• Published 21st Aug 2012
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The Count of Gem Grotto - Matthais Unidostres



A parody of "The Count of Monte Cristo" starring Spike

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Chapter Four: Becoming Popular (The Dragon Every Pony Should Know)

I dedicate this chapter to Path_of_cloud, who brought up a very good point.
I also dedicate this chapter to Skywriter, because I referenced one of his stories. You'll know it when you see it glowing blue.

The Count of Gem Grotto
Chapter Four: Becoming Popular (The Type of Dragon Everypony Should Know)

It was time for "The Dragon Who Brought A River of Gems Into Our Caves" to become "The Dragon Who Brought A River of Gems Into Ponyville" As I said, this was a test bed for what I planned to do in Canterlot, with a few minor adjustments, of course.

Although I was a dragon, I grew a fondness for the fresh vegetables ponies usually eat. So, I felt it wise to visit the market that was open that day. Of course, I had yet to transfer my gems into bits, so "keep the change" pretty much became my catchphrase. The faces those ponies had when I reached into one of the sacks my Diamond Dogs held for me and dropped a flawless ruby, sapphire, or emerald on their counter! Perhaps now those growers could afford to stop being so greedy when setting their prices for a while.

Before long I had filled the storage area of my carriage with all sorts of items. Fruits, vegetables, baked goods, even civilized mining tools I purchased from the hardware store. I know the Diamond Dog Triumvirate will approve. I also stopped by Quills and Sofas to find some more suitable furniture for my canine friends. After buying a few, top quality chairs, as well as luxurious sofa with red silk upholstery, I saw that, lo and behold, they actually had quills and other stationery items this time! I certainly could use some writing materials for my upcoming business plans.

I stood regally in my "Dragon Armor" as I gave an assertive "request" to the owner that he keep his store well stocked with what he is supposed to carry at all times. I can safely say that he will take my advice to heart.

But being a rich, commanding, high class entity will only get one so far. Therefore, I made quite an elegant and ingenious move. I stopped by at the school while it was still in session. I waited until recess arrived, when all the fillies and colts exited the school house. I then approached Miss Cheerilee, bowed, and introduced myself. I then explained how highly I valued the riches of good education, and how I would always be willing to support it. I then announced loudly, so the children could hear it too, that I was donating a large sum of gems, which would be worth an even larger sum of bits, to the school for the purchase of better tools and supplies, for the purchase of fun playground equipment, and perhaps even for renovating the building and increasing its size. The children all cheered at the mention of playground equipment, and Miss Cheerilee was half in shock, thanking me over and over again while trying to stop herself from crying tears of joy.

I wrapped up the proceedings with a gift of one gem to every child, as well as a little whisper of "Your big sister's all better now," to a certain white unicorn filly. I also made sure to give that filly a ruby, because I like subtle symbolism. And with that, I left, with the sound of Diamond Tiara whining that her gem was smaller and duller than everypony else's.

As I said, subtle symbolism.

Prepare yourself, Filthy Rich family, for the Count plans on giving your business practices close examination.


". . .And it is with great pleasure, that I, the Count of Gem Grotto, donate these gems to the town of Ponyville, to fix Town Hall!"

I emptied what was left in the two sacks of gems onto the platform in front of Town Hall, making a pile about three feet high.

"And keep the change!" I declared with a smile.

Everypony cheered joyously as I basked in the adoration. Mayor Mare came over to me, grinning ear to ear.

"On behalf of this town, I thank you from the bottom of my- I mean- our hearts," she said, blinking back tears as looked back and forth from me to the pile of gems, "Therefore, I present you with this key to the city!"

Mayor Mare set down the case she was carrying on her back and opened it, revealing the shinny golden key. I smiled and bowed graciously, "Thank you ma'am, I'll treasure it always." I straightened up, gripped the key in one claw and my stone walking stick in the other, and said, "Well, I must be off! Farewell good ponies of Ponyville!"

The ponies cheered as my two Diamond Dogs led the way back to my carriage. Nearby were those 6 wonderful ponies.

"Please- please- please stay! We're gonna have that party where we celebrate Spike's life soon!" Pinkie Pie said, bouncing up and down.

I smiled. She was her old self again. "No, I'm afraid not. I have urgent business in Canterlot. But perhaps I may visit here again."

"Please do, you have no idea what a blessing you've been," Rarity said sincerely.

Twilight nodded, "She's right. I don't know where I'd be, where'd our friendship would be, if it hadn't been for you."

I leaned on my walking stick, "Well, I was glad to do it. I just couldn't let the Elements of Harmony fall apart, nor your downright magical friendship. So before I go, I have one last test for you. Any of you, answer me this: how did you know that Spike had perished?"

The ponies all seemed to look in a different direction, unable to meet neither my nor each other's gaze. They all looked very uncomfortable.

"W-w-well," Applejack said slowly, "One of those three dragon thieves named Garble grabbed Spike and threw him into a rushing river. Rarity, Twilight, and Ah tried to chase after him, but Garble and his gang fought us. We fought the best we could, and Twilight was able to blast them out of the way, but it was too late. Spike had already gone over the waterfall. We checked the area, but we never found him. . ."

I nodded slowly, "I see. . ." I then studied their faces, still nervous, but now at least able to look me in the eye. "Well, I can sense the pain and sorrow you have in your hearts from your loss, but it is not at the point where it is consuming and paralyzing you. I'd say that you're all on the right track in living good lives once again."

The six ponies all nodded resolutely.

I smiled and nodded back. "Farewell!" I said as I boarded my carriage.

I closed the door, and, with a trailer of furniture hitched to the back, off we went to the Diamond Dogs's cave, passage way to Gem Grotto, where I would load up for another trip and another part of my grand plan.


Fancypants sat at a table outside Le Cafe De La Creme in Canterlot, sipping tea, waiting for his fiancee, Fleur de Lis. She soon arrived, looking very frazzled and excited.

"Oh good sir in Celestia name make haste hurry seize this chance you must see him before he departs you must snap him up before somepony else does or he becomes a dangerous rival or-!"

"I say, my lady! Please calm down!" Fancypants replied, slightly taken aback at Fleur's deluge of words, as well as concerned for the fashion model's well being, "Sit yourself down now. I'll call the water for a cup of tea for you."

Fleur took a few deep breaths and shook her head, "No. No time. Just let me explain."

"I'm listening," Fancypants replied, peering at her through his monocle.

Fleur took a final deep breath and continued in a composed but still slightly excited tone, "Just this morning, a carriage arrived in Canterlot. It seemed to just sing splendor and wealth. It's owner carried tons of valuable gems within it, and he had somehow managed to train those barbaric Diamond Dog creatures to serve him. I recall reading an article about them in that scientific journal I mistakenly subscribed to a while back, not in my taste. Anyway, he sampled nearly all the shops, except for the tailors and clothing boutiques. I heard that he was heard saying, 'These styles do not compare to that of fair Rarity's'!"

"He knows Rarity?" Fancypants asked, becoming intrigued.

"Apparently so," replied Fleur while nodding excitedly, "And he paid in gems, not in bits! Always saying 'keep the change'! He bought the finest furniture and loaded it up into a trailer behind his gorgeous carriage; he purchased many intellectual books as well as some works of fiction, he bought many spices, teas, and fragrances; and he is currently getting a room at the Silver Lipizzan Hotel! We must go there right away and meet this fabulous Count!"

"Well, well! A Count, you don't say! Well, could you describe this interesting pony?"

"That's the thing. He is not a pony, but a black dragon who wears a luxurious green cloak! He calls himself 'The Count of Gem Grotto'."

Fancypants' monocle popped out from his eye and hung from its chain. "A dragon!? Are you sure?!"

Fleur nodded, "Oh, for sure I am sure! But he is marvelously civilized and completely well mannered according to what I've heard. I assure you! However, I heard that he did mention that he hoped he could find some 'non-snooty ponies in the blooming city' or something like that."

Fancypants chuckled as he levitated his monocle back on and said, "Well, I myself have thought that very thing from time to time. But a dragon who does something with his horde other than sleep on it is very interesting in deed. I must see this Count for myself. Let us go."

After paying for the tea, the couple quickly made their way to the Silver Lipizzan Hotel to see the Count's carriage outside. The two Diamond Dogs stood in front of it, standing still and straight like two of Celestia's Royal Guards. Upon reaching the door, who else but the Count himself came out to greet them.

Fancypants took the dragon's dark scales and green flowing cloak in with a glance as the Count bowed elegantly while holding his walking stick.

"Good afternoon, my friends. Fancypants and Fleur de Lis I presume," he said.

"Correct, and I presume that you are The Count of Gem Grotto," Fancypants replied, bowing back.

"Correct as well, but you may simply call me 'Count', and no need for any bowing and scraping. It is an honor to meet you, the most important pony in all of Canterlot. I have much to discuss with you. So, would you mind coming up into my hotel room so that we may speak in private, not to mention comfort?"

Fancypants smiled, "Well, don't mind if I do."

"Oh! Excuse me! Please, Sir Count!"

The three of them turned to see two unicorns quickly running towards them. They skidded to a halt, and the male unicorn said, "Oh, Sir Count. We heard of you and wish to speak with you. I am Jet Set and this is my wife, Upper Crust. And we were wondering if-."

The Count waved his staff dismissively, "No time for that! If you have any questions, speak with my employees!"

The Count, Fancypants, and Fleur entered the hotel, leaving Jet Set and Upper Crust slowly backing away from the two huge Diamond Dogs that were now staring at them.


The Count currently had one of the fragrant oils he had bought burning in his hotel room. A green flame danced upon the bowl of oil, filling the air with a pleasant sweet smell.

The Count approached a table in the middle of the room. On either side of it was a comfortable chair of elegant red. On the table sat a tea kettle and few tea cups.

"Is that. . . ?" Fleur de Lis gasped as the Count began pouring the fragrant tea into three of the china cups.

The Count smiled, "Super Fine Grade First Flush Darjeeling," he said, "'The Champagne of Teas!' Those Hindi sure know their teas! I was sure lucky to get it to! Last case, I believe. I always did enjoy brewing tea, simple teas at the time. I once even gave up drinking tea after a certain. . .identity crises. . . luckily that lasted for only a few days!"

The three shared a quick chuckle, and the Count invited the two unicorns to sit down and relax.

"Now," he said, as he stood occasionally sipping some of his tea, clearly enjoying it very much, "May I ask exactly what kind of business you most often partake in?"

Fancypants took a sip of the floral, yet slightly spicy beverage, and replied, "Well, I am first and foremost a financier. I enjoy making my living from investing in up and coming companies and businesses. My reputations proceeds me, as you already know, so ponies constantly desire to have their product or business supported by me. Of course, I don't just freely give out venture capital. It has to make sense, be practical, legal, something that will catch on, and something that I would whole heartily agree with. I also occasionally share my opinions on current products and businesses, not to mention play the stock market once in a while, but financier is really my claim to fame."

The Count seemed very pleased with this. He clapped his claws once and said, "A financier? Wonderful! Simply marvelous! But before I get ahead of myself, let me describe myself. Ahem! As you can guess, I may have the largest horde in all of Equestria, and I have plans to use it to achieve certain goals for myself and for others, but mostly for other believe it or not."

The Count pointed a claw through a window through which the carriage could be seen, "The Diamond Dogs, I allied myself with them. They are an easy to satisfy labor force, and loyal to death to those they have befriended. I plan to dramatically improve their lives. Improvement is one of my goals. The destruction of the crooked is another one of my goals, but that doesn't concern you. What does is this."

The Count held his walking stick up high as he continued, "I need your help to build up my status in Equestria, so that I can bring those who are small up to new heights, without simply being a dragon who just throws gems around. That's basically what a financier is when they are unknown. I wish to have a name for myself, like how you have gained a name for yourself, so that ponies will be awestruck and amazed when I give my support to a worthy target," the Count brought his staff down hard into the palm of his claw dramatically and concluded, "and feel that justice has been served when I crack down on the unrighteous in this world!"

Fleur and Fancypants just stared at the Count for a moment, surprised by the passion in his voice.

"Charismatic. . ." Fleur whispered in amazement.

Fancypants nodded silently, beginning to feel admiration for this black dragon who was filled with such heart and passion. "Well, that is quite a mission. Er, before we go any further, two more questions for my curiosity: How did you come to know Rarity?"

The Count leaned on his staff, something he usually did when speaking conversationally or when recalling a past event. "Rarity. . . well, the details of what happened should remain private. Just know that I helped her through a tough time, and she made me a new wardrobe," the Count motioned to the green cloak he was wearing. "Just to let you know, I made sure she accepted payment. I don't take stuff just for helping ponies."

Fancypants smiled, "Yes, very good policy. Okay, and my other question is, what exactly do you wish me to do for you? In what ways could I help you achieve these 'goals' of yours?"

The Count smiled widely as he twisted his staff in his hand, "Well, as I said, I need to make a name for myself. As of yet, I don't have one. So, I thought that if I were to go into business with a special product of mine, then I could gain one. However, that would take time, too much time. So, I realized that if I had Fancypants, the most important pony in Canterlot, join me in a little corporate finance, then surely my notoriety would expand at much higher rate. I assure you this product would spread through Equestria like wildfire. Everypony would want it. It's new, unlike anything anypony has ever seen before! And yet, it has existed for possibly thousands of years. My grotto is full of it, as are the Diamond Dog's caves. Join me in this business venture, and not only will my name be great, but you will see results that none of your ventures could have every given to you in the past. So, what's your answer?"

Fancypants raised his right eyebrow, "Well, that all seems amazing, but what exactly is this new product?"

The Count smiled, and he walked over to a desk near the wall. He picked up a small jewelry box, about four inches by four inches, and wordlessly handed it to Fancypants.

Fleur quickly made her way behind Fancypants to look over his shoulder as he opened the box. The two stared at what was inside.

"A. . .rock?" Fancypants said, sounding a little confused.

The Count chuckled, and then handed the stallion a small hammer. "Give it a good whack!"

Fancypants stared at the hammer, picked it up with his magic, shrugged, and hit the rock with it.

Craack!

The "rock" split right down the middle and broke into two halves. Fleur gasped and put a hoof to her mouth as Fancypants' monocle popped out again.

The "rock" had somehow been hollow, and lining the inside of it were hundreds of tiny purple gems.

"A geode," the Count said, "A friend of mine, the late Inciendio the dragon, left me many scrolls. One such scroll described these objects. It's funny, you'd think a pony sometime somewhere would have broken one of this beauties, but no, I was lucky enough to rediscover them first. As I said, I have tons of them in my Grotto, and many more can be mined in the Diamond Dog caves. They come in every color of the rainbow. The possibilities they have are endless. So, would you like to join me in this venture?

Fancypants looked at me, not bothering to put back his monocle. "This beautiful object," he gasped, "Is all you said it was and more. There is not a living soul in all Equestria who wouldn't want one of these." He then held his hoof out to me, "I am more than willing to be a part of this."

As claw shook hoof in partnership, the Count looked over to Fleur, who was still staring at the geode. "Yes, you may keep it!" the dragon said brightly.


And so, the next week was full of action. Diamond Dogs mined and gathered up many more geodes, aided by more modern tools and more comfortable lodging in the caves they called home. The product was indeed a huge success. Sales went up like a rocket, and advance orders were flooding in. All over Equestria the geodes were sent via happy Diamond Dogs, who were enjoying the positive reactions the ponies gave them. It was just as the Count predicted, his company was successful, and his notoriety was growing rapidly.

He was soon going to a plethora of social events, as he acknowledged one morning a few days later as he strode out of Silver Lipizzan Hotel, wearing his now famous "Dragon Armor."

I'll be the toast of the town, the dragon on the go
I'm the type of dragon everypony, everypony should know
I'll be the one to watch, the dragon in the flow
I'm the type of dragon everypony, everypony should know

Becoming as popular as popular can be
Making my mark, making my mark in high society
I'm the king of the ball, the star of the show, yeah
I'm the type of dragon everypony, everypony should know

See how they hang on every word that I speak
My approving glance is what they all seek
I'm the crème de la crème, not just another John Doe
I'm the type of dragon everypony should know

At home, at the opera, on a fancy yacht
Becoming the talk, the talk of all of Canterlot
I'm the crème de la crème, not just another John Doe, yeah
I'm the type of dragon everypony, everypony should know

Because I'm the type of dragon
Yes, I'm the type of dragon
Yes, I'm the type of dragon everypony should know


That night, back in his hotel room, The Count looked over a magazine that featured some housing available for purchase in Canterlot. It had been nearly three weeks, and it was about time that he got some permanent lodging. With the Diamond Dogs guarding his horde, he needn't live there, far away from civilization. He should situate himself at the very center of Equestria itself. Also, he had other plans in store. Now that his name was becoming great, it was time he expanded his business into other fields while the prosperity "Geode Grotto Incorporated" was at it's height. Then, he could really take out those on his list, so that he could finally perform his big reveal.


Picture is by Serginh. Here

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