• Published 2nd Feb 2013
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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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Discovery

Discovery

The rehearsals that followed the lesson when Fluttershy sang "Think of Me" were very much the same. For two whole weeks, the two of them met, speaking politely to one another, sharing thoughts on the music at hoof, as well as insights. Unlike the past, Discord was curious to what Fluttershy thought of the music, especially his music, and if she had any ideas for improvements. He was civil to her, demanding, but cordial still. Every day he had something good to say about her singing, about how quickly she was learning, how greatly she was improving, and how proud he was as her teacher.

And that was the extent of their time together.

Fluttershy was grateful for it, she liked being with Discord and looked forward to their lessons together. But the lessons always seemed to end far too early, and after the lesson was finished, she would not see him again until the next day at the next rehearsal.

And it was driving her mad.

She knew she was his student and he was her tutor, and thus, he was acting extremely professional as a good tutor should. But she longed for him to stop being that way, to open up some what, to talk to her and ask her about her feelings and thoughts to things other than music. Was music all he thought about? She knew the answer was yes, for after every rehearsal, he would keep himself hidden away in his chamber, to compose and work on his opera.

For two weeks this continued, and Fluttershy did not know what to do. She felt she was being silly, that she had no right to complain, after all, anything was an improvement over how their lessons used to be, and that was something she did not want to go back to. But when she was in her chamber and she heard noises outside, she would stiffen and hold her breath, hoping it would be Discord. But every time that happened, it was Derpy or Rarity, coming to see her or letting her know that dinner was ready.

Fluttershy had gotten into the habit of eating her dinner with the others; she preferred it instead of eating alone in her chamber. There was a small dining area near the cavern that the others slept in, it contained a simple table with six chairs; the sixth chair always unoccupied. The meals were not fancy and often meager, but it was the company that Fluttershy looked forward to the most; at dinner she would hear Derpy telling her about her progress with reading, Rarity prattling on about the gossip she had heard from the dance mares through the pipes in their dormitories, while Rainbow Dash would grunt and complain about something, and Shortround would end up joining Rainbow Dash in an argument. Yet the dinners were always wonderful and pleasant, no matter what the talk was about, and Fluttershy would share her news on her lessons. But her eyes would often drift to the vacant chair at the table and a look of sadness would pass over her face.

She missed him dearly, and she missed him even more when she could hear him playing his music into the night.

It was extremely early one morning when Fluttershy was awakened by something soft, wet, and cold hitting her cheek. Her face contorted as she wiped away at the intruding coldness, but she felt it again and opened her eyes.

Above her head, tiny white flakes were falling from one of the small cracks in the cavern's ceiling. She scrambled out of bed, her arms wrapping around her body, as the cold hit her. She lifted her hoof to where the flakes were falling, catching a few in her hoof and feeling them melt.

"FLUTTERSHY!"

Fluttershy whirled around to see Derpy, panting and grinning as she stood in the entryway of her chamber. "C-c-c-come and s-s-see!" she stuttered happily, before disappearing. Curious, Fluttershy quickly grabbed her dressing gown and followed, hearing her cries of excitement coming in the direction of where the underground lagoon was. She finally reached her, seeing her jump up and down at the shoreline, and before she could ask her what had her so excited, she saw her reason…and her breath was taken away.

The ceiling of the great cavern above the lagoon had many holes that moonlight would stream through. Now, along with the fading light of the moon, were thousands of snow flakes that flew above the water like swarms of butterflies, sparkling in the light like diamonds. Derpy was grinning happily, her tongue out to catch the flakes. "S-s-see?" she cried. "Snow! It's s-s-snowing!" she lifted an arm above her head and began to dance around, laughing as the flakes tickled her face. Fluttershy couldn't help but grin. "The s-s-s-snow d-d-dances with you!" she explained. "D-d-d-dance w-w-with it, Fluttershy! Dance w-w-w-w-with it!"

Fluttershy laughed and found Derpy's enthusiasm contagious; soon her own hooves were lifted above her body, then she lifted herself in the air with her wings and twirled in a circle. She grinned and giggled as she felt the snow hit her face, her eyes closing as the flakes stuck to her lashes.

"Master!"

Fluttershy stopped dead in her tracks and landed on the ground, her eyes flying open at Derpy's words.

There, wrapped in the shadows, stood Discord, his body somewhat hunched, his arms, wrapped inside his cape, were folded across his chest, and the only thing that shown in the darkness was the soft reflection of the moonlight against his mask. And yet his eyes, which were locked on her, burned through her very soul.

Slowly, he emerged from his hiding place, coming towards both her and Derpy. "Isn't t-t-t-this w-w-wonderful, Master?" Derpy asked happily, her tongue hanging out to catch a few more flakes.

"Yes Derpy," Discord answered, however his amber gaze never left Fluttershy's face.

"This m-m-means t-that…that Christmas w-w-will s-soon be h-here!" Derpy cried, her arms lifting heavenward to catch more snow flakes. She then turned his attention to Fluttershy. "I l-love Christmas…w-w-we g-get presents, a-a-and Rarity cooks us a f-feast, a-a-and sometimes…s-s-s-s-sometimes-"

"Calm down Derpy," Discord said gently, a small smile coming to his lips as he looked at the pony's excitement.

Derpy blushed, but she continued hopping around happily. Fluttershy smiled softly as well, turning her attention to Derpy. "You celebrate Christmas?" she asked, somewhat surprised.

Derpy grinned and nodded her head. "Oh yes! W-we each get a p-p-present…s-s-s-sometimes I g-get a new book! Or…Rarity w-w-will make me something! And t-t-there's a feast…and we p-p-play games…and s-sing songs…and Shortround r-r-reads to us, and-" Derpy nearly tripped over her two feet from her excited hopping, but Discord reached out and caught the pony's arm, helping her find his balance. "T-t-thank you, Master," she whispered, blushing from embarrassment, but still very excited.

"You should go back to bed Derpy," Discord instructed. "It isn't even dawn yet."

Fluttershy watched Derpy as he said these words, and Derpy nodded her head, agreeing with her master that it was very early, and then dashing back down the tunnel she had come from. "G-g-g-goodnight Fluttershy!" she called back, waving before leaving her alone in Discord's presence. Fluttershy grinned and waved back at her, all too soon very much aware that she was alone with the Phantom.

A silence passed between them for a while. The awkwardness of the moment was almost more than Fluttershy could take. "Is…is it so close to Christmas?" she asked, her hooves tightening about her robe. She had lost track of what date it was since she had come there.

Discord's arms folded behind his back, his body straightening upwards, his gaze steady on the flakes that fell to the water. "Yesterday was the first day of December," he said simply, his gaze remaining on the lagoon.

As for Fluttershy, she could not believe how much time had passed since she had come to be there. It was winter already, Christmas would be coming in a matter of weeks, and she had no idea how quickly time had passed. She wondered what her father was doing, if he was alright, and her heart ached at the sadness of missing him.

"I finished it last night," Discord whispered, his words interrupting her thoughts. Fluttershy turned to him, her gaze one of confusion. Without looking at her, he answered her question. "The last song for Don Juan," he explained. "I want the company to begin rehearsing for it after the new year."

Fluttershy's breath caught in her throat at his words. "So soon?" she whispered.

Discord then turned to look at her. "There is still some polishing to do here and there…I need to begin planning the stage directions, the lighting and art design, not to mention cleaning up the overture, but for the most part…yes, it is finished." He couldn't help but feel pleased with himself, and he looked at her face, his smile quickly fading at the worried pensive look that spread across her features. "What's wrong?" he asked.

Fluttershy blushed at his question, shaking her head. "Nothing…just…I…I'm surprised, that's all…" she tightened her arms around herself even more, her gaze now focusing on the snow.

Discord eyed her suspiciously. "You are doing exceptionally well in rehearsals," he said simply. "There are still many songs for us to go over, but for the most part, you have perfected the role of Aminta better than I could have imagined," he said warmly, smiling down at her, still surprised that she did not share his joy. He cocked one eyebrow. "Fluttershy-"

"Thank you, monsieur, I am pleased that I have won your favor."

Discord frowned at her words. "Monsieur?" he asked. "Don't be silly, you know you're doing exceptionally well, what's this talk about…winning my favor?" he turned to fully face her, frustrated that she wouldn't look at him. "Fluttershy…tell me what's wrong." It was not a question; it was a command.

"Nothing is wrong monsieur, I-"

Discord groaned. "Again with calling me 'monsieur'!" he threw his paw and claw up into the air, holding his temper in check before turning and facing her once again. "I've been noticing that this past week…you constantly refer to me as 'monsieur' instead saying my name."

Fluttershy blushed. "I…I was simply being polite-"

"Polite?" he grabbed her by her shoulders and forced her to look at him. "You're acting childish is what you're doing, especially right now," he snapped. Fluttershy looked up at him, knowing there was no turning back now. "Have I offended you Fluttershy?"

Her eyes went wide at his question. "No, of course not-"

"You're lying," he growled, his paw and claw gripping her shoulders again to keep her looking at him. "Tell me the truth…what is wrong? His paw gently reached down and cupped her chin, lifting her face to gaze back at his. "What have I done to lose favor with you?"

She felt like a fool. And that was exactly what he would think of her when she told him. She refused to cry in front of him, she would not show her tears, but even now she could feel a few betray her and fall down her cheeks. "What am I to you Discord?" she asked, feeling bold with her question, as well as foolish.

He was taken aback. "W-what?" he asked, releasing her shoulders.

"What am I to you? It is a simple question, is it not?" she asked.

What was she getting at? Discord was still unsure what to say. "Why are you asking this?"

Fluttershy felt her jaw tremble somewhat. "I…I just…I'm trying to understand who I am to you…so I know how to behave with you," she whispered, feeling her cheeks on fire with embarrassment. Discord stared at her, dumbfounded, before finally opening his mouth to speak, but she silenced him by raising her hoof. "Today is December 2nd, yes?" she asked. "That means…I've been here for…for well over a month…practically two! And yet…despite all that time you and I have spent together…" she bit her lip. "I know nothing about you."

Discord stared at her, his brow furrowed with confusion. He opened his mouth to protest, but she continued on. "I know about your history, yes, Rarity's told me that, but…Discord, you're the one I spend the most time with here…and yet you are a stranger to me." She sighed and refocused her attention once again on the lagoon. "I know so much about the lives of the others…yes, even Rainbow Dash!" she said, laughing somewhat at the amazement of it all. "Why…just yesterday, she was telling me that if she wasn't…wasn't cursed with how she looked," she was pained to say those words, "She would want to become a flyer for the Wonderbolts. Did you know what a love she has of flying?" she asked. "It's extraordinary, really! She longs to properly fly in the sky, but knows she never will, which pains her more than those piercings and that leg those freaks put on her," she spat bitterly. She took a few calming breaths before continuing. "I know so much about the others…but you are the one I am with the most…" her eyes lifted up to meet his. "And you are a stranger to me."

Discord had to speak. "You came to this theater with hopes of becoming a singer, Fluttershy, and that is what I am doing! I am trying to help you become a great singer! But that means maintaining a professional teacher/student relationship as any professional singer would know-"

"Then why do you insist on such informalities as first names!" she spat back, feeling her heart break at his words. "If being a true professional is what you want, then by all means monsieur, that is how I shall behave…good day!"

Discord was stunned by what she had said and could not believe she was turning and walking away from him! "STOP!" he shouted, and in two strides had his paw gripped her and was whirling her around to face him, his strong paw and claw lifting her up and placing themselves about the waist to hold her steady. "Are you saying…that you're upset with me for…for treating you with respect and courteousness-?"

Fluttershy shook his paw and claw off her. "No! I…I am saying that…" she took a deep breath knowing that this was her only chance. "I want to be more!"

Discord stared at her, his breath catching in his throat, his heart skipping a beat. More? What…what did she mean?

Fluttershy saw the question in his eyes and knew she had to continue, despite the embarrassment that had permanently changed the color of her face. "I…I want to be more to you than…than just your student…" she took another breath and continued. "I want…I want to be your friend."

Discord's eyebrows lifted at her words. "Friend?" he asked, the word sounding foreign from the way he said it, as if it were unknown in his vocabulary.

Fluttershy nodded her head, not able to look into his eyes. "Yes…" she whispered. "Please understand that I value everything you have done…the opportunity to learn how to sing professionally, the chance to see my dreams come true…I am so grateful for all that," she said with every bit of sincerity, her lashes lifting to meet his eyes which were locked on her face. "And I greatly value the times we spend together…our lessons and rehearsals…" she wanted to tell him that she treasured those times with him, but she knew he would truly believe her a fool for saying something like that, so she remained silent. "But, I…I want to know you better…I want to hear your thoughts, share your ideas, and have discussions on many things…not just music…" her words had drifted into whispers at that point. What must he think of her? "I…I have invited you to come and see me whenever you wish, hoping that you will…but you never do…" she bit her lip. "I know this must sound foolish to you, but…I…I just…I'm very grateful for everything you've done, and I just…I want…" she sighed, knowing it was useless. "…to be your friend."

She stood before him, her shoulders slumped and her eyes cast downward in defeat. She awaited his laughter, or a sarcastic comment, anything to ridicule her for thinking and behaving like a child. He was right of course, a true singer, a great singer, would not seek friendship with her tutor…yet she could not imagine being anything less than a friend with him, and she longed to know the pony behind the mask better. Yet it was all for loss…

Discord studied her for a long moment, her words sinking into his mind and emotions. A silence fell between them once again, neither of them speaking or moving, until finally, after what felt like an eternity, Discord said, "Come…there's something I want you to see."

Fluttershy was startled by his words. His voice was gentle, soft, and coaxing…not at all what she had expected. "W-w-what?" she asked, looking up at him, confused.

He was already leading the way when he paused to face her again. "Come," he said again, this time holding out his paw for her arm. Curious, and perplexed, Fluttershy allowed him to lead her into the shadows of the unknown.

"Where are we going?" she asked.

Discord chuckled. "You'll just have to be patient and see."

He continued to lead her through the darkness, easily moving through the shadows as if it were as bright as day. Fluttershy stumbled here and there, but maintained her balance and did not complain once. "You have adjusted to my world quickly," he whispered to her. "And I understand you have learned how to get around rather well on your own."

Fluttershy pressed herself closer so as not to lose him in the darkness. "My eyesight is nothing like yours," she replied, gasping as she almost lost her balance.

Discord caught her. "My apologies," he murmured. "I should have warned you about the path…it does get easier, I promise…"

"It's alright," Fluttershy whispered, wondering if he could see the flush of her cheeks despite the darkness.

He smiled and took her arm again, his paws tenderly wrapping around her small arm, cradling it against him. "You have only been here for a few months…I have had over twenty years to learn these tunnels," he said, before coming to a stop. "Wait here," he commanded, before releasing her hoof and disappearing.

Fluttershy missed his touch, realizing just how warm she had been when he had been holding her. She felt so cold now that his presence was gone, but before she could wrap her arms around her body, a light illuminated the shadows out of the corner of her eye. The light came from an oil lamp, that hung…she couldn't quite tell what exactly, but it looked as though…Discord, who was behind the light, was floating towards her! And then she realized…he was floating…but not on the air; on a boat. The lamp hung from the front of a gondola, and Discord was standing in the back, a large oar in his paw and claw, pushing the boat towards her. "Come," he whispered, holding his claw out to her. Without asking, Fluttershy took his claw, and entered the boat, settling herself down as he then began to paddle them across the water.

"W-w-where are we?" she asked, looking out into the murky waters, trying to see if the lamp could illuminate anything else.

"Your lagoon is not the only body of water under the Opera House," he said. "In fact, the Mareine empties into an underground lake here, one that is quite vast, and rather deep," he looked down at her. "Can you swim?" he asked.

Fluttershy shivered as she imagined the bottomless waters of the lake they were sailing. "A little," she replied. "There was a pond behind our farmhouse…in the summer I would sometimes go swimming in it…but it wasn't very deep."

Discord nodded his head, moving the oar at an even pace, grateful for the shadows, for in truth, he knew she could swim, as the memories of that night when he had watched her bathe in the lagoon came flooding back to him, as they did every night.

"How far do the tunnels go?" she asked, interrupting his thoughts, which he was grateful for.

"I have explored many…and yet I am not sure if I have explored them all," he simply stated. "I do know that those," he indicated towards his left, "lead to the infamous catacombs of medieval Maris. Trust me; those are some tunnels you do not wish to explore."

Fluttershy felt a shiver go down her body at the thought of coming across ancient skulls and skeletons of the mares and stallions who lived so long ago. A part of her yearned to know how he knew about the catacombs, but another part of her felt just fine without fully knowing as well.

They reached the other end of the lake and Discord jumped out of the boat, the water going up to his knees, as he pulled the gondola ashore and tethered it to a simple wooden post that rose out of the earth. He then removed the lamp from where it hung and extended his paw to Fluttershy. She wanted to know what he was going to show her, where exactly they were traveling, but she didn't ask, she simply let him take her arm and allowed him to lead her further into the darkness, past rocks and caverns, past pipes and tiny underground streams. She felt as if they were traveling to the center of the earth, but it came to her realization that instead of going down deeper, they were in fact…climbing upward.

The hard earthen ground had changed to stone steps. And there were lamps along the walls that Discord was slowly lighting one by one. The steps were wide, and they twisted in a spiral format. Fluttershy looked around her as Discord lit the lamps and noticed that there were stalls along the steps, some containing old blankets, others with moss and straw on the ground. "They used to keep animals down here," Discord explained, not having to see the curiosity on Fluttershy's face to know what she was thinking. "In the older days of the Maris Opera House, they sometimes had horses, cattle, and sheep on the stage for such operas. They aren't used anymore, but I remember when I first came here, all the noise they would make," he chuckled to himself. "The stagehooves never learned who was milking the cows when they came down to do it themselves."

Fluttershy smiled and could easily imagine the confusion, as well as Derpy's excitement at finding animals, if she knew about this place. After passing the animal stalls, Discord led her down a long passageway, passed large wooden wheels that were as big as a small building, with great ropes tethered around them. "What is this place?" she gasped, looking at the wheels with amazement.

"The mechanisms that control the curtains," Discord simply answered. "They aren't simply controlled by those ropes and sandbags that the stagehooves operate," he stopped her then. "Careful…there are some loose floorboards here."

Fluttershy's eyes went wide and looked down at her hooves, noticing that the boards where she stood did indeed look moldy and weak. She looked at Discord and how he was moving, that only on certain boards did he place his whole weight. She mimicked his steps, her confidence slowly growing, but let out a squeal when she felt one board give way beneath her hoof.

As before, Discord was there, his arm wrapping tightly around her and twirling her out of danger in front of him. "Are you alright?" he asked, seeing how she was panting from her sudden fright.

"Y-y-y-yes," Fluttershy stammered, trying to get her heart to beat at its normal rhythm. "Thank you," she whispered, blushing as she realized that his arm was still around her.

Discord released her, but took her hoof again, leading her past the giant wheels, through some more darkened chambers, ever climbing upwards. They continued their journey, till they reached what appeared to be the inside of a tower. Discord led the way, up a long and narrow spiral staircase, which contained no sconces for Discord to light. In fact, the staircase was so narrow, that Discord couldn't take the oil lamp with him as well as keep a hold of Fluttershy's arm, so they were climbing in pure darkness. Fluttershy kept her body flattened against the wall as they climbed higher and higher. She had no idea where he was taking her, and her curiosity was consuming her with every step, but she didn't want either of them to fall and break their necks!

"Stop here," he commanded. Fluttershy did as he told her, wishing she could see what was going on. She could hear him grunting as he pushed against something, and she squinted her eyes as she saw…a sliver of light? There was the sound of iron being moved, and then, before she could blink, her face was bathed in a flourish of snowflakes that fell from the ceiling door Discord had just opened. "At last," he sighed, emerging into the snow covered air, his paw guiding Fluttershy up through the door, helping her out…and it was then that she realized where they were.

"Oh dear heaven!" Fluttershy gasped, looking all around her. She was outside. The snow that was falling and swirling around her body and hitting her at every angle was not falling through holes in a cavern's ceiling…but from the actual sky above her head! They were standing on the roof of the Maris Opera House.

Discord chuckled at her reaction and walked over to edge of the roof, leaning against the familiar stone gargoyles. "Behold…Maris at dawn," he said quite simply, holding his paw and claw out to the city that still very much seemed asleep.

With tentative steps, Fluttershy followed Discord and gazed out at the city before her. Tiny lights dotted the streets, a few carriages were traveling here and there, but other than that, there wasn't a single living soul moving around. There were no fine mares or gentlecolts of fashion dressed in their silks and furs, parading their wares like peddlers at a market. There were no colts in front of the Opera House, advertising the next opera, and the beggars that were frequently seen to line the streets seemed to have disappeared from view as well. It was so quiet; in her brief time in Maris, Fluttershy had never seen the city this quiet.

Discord studied her as she gazed out over the sleeping city, admiring the way the snow clung to her pink hair, the rosy color of her cheeks, and the brightness in her eyes as she gazed upon the outside world for the first time since she had brought him back on that stormy night. "It's so lovely," she murmured. Discord couldn't help but agree, but it was not the city that had his attention. He couldn't imagine a time he thought she looked more beautiful.

"The view is breath-taking, but the one from Notre Mane is better."

Fluttershy stared at him with disbelief. "You have been to the top of Notre Mane?" she gasped.

He couldn't help but laugh. "Once, when I was much younger; I ventured out into the night without a care in the world, but even I, who have no fear of heights whatsoever, felt uneasy with being up there."

Fluttershy was simply amazed. "You…you go out often?" she asked, curious about everything that he did.

Discord felt his cheeks flush, as he all too well knew the reasons that drove him out into the night. "On occasion," he whispered. "I actually have…some who help me, by getting supplies for us, such as food, wine, fabric for clothes, blankets, oil for our lamps, etc." He grimaced somewhat. Madame Luna was his link to the outside world, and since their fight, they had not been on speaking terms with one another…which was not making life easy for all of them. It was his own damn fault, he knew, and it was his responsibility to settle things; he couldn't afford to be selfish.

He cleared his throat, changing the subject. "I wanted to bring you here for a reason," he murmured, fighting the urge to reach out and brush a strand of hair from her cheek.

Fluttershy couldn't help but smile somewhat. "You mean you didn't bring me up here to throw me off the roof?"

Discord realized her joke and found himself chuckling to it. "Tempting, it's true…but…" his voice grew serious again. "I wanted to show you…another part of my world that I know you have not seen…in fact, you are the only other pony who has come up here, besides me."

Fluttershy's eyes widened. "None of the others?"

Discord shook his head. "They don't care for heights, and…they shun the light of day even more than me," he sighed, feeling pity for his friends. Despite the scars he wore, he had more freedom than they could ever have.

Fluttershy blushed as realization came over her. While he had not yet said it to her directly, Discord was telling her by bringing her here, that he trusted her with the kind of trust one would give to a friend. He had taken her beyond the underground lair, into the Opera House itself, and above it. He was tempting her with a taste for freedom from his prison…but she did not feel the urge to run for her life, to escape him or the world he lived. She did however feel her heart ache for her father. She gazed out over the cold streets of Maris and wondered where he was. Could she see the apartment they had occupied from here? She peered through the mist, wondering if he was there. Was he worried about her? Was he alright? Would she ever see his face again?

Discord saw the pain in her eyes, knowing what she was thinking, but said nothing. Instead, he removed his cape and gently placed it around Fluttershy's shoulders, offering a smile of reassurance.

"Thank you," she whispered, pulling the cape closer around her body, her eyes fluttering shut as she breathed in his scent. "And…thank you for showing me this."

"Tis nothing," Discord whispered, turning his back to her and leaning against one of the stone ponies. "I have thought about what you said earlier…" he looked over his shoulder at her. "What is it that you wish to know about me?"

Fluttershy was taken aback by his abruptness, and at first thought perhaps he was mocking her. But she realized that he was being very sincere, and that this was a somewhat awkward moment for them both. He had not dismissed her request for wanting to be friends. "Well…I…I am curious…about Don Juan," she began. "How did the idea for the opera come to you?"

Discord couldn't help but give a cynical laugh. "You want to know about the story?" he clarified for her. "Well…when I first came to this theater, I knew very little about music and nothing at all about opera…but it just so happened that on the first night we had arrived…they were playing Faust. I snuck up to the catwalks high above the stage and watched the entire show from there. I was mesmerized by the spectacle…" he whispered, his eyes clouding over with memories. "And instantly, I felt a connection to music…so, as you can see, I have dedicated some of my work to my first exposure to opera."

Fluttershy did understand that, after all, Don Juan, like Faust, sold his soul to the devil, however in Discord's opera, it was to seek out revenge over the beautiful Aminta and her handsome lover. "And…the rest of the story?" she inquired, hoping she was not overstepping her boundaries.

Discord breathed in deeply. "I was 17 when I came here. Young and foolish; I knew nothing of the world or how it worked," he paused before continuing. "And nothing at all about mares."

Fluttershy had not expected this. Her entire attention was upon him like a rabbit being stalked by a wolf.

"Her name was Pinkamena," Discord continued, his teeth grinding somewhat as he said her name. "She was a dancer…a star, really. Graceful, beautiful, young…and stupid," he spat. "I was an idiot too, charmed by her beauty, dazzled by her talent, I composed songs, sonnets, all manners of love-sick poetry to her, signing them as if I were a mysterious ghost…thus giving birth to my infamous pseudonym," he chuckled, although there was little humor in his voice. "For two agonizing years I kept to the shadows, not once revealing who I was, thinking that she would seek me out, and when she did, she would be so in love with me that she would not care about my face or body…that she would see past it…" his voice was full and bitter. "But her true face was soon revealed to me," he growled.

He suddenly turned to face Fluttershy, and she took a quick step back as she saw old anger flare in his eyes. "Do you find the Prince handsome?" he asked, bitterness and hatred pouring out of his voice.

Fluttershy did not know what to say. Yes, strictly going by appearance, Blueblood was quite handsome. But she had a glimpse at the stallion beneath the invisible mask, and from what she could tell, he was pompous, arrogant, narcissistic, and disrespectful. Discord grew impatient. "Naturally you think so, all mares do," he grumbled, turning his attention back to the city.

Fluttershy opened her mouth to protest, not liking to be judged based on some silly thoughts by members of her sex, but Discord continued. "He was only 16 at the time…but he was just as much a hunter then as he is now."

Fluttershy wrapped the cape around her even tighter, feeling the cold invade her bones.

"I remember the day he came to the Opera House. He too found Pinkamena to be irresistible, and all it took for him was a sweet word or two, a kiss on the hoof…and she was on her back, her legs spread willingly from east to west, in a matter of seconds." Fluttershy flushed deeply at Discord's course words, but said nothing. Pain dripped from his lips as the melted snow dripped from her hair.

He sighed deeply, painfully. "What I had been doing for two years…the Prince had accomplished in a matter of minutes," the anger flared once again in his voice. "She assumed he had been the author of her romantic tokens, and he was all too willing to take the credit. I realized then the creature she truly was…vain, spoiled, conceited," he slammed his fist against the stone pony. "And so stupid…"

Fluttershy chewed on her bottom lip, clutching Discord's cape close to her body, yet also wanting to comfort him for his wounds. But she dared not move. "What happened to her?" she whispered.

"The stupid mare thought the Prince loved her and wanted to marry her, so she ran away to be with him. A year later, Blueblood returned, but Pinkamena was not with him. In fact, no one ever saw Pinkamena again, stupid mare," he muttered, flinging some snow over the edge of the roof.

Fluttershy felt Discord's pain as she took in the sad story he had told. Was the character of Aminta based on this mare? Fluttershy was not comfortable with the thought of herself playing a past love interest of his. "Satisfied?" Discord snapped.

Fluttershy flinched at the coldness in his voice, but refused to let it get to her. "I'm sorry Discord," she whispered.

Discord scoffed and rolled his eyes. "Please, the last thing I need from you are apologies for her."

"I'm not apologizing for her!" Fluttershy protested. "But I am sorry for the pain that you went through! I…I can tell from the way you mentioned her that…that at one point you loved her dearly-"

"I did not love her," Discord growled. "I was dazzled by her beauty and flattered by the way she read the poems I wrote for her…but I never loved her."

Fluttershy's brow furrowed. "B-b-but you said-"

He turned on her then, advancing towards her. "Have you ever been in love Fluttershy?" he asked.

"W-w-what?" Fluttershy took several steps back, suddenly feeling like the roof had shrunk.

"Have you ever been in love? Do you know what it feels like to love another and have that love returned?" he was practically yelling at this point.

What could she say? No, she had never known of that kind of love to be returned, but…she was so unsure of the feelings that were beating inside her heart. He confused her; he haunted her thoughts while awake and her dreams while asleep. His music constantly played over and over in her head, and when he stood before her, even now, looking all dark and menacing…she could not help but feel new unknown passions awaken in her blood. And despite his intimidating presence…Fluttershy knew she had nothing to fear of him. There was a trust she felt for this stallion, who several times that day had already caught her before falling. With these thoughts, she found herself standing her ground and squaring her shoulders to him. "The love that you speak, I…I have not known, but-"

Discord wasn't interested in hearing her reason, he was sick of reason; he just wanted to make his point and be done with it. "Then how can you possibly know or comprehend what I feel or have felt? Of all the ponies in this world, don't you think that I would know my feelings better than anyone else?" he turned from her then and stalked back over to the stone pony.

Fluttershy glared at his back, not ready to end this now. "I didn't force you to tell me this story!" she shouted. "But you did answer my question…now I know your basis for Aminta."

Discord kept his back to her. "Aminta is not Pinkamena. She is just a copy of what mares really are."

Fluttershy felt her face pale at his words. She stalked to where he stood and grabbed him by the shoulder, not caring that it took her whole strength to turn him around and face her. "And what am I, Discord?" she shouted. "After all, I am a mare…best that you tell me what I really am!"

Her spirit was alive and kindling with wildfire. Discord had never seen it in such a blaze, and for the first time in his life…he felt himself shrinking before another. "Calm down," he ordered in a hushed voice. "Do you want all of Maris to awake and know of our whereabouts?"

" To hell with them!" Fluttershy spat, surprised by her own crude words. "Tell me what you meant Discord! After all, I think I'm entitled as the mare who is playing this Jezebel for your opera!" she shoved her hooves against him. "You are saying that we are all deceitful creatures! That we use good stallions and their romantic tokens as means to make ourselves feel powerful, and then destroy them by throwing ourselves at the first handsome face with wealth and power that comes our way! My Goodness, is that what you truly think?"

Discord was growing annoyed by her words. "Am I wrong?"

Fluttershy threw his cape at him. "YES!" she shouted, stomping her hoof good and hard, breaking the snow all around it. "And how DARE you belittle me for feeling sorry for you! I do NOT pity you Discord! But I am sorry for the pain that she caused you, and I despise her for tainting your view on all mares! But let me assure you that not all mares are so fickle, conceited, and self-absorbed!"

Discord cocked his head to one side, admiring the fire that was fueling through her. "Really?"

"YES!" she shouted again. "I do not know the kind of love that you asked me earlier…but I know myself and what I have been taught. I have seen it with my very own eyes! My mother was the daughter of a Prench aristocrat, but she abandoned that life to be with my father, a poor immigrant. She loved him for the stallion he was, not for money or power or fame. And while it broke his heart that he could not give her all the luxuries she had before, she could never truly make him understand that those things meant nothing to her. He was all that mattered; his love was all that mattered! And I will not be judged upon the horrid deeds of Pinkamena and other mares like her!" Fluttershy stomped angrily.

Discord bit his lips to not grin at her.

"When I love a stallion…I will love him with my whole heart, with all of my being, my soul, and my mind. I will not cast him aside the second another enters my life, no matter how wealthy, handsome, or powerful he may be! I will not lie to him, I will not deceive him, but I will fight for him and stand loyally with him," tears were beginning to stream down her cheeks as she continued speaking. Discord's amused grin disappeared and he slowly began walking towards her. "When he is ill…I will nurse him, and when he is sad, I will comfort him," she choked. "I will be everything to him…his friend…his companion…h-his l-lover…a-a-and if he will have me…his wife," she whispered. She couldn't look at him now, especially since he was standing right in front of her, his body so close to hers.

Had he realized that she was talking about…about him?

Had she realized it? Perhaps she always knew…

Discord's heart felt strangely warmed by this mare. The feelings that had been raging through him ever since Fluttershy came into his life were reaching a boiling point. His memories of Pinkamena had threatened that stone exterior he kept around himself, and his fears for rejection, ridicule, and desertion came crashing back.

But Fluttershy's words filled him with new hope. Was it possible to believe that this beauty could love the beast that he was? She had asked him earlier if it was possible for them to be friends. Yes, yes, he wanted to be friends with her very much.

But it almost seemed too much to dream for anything more, despite the new hope Fluttershy gave him.

Fluttershy wiped her cheeks with the back of her hoof, shivering uncontrollably as the cold seeped through her dressing gown. "C-c-can we go back inside?" she asked. "It's very cold…"

Discord nodded his head and led her back towards the door they had come through. "I do not think the sun will be rising today," he murmured, surveying the cold gray sky overhead.

Fluttershy sighed. "I have almost forgotten what the sun looks like."

The trap door was open once again, and Fluttershy bit her lip, wondering how in the world she was going to climb down those steep steps. "Allow me," Discord murmured, going in front of her, and tethering a rope that was connected to the trap door. The rope was long and disappeared into the dark abyss. He wrapped his leg around the rope, creating a holster and securing himself within it. "Hold tight to me," he urged Fluttershy, his arm already moving around her waist.

Fluttershy was not sure about this; in fact, she had just realized how much she was scared of heights. "Discord-"

"Trust me, Angel."

She looked at him, his words melting over her like honey, and his arm felt strong and secure around her body. He had never called her that before…but she liked it very much. She nodded her head, her arms going around his shoulders and gripping him tightly, her head burrowing against his chest, biting back the scream as with one arm, he held onto the rope, and they gently, yet swiftly, floated to the ground.

It was over before she knew it. Fluttershy was still holding tightly to him even after her hooves were securely on the ground. "It's alright," he whispered, running a soothing paw through her hair.

Fluttershy lifted her head, looking around and realizing that they truly were back on the ground, and then her hooves began pounding against his chest. "Warn me next time about that being the only way of coming back down when you take me up anywhere!" she hissed, but she wasn't truly upset, just…shaken from everything that had taken place. It was more than simply arguing with him on the roof of Maris…it was coming to terms with what she had admitted to herself when she was declaring to him the kind of mare she would be…

She was in love with the Phantom of the Opera.

Discord's paw and claw lingered on her, his face so close to her own. So much had happened; this mare had the voice of an angel, she inspired his music like nothing else, she ignited his soul, and for the first time in over twenty years…she brought hope back to his heart. He was a monster…and yet she made him feel like a stallion.

"We best return, don't you think?" Fluttershy whispered. "B-b-before any stagehooves find us here?"

A sad smile crossed his lips. "You're right," he sighed. "Although all the stagehooves know that this is part of my domain…and that I choose to share it with them," he said simply. "If they saw me…and some of them have…they know best not to tell anyone, except to keep the legend of the Opera Ghost alive."

"Yes, but what would they say if they saw me with you?" she asked.

Discord grinned as he led her back to their lair. "That the Opera Ghost has a friend?"

Fluttershy stared up at him, a smile spreading across her lips. It was a start. Perhaps with time, she could teach the Opera Ghost to love again…

Author's Note:

Edited: 2/9/2016