Continuing Tales

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A Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir Story
by DarkReyna16

Part 6 of 37

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Holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit—

“Hellooo?” Alya trilled, yanking Marinette forcefully out of the inner mantra she’d been chanting in her head all weekend. Marinette glanced up, finding her best friend frowning as she eyed her. “You listening to me, Marinette?”

“Of course,” Marinette replied automatically, taking stock of the situation: let’s see, Alya’s phone was out, so it was a safe bet that she was talking about something to do with the Ladyblog. Marinette only had to give her about a minute’s worth of attention before she could sink back into the horrified divine cursing coursing through her brain.

Friday night had been a disaster. Ladybug had gone in there, fearing the worst. Instead, she got way more than she bargained for.

“…I love you, Ladybug.”

Marinette screamed inwardly, and the mantra increased in pitch and frequency.

Adrien Agreste had confessed to being in love with Ladybug.

He had been in love with Ladybug for eight years.

And she was Ladybug!!!

Holy SHIT!!!

“I know!” Alya suddenly chimed in, and Marinette froze, fearing that her best friend could suddenly read minds. But Marinette must have said the words out loud by accident, for Alya was still focused on her phone, scrolling through something. “Can you believe it? The big battle with Viner was epic, and I got a front row seat! Check it out!”

Oblivious to Marinette’s preoccupation, Alya shoved her phone under her best friend’s nose, playing the video of the fight between Ladybug, Chat Noir, and the plant-based akuma. Marinette held in her sigh, watching as Ladybug—herself—plowed into Chat Noir when he got too close to the akumatized victim, fearing what he would do with those claws of his if she let him get out of hand. God, what a nightmare she found herself in nowadays…

“I didn’t realize you were there,” Marinette mumbled as Alya removed the phone from her face. She gave Marinette a curious look, and Marinette cursed under her breath, realizing her slip. “I mean, I thought you were working on a big editorial piece this week. Could you really afford to go running after Ladybug Thursday night?”

Alya snorted.

“Oh come on—you think some stupid editorial is more important to me than the Ladyblog? Now that traffic is picking up again, there’s no way I’m missing any of her fights ever again!”

“I hope your boss was understanding…”

“What Eric doesn’t know won’t hurt him,” Alya sniffed. “Besides, I got his precious editorial done as soon as I got back from filming Ladybug take down the Viner, so it’s a non-issue.”

“Really? And did you end up sleeping at all that night?”

“Skipped class for some extra z’s,” Alya said casually, and Marinette shook her head. Her best friend was incorrigible.

“Just be careful,” Marinette requested, sipping at her malt shake as Alya gave attention to her neglected sherbet. “Things are a lot more dangerous now, with this new Hawk Moth turning people into akuma left and right.”

“And with Chat Noir and his new…attitude…” Alya scrunched up her nose, glancing up from her phone to peer worriedly at her best friend. “I really don’t get him. Why turn to the dark side? He’s been MIA for seven years, comes back a Greek god—”


“I’m just saying. Just because he’s super-hot now doesn’t excuse his behavior, though.” Alya frowned down at her phone, where the video was paused on the moment Chat Noir tripped over Ladybug’s foot, his Cataclysm-ridden claws heading straight for the spade the Viner was using as his weapon. “Not even Batman tries to murder his villains. What the hell’s wrong with that boy?”

“Too much catnip?” Marinette offered, smiling weakly at the pathetic joke. It was the only way she could keep her sanity in this moment, however—there was too much going on in her mind for her to be able to focus on Chat Noir for very long, despite the threat he posed to all of Paris now.

“This is serious,” Alya scolded her, finally setting her phone down, her fingers twirling over the spoon in her sherbet. She fixed Marinette with a studious frown, appearing to chew on her tongue. That told Marinette that her best friend was holding some detail back that she wasn’t sure whether she should share or not. And since Alya nearly always said what was on her mind most of the time, the fact that she was actually considering not telling Marinette something made Marinette worry about how bad it could be.

She wasn’t sure she wanted to chance it.

“Your sherbet’s melting,” she reported, nodding to the barely touched ice cream in front of Alya. Her best friend glanced down at it, witnessed that it was indeed melting sadly, and then pushed it to the side, folding her arms under her chest as she leaned on the table.

“I’ve had to block some people from commenting on the Ladyblog,” she said, her voice low and fervent. Anxious, Marinette leaned in, too, as if they were having a forbidden discussion.


“Well, some of them…not a lot, just, a few more than there should be, like, at all…some of them think that…Chat Noir has the right idea, wanting to—to get rid of the akumatized victims.”

Marinette felt her blood run cold.

“WHAT?!” She yelped, much too loud to be allowed. Francoise, the owner of the gelato shop, cleared his throat and gave them raised eyebrows, prompting Marinette to cringe in apology.

“I know,” Alya assured her, though at a much more reasonable volume. Her brows were furrowed, hazel eyes intense. “It shocked me, too. I never had this problem with the Ladyblog when it first started out…but now that Chat Noir’s gone rogue…I dunno. Seems like every dickhead with a stupid opinion is coming out of the woodwork, saying that we should be cheering Chat Noir on, not vilifying him.” She raised one perfectly arched eyebrow. “Can you imagine if this attitude was popular when I became Lady Wi-Fi? I would’ve been…y’know…”

Alya lifted a finger and drew it across her throat in a significant manner, making a cleaving sound with her teeth. The blasé manner in which she referenced the possibility of her own death made Marinette’s heart creep into her throat, pounding violently against her esophagus.

“Th-the victims don’t choose to be akumatized,” Marinette stuttered, this news making her nervous enough for old habits to die hard. “Hawk Moth takes advantage of their weakened state. It’s not their fault.”

Alya glanced away for a moment.


Her eyes returned to Marinette, tightening at the edges. She looked more uncomfortable than Marinette had ever seen her, and it worried her.

“…You wouldn’t know this, since you’ve never been akumatized yourself, Marinette…” Marinette held her breath, waiting for the swift appraisal in Alya’s gaze, suspicion sparking in the hazel eyes framed by her glasses. But Alya only continued to look discomfited. “…But when the akuma possesses you, and you hear Hawk Moth’s voice in your head…he actually gives you a choice.” Alya twisted her lips. “Power, in return for a favor: the Miraculous of Paris’ superheroes. I think…I think any of us are free to say no, if our will is strong enough. But the temptation… It’s hard to resist. Very hard.”

Marinette stared at Alya, feeling the straw from her malt shake fall out of her open mouth.

“You told me you didn’t remember anything,” she said softly, afraid that her tone would be accusing if she dared to raise her voice. Alya shook her head.

“I don’t, really. Everything about that day is still hazy.” There was a deadened look in her eyes, something haunted that Marinette only caught flashes of from time to time. “But I do dream about it. Even now, I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, reaching for my phone, as if I’m about to fling a stop or pause button at someone. Like Lady Wi-Fi is never really gone…just lurking beneath the surface. Waiting for me to let my guard down.”

Alya smiled, the weakness of it bringing concern rushing to the forefront of Marinette’s mind.

“I refuse to sleep over at Nino’s for a whole week when that happens. I don’t wanna wake up one morning just to find that I accidentally—”

“Stop,” Marinette commanded, her voice soft, but firm, as she laid a hand over Alya’s. “You would never hurt Nino.”

“Sure, Alya wouldn’t. But Lady Wi-Fi?” Alya gave a mild shrug, and said no more on the subject. But the uncharacteristic seriousness of her best friend worried Marinette, who promptly decided that a distraction was in order.

“Here, I need your help with something.” She reached over, tugging her sketchbook from her bag. “Do you know anything about the Carnival of Venice?”

“That festival with masks? Not really. Why?” Alya asked curiously as Marinette set her sketchbook on the table, feverishly rifling through the used pages.

“It’s my theme for my spring fashion line,” Marinette explained as she flipped pages, “but I’m stuck. It’s been frustrating me all week, and even though I have until next week before I have to see Adrien again, I don’t want a repeat of last time.”

But, then again, Marinette had a whole slew of separate problems concerning Adrien that she would have to actually deal with in due time, didn’t she? After all, screaming unintelligibly into her pillow all weekend did not a solution make.

“Oh, yeah.” Alya scowled at the reminder. “By the way, that offer to break his kneecaps still stands.”

“Thank you,” Marinette laughed. “But it won’t be necessary. I just need a spark—something that’ll get the ball rolling, you know? Like, what do you think of—hold on, I’m trying to find it—”

“Wait,” Alya stopped her, hand lying flat on a page Marinette was about to skip past. “What’s that?”

Marinette paused, and then flushed when she realized that Alya had spotted her sketch of Chat Noir’s mask. She cursed herself inwardly for not tearing out that page and tossing it when she had the chance.

“Nothing,” Marinette insisted with a sigh, trying to get under Alya’s hand to turn the page. “I was just doodling aimlessly one day—”

“Hold on,” Alya pressed her, swatting her hand away. A manic gleam was alight in her eyes—a gleam Marinette had learned to associate with the fervor the Ladyblog usually inspired in Alya. Immediately, she was on guard. “This…this could work.”

“What?” Asked Marinette, confused on what Alya was seeing that she clearly couldn’t. In response, Alya tapped the page where Chat Noir’s cat eyes peered up at them nonchalantly.

“The Carnival of Venice is all about masks, right? Well, why not take that, but add a Parisian twist by making it about Paris’ own unique superhero?”

Marinette blinked at that, startled.

“A…a fashion line featuring Ladybug?”

“Yes!” Alya cried, nodding her head excitedly. “I mean, there’s all sorts of Ladybug merchandise out there, but a fashion line featuring her? Yet to be done.” Alya grinned, pointing her sherbet-slick spoon at Marinette. “Until now, that is.”

Marinette stared at her best friend, struck once again by the raw genius that was Alya Cesaire. It was so obvious—why hadn’t she thought of it herself?

“But I have to make five ensembles…I don’t think I could stretch Ladybug’s design that far…”

“Then think of other superheroes,” Alya allowed, giving a shrug. She frowned down at the page with Chat Noir’s mask. “Although, I might forego Chat Noir being included in this. Until he gets his act together, he hasn’t done anything to deserve a Marinette Dupain-Cheng original creation.”

Marinette giggled. The salt was strong in Alya, and she loved her best friend for it.

“That’s actually a really good idea,” Marinette praised with a grin. “Thank you, Alya!”

Alya waved her hand through the air, as if to brush off the thanks.

“Happy to be your inspiration, girl, but the real challenge is up to you…” Alya’s eyes glinted deviously, and her voice dropped several octaves, “…to make it work.

Marinette’s mouth popped open in outrage.

“How dare you,” she growled, getting up with a huff. “I’m taking my thanks back as well as rescinding our friendship.”

“Noooo, Marinette don’t leaaave meeee,” Alya cried dramatically, throwing her arms around Marinette’s hips as she tried to make her escape. “Who will I watch bad movies with to laugh about afterwards? Who will help me take suggestive slumber party pics for Nino when we’re having a girl’s night and I want to tease him? Don’t go, Marinette, my love!”

“Oh my god, let go,” Marinette huffed, though she, too, was laughing along with Alya. The shadows in her best friend’s eyes had fled for the moment, leaving only the fire and slight spark of insanity usually present. Even as Marinette fought to free herself from Alya’s grasp and Francoise clucked his tongue at their antics, the important thing was that Alya was back to herself, thoughts of Lady Wi-Fi lurking beneath the surface forgotten.

For now.



Swept away by that tease of a muse Marinette called “inspiration”, she was able to push all other thoughts and problems out of her mind, throwing her all into stitching her own twist into the design of Ladybug’s costume, paying particular attention to the mask, because while it suited Marinette’s purposes of hiding her identity just fine, it was a little plain to be considered a Carnivale mask. So absorbed was she in her work as she sat at her desk at Tres Bien Boutique that it was a moment before she realized that Symone was hovering over her, nostrils flaring dangerously.

“And just what do you think you’re doing?” She boomed imperiously after a moment, causing Marinette to jump and squawk, nearly falling out of her swivel chair at the sudden shock.


Where is the coffee I asked for an hour ago? If you have time to doodle, I assume you have time to get coffee, at least.”

“I—” Marinette blinked. “Wait…didn’t you send Felix out for coffee an hour ago?”

“Well, why isn’t he back with it?!” Symone demanded of Marinette. She swallowed her irritation at Symone’s unreasonable demand, reminding herself that she needed this internship if she wanted her dream to succeed…she just had to suck it up for now…

“I don’t know,” she intoned, “where did you send him?”

Symone waved a careless hand.

“Just to this café around the corner from some dinky massage parlor or something,” she said, turning her back and walking away. “They have the best macchiatos, but I don’t remember their service being this slow. Go fetch him, will you? He’s taking forever.

Why don’t you just call him?’ Marinette’s thoughts growled, but she forced herself to behave, standing stiffly and stowing her sketchbook in the top drawer of her desk. She had to tell herself that Symone was just being more unreasonable than usual because she was under a lot of stress after deciding to create an all-new winter line on such short notice…this wasn’t about Marinette…her boss did not have a vendetta against her…

Once outside, Marinette allowed herself to huff as she headed to her car. It didn’t help that Symone was sending her out just to recover her assistant when she could simply call him and ask where he was—she acted like even that was beneath her. And she didn’t give Marinette much to work with, either: would it have killed her to remember the name of the café she was so desperate for caffeine from?

A dinky massage parlor…

Come to think of it, there was a café right around the corner from Master Fu’s, wasn’t there?

Marinette sighed. It was a lead, at least. Her instincts would no doubt be more helpful than Symone was, and so she started her car and shifted it into drive, pulling away from the boutique to head uptown. Hopefully she’d find Felix so she could get Symone off her back, though there was a very good chance that they would just pass each other and that Marinette was just wasting time…

Happy thoughts,’ she reminded herself with a deep breath, turning on the radio to drown out all other negativity. She couldn’t afford to lose herself in her own mind right now—she had lost enough sleep over the weekend, thinking about The Thing that happened Friday night. And while a part of her was still freaking out about it in the back of her mind, she just couldn’t focus on it at the moment; she was far too busy to worry about anything else right now.

That was her story, and Marinette was sticking to it.

As Marinette stopped at the traffic light, tapping her fingers against the steering wheel, she glanced over to Master Fu’s massage parlor out of habit. The lights were off, but that wasn’t so strange—he was usually out and about during this time of day. Dimly, she wondered if she should get his permission before using Ladybug’s image in her design. True, she was Ladybug, but still, perhaps Master Fu wouldn’t be too pleased about her parading around Miraculous clothes of her own design, Ladybug or not—

As Marinette pondered, the door to Master Fu’s massage parlor moved slightly, creeping open a crack. She blinked, watching the door. But no one came out. It was as if it was moved merely by the wind.

…Master Fu would never leave his door open like that…

A sense of dread settled in the pit of Marinette’s stomach. She turned on her signal light and pulled over, parking against the curb. Her steps were cautious as she approached the massage parlor, glancing around. She didn’t like that she could be seen, in broad daylight, heading into a place that was obviously closed, but what choice did she have? If it was just paranoia that drove her steps, then she would be embarrassed about it later…but if something had happened…

Wishing fervently that she had brought Tikki to work with her today, Marinette slipped into the massage parlor.

The hallway was dark. Her sense of foreboding growing, Marinette carefully tiptoed down the hall, approaching the door that led to Master Fu’s massage room. This, too, had been left open. And that was very concerning.

Biting her lip, Marinette eased the door open farther, peering into the darkness.

“Hello?” She called softly, hating the way her voice trembled. “Master Fu? Are you here?”

A drawn-out groan answered her. Heart in her throat, Marinette slammed her hand on the light switch by the wall. The room was suddenly flooded with light, and Marinette only had a moment to adjust to the sudden brightness before she found Master Fu’s crumpled form on the floor, looking impossibly small and helpless.

“Master Fu!!!”

Marinette dropped to her knees, her hands fluttering anxiously over the fallen master, unsure of how to help, and terrified to do more harm in haste.

“Master Fu, what happened? Can you hear me? Master Fu, please, say something!”

Master Fu mumbled, his eyes shut tight, teeth grit in pain.

“…yz…” he muttered, and Marinette had to lean over to hear him, tears pricking her eyes.


“…Wayzz…where is…”

Marinette’s eyes found Master Fu’s right wrist…and felt something inside her turn hollow.

Master Fu’s Miraculous was missing.

“Oh my god,” Marinette gasped, blinking back tears as she tried to think straight. She couldn’t believe this—how could this happen? Master Fu was always so solid, dependable—no matter how many changes life had thrown at her, just like her parents, he had always been there.

Who the hell dared do to this to him?!


Marinette whirled around, automatically spreading her arms, as if to defend Master Fu from more harm. A tall figure was approaching from the hallway, coming into view as he stood in the doorway.

Felix stared at her, his slightly raised eyebrows raising even higher as he spotted the collapsed figure behind her. The grip on coffee holder he was clutching tightened.

“What happened?” He demanded, his voice sharper than Marinette had ever heard it. She blinked, some of her dry heaving beginning to ease.

“I-I don’t know,” she stammered, gesturing helplessly to Master Fu. “When I came in, I found him like this…”

Master Fu gave another groan, and Felix’s lips stiffened. He carefully set the coffee aside and approached, measured steps carrying him swiftly into the room. Marinette tensed—she was very protective—but Felix merely sank to his knees like her, peering down at Master Fu.

“Is he bleeding?”

“I don’t know.”

“Call an ambulance,” Felix directed, stretching a long-fingered hand towards Master Fu. Marinette nearly smacked his hand away, but he only brushed his fingertips across Master Fu’s forehead.

“Clammy,” he muttered, drawing his hand back to grip his chin as he stared with a kind of painful intensity at the fallen master. “Could be going into shock…” Abruptly, his cool blue gaze switched to her. “The ambulance, Marinette.”

“Oh! R-right…” As Marinette fumbled with her phone, she sent a curious glance Felix’s way. “How did you know I was in here?”

“I saw you walk in,” Felix muttered, his eyes now back on Master Fu. “I knew you were meant to be working instead of getting a massage, and so I wondered what you were up to.”

And so he’d followed her? Marinette wondered in the back of her mind whether or not he would have turned her in to Symone if she was indeed skipping work, but it became a non-issue as soon as dispatch answered. Marinette quickly rattled off the address of the massage parlor and begged them to hurry before she hung up, curling up at Master Fu’s side, clutching her knees to her chest. A couple times, she felt Felix looking at her, but he said nothing, so neither did she, the both of them just waiting for the ambulance to come.

When it finally arrived, Marinette nearly wept with relief. She claimed herself as Master Fu’s niece, and was therefore granted the privilege of riding in the ambulance with him. Felix declined heading to the hospital, but he did promise to let Symone know where she was going. Marinette gave him a tight smile while inwardly reflecting that if Symone didn’t call her screaming about unprofessionalism within five minutes, it would be a miracle.

In the ambulance, the EMTs threw around a lot of medical jargon that Marinette didn’t understand. She did hear them remark that, at his age, Master Fu was incredibly healthy, and that it was miraculous that whatever happened to him hadn’t killed him.

Marinette said nothing. She just stared at his empty wrist, her lips pressed together tightly to keep from throwing up what little she ate for lunch.

The waiting room was torture. Marinette couldn’t sit still, so she settled for pacing around the room when she really wanted to transform, hunt down whatever scum had done this to her master, and beat them to a bloody pulp. Rarely did she ever feel this kind of anger, but to attack someone so helpless

Not helpless,’ Marinette chided herself as she paced, her teeth pressed into her lower lip anxiously. ‘Master Fu was a Miraculous holder. He could’ve defended himself…

Unless whoever had robbed him had gotten the drop on him.

Marinette paused, a realization so startling causing her to freeze in place: whoever had attacked Master Fu must have known about his Miraculous. She hadn’t been fussed about much else in the room, but now that she thought about it, nothing else had been disturbed. And if only Master Fu’s bracelet had been taken, then it was unbelievably clear who the culprit was.

Somehow, some way, Hawk Moth had discovered the guardian of the Miraculous.

And he had struck hard and fast, leaving Marinette behind, blinking in the aftermath.

“Excuse me? You’re Mr. Fu’s niece?”

“Yes,” Marinette answered immediately, shaking off the horror of her realization to whirl and give the nurse her full attention. “Is he all right?”

“He’s fine. He suffered some bruising to the temple, and one of his ribs was cracked, but it looks like he’s going to pull through. He was very lucky that you found him when you did.”

Marinette had to work to suppress her derisive snort.

Lucky. Ha.

If luck was any sort of factor here, then Marinette should have arrived before the attack took place.

“Can I see him?” Marinette requested through the restriction in her throat. The nurse nodded and graciously led Marinette to the correct room, where Master Fu was resting. There was a bandage wrapped around his head. His eyes were closed, but almost as if he sensed Marinette enter the room, they opened as soon as she stepped inside. He smiled a painful looking smile.

“Well if it isn’t my favorite niece,” he greeted, and Marinette felt some of the tension leave her shoulders. If he was feeling up to joking with her, then he couldn’t be that badly hurt. Thank goodness.

The second nurse in the room checking Master Fu’s vitals smiled.

“Isn’t that lovely? It’s good to see the youth still caring for their elders.”

Marinette smiled as naturally as she could, drawing forward and resting her hands on Master Fu’s folded ones.

“How’re you feeling?”

“As healthy as an ox.” He winked at Marinette. “Seems like I’ll have to be kept overnight, however.”

“Hospital policy,” said the first nurse, her tone all business, though she was smiling. Waving to the second nurse, she added, “We’ll give you two some privacy.”

The click of the door was loud in the silence of the room. Marinette waited a few seconds before she drew up a chair, perching on the edge as she peered down at Master Fu, anxiousness making her jittery; her leg bounced in a hyperactive fashion.

“Master Fu,” she whispered, leery of the walls having ears, “what happened to you?”

Master Fu grunted and pushed himself to sit up. Marinette protested—the man had a broken rib, for god’s sake!—but he waved off her concerns, pulling himself into a semi-sitting position, assisted by the pillows that propped him up from behind. He reached for his beard, frowning thoughtfully as he twirled it around a finger.

“I don’t know,” he admitted after a moment. “One minute, I was having tea with Wayzz when I heard someone come in. The next minute…” He frowned, looking troubled. “Whoever it was struck me from behind. I never saw them.”

His eyes suddenly found his empty wrist. Sighing heavily, he closed his free hand around it, as if it was a phantom limb he could still feel.

“Wayzz tried to warn me—he must have seen who it was. That might have been why the assault turned to thievery as well.”

Marinette laid her hands upon his once again, searching to comfort him, even if she didn’t have the words.

“You don’t think it was…you know…” She lowered her voice until it was inaudible, mouthing the words rather than speak them aloud. “Hawk Moth?”

Master Fu shook his head sadly.

“I am afraid there’s no way of knowing.”

Her hands tightened convulsively around his, fear beginning to take hold.

“What do we do?”

“‘We’ can’t do anything,” Master Fu replied with another shake of his head. “As it is, I am confined to this bed until further notice, and even when they release me, I still have a healing rib to contend with. I am not as young as I once was, and now, without Wayzz, I am afraid I will be feeling my age very, very soon.” He fixed Marinette with a serious stare. “There is, however, something you can do for me, Ladybug.”

“Anything,” Marinette promised. Master Fu nodded at this with a smile.

“Though I am told I may be being released tomorrow, I have no way of knowing whether or not that will be true. That means that the Miraculous—the only two Miraculous in my protection now—are in danger. Until I am well enough to once again become the guardian, you, Ladybug, must safeguard the Miraculous chest.”

Marinette felt her eyes go wide in her face.

“M-me?! But Master Fu—”

“I trust you completely,” Master Fu reminded her, giving her hands a reassuring squeeze. “You must do this, Ladybug.”

A thousand waves of doubt coursed through Marinette, her teeth worrying her lip. Could she really do this? Only a guardian was fit to protect the Miraculous—but Master Fu was currently in no condition, as he already said. He was just requesting that she protect two more Miraculous in addition to her own…but even so, the thought of such a task was still daunting. What if she screwed up? What if she accidentally misplaced the Bee Miraculous? Or the Fox Miraculous? What if she broke one, or both? What if she—

Master Fu grunted, wincing as his side seemed to give a painful lurch. Marinette stared at him, at her master and her guide, dependable, infallible…lying in a hospital bed, injured in the course of his duty, his Miraculous missing.

He had almost had to sacrifice everything, and in his time of need, he was turning to her.

That was way more important than any self-doubting thought Marinette could come up with.

Nodding and lifting her chin, Marinette agreed.

“Of course, Master Fu. You can count on me.”

“As I knew I could,” he answered, looking satisfied with her answer. “Now, listen closely Ladybug—commit these words to memory, for I will not repeat them a second time, in case we run the risk of being overheard…”

As quietly as he could, Master Fu relayed to Ladybug just how to retrieve the Miraculous chest from his massage parlor. She listened intently, engraving every word into her brain, and nodding when Master Fu asked if she understood.

“Yes. If you want me to, I’ll go right now and retrieve it.”

“Please do. Don’t worry yourself about me: I won’t be going many places for a while,” Master Fu remarked, putting on a brave grimace. Marinette smiled weakly, and then took leave of her injured master, closing the door quietly behind her.

Marinette’s mind was buzzing as she took a taxi back to Master Fu’s massage parlor, having left her car there after being driven in the ambulance to the hospital. She threw a bunch of money into the front seat without even really looking at it, encouraging the driver to keep the change when he sputtered at what was clearly an extravagant tip. She waited until he drove off before she breathed deeply, entering the massage parlor for the second time. A small shoot of hope began to well within her as she stepped inside—perhaps Wayzz wasn’t far. If the attacker wasn’t Hawk Moth 2.0, then maybe she would find the bracelet on the floor of the parlor somewhere, initially hidden out of sight in her concern for Master Fu himself—

Marinette turned the light switch on for the second time that day, and received another shock to her system.

The room had been ransacked. Tatami had been torn through, the massage mat slashed, the table was flipped over, shelves upended, contents of bottles spilled across the floor, Master Fu’s favorite tea pot smashed to pieces. Marinette stared at the horror surrounding her, her heart pounding so hard that she was certain it would burst free from her body at any minute.

Who had done this?! Whoever it was, they had had a downright tantrum, tearing the place apart, obviously looking for something, treating Master Fu’s possessions with as little care as possible. To add insult to injury, Marinette thought she could make out claw marks gouging through the underside of the table.

Fear eroded away, replaced by rage. If who she thought was responsible for this mess had indeed caused it, she was going to fucking end him.

Taking shaky breaths to steady herself, Marinette carefully made her way through the room, approaching the old gramophone that sat in the corner, miraculously untouched. Marinette followed Master Fu’s instructions to the letter, pressing her thumbs to the dragons’ eyes and pressing the second button of the top row, the second button of the bottom row, and the fourth button of the top row, in that order, in the panel that appeared. She held her breath as the gramophone whirred and opened, revealing the prize.

Rising from the base was an ancient box that pulsed with power, power that warmed Marinette’s fingertips the moment she touched it. She took a deep breath, arguing with herself. As tempted as she was to peek and check to make sure the Fox and Bee Miraculous were still where they were supposed to be, something about the room being disturbed chilled her spine, as if she was being watched. Glancing around at nonexistent shadows, Marinette shoved the chest into her bag and fled from the room, eager to leave the creeping feeling of eyes on her far behind.

The decision to leave the chest in her room was ultimately vetoed; it felt unsafe to just leave it unguarded, and Tikki would have about a million questions that Marinette just did not have the time to answer right now, if the missed calls and texts from Symone were any indication. Sighing under her breath, Marinette drove back to Tres Bien Boutique to finish up the last half hour of work, despite knowing that she would just be sitting there, clutching her bag for dear life to assure that no one and nothing would be able to get to the Miraculous chest that was now under her protection—

Once Marinette entered the boutique’s back room, it was clear that something else was going on: there was a buzz of activity, and whereas the afternoon had been fairly busy, now people were flapping around, demanding questions of the locations of certain fabrics flying around and how there was a shortage of thimbles, where the hell were the extra thimbles?! Marinette stared, stunned and blinking, until Symone’s voice rang out.

“Ah, Marinette, there you are!”

Marinette turned as the tall woman walked purposefully towards her, something suspiciously familiar tucked under her arm…

“Is that my sketchbook?” Marinette questioned, blinking in surprise. Symone nodded, a smile on her face as she brought said sketchbook forward.

“Why, yes it is. See, I was looking through it, wondering what was so important for you to design while my coffee order was waiting—”

“You looked through it?” Marinette protested, her eyes widening. Symone raised a heavily penciled eyebrow.

“Is that a problem?”

Of course it’s a problem!’ Marinette wanted to burst out, ‘It’s a BIG problem!’ No one had blatantly invaded her privacy like this since she had moved out of her parents’ house. Who the hell did Symone think she was, just rifling through her sketchbook like it was no big deal?!

Marinette pressed her lips together, warring with herself. If she didn’t step lightly, there was a good chance that Symone would be showing her the door faster than she could apologize for her heated words. But if she didn’t say something, then Symone would actually think that her behavior was acceptable. She leaned one way, than another, facilitating between the rock and the hard place, thinking—

Symone’s patience was the exact length of a goldfish’s memory: she casually opened Marinette’s sketchbook, continuing on as Marinette gawked at her.

“In any case, these designs you have, inspired by Ladybug? They have potential.” Symone gave a decisive nod, her fingers sliding through the sketchbook in wanton disrespect…or that’s how it felt to Marinette, anyway. “I probably could come up with something better, if given the time…but these will do.”

She snapped the sketchbook shut, smiling down at Marinette.

“So your designs will be the feature of my new winter line.”

Marinette stared at Symone.

How long had she dreamed of such an honor? For a year and a half, at least, before she had made herself face the fact that Symone would only be focused on what she wanted for her boutique. So to have the dream that eluded her abruptly handed to her after everything she’d had to deal with today?

Surprisingly, it wasn’t as satisfying as Marinette had envisioned.

“Symone,” she began, following after the seamstress as she began to walk away, pawing through more of Marinette’s designs, “while I’m honored, really, I am…I don’t think you can use those.”

Symone paused, and the employees nearest them fell silent.

“Oh?” Symone did not turn to Marinette, but kept her back resolutely towards her, manicured nails clutching her precious sketchbook. “And why not?”

“Well, first of all, I’m designing them for a spring fashion line, not a winter one—”

“So we’ll just lengthen them,” Symone replied with a shrug, and Marinette bit her tongue to keep herself from growling in impatience.

“And second of all,” she continued in a voice of determined calm, “those designs are meant for a senior project I’m doing at IFA.”

“A school project?” Symone snorted, turning to shoot Marinette a condescending look. “That’s no problem. You simply need to turn the sketches in, correct? I’ll simply make copies and you can have the originals back, no problem.”

“You can’t make my designs your winter line, Symone,” Marinette finally said. The whole back room went quiet at these words this time.

Slowly, Symone revolved on her heel, looking down her nose at Marinette, her carved features sphinxlike.

“This is a very excellent opportunity I am offering you, Marinette.” She spoke distinctly, her tone clipped. Marinette felt the incoming sense of doom, but she pushed herself to stand her ground. Symone had no business going through her sketchbook in the first place, boss or not. She couldn’t have the designs Marinette had worked so hard to create. No way.

“Were you planning on giving me credit?” She asked, fearing she already knew the answer. The worst was confirmed a second later when Symone waved an unconcerned hand.

“You would’ve been given credit as my employee,” she stated simply, free hand moving to her hip while she retained her vice grip on Marinette’s sketchbook. “That’s enough.”

“Symone, how is what you’re doing better than what Chloe did to you?” Marinette dared to question, ignoring the gasps around the room. She didn’t care if this was a faux pas, Symone could not have her hard work without giving credit where it was due!

Symone stared down at her for one long moment. Marinette stared back, ignoring the trembling of her legs, the eyes on her, everything but Symone as she inspected her. The room seemed to hold its breath, waiting tensely for the explosion.

And then, quite suddenly…Symone smiled.

Marinette’s dread increased by a hundred.

“The difference is that I’m asking,” Symone stated after a moment, leaning over to meet Marinette’s gaze on her level. “I think your designs have potential, and with a few tweaks, I could turn them into something spectacular. So I’m asking to use them. You’re free to say no, Marinette.”

“I am?” Marinette asked warily.

“Of course,” Symone simpered, straightening up to her full height once more. “You’re free to do whatever you want. You’re free to refuse my generosity, and keep these rather lackluster designs to yourself. You’re free to spit in my face, after everything I’ve done for you. You’re even free to take your sketchbook, walk out the way you came in, and never come back again.”

Symone held out Marinette’s sketchbook, delicately resting it in the palms of her hands. Her dark eyes glittered as she inspected Marinette, waiting.

“So what will it be, Marinette?”

Marinette didn’t need the subtext interpreted for her—if she refused Symone now, she was as good as fired.

And half of her was fine with that.

Half of her wanted to snatch her sketchbook and tell Symone off for rifling through things that didn’t belong to her. Half of her wanted to expound upon just how much talent Symone had wasted all this time in keeping Marinette as her coffee-fetcher, and now it was too late to try and use that talent, especially when all she wanted to do was exploit it without giving Marinette any of the credit for her designs. Marinette wanted to give a mock bow, state just how much she wouldn’t miss this place, and stomp through the door with her head held high.

But the other half of her stared into Symone’s eyes, seeing the future she had slaved away for so close, so very close. The other half realized that, if Symone decided to take her designs public, that it would be like opening the entire world of Paris fashion up to her, a precious pearl nestled safely in its safeguard clam, hers for the taking. Even if Symone decided to take the credit for such designs, it would still be Marinette’s clothes that people would be wearing, Marinette’s designs that would be ranted and raved about (if they liked her stuff, of course). And Symone would have Marinette to thank for all the success, and if Marinette ever decided that she was being unappreciated, it would be Symone who would have to beg and grovel and plead for her to stay, if she wanted to continue to have such success.

Really, other than the small price of her dignity…what did Marinette have to lose?

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Swallowing her pride was difficult—very difficult. Even so, she still managed it, giving Symone an amiable look once she opened her eyes again.

“Fine,” she allowed. The room sighed as one, and Symone’s self-satisfied smile brightened.

“Wonderful.” She turned away again, continuing to flip through Marinette’s sketchbook. “You can have this back when I finish making copies.”


“And I’ll need you to refine some of the sketchier drafts so that we can get working immediately.”


“Lovely,” Symone said, strutting away to her office. Marinette sighed and trudged her way to her desk, lowering her bag into her lap as she sat down. She could feel the Miraculous chest outlined in the fabric, and she sighed again. Just when had her life gotten so complicated?

A shadow fell over her desk. Marinette looked up to find Felix there, watching her. A pale eyebrow was raised.

Marinette frowned at his expression.

“What? You think I should’ve just quit instead?”

“I am surprised at how easily you gave in is all.” Felix replied. Marinette said nothing, unsure if anyone else was aware of it—the secret to her designs. Even if Symone was raring to take all the credit, all one had to do was just look a little closer to note who the true designer was…

But Marinette was keeping that under her hat; if she breathed a word to anyone, Symone would know, and would probably demand that she change her designs to erase her signature. So she wasn’t going to show anyone that she wasn’t as concerned as she should be, least of all Symone’s personal assistant.

Felix peered at her, as if he suspected her of holding something back. Marinette dropped her gaze from his.

“…How is your uncle?” He asked, surprising Marinette. She had momentarily forgotten that he had been there when she discovered Master Fu.

“Oh, right…he’s fine.” She sighed, rubbing her temples as she felt a migraine coming on. “The doctors are keeping him overnight, but he’ll be home tomorrow.” She hoped.

“Do you know what happened to him?”

Marinette opened her mouth, poised to explain…but then she stopped, peering curiously up at Felix.

Master Fu’s massage parlor had been fine as she left in the ambulance with the assaulted Master Fu. Felix had decided to remain behind to tell Symone why Marinette would not be returning as soon as she should. Presumably, he went back in to get Symone’s coffee…

And then what? Someone else just happened along to wreck the place as soon as he left?

As a matter of fact, it was awfully suspicious for him to have followed her into the massage parlor in the first place. What if…what if he had been there before her?

What if the reason he had come in was because he had already been in the parlor when Marinette made her presence known, and decided that he wouldn’t be able to escape without her noticing?

What if Felix was responsible for this whole mess in the first place?

What if Felix, silent, dour Felix was actually…

Felix met her searching stare with another quirked brow.

“Yes?” He asked curtly, as if she was being rude. Marinette blinked, turning her head from him, though she continued to watch him from her peripheral vision.

“Nothing,” she said quietly. “My uncle said he just took a bad tumble. That was all.”

“Hmm.” Felix stood there, watching Marinette for a moment, a corner of his mouth tilted down. “Then ask him to be more careful in the future. You’re under enough stress, I think, without having to worry about ill relatives.”

“I’m fine,” Marinette persisted, stubborn.

Higher the brow went, but Felix merely gave a short shrug.

“If you say so.”

He left it at that, turning away and heading towards Symone’s office. Marinette watched him go, eyes unable to waver from his tall back.

She had always thought Felix odd, standoffish. It was always just assumed that that was just his way.

But with everything that had happened today…could there be something more sinister to him, lurking beneath the surface?

Marinette’s fingers flexed over the Miraculous chest, still hidden in her bag.

She hoped she was wrong. Her fashion career was precarious enough at the moment—she didn’t want a colleague to be dragged into her superhero drama as well. Rather than blurring the line between her personal and superhero life, it would shatter the barrier between the two spheres completely.

And Marinette didn’t think anyone would be able to handle those consequences.

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A Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir Story
by DarkReyna16

Part 6 of 37

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