• Published 22nd Feb 2019
  • 992 Views, 37 Comments

Daring Do: The Opera - AlexTFish

Diamond Tiara is excited to have a starring role in Autumn Blaze's new opera. She knows the Opera House isn't haunted, but if it were, she'd be ready to give any Opera Spirit a stern talking-to.

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Act IV: Publicity

The mood before rehearsals the next day was sombre. Ponies were scared, and Diamond Tiara couldn’t find much to say to reassure them. The cast were divided on whether to obey the Spirit’s instructions or not, and the tensions were high.

Knock-knock-knock! A rapping at the front door echoed through the auditorium.

“Scootaloo, could you get that?” asked Autumn Blaze distractedly.

“Sure thing!” Scootaloo dropped her script and zoomed to the door. “Hi… can I help you?”

“This is the Ponyville opera house, right?” growled a low voice from the doorway. Diamond Tiara looked up in surprise. A middle-aged male pegasus was standing there, chomping on a sugar cigar, and glaring balefully into the theatre.

Scootaloo was taken aback. “Uh… Yeah?”

Diamond Tiara trotted over. “Yes, that’s right, sir. Welcome! What can we do for you?”

“Do you have a spirit haunting this place?”

A sudden hush fell over the cast. Diamond Tiara exchanged a glance with Autumn Blaze, then firmly said, “No, we don’t. There is some troublemaker sending letters trying to persuade ponies they’re a spirit, but nopony believes them.”

“Is that so.” The visitor chewed his sugar cigar a few times, then said, “The name’s Movable Type. I’m a journalist for the Manehattan Review. We received an ’anonymous tip-off’” – his wings formed brief air quotes – “that there was something involving a spirit goin’ on around here. Figured I’d take a look around.” Not waiting for an invitation, he entered and walked around the theatre, peering into occasional corners. “Mind if I ask a few ponies questions?”

Autumn Blaze stepped forward and declared, “We have nothing to hide here. We’re just doing our best to prepare a fantastic show – the best this town has seen in years! And, uh, not just because the opera house was closed until we got here. You’re welcome to talk to any of my actors, dancers, musicians, chorus, anypony you like – they’re all completely dedicated to producing a spectacular performance to put Ponyville back on the map and at the centre of Equestria’s opera scene!”

Movable Type looked unimpressed. “That’s as may be. For the moment I’d like to talk to anypony who saw one of these letters arrive.”

“That’d be me!” exclaimed Scootaloo.

“So for starters, why do you call this spirit ’he’ if you’ve never met him? Could the spirit actually be a mare?”

Scootaloo looked baffled. The journalist stepped towards her, but paused at a flash of green light overhead. “You guys got flickering lanterns in here? You sure you’re not going for the haunted look?”

Diamond Tiara squinted upwards. “Hey, what’s that?”

A piece of paper was fluttering down from the cavernous arched ceiling above them. Autumn Blaze caught it in her magic and brought it to her face. She scowled as she read aloud, “‘To Mr Movable Type’...”

He frowned and took the envelope. “For me? But I’ve only been here a few minutes…” He tore it open and peered at the letter inside, his eyes narrowing. He silently read it twice, paused, and then grinned viciously. “Oh, you can not be serious.”

“What’s it say?” asked Sweetie Belle brightly.

“Oh, no. You do not threaten a journalist. I am not going to abandon a story just because some anonymous spook tells me to leave it alone. It is on!”

THE NEWLY REOPENED Ponyville Opera House is being haunted by a spirit, whose malicious tricks are likely to end up forcing the theatre to close again.

The mysterious figure has not been seen, but has been writing intimidating letters and vandalising the theatre troupe’s props for the show “Daring Do: The Opera”, which opens in two weeks’ time – if it even manages to make it to opening night without the spirit destroying the stage.

“He wrecked our costumes, and the dress for the wedding scene,” said Scootaloo, a cast member at the opera house. “We were told something worse would happen if we didn’t stop investigating!”

“An’ he asked for money and demanded one of the best boxes be left for him,” added Apple Bloom, another of the cast and sister of Applejack, bearer of one of the Elements of Harmony.

Autumn Blaze, the writer and director of the opera that’s based on the bestselling Daring Do series, dismissed fears of the spirit. “There’s no such thing. Somepony is just playing tricks on us. Somepony who’s able to sneak around without being seen, and cause letters to fall from the roof...”

Whatever he is, the Ponyville opera spirit doesn’t seem to have thought through the long-term consequences of his actions. He asks for a hefty salary, yet interferes with the production of the opera; he doesn’t seem to realise that if the show isn’t able to run then he won’t get any bits. Or maybe his aim is actually to drive these ponies out of the opera house?

The spirit even went as far as to threaten this intrepid reporter when I went to interview the ponies at the opera house. The spirit told me not to publish this article, but you can see how effective that was. So in this reporter’s opinion, you’d do best to stay away before the spirit wrecks the place.

Apple Bloom finished reading out the newspaper article and stood up, looking around at the cast and crew nervously. Autumn Blaze’s face was frozen – Apple Bloom was worried she was about to turn into a nirik again.

Scootaloo said cheerfully, “Well, any publicity is good publicity, right?”

One of Autumn Blaze’s eyes twitched.

But Chestnut was grinning. “Yeah, you’re right. He’s basically just advertised our show to all the readers of the Manehattan Chronicle. He mentioned all the important facts: the opening date, Daring Do, the wedding scene…”

Diamond Tiara said slowly, “And controversy is good for catching attention…”

Snickering, Chestnut replied, “Exactly. Free marketing! It’s everything we could have hoped for.”

Autumn Blaze was giving Chestnut a quizzical look, but after a few moments of silence, all she said was, “...I hope you’re right.”