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Miraculous Escalation

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Where Am I? That was my first thought. We’d been fighting Echidna, and someone, one of the out of town capes had fired a bomb at her. It looked almost like a modified version of Bakuda’s weapons. There’d been a twisting sensation… And now I was here.

An alley. Morning. No sound of Endbringer sirens. People walking around, speaking… French?

I quietly moved to the end of the alley and looked out. And I saw the Eiffel tower.

The fuck? I was in Paris?

And it looked normal. Nobody running, nobody watching the TV. I suppose what was happening in the Bay wasn’t important here. I—

Akuma!” Someone had seen me. But what did Akuma mean? Did I look like some local villain? Now cell phones were ringing, people all over the street pulling them out, staring at me, running.

Fuck. I turned and ran back into the alley, hoping to get away before the local version of the PRT showed up. This city was cleaner than the bay, but I gathered every bug I could find. I’d have to contact Tattletale to get out of France, but first I needed to find some civilian clothing—

“Akuma!” That word again.

That came from above. I looked up and saw a girl, wearing some kind of spotted uniform. I didn’t recognize her, so she wasn’t a big international player.

Next to her, another figure, this one wearing a… Fetish cat suit? They stared down at me. Said something in French.

“I don’t speak French,” I called.

More jabber and then suddenly they were both diving down towards me.

I jumped back and pulled my baton out. I didn’t know if they were heroes or villains, but without knowing about their powers, I couldn’t hold back. People didn’t tend to go straight for CQC unless they had something, a striker power or just being really strong and hard to hurt, backing them up. I sent every bug I could find after them, gnats, wasps even some bees from a rooftop hive. The red and black parahuman was acting like the leader.

I’d take her out first.

Marinette dove down for the Akuma. She couldn’t see where she might be holding the corrupted butterfly, but her costume was terrifying enough.

“Let’s get her Milady!” Chat said. “If she doesn’t even speak French…”

Yeah, a panicked Akuma that can’t make itself understood. Hawkmoth must have a plan to have gone out of his way to infect a tourist. And while they could both speak English, Marinette didn’t think they could do it fast enough to talk the Akuma down. That was probably part of Hawkmoth’s plan.

Or he was just being a prick.

But the Akuma was acting… strange. Not ranting or raving, just stepping back, pulling a fighting stick from its belt.

Maybe I can talk to her… Some Akuma’s, very rarely, were calm enough to talk to. “We can help—” Marinette’s poor attempt at English evidently didn’t work. And suddenly Marinette’s face was full of gnats, flying into her nose and mouth. Chat shouted something. But Marinette was focusing on the fact that she couldn’t see. She hit the ground, rolling, and then frantically tried to get the insects out of her face. They were crowding around her eyes and forcing their way into her nose. She had to to—”Lucky ch—ACK!”

Now they swarmed into her mouth, and bees were stinging her tongue and lips, even as flies, gnats, and moths were forcing their way deeper into her throat. Marinette tried to scream but it came out as a choked gurgle.

“Milady! MILADY!” Chat was by her side, then slinging her over his back, but she couldn’t breath, and oh god it hurt, and then he was running away from the Akuma. She wanted to tell him to stop, to fight it, but she couldn’t breath and her vision was going gray and…

Why did it feel like the bugs were forcing their way out of her mouth and nose?

I moved away as fast as I could. I found an unlocked door into an empty warehouse and quickly entered, remembering to send an order to my bugs to stop choking the parahuman. Her friend had responded quickly. From his voice, he was her friend, not just a partner or associate.

So killing her would be a bad idea. Even if I didn’t want to get the French version of a kill order, there was always the possibility this had just been some kind of misunderstanding. But the first thing I needed to do was to get civilian clothes and find a way to get back in touch with Tattletale.

Chat swung towards the school. The nurse’s office was just one step short of a ER, especially after the Akuma attacks started, and more importantly, everyone there, even Chloe, loved Ladybug. They wouldn’t let any reporters in if she detransformed.

And he couldn’t take her to a hospital—not with that Akuma lurking about. In over two years, Chat had never seen one of Hawkmoth’s creations act so pragmatically. No ranting, no raving. Just moving right to an attack like it had spend the entire day planning it. If they’d stayed there, he knew one thing.

Ladybug would have died.

No, he couldn’t risk that seeking out its prey in a hospital. At least here, his classmates could leave, unlike people confined to their beds.

And there was the school.

“Just a few more seconds, Milady…” he said.