• 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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Dread

Dread

"Meow!"

Derpy heard the sound and her eyes immediately flew open. She sat up in her bed, and looked around the chamber. The others were sound asleep, and the embers from the fire were slowly dying.

"Meow!"

She heard it again! "Carmen?" Derpy whispered. Carefully, quietly, she rose from her bed so as not to wake the others, and followed the sound, which seemed to be coming from one of the northwest tunnels…

As if on instinct, Discord awoke. It was still dark outside, but the rain had stopped, and he could sense the coming dawn.
He looked down at the angel who lay snuggled against him, her face pressed against his side, her head nuzzled in the crook of his arm. His paw gently ran over her shoulder, marveling in the softness of her coat. She looked so peaceful that he did not wish to wake her. Yet he knew he had to leave before dawn's gentle rays fell upon the streets of Maris.

A smile crept across his disfigured face as he imagined a future when he would not have sneak in and out of windows to be with his beloved. When he could stay with her and wake with her when the sun rose. Soon, he reminded himself. Very soon.

With a gentle kiss to her shoulder, he rose from the bed, pulling the covers up around her, snuggly tucking her in so that she would not be cold.

His clothes were semi-dry; he quickly dressed himself and placed the mask once more upon his face. He had no gift to leave her this time, but he knew she would understand. With one last look of longing at the mare who was so many things to him, he opened the window and quickly disappeared into the shadows that still hovered the streets.

Derpy followed the plaintive mews down the dark passage. She knew it was Carmen, for they were the same mews she had heard the day she found her freezing in the snow. Carmen sounded as if she were in pain! Derpy quickened her steps, wondering how she had gotten away from Fluttershy, and if Fluttershy was aware that Carmen had somehow escaped?
"I'm c-c-c-coming, C-c-Carmen!"she cried out into the tunnel, paying no heed to the cold air that whirled around her.

Discord was a master of illusions and mystery. If he didn't want to be seen, he knew very well how to stay hidden.
The dark shadowy allys that so many ponies feared…as they should…were friends to him; welcoming sanctuaries of darkness that helped him move about with ease in this city.

Discord wondered what it would be like to live above ground once more. He was no stranger to the world above, when he so wished it, he could easily move about in it. However, he always moved about as a thief, or a stalker, staying hidden in the shadows, avoiding others at all costs. Instinct, he reminded himself. After spending his entire childhood and part of his young adult life in a cage, being spat upon and screamed at, being called a freak of nature and other horrible things…it was a wonder he dared to venture above ground at all.

He had not yet told the others of his engagement. They had to know by now that he and Fluttershy were lovers, but he needed to tell them the plans and promises he had made to her.

She meant everything to him, and he would do whatever was necessary to make her happy and see that she lived comfortably. While Fluttershy had adapted to his world so well during all those long months, he knew he could not deny her fresh air, sunlight, and pony interaction. So he promised her a house, a home above ground, a place there in Maris, where the others could easily live with them without fear of being discovered or captured.

Or so he hoped.

Discord realized that he had not thought this plan through very well. He had convinced himself that by living in a house, they would have more safety, more privacy. After all, in their own house, that the law would rightfully recognize as their own personal and private property, the likelihood of someone breaking in, of someone trespassing, was not as high or as risky as living beneath the opera house…yes?

Discord frowned. Houses meant windows, and it would not be fair to keep the curtains drawn the entire time, blocking out the sun's warmth. How would it be any different than living below? But Discord could not deny that he was not entirely comfortable with the idea of moving about with open windows, and he knew the others would be less comfortable.

What more, a house in Maris meant…well…Maris!

Discord had never once considered composing to be a paid profession for himself; he had always viewed it as a passionate art that he lived and breathed for. But selling his compositions (and he had many already written) would not only help provide for the family he had coming, and the family that already existed, but would also show the world his genius. And Fluttershy, his beautiful Fluttershy, would perform in them, breathing life into his music as she was doing for Don Juan. No doubt fame would come her way…and perhaps his, and that was where the problem with Maris lay.

Maris was a city where it was impossible to stay hidden, especially from gossip. Discord never cared for the gossip he overheard at the opera house amongst the city's elite families, but he perhaps knew more than the newspapers did. Ponies would begin to talk about Fluttershy; who was her husband? Where did she live? What if she were invited to balls and parties? The thought of her traveling to such places alone sickened him, but what could he do? And what if the gossip became nasty once more? His poor angel had endured much already at the opera house, must she be subjected to more by the city's aristocrats?

Discord groaned, his heart growing heavy with worry. He wanted to be with her, he wanted to be her husband in every way possible, and he wanted to be a good father to their child. But he also wanted to do what was right for Rarity and the others! He leaned against a building to catch his breath, a puddle on the ground catching his masked reflection.

"Damn this face and body!" he growled to himself. It was the thing that kept him separated from the world around him! He stomped on the puddle, splattering the image across the ground. A momentary sense of satisfaction filled him.

And then…a new emotion filled him. A strange emotion, one filled with confusion and…apprehension.

Discord's brow furrowed; something wasn't right, he could sense it…

The sky turned an ashen gray, telling Discord that the sun was beginning to rise. Quickly, he continued his way back to the opera house, staying close to the shadows, praying that this strange, anxious feeling, was nothing more than pre-wedding jitters.

"Meow!"
Derpy gave a sigh of relief as she finally found the tiny black kitten, mewing ever louder as she approached. She was stuck on a tall rock, unsure exactly how to get down, near a crack that she knew led outside. Derpy knew that the entrance she was near had an elaborate booby trap, which would cut the heels and ankles of any intruder, crippling them from going further. Carmen was so small, that she had easily slipped through the entrance without triggering the trap.

"W-w-what are you d-doing here?" Derpy scolded, easily reaching up to rescue the kitten. "Y-you should be with Fluttershy…s-s-she'll be so w-w-worried for you!"

The kitten began playing with Derpy's hooves, but stopped instantly, and let out a high-pitched hiss in the direction she had just been coming from.

Derpy looked puzzled and turned her gaze to where the kitten was hissing. She couldn't see anything, but a strange chill went down her spine.

Something wasn't right.

"C-c-come on Carmen," Derpy murmured, putting the hissing kitten inside her shirt pocket. With heavy limped steps, she began to hurry back to where the others were sleeping.

"Fluttershy?"
Fluttershy yawned and opened her eyes to see Twilight's pretty head peeking inside. "Good morning!" she cheerily greeted.

Fluttershy smiled back at the dancer, blushing as she could still feel the warmth from Discord's body under the sheets. "Already?" she moaned, slowly sitting up and gazing out the window.

The sun was rising, and the birds were singing happily. It seemed as if the storm had brought spring to Maris.

"Mama seems quite anxious, and wants to leave early," Twilight explained, fetching a pair of dance slippers from a drawer at the other end of the room. "Probably because Madam Octavia will no doubt wish to begin rehearsals as soon as possible…after all, tomorrow is the big day!" she grinned.

Fluttershy smiled back, a strange feeling of peacefulness settling over her. Tomorrow was not only opening night of Don Juan Triumphant, but also the opening night of her career as a singer. She should be nervous beyond belief! But instead, she felt a sense of tranquility and calmness…

"How are you feeling today?" Twilight asked.

Fluttershy slowly lifted her hooves to her cheek. "A little sore, but not too bad."

Twilight nodded her head. "There is a little discoloration, but I think Isabel's remedies have helped keep the swelling down," she happily explained. "And the rest can easily be covered with stage make-up."

Fluttershy smiled and nodded her head, before finally rising from the bed to get dressed. Twilight turned to leave so that she could give Fluttershy some privacy, but found herself pausing at the doorway. "Fluttershy? I heard…singing last night."

Fluttershy paled at first, and then felt a hot blush rise to her cheeks. Her back was to the dancer, and she was unsure exactly what to say. If Twilight could see her face right now, her questions would never end!

"Ah well," Twilight sighed, shrugging her shoulders. "My imagination, I guess. See you downstairs!" and with that, she shut the door.

Fluttershy let out a sigh of relief. She wanted to tell Twilight everything, to confide in her all that was happening. She had grown such a close bond with the mare in such a short amount of time, but she just had no idea how to begin explaining. With a shake of her head, Fluttershy quickly got dressed before leaving with the others to the opera house.

Rainbow Dash sensed it immediately.
Danger…

She could smell it.

Something wasn't right, something strange, and alien, had just entered their world…and yet, there was something sinister and familiar about it as well.

"Shortround," she muttered, rising from her pile of rags and mattresses. "Shortround, wake up!"

The dwarf practically fell out of his hammock when Rainbow Dash reached out and shook him from his sleep. "W-w-what?" he gasped, regaining his balance. "Rainbow Dash, what is the meaning–"

"Shut up!" Rainbow Dash hissed, putting a hoof to her lips to indicate that silence was necessary.

Shortround looked at his friend with confusion, but a frown creased his features. Rainbow Dash could tell that Shortround was feeling it too, that same feeling of apprehension.

Shortround quickly climbed out of his hammock and swung herself down, easily and quietly, to where Rarity lay sleeping. "Rarity," he murmured. "Rarity, wake up."

The mare opened her eyes and looked up at the stallion with confusion. "Shortround? What–"

"Sshh," Shortround whispered. "Something's wrong."

Rarity sat up straight at her friend's words. She knew from the looks that both Shortround and Rainbow Dash wore that whatever was causing them worry, was serious. She turned towards Derpy's bed, and let out a gasp as she realized it was empty.

"Where's Derpy!?" she practically squealed, clutching at Shortround's shirt.

Shortround shook his head helplessly, turning to Rainbow Dash with hopes that the mare would have an answer, but he too, looked just as puzzled.

"We have to find her, we have to–"

"GET THEM!"

The three turned their faces to where the battle cry had erupted, and suddenly, a hoard of gypsies burst through the entrance that lay just above their cavern.

"NO!" Rainbow Dash screamed in terror. Her worst nightmare was coming true!

Rarity scrambled from her bed and started screaming Derpy's name, moving as fast as her legs could carry her. With a cry, she felt herself toppling to the ground, as something heavy landed on top of her.

"Bag her and get her in the sewer!"

Before she could cry out again, she felt the harsh fabric of burlap surround and trap her, and she was being hauled off the ground to some unknown and unseen place.

"RARITY!" Shortround shouted with rage, charging at the gypsy who had captured her. The sound of gunfire filled the cavern, and Shortround gasped as he felt a severe pain burst through his body.

Rainbow Dash stared in horror as her friend fell to his knees, groaning in pain. "You idiot!" shouted an all too familiar voice to Rainbow Dash's ears. "I said if you have to shoot, shoot them in the arm or leg! HE'S NO GOOD TO ME DEAD!"

Rainbow Dash's face paled at the sight of Master, who was pushing the gypsy who had fired at Shortround, off to the side. "Quickly," he ordered to several stallions. "Drag him up into the sewer and get him in the wagon! And use whatever means you can to stop his bleeding! Because if he dies, I'm going to put YOU in his cage!" Master turned then to see Rainbow Dash, cowering in a corner.

"Rainbow Dash…" Master greeted with a smile. "It's been so long…"

Rainbow Dash began blubbering and curling herself up into a tighter ball, as if hoping to shrink away against the rock.

Master sighed and shook his head. "I see that you haven't changed one bit," he muttered, clapping his hooves. Several stallions appeared at that moment and immediately threw a burlap sack over her head, as well as tie both her arms behind his body. "Ever the sniveling coward," Master muttered with disgust. "Take him away."

"Sir!" Master turned to see two of his stallion emerging from one of the many dark tunnels that led out of the cavern. One of them was groaning and limping. "We can't find the hunchback anywhere!"

"Well I'm sure she's here somewhere," Master muttered. "Form a search party and tear this place apart! Who knows, there might be some spoils worth taking."

The two stallions looked at one another nervously. "I don't think that's a good idea…"

Master cocked a brow at their words. "What did you say? That sounded as if you were questioning my authority…"

The stallions paled. "No, it's just…well…those traps that the Prince mentioned, they're not just at the entrances; they're all over this place!"

"It's true!" the other stallion, who had been limping, cut in. "Some sort of wire lashed out at me leg!" he groaned, showing the blood that was flowing from his calf muscle.

"And besides…what if we run into the creature?" the other asked.

Master rolled his eyes. "I'm surrounded by idiots," he muttered. "Fine! Get the gunpowder and lace it around this place…I don't need another hunchback anyway."

High in the caverns above, Derpy watched in fear as the gypsies went to work. She watched them drag her friends away, she watched them go through their things, taking what they wanted, and she watched them pour endless amounts of gunpowder throughout the cavern and the tunnels beyond.

She quickly swallowed the sob that threatened to erupt in her throat, and backed away from the cavern. She had to find the Master…

"Good morning everyone!" Monsieur Flim greeted as the cast filed out onto the stage. "Well, I'm certainly glad to see all of you here, bright and early, on this fine morning!"
There were a few smiles returned to Flim's warm, happy greeting, but most of the company simply grumbled.

The older manager continued without notice. "Well, as you all know, tomorrow is our opening night of this…splendid…" anyone could tell he was forcing his words. "…work of music…" his words had disappeared into a mumble. "Anyway! This will be our final dress rehearsal, so please, full costumes and make-up, sets, props, and no breaks at any period other than when intermission shall be taking place!"

Several members of the company groaned, but nodded their heads. Fluttershy was already dressed in the first costume she would be wearing, and she began to feel the nervous butterflies in her stomach. She looked around at the faces on stage. So many of the ponies around her were veterans of the stage, and were probably immune to the nervous feelings she was experiencing. She even glanced at Celestia, who looked cool and collected…and somewhat cocky. As if she knew an incredibly big secret…

"Thank you for your…enthusiastic words, Monsieur Flim," Madam Octavia mumbled, tapping her baton on her music stand. "Right, let us begin with the overture."

The stage quickly emptied and Fluttershy went to sit in the chair that was designated for her off in the wings. She smiled as her father led the orchestra in its traditional warm-up, feeling so happy that his dreams were finally coming true as well. She turned her head to glance at Twilight and the other dance mares who stood nearby, stretching and preparing for their first scene. Fluttershy frowned as she noticed Madame Luna was not amongst them. In fact, she did not recall seeing Madame Luna on stage during Flim's speech.

On the carriage ride to the opera house that morning, the dance mistress seemed tense and nervous. She said very little, and simply kept her gaze locked to the view outside. Fluttershy didn't question the mare's behavior; she simply thought perhaps that she was feeling nervous for tomorrow's performance. But now she found herself wondering if perhaps Madame Luna's tenseness had anything to do with the story she had shared the previous evening.

"So…tomorrow you shall be performing before hundreds of ponies, some of which are the finest in all of France! Are you nervous?"

Fluttershy didn't even have to turn her head to know that it was Celestia who was speaking to her. "A little…" she murmured, knowing that if she lied, Celestia would catch it instantly.

Celestia grinned wickedly at the younger mare's revelation. "When I was a filly, I too was often nervous," she sighed, taking a seat next to Fluttershy.

Fluttershy could not help but glare at the beautiful blonde soprano. "I'm twenty," she whispered.

Celestia turned her head as if surprised that Fluttershy had even spoken. "What was that?"

"I said, I'm twenty," Fluttershy repeated. "That hardly makes me a filly."

Celestia's dazzling wicked smile spread even further. "Perhaps not in terms of actual age, my dear…but in terms of stage experience, I think you will find that it does."

Fluttershy said nothing, she simply kept her gaze locked onto the stage while Fancypants went forward to sing the first song from Don Juan.

"You know, I have always been curious," Celestia sighed, turning her attention back to Fluttershy. "Why did the Phantom choose you? I mean, I know he hates me," she said in a matter-of-fact tone. "Which is fine, for I despise him, the masked devil." Fluttershy felt her teeth clench at the diva's cruel words. "But he could have chosen any mare in the company, and there are many…many who would kill to be your shoes right now," she sighed, eyeing the young brunette, as if searching for faults. "So many mares with so much more stage experience…" she continued. "I wonder why he chose you?"

Fluttershy turned her face to the prima donna, a fire burning in her blue eyes. "Perhaps he saw talent that no one else believed could exist in a young country mare without any stage experience?"

Celestia grinned, happy that she was aggravating the young singer. "Perhaps," she sighed. "Or perhaps there is more to it than that…"

Fluttershy rose to her feet, refusing to speak further on the subject. Besides, she would soon be entering the stage for her first song.

"Perhaps the Phantom favors you for different reasons…" Celestia continued taunting. "Or should I say…Discord?"

Fluttershy gasped and her eyes widened as she turned to stare at Celestia. But before she could say anything, several members of the chorus were practically pushing her out onto the stage for her entrance.

Celestia smiled smugly as the nervous mare began to sing her first song, her voice broken and shaky, causing the conductor to frown. This may be easier than she thought! With any luck, she'd convince the managers and the whole company to give her the part before the day was out.

Discord let out a curse as that horrible sense of foreboding continued to plague him.
He had entered his underground world through a way that he normally did not use: the ancient Marisian catacombs. It was darker than any of his other tunnels, and had more twists and turns, but it was one of the faster ways to his underground realm. There was an old mausoleum in a churchyard that led to the catacombs; the sun seemed to be rising faster than normal on this day, and Discord chose to take that entrance rather than continuing to keep to the shadows of Maris' ally ways. The only problem with the catacombs was that he could not run through them, as he could with his other tunnels. With so many twists and turns, one had to walk carefully and count how many steps they were taking, so as not to go down the wrong tunnel.

He continued to count his steps as he marched onward, muttering curses here and there, trying to understand what could be causing him this worry.

There was a strange smell in the air…and the smell that only increased his apprehension. "I should never have left," he muttered to himself. "I should have stayed here and waited to see Fluttershy in the morning."

Discord tried to quicken his steps, praying that he would soon come to the end of this blasted tunnel so that he could finally break out into a run.

Madame Luna cursed as she once again, found another of Discord's secret entrances barred and locked from the other side. Damn him! She remembered how not long after Fluttershy had returned to the world above, that all of the Phantom's secret passages, at least all of the ones she knew, were barricaded from the other side to keep trespassers out.
There were a few more passages that she had not tried, the problem was that they were in plain sight of the performing company at the moment, and she did not wish to cause further suspicion. Perhaps she could figure out how to open the mirror in Fluttershy's dressing room? And what of the vent in the chapel? They were worth a try, surely.

She picked up her skirts and hurried along, determined to find Discord and warn him. While she had not seen any sign of the Prince, she could not shake the horrible sense that he was plotting something terrible…

"Flim!" Flam hissed. The older manager groaned and turned his head to his partner who had just entered the auditorium. "I need to speak with you at once!" the younger stallion pleaded.
Flim rolled his eyes. "Can it not wait?" he whispered, glancing to the stage where Mademoiselle Fluttershy was attempting to sing her first song, and in his opinion, rather poorly.

"No!" Flam hissed again. "This is extremely important!"

Flim groaned and nodded his head, rising from the chair he had been occupying, and following the younger manager out of room. "This had better be good," he grumbled once they were in the foyer.

"He sent us another letter," Flam finally informed, his voice shaking with concern.

"What!?" Flim snatched the note out of Flam's hooves and began reading it carefully. "'If things do not go according to my plans…a disaster beyond your imaginations will occur'," he read. "What the bloody hell does he mean by that!?"

"I don't know!" Flam cried, his voice sounding somewhat hysterical. "This is the first note we've received ever since that Time Turner mare took the lead role! What could he possibly be complaining about!? We've followed his instructions to the line, we've cast who he's wanted–"

"Get a hold of yourself, Flam!" Flim grumbled, examining the letter further. "Strange…"

"W-w-what?" Flam stuttered, attempting to keep himself calm.

"Well…it's different from the other letters," Flim explained.

"What? How do you mean?"

Flim continued to examine it closely, re-reading it several times. "Well…in the past, his letters have always been so…well, detailed," he explained. "And this one is rather…ambiguous."

Flam rolled his eyes. "What are you talking about?! He says that if we do not follow his plans, he will do something terrible! What can be more detailed than that!?"

"Yes, but why!?" Flim practically shouted, his patience waning. "The Phantom has always explained what his plans are…and you said so yourself, we are following his instructions…so why on earth would he threaten us?"

"Because he's a murdering madstallion!" Flam shouted, throwing his hooves up in irritation. "We're ruined…this opera is going to ruin us!"

"Shut up," Flim grumbled. "We'll just do as the letter says, we'll continue following his instructions, and prepare for tomorrow evening."

Flam reached out and gripped Flim's shoulder. "Do you…do you suppose it's because he has learned–"

"No," Flim hissed, looking all around the foyer nervously. "He can't possibly know that…so don't start acting hysterical and giving anything away!"

The younger manager mutely nodded, and followed his partner back inside the auditorium, determined to remain calm and focus on tomorrow's performance. He tucked the Phantom's note inside his jacket, a sense of worry washing over him as he could not help but imagine what disasters the Phantom would bring their way if they angered him.

However, Flim's question in regards to the letter's details did arise one question in Flam's mind. The letter had been left in their office, as all of the Phantom's notes had been left in the past. But unlike those other notes, this one lacked the Phantom's unique and menacing red seal…

Madame Luna pushed a strand of her hair that had fallen from its pins, out of her face. She was making progress with the vent in the chapel, nearly prying the rough iron open. She knew this entrance well, but whenever Discord had summoned for her in the past, he had been the one to open it, not she.
She had taken a stagehooves hammer and had spent the last fifteen minutes prying at the vent's iron edges, working against the opening mechanism to the passage. "Finally," she muttered, praying that no one would enter the chapel at that moment to see what she was doing.

She had just managed to pull enough of the vent away for her to slip through. Holding the hammer up as a weapon against any intruders that she would find, she entered the passage, praying that she was not too late.

"That's the last of it!" a stallion shouted to Master.
Satisfied, the older gypsy nodded his head. "Do it," he simply commanded, before turning to exit out the way they had come.

With an evil grin, a small group of stallion threw their empty barrels of gunpowder to the side, before lighting a match, and throwing it down on the small trail of black dust. Without a moment's hesitation, they turned and ran towards the secret sewage entrance that had gained them access to the Phantom's realm.

Discord flew through his tunnels, finally free from the blasted catacombs. The smell was everywhere! It was an odd combination of scents; sweat, blood, smoke, alcohol, and something else…something that he could not describe, but that filled him with dread.
"RARITY!" he roared, his voice filling the tunnels and the caverns beyond. "RAINBOW DASH! SHORTROUND! DERPY!"

He ran faster, and faster, in the direction of their chamber. He continued screaming their names; dread filling him to the core when they would not answer. It occurred to him then that the foreign scents that were invading his nostrils belonged to men…a hoard of stallions, stallions who should not be there, stallions who had gotten past his traps, stallions who had somehow managed to get inside!

He screamed their names once more as he turned a corner, before closing his mouth and freezing in horror at the sight before him…

Madame Luna gasped, ignoring the pain that throbbed in her side as she continued to make her way down towards Discord's hidden world. "Discord!" she cried. "Discord!" She did not think she was so far away that he could not hear her, but she continued to hurry, hoping that she would find him and warn him before anything happened.
And then a strange smell hit her, as if she had run right into a wall.

Madame Luna coughed as the smoke filled her lungs…and then her eyes widened with horror as she realized what exactly was happening…

"Recall those times, look back on those years, think of the things we'll never do…"
Fluttershy continued singing her song, a sweet pleasant smile plastered across her face, despite the fact that inside, she was frowning with displeasure.

She was singing horribly! She could hear the constant breaks in her voice, the way it trembled, and while she hoped she at least looked professional, standing tall, looking calm, she was even beginning to doubt her acting capabilities. The more Madam Octavia, and the two managers frowned, the more her doubts spread.

She could not help but throw a glance towards Celestia, who was grinning evilly off to the side. She had said those things in order to make Fluttershy look like a fool…and Fluttershy knew she was a fool for allowing the witch's words to get the better of her.

She lifted her chin, determined to not let Celestia win this battle, determined to prove to anyone that she was capable of singing this role, of being the lead. "There will never be a day when, I won't think of–"

Fluttershy's singing stopped and a scream escaped her lips as the ground beneath her feet shook violently.

Others quickly joined Fluttershy's scream, adding their own to the growing chorus. Celestia let out an ear-piercing shriek, rushing towards Fancypants who was crying out in Italian. The dance mares were squealing and clinging to one another as the ground continued to tremble ferociously. The orchestra began coughing as smoke filled their pit from the vents just beneath them, and several stagehooves rushed onto the stage, screaming "fire!"

"Good God! What is this, an earthquake!?" Flam cried.

Flim didn't answer, but a horrible feeling filled the pit of his stomach. "Everyone outside!" he ordered.

No one needed to be told twice; the whole company was running towards the exit, screaming and crying as they went. Several stagehooves stayed behind, rushing to get buckets of water to put the fire that had suddenly and mysteriously erupted back stage, from beneath one of the trap doors. Time Turner rushed onto the stage to help bring his daughter to safety, while Twilight was searching frantically for her mother.

"I can't find Mama!" she shouted over the screams.

Fluttershy looked about frantically, wanting to help her friend. But her eyes fell on the trap door, the same trap door that she had disappeared through all those months ago when she entered the Phantom's world for the first time. She saw the flames raging from within, and watched as the stagehooves desperately threw buckets of water onto the roaring fire.

"FLUTTERSHY!" her father cried as she bolted towards her dressing room. She did not hear the screams all around her; she did not hear her father and Twilight shout out her name, she had only one thought on her mind…

Discord.

She needed to get through that mirror, to run down and see if he and the others were alright! She remembered how Madame Luna had told her that breaking the glass would do no good, but she didn't care, she was desperate, she had to find him! She had to find Derpy, Rarity, and the others! She had–

"Not that way my dear!"

Fluttershy came crashing into Madame Luna, who was covered with smoke and ash, and who was coughing violently. Fluttershy's eyes widened in disbelief, realizing that the mare had just emerged from the opera house chapel, which lay only a few feet away from her dressing room. She looked into the chapel and gasped at the smoke that was billowing in from the vent at the far end of the room. She began to move toward it, but the dance mistress held her fast.

"No Fluttershy! There's nothing down there but flames and falling stone!"

Fluttershy froze at the mare's words. She looked up into Madame Luna's dark eyes, her own brimming with frightened tears. She saw the truth in their black depths, a sad, horrifying truth that chilled her blood.

At that moment, Fluttershy's father and Twilight entered the chapel. "Mama!" Twilight gasped, running to her mother and throwing her arms around the older mare. Madame Luna let out a thankful prayer as she hugged her daughter tightly. "Where were you?" the mare demanded, her own frightened tears falling down her cheeks. "I was so scared!"

"I'm alright," Madame Luna reassured, continuing to hug her daughter tightly. "But we must leave this place, now, before the fire rages out of control."

"F-f-fire?" Time Turner gasped, his hooves grasping Fluttershy's shoulders. She looked ready to faint any second.

"Yes…I don't know what happened…some sort of…explosion it seems!"

Fluttershy felt her legs suddenly go weak and the color drain completely from her face. She took one trembling step towards the vent, needing to find him, needing to know he and the others were safe, that they were not harmed, but both Time Turner and Madame Luna pulled her away.

"We must get outside, now," Madame Luna ordered sternly, hoping that her tone would hurry them. With his arm wrapped around his daughter's waist, Time Turner helped lead Fluttershy out of the opera house, while Twilight helped her mother, who was coughing and gasping for air.

Once outside, the whole company stood huddled on the steps that led up to the grand Maris Opera House, staring at the building which stood tall and beautiful, but where strange flames licked the bottom levels, and smoke billowed from sewer vents that ran beneath it.

A bell sounded, and suddenly a large horse-drawn wagon came crashing around the corner, stopping right in front of the opera house, while dozens of firemen leapt from the wagon and quickly climbed the steps to enter the still magnificent looking building.

Fluttershy clutched at her father's coat weakly, feeling the world spin around her. While others gazed up at the opera house, her gaze fell to the sewer vent that she had traveled through only a few nights ago.

She felt her stomach twist and churn as she watched black ominous clouds rise from within. She did not know what had happened, but she found herself questioning if a person could survive such an atrocity. Were Derpy and his friends down there? Had they made it to safety? Was Discord with them? She swallowed the lump in her throat, the sickened feeling churning more and more.

Their world was vast! Surely they had managed to escape, taken one of the many dark passages that she had not even begun to explore while she had been there. Surely they were alright…surely…

She couldn't hold it back any further; she bent over and began retching whatever was in her stomach.

Her father pulled her hair away, his hoof running soothing circles over her back. He knew exactly what was troubling his daughter; he could feel her heart breaking…it was the same feeling he had experienced when her beautiful mother had died.

"Papa!" she wailed, throwing her arms around his neck and letting out an anguished cry.

"I know," he whispered into her hair, "I know."

She sobbed against him, burying her face against his shoulder, crying for the loss of her friends, for the loss of their home, and for the loss of her beloved. She prayed that they had made it to safety, that perhaps they weren't even there when the disaster struck.

But one look into Madame Luna's sad eyes, and Fluttershy knew that all hope was gone.

No one could survive such an event…not even the legendary Opera Ghost.

Author's Note:

Muahahahahaaaa!