• Published 9th Aug 2011
  • 2,916 Views, 68 Comments

The Pony of the Opera - Miyajima

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

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Act II: Scene I

~ Act II: Scene I ~

Fireworks lit the night sky over Canterlot, spectacular flourishes of red, gold, green, blue, purple, and everything in-between reflecting off the white marble buildings in a dazzling display of colour and light. The explosions echoed off the mountainside, carrying over the whole city. Nopony would get much sleep tonight, but then, barely anypony was trying. All eyes were focused on the Canterlot Opera House as the enchanting display announced the Masque Gala.

Carriage after carriage drew up in front of the Opera’s steps, carrying nobles, aristocrats, patrons of the arts, and a few ponies who just came for the music. Rarity and Fluttershy stood atop the steps, hidden in plain sight behind their masks.

Rarity had worn a simple dress of blue silk, with golden lining, and was hidden behind a matching blue and gold domino mask. A picture of understated elegance.

Fluttershy wore a more elaborate dress of delicate, rose pink fabric and lace, stitched in floral patterns. Her mask covered more of her face, and was designed with a definite theme of flowers in mind, the left eye entirely surrounded by yellow sunflower petals arranged like a bloom. Angel, perched on her back, boasted a black bandit’s mask with a wide brimmed hat and cloak.

Rarity held an embroidered fan in her telekinetic grasp, fanning herself with it as she watched the arrival of the carriages and their occupants, exhanging comments with Fluttershy.

“Oo, that design is very chic. I swear that’s one of Hoity Toity’s. He’ll probably be around himself, somewhere. I can’t imagine he bothered with a mask.” Rarity smirked.

“I like that one. Classical,” Fluttershy replied, indicating a pegasus dressed in a tastefully arranged toga and ancient theatre mask. Rarity nodded in approval, eyes flitting across various other newcomers. They stood a few moments in silence, letting the background chatter of the guests wash over them, punctuated by the occasional bang of a firework, high above.

Rarity was getting a little worried. Twilight had sent the reply back punctually that all five of them would be attending, but there was, as yet, no sign of the apple-shaped coach they were meant to be arriving in. Rarity had their dresses waiting for them, and even included a tuxedo for Spike and a mask for Gummy, and wanted to intercept the carriage as it arrived so that they could dress first and formally arrive in style.

She scanned the line of waiting carriages on the street leading away from the Opera House once again, and finally found what she was looking for. Smiling, she turned to Fluttershy.

“I’ll be back in a little while, Fluttershy. You will be okay here, won’t you?”

“O-oh, yes, I’m fine. It’s lovely seeing all these costumes, and Princess Luna has done a wonderful job of the night sky tonight,” she answered, smiling back. Rarity nodded and slipped away, quickly making her way out of the gates and down the street until she came up to her friends’ carriage.

She smirked as she saw that Caramel and Blues had, once again, been roped into pulling it. They were busy debating with each other over whether they ought to start charging for taxi services, and failed to see Rarity as she approached. Spike, however, sitting atop the carriage, was more observant, and immediately pulled hard on the reigns. Blues and Caramel halted their discussion to glare up at him, but he ignored it, too enraptured to see what was, unmistakably, Rarity standing before him.

“Rarity!” he exclaimed, jumping down and bowing low. She lifted her mask and curtsied, and extended a hoof for him to kiss, smiling. He gratefully did so.

Twilight, hearing Spike, stuck her head out of the window. “Oh, Rarity! You look amazing!”

“Oh, merely fabulous, darling,” Rarity replied, smiling still. Spike rushed across to get the door, and soon Rarity was in the coach with the others as it made its way through a side-street on a new course for the Opera House’s service entrance.

“I’ve made you all gowns for the Gala tonight, I just know they’re going to suit you all perfectly! We’ll get you suited up first, then come back around the front to greet Fluttershy, she’ll be waiting for us at the front entrance. She still doesn’t know that I invited you all, so this should be quite a surprise for her!”

Less than an hour later, the group were decked out in their costumes, and making a second approach of the front gates. The traffic had thinned, as most of the guests had arrived, and they soon drew up to the steps of the Opera House.

Spike, now in full white tie, opera cloak, and mask, carefully jumped down onto the cobbles and opened the door of the carriage for the girls. As they stepped out and began ascending the steps, one by one, Fluttershy spotted them.

Leaping into the air and gliding across the stone railings and hedges that bordered the entrance porch, she landed beside Rarity and Twilight, leading the troupe.

“Girls! I didn’t know you were coming!” she exclaimed, smiling broadly, as she enveloped each of them in turn in a hug.

“Well, y’didn’ think we were gonna miss yer show naw, didja, Sugarcube?” Applejack replied, the strong drawl seeming strange coming from so well-dressed a mare. Rarity glanced over her shoulder at the farmer, glaring a little, and Applejack smirked back.

“Yeah! Besides, I love opera! Been wanting to come here for years!” Rainbow added, taking to the air and hovering around the group. “Not so thrilled about the clothes, tho’. Do I really have to wear all this, Rarity? I can barely keep airborne!”

“Yes you do, Rainbow Dash, and kindly don’t hover like that! It’s impolite!”

“Psh. Fine.” she rolled her eyes, dropping back onto all four hooves.

“I think you all look lovely! And I’m so happy to see you all... Pinkie! You even brought Gummy!” Fluttershy said as she hugged the pink pony at the back of the line, who was trying her hardest not to bounce.

Gummy peeked out of Pinkie’s mane, which Rarity had given up on trying to style. He, too, was wearing a mask.

“Uh-huh! Gummy loves opera too! He wants to be a tenor singer, but I think he’s more of a baritone, personally. Does a great rendition of The Marriage of Fig Roll, don’t ya Gummy?”


“Come on, girls! Let’s get inside! I can’t wait for the performance!” Twilight interjected before Gummy was able to get in voice, hurrying them up the final steps and into the Grand Foyer. Heads turned and began whispering as the six entered, and Rarity smirked to herself to see that her work had the desired effect.

Each was, of course, wearing an original, designed by the fashionista herself. Twilight was arrayed in pale gold silk, the same material Rarity had previously designed as cloak lining, that caught the light of the lamps and dazzled onlookers. Her mask, royal purple and gold trim, bore a detail of her cutie mark over one eye, made out in semi-precious stones.

Applejack wore a more robust dress of earthy colours, with a white chemise. Leaves were embroidered around the back hem of the dress and stitched with green thread, and her mask bore a more natural design, reminiscent of an apple tree’s leaves. Perhaps most dazzling of all, she had washed and arranged her hair in the style of her Aunt Orange, for what was probably the first time since she was a filly.

Pinkie Pie was definitely channelling a little of the Harlequin in her outfit. The main body of the dress was a darker shade of purple picked out to off-set her rather bright pink hue. The front half the dress bore stitched checker patterns of blue and red, which carried over to her mask. Her hair, untameable as ever, fell slightly over her left eye, contrasting the mask. Gummy was perched at the top of her mane, drinking in the culture. Possibly.

Finally, Rainbow Dash. Rainbow was... Not particularly happy with her dress, although she didn’t dare voice the complaint. At least, not too loudly. Rarity had chosen to put her in black, and then chosen to make the sleeves of the front legs puffy like Canterlot fashions of old. It bore no designs, being just a simple, and altogether elegant, gown. Rainbow just wished it was more... form-fitting. Dresses weren’t really her thing at the best of times, but she decided to put up with it for Rarity’s sake. Her mask was simply black, like her dress, but bore the rainbow-coloured thunderbolt of her cutie mark over the right eye, stretching from the forehead to the cheek.

The six friends fitted into the crowd around them at the opera perfectly. Of course, the ‘Masque’ part of the Masque Gala was more a formality than anything else, the six mares who had caused such mayhem at the Grand Galloping Gala were unmistakable, no matter what their guise. The only thing that kept many of the nobles from storming out in protest was just arriving in her royal chariot.

Amidst cheers and a new flurry of fireworks, the Princesses Celestia and Luna drew up to the foot of the façade steps. There was certainly no mistaking the Royal Alicorns, but they, too, had dressed for the occasion. Celestia’s half-mask was the sun, in gold and burnished bronze, sitting over her left eye, while her dress of white silk was as bright as the dawn. Luna, complementing her sister, wore a half-mask in the shape of a crescent moon, studded with diamonds, over her right eye. Her dress was a dark purple fabric, here and there highlighted by a diamond, and clearly representative of the night sky above.

They disembarked, and, to the amazement and hushed whispers of many, Luna led the way up the steps, followed by her sister.

“Her Royal Highness, Princess Luna of Equestria, Ruler of the Night and Patron of the Arts!”

Luna nodded her head to the onlookers as they stamped their hooves on the marble flooring in thunderous applause.

“And her sister, Princess Celestia of Equestria, Ruler of the Day and Bringer of Harmony!”

Celestia stood beside and slightly behind her sister, nodding too at the assembled guests. Luna raised a hoof, and when the crowd had silenced, began to speak.

“Our most beloved subjects, we come to you tonight not as your rulers, but as fellow guests and lovers of the arts! Please, be at ease. My sister and I are delighted to still see such an interest in the ancient forms of culture, and perhaps myself most of all, for it was I who first inspired it!” The Princess looked around her at the grandeur of the building, the magnificent costumes of the guests, and finally, at the statue of herself atop the staircase, smiling.

“The Canterlot Royal Opera House has stood on this site for over a thousand years, in many forms, and now today, we visit it once more on the eve of a new opera, one I hope will join the famed works of artists past, and live forever in the memories of ponykind!”

The applause continued for over a minute as the Princesses made their way into the main foyer to greet Falsetto, who was wearing a costume reminiscent of a Buffalo. When Celestia passed Twilight, she winked at her pupil under her mask, mouthing ‘never a night off!’

Twilight smiled and bowed, heading over to the buffet to join Pinkie and Applejack. The former was hungrily devouring the entrées, and the latter was critically inspecting them. Gummy, unattended, leered at the punch bowl, and when one of the caterers tried in vain to swat him away, he latched onto the pony’s hoof and clung on as best as his toothless grip could allow.

Twilight scuttled over and gently pried him off with her magic, smiling apologetically as the caterer stomped off in a huff. Placing Gummy safely on Pinkie’s back, she took a look at the food on offer for herself.

“My, these certainly look fancy. … A bit too fancy, perhaps, I’m not even sure what they are!” she said, frowning.

“Who caresh!? They’re gfhreat!” Pinkie replied through a mouthful of hors d’oeuvres, grabbing yet another. Applejack peered down her nose at the trays, glaring.

“It’s jus’ a waste of good, decen’ food, dressin’ it all up like tha’ an’ makin’ it all ‘hoity-toity’.” she picked up a small, round thing topped with a daisy, waving it at Twilight. “S’like this, here. S’jus’ a daisy, some pastry, cheese, an’ apple, all whipped up inta somethin’ ta make yer think yer eatin’ all fancy an’ posh-like. S’wasteful, s’what it is.” She put the canapé back on the tray, disdainfully.

“Yeah!” Rainbow chimed in, swallowing her mouthful, “These are alright, but I’d rather a real meal.”

Twilight levitated one to her mouth and took a bite, chewing thoughtfully. “They’ve got a certain something about them, anyway. I guess it’s more what people expect at an event like this.”

“I say, madam, would you be so kind as to pass me a mango vol-au-vent?” interrupted a stallion’s voice beside Applejack. The stallion in question was dressed in a mango-orange suit, and hiding behind a particularly mango-themed mask.

To Twilight’s surprise, Applejack turned and, unexpectedly, curtsied to him.

“Why, of course, sir. I must say, they are simply delightful!” she said, in a perfect, cultured Manehattenite accent, before daintily taking the tray in her teeth and passing it across to the stallion. He took one gratefully, and winked at her. She returned the favour, followed by the tray.

Twilight watched him disappear back into the crowd with a raised eyebrow.

“... What was all that about?”

“Oh, le’s jus’ say he an’ I have an’... understandin’, sugarcube.”

The evening wore on, as food was politely nibbled by most (and guzzled by others). Toasts were made, and dances performed. Throughout it all, Rarity had been remaining mostly out of sight, observing a guest she found to be strangely suspicious; a stallion dressed in an elaborate red suit and cloak, wearing a particularly macabre mask. She knew what it was meant to represent; this guest, whoever he was, was the Masque of the Red Death.

Like the specter of the story, he strode among the crowds with purpose, head held high, but features fully obscured behind that skull-like façade. Other ponies gave him a wide berth, they too understanding the symbolism of the costume. They murmured among themselves, but none dared approach the stallion, nor could they guess his identity.

Rarity watched him as he made his way across the hall, disappearing, only to re-appear again on the stroke of each passing hour. It was around midnight when she saw him appear once more, and pointed him out to Fluttershy, standing with her.

“Do you see that one over there?” she said, turning to her friend, who had noticeably stiffened at the sight of the costume. “... Fluttershy? Are you alright?”

The pegasus didn’t reply, staring at the stallion as he crossed the room once again. Rarity raised an eyebrow, and looked between the mysterious guest and her friend.

“... Fluttershy?” she tried again, this time snapping her out of it. She blinked, blushed, and mumbled something inaudible before hastily vanishing into the crowd, leaving behind a confused Rarity.

The unicorn frowned, watching the back of the stallion, his billowing red cloak disappearing into a doorway on the opposite side of the hall.

“Something’s funny here.” she reasoned, “and Fluttershy knows what. I haven’t seen hide nor hair of our friend the ghost, but...”

Her eyes widened as the pieces fell into place. She quickly and carefully threaded her way through the crowd, and into the doorway where her quarry had just entered. She saw the end of the cloak as it slipped around a corner, and hurried after it.

Rounding the corner, she saw the specter at the far end of the corridor and called after him. He stopped momentarily, ear twitching, then ran. Rarity, suspicions confirmed, cantered down the corridor. She followed him as he ran down the stairwell, into the lower confines of the Opera House, the rat’s nest of corridors and dorms that made up the real heart of the building.

Each time she gained on him, he turned a corner or darted down another corridor, speeding away, always too fast for her to stop him with her magic or grab onto his cloak. She was beginning to become disorientated, she was sure that they must have left the Opera House proper and descended into the old foundations on which the building sat, judging by the stone walls, damp air, and sputtering torches.

Finally, he turned, bringing the chase to a halt. His eyes caught the dim light of the single torch that lit that length of tunnel, and shone through the holes in his mask. He locked his glare with Rarity’s, the mare unrelenting in her pursuit.

“Leave, now. Do not tempt me,” he snarled, tossing aside his cloak and revealing, hanging by his side, a gleaming sword.

“You’re the Opera Ghost,” Rarity replied, unflinching, cautiously scanning the area for something she could use to defend herself if things turned ugly. “You’ve been terrorizing the ponies of this establishment for far too long! Now I’ve found you, and you’ll come back with me and stop all this... hiding in the shadows.”

The Opera Ghost grinned, a ghastly grimace that only added to the effect of his skeletal mask.

“I think not, dear lady. The world above shunned me once, and would shun me still. I remain here, in my Opera, surrounded by my sweet Music. Leave me here, alone!”

Too quick, he had drawn his blade, with a dexterity rarely seen in earth ponies, forced as they are to hold such implements in their mouths. With one swift stroke, he snuffed out the light of the torch, plunging them both into darkness, and retreated to the sound of echoing hoof steps and splashing water, deeper into the tunnels.

Rarity had no time to react, and fumed. Forming a light at the end of her horn, she looked about for the escaped stallion, but he was already both beyond sight and hearing. She turned, and slowly retraced her steps to the party that danced on above, unaware of the world below their hooves, and the phantoms that resided there.

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