• Published 2nd Feb 2013
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The Opera Phantom Discord - Alexandrite Ward



Fluttershy's father is captured by the villianous Discord, Phantom of the Opera! Can she save him while being pursued by the handsome and charming Prince Blueblood?

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Discord stormed into his realm, his sanctuary, anger and rage coursing through his veins, every curse imaginable escaping his disfigured lips. None of the others would dare try to talk to him now, they knew better than to approach him when he was in such a fury. And Discord's rage only deepened every time he felt the cold winter air touch his mutilated flesh.

He had him; he had the Prince right where he wanted him to be, squirming and gagging and begging for his miserable life to be spared. Discord entered his dilapidated chamber, walking over the rubble and parchment that littered his floor, grabbing a wine bottle and began gulping great swigs of the dark liquid.

He had been careless.

Discord wasn't sure what angered him more; the fact that he had his chance to kill the Prince, but let his personal arrogance get in the way of finishing the job…or that the Prince had outsmarted him.

He took another long swig from the wine bottle and growled low and deep as his paw gently touched his disfigured cheek.

He had underestimated the Prince.

Somewhere in the city of Maris, the Prince was recovering from his attack, nursing his wounded neck, and most likely smiling with triumph at the prize he had stolen from Discord's own face.

He cursed his own name this time, realizing that his carelessness not only put himself at danger, but also his closest friends. A wry smile curled at Discord's lips as he remembered Fluttershy's words of warning on the night of the masquerade ball. She had warned him then that his hunger for revenge would get him into trouble, as well as reminding him that his selfish idiotic behavior may in fact harm those that depended upon him for survival.

"It's just my mask," Discord whispered to himself. "It's not enough evidence to condemn us."

Like hell it wasn't.

Discord groaned as he realized just how lucky he had been in the past. Before, the Prince didn't even believe in the Phantom, he simply passed off the notes as some prank. The Prince was not so blind anymore, yet even now, the police, while cow-towing to every thing he said, were not prepared to go chasing some bedtime story that was used to frighten dancers into the beds of lust-crazed stagehooves.

But now, armed with his own mask, the Prince may have just enough proof to push the noses of several police officers into places they should never poke about.

True, he had all sorts of elaborate booby traps at every imaginable entrance to his world (and even some not-so-imaginable), but those were designed to stop one stallion at a time, not an army of them, not a mob.

His blood turned to ice as he imagined a mob storming into his labyrinth, the others desperately trying to escape, him being captured and strung up. The Prince would see to his demise, he had no doubt about that–but the others? Discord had promised all of them that he would never let any harm come to them, that they would never know what it feels like to be kept inside a cage again…

The Prince, being the sort of greedy villain that he was, would no doubt realize the fortune he could make with such a commodity of freaks. He knew that they would rather die than be put on display again, it was the same feeling he had about the subject.

Discord put the bottle down, remembering Fluttershy's words about how drunkenness never fully absorbed one's pain, and it never solved one's problems. He could not help but smile tenderly at the memory of the fire in her blue eyes when she grabbed the wine bottle out of his paw and threw it against the wall. She was right; now was not the time to feel sorry for himself and mourn over his lost opportunity, his lost mask, and his lost sense of pride.

He looked across the shambled room, spying a single granite bust that remained intact. The bust wore a black mask, one that covered both sides of one's face. It was fitting, Discord thought, as he walked across the room and removed the mask from its holder. The color matched his mood, and the way it hid all portions of his face, save for his mouth, chin, and eyes, matched the new sense of mystery and caution he needed to carry.

As he held the black mask in his paw and claw, he reevaluated his choices and actions over the last week and a half.

Things were going to be different now.

He wasn't going to sit and mourn for his lost love when he had the power to put things right. He wasn't going to wait and worry as to whether the Prince would come storming after him, and he certainly wasn't going to allow the Prince to think he ran this theater any longer.

No. This was his opera, his production, and his theater.

"Let them plot against me and believe they have the upper hoof," Discord coldly muttered as he pulled the mask on. "I'll be ready for them."

They wanted a war? They would have one.

"The Phantom is back."

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"I do hope he is alright," Time Turner mumbled, gently running his bow along the strings of his violin. "I would hate to think that his simple visit to us last night would have gotten him ill."

Fluttershy could not help but roll her eyes at her father's worries. That morning he didn't speak with her, she could tell that he was annoyed by her behavior last night, and even after they had arrived at the opera house for rehearsal, he refused to speak with her. But now, after a few hours of steady playing and singing, and no sign of the Prince, her father's vow of silence towards her was being broken.

Yet Fluttershy found that she missed the silence, since all her father could talk about was Blueblood's absence. "Perhaps he fell ill last night at his dinner engagement? After all, he did mention he had dinner plans, perhaps the food was undercooked and he was unable to get out of bed."

Fluttershy could not help but cynically smile at her father's words. "Yes, I'm sure something kept him in bed," she muttered.

"What did you say my dear?"

Fluttershy sighed, feeling a tad irritated at her father's concern for the Prince. "I'm sure he is fine, Papa, he is a busy stallion after all…perhaps he will come by this afternoon?"

The old stallion nodded his head in agreement, but there was still worry in his eyes. "Are you feeling well my dear?" he asked.

Fluttershy was rather surprised to find the concern now directed at her. "Yes, I'm fine Papa, why do you ask?"

"Well, you barely had any breakfast this morning, and I surely thought you would be starving since you barely ate your dinner last night," he explained.

Fluttershy gave a weak smile, but the mere mention of food caused her stomach to twist. "I'm fine Papa, truly, I think…I think one of the dance mares had a severe cold yesterday, and has now past it on to me. But I'm sure I will be feeling better before the day is finished. Please, don't worry about me, I'm fine."

Time Turner cocked an eyebrow at her words. "Don't worry? I'm your father, I have every right to worry, besides…after months of separation, I have some worry to catch up on," he grumbled matter-of-factly, although his eyes danced with merriment.

Fluttershy couldn't help but smile and wrapped her arms around him, hugging him close. "That makes two of us," she warned, grinning as he made a face at her words.

"Monsieur! Mademoiselle! If you please, we would like to finish today's rehearsal…today!" Madam Octavia muttered with exasperation, tapping her baton with great frustration.

Both Fluttershy and her father blushed with embarrassment and quickly returned to their places. Satisfied that his orchestra was in place, and that the chorus and dance were ready, Madam Octavia lifted her hooves for attention, ready to begin Act II of Don Juan Triumphant, when–

"STOP! STOP EVERYTHING!"

Madam Octavia let out an exasperated shriek as whirled around to see who dared interrupt the rehearsal. Both managers were running and huffing down the aisle, their faces red and covered with sweat as if they had just finished running a marathon. "Messieurs! What is the meaning of this interruption?" Octavia grumbled, her baton slamming down on her music stand. "I am trying to conduct a rehearsal! And I can't have these–"

"HERE!" Flim shouted back, dangling a note in the other stallion's face. "Here is the cause for your interruption!"

The conductor almost shrank back from Flim's tone, before taking the note with trembling hooves. "W-what is this?" she asked, looking at both Flim and Flam warily.

Flim turned to the stage and orchestra pit, everypony's attention completely on him. "I do hope you all are learning your music and stage directions to the point of memorization…" his eyes locked on Fluttershy for a moment, before continuing. "Because, instead of having another month to rehearse and prepare for this…" he struggled with the next words. "This…most original…opera, we now have one week."

A great gasp went up from the stage, and everyone began talking at once, looking at one another with confusion and horror, especially Madam Octavia, who seemed to have gone the color of snow. "O-o-o-one w-week?" she stuttered.

"Nonsense!" Fancypants's voice shouted over the crowd, all eyes now turning to him. "What utter nonsense! I will not stand for it, I will not be ordered about and told when to sing!" he gave a smile to Celestia, hoping his show of authority would gain some respect from the diva. Rather, she rolled her eyes and walked away.

"You have no choice, signor," Flam muttered. Everypony now turned to him to see what he had to say. "Seems our illustrious…composer…has also sent a note to the papers."

"WHAT?" Madam Octavia shouted, her eyes looking ready to pop from her head.

"See for yourself!" Flam groaned, thrusting the morning's newspaper in the conductor's face.

Everypony gave his or her undivided attention as the conductor began reading. "The Maris Opera House announces a new production to be added to their season. Don Juan Triumphant, a new opera, premieres next Friday evening, on stage for the first time." Another great burst of whispers erupted as Madam Octavia read the article out loud, looking as if she would faint any second.

"And that's not all," Flam muttered, his gaze focused entirely on Fluttershy's flushing face. It seemed that everypony was now staring at her, and many of their stares felt like daggers stinging her back. "It appears that our dear composer, who takes full credit for sending word to the papers…failed to mention all other details about the opera, with the exception of Mademoiselle Fluttershy."

A great gasp went up from everypony and Fluttershy thought surely her heart had stopped beating.

"Yes, read it for yourself," Flam muttered, his eyes narrowing as he continued to look at the pretty pink haired mare.

Octavia mopped her brow and continued reading where she had left off. "Fluttershy, a new and rising opera sensation, will sing the lead. She is sure to amaze audiences with her pure, angelic-like tone, and spirited acting."

More whispers, as well as an outraged screech. No one needed to look as to whom that had come from.

Fluttershy's breathing had grown rapid as Octavia finished the article. What game was Discord playing at? She didn't know whether to be excited or saddened at the idea that he may have heard her singing the other day. Had he ordered the opera to be performed sooner so…so he would not have to hear her again? Or did he enjoy making her and the others suffer; did he want to punish her by making her rehearse harder, demanding more and more perfection? Did he enjoy seeing her squirm under the scrutinizing stares of others?

"T-t-there's nothing you c-can do?" Octavia whimpered, her hoofkerchief growing quite damp as she continued to mop her brow.

"It's in the blasted papers!" Flim growled. "We can't afford any more scandals! We have to perform next Friday!"

"BUT WE'RE NOT READY!" Octavia helplessly wailed. "The sets aren't even close to being finished, let alone the singing!"

"Don't you think we realize that?" Andre cried, his face turning so red that it looked as if smoke would start coming out of his ears. "You'll just have to work harder!"

A great groan came up from the ponies on stage, but Flam stomped his hoof on the ground. "REHEARSALS WILL NOW LAST FROM 7 TO 8!"

The groan grew even louder, and Fancypants began to swear at the managers in Italian, as well as throw curses to the shadows overhead. Celestia, who had been quite furious a few seconds ago, now appeared to be the calmest pony in the entire room; in fact, she looked rather smug. The soprano strutted over to where Fluttershy stood and whispered in the young mare's ear, "Now we'll see if you truly can handle the pressure of being a singer, as well as live up to your…admirer's praise…oh most favored of the Phantom…" she silkily hissed, sarcasm dripping from her lips. Fluttershy glared as Celestia strutted away, softly chuckling and turning to blow Fluttershy a patronizing kiss.

"Silence! Silence!" Octavia ordered, tapping her baton so violently it seemed as if it would snap. "It does us no good arguing!" she grumbled, mopping at her brow once more. "The papers say next Friday–that gives us nine days. We can do this, if we simply…work hard enough." If only Madam Octavia believed her own words, perhaps everypony would not feel so hopeless. "Right, let us take it from Act II, Scene I–mademoiselle?" she inquired, turning to Fluttershy.

She nodded her head and quickly opened her music. She glanced at Celestia one last time, feeling utter hatred for the mare. She would prove to the so-called diva that she could handle such pressure, that she was destined to be a great singer. The stage quickly cleared as the music from the orchestra rolled up in the introduction to her song. She would prove to them all: Celestia, the managers, Madam Octavia, Discord…everyone.

This was her opera too…

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"GOOD GOD STALLION, I'M TELLING YOU, THIS PROVES THAT HE EXISTS!"

Inspector Silverstar winced as the Prince's voice rose to a painful height. He had received the news late last night, how the Prince had been attacked on his way home, how the carriage driver had been knocked out, and the villain had kidnapped the Prince in order to commit foul play against the noblecolt. Thankfully, the driver came to, and told several officers who were patrolling what had happened. They quickly followed the carriage in the direction it had gone, and before the horrific deed could be committed, they had managed to stop the villain and save the Prince's life.

Inspector Silverstar was not at all surprised to see the Prince at the station early that morning, however the story that the Prince arrived with was one that caused the stallion to groan with frustration and helplessness.

The Phantom of the Opera.

The Prince was once more raving about the infamous Phantom, and how this so-called ghost was behind the attempted murder from the night before; the only difference however from the previous times he had heard the Prince's story was that this time he had brought "evidence".

On the table between the two of them lay a black cloak, and half a mask, the mask that the Prince claimed was the Phantom's disguise.

"I'm sorry, monsieur, but this is not enough," Silverstar attempted again, knowing it was in vain.

"NOT ENOUGH?" Blueblood shouted, pounding his hoof down on the table. "Ask any stagehoof has reported seeing the Phantom and they will all tell you the same thing…he wears a mask, a mask just like this one!"

Silverstar groaned and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "It was not that long ago, monsieur, that you believed the 'Phantom' to be some ghost story, and that the notes belonged to some prankster. Could this not also be a prank?" he sighed, hoping to make the Prince see reason. "Now my stallions will get to the bottom of this, and find the stallion who attacked you, but to simply believe that it was–"

"DAMN IT STALLION, I'M TELLING YOU IT'S THE BLOODY PHANTOM!" Blueblood shouted, pushing himself away from the table and pacing to the other side of the room. It was taking every ounce of willpower he contained to not lash out at the imbecile.

Silverstar said his next words very carefully, knowing he was playing with fire. "Can you think of anypony who would wish you harm? An enemy in business, or an old acquaintance that's gone sour–"

"I have enemies, Silverstar, but none of them would dare come at me like this," Blueblood hissed, keeping his back to the chief inspector. "The Phantom has threatened my life before," he murmured, recalling the incident at the masquerade ball. "He's jealous that I have possession of Fluttershy – he told me that night if I so touched her he would kill me. He must be stalking her, and saw me come out of the building…"

"I have not heard any complaints from Mademoiselle Fluttershy of a stranger following her, or any threats that she's received since her…well…her…"

"Her 'sudden reappearance' into society?" Blueblood finished, his words filled with venom.

Silverstar groaned once more. "Now see here, monsieur–"

"NO!" Blueblood roared, his hoof crashing down once more atop the table. "Are you actually going to sit there and tell me, after months of 'missing in action', when not one soul can recall seeing her or knowing of her whereabouts, and then suddenly reappearing, declaring for the release of her father in a rather desperate state, that there is nothing…unusual about that?"

Silverstar squirmed under the Prince's fiery gaze, his throat going dry at how exactly to respond.

"And let us not forget that the last time she was seen was retreating below stage, on the same night her father was seen going below, the very night he was also arrested for raving, like a madstallion, about a horrible masked creature, otherwise known as the Phantom of the Opera, for kidnapping his daughter!"

"It's still not enough!" Silverstar hissed, before quickly shrinking back from the Prince's venomous stare. "I'm sorry, monsieur," he sighed. "While the story fits together, I…I can not begin to fall prey to what is surely impossible!"

Blueblood glared at the inspector. "We're not dealing with some…some specter, some ghost! This is a madstallion! A flesh and blood monster that will stop at nothing to see me dead!"

Silverstar groaned and shook his head, total frustration taking over. "And what do you suggest I do?"

"Oh, I beg your pardon," Blueblood muttered, not at all missing the irritation in the stallion's voice. "How foolish of me to sound concerned, after all, it is only MY LIFE!" he roared, grabbing hold of the chair he had been sitting on and kicking it over with his hoof.

Silverstar jumped by the sudden action, and a surprised officer poked his head inside the door. "Is everything alright inspector? I heard a noise–"

"Yes, everything's fine…" Silverstar grumbled, glaring back at the Prince.

"Wait!" Blueblood shouted, turning towards the young officer who had opened the door. Both policestallions looked surprised. "I recognize your face…"

The younger officer swallowed the nervous lump in his throat and nodded his head. He was a colt really, Blueblood noted; couldn't have been more than 18. "I was the one who cut the rope from your throat, monsieur…"

A slow, devious smile, slowly spread across the Prince's hoofsome features. "Really?" the colt nodded his head and Blueblood's smile spread even further. "What did you do with the rope?"

The colt looked at Silverstar then back at Blueblood. "Well…w-we have it, monsieur; we keep all murder weapons, as it may be a clue that could…well, that could lead us to–"

"Wonderful, will you fetch it for me?"

The colt glanced once more at Silverstar before nodding his head and disappearing. Blueblood could not help but grin broadly, and with a composed air that he had not possessed a few seconds ago, he calmly picked up the chair he had kicked over, and casually sat back down.

Silverstar eyed him suspiciously. "Have you taken a sudden interest in studying crime related items?"

Without a word, the Prince removed a cigar from his coat pocket, lit it, and calmly began to smoke.

A few seconds later, the colt returned with the rope in hoof. Silverstar thanked the colt before dismissing him, and with an annoyed sigh, held the rope up for Blueblood to see.

The rope was not some common thread; in fact, it was a noose. But an interesting sort of noose, that the Prince could tell right away. He leaned in and gazed at the fine threads, his hooves slowly rising to touch the bruised welts that now adorned his neck.

"Interesting…" he murmured.

Silverstar looked puzzled. "What is?"

Blueblood leaned back in his chair and took a long drag from his cigar before finally focusing on the chief inspector. "The thread," Blueblood simply explained. "I simply remembered that when the Phantom…I'm sorry, the mysterious masked fiend who by all means can not possibly be the Phantom because the Phantom is truly some silly figment–"

Silverstar rolled his eyes.

"–anyway, I remember that when he had me about the neck, the threads, while extremely tight…were not necessarily rough, meaning made from a rough material."

Silverstar narrowed his eyes, his own attention now focusing on the noose he held. "True," he whispered. "These threads seem…strange, not at all like the sort of rope one would find at a dock yard or…or used to string crates together…"

"No," Blueblood whispered, reaching out and taking the noose from Silverstar's hooves. "Indeed…this material, it is rather soft, at least it is when not wrapped around one's neck," he grunted. "In fact…it reminds me of something…"

"Reminds me of the cord to these expensive curtains my wife insisted on purchasing," Silverstar grumbled with disgust.

Blueblood's eyes went wide at the inspector's words. "Curtains…?" he whispered. "Of course…"

Silverstar looked at the Prince with confusion. "Monsieur?"

"What sort of curtains are they?" he de,anded.

Silverstar stared at the stallion as if he had lost his mind. "What?"

"The curtains, stallion!" Blueblood shouted, pounding his fist again on the table. "Tell me what sort of curtains they are!"

"I don't know!" Silverstar defended. "Marsian looking if you ask me…Marsian, or…or Middle Eastern! I had nothing to do with them, my wife said they're the latest fashion, but a waste of good money if you ask me–"

Blueblood rose from his chair, throwing the noose into Silverstar's lap. "Your wife is not wrong," he muttered, pulling his gloves on and grabbing his hat. "Middle Eastern décor is at the height of fashion right now."

Silverstar stared at Blueblood as he turned to leave the room. "Wait just one second!" he called out, rising to quickly catch up with the Prince's long strides. "What does that have to do with anything?"

Blueblood turned and looked at the chief inspector with a determined gaze, his voice dark and cold. "I'm not entirely sure, but I know it has something to do with the Phantom–and I will prove it to you, no matter what, that he does exist and that it was him last night who attempted to take my life!"

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The hours at rehearsal had been long and endless.

Fewer breaks were called because there was now less time to prepare for opening night. The managers continued to bustle in and out of the auditorium, followed closely by different reporters. It seemed that every hour, a new reporter would join the growing throng, each asking the same questions, over and over.

What was this new production?

Why hadn't anything been said until this moment?

Who was this new composer?

What was this opera about?

And the one question that Fluttershy had been dreading above all others; who was this mare that was singing the lead?

Every now and then, a few reporters would interrupt the rehearsal, asking if they could speak with Fluttershy, but thankfully, Madam Octavia refused, demanding that time was of the essence and could not be stopped for some interview. Fluttershy was rather thankful for Octavia's stubbornness; she had no idea what she would say and feared she would make an absolute fool of herself in front of the reporters.

Yet a break from singing and rehearsing was extremely tempting.

For three hours straight, she had been rehearsing with either Fancypants or the chorus. Her voice was beginning to grow horse, and her throat was beginning to feel raw. She remembered Rarity's special tea and longed for a cup to relieve her vocal cords. But in truth, it was not her voice that was bothering her; all day she had been feeling weak and light-headed. The room felt so warm, and now and then she thought she would lose her balance out of a sudden spell of dizziness. She blamed it on the fact that she hadn't eaten anything all day, but every time she thought of food, her stomach seemed to churn with uneasiness. What she really needed was some rest, a chance to lie down and rest her head…

"Mademoiselle! If you please!" Octavia grunted, tapping her baton with irritation.

Fluttershy shook her head and offered a weak apology as she once more took her place. She and Fancypants had been rehearsing the infamous scene from Act III, the scene where Don Juan attempts to seduce Aminta into his bed, the scene that possessed the haunting song "Point of No Return".

They had gone over this scene for practically an hour and Fluttershy was not sure how much more she could handle singing this song over and over. Every time she did so, she remembered Discord, the primal fire that burned in his amber eyes as he sang Don Juan's role back to her; the way his long paw and claw ran over the keys, a promise of what hecould do to drive her beyond the point of no return…

Her thoughts were shaken as Fancypants's tired tenor filled the stage, the boredom in his voice quite apparent for all to see. Fluttershy took a deep breath and began to sing her role, trying very hard to fight the waves of dizziness, and sing above the weakness that had taken hold of her body and voice.

Several reporters who had been questioning themanagers paused to listen to Fluttershy sing, as did everypony else on stage. Celestia, clearly revolted by the whole scene, began to make some rather loud and crude comments in regards to the young mare, remarking how extraordinary it was that a country strumpet who had no knowledge or experience in musical theater, had suddenly been handed the lead role. A few reporters began scribbling down Celestia's words, a fact that Fluttershy had not missed.

The room felt extremely warm, and even though she stood perfectly still, everything began to spin. She was tired, she felt sick, and the cruelty of Celestia's words cut to the very core.

And then the spinning stopped. She felt weightless, as if she were floating in the air…

A great scream erupted from the stage as Fluttershy's body crumpled to the floor.

"Fluttershy! Fluttershy!"

She heard her name being called across the darkness. She was having the most peaceful dreamless slumber…and then, her head reeled with pain as the bright lights of the room illuminated her eyes.

"She's waking up!"

Fluttershy's eyes slowly fluttered open and she gazed back at the faces of several young mares, all of whom were chatting amongst themselves as they gazed back down at her. She felt a warm familiar hoof grip hers, and she turned to see her father sitting beside her, a thankful, yet worried smile, spreading across his wrinkled face. "Oh thank Goodness," he whispered with relief.

Madame Luna pushed the dance mares who had been crowding around her away. "Give her some air!" she scolded, before kneeling down on Fluttershy's other side. "Are you alright, my dear? You gave us such a scare!"

Fluttershy eyes drifted from the dance mistress to her father, her expression one of utter confusion. "W-w-what happened?"

"You fainted, my dear," Madame Luna calmly explained. "No doubt caused by some overzealous rehearsing," she murmured, glaring at Octavia, who shrank from the mare's cold stare.

"You silly mare," her father scolded, still looking worried, but also rather upset. "You barely ate anything last night, and this morning you won't even touch your food…no wonder you fainted!"

Madame Luna looked at the old stallion with curious eyes. She then looked at Fluttershy, a dark brow lifting with question. "You have been feeling ill recently?"

Fluttershy did not care for the way Madame Luna looked at her. In truth, Fluttershy had been having trouble looking into the dance mistress' eyes ever since she had announced that both she and her father would be moving out of the mare's home…and into the guest apartment of the Prince.

Needless to say, Madame Luna did not take the news very well.

"I'm fine," Fluttershy lied, attempting to sit up too quickly, her head already spinning once more.

"Clearly you need some rest," Madame Luna announced. "Come, we shall take you to your dressing room."

Fluttershy stared up at the mare, confusion filling her eyes. "D-d-dressing room? I…I don't have a dressing room."

"Actually, you do," Twilight grinned, and several other dance mares began giggling all at once.

Madame Luna cast them all a cold glare, which immediately silenced them, and with the aid of Fluttershy's father, helped the young mare sit up and walk off stage. In a matter of minutes, they were opening the door to her dressing room and helping her inside.

Fluttershy stared wide-eyed at the room, overwhelmed by its beauty; there were vases filled with sweet-scented roses, elegant curtains that hung from the wall, beautiful Italian furniture that adorned every corner, and against a far wall, stood a large mirror, that touched the floor and seemed to stretch to the ceiling.

And then realization hit her. "This is Celestia's dressing room!" she gasped.

"No," Madame Luna corrected. "This is the star's dressing room, and belongs to the female lead. Celestia has simply held that title for so long that we all think it's her dressing room. But Celestia is not the star of this production, my dear, so it is your dressing room…and don't let anyone argue that point."

Fluttershy could not help but smile at the thought, but she groaned as she imagined the hell Celestia would raise once she found out that Fluttershy had taken the room.

"Get some rest, my dear," Madame Luna instructed. "I will explain everything to the managers–I believe they fainted as well at the thought of losing their new star." Fluttershy chuckled softly as she saw the amusement in Madame Luna's eyes. "Besides, the dance could use some extra rehearsal time, come monsieur," she motioned for Time Turner.

Time Turner helped his daughter sit down on the chaise lounge in the center of the room. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to her forehead before rising and smiling down at her. "If you don't eat every last bit of food that Cherry Jubilee prepares tonight, I'll start doing all the cooking…and you know that's a fate worse than death," he teased, although Fluttershy could still see the genuine worry that clouded his eyes.

She sighed and pulled her legs up to her body as she was left alone in the dressing room. Her arms wrapped around them and with a tired groan she buried her face against her knees. She realized that this was the first time she had been left alone in the opera house since her return. She looked around at the elegant room and a sad smile slowly spread across her face. Once upon a time, this was all she dreamed about, becoming a great singer who would return to her dressing room after every perforstallionce to find dozens of roses left by her admiring fans. She truly believed that with Discord's help, that dream could indeed become a reality…

But now…now what she truly yearned for had nothing to do with fame and glory. Her eyes focused in on a bouquet of dark red roses, and her thoughts immediately drifted to Discord. Had he seen what happened? Did he know that she had fainted? Did he care? Her heart ached to be with him, her arms ached to hold him, to feel him close to her once more. She missed him so much…

"Angel of music…" she softly, painfully sang, her voice barely more than a whisper. "Angel of music, guide and guardian…grant to me your glory…" she sniffed back the tears that began to fall. "Angel of music, hide no longer…" she turned and buried her face once more against her knees, her arms hugging her legs tighter to her body. "Come to me strange angel…"

Her words, her beautiful and sorrowful words, were like a prayer being offered up to heaven, a prayer beckoning her angel, her love, to come to her once more. He heard her words despite their softness, her voice like a beacon to his ears.

He had seen everything. That horrible sickening feeling returned as he watched his beloved crumple to the ground, nothing more than a rag doll. He was frozen as they cried out her name, feeling so helpless and so frightened. With great relief, he began to breathe again as she slowly sat up with the aid of her father and Madame Luna, and he flew to the secret tunnel that ran alongside the dressing room, watching everything take place from the other side of the long mirror.

The mirror was an illusion, a secret passageway that no one, not even Madame Luna, knew about. From within the dressing room, it looked like a simple mirror, when in truth, he could see in and enter the world above, through it.

He held his breath as Fluttershy was left alone in the dressing room, very much aware that the two of them, in a sense, were completely alone. Yet she of course, had no idea that he was there…and while it was tempting to break through the glass and take her in his arms, he stood completely still, the pain in her eyes and in her voice tearing him apart.

He had been a fool to drive her away. He had done it all because he thought it was the selfless thing to do, but God had somehow brought her back to this place, back into his life…and he knew now that he could not live without her, that she belonged to him…and he to her.

As if by some unknown instinct, the song rose up within his throat and the words escaped his lips…

"No more talk of darkness,
forget these wide-eyed fears.
I'm here, nothing can harm you–
My words will warm and calm you…"

It was the song that he had written with Fluttershy, the song that would have been sung by Don Juan and Aminta at the end of his opera, if he had kept the new ending.

"Let me be your freedom,
let daylight dry your tears.
I'm here, with you, beside you,
To guard you and to guide you…"

He sang the words just as softly as she had sung her song. There was no way she could have heard him, but somehow he hoped that she could feel him there, near her, that her pain would lessen, and her fears float away.

He sighed and silently watched her as she turned her face towards the mirror, her eyes closed, as if in some deep thought. Her sadness was still evident, but at least she had stopped crying.

What happened next, however, took him completely by surprise.

"Say you love me,
every waking moment,
turn my head with talk of summertime…"

He stared at her through the mirror as her voice filled his ears.

"Say you need me,
with you now, and always…
promise me that all you say is true–
that's all I ask of you…"

How could she possibly…?

Discord shook his head, not sure how to go about explaining it, but somehow, and for some reason, Fluttershy was singing Aminta's response, as if…as if she had heard every word he had sung…

"Let me be your shelter,
let me be your light.
You're safe:
No one will find you–
Your fears are far behind you…"

Fluttershy's voice began to respond to his once more, and this time her face focused in on the mirror where he stood.

"All I want is freedom,
a world with no more night…
and you, always beside me,
to hold me and to hide me…"

Discord watched as she slowly began to rise from the chaise lounge, his own voice responding once more, his eyes locking in on her face as she began to approach the mirror.

"Then say you'll share with me
one love, one lifetime…
let me lead you from your solitude…"

She was drawn to the mirror, although she knew not why. All she could see was her own reflection in the glass, but she felt something…something calling for her from just beyond.

"Say you need me
with you here, beside you…" he continued singing, his gaze running over her beautiful face as she drew closer to the glass.

"Anywhere you go, let me go too–
Fluttershy…that's all I ask of you…"

Fluttershy's voice rose as she stood before the mirror, unable to see him, but gazing up at his face as if she knew he were there. His voice joined hers, and they sang to each other, the glass the only thing truly separating them…

"Say you'll share with me
one love, one lifetime…
say the word and I will follow you…
Share each day with me,
Each night, each morning…"

The two of them stopped singing, and Fluttershy slowly lifted a tentative hoof to the glass, resting it against its cool surface, her eyes searching. "Say you love me…"

Discord watched her hoof lift to the glass, and immediately lifted his own paw, mirroring her hoof exactly. "You know I do…" he answered.

A soft, joyful smile slowly spread across Fluttershy's face, and Discord felt the same joy swelling within himself, ready to burst. He gripped the edges of the mirror, fully prepared to fling it open…

"Love me–" they both sang, "that's all I ask of–"

"FLUTTERSHY!"

Fluttershy gasped and whirled around, and Discord flew from the mirror, cursing Madame Luna's brat who had entered the dressing room unannounced.

"Oh I'm sorry, did I startle you?" Twilight apologized, her eyes moving from the mirror to Fluttershy's rather flushed face.

Fluttershy took a deep breath and quickly shook her head, wondering how she must have looked, singing to a mirror when Twilight had burst in. "I'm fine," she lied, trying quickly to compose herself. "Am I being summoned? Do the managers or Madam Octavia wish to see me?"

Twilight shook her head. "Oh no, Mama spoke with them, you are to be given a full day of rest tomorrow, and your father feels it is best that you go home now…he asked me to come and fetch you."

Fluttershy smiled, but still could not conceal the redness that flamed her cheeks. "Thank you, Twilight," she whispered, turning to follow the mare, but taking one last glance at the mirror in the room.

She had felt him. She had felt his presence with her in that room. She could not explain the power that had drawn her to the mirror, or that had compelled her to sing. There was no other explanation other than for a brief moment, she had been under the spell of the Opera Ghost himself.

But as just as suddenly as she had felt his presence, so the feeling disappeared. With a heavy heart, she exited the dressing room, never seeing the amber gaze that had remained locked on her face long after she had shut the door.

Author's Note:

Enjoy!