• 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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Pain

Pain

Four days.

He had locked himself away in that place for four solid days.

Rarity stood outside the chamber, remembering happier times when she had come to it, remembering the laughter that had once filled it, and the warmth that had once radiated from it. But all those things were gone; ever since she left them, life as it seemed, had been taken as well.

The mare held the tray of food in her mouth and prepared herself for the argument that she was sure would greet her. Ever since Discord had shut himself away in Fluttershy's former chamber, he refused to see or speak with anypony. At first, Rarity had been leaving trays of food outside the chamber entrance, but she would return later and find the food cold and untouched. Now and then a piece of bread would be found missing from the tray, but not much else. It was as if the Master were trying to waste away…

And yet despite his attempts to disappear, he was still just as mighty and just as fierce. It was only yesterday that he chased her out of the chamber for daring to disturb him, throwing the tray she had brought against the wall, leaving a colorful mushy mess on the stone. Who knew what today would hold? Rarity took a deep breath, and bravely entered the chamber.

"Master?"

He did not answer. She carefully and quietly walked towards him, a ghost-like figure, cloaked in shadow, sitting motionless upon the bed in the center of the room.

Rarity recalled her shock at seeing his chamber; the torn music, the broken statues, and of course, the overturned piano. When she had learned that he had been staying in Fluttershy's chamber, she suspected that it too, would have been torn to pieces. However, much to her surprise, the chamber remained untouched. Everything was perfectly in order, as if she had never left. Discord sat upon the bed, his back towards the entryway, his figure hunched over, as if examining something. Rarity cleared her throat so that he would know of her presence, but still, he remained still and silent.

She set the tray down. "Master…I have brought you some food…" she waited for a reply, or at least some acknowledgement that he had heard her, but there was nothing.

"Please…a few crusts of bread here and there will not keep your strength up…"

Nothing.

Rarity sighed and slowly walked around the edge of the bed. The lace curtains were drawn, but Discord's dark figure was clearly visible behind them. What was it that he was examining so intently? She peered through the shadows and saw that his paw and claw were gently running over the silken fabric of an ivory dress that lay flat on the bed.

"Master, we all miss her–"

"Get out."

He didn't raise his voice; the words were barely above a whisper. But the threat behind them was as clear as a bell ringing on a silent morning. The mare said nothing more; she quickly walked back towards the entrance. But before exiting, she paused, and turned once more to face him.

"Why don't you search for her? Find her and tell her of your feelings…" he said nothing; it was like talking to a brick wall. With a heavy heart, Rarity turned away. "She does love you Master, please know that…she loves you…" without another word, the mare picked up her skirts and quickly hurried off before he could respond.

Discord sat in the mute stillness of the chamber, his paw ceasing only momentarily from stroking the fabric. "Not anymore…" he whispered to the shadows. "Not anymore."

Fluttershy trembled as she gazed up at the great stage, memories of first entering the Maris Opera House coming back to her as clear as visions from yesterday.

Things were not so different. Then, ponies were busily preparing for the opening gala–now, they were preparing to put on Don Juan Triumphant. Sets were being designed, stage hooves worked in the background, painting and installing the various pieces, while the dancers rehearsed another meticulous dance number upstage. The sound of hammering and sawing could be heard throughout the auditorium, oddly mixed with the orchestra's playing. The smell of cigarettes and cheap perfume wafted the air, and in the distance, Celestia's angry screeches reverberated off the walls. Yes, little had changed since she had last seen this place; in fact, it was as if sompony had handed her a painting of her first visit, and she had stepped through it to go back in time. A time when she did not know the Phantom of the Opera, a time when both she and her father had steady work.

A time when she was not afraid of what the future held…

"Ah! Mademoiselle! There you are, at last!" Flam cried happily, leaving the conversation he was having with the conductor and rushing to her side.

Fluttershy smiled back politely, however she regretted his small outburst as dozens of eyes turned to stare at her.

When the Prince had visited almost a week ago, Fluttershy had felt determined to come and sing the role she believed she had worked so hard to earn, even if Discord had cast her for the role without hearing anypony else. The point being that she had practiced and trained for such a role over long, meticulous hours, many of which had been quite stressful. In her mind, she had earned that role, creating and shaping Aminta's character into Fluttershy's vision of a young mare, desperately in love with a stallion who did not think he was worthy. The truth of that role stung very deeply, Fluttershy thought.

And yet, as the days past, Fluttershy's doubts began to grow. Had she done the right thing, agreeing to perform? A part of her warned her to stay as far away from the opera house as possible, that returning would only cause further heartache and trouble. But she was also drawn to the place, a part of her wanting desperately to see how Discord's unique musical vision was being brought to life. In the end, despite her worries and fears, she convinced herself that she could at least try one rehearsal and see how things went. Perhaps the managers would not be pleased with her; after all, it had been some time since she had last rehearsed, perhaps it had all been a foolish day dream, that she could not sing as well as she thought, that Discord was completely tone deaf after long months of listening to Celestia's screeches.

"Mademoiselle?"

Fluttershy shook her head and gazed at the younger manager who smiled and offered her his arm. She smiled back once more, out of politeness, taking his arm and following him as he led her up to the stage. The butterflies in her stomach were fluttering about wildly, and her legs felt extremely shaky as she felt every eye turn and fix itself on her. Some expressions were filled with curiosity, others were filled with confusion, and even some held no emotion whatsoever. But it was the stares of disdain and judgment that caused the cold sweat to form on Fluttershy's brow.

"Attention please, attention!" Flam announced, a "salespony" smile pasted across his face. "I would like to introduce you all…to our new star…and lead in this most…" he paused, the next words slightly tricky to get out. "…original, opera," he continued, the smile never fading. "Our Aminta: Fluttershy!" he practically shouted her name and then erupted into applause. Fluttershy's face turned a bright shade of red, as she was quite aware that the only ponies truly clapping for her were the two managers. Flim stood off to the side and was also clapping wildly, wearing the same smile that Flam had plastered across his face, as well.

The managers continued clapping and only seemed to just realize that no one else was sharing in their applause. Their smiles disappeared only momentarily as they cast a dark menacing look at the rest of the company, who then broke out into a very light and somewhat faint applause, so light that Fluttershy could hear whispers.

"Wasn't she Celestia's costume mare? I heard she was fired! Haven't seen her in ages."

"I heard she punched Celestia in the face…she gets my applause for that, at least."

"Why is she here now? Where has she been all this time?"

"I heard that she was selected by the Phantom himself to play the part!"

"Why would the Phantom pick some nobody to sing the main role?"

"I heard some stagehooves say she went below stage."

"That's impossible, if she had done that, she wouldn't be here now!"

"That's not what I heard…I heard she slept with the Prince to get the part."

"I heard she slept with both him and the managers to get the part!"

"Oh please, the Prince would never waste his time on a mare like that! Look at her! She's not that pretty. Sure she has some 'country bred' beauty, but this is the city; she won't last too long on stage with that going for her."

"Can she even sing? She doesn't even look like she can manage holding her breath for very long!"

"What makes her so special anyway?"

Fluttershy felt her head grow dizzy as all the whispers swirled around her, and the different stares penetrated her spirit, measuring her up as to whether she was "worthy" in their eyes to even set foot on this stage. But it was one voice in particular that rang out over the others, causing everyone to fall silent, even the unsuspecting managers.

"Ah, so our dear little ingénue has decided to grace us with her presence," Celestia mocked from off stage, her smile both condescending and venomous.

Fluttershy felt as if she had been hit by an ice storm; the coldness in Celestia's words, combined with the suspecting stares of others, froze Fluttershy in her place.

"Indeed, let us applaud our newly found star!" she shouted, her hooves joining together and clapping loudly. Even her clapping was sarcastic. Fluttershy watched with wary eyes as the woman slowly climbed up to the stage, her eyes floating up and down Fluttershy's figure. "Yes, a star in the making," she chuckled, eyeing Fluttershy's rather plain gray dress. It lacked the lace, ribbons, and ruffles that Celestia's outrageous orange gown held.

"Senora," Flam greeted warmly, hoping to keep peace between the two mares; he had not forgotten Fluttershy's violent outburst upon the prima donna all those months ago. "Perhaps you will be able to offer some advice to Mademoiselle Fluttershy?"

Celestia smiled at Flam's words and quietly approached the young mare, her dazzling eyes focusing on Fluttershy's pale face. "Of course monsieur, I would be glad to. First," she reached out and held a bit of the material of Fluttershy's dress. "An opera star needs to dazzle the audience, take them away to far away places…not make them feel that they are simply watching their servants perform," she released the material with disgust.

"Second, an opera star needs to hold her head high, to stand boldly, and to look as though she owns the stage! Not appear meek, or shy, or even sweet…she is not here to win the audience's sympathy, she is here to conquer them with her presence!"

Fluttershy's eyes narrowed as Celestia walked around her, making her feel like some object on display. "And finally, an opera star needs to be someone who draws attention, someone who can make the audience anticipate her next move, her next breath, and especially her next performance…" she came around and faced Fluttershy fully.

Fluttershy lifted her chin slightly and returned the blonde soprano's steel gaze. "Basically, if I am correct, you are saying that an opera star needs to be more like…you, senora?"

Celestia's lips curved into a wicked smile. "There may be hope for you yet, my dear," she purred, reaching out and patting Fluttershy on the cheek like one would pat their dog.

Fluttershy glared at the woman, but Flim and Flam quickly intervened before anything else could be said. "Thank you for that lovely bit of…advice," Flim coughed, trying to smile but failing miserably.

"I help whenever I can," Celestia sighed, looking innocent and smiling as Fancypants offered her fur wrap to her.

"True, but you forgot a very important detail, senora," a voice interrupted from the back of the auditorium. All eyes turned and several dancers burst into excited giggles as Blueblood emerged. "An opera star needs to be a great singer."

Several ponies on stage began to snicker behind their hooves, while others gasped at the Prince's comment. Celestia glared at the stallion, all traces of amusement vanishing in that instant. Blueblood turned to Fluttershy and gave her a warm smile, to which she returned out of politeness, but it quickly vanished when to her shock, he winked at her. Several more giggles erupted from the ballet who had noticed the gesture in which he had given her, and yet again, there were more whispers.

"All right, all right," Madam Octavia, the conductor, called to order. "Come now, we have much work to do. Mademoiselle? Shall we?"

Fluttershy blushed as she realized he wanted to have her sing. She mutely nodded her head, but grimaced as she felt the butterflies rise once more. The last thing she wanted was to get sick right then and there on stage.

"Let us take it from Aminta's entrance in Scene III from Act I. The song titled 'Think of Me'."

Fluttershy froze at the conductor's words. She remembered singing that song for Discord so long ago; she remembered falling in love with that song, and blushing as she felt Discord's eyes upon her when she sang it. Could she do this? She was seriously doubting her decision to come there and sing in this opera.

"Mademoiselle?"

She blushed and quickly apologized to the conductor. She looked at Fluttershy critically before tapping her baton on her music stand, calling the orchestra to attention and silencing the whole company. All eyes were glazed upon her as the beautiful introduction to the song began.

Fluttershy took a deep breath, keeping her eyes focused on Madam Octaica, as the cords floated over her. "Think of me…" she began rather weakly. "Think of me fondly, when we say goodbye…"

The last word came out more as a squeak than anything else. Madam Octavia tapped her baton against her music stand rather rapidly, calling the orchestra to stop their playing. Fluttershy felt her cheeks flush with embarrassment, and all around her she could hear the whispers once more.

Celestia was positively glowing. "A fine choice, my dear managers," she teased, grinning at Fancypants who was also chuckling. "Your Phantom's tastes are quite…extraordinary."

Blueblood glared at the mare and then turned his full attention back to Fluttershy. Madam Octiavia tapped her music stand once more, calling for silence and attention. "My dear," she said, looking directly at Fluttershy, her voice somewhat stern. "You need to project more; I can barely hear you over the orchestra! And if I am struggling, the audience surely will struggle too, do you understand?"

Fluttershy swallowed the lump in her throat and nodded her head. She reached up then and grasped the locket that hung around her neck which contained her mother's picture. The tiny trinket had always given Fluttershy courage; she needed that courage once more to get through this.

The music rose again; Fluttershy closed her eyes and imagined herself back in the Phantom's lair, standing at the piano with Discord softly playing the notes. Sing for him, a voice inside her heart whispered. Sing for Discord…

"Think of me…think of me fondly, when we've said goodbye…"

Her voice was stronger, clearer, and more confident. Everypony who had been whispering and scowling earlier had stopped; even Celestia froze at the sound of young woman's voice.

"Remember me, once in a while–please promise me you'll try…"

Everypony's undivided attention was focused entirely on Fluttershy. She slowly opened her eyes and felt the song overtake her, her voice reaching out to him in the depths of the opera house, singing for him, always for him.

"When you find, that once again you long, to take your heart back and be free–
if you ever find a moment…" Fluttershy's heart swelled as she thought of the plea she was singing to Discord. "Spare a thought for me…"

The orchestra burst into its interlude and the managers glanced at one another, grinning at the thought of the money they would make from their new discovery. Celestia was fuming, and Blueblood was simply smiling with pride as he gazed up at the stage.

In the depths of the opera house, far below the stage, Discord awoke with a start at the sound of music. He had fallen asleep atop Fluttershy's bed, his maskless face buried against the silken fabric of her gown. He sat up, his eyes wild as he heard the chords to "Think of Me" being played. Grabbing his mask, he leapt off the bed, moving at a quick pace towards the sound. He had grown accustomed to hearing the company rehearse his opera, but something was different this time, something was…new.

And then he heard her. Through the stone, wood, and cement that separated him from the world above, he heard her voice, guiding him home, like a beacon to a lost ship.

"We never said our love was evergreen,
or as unchanging as the sea–
but if you can still remember,
stop and think of me…"

Fluttershy's voice felt somewhat heavy as the reality of the lyrics settled over her. She could feel her legs trembling slightly and her palms growing sweaty–not out of nervousness, but out of anxiety as to whether her song, the song he had written, was being heard. She was not being Aminta in that moment; she was singing as Fluttershy to him.

"Think of all the things we've shared and seen…" her voice began to dissolve then. "Don't think about the things which…" it was barely above a whisper. "Might…have been…"

Fluttershy stopped; she couldn't go on anymore.

Everypony had been in a trance when she had begun to sing. Now, they were slowly waking from it, and the whispers began to erupt again. Flim and Flam exchanged looks at one another and Blueblood frowned in confusion.

Madam Octavia called for order with hee baton, silencing the orchestra and casting disdainful looks to the chorus and dancers who were busy gossiping. "Mademoiselle, there are still several more bars left, we are not finished."

Fluttershy had been frozen in her place and only just then did she glance up at the conductor. "Mademoiselle? Are…are you alright?" Madam Octavia inquired, a look of genuine concern crossing her older features. Fluttershy stared back, and it was then that she realized her cheeks were wet with tears. She looked all around her, feeling everypony's eyes on her once more, and then she caught the eyes of the managers, of Blueblood, and Celestia, who was now looking extremely smug. Without a word, she ran from the stage, causing several chorus members to gasp in surprise by her behavior.

Celestia continued to grin. "I wonder, do you think she will do that on opening night?"

Fluttershy ran far back stage, pushing past ponies, not caring how they looked at her or what they thought, she was sick of ponies looking at her and judging her, attempting to understand who she was and what she had gone through. Let them think what they will, not one of them would understand the pain of a broken heart and a lost love the way she did. She finally found a dark shadowed corner, far enough away from the stage and its many eyes, and there she crumpled to a heap on the ground, her face buried inside her hooves, sobbing.

God above, help her, she prayed. It hurt so badly, the pain in her heart, the pain in her spirit. Being here, a place so alive with the Phantom's presence, and yet she felt so cold, so alone, and so empty on that stage. She longed for Discord to reappear, and as he had done at the masquerade ball, to simply whisk her away to his underground world, away from their judging eyes, away from their harsh whispers. And yet, she knew with a heavy heart that she couldn't go back, no matter how much she wanted to. She had her father to look after, and she couldn't abandon him after being separated for so long. But this pain was so severe; she was terrified to fall asleep at night for fear that she would dream of him, only to wake in the morning with the agony that it had simply been a dream. She longed for his strong arms to wrap around her, to carry her away, to hear his voice whisper into her ear that he loved her, that he would let no harm ever come to her. She longed to feel his body beside hers at night, and she longed to look into his dark amber gaze and lose herself in their seductive promise. But more than anything, she wanted to see his face again, unmasked, to touch his disfigured cheek and show him over and over how deeply she loved him, and how hoofsome she found him to be.

But it was all in vain it seemed.

"Fluttershy?"

She gasped at the sound of her name and quickly wiped her face, not wanting to show her tears to anyone. She turned as she heard the Prince's hoofsteps softly approach. "Fluttershy?" he called again, and then let out a sigh of relief at finding her. "Are you alright? I was worried when I saw–" he paused when he noticed her trembling hoovess brushing away the last of her tears. "Fluttershy…what's wrong?" he tenderly asked, reaching out and touching her chin with a soft hoof.

"I'm fine," she lied, moving away so his hoof touched only the air between them.

Blueblood noticed her quick gesture to free herself from his touch, but he swallowed his hurt pride and quickly dropped his hoof back to his side. "Somepony who is 'fine' does not burst into tears and then run away…" he murmured, his eyes trying to capture hers, but she kept them adverted.

"I was nervous, that's all," she explained, keeping her eyes locked on the floor. "I have never sung before an audience before, a-a-and I thought…I t-t-thought perhaps I was doing very poorly, a-and so I lost my confidence. Quite silly I know, but–"

Fluttershy gasped when she felt the Prince's hoof gently touch her lips to silence her. She looked up at the hoofsome noblecolt, her eyes locking with his steady emerald gaze.

"You actually think you sang poorly?" Blueblood asked, his voice a mixture of shock and wonder. "Fluttershy…I have never…" a warm smile spread across his hoofsome features. "I have been coming to this place ever since I was colt. And in all my years, both then, and now as a patron, I have never heard anything so…so beautiful," he murmured in absolute awe.

Fluttershy felt her cheeks flush at the compliment, and a soft smile spread across her lips. She wondered if Discord had heard her. Would she have made him proud? After all, any compliments she received for her singing should truly be directed for him.

"I know that there were ponies who were not being entirely…kind," he added gently. "I find that it comes down to two things. One, jealousy," Fluttershy couldn't help but softly chuckle at this. "And two…they simply do not understand," he sighed. "They don't understand why you've been asked to sing this part when many of them have been involved within the company for years. However, I think after this moment, we can all begin to understand why the Phantom favored your voice."

Blueblood meant the comment to be one of merriment, but his smile disappeared when he noticed Fluttershy stiffen just slightly at the comment. Suddenly, a loud crashing sound could be heard overhead, and Fluttershy gasped loudly as Blueblood pushed them both away, just missing the falling sandbag.

"What the devil?" he shouted angrily, one hoof flying to smooth back his blonde hair. A stagehoof rushed forward at the sound of Bluebloods voice, and before the stallion could ask what had happened, the Vicomte had the stallion by the throat. "You idiot! You nearly had us killed!" he growled, shaking the stallion viciously.

"Blueblood, put him down!" Fluttershy protested, pushing at the Prince with all her strength. "It was an accident! Please! You're hurting him!"

Blueblood glanced at Fluttershy, seeing her terror at his behavior reflected in her blue eyes, and immediately released the stallion, who crumpled to the floor, coughing and gasping. "I…I'm sorry…" Blueblood quickly apologized, although he was keeping his eyes on Fluttershy and not the stallion he had nearly strangled. "But that sandbag could have struck Mademoiselle Fluttershy! All of you need to be more careful!"

The stagehoof weakly nodded his head, and then scrambled to his hooves and dashed away before the Prince could do anything worse. Blueblood watched the stallion go before turning back to face Fluttershy, grimacing when he saw the expression on her face. "I'm sorry you had to see that mademoiselle, but…well, many of these stallions are drunken louts who do not pay enough attention to their jobs at hoof. If I didn't put the fear of God into him, someone has to; seems to be the only way to communicate with them," he muttered, smoothing his hair back once more.

Fluttershy said nothing; she simply kept her distance from the Prince. "I should apologize to Madam Octavia for my behavior," she said simply, wrapping her arms around herself and heading back towards the stage.

Blueblood silently cursed himself and then glanced down at the sandbag, kicking it rather violently, before lifting his eyes heavenward to see where it may have come from. Had he been looking close enough, he would have seen a pair of eyes glaring back at him, but the eyes were well hidden in the shadows. Those eyes continued to watch the Prince as he turned and departed the same way Fluttershy had gone, all the while sending looks of utter hatred for the hoofsome noblecolt.

Nothing could begin to describe Discord's rage at seeing the Prince stand so close, and talk so intimately, to his Fluttershy. He had followed her voice from the very depths of his world, hearing it grow more and more clear the closer he got to the stage. And once he had reached his hiding place on the catwalk, the very place he and Fluttershy had watched Handel's Messiah all those months ago, his heart seemed to stop at the very sight of her.

She stood there, on his stage, singing his music. It was a vision unlike anything he had ever known. He remembered how once upon a time, this was all he dreamed about, hearing her voice sing his music on stage. But it meant so much more now; the first feelings he felt were sheer joy at seeing his beloved Fluttershy there, and then his thoughts immediately changed to confusion. What was she doing there? He had assumed since…since…

He did not like to think about that night, but it forever haunted him.

After all those horrible things he had said, he had assumed she would want to stay as far away from this place as possible. Ah, but his Fluttershy was extremely stubborn, a thought that he couldn't help smiling to. Joy once more erupted; perhaps she had returned? Perhaps she had come to tell him that she still loved him, that she would not leave him no matter what he said, that he would have to make her leave–and he knew that would not be possible.

But then something happened. He noticed the tears before anyone else. He heard the trembling in her voice before the conductor took notice. Her voice disappeared into a sob, and then the next thing he knew, she was flying from the stage, disappearing deep into the shadows beyond the curtains.

Discord flew from his place, flew to a spot where she may have gone. He longed to take her up in his arms, to hold her tightly, to tell her over and over how sorry he was for hurting her, to beg her forgiveness, even though he did not deserve it. To comfort her, to tell her how deeply he loved her…

And then he saw him with her.

The hoofsome, charming, Prince, coming once more to a damsel's rescue, armed with manners and a hoofkerchief. Discord struggled with hearing all of the words that past between the two of them, but he did not miss the smile Fluttershy flashed when the Prince spoke to her, and he felt his blood boil with fury as he watched the Prince reach out and touch his beloved angel…and the fury only kindled when he saw that Fluttershy did not pull away from him as she had done so earlier. His anger burst forth into a wild blaze, and before he knew what he was doing, he took out the dagger that he always concealed in his boot, and with a single swipe, cut the nearest sandbag.

He had no intentions of harming Fluttershy, it was truly meant to strike the Prince. But he cursed her for warning his hoofsome adversary with her gasp, and he cursed himself when he realized, after the Prince pushed both himself and Fluttershy away from the falling sandbag, how close he had been to actually striking her as well.

It was not possible to begin describing his hatred for the blonde noblecolt, but he knew that if any harm ever befell on Fluttershy because of his anger, he would never forgive himself. He was already damning himself for the pain he had caused her to make her leave…if he truly hurt her or…or worse, that would be the end of everything.

Discord's heart swelled with pain as he heard his angel begin to sing once more. He could understand why she had cried when he listened to the words closely.

"Think of me, think of me waking,
silent and resigned.
Imagine me, trying too hard
to put you from my mind.

Recall those days, look back on all those times,
think of the things we'll never do–
there will never be a day when I won't think of you!"

Indeed. There would never be a day when he would not be consumed by thoughts of her.

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Rarity grumbled as she attempted to walk while holding an overly large pile of dirty clothes in her arms. They all badly needed mending and washing, and it always amazed her at how much work the five of them generated for her to do. She longed for Fluttershy's help, at least to hear the young mare's sweet voice to help pass the time and the chores.
Rarity dumped the large pile of clothes down on the floor beside her little bed, reaching for the round steel tub that she used to wash clothes, not realizing that she was not alone in the chamber she and the others occupied.

"W-w-w-where is it?"

Rarity gasped and turned to see where the voice had come from. "Derpy?" she whispered, and then let out a joyful cry as she saw the hunchback emerge from the shadows. "Oh Derpy! I've been so worried! I haven't seen you for days! I mean, I knew you were present, I kept finding leftovers being eaten, and your books had been strewn about, but where have you been sleeping all this time? And where is that kitten that is always by your side, why–"

"WHERE IS IT?" she practically roared, a sound Rarity had never heard come from her.

She stared up at the hunchback who she had regarded for so many years as a daughter, and for the first time in her life, actually felt afraid of her. "W-w-where is what?" she asked, her voice trembling with confusion and apprehension.

Derpy lifted the book that she held in one of her hooves. "I c-c-can't find it," she explained. "I c-c-can't find the p-part w-where the gypsy mare a-agrees to stay w-w-with the hunchback, w-w-where she tells him that she loves him, a-a-and they live h-happily ever after."

Rarity felt her insides grow cold as Derpy's words slowly washed over her. In her hoof she held The Hunchback of Notre Mane. Shortround had indeed been a fine reading teacher. With a heavy heart, she sighed, and sat down on the edge of her bed, suddenly feeling very old.

"Derpy…t-there's something I need to tell you," she whispered, not sure she could look into her eyes.

"J-j-just t-tell me w-what page it's on…a-a-and I'll r-read it f-for myself."

"No, Derpy, you don't understand…it's not…it doesn't have a page," she slowly lifted her eyes to meet hers, which were a mixture of confusion and despair.

"W-w-what do you mean?" he softly asked, his whole body trembling with fear at what she would say next.

"Derpy," she gently began. "The reason you can't find that passage…is because I…" she took a deep breath, summoning all her strength. "…is because I made it up."

She stared at Rarity, unable to move. "M-m-made it up?"

"Yes," she whispered, her eyes already misting. "I…I wanted to give you a story that would give you hope…a story that showed a kind, gentle, and loving side of life. I…I didn't mean to cause any harm, I just wanted to make you happy Derpy, please know that?" her tears were welling over as she gazed back at her; Rarity's heart breaking as the realization slowly dawned on her.

"The g-g-gypsy mare n-never loved the h-hunchback?"

Rarity bit her lip. "She cared for him, she became his friend…b-b-but…no, they did not f-fall in love as I told you…"

Derpy stared at her, her voice barely above a whisper. "T-t-they d-d-did not live h-happily e-ever after?"

She looked down, unable to bear it another second. "No."

The sound of the book falling to the ground was louder than any capsized boulder. Rarity winced with pain as she heard the book echo off the walls, and her pain only increased as she heard Derpy's heart-wrenching cries fill the cavern and the tunnels beyond, as she ran from the lies that Rarity had harmlessly spun.

Author's Note:

Enjoy!