• Published 9th Aug 2011
  • 2,917 Views, 68 Comments

The Pony of the Opera - Miyajima

An adaptation of Phantom of the Opera, tailored to FiM.

  • ...

Act II: Scene III

~ Act II: Scene III ~

The ghost ran headlong through the corridors of the Opera House, heedless of anything in his path, as he made a direct route for Fluttershy’s room and the hidden passage in the mirror that led to the underground lake. None hindered his progress, as all the actors and stagehoofs were preoccupied with calming the guests in the wake of chaos left by his unmasking and the chandelier’s collapse.

A short way behind him was Fluttershy, still in her gown, racing after the fleeing mule at a speed she would have been proud of, had the thought crossed her mind. As it was, she focused only on the chase, determined not to let the mule slip away like the Ghost she had come to know. Beyond that she was driven by simple curiosity: why did he desire to remain hidden? Why the mask? He had helped her to find her confidence under the close scrutiny of Canterlot’s High Society, and now she wanted to return the favour.

Rarity was also on the Ghost’s trail, but as she turned a corner into another of the Opera House’s twisting corridors, she found her way blocked by Madame Quick Step. She drew up short, skidding on the worn carpet as her hooves failed to find proper purchase.

“Madame! Please! I insist that you go no further!” the concierge began, emphasizing her point by stamping her hoof.

Rarity snorted, flicking her mane. “And why is that?”

“This matter does not concern you or your friend! Please, just go!” she answered, with a sense of urgency in her voice.

“I think this very much does concern me, and the safety of my friends! If you do not let me past I may be forced to do something...” Rarity’s horn lit up, as she retrieved a carefully wrapped cream custard tart from the folds of her gown, having swiped it from the tables earlier and saved it for later, guilty, eating. “... that we will both very much regret.”

“Madame, you would not...!” the earth pony cried as Rarity hovered the pastry above her menacingly.

“I most certainly would!”

Madame Quick Step looked up in horror at the delicious and incredibly-difficult-to-wash-out treat, and surrendered. “S-stop! Fine, fine, I will let you pass. But I implore you, madame, do not be too hard on him... If you knew...” she stepped to the side. “... Well, you will discover for yourself.”

Rarity gave a curt nod to the concierge. In thanks, she gently placed the custard tart on its napkin at Madame Quick Step’s hooves, and resumed the chase.

The mule stood in Fluttershy’s dressing room, struggling to undo the catch on the mirror-passage in his panic. He’d already wasted enough time having to unhinge the surprisingly fearsome white rabbit that had clamped around his leg, and safely tying him up had taken longer than he’d hoped. He knew he was only ahead of his pursuers by a minute at most, until they realised where he was headed.

The catch came undone and the mirror slid aside just as Fluttershy swept through the door. The mule quickly ran down the passageway, trying to put as much distance between he and her as possible, ignoring her pleas to slow down and stop.

His hooves clattered on the wet stones as he galloped, deeper and deeper into the dark tunnels he knew so well, hoping to lose Fluttershy as he descended. Within minutes he had made the shores of the great underground lake, and leapt aboard the little boat awaiting him, letting the momentum carry him across to the mouth of his hidden cave..

Fluttershy was forced to stop and untie Angel, who was understandably infuriated at being put in place by a mule and then tied up in ribbon like some sort of pet. Without waiting for her, he ran down the tunnels, as before. Fluttershy felt a brief sense of déjà vu as she watched his little white tail disappear into the dark, and rolled her eyes with an exasperated sigh.

“Down once more...” she muttered to herself, chasing after the retreating sight of her little friend.

Angel could naturally see well in the dark, and had little difficulty navigating the trail taken by the Ghost. He gave enough consideration to his carer to allow her to keep up, especially when the tunnels began to narrow, making flight impossible. Fluttershy was not as sure-footed on the slippery ground as the mule, and faltered more than once. She navigated by sound and memory rather than sight. The echoing roar of the waterfall that fed the lake grew louder as she turned this way and that, carefully finding her way through the old tunnels and stairwells. The damp and clammy air worked its way into the fabric of her clothing as it clung to her, hindering her further.

By the time she and Angel emerged at the shores of the lake her gown was well past salvaging, the hem soaked and muddy and the body scratched where she had stumbled or collided with a wall. The little boat had already vanished down the mouth of the river to the far side, the surface of the lake still rippling gently on the bank in its wake, lapping around Fluttershy’s hooves.

Taking a deep breath, she spread her wings, about to launch into the air and continue her pursuit, when she was startled by a voice behind her.

In the chaos outside the opera house, Twilight Sparkle was furiously counting heads while Rainbow Dash flew overhead, doing the same. Applejack and Pinkie Pie were helping guests as they piled out of the doors, while Falsetto sat forlorn on the cobbles, watching his money and his career slipping away down the steps of the great marble façade with the clop of heavy hoofsteps. The Princesses were hard at work ensuring that everypony was safe and unharmed, addressing them group by group to allay any fears that the incident had been part of a planned attack or invasion, nor was it a conspiracy to gather the cultural elite of Canterlot together in one place and then kill them all in a desperate attempt to overthrow the thousand year rule of the Princesses and create a new classless society where the wealth was equally shared among the common, unwashed masses thank you Mr. and Mrs. Jet Set.

Twilight completed her count, frowned, muttered under her breath, and began again for the fifth time. She’d consulted the guest list. For that matter, she’d memorized most of it. She knew for a fact that five hundred and sixty-two guests had been invited to the opening performance, of which forty-three were unable to attend and a further twenty-nine didn’t turn up, leaving four hundred and ninety ponies in attendance. Adding another one hundred and forty-seven to include the actors, stagehooves and musicians, that brought the sum total of ponies to six hundred and thirty-seven.

Nopony had left yet, and she knew that everypony had evacuated the building, so why were there only six hundred and thirty-five ponies outside the opera house?

She scanned the crowd again, noting every shuffling colt, every nervous mare. The guestlist floated before her, her eyes scrutinizing and scanning the names.

“I just don’t get it!” she muttered to herself, tossing the list over her shoulder in frustration, “We’ve evacuated everyone from the building and I’ve ticked off all their names! Who’s missing?”

She let out a frustrated snort, her breath fogging in the chilled evening air. As her hoof struck against the cobbles, the spark from her shoes also lit up in her mind. “Rarity’s got a mind for details, she’ll be able to help! Spike! Spiiiii~iiike!”

“Yes, Twi?” the little dragon answered, stifling a yawn. The excitement of the last half hour was wearing off quickly as his fatigue began to overtake him.

“Where’s Rarity? I need her to help me here!” Twilight asked, looking around behind her for the discarded list.

“Rarity? I don’t think she came out of the building yet.”

Twilight stopped, as the missing two ponies suddenly became crystal clear in her mind. “Rarity! Fluttershy! They haven’t come out yet!? B-but we’ve got everypony out of the building!” she stuttered as she felt a chill creep over her heart, her mind beginning to race to a thousand possible fates her friends could be suffering. Silently, she also berated herself for having overlooked two of the most important ponies in her life while ensuring everypony’s safety. She had just assumed that they would be outside with everypony else, and hadn’t given it a second thought.

“We’ve got to find them! Rainbow!” she yelled at her pegasus friend, circling above the crowd, “Fluttershy and Rarity are still inside, we’ve got to go in and make sure they’re safe! Get Applejack and Pinkie! I’ll tell the Princesses!”

Rarity reached Fluttershy’s room to find the door already open. Rushing inside, she shivered from the cold, damp draft that flowed from the tunnel, its entrance wide open, with the mirror slid aside. Rarity squinted down the passage to catch sight of a brief flash of pink, before it disappeared around an unseen corner.

“Fluttershy!” she called out, but her voice merely echoed off the dark, stone walls, distorting as it moved down the tunnel until it was lost in the air currents.

Tentatively putting a hoof forward, Rarity stepped into the darkness. Immediately she felt the drop in temperature as the cold stone sucked away the stifling heat of the opera house. She walked carefully, ensuring that she didn’t slip or stumble on the uneven flagstones and broken stairs that became increasingly damp as she followed the tunnels.

The route downwards was still fresh in her mind, having trodden the same corridors and passageways barely hours before as she had chased the fleeing ‘ghost’ from the masque gala. Even without the aid of her memory, the presence of so many gemstones covering the great cavern beneath the opera was enough to guide her, as her glowing horn tugged incessantly and impatiently, this way and that as she walked.

She emerged from the tunnels, at the shore of the lake, and immediately spied Fluttershy a little way off. The yellow pegasus, wet and bedraggled, was just spreading her wings when Rarity called out to her again, her voice now amplified by the natural acoustics of the caverns and carried over the noise of the waterfall.


She turned, wings half-folding back in surprise. When she saw Rarity, she smiled and ran over, nearly slipping on the muddy shore. Angel remained at the water’s edge, staring out over the lake.

“Rarity! I... I’m sorry for what happened! I-”

“Darling, it’s not your fault! You couldn’t have known he would, well... bring the house down, as it were,” Rarity interrupted, trying to stop her friend’s worrying before it began, “... and what in Celestia’s mane have you been doing to your dress!?”

Fluttershy looked down at her gown, wincing a little at the state of it. It was well beyond either of their ability to repair, by this point. Still, that was not the highest priority at the moment.

“Rarity, we’ve got to catch up to him! I... I know he’s not a bad person, if I could just t-talk to him...” she glanced over her shoulder and over the surface of the lake, towards the entrance to the siphon where the little boat had disappeared.

“But darling, what he did back there could have hurt ponies, or worse, kill! He has to answer for what he’s done to this opera and the actors and actresses. We have to bring him to the proper authorities.” Rarity replied, narrowing her eyes as she followed Fluttershy’s gaze. The yellow pegasus opened her mouth to object, but knew from experience that it was no use arguing with Rarity once she had set her mind to something. Besides, her friend had a point. Whilst she knew in her heart that the ‘Ghost’ had meant no harm, what he’d done was still dangerous, and even she could not deny that he had harassed the ponies of Falsetto’s company for some time.

She sighed. “You’re right. We’ll... We’ll take him to the Princesses. But let me talk to him first, please?”

Rarity’s glare softened as she looked back at her friend. Fluttershy was kind almost to a fault, but it was her nature. She was the Element of Kindness, after all. And as the Element of Generosity, how could Rarity deny her at least that?

“Of course, Fluttershy,” she responded, and moved towards the lakeside where Angel was sitting impatiently, “but first we need to get over there.”

“He’s taken the only boat, but I... I think I could fly us both. It’s not far.”

Rarity nodded, and gently climbed onto Fluttershy’s back, the edge of her hoof tearing another hole in the remnants of the gown. Angel grabbed onto the unicorn’s dangling leg, pulling himself up to sit beside her, his expression grim and determined. Burdened, it took Fluttershy a couple of attempts to stand up, but with a few strong thrusts of her wings, the two ponies (and rabbit) were in the air. She glided low over the still surface of the lake, the clear water reflecting the thousand glowing facets embedded in the cavern roof above, reminiscent of a clear night sky.

They left the cavern behind them and plunged into the darkness of the river tunnel, lit only by the light provided by Rarity’s horn. The closeness of the cavern ceiling forced Fluttershy nearer the water, until her hooves were breaking the surface. Faltering, her wing scraped the tunnel wall and she lost balance, tipping both herself and her passengers into the river. Fortunately, the slow flow of the river had left the depth shallow enough for the pegasus and unicorn to stand up in, and despite the sudden soaking, Fluttershy had the presence of mind to save Angel from being carried further downstream.

Spluttering, Rarity dragged herself out of the muddy waters and onto a thin strip of comparatively dry ground nearer the wall, letting out a quiet whimper when she saw the state of her own dress.

“... Sorry.” Fluttershy mumbled, water flowing about her knees. Angel attempted to shake himself dry as he perched on her back. Rarity merely nodded in return, momentarily rendered speechless with distress. Angel tugged on Fluttershy’s ear, pointing forward at the dim light coming from a little way off, the familiar light of torches and candles that she and he had followed the last time they ventured into the Ghost’s caverns.

She began to walk towards it, hooves sinking a little way into the mud of the riverbank each time as the river gently swept past her. Rarity followed behind, struggling to keep her footing on the narrow dry strip.

A few minutes of this later, they emerged into the smaller, torchlit cavern where the Ghost made his home. Worn, damp masonry marked the arch that served as the gate to his domain, and the two ponies could see the little boat tied up at the dock, with its occupant nowhere to be seen.

“There ain’t anypony left in the buildin’, Twi, we’ve searched ‘er top t’bottom.” Applejack said, interrupting the panicked pacing that her unicorn friend was currently indulging herself in.

“But they must be in there! They haven’t come out, so it’s the only logical-”

“They might be in the caves.”

“- explanation?”

Twilight turned around to find Princess Luna standing behind her, her mask now discarded. She smiled at the confused look on Twilight’s face and continued.

“I am sure you know of the extensive collection of caverns that exist beneath our fair city of Canterlot...” the Princess said, with Twilight slowly nodding in response. “The Royal Opera House is built on top of one such cavern, one that used to be open to the public many years ago. It was the site of the original Opera House before my banishment, but during my absence, the construction of the new sewer systems has led to the caves below the building becoming flooded.”

Twilight blinked. “So you’re saying that Rarity and Fluttershy may be... Beneath the building?”

“As you say, it’s the only logical explanation.” Luna replied, winking.

“But what in Celestia’s mane would they be doin’ down there?” Applejack said, then turned to the nearby smirking Princess Celestia. “Beggin’ yer pardon, yer royal highness.”

“I saw that mule jump off the stage before the chandelier started falling,” Rainbow Dash interjected, “maybe they’re chasing him?”

“Oo! Are we going spelunking? Are we, are we?” Pinkie chimed in, bouncing with barely contained excitement.

“Spe-what?” Rainbow replied.

“Spelunking” Exploring caves! I had to take a course on it back home when Dad decided to plant a new deep shaft rock field and-”

“Pinkie! We don’t have time for that now!” Twilight scolded, interrupting. “Princess, could you lead us down to the caverns below?”

“Well... This building was constructed while I was on the Moon, I... am afraid I do not know the way.” Luna replied, looking down at the floor.

“You’ll find a tunnel leading down to the lake in Fluttershy’s dressing room.” Falsetto stated, as everyone turned to face him. He looked a mess, distraught with worry and the looming threat of financial ruin, but he had picked himself up off the ground and at least temporarily shaken off his melancholy. “It’s part of the foundations of the old Opera House before this one was built to replace it. I suspect you’ll find them there, and the Ghost. He had been using the tunnel to visit Fluttershy and give her tuition to improve her confidence.”

Twilight nodded at the manager. “Thank you, Falsetto. Come on girls, we’ve got our friends to save!”

Fluttershy lifted herself out of the water, hovering just above the surface, looking around at the eclectic collection of memorabilia and paraphernalia that the Ghost surrounded himself with. She had expected to see him hunched over his organ, as he was the last time she came here, but the great instrument was silent, the only movement the slow dripping of wax onto its wooden covers, the varnish having long since peeled away.

Rarity found that she could no longer walk on the dry land and was forced to enter the river to go through the archway. After a few steps through the muddy bank, her hooves found purchase on the solid stone that sat under the dock.

“... Is this where he liv-!” her sentence ended in a shriek as her hoof caught against a hidden trigger. Behind her, a portcullis fell from the archway, hitting water and stone with a screech and a clang that echoed through the cavern. As she recoiled from the shock, a rope fell about her forelegs, catching under them on the centre of her body. Biting into her, she felt a sharp jolt that pulled her off her hooves and launched her into the portcullis, her back slamming into the metal grate with some force.

Fluttershy shrieked herself at what befell her friend, and immediately rushed to help. A stern and slightly maddened voice stopped her mid-flight.

“I see I have guests! Stop, do not attempt to untie her! The rope will tighten further.”

From the shadows afforded by the natural shape of the cavern emerged a more ragged figure than Fluttershy remembered. His mask and cloak were discarded, and his costume was soaked and torn from his swift flight. She saw the Ghost now, a dishevelled figure, without that same sense of authority and importance she had seen in him at their first meeting.

The ‘Opera Ghost’ was nothing more than an old mule who now had them captive.

Fluttershy looked between the mule and her friend, and slowly descended to stand in the water. Rarity winced at the rope digging into her, unable to move.

“Why are you doing this?” Fluttershy asked, quietly, her voice barely carrying over the gentle flow of the water as it pooled in the little bay and swept away downstream.

“You imply that I do something wrong,” the mule answered, glaring.

“You’ve been terrorizing the poor ponies in the theatre!” Rarity gasped, her breath short, “You could have killed with what you just did!”

The mule snapped his attention to Rarity, his expression a mix of horror and rage. “I did not intend for... For anyone to be hurt. I have never intended that!” He started pacing, talking both to himself and the two mares, occasionally glancing at them.

“All I wanted... All I wanted was for Music to fly free, without the shackles of money or... or prejudice!” He stamped his hoof, snorting. “I had no cutie mark, they wouldn’t even listen to my work, to any of it! Any of my pieces I tried to show them! They criticized, they accused, they dared to say that I had stolen it from a more wealthy and worthy pony!”

He turned back to face them, a crazed look in his eyes.

“So I took matters into my own hooves! If they would not take me as a musician or an artist because I wasn’t a pony, then I would haunt them like a Ghost until their... their taint had been removed from the arts!”

Fluttershy looked at him, horrified. “So you lived down here... y-you did all this... for revenge?”

“To avenge! While pompous, talentless ponies like Prima Donna still perform on my stage, in my opera, I won’t stop!” He said as he turned to face the pegasus. “For performers like yourself! Your talent should not be dismissed because you have no wealth or status, or for the lack of a cutie mark! And you do have talent, Fluttershy. More talent than many of the singers I have guided over the years that I have been here! I will not let the arrogance of those who think they know better to stand in your way! Even if I must bring the house down to achieve my goal, then so be it!”

“But you’re... you’re doing the same thing as they are!” Rarity said, straining against the ropes as they tightened further still from her struggles. “You’re driving out ponies who need the training and exposure the Opera could give them to achieve their full potential!”

The Ghost turned to Rarity, his face contorted in anger. “How dare you compare me to those... those ignorant, uncultured foals!”

He moved to tighten the rope yet further, but Fluttershy swept forward and drove the Ghost away from Rarity, shielding her with her own body. Angel leapt off her back, landing nimbly on the bars of the portcullis, and began chewing through the rope that held Rarity to the iron gate.

“You... You treated me so kindly...” Fluttershy began, addressing the Ghost. “You helped me find my c-confidence in my own singing, and you gave me lessons in how to improve...”

She looked up at him, tears forming at the corners of her eyes. “How they treated you years ago was unfair, but this... this awful ‘vengeance’ has to stop! The ponies who turned you away are gone! What you’re doing now is... is just vicious and... and cruel!”

“There is no place for me up there! Better I stay down below, where I am in control.” The Ghost retorted, taking a step closer. At this, Fluttershy fixed her eyes on him, giving him the full force of her own anger. Anger at how he had treated her, yet despised others, anger at how the management of the Opera in years past had treated him, and anger at the way the situation had spun so out of control.

“NO!” she yelled, rising from the water. “What happened to you was terrible, but that can be fixed now! If you continue like this, someone will end up hurt, and I will not let that happen!”

She flew closer as the Ghost attempted to back away. “You helped me, and now I want to help you. It won’t be easy, but we can talk to Falsetto and the Princesses and sort this all out.”

Rarity fell into the water once more as Angel finished chewing through the rope. The Ghost looked between them, unsure how to handle the situation.

Fluttershy took the initiative. She threw her forelegs around his neck, embracing him. “You don’t need to be alone.”

Twilight, Applejack, Rainbow, Pinkie and the two Princesses emerged from the tunnels onto the shore of the underground lake. Each of them stood in silence for a moment, just admiring the natural beauty of the cavern. Celestia looked at her sister, smiling at the excited gleam in her eye, one that she rarely saw when her sister was out in public.

“It is still here, sister! All these years and it is still here! Oh, this is wondrous, and the water makes it look even better than it did!” Luna cried, running up to the water’s edge, her eyes taking in the waterfall, the gem-covered cavern ceiling, and the beautiful reflections it made in the surface of the lake.

“Sure is pretty...” Applejack agreed. Pinkie ran up to the cavern wall and began scrutinizing it with an expert’s gaze, while Twilight just stood there, taking it all in.

“Ah-HA! I knew it! Silica dioxide with iron impurity artificially irradiated by a First Level Geomancer with arcane signature consistent with the training and methods once employed by the Noble Circle of Unicorn Magicians of Canterlot!”

Everyone looked at the pink pony and ex-rock-farmer with a raised eyebrow.

“The gems, they’re not natural amethyst!” she explained enthusiastically.

Luna smiled and nodded. “That is correct. This cavern was once natural, but, long before my banishment, the ponies of Canterlot carved the walls and decorated them with many thousands of gems from the mines nearby. This cavern before you was the very first theatre in all of Equestria, and the dome above was modelled after the night sky of the day.” Luna looked up at the gems wistfully. She pointed at a collection of stones with her hoof. “See? That’s the constellation of Gryphus Major.”

Rainbow Dash flew down in front of the Princess, forelegs folded. “This is fascinating, your highness, but with all due respect, don’t we have other things to worry about right now?”


“No, Applejack, Rainbow Dash is right. First we need to locate your friends. Sister, do you know where they could have gone from here?”

Celestia grinned, and pointed over the lake with her hoof.

“I’d wager... just over there.”

The group followed her hoof to see a little boat bobbing on the surface of the water, drifting slowly towards them. On board were a bedraggled Rarity and Fluttershy, accompanied by Angel and a mule that seemed vaguely familiar.

Twilight quickly started pulling the boat towards the shore with her telekinesis, and soon they were all reunited with one another. Each of the mares embraced the Fluttershy and Rarity in turn, animatedly chatting and asking the other if they were alright. The Ghost stood a little off to the side, staring down at the water.

Celestia and Luna looked at each other, nodded, and slowly approached him. He looked up as he heard the crunch of nearing hoofsteps on the gravel and mud shore, and a light of panic came into his eyes.

“It’s alright,” Celestia soothed, lowering her head nearer to the mule’s height, “you did no intentional harm to us, and when you’re as old as we are, ‘revenge’... loses its taste.”

Luna nodded. “You are the ‘Opera Ghost’ I have been hearing about, are you not?”

He nodded, mute. Luna paused for a moment, unsure how to continue.

“You have a beautiful singing voice.” she proffered, smiling. The panic in his eyes became confusion.

“I do not often attend the Opera, I admit, but it was one of the finest performances I have heard in a long time.” Celestia agreed. Confusion mixed with gratitude.

“Come, we can discuss this better elsewhere, and decide on what exactly it is we should do with you.” Luna added, indicating the way back up to the opera house. “I think our friends could do with a little refreshment, themselves.”

Rarity couldn’t help smirking, despite how she felt. Fluttershy seemed similarly relieved. The group, led by the Princesses, made their exit as one through the tunnel, and back up to the surface.

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