• 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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Alterations

Alterations

Fluttershy purred happily as she stretched her arms over her head, sighing as she remembered the delicious dream she had been having; she and Discord had made love, but prior to that, Discord had…well…he had…

Fluttershy couldn't help but blush deeply at the memory, her hoof covering the pleasured smile that spread across her face. Did she dare tell him of her dream? They had made love atop his piano! How would he react from hearing such thoughts? Would he be disgusted? She prayed he wouldn't, but she was unsure, after all, she had never imagined couples doing what…well, what they had done in her dream.

She sighed once more and stretched her arms out against the bed, and then froze as she her hooves made contact with the plush Persian pillows that adorned Discord's bed.

She was in Discord's bed!

Then…it had not been a dream?

Fluttershy felt her face grow a deeper shade of scarlet at the thought that, yes…that exquisite moment which she had thought was a dream…had actually happened!

Oh God, how could she face him? He must think her so wanton!

And then Fluttershy shook her head, feeling so foolish for her embarrassment. "Really Fluttershy, I'm sure the many times you have given yourself to him freely have long since proven that you are wanton," she muttered to herself. Still…the blush remained bright upon her cheeks.

A sweet haunting melody filled the chamber and Fluttershy lifted her head, hearing the warm rich tones of Discord's organ reverberate off the stone walls. She rose from the bed, taking Discord's dressing gown and wrapping it around her body, before emerging into the music chamber.

Discord was at his organ, dressed in a plain white linen shirt and black trousers. He was hunched over the instrument, playing several notes before pausing to pick up his pen and write a few words on a piece of parchment. She stood silently in the entryway and watched as his paw and claw skillfully danced across the organ keys with such grace. As he played, he would softly hum to the music, now and then breaking into song.

"…silently the senses…abandon their defenses…" he softly sang, nodding his head as if agreeing with somepony that yes, these words were suitable. The tune was so haunting and so beautiful; in fact, Fluttershy could have sworn she had heard it once before…

Fluttershy hugged the robe ever closer around her body, sighing as she watched her lover and Phantom perform his art perfectly. Her eyes softly began to drift shut as both the cords from the organ and DIscord's voice wove around her like a spider weaving its silken web.

"Slowly, gently,
night unfurls its splendor…
Grasp it, sense it–
tremulous and tender…
Turn your face away from the garish light of day–"

The music was having such a hypnotic effect on Fluttershy that she had completely lost her balance! In a last attempt to keep from falling, she grasped the velvet curtains that were drawn at the entryway which separated DIscord's bedchamber from his music chamber, but it was all in vain, for she was toppling over, squealing as the curtains came down with her.

Discord whirled around at the sound, completely startled by Fluttershy's presence. It was very rare that Discord was taken unawares. There on the floor, lay the velvet curtains with a rather large lump beneath them. The lump attempted to scramble to her feet as well as push the fabric off her, yet it seemed that Fluttershy only became tangled further. She was cursing at this point, a very unmarelike thing to do–which DIscord could not help but grin at.

"Perhaps you are the true 'Phantom', mademoiselle?" Discord asked, his grin spreading even further as he heard Fluttershy grumble at his words. "I confess you do look more like a ghost than I…" he teased, before approaching and kneeling before the curtain-covered lump. "Would you care for some assistance?"

Fluttershy finally managed to find an opening and freed her head, giving Discord a most filthy look. "I can manage fine on my own, thank you," she snapped, before attempting to stand which was proving to be more difficult than she had thought.

Discord bit back the laugh that threatened to escape and immediately helped her up; ignoring the dirty looks she kept sending his way. "Thank you," she muttered, to which he gave a rather elegant, yet teasing bow.

"My pleasure as always," he murmured, the teasing in his voice dying down as he took in the sight of her. Her hair was deliciously tangled, her cheeks had a fresh rosy hue, and she was wearing his dressing gown which only reminded him of the delectable body that lay underneath. The fire in him began to burn once more at the memory of her flesh…

Fluttershy's skin tingled at the way Discord looked at her. She blushed once more as the memory of their past lovemaking returned. "That music was beautiful," she squeaked, before quickly coughing to regain composure to her voice. It was hard to have composure when DIscord undressed her with his sensuous eyes.

He smiled at her compliment and took a step back, although it took every ounce of willpower he had. "Thank you," he whispered, before gathering the music together and placing it in a leather-bound folder.

Fluttershy's brow furrowed at the rather hasty way he was hiding the music. "Oh! No, I did not mean that you had to stop playing!" she implored, coming to his side to rest her hoof atop his paw. "Please, continue, I would love to hear more–"

"Hush," Discord whispered, moving his paw to cover her lips. "It is not ready yet, but all in good time," he smiled, before placing the folder on a pile of parchment that lay next to the organ. "Besides, we have much work to do, it can not be denied that you are rather…behind on your lessons…" he murmured silkily, his eyes burning into hers with a knowledge that only the two of them shared.

Fluttershy felt her face grow hot. Indeed, this whole week during their rehearsals they had not touched one single piece of music. They had been otherwise…occupied. "I do not recall you protesting to the use of our time," Fluttershy teased, despite the deep flush that covered her cheeks.

Discord could not help but grin, and reached out for her, wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her down onto his lap. "I would be a fool if I did," he growled, his lips finding hers and kissing them softly. Fluttershy moaned against his mouth and opened hers to invite him in, but he reluctantly withdrew his lips much to the disappointment of both of them. "There is a matter of great importance that I wish to discuss with you," he sighed, his claw gently brushing a few stray waves from her face.

Fluttershy's eyes grew wide at the seriousness of his tone. Had something happened? Was it about her father? No, if something had happened to her father, she was sure Discord would have told her immediately. "Go on," she insisted, preparing herself for the news.

Discord gently reached over and squeezed her hoof before reaching for a piece of blank parchment. "I have been thinking about…what you said about Aminta…" he began, "about why she would not betray Don Juan."

Fluttershy remained silent as he spoke, but her heart was pounding wildly at what he could mean. He looked down at her gave a sad soft smile. "Perhaps you were right…perhaps I was writing about Pinkamena, that I was angry with her and wanted to release the pain she had caused me in some way…" he sighed. "But all that's changed now…" he looked up into Fluttershy's eyes, amazed at how deep, at how innocent, and at how blue they were. "Ever since I heard you sing so many nights ago, I knew that I had found my Aminta…but what I hadn't realized was that at the same time…I had discovered who Aminta really is…"

Fluttershy's breath caught in her throat as Discord lifted her hoof and softly brushed his odd-shapen lips across her knuckles. "Do you remember the first time we were on the roof?" he whispered, looking into her eyes, still amazed at the love he saw in them. Fluttershy smiled and quietly nodded her head. "I remember it very clearly," he whispered. "The words you said to me about how I could not judge all mares based solely upon Pinkamena's actions. That when you love a stallion, you would love him wholly and fully…" his paw moved to catch a tear that was slowly sliding down Fluttershy's cheek. "Indeed…you have proven to me that you are a most unique mare, Fluttershy," he murmured, his voice filled with awe.

Fluttershy smiled at his words but her eyes darted away, feeling somewhat unworthy of such praise. But she felt Discord's strong paw cup her chin and draw her tear filled gaze back to his. "Do not hide from me angel," he whispered, his paw moving to wipe away the tears that had escaped.

Fluttershy blushed and smiled at him, shaking her head and moving her hooves to wipe her face, feeling foolish for crying, but she couldn't help it; in all her life she had never imagined she would experience such passion, that her heart would burn for another the way it did for this creature. And this was a creature, who once upon a time she had despised, but that was all forgotten; now she couldn't imagine feeling anything for him other than love.

Discord smiled and thought how unusual it was that he was doing just that…smiling. Truly, not since this mare came into his life had he ever really smiled before. He wasn't sure what he had done to win God's favor or God's forgiveness, but he was eternally grateful for this mare to have trespassed into his world so many months ago.

"You tell me that you love me–"

"I do love you," Fluttershy declared, her hoof moving to touch his own that lay against her cheek. She moved her lips to his palm and placed the softest of kisses against it. Discord groaned inwardly at the gesture, his heart swelling with love and his body yearning to feel hers once more.

"I believe you," he assured, although he was still amazed. She could tell him every second of every day for the rest of his life that she loved him…he would never ceased to be amazed. "I don't understand why," he sighed, "but I believe you when you tell me that you love me…and…" he looked deeply into her eyes and felt his amazement double. "…I can see it in your eyes, the love you speak. This is why…I'm changing my opera."

Fluttershy's eyes widened at these words and her mouth fell open as if to speak, but no noise came out. Discord could not help but chuckle at the look on her face, his paw moving to her chin to close her mouth. "I didn't think it was going to be that surprising," he teased.

"Do you mean…when you say you're changing your opera…you mean…Aminta and Don Juan…they…they will…" she was too flabbergasted to finish, and a part of her needed to hear him say the words, to tell her that this was real.

"Yes," he assured, his heart warming at the smile that spread across her face from his words. "I am going to change the ending; your Aminta will return to Don Juan not as a mare who betrayed him…but as a mare who still loves him…despite the horrific scars that disfigure his body and soul," he murmured softly, his eyes moving away from hers. Fluttershy opened her mouth to protest Discord's meaning, but he quickly continued, not wishing to dwell on the topic. "This is where I need your help, my dear."

Fluttershy was taken aback by his words. "M-m-my help?"

"Yes," Discord said matter-of-factly, reluctantly removing her from his lap to sit beside him, and reaching for a clean piece of parchment and setting it before them. "The ending needs to change obviously, and I want your advice on how you best think it should be handled. Now I have a few ideas, such as a grave misunderstanding, or perhaps Aminta's hoofsome lover filling her head with lies to lure her away from Don Juan…actually I rather like that one, what do you think?"

Fluttershy stared at him, her mouth falling open once more, but no sound was coming out like the last time. DIscord cocked one black eyebrow at her expression. "I confess, that was not the ending I was thinking, but I'm sure there's some way we can work it in."

Fluttershy quickly closed her mouth and gave his shoulder a playful shove, which naturally had no effect on him whatsoever. "You're serious? You wish…you wish for me to help you with changing the ending of your opera?"

Discord shrugged his shoulders as if it were the most general question anyone should ever ask him. "Of course, you are my star as well as my muse, and I greatly value your opinion when it comes to music…after all, you did improve that one song of Aminta's, and you did promise me to never hold back your thoughts when it comes to music, did you not?"

"Well yes, but…" she stared at him, truly amazed at the change in this stallion. Oh he still knew how to be tall, dark, and brooding, but…something had changed within him, something that seemed to melt the icy exterior that was wrapped about him like the black silken cape he always wore. "You really want to change the ending…a-and you're not simply doing this because of me, a-a-are you?"

Discord smiled at her question but shook his head. "I would be lying to tell you that a part of me isn't doing it because of you…but this is my own decision Fluttershy…I see now what you had been saying all this time, and I agree…Aminta would never betray Don Juan."

Fluttershy couldn't help herself, she gave a happy cry and threw her arms around Discord's neck, surprising her Phantom tremendously, but a surprise at which he welcomed, wrapping his own strong arms around her and hugging her tightly to him. "No she would not DIscord," she happily cried, letting the joyful tears spring forth. "She loves him…just as much as I love you…" she sniffled, blushing and grinning all at once. "And I would be honored to help you in any way that I can."

Discord smiled at the beautiful mare before him, his paw tenderly running over her tear-stained cheeks. "Thank you," he murmured, his own voice filled with emotion. It was a "thank you" with many meanings…and DIscord meant every single one of them.

"So," he cleared his throat, gaining control of his emotions once more. "Do you have any suggestions for an ending?"

Fluttershy quickly wiped her eyes and regained composure of her emotions once more. "I think for the sake of the story that it would make the most sense to have a misunderstanding caused by Aminta's hoofsome young lover."

Discord nodded his head and dipped his pen into the inkwell beside the organ. "Do you have any more suggestions?" he inquired, while writing a few notes down on the parchment.

Fluttershy blushed as a knowing smile spread across her face. "Write them a song, Discord," she pleaded.

Discord lifted his head and cocked another eyebrow at her. "Don Juan and Aminta's young lover?"

"No!" Fluttershy groaned, once again shoving Discord's shoulders to which he grinned. "A song for Don Juan and Aminta! At the end of the opera, when they are together again…a…a love song," she whispered, blushing but smiling happily at her masked lover.

"Ever the romantic," he teased, but the smile he gave her told her that he liked her idea very much. "Very well then, I shall compose a song for them…but I will still need your assistance. Your knowledge of gothic romance can help with the lyrics."

Fluttershy grinned and eagerly sat up, her back straight like a good student, prepared to help her mentor and lover in any way that she could. "I am ready, maestro."

Discord smiled; he couldn't help but find her eagerness charming. "Then let us begin…"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"So, what you're telling me is…it was all a stunt of some sort?"

Flim simply nodded his head at the newspaperpony who sat across from him, a fake smile plastered to his face.

The newspaperpony seemed distraught by this news, his brow crinkled with confusion. "Madame Sapphire Shores has always been a reliable source when it comes to news in Marisian society and the arts. I just can't believe she'd be wrong about something like this…"

"Yes, well, it did seem rather…realistic, to say the least," Flim sighed, forever holding his smile. "But that is why we are one of the best opera companies in the world! We have the greatest actors."

"But I understand that the Prince was threatened–"

"Come now, monsieur, do you truly think we would allow any harm to come to our highest paying patron? The Prince is a business stallion, he saw this as an opportunity to help raise ticket sales."

The newspaperpony eyed Flim suspiciously before sighing and closing his briefcase. "Very well, I thank you, monsieur, for taking your time to answer my questions. I must say, no offense of course, but I am rather disappointed that this whole story of 'The Phantom' is nothing more than a publicity stunt. Stories of murder and gore always sell better. Ah well," he sighed before picking up his hat. "Good day then."

"Yes, good day," Flim replied, his smile never fading as he held the office door open for the newspaperpony.

Just at that moment, Flam came rushing in, his face red from whatever sprint he had just completed. "FLIM! GOOD GOD THIS IS THE WORST NEWS EVER! I'VE JUST RECEIVED ANOTHER NOTE, WAIT TILL YOU–"

"FLAM!" Flim practically shouted, grabbing hold of his partner's shoulders and giving the stallion a good hard shake. "I don't believe you've met Monsieur Flash Bulb, he's with the NEWSPAPER," Flim said very crisply and clearly.

Flam's face immediately paled as he slowly turned to acknowledge the stallion who was staring up at him with wide uneasy eyes. "Oh! Oh good afternoon, monsieur!" Flam greeted warmly, his face adopting a smile similar to Flim's. "I beg your pardon, I did not mean to intrude, I um…that is…well you see, it's just awful, I was coming to tell Flim that I have just received a note from one of our dear patrons who sadly has taken ill."

Flim's smile remained steadfast, while inside he wanted to throttle Flam for his ill attempt at lying.

The newspaperpony eyed Flam with great suspicion before asking, "Which patron may I ask?"

"I'm afraid we can not speak of such things, monsieur, I apologize!" Flim practically pushed the stallion out the office door. "We must keep the confidentiality of our patrons, you understand! Yes, well, my business partner and I have much…um…"

"Business!" Flam piped up.

"Yes! Business, we have much business to go over…to um…to prepare for our next…performance." Flim wanted to crawl into a hole and die right at that moment.

The newspaperpony tried to turn to ask them further questions. "Which opera? When shall it be performed?"

"You'll just have to buy a ticket to find out!" Flam declared, before pushing the stallion entirely out of the office and slamming the door before he could ask anything further.

Both managers collapsed into the nearest chairs at that point. "Goodness," Flim groaned, his hooves massaging his cheekbones which ached from smiling. "I never thought he'd leave…damn Madame Sapphire Shores and her big expensive mouth," he cursed.

"Madame Sapphire Shores sent him?" Flam asked, his hooves pointing in the direction where the newspaperpony had been standing.

Flim nodded his head. "Yes, and yesterday it was somepony who had heard news from Monsieur Arpeggio, and the day before that from Madame Pearl," he groaned as he recalled how many reporters had come in that week, each wanting to know whether the Opera House was truly canceling its season, and who the stallion dressed as Red Death was. And Flim was beginning to run out of excuses.

"What are we going to do, Flam?" the older manager groaned, his hooves rising to rub his throbbing temples. "It's amazing we've been able to keep the papers silent for this long! But with so many tattling witnesses, and with a company that's frightened beyond all belief to perform–"

"Goodness, I almost forgot," Flam gasped, before thrusting the note he had been waving about earlier into Flim's face. "This is the last straw Flim, by God, it's the last straw!"

The older manager frowned at the note and quickly removed it from Flam's shaking hooves. Truth be told, he did not want to open it. Instead, he wanted to thrust it into the fireplace and let it burn along with the other notes they had been receiving that week.

But he didn't dare; ever since Red Death's appearance at the ball, Flim was far less skeptical about the so-called Phantom of the Opera.

"I'm not going to like this, am I?" Flim groaned, opening the letter to read its horrid contents. Flam was already on his hooves, pacing the office like a caged animal. Flim's eyes, which had been narrow as he began reading the note, slowly widened with shock and horror at what was before him. He looked up at the younger manager, his mouth agape and his face pale.

"Yes," Flam groaned, shaking his head sadly. "Yes, that is what it is…a casting list!" he shouted out of sheer frustration, picking up a small vase filled with flowers and throwing it against the wall.

Flim jumped from the outburst and quickly rose to his feet. "Will you get a hold of yourself!" he hissed at his partner, praying that no one would come and inquire after the noise.

"GET A HOLD OF MYSELF? FLIM…HE'S MADE A BLOODY CASTING LIST! HE'S CHOSEN WHO WILL PLAY WHOM IN THIS…THIS…SHIT OF AN OPERA!"

Flim flinched at the words and without a second thought reached out and slapped the other stallion hard across the face. "Will you be quiet?" he hissed again. "The last thing we need is…well…" he glanced at the walls around them, "more reasons for him to send us into financial ruin!"

Flam had been stunned by Flim's reaction to his outburst; however it did allow him to gain some composure which had fleeted him for those moments. "What are we going to do? If she finds out about this…oh God almighty…" Flam groaned, quickly crossing himself. "We're ruined Flim! Truly, this Phantom will–no, is ruining us!"

Flim wanted to respond with a hopeful answer, with something that sounded both calm as well as brilliant, but he was at a complete loss. And this casting list was simply the tip of a very large and very destructive iceberg.

"I mean, do we dare comply? We have to do something! The company is beginning to talk!" Flam panicked. "You know it's only a matter of time before one of them goes to the newspapers! And what are we going to do about this opera? We can't go through with it!"

"Of course you can."

Flam stared at Flim, astounded that his partner would say such a thing. But he realized then that it was not Flim who spoke, and turned his head towards the door to where the voice had come.

"MONSIEUR!" both managers exclaimed, a fleeting sense of hope filling them as they gazed at the Prince who stood before them.

"Oh thank Goodness you are here!"

"We've been battling reporters all week!"

"–have no idea what to tell the company–"

"–Fleur is going out of her mind!"

Blueblood sighed and raised his hooves to silence both managers. They instantly complied. "Gentlecolts, indeed we have much to discuss…but this is hardly…" he too glanced around the room suspiciously, "…the proper place for such a conversation. Come."

The two stallions stared at the retreating figure of the Prince before quickly grabbing their coats and hats and immediately following their patron. Blueblood led them to his carriage and had the driver take them to his club. As it was the middle of the day, the club that Blueblood attended was practically empty, save for a few gentlecolts. It was the perfect place to discuss business matters…and far away from invisible eyes and ears.

Blueblood found a quiet table away from any other prying eyes, ordered a bottle of champagne, and immediately lit a cigar. "Well, let's get to it," he muttered, deeply inhaling the cigar's smoky calmness. The managers glanced at one another and then both of them, once again, burst out at the same time with their problems.

"–we've been receiving notes all week!"

"–company is in an uproar–"

"–running out of excuses–"

"GENTLECOLTS!" Blueblood bellowed, before immediately lowering his voice. "One at a time!" he hissed. "I too have been dealing with questions all week. Like you, I too have been using whatever excuse I can think of…and like you, I'm beginning to run out."

Flam practically whimpered. "If you can't help us, monsieur, who can?"

"Calm yourself!" both Blueblood and Flim hissed, especially as their champagne had just arrived. The bottle was uncorked and the glasses were poured, but no one moved to take a drink. Blueblood took a long puff on his cigar and blew the smoke into the air over the managers' heads. He eyed them both, and feeling that Flam had at last gotten a hold of his nerves, quietly asked, "you said you received notes?"

Both stallions shivered and groaned in agony at the question. "Yes," Flim muttered. "The day after the ball, we received a note filled with instructions for how to direct his opera! Said he would be 'watching in from time to time' to make sure we did things the way he wanted!"

"He's sent threats too!" Flam hissed. "Threats that would make your blood run cold!"

Blueblood remained calm. "For example?"

"Scandals! Thievery! Even…" his voice was barely above a whisper, "murder."

Blueblood cocked an eyebrow at this. So the Phantom was still using the same playing card, still threatening lives should his demands not be met? Perfect. It all played into Blueblood's hooves even more. To get Silverstar's attention, he needed a murder or some sort of tragedy to befall somepony at the opera house…someone that could potentially cause great scandal. He looked at Flam and wondered if Silverstar would investigate should the younger manager reach an untimely end.

"Monsieur?" Flam asked, noticing the distant look in the Prince's eyes. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine," Blueblood muttered, waking from his trance. "What other notes have you received?"

Flim sighed and began counting them off. "The conductor, Madam Octavia, received her own copy of the score, along with a note that demanded the replacement of the third trombone, not to mention an extra bassoon," he groaned.

"Notes on costume design, set decoration, lighting, props–" Flam added.

"Not to mention the note about sacking half of the chorus," Flim grumbled.

Flam's eyes widened with realization. "OH! Madame Luna even received a note!"

Blueblood's eyebrows rose at this news. "Really? And did she too receive threats?"

Flam's face fell at that. "Well…no, simply that she needed to instruct the dancers in Spanish dances."

"Interesting," Blueblood muttered. Despite what she said, Blueblood knew deep in his bones that Madame Luna knew more about the Phantom than she was letting on. Once he thought the mare to be the hoof that penned the infamous notes; now he believed her to be an accomplice to the caped menace that haunted the opera house. "And Fleur de Lis?" he inquired.

Both stallions looked at one another and groaned painfully. "She is threatening to leave…again," Andre muttered.

"And she demands that the season continues, as she has her heart set on playing the Countess in 'Il Muto'," Flim grumbled. "She glanced at the score for 'Don Juan' and called it garbage. She won't sing it, she doesn't care if we lose every penny!"

"Well, that won't be a problem now, will it?" Flam muttered with great sarcasm.

Blueblood's brow furrowed. "What do you mean?"

Flam sighed and without another word, simply handed the Prince the letter he had received earlier that day. Blueblood took the note and began reading, his brow furrowing all the more. "What is this?"

"A casting list," Flim explained. "He's gone ahead and chosen the cast for his opera."

Blueblood studied the list carefully. "Fancypants will play Don Juan, hardly a surprise at that…but the role of Aminta, the lead female…it's left blank."

Both managers groaned once more, and Flam took hold of his champagne glass and downed the contents in one gulp. "Read on monsieur, you'll see…"

Blueblood cocked another eyebrow. "Surely Fleur de Lis would be playing the lead–"

"Read on," both managers instructed.

Blueblood sighed and did just that, reading down the cast list, many of the names meaning nothing to him as they were all members of the chorus, however his eyes stopped as one name filled his vision. "Fleur de Lis is cast as…Gypsy #2?" he practically choked.

"GYPSY #2!" both managers wailed in agony.

"It's a role of such insignificance that even chorus nobodies are casted higher!" Flam groaned. "You know how she can be monsieur, when she finds out–"

"She won't find out!" Flim hissed at his partner. "We're not going to do this…this filth!"

Blueblood, now fully recovered from the shock of the casting, calmly exhaled a large gray cloud from his lips. "Of course you are, don't be a fool Flim."

Flim froze as if he had been stabbed through the heart. "I…I b-b-beg your pardon, monsieur?"

Blueblood handed the note back to Flam who was looking just as stunned. "You heard the Phantom's orders…we're performing this opera and canceling the rest of the season. Why look so surprised? I told you after the ball that we were going along with his plan."

Now both managers were staring at the Prince with wide eyes and even wider mouths. True, they both remembered how Blueblood had informed them the night of the masquerade that they would perform the Phantom's opera, however they had simply believed he was still suffering from the severe blow on the head the Phantom had given him.

They were at a complete loss for words, just the way BLueblood preferred them. "I know I have long been the cynic of our business venture," he sighed, taking a sip of his champagne. "But I will admit when I'm wrong…and I was wrong about the Phantom; well, partially wrong. After all, he is not a ghost, that much…" he recalled how the villain had gripped him by the neck and lifted him off the ground, "…we can be certain," he muttered.

Flim finally closed his mouth and attempted to make sense of this new situation. "Am I to understand then…that you actually WANT us to…to put on this production?"

Blueblood smiled and took another deep puff from his cigar. "Exactly."

Flim blinked several times before speaking again. "I beg your pardon monsieur, but…ARE YOU MAD?"

Flam reached out and slapped Flim hard across the face, something he had been wanting to do for some time. Flim sat back, stunned by the gesture as well as Blueblood's revelation that they would be performing Don Juan Triumphant.

"Thank you, Flam," Blueblood muttered. "And no, Flim, allow me to explain and you will see how wise a decision this is." Content that he had both managers full attention, he continued. "So it appears our Phantom fellow is real. Therefore, so are his threats. If there is a story of a murder that he has committed, we can only assume it is true."

"A mad stallion…a mad stallion living somewhere in our opera house!" Flam hissed.

Flim turned to the Prince. "Surely the police will–"

"No," Blueblood coldly replied.

Both stallions stared at Blueblood with absolute horror. "The police won't help?"

Blueblood shook his head, still fuming over the conversation he had had with Silverstar. "They need more proof than stories or letters to conduct a proper investigation. We are completely on our own, gentlecolts," he sighed, taking another sip of his champagne.

"Good God," Flam whispered. "He's right Flim…we have no choice! We'll have to perform the opera if we wish to avoid…any sort of scandal!"

Flim shook off Flam's clinging hooves that were gripping his arm. "Monsieur," he said turning his attention back to Blueblood. "I have looked over the opera…and it's ludicrous! Complete lunacy! Why, even Madam Octavia says it's impossible to conduct, the cords go every which way, the music is off key–"

"Sounds rather…modern," Blueblood sighed, exhaling the smoke from his cigar.

"Exactly! Extremely modern, monsieur! The reviews will crucify us!"

Blueblood rolled his eyes at Flim's hysterics. "Since when do you care about reviews? It's the money that matters! The profit we make from tickets, not reviews! Those reviews would matter more to the composure, and if he doesn't like them, let him haunt the bloody newspaper."

Flam bit his lip at the mention of tickets. "What will our patrons think, monsieur? If we do this opera and cancel the rest of the season, they'll surely demand their money back!"

Blueblood rolled his eyes again. "Obviously you both know nothing about the aristocracy or the delightful selling power of social gossip," he grinned. "Say nothing to the papers, say nothing to your patrons. Should anypony approach you about what is going on at the opera house, simply reply that 'you are hard at work for the next production', and nothing more. Rumors will begin to fly of course, and instead of ticket sales dropping…they will rise. People will want to know what is going on! Why is nothing being said? And then, when the time is right, make your announcement that you will be premiering a brand new opera! Dazzle them by letting them think they are an honored group to see this first hoof before anyone else. Say nothing about Fleur de Lis, in fact, say nothing at all about it. Don't even mention the Phantom! Simply let rumors be what they want to be. Those who insist on remembering the wretched events from the masquerade may continue to do so, while others will most likely have forgotten by that point. But trust me, my dear managers…we will not lose one penny if we are smart."

The Prince's words were somewhat reassuring; after all, they could see the logic behind them. However, there was still one more serious matter to discuss. "What of Fleur de Lis?" Flim whispered, dreading having to say the mare's name at all.

Blueblood was drinking his champagne when Flim mentioned her name. He quickly downed the remaining contents of his glass. "Leave her to me," he sighed, although it was more of an irritated groan.

"But…what about this…this 'Aminta'?" Flam asked. He opened the letter again and pointed to a note that the Phantom had written in the corner. "Says here that he will cast her part in due time, that we should not worry about it. Fleur de Lis will definitely take notice when we have no female lead at rehearsals!"

Blueblood's brow furrowed at the side note he had not seen earlier. Why would the blasted Phantom take so much time to cast everyone but the role of Aminta? What did he mean by waiting?

…and then it slowly occurred to him.

"Fluttershy," he whispered.

"Fluttershy?" Flim asked. "Wasn't she Fleur's costume mare?" he asked, looking to Flam for an answer.

"Yes…I remember her now, the daughter of our elusive violinist," the younger manager muttered. "Fleur de Lis had her fired, and we never saw the old stallion again. What made you think of her, monsieur?" Flam asked Blueblood.

Blueblood crumpled the note, an evil jealous glare shadowing his eyes. "He has her…he intends to cast her in the role of Aminta."

"What?" both managers gasped. "Surely you're mistaken, why…why would the Phantom have Mademoiselle Fluttershy?"

Blueblood grabbed the champagne bottle and quickly refilled his glass. "She was at the masquerade. I danced with her. It all adds up. After Fleur de Lis fired her, she went missing! According to the mare who rented the apartment out to the mare and her father, neither of them was seen again since the morning of the opening gala! Don't you see? She's been in the Phantom's clutches all this time!"

The managers paled at this news, however they did find it rather hard to swallow. "You say you danced with her?" Flim inquired.

Blueblood gulped down the contents of his glass. "Yes," he rasped. "The mare in the golden gown…that was her. She was attempting to escape, I'm sure of it. But the bastard…" he growled. "He stopped us and took her!"

"My God," Flam gasped. "That poor mare! Who knows what horrors she's had to put up with all this time!"

Flim was still skeptical. "What makes you think the Phantom intends for Mademoiselle Fluttershy to play the part? Can the mare even sing?"

Blueblood did not know the answer to that question, but something deep within his soul told him that this was the Phantom's true intention. "It's her…I know it's her, why else would he have kept her alive all this time other than to use her for some diabolical scheme?"

Both managers shivered at the thought of what the young mare must have gone–must be going through, in the depths of the opera house as a prisoner of the Phantom. However, Flim found himself still confused by the whole idea. "Why do you think she went with him so willingly then?"

Blueblood's head snapped up. "What?"

"W-w-well," Flim swallowed. "Of course she was trying to escape, as you said, by disguising herself at the ball…but…why then, did she go so willingly with him when he took her from your side?"

"SHE DID NOT GO WILLINGLY WITH HIM!" Blueblood roared, rising to his hooves and caring not for who looked at them. "SHE HAD NO CHOICE OF COURSE! SHE HAD BEEN CAUGHT, SHE HAD TO GO WITH HIM, WHAT MAKES YOU THINK SHE WENT WILLINGLY? WHAT MAKES YOU THINK SHE'D LEAVE WITH HIM INSTEAD OF ME IF SHE HAD THE CHOICE?"

Both stallions had shrunk back in their chairs by the force of the Prince's roar. "I'm sorry, monsieur! I truly did not mean to offend!" Flim whimpered like a frightened dog. "Of course, you're right, she had no choice, she had to go with him, and she was trying to escape but could not."

Blueblood looked satisfied by this acknowledgement, and quickly calmed himself, smoothing the wrinkles out of his jacket from the outburst. "Of course," he replied rather calmly, although his whole body was shaking from the rage that still brewed within him. "If my suspicions are correct, then Mademoiselle Fluttershy will return to us…however it won't be for some time, no doubt she will not be released till close to opening night."

"How…how can we rehearse without a leading female?" Flam carefully asked, not wanting to evoke the Prince's wrath.

Blueblood shrugged his shoulders. "That is not my concern," he took another gulp of champagne. "But we do this…perform his opera, follow his instructions to the letter, and act as if his wrath truly frightens us–"

Both managers exchanged glances with one another. They would not have to act very hard.

"–then his guard will be down, and that is when we will STRIKE!" he hissed, pounding his hoof down upon the table, causing the glasses to shake.

The managers couldn't help but jump at this motion. "Go on…" Flim whispered.

"I'll think of some way to get the police there," he muttered. "But it is without a doubt, he will be there to see his so-called masterpiece performed."

"Yes!" Flam exclaimed. "And we'll be certain the doors are barred!"

"And certain our stallions are armed!" Flim added.

"Indeed!" Blueblood proclaimed. "And when the curtain falls…so will he!"

"Brilliant, monsieur, brilliant!" both stallions exclaimed, lifting their glasses to toast their patron. Blueblood couldn't help but grin at their gesture, a haughty smile spreading across his hoofsome face.

"Um…begging your pardon, monsieur," a waiter interrupted, standing beside their table, holding a tray in one hoof. Blueblood frowned at the stallion, but his frown deepened even further as his gaze fell upon the note that lay on the tray. "This just arrived for you," the waiter explained, offering the note to the Prince.

Blueblood took the note very reluctantly and felt his blood turn to ice at the familiar red skull seal that adorned the parchment. Without another word or glance at his managers, he ripped the seal open and began to read the letter at once.

My dear Prince,

I am pleased to hear that you have finically agreed to see my opera performed. It pleases me to know that an esteemed patron of my opera house is so eager to provide support to the arts.

The letter was dripping with sarcasm.

Since you are showing such eagerness to seeing this production take flight, then no doubt you will work hard to see my needs met. It would be of a great service that you stay clear of the young ladies of the company, both dancers and singers (this of course excludes La Fleur de Lis, as she is no mare but rather an over-zealous cow), as they have much work to accomplish to be ready for the opening night. In fact, it would probably be for the best that you stay away from the opera house entirely. Let somepony who knows something about music handle the production; a patron's job is simply to provide financial support, therefore your place is in an office, not the arts. Oh, and one more thing…

Blueblood's eyes were tiny green slits as he read the last lines of the letter.

Since you are going out of your way to see my needs met, then you will understand that I am in need of a box for the opening night. I must confess, I do rather enjoy the view from your seat, Box Five…so thank you for being so understanding in this matter.

Respectfully, O.G.

That was the last straw.

"What did it say, monsieur?" Flam asked, biting his lip and praying that the Prince would not explode, although he did look ready to commit murder.

"YOU!" BLueblood bellowed to the waiter who had delivered the letter. "Who gave this to you?"

The waiter was startled. "I…I don't know, monsieur, the doorpony gave it to me, said a black carriage delivered it, but that's all I know, I swear."

"A black carriage?" Flim whispered. "Good God, it couldn't be, could it?"

"Who else could it be!" Flam gasped. "He must have heard us! He must have been watching us! How else could he have sent that note here?"

"Flam, I swear if you do not get a hold of yourself…" Blueblood muttered in a most deadly tone. The younger manager quickly shut his mouth. "Fine," Blueblood muttered through clipped lips. "I'll play his game, I'll let him believe he has the upper hoof over this situation and that he can get away with ordering us about," he grasped his champagne glass tightly and downed its contents in a matter of seconds. "But in the end…the disaster will be his."

Author's Note:

I fixed every place that I messed up and put Celestia -_- - 1/14/2021

Flash Bulb is a paparazzo Pegasus from Green Isn't Your Color and The Best Night Ever. His cutie mark is a film strip. Arpeggio is one of the judges at Twilight Sparkle's entrance exam in The Cutie Mark Chronicles. His cutie mark is a pair of reversed joined quavers (music notes). and Pearl is Rarity's Mother (not in the fic. in the show lol) Enjoy!