March, Friday the thirteenth, the calendar read. According to his schedule, he had the whole day to himself. But more than anything, he wished he could have it spent with his beloved Ladybug. Perhaps if he was lucky, he would run into her on this fine casual day. Not as Chat Noir, his alternate ego, nor battling any akumas for that matter. Perhaps… his eyes broadened, emerald irises glowing as a wishful thought struck his mind, he would meet the woman behind the mask! His morning was made with such a simple thought as that. As he quickly packed for school and headed down to the dining room, there was a small skip in his usual strides. The blissful thought in mind, Adrien Agreste hoped that luck was on his side. After all, he was the image of the infamous mascot of this superstitious day.
He should have known. To think that his alter ego was the star of this day, things would turn up most favorably in his direction. Adrien shook his head, chuckling dryly beneath his breath. Wrong. He was an idiot to think otherwise.
This was not the first time Plagg had disappeared from his bag, but he would always be hiding somewhere nearby, just enough to be reeled in by a thimble of cheese. Initially, these sudden occurrences gave him numerous heart-attacks, but Adrien had adjusted to this peculiar cat's behavior pretty well with his resolution tightly packed in a round beige container. He should have known that his kindness and consideration to purchase such would be taken advantaged, and today was no exception. His sympathy had cost him several close calls in his reversions as well as almost getting Ladybug killed. Had it not been for his gluttonous appetite, a number of events would have sailed smoothly. Then again, that was not Chat Noir's style. Nevertheless, he needed to pack a spare one for emergencies.
Such as his current dire situation.
The moment he realized Plagg's disappearance was the moment he stepped into his limousine. Just as his heavy built chauffeur was prepared to take him home, Adrien had voiced out a quick-witted excuse. "Wait! I forgot I had something really important to do after school. I'm sorry but, please go home without me!" Slinging his silver bag over his shoulder, Adrien quickly bolted out of the car and back into the school.
Several minutes in, his feet led him into the school cafeteria where he quickly requested for a slice of camembert cheese. With a hurried "Thank you!" he sped off towards the gym locker room. He tore a piece, the size of a thimble, between his thumb and index finger before popping the rest of the slice into the empty disk. The scent was overwhelming, enough to send his emerald irises swimming the longer he held it. A scent like this would have had Plagg running in a heartbeat, but to his surprise and inclining anxiety, there had been no sign of a stirring cat nor of his boisterous cry for the wafting curd.
Plagued with dread and overwhelming concern, Adrien exited the locker room and made a beeline for the library. He spent several minutes running up and down the aisles from the first floor to the second and back down. Finally, he ran straight into his empty classroom. He promised himself a minute to look around the classroom, but his patience and level headed composure had begun to taper off in a heated battle against anxiety. It had been only a half minute before Adrien found himself sprinting out of the school and into the streets of Paris.
Shortly after class was released, Marinette dashed towards Place du Trocadéro. Besides her usual mind clouded with Adrien and romantic scenarios with said individual, she could not stop thinking about several patterns and designs that eclipsed her mind in one of her class lectures. She had quickly scribbled several of them down before waving goodbye to her best friend, Alya, and dashed towards her favorite inspirational spot.
She had done several sketches with each design playing a part of numerous clothing attires and accessories.
"Nice designs you got there," a caramel skinned girl with gold piercing eyes, and deep auburn hair smiled kindly. "Are they for a certain someone?" she eyed a particular sketched model with shaggy hair that resembled a certain classmate.
"Alya!" Marinette exclaimed flusteredly, "I-I-I thought you were busy after class today!"
"I thought so to," Alya nodded as she took a seat beside her creative friend. "Turns out Mom's plan was cancelled. So I didn't need to rush home and babysit. And, more importantly, I'm more curious about what you're up to." She gestured to the pencil at hand with an amused grin, "It looked like you had a lot of ideas by the way you gripped that pencil for the entire class period."
"I guess you could say that," the dark haired pigtail agreed wholeheartedly. "I don't know where these ideas came from. It just came out of nowhere and before I knew it, I had to draw them before they disappeared."
"Good thing too! These would look great on Adrien!" she winked suggestively.
"I know right?!" Marinette excitedly gushed as she clasped her hands over Alya's. "I know these will look great on him!" Then reeling into deflation, she sighed, "But when will that happen?"
Squeezing her hands, Alya replied positively, "Someday. There will be another opportunity to present itself, just like the bowler hat competition! Hang in there, Marinette."
"Alya!" Moved by her companion's thoughtful words, Marinette sprung forward and engulfed her friend in a tight hug.
"Oh Marinette…" Alya sighed with a shake of her head, nevertheless she still returned her friend's hug.
From a distance, that particularly sketched model sprinted by the Place du Trocadéro, cheese engulfed in a fisted hand.
There was a sudden stirring from her pink bag, causing Marinette to break from her embrace and turn her attention to her bag.
"Did you hear something?" the startled pigtailed girl inquired.
"I think you're just imagining things," Alya shrugged as she got up, "Let's go. It's getting late."
Alya brought her phone to her companion's pale face. 17:24, the screen read.
"Are you serious? It's that time already?!"
Shaking her head and sighing amusedly, the scarlet haired woman offered a hand to Marinette. "Girl, what would you be without me?"
"A horrible mess," she answered while taking her hand.
"You can say that again," Alya chuckled. "Come on, let's go home."
The walk home had been pleasant, as the duo continued to exchange gushing news between Marinette's crush on the infamous model and her future plans for the designs she had came up with.
As soon as she was by herself, Tikki had poked out of her coin purse. "Marinette, there's something urgent I need to tell you."
"Huh?" the dark haired woman inquired as she glanced at her small companion. Seeing the serious look on her face, she nodded and increased her pace to her home. In the middle of her jog, she managed to voice out her concern, "What's wrong?"
"I think it's better if we talk about this once we get home."
"Alright, then. Just hang in there," she replied whilst clasping her bag.
At double speed, Marinette was able to sprint her way into the front door into the shop.
"Marinette?" a female voice called out.
"Hi mom! Sorry but I'm kind of in a hurry to do a project!" she called whilst jogging up the steps to her bedroom.
"Okay! Just make sure to come down and have dinner with us later!"
"I will!" she hollered back before closing her door. She rested her back against the frame of the door to catch her breath before unclasping her purse. Almost immediately, Tikki flew out, dragging an unfamiliar and exhausted kwami with her onto Marinette's bed.
"Tikki? Who is that?" Marinette inquired as she sat herself at the head of her bed.
The unfamiliar sprite's leg twitched as he cried out, "I'm weak and hungry… I don't have any power to do anything without my cheese…"
"Cheese?" the pig tailed woman echoed.
"Any cheese," Tikki clarified without a beat. "Please hurry."
"Alright, I'll be right back!"
Marinette quickly exited her room and made a beeline downstairs and into her kitchen. Heading straight to her refrigerator, Marinette grabbed the first cheese her eyes had set upon and quickly dashed up her steps into her room. As if her life depended on it, Marinette quickly slammed the door and brought the silver platter on her bed.
Despite his ongoing howling cries for energy, the moment the plate made contact with her bed, the black cat-like sprite sat upright and quickly sunk his teeth into the ivory colored cheese. Within seconds, the solid dairy product vanished right before their very eyes.
With a satisfied burp, and two unamused women staring at him, the black cat quickly covered his mouth and giggled embarrassedly before floating towards Marinette. "Mademoiselle," he bowed, imitating a high class man, before floating to her hand and kissing it noisily. "Thank you for assistance. Had it not been for your quick thinking, I would have perished."
Drawing her hand back awkwardly, Marinette forced a small smile on her face. "It's no problem."
She could not help but pick up a strong familiarity. Then suddenly an epiphany struck her. Her eyes suddenly widened and two pairs of pale hands cradled her cheeks, "No you can't be… You're--"
"He's a kwami, just like me," Tikki interjected. "Except his miraculous jewel is a ring, while mine are your earrings. And as you suspected, he is Chat Noir's kwami."
"My name is Plagg," he introduced himself. "It is with great honor and privilege to be in acquaintance with the current Ladybug."
Gritting her teeth, her blue eyes fell upon Tikki for any sign of assistance.
"Don't worry about anything, I wont tell Ad--anyone. Your identity is safe with me," he smiled earnestly, as Plagg brought one hand to his heart while his other hand was raised towards her like a solemn oath. However something about his innocent actions carried uncertainty.
Then crossing his arms, he nodded confidently, "As for my partner, I can't tell you who is currently taking up the role of Chat Noir, so don't bother asking me about his identity."
Maintaining her poker face, Tikki suggested airily, "Even if we offer you cheese."
"Especially if che-che-cheese?! Do you have more cheese?" At the mention of his favorite meal, his façade crumbled.
"We'll give you more if you tell us who it is," Tikki promised with a kind smile.
"I can't," he brought his paws to his ears and pulled them down as he shook his head. "No matter what torture or amount of cheese you offer, I can't tell you his identity."
"Did I forget to mention Marinette's home is a bakery shop? There's bound to be a lot of cheese here for you!"
"Tikki…" Marinette interjected quietly.
"It only takes one name. Just say his name," the red kwami tempted, "then all of these food will be yours."
The result of tugging his ears and boisterous shake of his head had sent him flying straight into the silver platter. As he lied there like a pathetic and vulnerable insect, Plagg continued to fight his internal gluttonous urges and cried out, "No! Even if you gave me all the cheese in the world! I will never betray Chat Noir's trust!"
"Plagg…" Marinette breathed out, moved by his declaration. He was definitely Chat Noir's partner. That cringe worthy flirtation was uncanny, but he still held the same honest and loyal values as his partner. Gently cradling her hands beneath the dark kwami, she brought Plagg to her face and smiled softly. "Plagg, it's okay. I won't ask anything about Chat Noir's alter ego. We already promised that our identities would be a secret from one another. I just ask that you can keep mine."
"What if there were benefits involved…?" Plagg asked slowly.
Marinette maintained that same gentle smile on her lips as she shook her head slowly. "That's up to Chat Noir to decide. As for I… I would much prefer to reveal myself if there is a time for it. But for now, it's better if neither of us knew."
"Marinette…" Tikki smiled at her answer approvingly.
"Now come on, let's go find your Chat Noir," Marinette encouraged.
"Oh… he's going to be so mad at me…" Plagg trembled.
"Of course he would be," Marinette sighed, "that goes to show how much he cares about you."
"She's right," Tikki added. "You should be more worried if he doesn't care about your whereabouts. And on top of that, you swore to protect him, right?"
"You're right," he stated adamantly, "just like the rest of us. We all have someone precious to protect."
"But how will he be able to find you?" Marinette inquired.
"Cheese," Tikki answered. "His gluttonous hunger will lead him straight back to Chat Noir, so you don't have to worry about a thing."
"But will he still be out there? Will he still be looking for me?" the tiny black cat mumbled dejectedly.
"He will," Marinette answered confidently. "Let's just go out there and find him."
"Let's go, Plagg!" Tikki exclaimed as she dragged the two of them back into Marinette's bag.
Just as Marinette jogged down the stairs, she ran straight into her father who crossed his arms and wore a troubled expression. "Marinette, have you seen my pule cheese?"
"Pule cheese?" the pigtailed girl inquired. "What's a pule cheese?"
"It's a white colored cheese. I placed it in a silver tray to save for tomorrow night's cheese exhibition. Also did you pick up the extra package from the post office this morning? I ordered a second package as a back up."
"No, Dad. I'm so sorry! I was in a rush this morning that I forgot to pick it up at the post office. Should I get it tonight?"
Pinching the bridge of his nose, her father held back the temptation to scold his daughter. "No, no. The post office is closing in ten minutes. But don't worry about it, the cheese should still be fresh by tomorrow. I'm sure they have a place to store dairy products. Just make sure not to forget this time, alright?"
"Yes, Dad," Marinette answered guiltily, as she kissed her father's cheek quickly. "I'm meeting up with my classmates to discuss our project right now. I'll be home later!"
"Okay, stay safe!" he hollered as Marinette exited through the back door.
With a gasp, Marinette cupped her horror-struck face as she cried out, "Oh no! Oh no! Oh no…!"
Peeking out from her bag, both Plagg and Tikki watched her sullenly.
"You don't suppose you know what happened to the package she got this morning," Tikki interrogated Plagg.
Smiling guiltily and avoiding her gaze, Plagg chuckled dryly.
"You're still a glutton since then," Tikki sighed while smacking her forehead with a shake of her head. "I suppose we can buy one tomorrow morning before anyone finds out."
"That's impossible," Marinette groaned dreadfully, "I can't possibly afford to buy two pounds of pule cheese."
"How come?" Plagg asked.
"It's half a grand to buy a pound, and my savings can barely afford one," she answered glumly.
"We'll find a way somehow," Tikki answered positively. "Hang in there, Marinette."
"You're right… we should focus on finding Chat Noir's alter ego, first." Shaking off the dreaded news, Marinette had set off into the streets of Paris.
It had been 17:24 since the last time Adrien had checked his phone when he had passed through Plate du Trocadéro, and now he was back again, resting on a bench that faced away from the Seine and the Eiffel Tower. He threw his head back, gazing at the previous cerulean sky, but now a rippling trail of faded pink, crimson, and orange pastels.
This morning, he had imagined a romantic picturesque where he would meet up with Ladybug before the Seine and the Eiffel Tower. After missing his chance to confess his true feelings to her the previous month on Valentine's Day, he had hoped to make it up on the following month. However, given the situation, he had not planned to return to Plate du Trocadéro tonight in his given state. But his feet had still led him before the tower and onto a bench.
He was exhausted beyond belief, and currently his phone glowed 19:30 across the screen. He had run up and down the streets of Paris like a madman. He must have run a marathon, counting how many times he ran from school to Place du Trocadéro and back. He had set himself a record, but despite his fatigue he gloated to himself. After a hiccupped chuckle, he sighed as he stared at the reduced cheese in his right hand. It had taken the form of a lotion and bathed his entire hand with the stenching scent of a camembert cheese. His eyes watered from time to time, but somewhere along the way, he wasn't sure if it was the stench that caused these blurring visions and these occasional tears streaming down his face. But he would never bring himself to admit that he was crybaby--although he wouldn't deny it if Ladybug had called him out for being one.
He was a wreck prior to his restless, scheduled weekend. He had hoped for a good day, but it appeared that his luck had never changed after all. Who could blame him, really? His life may be glamorous, blessed with activities he excelled at, but in the end, he was always left mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. But he could never bring himself to admit his misery. As he attempted to pull himself together, he wiped his eyes in hopes to get rid of any residual tears before anyone noticed.
Throughout his endeavor, Adrien was unaware that his marathon up and down Paris, had inconspicuously passed Marinette's home, where Plagg had recharged for the time being.
"Plagg, do you have any idea where he would be at this time?" Marinette inquired.
Scratching his head apprehensively, the tiny cat answered, "Usually he'd be at home… but if he were out looking for me. I bet he'd be running like a madman. He's done it before. Like the time with Lady Wifi and Copycat… but that was when it came to Ladybug… I wonder if he doesn't think straight because of me."
The pigtailed woman smiled sheepishly, flattered as she answered, "Perhaps… he seems like the type." Then acknowledging his deflating frown she added positively, "Don't give up." Then talking to herself aloud she inquired, "If I were Chat Noir and was infatuated with Ladybug… where would I be?"
"Um… if it would help, he was talking to me about how he had hoped to meet with Ladybug at a romantic place," the ebony kwami piqued.
"Did he mention anything specifically?" Tikki inquired.
"I can't remember," Plagg sighed dejectedly, "I was eating cheese when he was telling me."
"Romantic…" Marinette echoed. "Romantic…"
"The Eiffel Tower?" Tikki answered finally.
Snapping her hand, the pigtailed girl exclaimed, "That's right! Tikki, you are a genius! He must be there waiting for me right now."
"But are you sure he will still be there?" the ruby kwami asked slowly.
"If it's just as Plagg said, Chat Noir wouldn't be thinking logically when it came to Ladybug," Marinette answered confidently. To reassure the hesitant pair, she added, "After all, we haven't run into anything unlucky yet." Then sharing an acknowledged look with Tikki, Marinette turned to Plagg and stated, "You may want to stay out of my bag for this."
Quickly taking her advice, both Tikki and Plagg flew out of her purse just in time as she cried, "Ladybug transformation, let's go!" Within moments, her body and face was shrouded with a crimson spandex material adorned with black polkadot.
"It really is you!" an excitedly swooning Plagg exclaimed as he rubbed his head against her cheek.
"Yes, yes," she answered hurriedly as she separated the dark cat from her cheek, "but there's no time for that. We need to find Chat. Hang on to the ribbons in my hair, this is gonna be wild ride!"
Despite her warning, Plagg cried as Ladybug swung the two of them from building to building with her magical yo-yo. It had taken approximately twelve minutes for her arrival at Place du Trocadéro, as she stood at the bottom steps, that led up to the breathtaking view of the Seine river and the infamous Eiffel Tower.
At that very moment, Plagg took an audible whiff of the air and stopped Ladybug from continuing.
"I smell camembert cheese."
"That must be him then. Chat must be waiting for you on the other side… but will you be alright?"
"I should be, thanks to you," Plagg replied with deep gratitude. Before Ladybug could react, the dark kwami brought himself to nuzzle against her cheek once again before floating away. "Thanks, Ladybug. I hope we will meet again in the future."
"Me too," she answered sincerely, as one hand gently patted his head. "If anything happens, I'll be here."
"Thanks. I'll be back with Chat Noir to thank you personally." With that last statement, Plagg departed and flew in the direction of his partner while Ladybug was on the lookout for any suspicious behavior. As seconds passed, it seemed like the scent of Chat Noir's cheese had travelled in her direction.
"Ugh…" she groaned, while clogging her nose. "That's too strong for a cheese." From the corner of her eyes, she witnessed a large silhouette from the side before landing square in front of her at a towering height of three stacked cars of inflated cheddar. "Oh you have got to be kidding me…"
"Ladybug," he hissed her name in a deep bass, along with a stomach-churning aroma of aging cheese, "You dare assist an amateur?!"
Holding back her gag, she managed to voice out, "Amateur?"
"I saw you outside that man's house at this very hour. I should have won the runner up to display the my art at tomorrow's cheese exhibition!"
Shit… did he see me?! Marinette panicked internally.
"Whatever relationship you have with that Tom Dupain shall not go unnoticed by me, Cheese Meister! I deserve to win that recognition, and now you will suffer my wrath!" Extending his arm in her direction like a fountain, his arm took the form of a drizzling liquid cheese.
At the nick of time, Ladybug avoided the attack with a combination of backward handsprings, cartwheels, and backflips. In fear of Plagg's sudden misdirection due to the strong aroma, Marinette had sprinted her way up the steps in search of the dark kwami. Without a moment to lose, she cried out, "Plagg!"
Unaware that her cry had caught the attention of a certain blond located several meters away, she had not witnessed Chat's alter ego resting upon upon a bench. In addition, the coincidental timing between the Eiffel Tower's over casting shadow and the direct sunlight resting over his head would blind Ladybug's vision if she were to look into his direction. Fortunately, she had not noticed his presence, thus giving a bewildered Adrien to witness the exchange between Ladybug and his kwami companion.
"Ladybug?!" he slowed down for her keep in pace. Then taking a delectable whiff of her, he exclaimed, "You smell like that cheese I ate at your place!"
"Huh?" she asked, before shrugging it off with a furious shake of her head as to interrupt his actions. "Quick, where is Chat Noir?"
Unsure of what Plagg would reveal in the exchange, Adrien had unconsciously held his breath while his accelerating heart drowned his ears, leaving him frozen and disoriented in his seat. He had only realized his actions when his vision began to blur.
"What's wrong, Ladybug?" the tiny cat inquired, as he resumed his previous pace with a breathless Ladybug keeping up.
"Whatever you do, do not turn around. No matter how tempting it is, got it? Just fly towards Chat Noir as fast as you can! I'll try to slow the akuma down."
"There's an akuma?" he inquired.
"Just go!" she hollered as her sprint fell to a complete stop to face the possessed creature.
She knew this was going to be a tough battle with his gluttonous appetite, but just as Tikki had tested his resistance, she had faith that he had the power to overcome any obstacles as long as he stayed loyal towards his partner.
It was not long before the gargantuan dairy roll had presented himself before her with an eerie grin on the gaping hole that was considered his mouth.
"I'll deal with you the same way as I had done with Tom!" he cackled proudly.
Gritting her teeth, infuriated, she demanded, "What have you done to him?!"
"He wanted to try out cheese sculpting so bad that I made him and his wife a part of it!" he cackled. Bubbling from his right shoulder blade, a cheese like statue manifested a form of her petrified father, with his arms wrapped protectively over her mother.
Seething with anger, she thundered, "Let them go!"
"I will, my dear, "he promised gently before his voice escalated with a boisterous cackle, "At tomorrow's exhibition! Ha ha ha! Then I'll have you as the final piece."
"We'll see about that!" she hissed. In attempt to keep her cool, she cried out, "Lucky Charm!" and received a lightweight, red and black spotted barrel. After observing the object and noticing a rubber button, she turned it on in the direction of the possessed individual, resulting with his momentarily disorientation. Muttering to herself aloud, she inquired, "A flashlight? What am I supposed to do with this?"
While Ladybug was occupied with the cheese monster, Plagg had battled his internal gluttony. There had been a number of times when his speed had decreased and his head had almost turned in the direction of his weakness. But he couldn't bring himself to look back. After all the trouble he had put through Adrien to search for him and the tight situation he placed Marinette, his responsibility had outweighed his desire. As he neared the direction that once held the lingering cottage cheese to where Adrien would be, Plagg began to hesitate. He feared that Adrien would be disappointed in him… and lose complete faith in him because of his gluttonous behavior. His speed had decreased gradually as the face of a man with pristine blond hair, piercing blue eyes, and a frown of icy disapproval.
He had almost given up. Almost turned around in shame rather than face Adrien for his insatiable hunger, and the ongoing domino-effect of his bad luck.
But as soon as he had almost fell to a complete, floating stop. The intoxicating smell of pule cheese had overwhelmed his senses. Just as he was about to turn in its intoxicating direction, Ladybug's diamond eyes came into mind as she commanded him to resist. Most of all, it was that particular look in Tikki's eyes. Those large sapphire irises reminded him of his previous wearer's piercing blue eyes. It was as if she was staring into his soul when she gazed at him upon their reunion and when she tested his loyalty. Something about that look struck a nerve deep within him, and he couldn't blame her for what had happened in the past. He knew it was his fault, and that deep down Tikki was still upset with him despite wearing her usual, kind façade. But he had swore to her that this time it was different, and this time, he will make sure to protect both Adrien and Marinette. Regaining his resolve, Plagg had put every fiber of his being as he soared himself across the space while muttering a chant beneath his breath, "This is the present. This is Adrien. This is a different era" over and over again. It had only taken him another three and a half meters when he ran straight into a pudgy, and hard chest. He rubbed his sore, right eye as he glanced up to meet with a half grinning, blond haired boy, with soft, glowing emerald eyes.
"Adrien!" he cried, "There's--"
"I know," Adrien acknowledged, the kind smirk still etched on his lips, "Do you still have the energy to transform me?"
"Yes," Plagg nodded hurriedly.
"Good. And Plagg?" he began slowly.
"Yes…?" the dark kwami shrunk.
"We have a number of things to talk about," he muttered with firm lips, but his eyes still held kindness rather than anger, "Also, Plagg."
"I'm proud of you," he smiled warmly before punching his right hand forward. "Now, Transform: Chat Noir!"
After his transforming was completed, he leaped into action beside a confused Ladybug.
"Thanks for saving Plagg back there, my Lady," he purred while wearing a charming grin.
"I'm glad he made it back to you in time," she greeted back, and winked jokingly, "I don't think I'd want to see you without the mask."
"That's too bad," he feigned offense, "But I'd really like to see you without yours."
With a roll of her eyes, Ladybug shook off his comment and stated, "Never mind that. We need to stop this akuma before he captures other contestants for tomorrow's cheese exhibition."
"You're right. We need to handle this situation caerphilly," he answered with a straight face, but within moments his thin lips crumbled into a snicker fit, Cheshire grin. "Get it? Caerphilly? 'Cause it's a type of cheese?"
"Ugh…" Ladybug face palmed.
Redeeming himself, Chat's eyes fell on her armed hand, "Hey is that a lightsaber?"
"What?" she stared at him incredulously before pressing the button to reveal an intense white light, "It's a flashlight."
"I guess blinding could be one."
Taking his suggestion under consideration, Ladybug glanced at her surroundings, searching for a possible or better way to use her charm. As she continued to look around, a red and black spotted pattern appeared on her flashlight, followed by her yo-yo, and on the Cheese Meister himself. She grinned to herself and playfully replied, "That could be a possibility, but I already beat you to the punch. Don't worry though, I have something better in mind. Think you can keep him grounded?"
"Can do, my Lady," he replied with a kittenish wink before he leaped into action. "Hey!" he hollered to the Cheese Meister, "Has anyone told you that cheese is nacho type?"
Outraged by his pun, the Cheese Meister's arm had taken the form of a gooey, string cheese as he thrust out his arm like a sledge hammer.
Chat Noir had avoided the attack with a handspring to the side. Maintaining his distance within the gargantuan's circumference, he cried, "Come on, you gotta be faster than that!"
Several meters to his right, Ladybug worked hurriedly with her spontaneous invention. Tucking the flashlight under her arm, she unclasped her compact yo-yo to reveal her reflection. Then dropping her arm in the way that it maneuvered the flashlight to roll down into her left hand, she raised both objects before her. Switching on the device, Ladybug angled the mirror in the way that its focal point was pointed at the Cheese Meister's feet. While he was distracted by a game of cat and mouse with Chat Noir, Ladybug was able to singe his feet to the ground. After a moment, visible smoke emitted from his dissolving legs, and his attack ceased to a halt as soon as he took a whiff of the musty scent of melted cheese. Just as he glanced down and wiggled his legs in attempt to shake off the melted portions, the dark feline interrupted him.
"Tsk, tsk," Chat Noir wore a mischievous grin as he cluck his tongue. He pulled his staff from behind and twirled idly while marveling over Ladybug's handiwork just as she jogged towards him. Turning his attention to her, he announced amusedly, "Looks like we're going to have some fon-due night!"
Connecting a hand to her face, Ladybug shook her head wearily as if to erase he had ever uttered a single pun. Then continuing on beat she inquired, "Where's the akuma?"
"It's in the ring on his right hand." At that moment, an audible beeping sound brought Chat's attention to his ring just in time when his second to last remaining green digit disappeared. As tension flowed through his veins, he turned to her with anxious eyes, "Let's hurry."
With a booming roar, the Cheese Meister's arm both transformed into sledge hammers and struck down on the conversing pair.
Both Ladybug and Chat Noir had dodged the attack on time with a synchronize back handspring. Quick thinking, Ladybug whipped out her yo-yo and spun it to her side to gain momentum. Then using it as a lasso, she wrapped it around the Cheese Meister's right hand and hollered a single syllable. "Chat!"
Following her lead, Chat Noir sprinted forward and sprung towards the immobilized arm. Using his staff like a blade, he sliced through his arm, disconnecting it from the creature. Then raising his fist before his opponent could pummel him with his other sledge hammer-arm, he cried, "Cataclysm!" and with a victorious chuckle, he slapped his palm over the dismembered curd followed by bouncing off to the side to avoid the attack.
Unable to stop his impetuous smash, the Cheese meister cried out, "Noooo!" as his left arm catalyzed the molding and disintegrating curd. In its ashen state, a dark butterfly manifested a moment too late as Ladybug had activated her akuma cleanser.
"Time to erase evil!" she cried while gaining momentum, followed by whipping it forward to capture the tainted butterfly. A second after it returned to the palm of her hand, she pressed the top lid to release a purified insect. "Bye bye, little butterfly," she parted. Then tossing her lucky charm object, she exclaimed, "Miraculous Ladybug!" Bursting into a ring of light, a trail of ladybugs emerged to returned hostages to their previous locations and reversed any signs of damage that had occurred during the fight. Simultaneously, a black and purple cloud shrouded the Cheese Meister and reverted him to a confused chef who uttered, "Huh? Where am I?"
"Mission accomplished!" the two heroes declared successfully as they pounded before parting ways.
"Wait!" Chat Noir interrupted Ladybug before she could dash off. When she turned her attention to him, he continued, "Could it be that… that you know who I am?"
The mysterious heroine smiled softly as she shook her head. "You have a trustworthy kwami. Even as my kwami tried to sell him out, he desperately hold on to his loyalty to you."
Flattered by her praise to his Plagg, Chat Noir scratched the back of his head.
"And, Plagg knew that the only person who had the right to reveal your identity had to be none other than you."
"Ladybug," he stepped towards her, took her two hands in his and squeezed them gently. "If you really wanted to know, all you need to do is ask me. I don't mind showing you who I am beneath this mask."
Pulling her hands from his grasp gently, she shook her head and politely smiled. "It's better if we don't."
As she backpedaled a couple steps, Chat Noir cried, "Will I ever see you?" Then softly, "The real you?"
Her eyes had been sincere when she shrugged with a single parting word, "Someday." With a beeping sound emitted from her earrings, she dashed into the night and disappeared from his sight. With heart struck eyes and a dejected sigh, he raced off the other direction and returned home.
Just as he entered his bedroom, he untucked an exhausted Plagg from underneath his white collared shirt and sat him on his bed. He then proceeded to present him a roll of camembert cheese, to reward him of their hard work together. Just as he finished three quarts of the roll, Adrien airily inquired, "It seems you're well-acquainted with Ladybug, Plagg."
"Yeah," the tiny black cat nodded indifferently as he scarfed down on the remaining piece, "she's a real beauty physically and personality wise."
"You don't happen to know if she's someone I know."
Licking any crumbs from his lips, he answered, "Maybe."
"Oh! Come on, Plagg!" Adrien fell to his knees and planted his elbows on his bed. "Please tell me who she is! You were given a golden opportunity! And you know how much I'm dying to know!"
"It's like you said before," he retorted, "I don't think at all when I'm with her."
Flustered, Adrien slammed his head on his mattress and stacked his arms over his head. Muffled, he retaliated, "W-when did you become such a sly cat?!"
"Well cats have always been sly," Plagg shrugged as he finished the last segment. Just as he swallowed the final piece, his energized actions fell to a sudden halt.
That split moment of silence had caught Adrien's attention, turning his head to his perturbed kwami. "Plagg?"
"Hey Adrien… do you happen to have any pule cheese?"
"Pule cheese?" he considered thoughtfully before raising his head, "I'm definitely sure we have some. I'll go look in the pantry."
As Adrien made his way to the kitchen, he contemplated a wishful thought to himself while wearing a cheeky grin. This might be my winning ticket to know who Ladybug really is.
When the chef had noticed his presence, he quickly strode towards him and answered his request promptly with two pounds of the most expensive curd. With a quick expression of his gratitude, he carried the two rolls of cheese to his bedroom.
The moment the door had swung open, Plagg had almost lost to his gluttonous behavior. He had to forcefully guilt trip himself in order to maintain his senses when Adrien had stacked the two tightly wrapped curds before him. Although he appeared well behaved, his trembling form gave away his shaking resolve.
Sensing victory was within his grasp, Adrien grinned as he folded his arms. "Would you like me to open them for you?"
"No. I'd rather save them for tomorrow…"
"Really, now?" he challenged. "Why deny how you really feel?"
"No. I'm sure," Plagg insisted. He met his eyes and forced a smile before dropping his gaze to the bed. To cover up his skittishness, he stretched and yawned. "I'd rather just sleep the day off and have it tomorrow. Well look at the time, it's already late! Goodnight, Adrien!"
"Plagg!" a surprised Adrien plead, "Please… I'm begging you. Tell me who she is!"
"Maybe tomorrow…" he answered, although it was half true.
Acknowledging his loss in this confrontation, Adrien dropped his probing and decided to call it a night. "Yeah… goodnight."
Adrien's cell phone had read 05:05, the crack of dawn, when Plagg had stirred himself awake and hovered to check his phone. Before executing his plan, he floated over the model student to check that he was still asleep. After a good minute, he floated about the room to search for the two packages. It was not long before the intoxicating scent had gain his full attention, sending him immediately to Adrien's backpack. He was lucky, to say the least, that Adrien was well prepared the night before class, making his task all the more easier. However is small victory had cut short when he attempted to carry the package by tugging at a couple loose papers. It was the sound of a tear, booming and cacophonous in this silent room, that ceased his actions immediately. Along with that tear, a part of his sanity had also tore away at the intoxicating scent of cheese. But no matter how tempting the curd had beckoned him, Plagg could never bring himself to give up. He thought of Marinette's face when she was confronted by her father and how Ladybug had believed in him pre-battle to Cheese Meister. He had to persevere. Somehow. He had to do it for her… but how?
At dire times like this, he wished he was as quick witted as Ladybug. He floated back to Adrien's dimly lit phone as the date and time faded in and out.
He gasped and decided to float about his spacious abode for the answer. Overwhelmed by the stress, his panicked eyes glazed over every object in his room with little to no coherent reasons clouding his mind. Trying to calm himself, he thought aloud, "Maybe if I pretend that I had a lucky charm like Ladybug." Following in with the action with an imaginary yo-yo thrown up, a distinct object caught his attention. There above him, stood an intricately designed skateboard. Bringing his tiny paws to his lips, he muffled a gleeful laugh as he levitated towards the hung skateboard.
He had spent approximately three minutes as he struggled to pull the skateboard on second floor. After catching his breath, he carefully pushed the skateboard down the nearest steep, wooden ramp. Putting all his strength in his clawed hands to grip on to board for dear life while his feet grounded as his anchors, he braced himself for the heavy resistance. However, his efforts were fruitless in a losing battle between his strength and gravity.
As soon as the board toppled down, Plagg muffled a cry behind gritted teeth and teary eyes as the skateboard skidded across the pastel tiled floor. As soon as the skateboard was halfway near the second ramp, Plagg had paced himself across the deck until he was at the head. Then falling on his stomach, he quickly leaned to the left, steering the mobile object to make a fluid left into his lounging area. For several minutes, he continued to lean left and right, dodging every possible collisions, until the skateboard had lost its momentum before flipping over to his back, wiped a bullet of sweat, and exhaled a breath of relief. Without a moment to lose, he wrapped his tail through a small crevice of the iron truck and led it towards the foot of his bed where the two aromatic curds waited.
With painstaking care, he carefully carried one pound of Pule cheese over his head and gently plopped it on the deck. He repeated the action with the second one as quickly as possible. Wiping another trail of sweat off his face, Plagg flew up to check his time.
Muffling his panicked cry, his large green eyes popped when they read 06:05 fade on his screen. Making a beeline for the door, Plagg quietly created an opening for the skateboard and himself to exit through. Afterwards, he wrapped his tail through the crevice once again, he paced himself as he dragged his parcel out Adrien's bedroom.
What great luck that he remembered where Marinette had resided during her cooperation with Chat Noir when Nathanaël's had taken the role of The Evillustrator. Because of this, he saved a copious amount of time as rode down the streets to the Dupain-Cheng bakery.
As soon as he was positioned at the back entrance of the bakery, Plagg floated to roof. To his surprise, the roof entrance was left unlock as he entered her room with ease. Then floating over to a peacefully sleeping Marinette, he gently tapped her face while calling out her name.
"Marinette? Please wake up, it's me, Plagg!"
"Heh," the sleeping girl chuckled, "so funny…"
With a grumble, she responded, "Give me five more minutes…"
Exhausted by her behavior, he quickly came up with a sly idea. Carrying out the idea, he imitated a voice she dreaded to hear. "I found you, my Lady."
"No way!" she hollered whilst sitting upright, searching about her room for any sign of the mischievous feline. Her attention was diverted to a guffawing kwami as he floated and held onto his clenching stomach. Her startled scream had awoken a high-alert Tikki who frowned disapprovingly at the amused feline.
Eyes furrowed, Marinette hissed, "That was not funny."
"I'm sorry but I could not pass the opportunity," he explained in between snickers. After his entertained fit, he clarified, "You wouldn't wake up no matter how many times I tried."
"I can relate," Tikki agreed easily.
After frowning sheepishly at her red kwami's comment, she inquired, "More importantly, why are you here, Plagg?"
Floating to her hand, he kissed it noisily before answering, "I could not resist to see your beautiful face again."
Cringing internally, Marinette made no attempt to conceal her disapproval as she retracted her hand quickly. Slowly voicing her concern she asked, "Are you going to do this every day from now on?"
"I would love to!" he exclaimed delightfully, "but unfortunately, I won't always have the time to. My schedule is tightly knit with my beloved camembert, chévre, and gruyére. While the rest of my time I commit to my beauty sleep. They're very important to me."
At his delight, Marinette and Tikki exchanged gritted, awkward smiles, and mirrored sighs of relief with his trivial schedule. For once, they were grateful that Plagg had such a gluttonous nature.
"That's a shame," the dark pigtailed girl answered, then sincerely added, "although, it would be nice to see you again some time."
With glowing, moved, emerald eyes, he expressed his flustered reaction with a loud yelp. "Oh! My lady, for you I will make an exception. But for now, I've returned with a parcel."
"A parcel?" Marinette inquired.
"I've come bearing a parting gift to show my gratitude for your hospitality and for bringing me back to Ad-a-a hopelessly romantic partner!" he answered. "Come, it's outside at your front entrance"
Taking the lead, Marinette climbed down her bedroom and hurriedly opened the door. As the two kwamis followed suit, Plagg released a sigh of relief when he spotted the two packaged rolls of pule cheese.
"What's this?" the dark pigtailed girl inquired as she picked up the two packages. But as soon as her azure eyes glazed over the text, she looked at Plagg speechlessly. "You brought two pounds of pule cheese?"
"It was nothing," he waved off, sheepishly.
"Where did you get these?" she pressed on, "Don't tell me you went out of your way to steal it!"
"No, no!" Plagg shook his head as he raised his two paws defensively, "Chat had some in store and I thought I'd return the favor. You scratched my back and I scratched yours, no?"
"Ugh… must you two always say something pun related?" Marinette cringed.
"I must say that I'm impressed that you managed to bring them here in one piece, Plagg," Tikki praised, "it appears time has changed you."
"It appears so…" Plagg agreed slowly, "Well I best be going before Chat wakes up and realizes I've disappeared."
"Does he wake up at this time?" Marinette asked. Then turning her attention to the ticking kitchen clock, she reported, "It's currently seven o' seven."
"Gah!" he squeaked. "He's probably awake at this hour!"
"Tikki!" she turned to her levitating ladybug kwami, "You think I can use lucky charm and help send him back to Chat?"
"I suppose I can make this an exception," she winked at her feline acquaintance.
"Alright! Transform me, Tikki!" she commanded after retrieving Plagg's possession into the house and closing the door. Shortly after her theatrical metamorphosis, she tossed her yo-yo into the air with a command, "Lucky charm!" Within moments, a dotted fabric fell into her palms.
"Ooh a towel?" awed Plagg, "I could use something to wipe away all the sweat that took me to get here."
Turning her attention around the bakery shop, the same red and black spotted pattern glowed on one of her pantries, a tape located on the cashier counter, the skateboard, and the streets. Jumping straight to work, Marinette dug through her pantry, retrieved several lollipop sticks, and gathered her materials on counter. Working swiftly and meticulously, she created a make-shift sail and used various tape to erect the makeshift sail at the center of the board. Then running to the front entrance, she opened the door she had set the skateboard on the ground and presented her creation to an ecstatic Plagg.
"Well you're in luck! It's going to be a breezy ride back," she announced while tucking several strands of her stray hair behind her ear, "I hope you make it back in time, Plagg! Best of luck!"
"Thank you so much, Ladybug," he hugged her cheek quickly before hopping on board. "What will happen to the fabric?"
"It'll disappear after a while. So get a move on!" with a wink she added, "See you around."
Sure enough, Plagg had managed to arrive at Adrien's home with his speed cutting half the amount of his time to arrive at Marinette's house. Steering the makeshift sail, it led him straight through his preset crevices and into Adrien's room. He arrived just in time when Adrien had picked up his bag and searched for him.
"Plagg! Where have you been?" Adrien exclaimed as he closed his bedroom door. As he was about to continue scolding him, the sight of a particular, signature patterned sail caught his attention, and before he could stop himself, he exclaimed, "You went to see Ladybug without me, again?!"
Entertained by his animated jealousy, Plagg bragged, "Well she did tell me to see her sometime. Oh, and she said that as she winked."
"Why would she do something like that to you," he fumed while folding his arms. "Didn't you always cringe when I said lovey-dovey things about her?"
"Ah, well… it was different when I met her personally," he feigned his heart-struck act by dramatically tossing a hand to his forehead.
"But what's with the get-up?" he gestured to his skateboard.
"Can't a guy be cool to woo his lady?" Plagg retorted indifferently.
"My Lady," Adrien emphasized his correction. "By the way, what have you done with the two packs of pule cheese?"
"That's a secret," he winked.
With a defeated sigh, Adrien commented, "Honestly, I don't know whether I should be impressed or disgusted by your gluttonous appetite."
"I'll take that as a praise," he chuckled gleefully, before flying into his silver bag "Now hurry and finish your breakfast or you'll be late to school."
"Tch. You're the last one I want to hear that from," the blond model retorted evenly.