• 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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Dangerous

Dangerous

A soft purr escaped Fluttershy's lips as she felt the sun's warm rays fall across her face. Her eyes slowly fluttered opened, and a content smile spread across her lips as she gazed at the pillow next to her.

Had this been yesterday, she may have awoken with a start, surprised to see her surroundings. Had this been yesterday, she may have felt tears sting her eyes as she realized that the beautiful passion she had experienced had only been a dream. Had this been yesterday, her melancholy would still be with her…

But this was not yesterday, it was today, a new day in her life, a day that marked the beginning of a new life altogether.

She was in her bed, back at the apartment, and she was very much alone. But lying on the pillow beside her lay a single red rose, and Fluttershy only smiled further as her hooves softly touched the flower's silken petals. She had no memory of him bringing her back; there was something mysterious and magical about Discord, and a part of her never wanted to discover how he was able to create the illusions he had become a master of. The rose was his promise; his promise of love, his promise of devotion, and his promise that they would soon, very soon, be together again once more.

"Fluttershy!"

The sound of her father's frantic voice startled the young mare, and she rose from her bed at once, wrapping her dressing gown around her just as her father opened the door. "Oh! Thank God, you are here," he sighed with relief as he entered her room. "I did not hear you come in last night," he hastily added.

Fluttershy flushed brightly at his words. "Neither did I, Papa," she softly murmured, a knowing smile stealing its way across her face. Her father didn't hear her, so she quickly concealed her smile and tried to look serious as she could tell her father was extremely troubled by something. "Is something the matter?"

"What?" he had been lost in his thoughts, his brow furrowed as he contemplated a piece of paper that he held in his hooves. "Oh! Oh no, I mean…well, that is to say…" he was extremely flustered. "Fluttershy, last night…" he looked at her and saw the blush in her cheeks. "I…I am assuming you took my advice?"

Fluttershy blushed even further, but her smile could no longer remain concealed and it broke forth, radiating such joyous light. "Yes," she simply said, not being able to hide her grin, even when her hoof rose to cover it.

Her father smiled softly, but his brow still remained furrowed with confusion. "Well…perhaps then you can help me make sense of this…" He handed his daughter the piece of paper that he had been holding and fussing over.

Fluttershy took the paper and began reading its contents to see what concerned him. "Dear monsieur," she began, "I am by no means knowledgeable in such customs, so I hope you shall forgive me if I come across as frank or too bold. Yet perhaps this is the best way when talking about such subjects," she paused, looking at her father with the same confusion.

"Go on," he murmured, pacing back and forth across the room.

"I know that you are a good and honorable stallion who has much love for his daughter," she continued. "And I also know that you have a right to despise me with your last breath, if you so wish it. What I did to you was unforgivable, and I would not blame you at all if you chose to hate me…and yet I find hope rising within me as I write this." Fluttershy paused again and looked at her father with curious eyes. "Papa?"

"Go on," he encouraged, his pacing coming to a stop and his eyes fixing on Fluttershy's face as she continued to read.

"I shall get to the point. I have asked your daughter, and she has given me her consent, and has told me of your blessing, but I wish to boldly ask of it myself…by seeking your permission to marry your beautiful daughter…" Fluttershy paused and held her breath, her eyes slowly rising from the letter to her father's face.

There were many emotions she expected to see reflected in his eyes; seeing the tears streaming down his face was not one of them.

"Oh Fluttershy," he sobbed, falling to his knees and grasping her hooves up in his. "I…I…" he couldn't finish his words, he was crying too hard.

Fluttershy bit her lip, unsure what to say. Was her father pleased? She remembered how he had told her only last night that he wanted her to follow her heart, to be with the creature she loved…but perhaps after she had gone, he had second thoughts? After all, her father's only memory of the Phantom had been a cold-blooded madcolt, not the creature she knew. "Papa…" she swallowed the lump in her throat. "Are…are you displeased?"

Her father looked up at her with wide eyes. "Displeased?" his hooves framed her face and Fluttershy's worries melted away as she saw the joyful smile spread across her father's old worn face. "Oh my dear, I…I confess, he is not exactly the stallion I always envisioned as my future son-in-law…but…" he looked into her eyes and brushed a stray curl from her brow. "I can see your love for him in your eyes…and I can also see his love for you reflected there, as well as in these words," he chuckled. "It goes on actually," he explained, picking up the letter. "He tells me about how he intends to take care of you, that he is willing to find a house in Maris so that you will not be shut away from sunlight, and he even offers that I may stay if I wish…" he smiled in awe and then looked at his daughter once more. "What did you do to him Fluttershy? How…how did you change that monstrous Phantom into…into this gentlecolt?"

Fluttershy blushed but smiled at her father with such happiness. "I think he was always a gentlecolt Papa, he just…didn't have many opportunities to practice."

They both found themselves chuckling, and Time Turner, smiling with such pride and happiness for his daughter, rose to his feet and helped Fluttershy up. "Come, we have a long day before us! And I dare say that you will want to get to the opera house early today…you have much explaining to do for the managers."

Fluttershy grimaced at the idea. Her sudden disappearance did not bode well for her, and she knew that if they were not following the Phantom's instructions, or opening in two days, they would easily dismiss her from the company.

And that was when a sudden realization struck Fluttershy. "Papa, I spoke with Madame Giry yesterday. She has offered to help us find a place to stay, and has offered that for tonight, we may stay at her home."

Time Turner looked at Fluttershy with utter confusion. "Stay with her? But why–"

"Because I told Blueblood we would no longer need his charity."

Time Turner paled slightly at his daughter's revelation. "But…but I thought you said that he did not understand your meaning when you spoke with him that night?"

Fluttershy let out a sigh of frustration, remembering how Blueblood attempted to kiss her, praising her for her what he thought was her "selfless concern for him" because she was poor. She remembered how she had punched Celestia that night her father disappeared, and how good it felt; she wanted to do nothing more than punch that arrogant grin off Blueblood's face.

"He was at the police station yesterday, when I went to free Derpy," she calmly explained.

Time Turner's eyes widened further at her revelation. Blueblood had been at the station? Whatever for? Time Turner did not care for the many secrets the Prince seemed to be keeping. "What happened?"

Fluttershy sighed again and rolled her eyes. "I was desperate to get Derpy out of there. So desperate that…that I accepted Blueblood's offer of bringing us here in his carriage."

Time Turner closed his eyes and softly groaned. He remembered how his daughter once said she believed that the Prince's charity did not come without a price; he could understand that now. "He didn't…he didn't hurt you or threaten you, did he?"

"No," Fluttershy quickly reassured. "But…oh Papa, if you had heard some of the things he had said yesterday, you would have realized how much of a gentlecolt he is not," she affirmed. "He said some horrible things about Derpy right in Derpy's presence! And I could not stand it further, I just…I told him that you and I would not be needing his charity any longer, and left," she softly explained.

Time Turner nodded his head at his daughter's words, but he was still troubled by this turn of events. He could not stop speculating what Blueblood had been doing at the police station. Ever since Fluttershy had told him about the amount of money the Phantom had given her, money that was well over the amount needed to release him, he had been having sneaking suspicions that Blueblood's involvement with his release from prison was not as "chivalrous" as it may have appeared.

"You are quite right, my dear," he murmured. "We must remove ourselves from this place immediately, it would not do for us to be here any longer than necessary."

Fluttershy nodded her head, seeing the growing concern in her father's eyes. "I feel horrible, taking advantage of Madame Luna's hospitality once more, but at the time, I did not know who to go to–"

"It will be alright, my dear," Time Turner reassured, taking her hoof in his and giving it a tender squeeze. "But right now, we must concentrate on two things: getting ready for today's rehearsal…and getting out of this place." He turned to the doorway and cried out Cherry Jubilee's name. Normally, the pretty maid would appear before the words had entirely left the caller's mouth, but today, she did not magically emerge. "That's funny," Time Turner murmured. "Cherry Jubilee!"

Suddenly, in a fluster of thunderous footsteps, her hair spilling out in wisps from her cap, Cherry Jubilee appeared, her cheeks rosier than normal. "I'm so sorry, monsieur! I did not hear you at first, I do apologize–"

"It's alright, dear mare," Time Turner reassured, his face showing a kind smile. "My daughter and I must hasten to the opera house, but in our absence, would you be so kind as to pack our things?"

Cherry Jubilee stared at Time Turner as if he had grown a third eye. "I b-b-beg your p-pardon?"

"Mademoiselle Time Turner and I will be leaving this place–"

"Leaving?" Cherry Jubilee gasped, her face paling at the old stallion's revelation.

Fluttershy took immediate notice of the mare's reaction, and felt something uneasy twist inside her.

Cherry Jubilee quickly regained her composure and forced a pretty smile. "Forgive me, monsieur…b-but have…have I upset or displeased either you or mademoiselle?"

"Oh no my dear!" Time Turner hastened to reassure the mare. "But we have trespassed on the good Prince's hospitality long enough. We would not wish to burden him further, so if you could please, pack up our few possessions for us and when we return later this evening, we shall fetch them and be on our way."

Cherry Jubilee's face was as white as a sheet. She numbly nodded her head and gave Fluttershy's father a polite curtsy, before turning and leaving to prepare packing their things at once. Within a few short minutes, the old pony and his daughter had left, and Cherry Jubilee silently watched them out of one of the windows as they disappeared from view. With a squeak of desperation, she flew to the parlor, and sat down at an elegant cherry wood desk that sat in one corner of the room. Inside the desk, the maid found paper, ink, and pen, and immediately went to work writing a hasty note. She folded the paper over, wrote the address on one side, and then quickly took some wax, melted it over the note, and sealed it with the Princes own seal. After quickly blowing on the wax to cool it, she flew down the stairs that led to the front door of the building.

"You there, colt!" she cried, spying a colt who looked to be eleven or twelve. The colt was an obvious messenger, he carried several letters in his hoof, and he paused reluctantly to look at the maid. "I need you to deliver this to the Prince," she explained, pointing to the address on the paper.

The colt's eyes widened as he looked at the address. It was in one of the most elegant parts of Maris! "Do it quickly," Cherry Jubilee ordered, placing a copper coin in the colt's hoof. The colt simply nodded and took off down the street as if someone were chasing him. The maid sighed, glad that she was able to get the message off to her master, but already dreading his reaction once he learned that the Time Turner's were leaving. When that moment came, she would only be too glad that she was not the pretty pink haired pony.

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"You have some nerve," the older chief inspector growled, his eyes narrowed as he glared at the hoofsome blonde noblecolt who stood opposite of him in his tiny office.

"Somepony had to take charge," Blueblood calmly replied, exhaling a large cloud of smoke from his nostrils.

"I am the chief inspector here!" Silverstar practically shouted.

"Then start acting like one!" Blueblood retorted, his voice dripping with disgust.

Behind the Prince, sitting and blubbering in a corner, were the two officers that had given Blueblood the news about the Phantom's lair. Every now and then Silverstar would cast his eye at them, glaring with such fury. "I can't believe that the two of you went along with this!" he grumbled. "I should remove you from your duties for this insolence!"

"Oh leave them alone," Blueblood groaned, inhaling deeply from his cigar. "They were only doing their duty."

Silverstar's eyes widened at the Prince's words. "Their duty!?"

Blueblood nodded his head as if his statement were obvious. "Of course. They were following a monster, a madcolt who had broken into Notre Dame believing himself to be a fictional character."

"No thanks to you!" Silverstar grumbled, collapsing into his chair.

Blueblood put on a look of mocked hurt. "I had nothing to do with the monster's release. That was entirely the mare's doing; she paid over 300 franks for that creature."

Silverstar practically choked. "300 franks! Where on earth did she get such money!? I thought you said she was poor?"

"For the time being," Blueblood murmured.

"And why on earth would this Time Turner mare want to release such a monster!?"

One of the officers sitting in the corner piped up. "S-s-she did seem to know the beast, chief inspector."

"That's right!" the other added. "She called him by name! Um…Rudolph, I think."

Blueblood turned back to Silverstar whose expression was somewhere between confusion and annoyance at his officers. "It's obvious that Mademoiselle Time Turner has a sympathetic heart for lunatics," he calmly stated, sitting in a chair opposite of Silverstar. "And while we can praise her for her charities, let us not forget that this creature did attack several of your officers after he frightened a poor monk," he turned to one of the officers behind him. "Weren't you there when you took him in?"

The first officer stood up, eagerly nodding his head. "Yes! That's right, I was! And you're quite right, monsieur, she was a madstallion! She picked several stallions up and threw them across the tower! She had the strength of a bear! It took ten of us to bring her in!"

"That's right," Blueblood agreed, as if he had been there himself. "And you had no power to withhold Mademoiselle Fluttershy from purchasing the monster's freedom…but," he turned to look at Silverstar, "they did have power to make sure that the creature did not bring any further harm to anyone else."

Silverstar glared back at the Prince. "Perhaps you should simply tell me what it is that you are suggesting, monsieur," he grumbled.

Blueblood turned back to the two officers and nodded his head. The shorter and fatter officer stood up, swallowing the nervous lump in his throat, as he spoke to his chief inspector. "W-we followed the mare and the creature, until they stopped just across the street from the Maris Opera House…"

Silverstar groaned; he could tell where this was going.

"The two disappeared through a sewer vent in the street," the officer continued. "And despite my own reluctance…we followed."

"Tell your chief inspector what it is that you saw," Blueblood encouraged.

The officer nodded his head and quickly continued. "Well, we noticed a little ways further on, a pair of giant hoofprints that led off in a different direction. We followed them, believing they belonged to the monster…and discovered a secret tunnel."

"And what was beyond that tunnel?" Blueblood asked, leaning forward for the pony to finish his report.

"There was a boulder…we pushed it away a-a-and crawled down this dark tunnel…and…I…I saw…" the memories flashed before him once more, causing the pony to shudder.

"Tell him," Blueblood practically growled. "Tell him what you saw…"

"M-more monsters," the officer practically gasped. "There were more monsters, and the hunchback was with them!"

"Ah ha! See?" Blueblood shouted, his voice filled with triumph, before turning and facing Silverstar once more. "There are more of those things living below the Maris Opera House!"

Silverstar stared with wide-eyed disbelief at his officer. "You're quite certain?"

"Oh yes, chief inspector!" the officer nodded. "All different kinds too! There was one stallion…oh he was a horror to behold, covered in piercings…and he was missing a hoof! He had a peg leg instead!"

Silverstar's eyes narrowed at the information. "Are you sure you hadn't been drinking?"

Blueblood groaned and flicked his cigar on the chief inspector's desk. "They were perfectly sober, and do not disregard this!" he warned. "Think about it Silverstar! There are monsters…more of those mad creatures like that one you had imprisoned, living underneath the Maris Opera House!"

"It's true!" the officer agreed. "I…I saw blankets, a-a-and beds! They are living down there!"

Silverstar's brow furrowed. "Beds? These creatures actually sleep in beds?"

Blueblood rose and slammed his hoof down on the pony's desk. "You're missing the point! That thing you had imprisoned was a madstallion! Think of the damage it would have caused had it been aggravated last night? Now imagine more of those things! What if they chose to come above? Think of the havoc, of the terror they would cause!"

Silverstar could see the Prince's point. "But why is it that they haven't come above before?"

"Who knows?!?" Blueblood cried out, throwing his arms up in exasperation. "But do keep in mind that one of them has come above now…and who knows how long it will be before others follow…"

Silverstar felt a shiver go down his spine. "I do not understand how this concerns you, monsieur," he grumbled, looking up at Blueblood's pacing figure.

"It concerns me most greatly," Blueblood quietly replied, before drawing an item out from the inside of his coat's pocket and tossing it on the chief inspector's desk.

Silverstar looked down at the item the Prince had thrown and narrowed his eyes in confusion. "What the devil…?" he picked up the noose that Blueblood had shown. "You took evidence out of my station!?"

"That's not the one your men found around my neck," Blueblood clarified. "It comes from the Maris Opera House…and has a morbid tale to go with it."

Silverstar looked confused. "But…this looks just like–"

"Yes it does," Blueblood smiled softly. "Fascinating, isn't it? The noose that had been used to take my life looks exactly like the noose this one stagehoof possessed after a horrifying encounter with the murderous Phantom?"

Silverstar groaned, his suspicions earlier being confirmed. "Monsieur, please, you can not possibly–"

"Oh but I do!" Blueblood cheerfully interrupted, before drawing several papers out from his coat pocket. "Let me see…ah yes, here we are. 'April 19, 1860, the body of a stallion was found, hanging from the scaffolds above the stage, at the Maris Opera House. Several witnesses report seeing the pony being thrown by a dark figure, after he was strangled with a curious piece of rope.'" Blueblood paused and smiled at Silverstar, whose face had gone as white as a sheet. "Ah, here's another. 'October 23, 1864, body of a stallion was found locked in one of opera house coat closets. Body had rough red marks around the neck and throat, as if it had been strangled, while there was also a note attached to the stallion's coat that simply said: Heed My Warnings.'" Blueblood paused again and looked at the chief inspector. "There are a few more, shall I continue?"

"WHERE DID YOU GET THOSE?!?" Silverstar roared, reaching out and snatching up the papers Blueblood had been reading.

The Prince did not react, he allowed the stallion to take away the reports he had been reading. Instead, he drew a new cigar from his case and proceeded to light it. "As I said," he calmly explained. "Someone needs to act like the chief inspector around here…and if you will not be bothered to hold proper investigations, despite all the evidence," he growled, "then I shall be forced to carry them out myself."

Silverstar was furious. "These are police records that you took–"

"TO MAKE YOU SEE REASON!" Blueblood roared. He calmly ran a hoof through his hair, before leaning forward on the chief inspector's desk, looming over the other pony, his green eyes ablaze with vengeance. "The Phantom is real! I've encountered him, Monsieur Time Turner has encountered him…and now, Fluttershy has too! But last night, she led us to where he lives! And those things," he spat, "are his servants! They work for him! They do his bidding! They are his minions! And all of them…including the Phantom himself…MUST BE STOPPED!"

Silverstar was trembling. He glanced down at the records he had snatched out of Blueblood's hoof, and then at the noose that lay upon his desk. Was it possible? Did a masked madstallion actually live beneath the Maris Opera House?

"You have a duty to protect the people of Maris," Blueblood murmured, interrupting the chief inspector's thoughts. "Do not make the same mistake over and over again, assuming that the impossible can not be possible. Do not disregard this until it is too late and those monsters have killed another. We must crush him, completely, before he strikes again."

Silverstar sighed and glanced one more time at the noose, then at his officers, before turning his eyes back to the Prince's. "Tell me what you need me to do?"

"Ah! Mademoiselle Fluttershy! So glad you could grace us with your presence today," Madam Octavia grumbled, as Fluttershy hastily joined the rest of the company on stage. She gave the conductor a weak smile, and offered a quick apology that she immediately waved away with her hoof. "We have two days before opening night. See that it does not happen again!" Fluttershy nodded her head, and quickly moved back offstage so that Fancypants could sing the opening solo to Don Juan.

"What happened to you yesterday?" a small mareish voice hissed behind the Pink haired's back. Fluttershy turned to see Twilight Sparkle standing with several other ballet mares, all of who were looking at her with wide, expectant eyes.

"I received word from a dear friend…they were in trouble and I had to go at once to help them," she explained, hoping that they would be satisfied with her answer and not beg for details.

Some of the mares groaned with disappointment. Fluttershy looked confused, but Twilight quickly explained. "I told them that I was wrong about the engagement, that you and the Prince do not have an attachment, but some of them will not believe me and assumed you were with him," she grumbled, eyeing several of the mares who returned her look of annoyance.

Fluttershy's cheeks turned a bright shade of scarlet as she imagined the horrid gossip that was already being spread in regards to her and Blueblood. "How did you know it wasn't true?" She was indeed grateful, but had not had the opportunity to clarify the truth with anyone, other than Madame Luna.

"Mama told me," Twilight explained. "She went on to say how it was all a vicious rumor that Celestia was spreading because she is jealous that you are the star of this production…and also because I think she likes the Prince herself."

Fluttershy looked across the stage to see Celestia standing in the opposite wings, eyeing her with disdain. She returned the same look to the prima donna, wanting to shout that Celestia was more than welcome to take Blueblood for her own.

"If only you hadn't left…"

Fluttershy's attention went immediately back to Twilight, and she stared wide-eyed at the pretty dancer. "W-what? What do you mean?"

Twilight sighed and looked down at her feet. "The managers were in an absolute panic after your sudden disappearance. Some even began to claim that the Phantom himself took you prisoner!"

Fluttershy bit her lip to hide her smile, but any merry thoughts of her beloved quickly dissolved as she noticed Twilight's growing concern. "What happened?"

"Without you here to sing the part," Twilight continued, her eyes drifting to the wings on the opposite side of the stage, "the managers thought it best to have an understudy. And…" she looked at Fluttershy before looking once more at the opposite wings. "They cast Celestia."

Fluttershy felt her face pale at the ballerina's words. "Celestia?" she practically gasped.

Twilight sadly nodded her head. "She has been studying the score and knows all of your songs! Even all of your stage directions!" Twilight glanced once more at Celestia's over-made face, which was holding a wicked grin. It was more than obvious that she knew what the two younger mares were talking about. "Oh Fluttershy, if she has her way, she'll try to steal the part from you!"

Fluttershy shot Celestia a look that she hoped would chill the diva in her place. "Don't worry; nothing is going to keep me from playing Aminta. Nothing."

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"A-a-are you sure about this, monsieur?"

Blueblood ignored the stuttering officer who sat opposite of him in his carriage. His eyes were fixed on the item he held in his hooves.

A glove.

A stallion's glove.

The glove that Cherry Jubilee had brought to him when she came to report on the happenings at his apartment where Fluttershy and her father were staying.

At first, he thought the glove as nothing; some insignificant piece of clothing that obviously belonged to the older pony. It was when Cherry Jubilee explained to him that she had found the glove in Fluttershy's room, and that it was kept under the mare's pillow…that Blueblood began to grow suspisious.

Under normal circumstances, he would simply have wondered why Fluttershy was keeping a single black leather glove under her pillow?

But these were not normal circumstances, not any longer. Fluttershy knew the hunchback creature, she helped him escape back to his secret lair, a lair that lay beneath the Maris Opera House, a lair that was reported to be the mysterious dwelling of the infamous Phantom, a monster who the old stallion, and who Blueblood himself, had come to believe had truly been keeping Fluttershy as his prisoner for months!

Or so he thought.

But after everything he had personally witnessed, and after the reports he had been given by the two officers, and now after Cherry Jubilee had brought him this glove…

Blueblood found that he was biting his own fist, fighting the urge to vomit and scream.

It was not possible! He refused to believe that Fluttershy…that Fluttershy…

"Monsieur, we seem to be rather far from the city's walls…" the officer opposite of him commented uneasily, gazing out the window of the carriage.

Blueblood was actually grateful for the interruption to his thoughts. He did not want to dwell on his worst fears. He looked out the carriage window and noticed that the officer had been right, they were rather far from Maris' boundaries.

He took his walking stick and banged it against the wall where his driver would hear him. "If that colt is lying, I want you to throw him off!"

Suddenly, a colt's head, with dark eyes and even darker disheveled hair, appeared before the window of the carriage, having leaned down from the driver's seat. "I ain't lying!" the colt protested angrily. "The carnival is just outside Maris and over this hill!"

"It better be," Blueblood growled. He settled back in his seat and continued to gaze out the window, his mind going back to the events that led to his sudden journey to the outskirts of Maris.

After Silverstar finally began to see the light of the matter, a loud voice interrupted their conversation, causing Silverstar to rise from his desk and go into the lobby of the station, where an officer was wrestling to keep hold of a young gypsy colt, who was struggling against him.

"What's the meaning of this?" Silverstar questioned.

"Ouch!" the officer grunted as the colt kicked at his shins. "Little beast! Caught him trying to pick pockets while he was passing out flyers for some carnival," the officer explained, before crying out in pain again as the colt bit down on the stallion's hoof.

Blueblood recognized the colt immediately. It was the same colt who had been standing outside the station the day before, passing out flyers about some carnival in Maris that displayed more freaks than one could imagine. At the time, Blueblood thought nothing of it, and pushed the colt out of his way. But now…now he saw an opportunity…

"Wait!" he intervened, grabbing the colt by the collar of his shirt and pulling him away from the officer he had been fighting. The colt immediately began to lash out at the Prince, but Blueblood quickly raised his walking stick in a threatening manner, and the colt immediately stilled. "Good lad," Blueblood grumbled. "Now, perhaps you can help me…"

"I ain't helpin' you!" the colt spat.

Blueblood smiled at Silverstar and the other officers. "We've met before," he explained before turning his attentions back to the colt. "What if I offered you 10 franks…would you help me then?"

The colt's eyes lit up at the mention of money. "Maybe…?"

Blueblood could not help but smile. "A wise answer, you've the makings of a true businesscolt," he grinned. "Now…I remember you telling me yesterday, when I saw you on the street, that this carnival has a vast collection of freaks?"

"Yeah, that's right," the colt said with a hint of pride. "My grandfather runs it, we have more freaks and monsters than you can imagine!"

"Interesting," Blueblood murmured. "I would very much like to meet your grandfather, would you take me to him?"

The colt eyed Blueblood warily. "What about my money?"

"Here," Blueblood hoofed 5 franks to the colt. "You'll get the rest after you take me to this carnival."

The colt seemed satisfied with this and nodded his head. Silverstar stared at Blueblood as if he had lost his mind. "Are you mad!?" he hissed. "You do realize that this carnival is run by gypsies? Gypsies who would gladly steal your money and leave you for dead!?"

Blueblood silently nodded his head. "Yes, and that is why I am not going alone." Before anyone could question what he meant exactly, Blueblood reached out and grasped the arm of the short, fat officer, who had seen everything the night before.

Despite the officer's protests, Blueblood pushed the pony inside his carriage, and ordered the colt to sit beside his driver and direct where the carriage should go. They had been traveling for practically an hour, and Blueblood was beginning to have serious doubts to this plan he had been concocting.

But suddenly, the hill they had been traveling up, dipped, and the sound of music and laughter could be heard just below. Blueblood quickly looked out the window and saw over a dozen wagons, circled together, as well as several tents, pitched nearby.

The carriage came to a stop, and the colt was the first to leap down and open the door. "Where's the rest of my money?" he demanded, holding his dirty hoof out in the Prince's face.

Blueblood pushed the colt aside as he climbed down from the carriage. "All in good time," he promised. "First, take me to your father." The colt groaned his irritation, but nodded his head, leading the way towards the circle of wagons that lay just ahead.

"Monsieur…I'm not sure about this…"

"Get out of there!" Blueblood barked at the trembling police officer that still sat in the dark confines of the carriage. "If you don't come with me right now, I'll fetch those gypsies over here to force you out!"

That did it. The officer gave a rather high-pitched squeak, a little too high for a stallion his size to make, and followed the Prince, uneasily, into the gypsy camp.

There were few "customers" viewing the sights of the carnival; some children and a few working class men and mares, but no one that the Prince would normally associate himself with. The freaks that that they did have were grotesque to be sure; Blueblood caught sight of a pair of Siamese twins, as well as a little dwarfish stallion with flesh so wrinkled it looked as if he wore his skin inside out. Blueblood pulled his scented hoofkerchief from his pocket and held it to his nose as he passed the various cages; too disgusted to look at the contents behind the iron bars, too nauseous from the smell of blood, vomit, and urine that polluted the air around them.

It was not long before others took notice of the Prince's presence; after all, he was clearly the wealthiest stallion to set hoof in the camp. The music, which had been coming from a small band of gypsies, came to a complete stop, and Blueblood could feel their eyes boring into him, especially on the sight of his fancy clothes. He barked a command at the officer, who quickly hurried to catch up.

The colt, who ran ahead of them, did not even have to call for his father, for a tall stallion, with long blond hair and a scruffy blue coat, burst out of a tent in front of them. The stallion had piercing eyes, eyes that seemed to bore into a person and threaten to burn their very soul out of them. Blueblood returned the stallion's cold gaze with one of his own, refusing to be intimidated, not when he could feel his reward so close.

"This is my father, the leader of the Master Carnival. Now give me my money!" the colt demanded.

Blueblood snorted at the colt's words, but dropped the remaining coins on the ground for the colt to snatch up. He then ran behind the tall stallion, whose gaze never left the Prince's. "Monsieur Master," Blueblood greeted with a slight bow of his head. The blubbering sounds of the officer behind him told Blueblood that the other gypsies were closing in. "I am the Prince Blueblood, and I come with a business proposition," he announced, holding his head high.

No one said anything. And then, a great burst of laughter erupted from the camp; that is, everyone but the stallion Blueblood had been speaking to.

"I don't like police on my property," the older pony finally spoke, his voice a deep wheeze.

"My companion is not here to cause you or your family trouble," Blueblood quickly reassured. "But he is necessary to describe to you what my business venture is."

"I ain't interested," the stallion barked, turning on his heel. "Never liked dealing with nobility," he muttered as he dipped his head into his tent.

Blueblood could not believe this was happening! "I have some freaks that may be of use to you!"

The stallion stopped, and slowly turned around. "Freaks?" he held his arms out, indicating the many cages that surrounded them. "Look around you! I have more monsters than any circus! I doubt your freaks can–"

"There are four of them…perhaps more!" he quickly elbowed the officer who was trembling next to him. "Tell him what you saw!" he hissed.

"Oh! W-w-well, I…I s-s-saw a large hunchback…a-a-and there was this d-dwarf mare…a-a-a-and–"

"I have hunchbacks, and dwarves are not the commodities they used to be," the old stallion grumbled.

"Wait!" the officer pleaded, seeing two burly gypsies with knives come close. "I saw a mare with piercings and peg leg for a hoof!"

The wicked laughter that had been on everypony's lips suddenly disappeared. And the tall stallion froze in place. "What did you say?" he whispered, turning to face the officer head on.

"You heard him," Blueblood interjected. "The question is…is he worth something to you?"

The stallion eyed Blueblood warily. "Where did you see this creature?"

"Underground," Blueblood reported, answering for the blubbering officer. "Underground, and beneath the Maris Opera House."

The gypsy glanced at the officer. "Who else did you see?"

"A hunchback, a dwarf stallion, the stallion with the leg…a-a-and an old mare with a grotesque face."

"Rarity!" gasped an old mare from the small crowd. "That sounds like Rarity…and the others!"

The older stallion turned to look at the mare who was his wife, astonishment in his eyes. "That's impossible," he murmured. "She would be dead by now, surely!"

"No, that's her, I'm sure of it! And the descriptions of the others!" the mare reached out and grasped her husband's hoof. "Remember how there was that blubbering hunchback she always cooed over? And that is surely our missing dwarf…and…" she turned to the officer then. "Which hoof was the peg leg on!?" she demanded.

The officer jumped at her harsh rasping voice. "T-t-the left, I think."

The mare smiled and turned back to her husband. "Surely you remember Rainbow Dash, the first of our collection? It was her left hoof that we burnt, his left hoof that we replaced with that wood! That has to be her!"

Blueblood was finding all this extremely fascinating. He had come to this carnival with hopes that these gypsies would be interested in removing the Phantom's minions, making it easier for him to remove the Phantom…but apparently, it seemed this particular band had a history with the freaks that lived beneath the opera house.

"So," Blueblood interrupted. "Are you interested?"

The old stallion eyed the Prince suspiciously. "How did you come upon them?"

"My friend here," he explained, indicating to the officer, "discovered them just last night, after he followed the hunchback all the way back to their lair, which, as I mentioned before, lies beneath the Maris Opera House."

The old stallion continued to look suspicious. "And…were there any others?"

"N-n-none that was seen," the officer shakily explained.

"But that doesn't mean there couldn't be," Blueblood corrected immediately.

The old stallion scratched his chin, glancing at several of the other gypsies before locking eyes once more with the Prince. "I have not been in Maris for nearly twenty years," he softly explained. "The reason being because I lost a good deal of my collection one night, therefore this city holds bad memories for me."

"Touching," Blueblood muttered.

The stallion continued, ignoring the Prince's sarcasm. "Those creatures you saw drew much money for me and my family, but none of them could match my most prized possession…The Half Stallion Draconequus."

Blueblood's ears perked up at this. "Draconequus?"

"Yes," the old mare rasped. "He was a colt then, but despite his youth, he still drew in the crowds. On one side of his face, he looked like anyone else…but the other side…oh on the other side, was the face of a demon with the body of a monster from hell!"

Blueblood thought surely time had stopped in that moment. He had never seen the infamous Phantom face to face…but the stories he had heard all mentioned something about a horrific face that lay beneath a mask…and on the night he had been attacked by the villain, he remembered how the monster ran away in rage after he had torn the creature's mask away. Was it possible? Did the Phantom actually, at one point, belong to the Master Carnival?

He could not believe his good fortune at finding this place.

"I have not seen your draconequus," Blueblood murmured, "but I can assure you…I know where you can find him."

The gypsies looked at one another with evil grins. It was a good day for them as well! "Name your price!" the old stallion announced. "After twenty years he will be worth more now than he was as a colt! Name your price and I will pay it gladly!"

Blueblood's smile disappeared at once. "Wait…you do not understand," he clarified. "I am not selling these creatures to you…I simply want you to remove them for me."

The smiles the gypsies had been wearing also disappeared. "What?" the stallion asked, his piercing eyes boring into the Prince's once more.

"I don't care what you do with the creatures," Blueblood explained, not liking the way the stallion and his family were looking at him. "But I need them removed and the Phantom killed."

"The Phantom?" the old mare asked, looking confused.

"Yes, the Phantom," Blueblood groaned. "Your draconequus is now known as the Phantom of the Opera. He lives with those other freaks beneath the Maris Opera House, and he haunts the blasted place! That is what he has been doing for twenty years–and I want him dead!"

"Don't shout at me," the stallion warned, and several gypsies unsheathed their knives, their expressions dark and dangerous. "And don't tell me what to do. That monster made me more money than any other freak I've ever owned. The draconequus belongs to me!"

"Monsieur Master–"

"No deal!" the stallion barked, turning on his heel. "I am done speaking with you, monsieur. I suggest you leave before my stallions force you to…" without another word or glance, he disappeared into the tent he had emerged.

Blueblood was furious! He wanted to march into that tent and force the old fool to see reason, but the glint that shimmered off the knives that several gypsies held, forced him to turn and stalk back to his carriage.

The police officer quickly followed, panting to keep up with the Prince's long angry strides. "Monsieur!" he gasped. "Monsieur! W-w-we are just going to l-leave like that?"

"Don't say another word to me," Blueblood hissed at the stout little pony. "And take me to the opera house at once!" he barked to his driver, before climbing inside his carriage. He was not going to let this sad turn of events ruin his day or his plans!

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Fluttershy was grateful for the break in rehearsal when it was finally announced. This had perhaps been one of her hardest rehearsals, and she knew that the reason was because in two days time, Don Juan Triumphant would be premiering for the entire world to see.

Two days. She shuttered at the thought. In two days she would be singing before an audience, as the star in Discord's opera.

It was a shame that the opera would be performed with the original ending that Discord had written, with Don Juan murdering Aminta and her hoovesome young lover. She remembered how a few nights ago she had defended the opera before the Prince, telling him her version of the story, the version she had helped compose with Discord. She knew that it was impossible now…but perhaps, if Don Juan became a success, if other opera houses began to demand it…perhaps it could be changed once more? After all, things were finally better between herself and her Phantom lover; surely Discord would not mind.

A smile spread across her face as she thought of her beloved. Where he was, she did not know, but she knew he had been watching her rehearse, and she only prayed that she had made him proud. She owed so much to him when it came to her singing abilities. She may have always had a sweet voice, but Discord had helped her mold it, tone it, and turn it into a voice that could sing to great depths. She smiled even more as her hooves went to play with the chain that hung around her neck; the chain belonged to the locket that held her mother's picture, but around the chain hung another treasure, a secret treasure for the time being.

She let out a happy content sigh as her hooves brushed the bracelet. She was engaged to the stallion of her dreams…and soon, she prayed, they would be married.

With another happy sigh, Fluttershy practically skipped to her dressing room, knowing that the managers wanted the cast to wear costumes for the rest of rehearsals. She was eager to try on Aminta's costumes, the costumes that Discord himself had designed. She found herself wondering whether he had designed the costumes before they had met, or if perhaps after? Had he thought of her while designing such gowns? She couldn't wait to see! She burst into her dressing room, checked around quickly to see if Celestia or anyone else was hiding, and satisfied that she was alone, locked the door.

"You are a goddess…"

Fluttershy gasped as she heard his silky voice just behind her ear. She couldn't turn around, for she felt his large, warm hooves, wrap around her waist, pulling her against his solid frame. She purred as she felt his hot breath on her neck, and couldn't help but moan as she felt his lips leave the softest of kisses on her skin.

"For you, my angel," he whispered, producing a single red rose, with an elegant black ribbon, tied around the stem.

Fluttershy smiled at the gift, and reached out to take it, but Discord moved the flower away before she could wrap her small hooves around the stem. "Discord," she giggled, turning in his arms to smile up at him. "Are you playing games with me?"

Discord pretended to look hurt. "I would never dream of such a thing, mademoiselle."

"Good," she teased, attempting to take her flower again, but once more, he was too quick for her, and lifted it away. Fluttershy attempted to pout, but found the task too hard, as she couldn't stop smiling. "Fine, be dark and mysterious," she sighed, turning away from him to fetch her costume.

But Discord's gloved paw and claw wrapped grasped her wrist, and pulled her back into his embrace. "Discord," she blushed, trying to keep her voice low. "I need to change into my costume."

"And you will," he promised, taking the rose and slowly running the soft petals along her cheek. "But that also means that you need help out of your dress…a task that I am only too happy to help you with…" he growled seductively, his talented hooves already undoing the buttons along her back.

"Discord…" she moaned, feeling the heat rise between her legs. "They will be expecting me soon…"

"They can wait," he murmured, undoing the last of her buttons and slowly pulling the dress off her shoulders. "I am the one who makes the rules around here, not them…and I demand that my star receives only the best treatment when she is not rehearsing…"

Fluttershy could not argue with him, she didn't want to. She was too wrapped up in her lover's seductive spell. With hazy eyes, the color of a storm-filled sea, she stepped out of her dress, and moaned with pleasure as Discord continued to undress her, removing her corset, pantalets, chemise, and stockings, before finally leading her over to the chaise lounge, with only a blush to cover her body.

"Close your eyes," he softly commanded, and Fluttershy immediately obeyed. With tender care, he ran the rose over her skin, delighting in every purr and whimper that Fluttershy produced. The petals were so soft, reminding her of the silken sheets that covered the bed she and Discord had shared the night before. She gasped and trembled with need as she felt Discord run the petals across her breasts, taking extra care to roll over her budding nipples. "My beauty…" he growled. "My intoxicating bride…"

Outside the dressing room, in the auditorium, Blueblood burst through the doors, his eyes lit with rage from the earlier business with the gypsies. The only thing that could calm him was seeing Fluttershy…but even that did not prove to be a calming thought.

He demanded answers! Who was that creature that she burst into the police station to rescue? How did she know the monster? Why had she come with that thing to the opera house? Where had she gone after bringing the beast back? And most importantly…whose glove was she keeping under her pillow!?

Blueblood was furious, and if anyone got in his way, so help him–

"Ah! There you are!"

Blueblood groaned with annoyance at the sight of Celestia, who blocked his way from advancing upon the stage. "Not now, Celestia," he growled with warning.

The soprano would not be ordered away easily. "I can not believe it," she hissed with disgust. "After everything we have shared…I can not believe that you're actually…you're actually…" she struggled with finishing the words, she was just so angry at the thought of him marrying that stupid mare!

"My dear," Blueblood growled with exasperation. "You were a good buck that served its purposes…nothing more. I owe you nothing. Now get out of my way!"

Celestia's rage was so great that she shoved him with all the might she could muster. "You bastard!" she hissed. "Despite your reputation for bedding every dancer in this place, I never thought that you would go so far as to…as to propose marriage to some chorus wench!"

Blueblood, who was ready to shove the prima donna to one side, froze at the mare's words. "W-w-w-what?"

Celestia grinned evilly and lifted her head high. "Yes, I know all about it. I saw the bracelet she was wearing, and I must say…for a stallion like yourself, your gambling debts must be seriously high, if you think a little bauble like that would classify as a wedding bracelet!"

Blueblood stared at the mare, feeling the color drain from his face. What on earth was Celestia talking about!? What bracelet had she seen Fluttershy wearing!? So many thoughts were flying about in his head that he barely heard Celestia's next words.

"I hate myself for letting you use me like some cheap whore," she spat, "but I get pleasure out of knowing that it is you, who is now being played the fool!"

Blueblood looked at the mare, wanting nothing more than to backhoof the smirk that played across her over-made lips. "Fool!?" he nearly roared. No one ever made a fool out of him!

"Yes," Celestia continued, not backing down despite the rage she could see in his eyes. "You enter this place as if you own it, snapping your hooves at any mare who pleases your eye, thinking yourself a god in the bedroom…but the one mare you want more than any other, the one mare you've spent more time pursuing than any other…the one you have actually gone so far as to propose marriage, is the one who is playing you for a fool…and giving her body over to another!"

Celestia's grin quickly melted away when Blueblood grasped her by the shoulders and slammed her against the nearest wall. "WHAT?!?" he hissed. "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!?"

"DISCORD!" the diva practically shrieked. "I heard her say his name a few days ago!" she wailed, pushing at Blueblood's chest to release her. She gasped when he finally did, her shoulders aching with pain from where he had held her.

"Discord…" Blueblood repeated. A cold feeling was rising within his stomach.

Without another word or glance, Blueblood raced to Fluttershy's dressing room, not caring if he trespassed on her privacy, he was determined to get to the bottom of all this, determined to discover what Celestia meant by believing the two of them to be engaged, what this talk was about some kind of ring, and most importantly…who this "Discord" was.

Blueblood reached the dressing room, prepared to break the door down if necessary, and found…

…it was open?

"Fluttershy?"

Nothing. She wasn't there. She had already left.

But his nostrils caught a familiar scent in the air, one that made his stomach turn with horror. And on the dressing table, lay a single red rose, with a black ribbon tied around its stem.

Author's Note:

Enjoy!