombra Mondego was watching from a distance......and his feelings were far from pleasant.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Some time later, Shining rejoined Sombra in the store room. However, Shining noticed Sombra's pleasant demeanor had lessened. And he seemed to be somewhat.......remiss. As if Shining had done something to offend him without even doing anything. All he did was just stare at Shining for an uncomfortable amount of time, before he tried breaking the ice. "Is.....is everything okay, Mondego?"

"Oh, yes, everything's fine." he answered in a calm, but somewhat false tone. "Though you were sure gone a long time. I wonder, though.........what did she have to say to you?"

Shining wanted to tell him, and almost did. But he told the Empress he wouldn't speak a word of what happened to anypony. And he always kept his promises. "It was nothing, Mondego. Nothing important."

"Really? Or is there something you just won't tell me?" Sombra hissed a little.

"No, it's not like that." Shining's frustration surfaced for a moment, before it settled again. "Just....just forget it, alright? That's all I want to do right now. Or at least for as long as I can." He slumped into his chair. Exhaustion burrowing into him like a fierce drill. Unfortunately, Sombra didn't seem all that satisfied by the answer he got. But he knew it would be pointless to probe any further. The naive idiot clearly promised to remain quiet - even to his best friend. So there was nothing to do but deal with it. "Sure. Anything you say......friend." The last word carried a hint of venom in it, since his temper was now poking out to get him feeling this way. If there was anything he hated more in life, it was secrets - and those who are supposed to be his friends not trusting him enough to tell him. But he couldn't dwell on it any further, as Tirek suddenly entered the room. "If you two idiots are done skulking around here, the general's awake. We need to go see him before.....well, you know." Shining didn't like the way Tirek implicated their general's death as though it were an inconvenience. But he kept it to himself as he, and Sombra walked with him back to the medical ward.

There, the same doctor from before was waiting. His sneer returning upon seeing Shining, though the unicorn paid no heed. "Well, it looks like his time's almost up, but he's awake now. If you want to say your goodbyes, then you're in luck: he's asked to speak with you, Colonel Dantes." Shining nodded. "I understand." He answered, turning to Sombra, and Tirek. "Danglars, Mondego, come on." The two individuals arose from their seats, and made ready to enter with Shining. But before they took another step, the Lunar raised his hoof. "ONLY the colonel." All 3 of the individuals were taken aback by this. But while Shining shot apologetic looks to the pair, Tirek glared daggers at the white unicorn, while Sombra's eyes narrowed in suspicion. Still, they complied with their general's wishes. Though that didn't stop Tirek from producing a will'o'the'wisp that he sent after Shining. There was no way he'd allow any secrets to be refrained from him.

Inside the room, Shining came upon General Iron Hoof. The Bron-furred Pegasus with a full, grey beard had a bandage around his head with red stains that basically resembled the surgery. Seeing the stallion he thought so highly of made Shining's heart ache, and he wore his emotions on his sleeve. Once he was within the general's sights, he asked nervously, "General Ironhoof? H-how are......how are you feeling, sir?" The general weakly glanced up at his forehead, before smiling as he weakly said, "Like a rancid......griffin's been playing....darts with my skull." Even in his grief-filled state, Shining couldn't help but laugh a little, which Ironhoof did, as well. But the moment was ruined by a coughing fit the old stallion had, followed by a heavy breath. "I already know........my time's up, Shining. It was up......the second we found.....this tumor. That's just.....how things are."

"Come on, sir, don't say that." Shining tried sounding strong, but he was never good at hiding his emotions, and his voice trembled as he spoke. "All the years i've known you, you've never given up. You're a tough old war horse, and you still have life left in you. Besides......you still have soldiers who need their general. Without you, we're nothing."

Ironhoof chuckled in response. "That's a nice sentiment, my boy. But......i'm afraid it's over for me. That's why....I think......it's time for someone else to take the reigns." Shining listened attentively as the general took in another deep breath. He honestly believed that here, he was going to appoint Tirek as General. Something that made sense since he was next in line for the role. But what he said instead made Shining's eyes as wide as saucers. "And that's you, son."

"M-....me?" Shining asked in disbelief. "No. Nonoonono. You can't be serious, sir. I'm only a colonel. I'm nowhere near ready for the position. Tirek's the one who's next in line for-"

"Sorry, Shining........but this is something i've already had.....decided a long time ago. And.......even though we....have a ranking system, I still.........get to decide who is.....chosen to take my......place. Tirek.....maybe a good leader, to an extent. And his prowess.....has always been....impressive, he's also arrogant, temperamental, and self-centered. And my status......... gives me absolute.....control of the Equestrian military.....under the Princesses. I've always sensed his ambition....and i'm afraid of him.....abusing the power this......would give him."

"I think you might be over-exaggerating a little, sir. Yeah, Tirek's rough around the edges, and can be a hot head.......but he's still one of the best leaders i've seen. Though he acts like he doesn't care, he's always looked out for his troops. If anything, I trust him with my life - as much as I trust Sombra."

Ironhoof smiled sadly. "That's what's.....so good about you, Shining. You always try to see....the good in everything. You're strong, passionate, loyal, and dedicated. You're also humble, AND wise beyond your years. Of all.....the soldiers who served under me......i've never known any......as great as you. Someone who doesn't let.......ambition, pride, or bias....cloud his mindset. That's why it must be you, Shining."

"But......." Shining lowered his head, as uncertainty came over him. "I'm not even sure I can handle the responsibility." Instead of saying anything, Ironhoof simply acted. He rose up his shaking hoof, and raised Shining's chin so that he was looking directly at him, even on the cot. "Shining, listen.........in all of the years that I've known you, I've come to view you as ........the son.....I never had. And I have......always been proud of you. You always do what's right..........even when others may doubt you for it. So believe me.....when I say you ARE.....ready. You just need....to have faith in......yourself.......and you will be ready for anything. Do you....understand?" As always, Ironhoof knew exactly what to say to raise Shining's spirits. The doubts he held swiftly began to vanish. And a proud smile crossed his face, as he nodded with a few tears trailing his face. "Just remember this: while......your trust in others.......is a good thing......it also can prove......a great weakness. One that can......and may one day be exploited. Temper yourself, Shining. Always know.......when to extend the hoof....of trust.......and when.......to ...................hold it.............back.................." And to Shining's distress, Ironhoof's body grew limp. His hoof falling to the side. Despite Shining's attempts to shake him awake, none of it ended up working. The reality set in for him. And in the privacy of the room, he let himself mourn for his mentor. Outside, Tirek had finished hearing enough. In his heart, many emotions were swirling around. But in the end, only one thing was for certain.

General Ironhoof was dead......and Shining Dantes has taken his place.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next day following, what was left of the Garrison were given permission to bury their dead in the graveyards of the fortress. Empress Moon at least held that much respect. Shining, of course, was struggling to hold in his emotions as the death of his oldest friend set in. Tirek, and Sombra, however, remained reserved. For they had their own thoughts, and feelings in their hearts. And noone could be certain if they were good, or bad. In time, Shining and company returned to their lifeboats, and rowed back to their ship. They still had a long journey home waiting for them. But as Empress Moon, and her forces watched them leave, the former was filled with humorous glee. Especially at the thought of what Shining Dantes had basically agreed to do. And she smiled when she thought of how he also had no idea what the truth of her letter was. But then again, that's precisely how life is, isn't it?"

"Kings and Pawns, Martial. Emperors......and Fools."

Author's Note:

Welcome to the first chapter of "My Little Pony's The Count of Monte Cristo". I sure hope some of you enjoyed it. Because there's alot more to come, I assure you.:) Now, let's get to some technicals.

First of all, this is based off of the 2002 film, and what I know of the book. But there will also be songs from the musical added in to increase the dramatic effect of the chapters they appear in. Trust me, it really helps. Also, as you've seen, I cast Shining Armor as Edmond Dantes, King Sombra - who isn't a king in this - as Fernand Mondego, and Lord Tirek as Danglars. And I figured there had to be SOMEONE to play as Napoleon for however long they've got. So why not separate Nightmare Moon from Princess Luna (literally), and make HER fill the role? It seems to work pretty well, I think. Especially given how she's the beginning of Shining's future problems. The rest is up to Sombra Mondefo, and Tirek Danglars.

I also wanted to have a more emotional moment between Shining/Edmond, and his leader, who in this case is a general. Dantes showed fierce devotion in attempting to save his captain. So it was pretty clear the two were close friends. So why not make it the kind where they have a surrogate familiar relationship? Et' Voila. Oh, and yes: in this story's universe, a general can appoint whoever they choose to take their place. Too bad tirek doesn't like that very much.

So coming up, we meet our heroes love interest, played by Princess Cadence: here, she is named Cadenza Mercedes, since it seems to roll off the tongue a bit more. And while she, and Shining are pledging themselves to each other, 3 ambitious men with a grudge against the unicorn hatch a plan to get rid of him. All so they can accomplish their own personal goals, like the sleaze bags they are.

But hey? This is history is a story told by the most cunning of them all.