Mares and gentlecolts, gather round..! Listen closely, and tune in your ears, as you are about to hear a most mystifying tale of love and hate.. Of the songs of life, and the dance of death..! Of two choices, and of one chooser.. You are about to hear the story of.. The Phantom.. Of The Opera..!
Our story begins in the year of 1919 in the city of Maris. The bustling streets and people going in and out of old stone houses causing less commotion than you would normally imagine the beautiful city to have. This was because of one certain structure, with its stunning exterior design. There were pillars holding up the balcony right at the edge of the circular stairwell, which branched off in two directions with a ramp going up the center of it all and meeting the two paths at the center on the opposite side. The stone statues of men on horses and of gargoyles resting forever atop the buildings walls highly complimented the design of the building itself, with its old structure and all. This building was the Maris Opera House.
The old Opera House was hosting an auction on this day, and the people in charge were selling off anything and everything they could find among the rubble of the dilapidated building. Since the auction was open to the public and anypony could venture forth and bid their bits on items of choice, the streets were surprisingly less busy than normal.
As the auction goes on inside, a black painted cart pulls up outside the Opera House, pulled by two colts in formal attire. One of them unhooks the other from the front of the cart and then the freed one repeats the process. The two proceed back to either side of the cart and open both doors. One of the two colts brings around a wheelchair as the other helps an old stallion out of the cart.
Once the old stallion had been seated comfortably in the wheelchair, a blanket was draped over his shoulders and lap to keep him cozy as he was wheeled through a bone chilling wind and into the Opera House. As he drew closer and closer to the entrance, the sounds of the children playing outside and the people going about their daily business slowly died away and was replaced by the sound of the auctioneers voice, loud and echoing throughout the large structure. Once inside, it was very clear how far along the auction was. Most of the things were gone and they were already starting the bidding on-
"Lot 663, then!" the auctioneer announced with a bang of his gavel on the podium he stood behind. The auctioneer was a dark blue coated male unicorn with a lighter shade of blue for his mane and tail. Although his red streaked mane was neat and combed, his red tipped tail seemed to be malfunctioning. He stood taller than most ponies and had a gavel and sound block as a cutie mark. He spoke quickly yet clearly as he announced to every pony what the next lot would be.
"A Poster for this houses production of 'Hannibal', by Chalumeau. Sowing here." At his last words, a colt with a dark green mane and even darker blue eyes, who looked to be about the age of 20 or so, with the exception of the small amount of acne that could be seem from a close distance through his orange coat, cantered over to the podium and held up the poster for everyone to see. "Do I have ten bits?" the auctioneer asked, glancing round the room with a smile.
When no pony responded, he dropped the price by a half. "Five bits, then?" At this, a pony in the far back raised a sign with his number on it. "I have been bid five!" announced the auctioneer gladly, watching for anypony willing to raise the price. Not to his surprise, somepony in the first row rose their hoof and held up their number within a few seconds of the last pony putting his down. "Ah, six!" exclaimed the navy blue stallion, correcting himself at the sight of a mares hand a few rows back. "Seven!" There was a short pause before one last colt put his hoof up on the opposite side of the front row than the gentlecolt from earlier. "Eight from you sir?" the auctioneer said, taking a breath before stating to everyone with a raise of his gavel, "Eight once. Selling twice." Nopony objected otherwise, so the gavel was swung downwards with a loud crack. "Sold, to monsieur Lefevre!" And that was the end of that.
"Moving on," the auctioneer started, "to lot 664: a wooden pistol, and three pony skulls." he announced, the colt from earlier pulling the items over on a small cart like device. It looked more like a plank of wood with a rope and one end and wheels attached to its bottom. The auctioneer stood tall as he proposed the initial price. "Can I get ten bits for this?" Almost instantly, a hoof went up. "Ten, thank you." the auctioneer said with a nod. As the auctioneer spoke, a older mare from across the room looked over casually to the old stallion that had just come in. Her face darkened slightly at the sight of him as she stared, analyzing his every feature. "Still ten." He finished his thought as he looked around with a smile. He'd noticed another hoof go up near the back row with a sign in it. "Fifteen!" he announced gladly. It wasn't long before the the old stallion noticed that he had become the mares object of interest. The man slowly turned his head and shakily looked up himself, only to have the same darkening result. They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity as the lot came and went. They broke their gaze to the sound of the auctioneers gavel hitting the sound block on the podium.
The auction went on still. "Lot 665, everypony: a papier-mache musical box in the shape or a barrel organ." The item colt cantered up to the front of the stage the podium rested upon and held up the box. "Attached, the figure of a monkey in Persian robes, playing the cymbals." he described to everypony. The display colt (as I will now call him) held it up for ponies to see, one of his hooves curiously placed behind the box. "This was found in the vaults of the theater, and is still in working order, fillies and gentlecolts. Showing here." he said as the display colts hoof lowered, the box springing into temporary life. The song it began to play sounded sweet to the ears, and as it played, the monkey slowly clapped its cymbals together.
The auctioneer proceeded with the bidding price after the music had ended. "Shall I commence at fifteen bits?" he asked, glancing round the audience. After a second had passed, someone in one of the back rows out their sign up. "Fifteen." the auctineer said with a nod. One of the colts who had helped the older stallion in earlier raised a hoof, signaling the stallions bid. "Twenty from you, sir, thank you." he said, looking over with a smile. Suddenly, the old mare from earlier put her sign up, taking a quick glance to the old stallion as she did. "Twentyfive, thank you Madame Giry," said the auctioneer gladly. "Twentyfive, I am bid. Do I hear thirty..?" he asked, slowly turning his gaze upon the old stallion. His helper colt put a hoof up again. "Thirty. And thirty five..?" he said in the same tone, looking back towards the older mare. She looked unsure and eventually shook her head no, not wanting to bid any higher.
The auctioneer nodded once and levitated his gavel again with his magic. "Selling for thirty bits. Thirty once," he began the countdown, "thirty twice. Sold, to Vicomte de Chagne." he finished with a crack of the gavel. "Thank you, sir." he said gratefully in a quieter voice, looking directly at the old stallion as he was handed the box.
As the geezer took the box into his hooves, a thought seemed to emanate through his head. 'A collectors piece, indeed.. Every detail exactly as she said.. Will you still play when all the rest of us are dead..?' he sang softly to himself and himself alone. He took a hoof and ran it along the side of the monkey figurines face, examining its feeling as he silently sang the last line in his thought. His time was cut short though, as the auctioneer was moving on.
"Lot 666, then: a chandelier in pieces." he said, looking towards a large object, covered by a tarp of some sort. As he did so, everypony in the room followed his lead, their eyes filled with curiosity and wonder. "Some of you may recall the strange event of The Phantom of The Opera: a mystery never fully explained. We are told, fillies and gentlecolts, that this is the very chandelier which figures in the famous disaster. Our workshops have repaired it, and wired parts of it for the new electric light." The auctioneer droned on for about a minute before calmly saying, "Perhaps we can frighten away the ghost.. Of so many years ago.. With a little illumination." He turned to his assistants, who were all standing ready by the chandelier. "Gentlemen?" he said, motioning for them to raise the tarp.
[[This next section (if you've seen the movie, then you know what I mean) is just one big time warp backwards. Just use your damned imaginations.]] As they threw the tarp from the chandelier, each light upon it flickered into existence and a large wave of dust flew in every direction, powered by a mighty gale that seemed to have the chandelier as its source. The epic wind began to wisp across the stage, each footlight at the base igniting with fire and lighting the newly polished and repaired wooden floor. The gust blew all the cobwebs and dust off of all the seats in the theater as well, causing them to turn from dull grey to a luscious rose red with golden trim, the cleanliness hard to believe after seeing this in such a bad state. The statues around the balcony area were also affected by this strange power, their chipped and broken features instantly being repaired and polished to a shine, as they always were so long ago. All the while, the chandelier itself was slowly being risen into the air, suspending itself where it once was so long ago upon the roof of the building.