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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.”

Chapter Text

“Don’t be bemused, it’s simply the news! Nadja Chamack here with ‘What’s The Question?’ and the question on all of Paris’ mind is: who is this akuma busting Dragon we’ve seen in the past two days?”

There’s an influx of pictures behind the burgundy haired woman each featuring a blurred image of the Dragon.

“Where did they come from? Why didn’t they show up sooner? Are they really gonna get rid of all the akumas around the city? But most importantly: what’s their name!? I can only think of so many Dragon related puns! Oh—” She clears her throat, “but you can always tweet and text your name ideas to the studio!”

Chloé holds up part of her hair and tries tying the top in a bun. She groans in frustration when the bun loosens. “Damn you Youtube! Jean-Jacques!”

There’s a tentative knock at her door, “you called, Mlle. Chloé.”

“That was quick. Get in here and help me with my hair.”

Adrien, sprawled out on Chloé’s bed, flips through a magazine with his face on it, “two days ago you hated this Dragon and now you’re trying to do your hair like them?”

“Her. Definitely a girl.” Adrien shrugs and keeps flipping through the magazine. Chloé’s butler enters the room and the blonde points to the television paused on the back of the Dragon’s head, “do my hair like that. I know papa has some elaborate surprise in place for me so that gives you time to get the style right.”

“Why did we skip school again? Today was a half-day.”

“Well I needed a full-day to get ready. Besides, who goes to school on their birthday?”

Adrien hums, “you know... you never answered my question. About how quickly your feelings for this Dragon changed?”

“Look, Adrikins, she saved your life. That’s why I don’t hate her... anymore. Plus, those gold eyes are alluring.”

“You know she saved your life too, right?”

“What she did was break my favorite pair of sunglasses. Did you see the replacements papa bought me? And he has the nerve to tell me to wear them today of all days? Ridiculous. Utterly ridi—”

You broke your sunglasses, Chlo, just like I broke my bag strap.”

“But if the weird red glow fixed up the school and turned everyone back to normal why did your stuff still break? I mean, wouldn’t it get fixed too?” She glances at Adrien through the mirror and he shrugs. “You’re the one that watches all those magic girl cartoons.”

“Magical girl and they’re ani—” He shakes his head, “doesn’t matter.”

“Pool all your magic knowledge together to think of an explanation.” Jean-Jacques pats her on the shoulder and she looks up at her hair. “Ooh. I love it! My hair looks just like hers! Adrikins, what do you think? Perfect, right?”

“It’s cute.”

Chloé beams. “Merci, Jean-Jacques. Now make sure it stays this way. And look for any dragon-themed clothing that can be delivered now. Preferably red.” The butler nods then swiftly exits the suite. “Adrikins, I have an idea and I need your help.”

“What is it?”

“If the Dragon only appears during akumatizations, I’m going to need an akumatization. It’ll be a birthday present to myself.”

“A birthday present... to yourself, is an akumatization?”

“A birthday present to myself is being swept up in those arms again.”

🎊

“No. Na-uh. Nope. La.”

On the top half of her phone screen, Marinette brings her hands together in a pleading manner. “Come on Alya, we need you.” On the bottom half Kagami nods in agreement.

Principal Damocles initially refused to have her and Kagami swap classes, but when they went to school today he called them to his office and told them he changed his mind. He stated his reasoning yesterday was he wanted to keep the same number of students in the classes and taking them out without putting two people in would ruin that. His solution? Swap out kids from every quatrième class. However Damocles got there, he’s putting Alya and Kagami in Mme. Mendeleiev’s class effective tomorrow.

All of this happened after Chloé Bourgeois – who wasn’t even at school today – made an announcement, via loudspeaker, about her birthday party that would be televised live and that none of them were invited. (Alya suspected that might’ve been a reason the principal changed his mind.)

It hadn’t clicked at first but Alya realized her mum worked for that brat and her family.

Alya, Marinette, and Kagami were set to try online playing one of Marinette’s games when Marinette’s parents informed her that they were catering for the Le Grand Paris party and that they could use Marinette’s help. If that weren’t bad enough, Kagami’s mum told her they got an invite and not going wasn’t an option. So for the past twenty minutes the two of them have been trying to convince her to go with them with Kagami’s “plus one” invite.

“Why should I go to this shit?”

“Best friend code, Alya. When your besties need some additional support you gotta get in there and provide it!”

Furrowing her eyebrow, Kagami flips through a book. “We will owe you a... ‘solid— ’” She air quotes with one hand, “—should you attend with us.”

Alya stifles her laugh, “look, we get it. None of us want to be there but we gotta so let’s all be miserable together? You wouldn’t want to miss out on that, would you?”

Kagami drops her book, “and think of the hord... d-or... the tiny appetizers we can try. I can see...” She brings her pointer finger and thumb close together, “appetizers smaller than this costing over two-hundred euros.”

“No way! That’s not expensive enough. It’ll definitely be over five-hundred.”

“Alright. Fine. You twisted my arm. I’ll go to this damn thing so we can all be miserable together and make fun of overpriced food we’re definitely gonna stash in our purses and bring home.”

“I hear that. I’m gonna bring a big purse with as many take away containers as I can fit in it.”

“If that is the plan I’ll try to find some containers or foil paper. Maybe sandwich bags.”

“Definitely the sandwich bags.” Alya and Marinette agree.

“Good. Okay. We can do this. I don’t have a purse though.”

“Don’t sweat it. I got purses coming out the wazoo. Ooh. Hold on. Let me show you some. Maybe since we’re on the phone we can compare outfits.”

“We should. I read an article that said best friends always show one another their OOTD’s before a party.”

Marinette and Alya stare at each other, “our what?” The latter asks.

“OOTD. Outfit of the day. I can give you a link to the article.”

“I’m gonna have to pass. I believe you.”

Marinette disappears from the screen then reappears with an armful of purses. She drops them on her gaming chair. “What color do you need?”

🎊

Kagami and her mother, Tomoe, walk arm in arm into Le Grand Paris. Her mother’s probing cane stills and her grip around Kagami’s arm tightens. Before Kagami could question it, a balding blond white man approaches them. “Tsurugi-san, welcome.” He bows. “I’m André Bourgeois. Owner of the hotel.”

“Why was my presence specifically requested for a child’s birthday party?”

Kagami watches the man awkwardly rub at his throat. “W-Well, Tsurugi-san, I was hoping to take a minute of your time to talk to you about a proposition?”

“And you needed all this fanfare to do so?”

“You’re a notoriously hard woman to track down. To be honest, I wasn’t even certain if you’d attend my daughter’s birthday party.”

“I hear it’s going to be televised, and who can pass up free press?”

Clearing his throat, the man nods. “S-Shall we?”

Kagami taps on her mother’s arm, the woman leans in her daughter’s direction and then Kagami tiptoes to whisper in her mother’s ear. “I suppose.” She releases Kagami’s arm then offers it to the man. “It better be worth my time.”

The man gulps, “o-of course, Tsurugi-san.”

“And what of my daughter? Are you simply going to leave her there?”

“N-No! I’ll...” He frantically looks around, “ah! Couffaine!” A boy with green hair and teal tips approaches the man. “Please show uh...” The man stares at Kagami who raises an eyebrow. Ah. Did all the research and intel on Tomoe but forgot her daughter. Typical. “Please show... Tsurugi-san around then escort her to the banquet hall.” The guy nods then the man laughs awkwardly as he walks with Tomoe.

The guy shrugs, “wanna get this over with?”

“Might as well.”

He jerks his thumb behind him, “this way. Name’s Luka.”

“Kagami.”

Luka gives her a tour of the ground floor (Kagami could swear she saw a flamingo trot by), giving her random trivia about the hotel along the way. When they get to the second kitchen, Kagami sees Marinette. And she isn’t the only one, judging by the soft, surprised oh that comes out of Luka’s mouth.

“I knew that outfit was the right choice.” They gave one another feedback in helping choose their outfits. Marinette made not only the caterer outfit she’s wearing but all the purses she showed them earlier. Kagami is wearing a grey button-up blouse with black dress pants. For Alya, she settled on wearing a peach sweater dress. They had to talk her out of the full-on formal mermaid dress she was gonna wear so she could outshine the birthday girl. Marinette hands her a grey purse and holds her hands, “you look so cute.”

“I owe it to you. You’re a fantastic designer.” Marinette blushes and Kagami realizes her hair is down.

Oh. Um. Who is this?”

Luka is still standing there stunned. It’s only when Kagami tiptoes waves a hand in front of his face that he snaps back to reality. “S-Sorry. I was just... that outfit is—you’re really pretty.” Marinette blinks at him and he clears his throat, “I-That was supposed to stay in my head. I-I’m Luka.” He waves awkwardly.

“Marinette, and merci. You’re... really pretty too.” She smiles at him and Luka clenches and unclenches his hands several times until he settles on just stuffing them in his pockets. “Kagami, you gotta see the croquembouche tower my parents made. It looks like Chloé’s face!” She lets go out one of Kagami’s hands to grab one of Luka’s. “Come on.”

The croquembouche tower does, indeed, look like Chloé’s face. They even dusted the top of the eyes with her signature sky blue eyeshadow.

In addition to that, there was a macaron sculpture that looked like Chloé with one arm in the air in a cheer.

Kagami was a little surprised there wasn’t an ice sculpture of the blonde. They did have an ice sculpture, but it was of a giant lizard.

“What is the progress here people?” A tall blonde woman walks into the kitchen with a cellphone in her hand. She’s wearing an all-white jumpsuit (which probably isn’t the smartest of moves – but then again chefs wear white jackets in a kitchen all the time). She pauses to stare at the three of them,” I know you...” She gestures to Luka, “but why are two little girls in the kitchen?”

“I’m showing them around, Mayor Bourgeois.”

“For what purpose?”

“The boss said so.”

The woman looks them both up and down with a neutral expression and raises an eyebrow, “just keep them out of the way.” Then she briskly walks past them.

“Definitely Chloé’s maman.” Marinette and Kagami mutter.

Luka and Kagami help Marinette help her parents set up the food. They also meet Alya’s mama who both of Marinette’s parents gushed over. She has orange hair slightly darker than her daughter and it’s all tied in a bun.

During the gushing session, Kagami and Marinette get a text from Alya who is on her way.

“I appreciate you two looking after Alya.” Marlena tells them, hugging them both.

It’s like time moves in slow motion when Alya walks into the hotel. She’s wearing the sweater dress but she also has her hair in a high ponytail and large gold hoop earrings and a black belt around her waist that matches her black lipstick and black purse with gold straps. Oh and she’s wearing black thigh-high heel boots.

“Damn.” Luka says.

When she walks over to the three of them she does a little twirl, “well?” She has black eyeshadow on too.

“Alya, you look amazing!” Marinette squeals hugging her. “We need pictures.”

“I brought makeup we could wear. Might as well make the most of things, right?” She adjusts her glasses and Kagami realizes she’s wearing different, gold frames rather than her usual black ones.

“I think you would’ve been less likely to show up the birthday girl with the first dress.”

Alya laughs then points at Luka. “Who’s that?”

Marinette and Kagami turn to Luka who rubs the back of his neck as he waves.

Luka escorts them to the bathroom so they can put on some of Alya’s makeup. Marinette puts on baby pink eyeshadow and lipstick and Kagami applies orange lipstick.

Kagami grimaces in the mirror, “should I choose another color?”

“I like orange but I’m biased.”

“No way. I like the orange on you.”

“We’re your best friends, Kagami, we’d never let you go anywhere looking anything less than perfect. Close your eyes.” Alya puts a bit of orange eyeshadow on the Kagami’s eyelid. “Not that we need to do much because you are one bad bitch.”

“Back at you.”

“I like that all your lipsticks and eyeshadows match.”

“Girl, the struggle was real. I had to buy them in sets because I just used to pick stuff up that didn’t have a match and had to try and look around for anything close enough. Done.”

Kagami opens her eyes and looks back in the mirror, tenderly touching around her eyes. When she moves her hand there’s orange powder on her fingertips.

“Ooh. You rubbed off some of the blush.” Marinette states, “you know, I never understood the purpose of blush.”

“Neither do I.” They both squint at Kagami’s face. “Can’t even tell it’s there.”

“Maybe that’s the point? And it’s not like it’s hiding her freckles which are really, really adorable.”

“You have freckles too.”

“Yeah... but they’re not as cute as Kagami’s.” Alya fondly shakes her head.

They exit the bathroom and Luka’s leaning against the wall. He pushes himself off and bows, “shall we continue, Mademoiselles?” The three of them hook their arms together and nod.

🎊

Being fashionably late to Chloé’s party wasn’t an option, but at the same time Lila didn’t want to get there too early. Because of Chloé’s tantrum on Monday, Mme. Bustier put Marinette at her seat yesterday and today claiming she’s working on a seating arrangement that would benefit everyone. Never mind Chloé wasn’t even in the building today, meaning Marinette could’ve more than sat at the empty desk. The brunette had to roll her eyes at that woman. She wouldn’t be surprised if the teacher consulted Chloé on the seats. Oh well. As long as Lila wasn’t the one picked to sit by Chloé she could care less about who was the poor, unfortunate soul.

When she enters the hotel she sees Marinette arm in arm... in arm with two unfamiliar, pretty-as-all-fuck girls.

Lila wasn’t able to dig up much information about Marinette herself but she found out quite a lot about the blue-haired teen’s parents. Marinette spent the first four-and-a-half years of her life in China, then the following four-and-a-half years in Italy, then there was the period of four years where they traveled between Europe and Asia before coming here. Marinette’s parents, Tom & Sabine, worked in damn near every boulangerie and pâtissèrie they’ve come across. But Lila doesn’t know why they all of a sudden got their own brick and mortar. Probably got tired of not calling the shots.

Lila could empathize. Before she came here last year, she was the HBIC in all her old schools. Never took long to begin her reign. Her mamma was a travel agent before she became a diplomat so Lila got to travel the world with her mamma, picking up plenty of fancy trinkets she could come up with elaborate backstories for. Lila’s not... entirely sure how she came to such a drastic career change. Her mamma seemed more than happy with her job; plus, she was studying to get her pilot’s license. If her mamma had half the drive Marinette’s parents did, she could get the damn license instead of waffling around making excuses.

Lila sighs. She’s grateful the only thing she got from her mamma was her looks.

Upon arriving at François Düpont last year, Lila charmed her schoolmates – naturally – but she wasn’t that whispered name on everyone’s lips. No, that honor went to someone else. As soon as she heard about Chloé Bourgeois, Lila decided to do her homework. An objectively pretty brat who used her parents’ influence to get what she wanted...?

Lila could work with that.

They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Even if all people talked about was how awful Chloé was, they were still always talking about Chloé.

Within her first week of school, Lila charmed Chloé to get in her inner circle. Little compliments about her designer outfits and makeup. Half-true stories about their similar lifestyles. Flat out lies about celebrities she knew in Italy. Pretending to be interested in Chloé’s interests but not so much that her ass-kissing was obvious.

Chloé wasn’t a conventionally dumb blonde but she was a stereotypically vain one so Lila had to out-lie her rather than outwit her.

At first, Chloé’s best friend and apparent watchdog was suspicious of her. Lila thought she’d have to get rid of her but Sabrina eventually warmed up to her.

Then there was Adrien. The first word that came to mind when Lila met him was: cute. She could have fun with him.

Then she got to know him. He was a wallflower... but he was pretty so maybe that term didn’t match.

Either way, he was like a doormat when it came to Chloé. No. That was wrong. He was just an all-around doormat. Whenever the group had trouble deciding on something whatever Chloé selected, she claimed Adrien would agree with her putting the decision in her favor. Hell, Chloé did pretty much everything but flat out insult him and he just ...let her.

Lila’s surprised it took him fourteen years of knowing her to snap and get akumatized.

Cute as he was, she wasn’t interested. And, to be honest, he just wasn’t interesting. He ruined her perfect two week long family image of being Liliana Rossi-Agreste. No. That wasn’t happening. Although, having a rich husband who would do whatever you want without complaint isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Nah. She moved on.

Félix I Have So Many Last Names To Cover My Inferiority Complex and Lila butted heads immediately upon meeting. Félix was an asshole and not even the fun kind either! Plus, he looked scarily similar to Adrien and that... that was something she wasn’t gonna touch. But Félix and Adrien’s mammas are identical twins so...

Nope. Not him either.

But she will say the Agrestes and Vanderwhatevers could make some pretty kids.

Aurore... now there was someone Lila genuinely considered a friend. Apparently, she and the blonde were of similar mind when it came to Chloé. However, Aurore’s parents pretty much made her become Chloé’s friend because they were all rich and white and blond. Lila doesn’t know the specifics. But Aurore wasn’t in their class so Lila got to complain to her about Chloé when Chloé wasn’t around.

Sabrina had the meek girl-next-door vibe going on but she did have more of a backbone than Adrien. Unfortunately, that meant Chloé was twice as quick to lose her already short temper with Sabrina compared to Adrien. The other day wasn’t the first time Lila saw Sabrina correctly argue her point to Chloé. (Lila definitely needs some info on the origins of their friendship because it can’t be as simple as police chief and mayor in the same room shoving their kids together.)

Lila briefly thought about getting with Chloé when she realized the blonde was into girls but she could not in good conscience imagine a life with the blonde. No matter how powerful Chloé could become.

It sometimes takes every ounce of willpower she possesses to get through the day being a fucking toadie. Every time her named was mentioned it was always After Chloé’s.

This was so not how she expected her life to go!

Before she could give up and consider all hope lost, Marinette Dupain-Cheng swooped in François Düpont like a fucking shining knight with a flaming sword riding on a griffin. She talked back to Chloé. She got the blonde akumatized.

There was no way Lila wasn’t gonna be friends – and possibly more – with someone who had the chops to gun for the school’s Queen Bee unknowingly.

Marinette probably hadn’t seen Lila hanging around Chloé so she could use that to her advantage. And if she had, it was nothing Lila couldn’t fix. Her nonna always used to say she’s nothing if not resourceful.

Oh! Speaking of dear sweet old nonna, Marinette was half-Italian. What better reason could there be to get acquainted with a fellow Italian? Of course this meant Lila would have to learn Chinese quickly. It took her two weeks to become mostly fluent in French and a month to have full-on discussions without slipping in Italian swears words.

If Chloé had any questions concerning Lila’s shift in loyalty, Lila could always claim she’s trying to get to know the blue-haired teen so Chloé can take her down. “Keep your enemies close;” That sort of thing.

Chloé doesn’t have to know everything that goes on in Lila’s life.

The elevator guy greets her unlocking the penthouse button with his key. She returns the greeting, thanks him, then gets in the elevator. The last thing she sees before the doors clothes is Marinette’s laughing face.

When the elevator door opens Lila looks around the floor in confusion.

There are red dragon printed everything just sprawled out in the hall.

She walks over to a dress on a mannequin and feels the material for a nanosecond before someone slaps her hand away. “No! No touching. It’s for Mlle. Chloé’s hands only.”

“Right.” Lila rubs her hand. “Got it.” She doesn’t bother knocking on the partially opened door before she saunters inside. “Chloé, what the hell?” The blonde has her hair in twin buns that Sabrina and Chloé’s butler, Jean-Whosit, are sticking hairpins in.

“She’s become obsessed with that Dragon.” Aurore, lounging on a chaise – a safe distance from the chaos, replies.

“What Dragon?”

“The one who broke her akumatization two days ago then Adrien’s yesterday?”

“Ah!” Lila nods in understanding. She looks down at her black and white striped romper. “I feel underdressed.” Aurore, in a yellow skater dress, shrugs.

There you are!” Chloé sighs motioning for her to come closer. Aurore subtly shakes her head but Lila has no choice. She plasters on her best smile for Chloé’s eyes only then marches toward the blonde. “How attached are you to your hairstyle?”

The smile slips off her face as Lila blinks at her. “What?”

🎊

“This is Alec Cataldi live from Le Grand Paris! In case you hadn’t marked this day on your calendars it’s Wednesday, January 8th! Why is today so important? We—” He squints at the camera, “we have every reason to celebrate the birthday of Paris’ own local debutante Chloé Bourgeois! What? I skipped a line?” He scans the teleprompter behind the camera. “Isn’t that what I—? Oh. And you want me to...? Really? Well, this is live. Okay then.” He clears his throat. “This is Alec Cataldi live from Le Grand Paris! In case you hadn’t marked this day on your calendars, today is Wednesday, January 8th! Why is this day so important? You may be wondering? Well, you really shouldn’t be wondering! Today is Chloé Bourgeois’ birthday and we have every reason to celebrate the birth of Paris’ own local debutante~” He blinks, smiles, then gives the camera a thumbs up. The camera pans out and there’s a smiling brunette on Alec’s left, “and I’m here with another local teen celebrity Clara Nightingale! Clara, what do you think about the party?”

The brunette’s eyes quickly dart from side to side and her expression goes blank. “The party started?”

They both turn to the camera, eyebrows furrowing.

The camera cuts to Aurore in another part of the hotel adjusting the hem of her dress. Her head snaps up toward the camera, “huh? I’m on? Oh!” The blonde clears her throat, “your local weather girl Aurore Beauréal here live from Le Grand Paris and the weather forecast for Chloé Bourgeois’ party is gonna be hot.” She winks at the camera. “Everyone who is anyone is in attendance! And as a close, personal friend of Chloé Bourgeois I can tell the city is in for a real treat getting an exclusive look into this birthday bash~”

Fù had just come back from a grocery trip to see costumed individuals running around the lobby with brightly colored animals, balloons of a blonde girl, large cloches, and dragon origami. Thankfully, he was short enough to be able to walk under the three people carrying a croquembouche tower to make his way to the elevator.

Although his primary objective is introducing Wayzz to their partner, he’s hoping Longg will introduce their partner to him first.

As the elevator door opens three laughing girls exit. Last to exit, the blue-haired, brown-eyed girl holds the door open for him so he can get inside. As he thanks her he feels Longg’s energy, but he doesn’t know which one it’s coming from. “Do you need help with your bags, Monsieur?” The bespectacled, orange-haired girl asks.

He hoists the bags in his hands. “That would be a great help. Merci.” Each of them take one of his bags and get back in the elevator. Fù, hands now empty, hits the third-floor button. “Are you three friends with the young lady this party is for?”

The three of them exchange glances then the orange-haired girl scoffs, “nah man. They’re here because of their parents and I’m here because of the best friends code.” Fù nods with a hum.

Longg pokes their head out of the blue-haired, blue-grey eyed girl’s purse. The girl doesn’t even look as she gently stuffs Longg’s head back inside.

Out of the elevator, they follow Fù to his hotel room. Fù sincerely hopes the kwamis aren’t just casually loafing around the suite. He swipes the keycard then they follow him inside.

The girl set his bags on the table. “Merci beaucoup. I appreciate you taking time out of your day to help an old man.”

“Don’t sweat it.” The blue-grey eyed girl replies.

“We’re better book it if we’re gonna go through every floor.” The orange-haired girl says, the others nod.

“B-Before you go, might I have your names? In case we ever meet again.”

“Uh, okay. I’m Alya.” Says the orange-haired girl.

“Marinette.” Replies the one with Longg.

“Kagami.” Answers the blue-haired, brown-eyed girl who looks at him suspiciously. “What’s your name?”

“Me? I’m Fù.”

“Take care M. Fù.” They say as they leave the hotel room.

Once the door is closed and looked the kwamis come out of the other room, “Master!” Wayzz beams, “my Chosen! That girl with the grey shirt is my Chosen. Shall I go to her?”

“No, Wayzz, not yet.”

“But I thought—”

“We need to talk to Longg first.” Tikki interrupts.

Fù nods, “exactly.”

🎊

A clown!?” André winces, both from the scolding and the pitch of his wife’s voice, “you got Zoé a clown!? She turned fourteen, André, not four!” Audrey folds her arms over her chest, “utterly ridiculous!”

“Pumpkin, I had to do something last minute. A lot of celebrities and acts didn’t reply to their RSVPs! Then there were those who replied they wouldn’t perform for Chloé if it were her dying wish.”

Audrey grimaces, “so your only option was a clown?” André shrugs his reply, “what about music? I saw Clara Nightingale with Cataldi.”

“She is here, yes. Though, to be honest, I suspect the only reason she came is because she’s too nice to refuse.” Audrey runs both hands down her face, “but XY is also here! Though he said if he wasn’t the main act he wasn’t gonna perform.”

“This is a disaster.”

“Not quite. Clara Nightingale and XY are Chloé’s favorite musicians!”

Audrey rolls her eyes as she walks into conference room number two with André trailing behind. “My husband and I appreciate you coming.” Clara Nightingale, Bob Fucking Roth, Some kid Audrey suspects must be this “XY” she’s never heard of, and the clown wearing black and white. This only type of party this is, is a goddamn pity party.

“Anything for little Zoé, am I right?” Roth says throwing finger guns her way. “Though fourteen isn’t really little—”

“Listen you old fuck, you even breathe near my daughter talking like that and I will end you.” Roth holds up his hands in surrender. Audrey turns to the brunette, “Mlle. Nightingale, how do you feel about being the opening act for...” She takes a deep breath, “XY?”

The blond... – who, oh God he even looks like Roth – waggles his eyebrows. Clara turns to him then turns back to Audrey, far less chipper than usual. “As long as I don’t have to be near him, I’m fine with that.”

“You.” Audrey points at the clown, “you don’t look like a very funny clown. Why are you so monochrome? Do you tell jokes or make balloon animals?”

“Uh...” Clara raises a hand, “Mayor Bourgeois? M. Haprèle is a mime, not a clown.”

“Oh, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” Audrey turns to her husband.

“I’ll fix it. I’ll fix it!” He runs out of the room. Audrey takes a deep breath massaging her temples.

“If entertainment is the problem. Just let me keep singing all party long. I guarantee—”

“No. I don’t know anything about you. I’m not gonna let you ruin this party.”

Scoffing, XY folds his arms over his chest muttering under his breath.

“What do you got to lose by honoring his request?”

“Don’t you fucking—”

The conference room door opens and XY gasps, “sounds like you could use a hand.”

“Émilie. Thank God you’re here!”

The blonde walks in the room greeting Audrey with a hug and cheek kiss. “Did you think I’d miss my goddaughter’s birthday?”

“Y-Y-You’re Émilie Graham de Vanily!”

She smiles at XY, “I am. And you are?”

“Xavier-Yver Roth, Mme. Graham de Vanily. But everyone calls me XY.”

“I can understand why.” Audrey mutters. She turns to Émilie. “Did you bump into André?”

“No. Why?”

“No reason. How can you help with ...this?”

“I can call in a few favors? Get some people to stop by?”

“No. Once they find out why they’ll refuse or make a scene and I will not embarrass my only child on live television. Even if it’s just locally broadcast.” Audrey checks her phone, “Mlle. Nightingale, you’re up. Zoé should be heading to the banquet hall. You’ll sing happy birthday to her.”

“I can do that.” As Audrey walks off, Émilie grabs Clara’s arm as the brunette gets up.

“Her name is Chloé.” She points at everyone in the room, “the birthday girl’s name is Chloé. Understood?” Everyone nods. “Good.” Then she lets go of Clara and leaves.

🎊

“Girl, what’s wrong?”

“I-I dropped something from my purse.”

“Do you need us to help you look for it?”

Marinette strains a smile, “that’ll be—” The lights dim.

The banquet hall doors open and a spotlight shines on Chloé, in a gold halter neck dress, is being carried inside as she sits on a gold chair. The blonde blows exaggerated kisses to her left and right.

“Damn, that poor girl is delusional...” Alya mutters shaking her head.

“Joyeux anniversaire~” Clara Nightingale sings. The crowd in the banquet hall collectively lose their shit as another door opens revealing the brunette in an all-white neon cat mask with three people behind her also in similar yet colored differently neon cat masks. Chloé’s eyes light up as Clara lifts her mask over her eyes as the others continue to sing as they get closer.

Kagami has to scratch her head as she looks around, she elbows Alya. “Why is everyone losing their minds?”

“You’ve never heard of Clara Nightingale?” Marinette whispers. Kagami shakes her head.

“Girl, we’ll hook you up later. Fact.” Marinette nods in agreement. “But I am curious about the cats with her.”

Once Clara’s done singing, she holds up a hand and the crowd instantly quiets. “Merci beaucoup! No birthday party will be complete without a surprise guest. Or three. I couldn’t think of a better surprise for the birthday girl than introducing her to a few good friends of mine. Everyone please join me in giving a big hand to Kitty Section!” The crowd cheers as the trio in the cat masks wave. “They’re gonna perform their very first single for the birthday girl.” Clara slips the mask back over her face. “Hit it!

The shortest one with the pink and black cat mask does the countdown before she starts wailing on the microphone amping the crowd again.

Alya has her phone out recording the performance.

Marinette discreetly tries looking in her purse for Longg. How could she have lost them!? Or did Longg leave her on purpose? There is no tiny magical dragon in her purse and she even sewed a little secret compartment for them away from the containers she brought.

When the lights return to normal and the performance ends, Marinette snaps her purse shut. She’ll have to look for Longg later. Hopefully, she won’t need them now.

Chloé gets up from her chair applauding, thanking Kitty Section and Clara.

“No way.” Alya lowers her phone. Marinette and Kagami turn to her, “her dress has little dragons on it.” Alya scrolls back a few pictures on her phone then zooms in on Chloé’s dress that does have darker gold dragons on it.

“You don’t think...” Marinette sucks in a breath, “it’s because of the Dragon from a few days ago, do you?” Oh where is Longg when she needs them?

“A reasonable conclusion.” Kagami confirms, “they did save her life twice. In two days.”

“Didn’t she get her best friend akumatized or something?”

“And I got her akumatized the day before that.” Marinette grimaces. Alya and Kagami both stare at her. “Did I... not tell you that?”

The next thing Marinette knows she’s being ushered out of the banquet hall, Kagami grabbing one arm and Alya grabbing the other.

They head to the elevator after the cop stares at them the second they exited the banquet hall. “Marinette Bǎo Dupain-Cheng, you so did not tell us that.” Alya begins (and Marinette regrets telling Alya her middle name). “You told us you told her off about a seat but not that it led to her being akumatized.”

“It’s our fault for not assuming that.”

“Yeah well assuming makes an ass out of you and me. I saw the akumatization but I didn’t know you were involved. What happened? Were you safe? Did she hurt you? Do we gotta kick her ass?”

“I guess the chair thing really got to her. The Dragon got me to safety. I mostly hurt myself running out of her way. Don’t kick her ass on her birthday.” Alya sighs in relief.

Kagami hums. “Then that means you were close enough to get a good look at them?”

“I... really wasn’t paying much attention.”

The elevator light flickers then an alarm goes off and the elevator jerks to a stop. Kagami hits the third-floor button and her eyes narrow when it doesn’t light up. “This cannot be happening. I cannot be locked in an elevator.” She starts hitting buttons at random.

Alya eyes her. “Are you claustrophobic?”

“Extremely.”

“Deep breaths, Kagami. We’re here.” Marinette flinches slightly as she feels a familiar jolt in her side, but she keeps rubbing Kagami’s shoulders. “Let’s see if our phones work.”

“In a hotel this damn expensive they’d damn well better have the best damn cellphone reception.” Alya takes out her phone, “mine’s good. Let me call my ma.” The elevator lights go out and Alya’s phone dies. “Well, shit.”

“Oh no. This... this is not good. I’m like two seconds away from an anxiety attack.” Marinette begins to pace as much as she can in the enclosed space and Kagami slumps to the floor and starts hyperventilating.

“You both can’t start freaking out because it’ll make me freak out too!”

There’s a bright red glow coming from inside the elevator before the door pries itself open. “Quickly.” Fortunately, the elevator stopped just below a floor so Alya and Marinette are able to pick up Kagami and get out of the elevator.

“Did we just get saved by the Dragon?” Alya asks looking around, “what floor is this?” She gets up, then Marinette does, and together they help up Kagami. “Kagami, how are you feeling?”

Kagami’s breathing slowly begins to even out.

Marinette looks around, “fourth floor. We need to find our parents.” They each rub one of Kagami’s shoulders.

“I’m fine to move. Ari—Merci. It... It means a lot that you two assisted me through this.” All the years of having this fear, this... weakness, Kagami never broke down like that in front of her mother. What is it about these two that caused her to drop her defenses so quickly and naturally?

“Best friend code.” Alya and Marinette reply hugging Kagami. It’s only been a few days since she’s met Marinette and months since she met Alya yet she feels like she’s known them much longer. In her previous schools, she’s been told, after a single conversation, she has a cold nature and because of that classmates generally avoided her.

Kagami figured it would be the same here but Alya didn’t regard her as cold. It was just the opposite. Alya welcomed her with open arms. When they were both waiting in the principal’s office, Alya introduced herself. When Kagami took a while to answer or fumbled over Alya’s questions, the orange-haired teen was patient. Didn’t rush her. Never made fun of her. Was actively interested in her responses.

It took less than ten minutes for Alya to declare Kagami as her best friend.

They’ve been inseparable ever since.

Kagami never had a best friend before and now she has two. When they separate from the hug, Kagami sees a green light down the hall. It... feels familiar. It makes her feel warm, or that could just be from the hug. She’s been getting a lot of those since she met Alya.

“Alright!” Marinette points down the hall, “we’re taking the stairs. Let’s go find our parents.”

After descending the stairs, Alya opens the door to the lobby and an inflatable tube air dancing things they have around the car dealerships charges in their direction and she shuts the door, “yeah, we’re gonna have a bit of trouble getting out of here.”

“Then what do we do?”

“Are you okay to stay in here?”

“There’s... adequate space.” Kagami takes a deep breath, “still, I’d rather brave the chaos out there.”

“I agree.” Marinette takes out her phone. She feels it pulse before the screen lights up fresh from a restart. “My phone’s working.” Kagami and Alya take out their phones and frown when they don’t turn on.

“What model is your phone?”

“Uh—”

Someone lets out a high pitched scream and Alya opens the door a crack. Marinette looks over Alya’s shoulder and Kagami squeezes under. “Huh. I hadn’t realized how much shorter I am than both of you.” They both look down at her, “but that’s a conversation for another time.”

The wavy tube dancers are binding people and dragging them toward the banquet hall, and there’s a colorful clown floating in the air, “am I funny enough for you now, Chloé Bourgeois?”

“Chloé caused an akumatization.” The trio deadpan.

“Papa, please!” There’s a girl with rainbow-colored dreadlocks walking toward the akumatization as everyone else runs away from it. “This isn’t you.”

Marinette blinks and shakes her head because she could swear she sees some sort of black light coming from the girl.

The akumatization floats down to the girl smiling, “dear sweet Mylène. Don’t worry! I’m an actor, I know how to adapt to any situation.” He lifts his arm and balloons come from the ground lifting the girl up and form a chair surrounding her. “You’ll be safe there. I have to make a certain brat laugh.” He cackles floating toward the banquet hall, with the chair following after him.

Marinette takes a deep breath as Alya closes the door again, “thankfully, the kitchens are in the opposite direction of the banquet hall. All we have to do is make a break for it.”

“Not confident in my running skills, man. Gotta give you a heads up.”

Marinette puts a hand on Alya’s shoulder, “you’ll do great.”

As Alya opens the door fully an inflatable tube dancer man grabs her and flips her upside down. “Son of a bitch!” She screams as it carries her to the banquet hall.

Aly—”

Kagami slaps a hand over Marinette’s mouth bringing her back into the staircase as several more inflatable tube men scurry past. Kagami nudges the door closed, “it’s unfortunate and I don’t wanna leave her any more than you do but we can’t draw attention to ourselves and get captured too.” Marinette nods and Kagami releases her, “I don’t suppose you’ve ever clocked how fast you can run, have you?”

“Wait, you have?”

“The reason’s not important but yes. We’ll have to split up to draw less attention to ourselves and hope we don’t get caught. You go first and—”

“Uh... you should go first.” She shakes her phone, “gonna see if I can contact my parents.”

Kagami nods slowly, “good idea and good luck.” She pats Marinette on the shoulders awkwardly before opening the door wide and pressing herself against the wall. An inflatable tube man waves its arms in the doorway then when the arms disappears Kagami sprints off.

“Damn, she’s fast.” Longg says flying out of Marinette’s purse.

“You’ve got a lot of explaining to do! You poked your head out of my purse when someone else—a few someone else’s were close by and could’ve easily seen you! Then you pull a disappearing act with no explanation!” Marinette kicks the door closed trapping an inflatable tube man’s arms in the doorway. “You are making me sound like mā mā when bà ba does something foolish!”

Longg holds out their hands in front of other body placatingly, “Calm down! I will explain everything to you in due time, Hatchling. For now there are a couple of words you need to say.”

Marinette looks around, “no cameras... that’s good. A door. Even better. Longg, tip the scales!” She takes out the lip balm and applies some on her lips before the transformation can begin. Like the last two times her teeth sharpen and extend. She feels her hair tying itself into the chignon buns. However, when she looks down at her hands she sees her nails starting to grow. And instead of arm bands her skin turns scaly. “Please don’t tell me I’m turning into an actual dragon!?”

Her nose begins to twitch and she can see it turning into a dragon’s snout. When the transformation ends, Marinette inspects the damage. There’s an in case of emergency glass case she checks her reflection in. “I turned into a dragon!?” She howls.

Marinette did notice her transformation yesterday was a bit more dragon-like than the one she first did on Monday.

Oh and her suit is still there but it’s all gold now. (Thank goodness she’s not naked, dragon or no dragon.)

“Longg, you and I are gonna have a nice long, long talk when this is over...” She mutters opening the door out the hotel.

She couldn’t exactly come out of the staircase transformed in case she saw Kagami and had to explain a few things before she knew what the hell was going on herself, so she chose to leave the hotel entirely and enter through the front doors.

The lobby is empty but there’s a loud crash then someone screams.

Wait. Does she have hair as a dragon? She pats her head and sure enough there is hair... or maybe fur? But it’s in the chignon buns.

There will be time to worry about that later. Hopefully.

She dashes to the main kitchen which is empty, then she checks the next kitchen which is also empty. Marinette quickly looks in every room on the ground floor and they’re all empty. Inside the banquet hall, however, is like a circus. The inflatable tube men are creepily waving their arms as they surround civilians. Chloé is trussed up on a rope like a pig over a flame... only the flames look like they’re made of balloons too. “My parents are so gonna fire you for this!”

“Funny you should mention fire!” The clown laughs menacingly.

“Papa, I know there has to be some good still in you.”

“Oh will you shut up!? He’s obviously not getting it! Just like his jokes aren’t getting any funnier!”

The clown hisses at her and Marinette rolls her eyes wondering why she has to save this girl for the third consecutive time for the third consecutive day.

Chloé spots her and the blonde’s eyes light up. “You came!” She cheers then gasps. “Look out!” An inflatable tube man surges toward her then before it makes contact it explodes.

Kagami is standing there with a bread knife in one hand – the one currently outstretched – and a cleaver in the other. Holy shit she’s a badass. It could very well be the lighting or the angle or whatever but it kinds looks like she’s glowing from where she’s standing. Marinette stares dumbly because her cerebrum currently isn’t processing anything. “Are you alright?” Marinette can only nod.

The clown floats over to them, “I’ll be taking that Miraculous, Little Dragonet.” The butterfly mask appears over his eyes then his eyes narrow, “eh... what is the Miraculous?”

“My middle finger, asshole.”

“Ooh, you have some bite in those sharp teeth. I love it!”

“Why bother hiding behind your creations, Papillion?”

“You have a Miraculous, you know how these powers work. Or maybe you don’t? Well, since you asked. I have the kwami of transmission.” The clown gestures to the mask, “pretty sure even you can figure out how it works. Ordinarily, I let them do whatever their heart desires but a certain annoyance is causing me to switch things up.”

“Get used to it.”

The clown’s eyes turn purple and the butterfly mask disappears.

“Hey!” Chloé shouts wriggling against her bindings, “can you free me?”

The clown lifts their arms in the air and balloons start growing from the ground forming into the inflatable tube men. What a bizarre form of minion.

Marinette looks around, assessing her situation. Kagami is hacking her way through the rest of the tube men, and she’s definitely not imagining the green glow coming from Kagami’s body.

“Didn’t you hear me? Free me dammit!”

Well, damn. This is... hm. Good thing clowns only mildly freak her out. Her parents and Alya’s mama are tied up but they’re tied together – at least she can keep an eye on all of them. She doesn’t know where Alya is though. Marinette unsheathes her sword and slices one of the inflatable tube men that tried to sneak behind Kagami.

Kagami inclines her head. “Arigatou.”

“Anytime. Just repaying you. I’m gonna need your help.”

“Anything.”

“Can you free Chloé?”

“Anything but that?” Marinette raises an eyebrow. Well, she’s pretty sure she still has eyebrows. Kagami sighs, “alright, fine.” Marinette looks down and realizes Kagami has a toolbelt full of kitchen knives. She expertly chucks a chef’s knife at the balloon string holding Chloé up. Marinette winces as the string snaps and Chloé falls on her face. Marinette sighs then turns to Kagami who shrugs. “You never specified how to free her.”

“You’re right. That one is on me.”

“I’ll take out the air dancers while you focus on the akumatization.”

“‘Air dancers?’ Is that what they’re called?” Kagami nods, “huh. Learn something new every day. Alright, we’ll go with your plan. Stay safe.” Kagami nods as she makes quick work of the inflatable air dancers.

“Kagami?” Marinette hears her parents, “where’s Marinette? Did she get captured?”

“I don’t know but we’ll find her.”

Help! Mlle. Dragon, help!” A few tiny air dancers grab Chloé.

“Oh for fuck’s sake.” Marinette slices them and Chloé practically climbs her.

“I knew you’d come! I just knew it! I’m so glad to see you.... eh, well, I mean— I guess I’ll take what I can get.”

“‘Knew?’” Marinette pushes Chloé off her, “please don’t tell me you purposely caused this akumatization?” The look on Chloé’s causes Marinette’s eyes to widen. She looks up at the clown who is focusing his attention on creating more air dancers and sending them in Kagami’s direction.

“Mlle. Dragon!” The girl with the rainbow hair waves from her balloon chair, “the akuma flew into the flower on his suit! Please help my papa!” Marinette’s wings extend before she soars up to the girl. The girl startles a bit then sits up scooting closer to Marinette, “I came to give Papa the flower he uses for his mime acts when that girl started complaining about—”

That girl has a name!”

That girl better zip it.” Chloé snaps her mouth shut and scowls, “go on.”

“I—” The girl takes a deep breath, “the girl was complaining and... and I didn’t even see the akuma fly into the flower in my hand. I-I was almost akumatized but my papa took it from me. Took it for me.”

“So you were gonna be akumatized.”

“She had no right calling my papa talentless!”

“How much talent could a mime have?”

Marinette floats down to Chloé, crouching on one knee in front of the blonde. “Listen very carefully because I will not say this again. If you ever purposely cause another akumatization... hell, the next time you even cause an akumatization I will leave you to deal with it.”

“What? Y-You can’t do that!”

“The hell I can’t.”

“B-But look around! I did all of this to see you again!”

“Is that supposed to mean something? So you styled your hair like mine and paid someone to make an ice sculpture of me? I don’t care. I am not your personal on-call savior. And intentionally riling someone up just so I can show up to save your sorry ass makes you just as bad as Papillion.”

“W-Wha—No. N-No it doesn’t.”

“Oh it does. There are dozens of ways to flatter someone without causing an akumatization!” Marinette sheathes her sword then walks over to the clown.

The clown floats down to her. “Are you here to give me—”

Marinette grabs the flower from his lapel and shocks it in her fist. When she opens her hand, the charred butterfly turns to red dust. A purplish-black ooze covers the clown from head to toe until he transforms back into a mime. Then the air dancers disappear into puffs of red smoke.

The balloon chair pops and the girl starts falling. Marinette flies over to her and catches her. “M-Merci.” She blushes as they touch the ground and Marinette releases her so she can run to her father and hug him. The mime nods at Marinette who returns the nod.

The banquet hall cheers for her and Marinette takes a deep breath walking out the double doors.

“Wait a minute!” A balding man holds his arms out in an attempt to block her from leaving. “Y-You saved my daughter again.”

“Believe me, I truly regret it.”

“H-How can you say something like that?!”

“Ask her yourself.” Then she pushes the man out of the way.

🎊

When Marinette returns to the banquet hall as Marinette her parents, Alya, Marlena, and Kagami group hug her. “Where on earth were you!?” Sabine asks, hysterically.

“I looked around the entire hotel!” Marinette facepalms, “once I saw the kitchens were empty I was looking any and everywhere. I never thought to check the banquet hall. Alya, are you alright? Y-You got captured and—”

“Girl, I have never been better! I was hanging upside down the entire time!” Wait, she was!? Marinette had no idea! That must be why she couldn’t find her among the crowd! “I’m a little lightheaded but I got some great footage! Totally worth it.”

“Oh no it wasn’t.” Marlena puts her hands on her daughter’s shoulders, “we’re going home and getting you hydrated. Screw the rest of this fucking disaster of a party. It was nice meeting you all.” Alya truly is her mother’s daughter. Alya waves as her mother gently steers her out of the banquet hall.

“That’s a good idea. Marinette, we’re going home too. Kagami, do you need help locating your mamma?”

Kagami looks around, “I do, merci. But... the hotel isn’t fixed.” Marinette’s parents look around, “the last two times everything was fixed up after the akuma was destroyed.”

“We don’t know anything about this Dragon.” Sabine says with a shrug, “but if she has power over what gets fixed when she destroys the akuma I can’t blame her for not letting this place get fixed.”

Tomoe was in a conference room with a bespectacled blue-haired woman with red tips. One of the security guards directed the group to the room. “I heard there was another akuma attack just now. If my daughter was harmed in any manner of speaking there will be hell to pay.” The woman adjusts her glasses.

“I’m fine, Kaasan.”

Tomoe pushes out her chair and stands, using her probing cane to make her way to her daughter then grabs Kagami in a one-armed hug. “Good.” She turns to the blue-haired woman, “tell your bosses I’d rather be akumatized than do business with them. We’re going, Kagami.”

“K-Kaasan—”

“Hesitation? From my daughter?” Tomoe raises an eyebrow but her serious façade breaks with a slight smirk, “who is she?”

“N-No. It’s not—” Kagami shakes her head and Marinette could swear she flushes briefly. “I want to introduce you to my friend Marinette and her parents.”

“They smell like bread and it’s making me hungry so please excuse me for being brief.”

“We don’t blame you. We’re getting the hell out of here too.” They all start walking, exiting the hotel as news vans pull up. “I'm Tom and this is my wife Sabine. Your daughter saved us from the akumatization.”

“With kitchen knives.” Sabine finishes. “We’d love to have you over and get to know you and Kagami better.”

“That is acceptable. I am Tomoe Tsurugi. You seem better company than what I’ve had today. Kagami will give you my contact information.”

When Marinette gets home she realizes she didn’t get to carry away any food in her containers. She makes herself a sandwich then trots up the stairs bidding her parents goodnight.

Once she’s in her room, Longg flies out of her purse. Marinette points half her sandwich at Longg, “start talking.”

Longg accepts the sandwich half and plops down on Marinette’s right shoulder. “Let us proceed with the Q & A.”

“Why am I getting more dragon-like every time I transform?”

“You aren’t. There are two forms to a transformation. A full-on humanoid hybrid and the kid in the kwami costume.”

“I prefer the latter, if it’s all the same to you.”

“Unfortunately, I have no control over which transformation suits the situation.” Grumbling, Marinette stuffs her sandwich half in her mouth. “oh.” Longg chuckles, “I just made a pun. Suits and...” Marinette turns slightly raising an eyebrow and Longg clears their throat, “okay. When in your hybrid form – let’s just call it that – you’re physically stronger but your abilities are weaker. You’re also more susceptible to magic and damage.”

“Sounds like a bad video game power-up. Makes me look cool but isn’t worth the effort.”

“Quite the contrary. It worked quite well this afternoon.”

“Only because I was facing off against balloons and the clown wasn’t really doing anything super dangerous. How often do your partners rely on the hybrid form?”

“On average I’d say it was equal to them relying on the ‘masked’ form, we’ll call it. You can even change forms at will once you gain more experience. As far as today’s akumatization goes... it certainly was a strange one. Though I suppose not being the intended target had something to do with it.”

“Or it could just be the guy? He must not have been interested in hurting anyone.”

“Possibly. I’ve dealt with butterfly Miraculous wielders who assumed more control of their champions, for both good and evil. I don’t know Papillion’s angle. She has to be out for more than just chaos.”

“Does she though?”

“I mean, it would be unprecedented if she weren’t. Coming across a power of this magnitude and just using it to let people run wild with a fraction of that power?”

“Does she get stronger with every akuma?”

Longg grimaces, “every akumatization, yes. Though I suppose just conjuring akumas could be strengthening her as well. You see, when an akuma affects a person it coats them in magic. Papillion absorbs that magic through the akuma to get stronger.”

“Eww.”

“I concur. I’m certain it’s even more disgusting to witness than say. Since Papillion’s been throwing out multiple akumatizations from day one she...” Longg sighs, “let’s just say if she applied all that power to a single akumatization she’d be near unstoppable.”

“‘Near unstoppable.’” Marinette repeats, “she’d also have to put in effort to controlling the akumatization.”

“Correct. Here’s hoping she doesn’t have the bee Miraculous as well.”

“What’s the bee do?”

“The bee Miraculous is the Miraculous of subjugation.” Marinette whistles, “and kwamis can fuse together. Imagine having total control of an akumatization with minimal effort? All you do is send a bee after them and—” Longg brings their hands together loudly.

“To hell with near, she would be unstoppable.” Longg nods. “Do you know where the bee is?”

“I have no clue. The Master was training to be the Keeper of the Miraculouses. To have sole knowledge of every Miraculous in existence before he left the temple.”

“Just one person to keep track of a thousand Miraculouses?”

“It’s how it has been for millennia. Guardians experience longevity and live thrice as long as a normal human’s lifespan. They also receive an additional magical ability upon their initiation. Master has not shared what his ability is.”

“Right. How do I fuse powers?”

“Simply say both transformation phrases, one after the other, then bring your hands together and say unify. Simple. I must caution you, it takes a ridiculous amount of magic and occasionally steals you life essence. At your present state, you will die should you introduce your body to another kwami’s magic.”

“Not even fusing? Just using another kwami?”

Longg nods. “you and I are destined to be together, as a result I don’t steal your life force or give you any adverse reactions to my magic. With you being so new at this, a kwami who isn’t compatible with you could kill you just by being near you.”

“If giving me dragon bits is a good thing, I’d hate to hear the bad.”

“Well, the most common ‘bad thing’ is death. There have also been records of accelerated aging, loss of faculties, paralysis, severe causes of paranoia, memory loss, loss of vision, third-degree burns—”

“Okay, okay. I get it. It’s bad.”

“Real bad. As I said there are a thousand kwamis, which means a thousand holders. However, not every kwami is with their intended holder. Miraculouses get stolen. Miraculouses get sold. Previous holders die and their kwami partner waits in limbo as the soul gets reincarnated. Sometimes kwamis choose the wrong family member because the aura is so close.”

“Is Papillion the butterfly’s true Chosen?”

“Yes. I sense no misuse or forced bonding from the akumatizations. You’d be able to tell from the kwami’s magic if they are with their Chosen. Well, you’d be able to tell with time and experience. Kwamis can sense one another so we can sense if our brethren are being misused. The butterfly kwami is not my cluster so I don’t know much about them, personally, but we have been on the same side and opposing sides before.”

“Am I getting stronger with every use of my powers?”

Longg rubs the back of their neck, “you know... it’s hard to tell, actually. I mean, you started off out the gate strong. It’s never happened to me before.”

Never?”

“Never. In my entire existence. You might also be exhibiting magical properties.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Making your phone work in the staircase? Your affinity for electricity caused that.”

“I had only used it twice then! I also used ice twice. Am I gonna start conjuring ice out of nowhere too?”

“Unfortunately, my only reply is ‘to wait and see.’ If you have no other questions, allow me to answer your questions from earlier, at the party.” Marinette nods. “I disappeared to see the master. It’s also why I poked my head out in the elevator.”

“Because you sensed the Master? The one who indirectly gave me the Miraculous?”

“The only reason Master Fù indirectly gave you the Miraculous was because you were in danger. Kwamis may lack the ability to predict the future but I’d bet my fifth fang you would not have been able to stay hidden much longer had I not come along.”

Marinette hums, “hold on. Did you say Master Fu? As in the old-er gentleman that we helped in the hotel?” Longg nods. “What did you talk about?”

“You. Your two ‘besties’ are fellow Miraculous holders and honestly, I wasn’t expecting three of you to even meet so suddenly let alone as quickly as you have. The badass with the knives is the turtle and I find that quite hilariously ironic.”

“Why’s that?”

“Wayzz is the kwami of protection. Their weapon is a shield and their primary ability is bubbling.”

“That’s not really ironic. Kagami protected everyone in the banquet hall today. Me included.”

“Good point.”

“However...” Marinette lolls her head from side to side, “I’m not cool with my claustrophobic best friend bubbling herself.”

“Another good point. The bubbling is mainly used in the defenses of others rather than the one who casts the bubbling.”

“I have tons of other questions now.”

“Lay it on me. Let’s see if we can get them answered.”

🎊

Kagami accepts the video call before grabbing the pull-up bar, “Kagami?” With both Alya and Marinette on the phone, the screen is split in two but they’re side by side. They both tilt their heads to the left as Kagami does a pull-up. “Oh damn. Should we call back?”

“No. I can hear you just fine. Are you both alright?”

“I kinda was but now I’m seriously distracted.” Marinette was about to say something but just laughs instead. “Seriously! I forgot what I was gonna say!” Marinette laughs harder. “I was like what’s up Kagami then I saw her arms and my mind vacated the premises.” Kagami chuckles, “we should work out together. Nora teaches self-defense classes at the community center. Well, that piece of info was for Marinette since you already know that.”

“Another piece of information solely for Marinette is my mama also teaches at the community center.”

Marinette sobers up, “seriously? Sign me up! And sign me up for the work out sessions too. I gotta make a cute yet functional outfit. Oh! Why I called. I was thinking of making us friendship bracelets. I know it’s old school but—”

Yes!” Kagami and Alya interrupt, nodding.

Marinette laughs, “okay. Text me your favorite colors and if you have any specific requests.” She tilts the phone sideways and shows a small sketchpad with a pink circle and inside it are a seashell, a bobbin, a paper lantern, a cookie, a book, a game controller, and a heart.

“That’s so damn cute. Ooh.” Alya disappears from the screen briefly and returns with a notebook. “I’m not as good an artist but here goes nothing...” She starts scribbling on the notebook.

Kagami drops from her pull-up bar and grabs her phone. “I shall attempt to sketch the contents of my friendship bracelet as well. But I’m curious, are they supposed to be different? I’ve done research and the bracelets I’ve seen were all identical.”

Alya looks up from her notebook then does a double-take, “I... was wholly unprepared for those shoulders.” Kagami looks down at herself. She’s wearing a black sports bra and a pair of orchid colored sweatpants; she hardly expected her state of dress to elicit this kind of reaction.

“I’m a little lost because of the headband pushing your hair out of face. You should wear your hair out of your face more! You look so cute!”

“Is that a Starchy sports bra? Is it comfortable?”

“Sports bras aren’t supposed to be comfortable.”

Alya shakes her head, “oh you poor thing.” Marinette glances in Kagami’s direction and Kagami nods. “Uh... but we got a little off-topic there. I, uh, I don’t think friendship bracelets are supposed to be exactly identical. They have to feature something identical so people on the outside, not that it’s any of their damn business, can identify them. But, again, none of their damn business. What are we gonna put in common by the way?”

“I guess it depends?” Marinette shrugs, “and I don’t really know how many things to add. I’ve never made friendship bracelets before. I was looking up bracelets when it just hit me.”

Tomoe knocks on the door as she enters the bedroom, “Kagami—”

“Turn us around.” Kagami complies with a chuckle. “Bonsoir, Mme. Tsurugi!” Marinette and Alya greet.

“You certainly have selected a pair of lively best friends. Bonsoir to you both. I await having lunch with you and your parents, Marinette.”

“I’m looking forward to it too, Mme. Tsurugi.”

“And how are you, Alya?”

“I’m good. My ma has me on bedrest. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was camped outside my room—”

There’s a knock on Alya’s wall, “I am.” Alya busts out laughing, “bonsoir, Tomoe!”

“Bonsoir Marlena, there’s a matter I wish to speak with you about.”

“Of course. My phone’s always on. You want me to call you?”

“I’ll call you. Kagami, we don’t have to worry about dinner. Gabriel and Émilie Agreste have provided us with dinner as an apology for wasting my time.”

“No offense...” Marinette begins, “but you trust it?”

“No offense taken. I share your cautiousness. The Agrestes certainly have not given me any reason to trust them, especially with their sudden charity. They’ve been trying to get me to teach their son and nephew fencing for years.”

“What’s to stop them from coming to your classes at the community center?” Alya asks.

Tomoe chuckles. “Nothing, though I doubt they’d think about doing something like that.” She holds her arm out and Kagami takes it. “I suspect it’s an array of Japanese food cooked incorrectly. Thoughts?”

“Tiny plates of French delicacies.”

“It’s gonna be a Japanese and French fusion!” Marinette and Alya exclaim simultaneously.

Tomoe hums, “I would not have thought of that. Quick thinking pair they are. I approve of your friends.”

“We’ll let you eat. Text us what it is. Bonne nuit, Kagami.”

“Bonne nuit, Girl, catch you at school tomorrow.”

“Bonne nuit.” Kagami hangs up the phone and chuckles.

“I meant what I said. I approve of your choice in friends. I even approve if either of them should be anything more.”

“I—arigatou, Kaasan.”

Tomoe nods, “let’s see what this ‘treat’ is.”

As it turns out, her best friends were right. The food the Agrestes gave them was a four-course Japanese-French fusion.

The food was passable but it didn’t remind either of them of home. It also wasn’t poisoned or tampered with so there was that.

After dinner was daily kendo training; though Tomoe let her freestyle after hearing about her taking down the magic air dancers single-handedly with kitchen knives. Tomoe doesn’t do dual wielding but she said she’d support Kagami should she choose to pursue it in addition to continuing with her current training.

Contrarily to popular belief, Tomoe hadn’t forced Kagami into learning how to fence. Kagami’s grandmother was a world-renowned, legendary kendo master but Tomoe found herself in fencing. Kagami decided, what the hell, and attempted to learn both. From the two most important, influential people in her life. And as her grandmother passed last year as they were leaving Marseille, Kagami was glad she decided to do both. Even though it’s been hella difficult to find someone to train under.

She’ll probably never achieve the level her grandmother did but she’ll honor her by doing the damn best she can.

Tomoe bids her goodnight as she retires for the evening and Kagami returns to her room. She flicks the light switch but the light doesn’t turn on. “What the...?” There’s a crash and Kagami takes her phone out of her pocket and opens the flashlight and shines it around her room until it lands on a floating green thing rubbing its head.

“Ow...” The thing gasps then looks around, “oh no. Did I lose it?” Kagami slowly steps toward the thing who somehow has not realized her presence. Once she gets within touching distance, she pokes the back of its head. It flinches before turning to her wide-eyed. “Y-You startled me. Konnichiwa, Chosen.” It bows its head and, dammit, Kagami instinctively bows back. “One second.” The thing flies around the room then phases through the wall.

Kagami’s jaw drops slightly then the thing returns, by phasing back through the wall, with a pink swiss army knife.

“What are you?” Kagami nearly drops her phone when the thing drops the swiss army knife – thankfully closed – into her hand.

“I am a kwami.”

“And that’s supposed to explain something?”

“Uh... I suppose in layman’s terms what I am is an ancient genderfluid magical being bestowed with the power of protection. A power I will share with you. I am called Wayzz.”

“Why are you giving me your power?”

“I’m not giving it to you, I’m sharing it.”

“Whatever. Semantics don’t matter. Why are you doing it?”

“You were destined for it.”

“Bullshit. My destiny is my own.”

Wayzz nods taking off the necklace around their neck placing it on the swiss army knife, “a sentiment I agree with, as a matter of fact. You control your destiny, Chosen, but destiny isn’t the endgame. It’s the journey. My only intention is to help you fulfill your destiny however I can. I believe my Miraculous will come in handy a great deal.”

Kagami picks up the necklace—scratch that, bracelet—with trapezoid green pendants surrounding it, examining it before realization hits. “‘Miraculous?’” Wayzz nods. She stares at the bracelet, almost revering it. “I know nothing is impossible but this...” She shakes her head holding the bracelet toward Wayzz, “you made a mistake.”

Wayzz laughs, “have I? Let’s test that theory.” They slot the bracelet over Kagami’s left hand letting it fall to her wrist, “the swiss army knife is my Miracle Box and your communicator. You can use it to get in contact with your team and the Master. B-But let’s hold off on contacting the Master, I didn’t exactly get his permission to come to you.” Kagami stares at the bracelet on her wrist before raising an eyebrow at Wayzz. “I’m getting to how to use the Miraculous.” They sigh. “To transform simply say, while wearing the bracelet, Wayzz – defense shield.”

“Defense shield?” The bracelet jingles then the pendants come together and form a hexagon and Wayzz flies into the pendant. Kagami’s body starts glowing green. It’s the same warm green feeling from earlier.

A green bodysuit slowly envelopes her body from her feet to her head.

Knee-high dark green boots – no heels (she sighs in relief), a bodysuit with a hexagonal pattern; a shield the same dark green as her boots, arm warmers, and fingerless gloves.

Her hair magically spikes upward, turns green, and gets shorter. Not that it matters because a hood slots itself over her head. She gets dark green hexagonal goggles.

Kagami opens her camera app and puts the camera facing her. She has green lipstick. Green nail polish. She lifts the goggles off her green eyes.

She looks down at her outfit. “How do I... take this off?”

Chapter Text

When Lila walks into the classroom, Mme. Mendeleiev spits her coffee out at her tablet, “you’ve got to be kidding me!” She slams her thermos onto the desk, “damn you, Damocles.”

Lila strolls up to the desk, “what’s wrong, Madame?”

“You’ll see.” Mendeleiev takes off her glasses and pinches the bridge of her nose, “have a seat.”

Lila takes a seat in the farthest seat on the right in the front row, angling her body slightly so she can see the door.

Sabrina is the first – technically the second – to enter the classroom. She gives Lila a curious look before heading toward the brunette, “why are you sitting here?”

“I sprained my ankle at the party yesterday running away from those wavy air balloon... thingies. Hurts to go up stairs.”

“That sucks. Hope you feel better.”

“Grazie, Sabrina. You’re such a sweetheart.” Sabrina smiles at her then trots up the stairs.

Lila turns back to the door. A bunch of unfamiliar kids walk in the room and make a beeline for the back. Not the very back because Sabrina has her backpack on the chair to her right. Unlike Mme. Bustier’s classroom, Sabrina and Chloé sit together here. Chloé claimed the back desk on the right side of the classroom where at Bustier’s class she’s on the left. Well, she’ll have to see what Mme. Bustier does about the seats.

A really tall pretty girl – about as tall as Marinette – with long purple hair with highlights that are a brighter purple, hoists her bag over her shoulder as she skulks into the classroom. When she looks up – probably seeing most of the seats in the back are filled – she frown then takes a seat in the third row on the right side of the room.

Some more students, familiar this time, start filing out the rest of the seats past the third row.

Adrien walks into the classroom looking around. When his eyes land on Lila, the brunette smiles and waves. Lila’s hardly expecting him to take the seat next to her. “What are you doing here?”

“I got an email from Principal Damocles saying I’m in Mme. Mendeleiev’s homeroom now.”

Ah. That must be what pissed the teacher off. Damocles must’ve changed the whole class roster around after Chloé’s bitchfit. “When did you get this email?”

“This morning.”

“You know Chloé’s gonna want you to sit next to her.” Adrien shrugs.

Out the corner of Lila’s eye she sees a tiny girl with rainbow hair scurry inside the classroom and take the closest seat to the door. Then she looks around the classroom quickly before returning her attention to the front of the class.

Marinette walks backwards into the classroom holding an orange-haired, bespectacled girl’s hand. Lila recognizes the girl. She’s the same one from the party and damn she’s even hotter up close. Both girls stop in front of the rainbow-haired girl. “Bonjour.” She looks up at them, “Would it bother you if I sat here?” Lila sees the girl shake her head. “Merci.” Marinette and the orange-haired girl keep holding hands even though they’re in different rows. “I’m Marinette and this is Alya.”

Alya puts her bag on the seat next to her, “I saw you at the party yesterday.”

Chloé bursts in the classroom nearly knocking over the kid that came in before her. She looks around the classroom and when her eyes land on the rainbow-haired girl, the blonde growls stomping toward her. “You!” She hisses. “You’re responsible for this, aren’t you? Because of your talentless piece of shit papa!” Before anyone can reply, Chloé all but shoves her phone – that has a red flaming dragon on the phone case – in front of the girl and Marinette.

Alya puts her hands over her mouth when she sees the footage she recorded playing on Chloé’s phone. Which should be impossible because she hadn’t uploaded it anywhere. All she did was show it to Marinette in the courtyard a few minutes ago. She knows she wasn’t the only one recording the akuma attack but it’s absolutely her footage because it’s at an angle above the doorway. When she was dangling in the air dancers’ (Kagami told her last night that’s what it was called) grasp she started recording. [Not like she had much else she could do.] She was the only person that high in the air... aside from the rainbow-haired girl in the balloon chair, but the other girl didn’t have a phone out. And they were at opposite ends of the banquet hall.

“—next time you even cause an akumatization I will leave you to deal with it.”

“Y-You can’t do that!”

“The hell I can’t!”

“B-But look around!” Video Chloé explains on her knees gesturing around the banquet hall, “I did all of this to see you again!”

“Is that supposed to mean something?” The Video Dragon replies, off camera. “So you styled your hair like mine and paid someone to make an ice sculpture of me? I don’t care. I am not your personal on-call savior. And intentionally riling someone up just so I can show up to save your sorry ass makes you just as bad as Papillion.”

Alya whistles lowly as the camera zooms in on Chloé’s hurt expression. She hadn’t noticed that when she looked at the video earlier. (She also hadn’t noticed how crisp the sound was.) “W-Wha—No. N-No it doesn’t.”

“Oh it does. There are dozens of ways to flatter someone without causing an akumatization!”

Then the video cuts off and shows Nadja Chamack somber expression, “that’s right, Paris, you heard it here first live. An anonymous tip this morning told us that newly turned fourteen-year-old Chlolétte Aurélie Bourgeois intentionally caused the akumatization of actor and teacher’s assistant Fred Haprèle yesterday at her birthday party, but it doesn’t stop there. The video reveals right from Fred’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Mylène, that the akuma was originally gunning for her—” The rainbow-haired girl gasps loudly, “—when her papa heroically and probably figuratively, possibly literally, threw himself in front of the akuma, protecting his daughter from being akumatized. This makes Mlle. Haprèle Mlle. Bourgeois’ intended victim but for what purpose? Why was she selected specifically?”

Alec Cataldi, on Nadja’s left, laughs as he shakes his head, “wouldn’t be surprised if she selected Mlle. Haprèle at random. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Mlle. Haprèle wasn’t the first—or even the tenth person Chloé Bourgeois tried to get a rise out of yesterday.” Nadja sighs shaking her head. “As serious as this situation is, I’d like to point out that I’m a huge fan of this Dragon. For a number of reasons. I mean... well we all saw the footage, right? Come on! How could someone not be? I’ll agree with Mlle. Bourgeois on that one point. Who wouldn’t wanna be saved by them?”

I’d like to point out I’m a bigger fan of— go back to the last screen. No, no, no. Not. Wait. There.” The camera pauses on Kagami’s back holding the knives. “This girl is truly the unsung hero of yesterday’s akuma attack.”

“Absolutely! Any information on this girl would be greatly appreciated. Those were kitchen knives, right?” Nadja nods enthusiastically. “And I know the akuma’s minions were balloons but still. Absolutely incredible.”

“Agreed. I was there in person and I saw it in real time. It was incredible. There really aren’t words.”

“You saw it?”

“I know I’m a news reporter but I have no idea why I didn’t think of recording it.” She sighs shaking her head. “It was absolutely one of those things you had to see to believe.”

“You aren’t the only one kicking yourself about not thinking to record it. Thankfully, someone managed to get some decent footage. I’m digging the aerial point of view too. Anyway, there is no legal reprimand for causing an akumatization and let’s face it. Even if there were, with her maman as mayor I doubt she’d get any. Furthermore, I’m sure Chloé Bourgeois has caused more than just that one akumatization yesterday. Remember your akumatization, Nadja?”

“No.”

“Not the first one. I’m talking about the one before New Years Eve.” The burgundy-haired woman lowers her head and groans. “See? Proof! And we can tell the viewers to send in their causes for akumatizations, excluding the ones in the beginning, and I can guarantee you’ll see a lot Bourgeois’ as the reason. Not to mention the akumatization two days ago was Adrien Agreste and sources say that Adrien Agreste was akumatized after a conversation he had with Mlle. Bourgeois. If she can get her alleged best friend and the city’s local ball of sunshine akumatized then the next day deliberately put Paris through a premeditated akumatization for her own selfish reasons. She truly is worse than Mme. Papillion.”

“And let’s not forget Mlle. Bourgeois herself was akumatized three days ago.”

Alec sucks in a breath, “oof. Can’t forget about that one. Although, no one seems to know how it happened.”

“How what oh...” Nadja taps her chin, “you’re right. Curious. That’s something we’ll have to look into. Now we know the Dragon appeared because of Mlle. Bourgeois’ akumatization, with its currently unknown cause, but based on their attitude toward her, we can surmise the arrival was purely coincidental.”

“If you need any reason to be a fan of this akuma busting Dragon. I have the perfect one. They aren’t a fan of Chloé Bourgeois!”

Chloé slams her phone down on the desk then takes deep breath, “did you think it was a wise decision making a fool of me, Mini Mime? You can kiss your papa’s sad ass career goodbye!”

“Bourgeois—” Chloé looks over her shoulder at Mendeleiev pointing at the door, “to Damocles’ office.” The blonde opens her mouth, “now.” Chloé balls up her fists, “and just a reminder: you get akumatized or cause one nobody is coming to save you.” The blonde’s nostrils flare as she storms out the classroom.

“Is it okay if I touch you?” The rainbow-haired girl flinches then nods and Marinette rubs her shoulders. “Mme. Mendeleiev? Can I take... um.. what’s your name?”

“M-Mylène.”

“Gotcha. Can I take Mylène to the nurse?”

Mendeleiev nods, “go ahead.”

Marinette and Mylène leave the classroom the same time Kagami walks in. “I’ll tell you about it later.” Marinette says as she heads down the hall.

Alya slides over and Kagami joins her at the desk. “It’s been one hell of a morning and school hasn’t even officially started yet.”

🤺

“No one who values their job would humiliate me so it has to be someone with nothing to lose.”

Audrey nods, cleaning her cuticles. “Agreed.” Looks like she’s gonna need to make a nail appointment soon. She was anticipating the video call from her daughter the minute she saw that video surface, “what about the girl you were having trouble with Monday?”

“What about her? I doubt she could’ve gotten into my party.”

“Cassidy, you didn’t exactly bar off the doors to the hotel. Any of the riffraff could’ve slunk in.” The fourteen-year-old frowns, “we’ll talk to your papa about increasing the hotel’s security. In the meantime, give me the girl’s name.”

“I don’t know her name, Audrey. Lila takes care of that.” Audrey hums with a nod, “what’s with the face, Audrey?”

“No face. Simply... processing what you’re telling me.” Audrey clicks her tongue, “have your friend give me the entire class roster. We don’t want to overlook anyone while we take care of this mishap.”

“While you’re looking for people to fire or whatever, you should look into firing Alec Cataldi. Someone might’ve sent the video but he’s the one who... who...” The blonde growls.

“Calm down, Cristal. I’ll look into getting rid of Cataldi but I doubt it’ll be easy. TVi keeps him around because he’s not afraid to shy from the truth. The masses will riot if he’s gone. Furthermore, they’ll know we were involved if he’s suddenly replaced.”

“Then why not get him on our side?”

“Not a bad idea. It’ll be difficult but not impossible. I hear Cataldi has a high price.”

“You mean someone is paying him to be biased against us?”

“It’s very likely.” Audrey sighs.

“Who has that kind of money?”

“That’s something else I’ll have to look into.” Audrey sighs again, “has my daughter ‘learned her lesson?’ Can she return to class now Principal Damocles?”

“O-Of course, Mayor Bourgeois. I’ll talk to Mme. Mendeleiev.”

“See to it that you do. How can she complain about my daughter’s education if she isn’t in class to learn?” Damocles nods. “Bye Darling. We’ll get manipedis at lunch. Love you.”

“Love you too, Audrey.”

Audrey hangs up the phone then leans back in her chair looking at the ceiling, “Alec Cataldi. Alec Cataldi. Nooroo Dear, refresh my memory, has Alec Cataldi ever been akumatized?” The small purple butterfly sitting on her desk looks up at her then tilts their head to the right.

“I do not believe so, Mme. Audrey.”

“Let’s fix that. Nooroo, let’s fly.” The butterfly nods flying into the oval lavender brooch on Audrey’s shirt collar. Her hair begins to magically grow and turn purple. She stands as her clothes turn into a grey pants suit with a purple inner shirt. She picks up the mask slotted against her waist and puts it on her face. Next she puts on her purple heels and purple boots. Fully transformed, Audrey walks toward the window and opens it. She holds out her right hand and creates an akuma, “be a dear and find Alec Cataldi but don’t akumatize him, yet.” She flexes her fingers and the akuma multiples, then she blows at her hand toward the window and the akumas flap away. Once the akumas are in the sky, she closes the window then walks back over to her seat. “Nooroo, let’s land.” The transformation drops and Audrey sits back in her chair, “now we wait. Are you hungry?”

“I could eat. But, Mme. Audrey, why aren’t we akumatizing this Alec Cataldi now?”

“Patience, Nooroo Dear. He hasn’t done anything to akumatize him over. Aside from the fact that he humiliated my one and only daughter publicly, which I will not let stand, but I can’t akumatize Cataldi based of my anger. He’s gonna have to drop that cheerful façade sooner or late and when he does, I’ll be ready.”

“We can always try and see if one can be akumatized with overwhelming positive emotions?”

Audrey taps her chin, “I suppose we could give it a shot.”

🤺

When Chloé returns to the classroom, everyone watches the blonde until she takes her seat beside Sabrina folding her arms over her chest glaring in front of her.

Marinette had returned from taking Mylène to the nurse’s office several minutes ago. The rainbow-haired teen caught an asthma attack on top of her panic attack so the nurse was looking over her.

In the timeframe Marinette wasn’t in the classroom, Alya filled Kagami in to the goings-ons.

Alya suggested they check on Mylène once class ended; Kagami and Marinette agreed.

Alya yawns as Mme. Mendeleiev starts going over stuff she and Kagami already learned when they were in Mme. Bustier’s homeroom. She brought it to Mme. Mendeleiev’s attention and the teacher’s response was to blame the principal. (Alya has to wonder how the other classes will be.) As the orange-haired teen cracks her neck, lolling it from side to side, she sees Adrien just flat out, unabashedly staring at Kagami.

Alya nudges the girl next to her. Kagami leans forward, “heads up, Agreste is here and he’s looking this way.” Alya whispers. Kagami starts to turn in that direction but Alya turns her back, “don’t look.”

“Why did you inform me of his staring if you did not want me to stop him from looking over here?” Kagami whispers back.

“Be—because...” Alya’s eyebrows furrow, “damn you got a point.”

“M. Agreste, is there something interesting about the back of the classroom?”

Blushing, Adrien turns toward Mme. Mendeleiev, “n-no. There’s...” He frowns then sits up straight. “S-Sorry, Madame.” The brunette beside him giggles.

When the door opens, Marinette, Alya, and Kagami do a double take as an Adrien duplicate in glasses wearing a navy three-piece bespoke suit walks in the classroom adjusting his lapels as he looks around. He walks over to the teacher’s desk with determination and an envelope.

The class nosily and noisily tries to get a good look at the newcomer as Mendeleiev accepts the envelope and opens it.

The Adrien double is standing there with his hands behind his back in parade rest. Alya nudges Kagami in a get a load of this guy manner and Kagami nods in agreement.

One Agreste is a bad enough. If this one shows an interest in Kagami too, Alya might have to break something over his head. Speaking of Agreste, Alya glances at the blond who has a frown on his face. For a professional model, who has his face plastered all over every available flat surface in the city (and some circular ones), the guy kinda wears his heart on his sleeve. Probably why the majority of things his face is featured on has him smiling.

Mendeleiev sighs loudly putting the sheet of paper back in the envelope then returns the envelope to the blond. “Take an empty seat wherever.” Nodding, the blond turns to his classmates surveying the room. He walks up the one stair before approaching Marinette.

“Bonjour, Mademoiselle, is this seat taken?”

“Yup.”

“Our friend’s in the nurse’s office.” Alya adds, smiling sweetly; Kagami, on the other hand, raises an eyebrow as she folds her arms over her chest.

The blond nods, and Alya doesn’t miss him looking them over, before he ascends the staircase and takes the formerly empty desk behind them.

Alya puts some hair behind her ear and sees the blond staring at Kagami out the corner of her eye. She puts her head on Kagami’s shoulder. Sure, Kagami is shorter than her by several centimeters but she’d bear a lot more than a crick in her neck for her girls.

Mendeleiev hands Marinette a stack of worksheets then she walks over to Adrien and hands him the same worksheets. While the brunette takes the stack from Adrien passing them over her shoulder, Marinette fully turns toward her best friends handing them the stack. Both Kagami’s and Alya’s eyes roll upward and Marinette nods before turning back around in her seat.

After a quick loss at rock-paper-scissors, Alya lifts her head then turns slightly to hand the worksheets back. The blond brushes his fingers against hers as he takes the stack and thanks her.

Oh boy. This is gonna be a long class period.

Damocles walks in the classroom. “Mme. Mendeleiev, a word?” The teacher’s eyes narrow but she follows Damocles out of the classroom, telling them to look over their worksheet.

“Crap.” Marinette mutters, “forgot to get a worksheet for Mylène!” She spares a glance at the back of the classroom. Sabrina is set to pass the worksheets ahead to the redhead in front of her when Chloé grabs her hand and the stack of worksheets.

“Not yet, Sabrina. Mme. Mendeleiev didn’t ask for them.” She smirks at Marinette then props her feet up on her desk, “you want a worksheet for that rat so badly, come get it.”

Marinette stands then Alya and Kagami stand too. “The odds don’t seem to be in your favor, Bourgeois. I suggest you back off.”

Chloé’s right eye twitches before she composes herself, “I’m not scared of you, Tsurugi.”

“Really?” Alya muses, nudging Kagami. “Care to test that theory?” All Kagami does is move from behind the desk and Chloé flails back in her seat sending the extra worksheets flying. Alya catches a worksheet and hands it to Marinette, “look pretty scared to me.” Then the three of them sit down. The class applauds until Sabrina picks Chloé up from the floor.

The blonde points a finger at Kagami. “I’ll bet it was you that sent the video to TVi!”

“Oh believe me.” Kagami turns back to her, smirking. Everyone in between the two ducks. “I wish I had the pleasure.”

Chloé snarls. “My parents can ruin yours!”

“Then let them try.”

The class oohs, heads playing ping-pong between Kagami and Chloé glaring at each other.

Mme. Mendeleiev comes back in the classroom looking twice as tired than she left and she wasn’t even gone for five minutes. “What’s with all the papers?”

“Chloé did it!” A pink-haired girl exclaims pointing at the blonde.

Mendeleiev glances up at Chloé who points at Kagami, “she made me! Then she threatened me!”

“That’s bullshit, you threatened her first!”

“Like hell I did!”

“Shut up!” Mendeleiev exclaims. “Kim, what the hell happened?”

“Well...” The tall boy in the row in front of Chloé, next to the pink-haired girl, begins. “The cute girl with the twintails said she needed an extra worksheet for the rainbow-haired girl Chloé threatened. Then Chloé stopped Sabrina from handing the worksheets to the front of the class and told Twintails to come get it. So then Twintails, Orange-Hair, and Knives got up and Chloé said she wasn’t afraid of Knives then Knives moved to probably take the worksheets from Chloé when Chloé flailed backward and fell out of her seat scattering the papers. When Sabrina helped Chloé up, Chloé said Knives probably sent in the video of Chloé and the Dragon – and we’ve got to find out their name. And Knives replied she wishes she had then Chloé said her parents could ruin Knives’ to which Knives replied let ‘em try. Then you came back in.”

Mme. Mendeleiev nods slowly, “merci, Kim.” The brunet nods. “Everyone pick up the worksheets closest to you then pass them down to the front of the classroom.” Mendeleiev shakes her head, “I’m not caffeinated enough for this.”

When class mercifully ends, Marinette stretches at her desk. “I hope Mylène is okay. I didn’t expect her to be gone all class.”

Chloé stomps down the stairs, glaring at the three of them when she reaches the bottom of the staircase then flips them all off as she leaves the classroom with Sabrina trailing behind.

“If I thought this class was gonna be long it’s nothing compared to the damn schoolyear.” Alya grumbles.

Marinette gets up from her desk and stretches again. “We can take her.”

“Physically? Because—”

“Kagami, no.”

“Fuck that. Kagami, yes.” Alya leans on Marinette, “you can’t tell me Blondie doesn’t deserve an almighty asskicking? Plus, she’s already afraid of Kagami.”

“But she didn’t even know who you were the other day.”

“I’m guessing the... events of yesterday made our presence known.” Kagami pauses, “either that or Adrien told her.” The three of them narrow their eyes at Adrien as he glances in their direction then hastily exits the classroom.

“Good. We got our foot in the door, now all we need to do is pull the rug underneath her Chanel boots.”

“Those aren’t real.”

Before Alya could ask or say anything, the brunette who was sitting beside Adrien approaches the front of Marinette’s desk. “Marinette, right?” Marinette adjusts her purse strap and nods, “I’m Lila. Lila Rossi. I know I’m a few days late but I wanted to officially welcome you to François Düpont.”

“Merci. That’s nice of you.”

“Piacerie mio. I mean, it’s my pleasure. It’s the least I could do.”

“You speak Italian?”

“I am Italian.”

“Cool. I’m half on my papa’s side.”

“Yeah? Fantastico. So glad I’m not the only one anymore. If you need anything, don’t hesitate to find me. I know all too well what it’s like being the new girl. Ciao, Belle! See you in the next class~” The brunette waves as she merrily leaves the classroom.

Alya starts rubbing her arms, “did you two also get a weird vibe from that girl or was it just me?”

“Weird how?” Kagami asks.

Alya shudders, “the best way to describe it is: she gave me the heebie-jeebies.”

“I’m not certain if that’s what I felt, considering I don’t know what that means, but I felt... something. However, in the same vein, I should state that I am naturally distrustful.”

“That’s a good attitude to have.”

Marinette snaps out of her stupor, “I-I didn’t feel anything, and you two shouldn’t be so paranoid. Good people exist.”

“So do bad people.” Alya and Kagami reply. Alya points out the door and holds her hair up in a ponytail for emphasis.

Marinette sighs. “That’s true.” Alya keeps rubbing her arms. “Maybe you should see the nurse?”

Alya elbows Marinette with a smile, “maybe you should, for your red face.” Marinette squawks. “You’re blushing something fierce. Did she offer to surrogate your kids or something?”

“W-What?” Marinette laughs, “no, she... she called me beautiful.”

“Was that all?” Kagami scoffs, “we all know you’re beautiful. Hell, we can call you beautiful every day of the week and twice on Sundays if you’d like.”

“N-No, I don’t need that!”

“Perhaps but you need to build immunity to it. You are beautiful. I’m certain you see your reflection in mirrors when you coordinate your outfits.” Marinette’s face turns redder.

“Y-Yeah, I-I have... I mean I do.” Marinette bites her lip as she twiddles her thumbs, “t-the only people who c-call me beautiful are m-my māma and nonna. I-I hit m-my growth spurt early so... so I’ve been a b-bit self-conscious... about it.”

“I’ve seen them both and they’re both hot. Blessed are ye with great ass genes.” Alya holds up her hand for a high-five and Kagami obliges. (Marinette forgot they spent two months together before she came in the picture.) “And your pops is huge! Come to think of it, so is your grandma.” Alya gasps, “imagine if you get taller!”

Marinette sighs, “that thought has gone through my mind.”

Kagami and Alya exchange a glance then nod. “That settles it. We unquestionably have to reaffirm your beauty to you. Marinette Dupain-Cheng, you are one badass glamazon.”

“Your beauty is so indisputable it should be immortalized in marble.”

“Ooh. That’s a good one. You’re... You’re...” Alya takes out her phone, “let’s see... synonym for beautiful. Ah! You’re pulch-rit-u-di-nous.”

Kagami shakes her head, “yeah, no. That sounds...” She shakes her head again. “Pick a different one.”

“Resplendent? That sounds real fancy.”

Kagami makes a seesawing motion with her hand, “a little better.” She takes out her phone, “let me look for some. Stupefying. Splendiferous.”

“Sublime.” Alya and Kagami utter simultaneously.

“Stop. Stop!” Marinette laughs. “I get it!”

Mylène is sitting on a cot drinking from a bottle of water when they enter the office. “O-Oh. Bonjour.”

“Bonjour. I brought you a worksheet Mme. Mendeleiev had us looking through.”

“M-Merci beaucoup. You didn’t have to do that.”

“It was no trouble. All we did was practically declare war on Blondie McFakeshoes. Speaking of which, how do you know they’re fake?”

“The stitching.” Marinette replies with a shrug, “I’ve seen a lot of knock-off designer stuff when I lived in Italy.”

Alya rubs her hands together, “Alya needs to rub this in her face.”

“Alya needs to wait until she comes for us first.”

Alya leans on Kagami, “you’re the best.”

Kagami chuckles, “wait. You said you had to show me something.”

“Right...” Alya hands Kagami her phone, “did you see the news this morning?” Kagami shakes her head, “Marinette, I didn’t accidentally hit send or share or anything when I showed you the video this morning... right?”

“No. You showed me the video, backed out of the camera app, then put your phone in your pocket.” She gasps, “you... that—

“I didn’t! I thought about it sure but I didn’t get the chance to post it.”

“Oh.” Kagami nods in understanding as she pauses the video, “the only way someone could’ve uploaded content straight from your phone without your consent would be if they pickpocketed you.”

“And they’d have to be a damn good pickpocket to take your phone, upload a video, then return your phone with you none the wiser.”

“But do to that they’d have to be an accomplished hacker as well. To get into your phone in the first place.”

“Unless the phone was unlocked and already on the camera app.” Marinette sighs, “great, now you got me on the paranoid train.”

Kagami’s eyes widen, “I know exactly when it happened. Not, specifically but I know the small window. Remember after you fell from the air dancers after the akuma was destroyed? Marinette’s papa caught you and handed you your phone. There was a whole group of people in the surrounding area. From the time you fell to the time you were given your phone anyone could’ve uploaded the video to their phone especially if you were still in the camera app.”

“Then they erased their tracks and probably went through a bunch of people to erase their fingerprints instead of just handing my papa the phone themselves.”

Alya sighs, “great. That only leaves the unknown amount of individuals who know how to use a cameraphone from the hundreds of people who were in the ballroom. Looks like we got a mystery on our hands to solve, gang.”

“Looks like it.” Marinette agrees. “Ooh! Lemme be Velma?”

“Can’t. I got the glasses.”

“That literally doesn’t mean anything.”

“What are you talking about?”

Mylène giggles and the three of them turn to her, “o-oh! Sorry.”

“Don’t apologize. I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced. I’m Kagami. I believe you’ve met Alya and Nette.”

Alya and Marinette exchange a glance before turning to Kagami. “‘Nette?’”

“I’ve read best friends give each other nicknames. ‘Mari’ seemed the obvious choice so I wanted to go in another direction. I couldn’t come up with a nickname for Alya though.”

“Ooh! Doesn’t matter! I’m absolutely on board! You’re totally Mimi now!” Alya exclaims.

“And you’re Yaya.” Marinette rocks back and forth on her heels. “You can be Lyly or maybe just Ly? Lyna?”

Mylène blushes, “m-me!?”

“Yeah, you. We’re totally best friends now.”

Alya and Kagami nod in agreement.

Mylène looks at the three of them rubbing the back of her neck. “I-I don’t know what to say.”

“Say ‘cheese’ cause we’re taking some pictures.”

They manage to take one picture before the nurse’s office door opens and a kid with dark blue hair stumbles in holding their nose. “Another nosebleed?” The nurse sighs, ushering the kid to an empty cot.

“Are you okay? Do you need us to get your notes and stuff for the next class?”

“I-I should be okay to go back to class. R-Right?” The nurse nods.

“Mme. Bustier has the old-school assigned seats thing going but it’s not like it’s by last name or whatever. Cause, I mean that would be simple. I’m Césaire, I’d be in the front—”

“You’d also be near Bourgeois.” Kagami points out.

Alya scowls and Marinette gasps, “I’m Dupain-Cheng, so would I!” She nudges Alya, “but we’d be pretty close together. Just Kagami would be all alone in the back.”

“We’d better book it to class to see what Mme. Bustier did with our seats.” Mylène hops off the cot. “This should be fun~” Alya sing-songs.

“Come back if you experience any symptoms, okay?” Mylène nods.

The four of them walk to class chatting. Mylène would’ve been content with just listening but they’ve been engaging her into the conversation. She gets a warm, comforting feeling being near them.

Mme. Bustier has pens sticking out of her bun as she paces in front of her desk with a clipboard in her hands.

Everyone is lined up against the front rows except Chloé who is at her seat in the back with her feet propped up on the desk. Marinette looks around the room and when the blonde meets her eyes she waves.

Marinette stops in front of the teacher’s desk as Alya, Kagami, and Mylène lean against the wall by the door. “Mme. Bustier, you’re kinda obstructing my seat.”

The redhead stops pacing, “this isn’t your seat anymore. I’m figuring out the best seats for everyone.”

Marinette jerks a thumb behind her, “yet you’re gonna leave you know who in the same seat?” She shakes her head with a sigh then joins her friends.

Mme. Bustier frowns before looking up at the top row. “Chloé, can you come down here please?”

“Why?”

“Because I’m arranging everyone’s seats.”

“I know. That’s why I’m sitting here waiting.”

“I’m moving your seat too.”

“Are you sure? You know Audrey’s just a phone call away.”

“I’d hate to bother Mayor Bourgeois with something this trivial.”

“One bad video doesn’t change my status, Mme. Bustier.”

“I’m well aware, Mlle. Bourgeois.” The redhead gestures to the class, “please. Join us.” The blonde picks up her bag and her plaque and walks down the stairs joining the rest of the class. For about a second before she heads to the front row desk on the right and sits on it.

It takes five more minutes of pacing before Mme. Bustier has their seats ready (or so she says). The redhead puts Chloé in the front of the class, to the surprise of everyone. What’s even more surprising is the blonde goes without a fuss.

Mylène watches Mme. Bustier check off her list as she sends the students to their seats one by one.

She gets put in the desk across from Chloé, and considering what happened earlier Mylène’s not sure if this is a good move. But with what Alya told her, Mylène doesn’t only have to worry about herself. In her old class she heard horrible things about Chloé Bourgeois but to see slash experience them first-hand is something else entirely. (She’ll undoubtedly get nightmares about it.)

Mme. Bustier sits a boy named Max next to her.

There are seven quatrième classes in the school and Damocles somehow managed to swap students from the other six classes into this one. Yet no one else from Mylène’s old class is here. Did the principal pull her name from a hat? Why was she the only one? At the end of the day, it hardly matters as she never really conversed with her old classmates.

Some unlucky, unfamiliar boy gets put next to Chloé. Mylène didn’t hear his name from Mme. Bustier.

Kagami is put at the desk behind the blonde, which happens to also be next to Adrien Agreste. She does not seem happy about this, at all. Which, by all accounts, seems strange because Adrien Agreste is the handsomest boy in the school, and any girl—hell any student would be elated to be his deskmate; Mylène’s happy just to be in his proximity.

Alya is put in the back, in the seat Chloé was sitting in. Next to her is a green-eyed brunette who loudly complained about her sprained ankle until a tall boy carried her up to her seat. That same tall boy got put in front of the brunette and Alya, and his deskmate is Marinette.

A boy who looked exactly like Adrien Agreste with glasses is seated behind her, alongside an unfamiliar pink-haired girl. Though, to be fair, all the students here are unfamiliar to her sans Marinette, Alya, and Kagami and that’s only because they introduced themselves to her.

Bustier looks over the class then takes a deep breath and nods. “Okay.” She claps her hands together and beams. “Time to begin today’s lesson!”

Alya pretty much tuned out the seating arrangements on the grounds that she only cared about where three people were sitting. She tries to get a glimpse of Kagami. Being in the orbit of Adrien 1, Adrien 2, and Blondie? That’s a triple oof. At least this class won’t have Blondie bitching, not while Kagami is within striking range.

Marinette was grateful for the seat switch (especially as she never truly had a seat). There are only six rows in the classroom and she’s in the fifth. She feels for Kagami though. Mme. Bustier doesn’t have a clue the storm that’s brewing.

Chloé put her name plaque on her side of the desk. Bustier (surprisingly) wasn’t budging on the desk share and Chloé doesn’t recognize the boy next to her.

She sneaks a sidelong glance. Her “deskmate” has a pair of pink headphones around his neck, he’s wearing a black cap and has on a pink and black gingham style shirt. Not Adrikins level of pretty but cute... as far as boys go. How the hell has she not seen him before?

Adrien was practically vibrating in his seat. Mme. Bustier put him next to Kagami! Adrien honestly couldn’t be happier if he tried. He was also next to his cousin Félix and Chloé but that was less important. Sabrina was on the other side of the classroom, and Lila was all the way in the back. Needless to say, he had plenty of opportunities to make friends! Especially as the only people from his old class were Kagami and Alya.

Hopefully, there could be some salvageable bits of near friendship between him and Kagami. All he has to do is prove he’s nothing like Chloé. Simple. Adrien always admired his childhood friend’s tenacity and headstrong nature (even the times when it got him in trouble) but if Chloé flat out picked a fight with Kagami he’d be screwed. Based on years of friendship, he’d have to pick Chloé’s side even if his heart would disagree and cry on the inside.

Kagami feels a headache coming on. Mme. Bustier had her next to Adrien when they were in the same homeroom. She looked around the classroom while the redhead was designating seats and Alya and Marinette both mouthed apologies to her when they were given their seats. Now would be a great time to practice meditation techniques. It might lessen her urge to headbutt her desk repeatedly. She can feel one blond next to her vibrating with excitement while the other is displeased and trying to put some kind of hex on her.

Lila takes a deep breath. She hit the motherfucking jackpot! Alya is downright gorgeous and she smells like sunflowers. Plus, her hair is so, so shiny. (Lila doubts she’ll be able to pay attention to class as long as she’s sitting next to Alya but, damn, her bad grades will be worth it.)

Kim stretches, “oh...” He turns around, “I’m not in your way, right?”

Lila smiles at him. “With you being so freakishly tall? No, Kim. I’m good.”

He nods then turns back around. Oh. That’s what he meant. With him sitting up straight, she can’t see anything in front of her. [She doubts she’ll be able to see anything if she was behind Marinette too, so she’s just flat-out screwed. She might have to put her chair in the aisle.]

Marinette props her fist against her cheek and yawns, prompting the boy next to her to do the same. “Sorry.” She whispers.

“You’re good. Probably woulda yawned on my own at some point.” Marinette chuckles, “I’m Kim, by the way. Wanted to talk to you since Monday but then the akumatization happened, and I wasn’t in school Tuesday or yesterday.” They shake hands.

“You’d be the second person I met from this class that actually wanted to talk to me.”

“They’ll come around. You know, hopefully. Everyone’s so used to being under Chloé’s thumb they can’t squeeze through the spaces between her fingers.”

“Huh. Interesting way to put it. What about you, though? You offered to give her your seat on Monday.”

“Right, that.” Kim rubs the back of his neck, “not my best moment. I was trying to be a gentleman but I forgot who I was trying to be a gentleman for. Chloé doesn’t give a shit about chivalry if it gets in her way. I could’ve just as easily offered my seat to you and avoided this whole thing.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Yeah, guess I don’t but I still feel like I made the wrong move.”

“Well, you won’t get a disagreement from me on that.” Kim laughs, “how come you’re not squished under her thumb like the rest of them?"

“Alix.” Kim points to the pink-haired girl at the front of the class behind Mylène’s desk. “We’ve been best friends since we were in diapers. Tried the dating thing. It was gross. Continued to be the best pair of best friends in existence. Me, Chloé, Alix, Rose, Nathaniel, and Sabrina all went to école primaire together and were in the same damn class year after year after year. I would never go so far as to say Chloé wasn’t always terrible but she was less of a shrieking banshee when she didn’t get her way. Before she started threatening people on a regular basis she was just showing off and bragging about all the stuff her parents got her. Talking about how great her parents were. You know, typical rich kid stuff. She’d bribe us into doing whatever she wanted time and time again. Her shit was shiny and she knew us pretty well. Needless to say, we were not immune.” Marinette hums. “Chloé’s maman is called 'The Queen of Fashion' or something? Personally, I, to this day, have no idea what that means but...” Kim shrugs, “I suppose it was something worth bragging about. I’m guessing she was a model at some point? Maybe a fashion designer too? Whatever. Doesn’t matter. She’s featured in magazines and all that jazz. Before she was mayor, Chloé’s papa was mayor.”

“Seriously?”

Kim nods, “I think the more corrupt her papa mayor became the more corrupt Chloé became. Anyway, she was showing off and bragging and whatever like always when Alix called her out on her bullshit. It’s like this spell she had over me broke. I knew Alix would never fuck around and say shit just so say it. Plus, I knew if one person on this planet knows skate history: It’s Alix Kubdel. Then a shouting match erupted and it ended with Chloé threatening to talk to her papa about closing down the skatepark. Since then they’ve been at each other’s throats.”

“And that was the first time Chloé started making threats?” Kim and Marinette look up at Lila, “what? The story’s interesting and I’m engaged.”

“Same here.” Alya adds.

Kim shakes his head, “yeah. It was about two years ago. Before we started collège. Alix might remember the exact date. There really isn’t much I can do about anything. I’m the one who has to restrain Alix from attacking. Chloé would love to file assault charges on her. As she’s threatened to do so several times. I’d never hit a girl even for Alix. I’d probably have to find a girl to do it for me.”

“Kagami.” Alya and Marinette reply.

“I’ll talk to her. Even if I told the teachers what I know, they don’t take me seriously. I’m a goof. Plus, you know, they’re under Chloé’s thumb too.”

“What about Mme. Mendeleiev?” Alya asks.

“It feels like they’re slowly trying to break her down. Every time she does something, Damocles pops up and gets on her. Today is a fine example.”

Alya taps her chin, “her parents are in control of the city which is the police along with damn near every authoritative force; politicians, other celebrities, yada yada. They don’t seem to have the media in their back pocket yet but we don’t know for how much longer. Realistically speaking, we cannot conventionally pose a threat.”

“You said conventionally.” Kim points out.

“You’re saying we gotta think outside the box. Poke holes in the armor. Stuff like that?” Lila asks.

“Exactly. I don’t know how yet but I’ll think of something.”

“Hell yeah.” Marinette nods, “I’m in.”

“Me too. Just tell me what you need.” Kim looks up at Lila then gasps, “wait a second! Aren’t you like friends with Chloé?” Lila’s eyes widen slightly as both Marinette and Alya stare at her. The stares aren’t bad, per se, but all their warmth and friendliness flew out the fucking window.

That damn big mouth! Time to do some damage control. Lila tucks a lock of hair behind her ear, “my mamma is in the same social circles as her parents. Dignitaries and all that. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we’re ‘friends.’ However, as you’ve all no doubt experienced, being on Chloé’s good side is far better than being on her bad.” The three of them exchange glances. “I can help you guys, from the inside.”

“You could just as easily be helping her on the inside.” Alya says.

Fuck. She wasn’t expecting that. Great. Now she’s gotta watch her ass for the pretty one. “The glitzy life has its perks, sure, but I’m a simple girl with simple needs.”

Alya raises an eyebrow. “Which are...?”

“Friends? Real friends.” Marinette’s eyes soften just a fraction but that’s more than enough. Alya on the other hand isn’t affected. Looks like she’ll have to put in some research on the orange-haired girl. “Haven’t any of your parents made you hang around with the kids your age when you knew damn well knew nothing good would come of it?” Kim nods but the others shake their heads, “no? You’re lucky.”

Marinette taps Alya on the shoulder and she leans forward so Marinette can whisper in her ear. Alya nods then leans back, “for your own safety it’s probably not the best idea to have you play double agent, at least for the moment.”

“But we’ll be more than happy to be your real friends.”

Lila smiles, “grazie and I appreciate your concern.”

Alya pats her on the shoulder, “we’re good at making friends.” Marinette nods in agreement.

🤺

“Kagami, do you have a minute?” Adrien jogs up to her. “You walk fast.”

“I do so particularly when I don’t want to be bothered.” She turns on her heels sharply and enters the gym. Adrien nearly stumbles as he follows after her.

“I just want a minute of your time. After that, I-I won’t bother you... for the rest of the week!”

“I find that very hard to believe.” Kagami suddenly stops walking and Adrien bumps into her. Adrien rubs his nose then looks up at the sign for the girl’s changing room. “Do you plan on following me inside here as well?”

“N-No, I’m gonna get dressed myself.” Sighing, he miserably heads to the boy’s changing room. His mother had been excited when the school got M. Armand D’Argencourt to teach fencing last year. Adrien wished he was able to attend public school last year but he’s here now, no use dwelling on the past. He and Kagami are teammates, she can’t hate him if they expect to win. Yeah. That’s a great point to make! With renewed vigor, he gets dressed.

Meanwhile, as Adrien gets dressed Chloé, Sabrina, and Félix enter the gym. “Why are we here?” Félix asks.

“Because we’re supporting Adrikins, duh. Otherwise I wouldn’t be caught dead in the gym on purpose. Audrey writes me daily excuse notes for a reason.”

“Too bad about Lila’s sprained ankle.” Sabrina muses, “she said to cheer on Adrien for her.”

“Wait, what? What are you talking about?”

“Lila? She sprained her ankle at the party yesterday, running from the tube dancers. She can’t climb all the bleachers so she went home.”

Félix snickers, “hell of a party you know how to throw Bourgeois.”

“Zip it Graham Cracker. When did Lila tell you she sprained her ankle? She didn’t tell me anything. Hell, I barely saw her today.”

“She sprained her ankle yesterday fleeing from the akumatizations, and I’m pretty sure the reason you haven’t seen her today is because she’s cozying up to Marinette and Kagami, remember?”

Chloé’s eyes narrow, “I think she’s cozying a little too much. I saw the look in her eye on Tuesday. She’s got a thing for...” The blonde frowns, “dammit. Don’t tell me I’m turning into Audrey. I’d like to remember the names of people I hate!”

Sabrina sighs, “Marinette Dupain-Cheng is the girl from Monday. Lila even told us so. She’s like freakishly tall. You really can’t miss her. Kagami—”

“Don’t insult my intelligence, Sabrina, I know all about Kagami Tsurugi. She truly is her maman’s daughter. How dare she refuse an exclusive offer from Oncle Gabriel? Saying she’d rather be akumatized than work with him? She can’t be allowed to freely roam the city.”

“Chloé, there are so many reasons I can get into to explain why you cannot do anything to Tomoe Tsurugi without insulting your intelligence.”

Chloé rolls her eyes, “I don’t discriminate, Sabrina. Visually impaired or not, that bitch deserves to get akumatized. Maybe it’ll get her to change her attitude.”

“I don’t know. It certainly didn’t help you.” Félix states and Chloé glares at him.

The fencers start lining up. “Go Kagami!”

Chloé flinches then leans over Sabrina to see Blue-Hair on the bleachers with pom-poms. “As if my day couldn’t get any worse.” She grumbles then gets off Sabrina. “Time to trash talk.” Sabrina gets up and moves a seat back so she’s next to Félix. “You know Adrikins, will make quick work of Tsurugi, right?”

Blue-Hair turns to her. She’s higher up on the bleachers and... Huh. Chloé hadn’t realized how pretty she was before. Nope. No complimenting her mortal enemy. Or is it sworn enemy? Whichever.

“Right...” A pretty orange-haired girl, leaning on Blue-Hair on the bleacher behind her, waves her arm in the air carelessly, “your boy likes Mimi, he’ll get distracted and defeated.”

“Adrikins is the best fencer in the school!” She growls. “And Kagami Tsurugi is barely worth a second glance let alone a distraction.”

“She sure seemed to distract you. Or do you need a reminder of what happened earlier?” Blue-Hair mutters then taps her friend. “Kagami’s up. Go Mimi!”

“Kick some ass, Mimi!” Orange-Hair yells as Blue-Hair shakes the pom-poms. Kagami walks to the center of the floor and puts her helmet down.

M. D’Argencourt chuckles. “Fencing practice has never been so lively before.”

“It’s distracting.” Kagami’s opponent grumbles putting his helmet down.

“Does it ‘distract’ you because you aren’t being cheered for?” The instructor asks, the student growls. “Nationals are ten times as noisy. If you can’t deal with the ‘distraction,’ forfeit now.”

Never.”

“Then let us begin.” The instructor looks at the competitors. “En garde!” The remaining fencers try to inch closer. “Prêts?” He looks at the students again. “Allez!”

Ordinarily, Chloé wouldn’t pay attention to anyone other than Adrien fencing but she’s glad she decided to see what Tsurugi is capable of. To start the match, Tsurugi’s opponent lunges and Tsurugi somehow deflects his attack with her épée. The crowd gasps loudly and the guy growls. She’s obviously not on par with Adrikins... but she’s scary good. Compared to the peons anyway.

“Someone’s getting akumatized.” Félix mumbles and Sabrina nods in agreement.

After a few pathetic attempts that get brutally rebuffed, Tsurugi’s opponent just starts unprofessionally flailing his épée around and Tsurugi is not only effortlessly dodging the pitiful assault but counterattacks. It’s almost like the cartoons Adrien makes her watch.

When Tsurugi effortlessly knocks the épée out her opponent’s hand he snarls tackling her to the ground. Blue-Hair and Orange-Hair get up then rush down the bleachers.

“You don’t deserve this uniform!” The guy throws a punch but Adrien runs over grabbing his arm.

“What do you think you’re doing, man?”

“This doesn’t concern you, Agreste. Back the hell o—ff!” He groans loudly then slumps off Kagami. Adrien looks down at his teammate then over at Kagami noticing the blue-haired teen’s left knee is up. Adrien winces, as do the rest of the guys on the team.

Marinette and Alya each grab one of Kagami’s arms helping her up. “What the hell, teach?” Alya exclaims.

“Indeed. This is fencing, not wrestling M. Brisbois show a little decorum. You’re suspended from the team, indefinitely.” The boy gasps as he cups himself, “maybe you’ll learn how to work well with others in the meantime.” With a sigh, he turns to Kagami. “I trust you are unharmed, Mlle. Tsurugi?”

Kagami takes off her helmet and runs a hand through her hair. “I’ve sustained no damage.”

“Thank goodness. However, I believe you should see the nurse. Just in case. You did hit your head when you hit the floor.”

“If it’ll make you feel better, I’ll see her when practice ends.”

D’Argencourt nods. “Take M. Brisbois to Damocles so we can resume practice.”

“You clowns are nothing without me! The Ice Princess and Pretty Boy don’t care about this as much as I do!” Brisbois yells as two of his former teammates drag him off.

Chloé raises an eyebrow as she watches Orange-Hair and Blue-Hair fuss over Tsurugi heading to the front of the bleachers. She never noticed how tiny Tsurugi is. What the blue-haired girl lacks in height she makes up for in how scary she is.

“M. Agreste, Mlle. Charles. You’re up.”

Chloé claps her hands together. “Finally! Go Adrikins!”

“Go Adrien!” Sabrina cheers cupping her hands around her mouth.

The rest of the girls in the bleachers, who run to the front, also start cheering Adrien’s name. They’re holding both his model posters and the poster D’Argencourt made to get people “interested” in fencing. It worked... to a degree, it just hadn’t gotten anyone interested in joining fencing.

Adrien clears his throat. He’d spare a glance back at Kagami but he doesn’t want to be obvious. “Mèlodie.”

He can practically feel the blonde grinning behind her mask. “Adrien.”

“Oh. So you’re not the only girl on the team?”

Kagami shakes her head leaning into Marinette as she massages Kagami’s head. “I’m one of two, and one of three non boys on the team. That girl is Mèlodie Charles. Brisbois has a problem with her as well.”

“The whole girls aren’t allowed in our sports bullshit?” Alya shakes her head, “it’s fucking 2020, man. Get a life. Get some hobbies.”

“Does this jerk have a problem with the other non boy on the team?” Kagami nods. Marinette blows out a breath. “I’m not even gonna waste time thinking about that asshole.”

“En garde!” D’Argencourt begins. “Prêts?” He looks between the two fencers. “Allez!”

“Hold up. Didn’t a Mèlodie get transferred into the class too? She had long blonde hair in a fishtail braid.”

“Huh. I think you’re right.” Marinette beams, “you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“I could really go for some doughnuts.”

Kagami nods with a hum, “same. Glazed. Maybe jelly filled?”

“Definitely glazed. Feels like forever since I last had a good doughnut.”

“Okay, I was thinking about doughnuts, not gonna lie, but I was also thinking about cheering for Mèlodie.”

“Then let’s do it now and get doughnuts later.” Alya clears her throat. “You got this, Girl!” She cheers.

Chloé gasps, as does every other girl in the gym.

“C’mon Mèlodie!” Marinette cheers. Kagami shakes the pom poms in the air.

The girls start angrily muttering to one another. Félix can’t help laughing. Those three certainly are interesting. He might have to join the fencing team himself. Tante Émilie goes on and on about the sport but Félix never paid much attention to her ramblings. It doesn’t matter, he’s a quick study.

The fencer on the right is just a tad bit faster than the one on the left and Félix would bet his bottom euro the faster fencer isn’t Adrien. Still, they’re practically evenly matched. Or so it appears. They keep moving each other back and forth. He’s gonna have to study a handbook or something when he gets home.

The fencers keep clashing their épée’s. Chloé taps Sabrina, “what’s going on? How much longer until Adrikins wins?”

“I don’t know!”

“Teach? How about we get uniforms with some personality?” Alya asks. “Or maybe just a little something to help us tell the fencers apart?”

“Hmm... that’s not a bad idea. I do grow weary of these dreary uniforms. If you have any ideas, Mademoiselle, I’d love to hear them.”

Alya gives him a two-fingered salute, “will do.”

An épée goes flying in the air landing on the bleachers. The girls in that area run off. Adrien lifts his helmet staring wide-eyed then Mèlodie follows suit.

D’Argencourt holds his hand in Adrien’s direction, “win—”

Adrien shakes his head, “that wasn’t me.” The blond lifts his arm with the épée in it. “This isn’t me either!”

“Just can’t take the win, can you Agreste?” A voice whispers in his ear.

“Brisbois.” Adrien’s head tilts upward, “why don’t you show yourself?”

“You’d like that wouldn’t you, Pretty Boy? I’ll deal with you once I’m done with the Frost Bitch.”

“You’d better leave Adrikins alone!” Chloé shouts.

“Kagami, look out!” Adrien falls to the floor and all the girls rush over to him. “Brisbois is akumatized and he’s invisible!”

Kagami stands then gets off the bleachers cracking her knuckles, “typical of a coward. You wanna target me? I’m right here.”

“Kagami, no!” Adrien screams.

Kagami’s eyes narrow and she lifts her right arm defensively in front of her face and there’s a loud guttural growl. “Holy shit!” Alya yells, “did she block his invisible punch?!”

Everyone in the gym is stunned as they stare at Kagami. She sidesteps and the bleachers shake then there’s another growl. She moves from side to side for a while before she reaches out in front of her and grabs something and pulls it down before headbutting it. There’s a thud before Brisbois materializes on the floor, unconscious.

“Oh wow.” A girl utters blushing slightly. “That was hot.” The girls look among one another then run from Adrien over to Kagami surrounding and cheering for her.

“Unbelievable!” Chloé mutters, folding her arms over her chest. “Talk about fair-weather fans! Utterly ridiculous!”

“R-Right.” Sabrina agrees, blushing.

Marinette blinks then looks down at her slightly opened purse at Longg who shrugs. Not kwami magic then. Speaking of kwamis...

Mèlodie squeezes through the crowd and elbows Kagami, “badass.” She holds out her fist and Kagami obliges with a fist bump. “I mean, I know your mum has you practicing fencing with your eyes closed but wow. Seeing it first-hand?” She whistles. “You’re on a whole nother level.”

“Merci, Mèlodie.”

“Just calling it how I see it. What do we do about the akuma?”

“It’s gone!” Adrien exclaims, getting up. “I mean, he’s gone!”

The girls gasp forming a shield around Kagami. “That coward! He’ll have to get through us first!” They declare.

“How are they loyaler to her than Adrikins?!”

There’s a bright purple flash before a table goes flying toward the crowd. The girls hold their ground yet scream until the Dragon drops in front of them slicing the table in half.

“She’s back!” Chloé squeals.

The girls all cheer. “I got this. Go!” They drag a protesting Kagami off.

“The akuma is invisible and a sexist coward.” Mèlodie states, “good luck.” The Dragon nods as the blonde runs off.

The akumatization turns visible and he now has épées for hands, “you scared away my adoring fans!” He laughs.

“You want a swordfight, asshole, you’re gonna get it.”

He grits his teeth. “Frosty’s an anomaly but there’s no way two girls are better than me when it comes to fencing!”

“Put your money where your épée is.”

“Your sword isn’t exactly regulation.” He brings his hands together and it forms into a bigger sword.

“Overcompensate, much?”

Yelling, he rushes at the Dragon running straight through her. “W-Wha—?” She grabs him by the back of his head as she reforms. “L-Let go of me!”

“With pleasure. But first, on behalf of non-male fencers everywhere? Just chill out, man!” He screams as his head gets slowly encased in ice. He gasps for air turning blue. As his eyes roll to the back of his head the akuma flies out of his fencing uniform. Once the transformation drops, his head gets unfrozen but The Dragon doesn’t bother catching him as he falls. Instead, she freezes the akuma and it shatters when it stops moving and falls to the ground.

The girls cramming in the doorway cheer as they run over to her, stepping on Brisbois’ unconscious body.

“What do we call you?”

Chloé does a double take as she sees Sabrina among the crowd.

“Fēngbào. F-ē-n-g-b-à-o.” She gives the crowd a toothy smile and they squeal, some even faint.

“Hands in the air, Mlle. Dragon!” The crowd turn to police chief Raincomprix holding a riot shield, behind him are several officers also with riot shields. “There are several questions we’d like to ask you.” The crowd glares at Chloé.

“This isn’t my doing!”

“Maybe next time, Officer.” The crowd gives her wide berth and her wings extend.

The officers run into the gym but the girls run at the officers blocking their path.

“Fair-weathered they may be but they’re certainly loyal to their current obsession.” Félix says watching The Dragon—Fēngbào—fly away. That’s Chinese for something. But what? He hadn’t realized his Chinese was so rusty. Looks like he’ll have to brush up.

🤺

Marinette manages to slip into the crowd without suspicion. Unfortunately, her clumsiness kicks in and she trips right in front of Kagami.

Kagami immediately helps her up. “Are you alright, Nette? I lost sight of you while I was being dragged away.”

“I’m good. I must've got swept up in the crowd. I lost track of you and Alya.”

Alya skips over to them cradling her cell against her chest. “I think I found my calling~” She turns her phone over and Marinette gapes. Alya managed to get a clear picture of her before she took off. “I hid in the bleachers watching Fēng-bào not waste any effort on that sexist scum. She, like, turned into wind or something.” Alya shows them another picture of Marinette—Fēngbào—partially evaporating into air.

“Your photography skills are impeccable.”

Marinette nods dumbly. “Merci. My favorite is this one.” Marinette internally facepalms as Alya shows them her idiotic grin. It took her like ten hours to come up with a fitting name, and even longer to come through with a perfect delivery that she blew to hell. She decided to go with something Chinese because her kwami and the Miraculouses are based on Chinese mythology... or maybe it was the other way around. It only... partially involved her being Half-Chinese herself.

M. D’Argencourt cancels the rest of practice and after a quick thumbs up from the nurse, Alya, Marinette, Kagami, and Mèlodie head to Sabine & Tom Boulangerie Pâtissèrie.

“I can’t believe you live in a boulangerie pâtissèrie!” Mèlodie whistles, “that’s incredible! And it’s so close to the school too!”

“Doesn’t stop me from underestimating the time it takes to get to school.”

Mèlodie laughs, “I overestimate the time it takes me to get to school. I’m like super early every day.”

“Ciliegia!” Gina yells as she picks up Alya in a hug. “I was hoping you’d pop in for a visit!” Once she’s done hugging Alya, Gina gasps. “More of Fragola’s friends?” She hugs Mèlodie and Kagami at the same time. “Welcome, welcome! All of Fragola’s friends are welcome! I’m Gina.”

Mèlodie blinks as Gina releases them. “Fraga-what?”

“Fragola is my nickname. It means Strawberry in Italian. This is my nonna. Grandma.”

“Ah. I’m Mèlodie and she’s Kagami.”

Gina ushers them inside, beaming. “Bambino, we have hungry friends of Fragola to feed!”

Mèlodie looks around then screams clutching her chest when Roland appears out of nowhere. “Ciao, nonno.” The old man grunts, and gives Marinette a wave before shuffling off.

“If nonna is grandma then that’s your grandpa?” Alya asks and Marinette nods.

Kagami watches the man disappear around the corner. “Forgive me for... assuming but he seems rather surly.”

Marinette laughs awkwardly. “We’re here for doughnuts, right? Doughnuts are this way.”

“Girl, don’t even sweat it. We all have a grumpy relative. You should see my paternal grandpa, or Nora when she hasn’t had a match in a while.”

“Do your grandparents live in the boulangerie pâtissèrie as well?” Mèlodie asks.

“I’m starting to think so.”

Tom outstretches his arms, “welcome to Sabine & Tom Boulangerie Pâtissèrie! I’m Tom. Our products are 100% gluten free and we make everything fresh daily, delivering our leftovers to shelters and soup kitchens around the city.” He grins at Marinette, “how was my sales pitch?”

“It needs a little work. Don’t worry, papa, we’ll fine tune it.”

“How about we bounce some ideas off your friends?” Marinette looks at the three of them who nod eagerly.

🤺

“Break out the French-Chinese dictionaries because Fēngbào is here!” Alec Cataldi begins, “man, I really hope I pronounced that properly. Thursday, in case you hadn’t heard, and seriously if you haven’t you must’ve left the city that day, we finally got the name of our personal akuma buster! You Know Who might not’ve caused this akumatization to round out her week but I’m thinking François Düpont is an akuma hotspot all the same. Anyway! Let’s check out this footage!”

Kagami takes off her phone with a sigh. She was carried away so damn suddenly she didn’t get a chance to transform with Wayzz.

As she brushes her hair she remembers Marinette’s words from the other day.

She takes a plain black hairclip and places it through the hair she brushes out of her face. “I like it.” Wayzz says as they float over to her holding a pair of small silver hoop earrings.

“These?” Wayzz nods, “arigatou.” She puts the earrings on.

“You and your friends are going on an impromptu tour of Paris?”

“I’ve never really... gone out to see the sights of the city since my arrival. Alya said she’s seen some but not all, and Marinette just got here less than a week ago. This is absolutely something one must do with friends. Every guidebook I’ve ever consulted confirmed it.”

Wayzz nods in agreement. “Paris has probably changed a bit since my last time in the city. It has been over a century. Anyways, I hope you three have fun!”

“As do I. The fact that yesterday was an akuma free day has me on edge.”

“Don’t let Papillion get in your head. We can take an akumatization and if we, for whatever reason, cannot the Dragon Miraculous wielder is more than capable.”

Kagami stares st her reflection in the vanity then frowns. “Do you know who is behind the mask?”

“No. Well, I mean sort of...? I have an idea? I didn’t stick around long enough to find out fully, though.“ Kagami takes her plain black shirt off then puts on a black and white button-up striped shirt. “Master must be furious. Then again, it would be hypocritical of him to comment. He left the Order because they weren’t doing anything about the akumas and amoks here. I left him because he was taking his sweet time delivering me to you. In a sense, it’s practically the same thing.”

“Yeah, practically.” Kagami scowls at her reflection. “Wayzz, will I full-on turn into a turtle the way Fēngbào became a full-fledged dragon?”

“Yeah. Depends on the situation, really. And your emotions... a bunch of factors truthfully. Once you’re accustom to it you can do it on command. The majority of my Chosens prefer that form. Something about childhood and memorabilia...”

Kagami picks up her chapstick and stares at it. “Should I wear makeup?”

“You don’t have makeup. Hatchling, please, stop overthinking. They’ll love whatever you wear. Your cluster is very supportive.”

“My what now?”

“Cluster. Your friends are fellow Miraculous holders.”

Kagami blinks then turns to Wayzz, “what?!”

“Kwamis can sense each other and I sense the dragon kwami, Longg. Unfortunately, I can’t exactly pinpoint Longg’s exact location. That's the whole... 'hiccup' with the kwami sensing. Never specific. Only gives the estimation.”

“It’s Marinette.” Kagami’s eyebrows furrow. “I’ve seen Alya take footage of Fēngbào twice but I have never seen them and Marinette in the same surrounding area. It could just be a coincidence... but I don’t believe it is.” She looks at Wayzz through the vanity, “is it bad that I’ve figured it out?”

“No. They’re your cluster. It’s damn near impossible keeping secrets from them. Back in the olden days members of the same cluster were told to keep their identify secret from one another. Granted, they rarely did but it was one of those rules everyone knew about but flat out ignored because it made no sense.”

“Alya and Marinette are Miraculous users as well and we’re in the same cluster... is that why we’ve become friends so quickly?”

Wayzz nods then pauses. “No. They’re just very friendly. You all being part of the same cluster is why you’ve gathered but it cannot forge the bond for you. Nor can it dictate the type of bond you create. Orikko, Plagg, Longg, and myself have been a subunit for as long as I can remember yet it’s never been like this before. This is the quickest we’ve ever been bonded together. Although we’re not fully bonded together, we’re not quite yet there with Plagg’s Chosen. She’ll come around.”

“So we know her?” Wayzz nods, Kagami hums. “Figuring out who she is might require a bit more thinking.” Wayzz nods again. “Can you give me a hint?”

“You’ll know it when you feel it. Your bond will slot into place like a puzzle piece.”

“Not the hint I was hoping for.”

“I don’t know anymore about this than you do. All I know is she’s near but the bond hasn’t formed yet. Let me put it all out there. You and Orange-Hair? Solidified bond. Those months you’ve spent in each other’s company floating on the same wavelength forged one hell of a bond. It’s a line that you go over with a Sharpie to thicken. Twintails? Your bond isn’t as strong on the count of you just meeting her. The bond is there but it’s like a dotted line. Plagg’s Chosen? Again, you just met but the bond has yet to form. No line.”

“I... think I understand.”

“Good. If you are unclear on something let me know.” Kagami nods. “Have you thought of a name yet? Should we get the opportunity to transform to fight?” Kagami nods, “good. Very good.” Kagami changes her shirt again. “Hatchling, listen, you. Are. Overthinking. It. Your cluster wold never do anything to make you feel—”

“Anything less than perfect.” Kagami recites then smiles at her reflection. Then she almost immediately scowls, “I need to work on my smile.” She changes her shirt one more time.

After three more outfit changes, Kagami meets Alya and Marinette at the Louvre.

Wayzz told her not to overthink her smile either and it’ll come naturally. (And she really hopes so, her face hurts from forcing a smile for the past half hour.)

Kagami picks up her pace the moment she sees Marinette in the distance. Marinette’s hair is in a bun on the top of her head. She’s wearing a powder blue hoodie, a pair of grey jeans, and a pair of white sneakers. Alya has on a yellow Anansi hoodie she swallowed up in; her pants and boots are black. “Mimi!” Alya waves her over, “you gotta be the tiebreaker. Nette made the clutch she’s using.”

A blushing Marinette holds out the powder blue ruffled clutch purse in her hands. “Yaya’s making a big deal out of nothing! I don’t even consider this in the top ten of favorite things I made.”

Alya shakes her head, “you may think that but some people might disagree. I wanna be a photographer, you wanna be a fashion designer. The best way to get both our names out there is post on every social media platform in existence!”

“You want to be a photographer?”

“She’s really good at taking pictures.”

Alya grins. “I was nudged in that direction.” Marinette beams. “I don’t wanna be just any ol’ photographer though, I wanna be a Peter Parker style photographer so I can take pictures of superheroes.”

“My comic book knowledge is limited but didn’t Peter Parker only take pictures of his alter-ego?”

Marinette laughs. Alya’s eyebrows furrow. “He did! He totally did!”

“Really?” Alya sighs, “regardless. I don’t have a superhero alter-ego but if I did? I’d Peter Parker the hell out of myself. But I wouldn’t be obvious about it. Like I’d take pictures of other heroes while I’m suited up too. Stash a camera like in my bra or something. Not much else going on in there.”

Kagami doesn’t feel too bad when her eyes aren’t the only ones that immediately drop to Alya’s chest. Fortunately, Alya doesn’t seem to notice. “Do you have a portfolio, Nette?”

Marinette rubs the back of her neck, “yeesh. Wouldn’t call it that. I have pictures of some stuff but I’ve never really like showcased anything.” Her eyes light up, “to make the best portfolio ever I’d need a stellar, kickass photographer’s help.”

“Girl, you don’t even have to ask and I’ll give you the 95% off best friend’s discount. It’s only gonna cost some mango pudding.”

Marinette groans, “how was I supposed to know Nora would’ve went into childbirth videos!? Nonna had diagrams but I never saw the process in real time.”

Kagami looks between them, “I’m lost.”

“Before we met—” She gestures between them, “Alya and I had a little bet going on whose puberty talk was worse. My nonna or Nora. Nora won, hands down. She had a slideshow, Mimi. I feel for your little sisters, Yaya.”

“You’re not the only one.”

“So when you say worse...?”

“We meant most unbearable. More scarring. I still can’t eat an orange and it’s been a year.”

Marinette scratches her head, “an orange?”

Alya shakes her head, “you don’t wanna know.”

“Except I kinda do.” Kagami says.

“How did ‘the talk’ go with your maman?”

Kagami’s face goes blank, “we haven’t had it yet. It’s a long standing tradition to have ‘the talk’ on the eve of the fourteenth birthday as the women in the Tsurugi clan generally don’t officially hit puberty before then.”

“I hear it gets delayed if you have a bunch of siblings.”

Marinette nods in agreement, “I heard that too.”

“As have I. I have plenty of cousins but I’m an only child.”

The three of them stare at one another. “Let’s head inside!” Marinette leads the way.

Behold!” A voice booms as they step inside the building, then a spotlight shines on four decorative plates. “The Four Auspicious Beasts!”

As a crowd forms, a bespectacled brunet pinches the bridge of his nose. “Jalil—”

“Papa, please, I... I know what I’m doing.” With a heavy sigh, the man next to their pink-haired classmates nods gesturing for his son to continue. “Merci beaucoup, papa.” He clears his throat. “Ah! I see I’ve garnered a crowd. Let me start over. The Four Auspicious Beasts—” He gestures to the plates, “also known as The Four Symbols or Sì Xiàng.”

“What’s so special about this, man?” A tall blond with spiked up hair asks raising his hand. Kagami saw him at the Le Grand Paris party.

“So glad you asked! It has everything to do with Fēngbào and the power of the Miraculouses!”

The crowd begins to murmur.

Kagami glances in Marinette’s direction to see if she reacts. She doesn’t.

“But last I checked a butterfly wasn’t part of The Four Symbols.” Adrien, because of course Adrien is here, states and the crowd whispers among themselves.

“No, it isn’t but I’d surmise The Four Auspicious Beasts will be our aid against the akumas and amoks!” The crowd claps.

“The number four is considered bad luck in China.” The curator stares at the blond. “I don’t think—” He hisses as Alya maneuvers herself through the crowd to step on his foot.

“No more questions!” She chirps, “go on.”

“R-Right. I believe the magic of the Miraculouses predated The Four Symbols hence the colors being a bit... off. The azure dragon, Qīnglóng, is the spirit of the east and represents the season spring.”

“Dude, it ain’t spring yet. Why didn’t the winter spirit show up?” Everyone shushes the blond and he grumbles under his breath and folds his arms over his obnoxious gold XY chain.

“The next plate features the black tortoise, Xuánwǔ, the spirit of the north and representer of winter.” The blond pumps his fist in the air. The curator gestures to the plate below the dragon. “The white tiger, Báihǔ, spirit of the west and the representation of autumn.”

XY raises a hand, “you said the colors are off but that plate has something red on it and Fēngbào is red. Maybe the colors aren’t off but mixed up?”

The curator looks at the last plate, “it’s possible. However, we don’t know what grants the Miraculouses Fēngbào and Mme. Papillion have the ability to do what they do.” He takes a deep breath, “lastly, we have the vermilion bird, Zhūquè; spirit of the south and representer of summer.”

Adrien tries to raise his hand but Alya puts it down, “don’t ruin this for everyone else, Agreste.” She whispers.

“I’m not trying to ruin anything!” He whispers back, “I’m curious about stuff.”

Alya lets go of him as the crowd begins following the curator. “Our next Chinese exhibit features the zodiac animals!”

“Not sure how I feel about this...” Marinette mutters. “I mean, one the one hand I’m glad people are interested I learning about Chinese history but on the other hand it’s two tiny rooms they crammed a whole bunch of stuff into.”

Kagami looks around. “I’d hate to see the Japanese history section. Assuming they even have one.”

Alya locks her hands behind her head, “you’re more than allowed to be upset. Pretty sure the majority of these artifacts were stolen and sold by less than reputable sources.”

“You don’t know that.” Adrien protests.

“No, she’s right.” Alix heads over to them, “even the shit that’s claimed to be ‘legitimate’ was stolen. History is full of people stealing things from other people, vying for credit they don’t deserve.” The pink-haired teen stuffs her hands in her hoodie pockets and shrugs.

Alya grins at her. “I like you.”

“Oh shit!” The five of them turn to Luka on the floor holding one of The Four Symbols plates in his outstretched hands.

“I told you to watch where you’re going.” The purple-haired girl says plucking the plate from his hand and setting it where it belongs, then she helps Luka up.

Luka waves at them and they wave back. The girl look between them then drags Luka over. “We meet again.”

“So we do.” As Marinette smiles at Luka, Adrien frowns slightly.

Luka clears his throat, “this is my sister Juleka.” The purple-haired girl waves. “Jules, this is Marinette, Alya, and Kagami. We met at the party the other day.”

“Your brother was a real gentleman.” Alya says.

Juleka elbows her brother, “he only is when it comes to pretty faces.”

“T-That’s not true. It’s literally my job to be a gentleman.”

“No, it’s your job to be hospitable. You go the extra mile when—”

Luka puts a hand over Juleka’s mouth, “enough about me, how have you all been?”

“No complaints.” Alya replies. “Did you check out The Four Symbols exhibit?”

“The one I nearly knocked over?” Chuckling, Luka releases his sister’s mouth and rubs the back of his neck, “yeah, we did.”

“If what my bro says is partially true I’m crossing my fingers for a badass phoenix superhero.” The pink-haired girl points to herself, “I’m Alix. You just got transferred into Mme. Mendeleiev’s the other day, right?” Juleka nods. Alix looks around, “come to think of it all of you are recent transfers.”

There’s a loud shriek and they all look toward the other Chinese exhibit room as a lifesize tiger statue busts through the wall.

Marinette gapes. “An akuma?”

Alya takes out her phone and starts recording, “a senti-feather.” Kagami grabs her by the hood and starts dragging her away, “haven’t seen one of those in a while.”

Luka grabbed Marinette’s hand when she stood there stunned watching the remaining Chinese zodiac animal statues walk around.

🤺

“Madame Mayor, it’s not too late to undo this new law. I don’t think outlawing the only thing that can help us with the akumas is a good idea.”

“Noted. Also, note your firing. Raincomprix, get him out of my sight.” The police chief ushers the officer out of the office then comes back inside, “anyone else who disagrees is more than welcome to leave the force. My daughter was exploited on national television. If anyone thinks they can get away with that and not suffer repercussions they have another thing coming. Magical or not.” The blonde turns around in her swivel chair so her back is facing them, “I want this ‘Fēngbào’ arrested on sight, and arrest anyone who thinks about harboring her.”

All the police offers lined up in front of the mayor’s desk nod and salute, “yes, Madame Mayor.” Audrey waves them all away.

Roger Raincomprix is the last officer to leave the office. Audrey turns her chair back around and he nods before closing and locking the door behind him.

Audrey gets up and stretches. “That kills two birds with one stone.”

“Your daughter might not appreciate this law, Mme. Audrey.”

“Don’t I know it.” She runs a hand down her face, “this utterly ridiculous infatuation Chloétta developed is poorly timed. I only have her best interests at heart and that’ll be hard to do if she fights me at every turn.”

“Perhaps if Mlle. Fēngbào continues to treat her with disdain it’ll be easier for your daughter to fall out of this puppy love state?”

“Let’s shelve that option. Last thing I want is Cleo’s heartbreak. I’d rather wait until she gets over this fucking lizard on her own time than have her be forced out of love. No one will ever be too good for my daughter.”

“You could always make Mlle. Fēngbào seem not worth all the trouble?”

Audrey smiles, “good idea.” Nooroo preens. The blonde cracks her neck, “let’s fly, Nooroo.” The butterfly kwami flies into her brooch transforming her.

As soon as she’s transformed, she feels magic forming a mask over her eyes. Audrey gasps, “Mme. Papillion? I believe it’s time we had a chat.” She closes her eyes. She sees it: one of her akumas has been infected by a bee?

Her eyes open, “I don’t know who you are but surely there are better ways of getting my attention?”

The voice chuckles in her ear. “Surely.” They agree, “however, I felt this would be the most effective method.”

Audrey opens her compact and sees a yellow bee mask outline over her mask. What the hell? This is a new development. Then again, so was the damn Dragon. “You have my attention. What’s your pitch?”

“I’d love to find out just how you can keep your akumas when you aren’t transformed?”

“Months of practice. Next question.” They don’t know who she is otherwise they wouldn’t’ve waited for her to transform.

“Would you be at all opposed to teaming up? I’ve recently become aware of the book of Miraculouses, thanks to my bees, and I’ve discovered powers can be fused.”

“A book? Well they have to store all that knowledge somewhere. What can your bees do?”

“My power is subjugation. I know how you love to let your akumatizations have free will and all that but what if we had them completely under control? They wouldn’t get side tracked by emotions.”

Audrey taps her chin. The most control she can exude over her akumatizations is fifty percent. That was her first experiment all those months ago, on Nadja Chamack. She got Nooroo when Raincomprix and a team of his officers were in pursuit of a jewel thief. She was just walking home with André after their date minding her business when the thief slammed into her knocking them both down and scattering his stolen goods all over the sidewalk. As the officers were taking the thief away, Audrey pocketed all the jewels she could grab before André could help her up.

When she got home she hardly expected the gauche little lavender oval brooch to house a magical butterfly.

It’s not like she needs control over akumatizations. However, it would be fun to see what happens. She still has so much to learn. Thursday was the first time someone ever got hit with two akumas; however, she hardly expected some meathead to be effective.

She was actually glad the Dragon didn’t waste much effort on him.

What was even more intriguing was Tsurugi’s daughter. Quite the prodigy. Not just once but twice she dealt with an akumatization head on. Not even the barest threads of emotions Audrey could manipulate. No wonder Gabriel was so adamant on partnering up with Tomo Tsurugi.

If Audrey can have that girl akumatized and exhibit full control over her, she’d be unstoppable. Not even the weather lizard would pose a threat.

“You know what? Let’s give it the old university try.” Audrey folds her hands together, “how do you feel about testing to see if your bees can make someone more susceptible to akumatization?”

“You have someone in mind?”

“Two someones.” Audrey looks at the class list on her desk. “Alec Cataldi and Kagami Tsurugi.”