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Miraculous Adventure in Joey Drew Studio

Chapter Text

Miraculous Adventure in Joey Drew Studio

~}i{~

Chapter 1: Welcome to Our Haunted Joey Drew Studio.

~}i{~

It was the last week of September at Collège Françoise Dupont. October was just around the corner, so each class in the school was planning on some kind of haunted house for the students and their families to enjoy and to add a little healthy competition between the classes. When going over ideas to what kind of haunted house Miss Bustier's should do, they just bounced around some ideas.

Everyone was pitching in ideas. Well, everyone but Lila, who was helping her mom with an embassy party for the Royal Family and was currently not in school at the moment. Or so she said... Alya steadfastly believed that story and just told Marinette that she was just being jealous. Just one tiny problem.

"... Uhhh, Alya, how the heck did you mistake me for Mari? Because I sound nothing like her, not to mention we don't have many common features," Kim stated as he folded his arms and gave Alya a stern look. The French/Vietnamese male student was the one who pointed out the oddity of the story Lila told, not the French/Chinese female student. Kim might not have been the brightest in the classroom, but even he knew that the Royal Family were from England. Which meant that they wouldn't use someone from the Italian Embassy to host a party anywhere in France. Kim told the blogger this, with a suspicious tone in his voice.

Alya was too engrossed at what was on her phone to look up when she said, "Yeah right, Mari. Lila confirmed that they're currently living in Italy at the moment. I hope Lila gives me the details when she gets back."

The majority of the class gave each other a concerned look. Miss Bustier was also concerned, but for a different reason.

The teacher was worried about both Alya's and Lila's recent actions.

The Ladyblogger has been rather... Flakey recently in regards to her friendship with Marinette. Caline has gotten a few good worrisome conversations from the bluette. At first, the teacher thought it was Marinette being a little jealous of Alya's friendship with the Italian and she'd get over it in a week or so. But the more Marinette told Caline about ALL the plans that had to be cancelled because Alya failed to tell Mari that she was doing some last-minute thing with Lila and wanted to re-schedule, which never came up again even when Marinette asked her about it, ALL the "miscommunications" in regards to Lila, and even the fact that Marinette made it a point to email the teacher all her tasks as Class President and calling to confirm that Miss Bustier got those emails a week or two in advance without telling Alya just so Lila doesn't take credit for the idea. All these were raising a lot of red flags in the teacher's head, especially when what Marinette had warned Miss Bustier about had actually happened last week.

Lila tried to take credit for last week's Student Art Auction. An event that Marinette had extensionally planned three weeks in advance with Aurore and had sent Miss Bustier a list of everyone involved, contact info included so they can be called for confirmation, and every single step that was done just before the event started. Lila was nowhere on that list. Miss Bustier was more than a little shocked by the Italian's claim and immediately confronted Lila about that by kindly asking if her 'condition' was acting up. The Italian replied in that sweet tone that she was fine and that she really did help with planning the majority of the Auction because all the members of the Student Council asked her too.

Now Caline Bustier knew that was a real bold lie. The Student Council consisted of the school's Class Presidents, meaning Marinette and Aurore were apart of it. There was also the fact that the two in question were the members of the Student Council that did the most work on the auction, wouldn't have asked some outsider on something they were fully committed to doing themselves. This was more than enough to make Miss Bustier get the principle to re-evaluate the whole "Lying Disease" that Lila had told them when she got in trouble for stealing Marinette's sketchbook and to get ahold of the Italian's mother to get her to come to the school for a long-overdue parent/teacher conversation.

"Uhh, babe, maybe you need to get your hearing checked," Nino told his girlfriend in a concerned tone that was peppered with weariness. Alya just replied that she could hear just fine.

Marinette rolled her eyes in annoyance and snipped in the same tone, "I can't say I'm surprised you're not listening to anyone," before the class wearily returned to discussing what they do for October.

It took Nathaniel and Max talking about a book about animation studios to have everyone agree on what kind of Haunted House Miss Bustier's class would do. They all agreed on doing a Trail of Courage at Joey Drew Studio.

Later, Principle Damocles approved Miss Bustier's class' idea on one very specific condition. The class was NOT to use or go to the actual location of Joey Drew Studio, which was listed as dangerously condemned. It was non-negotiable, absolutely no ifs ands or buts about it, period. They were to have the replica studio at a predetermined location the school had chosen to use. It wasn't much of a big deal, a little weird, but no big deal. Plus, they never saw their principles look and sound so serious.

}i{

"Seriously, I got half a mind to just drag Alya to England and show her that the Royal Family has only lived in that castle of their's," Kim said before munching on a cookie as the Dupain-Cheng family and Max played the newest game creation of the computer genius.

"Forget about her, Kim, she's not worth it," Marinette stated coldly as she moved her game character to take down a minion.

The two adults and two boys froze at this statement. Max paused the game before asking the bluette, "Mari, what happened between you two? It had to have been pretty bad if you're saying that."

Marinette folded her arms in a huff when she sated in real anger, "She bailed on me, again, and I really needed her help yesterday. I called her until her message box was full, then I started texting her, asking her where she was. I got no response from her at all, and it made me think that something bad happened to her! I even called her home phone and talked to her older sister, who just told me that Alya was out. So when I saw her this morning and talked to her about where she was, she told me that she and Lila had a 'sweet last-minute Girl's Day Out' all day yesterday. I should've just called her out on the fact that she already made plans to with me a WEEK in advance but no! I had to ask her through my teeth if she remembered making any important plans for yesterday before Lila called her, and she told me that she had NO plans and THAT was the reason WHY she accepted Lila's offer for a Girl's Day Out. I was pissed! I reminded her EVERY DAY for the week that she promised to help me yesterday, EVERY FREAKIN' DAY when classes were over! She should've known that! This had absolutely nothing to do with 'jealousy towards Lie-la', not even a pinch of it! Alya cannot blame 'jealousy' for my anger at her!"

Sabine placed a hand on her daughter's shoulder with a sympathetic look when Tom said, "We had a rather big delivery order yesterday and couldn't deliver it ourselves because we had a few other orders to complete. It was too big for Mari to complete on her own even with her bike, so she asked Alya to help. So when she didn't show..."

Kim and Max glanced at each other in concern. They'll admit, Alya does have a bad habit of leaving during meet-ups with friends, but the reason for it was just her trying to get footage of heroes in action when there was an Akuma attack. Yesterday, however, was a whole different issue...

"Uh, how were you able to deliver the order?" Kim asked, more out of curiosity than anything.

Marinette sighed when she said, "Well, my next option was to call Nino for help, but when I called he was having a family emergency. Chris broke his arm when trying to ride Nino's bike without his permission. Nino and his mom were at the hospital when I called. He couldn't help when he's worried about his little brother, so I told him to tell Chris that I'll visit him later in the week to sign his cast." Marinette sighed before saying, "At least Nino's excuse was valid, so I don't have any ill feelings for him refusing to help me. And this morning he overheard my little 'conversation' with Alya, and now he's completely concerned about the 'friendship' Alya has with Lila. He mentioned that he has had a few concerns about Lila before since she claimed to have met Alfred Hitchcock before he died. Nino did say that he thought it was a little weird that Lila would fib about that but he admitted that he just assumed that she wanted to be included in the conversation, so he let the lie slide."

Max adjusted his glasses when he said, "Mr Hitchcock died in 1980, long before any of us teenagers were born, thus Lie-la could not have met him before he died unless she's an adult pretending to be a high schooler for whatever reason. While it is nice to know we're not the only ones noticing the falsehood Lila has told, it is still concerning that our class "reporter" has yet to do any sort of research into any of her stories..."

Max started having doubts about Lila's credibility long before the napkin incident.

Yes, the whole thing just felt... Off. Very off. Paper napkins were flimsy and soft, making them one of the least likely objects to get any type of papercut on. And a wadded-up paper napkin was only good at annoying or getting the attention of others, you can't harm someone with a napkin ball unless it was wrapped around a rock. So the whole idea about a paper napkin gorging an eye out was utterly ridiculous, as Chloe would put it. Plus Max wore glasses, so he's eyes were safe even if that story was true. But what got the techie suspicious was all these stories Lila was telling. That she was meeting all these famous actors, singers, directors, authors, athletes, politicians, world leaders, and business people as well as all the places she has been with her diplomat mother. It just... Didn't make any sense that Lila would meet all these different people if she was Just a diplomat's daughter... Well, there was a higher probability of Lila being able to meet the world leaders and politicians due to her mother's job, but the chances of Lila actually meeting ALL the other famous individuals she has claimed to have met were close to 0.1%. Especially since all these people were in different industries or were dead.

So after the whole Napkin Incident, Max followed Lila, who was following Marinette, to the restroom to 'mend fences' as the Italian claimed. The tech geek didn't enter the girl's restroom, but he was able to hear exactly what happened through the door since Lila was not being very subtle because she thought it was just her and the bluette in and around the restroom. Max was just lucky that the janitor's closet was next to the girl's restroom since he quickly ducked in there when Lila exited the restroom without realizing that someone overheard her threatening Marinette. After he was sure Lila left, Max peaked out of the closet before quickly knocked on the girl's restroom door and asked if Marinette was ok.

(Thanks to this the bluette was able to calm down faster, thus causing Hawkmoth to retract the Akuma sooner and thus no Chameleon Episode in this Universe).

After that incident, Max had started keeping track of all the tales Lila had told and went out of his way to confirm whether or not these were lies. Markov also joined in on this task and even admitted to recording what he heard in the restroom. Max and Marinette were debating on whether or not they should let others know about that recording since technically it was made without anyone's knowledge and permission. But they eventually settled on using that recording as a last resort after running it through a heavy authenticity program to prevent any claims of creating it to make someone look bad.

Marinette took a deep breath when she said, "Kagami and her mother were passing by and saw my parents trying to calm me down from a mid-panic. Kagami managed to convince her mother to help me out. I guess it was good luck that they were heading close to the address on the client's order form. I'm pretty sure Mrs Tsurugi would've refused if our destinations weren't. It was thanks to them I was able to deliver the order on time, but Mrs Tsurugi did play a game of 20 Questions with me about what happened along the way..."

"I didn't think she was the type to play games," Kim commented cluelessly.

Max adjusted his glasses when he said, "Kim, Marinette was just making a statement saying that Mrs Tsurugi interrogated her similar to a game of 20 Questions, just without the fun."

"Oh," was all Kim got out.

Marinette glanced at the floor when she said, "I can't say she wasn't entirely wrong about her opinion about Alya, but I also can't say she was completely right either. And... She did have a point about ending my friendship with someone who has repeatedly "left a fellow warrior without aid", as Mrs Tsurugi put it. And... I kind of agree with her on that... So I compromised to drop Alya as my friend if she didn't have a valid reason as to why she didn't keep her promise to help me with the delivery... So after this morning's conversation, I don't consider Alya my friend anymore."

"I do admit it's harsh, but considering how big the delivery was and the repeated reminders about it... But still... Despite the initial unwillingness, we're really thankful that the Tsurugis were able to help Marinette," Sabine stated with a small smile. She then added, "We're already making them their Thank You Gifts. I'm hoping they'll like them." Marinette and Tom nodded in agreement.

Max adjusted his glasses when he said, to try to turn the mood around, "One more test round before we go over the plans on the construction of our Haunted Studio while making sure Lie-la doesn't try to take the credit for your effort."

That was when Kim had an idea on how to do both while not being so obvious about it.

~}i{ Three Days Later }i{~

After the Student Council meeting, Kim and Max got a text from Marinette. It was a simple thumbs-up, but that was their code for "the Council accepted the proposal".

}i{ Next Day }i{

Principle Damocles handed out the criteria list for the construction and management for the Haunted Houses each class will make to each of the classes. He explained that the Student Council wanted every class to follow these specific rules when working on their Haunted Houses to make the whole thing both challenging and fun. He then left the classroom.

Everyone read the rules.

Rule 1, Only students of the class are to work on the event in regards to their Haunted House. The only adult that is allowed to help with the event is the teacher of the classes. Family members, family friends, acquaintances, and friends outside the class are not allowed to help with the event. The members of the classes are only to use their own skills when making the pieces of their Haunted House.

Rule 2, Each class gets a budget for supplies and are not allowed to go over it, so keep track of the cost of everything. Students must buy the supplies themselves, no family members, family friends, acquaintances, or friends outside the class are allowed to do this.

Rule 3, Any sound effects, music, or visuals must be made by the students of the class. But if the class needs a specific sound or visual clip and if one of the class happens to already have a cd, DVD, or a recording of it in their possession before the planing of the Haunted Houses, it will be allowed. But only the section needed. Anyone outside the class is not allowed to help with this.

Rule 4, Construction of the chosen Haunted House structure must be finished by the day specified by the Student Council. Which is the day before Halloween. The location for the Haunted Houses has already been predetermined by the school staff. Teachers will be responsible for making sure that the pieces for each Haunted House arrives at the location and then put together by a third-party chosen by the School Board. This will be the only time adults outside the classes are allowed to help.

Rule 5, Teamwork is a must. The class must work together on the project.

Rule 6, Have fun and make your chosen Haunted House as scary as you can~.

Rule 7, Absolutely no exceptions to any of the prior rules. These rules have been thoroughly discussed and vented by the Student Council personally, therefore completely approved of. Refusal to adhere to the rules with result in Immediate disqualification from the event for the entire class.

Now that the rules have been read, now it was time to get the ideas flowing on how they should construct their Joey Drew replica. So far, everything was going just fine. At least until...

"Oh, maybe I can ask Clara Nightengale's costume designer to help out with making some of the designs for the cartoons," Lila said in her fake modest tone, trying to get the attention on her.

Adrien knew that his father wouldn't bother on a Halloween event for a school, even if it was the school his son attended. Although, the blonde model was pretty sure that Lila didn't know that his father WAS Clara's designer.

Marinette rolled her eyes when she stated sternly, "Lila, please re-read Rule #1." The bluette was NOT having this crap right now.

"But, Silvia would love to help us out with our replica studio if I ask her, especially since I helped her with finding the perfect fabric for Clara's latest outfit," Lila said in that tone of hers that made her sound all modist and timid.

It took all of Adrien's willpower to Not groan in annoyance at the lie. If the blonde model knew that his father wouldn't care what the liar was saying about this, he would've told him about this rediculous lie for attention. But still... This was starting to raising a few flags in Adrien's mind.

Marinette folded her arms and repeated sternly, "No Lila, and please re-read Rule #1. Especially before you call your "Friend" for that favour. Now please."

Lila continued with the show when she said, "But, think about it, if Silvia helped us, we can easily win the competition."

Marinette pinched the bridge of her nose, clearly annoyed, before saying, "I'm serious, please re-read Rule #1 before you say any more." As much as the bluette wanted to just tell the liar outright that it was against the rules, she was NOT going to let the liar try to turn this thing as a way to make it seem like Marinette was 'Jealous'.

That was when Alya butted in by saying, "Aw, come on girl, can't we ask Silvia to at least advise us or something along that line?"

This was getting repetitive real fast when the bluette repeated, "Seriously, please re-read Rule #1." Marinette rolled her eyes before looking at Alya and stating, "Rule #1 clearly states the reason why "Silvia" or any other adult outside this classroom Can Not Help Us." Now, this was getting frustrating.

"But, Mari, can't you just make an exception? Lila really wants Silvia to help," Alya tried to plead graciously.

'Hell no! She is NOT doing this,' Marinette thought before taking a deep breath and saying in a tone that screamed 'I-am-obviously-angry-but-I-am-being-calm-to-make-a-point', "Rossi, Césaire, I'm being very serious when I'm telling Both of you to please Re-Read Rule #1 AND Rule #7. NOW."

Most of the class was... Getting a little concern with this interaction. Besides the fact that Marinette Dupain-Cheng used Lila's and Alya's surname rather than their given names, was speaking volumes on just how mad the bluette was and a lot of the class wasn't sure how to respond to this... Why couldn't Lila and Alya just re-read the Rules?

That was when Lila finally played the "Jealousy" card, saying that Marinette was jealous of her connection to the fashion world. That caused the class to mummer amongst themselves. Lila thought the class was completely on her side and agreeing with her, but in reality, those murmurs were more because they were confused by the jealousy claim. All Marinette was doing was telling Lila and Alya to check the rules, and while the bluette seemed mad and irritated because she had to repeat the same phrase over and over, she wasn't being jealous...

A red flag was completely raised and waving in Adrien's mind.

That was when Kim broke the tension by saying in a confused tone, "Uhh, Alya, Lila. We don't have a classmate named Silvia, and won't we get disqualified if we ask or accept any help from anyone outside our class?"

"Where did you hear that?" Lila asked before asking in a meek tone, "Did Marinette tell you that I can't ask my acquaintances for help?"

Kim shook his head when he held up the List of Rules and an eyebrow when he said, "Uhh, nope. It's stated right here in the rules Principle Damocles gave us that only the members of the classes are allowed to work on their Haunted House and that the only adults that can help are the teachers of the classes. I mean, you two DID read the rules before you suggested asking this Silvia person, right?"

Marinette was officially glad Kim decided to be the one to point that out. Since he has no motivation to be 'jealous', Lila couldn't use that excuse.

This was when Miss Bustier said sweetly, "Alya, Lila, maybe you shouldn't skim over these rules when reading them. How about you two take a break from the class to go over them so we don't have another incident like this." The teacher was doing her best to smile through the whole thing even when her gut was twisting uncomfortably. What she had just witness certainly made her think that she and Principle Damocles NEEDED to talk to Lila's mother, ASAP.

"Oh, I guess I just misunderstood them," Lila said a little too quickly for Miss Bustier's liking. Marinette did her best NOT to roll her eyes at the statement.

But after Alya and Lila left to go to the library to "go over the rules again", the class resumed their discussion.

}i{ Two Days Later }i{

After some thorough research into the history and lore of the old Joey Drew Studio, the design model of the Trial of Courage at Joey Drew Studio was made and the entire class went over what should go where inside. While Max managed to get a copy of the original blueprint for Joey Drew Studio, it didn't say what each area was for. Rose did ask where the techie got the blueprints. To which Max replied that the blueprints were apart of the public archives in the library and he simply took a flashless picture of the blueprint.

Ivan looked at the blueprint copy and asked, "Hey Max, are you sure you got the blueprints for Joey Drew Studio?"

Max nodded when he said, "Yes, both the front librarian and the archive librarian confirmed it to me. Why do you ask, Ivan?"

Ivan looked over the blueprints again before saying, "It's just... Well, it seems like something's off about it. Besides the fact that it's a copy."

Now that Ivan mentioned it, the blueprint did seem a little off... But no one could tell what. Did it have something to do with the ominous feeling of the old studio? Or the "History" of it?

That was when Rose opted to lighten the mood by watching some of the old cartoons made by Joey Drew Studio. The whole class agreed. Besides, Bendy was fun to watch.

}{

Despite the school work and personal lives, construction on the replica parts began without much of trouble. Although, Lila "claimed" to have sprained her ankle earlier and couldn't really help with all the manual stuff. Alya, of course, asked Marinette if there was anything Lila could do to help while keeping pressure off her ankle. Marinette crossed her arms as she glanced at both of Lila's ankles, which were only a few cms off the ground as the Italian sat in a chair.

'I'm not surprised that she's faking an injury to get out of doing work,' Marinette thought before saying sternly, "Then the two of you can just switch tasks. Documenting doesn't need the student to be up and about just as long as the student records the progress and doesn't hinder the flow, so Rossi can do that until her "ankle feels better", or until our studio is done. Whichever comes first." In all honest, Marinette figured that having Lila on the sidelines would make everything progress faster.

"Oh no, I couldn't possibly do that to Alya, she loves recording and knows her stuff," Lila said in her (fake) modist tone, spotting an opportunity to cast Marinette in a bad light. The Italian then asked meekly, "Isn't there any task I can do that doesn't involve me on my feet?"

Marinette saw what Lila trying to do, but the bluette had a counter already planned when she said, "Oh, I'm sure Césaire doesn't mind giving up documenting so that her total bestie doesn't have to stand on a sprained ankle. I mean, if it's for a friend I'm sure she wouldn't mind. Plus, it would be cruel of me to make a hurt individual aggravate their injury." Might as well, tare a page out of Lila's own book to make Alya feel what Marinette has felt every time that tactic was used.

"What?" both Alya and Lila gasped in confusion.

With almost a cheerfully sadistic smile, Marinette said, "Then it's settled, Rossi, you document everything, and Césaire, you help with making the walls. Miss Bustier will help with documenting if you need the extra hand. So no more dilly dattling." With that, the bluette left the two, both of whom were still in shock.

Alix waved Marinette over and asked her to check her art. The bluette walked over to the pinkette, but instead of looking at art Alix asked her, "Two things. What's wrong with Lila? And what happened between you and Alya?"

Marinette sighed when she said, "I really don't want to talk about Césaire right now, and Rossi claimed to have sprained her ankle earlier. So Rossi's going to document while Césaire helps with wall construction."

Alix discreetly glanced at Lila, who was currently talking to Alya and looked at her ankles. "Uh, Mari, neither of her ankles are sprained. I've sprained my ankles sometimes when I try a new skating trick, so I know ankle care and she isn't doing what's recommended for sprains. Plus, her ankles aren't even bandaged."

Marinette pretended to look at the artwork when she said, "I know, and unlike her, I've sprained my ankles before, so I know for a fact that she's faking. I just don't want to deal with her making a big deal about it."

Alix followed the bluette's lead in pretending to look at the art when she asked, "But why? I mean, it's fine if she doesn't want to do any of the heavy lifting or strenuous activities, she could've just said so. No one wouldn't think any less of her."

Marinette eyed Alix when she said sarcastically, "I don't know, why DO people fake injuries?"

That actually got Alix thinking. And she was still thinking about it when Kim challenged her to a contest after the Haunted Houses were completed. The challenge was to get through all the houses with the least amount of screams.

~}i{ 22 Days Later }i{~

As Halloween got closer and closer, the Haunted Houses from each class in Collège Françoise Dupont were close to being completed. It was all good progress, but it was a different progress that was raising more concerns and questions.

"The number you have reached is no longer in service, please chec-," Principle Damocles hung up the phone before drawing an X next to the phone number he had just dialled.

Ms Mendeleiev tapped her finger on the principle's desk when she told all her co-workers, all of whom were in the principle's office, "This has become more suspicious than concerning. None of Ms Rossi's emergency contact numbers are working and we were never given any updated information."

Principle Damocles tapped his pen on one of the numbers without an X when he said, "Technically, Mrs Rossi's number is working but she's been... Dodgey, to put it simply. Every time I call her to ask something in regards to her daughter, she'd confirm it right away. But regarding her coming in for a Parent/Teacher meeting or when I ask her to send the documents proving an ailment, she'll say that she's busy and call back when she has a free day for the meeting or say that she'll e-mail me the documents later. Only one of those came to be. And it's been raising my suspicious about the authenticity of the owner of that phone number and email." Mr Damocles then opened a drawer and pulled out a manilla folder, then handed it to the school nurse. The medical staff did ask why they never got the documents. The principal told the nurse to open the folder.

"What the-? These aren't copies of medical documents!" The nurse stated, looking over each one of the papers that the principle has printed out. Miss Bustier looked over the nurse's shoulder and saw exactly what the nurse meant. While the fake documents could fool someone at a quick glance, it was obvious that it was fake. There was no Hospital or Office Seal anywhere on the paper, which was mandatory for any official doctor's office when either writing a diagnosis or a prescription. Not to mention the signature of the doctor looked familiar to Caline for some very strange reason.

Mr Damocles intertwined his fingers, rested his elbows on his desk, placed his chin on those fingers, and said, "I've already sent copies of those to the School Board when I got them. Although the reason I didn't give them to you was because they were fake and I wanted an unbiased opinion when I asked you about Ms Rossi's trips to your office."

"So when I did tell you that I never had Ms Rossi in my office for any reason, you were confirming that she was the one sending you these? Not her mother?" the nurse said, placing the folder on the desk, open for the others to see.

Mr Damocles nodded at that as he wrote the sheet next to the non-X'ed number, 'Did Ms Rossi steal her mother's cellphone?'. He then wrote next to the email under the number, 'And reading her mother's emails before she can read them?'

Miss Bustier looked at the nurse when she said, "But, I sent Lila to you when her arthritis and sprained ankle started hurting this past month... But... If these documents are faked just to get these accommodations and the fact that you haven't had her in her office... Then she's just using these "fake injuries and ailments" to get out of doing stuff!"

D'Argencourt placed a hand to his chin when he said, "That actually makes sense now that I think about it. She's used the arthritis claim to get out of some of the activities for PE. And when I had them running laps, to warm-up before we did a good physical activity, she'd 'twist her ankle' during the laps. I originally thought she just needed to exercise more or that she was clumsy, but considering all this information and the fact that Miss Marinette hasn't sprained or twisted her ankles despite being one of my clumsiest students. I'm starting to think Ms Rossi has been faking these ailments to get out of my class and, I'm guessing, getting out of doing most of her school work. Caline, how often has she 'asked for help' because of her ailments?"

Caline thought about that for a bit before saying, "Well, she has asked Adrien to help her take notes because of her arthritis since they were seatmates. But after he told me that he couldn't do that anymore because his schedule was making it harder for him to make copies of his notes, I changed where he sat and Mylène has been taking note for Lila... But...You know, now that I think about it, Adrien just never seems comfortable with Lila being near him and I think he was just using his schedule to keep away from her."

Fred Haprèle, the part-time teacher, nodded at the comment about his daughter being the new note-taker, but raised a brow when he asked, "Lila's the one who's been hanging off Adrien recently, right?"

"Ah, no, Chloe does that sometimes," Miss Bustier said with a small sigh.

"Ah, no. Chloe has blonde hair, but the one hanging off Adrien during my time with your class had brown hair with those sausage strands dangling in front of her ears," Mr Haprèle said as he folded his arms before saying, "In fact, it was Chloe who told me to keep Lila away from Adrien because she wasn't giving Adrien any room to move, or breath, and she added that he's told Lila multiple time that he wanted her to stop with the clinging. I would also like to add that Ms Bourgeois hasn't hung off Mr Agreste in a couple of months and her behaviour has improved thanks to her new friendship with Ms Dupain-Cheng."

That was a good point. Chloe had improved a lot since Marinette helped her see that Audrey Bourgeois was the one who didn't deserve Chloe's affection by pointing out that Audrey never acted like a mother at all. Once the mayor's daughter finally dropped her "mother", she was able to grow more as her own person. Chloe could still be a little bratty at times, but it wasn't as bad as before.

Ms Mendeleiev placed two thick folders of her suspicions about Lila on the principle's desk when she said, "As much as adding sexual harassment to the list of offences to Ms Rossi's file is concerning, can we get back to the topic of how often Ms Rossi been asking for help because of her ailments, and can we add her "travels" to this list? Because she's been missing a lot of school because of those trips, if I may add."

Mr Damocles opened his drawer again and pulled out a stack of notes and placed them on his desk when he said, "These are all permission slips signed by Mrs Rossi for her daughter to be out of school for her travels. So even if she is lying for attention and getting out of certain tasks here at school, she can't exactly lie out of travelling with her mother without someone looking after her at home... Hm? Wait a minute." The principle picked up one of the slips with one hand and one of the fake doctor's notes with the other hand. He looked at both pieces of paper at the same time as his eyes flicked from one to the other. He then took another sheet for the fake doctor's notes and compared the sheets again. Finally, he glanced at the sheet with the list of Lila's numbers, more specifically, the girl's signature at the bottom. Mr Damocles's eyes furrowed in anger when he said, "Albert, separate all of Ms Rossi's contact information from the list of current parents and move them into a new folder. Rename the new folder 'Suspicious Information Given by Lila Rossi'."

The computer beeped a confirmation sound before starting the task.

The other teachers glanced at each other in confusion before the Ms Mendeleiev put the facts together and said in anger, "Why that little Lying Brat! She isn't just lying to us and her fellow students, she's lying to her own mother about what's happening in school! I bet she's been telling her mother that the school's been close when we all thought she was on those "Trips" with her mother. Oh! I got half a mind to just-." The science teacher stopped and took a very deep breath to calm herself down. Ms Mendeleiev then said, "We have to get Mrs Rossi real contact information and talk to her. Because not only is her daughter lying about her ailments, her travels, getting out of work, and sexually harassing a fellow student, but she's also cheating with her homework and bullying other students."

"Whoa! Hold on! I can understand the other stuff, but cheating and bullying? That's a different issue," Armand D'Argencourt stated, raising his hands in a 'whoa there' motion.

Ms Mendeleiev tapped the folders she brought when she said, "Ms Rossi has been bullying Ms Dupain-Cheng by making it look like she's the victim AND stealing her homework until Ms Dupain-Cheng equipped her pack with a double-action lock. Once Ms Rossi realized she could no longer steal Ms Dupain-Cheng's homework, she started conning her classmates to 'help' her with her homework. As for proof of the bullying, Max and Markov have given me a few videos of Ms Rossi threatening Ms Dupain-Cheng, plus I have witnessed the bullying myself. The little liar thought I didn't see the confrontation and tried to play the victim in that. Trust me, I was very pissed at this, though Ms Rossi assumed I was mad at Ms Dupain-Cheng. That was when I convinced Ms Dupain-Cheng to tell me everything about what Ms Rossi was doing."

Fred Haprèle looked a bit uncomfortable when he said, "Umm, that's a pretty big claim. Umm, do you also have proof of cheating?"

Ms Mendeleiev nodded as she opened one of the files and slid it over to her co-workers when she said, "I recognized the handwriting on the homework sheets Ms Rossi has been turning in as Ms Dupain-Cheng's. She was smart enough to erase the original name on the sheet and replace it with hers but I've had Ms Dupain-Cheng as a student for years and I know her handwriting. I've been giving Ms. Dupain-Cheng the credit for the homework, since it IS hers, though I'm a little surprised Ms Rossi never noticed that. Also, Mr Lê witnessed Ms Rossi taking Ms Dupain-Cheng's homework straight out of her bag during lunch. He forgot to grab his lunch before he left the classroom, so he went back to the classroom to get it when he saw Ms Rossi opening Ms Dupain-Cheng's bag and taking out her homework. Mr Lê played it off as he walked into the room after she took the homework when he asked her what she was doing by Ms Dupain-Cheng's desk. Much to his dismay, she told him that the a/c blew her homework up to Ms Dupain-Cheng's desk and she was just retrieving it. Mr Lê then told me what he saw that same day during lunch and I'm pretty sure he told Ms. Dupain-Cheng about it too, since the next school day her bag had that double lock."

The other teachers and principal looked over the files. They did recognize Marinette's handwriting on the sheets with Lila's name on the top on the first ten sheets, but the rest had paperclips attached to them with other homework sheets. It took a minute or so for the teachers to understand why the paperclipped sheets would be considered cheating, but once they did, they were understandably upset. While the top sheet of the paperclipped papers was actually in Lila's handwriting, the paper under the first sheet were the notes written by other students. It wasn't noticeable right away, but if you looked at the answers written on the homework sheets and then the notes, you would see that Lila just copied off the notes almost word for word. The Italian wasn't even trying to do the homework herself.

The other folder was a list of everything Marinette claimed Lila did to her, most could be corroborated by the staff. It was not a pleasant list to read...

"So... Now what do we do? We don't have Mrs Rossi's real contact information and asking the liar about it is obviously out of the question, since it's clear that she can't even be trusted with the simplest things," Fred asked the others, still, a bit unnerves about what he had just learned and how he was going to approach his daughter about this whole thing. Since she was the one writing the notes for her a classmate that she genuinely cared about.

Ms Mendeleiev thought for a bit before finally asking Mr Haprèle, "Fred, doesn't the boss of your troop have a cousin working at the Italian Embassy?"

}i{

Another type of progress was happening, but it took a while for a certain person to notice.

Alya finally noticed that Marinette has completely pulled away from her.

At first, Alya brushed it off as Marinette just being jealous at her for hanging with Lila more than her, to which Lila stroked that idea with so much joy, and she just assumed Marinette would come around and apologize in a few days. But as the days, weeks, and then a month went by of Marinette outright avoided being around Alya longer than necessary did make Alya rethink her original assumption. Lila simply assured her that Marinette was just being "ridiculously jealous". While Alya just smiled and verbally agreed with her, she just didn't think it was jealousy anymore. Not when the behaviour didn't match with that accusation...

So, like the reporter she was, she investigated by asking her classmates.

The first on Alya's list was Adrien.

"Huh? You're asking about that now?" Adrien asked with a confused look when Alya asked her question. He was currently getting ready for his fencing lesson.

Alya raise a brow when she asked, "What do you mean by that?"

Adrien zipped his fencing suit up and then stated with a stern when he grabbed his mask and fencing lance, "I guess since you just ask that, you still don't understand why Mari doesn't want to be around you. Now, if you'd excuse me, I got to get to fencing." With that, Adrien headed out of the locker room. Alya was just left in confusion.

Next to ask was Alix.

"Oh, so NOW you act like a reporter," was Alix's response when Alya asked her question. The pinkette strapped her skates after her helmet was in place.

Alya raise a brow when she asked, "What do you mean by that?"

Alix 'cht' when she stood up and stated, "If you have to ask that, then you really are a crummy excuse for a reporter." With that, the skater girl rolled off as Alya exclaimed a "Hey!".

Next to ask was Nathaniel.

"Sorry Alya, but I don't have time to answer your questions," Nath stated as he gathered his art gear. The redhead then added, "Marc and I have a meeting with our publisher and we can't be late." Nathaniel then headed off when he said, "And unlike a certain individual, I'm not going to let Marc face that kind of task alone."

Alya raise a brow when she asked, "What do you mean by that?"

Nathaniel froze. He glanced over his shoulder when he asked with a mild glare, "Did you seriously just ask that?"

Confused, Alya responded, "Umm, yeah, why?"

Nath shook his head in annoyance before he left, leaving Alya even more confused than before.

Next to ask would have been the members of Kitty Section, but they were currently at a gig and will be for the rest of the day. So next was Kim and Max.

"You are asking that question 29 days too late," Max stated sternly as he folded his arms while he glared at Alya. Kim was nearby, just grabbing his sports bag.

Alya was a little taken back by the nerd's tone. It was out of character, to say the least. Alya raise a brow when she asked, "What do you mean by that?"

Max growled in annoyance when Kim placed a hand on his shoulder and said, "Come on Max. We're meeting Ondine at the pool." Max nodded as he followed the taller teen.

"Hold on! Kim! Can you answer my question?" Alya asked, trying to get the two to stay.

Kim glared at Alya when he said, "Same thing Max said." With that, the two left, leaving Alya still confused.

}{

Alya was sitting at her dining room table as she looked over her list of classmates. Besides the members of Kitty Section, she hasn't asked Lila, Marinette, and Nino. Lila because she was so sure Marinette was just being jealous of her. Marinette because she's the one avoiding Alya and ignoring her questions. And Nino because...

Alya sighed. She and Nino broke up over the whole issue.

Almost three weeks ago, Lila told Alya that she saw Marinette flirting with Nino. Lila was sure Marinette was just flirting with Nino to get back at Alya. So Alya quickly confronted Nino the next day, telling him that Marinette was just using him. Nino was confused about the accusation and asked Alya what she was talking about. So Alya told Nino what Lila told her. Nino immediately denied that Marinette flirted with him, and he stated that she would never do such a thing even if she was mad at someone, even adding that he hadn't even talked to the bluette face-to-face the day before. This started a heated fight as Alya adamantly stuck to Lila's claim. Nino was utterly horrified by the fact that his girlfriend was so sure that Lila's words were true that she wasn't even considering his own words. That was when Nino made his decision by saying, "Well then, I guess maybe you should ask Lila to find you a better boyfriend since you seem to listen to her more than everyone else." With that, they broke up...

Alya ran a hand through her hair in aggravation as she thought about that. How'd that conversation go so wrong? All Alya was trying to do was warn Nino...

"Ayls? Ayls. Ayls!"

That voice snapped Alya out of her thoughts. She quickly looked up to see her older sister standing in front of the table, holding a carton of milk in one hand and a glass in the other.

"You ok, little sis? Been calling you for a minute," Nora asked as she placed the two objects onto the table.

Alya sighed again when she said, "Not really... It's just... Marinette's pulled away from me, I kinda notice it at first, but I just thought it was because she was jealous. But, the longer she kept away, the more I started thinking that it wasn't. And I just... I just want to know why... I asked most of my class, and while they seem to know, they didn't exactly tell me. They just said that I should now what it was..."

"And which of your friends is Carinette?" Nora asked, trying to put a face to the name. She was never good at remembering names, but she remembers everything else about people.

Alya rolled her eyes when she said, "Marinette, she's babysat the twins a few times and her parents run the best bakery in Paris."

That last bit got Nora's attention when she asked, "Bakery? As in sweets and baked goods?" Alya nods. Nora then asked in an intrigued ton, "Do they deliver?"

Alya nodded again when she said, "They do, but sometimes Marinette delivers some of the orders where her parents are busy. They also cater."

With a concerned look on her face, now knowing what happened, Nora said, "Uhh, Alya, have you ever been asked to help Naminette with one of the deliveries?"

"It's Marinette," Alya stated before thinking about what her sister said. The ombre haired girl finally said, "Sometimes, but it's been a while since I was asked to help."

"How long is 'a while', little sis," Nora said in a serious tone as she rested both her arms on the table.

"Nora, you're kinda acting my classmates right now," Alya stated, rather confused by the whole thing.

Nora took a deep breath when she asked in a serious tone, "Alya, I mean it, how long has 'a while' been? Because if your answer is what I think it's going to be, then you've got a lot of explaining AND apologizing to do."

Alya was a little taken back by the tone, but she tried to think about the last time she was asked to help with a delivery for Tom & Sabine Boulangerie Patisserie. Has it really been that long since-? And that was when it hit Alya, hard. Nora watched her younger sister's eyes grow wide as her face gone pale. Alya buried her face in her hands when she said through her palms, "How could I forget something like that?! She even reminded me every day up until the day before!"

Nora raised a brow when she said, "You tell me, little sis. It was your promise."

Alya looked up from her hands and asked, "How'd you know that?"

That was when Nora told the younger sister about Marinette's call close to a month ago. "She said that you promised to help her, but you weren't there. I told her you were out but I was under the assumption that you were on your way and just got sidetracked because you saw those heroes, which I did tell her. She didn't think that was it though," the older sibling started, then paused to think for a moment. She then said, "Come to think of it, I don't recall hearing about any hero sightings that day... *Eyes Alya*. So, if you weren't helping Morinette with that delivery or chasing your heroes, what were you doing all day that day?"

"Umm, Lila invited me on a Girl's Day Out," Alya said a slightly sheepish tone.

Nora folded her arms when she stared at Alya while asking in a very serious tone, "Isn't that the name of the girl who isn't allowed to babysit the twins anymore or allowed in our house at all? The same girl who both mom and dad told you that she was being less than honest and to stop hanging with her so much?"

"Nora, mom and dad are just overreacting, once they've calmed down they'll see how cool Lila is," Alya quickly defended.

Nora rolled her eyes when she said, "That's not what I'm hearing. And considering that you chose to hang with Lila over helping Marinette, which you'd promised to do might I add, I'm starting to worry about you."

"I-I just made a big mistake!" Alya nearly shouted.

"A mistake that took you a month to realized that you did," Nora retorted seriously before adding, "You got A LOT to make up for, little sis. But if you want my opinion, I'd say that you REALLY need to start looking into what that Lila girl tells you. I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if Fly-Weight breaks up with you for taking that girl's word over his."

That last bit felt like a dagger being stabbed and then twisted in Alya's heart, but she tried to hide it. Nora did notice but didn't say anything.

'Did that... Already came to be?' Nora wondered, now realizing that she hasn't seen Nino dropping by the past three weeks. Now the older sister was worried about her middle sister when she thought, 'Oh, Ayls...'

~}i{ Two Days Later, 10/28 }i{~

Every Haunted House made by each of Collège Françoise Dupont classes. The third-party construction picked up each class's Haunted House, which was labelled, along with the blueprints and any extra theatric attachments. Max was more than happy to explain how his Virtual Holographic Device was supposed to be installed and how it worked to the third-party crew. Yeah, the techie was super excited to have his new creation put to the test.

But until everyone gets the news that all the Haunted Houses were constructed at the pre-determined location, they were just chilling and double-checking their quick Joey Drew Studio synopsis for their replica.

Joey Drew Studio, once a thriving animation studio, now lays abandon to the world. As the building continues to stand, adventure seekers and curious strangers venture in but are never to be seen again. The more time passed, the studio has claimed more and more victims. No one knew why these people were disappearing, all they knew was that it has to do with the old Joey Drew Studio.

Until one day, at the front gate of Joey Drew Studio, a passerby noticed a camera on the ground. There was nothing unusual about the cameras, except the fact that it had black ink stains on it. So the passerby brought the camera to the police. When they developed the camera's film, they were puzzled at what was in the photos. Horribly disfigured versions of Joey Drew Studio's famous cartoon characters and creatures made of ink were the main focus in those photos. The police figured it was some kind of prank until more cameras appeared by the main gate of Joey Drew Studio, covered in black ink. All these cameras had photos of these same terrifying characters.

Soon, the old animation building was deemed condemned in the hopes that it would deter people from going into the studio.

But how can we call ourselves Adventurers if we did that? Try to survive our replica of the Joey Drew Studio and show the courage deep inside to concur with the fear that dwells within.

The synopsis was perfect for their Haunted House.

On the class note, a lot of things have changed over the past month for them. While everyone was still rather civil towards one another, minus one certain person to a certain bluette, it was a little obvious that there was a bit of segregation going on to some of the groups.

It took a while for Lila to notice, but she was losing her "fans".

The first one she noticed was Nino, but she got back at him by playing Alya against him and while she didn't completely expect them to break up, it worked in her favour. Lila punished Nino for leaving the flock and got Alya to stay by her side.

The next sheep that left the flock was Alix, to Lila's surprise. The liar easily punished her by dumping paint on those stupid skates and blamed it on Marinette by saying that she saw she bluette doing it. Lila expected Alix to return to the flock the next day and rant about how her skates were ruined, but much to her horror, Alix was hanging with Marinette! Lila played the "Marinette is probably blackmailing Alix" card with Alya and the rest of the flock.

Nathaniel was next, but it took a while for Lila to notice since he doesn't stand out much. He's been claiming to be working with someone named Marc on a comic. Lila KNEW that was a lame excuse he was using to not worship her, so she poured orange juice on that sketchbook of his and blamed Marinette for it, of course. Lila expected him to be back with the flock soon enough, but to Lila's horror, he was wasn't. He was with Marinette's growing group. Lila just told her flock that "Marinette is taking advantage of Nathaniel's crush on her".

Lila has noticed that Ivan, Rose, and Juleka have been pulling away a little bit, but they assured her that it was because they've been getting a lot of gigs for their band and they needed to make sure that they practice. While Lila didn't remember the name of their band, she knew that they were probably telling the truth about the gigs and the practice.

Lila wasn't too worried, her classmates will be back to worshipping her in no time. Oh, that reminded the liar, she still needed to get Kim and Max into her flock. Those two have been keeping their distance from Lila for some reason, and while she hasn't tried to herd them into her flock, she would certainly love to have them on her side. Kim could help with all the manual stuff Lila couldn't bother with and Max could do all of Lila's homework.

Lila smirked as she read the boring article for the name of this CEO for that big gaming company Max loved. Seriously, it took her five whole minutes to find the guy's name! Lila could've used those five minutes for something more productive, but it will be worth it. Lila noticed how much Kim seems to value Max's opinion, so all she has to do is get the geek to her side and the jock will follow. It was like killing two birds with one stone.

Easy peasy.

}{

Lila spent literally half the day following (stalking) Max, waiting for a moment to catch him alone. 'Urg, how was that dweeb able to make that virtual projector when he's always hanging at this stupid place?' Lila thought as she impatiently waited outside the public indoor pool for Max to emerge from it. If it weren't for the fact that swimming costumes were mandatory to enter the indoor pool, Lila would be inside. That made the liar wonder if Max got a swimming costume just to get in without much problem.

}{ Inside the Indoor Pool }{

When Kim, Max, and Markov check-in with the receptionists, they showed them Lila's picture and told them to let them know if she loitering nearby or trying to follow them (which they notice close to an hour prior). The receptionists did their jobs and told them that the girl in question was indeed trying to follow them. Right now, one of the receptionists just told them that Lila was still loitering outside the building.

"Any idea why she's following you?" Ondine asked her three friends as she dried off with a towel.

That was when Markov stated, "Either she is waiting to confront both Kim and Max to threaten them into co-operating with her, or she will fabricate a story of knowing a famous person in Kim's and/or Max's field of interest to try to woo them to her side."

Kim thought about it for a bit before saying, "But if she wanted to confront both of us, she would've done that when we passing through the park. Only Max and I were there."

Max adjusted his glasses when he said, "Then it is more likely that she wants to confront one of us alone like she does when she threatens Mari."

Ondine immediately asked if the boys if they told any of the teachers about that, to which they replied that the did and the teachers were looking into contacting the liar's mother and possibly bringing in the School Board and police into dealing with Lila. Max thought it was a little excessive, but Kim pointed out that Lila was also stealing Mari's homework and claiming it as her own on top of the bullying. Ondine then asked how the teachers haven't noticed the homework stealing before, to which the boys replied that Mari gives their homeroom teacher the homework she assigned in the morning when she walks into class and that the stolen homework was for their science teacher. But that teacher was already suspicious about the authenticity of "Lila's Homework" because of the handwriting, Kim ended up confirming those suspicions when he caught Lila in the act.

Ondine thought about that before coming up with a plan to see what Lila was after.

}{

'Finally!' Lila thought when she spotted Max and Kim leave the building with a redheaded girl (Markov was in Max's bag, btw). She watched the three bid each other a good-bye before they all went their separate ways. 'Perfect!' Lila thought as she immediately followed Max. Ondine saw and quickly texted her friends, "She's following you, Max."

}{

Max calculated it took Lila 8.6 minutes to finally let herself be known to him. Right after he got ice cream from André's cart, and the ice cream man even gave him an interesting combination of flavours too.

"Max! What a coincidence running into you here," Lila said a little too cheerfully for Max's liking. André too, apparently, since he started cleaning his scoop a little slower. Lila then said with a smile when she spotted Max's ice cream cone and said, "Oh, is that your Soulmate Ice Cream? It looks good. I got mine before my recent trip. *Pretends to think*. You know, I didn't want to make a big deal of it, but the Soulmate Ice Cream I got seemed to resemble Adrien's characteristics. I mean, I know he's a good friend of mine and I really don't want to ruin our friendship because of it, but since it's the Soulmate Ice Cream."

Max raised a brow when he discreetly glanced at André, who heard the claim, for a real answer. The ice cream man wore an uncharacteristic frown when he pointed at his scoop before pointing at Lila and potently shaking his head, indicating that he had never served the liar a single scoop of ice cream, soulmate or otherwise.

'Big claim considering the one person who could easily disprove it is standing right there. Does she not know that André practically has a photographic memory when it comes to his ice cream?' Max thought before giving the liar a look. He couldn't help but think that the liar wanted to drop those hints just people would think that she should be with Adrien. 'How disgusting. She really thinks I'm going to fall for that crap,' Max thought before saying out loud while trying to keep his tone neutral, "What do you want Lila? Because I don't believe that you want to talk about ice cream." He just wanted her to get over herself and just tell him what she wanted.

With a look on her face that feigned modesty, Lila said, "Well, we haven't interacted a lot, but I was kinda hoping we could be friends. I heard from Alya that you're quite the gamer, and while I'm not much of one, I personally know the CEO of Mecha Strike."

'Oh, she's playing that card, huh,' Max thought before stating in an 'I-don't-completely-believe-you' tone, "Really? You actually know James Carter?"

"Of course I do, he lets me call him Jimmy because we're just good friends," Lila said with a smile. Thank goodness she was such a quick thinker. Lila just assumed that the article she read was outdated or something if Max was giving her a different name. Lila then said, "Jimmy said he could use a skilled gamer to test out his new Mecha Strike game, maybe I can recommend you for it?"

'Wow, she just walked right into that one,' Max thought as Markov tapped his side through the fabric of his bag three times, signalling that he recorded the conversation. Max glanced over at André, who was raising a brow in confusion at the exchange. 'Seems like he knows his history,' the techie thought before his eyes were back on Lila and thought, 'And considering that we went over that timeline in history class recently and she doesn't know that name practically proves that she's not even bothering to pay attention in class.' Max then sighed when he asked the liar, "Lila, do you really think I'd fall for that lie?"

"I'm not lying!" Lila stated immediately before adding, "I actually do know Jimmy Carter! He's even showed me plans for his new Mecha Strike game!" She then thought, 'How is he not falling into line? Alya told me that he was a hardcore fan of Mecha Strike, so he should be begging me to be his friend right now!'

Max took a lick of his ice cream before swallowing it and saying in a stern tone, "The reason why I know you're lying is the fact that James Carter is a former President of the United States, not a CEO of any gaming company. Heck, the nickname you said you 'call him by' should have been a big hint that I was testing your credibility." And as much as Max wanted to tell Lila off about the inaccurate information regarding the Mecha Strike series, he didn't so he wouldn't give her any ammo to use on someone who might not know better.

Lila was fuming! How dare this nerd expose her like this! That was when Lila thought, 'Crap! He can expose my lies at school!'

Max switched the cone into his left hand as he adjusted the strap on his right shoulder when he said, "Listen, Lila, it's one thing to make up stories, but it's another thing to jus-" The techie didn't even have time to even finish his sentence when Lila outright attacked him, physically.

André was the first person to act by prying Lila off Max, but not before the liar practically stomped on the techie's right wrist, hard. After hearing Max cry out in pure pain, Markov flew out of the bag and used an electrical current to zap at Lila's leg.

"You awful jerk! Leave my friend alone!" Markov exclaimed in the emotional tone that the AI could classify as either 'Rage' or 'Anger', before immediately flying over to Max's side to analyze his wrist, which appeared to be either fractured or broken.

Lila shoved André off before she snapped at the AI and techie with a full fury glare, "Consider that a warning. Next time you out me like that, I'll break something more than your wrist." She then stormed off, not caring if she had witnesses to her actions. Lila didn't care about them, they couldn't do anything to her anyway.

André immediately called over a passing police officer, telling him that someone has been assaulted and needs to get to a hospital. The first thing Officer Roger Raincomprix did was call for an ambulance before calling another officer to the location to help interview the witnesses to the incident.

~}i{ Later That Night at the Le Grand Paris }i{~

"That's weird, Max should be here by now or have at least texted or called to say he was going to be late..." Kim said as he stared at his phone. That was when he bit his lip when he added, "Maybe I should've stayed with him rather than letting him figuring out what Lie-la wanted with him..."

In a VIP Private Room of the hotel, Chloe decided to host a little 'Whoohoo, We Completed the Haunted Replica Slumber Party' for her and her friends. That's right, friends! Plural. Heck, the doorman was completely floored when she told him this. But that aside, it was a nice little get together to chill, relax, and not worry about a certain liar hovering nearby.

Chloe, Kim, Marinette, Adrien, Nathaniel, Alix, Juleka, Rose, Ivan, Mylène, Marc, Nino, and even Luka and Kagami were currently at this party. The Japanese girl somehow managed to convince her mother to allow her to attend this slumber party. The only extra perk about this was that all of them knew that Lila was a liar.

Adrien placed a hand on Kim's shoulder when he said, "Max should be fine, besides, it isn't like Lie-la would do anything in bad in public. I mean, she wouldn't risk a chance having someone from school or her mother's workplace finding out."

Those words brought little comfort to Kim. So the jock quickly called Max's cell. When Kim only got the voice mail, he left a message for Max to call him back when he got the chance.

"I do hope Max does arrive, he promised to teach me how to do a combo in this Mecha Strike III game," Kagami stated as she fiddled with the controller in her hand as she played against Rose.

That was when a knock was heard at the door.

Alix lept to her feet when she said, "That probably him, I'll let him in." She then walked over to the door, since she was the closest. But when she opened the door, she wasn't greeted by Max. "Sabrina?" Alix stated in shock before she regained her poster when she asked, "What are you doing here? Because I know for sure that you weren't invited."

Long story short, Lila buttered Sabrina up with a lot of lies and then made her choose between her or Chloe. Sabrina chose Lila.

Alix glared at Sabrina when she said, "I sware, if you're spying on us for Lila, I'll kick you out of here my- *Finally see's the look on Sabrina's face*. Self... Umm... *Shifts her weight a bit* Are you okay? You look like you've seen the dead rising out of their graves or something."

Which was true, Sabrina did have that look on her face but it also looked like she was about to cry. That was when the damns broke and Sabrina latched onto Alix in a hug and pretty much balled her eyes out on the spot.

Okay... THAT was a little unnerving to the group, but there had to be some kind of story behind that, right? So despite their better judgment, they let Sabrina in, sat her down, calmed her down, and asked her to explain what the hell happened. So, she did, and the first line Sabrina told them was, "Lila attacked Max near André's cart! She ended up breaking his wrist!"

"WHAT?!" Was the unanimous exclamation the group shouted at the same time.

At first, they thought it was a lie, but considering Sabrina wasn't capable of lying about something like that...

Suddenly Kim's phone rang. He quickly answered it. Turns out it was Max's mother. Mrs Kanté told Kim to put her on speaker, so he did.

"Can everyone hear me?" Mrs Kanté asked, her voice emitted from the phone's speaker.

Kim replied that she was coming in loud and clear, then asked why she was calling and if Max was alright. That was when the train conductor told them that she was in the hospital, waiting for the doctors to fix Max's broken wrist and put it in a cast. She also added that he was not going to be able to attend the slumber party because he was going to still have the painkilling meds in his system when he's released from the hospital. When she was asked what happened, her answer seemed to match up with Sabrina's story. Mrs Kanté explained that Officer Raincomprix dropped by the hospital with his partner and gave her the rundown about what happened. Since this case involved a pair of his daughter's classmates, Officer Raincomprix was taken off the case but came by as a fellow parent to help his partner ease Mrs. Kanté into co-operating. Mrs Kanté did say that both she and Roger were still a bit taken back by the fact that it was Lila who broke Max's wrist but for different reasons.

Kim nodded when he said, "Yeah, I can understand that. Max told you about how Lila's a liar and I bet Sabrina was telling her dad how "wonderful" Lila was since she fell for those lies." The taller teen visibly glanced at Sabrina at this. The orangette lowered head, knowing full well it was the truth.

"I guess that's one reason," Mrs Kanté stated, before sighing and adding, "The other being that she actually attacked my Maxie, physically. According to the witnesses, it was because Maxie tricked Lila into exposing herself as a liar to him, they heard him say something about a US President not being a CEO of a gaming company. *Sigh* I'm going to have to ask Maxie about it when the meds wear off. And before you ask Kim, yes, I am going to press charges against her. She assaulted my son and broke his wrist on purpose! I wouldn't be a competent parent if I didn't think about doing it! Oh, and on that note, Kim."

"Yes, Mrs Kanté?" Kim replied, a little worried about the tone.

That was when Mrs Kanté said in a calmer voice over the phone, "I'm counting on you and your friends to keep an eye on Maxie while he's at school, and would you be willing to come by tomorrow morning to pick up Maxie and walk with him to school? I've already alerted the teachers about Maxie's wrist and how it happened, Roger's partner already emailed the principle one of the video recordings of the incident so that liar can't weasel her way out of that."

"Sure thing Mrs Kanté, and I'll keep that liar away from him too," Kim said with a small smile. Then everyone said their good-byes before the call ended.

That was when Sabrina spoke up by saying, "Daddy told me that I had to stop hanging out with Lila the moment he came home. He was madder than he usually was when it comes to litterbugs, and you know how much he hates those. When I asked why, because he was fine with Lila yesterday, he told me about what happened to Max, well, what he was allowed to tell me anyway. There... There was no way daddy would make something like that up, especially if he wanted me to stop being friends with someone. It... It was hard to believe that Lila would do something like that..."

That was when Alix stated, "Not really on our end since she was the one who has been destroying our property and blaming Mari for it, but the physically attacking thing is new and a bit unexpected. That's very worrying if you ask me. Ug, poor Max."

"Wait, what do you mean?" Adrien asked with a raised brow. Okay, he finally got that not all lies are harmless, but what Alix was saying sounded completely different.

Kagami was the one to say, "I understand. Every time she is exposed as a liar, even a little bit, she attacks them in some way. Whether it be threats, destroying their property, or even allowing herself to turned into an Akuma. She always does something to retaliate against those who would expose her. Adrien, she's escalating in her attempts to silence those who would speak the truth to her many lies."

Luka grimaced when he said, "That is a harsh note to play, and from what I'm understanding now, it's going to continue to turn into a song of discord and chaos." Rose squeaked in alarm while Juleka placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

That was when Nathaniel said, "I can't believe I'm saying this, but she's getting to be worse than Hawkmoth. I mean, the worst kind of villain out there is the one who works behind the scenes." Marc nodded in agreement.

Chloe frowned when she said, "Urg, even when I was being a bitch, I would never have done something like that. Okay, yeah, I would've humiliated them and maybe put a marker to some of their stuff, I never would've harmed them. Especially on that scale. And before anyone asks, tripping counts as humiliation and let me remind you guys that I never tripped anyone where they could've really gotten hurt." That was a good point.

Adrien shifted uncomfortably when he said, "Well, at least she can't make things any worse."

"Dude," Nino vocalized before saying, "Never say that, because when you do, it will somehow get worse."

"Uh-oh..." Mylène vocalized as she stared at the screen of her phone.

"What's wrong, Mylène?" Ivan asked his girlfriend, wrapping a comforting arm around her shoulders as the two sat with the rest of their group.

Mylène looked up at the group when she said, "Ummm, how many of you are still subscribed to Alya's blogs?"

Rose was the one to answer by saying that all of Kitty Section are, more because they didn't want to tip Alya off to the fact that they were aware that Lila was a liar. "Why do you ask?" the pink wardrobed girl asked in confusion.

Mylène shrank when she muttered a, "Umm, you guys might want to watch her latest post and share a screen... And don't attract Hawkmoth's attention, *squeaks* please."

So Ivan, Rose, Juleka, and Sabrina took their phones out and went to Alya's personal blog. Mylène handed her phone to Alix. Once everyone had a screen, they quickly went to the Recent section, and the title of the newest post concerned them.

"I Thought He Was a Smart Guy! But He's Really a Violent Bully Like Marinette!"

"Oh, God. Lila didn't," Marinette muttered before Juleka and the others hit play.

"She did," was the unanimous response from half the group. Nino rubbed his temples in annoyance.

}{

Lila was cackling in her room as she watched the post. Now no one would believe Max about anything because of that post.

Oh yes, that idiot blogger was such a wonderful pawn.

}{ About an Hour Later }{

"ALYA! LIVING ROOM! NOW!" Marlena Césaire, Alya's mother, shouted angrily from the kitchen. She and Otis, Alya's father, just got off the phone with a very angry Mrs Kanté. Apparently, the Césaire's middle daughter posted a VERY mean and inaccurate post about the train conductor's son on one of her blogs and she was very close to adding her to the charge that she was making against Lila, who Mrs Kanté was very clear to state was the one to break Max's wrist on purpose for outing the brunette on her lies. The Césaire adults were certainly going to have a very stern talk to their middle child.

"Uhh, yes mom?" Alya asked, nervously poking her head into the living room.

Otis pointed at the couch and told her to sit. Alya knew that tone and just did as she was told. He then told the twins, Ella & Etta, to go to their room and stay there until they were done talking to Alya. As much as the twins wanted to see their big sister get in trouble, they saw how mad their parents were and decided to listen.

Marlena crossed her arms when she told Alya in a very stern tone, "Guess who just called to inform us about not only your behaviour but that you have also been ignoring our warnings about Lila."

Alya sighed when she relaxed and said, "Mom, Dad, I know Marinette is doing her best to keep a distance away from me, but she didn't have to drag you into this. Especially about Lila. Mari's just jealous of her."

Otis crossed his arms and stated in the same tone as his wife, "Oh no, you are NOT blaming Marinette for YOUR behaviour, and it wasn't even her that called. And no, it wasn't her parents either."

Now Alya was confused. She couldn't think of anyone who would out her to her parents.

That was when Marlena told her daughter in a stern tone, "Mrs Kanté was the one who called. She told us about a very interesting video from your personal blog that Kim sent her. He was equally as mad about that post too, might I add. The one you posted today."

"So... Marinette had nothing to do with it?" Alya asked, still a little confused.

"Alya! Pay attention! Mrs Kanté was the one who called, not Marinette. Kim was the one who showed her that post, not Marinette. And Both of them are more than upset with you, and quite frankly, So Are We," Otis snapped angrily.

~}i{ The Next Morning }i{~

Max was still a bit out of it when the gang met up with him and Markov, but he was able to move without much problem, minus his right hand and wrist that was in a stiff cast. From the tips of his fingers to halfway to his elbow were encased in the harden wrappings, so no movement could be done on his wrist. Kim already sighed the cast and the rest easily followed.

The only ones in the group that weren't present were Mylène, the members of Kitty Section, Sabrina, Luka, and Kagami. The oldest didn't attend Dupont, Kagami was in a different class, and the rest had to keep their cover, so as not to alert Lila to the fact that they know her real character.

"Not so hard, Adrien," Max said, kind of pulling his arm away from the blonde model, who was trying to sign the cast.

"Sorry, I've never signed a cast before," Adrien said sheepishly.

Max adjusted his glasses with his left hand when he said, "That much is obvious, but try to keep in mind that I have several pins under the cast that are keeping my wrist in place and if you apply too much pressure to one of them they'll dig into my wrist."

"Only several? Wow, guess those painkiller meds are still affecting you if you're not giving us exact numbers," Alix snickered as she skated around the techie.

Max's cheeks got a dusting of pink when he said, "I was under anaesthetic when the doctors inserting the pins! They just told me they put several pins so my wrist will be stable while it healed faster." He then glanced at the cast before adding, "Good thing I'm ambidextrous, or else this would've been worse."

Nathaniel and Marc nodded when the darker-haired boy said, "Yeah, having your dominate hand out of commission is hard."

(I'm just going with Max being about to use both hands equally because A, he has his watch on his right wrist, which usually means that the person is left-handed but he uses his right as a lot like it was his dominate hand in canon. B, Max also uses his left hand a lot in canon too. And C, it'll just make it a lot easier to write if he was ambidextrous).

That was when Adrien finished writing his name on Max's cast. Nino signed next.

Marinette rubbed the back of her neck as they walked towards school when she asked, "Uh, Max, I know this is probably not the best thing to ask, but considering that we're heading to school..." Chloe then grumbled out a 'why did you bring it up?' to which the bluette shushed her.

Max glanced at the sidewalk when he said, "Yes, I saw the video... Kim sent it to mom, and she was pissed. Well, I guess she was already pissed because Lila broke my wrist, but still, it added fuel to the fire. She called Césaire's parents about it..."

Kim crossed his arms in front of his chest when he said, "I wouldn't be surprised if she brushed off her parents like she did Mari."

Markov hovered by when he said, "I have already deleted Alya Césaire from our list of friends. However, I am still debating on whether or not to put her name on the list of enemies, and that post is not helping her case."

Nino glanced to the side when he said, "You're worried about what she and that liar are going to do to Max, right Mari?" The DJ was still a bit reluctant to talk about Alya, but it made sense why. Nino still cared for Alya, but it seemed harder and harder to do because of Lila.

Marinette nodded at the answer before she said, "I'll try to keep their attention on me since Lila hates me, and Alya is sure it's all my fault, so they'll leave you alone." Max immediately rejected that idea, but Marinette explained that he had a broken wrist that Lila could use to hurt him even more.

While no one liked the idea, they only accepted adhering to it on the condition that was allowed to run interference. Adrien couldn't help but admire Marinette.

}{ At Collège Françoise Dupont, Miss Bustier's Class }{

"Hey, Alya, are you okay?" Mylène asked the blogger cautiously, seeing the annoyed look on Alya's face.

Alya huffed when she said, "No! My parents took All my electronic devices last night! Now I don't have anything to use to record Ladybug and Chat Noir if there's an Akuma attack. Not to mention my big sister is going to be picking me up from school for 2 weeks and bringing me straight home, so I can't hang out with you guys as often as I would like."

Even though they knew the answer to it, they had to ask the question. So Sabrina asked, "Why did your parents take your devices?"

Alya folded her arms when she said, "Max's mom called them and told them about my post yesterday. *Rolls eyes*, Apparently, she got pissed when she saw it after Kim sent it to her. I was just speaking the truth, she should be happy I'm exposing his bad behaviour towards Lila."

Ivan, Mylène, Rose, Juleka, and Sabrina glanced at each other before the goth said softly, "Uhh, Alya, I don't think that's what Max's mom and Kim heard when they watch that video..."

"You guys believe Lila, right? She would NEVER lie about anything, especially on something so serious," Alya immediately said.

That was a little worrying to the others that that was the first thing that popped into the blogger's head. And as tempting as it was to just call that out, they had to keep pretending that it was true. Especially when Lila could be eavesdropping nearby.

Ivan was the one to say, "Of course we believe her Alya, but... *Sigh*, I think you were a little too harsh in that post. I mean, it's one thing to expose someone's bad behaviour, but it's another thing to just... Uhh, I guess the right thing to say is 'rant about how bad it is'. Kim could've easily seen that rant as you bullying Max and felt that his mom should see it so she could tell your parents about it..."

"What are you saying?" Alya asked, a little confused by what she was hearing.

Mylène fidget a bit before saying, "Alya, we understand you were trying to defend Lila and call out bad behaviour, but... To a parent, that post just sounds like You're the one who's bullying someone. I mean, if my dad saw a post like that that was directed at me and knew it was a classmate of mine who posted it, he would certainly call their parents about it..."

Rose hesitantly nodded when she said, "It was pretty harsh. I mean, you know how I don't like confronting people with mean words, even if they do deserve it. But I can't help but think that you went a bit overboard. I mean, even if you don't take Lila out of that post, it did sound like you're bullying Max..."

Alya... Actually hadn't thought of that... Than again... She didn't think of anything but anger at the nerd after Lila told her about what happened...

Nino and Adrien walked into the classroom. Both laughing at a joke that one had just told. Nino stopped laughing when he spotted Alya. The DJ glanced away with a small frown as the model placed a hand on his shoulder and somewhat guided him to their seats. Alix and Nathaniel walked in next and went straight to their assigned seats. Chloe and Marinette arrived next, they were talking about the latest fashion magazine issue as they made their way to their desk.

Yeah, during the last seat re-arrangement Marinette and Chloe asked Miss Bustier if they could sit together.

Kim, Max, and Markov walked into the classroom with Miss Bustier when the teacher said, "I know you're mother called to inform us, but I'm glad she made sure to get a doctor's note for us so we can make some official accommodations."

"So, it's okay for Markov to sit on our desk?" Max asked the teacher as Markov hovered nearby.

Miss Bustier nodded with a smile when she said, "It is, just so long as he doesn't disrupt the class in any way." She then glanced at the cast before saying, "I want you to let me know if you're wrist acts up, so I can give you a pass for the nurse's office."

Max nodded as he, Kim, and Markov walked over to their desk. As they passed Alya's desk, the taller teen glared at her as he placed a hand on the shorter teen's shoulder. Max, on the other hand, avoided eye contact with the blogger. Markov just flew ahead and landed on the desk.

The moment Alya spotted the cast on Max's arm, she scoffed when she said, "Wow, you really are faking an injury, Max." That caused both Max and Kim to stop in their tracks when Alya added, "I thought you were better than that."

"Eh-em," Miss Bustier coughed, getting everyone's attention, before her eyes landed on the blogger when she asked in an uncharacteristically stern tone, "Alya, would mind explaining to the class how you can tell if someone is faking an injury?"

As the teacher expected, Alya immediately jumped at the chance to say, "Lila told me exactly what happened! And SHE'S the one who really got injured! Not Max!"

Miss Bustier easily saw the reactions of Kim, Max, Marinette, Chloe, Nathaniel, Alix, and Adrien. It was clear to the teacher that they were aware of what really happened. And she also saw how Ivan, Rose, Juleka, and Sabrina reacted like they seemed to know but they didn't want to admit it. That she'll have to look into later. Catline folded her arms in front of her chest when she said in that same stern tone, "Well then, I expect Lila to have a Doctor's Note with her as well when she arrives if she really is injured." But she highly doubted that that would happen, considering the video she and the other Dupont staff saw. And to add more information to the ongoing case Roger's partner was on, Mr Damocles handed over the files he already had on Lila Rossi. Now, Miss Bustier isn't going to give the liar any more leeway, she was going by the book now, all of the teachers were, and that was that.

The school bell rang, and Miss Bustier took attendance.

}{

Lila didn't show up until the beginning of the 3rd class period. She had her left ankle thickly bandaged and was using a walking cane as she came hobbling in.

"You are late Ms Rossi," Miss Bustier stated, turning her attention to the tardy student and asked sternly, "I hope you have a good excuse as to why." No more leeway, and if that means that Caline has to stop her 'benefit of the doubt' mentality, so be it. Although, the teacher did hope that the tardy student did have a ligament excuse.

That was when Lila spun a tale of her saving a cute little puppy from an oncoming truck. She also added that the heroic did aggravate her 'fractured ankle' while pointing at the wrappings, but she assured that she was okay despite the pain. Lila made sure to glance at Max at the end of her tale. Alya immediately praised Lila about her heroics, must to majority of the class' dismay.

Miss Bustier had way to much doubt by this point to even think that the story was true, and the video from the police made that very clear that the liar needed to be dealt with. The teacher folded her arms in front of her chest when she said calmly, "I'm sure you are fine, Lila. However, I have to ask for a Doctor's Note before I make any sort of accommodations for you."

"What?" Lila gasped out, completely shocked at what she was hearing. "What do you mean?" the liar asked, hoping that she was hearing wrong.

Miss Bustier calmly repeated what she said and then explained, "Mr Damocles had to strengthen the accommodation rules because of recent policy changes from the School Board. We need some sort of document from a student's registered doctor before we start making any changes for the student. I assume that you went to your doctor after your ankle got worse and got a note from them, right Ms Rossi?" It was the story that the school came up with in case someone asked, besides this was something they should've done from the beginning.

"Of course I saw my doctor! My ankle was killing me yesterday!" Lila said with a sniffle, feigning the pain in her ankle and glancing at Max.

Caline noticed and knew she had to give the other teachers a heads up about keeping the liar far away from Max. "I'm sure you did Ms Rossi, but I still need to have a Doctor's Note from you before I can do anything," Miss Bustier stated sternly, somewhat hoping that Lila would finally admit she didn't have a doctor's note and just accept that.

But to took THREE ENTIRE MINUTES of Lila whimpering and crying before she finally admitted that she didn't ask her doctor for a note. To make matters worse, Alya jumped in and accused Miss Bustier of playing favourites because she gave the accommodations to Max and not Lila. The lair immediately joined in on that idea and start her crocodile tears. The teacher was officially DONE with this crap when she nearly snapped while trying to control her now raising temper, "Ms Césaire I am NOT playing favourites! Max had an actual Doctor's Note, Lila DID NOT! Therefore, he can have access to the accommodations he needs! Not to mention that Ms Rossi showed up late to school and has stalled the start of this class by five minutes! But seeing as that Both of you are disrupting my class, you can spend some time in the Detention Hall!"

Lila and Alya protested, mostly Lila with a stream of crocodile tears, but Miss Bustier stood her ground and told the two to leave her classroom until after the assembly today. The two reluctantly left the classroom, Alya helped Lila walk to the detection room since her ankle was 'acting up'. Caline sent a quick text to the teacher-in-charge of detention, letting them know that she's sending two of her students to their room. Then Miss Bustier started her class, who for the most part was still in a bit of shock from witnessing their teacher acting out of character.

Well, there was one thing the class had to worry about.

}{

During lunch Lila tried to spin her tale about how Max 'nearly broke her ankle' and how he was 'faking his injury' to Kim, to drive a wedge between the two and to get the jock on her side. But Kim already knew the truth and saw that lie coming. It just completely disgusted the swimmer that the liar could play the victim so easily when SHE was the one who broke his best friend's wrist with no remorse. Luckily, despite his own anger towards Lila, Kim managed to do the one thing that the liar didn't expect him to do. He turned her out and ignored everything she said. Kim wasn't going to give Lila any attention, even when she made a nasty snide about his behaviour being Marinette's fault.

'Is she still talking?' Kim thought as he took a fork and a knife from the end of the cafeteria line. When he realized that she was, he rolled his eyes in annoyance. When Kim did, he noticed that Lila was standing just fine on her supposed 'fractured ankle'. Aggravated by the lies, Kim decided to just walk away from the liar, to both stop himself from retaliating for the ugly lies and to just get away from the voice that was starting to give him a headache.

He was going to eat outside, with his friends, period. But now he had to deal with the other problem.

"Alya, enough!" Kim finally snapped as he placed his tray on a nearby table in the back of the school before turning fully towards Alya with his arms crossed. The swimmer then stated as calmly as he could without snapping, "I don't see why I should believe you over Max. Especially when you have shown you can't be trusted anymore." When Alya asked what he meant by that, Kim was more than willing to say, "Besides the fact that you haven't kept any promises you made ever since Lie-la came back from that 'trip from Achu', you've been turning into nothing but a bully."

That was when Alya gasped out, "Wh-what are you talking about? Marinette is the bully! And she's dragging Max into it! I'm only trying to warn you!"

Kim glared at Alya when he asked very coldly, "Oh really? Have you actually witnessed either of them being bullies or heard anyone other than Lie-la say that they were?" Alya opened her mouth to say something, but no words came out. Kim frowned when he added, "Figured as much." He picked up his tray and walked off before glancing over his shoulder when he said, "Apologize to Mari first before you even think about talking to me again because she's the one you let down the most with those broken promises."

Alya just stood there as Kim walked off.

}{

The assembly after lunch was more splitting the students into groups of four so everyone can participate in going through all the Haunted Houses. After having all the students draw lots for teams, after being called in alphabetical order, everyone immediately started gathering into the groups that matched what they drew.

Kim high-fived Max with their left hands when they realized that they were in the same group. When Marinette showed the two her card that had a matching image, they gave her a high-five. Adrien walked over to their group and asked what they had on their cards, and when they showed him he smiled when he showed him a matching card. Now their group was complete, go Team Psi.

Lila was seething with rage when she saw that Adrien was with a different group, especially that Marinette. As far as Lila was concerned, Adrien was HERS and hers alone. She was going to get rid of those other three and have Adrien all to herself, and she had the opportunity to do so. Lila glanced at Alya with a smirk. The liar was going to use her perfect pawn to do it.

~}i{ Two Days Later, 10/30 at 17:00. Tom & Sabine Boulangerie Patisserie. }i{~

Marinette raised a brow as she re-read the directions from the school to where the locations of the Haunted Houses were. She then looked at the maps that Kim and Max received. Marinette sighed when she asked, "Well, our maps match up... But I still can't help but feel like that the maps are different somehow." Apparently, both Max and Kim had their suspicions too, but they wanted a teammate's second opinion before they made a final decision on that. But since all of their maps matched-up, they had to be right.

Adrien arrived last and asked his team to check his new map.

"New map?" the three other group members asked as Marinette took the blonde's map and compared it to their maps. Adrien's map was completely different from theirs. When asked who gave him the map, the blonde replied that Lila gave him the map when he was looking for his original. He said that she claimed that there were some minor changes to the maps and that the Student Council asked her to hand out the new maps to the students.

"That's obviously a lie," Marinette stated coldly as she crumbled Adrien's map in her hand before tossing it into a rubbish bin. The bluette then added, "We never made any changes to the maps, plus it was the teachers who made and handed out the maps."

"Just wanted to make sure it was a lie," Adrien said as he sat on the couch in the Dupain-Cheng's living room.

Kim couldn't stop himself from saying, "Everything from her mouth is a lie."

Max made a copy of their map for Adrien and they all agreed to meet in front of their school tomorrow at 9:00 to follow the maps to the Haunted Houses.

}{

Alya was laying on her bed as she stared at the ceiling of her room. Something was nagging at her brain, but she didn't know what. Alya rolled to her side when she thought back to school earlier today.

Lila claimed that there were some minor changes to the maps and that the Studen Council asked her to hand out the revised maps to the other students. Alya was ecstatic that the Student Council asked her friend to help them, she deserved the recognition. Lila did say that she was a little worried about handing out the last three maps to Marinette, Kim, and Max. It was a little too obvious as to why, at least to Alya.

So Alya volunteered to switch the maps behind their backs so Lila didn't have to deal about them and they wouldn't know that difference since the new maps only had a few changes. Lila, of course, worries about Alya getting in trouble with them for doing such a thing, but Alya assured that she wouldn't get caught.

And she didn't. Alya successfully switched the old maps with the new when the class was empty, and none of the three were the wiser.

Alya turned her attention back to her ceiling with a heavy sigh. It was so no one would miss their Haunted House Event, despite some people not being deserving of it, so... So why did Alya feel like she did something wrong? She tried to brush the feeling off as her sneaking the new maps into a few classmates' belongings, but that didn't seem like it was that. Alya ran a hand through her hair when she thought, 'Why is this feeling pestering me so much?'

"Alya, dinner," her mother called.

~}i{ The Next Morning }i{~

Marinette, Max, Kim, Markov, and Adrien met in front of the school building at 9:00, and then they followed their maps towards the location of the Haunted Houses.

}{

Lila smirked to herself as the other students gathered at the real location of the Haunted Houses. She's gotten rid of the two main pests in her side, plus Kim because he didn't react to her lies, and now she can have Adrien all to herself once he gets here.

Lila's plan was perfect, as always. The plan was to offer to go with Adrien into the haunted Houses when his group-mates 'don't show', he realized that she is a wonderful person and becomes her boyfriend. The bonus to that plan is that Marinette, Max, and Kim with getting into so much trouble for 'going to the real Joey Drew Studio'. Nothing could go wrong.

"Hey Lila," Alya greeted cheerfully as she walked over towards the liar. Lila happily greeted her favourite pawn. They happily chatted for a bit before Lila casually dropped a 'hint' that she was worried about Adrien being in a group full of 'bullies', especially since Marinette was in that group.

"I don't want my boyfriend to deal with such a stalker," Lila dropped before she covered her mouth with an 'oop'.

"Oh, no you don't gurl," Alya sassed with a playful smirk before saying, "You're gonna spill. When did you and Sunshine hook up?"

"Who hooked up with Adrien?" Rose asked as the rest of the class started arriving.

Alya quickly told the class that Lila and Adrien were dating, much to the Italian's 'dismay'. Lila couldn't help but think that this was too easy as her followers gathered around her. She didn't notice that Juleka made a recorded call and muted her end so whoever was on the other end could hear what was going on but not heard. Lila easily spun a story about how she and Adrien started dating, with Gabriel's approval, and how they had to keep it a secret because of fangirls and the media. "But you guys can keep it a secret, right," Lila asked her classmates with pleading eyes. They all chirped an "Of course we will."

On the other end of the call...

"Ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous that that liar would think that Adrikins would ever willingly date someone like her," Chloe scoffed in annoyance as Miss Bustier handed Nathaniel back his phone after the call ended.

Miss Bustier folded her arms as she stared at the students of her class that was here and said, "So, nearly all of you were already aware that Lila's been lying. Now, here are my questions. How long have you known and why didn't anyone think to inform me about it?"

That was when the group told their teacher how they all found out that Lila was a big fat liar.

They told her that for Marinette, she knew since day one about Lila being a liar. They told her that with Adrien, it was being outed by Ladybug herself. They told her with Max, it was the inconsistent stories and that he overheard Lila threaten Marinette in the girl's restroom. They told her about how Kim caught Lila stealing Marinette's science homework and claiming it as her own. Chloe stated that she knew that Ladybug would NEVER be friends with someone like Lila, who completely disrespected Ladybug's #1 Rule of secret identities when she claimed to be Ladybug's BFF. Nino said that he started having doubts about Lila when she claimed to have known Alferd Hitchcock before he died, and then after Lila told Alya about Marinette flirting with him, he knew for sure that Lila was a complete liar. Alix placed a comforting hand on Nino's shoulder when she told Miss Bustier about Lila faking the sprained ankle to get out of doing actual work on their Haunted House and then she angrily added that she actually saw Lila dumping paint on her good skates from the outside through a window and then tried to blame it on Marinette. Nathaniel explained that Marc happened to be passing by their classroom when he saw Lila pouring orange juice on one of his doodle sketchbooks and immediately told him about it in the Art Room. "When I went to confront her about it, she immediately told me through crocodile tears that she saw Mari dumping orange juice on my sketchbook before I could ask her about it," Nathaniel said as he brushed his bangs out of his face out of a nervous habit.

"And the others?" Miss Bustier asked with a raised brow.

Alix explained that Sabrina's dad was the first officer that arrived on the scene after Lila broke Max's wrist. "So he told Sabrina what he could and that's how she finally realized that Lila's not only a liar but also a big fat bully," the skater girl said with her arms folded in front of her chest.

Chloe smirked when she said, "As for Ivan, Mylène, Rose, and Juleka. Well, it's a funny lie that made them realize the truth. You see, Lila claimed to personally know the bassist to Kitty Section and told Juleka that he'd be a perfect boyfriend for her."

Miss Bustier raised a brow when she asked, "Aren't three of them apart of that band and isn't the bassist Juleka's older brother?" Everyone easily replied with a "Yup". Miss Bustier took a deep breath when she asked, "And Alya?"

Chloe scoffed when she said, "Puh-lease, Lie-la can't do anything wrong in her eyes. Urg, she's been hanging on every word of that liar tells, and she's even been helping Lie-la with bullying others. *Rolls eyes* But that so-called reporter just thinks she's retaliating against 'those who are bullying Lila', *scoffs* she doesn't even think that there's even a possibility that Lie-la is lying."

Miss Bustier kept that note before she asked, "And none of you came to me about your concerns because?"

The group glanced at each other when Chloe said, "Mari, Adrikins, and I HAVE told you about Lie-la and her lies, multiple times. You brushed us off each time."

That was when Nino added, "And since you brushed off their concerns, it made the rest of us think that they were either just overreacting or overly concerned about Lila. Which gave her the chance to spin some bull about Mari and Chlo being jealous of her and Adrien just being concerned about her. So by the time we realized how bad Lie-la really was, we didn't think you'd do anything to help even when all of us told you. So we've been gathering information to present to Mr Damocles so he could do something about Lila."

It hurt Caline so much when she heard these words. Because of her lack of action, her students didn't feel like they could trust her.

"Umm, speaking of Mari and Adrien... Shouldn't their team be here by now?" Nathaniel asked as he looked around for his classmates.

As Miss Bustier's class looked around for the individuals in question, Mr Damocles was on his cellphone with Fred Haprèle. "Ah, so you were able to meet with her... ... Excellent, did you ask her about her 'Ailments'? ... ... ... Perfectly healthy, huh? Did you tell her what she's been claiming to the school? ... ... ... Couldn't think of a reason as to why her daughter would make that stuff up and actually thought YOU were lying? ... I see, and what about all the 'trips' she and her daughter have taken for her work? ... ... ... ... She was told what by her daughter? ... ... ... Wha! What did you tell her? ... ... ... And what was her response? ... ... I can imagine, but why didn't she call the school to confirm that we were indeed closed? Or at least her daughter's homeroom teacher? ... ... ... Is THAT so? And she wasn't the least bit suspicious about all that happening so often? ... ... ... I see. Is she going to come to our event this time? ... She's going to be arriving with you? ... ... Good, I'll have Ms Mendeleiev and Miss Bustier meet the two of you by the entrance. Make sure Mrs Rossi hear them out before she says anything, I'll meet up with all of you after I talk to the construction staff... Good, I'll see you all soon." With that, the principal hung up.

~}i{ With Marinette, Adrien, Kim, Max, and Markov }i{~

"Wow, guess we're starting with our studio, huh," Adrien commented as they walked passed the old iron gates with the Studio's logo.

Kim whistles when he said while looking over the entranceway, "Wow, we did a great job on our replica and the construction guys did a good job putting it together."

Marinette opened the creaky door when she said, "The sound effects are perfectly timed."

When they all entered the studio, the door suddenly slammed shut behind them. It made them jump, but Max smiled when he said, "They managed to set up all the mechanics correctly."

Markov hovered by Max when he said, "Now all that is left to critic is the Virtual Holograms. My memory files stated that you were a bit worried about the quality of the holograms due to constructing it faster than you would have liked, Max."

Max adjusted his glasses when he replied, "Correct, but let's try to have a little amusement while we do so."

Kim laughed when he said, "You guys don't have to tell me twice." He picks up three long metal pipes that were laying on a nearby table and tossed two to Marinette and Adrien, who caught them easily enough, before saying, "Remember, right now we're brave adventures exploring Joey Drew Studio. *Point to Max and Markov*, You two can document our awesomeness, and prove to Alix that I never screamed."

Markov beeped in amusement while Max laughed as he pulled his phone out of his pocket before turning on the video recording function and saying he hit the red dot button, "Adventure log. Date, Halloween. Time, 10:03. Our first stop is our abandon Joey Drew Studio, we just entered and now are ready to explore." While Max made a quick pan of the area, Markov synced up to the phone to keep a back-up file.

"Is that really necessary?" Adrien asked as he pointed at Max's phone in confusion as the lens landed on him.

Marinette playfully nudged the blonde when she said, "It's part of the fun, and we do need to have proof that Kim screamed."

"Which I won't be doing," Kim said as he looked at the old cartoon posters. He raised a brow when he asked, "Did Nath, Mylène, and Rose make more posters then we agreed on, or did we miss looking at all the ones they made?"

While Adrien commented that they might've, Max zoomed onto the poster with the voice control (since he can only use one hand and he was using it to hold the phone) Kim was looking at, and Marinette said, "Wow, they did a superb job drawing and ageing these posters. They look so real."

"They certainly did, even my sensors are indicating that the posters are authentic," Markov stated after analyzing the posters.

They explored the area until they came to a flight of stairs. They walked down the creaky steps and continued exploring. The ceiling boards were cracked open so that the leaking pipes were visible and what was leaking from the pipes wasn't water, it was ink.

"Wow, I think we did too good a job at this," Adrien said with a shutter as he avoided a puddle of ink as they turned a corner. That was when the five froze at what they saw.

Written on the wall in front of them in thick black ink were the words 'DREAMS COME TRUE.'

Focusing his phone lens on the inky letters, Max asked, "Umm, I don't remember anyone writing That on any of our walls, *pans his phone over to the others* unless I missed that part when I was working on my VHD." Kim looked at Marinette, who shook her head in response, then looked at Adrien, who just shrugged. Both the blonde and bluette looked at Kim, who responded by shaking his head.

"What about the others? Is there a possibility that one of the other classmates wrote this?" Markov asked, flying in the way of the phone lens.

"Maybe," Marinette said as she placed her left index and middle finger on an inky letter. She pulled her hand back to examined the black stain on her fingertips and then said, "This is real ink, and it's fresh. *Looks at the others*, This had to have happened before we walk in."

Kim scoffed when he said, "Someone's trying to mess with us by adding an extra element."

"But who would carry around ink? Especially that much," Adrien vocalized as he pointed at the inky words when he added, "I mean, look how big these letters are. That had to have taken a good amount to write that."

"Maybe one of the workers wanted to add a little flare?" Max asked as he aimed his phone lens down the nearby dark corridor and saw some movement. He looked up from his phone just in time to see a black blobby half-human figure clumsily coming towards the group, and it wasn't alone. "Looks like my Virtual Holographic Device is functioning perfectly," Max commented as he pointed his cast towards the inky beings.

Kim readied his metal pole when he told Max to get his good side as he charged at the inky beings quickly followed by Marinette. Adrien was completely impressed when he muttered, "Wow, she's amazing." Max and Markov glanced at the blonde with a raised brow at this.

~}i{ With the Collège Françoise Dupont groups }i{~

The parents started arriving by now and Team Psi still hasn't shown up. This was pretty worrying to their teacher, parents, and friends.

"Any of you guys seen anyone from Team Psi?" Alix asked Lila and her flock. The 'Openly knows Lila's a liar' group decided to have Alix ask them because Lila claimed that 'she was just being blackmailed' and that she wouldn't be brushed off as a 'bully' or 'lying'. And it was to let the 'Secretly Knows Lila's a liar' group know what has happened.

"Team Psi?" Alya asked with a raised brow.

Alix rolled her eyes when she said, "The group with Kim, Max, Marinette, and Adrien. We asked and looked around, no one has seen any of them. Their parents are here and getting worried since they left long before them. So they should've been here an hour ago."

Alya scoffed when she said, "They're probably ditching the event." She was annoyed that after all Lila's effort to make them feel included, they didn't show up for the event.

Alix raised a brow when she said, "I'm not too sure about that. Marinette's our Class Rep and she NEEDS to be here to thank the construction people with the principle. Kim and I have a Challange going on right now, and we all know he can't resist a challenge. Max wanted to observe his invention to check that it's functioning correctly. Also, Adrien was looking forward to this and unless his dad has him doing some real last-minute modelling, he wouldn't miss this."

"I'm sure Adrien's just running a little late," Lila said with a sweet smile. She then added, "You guys know Gabriel won't let Adrien attend an event without his bodyguard."

"One problem with that theory," Alix stated as she pointed in a certain direction. When the group looked where the skater was pointing, they saw Adrien's bodyguard and Nathalie talking with a worried looking Nino. Alix then said, "The bodyguard is here but Adrien isn't, and from what I'm seeing, he and the secretary are looking pretty uneasy now that Nino told them that Adrien isn't here. 30 Euros on Ms Secretary calling Mr Agreste within the next minute." And if on cue, Nathalie practically yanked her phone out of her pocket and quickly made a call with that worried look still on her face.

Alix folded her arms uncomfortably when she said, "If it weren't for the fact that I'm pretty worried about them being missing, I'd be shouting 'Called it!' ... *Looks at the group*, I'm serious guys. Despite what your opinions of them are, Mari and Max love their parents too much to make them worry like this. You know Kim NEVER chickens out on a challenge. And we know for a fact that Adrien would Never make his father worry about him, heck, the jerk would easily pull him out of school if he even thought about playing hooky. Something's very wrong here..."

Mr Damocles quickly gathered Miss Bustier's class together before anyone could get in another word. He asked if anyone has heard from the missing students when he got nos all around he asked if anyone had their contact information on hand.

"I got Kim's number!" Alix said as she pulled out her phone and quickly called the jock.

"And I have Adrikin's, or course," Chloe said as she started calling Adrien for a video chat.

Because of the two's rush to contact their friends, they accidentally hit the 'Record Call' button.

}{ With Team Psi }{

Kim just smashed an Inkman when he heard his phone ringing. He pulled his phone out and answers it by saying, "Kim here."

Alix's voice emitted from the phone when she nearly shouted, "Hey doofus! Where the fu-, uh, fudge are you? Everyone here's been looking for you and your team! Urg, I swear, you better not be chickening out on our bet and taking your team with you."

Kim rubbed his ear before bringing the phone back and said, "Oh please, pipsqueak, I haven't screamed once since we walked in. I mean, the ink monsters and the creepy decor are cool and all, but you might as well give up now 'cuse they aren't scaring me."

Alix was quiet for a bit before saying, "What are you talking about?"

Kim rolled his eyes when he said, "Haha, nice try, but I'm not falling for that old trick."

Alix quickly replied in a slightly panicked tone, "Kim... I'm not joking, where are you and your team? Because I know you guys are not at our replica."

Kim, getting a little annoyed by this, said, "Of course we're here, take a look. *Turns on the video chat and shows Alix the area they're in*. See? We're here in our replica."

Marinette takes out the last of the ink creatures with a swing of a metal pipe. Kim gets that on the video chat.

Adrien couldn't help but say in amazement, "Nice shot, Marinette." The bluette blushed as Adrien got an alert for a video chat from Chloe. He answers it quickly.

Chloe practically shouted through the video chat, "Adrikins! Please tell me you are okay?"

"Yeah, Chlo, we're fine. And we're having fun here," Adrien said with a smile.

Marinette looked over Adrien's shoulder at the video chat screen when she said, "Yeah, and actually. Hitting Ink Holos is a great way to burn off stress."

Alix looked at the area through the phone when she said, "Uhh, guys... I don't know where you are, but I can tell you that you're not in our school's haunted studio. Our's had a sign that says "Welcome to Joey Drew Studio" when you enter... Did you see that?"

Max was looking at the ink smears on Kim's metal pipe as he listened to conversations everyone on a call was having when he said, "That's weird, these are actual ink stains... That shouldn't be happening if these creatures were from my Virtual Hologram Device... *Realized what Alix said*. Wait, we didn't see any signs when we arrived, we only passed a gate."

Something wasn't adding up here.

Now Mr Damocles' face appears one Kim's phone screen behind Alix when he said, "Did you follow the map the teachers handed out? Because you should've seen the other students before you even entered any of the Haunted Houses." Chloe walked over to the principle and got him in her video chat so Marinette and Adrien could see.

Markov looked over Kim's shoulder when he said, "We followed the directions on the map to a T, but we did not see anyone before entering our studio replica." Max stood next to Kim when the AI made that statement.

Mr Damocles placed a hand on his chin when he said, "Do you have your maps on you? I would like to see them." Adrien responded that his map was a fake and that he threw it away. He also said that they as a group followed the maps that matched up with each other. The school principal raised a brow at this then he asked, "Can you explain that a bit more?" That was when the group explained that they felt that their maps were somehow different the second time they looked at them, so they compared them and when they matched up, they'd figured that they were just imagining things.

That was when Adrien said, "Lila gave me a "New Map", she claimed that there were some minor changes to the maps and that the Student Council asked her to hand out the new maps to the students. I should've known she was lying right then and there, but I gave her another chance when I shouldn't have."

Marinette rolled her eyes at that statement when she said, "Even IF the Student Council DID make any changes, we would've told our classes about it directly and in person rather than making a SINGLE student hand out maps to the entire school. I mean, come on, that has to be one of Lie-la's weakest lies."

In the background, Alya was listening to all this and started wondering. What Marinette said about the Student Council made sense, but she highly doubts the lying part... 'Hold on, did Adrien say that his girlfriend was lying?" Alya thought before falling back on, 'Right, Lila said that they were keeping their relationship a secret so fans don't target her. Marinette doesn't know they're dating and Adrien is just playing along so she doesn't hurt Lila.'

Max sent Mr Damocles the email with the image of the map that he sent to Adrien two days ago.

The principle checked his phone and pulled up the new picture. He then zoomed in on the words on the map, he looked at them for a few seconds before realizing, 'That looks a little too close to the handwriting Ms Rossi used when she forged her doctor's signatures... Hmm. Would she really do something like this to another person?...' Mr Damocles glanced at Alix's screen and said, "Markov, can you give me the building name attached to your current GPS location?" A surge of suspicion was boiling in the principle's voice and gut.

Markov complied with the request with a series of beeps and chirps before finally saying in a puzzled tone, "That is peculiar, I checked our current GPS location three times and this building's name for this location is the real Joey Drew Studio. Weren't we suppose to keep away from it as a condition of making a replica of it?"

"Wait! Wait! Wait! Are you saying that we're in the actual Joey Drew Studio?!" Marinette practically shouted in utter shock.

When Markov confirmed that they were, Kim was the one to practically shout, "Whoa! Hold on! How's that possible?! All the teachers know that we're supposed to keep away from the real place! It was even part of your speech Mr. Damocles! No one on the staff would have made such a blunder like that!"

Adrien was muttering under his breath in horror that his dad was going to keep him locked in the mansion forever once he hears about this, while Max said, "I concur, and even if one of them did, either someone else on the staff would've caught that or all of the students would be here!"

Something finally clicked in Alya's mind as she turned her attention towards Lila with a bewildered look on her face. The Italian, on the other hand, had a look that showed that she was displeased by some kind of inconvenience. To say that Lila was pissed that Adrien trusted his assigned team more than her was an understatement. The blonde model was supposed to believe that there were new maps. Lila 'tsk'ed when she thought back to when she stole his map out of his bag so she can have the opportunity to give it back to him under the guise of being helpful to the Student Council.

Mr Damocles noticed the looks on the two teenage girls, he folded his arms before giving them his 'stern teacher look', and said, "Ms Césaire, Ms Rossi, is there anything you would like to say?" Only one of them seemed to hear what was asked.

Alya took a step back from Lila when she shakily pointed at her and said, "You-you made bogus maps to the real Joey Drew Studio! You made me think that you WANTED them to be able to attend the event, despite not 'getting along' with them! You tricked me into swapping their maps with your fake maps because I honestly thought you were helping the school!"

"Wait! You did WHAT?!" Adrien, Marinette, Kim, Max, and Markov exclaimed over the video chats, utterly horrified at what they have learned.

"You switched our maps with fakes Lila made!" Kim shouted in anger.

Marinette growled in anger when she seethed out, "I'm not that surprised that Lila would do something like this. But what I am surprised and mad about is that ALYA forgot that I'M on the Student Council and thought it was a good idea to sneak a new map into other's possession WITHOUT CHECKING IT FIRST!"

Max glared into the phone when he said in anger, "I certainly concur with that statement."

Alya grabbed one of Lila's arm in furry when she practically shouted, "Why the hell would you do something like that?! Mr Damocles told us how dangerous the Joey Drew Studio building was! Mari, Max, Kim, and Adrien could've gotten seriously hurt or worse in there!"

Lila immediately put on the 'kicked puppy' look when she whimpered out, "But I did help the Student Council with fixing the maps! Marinette must've used Max to lure Adrien to the real Joey Drew Studio building to play the hero. It's their fault that they're there!"

The colour drained from Alya's face when she heard those words. She then looked down at Lila's 'fractured ankle' and saw that she was standing on it with no problem or pain. Alya backed away from Lila as if she was shot in the gut with a cannonball when she stuttered out, "Y-y-you're lying!? Y-you're actually lying!"

Mr Damoclies frowned when he told Lila, "I do believe that I'll be having a rather LONG conversation with your mother when she gets here. After Team Psi is out of that dangerous studio."

Lila quickly turned to the principle and put on an 'apologetic' look when she said, "But sir, I told you, my mother is going to be busy all day and can't make it to the event."

"Oh am I?" a new voice said from behind the liar. When everyone looked at who the owner of the voice was, they saw a woman who had a striking resemblance to Lila but she had a very angry look on her face. This woman glared at her daughter when she said, "So, how's that ankle of your that was 'fractured' or was it 'sprained' when you weren't home? Because you've been walking around the house just fine for the past month. Or how about your tinnitus or arthritis you seemed to have only at school, hmm? *Narrows her eyes at her daughter*. You cannot even begin to imagine my surprise when I had one of your teachers use a contact inside the Italian Embassy to speak with me face-to-face because, apparently, the contact information they had on file for me seemed to raise more suspicions than answers. Especially when they wanted me to come in for a parent/teacher conference, which I learned for the first time today that they were trying to contact me for and all you supposed ailments."

Mr Damcolies will have to talk to Mrs Rossi a little later, right now, more pressing matters need to be attended to. He quickly turned back to the video chats when he said, "Kids, you have to get out of that building, NOW. I don't care how you get out, just that you all do! As you saw, the creatures there are REAL and real dangerous! All that information you found about that building is true, all of them, they're not lore!"

Mylène squeeked when she said, "W-w-wait! Y-y-you m-mean th-that?!"

The principle nodded when he said, "It was the reason WHY I had that condition. I may not know the entire story behind that accursed building, but what I do know is that those creatures aren't able to leave it. *Turns back to the screens*. So you kids need to get out of there before any more of those Ink Creatures appear."

"You don't need to tell us twice," Adrien said as the others nodded alongside him.

Max held up his phone when he said, "Good thing I started recording as we came in. We can just retrace our steps."

Inky webs suddenly appeared on the walls of the studio and the sound of a heartbeat echoed.

Marinette, Adrien, Kim, Max, and Markov swallowed as they turned towards the sound just in time to see another ink creature coming into view. But it was different from the other ink creatures, this one felt more dangerous.

This ink creature was tall, had a malformed figure with his skin made in black ink resembling tar. His head highly resembles that of the Bendy from the old cartoons, but the top area of his head appears melted, obscuring his eyes. His horns are slightly more curved to bear a shape like a deformed crescent moon, being able to articulate similarly to animal ears. His toothy, Cheshire grin, with sketch-like shadings. His spine appears slightly crooked or curved, his slightly-hunched back, which induces endless wisps of blackish smoke, also sports spiky spines for demonic features. His left arm is slightly longer than his right, which looks thinner and less human. On his left hand, he wears an oversized white glove with four fingers, though it does not sport two buttons like the original Bendy, while his right hand is smaller and more human-like, with five fingers. His feet are also mismatched: His right foot faintly resembles that of a human, while the left is just a lump-covered, disease-like stump, which gives him a limp. He also wears a drooping bowtie close to the middle of his chest

"Is that!" Adrien gasped out.

"Bendy?!" Max finished in shock.

The moment 'Demon Bendy' then spots the five intruders, he lets out a growl before charging towards them.

The five scream before rushing off in the opposite direction, with both video chat's still on. The ones who were holding a pipe, dropped them in panic as they raced off.

"The stairs! We have to get up the stairs!" Kim shouted at his friends as the stairs came into view.

They rushed to the stairs and quickly ran up the creaky steps while keeping an eye on the Ink Demon. But before any of them could reach the top, the stairs broke under their feet and they began to fall into the cavern that opened up underneath them. The humans screamed in horror as they plummeted into the dark depth. The AI flew down after them, worried for the well being of his friends.

The next thing they knew they plunged into a swell of black ink.

}{ At the Haunted House Location }{

The video chats ended due to a lack of signal from the other end.

Everyone who had the missing team's numbers was now frantically calling them, but none were able to get ahold of any.

Miss Bustier's class then turned to Lila with fury in their eyes.

Lila scoffed when she said, "What? It's not my fault they fell. Besides, they were totally faking it."

"What? Like you're ankle? Which might I add seems fine to me," Chloe said as she started typing her father's number. The Mayor's Daughter then said with a scoff, "Also, I know Adrikin is incapable of playing those kinds of pranks."

Mrs Rossi placed a stern hand on her daughter's shoulder, to prevent her from escaping, when she said, "Lila, if any of them end up dead because of your pettiness, then I will allow them to charge you with manslaughter."

Lila looked up at her mother with wide eyes when she practically shouted, "What?! You can't do that! I'm your daughter! And I didn't do anything! They're trying to frame me!"

Mrs Rossi gripped her daughter's shoulder tighter when she snapped, "Young lady, You gave them a map leading them to a place that YOU KNEW was dangerous all because they would not believe your lies or outed you for those lies. Or the fact that you bullied them because they wouldn't let you do as you please, and don't think I wasn't told about how YOU BROKE the wrist of one of those individuals. Oh, and let's not forget that you've been sexually harassing one of your classmates."

"I wasn't! Adrien's my boyfriend! And he's fine with it!" Lila claimed, trying to get out of her mother's grip.

Mrs Rossi stood her ground when she snapped, "When someone tells you to 'stop touching them' or that you're making them 'uncomfortable by invading their personal space' THAT'S considered sexual harassment! I taught you that so YOU wouldn't experience that, but you go and do it to someone else! That is NOT ACCEPTABLE, Lila, not at all!"

"Excuse me," Nathalie said walking up to the group when she then asked, "Could someone explain to me what Ms Rossi is claiming to be AND what was that about sexual harassment? I do want someone other than Ms Rossi here since it's a little too clear that she can't be trusted."

As the class explained to Nathalie what Lila's mother was talking about, Chloe got ahold of her father. The blonde immediately told him that they needed to get a crew to Joey Drew Studio to save her friends.

~}i{ At Joey Drew Studio }i{~

Markov hovered above the lower level that was flooded with black ink when he called out, "Max, Marinette, Kim, Adrien? Please respond."

The four teens broke the surface of the waist-high pool of ink, coughing and spitting the foul liquid out.

"Gah! What the hell is all this ink doing here?" Kim asked as he leaned against a nearby pipe, trying to wipe the ink off his face.

"Ewww, it's seeping into my clothes," Marinette cringed as she trudged over to a wooden shelf as she quickly raised her purse over her head to try to keep it out of the ink. The moment she spotted Tikki poking her head out of the purse, Marinette sighed softly in relief.

Max tried to wipe the ink off his glasses when he said, "On the positive side, the ink broke our fall or we would've been seriously injured."

Adrien quickly checked to see if his ring was still on before sighing and asking, "So where do we go from here? The whole area is flooded with ink." The blonde felt Plagg squirming in his inner jacket pocket, which gave him some relief.

Markov quickly scanned the area and spotted a valve handle on the pipe Kim was leaning against and then said, "Kim try turning that valve, maybe the ink level will decrease if you turn it."

Kim nodded and turned the valve. When he did, the ink level lowered before the flooded room was no more. But there were still small puddles of ink on the floor.

"Well, that's better," Adrien commented before looking down at his ink-soaked clothing. The model frowned when he said, "Urg, my dad's going to be furious at this."

Kim gave Adrien a look when he said, "Dude, I'm sure your clothes aren't going to be high on your dad's priority list right now. Urg, but yeah, the guy's gonna be pissed about that liar tricking you into coming here..." Adrien grumbled out a 'don't remind me.' Kim then added, "Pretty sure he's going to be more pissed at Lie-la rather than you. *Shutters* I hope he doesn't get Akumatized because of it."

That actually worried both Adrien and Marinette more when they thought, 'I hope Ladybug/Chat Noir can handle him if he does.' Unaware that their crime-fighting partner was right next to them.

Marinette noticed a tape recorder on the shelf when she said, "What's this?" She then pressed the play button.

The tape started and a gravelly voice of a man emitted from the device, "It's dark and it's cold and it's stuck behind every single wall now. In some places, I swear this godforsaken ink is clear up to my knees! Whoever thought that these crummy pipes could hold up under this kind of strain either knows something about pressure I don't, or he's some kind of idiot. But the real worst part about all this... Are them noises the system makes. Like a dying dog on its last legs. Make no mistake, this place... This... Machine... Heck, this whole darn thing... It just isn't natural. You can bet, I won't be doing any more jobs for Mister Joey Drew. Tomas Conner, signing off." The tape recorder shut off, signalling the end of the tape.

Marinette placed a hand to a hand to her chin when she muttered, "Tomas Conner? Wait, wasn't he one of the main workers from the Gent company that Joey Drew hired?"

After finally getting the ink off his glasses, Max said, "He was, but it was never stated what he was hired to work on. Mr Drew just kept insisting that it was some kind of big project." He then noticed that his cast was caked in ink and grimaced at the sight.

Kim walked over to the phones on the ground when he said, "What bothered me about that recording was the part about the Machine that sounds like a dying dog. I mean, why would anyone want to make something like that? *Picks up his and another phone*. Huh? Hey, Max, your phone's still recording."

The teens picked up their respective phones and checked for any signal to call, sadly, there was none. Max then checked the recording when he said, "You're right, Kim. Wait, how are our phones still working after being submerged in ink? Not that I'm complaining." He then clipped his phone to his right overall strap with his phone case and so the camera wasn't obstructed, with some help from Markov, so he can still document this whole thing just in case proof was needed, and so they could use it against Lila should they actually take her to court.

Adrien tried calling Chloe but was unable to make a connection. When he failed a third time, he said, "Well, not like it's going to do us any good. We don't have any signal to make any calls or send out texts." Adrien then spotted and then pointed over to an open doorway when he added, "Looks like this is the only path we can use."

So they followed the path and walked down the stairway. They kept walking until halfway down, where the lower level was flooded with more black ink.

Marinette raised a brow when she said, "I know this was an animation studio and they used ink, but it's been closed for decades. So seriously, where is all this ink coming from?"

Adrien shrugged when he said, "Not sure, but since our clothes are already ruined..."

Markov already flew ahead over to the valve, letting the teens know where it was. So when they trudge through the waist-high ink to get there, they weren't aimlessly wondering. This time, Marinette turned the valve. Once the ink level receded, Team Psi continued down the stairs. At the bottom was more ink flooding the floor, this time the ink was at chest level. So Kim, being the tallest, trudged through the ink to the valve and turned it. Once the ink was gone, they were able to open a door.

They entered the room. They saw that the other doorway was boarded up, a couple of barrels sat in the far right corner, and a workbench near the entrance they came in. And when they were completely in the room, they saw more words written in ink on the whole left side of the wall. But these words were 'THE CREATOR LIED TO US.'

"Urg, I sympathies with whoever wrote that," Marinette said with an annoyed growl as she crossed her arms in front of her chest. The bluette then snapped in an angry rant as she started pacing up and down the room while waving her hands around, "She's the reason why we're here! Grr! What the hell was that liar thinking?! That we were JUST going to get in trouble?! Mr Damcolies made it very clear that this place wasn't safe, both structurally and metaphorically! I mean, if it weren't for the fact that we are completely capable of defending ourselves from those minor ink creatures, we'd certainly gotten seriously hurt or even killed! Grr! I'd bet she was hoping that only Adrien would show and 'insist' that she make sure he doesn't go through the Haunted Houses 'alone' when we didn't show up! Did she forget that Adrien KNOWS she's a liar?! Cht! I bet she thought that Adrien wouldn't be suspicious of her and would want to double-check his map with ours!"

Adrien held up a hand to stop the bluette from ranting, but Kim lowered the hand when he whispered, "Let her get it out of her system. She kinda needs it right now." Max nodded in agreement as Markov scanned the graffiti on the wall.

Marinette continued ranting and pacing, "Is she that egotistical to think that?! ARG! I bet she is! She's gonna get her ass sued by our parents because of this! And I'm sure Mr Agreste won't be too please by his 'new muse' sending his son to a death-trap! There is no way in hell she's going to lie her way out of that, especially now that EVERYONE knows she's a liar! Oh and don't get me started on that Ink Demon Bendy! Okay, granted no one knew of that, but still, that creature just oozed danger! No pun intended. Uuuurg! I bet he's the big reason as to why this place is dangerous!" The bluette finished her rant with a huff.

Kim patted Marinette on the shoulder when he asked, "Feel better now, Mari?" The bluette nodded with a quiet sigh.

Adrien looked through the cracks of the wooden boards to see what was ahead when he said, "Well, there does seem to be a turn down this corridor, but we can't get through these, and they looked like whoever put them up knew what they were doing."

"We can use These to break the boards down," Max said, pointing at a workbench where two axes and two metal pipes. The techie picked up a metal pipe with his left hand since the axe was a two-handed weapon.

Markov gathered up any screws, bolts, and nuts he could find and load them into Max's pack when he said, "Max do you think you'd be able to attach that air-gun you brought to my body and edit it so I can fire these at the Ink Creatures so that I may also defend myself?"

Max nodded when he replied, "Might be a good idea, but let's wait until we're someplace where there's less ink." He glances at the ink dripping out of a nearby pipe that seemed to be sticking out from the ceiling in the corner over the barrels. Yeah, it might be better to attach a new device when there wasn't a chance of getting a liquid getting inside.

Kim immediately picked up an axe and said, "Well, at least we got something to use to defend ourselves from the Ink creatures and a way to get through those pesky boards." Marinette then took the axe off the table as Adrien walked over and swiped the last item on it. Kim walked over to the boarded-up door and started smashing them down with the axe.

Once the doorway was cleared, they walked through it. Kim swung the axe each time a wooden board came into range as they continued through. They made a left at the turn and saw another door that was boarded up.

"Mind if I do these?" Adrien asked the group. When they gave him the go-ahead he immediately went to hacking down the three boards on the closed door with the metal pipe. Once the boards were off, they opened the door and peered inside. There seemed to be a pentagram drawn on the floor with only candles lighting the room, two wooden coffins leaning against the opposite wall, a coffin acting like a table, some Bendy poster, a chair or two, and another closed door that was boarded up. Despite their sudden feeling of anxiety that crept upon them, the five entered the new room.

The closer they got to the pentagram and coffins, the anxiety increased.

Suddenly, an image of some sort of machine flashed in front of the group's eyes. They all clenched their now aching head with their free hand, or cast or mechanical arm. Then another image flashed in front of their eyes, this time an image of Ink Demon Bendy that was backlit by a yellowish light. Anyone who was holding a weapon dropped them as the pain in their head increased as the next image flashed. It was an image of 10 pillars of light that were structured into a circle.

Everyone blacked out. Marinette, Adrien, Kim, Max, and even Markov collapsed on the ground, all completely unconscious.

Plagg and Tikki peaked out of their respective hiding spot after their holders hit the ground. Once they made sure that the two other humans and AI were out, they flew out of their hiding spots and tried to wake up their holders. When they showed no signs of waking, the Kwami looked at each other with worry.

"What do we do now?" Plagg asked his red counterpart with an uncharacteristic look of pure worry on his face.

Tikki thought about that for a bit before finally saying, "Normally, I would suggest that we go to the guardian, but that will leave our holders defenceless from whatever vile threats that are here. Also..."

Plagg flew over to Tikki when he said, "You feel it too?"

The red Kwami nodded when she said, "That strange energy... It's just... Something about it is just off. It feels evil, yet at the same time, it doesn't... We can't leave our holders to face that."

Plagg had that worried look when he glanced at the unconscious Kim, Max, and Markov when he said, "What happens if Chat Noir and Ladybug are needed? It'll be hard to explain how two superheroes are also trapped here while trying to keep their identities a secret."

Tikki signed when she said with a heavy heart, "If that happens... Then it means that it's going to be a last resort." The Kwami glanced at the unconscious group with worry.

The phone on Max was still recording.

~}i{ Elsewhere in the Studio }i{~

A steady rhythm of dropping ink echoed through a darkened area. A boney left hand that seemed to be completely covered in ink appeared from the darkness and traced an old picture frame laying on an old artist's work desk. Next to that old frame was a couple of Bendy comic strips that were yellow with age. The comic was signed by the artist.

"Yyyooouuu'rrreee fffiiinnnaaalllyyy hhheeerrreee," a voice, unused to speaking, said to the photo within the frame.

~}i{~

Chapter 1: Completed.

To Be Continued.

~}i{~

Chapter Text

Miraculous Adventure in Joey Drew Studio, Chapter 1.5. Finally Getting the Meeting with Ms Rossi.

}{ 10/31, 08:00, At the Italian Embassy. }{

Mrs Rossi was a little puzzled when she was told who her next meeting was with. Yes, it was one of those "Friend of an Embassy Employee" type of meeting, but she was told by the person who set it up that this was an important meeting for Her rather than them.

Mrs Rossi sighed as she walked towards her office, where her appointment was already waiting for her. She was really hoping that this meeting was going to be important because she's already been busy enough. 'I'll get this finished so I can spend some personal time with Mi Bella and hand out candy for the trick-or-treaters later. If I can finish this meeting by noon, I'll be able to get home long before Mi Bella gets let out of school. It would be a nice surprise for her,' Mrs Rossi thought as she came to her office.

When Mrs Rossi walked into the office, she smiled and said, "I'm sorry I made you wait, Mr..."

"Haprèle, Fred Haprèle," said a tall and lanky man with brown hair and brown eyes, he was wearing a white shirt underneath a dark green dress jacket, dark blue jeans, and black and white sneakers. He greeted the woman with a handshake when he said, "I'm here on behalf of the Collège Françoise Dupont staff. I do apologize for scheduling a meeting like this, but you are well overdue for a conference with us. Oh, uh, would it be alright if I record our conversation? Mr Damocles, the school principal, always has us record our parent/teacher conferences to help improve our school and have proof that we had the meeting." The two adults sat across from each other as the actor pulled his phone out with his free hand and showed the diplomate the recording app. The part-time teacher held a thick folder under his arm.

"Oh, oh, of course, you may record this," Mrs Rossi vocalized, recognizing her daughter's school. She then asked as soon as Fred hit the record button, "May I ask why you couldn't have just called me and ask me to come in. I certainly would've made the time to go to school for a meeting."

Fred carefully placed his phone on the desk separating the two adults, so the phone can hear both their voices, when he said, "Actually, that's one of the reasons why I'm here Mrs Rossi. We HAVE called and emailed you multiple times, mostly in regards to setting up the meetings and your daughter, Lila. *Opens the folder on the desk and looks at the first page*. According to Mr Damicoles and Miss. Bustier, Lila's homeroom teacher, they have called you a collected 68 times over the past four months in regard to setting up a parent/teacher's meeting and in regards to Lila's health issues. We also sent ou-"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on!" Mrs Rossi quickly retorted, waving her hands to try to stop the man from speaking when she asked cluelessly, "What are you talking about? I haven't received any calls or emails from the school in months! And what's this about my daughter's health issues? She doesn't have any, she's perfectly healthy!"

Fred raised a brow as he flipped to another page, read what was on it, and then asked, "Lila has claimed that she has Arthritis, Tinnitus from saving Jagged Stone's kitten from getting run over by an aeroplane, and has recently sprained her ankle, oh, hold on... Ah, my apologies, it's noted here that her sprained ankle worsened into a fractured ankle a few days ago, and saw her doctor about it... So you're telling me that she doesn't have any of these?"

Mrs Rossi huffed in annoyance when she said, "My sweet little angel is perfectly healthy! And she's been walking around the house without any problem. So where on earth did you think MY Lila had all these health issues? Hold on, what's this nonsense about a jagged stone on a runway? And what does that have to do with my Lila?"

The part-time teacher picked up a pen and wrote a quick note on the paper listing the supposed ailments. "Your daughter has told Miss Bustier and her classmates that she had these ailments. They've been making accommodations for her because of these claims, which some of these have been confirmed by her doctor. Now what I am handing you now is a photocopy of one of the doctor's notes that we have received from the email we have on file for you," Fred said as he took a few photocopies out of the folder and handed it to the diplomate.

Mrs Rossi took the photocopy and looked at it. "What the-? This is her doctor's name, but this is certainly NOT her signature," She said before actually looking at the diagnosis. What was going on here? Something wasn't adding up here.

Fred took a short deep breath when he asked, "So, you are confirming that the photocopies in Lila's file are a forgery of her doctor's signature?"

Mrs Rossi scoffed when she snapped, "Of course it's a fake, anyone with eyes can see that!"

Fred placed a hand to his chin when he asked calmly, "And you are also confirming that Lila is perfectly healthy with no pre-existing conditions or any recurring ailments that would impede her from participating in class or school activities?"

Mrs Rossi slammed her hands on the desk when she snapped, "YES! MI BELLA IS PERFECTLY HEALTHY! DO YOU ACTUALLY THINK I WOULDN'T KNOW MY OWN DAUGHTER'S HEALTH!?"

Fred made a calm-down motion with one hand when he said, "I am not accusing you of anything, Mrs Rossi, but considering the doctor's notes that we've been receiving from your email and us getting nowhere with your calls. I do have to ask these questions for the well-being of your daughter. But if she doesn't have any of those ailments, then can you think of a reason why your daughter would lie to us and her classmates about them?"

Mrs Rossi stood up when she snapped, "This meeting is over! I will not have some, some wanna-be teacher lie about my sweet little angel!"

Fred's eyebrow's furrowed in anger when he said, trying to keep calm, "Madam, I am not lying. The school has called and emailed you about your daughter's supposed ailments, AND we've been trying to get you in for a parent/teacher meeting."

Mrs Rossi couldn't help but growled out, "As I have said before, I have received NO call or emails from Collège Françoise Dupont in months. But I shouldn't be surprised since they've been close so often." 'How dare this, this TEACHER try to blame ME for the school's failures!' the diplomate thought to herself in anger.

"I beg your pardon?" Fred vocalized in confusion before asking, "Can you repeat that last statement?"

Mrs Rossi took note of the man's expression. He was clearly confused by what he heard. That was strange... Mrs Rossi repeated in a slower tone, "Collège Françoise Dupont has been closed frequently. Lila told me that due to repeated Akuma attacks near the school, they have to be closed so the students can remain safe. I've been worried about Mi Bella falling behind in her classes because of the constant closing. But she assured me that she's been getting her classwork emailed to her by one of the non-Akumatized teachers." Mrs Rossi watched as Fred's face went from confused to an expression of pure shock. That was even stranger... 'Shouldn't the staff know all this already?' the Italian diplomate thought curiously as an image of a small red flag being attached to a flagpole appeared in her head.

Fred blinked his eyes a few times when he stuttered out, "I-I-I can assure you! Collège Françoise Dupont has NOT been closed for any extended period of time! And even if we were closed for whatever reason, either we or the School Board if needed would have sent out emails and called the parents or legal guardians of our students explaining why and for how long!"

"You... Would have?" Mrs Rossi asked in confusion as she sank back into her chair. The image of the flagpole slowly raised the flag when she said, "But I... I never received any calls or emails from the school... I was serious about that."

Fred felt a bubble of indigestion boil in his stomach when he thought, 'So Ms Mendeleiev was right. Lila had told her mother that the school has been closed... I do feel sorry for having to do this, but...' Fred took a deep breath as he turned his attention back onto the folder and flipped two pages to find what he was looking for. The part-time teacher asked about the dates and lengths of the "School Closers" as he looked at the list dates of "Trips" that Lila told them she and her mother went on. When the diplomate pulled out a planner and flipped through the pages, making the diplomate glad she kept track of all those "Closed Days" just in case she needed to talk to the school about them, and she read off the days her daughter told her about the school being closed.

After hearing the dates that were listed on the "Trip" list, Fred took a deep breath before handing Mrs Rossi the photocopies of the forged permission slips and said, "Madam... I hate to be the bearer of this but... *Deep breath, again*. What I am handing you right now are photocopies of permission slips requesting that Lila be allowed out of school for your work-related trips for the Embassy. Are... Are these... Actually signed and dated by you?" Fred hoped that the other got the hint and would look at the dates of those 'trips'.

Mrs Rossi took the small pile of photocopied images of the slips in question in confusion as she watched the man's face. Now he looked... Somewhere between conflicted and sad... The kind of sadness that was meant for someone else. Hold on... 'Work-related trips for the Embassy?' The mother thought as she looked at the papers in her hands. She hasn't left Paris since she and her daughter arrived, so she wouldn't be signing anything for any trip... This time, Mrs Rossi looked over each and every slip that she'd been given. The image of a red flag was now halfway up the pole.

Fred couldn't help but feel sorry for the woman before him as he watched her expression change from confusion to anger to furry with each slip she read. As a parent himself, he could understand the bond a parent had with their child, whether it be by blood or not and the trust and love that came with that bond. And right now, Fred was watching the trusting side of that bond chipping away in chunks within the heart of Mrs Rossi.

Fred was quiet before he finally asked, "Can you-"

"I-I-I've never signed these! And I have never had to travel since arriving in Paris! These aren't my signature," Mrs Rossi choked out as she let the papers flop on the desk. She covered her mouth when she nearly sobbed out, "She... She... She forged my signature! Mi Bella actually forged my signature to get out of school! A-and she's been telling her class that she's been travelling with me for my Work!" She then swore something in Italian before got out in a sob of anger, "This is more than just her skipping school! What would have happened if someone from the Embassy heard about that? I would've been investigated for ill-use of Embassy funds and I could've lost my job! What would happen to us then? I put in all these hours so she'd have a comfortable life!" The image of a red flag was now at the top of the flagpole and waving almost violently.

Fred hadn't thought about that, but it did bring up another issue that has been nagging him since the diplomate mentioned it. "Um, madam, do you want to take a break for a few minutes? I know this is difficult to hear and learn about, but this is only the tip of the information we have compiled on your daughter," Fred said sympathetically but calmly.

Mrs Rossi took a deep breath, to calm herself down, before saying, "No. Please continue. I was just so... So shock that my sweet daughter, who I thought was almost too honest, was lying right to my face about her school and lord knows what else... You... You said that the principle and Lila's homeroom teacher called and emailed me multiple times over the past few months, yet I haven't received anything from the school. I thought it was because both the principle and Lila's homeroom teacher kept getting Akumatized by the prior Akumatized person, at least... That's what Lila told me..."

"Lila told you what now?" Fred practically squeaked out in confusion before asking, "Can you elaborate on that? Because while Mr Damicoles and Miss Bustier have been Akumatized in the past, they haven't been re-Akumatized since Hero's Day! A-And only Hawkmoth can Akumatize others, not his victims! Ladybug and Chat Noir explained that the Miraculous Hawkmoth holds is what allows him to Akumatize people and gives them certain abilities, and fortunately, that ability cannot be transferred over to the Akumatize victims."

The moment Mrs Rossi heard that she buried her face in her hands.

"Are you sure you don't want to take a short break? I... I think you might need it before we continue," Fred offered in a tone that was both kind, yet nervous.

Mrs Rossi moved her hands to cup over her mouth when she said, "It's going to get worse from here on out, isn't it? *Watches Fred nods sadly*. *Sighs deeply*, How about we take a break after you give me the number and email you have on file for me... You do have that on you, right?"

Fred nods when he pulls a sheet of paper out of the file and says, "I do, but I also have to say this because I'm recording this conversation. Can you confirm that the phone numbers and emails on this list of Emergency Contacts for Lila Rossi are indeed incorrect?"

Mrs Rossi took the list and looked it over. As she now expected, all the emails and numbers were fake, which she did confirm out loud that they were. Well almost all.

"The email you have for me is close enough to my real email, it's a letter off but it's enough to fool people... I guess Lila created that to intercept all the emails from the school, so she can keep me in the dark about school-related stuff so I don't show up and reveal her lies," the diplomat stated. She then pointed to the phone number attached to the email when she said, "But this number here... It was my number, but I lost the phone with that number a little after I enrolled Lila in your school. I looked everywhere for that phone, at home, here at work, and everywhere I've been in between for it. I got a new phone because I thought I truly lost it... But I sent in the paperwork to update that... *Now in a tone of realization* Which I gave to Lila to give to her teacher... *Rubs temples* I bet she never handed it in and it's now clear that she stole that phone... And is using it to impersonate me so she can confirm anything she says at school when they call..."

Fred sighed when he said, "That was what Mr Damicoles theorized when he kept getting the "I'm too busy to come in" response from that number and receiving the fake doctor's notes from that email. But, one last question before we take that break. Why didn't you contact the school when Lila told you about the school being closed? I mean, I understand that you trusted your daughter, but that kind of claim is something you should have double-checked before you allowed Lila to say home." That was the one thing that bothered the staff at Collège Françoise Dupont once they discovered the lies, they all wondered why Mrs Rossi never called them about anything. They have called her, or so they thought, but she never called them.

Mrs Rossi sighed deeply when she just said, "I-I probably should have, I really should have. But... I just... I just trusted my daughter because she made me believe that she was just too honest for her own good... She... She always told me that she understood that I was doing a lot of important stuff at work and that she'd let me know if the school called so it was one thing that I wouldn't have to worry about... So I wouldn't worry about her too much... She... She also told me that the majority of the teachers and principle were Akumatized and were likely to call and try to lure parents to them so they too can be Akumatized... But since you already confirmed that only Hawkmoth is able to Akumatize people and not other Akumatized individuals... And that NONE of the teachers were Akumatized... She lied to me..."

Fred could tell that the woman before him really did love her daughter and honestly thought that she was a good, honest girl that she was glad to call her own. It made Fred sick to his stomach to learn just how much Lila has been manipulating her own loving mother.

Mrs Rossi looked up at Fred when she asked, "You said that you have more information that is worse than what you already told me? But how can it get worse than learning that my daughter has been lying to me about school and to her fellow classmates and teachers about her whereabouts and health?"

Fred bit his lip before saying, "I think it would be better if I tell you the rest after we take a break... Do you have coffee or tea? I think it would be best to let yourself calm down a bit before we continue."

Mrs Rossi sighed heavily when she asked, "That much worse?"

"I'm afraid so, madam," Fred said, giving the woman a sympathetic look when he added, "I'm afraid so."

~}i{~

Chapter Text

~}i{ 10/31, 10:15. With Gabriel Agreste Before "The Call" }i{~

Vincent stormed into Gabriel's office. The photographer had one goal in mind, confronting the boss about his so-called muse's disgusting behaviour last photoshoot. What he, the other photographers, and models witnessed was ABSOLUTELY NOT ACCEPTABLE, and certainly not acceptable of a staff member of the Gabriel brand.

"Vincent? What are you doing here?" Gabriel asked, looking up from his desk and whatever he was looking at. It was one of the few times the big boss was actually in the office, but he did expect his employees to keep up their workflow even if he was there.

Vincent glared at the boss when he said, "Making sure you got all of our messages since you or Nathalie haven't seemed to acknowledge them. The ones concerning your son during the last photoshoot." The photographer was not leaving until Gabriel understood what happened during that photoshoot and made sure that he heard that the Rossi girl was fired.

Gabriel didn't look all that concerned at what he just heard, which did make Vincent worry. The fashion mogul turned his attention back on what he was looking at before the photographer burst in when he said, "I was already informed about that, and I had a talk with my son about his poor behaviour towards Ms Rossi."

Alarm bells were going off in the photographer's mind when he heard that. Vincent took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and then asked his boss in a serious tone, "Mr Agreste, could you repeat that last part? Because I think I heard that you scolded YOUR SON for HIS behaviour TOWARDS Rossi, and I know that can not be right." He was hoping he was just misinterpreting what the boss said. Honestly, Vincent was hoping he was just hearing it wrong.

"No, you heard right," Gabriel stated calmly as he wrote something on a sheet before adding equally as calmly, "Ms Rossi has already informed me about Adrien's dramatic outburst over her casual touches. I have scolded him for it, despite his fibs. My son, actually telling me lies, perhaps Ms Rossi was right about those children in Adrien's class being poor influences to him."

Vincent's heart stopped beating at these words.

This man... The boss of the company... Believed that Brat of a person over the words of concern from his own son?!

Now that was not mama's spaghetti!

Vincent practically exploded with Italian swears before he snapped at Gabriel, "Now you listen here Agreste! That Rossi brat is lying! I don't know or want to know how you found her and why you made her your "Muse", but she has been nothing but unprofessional and has been invading YOUR SON'S personal space WITHOUT his consent! And considering her behaviour last photoshoot, she HAS to be FIRED and kept away from Adrien!" Right now, the photographer could care less about his career at the Gabriel brand, he was more concerned with the mental health and well being of one of his favourite models.

Gabriel glanced up at the photographer with a raised brow when he asked, "What are you implying Vincent?"

Vincent growled at the response. The implication was obvious! But if it had to be spelt out, he'll do it to make the point perfectly clear. The photographer finally hissed out, "That brat, your "Muse", MOLESTED YOUR SON during the last photoshoot, MULTIPLE TIMES and in front of the staff! And before you ask, Yes, everyone told "Gabriel's Muse" to stop and that she was being inappropriate, including YOUR SON! We told her Multiple times Agreste, and she didn't listen to any of us! I'm honestly not surprised Adrien stormed off the set, I would do the same if I were in his shoes."

Gabriel's eyes widened and his mouth was slightly a gasp when he said, "What are you-! She wouldn't do such a thing! She was just being casual with her touches!"

Vincent practically slammed the photos he took during that photoshoot onto Gabriel's desk, making the mogul jump in shock. The photographer glared at his boss when he growled out, "Do these look like "Casual Touches" to you, Agreste?!" He then took a step back as he folded his arms in front of his chest and watched the boss' reaction.

Gabriel looked over the photographs like he would a business document before finally saying, "Vincent, I'm surprised you of all people would photoshop pictures, especially to humour my son."

Normally, this would have pissed Vincent off but he was prepared for this. "Check your emails. Those same pictures are in MY complaint, WITH the original Metadata proving that those pictures are authentic," the photographer seethed out between his teeth. Vincent was wondering WHAT that brat told the boss that would make him think that a professional photographer would ever manipulate pictures of such a claim, especially one who works extensively with his company for years.

Gabriel raised a brow at the photographer when he heard this, but seeing that he wasn't going to leave until he checks his emails. So the fashion mogul turned to his tablet and opened his emails. Gabriel's eyes widened and his brows shot up when he saw just how many new emails he had. 386 new emails, all received between after the last photoshoot and today. Gabriel scrolled through the emails, looking for the one from Vincent, but as he scrolled he was looking at the titles given to the emails.

"Unprofessional Muse has to go!"

"Muse? More like Molester."

"Why the hell would you put your SON with that Rossi girl?!"

"List of offences Rossi has committed towards Adrien, your son."

"Either you fire Rossi or I'm bringing my concerns to the press! You're "Muse" is a Rapist in progress."

All these are from Gabriel's employees, all the ones who were working on the last photoshoot. Even the security guards have filed complains on Lila, even if they didn't know her name, they seemed to have attached a video to their emails. 'This... Couldn't be true...' Gabriel thought before finally finding the email from Vincent. He opened it and looked at the photos attached, then checked the metadata of the photos. When he saw that the metadata was unaltered, Gabriel sank into his chair in disbelief.

"You haven't answered the question Agreste," Vincent stated, getting the other man's attention.

"Question?" Gabriel asked in a bit of a confused daze.

"Do these look like "Casual Touches" to you? Especially now that you know that the photos are not fake," Vincent stated in a stern tone.

Gabriel looked over the photos again. He could see the look of discomfort on his son's face in each picture that was slowly turning into annoyance and then anger in that final semi-blurry picture. Gabriel looked through the pictures again, this time focusing on Lila. He looked at just how close she was to his obviously uncomfortable son, how she practically draped herself into his personal space.

How did Gabriel miss all these worrying signs? Okay, granted he was using Lila to cause Akumatizations and to keep an eye on his son in school, but he figured that she wouldn't try this sort of thing with his son, that she just wanted to be in the spotlight. Well, there's an irony in that...

Vincent was watching his boss looking at the burry photo when he said, "If you're not satisfied with the photos there's a security video that you should watch, the security staff emailed you a copy when they made a file on Rossi."

Gabriel immediately searched for the email from the security staff. When he found it, he quickly opened the video file and watched it.

The photographer could easily guess the fashion mogul's reaction to watching the video, it was one of the few times Vincent has ever seen Gabriel show emotion on that normally stern face.

Which mean that the video was showing the boss of the Gabriel Brand what he needed to see, whether he likes it or not.

"Her hand-! Touched-! How did-!" stammered a very distraught Gabriel. How did he miss all these signs? Wait... Adrien told him that he was uncomfortable being around Lila, that he didn't want to work with her anymore... But... Gabriel just brushed it off as his son acting out... The fashion mogul glanced up at the photographer when he asked, "Why wasn't I informed about Rossi's behaviour sooner? Her actions towards my son are inexcusable! This is a reason for termination, whether the victim was my son or not!"

Vincent frowned when he stated sourly, "You're kidding, right? We've been sending you more than enough proof of Rossi's unprofessionalism, especially her behaviour towards Adrien, all anonymously from within the company. You do read those right? Since you're the boss and your suppose to make sure all your employees are heard, even the ones who wish to remain anonymous."

Gabriel was strangely silent at this.

Vincent wasn't liking that at all when he growled out, "Agreste! Please tell me that you at least hired SOMEONE to look through the internal anonymous emails and tell you about the important one?"

"Of course I did! Jerry N'Mar," Gabriel retorted sternly before stating, "But I had to transfer him to another department because of an inappropriate interest towards one of our female models."

Vincent raised a brow when he asked, "You transferred Jerry because of an inappropriate interest to a female model?" Gabriel nods firmly at that. Vincent ran a hand through his hair in aggravation when he stated, "The same Jerry who used to have a couple of friendly flirty conversation with me until you told him to stop because it was unprofessional?" Gabriel froze at this as Vincent continued, "The same Jerry who's Boyfriend dropped by a few time when he forgot to bring his lunch or to pick him up for a date-night after work?" Gabriel wrang his wrist when Vincent practically snapped, "The same Jerry who is 100% gay with no interest in women and has said a couple of times, and I quote, "The only women I will ever love are my mama and sister"? THAT Jerry?"

Gabriel glanced at the wall when he said, "Yes... That Jerry..."

Vincent rubbed his temples when he practically snapped, "Agreste, mind telling me how in mama's spaghetti would you think that a GAY man would have an inappropriate interest in a FEMALE model? You knew he was gay and you just transferred him because someone told you that shit! Come on Agreste! I thought you were this strict businessman who would hear both sides of a charge before you go through a course of action! One simple conversation with Jerry would've told you that the claim was false! But No! You transferred him without a proper investigation! I'm surprised Jerry didn't sue you over that!" Gabriel was strangely silent at this. Still a little aggravated with this whole thing, Vincent snapped out his next question, "Who the hell would make that kind of claim against Jerry? I mean, doesn't the whole company know he's gay and knows that that claim wouldn't hold any sauce?"

"The model that he was taking the inappropriate interest in! Or... At least that's what I was told..." Gabriel replied sternly for the first part but a little quieter on the second part.

Vincent placed a hand to his chin, a theory already coming to mind after thinking about a few things before he heard that Jerry was transferred. The photographer finally asked, "Agreste, who was the model who made that claim? Because I remember him asking me a few questions about certain behaviours about a staff member that he was looking into." But from his tone, it sounded like he already had an idea on who it was.

After a few seconds of painful silence ticked by before Gabriel finally answered, "Lila Rossi... She was the one who made that claim..."

"The same Rossi that all the complains are towards because of her unprofessionalism?" Vincent stated sternly as he folded his arms and adding, "The same Rossi that molested your son on set? The same Rossi that told you that Adrien was "overreacting" to her "Casual Touches"? The same Rossi that Jerry was probably investigating because of those claims?" Granted, the photographer was a few fuses short of just blowing up at this whole ordeal. He was just supposed to come in here to ensure that that molester was out of the Gabriel Brand and away from Adrien, but now he seems to be tearing into a pool of just how bad that Rossi brat is.

Gabriel was mentally kicking himself for this whole thing. He honestly thought Lila just wanted fame and attention, he never thought she would ever try to ruin that chance. Did she really think he wouldn't find out about the molesting?

"Agreste, I just thought of something," Vincent stated, getting the fashion mogul's attention. "You were also employing Rossi to keep an eye out for any negative influences Adrien might experience in school, right? *Noticing the look in Gabriel's eyes*. Listen, Adrien is already aware of that crap, he utterly hates that you don't seem to trust him as it is and he's more than disgusted that you seem to trust you little spy more than him. You can ask any of the photographers, they'll tell you the same thing I am. To say that all of us are disappointed in you as a father is an understatement, Agreste."

"How did he know? How'd he find out?" Was all Gabriel could ask at the moment, surprised that his son was aware of the whole deal with Lila.

Vincent folded his arms when he stated sternly, "Your little spy dropped a few hints to Adrien like she was threatening him to stay in line with her or else she'd tell you. He didn't want to believe it at first but he decided it would be best to test the theory by telling Rossi about a made-up punk band that he "was showing interest in" and waited to see if it went back to you. Which it apparently did."

Gabriel remembers Lila telling him that. She reported that Dupain-Cheng was the one to introduce Adrien to that music, but if that was just a test from his son then...

Vincent got the fashion mogul's attention again and said, "Agreste, think about it for a bit. If Rossi is willing to discredit the employee who was investigating her for unprofessionalism with lies about him being inappropriate towards her just so you'd make him stop the investigation and actively downplay her molestations towards Adrien as "Casual Touches" so she can continue to stay close to him, how much of what she has reported to you is actually real?"

That actually made Gabriel think. Granted, most of the stuff was ammo for Akumatazion, but taking all the Hawkmoth out of this and thinking about all the reports he was given by Lila... A lot of them DID cast a couple of his classmates in a bad light, especially Marinette Dupain-Cheng... In fact, Lila has reported a lot of the negative influences were because of the aspiring fashion designer and has dropped hints that Kagami might be a bad influence too... But if all that was a lie...

Gabriel slumped in his seat. Actually slumped! He always had this stiff and poised poster, but this news this revelation...

"Have I... Really been that terrible of a parent since Emilie disappeared?" Gabriel asked, still in shock at all this information.

Now Vincent was a little uncomfortable. The boss's wife has been a taboo topic since she vanished, so no one in the Gabriel Brand uttered a word about her. The photographer took a deep breath when he said as calmly as possible, "I'm not going to lie, but I think it might've played a part. To be fair, everyone who has lost a loved one close to their hearts would go through some form of depression... We... We honestly thought you were just going through that, but we never thought it would get to the point where you can't even trust your son with his own decisions... Though... Thinking about it now, it just seems like there was a disconnect between you and Adrien when Emilie vanished..."

Gabriel placed his elbows on the desk, clasped his hands together, and rested his forehead on his knuckles. "Need to make things right. With both Adrien and my company. And if Ms Rossi is causing them that much harm, I will fix this," Gabriel stated, finally making his decision. It was time to put his Hawkmoth persona on the backburner, for now, he has to make things right with his son.

Vincent smiled at this before saying, "It be best to start with firing Rossi and getting a restraining order against her to keep her away from Adrien."

Gabriel nodes when he added, "And I'll also charge her with sexual harassment. I'm not letting her get away with molesting anyone, especially my son." He quickly pulled his phone out of his pocket when he added, "I'll call Nathalie to draw up the papers for Ms Rossi's termination, retraining order, and the charge for sexual assault."

Vincent nodded in agreement when he said, "Agreed, best act now before Rossi does anything worse to Adrien. I'm sure he'll be happier than eating his mama's spaghetti when he hears this good news!" The photographer was happy, not Adrien won't have to worry about Lila, both as work and at school.

But before Gabriel could even dial Nathalie's number, she called him first.

The fashion mogul answered the call, put it on speaker, and said almost immediately, "Nathalie, excellent timing. Listen, I need you to come back to the company to draw up some important papers, tell Adrien's bodyguard to stay with him until you get back."

"Sir, I have some important news that you need to hear," Vincent heard Nathalie's voice coming through the phone. She sounded like the same business-like woman the photographer has always known, but there seemed to be a slight falter in her voice.

Gabriel stared at the phone when he said, "You can tell me when you get here, I need those papers drawn out today."

"But sir, you need to hear this now!" Nathalie stated sterner than normal. She then said, "It has to do with Ms Rossi."

Gabriel then replied in his business-like matter tone, "What a coincidence, the papers I need to be drawn involve Ms Rossi as well. I have just received some troubling information regarding Ms Rossi. This information is certainly grounds for termination of her employment and I want her to be kept away from Adrien. Apparently, she's a very negative influence and I want her out of his class before she can do worse."

Nathalie was a little too quiet for a solid 30 seconds before she finally said, "I'm afraid it's already too late for that sir..."

Gabriel raised a brow in confusion when he asked, "What do you mean?"

"Sir..." Nathalie started before taking a few deep breaths before saying, "Ms Rossi... Has given Adrien's team fake maps that brought them to the real location of Joey Drew Studio... All of them are now trapped in that building..."

Gabriel and Vincent were quiet for a bit before the photographer finally asked, "Uh, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Adrien's class making a replica of that studio and had to do some research on it, with the research bringing up some rather dubious rumours about anyone who has entered it has never been seen again? That was the Joey Drew Studio, right?"

Gabriel's face contorted in shock and fear when he asked in disbelief, "Are you telling me that... That Ms Rossi sent my son and his teammates to a building where they might not be able to escape from?!"

"Yes..." Nathalie choked out solemnly, before adding in a broken voice, "Their class just lost contact with all of them! And... And the rumours about that place... They're real! Chloe and another classmate were able to record their calls with them, and Adrien and his team were chased by an-an Ink Monster! It's not a joke! It was a real monster!"

Vincent brought a hand to his mouth in utter shock as Gabriel felt his body become numb when he asked in a trembling voice, "M-my s-son is trapped... In an old b-building with an-an Ink Monster?! And-and Ms Rossi sent him there?!"

"Granted, she was trying to send just Adrien's teammates there but he trusted them more than her..." Nathalie stated sourly. But she quickly added in an angrier tone, "Either way, Ms Rossi sent them there, knowing full well that Joey Drew Studio was dangerous. Whether she meant to send Adrien there or not, she still sent them there! Even if Adrien wasn't involved in this, that is still a terrible thing to do to her classmates! She has no moral compass at all!"

Gabriel was eerily silent for a bit before finally saying, "Nathalie, call my legal team. I want to make sure that Ms Rossi is not only blacklisted from the fashion industry but also be made very aware that it was her own doing that caused her to become blacklisted! And get in touch with a construction/destruction willing to save Adrien and his teammates, I don't care how much it's going to cost, I want my son and his teammates out of that building!"

"Understood sir," Nathalie stated before ending the call.

Vincent slumped against the closest wall with his hand still covering his mouth in shock. This was NOT how the day was supposed to go. All Vincent wanted for today was getting that Rossi brat fired and be kept away from Adrien, but he never expected that Rossi brat to do something just as heinous as what she did during that photoshoot.

~}i{~

Until Chapter 2.

~}i{~

Chapter Text

~}i{~

Miraculous Adventure in Joey Drew Studio.

Chapter 2: Singing the Old Songs That Haunt Us When The Truth Come Out.

~}i{~

~}i{ 11/01, Joey Drew Studio }i{~

"Ugh, oh, my head... What happened?" Marinette groaned out as her eyes slowly opened. She, Adrien, Max, Kim, and Markov were still laying on the ground. Everyone started coming around, slowly, and all with heads throbbing. They slowly moved into a sitting position, to avoid adding any more pain to their already hurting heads. Max moved Markov into his lap since the AI seemed to be experiencing a circuit malfunction and couldn't activate his copter blades at the moment.

Once Markov rebooted his vocals, he said, "I believe I can categorize the curious event of all of us experiencing a CPU shortcircuit and then losing consciousness at the same time as 'Bizarre'... ... Inquiry, did you guys also see weird images of a strange machine, that Bendy Ink Demon, and a circle with ten pillars of lights?"

Normally, this would have been an odd question for anyone, much less an AI, to ask, but considering where they were...

"Urg... Yeah... I saw those," Kim responded, rubbing his head.

"Ditto..." Marinette groaned out in pain.

"Same," Adrien said, rubbing his temples.

Max glanced between his friends when he said, "I saw them too, but how and why? I mean, all of us saw the exact same images at the exact same time. The odds of that happening is- Ouch! Head still hurts..." The glasses-wearing teen then rubbed his head with his left hand. Maybe now wasn't a good time to do calculations.

Marinette glanced up at the coffins before saying, "Something about this place... Just seems off... And I don't just mean the overabundance of ink, the ink creatures, and the coffins. Something just seems... Strange here." That everyone could agree on.

Since Kim recovered the fastest, he stood up and check the door where they came in. When he peered around the corner, he was greeted by the sight of what was best described as a cave-in with the ceiling boards blocking the way as ink streamed down the new opening and trailed down towards a hole in the parallel wall. Kim sighed when he returned to the group and said, "Looks like backtracking is no longer an option."

Markov glanced around and said, "Well, since there isn't any ink in this room, would it be alright to equip that air gun?"

Max nodded when he said, "Sure buddy, *glances at his cast* but I'm going to need a little help with that."

Kim, Adrien, and Marinette agreed to help. After all, six hands are better than one, especially now.

}i{ Outside the Studio, at Collège Françoise Dupont This Very Moment }i{

Due to the recent revelations and a newly added Reckless Endangerment Charge, which currently had pending Manslaughter Charge on it, one Lila Rossi was being held in a juvenile detention centre with very heavy restrictions and near isolation from the other residents. She resisted the entire way, claiming that she was being wrongfully accused and her having diplomatic immunity.

Mrs Rossi already revoked her daughter's immunity as soon as she heard that Lila was not only bullying one of her classmates but also physically assaulting another and sexually harassing the boy who she claimed was her boyfriend. Removing the immunity... Was surprisingly easier to do than the diplomate thought it would be. Mrs Rossi sighed as she walked out of the school. She had already been interviewed by the leading officer on the case against her daughter. An actual investigation! Against her daughter!

Mrs Rossi sighed again. She wasn't all that surprised by it if she was being honest with herself... What surprised her was the number of people actually suing her daughter! Granted, Mrs Rossi did expect the Dupain-Cheng, Kanté, and Agreste family to sue Lila for defamation, assault, and sexual harassment respectively, and the school for truancy and reckless endangerment.

But more people were suing Lila Rossi, not just those involved with Collège Françoise Dupont.

Clara Nightengale was suing Lila for defamation. The singer-dancer heard that Lila claimed to have given Clara some dance moves that Lila wasn't credited for and even helped Clara with song-writing. The rhymer specifically stated in her suit that she worked her butt off to make her own moves and create her own lyric for her own songs, plus she has never heard of a Lila Rossi until a colleague of her's told her about the claim. While Mrs Rossi was shocked at this suit, she did have to admire that the singer-dancer managed to rhyme the whole charge.

Next on the Sue Lila Rossi list was Jagged Stone for not only defamation but also emotional distress of his honorary niece (It's Marinette, but her name was withheld due to her being a minor). Apparently, Lila claimed that she saved his pet cat from getting run over by a plane and wrote a song about her. Both of which Jagged made clear that they weren't true. He's never had a pet cat, in fact, his only pet for the past 18 years was his pet crocodile, Fang. He and his assistant/manager, Penny, also pointed out that there was no way that any airport staff would let a civilian on an active runway and that a regular human being wouldn't be able to outrun a plane getting ready for take-off. And since the first of the two wasn't true, the second was automatically debunked. Plus Jagged made clear that it would be completely 'unrock-&-roll' for him, an adult well in his 30s, to make a song about a teenage girl, especially by name. "That'll make people think I've been doing some very unrock-and-roll stuff with that girl," Jagged stated in the charge. That statement did confuse Mrs Rossi, but the officer cleared that up, abide a little awkwardly.

Prince Ali of the Kingdom of Achu was next on the Sue Lila Rossi list for misrepresentation and also defamation. A friend of the prince who lives in Paris (that would be Rose, but due to her being a minor and friend to the Prince, her name is being legally withheld for her own protection) informed/warned him of Lila's claims of "being super close with him and his family". Prince Ali did think his friend was trying to make a joke but when the friend told him about how Lila was claiming to have visited the palace often in Achu, that she is the Princes best friend who helped with a lot of his charities, and even how she rode on his private jet, Ali quickly understood how this was concerning. The prince immediately summoned his foreign relations team to advise him on the proper legal actions against this liar. Mrs Rossi rubbed her head in annoyance when she debunked the trips to Achu by saying that they've never even stepped foot in the kingdom, ever.

Even Paris' Heroes were suing Lila for defamation and reckless endangerment. Mrs Rossi couldn't believe that even Ladybug and Chat Noir were suing her daughter, so she asked why they would. The officer explained that Lila got an interview with the Ladyblogger by claiming to be "Ladybug's Best Friend", to which the red-themed superhero denied that claim multiple times when she said that she would never be friends with someone who would willingly risk not only their safety but their family as well by making such a claim. When Mrs Rossi asked for an explanation, the officer responded that Hawkmoth could target Lila or members of Lila's family to get to Ladybug.

Mrs Rossi ran a hand through her hair as she thought about that part of the interview. She wondered why Lila thought it was a good idea to lie about that. Just to be popular in school? The safety risk was not worth that kind of attention... Especially when a supervillain wanted to get any edge he could find to defeat the hero. Mrs Rossi did remember the officer writing something on a pad after she made that statement.

But that wasn't even the worst...

The Gabriel Brand, not the Agreste family, was filing charges against Lila, who was working as one of their models. Mrs Rossi was completely floored by this information when the officer told her this. The officer showed her a copy of the modelling contract with the Gabriel Brand. When Mrs Rossi told the officer that Lila never told her that she got a job, the officer asked how she didn't notice that her daughter had was employed. Mrs Rossi sighed when she responded that Lila told her that she was spending time with her classmates, either for study dates or just to hang out in general.

From what Mrs Rossi learned, the fashion company was not only firing Lila but also suing her for misconduct, defamation, and sexual harassment. They were also blacklisting Lila from the fashion industry as a whole over what she did yesterday. The misconduct came about when nearly all of the photographers who worked with Lila, and a few other models (Adrien included), have filed complaints against "Gabriel's New Muse". To which Mrs Rossi was just wondering how the man, and father to one of Lila's victims, never tried to contact her about the whole modelling thing or even do a proper background check on Lila like a reasonable business person would do (The diplomat did mention that quarry to the officer she talked to. The officer did make a note of that).

For the Defamation... Apparently, Lila has been more than a bit "unprofessional" during the shoots, to put it mildly. Between arguing with the photographers and subtly sabotaging the other models who were supposed to be on the Feature Articles, there was an issue with Lila claiming that Gabriel Agreste told her that she was to only work with his son. No one filed a complaint about these at first since well, Gabriel Agreste was the boss. But the longer they worked with Lila the harder it became to just keep quiet, especially when the photoshoots were taking longer and longer because "Lila seemed to know better" than the professionals and the fact that Adrien couldn't even (fake) smile during the photoshoots when Lila was practically latching onto him every time. Those photos were in the complaint file. While it was later learned that a lot of the staff of the Gabriel Brand had sent in anonymous complaints directed towards Lila because of her behaviours, it then turned out that Lila had the person investigating her transferred to keep all the claims quiet. That also ended up in the rather thick police investigation file on Lila Rossi.

The final straw, and the one that causes the flood of complaints from more than half of Gabriel's employees, was the "Incident That Actually Made Adrien Storm Off The Set in Anger" as the photographers and other models liked to call it. Which was where the Sexual Harassment suit came into existence.

When Mrs Rossi asked what that "Incident" was, the officer showed her the security video of it (the video was sent in with the complaints by the security officers on duty that day). So, she watched the video. Because there was no audio Mrs Rossi had to make the best guess based on everyone's body language in the video. It... It didn't take much guessing to understand why Adrien stormed off the set... And that more than horrified Mrs Rossi...

How... How could Lila think that doing something like that was okay? It was clear from the video that Adrien was NOT COMFORTABLE, and judging by his body language, he HAD told Lila to stop, multiple times. Based on the body language of everyone else in the video, they all told her to stop. She didn't, and Adrien shoved her off him before he stormed off the set. THAT was certainly sexual harassment, period. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Just watching her daughter act that way on the video was enough to make Mrs Rossi break down and cry. After everything she did for her daughter, how did Lila turn out this way?

Right now, Mrs Rossi was sitting on one of the benches behind the school, taking a break from the interview and just taking in all this new information. Her bella, her sweet little angel, had to be the biggest lie Lila had told. And that hurt Mrs Rossi the most. Lila wasn't an angel, not even close, she was a manipulative liar who just viewed others as pawns for her to use for her own gain, even her own mother. Mrs Rossi heard the officer said that Lila had to be the worst case of antisocial disorder or sociopathy, that they have ever seen.

And... Mrs Rossi had to agree with them...

"You're Mrs Rossi, Lila's mother, right?" someone asked the diplomat. Mrs Rossi turned to see Claudie Kanté, but she looked familiar to the diplomat somehow. The train conductor rubbed her neck when she said, "I didn't think one of my shopping buddies was a parent of one of Maxie's classmates, let alone the one who hurt him..."

Shopping?... Maxie?

"Le Pomme Rouge (1) Food and Electronic Market. You would shop for food when your son browsed the electronics," Mrs Rossi said, now remembering the woman. She then remembered the woman's son before she rubbed her forehead in aggravation and said, "I was the one who wanted our kids to meet because I thought they would get along... Max... That's the name of the boy Lila attacked..."

Claudie placed a comforting hand on Mrs Rossi's shoulder as she sat next to her when she said, "You're not at fault, you're just another one of her victims. And you were going one what you knew and thought to be true."

Tears peeked out from Mrs Rossi's eyes when she said, "But I should've noticed! Something! Anything! But no! I just saw what she wanted me to see!"

"And what would you have done if you Had found out she was lying?" Claudie asked the other mother in a serious tone. The train conductor then added in that same tone, "From what I heard from both Maxie and the School, she has been able to weasel her way out of getting punished by playing down the scale of the offence, blaming others, making up some kind of excuse via a disability, playing the victim, or feaguing ignorance until yesterday. So that makes me think that she would get out of any punishment you would've given her and even making you believe that she learned her lesson."

Mrs Rossi allowed herself to slump. She knew the other was right. The diplomate could now see that that was exactly how it would've gone. Mrs Rossi sighed when she asked, "After all this, I'm surprised that the Césaire family haven't tried suing Lila too. She practically turned their daughter, Alya, into the perfect pawn for her to use..."

Claudie glanced at the ground when she said, "From what I heard from their oldest child, they're... *Sigh* I guess they're more using this thing as a hard major lesson for Alya... They probably didn't think that they could sue Lila or that many people would be suing her..."

"To be fair," Mrs Rossi said with a sigh before adding, "I didn't expect that many people were going to be suing my daughter too..."

~}i{ Back in Joey Drew Studio }i{~

It took some time, but now Markov had the modified air gun attached to his spherical form, the gun section was attached to his mechanical arm but leaving enough room for him to use the claw without the gun interfering, and a loading pack on his back. Max had to modify Markov's copter blades so the AI could still fly with the extra weight, with Marinette's help since she was the most dexterous of the three able-handed teens.

"Alright, now everyone is armed and ready for anything," Kim said as Markov tested out his new copter blades and new appendage. The AI quickly tested out the locking sequence and firing mechanism of the gun. The wall did end up gaining a few small new holes because of this.

"Let's not go overboard with the shooting, okay Markov," Adrien said in a worried tone.

Markov did a quick analysis before saying, "I won't because of the limited ammunition I currently have. I was simply testing out my new weapon to see if it is functioning properly. And despite the circumstances, it was attached very well."

Kim picked up one of the axes when he said, "Well, now that we're all ready, let's press on and see if we can find a way out of this place. Hopefully, we'll find a room that was in the blueprints and we can follow it out of this place." He then used the axe to break off the boards on the closed door with only a few whacks. Marinette picked up the other axe as Adrien and Max picked up the metal pipes before they all followed Kim out of the Pentagram Room once the door was opened.

The five entered a narrow hallway with a straight descending staircase. They cautiously made their way down as they spotted a 'Utility Shaft 9" sign as they walked (or fly in Markov's case). An unimportant beam broke in half and dropped as they walked down, but it didn't hit anyone so it wasn't a big issue. It didn't take long before they came to a wall that jutted out in front of them with a small Bendy sticker, a banjo leaning on it, three lit candles, and another graffiti message written on a wall that jutted out in front of the group that read 'HE WILL SET UP FREE'.

"I wonder who the "He" in that sentence is referring to?" Adrien asked out loud to no one particular. The others just shrugged at the statement, despite their curiosity about it as well.

When they looked to their right they saw that they were in a large room with a couple of more coffins, a few scattered wooden chairs, and some machinery. Max tucked the pipe under his right arm so he could push his glasses up a bit with his left hand when he stated, "That's strange, I don't recall this section being in the Joey Drew Studio blueprints."

Marinette looked at Max when she suggested, "Maybe this section was added after the blueprints became public record."

That was when Markov stated, "Except that the Joey Drew Studio was shut down on August 28, 1959. If there had there been any changes before then all those changes would've been in the blueprints that Max and I received from the archives."

Kim couldn't help but say, "Wait, if that's true and this was made 'off the record'... Then... This part of the studio isn't in those blueprints we got."

Max sighed as he glanced at his phone, that was still recording, clipped to his suspenders when he said, "It would appear so... Which means that the blueprints aren't going to be helpful..." And here the geek thought that the blueprints would've been handy during their navigation through their replica studio.

Adrien looked at his friends when he said, "But... Why would Mr Drew make these additions off the book? I mean, why add them in the first place?"

Marinette placed a hand to her chin to think when she suggested, "I wonder if it has something to do with the financial situation of the Studio before it was shut down."

Markov pulled up all the data the class managed to find during their research before saying, "Oh my. It seems like Mr Drew was... Certainly not very good with money. But, it still doesn't explain these additions to the studio. If they were having such a problem with the finances, then they should not have been expanding the studio."

That was a valid point... So why renovate and expand the studio when they were financially unstable?

"Hey, look. Another tape recorder," Kim said when he spotted the device on a small table, right in front of a small cardboard cutout of Bendy and five candles, three lit and two burnt out. The taller teen picked it up carefully and spotted scotch tape on the back of the device with words scribbled on it. "Property of Sammy Lawrence. Don't Touch," Kim read out loud for the others could hear.

"Sammy Lawrance? Wasn't he the Music Director of this place?" Adrien asked as he, Marinette, Max, and Markov walked over to Kim. The AI quickly checked the data that the class acquired on Joey Drew Studio before confirming the statement. Adrien nodded when he added, "Yeah, I remember Nino mentioning something about adding some of the songs from the cartoons into our replica as nice little Easter Eggs... He liked the upbeat rhythm."

Max tucked the pipe under his right arm and pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he said, "Play the recording, Kim. It might have some information we can use to find a way out of this place."

"And if not, well, hopefully, we have something to hum while here," Adrien stated, trying to lighten the mood a little bit. "I mean, the guy was the Music director, so he had to have recorded some of his songs, right?" The blonde said, trying to explain what he meant in the prior comment. The rest of the team mumbled an agreement. If the recording was just a song, then at least they would have something to keep their spirits up.

Kim placed the tape recorder on the desk/ledge and pressed the play button. But what was played wasn't a happy song or even a sombre one, it wasn't even a song at all. The voice that emitted from the recording sounded... Like someone who sounded eerily calm when he spoke about unsettling things. That kind of voice was what the team heard from the recording, "He appears from the shadows to rain his sweet blessing upon me. The figure of ink that shines in the darkness. I see you, my saviour. I pray you hear me. Those old songs, I still sing them. For I know you are coming to save me. And I will be swept into your final loving embrace. But, love requires sacrifice. Can I get an amen?" With that, the tape ended.

"I said 'Can I get an amen?'." A voice suddenly called out from nowhere, making Team Psi jump out of their skins. It sounded like the voice on the recording.

They all looked around the candle-lit room when Marinette called out, "Hello? Is anyone else here?" When there was no response, Kim held his axe up ready to strike as he cautiously walked around the immediate area to find who the voice belonged to. Adrien nudged close to a battle-ready Marinette, he still very spooked by both the recording and the disembodied voice. Markov hovered closer to Max, gun ready to use just in case something were to happen.

"Hey guys, I found another path but we're going to have to get ink in our shoes again," Kim called to his friends, signalling an 'All Clear' and informing them about his find.

Adrien, Marinette, Max, and Markov quickly reunited with Kim in front of a long hallway that was flooded in ankle-deep, black ink. There were a few streams of ink drizzling down from the ceiling above. The hallway was only lit by candlelight coming from the other end of the hallway.

The bluette was the one to vocalize, "I'm being serious, where is all this ink coming from? There's just too much of it here, even if you don't count Demon Bendy and the Ink People."

Kim nodded in agreement when he said, "Yeah. I mean, if it were water I can think of a few reasons why it's everywhere, but ink... That doesn't have much of a reason I can think of, even if there's a Miraculous or some other magic involved."

Max nervously fiddled with the pipe in his hand when he said, "You guys know that data on Magic is... Something I have a hard time calculating, but even with my limited knowledge of Magic I am 95% certain that something within this studio is causing all this Ink stuff to become far too abundant." Markov concurred with that statement.

Adrien took a step in the ink when he said with a weary smile, "Well, I guess the only thing we can do is Wad this out."

The rest of Team Psi groaned once they realized the pun. Marinette couldn't help but say, "If it weren't for the fact that we're trapped here with killer Ink Creatures, I would find that funny."

"Don't you mean punny?" Adrien asked with a cattish smile.

Marinette playfully nudges Adrien with a small smile as they took a step into the ink. Both hidden heroes missed the confused glanced from Kim, Max, and Markov.

~}i{ At the Same Time, Alya in Her Bedroom }i{~

Alya was sitting in front of her computer, scrolling through her Ladyblog, or rather the frequency data section for all the posts under the #LadybugBFF and/or #Lila on the Ladyblog. These posts were once her most Liked on the Ladyblog, but over time these same posts have become her most Disliked on the blog. The thumbs-ups slowly switching to thumbs-downs, right under the admin's nose. 'Why didn't I notice this before?' Alya asked herself as she looked at the Popularity Chart over the last six months for all the #Lila Posts. At first, these #Lila Posts were a huge hit on the Ladyblog, but they slowly lost their popularity and the more recent posts under the #Lila were immediately getting the most Disliked. Alya was now seeing all this traffic for the first time and it horrified the blogger.

'How did I miss all these?' Alya questioned herself as she now read each of the recent comments under the #Lila Posts. She had easily over a hundred comments under that hashtag that should've made Alya suspicious of what Lila was telling her. They Should Have... But... 'Why didn't I take the time to look at any of these?' Alya asked herself as she read the next comment.

"This girl again? Why is she even on this blog? This is supposed to be a blog on Ladybug and Chat Noir, but she's turning it into a Lila-only blog." One comment read.

"Come on Ladyblogger? You KNOW Ladybug and Chat Noir, Personally! Why haven't you asked either of them if this Lila girl really is Ladybug's Besty? This girl is taking over your blog." Another comment read.

"Seriously? This Faker again? Come on, every Jagged Stone fan knows he'd never had a "kitten", he's got a freakin crocodile named Fang. And if this fake claims that her "Heroic" was before Jagged got Fang, then she's certainly lying. Because Jagged hatched Fang from an egg 18 years ago, so Fang's older than she is." commented a Jagged Stone fan.

"You might as well rename this blog 'The Lilablog' since that's what this is turning into. I mean, the last post with Ladybug and/or Chat Noir on the "Ladyblog" was two weeks before the posting of this comment, the rest of the post are about this Lila girl. I don't know what the Ladyblogger is thinking when she's posting these girl's fantasies on this blog, but you'd think she'd double-check with those tales Lila tells her." One fan commented.

"Another post of that Liar Girl. Really? Listen, the only reason I follow this blog is because I'm a Ladybug & Chat Noir fan and Ladyblogger always has good videos on them. But since Ladyblogger seems to be tunnelled vision on this Lair and her Tales rather than LB and CN, I'm out. I mean, it would be one thing about her being Ladybug's BF if she were in disguise or using one of those Miraculous to hide her identity, but she's not, and that's the problem that's being overlooked here. If that girl really WAS Ladybug's BF, she wouldn't be boasting that she is to everyone with a screen, and the fact that she did puts a pretty big target on her back. Hello, Hawkmoth could be following this blog too you know, and he could kidnap her or her family to get to Ladybug. Also, didn't Ladybug confirm to Nadja Chamack that she and this Lila girl aren't friends for the very reason I'm talking about to her when she was asked during an interview last week? I'm a little surprised that Ladyblogger didn't think to check with Ladybug about the Liar girl before posting that stupid "Ladybug's BFF!" video, she would've easily stopped the downfall of this blog if she actually did some fact-checking." A former Ladyblog follower commented before officially unfollowing the blog.

Alya sighed at that last comment. The person was right, she should've thought about those things during the first interview with Lila. It should've been obvious, but... Why wasn't it?

Thinking back on a few things... Alya realized just how Lila always managed to get her to think that she was being honest, modest, and truthful... Lila was always able to get her to think that she was this amazing person that couldn't do any wrong...

"ARG! Damn it! Why didn't anyone tell me she was a liar?!" Alya exclaimed in annoyance as she turned off her monitor to take a break from the Ladyblog. As soon as those words left her lips, Alya realized that people HAD told her.

Kagami, when she saw the post on Alya's blog about Lila personally knowing her mother because she saw potential in her when she saw her holding a sword for the first time. Kagami told Alya, to her face, that Lila was lying with the proof being that her mother was BLIND and would not have SEEN Lila holding anything (Yeah, I'm very sorry about this one, but it's just here show how much Lila doesn't bother to look up famous people). Lila's counter for that was that Mrs Tsurugi saw this before she went blind. Alya now remembers seeing Kagami potent frown when she retorted calmly, "My mother has been blind MY whole life, so either this Rila person is much older than she appears or she is lying. From what I can tell, she is lying." Why didn't Alya start thinking that Lila was a lair then?

Max, after he saw how many posts of Lila's "Extraordinary Life" were on the Ladyblog. He told her the impossible statistics of Lila being aquatint with all these famous people, especially the ones that died before any of them were born. Max also told Alya that she's posting these lies on her professional bog, her Ladyblog, which could ruin her credibility. Lila told Alya that Max was being petty because of all her accomplishments and was actually bullying her, even going so far as to fracture her ankle because of it. Now that she knew that that was a big fat lie, Alya remembered the look on Max's face when he walked into class with a cast on his arm when she accused him of faking... Alya should've known that Lila was lying about Max being physically violent. So why didn't she?

Nath and Marc, after they were told by Lila that she could introduce them to Stan Lee next time he's in Paris. "Alya, Stan Lee passed away a few years ago, there's no way Lila can "introduce" us to him," they told her. Alya just brushed them off, thinking that they were just being jealous of Lila. She should've started thinking something was up when they said that since they knew all the big names in comic better than she did. Why didn't she think Lila was a liar then?

Miss Bustier, when she tried explaining that she had a detailed list of everyone who worked on the school's art auction and that Lila wasn't on that list. Alya should've found that suspicious, but she brushed it off as a mistake or clerical error. Why was she so quick to think that?

Adrien, when he noticed how much Lila was being featured on the Ladyblog and how she was treating Marinette. He told her that Ladybug herself confronted Lila about spreading lies about her and their "supposed friendship" when Lila was trying to convince him that she was a hero. "Alya, she's not Ladybug's best friend, she hates Ladybug! And she's using you to keep her popularity and to hurt others!" Adrien told her with worry. Alya should've thought it was weird that Adrien, Paris Sunshine Child, would say something so mean about someone. But Lila assured Alya that they were just having a small rough patch in their relationship, but assured that it'll be quickly fixed and not to worry about it. If Adrien said something about Lila, then she should've started questioning Lila's honesty. So why didn't she?

Nino, when Alya tried to warn him about what Lila told her about Marinette's ulterior motives... But Nino told her that he hasn't spoken to Marinette face-to-face before Alya telling him... And he told her that the bluette would NEVER do something like that, even if she was mad at them... Alya should've known this. Why didn't she listen to Nino about Marinette?

Marinette...

Alya buried her face in her hands at the thought of the other girl.

Marinette told her that Lila was a liar from the very beginning... Marinette hates liars and people who try her hurt her friends, so it was no wonder she never got along with Lila... Marinette somehow saw through the lies and saw what it could do to her friends... She warned them, she warned Alya... And Alya told Marinette that she was being jealous and she needed to check her sources...

Alya groaned into her hands. "I'm such a hypocrite!" she grumbled into her hands. SHE should have CHECKED what Lila told her, not Marinette. She was supposed to be a Reporter, not Marinette. She should've noticed all the inconsistencies, not just Marinette. She should've caught on to all the lies, not just Marinette. 'I shouldn't have assumed that it was jealousy...' Alya thought to herself as she glanced at an old photo of her and Marinette smiling at the camera. 'Why'd I automatically assumed that jealousy was the reason why Marinette hated Lila,' Alya thought, still staring at the photo. The answer came to the bispectral girl immediately.

Because Lila told her that Marinette was jealous... And she just believed that...

"What does "Hypo-crite" mean?" Alya heard the voices of her younger sisters. She turned to the doorway to see not just Ella and Etta, but also Nora.

"Mom and dad called you for dinner... Seems like you didn't hear," Nora told her middle sister.

"What's "Hypo-crite" mean? Is it a game?" Ella and Etta asked in unison.

Alya sighed when she said, "No... A hypocrite is an idiot who doesn't follow their own advice... And loses their friends because of their stupidity..."

The twins glanced at each other with a worried look in their eyes as Nora sighed.

~}i{ Back in Joey Drew Studio }i{~

As Team Psi trudges through the ink flooded hallway. While it wasn't bad as the last few times they had to, they still didn't like the feeling of the ink seeping into their shoes. Markov did his best to avoid the ink dripping from the ceiling.

When they were about two leaps away from the doorway, they saw a man in a Bendy mask and overalls carrying a Bendy cutout walk by the doorframe.

"Hello! Excuse us! Can you help us!" Adrien called out to the man.

But the man didn't seem to acknowledge the group. He just muttered something under his breath as he continued on his walking.

"Hello? Mister?" Kim then called out as they passed the doorway. Group turned the corner to follow the man only to find that it was a dead-end with only the Bendy cutout staring back at them as it leaned against a pentagram on the wall. "Where the hell did he go?" Kim asked out loud as they looked over the dead end. The only other things in the dead-end with the Bendy cutout was a boarded-up hole in the left wall that seemed way too small for an adult to squeeze through and on the right wall was a three-levelled shelf, with the second level being quite askew, filled with cans of bacon soup.

Max nudged closer to Kim when he said in a stemmer, "Y-you guys d-don't need me to t-tell you that THAT c-couldn't be a hallucination, especially since we all saw him."

Markov couldn't help but vocalize, "I concur, more because my CPU is immune to these "hallucinations" things. And I am starting to believe that we do need to evacuate this place sooner rather than later."

"Easier said than done, Markov," Marinette said with a sigh as she looked around the new area. She spotted some kind of powerbox with three blinking lights on the wall parallel to the Bendy cutout. The bluette quickly walked over to the box, and carefully tugging Max along.

Kim, on the other hand, scratched his head as he counted the number of bacon soup cans on the shelf. The tall teen couldn't stop himself from commenting, "Esh, there must've been quite a deal on bacon soup if there's this many here... *Picks one up and looks at the expiration date*. Oh, Yikes! This stuff expired March 17, 1969!"

Max looked back at Kim as he tucked the pipe under his right arm so he could push his glasses up with his left hand when he stated, "Then it would be a good idea NOT to eat any of the food within this place if that is the expiration date on the cans."

Kim grimaced as he shoved the can back onto the shelf. That was when he noticed a flip switch with a blinking light hiding behind a few cans. He moved the cans aside to get a better look at it. 'Weird place to put a switch,' Kim thought to himself as he wondered why it was there in the first place.

Once Marinette and Max stood in front of the powerbox, they noticed that the gateway next to it was firmly shut by steel shutters. The geek tried pulling the lever down, but it wouldn't budge. The bluette tried next, thinking maybe that two hands were needed, but it still wouldn't move. The two then looked at the three blinking lights on the powerbox before Max said, "Seems like we need to get power to this gate somehow. Judging by the age of this, there should be a couple of switches nearby. Maybe three, if these lights mean anything. If we can find them, then we should be able to open the gate."

"Wait! Is this one of the switches?" Kim asked as he pointed to the switch he found.

Adrien stood next to Kim to look at the switch before saying, "Only one way to find out," and then flipping the switch. The light stopped blinking and became a solid light. When everyone looked at the Powerbox, one of the blinking lights stopped blinking and became a solid light.

"It seems like Kim's hypothesis is indeed correct," Markov stated as he flew over to the power box, and that was when the AI noticed what appeared to be a stone statue of Cartoon Bendy with a couple of spatters of black ink on it. Markov brought his claw to under his eye screen, as a question mark appeared where his eyes normally are, when he asked, "That's peculiar. What reason would there be to have a stone effigy of a cartoon character within the studio of its creation?"

"Huh?" Kim, Adrien, and Marinette vocalized in confusion.

Max quickly translated, "Someone made a statue of Cartoon Bendy and placed it here in the studio."

The others made a collective "Oh," as they gathered in front of the statue, more so to just look at it than anything.

Adrien rubbed his chin before finally saying, "Maybe Joey Drew really loved the character he created."

"Enough to have a statue made of him inside the studio?" Marinette asked with a raised brow, before adding, "It would've made more sense to have the statue standing in front of the studio."

Max then stated, "But due to the financial issue of this studio, I don't think that would've been a good idea."

"Mr Drew expanded his studio despite that, so I kinda think the guy would've had the statues made regardless," Kim pointed out. Team Psi glanced at each other before agreeing on the last notion.

Marinette then said as she tapped the blunt end of the axe she held on the powerbox, "Well, we better find the other switches so we can continue with finding a way out of here." Everyone nodded before they started looking around for the other switches.

When they couldn't find any other switches in their current location, the backtracked through the ink-filled hallway back to where they found the Sammy Lawrence tape. When they passed the Bendy Cutout leaning against the wall that turned into the room with the tape and coffins, Adrien stopped and stared at it for a few seconds. 'That smile...' the blonde model thought as he remembered a certain someone with a similar smile.

"Found another switch!" Kim said as he found the 2nd switch was next to a cartoon poster titled 'Bendy in Train Troubles'. The taller teen opened the box and flipped that switch. The blinking light became a solid light. Two down, one to go.

Suddenly, the sound of wood breaking hit the air. Marinette, Kim, Max, and Markov immediately turned to the sound, only to see that Adrien had hit the Bendy cutout leaning against the wall with the pipe he held, breaking off one of cardboard cutout's horns.

"Adrien, are you okay?" Marinette asked the blonde in a worried tone as she took a cautious step towards him.

In practically a burst of anger, Adrien seethed out, "No! I'm not okay! That lying bitch practically sent us into a death trap! *Hits the broken Bendy Cutout again*. I shouldn't have! *Smashes the cutout*. Given! *Smashes cutout*. That Bitch! *Smashes cutout*. Another Chance! *Smashes cutout*. After That! *Smashes cutout*. Incident! *Smashes cutout*. Last Shoot!" It didn't take long for the furious blonde to destroy the cutout completely. Adrien was now panting after such a burst of rage and activity.

Kim placed a gentle hand on Adrien's shoulder when he asked, "Hey man, you wanna talk about it? Because it seems like you kept it bottled up for a while."

Adrien turned to his worried friends and finally poured out what happened the last time he was forced to work with Lila last photoshoot. He didn't skip on the details on what went down during that and told them what he felt during the whole thing. The whole thing just felt like a damn finally bursting open and now unable to stop the water that was flowing out.

"THAT LYING BITCH DID WHAT!?" Marinette's furious voice thundered in response.

With a disgusted look on his face, Max stated sourly, "While I would reframe from calling Lie-la a bitch, because it would be insulting dogs, I would certainly agree with the emotional response to that story... Adrien, please tell us the other models and photographers also told her that her behaviour was certainly inappropriate and that she had to stop."

Adrien couldn't stop himself from growling out, "They all did, multiple times, EACH. I just couldn't take her anymore, I had to leave before a did something I would regret. Namely punching her, because that what I wanted to do, especially when she touched me THERE. I don't care how close someone is to another person, you don't touch them there without their permission! Nathalie made sure I had that talk and made sure I knew that stuff."

Kim placed a hand on his chin when he asked, "And you STILL gave her another chance, even after what she did to you? Adrien, why the hell would you do that? Dude, you only give people a third or a fourth chance if they WANT to change, and Lie-la clearly doesn't want to change."

Adrien glanced to the side when he said in a forced tone, "Father... Was very displeased that I left in the middle of a photoshoot when there wasn't any emergency... And he told me to both apologies to Lila for leaving and be nice to her..."

At that moment, only sound within the room was the sound of dripping ink.

Marinette took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and asked in that calm-but-secretly-enraged tone, "Adrien, DID you tell your father what happened during the photoshoot?"

A little unnerved by the eerie calmness, Adrien replied cautiously, "Yes..."

Marinette nodded slowly when she then asked in that same tone, "Did you tell him the same thing that you just told us? Not word for word, but you told him in a way that there would be no chance of him misunderstanding or mishearing WHAT you were telling him?"

Still, in that cautious tone, Adrien replied, "Um, yes, I made sure Father knew what happened and that I was certainly uncomfortable with what happened, and I told him that I didn't want to work with Lila anymore because of it..."

Marinette nodded slowly again when she asked, still in that eerie calm tone, "And did you tell him this before or after he said he was displeased that you left the photoshoot and needed to "Make Up" with that liar?"

Adrien shifted uncomfortably when he replied, "Um, it was after I told him... *Now in a more angrily annoyed tone* But Father seems to believe his lying spy more than the concerns of his own son! She apparently told him that I was being "too sensitive" to her "casually touching" me! There is NO WAY IN HELL her touches during that photoshoot could ever be considered "casual" in any way! I don't know what she said to have Father trust her more than me, but you'd think that me also telling him that the rest of the staff also telling Lie-la that she was being inappropriate and to stop what she was doing would be concerning to him."

Marinette closed her eyes before taking her phone out of her pocket. She turned her phone on and started typing, furiously. Max, Kim, Markov, and Adrien watch this in both fear and concern. There was no connection, so they knew it wasn't a text...

"Uh, Mari, what are you-?" Kim started saying before Marinette hushed him as she continued typing.

"It must be relatively important if she feels like she has to make a typed note," Max stated as he glanced around the area for the last switch. He then added, "But considering what just discussed, I am 83.5% certain that it involves finding a way to legally remove Adrien from his father's custody. And I have calculated that there is a 0.5% chance that Marinette might murder Mr Agreste over that if he fails to see the error of his decisions." Adrien wasn't sure how he should feel about that idea.

Kim couldn't help but point out, "I don't blame her, I mean... If my parents found out that some person I don't like was molesting me like that, whether it's from me or someone else, I'm pretty sure they'd do everything in their power to keep them away from me or sue them for sexual harassment. They'd probably do worse if it was my kid sister being molested."

Markov then added, "I am quite certain that would be the typical response of a caring parent if they hear that their child is experiencing sexual harassment."

With a sigh, Adrien replied, "I suppose they would..." Max placed his cast on one of the blonde's shoulders as Kim placed a hand on the other.

Once Marinette finished with typing her note, Team Psi continued on their hunt for the final switch. Which didn't take them long at all. The 3rd switch was next to the coffins. Marinette opened the box and flipped that switch.

"All right, that should be all of them. Let's head back to the main power box and see if we can open the gate now," Max stated as he tucked the pipe under his right arm and used his left hand to push glasses up.

So they made their way back to the metal gate, but something creepy caught their attention.

"Uhh, didn't Adrien destroy that cutout?" Max questioned as he pointed his cast to the turn with a cardboard cutout of cartoon Bendy leaning against the wall. The very cutout that the blonde thoroughly destroyed not even a few minutes ago, yet there it was, back in one piece and grinning back at the teens with its unnatural smile.

Adrien's face paled a bit when he said, "I'm pretty sure I did. I mean, I hacked it to pieces in a fit of rage, right?" Kim and Marinette commented that they were sure that he did. When Markov re-watched a memory file of the act, he confirmed that it happened and couldn't explain why the cardboard cutout was back in one piece.

After glancing at each other in a flash of fear, Team Psi quickly rushed by the cutout and trudged through the ink to get to the gate's powerbox.

After catching their breaths, they saw that all the lights were solid and threw the now active switch. The metal gates slowly creaked up and opening a new path blocked by wooden boards nailed to the door on the other side. Marinette and Kim made a few quick hacks each to break down a few of the board. That was when a light to the new area suddenly turned on with a soft eery moan accompanying it. That caused the group to freeze in place.

"Hello? Anyone there?" Marinette called out through the remaining boards, trying to get a better look at the new area from where she was.

That was when Kim called out, "Listen, we don't want any trouble, we're just looking for a way out of this place."

There was no response.

Kim and Marinette glanced at Adrien, Max, and Markov with an unnerved look in their eyes. Everyone clenched their respective weapon in anticipation, expecting the worst while hoping for the best. And with that, the axe wielders chopped down the remaining boards and they all cautiously entered the new area.

It had a rather large area with a high ceiling. More cartoon posters of old Bendy episodes and two walkways with a wall between them with a sign that read "Music Department". Under the department sign was another sign that read "Director: Sammy Lawrence". A few candles lit the area, but not by much, while a spotlight hit the group with its beam. A Bendy cutout leaned under one of two speakers mounted on the top edges of the Music Department sign. A gramophone sat on top of a dried puddle of ink. And another tape recorder sat on a small ledge close to where Team Psi walked in.

Looking past the new spotlight on them, Adrien couldn't help but say, "It's still pretty dark in here."

Markov quickly took note of the tape recorder and flew over to it, closely followed by Max, and then the rest of the group. After a quick analysis of the device, the AI stated, "According to the handwritten label, this tape recorder also belongs to Sammy Lawrence."

Kim cringed when he heard before saying, "After that last one, I'm not sure I want to hear what this message is about."

"But..." Marinette piped up before saying, "What if it has a clue about getting out of here? Even if it's a slim possibility."

That was a good point... So they played the tape.

Sammy Lawrence's voice emitted from the device, but this time it didn't sound eerie, he actually sounded normal but annoyed, "So, first Joey installs this Ink Machine over our heads. Then it begins to leak. Three times last month, we couldn't even get out of our department because the ink had flooded the stairwell. Joey's solution? An ink pump to drain it periodically. Now I have this ugly pimp switch right in my office. People in and out all day. Thanks, Joey. Just what I needed. More distractions. These stupid cartoon songs don't write themselves, you know."

Max tucked the pipe under his right arm to use his left hand to push up his glasses when he said, "Well, that was interesting. Judging from the tone and implied behaviour we just heard in this Audio Log, I am 76.4% sure that this one was made long before the prior Audio Log of Mr Lawrence we listened to in the "Alter Room" area. Uh, since it kind of resembles one."

Adrien couldn't help but add, "Yeah, he doesn't sound, uh, devoted and creepy in this one. But he also mentioned an "Ink Machine"... You guys think it's the same "Machine" thing that Mr Conner talked about in the Log we found yesterday?"

Max rubbed his chin in thought when he said, "That might be a possibility... Ink Machine... That... Might be a theory as to why there seems to be an abundance of ink here in the studio... But, what was it suppose to do in the first place?"

Markov was the one to say, "We do not have the sufficient data to make any logical guesses to its purpose, other than the fact that it seems to be the thing that is possibly filling this location with ink. Also, our critical priority now is to find a way out of here. We can speculate on the "Ink Machine Theories" once we escape."

Kim tapped the axe to his shoulder when he said, "Markov has a point. We need to get outta here, especially before anything else happens."

Marinette found an open doorway and walked over to it. That was when she realized that it leads to a descending staircase full of ink so that the door with an Exit sign below couldn't open. The bluette told her friends, "Looks like the stairwell is flooded. If we're going to get out of here, we'll need to find Mr Lawrence's office and activate that pump to drain it."

"Huh, guess that recording was handy after all," Kim said as he started looking around the area for some kind of clue as he, Max, Adrien, and Markov made their way over to the bluette.

Marinette was going to turn and nod at her friend when she noticed a power switch. "This must be for the lights," she said as she pulled the switch down. All the lights turned on in the area.

Max raised a brow at this when he asked, "You know, now that I think about it... How does this place still have working power if it has been shut down for more than half a century?"

Markov pondered that thought when he responded, "Perhaps someone is either still paying the electric bill for this building or this place has some sort of self-sustaining power source that we are not aware of."

Kim patted Max on the head with his free hand when he said, "Listen, Max, I know I tell you not to overthink things in the past, but right now we don't need to sweat the small stuff. We just need to get out of here, so use that brain for that."

Max gave a small smile when he said, "I guess that is a logical point to make."

The team walked back into the now powered on Music Department. They could now see more ink dripping down from the ceiling right in front of the department sign, and that was when a giant glob of ink dropped down. It landed with a slimy plop, then it morphed into a half-human ink creature from the chest up with the rest of its body dripping into a slug-like ink blob. The ink creature then started crawling towards the group with an eerie moan. Team Psi took a few steps back as the ink creature crept closer. They were just shocked at the sudden appearance, but they quickly got over it when Marinette and Kim smashed the ink creature with their axes, once each. When the hits landed, the ink creature burst into an inky mess on the floor and leaving a glob of black ink in its place.

The next thing everyone knew, six more Ink Creatures suddenly appeared and crawled towards the group as they groaned that eerie tune. With that, Team Psi leapt into action. Kim smashed his axe over one of the Ink Creature's head, KOing the thing immediately. When the other's saw this they did the same with their respective weapons. Marinette swung the axe down on one inky head. Adrien followed the bluette's action by doing the same with the closest Ink Creature to him. Max, awkwardly, swung his pipe at another Ink Creature's head, since he only had one hand to work with, but he missed and ht its shoulder and had to hit it another time before it was able to strike. Markov quickly activated his weapon protocol and locked onto the heads of the remaining two Ink Creatures before firing two shots, both landed on target.

Once all the Ink Creatures were taken care off, the group let out a breath of relief.

"Not going to lie, that was freaky," Adrien said with a huff, trying to calm himself down a bit after that activity.

Max tucked the pipe under his right arm and used his left hand to push his glasses up when he said, "Agreed. It seems like the power switch had some kind of trap attached to it. I guess that someone or something layed that for whoever pulled the switch... *Shutters* Those Ink Creatures just looked like they were searching for us."

Marinette glanced around for more Ink Creatures when she said, "And we were unfortunate enough to do. Again, it's a good thing we know how to defend ourselves, or we would've been in worse shape."

Kim let out a nervous chuckle when he said, "I guess Hawkmoth's Akumas were handy for something after all... *Now in a wiry tone* Do you guys think either Ladybug or Chat Noir would be able to help us? I mean... It's not Akuma related but they are heroes and we can use their help..."

Markov hovered close when he said, "What you are saying is true Kim, but how would Ladybug and Chat Noir know that we are here to give their aid?"

No one noticed how Adrien brought his pipe close to his chest so he could feel the Kwami in his inner jacket pocket or Marinette placing a hand on her purse. Both discreetly glanced at the little beings who cautiously poked an eye out to look at their worried holders. They wanted to help, they wanted to just tell their holders to screw the secret identity rules and just transform to save the group and get out of this place, but they couldn't... Something just felt off about this place... And the Kwamis didn't like that at all.

"Uh, I was on call with Chloe, so she might be able to get in touch with Ladybug," Adrien said suddenly, trying to lighten the mood by putting a little hope on the table.

Marinette plastered a smile, despite knowing that that would be impossible, when she added, "And I'm sure Chat Noir will be more than willing to save us if he knew we're here."

Adrien activated his 'Model Smile', knowing that Chat Noir isn't going to be able to get that message, when he said, "Yeah, I mean. Heroes save people. So she'll save us."

As Marinette visibly nodded in agreement, Max, Kim, and Markov looked at the blonde and bluette in confusion. Something was off about what they were talking about and their behaviours...

Adrien noticed a gate that was once closed was now open. Quickly thinking, the blonde model said, "Hey look, seems like defeating the Searchers opened a new path. You guys mind if I go ahead and check it out?"

Kim raised a brow at this when he said, "Uh, Adrien, this isn't an episode of Scooby-Doo. Splitting-up isn't exactly a good idea here, especially there could be more-. Wait, Searchers?"

Adrien nodded when he replied, "Yeah, Searchers. Since Max mentioned that those Ink Creatures seemed to be "searching" for us, I'd figure we just call those particular Ink Creatures "Searchers" since it's easier to remember." That was when the group hear a ding emit fro Max's phone like it was signalling something.

Marinette immediately jumped at the chance to talk to Tikki when she added, "That's smart! Say, why don't I check where this hall leads while you check out what's beyond the gate." As she pointed to an ascending staircase.

"Great idea Marinette, we'll meet back in 5, 10 minutes tops," Adrien said with a smile before he rushed off towards the gate while the bluette rushed over to the ascending staircase, leaving the rest of Team Psi in the main area of the Music Department.

"... Uh, Max, what just happened?" Kim asked the moment he lost sight of the blonde and bluette. The taller teen then said, "Because I was sure I told them that splitting-up was a bad idea."

"Affirmative, I heard..." Max said as he unclipped his phone from his overall strap and check it to see what the ding was about. The techie frowned when he said, "Great... We've been in this place for a full 24-hours... My phone has a weird limit on video length, where the longest I can record a video is 24-hours."

Kim glanced at the ascending staircase Marinette went up when he said, "On the upside, we were out for most of that time. The downside is that we're still trapped here... What are you doing?" The taller teen noticed that the shorter teen was scrolling through the recording.

"Markov, could you sync with my phone and analyze the video?" Max asked the AI, who happily complied.

}{ With Marinette and Tikki }{

Marinette quickly and quietly shut the door to the Projection room the moment she entered. Tikki flew out of the bluette's purse as soon as the door was closed.

"Oh, Tikki! What am I going to do?! What am I going to do?! What am I going to do?!" Marinette gasped out in pure worry, trying to keep her volume down so not to attract the others, her eyes were wide in terror as she started passing back and forth in the small room. In a frantic tone, Marinette said, "If I turn into Ladybug and save them, they'll notice that Marinette is missing and they'll wonder why Ladybug couldn't save her too! But if I stay as Marinette, then it'll leave all of us open to attack from the Searchers and that Ink Demon! Okay, granted we can handle the Searchers, but that Ink Demon?! Uh-Ah, no way I can protect us from that thing?! I mean, Ladybug might, but well, I explained why I can't be her right now!" The bluette was burning a ditch in the floorboard with her frantic passing.

Tikki, trying to calm her chosen down, when she said, "Marinette, calm down. It's going to be okay. You and the others have been able to defend yourselves from those Searchers so far, you just need to do so for a little longer. Once the ink is drained from that stairwell, you all will be able to get out of this place."

Marinette wearily wrapped her arms around herself when she said, "I hope so Tikki... And I hope Chat Noir can handle Hawkmoth and his Akumas on his own until I can get us out of here."

Tikki was strangely quiet at this.

That was when Marinette noticed another Audio Log on the desk next to the movie projector. "Wonder who this belongs to," the bluette asked Tikki before she picked the device up and read the handwritten label. "Norman Polk, huh. Wonder what he did here?" Marinette asked before she put the device down and pressed the play button.

When the Audio Log played the tape, the voice of a man emitted from the device, "Every day, the same strange thing happen. I'll be up here in my booth, the band will be swinging, and then Sammy Lawrence just comes marching in and shuts the whole thing down. Tells us all to wait in the hall. Then I hear him. He starts up the projector, and then he dashes from the projector booth and down to the recording studio like the little devil himself was chasing behind. Few seconds later, the projector turns off. But Sammy, he doesn't come out for a long time. This man is weird. Crazy weird. I have half a mind to talk to Mister Drew about all this. But then again, I have to admit, Mister Drew has his own peculiarities." With that, the Log ends with a click.

"Sounds like Mr Lawrence was a, um, excentric individual," Tikki commented as she looked over the projection booths ledge to view the recording room. instruments were scattered about with 12 wooden chairs on the stage for the band, the projection screen was behind the stage, and a Bendy cutout was occupying one of the chairs.

Marinette placed a hand to her chin when she said, "It does, doesn't it, but he had to be doing that for a reason. Especially if he doesn't leave the recording booth for a while." She then looked over the area below the booth. From where Ladybug holder and her Kwami could see, there didn't seem to be anything but what was supposed to be there. Marinette tilted her head to the side slightly when she asked Tikki, "Do you think there's something there that we're not seeing?"

Tikki could only shrug.

}{ With Adrien and Plagg }{

The moment Adrien passed the gate he went to the first open door he saw and quickly darted into it before closing it behind him, it looked like some kind of work area for writers. Plagg immediately flew out of the blonde's jacket when he heard the door close.

"Plagg! What am I suppose to do?!" Adrien gasped out in worry, he kept his voice low so the others wouldn't hear him talking to the Kwami. The blonde ran a nervous hand through his hair when he stated in a frantic tone, "I have to save them! But if I turn into Chat Noir, they're going to ask where Adrien is! And if I stay as Adrien, that leaves us open for that Ink Demon to attack us! We can handle the Searchers, but that Demon *shutters*! I don't know if Chat Noir can handle that thing, especially without his Lady!"

Plagg sighed when he said, "Normally I'd tell you to relax and eat some camembert cheese, but given where we are... I'd say stay on your toes and prepare for the worst. If it ends with you having to turn into Chat Noir to save everyone, then do it, forget the secret identity thing."

Adrien frantically rubbed his head when he snapped as quietly as he could (which is hard, might I add), "Gah! Why do I even bother asking you about these things?! You give terrible advise!"

Plagg frowned when he stated, "Hey! That's not always true! Besides, this place is putting me on edge. ME! The laidback Kwami of Destruction! That alone should be telling. Plus, lives are more important than secrets. If you have to transform to save the others, then do it! Both the Guardian and Ladybug will completely understand!"

Adrien sighed, trying to calm himself down, when he said, "I guess you're right this time, Plagg... I hope Ladybug can handle Hawkmoth and his Akumas without her kitty..."

Plagg was oddly silent at this.

That was when Adrien noticed a Bendy drawing on one of the desks and looked it over. There was a full image of the Dancing Demon with four headshots of him. Under each of the headshots were words of expressions; happy, sad, angry, and disgust. However, the headshots looked identical to the image to the full-body Bendy sketch. Right next to the sketch was a post-it note that read 'Don't let Joey see this'.

Plagg chuckled at the drawing when he said, "I get it, cartoon Bendy doesn't have a wide range of emotions."

"But that's kinda sad too..." Adrien replied before glancing down at the drawing when he added, "How does anyone know when he sad or upset if he's always wearing a smile?"

Plagg's whiskers drooped a bit when he said, "Kid, I think you already have that answer..."

Adrien sighed at the comment, knowing that the Kwami was right... He knew better than anyone just how easy it was to plaster on a smile when he wasn't feeling happy at all. "Don't let Joey see this..." Adrien muttered the note out loud before looked at the black Kwami and asking, "What do you think that means?"

Plagg shrugged when he suggested, "Maybe Joey Drew didn't have a sense of humour? Or he could just not like people messing with his creation..."

Adrien looked back at the drawing when he let out a, "Hmm."

~}i{ With Master Fu }i{~

Wayzz felt something wrong, very wrong. The worst part of it was that he couldn't figure out what it was. Normally the Kwami of the Turtle Miraculous was able to sense what was wrong, but not this time, and now Master Fu was very concerned.

"We'll have to intercept Ladybug and Chat Noir during their next patrol," Master Fu said, stroking his beard. He then added, "They might be able to solve this conundrum."

Wayzz liked that idea and it eased the Kwami of Protection a great deal. The holders of the Black Cat and Ladybug should help them solve this mystery.

Wang Fu smiled when he saw his Kwami relax a bit before saying, "How about we watch a little television while we wait for Ladybug and Chat Noir to start their patrol. We can drink that fresh pot of tea I made." Wayzz smiled. Tea and tv sounded good.

Wayzz turned on the tv as the Guardian of the Miraculous poured two cups of tea. There was a news piece on green gardening on right now.

The two sat for a few minutes watching the special as they enjoyed the tea.

Nadja Chamack face appeared after the gardening segment ended with her usual catchphrase, but this time around she didn't say it with her usual cheerfulness, "Don't bemused it's just the news... Today's leading headline is the ongoing investigation against 15-year-old Lila Rossi, daughter of an Italian Diplomate to France."

Wayzz tilted his head to the side when he asked Wang Fu, "Master, isn't that the name of the "Annoying Lying Brat" that both Ladybug and Chat Noir tell us about after she's Akumatized?"

Wang Fu stroked his beard when he said, "Yes, I'm sure that's her name... Both Ladybug and Chat Noir dropped by the 29th after their patrol, separately, and asked me if they could do something to retaliate against that girl since she physically harms a friend of theirs for outing her lies... While I did tell them that they couldn't do anything physical against that lair as Ladybug and Chat Noir, I advised them to keep their phones in their front chest pocket to record her threats and lies, to show to their teachers. I hope this is the result of that advises." The Guardian of the Miraculous was certainly hoping that that was the case.

Nadja Chamack continued with her coverage in that same uncheerful tone, "Normally, we wouldn't be allowed to give you a name of a minor, but the Italian Government and Lila's mother have given their permission for Lila's name to be used, for them to figure out the true extent of all the lies she has told and the deeds done."

"Oh, my," Wayzz got out as Wang Fu took a sip of his tea. Perhaps that liar was worse than they originally thought.

Nadja Chamack bit her lip a bit when she continued, "Especially after she has purposefully sent four of her classmates to the dangerously condemned Joey Drew Studio."

"Joey Drew Studio?" Wang Fu repeated cluelessly as Wayzz took a sip of his tea. Lucky for them, the anchorwoman did a quick rundown on what Joey Drew Studio was and why it was condemned. "Dangerous Ink Monsters within that studio?!" The Guardian gasped, wondering why he's never heard of this place before.

Wayzz gulped when he said, "Master, I think Ladybug and Chat Noir's worries about that lair is justified! We have to let them know that they need to save those kids trapped in the studio!"

Wang Fu nodded in agreement when he said, "Agreed. It may not be an Akuma or Akuma related, but they need to save those kids from the dangers of the studio before it's too late for even the Miraculous Cure can fix."

Nadja Chamack then continued, but now in a slightly cracking voice. This made the Guardian and Kwami wonder if the anchorwoman knew the kids trapped in the studio. The redheaded woman then said, "Again, normally we are not allowed to give the names of minors, but all four of the teenager's parents gave their consent to have their names known so that they can get someone, anyone, to help their children." Wang Fu could understand that. Nadja took a deep breath before she gave the names and pictures of the four teens trapped within the walls of Joey Drew Studio, "Lê Chiến Kim *Picture of Kim appears on screen*. Max Kanté with his AI, Markov *Picture of Max and Markov appears on screen*. Adrien Agreste *Picture of Adrien (school photo, not him modelling) appears on screen*. And... *Chokes a bit* Marinette Dupain-Cheng *Picture of Marinette appears on screen*. Are the four teens that are currently trapped inside Joey Drew Studio!"

Wayzz eyes widened at this. He now realized THAT was what felt wrong.

The teacup Wang Fu was holding slipped through his fingers when he heard and saw two familiar names and faces. The cup hit the table they sat at before bouncing off and landing on the floor. Tea spilt everywhere, but neither Wang Fu nor Wayzz could think to care about that... All they could think of is the fact that Ladybug and Chat Noir were trapped in a dangerous building with others...

~}i{ Back in Joey Drew Studio }i{~

"Max, you have that look on your face," Kim said with a knowing look and tone. He knew when his smart friend was thinking or calculating something complicated, after all, the glasses-wearing teen had a hard time hiding his emotions.

Max watched the section another time before finally saying, "Sorry, but that moment was just too strange to overlook. There was no draft and even if there were the movement is too potent for it..." Markov was watching with his buddy.

Kim scratched his head when he said, "Yeah, okay, I get that Mari and Adrien's shoulders moving when we were unconscious is weird, but so is this place. *Sigh* Max, Markov, can't you two put that on hold until we get out of this place? We kinda need to focus on that right now."

Markov's response was a simple, "Kim has a logical point." Max had to agree with that.

"Kim's right about what?" Marinette asked as she walked down the stairs and regrouping with the three.

"About focusing on getting out of here," Max replied immediately. He then frowned at the bluette when he added, "And we were also talking about you and Adrien going off on your own. It's way too dangerous here to be doing that."

Marinette rubbed the back of her head when the group heard Adrien call out, "Hey, guys! I found Mr Lawrence's office!" The moment they heard that the rest of the team quickly followed the blonde's voice and met him in front of an office with a window to see inside. Above the window was the sign that read "Office of Sammy Lawrence Music Department Director" and then an arrow pointing to a door the was firmly shut because of a burst pipe the was spewing ink like a waterfall. There was also a Bendy cutout leaning against the left side beam of the window.

Kim looked inside the office to see a wooden desk, wooden chair, a picture of a music note above the desk, graffiti on the opposite wall that read "iT's TIME To BELIEVE", and the pump control on the left of the graffiti. Max quickly pressed to record button on his phone with his left thumb before he reclipped it to his overalls so that the phon's camera could record what was happening. The taller teen then said, "Well, there's the pump switch alright. But *turns his attention to the spewing ink in front of the door* that's one hell of a leak blocking the door though."

That was when Adrien nodded when he said, "Agreed, if we could just stop that ink from flowing, maybe we can get in."

Marinette noticed an Audio Log on a small ledge parallel to the door. "Huh, that's a weird place to put a Log." She walked over to it and pressed the play button to hear what was on it. Since the Audio Log was in front of Sammy Lawernce's office, the group figured it belonged to him as well.

But when the recording started, a much different voice emitted from the device. The voice sounded like a man with one of those New York accents when he said, "So, I go to get my dustpan from the hall closet the other day and guess what? I can't find my stupid keys. It's like they disappeared into thin air or something. All I can think of is that they must have fallen into one of the garbage cans as I was making my rounds last week. I just hope nobody tells Sammy. Because if he finds out I lost my keys again, I'm out of here." With that, the Log ended.

Marinette carefully picked up the Audio Log with one hand and found the handwritten label. She read the name out loud, "Wally Frank's Story Logs... From what he said in this, I guess he was the janitor or custodian here when the studio was open."

Max tucked the pipe under his right arm so he could push his glasses up with his left hand when he stated, "There are quite a few things wrong with that Log though. Firstly, if he didn't want Mr Lawrence to know that he lost his keys, why even make a recording of him saying it? Second, why'd he, or someone, place this Audio Log right in front of Mr Lawrence's office, where he could find and listen to it? Third, the phrase "Again" implies that he's lost his keys in the past and should not have been trusted with a new set unless he found a way to attach them to his person so he doesn't lose them again. And fourth, why did it take him a week to realize that his keys were missing?"

That was when Marinette remembered their research on the studio and said, "Maybe... One of the other people who were trapped here in the past found this Audio Log and place it here so it could easily be found by other trapped individuals like us. I can also guess that that person was unable to escape since our research showed that no one who entered this place was able to escape..."

The team hung their heads in a silent prayer for those who weren't able to make it out alive.

Adrien noticed a closed door next to Sammy Lawrence's office with a sign above it that read 'Closet'. The blonde fiddled with the knob, but it was locked. Adrien turned to his friends when he said, "I guess this must be the "Hall Closet" Mr Franks was talking about in that Audio Log. Maybe there might be something in there that can help us stop the inkfall."

Marinette brought a hand to her chin when she said, "It's a stretch, but not like we have any other choices in the options department."

That was a true statement.

"Looking for keys in bins while keeping an eye out for more Searchers, not a bad activity," Kim said, trying to lighten the mood, before saying, "Well, let's get started, but this time we're staying together." The taller teen gave Marinette and Adrien a stern look. Kim then said, "I'm serious, we don't know if there are any more Searchers here and that Ink Demon can appear at any time."

Max pushed his glasses up again when he added, "I concur, we have to stick together here, especially since we don't know what other dangers are here."

Markov nodded when he added, "Affirmative, and we are also a team. Teams are to stick together through any challenges."

Adrien scratched his cheek when he said with a weary smile, "Yeah, sorry about that."

"Ditto..." Marinette replied with guilt on her face.

With that, they started looking for bins to see if the keys were in them. Adrien already looked through the bins in the Writers Office, no keys in any of them. Max noticed a flickering light coming from the hallway across from the Writer's Office. "Wonder what's over there?" the glasses-wearing teen asked as he and Markov cautiously walked over to the flickering light. When they got to the end, they came upon another ink flooded stairwell. But this time around there was a sign.

"Infirmary?" Markov read the larger letters above the light. The AI then questioned, "I understand that workplaces need to have some sort of first-aid kit on-site, but an entire doctor's office seems a little too much. Especially for an animation studio."

As Kim, Marinette, and Adrien walked over to Max and the AI, the techie read the sign under the Infirmary sign out loud, "Notice: Anyone found faking illness will be docked a full week's wages. Not sick. Not paid... Yikes, that's pretty harsh."

"Why would anyone want to fake being sick?" Adrien asked rather cluelessly.

Kim glanced at the blonde when he said, "You do remember that a certain liar who likes to get out of doing the work and any menial tasked that she couldn't bother to do herself by pretending to be sick in some way, right?"

"Urg, don't remind me, I had to make copies of my notes for her because of her "Arthritis prevented her from taking notes herself" and I knew that was a lie," Adrien vocalized before asking, "But I meant was why would anyone who has a job they're willing to do would want to fake being sick?"

Markov quickly pulled up some of the classes research on Joey Drew Studio before saying, "According to the former workers of this studio, Mr Drew was a rather harsh boss with high expectations for his workers and would push the workers to the brink and keep them in the studio until the deadlines are met. Some of the workers quit because they haven't seen their loved ones in days, sometimes weeks."

Marinette's face twisted in disgust when she said, "Yikes! Sounds like Mr Drew was a slave-driver."

Kim glanced at the sign in a glint of anger when he said, "The guy doesn't let his workers home and expects them to work on the cartoons under that much pressure? Damn! Seemed like Drew didn't seem to have any respect for his employees or labour laws."

Max nodded in agreement when he added, "Apparently financial reasons weren't the only reason for the closure of this studio."

Marinette brought a hand to her chin when she stated, "But where did the Ink Creatures come from and why are they tied to this place? I mean... Something or someone had to bring them here... Right?" She then looked at her friends at that last statement.

Adrien shrugged when he suggested, "Maybe it has something to do with that "Ink Machine" thing we keep hearing in some of the Audio Logs."

Max glanced at the ink flooding the Infirmary stairwell when he said, "Well, that's one theory..." He then glanced up at the others as they looked at each other.

So many questions they keep coming across, but as tempting as finding those answers are they knew that they needed to get out of this place first. And with that, their key searching resumed. They later found the keys in the bin next to the wall with an Alice Angle poster and an unlocked door which lead to a room with a pool table, complete with pool balls. Although, one of the balls looked a little too much like a disembodied eye. Not questioning any of the weirdness, mostly the fact that the keys were still here after half a century, Team Psi quickly returned to the hall closet and used the keys to unlock the door, which opened without any problems now. No one bothered to ask how that was possible after so long being locked closed.

Inside was nothing more than a regular custodian closet with a shelf with all the tools needed for cleaning, though they haven't been used in a very long time, judging by all the cobwebs caking everything. There were three cans of Bacon Soup stacked in a pyramid, that no one wanted to touch. A few wooden boards leaning in the corner. Two burnt-out candles. And lastly, another Audio Log on the middle shelf.

"Huh, another weird place to put an Audio Log," Kim commented before looking at his friends when he added, "You think it's another one from Mr Frank? I mean, it's in the closet he had the keys too."

"Only one way to find out," Markov stated before he hit the play button.

With that, the tape started, and the voice that emitted from the Log wasn't Wally Frank, but Sammy Lawrence, "Every artistic person needs a sanctuary. Joey Drew has his and I have mine. To enter, you need only know my favourite song. The bass fiddle sings with deep articulation. The drum thunders in triumph. The banjo playfully plucks. The violin shudders with a piercing voice. Sing my song and my sanctuary will open to you." With that, the tape ended.

max raised a brow when he said, "Why would Mr Franks keep one of Mr Lawrence's Audio Logs in this closet?" Kim shrugged in response.

Adrien scratched his head when he said, "Well... That wasn't helpful. Guess we wasted our time looking for keys for nothing. We're going to have to find something else to try to stop that inkfall over there." He pointed towards the gushing ink that was blocking the way to Sammy's office.

Max, Kim, and Markov agreed with their blonde friend, but to Marinette, the tape made perfect sense when she suddenly said, "So that's what Mr Lawrence was doing in the Recording Studio! His Sanctuary must be hidden in there!"

"Uh, Mari, mind sharing your thoughts with the class, because you're not making sense right now, and you're not even stutter ranting," Kim said as he rubbed the back of his neck in confusion as the AI, model, and techie agreed.

That was when Marinette explains how she found an Audio Log from a Norman Polk in the Projection Booth when she was 'looking through it for clues' and she told them what the Norman said in the Log about Sammy's strange behaviour. About how the Music Director 'Disappeared' in the Recording Studio for a long time. The bluette even told the guys how she thought that there had to be some reason as to why that was happening. "If Mr Lawrence's Sanctuary is hidden in the Recording Studio then his behaviour that Mr Polk noted in his Audio Log makes perfect sense," Marinette finished off with a smile, now happy she figured out the puzzle. She then added, "Maybe something in Mr Lawrence's Sanctuary could help stop the ink flow blocking his office."

The guys glanced at each other briefly. The bluette's logic was on point, and there was no harm in seeing if there was something in that sanctuary that could help them. So, the group made their way to the Recording Studio. When they entered the guys took in how big spread out everything was, Marinette, on the other hand, noticed something she saw from the Projection Booth was now missing.

"Marinette? Are you okay?" Adrien asked her when he noticed how quiet and pale she was.

Looking at the chairs for the band stage, Marinette stuttered out, "Wh-wh-where d-d-did th-the B-B-Bendy c-c-cutout g-g-go?"

The guys looked around the room, but there was no Bendy cutout. Bendy's face over a Voice Recording Booth, but no cutout.

"Marinette, I do not see a cutout of Bendy here," Markov stated as he spotted another Audio Log in the corner of the room, right next to the Voice Recording Booth.

"EXACTLY!" Marinette practically shouted before pointing the closest chair to the room entrance and stated frantically, "I saw a Bendy cutout propped in that chair when I was in the Projection Booth! I saw it with my own eyes! But its not here now!"

Kim scratched his head when he said, "Maybe you were just seeing things, Mari. I mean, those cutouts are usually everywhere and maybe you just thought you saw one."

Marinette hugged herself in anxiety and worry when she thought to herself, 'Tikki saw it too, but I can't tell them that.' She then said out loud, "Maybe... *Shutters* I guess this place it just riling me up..."

Adrien placed a hand on her shoulder when he said, "Well, at least you're not in this place alone."

Normally, Marinette would've gotten all flustered by this sort of physical contact with her crush, but right now, she just appreciates the comfort from a friend.

After the bluette calmed down, they decided to play the Audio Log in front of the Recording Booth before they did the music lock. This time around, the voice sounded like a woman's voice as the tape played, "It may only be my second month working for Joey Drew, but I can already tell that I'm going to love it here! People really seem to enjoy my Alice Angel voice. Sammy says she may be as popular as Bendy someday. These past few weeks I have voiced everything, from talking chairs to dancing chickens. But this is the first character I have really felt a connection with. Like she's part of me. Alice and I, we are going places." With that, the tape ended with a soft click.

"Strange... That voice doesn't sound like the Alice Angel we heard in the Bendy cartoons we saw," Adrien commented, trying to remember the voice of the character.

Kim picked up the Audio Log and looked it over. He found a handwritten label on it that read "Susie Campbell" with the dot over the 'i' in the shape of a heart. The taller teen raised a brow at this when he told the others, "Huh, according to the label, this Audio Log belongs to a Susie Campbell... *Looks at his friends* Didn't the credits at the end of the cartoons with Alice Angel say that the voice actress was Allison Pendle?"

"I think so," Max commented before thinking over what they just heard and added, "Judging from her overall tone, Ms Campbell seemed to have loved playing the Alice Angel character, so I am 82% sure that she wouldn't have wanted to leave the role willingly... Maybe she was in an accident or something happened that would cause her to leave the Alice Angel role?" He looked at the rest of the group with a questioning look, like even he wasn't sure about what he was asking.

No one was sure how to respond to a question like that... Even Adrien, who has dabbled in voice acting, wasn't sure about it.

So instead of dwelling on the strange Alice Angel voice actresses question, they started with opening Sammy's Sanctuary.

They played the instruments in the order Sammy said in the closet Audio Log. The bass fiddle first, the drum second, the banjo thrid, and the violin last. The group waited for a minute or so, but nothing happened. Kim then asked Markov if they played the instruments in the right order, to which the AI confirmed it.

Max tucked his pipe under his right arm so he could push his glasses up when he said, "Since we played them in the right order, then the "sanctuary" should have opened."

That was when Adrien asked, "Do you think we missed something?"

Marinette thought back to what Norman Polk said in his Audio Log.

~Flashback~

"He starts up the projector, and then he dashes from the projector booth and down to the recording studio like the little devil himself was chasing behind."

~End Flashback~

Marinette's head quickly shot towards the Projection Booth, eyes widen, when she said, "The projector! It has to be on when the instruments are played!"

"Huh?" the guys questioned cluelessly.

Marinette quickly explained, "When I listen to Mr Polk's Audio Log, he said that Mr Lawrence started up the projector before racing in here. I guess that the projector is the main key to opening Mr Lawrence's Sanctuary."

Even though the guys were a little sceptical, they followed Marinette out of the Recording Studio and towards the Projection booth. They crammed into the booth, but Marinette stood in the doorway since there wasn't enough space in the Projection Booth for all of them. Adrien played the Norman Polk's Audio Log, and just like what Marinette said, the projectionist told the strange behaviour he saw with Sammy Lawrence.

When they were about to turn on the projector they noticed something that unnerved them.

"Uh, Mari, didn't you say you saw a Bendy cutout in the Recording Studio when you were here?" Kim asked as his face went pale.

Marinette nodded as she rubbed her arms nervously when she said, "Yeah, why?"

Max, who also gone pale, gulped before saying, "Well, I th-think we believe you."

Adrien crept away from the balcony a bit, eyes wide, before he said, "But now there are two cutouts!"

"Those were certainly not there when we were," Markov stated, somewhat hiding behind Max.

Marinette peeked into the booth and looked down into the Recording Studio, and true to their words, two Bendy cutouts were occupying the chairs on the far right of the orchestra stage. The bluette shuttered as the colour drained from her face when she said, "J-j-just start the p-p-projector! The sooner we do so the sooner we can get out of here!"

Adrien quickly turned the projector on before everyone raced out of the booth and dashed into the Recording Studio. They became very unnerved when they didn't see the two Bendy cutouts in the chairs, and a chance glance at the projection booth really sent the group on edge when they saw that the two Beny cutouts were now in the booth! Thanks to Markov, they resumed their quest, but they were still a bit on edge. They played the bass fiddle first, the drum second, the banjo thrid, and the violin last as the projector continued to play in the background.

This time, they heard a click and then the sound of a metal gate opening. They quickly followed the sound to the Recording Booth just in time to see that there was a shutter next to the booth and it was opening with ease. Once the shutter was completely up, the group glanced inside to see a narrow hallway with three bass fiddles propped upright against some shelves on the left side while a wooden board leaned against the other set of shelves on the right, on the lower right shelf lay a fiddle. Everything had at least one cobweb on it.

"Not much of a sanctuary," Adrien commented as they made their way inside, one at a time because of the narrow space. When they got further in and made the turn in the narrow hallway, the blonde suddenly stopped in his tracks and causing Marinette to run into him, then Max ran into her, and finally, Kim nearly caused them to topple over when he bumped into the techie.

Markov, who avoided the collision because he was flying, question, "Adrien, why did you halt so sudd-." The question died before the AI could vocalize it completely when he saw exactly what caused the blonde to stop so suddenly.

Yes, there was a nice desk and stool to make a nice little hide-a-way office, with a banjo propped up against the desk, with a music sheet stand next to the desk, two lit candles even though there was working lights overhead, and a cute little Bendy plushie on the desk to make the place seem more like a sanctuary. What made this place creepy wasn't the oversized flow valve and toilet, but the pentagram drawn on the ground and the graffiti written on the wall parallel to the sanctuary entrance that read 'SING A HAPPY SONG. WHISTLE A MERRY TUNE. WAIT FOR HIS ARRIVAL. HE'S COMING VERY SOON.'

Kim got his voice back first when he said wearily, "I'm not sure if I should be grossed out by the toilet in the middle of this room or scared because of the creepy writing on the wall and floor..."

Max backed into Kim when he stuttered out, "Th-this p-place j-just k-keeps g-getting cr-creepier and cr-creepier." The taller teen wrapped a comforting arm around the smaller teen, trying to ease him a bit as Markov timidly hid behind him.

Adrien took a step back when he said in a creeped out tone, "I think Mr Lawrence wrote that after he went crazy."

Despite being more than a bit freaked-out, Marinette quickly made her way to the valve and turned the wheel-like handle. Once that was done she turned to the guys and said, "Let's just get to Mr Lawrence's office and drain the ink so we can get out of here! I'm pretty sure you guys can agree with me on wanting to leave a soon as possible." She then squeezed passed Kim to leave Sammy's Sanctuary. The guys quickly glanced at each other before agreeing that they wanted to get out of this place and following Marinette's lead.

When they got close to the bass fiddles, a Bendy cutout suddenly popped into view from the side where the band stage was and scaring the group half-way out of their skin.

Marinette, now fed up with all the cutout shenanigans, stomped over to the sanctuary entrance when she snapped, "Alright! Whoever's there, knock off the jokes, because they aren't-." The moment she turned back into the Recording Studio there was no one there, not even the Bendy cutout they had just seen. Petrified at this, the bluette slowly turned to the others when she stuttered out, "P-p-p-please t-t-tell m-m-me y-y-you g-g-guys s-s-s-saw th-th-that! I-i-it w-w-wasn't j-j-just m-m-me, r-r-right?"

"No! We saw it too!" Adrien squeaked out in fear as an unnerved Kim, Max, and Markov nodded, with the techie and AI peaking out from behind the taller teen.

Kim gulped before he said, "Let's just get out of here!"

Everyone agreed with that.

But the moment they took a step towards the Recording Studio door, seven Searchers suddenly appeared from the ground!

"Oh crap!" Marinette shouted before she quickly swung her axe at the head of the Searcher that got too close to her. Adrien quickly followed behind.

"Max, Markov, stay here!" Kim told the two before joining in the battle. He knew that Max was at a disadvantage with only being able to use just one arm against a hoard of Searchers and Markov needed to keep track of his ammunition, but at least the AI could easily defend his creator in the narrow hallway.

So Max and Markov watched in aw from the narrow corridor as Marinette, Adrien, and Kim practically destroyed the Searchers. The techie being able to get all that on his phone that was still conveniently attached to his suspenders. And after an intense half a minute of the battle, all the Searchers were destroyed, leaving only the bubbling ink puddles where the spawned.

"Okay *pant*, any idea on how *pant* those Searchers appeared *pant* when they did?" Adrien said, trying to catch his breath.

Kim wiped the ink off his face when he said, "I would say that the valve was booby-trapped, but there was too much of a chance on the in-between the turning the valve and us walking out."

"I concur with that," Max said as he walked out of the narrow way with Markov following close behind. When the techie rejoined with his friends, he stated, "There has to be some other reason as to why those Searchers suddenly appeared when they did."

Marinette scratched her head when she said, "Yeah, the timing seems a little too controlled. If the valve was booby-trapped then timing doesn't make much sense, especially since there's too big a chance for us to linger in there, not to mention the narrow corridor would've worked in our favour if we weren't as capable of defending ourselves."

Max nodded when he added, "It forces the Searchers to go in one at a time, a preventing whoever turns the valve from becoming too overwhelmed."

Kim patted Max on the shoulder when he commented on that being the reason why he wanted the shorter teen to stay in the corridor during the battle. The techie nodded thanks when Adrien told them that they had to head back to Mr Lawrence's office. Since they found the valve to hopefully dispel the spewing ink in front of the door.

So the group left the Recording Studio, unaware that they were being watched.

~}i{ The Lahiffe Household }i{~

Nino didn't feel hungry as he slowly batted a meatball back and forth with a fork on his plate.

It was dinner time, and according to the Lahiffe Family rules, every member of the family has to sit together at the table to eat and talk about their day. It was a mandatory rule where the only exception was to tell the family beforehand if they're going to be out. It wasn't a bad rule to have, it kept the Lahiffes together and it worked for them. But right now, Nino just couldn't bring himself to eat or talk to his mom and little brother.

"Mom, Nino's playing with his food," Chris tattled.

Nino didn't seem to hear as he continued to bat the meatball mindlessly.

Mrs Lahiffe knew why her oldest was acting this way and knew that she needed to talk with her youngest about it. So she quickly herded Chris away from the table, telling Nino that the bandages on the younger's arm needed to be changed quickly. The oldest Lahiffe son just mindlessly nodded, not hearing what was said.

"Mom, we changed the bandages already," Chris protested as his mom dragged him into his room.

Mrs Lahiffe mumbled an, "I know," as she closed the door to the room. She then motioned for Chris to sit on his bed before saying, "Listen, Chris, this is important, so I'm talking to you as a big boy right now."

Chris' interest perked up immediately. He liked it when he got a chance to be a big boy.

Taking a deep breath, Mrs Lahiffe said, "You remember Lila, right?"

Chris flinched a bit when he said, "Yes... I do..." The boy subconsciously rubbed his cast as he spoke.

Mrs Lahiffe took a deep breath, and let it out slowly.

Lila was the main reason for Chris being in a cast. She might not have done it directly as she did with Max, but she was the reason behind it. Lila told Chris a story about how she managed to do a backflip wheelie downhill on an old bike and how easy it was. Chris, of course, wanted to try that and after hearing how easy it was from Lila, he wanted to do it even more. So he "borrowed" Nino's bike and did exactly what Lila said she did in her tale. Problem was, it was a lie, and Chris found that out the hard way. It was thanks to a good samaritan that was able to perform some quick first-aid as he called an ambulance that Chris's arm was able to heal without any problems. The Lahiffes later learned that the samaritan was Alix's older brother, Jalil.

The young historian explained that he was used to patching up injuries, thanks to Alix being into sports. However, Jalil wasn't used to fixing broken bones, but he did his best. Though, he did ask Chris why he thought doing a wheelie downhill was a good idea when he wasn't experienced enough to so. Since he had Alix for a sister, Jalil knew a good amount about sports even if they weren't his interest. That was when Chris told his mom and Jalil about what Lila told him, how she said it was an easy trick.

Jalil horrified at what he heard, immediately set the record straight on how tricky wheelies are and that they need a good sense of balance to maintain for more than a few seconds and there needs a lot of practice on flat surfaces before even trying to do one on even a slight slope. The older male made sure to explain that backflips on bikes were difficult and needed a lot of experience to even attempt. Chris denied that Lila would ever lie to him like that and said there had to be some other explanation, which prompt Mrs Lahiffe to do a little investigation, starting with Lila.

When Mrs Lahiffe told Lila about Chris's bike accident and told her that someone told him how easy a trick was, she watched the girl's reaction. All Lila said to the mother was that it was horrible that Chris broke his arm and she hopes that he was alright. Trying to control her tone, Mrs Lahiffe asked Lila if she had any idea who would tell her youngest son such an outrageous lie while emphasizing on how Chris could've been more seriously hurt if he had either landed badly or if the ambulance didn't come as quickly as it did. Thank goodness that the mother has amazing self-control because when she heard what Lila said, she nearly lost it. Mrs Lahiffe remembered that interaction too well, and it still infuriates her.

"No Mrs Lahiffe, I can't thin-, well..." Lila said as she plastered on a worried look.

"Go on," Mrs Lahiffe stated, hoping that the girl was just going to admit that she was just telling tales and take some responsibility.

With a 'pity me' look on her face, Lila said, "I overheard Marinette Dupain-Cheng say something about purposefully giving some brat, her words not mine, bad advice on biking yesterday at school. I didn't know it was Chris and I didn't think it was going to be bad."

Mrs Lahiffe was appalled by what she just heard! How could she blame Marinette for that?! But she managed to keep her tone neutral when she said, "Really? Now, why would Marinette want to do something like that, especially to someone she sat for since he was a baby?"

That was when Lila turned on the waterworks as she wailed out how horrible Marinette has become.

Mrs Lahiffe was taken back by the sudden burst of "emotions", but quickly regained herself when she told Lila that she appreciated her concerns but she had to go. The mother was sure that the liar was thinking that she bought that load of bull, but she was more than sure that Lila was nothing but a manipulative brat. After that, Mrs Lahiffe talked to Ella and Etta about Lila's stories, both confirmed that Lila DID tell them about her doing an amazing bike trick.

Breaking that news to Chris and the young twins was not a pleasant thing for the mother... And she informed Mr and Mrs Césaire about Lila's actions and how quick she was to blame Marinette for her misdeeds. Mrs Lahiffe was going to warn Nino about Lila, but he beat her to the punch. Her oldest son went on a minor rant when he got home later day, he told her how he broke up with Alya because she believed Lila's words over his own and he told her that Lila made up some bull about Marinette flirting with him the day before, which he made sure to state that that wasn't true. Mrs Lahiffe hugs Nino for a very long time afterwards.

"What did she fib about this time," Chris asked, snapping his mother back to the present.

Mrs Lahiffe took another deep breath when she said, "This time, she did something."

Chris gulped when he asked, "What she do?"

"You know Marinette, Kim, Max, and Adrien, right?" Mrs Lahiffe asked cautiously, making sure her youngest knew the group.

"Marinette's my sitter who makes cool clothes, and Max, Kim, and Adrien are Nino's classmates. Max said weird stuff and made that talking sphere thing. Kim's a lot of fun. Adrien's nice, but I'm pretty sure he's an only child," Chris said with a smile. He then tilted his head to the side when he asked, "Why are you bringing them up, mama?"

With a sad look on her face, Mrs Lahiffe told her youngest, "Because Lila knowingly sent them to someplace super dangerous yesterday... More dangerous than Akuma attacks... And... There's a possibility that... No one will ever see them again..."

Chris's expression started confused but slowly morphed into horror when he realized what his mother was telling him. "You mean..." the child squeaked out before saying in a horrified tone, "Lila sent them someplace where they could be killed?!"

Not trusting her voice at the moment, Mrs Lahiffe nodded as a tear trickled down her cheek. The next thing the mother knew, she was clutching her now sobbing youngest to her chest. She knew he was going to react like this, but it still didn't make the impact any less painful.

~}i{ Back in Joey Drew Studio with Team Psi }i{~

"Well, it's not gushing as much," Adrien stated, trying to put a positive spin on the situation.

The group was standing in front of Sammy Lawrence's office where the ink was still spewing out of the pipe and blocking the door into the office.

Marinette sighed when she said, "At least one of us is staying positive in this hellhole."

The guys looked at Marinette in utter shock when Kim commented, "Yikes! You're swearing!" The reaction was understandable, none of them has ever heard the bluette use foul language or curse.

In an almost deadpin tone, Marinette couldn't stop herself from saying, "What else would you use to describe this place?"

Well... There was no way to refute that statement.

Max tucked the pipe under his right arm so he could push his glasses up a bit with his left hand when he said, "But Adrien did make a valid point in his statement."

"I did?" Adrien stated in confusion.

Max nodded when he explained, "While the ink is still blocking the door, it isn't flowing out as much. Therefore, there must be another valve somewhere that can stop the rest of the flow."

Markov quickly scrolled through his memory files before replying, "I cannot find any recollection of where another valve switch was located in our search. Just the one in Mr Lawrance's Sanctuary."

That was when Kim asked, "But there has to be another valve around here. Maybe it's in a place we haven't been yet."

"But where? We've been over the entire area here," Marinette stated as she looked at the guys.

That was when it hit everyone. "The Infirmary!" They all exclaimed together before they backtracked to the stairway that leads to the place in question. And to their amazement, the ink that once flooded the stairway was gone.

"The valve in Mr Lawrence's Sactuary must've drained the ink from this area," Marinette said as she and the other descended the stairs into the new area. A Searcher suddenly appeared on the left side of the stairs when the bluette took her first step on the ground, but she took care of that with a quick swing of her axe before continuing into the medical ward. The guys were rather impressed by Marinette's quick action.

While there were ink stains that nearly covered the ground of the Infirmary, there were also furniture pieces. Two chairs under a sign that read "Please Wait,", a small desk, a medical bed without a mattress, a Bendy cutout behind the bed frame next to an eye chart, a table with a gramophone on it, and another hallway that had a sign over that read "Utility Shaft 9". The group looked around to see a pipe next to a switch that was labelled with "Utility Access". Upon closer inspection, they realized that the pipe was missing the valve.

"Oh great, now we have to look for a missing valve," Kim stated sarcastically, not the least bit happy about this lack of progress.

Markov looked over the Utility Shaft 9 doorway before vocalizing, "Perhaps the missing valve is in this shaft."

Marinette shrugged her shoulders when she said with a sigh, "Might as well investigate it," before she threw the switch for the Utility access.

The group trooped down the hall. They arrived just in time to see a metal door creak open. Once the door opened completely, the group another graffiti on the parallel wall that read "DOWN HERE WE'RE ALL SINNERS." A terrible smell that hit their noses almost immediately.

"Is this! A sewer!" Max gasped in both disbelief and disgust as he quickly tucked the pipe under his right arm to cover his nose.

With a disgusted look on his face as he covered his nose, Adrien got out in disgust, "You mean that they put the infirmary next to a sewer! That's so unsanitary and nasty!"

Kim pinched his nose when he said nasally, "Not to mention that it stinks."

Marinette pinched her nose as well when she got out in a pretty grossed out tone, "EW! EW! EW! Who the hell thought putting a medical section next to a sewer system was a good idea?! Oh, Nasty!"

Markov couldn't help but comment, "Perhaps choosing not to add a nasal sensor to my form was a good decision. But that aside, I do agree that putting the Infirmary next to the sewer is highly unsanitary and counter-productive." For some strange reason, the AI had a weird sensory bug about his surroundings. He quickly glanced around the immediate area as the four teens reluctantly walked into the sewer. Markov looked behind him to see another sewer path, but it was blocked off by a bolted metal fence/gate with a Bendy sign that read "Work Hard. Work Happy". The AI couldn't help but note that the sign seemed to indicate some sort of manipulation. But what caught the AI's attention was a silhouette beyond the gate. A blinking light was casting a shadow on the wall, but Markov couldn't see what was causing the silhouette. 'The shape is similar to that of a person,' the AI thought, wondering if anyone else was trapped in here with them.

"Markov? You coming, buddy?" Markov heard Kim call out. The AI quickly looked over towards the graffiti and seeing the four teens standing there, still covering their noses.

"Affirmative, but something strange has caught my optics," Markov stated before turning back to the fence/gate, only to see that the silhouette was gone. "Uh, apparently it has disappeared," the AI said before flying over to the group a little quicker than necessary. And with that, the group continued through the smelly environment.

The sewer was swamped with black ink rather than regular sewer stuff, despite the smell. To the right when entering the sewer was a giant pipe that seemed to be shut, so no point trying to go through that, but to the left, they spotted two wooden boards nailed to the archway to feasibly block off anyone from entering. There seemed to be a yellow hardhat with a flashlight built-in peaking over the top of the lower board.

When the group made their way to the boards, they realized that the hardhat was being worn by a Searcher that seemed a little larger than the prior Searchers they've come across. When they got to the boards, they realized something.

"Is that thing holding our valve?" Marinette asked the rest of her teammates as the Hardhatted Searcher ducked into the ink.

"Apparently," Kim said as he quickly hacked through the boards.

They now saw the sewer turned to the right and on the slanted wall had more graffiti written on it that read, "THE SHEEP WILL COME TO SLAUGHTER."

Max shuttered when he commented in a sarcastic tone, "That's welcoming..."

They kept walking through on the path until they came upon a small alcove with a wooden work desk, wooden chair, a small wastebasket under the desk, a mug on the desk, a violin carefully propped up against the chair, papers with music written on them scattered everywhere, and another Audio Log on the desk.

"Whoa, this place... Looks kinda cosy," Adrien said as he hopped onto the escalated workspace, before adding, "It would probably be a whole lot better if it weren't down here in this smelly place." The rest of the team could agree with that, even if this make-shift workspace wouldn't work for them in their chosen field. That was when Adrien noticed the Log, so he pressed the play button to hear what was on it.

It was a new voice this time around when the recording started, "I love the quiet, and that's hard to come by these busy times. And yeah sure it may stink to the high heaven down here. But it's just perfect for an old lyricist like me. Sammy's songs always have some bounce, but if I don't get away once and a while, they'd never have any words to go with them. So I'll keep my mind a-singin' and my nose close." With that, the Log ended.

Marinette was the one to say once the Log ended, "I recognize that voice! That's Jack Fain! He wrote the lyrics to the Bendy songs from the cartoons."

Adrien nodded when he realized that the bluette was right, after reading the handwritten label on the tape that read "Jack Fain", before he said, "Yeah, I remember. Nino loved the songs for the old Bendy cartoons so he did a little extra research on the some of the Music Department staff and came across that name. Jack Fain's name popped up along with Sammy Lawrence's. He managed to find a few old interviews with Mr Fain before he was hired at Joey Drew Studio... Wait a second." The blonde placed the hand he had on his nose to his chin to think, before realizing how bad the smell was and brought his hand back to his nose. "Markov, do you have Nino's research on file?"

Markov nodded when he pulled up that information and asked, "You want to know about Mr Jack Fain's work during his time here?"

Adrien shook his head when he said, "Actually, no, that wasn't what I was going to ask. Knowing Nino, he would've looked up all of Mr Fain's work; before, during, and after his time at Joey Drew Studio. So can you tell me where, or what, Mr Fain work on after he left this place?" From what the athlete, bluenette, and techie could tell by the tone the blonde was using, he had some kind of suspicion.

Markov noded before he shifted through the data as fast as his CPU could process. The AI raised a virtual brow when he vocalized, "That is rather puzzling. According to Nino's research, there is no record of employment or any information about any projects after working at Joey Drew Studio. The only data Nino managed to find was a Missing Person's report on Mr Jack Fain that was filed by Mrs Fain, Mr Fain's wife. There's a note in the data that he wanted to tell Adrien this weird finding before the teams go into the Haunted Houses."

That was when Max said, "Now that you mention that... Didn't 90% of the data our class gathered regarding the employees show that they had no other employment AFTER Joey Drew Studio closed with more than 80% of them having been reported Missing by a loved one?"

Markov nodded when he stated, "Affirmative, the few exceptions are the co-founders, Mr Drew himself and his former partner. However, no one was able to find the surname of the former partner, just his given name, Henry. Therefore, there is no real data on Henry, other than he left the partnership and the Studio a year after it was formed."

Kim shuttered when he said, "You know, I kinda thought that the data that we found were just made-up to add to the lore of this place, but now that we're here, saw all the Ink Creatures, and listening to all the former workers... I'm kinda thinking that something else happened to them..."

Everyone glanced at each other with a similar unnerved look on their faces. Something stank, and it wasn't the sewer.

But they had to finish their task at hand, getting that valve from the Searcher and getting out of this smelly place. So they continued down the path until they came to a large room with two generator-like devices, a platform with chains attached to a pulley system, and the Hardhatted Searcher inside. Kim tried to sneak up on the Ink Creature to get the valve, but as soon as he got close to it the Searcher sank into the ink and appeared in another corner of the room. Adrien tried next, but the same thing happened. The Hardhatted Searcher just kept up with the "Keep Away" game.

"Guys, this is not working," Marinette said as Kim and Adrien tried to corner the Hardhatted Searcher yet again, and failed once again. So the boys rejoined the group and stood next to the generator on the left.

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he said, "We need a better plan for retrieving that valve."

Markov watched the Hardhatted Searcher, who was now in the far right corner, just sitting there. The AI then said, "It's strange that this Searcher exhibits retreating behaviour when the other Searchers exhibit aggressive and attacking behaviour."

Adrien thought for a bit before replying with, "Yeah, Markov's right. This Searcher does seem different than the others, not just the hat."

"Wonder why this Searcher is so different?" Kim wondered out loud as he leaned against the generator and accidentally leaning on the switch, causing it to be pushed down.

Once the switch on the left generator was activated, two things happened. The first is that the switch on the right generator flipped up, and the second thing was that the platform rose, and revealing more graffiti on the wall that read "SING WITH ME". Marinette now noticed the arrows above the two switches, an up arrow on the left switch and a down arrow on the right. Suddenly, the right switch flashed pink in the bluette's mind, then the raised platform turned pink in her mind, then the spot under the platform turned pink in her mind, and finally, the Hardhatted Searcher turned pink in her mind. "I have an idea," Marinette said softly as she motioned for the guys and AI to come a little closer so she could tell them the plan without the Hardhatted Searcher hearing.

Once everyone was told the plan, they nodded and put it into action.

Kim, Adrien, and Marinette went to corral the Heardhatted Searcher into the spot under the platform while Max and Markov scurried to the right switch, ready to throw it as soon as the Heardhatted Searcher was in place. It took a minute to get the Hardhatted Searcher to pop up under the platform, but they did it. Markov quickly threw the switch, which caused the platform to immediately fall on top of the Hardhatted Searcher and squishing it.

"Sorry we had to do that," Marinette said as she picked up the valve.

Kim couldn't help but comment, "Nice hat though. Wonder where that Searcher got it?"

"We really shouldn't worry about that, let's just get this valve in place so we can drain the ink," Max said as he pushed his glasses up before he took the pipe from under his right arm.

The group backtracked and returned to the infirmary, relieved at both the fact that they were out of the smelly sewer and one step closer to getting out of the studio. Adrien reattached the valve in place and turned it.

"Okay, that should do it. Let's get to Mr Lawrence's Office and drain the ink," Adrien said with a smile. The rest of the team smiled and nodded back before they left the infirmary.

When they returned to Sammy's office, they were happily greeted by the lack of a spewing ink blocking the door. Now that there was no obstruction, they entered the Music Director's Office without trouble now. This time, Marinette threw the Pump Switch.

Markov beeped happily when he said, "Now let's return to the stairs and evacuate this place!"

"Hold on, check this out," Max said, looking over some of the stuff on Sammy's desk. One being a blueprint of some sort. The others looked over the techie's shoulder to see that the blueprints were for some kind of machine, but not just any machine. "Ink Machine?" Max read the words written on the paper.

Everyone glanced at each other for a brief moment before Adrien rolled up the blueprints and shoved it in Max's pack. After that was done, they all trooped out of the office and walked down the hall.

Max heard his cellphone ding. So he stopped, tucked the pipe under his right arm, and used his left hand to unclip his phone from his suspenders to see what the dinging was about. "Oh, the battery's low..." Max mumbled as he looked at the power gauge on his phone. Out of habit, Max tried to get his attachable portable charger that he made, but then remembered that he could only use his left hand. He tucked his phone under his chin, with the active camera facing behind the techy and getting a rather fit looking inky figure with yellowed overalls and a Bendy mask on film. Max successfully attached the charger to the phone with just his left hand, completely unaware of what was behind him. Once his phone had the charger, Max decided that since they were going to be out of the studio soon, he turned off his phone to conserve the power without looking at the feed he got and tucked the phone into his left pocket.

The ink figure behind Max raised a dustpan and struck the teen over the head with the object.

A little ahead, Kim heard a sound from behind. When he turned to see what it was, he realized that Max wasn't with the group. "Max?" Kim called out to his shorter friend. Marinette, Adrien, and Markov paused before turning and seeing that the techie wasn't there. "Max?" Kim called out again, hoping for a response. When there was none, the rest of the team backtracked to find their missing friend. When they turned a corner, they were hit over the head with something in quick secession and hard. Kim fell first, followed by Markov, then Adrien, and finally Marinette.

The bluette was bearly conscious when she saw a rather fit looking inky figure with yellowed overalls and a Bendy mask standing over her with a dustpan in his right hand. "Rest your head, it's time for bed," the figure said before Marinette lost consciousness completely.

~}i{ Tom & Sabine Boulangerie Patisserie }i{~

Normally, it was usually very happy and cheerful at Tom & Sabine Boulangerie Patisserie. The owners always making their baked good with a cheerful smile.

But... Ever since their daughter and a few of her friends were sent to a deathtrap, the smiles disappeared. No one could blame them though. They lost their child. And even if she dies in that horrid place, they wouldn't be able to bury her since they couldn't even retrieve her body.

Nadja was trying to comfort her friends at this very moment. As soon as her announcement about the trapped teens was finished, she immediately went to her friends' bakery to comfort them. Luckily, Nadja's daughter, Manon, was taking a nap.

"I'm sure that the announcement will help," Nadja told Tom and Sabine with a solemn tone, before adding, "I have been told that Mr Agreste has been looking for a construction/destruction company that will work on saving them."

That was when they heard a familiar ding of the entrance bell. With a heavy sigh, Tom stood up and went to greet the customer. To the tall man's surprise, Jagged Stone, Penny Rolling, and Fang were standing in their bakery. "Jagged, what a surprise... Um, if you're here about that commission..." Tom managed to get out.

The rock star shook his head when he said, "An't here 'bout that. Penny and I just finished with submitting that suit against that rotten little lair 'bout her stupid tales of me writin' a song 'bout her 'cuse she "saved my pet cat" and her emotionally harassin' my honorary niece when we saw that newsflash 'bout Mari and her friends bein' trapped in that dangerous studio. Did that liar really send them there?"

Tom nodded sadly, not trusting his voice. Sabine and Nadja walked into the bakery during this.

Jagged angrily rubbed his head as Penny placed a soothing hand on his shoulder when he said, "Damn it! Did that brat know how dangerous that place is?"

"Oh, She knew, all right," Sabine spoke out in an annoyed tone before she said with a growl a little louder than she would've liked, "She was told I don't know how many times by the school's staff that Joey Drew Studio was dangerous and she still sent them there with a fake map! That lair had the audacity to assumed that Marinette, Max, and Kim were JUST going to get in trouble once the school found out they went to the real location of the studio! Can you believe that?!"

To say that Sabine was enranged by this was an understatement. She was even more so when she heard the reason why her daughter was practically sent to a deathtrap.

Tom then added in just as much anger, "I don't know about Adrien getting a fake map, but I just know that he went with Marinette, Max, Kim, and Markov because they were on the same team and they'd figure they'd just arrive as a team!"

Jagged's, Penny's, and Fang's eyes widened when they heard what was said.

"You guys are loud," A small voice said from the entrance to the family area. Everyone turned to see Manon rubbing her eyes sleepily.

"We're sorry, Manon," Sabine told the young child as she moved over to the child and stroked her on the head.

The child looked over the group of adults and crocodile, all of whom has rather sad looks on their face. Manon didn't like it one bit, she didn't know what made them sad, but she knew a way to cheer everyone up. "I know what'll put a smile on everyone's face! A funny joke! I'll go get Marinette, she good with the joke skit," Manon said happily before she rushed out of the bakery and up the stairs.

The adults glanced at each other with worried looks on their faces when Tom asked Nadja, "You haven't told her? Wasn't she with you at the news studio when you made the announcement?"

Nadja sighed when she said, "She was in my dressing room when I made that announcement, she hasn't seen it... And I... Wasn't sure how to tell her..."

The adults than looked at each other in worry. How are they going to tell the child this news?

"Mama, where's Marinette? Is she still at school?" Manon's voice called down from the bluette's room.

Nadja chocked out a cry at this.

How are they going to tell the child that her favourite sitter is currently in a deathtrap and that she might not be seen again?

~}i{ Back in Joey Drew Studio }i{~

Consciousness slowly came back to Marinette and the first thing she heard was someone saying, "There we go now." She couldn't help but think that the voice sounded familiar as she slowly opened her eyes and was greeted by the sight of a rather fit looking inked-skinned man in a pair of yellowed overalls and a Bendy mask holding an axe in front of her when he said, "Nice and tight." Marinette blinked to clear the fuzziness out of her eyes, before noticing that she and the rest of the team were tied to poles with rather thick ropes. Adrien was to her right, Max was to her left, Kim was on Max's other side, and Markov was tied in a way where he couldn't use his copters or air gun and was propped on top of a nearby wooden barrel with Max's pack and Marinette's purse prompt against the barrel. Everyone sturred awake just in time to hear the Ink Man say, "We wouldn't want our sheeps roaming away now, would we?" Everyone was now completely awake when the Ink Man holds the axe up when he looked at it when he said, "No, we wouldn't."

'Why does he sound familiar?' The four teens thought to themselves, wondering where they've heard the voice before.

Swinging the axe a little carelessly passed the teens' faces but the axe never made contact, the Ink Man said, "I must admit I am *places a free hand over his chest* honoured you came all the way *waves free arm to show off the area behind him* down here to visit me *places a free hand on his chest again*. It almost *brings the axe up, taps the part under the business end on his free hand, and looks at the axe* makes what I'm about to do seem *looks at the teens* cruel." The Ink Man then walks over to the barrel Markov was prompt on top of and placed the next to main support beam when he said, "But the believers must honour their savour." He then turns back to the teens when he said with his arms moving in a slight wave as he brought his arms in front of him, "I must have him notice me."

"You're... Mr Sammy Lawrence? The Music Director of Joey Drew Studio," Marinette guessed, finally remembering why the voice sounded so familiar. This Ink Man had the same voice from the Sammy Lawrence Audio Logs.

"Oh? Now I really do feel honoured now," the Ink Man, Sammy Lawrence, said with a slightly surprised tone, before he said, "But now I do feel bad about what I am about to do."

"Uh, you don't have to do whatever you're going to do if you don't want to," Kim tried to reason with Sammy.

Spreading his arms wide, Sammy said with an almost irrational glee, "Oh, but I must. He must notice me." He then glanced at Max before he suddenly said, "Wait! You look familiar to me..." Sammy strode over to Max and leaned down until he was face-to-mask with the quivering teen before saying, "That face..."

Suddenly Sammy pulled away while shaking his head when he said, "Not now. For our Lord is calling to us, my little sheeps." Sammy's arms moved with so much expression, the teens weren't sure if it was because he was once the music director of this place or it was just his character. "The time of sacrifice is at hand!" Sammy said, his arms were spread as if he was talking about something grandiose. The former Music Director then continued, "And then, *brings his left hand up before clutching it into a fist* I will finally be free from this.. *Brings both hands to shoulder level as he clenches both in fists as he looks at them* Prison. This inky... *Moves arms up a bit and unclenches his fists a bit* Dark... *Clenches fists* Abyss I call a body."

'He's... Oddly expressive for someone who has his face completely covered with a mask,' Adrien thought, couldn't help but watch Sammy's arms move with more expressions than he's ever seen in a person. The blonde then thought, 'But what's he ranting about? And what does he mean about his body being an abyss?' Now Adrien was confused.

Sammy then suddenly shushed the teens, bringing his left index finger to the "lips" of the mask he was wearing, before saying as he spreads arms out with the palms facing down, "Quiet! *Brings his left hand to his left ear* Listen! I can hear him. *Turns his torso to the right and looks up* Crawling above. *Giddily holds arms up and makes piano/spider fingers as he turns his torso from the right and to the left* Crawling!"

The teens couldn't help but glance at each other at this, not sure what to think.

Sammy turns his attention back on the teens when he said, "Let us begin. The ritual must be completed!" He then turns his body slightly to the left before he said, "Soon he will hear me... *Suddenly leans close to Marinette's face* He will set us free." Then he walked out of the room, leaving the four tied teens and AI to be sacrificed for this ritual. The moment the door creaked shut, also being locked, the teens immediately start struggling against the bonds.

Kim strained against the ropes when he said, "Damn it! He may be crazy as hell, but he ties a mean knot!"

"Arg! No kidding!" Adrien hissed out, trying to wiggle out of the ropes keeping him tied to the pole.

"I have a few inquiries involving Mr Lawrence, but now isn't the time to ask them," Max stated as he also strained against the ropes.

Team Psi then heard Sammy Lawrence's voice over the speaker system when he chanted, "Sheep, sheep, sheep. It's time for sleep. Rest your head. It's time for sleep. In the morning you may wake. Or in the morning, you'll be dead."

Dread suddenly engulfed the guts of the four bound teens while the AI's Risk Factor programming was calculating a rather ominous outcome. Everyone started struggling harder against their ropes.

Sammy continued with his chant when he called out thought the speakers, "Hear me, Bendy! Arise from the darkness! Arise and claim my offerings! I beg you!"

"Oh, shit!" Marinette gasped, her eyes wide in realization before she told the guys, "Mr Lawrence has been worshipping that Ink Demon Bendy this whole time! He thinks that the demon can save him somehow!"

"Why the hell would he think that?!" Kim asked, still struggling against the ropes.

"Uh, well, for one, he's crazy," Adrien stated plainly as he tried wiggling and squirming out of the rope's grip to no avail.

"I summon you Ink Demon! Show your face and take these tender sheeps!" Sammy nearly bellowed through the speakers. The room then started shaking a bit and the metal door ahead of the group slowly creaked open until it was opened completely.

Markov struggled against the ropes keeping him in place when he vocalized, "Marinette, don't you have a sewing kit in your purse? A kit that contains a pair of scissors? You can use that to cut the ropes."

Marinette nodded before saying, "Yes, I do, in my purse, which is leaning on the barrel you are on top of."

Markov beeped out an "Oh..." before he started straining harder on the ropes.

Tikki peeked an eye out of the purse, abling her to see her chosen struggling against the ropes keeping her tied to the pole. The kwami bit her lip. She wanted to help her chosen, she truly did. But if she brought the sewing scissors to free her chosen and help cut her loose, she'll expose Marinette as Ladybug to two civilians, an AI, and Chat Noir. Tikki didn't like this situation at all, not the least bit.

"That's it! I can't take this anymore!" Everyone heard an unknown voice call out. Marinette, Max, Kim, and Markov turned their attention towards Adrien, where they heard the voice coming from but it certainly didn't sound like the blonde.

Adrien paled when Plagg shot out of his jacket pocket and then started bitting the ropes. "Plagg! What are you doing!?" Adrien nearly shouted at the black Kwami, who was still trying to bite the ropes to break them.

Plagg glanced up at his chosen when he snapped, "What do you think? I'm trying to save your butts! Screw the Secret Identity Rules! Your lives are way more important than that! And like hell I'm letting my chosen get sacrificed to some stupid ink monster!" He then went back to trying to bite through the rope.

Adrien, still pale and with his eyes widen, snapped his head towards his teammates. All four of them were staring at the black Kwami with wide eyes and dropped jaws (minus Markov, who didn't have a jaw), all have stopped their struggles with freeing themselves from the ropes. "Uh, Umm," Adrien vocalized nervously before finally saying, "Uh, this is, um, paw-sitively the worst time fur the cat to be let out of the bag. But at least Hawkmoth isn't here." The blonde gave his friends a nervous smile as Plagg continued to try to bite through the ropes, but wasn't making ant progress.

"Oh My God! You're Chat Noir!" Marinette exclaimed in a strange combination of shock and panic.

"Apparently..." Kim vocalized in a dazed/shocked tone as the bluette was kinda/sort of mumbling that Adrien was Chat Noir and Chat Noir was Adrien.

"Is there a way to reboot Marinette? I think this new revelation is overloading her CPU," Markov commented as he watched the bluette's actions.

That was when Marinette finally said in her panic/shock, "I've been rejecting Chat Noir for Adrien! And they're the same person!"

"Marinette? Are you alright? You are making less sense then you do when you're studdering," Max commented, wondering if she was overreacting to this scenario.

Surprisingly, it was Kim who put the facts together when he said, "Wait a minute! Is Mari implying what I think she's implying?"

Adrien's eyes now widened in shock due to realization when he looked at Marinette. The bluette now had her bluebell eyes on him with an apologetic look. "Are you?" Was all Adrien could get out.

Marinette sighed before she said as she turned her attention to her purse, "Tikki, could you help by bringing me the sewing scissors?"

The guys' attention immediately fell on Marinette's pink purse. It wiggled a few times before the red Kwami popped out of the purse, with the small sewing scissors in her stubby hands. Tikki waved an awkward hello to the others before she flew towards her chosen and used the scissors to snip at the ropes since the scissors were small and the ropes were thick.

Adrien turned his attention from Tikki to Marinette when he said, "You're M'Lady?! This is who you are under the mask?!"

Marinette smiled at Adrien when she said, "Yes, Chaton. This is who I am under the mask."

With that, Adrien smiled at Marinette, who smiled back.

"Uh, as much as I hate being the one to interrupt this confirmation of the LadyNoir ship, but our current dilemma dictates that we need to escape before Bendy shows up," Max stated suddenly, and interrupting Marinette and Adrien's moment. Not that the two could blame him, the situation was bad and they do need to get away before things could get any worse.

Kim agreed with the techie when he added, "I mean, it's wicked cool and all, but Max is right, we need to get out of here."

"Try breaking the ropes now, Marinette," Tikki said as she managed to snip through half the width of the rope. The bluette nodded before she strained against the ropes again, but this time the ropes gave way. After breaking free, Marinette quickly took the little scissors from the red Kwami before she started using them to snip the ropes around Adrien. Since the bluette was more dexterous with the scissors than Tikki, she was able to snip through the ropes faster. Soon Adrien was free. Marinette now bolted to Max and started snipping at his ropes while Adrien went for the axe.

That was when they heard a loud noise coming through the speakers and then Sammy shouting in fear, "No! My Lord!"

That didn't sound good as Team Psi glanced up at the speakers.

"Stay back!" Sammy continued to shout in fear and then said, "I am your prophet! I am your-AAAHHH!" Sammy's screams then pierced the air through the speakers and then followed by a fierce roar shook the room.

"Shit! That's bad," Adrien said before he turned his attention to Kim and quickly used the axe to cut the ropes, just time with Marinette snipping the ropes on Max enough for him to break them.

The next thing everyone knew, five Searchers appeared from some of the small bubbling pools of ink.

With only one weapon available and no time to transform, Adrien had to work quickly. But luckily he was able to take out the five Searchers without much trouble and before they could get close to the rest of his teammates. It was such a relief that he was able to do it so quickly, especially since Marinette was working on freeing Markov from his ropes. Once the AI was freed, Marinette returned the sewing scissors to her little sewing kit and back into her purse. Both the techie and bluette picked up their respective bags. They noticed a puddle of ink forming under the door that Sammy left out of.

Yeah... Best not go through that door.

"Let's get out of here before that Ink Demon makes an appearance," Adrien said as they made their way to the open metal door.

They quickly trooped down the hallway and came to a small square area that was filled with ankle-deep ink that was blocked by a couple of wooden planks nailed up. Adrien makes quick work of the ones in front of them. The moment that stepped into the ink space, they glanced to their right just in time to see some kind of machine being lowered down by chains behind three stacked wooden boxes and an empty shelf.

Max was the one to say, "That looks like the device in the Ink Machine blueprints from Mr Lawrence's office! But why is it being lowered?" Everyone glanced at each other before moving on.

Plagg shuttered suddenly when Adrien hacked through the boards blocking the other side of the ink space, once those were down, those were gone everyone stepped out of the ink. "I sense something bad nearby," Plagg said out loud before adding with another shutter, "And I don't like it."

Tikki flew over to Plagg when she said, "That's weird, I'm also sensing something, but feels more excited to me." The red kwami did sound a little confused by what she said like even she wasn't sure with what she was saying.

Plagg narrowed his eyes at his red companion when he nearly snapped, "How can you NOT sense THAT presence?! It's making my skin crawl."

Adrien looked at Plagg before he could hack down the boards at the end of the hallway when he said, "Wow, Plagg, I guess you were being serious about being on edge. You're normally a little too laid back, even in serious situations."

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand before he asked, "Maybe we need to tread cautiously if, uh, Plagg is acting this out of character." He was still letting the fact that the bluette and blonde were Ladybug and Chat Noir sink in. Max had sooooo many questions at the moment, but as much as he wanted answers he knew he had to wait until they were either out of this place or safe from any threats. Hopefully the former rather than the latter.

Adrien then hacked down the remaining boards blocking the other side of the ink spot and the group moved on as the blonde hacked down the wooden beams that were blocking the way. When the final beam was chopped down, the axe was snapped in two.

"Shit! That's not a good sign," Kim stated before looking ahead to see a room completely flooded with black ink. On the other side of the flooded room was a door. Plagg darted back into Adrien's jacket pocket, not liking what he was feeling. The group looked at each other in concern before they took a cautious step towards the ink flooded room.

Suddenly, Ink Demon Bendy emerged from the centre of the room as ink webs surrounded the walls of the immediate area. The Ink Demon gave a quick growl with that erected grin still on its face before it charged at the group.

The teens and AI screamed before they did the only thing that they could. Run.

There was no time for the heroes to transform! They had to run and make sure Kim, Max, and Markov were safe!

The heroes quickly grabbed the nearest civilian and pulled them to the left, into a new hallway to escape the Ink Demon. Adrien grabbed Kim while Marinette grabbed Max, Markov could easily manoeuvre himself to follow the humans as quickly as possible. All the teens burst into a sprint as the AI activated his throttles to keep pace with them. The ink webs clung to the walls, indicating that the Ink Demon was still close behind the group as they kept sprinting through the twists and turns in the surprisingly long corridor.

At the end of the long corridor, there was an open door. The group bolted faster towards the door as the ink webs started growing darker. The moment they passed through the door, Marinette immediately slammed the door shut as Adrien quickly used a thick and heavy wooden board to block the door, with the peges for holding the board up already conveniently in place, and preventing the Ink Demon from entering. Kim and Max were currently sitting on the ground, due to practically being thrown into the new room. Markov was hovering over the two.

Marinette and Adrien stared at the blocked door with an intense look in their eyes, ready to transform and fight the Ink Demon to protect their friends. Plagg and Tikki hovered next to their chosen.

The only thing that happened was the sounds of three knocks and a bearly audible growl before nothing for an intense, solid minute.

Marinette and Adrien finally collapsed to the ground from exhaustion, adrenalin no longer pumping through their systems.

"THAT had to be the scariest thing I have ever experienced before in my life," Adrien gasped out, with a pant. Now, all the stress and fatigue catching up with him now that the adrenalin wore off. The black cat hero has never felt this type of physical stress before, not even when there was a 4 in the morning Akuma attack.

Marinette groaned out as she fell back with her eyes closed and said, "ARRGG! This place is a hellhole nightmare!" The bluette's eyes opened and were met with the upsidedown image of Kim, Max, and Markov staring at the two heroes and Kwamis with a strange combination of confusion and amazement. Marinette sighed, not moving from her position, when she said, "Go ahead and ask, we'll try to answer best we can..." That was when Adrien remembered about the civilians and turned to face them, still in a sitting position.

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he said, "I think we'll save those until after I list the questions that arose during our brief interaction with Mr Lawrence."

Kim nodded when he said, "Yeah, the guy's crazy but I can't help but wonder what fitness regiment he uses here in this place. Cuse he was buff. Not bodybuilder buff, but buff in a sense that he kept in shape."

Max raised his left index finger when he stated, "Which is where this question comes from. Has Mr Lawrence been here the whole time after Joey Drew Studio closed down in 1959? If so, was it by choice or by force?"

Marinette sat up and turned to face the others in their weird offset circle when she said, "Now that you bring it up... How old was Mr Lawrence when the studio shut down? Because if he was over 25 in 1959, then he should be pushing close 80 or 90 now."

Tikki thought about that for a bit before saying, "I know humans can sometimes live a long life, but considering this environment, I don't think he should even be alive now."

Markov chimed in with, "Apparently Mr Lawrence's mental state is not the only thing that was wrong with him. While I am aware that some individuals can "Look Good For Their Age" even their 80's, Miss Tikki does bring up a critical point about the environment playing a factor in longevity."

"You don't have to add the Miss when talking to me, just call me Tikki," the red Kwami told the AI.

Max pushed his glasses up again when he stated, "Which leads to the next question. Does his current form have anything to do with his "longevity" at the cost of his mental stability? Or even if his mental stability is even a price for it?"

Adrien thought about what Sammy said back in the Ritual Room before saying, "Maybe it's some sort of curse? I mean, that's what Mr Lawrence implied... But... Look, I'm not saying this to be racist or anything, but is his skin suppose to be that black? I mean, it was like he had a coating of ink covering his skin."

Max shook his head when he said, "Not naturally, but something has to be behind that reason. I speculate that maybe those Searchers are somehow also related to Mr Lawrence's current state. I don't think they're the cause of it, but they are somehow connected."

Kim thought for a bit before saying, "Ink... Maybe that Ink Machine thing has something to do with all that? I mean, we don't have enough facts to prove it, but it keeps popping up in some of the Audio Logs. Plus there's ink EVERYWHERE in this place."

Plagg finally threw in his euro when he said, "Yeah, the ink's got something to do with all this crap. I'm still getting bad vibes from the stuff, especially from that Demon Bendy thing..."

Tikki then added, "I sensed it too, but at the same time, I sense that it isn't evil."

Marinette looked at her Kwami when she asked, "So both of you are getting a bad sense from the ink, and the Ink Demon by extension, but at the same time, not an evil vibe, right?"

Both Kwamis replied with a, "Basically... But we don't know why."

Max pushed up his glasses when he said, "That is something to keep in mind, but my next and possibly worst questions are... If Mr Lawrence, a former employee of this studio that has been reported missing, is still here, then... How many of the other "Missing Employees" are still here? And does the fact that they're still here have something to do with all the explorers "Disappearing" when they enter this place?"

Everyone was silent for a bit at the question. The techie brought up a good point.

Adrien gulped when he said, "It's like this place keeps everything unlucky enough to walk in. But is it the doing of the Ink or something else?"

Everyone looked at each other in worry and confused look. But it was Tikki was the one to say, "I think the Ink is a tool in this rather than the cause. Like how a pen is for writing and a cup is for holding stuff."

Marinette thought about that when she said, "When you put it that way, Tikki. If the Ink is a tool... Then who's using the tool? Because I doubt it was Mr Lawrence or the Searchers." Kim suggested the Ink Demon, but even he wasn't sure about that. The bluette shook her head when she said, "I'm not sure of that... I think the Ink Demon Bendy is just as much affected by the Ink as Mr Lawrence and those Searchers."

That was when Adrien remembered one of Sammy Lawrence's Audio Logs.

~Flashback~

"So, first Joey installs this Ink Machine over our heads. Then it begins to leak."

~End Flashback~

"Hang on," Adrien said, getting the attention from the group, before he said, "Remember Mr Lawrence's Audio Log when we entered the Music Department? He said in that that Joey Drew had the Ink Machine thing installed. I'm starting to think that Mr Drew might be the one to start this whole crap with the Ink."

Max pushed his glasses up again when he said, "Given the limited information we have on him, it's already painting a rather unflattering picture of the man." Markov nodded in agreement.

Kim then said in a bit of a conflicted tone, "Not to play devil's advocate, but was Mr Drew even aware of what he was doing? Or if all this was just a terrible accident that somehow didn't get out? Let's be honest, we don't know anything about the guy and this place has been raising a lot more questions than answers right now." The athlete glanced around the offset circle before saying, "I know we want answers, but let's try not to forget that our priority right now is to find a way out of this hellhole. Now it's even more important since Ladybug and Chat Noir are stuck here with us."

Markov tilted to the side in confusion when he asked, "How so?"

Marinette, Adrien, Tikki, and Plagg understood immediately as the two humans rubbed their heads in annoyance.

"Shit! Kim's right!" Adrien groaned out in annoyance.

Marinette then added, "We're trapped here and that means that we can't protect Paris from Hawkmoth and his Akumas!"

Now Markov understood why it was important that they get out as soon as they can. Ladybug and Chat Noir are not out and about to save Paris from Hawkmoth and his Akumas. And as far as the AI was aware, the only ones to know the identities of Paris' Heroes are in this very room.

Before either Kim, Max, or Markov could ask, Marinette got out an, "I hope Master Fu has a back-up plan in case either Chat or I or even both are out of commission."

"Master Fu?" Kim, Max, and Markov questioned in confusion.

"The Guardian of the Miraculous," the two heroes and two Kwamis said in unison.

Marinette was the one to say, "He's the one that gives the Miraculous to worthy holders. I'm in training to be guardian, but I was allowed to hand out Miraculous temporarily."

"Ah, that answers that question," Max vocalized thoughtfully.

That was when Adrien asked Marinette with a cattish smile, "So, since the cat's out of the bag, do you think that you can tell me who the rest of the temporary holders are?"

With a sly smile, Marinette replied, "Nice try Chaton, but You are going to have to find that out yourself."

"Me-owch, you wound me, M'Lady," Adrien said in a playfully pretend hurt tone, making the bluette giggle.

"Alya was Rena Rouge. Nino's Carapace, Kagami's Ryuko, Luka's Viperion, and Bunnyx hasn't been given her Miraculous yet," Max commented as he pushed his glasses up. Marinette and Adrien looked at Max with shock on their faces. The techie smiled softly when he said, "Now that I know that Marinette is Ladybug, it was easy to figure out who the temporary heroes are. *Glances at Kim* Right, Roi Singe?"

"What?! Me Roi Singe? Nah, I can't be Roi Singe," Kim said, somewhat going into a rant. He stopped when Max gave him a 'Not buying it' look. Kim sighed when he said, "Yeah, I'm Roi Singe. I mean, might as well say it since we're getting that all in the open."

Max pushed his glasses up when he said, "I know Mari and Adrien already know this, but, you don't so I might as well tell you that I'm Pegasus."

"That makes sense," Kim said with a hand on his chin. He then added as he looked at Marinette, "And it also makes sense as to why Rena Rouge hasn't been out fighting Akumas the past two months. While you officially ended your friendship with Alya last week of September, even if it took Alya a month to realize that, it's been about two months since you did anything with her as friends."

Marinette slumped her shoulders when she said, "It's been two and a half months... I tried to keep our friendship... But she kept cancelling last-minute, forgetting our planned meetups and *sourly* not keeping her promises... *Normal tone* Mrs Tsurugi, while disappointed that I didn't act fast enough on the situation, understood why I tried to stay friends with Alya. So when she gave me that advise on dropping my "friendship" with Alya, I decided to follow because there was bearly any friendship left between us..." Tikki patted her chosen on the cheek in a comforting way, and Marinette smiled at the gesture.

"Can we change topics with me saying that now I understand why you wouldn't let me hand out any of the Miraculous," Adrien said to Marinette with a sly smile before adding with a sly smirk, "You knew that if I chose the next temp hero, I would've given it to you. *Laughs* Now I understand why Ladybug didn't want Marinette to have a Miraculous, she already had one."

Marinette and Tikki giggled with the rest of the group join in on the good mood with laughing.

To Max and Kim, it was funny because the two heroes had one weird love square. They loved each other, but have been indirectly rejecting each other for the same person.

To Markov, he got the irony of the whole thing and found it humorous.

The laughing stopped when they heard the sound of a thunk, followed by the sound of a soup can rolling. The group leapt to their feet and cautiously followed the sound when Adrien said, "Hello? Someone there?"

They walked through an open doorway and saw a bunch of pips, six scattered inked wooden barriers, two wooden shelves, a hole in a wall parallel to where the group came in, a closed door, and a sign that read 'Lift'. They spotted a can rolling until it hit one of the shelves.

Marinette then called out, "We know you're in here. Come out and show yourself."

Tikki and Plagg immediately hid in their usual hiding spots on their chosen out of habit when they heard footsteps. Whoever it was was complying as the footsteps got louder until the figure appeared from behind the corner. The group was utterly shocked at who the figure was, it was one of the figures they have become familiar with when watching the old Bendy cartoons. A familiar cartoon wolf.

"Boris?"

~}i{~

To be Continued in Chapter 3...

~}i{~

1) Le Pomme Rouge is just a double pun I decided to use as a name for the Food and Electronic Market. Le Pomme Rouge is French for Red Apple. Apples are a popular fruit people love eating and it's the name of one of the biggest tech companies.

~}i{~

Gale-Dragon: Okay, I'll admit, this took longer than I thought, but I hope you all enjoyed this chapter. Also, I am NOT looking forward to writing out all the fetch quests in Chapter 3...

Chapter Text

Miraculous Adventure in Joey Drew Studio, Ch 2.5: The Time that Passes in Pain.

 

~}i{ A Week Later (after then end of Chapter 2), Outside the Studio }i{~

 

"Voyage!"

 

A portal opened on the outskirt, in the denser part of the nearby forest where the building of Joey Drew Studio stood. Master Fu, wearing the activated Horse Miraculous, stepped out of the portal and looked around. Once the elderly man spotted the old building, he immediately raced over to it.

 

His outfit could easily be mistaken as jocky wear if it weren't for the horseshoes on his back and arms and a hero mask (lower face) in place.

 

A fox-like Kwami poked his head out from under the Guardian's hat when he told him, "Master, do not push yourself too much. Save some energy for when we must defend ourselves from whatever threats are inside that place. You're not exactly a spring chicken, you know."

 

"I know, Trixx," Fu said as he stopped just short of the fence.

 

"Hey! Hold it!"

 

Fu turned to see Roger Raincomprex and a couple of other armed officers. It didn't take the Guardian of the Miraculous much thought on why they were here. Fu turned to the police and said, "I am here to help. Ladybug and Chat Noir have been sent to the Temple of the Guardians for more training by the Guardian of the Miraculous, so I am here as one of the temporary replacements in their steed. You may call me Horseshoe." The elderly man heard Trixx groan in annoyance at the uncreative name.

 

~Earlier in the Day~

 

Wang Fu saught out some of the other temporary heroes to aid him in keeping Paris safe from Hawkmoth in Ladybug's and Chat Noir's absences. They will have to help with the Akumas. However, three of those holders needed new Miraculous due to compromised identities.

 

~Back to Present~

 

"Horseshoe?" One of the officers asked with a raised brow.

 

Master Fu activated his weapon (a horseshoe) and held it up when he said, "Yes, like the game. Uh, it was the first thing I thought of when I was given the Horse Miraculous." He added that last bit a little sheepishly, hoping that they'd buy that.

 

The officers glanced at each other before shrugging. Roger stepped towards Horseshoe when he said, "How long have Ladybug and Chat Noir been gone and when are they going to be back?"

 

Wang Fu tried not to bite his lip when he said, "I am unsure about the time they will be gone, I know it might be a while because of all the training that needs to be done. But the Guardian of the Miraculous sent them to the temple a little after the last Akuma attack." This made Wang glad he told Marinette and Adrien to take a well-deserved break after the last Akuma attack, it now gave him the chance to prevent the connection between the heroes and their civilian ids.

 

Thankfully, the police bought the tale without much question. While it did satisfy Wang that he didn't have to worry about that, it was a little concerning that they accepted it a little too easily. But that's a different problem for another day.

 

That was when Horseshoe asked, "Has anyone else entered this studio? Or is there any update on the children trapped inside?" He needed to know what happens between the news feed and now, so he could figure out how to act.

 

That was when Roger explained what happened so far.

 

The construction/destruction company that Gabriel hired tried to break down the main door into the studio, but the vehicles they used broke down before they could even reach the door. When the employees of the construction/destruction company checked the mechanics of the vehicles, they realized that there was thick black ink flooding the components. Even the brand new bulldozer they got had the engine flooded with ink.

 

"So somehow, the studio is protecting itself from being forcibly entered or destroyed..." Horseshoe commented, rubbing his chin in thought. 'But what is with the ink though...' Master Fu couldn't help but wonder.

 

Roger then stated that the main door was also locked or barricaded from the inside. So no one has been able to get inside.

 

Horseshoe nodded when he said, "I see, so as far as we know, it's just the children trapped inside." 'But why would the doors be locked? Did someone lock it? Do they have a key? Or is it the studio itself?' the Guardian wondered. So many questions brought on by this one simple action/fact.

 

As Roger nodded, another officer brought over a rolled-up blueprint. "My daughter's class made a haunted house based on this place, so they got the blueprints from the library archive," Roger stated as he unrolled the blueprints and showed it to Horseshoe.

 

The Guardian looked over the blueprint when he asked, "Where did the class last hear from the teens?"

 

Roger looked over the horse hero's shoulder when he pointed at the image of a staircase when he said, "According to the video evidence, the last contact they had was when they fell when the staircase broke. *Then moves his finger to the image of the lower level on what was believed to be under the staircase*. So they should be around this area or close to it. I'm not sure if they'll still be there since there are ink monsters on the loose and chasing them..."

 

Horseshoe nodded when he said, "It's close enough. I'll use Voyage to get in. Um, that's the name of the ability of the Horse Miraculous, it allows me to teleport anywhere so long as I know where it is." Explaining the ability to the police.

 

"We're coming with you," One of the officers stated, loading a round into his gun and adding, "At least I am, because the last thing I want is for their parents to never see their children again. I know I wouldn't want that with my child."

 

That was when Roger said, "Those teens are classmates of my daughter..." He then cocks his gun when he adds, "So I'm going in too."

 

Horseshoe watched as some of the other officers loaded their guns, ready to go inside the studio to save the teens trapped inside. He knew that there was no changing their minds. So he nodded when he said, "I understand, and I'll bring you along. On one condition, we stick together. Understood?"

 

When the police nodded in agreement, Horseshoe looked at the blueprint before he activated Voyage. Creating a portal that leads into the studio. Horseshoe peered inside to see an office-like area that was close to being considered very old but not dilapidated. The horse hero took a deep breath before he glanced at the officers, now armed and ready for whatever could happen.

 

But before anyone could take even one step towards the portal a tall ink creature with a malformed figure with his skin made in black ink resembling tar. A head highly resembles that of the Bendy from the old cartoons, but the top area of his head appears melted, obscuring his eyes. The horns are slightly more curved to bear a shape like a deformed crescent moon, being able to articulate similarly to animal ears. A toothy, Cheshire grin, with sketch-like shadings. Had a spine appears slightly crooked or curved, with a slightly-hunched back, with endless wisps of blackish smoke, and a spiky spine that seemed like demonic features. Had a left arm that is slightly longer than his right, which looks thinner and less human. On his left hand, he wears an oversized white glove with four fingers, though it does not sport two buttons like the original Bendy, while his right hand is smaller and more human-like, with five fingers. Had feet are also mismatched: the right foot faintly resembles that of a human, while the left is just a lump-covered, disease-like stump, which gives him a limp. This creature also wears a drooping bowtie close to the middle of his chest suddenly appeared in front of the group with a growl.

 

Horseshoe fell back in shock as the police opened fired their guns at the Ink Demon. The bullets did nothing to the creature as its inky skin caught them and let them plop to the ground with nothing more than the small sounds of metal hitting wood. Horseshoe quickly regained his composure long enough to throw one of his weapons at the ink creature. But to the utter shock to the hero and police, the Ink Demon caught the horseshoe in its oversized left hand before breaking it into pieces with an animalistic growl.

 

Horseshoe and the polices took a step back in fear as the Ink Demon dropped the metal weapon out of the portal as it tried to push its hand through it. But for some reason, the ink creature's hand couldn't pass through the portal. The Ink Demon could only let out a low growl as he used his oversized hand to point at the humans as it waved its right hand from side to side and then pointed at the ground below their feet with the left as his teeth chattered. The ink creature then appeared to have looked around the area the group was in and then made an odd sound.

 

WIth that the portal closed, leaving only the broken weapon from the horse hero.

 

"Wh-wh-wh-wh-what the hell was that?!" One of the cops shouted as the rest of the force collapsed to the ground in pure terror.

 

"Worse than an Akuma! That's for sure!" another officer shouted in fear. And to be honest, they weren't far off.

 

A different officer then said, "Well, at least one rumour is true. Those things can't leave the studio..."

 

Horseshoe thought about the actions of the Ink Demon. "Those hand motions..." He muttered as he stroked his chin, pondering the strange actions of the ink creature.

 

"Horseshoe... What's wrong?" Roger asked, still a bit spooked by what had just happened.

 

Horseshoe made the hand motions the Ink Demon did before realizing what they meant and said, "That Ink Creature! It was telling us that we cannot enter and just remain here, outside the studio!"

 

"Wait! You can't be serious?!" one of the officers shouted in shock.

 

Horseshoe repeated the same hand motions when he asked in a serious tone, "Would these mean anything different?"

 

That made the police officers look at each other with a look that seemed both conflicted and concerned. There wasn't a rebuttal to that.

 

Roger looked at the dilapidated studio when he said, "If that's the case... Then... Why were those kids allowed in? And why can't we help? What could that place possibly want with them?"

 

Master Fu couldn't help but say, "It seems like only one person knows, or thing in this case." As he and the rest of the officers stare down the studio. That was when the elderly man wondered out loud, "But... Why? What could this place possibly want with them?"

 

That was a question that no one had an answer to.

 

~}i{ Elsewhere About Three Hours Later }i{~

 

The patrol of the other Temporary Heroes was going smoothly as could be, well, until an Akuma suddenly appeared. The Temp Team took care of it easily enough.

 

Bunnyx (not the one from the future) leapt up and captured the corrupted butterfly into the tip of her umbrella. She took a breath of relief when she opened her umbrella, freeing a now purified butterfly, and said, "Bye-bye, little butterfly." She giggled a bit when she said, "I've always wanted to say that."

 

"Hurry up and use that, that, ability thing that the old man told you to do," said the new Turtle Hero. A red goggled female hero with blonde hair that was tied in a low loose braid that reached her waist, a neutral green skin-tight bodysuit with a large turtle shell on her back and her left arm, her chest was a lighter shade of green while her boots and gloves were a darker shade of green, and an emerald bejewelled belt wrapped elegantly around her waist.

 

Bunnyx rolled her eyes when she said, "It's called "Time Heal", Lady."

 

The turtle hero scoffed before she said, "That's Madam Emerald to you, short stack."

 

"Whatever," Bunnyx said before she threw her umbrella in the air when she shouted, "TIME HEAL!" With that, the umbrella burst into little white sparkling bunnies as they hopped threw the air and repairing everything that was affected by the day's event. It wasn't the Miraculous Cure, but close enough to repair everything in its place.

 

"You did that pretty well for your first time, dudette," the new Dragon Hero said as the rest of the team re-grouped. The new Dragon Hero was wearing the same style bodysuit as Ryuko did during her debut, but his costume had a wicked red, black, and gold sleeveless dragon cloak with a hood covering his had and that loosely hangs off his back almost like a dragon's tail.

 

Viperion smiled when he said, "And it didn't take many Second Chances, only seven."

 

"That is a lot less than I thought it would be," the new Bee Hero stated bluntly. The new Bee Hero's outfit was similar to Queen Bee's, but she had a black honeycomb pattern on the yellow stripes and had a yellow honeycomb pattern on the black stripes, and a white honeycomb-shaped belt wrapped around her waist.

 

Bunnyx shrugged as her umbrella reappeared in her hands when she said, "Well, I am an awesome hero."

 

Viperion glanced at the other heroes before he asked, "You guys mind if I ask a question?"

 

"You just did," the new Bee Hero replied almost immediately, causing the new Dragon Hero to chuckle in amusement.

 

Madam Emerald rolled her eyes when she said, "Just ask it, so we check on the victims sooner."

 

While Bunnyx and the new Bee hero rolled their eyes, Viperion asked, "Listen, I know a few of the prior temp heroes had compromised identities, from what the elderly gentleman told us. *Missing the glare from Madam Emerald and a slight nervous twitch from the new Bee and Dragon Heroes*. But weren't there more of them?"

 

"What do you mean?" Bunnyx asked with a raised brow.

 

Viperion counted off the prior temporary heroes on his left hand when he said, "Carapres, Rena Rouge, Queen Bee, Ryuko, Pegasus, Roi Singe, Me, and Chat mentioned a Multimouse." He then looked at the other heroes when he said, "From what I heard, Pegasus is pretty smart and Roi Singe's ability is extremely helpful. They would be valued members of our team, so why aren't they chosen to help protect the city from the Akumas while Ladybug and Chat Noir are away?"

 

"Maybe they already have a lot on their plate right now," the new Dragon Hero said with a shrug, trying to ignore the slight tightness in his chest. That was when he said, "I know their identities weren't compromised, so it has to be that they have busy lives now, or something along that line."

 

Viperion gave a small hum before he said, "Maybe Drak-Kon, but what about Multimouse?"

 

The new Bee Hero had an answer for that, "I recall Chat Noir saying that it was because Hawkmoth could've seen her when she accidentally revealed her identity to him, but that could've been solved by giving her a different Miraculous."

 

Bunnyx couldn't help but say, "That would've been a little too obvious Mitsubachi."

 

But that was an issue to ponder about another day. Now the heroes needed to check on the victims of the Akuma Attack, to make sure the Time Heal worked on them.

 

}i{ Césaire Household }i{

 

Alya slumped in the couch as the news report of the recent Akuma attack came on the tv. There were some new heroes, taking the place of Ladybug and Chat Noir, both of whom were at a hidden Temple of the Guardians for more training for an unknown period of time.

 

"Look, Alya!" Ella exclaimed happily as she watched the tv with joy. That was when Etta exclaimed, "New Heroes!" Both twins pointed at the tv when an image of the three new heroes appeared on the tv.

 

In a lacklustre tone, Alya said, "Yeah... That's nice..." She just couldn't bring herself to care about the fact that there were new heroes in Paris, something that would've brought her the utmost joy in the past. This shift in behaviour did not go unnoticed.

 

Ella and Etta glance at each other before they gave their second oldest sister a worried look when they asked in unison, "Are you okay, Alya?"

 

Alya stood up from the couch and walked to her room when she said, "I'm fine... Just tired..."

 

Once she was out of hearing ranged Ella told Etta, "She's not fine..." That was when Etta told Ella, "And she's been "Tired" since That Day..." Both then looked int the direction Alya went.

 

Nora and the Césaire parent saw the whole thing from the doorway. They weren't hiding or even trying to, they'd been standing there since the twins shouted about the new heroes. They were very worried about the middle Césaire child.

 

}i{ Upstairs in Alya Room }i{

 

Alya flopped on her bed with a loud sigh. After everything that has happened... She wasn't surprised that Rena Rouge wasn't chosen to help Paris in the absence of Ladybug and Chat Noir... Ladybug had told the media in the past that she wasn't friends with Lila, multiple times, but Alya didn't believe any of them because Lila spun a tale of those interviews were just edited together to discredit her... Alya groaned in annoyance as she ran a hand over her face, wondering why the hell she believed that! There were so many interviews of Ladybug publically denying her "friendship" with Lila and explained why that it should've got Alya suspicious about Lila...

 

'I'm such an idiot...' Alya thought as she turned to her side and spotted an old picture of her and Nino, smiling at the camera when they were on one of their dates...

 

That picture just reminded Alya what she lost to Lila and her lies.

 

She lost her credibility as a reporter. Even though she removed all the posts regarding Lila and made an apology video regarding the inaccuracies, the damage was already done... The Ladyblog was no longer a reliable source of anything hero related anymore. So Alya shut the blog down, for good.

 

She lost the closeness of her classmate. They all found out that Lila was a liar, and while some pretended to be her "Loyal Followers", as Alya found out that the liar called them, to keep Lila at bay, they all have been gathering proof of the liar's misdeeds... Everyone but the class' "reporter"... Alya did ask why none of the "Fake Followers" didn't try to tell her that Lila was a liar, but they all pretty much told her, "Alya, you didn't believe Marinette, Adrien, or Nino about Lila, and you've known them long enough to know that they never lie about their friends, especially Nino. So why would you're response to us would be any different?" Alya knew they were right...

 

She lost her boyfriend because of Lila's lies... He pointed out such an obvious flaw in the lie that Alya should've thought weird and should've trusted Nino... But she didn't... And their relationship came to an end... And it seemed like she also cost Nino his chances of being Catapres in the absent of Ladybug and Chat Noir because she knew who he was...

 

She lost her Best Friend because of the liar...

 

Alya sighed as she rolled to her back.

 

Should she really consider herself to be Marinette's best friend after all that has happened? After Lila practically destroyed their friendship? Maybe it was more accurate to say that Alya lost her friendship with one of the best girls in her class... Yeah, that sound more accurate.

 

... ... ... 'How can I make right what I've done?' Alya thought to herself. She knew there's no real quick fix to this whole thing, but there has to be something she can do to show that she trying to rectify what she had done.

 

}i{ Elsewhere }i{

 

Madam Emerald carefully snuck into a fancy hotel via the balcony and quickly darted into the high-class bathroom.

 

"Wayzz, Shell Off," the Turtle Hero said to deactivate her hero persona. With that, a green light enveloped her form before Wayzz flew out of the bracelet. Once the light vanished, Chloe Bourgeois was standing in the place of Madam Emerald.

 

The green Kwami floated over to his new holder and said, "I know you wanted Pollen and to be Queen Bee again, but this is for the safety of you, your friends, and your father. And I must say, you were pretty good as a Turtle Holder." He said that last bit to cheer the blonde up.

 

Chloe sighed when she said, "I know, and I hope that Mitsubachi is treating Pollen right... And I understand why I can't have Pollen, and I'm actually okay with that."

 

Wayzz smiled at this as he patted his new holder on the cheek. Chloe gave a small smile as she used her hand to hug the little being to her cheek. The blonde quickly covered the camouflage turtle Miraculous under one of her bracelets before she exited the bathroom with Wayzz close behind. 

 

She was glad to be a hero again, but she wished she could help the ones who needed help the most. (Horseshoe already told all the temp heroes about what happened during his attempt to enter the studio).

 

}i{ At the Same Time }i{

 

In a block off alleyway void of people and eyes. Drak-Kon quietly landed in the middle of it and quickly looked around, just in case. 

 

"Longg, Open Sky," Drak-Kon said softly, so not to draw any attention to himself. With that, a red light enveloped him before Longg flew out of the chocker. Once the light vanished, Nino Lahiffe was standing in the place of Drak-Kon.

 

Longg floated in front of Nino when he said, "You did well as the new Dragon Holder. I mean, it may be different from the Turtle. Dragons and Turtles are certainly different, except for the fact that they're reptiles. But you did very well for your first time."

 

Nino chuckled as he tapped the dragon Kwami on the head to pat him when the teen said, "You're certainly a talker, Longg dude. But try to stay quiet during school and around others."

 

Longg smiled before he ducked under Nino's cap. It's a nice warm spot to stay hidden, and he could listen in on human conversations. 

 

Nino quickly checked around the alleyway and then the street before he finally left the ally and made his way home. On his way, he let out a quiet sigh. He was glad to be a hero again, but he wished he could help the ones who needed help the most. 

 

}i{ Also at the Same Time }i{ 

 

Mitsubachi snuck into the girls' bathroom in Dupont, after making sure there was no one else in it, and quickly darted into one of the stalls, making sure the door stall was locked. 

 

"Pollen, Buzz Off," Mitsubachi said softly, so not to draw any attention to himself. With that, a yellow light enveloped her before Pollen flew out of the hair comb Miraculous. Once the light vanished, Kagami Tsurugi was standing in the place of Mitsubachi. 

 

Pollen floated in front of Kagami when she said, "No offence, my queen, but you might want to think about what you're going to say before you say it. It could be mistaken as rude." 

 

Kagami sighed as she removed the camouflage Bee Miraculous and placed it in an inner jacket pocket when she said, "I only said it because I thought I would have trouble adjusting to a new weapon, so I thought Viperion would have used the Second Chance ability more than what he stated." 

 

Pollen patted her new holder on the cheek when she said, "But that only means that you and the others were more adaptable than you thought. You should be proud of that, my queen." 

 

That cheered Kagami up as a small smile formed on her face. She hugged the bee Kwami against her cheek before the Kwami hid in the fencer's other inner jacket pocket. Kagami then left the bathroom to meet her mother in front of the school, as promised. 

 

She was glad to be a hero again, but she wished she could help the ones who needed help the most. 

 

~}i{ The Next School Day }i{~ 

 

The students of Miss Bustier's class walked into their classroom with little vigour. They all stopped when they spotted four desk spaces that were piled with sealed letters, flowers, and a few stuffed plushies. Gifts from the other classes, all were hopeful gestures that the missing classmates return... 

 

It took a minute or so, but finally, everyone walked towards their assigned seats. 

 

Nino placed a hand on the desk space next to his, one that was practically overflowing with letters and flowers with a few plushes on top. Images of Adrien flashed through his mind, some of those images were of him and the blonde just hanging. Being with their friends. How much Adrien has grown outside the walls of this gilded cage. The last image was of Adrien happily telling Nino that he'll see him at the Haunted Houses. The red-capped teen sighed before he took his seat with a slump. He could feel Longg patting him on the head from under his cap. 

 

Chloe placed a hand on the desk space next to hers that had a lot of letters, a few flowers, and a plushie scattered on top of it. Images of Marinette flashed through her mind. How they first met, and how their relationship changed from the bully and bullied to best of friends. The last image was of Marinette telling Chloe that she'll see everyone at the haunted Houses. The blonde sighed as Sabrina placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. 

 

Alix walked to her seat and placed her hands on the desk space behind her assigned seat, one and on each desk space, both were full of letters with a couple of flowers and a plushie each. Images of Kim, Max, and Markov flashed through her mind. Images of all the contests between her and Kim with Max refereeing. Meeting Markov for the first time. Her managing to get Kim and Max in a double headlock. Her and Kim getting into the screaming contest as Max and Markov sport an "As Expected" look on their faces. The last images were of Kim, Max, and Markov telling her that they'll see her and the rest of the class at the Haunted Houses. Alix sighed as she flopped into her assigned seat. A worried Fluff peaked out of the skater girl's pack, more so to make sure that her holder was physically fine. 

 

Alya slowly trudged into the classroom and walked on autopilot to her assigned seat. She bearly noticed a piece of paper duct-taped to the deskspace next to hers. 'Oh yeah... That was Lila's seat...' Alya thought as she read what was tapped to Lila's desk. Only one word was written on the paper. 

 

LIAR! 

 

Alya only turned her attention towards the blackboard after reading the word, innately thankful that that was the only thing the other students did to the desk. She wasn't going to give Lila another thought, she wasn't going to give her the attention anymore, and that was that. Alya needed to focus on what she can do to make things right.

 

Miss Bustier walked into class. Much like her students, she wasn't in her usual chipper mood. When she was about to take attendance, she paused when she saw the first name on the class roster. The teacher took a deep breath before she called the next name on the list. Internally, she was hoping that Hawkmoth didn't target any of her students for Akumazation...

 

~}i{ Agreste Mansion }i{~ 

 

Nooroo was worried... 

 

Okay, if the Moth Kwami was being honest, he's been worried since he came into Gabriel Agreste's possession. 

 

Worried for Ladybug and Chat Noir, because they had the Miraculous that Gabriel wanted. 

 

Worried for Emilie, because she was in a coma that she would probably never awaken from until she dies. 

 

Worried for Nathalie, because she was close to following Emilie if she used the broken Miraculous any more than she already has. 

 

Worried for Duusu, because his Miraculous was damaged. 

 

Worried for Adrien, because if Gabriel acquired the Miraculous of Creation and Destruction he would be the price needed to revive Emilie. 

 

Worried for Gabriel, because he doesn't understand the price needed to make his wish. 

 

But now... Nooroo was worried about Gabriel for a new reason... The purple Kwami heard everything from the Moth Miraculous... He knew what happened to Adrien and three of his classmates (plus the AI)... He knew about Joey Drew Studio and the dangers that dwell within its walls... So now... Nooroo was worried about Gabriel's mental well-being and what he might do to get his son back... 

 

Nooroo's wings drooped as he gazed out the window overlooking the city. He was truly hoping that the teens trapped in that studio would be saved and that someone could save Gabriel from himself.

 

~}i{~ 

 

To be Continued... 

 

~}i{~

Chapter Text

 

 

~}i{~

 

Miraculous Adventure in Joey Drew Studio.

 

Chapter 3 Pt 1: Rise and Fall of Revelations.

 

Quick Note: Since it's been a week since revealing their identities to each other, both Marinette and Adrien are kinda/sorta trying to figure out where they want to take their relationship. So they're somewhere between Friendship and Love Crush at the moment. 

 

~}i{~ 

 

A recording started up and the camera used activated. The camera awoke to a bury image before focusing on Max. 

 

Max waved at the camera with his right casted hand when he said, "Greetings, if you just finished watching the last recording on this phone, then you probably have questions as to what had happened between the end of that and this current recording. Hopefully, I'll be able to catch you up on what happened." Max then turns his phone towards the rest of the group. Where Marinette and Adrien were looking over the blueprints they took from Sammy Lawrence's office, trying to figure out what they were designed to make, while Kim was playing cards with Boris the Wolf and Markov. That was when Max said, "As you can see, all of us are fine, except for our ink-stained clothing, and that we have a new member of the team. Say hi to the camera Boris." 

 

Boris looked up from the game and gave Max a wave before turning his attention back to the game. 

 

Max chuckled before he turned the active camera back onto himself when he said, "Boris isn't much of a conversationalist, but he's been a big help to us. He has a lot of supplies here in his safehouse; food, water, duct tape, and a couple of items we can use to help us get out of the Studio. And yes, he is Boris the Wolf from the Bendy Cartoons! I honestly have no logical explanation as to how it is possible that a cartoon character is "Alive" and standing side by side with us, but then again, no one can explain why there are beings of living ink in this studio," Max's expression went serious when he stated, "Now for the major events. I know that this is going to be very hard to believe, but what I'm going to tell you is the truth." 

 

The bi-sceptical teen took a deep breath when before he said, "That man you saw sneaking up behind me at the end of the last recording was Sammy Lawrence, the former Music Director of Joey Drew Studio, alive and well. Or at least he was... He confirmed it himself when Marinette asked his identity when he had us tied up. We don't know how long he was here or why, but he... Seemed to have a lot happen to him since he was reported missing nearly half a century ago. His mental condition seemed to have been greatly compromised during his stay here in this studio." 

 

"Dude went crazy insane, Max. It's fine to just say it," Kim called out from the table. He might not have been shouting, but he was loud enough for his voice to be heard on the recording. 

 

Max sighed, but he didn't have much of a rebuttal to that comment. The techie then said into the video log, "Anyway, Mr Lawrence knocked all of us out and attempted to sacrifice us to the Ink Demon Bendy, like he was some sort of God, in the hopes of being released from his "Imprisonment", whatever he was implying back there." 

 

"He specifically stated before he tried to sacrifice us, and I quote, "This abyss I call a body". Don't ask us what he meant by that, but it seems like he did truly believe that the Ink Demon Bendy would free him," Adrien voiced his thoughts from where he was as he still looked over the blueprints with Marinette. 

 

Max visibly nodded when he said, "That is true. We don't know how Mr Lawrence came to worship the Ink Demon Bendy, but it's clear that we might not have been the first of his "Sacrifices" he has made to the Ink Demon. Given how prepared he was for us..." He then turned the active camera towards Adrien and Marinette, who finally looked up from the blueprints to look at Max. 

 

Marinette's face contorted in a potent grimace when she said, "As much as I don't want to think about it, I know you're right Max. He was a little too prepared for his "Sacrificial Ritual", and that makes me wonder if there are more threats in this place other than Mr Lawrence, the Searchers, and the Ink Demon Bendy." 

 

With a conflicted look on his face, Adrien then added, "On the upside, we don't have to worry about Mr Lawrence trying to sacrifice us again." 

 

Kim looked up at the blonde when he said, "Dude, not sure if that's a good thing, given how he ended up." 

 

Markov then looked at the active camera on Max's phone when he said, "To clarify, the Ink Demon Bendy had gotten to Mr Lawrence and apparently terminated him before we ran into him. Fortunately, we were able to escape Ink Demon Bendy. Also, I would like to inform the camera that it was incredibly lucky that Marinette had her mini-travelling sewing kit in her jacket pocket, which held a pair of sewing scissors that she used to cut her ropes so she was able to break free of the bindings that prevented us from moving freely. If she had not, there is a high probability that we would have been the next victims of the Ink Demon." 

 

Boris tilted his head to the side a bit, indicating that he was confused. But to the camera, it seemed as though he was pondering his next move in the card game.

 

Max nodded off-camera when he said, "Affirmative, I theorize that it was the fashion designer in her that made her keep that kit in her jacket pocket. Just in case a clothing emergency was to happen. Although, there's nothing in that kit that's going to help us get the ink out of our clothing." 

 

That was when Kim commented, "Max, given how much ink we keep having to walk through in this place, I doubt we'll be able to keep clean even if Mari happens to have some ink removal soap in her kit. Plus, I don't think a travel size container would be enough for all of us." Max replied that the taller had a good point. 

 

Adrien smiled at the camera when he said as he placed a hand on Marinette's shoulder when he said, "As I said before, Marinette is our Everyday Ladybug and now she even comes with her own little Lucky Charm." Marinette tried but failed, to stifle a laugh. Kim and Max chuckled as Markov gave an amused look. Boris just looked confused, not getting the reference. 

 

Max turned the active camera back on himself, showing a small smile on his face. He then looked at the camera when he said, "As much as I would like to keep my camera recording on and document our, uh, I guess we can call this an adventure of some sort of since we didn't exactly intend to come here... *Shakes head*, Anyway, as much as I want to document this whole thing, our phones have limited battery life. I was the only one here who brought a power bank charger, but both Marinette and I brought along a charging cable to plug our phones into a wall socket. Though truth be told, I do have calculated a 76.81% unlikelihood that we will be able to stay safely in one spot long enough to completely charge our phones once we leave Boris' Safehouse. So I, and the others will be making quick status updates during some safe points in our quest to escape this place. Be advised, there might be some time between each of Our Logs since we don't really know if we will have points that will be long enough to record our logs. So, until the next update. Max of Team Psi, signing off." 

 

With that, the recording ended. 

 

Max then looked up at the rest of Team Psi. What wasn't seen on the recording were two Kwamis floating next to Marinette and Adrien. The techie placed his phone in his pocket before he used his left hand to push up his glasses and said, "Alright, we have logged a status update and we gave a valid reason as to why we aren't going to be recording the whole time, we don't have to worry about any of us not being able to talk to Tikki and Plagg during our exploration or worry about accidentally recording Ladybug and Chat Noir on film." 

 

Boris gave a look that said, "Oh, so that what you were doing." The living cartoon character then tilted his head to the side with a look that asked, "Why?" 

 

"Kwamis don't show up on pictures or recordings, so to anyone who would watch a video recording with any of us talking to either Tikki or Plagg, they'll just see us talking to air or think that we're talking to someone off-camera," Adrien explained to the cartoon wolf, making sure that he was understanding what was being said. The blonde then added, "Not to mention, Mari and I are superheroes and if we need to transform into our hero selves and we don't want to get that on film. Since that is supposed to be a secret. *Looks at Kim, Max, and Markov* A secret that doesn't leave this safehouse." 

 

Kim and Max agreed fully to that. Markov already moved the information into a quadruple encrypted file so it couldn't be accessed by an outsider. They weren't going to tell anyone when they get out of here... If they get out of here. 

 

Boris gave a look that said, "Oh," before he gave an understanding nod. 

 

Plagg couldn't help but say, "Yeah, that's pretty much it. But I gotta say, it's kinda nice being able to talk to others directly and not worried about being seen by others." 

 

Tikki rolled her eyes but didn't say anything. While the Kwami of Creation loved her holder and respected the Guardian of the Miraculous, it was kinda nice to be able to talk to others. Tikki can and could talk to the other Kwamis, but it was rare that she was with them and it could leave her holder defenceless to Akuma attacks. 

 

Kim placed his cards face down when he looked at the Kwamis when he said, "I bet. Xuppu mentioned last time I had him that between me and the other Kwamis, he said that I was at least entertainingly competent. I wasn't sure what that meant at the time, but knowing now that the only people that the Kwami interact with are the Guardian, each other, and their respective holders, I think I get what he was talking about now." 

 

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he asked, "Speaking of, could the Guardian use the Horse Miraculous to help us out of here?" 

 

Marinette sighed when she said, "Easier said than done. We don't know where in the studio we are, and Master Fu doesn't know anything about this place. And don't forget, the blueprints in the public archive won't be any help to him if he were to get his hands on them." 

 

Max lowered his eyes when he said, "Right, Mr Drew made too many "off-the-book" constructions to this studio and rendering those blueprints completely useless. Even if Master Fu could get into this place, he would be just as lost as we are..." 

 

Adrien then added, "And, no offence to him, but he's pretty old and I'm not sure he would be able to handle the Searchers or know to run from the Ink Demon Bendy." 

 

Kim grimaced when he said, "An old man lost in this nightmare of a place. That just sounds like a recipe for a heart attack." 

 

Everyone looked at Kim with a raised brow. Well, he wasn't wrong, per se. 

 

~}i{ A Hour Later }i{~

 

"I cannot believe that we still have to eat that stuff," Adrien said as he slumped in his seat, only somewhat glancing at the blueprint in front of him. 

 

Marinette sighed when she said, "Trust me when I say, I'm not exactly thrilled about it either. Especially when we consider the expiration date on them. But we don't have much of a choice, we need our energy to fight off Searchers and evading the Ink Demon. And before you ask, the macaroons and cheese are for Tikki and Plagg. Just be thankful Tikki was able to purify the stuff enough so we don't get sick." She wasn't exactly thrilled to be eating the bacon soup either, especially ones that are passed their expiration date, but they didn't have much of a choice. 

 

Adrien groan in annoyance when he said, "Good point..." That was when his stomach decided to grumble. The blonde's cheeks turned pink at the sound and causing the bluette to giggle. 

 

Max looked up from the stove, that was currently boiling water for soup in a huge pot, when he stated, "Well, so far we have not been experiencing any side effects of eating expired food thanks to Tikki." 

 

That was when Markov added in, "I believe the best phrase to use for this is "Do not look a gift horse in the mouth", correct?" Max nodded wirily at that. 

 

"Keyword, "Should"... Now I wish that pigtails brought along more than the treats," Plagg said, plopping down on top of the blueprints. Tikki whacked him over the head at that. "Hey! I meant that so these kids don't have to keep risking their stomachs on the bacon soups! Even if you can purifying it enough to keep them safe." the black Kwami explained as he rubbed the spot where the red Kwami hit his head. 

 

Markov looked over at the table Marinette and Adrien sat at as he heard the two Kwami's fight, or at least that's what it sounded like to the AI. He was able to hear the Kwami's voices, but he could not see them. Markov found that out when Max became Pegasus, he could only hear Kaalki but not see her. He didn't mind so much, he can hear them and that was enough for him. Though Markov will admit seeing a floating pair of sewing scissors when they met Tikki and Plagg nearly caused him to crash. 

 

That was when Kim's voice drifted in from the back when he asked, "Hey, Max, will three cans be enough for all of us?" 

 

Max turned to the doorway when he said, "It should. There is a surprisingly big volume of the soup inside those cans." 

 

Kim came in with Boris, both holding cans of the bacon soup. Although, Kim was carrying two cans in his arms while Boris held one can in his hand. It didn't take long to open the cans and dumping the contents into the boiling water. 

 

"Phew! This stuff still has a strong smell," Kim commented as he waved a hand in front of his nose, trying to keep the smell away. Though Boris smiled happily as he breathed in the scent. Kim then took over for Max as he started stirring the soup. Tikki floated over to purify the stuff so it was safe to eat, mostly. 

 

Marinette picked Plagg up off the blueprints and placed him on her shoulder as she looked over the blueprints once again. She sighed when she said, "I still don't understand what this thing is supposed to do." She then looked at the Signed Off section that was initialled by a TC. "Hmm, TC... I wonder if that stands for Tomas Conners... So he did help make this Ink Machine thing..." Marinette mumbled a bit as she looked at the schematics. 

 

Markov flew over to the heroes and scanned the blueprint. He analyzed it before he stated, "It appears as though this is only a section, or part, of a multi-set blueprint. At least, that is the conclusion I am coming to after scanning this blueprint." 

 

Adrien then said with a sympathetic look on his face, "Can't say I'm surprised by that... Let's put this away and eat..." With that Marinette rolled up the blueprint and returned it into Max's pack. 

 

Kim poured everyone a portion of bacon soup and handed out the bowls to each member of the team (Minus Markov, who happily plugged a cord into a wall outlet for some extra juice). The tables were pushed together and then everyone took a seat. 

 

Boris happily chowed down on the soup while the humans reluctantly ate it. 

 

Well... it's not the worst thing they have eaten, even if it was purified... It's palatable, but it wasn't exactly tasty... Urg, it's just for the energy. 

 

Once the food was eaten, everyone got to prepping for when they leave Boris' Safehouse. They gathered ropes, pipes (as weapons), bolts and nuts (for Markov's gun), some medical supplies (in case of emergencies), duct tape, bottles of water and cans of Ready to Eat Bacon Soups (that Boris somehow managed to squirrel away in the safehouse some time ago, and collected water from a pipe that wasn't leaking ink inside the safe house), and a pair of walkie-talkies (that were found in the chest in the back of the safehouse) that Max refurbished with Boris. 

 

They quickly tested the old-fashion devices by having Kim go to the back of the Safehouse while the rest of the group stayed in the main area. 

 

"*Kshz* Can you guys hear me? *Kshz*" Kim's voice came from the walkie-talkie in Adrien's hand. 

 

Adrien hit the Talk button, causing a Kshz sound to emanate, brought the device to his mouth when he said, "Loud and clear, Kim. These things are working perfectly, minus a few statics when the talk button is pressed." 

 

"*Kshz* 10-4, good buddy. I'm coming back *Kshz*." Kim said through the device before the line ended. 

 

Marinette and Adrien smiled as they glanced at Max when the bluette said, "You did well with refurbishing these. I didn't think they'd work after all this time." 

 

Max adjusted his glasses with his left hand when he said, "While some tech is delicate, they are surprisingly durable to the punishments of time. Um, under the right circumstances that it, and fortunately for us, the Walkie-Talkies were among those. Also, I always carry around an extra pack of batteries just in case they are needed." 

 

"Paw-itively lucky for us," Adrien said with a cattish grin. Marinette giggled, but playfully whacked the blonde in the shoulder at the pun. Once Kim returned to the group, they did a quick re-check of the safe house for anything they might need during their quest to leave the studio. Max and Marinette unplugged their now charged phones before they went on their last search of the area. 

 

That was when Adrien came across a dead-ended area with a strange, mismatched human-looking collage made of different paper pieces plastered on one of the walls. "What's this suppose to be?" the blonde wondered out loud. Plagg floated over and analyzed the weird image. Boris walked over to the two and stared almost hypnotically at the image. Adrien noticed and asked the cartoon wolf, "Did you make this?" Boris nods his head. "Why?" Adrien asked in confusion. 

 

The blonde watch Boris' motions. At first, he thought that the wolf was hesitating, but from what Adrien could tell, it seemed like Boris wasn't sure and was trying to remember why... Finally, Boris pointed at the college and then himself. 

 

"The college is of you?" Adrien asked with a raised brow. 

 

Boris thought for a few seconds before he slowly nodded. 

 

Adrien looked at the collage again when he said, "No offence, Boris, but it looks nothing like you. Unless you're going for an abstract piece." 

 

Boris shook his head as he pointed at the college and then himself. 

 

Tikki flew in and asked what was going on. Plagg quickly explained with a shrug. The red Kwami thought about it for a few seconds before she flew over to the college and then looked at Boris. "Hmm," Tikki vocalized before she floated to Boris and asked, "Would it be alright if I look at our soul aura?" 

 

Boris tilted his head to the side before Tikki explain that because she is the Kwami of Creation, she was able to look at the souls of living things. Once Boris heard that he nodded in agreement. Tikki floated up to Boris' forehead, pressed her stubby hands on it, and closed her eyes. The cartoon wolf closed his eyes, completely at ease at the small Kwami's touch. 

 

Images of Boris' life flashed through Tikki's mind. One strong flash was a human being submerged in ink and then the next thing the image showed was the reaction to realizing that the human turned into a toon. 

 

Tikki gasped as her eyeshot opened and pulled away from the cartoon wolf in shock. Boris opened his eyes, a little confused by what had just happened. "Oh, you poor thing..." Tikki said, antenna drooping as she gently patted the cartoon wolf's snout. 

 

"Hey, Sugarcube, what did you see?" Plagg asked in concern. Adrien was a bit confused by this. 

 

That was when Tikki bolted out of the end. Adrien glanced at Plagg, who replied in a worried tone, "She must've seen SOMETHING bad if she didn't notice that I called her Sugarcube..." 

 

"I take it she doesn't like that nickname all that much?" Adrien guessed. Plagg replied with a 'Yup' before he, the blonde, and cartoon wolf followed the red Kwami. 

 

"Tikki, what's wrong?" Marinette asked the red Kwami curiously as Kim stuffed a water bottle in s makeshift pack. Max and Markov were nearby, with the bi-sceptical teen wearing his pack on his back and the AI was doing an ammunition check. Tikki floated nervously in front of her chosen as Adrien, Plagg, and Boris rejoined the group. 

 

Now worried, Marinette cupped her hands under the red Kwami and brought them up until Tikki was sitting in her hands when she repeated, "Tikki, what's wrong? Do you sense the Ink Demon nearby? Should we postpone leaving?" 

 

Tikki shook her head, antenna still drooped, before she finally said, "The ink is more complex than Plagg and I originally thought..." 

 

The teens now had a concerned look on their faces when Marinette asked, "What do you mean? And how complex are we talking?" 

 

Tikki glanced at Boris before she said hesitantly, "I know... What happened to some of the former employees of Joey Drew Studio... It's... Not going to be good news to hear..." 

 

"Tikki..." was all Marinette got out. 

 

Tikki took a deep breath before she said, "Boris... Was one of those employees... And I think... We've met the others..." 

 

Kim raised a brow when he said, "Yeah, we met Mr Lawrence... Wait, hold on! Boris was a human?" He looked at a confused Boris, who only gave a short shrugged because even he wasn't sure. 

 

It took a few seconds for the teens and AI to understand what the Kwami of Creation was saying... And it was a revelation that caused any mood they were already in to become filled with a feeling that they never thought that they would experience. 

 

"Oh, Kwami... Are you saying!..." Marinette got in pure shock, her face paled and her eyes went wide. The others did the same thing, all completely shocked at this revelation. Luckily, Markov was hovering over one of the tables, because he ended up crashing over this new, horrible information. The poor AI was now having trouble with activating his troubleshooting...

 

Adrien gulped when he stuttered out, "Y-y-you m-m-mean... That we... That we! Oh, Kwami!" His hands shot to his mouth in complete disbelief, now the horrible realization sinking in. One of his worst fears has come true, but it wasn't because of Chat Noir's Cataclysms. Now Adrien felt like he was going to throw up.

 

Max was visibly shaking when he stuttered out, "Th-th-the S-S-Searcher! Th-th-they w-w-were! Th-they w-were!" He wrapped his arms around himself to try to calm himself down but was failing. 

 

Kim wrapped his arms around the shorter, quivering teen to calm him down. He swore something quite colourful in Vietnamese under his breath. The tall teen tried to focus on calming the shorter down, more so because he didn't want to think about what they just learned, but it wasn't working on both. 

 

"Sugercube..." Plagg said, not liking what he heard, before he said in an uncharacteristically fearful tone, "Are you saying that the Ink Creatures that we've been defending ourselves from ARE the missing Studio Employees?!" 

 

Tikki glanced at the black Kwami when she said, "Not all of them... I'm just speculating on this, but I also think we've met the other unfortunate individuals who were unlucky enough to end up in this studio. I... I don't know how it happened, but... That's the truth, as horrible as it is..." 

 

With that Adrien bolted towards the loo so he could puke his guts out while the other teens sank to the ground in the realization of real cost their adventure inside this hellhole. 

 

The whole time... The whole time they've been in this place... All the Searchers they've faced... Even the one they had to flatten down in the sewer... Those Searchers... They were... They were once... 

 

The sounds of a toilet flushing broke everyone's thoughts. It was a welcome thing if they were being honest. 

 

In the loo, Adrien shakily washed his hands at the sink. The faucet was one of the few pipes in this place that had water instead of ink, but the water wasn't for drinking. Adrien cupped his hands under the running water before he splashed it onto his face. He did this a few times before he felt just a little bit better. He then looked at the broken mirror that couldn't even reflect anything. With a sad look on his face, Adrien placed a hand on an unbroken section of the surface and mumbled to himself, "Did Boris break this because he didn't see his true reflection looking back at him or because he didn't know who he was anymore?" 

 

That was one question Adrien didn't want an answer to if he was honest with himself... 

 

A few seconds later, Adrien left the restroom. He reunited with his friends, everyone calmed down a bit from the revelation. The Kwamis and Boris helped and Markov finally rebooted. The cartoon wolf played an upbeat silly song on the banjo, more to help the teens to smile and relax than anything. 

 

Tikki assured the group that they only acted out of self-defence and that there was no choice. Plagg did put in that they didn't know what the Searchers really were, and he got whacking in the head by Tikki for that. 

 

The group decided that it would be best to wait a bit longer before they leave the Safe House. 

 

~}i{ Hours Later, 02:22. Césaire Household }i{~

 

Nora Césaire awoke with a jolt. 

 

The eldest Césaire child rubbed her face as she wondered why she was awake. She took a deep breath before she settled on getting a drink of water before she tried going back to sleep. Nora tossed her bed covers off, slipped her feet into her spider-themed slippers, stood up, and then quietly walked out of her room. 

 

As Nora made her way to the kitchen, she heard scuffling noises coming from her destination. 'A burglar!' Nora thought as she immediately clenched her hands into fists as she tiptoed to the wall before she walked against the wall until she got to the doorframe, eyes completely adjusted to the darkness. Nora took a soft deep breath when she thought, 'This guy's gonna be sorry he ever tried to break into the house of Anansi.' She peaked into the kitchen, to size up whoever had the gust to sneak into HER house. 

 

But who she saw wasn't a burglar. It was Alya!

 

Nora immediately relaxed when she saw her middle sister, relieved that it wasn't a burglar. 'She must be here for a midnight snack,' the eldest Césaire thought with a small smile as she watched Alya open a cupboard and take out a box of fruit gummies. Nora rolled her eyes as she shook her head, just amused that she was right. 

 

Nora was about to walk into the kitchen when she saw Alya stuff the box into a large camping pack. The boxer paused at this and stayed by the doorway. 

 

Why did her middle sister need that pack if she was just getting a snack?

 

Nora stayed out of Alya's line of sight as she watched the former blogger gathered more of the ready-to-eat stuff that was sealed inside something to keep it fresh and shove them in that camping pack. 'Why is she doing that?' Nora wondered as she continued to watch her middle sister open the refrigerator and gathered the water bottles inside before shoving those into the pack. Thanks to the fridge light, Nora could see the look on Alya's face. The middle Césaire daughter looked determined. 

 

Something wasn't right here... 

 

Nora quickly went through the reasons for Alya to be packing food and water in a camping pack. 95% of those reasons made no sense to be packing at this hour, but the remaining 5% did, and Nora didn't like it. 

 

Alya closed the fridge door softly. That was when the kitchen was suddenly flooded with light, causing the girl's heart to jump into her throat. 

 

"Alya, mind explaining what your packing for at this hour?" Nora said sternly with her arms folded in front of her chest while giving her middle sister a stern look as Alya's head snapped towards her in shock. The eldest Césaire child narrowed her eyes when she asked in a stern ton, "Alya, were you planning on going to that studio to try to save your classmates?"

 

Alya was too quiet at this as she avoided eye contact with her older sister. 

 

Nora sighed as she rubbed her temples when she asked sternly, "Alya, did you even think about how our parents would react to this? Me? Or even the twins?" Again Alya was too quiet at this. 

 

Nora placed her hands on her hips when she stated sternly, "It was this exact behaviour from you that got you in trouble in the first place!" The eldest sister might as well tell the second eldest the cold facts as she continued, "You jump on an idea or plan and don't think about the consequences or if there are alternatives! That was how that lying brat played you like a fiddle! You jumped on her tales and believed them without bothering to double-check anything she said! You didn't stop to think how strange it was when Lila told you to give the "Slightly Modified Maps from the Student Council" to Marinette, Max, and Kim when you haven't heard anything from other students about the "new maps"? No, you didn't! You should have asked the other students if they got "new maps" too, or ask your Class President, or even compared it to your own map just to see how much of a difference there was! But, no, you didn't! And how could you forget that Marinette was your Class President or on the Student Council? I'm pretty sure she would've made a class announcement if that was true. Heck, you were practically on friendly terms with Bug-Girl and Kitty-Boy, did you even think to check with either of them after you recorded that first interview with that Liar? No, you didn't!" 

 

Nora took a deep breath before the then said, "Alya, did you really think we wouldn't notice you missing if you'd gone through with this little "rescue mission" of yours? Or that we didn't care what would happen to you?" Nora placed a hand on Alya's shoulder when she said, "Did you even know about the monsters that were lurking in that studio? Stuff that you have no means from defending yourself from?" 

 

"What about Kim, Adrien, Max, Marinette, and Markov?!" Alya practically shouted before the said, "They're trapped there without any means to contact anyone or defend themselves from those things! And like you said... It's my fault that they're in there..." 

 

That was when Nora stated, "I never said that, I said that you should've double-checked those maps before you put them in their bags. You're just as much a victim in this whole thing as they are, it's just you aren't the ones trapped in that place. You were manipulated and used by that liar. She is one you really should blame for this whole thing... And I'm not going to lie, I wish you saw that earlier..." 

 

Alya broke out in tears when she got out, "I w-w-wish I had listened to them about Lila!" 

 

Nora hugged her crying sister close as their parents walked into the kitchen, they heard the commotion from their room and came to investigate. The older Césaires knew they needed to do something to help their middle daughter heal. 

 

~}i{ Inside Joey Drew Studio, 06:29 }i{~

 

"Psst! Psst! Max! Markov! Wake up!" Kim whispered excitedly as he mildly shook the glasses-wearing teen sluggishly awake. 

 

Groggily, Max replied, "What Kim?" He bearly had an eye open as he saw a blurry image of his friend trying to wake him as Markov started his booting-up sequence. 

 

Max could hear Kim whisper excitedly, "Get up! you got to see this for yourself! I already took a souvenir picture!" 

 

Max let out a groggy groan as he reached his left hand out onto the makeshift nightstand to grab his glasses. He let out a yawn as he put his glasses on before saying, "What's got you so excited at... *Check's phone for time* 6:30 in the morning?" 

 

Now Markov completely booted up and was hovering nearby. 

 

Kim motioned for the dark-skinned and AI to follow when he said in a hushed tone, "You just gotta see this! Quickly! Before they wake up!" 

 

Max yawned again as he stood up from his makeshift bed and followed the taller teen, closely followed by Markov. They gathered at another area as a sleepy Max asked, "Kim, can you please-" but he was cut off by Kim shushing him. The taller teen then pointed inside the room with a wide grin on his face. Confused, Max glance inside the room with Markov. What they saw made the two both smile and stifled a snicker. 

 

Kim folded his arms in amusement when he said softly with a cocky smirk, "You might want to snap a picture of your own. Before they wake up." 

 

Max already had his phone out and snapped a picture of the scene in the room as Markov stated in a soft tone, "How adorable." Max couldn't help but agree with the AI. 

 

Inside the room was a rather sweet but funny sight for the trio in the doorway. Marinette and Adrien were still asleep, and peacefully at that, but what made the scene just priceless was the fact that they were cuddled up next to each other, facing each other. The bluette on the left and the blonde on the right. Marinette's right arm was draped carelessly over Adrien's side as the blonde's left arm looked like it was moved over the bluette's right shoulder as he slept. Marinette shifted a bit as she still slumbered, snuggling closer to Adrien, who in turn did the same thing as he continued to sleep. 

 

Kim snapped another picture when he whispered to Max and Markov, "Aw man, this would be perfect for blackmail." 

 

"Kim," Max scolded seriously but failed because he was still smiling over the moment. 

 

Kim chuckled when he said, "Nothing big, an extra macaroon from her and maybe getting him to do an easy dare." 

 

Max couldn't help but chuckle as Markov recorded the sleeping heroes. 

 

Due to the hushed noise, Adrien sturred a bit before he moved, without opening his eyes. He looked up towards the doorway, opened his tired eyes, and asked, "What's going on?" 

 

Kim snickered when he said, "Oh, nothing too big, cuddle kitty." 

 

Adrien frowned when he said, "Ug, that just didn't sound right when you say it." Max tried to cover his chuckle with his hand at this as Kim smirked as he folded his arms in front of his chest. 

 

"What's going on?" Marinette grumbled groggily, eyes still closed. 

 

Adrien's head shot down at Marinette, who slowly opened her eyes and was now looking up at the blonde. The bluette's eyes shot opened when she realized who she was looking at and where she was. The two heroes stared at each other as their cheeks turn bright red before they shouted and lept away from each other. It didn't even take a second until both were on the hardwood floor. 

 

This action caused Kim and Max to burst out in laughter, much to the dismay of the two heroes. The noise woke the Kwami's up and Boris joined the group a few seconds later. It wasn't that embarrassing for Marinette and Adrien until Markov stated that he had recorded their reactions. While Max did explain to Markov that that was a little too much, he did whisper to the AI to hid the recording. 

 

After the embarrassment wore off and making sure that their phones and the Walkie-Talkies were charged and that their food supplies were sufficient (ie, making sure that there were enough macaroons for Tikki and camembert for Plagg, which there was for a couple of Special Abilities so those were for emergencies only), Team Psi got ready to leave the Safe House. Boris pulled a toolbox out from under one of the tables and opened it. Besides tools, there was the lever needed to open the main door to the safe house. Marinette took the lever and re-attached it to the mechanism to open the door. 

 

The bluette glanced at the rest of her team when she said, "Grab a weapon, we don't know what we'll run into once we leave. Also, we might not be able to return either." 

 

They all nodded when Adrien said, "Maybe you and I should transform. You know, just in case." 

 

Marinette thought about that for a bit. They knew for sure that the Ink Demon was their biggest threat and that the Searchers could be handled with a quick hit to the head. The bluette shuttered at the memory of learning that those Searchers were once humans, once had lives of their own... But she also knew that there so many things inside this studio that they were unaware of... Too many potential threats... 

 

Finally, Marinette gave her answer, "You have a point, Chaton. And I don't think we should take any chances on from here on out. Besides, we don't need to hide our identities anymore, well in this studio at least." Adrien agreed with that. 

 

Boris looked confused as Max, Kim, and Markov looked excited to witness the transformation of Ladybug and Chat Noir. 

 

"Tikki! Spots on!" Marinette said to her Kwami. 

 

"Plagg! Claws Out!" Adrien said to his Kwami. 

 

Tikki was pulled into the earrings while Plagg was pulled into the white ring. In a flash of light, Marinette became Ladybug and Adrien became Chat Noir. 

 

"So Cool!" Kim and Max said in unison with utter joy. Both their eyes were full of sparkling wonder. Markov's eyes were now in the shapes of stars, to show his enthusiasm. Boris, on the other hand, blinked in confusion at the sight, but he then smiled and gave the heroes a cheerful thumbs-up. 

 

Kim and Max quickly grabbed a pipe each, ready for action. 

 

Ladybug pulled the lever, causing the metal door to slide open. Team Psi cautiously trooped out. During this, Chat Noir said, "Alright, let's see what's out there. *Looks over at Boris*. Don't wander off." Boris replies with a nod. The door behind them slid close with a metallic creak.  

 

The first thing they saw were best described as vending machines that dispensed hot and cold cans of bacon soup, three of them. Kim knocked on one before he asked, "Did Mr Drew have some kind of deal with the company that made those canned soup or did he just love the stuff so much that he assumed that everyone else does too?" Everyone just shrugged at the question, after all, they've never met the guy or know what he likes, so they really wouldn't know. Or what the strange fascination with the bacon soup brand was all about. 

 

But that wasn't a priority, so they moved on. 

 

They walked down a short corridor and came upon a wooden station with a blackboard nailed on the top that read "Little Miracle Station" with a white halo over the words Little Miracle, a wooden door with a rectangle cut out at eye level and a black oval painted on the front of it. A wooden box next to the station with another Audio Log on top of it. 

 

"What the heck is this?" Ladybug asked as she opened the door of the station. There seemed to be more than enough room for one person and could probably fit two, but there won't be any wiggle room if two people were inside it at the same time. The red hero tested the hinges before closing the station, the door was able to be kept shut even without the use of locks or magnets. 

 

Max tucked the pipe under his right arm and used his left hand to push his glasses up when he read the sign above out loud, "Little Miracle Station? They look like they've been here a while, but they don't exactly look secure enough to keep anything inside." Markov agreed with that statement. 

 

"There's got to be a reason for it though..." Chat stated before he noticed the Audio Log. That was when the black cat hero said, "Maybe this will tell us." 

 

The moment the play button was hit, a man's voice emitted from the device when he said, "I leave this message for whoever is lucky enough to survive this hell. Hopefully, you'll use the information that I'm going to give you and make sure you remember it well. I'm pretty sure that I don't have to tell you about the Ink Demon and those other monsters, but keep in mind that the Ink Demon cannot be killed, no matter what you do... *Sigh* Trust me I've tried enough times to know... But when you find yourself in a spot where you can't escape, look for these Little Miricle Stations. I know this might sound unrealistic, but once you enter one of them, all the monsters just suddenly forget that they were chasing you or lose interest and they don't even acknowledge you if you're in them, even that Ink Demon. I don't know how or why it is possible, but that's not important. What's important is to keep note of where these Little Miricle Stations are located where ever you go, they'll save you from those ink monsters. Just stay inside them until the monsters are out of range. Please, take this advice seriously. Sincerely, Thomas Astruc (1)." With that, the Audio Log ended with a click. 

 

Team Psi looked at each other before they looked at the wooden station. Could these dinky Little Miricle Stations really protect them from the Ink Demon? 

 

Max rewound the Audio Log before he took out his phone and opened the Audio Recorder app. he hit the record button before he pressed the play button on the Audio Log, playing the voice again. 

 

Once the Audio Log ended a second time, and Max hit the Stop button, Kim asked the shorter teen, "Why'd you do that?" 

 

Max tucked his phone back into his pocket when he said, "I figure I keep a record of all the Audio Logs we find. I already edited the ones we already listened to so they're audio-only, and labelled them accordingly. Just in case we might need the data at a later date, and so we can bring them to the police once we're out. Also... This Audio Log had something weird..." 

 

That was when Ladybug asked, "What do you mean?" 

 

Max gave his teammates a worried look when he said, "Mr Astruc implied that he tried to kill the Ink Demon several times and all of those attempts ended in failure... Well, I doubt that the Ink Demon would just sit back and let him do it and not retaliate, so... How'd he managed to do so and get away alive long enough to make this Audio Log?" 

 

The team glance at each other with an uneasy look. That was certainly a good question... An uneasily good question...

 

"Damn," Kim got out before he said, "It's like we're getting answers to stuff we don't wanna know but not on the stuff we need to know... Urg, I got a bad feeling that we're going to learn more crap that's going to make our guts churn again..." No one could debunk that theory, in all honesty. 

 

Boris placed a comforting hand on the teens' shoulders, one at a time, trying to bring their spirits up a bit. 

 

Ladybug smiled when she said, "Thanks Buddy, we needed that." Boris smiled in return. And with that their quest continued. 

 

As they walked, Kim couldn't help but ask, "Come to think of it... Does the name Thomas Astruc sound familiar to you guys? Because I sware I've heard it before..." 

 

Markov responded with, "He was one of the individuals reported missing, three days after entering the studio based on the report. According to data gathered, he was a writer on a show and thought coming here would give him ideas for a Halloween Special episode." 

 

"Is the show he wrote for any good?" Chat asked curiously. 

 

Markov scanned the data before saying, "According to the fan reviews, the first and second season of the show got satisfactory, but the third season seemed to have been unorganized, contradictory and undoing a lot of character development. A season four is currently in the works, fans are hoping that it will be as good as the first two seasons and not bad like the third season. (2)" 

 

"Eesh, no wonder he wanted to get inspiration," Ladybug stated with a small wince, before she added, "But if he chose this place as inspiration, then he might have lost his writing mojo. He should've picked the catacombs, those would've been a better place to get inspiration and he would've returned to his loved ones and not have to worry about the threats here..." 

 

Everyone agreed on that. 

 

It didn't take long for Team Psi to come to a room with a work desk, wooden shelf with empty spaces, and a doorway leading to a pitch-black corridor. 

 

"Looks like it's really dark up ahead," Chat Noir said commented suspiciously as he looked through the doorway. He had Night Vision, so he was able to see in the dark. But what he wanted to know was why this particular hallway had no light when everywhere else did. 

 

"Let's see if we can find some light," Ladybug said as she looked around for something to use. That was when her eyes landed on an old-fashion torch. 

 

Kim couldn't help but comment, "That's convenient," before he picked up the device and turned it on. He aimed the beam of light into the darkness, revealing the path they needed to take. Markov used his built-in headlight (that Max installed just in case of a power outage), to add more light on their path. 

 

The group walked into the dark corridor, using the device and AI to light the way. That was when Markov noticed the cartoon wolf cowering a bit. The AI then stated, "Don't be scared, Boris. I'll keep the light near you so you don't get lost," before flying over to the cartoon wolf. With that, the group continued, making sure to keep together and the light in front of them. Ink dripped steadily from the ceiling in a few places and they passed by all sorts of machinery and a few empty shelves, one shelf did have a few cans of bacon soup, but nothing too maj-.

 

That was when there was a sudden noise echoing off the ceiling, causing everyone to halt in their tracks.

 

"Did anyone hear that?" Ladybug asked as she glanced at her friends before taking the torch to aim the beam around them. Boris looked around nervously as Kim shook his head. Max moved closer to the taller teen as Markov looked around. 

 

Chat was the one to say, "Yeah. Me neither." More so to lighten the mood a bit... Wasn't working to well, to be honest. 

 

Markov was confused by the statement, but Max explained that the black cat hero was trying to make a joke before they continued on their trek. They moved a bit more cautiously this time. 

 

Soon, they came out of the darkness but were met with a dead end. A pair of metal doors sealed firmly shut. 

 

Max tucked the pipe under his right arm and used his left hand to push his glasses up when he said, "Another dead end. *Glances around the area*. I don't see any other way through." 

 

"Please don't say dead," Kim said with a grimace on his face. That was when the taller teen noticed that Boris walked over to an air vent. Kim then asked, "You got any ideas, Boris?" 

 

Boris looked at the torch before he held out his hand for it. 

 

Ladybug glanced at the device, then the metal doors, and then looked at Boris when she asked, "Do you need to use this to get the door to open?" Boris nodded. The red hero handed the torch over to the wolf when she said, "Good luck, Buddy." 

 

Boris nodded before he opened the vent, turned the torch on, opened the vent and then crawled into it. A couple of seconds later, the metal doors opened with a shaky, metallic groan. 

 

"Boris did it!" Markov said happily, turning off the headlights when more light came in through the now open door. 

 

Max walked over to the vent and called into it, "Boris, you can come out now. We can keep moving." 

 

A tapping noise was then heard coming from the vent. 

 

Chat immediately recognized the rhythm of the tapping and went to translate, "The... Open-ing... Mech-ani-sim... Is Man-ual... He needs... To keep... In place... To keep... The door... Open... So he... Needs to... Find... Ano-ther... Way... To get... Back... To us... After... The doors... Close... So he'll... Meet up... With us... At a... Diff-rent... Lo-ca-tion..." The tapping then stopped and Chat asked into the vent, "Did I get the translation right?" There was a quick series of patterned taps, answering the blonde's question. Chat smiled when he told the rest of the team, "Boris said that I got it right." 

 

Ladybug then said into the vent, "Are you sure about that? There's no way for you to come back while keeping the doors open?" A series of taps were heard. Chat quickly translated the morse code, saying that Boris was reluctantly sure. The red hero frowned at that response. She didn't want to leave any member of her team behind... Finally, Ladybug said into the vent in an uneasy tone, "Alright, find a way out and we'll try to meet up with you at a different location, but be careful. Okay, Buddy?" 

 

A confirmation tap was heard before the team reluctantly continued on their quest. They didn't want to leave their teammate behind, but it didn't seem like they had much of a choice... When they walked passed the doorway, the doors slid close with a metallic groan... How comforting... 

 

As they walked down the new corridor, Chat Noir asked his partner, "Mind if I ask why you keep calling Brois 'Buddy', M'Lady?" 

 

Ladybug amusingly rolled her eyes when she retorted, "You asked anyway, Chaton. But if I'm being honest with myself, I don't know why I'm calling him Buddy... Maybe... Maybe it's Tikki... She saw his soul and I guess that maybe she picked up on a word that he either liked a lot or something like that." That's something that they'll have to ask Tikki during a safe point or a recharge. Either or, but preferably the former. 

 

It didn't take them long before they came to a fork in the corridor. On the wall that causes the split was a worn image of Cartoon Bendy's face. The group looked at each of the paths, and it seems like they just go into the same area. Why Joey Drew used a wall instead of using pillars so it wouldn't look so weird was something the teams' comprehension. So they picked a path and walked into a Massive area that was taken up by a literal toy factory. There were a few wooded railings to probably to control traffic, a few comfortable couches on opposite sides of the lower level, a Miracle Station at the wall that caused the split in the road, a looming waterfall of ink that seemed to start under a sign that read "Heavenly Toys" and a smaller sign that said "Joey Drew Studios", several cardboard cutouts of Cartoon Bendy scattered about, and a few giant plushies of the Bendy Characters were placed in random locations. A big Bendy plushie sat on top of the edge of the inkfall and a giant Boris plushie was prompt against the same base but on the other side. A few puddles of bubbling ink pooled in the area. 

 

"Wow, I don't remember any of this being in the blueprints," Chat Noir commented as he and the rest of the team took in the area. 

 

That was when Markov stated, "I believe we agreed to disregard the blueprints we used for our Haunted House, due to Mr Drew making far too many "Off the Book" constructions." 

 

Max tucked the pipe under his right arm and used his left hand to push his glasses up when he said, "True, but it's still possible that we might be subconsciously comparing all new areas to those blueprints, even if we aren't meaning to." 

 

Kim looked around at the grandiose ceiling when he said, "This must have cost a lot to build, especially underground. Wait... Why'd Mr Drew build this underground?" 

 

That was when Chat suggested, "Maybe it's the same reason why he had those Bendy Statues built inside the studio." But it was easy to tell that even he wasn't sure about what he had said. 

 

Max let out an exasperated sigh when he stated, "It just seems like this place is chock-full of weird stuff that raises a lot of questions... I just wish we'd get the answers we need and get out of here." 

 

That was when Markov finally asked, "But what about Boris? According to the collected data, none of the Ink Creatures can leave the studio. And as friendly and caring as Boris is, he is an Ink Creature." 

 

Chat Noir immediately replied, "We're not leaving Boris behind! He's already been through enough in this place! More than us, that's for sure!" 

 

Kim was the one to ask, "But, how can we bring him with us? Trust me, I want Boris to come along with us out of this place, but how can we if none of the Ink Creatures can leave?" 

 

Ladybug held up her yoyo when she said, "I think that I can purify the corruption of the Ink and hopefully that will allow Boris to leave this place with us." She'll just have to ask Tikki about it, but she was Ladybug! She could do it! She will do it! 

 

The rest of Team Psi settled on that. They might've only known Boris for a week, but there was no way in hell they were leaving the cartoon wolf behind. Especially in a place like this. 

 

So Team Psi continued. They trooped up the stairs and passed an old-style punch-in clock and a power switch before they walked through a doorway leading into some kind of toy workshop with a toy-making machine. Once they walked in, they heard the faint sounds of humming. Not the kind of humming from a machine, but from a person, maybe a woman because of the tone. 

 

Markov commented that the toy-making machine looked to be in surprisingly good condition, considering the environment. Max couldn't help but agree, tucked the pipe under his right arm, and used his phone to quickly snap a picture of the machine. 

 

Ladybug spotted a door behind a wooden shelf full of plushies of Cartoon Bendy, Alice Angel, and Boris. She let out an exaggerated sigh when she asked no one in particular, "Why is there always something blocking the door?" She then looked over the shelf when she added, "There's gotta be a way through!" That was when she spotted the indent in the wall next to the block off the door. 

 

In the indent was a workbench with an Audio Log on top and prompted against the wall. A Bendy plushie covered in cobwebs. A book that looked so old that it might fall apart when touched. A burnt-out candle. A dish of ink that was in the shape of Cartoon Bendy. And a wastebasket underneath. 

 

"What's this?" Kim asked when he saw the strange figure on the desk. He poked it, then it suddenly turned into a Boris shape. "Huh?" was all Kim got out when he saw this before poking the ink blob again. It quickly morphed into a skull before turning into a figure of Alice Angel. 

 

"How weird," Chat Noir commented before he poked the ink blob. This time it morphed into the machine in the blueprints. "Okay, now that's just bizarre," The black cat hero stated before he finally noticed the Audio Log. He picked it up and read the name on the label. "Shawn Flynn. Wonder what he did here?" 

 

Max quickly switched to the recorder app, ready to use. 

 

With that Chat Noir placed the Audio Log back on the table and hit play. The voice of a man with a relatively thick Irish accent emitted from the device when he said, "I don't be seein' what the big deal is. So what if I went and painted some of those Bendy dolls with a crooked smile? That's sure no reason for Mister Drew to be flyin' off the handle at me. And if he really wants to be helpful, he could be tellin' me what to be doin' with this warehouse I got full of that angel whatchamacallit. Not a scrap of that mess be a-sellin'! Probably have to melt it all down just to be rid of it all." With that, the Log ended with a click. 

 

Max stopped his recording and quickly typed the name of the person who made the log and where it was found. As he did, he made the comment, "This Shawn Flynn sounds a lot like Jacksepticeye (3)." 

 

"Jack-who-di-kai?" Chat Noir asked cluelessly. 

 

Max rolled his eyes in amusement when he explained, "Jacksepticeye is a gamer I follow. He's fun." 

 

"And Irish," Kim added with a goofy grin, causing Max to chuckle. 

 

Chat Noir let out a, "Huh, I guess it was the accent that reminded you of Jack-dip-kai." 

 

Ladybug giggled when she said, "It's Jack-sep-tic-eye, Chaton." 

 

Chat gave his partner a grin when he said, "Claws enough." 

 

Ladybug rolled her eyes in amusement at this before she said, "But... Judging from what Mr Flynn said, he must've been a toy-maker or was in charge of the whole toy-making operation here." 

 

Max put his phone back into his pocket when he said, "I'm pretty sure he had this toy workshop to capitalize on merchandising of his cartoons... But it seems like the toys weren't selling as much as Mr Drew would've liked... Perhaps Mr Drew was trying to grow his studio too quickly..." 

 

Ladybug placed a hand to her chin when she said, "That's certainly a possibility and the most likely one too... But it still doesn't explain where all this ink and the Ink Creatures come into play in this... I mean, it couldn't have come out of nowhere." 

 

That seems to be the reoccurring question... 

 

But they had a task at hand, so they focused on moving the shelf that was blocking the door. Cataclysm was on the table, but only if there was no other way. Team Psi looked over the Toy-Making Room when they did they realized that the shelves were connected to the toy machine. Both Max and Markov commented about the impracticality of the whole setup, to which the rest of the team agreed. That was when they realized that they needed to turn the machine on to move the shelves. 

 

Ladybug followed the power cables and saw from the doorway where the power switch they needed was (just pass the punch-in clock). She used her yoyo to flip the switch from the doorway, to move things along faster. The red hero quickly returned to her friends as they flipped the switch to turn the toy-making machine on, or tried too. 

 

The switch was stuck. 

 

That was when Markov noticed that some of the main mechanisms had toys jammed into them, thus preventing them from working. So the team got to yanking the toys out and allowing the mechanisms to function properly. 

 

Now they turned the machine on, and the shelf slid to the side and allowing them access to the door. 

 

"Stay close, we don't know what's on the other side," Ladybug said seriously as she took the lead. As much as Chat Noir wanted to lighten the mood, he knew that now wasn't a good time to crack a joke or pun. Kim, Max, and Markov kept close to the heroes, readying their pipes just in case something were to happen. 

 

With that, Ladybug opened the door. 

 

~}i{ Outside the Studio. 15:45, Césaire Household }i{~ 

 

Alya was just sitting in her room. On her bed, just staring at the ceiling with her phone in hand. 

 

She came home right after Collège Françoise Dupont let out. She didn't feel like doing anything else besides wallowing.

 

Even though her older sister and parents tried to assure her that she was just as much a victim in this, Alya still felt responsible for everything. Even though her classmates told her that they'll still be there for her, even if it might take a while before they're friends again, Alya still felt guilty for not trusting them enough. Even though the teachers and Team Psi's families telling her that they'll forgive her if she puts the effort in to earn that forgiveness, Alya still felt like they were going easy on her. 

 

The guilt, the despair, the anguish. It all just festered inside of Alya. 

 

So much that she didn't even notice a blacken butterfly fluttering into her room from the window. It landed on her phone and sank into it, turning it black. 

 

A purple outline of a moth appeared over Alya's eyes when she heard a voice say, "Hello, Lady Wifi." 

 

~}i{~ 

 

To be continued in Chapter 3 Pt 2: Rise and Fall of Analyst.

 

~}i{~

 

1) This isn't an Audio Log in the Bendy & the Ink Machine game, but from the teens and AI's povs these Little Miracle Stations don't look like they WOULD keep any of the Ink Creatures away and I had to add Someone to explain to Team Psi what the Little Miracle Stations actually do. So I figured I use this guy. 

 

2) What? I couldn't resist. But I'm sure everyone can agree on what Markov said about the seasons. 

 

3) I most certainly could not resist having the gamer commenting on Shawn Flynn's Voice Actor, Jacksepticeye. He's a Gaming Youtuber (who does have an Irish accent). He's pretty famous in that community, so of course, the gamer of the team would know him, lol. 

 

 

 

~}i{~

 

Gale-Dragon: Yup, I'm splitting Chapter 3 into multiple parts. 

 

~}i{~

Chapter Text

~}i{~

Miraculous Adventure in Joey Drew Studio.

Chapter 3 Pt 2: Rise and Fall of Analyst.

~}i{~

Ladybug opened the door so she, Chat Noir, Kim, Max, and Markov could enter. The room was chock-full of Alice Angel memorabilia. Cartoon posters and cardboard cutouts of Alice Angel were all over this room. There was a banner over a window that read "SHE'S QUITE A GAL!". Still a bit on edge, Team Psi cautiously walked in. They were about to look around when the overhead lights suddenly turned off.

Ladybug and Chat Noir immediately went into "Protect the Civilians" mode as they huddled around Kim, Max, and Markov, to both stays close together and to protect each other. The black-clad hero extended his metal pole and the red-clad started twirling her yo-yo in a circle. The civilians readied their weapons. All were now on high alert.

All the monitors suddenly blinked on before they all showed the face of Alice Angel as her theme song cheerfully echoed through the room.

"I'm the cutest little angel, sent from above, and I know just how to swing... I've got a bright little halo, and I'm filled with love... I'm Alice Angel!"

The only light that they had in the room came from the flickering tv monitors, but even those were rather dull from lack of use. It was putting the group even more on edge as they huddled closer together with their respective weapons ready to hit whatever threat may appear from the darkness.

"I'm the hit of the party, I'm the belle of the ball, I'm the toast of every town... Just one little dance, and I know you'll fall... I'm Alice Angel!"

Despite the cheery song singing in the room, Team Psi just couldn't bring themselves to relax. In fact, this only made them tenser than they already were.

"I ain't no flapper, I'm a classy dish, and boy, can this girl sing."

Something just felt... So forboding right now... Team Psi could just feel it.

Suddenly a spotlight shined into the window, revealing that there was a door on the other side. There was a golden star with a halo on the top point on the door and under the star were the words ALICE ANGEL.

Team Psi's attention was drawn to the door on the other side of the window because it was the only thing that was lit up.

"This gal can grant your every wish..."

That was when a young woman that looked like a humanoid replica of the Alice Angel character with straight medium-length black hair, thin eyebrows, and black lipstick. She wore a semi-broken angel halo that melted into the left side of her head and had a pair of short, realistic-looking demon horns. She wears a black flapper dress in the 1920's style with a white bow tie resembling Bendy's. Her entire arms are coated with ink-black colour to resemble sleeve-like gloves, but she does not wear white gloves like the original Alice Angel cartoon character. Also unlike the original Alice character, she wears a pair of black tights for her legs and Mary Jane style shoes. She also has a white bow on the back of her dress that has straps, which the original Alice Angel character didn't have. The iris colour of her right eye is bright yellow, and she has a beauty spot on the right side of her face along with a small mole. The left side of her face resembles melted like wax, with half of her teeth exposed and an empty left eye-socket with few ink-like tears. On her neck there appeared to be a slit oozing with one drip of blood-like ink suddenly slammed against the window and shouted, "I'M ALICE ANGEL!"

This made Team Psi jump right out of their skins in fear. But before the heroes could even act, this Twisted Alice slammed both of her fists into the glass with another shout. The lights went out at the same time as the impact and leaving the group in darkness yet again.

Ladybug held her yo-yo like a garrote (1) while Chat Noir activated his Night Vision, both keeping watch and listening for this new enemy to attack in the pitch darkness. Kim instinctively kept close to Max, to protect him better. Markov activated his inferred vision and readied his gun.

That was when they heard a woman's voice speak to them through the speakers, "I see you there. A few new flies in my endless web." Chat Noir's eyes darted all around the room, trying to find this new enemy. There was no one but the group inside the room. The voice continued, "Come along now. Let's see if you're worthy to walk with angels."

With that, the lights turned on slowly, allowing the groups' eyes to re-adjust to the light, revealing the window had a large crack in the centre of it when the Twisted Alice Angel smashed her fists against it. That was when they saw all saw a new opening that wasn't there before. The group glanced at each other before they lowered their respective weapons, Ladybug rewrapped her yo-yo around her waist. They cautiously followed the new pathway.

No one said a word as they trooped down the path. Even Chat Noir didn't even try to crack a joke to lighten the mood... They were all still creeped out by what transpired in that room...

It wasn't until they came to another fork in the path that something was finally spoken. There was a simple wooden directional sign with two wooden arrows pointing in opposite directions. Inside the arrow pointing to the left read "THE DEMON" with little devil horns poking out of the "O". Inside the arrow pointing to the right read "THE ANGEL" with a halo over the "G".

"So which path should we take?" Chat Noir finally said, breaking the tense silence. The black-clad hero then said, "To be honest, neither really sound appealing... Especially..." Yeah, he wasn't going to say it, he knew it was pointless to do so, the rest of the team saw it.

The rest of Team Psi grumbled in agreement.

But now they couldn't be sure which path they should take. They used the periscope feature of Chat Noir's baton to peer around the corners to see into the Demon's Path and saw an office dripping and flooded with ink, there was a desk a few chairs, and an Audio Log sitting in one of the chairs. The group then glanced at each other before the group used the same method to peer into the Angel Path, it was ink-free and rather cosy looking office with an Audio Log resting on the nice-looking couch.

"Judging by the colour pallet of the decor and considering the age of the building... I am 78.69% sure that this office belonged to a female employee," Max finally stated after analyzing the room. Markov agreed with the statement as Ladybug looked between the two paths.

That was when Kim asked, "So which should we take? I mean, don't they both lead to the same location? Besides, the only difference seems to be how much ink is in them..."

Chat Noir watched Ladybug move back and forth while using his baton to see into the offices without going in when he said, "Something tells me that that might not be the whole story... Like the rest of this place... Maybe... *Looks up at the signs* The paths trigger something different..."

That was when Ladybug stopped moving back and forth to look at the two rooms to ponder about this decision. "This might be crazy... But..."

~}i{ Outside the Studio ~}i{~

The Temporary Heroes were currently fighting against Lady WiFi. Well... It's more them trying to chase down Lady Wifi...

"Something is off about this Akuma," Mitsubachi commented as she, Madam Emerald, Viperion, Bunnyx, and Drak-Kon leapt from building to building, following the visible electric ball riding through the powerlines.

Drak-Kon bit his lip before he said, "If memory serves me right, I think this Akuma is Lady Wifi."

That was when Bunnyx said, "Alya Césaire got Akumatized again? Man, that's the last thing she needs!"

Viperion raised a brow when he asked, "Do you know her?"

Bunnyx smoothly replied, "I know everyone, or rather, I'll know everyone soon enough. Plus, who hasn't been following the Liar Rossi Case?" There was a symphonious cringe among the heroes at this.

But they had to focus on the task at hand. Namely capturing and purifying the Akuma.

That was when Madame Emerald looked at her teammates as they kept their chase up and ask, "That rotten news aside... Does anyone find it a little strange that Lady WiFi doesn't seem to be interested in us? I mean, doesn't Hawkmoth want us to spill the beans on where Chat Noir and Ladybug are to get their Miraculous? Even though we don't know where they're training."

"That is what felt off!" Mitsubachi stated as she looked at the Turtle Holder and added, "Madame Emerald is correct in saying that this Akuma isn't interested in us."

Madame Emerald blinked in shock before she said, "I am? I mean, I just thought it was weird that she wasn't even trying to attack us, she had plenty of opportunities to do so."

Drak-Kon thought for a bit when he asked, "You think she's luring us into a trap?"

Viperion readied his Miraculous when he said, "I'll give you the heads up if it does happen." He looked at the others when he said that. When they nodded in response, they continued with their chase.

It took two minutes before Lady WiFi leapt out of the powerline at the edge of Paris and the heroes learned what her real goal was. "Joey Drew Studios?" All five heroes said at the same time when they saw the Akuma running towards the dilapidated-looking building.

"Did she get Akumatize..." Madame Emerald stated in a rather shocked tone.

Bunnyx finished the sentence with, "To save them?"

Viperion looked at his fellow heroes when he asked, "Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but... That place has been shut down for over half a century and certainly doesn't have modern telecommunications equipment that she could use, and from what I heard contact was lost when those four teens fell through the stairs while trying to run from an Ink Monster..." What Viperion left unsaid was there when communication was lost with his mother and sister. That was when the Snake Holder added, "So how was she planning to get in, find them, and then get out with them while avoiding all the monsters within?"

Mitsubachi watched the Akuma trying to break the main door to the studio when she said, "I don't think she will." Then cringed when she saw Lady WiFi tried to kick the door but ended up falling to the ground due to the sturdiness of the frame and door. "That is an oddly strong, well-made door for a building that old," Mitsubachi commented with a raised brow.

Drak-Kon let out a sigh as he shook his head and said, "I don't think she planned that far ahead... *Realizes something* But... Why would..."

"We still need to capture and purify the Akuma," Bunnyx said in a bitter tone. She then said with a sigh, "It's pretty obvious that she can't get in either..." The other heroes watched as Lady WiFi kept trying to smash the door down with both her fists and her abilities, but the ability did not affect due to there not being any good wifi signals in the area.

Yeah... They still had to stop her...

The heroes cautiously walked up behind Lady WiFi and snatched her phone as she banged on the firmly shut door. The Akuma didn't even notice that her object was taken until Bunnyx said, "Bye-Bye little butterfly," and that she was back to being Alya. The ombre-haired girl just sank to the ground when she realized what happened. She kept facing the door of the studio as the heroes moved closer to her.

Drak-Kon rubbed the back of his neck with a sigh before he said, "Hey, uh, listen, I get that you wanna save the group that's trapped inside and all. I mean, we wanted to help too, but... I'm not sure if you heard or not, but this studio's got a mind of its own and well... It doesn't want anyone else to enter... Don't know how or why..." The Dragon Holder couldn't help but think, 'Damn, this is harder than I thought.'

That was when Mitsubachi stated in a stern tone, "Even if you were successful in your attempt to retrieving the trapped group inside, it wouldn't fix everything that has happened. Both before they entered and after." The Bee Holder knew what Alya was going through and while she wasn't one of her favourite people during the past few months, she knew that Alya was deeply regretting everything that has happened. 'She is letting her guilt take her over,' Mitsubachi thought as she watched Alya lower head.

Madame Emerald looked at Mitsubachi when she said, "Okay, I know this is ironic coming from me but aren't you being a little too harsh? She's obviously going through some problems that she needs to deal with and those words aren't helping."

"Yeah, that is ironic," Drak-Kon muttered as he scratched his cheek.

"Actually," Viperion vocalized before saying as he looked at the Bee Holder, "Please continue, Mitsubachi." This earned a gasp from the other heroes. That was when the Snake Holder said, "Trust me on this."

With that Mitsubachi continued with her speech to Alya by saying, "Just saving the group inside isn't going to fix what happened in the past, the scars will still be there to hurt them." Alya slumped a bit at this. "While I may not know the group trapped inside, I do believe that they had classmates that were also your friends, correct?" Mitsubachi asked Alya, more along the lines of trying to hide the fact that she knows Miss Bustier's class than anything else.

Alya nodded be before she said glumly, "Yeah, they're my classmates too... And they were willing to forgive me for what I did... But I don't deserve their forgiveness... I'm a terrible person... And a terrible friend..."

That was when Mitsubachi snapped, "You are not! You made some mistakes and are facing the consequences of those mistakes, but that does not mean that you are a terrible person! That Lair Rossi is a terrible person, but not you. You were gullible and naive, and that didn't help the fact that that Lair was a good manipulator." The Bee Holder knelt to Alya's level when she finally said, "Listen, I understand that what happened was horrible, but if your classmates are willing to forgive if you try after all that, then you are not a bad person."

This made Alya's spirit finally lift after being down for so long.

Mitsubachi then added, "But the first step you need to take is to start taking initiative and earning your classmates forgiveness. Then you'll eventually forgive yourself."

With that, the heroes left the site and brought Alya home to her worried family. They embraced their middle daughter the moment she arrived home. The heroes left the family for a meeting Drak-Kon wanted to have.

A couple of minutes later, they were at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Horseshoe was waiting for them.

"Alright Drak-Kon, what do you want to talk about?" Bunnyx asked as she leaned against the wall of the observation deck.

Once he was sure that all the other heroes were listening, Dark-Kon asked his question, "Has anyone noticed a pattern with the recent Akuma attacks?"

This made the other heroes think for a bit.

"Besides their outfits looking as horrible as usual, nothing off the top of my head at the moment," Madame Emerald stated as she tapped her chin, trying to recall all the Akumas they have fought since they got their new Miraculous.

Viperion carefully thought over the Akumas that they have fought since they took over for Ladybug and Chat Noir, and that was when he realized what Drak-Kon was talking about. "None of them were interested in us or wanted to get information on Ladybug and Chat Noir. That was something I assumed Hawkmoth would want to do," the snake hero stated as he folded his arms with a serious look on his face.

Horseshoe placed a hand to his chin as he asked the heroes if this was true. Now that the other heroes thought about it... Yeah, none of the Akumas ever tried to attack them on sight or tried to get their Miraculous. The Akumas might've attacked them out of retaliation for interrupting their plans but they never went out of their way to do anything else. Horseshoe use Voyage to quickly get a map of Paris and a couple of stickers and coloured pens. He carefully laid it on the floor, used a few stones to keep the map in place in case the wind decides to swing by, and asked the team to mark where the Akumas were first spotted and what directions the Akuma was going before they encountered them.

Bunnyx easily opened a Burrow to watch the Akumas, this allowed the team to mark where they first appeared. They then watched where the Akumas were heading.

As they marked their data, a picture was starting to form. Adding Lady WiFi's data just solidified the picture to the team.

"They were all heading to Joey Drew Studio?" Mitsubachi stated in confusion as she looked over the map, looking at all the directional arrows the Akumas were pointing at. The Bee Holder then looked up from the map when she asked the other heroes, "Why? As far as I know, only Alya had any direct connection to the group trapped inside."

That was when Drak-Kon brought up the next issue that he wondered about earlier, "Exactly! And I couldn't help but wonder why Hawkmoth would allow any of his Akumas to go to a location that might not allow them out or in. Especially since his main goal was always trying to get the Miraculous from LB and CN. So here's my next question, Why would he suddenly change his MO so suddenly? Especially since it doesn't benefit him in any way, unless..."

"Unless?" Madam Emerald repeated, not liking where the Dragon Holder was going wit this conversation.

The younger heroes missed the older hero gulp in worry as he wondered if they or Hawkmoth somehow found out Ladybug and Chat Noir's civilian IDs.

That was when Drak-Kon finished with, "Unless Hawkmoth has some civilian connection to the group trapped inside Joey Drew Studio."

That was when Bunnyx said, and completely missing Horseshoe's breath of relief, "Wait? Are you saying that you think you're saying?"

Viperion was the one to say, "If Drak-Kon is implying that Hawkmoth is somehow connected to the group trapped inside Joey Drew Studio, then yes. And I'm starting to agree with him."

Madam Emerald thought about the theory quickly before saying, "That IS out there, but if Hawkmoth is literally ditching his MO to try to save them, then... He must be someone close to either one of them or all of them..."

That was when Horseshoe realized something from the past. The older hero then said, "If I may put my 2 euros in... Ladybug had a theory a while ago about Mr Agreste being Hawkmoth, but that was dismissed when Mr Agreste was Akumatized."

Mitsubachi was quick to respond with, "But it is possible that he might have Akumatized himself to throw suspicion." Horseshoe did reluctantly nod at that. But the Bee Holder then added, "However... We cannot "Jump the Gun" on this theory until we gather enough evidence to prove it. There is also the fact that the Dupain-Chengs, Kantès, and the Lês are also suspects in this as well. And any family friends of theirs."

Viperion then said in a slightly bitter tone, "You have a point, Mitsubachi... But like you said, we need solid evidence before we make accusations."

All the heroes agreed on that.

Master Wang Fu couldn't help but look at the mark on the map for Joey Drew Studio and think, 'Ladybug, Chat Noir... Please... Escape from that building as fast as you can... Even if you have to reveal your identities to each other and the others of your group...' Now Horseshoe looked at the group of heroes that he managed to gather. He watched them make their plan to gather evidence on who Hawkmoth could be, even when they were in their civilian ids. Master Fu took a deep breath before he thought, 'It would be a shame to take their Miraculous away once Ladybug and Chat Noir return... If they return... No! They'll remain heroes! No matter what the Rules of the Guardian say.'

~}i{ Back inside the Studio }i{~

"You want us to take BOTH paths?!" Chat Noir, Kim, Max, and Markov exclaimed in shock.

Ladybug held a hand up when she said, "Let me explain a little better. Both paths are through narrow rooms, if all of us go into one we'll be on top of one another, which might not be a good situation to be in if a Searcher pops up. So we'll split in half and each takes one path each. I know splitting up isn't a good idea, but it's going to end up happening in one way or another, as much as I don't want to think about it, especially since we had to split from Boris..." The others weren't happy to think about that particular fact either, but at least the wolf missed the bedwetting scare from that Twisted Alice Angel. Ladybug took a deep breath before she said, "I don't like it either, but we need a chance to be able to defend ourselves."

Kim nodded before he said, "I understand that, and I can defend myself pretty well as you've seen."

That was when Markov interjected with, "But Max is in a cast, he isn't going to be able to defend himself as readily as you, Ladybug, or Chat Noir." Max immediately glanced down at his right hand at these words. The AI had a point...

That was when Ladybug said, "Which is why you'll be in the same group as Max. Plus, we have the Walkie-Talkies, just in case the paths do lead somewhere different." With that, she opened her yo-yo and pulled out the device to show the others.

Max carefully tucked the pipe he was holding under his right arm as he pulled the device's mate out of his bag and added, "Sounds like a solid plan, if we have a way to talk to each other, and alert the other team if they run into Boris." That was something the group could agree on.

That's when they made their teams. Chat Noir, Max, and Markov would go down the Angel Path. While Ladybug and Kim would go down the Demon Path. When each of the teams stood in front of the path they were going to walk through, they gave each other a nod before they took a step inside. They followed their respective path into the offices.

}{ On the Demon Path }{

Ladybug and Kim passed the posters advertising some of the cartoons that Bendy stared in. They passed the ink-covered desk and glanced around the room. A Bendy cutout was standing next to the other exit to the room. Thick lines of black ink slipped down from the ceiling. An old artist desk was propped next to the regular office desk. A Bendy plush was sitting on top of the artist desk as a small lit candle sat on the bottom layer.

"Yuck! This place is more swamped with ink then we thought," Kim commented as he and Ladybug trudged through the ankle-deep ink. The tall teen then looked at the red-clad hero when he added, "Wonder why this path is so filled with ink when the other wasn't?"

Ladybug shrugged as she responded with, "I'm not really sure we should be worried about this kind of small factors would we have bigger things to worry about."

Kim nodded in agreement before he turned his attention to the Audio Log sitting on the chair. The athlete quickly pulled his phone at his pocket, pulled up the recording app, and then said, "Since Max is collecting all the Audio Logs we come across, I might as well get the ones that he'll miss." When Ladybug nodded before Kim hit the record button and then played the Audio Log.

The voice that emitted from this Audio Log was unfamiliar to the two, and the tone of the voice sounded like a man that was certainly zealous about what he was talking about, "There's nothing wrong with dreaming. Wishing for the impossible is just human nature. That's how I got started. Just a pencil and a dream. We all want everything without even having to lift a finger. They say you just have to believe. Belief can make you succeed. Belief can make you rich. Belief can make you powerful. *Kim and Ladybug give each other a sideways glance at these words*. Why, with enough belief, you can even cheat death itself. Now that... Is a beautiful, and positively silly thought." With that, the log ended with a click.

The only sounds that were made were the sounds of the ink dripping down from the ceiling as Kim stopped the recording app on his phone.

Ladybug was the one to break the silence when she said, "Well... That was... Weird..."

Kim couldn't help but reply, "Yeah... Even weirder than Mr Lawrence's Log after he went crazy... ... ... Umm, what's the word for biased or misleading information that's used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view?"

"Propaganda," Ladybug responded in a flat tone, before she said in a relatively serious tone, "But it fits with what this Audio Log sounds like." The red-clad hero then picked up the Audio Log and saw the handwritten label printed on it in big fancy letters. "Joey Drew?" Ladybug read with a raised brow before she glanced at Kim and said, "So that's the voice of the guy who was in charge of this place."

Kim renamed the new recording, logging the name of the person and where the Audio Log was found, when he said, "I know this is the first time we found a log of the guy, but... *Finishes with naming the Recording Log* Something seemed... Off about his Audio Log."

"Off how?" Ladybug asked with a raised brow as she placed the Audio Log back on the chair.

Kim shrugged as he slipped his phone back into his pocket when he said, "I don't know, it's just... Something was off about it... Like it didn't seem real, and I don't mean about what he was saying."

The two gave each other a worried look before they trooped out of the ink flooded room.

}{ On the Angel Path }{

As Chat Noir, Markov, and Max walked into the Angel Path they passed two Alice Angel posters and saw graffiti written on the wall in front of them as they turned to the right that read "DREAMS COME TRUE_". After that, they walked into the plush office.

"Wow, this office is paw-sitivily com-fur-table," Chat Noir said as they looked around the nice office. The couch looked like a good place to not only relax but also catch a few Zs. A large closet. An Alice Angel cutout. A draw. A coatrack. One of the soup vending machines. An Alice Angel plush was sitting on the couch next to an Audio Log and a lit candle. And there were sticky post-it notes all over the wall, all blank.

"That didn't long for the puns to start back up," Max commented as he tucked the pipe under his right arm and used his left hand to push his glasses up. Markov couldn't help but agree.

Chat Noir gave the two a cattish grin when he said, "What can I say, I cat stay down in a paw-ful mood fur long." The puns caused Max to roll his eyes before shaking his head as Markov tilted his head to the side. That was when the black-clad hero noticed the Audio Log on the couch and asked with the catish smile still in place, "Shall we log the Log?"

Max rolled his eyes as he took his phone out of his pocket. He pulled up the recording app and then nodded at the black-clad hero. The moment Max hit the record button, Chat pressed play.

The familiar voice of Susie Campbell filled the room, but this time around she sounded distressed and miserable as the Audio Log played, "Everything feels like it's coming apart. When I walked into the recording booth today, Sammy was there with that... Allison. Apparently, I didn't get the memo. Alice Angel will now be voiced by Miss Allison Pendle. *Chat, Max, and Markov looked at each other at that this*. A part of me died when he said that. *Susie, now in a distressed and desperate tone* There's gotta be a way to fix this!" With that, the Audio ended with a click.

Max stopped the recording on his phone and started labelling it when he said, "That... Actually explains why we didn't know of Ms Campbell's existence before we entered the studio... She was replaced without being informed of the news..."

Markov tapped his claw to under his visor when he said, "I am not sure I understand the motivation of replacing a talent without informing them of it for no given reason. Other than purposeful malicious intent..."

Chat Noir sat on the free space on the couch to think when he noticed a folded paper, yellow with age, sticking out from between the cushions on the couch. "Huh? What's this?" the black-clad hero wondered out loud as he plucked the old paper out from its spot and unfolded it. There were typewritten words on the paper with a note at the bottom of the page. "Oh wow..." Chat vocalized before he asked Max if he finished with organizing the log. When Max said that he was, the cat-themed hero said, "Then open a new recording, this is something that you need to log."

Max blinked in confusion before he said, "Um... Alright, but you might want to read that out loud as Adrien rather than Chat Noir." And then did as was requested, but didn't hit the record button just yet.

Chat Noir nodded before he said, "Plagg, Claws In." And with that, he was now back to Adrien Agreste. Plagg was now floating next to the hero. "Ready?" the blonde asked his friend, who nodded in response as he hit the Record button. Adrien took a deep breath when he said, "We just found this Joey Drew Studio staff memo on the Angel Path, next to the Susie Campbell Audio Log that is here. My best guess is that Ms Campbell found this staff memo some time after she recorded the Log found here. I'll read what the memo says.

*Takes another deep breath*. From: Joey Drew. To: All Staff. Please give a warm welcome to Allison Pendle, Joey Drew Studios' newest employee. Allison is a talented voice actress with lots of dreams. In her spare time, she loves to cook and invent recipes. I know that as soon as you meet her, you'll be taken with her beautiful voice and charm. She's so interesting, so... Different. I have to say, I'm an instant fan. Effective immediately, Allison will be the new voice of Alice Angel. We believe this restructured in voice talent will lead to a more cohesive character list-and more success for our dreams. Allison will meet Sammy Lawrence after lunch to discuss recording Alice Angel's dialogue. Then I will bring her around to meet everyone.

Now here's the kicker to this memo. A note at the end written by who I assume was Mr Drew that says "Distribute immediately to everyone except for Susie Campbell"! (2)

Can you believe that! The guy just... Just! Replaces the Voice Actress for Alice Angel without warning after meeting this new voice actress just once! And! And! And! It was plainly obvious that Ms Campbell really adored her role as Alice Angel! And to just give the part to someone else with no explanation or notice like that! That's just cruel! Even my father wouldn't have done something that underhanded without a proper reason! Even when he took that Lying Spy's word over everyone else's, despite them working for him longer! I can't believe he would actually think that Lila would tell the truth about anything!"

"Umm, Adrien... You're anger level's are increasing at an alarming rate," Markov commented in a tone that was both innocent and worried. Max looked like he was worried about preventing a murder from happening.

Adrien snapped out of the moment to look at his friends. He apologized as Max stopped the recording. Once the Kwami was sure the phone wasn't recording the audio, he looked at his chosen and asked, "Listen to me, Kitten. You're reading it from that Campbell girl's viewpoint! Of course, she'll be upset over something like that, but that doesn't mean you have to be too." Max and Markov nodded at these words. That was when Plagg stated, "But you are right about something being fishy about that memo. Remember when you started dabbling in voice acting? You were told to start a Voice Reel once you finished with that Ladybug and Chat Noir movie. And this Drew fella hired and replaced his existing voice actoress for Alice Angel after meeting this Pendle girl just once. Yeah, something's not right with what happened and I think that that Drew fella KNEW that and went with the whole scam anyway."

Max moved closer to the blonde hero when he said, "That does seem a little strange when you think about it, and it makes you wonder if any of the other employees thought so too... I mean... Someone had to have wondered about that decision... Um, you mind if I take a picture of the memo, just because there's no such thing as too much evidence."

Adrien held the memo out so it could be clearly seen. Max snapped a picture of it on his phone and quickly labelled it accordingly.

"Something's just not right..." Adrien muttered under his breath.

Markov heard and replied with, "I most certainly concur with your statement, but we do not have all the data needed to properly state that it was intentional or not. Although, from what we currently have now, it is logical to think that it might have been intentional... For whatever reason that we are unaware of..."

The group looked at each other with a worried look on their face before they made their way through the path.

~}i{ Elsewhere Inside the Studio }i{~

A soft chatter echoed throughout the chamber of a room. A light flicked weakly in the room. The furniture inside the room looked as old as the building itself and was nearly falling apart from constant use, apparently.

"Wwwwwaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttt ffffooooorrrrrr mmmmmmeeeeeeee... BBBBBBeeeee thhhhhheeeerrrreeee sssssooooooonnnnnn," said a voice unused to speaking. It sounded rough and cracked, but it was still able to make out what was said.

Ink practically seeped through the closest wall, now making it a wall of the thick black goo.

"Sssssssooooooooooooooonnnnnnnn," the voice said before melting into the inky wall.

~}i{ Back With Our Heroes }i{~

Both teams trekked down paths that mirrored each other. When each team came to a door, they heard something on the other side. Adrien quickly transformed into Chat Noir and everyone readied their weapon, expecting the worst. They quickly opened their respective doors and were immediately relieved when they saw the other team coming out of their door from the parallel wall.

"Guess the paths did lead to the same location," Ladybug said as they all entered the new corridor and looked around.

That was when the teams exchanged information. Kim played the recorded Audio from Joey Drew that was on the Demon Path so Max can record it, everyone agreed that something sounded off about that particular Audio Log but no one was sure what. Chat Noir told Ladybug and Kim about Susie Campbell's Audio Log on the Angel Path and Max showed them the snapshot of the company memo.

"What kind of scumbag would fire someone from something that they adore like that for little to no reason?" Kim could help but comment when he heard the Log and read the Memo.

They looked at each other before they all said the same thing at the same time, "Lila!"

That was when Markov stated, "While I can draw parallels between Mr Drew and Lila in this instance, let's not forget that it's only one thing that links them. We have no other solid facts that Mr Drew is like Lila in other ways." The humans grumbled that the AI had a point.

Soon they spotted another door and they went through it as it creaked open. As they walked through, a Bendy cutout poked its head out from around the only corner in the small hallway, startling the group as they continued to cautiously walked to the corner.

When they came to the corner, their moods immediately improved when Chat Noir said with a cattish smile, "Boris! *Relieved sigh*. You scared us to death!"

"Urg! Please don't say death," Kim complained as he gave the cartoon wolf a big hug.

The rest of the team followed suit, happy to be reunited with their friend. "It's good that we found you, Buddy!" Ladybug said happily as their group was now back together.

Boris smiled at his friends, happy to be back with the group.

After Team Psi calmed down from their sudden excitement, Max asked the cartoon wolf, "I don't suppose you found anything you can use to protect ourselves with?" That was when Boris held up one of those Gent Pipes. "That will do," Max said with a smile.

"Gent?" Chat Noir questioned as he read the brand name out loud. He then asked, "Isn't that the name of the company that Mr Connor worked for?"

Markov quickly looked through the data he had before he responded with, "That is correct. Mr Drew hired the Gent Company to help streamline his studio, or so he claimed," That was when Max pointed out that a lot of the machine and machine parts they've come across had the Gent Logo branded on them. Markov then stated, "So that part of Mr Drew's statement from the files we gathered before entering the studio is determined to be true... But there are still so many unanswered questions regarding the state of the studio... Especially all this ink, and the other employees and other unfortunate individuals that we now believe to be trapped here..." Boris nodded in agreement, even though he seemed to understand some of what was said.

Kim couldn't help but ask, "Is it me, or do we keep circling back to how the Ink came to be? I mean... I can understand why, but still... You guys think Mr Drew requested that the Gent Company make that Ink Machine thing?"

Max was the one to say, "Can't say that it's not something that may or may not be true, but... At the moment, we don't have enough evidence to either prove or disprove that theory. Hold on, I just remembered something!" When the others asked what it was, Max responded with, "Guys, how are we going to Log the fact that the Searchers, and the Ink Creatures by extension, were once human without solid facts to support that?"

That was when Kim replied with, "But Max, Tikki was the one to tell us tha- Oh... I see what you mean."

The heroes then glanced at each other at this. Ladybug was the first to say, "Max has a point, Tikki was the one to discover that horrible tragedy. And since we can't exactly tell anyone outside this group about her, we literally don't have any proof that any of the Searchers we've faced were human at one point."

Chat Noir placed a hand to his chin when he added, "Yeah... Maybe if we keep recording all the Audio Logs and find a place where we can safely make our own Log we might be able to find something that might hint or mention that the Searchers were human."

Markov filed through his memory banks before he stated, "Technically, we have already Logged a couple of moments that hinted that the Searchers might have been human. When we found Mr Jack Fain's Audio Log, Adrien said that Nino researched the lyricist and discovered that he hasn't worked on anything after "leaving the studio" and the only thing that was found "after the studio" was a missing person's report filed by Mrs Fain. Kim mentioned that he thought all the missing person reports were made to add to the "Lore" to this studio and then adding that he wondered if something else "happened" to them. We also have a recording showing the "retreating behaviour" of the "Hard-Hatted Searcher" that we encountered in the same location, proving that there was a "different characteristic" in that particular Searcher. And lastly, Max did catch Mr Lawrance on his phone before he turned it off, proving that he was somehow affected by the Ink." Max rubbed the back of his head at that, feeling the small bump that Sammy made when he hit him with the dustpan. That was when Markov suggested, "If we keep Logging all of these "Hints" then we will eventually be able to "put together" a "theory" that we can "look back on" during our quest. So when we later find solid proof that the Ink Creatures were once human, we don't have to tell anyone about Tikki." The AI was quite proud of the plan that he made.

After a good minute of the humans and cartoon wolf thinking about that plan, Ladybug finally said, "You know, that's a pretty solid idea and like you said we've already had a few instances were we did voice and Logged our thoughts about the issue before we knew about it."

Kim clapped his hands once before he said, "We just need to keep it up!"

That was when Max interjected with, "But we do have to time them accordingly. If we find an Audio Log that doesn't tell us much, then we can't use it to help us plant the "Theory" seeds we need." Kim rubbed the back of his neck when he mumbled something along the lines of agreeing with the shorter teen. Boris nodded in agreement with everything, this time he understood what was being said.

Chat Noir couldn't help but think about the Susie Campbell Log from the Angel Path, something about it seemed familiar but he couldn't put his finger on what.

"Chatton, is everything okay?" Ladybug asked her partner, snapping him out of his thoughts. That was when the red-clad hero asked, "Do you not agree with the plan?"

Chat Noir shook his head when he said, "No, I think it's a paw-sitiely brilliant plan. It's just... Something seemed familiar about the Angel Path Audio Log and I just can't put my paw on it... But it feels like it's staring me right in the face and I'm not seeing it."

That was when Max said, "Besides the connection to your father and Lie-la?"

Kim and Ladybug gave the blonde a confused look at the comment, but Markov created a text on his visor that read "Don't Ask" while making sure Chat didn't see it.

Chat Noir nodded when he said, "Yeah, besides that... Damn! It's going to bother me for a while, isn't it?" Kim couldn't help but comment a "Probably" at this.

Team Psi glanced at one another in concern before they went through the creaky door behind the cartoon wolf. They passed a small hallway and walked into what appeared to be the storage or sales floor for the toys that were made. The wooden floor was nearly covered with ink, about 80% covered according to Max. There where plushies of Bendy, Boris, a lot of Alice Angel, and the Butcher Gang stored on some of the shelves while the Bendy Clocks were mounted on the walls, all ticking in unison. And, of course, the Bendy Cutouts were scattered about.

"Wow, Mr Flynn wasn't kidding about the Alice Angel dolls not being a popular item. I mean, look at all of them," Kim commented as he pointed at a shelf stocked full of the Alice Angel doll.

Ladybug tapped her chin when she said, "I'm not sure if that's what it was... But this is still a lot of toys to just leave lying around, even for something that supposedly didn't sell well. Also... Shouldn't they have tried to at least clear those out before they made more or something along that line?" That was when the group looked over the toy storage area, and sure enough, there were quite a lot of toys still laying around. It did seem a little strange that so many toys were left behind, but then again... The machine that made the toys still worked and could be turned on at any time by anyone... The puddles of bubbling ink did worry Team Psi a bit, but nothing emerged from them.

Boris couldn't resist grabbing a plushie of himself and squeezing it, not that anyone could blame him.

It didn't take long for them to find a metal door with a fuse box with the words "DOOR RELEASE" written on it next to the door. The fuse box had two blinking lights, one light had the letter "A" under it and the other light had the letter "B".

Max tucked his pipe under his right arm and used his left hand to put his glasses when he looked at the box and said, "Looks like to open this, we're going to need to throw two levers at once." He then looked at the lever next to a Bendy Statue, and then he noticed powerlines running from the lever to around the corner down the opposite end of the hallway. He then raised a brow and stated out loud, "That seems a little inconvenient for an animation studio to have."

Kim couldn't help but comment, "I'm just starting to think that this place is just riddled with weird stuff that's meant to keep secrets, or to just annoy us."

Group glanced at each other before Ladybug said, "Alright, Boris, you and Max stay here with this lever. The rest of us will find the other."

But Markov opted to remain with Max and Boris, stating that it would be better if he kept armed and ready to react to any danger just in case. Max looked down at his cast, knowing that was the reason why he had to stay behind. The glasses-wearing teen gently rubbed the ink-covered cloth limb as he kept holding the pipe in his hand when he thought, 'Seems like Lie-la keeps getting in the way, even when she isn't here...'

They agreed to throw the levers on "Go" once Ladybug, Chat Noir, and Kim found the other lever. With that, that group followed the cable down the hallway.

Ladybug, Chat Noir, and Kim turned the corner and came to a dead-end where the lever was, as well as a poster advertising a Bendy cartoon episode featuring the Butcher Gang. The members of the trio were featured clearly on the poster along with their names.

Charley, the tallest of the gang, was a nearly bald humanoid whose species currently unidentified, triangular-shaped teeth. He has large ears, oval-shaped head, a black animalistic nose, hair-like sideburns, and a beard with a resemblance to Bendy's horns. He wears a tailcoat and vest, black-tie, white gloves, and black shoes.

Barley, who appeared to be a cross between a pirate and a sailor with a white beard, wearing an eye patch for his right eye, a hat and a belt with a square buckle, a pair of white gloves, and holding a corn-cob pipe with his mouth. Even though he is a human, Barley strangely sports "black outlines" around his face but under the mouth similar to Bendy.

Edgar is a spider-like creature with large lips, small ears, and a pair of pointed fangs. Unlike actual arachnids, he sports only six legs instead of eight.

"Well, there's the lever we're looking for," Chat Noir said as he pointed towards the lever on the left wall near the Butcher Gang Poster. He then placed a hand to his chin when he added, "But it's a weird place to put it if you ask me."

Kim couldn't help but comment, "Well, they did put a switch behind a shelf back in the Music Department." Ladybug couldn't help but say that that was true. That was when the tall teen said, "I mean when you take away anything related to the Ink, it kinda feels like this whole place was just designed strangely if I'm being honest."

Ladybug walked towards the lever when she said, "That is a good point to make... But that means that Mr Drew had to have done it on purpose because I'm sure he had to oversee the blueprints of this place. And remember back when we were starting on our Haunted House when Ivan-"

Suddenly, a twisted and mutilated version of Charley burst out of the Butcher Gang poster with a loud "RWWWAAAA"! Causing Ladybug to scream in shock as she fell back and causing the boys to scream in shock as well.

As this twisted Butcher Gang member crawled out of the poster, he fell to the floor, flat on his face and giving Ladybug enough time to scramble away from the Ink Creature. As this twisted Charly pushed himself back to his feet, the three got a good look at this Ink Creature. This Charly had his right eye gouged out and filled with some kind of ink with an unnatural-moving socket area inside it while sporting an X-shape for the left eye. Instead of originally circular, the shape of his ears strangely resembles those of a human. His mouth was wide open as if screaming, with human-like teeth instead of usual triangular ones. He wears a single black shoe on his left leg and has a plunger pegleg for his right leg. His arms are long and skinny, and he wears a white glove on his right hand and held a pipe wrench. His left arm looks stiff in position, and he is also missing his entire left hand. His tailcoat is slightly worn out with the right sleeve shorter than the left, and a hole is located from the bottom left of his stomach to reveal his innards. The mutilated Charly limped towards Ladybug, Chat Noir, and Kim.

Chat Noir quickly leapt into action and struck the Pipe wielding Ink Creature on the head with his baton. The Creature lurched back from the shock of being struck and giving the cat-themed hero a chance to hit him in the head a second time. This time, the Pipe wielding Ink Creature fell back towards the wall he came out of. When he hit the ground, his head burst into a splatter of ink and was now motionless.

"What happened?!" Max shouted as he rushed towards his friends to find out. When he saw the fallen Ink Creature he stuttered out, "I-is th-that! But-! Where-! Is everyone all right?!"

The heroes calmed down a bit before Ladybug said, "We're fine, but that Butcher Gang member just came out of nowhere. He startled us pretty bad."

Chat Noir collapsed his baton and placed it back on the mount on his costume when he said, "But I took care of it..." He then glanced at the body of the fallen Ink Creature. Ladybug placed a comforting hand on her partner's shoulder, knowing what he was thinking.

That was when Markov pointed out that it was in self-defence. The Piper had attacked them first. The group wirily agreed to that, even though was still some guilt being felt.

They quickly flipped the levers in unison and went to regroup at the now open door. But...

"Where does this lead?" Markov questioned as he noticed a passageway between the corner and the metal door the team needed to go through.

Kim, Chat Noir, and Ladybug peered down the passageway as the taller commented, "Weird that we didn't notice this as we passed by it to the lever."

That was when Ladybug said, "Well, we were focused on the power cables on the ground, or the levers opened this passageway as well... Should we?"

That was when Chat Noir said, "Well, we might find something to help with "planting our theory", plus this kitty is curious."

Ladybug nudged Chat Noir when she said, "You know what they say about curiosity and cats?"

Kim groaned when he said, "Please don't say it." Causing Max to give a wry smile as he signalled Boris to follow them into the passageway.

They passed a "Work Hard Work Happy" poster and a few trunks. On the trunk that was flat on the ground was an Audio Log and a lit candle. "Perfect!" Max said as he tucked his pipe under his right arm and pulled his phone out of his pocket. The techie quickly pulled up the recording app as Kim moved towards the Audio Log. When Max hit the record button he nodded at the taller teen, who hit the play button in response.

This time around there were two voices, Thomas Connor and Wally Franks. The Audio Log played as such,

"Wally: Alright, let's go over this again. If the pressure goes over 45, I screw the safety bolt tighter, right?

Thomas: No! For the last time, you do that, you'll blow every pipe in this place! If it reaches 45, you unhook the safety switch.

Wally: You sure? You know, this sounds harder than comparing ear wax to bees wax!

Thomas: Look, it's not that difficult! Just keep an eye on the gauge!

Wally: Look pal, if you think I'm doing my job AND your job, I'm outta here!" With that, the Audio Log ended with a click. Max stopped the recording and logged the voices and where the Audio Log was found.

Ladybug picked up the Audio Log and looked it over before she said, "Seems like this wasn't meant to be recorded. This is the first Audio Log we've come across that doesn't have a label." That was when she notice Boris staring at the Audio Log and asked, "What's wrong, Buddy?"

Boris scratched his head in confusion before he pointed at the Audio Log and then pointed at his mouth as he opened and closed it. He then tapped the side of his head.

Markov seemed to catch on to the signs first when he asked, "Are you indicating that the voices in this Audio Log sound familiar to you?"

Boris nodded. He then tapped his chin in thought before scratching his cheek in confusion.

Markov then translated, "But you don't remember where you heard them or who they are." Boris sadly nodded. The AI couldn't help but say, "It seems like this Ink, might interfere with the memories of whoever is exposed to it for a long period of time."

"That's a comforting thought..." Kim stated sarcastically. Luckily Markov was able to pick up on the "sarcasm", so there was no need to explain that. That was when a thought hit the tall teen, "Wait, if that's true then that would explain that weird moment with Mr Lawrence."

"Dare I ask "Which" weird moment? The guy had a few," Chat Noir couldn't help but ask.

That was when Kim said, "The one where he said that Max looked familiar. If Mr Lawrence has been trapped here for over 50 years then there's been more than enough time for the Ink to mess with his memories, since we know that he's never met Max before we even entered this place."

Max couldn't help but say, "Kim is right, I've obviously never been here before we were tricked to come here and that immediately proves that I've never met Mr Lawrence either. Therefore, I couldn't possibly "Look Familiar" to him. His muddled memories from the years of Ink exposure might be causing him to think I look like someone he knew."

Ladybug thought about the whole thing as she placed a hand on her yo-yo when she said, "Wonder if I can purify the Ink in some way..." Max suggested that they wait until they found a good safe place to ask Tikki that question. Ladybug nodded when she said, "You're right, Max... *Glances to the side*. I wonder if I can convince Master Fu about letting some of the other trusted heroes in on our identities, I mean... As Chat said, it's out of the bag now. And let's be honest, it's been a little easier working with each other."

Chat Noir couldn't help but say, "Cat complain about that M'Lady. But when you say trusted..."

Ladybug sighed when she said, "Since he broke up with Alya... I think it would be safe to tell Nino. Heck, I think he does deserve the reason why you have to bail on him during Akuma attacks."

"That is a sound point," Max said with a wiry smile.

With that, Team Psi continued down the passageway until it split into two paths. As they were about to decide on which to take, they heard the sound of chains creaking, as if they were lowering something big. The sound came from the path to the right, so the team quickly followed the sound until they reached a dead end that had a metal fence. And beyond that fence, they saw the machine from the blueprints being lowered down deeper into the depths of the studio. Before any of the teens or AI could even ask a single question, Boris seemed to have some kind of reaction to seeing the strange machine. A positively fearful reaction.

"Boris, what's wrong?" Kim asked, trying to calm the panicking cartoon wolf down.

"Buddy, it's okay, it's okay. You're with us," Ladybug said softly as she gently rubbed his back.

it took a while, but Boris managed to calm down enough to tap out a morse code on the closest wall. Chat Noir translated the code, "Ink... Ma-chine... Bad?"

Max looked at where the machine was, but now only the chains were seen and then looked back at the cartoon wolf when he said, "Is that what that thing is called the Ink Machine?" Boris visibly nodded, but you can tell he was struggling to not think about it. Max placed the tip of his casted hand to his chin when he said, "Something tells me there's a lot more to that Ink Machine than we originally thought." When Markov asked, "how so?" Max answered, "Remember the people who commented about it in the Audio Logs? They expressed annoyance about it, but Boris is expressing fear, meaning something bad happened to him that involves the Ink Machine, right?" Boris reluctantly nods at that.

That was when Ladybug said, "If that's the case... Then... We can't leave that thing running! We need to shut it down! And maybe... Maybe it can undo what has happened to everyone who's trapped here, or undo it enough for me to purify! And then Boris leave this place with us!" Team Psi agreed, they'll save everyone who was trapped here by the Ink. But...

"What about... The one's that..." Chat Noir got out in an uneasy tone.

Ladybug thought about that for a bit before she said, "Then maybe we can at least set their souls free so that they can move on (3)." That Chat Noir can agree to.

With that, Team Psi resumed exploring the passageway. This time, they went down the other path. As they walked towards an open powerbox that had its door hanging to it by a bolt in the lower-left corner, they passed graffiti on the right wall that read "THE CREATOR LIED TO US..." Then they went down the doorway on the right that leads them down to a Miracle Station that looked like it had the door ripped off. The door was leaning against the left wall, splattered with black ink. Inside the Miracle Station where two words written in black ink.

"Feel Familiar?" Markov read out loud in confusion. He then asked, "I do not understand the implication of this inquiry. Do any of you?" When the others commented or motioned that they didn't, they headed back to the metal door that they needed to go through. They all thought that that particular Miracle Station was just weird. The words that were written inside it and the fact that it was destroyed... Weren't they suppose to protect whoever was inside from the Ink Creatures? Or was that one a defect? It was just... Weird...

They gathered back at the now open metal door and walked through. They trooped into room, saw the giant hole in the wall, and passed through that as well. They passed all the strange machinery that moved to their own tune, and then they passed through another giant hole in the wall.

The next thing Team Psi knew, they were on an indoor balcony that overlooked an old lift. To their right was what looked like restrooms and a Little Miracle Station in the corner next to said restrooms. They looked over the railings a spotted another Miracle Station near the liftgate.

"Well, there are enough of those Miracle Stations for four of us to hide in... And I think the lift can work as a shield if the doors are closed in time..." Ladybug commented as they moved to the lower level as they passed the restrooms, which read Gents and Ladies. She then noticed a sign on the wall parallel to the lift. "Level K?" the red-clad hero said out loud.

"It's the name of the floor level we're on," Max stated before he guessed, "This studio must use letters instead of numbers. Not sure if it was because the staff just remembered letters better than numbers, but it's the most logical sense that I can think of."

Chat Noir pressed the button for the lift and quickly investigated it after the door opened. That when he noticed the button panel. "Seems like you're half-right, Max. This thing goes to five floors but they're named for letters and numbers. Take a look."

Team Psi trooped over to the lift and looked at the button panel. One button was labelled for the doors, best guess for that was to just open and close the doors. The rest were labelled K, P, 11, 9, and 14. With the K and 11 being on top, P and 9 in the middle, and 14 below them. The button for the doors was under the other buttons. As Kim commented that it was weird that they were using both letters and numbers for their floors, Max looked around the lift, noting it's current structure and wears.

Max tucked the pipe under his right arm before he pushed his glasses up when he asked, "Is it a good idea to use this old thing? It doesn't look like it's been properly maintained in a long time. I have my doubts about it working..."

"I know I agree with you, but we don't have much of a choice," Ladybug said with a soft sigh. "Tikki, Spots Off..." the red-clad hero said. In a flash of light, She was back to Marinette Dupain-Cheng and Tikki was floating next to her chosen. Chat Noir then followed suit and turned back into Adrien Agreste as Plagg floated next to him.

They stepped away from the lift, more so that Max has a peace of mind when they talked to the Kwamis.

After being asked if it was possible to purify the Ink or those affected by it. Tikki thought about it best she could before saying, "I know you want to help the ones that are trapped here, but... There's too much of a verity degree of Ink exposure that we can't possibly account for, and they're very different from the Akumas you've been purifying... And I'm not sure if you'll be able to purify any of the Ink creatures the same way you purify the Akumas..."

Marinette looked at her Kwami when she asked, "But I can try, right? And there is a chance to purify them?"

Markov quickly analyzed what the bluette was implying and then quickly interjected with, "Marinette, I suggest you stop there! If you insist on doing that, then you will have to engage in experimenting on Purifying the Searchers or other Ink Creatures, all of whom have a different level of Ink exposure that we cannot take note of! And since you do not know what level of purification will work, you will have to do a "Trial-&-Error" experimentation on who knows how many Ink Creatures and for how long! And lastly, there is absolutely no guaranteed that any of those experiments will even succeed! And lastly, we don't even know if the purification will last, especially inside this place with all the Ink everywhere!" The AI did have a point... And what everyone could tell that went unsaid was that these were lives. The guys knew that their Ladybug would end up a wreck if she had to do THAT kind of experimentations...

Kim then placed a hand on Marinette's shoulder when he said, "Not to mention you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself if you think you're the only one who needs to do this. But you're not alone in this, you have us to help. All of us."

That was when Marinette looked around at her friends, all were smiling at her with small smiles. Adrien hugged the bluette when he said, "You're not alone in your endeavours Purr-incess. You got all of us by your side now, especially your kitty." Marinette closed her eyes as a tear rolled down her cheek as she hugged the blonde back. The Kwamis looked at each other with a smile as Boris playfully hugged Max and Kim. Markov's eyes lit up with "happy eyes" icons.

Marinette pulled away as she wiped the tear away and said, "Thanks guys, I guess I really needed that."

"We'll find a way to save everyone here, together as a team," Adrien said with a genuine smile. Marinette smiled back.

"Table for two for LadyNoir~," Kim teases with a snickering smirk. Max elbowed the taller teen in the guts at that. Boris and Markov just chuckled at the antics. Both Marinette and Adrien turned rosy red at the comment as Tikki giggled and Plagg smirked happily. That was when they all laughed before they just smiled at one another.

Max handed his pipe to Adrien as he pulled out his phone and said, "Since it's been pretty quiet here, how about we make a Log Update? It might be a good idea to at least make note of the Butcher Gang member... Piper right?"

Kim responded with, "It was a mutilated Charly. Why are you calling it a Piper?"

Max responded with, "You saw the mutilated Charly, but I just saw an Ink Creature with a pipe. And since it's easier to just say Piper, we'll call that Ink Creature that." Kim grumbled a "makes sense" as Max started his Log. Marinette and Adrien voiced what happened during their run-in with the Piper, what it looked like, and how it suddenly burst out of the poster advertising the Butcher Gang.

They walked into the lift, all but Max. With the Video Log still active, the bi-sceptical boy said, "I really don't feel comfortable taking this old thing... It looks like it could fall at any moment."

"Max, we understand your concerns, but we don't have a choice," Adrien stated before he moved over to the injured teen and added, "It's literally the only way forward," before he pulled Max into the lift.

The moment Max entered the lift, the doors closed automatically. Before anyone could ask who pushed the button, the voice of the Twisted Alice Angel was heard through the speakers on the lift. "You're all so interesting... So different," she said with interest as the lift started moving down. The Twisted Alice Angel continued speaking, "I have to say I'm an instant fan."

"Huh?" Team Psi said in unison and confusion. 'Where have I heard that line before?' they wondered as they huddled closer to each other.

The Twisted Alice Angel then said gently as the lift continued its slow descent, "Looks like you've got a date with an angel!" For some reason, that didn't sound so comforting to the Team. The ink angel continued in an almost seductive tone, "Come to me now. Level Nine. Just follow the screams."

"That's comforting," Kim grumbled to the rest of his team with a shiver. They all were a more than a bit unnerved by the words of that Ink Creature. Even more so now that they knew that she had some kind of control over the lift.

It didn't take long before the lift stopped at Level Nine.

When the doors opened with a soft ding, the Twisted Alice Angel's voice came through the speakers again when she said in that same seductive tone, "Come on, step out of your cage. There's a whole twisted world out here." She ended her sentence with a short small chuckle.

Team Psi kept close together as the Kwamis quickly scurried to their usual hiding spots. Seeing that they didn't have much of a choice, they all walked out of the lift cautiously. They knew that dangers were lurking in the shadows.

}i{

When Team Psi was in the Level K lift area, they didn't notice that one of the bathroom stall doors was slightly cracked open or that they were being watched.

It was interesting in the little strange creature that floated at the strange words, but not as much as one of the humans in the group. However, it knew that it couldn't act now, so the being just watched and listened to what the group was doing.

It was a very good decision. It learnt a lot from just listening.

The girl wanted to save everyone trapped here in the studio, even though she didn't know them, the boys and that flying orb too. But what was truly valuable was learning how the children interacted with each other.

The boys worried about the girl overworking herself over whether or not she could save everyone, while the flying orb said some critical things it was still obvious that it had concerns for the girl as well. They all smiled at each other, and it wasn't the forced kind of smiles, these smiles were... Real... The smiles were genuine...

Then the strangest thing happened... The yellowed haired boy wrapped his arms around the girl and pulled her close to his body, and the girl... Welcomed it... She even wrapped her arms around the yellow-haired boy... Both seemed at ease... They were... Relieved?...

Then the tallest boy said something that made the others look amused while the yellow-haired boy and the girl turned red. Where those two mad? No... They weren't they're expressions didn't match with being mad or angry... If they weren't mad then... Why were their faces red?

Then they all started laughing. They were happy? How strange...

The being watched the group until the lift door closed when That Angel took them to her lair.

Perhaps it should've acted before they entered the lift... No... If they saw him, then they would've fled into the lift anyway...

"Sssssssoooooooooooooonnnnnn," the rough and cracked voice whispered as the door closed quietly as if no one was there.

~}i{~

To be continued in Chapter 3 Pt 3: Rise and Fall of Demons and Angels.

~}i{~

1) A garrote or garrote vil (a Spanish word; alternative spellings include garotte and similar variants) is a weapon, most often a handheld ligature of chain, rope, scarf, wire or fishing line, used to strangle a person. Ladybug isn't going to strangle anyone in this (Unless it's Gabriel because of his treatment of Adrien, but that's for later and out of her hero persona), it's just the way she holding her yo-yo and it's more for defence than attack.

2) The memo Adrien is reading out loud is actually from the Bendy and the Ink Machine Employee Handbook, not from the game itself. The book is basically an official guide to the game, so it's also a strategic guide as well. But it also has a few extra game notes and extra information about the Bendy story lore. It's been pretty handy when having to type out the Audio Logs. I figured I add some of the Studio Storyline from the Employee Handbook to fill in a few blanks in the game.

3) Well, technically true. The souls of all the Joey Drew Studios employees are trapped inside the studio, unable to move on as they would like. Whether it be for reincarnation, ascend to Heaven, or descend to Hell (Not naming names in the studio though).

~}i{~

Chapter Text

~}i{~

Miraculous Adventure in Joey Drew Studio.

Chapter 3 Pt 3: Rise and Fall of Demons and Angels.

~}i{~

Team Psi cautiously walked out of the lift and made their way to the stairs. So far, there was nothing dangerous waiting for them, at least, the danger that could be seen. But so far... There was nothing...

They trooped down the stairs and noticed an Audio Log on a shelf that was practically at the bottom of the stairs. Max quickly pulled up the recording app, somewhat forgetting that the Video Log was still active. He held up his phone to the tape recorder as Adrien hit the play button. The familiar gravelly voice of Thomas Connor was heard when the Audio Log said, "These blasted elevators... Sometimes they open, sometimes they don't... Sometimes they come... Sometimes they keep on going to hell and back. I keep telling these people, if Mister Joey Drew keeps cutting corners like this, someone's sure to end up falling to their death. And it sure ain't going to be me. I'm taking the stairs." With that, the Audio Log clicked off.

"Seems like Mr Connor shared the same concerns as you, Max," Adrien said as Max typed the name and location of the Audio Log.

The bi-sceptical teen let out a huff when he said, "I'm not that surprised. Mr Connor seems like he's a cautious guy from what we heard. But it seems like the lift has been a problem back when the studio was open... So it makes me wonder why it hasn't been dealt with back then, and how much of a problem it is now."

Kim was the one to say, "Doesn't the phrase "Cutting Corners" mean the same as not doing a step or doing the minimum effort?"

"Yeah, that's pretty much it," Max said as he finished with typing the name of the Audio Log ad closing the app. That was when he finally noticed that the Video Recording was still activated. "Oh, whoops, I left our Video Log on," Max said, now thankful that neither of the Kwamis said anything or that the others didn't mention the Kwamis.

Just as Max was about to turn the app off, Plagg flew out of Adrien's inner shirt pocket and waved his hands to stop. Adrien quickly said, "Wait! Don't turn it off!" When Max asked why the black Kwami made some hand signs for the blonde read, so his voice wouldn't be picked up on the Video Log. Adrien read the signs best he could when he said, "I think... We should keep it on for just a little longer. Clip it back on with the active camera facing forward, as you did back when we came in and when we were in the Music Department."

The others raised a brow at this as they looked at Plagg when Marinette asked, making sure not to mention the Kwami that couldn't be seen by any electronic eye, "Adrien, you didn't answer the question. Why should Max keep the Video Log running?"

As Max aimed the active camera on the blonde, Adrien wrapped his arms around himself when he said while watching Plagg sign, "I... Don't know how... But I feel like something bad is going to happen... And I think we should keep the Video Log on, to show the police once we get out of here with Boris."

"That bad?" Kim asked in a bit of a worried tone. Adrien only gave a nod, somewhat mimicking Plagg's frantic nodding.

Markov, not understanding what the blonde was talking about or seeing what the black Kwami was doing, asked, "How do you know if something bad will happen when you are not sure?" Marinette explained to the AI that Adrien's intuition must be warning him. When Markov asked how an 'intuition' works, Max explained that it was like an unusual feeling of premiss that doesn't have much of an explanation as to how it worked. Kim then brought up the maps that Lie-la tricked Alya into swapping their original maps without them knowing and how they felt that the maps were different but didn't know why, and how that was like how some instances of intermission somewhat worked. Satisfied with the explanations, Markov understood Adrien's feelings.

But if the Video Log was to remain on, then that meant that they couldn't talk to the Kwamis and the Kwamis couldn't talk to them during this leg of the adventure. Luckily, they could give the humans and cartoon wolf visual indications when they're not in their hiding spots, hopefully, better-planned ones. Max clipped his cell phone onto his suspenders with the active camera facing forward.

They made their way over to a wooden bridge and looked over the immediate area. On the other side of the bridge were large metal doors under what appeared to be a large Cartoon Alice Angel's face and hands, and in the hands of the cartoon characters was a banner that read "She's Quite A Gal!" Team Psi carefully crossed the bridge as the planks underneath their feet that squeaked ever so slightly with each step.

The moment all six members of the team gathered in front of the metal doors, they began opening with a loud metallic creak.

Boris then bolted ahead of the group as soon as he saw that the opening was big enough to fit through. The sudden burst of activity from the normally laidback cartoon wolf surprised the others, but they quickly recovered and ran after their friend. Plagg quickly darted back into his hiding spot as everyone raced through the twisting hallway.

"Hey! Boris! Wait up!" Kim shouted as everyone continued to race down the hallway, all managed to avoid colliding with all the sharp turns that they came across. However, the final corner they turned in to lead them to one of the most horrifying sights that any of them have ever seen. The shock of seeing this caused all of them to come to a screeching halt, literally.

Strapped to one of those surgical tables was another Boris. Except that Boris had his chest ripped open wide enough to see all the remaining organs and bones within. A pair of 'X' were in place of that Boris' pupils, indicating that that Boris was dead. Team Psi's Boris seemed to be staring hypnotically at the dead cartoon character.

"Oh! My-! Who would do something like this?!" Marinette asked out loud in shock. "Buddy? Are you all right?" the bluette asked the living toon as they took a few hesitant steps towards their friend.

When they did, they realized that the dead Boris wasn't the only corps of a cartoon in the spacious, ink-flooded room. There were more a few more Boris clones and other Ink Creature bodies, that looked similar to the Butcher Gang members, scattered around the area, all strapped to operating tables with their chests ripped wide open... All apparently tortured and operated on before they died... It was all just an utterly horrible sight, even if you didn't know that these toons were once human. This time around, Max puked his guts out over the railing. Thankfully, because the active camera was aiming at the ground as he leaned over the closest railing, it didn't get the action on the Video Log.

"Wh-wh-wh-what h-h-h-happened to all of th-th-them?!" Adrien manages to get out in a shaky tone. He couldn't believe what he was seeing with his own eyes. All of this was just far too gruesome to comprehend for the sheltered teen. He ended up joining Max in puking his guts over the railing.

Mariette rubbed Adrien's back while Kim rubbed Max's back, to help them calm down faster. Markov hovered nearby asking if they needed water to help ease their upset stomachs, more so to make sure that the two done purge any more food from their systems. The AI knew that if they had no food in their bodies then they would run out of energy quicker, which was not good, especially when they had to either fight or run from the Ink Creatures.

It took a few minutes but after the stomachs had finally settled down, they continued their quest, super cautiously. Marinette and Adrien were ready to transform into their hero personas, but then they remembered that their Video Log was still on, so they decided to hold off on transforming until the Log was off or there was the real danger. They were hoping for the former rather than the latter.

Boris looked between his clone and his team for a brief second before he timidly followed them.

Team Psi had to walk in a single line because the walkway was narrow. However, Markov was able to fly beside the group. As everyone carefully made their way over the ink-flooded room and past all the bodies of the Ink Creatures, they heard the Twisted Alice Angel tell them through the speakers in an almost sweet voice, "Look around. It took so~ many of them to make me so~ beautiful." Team Psi tightened their grip on whatever weapon they had in their hands, but Max who wasn't holding a weapon wrapped his arms around himself in uneasiness. The Twisted Alice Angel continued her monologue when she said, "Anything less than perfect was left behind."

Team Psi was utterly disgusted at these words and the tone that were used in those sentences. The Twisted Alice Angel was talking about murder and dissection like it was some kind of beauty treatment or something! Granted, the humans and AI have never had to experience this kind of thing with the Akumas, but it was this same fact that was causing this event to hit very hard.

The Twisted Alice Angel's voice broke through the groups' thoughts when she also added in an almost child-like manner, "I had to do it. She made me."

That line... Just sounded weird to the group... The Twisted Alice Angel practically admitted to murdering all the ink Creatures here to "Perfect" herself, but she claimed that someone else was making her do it? It just didn't make any sense.

Team Psi came to a corner of the ink lake with a desk, shelf, an Audio Log on top of the desk, and a plush of Alice Angel right next to the Audio Log. There was a coffin that was leaning on the wall near the desk. Just like the prior times, Max opened the recording app (while keeping the Video Log on) and pressed record as someone looked at the label on the Audio Log. "Another one of Susie Campbell's Logs..." Adrien said before he pressed the play button.

The happy voice of Susie Campbell's voice filled the area when the Audio Log played, "Who would have thought? Me having lunch with Joey Drew! Apparently, times are tougher than I thought. For a moment there, I thought I'd be stuck with the check. But I gotta say, he wasn't at all what I expected. Quite the charmer. He even called me Alice. I liked it." With that, the Audio Log came to an end with a click.

Max stopped the recording app and retitled the recording to have the name and location of the Audio Log. The bi-sceptical teen then said, "It's obvious that this was recorded after the first Ms Campbell Log we found but long before the Audio Log from the Angel Path. Also, from what it sounded like in this Log, it seemed like... Mr Drew was... *Looks at the rest of the team in confusion* 'Wooing' her? I think... But why did he call her Alice rather than Susie or Ms Campbell? I know calculating human factors isn't one of my strong suits, but... I kind of think it was weird that he did that."

The others glanced at each other in confusion. Boris just gave an unsure shrug. But they all had to admit that it was pretty weird.

"Hm? What's this?" Kim asked as he picked up a small sheet of paper off the desk that looked like a receipt. The tell teen raised a brow when he read what was listed out loud, "Joe's Fine Dining? 'For the finest quality at reasonable prices, Joe's Fine Dining cannot be beat!'? That must've been their catchphrase or something... *Looks up at the team* Any of you heard of Joe's Fine Dining before?" Boris just shrugged when Marinette said she didn't, Adrien shook his head, Max said he's never heard of it, and Markov told them that he has no access to the internet to check for that information. Kim thought for a bit before he said, "Must've closed between after this receipt was issued and before we entered this place if none of us has heard of it. *Looks back down at the receipt*. No refund accepted? That sounds cheap. Hmm... 2 Bacon Soup, 1 Linguini Alfredo, 1 Fillet Mignon, 1 Ice Tea, 1 Lemonade, and 1 Strawberry Cheesecake... That actually sounds like a pretty nice lunch... Huh? That handwriting looks familiar." The tall teen showed the others the receipt.

At the bottom of it was a handwritten note that read "Welcome Lunch for Susie Campbell. Quiet the Charmer." The handwriting DID look familiar to the group for some reason.

"Wait a minute..." Marinette said as she looks at the pen marks before asking Max if he could pull up the picture of the Company Memo. Max did, making sure that the Video Log remained active, and showed the pic to the bluette. She took the phone to zoomed in on the handwritten note at the bottom of the page and then looked between the receipt and the pic. Marinette gave a serious look when she said, "I thought so. The hand writings match. Guess this proves that Mr Drew wrote the note on that memo since I doubt that Ms Campbell would write that note about excluding her on the Company Memo. But... *Looks confused* Why would Mr Drew charm Ms Campbell before... I guess dumping her so suddenly, to put it simply?"

The only thing that they could think of was that Mr Drew was charming Susie to use her... Just like how Lila charmed the class so they would do what she wants... Kwami! There were so many parallels between the two that it was unsettling.

Everyones' thoughts were suddenly interrupted when Adrien played the Audio Log again.

"Uh, Adrien... What's wrong?" Markov asked in confusion, not understanding the actions of the blonde.

Adrien looked at his teammates when he asked, "Does her voice sound familiar to anyone?" Before he replayed the Audio Log.

Now that the blonde mentioned it... Susie Campbell's voice DID sound familiar... But then again... They have been listening to her Audio Logs...

Max placed his left hand to his chin before he said, "Markov, is you Voice Analysis functioning?" When the AI said that it did, Max asked, "Can you run a comparison between Ms Campbell's voice and any voice that we've come across since we've been here? Just find the closest probable match you can please." Marinette was moving the active camera between the two as they talked.

It took a few minutes for Markov to ran the analysis, but when he finished he said, "Umm... I found a 97.5368% match between Ms Campbell and another voice that we've come across... And... I think I now understand why Adrien found the Angel Path Audio Log so familiar."

That was when Kim asked, "Um, that's great Markov. So who's the match to Ms Campbell?" The tall teen was a little surprised by the uncharacteristic behaviour of the AI.

Markov seemed a little hesitant to answer the question. That in itself was unusual for the AI. Markov then finally answered, "The match for Ms Campbell's voice... Is the Alice Angel we're going to see shortly..." The AI didn't seem thrilled about his conclusive answer like he usually is. That was when he said, "I have also noticed that Alice Angel use a few of the near-exact words from the Company Memo, the one we found on the Angel Path when we were in the lift. The exact words were I quote "You're all interesting... So different. I have to say I'm an instant fan". Subtract the word "all" from the line and it is the exact line that Mr Drew used when he was talking about Ms Pendle in that Company Memo... Therefore, I theorize that the Alice Angel is Susie Campbell transformed and corrupted by the Ink..."

While it was true that Team Psi wanted to drop enough hints throughout their journey before they would to be able to "theorize" that the Ink Creatures were once human so that they won't have to explain how they had a Kwami with them, but… They certainly don't expect that they would be able to gather enough proof that the Ink Creatures were once human literally moments after they made their "Drop Hints so We can Make a the Theory of the Ink Creatures were Once Human" plan… They guess that shows just how twisted the studio actually is…

Max gulped before he asked, "Markov, how sure are you about that?" He knew the truth, but he still had to act out these parts to make it feel real for the Video Log. Marinette panned the active camera to Max, getting the unsure and scared look on his face.

Markov actually hesitated a few seconds before he finally said, "I am 97.5368% certain that Ms Campbell is Alice Angel... I am… Currently experiencing an emotion that I am unfamiliar with. I have checked the data four times and I know that it is as accurate as it can be, however… It seems like the data doesn't add up in a way…"

Kim was the one to respond with, "I think I know that emotion Markov..." but you can tell that he didn't seem thrilled to know. When the AI asked to tell him what the emotion was. The tall teen replied, "What you are experiencing is "uncertain". It's a state of mind rather than an emotion, and it basically means that you are unsure of something… I'm guessing that the thing you were uncertain about is the 'how' part of how Ms Campbell and Alice Angel are the same people..."

"You are correct in your statement, Kim," Markov replied in an uncharacteristically uneasy tone. The AI then stated, "I compiled a theory that she might have gone through the same thing that Mr Lawrence might have gone through but at a more advance stage than he was… However, I do not have enough data to confirm or deny that this is possible..."

Both Marinette and Adrien were quiet during this conversation. They kept glancing at their respective Kwamis, who have been floating next to them the entire time. They did this to more or less act as a buffer between keeping the Kwamis a secret from the electronic eye of the camera and acting as their translator when they need to add a detail or two.

That was when Adrien finally said in an uneasy tone, "Your theory is a bit more put together than mine when I thought the voices sounded similar… Anyone else a little unnerved that the original voice actors for Alice Angel seemed to have somehow "become" the character she played? Or at least seems to want to become the character she played?… Urg, this is actually 100 times worse than a close friend getting Akumatized."

Now Team Psi was really on edge. There was no point in hiding that.

Marinette gave Max his phone and he re-clipped it to his suspenders. Team Psi then trekked on towards their destination. They paused in front of a metal door, a few seconds later the door slowly opened with a rusty creak. Ten seconds later, the doors were open wide enough for everyone to walk through. They all walked down the twisting hallway, all clutching their respective weapons in hand, all ready to fight if they have to. Plagg and Tikki quickly darted to their usual hiding spots, more out of habit and not wanting to be seen by the Twisted Alice Angel.

It didn't take long before they saw the familiar figure of the Twisted Alice Angel, standing in front of some kind of control panel as machinery worked to keep a steady pace in the background. She seemed to be electrocuting a Piper, that was currently strapped to a surgical table, with an almost evil glee. Boris tried to hide behind Kim out of fear. The humans and AI tried to remain calm best they could but just seeing the so-called angel practically torturing another Ink Creature kept them in a state of uneasiness and fear. It was barely a relief when they saw that a glass wall was separating them from the twisted lady.

When the Twisted Alice Angel noticed them, the part of her face that could smirk did with glee. She then told Team Psi, "Hmm. Now we come to the question…" She then paused torturing the poor Piper in favour of turning her attention towards the group, and she continued by saying, "Do I kill you? *Looks at one hand* ... *Looks at the other hand* Do I tear you apart to my heart's delight? *Brings her right hand to her chest* The choices of the beautiful are unbearable. How's a girl to choose?" The Twisted Alice Angel let out a playful giggle as if she was flirting with a love interest. She then turned to glare at the poor soul strapped to the surgical table when she snapped angrily, "Take this little freaked for instance! *Points to the Piper as if he was some kind of disgusting plague*. He crawled in here… Trailing his tainted ink into my door! It could have touched me! *Her tone shifts into an angry echo* It could have pulled me back! *Now her tone changed into that of almost a frightened child as she hunched over making herself appear smaller* Do you know what it's like? Living in the dark puddles?"

Team Psi gave a sideways glance at one another at this.

The Twisted Alice Angel stood up of to her full length when she snapped angrily, "It's a buzzing, screaming well of voices! *Switches to a frightened child tone and posture* Bits of your mind, swimming... Like... Like fish in a bowl!"

Team Psi could not help but take a step back from the Twisted Alice Angel, all wondering if she was suffering from some kind of psychotic break or something along that line.

Twisted Alice then said as she stood up straight in a serious tone, "The first time I was born from its' inky womb, I was wiggling, pushing, shapeless slug. The second time... Well... *In an utterly blissful tone* It made me an angel!" She then shrank back into a fearful child tone and posture when she said, "I will not let the demon touch me again. I'm so close now. So... *stands up straight and in a more confident tone* Almost perfect." She then released a completely blissful sigh, almost like a beautiful dream was coming together for her.

Team Psi exchange confused glances at one another during this... Rambling monologue and strange behaviour... It kinda felt like the Twisted Alice Angel forgot that people were standing right in front of her like she was completely lost in her own little twistedly beautiful world...

"Yes, I will spare you," the Twisted Alice Angel concluded, remembering that she had "guests" in her lair. She was now focused on the group before her when she said, "For now. Better yet... I'll even let you ascend and leave this place. If you do me a few *Somewhat of a cute tone (at least in the Twisted Alice's opinion)* eensey, weensy little favours for me first. *Returns to her normal tone*. Return to lift my little errand boys. We have work to do!" And with that, the Twisted Alice Angel pressed a switch on the control panel in front of her which closed the shutters in front of the glass wall, blocking Team Psi's view of the two Ink Creatures.

The group was about to leave when they heard the Piper screech in agony behind the shutters as the Twisted Angel laughed with sadistic glee. Team Psi practically raced out of the room, dragging Marinette along, more so to prevent her from heroing-up and trying to save the Piper. It was already too late to save the poor soul, and the boys didn't want their female friend to agonize over not being able to save it. Also... They just wanted to get away from the Twisted Alice Angel.

Behind the shutters, the Twisted Alice Angel smirked with an evil glee when she said under her breath, "So, you finally returned to the studio."

}{

The moment Team Psi rushed out of the Flooded Morgue and though metal doors, they suddenly shut behind them with a metallic shriek. At the same time, a gate lowered across the bridge and blocking their path.

Through the speakers, the Twisted Alice Angel suddenly said, "My machines are hungry. Gather me some spare parts. You'll find the gears I need on Level K and here's a little something to help you." The panel next to the metal doors flipped around, revealing a pipe wrench. Marinette took the wrench off the panel, and that somehow triggered the gate in front of the bridge to rise.

Team Psi quickly scurried across the bridge, more along the lines of wanting to be as far away from the so-called angel as possible. Once they got to the stairs, the Twisted Alice Angel suddenly told them to the speakers, "There are so few rules to our world now. So little truth." The group quickly ascended the stairs and headed to the elevator as Alice continued, "But there is one rule that we all know and respect down here." Kim quickly pressed the button for the lift doors, and they opened with a ding. "Beware the Ink Demon," the Twisted Alice Angel stated as Team Psi hurried into the lift, and pulling Max along because he was still wiry about the lift. Adrien quickly pressed the button for Level K as the so-called angel continued with her little speech, "Stay out in the open for too long and he will find you. For if you see him, you'd better hide. *The lift moved upwards towards level K*. If you don't, well, I enjoyed our date. Now let us begin our work." The lift stopped at level K and the doors slid opened with a ding.

As Team Psi stepped out of the lift, more for Max's peace of mind. When they did they heard the Twisted Alice Angel say through the speakers on level K, "Have you met him? The Ink Demon? They say he hears everything. Every creak of the floor. Every rustle of paper. I wouldn't run so fast if I were you. You never know what will draw him in."

Adrien shuttered when he said, "I don't trust her one bit." Boris nodded vigorously in agreement.

"Urg, that's an understatement if I ever heard one," Kim commented as he fiddled with his pipe wrench.

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he said, "After meeting her in person and having to walk through that... Flooded Morgue! She is actually making me miss Hawkmoth and his Akumas. At least they don't kill anyone and aren't sadistic..."

Markov then stated, "Technically speaking, Hawkmoth just wants the Miraculous of Ladybug and Chat Noir, not to harm or destroy anyone. And while the Akumas have caused mayhem and destruction, they haven't physically harmed anyone on purpose... But you are correct, Hawkmoth and his Akumas are certainly better company than Alice Angel... Should I find it worrying that we are indeed thinking that?"

That was when Marinette said, "Markov, it's normal to think that, especially in a situation like this, well, ones that aren't as twisted and horrible. It just means that we're comparing Alice Angel to Hawkmoth and are preferring Hawkmoth and his Akuma antics over, well, Alice and her... Stuff... Urg, I would rather deal with Dark Cupid's Anti-Love Arrows a hundred times rather than repeat going through that "Morgue" and interacting with Alice Angel again."

Kim couldn't help but say, "I feel a little conflicted about that. Considering I was Dark Cupid..."

Marinette quickly said, "Yeah, sorry about that, but considering that was the only Akuma Affliction I can remember off the top of my head, I had to say it. Dark Blade and the Pharoah being tied for second in my book." She knew she could talk about the Akuma Battles that 'Marinette' wasn't anywhere near as long as the Video Log was on.

With a conflicted look on his face, Max said, "I hate to be the one to bring this up, but... I don't think we have much of a choice but to do that "Angel's" bidding..." He then unhooked the phone clipped to his suspenders and looked at the screen. Max then asked as he paned the active camera at the rest of Team Psi, "Should I keep the Video Log on?"

Everyone glanced at each other before Marinette said, "Maybe we shou-"

"RRRWWWAAAAA!"

Everyone turned to the balcony overhead just in time to see a Piper hobble across towards the stairs.

"Oh shit!" Kim shouted as Boris coward behind the tall teen.

Markov quickly locked onto the Piper before taking careful aim at the Ink Creature's head before firing a bolt. The Piper staggered a bit from the impact before returning on its path as it hobbled down the stairs. Markov fired again and this time there was a confirmed result. The Piper fell down the stairs. When it hit the ground, it turned into a splatter of black ink. A metal clank of a silvery-yellow- gear hitting the ground got everyone's attention. Markov flew over, picked up the gear with his claw, and looked it over. The AI then flew back to the group and asked, "Is this one of the "Gears" that Alice Angel wants?"

Marinette took the gear from Markov and looked it over. Adrien looked at the item over the bluette's shoulder when he said, "Let's hope it is. So one down." Marinette then shoved the gear into her pack as Tikki poked her head out of the purse to see what was happening.

Max looked at his phone before he shrugged and reattached his phone to his suspenders with the active camera facing forward. Tikki saw this and quickly signalled Plagg that that Video Log was still active. The black Kwami looked at the phone before nodding. Markov noticed the Video Log being on and was a little disappointed about that since he won't be able to hear or talk the Kwamis until the other device was off.

They noticed a puddle of bubbling ink that wasn't there earlier, but since nothing happened, they walked passed the puddle to continue the quest. They trekked up the stairs and walked towards the hole in the wall. A Searcher suddenly appeared in the corner near the hole and crawled towards Team Psi. Marinette quickly slammed the wrench into the Searcher's head, the Ink Creature was reduced to a puddle after the impact.

Marinette stared at the puddle for a bit, then remembered that the Video Log was still on. She knew she had to drop the "Theory Seeds" to help ease into making people outside believe that the Ink Creatures were once human. The bluette turned to her friends and asked, "Hey guys, I've been thinking... If Alice Angel is Ms Campbell, then... Do you think that all these Searchers, Butcher Gang Members, and all the Boris, even our Boris, were once people too?" Max turned to the cartoon wolf, to get his reaction on the Video Log, but Boris could only shrug at the question because he couldn't remember any of his memories completely.

Adrien shuttered, even though he already knew this fact, before he said, "Urg, Mari, please don't bring that idea up! My stomach still hasn't settled from the Flooded Morgue or the meeting with that "Angel", and I really don't want to throw up again." The blonde queasily rubbed his stomach at this, which was caught on the Video Log.

Kim was the one to say, "Adrien, I get where you're coming from, but I understand Mari's line of thinking... Especially since our run-in with Mr Lawrance... And now Alice Angel... It's kinda hard not to think about it, you know?" They walked back into the toy storage area.

Markov understood what was happening as they walked through the hole in the wall when he vocalized, "It seems as though my theory on Alice Angel being her former Voice Actress Susie Campbell caused you all to make a parallel theory on the other Ink Creatures we've come across."

As Kim whacked an attacking Searcher that suddenly popped up in front of a panel box, Max told the AI, "It couldn't be helped. Your theory was a little too conclusive, especially since their voices were a near-perfect match..."

Adrien then opened the panel and saw the gear they needed. "Another down," the blonde said as he pulled the gear out and handed it to Marinette, who shoved it into her bag. The group then searched around the storage area for the next gear. They found a couple of the panels but those were empty.

They walked over to a corner of the area, that seemed longer to get to because of the shelves acting like labyrinth walls. Another Searcher suddenly appeared, blocking the panel. It tried to strike at the group, but Adrien took care of it with a single hit to the head. Kim opened the panel and found another gear.

The moment the gear was removed, they heard the Twisted Alice Angel tell them through the speakers, "Ah, that should be plenty. Return them to me. And try not to die on the way back."

Marinette glanced up at one of the nearby speakers when she said, "She's being pleasant. *Now in realization*. Wait! Is she watching us?!"

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he stated, "Judging by how she knew that we have acquired the number of gears she needed... Yes, she has to be somehow watching us." He then glanced around the storage area, looking specifically where the walls met the ceiling for anything that might resemble a security camera. That was when Max said as they started heading back to the lift, "But it's strange that I'm not seeing any security cameras..."

Boris tapped his chin to think for a few seconds before he shrugged as they made their way through the hole in the wall. "So you don't know about how she does it either?" Adrien asked the cartoon wolf as they made their way down the stairs.

A Searcher suddenly sprang up from the bubbling ink puddle and crawled towards the group. Kim quickly acted and struck the Searcher in the head with a swing of his weapon. The Searcher burst into a splatter of ink from the impact. Kim made a wiry sound before he said, "Okay, this idea of the Ink Creatures being human thing is kinda making me more than a little uncomfortable with taking them out, even I know we have to because they'll attack us... But... Do you think that means that... Bendy was once human too?"

Team Psi glanced at one another at that question. It seemed... Strange to think about Bendy maybe being human for some reason... And no one in the group knew why...

Boris pressed the door button for the lift, and then they waited for the lift to arrive. They fidgeted for a bit as the seconds ticked by. They trooped into the lift when it arrived and the doors opened with a ding. They were anxious as the button for Level 9 was pressed.

"Sammy said I had talent," they heard the Twisted Alice Angel tell them through the speakers as the lift descended towards Level 9. She continued this... Sudden monologue when she said, "He was always a good liar. Still, he was once a very handsome man."

"That was... Weird, yet telling at the same time..." Marinette commented as the lift slowly descended towards the programmed location. The bluette looked at the rest of the team when she said, "But why is she telling us this? I mean, I know I would sometimes gush about crushes with the other girls before a certain someone came into the picture, but we usually had a conversation that leads up to that topic... Her's just seemed out of nowhere."

"Is that a girl thing? Talking about crushes?" Adrien asked with a small smirk.

Marinette shrugged when she said, "I wouldn't know what you boys talk about when you have your little gatherings, so I wouldn't know if it's just a "girl thing" or a "teenager thing". But I'm pretty sure there's always some kind of lead up before talking about a topic with you guys." She folded her arms in front of her chest as she returned the small smirk to Adrien.

Kim couldn't help but say, "Mari's got a point there. About the leading to a conversational point. I mean, sometimes we do see or think of something that could change topics, but how Alice Angel brought up her "crush" on Mr Lawrance was kinda out of nowhere..."

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he said, "But this information seems to be further proof that Alice Angel is Ms Campbell. However... She seems to be... A little more unstable mentally than Mr Lawrance was..."

Markov couldn't help but ask, "Speaking of the two... Did this studio not have a policy about co-workers dating back when it was open? Because she seems to be implying that she and Mr Lawrance were romantically involved with each other." Boris couldn't help but give the AI a confused look.

Max gave a nervous chuckle before he said, "That's one way to put it..." Kim, Marinette, Adrien, and Boris couldn't help but glance at each other with a telling look. All can agree that while the information was helping to solidify that the Ink Creatures were once human, they couldn't help think that the sudden timing of receiving the information was strange...

The lift doors opened with a ding when it arrived at Level 9. Team Psi trooped out of the lift and headed back towards the metal gate with the giant Alice Angel head. When they stood in front of the doors, the Twisted Alice Angel told them through the speakers, "Very good my little errand boys. Place them in the box next to the doors." It didn't take more than three seconds to find what the lady meant, and it only proved that she was somehow watching them. Marinette took the gears out of her bag and pushed them into the box, along with the pipe wrench. The flap on it made a metallic squeak when it moved.

When the bluette walked back to the group the Twisted Alice Angel said over the speakers, "Have you seen them? The swollen ones! They're just stuffed full of extra-thick ink. It makes me sick! And yet... It's the perfect thing for keeping myself together. If you're going to catch them, you're going to have to learn to move quietly. You can find them on Level 11. Here's a little something to help you with collecting that Thick Ink." With that, the panel on the right of the metal doors flipped open, revealing a giant syringee with a rather sharp needle attached.

All the boys coward away from the needle. Marinette placed her hands on her hips when she looked at them and said, "Oh come on, don't tell me that you all are scared of a little needle? And one of you doesn't even have skin."

"No!" Adrien, Kim, Max, and Markov said at the same time as Boris tried to hid behind Kim again. Marinette obviously didn't believe that statement. That was when the tallest of the group said, "We're scared of a sharp, huge-ass needle!" Tikki and Plagg held their laughter as Marinette sighed before she took the syringe off the panel, causing the mechanisms for the panel door to close and the bridge gate to open.

Team Psi trooped back to the lift and Adrien pressed the button for Level 11. The lift slowly moved up and stopped at the designated floor. When the doors opened with a ding, they spotted a Searcher that looked... Thicker than normal... Almost twice as thick...

Markov couldn't help but comment softly, so not to alert the Swollen Searcher to their presence, "I calculated that it would've taken us a long time to find those particular Searchers."

Kim has to whisper back, "Ditto, but I'm not surprised, to be honest."

That was when Marinette whispered to the group, "Max, Markov, Kim, and Boris, you guys stay here while Adrien and I go after those Swollen Searchers."

"Why do you get to go?" Kim complained.

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand before he whispered, "Considering that this errand involves stealth, and from what Alice Angel implied, it would be best to allow the individuals to have more adapted skills in it so the task can be completed efficiently."

When Kim vocalized a, "Huh?" Adrien explained quietly, "We can't be sneaky in a group our size and some of us aren't exactly good at being quiet."

Kim raised a brow when he asked softly, "Who on this team isn't stealthy?" It didn't take long before the tell teen noticed that the rest of the team was staring at him. Kim turned pink when he said as he rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment, "Ah, riiiiight..."

"Plus, it might be a good idea to have some of us stay by the lift, just in case something happens," Marinette said as he looked around the area to think of a plan to sneak up on the Swollen Searcher. There was also the fact that she and Adrien needed to talk to Tikki and Plagg.

Max placed his left hand on Marinette's shoulder when he said in a worried tone, "Be careful, both of you. We don't know what else is lurking here."

Marinette placed a free hand on Max's arm when she said, "We will, and we will stick together. If what we gathered from the Audio Logs is true, then we should be able to fit inside those Little Miracle Stations, just in case we run into the Ink Demon Bendy."

"You two better come back or else I'm searching for you myself," Kim stated in a serious tone.

"We know, "Marinette and Adrien said at the same time as they took a step out of the lift and quietly made their way towards the Swollen Searcher.

~}i{ Outside the Studio }i{~

"Time Heal!" Bunnyx shouted as she threw her umbrella into the air, and reversing the effects of the recent Akuma.

The recent victims were Tom Dupain and Sabine Cheng, they were Akumatized into Were-Dad and Verity Queen respectively. Like Lady WiFi, they tried to get into Joey Drew Studios, but fail and went on a rampage because of it. The Temporary Heroes knew they had to try to keep their connection to Marinette on the back burner for now when they had to comfort her parents.

As Sabine and Tom sat on a nearby bench Madame Emerald picked up the object that was Akumatized, which looked like a letter of some sort. The Turtle Holder quickly read the letter, now knowing that it was an official-looking letter, "Dear Ms Marinette Dupain-Cheng, we are thrilled to inform you that you have won First Place in our Starry Night Themed "Style This" challenge. Not only did your designs excelled what we were looking for but you have succeeded in incorporating the Hidden Element that we asked for. Your design will be on the cover of our upcoming Annual Issue and your prize winnings will be sent to your address by an official from our magazine along with the verification of this contest win to add to your portfolio..." Madame Emerald couldn't finish reading the letter as she looked up at the Dupain-Cheng pair, looking as depressed as they felt.

"Our daughter entered that contest three months ago... She loved the theme and wanted to something that would make them feel like they were looking at the Milky Way on a cloudless night..." Sabine explained as Tom placed a hand on hers.

Tom then added, "We... Forgot about that contest until we got that letter today... And it... Reminded us when Marinette started sketching out rough drafts for it... She looked so happy when she did..." He looked at his wife, both just embraced each other when the taller said, "We wanted to show her the letter but... We remembered that she's..." That was when the tears flowed out of him.

Tears trickled down Sabine's face when she said, "We were holding the letter together when the Akuma entered it. By the time we realized it, Hawkmoth was already telling us that he'll give us the powers to rescue our daughter!"

The Temporary Heroes looked at each other. The parents just wanted their daughter back!

Urg now came the difficult part of being a hero...

Drak-Kon was the one to ask, "I hate to ask, but what else can you remember about your Akumatization?" Mitsubachi gave the Dupain-Chengs handkerchiefs to help dry their eyes.

"Not much," Sabine said as she dabbed her cheeks with the cloth. She then said, "He just said he'd give us the power to get into that accursed studio so we can save Marinette and her friends."

That was when Tom finished sadly, "And when we couldn't get in, we went, well... You saw..." He then blew his runny nose into the cloth.

That was when Viperion asked, "Wait a second, Hawkmoth just Akumatized you to save your daughter and her friends?" When the Dupain-Cheng pair nodded sadly, the Snake Holder then asked in a serious tone, "Did he ask you to find out about Ladybug and Chat Noir's locations in return?"

The parents thought about that for a bit before they looked at each other when Sabine said, "Now that you mention it... No, he didn't say anything about that or that he wanted something in return." That was when Tom added, "In fact... He just encouraged us to save our child, nothing else... Now that I think about it, it seemed rather strange that he did... He didn't even mention Ladybug or Chat Noir." Sabine nodded in agreement with her husband.

The Temporary Heroes glanced at each other with knowing looks in their eyes. It was looking like their theory about Hawkmoth being close to Team Psi was starting to become more plausible.

}{ A Couple of Minutes Later, on Top of the Eiffel Tower }{

"Considering that the letter was confirmed to have been delivered today and that they forgot about Marinette entering that contest..." Bunnyx said as she looked over their current list of suspects who could be Hawkmoth and Mayura.

Drak-Kon finished with, "It's safe to assume that the Duapin-Chengs aren't Hawkmoth And Mayura, since the whole thing wasn't planned." The Rabbit Holder used a red pen to cross off Tom Dupain and Sabine Cheng from the Suspect list.

Mitsubachi then pointed out, "May I also add that their heights don't match Hawkmoth or Mayura. Mr Dupain is taller than Hawkmoth and Mrs Cheng is shorter than Mayura. And they also seemed confused about Hawkmoth's sudden lack of interest of Ladybug and Chat Noir once they realized it." She wanted to focus on those details, more to prove to herself that Marinette's parents aren't the villains plaguing Paris.

Viperion folded his arms when he said as he looked up at the clouds, "And considering we haven't released the fact that Hawkmoth changed his MO, it's safe to assume that they are indeed innocent." He didn't need to use his Second Chance to notice how the other heroes seemed to be as relieved as he was. 'Do they... Also know Marinette?' the Snake Holder thought to himself.

~}i{ Inside Joey Drew Studios }i{~

Adrien and Marinette managed to get some Thick Ink from the Swollen Searcher before they had to move further away from the lift. They cautiously walked down the hallway just in time to see another mutated member of the Butcher Gang.

This Butcher Gang Member looked like it had the rounded body of Barley that seemed to be in almost perfect in condition and wore what resembles a tight black suit. He wears a pair of boot-like shoes, and a wooden sign for a buckle from his belt which says, "LIAR" written in ink. He was also wearing a pair of white gloves sprinkled with ink and wields a unique wrench in his left hand. His neck is replaced with a wooden fishing rod, which allows his head to dangle by a thread similar to a fishing bobber. There is a wooden, fish-shaped cutout dangling from the top of the rod by the hook. Upon observing, this Fisher's head looked more similar to Edgar's head than Barley's, evidenced by the larger lips, a pair of fangs ending up merged as a result of deformity, a rounder head, and a much circular "forehead" part of the "black outlines" outside the face (opposed to Barley's which was triangular) to nearly match Edgar's appearance in the Butcher Gang's cartoon poster. From what the heroes could guess, the Barley's head was switched to an Edgar's head. Although it was a little hard to tell, with a cornpipe-like object punched above the upper lip for a nose. While his left usual-oval eye now resembles a large hole, his right eye is fairly different in comparison to Edgar's original eyes, looking small and rounder than oval-shaped, with an X-shape for a pupil. The squarish ears are ripped off. The left side of his face is covered with growth-like tumours sporting either white boils or warts. His big-lipped mouth remains open and constantly grimacing, and contains a small set of false teeth slightly resembling of the nutcracker.

Since they weren't sure if they were out of hearing range of the Video Log, they couldn't chance on having their voices calling out their transformation phrases caught. They had to fight this Fisher as civilians... Good thing they had experienced in fighting. Adrien and Marinette managed to kill the Fisher in five well-placed strikes with their respective weapons, three from Adrien and two from Marinette. The Fisher then exploded into a puddle of ink and leaving a rather big, thick blob of ink plopped on the ground.

Marinette stabbed the thick blob with the needle and used the plunger to suck the whole thing up. Two down, and who knows how many to go... But judging by how filled the syringee was... Maybe one more Swollen Searcher...

The duo continued down the hallway. It didn't take long until they came to an area with an ink- flooded hallway next to a Little Miracle Station in the corner. A Searcher suddenly sprang up and tried to attack the two, but a quick strike to the head took it out.

Suddenly, the Kwamis flew out of their hiding spots and pointed frantically at the Miracle Station. They didn't speak because they didn't want to risk being heard by the Video Log. Adrien and Marinette glance at each other in confusion before they saw inky webs appearing on the walls and the faint sound of a heartbeat echoed softly through the hallway. Those signs could only mean one thing!

Adrien and Marinette immediately darted to the Little Miracle Station. They squeezed into it with the Kwamis as the bluette quickly and quietly closed the door. It was a snugged fit like they thought it would be with two people, but it wasn't too bad. Marinette, Adrien, Tikki, and Plagg cautiously watched through the opening at eye level.

The area got grey and practically dripped with ink as the heartbeat sound started getting a little louder. When black nearly covered their vision of the area and the sound of the heartbeat was like it was next to their ears, the Ink Demon Bendy walked through an inky portal in the wall.

Adrien quickly grabbed Marinette's hand and squeezed it as he trembled. The bluette gently squeezed his hand back as she used her thumb to rub a soothing pattern on his skin as they held each others' hand. They watched as Bendy aimlessly walked by the Little Miracle Station, not even noticing that people were inside.

Guess the information about the Little Miracle Stations was true, Bendy wasn't interested in the Miracle Station at all.

But even if that was true, it was hard for the heroes to not hold their breaths when the Ink Demon was so close to them.

Suddenly, Bendy stopped walking and stood in front of the wooden structure that the teens and Kwamis were in. Both Marinette and Adrien could feel their hearts just racing in their chests at this. Plagg and Tikki trembled in fear. Bendy then turned his head towards the Miracle Station.

Did the Ink Demon know that they were close? That they were inside the Little Miracle Station? Did he even care? Did he want to rip the wooden structure apart to get at them? Did he want the Kwamis? Did he want to kill them?

That was when Bendy lifted his oversized gloved hand towards the wooden structure.

The fear in the heroes only rose, to the point that they forgot that they could transform to properly defend themselves. That there were Kwamis with them.

The gloved hand was placed on the top of the box with a soft thud. The ones inside the Miracle Station could only watch in terror as they waited for the Ink Demon to attack! To rip off the door! To kill them on sight!

Marinette, Adrien, Tikki, and Plagg closed their eyes in pure fear as they waited for the Ink Demon to act. This felt worse than Hawkmoth discovering their civilian identities and taking their Miraculous!

The seconds ticked by at an agonizingly slow pace.

And after waiting in the Miracle Box for who knows how long, they finally opened one of their eyes to see what was delaying their end. But the Ink Demon was gone! The ink webs were also gone and the heartbeat sound that was there was only in their chests.

What happened?

After waiting for their hearts to calm down, they slowly and cautiously opened the door to the Miracle Station. They carefully looked around the area, looking for any trace of the Ink Demon, but there was nothing...

"Not to be ungrateful, but why didn't he do anything?" Adrien asked as they all exited the Miracle Station.

"I'm... Not sure..." Tikki whispered as she looked back at the Little Miracle Station as Marinette closed the door behind her. Plagg looked around the corner for any signs of the Ink Demon or the ink webs but saw nothing.

Marinette stood on her toes to get a better look at the spot where the Ink Demon touched. She then reached a hand up and placed it where the gloved hand of the Ink Demon had touched. "Huh?" Marinette vocalized when she felt something on that spot. She pulled her hand back and looked at what was she found. When she did, she could only vocalize a, "Hm?"

Adrien looked over the bluette's shoulder when he asked, "What's wrong?" When Marinette showed the blonde what was in her palm, he replied with, "Okay, that is strange, but what does it mean?" Tikki and Plagg looked at what was in Marinette's palm too, but even they were confused at what they were seeing.

Marinette closed her hand into a fist with the object inside when she said, "I'm not sure, but the Ink Demon had it so it must mean something." She then placed what she found in her purse before she picked up the syringee and said, "Let's show it to the others when we get back to the lift, maybe they might have an idea."

That was when Adrien said, "But... Why did the Ink Demon have it in the first place? And why leave it here?" It just didn't make any sense to the blonde, but it also didn't make much sense to the bluette too.

Marinette scratched her head when she said, "Can't this place be straight-forward with something just once!"

That was when Plagg whispered, "Let's just get the last Swollen Searcher and get back to the others! The faster we're together, the faster we'll feel better." That the three could agree to.

With that, they walked through the flooded hallway, just to check to see if the last Swollen Searcher was there. When they came to the end, they spotted a light. They ducked behind the wooden barrels before they peaked over to see a tall humanoid creature that is almost completely covered in ink and notably has a projector as his head. Several long, hanging black wires (possibly film roll) are attached to his back and under his head, with the longer wire attaching to his right ankle, and another attached to his right arm. He has a film reel stuck in his left shoulder. This Ink Creature seems to wear clothing from what they could vaguely tell, with rolled-up sleeves for his shirt, and pants with a rolled-up left pant leg and a pair of large boots. He has a speaker sticking out from the middle of his chest. He's also wearing gloves covered in lines of ink. Adrien quickly pulled his phone out and quickly snapped a picture of the projector using Ink Creature before it disappeared, he then shoved his phone back into his pocket.

Plagg couldn't help but say quietly, "What the heck was that one?"

Tikki quietly replied with, "Some kind of inky projectionist?"

That was when the heroes spotted an Audio Log sitting on top of one of the barrels. Adrien picked up the Audio Log and read the handwritten label, "Another from Mr Franks." He placed it back on the barrel, pulled his phone out again, opened an audio recording app, quickly named the file Wally Franks, Level 11, Ink Hallway.' Adrien then said, "Well, let's hear what Mr Franks has to say in this," then pressed the record button on his phone. Marinette nodded as she pressed the play button on the Audio Log.

The Audio Log clicked on and the Voice of Wally Franks filled the air when he said, "I don't get it. Everyone's walking around here like grandma just died. Nothing but angry faces everywhere. These people got to lighten up. I mean hello! You make cartoons! Your job is to make people laugh. I'm tellin' ya, if these people don't start crackin' a smile now and then, I'm outta here." And with that, the Audio log ended with a click. Adrien stopped the recording app before he shoved the device back into his pocket.

Plagg placed his paws on his hips when he said, "I like this Wally guy, he keeps a positive outlook on things."

Tikki tapped on of her paws to her chin when she said, "True, but I'm a little more focused on what he was saying. He seemed to have noticed that the other workers of this studio were, umm, what's the right word to use? Well, he compared their feelings to what happens when having their grandmother just passing away."

Marinette placed her free hand to her chin when she said, "Angry and aggravated seems to be the right thing to use... But it's practically proof that the employees weren't exactly "happy" to be working at this place..."

Adrien leaned against the wall when he said, "Bugaboo, no offence, but it seems like Mr Drew wasn't exactly the best boss of the year or anything close. And given what we've found relating to him, it sounds like he was as manipulative as Lie-la." Marinette had to agree on that.

Suddenly a Swollen Searcher popped up in the ink near them. Not looking a gift horse in the mouth, they took it out and sucked the Think Ink into the syringe. The moment the Thick Ink was completely in the syringee, they heard the Twisted Alice Angel tell them through the speakers in a rather angry tone, "How sickening! Urg, makes my skin crawl! *Back to her normal tone*. But the task is done. Bring me back my equipment, please."

'Seriously, how is she watching us?' Marinette, Adrien, Tikki, and Plagg thought at the same time.

"At least she said "please" this time around," Marinette said flatly as they made their way through the ink flooded hallway. The fashion duo stopped caring about their stained clothing. It didn't matter anymore since they always have to walk through ink or had ink drip on them, they've even gotten used to having ink in their shoes, even if that was still uncomfortable.

When they spotted the lift, they raced over to it with smiles on their faces. Kim pressed the button for the doors on the lift control panel. The doors opened with a ding. Marinette, Adrien, Tikki, and Plagg happily rejoined the team just outside the lift as Markov said, "We heard Alice Angel, so we can assume that you have completed the task." The Heroes and Kwamis noticed that Max didn't have his cellphone attached to his suspenders. The techy explained that he decided to turn off the Video Log because he noticed that the power to his cellphone was getting low. Tikki and Plagg sighed with relief, now they can talk to everyone again.

Adrien smiled when he said, "Yeah, wasn't too hard, but we had a little trouble on the way." He pulled his phone out of his pocket and scrolled through it until he found the picture he took of the Ink Creature with the projector. The blonde showed Kim, Max, Markov, and Boris the picture.

Kim couldn't help but comment, "Whoa, that one looks like a walking projectionist or something. Did it see you?"

Marinette shook her head when she said, "No we ducked out of sight when we saw the light from the projector, but I don't think he would've seen us from where he was anyway... *Places her free hand to her chin* Projectionist... Markov, do you have any information on Norman Polk?"

Tikki tilted her head to the side when she asked, "The projection booth guy?" Marinette nodded as Markov searched his databanks for the information he needed.

Markov made a ding before he said, "Mr Polk went missing two years before the studio closed... His younger sister mentioned in the missing persons report that she suspected Mr Drew for her brother's disappearance and said that he kept saying in the letters he sent her that something weird was happening at the studio. She seemed certain that Mr Drew was behind her brother's disappearance, but there was never any solid proof of his involvement... Marinette? May I inquire why you are asking about Mr Polk?"

Marinette glanced at Adrien when she said in a serious tone, "I think that Projectionist character Chaton and I saw might've been Mr Polk." The bluette let out a sigh when she said, "But there's only speculation right now." It was obvious that she wasn't liking what she was saying. That was when Marinette said, "But considering all the evidence we have so far, it's safe to assume that the Projectionist character was someone from this studio..."

That was when Adrien said, "Speaking of evidence. Bugaboo, show them what you found from our run-in with Ink Bendy."

"YOU ENCOUNTERED THE INK DEMON?!" Max, Kim, and Markov shouted in shock while Boris gulped and then trembled in fear.

"Yes, but those Little Miracle Stations worked! But it still felt like a close call, especially when he was that close to us," Plagg stated with a worried gleam in his green eyes.

Marinette pulled out the small object that the Ink Demon left behind out of her purse and showed it to the rest of the team. Boris scratched his head in confusion when he saw it.

Max glanced at the heroes when he asked, "Did... The Ink Demon really have this?" Kim scratched his head in confusion, wondering why the Ink Demon had such an odd object on hand.

Marinette shoved the small thing back into her purse when she said, "Pretty sure, but the thing that's kinda bothering us, besides the whole fact that he had it, is why did he leave it where we could find it."

"He... Left it for you?" Kim asked in a strange mixture of confusion and shock.

Adrien shrugged before he placed his hand to his chin and said, "From his movements, probably... But... We're not sure if he knew we were in the Little Miracle Station or not. Or why he left the thing where he did... Man, that event was just... Weird." And that statement was way to true, Marinette and the Kwamis had to agree.

After taking a few deep breaths before they all walked into the lift. When they all were in, they heard the Twisted Alice Angel tell them through the speakers in an almost child-like innocent, "Once upon a time, there was an angel. And she was beautiful and loved by all." Max quickly pressed the button for Level 9, causing the lift to descend, as the Twisted Alice Angel continued, "She was perfect. *Cries out* No matter what Joey says!"

Team Psi glanced at each other at the last line. Seems like Joey Drew really did a number on Susie Campbell. But it did bring up how she became an Ink Creature variation of Alice Angel...

When the lift reached its destination, the doors opened with a ding. Team Psi trooped out and made their way to the Angel's Doors. Marinette shoved the syringee full of Thick Ink into the bin before they all stood in front of the metal doors. The gates blocked the bridge.

The Twisted Alice Angel then told the team through the speakers yet again, "I'll make this simple. Look for the valve panels on Level P. Turn the little wheels. Then bring me their power cores. Please don't make me regret sparing you all. I can always change my mind." The panel next to the doors opened, revealing a plunger.

This time Marinette squirmed away from the panel with a squeak when she shouted, "EW! You've got to be kidding me! We are not using THAT gross thing to fight!"

Adrien looked at the simple object when he said, "Umm, it's just a plunger."

Marinette cringed when she snapped in a huffy tone, "A plunger that we have no idea where it's been!"

"Oh," the guys vocalized in unison, now realizing that the bluette had a point...

Max looked up at the Alice Angel head and tried to see if this idea will work. "Um, excuse us, Miss Alice Angel."

"Yes? What do you want?" The Twisted Alice Angel responded in annoyance.

Okay, that actually worked. Max cleared his throat when he said in a slightly nervous tone, "Um, we kinda already have enough weapons to defend ourselves with, so would it be alright with you if we left the plunger here?"

After a few seconds, the Twisted Alice Angel finally said, "That's fine, I don't care either way as long as the job gets done. I don't see why you could've just stayed in those strange forms, at least the two of you that can."

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight... Marinette and Adrien were in their Hero Personas when they first met the Twisted Alice Angel...

Marinette came through when she said, "Those forms have a limited power source, so we can't be in those for a long time." She wasn't lying per se, but she had to be vague when she was telling the truth.

"Hm, very well. Now just finish the task before I decide to kill you. My patience is wearing," the Twisted Alice Angel said through the speakers. With that, Team Psi scurried away as soon as the gates lifted. "Have a fun time with your friends, Henry," the Twisted Alice Angel whispered menacingly into the speakers unknowingly.

"Huh?" Kim vocalized as he looked back at the Alice Angel head as he and the rest of the team climbed the stairs. When he was asked by Max what was wrong, the tall teen replied with, "I thought I heard Alice Angel say something, but I think I was just imagining things." With that, they entered the lift and pressed the button for Level P.

Once they arrived at Level P, they had to make their plan. They didn't know how many power cores they needed or how many of these panels they needed to look in, so... They had to split up... No one liked it, but... It was the quickest way to get the power cores... And they can keep in touch with the Walky-Talkies or the weapons that the heroes carried (which can be used as communication devices).

Boris will stay at the lift while the rest of the Team searches the area for the power cores. Marinette and Adrien quickly transformed into Ladybug and Chat Noir, more so so they can give Max the pipe to defend himself. The moment Chat gave Max the pipe they heard the familiar voice of a Butcher Gang Member approaching.

They turned to the sound just in time to see the worst of the mutilated Butcher Gang Members.

This Butcher Gang Member looked liked it had Barley's head attached onto Edgar's body along with few cartoon character body parts, like a hybrid. This is enough to make his appearance entirely unrecognizable and bizarrely different from his original form (Edgar) for comparison. The Barley's head looked heavily toned down from the other mutilations, with two shoelace-like straps sewn onto his forehead and sporting an extra mouth with chattering, maniacal teeth on the top of his head. The lower part of his face (mouth, cheeks, beard, and a nose) is replaced with somewhat darker-coloured cartoon lips sewn together whilst possessing only a few stitches. His right eyepatch was replaced with a movable human-like eyeball, placing in the right eye-socket with three straps, and a left non-mutilated pie eye gazed in a shocked emotion. it looked like the original Barley's ears were replaced with Edgar's small squarish ears printed by several white boils. The overall looks on Barley's both head and face give a faint resemblance to Edgar's. The four upper legs for Striker's Edgar body are replaced with three, thin arms ending with hands that wear two-darted white gloves, probably taken from some anonymous cartoon characters. However, his both left arms are fused into one with an extender bar which acts as his main weapon, with a hose connecting the bar to what seems to resemble some kind of "lips" opened wide. What remains for Edgar's body is a long pear-shaped stomach and two short legs with shoes. Because of both ankle disorder, his right foot moves awkwardly and drags his left foot when running.

Ladybug and Chat Noir leapt into action as the Striker-like Ink Creature attacked. Chat hit the Ink Creature twice while Ladybug got in three hits. When the Striker hit the ground, it fell to the ground like a ragdoll and dropping a power core an the ground. Chat Noir picked up the power core when he said, "Well... That's one less we have to search for." Ladybug nodded in agreement.

Now was the grouping of teams. Max and Markov would be with Chat Noir while Kim would be with Ladybug. They'll keep in touch if something happens and hide in the Miracle Stations if needed. With that, they separated to collect the power cores.

(Skipping this part because there is NO WAY in the inky bowels of the studio am I writing out THIS tedious part! It's annoying to do in-game and it'll be even worse to write!)

~}i{ Outside the Studio, Collège Françoise Dupont }i{~

Alix doodled on the piece of paper in front of her as she sat at her assigned seat. At least that's what it looked like to anyone but the pinkette. 'Hawkmoth has to have some connection to either Kim, Max, Marinette, Adrien, or even all of them,' she thought as she looked at her scribbles. Alix sighed as she looked around at her classmates. The missing teens' desks were still covered with gifts, flowers, and cards. A sad look appeared on Alix's face when she thought, 'I wish we could focus on getting them out of that studio rather than deal with Hawkmoth and his Akumas... Hold on...' She then looked back to the paper in front of her and thought, 'Other than Alya, no one else from our class has been Akumatized since Team Psi were tricked by that lier and all of us have been feeling a lot of negative emotion since then... So...'

'Why is Hawkmoth leaving our class alone?' Chloe thought as she pretended to read the book in front of her. She too was on the same thought process as Alix. The Turtle Holder turned the page when she thought, 'Everyone here has been utterly miserable since that horrid day, and while I'm not surprised that Alya got Akumatized since she was hit the hardest, I'm surprised that no one else here did. Even Miss Bustier hasn't been Akumatized despite her mood being as bad as everyone else.'

Chloe was right. Miss Bustier, who was always smiling, hasn't had her usual cheery self since Team Psi were tricked into going to the real location of the Joey Drew Studios. Heck, the redheaded teacher was normally so chipper that it was contagious, but now... She was as unhappy as her students since that day...

Nino was tapping a random beat on his desk when he thought, 'Is there a reason why Hawkmoth is leaving our class alone? Or is it because he didn't want to make Team Psi's friends suffer more? Especially if they fail to enter that studio? Dude's gotta have a reason for that.' The Dragon Holder then thought as he placed an elbow on his desk and rested his chin on his palm, 'I also wonder why that studio is keeping Kim, Mari, Adrien, Max, and Markov inside it? I mean... There's gotta be more going on inside that place beside the Ink Creatures.'

In the class next door, Kagami had come to the same conclusion that her teammates when she thought, 'Their class should have been targeted by Akumas more since they were the closest to Marinette, Adrien, and the odd pair. Besides their family members, of course. Yet up until Alya, Hawkmoth has left them alone...'

Passing by Dupont on delivery on his bike, Luka thought, 'Hawkmoth never cared about who he Akumatized so long as he gets Ladybug and Chat Noir's Miraculous before that day. And from what Juleka told me about her class, they should be prime targets for Hawkmoth's Akumas. And yet, only Alya has been Akumatized. There has to be a reason why he hasn't sent Akumas their way...' The Snake Holder continued on his route.

}{ Agreste Manor }{

Gabriel Agreste was sitting at his desk as he stared at a framed photograph of his son and his classmate on the Liberty during a band rehearsal for Kitty Section. All were smiling happily at whoever was taking the picture.

The fashion mogul found this photograph on Adrien's desk in his room, after he was told that Joey Drew Studios was "preventing" anyone else from entering. At first, Gabriel thought that was insane, but after the Akumas who did get close enough to Joey Drew Studios weren't able to get in even with their powers... Gabriel HAD to believe them now...

He did try to use one of his butterflies to try to find an opening into the studio so he could direct his Akumatized Victims to it so they can get in and save his son and his friends, but...

Gabrial clenched his free hand into a fist.

Whatever was keeping watch inside that studio seemed to have known what those butterflies were and what they could do, and killed the butterflies as soon as they landed on the wood of the studio... Neither Ladybug nor Chat Noir ever thought to kill the butterflies, so the sudden loss of Hawkmoth's main sours of ability was... Not pleasant... And it was the reason why he was limiting how many Akumas he was sending out. However...

Gabriel stared at the photograph with a sigh.

While the villain was more focused on individuals with extremely high negative emotions at the moment, he... Couldn't bring himself to sending one of his corrupted butterflies to his son's classmates at the moment... Not when they brought his son so much joy, like in this picture... He only made an exception with Lady WiFi because her negative emotions were just too hard to ignore... He was also trying to avoid Akumatizing the parents and siblings of the other teens trapped inside of that studio too, but the strong sudden feeling of anger and despair from the Dupain-Cheng pair was just impossible to pass on...

Gabriel rubbed his temples in annoyance. He knew what those family members and Adrien friends were going through and he didn't want to put any of them through the utter pain of disappointment he feels when he fails to rescue his son and the rest of his team... But those Heroes kept getting in the way!

'Wait a minute,' Gabriel suddenly thought, now realizing something major that he overlooked. 'The Temporary Heroes! They don't know what I've been trying to do! As far as they know, they think that I'm trying to find Ladybug and Chat Noir to get their Miraculous!'

The fashion mogul quickly called Nathalie. He needed her help with his new plan to save his son!

~}i{ Back Inside the Studio }i{~

"You're quite the efficient little errand boys, aren't you?" The Twisted Alice Angel said through the speakers the moment Team Psi took the last power core. The teammates sighed in annoyance at the quip before they regrouped at the lift, where Boris was waiting for them. The cartoon wolf sighed in relief when he saw them and opened the lift doors for them to enter. Once all of Team Psi was inside the lift, the Twisted Alice Angel suddenly told them through the speakers, "There was a time people knew my name." Marinette pressed the button for Level 9 and the doors closed. For some incalculable reason, Markov decided to record this bit of dialogue from the so-called angel this time around. When the lift moved towards its destination, the Twisted Alice Angel continued talking to them through the speakers in an almost cutesy tone, " "It's Alice Angel!" they'd say. *Now in a normal tone* Feels like so long ago. But those days can come back. Dreams come true, Susie. Dreams come true."

"It seems... She had just confirmed my theory about her being Ms Susie Campbell..." Markov stated before shutting off the recorder and labelling it accordingly.

"But..." Chat Noir vocalized before he said, "It's making me wonder what happened to make her so... Twisted? I mean I'm sure there was the time after she was replaced and when the studio closed, so what happened to her between that period?"

Kim couldn't help but add, "Whatever happened, we're sure that the Ink was involved."

Ladybug held her yo-yo in front of her when she said, "I know you guess don't want me to push myself on this, but there has to be some way to help purify at least some of of the Ink Creatures." She then looked at Boris, who tilted his head to the side at the comment. "Or at least enough to allow them to leave this hellhole," Ladybug said with a small sad smile as the lift came to a stop.

Team Psi walked out of the lift.

"Mari-, er, Ladybug, we're going to save everyone but not at the expense of exhausting yourself," Max told the red-clad hero with a worried look on his face. That was when an idea came to him, "Maybe if we collected a sample of Ink from the specific Ink Creatures we've come across so far, we might be able to figure out how to find a purification method that might work for them."

Chat Noir nodded when he said, "It's an idea, but I doubt that they're going to stand still long enough for us to collect even a little bit of Ink pretty sure they'll attack us first... Urg, we might have to get the ink samples from their corpses..."

Markov was the one to say, "That would be the most logical assumption. But we know Boris will be a willing participant."

Boris looked at the teens before thinking for a bit. If this idea worked, then he will be able to leave the studio and never have to deal with the constant threat of the Ink Demon or the other Ink Creatures! Boris smiled and then nodded.

The teens and AI smiled back before they made their way to the Angel's Door.

~}i{~

Chapter 3 Pt 4: Rise and Fall of Madness' Decent.

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Chapter Text

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Gale-Dragon: A Holiday gift to my readers!

Alright, this is the final part of Chapter 3 (whoo-hoo!). I know a lot of people usually do a change to their Bendy and the Ink Machine stories when writing out Chapter 5, but for this story... Things are going to be altered starting in this part of the storyline. Hope you all like it and I hoped you noticed the little changes I made to the timeline of Joey Drew Studios, x_x.

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Miraculous Adventure in Joey Drew Studio.

Chapter 3 Pt 4: Rise and Fall of Madness' Decent.

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"Talking"

'Thinking'

(Author commenting)

*Actions within speeches*

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Team Psi deposited the power cores into the dropbox. When they stood in front of the metal doors, the Twisted Alice Angel told them through the speakers, "You see those grinning demons? Let's remove all of them from Level K, shall we? I've got just the tool to make this even more enjoyable." With that, the panel flipped open to reveal an axe. When Ladybug took the axe, the panel flipped close and the gates reopened. That was when the Twisted Alice Angel then said, "Make sure to bring back some of the pieces as proof."

Team Psi trooped back to the lift.

Suddenly one of Boris' ears twitch. The cartoon wolf turned his head down a short hallway. His ears twitched again as if he heard something coming from there. Markov noticed the odd behaviour from the cartoon wolf when he asked, "Boris? Is everything all right?"

That was when the Team heard what Boris heard. A sudden scuffle against a wooden door. Being the heroes they were, they rushed over to where the sound was coming from. It leads them to a boarded-up door at the end of the short hallway.

Chat Noir banged on the blocked door when he said loudly, "Hello? Anyone in there?"

The team went quiet, waiting for a response from the other side of the door. But after a few seconds they heard a voice from behind the door, it sounded rusty and weak when it said, "Hhheeeellllp mmeeee..."

Ladybug signalled the others to step away from the door when she said, "Can you move away from the door? We're going to break the boards off!"

"Yyyeeeesss," the voice from the other side of the blocked door told the heroes before the sounds of shuffling was heard.

Ladybug raised the axe and brought it down on the wooden boards. Hacking off one at a time at a quick pace. Once all the boards were off, she burst into the room to save whoever was trapped inside.

"Huh?" was all Ladybug could say in confusion as she stood in the doorway.

The guys looked over the red-clad hero's shoulders and sides to see what was confusing her, only to see a wooden office desk, a wooden chair with an Audio Log sitting on it, a few scattered wooden boxes, and a puddle of bubbling ink. There wasn't a soul inside the room.

Boris tilted his head in confusion when Kim asked, "Umm, where's the guy who called for help?" as the team looked inside the room.

Chat Noir squeezed past Ladybug to investigate further when he said, "We all heard someone in here, so where did they go? There's no other way in or out of this room."

Ladybug stepped inside the room when she said, "And since all of us heard someone's voice, then it couldn't have been our imaginations. Huh?" That was when she noticed an object on the desk and picked it up. "Wow, you don't see fountain pens like this anymore," the red-clad hero said as she examined the fancy-looking black pen in her hand. She noticed some ink on the pen and wiped it off. That was when she saw the gold letters etched onto the pen. "S. Lawrance?" Ladybug read before she looked at the rest of her team when she said, "As in Sammy Lawrance?"

"Wait, what's his pen doing here?" Chat Noir asked in confusion as he scratched his head before he noticed another strange object just laying on top of one of the wooden crates. The cat-themed hero picked it up to get a better look at it. He then said, "Odd place to put a pocket watch. It obviously needs a new battery." It was true, the silver-coloured watch was stopped at 11:47 and the second hand was paused on the 6. Chat Noir then flipped the watched over to look at the back, and what he saw caused his eyes to widen when he said, "Wait! This watch belongs to Norman Polk!" When Max asked how he knew, Chat Noir showed him the back of the watch and revealing the engraving that reads "Sneaking Time, to N. Polk from C. Polk". That was when Chat Noir said, "N. Polk has to be Norman Polk, and I guess C. Polk must be his younger sister."

Ladybug placed the pen on the desk and unhooked her yo-yo. She opened her yo-yo and pulled out the object that they got during their Thick Ink quest. It was a small silver pin in the shape of a feather. "First this feather pin, now an engraved pen and pocket watch?," Ladybug said before she looked up at her friends and asked, "Is someone trying to tell us something with these items or something?"

Max squeezed into the room when he said, "But the Ink Demon left the pin and we don't know who left the pen and watch here... Or even how they got in or out when the only way was blocked..."

Kim scratched his head when he suggested that maybe the Ink Demon just found the pin somewhere and just left it on the Miracle Station that Mari and Adrien just happened to be in because he had no use for it. Markov stated that the tall teen's idea was plausible. That was when Chat Noir said, "That's probably the best answer we can get out of that situation..." The black-clad hero handed the pocket watch to Ladybug when he said, "Weirdness aside, let's keep these items, just so we can give them to the family of the original owners once we're all out of here." Ladybug nodded as she placed the pin, pen, and watch into her yo-yo.

Now for the Audio Log. Max pulled his phone out and opened the recording app. Ladybug pucked up the Log and read the handwritten label on it. "Grant Cohen? I don't remember hearing that name during our research," the red-clad hero said before she looked at the rest of the team and asked, "Do you guys?" Chat Noir shook his head, Kim thought for a bit before he said that he didn't, Max asked Markov if he had any data on the person in question but the AI said that name was in the file of listed employees, and Boris simply shrugged. "Well, maybe we'll find out from this," Ladybug said as she placed the Audio Log back in place. When Max hit the record button, she pressed the play button.

Grant Cohen's voice, that sounded like he grew up in the southern area of America, emitted from the Audio Log when he said, "They say the real problem with Mister Drew is that he never actually tells us little people anything. Oh sure, according to him there's always big stuff coming, adventure and fame and the like. But I'm the guy, see, who has to make sure our budget doesn't go out of whack just 'cause genius upstairs went out and got himself another idea. *Sigh* Speaking of which, and this is top secret, apparently Mister Drew has another large project in mind now... And it ain't cheap." With that, the Audio Log ended with a click.

Max stopped his recording, labelled it accordingly, when he said, "Judging from what was said in this, it logical to assume that Mr Cohen was the studio's accountant. And from what it sounds like... It seems like Mr Drew wasn't his favourite person because of all the budgets he has to make for the "Ideas" Mr Drew comes up with..."

Markov couldn't help but add, "Considering that Mr Cohen was the head accountant of this place, he had to be one of the first people to realize where the studio was headed financially... Inquiry, why did Mr Drew ignore Mr Cohen's warnings? And from what I can speculate, that was given multiple times."

Team Psi glanced at each other at that. No one had an answer to that question other than Mr Drew just ignoring the facts, even though they were right in front of his face... Again, another parallel between Joey Drew and Lila. It was unsettling to realize just how much those two seem to have in common, and they don't even have all the information on Joey Drew. It was almost as if they were one of those Soul Twins or something...

Team Psi glanced at each other once again before they headed back to the lift. After pressing the button to open the doors, they trooped in and hit the button for Level K. The lift moved upward until it stopped at the assigned floor.

"So... Anyone remember how many Bendy Cutouts were on this floor again?" Chat Noir asked the others as they stepped out of the lift, then destroyed the Searcher that suddenly sprang up from the bubbling ink. It was a close call for Max since he was the closest to it, but it allowed him to collect a little of the Ink in one of the many small viles that Boris somehow found years ago.

Kim rubbed the back of his neck when he said, "I remember seeing them, but I wasn't keeping track of them. And to be honest, they kinda started blending into the environment since we've been seeing them a lot." The others couldn't help but think it was true. Markov commented that if he had known that they needed to keep track of the cutouts he would have, but like Kim, he found that the cutouts became part of the background.

Chat Noir sighed when he said, "So we're going to have to go over the entire floor looking for all the Bendy cutouts... Joy... *Glances off to the side*. I really hope we don't run into the Ink Demon while doing this task, who knows what'll happen if he sees us destroying those things..."

Ladybug shuttered when she said, "Let's try not to picture that, but let's keep an eye out for both him and the Little Miracle Stations, just to be on the safe side." She then glanced at Max when she said, "Speaking of... Max, it might be a good idea if you stay with Boris in the lift."

Max glanced down at his cast at this. He knew that it was the reason for the hero's concern. Since he could only use one arm, the force behind his strikes wouldn't be adequate to take out a Searcher or Butcher Gang Member and he also had trouble aiming at the right spot because he was trying to keep the weapon straight when striking... Even when breaking the cutouts... Max clenched the weapon in his left hand when he said in anger, "Even when she's not here, that Liar still gets in the way of things!"

Ladybug placed a comforting hand on Max's shoulder when she said, "Trust me when I say that I understand, and I know how frustrating it can be. And it killed me when I couldn't tell anyone why I thought she was lying about being "Ladybug's Best Friend" because of the whole Secret Identity thing, and I guess me overreacting to her smalls lies didn't help... But it did hurt that everyone believed that whole *Now in a mocking Lila tone* "Oh she's jealous because I'm just so~ close to Adrien" *Now back to her normal tone* thing, especially when more than half the time the implication didn't make any sense."

That was when Chat Noir said in a sheepish tone, "Yeah, sorry for being dense about your feelings, but in my defence, I wasn't taught social norms or social ques when I was homeschooled. *Gives a sideways glance* Apparently, Father thought those weren't important enough to learn. And can I also add here that I'm sorry about telling you to take the high road? I mean, it was because I'm more use to tabloids spewing that kind of thing and thought Lie-la was just like one of those... I wish I acted sooner when I realized that she was hurting others, and not just with her lies..."

Kim rubbed the back of his neck when he said, "Yeah, and I thought she was just telling tales until Max and Markov told me about her threatening Mari."

Markov glanced at Kim when he asked, "You were aware that Lie-la was lying before we told you? Why have you not informed us or the teachers when you did?"

Kim did look ashamed when he said, "Well, to be honest, at first I thought it was because she was the new kid and it was just her awkward way of making friends. I figured she would stop lying once she realized that we were good people and be more honest with us. *Sigh* But it never happened and *Now in a more serious tone* when she started talking about all her "disabilities" and "injuries" I started getting suspicious, but I wasn't sure if the disability stuff were real or not because, well, disabilities vary in severity and from person to person, so that part to me was a little grey. The injury stuff I knew was a lie because I've injured myself plenty of times. *Looked at the techy* Max, not a word on how many times, please. So I know some basic medical care regarding injuries and I noticed that Lie-la never did what is recommended for the injuries she claimed to have or was doing the wrong treatment, and I'll admit that it did bother me that she lied about being hurt when she wasn't, since well, at the time I couldn't understand why anyone would fake an injury. And when you and Max told me about her threatening Mari in the girls' restroom it made me realized that she wasn't just a liar. *Looks at Ladybug* I know I should've spoken up about my suspicions and took your side when you said that she was lying, but... *Sigh* I thought you were overreacting and she WAS that good with manipulating the situation." Kim took a deep breath before he said, "But I was really glad that I wasn't the only one who came around before this shit happened..." Boris placed a hand on one of Kim's shoulders.

Ladybug sighed when she said, "Yeah... I got apologies from the rest of the class when they realized Lie-la was lying, and just how much she was manipulating them... Except for Alya... *Sigh* Either way, I'm glad they heard my side of things after they found out about Lie-la being a bully and a lair before things got worst between us. *Looks at Chat Noir* And in a way, your "high road" idea did help them gather evidence against Lie-la so they could show her real character to the proper adults." This made Chat Noir smile a bit.

Max tucked his weapon under his right arm and used his left hand to push his glasses up when he said, "Well, at least we don't have to worry about that liar now, but we still have to deal with the other problem."

Right... The Twisted Alice Angel's task...

While he didn't like it, Max agreed to stay with Boris in the lift. Markov volunteered to stay behind to help with combat just in case a Searcher or a Butcher Gang Member appeared. Ladybug, Chat Noir, and Kim readied their weapons and told Max to keep the Walkie-Talkie close so they can keep in touch.

There was a Bendy cutout next to the lift, in an outlet by the stairs. That one was easy to take care of. (For those of you who have played the Bendy & the Ink Machine game, yes I know this particular cutout is to be destroyed last during the task, but Team Psi doesn't know that and I already have that planned out, as you will read very soon).

Ladybug, Chat Noir, and Kim trekked back through the hole in the wall and made their way back into the storage room, where they took care of a Searcher and three Bendy cutouts. There was a cutout right outside the storage room. They trekked back through the hallway and was forced to split up because of the two paths, and Ladybug went back down the Angel Path and the boys went back down the Demon Path, there were two cutouts each on the path back so they destroyed those. Once they regrouped in front of the start of the paths, they destroyed a cutout leaning against a barrel on the fork between the Angel/Demon path. They then made their way back into the Heavenly Toys Area, they were able to see eight Bendy cutouts, four on the left side and four on the right side. There was a Little Miracle Station, just in case something were to happen.

Ladybug let out a breath when she said, "Well, at least this task allowed us to let off some steam." She then glanced around when she said, "But it is strange that I don't remember all these cutouts being here though."

Chat Noir destroyed one cutout when he said, "Well maybe it's because they started becoming part of the background since we've been seeing them everywhere." Ladybug couldn't argue with that, so she joined him and Kim in destroying the cutouts.

Once they cleared the Heavenly Toys Workshop of the cutouts, the Twisted Alice Angel told them over the speakers, "Ah, now that was fun! Oh! But I forgot to mention... He HATES it when I do that." Ladybug, Chat Noir, and Kim could feel their hearts drop into their stomachs at this. The Twisted Alice Angel then added, "I would hide if I were you," and then ended with a flirty chuckle.

That was when the Walkie-Talkie beeped. Ladybug quickly answered the device just in time to hear Max say, "*Kshz* Guys! We just heard Alice Angel! Please tell me you're on your way back! *Kshz*"

Ladybug quickly replied, "Yeah, we're heading back now. We'll be quick." She then turned off the device and placed it back into her yo-yo. As soon as she did, black inky webs started appearing on the walls and ground. "Of course," Ladybug groaned out before she practically shoved Kim into the Little Miracle Station before closing the door, grabbed Chat Noir by the waist, and flung her yo-yo to the top of the structure of the Heavenly Toys' pillar/ink fall. Once it attached, Ladybug yanked on the yo-yo and it reeled her and her partner up onto the structure. Just in time too.

Ink Bendy walked out of the wall close to the right side of the stairs and looked around the area. He looked at the shattered cutouts as his teeth chattered before he looked around and then slowly started walking. Ladybug and Chat Noir looked down from their perch to see where the Ink Demon was heading so they can get Kim and get back to the lift before they have to run into this deadly foe.

Chat Noir carefully nudged Ladybug when he whispered, "I never noticed this before, but he's got a limp."

Ladybug eyed her partner before her eyes went back to the Ink Demon. The ink creature did seem to be favouring his right foot over his left. The red-clad hero then whispered back, "You're right. How did we not notice that before?"

Chat Noir shrugged when he whispered, "I think it's because we never saw him walking and we didn't see his legs when we were in the Miracle Station. I'm surprised he has a limp, considering how fast he is when he runs." Ladybug nodded in agreement.

The Ink Demon turned to the stairs and started walking over to it. Ladybug and Chat Noir ducked their heads back a bit but keeping their eyes looking over the edge of the pillar. They needed to watch the Ink Demon for a chance to retreat. So now they waited for the ink webs to disappear.

Suddenly, the structure that Ladybug and Chat Noir was hiding on top of started shaking!

The heroes looked down just in time to see the Ink Demon trying to shove the structure over. The structure shook again when the Ink Demon struck. Once it stopped shaking, the Ink Demon looked up right at the two heroes as his teeth chattered.

"Shit!" Both heroes vocalized before the Ink Demon threw all of his weight into his next attack on the structure. This time the structure was forced into a tilting angle, it wasn't a lot but it was enough to force the heroes off of the top due to the sudden incline. The heroes were able to land on the ground without much trouble, but now they were open to the oncoming Demon.

Chat Noir extended his staff while Ladybug twirled her yo-yo into a shield. They needed to get the Ink Demon away from the Miracle Station Kim was in. So, they tried to lure him away. It was a little too easy if the heroes were honest with themselves, but... The Ink Demon wasn't an Akuma. If he got the chance, he wouldn't hesitate to deliver the fatal blow!

It took an intense five minutes for Ladybug and Chat Noir to get the Ink Demon into the toy-making room, all while keeping the Ink Demon at a distance. It was a tough battle, even more so than what happened during Hero's Day or a 3 in the morning Akuma attack and it was a hell of a lot more frightening than the Sandboy event!

"There's nothing wrong with dreaming." Everyone froze when they heard the faint sound of the voice of Joey Drew.

"Wishing for the impossible is just human nature." The Ink Demon let out a terrifying roar before he stormed out of the toy-making area and just leaving the heroes without a second thought.

"That's how I got started. Just a pencil and a dream." It took Ladybug and Chat Noir a few seconds to realize what happened before they paled and chased after the Ink Demon.

"We all want everything without even having to lift a finger." But the Ink Demon was too far ahead of them and he was already five seconds away from the Little Miracle Station Kim was in.

"They say you just have to believe." That was when the Ink Demon rushed passed the Little Miracle Station, towards the area behind the wall. Ladybug and Chat Noir stood at the top of the stairs, baffled at what they saw.

"Belief can make you succeed." Kim came out of the Little Miracle station and bolted towards the heroes at the top of the steps in a burst of speed.

"Belief can make you rich." Once Kim reunited with the heroes, they quickly made their way back through to the Angel/Demon Paths. They were in such a rush to get away from the Ink Demon, they didn't care which path they took back.

"Belief can make you powerful." The Ink Demon found the athlete's cellphone, playing the recording of Joey Drew that was found on the Demon Path on the floor near the closed metal doors. He picked up the device with his right hand. Kim set the recording to go off as an alarm when a timer goes off.

"Why, with enough belief, you can even cheat death itself." The three charged through the storage area and towards the gate.

"Now that... Is a beautiful, and positively silly thought." When the audio ended, the Ink Demon let out a growl. Now realizing that he had been tricked he quickly rushed into the Heavenly Toys area. When he saw that the door to the little Miracle Station was open, his teeth chattered in annoyance. The Ink Demon then looked at the device in hand. He switched the phone to his over-sized gloved left hand and then tapped the screen with his right index finger, exiting out of the timer app. Once the app was closed, the background to the phone was completely visible. It was a picture of Kim with his arms playfully around Alix's and Max's shoulders, with Max on his right and Alix on his left.

The Ink Demon looked up towards the toy-making area as his teeth chattered.

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Max was pacing inside the lift, anxiously waiting for the rest of Team Psi to return. While Markov did try to help calm his best friends down and Boris trying to give the techie a shoulder rub, Max was still anxious. How could he not be? The Twisted Alice Angel literally sent them on a death mission with the Ink Demon at the end!

Suddenly, Ladybug, Chat Noir, and Kim burst through the hole in the wall. Max quickly pressed the Doors button when they reached the stairs. When the three rushing into the lift, Max pressed the Doors button again to close the doors.

"Is everyone functioning properly?" Markov asked innocently as the three sat on the ground, trying to catch their breaths. The AI was wondering why the three were in this state of exhaustion.

"Urg! Tikki, Spots Off," Ladybug groaned out. Then in a flash of light, she was back to Marinette as Tikki floated next to her head.

"*Groan*. Plagg, Claws In," Chat Noir panted out. Then in a flash of light, he was back to Adrien as Plagg floated next to his head.

Kim practically flopped to the ground as Max pressed the button for Level 9. "Damn..." the tall teen whined out before he said as he sat up, "I can't believe that idea worked."

"What idea?" Max asked in confusion as Markov used the question mark emoticon to indicate that he was also confused.

That was when the three explained what happened after they turned off the Walkie-Talkies. Boris gulped when the Ink Demon came up and just how formidable he was.

"One inquiry," Markov said as he raised his claw. He then asked, "Kim, how did you know that Mr Drew's voice would distract the Ink Demon long enough for you all to return here?"

Kim shrugged when he said, "I, uh, didn't... I thought he would get distracted when he heard a sudden voice so Mari and Adrien can knock him out or something like that." The rest of the team gave the tall teen an 'Of course' look when they heard that. Kim then folded his arms when he said, "But I didn't think he would get THAT angry from hearing Mr Drew's voice. *Looks at Marinette and Adrien*. I mean, you saw how fast he ran towards the voice when he heard it. He REALLY wanted to kill him."

Marinette nodded before she said, "Yeah, and the Ink Demon sounded pretty furious when he heard Mr Drew."

Adrien shuttered when he said, "Urg! Not going to lie, it felt like he hated Mr Drew more than wanting to fight us for breaking the cutouts."

Markov tilted his head to the side when he said, "That is... Rather peculiar... Why would something in the form of Bendy hate its creator that much? I know I could never process the thought of hating Max."

Everyone glanced at each other at this. The AI did pose a logical question. Why did Bendy hate his creator enough to want to kill him?

Max tucked his weapon under his right arm and used his left hand to push his glasses up when he said, "It seems the more Mr Drew comes up in this studio, the more we find about him being a terrible person." The techie then gave the others a worried look when he added, "I mean, if his own creation hated him then he must have done something pretty horrible."

It was quite a troubling thought... Even the Kwamis were a little unnerved by this as they ate their respective foods.

A second later, they arrived on Level 9. They trooped out of the lift and returned to the Angel's Doors. The Kwamis flew into their usual hiding spots, out of habit and to make sure that the Twisted Ink Creature didn't see them. Marinette shoved the cutout pieces into the dropbox. As soon as Team Psi stood in front of the doors, they heard the sounds of the Butcher Gang Members, it was faint, but they heard them. They all turned to the sound just in time for the Twisted Alice Angel to shout in anger and hate, "The disgusting wretches have wandered my halls, have gone unchecked! They're trying to drag me back to the darkness! Don't let them take your angel! Purge them one by one! Smash them into puddles! Kill them!"

That was when the Searchers started to appear and the Butcher Gang Members came in to view on the upper floor.

"Shit!" all of Team Psi vocalized (well, except Boris, but he had the "Oh Shit!" look on his face) before they went into battle-ready positions.

"Tikki/Plagg! Spots on/Claws Out!" Marinette and Adrien said at the same time, transforming back into Ladybug and Chat Noir. This was getting bad! They were running low on the snacks for the Kwamis! But they needed the weapons to take down this many enemies!

The Ink Creatures closed in on Team Psi.

~}i{ Outside the Studio }i{~

Dupont's field trip to the Louvre just didn't seem so much fun to Miss Bustier's class... Then again... It's been a while since they were smiles on their faces... They were all just so worried for their missing classmates that it was just hard to focus on being happy...

Ms Mendeleiev gave out the trip's assignment. Which was to find an art piece of an artist that has been randomly assigned to the students and snap a picture of the art piece with the students in the picture, two students per artist and they had to do the task as a team. They were to later write a brief history of the chosen artist. It wasn't a hard assignment, but it took some focus.

Nino stood in front of Eugène Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People. It reminded him of Adrien's struggle with trying to get more freedom from his father and the hope that everyone on Team Psi could escape from Joey Drew Studios for some reason.

"It seems like we will be partners in this assignment." Nino turned towards the voice to see Kagami standing there.

"Oh, hey, Kagami," Nino said with a small wave. He then said, "I, uh, guess so. *Looks back at the painting*. Um, mind if I ask what your thoughts on this piece are?"

Kagami looked at the painting, stared at it for a bit, before finally saying, "It somewhat makes me think of Ikari Gozen, the female warrior part at least, but... It seems like it feels like hope for Marinette, Adrien, and the rest of their team in their endeavours to escape that accursed place."

Nino's eyes widen a bit before he chuckled and said, "That was my thoughts too. Um, about the hope for our friends part at least. I don't know who Ikari Gozen is."

Kagami eyed the cap-wearing teen when she said, "Maybe when we finish this assignment, I can tell you about her." Nino gave a small smile when he agreed to that.

Elsewhere, Alix was looking at a sculpture called the Seated Scribe. It wasn't by the artist she was given, but she couldn't help but admire it for some reason. When Chloe walked by, Alix saw a familiar person in the corner of the Louvre. The pinkette blinked a few times, to make sure she wasn't seeing thing before she thought, 'Could it be?' Alix then ran towards the person as she turned to leave. Chloe noticed, and out of curiosity, followed the pinkette.

When Alix rushed into one of the quieter and empty hallways of the Louve, she called out, "Big Me!"

The person stopped and turned towards the pinkette. Revealing that she was Future!Alix. The Time Traveler gave her younger self a small smile when she said, "Hey Mini-Me."

"What are you doing here?" Present Alix asked her future self in concern. That was when she asked, "Are you here to save Kim, Max, Marinette, Markov, and Adrien from that studio?"

Future Alix shook her head sadly when she said, "No. It's unfortunately not why I'm here."

Present Alix couldn't stop herself from saying, "But! You can help them! You can save them!"

Future Alix gave her past self a sad look when she said, "I wish that was true, but Minibug and Kitty Noir have everything covered."

"Huh?" was all present Alix got out in confusion. As far as she knew Ladybug and Chat Noir were at the Temple of the Guardians for training. How could they-. That was when Present Alix felt her stomach drop at the realization of that one sentence from her future self.

"Oh, God! Ladybug and Chat Noir are actually!" Alix's head immediately whipped around to see Chloe standing there, her face contorted in pure shock.

Present Alix paled when she snapped at the blonde, "How much of that did you hear?!"

Chloe scoffed when she said, "It doesn't matter. Gah! *Rubs her head in aggravation*. Why didn't that old man tell us the truth rather than that temple crap?"

That was when Future Alix said, "Had to keep their identities a secret. *Folds her arms*. The Guardian during this timeframe means well, but sometimes those so-called Guardian Rules get in the way of a more cohesive team. I'm sooooo glad Ladybug and Chat Noir remade those rules to be more beneficial to the team, well, they will remake them once they get out of that heck hole with Kim, Max, and the others and eventually become the Guardians of the Miraculous." Present Alix and Chloe were utterly shocked to the point that they could be mistaken as exhibits in the Louvre. Future Alix gave a shrug when she said, "Well, time for me to go. So see you in my time, Mini-Me, Mini Gem."

In a quick flash of light and a hop through a portal, the Future Bunnyx was gone.

"Did she just..." Chloe started with that shocked look still plastered on her face.

Alix finished the sentence with, "Confirmed who Ladybug and Chat Noir are and compromised both yours and my identities to each other? Yeah, she did... Wait..." That was when the pinkette fumed, "THAT'S why she came here?! Why?!"

Chloe groaned when she said, "I hate to say it, but I think we're going to have to figure that out..."

With that, both Chloe and Alix gave each other a look before they said at the same time in the same annoyed tone, "No one else is to know about this."

~}i{ Back Inside Joey Drew Studios }i{~

The last of the Ink enemies were destroyed and then everything went quiet. Well, except when the Twisted Alice Angel said over the speakers in an almost sweet and innocent tone, "So quiet. Like a welcoming grave. I like the silence, don't you?" Team Psi couldn't help but glare up at the Alice Angel head as they returned to the doors as the bridge gates fell closed, making the team wonder why she didn't just do that in the first place if she didn't want the other Ink Creatures to get her.

That was when the Twisted Alice Angel's temperament shifted to annoyance when she said, "I hate leaving work unfinished! Fortunately, I have you all to pick up the pieces. *Now in a normal (for her at least) tone*. But you'll have to go even deeper. Down, down, down into the abyss of Level 14. Take the lift down. Say hello to an old friend of yours while you're there collecting the items I need." Team Psi glanced at each other in confusion at that last bit, not understanding what the so-called angel was talking about. The Twisted Alice Angel continued with her speech when she said, "Sending you a little present. A little firepower. Take good care of it. It belonged to someone very special."

The panel flipped opened to reveal an M1928A1 Thompson submachine gun, or Tommy Gun for short.

"Whoa! Sweet!" Kim said as he swapped his weapon for the Tommy Gun (1) (2). The moment the gun was off the panel, the gates opened.

Ladybug couldn't help but ask as she pointed at the gun, "Uh, Kim, do you know how to use that thing?"

Kim demonstrated by firing the Tommy Gun at the wall. The tall teen grinned when he said, "Finally! Those trips to the firing range are being useful!"

Chat Noir couldn't help but say, "How long have you..." Kim happily told the rest of Team Psi that he and his family go to the firing range to shoot every month or so, as a family bonding thing.

Max couldn't help but say, "So, you know about gun safety and how to properly use a gun... I'm surprised that you can use that on your first try."

Kim couldn't help but say, "Who says it's my first time." There was no response to that but just Markov telling the tall teen to make sure he aims at the enemies and not any of them.

And with that, they trooped back to the lift and pressed the button for Level 14. The lift then went down a floor before stopping with a ding. Team Psi cautiously walked out of the lift and made their way into an area that was even larger than the Heavenly Toys area. It was a lot darker though. That was when they came across a Striker with a rather gruesome object in one of his hands.

"Urg! Please tell me that I'm just seeing things and that Striker isn't holding a heart!" Chat Noir said as his stomach churned uncomfortably. When Markov stated that the heart was there and no one was seeing things, the black-clad hero groaned as if he was going to puke. Max pulled a bottle of water out of his bag and gave it to the blonde, who chugged it down. When he was done, he took a couple of deep breaths to calm himself down.

Kim couldn't help but say, "Um, grossness aside, did Alice Angel tell us what she wanted us to find? Because I really don't want any of us to wander over this whole floor aimlessly. It's a little too open."

That was when they heard the Twisted Alice Angel over the speakers when she said in an annoyed tone, "What are you standing around for? Bring me those hearts!"

Team Psi couldn't help but have an "Oh Gross!" moment when they heard those words. Boris quivered in fear at this before he pulled a picnic blanket out of one of his overall pockets. Ladybug/Marinette's fashion designer self kicked in as she pulled her travelling sewing kit out of her yo-yo and went to work on creating a makeshift bag for the hearts and a glove so they wouldn't have to touch or hold the objects. Due to her skills, it took her around five minutes to make. Although, if she wanted to she could've made it more fashionable, that would've taken more time and more threads.

The guys blinked in amazement at their female friend's work when Chat Noir said, "Wow, I think you'd kick my father's ass if there was a contest for making functional stuff out of random fabrics."

Ladybug smiled when she said, "Thanks, but I'm still going to kicking you dad's ass once we get out of here for his lack of parental sense. Uh, as Marinette, if I do so as Ladybug, then there's going to be a whole lot of issues that we don't need."

That comment helped lift the team's spirits enough to overcome the whole "Hearts" thing.

Ladybug put her makeshift glove on and picked up the heart. When she did, there was a sudden shriek that sounded like a film reel being forced off a running projector.

The Twisted Alice Angel then told them through the speaker, "Shhhh... There he is." Team Psi moved to look over the railing as the Ink Creature with a projector for a head was stalking about in the ink flooded room. The Twisted Alice Angel then continued by saying, "The Projectionist. Sulking in the darkness. You be sure to stay out of his light if you don't want trouble. Just bring me back the pieces I need."

Max tucked his weapon under his right arm and pushed his glasses up when he said, "For once, Alice Angel is being helpful. That Projectionist looks tough... *Sigh* It might not be a good idea to get an Ink Sample from him."

Team Psi watched as the Projectionist wandered out of one corridor and into another.

"The other hearts that Alice Angel wants are in there, aren't they..." Ladybug said in a flat tone. The rest of Team Psi commented that it was likey. Ladybug sighed before she said, "So we got to grab the hearts while avoiding the Projectionist and then head back to Alice once we get all the hearts... Sounds simple enough."

Kim clicked the Tommy Gun before he said, "I can always use this if necessary."

The rest of Team Psi glanced at each other at this, but since there was no other option... They all trekked over to the stairs and headed down the steps. When they got to the bottom, they waded through the calf-high ink.

Markov took note of the ink level when he commented, "This has to be the most ink in an area that we've been in... I wonder why this particular area is so flooded?" Boris only shrugged at the question.

Ladybug sighed before she said, "As annoying as it is to walk through the ink, I do have to agree with Markov on this being the most flooded place in the studio." She then placed a hand to her chin when she said, "But the Projectionist seems fine here..."

As they came to where they saw the Projectionist, they spotted an Audio Log on top of a wooden crate alongside a pair of broken headphones. Max tucked his weapon under his right arm and pulled his phone out. Once he opened the recording app, he pressed the red circle and Chat Noir pressed the play button on the Audio Log.

The familiar voice of Norman Polk filled the area when he said, "Now I'm not lookin' for trouble. It's just the nature of us Projectionists to seek out the dark places. You see, I've learned the ins and outs of this here studio. I know how to avoid being bothered by the likes of this... Company. That projectionist, they always say, creeping around, he's just lookin' for trouble. Well trouble or not, I see everything. They don't even know when I'm watchin'. Even when I'm right behind 'em." With that, the Audio Log ended with a click.

As Max stopped and then labelled the new log accordingly, Kim said, "Well, that explains why this Projectionist is down here. It's dark. Hmm, It also sounds like Mr Polk was good at sneaking around too."

Markov then added, "That would explain the "Sneaking Time" engravement on the pocket watch from his younger sister. She was well aware of her brother's tendency to sneak around."

Ladybug placed a hand to her chin when she said, "If that's true, then... He might've stumbled across something that he wasn't supposed to while working here..."

Now THAT made the rest of Team Psi wonder too. What did Mr Polk find, if he did, that Mr Drew didn't want to get out?

Suddenly, there was the sound of a film reel being forced off a working projector. Everyone turned to see the bright light from the Projectionist's projector shined in their eyes. That was when the towering Ink Creature charged at them with an eerie screech.

Ladybug and Chat Noi leapt into action to defend their friends. Now they were fighting against the Projectionist. It was tough but it was better than their fight with the Ink Demon. At least their hits seemed to affect the Ink Creature.

As Boris cowered behind a nearby wooden pillar, Kim tried to aim the Tommy Gun at the Projectionist. But since he was moving and the heroes were sometimes moving in front of the Tommy Gun's scope, he couldn't get a clear shot.

With another screech, the Projectionist launched an attack at Chat Noir, who dodged the oncoming attack with ease. However, the attack hit a wooden box and it broke into pieces. One of those pieces managed to knock the Tommy Gun out of Kim's hands. The gun fell into the ink with a loud plop.

That sound got the Projectionist's attention.

"Shit!" Kim swore before he quickly grabbed Max and tried to run, but he tripped over something under the ink and both teens fell into the ink with a loud splash as the Projectionist rushed over to them.

On instinct, Ladybug tapped her yo-yo, activating its purification feature, and leapt to intercept the Ink Creature.

"M'Lady?!" Chat Noir got out before he saw her hold up her yo-yo.

As the Projectionist charged at the red-clad hero, she held her yo-yo with the white light facing the Ink Creature with both hands when she shouted, "Time to Purity!"

The next thing the rest of Team Psi knew a bright beam of light shot out of the yo-yo and hit the Projectionist dead on. Boris and Markov watched in aw, while Kim and Max watched in amazement from where they sat, and Chat Noir looked on in shock.

Even though the beam of light seemed to paralyze the Projectionist from moving out of it, he still seemed to be able to move his arms. Ladybug clenched her eyes shut as she focused the Ink Creature before her, to both save her friends and save the poor soul trapped inside the ink.

That was when Ladybug thought she heard a ticking noise. 'Strange why am I... Hearing that?' she thought before she started feeling weak. 'Bunnyx?' She wondered before she seemed to fall into the darkness.

~}i{ Outside the Studio }i{~

Nathalie looked at Gabriel with a worried look on her face when she asked in concern, "Sir, are you sure you want to go along with that plan?"

Gabriel sighed when he said, "Yes... It's the only option that will allow the Temporary Heroes to help me save my son."

"And Emilie?" Nathalie asked, still concerned.

Gabriel looked out the window when he said, "Maybe if I explain what I was trying to do... Maybe they can contact Ladybug and Chat Noir so that they could make the wish to bring her back..."

With a small sad smile, Nathalie said, "Well, they are heroes, maybe they will." These words brought a little hope to the two.

~}i{ Back Inside Joey Drew Studio }i{~

"...Nette!" a soft echoing voice called out to the bluette from the darkness. "Marinette!" the echoing voice called again, this time it sounded a little louder. 'Strange... That voice sounds... Familiar... Why?' Marinette wondered as she slowly opened her eyes. Everything was completely blurry, like looking through an unfocused pair of binoculars. Marinette saw six burry figures when her eyes were completely open. Why was everything so burry?

"Good, she's waking up," a voice said, it sounded different from the first voice but it still sounded familiar to Marinette. "Markov, can you run a quick scan of her?" The voice asked one of the other blurs, the bigger of the two smaller blurs.

'Markov?' Marinette thought groggily as she slowly blinked her eyes in confusion. Her mind was a little fuzzy, but she could sware that she knew that name. Once the blurriness started fading away, Marinette was now able to recognize everyone around her. She glanced at the blonde when she said, "Chaton?" Chat Noir smiled as tears of joy fell down his face. Marinette then looked at the tall teen when she said, "Kim?" The athlete smiled as he sighed relief. She then looked over at the shorter teen with the worried look on his face when she said, "Max?" The dark-skinned teen gave her a small worried smile. Marinette then looked at the floating AI, who seemed to be taking her temperature, when she said, "Markov?" The AI happily stated an Affirmative before going back to his task. Marinette then looked at the little red sprite before she said, "Tikki?" The little Kwami quickly moved to hug her chosen's cheek. Then finally, her eyes landed on the cartoon wolf when she said, "Boris?" The toon relaxed his stiff posture when he realized that the bluette was fine.

When Markov gave his report, Max told Marinette, "While I'm sure you want to get up, I recommend that you say laying down for a while. *Sighs and then gives a soft smile*. You had us worried after that stunt of yours."

"Stunt?" Marinette questioned in confusion before the event came flooding back to her. The bluette groaned before she asked, "What happened to the Projectionist?"

Kim carefully moved Marinette into a sitting position to see the Projectionist sitting on the steps, the projection light off, and carefully caressing the silver pocket watch in his hand.

"What?" Marinette vocalized as she leaned on Kim, before she asked, "What's going on? Is everyone okay?"

Chat Noir hugged Marinette when he said, "Everyone's fine, Bugaboo. You were able to bring Mr Polk back, mentally at least. But you nearly stopped our hearts when you fainted. You must've used up all your energy to purify Mr Polk's mind."

[New Team Member Has Been Acquired! Norman the Projectionist!].

"Is that why I feel so weak?" Marinette asked as she leaned into the black-clad hero's embraced. She just didn't seem to be able to hold herself up with her own powers.

Tikki was the one to say, "Yes, it took a lot out of both of us, more out of you than me though. I think you were able to do it because we had Mr Polk's pocket watch inside the yo-yo... But please don't do that again! You had all of us so worried!" Marinette grumbled an apology as Chat Noir carefully laid her back onto the floor.

The Projectionist. No, Norman glanced up from the pocket watch to look at the girl who brought back his mind. "Sh-Shee al-all-right?" Norman asked, his voice sounded just like his Audio Log but with a little static from lack of use.

Max looked at Norman when he said, "She'll be fine as long as she doesn't move too much, but that Purification took a lot out of her so she needs to rest."

"S-s-sor-rry," Norman got out in an apologetic tone. Boris looked over at the Projectionist before he stood up, walked over to the other Ink Creature, and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Thank you," Norman said to the cartoon wolf before he turned his attention back onto his pocket watch. "Where did you, kids... Find my watch?" Norman asked, his voice now sounding clearer, his gaze on the still watch in hand. The Projectionist then said, "I... Thought I lost this when... I got it... Turned into this... Or that it was... Taken from me afterwards..."

Markov answered with, "We found it in a boarded-up room with an Audio Log from Mr Cohen. We have been puzzling over why it was there when, as far as we were aware, you were usually in the Music Department's Projection Room."

"I see..." Norman got out before he tilted this projection head to the side a bit before he asked the AI, "And... What are you, little flying one? I have never seen anything like you before. And I've seen a lotta strange things."

Max pushed up his glasses when he said, "Umm, before we can answer that efficiently, could you tell us what year you think it is?"

Now Norman was a little confused when he replied with, "Isn't it 1944? Wait... How long was I like this?" as he indicated himself.

Team Psi looked at each other with concern. How were they going to explain that it's been over 60 years since the projectionist was last a human? Well, it's going to be a delicate process, to say the least.

Chat Noir picked up the Heart Sack and glove when he said, "I'll get the hearts, you can explain what happened since Norman was... Out, I guess? And you can keep an eye on Mari while you explain." The two other boys nodded as Chat went to collect the hearts for the so-called angel.

As the black cat hero left to finish the task, Max, Kim, and Markov explained what happened since Joey Drew Studios closed. They talked about technological advancements, basic world history, and how society has changed. They did this slowly, so not to overwhelm the poor projectionist. (On this note, yes, Norman can see Tikki. He asked about her and the guys explained that she was a Guardian Sprite that helps protect others and choose Marinette as her partner. They explained that Chat Noir was the same but with a different Guardian Sprite. Don't worry, he was told that Guardian Sprites are supposed to be kept a secret, but circumstances within the studio forced a reveal).

"So... Markov here is what's called an Artificial Intelligence, or AI for short..." Norman asked, making sure he was getting the information right. When Max confirmed, the Projectionist then asked in a quiet and disbelieved tone, "And... I've been... Trapped here, as a... Monster for over 60 years?"

"Yeah... Guess it's hard to tell the time in this place..." Kim said with a weak smile.

Norman looked back at the pocket watch when he said, "My... My sister... Is she... Still?"

Max and Kim looked at each other before Max said, "We don't know. We've done our research on this place when our class was making our Joey Drew Studio themed Haunted House and she did come up when we found all the missing persons reports that were filed by the family of the studio employees, but... We never saught her or the others out, because it would've opened old wounds and we felt it inappropriate to include them in our Haunted House."

"I see..." Norman said softly as he opened the pocket watch to look at the face frozen in time. He then said, "Thanks for being honest with me, even if you knew it would hurt."

Kim huffed when he said sourly, "Considering a lie brought us to this place, we're not big on lying to others at the moment."

"I can... Understand that..." Norman said as he closed the pocket watch. He then said, "I can kind of guess how you kids got here. Someone tricked you into coming here by sayin' that this was the haunted house your class made, right?"

"That would be accurate," Markov said in an annoyed tone, before he added, "She was being petty because we refused to either believe her lies or let her do as she pleased. She even went as far as to break Max's wrist because he exposed her as the lying, manipulative brat she truly is." Max rubbed his cast at this.

"How did a girl break your wrist like that?" Norman asked in confusion. (Remember, he grew up during the 1920s/30s and was an adult during the 1940s, and while it might be considered a little sexist today, he doesn't believe a teenage girl could be so unladylike as to break another's bones).

Max cringed at the memory when he said, "She shoved me over and then stomped on my wrist with her foot. If it weren't for Andre, she probably would've done worse."

Kim then growled out when he said, "But that wasn't even the worst part of that story! She had the audacity to fake being the injured one and played the victim literally the next day! All while lying about how Max "fractured her ankle" and that "He was the one faking his injury"! The police had to get involved because she assaulted Max and there were eyewitnesses and solid proof of it."

Norman... Didn't know how to respond to that. And when Markov brought up how Lila had tried to manipulate their class into believing that Marinette was a vindictive bully, Norman was utterly dumbstruck. The bluette who had save him and seemed more worried about her friends than herself was suffering at the hands of a petty, manipulative liar at school just because she wouldn't go along with the liar's whims... That just wasn't right!

Markov quickly checked on the now sleeping Marinette, making sure that her vitals were functioning properly. Once he confirmed that she was fine, he happened to look over the railing near the stairs and saw a small outlet with a valve. Figuring that the valve would lower the ink levels, Markov flew towards it and turned it. Suddenly, the wall that held up the stairs started to slide open, revealing a small, hidden room with a small desk with an Audio Log resting on top of it. (3)

Kim looked over the railing to see what happened when he called to AI, "Hey, Markov, what did you find?"

Markov looked up before he replied, "I believe I found a hidden Audio Log. I'll record it and play it back for Max to record to add to our Audio Log collection." When Kim told him okay, the AI hovered into the small room and looked over the tape recorder. He found a handwritten label, but half of the name was smudge by ink. All the AI could read was 'Henry' while the surname was covered by ink.

'Could this be an Audio Log from the former co-founder of this studio?' Markov wondered before he switched on his audio recorder and hit the play button on the Audio Log.

A voice of a man, who was assumed to be Henry, emitted from the device when he said, "Only two weeks into this company and already it's gotten interesting. Joey is a man of ideas... And only ideas. When I agreed to start this whole thing with him, I thought there would be a little more give and take. Instead, I give, and he takes. I haven't seen Linda for days now. Still, someone has to make this happen. When in doubt, just keep drawing, Henry. On the plus side, I've got this new character I think people are going to love." And with that, the Audio Log ended with a click.

Markov labelled the recoding accordingly when he thought, 'I was indeed correct in my speculation. That was the former co-founder.' But for some strange reason, the AI thought that the Audio Log seemed familiar. 'But I have never met Mr Henry, therefore, I have never heard his voice before... So, why do I have the sensory bug about familiarity?' Markov wondered before he flew out of the secret room and rejoined Max, Kim, Boris, Norman, Tikki, and the sleeping Marinette.

Tikki worriedly fidgeted as she watched Marinette sleep. Kim noticed the look on the Kwami's face and asked her if she was okay. The little red Kwami couldn't help but say, "I'm just worried about Marinette. We still have to make our way through the studio and her being this low on energy... It just leaves her too open to attacks from the Searchers and Butcher Gang."

Max pushed his glasses up when he said, "That's not your only worry, isn't it. You're worried about Mari trying that Purification thing again on another Ink Creature in hopes of purifying it as well." Tikki's antenna dropped as she let out a small whine and gave a nod. Max then placed his left hand to his chin when he said, "That Purification is definitely something that shouldn't be done in either quick succession or when not fully recovered from the prior, given how draining the process is... And unfortunately, Mari has a rather, uh, bad habit of always putting others before her well-being... She's an amazing person, both as Ladybug and herself, but too much is too much and it's not healthy to have that much of a need to help others to the point to wearing themselves out..."

Kim rubbed the back of his neck when he said, "Yeah, Mari's has had a problem with telling people "No" and she doesn't want to let the people she cares about down... I'll admit to taking advantage of that sometimes, but now it's starting to become obvious that she needs to stop being so selfless as Marinette."

Norman couldn't help but say, "Sometimes being too pure can be a problem in itself. She's obviously has a good heart, but it seems like it can sometimes be the very thing that can cause her the most problems."

That was when Tikki said, "That's why there is always to be a balance, why there needs to be a little darkness within the light and a little light within the darkness. Good and Evil. Life and Death. Creation and Destruction. Yin and Yang."

That was when Markov said, "And why there needs to be a little selfishness within being selfless. Marinette needs to compromise when she should be selfless and when she just needs time for herself." That was something that they all could agree on.

That was when they heard the Twisted Alice Angel said through the speakers in a warped sense of gee, "Tell me. Were they still writhing in your hands?" Markov couldn't help but comment on how it was unnerving how she was always watching them. That was when the Twisted Alice Angel then said in a demanding tone, "Bring them to me. Now! I don't like to wait."

"She's a charmer," Norman said sarcastically. That was when Markov told him that she was once Susie Campbell turned into a twisted version of Alice Angel. "What?! What did Joey Drew do to her?!" was Norman's immediate response. When he was asked what he meant by that, Norman paused to think. Finally, the projectionist said, "I'm not sure... I don't even know why I made that assumption... But I'm sure Joey Drew is behind it somehow..."

That was when Chat Noir reunited with the group, with all the disembodied hearts (ew) that the Twisted Alice Angel wanted and he even found the Tommy gun. Kim, Max, Markov, and Tikki filled Chat Noir in on what he missed, namely their concerns about Marinette pushing herself too hard.

"Plagg, Caws In," Chat Noir said as he closed his eyes. In a flash of green, he returned to being Adrien. The blonde placed the heart sack and Tommy gun on the floor before he walked over to the sleeping Marinette. He then took off his Miraculous and held it in his hand as he removed the Ladybug Earrings from Marinette. Adrien slipped the Ring of the Back Cat onto her ring finger before he put on the earrings. "I know I shouldn't do this without her permission, but she needs to focus on resting right now," Adrien said as Boris picked up the heart sack.

That was when Norman asked, "Will you be alright with trading your little Guardians?"

Adrien smiled when he said, "Yup, we've done it before. Uh, except that was by accident." The blonde scratched his cheek when he said, "I should be fine this time around because know I'm expecting it."

Norman looked at his pocket watch before he held it out to Adren and said, "As much as I want to hold onto my watch, I think it would be best to keep it inside that yo-yo thing, just in case something happens to me."

Adrien nodded when he said, "Alright, I understand. Tikki, Spots on!" In a flash of red, he was now Mister Bug. He opened his yo-yo and then took the pocket watch. The blonde carefully placed the object inside the Miraculous weapon.

With that, they started to organize. Boris carried the heart sack, Mister Bug carried the Tommy Gun, and Kim carried Marinette on his back piggyback style. The bluette rested her head on the tall teen's shoulder with her face in the opposite direction of his neck. Plagg hid inside Marinette's purse, which Max was now carrying. And all the weapons were placed inside of Max's pack.

"Ah, right, how are we going to explain Norman when we make our next Video Log?" Markov asked as they made their way to the lift.

"Video Log?" Norman asked in confusion as he tilted his head to the side a bit.

Max pushed his glasses up when he said, "Remember when we explained about technological advancements? *Norman nods*. Well, because of those advancements, phones are wireless and can fit inside a pocket. *Pulls his cellphone out of his pocket to show Norman*. Cellphones, as everyone calls them, have an array of features. Two of those features being the ability to record videos and audios, similar to a miniature reel and tape recorder respectively." Max then shoved his phone back into his pocket when he then said, "We've been making Video Logs since we got trapped here, to have proof as to what happened when we get out and... To leave a warning for anyone else just in case we don't..."

Norman placed a hand under his projector when he said, "That sounds like something that would've made not only my job a little easier, but others as well." He lowered his hand when he added, "I would love to learn more about all these "technological advancements", but I would like to find out about my sister first. *Looks down at his hands*. And see if I can return to my original body if it's even possible by this point..."

"We'll find something out, so both you and Boris can escape with us," Mister Bug said as they walked up to the lift. Norman appreciated the notion.

Marinette opened her eyes a bit and asked what was going on. Kim told her that he was carrying her so she can rest. The bluette slowly mumbled an "Alright", but didn't really move. She definitely felt like she had no energy to do anything, but at least she was awake now.

When they entered the lift, Markov replayed Henry's Audio Log for Max to record and label. After everyone heard the Audio Log, the AI asked the group if they found Henry's Log familiar in some way. Norman commented that the voice was familiar to him because he was good friends with Henry back when he worked at the studio. While his memories were a little hazy on a few things, like Henry's features and surname, he remembered that Henry was a good person and knew a few interesting details about him that put a whole new twist to a prior interaction.

"Henry created Bendy?!" The humans, AI, and Kwami exclaimed in shock. Boris looked completely surprised at this news.

Norman nodded when he said, "Yup, Henry was the talent behind this whole thing." He waved his hands to emphasize his meaning. The Projectionist then said, "And he didn't just create Bendy, he also created Boris and Alice Angel." (4).

"That explains why the Ink Demon reacted the way he did when he heard the recording of Mr Drew's Audio Log!" Mister Bug said in realization as he looked at the rest of the team. The blonde then said, "Mr Drew stole the characters Bendy, Boris, and Alice Angel from Henry! He took Bendy from his true creator!"

Kim couldn't help but comment, "That's true, but... I don't know how else to say it, but I don't think that's the only reason why the Ink Demon hates Mr Drew so much."

Markov lit up the question mark on his visor when he said, "What other reason could make the Ink Demon hate Mr Drew that much besides the one we had just learned?" Kim mumbled he didn't know.

Marinette noticed that Max was oddly quiet. The bluette then asked, "Max, what's wrong?"

Max looked at his teammates when he said, "Nothing, but I couldn't help but think of another parallel to Lie-la. Both claimed credit for something that they didn't do or work on as their own..." Markov commented that the statement was certainly true. Norman noticed the look on Max's face. It seemed like something else was bothering the techie, so the Projectionist asked him. Max glanced to the side when he said, "Something about Henry's Audio Log just... Felt familiar somehow... But when I try to think why it seems like the whole Log was familiar to me... What was said... How it was said... Who was mentioned... And even... Henry's voice was familiar... And I'm at a logical lost as to why..."

The rest of Team Psi glanced at one another at this.

That was when Kim suggested as Mister Bug pressed the button to Level 9, "Maybe you've meet Henry somehow. Don't you remember any old men by that name?"

Max shook his head when he replied as the lift moved up, "That's kind of the problem, I know a couple of "Henrys" and close to half of them don't match the age range to have worked here. Plus we don't know this Henry's surname, so I wouldn't know if any of the Henrys I know are this Henry..." Markov did confirm this after he quickly searched through the list of Kanté family contacts. Max took a deep breath before he said, "It feels like I should know this Henry though... I think I should ask my mom about it when we get out of here, she might know..."

The lift arrived at Level 9 with a ding as the doors opened.

"Well, better give Alice her stuff," Mister Bug said as he indicated the heart sack with the Tommy gun. He looked at Kim and Marinette when he said, "Maybe you two should stay here, just so neither of you are moving too much."

Kim smiled when he said, "I don't mind, Mari's pretty light."

But that was when Marinette finally realized that Adrien was Mister Bug. "Hey! Why are you wearing my Miraculous?" Marinette asked in confusion, now realizing that she had Adrien's Miraculous on her finger. "And why do I have yours?" the bluette questioned. That was when Markov explained the team's worry for their female companion and they agreed to give her a break from being Ladybug so she can focus on recovering. " 'M fine," Marinette grumbled.

"Mari, you can't even move, you're not fine," Kim stated sternly. Marinette tried, and failed, to wiggle out of the taller teen's grip. Though, she was bearly able to wiggle. Kim sighed when he said, "See? You need to rest. No, if, ands, or buts about it. So we're going to be the ones to keep you safe."

Marinette didn't know how to respond to that.

Soon Mister Bug, Max, Markov, and Boris made their way to the Angel's Doors. Norman opted to stay with Kim and Marinette so he can protect them if necessary.

Once they reached the doors, Boris shoved the heart sack into the dropbox and Mister Bug carefully deposited the Tommy gun, so not to accidentally activate it. Then they stood in front of the door. When they did, they heard the Twisted Alice Angel say through the speakers, "It seems like we've reached the end of my to-do list, my little errand boys." That was a complete relief to Team Psi. In a rather pleased tone, the Twisted Alice Angel said, "I hope you all enjoyed our time together. I'll always treasure it. Return to the lift. It's time to go home."

The group was was at the Angel's Door made their way back to the lift, trying to contemplate on how they should ditch the Twisted Alice Angel's eyes so they can find the Ink Machine and shut it down to free everyone trapped inside this hellhole.

The moment Team Psi reunited in the lift the doors automatically shut behind them, and then the lift started to move upward at a steady speed.

"Have you ever wondered what Heaven is like?" the Twisted Alice Angel suddenly asked through the speakers, causing Team Psi to look at each other in confusion. That question seemed to come out of nowhere, more so than her other instances when she spoke to them in the lift. Oblivious to the Team's confusion, the Twisted Alice Angel said in an innocent tone, "I like to dream that it's quite beautiful. A soft valley of green grass, blanketed by a warm sun. I don't think Ill ever get to see it."

'Gee, I wonder why?' was the unanimous thought between the teens and AI.

Then the Twisted Alice Angel said in an almost sweet tone, "Are you ready to ascend, my little errand boys? The heavens are waiting."

Why did Team Psi think that that comment sounds so foreboding despite the sugar in the angel's tone?

The lift continued its steady path upward, as promised.

Suddenly, the Twisted Alice Angel started crying. Team Psi wasn't sure if they were hearing this because she left the speaker on by accident or if she was doing this on purpose to try to make them feel bad. The crying slowly turned into laughter, and then the laughter morphed into something more maniacal and remorseless.

What the hell was happening? Was the Twisted Alice Angel suffering from a psychotic break? Or was something else at play here?

That was when the lift suddenly started to plummet downwards and causing Team Psi's hearts to jump to their throats (minus Markov who was just suffering from a sudden shift in air pressure due to the sudden fall). Kim nearly dropped Marinette, but he managed to keep a hold on her.

The Twisted Alice Angel then shouted to them through the speakers in a strange mixture of anger and glee, "Did you really think I'd let you steal from me?! Did you really think I'd just let you go?!"

Boris started cowering as the rest of the Team regained their balance as Mister Bug gripped his yo-yo, ready to use the Lucky Charm.

That was when the Twisted Alice Angel shouted in rage, "No Henry! I know who you are! And I know why you're here!"

"What is she talking about?" Markov asked in utter confusion, before he told the others, "No one in this lift is named Henry."

"See seems to think so!" Kim said as Marinette tightened her arms around his neck.

The Twisted Alice Angel continued her rant when she shouted, "And you WILL NOT STOP what needs to be done! Now come down and BRING ME BACK MY BORIS and GIVE ME THOSE JEWELLERY!"

That was when Norman shouted back, "He's not yours and those belong to the kids!"

Mister Bug quickly shouted as he threw his yo-yo up as much as it could go without hitting the top of the lift, "Lucky Charm!" The glitter and little ladybugs sparkled out of the yo-yo.

"Don't you dare take me for a fool" the Twisted Alice Angel snapped before she angrily shouted, "It's the most perfect Boris I've ever seen and I've seen what those jewellery can do! I want them! I need them! I need it's insides so I can be beautiful again! And those jewellery can get rid of the tainted ink infecting me! Don't you get it?! Give them to me!" (5).

The Lucky Charm turned out to be a rather large inflatable raft. "What the heck is this? (6)" Mister Bug question with a raised brow.

"Or better yet, I'll take them!" the Twisted Alice Angel shouted in a malicious tone. She then shouted, "Once... You're... DEAD!" The lift started falling faster.

Marinette looked at the Lucky Charm, that pinged pink in her mind. She then looked at the interior of the lift, that turned pink in her mind. The looked at her teammates, all of whom turned pink in her mind. That was when the bluette quickly told the other's, "Everyone huddle together! Adrien, pull the cord once we're all together! Make sure to hold the Lucky Charm out in front of you, and pull the cord hard and fast!" Everyone did as Marinette told them to do, and huddled together.

Mister Bug then held the Charm out and practically ripped the cord out, causing the Lucky Charm Raft to inflate almost immediately. It wrapped around Team Psi in less than two seconds. And just in time...

A second later, the lift hit the ground with a sickening, metallic, crash.

The raft managed to take the bulk of the collision, allowing Tem Psi to survive the drop. But...

The force of the crash causes everyone to be ejected from the now broken lift. Marinette, Max, and Kim were lying unconscious just outside the broken metal doors of the lift. Norman and Markov were a bit further away from the three, also unconscious. Mister Bug pulled himself out of some rubble and make a few staggering steps towards his teammate, but not even a second later, his transformation came to an end as he collapsed to the ground. Tikki flew out of the earrings and just fell onto a metal pole that was sticking out. Boris somehow was thrown the farthest and got the least amount of damage was the only two awake.

Plagg phased out of Marinette's purse and flew towards Tikki with a macaroon in paw for her to eat. After eating the sweet, Tikki felt a lot better as Boris walked over to them.

"Well, well, well, what do we have here?"

Boris jumped as he turned towards the familiar voice. Tikki and Plagg gasped in horror at who was slowly walking to them.

The Twisted Alice Angel was in the hallway coming towards them. "It seems there was more to those jewelry than I originally thought, but that doesn't concern me too much," said the angel, that no longer had a hint of her former self, with an almost menacing glee.

Boris quickly looked around before settling on a bent pipe to use as a weapon to defend his teammates. Though, the cartoon wolf's legs were trembling as he tried to hold out the weapon to look braver than he really was.

Twisted Alice cackled when she said, "Aw, how cute, the cowardly wolf is pretending to be brave." She took a few steps forward as Boris took a step back.

Plagg floated up when he said, "Back off you wanna-be angel! If you don't I'll Cataclysm you!"

"Plagg!" Tikki tried to scold, but she was completely torn between defending themselves from the evil before them and what happened the dinosaurs. Yeah, the poor little red Kwami was certainly in a situation that either circumstance was terrible.

The Twisted Alice Angel let out an evil laugh before she took another step forward and said, "Aww, how cute, but in the end, you'll help be become perfect."

Boris, Plagg, and Tikki trembled as the cartoon wolf and black Kwami prepared for battle as the red Kwami shivered with worry.

This felt about 10x worse than what they would think when Hawkmoth found out their chosen' identities and getting their Miraculous.

Before the Twisted Alice Angel could take another step the only wall that wasn't obstructed by shrapnel turned inky black and the sound of a heartbeat echoed throughout the area.

Twisted Alice took a step back from the group when she realized what was coming. "The Demon!" she shrieked as she backed further away from the group. She then snapped angrily, "He's trying to pull me back! I won't be taken by the Demon again!" And with that, the Twisted Alice Angel fled, without so much as taking a second glance at Team Psi.

Now Plagg, Tikki, and Boris waited for the Ink Demon to appear. But after a minute or so of ink just seeping down the wall and the constant sound of the heartbeat, they thought something was up. Plagg and Tikki flew over to the wall and spotted what the situation was.

Close to the ceiling was a pipe that had an open hole pressed against the wall where the ink was flowing down and the sound of the heartbeat... "Isn't this one of those Sound Effect thingies that they use for some movies?" Plagg said as he looked over a tape recorder with buttons with icon pictures of specific sounds. The black Kwami pressed the button with the car icon and the sound of a honking horn sounded.

"Seems like it," Tikki said as she turned off the Effects Box as she and Plagg rejoined a very relieved Boris, who had sank into a sitting position.

Plagg sighed in relief when he said, "Man, that was lucky that that happened and that wanna-be angel thought it was the Ink Demon. I don't wanna know what could've happened if she got ahold of our Miraculous or Boris."

As they patched up the unconscious members of team Psi, Tikki wondered if it was really luck that scared away the twisted angel or if something else was at play.

~}i{~

To be Continued in Chapter 4 pt 1: Colossal Wonders of Visions.

~}i{~

1) To unlock the Tommy Gun, you need to morph the ink blob next to Shawn Flynn's Audio Log into a little ink machine, then take the Demon Path, and complete all of Twisted Alice's tasks without dying (which happened in this story). If you don't do any of these before you get to the Tommy Gun, it will turn into ink upon contact and Twisted Alice will say "Oops. I forgot. It's a little hard to get a hold of. Oh well. Better luck next time, *then laughs*"

2) Yeah, I'm pretty sure you are all wondering why I gave Kim the Tommy Gun rather than the others... Well... I kinda got this headcon that he and his family go to firing ranges to both teach the younger gen how to properly use a gun and for safety practices (What? If you don't know how to shot a gun, you'll hurt yourself by the blowback). And technically, Max can't use it because of him being in a cast. Markov can't hold a Tommy Gun. Marinette and Adrien, don't know anything about firearms. And poor Boris can't aim or handle the thing.

3) Yes, I know that Henry's Secret Audio Log is on Level P inside the secret stairway in-game. However, Team Psi wouldn't know to go to Level P for an Audio Log they don't know exists. So I moved where the Henry's Audio Log is in this story, so we can still get it while being on point with the story.

4) If anyone had read the Bendy and the Ink Machine Dreams Come to Life novel, you saw this tidbit of information coming the moment Norman joined Team Psi. If not, then I recommend you read it if you're a Bendy and the Ink Machine fan. The novel has been approved by the KindyBeast as canon. The novel takes place in the 1940s before Joey Drew Studios closed, and it reveals a lot of Bendy lore through the eyes of a new Employee of the studio. That's all I'm going to say about it because I don't want to spoil the novel for those who haven't read it, so I highly recommend you find it and read it on your own to enjoy learning the thrilling new Bendy Adventure between the pages. (Hehe, how'd my sale pitch go? 0:-))

5) Not sure if anyone has noticed how Twisted Alice refers to Boris as a thing in this moment rather than a person/cartoon in the original dialogue, but I wanted to point that out because it makes her seem like she objectifying a person as something to be possessed rather than to allow them to be a person/living thing. So this just shows how little she views the other Ink Creature and only sees them as annoyances or things that she can use to make herself more "perfect". Sounds like someone else (in the Miraculous) we know?

6) Bendy and the Ink Machine fans rejoice! You finally get to hear that line in this story.

~}i{~

Chapter Text

Gale-Dragon: A little treat, for the day~.

~}i{~

The voices were just swimming around in the air. It was chaotic yet soothing at the same time. When one voice ended another started, like some kind of loop.

Marinette's Voice: "The sound effects are perfectly timed."

Kim's Voice: "Remember, right now we're brave adventures exploring Joey Drew Studio."

Adrien's Voice: "Wow, I think we did too good a job at this."

Markov's Voice: "Is there a possibility that one of the other classmates wrote this?"

Max's Voice: "Maybe one of the workers wanted to add a little flare?"

Kim's Voice: "Gah! What the hell is all this ink doing here?"

Adrien's Voice: "Looks like this is the only path we can use."

Marinette's Voice: "Urg, I sympathies with whoever wrote that."

Tikki's Voice: "Normally, I would suggest that we go to the guardian, but that will leave our holders defenceless from whatever vile threats that are here. Also..."

Markov's Voice: "Inquiry, did you guys also see weird images of a strange machine, that Bendy Ink Demon, and a circle with ten pillars of lights?"

Marinette's Voice: "Something about this place... Just seems off..."

Kim's Voice: "Looks like backtracking is no longer an option."

Adrien's Voice: "Let's not go overboard with the shooting, okay Markov."

Adrien's Voice: "I wonder who the "He" in that sentence is referring to?"

Sammy's Voice: "Can I get an amen?"

Max's Voice: "Y-you guys d-don't need me to t-tell you that THAT c-couldn't be a hallucination, especially since we all saw him."

Markov's Voice: "It seems like Kim's hypothesis is indeed correct."

Plagg's Voice: "Hey! That's not always true! Besides, this place is putting me on edge. ME! The laidback Kwami of Destruction! That alone should be telling."

Sammy's Voice: "But the believers must honour their savour."

Sammy's Voice: "Wait! You look familiar to me..."

Sammy's Voice: "He will set us free."

Marinette's Voice: "Tikki, what's wrong?"

Tikki's Voice: "The ink is more complex than Plagg and I originally thought..."

Adrien's Voice: "Y-y-you m-m-mean... That we... That we! Oh, Kwami!"

"What the heck is this?"

Max's Voice: "I figure I keep a record of all the Audio Logs we find."

Ladybug: "Thanks Buddy, we needed that."

Kim's Voice: "Please don't say dead."

Shawn Flynn's Voice: "I don't be seein' what the big deal is."

Twisted Alice: "I'M ALICE ANGEL!"

Joey Drew's Voice: "There's nothing wrong with dreaming."

Kim's Voice: "What kind of scumbag would fire someone from something that they adore like that for little to no reason?"

Chat Noir: "Damn! It's going to bother me for a while, isn't it?"

Markov's Voice: "Are you indicating that the voices in this Audio Log sound familiar to you?"

Max's Voice: "I really don't feel comfortable taking this old thing... It looks like it could fall at any moment."

Marinette's Voice: "Oh! My-! Who would do something like this?!"

Adrien's Voice: "Wh-wh-wh-what h-h-h-happened to all of th-th-them?!"

Markov's Voice: "The match for Ms Campbell's voice... Is the Alice Angel we're going to see shortly..."

Twisted Alice: "Hmm. Now we come to the question…"

Twisted Alice: "Dreams come true, Susie. Dreams come true."

Grant Cohen's Voice: "And it ain't cheap."

Chat Noir: "I never noticed this before, but he's got a limp."

Norman Polk's Voice: "They don't even know when I'm watchin'. Even when I'm right behind 'em."

Ladybug's Voice: "Time to Purity!"

Max's Voice: "Umm, before we can answer that efficiently, could you tell us what year you think it is?"

Mister Bug's Voice: "We'll find something out, so both you and Boris can escape with us."

Norman's Voice: "Yup, Henry was the talent behind this whole thing."

Adrien's Voice: "Yikes! That sounds both scary and painful... You think that this was recorded when Mr Cohen, or whoever this is..."

Susie Campbell's Voice: "They told me I was perfect for the role. Absolutely perfect."

Markov's Voice: "Umm, guys! Something's missing, and I don't like it one bit!"

Kim's Voice: "Wow, that looks like it's a long way down."

Norman's Voice: "This doesn't look like it's gonna be able to hold all of us."

Max's Voice: "Okay, that was both intriguing and... frightening..."

"Creator?"

"For forty years, I've built attractions that sagger the imagination!"

Marinette's Voice: "How did Mr Drew!? Urg, you know what, by this point, I think the guy's just dreaming about insanity."

Markov's Voice: "Exactly how was all thing made without any of the employees knowing? The whole construction would've made a lot of distracting noises."

Norman's Voice: "Hehe, Wally was always smarter than he let on. Surprised that hardly anyone else noticed when the studio was open."

Twisted Alice: "Tell me, are you having fun?"

Adrien's Voice: "Umm, please tell me she was imagining things when she said that it moves when no one is looking."

"But I'm Still Here!"

Max's Voice: "Um, this is going to sound bizarre, but is Norman with you?"

"He tried to kill you! Twice!"

Kim's Voice: "Maybe, a second chance is all someone needs. Especially if they been manipulated that badly, Ink or no Ink."

Adrien's Voice: "But no third chance unless YOU want it. And we'll be watching."

Marinette's Voice: "Did Mr Conner just say that..."

Adrien's Voice: "If so then... Why would the Ink Demon even care about..."

Markov's Voice: "There has to be more to this than what we already know."

Kim's Voice: "The Ink Demon has something we need."

"There's nothing to use to get across."

Ladybug's Voice: "Maybe I can fix that. Lucky Charm!"

Norman's Voice: "Oh God! I remember this place! This place was..."

Max's Voice: "You're not a monster! So don't become one!"

Adrien's Voice: "This time around, things are going to be different."

Consciousness slowly returned to Team Psi as the voices faded away into the light.

~}i{~

Chapter Text

~}i{~

Miraculous Adventure in Joey Drew Studio.

Chapter 4 pt 1: Colossal Wonders of Visions.

~}i{~

The voices were just swimming around in the air. It was chaotic yet soothing at the same time. When one voice ended another started, like some kind of loop.

Marinette's Voice: "The sound effects are perfectly timed."

Kim's Voice: "Remember, right now we're brave adventures exploring Joey Drew Studio."

Adrien's Voice: "Wow, I think we did too good a job at this."

Markov's Voice: "Is there a possibility that one of the other classmates wrote this?"

Max's Voice: "Maybe one of the workers wanted to add a little flare?"

Kim's Voice: "Gah! What the hell is all this ink doing here?"

Adrien's Voice: "Looks like this is the only path we can use."

Marinette's Voice: "Urg, I sympathies with whoever wrote that."

Tikki's Voice: "Normally, I would suggest that we go to the guardian, but that will leave our holders defenceless from whatever vile threats that are here. Also..."

Markov's Voice: "Inquiry, did you guys also see weird images of a strange machine, that Bendy Ink Demon, and a circle with ten pillars of lights?"

Marinette's Voice: "Something about this place... Just seems off..."

Kim's Voice: "Looks like backtracking is no longer an option."

Adrien's Voice: "Let's not go overboard with the shooting, okay Markov."

Adrien's Voice: "I wonder who the "He" in that sentence is referring to?"

Sammy's Voice: "Can I get an amen?"

Max's Voice: "Y-you guys d-don't need me to t-tell you that THAT c-couldn't be a hallucination, especially since we all saw him."

Markov's Voice: "It seems like Kim's hypothesis is indeed correct."

Plagg's Voice: "Hey! That's not always true! Besides, this place is putting me on edge. ME! The laidback Kwami of Destruction! That alone should be telling."

Sammy's Voice: "But the believers must honour their savour."

Sammy's Voice: "Wait! You look familiar to me..."

Sammy's Voice: "He will set us free."

Marinette's Voice: "Tikki, what's wrong?"

Tikki's Voice: "The ink is more complex than Plagg and I originally thought..."

Adrien's Voice: "Y-y-you m-m-mean... That we... That we! Oh, Kwami!"

"What the heck is this?"

Max's Voice: "I figure I keep a record of all the Audio Logs we find."

Ladybug: "Thanks Buddy, we needed that."

Kim's Voice: "Please don't say dead."

Shawn Flynn's Voice: "I don't be seein' what the big deal is."

Twisted Alice: "I'M ALICE ANGEL!"

Joey Drew's Voice: "There's nothing wrong with dreaming."

Kim's Voice: "What kind of scumbag would fire someone from something that they adore like that for little to no reason?"

Chat Noir: "Damn! It's going to bother me for a while, isn't it?"

Markov's Voice: "Are you indicating that the voices in this Audio Log sound familiar to you?"

Max's Voice: "I really don't feel comfortable taking this old thing... It looks like it could fall at any moment."

Marinette's Voice: "Oh! My-! Who would do something like this?!"

Adrien's Voice: "Wh-wh-wh-what h-h-h-happened to all of th-th-them?!"

Markov's Voice: "The match for Ms Campbell's voice... Is the Alice Angel we're going to see shortly..."

Twisted Alice: "Hmm. Now we come to the question…"

Twisted Alice: "Dreams come true, Susie. Dreams come true."

Grant Cohen's Voice: "And it ain't cheap."

Chat Noir: "I never noticed this before, but he's got a limp."

Norman Polk's Voice: "They don't even know when I'm watchin'. Even when I'm right behind 'em."

Ladybug's Voice: "Time to Purity!"

Max's Voice: "Umm, before we can answer that efficiently, could you tell us what year you think it is?"

Mister Bug's Voice: "We'll find something out, so both you and Boris can escape with us."

Norman's Voice: "Yup, Henry was the talent behind this whole thing."

Adrien's Voice: "Yikes! That sounds both scary and painful... You think that this was recorded when Mr Cohen, or whoever this is..."

Susie Campbell's Voice: "They told me I was perfect for the role. Absolutely perfect."

Markov's Voice: "Umm, guys! Something's missing, and I don't like it one bit!"

Kim's Voice: "Wow, that looks like it's a long way down."

Norman's Voice: "This doesn't look like it's gonna be able to hold all of us."

Max's Voice: "Okay, that was both intriguing and... frightening..."

"Creator?"

"For forty years, I've built attractions that sagger the imagination!"

Marinette's Voice: "How did Mr Drew!? Urg, you know what, by this point, I think the guy's just dreaming about insanity."

Markov's Voice: "Exactly how was all this made without any of the employees knowing? The whole construction would've made a lot of distracting noises."

Norman's Voice: "Hehe, Wally was always smarter than he let on. Surprised that hardly anyone else noticed when the studio was open."

Twisted Alice: "Tell me, are you having fun?"

Adrien's Voice: "Umm, please tell me she was imagining things when she said that it moves when no one is looking."

"But I'm Still Here!"

Max's Voice: "Um, this is going to sound bizarre, but is Norman with you?"

"He tried to kill you! Twice!"

Kim's Voice: "Maybe, a second chance is all someone needs. Especially if they been manipulated that badly, Ink or no Ink."

Adrien's Voice: "But no third chance unless YOU want it. And we'll be watching."

Marinette's Voice: "Did Mr Conner just say that..."

Adrien's Voice: "If so then... Why would the Ink Demon even care about..."

Markov's Voice: "There has to be more to this than what we already know."

Kim's Voice: "The Ink Demon has something we need."

"There's nothing to use to get across."

Ladybug's Voice: "Maybe I can fix that. Lucky Charm!"

Norman's Voice: "Oh God! I remember this place! This place was..."

Max's Voice: "You're not a monster! So don't become one!"

Adrien's Voice: "This time around, things are going to be different."

Consciousness slowly returned to Team Psi as the voices faded away into the light. Marinette, Adrien, Kim, Max, Markov, and Norman slowly sturred awake. Their movements were a little sluggish, but considering what they went through, it was nothing short of a miracle that they even survived. That Lucky Charm really did save them.

"Oh thank heavens you all are awake," Tikki said as she and Plagg floated over to them. The team spotted a sign near the doorway that read "Level S" behind the Kwami and cartoon wolf. (Quick Note: this lift area is going to be thrice as big in this story because there's a group).

Kim rubbed his head when he said, "Whoa, I feel like I've been hit by a truck or something..."

"Close, it was a lift plummeting down," Plagg said with a little snark before Tikki whacked him over the head.

Markov checked his systems for any errors or misalignments. He found one. "My systems indicate that the barrel of the modified gun has been compromised. Can someone check to see if there a way to fix the issue?" Markov asked as he held out the gun in question.

Max carefully looked over the gun component before sighing and saying, "Sorry Markov, but unless we can find an exact size pipe to replace it or find some kind of tool to fix this, it's too damaged for you to use safely." When he moved his right arm slightly, he suddenly flinched. Max looked down at his cast only to see that it was coming apart.

Norman looked at the broken cast when he said, "That can't be good."

Tikki quickly explained that she, Plagg, and Boris could only apply bandages on open cuts, they didn't have the knowledge to rewrap a cast.

"I know how to-" Marinette said as she tried to get up, but she didn't seem like she could move so much. Seems like the side-effects of the Purification coupled with the near-death from the lift crash still has a stronghold on the bluette.

Adrien practically leapt towards Marinette when he said, "Bugaboo, you still need to rest. We'll re-wrap Max's cast, just tell us what to do, okay?"

Marinette reluctantly nodded before the others fussed over Max's cast. The bluette looked at the cast before she groaned in annoyance and said, "Shit! We're going to need to cobble together a make-shift cast. We might be able to reuse some of the wrappings for the new cast, but we need something to use to keep his wrist in place."

Norman and Kim looked around the immediate area, for something light to use for the make-shift cast. The projectionist moved a large piece from the lift, they found some rather thin, short, lightweight metal poles and an old shirt that looked like it would fit an adult man, and an old first-aid kit.

Kim looked up at Norman, who carefully moved the lift part away so it wouldn't fall or hit anyone, and asked, "Okay, I'm a little torn on being happy we found stuff to make our own cast and unnerved that these are conveniently here."

Norman placed a hand under his projector when he said, "I'm findin' it a little weirder that they're in relatively good condition considerin' what happened around them. There should at least be a little damaged on 'm."

Overhearing the conversation, Tikki and Plagg brought up how Twisted Alice nearly got their Miraculous and Boris. The disbelief reactions from the rest of the team were understandable, and so was the puzzled looks when they realized that Twisted Alice didn't take the Miraculous or Boris. That was when the Kwami told them about the ink pipe that broke weirdly and coated the wall that made it look like the Ink Demon was coming through. Boris showed them the Sound Effects Device and demonstrated how it worked. Plagg said that maybe some debris fell on the heart button after the pipe broke, but it was a good thing it happened when it did because it made the so-called angel think that the Ink Demon was coming.

"That's..." Marinette started and then said with suspicion, "A little too convenient... *Places a hand to her chin*. In addition to the pipes, first-aid kit, and shirt being places where they wouldn't be damaged..." She then looked at the rest of the team when she said, "All of these had to be placed or altered beforehand, but that's not the creepy part of this..."

"I'm afraid to ask, but something tells me that it's important..." Max said as he pushed his glasses up with his left hand.

That was when Tikki understood what was being implied and said, "Someone knew that the lift was going to fall with us in it! And knew that Alice was going to go after the Miraculous and Boris! So they placed what was needed where it could help us!" That was when the red Kwami asked in confusion, "But... How would they know that any of that would happen? And why would they help us?"

That was when Markov asked, "Inquiry, do you think that the same person who left these objects is the same one that called for help in the block-off room that lead us to Mr Cohen's Audio log, Mr Lawrance's pen, and Norman's watch? Because that can be labelled as the kind of "Helping" like the help received here." The AI then noticed something shiny on top of a wooden box near the doorway. He quickly flew over to the object and looked at it with a raised electronic brow. "What are these doing here?" The AI asked as he motioned at the shiny object he found.

Adrien went over to look at it and said, "Huh? *Carefully picks up the objects* Looks like a pair of wedding rings." He then showed the two nice-looking silver bands to the rest of the team. Adrien then looked at the inside of the band and read the inscription out loud, "From T to A? I guess that means someone who's name starts with T proposed to someone who's name begins with A."

Norman couldn't help but say, "Odd place for a pair of wedding rings, unless... Someone left them here for us to find."

"Like with Mr Cohen's Audio Log," Kim said as he folded his arms. The tall teen then said, "Seems like our secret helper has some kind of Future Sight to know what going to happen before they do and can teleport inside this place, but why keep their identity hidden from us?"

Tikki couldn't help but say, "There must be a reason for it and why they're helping us."

That was when Plagg added, "But wouldn't either of us sense this person?" He then glanced at the Ink, shuttered, and said, "Then again... That Ink is kinda giving off a lot of bad mojos, that it might be messing with our senses."

That was when Boris got everyone's attention and pointed at Max's unravelling cast. Ah, right... That needed to be taken care of...

So at Marinette's instructions, they took off Max's old cast very carefully and then started on their make-shift cast, also very carefully. The shirt was cut into strips (thanks to the scissors in the sewing-kit) to use as the bandages, the small pipes would be used to keep Max's wrist straight, and they agreed to use whatever was in the first-aid kit that wasn't expired. Which was a rather surprising discovery to the team.

Markov couldn't help but say after scanning the objects inside the first-aid kit, especially the expiration date on the medicine, "Judging by the technology and type of medicine inside this kit, it is highly probable that this is from the person or people to have ventured into this studio. Maybe even the ones right before us."

Norman folded his arms when he said, "That's a possibility."

Kim looked at the bottle of rubbing alcohol when he said, "If I remember that first aid course, and Ms Mendeleiev's class correctly, rubbing alcohol has a shelf life of two to three years." He then looks at the expiration date labelled on the bottle and said, "Looks like this stuff expires next year, so this kit has to be at least a year or two old."

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand and said, "Well, at least we can use the medicine without worry."

That was certainly a plus and something not to worry about.

With that, they started working on the make-shift cast.

~}i{ Outside the Studio }i{~

Life went on as usual, but not everyone liked it. For the friends and family of Team Psi, it was like being in limbo. They didn't know if any of them were alive to be saved and keep hope for them or they were dead and would have to start the grieving process.

However, there was a glimmer of hope that sparked not only joy but also confusion.

The cell phone of Lê Chiến Kim was found by the gate of Joey Drew Studios by an officer on their new patrol route. The device had a few splotches of in on it, but it was functioning just fine.

The police immediately unlocked and downloaded any recent data from the phone. They found some strange stuff on the phone. An audio recording that was labelled "Mr Joey Drew Audio Log. Found on the Demon Path", a timer set for a minute that would play the audio recording once the timer hit zero, and a couple of pictures taken inside the studio. The police weren't sure why Kim recorded an "Audio Log" or why he used it as an alarm for a timer, but the pictures told a different story. That was something that they were willing to share with their families.

The Dupain-Chengs, Lês, Kantés, and Agrestes were in the police station looking over the pictures.

They were more fun pictures taken during the week they were in Boris' Safehouse.

"Is this a joke?" Gabriel, in person, asked as he held up a printed out version of the phone pictures. The picture he was holding was an image of Boris the Wolf teaching Adrien how to play the banjo.

The officer told the family that they analyzed the pictures four times to prove authenticity. "Look, we thought the same thing you did when we saw those pictures, but there was no editing or alterations to the photos," the officer told the families. Another sighed before saying, "Listen, from what we were able to get from some of the past case files involving Joey Drew Studios and the photos from Mr Kim Lê's phone, the cartoons are real. Completely warped from their original cartoons, but real. Though, it seems like your kids found one of the few cartoons that weren't warped."

Tom glanced at the picture in his hands, which was an image of Marinette teaching Boris how to sew and was fixing a pair of overalls to demonstrate. He thought it was a nice picture, though the fact that there was a living cartoon next to his daughter was a little hard to believe. Then again, he and his family were living in a city where there was a terrorist causing mayhem with butterflies and heroes wearing animal-themed jewellery to fight him.

"But," Claudie Kanté vocalized before saying, "This is proof that our children are alright." She then looked at the photo in her hand and said as tears leaked out of her eyes, "They're still alive."

"Agreed," Sabine said with a giggle as she showed her husband the photo she had. He chuckled with a smile when he saw the picture. It was a picture of Marinette and Adrien cuddled close to each other as they slept.

The Lês happily looked at the pictures of Kim's Selfies with the other members of Team Psi, they were glad that their oldest was trying to keep a positive light on things.

Gabriel looked at another photo of his son. In the photo, Adrien was playing a card game against the AI that he Akumatized into Robostus. That was a lesson that Gabriel made sure to remember, never Akumatize any AIs. But Adrien seemed to be enjoying whatever game he was playing with the little robot. Gabriel looked up at the officers when he asked, "Can you keep up informed of any updates to our children's' case?"

The police promised to keep the families updated on any news regarding their children and the families soon left the station.

"I know you promised to keep them in the loop, but..." one officer said to the other as they made their way to the office that has been deemed "The Joey Drew Studios Investigation Room".

When the officers sat down at one of the desks the 2nd officer said, "I know, I know, but it makes them feel better. Plus..." They then picked up one of the photos from Kim's phone that they hadn't shown the families. In the image was Team Psi with Marinette, Adrien, Kim, Max, Markov, Boris, and Norman working together to make a new cast for Max on Level S in front of the destroyed lift. The 2nd officer then said, "Considering the weirdness of the last two pictures taken on the phone."

The 1st officer picked up the last photo taken on the athlete's phone. To the officers, it looked like drawing of a Ferris wheel with ten passenger cars that were painted on the wooded wall in black ink. This picture made little sense to the police. "I think this picture is the weirdest," the first officer commented, placing the photo on the desk before adding, "Why take a picture of a bad Ferris wheel drawing?"

The 2nd officer disagreed when they said showing the other the photo in hand, "This one is weirder. Take a look at it and tell me what you see."

The 1st officer did as told and looked at the photo. They then said, "I just see the kids, the AI, and the two Ink Creatures. Not sure how they got that projector-head to join their side though."

The 2nd officer folded their arms when they asked, "Notice anything strange about the picture?"

The 1st officer raised a brow when they said, "I told you. The Kids, AI, and the two Ink Creatures that joined them!"

"Then who took the picture?" the 2nd officer pointed out, and then added, "Not to mention, look at the angle of the picture."

The 1st officer's eyes quickly darted back to the picture. Everyone that was apart of Team Psi was in the picture and it looked like they didn't even know that they were being photographed, and the picture looked like it was taken from above. Right over where the lift as if the angle was right. That was when the question was asked, "Wait! Then... Who took this picture?"

That was why the last Group Picture of Team Psi wasn't shown to their families, and why this picture was so strange. Someone outside the group used the phone to take the picture without the owner or his friends knowing.

~}i{ Inside the Studio }i{~

"Done~," Kim said with a smile before he asked, "How's it feel, Max"

Max lifted his right arm and carefully turned it so he can see how it holds up. It wasn't as appealing as his old one before it got caked in ink, but it was doing the same job just as well. Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand and said, "Feels fine, a little tight, but fine."

The rest of the team sighed relief. Glad that their teammate's new cast was working as it should. However, there was some bad news mixed in with this. When Adrien and Marinette opened their respective snack storage for their Kwamis to check on their current supply, they realized that they only had three macaroons/cheeses left. That meant that they had a limit to the number of times they could use their Powers. That meant Kitty Noire and Mister Bug were absolute emergencies only from here on out... That was something no one was looking forward to. They also had to remove the AI's gun from his form, more so that he doesn't use the blocked barrel by accident.

Now it was time to continue on their mission of stopping the Ink Machine and saving everyone in the studio. Since there was only one path to take... So Team Psi made their way down the hallway, well, Marinette was leaning against Adrien for support. The bluette was still feeling the side-effects of the Purification.

A few seconds later, they came to an intersection with a directional sign for Level S, which was labelled Accounting & Finance. To the right was the office of Grant Cohen and to the left were the Archives J-L and R&D Access.

"So which way should we go?" Plagg asked the group as he looked left and then right.

Norman looked to the left and said, "I'm pretty sure we'll find somethin' more useful in the Research & Development or Archives rather than Grant's office. All that should be there are financial documents from when the studio was open, doubt it'll be of any use to us now."

That was a good point. So the team trooped down the left hallway but had to stop because the steel door was blocking their way. And it looked like something was off about the door.

Markov took a quick look and said, "Definitely something missing here. The handle must've been removed to prevent us from proceeding forward."

"Must've been Alice, thinking she was preventing the Ink Demon from following her," Adrien commented as they looked around the immediate area for a replacement.

"That may be, but we need to find something to use to replace the handle," Tikki said before she leads the team back to the fork. She then added, "Since we didn't see anything to use in the Lift area, maybe we should check Mr Cohen's office."

Fair enough, so they made their way to Grant Cohen's Office. Kim easily opened the door and let it sway open. But what they saw froze them in their tracks.

"I stand corrected about just financial documents bein' here..." was all Norman was able to get out as he took in the scene before him. Boris somewhat coward behind the projectionist at the sight.

Every single centimetre of the walls were covered in inky words. While most overlapped one another and were illegible, some words could be made out. "Taxes", "Time is Money", and a few numbers were the words that could be made out.

Marinette was the next to say, "Seems like the financial strain took its toll on Mr Cohen... And that's putting it mildly..."

Kim couldn't help but gulp and say, "It's like Mr Lawrance's Santuary but less controlled and more insanity..." He then noticed the Audio Log on the desk with a small pool of bubbling ink and added, "Maybe that'll shed some light on this "Writing" or hopefully a clue to shutting down the Ink Machine and getting out of here." Kim noticed a piece of paper that was somehow spared from the ink, so he quickly took the paper and shoved it into his pocket to look at once they were out of the room.

Max pulled his cellphone out of his pocket and got the recording app ready. Norman looked over the techie's shoulder when he did, more to observe how it was done. Max hit the record button as Kim pressed the play button on the Audio Log.

A horrible, garbled, bubbly, scream was heard as soon as the Audio Log started. Everyone flinched when they heard something shatter in the background noise of the Log as the unearthly screams continued. When the screaming stopped, the sound of something splattering was heard. The final thing that was heard on the Audio Log was the familiar groan of a Searcher before the Audio Log clicked off.

After the Log ended, Adrien couldn't help but say, "Yikes! That sounds both scary and painful... You think that this was recorded when Mr Cohen, or whoever this is... Was turned... Into an Ink Creature?" Markov did comment that the Audio Log must've accidentally been switched to record when the changing took place. Adrien then said in an uneasy tone, "I guess whoever it was must've knocked into it during their, uh, "Transformation"... Urg, that didn't sound right."

Marinette replied, "In more ways than one."

Max switched off the recording, labelled it accordingly, and then said, "Changing topics, can we see if we can find something to use as a handle to get to past the door?"

It didn't take them long to find a valve that they could use to open the door, so they took it and backtracked to the door, all glad to get out of the office. After attaching it, they managed to open the door with ease. They walked through a short hallway. When they passed the arch to the Archives, the spotlights turned on, one by one, illuminating the new "shrine" before Team Psi. A Bendy statue stood in the centre of the "alter" surrounded by six ink statues that seemed torn between worshipping the statue and trying to move away from it, and there was a banner above the statue that read "He Will Set Us Free".

That was when Plagg asked, "Should I find it worrying that we keep running into this kind of stuff to the point that it's starting to become normal?"

Tikki rubbed her face when she said, "Let's try not to think about it too much. We've got bigger things to worry about."

Norman was the one to suggest that they just keep moving and lead them to a circler library. It was surprisingly free of ink and was rather nice looking. In the middle of this Archive was an Audio Log. The handwritten label read that it belonged to Susie Campbell.

Team Psi looked at one another when they realised who's Audio Log it was. But the pursuit of information to shutting down the Ink Machine and getting out with everyone outweighed their dislike of the former voice Actress. So Max got his phone out to record the Audio Log and Adrien pressed the play button as soon as he got the okay.

The familiar voice of Susie Campbell filled the air, but this time around she sounded completely angry even though she was speaking clearly when she said, "They told me I was perfect for the role. Absolutely perfect. Now Joey's going around saying things behind closed doors. I can always tell. Now he wants to meet again tomorrow, says he has an "Opportunity" for me. I'll hear him out. But if that smooth talker thinks he can double-cross an angel and get away with it, well, oh he's got another thing coming. Alice, ooh, she doesn't like liars." With that, the Audio Log ended with a click.

Marinette let out a small groan before she said, "Something tells me that the "Opportunity" Mr Drew had something to do with Ms Campbell getting turning into a twisted version of Alice Angel?" She seemed to be getting some energy back.

Norman folded his arms when he said, "I wouldn't doubt that. The man was good with words, and only words it seems. He always managed to get people to do what he wanted. *Places a hand under his projector* Wait a minute... If my memory is workin' right... I think he might've buttered her up to her role of Alice Angel and then had her replaced just so she'd be desperate enough to want to reclaim the role she loved so much. To the point where she even referred to herself as Alice."

Kim growled when he said, "Another match to Lie-la! The more we learn about Mr Drew the more he sounds like Lie-la! They're just too much alike it's almost as creepy as Mr Lawrance's Sancuary!"

Marinette couldn't help but growl out, "I swear, it's like they're the same person or something." She then folded her arms in frustration.

Boris snapped his fingers as a theory formed in his mind.

"What do you have, Boris?" Norman asked the cartoon wolf.

Boris moved to one of the wooden and started tapping in a particular pattern. Recognizing that it was morse code, Adrien quickly translated, "May-be Joey Drew is some-how re-lat-ed to Lie-la (1). Wait, what?" Boris held up a hand and indicated to let him explain. The cartoon wolf then resumed the morse code. Adrien, now with a look of both confusion and concern, continued to translate, "Think abo-ut it. Their sim-ilar-ities are far too co-in-ci-den-tal to not be re-lat-ed. Both are liars, both are char-ming man-ip-ulat-ors, both do not care about oth-ers un-less it is for their own gain, and both hurt peo-ple with their lies. What are the odds that two un-re-lat-ed peo-ple so a-part in age wou-ld have near ide-nti-cal com-mon-ali-ties?"

Now that Tikki, Plagg, Marinette, Adrien, Kim, Max, and Markov thought about it... Boris' theory made some sense.

That was when Norman said, "Wolf's gotta point there. Granted, I haven't heard all your comparison to Mr Drew and this Lie-la, but even I was able to tell the similarities between them when you told me how you ended up in the studio." The Projectionist placed a hand under his projector when he added, "If it has been over 60 years since this studio has been closed, then then it might be possible for Mr Drew to be Lie-la's grandfather (1)."

Markov quickly ran through the collected data of Joey Drew Studios before he said, "Nathaniel did more than required research on the animators of Joey Drew Studios, so I have what he found. While he did make a note about the "oddly lack of information of Henry", he found a lot on Mr Drew. And it shows that Mr Drew has stayed in France even after the studio closed, apparently all the ongoing investigations on all his missing employees caused the police to be more than suspicious of him and ban him from travelling outside country borders. He also never married, at least legally. So it is ambiguous as to how Mr Drew had a granddaughter in Italy."

That was when Norman asked in confusion, "When did Italy become a factor in this?"

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he said, "Lila Rossi, the liar who practically sent us here, is originally from Italy. That's the one thing about her I know to be true."

Marinette raised a brow at this when she asked, "Uh, how WOULD you know that?"

Max replied with, "The principle hired me to help with digitizing the student files a while back, a little while after Lie-la's first "World Trip with her Mother for her Job", so I had to read them. She wouldn't have had the time to alter her school files since she was literally only in school for a day before that "trip". I still don't know how she convinced the school about that "sudden trip" without proper notification or paperwork." Markov backed up that statement as a witness.

That was when Norman said, "I'm noticing a lot of "*Airquotes*" in your answer. I take it you didn't believe that Lie-la was travelling with her mother for her job? Whatever it is that involves a lot of travel."

Adrien replied by saying, "Lie-la "claimed," that her mother was a "very important Italian diplomat" working at the Italian Embassy here in France and that's why she "travels" a lot and has to miss school. I looked it up, the only travelling any Diplomats do is between the Host Country and Home Country, nothing about "Globetrotting for Work", but I don't know how she was able to convince our Principle or teachers that that was what she was doing." Markov suggested that Lila forged her mother's signature on school paperwork. The blonde huffed before he said, "That wouldn't surprise me, considering she made the maps that sent us here."

Kim also added in an annoyed tone, "She also claimed to be "total besties" with all the famous people we happen to know, and that she "bonded" instantly with Ladybug and became "Total BFF", Uh, that means Best Friends Forever. Then there are all the "Charities she worked with" that eats up the time she's supposed to use for her schoolwork." Boris actually had a frown on his face after listening to all this.

That was when Max added, "And let's not forget all the "Disabilities" Lie-la "claimed" to have. All of which have been rather inconsistent on severity."

Marinette then named off as she counted them on her fingers, "Tenitis from "saving" a rock star's "kitten" on an airstrip, arthritis, sprained ankle, allergy to almonds only when I bring in macaroons, allergy to unrefined flour only when I bring in croissants, an off-and-on intolerant to unnatural sugar when I bring any other sweets from home, short-term memory, and what was the one that she told so she wouldn't have to help with the bake sale? Ah right, she breaks out in hives if she touches anything with gluten."

Max noticed that he left the recording on and shut it off, then edited and labelled it accordingly.

Tikki folded her arms when she said sourly, "I'm surprised no one bothered to call the nurse or her doctor to confirm all these disabilities, especially since they "conveniently" start acting up whenever Lie-la doesn't want to do certain activities or it makes someone look bad." Plagg gave the red kwami a surprised raised brow at the comment. Tikki noticed and said, "What? One of my former Chosen had a major disability that she worked her butt off to overcome but she never made an excuse out of it and Lie-la has been using all these fake disabilities to make Marinette look like a terrible person! So sorry for being a little moody over some brat using a fake disability because it's "convenient" for her!" Plagg actually flinched at the sudden anger from the normally sweet and calm Kwami.

Norman held out a hand when he said, "Hold on just a second, I know I'm an outsider in all this and while I know I'm only hearing your side of this, it sounds like she would've been caught as a liar within the first week with all these tales."

That was when Markov said, "Technically, Lie-la was only in school one day, then disappeared for three months on her "first globetrotting adventure" before she returned as a student full-time. However, every time she was called out as a liar, she would "Turn on the waterworks" by crying and fake being "bullied" get the others to "turn against" whoever was "bullying" her. She has been doing it to Marinette and had started doing it to Max. Although, her need to harm anyone who out her lies had escalated... There is also Lie-la's issue with being told "no" or consent in general."

"Dare I ask?" Norman asked in a wiry tone, not liking how the AI specifically mentioned issues with "No" and "Consent".

(Insert the teens and AI telling Norman and Boris about Lie-la's sexual harassment towards Adrien, who gave his consent to telling the Ink Creatures about the "Photoshoot". Insert "WTF" reactions from Boris and Norman. Insert Adrien telling them the worst part being that his father believing the words of his "spy" over than his own son and staff. And insert Norman and Boris' reaction to that and Marinette telling them that she already has a plan to remove Adrien from Gabriel's custody).

After cooler heads came through, Team Psi explored the Archives to find a clue to getting to the Ink Machine or getting out. During the search, Max found a door with five unlit lightbulbs over it and a book that was a little out of the shelf. The techie pushed his glasses up with his left hand before he slid the book back into place. When he did, the first of the five lightbulbs lit up. "So that's how it works," Max commented before he called for the others. When they arrived, the techie explained what he found and what they needed to look for.

With that, everyone split again to find the misaligned books and pushed them back in place. The three along the outer loop and pushed them in. Markov found the last one in the centre where the Audio Log was and pushed it in. The moment he did, Max let out a shout in shock.

"Max!?" Everyone gasped as they raced back to their friend, who looked pretty spooked as his eyes never left the centre of the Archives.

Kim shook Max by the shoulders when he asked, "Max? Max! What's wrong?"

Max snapped out of whatever trance he was in and stuttered out still in fear, "Why did the lights start flickering and moving around?!"

The rest of Team Psi looked at each other in confusion before Norman asked, "What are you talkin' about? The lights are old but they're still workin' properly?"

"H-huh? But!" Was all Max was able to get out before Markov assured him that the lights remained on and did not move from their fixed locations. Max then let out a whine when he said as he ran his left hand through his hair, "Maybe I'm starting to hallucinate from the all this stress."

Adrien couldn't help but say, "Except that it was a little too in time with Markov sliding the last book back into place. Maybe it was a vision of some sort."

That was when Marinette asked as Max wrapped his arms around himself to calm down, "But why did only Max see it? We all helped in putting the books back in place."

Everyone pondered this a bit as Kim wrapped a comforting arm around Max to help calm him down.

That was when Markov said, "Maybe I should go back and get the rest of that first-aid kit. Just in case we might need them." With that, the AI flew out of the Archive and noticed something even stranger when he vocalized with fear in his tone, "Umm, guys! Something's missing, and I don't like it one bit!" The rest of the team rushed to see what the AI was talking about and saw what it was.

"Where did those Ink Statues go?" Plagg asked as he hid behind Marinette once he realized what happened.

Tikki gulped before she peaked over Adrien's shoulder before she said, "H-how about we get back to that door? The ones with the lights? It should be open now that all the books are back in place!"

Everyone agreed to that as they hurried back to the door. Marinette felt a little dizzy from all the sudden running, Adrien quickly helped her along to make sure she didn't fall as they made their way to the Archive Door. Once Team Psi made it through, they were greeted by the sight of a cave-like structure with chains from the ceiling that were attached to cages big enough to hold an adult. Only wooden beams sticking out of the wall seemed to be their only support from falling to the dark abyss below. Bendy cutouts seemed to be wedged in the stone openings in the wall.

Kim carefully looked over the edge and said with a short whistle, "Wow, that looks like it's a long way down." He noticed a nearby create and nudged it over, just to hear how far down the pit goes when the wooden thing hit. They never heard the crate hit bottom. Kim gulped when he said, "Okay, irony aside from me saying this, but let's hug the walls to be on the safe side."

Max, Markov, Marinette, Adrien, Tikki, and Plagg definitely would've found that hilariously ironic, if it weren't for the fact that they were who knows how many meters up and the wooden boards looked old.

Norman scratched the side of his projector when he asked, "How'd the heck did this place get so big?"

Adrien gave a nervous chuckled when he said, "We gave up on finding that out when we realized how many "Off the Book" construction was done. Ie, nothing matched up with the blueprints we got from the Paris Public Library Archives." When Norman asked if that was true, the blonde sadly nodded.

Soon Team Psi was carefully walking over the ink-stained planks of wood until they came to a rock ledge big enough to hold all of them as well as two machines. Once looked like a lift to cross the abyss and the other was a device around Max's height that was backed against the rock wall.

Norman examined the lift and said, "This doesn't look like it's gonna be able to hold all of us. I'm hopin' this will be sturdy enough to make two trips, three if needed."

Max examined the mechanism of the lift before he said, "We can get across there if we can find a way to fix this. Looks like we just need to find the right-sized gear to make this work."

Kim, on the other hand, was looking over the weird device near the wall. He found a picture of a bone on the side that over a dial. Kim moved the dial and the picture switched to an image of a wrench. He moved the dial again and the picture switched to an image of an old fashion radio. That was when Kim noticed a blob of Thick Ink just sitting under the dial. Kim looked at the blob, then the machine, and then the blob again. He carefully picked up the blob of Thick Ink and placed it in the device and turned the handle on the other side (2).

The device dinged happily as it spat out the ink, that quickly morphed into an old fashion radio.

"Whoa!" Kim got out in an impressed tone before he pressed the button on the radio, causing it to turn on and play a peppy tune (3).

All of Team Psi gathered around the radio to both listen and be amazed that the device made a working radio. However, after about a minute of working the radio turned back into ink.

"Okay, good news bad news time," Marinette said as she looked at the device and turned the dial until she saw an image of a gear. She then said, "The good news is we have the means to get the gear we need. The bad news is it's not going to last long and we don't know where to find the Thick Ink we need to make this Ink Maker work."

Boris noticed the hole in the wall and called attention to it. Plagg nodded when he said, "Yeah, maybe we can find some Thick Ink in here."

With that, Team Psi made their way into the rocky pathway. They turned a corner and came to a small room with a large pipe taking up the majority of the space inside. There was a lever close to the doorway. Kim pulled that, which caused the large pipe to slowly open and revealed the bubbling vat of steaming ink inside.

Plagg looked at the vat and said, "Looks like the type of Ink we need, but I don't think we should just stick our hands inside that. It looks pretty hot."

That was when Tikki replied with, "But how are we going to get the ink if we can't touch it." She looked around the room before saying, "And I don't see anything we can use to scoop some out."

Markov flew around the space until he came to a smaller pipe with a valve. The AI then asked, "I wonder if this valve will be of some assistance?" Boris was the one to turn the squeaky valve.

Suddenly a Swollen Searcher emerged from the vat with a groan. Boris and Markov quickly fled to the rest of the team as the others got ready to fight, even without any weapons. But the Swollen Searcher didn't move from its spot, not even to acknowledge that there were others in the area.

"Uh, hello?" Norman asked the Swollen Searcher in confusion, more to get some kind of reaction from the thing. But the Swollen Searcher didn't move. Norman looked at the rest of the team when he said, "Okay, I'm goin' to admit, this is a little anti-climatic. Not complainin' too much about it though."

Adrien notices an abnormal lump on the Swollen Searcher's back. Out of curiosity, the blonde quickly snatched the lump off the creature, causing it to retreat into the vat. Adrien smiled before he showed the team what he got, it was a blob of Thick Ink.

"Gross, but effective," Marinette said with a slight grumous before she added, "We're going to need two more blobs if we're going to get that lift to work so all of us can get across." The others nodded in agreement. They knew that the Ink Maker's creations wouldn't last long enough for the lift to make a round trip.

So they repeated the Thick Ink retrieval twice and got two more blobs of Thick Ink. They backtracked to the Ink Maker and placed one blob into it and turned the handle. The Ink Macker spat out the ink that quickly morphed into the gear they needed. Boris installed the gear and looked over the lift to make sure everything else was fine. Once Boris gave the thumbs up, Adrien corraled Marinette, Max, Markov, and Boris into the lift and activated it before any of them could protest, Plagg quickly followed the bluette since she was the one currently wearing his Miraculous. The lift smoothly made it to the other end before the gear turned back into ink. The four got out of the lift on the other side and waved at the others, signalling that they were okay. Kim plopped another blob into the Ink Maker to get another gear to bring back the lift. Once the lift was back, the second gear turned to ink. Norman dropped the last blob into the Ink Maker and got the last gear to put into place. Once that was done, Adrien, Kim, and Norman got into the lift and it started moving slowly towards the other side with Tikki floating over Adrien's shoulder.

Suddenly, the lift started shaking when they were at the halfway mark. Adrien, Kim, and Norman kept a hold on the lift railing for balance as the lift stuttered. The ones that were already across gasped in worry and fear when this happened.

But despite the shake-up, the lift made it across without another issue. The team reunited with a group hug, glad that the scare was just that, a scare. And after a few calming breaths, they continued on their journey. Norman opened the door, revealing a narrow, shabby hallway. Looks like they're going to have to walk in two at a time through this. So they all trooped in, the door automatically closed behind them before they realized it. They saw the Ink Machine being lowered by chains at the end of the hallway.

Suddenly Max let out a shout in terror as he looked down the hallway in fear.

"Max?! What's wrong?" Marinette asks as she, Adrien, Plagg, and Tikki whipped around to their frightened friend.

Trembling where he stood, Max stuttered out as his eyes were wide in fear, "Y-y-you d-d-d-don't s-s-see th-th-them?!"

The rest of Team Psi looked back at the shabby hallway, the only thing they could see was the walls and the chains from the Ink Machine. They looked back at Max with concern in their eyes.

Tears started leaking out of the corners of Max's eyes when he stuttered out in that same scared tone, "N-n-not a-a-again!" The tears started falling as Kim quickly wrapped an arm around Max, trying to calm the frighten teen down.

Adrien placed a hand on Max's shoulder when he said, "I hate to do this to you, but tell us what you saw?"

Max closed his eyes as the tears continued to fall when he said with a few hiccups, "Inky hands were jutting out of the walls from all the openings *hic* and they were reaching out to grab us *hic*! They wanted something! *Hic* I don't know *hic* if they wanted something from us or *hic* us!" He then buried his face into Kim's chest as the taller hugged him close to comfort and calm the techie down as he continued to cry.

No words were spoken as Adrien, Marinette, and Markov moved closer to Kim and the distraught Max. They slowly sank to the floor and just comforted their friend. Their missions can wait, one of their own is too unnerved to do anything. They'll rest for a while, they needed it anyway.

Boris and Norman looked at each other at this. They understood why the kids and AI were doing this but it made them realize something that was staring at them in their face(s) the entire time.

Marinette, Adrien, Kim, Max, and Markov were just teenagers... They were still children (Yes, even Markov chronologically). And two of them were Heroes that protected Paris! They should be in school fretting over what they should do with their future with the worst thing that should happen to them is a failing grade. They shouldn't be trapped here in this place where terror and death could be around any corner, waiting to strike.

Boris and Norman slowly moved into a sitting position as the projectionist said, "Kids, how about we take a break. You kids rest and Boris and I'll keep watch for trouble, okay."

"You sure?" Kim asked the two Ink Creatures.

Norman nodded when he said, "Yeah, I'ma sure. I know you kids wanna complete your mission as fast as possible but you're not going to do much when you're wearing yourselves out. 'Sides, when was the last time any of you got in a good rest?"

Markov timidly answered with, "When we were in Boris' Safehouse... A while ago..."

Norman tapped his hand on his leg when he said, "I rest my case, we'll take a break and you can rest. Like I said before, Boris and I'll keep watch." Boris nodded vigorously at that.

While they didn't like it too much, the teens ended up dozing off. Max fell asleep first, Marinette was next to fall asleep as she leaned her head on Adrien's shoulder. Kim held Max close before he then dozed off as he leaned his back against the wall. Markov landed next to Max as he powered down enough to enter sleep mode. Adrien leaned back against the wall with Marinette still on his shoulder before he too fell asleep. The Kwamis floated to the laps of their current chosen and were the last to fall asleep.

Norman glanced at Boris, who smiled at him. The projectionist would've returned the smile if he could. They could rest for now before they continued on their mission.

~}i{ Outside the Studio }i{~

The best word to describe the tension between Chloe and Alix was awkward. It's been that way between them ever since Future!Alix blew the biggest bomb when she practically told them Ladybug and Chat Noir's identities. Not to mention each other's identities... It didn't bother them that much that she told them, what bothered them was the question of WHY Future!Alix told them, and just them...

Chloe texted Alix to meet her on the roof of the school during lunch to just talk about it. So that's what they did when lunch came around. They went up to the roof separately so not to draw attention to themselves. Both passed by the school's library and saw that Kagami and Nino were working on their project together.

When both Chloe and Alix were on the roof, they started on their conversation.

"So... How should we start this?" Alix asked the blonde with a raised brow. Though truth be told, she didn't quite know how to start the conversation either.

Chloe shrugged before she said, "Maybe we should start with, "What good would us knowing do?" I'm sure there's something that's supposed to happen with us knowing."

Alix folded her arms when she said, "Well, I know one thing that came of this, Me punching the lights out on whoever gave teenagers Miraculous without proper training! I mean, you saw how clueless they were during their debut as heroes, it was obvious that they didn't get any training beforehand."

"Okay, you got a point there," Chloe admitted, before she said, "But that aside, what else?"

Alix suggested, "Well, now we know why Mari and Adrien bail on events and activities when an Akuma shows up. And why they're sometimes so tired before school starts or after school when nothing happened there."

That was when Chloe realized, "Oh God, this also makes their love-lives a trainwreck!" When Alix asked what she meant, the blonde said, "Think about it, Adrien loves Ladybug."

Alix shrugged when she said, "Yeah, makes sense since he's Chat."

Chloe then added, "But Ladybug claims to be in love with someone else in her civilian life, right?" Alix replied with a Right. That was when the blonde said, "And who is Marinette in love with?"

Alix was about to answer when she realized the whole picture. "Shit! Those dorks were in love with each other and didn't even know it!"

"Exactly!" Chloe said with a sigh before adding, "They're both idiots. They've been pining for one another but rejected them because they didn't know who the other really was!"

That was when Alix said, "Hold on, I just remembered something Future Me said." When Chloe asked what it was, the pinkette replied with, "She said something about Chat and Bug escaping the heck hole with Kim, Max, and the others. What did she mean by that?"

"That they'll get out of there by their own means without blowing their identities to Kim, Max, and Markov," Chloe said with a raised brow, wondering how the other got on that topic.

Alix shook her head when she said, "I mean, who was she talking about when she said "the others"?"

Confused, Chloe replied with, "Didn't she mean Kim, Max, and Markov?"

"Except she specifically said "Kim, Max, and the others", so it couldn't be them," Alix said, getting a bit more serious.

That was when Chloe said, "She probably meant Mar-, Wait, "Others" is plural... That means more than one?" Alix nodded with that serious look on her face. With a rather shocked look on her face, Chloe asked, "So who else is trapped inside that studio with them?"

Alix stiffened her shoulders when she said, "I think... We'll find out when that happens..."

~}i{ Inside the Studio, a Few Hours Later }i{~

The younger members of Team Psi started to wake up. They were a little stiff from their sleeping positions but they felt a lot better. Guess they really did need a little sleep. Max apologized about his breakdown, but the others told him that it was alright, they understood. While the Kwamis were a little puzzled over why Max was the only one to see these visions, they knew that they had to mean something.

After a few quick stretches to wake up their muscles, everyone was ready to continue their quest.

Team Psi quickly made their way out of the shabby hallway and came to another cave with a darkened pit below, probably bottomless like the last one. Once they took a step on the wooden walkway they heard the Twisted Alice Angel say over the speakers, "I see you there, my little errand boys. Your angel is always watching. And I saw how you've grown in numbers, all thanks to those jewellery and the fairies." Team Psi went tense at that. The so-called angel continued by saying, "I saw how you used them to Heal the Projectionist's mind." Team Psi started moving up the winding ascending path to wherever it leads. Alice Angel then said in an almost forebodingly cheerful tone, "Enjoy them while you can. Boris too." She then laughed. The cartoon wolf gulped at that as the group glared at an Alice Angel poster that they came across on their climb up. The so-called angel then said, "Those will help be become perfect, and I'll enjoy it so~ very much when I do."

That was when Team Psi reached the end of the wooden path and stood in front of an entrance to a nice looking room. There were two nice and comfortable looking couches, one of which had a gramophone sitting on it.

Plagg couldn't help but say, "Wow, this room is nice. We should've napped here rather than in that hallway." As everyone walked into the room, Tikki whacked Plagg over the head at the comment. "Hey!" the black Kwami protested.

"I wonder what this room was used for?" Adrien asked out loud to no one in particular.

"He's going to find me..." a voice from above said in a worried tone. Team Psi froze and quickly looked up just in time to see an inky figure on the balcony above. It just looked like those ink statues from the Archive but with glowing yellow eyes. The ink person didn't seem to notice the audience below as they continued talking, "He always finds me..." The ink person started looking back and forth around the balcony as if expecting someone to appear. "I just want to go home! When do we go home?" the ink person said in a pleading voice before walking out of view of Team Psi.

Team Psi just stood there with their eyes still glued to the now-empty balcony.

After a good minute, Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he said, "Okay, that was both intriguing and... frightening..."

Kim nodded in agreement when he said, "Yeah, he looked like a Searcher but more human-like..."

Tikki was the one to say, "It seems like the Ink can be a bit random in afflictions..."

Plagg shuttered as his ears drooped, "Or that poor soul has been repeatedly afflicted by the Ink..." Team Psi glanced at each other at this comment.

That was when Norman asked in an unsure tone, "I hate to bring this up, but who's the "He" that fella was talking about?"

Markov scanned through some of his memory files before he said, "We have come across a couple of graffiti that read "He will set us free", though we haven't quite understood what it really means."

Adrien then added, "I remember asking about who the "He" was when we first came across that. However... We did think it might've been the Ink Demon, but now it starting to become clear that it isn't..."

Boris scratched his head when Marinette said, "And it's starting to become apparent that there might be more than one "He" in this. More because we now know there are more people involved in this whole thing. And now that we know that Henry was the real talent behind the Bendy cartoons, it puts a new meaning behind the line "The Creator Lied to us". That line has to be referring to Mr Drew."

Max couldn't help but add, "That doesn't surprise me, we've already proven that Mr Drew is just like Lie-la." Markov commented that that was too true.

Marinette then said as she scratched her cheek, "I'm not sure if it's just me, but... That Ink Person seemed... Lost... Like... Lost all sense of awareness or just felt lost..."

Adrien couldn't help but say, "It did seem like that. A real Lost One." This time, Marinette whacked the blonde over the head. "Owch! Okay, I get it! Too soon to joke on that," Adrien said as he rubbed his head.

Norman suggested that they continue on their path as he pointed out the door under the balcony the Lost One was on. So Team Psi walked over to the door and then opened the door. What was on the other side was something they would never have expected.

~}i{~

To be Continued in Chapter 4 pt 2: Colossal Wonders of the Shadow's Darkness.

~}i{~

1) Did you guys really think I wouldn't add this theory after dropping how much Joey Drew and Lila Rossi have in common? Also, Kudo's to Crimson assassin for coming up with this crazy thoery~.

2) There isn't a blob of Thick Ink next to the Ink Makers in the Bendy & the Ink Machine game, but Team Psi aren't going to be able to figure out that they need to use the Thick Ink right away without it.

3) The Chapter 4 Hidden Radio! The song playing is called "Can't be Erased'. Also, sorry about not adding the other radio songs to the story, but I figured I give you all the location of the hidden radio of Chapter 4 since it's waaaay to easy to overlook or don't know about.

~}i{~

Gale-Dragon: Yup, splitting Chapter 4 into multiple chapters too. Feel free to ask any questions or let me know any constructive criticism.

~}i{~

Chapter Text

~}i{~

Miraculous Adventure in Joey Drew Studio.

Chapter 4 pt 2: Colossal Wonders of the Shadow's Darkness.

~}i{~

Team Psi was paralyzed in both fear and shock as the door opened completely. Because inside the spacious room was a hoard of Ink People, Lost Ones, huddled together. They glanced up at Team Psi when they realized that others have entered the room, but they didn't move from their spots.

Adrien gulped before he gave an awkward wave and said in an equally awkward tone, "Um, uh, hi." When there was no response from any of the Lost Ones, Adrien timidly lowered his waving hand and looked at the rest of the team.

"Um, we're not looking for trouble and we're not here to hurt anyone," Marinette said as she raised her hands, showing that she wasn't holding anything that could be deemed a weapon. She motioned the others to do the same, so they did, showing that they weren't going to harm anyone. The bluette then said calmly, "In fact, we're more interested in saving you all and we're hoping that you could help us with shutting down the Ink Machine so everyone can go home."

There was no response from any of the Lost Ones. They only stared at Team Psi.

Team Psi lowered their arms as they glanced at each other, wondering if these Lost Ones could speak or not.

Markov was the one to asks, "Are you able to use any form of communication so that we may understand you?" Again, no response from the Lost Ones. "They all appear so sad," Markov noted when he turned his attention back to his teammates.

That was when Norman said, "Maybe they are like I was before bein' purified. But I don't think you should try that on this many at once, plus I don't think you have anything from them to help guide that purification." Boris couldn't help but nod at that statement. The rest of Team Psi reluctantly agreed on that.

They couldn't help these Lost Ones if they couldn't give the information. They weren't Akumatized beings, so they couldn't use the usual Purification and they couldn't do the one they did with Norman because they had nothing that belonged to any of the Lost Ones, there was also the issue of how draining that particular process was.

So Team Psi slowly made their way into the room. They noticed graffiti written in ink on the walls that read "No Angels" twice, "He Will Set Us Free" also twice, and "It's Time to Believe". Did the Lost Ones write those? Or did someone else? Though it wasn't hard for Team Psi to guess why someone wrote: "No Angels" on the walls. As they made their way past all the Lost Ones, they couldn't help but be a little unnerved by how quiet they all were as they stared at them. The Kwamis ended up hiding in their usual spots because even they were unnerved by all the staring, and they're still used to being hidden in public. They saw their next path in the form of a ventilation shaft that looked big enough for an adult man to crawl through.

"Creator?"

Everyone from Team Psi froze in place from the sudden voice. When they turned to the voice, they saw one of the Lost Ones move slowly towards them when asking, "Creator?" No one on Team Psi knew how to react to the question. Wait, was that a question?

That Lost One came closer to get a better look before saying, "Yes! You're the True Creator!"

Everyone from Team Psi took a step away from the Lost One, all were more than a little confused by what the Lost One was saying. 'True Creator? What's that supposed to mean?' they thought at the same time, starting to get a little more unnerving.

That was what seemed to goad the other Lost Ones to finally act. The other Lost Ones started moving closer and closer to Team Psi, easily surrounding the group. All were muttering the same word, "Creator!"

This was bad! Only Norman had the capability to fight without a weapon, but there was no way he could handle this many opponents at once especially alone. While the teens had basic hand-to-hand combat skills, those were more for fighting afflicted Akuma abilities, not people, or Lost Ones in this case. This felt more overwhelming than the Zombizou incident!

"Creator!" One of the Lost Ones said as they placed a hand on Max's right arm.

"Huh?!" was the reaction of all of Team Psi.

"Creator, you can free us!" The Lost One said, completely focused on Max.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Let's stop all this for a bit!" Marinette exclaimed as she waved her hands around the Lost Ones, more to get them to take a few steps back to give them some breathing room. The bluette clapped her hands together and said in a slow calm manner, "Let's talk about this, slowly, so there aren't any misunderstandings. Okay?" The Lost Ones glanced at each other before they all nodded slowly. Marinette nodded with a small smile when she asked, "Good. Now first, why do you think that Max is this "Creator" character?"

The Lost Ones glanced at each other, some seemed confused and some seemed concerned.

That was when Adrien said, "Listen, we've already made plans to save everyone trapped inside this place. And we would really appreciate it if you could co-operate with us on that."

Kim noticed how the Lost Ones were acting before he said, "How about we introduce ourselves first before we start on the questions. *Points at himself*. I'm Kim."

Catching onto what the tall teen was implying, the bluette introduced herself as Marinette. The blonde introduced himself before pointing at the cartoon wolf and introducing him as Boris. The AI introduced himself as Markov. Norman calmly introduced himself, doing his best to not make too many sudden movements. Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he said, "And I'm Max. Um, so can to please explain why you think I'm this "True Creator" person?"

The Lost Ones looked at each other yet again, but this time they moved towards the wall that had the graffiti "HE WILL SET US FREE" and "It's TIME to BELIEVE". Team Psi glanced at each other at this, a little confused as to how the Lost Ones were going to answer the question. Once one of the Lost Ones stood in front of the wall, they pressed a hand on the section of the wall. The place where the hand was seemed to press into the wall without any problem. Soon, a section on the wall started moving to the side and opening a secret passageway (1).

"What the heck is this?" Kim asked as the Lost Ones motioned for Team Psi to follow them into the passageway. They cautiously followed the ink people into the hidden way.

"Whoa," half of Team Psi vocalized as they looked around the room inside. It looked like a shrine dedicated to the other co-owner of Joey Drew Studio, Henry. Some newspaper clips mentioned Henry, sketches that were signed by Henry, and a few film reels and a few Audio Logs to be played with the reels that had some handwritten labels.

"Wait a second..." Norman said as he looked over the reels, the writing labels especially. The projectionist then said in realization, "This is my handwriting... I wrote these... I... I made these... Recorded these... Back when..." He looked at the projector with one of the reels in hand when he added, "Henry... Was here..." That was when a memory came back to Norman. His head/projector slowly turned towards Team Psi. "It can't be..." Norman got out as he looked specifically at Max. He then said, "Max... You... You look just like Henry."

"What?" the rest of Team Psi got out (Boris didn't say, but he had the look that corresponds with the emotion).

"Wait! What do you mean by that?" Markov asked in complete confusion. Kim had this "Wut?" look on his face like he wasn't sure what he heard.

That was when Marinette asked, "Are you sure your memory is right?"

Norman nodded when he said, "Yeah, I'm sure." He then looked back at the reel in his hand when he added, "And we've got the proof right here."

"Do you know how to put that in the device?" One of the Lost Ones asked as they pointed at the projector. It seems like some of the Lost Ones didn't know what a projector was or knew how it worked.

"I'm a Projectionist, of course, I know how to work a projector," Norman said as he started getting the projector ready to use, and added, "Just give me a minute to set it up." Then he got to work setting everything up.

That was when some of the members of Team Psi decided to ask some of the Lost Ones how they knew what was on some of the reels if they couldn't play them on the projector. The answer was surprisingly simple, none of the Lost Ones knew how to operate a projector and they looked at the film reel under like to look at the frames.

During this Max was looking over the sketches, one in particular caught his attention. It was a headshot of Bendy, but this image of the little devil cartoon character had a different smile. The smile was smaller and less creepy, made Bendy look cuter. 'Huh? Why does this image of Bendy feel so familiar?' Max thought before he looked at the other sketches that Henry signed. All the drawings... Were just so familiar to Max... But he was sure he was viewing all of these images for the first time... So why? ... Why did it feel like he's seen them before?

"... axe...Ma... Max!" someone called, snapping Max out of his thoughts. The techie turned to see who was calling him, only to realize that the rest of Team Psi was staring at him in concern again.

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand before he said, "Sorry, but..." He looks at the sketches and adds, "These drawings... I think... I've seen them before... Outside the studio..."

"You have?" Adrien asked in a confused tone before he looked at the sketches. He raised a brow when he said, "These sketches look different from the finished project. I mean, Bendy looks cuter in these."

That was when Marinette said, "I know sometimes when I sketch out a design I change a few things before they end up as the finished project. You also see this in character concept art in the behind-the-scenes in cartoons and animated projects. *Looks at the sketches*. But these don't look that different from what we saw in the Bendy Cartoons, to be honest. Bendy's smile is just the most obvious one of them all." She then taps the paper slightly before saying, "But in all honesty, I like this Bendy's design more than the final project, he feels more believable with a smaller smile."

Markov, Kim, and Boris looked at the sketch when the taller teen said, "Yeah, he does look better with a smaller smile... So why'd they change that?"

"That was Joey's doing," Norman said as he fastened the last part of the projector into place. He then said as he looked at the rest of Team Psi, "He didn't think people would like a cute lookin' devil, so he changed the smile on Bendy despite the protest from Henry and the others."

"Should we even be surprised about Mr Drew's lack of care of others opinions by this point?" Markov stated in an almost deadpin tone.

Marinette sighed before she said, "By this point, it's starting to become common sense." Team Psi agreed on that.

Now that the projector was ready, Norman called the Team and some of the Lost Ones to gather around to watch after he moved the projector back a bit. As everyone took a seat on the ground (the Kwamis carefully peaked out of their usual hiding spots to watch the film), Norman placed the Audio Log that corresponded with the reel he set up on the table next to where he moved the projector. "Everyone ready? If so, can you all hold you're questions until the end of the reel." the Projectionist asked when he got the Yes responses from everyone in the hidden room, he started the projector. The moment the light hit the bare adjacent wall, the past revealed itself in...

3.

2.

1.

Norman pressed the play button on the Audio Log, to sync the voices of the Log with the images of the black-&-white reel.

Marinette, Adrien, Kim, Markov, Boris, and especially Max couldn't help but gasp at the man who appeared on the film... The Man... Henry... Looked just like Max, only a decade or so older. Henry appeared to be drawing at an artist desk when he looked up, that was when the voices from the Audio Log started to play in time with the film.

"*Behind the camera* Norman Polk's voice: Hey Henry, what are you drawin' this time?

*Henry looked up and smiled at the camera*. Henry's voice: Hello Norman. Just drawing a new character I've come up with. *Looks down at the paper with an image of the small smiled Bendy waving at the two men*. What do you think, Norman?

Norman Polk's voice: Hmm, a little cutesy, but I think it'll work for kids. What made you come up with the idea of makin' him a devil?

*Henry looks at the camera/Norman Polk*. Henry's voice: It was a joke from one of Linda's friends. She has this mischievous little toddler that she just loves to call her "Little Devil Darling". I'm sure he'll grow out of it, but I remembered that from thinking of a certain someone.

Norman Polk's voice: *Chuckles* Did you just refer to Joey as a Devil?

Henry's Voice: *Gives a snicker* You said it, not me. *folds arms*.

Norman Polk's voice: *Laughs*. So, whatcha going to name that little devil on the paper?

*Henry looks at the drawing and thinks for a bit*. Henry's voice: Hm, how about... Bendy. Bendy the Dancing Demon.

Norman Polk's voice: Hm, not a bad name for the little fella."

With that, both the reel and the Audio Log came to an end with a click. The projector was still throwing its light on the wall, at least until Norman turned it off (2).

"Mr Henry really..." Max got out in shock before he nearly stuttered out, "H-he looks! How?"

Markov placed his claw on Max's shoulder when he said, "I concur, while the obvious age difference between the Henry from the film and you are apparent, I can't help but... Understand the Lost Ones' confusion between you and Mr Henry."

"Wow, just... Just... Wow," was all Adrien could get out.

Marinette couldn't help but add, "This explains so much." When Kim asked how so, the bluette explained, "Remember what Ali-, er, Ms Campbell told us when we were in the lift? How she went on about her times in the studio? I said that was weird that she was bringing it up out of nowhere, but maybe to her, it wasn't if she thought she was talking to someone who used to work here. Like she wanted to let them know how she felt during that time." It confused Team Psi for a bit because Marinette didn't say Alice Angel, but then they remembered that "No Angels" was written on the walls. Those had to have been written for a reason. Plus she technically wasn't wrong about who told them.

Adrien thought about that for a bit before he said, "Come to think of it, you're right. It happened to me a while ago when I ran into another model I haven't worked within a few months. I mean, my interaction with that model wasn't as one-sided as Ms Campbell's "interaction" but know that I think about it, it was similar."

That was when Kim realized, "And when she told us to "say hi to an old friend of yours" before she sent us to Level 14, where we met Norman. She must've either been told or found out that he and Henry were friends back when they both worked here. And if she thought that Max was Henry, then that comment she made makes sense now."

That was when Norman said, "And her little line about knowin' who Henry was when she dropped us makes sense too, sort of." Team Psi easily flinched at that memory.

Max's eyes widened a bit when he said, "Not to mention what Mr Lawrance said before he tried to sacrifice us to the Ink Demon."

"Wait? Sammy did What?!" Norman shouted in shock and anger. He did scare some of the Lost Ones that were nearby.

That was when the teens, Boris, and AI, realized that they never told the Projectionist about their run-in with Sammy Lawrance. ... ... ... Somehow... It felt like that conversation was going to be bad...

As expected, after the teens explained to Norman what happened, he was going to hunt down Sammy Lawrance and give him a piece of his mind for trying to sacrifice a bunch of kids to a demon. At least until he was told that the Ink Demon got to him first. While it stopped Norman from leaving, it didn't stop him from being pissed at Mr Lawrance for his deeds. "What the hell was Sammy thinkin'?!" Norman griped in anger.

That was when Markov stated, "Um, we believe that he wasn't in his right mind when he did those things... And to be fair, before you were Purified, you weren't exactly in your right mind either. We've been theorizing that the Ink might have something to do with it."

Norman let out a heavy sigh as he rubbed the lends of his projector head and then said, "I'll admit to that, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't aware of what I was doin'... I think... *Sigh* Damn, I don't remember anythin' during that time... Did I... Also, hurt others too?"

Marinette placed a hand on Norman's arm when she said, "Maybe, but... If you're feeling bad about it even if it didn't happen, then... You really do deserve a chance to make up for it." She smiled at him when she said, "You can do that by helping us shut down the Ink Machine and save everyone trapped here."

Norman placed a hand on Marinette's hand when he said, "Thanks, I needed that."

"Um..." one of the Lost Ones said, getting Team Psi's attention. To be honest, they almost forgot about them during the whole "discovery"... "Did the Creator help his mind return?" one of the Lost Ones asked.

Team Psi looked at each other before Marinette said with a small sigh, "It's... complicated as to how that happened... But Max isn't Henry. This reel *points at the projector* was made over 60 years ago, and we came here over a week ago. None of us are older than 16, so none of us were ever here when this studio was open." She was trying to explain this without telling them about the Kwamis and Miraculous since there were already too many people who knew already (and they would like to keep the number as small as possible).

That was when Kim said, "But we're still going to try to save anyone regardless." It was more to coax the Lost Ones into giving them some more information.

Max sighed before he said, "I'll admit the resemblance is rather... Striking... But *Looks at the Lost Ones* I do look younger than Herny did in that reel. Therefore, I cannot be Henry." He was more trying to instil some logic to the Lost Ones.

"You were reincarnated, just like we were from the Ink," one of the Lost Ones said. Another then said, "The True Creator's soul has returned to free us."

Max sighed as he rubbed his temples. Team Psi was going nowhere fast with this. "This... Is just a lot to take in..." Max said as he leaned on one of the nearby desks.

Adrien couldn't help but say, "Well... Yeah, we do seem to be finding out a lot in a short period of time... With most still being mysteries... And this "True Creator" thing is kinda... Well... It seems like this is the cherry on the cake... Or the frosting... Either or, it's pretty unbelievable."

"Max, you sure you're okay?" Kim asked the shorter teen when he walked over to him.

Max looked up at his friend when he said, "Yes, I'm just... A little overwhelmed by all this... That's all..."

Kim leaned against the desk when he said, "I don't blame you, to be honest."

The sound of wood cracking suddenly echoed through the room. Max quickly grabbed Kim by the arm and pulled him away from the desk they were leaning on, just in time. The desk promptly collapsed with a wooden crash, and causing everything on top or inside to scatter about.

Kim rubbed the back of his neck when he said, "Yikes, that would've hurt if we were still leaning against that."

Max nodded in agreement when he said, "Correct, though considering that it's over 60 years old, I'm surprised that it didn't break sooner."

"Let's just be thankful that no one was hurt," Marinette said before she noticed a picture frame that landed near her foot. "What's this?" she asked as she picked the object up and looked at the picture inside the frame. It appeared to be a black-&-white image of Henry sitting next to a woman, both smiling, as they held hands with the arms that weren't touching each other. The woman in the picture seemed to look familiar to Marinette for some reason. The bluette then said, "This must've been the picture that Mr Henry kept on his work desk when he was here. The woman in this might be Linda."

Adrien looked over Marinette's shoulder when he asked, "How'd you figure?"

Marinette shrugged before she said, "Well, she can't be his mom, or he would've referred to her as such, plus she would've been much older than him in this. But judging by how they're holding hands, I'm pretty sure they're a couple. Though, I am guessing if this woman is Linda or not. More because Linda could be his sister or a close relative. But considering how Henry mentioned not seeing Linda for days, or even mentioned her at all, must mean that she's special to Henry." She stared at the woman in the picture before she added, "Strange that it feels like I know her from somewhere though..."

Adrien looked at the picture before he said, "You're right, she does look a bit familiar... But why?" Adrien looked at Marinette when he said, "She would've been an elder if we meet her on the street today if she's still alive, and both of us are finding her familiar right away. I don't think that would've happened if we only saw her on the streets in passing."

Markov looked over the heroes' shoulders to look at the picture. He scanned and analyzed it before running a facial recognition program against people he knows. The AI let out a ding when he said, "Curious, this Linda person has a 71.5846% facial match to Mrs Kanté... Wait a minute..."

"Huh?" both Marinette and Adrien vocalized when they heard that.

Suddenly, Max snatched the picture frame out of Marinette's hands. He had to see this for himself. Kim looked over the shorter teen's shoulder to look too. When the taller teen did, he couldn't help but say, "Markov's right, she does look a bit like your mom, Max. Wait a minute..."

Max shoved the frame into Kim's hands before he quickly pulled his phone out of his pocket and quickly scrolled through his pictures as fast as he could with his thumb. A look of shock was plastered on his face the entire time.

"Uh, Max? You okay?" Norman asked, more than a little concern about the dark-skinned teen's actions. Boris looked just as concerned as the rest of the team.

After a solid minute, Max finally did something other than scrolling when he said, "Found it!"

Kim looked over Max's shoulder to see what the other found. When he saw, his eyes widen before he started looking back and forth between the framed picture and the image on the phone in shock. "Max... Mind explaining this, because I'm more than confused right now," Kim finally said as he rubbed his head in confusion.

"You mind filling the rest of us in on this too?" Adrien asked, not sure how to read the situation between Kim and Max.

Max motioned for Kim to show the others the framed picture as he showed them the image on his phone. When they did, the rest of Team Psi's eyes widen in shock. The image on Max's phone was identical to the framed black-&-white picture in Kim's hands, the only difference was that the image was in colour and the couple were at least 50 years older. Before anyone could ask any questions, Max said, "The picture on my phone right now is an anniversary photo of my grandparents for their 50 years of marriage. I called then Grandpa Ri and Grandma Lin."

"Wait?" Marinette vocalized before she looked at Max and asked, "Your grandparents?"

That was when Adrien said, "But they look just like Henry and Linda, but older... Wait a minute."

"Dude!" Kim said as he contorted his head to see both the framed photo and the image at the same time. He then said, "No wonder Henry's voice sounded familiar to you! He's your grandfather! But..." Looks at Max and asked, "Why didn't you recognize his voice right away?"

Max turned the screen of his phone to himself when he said, "I might've subconsciously, hence why I thought my mom would know if we knew a Henry better. And as to why I didn't connect Henry to being my Grampa Ri right away was..." A sad look appeared on Max's face as he looked at the image of his grandparents on the phone as he gently rubbed the side of the device with his thumb. Max took a deep breath before he said, "I haven't heard his voice in close to five years... I have some home movies of my grandparents but... It... Still hurts too much to watch them..."

Norman took a step forward when he asked, "Wait, do you mean that Henry is..."

"His heart just stopped beating one day..." Max said as tears started gathering in the corners of his eyes. He continued with, "He... Told me to keep the volume down on the tv so he could take a nap... Then we were going to the Science Museum with Mom and Grandma Lin to see the robotics exhibition when he woke up at 17:00... When the time came, Grandpa Ri didn't wake up... I got worried because Grandpa Ri always kept his promises, so I went to get Mom..." Tears fell down Max's cheeks when he said, "She couldn't wake him up either. I remember the paramedics came to check on Grandpa Ri... I remember them shaking their heads, and Mom and Grandma Lin started crying... I... I didn't understand what was going on... I just asked if Grandpa Ri was sick... And I said that we can wait until Grandpa Ri got better before we go to the museum... I didn't know that he died a few days later... When Mom told me that Grandpa Ri past away..." Max used the back of his left hand to wipe away the tears.

Kim placed a comforting hand on Max's shoulder when he said, "You didn't know, and as far as you knew, he was just sleeping." He then pulled Max in for a hug and said, "But I can understand how you feel."

"I hate to ask this, but," Marinette said as Team Psi moved closer to each other. She then said, "Henry didn't talk about his time at this studio, did he."

Max placed his phone back into his pocket before he said as he shook his head, "No, that was another reason why I didn't put the two together. He never mentioned that he ever worked at an animation studio..." He then looked at the framed picture in Kim's hand when he said, "But... I remember he got a letter a year before he died. I also remember how mad he was after reading it. I thought it was weird because, well, Grandpa Ri was usually so mellow and calm." He then looked at the team and said, "I asked him about it, but he was pretty vague. He said that the letter was from someone who wasn't getting his forgiveness, especially since he hasn't bothered to contact him, after all that time. I asked what he meant by that but Grandpa Ri replied with "That can be proven, this person took something I made and claimed it as his own. But it's what hasn't been proven is the reason why he can't be forgiven"." Max looks back at the framed photo when he said, "I didn't understand what he meant at the time, but now I know that he was the one who created Bendy and that he was talking about not being able to forgive Mr Drew, Grandpa Ri's words make sense now."

That was when Norman said, "Somethin' tells me that Joey was tryin' to lure Henry back to the studio for some reason... But it seems like Henry didn't take the bait. Guess Joey didn't use the right words to get what he wanted that time around."

Max shrugged his shoulders slightly when he said, "I never read what was in that letter... But, I did hear Grandpa Ri mutter under his breath "Were we ever pals in the first place?" as he threw the letter away. I guess maybe Mr Drew referred to himself as Grandpa Ri's pal or something... That I did think was weird considering Grandpa Ri said that the person, who I now know was Mr Drew, never attempted to reach out to him before."

"Yeah, it's a little inappropriate to call yourself someone's "pal" if you haven't bothered to contact them for a long time," Marinette said as she crossed her arms in front of her chest.

Adrien looked confused when he said, "It is?"

Kim was the one to explain, "Yeah, I mean, if someone had to move or change their phone number and forgot to tell someone or if they get really busy with something important, that's more understandable as to why they haven't kept in contact, but from Max told us, Mr Drew chose not to contact Henry even though he hasn't moved or changed his number. That pretty much states that he didn't want to talk to Henry until he needed something from him, whatever it was." Now Adrien understood.

"Uh, so..." a Lost One got their attention again, reminding Team Psi that they were there again. Those Lost Ones were a little too quiet. "He's a descendant of the True Creator?" another Lost One asked in confusion.

Team Psi glanced at each other before they nodded and Max said, "Yes, I'm the True Creator's grandson, but my friends and I are going to work together to free everyone trapped inside this place."

That was when Marinette said, "And we would appreciate any information that you can give us that can help." Boris nodded at that.

That got the Lost Ones more motivated to talk as they left the room. Kim placed the framed photograph into Max's pack as they did.

~}i{ Outside the Studio }i{~

Luka didn't need the Second Chance being used multiple times to notice that something was off about his Hero Teammates. He has noticed that Bunnyx and Madam Emerald have been a little tense around each other like something happened between them that they don't want to talk about. On the other hand, Drak-Kon and Mitsubushi seem to be getting along rather well. Heck, it wouldn't surprise the Snake Holder if the new Dragon and Bee Holders started claiming to be Besties.

But today, Viperion was going to talk to Bunnyx and Madam Emerald. To help ease the tension between them. After all, they had bigger things to worry about.

~}i{ Inside Joey Drew Studios }i{~

Now that Team Psi got some more, weird, information from the Lost Ones, they were ready to move on to the next leg of their journey. Right now, Kim and Marinette were inspecting the air vent under one of the "No Angels" graffiti and next to the "He WiLL SET US FREE" graffiti. They were a little worried about all of them fitting through the vent, but it looks like they all would. However...

"Looks like we're going to have to go in one at a time and Markov is going to have to be a little more cautious because of the enclosed space," Marinette said as Kim tried to turn the hand torch on, but the batteries in that have long since lost power.

Adrien couldn't help but say, "Uh, Kim, I think the batteries dead," as he watched Kim trying to shake the torch awake.

Kim cringed when the bulb to the torch cracked when he said, "Urg, please don't say dead." He then looked inside the vent and said, "But we are going to need some light source to see where we're going in this, or at least for whoever's going in there first."

"How about I lead the way inside?" Norman suggested at he walked up to the vent. He then tapped the side of the lends to his projector head when he said, "I got a built-in headlight, so I don't need a torch."

The Team had to admit, that wasn't a bad idea.

When Norman stood in front of the vent, he turned on his projector and lit up the inside of the vent before climbing into it. Marinette climb in next, followed by Boris, and then Kim.

Adrien was about to climb into the vent when he saw a Lost One stop Max and say, "Please be careful, Descendant of the True Creator. There are more threats then we would like to have here in this wretched place."

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he said, "We know, and we'll continue to be careful." Adrien crawled into the vent when he heard. Max gave the Lost Ones a wave goodbye as Markov carefully flew into the vent, and then the techie went into the vent. Max made sure to keep his right hand close to his chest as he did his best to crawl on his knees and left hand through the vent.

Norman kept a steady pace as he leads the way through the vent so the others could follow easily enough. The Projectionist also kept his head facing forward so the light from his projector illuminated the dark path in front of them. He soon spotted a light ahead of him, it looked like it was coming in from another room where the vent shaft was covered by the vent's lined grate.

Suddenly, something slammed into the grate without any hesitation.

"Oh shit!" Norman exclaimed as he stopped in his tracks, causing Marinette to collide into him, then Boris collided with the bluette, then Kim collided with the cartoon wolf, and then Adrien collided with the taller teen. Markov reacted quickly enough to stop before he collided with Adrien, which in turn caused Max to stop before colliding with the AI.

"What happened?" Max asked, trying to see past the others in front of him to no avail.

Marinette rubbed her nose before she asked, "Norman? What hit the wall in front?" She looked over Norman's shoulder and saw what he was seeing.

It took a few seconds for it to register, but when the shock wore off Norman saw the Ink Demon standing behind the grate in front of him with his over-sized gloved hand on the wall over the grate while his right hand on the side of the wall. The ink webs were clearly visible inside the vent as the Ink Demon watched the ones inside the vent. Norman couldn't help but hiss out, "The Ink Demon's found us!"

"What?!" was the unanimous response from the rest of the team. "Wh-what's he doing? Is he going to attack us?" Adrien asked in a worried tone. No one could blame him, they were in an enclosed space with no escape, so any attack from the Ink Demon could end them.

But the Ink Demon didn't do anything but watched them. He ran his boney right index finger over one of the grates as he seemed to stare down whoever he could see. After a few seconds, the Ink Demon pulled away from the vent and just walked away, without a second glance.

A few seconds later, the ink webs vanished and Team Psi could breathe a sigh of relief.

Kim was the one to say, "Okay, creepiness aside, why did the Ink Demon appear when he did? Not to mention he seemed to know we were in here... It's just weird."

That was when Marinette said, "Yeah, that is a little strange but... I don't know, it seems like he's toying with us... I think..." Even now, she still wasn't too sure about what she said.

After a few seconds, Team Psi continued on their way. They made a right and then another right through the vents until a light was coming from up ahead. Norman turned of his projector as he climbed out of the vent and into a rather large room with a monumental-sized Bendy statue, a comfortable couch, a Little Miracle Station next to a Bendy cutout, a closed metal doors, a few scattered wooden chairs, and a flight of stairs that lead up somewhere with a trail of black ink splattered over the steps. Marinette climbed out of the vent next, followed by Boris, then Kim, then Adrien, then Markov, and Max came out last. Plagg and Tikki flew out of their usual hiding spots to check out the area.

Markov scanned around the room before he said, "I know it's obvious that Mr Dew made far too many "off the book" constructions. But I still fail to understand the need to make this many alterations to a building, especially when the company was in the red."

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he said, "I do agree with Markov on this one. Besides the Heavenly Toys' area, the other "off the book" constructions don't make a lot of sense as to their purpose to aid the studio."

"Wish I can help you answer that, but I still don't have all my memories back," Norman said as he looked up at the huge Bendy statue. He then said, "Though I would like to know why there are so many statues of Bendy. I get that he was the mascot of Joey Drew Studios, but the cutouts of him would've been enough. I mean, they're already all over the place."

Kim leaned against the wall to think when he felt that his phone was missing. He was about to ask if he lost it before he remembered that he used it to make a distraction to get away from the Ink Demon, but then he heard the crinkle of paper in that same pocket. Kim pulled the folded paper from his pocket before he said, "Oh right, I snagged this from Mr Cohen's office."

Boris looked over Kim's shoulder when Adrien asked, "Why'd you take that?"

Kim shrugged when he replied, "It was on the desk but not covered in ink so I figured it might be important." He then unfolded the paper and read what was on it out loud, "Receipts and Disbursements... July 1, 1944 to August 1, 1944... Receipts: ... Investor Deposit, J. Dempsey. Huh? Why are all the money amounts in USA currency rather than in Euros?" He then showed the "receipt" the rest of Team Psi and allowing them to read the rest.

On the receipt read:

Receipts and Disbursements

July 1, 1944 to August 1, 1944

Receipts:

Investor Deposit, J. Dempsey ... $24,800.00

Royalties, Heavenly Toys ... $43,142.43

Box Office Sales ... $56,879.18

Total Receipts ... $124,821.61

Disbursements:

Employee Salaries ... $56,659.74

Restocking Supplies ... $18,982.50

Distribution Fees ... $9,842.31

Marketing/Publicity ... $10,372.12

Special Project ... $64,921.98

Taxes & Fees ... $24,964.32

Total Disbursements ... $185,742.97

Cahs in Bank ... $61,738.65

Balance as of August 2, 1944 ... $817.29

Someone used a red-inked pen to circle the $64,921.98 and draw an arrow to the handwritten words in black pen ink that read, "Mister Drew, we can't afford these high figures on Special Project any longer. Please limit your spending or find additional investors - We're on the verge of being in the red again this year." (3).

Adrien shrugged after reading the receipt when and said, "Maybe it was because Mr Cohen was an American and it was easier for him to do the math, or the Studio was already using American Currency for the books."

Marinette re-read the writing at the bottom of the note before she said, "But according to this, it seems like this receipt was to be sent to Mr Drew, even though it hasn't been converted into Euros... Wait, the Euro wasn't in effect in Europe until the start of 1999, so it wouldn't have been used in 1944."

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he said, "So they used the USD for all their financial documents instead."

That was when they noticed the words written in black ink on the wall next to the stairs that read, "COME uP AND SEE ME" there was a little arrow at the end that pointed up the stairs.

Adrien frowned upon seeing those words and said, "Either that leads to a trap or something that's going to make our guts churn."

Kim couldn't help but say, "Oh good, I'm not the only one thinking that."

Markov scanned the room again before he said, "I don't see anywhere else to go, so unfortunately, we must seek out whatever is at the top of the stairs to find a new way out. Or at least a way to open the doors."

"Sugarcube and I can give it a quick check," Plagg said as he darted towards the top of the stairs.

Tikki fumed a bit before she said, "Stop calling me that, you Stinky Sock!" But she flew after the black Kwami anyway.

Norman chuckled before he said, "They're a cute pair." No one could disagree on that.

Kim nudged Adrien over to Marinette with his elbow when he teased, "They're not the only couple here~." This caused both the blonde and bluette to blush a nice shade of red.

"Hey, guys! No traps or nasties, but you gotta check this out!" Plagg called from the ledge of the upper floor.

That was when they spotted Tikki when she said, "For once, I agree with Stinky Sock."

The rest of Team Psi looked at each other before they trooped over to the stairs and started walking up to it. When they reached the first flight the words "ALMOST THERE" were written on the wall in black ink. It made the Team wonder who was writing those? When they reached the top of the stairs, they were greeted by the sight of a Bendy face with an open mouth that leads into an office.

"Whoa," was all the teens could say as they looked inside the office.

On the three moveable clipboards inside were covered with designs and plans for amusement park rides and on the only table was a model of an amusement park in the works and an Audio Log. There were a few wooden chairs scattered around but those weren't so important.

Norman looked over the pictures when he said, "Looks like... Plans for a Bendy theme park."

Kim scratched his head when he said, "I don't get it. Why would anyone want to make that? I mean, the cartoons were nice and all and I know I wouldn't mind getting a plushie or two of the characters from the Bendy cartoons, but I think building an amusement park would've been too much. Both financially and literally."

Adrien watched Plagg fool around with the park model when he said, "This just to be planned when the studio was in better financial status. I would assume that it was left in the development stages when they kept getting in the red."

Marinette found a piece of paper that proved otherwise. "A receipt for industrial-grade steel? 104 unites? Ah, wait... It's a late payment notice for the steel... 180 days late?" the bluette said as she read the notice. She then looked up at the rest of the team when she asked, "I know construction isn't my thing but isn't 104 units too much for a studio to need?" Tikki floated over to look at the paper. The red Kwami did find the amount add too.

"You don't think?" Max asked as he looked at the model of the amusement park.

That was when Adrien said, "Maybe Mr Drew did start plans on building the amusement park, but put it on hold when the studio got in the red. Maybe he just kept the steel just in case he needs them." He was trying to think logically on this, and that's what made sense to him. The others weren't too sure on that...

Max pulled his phone out from his pocket as Boris moved to the Audio Log. When the techie nodded, the cartoon wolf pressed the play button. A new, proud sounding male voice filled the office when he said, "For forty years, I've built attractions that sagger the imagination! Colossal wonders such as the world have never seen! I have earned my legacy with sweat. But right in front of everyone... high-level investors, Wall Street tycoons, the ever-tactless Joey Drew introduces me, the great Bertrum Piedmont, as Bertie! Like I was his child! You may be paying me, Mister Drew! But you don't own me! I'll build you a park bigger than anything YOU could ever possibly conceive! But before you go taking any bows, Mister Drew, know that this grand achievement will belong to me... and to me alone." The Audio Log ended with a click.

As Max titled the Log, Norman said, "I've heard of this Bertrum Piedmont person, the guy was some big shot in amusement parks or something like that... Wait... When did Mr Drew contact the guy?"

"Who knows," Marinette said with a shrug. She then said in a rather dry tone, "But it seems like Mr Peidmont had an ego as big as Mr Drew. Though... *In a more thoughtful tone* It sounds like Mr Peidmont earned that ego through his own talent."

Kim couldn't help but say, "I got a feeling that that ego of his might've gotten him into trouble with Mr Drew." He then noticed a switch on the wall behind the table and said, "Well, there's the switch to our next location." He moved over switch and pulled the lever down.

As soon as the lever was pulled, the sound of a metallic creak was heard. That had to have been the doors they saw when they walked in. So Team Psi trooped down the stairs to see just that. The metal doors were slowly opening, creaking as they did. After team Psi trooped down the stairs, they realized that they had to go around a wooden beam to get to the door. So they did, and they realized that the words "DREAMS COME TRUE" was written over the vent that came out of.

As they passed the graffiti, Tikki asked out loud to no one in particular, "I wonder who is writing all of those."

That was when Plagg replied with a shrug, "Could be more than one person."

"That honestly wouldn't surprise me," Adrien said as they walked to the now open door. It was dark on the other side, so no one could see much.

The moment they walked through the doors, lights started turning one by one. Now they could see that it looked like part of an amusement park in the works, with rides and games that were covered in ink, dust and cobwebs. The biggest thing Team Psi was was a large sign in front of them that had Bendy's face in the middle with the world "Bendy Land" written professionally on it (with Bendy's face being in between the two words). However, someone has written "Hell" in black ink over the world "Land".

Marinette looked around the new area from where they were in an almost frantic look in her eyes before she shouted, "How did Mr Drew!? Urg, you know what, by this point, I think the guy's just dreaming about insanity." This earned a small chuckle from Adrien.

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he said in a rather exasperated tone, "Mr Drew built the Bendy theme park UNDER the studio... I would ask about the more logical aspects of having a theme park under an animation studio, but by this point, 90% of what has been constructed here has not made any sense."

Markov couldn't help but state, "Exactly how was all this made without any of the employees knowing? The whole construction would've made a lot of distracting noises."

Kim rubbed the back of his neck when he said, "I know I'd have a hard time focusing on working on anything if I had to work next to all that construction noise."

Norman looked around as they walked down the stairs to the Bendyland area when he said, "This... Must have been started on after I got turned into an Ink Monster...'Cause I know I would've remembered all this being built."

"No one would blame you if you don't remember all this," Tikki said as she looked at Norman. She then said, "You and Boris have been through a lot here in this place and we can't expect either of you to remember everything that has happened. So please don't linger on what you think you should remember." This made both Ink Creatures feel a bit better.

When they made it to the bottom of the stairs, they came face to face with another closed metal door. Great... They're going to have to find a switch or something to open that... So they trekked over to the section of the "park" that had two closed game booths that were connected and one of those Test-Your-Strength games. They noticed an Audio Log on the ledge of the game booths. Another thing that they noticed was that four power cables were laying on the ground.

"Wonder what these power cables are for?" Max said as he followed one of them to a power station next to a haunted house attraction with four switches, with each one numbered 1-4 with a small unlit light between the numbers and the switches. He placed his left hand to his chin as he looked the panel over. Markov joined him.

Marinette came across the attraction Max did, but she came by via the path next to the test-your-strength game. That was when the bluette noticed footprints on the wooden board of the attraction. Marinette knelt to get a better look at the prints and realized that they had heel prints. The size of the print was also telling. It was too small to be a man's but too large to be a child's or teen. 'A woman's shoe print?' Marinette concluded as she glanced up to see where the trail lead. Only to see that it was cut off because of the gate that blocked the way and use of the carts to the Haunted House attraction. Plagg floated nearby as Kim and Boris arrived on the scene. Marinette stood up as she looked at the attraction when she said, "This haunted house seems like the way to go. But it's going to need some power."

Adrien walked to the Audio Log on the game booths with Tikki when he said loud enough for the others to hear, "Maybe this Audio Log might have a clue as to how to power on the haunted house." He quickly read the handwritten label and said, "Another from Mr Franks'. I'm surprised how many of his Logs we've come across already, considering he's the janitor."

Team Psi gathered around the Audio Log. Max got his phone ready to record. Soon, Boris pressed the play button. The familiar voice of Wally Franks filled the area when he said, "These guys down in the warehouse get to play games all day while I'm stuck cleaning up after 'em! They keep locking themselves out of their own backroom. So I say to 'em, look guys, I say, you're smart, right? Here's an idea! Why not rig those games up to knock open the door if you win? It'll be fun for you guys and it saves me the trip down here every day. They went for it like a dog to pot roast. I tell ya! If these guys don't start realizing who the real genius is, I', outta here!" With that, the Audio Log ended with a click.

Norman couldn't help but chuckle when he said, "Hehe, Wally was always smarter than he let on. Surprised that hardly anyone else noticed when the studio was open."

Markov beeped in amusement when he said, "Guess when you just clean up a place, people tend to not give you a second glance. But it seems like Mr Franks took advantage of that mindset to make his job a little easier."

Plagg couldn't help but add, "I said it before and I'll say it again, I like this Franks guy. Now I got another reason too." This earned a few chuckles from the others. Plagg then looked at the closed game booth before saying, "But if we have to play these games to open the doors then... How do we start the games?"

Suddenly the wooden panels opened and the lights to the games powered on, revealing a shooting game (Bull's-Eye Bonanza) and a knock-the-bottles-over (Bottle Wallop) game. Fortunately, everyone reacted quickly enough to avoid being hit. But they could swear they heard the Twisted Alice Angel chuckle menacingly in the background.

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he said, "Something tells me SHE was waiting for one of us to ask that."

That was when Adrien asked, "But that brings up the question of How she's watching and listening to us, again? I mean, none of us have seen anything that might resemble or work as a security camera. And I doubt any good listening devices can hear in any area back in the 1940s."

Norman scratched the side of his projector when he said, "Pretty sure the only "cameras" we had in the studio were the projectors and the only thing that could "listen in" where the tape recorders. Unless someone somehow "up-graded" this old place without anyone here noticing, but I doubt that." Yeah, that was a good point.

Adrien looked at the games when he said, "But we are going to have to proceed in this quest... So... Shall we try our paws at the games?" Marinette rolled her eyes as the others groaned a bit.

But there didn't seem like there was any other choice in the matter, so they looked over the three games, wondering which game unlocks which door. However. they could only see three games and there were four doors...

"Guess we're going to have to play this whole thing by ear, so to speak," Tikki said as she looked over the Strength Tester game. She then said, "I'm sure we'll also find more clues as to shutting down the Ink Machine and escaping this place." No one could disagree with that.

Adrien tried the Strength Tester game, but he just bearly missed hitting the bell. Boris was next, but he wasn't even close, though his did go up to the label for 'Brute!' though. Norman took a swing at the game, and he was able to ring the bell on his first attempt.

That was when they suddenly heard the Twisted Alice Angel say over the speakers in a rather casual tone, "Tell me, are you having fun? I thought you all were in a hurry to escape, but clearly, I was mistaken. Oh well, now I know that I have plenty of time to get what I want." She then ended with a menacing laugh.

Plagg couldn't help but comment, "Yeah, not earning any angelic points there. *Huff* Such a wanna-be angel."

With that, they moved onto the two games that the Wally Frank's Audio Log was on.

Marinette looked at Kim when she said, "Since you've got the experience, you'll do the shooting game, I'll knock down the bottles." When Kim asked if she was sure, she replied with, "Considering how often I have to aim and throw my yo-yo at moving targets, knocking the bottles down is a snap for me." Everyone could agree to that.

So, Kim picked up the gun for the respective game and Marinette picked up the three baseballs for the bottle toss. The bluette knocked over the three stacks of three bottles, all of them with the balls she had. The game made a happy jingle at her score. Kim didn't do so well at the shooting game the first time, more because he didn't expect the quick reactions needed or the fact that he wasn't supposed to shoot the bull's-eyes with the 'X' on them. But the tall teen did better the next attempt. No perfect score, but he hit enough targets to get the jingle.

Soon they hear the familiar sound of a metallic door sliding open. They looked to the left of the Bull's-Eye Bananza to see the door slowly opening. Once the door was completely open, they walked in and were greeted by the sight of some rather terrifying looking Bendy mascot outfits hanging on the wall next to the switch.

Plagg couldn't help but say, "You know, if it weren't for the fact that we've already seen some gut-wrenching shit on the way here, those costumes would creepy."

The others murmured in agreement as Adrien threw the switch as he said, "That's one." Once that happened a spark of electricity surged down the main power cable. Team Psi quickly followed the charge to the power control box next to the haunted house attraction. The switch that was labelled with the #1 had the light lit up.

"So that's how it works," Marinette said thoughtfully, before realizing that there were three more switches. She sighed as she said, "And that means that we're going to do more backtracking for this too..."

Norman flipped switch #1 when he said, "Let's hope that the rest are going to be as simple as the first." That everyone could agree on as they heard another door creak open, and it sounded close. They all turned to where the sound was coming from to see that the door under the sign that read "Research & Design" was opening. "Convenient, but not complainin'," Norman said as they made their way through the newly opened door.

They heard the familiar sounds of the Butcher Gang as they walked over to the balcony. They carefully peered over to see a Piper, a Fisher, and a Striker gathered around a burning metal drum, they seemed hypnotized by the flames. So much so that they didn't even notice the new arrivals.

"Looks like we've got company up ahead," Adrien said softly as he watched the Butcher Gang members on the lower level.

That was when Markov said softly, "But without some kind of weapon to defend ourselves, we don't stand much of a chance." The AI then looked at Marinette and Adrien before saying, "While Mister Bug and Lady Noire could make quick work of them, we shouldn't waste any transformations if we can help it."

Max pushed his glasses up when he added, "That is a logical point. Let's look around the upper area for something to use against them. If not, we need to find a way around them somehow."

As Boris brought a hand up to his chin to think, he accidentally knocked over an empty can of bacon soup (that was just sitting on the railing for some weird reason) down to the lower level with a loud clank. Everyone froze at that as the Butcher Gang sprang into action. But they only went over to the can that landed on the ground with a loud metal thud. Team Psi watched them gather around the can before they lost interest and returned to the burning barrel.

Marinette gave the rest of Team Psi a sly smile when she asked, "You guys thinking what I'm thinking?"

"I don't think the empty cans will make good weapons," Kim said in an honest tone, causing the rest of the team to give him a look that read, 'No, not that'.

Max patted Kim on the back with a sigh before he said, "Kim, we're going to use the cans to make a distraction so we can get to the switch or switches we need." Kim let out an "oh, okay," before everyone started gathering as many empty cans as they could find.

Markov told the team that he'll check the alcoves to make sure there were switches while they collect cans, and maybe throw it if he could before flew overhead to the indents, and to avoid the Butcher Gang members. He flew into the right alcove and followed the path to find a switch with a lightning symbol on it. There wasn't much on that path, just a bunch of shelves for storage. He quickly placed his claw on the lever of the switch and pulled with all his might. Markov was just bearly able to pull down the lever (4). 'Note for when we escape the studio, upgrade form to have more strength,' the AI thought as he flew out of the alcove and signalled the rest of the team that he threw the power switch and was going to check the other alcove. So he flew over the Butcher Gang to the other alcove. In the left alcove, there was a cage with a crying Lost One. "Please don't cry, we're going to save you," Markov quietly told the Lost One before moving further into the alcove. There was a work table with a dismantled animatronic Bendy with a missing arm next to a wall that had the words "THE CREATOR LIED TO US" in black ink, a table with a giant cartoony looking device that might've been for one of the rides, and a table with an Audio Log. Markov spotted the switch next to the Audio Log.

Figuring that it would be a good idea to record the Log, just in case, Markov scanned the handwritten label that read "Lacie Benton". The AI turned on the recording function, labelled it accordingly, before switching on the Audio Log. An unfamiliar female voice was heard saying, "The only thing that works around here is my ulcer. Half these people don't know a wrench from a dang steamer. Buncha morons is what they are. Spending their day in the warehouse arguin' over who's supposed to be doin' what or playing them silly games, Still, I'm not complainin'. I get most of my time to myself. Suits me just fine. Only thing that bothers me is that mechanical demon in the corner. Bertrum's been working on it for a month now. Says it will walk someday and maybe dance. All it does now is give me the creeps. I swear when my back's turn... that thing's movin'." The Audio Log ended with a click.

Markov raised an electronic brow before glancing over to the mechanical Bendy. He flew over to it and gave it a quick scan. It wasn't connected to anything that would give it the power to move. Markov watched the thing for a bit before he thought, 'It doesn't move... It must've been Ms Benton's human imagination.'

Markov decided to try to throw the other switch... Keyword being "Try".

He couldn't pull it, and he ended up flying into one of the shelves opposite the switch because of him using his throttles to attempt to pull the lever to the switch down. There was a rather loud sound when he did collide with the shelf, and another loud sound when everything on it fell to the floor.

"That can' be good," Markov mumbled before he heard the sounds of the Butcher Gang approaching.

Markov quickly flew close to the ceiling of the alcove, not caring that he made even more noise. He had to do so to avoid the Butcher Gang members and return to the team as quickly as possible.

As expected the three Butcher Gang members hobbled in and looked around for whatever made the noise. Markov used this opportunity to fly out of the alcove unnoticed and reunited with his worried teammates.

"Our hearts nearly stopped when we heard the noise! Are you okay, Markov?" Marinette asked as she fussed over the AI, making sure he wasn't damaged in any way.

Markov responded with, "I am functional, a little scratched up, but functional. I was able to make another recording of an Audio Log from a Ms Lacie Benton, but I was unable to pull the second switch though."

Adrien smiled at the AI when he said, "You already did plenty. Now we don't need to go down both paths." Markov beamed at the praise. That was when the blonde said, "We'll listen to the Audio Log you found after we throw the other switch. Okay?" Everyone nodded at that.

Since Kim was the fastest of the team, he would run down the left path while the rest of the team cause a distraction for the Butcher Gang. Once the tall teen was in place, Boris tossed an empty can down the right path. The can landed with a loud clank, getting the attention of the Butcher Gang. The three hobbled over towards the noise as Kim raced passed them without making a peep into the left path.

The rest of the team anxiously waited for Kim signal. Over a minute later, they spotted Kim's arm waving at them. Marinette threw a can onto the right path. The can landed with a loud clank, and drew the Butcher Gang away from the burning metal drum again. As soon as the Butcher Gang were near the right path, Kim raced towards the stairs. Not even a second later, Team Psi was reunited.

They dropped the remaining empty cans they had before they followed the charged power cable back to the panel. Now the switch that was labelled with the number 2 had the light lit.

That was when Marinette asked Markov to play the Lacie Benton Audio Log before they throw the next switch. So Markov played what he recorded for the others to hear, and Max re-recorded it on his phone.

Adrien gulped when he asked, "Umm, please tell me she was imagining things when she said that it moves when no one is looking."

"That is my hypothesis," Markov said before he noted, "But Ms Benton has noted that the individuals that were her co-workers in building this park were... I guess, not competent in their jobs..." The AI seemed a little confused by the wording of the Log.

Tikki then said, "She did comment that they couldn't tell a wrench from a steamer. If that were true then why were they hired to work on the park project?"

Marinette gave a wry smile when she said, "Uh, Tikki, I think Ms Benton meant that her co-workers weren't as competent as she would like them and from what else she said, it sounded like they didn't take their job all that seriously."

Norman tapped under his projector lends when he said, "I'm guessin' those workers might've been cheap hires or something along that line. I wouldn't put it past Joey to pull that kind of stunt if it meant saving money."

"Somehow that doesn't surprise me..." Kim said as he threw the 2nd switch.

They heard another door open, but this time it sounded like it was further away. They followed the power cable for the 3rd switch and they found the now open door.

"Attraction Storage?" Max read the sign over the door in a curious tone, before he asked, "What kind of "Attraction" would they need to store?"

The others shrugged before they trooped into the new path. They walked down the narrow hall until they came to another huge room with a large, hollow dome, that appeared to be used for housing fixated rides and attractions. Industrial shelving units line the walls, with several other props and park fixations stored within them. Lying limp in the middle of the room is what looked like a powered down octopus ride with four mechanical arms, with at least three carts per arm and four bolts (two per side) supporting the arms, and the middle was in the decorative fashion of a carousel. In front of Team Psi was a desk with an Audio Log sitting on top of it.

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he said, "Ah, so this area was used to house the rides that need to be fixed."

"Makes sense," Plagg stated before he added, "But isn't it a little inconvenient to move the rides to this place rather than repair them in the location they're stationed? I mean, look at that thing! *Points at the Octopus Ride*. It's HUGE! It had to be a pain to move it!"

Marinette couldn't help but chime in a "Plagg's not wrong. It doesn't seem a little counter-productive to move a ride that size."

Norman looked around the area before he said, "I don't see any more Butcher Gang or anything that could be considered a threat."

The rest of Team Psi gave a visible sigh of relief. That was when Kim suggested that they use this safe space to make a long-overdue Video Log. The others liked that, plus they needed to make a few updates. Namely explaining how Norman joined the team. Norman did ask if they were worried about getting the Little Guardians on film, but Tikki and Plagg assured them they can't be seen on film or be photographed. Markov then explained that he couldn't see the Kwamis but he could hear them just fine. When Norman was satisfied with the answers, Max pulled his phone out and opened the video app.

When the app powered on, the active camera was facing Max. The glasses-wearing teen smiled at the working camera when he said, "Greetings. I know it's been a while since our last update, but we've had a lot happen since then."

The team passed around Max's phone as they recounted what happened while omitting the heroes and Kwami parts of the tale. Norman watched this in a way that was similar to a curious child trying to find out what adults were talking about. Boris watched the other Ink Creature in amusement.

Once his phone was back in his possession, Max said to the active camera, "And now to introduce our new teammate. This is Norman, he was the Head Projectionist at Joey Drew Studios when it was open." He then turned his phone around so that Norman could see the phone screen that was showing what was being recorded.

Norman peered at the phone, more at the screen. When he saw himself staring back at him, he became more aware of his inky appearance as he placed a hand to the side of his projector head. He was a bit startled that the screen showed him the exact motions he was doing. "This is a lot more fasinatin' than I thought it would be," Norman said as he flexed his fingers in front of the phone, and saw the screen reflecting the movements at him. He then moved his hand until he couldn't see it on the screen and said, "Not a bad range for such a small camera and the image is being recorded so clearly for both close-up and far away. Wait... Is it recording in colour?"

Kim stood next to Norman, causing him to appear on the screen, when he said, "Yup, pretty cool, huh?"

"Amazin'!" Norman said as he watched the screen on the phone. He then asked, "Do all standard "Cell Phones" have this kind of camera built into them?" When he got a Yes as a response, Norman then asked, "So does that mean that everyone nowadays can make a movie?"

Adrien couldn't help but smile when he said, "Not everyone, but a lot of people use the video function of the phone to record fun moments. However, one of our friends at school likes to make movies as a hobby, he even plans on becoming a director one day. He's made some good video projects that I think you might enjoy."

"I wouldn't mind viewing it after we get outta here," Norman said as he glanced up at Adrien.

Adrien pulled his phone out of his pocket when he said, "You can watch it now, Nino sent me a copy of his projects so I have something to watch when I'm stuck at home." The blonde scrolled through his phone to look for one of Nino's videos as Norman tilted his head in confusion. Max explained to the Projectionist that you can also watch videos on phones as well as record them. Adrien found the video, tapped on it, and then flipped his screen to show Norman when he said, "Here."

As Norman watched the homemade video with great interest, Boris quietly chuckled in amusement. Marinette couldn't help but whisper to the cartoon wolf, "Don't laugh, you acted the same way when we told and showed you a few videos we had on our phones." Boris gave the bluette a sheepish smile at the realization.

Max smiled at the scene as he took a few steps back before he turned his phone around so the active camera and screen was facing him. He then said to the camera in a soft voice, so not to disrupt Norman's video viewing, "From what we found out, Norman has been trapped here since 1944. While we don't know about the time between then and the studio closing in 1946, we've found out that no one who has been trapped inside the studio seems to noticed how much time has past and that those who have been affected by the Ink don't seem to age so much."

Marinette appeared behind Max when she said in a soft tone, "When we found Norman, he... Wasn't exactly himself, to put it simply... But what helped bring him back was seeing the pocket watch he got from his sister. We found the pocket watch in the same room we found an Audio Log from Grant Cohen, we also found an engraved pen that belonged Mr Lawrance in the same room for some reason. *Looks at Max* We're not sure what those were doing in a room so far from the Music Department, or even how they got there, but I know we're glad we found them." Marinette nudged Max a bit when she then added, "Max here wanted to fix that pocketwatch once we got away from that Twisted Alice Angel, so he had the watch out when we encountered Norman. Good thing too, seeing his pocketwatch snapped him back to who he was before the Ink." Max nodded at this.

Kim watched all this with a smile as he leaned back on the table with the Audio Log. Markov hovered by with Tikki and Plagg. The black Kwami floated over the device as Norman finished watching the video from Nino. When Max and Marinette were about to bring up the Lost Ones, Plagg's tail lazily taps the Audio Log, accidentally starting it up.

Everyone turned to the sudden sound. "Kim!" Marinette got out, trying to both get Kim to play along and to cover up Plagg's goof.

Kim held up his hands defensively when he said, "I bearly touched the thing! It... Must be very sensitive!" Max turned the active camera to face what was happening when Kim said as he looked at the Audio Log, "Weird that there isn't anyone talking right away though."

That's when they all heard the proud, familiar voice of Bertrum Piedmont when he said, "The biggest park ever built, a centrefold of attractions." The weirdest part of this Audio Log was that it didn't sound like it was coming from the tape recorder, it sounded like it was coming from above and around the team. Mr Piedmont's voice continued speaking as the team tried to pinpoint where the voice was actually coming from, "Each one, more grand than the one before it. It makes my eyes come to tears at the thought. But then..." Team Psi backed away from the table a bit when they heard the park builder then say in anger and fury, "Oh, Mister Drew. For all your talk of dreams, you are the true architect behind so many nightmares." Team Psi certainly couldn't disagree on that statement, but they could feel something knot in their stomachs as Mr Piedmont continued his angry rant, "I built this park. It was to be a masterpiece! MY Masterpiece! And now you think you can just throw me out? Trample me to the dust and forget me?" Each word the park builder uttered seemed to grow more rage-filled, angrier. But now they knew where the sound from the Audio Log was coming from, someone hooked the device to the speakers inside the Attraction Storage. Mr Piedmont's voice continued in rage as the sound of something mechanical starting up echoed, "No! This is MY park! My glory!" Team Psi saw the lights on the Octopus Ride started lighting up in a clockwise motion as the ride seemed to be powering up. Mr Piedmont's voice continued in anger, "You may think I've gone..." The Octopus Ride powered on as Team Psi took a few more steps back. They would have ran out the door if it weren't closed tightly behind them. "But I'm still here!" Bertrum Piedmont snapped angrily as the Octopus Ride drew its arm up to its "ready to ride" position.

Suddenly, the centre panel of the ride opened to reveal the head of a man with jet-black hair and a slim paintbrush moustache. The eyes of the head seemed to be rolled back a bit as his mouth hung slightly open.

"Oh Hell!" Kim gasped out in shock before he exclaimed in terror, "Is that! Mr Piedmont!"

Adrien shuttered when he said, "He's! Become the ride!"

Marinette couldn't help but stutter out, "Th-th-that's j-j-just m-m-messed up!"

Max clenched his phone to his chest, accidentally getting the terrifying sight on video as Markov hovered close to him. The Kwamis huddled to their original holders out of both habit and fear. Norman stood in front of the group, as he fanned his hands to keep them as far from the machine as possible. Boris was shaking in his overalls as he coward next to Kim.

The Octopus Ride, Bertrum, did a quick test spin of his arms before bringing one of the arms up and slamming it down onto the table with the Audio Log, smashing them into pieces with a single blow. The only thing undamaged in the attack was an axe that was probably inside one of the table's draws for some reason.

Markov couldn't help but ask in concern and fear, "We're going to have to fight that thing to get out of this area, aren't we?"

Marinette gulped when she said, "It seems like it..."

Bertrum then swivelled his arms around in a mechanical fashion before slamming his arms down again.

The teens were now certainly missing Hawkmoth and his Akumas...

~}i{~

To be continued in Chapter 4 pt 3: Colossal Wonders of Destruction.

~}i{~

1) This room isn't in the Bendy and the Ink Machine game. I'm just putting this in because I just needed this as a way to further the plot.

2) Again, this film reel and Recording are not in the actual game, but it's a plot device for this story so I added it in here to move the story along.

3) This receipt is actually from the Joey Drew Studios Employee Handbook. It's found in the section for Grant Cohen's office, but since Kim took the paper with him when they left the office, you're getting that tidbit now.

4) You're supposed to throw the switch in the right alcove after you throw the switch in the left in the Bendy & the Ink Machine game, but it's my story so I'm reversing the order in this. More for plot reasons.

~}i{~

Chapter Text

~}i{~

Miraculous Adventure in Joey Drew Studio.

Chapter 4 pt 3: Colossal Wonders of Destruction.

~}i{~

~}i{ Outside the Studio }i{~

"There really is a group for family and friends of individuals that have been taken by Joey Drew Studios," Tom said as he, Sabine, the Lês, and Claudie Kanté walked into a gymnasium filled with other people.

The banner over the refreshments table read "Joey Drew Studios' Victims Advocates".

Mrs Lê looked at Claudie when she asked, "How did you know that there was such a group so quickly?"

Claudie took a deep breath before she said, "My Aunt Cassey is one of the founders of this group. She helped form it with some of the first families to report their loved ones missing when Joey Drew Studio was open... Her older brother used to work there as the Head Projectionist before he went missing..."

"Claudie! I didn't know this happened to your family before!" Mr Lê gasped in shock.

Claudie shook her head when she said with a small smile, "Aunt Cassey isn't related to me. I just call her that because she's a good family friend. Her brother was best friends with my father after her brother disappeared mum and dad kept in contact with her. And... *Takes a deep breath* I called her after That Day and told her about our children and how they ended up in the studio and she's... The best person to talk to about what happened, and she helped me calm down so I wouldn't get Akumatized again. She also told me that she'll talk to the other members of the group to see if they can push their annual meeting a little early because of what happened to our kids."

Mrs Lê placed a hand on Claudie's shoulder when she said, "I'm sure I speak for the rest of us when I say that we appreciate the notion."

That was when they heard someone call out to them. The three families turned to see an older woman with grey hair that was tied back in a small bun, age wrinkles decorated her face in a way that just added to her appeal but didn't hide a beauty mark under her right eye near her nose, and she wore a muted blue outfit that seemed to suit her just fine.

Claudie recognized the elderly woman immediately when she said with a small smile, "Aunt Cassy! I missed you, but..."

The elderly woman, Cassy, pulled Claudie into a hug when she said, "I know, deary, I know. I wish it were happier circumstances too." Cassy then turned her attention to the Lês and the Dupain-Chengs when she said, "The same for you, I wish we would've met under happier circumstances too."

"I second the motion," another voice said, but this time it belonged to an elderly man with a grey receding hairline, wore a dark grey semi-formal suit, and had a thin greying moustache.

"Uncle Greg, it's good to see you again too," Claudie said with a small smile. The elderly man, Greg, returned the small smile before he moved until he was next to Cassy. Claudie glanced at the two other families when she said, "Ah, right, *Motions to Greg* this is Gregor Piedmont and his wife *motions to Cassy* Cassandra Piedmont. They're two of the founders of this Advocate group as well as family friends of mine. Aunt Cassy was good friends with my parents."

"Piedmont?" Mr Lê said before he asked, "Wasn't that the surname of the man who made the amusement park here in Paris, the one that recently added in a Ferris Wheel a few months ago?"

With a small sigh, Greg said, "Yes, that was my father, Bertrum Piedmont. He was an Amusement Park Designer and Engineer, and one of the best in his fields at the time. *Sighs* He might not have been the most attentive father, but he was at least there when it counted." Cassy placed a gentle hand on her husband's hand. Greg looked at his wife and smiled. The elderly man then said, "Back when I was in college, my father was supposed to speak at my Engineering Course Seminar, it was something both of us were looking forward to. But when the Seminar happened, dad never showed. I knew he had a meeting with Joey Drew earlier in the day, which is what I told the police after mother and I filing the missing person report."

That was when Tom asked, "I have a question. If your father was a builder of amusement parks, why was he meeting with an owner of an animation studio?"

Greg replied with, "I heard my father talking about building a Bendy-themed Park. Uh, Bendy being the mascot of the studio. I know my father talked about it being one of his biggest masterpieces, *sigh* at least until the next project he would've worked on." The elderly man shook his head fondly before he said, "That was my father, always thinking that he could top his last project and he had the ego and drive to do so. But it was that ego of his that made me immediately suspicious of Joey Drew when he told the police that he and my father reached a "mutual" agreement before he left his office. I told the police that that was a load of bull and told them that my father was going to have a few choice words when talking to Joey Drew about the park he was building for him, more about who was going to get the credit for the park. Apparently, Joey Drew tried to claim the whole thing as his own or something like that."

That was when Mrs Lê asked, "And how did the investigation progress from there?"

Greg gave out an annoyed huff when he said, "The police were more inclined to believe the "Nice, calm, personable businessman" over the the "Overly concerned family of the missing". And I felt even more concern about my father when I learned that there were other family and friends of workers of Joey Drew Studios that just disappeared and were never heard from again."

Cassy placed a hand on her husband's shoulder when she said, "It was the same skit with me and my brother, even after I showed the police the letters Norman sent me that listed his suspicions on what was happening inside the studio. It was like Joey Drew convinced the police that we were just over-reacting to our loved one just "taking a break from communicating with them", at least for a while."

Sabine placed a hand to her chin when she said, "That's... A bit of an unrealistic story for Mr Drew to use... Especially if they've been in constant communication with their loved ones. That would've been the first sign of something being wrong."

Greg shook his head when he said in a rather exhausted tone, "That's what the majority of some of our original members told the cops, but as I said before, they were more willing to listen to someone that was not in a state of panic than the ones who were."

Mr Lê couldn't help but say, "That sounds wrong... And the opposite of what the police should've been doing."

That was when Cassy said with a huff on anger, "That's what all of us founders of this group thought and vocalized. To say we were outraged that the police believed this man over all of us and our concerns was an understatement. At least until they heard about a reliable building inspector disappearing when he went to check out the Joey Drew Studio building after it closed."

Tom was the one to say, "That's... Oddly similar to our children's situation with that Liar at school."

"The one that made those fake maps to the real Joey Drew Studios? And the one in the news who also broke our little grand nephew's wrist?" Greg asked with a raised brow.

Sabine nodded before she said in anger, "Yes, that petty brat. She had to gulls to claim that our Marinette was jealous of her "many accomplishments and all the celebrities she's met". Problem was that Marinette KNEW some of the people that brat "claimed to know"! Heck, even We know Jagged Stone never owned a kitten, especially when he has Fang, his pet crocodile. And then the nonsense about that brat being Ladybug's BFF. I'm sure Ladybug stated that Chat Noir was her best friend and she wouldn't allow a civilian to claim that title because Hawkmoth could use that to get their Miraculous."

Tom couldn't help but add in a puzzled tone, "Strange that Hawkmoth didn't act on that "information", considering that lie was posted on the Ladyblog."

 That was when Claudie said, "Yeah, that is a little strange. I thought the bastard wanted the Miraculous from Ladybug and Chat Noir, and using Ladybug's "BFF" would've been an easy and painless way to do so. I'm sure he would've at least tried that once after learning of that "news", yet he didn't." This was something they had to tell the heroes about when they see them.

That was when Greg asked Claudie in a worried tone, "Excuse me, but if you don't mind me asking, but weren't there three others in the group with Max and little Markov?"

Claudie nodded before she said, "Yes. Kim was in that group, you've met him before. Marinette and Adrien are apart of the group."

Cassy then asked with a raised brow, "But that means that there are four families that should be here, however, it's just you, the Dupain-Chengs, and the Lês. Where's Adrien's family?"

The other families shrugged or shook their heads when Tom said, "We invited him to come with us to this group, but he refused. Said something about an important meeting that he couldn't miss."

That was when Sabine huffed out, "He may be a competent designer, but I don't think he's a good parent... I get that people grieve in their own ways, but his son is with our children in that death trap and he thinks it's a good idea to go to a meeting? It's just!"

"Bizare?" Tom finished with a hand to his chin.

The families couldn't help but wonder... What was more important to Mr Agreste than the possible loss of his son?

~}i{ Inside Joey Drew Studios }i{~

Team Psi watched in horror from a safe distance away from the octopus ride, Bertrum, continued to swing and slam his arms in a mechanical motion. Even though they were keeping a safe distance away from the thing, it just terrified the team that they had to fight the giant ride filled with malice and anger that wasn't even directed at them.

After who knows how long, Norman said, "Damn it! That thing's not going to be easy to take down, especially when it's attacking the way it is."

That was when Kim asked, "Uh, exactly how do we even take it down?"

Everyone in Team Psi looked at each other at this. Yeah, that was a good question... How ARE they going to defeat this monster? The thing doesn't have an Akumatized Object to target, it was super huge, it had multiple limbs for it to use, and Team Psi didn't know where to strike first. Plus Bertrum only stopped moving for a few moments before starting up again, but that was easy to keep track of.

That was when Markov noticed something happening when Bertrum moved his arms. "The bolts on Bertrum's arms appear to be... Off somehow," The AI commented as he glanced at the rest of the team before saying, "Do you think that the bolts weren't properly screwed on?"

Marinette asked Max if she could borrow his phone since it was already on. The bluette quickly used the zoom feature on the video to get a closer look at the bolts. Norman was certainly impressed by this type of advancement in camera technology, but now was definitely not the time to gush or ask any questions about it. Marinette watched the close up for a few seconds before saying, "Markov's right, the bolts do seem to be off-kilter. Hm, maybe knocking those bolts off might be how we're going to take down Bertrum."

"It's a start," Norman said as Marinette zoomed out and gave Max his phone back. The Projectionist then said, "But it's certainly ain't gonna be easy. We need to time our attacks just right for them to succeed."

"You don't need to tell us twice," Adrien said before he lunged for the axe and returned to the rest of the group before one of the arms hit the ground where the axe was. He then said, "But we're going to need more than just one weapon to take this thing down."

Kim couldn't help but agree as he took the axe before Max said, "There has to be other things we can use as weapons laying around this area. Problem is finding and getting to them without getting hit by Bertrum." That was when the ride slammed the arms to the ground with a thunderous smash, making the team jump a bit. That was when the techie said with a gulp, "We might be breaking more than bones if we get hit with that force."

When Bertrum started swinging his arms again, Marinette said, "Stick close to the walls! They're too far for him to reach! So we should be safe while we look around for anything to use as weapons. When we find some, we'll regroup and then strike the bolts when the arms are down. We need to dart back to the walls as soon as we lop off the bolts. Let's try to attack the same arm at once, to take them down quicker."

Everyone nodded at the plan before they hugged the walls to search for anything they could use as a weapon against the monster ride. The walls were a safe spot from Bertrum's reach, but a few sections were a little too close for comfort. Boris tackled Max to the ground and out of range when he thought one of the carts was about to hit the techie. The impact of the tackle caused Max to lose his grip on his phone. The device slid under one of the Bendy-themed benches, now it was filming the underside of the bench.

"I'm okay, Boris," Max said as he pushed his glasses up with his left hand, and realizing that his phone was missing. Boris pointed to one of the benches, indicating that's where his phone slid. The two quickly moved out of the way of an oncoming arm. "We're going to have to retrieve my phone after we defeat Bertrum," Max said loudly, to both tell the others of the team over the noise the octopus ride was making and to signal that they weren't being seen by the camera but their voices are being recorded.

Marinette and Adrien immediately caught onto that when the bluette shouted, "I found a pipe!" Before she dropped her voice and whispered to the black Kwami, "Plagg! Claws Out!"

"So did I!" Adrien called out before he quickly whispered to the red Kwami, "Tikki! Spots On!"

Boris dragged Max to a closed metal door that was definitely out of Bertrum's range. Markov followed and then hovered near the two as the others regrouped. Lady Noire, Mister Bug, Kim, and Norman were ready to strike the moment Bertrum's arms were lying limp on the ground.

The moment Bertrum stalled and his arms went limp, Team Psi launched their attack. Lady Noire and Kim struck the bolts on the left side of arm #1 while Mister Bug and Norman struck the bolts on the right. They all knocked off the bolts on the first strike and causing the arm to disconnect from the ride. They quickly bolted for the walls as Bertrum started back up and started swinging his arms wildly as the wires from the base of the now missing arm sparked wildly.

"The plan worked!" Markov cheered happily.

True the plan worked, but it seemed like Bertrum was moving faster and hitting harder than before. And they needed to attack three more times to take off all the arms if they were going to defeat Bertrum. But... They can do this, they will do it!

The next time Bertrum stalled, they rushed to the closest arm and struck the bolts simultaneously before they retreated to the walls for safety. Two arms down, two to go as Bertrum sped up yet again. The monster ride's speed was faster now than it was before and it was slamming the remaining arms harder than before too. That was going to make this task a bit harder.

The third time Bertrum stalled, Kim, Lady Noire, Norman, and Mister Bug launched their attack on arm #3. They all knocked the bolts off on their first try before they bolted back to the wall. They bearly made it because Bertrum started up faster then it did before.

The best word to use to describe the octopus ride right now was "Berserk". Bertrum was flailing, spinning, and slamming the one remaining arm in random patterns now.

Boris wrapped his arms around Max in a protective manner as the monster ride gyrated out of control as the sparks from the exposed wires lit up the air. The attacking members of Team Psi took a few calming breaths as they waited for Bertrum to stall so they could attack. They just needed to wait.

The moment Bertrum stalled, they attacked the final arm. The axe Kim had snapped in two as soon as he broke off the bolt.

As soon as the last arm was detached, the centre of Bertrum started spinning around as sparks and steam emitted from every little opening from the ride. The attacking members of Team Psi backed away from the ride when this started, all worried about something crazy happening that might cause them more trouble. It took a minute before Bertrum finally started slowing down before grinding to a halt. The doors slowly closed on the face/head of the former amusement park builder.

Everyone waited in the silence for a few minutes before they all sighed in pure relief, glad that this fight was over. Max went over to the bench that his phone was still recording under as Lady Noir quietly whispered, "Plagg, claws in." and Mister Bug quietly whispered, "Tikki, spots off." When the heroes returned to their civilian selves, the two Kwamis floated next to their current holders, both were relieved that everyone was okay.

As soon as Max got to the bench, he knelt as used his left hand to search for his phone. Once he found it, he pulled it out from under the bench and quickly inspected the device. "Okay, my phone isn't damaged and it still recorded everything," the techie said as he checked the video that was just recorded. He let out a soft sigh when he saw and heard that it didn't catch the Miraculous Transformation phrase. Max then said as he looked up at the rest of his team just in time to see Norman pull down the 3rd lever in the now open door, "But it only saw the bottom of the bench during most of the fight." That last line was more to tell everyone that it didn't catch the heroes on film.

Kim shrugged when he said, "Well, it heard the fight, so good enough."

Marinette then said, "And we just found the next switch."

Norman looked at Bertrum one last time before he said, "Shame what happened to Mr Peidmont, but judging by the Audio Log, it sounds like he was also at fault in this... *Sigh* Cassandra and I use to love those kinds of rides when we were teens."

"Cassandra?" Adrien asked in confusion.

That was when Norman replied as he turned to the blonde, "My younger sister. Her name's Cassandra Polk, but everyone tends to call her-"

"Cassy," Max interrupted as he looked at Norman with wide eyes.

Norman turned to the techie when he said, "Yeah, it's her nickname. How'd you know that?"

"Um, before I give a definitive answer, did your sister have any distinguishing characteristics?" Max asked, but judging by his tone, he seemed to already know the answer.

 Even though he was a bit confused by the question, Norman replied with, "She's got a beauty mark under her right eye near her nose." He moved his hand to indicate where it would be located on his face, before remembering that he didn't have one anymore. The Projectionist then asked, "Is that distinguishing enough?"

Max nodded before he said, "Yes, it is."

Kim scratched his head when he asked, "Wait a minute, what are the odds that Norman's sister has the same nickname and beauty mark as Aunt Cassy?"

Max glanced at Kim when he replied, "Pretty high if they're the same person."

Kim couldn't help but say, "Ah, that makes sense... Wait... *Realization* Oh, Wow, just... Just... Small world."

That was when Adrien asked, "Um, mind filling the rest of us in on this?" Marinette and the Kwamis nodded in agreement.

Max quickly explained that a family friend that he knows as "Aunt Cassy" is Norman's younger sister. The techie stated that she kept in touch with his grandparents even after her brother "disappeared". Marinette couldn't help but comment in a rather surprised tone, "Okay, I agree with Kim on his statement." That was something that all of Team Psi could agree on.

"I do hate to ruin the moment," Adrien got out before he added, "But can we get out of here this area? I'm starting to smell something a weird and it seems like it's coming from Bertrum." That wasn't a lie, there was a rather strange smell that was lingering in the air that did seem like it was coming from the destroyed octopus ride.

That was something that they all could agree on, so it might be a good idea to head on out.

 Max looked at the active camera before he said, "Well, I think it would be a good idea to end this Log. I know we haven't gone over everything that has happened, but I think it's best not to linger around here for too long and this Log is long enough. So Max of Team Psi, signing off." And with that, he ended the video and then slid it back into his pocket.

Team Psi then left the area and returned to the Haunted House to pull lever #3 and followed the charge on the cable to their next task. They came to a metal door that was opening, over it was a sign that read "Maintenance". They trooped into the hall to see a few posters of Cartoon Bendy inside a train and the words "Choo Choo" graffitied on the walls several times.

Adrien and Marinette stopped in front of the first "Choo Choo" while Markov, Norman, and Boris stopped in front of one of the posters, they were wondering what these train references were supposed to mean. Kim and Max continued walking down the hall, only glancing at the writings and posters. However, the moment they passed an arch in the hallway, a door suddenly slammed shut and separating the jock and techie from the rest of the team.

Adrien was the first to bang on the door when he said, "Kim! Max! You alright?" Hoping that the two in question could hear him.

That was when Marinette, Adrien, Plagg, Tikki, Norman, Boris, and Markov heard the Walkie-Talkie spring to life when they heard Max's voice say, "*Kshz* Guys, what happened? Is everyone alright? *Kshz*"

Marinette answered the device when she said into it, "Yeah, we're fine. Looks like the door closing mechanism was triggered somehow and now it won't open on our end. But what about you two?"

They heard Kim's voice come through the Walkie-Talkie this time when he said, "*Kshz* We're okay, but the door isn't opening on our end either. Guess it's just going to be me and Max for this switch task. *Kshz*"

Adrien took the Walkie-Talkie before he said into the device, "Just be careful, okay. I mean, after Bertrum it's best to air on the side of caution."

That was when they heard Kim's voice emit from the device when he replied, "*Kshz* Irony aside from me saying this, but you don't have to tell us twice." Then they heard Max's voice say, "That is ironic. *Kshz*"

Marinette took the Talkie back when she told the two on the other end, "Just proceed with caution and alert us to any trouble or updates on getting to the switch, okay?"

"*Kshz* 10-4," Kim's voice emitted from the device before they heard Max's voice say, "Kim, you know you don't have to say that over these right?" That was when Kim replied with, "Yeah, but it just feels right to say it over the Walkie-Talkies. *Kshz*"

Marinette and Adrien gave each other a knowing look as they rolled their eyes at the other's antics. Norman did ask what Kim and Max were referring to and Markov happily explained that Kim liked to watch police dramas and uses the "radio language" that they use in the shows when talking over the phone. The AI also explained that both Max and Kim enjoy watching a long-running crime drama called "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (1) and tend to use a few phrases and lingo from the show. Marinette and Adrien did have to simplify some of what Markov said to Boris and Norman so they would understand a little better.

Suddenly the Walkie-Talkie sparked to life when they heard Max ask them in a rather soft tone, as if he were whispering into the device, "*Kshz* Um, this is going to sound bizarre but is Norman with you? *Kshz*"

Boris, Markov, Tikki, Plagg, and Adrien looked up at Norman, who tilted his head to the side in confusion, as Marinette replied into the device, "He's standing right next to us. Why do you ask?"

}{ On the Other Side of the Door }{

Both Kim and Max were peaking behind the corner of a wall that had a descending staircase that leads into a flooded area, and from what little they could see from their positions, there seemed to be what looks like two train engines sitting side by side. Parallel to the stair was a Little Miracle Station, which was perfect because of the enemy that was currently skulking by in the ink below.

Max gulped before he replied softly into the Walkie-Talkie, "Uh, because there's another Ink Creature that looks just like him in this area and I needed confirmation that it wasn't Norman before try we approach them."

Kim then leaned over and said into the device, "And if this Projectionist is anything like Norman was, then we already have a problem. There isn't anything we can use as weapons and I doubt either of us can take this guy on with just our fists."

That was when Marinette replied through the device, "*Kshz* Avoid combat with them! Trust me on this, Norman was stronger than he looks, still is. So I'm going to assume that this Other Projectionist is just as strong as Norman. Is there a Miracle Station there? *Kshz*"

Both Max and Kim looked at the wooden structure when the shorter said into the device, "Affirmative, so we can run into that if needed."

"*Kshz* Good, I'm going to Cataclysm the door so Adrien and I can take care of the other Projectionist. Uh, maybe Adrien can keep them tied up with the yo-yo while we find the switch. It might be a little weird for us to fight that Projectionist with Norman with us." That was when the two heard Norman say, "Long as Adrien doesn't try the stunt you did, I'm not goin' to complain about what you do with the other guy as long as you don't mix us up. *Kshz*"

Kim and Max quickly glanced at each other in concern before they turned their attention to the metal door that currently separated them from the rest of the team.

}{ Back with the Others }{

Marinette quickly transformed into Kitty Noire and summoned the Cataclysm. "Alright, stay out of the way for this," Kitty Noire said as she walked up to the closed metal door, the others quickly moved out of the way. She then touched the door with the hand that was charged with the Cataclysm energy. As expected the door colour did turn to a dark shade of rust.

Kitty Noire, Adrien, Markov, and Norman uttered a "Yes!" While Boris clapped his hands in accomplishment.

The joy turned to shock and disbelief when ink seeped from above the arch and dribbled down the now rusted door. Once the ink cleared, the door was like it was before taking the Cataclysm.

"I don't understand," Tikki stated, waving her paws at the undamaged door, then asked in a bout of confusion, "How did Cataclysm fail? I mean, how did the ink fix what Cataclysm destroyed? Only the Ladybug's Miraculous Cure can undo what Cataclysm does!" It was obvious that this weird event was freaking the Kwami of Creation out of her little skin.

"Plagg, claws in," Kitty Noire said with an aggravated sigh. These words transformed her back into Marinette. Adrien pulled out a piece of camembert for the black Kwami to eat when the bluette said, "I'm not sure, but what I do know that this proves that the Ink is sentient in a way and to an extent."

Plagg swallowed the cheese before he said, "Um, not to make bad news worse, but doesn't this also mean that Kim and Max are definitely on their own for this?"

Now everyone had the 'Oh shit!' look on their face (Well, Norman doesn't have a face but his body language indicated the expression).

}{ On the Other Side of the Door }{

After receiving the strange news, Max and Kim were just as stun at the whole thing as the others.

"We'll locate the last switch. In the meanwhile, try to find something to force the door open if it doesn't open after we throw the switch," Max said into the device as he glanced at the Other Projectionist a floor below.

That was when Kim said into the Walkie-Talkie, "Guess this also means that the two of us are going to have to be like Solid Snake (2) in this."

"*Kshz* Excuse me? *Kshz*" Adrien replied over the device in confusion.

Max quickly replied, "Metal Gear character known for being the best when it comes to stealth. Kim and I sometimes Co-Op in that game." He then glanced at the two train engines that sat motionless in the flooded room before he said into the device, "This area appears to be much smaller than Level 14 so it might be easier to get cover. But we're still going to have to be careful though."

}{ With the Rest of the Team }{

Marinette bit her lip when she said into the device, "Please do. The rest of us will try to find something that can open the door."

Kim replied with, "*Kshz* 10-4, and don't worry, we'll keep you updated on our progress. *Kshz*" With that, the Walkie-Talkie went silent.

Norman noticed how tense Marinette was when he asked, "You're still goin' to worry about them, aren't you?"

Marinette fidgetted a bit when she said in a slightly frantic tone, "They're on their own! How can I not worry! I mean, I trust and know that they can do this task, but I can't help it! After everything that we've faced so far and all the things we learned, I'm just scared that something is going to happen and we're not going to be able to help them!"

Tikki floated over and patted Marinette's cheek when she said, "It's normal to worry about your friends when you know that certain situations are dangerous, especially think kind. But don't forget that they are Holders too." The little red Kwami was trying to both calm Marinette down and make her understand that her friends are capable of defending themselves.

That was when Plagg said, "Yeah, but they don't have their Miraculous or Kwamis with them."

Adrien glared at the black Kwami when he said, "Plagg, Not Helping."

Markov couldn't help but say, "May I point out that that we do trust Kim and Max in this endeavour and we should do our part by finding something to break down the door so that we may assist them if needed." The AI said this more to calm the bluette down rather than aggravate the situation.

Adrien placed a hand on Marinette's shoulder when he said, "Bugaboo, I get it, we just fought a huge opponent and we got another enemy that's just looming over us watching our every move. You're just worried that something unexpected is going to happen and we're not going to be able to save our friends. I am too, but both Kim and Max are capable of taking care of themselves and I'm sure they'll find and throw the switch we need without even alerting that other Projectionist." This helped the bluette calm down a bit.

With that Norman and Boris signalled the AI, heroes, and Kwamis to follow them out of the hall to search for something or anything that can break the metal door down. They might've trusted the athlete and techie to accomplish the task, but that still didn't stop them from worrying about them.

~}i{ Outside the Studio }i{~

Viperion confronted Madame Emerald and Bunnyx about their strange behaviour, it took a good number of Second Chances to achieve it, but the two eventually told the older teen what they knew. About what Future Bunnyx told them and to say that Viperion was shocked at finding out that Ladybug and Chat Noir were half of the team trapped inside Joey Drew Studios was a literal understatement. The Snake Holder knew that they had to tell the rest of the team, and maybe confront Horseshoe about the news from the future.

So now the Temporary Heroes were having an emergency meeting. And Bunnyx, Madame Emerald, and Viperion told Mitsubachi, Drak-Kon, and Horseshoes what they knew and how they knew it. The elderly hero seemed to pale at this before he sighed and told the temporary heroes the truth. Though Alix was serious about maybe beating down on whoever gave a pair of inexperienced heroes Miraculous, but after learning that that was how he was trained and how he was supposed to select potential heroes, Alix was less willing to punch him... Okay, yeah she was still gripping on that issue but it's not like she could punch Master Fu's teachers.

Viperion told Master Fu that what he was taught was both outdated and counter-productive in this era. And Master Fu had to agree... Especially now that he realized just how important teamwork was between the heroes, he told the temporary heroes this.

"Perhaps I should've allowed Ladybug and Chat Noir to learn of each other's identities sooner. While I'm not sure about the whole thing with them being sent to Joey Drew Studios, I believe it could've helped prevent that liar from getting as far as she did with their civilian lives," Master Fu said with sadness in his voice.

That was when Drak-Kon asked, "Dude, does that means we can tell each other who we are under the mask?"

Wang Fu gave the heroes a small smile when he said, "Yes."

The heroes couldn't help but smile at one another.

But an Akuma Alert interrupted the moment. So they decided that they'll reveal their identities to each other after they take care of the Akuma.

~}i{ Inside Joey Drew Studios }i{~

Kim and Max patiently waited for the Other Projectionist to sulk past the stair before the even attempted to go down. They descended cautiously and quietly, so as not to alert the enemy. They were able to see the two train engines sitting side by side in the ink-filled room. The two grimaced when they saw a wooden crate that had a rather large pile of disembodied hearts from other Ink Creatures. Gross! They quietly followed the Other Projectionist, at a safe distance so that they weren't seen and wouldn't be taken by surprise if they were to turn around. Soon they were close to the front of the train on the left side of the room. Kim and Max could easily see another flight of stairs that lead up to another area, but it was blocked off by a lift that was piled high with heavy-looking bags. There was an Audio Log on top of a wooden crate near the lift with the bags, but both teens agreed wordlessly that it would be a bad idea to listen to it now with the Other Projectionist in hearing range. Maybe they could swipe the Audio Log on their way back after finding the switch they needed.

Max and Kim carefully peered around the train they were at to see the Other Projectionist move towards another switch that was labelled "Lift Control". The logical conclusion was that that switch was to raise and lower the lift blocking the staircase. Max signalled to Kim that they needed to get to the switch. The taller of the two nodded at that. They patiently waited for the Other Projectionist to turn right at the train before they quietly made their way to the switch and passing by another wooden crate that had also had a large pile of disembodied hearts from other Ink Creatures. Again, Gross! But it did raise the question of why did some of the Ink Creatures want the hearts of the other Ink Creatures? Twisted Alice Angel needed them, since she literally gave them a task that involved collecting them... Urg! Think about that gross idea for after they get away from the Other Projectionist.

They peered around the head of the train on the right, just in time to see the Other Projectionist turn right at the end of the train. The moment the Other Projectionist was out of sight, they took the opportunity to throw the switch. The moment it was thrown, the lift started rising and unblocking the stairway they needed to get up. However, the lift was loud and it alerted the Other Projectionist to Kim and Max's presents. The Other Projectionist's made a screech before their light was trained right on the duo before they started charging at them.

"Shit!" both boys uttered as they bolted towards the now open stairs. They would've gone for the Little Miracle Station, but the Other projectionist was blocking that stairway, so they had no choice but to go up the other stairs and just hoped that the Other Projectionist didn't climb the stairs or there was another Miracle Station upstairs. Much to the boys' horror, the Other Projectionist followed them up the stairs. Luckily, they were a lot faster than the Other Projectionist.

When they got to the top of the stairs, they realized that it was just a balcony all around. Max spotted the switch they needed on the other side, so he and Kim raced over towards it as the Other Projectionist closed in on them. "Kim, flip the switch as quickly as you can! Then we'll head to the Miracle Station!" Max shouted as they rushed towards their target. Kim only nodded as he raced ahead towards the switch. The moment the taller teen got to it, he immediately yanked the switch down.

The moment the switch was activated, pure darkness enveloped the entire area. Kim, who's adrenaline was still pumping through his system, didn't register it until he collided with Max, who was right behind him.

As the lights slowly turned back on, the duo stood back to their feet as they quickly glanced around. They immediately noticed something was missing from the scene.

They looked over the balcony to give the area a complete lookover when Kim said in a bit of a frantic tone because of the adrenaline still in his system, "Okay, what the hell happened? The Other Projectionist just! Just up and vanished without a trace! I know I shouldn't complain about it, but come on! They were right behind us one second and then they weren't!"

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he said in a slightly winded tone, "I agree with you on that..." He looks around the area again for any signs of the Other Projectionist but didn't see any. Max sighed before saying, "But since when does anything weird that happens here make any logical sense?"

Kim couldn't help but reply, "Good point..." They start making their way to the stairs when the taller said, "Let's log the Audio Log and then radio the others to tell them what happened." Max agreed before they headed for the stairs. When they reached the bottom of the stairs, they made their way over to the crate with the Audio Log. Max pulled his phone out of his pocket and readied the recording app, once he nodded, Kim pressed the play button for the Audio Log.

The Voice of Joey Drew filled the air from the Audio Log when he said, "I believe there's something special in all of us." Kim and Max couldn't help but roll their eyes at this as the Audio Log continued, "With true inner strength, you can conquer even your biggest challenges. You just have to believe in yourself and remain honest, motivated, and above all, who you really are... Okay, let's stop right there. I can only do so many takes of this trash a day." Max and Kim couldn't help but gasp in shock at the sudden change of tone and wording. The Audio Log continued in Joey Drew's voice, "And tell the guys in writing I want more use of the word dreaming in every message. Keep railing on that, get it? Dreaming! Dreaming! Dreaming! People just eat up that kind of slop. Hmm... What? It's still on? Well, turn it off, damn it!" With that, the Audio Log ended with a click.

"Well, now... That was telling," Max commented as he just stared at the tape recorder.

Kim folded his arms when he said, "No kidding. What a lousy hypocrite! Okay, given what we've already learned from the other Audio Logs, Norman, and the Lost Ones, this isn't that much of a surprise but the bastard doesn't even believe the crap he spews! And again, another parallel to Lila! Maybe Boris' theory about them being related has some merits after all."

Max couldn't help but say, "Yeah, I can't help but agree with that..." He then stopped the recording and titled it accordingly as Kim pulled the Walkie-Talkie out of Max's pack and radioed the others.

"Guys, we threw the last switch and we're heading back to the door," Kim said into the device. He then added as he and Max walked towards the entrance stairs when he added, "We found another Log from Mr Drew and the Other Projectionist seemed to have vanished after we threw the switch."

"*Kshz* You sure? *Kshz*" Marinette's worried voice came through the device in a curious tone.

Kim then said into the Talkie, "Yeah, we're sure. It's weird, but then again this hellhole isn't exactly built on logic. Right, Max?" The techie verbally agreed as they made it to the base of the stairs. "Listen, we're going to head up the stairs to see if the door's open, so we'll see you soon."

Marinette's relieved voice came through the device again when she said, "*Kshz* Alright, we'll head back too, and we're glad you two are okay. See you soon. *Kshz*"

"She was worried about us, wasn't she?" Max asked with a small smile, but judging by the tone he was using, he already knew the answer to that.

Kim placed the Talkie back into Max's pack when he said, "Yeah, but we can't blame her. I mean, after our run-in with Mr Piedmont, I'm sure we'd still worry if it was them here instead of us." Max mumbled something along the lines of having a point before they started on their way up the stairs.

The moment their feet touched the first steps of the stairs, a sudden light flashed from behind them that was accompanied by the screech of the Other Projectionist. Without thinking on both their parts, Kim and Max bolted up the stairs right towards the Little Miracle Station. The taller quickly opened the door to the wooden structure as they both squeezed into it and then closed the door as soon as both of them were in. And just in time as the Other Projectionist reached the top of the stairs.

The Other Projectionist looked around the vicinity before their projection lends landed on the Little Miracle Station. They tilted their head to the side as if they were confused as to what the structure was. Max and Kim could feel their hearts stop as the Other Projectionist took a step forward as they reached a hand out towards the Miracle Station.

Suddenly, Max's vision wrapped as the Other Projectionist let out a screech as they turned to look at something that was out of the duo's sightline. A few seconds later a black figure rushed into the two's sight and started fighting with the Other Projectionist.

"Bendy?" Max murmured as he and Kim watched the Ink Demon punch the Other Projectionist in the gut. The taller of the two wrapped an arm around the shorter's shoulders and pulled the other close as the battle between the two Ink Creatures continued.

The battle came to an end when Ink Bendy grabbed the Other Projectionist by the throat and hoisted them into the air. The Ink Demon then ripped the Other Projectionist's head right off their body. Max's visioned cleared when the Ink Demon dropped the inky corpses. Ink Bendy then threw the Other Projectionist's head at the Miracle Station, causing the duo to flinch at the impact.

That was when Ink Bendy seemed to notice that the Little Miracle Station was occupied and fear was the only thing that Kim and Max could feel in that moment.

}i{ With the Rest of the Team }i{

A chill raced down Plagg's spine as the group made their way back to the Maintenance Department. Tikki noticed the other Kwami's sudden stop and asked, "What's wrong?"

Plagg wrapped his paws around himself when he said, "Please tell me you're joking?! You didn't feel that?"

The others watched (minus Markov since he can't "see" them, but he can hear them so he's just turning towards the sound) the Kwamis' interactions when Tikki replied as she tilted her head to the side, "You mean that exciting feeling? Yes, I feel it, but why is it making you uneasy?"

"Seriously?! You don't feel it?! That creepy feeling that just oozes danger?!" Plagg practically shouted in distress. His whiskers were vibrating in nervousness during this.

Adrien got between the two Kwamis when he said, "Plagg, take some deep breaths and calm down for a bit, okay?" The black Kwami took a few long, deep breaths. Once Plagg was calmer, Adrien asked, "Now, please explain what you mean by this "Creepy Feeling" and why you think Tikki should be feeling it too?"

Plagg fidgetted a bit before saying, "I don't know how else to describe it. It just makes me feel like someone is shoving a block of ice to me in an unpleasantly creepy way. And I just figured Tikki could feel that sensation two since we both can sense stuff you guys can't..."

Tikki tilted her head to the side in confusion when she said, "The only things I've felt this excited feeling and Buddy's mind. I haven't felt what you've felt Plagg."

Norman looked at Boris at this statement. The Cartoon Wolf had a thoughtful look on his face before he realized that the red Kwami was right.

Marinette couldn't help but ask, "Excited feeling? How often do you feel that?"

Tikki thought about it for a bit before finally saying, "I've felt it a good number of times since we've entered this place, but I haven't been able to pinpoint where it's coming from. It's like a presence that seems to linger in the background unseen." The red Kwami placed a paw to her chin when she added, "I wonder if that excited feeling belongs to our mysterious helper?"

Plagg shuttered when he said, "Well, I'm sure that the creepy feeling belongs to the Ink Demon thing... 'Cause I always seem to get this feeling when he's near."

That was when Markov interrupted by saying, "Hold on, if the Ink Demon is near then... Where are the usual signs of him being here? You know, the ink webs and the disembodies audio of a heartbeat that appears a few seconds before the Ink Demon does?"

"Markov's got a point," Norman said as he looked around the area. He then said, "Bit I'm not seein' or hearin' any of those, unless..."

Adrien, Marinette, Markov, Boris, and the Kwamis looked at each other in realization as their expressions quickly morphed into "Oh Shit!"

Suddenly the sound of metal being ripped out of place echoed through the air and it sounded like it was coming from the Maintenance Department.

A collective "Shit!" emitted from the groups' mouths as they immediately stormed toward the Maintenance Department, hoping for the best but fearing the worst.

Their hearts stopped when they came to the arch that used to have the metal door blocking the way, but now the door was ripped right out of place and was bent a bit and leaning against the left wall. There was also a trail of ink, that looked like something was dragged, that ended at the wall parallel to the severed door. The ink trail ended where a splatter of ink formed on the ground and a projector was laying on the ground, spitting ink as if it were blood.

"Oh, Kwami! What the hell happened?!" Marinette exclaimed before she paled and rushed into the area as she shouted, "MAX! KIM!" The others immediately followed.

The door to the Little Miracle Station opened with a creak before Kim and Max stepped out. "We're okay guys," the taller of the two said with a relieved sigh before he added, "Spooked, but okay."

Marinette sprang to the two and pulled them into a hug. While the initial shock did stun them for a bit, they returned the gesture more so to comfort their worried friend than anything. The bluette pulled away slightly from the two when she said in an relieved tone, "I'm so glad you guys are okay."

"Us too, but we had two close calls," Max said before turning his attention to the projector in the pool of ink. The techie shuttered a bit before he said, "That Projectionist heard us flip the switch to move the lift and chased us up until Kim threw the lever we needed."

That was when Kim interjected with, "But when I did, the lights turned off and the guy up and vanished into thin air. We couldn't see them anywhere in the area until they suddenly appeared the moment we came up these stairs." He indicated the flight of stair right next to the team. Kim then turned to the Miracle Station when he said, "We ducked in there, but it seemed like the guy wasn't affected by whatever protective charm this thing has against Ink Creatures. The dude was about to open the Station when the Ink Demon suddenly appeared."

Max pushed his glasses up with his left hand when he said, "My vision wrapped a bit as he fought the Other Projectionist, and well... *Indicates the ink trail* It's kinda obvious who won that fight. But that wasn't the scary part..." The techie shuttered at the memory of what happened.

Kim bit his lip before he said, "The Ink Demon KNEW we were in the Miracle station! He was looking right at us before he dragged the body away! He KNEW we were there!" He then rubbed one of his arms when he said, "I'm starting to think that the "Feel Familiar" Miracle Station might've been a dud or something if it didn't work... Maybe this *indicates the Miracle Station next to them* one is on it's way to becoming a dud too."

Markov raised a virtual brow when he asked, "While I will agree that your story is certainly a frightening one, I do notice some... Strangeness in it is also telling..."

"Uh, would anyone mind continuing this conversation away from this area?" Norman asked before glancing at the Other Projectionist's head, that was still spitting ink. He shutters when he said, "This... Is a little too close for comfort, if you know what I mean."

Yeah... Might be a good idea to head over to the haunted house attraction...

As Team Psi made their way to throw the final switch to power on the haunted house ride, Max shared the Joey Drew Audio Log they found in the Maintenance Department. The rest of the team had the same reaction Kim and Max did when they first heard it. There were a few unsavoury words thrown about (on Norman's part), but the words used weren't considered bad now as it did back then and the teens didn't understand them anyway. (Ah, swears and derogatory terms are such a product of the times... But I'm still not repeating them because, well, they're still being used unpleasantly).

"Okay, I'm making it official," Marinette said after taking a good deep breath. The bluette looked at Boris when she said, "Buddy, you're theory HAS to be right if there's THAT much of a personality resemblance between Joey Drew and Lila! Urg! It's like they're somehow the same person!" Boris placed a hand on the bluette's shoulder, so try to calm her down. Marinette signed when she said, "On the upside, we got proof that Joey Drew wasn't the sweet, kind, personable guy that he made himself to be. Though, I'm not sure how much good it'll do us now."

Max tucked his phone back into his pocket when he said, "I don't know how Grandpa Ri became "pals" with Mr Drew but I'm so glad he ended that "friendship" with him... *Looks up at Norman* I wish you left the studio with him."

Norman shrugged his shoulders slightly when he said, "Nothin' can be done about it now... And admittedly, I could've left whenever I wanted before all this shit happened, but... I remember hearin' somethin' comin' from under the floorin' of the Projection Booth. It was the same sound I kept hearin' it in certain places in the studio, somethin' from below, and it wasn't construction noise since all this *indicates the games and the decor* happened after I got turned into an Ink Creature... I know I wanted to find out since it didn't sound like anythin' that would normally be heard in an animation studio, I remember Joey tellin' me that it was just my imagination but I knew it wasn't... I don't remember if I even found out what the sound was..."

Markov tapped his claw under his visor when he said, "That's a curious statement because you are implying that Mr Drew was hiding something in the studio and not telling the employees about it."

Norman threw the switch labelled #4 and then the final lever to power on the haunted house when he said, "After all that we've learned so far, it wouldn't surprise me if he did and it was somehow responsible for the ink or somethin' along that line."

Team Psi cautiously walked up to the now open haunted house ride to see a track with three cars lined up sitting idle in front of the wall that had the words "Turn Back" graffitied on it.

Kim read the words before he said, "Yeah, I don't think that's an option at this point." The other's murmured in agreement before they made their way to the cars.

After a quick discussion, Marinette and Adrien sat in the first car with the Kwamis, Kim and Max sat in the middle car with Markov sitting in the techie's lap, and Boris and Norman sat in the last car. As soon as they were seated the ride started up. They quickly glanced at each other when they questioned, "Who started the ride?"

That was when they heard the Twisted Alice Angel over the speakers as the ride moved forward, "And now the ride truly begins, Henry. *The cars pass the wooden gate that opened for the cars to pass through before closing behind them*. Come in, and pretend it's all just a bad dream." The haunted house... Wasn't all that scary, the whole thing was outdated and cheesy, especially the jumpscares... Even Boris wasn't even frightened.

That was when Max said as he looked around for some kind of camera, "Ms Campbell, I'm not Henry! I'm his grandson!"

That was when they heard the Twisted Alice Angel snap in anger, "Don't try to lie to me, Henry! I HATE liars! You should know why, right Henry?" Max and everyone else flinched at that. The Twisted Alice Angel then said, "It's a funny thing. How so much can fall apart so fast." Another cheesy jumpscare popped up, it wasn't really scary in all honestly. The Twisted Alice Angel continued, "We never really had control at the studio. Either you in someone's pocket, or you were putting someone into yours. I just wanted what was promised to me. I just wanted to be beautiful! Surely all of you can understand that."

The words seemed to have a very clear meaning behind them, and Team Psi wasn't liking it.

As the ride continued on the path already laid, Max tried to talk to the human side of the twisted angel, if it were still there, "Ms Campbell, I'm telling the truth. Henry's my grandfather. I didn't know he worked here until recently. Please, can we just talk about this? And... We're willing to listen and maybe we can help you out, as long as you leave Boris, Tikki, and Plagg alone." The three in question couldn't help but gulp in fear.

"I thought I told you that I HATE LIARS!" Twisted Alice snapped in anger before she seethed out, "And my name is Alice Angel. You should know that by now Henry!"

Boris latched onto Norman's arm in fear as the Projectionist said, "Somethin' tells me she's beyond reasoning with. She's not even takin' into consideration that Max looks younger than Henry did when he worked here..."

That was when Marinette asked, "But is she beyond saving? I mean, yeah she's done some messed up shit here, but that's because of the Ink, right?" But even to her own ears, it sounded like the bluette was reaching.

Adrien couldn't help but say, "Maybe we should hold off on the Purifying thing until we can figure out if we have an object of Ms Campbell's and if she's able to be saved. For everyone's sake." That was something all of Team Psi had to agree with, even Marinette.

That was when they heard the Twisted Alice Angel say over the speakers, "Do all of you just enjoy the terror of the drop into hell? Because if that's the case... Hang on tight. I've got a surprise for all of you..." With that, the cars took Team Psi past a pair of doors with a giant skull painted on them, and they entered what appeared to be a ballroom with nice gothic horror decor that was packed full of wooden barrels, wooden crates, Bendy ride cart, wooden chairs, and a pile of filled bags stacked high on a wooden pallet.

"Okay, gotta admit, this isn't so bad," Kim said as he looked up at the spooky paintings decorating the walls.

Marinette couldn't help but say as the cars followed the tracks around the room, "Famous last words, Kim. But I'll agree on the decor not being bad."

The doors that allowed them in closed behind them as the cars moved closer to another pair of wooden doors that lead out of the Haunted Ballroom. That was when Plagg said, "Umm, guys... I'm getting that creepy feeling again, but on a much smaller scale..."

Markov couldn't help but ask as the doors in front of them opened into the darkness to allow them to pass, "May I inquire what that means?"

Suddenly, a pair of robotic-looking arms appeared out of the darkness and gripped the front of the first car, stopped them in place and causing the riders to lurch forward. Team Psi looked forward just in time to see a pair of yellow glowing eyes staring back at them through the darkness. As the creature moved out of the darkness and into the light, it shoved the cars back with almost inhuman strength. What they saw made it feel like their guts sank into the seats of the cars they were in. This Ink Creature had the appearance of a Boris with glowing yellow eyes and a metal torso that made it look bigger than it already was (3).

"What the heck is that?!"

~}i{~

To be Continued in Chapter 4 pt 4: Colossal Wonders of Sorrows.

~}i{~

1) I am not going to deny that I enjoy this series, and have watched every episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Original), CSI: NY, CSI: Miami, and CSI: Cyber since I have discovered the series. And to answer some of the questions so no one has to add them to the comments...

I liked the original the best while I like Miami the least. I wished that they continued with Cyber because I thought it was tapping into some good psychology and methodology ground. Mac Taylor and "Doc" Albert Robbins are my favourite characters across all the CSIs. I have rewatched each series at least twice and I would've done more rewatching on all of them until they pulled Cyber off the air (So I've only seen each ep of Cyber twice, but I've watched the others more times). I own my favourite episodes of each CSI series on Itunes. I do understand the scientific talk they use in the show and have used them in real life. And lastly, I plan on tuning into the premiere of CSI: Vegas (a reboot of the original CSI series) in October in 2021 (CSI's 21st anniversary!).

2) I don't play Metal Gear, but I know what it refers to. It's basically a video game character who is known for his stealth abilities. Here's his wiki link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid_Snake#:~:text=Solid%20Snake%20was%20apparently%20named,in%20Escape%20from%20New%20York.&text=According%20to%20Kojima%2C%20he%20was,are%20a%20symbol%20of%20stealth.

3) Well, I did need a replacement for Brute Boris in this, since Twisted Alice didn't take our Buddy Boris. Borkis was the perfect candidate for the part. I did modify his appearance a bit in this, more to tell him apart from our Buddy Boris. So I gave Borkis mechanical arms and a chest to make him a bit more distinguished from our Buddy Boris.

~}i{~

Chapter Text

Gale-Dragon: Final part of chapter 4!

~}i{~

Miraculous Adventure in Joey Drew Studio.

Chapter 4 pt 4: Colossal Wonders of Sorrows.

~}i{~

Team Psi just stared at the Mechanical Boris in horror, their Boris especially.

The Mechanical Boris lifted the first car with Adrien, Marinette, and the Kwamis still inside. The cyborg then flung the car, along with the other two connected cars, across the ballroom. The passengers screamed as the cars flew threw the air before they collided with the ground and ejecting the individuals inside.

As Team Psi scurried into standing positions (or flying in Markov's case), the Twisted Alice Alice cackled, "Meet Borkis! I made him from whatever was leftover from all the Boris that I've collected and made him into the perfect weapon for your destruction, Henry!"

"Tikki! Spots On!" Adrien shouted before Tikki was pulled into the earrings. Now he was Mister Bug yet again.

"Plagg! Claws Out!" Marinette shouted before Plagg was pulled into the ring. Now she was Lady Noire yet again.

Norman quickly moved in front of Kim, Max, Markov, and Boris to try to protect them from this Borkis.

As Borkis charged at Team Psi, all of whom scurried away from him, Twisted Alice Angel cackled into the speakers, "And this time the Ink Demon isn't going to be here to help. There's no escape." Borkis ran into the organ as everyone dodged the cyborg. Twisted Alice laughed before she shouted, "Borkis! Tear them apart! Leave nothing! But leave the Boris and the Magic Jewellery intact for me! I want those!" Boris shuttered that the last bit as Borkis lifted a wooden box before throwing it at the heroes and Norman. They easily dodged the oncoming object.

Boris quickly drags Max and Kim to a sturdy looking wooden box. Markov easily followed. The cartoon wolf just wanted them out of Borkis' line of sight.

Borkis threw another object, but this time it hit close to where Max, Kim, Markov, and Boris. Luckily, the box they were hiding behind took the hit, but the box broke into pieces upon impact. Turns out there was an Ink Maker inside. Kim noticed that the dial on the Ink Maker was set to a mug before he asked, "What's this thing doing here?"

Max pushes his glasses when he whispered back, "No idea, but it's a little convenient that it's here." As the battle between Borkis and the Heroes (plus Norman) continued, the small group glanced at each other Kim twisted the dial until the image of a pipe wrench appeared. "Kim, you aren't thinking about..." Max said as he followed the taller teen's sightline. The battle at hand. Max gripped the taller's arm with his left hand when he said in a hushed tone, "Don't even try! Besides, there isn't any Thick Ink to use to make the Ink Maker work!" Morkov and Boris agreed on that.

That was when Borkis ran right into a wall close to where the group was, courtesy of Mister Bug's yo-yo. Borkis' metal chest opened a bit before he seemed to start hacking up. A few coughs later a glob of Thick Ink was forced out of Borkis' chest before the metal plating closed. He then charged back into the battle.

Kim, Max, Boris, and Markov just stared at the Thick Ink as it sat where it fell.

Max pinched the bridge of his nose when he said, "We should stop questioning the environment of this place." Markov agreed as Boris gave the techie a sympathetic pat on the back.

Kim quickly darted for the Thick Ink and tossed it into the Ink Maker. He quickly turned the handle of the Ink Maker and then a pipe wrench popped out of the machine with a ding. Kim picked up the tool and said, "I'm helping, you guys stay put." And with that, the tall teen charged into battle.

~}i{ Outside the Studio }i{~

This Akuma was... Weird... Like it was playing a game of tag or keep away with the Temporary Heroes...

"There is a good chance that Hawkmoth is leading us into a trap," Mitsubachi told the others as they lingered on one of the roofs.

On another rooftop, about three buildings away was the Akuma, Catalyst. When she realized that the heroes weren't following, she stopped and turned around to see where they were.

Drak-Kon rubbed his chin when he asked, "Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this the Akuma that gave Hawkmoth a power boost for that Hero's Day mass Akumatization?" When he got a confirmation from the other heroes, the Dragon Hero then asked, "So... Why did Hawkmoth Akumatized her when they're not planning on using her power?"

Virperion thought back to that day before he said, "Perhaps whoever Catalyst is under that Akuma, might be Mayura." He looked to the other heroes when he said, "As far as we know, she's the only one who's been willing to help Hawkmoth in his plans."

Madame Emerald then asked, "But why Akumatize her rather than use the Peacock Miraculous? That would've certainly make us want to follow her."

Horseshoe was the one to say, "The Peacock Miraculous is still damaged, so that must be the reason why they are using an Akuma rather than the Peacock Miraculous." The younger heroes had to admit that the older hero was making some sense. That also meant that whatever Hawkmoth had a plan he needed Mayura to be able and ready to act, whatever that may be.

Yup, the temporary heroes were going to proceed with caution, and their respective weapons ready to be used. They are certainly not going to be taking any chances. Viperion already said that he'll give them the heads up if it is a trap.

~}i{ Inside the Studio }i{~

"Shit!" Lady Noire said as she, Mister Bug, Norman, and Kim leapt away from Borkis as he started flailing about trying to hit them.

This cyborg seemed to have some kind of power source that just kept him going and going, no matter how many hits he took. Yes, he was taking a lot of damage from the strikes from the attacking members of Team Psi, however... They have been taking just as much damage as they've been giving...

Norman's left shoulder was dislocated. Mister Bug's ankle got twisted, Lady Noire could tell by the way he was flinching when he lands on that leg. Borkis managed to break Kim's left arm, that was something that they had to fix as soon as this fight was over before something worse happens. And Borkis managed to grab Lady Noire by the braid and flung her around trying to hit the others like a flailing mac... THAT HURT DAMMIT! She had to have the braid cut off to get out of that one. Now Lady Noire's hair, or what remained of it, hung over her shoulders that was just able to touch the top of her chest and she was aching all over.

They needed to end this fight, and soon. Kim's arm needed to get into a stable cast and the longer they have to fight Borkis, the higher the chances that Kim's arm won't be able to heal properly.

Luckily, a few sparks were flying off the mechanical cartoon wolf. They had to be close to beating Borkis now! Right?

Max, Boris, and Markov watched helplessly from behind the Ink Maker. The three wanted to do something, now more than ever. The fighters of Team Psi were badly hurt. Max was worried about Kim's arm, which needed to be fixed and soon. The techie glanced at Markov and Boris as they glanced at him. This time around they were going to help out, whether the others want them too or not.

Lady Noire and Mister Bug were in a bind. It was tempting as hell to just use their abilities, but they only had two snacks left for the Kwami each so they had to save those abilities for life and death situations. But holy hell was this starting to turn into one.

Borkis took a step closer as the attacking members of Team Psi readied their respective weapons, prepared for the next attack.

Suddenly, a wide piece of plywood smacked Borkis right over the head. The board broke into pieces upon impact, but it seemed to do some damage to the mechanical monster.

"Boris!" the attacking members exclaimed in shock when they realized what happened. Boris looked at the broken board before he waved at his teammates.

Borkis was sparking intensely as he grabbed Boris by the wrist and then literally flung him towards the wall. The cartoon wolf almost collided with Markov, but the AI was able to bearly avoid the flying wolf. Boris slammed against the wall before falling to the ground.

"I told you to save the Boris for me!" The Twisted Alice Angel snapped at Borkis through the speakers. The mechanical toon didn't give much of a response before he twitched as more sparks flew off of his body.

Lady Noire tightened her grip on her staff. Thing were getting worst, even with all the damage to Borkis... That means... 'Cataclysm might be the only option to defeat this thing!' the female cat hero thought as she and Mister Bug launched another attack as Norman, Kim, and Markov rushed to Boris' aid. That should bring some ease to her but... Borkis is, or was, a living thing... Once a person with a life, personality, loved ones, and dreams of the future... Lady Noire couldn't use Cataclysm on Borkis!

Max quickly pushed up his glasses before he went back to cobbling together what he was making as fast as he could with one working hand. He quickly glanced at the Heroes as they continued to fight Borkis. Max bit his lip as he returned to his task.

~}i{ Outside the Studio }i{~

When the Temporary Heroes learned that Catalyst was leading them somewhere, they expected a trap... NOT Hawkmoth in the flesh!

Wait... Why was the big baddie outside his lair? And why the complicated "lure the heroes in" plan? What the hell is going on?

The Heroes glance at each other before Bunnyx asked Hawkmoth in a somewhat threatening/confused matter, "Alright, Hawkie, what's the sitch(1) with you?"

~}i{ Inside Joey Drew Studios }i{~

"SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!" Mister Bug muttered under his breath as Norman screamed in pure pain before Borkis chucked the Projectionist to the side. The current Ladybug Holder stunned Borkis with a fling of his yo-yo before they scurried over to Norman's side. Kim, Markov, and Boris were already there, looking over the Projectionist. As Borkis sparked violently as the Heroes were at Norman's side.

"Crap!" Lady Noire got out when they saw the condition of Norman's leg, which was clearly broken. The Heroes looked at the sparking Borkis before Lady Noire told Kim and Norman, "Stay put! Mister Bug and I well take care of Borkis!" Then she and the Ladybug wielder leapt back into battle. The four looked on in worry as the hero did.

Despite the sparks and the twitching Borkis was still attacking hard.

Max glanced up from his hiding spot to survey the situation, and quite frankly... It was bad! He then looked at what he made before he took a deep breath. Max was hoping that it will work.

~}i{ Outside the Studio }i{~

"You want us to WHAT!?" Madame Emerald exclaimed in shock. None of the other Heroes could blame her, and, to be honest, their reactions were the same as her. They couldn't believe what they had just heard from the villain that was terrorizing Paris for over a year.

"Must you shout?" Hawkmoth asked after taking his hands away from his ears. He was expecting them to be surprised, but what he didn't expect were their verbal reactions to his request.

"Can you freaking blame us!?" Madame Emerald shouted in disbelief. She then snapped, "Do you know HOW much grief you put Paris through?! How much pressure you added to the daily lives of the citizens?! Do you not know just How much you're hated in Paris?! And now you've got the gulls to think that YOU have any right to ask US for help?!"

That was when Drak-Kon put in, "She's got a point. Which makes me ask the question, why should we help you? Heck, the only thing I'm sure we're thinking of is ripping that Miraculous right off your chest. So again, why should we help you?"

Mitsubachi then said as she readied her spinning top, "Meaning that you should give us as many reasons as to why we shouldn't wipe the floor with you and why we would want to help you in whatever it is you want." The Bee Holder wanted to get straight to the point since there was no reason to beat around the bush so to speak, that was something the Dragon Holder liked about her.

Hawkmoth touched the Miraculous on his collar. He knew what he was going to do... He had to... "I... Want to make a trade... You... You help me with two things and I'll... I'll relinquish mine Miraculous and the Peacock Miraculous."

Horseshoe, Viperion, Drak-Kon, Bunnyx, Mitsubachi, and Madame Emerald glanced at each other in a look of disbelief. What the Hell did they just hear?! Hawkmoth was willing to give them the two Miraculous he had just to help him with two things?! Just what the hell does Hawkmoth need their help with if he was willing to do THAT?!

~}i{ Inside Joey Drew Studios }i{~

Things just keep getting WORSE!

How the HELL could Borkis still be able to move and still have that much power even after all that damage! Borkis was sparking and twitching from the damage but he didn't seem like he was going to stop anytime soon.

Mister Bug and Lady Noire needed to beat him soon! The Ladybug Holder HAD to cast the Miraculous Cure to fix Kim's arm and Norman's leg if they wanted to continue on their mission! That was worth the use of Special Ability!

At the moment the Heroes were both keeping Borkis away from their injured friends while trying to take him down at the same time. So far, just the keeping away from friends part of this was working. Shit! This was getting to the point where-

Suddenly something was jammed into right lower side of Borkis' chest. Something made of metal pipes of different sizes, gears, and duct tape. It kind of looked like a pronged, make-shift trident that just dug into the fleshy part of the cartoon cyborg's body. Borkis was now sparking like crazy as he twitched and jolted at both the impact and the object speared into part of his chest.

Max took a step back as his handiwork went into action.

"Max? What the heck did you make?" Mister Bug asked as he watched Borkis seem to be breaking down.

Max gulp as he pushed his glasses up before he said, "I just cobbled together something to disrupt Borkis' movements so you guys could take him down. But I didn't expect it to do That." It was true, Max thought if he hindered the cyborg's movements enough, then Mister Bug and Lady Noire would be able to take Borkis down without using their Special Abilities. Though the Miraculous Cure is still going to have to be used for Kim and Norman.

Lady Noire couldn't help but say, "Not how you intended it to happen, but we have the chance to defeat him so we'll take it."

Both Mister Bug and Lady Noire got their weapons ready to strike, but that was when they were suddenly shoved to the side by a now enraged Borkis. What was worse was the fact that the cyborg now had one of his massive hands around Max's upper body, leaving only his head with a shock and pained look on his face. The Heroes paled when they realized this and tried to charge Borkis to free their friend.

Borkis practically had an aura of yellow sparks that flew off his body in droves, more so from the prong clinging to his side. Borkis tightened his grip on Max, who was now struggling to breathe as he tried to wiggle out of the iron grip of the cyborg.

Before Mister Bug and Lady Noir could even get close enough to save their friend, Borkis threw Max right into the parallel wall as hard as he could. The rest of Team Psi watched in horror as Max collided with the wall with a sickening crack! The wall splintered into web-like cracks behind the teen from the indent he causes due to the force of the impact! "MAX!" they all cried out in shock and terror as they watched Max slide down the wall like a limp ragdoll before he just collapsed onto the floor. The Heroes immediately rushed to Max's side so quickly that they didn't even register that they moved until they were kneeling next to him, nor did they notice that Markov was by their side.

That was when the two realized that Max wasn't moving... He was absolutely still... Mister Bug quickly checked Max's pulse on his neck only to realize just how hard the smaller teen was thrown into the wall. The blonde slowly pulled his shaking hand away from the unmoving body of his friend in disbelief as he bearly go out, "No..." Lady Noire cupped her hands over her mouth as her eyes widened in horror. Tears started appearing around their eyes.

That was when Markov asked, not comprehending the situation, "What's wrong? Was Max knocked unconscious or is he having trouble rebooting?" The AI was not liking the looks on the Heroes' faces. Kim, on the other hand, understood perfectly as tears dripped down his face as his eyes widen in disbelief. Norman pulled the tall teen close for a one-armed hug as Boris wrapped both arms around both Kim and the Projectionist, on the teen's other side, as he buried his face into Kim's shoulder.

It didn't take long before they heard of the Twisted Alice Angel cackle with glee, "Good job, Borkis! Now kill the others and bring me the Boris and the jewellery!" In that instance, Markov finally understood what had just happened...

Suddenly, Lady Noire's tear-stained eyes started glowing a raging green before she shouted in anger, "CATACLYSM!" A dark swirl of violent energy collected in her hand as Cataclysm formed. This Cataclysm seemed… More energized than usual… More… Concentrated than all the other prior ones...

"Marinette?" Mister Bug asked in a worried tone before he watched as Lady Noire lunged at Borkis.

The cyborg barely responded before Cataclysm made contact with him. In an instant, the sparks ceased and his body turned to a rust colour. Then Borkis fell to the ground in pieces.

That was when Team Psi heard the Twisted Alice Angel shout through the speakers, "No! No! No! Why can't all of you just die like Henry did!"

These words just seemed to enrage the current Black Cat Holder even more. Mister Bug paled when he noticed that the Cataclysm's energy didn't dissipate after being used... It seemed to grow bigger. "Oh, Kwami! Marinette! Calm Down!" Mister Bug pleaded as he scurried over to his partner as Markov hovered over Max's body.

The AI did not want to believe what happened was real, he truly didn't... But the facts... The data... They all contradicted what Markov wanted it to be... The AI used his claw to gently shake Max's shoulder, trying to get some kind of rise out of the techie. But there was nothing... No response... No movement... No... Life...

"Marinette!" Mister Bug called out as he stood in front of the enraged Black Cat Holder. He then said, "We still have the Lucky Charm! I can summon one and undo everything Borkis did! But please Bugaboo! You need to calm down! Please! For us!" As he spoke, he looked right into Lady Noire glowing eyes that were so bright that he couldn't even see her pupils. "Please, M'Lady, we can't lose you too..." Mister Bug pleaded in concerned.

It seemed to work. Lady Noire's eyes stopped glowing when she said softly, "Please... Hurry... The Lucky Charm can undo anything that is a direct cause of an event, but... You need to use it before enough time passes or else it'll be permanent." She blinked as more tears dripped down her face.

Mister Bug nodded before he held up his yo-yo. He then threw the yo-yo into the air as he shouted, "Lucky Charm!" In a flash of light, an object dropped into Mister Bug's hands. Like all the other Lucky Charms, it was red with black polka dots, but unlike the other Lucky Charms this one... Didn't... Seem to indicate what it's to be used for except for the Miraculous Cure. Mister Bug held up the Lucky Charm when he uttered, "What the heck is this?" This Lucky Charm looked like a stylized key with a strange mandala as a bow (the part you hold the key to turn it when inside the assigned lock) and a splotch of ink for the bit (the part of the key that goes into the assigned lock). Mister Bug clenched the Lucky Charm when he said, "It doesn't matter. All that matters is..." He then tosses the Lucky Charm into the air when he shouts, "Miraculous Mister Bug!"

Once the Lucky Charm was high enough, it burst into sparkling ladybugs that scattered all around the haunted ballroom. The little bugs quickly fixed whatever was broken or destroyed by Borkis. The ride cars, the wooden crates, the furniture, the Ink Maker, Kim's broken arm, and Norman's broken leg along with his dislocated shoulder. But everyone rushed over to the one that really mattered. The ladybugs surrounded their fallen friend before they vanished. They all held their breath as they waited for something to happen.

That was when Max sturred as he slowly opened his eyes.

Everyone was overjoyed as they embraced the groggily confused Max.

"What? What's... Going on?" Max got out in a tone that sounded akin to a sleepy voice that was peppered with confusion. That was when the smaller teen remembered what was going on when he asked in that same tone, "Wait! What happened... To Borkis?"

Squeezing Max's left shoulder, Lady Noire said, "We took care of him. But how are you feeling?"

Team Psi could tell that Max's eyes seemed unfocused as he struggled to keep them open when he said, "I'm... Strangely tired... For some... Reason..." Max's body did seem to sway a bit like he was barely able to keep himself awake.

Well, he did just come back from the dead so maybe it took a lot of energy to do so.

"How 'bout you take a nap. We'll keep a lookout for any trouble," Norman said in a relieved tone.

Max didn't seem to notice the tone when he replied, "But... Shouldn't we..."

Kim patted Max on the head when he said, "You rest, and if we need to move on, then I'll just carry you the way. Alright?" Markov completely agreed with that idea.

Max, still not realizing what had just transpired or even the atmosphere around him, only grumbled out a tired "Alright" before he sank to the ground and rested his head on his left arm as he fell asleep. Team Psi sighed with relief when they saw Max's body move to the gentle rhythm of his breathing.

Max was alive! Sleeping, but alive!

"Alright, I gotta admit, those powers are just blowing my mind away," Norman stated softly as they started surveying the repaired area for a way out. Boris couldn't help but agree with the Projectionist.

Both Heroes called out the transformation phrase to return to their civilian forms. Then gave the Kwamis their snacks to recharge. "They have their limits, as do we," Marinette said in relief as Tikki ate the macaroon. Norman stated that he figured as much as he and Boris looked over all the objects. It was as if they were never destroyed in the first place! Even his leg and Kim's arm did not indicate that they were ever broken!

That was when Adrien said, "And it's also the reason why we have to keep the fact that we have the Miraculous a secret. I mean, we were lucky that the Miraculous cure worked on Max because he died as a direct result of Borkis. If he hadn't then the Miraculous Cure wouldn't have worked."

Tikki explained the Miraculous Cure better to Norman and Boris. She said that while the Ladybug Miraculous was able to fix anything it has to be because it meets a certain criteria. She used two Akumas that Ladybug and Chat Noir fought in the past, Dark Blade and Siren. Tikki explained because everything that happened was affected was a direct result of Dark Blade's powers, the Miraculous Cure was able to fix everything that was wrapped. With Siren, everything that was submerged under the water created by the Akuma was restored, including the lives that had perished. That bit of information made Kim realise just how bad things were during that particular event.

"So if you know what event caused what, it can be fixed by the Ladybug Miraculous," Norman summarized, before adding, "But it won't work if you either don't know what happened to cause it or if the thing was a result of something different than what you thought it was." Tikki nodded.

Adrien and Marinette check the snack supplies. Only one snack left for each of the Kwamis... That meant that unless they find more food for the Kwamis, they need to hold off on the Abilities unless there was another life-or-death emergency.

Suddenly, Team Psi heard the creak of something opening fast from the other side of the ballroom. Since objects were blocking their view, they walked around them to see what it was. But when they saw what it was, they wished they hadn't.

The Twisted Alice Angel screeched in rage as she charged at Team Psi. They got into a battle-ready position, even Boris, to fight off the so-called angel. When Twisted Alice was almost in arm's-length from them a sword was pierced through her chest from behind. The Twisted Alice Angel let out a choked gasp as the sword was yanked out of her before she fell to the ground. The reign of the Twisted Angel had finally ended.

Team Psi then looked up at whoever saved them, only to see another Alice Angel and a serious-looking Boris with a mechanical arm.

"Who-? Who are you?" Marinette asked the newcomers in a worried tone. Who could blame her?

The New Alice Angel pointed her sword at them when she said, "We could ask the same of all of you? We watched the fight you had with that monstrosity of the Twisted Angel and the strange powers you used."

Norman growled before he waved an arm to separate the teens from the newcomers and said, "So you would've just watched as Borkis killed us and do nothing? Give us one good reason as to why we shouldn't just consider you as enemies right here and now?"

The New Alice stared at Norman inquisitively when she asked, "A Projectionist that has awareness and doesn't attack right away? How is that possible?" The serious Boris seemed to glare at Buddy Boris during this.

That was when Kim said, "Listen, considering what we just went through, we're not inclined to tell you anything!"

Then Markov inputted, "I agree, my heart is still beating after all that event." He placed his claw under his visor to emphasise the words.

That was when Adrien froze when he asked, "Markov, when did Max give you something that functions like a heart?" He thought he was hearing his own heart thumping in his ears. Marinette realized the oddity next as she started to pale.

"Wait a second... I do not have what humans call a circulatory system. Therefore, I do not have anything that would have the same function," Markov realized before asking in confusion, "But why am I hearing the sound of a heartbe-" Realization set in for all present members of Team Psi.

Team Psi quickly looked around to find any ink webs. They saw a faint patch on the wall where they were only a moment ago.

"Oh, Crap!" Kim growled out as Team Psi bolted around the structures blocking their path, and away from the newcomers.

There standing halfway in the ink-stained wall was the Ink Demon Bendy. But that wasn't what horrified Team Psi. The only thing they could think was, 'F**k! He has Max!'

The Ink Demon let out a soft growl as he pulled the still sleeping Max closer to his skeletal body with his left arm as he moved back into the inky portal he was using. Max made no signs of waking anytime soon as his head now rested on the Ink Demon's left arm. All of Team Psi charged at the Ink Demon, shouting at him to give them back their friend!

The Ink Demon let out another growl as pulled back into the ink portal with Max in his arm.

By the time Team Psi got to the wall, the Ink Demon was gone... Along with Max.

Kim banged his fist against the wall in anger as he hissed out, "Damn it!" Before he slid to his knees, his fist still balled against the wall.

It wasn't enough to lose their friend once, but twice!

The newcomer watched Team Psi's reaction from afar. They glanced at each other, neither was sure what to do.

~}i{ Outside the Studio }i{~

"Save your wife who's in a comatose state because of overusing the broken Peacock Miraculous?" Madame Emerald asked in both shock and confusion.

When Hawkmoth nodded, Drak-Kon stated, "Any particular reason why you didn't think to ask Ladybug and Chat Noir about it? I'm pretty sure they would've helped her without you holding Paris hostage. I mean, you have thought about asking them before, right?" When there wasn't a response from Hawkmoth, the Dragon Holder stated in an annoyed tone, "Dude! You could've saved yourself and Paris a lot of grief if you had done that! You're practically on everyone's Hit List!"

That was when Horseshoe said, "You were planning on using the Black Cat and Ladybug Miraculous to wake her from the coma, weren't you?" Hawkmoth nodded at this. With a sad sigh, the older hero said, "That would work but at the cost of someone else taking her place in the coma. Someone close to either her or you."

"Wha-what?!" was all Hawkmoth got out. Horseshoe explained that when using the Miraculous of Creation and Destruction together they can grant any wish but at a cost that was equal in value to the wish. Yes, Hawkmoth would have gotten his wife back, but it would have cost him someone who was just as close to him as his wife. Hawkmoth took a step back when he said, "I... I... Was unaware of that..."

"Clearly," Mitsubachi stated with a frown before adding, "Did you not ask your Kwami about the specifics of the wish or did you shut them down when you learned that you can get a wish?" Hawkmoth was quiet yet again, which was answer enough for the heroes.

That was when Horseshoe said that the Guardian of the Miraculous could fix the broken Miraculous, which in theory, might be able to help fix Hawkmoth's wife. Thankfully, the younger heroes were able to control themselves when the older hero said that.

"And the second thing?" Bunnyx asked with a raised brow.

Hawkmoth bit his lip as he placed a hand on his Miraculous. "Nooroo... Dark Wings Fall," he said as he retracted the Akuma from Catylist. And in an instant, Gabriel and Nathalie were standing in the places that were Hawkmoth and Catylist. That was when the villain said in a serious tone that was peppered with worry, "Please... Save Adrien and his friends from that accursed studio!"

~}i{ Inside Joey Drew Studios }i{~

The sound of a heartbeat echoed through one of the many narrow halls of the studio as the ink webs crept along the walls as if accompanying the sound. These indicators were only following Ink Demon as he walked down the hall with the unconscious teen being held in his arms. Max's head rested on the left side of the Ink Demon's chest as the tall Ink Creature's left arm supported the teen's back and the Ink Demon's right arm was tucked under the teen's knees, making it easier to carry the human.

The sounds of the Butcher Gang members were heard from a little ahead of the Ink Demon. Once the mutilated Ink Creatures spotted the Ink Demon, they immediately charged at him. Bendy didn't seem concerned about the oncoming creatures, even as they got closer and closer. Bendy just kept walking toward whatever his destination was, making sure that what he was carrying didn't fall from his grip.

When the Butcher Gang members got within the range of the Ink Webs, they started collapsing on the ground as if there was some kind of invisible pressure that was forcing them down. As the Ink Demon moved closer towards the Butcher Gang Members, they splattered into puddles of ink. Bendy simply walked past the puddles as they were of no importance to him.

Max let out a soft sigh as he continued to sleep. Bendy paused in his movements as he glanced down at the teen in his arms. Max shifted slightly but didn't wake. After a few seconds, the Ink Demon resumed walking towards his destination. The ink webs and the heartbeat sound continued to follow their source.

~}i{~

To be Continued in Chapter 5 pt 1: The Last Reel of Trust.

~}i{~

1) A famous line from one of two of my favourite Disney Cartoons growing up. Points if you know the cartoon~.

~}i{~

Chapter Text

Gale-Dragon: Time to start on Chapter 5!

~}i{~

Miraculous Adventure in Joey Drew Studios.

Chapter 5 pt 1: The Last Reel of Trust.

~}i{~

A blurry image appeared before it focused on the person in front of the active camera. From what can be seen on Kim's face, it was obvious that something bad had happened. The athlete held Max's phone in front of him as he watched the video recording feature kick in. He then gave a small, unenthusiastic, wave to the active camera before he said in a saddened tone, "Hey... Kim here... And, uh, I guess you're wondering why I'm doing the Video Log this time around rather than Max..." Kim glances off-screen at the mention of his buddy as he gave a deep sigh. It was clear to whoever would be watching this recording that something bad had happened. Kim swallowed his saliva before he said with a heavy heart, "Well... Max was... Was taken by the Ink Demon..." He runs his free hand over his face before he says, "We had a run-in with one of Susie Campbell's, or Twisted Alice as we've been calling her, evil creation and it... Was difficult to take down... It managed to knock Max out during the fight... We were able to defeat it, but... Shit... The only thing that makes sense was that the Ink Demon was lurking nearby, just waiting for the right moment to snatch Max up while our backs were turned..." Kim quickly wiped away a tear that threatened to drip down his face before he said, "Just saying that we don't know why he was after Max would be a lie." He looks at the camera when he adds, "Though it's more of a theory than anything."

Off-camera, the voice of Marinette could be heard saying, "Kim, how about I say what we found out with the Lost Ones." Kim looks off screen and nods before handing the phone, with the camera still active, over to the bluette. During the handoff, the active camera was able to catch a depressed-looking Adrien being consoled by Buddy Boris while the blonde was leaning on Norman's side, the Projectionist was carefully rubbing Adrien's back. Now the camera was on Marinette, who was also sporting a sad look, when she said, "Hey... If you're curious as to who the Lost Ones are, we completely understand... Max and I were about to talk about them when Mr Piedmont's... Uh, "Ride" came to life, as you saw in the last video..." Marinette took a deep breath before she continued, explaining who the Lost Ones are, what they learned from them, and who they thought Max was. She finished off by telling the camera that Max's Grandpa Ri was the Henry that co-founded the studio with Joey Drew and that Henry was the talent behind all of the characters created for the Studio.

Marinette looked off camera before she said, "As Kim explained, Twisted Alice's monstrous creation, Borkis, that she made from *Shutters* other Boris', was a lot harder to take down than Mr Piedmont. *Sighs* It managed to knock Max out, and... We thought he would be safe where we moved him, you know, to keep him safe while the rest of us handled Borkis... Well, we took him down, but while we were distracted, the Ink Demon appeared... By the time we realized that he was there, he already had Max... We tried to go after him, but... The Ink Demon can teleport through the Ink and... That's what he did..." Marinette took a deep breath as she paused. She noticed something off-screen, her face contorted into an expression of annoyance when she snapped, "Do you mind!"

Marinette accidentally switched the active camera from the front of the phone to the back and getting the Serious Boris on film. The other cartoon wolf was just standing there, watching Team Psi from behind a make-shift cell door. The camera angle was a little crooked because of how Marinette was currently holding the phone, but the camera could still see the stern look on the Other Boris' face. He had his mechanical arm leaning on top of the make-shift cell's ledge that was used to hand off food between the two sides of the cell. The Serious Boris just stared at Marinette as he tilted his head to the side like he was curious as to what she was doing.

The Other Alice Angel appeared from behind the Other Boris when she asked, "What are you doing exactly?"

The camera panned to Kim as he shot the newcomers a glare when he said, "We're just making an update to our Logs, to keep a record of what has happened. Like those Audio Long or tape recorder things that you sometimes find around this place."

Markov glanced up from the table he was laying on when he asked, "We are also logging our stories as warnings to those outside the Studio about the dangers in here, the real dangers... We have data about cameras and video recorders somehow making their way outside the Studio, while we have no data as to how it is possible, we know it happens." The camera panned to the AI halfway through while he was talking.

The then panned back to the Serious Boris and the Other Alice Angel glanced at each other before the Angel asked, "It sounds like... You were already aware of what was lurking here. So, why did you come here?"

"Why are you two suddenly so curious about our predicament?" Marinette asked, not even trying to hide the suspicion in her voice.

The Other Alice looked at Norman when she said, "You children seem... Different somehow..." Norman glanced up at the Other Alice, he had an idea what she was talking about. That was when the Other Alice said, "You are children and yet you were able to make it as far as you did. You also were also able to... Befriend a Projectionist..."

The camera panned towards the Projectionist. It was more so because Marinette was following the Other Alice Angel's gaze than anything. "I got a name, ya know," Norman stated coldly at the two newcomers.

The camera suddenly snapped to Kim when he glared at the two on the other side of the cell when he said, "Which is another reason why we're not exactly trusting of you, neither of you ever introduced yourselves to us... On top of not bothering to help us with Borkis..." Kim grumbled the last part out though.

The camera panned back to the Serious Boris as he glanced over at the Other Alice as she tilted her head to the side when she asked, "Introduce?"

The camera suddenly turned upsidedown, because Marinette dropped her hands to the side, and caught the other members of Team Psi glancing at each other before Marinette said, "Yeah, uh, neither of you told us your names. Meaning that you didn't introduce yourselves." She watched the Serious Boris and the Other Alice Angel's reactions before she asked them, "Uh, you two do have names, don't you?" Now all of Team Psi was staring at the Serious Boris and the Other Alice Angel.

Marinette brought her hands to her chest out of a bit of nervousness and accidentally bringing the phone's camera back to the right side up. The camera caught the Other Alice and the Serious Boris looked at each other before the angel then looked at Team Psi when she said as she placed a hand on the Other Boris' shoulder, "He seems to respond to the name "Tom", so that's what I've been calling him... He, like all the Boris', doesn't talk..." The Other Alice Angel was quiet for a bit before she said as she glanced away and rubbed her left arm with her right hand, "I... Don't... Remember my name, or if I had one, to begin with..."

Team Psi glanced at one another... None of them knew how to respond to that... ... ... ...

That was when a thought came to Adrien. He looked at the Serious Boris, or Tom Boris, and then at the Other Alice Angel. 'Wait, if he responds to the name Tom, then... Then he might be...' Adrien thought before he asked out loud, "Does the name "Thomas Connor" mean anything to you?"

Tom Boris' interest perked up almost immediately.

The others of Team Psi caught on to this before Marinette looked at Tom Boris when she got out, "Wait! Does that mean that... You remember who you were?"

The camera caught Tom Boris glanced to the side for a few seconds before he made a motion with his right hand (the non-mechanical one). The motion was just his right hand moving up and down in a tendering motion from his pinky and his thumb. "Somewhat, huh?" Kim translated. Tom Boris gave a nod. The tall teen glanced at the Other Alice and a thought came to him. Kim looked back at Tom Boris when he asked, "You remember who she was before the Ink turned her into an Alice Angel, don't you?" Tom Boris nodded again, surprising the Other Alice. That was when Kim asked, "Why didn't you try to tell her? I get that the Boris character doesn't talk but there are other ways to communicate without speaking. Our Boris uses Mores Code when he wants to tell us something long and uses hand signals when he wants to tell us something quick."

Marinette couldn't help but say, "Maybe we should just call our Boris, Buddy."

"Don't we already?" Adrien commented cluelessly. No one could respond to that.

That was when the Other Alice told Team Psi, "Tom's handwriting is... Rather unreadable..." She quickly moved towards a nearby desk and pick up a sheet of yellowed paper. She brought the paper to the make-shift cell and showed Team Psi what was written on it.

"Uhh... That looks like a toddler's first attempt at writing," Kim commented as he looked at the "writings", but they looked no better than squiggly lines that seemed to go in random directions that only vaguely looked like letters if you squinted a bit.

Marinette looked at the lines closely before she said, "Looks similar to some of the papers we found in Buddy's Hideout..." A realization hit the bluette when she said, "The Ink must've not only turned them into Boris' but also reset their motor skills! Maybe to match the character they turn into!"

Norman placed a hand under his lends when he said, "That might be it... But I remember that in the Bendy cartoons I've seen, Boris didn't write that often, mostly basic block lettering. He could read though, but the other characters were usually the ones doing the writing." He remembered watching clips of the old cartoon, but he didn't know if he saw them as Norman Polk or a Projectionist. Though, to be honest, it didn't quite matter to him at the moment.

That was when Marinette took a closer look at the paper, she noticed something. "Can you turn the paper upside down?" she asked the Other Alice. The angel complied and turned the sheet of paper. Now the scribbled looked a little more legible, at least to Marinette. She squinted a bit as she read, "Al...li...son... Allison?" Realization sank in almost instantly when she said, "Wait a minute! As in Allison Pendle?"

The Other Alice's face contorted into an expression of shock as she looked at Tom Boris, who nodded in response. And that answered that the Other Alice Angel was Allison Pendle.

The camera panned to Kim, who couldn't help but say with a sigh as he ran a hand through his hair, "Should we even be surprised that both voice actresses for Alice Angel were turned into her by the Ink?"

The camera panned to Norman as he gave a shrugged when he said, "Given this place, not really."

Adrien, who was in the camera's view, pulled his knees to his chest when he said a little coldly, "So... We now know who they are now, but that still doesn't excuse their lack of actions with Borkis..." That brought back some unfavourable memories as they looked at each other...

"Dude... Never thought you'd be someone who would hold a grudge," Kim grumbled towards Adrien. The camera then panned to the tall teen as he pulled his left knee to his chin when he mumbled, "Though... Can't really blame you about this one..."

Adrien hugged his knees when he said as the camera moved back to him, "The Ink Demon took Max... It could've been prevented if Borkis was taken down quicker... If we had extra help..."

That was when Kim realized something when he asked, "Why did the Ink Demon take Max?" The camera moved back to the tall teen when he continued, "I mean, from what we learned about him, as limited as it is, the Ink Demon attacks on sight no matter who or what they are. So don't you think it's weird that the Ink Demon would do something like take a living person with him to, uh, wherever he goes when he's not stalking around the Studio?"

Markov started his copter blades when he asked Kim as he started hovering over to the tall teen, "Do you have a hypothesis on this behaviour?"

"Hypo-what now?" Kim commented cluelessly. Markov quickly replied with the word "Theory", which made more sense to the tall teen.

"Your friend is making a very interesting point," Allison Angel stated, getting Team Psi's attention and the camera back on her. She took a deep breath before said, "Listen, Tom and I are truly sorry about your friend and maybe we should've helped you, but down here, things aren't what they seem and they can be dangerous so they must be approached with caution."

"And the point of what you're saying being?" Norman asked in a suspicious tone.

Allison Angel then said, "I'm sure you've been here long enough to know that danger lurks around every corner, and if you want to stay alive you learn to be suspicious of everyone and everything."

Team Psi glanced at each other at this. Well... She had a point there, especially in a place like this.

Kim looked at Allison Angel when he asked, "Okay, and the point I made is interesting how?"

Allison Angel explained, "You're right about the Ink Demon killing anyone he comes across, whether they are aware of his presence or not. The Ink Demon can just destroy others affected by the Ink with just his... Ink Webs as you called them. We've seen it happen multiple times, and... It nearly happened to us a few times... The Ink Demon doesn't care who they are, just that they are in his way." She looked at Team Psi when she said, "So it is strange that the Ink Demon would just... Take someone... And alive too."

Marinette placed her free hand to her chin when she said, "Maybe... The Ink Demon thinks that Max is his grandfather too... Like how the Lost Ones thought that he was Henry."

Adrien perked up when he said, "But he hated Mr Drew to the point of wanting to just kill him."

"Except, Mr Drew wasn't the one to create Bendy," Kim brought up. He then pointed at Norman when he added as the camera panned back to him, "Remember what Norman told us? Henry was the real creator behind the Bendy cartoons, Bendy's True Creator." Kim stood up when he said, "Mr Drew took Bendy, Boris, and Alice Angel away from Henry. The Ink Demon knew that, somehow, and that has to be why he despises Mr Drew but seems caring towards Max."

"Henry?" Allison Angel vocalized cluelessly.

Norman was the one to say, "Max's grandfather and my best friend. The two of us use to work here back when it was open, he was an animator and I worked the projectors. Henry was the talent behind all of Joey Drew Studios' successes, no matter what that rotten liar said."

Allison Angel rubbed her head as if a small headache was forming when she said as the camera panned back to her, "Joey Drew Studios... That's the name of this place... I... Remember... Being in a voice booth..." Tom Boris looked at her in concern.

Markov was the one to say, "That makes sense. From the data we've collected during our research for our haunted house, Ms Pendle was a voice actress. We have some proof that you are her. Therefore, you having memories of that makes logical sense."

Allison Angel clenched her head when she got out in pain, "Ow! My head!" She took a few steps back, still clenching her head. Team Psi gathered at the make-shift cell bars as Tom Boris tried to comfort Allison Angel as she knelt to the ground as continued to clench her head in pain.

"Miss Allison!" Marinette called out in worry. She was worried about the other woman because the headache just happened so suddenly.

Allison Angel grunted in pain as Tom Boris tried to rub her back to try to ease the pain she was in with a worried look on his face. After a few more seconds, Allison Angel seemed to have calmed down from her sudden headache.

"Are you alright?" Adrien asked through the cell bars.

Allison Angel slowly stood up with Tom Boris' help when she said, "I'm okay... I just... Got some of my memories back..."

"I hope they're good ones," Kim commented. The rest of Team Psi glanced at him. When the tall teen noticed and said, "What? I figured it would be nice if she got some good memories." No one could find a response for that in all honesty.

That was when Allison Angel said as she rubbed her head with her right hand, "I... Remember that Tom and I received a letter from Joey Drew... He... He wanted us to return to the Studio... He wrote that he had a surprise for us there..."

Markov couldn't help but say, "I seem to have a sensory bug that the "Surprise" that Mr Drew had for you has something to do with the Ink Machine and your transformations into a Boris and Alice Angel."

Marinette looked at the AI when she said as the camera focused on the AI, "I think all of us have that feeling too. Wait! Didn't Max say that Henry got a letter from Mr Drew six years ago?"

Kim nodded when he said, "Yeah, but Max didn't read that letter, so he didn't know what Mr Drew wrote."

That was when Norman said, "But what if Joey wanted to try to lure Henry here? That he wanted to bring Henry back to the Studio for some reason."

Marinette placed her free hand to her chin again when she said as Tom Boris and Allison Angel looked at the Team, "Markov, did any of our classmates keep any record of the people who "Disappeared" because they entered the studio when we did our research on this place? Including Nino's side project with Mr Fain."

Markov nodded when he said, "Affirmative, I have that data. I assume that you have a theory?" Marinette nodded before she told Markov to tell them how many people were reported missing between this year and when the Studio closed. The AI gave them 10884 people reported missing that involved Joey Drew Studios. Kim couldn't help but let out a whistle at that number. Marinette nodded before she asked Markov to subtract the files where the individuals went into the Studio by accident or were unaware that it was the Studio. The AI complied and gave them 7827 remaining files.

"Only that many for unintentional?" Adrien asked out loud before he said, "I expected more of the reports would've been because they didn't know about the Studio."

Kim let out a "Ditto" when Marinette asked Markov to subtract the files that involved the City of Paris (because of their job for the city. Ie, police patrol, surveyors, building inspectors. You know, the city jobs that would involve going into buildings to report damages and safety inspections). The AI nodded and complied, and gave them the number 6486. Marinette thought for a few seconds before asking Markov to subtract all the files that involved going into the studio because of a dare or because of dumb decisions. Markov raises a virtual brow before complying and giving them 5771 remaining files.

(There was a low hanging fruit for a joke there, but no one wanted to take it).

Marinette told Markov to subtract the files that involved the individuals going into the studio because they wanted to either find or save their loved one(s) that were reported missing because of the Studio. Markov nodded before complying and gave them 2297 remaining files.

Norman placed a hand under his lends when he said, "So during the 60 years since the Studio shut down, close to 11000 people were reported missing that had to do with the Studio. That's still a lot... But what're the remaining files categorized as?"

That was when Markov gave them the answer, "According to the data, the remaining 2297 files report that the reason that they went to the Studio was that they received an invitation from the former owner, Joey Drew, to return to the Studio for some kind of "Surprise" that he had for them. Thomas and Allison Connor's files are included in those reports."

"I thought as mu-. Wait?" Marinette vocalized before she asked as the camera shook a little, "Thomas and Allison CONNOR? You mean they're married to each other?"

Markov gave a small shrug when he said, "According to their Missing Persons Files, a friend of theirs told the police that one of the reasons why they went to meet with Mr Drew after receiving their letter from him was to thank him for the opportunity that brought them together. I guess they "Fell in Love" and married after they left the Studio."

A flash of memory flew across the blonde's eyes at this. Adrien quickly dug into his pocket and pulled out the two wedding rings. That was when the blonde said, "These rings had the inscription "From T to A", how much do you want to bet that the "T" stands for "Thomas" and the "A" stands for "Allison"?" The camera moved on Adrien, getting a bit of the rings in his palms.

Norman snorted as Buddy Boris chuckled silently when the Projectionist said, "No need, I'm sure those rings belong to Thomas and Allison."

Adrien held the rings out so Allison Angel and Tom Boris could see them better. Their eyes widen when they saw the rings. They knew immediately what those are! "Our... Our..." Allison Angel got out in shock as small tears peeked out of the corner of her eyes. "Our wedding rings!" the Angel said through the tears.

Tom Boris reached his non-mechanical hand out towards the rings as the camera panned back to the newcomers, but Adrien closed his hand with the rings and pulled his arm back when he said, "Sorry, but we can't give them back. We got lucky with Norman when we found out how to bring his mind back, so we're keeping these just in case the Ink take the two of you over like he was."

Tom Boris and Allison Angel didn't like that much, but they understood the reason behind it.

A few seconds later, Allison Angel unlocked the cell before she said, "Listen, we understand that trust is going to be an issue here, but we are going to have to work together if we're going to rescue your friend. Also, if... If the Ink Demon took your friend alive, there must be a reason behind it. We need to act fast because we don't know what it is." Tom Boris nodded at that.

Team Psi glanced at one another at this.

Yes, trust was going to be a problem between the two groups but... If they wanted to save Max, they had to work together.

Marinette noticed that Max's phone was still recording. She switched the active camera to the one facing her as she said, "Might as well sign-off on this Video Log". She then turned off the recording. Now the screen was black.

}{

The police officers looked up from the blackened screen to look at the families of the trapped teens. It... Wasn't hard to figure out what they were thinking...

The Dupain-Cheng family were holding each other. The Lê family had their hands to their mouths, unsure what to think. Claudie Kanté was crying into her hands as Aunt Cassy and Uncle Greg tried to comfort her. Gabriel Agreste... Was actually showing emotion. Nathalie had a hand on his shoulder during this.

"I know this isn't what you were expecting when we told you that we recovered Max Kanté's phone and asked you all to come here to view some of the videos on it... But... We thought you should know what has happened..." Roger said as clearly as he could. He then sighs and added, "And maybe... Answer a few questions that arose when we watched this the first time..."

The families nodded as Claudie wiped the tears away from her eyes.

Roger rubbed the back of his neck when he asked, "Well, our first question is that "Norman" fellow that had the projector for ahead..."

Cassy nodded when she said, "I can confirm that he's my brother. I never could forget his voice." She took a deep breath before she said, "I... I don't know what happened to him to turn him into... Whatever that was! But I can't help but be relieved that he's still alive despite that."

Roger nodded as he wrote something down on a pad of paper. He then asked, "And did you know a Thomas Connor and an Allison Pendle? Er, I guess I should say a Thomas and Allison Connor since they're a married couple."

That was when Greg said, "Not directly, but their folks were members of our victims' group and their close friends are still members."

"Were?" Roger asked with a raised brow.

Cassy responded with, "They passed away close to 27 years ago, natural causes." Now Roger understood the meaning. That was when Cassy said, "They were some of our members who were rather... Blunt about their dislike for Mr Drew."

Roger's interest perked when he asked, "Can I ask why that was so?"

Greg was the one to answer, "We're not too sure about the finer details of it, but from what we've heard, Mr Drew never bothered to contact the Connors before he "invited them for a surprise". I think they did send an invite to Mr Drew for their wedding, but he declined to attend. I don't blame them for their feelings towards him in all honesty."

Sabine looked at the two elders when she asked, "Like what was mentioned in one of the videos?"

Cassy replied, "Little Markov had the right numbers, and yes, a lot of our members have shared that their loved ones were invited back to the Studio by Mr Drew himself."

"Invited Back? May I ask what that means?" Nathalie asked with a raised brow.

Greg responded with, "From what we've learned from our members, the ones that were "Invited Back to the Studio" had worked there in the past at one time or another."

Claudie eyed the floor when she said, "My father included... Even though he never responded..." That was when a memory came to her when she said, "Come to think of it..." She places a hand to her chin when she added, "I remember that the new owner of my parents' old home called me a few times after we moved out, asking about letters they've been receiving that were addressed to my father. I told them to send me the letters if they're still getting them."

"Do you still have those?" Roger asked.

Claudie nodded before she said, "Yes, and I've admittedly haven't gotten around to looking at them. You know, life and all that."

Roger nodded before he asked, "And for our next question, about one of the prior videos..."

~}i{ Inside Joey Drew Studios, Three Hours Earlier }i{~

(After a good hour or so of explaining to Allison Angel and Tom Boris how much time has passed since the two entered the studio, and then letting allowing the new information sink in).

Marinette was glad she had a few bigger thread needles in her Travel-Sized Sewing Kit. Because the threads that Tom Boris and Allison Angle had gathered were a lot thicker than the normal sewing threads but not as thick as a thin rope. Don't get the bluette wrong, the thread she was using might not have been what she was looking for but it was still getting the job done. Marinette tied off the last stitch before she snipped off the excess with her sewing scissors. She then turned it right-side out and held up her finished work to see if there were any imperfections. Satisfied with the make-shift satchel, Marinette placed it on a table with two other make-shift satchels.

Plagg, who was floating nearby, watched this before he commented, "I'm just going to say it. You could totally beat Adrien's hard-ass dad in a "Make Fashionable and Functional Clothing From Random Fabrics You can Find" contest." This cause Marinette to giggle.

Everyone else was bringing all the supplies out to go over what they needed for their Rescue Quest. First-Aid and food were the import stuff, however...

"Okay, seriously, why are there so many cans of bacon soup in this place?" Kim couldn't help but vocalize when he saw how many cans of Ready-to-Eat Bacon Soup Cans Tom Boris and Allison Angel already had stored in their hide-a-way. 30 full cans of bacon soup...

Adrien couldn't help but add, "Yeah, and remember that there were vending machines full of Bacon Soup cans right outside Buddy's Hideout. I'm also sure that I've some of those cans scattered about during our time here."

"I am positive that we have. We were simply too occupied with our missions to care about them," Markov vocalized as he looked over the medical supplies, to make sure that they were still visible.

Marinette sighed when she said, "Normally, I'd question why this place has so many bacon soup cans laying around, but... Considering what else is happening here, I doubt it matters that much."

Norman then said, "Considerin' that the cans of bacon soup are the only edible food in this place, should we really be concerned 'bout the "Why" they're here?" Everyone glanced at each other at this. The Projectionist had a point.

As everyone else started organizing their supplies and which bag will be carrying what, Kim was just staring at the phone and pack that belonged to Max... The smaller teen took off his pack before he stabbed Borkis with the prong he made and his cellphone fell out of his pocket when the Ink Demon took him... Markov noticed and flew over to the tall teen.

"Kim..." Markov vocalized timidly. Kim glanced at the AI. "We will rescue Max from the Ink Demon, then we will shut down the Ink Machine, and finally we will leave this place with everyone," Markov said, trying to cheer Kim up.

"I know we will Markov. But... I can't help but worry about what could happen to Max. If the Ink Demon did take him under the idea that Max is Henry, then what do you think would happen when the Ink Demon realizes that that's not the case?"

Markov calculated a few scenarios of that before answering, "I understand your point. I am worried about Max too, but right now, we must pack our supplies so that we can save him before that can happen to him." Kim gave a soft sigh before he nodded and walked over to help the packing. That was when Markov noticed something shining in the corner. The AI flew over towards the object. When he got there, he found a device that looked like a squared magnifying glass. Markov picked up the device with his claw to look at it better when he said, "What the heck is this?"

Allison Angel looked up to see what the AI was talking about, when she saw the device in Markov's claw, she said, "That was something I found a while back while I was mapping one of the upper levels. I noticed something reflecting off the glass. It's... A strange piece of glass. Tom fitted the glass the frame so it would be safer to handle."

Markov held the device when he asked, "What does the glass do?" He held it up to his visor. He looked through the glass and saw something... Strange indeed. Markov blinked at what he saw before he looked again. A glowing, yellow angel halo was hovering over Allison Angel's head and written in glowing yellow letter on the wall behind was the sentence "Trust them".

"Who wrote those glowing words on the wall and where did that halo over Miss Allison's head come from?" Markov questioned, still looking through the glass.

Team Psi looked at Allison Angel and then the walls, not seeing either when Tikki asked in confusion, "Markov, what are you talking about?"

Markov pointed at the words on the wall when he said, "The words in glowin- Huh?" That was when the AI noticed that the glowing letters weren't there and neither was the halo over Allison's head. Markov tilted to the side when he said, "Are my visional systems malfunctioning? I am positive that there were words written on the wall in glowing letters." Was the AI spoke, he waved the device. But that was when Markov noticed something and looked through the device to see the glowing letters. He moved the device away from his visor and saw that the words were gone. Markov then said in a curious tone, "Huh, it seems like the glowing words are only visible when viewed through this Seeing Tool device."

The other members of Team Psi took turns looking at the Seeing Tool and saw the sentence "Trust Them" written on the wall.

"Did you find other messages like this?" Marinette asked Tom Boris and Allison Angel.

Allison shrugged when she said, "We have, but they can only be seen through the glass. Those messages are everywhere throughout the studio! But they don't lead anywhere." Tom Boris nodded at this. Allison Angel then said, "We kept the glass because we found some of the messages we found were helpful to our endeavours."

"How?" Plagg asked as he looked through the glass to see Allison's halo.

"Those messages have helped us find some good supplies and warn us what sections were dangerous or not," Allison Angel said with a small shrug. She then said, "We don't know who has been writing those messages or how they're able to." Tom Boris nodded again.

That was when Norman asked, "Maybe, whoever is leaving those invisible messages is the same person who's been helping us?"

"A helper?" Allison vocalized in confusion as Tom Boris raised a brow in confusion.

Tikki was the one to say, "Someone who lingers in the background and seems to know when we're going to need aid. They've left stuff for us to use or to find. I can feel them in the background but they've kept their distance so I can't pinpoint who or where they are exactly." Allison Angel and Tom Boris were still getting used to the little fairies floating about.

"Someone else is trapped here? And they know what can happen?" Allison Angel asked in shock. She then raised a brow when she asked, "But, why are they helping you? Especially if they might know how to escape?"

"Guess that means you know as much as us about them. We only found out about them because of all the coincidences," Kim said as he shoved a Ready-to-Eat can of bacon soup into one of the satchels. He looked at one before ask, "Tikki, Plagg, are you sure this stuff will replenish your energy if Marinette and Adrien have to use their powers?"

Plagg gagged a bit before saying, "Unfortunately they can, as much as it pains me to admit. *Bleck* But they're nowhere near as good as the wonderous camembert, or anything else in all honesty."

Marinette couldn't help but add with a sigh, "By this point, we shouldn't complain about having something edible to eat for energy. *Grimaces* Even if they aren't palatable."

Adrien sighed when he said, "Given the life-or-death situation here, yeah I agree with Bugaboo on that." He then closed the satchel he filled with medical supplies when he added, "I guess those stories about what people do to survive don't seem as exaggerated now than they were before... It... Scary to be honest..."

Marinette looked at the blonde when she said, "Considering that your dad practically had you on house-arrest until you started at Dupont and all you heard before that is probably from books and tv shows... It must be very hard for you to comprehend all this and the willingness to survive." Adrien glanced away from the bluette as he gave a small nod. The bluette could understand, even though she had a lot more freedom than Adrien, she can understand how he was feeling. Kim subconsciously rubbed his left arm with his right, he uses to make fun of those survival stories, about how exaggerated they seemed but now that they're in a place like this, he just... Felt bad about what he said in the past.

Norman placed a hand on Adrien's shoulder when he said, "Kiddo, there are just something that can only be understood when you're in the same situation. So don't feel bad that you either completely understand or underestimate the situation." Adrien looked up at the projectionist with a small smile as he gave a short nod. Marinette and Kim felt better about hearing that too.

Now, for the weapons.

Pipe wrenches, pipes, and an axe were what was available. "Not a bad arsenal you two got here," Plagg commented as he looked over the weapons. "Got enough for everyone here," the Kwami of Distruction added as he looked over everyone present.

Buddy Boris picked up a pipe wrench when Marinette said, "Let's pack a few extras, just in case something happens. And we'll have one for Max once we find him." That everyone could agree on.

As everyone took a weapon, Marinette noticed one section of a wall that had ink drawings on it. The bluette walked over to it and looked over what was on it. The word HOPE written in big bold letters next to a drawing of a door. Some small sentences could've easily been overlooked by some of the drawings, one being "THERE'S ALWAYS A REASON" that was written under a short music score. A cute little drawing of a Boris' head. A list of levels, those being Level 4, Level P, Level X, Level 32, and Level B. The words "CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY" were written under a nice sketch of a farmhouse with a windmill. Marinette looked over at Tom Boris and Allison Angel when she asked, "Who wrote all of these?" as she pointed at the ink art.

Allison Angel looked at what Marinette was pointing at before she responded with, "I did."

Marinette looked at Allison Angel before she looked back to the wall when she asked, "Were you and Tom the ones writing on the walls throughout the Studio?"

Allison Angel shook her head slightly before she said as she glanced at a bucket of ink with a paintbrush sticking out of it, "We all write them when we can. For some poor souls down here, it's the only way they can be heard..." Her expression went hard when she added, "But you don't want to touch the ink for too long! It can claim you! Or at least... The ones who are already corrupted by the Ink." She glanced at the two Boris and Norman.

"Thanks for the warning..." Adrien muttered as he hands his right hand over his left ring finger out of habit, only to remember that his Miraculous wasn't on his finger. He then moved his hand to his right ear, touching the Ladybug Miraculous as Tikki patted him on his left hand. Adrien then said, "But our main issues after we save Max are the Ink Demon and finding a way to purify everyone affected by the Ink... Our current option is pretty much a double-edged sword and it only seems to affect one target at a time."

Tikki's antenna twitched a bit when she said, "Maybe if we shut down the Ink Machine, we won't have to do that Purification Technique and we could use the regular purifying."

Plagg then added, "And if you can't?" That earned him a wack from the red Kwami. Plagg rubbed the spot where he was hit when he said, "I'm asking out of curiosity! What if we can't find a way to undo everything the Ink did?! I mean Cataclysm only worked half the times we used it here and we don't know enough about the Ink to know how to purify them without draining the Ladybug Holder!"

The Kwami of Destruction was bringing up a point...

"We'll find a way to save everyone affected by the Ink," Adrien said as he gave a test swing of the pipe he was holding. He then said, "Even the ones that are... You know..."

Norman was the one to say, "Kids, hows about we do things one step at a time. So no one get's overwhelmed by thinkin' too much at once."

Kim raised a hand when he said, "That would be good for me." Which caused Markov to chuckle. The AI couldn't hold a weapon, instead, he opted to hold onto the Seeing Tool.

Marinette turned towards the rest of the team when she said, "Well, we know the first step in our quest. Finding the Ink Demon's lair. It's the most likely place the Ink Demon would keep Max."

Adrien couldn't help but say, "Hopefully, it'll be easier to find than Hawkmoth's Lair."

Norman tilted his head to the side when he asked, "You've mentioned that guy before. He really that bad?"

Kim was the one to answer, "The guy's been terrorizing Paris for a year by turning regular citizens, who are having a little emotional trouble, into Akumas. He's been trying to get the Ladybug and Black Cat Miraculous the whole time."

Norman scratched his head when he asked, "How's he "turn regular citizens into Akumas"? And what are Akumas?"

After a quick explanation of who Hawkmoth was, what he can do, how he can do what he can do, and how the Heroes have been trying to figure out who it is for a year. There were also some comments about the drama in their civilian lives, more on Kim's end than the heroes.

"Sounds like...It complicated your regular lives often, and everyone else," was all Norman could say. He then scratched the side of his head before he asked, "So this Hawkmoth guy has had Paris under emotional hostage and causes a panic whenever someone gets angry or sad?"

"Basically," the rest of Team Psi responded in union.

Norman then folded his arms while still holding his pipe when he said, "I'ma guessing Hawkmoth is also the reason why you two haven't been able to get together sooner." He motioned to Marinette and Adrien when he said that. The two in question turned pink upon realizing what those words meant.

Kim snickered when he said, "Oh, that's just the obvious reason. The other reasons are a little embarrassing to these two to talk about."

Markov got a little giddy when he said, "I am aware of those reasons. I have analyzed all of them to understand how "romance" work, but I didn't quite understand how those would function. So I decided to use the data to create a logical list of things that could assist in a romantic pursue that have a higher probability of working."

Adrien couldn't help but ask, "Do you have that list on you right now? Just to find out what you've compiled." "Chaton!" Marinette scolded in distress with red cheeks. Kim couldn't stop himself from laughing. Buddy Boris couldn't help but snicker. Norman cocked his head to the side out of amusement. Tom Boris and Allison Angel just glanced at each other in confusion as the mechanical armed Ink Creature gave a small shrug.

The pleasant feeling that everyone had plummetted when Plagg suddenly shuttered as he commented that it felt like he was suddenly submerged in a bucket of ice water. Not even five seconds later, they heard the familiar terrifying sounds of the Ink Demon's roar.

"The Ink Demon! He's found out where we are!" Allison Angel exclaimed before she quickly motioned for the others to follow her when she said, "We need to get out of here, NOW!"

No one wanted to argue with that, so they all hustled out of the hideout and made their way to a dock with a rather large barge waiting for them as it sat still on top of a sea of ink. The barge looked like it was large enough to hold everyone comfortably.

Marinette's eyebrow twitched when she commented in a rather baffled tone, "I'm sure we already know that this place is crazy, but I just gotta say it. Why is there a boat dock under an animation studio?"

As everyone rushed towards the barge as the ink webs and the faint sounds of a heartbeat started, Kim said, "Should we even question this kind of crap by now?" As they ran, Max's phone slipped out of Kim's pocket. The tall teen paused when he realized what happened, but the others urged him to keep heading to the barge since the Ink Demon was getting closer. Kim bit his lip before he sprinted to their destination and leaving the phone behind.

Markov noticed a glow on the ground through the Seeing Tool. He paused and quickly looked through the Seeing Tool to see what the message is. "There's something in the river?" Markov read out loud before he flew over to the barge just in time for Tom Boris to cut the rope holding the barge to the dock before he leapt into it as it slowly pulled away from the dock.

The sudden movement of the barge caused Tom Boris to lose his balance as he landed on the edge of the barge. Tom Boris almost fell backwards into the ink river, but Buddy Boris quickly grabbed him by the arm and saving him from that inky fate. One Boris clone carefully pulled the other back onto the barge. Once everyone had their feet solidly on the barge, they looked back to the docks to see the Ink Demon staring back at them.

Team Psi and Tom Boris glared at the Ink Demon as Allison Angel steered the barge. They saw the Ink Demon's teeth chatter as they pulled further and further away from the docks. Since the Ink Demon couldn't do anything, he sulked off. As Team Psi watched the image of the Ink Demon get smaller and smaller as he left the docks. It didn't take long before the dock was no longer in sight.

The barge wasn't fast, which was typical among large boats with small motors, but they were making a steady pace towards wherever their destination was. When the barge passed through the tunnel, Markov finally vocalized, "There was a strange message that I found through the Seeing Tool. It was a strange one..." When Tikki asked what it was, the AI responded with, " "There's something in the river". From the implication of the words, it's logical to assume that the "something" is dangerous... But the river is ink, what could be "in the river" that could be considered dangerous? Or could "live" in the ink?"

That was when Marinette said, "Besides the Ink? I would guess maybe something that would damage the barge." She then walked up to the front where Allison Angel was and asked, "Where are we headed?"

Allison Angel kept her eyes forward as she kept the barge on track and said, "Since we're looking for the location of the Ink Demon's Lair, we need to find information that can help us find it. To do that, we're going to have to ask some of the Lost Ones if they might know where the Ink Demon lurks a lot."

Plagg floated over when he asked, "Do you think they're reliable enough for this? The ones we ran into were a little out there if you know what I mean."

"Some of the Lost Ones still remember some things from their lives before the Ink. They might be of some use to us," Allison Angel said as she carefully steered the barge. She then added, "And some of them have actu-" Suddenly the engine sputtered to a halt, causing the passengers to lurch forward slightly. Allison tried to start the engine again, but when she got nothing but the straining engine, she turned to the others and said, "There must be something stuck in the paddlewheel. Someone go check and try to fix it, but do it carefully. Don't get too much Ink on you."

Norman, Kim, and both Boris went to check the paddlewheel. "What the heck?!" the tall teen vocalized when he saw what was stuck in the wheel. Several blobs of thick ink were wedge in the spokes of the paddlewheel. Kim grimaced when he said, "Well, looks like Mari was right about the "Something" being something that would harm the barge." Tom Boris quickly hacked his axe on one of the blobs, causing the thing to splatter on contact. Norman assisted with his weapon, clearing his half of the paddle wheel.

"Eep!" Plagg shuttered a bit before he said, "I feel ice being jammed in my back." Tikki's antenna dropped when she vocalized, "Uh-oh..." That wasn't a good sign...

Suddenly, there was a splash from behind the barge. Everyone looked towards the sound just in time to see a giant Bendy hand rise from the ink river and slowly moved towards them.

"Oh, Shit!" Norman shouted before Allison gunned the engine. The barge started moving away from The Hand. It was a good thing that the barge was a lot faster than The Hand.

Adrien's eyes were glued to The Hand when he said, "I think we found out what the real "Something" that that message was referring to. Kwami! What the heck was that supposed to be?"

Markov chimed in with, "The most logical hypothesis would be that it was to be either part of a ride or a giant mechanical Bendy facsimile that was to greet the guests to the amusement park if it were to open."

Kim scoffed when he said, "If that's the case then it seems like Mr Drew's big ambitions were the cause of his studio's downfall." Everyone looked at the tall teen in amazement. Kim noticed when he asked, "What? Think about it, when you consider the toy factory, the amusement park, and now this river, it's easy to-"

The barge came to a sudden halt again and causing everyone to lurch forward slightly again. Norman and Tom Boris quickly moved to the paddle wheel and saw the ink blobs gunking up the mechanism, again. And like before, they tried to clear the blobs from the paddlewheel. But the fact that the barge was stationary allowed The Hand to catch up. As the last ink blob was cleared from the paddle wheel, Norman quickly turned his head towards the front of the barge and shouted, "Start the engine!" Allison Angel quickly gunned the engine and the barge started moving, leaving The Hand behind.

This pattern repeated four more times before The Hand gave up the chase and the barge drove into a large cavern.

"Whoa," everyone from Team Psi uttered as the sight of a make-shift shanty town came into view. They passed a wooden shelter that was built over the ink with a Lost One sitting on the ledge, just fishing for anything in the ink. That Lost One watched the barge as it pulled into the dock to the shantytown. Everyone on the barge carefully got off and slowly walked on the creaky wooden boards of the dock. Allison Angel then said, "This is Lost Harbor. The Lost Ones made this place to serves as their main living area and as a way to hide from the Ink Demon since he doesn't come to this area." Team Psi muttered a few lines of "makes sense" as they all walked up the dock.

As soon as the last person walked onto the solid land part of the dock, the boards to the boat section of the dock broke into pieces. Staring at the now inaccessible path, Plagg asked in an almost sarcastic tone, "Why does that make me think that's some kind of foreboding warning?"

"Maybe because it broke as soon as everyone crossed it," Tikki responded, taking the question seriously. Plagg sighed in response as he shook his head. The Red Kwami could be so literal sometimes. But they couldn't deny that the boards suddenly breaking was a little too timed...

That was when Adrien said, "Let's all agree to keep an eye out for any signs of danger, okay?" That was something Team Psi could agree on.

That was when Allison Angel said, "You don't have to worry about these Lost Ones. They're mostly harmless."

"Keyword in that sentence being "Mostly", good to know," Marinette grumbled as they walked up to the entrance of the shantytown.

Team Psi looked around the Losy Harbor in both amazement and uneasiness. Despite the make-shift look to everything, it all seemed well constructed; however, it was that very make-shift look that made the whole place have a rather creepy vibe to it. The graffiti in ink on the walls of some of the building walls didn't help that uneasy feeling. Those were "WHAT AM I?", "DOWN HERE WE'RE ALL SINNERS", "HE WILL SET US FREE", "IT'S TIME TO BELIEVE", and "THE CREATOR LIED TO US".

Norman looked around. He could see a few Lost Ones watching from inside the buildings through the holes in the wall that acted like windows without the glass. "I'm not sure if I'm gettin' a bit paranoid or not, but it feels like I'm gettin' a look from the Lost Ones that we can see," He said as the group made their way deeper into the Lost Harbor.

Allison Angel glanced at Norman when she said, "Given that some here have had a bad experience with a Projectionist, it's not hard to guess that those would have told the others. Those tales might make them a little wary of you... Norman, right?" The Projectionist nodded as they kept walking.

It wasn't long before they came to what looked liked a blocked-off shrine that was decorated with papers with ink handprints, a few scattered candles keeping the "shrine" lit, and written above the "shrine" in big, bold, inky letters that read "NOT MONSTERS".

"That's a double standard right there," Kim said as he read the sign.

Markov looked through the Seeing Tool to see the words "ONCE PEOPLE, NOW FALLEN INTO DESPAIR" where the "NOT MONSTERS" sentence was written. The AI then said, "That's a rather sad thing to write..." When he was asked what the Hidden Message was, Markov read it out loud to them, and they couldn't help but agree with the Hidden Message. That was when Markov asked as he floated over to the "Shrine" to get a better look, "I wonder why this is boarded up?"

As soon as Markov got close enough, something began smashing through the bords from the other side of the "shrine" and startling everyone in the group. As the AI zoomed back to the group, everyone got into a fighting position, more out of habit by this point more than anything.

"BETRAYED! ABANDONED!" an angry and distorted voice shouted as they hacked away at the wooden boards blocking their way. A second after the bords were hacked off, the familiar figure of Sammy Lawrence walked out brandishing an axe in hand.

Adrien, Marinette, Kim, Markov, Tikki, and Plagg gasped in shock at the sight of the former Music Director standing before them. "How?!" Marinette gasped out as she took a step back. "He was attacked by!?" Adrien shouted in shock as moved closer to the bluenette. "The Ink Demon!" Kim finished as he gripped the pipe he was holding tighter. That was when Markov squeaked out, "But... We only heard the attack, we never witnessed it." The AI had a good point there...

"I trusted you! I gave you everything!" Sammy Lawrence shouted in rage as he raised his axe. As he charged forward towards the teens with his axe ready to strike, he shouted, "And you left me to rot!"

The teens just froze. They froze because they were shocked by the fact that someone they thought was dead was right in front of them. They froze because they were shocked by the fact that the "dead man" was charging at them. And they were shocked by the fact that Sammy Lawrence thought they were the reason why he's the way he is right now.

Norman leapt in by parrying Sammy Lawrence's axe with his weapon. The Projectionist kept the position as the former Music Director as the latter chanted, "Why? WHY?"

With a grunt, Norman snapped, "Sammy! What the hell?! These kids haven't done anythin' to you!" He then pushed Sammy back with another grunt before saying, "You're the one who tried to sacrificed them to the Ink Demon!" The former Music Director staggered back, slightly dazed from the push back.

Allison Angel and the two Boris' quickly leapt into action to aid Norman in fighting off Sammy. Marinette and Adrien took a few deep breaths before telling Kim and Markov to stay out of sight while they help out. "Tikki/Plagg! Spots On/Claws Out!" the blonde and the bluenette called out. As Mister Bug and Kitty Noire took the field, Kim and Markov ducked behind a couple of wooden crates to keep out of sight. It was a little weird seeing Buddy Boris actively participate in a fight like this, but considering who it was against...

But it ended up being a good thing because Sammy Lawrence was a surprisingly competent fighter despite him seemingly just waving his axe around. And it ended up being Buddy Boris who managed to knock Sammy's Bendy mask off when he swung his pipe at him. "No! Don't look at me!" Sammy screamed as he covered his now maskless face with his hands. The former Music Director then raced towards the "shrine" as he got out in an almost fearful tone, "Stay away..." He then stood there, facing away from the others as he continued to shield his face from them.

Allison Angel, Tom Boris, Norman, Kitty Noire, Buddy Boris, and Mister Bug glanced at one another in confusion. They couldn't help but think that this sudden change of behaviour was strange, even for this place. That was when Kitty Noire remembered that Sammy Lawrence was trapped here for close to 60 years having to deal with all kinds of horrors and had to have suffered a good number of psychotic breaks during that time... It had to be the reason why Sammy started worshipping the Ink Demon... Sammy Lawrence was a victim of the Studio too...

Kitty Noire took a few cautious steps towards Sammy Lawrence as she asked, "Mr Lawrence? Are you okay?" When she didn't get a response, she took another few steps closer as the others moved a little bit closer, just in case something happens. "Um, Mr Lawrence? Listen, while you did attack us first, we really didn't want to fight you, we still don't, but... If something's wrong, you can tell us and maybe we can help," Kitty Noire said as she got just a little bit closer to the former Music Director.

As soon as Kitty Noire was in easy reach of Sammy Lawrence, he suddenly grabbed her by the collar and stopping everyone's hearts when he did. "You lied to me!" the former Music Director seethed as he lifted the current Black Cat Hero into the air. He then snapped, "You said that I'd be freed!"

"What are you talking about?!" Kitty Noire gasped out as she struggled to break free of the former Music Director's surprisingly strong grip. The bluette then said in a strained tone, "We only interacted with you when you tried to sacrifice us to the Ink Demon!"

"Don't try to lie to me again, Bendy!" Sammy snapped as he tightened his grip, making the others both nervous. Then they realized what he called Kitty Noire and became pretty confused.

"Um, Mr Lawrence, I think you might be a bit confused," Markov said as he hovered above his hiding spot with Kim. The AI then added, "Kitty Noire is most certainly not Bendy. She is a cat-themed hero, while Bendy is a demon."

"DON'T LIE TO ME AGAIN!" Sammy Lawrence shouted as he held up the axe with his free hand. He then said in rage, "I'll free you. I'll free your head right off your shoulders!"

Anger flared in Mister Bug as he rushed towards Sammy Lawrence as he slammed Kitty Noire to the ground. As the former Music Director got ready to follow through with his threat, Mister Bug tackled him at full force. The impact caused Sammy Lawrence to drop the axe and stagger back. Kitty Noire recovered from her blow from the ground to see what was happening. Tom Boris then helped the Black Cat hero to her feet as Allison Angel, Norman, and Buddy Boris gathered around her as Mister Bug was going all out in a fistfight with Sammy Lawrence.

Mister Bug then activated the Purification of his yo-yo and then aimed at Sammy Lawrence. Kitty Noire, Buddy Boris, Kim, Norman, and Markov knew what their friend was thinking when the Black Cat hero shouted, "Adrien!"

"Time to Purify!" Mister Bug shouted before a bright beam of light shot out of the yo-yo and hit Sammy Lawrence dead on. The former Music Director shouted in pure shock as the white light enveloped him completely. Mister Bug focused on the light, he had to maintain it! To save Marinette! To save the poor soul that was still suffering inside. That was when Mister Bug closed his eyes as he pushed the beam of light forward a little more. A few seconds later, the blonde thought he heard the familiar sound of a pen scratching on a paper... Was someone writing something?

'Marc? What's... He... Doing... Here...' were Mister Bug's final thoughts before he fell into black and missing his allies calling out to him.

~}i{ Outside The Studio, Master Fu's Message Parler, Present Time }i{~

While Wang Fu worked on healing Emilie Agreste, the other Heroes (after revealing their identities to each other) were going over possible plans on saving Team Psi from Joey Drew Studios. With the help of the available Kwamis.

"Okay, obviously, the damn place has some kind of mechanism that somehow allows it to keep itself closed off from the rest of the world," Alix stated as she looked over the blueprints of the layout of Joey Drew Studios. She then said, "But I don't recall seeing any security cameras on the exterior. This means that there's got to be at least a 70% chance that someone is just constantly watching the exterior to make sure no one can get in and a 100% chance that someone is watching on the inside to prevent anyone from escaping."

That was when Nino said, "Dudette, you're kinda talking like Max."

Alix sighed before she said, "I just miss him and Kim..." She looked at Kaalki and Xuppu before she added, "It just makes me feel a little better when I try talking like Max... It... Makes it feel like they're still kinda here..."

Luka placed a hand on Alix's shoulder when he said, "And they'll be back once we find a way to get them out."

That was when Chloe said with a loud sigh, "Of all the info that Future Alix dropped on us, you'd think she would've at least dropped some kind of hint about how to save them."

Kagami looked at the blonde when she said, "You seem to be very "hung up" on what Alix's future self said. May I inquire why?"

Chloe shifted a bit before she got out, "Well... Future!Alix only told me and Alix that "Ladybug and Chat Noir have everything covered", that kinda implies that they'll somehow find a way out on their own." She then folded and rubbed her arms self-consciously before adding, "But... That last bit about "the others" is still a bit unsettling..."

Nino tensed before he said, "That can only mean that there are other people that got trapped in that Studio before our buddies did... And they're still there... Man, that just..." He shook his head as he picked up a recent photograph of the outside of Joey Drew Studios. Nino looked at the picture for a few seconds before looking at the blueprints, and then back at the picture when he asked, "These are the same blueprints Max got from the public archive, right?"

Chloe nodded when she said, "Yeah, I remember he said that the multiple librarians confirmed that these blueprints are for that studio. Why are you asking that?"

Nino looked at the blueprints when he said, "These blueprints show that the studio has two stories."

Kagami raised a brow when she said, "They do, and didn't your class build your Haunted House the same way?"

Alix took a breath before she said, "Yup, I remember that we had to combine a few rooms to make sure we finished on time, but we kept the two floors. But, I'm going to agree with Chloe on the why are you asking, Nino?"

Nino flopped the photo of the studio on top of the blueprints when he said, "There's a reason for my question, dudes and dudettes. Take a look at the picture."

Everyone, Kwamis included, looked at the picture. At first, they didn't see anything off, but after looking at the blueprints... They started to see what Nino was talking about.

Trixx was the one to point it out by saying, "There are three floors in the picture but the blueprints only show two!" The fox Kwami looked at Alix when he asked, "You sure Max got the most recent copies?"

Alix nodded when she said, "They should be. I mean, the place was closed down in 1959, so any building construction that was done had to be added to the studio's blueprints would be in the public records now."

Pollen was the one to say, "But, Mizz Alix, it's obviously not the case. There's an entire floor missing from the blueprints! How's that possible if what you're saying is true?"

"It might've been off-the-books?" Luka suggested. But then he thought about the facts available and then said, "But to do an entire floor off-book is more than a little suspicious... Oh crap!"

"What?" the Kwami asked in confusion at the same time.

Kagami caught on when she said, "If an entire floor has been constructed off-the-books and never added to the blueprints, then... What else has not been recorded in these blueprints?"

Chloe punched a random spot on the blueprint angrily when she snapped, "Shit! Markov has these blueprints in his files, and I'm sure they thought that they could use them like a map to get out!" She let out a growl before she pinched the bridge of her nose and said, "They must've learned first-hand that these blueprints are worthless! Utterly worthless!"

That was when Wayzz shrank a bit when he said, "And that also means that... These blueprints aren't going to help us with locating our friends..."

Everyone was completely silent... And they remained silent until Luka asked in a serious tone, "Is it possible to combine two Miraculous that can be used to search someplace without actually being there?"

~}i{ Elsewhere, A Day Later }i{~

Consciousness came to Adrien at a snail's pace. Everything was just... Fuzzy... Like a big, fluffy pillow covered with black feathers...

"Hey, kiddo, can you open your eyes? I prefer to talk to you while you're not half-asleep," a voice said to Adrien as he slowly opened his eyes. Why did the voice sound so familiar to the blonde? Has he met the voice before?

When Adrien opened his eyes completely, he realized he was standing in a strange void. It seemed pitch black but it was strangely lit. "Where... Am I?" Adrien asked as he looked around the void, trying to find out who was speaking to him.

Adrien heard a chuckle before the voice said, "Behind you, kiddo."

Adrien quickly whirled around and saw the owner of the voice. "Max?" the blonde managed to get out. True, the stranger looked identical to Max but he looked a decade older and was wearing a white collared shirt with his sleeves rolled up to his elbows, a pair of well-worn pair of grey jeans being held up by a pair of black suspenders, and black shoes.

The Max look-a-like brought his right, and castless, hand to his chin as he chuckled. He then said, "Not exactly, kiddo." Adrien blinked in confusion at the comment. The guy looked like Max but he didn't sound like Max, but his voice still sounded familiar to the blonde for some reason. The look-a-like smiled before he said, "I can understand the confusion though. Maxie does have a rather strong resemblance to me when I was younger."

Adrien was still confused, but he tried to think about what this person was talking about... Maxie... Resemblance... Younger... Ah! Realization hit Adrien like a tidal wave when he said, "You're Henry! Max's grandfather!"

The Max look-a-like took a small, polite bow when he said, "Henry Stein." He then looked up at Adrien when he added, "I never thought that I'd be coming back like this. Or at least meeting one of Maxie's friends under these circumstances."

Adrien just couldn't believe his eyes. Not only was he talking to a dead man, but he was talking to the Creator that all the Lost Ones are hoping to save them. The blonde tried to speak, trying to ask all his questions that he had, but all he could ask was, "How? How am I talking to you right now?"

Henry gave a small shrug when he said, "If I had to make a guess, then I'd say that the Ladybug Miraculous had a part in helping with that."

"But..." Adrien got out before saying, "The Ladybug Miraculous is the Miraculous of Creation! You're..." The blonde paused, not sure if he should say it or not.

"Dead?" Henry responded with an amused tilt of the head. He then said, "It's okay to just say the word, it won't bother me too much." He let out a small sigh as he glanced away from Adrien as he said, "I'll admit, it did hurt that I left my family the way I did."

Adrien looked in the direction Henry was and saw an image of Henry in his eighties with a woman around the same age who was probably Linda, Claudie Kanté was in the image, and Max was there too. The blonde then looked back at Henry, who now had a sad look on his face, when he said, "I'm... Sorry, that happened... I... Can relate in a way... But... At least you were with your family... My... Mother disappeared... And is still missing."

"She's not missing," Henry stated suddenly as he looked back at Adrien before adding, "In fact, she's never left your home."

Adrien gave a small smile, "I always felt that her spirit was still with me at home... Even if it can be a little hard to feel it with Father being, well, himself..." He thought the Spirit was trying to cheer him up with gentle words.

Henry gave the blonde a weary smile when he said, "Uh, sure, let's go with that." Adrien had a strange feeling that the spirit meant something else entirely. Henry rubbed the back of his neck before he said, "So... You're trapped in Joey's studio, with some of my old co-workers and other victims..." Henry let out a deep sigh as he pinched the bridge of his nose and said, "God, what has Joey been up to that would cause such horrors?"

Adrien replied, "Something with ink, apparently... How close were you to Mr Drew before you quit the studio?"

Henry folded his arms in front of his chest before he said, "I thought we were good friends but it turns out he was just using me for my talents. *Sighs*. I was able to get out of that toxic relationship, but..." Henry pointed towards another image. This time, Adrien was looking at a gathering of Lost Ones. "It seems like others weren't so lucky..." Henry finished as the image switched to an old image of him, Norman Polk, and Sammy Lawrence. Adrien was surprised by the fact that he was looking at those two before they were affected by the Ink. When the blonde's attention snapped back at Henry when the spirit said in an angry, "If I had known what Joey was really doing to my friends, I would've made sure the damn police got involved. Make them do an entire search of the studio to stop him from harming all these innocent people."

Adrien gave the spirit a sympathetic look when he said, "You didn't know what he was doing when you were alive. Which makes me ask, how did you find out about what's been going on at Joey Drew Studios?"

Henry keep his eyes on the image of him, Sammy Lawrance, and Norman Polk when he said, "After I realized that I died, I thought I could finally see Norman and Sammy again. Tell them about how I've been and how their families have been doing... But..."

That was when Adrien said, "They've been trapped in the Studio the whole time, even after they technically died. That's how you knew something was up. You could've tried to tell someone alive, I mean, you can do that via entering their dreams or, or could send them a vision, right?"

Henry chuckled before he said, "You have obviously seen way too many movies, kiddo. But to answer your question, we Spirits have Rules we have to obey, especially when communicating with the living. *Smiles*. Apparently, you've managed to adhere to the Rules with your actions and the Ladybug Miraculous, so now I get to talk to you."

Adrien scratched his head in confusion when he said, "I'm not sure what I did to get you to come to talk to me..." He then shrugged before he added, "But I'm not complaining, and you can maybe answer a few questions to fill in a few missing pieces to this Studio's Mysteries so we can save everyone, especially Max!"

Henry looked confused and concerned when he said, "What happened to my little grandson?"

Adrien looked at the ground (was there a ground?) when he said, "The Ink Demon took him, and we believe that he may have taken Max to his lair. We've been thinking that he might've mistaken Max as you."

"Ink Demon?" Henry asked in confusion. That was telling to the blonde.

Adrien thought for a second before he replied, "A major demonized inky version of Bendy. We've been thinking that the Ink might either be someone who knew you created Bendy or has some major connection to you or even Bendy himself."

Henry looked at the blonde in shock when he said, "It's... Been a long time since I've heard that name before..." He then took a deep breath before letting it out slowly, and then said, "Maxie was five when he found my old sketchbook of Bendy, Boris, Alice Angel, and all the other characters I've created for Joey Drew Studios."

That was when Adrien said, "So THAT's where Max saw the original concept for Bendy from before we came to the studio."

Henry nodded before he said, "I haven't drawn Bendy or any of the other since I left the studio, since I somehow "Didn't have the rights to them" even though I created them. *Sigh* Guess that was just another reason why I ended my "friendship" if I could even call it that, with Joey... And it felt like Joey took a part of me when he took my creations from me..."

Adrien placed a hand to his chin when he muttered, "A part of you..." The blonde looked at Henry when he asked, "The last letter you got from Mr Drew, what did it say?"

Henry frowned as he folded his arms again when he said, "Popmus bastard wanted me to return to his studio, said he had something to show me." He then flicked his wrist towards the blonde, and a paper that was yellow with age appeared in front of him.

Adrien took the paper and read what was written on it.

"Dear Henry,

It seems like a lifetime since we worked on cartoons together. 54 years really slips away, doesn't it? If you're back in town, come visit the old workshop. There's something I need to show you.

Your best pal,

Joey Drew."

Adrien raised a brow at what he read before he looked back at Henry when he asked, "Did he really... Write this?"

Henry scoffed before he said, "Yeah, he did. Infuriating, isn't it. Bastard has the audacity to think that I still consider him "my best pal" after everything he's done!"

'That seems to be another parallel to Lila,' the blonde thought. He then wondered, 'But still... Even if Lila and Mr Drew are somehow related... There are way too many similarities as it is. It's a little weird... Almost unnatural as to how much alike they are...' He waited for Henry to calm down a bit before he continued. "So he wanted you to return to the studio too?" Adrien asked as the letter vanished. He then asked, "Is Mr Drew trying to silence everyone who worked for him or something? And why use the Ink to do it?"

Henry gave the blonde a sad look when he said, "I'm sorry, but I don't have the answers to those questions." There was a sudden ripple in the void. "It seems like our time is almost up," Henry said softly before he told Adrien, "You might want to ask the important questions you have before then."

Adrien quickly thought over what he'd just learned from Henry. He didn't know anything about the Ink or know the whole story on what has been happening in the Studio, so any questions regarding those were out. But maybe... That was when Adrien asked, "Do you think you would know how to use the Ladybug's Purification technique without it draining to the holder so much?"

Henry could help but respond with, "At least your asking if I know rather than assuming that I know." "Do you?" Adrien asked, not sure how much time he has left with Henry. With a weary smile, the Spirit responded with, "You're not going to like it, but practice makes perfect for all of you."

Adrien frowned at the answer. The Spirit was right, he didn't like that response. Adrien thought quickly when he asked, "After we free everyone from the Ink... Are they... Going to die right away?" That question was more to get an idea of what to expect when they eventually free everyone from the Ink and after they get out of the Studio.

Henry gave a small, sad, smile when he said, "Kiddo... You, Kim, Maxie, Markov, and your girlfriend are the only ones alive inside the studio... But until these grounded souls find their Peace, they aren't going to be leaving the Living Plain anytime soon."

Adrien only understood half that answer. Then he blushed when he realized what Henry referred to Marinette as. Adrien waved his hands nervously when he got out, "Marinette isn't my girlfriend! She-she's just a good friend and superhero partner!" Henry only gave an amused raised brow at the blonde's response.

The rippling in the void happened again. Henry watched the ripples for a few seconds before he said, "Well, time's up." He then looked at Adrien before he waved and said, "If you're going to have trouble convincing your friends that you talked with me, just tell Norman that I still think he needs to wear a bell." That was when the rippling started turning the void into the light.

"Wait!" Adrien called out before he shields his eyes from the sudden light. He then shouted, "What's this Peace thing?! Mr Stein!" The light got brighter and brighter as he kept calling out, "Mr Stien!" It didn't take long before the light was just too bright.

And the next thing Adrien knew, he was staring at a wooden ceiling.

~}i{ Inside Joey Drew Studios, Present Time }i{~

Adrien groaned as he slowly brought a hand to his face. As he rubbed his face, he realized that he was laying on some kind of make-shift bed. He tried to push himself to a sitting position, but he didn't have the energy in his arms to do so. 'Did my talk with Mr Stien really drain me that much?' Adrien wondered as he glanced around the room he was in. 'How... Where am I?' the blonde thought before he let out a low groan when he couldn't remember anything before his talk with Henry.

"Adrien?" Adrien slowly turned to the voice who called him and saw a worried-looking bluebell eyed, bluette teenage girl wearing ink-stained clothing. She quickly moved over to his side and put her hand on his forehead when she asked, "You're awake! Good. Are you feeling right now?"

Adrien stared at the bluette for a bit before he asked in a dreamy tone, "Am I in heaven? Because you're an angel."

The bluette sighed when she said as she rolled her eyes, "Nice to know you're okay after being out for a full day, Chaton. But let's keep those kinds of jokes on the backburner for a real long time, even after we get out of this hell hole."

'Chaton?' the blonde thought in confusion. That was when memories started flooding Adrien's brain. He then jerked up into a sitting position, felt woozy from the sudden motion, and then asked while trying to not hurl, "Urg! You were attacked! What? What happened to Mr Lawrence?! Urg!"

Marinette placed a soft hand on Adrien's shoulder, causing the blonde to look at her. She then said, "Adrien, I'm okay. And as for Mr Lawrence... Well first, how are your legs feeling?" Tikki and Plagg flew into view of the blonde, both had worried looks on their faces.

Adrien tried moving his legs. He could move them easily enough, but he could barely hold himself up. Marinette helped Adrien stand up and allowed him to use her for support as they slowly walked out of the room. It took a few minutes to walk out of the wooden structure, but that time wasn't wasted. Adrien asked questions, more about what happened while he was unconscious. To which Marinette answered by saying, "Well, the Lost Ones are a lot friendlier than we thought. They're still a little wary of us, but a lot more open than we could've hoped for despite that."

Adrien nodded before he asked, "Okay, that's good for our quest, but... What about Mr Lawrence? I remember fighting him as Mister Bug, but... What happened during our fight?"

Marinette paused her movement, causing Adrien to wobble a bit, before she said, "You don't remember?"

Adrien shook his head when he said, "No, I just remember waking up in a void of some sort and met Max's grandpa."

Marinette raised a brow in concern when she asked, "You've met Mr Henry?"

"Mr Stien, actually," Adrien corrected before adding, "He introduced himself as Henry Stien, and we talked for a while. He doesn't know anything about what's been happening inside this place or anything about the Ink, but he told me a lot of stuff that we can use to save everyone!"

Marinette stared at Adrien for a bit before she finally said, "I'm going to have to have Markov scan you over for any signs of a concussion, in case you hit your head during your fall."

"It's true!" Adrien vocalized as they walked out of the wooden structure, then added, "I really did talk to him!" They ran into Kim at the entrance. The tall teen greeted them and asked how Adrien was doing. That was when the blonde said, "Besides my legs feeling like Jell-O, I'm peachy. But Bugaboo isn't answering my question about what happened to Mr Lawrence."

Kim gave Adrien a concerned look when he asked, "You don't remember?" He then sighed before he added, "Well, I'm not surprised. *Looks at Marinette*. You didn't remember what happened when you Purified Norman." Kim then motioned for the bluette and the blonde to follow him.

So Marinette and Adrien, more the bluette letting the blonde leaning on her for support, followed Kim. During their walk, Adrien noticed the Ladybug Earrings on one of Marinette's ears. "Looks like the Miraculous were swapped back while I was out," the blonde comment.

Marinette responded with, "Well, you did that with me so it's only fair I do it to you." She then glanced at the blonde when she added, "My energy is back to normal, so I'll be fine with the Ladybug Miraculous. You now need the Black Cat to balance yourself out." Adrien grumbled out that he agreed as Plagg patted him on the cheek as Tikki sat on top of Marinette's head.

Adrien saw all the Lost Ones around their make-shift town, going about their normal business, only looking up for a bit to see the teens before going back to what they were doing. It took a few more seconds before Adrien, Marinette, Kim, and the Kwamis came to a wooden pillar with Sammy Lawrence, without his Bendy mask, sitting in front of it with his knees pulled to his bound chest, but was tied to it with a thick rope with his arms behind his back.

"What happened?" Adrien asked cluelessly as he just stared at the weird scene before him.

Markov flew over when he explained that Tom Boris and Allison Angel felt it necessary to tie up Sammy, it was more for every ones' piece of mind than anything. "Oddly, Mr Lawrence did not put up any resistance of any kind," the AI stated before a question mark emoji appeared on his visor when he asked, "I find that behaviour odd. Since Norman did not display that behaviour when he was Purified and I cannot think of a logical reason for Mr Lawrence lack of resistance." Allison Angel and the two Boris walked over to the group halfway through the conversation.

Adrien, Marinette, and Kim lept out of their skins when Norman suddenly said from behind them, "From all that mutterin' he's been doin' for the past day, pretty sure he's been doin' a lot of regretting for all the stuff he did."

Adrien placed a hand over his heart, to try to get the rhythm back to normal, as he said out loud to Norman, "Mr Stein was right! You do need a bell!" Norman froze as Marinette, Kim, and Markov asked what the blonde was talking about. Adrien replied, "During my talk with Henry, er, Mr Stien, he said to tell Norman that he needed to wear a bell. Not sure what it meant at the time, but now I understand."

"It was because I was too good a sneakin' around..." Norman said softly. Everyone turned their attention to the Projectionist when he added, "Henry use to joke that I needed to wear a bell so I wouldn't scare the other workers... And the fact that you know his surname... You... Really did talk to Henry, didn't you Adrien?" The blonde smiled as the others looked at him in shock.

"So... Henry's alright..." said a whimper that sounded like it came from the pole that they had Sammy Lawrence tied to. Team Psi, Allison Angel, and Tom Boris turned to look at the Former Music Director, who appeared to be curling up into a ball while still being tied to the wooden pillar. Sammy glanced away from the group when he muttered, "He... He escaped Bendy... I... I can apologize to him for... For trying to... To sacrifice him to Bendy..."

Team Psi glanced at each other and the newcomers during this muttering rant by the former Music Director. Norman rubbed the back of his neck when he said to the group softly, "Speakin' from experience... I'm guessing that Sammy is also unaware of how much time has passed since this place got taken over by the Ink, or that it wasn't Henry that he was about to sacrifice..."

Adrien then whispered, "Considering how much Max resembles his grandpa when he was younger, I'm not surprised that Mr Lawrence thought he was Henry." The blonde glanced at the former Music Director with a glare before adding, "But still... What the hell happened to make him think that the Ink Demon of all things would help him? Or even why he even worshipped the Ink Demon?"

That was when Markov whispered, "All things considered, I have made the logical conclusion that Mr Lawrence had to have suffered a high amount of "mental breakdowns" during his time here. Therefore, it is logical to assume that he must have made some positive connection to the Ink Demon during one of these breakdowns... ... ... Is it wrong to feel sorry for Mr Lawrence right now?"

Buddy Boris scratched the side of his head before he shrugged. Tom Boris, on the other hand, kept a hand to his chin as if he was trying to think about this whole thing. Allison Angel seemed conflicted, she had some memories of Sammy Lawrence back when the studio was open.

Marinette stared at Sammy as he continued to mutter the same thing under his breath as he kept himself curled into a ball in the awkward position. The bluette bit her lip as she thought, 'Damn it! The guys are right! My big heart can be a hindrance sometimes!' Marinette knew that she shouldn't, especially given what the man tried to do, but... She mentally kicked herself when she finally said, "Maybe we need to give Mr Lawrence a chance to prove that he truly does want to make amends for what he did."

Everyone around the bluette gasped out in utter shock at those words, Sammy especially.

Allison Angel got over her shock the quickest when she said/shouted, "He tried to kill you! Twice!" She made a few exaggerated gestures with her arms when she added/shouted, "And you just want to just! Just untie him and allow him to do it again!?"

Marinette stared at Sammy, who was staring back at her with a disbelief look on his face. The bluette then said without her eyes moving from their target, "Listen if he truly does regret what he did, then he does deserve a chance to prove to not only us but to himself as well."

Kim rubbed the back of his neck when he said, "Mari's kinda right, Mr Lawrence is the only one who can prove to us that he's willing to change... So... Maybe, a second chance is all someone needs. Especially if they been manipulated that badly, Ink or no Ink."

The others did have to agree on that, even if they didn't like it. Adrien, who was on the dislike part of this whole idea, glared at Sammy when hr snapped at the former Music Director, "But no third chance unless YOU want it. And we'll be watching." Norman then walked over to Sammy and started untying the former Music Director.

That was when Tikki and Plagg flew in front of Allison Angel and Tom Boris when the red Kwami said, "And speaking of Chances, I think we can agree that you two proved that we can trust you."

That was when Plagg snipped, "Still sore about the not helping with Borkis thing, but hey, the past is in the past and we need to move forward to get everyone outta this hellhole."

"That means a lot, little spirits," Allison Angel said as Tom Boris nodded in agreement.

Markov quickly recalled the Hidden Message back in the Bunker and wondered out loud if this is what that "Trust Them" words were talking about. The AI then held up the Seeing Tool and looked around the immediate area and found two new Hidden Messages on a nearby wall. "Forgiveness is Earned Through Actions and Deeds, Never by Words Alone," Markov read the first Hidden Message out loud and did the same with the second one, "The Hardest Things to do is to Admit One's Error and Learn to Forgive One's Self."

Kim scratched his head when he said, "That's a little too on point of what's happening right now... It's making me think that our Mysterious Helper is the one writing these Hidden Messages too."

Marinette placed a hand on her chin when she said, "You're not the only one." She then looked at Norman and Sammy interacting. From what Marinette could tell, Sammy seemed to have realized that the Projectionist before him was his old friend and co-worker. Marinette could see how shocked Sammy appeared to be after realizing this because of the body language he was showing. Marinette could hear that Sammy was asking Norman what happened to him, the Projectionist replied that the Ink did. Marinette could hear Norman say that the Ink also affected his mind as he looked at the palm of his left hand. Marinette let out a small breath when she said, "But our "Hidden Helper" is going to have to take a backseat, for now, we need to find the Ink Demon's lair."

A few seconds later, Sammy and Norman walked over to the group. The former Music Director seemed a bit nervous about it, but no one could blame him in all honesty.

[New Team Members Have Been Acquired! Allison Angel, Tom Boris, and Sammy Lawrence!]

First on the list at the moment was catching Sammy up to speed on how long he and the others have been trapped here in Joey Drew Studios. Sammy denied that that was possible and claimed that Henry could tell them the whole story. The teens, AI, and Norman had to tell the former Music Director that Henry Stein passed away 5 years ago and that the person he thought was Henry was actually his grandson. "No! No! That can't be true!" Sammy declared in shock before saying in a frantic tone, "Henry and Linda don't even have a kid, let alone grandkids! I mean, I know they were planning on having one, but they don't have a child yet!" The teens were a little worried, since they lost Max's phone they didn't have solid proof that he was Henry's grandson to show to Sammy.

But Markov saved the moment by saying that he was synced to Max's phone and could show Sammy the proof that was needed. The teens were thankful that Max gave Markov a holo-projector so he was able to show Sammy the picture of Henry and Linda's 50th Anniversary photo and a family photo of the Stein/Kanté family that appeared to have been taken 8 years ago or 3 years before Henry's death. Realizing that he nearly sacrificed Henry's grandson to the Ink Demon, Sammy broke down in tears, literally.

The teens, AI, Angel, and the Boris' didn't know how to react to this. Norman, on the other hand, seemed to know what to do. The Projectionist kelt next to Sammy and then placed a gentle hand on the former Music Director's shoulder before slowly and guiding him into a soft hug. Norman then rubbed small circles on Sammy's back to help calm him down. The Projectionist said nothing during this whole thing, he simply gave comfort to his distressed old friend. Buddy Boris then knelt next to the two and placed a soft hand on Sammy's other shoulder, giving the other a little extra compassion. The teens then joined the little comfort gathering. Marinette was first along with the Kwamis, Kim was second along with Markov, and Adrien was last. The blonde might not like Sammy at the moment but... Adrien knew how it felt to lose a loved one and he wasn't petty enough to allow another to wallow in that feeling. Lastly, Allison Angel and Tom Boris joined the group.

Somehow... This... Felt... Right... And... It felt... Freeing...

~}i{ Elsewhere Inside Joey Drew Studios }i{~

The sound of teeth chattering echoed through the air in the area.

The Ink Demon look down at a film reel packet in his oversized left hand that was labelled 'The End' in black letters. The Ink Demon knew what this item was and knew what it was for. He needed to keep it away from that group. However...

That wasn't important at the moment. They won't be here for a while. There's still time.

The Ink Demon tossed the Film Reel onto the seat of a throne-like chair in the centre of the room. Dozen of tv screens scattered or hanging inside the room were continuously playing the old Bendy cartoons. Was there a way to shut those damn things off? Meh, not important now.

The Ink Demon growled as he walked through an Ink Portal into another room. A room without the annoying blare of the sounds and lights of those tv screens. Yes, it was nice a quiet here and the light wasn't harsh on the eyes. It was perfect.

The Ink Demon hobbled over to a make-shift bed. Laying on the make-shift bed was the still unconscious Max. The Ink Demon let out a soft, low growl as his boney index finger of his right hand traced up the edge of the make-shift bed up until it reached the teens head. The boney finger then lightly traced along the side of Max's cheek. The teen didn't stir.

The Ink Demon's teeth chattered once more.

He had plenty of time before the others arrive.

~}i{ Back With Team Psi, an Hour Later }i{~

After a good cool down, Team Psi was ready to continue their quest on finding the Ink Demon's Lair.

One of the Lost Ones opened a gate leading out of Lost Harbor when they said, "I don't know why you want to find the Ink Demon's lair, but beyond the second gate passed this is the area where he seems to lurk a lot. Not sure if his lair is around there though."

"It's not much, but at least it's a lead," Marinette said before she thanked the Lost One as she walked past the gate with the rest of Team Psi. It took less than a minute before they came to their next hurdle. The flooring ahead had rotted away and left only a few scattered wooden boards connecting the remaining sections, and further up was an Ink Maker.

Plagg couldn't help but say, "Anyone else thinking that this screams "Don't Look Down"? Or am I the only one thinking that?"

That was when Allison Angel said, "Let's just agree on just treading with caution." Everyone nodded at that as the ink angel looked at the boards before saying, "I think it would be best if we go one at a time. These don't look like they would hold more than one person."

Adrien looked at the boards and said, "I don't know if these can even hold an adult..." He then glanced up at the other boards before saying, "I wonder why the Lost Ones didn't think to make a drawbridge or something more sturdy but movable for this section?"

That was when Sammy said, "They don't use this pathway often enough to make something like those. As they said, the Ink Demon lurks up ahead, so they would want to avoid using the areas where he ventures the most."

Kim shrugged when he said, "Makes sense, but they could've used better boards to use."

They decided to go one at a time starting with the lightest and treading VERY carefully. Marinette was first as Tikki flew by her side as she carefully walked across the first board. As soon as the bluette was completely across, she started on the second board as Adrien started on the first with Plagg floating by his side. Kim slowly started next as Markov flew beside him. They were slowly making progress across as Sammy started on the first board and Marinette starting on the final board.

SNAP!

"Kids! Sammy!" Allison Angel and Norman shouted as they and the Boris' watched as all the boards suddenly broke and cause the teens and Sammy plummeted to the dark depts below. Markov and the Kwamis quickly flew after them.

After a few seconds of falling, they suddenly splashed into a large mountain of feathered-filled pillows (1). The impact from the three teens and adult caused the pillows to burst open and causing the feathers shot up everywhere. Markov and the Kwamis hovered over the mass of now floating feathers as he blinked in confusion before asking, "Is everyone functioning?"

Marinette, Adrien, Kim, and Sammy burst out of the soft mass as they spat out the feathers that got into their mouths.

"*Pftw*! Yuck! What the hell?!" Kim shouted as he spat out some of the smaller feathers that also got into his mouth.

Adrien spat out a feather when he coughed out, "I know we shouldn't complain *pftw*, but why the hell would there be so many pillows here?!"

Marinette and Sammy swam out of the feathers first as the former Music Director said as he brushed off the feathers stuck to his person, "I remember that we had pillows for the employees so they could take a quick nap so they could remain at the studio, but I didn't think we had THAT many in the studio."

Kim and Adrien managed to join Marinette and Sammy as the Kwamis and Markov flew to their side as the feathers slowly rained down over everyone. The bluette looked around the dimly lit area before asking, "Where are we now?" She then sneezed as a falling feather tickled her nose.

Adrien spotted a drawing of the Seeing Tool on the wall right in front of them. 'What's the- Wait!' The blonde's head snapped towards the AI and said, "Markov! Use the Seeing Tool on this wall!"

Markov nodded as he pulled the Seeing Tool in front of his visor and read the Hidden Message out loud, "It's Inside the Vault!..." The AI lowered the Seeing Tool when he asked, "What is inside the vault? And where would that be located?"

"Something important, I guess," Kim suggested before he looked over to an open doorway and added, "Well, it seems like we'll find out soon enough if this vault's nearby."

Not seeing much of a choice, the group trooped through the door arch. Sammy looked around what appears to be a foyer area and uttered, "This is... The Administration Area, but... What's it doing all the way down here?"

That was when Tikki said, "We gave up on finding any logical reasoning on the loc