• 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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Pursuit

Pursuit

"What I wouldn't give for a salt lick."

"Shut up!"

"What?" protested the first police officer. "We've been sitting outside this stupid place for well over…" he dug his pocket watch out of his coat. "Nearly eight hours! How much longer do we have to stay here?"

"SHUT UP!" hissed his partner. "Look!"

The two officers peered out the window of their coach at the door of the apartment building. They noticed Fluttershy emerge first, followed by a large bent over figure, whose head seemed to be covered in some sort of shroud.

"That's them! Just as the Prince said!"

The first officer's brow furrowed. "So what are we supposed to do?"

"Well, the Prince wanted us to follow them, and send word to him at once when the mare and the creature part ways."

The first officer grimaced at this news. "Follow them? Won't that give us away?" he pointed to the interior of the coach they occupied. "Won't it look suspicious if a strange carriage is following them at a slow pace?"

The second officer opened the carriage door and stepped out slowly, keeping his eyes on both Fluttershy and Derpy as they kept to the shadows on the dark street. "We'll have to go on hoof."

"WHAT?"

"Be quiet!" the second officer hissed. "You want them to hear you?"

His partner's face contorted in displeasure. "We have no idea where they're going! Or how far! Besides, I'm sure I remember the Prince wanting us to send him word as soon as they left…why don't I go on and deliver the message, while you follow–"

"Will you just get out of that thing and help me track them?"

The first officer groaned and reluctantly climbed out of the carriage. "I should have joined the army," he grumbled.

"I l-like your father…he s-s-seems very nice," Derpy commented, as he and Fluttershy continued their long night journey back to the opera house.

Fluttershy smiled and gave Derpy's hoof a tender squeeze. "I think my father likes you too, Derpy."

Derpy grinned at her words. "H-h-he didn't look at m-me too s-s-strangely," she stuttered. "A-and he didn't s-scream." A hopeful smile began to spread across her face. "M-m-maybe your father c-c-can come a-and live with us! A-and you can come back?"

Fluttershy opened her mouth to speak…but paused at the thought. She didn't know what would transpire once she helped Derpy get back to the opera house safely. She prayed that Discord would see her, let her tell him the truth and hear her out, and she prayed that he too would reveal everything finally to her. She wanted to hear what he felt for her from his own lips, she wanted to look into his beautiful, haunting, amber eyes, and see the truth for herself.

And perhaps…just perhaps, it would be possible, for her world, and his, to join together.

Fluttershy decided it was best to change the subject; she didn't want to get Derpy's hopes up, nor her own just yet, although she could feel so many butterflies flying rapidly about in her stomach. "Tell me Derpy…what was it like? Notre Mane Cathedral?"

Derpy was silent for a moment, and Fluttershy began to fear that perhaps she had brought up unpleasant memories. But then she broke the silence, her voice filled with wonder, as she replied, "It was v-v-v-very beautiful."

Fluttershy smiled at her words. "How beautiful? Tell me everything."

Derpy grinned and began describing everything she remembered; the smell of incense still billowing in the air, the shimmering light of hundreds of prayer candles, and the glow that illuminated the magnificent Rose Window. But all these things paled in comparison to the description of the view of Maris from the bell tower.

"Oh Derpy," Fluttershy sighed. "You are very lucky. You have done something that so few ponies in this whole world have done."

Derpy couldn't help but blush at her words. "T-t-the Master h-has also b-b-been there."

Fluttershy remembered the first time she stood on the roof of the opera house with Discord by her side. That was the day that their friendship began to blossom into something more. "Yes," she whispered. "He told me he had been there. I was very envious," she chuckled.

Derpy smiled tenderly down at her. "Maybe t-t-the Master w-w-will take you there s-s-someday?"

Fluttershy looked up at Derpy and squeezed her hoof. "I would like that very much."

They walked the rest of the way in silence, and with every step that brought them closer, so did the butterflies in Fluttershy's stomach become more and more violent.

What would she say to him? There were thousands of things she knew she could say, but what would make him stop and listen to her? What if he refused to speak with her? What if he was angry? Oh God, what if he heard the news about her supposed engagement to the Prince?

Fluttershy fumbled in the pocket of her skirt and found the bracelet that Discord had given her. Without a second thought, she slipped the elegant band on her hoof, hoping that by wearing it she could show Discord that she indeed treasured the gift, and that her heart always would belong to him and him alone.

All too soon, the towering rotunda of the Maris Opera House was in sight, and they were standing but a few feet away from the magnificent structure.

Fluttershy took a deep breath, hoping to calm her nerves. Derpy noticed the stiff way Fluttershy stood, and tenderly took her hoof in hers. "This way," she whispered, leading her to a shadowed corner of a building that stood across the street from the opera house.

"Where?" Fluttershy asked.

"Y-you l-look nervous," Derpy said. "B-b-but don't worry…no one w-will see us this way."

Fluttershy's brow furrowed at Derpy's words, and she opened her mouth to ask her what he meant, but all words were stopped by the sound of iron scraping the pavement.

It was very dark, the place where they stood, but Fluttershy's eyes had learned to adapt to the darkness after all those months of living in Discord's lair, and she could tell that the sound had come from a heavy iron grate that Derpy had lifted off the ground and shoved to one side. She didn't need further explanation as the sound of running water could be heard below.

"The sewer?"

Derpy nodded her head as if somepony asking her this was an everyday occurrence. "It's t-t-the s-s-safest w-way in a-a-and out of the opera h-house," she explained. "If you w-w-w-want to avoid t-t-the usual entrances."

Fluttershy wanted to see Derpy home, safe and sound, and she desperately wanted to see Discord more than anything…but the idea of walking in raw sewage did turn her stomach somewhat. It was going to be difficult enough to make Discord listen to her; she didn't need the added difficulty of trying to talk to him while at the same time, smelling of dead fish and human waste.

"It's alright Fluttershy," Derpy reassured, holding out his hoof to her. "No one w-w-w-will see us if w-we go in t-this way."

Fluttershy swallowed her pride and nodded her head. She only prayed that Discord had strong nostrils.

Taking Derpy's large hoof, she followed him down the dark hole that led into the sewers, wishing her night vision was as good as Derpy's and that she could see where she was going, but at the same time slightly grateful that she couldn't. She bit her tongue as she heard the sound of rats scurrying by, and prayed that her hair didn't get tangled in any cobwebs.

Derpy reached the ground first and helped Fluttershy the rest of the way. "Just a m-moment," she whispered, climbing back up part way to take the iron grate and pull it once more over the sewer entrance.

"Have you traveled this way much?" Fluttershy asked nervously, determined not to shriek as she felt something tiny, with wet scraggly fur, brush past her ankle.

"N-n-not very much…Rainbow Dash s-s-showed this place to me once…and I've seen her a-a-and Shortround, and e-e-even the Master use it. W-while it is the s-safest way in a-and out of the opera house…it is also t-the least guarded."

Fluttershy's brow furrowed at her words. "What do you mean?"

Derpy sighed. "The Master h-has t-t-traps set all over the opera house, t-t-to keep trespassers out. B-b-but because this entrance is s-s-so obscure, not to m-mention very d-d-dark, the Master has n-never felt a need to guard it as w-well as the others. B-b-but he always s-says t-t-that w-we must be careful if we u-use it."

Fluttershy nodded her head with understanding. "Yes, in case somepony does see you use it, you don't want any unwanted visitors."

Derpy nodded her head back, and then, without any warning, turned and picked Fluttershy up. "H-here, d-don't w-w-want you ruining y-your dress."

Fluttershy had been startled by the sudden feeling of being lifted off the ground. "Oh! But Derpy, that is not necessary, I assure–"

"It w-w-wouldn't do," she interrupted. "F-f-for you to see the Master a-a-and have a s-soiled dress."

Fluttershy was moved by Derpy's sweet and simple gesture. "How did you know I wanted to see your master?"

Derpy grinned and let out a small chuckle. "Y-y-you began b-b-breathing m-more and more r-r-r-rapidly the c-closer we got to the opera house," she explained. "O-only ponies who are afraid…or in love, d-do that."

Fluttershy blushed, but couldn't help but smile in response. "Derpy, you may be the world's most perceptive, most wise mare, that ever lived."

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"Did you see that?" hissed the second officer to his partner, who was trailing behind.

"No," the first officer grumbled, gasping for breath and leaning against a building for support. "T-t-they were moving too quickly," he panted.

The second officer rolled his eyes. "Perhaps if you drank less and exercised more, you wouldn't be as winded as you are now, and you would have seen them disappear, as I did…through that!"

The first officer peered to where his partner had pointed, but all he saw was a tall stone building covered in shadows. "They went into the building?"

"NO!" the second officer groaned in exasperation. "There's a hole in the ground…the big one picked something up and they both disappeared into the ground!"

The first officer threw his hoofs up in irritation. "Well what are we supposed to do about it?"

The second officer just gave him a look, before crossing the street to the place where Derpy and Fluttershy had been standing. His partner reluctantly followed, grumbling all the way, and snorting with disgust when the second officer asked for help with moving the iron grate.

After much straining and cursing, they finally managed to move the grate and peer into the place where Fluttershy and Derpy had disappeared. "You smell that?" the second officer asked, his eyes flying to his partner.

The first officer coughed, and sadly nodded his head. "Wish I couldn't," he muttered.

"It's the sewer!" the second officer gasped. "They're taking the sewer to…to somewhere!"

The first officer rolled his eyes. "And where do you suppose they are going?"

"Only one way to find out…"

The first officer stared at his partner with a blank expression, before his eyes finally widened with the realization at what the other man was suggesting. "No…no, you can not be serious!"

"Come on! We'll lose sight of them if we don't hurry up!"

"No!" the first officer hissed. "I am not going down there to simply follow some…some freak and idiot girl!"

"If you don't come with me now," the second officer warned, "I'll tell the Prince, myself, that you refused to help with this investigation…and not only will that mean that you don't get a cut of the money, but that you won't get any further assignments…because you'll be fired!"

The first officer glared at his partner. "Silverstar wouldn't order us to do anything like this."

"Well, Silverstar isn't running this investigation!" the second officer hissed.

The first officer let out a labored sigh and began to follow his partner who was already descending down the dark sewer entrance. "Seems that Silverstar isn't running much anymore, not since the Prince's been visiting the station…"

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Fluttershy was extremely surprised to find where she and Derpy had ended up. She had assumed that the sewer led directly to the underground lake in Discord's lair, but rather, it flowed just away from the opera cellars, in fact, if she and Derpy and continued going straight, they would have traveled the sewer for miles, as Derpy informed her. But instead, they turned a corner at one point, and stopped momentarily, as Derpy wrestled with a large rock, finally pushing it away to reveal a crawl space hidden behind it.

The space was just large enough for Derpy to fit, and she led the way, Fluttershy close behind. It did not take them long to reach the other end of the crawl space, which opened itself up into a large round pipe. Derpy helped Fluttershy out of the pipe, and she gasped as she realized they were standing atop a small ravine that overlooked the chamber where Derpy and the others slept.

Fluttershy couldn't help but grin as she looked down at the place where her dear beloved friends lived, hoping to see there faces (even Rainbow Dash would be a welcomed sight), but her smile faded as she realized the chamber was empty.

"I w-w-wonder w-where they all are?" Derpy murmured out loud.

As if on cue, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, and Shortround, entered the chamber, each talking all at once, their voices filled with questions and excitement.

"Derpy is all right?" Rarity choked, tears of relief streaming down her face. "That is what she said?"

Shortround grinned and nodded his head. "Yes, she told me that Fluttershy had found him and would be returning him tonight!"

"Tonight?" Rainbow Dash gasped. "How? When?"

"Oh! Fluttershy will be here?" Rarity gasped, her face lighting up with excitement. "Oh how wonderful! I have missed her so dearly–"

"RARITY!"

The three who stood on the ground looked upward and let out a unified gasp as Fluttershy, who was also crying and grinning from ear to ear, waved at them happily.

"FLUTTERSHY!" they practically shouted in unison.

"And Derpy! She brought Derpy just as Madam Luna said!" Shortround gasped with delight, as the large hunchback carefully carried Fluttershy down the ravine.

As soon as Fluttershy's hooves touched the ground, she flew into the arms of her friends, falling to her knees to hug Rarity, reaching out to give Shortround a fierce hug, and even leaping on her feet to hug Rainbow Dash, much to her surprise. She stood stiff as she felt Fluttershy's arms go around her, but even she couldn't help it, and gave in somewhat, her good arm hugging her back.

Rarity was in Derpy's arms instantly after Fluttershy released her. She was weeping over her, and she was crying with her, murmuring how sorry she was for frightening her and the others, reassuring them all she would never do it again. Rarity was just too happy to have her back, that she didn't bother to scold her, she just wrapped her arms around Derpy's head and planted kisses all across her brow.

"Oh, Fluttershy," Shortround sighed, smiling so brightly at the sight of her. "It is so good to have you back! Oh this place has been a tomb since you left!"

Fluttershy blushed but smiled at his words and squeezed his hooves in hers. "Believe it or not, but the world above is not much better without any of you."

"And uh…your father?" Rainbow Dash tentatively asked, trying to keep her emotions under control and not reveal that she was as glad as the others to see her again.

"Oh, he is very well," Fluttershy grinned. "He is doing so much better now that he is free from that place," she reached out and touched Rainbow Dash's cheek, before leaning up on to kiss it. "Thank you Rainbow Dash, for finding him."

Rainbow Dash was blushing from ear to ear. "Y-you know?" she asked, somewhat surprised.

Fluttershy nodded her head and brushed the tears from her eyes. "Madam Luna told me how you found the prison where they were keeping him. Thank you so much," she whispered, trying hard to control her tears of joy at seeing her friends again once more.

"Oh Fluttershy, we have missed you so," Rarity sighed, happiness now replacing her melancholy. "And I am glad to hear that your father is safe and well…and thank you…thank you so much for helping Derpy."

Fluttershy smiled at the mare who was practically sitting on Derpy's shoulder. She opened her mouth to respond, but a chill swept through the air, and everyone turned to the entryway to see the tall, dark, and broad figure of Discord, standing and staring at Fluttershy, his chest rising and falling as if he had just run a marathon.

Fluttershy was frozen in place and felt her breath catch as his dark amber eyes captured hers, holding her gaze to him as a lover holds his beloved in the night. Her throat went dry, her voice disappeared, and Fluttershy was sure that even her breathing had stopped. The presence of the others seemed to have disappeared; all she could see was him…

Shortround looked back and forth between Fluttershy and the Master, and swallowed the lump in his throat before finally speaking. "Derpy is back, Master. Fluttershy…she brought him home, just…just as Madam Luna said."

Discord's eyes never left Fluttershy's when he finally spoke, his voice dark and calm. "I am glad you are safe, Derpy."

Fluttershy thought her knees would buckle at the sound of Discord's voice. It had been too long…

Derpy bit his lip, fearing the punishment he may receive. "I'm s-s-s-sorry I l-left Master–"

"It doesn't matter now," Discord interrupted, his eyes still focused on Fluttershy. "I'm just glad that you're safe."

The others glanced at one another awkwardly, unsure what to say or do. Finally, it was Fluttershy who found her voice and spoke up. "Discord…if…if I may…I wish to talk to you–"

"I'll meet you in your chamber," he simply said, turning on his heel and disappearing as suddenly as he had appeared, his black cape billowing behind him.

Fluttershy felt as if somepony had punched her in the stomach. His voice sounded so cold! So unfeeling! It was as she had feared; he must have heard the news of her false engagement.

But instead of giving way to tears, she lifted her chin high, determined to make him hear what she had to say, and determined to show him how deeply she still loved him. She ran her hoof across and said a silent prayer for God to give her courage and keep her emotions under control.

"It was good to see you all again," she murmured, turning to the others and smiling at all of them, biting her lip to hold back the tears.

"God bless you," Rarity whispered, climbing down from Derpy's shoulder, and reaching out for the young mare, who stooped to her knees to hug the tiny mare fiercely. "It will all be all right," Rarity whispered into Fluttershy's hair. "Have no fear, dear…keep your chin up."

Fluttershy smiled at Rarity's words, brushing away a few renegade tears that had escaped, and with her head lifted high and determination in her eyes, she turned and left the chamber.

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"Ahh! What the hell was that?"

"Keep your voice down! Do you want them to hear us?" hissed the second officer at his partner, who was trailing behind him as they plunged further and further into the sewer.

"That better not have been a rat that just–"

"Shut up!"

"No, you shut up!" the first officer retorted. "This wasn't my idea! We should have just gone and told the Prince when we had the opportunity."

"We'll get the message to him soon enough. Right now, we just keep watch for this mare and…and that thing that's with her."

The first officer groaned and continued to trudge through the sludge and filth behind his partner. "How are we going to watch this mare when we can barely see anything down here? And furthermore, how far are we going to follow them? This place must go on for miles!"

The second officer ignored his partner's protests and continued trudging onward. "This is crazy," the first officer muttered, following close behind, and then cursed when he ran into the other man. "Ouch! Why did you stop?"

"Quiet…"

"No! Why did you stop–"

"BE QUIET!" the second officer hissed, turning and clutching the other man by the collar of his uniform and shaking him. "Look…"

The first officer followed the direction of his partner's hoof, noticing that he was pointing at the ground just off to the left of them. "Hoofprints."

There, on the dry stony ground just around a small turn, was a pair of muddy, filthy hoofprints that stopped at a large rock. "They went through there," the second officer murmured.

The first officer snorted. "I only see one pair…that couldn't be them."

"When have you ever seen a pair of hoofprints that large?" the second officer argued. He had a point; the muddy hoofprints were big enough for the average stallion to fit 2 of his hooves in.

"Well where did they go?"

"I don't know," the second officer whispered. "But I have a feeling that if we move this rock, we'll find out."

The first officer groaned and lifted his eyes heavenward. "Lifting…why did it have to be lifting?"

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Fluttershy couldn't believe how after all these weeks of being away, her chamber looked untouched, as if she had been there all this time. A part of her was curious to see Discord's chamber; it was almost impossible to believe what Derpy had told her, that Discord had destroyed his beloved piano. The practical side of her, however, protested to the very thought of disobeying Discord right now, and deep down she knew that if she saw that horrific sight, her struggle to tell him the truth would be even more difficult.

She had been in the chamber for quite some time, and Fluttershy was beginning to worry that perhaps Discord was not going to see her after all. Perhaps he had intended to avoid her all along?

With a weary sigh, she peeled the lacy curtains back from her bed, and sat on its soft surface, gazing at the tiny waterfall that glimmered in the far corner of her room.

She didn't hear him when he entered.

"Is it true?"

Fluttershy gasped and leapt to her feet, turning at once to face him, feeling her legs shake at the hoofsome sight of him.

He was glorious; tall and dark, towering over her like a mountain, reminding Fluttershy how wonderful it felt to be caught in his arms, to be held and crushed in his arms.

His eyes were brilliant; dark and mysterious, and yet their amber color burned with so many different promises: danger, menace, destruction, and passion.

She knew Discord would not believe her if she told him, but she prayed that perhaps one day he would understand when she told him she thought him hoofsome. His features were not classically or fashionably hoofsome, not the same way Blueblood's was; but the rugged lines of his jaw, the sharp angles of his chin, and the unkemptness of his black hair; Fluttershy could not imagine a stallion who looked more desirable.

And yes, even his face and body was hoofsome to her. She gazed at the black mask that he wore which covered both sides of his face, wondering why he had stopped wearing the white-half mask that revealed his unscarred cheek. Truly, this mask was much more menacing, but Fluttershy held no fear for the creature that wore it…simply longing. Longing to touch him, longing to run her lips across his brow, and over his scars, to show him again how much she loved him, how much she desired him.

Discord watched her intently, his muscles twitching from the strain of his willpower. It was all he had, to keep himself from taking two long strides and grabbing her up in his arms. No, he had to stay focused; he needed to know if what Madam Luna had told him was true.

Discord remembered the scene not very long ago when he was on the roof of the opera house and Madam Luna had just informed him of her suspicions over Fluttershy's condition.

He didn't speak. He couldn't speak! His voice had literally been taken from him, in fact, he couldn't breathe!

Fluttershy was pregnant? Fluttershy…his Fluttershy…was with little one? His little one?

"The babe is yours, if that is what is worrying you," Madam Luna muttered when she noticed Discord's face pale at her revelation.

Discord stared at the dance mistress and finally let out a gasp, as if he had been under water. "How…how do you know this?"

"Discord, Fluttershy loves you! She would not, and she has not slept with the Prince–"

"STOP!" he roared, causing Madam Luna to actually tremble from his outburst. "How…do…you…know…that she is pregnant?" he said with short, clipped words.

Madam Luna sighed softly. "All the signs are there; she has been feeling nauseous almost every morning, and has as of late, been prone to light-headedness, even fainting spells."

"That can be a case of ill nerves!" Discord growled, throwing his arms up in the air. "It proves nothing."

Madam Luna shook her head. "Discord, I am no doctor, I do not know for certain, but…as a mare, and as a mother…I know what I see, and I believe that she is pregnant…and it is yours. And don't bother asking yourself how this could be…I think you know the answer to that all too well, even though I'll admit I never thought a creature such as yourself could breed with ponies. . ."

Discord was not one prone to blushing, but in that moment he did feel his face grow hot at the dance mistress' assumption. And she was right; even now, he felt his body tremble with desire as memories of his and Fluttershy's love making returned once more. How many nights since their first encounter had they spent in each other's arms? It was not impossible to believe that sometime during those many nights, they had created a babe together. Discord had never imagined of one day becoming a father…but then, he had never imagined he would find and know love, either.

He knew the second Fluttershy had reentered his world. He felt her presence from far away, and flew to the place where she was, gasping at the beautiful sight of her, her cheeks rosy from the cold night air, her blue eyes shimmering from happy tears, her pink locks, mussed and tangled, and her soft pink lips…curved into a joyous smile as she exchanged greetings with the others. And when she looked at him, as she was looking at him now…he felt as if time itself had stopped, allowing him to take in all the beauty of this moment.

And somewhere, perhaps deep within his imagination, he could hear music; beautiful, haunting music…a cantata playing, just for them.

"Discord…" Fluttershy breathed as she looked at him, standing in the entryway of her chamber.

"Answer my question, Fluttershy," he murmured, his voice soft, but very deep. "Is it true?"

Fluttershy took a deep breath and lifted her head high. "No Discord, it's not."

Discord felt as if somepony had punched him, hard, in the stomach, knocking all the oxygen out of his body. He had not realized, until Fluttershy's revelation, how much the thought of having a babe with her meant to him. He feared the sort of father he would be; he knew nothing about fillies or colts! What would he do? Where did one begin? But the thought of Fluttershy's belly, swelling as each month past, and then the thought of her holding their babe in her arms, nursing their son or daughter at her breast…he felt his throat tightened at the beauty of the image…and he felt his heart stop at the sudden loss of having that.

Fluttershy noticed Discord go still. He would not look into her eyes, and the black mask made it hard for her to read his features. But she could tell something was wrong, simply by the stiff way he held himself. Perhaps he did not believe her?

"Madam Luna was so sure…" he whispered.

Fluttershy shook her head. "No, I explained everything to Madam Luna, it was all a horrible mistake."

Discord looked up at Fluttershy, his eyes filled with confusion and pain. A horrible mistake? She being pregant…with his filly or colt…was a horrible mistake?

A cold feeling washed over him; could he blame her for thinking such things?

Fluttershy bit her lip. What was wrong? Why did Discord look so upset? She thought he would be glad to know that her engagement wasn't true? "Celestia started the whole thing," she explained.

"Celestia?" None of this made sense. "Why would Celestia start such rumors?" he demanded, rage beginning to boil within him.

Fluttershy swallowed the nervous lump in her throat, hearing the angry rise in his voice. "She…she is jealous that I have the lead," Fluttershy softly explained.

Discord began pacing, every muscle taught with building rage. "And naturally she assumed that in your condition, you would not be able to perform."

Fluttershy's brow furrowed at this. "I suppose," she murmured, although she didn't see why the announcement of her being engaged to Blueblood would prevent her from performing in Don Juan. "Perhaps she thought the scandal would cause me to retreat from performing?" After all, the announcement of the Prince being engaged to a chorus mare wasn't exactly the most flattering of news stories…especially for her.

Discord had stopped his pacing momentarily and looked at Fluttershy with burning fury. "Yes…it would create scandal wouldn't it?" he growled. If that harpy tried to take possession of his opera, and do it by means of harming Fluttershy in any way, shape, or form…

He reached out and gripped one of the posts of Fluttershy's bed, causing the whole thing to shake under the force of his paw.

Fluttershy trembled at the signs of his anger. She did not fear for herself, she truly believed that Discord would never harm her…it was him she was worried about. "But Discord, it doesn't matter now," Fluttershy whispered, reaching out for his hoof. "It isn't true, it was just a vicious rumor, I'm not–"

"DOESN'T MATTER?"

Fluttershy jumped at the sound of Discord's roar; the whole chamber seemed to shake from the sound.

He took a deep, calming, breath, not wishing to frighten her. "Fluttershy, forgive me, but…after everything I have witnessed recently, after…after seeing you with…" he couldn't finish the words; he hated that pony so much!

Fluttershy reached out and grasped his paw that held the bedpost. "I don't love him, I never have," she quickly explained, her voice trying to sound soothing and reassuring. "I can only imagine what you must be thinking, after seeing me stay at that place, and then seeing me leave with him only last night…"

"Indeed," Discord growled. "And then hearing this news on top of all that…"

Fluttershy felt the tears begin to slip down her cheeks, betraying her resolve not to cry. "I…I thought you would be happy," she choked, feeling the sobs grow in her throat. "I…I'm so sorry…" How he must despise her…

Discord caught her hoof. "Fluttershy," he whispered, his paw gently massaging her hoof, and his claw moving to lift her chin up to meet his eyes. "Oh my sweet angel," he breathed, before taking her in his arms and holding her close to his chest, feeling her tremble against him, feeling her tears soak his shirt. His arms tightened even more and he rested his cheek atop her head, whispering soothing words into her hair as she sobbed against him. "Do not apologize," he whispered. "I am sorry…I behaved horribly and shouldn't have."

Fluttershy said nothing, she just hugged him even tighter, relishing the feel of his arms around her once more, protecting her, comforting her, shielding her from all the evils that haunted them outside.

Discord ran his paw through her hair, his lips grazing the curs, and his breath warm upon her skin. "Forgive me," he murmured. "I just…I never realized how…how wonderful the thought was, until you told me it wasn't true…"

Fluttershy suddenly pushed herself away from him, her face contorted in confusion and horror. "W-w-what?" she gasped.

Discord stared at her in bewilderment, surprised by her sudden actions, and even more so by the look on her face. He opened his mouth, but her words cut him to the core.

"How…how can you say that?" she practically spat. "Is…is this some kind of trick? Some sort of…of sick revenge game that you are playing at?"

Discord stared at her, his eyes wide with shock. "Trick?" he breathed, before the anger clouded his eyes, nearly turning them black. "TRICK?" he roared. "YOU THINK I WOULD…" he was so disgusted, he couldn't finish his sentence. "OBVIOUSLY YOUR THOUGHTS IN REGARDS TO ME HAVE LESSONED GREATLY SINCE WE LAST WERE TOGETHER!"

Fluttershy felt her own rage boil up and over. "DON'T TALK TO ME ABOUT LESSONED THOUGHTS!" she shouted back. "I WAS NOT THE ONE WHO LIED ABOUT MY LOVE FOR YOU IN ORDER TO SEND ME AWAY!"

Discord couldn't believe this was happening. "Ah, so it's come to that, has it? I AM BEING PUNISHED, IS THAT IT? YOU'RE PUNISHING ME FOR GOING OUT OF MY WAY TO FIND YOUR FATHER, AND GIVE YOU BACK A LIFE IN THE WORLD ABOVE?"

"NO!" she screamed back at him. "BUT I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT SOMEPONY LIKE YOU, WHO LIED ABOUT HIS FEELINGS TO ME TO MAKE ME LEAVE…AND WHO SAID SOME HORRIBLE THINGS TO COMPLETE THE ILLUSION," she shouted, "WOULD HAVE AT LEAST BEEN MORE UNDERSTANDING WHEN I ATTEMPTED TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH!"

Discord swore under his breath. "The truth? More understanding?" he growled, dangerously low.

Fluttershy's chest was heaving from their argument, but she glared right back at him. "Yes," she hissed.

"FINE!" Discord roared. "YOU WANT THE TRUTH? YES! YES, I LIED TO MAKE YOU LEAVE! I NEVER ONCE STOPPED LOVING YOU, THOUGH!" he shouted.

"GOOD!" Fluttershy shouted back. "BECAUSE I NEVER STOPPED LOVING YOU!"

They both stared at each other for a long moment, unsure what to say or do next.

"If you still love me," Discord murmured, "then why did I see you with the Prince the other night?"

Fluttershy groaned. "My father made the arrangements. He told the Prince I would have dinner with him, and the ONLY reason I accepted was so I could tell him to stop attempting to court me!"

Discord stared at Fluttershy with surprise. "Truly?"

"YES!" Fluttershy shouted in exasperation. "Haven't you been listening to what I have been saying? I never loved the Prince! NEVER! You…" she murmured, her eyes focused steadily on him. "You are the only creature I have ever loved…and will ever love."

Discord took a step towards her. "You mean that?" he whispered.

"Oh Discord, of course–"

"Then why did you…why did you say it didn't matter? Why did you tell me it was a horrible mistake?"

Fluttershy stared at Discord, her head reeling with confusion. "Discord…you're not making sense!"

"You said it didn't matter! You acted as though it was…it was something awful! You're the one who is not making sense Fluttershy!" he charged.

Fluttershy felt her throat tighten once more. "Am I wrong?" she spat. "You're telling me you think it's a good thing?"

"YES!" Discord shouted, advancing upon her and taking her hoofs in his. "Yes, I do…I…in all my life…I have never heard more wonderful news!"

"How can you say that?"

"Because it's the truth!"

Their voices were rising again and they began to talk over each other.

"YOU'RE TELLING ME YOU THINK–"

"YES FLUTTERSHY, I AM TELLING YOU THAT IT IS A GOOD THING–"

"THAT I'M ENGAGED TO THE PRINCE?"

"THAT YOU'RE PREGNANT!"

Silence, far louder than any of their screams, filled the chamber with an awful din that could only be interrupted by a unison, "WHAT?"

"You're…you're engaged to the Prince?"

"You t-t-thought I was pregnant?"

The questions had suddenly switched sides.

Fluttershy covered her mouth and tried to turn away, her face turning the brightest shade of red out of embarrassment and shamefulness for misunderstanding Discord's intentions, but Discord gripped her by her shoulders and forced her to look at him. "What do you mean Fluttershy? Tell me! What were you trying to explain?"

"I…I…" she was shaking all over. Discord thought she was pregnant! Why would he think…?

Oh God.

The nausea she had almost every morning; her sudden dizzy spells that left her feeling light-headed. She had assumed that they were all symptoms of nervousness! But how did bad nerves explain the fact that for nearly two months, she hadn't been menstruating…

"Discord…" she weakly cried, feeling her knees buckle as the realization of it all hit her like a brick wall.

He saw her face pale and her eyes widen with shock; she was assessing everything he had said…and it was then that he realized she had not known what Madam Luna had suspected…until now. Before his name left her lips, he was there, catching her before she crumpled to the ground.

Oh so gently, he laid her upon the bed, his arms never leaving her, never wanting to let her go ever again. And he couldn't if he tried; Fluttershy gripped his shirt like a vice, needing to feel him close to her.

"Ssshh, it's alright," he whispered, his lips moving to her forehead and kissing the skin tenderly. "I'm here…I'm here, my angel."

She began to cry again, but these were not sobs of pain and misery that she had been shedding before. No, this was something completely different; she was crying out of exhaustion, for the sudden weight of everything that was crashing around her. But Discord continued to hold her close, his arms never once loosening; he would be there to hold the weight up so it would not crush her.

"Discord…" she sobbed, her small hooves moving around his waist, her head burrowing further against his chest. "I…I'm so…I'm so sorry–"

"Hush," he soothed. "There is nothing for you to apologize for," he murmured into her hair.

"No, you must…you must know that I am not–"

"Engaged to the Prince?" he finished for her. She looked up at him, her eyes slightly pink from her crying, her cheeks moist from her tears. She was still radiant. "You said you were not, and I believe you," he murmured, his lips gently kissing her forehead once more. "I was listening to what you were telling me…I only now realize what you were trying to say."

Fluttershy snuggled closer to him, wanting to be wrapped further in his warmth. "Everyone assumed because I had left with him the other night, that there was something happening between us," she whispered.

Discord's arms tightened around her, but not out of jealousy. After all, he had her love, what was there to be jealous about? No, he held her tight because he knew that she had been going through hell up there, in the world above. His brave angel had endured much ridicule and scrutiny over the last few weeks since she had returned. Had he known what he would have been putting her through, he would never have made her go.

"A-and Celestia saw me wearing this," she murmured, holding up her hoof which bore the bracelet he had given her.

Discord felt his breath catch as he saw the candlelight glow off the gold. "You have been wearing it?" he whispered.

"Not all the time," Fluttershy whispered, feeling somewhat ashamed. "But I have been carrying it close to me," she looked up into his eyes and smiled softly. "It's very beautiful."

Discord reached out and brushed a stray wave from her cheek. "It pales in comparison to you," he murmured, his paw lightly playing over her skin.

A shiver went through Fluttershy's body at his touch, and she felt her heart begin to melt at the intense way he was looking at her.

"You are very brave, my angel," he murmured, smiling down at her. "You risked revealing our love to the world by wearing my ring, and you faced a predator like the Prince all by yourself. I am in awe of you, Fluttershy."

She looked into his eyes and saw the sincerity of his words. He truly thought her amazing; a strange warmth washed over her from the sweet understanding. She sighed and snuggled her head in the crook of his arm. "And…you believed I was pregnant?"

Discord's soft "yes" reverberated deep within his chest, and Fluttershy felt the sound wash over her, causing her body to tremble once more.

But she knew that they needed to talk about this. She took a deep breath and moved away from him to sit up, slowly turning to face him, a nervous look in her eyes. Discord sat up immediately, seeing the concern that had washed over her face. "Fluttershy? What's wrong?"

Fluttershy swallowed the lump in her throat and took Discord's paw in her hoof, bringing it to rest on her stomach. "I…I didn't think about it until you mentioned it, but…" she looked up into his eyes, surprised to see such tender understanding reflected in them. "I…I haven't been," she glanced down, slightly embarrassed to finish the sentence. "It's been nearly two months since…well…" she looked up at him and Discord softly smiled back, understanding what she was trying to say. "I think…I think it's true…"

Discord's eyes never left hers. And his paw never left her stomach. He didn't say anything at all, but his claw did rise to run across her cheek, before he slowly moved in, and brushed his lips across hers.

Fluttershy moaned and returned the kiss, her hooves rising to touch his masked face. It was not as passionate as some of their previous kisses had been…but it was one of the sweetest, one of the tenderest, and one of the most beautiful, that she had ever experienced.

"Then that is wonderful news," he breathed against her mouth. She opened her eyes and looked into his own to see him smiling. He meant it; he meant every word that he had said.

"Oh Discord," Fluttershy murmured, her smile radiant, her eyes shimmering with love and joy, her hoofs holding his face as she brought her mouth back up to his, moaning as she felt his lips cover hers and kiss her just as fiercely.

She was his; her heart belonged completely to him…as his heart belonged completely to her. Indeed, God had taken mercy on his miserable existence, bringing this beautiful angel into his life, returning her to him even after he forced her away. His arms wrapped around her body and he pulled her even closer, his tongue diving into the depths of her mouth as Fluttershy whimpered his name. She tasted so sweet, so pure, he couldn't get enough.

"Fluttershy…" he growled, his breath ragged as he leaned his forehead against hers, panting from the intense passion that was overtaking them.

Their passionate cries filled the chamber. Discord collapsed atop his beloved, his sweat mingling with her own, his chest heaving along with hers, his heart beating to her rhythm. "Oh Fluttershy," he panted, his lips moving across her flesh. She happily moaned his name and captured his lips with hers once more. They kissed deeply, their bodies still joined and their limbs tangled, both with each other and the sheets.

Nothing was going to part them now, not Celestia's rumors, not Bluebloods attempts, and not even their own foolish misunderstanding.

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

"I hate this."

"Will you be quiet?"

"No!" the first officer protested, extremely tempted to kick his partner. They had both managed to roll away the large rock that blocked the supposed entrance to the crawl space which now they were traveling. The first officer, much to his reluctance, had gone in first, and spent much of the time complaining about how sore his palms and knees were from the crawling. "Should have just gone to the Prince when we had the chance," he muttered.

"Will you stop complaining?" the second officer muttered. "And perhaps spend more of your time moving instead!"

The first officer was well prepared to turn and give in to the temptation of kicking his partner, when something caused him to pause.

Voices.

And he swore he could see a dim light up ahead.

Without any further word, he crawled towards the dim light, and he realized that the space opened up to what looked like a large pipe. Shadows played across the wall just beyond the pipe's exit, and the officer realized that the light was coming from a fire. His suspicions were confirmed as the smell of burning wood filled his nostrils.

"What are you doing?" the second officer groaned.

"Shut up!" the first officer hissed. "I hear something…"

Very carefully, the first officer crawled as silently as possible towards the end of the pipe. His ears were perked as he listened to various sentences he could make out from the voices below.

"–I hope that the Master and Fluttershy clear things up."

"–so nice to have her back! I have missed her so!"

"–I m-m-met Fluttershy's f-f-father…he's v-v-very nice."

"–how long do you think she'll stay this time?"

The officer held his breath as very slowly, very carefully, he poked his head around the pipe's exit just far enough so he could get a glimpse of who was talking.

He had to bite his tongue, quite literally, to keep from gasping at the sight of the freaks before him.

"What do you see?" the second officer whispered.

The first officer began to crawl backwards, and the second officer, instead of questioning what was going on, quickly moved backwards as well, and said nothing further until they reached the end of the tunnel, and were once more on the other side of the crawl space. "WHAT? What did you see?"

"Good Lord," the first officer gasped. "There are four of them!"

"Four of what?"

"Freaks! Monsters! Just like that big one we were following tonight!"

The second officer paled. "All just as big as her?"

"No, not literally like him…but…" he shuddered at the memory. "One was a dwarf, another had…well, her face was grotesque. And then there was this mare with a peg leg!"

The second officer eyed his partner with some disbelief. "You're joking…"

"Do I LOOK like I'm joking?"

The second officer saw by the horror in the other man's eyes, and knew that this was indeed no joke; somewhere, beneath the earth, lived monsters! "What about the mare?"

"Didn't see her," the first officer explained. "Maybe…maybe they killed her?"

The second officer shook his head. "Why would they kill her if she knew them?"

"I don't know!" the first officer protested. "They're monsters! Who knows what they would do?" He shook his head, the image of those creatures still flashing across his eyes. "What now?"

The second officer couldn't help but smile at his partner. "Now, we send word to the Prince."

Author's Note:

Enjoy!