"Emma! Are you up?"
"Yeah Maman! I'm up and I already got dressed too. I wouldn't want to be late on the first day, would I?"
She heard her mother chuckle. The older woman had a history of being late to everything.
"Definitely not! Breakfast is ready, by the way."
"Okay, I'm coming!"
She walked into the kitchen, tying her blond hair into a short ponytail, and sat down at the table, in front of her plate of...
"French toast? Really? French. Toast. It's not even a French dish."
Her mother just shrugged, smiling.
"Just thought you'd appreciate the 'pun', if you can even call this a pun."
The girl grinned.
"I did, thanks Maman."
She began to eat silently. Her mother sighed, sensing something was up. Emma never ate breakfast silently.
"Okay, what's bothering you?"
"It's just... I really hope I'll be in the same class as Alex."
Her mum smiled at her knowingly.
"Alexandre? Like his mother would ever let you two be in different classes."
Emma thought of the last time she saw her best friend's mother angry.
"She can be pretty intimidating."
"That's one way of saying it. I could also say that the only people I met that are more intimidating than her are some akumas and Hawkmoth."
The blonde chuckled.
"There's that smile I've missed so much! And even if you're not in the same class, I'm sure you'll still be best friends. You were already bffs before you went to school."
"You're right Maman, thanks!"
She looked at the clock on the wall.
"I should get going soon. I want to be extra early today."
"Okay, but don't forget to take your keys, I'll only get home at around 5."
Emma grabbed her schoolbag and dropped her keys into her purse, swinging it around her shoulder. On the way out she kissed her mother on the cheek and shut the door behind herself. She took a deep breath of the still warm air of the early autumn morning, exhaling loudly afterwards. After that, she began walking towards her school.
As she was about to reach the crossroad in front of the school, she saw a boy with red hair on his phone about to step on the asphalt. Then she saw it. She saw the car speeding toward him. She started sprinting to him and shouted "Watch out!", before grabbing him by his jacket and yanking him away from the car at the last second. She breathed a sigh of relief and looked at the shocked boy.
"Try to be more careful next time! I won't always be here to save you."
She smiled at him warmly and held her hand out.
"I haven't seen you here before. Are you new? I'm Emma, by the way. Emma Agreste."
He shook her hand weakly.
"I'm N-Noa. Noa Duval. N-nice to meet you. Yeah, I'm new... My family moved here this summer."
"Great! I have to get going, but hopefully I'll see you around!"
The girl headed towards the school entrance, spotting her tall friend immediately. He hadn't noticed her yet, and she got an idea. The blonde snuck behind him, but before she could scare him, he turned around, shouting "Boo!" loudly. She shrieked, making him burst out with laughter. She scolded him, trying to sound mad, but failing to wipe the smile off her face.
"Hey! It's not funny!"
She couldn't hold it in any more, and she doubled over in a fit of giggles. After a few minutes they managed to calm themselves down.
"So... Which class are you in?"
Hearing that question, Alex gave her a toothy grin, snatching his phone from his pocket and opening the school administration system. As he turned the screen to her, she immediately spotted what he was showing her. Classroom number: 318. She beamed at him.
"Well then, let's go to our classroom!"
She grabbed his hand, pulling him with her into the school.
"Did your mum have to do something about it? Just asking cause you knew already."
"Oh, nah. They learned not to mess with Chloe Bourgeois from last year's drama."
"Yeah, she knows how to kill people without evidence."
Emma stopped and turned around to face him.
"I heard her talking about it with her friends. You just need medicine for low blood pressure, you spike the target's drink with it, they'll experience weariness, go to sleep and never wake up. It'll seem like they just had a heart attack. And even if a toxicology is performed, that chemical isn't one doctors look for. And there, you got away with murder!"
"Firstly, why were they talking about killing someone? Secondly, why the hell would you listen in on it?!"
"I don't know and I was bored, k?"
"K, at least now I know how to get away with murder. It could be useful eventually..."
"Hey, you hypocrite!" he laughed. Emma just shrugged.
"I'm what some people call smart. Maybe that's what you meant. C'mon, let's go to the room!"
She grabbed his hand again, but right before she turned away, she could have sworn she saw a faint blush on his cheeks. She slowly looked back at him, the red on his face gone already, like it never was there.
"Did you just blush?"
He crossed his arms and scoffed.
"As if! Like I would be flustered because of something as mundane as my best friend holding my hand!"
The girl leaned closer to him with a sly smile on her face.
"Would you blush if I... Kissed you, Alexandre?"
She turned away laughing as his face turned redder than his hair.
"Just teasing! When do you think Luc and Aiko will arrive? Assuming they're in our class..."
"They are, don't worry. Knowing Luc, he's gonna be at least a few minutes late. Aiko... I dunno, depends on Yuma, he's the slower one."
"Why does she always wait for him? She told me that sometimes she waits almost half an hour."
"Well, they've literally known each other since the day they were born."
"So have we, and I wouldn't wait thirty minutes for you."
"Firstly, I'm offended. Secondly, they spent an extra nine months in the womb together."
"Eh, I guess that's reasonable. At least they were in there for nine months, M. Two-Weeks-Overdue."
"Like you're the one to talk, Mlle. Five-Weeks-Premature. At least you have the honour of having the same birthday as me."
Emma just rolled her eyes.
When they stepped into the classroom, they noticed a few students lingering around already, three of the four seats in the back row already taken. Jérémy and Mélanie occupied the desk on the door's side, sitting next to each other, like always. On the other side sat Zoé Vasseur, alone like always. Emma spotted another familiar face pacing around awkwardly.
"Hey Noa! Seems like we're in the same class!"
He looked at her, a bit startled.
"Oh... H-hi Emma! Looks like it..."
She and Alex went to their usual seats, to the second row. The boy whispered into the girl's ear.
"Who's this? Do I know him?"
"Nah, he's new."
She looked over to the redhead.
"Hey, Noa! Why don't you sit behind us?"
His eyes lit up.
"Really? I mean... Can I?"
She smiled at him, then looked at Alex. He seemed confused.
"How do you know him?"
"I saved him from being hit by a car this morning."
"Sounds like typical you." he said teasingly. She punched his arm lightly.
"Noa, this is Alex. He thinks he's a big deal, but he isn't actually."
"Excuse you, I am a big deal!"
He held his hand out to the other redhead.
"Alexandre Kurtzberg. Nice to meet you!"
Noa shook his hand eagerly.
"Kurtzberg as in Nathanaël Kurtzberg? The painter?"
"Exactly, he's my father."
"Wow, that's so awesome! He's one of my idols! And his wife is Chloe Bourgeois, who used to be Queen Bee, which means your mom was a superhero! That's so cool!"
Emma shook her head.
"Don't encourage him!"
"But Emma, I deserve it!"
She snorted affectionately.
"You have famous parents, big deal! You're not the only one."
Noa looked at her.
"You have famous parents too?"
"Yeah, my mother is Marinette Dupain-Cheng-Agreste, the owner of Coccinelle. The brand."
"O-oh! That's why your name sounded familiar! What about your father?"
She flinched slightly.
"Adrien Agreste, he was a model, but... He died seven months before I was born."
"S-sorry... I shouldn't have a-asked..."
"It's alright. You didn't know, plus I never met him and... You can't miss something you've never had, I guess."
She gave him a sad smile.
"Anyway, I don't wanna turn the mood sour, let's talk about something else. For example about how Alex's ego is bigger than his IQ."
"Are you two dating?"
Alex blushed a deep crimson from embarrassment, Emma presumed, while she just blinked a few times.
"Nah, we're just really close cause we've just known each other since the day we were born. Literally. But uh... We're not dating, he's more like a brother to me. Isn't that right, bro?"
She shoved him gently, snapping him out of his thoughts.
"It is, little one!"
"I'm only 5 hours younger!"
Noa looked relieved, but Emma didn't know why. A few moments later two people stepped into the classroom, one of them, a girl, animatedly explaining something.
"I'm telling you, Yuma, it's the best thing ev-"
She let out a long gasp and sqealed when she saw her friends.
"Emma! Alex! Oh my god, you'reinthesameclassasus!! This! Is! Awesome!"
Emma flinched a bit at her friend's loud, high pitched squeals.
"It is great, but calm down a bit, Aiko!"
The japanese girl giggled.
"Sorry! I'm just really happy!"
She sat down in front of Emma and turned around, fidgeting with her two braids.
"What is it?"
"Is Luc with us too?"
"Yessss! Alex, your mother's awesome!"
The boy rolled his eyes.
"Why does everybody assume it was her?" he mumbled to himself.
"So Aiko, what were you talking about with Yuma?"
She adjusted her glasses.
"This anime called Parasyte, it's awesome! Super gory and bloody and ugghh it's so cool!"
Noa seemed taken aback by Aiko's contradicting looks and personality. Emma just smiled at him.
"You'll get used to it."
Aiko looked at him.
"Are you new? I haven't seen you before. I'm Aiko Sonozaki. And the tall dude about to sit next to you is my twin, Yuma."
"Hi! I'm Noa. Nice to meet you both!"
Yuma walked to the empty seat next to the redhead.
"Is it okay if I sit next to you? My bro Jérémy is sitting behind us."
Alex, Emma, Aiko and Noa chatted until the teacher arrived.
"Hello class! My name is Madame Leblanc, some of you may already be familiar with me. Before I begin, let's do a role call."
Emma got ready to raise her hand. She'd always been the first at role call.
Emma had heard some stories about Noémie. From what everyone said, she sounded like the most bitchy and annoying person in the world. But she couldn't have been that bad, right?
At that moment the door opened, and a boy with olive skin and dreadlocks stepped in.
Mme. Leblanc sent him a disapproving look.
"Try to be a bit earlier next time please!"
"Alright, I'll try!"
He walked to the empty seat next to Aiko, and sat down, mumbling "Not." to himself. Emma chuckled silently.
"Best timing, like always, Luc!"
"You know me, Ems!"
The classes passed without anything special happening, and lunch break rolled around.
"So! Anyone up to celebrating us being in the same class with some fancy food? I'm thinking pizza." asked Emma.
"Of course! I'm gonna go home to get some momey, then join you. Noa?"
"Hm? Oh! I'd love to, but I promised my parents I'd go home after school."
"Alright, maybe next time."
The redhead was walking home when it happened. One moment he was peacefully admiring the city, the next he saw that old lady falling. He rushed there on instinct, catching her mid-fall and picking the bag that fell out of her hand up from the concrete.
"Thank you, young man!"
"You're welcome, Madame!"
When Emma got home after school, she didn't notice anything special in her room. But when she sat down at her desk, she spotted a weird box she'd never seen before. It was black with red patterns on the top of it. She was hesitant to open it. But something about it just told her she should look inside. So she did.
The boy had been in his room for a while when he saw the small container. Curiosity overtook him, and he lifted the lid.
The girl was blinded by a green flash. When she opened her eyes, she saw a small, black, cat-like... Thing floating in front of her. It didn't look very happy either.
"Oh great, another blonde one!"
"Well nice to meet you too!"
"Yeah, yeah whatever, nice to meet you, the name's Plagg if you're interested, you got anything to eat? I'm starving!"
He was about to dash away, but Emma snatched him before he could go too far.
"Ah ah ah! First explain, then you can eat!"
When the pink light died down, the redhead said the first thing that came to his mind.
"What... The absolute... Hell?"
The creature was bug-like, small and red with three black spots and two antennae.
"Hello! I'm a kwami, and my name is Tikki! I'm sure you're very confused right now, so I'll explain."
"Alright! Chill! I'm a kwami, I grant powers, yours is the power of destruction, got it?"
"Actually uhh... Yeah. Kinda."
Plagg narrowed his eyes and floated out of her grasp.
"Do ya now?"
"Yeah, my mother told me a bit about kwamis. Wait! This means I'll get to be a superhero! A cat themed one! I'm continuing the family legacy!"
He looked at her oddly.
"Yeah, my parents were the previous Ladybug and Chat Noir!"
His eyes widened.
"What?! Wait, what's your surname?"
"Agreste... Wait, you knew my dad?"
"I knew every Chat Noir. But Adrien... He died."
"Yeah, well I was born seven months after he passed away..."
"Tikki never told me she didn't die!"
"Who didn't die?"
Emma was super confused. Not only was a kwami in her room, he also apparently knew her father, and now he was surprised her mother was alive. Was she hallucinating?
"Ladybugs always die with their Black Cats! It has to happen to keep the balance! And you can't be lying, you look so much like him! Ugh, all of this thinking is making me even hungrier! Gimme cheese!"
"Alright, alright, gee! I think we have brie, is that good?"
"Well I mean camambert would be the right choice here, but I guess it's fine."
"Okay, this sounds super cool and all, but uhh... My ears aren't pierced."
Tikki smiled at him warmly.
"Don't worry, the miraculous adapt very well to their owner. Just open the box. You'll see."
He picked the box he'd dropped when the kwami appeared up. He looked at the earrings.
"Yes. For your cartilage."
"Wow! Nobody will even suspect me being the ladybug hero with these... Wait. I should keep my identity a secret, right?"
"So, nobody should know who I am, right?"
"Yeah, I guess."
"I guess? What does that mean?"
"It means do whatever ya want, I don't care."
"Okay, no need to be rude about it! I'm gonna keep it a secret. Being a superhero is a huge responsibility, and I want to do it right. I don't want to put anyone in danger. Who are we fighting against anyway?"
"The miraculous of the ox and the tiger have been stolen. The ox grants the wearer the power of pure force, the tiger grants the power of freedom. The ox is locked at the moment, but the spell will likely be lifted soon. Until then, the tiger will probably arrive. The jewels were stolen a week ago, they could arrive any day. You and your partner are going to be fighting against them. They'll likely after the earrings and the ring. The ladybug and the black cat are the most powerful of the Miraculous. If you feel overwhelmed, you will be able to choose an ally later. But as long as the tiger can't hold their transformation after their special ability, you won't need to."
The boy nodded.
"And what's this special power?"
"The ability to morph the physical world. Bend and stretch concrete, for example. Understand?"
"Yeah! I think so."
"Wonderful! Just say 'Spots on!' to transform!"
"Wow, uhh... Okay, just one more thing. Are you sure I'm the right person to do this?"
"Of course! You were chosen for a reason!"
"I'm just... Not sure if I'm responsible or confident enough."
Tikki smiled at him nostalgically.
"You know, my previous owner doubted herself too, yet she turned out to be a wonderful Ladybug. You don't need to be perfect to be a hero."
She floated closer to him.
"When you see that someone's in trouble, you feel like you need to help them, you can't just sit back and do nothing, right?"
The redhead nodded.
"That's all you need to be a hero! You'll do great, I just know it! Now go out there and meet your partner!"
"Thank you Tikki, you're wonderful. Spots on!"
"So, that's everything?"
Emma slipped the ring onto her right ring finger. That's where she'd seen her dad wearing it in the photographs in her mother's room.
"Yeah. 'Claws out!' - that's how you transform."
"Got it! Plagg, claws out!"
She felt the power filling her as she was engulfed in green light. She felt free and strong, like she could do anything, it was... Miraculous! As the transformation ended, she looked at herself in the mirror. Her suit looked very similar to Chat Noir's. She had an identical mask, the lines around her armpit, pockets, a zipper, the belt tail and cat ears, albeit the signature bell was absent. She also had grey gloves reaching just below her elbows, lined with a soft, fluffy, silver, fur-like material, her fingers ending in claws, and knee-high grey boots, the top covered in the same silver fur, just like the end of her tail and the neckline of the costume. The whites of her eyes had turned an acidic green colour, her hair hung freely and looked a bit disheveled.
Emma vaulted out through her window using her silver baton. She quickly got the hang of jumping around rooftops. As the wind blew the strands of her hair free, the only thing she could think of was 'I was born for this!'
As she was dashing around the city, she noticed a red blur on one of the rooftops. She went closer, noticing they're a person, and greeted them cheerfully.
The boy jumped a bit, settling himself into a battle stance. He relaxed once he saw who she was.
"Hi! Sorry, didn't quite see you there!"
Emma found his costume intriguing. His torso was red with black spots and so was his mask. His limbs were covered by a material similar to kitin, just like a bug's legs, the parts looking light yet solid. The suit went up to the middle of his neck, those few centimetres black, just like his hands and feet. He also had two antennae on top of his head. His hair had a small wave in it, his icy blue eyes shone intelligently. The girl was speechless for a few moments, then greeted him politely.
"Nice to meet you! What's your name?"
He started fidgeting with his hands.
"I don't really know what my name should be."
"It's just... Ladybug is... Well the previous hero's name and is too feminine, Ladybeetle and Ladybird are also girly..."
"How about Coccinelle?"
"Nah, that's the name of a popular fashion brand."
"Too fancy for me."
"Ehh... Too Irish."
"Hmm... What if you based your name off your costume?"
He looked down at his suit.
"Like... Polka Dots?"
"Yes! I really like that one!"
"Me too! So then, I'm Polka Dots! How about you?"
"Lady Argent. Call me Lady Argent!"
"Wow, that was quick!"
"Yeah, I've thought of other names too, but quickly dismissed them. I was thinking Chatte Noire, but uhh... People might mistake Chatte as its... Other meaning. Then Lady Noire, but Ladynoir was Ladybug and Chat Noir's ship name, so that was out of the question too, and Lady Gris just doesn't have that ring to it. So, Lady Argent it is!"
"Cool! So uhh... Superheroes, huh?"
"Seems like it. I've always imagined what being a superhero would be like, but I would have never thought I'd actually get to be one."
"Same! I'm still not sure why I was chosen for this, but my kwami encouraged me a lot! She's super sweet!"
"My kwami was really rude... I mean he seemed like he's generally sarcastic and annoyed all the time, but I don't think he likes me, cause he was pretty mean. But only after I told him that... Wait, no, that's too personal. I dunno, maybe I'm just overreacting, or he's like that to everyone."
"You should talk to him. Tell him what you think. I'm sure he'll understand."
"I guess that would be the most reasonable. Thanks."
His smile was so genuine and his eyes sparkled so brightly, the girl couldn't help but smile herself.
An earthquake snapped her out of her daze. She looked at her new partner.
"I don't think this is natural."
"We both know what it means, right?"
They headed the way they felt the shockwaves coming from. Polka Dots was still a bit clumsy with his yo-yo, but Emma figured it would be harder to control than her baton.
"This is gonna be a short fight, eh Dots?"
"Considering he's already using his ability, most likely yes."
The closer they got, the more people they saw fleeing. They dropped down next to a news truck and saw him. His costume was mainly a deep burgundy red with black tiger stripes. A thick black line went down the middle of his torso, widening around his neck. The top of his thighs were also black in an upside down v-shape. He had a tail and big ears, and was carrying a huge staff with two sharp, fang-like extensions on both ends.
"Ladies and gentlemen, you are experiencing the arrival of a new superhero duo live on TVI! Will they be able to defeat the supervillain and erase the destruction?"
The high-pitched voice of the reporter caused Lady Argent to look her way. She rolled her eyes. Of course Manon Chamack would be the one reporting this. She snapped at the whole news crew.
"Would you move to a reasonable distance? You're in the way!"
"Calm down, Lady Argent!"
"I'm not gonna calm down, Polka Dots, they're putting themselves, civilians and us in danger! That's not okay!"
"I know, but they'll realise eventually. Don't be harsh on them!"
She furrowed her eyebrows under the mask.
"Fine! Let's go and whoop some ass!"
"Wait, Argent, don't just rush into it! We need a strategy. Hmm... Let's use our powers! Lucky Charm!"
A red and black object fell into his hands and he examined it.
"Springs? What are these for?"
He started looking around.
"I dunno, but I'm gonna test my power too! Cataclysm!"
Her hand was ignited by bubbling, black flames of destruction.
"Totally awesome! So, you got a plan?"
"Yeah, I think so. Just gimme a second!"
He gathered a few things from around them.
"Okay, so here's the plan. We gotta be quick, he only has about three minutes."
A few seconds later they were already racing towards their enemy. Polka Dots placed the springs on the ground and put a wooden board on them while the villain wasn't paying attention. He looked at the position Argent was in and smiled at her. She nodded.
"Hey, Tigger! Looking for someone?"
He stepped on the elevated pedestal he'd made as the corrupt wielder turned around with a wide grin on his face.
"Well, well, well! If it isn't the new holder of the ladybug? You got here earlier than I thought!"
"You know, ladybugs are considered a symbol of luck. I guess I was lucky."
The holder of the tiger laughed coldly.
"You won't be lucky when I, Sabertooth will destroy you!"
Polka Dots crossed his arms. The signal.
"You're a bit dramatic, aren't you?"
The girl saw her partner cross his arms. It was time. She grabbed the cinderblock next to her.
"I'm gonna have to time it."
She vaulted from the rooftop she was on with her baton, aiming directly for the villain. She almost hit him, but he dashed out of the way at the last moment. Lady Argent smiled to herself. The plan had worked. She didn't have more than a second to be happy though, as she had to land on the platform. A millisecond after her feet touched the board, she threw the concrete brick away. She'd only needed it for extra force when she collided with the springs, it would only weigh them down afterwards. The angle the girl arrived at caused the pair to be launched towards Sabertooth, pinning him to the ground.
"Where's his Miraculous?" the girl shouted.
"One of his hands! It's a bracelet with four rings attached to it."
"That's gonna be a delight to take off!"
Their enemy was struggling, his curly, dark brown hair getting messier and messier.
The boy found the jewel on his right hand as it beeped for the one minute warning.
He was starting to take the first ring off, when he was kicked in the stomach, flying back a few meters. He saw his partner fall next to him... They forgot about his legs...
By the time they got up, the villain was nowhere to be found.
"Damn it! We have to go after him!"
"No, Argent, we can't!"
"He's most likely detransformed already. We'll try again when he shows up."
"That's not good enough!"
The boy frowned.
"Of course it is! I don't know about you, but I'm a teenager, and that dude looked around twice my age! Of course he's gonna be more capable! It was a very good attempt for our first time! We made a mistake, but we'll learn from it, and it won't happen next time."
"You're... You're right. It's just... I want to be good at this superhero thingy!"
"Well, so do I. And we'll get better and defeat him. I promise!"
He held out his pinky. Lady Argent looked at it, conflicted. But after a few moments of doubt, she raised her hand and they interlocked their fingers. His warm and comforting smile stayed on her mind, even after he flung away with his yo-yo.