At first glance, today’s akuma victim had seemed like the normal, everyday supervillain Ladybug and Chat Noir faced. The akuma was a little boy that had been made fun of for liking princesses and fairy tales. As a result, ended up being subject to one of Hawk Moth’s butterflies. He was dressed in a dark blue dress with a golden crown sitting on his head (which was where Marinette assumed the akuma was), floating over Paris with nothing but glee on his face as he aimed rays at people from left and right. When he zapped the people, they simply vanished. To where, she had no idea, but Marinette wasn’t planning on finding out.
“I need to find a place to transform,” Marinette muttered to Tikki as she hid behind a bush with several other of her classmates. She and her friends had been hanging out at the Place Des Vosges when the akuma had popped up. Currently, he was wreaking at the center of the park, and her friends had pulled her aside before she could run away to transform.
Tikki only glanced up at her helplessly. Marinette let out a sigh and instead watched the akuma from where she was. Chat Noir was already on the scene, dancing around the akuma as he taunted him.
“Well, well,” Chat said, “and who do we have here? Cinderella?”
The akuma scowled and aimed a ray at him. “I’m not Cinderella! I’m going to show you what it’s like to be a boy that likes Disney princesses!”
“Hey, but I already do like Disney princesses!” Chat narrowly jumped out of the way and onto the edge of the fountain. “They’re amazing! Whoever made fun of you isn’t fairy nice.”
“You’ll never understand!” The boy hovered several feet above the ground and glowered at the superhero. He held his arm out--the one from which the rays came out of--and trained his gaze where Chat was standing.
“I’m sure we can talk this--”
“No!” The akuma quickly fired a couple of rays at him. Chat Noir nimbly dodged them, but it was clear as he looked around that he was worried. Marinette could easily read the expression on his face: where’s Ladybug?
Marinette gritted her teeth. That was it. She needed to transform and help him. At this rate, all of Paris would disappear because of the akuma to wherever they went, and she couldn’t let that happen. So she stood up and turned towards the direction of the bakery, ready to sprint when someone grabbed her arm.
“Marinette, what’re you doing?” Rose squeaked. Behind her, Juleka and Mylène seemed horrified.
“I need to go see if my parents are alright!” Marinette glanced over to where Chat was still struggling with the akuma. The boy was now firing rays continuously. It was only a matter of time before Chat got hit.
“They’ll be fine,” Mylène said, “just stay here. Marinette, you can’t get captured like Alya and Alix did!”
Marinette flashed her friends a reassuring smile. “I’m not running towards the danger like those two did; I just want to check on my parents. I’ll be fine.”
In the second that her friends hesitated, Marinette shook off Rose’s grip on her arm and took off in the direction of the bakery. They called after her, but she didn’t listen. If she got inside, she could rush up to her room, transform, and join Chat so they could fight the akuma. Paris would be safe, and then she could get back to having a nice afternoon with her friends.
What she hadn’t accounted for, however, was for the akuma to momentarily get blindsided by her sudden movement and decide she would be a better target than Chat Noir. She hadn’t expected for Chat to notice and scream her name, and she definitely hadn’t planned on turning around at the sound.
And of course, the last thing she thought would happen was for Chat to barrel into her just as the akuma raised his hand and fired a ray at them.
The next thing she knew, Marinette was standing in front of a huge looming tower with tendrils weaving delicately along its sides. The tower went up so high it was as tall as a waterfall, and cascading from the fall was a gentle river that curved around the side. She stared at the building with a frown.
“Where have I seen this tower before?” she wondered, glancing down at herself. Marinette gasped at the sight. She was wearing tall brown boots with khakis that went just past her knees. On top, she wore a white shirt with a blue vest on top, complete with a belt and a satchel.
Okay, she’d definitely seen this outfit somewhere as well. It was all incredibly familiar, and yet. . . .
“What am I doing here?” Marinette asked out loud.
Normally, whenever she talked to herself (which was a lot of the time), Tikki would helpfully pipe up and say something. But as seconds ticked by without the kwami answering her and Marinette becoming increasingly aware that the Ladybug kwami wasn’t here, she realized two very important things: one, she was standing in front of Rapunzel’s tower, meaning the akuma had sent her into a fairy tale, and two, Tikki was nowhere to be found. Which meant that she had absolutely no way of transforming.
This was bad. Really, really bad.
After the ray hit him, Chat found himself lying facedown on a hard stone floor. He got to his feet with a groan and surveyed his surroundings. He was in a round, circular room with paintings all over the walls. Arts and crafts littered nearly every corner, and a warm fire crackled at the fireplace. But there was something else that was even more prominent than everything else. It skittered around the room like a long snake, moving ever so slightly whenever he took even the smallest step forward. . . .
Chat squinted. Was that. . . . hair? And wait a minute, why did his head suddenly feel so much heavier than before--
Oh no. This couldn’t be what he thought it was. Chat rushed to the nearest mirror he could find and stood in front of it. The emotion he felt as he stared at himself could only be described as sheer horror. Because there were a few things about this look that completely threw him off.
One, Chat’s hair, his lovely blond, messy hair, was most certainly not seventy feet long.
Two, his black suit had been replaced with a purple dress . He was still in his body, and his mask was still on his face, but everything else--the ears, the tail--they were gone.
It took him mere seconds to realize who he was supposed to be and exactly where he was standing.
“Ladybug’s gonna kill me,” he groaned, burying his face in his hands.
Something behind him let out a hiss. Chat whirled around to see a chameleon--Pascal, he noted--that seemed to have a big grin on its face. It was currently the color black, and as the chameleon scurried around looking for something, Chat figured out something else.
“ Plagg? ” He asked in disbelief.
Plagg the chameleon simply snickered.
Chat opened his mouth to say something--because really, he had so many questions! Of all the things that could’ve happened to him, he just had to have gotten zapped into being Rapunzel--when he suddenly heard a couple of noises coming from the door of the tower.
Oh, right. If he was Rapunzel, then that meant someone was Flynn Rider, which meant. . . .
Chat looked around and grabbed the first thing he could see, which just so happened to be the iconic frying pan. Remembering what Rapunzel had done in the movie, he cautiously crept towards the door--which was much harder than he thought; really, how in the world did people deal with long hair?--with the frying pan ready in his hand.
Idly Chat wondered what had become of his baton, but he pushed that thought aside and instead focused on what was about to happen.
The door slowly opened. Someone stumbled inside, and they closed the door behind them, catching their breath before turning around and surveying their surroundings.
Chat held up the frying pan, ready to strike, when he saw the intruder sported a familiar set of pigtails. With even closer inspection, he realized they looked awfully similar to a certain someone, which meant that this person was obviously--
“Ladybug?” Chat asked cautiously.
The girl whipped around in shock. “Chat Noir?”
Immediately Chat realized he’d made a mistake in his judgement. This wasn’t Ladybug. “Marinette!” he exclaimed. “I can’t believe--” he broke off.
Marinette was clearly struggling to keep a straight face, and when he stopped mid-sentence, it was all it took for her to burst into laughter. Chat frowned.
“What’s so funny?”
If anything, that statement made her laugh harder. He stared at her in confusion, waiting for her to finish her fit of laughter. “Your--your hair,” she wheezed, slapping a hand on her knee.
Oh. Chat rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly with his hand. “It’s not that funny,” he said, pouting.
Marinette shook her head. “It so is,” she said with a huge grin. “I dare you to say otherwise.”
“Okay fine, maybe you have a point there,” he said. “But still. It’s not funny. This is terrible. This is horrible, and oh my gosh Ladybug is so gonna kill me.”
“I’m sure Ladybug will understand,” Marinette said once she got over her laughing fit. “You got hit trying to save me.”
“Yeah, I guess,” Chat said.
“But in the meantime, we need to figure out a way to get out of here,” Marinette said. “Have you figured out anything yet?”
“Well, other than the fact that we are in Tangled and you’re Flynn and I’m Rapunzel--which is totally unfair, by the way, because you’re obviously the princess--”
“No I’m not!” Marinette huffed and crossed her arms over her chest.
“--no, I don’t know anything,” Chat finished. “What about you, princess? Any ideas?”
“First of all,” she said, “ you’re the princess right now, not me, and two, I think I have an idea.”
“Oh?” Chat raised an eyebrow. “And what would that be?”
Marinette opened her mouth to explain her idea when suddenly, another voice cut through the air, effectively cutting her off.
“Oh Chat Noir! Let down your hair!”