Two weeks ago
Lila never felt more alive. Marinette was gone. Ladybug was gone. Chat Noir shall soon fall. Adrein will be hers. And Hawkmoth will bow to her and beg for forgiveness. She was still angry at him for turning his back on her, also telling Gabriel Agreste who she knew was connected to the villain somehow.
Now as Dark Lady, she gazed out at Paris from her perch on top of the Eiffel Tower, the miracle box under her arm. She will figure out how to open it, then Paris will become aware of their new threat. But for now she will wait sometime, letting the fear of their lost hero grow into the people before revealing herself. Then Paris will truly begin to tremble.
It’s been two weeks. Two weeks since anyone had seen Ladybug. Two weeks since she showed up to fight akumas and sentimonsters. He has been forced to fight them on his own, unable to cure the butterflies and amoks he had been forced to cataclysm. He was growing more concerned each day she didn’t show up, not aware of her identity. Adrien was growing tired, fighting on his own without backup.
To make things worse, Marinette had gone missing two weeks ago. Every night as Chat Noir, he patrolled the city, searching every block for a clue or a trace of Marinette or Ladybug. Then during the day, he would help her parents post posters, out right quitting as a model for his father. Gabriel decided to allow it, seeing his son was not in the mood to be reasoned with. He had Natalie clear his schedule, but Adrien would have to give up at some point.
Kagami had been supportive at first, also a friend of Marinette’s. But after the first week, she began to stop, reasoning maybe she doesn’t want to be found. She still supported his own efforts of hanging posters and questioning people, but Adrien knew she wasn’t pleased about him forgetting his plans with her due to his activities.
The rest of the class gave up after a week, Lila explaining it clearly was a waste of effort. It took a lot of effort for Adrien to not transform and cataclysm her right there and then. Even now as he sat in class drinking his third cup of coffee, Lila was weeping over how she wished she had the chance to befriend Marinette. Everyone jumped to sooth her, while Adrien resisted the urge to growl. He was surprised that he hadn’t been akumatized yet with his negativity in the past week.
Ms. Bustier had made a point to stop recalling Marinette’s name, at Lila’s suggestion of course Adrien thought bitterly. He was only at school to attend lessons until school released and he could hunt for his missing lady and princess. But the hunt was starting to wear him down, exhausting him.
His classmates were starting to notice this, worried for his mental health. Even right now, Alya was looking him over carefully, “You shouldn’t work yourself ragged over this. She is gone and I don’t see the point in waiting for her to come back after so long.” Lila nodded in an agreement, making Adrien growl. But instead of saying something he may regret, he turned his attention forward towards Ms. Bustier, intent on ignoring everyone else. Marinette deserves better than what the class was doing and he wasn’t going to stop. They never found her body and until then, he would go to the moon and back to find her. No akuma or bully would get in his way.
He had seen a lot of things in the last couple of years, but nothing like the past two weeks. The city had a candy palace that workers were still trying to remove and group of sharks in the sewers still being hunted. Ladybug hadn’t made an appearance at akuma battles in two weeks, leaving Chat Noir to fight on his own. The result was all the battle damage going unrepaired, causing the French government to re enforce the police with an armoured military force that had so far been useless. Akumas were innocent victims that don’t deserve to be shot.
The mayor had sent out multiple messages for the city to stay as positive as possible. Even with Chloe Bourgeois in prison outside of the city and Hawkmoth’s reach, there was still terrible people in Paris that angered others.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, he had a missing person’s case with no evidence or leads. Roger sighed not for the first time that week. Despite his best efforts, he couldn’t find hope. All the destruction around him and Ladybug’s absence had made it hard for him to believe in a brighter tomorrow.
As if to drive the point home, an black butterfly entered his flashlight while an amok entered his radio. “Agent Seeker, I am Hawkmoth. I grant you the powers to find your targets and capture them with your Multi-Patroller. In return, I ask you to find the Ladybug and Black Cat miraculous and bring them to me.”
“Sir, yes, sir.”
As he headed out of school, ignoring the pleas of his friends to eat lunch with them, Plagg poked his head out of Adrien’s shirt. “Hey, kid? When we get to the bakery, we need to go to pigtail’s room.”
“Why?” Adrien gave his kwami a weary look.
Plagg thought to himself for a moment, then spoke up again, “I need to check on something, I need you to trust me on this.” Adrien sighed and nodded his silent agreement. His spirits lifted a little when he entered the bakery, it was impossible to stay depressed around Marinette’s parents. Despite the depressing feeling of failure each day, Tom and Sabine did their best to stay positive. They closed the bakery down during the first week, but had to reopen it up again in order to stay in business.
The couple was serving the lunch rush, but told him he could wait up stairs if he wanted to. Adrien took this opportunity to fulfill Plagg’s strange request. He carefully opened the trapdoor and climbed into the pink bedroom. Everything was almost just like he remembered it, except for one missing detail. All the pictures of him were gone, photos with their classmates remaining. There was one photo sitting in the trash can, Marinette and Luka on a date. Alya had told him that Luka broke up with her a week before her disappearance over something about Marinette not seeming to be as interested in the relationship as he was.
Plagg zipped around the room frantically, muttering, “Where is it, where it,” to himself.
Adrien looked at him confused, “Where is what?”
The kwami of destruction stared Adrien in the eyes, more serious and frightened than ever. “The miracle box, it’s not here.”
Adrien took a moment to process this new discovery. Fu had the miracle box, but passed it onto Ladybug during the battle of the miraculous. And Plagg expected it to be in Marinette’s bedroom a month and a half after that… “Marinette is Ladybug?” Plagg nodded, unable to confirm verbally due to the spell. “So when Marinette went missing, that’s when Ladybug stopped showing up.” Adrien froze with a sudden terror, “Plagg, you don’t think that she has been captured by Hawkmoth, do you?”
The kwami stayed silent, considering his words wisely knowing his chosen was very close to the edge of sanity. “If she had been captured, why are the akumas still calling for her to show?”
Adrien frowned, “Maybe to make me think that she is still coming and try to tire me out waiting for her to save the day?”
Plagg frowned, “Hawkmoth is many things, but not an idiot. If he caught her, he would have used her as bait by now.” If it was meant to calm Adrien, it didn’t. “Still, both her and the miracle box are missing, this is a serious problem.”
Outside, a loud crash was heard. Running out onto the balcony, the pair spotted a bunch of overturned cars, a white and blue mech with flashing red and blue lights strode down the street. A booming speaker demanded all civilians go home. Adrien groaned as he spotted a variation of Rogercop marching next to the mech, this time with a device attached to his left arm. “Plagg, claws…” He was cut off by his ringing phone: Kagami. He promised they would have lunch today, but forgot again. “I’ll talk to her after I save the city, I hope.”
He scanned the area, not finding his target. It was frustrating, his sensors stretched to the city limits and not a trace of Marinette Dupain-Cheng. As the akuma tried to figure out how to boost his scans, a tank shell slammed into his Multi-Patroller. The mecha stumbled back, but regained its footing and rushed forward, bashing the launch tube before another shell could be fired. The tank went in full reversed, but found it’s treading locked with locking clamps fired from the senti-monster. “Military forces of France,” it’s speaker boomed, “I order you to surrender and stay out of…” Whatever it was going to say, it was cut off as the entire mecha disintegrated to dust. The amok tried to drift off, but the still active cataclysm in the hand of Chat Noir swiped it out of the air.
As the dust from the feather blew away, Chat slammed Agent Seeker into the nearby building, “Where is she!”
The akuma didn’t answer, frightened by the ferocity of the hero. Agent Seeker never intended to be violent, just wanting to find his missing person. As the akuma stayed silent, the purple Hawkmoth symbol appeared over his face. “What do you mean where is she? Did you lose your bug Chat Noir? Pity, finding her miraculous and the rest of them will be much harder.”
Chat growled, “Don’t lie to me, where is Ladybug?”
“I don’t have her!” the villain protested through his puppet.
A familiar yoyo smashed into the flashlight, releasing the akuma and capturing it. Chat turned, hoping that it was his Lady returned after all this time. To his disappointment, it was clearly someone else in the suit, standing on top of an overturned car. He waited a moment for her to do the miraculous cure and fix the damage, but this different Ladybug just smirked at him. “Aren’t you going to fix everything?”
The new girl tilted her, as if debating on it. “Naw, I don’t feel like it.” She jumped down striding over to him, “Perhaps you can tell me how to open the miracle box though.”
Chat felt his stomach drop. “Where is Ladybug?” he growled out.
“Oh, she is dead. Pretty sure there is no coming back from it. And she had all this cool stuff, the earrings, the box, and a freaking spell book of all things.” This new comer wasn’t a friend, that much Chat was certain. He whipped his baton in a wicked overhead slash. The girl jumped back, smirking at him again. “Now, now kitty. Is that how you treat your betters?” She cackled as his final warning began to beep. “Uh oh, looks like someone is having a little battery problem.”
Chat tried to lunge at her again, only for her to dodge by swinging onto the rooftop of the building next to them. “I will catch you and make you pay for what you did to her!”
Looking down at him, she let out one final sickening laugh. “Maribrat had it coming, you and Hawkmoth are next.” With that she swung off as Chat was forced to hide in a nearby alley to release his transformation. This new villians words rang through his head: Ladybug, Marinette, is dead. Adrien curled up against the wall and cried, Plagg petting his head gently. This was too much for him to take, his hope was finally lost.
Elsewhere, Dark Lady found a public place with a news helicopter above. She cast the miraculous cure, bringing everyone’s attention on her. People were freed, damage was fixed. Lila smiled as the crowd cheered for her. Now to turn them against Chat Noir.