• 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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Tempest

Tempest

Blueblood sighed as he exhaled a long cloud of gray smoke. For the first time in months, he truly felt relaxed.

He sat in one of the gypsy's wagons, on a rather rickety old chair, but it made no difference, he could be sitting in a puddle of muddy water; what mattered was that Master had agreed to take care of his "phantom" problem.

Master sat across from Blueblood, at a small green desk. He too was smoking one of Blueblood's fine cigars, as well as drinking a glass of Merlot. "So the entrance to this place is in the sewer tunnels?"

Blueblood nodded his head. "I'm sure there are several entrances to where he lives, but this is the only one that I know of that isn't booby trapped."

Master let out a soft chuckle. "Discord was always resourceful."

Blueblood's head shot up at the mention of the Phantom's name. "Discord?"

Master smiled and sipped his wine. "All our creatures have names, monsieur…we're not so cruel," he chuckled.

Blueblood despised the Phantom more than anyone else on earth, but he found himself slightly curious at how the old gypsy came to know the masked devil. "When and where did you…acquire him?"

Master sighed, a cloud of smoke leaving his nostrils. "It was so long ago…seems like ages," he murmured. "We used to travel everywhere, and one day when we were near Constantinople, we encountered a Persian caravan."

"Persian?" Blueblood asked, his attention set on Master's story.

The old gypsy nodded his head. "He was already a colt...12, perhaps even 13...I can not recall. They had purchased him when he was a baby; there was this mare, young…a child really. When she gave birth, the babe was deformed, monstrous. Her husband wanted nothing to do with the colt–said his wife had laid with a demon and had marked him as a sign for disobedience and sin. I never questioned what this 'disobedience' was, but I got the impression that the husband wasn't the most faithful of stallions," Master winked. "Apparently the mare screamed, wanting to keep her baby," he chuckled softly. "Funny…it was one of the ugliest monsters I had ever seen, and yet I could from the way these travelers told me the tale, that this mare truly thought him beautiful," he shrugged his shoulders. "The husband more or less thrust the babe with the caravan, wanting to be rid of it more than anything. Apparently the colt did slave labor for them, but as he grew with age, he became too cocky, began to talk back, and eventually fight back. They would beat him into obedience...and the day before we came upon them, they had beaten him so badly, that they told me he had lost his memory."

Blueblood's brows arched at this. "You mean the Phantom has no memory of his life before being in your carnival?"

Master shrugged his shoulders. "I never truly cared enough to ask. I just knew that he would be a star attraction, and they were quite eager to sell him," he sighed, somewhat wistfully. "Now he didn't come cheap; I paid a hoofsome price to have him in my collection, but it was worth it; he made us more money than we had ever dreamed of making! We gave him the title of the 'Half Stallion', with his rarity and unbelievable look, we could show him as is, but with his face he became our star attraction," he sighed and shook his head. "But one night, he escaped; our watchstallion said he had gone in to Discord's cage to beat him, but Discord…ever resourceful Discord, knew exactly what he was doing. He kicked the stallion in the groin–"

Blueblood winced and carefully folded his legs; his groin still throbbed with pain.

"And took the watchstallion's keys, making his escape. He released the others too, but we were able to capture all of them again, except for the four that your police friend saw," he concluded, finishing his glass of wine. "But thanks to you, they will be ours once more."

"Just remember to kill the Phantom," Blueblood growled as he flicked the ashes from his cigar.

Master nodded his head, although he eyed his business partner with scrutiny. "A deal is a deal, monsieur…but tell me, why is it that you hate him so?"

Blueblood grunted at the old stallion's question. "Let's just say…he and I have a history."

Master couldn't help but chuckle at the Prince's answer. "As do both he and myself, but that tells me nothing! Come…" he rose from his desk to pour the Prince a glass of Merlot. "I wish to know why I am being asked to kill my most prized attraction."

Blueblood nearly gulped down the whole glass of Merlot once the stallion stopped pouring. "He's been a thorn in my side for too long," he hissed. "I am a patron of the Maris Opera House–what I say, goes! But he…he believes he runs the blasted place. And he makes demands all the time, ordering the management to follow his instructions to the line. And when we refuse, he causes some sort of scandal that takes weeks to clear up."

Master cocked a silver brow at Blueblood's revelation. "Sounds like a nuisance, indeed, but not a good enough reason for me and my stallions to kill him."

Blueblood's hooves squeezed the wine glass he held, and it instantly began to crack. "He's taken something from me," he growled, deep, low, and dangerous. "Something very valuable."

Master eyed the noblecolt, and glanced at the cracked wine glass which he held. Without saying anything, he reached over and took the glass. Nothing further needed to be said; only a mare could have that sort of effect on a stallion.

"We should discuss the subject of payment," the old gypsy murmured, walking back to his desk.

"Money is no object," Blueblood stated once more.

"Good," Master smiled, sitting back down and propping his feet up on the desk. "I want 5,000 franks."

Blueblood began choking on the smoke from his cigar. "5,000 FRANKS?" he coughed, his face paling at the old stallion's words. "You can't be serious–"

"10,000!" Master barked, his dark eyes unwavering and daring the Prince to challenge him further.

Blueblood groaned and knew it was worthless to argue. "Fine. 10,000 franks."

The old gypsy smiled and eased himself even further back into his chair. "Good. You can pay me the first 5,000 now, and the rest after we've done the deed."

"You're too generous," Blueblood muttered with irritation. This was going to set him back quite a bit. What he wouldn't give to have the money that the dying Marquis Filthy Rich had! Oh Fluttershy–the stupid mare had no idea that her grandfather was going to be leaving her his entire fortune.

"It would be best for my men and I to see this sewer entrance tonight, while under the cover of darkness. Tomorrow, we shall strike," Master explained.

"And how will you strike?" Blueblood asked curiously. "More importantly, how will you go about killing the Phantom?"

Master grinned. "Let me reassure you that my clan has a long history of getting out of tough situations, and disappearing without a shred of evidence," he reached out and patted a covered item with his hoof.

Blueblood rose from where he sat and walked over to the thing that Master had been patting. It was round, that much he could tell…and it was covered with a dirty sheet. A nod from the old pony's head told Blueblood he was welcome to lift the sheet and see what exactly the Master clan was hiding.

Gunpowder.

Barrels upon barrels of gunpowder.

"It's a shame you won't be able to join us, monsieur," Master sighed, covering the barrels once more. "It should be quite the display."

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Fluttershy winced as the housekeeper rubbed a little alcohol across her lip. "Hold still," the mare muttered. "I know it stings, but it's for your own good."

Sitting across from her was her father, who looked more distressed than ever before. It had been less than twenty minutes since she had entered Madame Luna's home. Fluttershy was so grateful to see that her father had indeed made it there, safely. He smiled as she entered, but in one second, his smile disappeared. From that moment on, he had been in hysterics. "I'll kill him!" he angrily vowed, throwing on his coat and preparing to leave to challenge the Prince to a duel right then and there.

"You will do no such thing, Papa!" Fluttershy argued, grabbing her father's shoulder as he opened the door.

None of them noticed the black kitten escape between the old stallion's legs, out into the night.

"Your daughter is right," Madame Luna quickly agreed. "Come…I will have a pot of special spiced tea made."

"To think that I actually considered that stallion a gentlecolt…" Time Turner muttered with disgust.

"Please, monsieur," Madame Luna murmured, coaxing the old pony to sit down in her parlor. "Fluttershy has been through enough tonight. Do not make it worse by giving her cause to worry over your well being."

Knowing that the dance mistress was right, Time Turner sighed with defeat and collapsed into a chair across from his daughter. Madame Luna's housekeeper, Isabel, arrived moments later, after putting the kettle on, with her own small medical bag. She went to work tending to Fluttershy's bruises, and despite her usual grumbling, Fluttershy could tell that the housekeeper was truly sorry for what she had gone through tonight. "All men are bastards, if you ask me," she grumbled. "Especially the wealthy ones."

"Thank you," Madame Luna cut in, not needing the housekeeper's commentary to go any further than need be. "Perhaps our tea is ready?" The housekeeper curtsied for her mistress, before disappearing into the kitchens once more, grumbling as she went.

"I should have waited for you," Time Turner sadly mumbled, reaching out and grasping his daughter's hoof in his. "I'm so sorry Fluttershy."

"Papa, no, please, do not blame yourself," Fluttershy reassured. "I'm alright…bruises heal and fade, and hopefully Blueblood will think twice before cornering me again."

Twilight couldn't help but grin at her words. "I wish I had been there, I would love to have seen you kick him in the–"

"Twilight Luna!" Madame Luna gasped.

"Oh Mama, he deserved it! Besides, serves him right after years of manipulating mares at the opera house," the mirth in her voice slowly faded away. "I can't believe that I actually thought him hoofsome, that I actually desired–" she stopped her words short after the icy glare that her mother gave her.

The tea was brought, and a silence fell over the room as they sipped from their cups. Fluttershy was torn; a part of her wanted to go to Discord immediately, to feel the comfort and safety that his arms offered, but had he seen her as she looked now, who knows what spasm of rage would flow through him? Such feelings of rage were not always the most sensible, in fact, they often blocked sense, and his defenses may not have been as keen as they normally were. Fluttershy's hoof fell to her stomach, a gesture that Madame Luna had taken immediate notice. Both mares prayed that the babe growing inside Fluttershy was safe, that the child had not been hurt by Blueblood's hateful actions. Madame Luna shivered as she imagined Discord's wrath if anything had happened to the child.

"I think we should all get some rest," the dance mistress suggested, rising from her chair. "Tomorrow is a very busy day, of course. It is the final dress rehearsal, and we shall also begin our search for a proper house for you both."

Fluttershy smiled at the mare's words, remembering Discord's promise of finding them a house to live in after they were married. She murmured a thankful prayer for being able to retrieve her mother's locket and Discord'sbracelet. Despite everything that had happened, she was glad that Blueblood now knew the whole truth. Perhaps his interest in her would vanish, now knowing that Discord had beaten him to claiming her virginity. Perhaps the simple thought that she was entangled with the Phantom of the Opera would be enough to keep him away. She could only pray…

Time Turner kissed his daughter's cheek, a few of his tears falling against her skin. She hugged him close and whispered her goodnight to him, as he disappeared toward the servant's quarters. Twilight also gave Fluttershy a hug, insisting that the brunette take her room for the night, and she would share a bed with her mother. Fluttershy reluctantly agreed, but thanked the dancer most sincerely. Madame Luna smiled, happy that Fluttershy had found a friend with her daughter, and was ready to disappear into her bedroom, when she was stopped by a question.

"Madame Luna…may I…may I talk to you, just for a moment?"

The dance mistress silently nodded her head, and went back into the parlor where Fluttershy remained. "What is it my dear?"

Fluttershy sighed and pulled the bracelet that she had rescued from Blueblood, out of her pocket. "I…I wanted you to be one of the first to know," she whispered, revealing the bracelet to the dance mistress.

Madame Luna gasped as Fluttershy revealed the elegant jewel. She looked into the young mare's eyes, her vision blurred by happy tears. "You…you and Discord?" she whispered.

Fluttershy blushed, her own happy tears already beginning to drip down her cheeks. "Yes," she whispered, happily placing the bracelet on her hoof. "Last night, I went to see him. He knows everything; that I never loved or wished to marry Blueblood, that my heart has always been to him…and…" she smiled as her hoof fell to her stomach.

Madame Luna smiled and placed her own hoof over the mare's. "I'm so happy for you my dear…I'm happy for you both. Discord…" she found herself smiling at the memory. "Discord has had a hard life, and for many years has resolved himself to keeping his emotions and his heart locked away from others," she smiled at the mare and squeezed her hoofs. "I never thought I would live to see the day when Discord told me he was in love, and that someone returned his love…I never thought I would see the day when…when he would be married," she whispered in awe.

Fluttershy blushed and smiled despite her tears. "He has promised me that we shall have a house here in Maris. The others will come with us, of course, and he will compose music and I will sing…" the emotion was so great that Fluttershy could not continue.

Madame Luna smiled and touched the young mare's cheek tenderly. "Does your father know?"

Fluttershy blushed and looked down at her stomach. "I…I haven't told him about the baby…to be honest, I just found out myself, last night…" a soft smile spread across her face. "He does know about my feelings for Discord, and his feelings for me, and in fact, one of the letters that I left in Box 5 was written by my father…" her eyes sparkled from the memory. "He has given both of us his blessing, and…oh Madame Luna, I…I just can't believe my good fortune. Is it possible to die from happiness?"

The mare smiled tenderly at the mare before her. "Oh my dear child…I am very happy for you both…" her hoof had been softly caressing Fluttershy's cheek, but she frowned as her fingers gently passed over one of Fluttershy's bruises. "I always knew the Prince was a monster…no amount of hoofsome smiles or charming compliments could hide that." Fluttershy saw the sorrow in the older mare's eyes, and could tell that Madame Luna was recalling an old memory. "Just like his father…in too many ways."

"Madame Luna?"

The mare shook her head. "I'm sorry, my dear, I did not mean to startle you."

"Oh no, you didn't," Fluttershy reassured, but an old thought began to gnaw at her, a question that she was not sure she wanted to know the answer to, but was too curious to hold back. "Did…did you know a dancer named Pinkamena?" she whispered.

Madame Luna's eyes widened slightly, before sorrow filled them once more. "You know about Pinkamena?" she asked.

Fluttershy felt ashamed for even asking. "Only a little," she murmured. "I know that Discord was in love with her once, that he had sent her poems, flowers, and songs…but she believed them all to be gifts from Blueblood. And…and then one day, she disappeared."

"Yes," Madame Luna sighed sadly. "Discord was much younger then, only 19, but he was infatuated with the mare. Pinkamena was a stunning beauty to be sure, as well as a promising dancer for a mare of only 15. But not always the wisest of mares, and she too easily fell to young Blueblood's charms," she paused, her gaze drifting to the window. A light rain was falling. "Blueblood was 16, but had been educated by his father to treat mares like objects, rather than ponies. Blueblood took a keen interest in Pinkamena, and it wasn't long before he had lured her to his bed with promises of love and marriage."

Fluttershy felt her heart break, both for Madame Luna and for Discord. "Discord said she ran away with Blueblood…and she was never seen again."

Madame Luna shook her head. "That's not entirely true," she sighed. "I know this because she briefly kept a correspondence with some of the mares," Madame Luna shook her head, angry tears now filling her eyes. "Stupid mare. Her letters were boastful, and she bragged about how she had 'triumphed' at winning Blueblood's heart…" the older mare quickly wiped her eyes as if she were ashamed of her tears.

"I had just given birth to Twilight," she went on to explain, "and was too busy trying to be a mother instead of a dance mistress, and when I wasn't watching, Pinkamena agreed to run away with Blueblood, believing he loved her, that he wanted to marry her…when in truth, his only interest in her was what she could do for him in the bedroom," she muttered bitterly. "Pinkamena became Blueblood's mistress, and they ran away into the country. His father, who was the King at that time, was furious. He did not care if his son defiled my mares, but he refused to allow his son to keep one of them in his house, which was what Blueblood had been doing."

Madame Luna sighed and turned away from the window. "As you can imagine, it came as no great surprise that Pinkamena was pregnant. The Prince felt it best to have the mare removed to a cottage in the country, far from prying eyes and aristocratic gossip. Pinkamena simply thought she was being sent somewhere until her baby was born…but it soon became obvious that Blueblood had no intentions of ever marrying her, and after she gave birth to a colt, she chose to seek him out and demand that he acknowledge his son, the future Prince."

"Oh no," Fluttershy whispered, her hoof covering her mouth. She had a feeling she knew where this was going…and dreaded it.

"You can imagine the Prince's horror when Pinkamena arrived on the steps of the Maris Opera House, just after the opening gala of that season, demanding that he acknowledge his grandson, and let both her and Blueblood marry at once. I was there, I saw the entire scene being played out…" she sighed and looked down at her folded hoofs. "I never told Discord…he was so angry, both with her for running away with Blueblood, and with himself for allowing his emotions to get the better of him. I felt it best to keep it a secret from him."

Fluttershy could understand the mare's reasoning; after all, the truth would not do any good with helping the pain he was already feeling at the time. But there were still a few unanswered questions. "Do you know what became of Pinkamena and her child after that night?"

Madame Luna shook her head. "The Prince took both his son and the mare by the arm and led them to his carriage, before the scene that was developing could grow even further. After that moment…I don't know what happened, Pinkamena's letters stopped at that point," she sighed sadly. "I do know, however, that Blueblood's father was a ruthless stallion, and was capable of committing the most horrible crimes for his own personal gain."

Fluttershy shivered at the mare's words. She could understand how Blueblood had become so menacing. "That was the last time I saw either Pinkamena or the elder King. Two years past, and finally, Blueblood returned, this time bearing his father's title. I never questioned him about Pinkamena or the child…but I soon realized that he had, sadly, become just like his father–ruthless, arrogant, manipulative, and greedy. He's used his charms and good looks to lure many young foolish mares into his bed, and many of them were thrown out onto the streets as a result…losing their jobs for becoming pregnant, or losing their lives in giving birth or…" she bit back a sob, "…attempting to remove the babe themselves."

Fluttershy gasped and found her hoof moving to her stomach in a protective fashion. She had heard such stories, of mares who were put under the knife to rid themselves of the babies they were carrying. She always wondered what could drive a mare to make such a decision…but the reality of a young mare, with no husband or family, and with a meager job that supplied her with food and a place to stay as one's only option from being homeless, starving, and selling one's body for profit…

It was a horrible decision that a mare had to make. A decision Fluttershy prayed that she would never know. But she could not judge such mares, especially when she herself was not facing such horrors that they were.

"He has bastards strewn all across Prance. But he could care less," Madame Luna muttered with great bitterness. "Just like his father…"

Fluttershy looked at the older mare and saw deep pain in her eyes, as well as blinding hatred. "His father…did he…?"

"Yes," Madame Luna answered, her tone brittle and cold. "I was 14 when I came to the opera house, to live in the dance dormitories. I was flattered by his compliments…he thought me pretty," she spat with disgust. "I was such a fool…and I vowed to never allow that to happen to my daughter, or to my mares if I could help it," she sighed. "Some of them I have failed…but I know that I can not be their mother, no matter how much I wish to protect them…I simply continue to work hard to see that I do not fail them as their teacher and mentor, and help them make wise decisions instead of foolish ones," she murmured, a soft sad smile spreading across her face.

Fluttershy reached out and wrapped her arms around the dance mistress. "Twilight is a wonderful dancer, the best in the whole company…and you have done that. She is also kind, witty, and compassionate…as are many of the other mares. You have not failed them, Madame Luna, believe me, you have not."

The older mare smiled and hugged Fluttershy close. "I am sorry I was not there to protect you from the Prince–"

"I'm alright," Fluttershy reassured. "Truly. None of us could have known that he would be there, or to what lengths his jealousy would go."

Madame Luna shivered at Fluttershy's words. The problem was she did know the lengths that Blueblood's jealousy could go…and if he knew now that Fluttershy was the Phantom's lover, she could only imagine what plots he was concocting to seek his revenge.

"Come, we should both get some rest," Madame Luna insisted. Fluttershy nodded her head, although she could tell that something wasn't entirely right. However, she chose not to question it further, whispered her goodnight, before retreating to the room that Twilight had offered.

Outside, the rain grew harder and harder. Thunder resounded in the air, and lightning filled the sky. Madame Luna looked out the window, watching as the storm became more and more brutal. A cold, frightening feeling took hold of her. Something was wrong; she could feel it in her bones. Both Blueblood and Discord had horrible tempers and wrathful tendencies. She shivered as she imagined the two men, facing off in a heated battle, rage, jealousy, and hate fueling them as they fought. Such a battle seemed inevitable.

Madame Luna knew that sleep was impossible now, but with such a storm she dared not go out again. Tomorrow, as soon as she arrived at the opera house, she would find Discord and warn him. She could only pray that he would see sense; Blueblood was capable of committing the vilest acts of villainy, and he would use Discord's compassion towards his friends against him if he could. Yes, tomorrow she would seek Discord out and insist that they move Derpy and the others to someplace safe, somewhere hidden.

She only prayed that she was not too late…

Fluttershy had just blown out her candle and was pulling the blankets up to her chin to keep out the cold night air, when the sudden sound of the windowpane, banging against the wall, startled her.
She turned around to see the window open, and gasped as lightning illuminated the tall, dark figure, that stood just inside. "Don't be afraid Fluttershy, it's me," Discord murmured softly, his voice warm and soothing.

Fluttershy couldn't help but smile at the sound of his voice, and when lightning illuminated the room again, she could make out his face behind the black mask that he wore. "Discord, you're soaking!" Fluttershy gasped, immediately rising from the bed.

"Yes, rain has a tendency to do that," he muttered, removing his hat and giving it a shake.

"What are you doing here?" Fluttershy whispered, rushing to his side and helping him remove his soaking cloak.

Discord could not help but grin as he felt his beloved's nimble hooves unclasp his cloak and then begin to remove his jacket. "I received your letters, and I did not feel like waiting till tomorrow to see you again–"

His words stopped as the lightning once again illuminated the room, and for the first time, he saw Fluttershy's bruises and the cut on her lip.

Fluttershy realized this too, as she saw the horror fill Discord's hoofsome amber eyes, before turning into rage. "What happened?!?" he demanded, his voice beginning to rise with anger.

"I'm alright," Fluttershy murmured as calmly as possible, hoping to reassure him, but she could tell that would not be possible.

"WHO DID THIS TO YOU?!?"

"Discord, please, it's not as bad–"

"The Prince…" he growled, his voice so low it seemed to be rumbling from the earth itself. "I'll kill him!" He turned then, as if prepared to fly out the window, into the storm-filled night to seek his vengeance.

"Discord, please!" Fluttershy hissed, grasping his arm and using all her strength to pull him back into the room. "Please, stay with me."

"He HURT you, Fluttershy!" he nearly roared. Suddenly, his anger faded, and worry filled his eyes. "My God…he didn't–"

"No," Fluttershy quickly reassured, a small smile spreading across her lips. "You would have been proud; with any luck, I may have broken his nose as well as other things."

Discord let out a sigh of relief, taking one of her small hoofs in his and lifting it to his lips. His other hoof immediately fell to her stomach, and he softly caressed her there. "And the baby?"

"The baby is fine," Fluttershy murmured, feeling her heart overflow with love for the creature before her. He would be a wonderful father; she had no doubt about it.

Discord let out another shaky sigh of relief, but his anger had only melted away momentarily. Once again, rage filled his eyes. "When did this happen?" he snarled.

Fluttershy sighed, and quickly wrapped her arms around his waist, not caring that his clothes were soaking wet, just needing to feel him close to her once more. She purred happily as she felt his arms, strong and warm, wrap around her body in a tender and protective manner. "I had gone to the apartment, to make sure Papa had gathered all of our things…he…he was there, but I did not know it."

Discord growled, and his arms tightened even more. "He ambushed you, that bastard," he hissed.

Fluttershy tightened her own arms around him. She would hold him fast if it would keep him by her side and not venture out into the storm-filled night. "He knows everything, Discord," she whispered against his chest. "He knows that you and I are lovers…and…and he saw the ring."

Discord offered up a silent curse, although it was to himself and not the Prince. "I should never have given you that blasted ring–"

"No!" Fluttershy protested. "Don't say that!"

"That bracelet has caused you more trouble than I could have imagined," he muttered, taking her left hoof in his paw and bringing her hoof to his lips once more.

"Trouble that I would gladly face again and again," Fluttershy argued. "I have no regrets, Discord…none. I am proud to be engaged to you, and I eagerly await the day when I will be your wife! So please…" she carefully removed his mask, so happy that he had such trust to show his face to her without protest. "Don't regret this. We have hidden from the world for long enough…let us not hide our love any further."

Discord gazed down at his future bride with such awe. She would never stop amazing him. However, his heart filled with sorrow and rage as he gazed at the bruises on her beautiful skin. "I will make the Prince pay for his crimes," he vowed, his fingers tenderly touching the marks the bastard had left behind. He knew that they would fade, that nothing could truly damage the beauty that radiated from his Fluttershy…but he would forever be reminded that he was not able to fully protect her from the Prince's jealousy.

Fluttershy did not like the idea of him fighting Blueblood, especially when he was feeling such rage. If she could at least keep him from seeking his vengeance tonight…

"Stay with me?" she pleaded. "The storm is too strong for you to go back out now."

Discord eyed her suspiciously. "I know what you're trying to do Fluttershy…" he sighed. "And you are right. I can not promise you that I will not seek out my vengeance, but for tonight, I will stay."

It was enough. "Thank you, Discord," she murmured with relief, hugging him tight. With strong, loving arms, he gently picked her up and carried her back to the bed. He removed his own wet clothes, smiling at her blush when he approached the bed, fully naked, and slid under the blankets, gathering her close to his body.

"Discord–"

"Ssshh," he whispered, his lips planting a soft kiss to her brow. "Sleep, my love. I will stay with you until dawn…"

Fluttershy smiled and felt her eyelids grow heavy, as Discord softly began singing that song he had composed for her.

"Softly…deftly, music shall caress you…"

With her head pillowed upon her beloved's chest, she drifted into a sweet, peaceful slumber, knowing that her Phantom would keep her safe.

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Blueblood watched from the window of his carriage as Master and several of his men examined the sewage entrance. Blueblood had to admit he was impressed by the gypsies work ethic; despite the storm that raged around them, they were determined to plot out their move of attack.

Several gypsies had disappeared into the sewer, and a short time later, reemerged. Master listened closely to the descriptions of his men, nodding his head in approval to their news. Blueblood watched with curious eyes as the old silver-haired gypsy approached his carriage.

"Everything to your satisfaction?" Blueblood asked.

"These few stallions will stay here and keep watch for any…activity," Master calmly explained. "Wouldn't do to have any of them escape on us, would it?"

Blueblood shook his head, although he was anxious to hear about their plan. "And?"

"I will travel back to my camp and fetch more men…it is good to have numbers for this sort of thing," he explained.

Blueblood simply nodded his head, despite the fact that he knew nothing about kidnapping and burglary.

"Sometime before dawn…we will attack," he whispered, his eyes locking with the sewage entrance.

"And…what about the…'display'…you have in mind for our masked friend?"

Master smiled. "Do not worry, monsieur. When the time comes for our 'display', you will know when."

Blueblood smiled faintly to the older gypsy's laughter, but he was beginning to doubt the reliability that the pony's plan would truly rid him of the Phantom.

"I suggest you go home and get some rest, monsieur," Master said, patting the door of the Prince's carriage. "No doubt you will need to think of some explanation as to why the opera house will be trembling tomorrow morning."

Blueblood frowned at this. "I don't want any harm to come to the opera house! Is that understood? I just want the Phantom killed!"

"Not to worry," Master reassured. "Your precious opera house will be fine. But providing an explanation to what goes on is entirely your responsibility…and don't even think about mentioning my name," he threatened, the lightning illuminating the black depths of his eyes.

Blueblood nodded his head in agreement and urged His coachcolt to drive the carriage home. A plan was already forming on how he could explain the ruckus that Master and his clan would be providing early tomorrow. He just hoped that this whole scheme worked, that the Phantom would no longer be a bloody thorn in his side. And as for the fair Fluttershy…despite everything that had taken place that night, and despite the knowledge he had now acquired, he was more determined than ever to get her to marry him.

And he knew exactly how to go about doing it.