• Published 2nd Feb 2013
  • 17,852 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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Tension

Tension

"Flim! Oh thank Goodness, I have to speak with you at once!"

Flim turned to see a breathless Flam run to his side, his cheeks red and puffy from exertion. The older stallion groaned and began rubbing the bridge of his nose, already having a bad feeling about what his partner had to say. "Don't tell me…"

Flam gasped, but nodded his head. Flim groaned. "That makes the twelfth one we've received this month!" he cursed.

Flam, finally having the time to catch his breath, groaned with frustration along with his business partner. "We've been receiving notes filled with threats about allowing Fleur De Lis to perform, about changing the opera season, and…well…" Flam handed the note to Flim. "I'm afraid, this one is once again, about that unknown opera…"

Flim swore. "Not again! I don't care who this…prankster thinks he is! I happen to agree with the Prince, we shall not be intimidated by some foolish, masked-"

Flam hissed at Flim to keep his voice down. They were in the grand foyer of the Maris Opera House, where ponies of fashion came to lounge and discuss whatever gossip was going about society, and several heads had turned to overhear Flam and Flim's passionate discussion.

Flam gently pulled Flim's arm and led the gentlecolt to their office where they could not be heard. Once the door was shut, Flam turned to face his partner. "I know that you think me a fool for saying this, let alone believing this-"

"Flam-"

"But I'm starting to believe that…that these letters are not the work of an idle prankster!" he was sweating profusely, and Flim had noticed that Flam seemed very jumpy. He kept looking around, as if trying to make sure they were truly alone and no one would hear what they had to say. "I too believed that all those notes and tales we had heard about the infamous 'Phantom of the Opera' were simply jokes that Cranky Doodle Donkey had played in order to scare the dance mares…but…Flim…these threats…they are becoming real!"

Flim groaned and collapsed into his desk chair. "Now see here Flam, the only reason that we are receiving more of these letters is because we are not reacting to them the way he had in the past! The prankster is trying to scare us, and from the looks of things," he muttered, adding the note Flam had given him and throwing it into a pile with the other notes they had been receiving, "I'd say that our so-called 'Phantom' is getting desperate."

Andre shook his head. "Flim, do you not remember the last two performances?"

Flim shuttered at the memory. Nearly three weeks ago, Fleur De Lis was scheduled to perform, and on the day of her performance, a note had arrived, threatening that the understudy should go on in Fleur De Lis' place, or else a great scandal would occur. Needless to say, the managers ignored the letter, as the Prince had instructed. However, they found themselves eating their words when that evening, Fleur De Lis went on stage, and her voice went from singing…to croaking!

To the horror of everyone on stage, plus the managers, Fleur De Lis could not stop croaking! She finally fled the stage, screaming–if that was what her croaking was meant to sound like–and the patrons demanded their money back.

Only two days ago, Fleur De Lis was scheduled to perform again, and yet once more, another letter filled with threats arrived. This time, it said that if her understudy did not go on for her, a fear greater than anything they had known would come true.

This time Flam summoned the Prince for advice, but the Prince, like the last time, told the managers to ignore it. Fleur De Lis was eager to perform and show whoever this prankster was that he could not mess with her! But 15 minutes prior to when the curtain would go up…Fleur De Lis went missing. She was not in her dressing room, she could not be found anywhere back stage…it was as if she had vanished into thin air!

Fleur De Lis' understudy was to go on while the managers and the police searched high and low for their beloved prima donna. The understudy, a mare who was never given the opportunity to learn the opera, let alone perfect her singing skills, went on to give a most mediocre performance. Once again, the patrons demanded their money back, and the Opera House lost all its profits.

Finally, an hour after the bad performance had ended, Fleur De Lis was discovered locked in a broom closet, a scarf in her mouth, a blindfold around her eyes, and her hands tied to her ankles. Pinned on her sleeve was a note that read "I hope, dear gentlecolts, you will not test my patience further."

Flam needed no more proof; he truly believed the Phantom was real!

Flim was still skeptical, mainly because he felt somepony around here had to be. True, the letters had been coming faster than ever before. Strange demands were being made, such as changing the opera season, adding a new opera by an unknown composer titled Don Juan Triumphant. If the managers agreed to the Phantom's terms, the threats would end and the score would be sent for the orchestra and company to practice.

If these demands were not met, more outrageous scandals would occur. Costumes, props, and tools had already gone missing, some of the patrons' lounges were ransacked, and members of the staff were threatening to quit for fear of ghosts that they swore they had seen. The Phantom was haunting them because he was upset for the Opera disobeying him, or so they believed.

Still, Flim held close to the fact that this was all some elaborate trick to make both him and Flam look like fools. He had several suspects; he knew the elaborate opera company in Canterlot was jealous of the Maris Opera company's success, and it was rumored that Manehatten was willing to pay a handsome fortune to have Fleur De Lis appear for the rest of their season.

Something had to be done and fast, especially before Fleur De Lis learned about Manehatten.

"That note is yet another demand that we push everything else off the opera season and devote all our time to this…this Don Juan Triumphant!" Flam muttered, running a hoof over his sweating face. He could see the money they had made fly out the window.

"Calm yourself, my friend," Flim grumbled. "We will do nothing of the sort; we will continue things as they are scheduled-"

"But Flim-"

"Now is NOT the time to be changing things!" Flim hissed, rising from his chair and glaring out of the glass at the ponies that casually strolled about the grand foyer. "If we change things we will lose more money than this…this PHANTOM could ever cost us!" he turned and faced Flam, the annoyance and frustration that he felt towards this unknown prankster clearly written across his features. "Our patrons…especially our most powerful, will not tolerate changing the season that they wanted…especially if we do it for some…some unknown piece of…we don't even know what it's like, we've never seen it!"

"But Flim-"

"And furthermore Flam, we can not simply…cut Fleur De Lis off the opera season! I mean, you saw how much money we lost those last two performances! The ponies want to see her and no one else!"

"But Fleur De Lis is threatening to leave!"

Flim's face paled at this news. "W-w-w-when did you hear this?"

Flam groaned and removed his handkerchief, using it to wipe his brow and nose. "Just before I received the letter…she…she is getting fed up with her treatment here in Maris, not to mention the horrible reviews that have been coming in ever since the opening gala."

Flim's voice was a hushed tone and he leaned forward so no one could hear him, despite the fact that it was only the two of them in the office. "Does she know about Manehatten?"

Flam shook his head. "Not yet, but…" his voice trailed off, afraid to even comprehend the thought of his money flying out the window.

Flim nodded his head, groaning at the thought of Fleur De Lis' shrieks of rage for her displeasure. "Then there is only one thing that is to be done…" he sighed. "Send word to the Prince."

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Rarity sighed and shook her head, sympathy written all across her face as she handed Fluttershy a hot cup of tea. "Drink this my dear, it will soothe the vocal chords," she whispered. Fluttershy gratefully took the cup, her throat feeling so tight that it was hard to accept the warm liquid, which burned as she swallowed it.
One month. She had been in this underground place for an entire month, and yet it still felt as if only yesterday she had been taken prisoner.

Prison. Yes, that was exactly what this place was. She had been foolish once upon a time to think that it was something more, that she was in a mysterious romantic gothic fairy tale and that the Phantom was her dark prince.

Ever since he discovered the truth about her singing capabilities he had become a most militant teacher, commanding her to sing beyond the brink of what was humanly possible for her. He was ruthless, summoning her at odd hours whenever inspiration struck him, to perform the scores of music he had composed the previous night. When he told her that he would be demanding, he was not joking. Every day it was the same: they would start with warm-ups which consisted of a wide variety of scales, her voice being stretched to the far ends of the sound spectrum. Following the warm-ups came time to practice the great works of the masters of opera. This would go on for hours, and every now and then Discord would stop his playing to reprimand her for doing something wrong, and to teach her the story and history behind the work she was singing.

The final hours of rehearsal were solely dedicated to his opera, Don Juan Triumphant. There were many songs that he had composed that Fluttershy liked, such as the two she had sung the night he learned about her voice. But there were others, many of which were extremely difficult, and over all, while the music she thought was brilliant…she could not find herself liking his opera as much as he did. Perhaps it was the story–Aminta was a beautiful mare and Don Juan was a grotesque figure who lusted after her. Like most operas, the story ended tragically, although in this particular opera, the part that Fluttershy truly could not stand, was the way that Aminta betrayed Don Juan, even after professing eternal love for him. Aminta seemed so passionate, and so sad, but the sudden character change was too extreme. She loved Don Juan, but for no reason, betrayed him by sleeping with another stallion, and once Don Juan discovered her treachery, killed both her and her lover, before falling upon his own sword–this was of course after he had sold his soul to the devil, ala Faust.

Fluttershy couldn't understand how Discord could compose such a story…but then, she knew he hadn't had the easiest life.

She whimpered softly in pain as she felt the hot liquid burn her throat. She could feel the healing vapors of the tea begin their affect, yet it still hurt to swallow. She was in danger of developing a serious throat disease, Rarity thought. Her brow furrowed at the thought of Discord's cruel meticulousness.

"I'll have to have words with him," she muttered under her breath, but Fluttershy heard her.

"No," she said hoarsely, before taking another sip of the tea. "I'm alright, truly…and I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to have him train me."

Rarity raised an eyebrow at this. She had a feeling Fluttershy didn't know what exactly she had gotten herself into, but she knew that Discord must have promised her something in return for allowing her to be so strictly trained. Rarity knew that music was Discord's greatest love; it was the only thing he could depend on. Therefore he was going to treat anything harshly when dealing with his love for music. She recalled how Discord had informed her and the others that he was going to become Fluttershy's vocal teacher, and that unless it was a true emergency, he was not to be disturbed. If he needed them, he would call for them, but otherwise, he wanted to be left alone.

Rarity sighed and began cleaning the kettle that the tea had been boiled in, wondering what had come over Discord. True, she believed Fluttershy's voice was very beautiful; she had heard it echo off the cavern walls and throughout the tunnels, yet it was something else that disturbed her. Discord was obsessed, so obsessed that he was truly losing coherent thought and sense when it came to, well, anything really, but especially to the limits Fluttershy's voice could go. If Fluttershy didn't say anything to him, then somepony had to…and she had every intention of telling him what she thought.

"How are the lessons coming along?" Rarity casually asked while scrubbing the kettle.

Fluttershy swallowed another gulp of the hot tea, feeling the soothing effects on her throat, but no smile came to her lips at Rarity's question. "Oh…wonderful, truly," she lied, taking another sip.

Things had changed, in Fluttershy's opinion, ever since she came to his chamber for her first rehearsal.

She was foolish to think that Discord had truly changed, despite the small kind acts he had bestowed. After creating her room and giving her the dresses, Fluttershy thought that perhaps there was a chance that she and Discord could be…friends. She blushed at this thought, thinking herself stupid for even contemplating such a thing. Why? Why had she even considered that she wanted to become his friend? She sighed, knowing that it was because she was afraid of the strange feelings that…that he was awakening within her. Perhaps she would be safe from such feelings if they were friends.

She wanted to get to know Discord more, he was fascinating to her; a tragic figure with a passion for music, a romantic that hid in the shadows, a stallion with so many secrets, and yet he seemed to be yearning for something…acceptance? Recognition? She figured those were the most obvious reasons, and through his opera, he may finally achieve them. This was what drove him, as he had explained to her during their rehearsals. Finally, for the first time ever since he started composing, he could see something of his become a reality, and despite Fluttershy's humility, he told her over and over that no other voice could sing the part.

When Discord first said this, Fluttershy remembered blushing and denying the truth of the matter, but she could not help but smile somewhat to his compliment. Yet now she frowned, realizing that it wasn't a compliment, that he didn't admire her or her voice, he simply wanted to use it for his opera. It didn't matter that it was her voice, it was the voice of "Aminta", and that was all he cared about.

From that first rehearsal, his true colors showed brightly, just as they had the night he took her prisoner. He was cold and cruel, barking commands and directions that were hard for her to follow, shouting at her when she didn't do something right, and having her repeat lines and scales over and over again, demanding perfection, always insisting on perfection. For one whole month it had been like this; she had no idea that hell would look like a piano. Once she thought she would love the rehearsal times with him, thinking that she would get to know her mysterious seductive captor, but she was wrong. He was a cruel taskmaster, and she dreaded rehearsing. In fact…she was beginning to hate singing.

I should be happy, Fluttershy thought to herself. This is what I wanted, a reminder that I should despise him with every fiber of my being and not allow my stupid, filly fantasies to take control of my mind...or heart.

Rarity saw the mare's expression darken more and more as she reflected on her rehearsals with Discord. Rarity was more determined than ever to get to the bottom of all this. "My dear," she sighed, putting the kettle aside and taking Fluttershy's free hoof in her own, "you may be a prisoner here…but you deserve kindness. You should demand it, you-"

"You're late. I've been waiting for over twenty minutes."

Both Rarity and Fluttershy gasped upon the cold dark voice that echoed off the cavern wall. In the faint candlelight of the entryway stood the Phantom, his head lowered, his body covered in black, his cape draping down from his shoulders like a bat's wings. He was beautiful and terrifying at the same time.

Rarity's brow furrowed at his coldness. "She can't sing," she said with contempt. "Her voice needs to rest-"

"Since when did you become an expert of the pony voice?" Discord snapped, his eyes falling on Fluttershy who stood before him, shivering under his intense gaze, but he could see her spirit slowly rising to the challenge.

Rarity was shocked by the tone of voice Discord had used. He had yelled before, but…this was different. This was a creature she did not know! She opened her mouth to say something but Fluttershy stepped in front of her. "As soon as I finish my tea, I will be ready," she said calmly, taking another sip from the cup.

Discord glared. He was in no mood to test how far his patience could go. "You will come, now," he growled.

Fluttershy ignored him and took another sip, relishing the brew that slid down her throat, knowing it would be the last pleasant thing she would feel for a long while. She knew that she was being stubborn, but Discord needed to be taught a lesson. She wanted her freedom, now more than ever, and she had not forgotten the bargain that she had made with him. But she had learned how desperately he needed her too, and unless he started treating her with some respect, she was not going to come like a dog whenever he wished.

Discord growled, tired of this power play, and reached out and grabbed Fluttershy by the wrist, yanking her away from Rarity, causing her to both gasp and drop the tea cup. "Don't EVER make me wait again!" he hissed, before dragging her out of the cavern and down the tunnel that would lead to the music chamber.

Fluttershy protested the whole way, telling Discord to loosen his grip, telling him that he was hurting her arm. She was suddenly reminded of the Prince dragging her to his lounge at the Opera House, much to her displeasure. Both stallions were vile in her opinion; at least the Prince didn't hide the fact of his intentions. It was obvious he was trying to seduce her. Discord may not be doing that, but he was prostituting her voice as far as she could tell.

Finally they reached the music chamber and he released her, only after almost hurling her towards the piano. She glared at him while he went around and sat down, his paw and claw crashing down on the keys. "Now, since you've wasted away our warm-ups, you'll just have to go right into singing-"

"No." Fluttershy was just as shocked as Discord when she realized what she had said. She had enough! She was a living being! She demanded to be treated like one.

Discord's eyes widened at her words. "No?" Fluttershy lifted her chin in defiance and Discord's fist came crashing down on the piano keys, causing Fluttershy to jump at the thunderous sound it made. "NO?" he growled, rising from the bench and causing it to fall over. His eyes were the color of fire and he glared at her with such fury.

Fluttershy felt the terror grip her, but she knew she couldn't show it, that she had to be strong and stand her ground, so she glared right back at him. "My throat hurts…and my voice is tired…" she said hoarsely. "Rarity is right, I need to rest it."

Discord's eyes became fiery slits. "I am your teacher…" he growled. "I will tell you when your voice needs to rest!"

Fluttershy's blue eyes became a storm that sent a threatening message back. "And it is MY voice and MY body!" she hissed back. "And I know it better than anypony!" she spat, leaning towards him, her shoulders squared and her jaw set.

Discord stared in awe and disbelief at the defiance she was having towards him. She should be shaking in terror! But here she was…arguing with him, the Phantom of the Opera! He was not in a sick bed now, he was towering over her, his very form threatening her…and yet she refused to back down.

"You forget your place," he growled.

"It's right here in front of you," she hissed back.

"You forget who I am…that I'm the one who controls whether to release you…or let you rot in this pit!"

She lifted her chin and took another step closer, her whole body shaking with anger and her heart pounding loudly in her ears. "And you forget, monsieur, that your masterpiece would still be gathering dust if not for my voice!" it was a selfish remark, but he had made it true from everything he had said…and he knew it.

Discord was a creature who tolerated many things, even when he disapproved of them. But insulting music…especially his music, was something he would not stand for. With panther-like speed, he was around the piano and had Fluttershy by the shoulders, turning her and pinning her against the piano and his body. She cried out in pain as she felt the piano dig into her back and gazed up at him with hate. How had she ever fancied herself attracted to him?

"I have never killed a mare before…but you're not making it difficult for me to imagine!" he spat, shaking her by the shoulders, angry, and yet very much aware that he was against her, his body molded against her own.

"You're a MONSTER!" she screamed, before spitting in his face.

Discord growled, ignoring her action and squeezing her extra hard, causing her to cry out. "I could kill you now, you know, I could crush you with my own claws!" he threatened.

She looked up at him and said in a voice filled with such deadly calm, "my spirit would still be free."

Discord did not know what it was; the calm coldness in her voice, the cool bitter glare that she returned to him, or simply the fact that the two of them were so close, but whatever it was…he felt a weakness that threatened to consume him. He was so close to her…so very close…his eyes, which were wild and fiery, glanced at her lips…moist and pink…so inviting. He could kiss her, he wanted to kiss her, but he was furious with himself and with her for being right. Her words stabbed him deeply, for it was true; no matter what he tried to do to exert his power over her, it wouldn't matter, because the truth was he was her slave…slave to her voice, slave to the music, slave to these strange sensations that she had been stirring within him ever since he clamped eyes upon her. Before that; ever since he heard about her from Madame Luna! This mare was going to be his undoing, and while it was tempting to lose himself to the uncontrollable urges of passion that were roaring through him, he had to grasp at some sanity, what little of it he contained.

He pushed himself quickly away from her, his eyes wild as he stared at her, watching her as she grunted from the pain of her back being held tightly against the piano. She whimpered slightly and rubbed her back and her arms, her eyes still cold and ruthless, matching his own wild stare.

He had to get away from her. She had to leave, now, or else… he was unsure what would happen, but he had to get her away!

"Leave!" he barked, turning his back on her, fighting the rage, fighting the urge to turn around and either strangle her…or take her in his arms and ravish her on the piano itself!

Fluttershy was shocked by both his reaction and by his command. She did not understand this creature, nor did she think she truly wanted to. But she herself could not deny the strange electricity that passed between them.

But it frightened her; his rage, the change of his mood, and her feelings for him that still seemed to be as strong as before. He was right…she had to get out of there.

"GO NOW!" he shouted again, his roar causing the cavern walls to shake. Fluttershy didn't need to be told again, she fled from him as fast as her legs could carry her.

He watched her go and cursed under his breath. Damn him! Damn her! Damn everything! What had just happened? He had almost lost all control and he could have killed her.

"What is wrong with you?"

Discord was surprised by the voice that interrupted his thoughts. He looked towards the entryway to find Rarity standing there, her face pale and her eyes wide; she looked at him as if for the first time, she was horrified by the ghastly scars on his face.

"Discord…I…I do not know you! You are not the creature that I remember…you…you are a stranger to me!"

His heart was breaking as he heard her words. Rarity, who had been a mother to them all, the only recollection of a mother he knew he would ever have, and she was afraid of him. It was so unusual to hear her call him by his name…but the way she said it was as if she were trying to bring whatever ounce of humanity back before the beast took total control. "Why are you doing this…w-w-why are you pushing her so? I…I thought…"

Discord wanted to be alone. Her shame was more than he could handle, he was ashamed with himself. He simply wanted to be left alone, alone with his music…

"Please go away Rarity," he whispered.

She ignored his plea. "I don't understand Discord…I mean, after she brought you back…I thought things had changed. I thought that perhaps…perhaps…" she didn't know how to say it. Discord had made Fluttershy a room fit for a princess. He gave her gowns, food, even shared with her his most beloved compositions…Rarity thought that surely Discord was changing. That perhaps somewhere in his cold heart…he was learning to…to love. It was a foolish notion, she knew, but she thought it perhaps possible. Yet now…now her fears that this whole month of bitterness and obsession was driving him beyond the brink of madness, looked as though they may perhaps be true. She had followed them both and watched in horror as Discord attacked her. Fluttershy had called him a monster…perhaps the mare was right?

"It does not matter what you think," Discord hissed coldly, turning his back on the mare and retreating into the darkness of his bed chamber. "Leave me alone Rarity."

"Discord!" she cried out. "What is it that you're so afraid of that you must do these things?"

He paused but did not look over his shoulder. "Myself," he whispered.

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Blueblood groaned as he shut Fleur De Lis' dressing room door behind him. He quickly did up his trousers and began to briskly head towards the managers' office. He was angry; upset that the idiots could not control the spoiled soprano and had him sent to come and calm Fleur De Lis down the only way that he knew how. He could still smell the outrageous perfume that she wore; it made him want to vomit.
Once upon a time, Fleur De Lis proved to be fun. Now, she was soiled goods that he would not bestow upon his lowest servants. Her screeching and jealous rages were more than he could handle. He remembered how she mewed with pleasure to the filthy names he had called her while he was had her. Ironically, he meant every single name.

Fleur De Lis was now sated; her threats to leave Maris were over…at least for a while. At this point, Blueblood would gladly be rid of the bitch, yet she still proved to be an icon, and as such, the tickets continued to sell. However, the last two performances had lost him more money than gaining it.

He was prepared to storm into the managers' office and release his rage when he caught sight of Madame Luna speaking to her daughter in a hushed tone. Normally Blueblood avoided the stone-faced dance mistress like the plague, but something intrigued him about this conversation she was having.

"I don't understand why you have to leave now?" Twilight asked, looking confused at her mother's strange behavior.

"I will not be long my dear, just go through the dance as I have taught," Madame Luna muttered as she pulled on a pair of black gloves.

Twlights's eyes clouded with even more confusion. "But we need your guidance-"

"You will be fine," Madame Luna assured. "Now go on Twilight, I will return shortly." Twilight nodded her head, but still looked worried for her mother. Satisfied that her daughter would not ask any more questions, Madame Luna quickly turned on her heel and headed towards the grand foyer. Intrigued, Blueblood quickly followed at a safe distance.

Madame Luna had a carriage waiting for her and gave the driver the directions of her destination. In thirty minutes the carriage came to a stop outside a tall building that looked as inviting as its cold stony exterior. Madame Luna did not hesitate; she walked up to the door and banged the loud iron knocker that hung in its middle. The door opened a few seconds later, a chamber maid curtseying as Madame Luna brushed her way inside. "I need to speak with Monsieur Crafty Crate, is he available?" she asked the maid as she stripped her gloves off.

"Right this way, madam," the maid replied softly, showing Madame Luna to an oak door at the end of a dull dilapidated hallway. The maid knocked on the door to which a gruff male voice grunted permission to enter. Madame Luna followed the maid inside, thanking the mare after she was introduced.

Monsieur Crafty Crate was a stallion with a balding head, and greasy five a'clock shadow, and he appeared to have several teeth missing. The stallion also wore excessive amounts of jewelry, not to mention outrageous colors and fabrics on his body. No wonder the building looked so drab; the man spent every penny on his own attire.

"Have a seat, madam," Crafty Crate said politely, although he was already admiring the purse she held in her hooves. "What can I do for you?" he asked again, the same polite friendly tone in his voice, however Madame Luna did not smile or bat one eye as she sat, her back straight, across from the greasy stallion.

"I understand, monsieur, that you are a…private investigator of sorts?" she asked, eyeing him with much contempt.

Crafty Crate however had not recognized her distrust in him and was beaming from ear to ear. "Indeed madam! In fact, while I am a humble stallion, I do pride myself on being the best that one can find here in Maris!"

"So I've heard," she muttered.

Crafty Crate continued beaming. "Yes, I have worked for many of the great families here in Maris, including the Countess Fleur de Lis! Why, she hired me to find her sister who had been missing for 25 years…25 years, can you imagine! I had very little information to go on, but I did find her! She was staying in Trottingham, now that I remember-"

"Yes, yes, that's all very good monsieur, but I need you to find two ponies," Madame Luna interrupted.

Crafty Crates expression changed at her words. "Oh I see…well…I must say madam, it will be somewhat more expensive, you see…tracking two ponies down. Not to mention that it may take longer-"

"Do not fear monsieur, you will be paid quite handsomely."

Gone was Crafty Crates apprehension, his beaming smile returning at once to her words. "Splendid!" he exclaimed before pulling himself closer to the desk before him. "Now who are these individuals that you'd like me to find?"

Madame Luna watched him closely as he took notes on what she was saying. "The stallion's name is Time Turner," she explained. "He's in his 50's, brown coat, thin, with gray hair and a gray mustache and beard. He's from Sweetlan, but has been living in Prance for quite some time," she paused to be sure that Crafty Crate had gotten everything she said thus far. "The mare's name is Fluttershy, she is his daughter. She's the same height of her father, perhaps somewhat taller, with light pink hair, a yellow coat, and light blue eyes, which are the same color as her father's. About 20-21 years in age," she explained.

Crafty Crate nodded his head as he wrote down the descriptions. "And you believe that they are in Maris?" he inquired.

Madame Luna shrugged her shoulders. "Monsieur Time Turner and his daughter worked very briefly for the Maris Opera House. Monsieur Time Turner is a violinist," she explained, before adding, "I would appreciate it, monsieur, if you left the Maris Opera House and those that are connected to it…out of your list of inquiries."

Crafty Crates brow furrowed at this, but nodded his head. "I shall do all that I can madam," he said while rising from his chair to show Madame Luna out. "And I shall inform you at once when I learn of anything."

"I would like to be informed within a week, monsieur."

Crafty Crate practically stumbled at her request. In truth, it was more of a demand. "A week?" he choked. "I beg your pardon madam, but…a week is hardly enough time to learn anything!"

Madame Luna lifted an eyebrow at his words. "I thought you were credited as being the best? After all, did you not tell me that you had been able to find the sister of the Countess Fleur de Lis who had been missing for 25 years?"

Craft Crate cleared his throat, straightening his jacket. "Well, I do not wish to brag…but there are those that have esteemed me as such," he explained. "But you must understand madam, the Countess Fleur de Lis was a mare with connections! It is much harder to find, forgive me, a common violin player and his daughter."

Madame Luna slowly rose from her chair and handed the private investigator a small card. He took the card, looking most confused, before glancing at the name, his eyes widening as he read it. "The Marquis Filthy Rich?" he gasped.

Madame Luna nodded her head. "Monsieur Time Turner told me that Fluttershy's mother, his late wife, was the daughter of the Marquis Filthy Rich." Crafty Crate simply glanced back and forth between Madame Luna's calm features and the card he held in his hoof. "I believe, monsieur, since connections are what you seek…that will be a good place to begin."

"Indeed," he whispered, tucking the card into his inside coat pocket. "One week…I will contact you and tell you everything that I can," he murmured.

Madame Luna gave a thin smile to the private investigator before producing a check from her purse and placing it on the desk. Like a greedy colt who had just been given candy, Crafty Crate snatched the check, his eyes wide as he read the numbers. "As a down payment," she explained, before putting her gloves on and walking towards the door. "I must stress, monsieur, how important it is that you find them…I pray that you will not delay the search."

"No indeed madam," Crafty Crate replied, tucking the check into his coat pocket and rushing to open the door of his office for the dance mistress. With a curt nod, Madame Luna walked out of the stone building, leaving the bewildered investigator to take in everything he had just been told.

"Bonbon!" he cried, and the chambermaid from earlier, came quickly. "I will be out all afternoon, on business…in fact, I will not be able to take any new clients for at least a few weeks," he instructed. The maid gave a small curtsy, handed her employer his hat, and opened the door for him.

Crafty Crate nodded his thanks before descending the stone steps of his building and heading west. He had just gone around the corner when a large silver-tipped walking stick struck out from the shadows to stop him. Crafty Crate cursed as he nearly tripped over the stick, prepared to unleash his anger at the individual, but swallowed his words as he gazed upon the handsome face of Prince Blueblood.

Blueblood gave a wry smile to the investigator, glancing briefly ahead of him, and watching the coach that carried Madame Luna, head north. "Whatever she's paying you…I'll double, for the same information."

Author's Note:

Edited: 2/8/2016

I loved Craft Crate ever since I saw him as Derpy's forestallion in Feeling Pinkie Keen and, in a speaking role, a cherry merchant in Putting Your Hoof Down. His cutie mark is a crate and I wanted to use him in a role so here we are xD
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