• Published 2nd Feb 2013
  • 17,858 Views, 1,033 Comments

The Opera Phantom Discord - Alexandrite Ward



Fluttershy's father is captured by the villianous Discord, Phantom of the Opera! Can she save him while being pursued by the handsome and charming Prince Blueblood?

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Stories

Stories

She was a vision; a vision in white with the sun gleaming behind her. He couldn't breathe; she was so beautiful.

She stood facing him, her face a blur, but the closer he came, the more he could see her face. It radiated light, warmth, beauty, and all the other things he yearned for but would never have. Her arms were stretched out to him, beckoning him to come to her. Her lips moved, but he could not hear her words.

He moved closer and closer, yet she still seemed far away. He gasped when the vision before him changed. The white flowing gown that she wore began to cling to her body...a beautiful delicious body from what he could tell; soft body, round hips, luscious thighs...he wanted her unlike anything he had ever wanted before. The vision was changing; the light disappeared and was replaced by rain. The rain was the cause for her gown to cling to her beautiful body. He then noticed that it was not a gown she wore...but a thin slip and corset, which deliciously displayed the flesh beneath. "My angel..." she whispered.

Angel? Him? Impossible, for in truth, she was the angel...yes, for nothing of this world could be so beautiful. But her smile disappeared; she began to shiver and her expression changed from one of happiness and desire to one of fear. Then her ear piercing scream filled his ears the same moment he heard the gun go off...

Discord awoke with a start, gasping and drenched in sweat. He looked wildly around him, searching frantically for familiarity and realized that he was in his own bed. It had been a dream...simply a dream. A throbbing pain spread throughout his chest and he glanced down at the bandage. Now he remembered everything...

"Master?" he glanced up at the voice that came from the entryway of his bedchamber. Rarity emerged, holding a small tray in her hooves. "Ah! I am pleased that you are awake!" she said with more cheerfulness than Discord could take. "I have brought you some soup to which I added a few herbs...special herbs that I believe will help with the pain."

He ignored her words and threw the blankets off. Rarity frowned at Discord's behavior. She gasped when she realized what he truly had in mind the second she saw him attempt to swing his legs over the edge of the bed. "What do you think you're doing?" she gasped, rushing over to stop him.

"Out of my way mare," he growled, hissing back the pain that was searing through him as he attempted to lean forward.

"Master, you are in no condition to be walking about!" Rarity scolded, attempting to stop him from going any further. "Please, you must lie back and relax! It's the only way we can be sure that you'll heal properly!"

Despite the pain that he was feeling, Discord refused to listen. "I…am…not staying…in this bed!" he groaned between jabs of pain. His feet touched the floor, but his legs could not even begin to hold him and he toppled back onto the bed. "DAMNATION!" he swore.

Rarity clucked her tongue and began to draw the blankets up to his chest again. "Master, you have no strength, you've been sleeping the whole day and have not eaten anything since the day before! You are in condition to be-"

"I KNOW VERY WELL WHAT MY CONDITION IS!" he roared, causing Rarity to practically topple over by the power of his voice. He regretted it instantly, as the pain split across his chest. "Please," he groaned, "I…I have an opera to run…"

"All in good time," Rarity grumbled, tucking him back in. This time his only protests came from his mouth. She was grateful he was not attempting to rise again.

"No, I…I must see to things, be sure that…those bloody managers are…are not ruining my theater!" he groaned.

"First things first," Rarity said matter of factly, bringing the tray of soup she had brought to his bedside. "You need to eat in order to regain any strength."

"Later."

"No, now," she insisted with an edge of force to her voice. She was the tiniest one out of all of them, but she was also a force to be reckoned with. "Come now Master, eat up."

She had taken the spoon and was leaning as close as she could with it to his mouth. Discord grumbled his disgust at her gesture. "I can feed myself!" he snapped before snatching the spoon from her hooves. "I may have been shot, but there is nothing wrong with my head!"

Rarity hid the grin that was threatening to spread across her features as she watched Discord gobble down his soup like a greedy filly, grumbling here and there while he ate. Yes, he would soon be back to his normal "charming" self. "The herbs will help," she happily whispered. "I have a whole pot brewing, and I intend to have you drain every last drop."

Discord grimaced. "If I am to be confined to this bed for a lengthy period of time, I at least think I have the right to compose, do you not agree?" he grumbled.

Rarity smiled slightly and went to fetch him some parchment and ink while he finished his soup. "There you are Master…and do not fret so, in a few days you'll be as good as new," she added warmly, pleased that he had drained the bowl as she had hoped. "I'll fetch you another bowl at once."

Discord said nothing; he simply put on a sulk. Rarity knew he was grateful for the soup and for the healing herbs especially, but she also knew that when Discord was in a mood, cordiality was the last thing to expect. He watched the little mare turn to leave, and then called out to her before she was gone.

"Where's the mare?"

Rarity paused, her back still to Discord. "You mean Fluttershy? For that is her-"

"Yes, yes, I know that is her name…this is my theater, is it not?" he muttered. "I know more about her than you may have thought…I know that she's the violinist's daughter, I know that she's from the country, I know that she's rather smart with a needle and thread-"

"Did you know that she has dreams of singing?" Rarity interrupted, turning to face him.

Discord rolled his eyes. "All mares who come to the Maris Opera House believe themselves to be great singers…and many of them are not, as we have good proof," he growled, thinking about how much he wanted to strangle Fleur de Lis. "Now, answer my question, where is she?"

"She's with Shortround and Derpy in the northwest cavern," Rarity explained. Discord simply snorted to the news, however his body seemed to relax somewhat. Rarity nibbled her lip. "I…I've been meaning to ask you Master…what shall we do with her?"

The relaxation was gone. Discord's brow furrowed at the question. "What do you mean?"

"Well…" Rarity placed the tray back down and came back to his bedside. "It seems that…that well…Fluttershy will be with us for…quite some time, would you not agree?" He didn't say anything, simply stared right back at Rarity, his expression dark and exasperated. "What I mean to say is…I do not think the costume cages are…suitable shall we say, to a young mare…w-w-would you not agree…master?" she didn't dare look up into his eyes, she could feel them burning through her.

"And did you have any…suggestions, my dear mare?" he asked, his voice dark and dangerously low. His whole world was being turned upside down from one mare.

"Well, as a matter of fact, I…that is, myself, Shortround, and Derpy, thought…perhaps she could stay in our quarters? We have beds, and…well, I'm sure we can find something suitable for her around here, if not above in the dressing rooms-"

"No," Discord said, his voice dark and unreadable. Rarity was surprised by his quick dismissal of her idea.

"Master…you can't…you can't expect her to simply be locked away! She won't run away again, at least…I don't believe she will, besides, she's injured-"

Discord's eyes went wide at Rarity's news. "What?" he asked, sitting up a little too fast and groaning as he felt the pain hit him like a stone. "What do you mean injured? How?"

"Oh, not badly Master," Rarity quickly explained, although she was surprised by his reaction. He still did not relax. "Her leg was cut, that's all, but I was able to tend it, nothing more than a scratch I assure you."

Discord relaxed somewhat, however the concern that was written across his face did not disappear so easily. "I am glad that you have helped her," he whispered, not meeting Rarity's questioning gaze. "And…when I said 'no' earlier, I had not yet finished to what I meant…" For the life of him he had no idea why he was about to say what he was about to say. "I do not want her sleeping in the same quarters that you all share…I…I think it would be easier on her…as well as for everyone else if…if she is given her own place," his voice was practically a whisper when he had finished.

Rarity however and heard every single word. "You…you want us to prepare her… a room?" she asked, making extra sure she was hearing him correctly.

Discord gritted his teeth. "Yes…I think the southeast cavern would be a good place…it's close to the lagoon, and it's small, but warm and dry. I think that would be a very suitable place for her."

Rarity found herself smiling with pride at his words. "I agree Master…I shall tell the others to begin searching for bedding right away-"

"Wait," Discord interrupted. "I know exactly what I want you to fetch for her…"

Rarity's mouth went wide when she read the thought in Discord's eyes. "Oh, but Master, do you think that's wise?"

A wicked grin was beginning to spread across his face. "Oh yes, I think that will do very nicely," he leaned back against the pillows of his bed feeling much better. "I think I will have another bowl of soup Rarity," he said, sounding extremely peculiar. Rarity realized what it was; he sounded somewhat happy.

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"T-t-his one's m-my FAVORITE!" Derpy cried out happily as she shuffled over to Fluttershy with the book in her mouth. Fluttershy smiled up at her and took the book to have a look at the title.

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame?" she read. "Oh yes! Rarity told me you loved this story…" she looked at Derpy with a warm smile and wondered how on earth she could have screamed in her face earlier. She wasn't fearsome looking at all to be honest. She was large, and hunched over but…she wasn't frightening to say the least. And as she sat there with both her and Derpy…she realized just how much more "pony" they were than most she had encountered in her life above.

Derpy plopped herself down right next to Fluttershy, who was sitting on a blanket on the cavern floor, grinning as she opened the book. "H-h-have you r-r-r-read it?" she asked, stuttering from her excitement.

Fluttershy smiled at him. "I know of the book, but I confess I have never read it."

"It's w-w-w-w-wonderful!" she exclaimed! "There's a h-h-hunchback bell ringer, he l-lives in the bell t-t-tower high above Maris…a-a-a-and a b-beautiful gypsy mare…she f-f-falls in love with him!"

Fluttershy's smile faded somewhat. While she had never read the book, she knew that was not how the story went. Truth be, the hunchback died and Esmeralda fell in love with a handsome stallion. However, she had a feeling that Rarity had "altered" certain parts of the story for her. "It sounds lovely," Fluttershy whispered, feeling that she would enjoy Derpy's version much more than Hugo's. "Perhaps one day you can read it to me?"

Derpy blushed. "I…I c-c-can only r-read a little," she confessed, looking down at her hooves. "B-b-b-but Shortround is t-t-t-teaching me!"

Fluttershy looked over her shoulder at the dwarf, who was sitting on a rock, with a small worn leather-bound book in his hooves. "Shortround r-r-reads alot," Derpy explained. "He was r-r-raised in a m-m-m-mon…m-m-mon…"

"Monastery," Shortround finished. Fluttershy's look of surprise gave him cause to smile. "I never knew my parents," he explained. "I think it was easier on them to leave their 'freak of a son' with someone else than raise him themselves."

Fluttershy bit her lip at the revelation. "I…I'm so sorry," she whispered. She couldn't imagine what it may have felt like to be abandoned.

Shortround, however, continued smiling. "Oh don't be, I have no regrets," he stated quite sincerely. "In fact, I'm very thankful for my upbringing, truly. The monks that took me in were very kind, and it was through them that I received a wonderful education; I do not know if my parents could have done that. And through their kind and charitable example, I have come to accept myself and believe that I am not an abomination of the pony race." He smiled at this, and proceeded to continue reading the page he was just on.

Fluttershy found herself smiling at his words. "How then did you come to be here?"

"We w-w-were in a c-c-carnival!" Derpy exclaimed. "But t-the Master, he-"

"Derpy!" Shortround hissed, quickly quieting the pony who bit her lip, realizing that she was telling too much. Fluttershy had paled at Derpy's first words; a carnival. Had they…were they all on display? A surge of anger shot through her as she imagined poor Derpy with her sweet nature being forced to show off her body for the wealthy upper classes, and Shortround with all his great intelligence, being reduced to less than an animal for the viewing pleasure of others. Truly…they were not the freaks of this world.

"Still here, I see," came a low grumble from the shadows. Fluttershy glanced up to see Rainbow Dash emerge from the darkness and felt a cold chill run down her spine. Of all the Phantom's servants, she was the one that still frightened her. Rarity, Derpy and Shortround had shown nothing but kindness to her, but Rainbow Dash…Rainbow Dash wanted nothing to do with her, and she was making it extremely plain.

"I w-was s-s-s-showing her my f-f-favorite books!" Derpy exclaimed happily, pointing at a pile that was on the ground next to Fluttershy. After tending to Discord, Rarity encouraged Derpy to take Fluttershy to the northwest cavern, the place that she soon learned was where they all slept. Compared to the Phantom's chambers, it was extremely humble…but it held a warm inviting glow that oddly enough reminded her of home back in the country. Like the Phantom's chambers, the cavern had plush Persian rugs that aligned its floors, and pieces of beautiful cloth that hung from its walls. In the center of the room, was a small fire pit with a kettle boiling over a healthy fire. There were four beds, each as different as the four seasons of the year. Shortround's bed was a hammock of deep green cloth that hung between two tall skinny boulders. Derpy's was a boat, with all the seats removed, replaced by blankets and pillows. Naturally it was the only thing that could fit her great size. Rainbow Dash's bed seemed to be a pile of mattresses and blankets thrusted back in a dark corner; fitting for her, she thought. And Rarity's bed actually looked like a bed one would find in a house, clean and soft. Each corner was also marked by the distinct personalities of each person. Derpy had pictures of animals and piles of books near her bed, whereas Shortround had a small pile of books, and an old wooden cross near his. Rarity had a spinning wheel beside her place, with several yards of fabric, and Rainbow Dash…Rainbow Dash's space was bare; a mystery to enhance her already dark persona.

Yes, out of all of them, Rainbow Dash still caused her blood to run cold. Unlike the others, Rainbow Dash's deformity was not one she was born with. She was tall, but skinny. Her hair hung limply from her head. Her hair wasn't normal though, and Fluttershy understood that was where Rainbow Dash had gotten her name. She wore a tattered gray hat and tattered trousers. She wore no shirt, and her ears, lips, and nose were covered with piercings. Fluttershy flinched when she saw her body, imagining the pain she must feel. Why would anyone do anything like that to oneself? She would never understand…and she could not see herself having the courage to ask Rainbow Dash why.

Perhaps the most frightening thing about Rainbow Dash was her back left hoof…or lack thereof. Rainbow Dash's left hoof was gone…replaced with a think piece of wood that looked as if somepony long ago had shoved into her skin. Indeed, skin from her hoof seemed to be growing along the edges of the wood; she had to look away for fear that she would be sick.

Rainbow Dash snorted in disgust to Derpy's exuberance over showing Fluttershy her book collection. "Isn't it time that she's placed back in her cage?" she asked Shortround.

"Rarity s-s-said that she c-could s-s-stay here…w-w-w-with us!"

Rainbow Dash paled at Derpy's joyful words. "WHAT!"

Fluttershy flinched to Rainbow Dash's bark. She wasn't entirely thrilled with sleeping in the same place with her either, but the cavern was much warmer than the cage she had originally been placed in.

Rainbow Dash looked at Fluttershy with coldness and growled, "Why can't the Master simply kill her like all the others?"

Fluttershy paled at her words, which was the exact reaction she was seeking. She couldn't help but chuckle evilly. Shortround however sent Rainbow Dash a look full of warning, to which the mare with the wood leg swore, before stalking off to her pile of mattresses and collapsing on top of the heap.

"Don't mind Rainbow Dash," Shortround said to Fluttershy just loud enough that Rainbwo Dash could hear. "She's always in a foul mood, that's her true deformity."

"At least I don't believe in absolute rubbish!" Rainbow Dash hissed from her dark corner.

"My faith is not rubbish!" Shortround snapped. "How dare you-"

"I see that filly behavior is running rampant this evening," Rarity grumbled as she entered the cavern. Shortround sent Rainbow Dash one more angry look before turning away. Rainbow Dash simply grinned to herself before placing her tattered hat over her eyes.

"How's the Master?" Shortround asked, lowering himself down to cavern floor.

"Much better, although I had to stop him from getting up," she groaned, sitting herself down on the edge of her own bed. "The Master is too concerned with the Opera House than with his own health," she muttered, rubbing her tired aching hooves. "The only way to get him to stay was bring him parchment and ink so he could compose," she rolled her eyes. "If I hear one note coming from that organ, I swear, I will steal his parchment back!"

Fluttershy had her legs tucked under her chin while she listened to Rarity's complaints about the Phantom. How curious, she thought. Had it only been a little over 24 hours that she had believed the infamous opera ghost was a myth? In her brief time there she had learned he was a draconequus; an almost mythological creature native to Persia, which explained the Persian style of his home. He was a frightening creature, but…a creature with a family of sorts, a creature with a love for music.

She remembered the night before when she had been hiding in his chambers and saw him play at his organ with more passion than she had ever seen anyone exhibit over music. Her blood went warm at the memory of watching his large skilled paw and claw fly over the organ keys; he pounded his spirit upon them, and yet there was also a strange gentleness he displayed with the instrument. "My dear?" Fluttershy blushed and looked up from her perch on the floor, realizing that Rarity was talking to her. "Are you alright?" she asked. "You seem…distant."

Fluttershy could feel her cheeks burning pink. "I was…just…well, I-"

"Thinking about your father?" Rarity asked, her eyes filling with sympathy for the mare.

Her father. Fluttershy wondered what had become of him. She had vowed to take his place for the Phantom in return for his life to be spared. Had that happened? Had the Phantom truly set her father free? Or had it all been a trick? A vicious trick to lure her into his trap while keeping her father prisoner in a different area of the Phantom's underground lair, or worse, killing him? After all, it was Rainbow Dash, a mare who had no toleration for outsiders, who had been ordered to remove her father…even if the Phantom ordered him to set the stallion free, would Rainbow Dash have done that?

"It'll be alright," Rarity murmured, reaching out and patting Fluttershy's shoulder with a reassuring touch. Fluttershy smiled at the pat and knew that her father was free and alive; if he wasn't, she knew that she would have learned from Rarity and the others the truth. Yet she still worried for him…especially as she thought of the sadness he was enduring at the moment over losing her.

"Rainbow Dash! Shortround! Derpy!" I will be in need of some assistance from you," Rarity commanded. Rainbow Dash grumbled her protest to which Rarity immediately ignored. "Come, we need to fetch some things for Mademoiselle Fluttershy," she instructed.

Fluttershy looked at Rarity with confusion while Rainbow Dash's silent protest became quite loud. "WHAT? I am doing nothing for her!" she growled. "Let her sleep in that bloody cage; that was the Master's original orders-"

"The Master has changed his mind," Rarity said through clipped lips, cutting Rainbow Dash's protests off immediately. The mare with the wood leg stared at Rarity, her eyes and mouth wide with shock. "The Master has ordered that we fetch some things from above for Mademoiselle Fluttershy, so that we may create suitable living quarters for her-"

"SUITABLE LIVING QUARTERS?" Rainbow Dash exclaimed. "YOU MEAN HE INTENDS FOR HER TO STAY? WITH US!"

"Yes!" Rarity shouted back, her patience waning greatly. When Fluttershy brought Discord back after the accident, Rainbow Dash disappeared, wailing that a mob would be down in seconds after the whole lot of them, that the Master was going to die, and they would all starve to death, depending if the mob came for them. Her panicking upset Derpy immensely, and when they needed help to care for the Master, he was no where to be found. Now Rainbow Dash was proving to be more of a nuisance as far as Rarity was concerned, with her complaints towards Fluttershy and her ill temper with everyone else. "The Master has instructed that we create a living space for Mademoiselle Fluttershy in the southeastern cavern near the lagoon, and that we begin immediately," she shot a look at Rainbow Dash. "If you don't like it, then go to the Master and inform him of your complaint."

Rainbow Dash said nothing; she simply pushed past the little mare out the cavern entrance. Fluttershy chewed on her lip as she watched the mare stalk out. True, she found her frightening, and the idea of a place away from her sounded pleasing, however, making her hate her even more was the last thing she wanted. "I…I don't want to be a burden, and I fear that I am," she whispered.

"Nonsense," Shortround muttered. "Rainbow Dash is bent on making everyone's lives miserable when she's unhappy…give her time and she'll come around…she's really a good mare." Fluttershy looked at Shortround and found herself feeling reassured by his confidence. It seemed to her that Shortround found the good in every person.

"Come, come, we must fetch these things at once," Rarity clapped her hooves. She then turned to Fluttershy. "My dear, for this night, you shall sleep with us, but I promise you, by tomorrow, you will have your own chamber," she said with a smile.

Fluttershy smiled back, however she felt that this was all happening so fast. One night she was a prisoner in a cage…the next night, she was a guest who would be receiving her own private quarters! Had something happened to change the Phantom so? Perhaps he was taking pity on her for saving his life…however, if he truly pitied her, he could release her. She sighed, knowing that if he did release her from his captivity, she would not go, at least…not until she knew he would be alright.

"Rarity, you have had a trying day, why don't you stay and rest?" Shortround offered.

"Oh, I couldn't possibly-"

"It's alright R-r-r-rarity," Derpy stuttered. "We'll f-f-find items f-f-f-fit for a princess!" she grinned at Fluttershy and blushed slightly when she smiled back.

Rarity opened her mouth to protest, but did not say a word. She had been on her feet all day and evening, keeping watch with Fluttershy over Discord's recovery. He had slept most of the day after they had finished stitching up his wound, yet she remained close by, waiting for him to awake so he could get some food in his system. "I won't argue," she admitted. "My hooves are hurting quite badly."

"Then you stay and we shall fetch the items the Master wishes us to find," Shortround smiled. "And if he is instructing us to go above…then…well, there is only one place I can conceive that the Master would insist upon…"

Rarity could only grin. "You would not be wrong."

Shortround nodded his head and lead Derpy out of the cavern. Rainbow Dash, who had appeared to have stalked off, was truly waiting for them outside the cavern, and her voice filled with complaints when he saw them emerge. "About bloody time!" she groaned.

Fluttershy watched as her new friends left both her and Rarity behind in the small cavern. "Can I get you anything?" Fluttershy asked, as the mare climbed into her bed. "Some tea perhaps? I could boil some over the fire for you, it would be no trouble."

Rarity smiled at Fluttershy's offer. "You are very kind my dear, but I am fine," she then pointed to a small pile of mattresses and rags nearby. "I'm afraid that was the best I could do at the moment for a temporary bed," she sighed. "I'm sorry my dear, it will be for only one night," she reassured.

Fluttershy smiled back. "It will be far warmer and softer than the floor of that cage."

Rarity smiled faintly at Fluttershy's words, but frowned as well. "I'm sorry you had to endure that my dear…I can understand why that experience, as well as being parted with your father…and all the stories I'm sure you've heard above, would have tainted your view of the Master."

Fluttershy was wiping dust off the blankets of her bed while Rarity spoke. She paused and chewed on her lip some more. "I will not deny that…I found your Master to be a bit of a…of a…"

"A monster?"

Fluttershy looked down at her feet. "I'm sorry, I-"

Rarity clucked her tongue. "Nothing to apologize for my dear, that is the image the Master wishes to express. However, I never truly believed him capable of monstrous behavior till I saw him take you prisoner and order you to be placed in that cage," she grumbled coldly. "I know that may sound strange…after all, those stories that you've heard of the Master killing intruders…they are not pure acts of fiction."

Fluttershy felt her blood run cold. She knew she shouldn't be surprised by such news, after all, her father was trapped and it seemed the Phantom had every indication of murdering him. So why was she affected so? Why did it bother her to think of him as a villain?

"The stories are greatly exaggerated, however," Rarity clarified. "I know that the stagehooves and dance mares make it sound like masses of ponies have come below and have lost their lives at the Phantom's wrath…but if that were the truth, do you think that they would not have stormed down here seeking the murderer?" Rarity did have a point, Fluttershy could not argue that. "Truth is, only a handful of stallions have ventured below and have lost their lives; these caverns and tunnels have been carefully booby trapped to stop any trespasser. Most of the traps are simply designed to scare people away, or perhaps cause a minor injury, nothing serious. However, some are designed to do more…" she shuddered. "The Master is more than simply a musical genius, he is an inventor as well, and has designed some of the most elaborate contraptions you have ever seen!" She found herself smiling with pride as she told Fluttershy the tale. Then her smile faded once again to a frown. "However, I…I know that does not excuse the Master for what some of his contraptions have done…"

Fluttershy agreed with Rarity; nothing could excuse murder, however…after getting to know the ponies who lived below with the Phantom…she began to understand why such precautions were being made. "Forgive me…I understand if this is something you do not wish to discuss, and I will not raise it again-"

"You wish to know how we came to be here?" Rarity asked, her eyes shining with understanding. "I'm an old mare my dear, I know a curious face when I see one."

Fluttershy blushed deeply. "It's just…well, Derpy started to tell me something about a carnival…but Shortround quickly shushed her."

"Ahh yes," Rarity sighed, before waving her hoof for Fluttershy to come closer. She immediately obeyed, picking up one of the blankets she had dusted and drawing it over to Rarity's bedside. "Well…what Derpy was going to tell you is true…there was a carnival…and that was how we all knew each other."

Fluttershy looked down at her hooves which were clasped tightly together. "Was it…a…a freak show?" she whispered, not caring for the word at all.

Rarity nodded her head. "Unlike the others, I was not kept in a cage constantly. I was more of a servant really. The owners had me move about, fetching things for them, giving them food and drink, picking pockets off the viewers when they were looking upon the others," she muttered in disgust. "At night, they caged me with Derpy, because she would cry in the dark. I was the only one who could keep her calm," she smiled softly at the memory. "Derpy is very much like a daughter to me," she whispered.

Fluttershy smiled at Rarity's words, but felt her anger kindle at the ponies who had treated Rarity and the others like animals. "Besides myself, Rainbow Dash had been there the longest," Rarity continued to explain. "She was not born like that, as I'm sure you could guess. No, she was their first 'freak' put on display. They did that to her body…I remember hearing her cries of anguish whenever they placed a new piercing on her," she shuddered as the memories flooded her. "But even after they the mutilated her body, they still were not satisfied. So they burnt her hoof off her arm-"

Fluttershy gasped. "They burnt her hoof off her?"

Rarity sadly nodded her head. "Yes…and before the wound had time to heal, they rammed that horrid wood into her flesh…" she whispered. "To this day, I can still remember the screams…and the blood, oh God in heaven, there was so much blood."

Fluttershy felt her stomach churn at the thought. All her thoughts towards Rainbow Dash had now changed; she could completely understand why she disliked her and she didn't blame her. She represented the world that had turned her body into a perversion. No, she did not blame Rainbow Dash for her suspicions in regards to her at all.

"Shortround's life was not nearly as harsh," Rarity continued.

"Yes…he told me that he was raised in a monastery," Fluttershy explained.

Rarity nodded her head. "Yes, he was very fortunate," she sighed. "The monks were good to him, they gave him food, warmth, love, and an education," her expression changed suddenly. "However, the Father who was head of the monastery died, and a new one came to take his place. This stallion saw Shortround as an abomination, a punishment for the sinful ways of pony nature," she sighed sadly. "He sold Shortround to the carnival…I remember that day very clearly. He became known as 'half a man', and was forced to perform stunts for the wealthy," she forced a smile, although it was sad. "Still amazes me how despite all that, he is able to find the good in everyone…" She sighed again, her small wrinkled hooves playing with the ends of her blanket. "And Derpy…poor Derpy…"

Fluttershy sniffed back the tears that were already threatening to descend. She was not sure if she could bear hearing Derpy's sad tale.

"Derpy came to us as an infant. Her mother…" she paused for a second to collect herself. "Her mother was a gypsy, barely 16 if I remember correctly. She had been raped and did not wish to keep the babe, especially after seeing her deformed figure. The carnival offered a handsome price for the filly, so without second thought, she sold her to their display," she looked up at Fluttershy, her own eyes reflecting the tears that mirrored the young mare's. "Ironic, is it not? Derpy dreams of meeting a gypsy mare one day…and her own mother, a gypsy mare, sold her off."

Fluttershy wiped her eyes, her heart breaking for Derpy as she remembered her telling her her version of Victor Hugo's novel. She smiled through the tears at the memory of her calling her "gypsy mare", but more tears came at the thought of her mother selling her to a side show freak carnival.

"Those were very hard years for us," Rarity whispered, wiping her own eyes. "But…thank the goodness, the Master came to be with us…and helped us escape."

Fluttershy sat forward at the mention of the Phantom. "Was he…in the carnival as well?"

"Oh yes, he became a star attraction for them," Fluttershy explained. "He was the last to join. You see, the carnival traveled all across Europe, and I remember being in the east…Romania, Bulgaria…we may have even been in Turkey! But wherever we were, there was a Persian caravan that passed us by. Little is known of the Master's origins, whether he was born in Persia, or if one of his parent's was Persian, but he was in their caravan and they were looking for a way to make some money, so for a hefty price, they sold him to the carnival."

Flutterahy imagined the Phantom, the fierce dark figure that he was, exposed to the ridicule of others in a freak show. Her heart swelled with pity for him. "How old was he?" she asked.

"He was young, 13, perhaps 14?" she sighed. "They called him the 'half stallion monster'; one side of his face looks like that of any other stallion's…but the other… and his body . . .she shivered slightly. "Well my dear, you have seen him without the mask and seen his body." Indeed she had…and yet Fluttershy remembered the second time she saw his face and not fearing it…rather finding it fascinating. She blushed at the thought as Rarity continued her story. "They used to open the curtain to his cage, exposing only the unscarred side of his face. They then would ask one of the young mares to come forward to the cage and pucker her lips for a kiss."

Fluttershy felt her insides churn again at the thought. Of all the cruel things to do to someone; her sickness turned to rage.

"Then, after the mare finished giggling and had her lips puckered for a kiss, they would tell the Master to turn and face the young lady head on, exposing his scars," she trembled again. "They would show his body and would turn and scream and blubber about, agitating the Master and forcing him to attempt at kissing the already screaming mare," she shook her head. "Sometimes he refused to turn and face the audience, so the carnival owners would lash him in front of everyone…" she wrapped her arms around herself as if seeking comfort. "It was horrible, those years in that place."

Fluttershy's fists were tight round balls of rage. "Monsters…they were the real monsters."

"I agree," Rarity sighed, settling herself back in her tiny bed. "But we did escape, as you can see," she smiled. "We owe that to the Master, actually."

Fluttershy looked up at Rarity with curious eyes. "He helped you all?"

"Oh yes, it was his idea actually," she smiled. "One night, the watchpony was very drunk and the Master saw the opportunity. I was already in my cage and witnessed the whole thing from it. You see, he started to insult the watchpony, calling him names and throwing pebbles at him that filly's had thrown at the Master earlier that day."

"Charming," Fluttershy muttered.

"Well, the watchpony, who had the keys around his belt, got irritated and threatened that he would come into the Master's cage and beat him within an inch of his life. Of course the Master continued his insults," Rarity grinned.

Fluttershy was leaning close, her head resting in on top of her hooves, her body leaning against the small bed. "Then what happened?"

Rarity's grin spread further. "Well, as he promised, the watchpony grabbed the whip that was normally used when any of us 'acted up', and proceeded to enter the Master's cage with every intention of beating him," Fluttershy was holding her breath, anticipating Rarity's every word. "Once he entered the cage, the Master then lashed out, kicking the watchpony hard in the groin, before slamming his head against the bars of the cage."

"And no one heard it?" Fluttershy asked in amazement.

Rarity shook her head. "They were all drinking in their little hut, singing loudly and very off key. Even if the watchpony had cried out for help, they wouldn't have heard it."

"So then what happened?"

"Well, the Master got hold of the keys, and immediately set about releasing us. There were others," Rarity explained, "but they chose to go their own way…to this day I don't know what became of them," she sighed sadly. "But Derpy, Shortround, Rainbow Dash, and I…we all chose to follow the Master. We were just outside Maris, so we took our chances and wandered into the city. At that time, the Opera House was being completed, so the Master thought we would be safe hiding there. We found some stairs that led down…and heard water below…so we followed the sound, and…discovered this," she finished, holding her arms out to the cavern. "We believe that it was part of the underground catacombs used in the middle ages."

Fluttershy was amazed by the whole tale. "How long…how long have been down here?" she asked, amazed that no one else had discovered their secret.

Rarity counted softly in her head. "The Master was 17 when we escaped so…just over 20 years."

20 years. No one, till now, knew of their secret which had been kept well for over 20 years. "Amazing…" she whispered. "And…he saved all of you?"

Rarity smiled proudly. "He could have run and saved his own skin, but…not our Discord. He's a good creature, truly he is."

"Discord…" Fluttershy whispered. The Phantom had a name.

"Now my dear, you need your rest," Rarity shushed. "Climb into bed and get some sleep…tomorrow you'll have a new place all your own."

Fluttershy wanted to smile to Rarity's words, but her thoughts were elsewhere. She missed her father and was worried about him; yet she was also grateful for the new friends she had just made. And then there was the Phantom.

Discord. The name really did suit him, with all that mischief and murder. She shivered and wondered how he came to it. Was it given to him by his captives? Or did his mother give him the name before something happened to her? Did she sell him to the Persian caravan? Or did a tragic accident occur, causing him to be ripped from his family? So many questions were still waiting to be unveiled, but one thing was now understood: this place, this world, was his to protect. These people were not his servants, they were his family–yet they felt obligated to treat him as their master for the salvation he had given them. Yes, despite his harsh behavior to her, Fluttershy could see the good that hid within the shadows of his persona.

"Goodnight Rarity," she whispered to the mare as she burrowed under the soft blankets of her temporary sleeping place. She wondered about her captor, wondered about the sudden change in his attitude for wanting to give her a place of her own, instead of throwing her back in the cage. Perhaps it was just pity he felt for her…but she couldn't help the feeling that she wanted it to be more. Friendship perhaps? Surely that was all it was…wasn't it? Fluttershy blushed at the thought and told herself to go to sleep.

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Fleur de Lis' screams filled the Opera House's walls, causing Fancypants and the managers to come running to her side. "Fleur de Lis! My beloved, what is it? What's wrong?" Fancypants cried, finding his prima donna standing aghast in the doorway of her dressing room.
"WHAT HAS HAPPENED?" she screamed. The managers arrived just then, huffing from their sprint and peered inside to see what had caused the soprano to be so upset.

"Good God," Flim gasped. The dressing room was in shambles. The dressing table, the chaise lounge, all the elegant furniture was gone, leaving only several gaudy dresses and tangled wigs here and there. "What happened senora?"

Fleur de Lis turned on the managers and released her fury. "DO YOU THINK I WOULD BE ASKING YOU IF I KNEW? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!" she stormed past them, nearly knocking them to the ground. "I HATE THIS PLACE!"

Somewhere, far below Fleur de Lis' dressing, someone was grinning at the harpy's screams. "I really must do that more often," Discord chuckled.

Author's Note:

Edited: 2/8/2016

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