• 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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Crescendo

Crescendo

A scream went up from the auditorium as the sound of the gunshot echoed off the opera house walls.

The bullet had just missed them, but it had been too close to call.

Fluttershy screamed and fell against Discord's chest, as he pushed her down and away from where the bullet had flown. Her hooves had been on his face, and in her sudden panic, she clung to him, unsure of what was happening, not realizing that as he pushed her, she had ripped his mask off.

Another scream erupted from the auditorium, only this time it was in reaction to Discord's disfigured features being revealed.

It had only been mere seconds ago, when those same mares who were now screaming in terror at seeing his mangled flesh, had been fanning themselves with desire to be seduced by his Don Juan.

How quickly ponies changed when masks were removed.

The police officer who had been standing in Box 5 was stunned by the whole display. He only just realized that it was his gun that the Prince had fired! He attempted to take the pistol back, but Blueblood punched the stallion in the jaw, hard, causing him to stumble backwards. Satisfied that he would not be stopped further, Blueblood leapt on top of his chair, prepared to fire again.

Only now, he got a good look at his enemy.

Both Blueblood and Discord locked eyes once more, and for the first time in his life, Blueblood felt nothing but genuine terror.

Discord glared back up at the Prince, despite the screams that echoed all around him. He held his arms out, wanting to give the terrified noblecolt a good look at the creature who was his greatest adversary, the creature who Fluttershy had given her love to.

And that was exactly what Blueblood was doing.

He couldn't believe it! Never, never had he seen anything more grotesque! Never had he imagined such a sight, such a face!

And this…this monster…was the thing Fluttershy had willingly given her body to?!? Over him?!? What could this creature offer her that he couldn't!?

The terror disappeared, replaced by blind hatred and rage. With another vengeful cry, Blueblood lifted the pistol and clumsily fired the gun again, one shot after another.

Fluttershy screamed as she felt the wooden bridge shake violently. One of Blueblood's bullets had made contact with the ropes that held the bridge together. "Discord!" she cried, fear gripping her as the Prince continued to blindly fire the pistol.

Discord looked around him, his eyes falling onto a rope that hung near by, a rope that he knew connected to the opera house's grand chandelier. He looked at the crowds of ponies, some of them already rising from their chairs and moving away quickly due to Blueblood's wild shooting. Off to his side, he saw several police officers point their firearms at him, shouting for him to stand down, to give himself up.

There was no other way.

Fluttershy gasped as she felt Discord's strong grip grab hold of her, and pull her tightly against him. "Hold tight to me!" he shouted over the screams and the Prince's gunshots, and with a swish of his cloak, revealed his sword that hung from his belt.

Fluttershy's eyes widened as she realized what he intended to do. She bit her lip and buried her face against his chest as her arms wrapped tightly around his neck and shoulders, the scream dying in her throat as she felt the bridge give way beneath her.

With one swipe, Discord's sword cut through the chandelier's rope, which not only caused the giant crystal jewel to tremble dangerously over the auditorium, but also revealed a hidden trap door beneath the stage and within the bridge itself. Gripping the now cut rope, the Phantom and his bride plummeted through the broken bridge, falling down through the hidden trap door.

Blueblood's eyes were wild. He continued firing the pistol as they fell, cursing every time he missed.

Fancypants suddenly stumbled out on stage, a large bruise purpling on the top of his head, his expression one of dazed confusion. "T-t-the Phantom!" he cried. "T-t-the Phantom is here! He struck me! The Phantom–"

A sickening gasp escaped Fancypants's lungs as a sharp pain blasted through his chest. He looked down, and another scream filled the air as everypony realized that the tenor had been shot!

"The Prince shot Signor Fancypants!" shouted someone from the wings of the stage.

Flim and Flam had been staring at the whole scene, frozen in place out of fear and confusion. Their wide eyes flew to the noblecolt, their mouths open with shock at what had just happened.

Blueblood on the other hoof didn't look phased one bit. He cursed the tenor for getting in the way of his bullet, especially since it was his last one, and threw the gun out of the box before leaping down onto the stage.

Fancypants gurgled a plea for help, before stumbling forward, falling to his knees, and collapsing in a pool of his own blood.

More ponies screamed, and Celestia suddenly rushed out onto the stage, screaming and crying words in Italian as she fell before Fancypants's body, weeping over the pony who was perhaps her greatest admirer.

She turned and screamed obscenities at the Prince as he leapt onto the stage, but Blueblood paid no attention, he simply leapt towards the trap door that the Phantom had produced, and dived inside before it could close.

With another violent shake, the chandelier plummeted towards the stage, and everypony screamed and stumbled over one another to get out of the way.

In the grand foyer, it was mass chaos. Ponies everywhere were running, falling, and screaming as they pushed their way outside. Both Flim and Flam watched in horror as the chandelier smashed right in front of the orchestra pit, Monsieur Gerard leaping away in mere seconds. "We're ruined…" Flim gasped, as the chandelier's candles spilt over onto the oil lamps that aligned the stage, causing the entire surface to erupt in flames. "We're ruined Flam! RUINED!"

The fire quickly began to spread, and everypony was taking cover, running outdoors as fast as they could. Backstage, Madame Luna quickly began to shepherd the dance mares out of the theater, stopping her daughter from attempting to pursue Discord and Fluttershy. In the foyer, Silverstar gathered his men together, ordering several of them to help get the crowds of ponies to safety, while ordering the others to follow him. Flim and Flam stumbled out into the foyer, both blubbering about how this scandal would be impossible to recover from.

"You there!" Silverstar shouted, his hooves gripping the managers' shoulders. "Where would they possibly go!?"

"G-g-go?" Flam stammered, looking confused. All he could think about was the money that was slipping through their hooves. "W-w-what are you talking about?"

Silverstar groaned in irritation. "The Phantom!" he shouted. "Where do you think I could possibly find him!?"

Both men looked at one another and shook their heads helplessly, not knowing how or where to capture the masked fiend. However, Flim caught sight of the dance mistress, who was busy hurrying her charges outside. "Her!" he shouted, pointing at Madame Luna. "She knows where to find the Phantom! She is connected to him somehow!"

Madame Luna's head snapped up when she realized that Flim was shouting at her. Suddenly, several officers had her by the elbows, and were dragging her forward, towards Inspector Silverstar. "Release me, you vermin!" she shouted, struggling against their grip.

"Madame Luna," Silverstar greeted, although it was much more of a groan. "Tell us the whereabouts of the Phantom."

It wasn't a question, but Madame Luna refused to be intimidated. "I don't know what you are talking about."

"She's lying!" Flam accused. "You know she is! She's always one step ahead of us when it comes to the Phantom! She always knows his next move, she always knows whether he's delivered a message, and she certainly knows where to find him!"

Madame Luna glared at the younger manager, who immediately shrank from her cold stare. "Even if I did know where they had gone…which I don't," she emphasized icily, "it is not the Phantom you need to worry about! From what I saw, the true madcolt is the Prince! The way he fired that pistol without any regard for the lives of others, and you all saw him kill Fancypants!"

Silverstar groaned, knowing she was right. The Prince's jealousy and anger had erupted into madness, and he had to stop the noblecolt before he took more lives with his unstable rage. "If you can at least guess as to where the Phantom may have gone, we will at least know where to find the Prince," he attempted to reason. "Please Madame Luna, there's an innocent mare caught up in all this!"

Madame Luna sighed, knowing that the police could at least stop Blueblood before he attempted to cause further damage. "I am telling you the truth when I say I do not know where they could have gone. Were it not for that explosion yesterday, he would have retreated back down into his realm, but there is nothing down there now but fallen rock and the lagoon."

Silverstar's ears perked up at these words. "A lagoon?"

"Yes," Madame Luna confirmed…and then began to realize what the Chief Inspector was indicating. "A lagoon that feeds into the Seine…" she gasped.

"Come on," Silverstar ordered to his men. "With any luck, we'll reach them before they come to the river."

Madame Luna's eyes widened with fear. "Wait! You can't go back down there! All the ways are blocked! Believe me, I've tried!" But her cries were in vain, as the officers abandoned her there, in search of the infamous Opera Ghost.

Had she truly helped Discord and Fluttershy? Or had she simply sealed their fate?

Rarity sat huddled in her cage; her small arms attempting to keep the storm's chill off her body.
"I can't go back there…" murmured a voice from one shadowy corner of the cage. Rarity glanced up to see Rainbow Dash, groaning and rocking herself back and forth, her eyes glazed over in some sort of hypnotic state. "I can't go back there…"

"Rainbow Dash, we will be alright," Rarity attempted to soothe, rising from her place and going over to where the peg-hoofed mare sat. "Look where we are! At the opera house! Surely the Master will save us."

Rainbow Dash continued rocking back and forth, as if she hadn't heard a word Rarity had said. However, in the cage next to hers, both Shortround and Time Turner had heard everything, but their faces were not as hopeful as that of the little mare's.

"I felt that explosion," Time Turner sighed to Shortround. "It would take a miracle for anyone to survive it."

Shortround knew Time Turner was right; he remembered the gunpowder barrels that the gypsies were pouring through the tunnels before they dragged him away. But if his faith had taught him anything, it was to always believe in the possibility of miracles.

"What the hell!?"

The four of them turned their attention from their cages as several of the gypsies who were guarding them, began to curse and gasp as suddenly, one of the windows of the opera house over head, burst open, the glass shattering like rain, before flames billowed forth.

A great gasp escaped the four caged prisoners as they watched window after window burst into flame, and suddenly, the night sky was interrupted with the sounds of screams, as patrons wildly fled the burning building.

"What's going on!?" a gypsy demanded, looking to Master for an answer.

Master said nothing, only kept his eyes locked on the fire that burned in the windows above. As far as he was aware, this was not part of the Prince's elaborate plan.

"I don't like this," one gypsy grumbled. "Let's leave this place, now, we got what we wanted, why should we stay?"

Time Turner's face paled at the pony's words. "No! No, you promised Fluttershy that you would–"

"We ain't promised her anything!" the gypsy spat, before taking a stick and ramming it against the cages bars, just missing the old pony's hooves. "And did you really think we would be giving up these monsters? Ha! That would be like throwing money away!"

Time Turner's eyes widened at the gypsy's words. "This…this was all a ruse…this was your plan all along!"

"Shut up," Master grumbled.

The old stallion became indignant. "No! I am tired of being told what to do by the likes of criminals like you!" he spat. "And was I a part of this ruse as well? After the wedding, was I going to be shipped off the asylum while you take your carnival someplace else!?"

"I SAID SHUT–" Master's roar was lost in his throat, as a strangled cry went up from one of his stallions.

"W-w-what was that!?"

"It came from over there!"

"Did you hear it?!"

"Yes," Master growled, removing his dagger from his bootstrap. "And I have a good feeling as to whom–"

Another strangled cry broke the night air, and the whole of Master's men were looking about frantically, wondering where the mysterious threat was coming from.

"Master," Rarity breathed with relief. "It's the Master!"

"We shall see about that," Master growled, throwing open the door to Rarity's cage and grabbing the tiny mare from inside. "I AM YOUR MASTER NOW!" he bellowed at the mare, before gripping her by the neck and lifting her off the ground, her hooves dangling and her body struggling as the golden-haired gypsy choked her.

"RARITY!" Shortround gasped, his small hooves kicking the cage's bars. "LET HER GO! PUT HER DOWN!"

Master ignored Shortround, and shouted into the storm-filled air. "SHOW YOURSELF, YOU MASKED FREAK! SHOW YOURSELF OR I'LL COUNT TO THREE…" he pulled the choking mare against his chest and thrust his dagger under her chin. "…AND I'LL SPILL HER BLOOD RIGHT HERE!"

Silence.

"ONE!"

Still, nothing, except the sounds of Shortround's protests.

"TWO!"

All the stallions, including Master, held their breath, waiting…waiting for the Phantom, the draconequus, to make his appearance.

"YOU KILLED HER, NOT I!" Master shouted, before pressing the blade against Rarity's throat. "THR–"

"NOOOOOOOOOO!!!"

The mighty roar came from over head, and before Master or any of the others knew what was happening, a giant figure landed on top of the older gypsy, knocking him down and causing him to release Rarity from her captivity.

"DERPY!" Shortround shouted in dismay and gladness.

Time Turner gasped and pressed his cold, wet face, against the iron bars to see the hunchback throwing endless punches at the leader of the gypsy clan. "It is Derpy! She's alive!"

"D-d-derpy?" Rainbow Dash gasped, as if the name of the hunchback was enough to wake her from her trance.

Rarity was coughing and gasping for air after being released from Master's vice-like grip. She looked up from her hooves and knees, and gasped with surprise and joy at the sight of Derpy, her heroic rescuer. "DERPY!" she cried in happiness, causing the hunchback to stop his punches on the groaning Master.

Rarity gave a glad cry, and Derpy leapt off the gypsy to lift the mare up off the ground, and hug her fiercely. "Oh Derpy, that's twice I thought I had lost you!" she cried, her joyful tears covering the hunchback's face.

The other gypsies stood there in stunned silence, not believing what they were seeing.

Master rolled over onto his stomach, and gasped for air, coughing and sputtering as the pain coursed through his body from the attack. "Don't just stand there you idiots!" he shouted. "KILL THEM!"

Derpy whirled around, quickly putting Rarity back down on the ground, ready to fight her attackers as they charged at her.

"Let's get her stallion! Come on!" shouted one of the larger gypsies, but his words quickly disappeared into a groan of pain, after Rainbow Dash grabbed hold of the stallion's shirt collar, and slammed his head against the cage's bars, knocking the gypsy out cold.

"Nicely done," Time Turner grinned, being quick to grab the keys from the pony's belt.

"Idiots!" Master groaned as he noticed Time Turner taking the keys and attempting to unlock the cage. "STOP HIM!"

Three of Master's stallions were fighting Derpy, who was proving to be more of a torrential force than the storm itself! A stallion who had been standing near Rainbow Dash's cage, ran toward the other, his knife glimmering in the lightning light, threatening to slice at the old pony's hooves, when he suddenly felt a wave of pain shoot through his lower back, and then at his thigh.

"It's time for you to learn some manners!" Rarity shouted, using the stick her captor had used to beat against her cage, as her own weapon to beat on him. "First lesson," she growled, "is don't poke at others!" Without warning, she slammed the stick against the stallion's groin, causing him to fall to his knees as a blubbering, painful cry, escaped his lips. "Second lesson," she hissed, before taking the stick and whacking the stallion against the side of his head, causing him to fall over, "is never underestimate a mare."

"Well done, Rarity!" Shortround congratulated, as Time Turner finally got their cage door open. The old stallion quickly ran to Rainbow Dash's cage, while Shortround charged at the three gypsies who were fighting Derpy. "Three against one is not the fairest of odds!" he roared, before attacking.

Master couldn't believe it. What the hell was happening!? The monsters were revolting, the opera house was going up in flames, and the Prince was nowhere in sight! This could not be happening!

Shortround growled as he fought off one of the gypsies that had been fighting Derpy. He could not run the way they could, but his size made it easy to tackle them. "It's time you learn manners!" he spat, before jumping onto another gypsy's back.

Rarity managed to use her stick to force one of Derpy's attackers off her, and Time Turner took another stick, and hit the stallion hard over the head, causing him to crumple on the ground.

Derpy growled as she struggled with the largest of Master's stallion, a burly stallion who tried to swipe at the hunchback's face with his dagger. "I'm gonna cut you like a fish, monster!" the stallion snarled with evil glee. "I'm going to skin you alive and mount your head on my wagon!"

Derpy continued to struggle, her large hooves gripping the stallion's wrist to keep him from using the dagger, but the stallion now had his other hoof around the hunchback's neck, and was squeezing so tightly that Derpy felt her skin begin to turn blue!

And then, moving so quickly that she only looked like a tiny black blur, the pony let out a yowl of pain, as the kitten sank her teeth and claws into the skin of his hoof, causing him to loosen his grip on Derpy's throat, giving Derpy enough time to slam her fist into the stallion's jaw, knocking him out cold.

"T-t-t-thanks Carmen," Derpy panted down at the little kitten, which only responded with an affectionate purr.

The men that had recovered from the onslaught, quickly scrambled to their hooves and rushed towards one of the wagons. "To hell with the Prince!" one of them cried. "Let's get out of here!"

Master stared in horror, shock, and most of all, anger, as his men abandoned him there, hurrying away like frightened children. "COWARDS!" the old gypsy shouted. "COME BACK HERE, YOU COWARDS!"

"It's over, Master," Rarity sighed, her small arms folding across her chest, as Derpy, Time Turner, and Shortround stood around her, each glaring with anger at the silver-haired pony. "Give yourself up."

Master stared at the little mare, his face blank. "Did I hear you correctly?" he asked, his voice containing a dangerous tone. "Were you giving me orders?"

"You've lost!" Shortround retorted. "Drop your dagger, now."

Master eyed his small mob of freaks, remembering how much trouble it had taken for him to reclaim them once more. "Alright," he sighed, letting go of the dagger. "But if you don't mind…" he quickly drew a pistol from the back of his belt. "I think I'll hold onto to this."

The others froze at the sight of the gun, their faces pale and their eyes focused entirely on the weapon.

"Now…you were saying?" Master asked Shortround once more. "Who is it that has lost?" A deep, menacing laugh, escaped his chest, as Master continued to keep the gun aimed at them. "It is truly a pity that it had to come to this," he sighed, after his laughter had died down. "I really believe that you all would have made me a great deal of money. But I can't afford rebellion," he cocked the pistol and turned it on Derpy. "I think I'll start with the rebel rouser here."

"NO!" Rarity shouted, but instead of a gunshot being fired, a sick, gurgling sound could be heard coming from the old gypsy.

The others stared, as Master's trembling hoof let go of the pistol, and watched in horror as blood trickled down from his mouth. "I…I…I u-u-underestimated…y-y-you…" the old stallion gasped to his unseen attacker.

"That you did," Rainbow Dash growled, pulling her bloody peg leg out from behind the stallion's back, before the old gypsy crumbled to the ground, dead.

A shaky sigh went up from the group, and Shortround, Derpy, and Rarity, rushed forward to embrace Rainbow Dash, who happily welcomed the affection.

Time Turner smiled as he took in the small family, seeing no deformity, only love. But his own heart throbbed with worry as he turned his eyes back to the burning building overhead; what had become of Fluttershy?

"Umph!" Fluttershy gasped as she landed on top of Discord, after their sudden plummet through the stage.
Discord groaned and transformed back to normal, knowing that the landing had not been good for his ankle, and he felt a painful throbbing in his right shoulder. But all thoughts on pain disappeared, the second he felt Fluttershy's lips rain joyous kisses all over his face. He couldn't help but smile at her enthusiasm, and opened his mouth to speak, but hers quickly covered it, and she kissed him with such intensity that it took his breath away.

"Fluttershy–" he gasped between kisses. "Angel, we–"

"YOU'RE ALIVE!" Fluttershy cried, her hooves running over his face, her lips tracing the scars. "Oh Discord…" she wailed, her tears flowing over his skin. "How did you - I…I thought…I thought you were…"

"Sshh," he whispered, before holding her face tenderly to his, and drawing her mouth back down over his own. A blissful sigh escaped her throat as she kissed Discord back, so relieved, so happy, so–

Discord's hooves gripped Fluttershy's shoulders and he gently pushed her away, as he heard heavy footsteps in the distance. "Now is not the time for sweet reunions, my love," he whispered as he helped her to his hooves.

The mirth that had been in Fluttershy's eyes quickly vanished as she too heard the sounds of a small mob, only a short distance away. It was then that Fluttershy truly took in the sight around her.

Both she and Discord had fallen into a mysterious looking chamber, like one of the many caverns that filled the underground labyrinth. Yet this one was smaller…and not made out of stone.

"Where are we?" she asked, looking at the blackened ground, her foot brushing over a strange sort of dust.

"A fire chamber," Discord murmured, his eyes scanning their surroundings, seeking out the trap door that lay hidden in the walls.

Fluttershy's eyes went wide at his words. "Fire chamber!?" she gasped. "Why on earth would the opera house need such a thing?"

"Some operas require a bonfire scene," he murmured as if it were common knowledge. "I had them install the chamber about fifteen years ago."

Fluttershy did not like the idea of the two of them being trapped in some sort of giant cooking pan. The sooner they got out of there, the better.

"Here it is!" Discord cried out triumphantly. He immediately began to push his weight against a section of the chamber's wall, a section that began to move slowly on its own, revealing a small door.

Discord hissed as the pain shot through this arm, and he paused, clutching his shoulder while cursing the Prince's name.

"Discord? Discord what's wrong?" Fluttershy asked, concern filling her eyes at the way his hoof clutched his shoulder.

"Nothing," he growled, turning away from her and attempting to push at the door again.

"Discord, something's wrong with your shoulder, I can tell, I–" Discord cursed as Fluttershy reached out to touch his shoulder, and she gasped in horror at the sight that greeted her. "Oh God! You're bleeding!"

"It's nothing," he grumbled, trying to brush her hooves away.

"That is not nothing!" she retorted, biting her lip at the growing blood stain on his shirt. "Discord, you've been shot!"

"No," he shook his head. "The bullet grazed me, that is all. It's just scratch, really." He couldn't help but find himself smiling at the tender way Fluttershy fussed over him. "I'm just lucky that the Prince is a lousy shot."

"Ah, but will you be lucky now?"

Fluttershy's head snapped up from where she had been examining Discord's injury, her eyes widening with horror as Blueblood emerged from the chamber's shadows, a sword glistening in the dim light that surrounded them.

Discord growled low and deep, and moved Fluttershy behind him in a protective fashion.

"I must thank you…Discord, is it?" Blueblood asked, his voice dripping with sarcasm as he approached them. "Your elaborate trap doors are quite clever, separating those that follow, causing them to fall into different rooms. Luckily for me, I landed in an old prop room," Blueblood grinned, brandishing the sword towards them.

Discord said nothing; he only kept his eyes locked on that of his enemy, while one of his arms held Fluttershy behind him, prepared to protect her at all costs.

Blueblood found himself chuckling at the way Discord stared him down, and his eyes flew to Fluttershy's pale pretty face, that hid behind the monster's shoulders. "And to think…this was my competition?"

Discord tilted his head to one side, studying his adversary carefully. "Insults have never helped stallion win battles," he murmured, low and even, his voice so calm and collected. "You know how to use that thing?" he asked, indicating the sword that Blueblood was wielding.

Blueblood felt his jaw clench at the Phantom's question. "I was the top of my class," he snarled, making a lunging motion towards his opponent, but Discord easily moved out of the way, pushing Fluttershy with him.

Fluttershy gasped at Blueblood's sudden move, and bit her lip with apprehension. She had just found Discord…she could not lose him again!

Blueblood grinned, and then lunged once more towards the Phantom, but once again, Discord easily moved away, his arms wrapping around Fluttershy and twirling her, as if they were caught up in a dance. "Clever," Blueblood murmured, shrugging his shoulders, before making another lunge. Fluttershy shrieked at how close Blueblood's sword had been, but felt Discord's strong, protective arms, once more move her out of harm's way.

By now the Prince's amusement was vanishing. "Are you going to be doing this all night?" he grumbled with irritation. "Put up your sword and fight!"

"Only when the time is necessary," Discord growled.

"Necessary?" Blueblood asked, madness filling his eyes. "Is NOW a necessary time!?" he cried, leaping forward and throwing his blade out towards the Phantom's chest, but Discord was prepared, and pushed Fluttershy down to one side, before swirling around and countering Blueblood's sword with his own blade.

Fluttershy shrieked again as both stallions engaged in a heated sword fight; Blueblood looking like a lunatic, flinging his sword madly at the Phantom, while Discord continued to counter each lunge, only furthering the Prince's rage.

"You see, unlike you, my dear monsieur," Discord hissed, as their blades met once more, sparks flying from their steel, "I was my own teacher, and never took one class my whole life." Blueblood roared with anger as he attacked once more, aiming for Discord's throat, but Discord's sword caught the blade before making contact. Blueblood's teeth were clenched as he pressed the sword against Discord's, his eyes wild with jealousy and hate. "Tell me," Discord asked. "How does it feel, knowing that you are being bested by someone with no formal training?"

"DAMN YOU!" Blueblood shouted in the Phantom's face, but Discord's boot shot up and kicked the noblecolt hard in the stomach, sending him backwards and hitting the wall on the other side of the chamber with a loud thud.

"Down here! I hear them down here!"

Fluttershy's eyes flew to a far tunnel straight ahead, and in the distance, she could see the orange glow of torches, and hear those same heavy footsteps that she had heard only moments ago.

The mob was coming, and had found them!

She rushed to Discord's side, and gasped when she realized he was sloping against the wall, breathing heavily and hissing in pain. "Discord!?" she gasped, her eyes widening with worry. "What's wrong? Are you hurt?" She had watched their sword fight so carefully; Blueblood's blade never once made contact!

"My ankle," Discord groaned. "It was hurt in the explosion…and this," he indicated to the sword in his hoof, "hasn't helped it."

"THERE THEY ARE!" shouted the voice of Monsieur Flam. Fluttershy's eyes widened with horror as she saw the two managers and several police officers, carrying torches and loaded guns, heading right towards them.

"STAY WHERE YOU ARE!" one of officers shouted, before calling over his shoulder, "INSPECTOR SILVERSTAR! I FOUND THE PHANTOM! I FOUND HIM!"

"GO!" Discord hissed at Fluttershy, pushing her through the opening of the secret door he had found. There was no time to close it, he simply grabbed her hoof and fled down a dark corridor, being careful to avoid stumbling over fallen debris from the other day's explosion.

"AFTER THEM!" Flim shouted. "DON'T LET THEM GET AWAY!"

Discord cursed as he heard the police follow, their voices and footsteps sounding far too close for his own liking.

Fluttershy was worried too, although slightly more worried that Blueblood could possibly be following them as well. Yes, Discord had kicked him away, causing the Prince to hit the wall, but she hadn't paid close enough attention to see whether he was conscious.

She had never seen a pony look demonic in her entire life! The way his eyes flashed, the way he spoke, everything! Before he engaged in the sword fight, back when she and Discord were on stage, before Blueblood started shooting at them; Fluttershy remembered the frightening way he looked at her when she glanced up at him while Discord sang to her. Blueblood's jealousy had completely driven him to madness.

"STAND DOWN! STAND DOWN I SAY!" shouted a voice behind them. Fluttershy's scream filled the tunnel when the sound of a gun firing filled the void behind her. Discord roared a curse as the bullet flew just past them, and swirled his cloak around to envelope Fluttershy, as if the fabric itself would shield her.

"STOP SHOOTING!" Silverstar's voice barked. "You'll hit the mare! And I don't want any bullets ricocheting back at us!"

Discord pulled Fluttershy to his left, and led her down another tunnel, cursing Master further for destroying all traps in the explosion. He was like a blind pony, stumbling in a place that was unfamiliar. This wasn't his home anymore; the tunnels beneath the Maris Opera House had betrayed him, blocking off old exits, leaving him little choice as to where to turn next. "Discord?" Fluttershy's voice was filled with fear and anxiety. She was looking to him to help them, depending on him to get them out of this…and he was completely lost.

"This way," he grunted, taking her arm and leading her once more down a different tunnel. "We can take the boat and escape out the river!" Fluttershy nodded her head, and held her skirts tightly as the two of them broke into a run.

Derpy had surveyed the area earlier, and told Discord that one of the boats had remained intact, even after the explosion. It was not the quickest way out of the opera house, but Discord had little choice. His home was now his prison, and he had to get them both out of there.

The tunnel grew wider and wider, and within seconds, they had finally reached the underground lagoon. Discord wasted no time with helping Fluttershy down the small rocky cliff, and Fluttershy gasped with horror as she finally saw the destruction that the explosion had caused to Discord's underground world.

Fallen rocks were everywhere, but also, she could see charred pieces of furniture, some floating in the lagoon. She caught sight of other items, each burnt or damaged beyond repair, such as Rarity's spinning wheel and Derpy's books. "Hurry," Discord hissed, waking Fluttershy from her trance. She quickly followed him to the boat and climbed in while he released its tether and picked up the oar to push them away from the shore.

"STOP!" shouted a voice overhead.

Both Discord and Fluttershy looked up to see the same police officer who had shot at them earlier, now standing on the cliff overhead, his gun aimed at the boat. "YOU'RE UNDER ARREST!"

Flim and Flam also appeared, each panting and gasping for breath, but each looking just as wild as Blueblood. It was not jealousy that filled their eyes, but a need to extract vengeance from the Phantom's many threats. "Hurry!" Flim cried. "You have a clear shot! Shoot him before he gets away!"

The officer looked at Flim as if he were crazy. "Inspector Silverstar said–"

"Oh HANG Inspector Silverstar!" Flam muttered, grabbing the gun out of the officer's hooves and firing at the boat.

Fluttershy screamed as the sound of gunfire echoed throughout the cavern. Discord leapt down just in time; his body covering Fluttershy's to shield her from the gun's bullets. His actions caused him to drop the oar into the water, but the lagoon's current was already pushing them towards the river.

"ARE YOU MAD!?" the officer shouted, staring at Flam as if he were a madcolt.

"They're getting away!" Flam cried, aiming the gun once more.

The officer leapt at the gun, and soon the two stallions were wrestling for control. More officers arrived, and each looked confused at the strange fight between one of their colleagues and the younger opera house manager.

Flim, who was still stunned by Flam's actions, quickly snapped out of it in order to throw orders at the newly arrived officers. "Don't just stand there gawking!" he shouted. "The Phantom! He's getting away! He's kidnapped Mademoiselle Fluttershy! GET HIM!"

"How!?" one of the men asked. "There aren't any more boats!"

"And if we shoot at him, we could risk hitting the mare!"

Flim rolled his eyes. "Then jump in after them!"

"WHAT!?" several shouted. "ARE YOU MAD!?"

One of the younger officers, who was a little haughtier than the others, and who had a dire longing to prove himself brave, ran to the cliff's edge without a second thought, and leapt into the icy waters of the lagoon below.

Discord's head shot up at the splashing sound, and saw the young officer swimming towards them. As soon as the officer noticed that Discord was in sight, he paused his swimming and attempted to aim his gun at the Phantom's head.

Discord could not risk having the boat shot at. It was their only means of escape, and all that mattered was getting Fluttershy to safety. They wouldn't shoot at her, they were only after him. Without another thought, Discord threw his cloak off, and dove over the boat's edge into the water.

"DISCORD!" Fluttershy shrieked, her hooves clutching the edge of the boat. What was he doing!? Had he gone mad!? He was swimming out to meet the officer, who was looking stunned by the Phantom's actions.

"You want to shoot me now!?" he roared at the officer, whose face had paled to a ghostly shade of white. The pony lifted his gun, and Fluttershy screamed, but before he could even pull the trigger, Discord dove under the water, only to come up right in the pony's face, knocking the gun out his hooves, and gripping the frightened, blubbering officer around the neck. "You want to see the Angel of Death?" he snarled, before dunking the frightened officer's head under the water.

Fluttershy stared in horror at the scene before her, and screamed when she heard more gunshots. The officers who still remained on the cliff opened fire, shouting for Discord to release their friend. There was a great splashing sound, as two more officers dove into the lagoon's waters, and swam out to meet the Phantom.

Fluttershy leaned over the boat and attempted to use her own hooves to paddle back towards him, but the current was too strong, and was already carrying the boat further and further away. Discord released the stallionwho he was originally fighting, and met his two new adversaries head on. They leapt atop him, and he threw them off, roaring and throwing punches, gulping air as they pushed him down, splashing and sputtering water everywhere.

The boat continued to drift. She couldn't see them! "DISCORD!" she cried. "DISCORD!"

He turned his head, and realized Fluttershy was disappearing into the darkness of the tunnel. He cursed as he felt one of the men leap onto his shoulders in another attempt to push him under the water. "GO ON!" he shouted, before disappearing under the water. He growled and used all his strength to push his attacker off. "GET OUT OF HERE! LEAVE ME!" he shouted once his head resurfaced. All that mattered was that she would be safe; they would not pursue her, and the current would carry her safely out of the opera house.

"DISCORD!?" Fluttershy couldn't see him anymore, the boat had drifted down a dark tunnel and he had completely disappeared from sight. Her hooves were still in the water, and she was still leaning over the edge of the boat, trying to paddle back, knowing that it was a lost cause.

Was he going to be all right? He was fighting three stallions in the water! They could drown him! He could drown them! And then Fluttershy went numb as the sound of gunshots echoed down the tunnel…

"DISCORD!" she screamed, fully prepared to leap into the water at that second and swim back to him, not caring what he said, only caring about him, only–

"HALT!"

Fluttershy whirled her head around to the sound of the voice, and gasped when a torch's light was shoved close to her face.

"It's just the mare, Inspector," an officer announced, moving the torch away. Fluttershy's eyes adjusted to the dim light in the darkness, and realized there was another small band of police officers, standing on a small embankment just inside the tunnel's entrance.

Silverstar peered down at her while two officers moved into the water to bring the boat ashore. "I heard gunshots," he murmured with puzzlement. "Where is the Phantom?"

"Fluttershy!"

Fluttershy's eyes flew to the embankment and gasped when she saw Madame Luna push her way through the crowd of officers, not caring if her petticoats got wet, and meeting Fluttershy halfway in the water, embracing the mare who broke down against her. "Get me a blanket!" she barked at the chief inspector, before tightening her hold around Fluttershy's shivering form. "There, there, my dear. It's alright, you're safe now, you're safe."

Fluttershy trembled and shook her head frantically from side to side. "No!" she wailed through the worried tears that covered her face. "Discord is back there! He was fighting three stallions, and…I…I heard gunshots!"

"We'll find him, I promise," Madame Luna murmured, running her hooves through the young mare's hair, whispering soothing words into her ear.

Silverstar sighed and hoofed the dance mistress the blanket she had requested. "Mademoiselle," he began, his tone soft, but quite desperate for answers. "I need to know where he is."

Madame Luna growled at the chief inspector, her eyes cold, narrow slits of rage. "Can't you see the child is freezing?" she hissed. "Hasn't she been through enough this evening? Please!" she wrapped an arm around Fluttershy's shoulders and began to lead her away from Silverstar and his band of officers.

Silverstar groaned, running his hooves through his thinning hair; the mare could be damned irritable! "Mademoiselle, I saw everything!"

Fluttershy paused her steps, and slowly turned her head to the chief inspector. "W-what do you mean?" she asked, wary of what this stallion was attempting to learn from her.

Silverstar ignored the dance mistress' cold stare and quietly approached Fluttershy, keeping his voice low. "I came here tonight, because I feared a madcolt would attempt to sabotage the evening," he looked back in the direction Fluttershy's boat had come. "And I was right…but not about the pony."

Fluttershy's eyes widened at the pony's words; even Madame Luna seemed at a loss.

"Please…you must tell me where you saw him last; if I don't find him, more ponies may end up dead!"

Fluttershy understood the chief inspector's concern, it would be the concern of any good policecolt, but he and his men did not understand anything about Discord. All they saw was a stallion with a strange body who wore mask to hide his scarred face, and that alone seemed to be enough to condemn him. She shook her head, feeling angry for the accusation that more ponies would die by his hooves if she did not reveal where he was; both she and Discord had been shot at multiple times that night! "You can give that lecture to your own men," Fluttershy hissed. "I can't believe you would even ask me such a thing; I know the evils that your men are capable of performing on men who look different. How do I know that you will not also treat Discord the same?"

Silverstar's brow furrowed at Fluttershy's words. "Discord?"

"Yes! Discord! That is his name," she grumbled, pulling the blanket up even tighter around her shoulders.

Now he understood. "No! No, mademoiselle, you misunderstand! I was not inquiring as to where you last saw the Phantom, I meant the Prince."

Fluttershy froze at Silverstar's question. "Blueblood?"

"Yes," he sighed. "In his attempts to shoot at you, he killed Signor Fancypants."

Fluttershy gasped, and her hoof flew to cover her mouth. She had not known Fancypants very long, and knew that the tenor despised her for taking the lead from Celestia, but no stallion deserved to be shot in cold blood.

"Please," Silverstar asked again. "The last I saw, the Prince dove in after both you and the Phantom. I had assumed that the two of you had encountered him."

Fluttershy could almost laugh at the words Silverstar used. Yes, indeed, they did "encounter" him. "He and Discord were fighting," she murmured. "The Prince had a sword, but Discord managed to kick him away…I…I don't know what became of him after that point…"

"Inspector! Inspector!"

All heads turned in the direction of the tunnel, where several officers emerged, a few of them soaked to the bone. "He's gone!" one shouted. "The Phantom is gone!"

Fluttershy gasped and looked at Madame Luna. Discord was still alive? "What happened to him!?" she frantically asked, pushing her way towards the men, desperate to know what had become of Discord.

"Well…we don't know, exactly," one admitted. "You see…he dove under the water…and never emerged."

Fluttershy froze at the officer's words, and felt her knees suddenly go limp. Madame Luna quickly reached out for the mare to lean on, wrapping her arm around Fluttershy's waist to keep her upright. "What do you mean he never emerged?" she demanded, desperate to learn the truth just as much as Fluttershy…yet also dreading what it could be.

"We mean exactly that, Madame," one officer tried to explain. "He dove beneath the water, and when he hadn't emerged, we too dove down, but saw nothing...no body, no evidence of his presence…nothing! It was as if he had completely disappeared."

Fluttershy swallowed the nervous lump in her throat, gripping the blanket that she wore around her shoulders all the tighter. He was alive, she knew he was alive, he had to be; after everything they had gone through, both tonight and in the last few days: Discord was alive, she would not lose him again!

"I'm sure he's alright," Madame Luna murmured, leading Fluttershy away from Silverstar and his men. "Come, there is something you need to see…"

Fluttershy mutely nodded her head, although she could not shake that sense of impending doom, nor the question that Silverstar had asked her: what had happened to Blueblood after they had fled that chamber? Was he still in there, hunting his enemy? Was Discord truly alright? His ankle was sprained, a bullet had grazed his shoulder, and after hearing all those other gunshots…

"FLUTTERSHY!"

Fluttershy's head snapped up at the sound of the familiar voice, a voice that she had not heard in what felt like ages…

"Derpy?" she gasped, seeing the hunchback waving to her from a wagon in the distance. "DERPY!" she shouted, throwing the blanket off her shoulders and running towards her friend, throwing her arms out and hugging Derpy tight as she met her halfway. "Oh Derpy!" she cried, "I thought…I thought…"

"We all did," Rarity answered, smiling at the happy reunion between Derpy and Fluttershy. "But as you can see, she is very much alive."

Fluttershy gasped at the sight of Rarity, free from her chains, and then saw her father approach, while both Shortround and Rainbow Dash smiled from the wagon. "Y-y-you're free!" she stammered in surprise, happiness overwhelming her. "But…but how…?"

"Master is dead," Time Turner sighed. "Derpy is the one who saved us," he explained with a smile. "She freed us, and frightened Master's stallions away."

"A-a-and Rainbow Dash s-s-saved me," Derpy grinned. "M-m-m-master w-was going to s-shoot me…but Rainbow Dash s-s-saved me!"

Fluttershy couldn't believe it; it was only yesterday that she had feared they were all dead, and yet, here they all were, safe and free! Master was no more, they would not to be taken prisoner and put on display, Discord could rest with ease from that…

But where was he?

"Fluttershy?" Derpy asked, looking at her with large nervous eyes. "W-w-where is the Master?"

"Yes!" Rarity gasped. "Derpy explained that he is alive! That he went to save you…but where is he now?"

Fluttershy bit her lip and glanced at Madame Luna nervously. Discord had to be alive, he just had to be! He knew the opera house better than anyone; he must have known what he was doing when he dove under the water. She kept reminding herself that the police never found a body, that it seemed that he had disappeared entirely. He must have escaped…but where to?

Discord burst out through the opening of the roof, gasping and coughing from the smoke that he had fought through. It was even worse that swimming through that dark water pipe which had been his only escape after the police had cornered him. The pipe emptied out into a sewage tunnel, which Discord took to lead him back towards the opera house, undetected.
The place was ablaze; all around him he could hear men shouting for more water as they fought the fire that raged on. The smoke was overwhelming, and Discord knew he needed to get out of there, but he also knew the police…or worse…would be waiting for him.

He needed to get out of the smoke, away from the flames, but he needed to be someplace where he could see, where he could understand what would be his next best chance for escape. He needed to know if Fluttershy had made it safely outside, and whether Derpy had been successful with freeing the others from Master and his stallions. The roof was the only possibility.

Overhead, a storm raged, helping to douse the flames that had burst through the windows. He let out a long shaky sigh and breathed in the cool clean air, feeling its freshness replenish and heal his lungs.

Despite the fact that he was already soaking, he lifted his head to the rain and ran his paw and claw over his unmasked face, feeling the drops cleanse his body and soul from the evening's ordeal.

He leaned against one of the many stone pony’s that adorned the roof, wincing at the pain in his leg, his shoulder, everywhere; his whole body ached. How he longed to be lying in a warm, dry bed, with Fluttershy's smooth arms wrapped around him. He groaned and shifted his body so that he could continue to lean against the stone pony, but also look out over the roof's ledge.

Below, he saw the fire brigade, working hard to put out what was left the opera house fire. Around them stood hundreds of ponies; company members, patrons, onlookers, and of course, police. He scanned the police carefully; they would most likely have been anticipating his escape by boat, and have Fluttershy in their group.

His eyes found one of Master's wagons, but the gypsies were nowhere to be seen. He did however see Madame Luna, standing and talking with some unseen figures, who appeared to be hiding inside the wagon. The figure of Rarity emerged then, and Discord felt a great weight lift off his shoulders; Derpy had been successful!

"Your hunchback is clever," a voice dryly murmured behind him. Discord lifted his head, but kept his back to his enemy. "Perhaps you should have sent her to fight in your stead?"

Discord turned slowly as the lightning illuminated the sky, causing the scars on his face to look even more horrific than normal. "I do my own fighting," he growled.

"Good," Blueblood replied. "THEN YOU CAN SHOW ME!" Without any warning, he lunged forward, his sword scraping stone has Discord moved away just in time.

Discord growled and drew his own sword forth, lunging towards the Prince, taking Blueblood completely by surprise. "Come now, boy," Discord mocked as their swords clashed together. "Prove to me that you're more than a fop."

Blueblood roared and lunged back at Discord, who continued to parry his every attack. Thunder shook the sky as their fight continued, swords clashing, fists flying, as the rain beat down upon them.

Down below, Inspector Silverstar was reprimanding Flim and Flam for the danger they could have inflicted upon his stallions, while a short distance away, Fluttershy, with the help of Madame Luna and Twlight, was tending to the wounds of her friends.

"So…you've known about these…" Twlight glanced up at Derpy, who was blushing as she dabbed at a bruise on her arm. "These…ponies…all along?" she questioned her mother.

Madame Luna sighed and simply nodded her head. "Why didn't you tell me?" Twlight asked, a hurt look filling her eyes.

"Twlight, it wasn't that I didn't trust you, I just believed that the fewer ponies who knew, the better–"

"LOOK!" shouted Flam, who was pointing up to the rooftops.

Everypony squinted as they looked up, not seeing anything through the rain and shadows, until a bolt of lightning illuminated the sky…and revealed two figures, fighting with one another.

"It's the Master!" Rarity gasped. Fluttershy's hoof flew to her mouth as she recognized Discord's figure.

"Good God!" Flim gasped. "The Prince! He's fighting the Phantom!"

For the longest moment, Fluttershy sat there, frozen with fear, as she watched the stallion she loved passionately fight his greatest enemy. Sparks flew as their swords clashed, and despite the thunder overhead, a person could hear the curses they were throwing at one another.

Blueblood continued attacking, his rage fueling his sword as he endlessly lunged forward. Discord would meet each of Blueblood's attacks, countering them before lunging back. "It won't change anything," Discord growled, as their swords crossed, his face getting into Blueblood's. "No matter how hard you fight…it won't change the fact that she rejected you."

Blueblood roared and threw his fist out to catch Discord's jaw; Discord leaned away just in time to miss Blueblood's fist, but was not fast enough to miss Blueblood's boot, which had made contact with his torso and caused him to fall backward. Fluttershy screamed as she saw Blueblood lift his sword over his head to plunge into Discord's chest. But Discord was faster still, and kicked both his legs up, making contact with Blueblood's stomach and knocking the Prince backwards.

"You do fight well, I will give you that," Discord grunted as he lifted himself up. "But you should have left when I spared you earlier.

Blueblood coughed and wiped the blood from his lip, his green eyes blazing with hatred and fury. "I've bested you before," he growled, rising to his feet. "Or have you forgotten?" An evil grin spread across Blueblood's hoofsome, bloody face, as he removed Discord's white half mask from the pocket of his jacket. "Here is my trophy to prove it."

A muscle twitched in Discord's neck as Blueblood revealed his mask, the mask that he had lost the night he had attacked the Prince. It was a symbol of his shame for allowing the noblecolt to get the best of him, to allowing his anger and foolishness to blind him. Blueblood took immediate notice of Discord's reaction upon seeing the mask, and chuckled as he returned it to his pocket. "You want it?" he asked, opening his arms out in a welcoming fashion. "Come and take it then!"

Discord roared as he lunged forward, his sword clashing with Blueblood's, sending a shower of sparks over the roof.

Fluttershy couldn't take it anymore, she had to stop this! She picked up her skirts and bolted towards the opera house entrance, pushing her way past the crowd of ponies that stood, gaping at the scene upon the roof.

"FLUTTERSHY!" her father shouted as he realized what she was doing.

His cries were joined by Twlight and Madame Luna, catching the attention of Inspector Silverstar. "STOP THAT MARE!" he shouted to several of his men.

Fluttershy's elbow shot up and hit one of the officers in the chin, causing the pony to curse and spit blood all over the ground. Another officer moved to grab her, but Fluttershy was faster, moving her hooves in such a way that he only caught air, and then reaching out to grab the pistol from his holster. "STAY BACK!" she shouted, cocking the gun and aiming it directly at the small group of police that had moved in to stop her.

The officers froze as her shaky hooves clutched the gun, each of them fearing that she may accidentally open fire. Silverstar was stunned speechless, and the managers couldn't close their mouths. "Mademoiselle…" Silverstar carefully murmured, taking a slow step towards her.

"STAY BACK!" Fluttershy warned, aiming the pistol at the chief inspector while she slowly began to back her way towards the opera house.

"M-m-m-mademoiselle, w-w-what are you doing!?" Flim stammered.

"P-p-p-put t-the gun d-down," Flam whispered shakily, taking a step towards her.

Fluttershy fired the gun at the ground in front of the younger manager, surprising herself, as well as everypony around her. Flam sank to his hooves in a dead faint, and Flim felt an uncomfortable wetness in his trousers.

"KEEP AWAY!" Fluttershy shouted, the gun now aimed at Silverstar, as she continued her assent up the stone steps.

Silverstar and his stallions stood perfectly still, not moving one muscle as Fluttershy finally turned and bolted up the steps, into the smoke filled opera house. "Follow her, carefully…" Silverstar ordered once Fluttershy was out of sight.

Discord had heard a gun firing down below, and then to his horror, had heard Time Turner shout his daughter's name. Had something happened to Fluttershy?

Blueblood grinned as he noticed Discord's sudden distraction, and without warning, lunged forward, burying his sword into the shoulder of his unsuspecting opponent.

Discord let out a roar of pain as he felt the sword's sting, especially after Blueblood cruelly pulled the blade back. A great red stain began to spread under Discord's white shirt, and Discord limped away, clutching at his shoulder and muttering curses under his breath, while Blueblood threw his head back and laughed. "So the ghost does bleed!" he chuckled, his eyes wild with evil amusement.

Discord growled and released his shoulder, both his hooves clutching the hilt of his sword as he let out a battle cry and charged at the Prince. But now it was Blueblood who parried Discord's every move, his laughter never ceasing, causing Discord's fury to blind him, and making him clumsy as he attacked.

Fluttershy coughed as the smoke filled her lungs, but her pace never lessoned as she ran towards her dressing room. Once there, she fell to her knees, and immediately began to pry at every knob around the giant mirror's frame, pushing, pulling, twisting, whatever she could do, working her hooves raw in her attempts. "Come on, come on!" she hissed as she pried at the mirror.

Suddenly, she heard a click, as she pulled at the golden wing of one of the many cherubs that decorated the mirror's frame. She held onto the cherub's wing and pulled with all her might, causing the mirror to suddenly open, revealing to her an unknown tunnel to Discord's realm. She only prayed that she could find her way to the roof from it.

Meanwhile, the sword fight grew more and more intense, as Discord continued to attack with more and more fury. Blueblood was not as quick as Discord was when it came to leaping away, but his arms remained strong and steady as he met each one of Discord's attacks, countering and parrying every movement of the Phantom's sword. "I'm going to see to it that all of your freakish friends are locked away in cages for the rest of their miserable lives!" he threatened. "Who knows? They may make a good profit! Perhaps I'll keep them on my estate and offer free admission for children?" he grinned as Discord growled, before countering his attack. "Yes, I like that idea…free admission for every child that throws a rock at that disfigured mare."

"BURN IN HELL!" Discord roared, lunging forward, his sword ready to be buried in the Prince's stomach, but Blueblood's sword was faster, and slashed out at Discord's unscarred cheek, just missing his eye.

Discord stumbled back, his hoof flying to where the sword had made contact. "Oh dear," Blueblood sighed, mockingly. "It appears I have added another scar, and to your good side too…ah well, perhaps it is best that I finish where God left off."

Discord growled and lifted his sword, ready to attack, but Blueblood's boot shot out, kicking Discord's injured leg and causing him to fall backwards, losing his grip on the sword. Before he could reach for it, Blueblood's boot stomped on Discord's bad ankle, causing the Phantom to cry out in pain, and giving Blueblood the opportunity to take Discord's sword.

"Oh dear, oh dear," Blueblood sighed as he gazed down at his injured enemy. "Perhaps it was you, Monsieur Phantom, who should have left when you had the chance, hmm?" Discord snarled as he slowly sat up, very much aware that Blueblood was holding both swords at his throat. "And as for that invitation to burn in hell, well…after you," he grinned, before lifting the swords to plummet them into the Phantom's chest.

This is going to hurt, Discord thought regretfully, but without a moment's hesitation, threw his injured leg into the Prince's groin, causing Blueblood to cry out in pain and stumble backwards, giving Discord enough time to roll away.

"DAMN YOU!" Blueblood hissed, falling to his knees and biting curses to the wind, but never once releasing the two swords he held. He lifted his eyes then to glare at the Phantom…but gasped when the lightning revealed no trace of the pony.

He quickly got to his hooves and looked around wildly, trying to see where Discord had gone. The rain was falling even harder, washing away any traces of blood that may have given Blueblood a clue as to where he could find his opponent. "COME OUT AND FIGHT!" Blueblood shouted to the sky, but only the thunder responded.

"Come now…" he continued to jeer. "I promise to make your death quick and as painless as possible."

No response.

Blueblood's amusement quickly faded, and he gripped the two swords even tighter as he began to search his surroundings. Where could the devil have gone!? "You surprise me, Discord," he growled, using the Phantom's name as he slowly searched the stone ponys that loomed all around. "I thought you many things…murderer, madcolt…but never once, did I think you a coward!"

Still, nothing.

Blueblood grinded his teeth as the fury began to take hold. "Did you love her?" he shouted against the wind's howl. "How sweet; a real-life 'beauty and the beast' fairytale," he taunted, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "Amazing; you truly believed that she would love a thing like you…when she could have a pony like me!"

He whirled around when he heard a movement behind his shoulder. Blueblood jumped when he realized he was only face to face with a hideous stone pony. "Was she good in bed?" he snarled, knowing that his words would eventually bring the fiend out. "Tell me, Discord…how was she?" he grinned as he heard a growl off to his right. "Is she responsive? Does she mew when you touch her?" he moved ever more closely to the stone pony where he heard the growl. "I do hope she likes it rough," he hissed, before leaping around the stone pony and slashing his sword at…

…nothing.

Blueblood let out a curse as he drew his sword back, his anger only kindling. "You're making this worse!" he shouted. "Let's finish this, now! I'll even throw down my sword!"

The clang of the sword's steel seemed to echo louder than thunder, as Blueblood dropped the blade.

He waited, holding his breath, half expecting the disfigured fiend to leap down and pummel him, before taking the sword and slicing his throat.

But nothing happened. Only the sounds of the storm responded to Blueblood's actions.

"YOU BRING THIS UPON YOURSELF!" Blueblood shouted, his head turning in all directions. Something was moving in the shadows…

"I know all about your child!" the Prince taunted, his eyes following the shadow's movements. "You want to know what I was going to do, Discord?" he grinned. "I planned on destroying your seed–forcing Fluttershy to get rid of the babe, if necessary…after all, I can't have a monster living in my house and bearing my name!"

The movement stopped, and Blueblood's grin spread further. "But I've changed my mind," he hissed. "I've decided to raise the child as my own…" Blueblood carefully gripped his other sword, prepared to defend any attack the Phantom may throw at him. "After all, isn't that the best way to triumph over one's enemy? Just imagine it Discord…if you have a son, I'll gladly raise him as my own…" he took several tentative steps towards the shadows, every muscle in his body tense and prepared. "Wouldn't you love to see that? Myself, raising your own son…to become just like me?"

The gunshot echoed in the night and Blueblood threw a curse to the air when he felt the bullet just graze his ear. His wild green eyes flew to where the gun had been fired, and widened at the surprising sight of the small pink haired mare, her hair clinging to her face, her arms shaking as they gripped the pistol, aimed directly at him.

"You will NEVER touch my child!" Fluttershy swore, cocking the pistol once more, her eyes never leaving the Prince's face. "Now drop your sword!"

Blueblood glared back at the young mare, but instead of following her orders, an evil grin spread across his demonically hoofsome features. "How sweet," he mocked. "The beauty comes to save her beast."

"DROP YOUR SWORD, BLUEBLOOD!" Fluttershy screamed, her hooves gripping the pistol even tighter, fury raging in the blue depths of her eyes.

"Or you'll what, Fluttershy?" he murmured, taking a step towards her. "Shoot me? Oh no…you do that, you'll be locked away for murder…and your precious demon spawn will be born inside a jail. And then you'll never see your Phantom–he'll be locked away in a cage, put on display once more. Is that what you want?"

Fluttershy aimed the gun at Blueblood's head, the fire of hatred blazing ever brighter in her eyes. "I'm warning you, Blueblood…"

"Then what are you waiting for?" he growled, coming ever closer to her. "Do it then! Shoot me! Kill me! That's what you want, isn't it? PROVE IT TO ME THEN!"

Fluttershy hated this stallion, and tried to keep her aim steady, despite the trembling in her arms. But his words were beginning to have their effect; would she be condemning both Discord and her child if she killed this horrible stallion? They were two innocents who depended upon her!

"I knew you couldn't do it," Blueblood hissed, his body practically upon her.

Fluttershy's anger flared, and not caring any further about anything other than saving Discord's life, and wiping Blueblood's arrogant grin off his face, pulled the trigger back on the pistol…

Nothing.

Panic suddenly gripped Fluttershy, and she pulled the trigger again, and again, and again!

Blueblood reached out and grabbed her wrist, twisting it in such a manner that Fluttershy let out a painful whimper, and dropped the pistol to the ground. "It helps when one has bullets," he growled, before grabbing her against his body, and lifting the sword to her throat.

Fluttershy let out a shriek as the cold steel touched her skin, and her eyes searched desperately in the shadows for Discord's face, or at least his silhouette.

"Now…if you're not out by the time I count to five…I'll cut her throat right here!" Blueblood shouted to the sky, his eyes flying around the darkness. "One–"

"Five," Discord finished, his fist slamming hard into Blueblood's jaw as he came up from behind the Prince. The punch not only broke Blueblood from his hold on Fluttershy, but it also caused the Prince to drop his sword. "NOW we finish this!" Discord snarled, before pummeling his fists into his enemy's face.

Fluttershy covered her mouth as she watched the two men fight, each spitting blood with every punch. Discord grabbed hold of Blueblood's body and bent the stallion so he could slam his knee into the Prince's stomach. Blueblood gasped in pain, but only wrapped his arms around Discord's legs, wrestling the Phantom to the ground, before continuing to throw bloody punches upon his enemy.

Fluttershy grabbed the sword that Blueblood had dropped, prepared to use it to defend Discord's life, or at least to throw it to him should he need it. But right now, tossing Discord his sword was the least of her worries; the two stallions were fighting dangerously close to the edge of the building.

Silverstar and his men were just emerging through the roof's entrance, their eyes locked on the fighting pair. One of the officers raised his gun, but Silverstar's hoof reached out to halt the officer. "No one fire unless I give the order!" the chief inspector barked.

Blueblood and Discord were unaware of their audience; all they cared about was killing the other with their own bare hooves!

Discord felt the stone crack under one of his hooves, and he knew he was getting too close to the roof's ledge. One small gasp from Fluttershy confirmed his suspicions, but he kept his focus entirely on the Prince; no doubt Blueblood was all too aware that Discord was mere inches away from falling over the edge.

Blueblood threw another punch, making contact with Discord's jaw, before throwing his foot out to trip his enemy. Fluttershy let out a blood curdling scream, as did several ponies far below, as Discord almost lost his balance. The only thing that kept him from falling was Blueblood's grip of Discord's shirt. "It's over, Phantom!" he spat in Discord's face. "Fluttershy is MINE!"

Discord only roared, and grabbed hold of Blueblood's own shirt collar, surprising the Prince greatly as he felt something slip around his neck, and his confident smile fading as he felt his own hooves give way.

Fluttershy's scream was deafening as the two men fell over the edge, and she quickly rushed forward, Silverstar and his officers close behind.

Fluttershy gripped the ledge of the roof as she stared in horror at the sight before her. Discord, dangling by one arm, was holding fast to a smaller stone stone pony, while in his other arm, he held Blueblood, who was coughing and choking, his hooves scraping at his neck, his face pale with fear as he looked up at Discord with pleading eyes. It was then that Fluttershy realized that Blueblood wore a strange looking noose, and Discord held the other end.

"P-p-please!" Blueblood gasped, one of his arms reaching up and gripping at the arm to which Discord held him. "P-p-please! P-p-please d-d-don't d-do this!"

Discord growled at the Prince, and hissed as he felt the pain throb in his own muscles. He could feel his grip beginning to loosen from the stone pony…

"Please!" Blueblood choked out, feeling blood rising in his throat. "D-d-d-don't h-hurt me! P-p-please let me go! I d-d-don't w-want to die! Please!" he begged, his voice sounding so different from before. It wasn't the noose that had caused the difference; it was the true nature of the stallion.

He was, and had always been, a coward.

Blueblood choked, sputtering blood all over his arms, as he released his hold on the noose, and only concentrated and pulling himself up from Discord's arm.

Despite the pain in both his arms, Discord continued to glare at the stallion who now dangled beneath him, the stallion who had attempted to rape Fluttershy, who had locked away his family, who had threatened the life of his unborn child! This stallion was the cause of so much misery, not just for him, but for many all around! He deserved death, nothing simpler. And Discord deserved to be the one to end his life.

But now, as he looked down at this pathetic excuse for a pony, Discord felt all his years of thirsting for vengeance drift away. He couldn't see her face, but he could hear her sobs, and Discord knew that despite his hatred for the noblecolt, who now dangled at his mercy, Blueblood's death no longer mattered.

He, the Phantom, the dark deformed villain of so many stories, had won.

And Blueblood knew it.

What better vengeance could there be than Blueblood having to live the rest of his days in shame, knowing that he had begged for mercy from the Phantom?

Blueblood gasped in shock and frightened relief, as he felt Discord's grip tighten around the noose, and swing his blubbering form towards a tiny stone ledge, just on the other side of the small stone pony that Discord grasped. With wide eyes, Blueblood sat frozen as he felt Discord release the noose. "Get out of my opera house," the Phantom growled.

"Discord!" Fluttershy finally cried, after holding her breath during the tense scene.

Discord lifted his eyes towards the sound of his beloved, and felt a smile spread across his face as her beauty filled his senses. Fluttershy smiled despite her tears, and lowered her hooves towards him, eager to pull him back over the roof's edge.

Discord nodded his head, now having two arms to lift himself back up, and one hoof moving into one of Fluttershy's outstretched arms and then–

Fluttershy’s blood ran cold as the horrible the sound of Discord’s yell filled the air, along with the sight of Blueblood removing a dagger from Discord's side, filled her senses.

Blueblood laughed evilly as blood sprayed from the wound he had created. He lifted the knife again, prepared to drive into Discord's back, but his laughter, and his smile, quickly faded, as suddenly, he felt his balance slip from the wet ledge. Discord would have lost his grip as well, had not Fluttershy reached out and grabbed him about the shoulders, and with the aid of several of Silverstar's stallions, was able to pull him back safely.

The same could not be said for Blueblood.

Blueblood's terrified scream filled the night air as his hooves slipped away entirely. Several screams erupted from the crowd down below, as Blueblood's body fell through the air, before landing with a sickening thud, smashed on the opera house steps.

"Step back," Silverstar commanded, as Fluttershy pulled Discord's limp body away the roof's ledge, cradling him in her arms, her tears mixing with the rain as they fell upon his face.

His breathing was erratic, and his skin felt cold to her touch. She quickly laid him down on the roof, and ripped the hem off her costume, before moving it to cover the wound that Blueblood's knife had left.

"F-f-fluttershy…"

"Sshh," Fluttershy whispered, fighting back the sobs that were trapped in her throat. She had to remain calm; she had to concentrate on helping Discord. "It's alright, I'm here," she whispered, biting her lip as he winced with pain from her applying pressure over the wound. "You're going to be alright," she promised.

"F-f-f-f-f-Fluttershy…" his voice was even more broken than before.

"Don't try to talk, Discord," she murmured, her hooves curling under his neck to lift his head off the wet stone. "Save your strength. I'll get you to a doctor, and then into a soft, warm bed, and–"

"I…" he gasped, coughing, feeling blood filling his throat. "F-f-fluttershy…I…I…" lifted his paw then to push away a wet strand of pink hair from her face. Fluttershy held her breath as she felt Discord's soft, yet urgent touch, draw her mouth down to his, before softly, brushing his lips against hers. "I love you…" he finally rasped.

And then he went still.

Fluttershy's eyes widened at the sudden stiff feeling of his body in her arms. Silverstar and his stallions removed their caps, each sharing a sad and knowing expression.

Fluttershy stared down at the stallion she held, his amber eyes closed, his skin growing paler by the second…

"Discord," she finally murmured, her hooves softly shaking his shoulders. "Discord, open your eyes," she commanded, trying to hold back the rising panic. "Discord, open your eyes!" she demanded with more force.

He felt so cold, so…so lifeless…

"DISCORD!" she shouted into his ear, the sobs escaping as she clung to his still body. "DISCORD, PLEASE!" she buried her face against his shirt, crying hot tears over his cold body. "Please…please don't leave me," she sobbed. "Please…please come back, please stay with me, please…please…PLEASE!"

She wasn't even aware of the hooves that were gently pulling her away from him. "Please Discord…don't go…stay with me, with our child…" she begged through the tears. "I love you…"

Author's Note:

Cliffhanger! BUAHAHAHAHAHA! and oh goodness was this one was hard!