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Le Grand Paris, otherwise known as Hotel Bourgeois, is the second-largest hotel in Paris. It is owned by former mayor André Bourgeois, who just so happened to be the husband of the current mayor Audrey Bourgeois.

(You’d think after twelve years with one Bourgeois as mayor no one would vote for another and yet-)

Like any other typical day at the hotel, the kitchen staff bustled to bring the Bourgeois trio: Mayor Audrey, former mayor and their boss André, and their daughter Chloé their breakfast before attending to the rest of the hotel. André thanks the staff as they scurry out the suite. With a content sigh, André picks up his glass of orange juice. “Nothing quite beats breakfast with my lovely family.” His wife and daughter merely stare at him for several seconds before returning their attention to their breakfasts. Trying to get some kind of conversation going, André clears his throat. “I-If I remember correctly, Angel, today is the first day back to school for the new year. Aren’t you excited?”

Chloé huffs, “papa, it’s school. What do I have to be excited about?”

“And it’s not like it’s a new school year or anything.” Audrey adds, eyeing her plate critically, “she’s already had four months with those... miscreants.” The blonde sniffs derisively, “public school.” She shudders, “utterly ridiculous you’d subject our only child to it.”

“Pumpkin, I attended public school.”

“You were the exception, André. Clara—”

“Chloé.” André mutters.

“—That’s what I said.” Audrey rolls her eyes, “anyway, Cara’s been in public school for, what, six years? And she—”

Eight.” Chloé corrects.

“What?”

“Eight years, Audrey. Not six. I’m in my quatrième.”

“Eight!?” Audrey repeats, “it’s worse than I thought! I need to book an emergency spa day.”

“Pumpkin, can that wait until after today’s lunch with the police chief?”

“Absolutely not! He may attend if it's his prerogative but I will not be seen by others without a proper, necessary mud soak. I can just feel my pores clogging. Clarissa, clear your schedule, you need this as much as I do.” Chloé happily claps her hands together. “Eight years. I don’t think an hour will cut it—”

“Audrey, be reasonable! Chloé has to be at school in fifteen minutes!”

“I’m the mayor. What are they gonna say? ‘You can’t spend time with your daughter?’” The woman scoffs, “and really André, I thought you’d be thrilled Cleo and I are spending time together.”

“Audrey has a point, Papa.”

André massages his temples. Why does every morning conversation end with him getting a migraine? Maybe he should stop trying to engage in conversation with them? No. He can’t allow negative thoughts, because negative thoughts will get him “akumatized.” And really, who came up with such an utterly ridiculous term for it?

“What about your friends, Angel? Isn’t it a good thing seeing them after two long weeks?”

“Papa, if I truly desired seeing any of my friends I would’ve invited them over during break.”

Audrey gives him a pointed look, “she’s got you there.”

André throws his hands in the air, “fine. Do your spa day, but get her to school once you’re finished.”

Audrey gives him a two-fingered salute. “You should come with us, Papa! A spa day’s gotta be better than running the hotel.”

“Maybe so but—”

“No buts, next time you’re joining us.” Audrey rises from the table, barely touching her food. “Come along Chlorida, our appointments are booked and Phillip waits for no one.” Chloé quickly gets up, pecking her father on the forehead then follows after her mother.

André sighs as the door swings shut. He could swear he saw a purple-blackish butterfly on the other side of the door. He takes a deep breath and looks out the window.

A kaleidoscope of purple-blackish butterflies soar in the sky. Just like there’s no doubt there’s a plethora of blue feathers lurking in the trees and on top of buildings.

This unusual butterfly phenomenon started several months back, in the summer.

One afternoon in June, Nadja Chamack was interviewing some up and coming something or the other when a purple-blackish butterfly landed on Nadja’s microphone transforming her – through an ooze – into a... what are those things with a bird head and horse body called? Damn. The word is on the tip of his tongue. Anyway, half-bird half...whatever Nadja flew to the sky and coughed out purple-blackish butterflies.

Everything the butterflies touched transformed into what Nadja transformed into.

The police arrived on the scene and were unable to do a damn thing about it and half the force was transformed themselves.

Then, in a matter of hours, it was over as sudden as it began and no one had any recollection of how they transformed in the first place.

The following days followed suit. People getting “akumatized” left and right, attacking one another, then turning back to normal within hours.

In the months that followed, however, a pattern began forming. Less and less people were getting akumatized at once meaning more and more people were getting attacked by akumatizations.

While no one was certain how akumatizations began, once mid-September hit people started realizing negative emotions were getting them transformed. Especially when they were now remembering the process. Though with people remembering, they stayed transformed for days. Sometimes a full week.

According to akumatization testimonies every one began the same way: The hypnotic voice telling them exactly what they want to hear without expecting or asking of anything in return.

André was almost akumatized himself on several occasions; he’s seen the butterflies approaching but they’ve never made contact with anything on his person, as that’s how one gets akumatized, and he’s yet to hear the voice accompanied by them. He’s been considered one of the lucky ones. Though it hasn’t saved him from being on an akumatization’s shit list.

With his wife and daughter’s temperaments, he’s truly surprised (beyond belief) neither of them have been akumatized either. Though, he suspects, they have caused their share of akumatizations; Audrey, in particular. Weekly construction on the hotel was a hassle, not to mention a fucking headache.

The feathers that didn’t belong to any bird André’s ever seen in his bird watching catalogues began cropping up in November. Like the butterflies, they just showed up out of nowhere one day. Unlike the butterflies however, the feathers didn’t affect people... well physically. Whatever the feathers touched grew exponentially in size and became sentient often taking on the emotions of whoever held the transformed item.

In December, the feathers started coming after the butterflies already affected someone.

So panicking people not only had to watch their asses for akumatizations but they had to make sure they were keeping their belongings free of feathers.

André doesn’t know how much longer the city can take almost daily attacks from fucking feathers and damn butterflies. The number of tourists arriving in the city decreased drastically in the past six months. With good reason too, André thought about leaving the city sometimes – often, to be honest – but Audrey would never budge. Audrey claimed Paris was in her top three favorite cities to live in, and she’d never allow the fear slash concern of getting akumatized (because she had to feel one of the two) dictate anything for her.

André sighs and takes a deep breath, then gets up from the table to begin doing his daily routine of looking around their hotel room for feathers or butterflies. Maybe he should’ve went with them.

🐉

Two-and-a-half hours of pampering later, Audrey drops Chloé off herself, giving Principal Damocles some spiel about a family togetherness or some bull along those lines. Damocles probably didn’t believe a word of it but the need of the Bourgeois’ backing the school had him simply nodding along.

Chloé gets to school just in time because her class was in Mme. Bustier’s room; their homeroom teacher, Mme. Mendeleiev, was one of two teachers in François Düpont who didn’t give a shit who Chloé’s parents were. All throughout her years at primary school, Chloé was able to get away with pretty much anything thanks to her parents but the second she hit the collège doors, Mendeleiev flat out stated she didn’t care if she got fired she wasn’t gonna buckle and the woman stayed true to her word. When they first met, Chloé tried to see if she was all talk but she quickly realized Mendeleiev wasn’t. (She also realized the woman was scary.)

The other teacher who didn’t care about the Bourgeois’ reign (of terror) over the school is their fencing teacher, M. D’Argencourt, who despite openly resenting both of Chloé’s parents he never took his hatred out on the blonde.

Her best friend Sabrina no doubt handled the homeroom class representative duties in Chloé’s absence; of course, Sabrina did them even when Chloé was present. Chloé ran for representative, unopposed (naturally), because it put her in charge of her classmates; she didn’t know the work it entailed! Sabrina took over because she legitimately wanted the job (but knew better than to run against her) knowing full well everything that came with it! So Chloé let her and also let her be co-representative so she could get some credit, not to mention all the work Mendeleiev (purposely) tacked on.

When Chloé enters the classroom, she feels the stares of her classmates – as expected – yet the whole Feng Shui of the room felt... off. Blue eyes quickly survey the classroom and Chloé gasps as she sees an unfamiliar body in her seat not even looking in her direction. With the uneven amount of students in the class, Chloé had a desk to herself in the back. Evidently, that is no longer the case.

Mme. Bustier clears her throat, greeting the blonde with a nervous chuckle but Chloé stomps up the steps to her desk not missing her best friend’s grimace. And Chloé will deal with that later. Once she arrives at her destination, she loudly clears her throat.

Bored blue-grey eyes tear away from the notebook to look up at her, “can I help you?” Clara Nightingale’s debut single Stars In Your Eyes made Chloé realize she was gay at the tender age of 12. If the blonde weren’t so pissed, she’d be beguiled by the pretty blue-haired girl in front of her.

Instead, Chloé’s left eye twitches, “you’re in my seat.”

“Chloé.” Mme. Bustier rushes up the steps, “Chloé, there are no other seats in the class.”

Chloé turns to the redhead, “then where am I supposed to sit?”

Kim, in the desk across from them, stands up. “You can have my seat, Chloé.”

“I don’t want your seat, I want mine.”

“Kim, can you please get an extra seat from next door?” Mme. Bustier asks. The tall brunet salutes the teacher before exiting the classroom. “Chloé—”

“Oh no. I’m not going anywhere. My name is on that seat.” The blue-haired girl opens her mouth but Chloé points at the desk plaque with her name written in cursive.

“Huh. Interesting. However, your name’s on the desk, not the seat.“ She just casually pushes Chloe’s gold-plated plaque to the other edge of the table like it was a common paperweight! “So... as I’ve done nothing wrong, having just arrived in the school this morning and was placed here by the teacher, I’m not getting up.”

What?! Like hell you’re not getting up!”

“For fuck’s sake, Bourgeois, it’s just a chair!” The pink-haired girl in the desk in front of them yells.

Zip it, Kubdel. What’s the point of having assigned seats if we’re not sticking to them? It’s disrupting the entire hierarchy!” The class collectively groans.

“Chloé, Kim is getting you a seat. You’re going to be sharing this desk—”

No.” Taken aback, Mme. Bustier does a double-take. “I will not share my. Desk. Move her.”

New Girl actually laughs and Chloé’s nostrils flare. “You...” She struggles to speak in between laughs, “you’re... all this over a rickety plastic chair?”

Chloé slams her hands down on the desk, “I can make your school year a living hell if you don’t move out of my seat.”

New Girl blinks at her and turns to Bustier who looks down. “Wow. Seriously?” With a sigh, the blue-haired shrugs. “You know what? Screw it. You’re already making my school year hell and I’ve only been here an hour. Do. Your. Worst, Blondie.”

The class collectively gasps loudly and theatrically. Chloé’s eyes widen comically, “how fucking dare you! You have no idea who you’re talking to!”

“And I don’t care.”

Sabrina skids to a halt on Chloé’s left, “she isn’t worth it, Chloé.” The orange-haired teen tugs on the blonde’s arm, “sit with me.”

“Huh!?” Lila loudly pipes in, “then where am I gonna sit?” The class groans again.

Kim returns to the classroom with the chair, when he gets to the top row Chloé snatches the chair from him and plants it down on the new girl’s right. “You just made yourself an enemy.” The blue-haired rolls her eyes as Chloé sits down folding her arms over her chest.

Mme. Bustier sighs heavily, “merci, Kim. Chloé—”

“You’d better do something about this tomorrow.” The blonde hisses.

The redhead clears her throat, “of course, Chloé.“ She heads down the stairs to the chalkboard.

Chloé glares at Sabrina, “you and I are gonna have a chat when class is over.” Gulping, Sabrina nods – releasing Chloé’s arm – making her way back to her seat.

Chloé spends the entire class period glaring at the new girl who is just flat out ignoring her. No one ignores Chloé Aurélie Bourgeois! Chloé Bourgeois is the one who ignores you! When class ends, the joint effort of Sabrina and Lila forcibly remove the blonde from her seat. “I know what you’re gonna say and I couldn’t exactly call you in class—”

Chloé stops walking causing the others to do the same. “You could’ve sent me a text, Sabrina! Or ask to go to the restroom! You could’ve literally done anything to stop this from happening!”

Really? And just how would I do that?”

“Your papa is the chief of police! Through his weight around for fuck’s sake!”

“I know you’re pissed but bitching at me won’t do anything. I didn’t bring the new girl in the school. And you know what? None of this would’ve happened if you made it to school on time!”

“Audrey and I had an emergency spa appointment!”

“Then you could’ve called me to let me know you were gonna be late!”

Lila puts an arm on each of their shoulders, “ladies, ladies. Don’t let the cute new girl throw us off. I’ll find out everything there is to know about her.” The brunette licks her lips. “Marinette could use a friend.”

“Mari-what?”

“Marinette.” Lila replies. “Marinette Dupain-Cheng. That’s what she said her name is.” The brunette hums, “would I take her last names or would she take mine? I don’t think you can hyphenate a name twice—” Sabrina facepalms.

Adrien runs over to them, “Chloé what happened!? Your texts said something urgent happened!”

“Adrikins, I sent you those texts over a half-hour ago.”

“I already went to the bathroom before I got the texts so I couldn’t go back. Plus, we were in the middle of a test.” Chloé holds up a hand and shakes her head. “What happened? Are you hurt? Should we call Tante Audrey or Oncle André?”

“Some rude albeit pretty new girl just mouthed off to Chloé.” Lila replies with a shrug.

Adrien gapes, it takes several seconds of sputtering and opening and closing his mouth like a fish before he runs a hand down his face. “You know the definition of the word urgent, don’t you Chloé?”

“This is urgent, Adrikins. A student just declared war against me!”

“Is this gonna be like another Alix Kubdel thing?”

“That angry little gremlin snarks at everyone, her words hold no weight with me—”

“Anymore.” Lila mutters, miming zipping her mouth when Chloé glares at her.

🐉

Mme. Mendeleiev is sitting on M. Damocles’ desk laughing when Mme. Bustier barrels into the office panting. “I—” She takes a deep breath pointing at the door, “akuma!”

“Oh for heaven’s sake!” Damocles hits the alarm. “Who did Chloé Bourgeois upset this time? I feel like I should get a bingo book or something—”

“Herself.” Damocles and Mendeleiev exchange a confused glance, “Chloé is akumatized. A new girl...” Bustier takes a deep breath, “a new girl, she refused to give up Chloé’s seat.” The redhead runs a hand down her face, “I should’ve put her anywhere else—”

“Oh no. That little brat has been terrorizing this school for two years! Why do you put up with it!?”

“You don’t understand. The Bourgeois family are powerful, as are the Agrestes, Beauréals, and... dammit what was the other one?”

“Graham de Vanily.” Bustier adds.

“And they are all close family friends! They back the school. We wouldn’t afford D’Argencourt teaching our students fencing and other sports collèges wish they had.”

“You’re letting a brat walk all over the staff because of fencing!?”

“Did you want D’Argencourt to go to Merryfield? I think not! By having fencing in our school, we increase the school’s worth and as a result we get better funding.”

“I fucking can’t believe you, Geoff. You’d let a kid run rampant because of money?”

“I don’t hear you complaining about our state of the art coffee machine in the teacher’s lounge, Céleste.”

“That girl’s in my homeroom. I need copious amounts of caffeine to deal with her because I damn sure can’t drink on the schoolgrounds. And I didn’t sell my soul to the devil to get the machine.”

“No, you simply reap the benefits.”

“I think you put that brat in my class on purpose.”

“I believe Chloé needs the right guidance.” Bustier pipes in.

“Right. ‘Guidance.’” The brunette snorts, “guidance you are clearly not willing to give. None of you are and I’m not gonna add childrearing to my accolades.”

“She needs a gentle hand—”

“Bullshit. The girl needs a verbal spanking. I applaud this new girl for not letting Bourgeois walk all over her.”

“You’re both wrong.” Damocles sighs, “and yet you’re both right. But it’s just one more year before she’s some lycée’s problem.” He picks up the megaphone, “standard akumatization procedures ladies.”

🐉

A ten-hour flight and several time zone changes pass before Fù Wáng finds himself in Paris, France. As soon as the plane reached France’s airspace, Fù felt the dark magic. It was so overwhelming and sudden, he needed an airbag.

As he gets off the plane, he sees purple-blackish butterflies almost blanketing the sky and trees covered in blue feathers.

The situation is far worse than the Order described, and to think they are willing to let the city “work itself out.” That’ll only lead to its self-destruction and inaction cost Fù dearly in the past and he was damned if he was going to let it happen again.

As he makes his way through the airport, he notices the butterflies are even indoors. Surprisingly or rather unsurprisingly, the citizens don’t seem all that effected by the butterflies overhead. But after months of attacks, they’re most likely used to it. His fellow newcomers from the plane, however, are walking to their destination warily.

Fù nearly stumbles but catches himself. The Miraculouses in his suitcase are crying out for their partners. That’s... never happened before. But neither has the butterfly Miraculous able to conjure up so many butterflies and affect multiple people at once.

Whoever was wielding the Miraculous would be a dangerous enemy.

As for the peafowl Miraculous with the feathers, pardon the pun, waiting in the wings – Fù will have to pay closer attention to them.

It’s obvious the peafowl and butterfly owners aren’t working together. Which is a small mercy. (For now. It’s only a matter of time before they find a way to convene.)

Fù quickly hails a cab to reach his destination.

Le Grand Paris is larger than he expected but after spending the past year back in the small one floor temple, even the one-story buildings were big in comparison.

His first order of business is to distribute the turtle Miraculous. Wayzz’s bubbling power can gather up the butterflies and feathers not in use before they find targets.

Fù approaches the front desk. The receptionist in front of him has dark green hair and their tips are teal. The gold embroidered name-tag says Luka. Fù’s carry-on rattles violently. Ah. He found a match already? The bag rattles again as if it were answering his question.

“Bonjour! Welcome to Le Grand Paris, we hope your stay is... grand.” Luka forces a wide, all-teeth smile.

Fù is barely at eye level with the counter and there’s no way he’d be able to reach the receptionist to show them his cellphone. “I booked my room online. It said you need my confirmation code.”

“Right. If you pull up the page I’ll take care of it.”

Luka takes mercy on him and leans forward to reach the phone without Fù having to struggle too much to tiptoe. The furthest elevator on the right across the hall opens and a balding blond man dashes out of the elevator. He looks around the lobby then his eyes fall on the desk. He sighs in relief as he approaches. “Couffaine! Thank heavens you’re here. Do you have plans tomorrow morning?”

“Uh, school? It starts up tomorrow.”

“Oh, right. You’re seventeen. I keep forgetting. Is there any way I can convince you to take a skip day?” Luka raises an eyebrow, “Wednesday is the fourteenth birthday of my darling daughter Chloé! Everyone who is anyone will be checking into the hotel tomorrow for her surprise party. I’ve already received RSVPs from XY and Clara Nightingale! I need as many staff members present to make the banquet hall as exceptional as my daughter!”

“I can come in after school—”

“Excellent! Oh merci, merci! Ah!” The man runs over to two bellhops relaying the same speech.

Luka returns Fù’s cellphone, “you are all set M. Wáng. Your, uh, name was on the confirmation...” The teen trails off nervously.

“Ah. Of course. Merci, Luka.” Luka smiles and not the same distressing one from earlier.

Luka hands him the keycard and a couple of brochures. “The hotel has its own catering and kitchen staff but there are some outside eateries that deliver in case you’re in the mood for something else. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

“I think I can handle it from here. Merci.”

“No prob. Enjoy your stay.”

Fù’s room is on the third floor. He didn’t want it too high up or too low either. Once inside, he opens his suitcase and takes out an aluminum lunchbox. Placing his left pointer and middle finger on the lunchbox he chants the incantation and the box shifts into its original form. It would be rather difficult to explain carrying a box of magical artifacts to security so he disguised it.

The box opens and the nine Miraculouses inside pulse before their respective kwamis fly out. “Master!” Mullo, the mouse kwami, flies over to him wrapping his arms around as much of Fù’s cheek as his arms can reach in a hug.

Fù chuckles picking up his Miraculous and fastening it around his neck as Mullo nuzzles their faces together.

“Pretty subpar accommodations, Master.” The bird kwami, Orikko, confesses as she looks around.

“It’ll have to do.” The other kwamis begin looking around the hotel room as well, “remember why we’re here.”

“To protect the world from improper uses of magics.” The kwamis chorus dutifully.

Fù nods, “and it is my duty as Guardian to unite you with your Chosen wielders to assist you in this endeavor.”

“That’s all well and good...” Plagg, the cat kwami, begins, “but can we eat?”

“Master gave us food before we went into the Miracle Box.” The ladybug kwami, Tikki, admonishes. Plagg rolls his eyes.

“Food is one request I can fill.” Beaming, Plagg sticks his tongue out at Tikki who rolls her eyes in reply. Fù opens one of the brochures. “Hmm. Sabine & Tom Boulangerie Pâtissèrie?” All the kwamis float over to him. “Grand Opening.” All the kwamis eyes light up as they read the menu. This pâtissèrie has something for everyone.

There’s an explosion that reverberates through the building and the dragon kwami, Longg, begins glowing. They gasp. “My Chosen is in danger!”

“The food will have to wait. Mullo—”

“No time, Master.” Longg grabs their Miraculous and its accompanied personalized miniature Miracle Box. “I’ll move faster on my own.” The miniature Miracle Box transforms into a tube of red lip balm and Longg wraps their choker around it before they disappear in a flash.

After several seconds of everyone silently staring at where Longg was once floating, Plagg rubs the back of his neck. “So... that means we’re getting the food, right?”

🐉

Longg zips through the city following the aura calling out to them. There’s a fifteen meter blonde stomping through the streets. “I am Chloé Bourgeois and I am Larger Than Life! I told you I’d make your life hell, New Girl!” The blonde roars.

The aura flickers like a beacon and the dragon finds their Chosen, a little battered but overall safe, crouching near a building peering around a corner muttering to themselves. Making sure the coast is clear, Longg flies to the teen. “I found you!” The blue-haired girl looks up and her eyebrows furrow before her eyes widen in recognition. She slowly reaches a hand toward Longg petting their head.

“Weird. Why did I know you were coming? Whatever you are.”

“The aura never lies. I am Longg, your kwami. I believe it is currently the best approach to state my pronouns beforehand? Kwamis don’t... essentially have what humans refer to as ‘genders,’ or rather we are considered ‘mono-gendered,’ but we have become accustomed to human pronouns due to our time spent with humans. Mine are they and them. Now that that is out of the way. It’s good to finally meet you, Mlle. Marinette.”

“They and them. Got it. Now, how did you know my name but I didn’t know yours?”

“That is a question I have found myself wondering...” Longg shakes their head, “but there’s plenty of time for questions later.” They hold out the lip balm to Marinette, “you already know what you need to do.”

“How about a quick refresher?”

Longg sighs, jerking a hand behind them. “We need to stop that.”

“I was afraid you’d say that. Look, Longg, you’re adorable but unless you’re gonna magically transform me into something that size I—” Marinette facepalms, “that’s exactly what you’re gonna do, isn’t it?”

“Not quite. I will transform you, that’s a given, but I’m not the kwami of size altering... if such a kwami exists. I’m the kwami of elements. Think about what you want your appearance to represent then put on the choker and say ‘Longg, tip the scales.’”

Marinette takes a deep breath fastening the choker around her neck and sticking the lip balm into her purse, “alright. I’m being chased by an obnoxious giant brat. I’m talking to a tiny floating dragon plushie. Let’s just take things to an eleven. Longg, tip the scales!” Longg flies into the choker and Marinette gasps. “Holy Sailor Moon!”

Marinette can see the transformation in her glowing body. First, her mouth forcibly opens and she feels several teeth extending. Next, her skin transforms into red and gold scales – which is admittedly rather badass; she even grows a long red and gold tail and wings. Oh. It’s not her skin, it’s a suit. Damn. Well, its still badass. The same scaly material of her suit slots a domino mask over her eyes. Her hair flies out of its signature twin-tails and grows past her shoulders then turns red with gold highlights.

When the transformation ends, Marinette is looking at herself. The suit, thankfully, is not as skintight as it looks. There’s a gold sword sheathed and attached to her back, between her wings.

“Okay. This is pretty cool.” The redhead gingerly taps at one of her fangs, “this isn’t permanent, is it?” Furrowing her eyebrows, she taps the choker. “Longg? Longg, I know you’re in there. Wait, can I not talk to you like this? What kind of familiar are you?” Marinette unsheathes her sword and sighs, “guess I’m figuring it out on my own.”

🐉

The police car jerks to a stop in front of the school and André runs out of the car and into the building past all the students in the courtyard. “Angel! Chloé! Papa is here!”

“M. Bourgeois!” The police chief, Roger, calls after him.

“Papa!” Sabrina runs over to him.

Roger sighs in relief, hugging his daughter, “I’m glad you’re safe. What happened?”

Sabrina grimaces, “a new girl, she kinda got... snippy with Chloé. Needless to say, Chloé didn’t take it very well. I told her to stop thinking about it and, well, you can see it didn’t work.” Roger pinches the bridge of his nose, “an akuma flew into Chloé’s sunglasses and—” Sabrina points to the hole in the roof and Roger’s jaw drops.

After a few seconds of gaping, Roger takes another deep breath. “I tried calling the mayor but she wasn’t picking up. What happened to the girl who upset Chloé?”

“She ran.”

“What does she look like?”

“What good will that do, Papa? If Chloé sees her she’ll just attack you for harboring her.”

“Sabrina, I can’t let a student run around the city during an akuma attack... even if she’s unintentionally the cause of said akuma attack.”

“Is everyone out of the building?” The principal asks over the megaphone.

“M. Bourgeois went inside!” Roger tells the principal.

“I see... well, thankfully he’s not a student. Stick close together everyone—” The principal gasps as he sees the still akumatized Chloé in the distance. “Go! Away from the building and down the street! Hurry!” He instructs. The students instantly comply.

Sabrina slips away from her father and joins the rest of the students.

A red blur runs past André as he makes his way back out the building, “what the—”

Chloé stops in front of the school and screams, “first that bitch, and now this?!”

“Chloé!” André frantically waves his arms, getting his daughter’s attention. “Talk to me, Angel!”

“Oh Papa!” Chloé sniffles. “Audrey’s gonna have to fire someone for this!” She picks up André then sets him on her shoulder. “There’s some red lizard or something that won’t stay still.”

“A lizard!? Another akumatization?” The teen shakes her head, “a senti-feather?”

“Maybe.”

“Let’s take care of it then you can tell me about this girl.”

A ball of slush hits Chloé right on the left side of her face. André has to grip on her shirt collar so he doesn’t plummet to his death when his daughter quickly whirls around. There is a red... thing standing on a building with a large snowball in its hand. “Figured that would get your attention.”

You!” Chloé seethes and the butterfly mask appears over her eyes. “you’re dead!” André’s eyes widen as Chloé rushes at the lizard or whatever and it unsheathes a sword then charges right back at his daughter.

“Chloé, no!”

The sword turns into sparks and André feels the effects rather than sees it. With him sitting on Chloé he’s being electrocuted alongside her. Chloé’s sunglasses snap in two and the akuma flies out of them.

The lizard’s still sparking sword slashes at the butterfly disintegrating it into red dust and Chloé begins to shrink until she returns to normal size. The problem is, she was just fifteen meters tall so now with her shrinking in the air the two of them fall to the ground.

The lizard catches them a centimeter before they become stains on the concrete.

Shaking her head, Chloé sits up and blinks then glares. Her broken sunglasses fall into her lap. “My sunglasses!” She wails. “You stupid reptile, those cost two-thousand euros!”

“Then maybe you shouldn’t’ve let a butterfly fly into them.” Chloé grits her teeth but André grabs her.

“Merci beaucoup.”

Papa, you’re thanking it?!”

“From saving you from dying from that fall! And from staying akumatized!”

“It electrocuted us!” The lizard... or dragon upon closer inspection narrows their gold eyes and is still holding a golden sword.

Look!” Someone gasps. André turns around and the hole in the roof Chloé caused begins to repair itself through a red and gold glow.

“What the hell?”

André turns back to the liz—dragon but they’re gone. Could destroying the butterflies repair the city? His wallet feels lighter already with the revelation. Although... he has to wonder if they could be destroyed conventionally? If once they make contact with an item it gets akumatized, how could they be destroyed? Hopefully, that dragon has some answers.

🐉

Marinette flies through the air then lands on her balcony pulling the choker off her neck. The transformation instantly breaks and the choker flashes gold before it turns red-violet and Longg tumbles out of the fang-shaped bead. The tiny dragon looks around then winces, “right... forgot to tell you how to detransform.”

“You think?”

Longg shrugs, “not bad for your first time though.” They hold up a hand and Marinette shakes her head before high-fiving it. “To break the transformation simply say: ‘Longg, clear skies.’” Marinette nods. “As you already guessed, the akumas need to be destroyed. If that thought disheartens you, fear not! They aren’t real butterflies, merely constructs of pure dark energy given a butterfly’s appearance. They can only be destroyed by magic.”

“Isn’t ‘magic beating magic’ like a cardinal rule or something?”

“It is! But not just any magic can destroy an akuma, it has to be pure energy.” Marinette’s eyebrows furrow. “Now... speaking of energy, I require sustenance after every transformation. I also require sustenance multiple times a day like any other breathing organic and magical organism.”

“Right.” She beckons Longg over and then Marinette climbs down the fire escape with Longg hovering beside her.

“In case I have not made it obvious, we will need to be together to combat akumatizations and sentient feathers.” Marinette loses her footing but Longg dives down and catches her by her jacket hood before she falls ass first on the concrete.

“You’re stronger than you look, grazie. No wait, merci.”

“My pleasure all the same.” He carefully sets Marinette on her feet and the blue-haired teen opens her purse.

“You can hide in here, and there’s some cookies inside for you to munch on. I’ll make a pillow or something after school.” Marinette grimaces, “speaking of school, I should probably get back. I really hope I get excused for being chased through an unfamiliar city by a giant snob.” Fortunately, the boulangerie pâtissèrie is two blocks from the school. What Marinette isn’t expecting is the gaggle of students the next block over heading back into the school.

“The akuma attack is over.” The principal states over the megaphone, “everyone back inside. Take a minute to gather yourselves then head to class. Classes will resume in ten minutes.”

It’s easy enough to slink in behind the group like she was there the entire time. When Marinette reaches her locker there’s that perky short blonde in a pink dress who sat next to her in the first class. She gasps as Marinette gets closer. “Are you alright?”

“Nothing’s broken.”

The girl sighs in relief, “thank goodness!”

“Sorry about this but what was your name again?”

The blonde perks up. “No worries! It’s Rose. If you have any questions at all I’d be happy to answer them if I can.”

Marinette sets some stuff in her locker and closes it then they start walking to class. “There is one question that comes to mind: What’s the deal with that blonde girl?”

The blonde beside her instantly deflates, “that’s just Chloé. As you witnessed, it’s easier to just let her have her way. You aren’t the first new kid to try and oppose her on your first day. They all start like that. It barely takes the full week before they realize there’s no point in fighting. Chloé is relentless and her maman is the mayor.”

“Okay. This is just straight-up sad. If Blondielocks doesn’t get you to back down she’ll go after your family and all your friends. She’s a classic cliché egomaniacal starter villain.” Marinette shakes her head then circles her pointer finger in the air, “what about the butterflies?”

Rose sighs, “unexplained magical phenomenon. They just showed up one day out of the blue in the summer and have stuck around ever since. They feed off negative emotions. So do the feathers.”

“I’m sorry? Feathers?”

It’s not really surprising Chloé isn’t in the classroom. Everyone stares at Marinette as Rose sympathetically pats her on the shoulder before fleeing to her seat. “Just sit anywhere.” The teacher tells her then returns their attention to the chalkboard.

There’s an empty seat in the first row, closest seat to the door. Unlike the last two classrooms she was in these desks are single-person. Marinette takes it and she looks over her shoulder at everyone still staring at her.

The bespectacled orange-haired girl runs into the classroom, taking the furthest seat to the right in the front row. She sets her bag down then looks across the classroom and glares at Marinette.

Marinette rolls her eyes then props her arm against her face effectively blocking out everything to her right. Inwardly grinning when she hears a loud offended gasp.

The rest of the school day pretty much goes like this: Chloé and her orange-haired buddy blatantly glaring at her while the rest of the class openly stares wide-eyed like they’re expecting her to do something. Not one classmate spoke to her after Rose did before they got to class after the akuma attack. (That’s what they called it, right? She’ll have to talk to Longg.)

When school mercifully ends, Marinette heads home. There’s a line of people down the block and she has to squeeze through a small crowd crammed in the doorway to get in the boulangerie pâtissèrie.

“Fragola!” Marinette yelps as she’s lifted in the air in a bone-crushing hug. Her face is being squished into a shoulder but she’d recognize that smell of leather and motorcycle oil anywhere. “Mio Dio, you’re so big!”

“Mamma, I thought you came to help!”

“Fragola, you’re going to love your presents!” Her grandma, Gina, gushes setting her down with one last squeeze, “calm down, Bambino, mamma will handle everything.” Gina takes the tablet out from under her arm.

“Good seeing you, Nonna.”

“You’re so precious—”

Mamma!”

“I can take orders and gush about Fragola at the same time!”

“Marinette, please come here so you’re not distracting your nonna.”

Marinette gives her grandma an apologetic smile and hug before heading behind the counter. “Ciao, papà.” She gives him a one-armed hug.

“Ciao, Tesoro. I’m sorry to put you to work after your first day of school but as you can see—” He gestures to the line, “I knew when we met your mamma was a genius, though I questioned it when she proposed to me—” Marinette giggles, “but her idea of having a social media page worked out too well. We’ve been swamped since we opened!” Huh. Thinking back on it, there was a line when she was heading back to school earlier today.

“It’s the grand opening, papà, everyone wants to be the first to try something.”

“I’m so glad you turned out to be like your mamma!”

Marinette laughs. Someone clears their throat and Marinette tilts her head past her father to see her grandpa angrily kneading some dough at the back station. “Ciao, nonno.” He grunts at her.

“So good to finally be noticed.”

“Don’t start, Roland.” Gina warns, directing people out the boulangerie pâtissèrie. “We’ll get to all your orders. Grazie for waiting! You’re all lovely!” The crowd cheers.

“It’s a good thing you have her on crowd control. Gina’ll set the place on fire boiling water.” Roland mutters, “and all those times you wanted to hang and spend time with your mamma instead of learning how to cook.”

Tom sighs as he puts a tray in the oven, “papà, per favore!”

Sabine enters the shop with two empty trays under her arms. “Do I need to go on another grocery run?” She asks her husband who shakes his head.

“We should be good. I really need you to help us back here.”

“But what about—” The blue-haired woman pauses then blinks at her daughter who grins. Blinking again, Sabine does a belated double-take, “Marinette!? What are you doing here?”

“School’s over, mā mā.”

It is!? What time is it!?”

“16:52.” Gina replies, from outside.

“When I turned around it wasn’t even noon.” Marinette hugs her, “how was school—”

“When can ask that when the rush dies down.” Roland grumbles.

Sabine opens her mouth then closes it, exhaling deeply through her nose. “Mā mā, I got this. Put me where you need me.”

Smiling, Sabine tenderly cradles her daughter’s face. “You get that excitable, helpful nature from Tom.”

“Hey, don’t blame me! I don’t know where it came from!” Gina laughs and Roland mutters several choice Italian swears.

They put Marinette outside to greet and take customer orders. Whenever anyone gets too close to the thirteen-year-old or their eyes linger on her, Gina emerges with a rolling pin in one hand and a pair of brass knuckles in the other. Two grown men ran out of the line after that after they already paid for their orders.

It takes two hours and another grocery run before the line shrinks to a reasonable ten customers patiently waiting in front of the boulangerie pâtissèrie.

“Yeah. I got it. Whatever a cruell-er is. Fine.” An orange-haired girl hangs up the phone as she steps in the line. Marinette was designated to handing out free samples as the line dwindled. She absolutely did not approach the girl because she was pretty, no sir. Nor did she swerve herself and the tray out of the way of the person in line in front of the approaching girl.

“Ni—Bonjour. Free sample? It’s a sfogliatelle.”

The girl’s eyebrows shoot up, “a... a what!?”

Gina comes out nowhere then whispers in Marinette’s ear before disappearing. “My nonna just told me they also call it a ‘lobster tail?’”

The girl shrugs in reply, “never heard of it but I’ll give it a try. Merci.” She picks up on and raises it in a salute before taking a bite. Eyes widening, the girl drops her phone and Marinette grabs it before it hits the sidewalk. “This is so good! Oh shit! My phone. Great catch.”

“I’m an expert at dropping my phone... wait, that’s not something to brag about.”

The girl chuckles, “hey, how old are you?”

“Thirteen.”

“Me too. If this place just opened you must’ve just got here. Did you get registered for school yet?”

Marinette nods, “I did. I had my first day at François Düpont today.”

“No way. I go there. I’m in Mme. Bustier’s class. What about you?”

“Um. Mme. Me-Mel—Mei...? Mend?”

“Mendeleiev?” As Marinette nods, the girl whistles, “I do not envy you. They call that the akuma class.”

“I can see why.”

“I’m Alya.”

“Marinette.” They awkwardly greet each other with the cheek kiss then chuckle.

“I’ve been here since November and I’m still not used to that.” Alya laughs.

“At least I won’t be the only one messing it up.”

Marinette had been walking back toward the building beside Alya as the line shortened and people were coming in and out of the boulangerie pâtissèrie. Gina gives her granddaughter a knowing look as the two teens enter the building.

“This place is so cute!” Alya states.

Gina pats Marinette on the shoulders taking the empty tray from her, “Fragola is the genius behind the design.”

“Fragle-what?”

“Fragola. It means strawberry in Italian.”

“She used to be Mirtillo, which is blueberry, but that seemed obvious, no?”

“Is your ma trying to flirt with me for you?” Marinette blushes. “Which I don’t mind, by the way. Just wanted to make sure.” It shouldn’t be possible but her face turns redder.

“Did you hear that Bambino, she thinks I’m Fragola’s mamma!” Gina chuckles, “oh, I’d love to have you as a granddaughter, Ciliegia.”

“Whoa. Oh. Grandma, you said? And I thought my grandma looked young. And keeping with the fruit theme, I’m gonna guess: cherry?”

“Fragola, she’s a keeper.”

Nonna!”

Alya has a big order and explains she has three sisters, two younger and one older, plus her parents. Tom offers to give her a ride back to her place in the delivery van and after Gina’s less than subtle hinting Marinette tags along.

“Did you do fencing yet?”

Fencing?”

“François Düpont has a world-renowned fencing teacher. He teaches us techniques he teaches pros.” Marinette whistles. “This girl in my class, Kagami, came all the way from Japan and she’s been doing fencing since she was three and even she says he’s on the level. We arrived at François Düpont the same time so we hit it off. I’ll introduce you. Maybe we can all eat lunch together?”

“I’d like that. I couldn’t find where the cafeteria was so I spent all lunch period looking for it without eating.”

“That happened to me and Kagami our first day too! The cafeteria design is so weird!”

“I saw a sign that said it was being remodeled.”

“Probably because of all the akuma attacks.” Marinette nods with a hum.

When they reach Alya’s apartment, Anansi opens the door. “Sup.” Marinette gapes and nearly drops the cloche. “Appreciate you looking after Aly, man.” She pats Tom on the shoulder and he winces.

Two identical little girls pop from behind the couch. “I love your hair!” The one in yellow says running over to Marinette.

“Oh my gosh, so do I!” Says the one in green, “I’m Etta and she’s Ella.”

“I love your hair. I can never do a plain ponytail right.” The twins’ eyes light up.

“We can show you! We do each other’s hair!”

“Wait a second!” Tom points at a family photo, “t-th—I—hm.” Everyone stares at him. “M-Marlena Césaire lives here!?” Alya and her sisters nod. “O-Oh. Oh my goodness! This is unbelievable. I’d love to meet her. No. She’s probably at work. I’m such a huge fan! Am I yelling? I feel like I'm rambling. I'm just gonna stop talking now.”

“We can definitely arrange an introduction.” Anansi walks over to Tom holding out her cellphone.

“Wow. The first book I’ve ever read was Marlena Césaire’s cookbook.”

“The first—” Alya blinks at her, “wow. Ma read us all the book too.”

They didn’t meet Marlena but they did meet her husband and the girls’ father, Otis, who thanked them profusely for the pâtissèries and bringing Alya home. Alya and Marinette exchange numbers, and Anansi – given name Nora – also gave Marinette her number.

With a content sigh, Marinette flops down on her chaise. Longg flies out of her purse, holding the lip balm, and floats in front of her face. “There’s something you should know.”

“Lay it on me.”

This.” They hand Marinette the lip balm, “is a communication device.”

Marinette blinks, “it’s lip balm.”

“That’s the shape it took.” Longg shrugs, “I don’t know why it took that shape. You’re the one that subconsciously changed it.”

Marinette hums. “Is it... useable?”

“To communicate with?”

“To use, on my lips.” Marinette slowly sits up and uncaps the cover and takes a tentative sniff, “of course it’s strawberry.” She swipes some of the lip balm on her pointer finger and rubs her pointer finger and thumb together. “Feels real.”

“Its true form is my personalized Miracle Box. It’s what we’re placed in to find our partner but you were in danger so I came to you. Master has seven more individuals to distribute Miraculouses to.”

“‘Miraculouses?’”

“Oh!” Longg facepalms, “I tried to be less long-winded and I ended up forgetting to tell you important things.” They take a deep breath, “this—” They take out the choker from the purse, “is your Miraculous. It—”

“Turns me into a dragon.”

“That it does. It also, as you discovered, grants you power over the elements. Be advised, using my Miraculous will grant you dragon-like abilities.”

Marinette blinks, “come again?”

“The trade-off for the power is developing tendencies and animalistic traits... and occasionally features of the kwami.”

“I see. Wouldn’t having dragon traits and features make me easy to spot?”

Longg shakes their head, “no. The changes are subtle.”

Unconvinced, Marinette’s eyes narrow, “if you say so.”

“I’ve had several holders and the majority of them were never discovered. Speaking of previous partners, I should explain how you were chosen. See, you are the reincarnation of my last partner. Once a kwami has found an agreeable soul we tether ourselves to that soul for eternity. Although human lifespans are about a tenth of a kwamis their souls live on forever, passing from person to person and so on.”

“Honestly? That’s a bit creepy.” Marinette accepts the choker Longg hands her, “why did it change color? To hide itself? Like the Miracle Box?”

“When active, it turns gold. This is its camouflaged form.” Huh. Marinette really hadn’t paid attention to it when she first put it on and she couldn’t see it while transformed. “now, about your communication device. It’s how you’ll get in contact with your team and the Master. Because of your situation, you were the first to be partnered up.”

“About that... I can’t just dragon up and knock that blonde around a bit?”

“Well, I—” Longg frowns, “simply put: you could. Though I’d advise against it. It’s never a good thing to use your abilities to settle a personal vendetta. However, I am one-hundred percent in agreeance with using them in self-defense. But, another addition, your strength and stamina will increase with extended exposure to my magic so... should you ‘knock anyone around’ dial your strength back a bit. In rare cases, you’ll be able to use magic yourself – without transforming. Needless to say, it won’t be as strong as our combined power but it’ll do some damage nonetheless. Now—” Longg claps their hands together, “since we’re going to be together for the foreseeable future we should know more about each other.”

“Agreed. You said you eat, what do you like to eat?”

“I’m not picky. I’ll appreciate anything you give me—”

“You say that now and you’ll end up trying something you hate.”

“I loved the cookies you gave me.”

“You did?” Marinette blinks, “I made ‘em myself. They were a test batch so...” She trails off with a shrug.

Longg puts a hand on her shoulder, “I can’t wait to learn more about you.”

Marinette smiles, “me too.”

🐉

“Marinette!” Before she reaches the staircase of François Düpont, Alya jovially runs over to her. Behind Alya, Marinette recognizes some of her classmates whispering among themselves before scurrying into the building. How much longer is this gonna go on for?” “Bonjour!”

“Bonjour, Alya.”

“Nora found this dirty Italian dictionary and she asked for some confirmation on a few words.”

Marinette laughs, “I know more Mandarin swears than Italian but I can give it a shot.” She pauses, “I could also ask Nonna.”

Alya puts an arm around her wait, “you, my friend, are amazing. It’s a fact. It’s difficult as shit learning a third language fluently. And we’re also best friends now. Another fact.”

“Best friends, huh? I can live with that. Also... you speak three languages too?”

Alya ticks off with her fingers, “French Creole, which I’m realizing is a bit different than flat out French. Uh, Arabic and English.”

“So that’s four languages.”

“Three-and-a-half?” Alya shrugs. Marinette laughs. Longg, in her purse, must’ve moved or shifted or something because she feels a sharp pain in her side causing her to groan. “You okay?”

“Yup.”

Alya gasps, “are you having cramps? Nora told me what to do—”

No!” Marinette blushes, “I’m good! Plus, I already had that talk from Māma and Nonna.”

“Bet Nora’s talk was worse than your nonna’s.”

“I see your bet and wage some homemade mango pudding.”

“Ooh. My ma doesn’t specialize in desserts but she makes some mean fekkas.” They shake hands then start walking up the stairs, arm in arm.

Longg somehow moves her and Alya while still inside their purse before Chloé can push them out of the way.

“Those were so damn good reflexes.” Alya whistles. “Probably heard her cheap heels clacking.” The blonde glares then huffs as she walks up the stairs with the orange-haired girl running after her. Marinette groans, “what’s her deal?”

“You said they call my class the ‘akuma class?’ There went reason numero uno.”

“Wait a second. I saw her akumatized yesterday.” Alya takes her phone out of her shirt pocket then shows it to Marinette. The video starts playing. The blue-haired teen blinks as she sees herself – well her dragon self – gripping her sword as she flies at the oversized blonde before the video cuts off. “Wish I would’ve gotten a better shot but I can only zoom in so far.”

“It’s still pretty good.”

“I wonder what they’re called? I didn’t get close enough to get a good look at them.”

“Isn’t that a good thing? It means you weren’t in danger.”

Alya frowns putting her phone back in her pocket, “I suppose. But I don’t wanna run around and wait to be in danger before getting a closer look at a superhero!”

“S-Superhero?”

“What else could they be? They came exactly when we needed them.” Alya’s eyes sparkle, “I love superheroes. And I’d love it even more if I didn’t have to worry about akumas and amoks on my way to school.”

“B-But do you really think this ‘superhero’ or whatever can do this alone?”

“Hell no. Wait, no. That’s wrong. Lemme start over. I do believe they can do it alone. What I mean is, they shouldn’t have to. The only thing better than one superhero is a bunch of ‘em.”

“That is true.”

“Hey, you know... you could always ask to transfer classes if that blonde is a problem. A classmate of mine transferred from your class because of bullying.”

“I bet that girl was responsible for the bullying.” Marinette sighs deeply, “it’s just so—you know the teacher just let the blonde threaten me in front of her?”

“Oh hell no! Fuck that. No one’s gonna threaten my new best friend. I’m transferring into your class.” Alya moves her arm from around Marinette’s arm then storms toward the principal’s office.

“Alya, wait!”

Longg yanks her back. “There is a pressing issue.” They hiss, poking their head out from her purse.

The hall is empty but Marinette dashes to the girls’ bathroom then locks the door, “well..? I gotta stop Alya from transferring.”

“No, you really don’t.” Marinette’s eyebrow furrow. “It is as she says, you should not have to do it alone. That blonde girl is a terror and while I do not advocate physical violence against non-Miraculous holders, despite how badly they might deserve it, there should be several nonphysical manners of taking her down.” Longg takes a deep breath, “now the issue at hand. I’d recognize that headstrong aura anywhere. Your friend is an excellent, invaluable ally and a dangerous enemy.”

“What are you—” Marinette’s eyes light up, “she’s getting a Miraculous?” Longg nods. “No way! This is—Wait! Is this one of those we can’t know who we are because of destiny or some crap?”

Longg laughs, “I am happy to tell you such is not the case.” Marinette sighs in relief. “It depends on the person, truly. I’ve been with partners who refused to know who they were working with and I’ve been with partners who shared their identity with their teammates and family.”

Marinette sucks in a breath, “you’ve met my family, can’t imagine them taking me having superpowers.”

Longg grimaces, “neither can I.”

“Um. Can you point out every Miraculous holder?”

Longg shakes their head, “no. Not every. Simply the ones in my cluster.”

“Huh?”

“There are approximately one-thousand kwamis in existence. As a result, there are one-thousand holders. Kwamis are broken into groups, or clusters, to protect the world from improper magic usage.”

“Like this thing with the butterflies and feathers?”

Longg nods then pauses, “but sometimes kwamis themselves are the cause for improper magic use... like the situation we’re in. One-third of the kwamis in existence have no issue with their magic being used to crate chaos and havoc and another one-third have their powers used for mayhem against their will, so... mathematically speaking, the one-third of us who aren’t being used improperly have the odds are stacked against us.”

Marinette sighs, “that’s just grand.” She clicks her tongue. “Okay. So now that we know Alya is getting a Miraculous can we like expedite the process or does she have to be in danger?”

“Her being in danger would expedite the process, surely, but Master’s agenda was handing out Wayzz, the turtle kwami, first. And that girl is not the turtle.”

“Damn.”

“Beyond that, I have no idea if there is any premeditated order of delivery.”

“Gotcha. Will I know who the other holders are?”

“Subconsciously. Like your friend you will bond with them rather quickly, feeling as though you’ve known them your whole life because – in a sense – you have. Well... hm, it’s more like you’ve known them over several lifetimes. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean your bond will be a good one—” Marinette opens her mouth but Longg holds up a hand, “I can tell you with confidence and pure relief, that blonde girl is not part of our cluster.” The blue-haired teen sighs in relief.

“One more thing before we go. Alya’s probably already at the principal’s office by now. What was with poking me earlier?”

Oh.” Longg rubs the back of their neck, “I do apologize for that. The first time anyhow, I lost track of my tail while I was trying to get comfortable.”

“Get you a bigger purse, got it.”

🐉

On her way to the principal’s office, Alya saw Kagami and the blue-haired teen accompanied her. (And Alya just realized her two new best friends both have blue hair but Kagami’s is several shades darker.) The orange-haired teen explained everything and Kagami shakes her head. “How despicable. Hanging on her parents’ coattails and threatening others with their influence.”

“I agree, it is shitty, but it’s clearly working if people are terrified of her. Or terrified of what her parents will do. I’m a little hazy on the specifics.”

“My mother is terrifying yet I have never once used her reputation as a bargaining chip.”

“Your mum is scary, that’s true. I guess my only answer is: everyone’s not you, girl. Sad to say.”

“The same could be said about you. I’ve heard of Marlena Césaire in Japan, that’s how big a name your maman’s is.”

“No fucking wonder they fought tooth-and-nail to get her to come here. They, like, doubled their original offer when she told them about Milan’s counteroffer.”

“Alya, if you cannot be swayed about your decision to transfer classes, I will transfer with you.”

“Really? You don’t have to.”

“You’re wrong. You are not only my only friend in the entire school, but you are my best friend; I cannot and will not abandon you in your quest for smiting evil. Plus, there is strength in numbers. Furthermore, simply put, I wouldn’t mind working on my hand-to-hand combat.” Alya laughs. “I have seen that blonde girl around but she wasn’t worth giving a second glance.”

“Especially with that eyeshadow.” Alya mutters. “What do we tell Damocles when he asks why we’re transferring?”

Kagami hums, “the truth?” Alya gives her a look, “I didn’t think so. Admittedly, I’m not very good at lying.”

“Noted. I’m not great either but I’m sure together we can think of something believable.” Marinette approaches them, “girl, don’t try and talk me out of it.”

“I won’t. I just wanted to thank you for sticking up from me. I mean, we just met yesterday.”

“Alya is very loyal.” The pretty blue-haired girl next to Alya bows, “I’m Kagami.”

Marinette returns the bow, “Marinette.”

“I’m transferring with Alya, if the principal permits it. That girl will have to think thrice before confronting you.”

Alya gives Marinette a thumbs up. “We got your back. Kagami fences and I kickbox. Let someone come after you.”

There’s a line for the principal’s office. Marinette gets to know her two new (best) friends a little better in the meantime. (She wonders if Kagami is a Miraculous holder too?)

“Oh.” Marinette turns around to a pretty green-eyed blond exiting the office. “B-Bonjour, Kagami. Alya.” He blinks at Marinette, “um...”

“Marinette.”

“That’s a pretty name. I’m Adrien.”

Before the blond can move in to greet Marinette with a cheek kiss, a shrill voice yells. “Adrikins!” Chloé glomps on the blond’s back then gasps when she looks up. “Adrikins, what are you doing talking to her?” She points a finger at Marinette.

“Chloé, I just met her.”

“There really isn’t any reason to.”

“You’re familiar with her.” Alya and Marinette watch Adrien gulp, “you have been attempting to become friendly with me since my arrival.” Marinette could swear she saw the blond blush, “now that I know who you associate yourself with—” Her eyes cut to Chloé who scowls, “we cannot be friends.”

Adrien’s eyes widen. “What!?”

“Who are you do deny my Adrikins anything!? You should be grateful he wants to be your friend!”

Kagami’s eyes narrow. “Your voice is annoying me.” Chloé snaps her mouth shut. “How does that idiom go? ‘Birds of a feather?’ You rich, white blonds consider the world your oyster. You’re so used to getting what you want denial stuns you.” Adrien gapes at her, “and I bet you’re even less used to people pointing that out.”

“B-But I’m not Chloé—”

“Doesn’t matter. Your friend threatened mine.”

Chloé gets off Adrien’s back then grabs his arm, “you know something. You were right about the world being my oyster. And if you’re friends with her then Adrikins doesn’t need you either. He was probably doing you a favor.” With a huff, the blonde drags Adrien down the hall.

The principal’s office door opens and a student exits sadly. The principal beckons them inside.

🐉

With a heavy sigh, Adrien bangs his head against his locker. ”Don’t be so melodramatic, Adrikins. Whoever that girl is, she wasn’t worth your time.”

He groans lifting his head, “Chloé, you don’t get it! I really like Kagami. A lot. I was looking forward to being friends with her. To hang out with her outside of school. Hearing her say the two of us will never be friends because I’m friends with you, hurt. And this isn’t the first time that’s happened either. Kids in my class eye me with suspicion because they see the two of us together. Chloé, I’m sick of our friendship ruining my chances at making other friends.”

“They’re jealous of you, Adrikins. Jealous of us. Our bond will always surpass any flimsy friendship they try their hands at. And you know what? To hell with them. A real friend wouldn’t be so judgy with who you hang out with. That girl made a huge mistake and she’ll definitely pay for it.”

“Don’t you even think about threatening her.”

“I wasn’t.” Chloé rolls her eyes. “As I said, she isn’t worth your time. Which means she absolutely isn’t worth mine.”

“Funny you would say that. Kagami Tsurugi is the same girl Tante Audrey and papa told us to make friends with.”

“Oops.” Chloé shrugs, “we tried. Her loss. Not our fault she doesn’t carry herself like she comes from money. Did you see her sneakers? Those Nouvel Argent® Brand knock-offs came out two years ago.”

“What happened to ‘a true friend wouldn’t be so judgy about who you wanna hang out with?’”

“If she wanted to be friends with you, fine, but she doesn’t so – like I said. To hell with her. She’s not good enough for you, Adrikins. I don’t care how pretty or rich she is. So getting this out the way now did us all a favor. And this silly, rather obvious crush you have on her will evaporate.”

“They say you don’t get over your first crush easily.”

“They also say you can’t wear new clothes on a Friday but we both know that’s bull.”

“You’ve never so flippant when something doesn’t go your way, why do you treat my problems as if they’re not an issue?”

“Because this isn’t an issue. You’re blowing it out of proportion.”

I’m blowing it out of proportion!? I have no friends beside you and Sabrina! I wanted to go to public school so I could make new friends! How am I supposed to make friends when no one wants to talk to me because I know you?”

“You’re looking for friends in all the wrong places.”

“No, my problem is being friends with you.”

Chloé gasps, blinks, then takes a deep breath, “I know you’re upset, Adrikins, so I know you don’t mean that.” An akuma lands on his backpack strap. Chloé‘s eyes widen as the purplish-black butterfly mask appears over Adrien’s now purple eyes.

“I meant exactly what I said.” His voice echoes before the ooze overtakes his body, transforming him.

🐉

Marinette’s in class when she hears an alarm ringing overhead. Everyone gets up, abandoning their tests, swiftly and quietly exiting the classroom two at a time. “Marinette!” Mme. Mendeleiev beckons her, “that’s the akuma attack alert. I’ll teach you all about it when the attack is over. For now, just follow everyone outside the school.”

Marinette follows her schoolmates out the building, then slips away from the crowd to hide behind the building she just exited. She opens her purse and Longg floats out of it. “Go time, Longg. But can I just say that I am not all that eager about this akuma fighting if it’s gonna be a daily thing. I don’t even think Batman works on a daily basis.”

“Batman has dozens of nemeses so he very well could.”

Marinette groans, “tip the scales, Longg.” The transformation feels the same as it did yesterday, but Marinette doesn’t see her flaming red hair past her shoulders. She pats her head and feels her hair in chignon style buns. “This style is cute and a bit more convenient.” A beat. “Why am I talking out loud?”

Chloé runs out of the building, screaming and there’s a grey faceless blob chasing after her.

Longg said not to use her powers for a personal vendetta but they never said to not use them in a similar scenario. When Chloé trips, like every cliché film Marinette’s ever seen foretold, Marinette swoops in and grabs the blonde before the blob could descend upon her.

Chloé gasps then groans, “oh, it’s you.” Marinette drops her. “How rude!” Marinette unsheathes her sword. “Wait! D-Don’t electrocute him! My friend Adrien got akumatized because some pretty bitch thought she was too good to associate herself with him.” That isn’t what Marinette saw at all but obviously Chloé doesn’t know that.

“Uh-huh.”

“You’re not even listening to me!”

“Your voice carries, I heard you. Get to safety.” Chloé huffs loudly but stomps away.

“The akuma’s in his right shoulder!” She yells.

A butterfly mask appears where the blob’s face might be then the blob changes form into a tall, masked woman with long purple hair. “Well, well. It’s you. You’re the one who interrupted my fun yesterday.”

“What the hell are you?”

“I believe you mean who the hell are you?”

“Whatever, Lady. I’m not here for a grammar lesson.”

The woman tsks, “you clearly must be a child with such a temperament, and that why children should be seen and not heard.” She takes an exaggerated bow, “Madame Papillion, à votre service.”

“Why did you akumatize this kid?”

“Why does anyone do anything, Little Lizard? For the satisfaction of knowing! My akumas let the city know the selfish and weak-willed among them! People would sell out their family just for a sprinkle of power. All I have to do is provide the means to obtain it.”

It’s just like Longg told her. Is this kwami being used against their will or are they cool with it? “You’re getting a sick kick out of causing all this chaos!”

“Exactly! Aw, and here I thought you wouldn’t get it. Ooh. Speaking of get? Now that I know there’s another Miraculous in the city, I’m gonna have to take it from you. I don’t know what it does yet but I’ll learn.”

“Nah. I don’t think so.”

“Wasn’t a request.” The woman turns back into the blob. Chloé said the akuma was in the right shoulder and Marinette has no reason to suspect the blonde is lying. After all, she seemed almost genuinely concerned over the akumatization’s well-being.

Video game and comic book knowledge tells her throwing a punch at a blob is a bad idea so she lets her sword, and by extension her body, crystallize into ice.

“All I want is friends!” The blob shrieks charging at her.

“I’m sure there are better ways than this!” Standing her ground, the blob splits itself in two then slithers around her body rushing toward the students who start running away screaming. Stunned, Marinette stares blankly in front of her, “I-Hm... I was not expecting that.” With a sigh, she resheathes her sword then runs after the blob.

The blob continues to separate itself and the miniature pieces just start climbing on students turning them into full-size blobs.

Looking on, Marinette puts her hands on her head. Alya’s right, she absolutely should not have to do this alone!

Chasing after every blob is pointless but they all look the same and she’s lost track of the original. She’s gotta hit them all at once. If she can control elements, she’s gonna have to recall all her knowledge of Storm. Which is easy considering that’s her favorite superhero ever. (And how fitting she’d get similar powers.) There’s one element that comes to mind when thinking about hitting multiple targets in one go.

Marinette unsheathes her sword and raises it in the air. She calls forth lightning and the skies darkening. Her sword crackles to life. Marinette looks over her shoulder spotting the blobs approaching from all sides.

The blobs dogpile her and merge into one giant blob. Her sword lets out one EMP that causes the giant blob to explode. Scattering pieces of itself all over the sidewalk and the school. Chloé, who for some reason was unaffected by the blob and was hiding by the staircase, got showered with blob pieces. “This is so gross!” She wails. (And if Marinette got some minuscule satisfaction watching that, well that’s really no one’s business but hers.)

The blob begins to slowly reform itself around a purplish-black butterfly. “Oh no you don’t.” Marinette runs at the butterfly with her sword and electrocutes it. There’s a bright red glow coming from the butterfly before it explodes.

Marinette shields her eyes from the glare and this unnatural feeling wind just blows through her.

When she cracks an eye open, all the students and staff of François Düpont are sprawled out on the courtyard and the gross blob bits that covered her from head to toe are gone. (Wait. Damn, did he get everybody except Chloé?)

Longg’s gonna have to explain some stuff to her. Nevertheless, she resheathes her sword and steps over some of the groaning bodies so she can slip away to change back to Marinette.

Wait!” Chloé runs over to her, “I guess you’re not so bad. You saved Adrikins, although you probably could’ve done it less violently. And I really could’ve done without the blob bits everywhere—”

“Is there a point to you stopping me?”

“I—” The blonde clears her throat, “I-I...” She scowls, “m-mer—” Marinette just stares raising an eyebrow, which her mask is probably covering. The blonde stomps her foot. “Y-You know what I’m trying to say!”

“Do I?”

Chloé lets out an exaggerated groan, “m-m-merci, okay? I appreciate having Adrikins back.”

“You’re welcome.”

Chloé blushes, “r-right, well... as you were. Go do... dragon things or whatever.” The dragon dashes off. Chloé watches them go then clears her throat again looking around then steps over a few bodies before making it to Adrien. “Adrikins, are you okay?”

Adrien blinks, staring up at the sky, then sits up gasping. “Chloé! I’m sorry. I was mad but I shouldn’t’ve said—”

“We’re good, Adrikins. Like I said our bond is revered by our peers. It’s utterly ridiculous you’d think something like this would affect our friendship. And it’ll hardly be the last time either of us pisses the other off.”

S-Still—”

“Shut up, Adrikins.” She kisses him on the forehead. “Now get up. Your clothes are starting to wrinkle.”