• Published 2nd Feb 2013
  • 17,961 Views, 1,035 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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Plotting

Plotting

The walls of Blueblood's library were illuminated in a soft orange glow, the same glow that poured over him as he gazed into the fireplace at the small but blazing fire. He grunted softly as he stared into the flames, trying to concentrate on the task at hoof, but finding it extremely difficult while other thoughts from Christmas night invaded his mind.

Christmas had been two days ago, but the news that Crafty Crate had delivered him had been most perplexing and disturbing.

He grunted again, closing his eyes and trying one last time to concentrate but exhaled a frustrated groan, knowing it was no use.

"Get up!" he barked, and a red head popped up from between his legs.

The chambermaid pouted softly, knowing that she had not been able to please her master entirely. "But monsieur, I haven't-"

"Get up and leave at once!" he growled, avoiding the mare's eyes and doing up his own trousers, tucking himself back in, feeling utterly frustrated from both his thoughts and lack of relief.

The maid pouted once again, but rose to her hooves, righting her dress and did a small curtsy, before quickly exiting the library.

Blueblood paid the maid no heed, after all, she was just a servant and maids were only good for one thing as far as he was concerned. He continued to stare into the fire, allowing himself to fully concentrate on the news Crafty Crate had delivered two nights ago.

It was almost 11 o'clock on Christmas night, and Blueblood was impatiently awaiting word from the private investigator. Finally, the butler entered the library announcing Crafty Crate' arrival, and the smaller stallion entered, wiping snow off his coat, his face extremely red. He was panting and collapsed in the nearest arm chair, wheezing for the butler to bring him a brandy, even though Blueblood as host made no such offer. Blueblood chose to ignore this, and focused entirely on the stallion before him.

"Goodness, what the devil happened to you?" he asked, sipping his own brandy and leaning back in his chair.

Crafty Crate wheezed a little more, then finally muttered, "Couldn't…get…a cab…had to…run…" the brandy arrived then and Crafty Crate took a hearty drink. "Thank you," he muttered.

Blueblood lit a cigar, hoping the smoke would help calm him. While Blueblood had made his deadline, Blueblood was most impatient for any news. "Well?" he demanded after taking one long puff. "What news do you have?"

Crafty Crate mopped the sweat from his brow and took another long swig of his brandy before finally retelling his discoveries.

"As you had advised, I played the part of someone seeking out information on the Phantom," Crafty Crate began. "And I began my inquiries with people who I felt would see a great deal of what goes on back stage, but who few would regard with any importance," Crafty Crate said proudly.

Blueblood held back his groan of frustration. "Stagehooves?"

Crafty Crate beamed. "Exactly monsieur! Yes, I felt it best to speak to them, as I feared the dance mares may tell Madame Luna of my presence and we would not want that, would we?"

Blueblood made no response, just glared at the stallion to continue.

"Yes, well," Crafty Crate quickly went on, "I saw several burly looking fellows smoking cigarettes near the orchestra pit, and felt it best to approach them. I must say, monsieur, it amazes me that such places of grandness and refinement would hire such rude, grotesque–"

"Get on with it!"

Crafty Crate practically fell out of his chair from Blueblood's bark of impatience. "Forgive me, monsieur, I digress," he apologized. "Yes, well, I approached these stallions and introduced myself as one who was investigating the whereabouts of the so-called 'Phantom of the Opera'."

Blueblood choked on the smoke he was inhaling from his cigar and pounded his hoof against his chest as he stared at the other stallion with wild eyes. "You…you what?" he coughed. "You idiot! I told you to only say that if anyone inquired as to why you were asking questions! Not as an introduction!"

Blueblood rose from his chair and stalked over to the other side of the room, feeling that if he did not get far enough away from Crafty Crate he'd cause the stallion great pain…and think nothing of it. Even Crafty Crate was shrinking back in his chair. "F-f-forgive monsieur! I…I d-d-do not think t-t-that you are in danger of…of being discovered h-however–"

Blueblood cursed and threw what was left of his cigar into the fire. "Now the maniac who is playing these jokes on me will know about the investigation I'm conducting and gain even more glee at my frustration!"

Crafty Crate shrank even more, but lifted his voice with news that he hoped would please his employer, "I did learn more about the mare, however."

Blueblood froze, his eyes both large and wild as he gazed at Crafty Crate. "Continue…"

Pleased that the Prince didn't want to kill him anymore, at least not at the moment, Crafty Crate quickly continued. "The stagehooves I spoke with laughed at my introduction, telling me that the Phantom was no stallion I could catch, even if I wished it. They all claimed to have seen him, that he lurks in the shadows behind the stage, that he haunts the many catwalks high above, that he knows everything that goes on and that he runs this theater–"


Blueblood growled at those words. "Get on with it," he snarled.

Crafty Crate swallowed his nervousness. "T-they all seemed quite sure that this Phantom is not a prankster, that he truly exists…and I scoffed at them, saying it could be anypony; the letters could be written by any number of ponies wanting to make demands, but they became quite insistent that the Phantom exists! They then told me about ponies who…who did not follow the Phantom's wishes, who did not obey his orders, and who met the wrath of the Opera Ghost," Crafty Crate paused briefly, grateful to see that the Prince did not look homicidal, but, rather intrigued.

"They told me of men who had disappeared, who went below the stage, down far below the Opera House, where once upon a time the theater kept its props and supplies, but now were lost to the Opera Ghost. They said that's his domain…and those that have gone down there, were never heard or seen again," Crafty Crate shivered at the memory of the stallion's words, still recalling how chilling the tale was. "And I laughed, trying to show my doubt to their words, and asked them who was the last pony to have disappeared…and then they all exchanged glances with one another before saying the name of…Time Turner."

Blueblood stared at Crafty Crate, bewilderment slowly settling in. The old stallion had raved like a lunatic about the Phantom…was it possible? "You mentioned you had news on Fluttershy?"

"Oh yes monsieur! In fact, one of the stagehooves interrupted the others who said Turner's name, claiming that it was in fact the costume mare who was last seen disappearing below stage. You see, on the night of the opening gala, one of the stagehooves was meant to go below stage to fetch a prop, but they all claimed to know better, that below stage was strictly off limits! However Time Turner overheard the stallion arguing, and claimed he would go below to fetch the prop himself. Needless to say, the stallion never returned."

"Needless," Blueblood muttered. "And?"

"Well…after it became apparent that he had been missing, his daughter became extremely agitated, wanting to form a search party to find him, but Fleur De Lis said something that offended the young mare, and…well…punched the star soprano directly in the eye," Crafty Crate bit his lip recalling how the stagehooves burst out laughing at this story. "As you can imagine, the mare was fired on the spot! However, instead of returning home as she was advised, she approached these stallions and demanded to know if they had seen her father. They informed her he had gone missing after descending below stage, but without word or thought, she too descended…and…hasn't been heard or seen since."

Blueblood sat there; trying to absorb everything he had just been told. "And the mare who owned the apartment they occupied…hasn't seen either of them since that day?"

Crafty Crate nodded his head. "Which…only brings me to this conclusion monsieur…either the two of them have truly disappeared from society…or…" he wasn't sure he wanted to tell the Prince that he was beginning to believe the stories of the infamous Phantom. "They say that the Phantom dresses in black, and that he wears a mask to hide his horrible face!"

These words soaked over Blueblood, and he recalled how Time Turner had briefly, in his madness, described the Phantom to him, as a horrible grotesque figure with a misshapen face and a demon's soul. But it could not be possible? Could it?

"You've done well, Crafty Crate," Blueblood murmured, staring into the flames before him. "I do not believe I will be needing your services further…I shall have my valet fetch you a carriage and pay you what I owe."

Crafty Crate beamed at Blueblood's words; however he did not think he had truly solved the mystery. "Thank you, monsieur, but…if I may ask, where will you go from here in your search for the missing mare? I mean…it is extremely hard to believe that she has been kidnapped by the mysterious Phantom…is it not?"

Blueblood said nothing, simply continued to stare into the fire…as he was doing now, two nights since the conversation he had had with Crafty Crate. For the past two days that followed the Christmas conversation, Blueblood had been deep in thought of what next to do about the case of the missing costume mare. He couldn't simply storm his way down below the stage, and he wasn't entirely convinced that this whole "Phantom" nonsense was more than a prank. But something needed to happen, after all, how much longer was the Marquis Filthy Rich going to live? He had to find Fluttershy if he was going to get his hooves on that fortune!

And then an idea struck him. "CRESCENT MOON!" he shouted, rising from his chair and striding to fetch his coat which had been thrown over another chair. The butler appeared, looking extremely tired as it was nearly midnight. "Have my carriage prepared, I leave at once."

Crescent Moon, the butler, looked extremely confused. "But monsieur…where are you going at this hour?"

Blueblood grinned to himself. "To see an old…'friend', so to speak."

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The night was cold, the coldest yet, but Discord knew it was just going to get colder. He went about his work, lighting the fire, stoking the dying embers, and adding more wood now and then. He continued to do this until he was satisfied that the fire would last the rest of the night, yet it normally took several hours to reach this level of satisfaction.
Discord sighed, a part of him not knowing why he still did this, yet deep down, he knew…he was just afraid to admit it.

He gazed at the orange flames that danced in the small fireplace, feeling their warmth wrap around him, and he remembered a similar fire that not so long ago roared through his veins…a fire that still remained, yet he feared the burning that he knew would utterly consume him from such a blaze.

He turned his eyes for a moment, allowed them to linger, and then added one last log before turning and leaving the chamber.

"So this is where you've been late at night."

Discord met Rainbow Dash's eyes, but said nothing. Instead, he walked right past the peg legged mare, away from the entrance to Fluttershy's chamber, and began heading back to his own chamber to lock himself away with his music.

"Master–"

"What?" Discord turned and growled at the mare.

Rainbow Dash swallowed the lump in her throat, her courage fleeting with the cold night wind that rushed through the tunnels. "I…I s-s-simply w-w-wanted to r-report to you t-that we still have found no trace of…of the mare's father," she whispered.

Discord felt the tenseness in his muscles slowly melt away, but his jaw remained hard and set. Ever since that Christmas night when Fluttershy came to the roof, he had given orders for the others to learn of Time Turner's whereabouts. It was the least he could do, even if things between the two of them were…more muddled than ever before.

"Keep searching," Discord growled, before turning on his heel to leave.

However, Rainbow Dash stopped him with a question. "Forgive me, Master, but…why are we doing this?"

Discord paused, the tenseness slowly returning. Rainbow Dash swallowed another growing lump, but continued. "Why now? I…forgive me, Master, but…it is no secret to the…to the rest of us that…that you two are not speaking…a-a-and why now…why are you still concerned with…with finding her father? And…and I must confess Master, I…I am surprised…" Rainbow Dash motioned toward Fluttershy's chamber. How long had Discord been visiting the sleeping mare to keep the fire in her fireplace from going out? Why did he still do these things when it seemed so obvious to him that…that the two of them despised one another?

Discord kept his back to Rainbow Dash. He too had been questioning his motives and reasons, but the answer to them he was not yet prepared to give…at least not out loud. "You do these things Rainbow Dash," Discord began, slowly turning his head and catching the mare's gaze with his amber eyes that looked like liquid fire, "because I tell you to."

With that, Discord disappeared into the shadows, leaving a trembling Rainbow Dash behind in the darkness. Whether Discord was going to admit it or not, it was obvious to Rainbow Dash that the Master had a secret, one he was not prepared to say…but one that was becoming more and more apparent in his eyes.

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"Time Turner!"

The old stallion's eyes slowly fluttered open. He groaned as he shifted on the uncomfortable prison cot, bending his head to see the officer standing just outside his cell. "Look alive stallion!" the officer barked. "You have a visitor."

Time Turner's brow furrowed at these words. Visitor? For as long as he had been in this jail, no one had stepped foot to see him, mainly because no one, sadly, knew of his whereabouts. Once upon a time he hoped beyond anything that Fluttershy would somehow escape the Phantom's clutches; that she would find him, and together they would leave this city that had become a nightmare. He dreamt of perhaps traveling back to Sweetlan, the two of them, and starting a new life there. But his dreams died with every passing day, and with the change of the seasons, so too did his hope change to despair.

Yet now, with the announcement of a visitor, Time Turner suddenly felt his hopes rise again, and he quickly rose from the cot as fast as his old weary limbs would allow. Yet the hopeful smile on his face quickly died as the last pony he ever expected to see approached the cell.

"Ah, Monsieur!" greeted Prince Blueblood. "At last, we meet again."

Time Turner sank back down onto the cot, yet a scowl now replaced his look of sadness. "You…" he hissed. "What are you doing here?" he demanded through a harsh cough, clutching the thin blanket around his boney shoulders.

Blueblood sighed and quietly kneeled down so he was at the same eye level as the old stallion. "I come asking for your forgiveness, actually."

Time Turner stared at the stallion with a dumbfounded expression. "F-f-forgiveness?" he practically choked.

Blueblood nodded his head. "Yes…for being a fool and not realizing that it was you who had come into my club that night so many months ago," he sighed, running a hoof through his dark blonde hair. "Had I but known…had I not been so damn drunk…" he cursed himself under his breath and hung his head in shame. Time Turner stared at the stallion with eyes as wide as saucers, realization slowly coming over him.

"You…you remember me?" he asked, his voice barely above a whisper. "You…you know who I am then?"

Blueblood lifted his head and gave a sad smile. "I do, Monsieur Turner, I do. But that night…" he cursed himself again. "Forgive me, I was drunk and had no wits about me, for if I had, I would have recognized you at once. But…sadly, I mistook you for a beggar, thought you were a raving drunken lunatic…" he hung his head again. "I have been away from Maris for several months, and arrived just this past week. When I went to the Opera House to speak with the mangers, it was then that I learned of your absence, and I made the horrid realization. Oh forgive me, monsieur, if you can. I am to blame for your misfortunes, it is I who has locked you in this place."

Time Turner felt his heart move with pity at the sincerity of the stallion who knelt before him. "Oh monsieur…" he whispered. "I…I should have known…I was covered with mud, it would have been hard to recognize me and think otherwise."

Blueblood shook his head. "No, I will not accept any sort of excuses, I was the one who caused you this pain; because of me, you had no other choice than to go to the police, and this is what has happened," he cursed. "Oh monsieur, if you can find it in your heart, although I do not deserve it, please…please forgive me, this is all my doing."

Time Turner shook his head, reaching out with a boney hoof and touching Blueblood's sleeve, which was gripping one of the cell's bars. "No monsieur…this has nothing to do with you…it is that cursed Phantom that has done this."

Blueblood slowly lifted his eyes to meet Time Turner's. "Truly?" he whispered, his green eyes coming alive with a strange glow. "I remember…I remember you saying something about your daughter…that…that she was a prisoner of the Phantom?"

Time Turner nodded his head most passionately. "Yes! Oh that horrid beast! He has her, he took her from me! Oh monsieur," Time Turner felt hot tears roll down his cheeks, and he turned his head away, sobbing into his boney hooves, coughing now and then.

Blueblood removed his handkerchief from his pocket and gave it to Time Turner, who thanked him whole heartily. "Please…tell me more about this Phantom," Blueblood whispered.

Time Turner shuddered at the memory. "He's a demon, monsieur," he whispered. "A monster to be sure. Tall, like a giant…covered in black from head to toe, and his body, a mishmash of different pieces, a monster to be sure…but…oh God above," he crossed himself, "his face…that face still haunts my memory…" he wrapped the blanket tightly around him, yet his shivering only intensified. "He wears a mask, monsieur…a mask to cover his God forsaken face!"

Blueblood was practically leaning against the cell bars. "Can you describe this face to me?"

Time Turner trembled and shook his head most violently. "I…I dare not even think…" he began to cough most heavily, and pounded a boney hoof against his chest to calm himself. "Please monsieur…it…it is only half a face…that is all I can say…one side of his face looks like that of any other stallion…but the other…oh the horror of it is indescribable."

Blueblood leaned back, breathing in deeply everything he had just learned. "And you say he has your daughter?"

"YES! Oh monsieur…I…I did not believe in such stories, so to prove myself, I chose to go below and fetch the prop that the stagehooves had been ordered to retrieve, but…I was trapped and…and he found me," he shuddered deeply. "Fluttershy…oh bless her, she…she came after me…" Blueblood remembered everything Crafty Crate had told him, about the stagehooves who swore that Fluttershy had gone down below the stage, the same way Time Turner had disappeared, and yet had not been seen nor heard from since. "Fluttershy found me, yet sadly, the Phantom found her…but she made a bargain with Satan himself! She offered her life in place of mine…oh monsieur…what horrors may have befallen upon her? My poor daughter…my poor sweet filly…" he sobbed again, his whole body shaking with his tears.

Blueblood rose to his feet and found himself pacing, both Time Turner's news and that of Crafty Crate's washing over him. "And she is still there? With this Phantom?"

Time Turner nodded his head. "I…I can only assume…although who knows if she is even alive! Oh monsieur, she is all I have left in this world! I…I do not know what I will do if she is…if…if she is…" he began to sob again, but Blueblood banged his hoof against the cell's bars.

"Get a hold of yourself stallion!" he practically roared. "If we are to help your daughter, we need all our wits about!"

Time Turner looked up at Blueblood, a smile slowly spreading across his old grizzled face. "You…you will help me, monsieur?"

"Yes," Blueblood whispered, lowering himself again, "but we must keep this a secret between ourselves…I do not want any of the officers here learning of what we have been discussing for fear that they may lock you away in an asylum!"

Time Turner trembled at this, knowing that asylums were far worse than Prench prisons. "I understand," he whispered.

"Good," Blueblood said. "Now, I need to know this for a fact…is this 'Phantom'…an actual living, breathing…stallion?"

"He's a demon if you ask me…" Time Turner hissed. "But…he is flesh, if that is what you mean, monsieur…he is no specter, despite the stories the dancers tell."

Blueblood was pleased at these words. "And…how did you come upon his lair?"

Time Turner trembled. "There is a trap door back stage…a door that leads directly below…but I do not advise that you go down there, monsieur, there are traps everywhere, and…and he has an army!"

Blueblood raised an eyebrow at this. "Army?"

"Well…there are others…they all wore shrouds when I came upon them, but they work for him, minions you see."

Blueblood nodded his head, although he found this piece of news rather hard to swallow. "Well I think you're right, this is not something one wants to be rash about…this will take careful planning, but fear not, monsieur, I am quite determined to find your daughter, bring her to safety, and reunite the two of you once again."

Time Turner felt his face break into a wide smile, his eyes tearing up again, only this time out of joy. "Oh bless you, monsieur! Thank you! Thank you! I knew you were a good stallion, I knew deep in my bones, and now Fluttershy will see that she was wrong and that you truly are a knight in shining–"

"What?" Blueblood stared at Time Turner with wild eyes. "W-w-what do you mean…Fluttershy will see she is wrong…?"

Time Turner bit his lip, looking down at the cell floor. "Forgive me, monsieur…I did not mean to offend…only…you see, Fluttershy, I'm afraid, is sometimes too…realistic I suppose, for her own good. Her mother was a lady of wealth, and she married me, a poor musician. It is not hard for me to believe a pony of great wealth falling in love with…well, with somepony society would say is 'below them', but…Fluttershy has a harder time believing in the possibility, sadly."

"Well…let us hope that I too can…prove her wrong," Blueblood said through clipped lips, but with a genuine smile.

Time Turner did not notice the clipped tone and smiled back. "Oh monsieur, how can I thank you? I know that with your influence, you can summon an army of heaven's angels to do battle with that horrific Phantom and save my daughter. Oh bless you, monsieur…bless you," Time Turner reached out and grasped one of Blueblood's hoof and kissed it.

Blueblood's first reaction was to shake the stallion off him, but he caught himself in time and allowed Time Turner to show his gratitude before removing his hoof. "Once I have found Fluttershy, I will then be able to convince these imbeciles that you are not a mad stallion, and have you released at once."

Time Turner smiled even more. "Oh thank you, monsieur, but all that matters is the safety of my daughter. But thank you, monsieur, oh thank you so much."

Blueblood nodded his head, before turning and leaving the cell block. Outside, he was greeted by Chief Inspector Silverstar, the stallion he was paying to keep Time Turner locked behind bars. "Well?" the inspector asked. "You wish for me to release him?"

Blueblood scoffed at the stallion. "Are you mad? The stallion is clearly insane! But I was able to retrieve the information I desperately needed," he said with a wry grin. "I think it will only be for a few more days that you'll have the…delight, shall we say, of Monsieur Time Turner's company."

Silverstar nodded his head. "And then?"

"Well, that depends," Blueblood sighed. "If all goes according to plan, I shall remove Time Turner off your hooves myself…but if not…I'll gladly pay the fare for the coach that has to drive him to the asylum."

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Flam yawned very loudly as both he and Flim sat in their office, awaiting the arrival of the Prince, whose message they had both received in the middle of the night, stressed great urgency for the two of them to be at the Opera House extremely early for important matters of business.
"I do not know if any business is this urgent," Flam muttered, yawning again. Flim heartily agreed with his business partner, but said nothing.

"Ah! Good morning gentlemcolts," Blueblood greeted rather cheerfully, entering the managers' office and offering each of them cigars. "I do feel today is a day of celebration," he explained with a wide grin.

The two managers stared at the Prince in stunned silence. Never had either of them seen the stallion looking so…happy. Only when discussions were about money did he look anywhere close to being this happy.

"G-g-good morning, monsieur," Flam said rather nervously, looking at Flim for explanation on how to handle Blueblood's new and strange mood.

"I trust all is well monsieur?" Flim asked, smiling and thankfully accepting the cigar, although he too was just as puzzled.

"Oh very well, thank you," Blueblood chuckled, lighting his own cigar before lighting those that he handed out. He then took Flim's desk chair, seating himself and inhaling deeply before releasing a large cloud of smoke. "Well, I shall not delay your questioning glances further," he sighed, taking one last long puff on his cigar before focusing on the two confused managers.

"I called for this special meeting because I wish to have things started at once, after all, New Years Eve is only…good heavens, two days away, and that's counting today."

Flim and Flam exchanged looks. "I…I beg your pardon monsieur?" Flim inquired. "What…what exactly are you wishing we 'start'?"

Blueblood's smile spread even further. "Why…planning the ball of course."

"BALL?" both managers shouted together, rising to their feet and coughing on the smoke from their cigars.

Blueblood grinned and inhaled deeply. "Yes, a ball given in honor of the whole company; the singers, dancers, musicians, even those that work behind the curtain…I want them all there," he exhaled a long stream of smoke into the direction of the managers. "I suggest you get right on it, especially since I already had the invitations issued this morning."

"I-i-i-invitations?" Flam gasped, pounding his fist against his chest from the smoke he was choking on. "F-f-for the company?"

"Of course not!" Blueblood scoffed. "I expect you to inform the company…the invitations are for the elite of Marisian society."

"M-m-m-marisian s-s-society?" Flam practically spat.

Flam pushed the younger manager away, looking at the Prince straight in the eye. "Am I to understand, monsieur…that you have sent out invitations to…to half of our most prominent patrons–"

"All of them, actually," Blueblood sighed. "You have no idea how much fine paper costs, especially when you're paying by the letter."

Flim forced himself to remain calm. "You have practically invited all of Maris to come here, on New Years Eve, for…for a ball?"

Blueblood smiled and nodded his head like a little boy who had been told he had done something very good. "Yes, and not just any ball, a masked ball, so I'm counting on you to inform the company of that as well."

Both Flim and Flm were looking at each other as if they should call the asylum to inform them that the Prince had completely lost his mind. "This was…this was the urgent news?" Flim slowly asked.

Blueblood exhaled another large cloud of smoke. "Of course it is! What could be more important than that?"

Flam was pacing back and forth, his hooves in his hair. "I…I just thought…monsieur, you know we are in great financial debt, what with the last few…performances," he hissed. "How on earth are we going to afford–"

Blueblood waved his hoof. "Do not worry about expense, I shall handle all finances; but I'm counting on you to organize everything by New Year's Eve! And the party begins promptly at 8 o'clock, so have the doors open then."

Flam couldn't hold it back any further. "BUT WHAT OF THE PHANTOM?"

Blueblood, who at that moment had been rising from Flim's chair, stopped and stared at the younger manager who looked ready to pull out his own hair. "What of him?" he responded coolly.

Flim was rubbing his temples as his partner wailed on. "Pardon me, monsieur…but…am I not correct in recalling that we needed to discover the whereabouts of this prankster, this stage hoof who is attempting to send us into financial ruin?"

Blueblood could only grin. "Do you still have a copy of that score?"

Flim lifted his head. "Yes…b-b-but why? It's utter rubbish, as you said so yourself–"

"Well, I think you should hold onto it…at least just for a little bit longer," Blueblood explained. "You see…I was sure that the invitations announced that not only was this ball in honor of the whole company…but also, at the ringing in of the new year, an announcement will be made on the new 'project' that the Maris Opera House is preparing for later this season."

The jaws of the two stallions dropped as they stared at their greatest of all patrons. And then, slowly, realization dawned on them both.

"This is…this is all a ploy…a plot to…to drag this so-called 'Phantom' into the light," Flim whispered. "This is all deliberate so that he…or she…will reveal themselves–"

"And thus ending our dilemma! OH IT'S BRILLIANT!" Flam exclaimed.

Blueblood looked rather smug. "Yes it is, I must say," he sighed, taking one last long puff on his cigar before stuffing it out. "So you best get to work." No need to tell either of them about his encounter with the old stallion, Blueblood thought. This was the perfect trap, using the Phantom's score as bait to lure him out into the open, and finally put an end to this ghost story. All that mattered was the simple fact that the Phantom was flesh, and whether the infamous Opera Ghost turned out to be a stage hoof playing a great prank…or a freak of nature that the old stallion claimed to exist, he would have his answer by the new year.

And with the answer of who really is the Phantom of the Opera, he hoped to discover the truth and whereabouts of the just as elusive Fluttershy.

Author's Note:

Edited: 2/9/2016

Cresent Moon takes care of the Wonderbolts with Brolly in Sonic Rainboom. He also appears in Green Isn't Your Color, Hearth's Warming Eve, Hearts and Hooves Day, Hurricane Fluttershy, Wonderbolts Academy, and Games Ponies Play. His cutie mark is a waxing crescent moon.