• Published 9th Aug 2011
  • 2,918 Views, 68 Comments

The Pony of the Opera - Miyajima

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

  • ...

Act I: Scene I

~ Act I: Scene I ~

A few days had passed since Fluttershy’s impromptu performance in the park, and now she sat inside a sleek, pegasus-drawn limousine on its way to Canterlot, trying not to look out of the tinted windows as the fields and forests of Equestria passed below.

Next to her, calmly sipping from a cocktail glass of carrot juice, was Angel. Once Fluttershy had explained to the rabbit that she was going away to Canterlot for a while, he insisted on joining her, and none of Fluttershy’s begging, pleading, beseeching or asking politely was going to dissuade him. Truth be told, she was glad he was there. As diminutive as the white bunny was, he was fiercely protective of Fluttershy.

She wasn’t entirely without equine company either; Rarity was laid across the seat opposite, levitating both glass and magazine, occasionally taking sips from one and glances at the other. Although it wasn’t strictly necessary, she had volunteered to stay at the Opera House for the duration of the performance, to help maintain the costumes and give Fluttershy somepony to talk to that she felt comfortable with. (Not to mention a golden opportunity to scout out the competition while she was in Canterlot, it never hurt to see what designs were rivalling your own in the city’s best boutiques).

Rarity flicked the page, tutting to herself at the garish designs featured in the latest selections.

“Uhm, Rarity?”

Rarity closed the magazine and laid it down carefully on the seat beside her, making sure the edge of the publication was parallel with the stitching of the seat fabric.

“Yes, dear?” she replied, turning her full attention to Fluttershy.

“Uhm, well... Have you been to the Opera House before?”

Rarity was about to make a scoffing assurance that of course she’d been to the opera, many times, but she remembered who was doing the asking, and sighed as she levitated her glasses back into their case.

“To tell the truth... No. I met Falsetto at a concert in Trottingham, some years ago, and he was so impressed with that experimental frock I had Rainbow Dash model during his recent visit that he asked me to design the costumes for the performance. I’ve never had the privilege of going to the opera itself, though I admit I’m positively giddy that we’ll be staying there!” Her eyes lit up with that same dreamy sparkle she used to reserve for talking about Prince Blueblood.

“I’ve heard it’s magnificent there! The walls covered in gold leaf... Marble floors polished to a mirror-like shine... Not to mention the great chandelier above the hall! Every piece a diamond, enchanted to be as brilliant as the sun! Oh, and the dresses and gowns, formal yet elegant...” Rarity continued as Fluttershy listened. She was rapidly beginning to feel that this was a bad idea.

She was no stranger to ostentatious architecture - pegasi made an artform out of it, crafting clouds into fluted pillars and temple-like palaces that rivalled the Princess’ own, but Rarity’s description of the staggering opulence of the Canterlot Opera House was making Fluttershy feel like she’d much rather be in her homely thatched cottage.

Rarity noticed Fluttershy’s head drooping a little, and leaned in with a conspiratory glance from side to side.

“I’ve even heard that there’s a vast lake deep beneath the building!” That caught Fluttershy’s attention. Rarity smirked.

“They say that it’s full of beautiful fish, and the walls are covered in gems! And of course, there’s the gardens... They keep bees there that, supposedly, hum along to the music during performances, and give out honey to the best singers!” Fluttershy smiled at that. Her last experience with a garden in Canterlot may not have been pleasant, but she was happy to know there was somewhere she could retreat to if it all got too much, and the lake sounded worth exploring.

“Anyway, we’ll both be seeing it for ourselves soon enough!” Rarity smiled, looking out the window at the passing clouds.

Angel took another measured sip of his carrot juice. He knew exactly what he was looking forward to in the gardens.

The limousine landed gracefully on one of the balconies overlooking Canterlot city. The pegasi chauffeurs unhitched themselves from the harness, one trotting across to the door, pulling it open with his teeth and extending a foreleg towards the the staircase. The other three began unloading the luggage, which was no easy task. Rarity stepped out first, levitating a small pouch of bits from her saddlebags towards the pegasus, who took it and swiftly hid it under his wing before his three colleagues noticed.

Fluttershy peeped out from the open door, staring wide-eyed at the Canterlot Landing Pad. Chariots, balloons and wagons soared above, circling a great spire in the centre of the structure, where several pegasi stood on small cloud platforms, shouting orders and displaying complex signals and commands with their wings. It took a few elbow nudges from Angel before she found the courage to step out after Rarity. She thanked the pegasi, barely audible, and blushed furiously when one of them winked at her in response. Rarity smirked to herself and lead Fluttershy away while the unfortunate pegasus was set upon by a small, angry rabbit.

They took the stairs down to the street level, emerging into the busy streets of Canterlot City. Rarity had visited the city a few times, but to Fluttershy the experience was entirely new. The Gala had taken place solely at the palace, which sat apart from the main city. Ponyville, even at its busiest on market days, was nothing compared to the crowds that went to and fro up the wide, pristine white streets of the capital.

Waiting for them was Falsetto himself, quickly running up and kissing them both on the hoof.

“My dear ladies! I trust your flight was comfortable? Oh! Your bags, allow me to-” He stopped short as he saw the three chauffeurs come crashing down the spiral staircase, landing in a pile of legs, wings and bags.

“... My, you... Certainly came well-prepared, Rarity my dear,” he finished. Rarity frowned at the three pegasi as they tried to untangle themselves.

“Well, a lady must always be prepared,” she replied, gasping as one of the pegasi managed to get up, tipping an over-burdened case that spilt its contents over the cobbles. “Augh! Be more careful with those! Oh, now look, I’ll have to get them all washed...”

Falsetto cringed and turned to Fluttershy, who was watching the scene with a hoof over her mouth.

“Didn’t you bring anything with you?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh, uhm, no, just Angel. I hope it’s alright, but he was very stubborn about coming with me, and I couldn’t bear to see him upset about being left behind...” Angel hopped off the chauffeur’s back on cue and landed on Fluttershy, giving Falsetto a stern glare.

“I’m sure that will be... Just fine! Yes, just... fine,” the earth pony stammered in response. He took his gaze from the rabbit and continued. “You’ll receive full bed and board at the Opera House, of course, as well as your payment. We have a canteen for guest’s refreshments which we use for our own meals between performances. Oh, you don’t have any allergies I should be aware of?”

“N-no, no, I’m fine with just about everything.”

“Excellent, excellent! But if there’s anything you’d really like us to make for you, please don’t hesitate to ask! Your every whim is our command, my dear. I would have no less for my new star singer!”

Fluttershy swallowed, smiling nervously. Fortunately for her, Falsetto turned to help Rarity (or rather, help calm her down) with the luggage. Fluttershy sighed. This was reminding her of that awful week she spent modelling for Photo Finish. Beyond her weekly visits to the spa, she didn’t really enjoy being waited on, hoof and fetlock. It always made her feel that she ought to be helping, or that she was making trouble for them.

Once Rarity’s belongings had been gathered and re-packed, Falsetto decided to walk the pair through Canterlot before they arrived at the Opera House, while the pegasi flew the luggage over. Rarity was in her element, stopping at nearly every clothes store, checking the prices and ‘in’ styles. She squeaked with delight when, in passing ‘Best of the Best Boutique’, she saw her own designs were still being showcased alongside Hoity Toity’s own.

Fluttershy was admiring the city’s own beauty. Ponyville was distinctly Earth Pony in style, and Cloudsdale, like all pegasus cities, had those Classical leanings, but Canterlot was unmistakably a city for unicorns. Towering pillars, tiled and glazed in bright, vibrant colours, and topped with domes of shining gold, brass, copper and silver. The streets were all paved, in what looked like rough-hewn marble. The brilliant sun above was almost dazzling as it reflected off the whitewashed walls and glass windows. As they passed a pet store, she dragged Rarity and Falsetto aside to look at the exotic species for sale from all corners of Equestria, and beyond.

Her nervousness at her arrival melted away as the ‘tour’ continued, leaving the markets and shops and passing through Canterlot’s central park. There were nearly as many different flowers, trees and animals here as in Celestia’s own at the palace, and they spent a good two hours or more just enjoying all the sights, sounds and scents of the city.

“And here we are! Breathtaking, isn’t she?” Falsetto waved a hoof at the Opera House, a twinkle in his eye.

Both Fluttershy and Rarity were taken aback. They were immediately reminded of the night of the Gala, stepping out of their carriage and being struck by the sheer splendour and beauty of the Princess’ palace, but the Canterlot Opera House had a splendour all its own.

The façade before them stretched higher than the Town Hall in Ponyville, adorned in columns that sat in pairs, framing balconies overlooking the streets. Over each balcony was a burnished copper statue, every one unique and expertly crafted. Over one sat a roaring griffon, another bore an effigy of a unicorn stallion entwined with an earth pony mare. Pegasi stood with wings outstretched and hooves against the sky with looks of determination in their eyes. One in particular caught Fluttershy’s eye; a pony that, from the waist down, was scaled like a fish, its coiled tail resting on the crest of a wave.
On the layer above the balconies rested the crests of the Royal Princesses, half bearing Celestia’s sun, and the other half decorated with Luna’s crescent moon. On the far left and right corners of the façade stood golden statues of the Princesses themselves, Celestia on the left and Luna to the right. Between them was a great dome covered in copper, and topped with a weather vane styled after the combined sun and moon of the Princesses. Rarity noted, with some interest, that the Luna crests and statue seemed more recent additions.

Falsetto smiled at their reactions, leading them up the steps and under the arches of the façade to the mahogany and glass double doors that served as the entrance to the foyer.

The foyer was just as breathtaking as the façade, if not more so. Rarity’s sources had been correct, the walls were indeed covered in gold leaf, with golden foals peeping out from behind golden trees and vines that twisted and grew over golden sconces. The floor of the foyer was polished pink marble, and bore not a single crack for the thousands of hooves that had crossed it over the years.

The ceiling was painted with scenes from Equestrian myth, all in exquisite detail. A dragon even reached down from the painting, his sculptured neck and head holding a chandelier that reflected the light of a hundred candles.

Beyond was the Grand Staircase, which took up almost half the room. Steps carved from the same pink marble as the floor lead up and away from the foyer, into the hallways surrounding the auditorium, and also down into the actor’s quarters and storerooms. Sitting on the central landing, in front of another set of double doors leading into the stalls, was a statue of Princess Luna, resplendent in an evening gown as she raised the moon.

“Falsetto, darling... I notice all these statues and emblems of Princess Luna seem newer than the rest of the building, why is that?” Rarity asked, her curiosity getting the better of her.

“Oh! Didn’t I tell you? Princess Luna is our patron! … Or should that be matron? Either way, its from her generous gifts that I can afford to keep this place open! In honour of her return to Equestria, we had the new statues crafted immediately, at Princess Celestia’s behest, no less. Princess Luna has quite a passion for the arts, you know, not to mention the sciences...” Falsetto replied, as he led them up the staircase.

“Sciences? That would explain the abacus...” Rarity looked back, glancing at the lovingly carved mathematical implement that rested at Luna’s hooves.

“Princess Luna insisted.” Falsetto smirked.

He led them through the doors at the top of the staircase, into the hallways, pointing out features as he went.

“Customers who’ve paid for box seats come through here, and as you can see there are doors along that wall leading to the boxes. Each is entirely separate from the others for the sake of privacy. Oh, let me show you, while I think of it. There’s no better view of the auditorium than from the box seats!” Falsetto pushed a door, only to find it locked. He frowned and tried pulling, to no avail. He walked a little further along and tried the next one, to find it swing open at the lightest touch of his hoof.

“Odd. I wonder why Number Five is locked. They’re only lockable from the inside,” he muttered to himself as he let Rarity and Fluttershy pass into box Number Six.

The auditorium stretched out before them, seeming, if it was possible, more luxurious than the façade and foyer combined.

Rows of scarlet and gold cushioned stalls sat before a vast wooden stage, currently hidden by a single massive curtain that hung from the outstretched hooves of pegasi in the ceiling above. On either side of each box was a statue of a pony, covered, like almost every available surface, in gold leaf. Anything that wasn’t gold was covered in the same scarlet fabric that made up the curtain.

Above everything hung the centrepiece of the auditorium, the Grand Chandelier. Once again, Rarity’s sources had not been exaggerating. Every piece that made up the intricately complex array of prisms was a brilliant diamond. They glowed with a light all their own, adding to the light of the hundreds of candles ringed around the tiers of the chandelier. Rarity’s horn itched just being in the presence of so many enchanted gemstones.

Fluttershy, on the other hoof, was just feeling faint.

Falsetto, seemingly satisfied that there was nopony in Box Five, led the girls out and back down the stairs into the storerooms and actors quarters. In comparison to the rest of the Opera House, they were decidedly spartan, consisting of just plain wooden beams and plaster walls illuminated by simple lamps hanging from the rafters.

They were led past hall after hall, catching glimpses of the props in storage, waiting to be wheeled out on stage. Stagehoofs rushed back and forth, checking the inventory and making sure the place was kept clean.

Eventually they found their rooms, Falsetto having managed to get them next to each other at Rarity’s request. He was grateful to find that the pegasi had delivered all her luggage directly to her room, and made a mental note to double whatever it was he’d paid them in the first place.

Fluttershy’s room was luxuriously decorated, and she realised Falsetto had put her and Rarity in the rooms reserved for big name actors, actresses and singers. The bed looked bigger than her own at home, and plusher. Angel leapt off her back and onto it immediately, bouncing on the mattress a few times before nodding at her with approval. She smiled, looking around at the rest of the room. One feature that caught her eye was a full-length mirror against the far wall, that seemed to be fixed to the wall itself. There was also the usual dresser and mirror, and she chuckled to herself, imagining that Rarity was probably already busy arranging her beauty products on her own dresser.

It was only late afternoon, but the trip and tour had left her drained. Stifling a yawn, she clambered onto the bed, curling up. It certainly was plusher than her own. She decided that, since Rarity was likely to be a while unpacking, she may as well take a quick nap.

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