Chapter 12: The Hunt is On
Amélie Dufayel was running for her life. Never did she imagine that one of her former employers would end up being akumatized and tried to get revenge on her. In her head, she could not comprehend why Nina was targeting her… her massive ego prevented her from seeing what everyone else did; she was a self-absorbed egomaniac, and now, she was going to pay for it. Conjuring more and more pairs of scissors, Haute Couture would then throw them at Amélie, who managed to escape them by mere inches. If it was not for her athletic physique, she would be an easy target. Turning a corner, she thought she could escape her, by hiding behind a clothes rack. Breathing heavily, she hoped that would fool her long enough for her to get out of there. As Haute Couture approached the rack, Amélie’s heart skipped a couple of beats and her blood froze in her veins. Holding her breath, she begged every God she knew to let her pass without noticing her. Seconds seemed like hours, as she waited for Haute Couture to walk away from her hiding place. Finally, she kept walking, calling Amélie’s name.
“Thank God, she’s gone.” -she whispered, relieved.
“You were quite lucky, weren’t you?” -a voice from behind her said.
“Y-Yes, I suppose I can… who said that?” -she asked, turning her head behind, slowly.
“I did… Boo!” -the voice said, and this one belonged to none other than Reptile, Hawk Moth’s lieutenant. Seeing him, Amélie screamed on top of her lungs.
The surreal image of Reptile scared her to death. If she was not scared enough with Haute Couture’s attempts to kill her, then now, she was. Her instinct told her… no, screamed at her to get out of there, if she was to have any chance of surviving that ordeal. Her screams, as she blasted herself from the clothes rack into the opposite direction, alerted Haute Couture to her presence. Turning around, she saw Amélie running, losing one of her shoes in the process.
“There you are… And you? Who are you?!” -Haute Couture asked Reptile, who came out of where Amélie Dufayel had been hiding from her.
“I’m Reptile. Hawk Moth, my master, has sent me to give you a hand.” -he answered her.
“I don’t need any help… still, as long as you don’t stand in my way, you can stay.”
“Understood.” -he said, waving his head.
“One more thing… Dufayel is mine, so keep your claws away from her.” -she warned him.
And the hunt was on again. Amélie kept running for her life, pushing everyone that stood in her way. If having one person after her head was bed, then having two was even worse. Every time she thought she had given them the slip, Reptile would show up behind her, smiling malevolently at her and looking at her, and if she was a succulent piece of meat or an appetizer. As for Haute Couture, she kept using her powers to turn everyone’s clothes the way she thought they looked better.
At last, Amélie saw herself with no way to go. She tried to go back the way she had come, but both Haute Couture and Reptile were already blocking the exit. There was no way out, and she knew it. She also knew that Nina was about to kill her
“Please, Nina… I beg you, don’t do anything you might regret...” -Amélie begged her. She was now on her knees, trembling in fear.
“The name is Haute Couture now, and I’m only doing what others should have done to you, a long time ago.” -she said, with a menacing voice. –“And as for regretting, the only thing I’ll regret was to not have done this the first time I laid my eyes on you.”
Snapping her fingers, she made appear eight pairs of scissors, these were sharper than the ones that she had created before, and way deadlier. Pointing them at her former employer, the villain smirked.
“I think I’ll hit you in every different chakra in your body, and I’ll use the last one, to cut off your head…” –Haute Couture told her, as the scissors began to spin in the air like crazy, producing a hissing sound, similar to that of a snake.
“P-Please, I beg you…” -Amélie begged once more, hoping that something inside Nina, would prevent her from hurting her, or worse, kill her.
“Order your soul to your Maker, because you’ll be with him in just a few seconds, Amélie Dufayel!!!” -Haute Couture exclaimed, as an even wider and sadistic smile appeared on her face.
Snapping her fingers once more, the pairs of scissors flew all in the direction of the fashion designer, who closed her eyes so as to not see the horrible fate that awaited her. But, the scissors did not reach their designated target, when a gust of icy wind blew everything away, and froze the diabolical items, that shattered upon hitting the floor.
“Not so fast, you!” -a voice called out.
Standing to their left, was the whole Miraculous Team. Seeing them, Reptile immediately understood what had happened. Louve Grise had used her ice powers to stop Haute Couture’s attack.
“The Miraculous Team!” -Reptile exclaimed.
“You can say that again, lizard man!” -Volpina shot at him.
“Where’s your master and his other sidekick, huh? Don’t tell us that they’re too afraid to come out and play today?” -Queen Bee asked him with a mocking voice.
“That is none of your business, and furthermore, you’ll be dead before you know the answer.” -Reptile shot at her. –“These are the ones that you’re supposed to kill as well, Haute Couture.”
“I see…” -Haute Couture said, as she looked at them. –“Before I kill you, let me just state that I’ve got nothing against you, it’s just part of an agreement. Well, nothing, except those rather ghastly costumes that you’re wearing. They’re so out of fashion.”
“Out of fashion?!” -Queen Bee raised her eyebrow. –“Have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately, lady? The 80’s called, and they said they want their fashion sense back!”
“You’ll regret those words, you brat!” -Haute Couture spat at her.
“So, her name is Haute Couture…” -Ladybug thought to herself. –“I wonder what kind of other powers, besides creating scissors out of thin air, she has?”
Before she could even think about it, Haute Couture used her fashion beam on them, but to her surprise, nothing happened. Ladybug and the others’ clothes looked the same as before they were hit by the beam.
“What?! What’s going on? How come you still have those awful clothes and not some better versions of them?” -Haute Couture asked out loud, baffled about what her eyes showed her.
“Guess we’re immune to whatever that ray does.” -Jade Turtle told her. –“If that’s all you can do, then I guess we’re going to beat you in five minutes, tops.”
“Don’t you dare to mock me, little boy! I have more surprises than you can think of.” -Haute Couture told him.
Without warning, from her hands, dozens of measuring tapes were shot, targeting the young heroes, who were forced to get out of the way. When the tips of those measuring tips hit the numerous objects that were behind them, they shredded them into tiny little bits. It was then they all understood that Haute Couture was not going to be defeated as easily as they thought.
“Easy on the jokes, Turtle! She’s got quite the temperament… and the same things goes for you, Chat.” -Corbeau Noire told the two boys.
“What? I haven’t even cracked a joke today!”
“But we know how you are… you practically can’t resist doing that.” -she told him.
“Fine, I’ll go easy on the jokes, this time.” -the feline assured her.
“You!!! Take her away from here, and hold her there, until I finish these pests.” -Haute Couture ordered Reptile, pointing to Amélie Dufayel. –“I will not be denied my vengeance against that witch.” -she thought to herself.
“Fine… but remember, I’m not your delivery boy!” -Reptile told her, as he prepared to grab Dufayel, when he was stopped by one of Forest Doe’s arrows.
“Keep away from her, snake breath!” -Forest Doe told him with a serious voice, while pointing another arrow at him. –“Or else, I’ll make shish kebab out of you!” -she warned him, giving Amélie enough time to get away.
Seeing the bane of her existence run away from there, Haute Couture snapped at Reptile.
“I’ll get her, but you get rid of these kids! Hawk Moth wants them all dead!” -Reptile told her, as he started chasing Amélie.
“And dead he shall have them.” –Haute Couture smirked, as she readied herself to attack.
Using the same trick once more, she tried to slice the heroes, while also conjuring numerous scissors, which she threw at them. As time went by, Haute Couture was gaining more and more control over her powers, and that scared the heroes, especially Ladybug, who was trying to come up with a plan.
“We need a plan!” -Dragonfly exclaimed.
“I’m thinking, I’m thinking!” -Ladybug exclaimed, as she visualized the possible outcomes of a battle against Haute Couture. Bearing in account the powers that she had showed them, and others that they still had not seen, the scarlet heroine knew that attacking her all at once was not the way. To win, they had to adopt a different strategy… divide to conquer.
“Let’s split up!” -she said.
“Split up? Are you sure?!” –Chat Noir asked her, as he blocked one more of her Haute Couture’s attacks with his staff.
“There are still people inside who might be in danger, and we have Reptile after Amélie Dufayel. Splitting up is the only way to make sure everything is dealt with.” -Ladybug told him. –“Three teams. Louve, Grizzly and Volpina, you’re with me! We’ll try and stop Haute Couture. Bee, you, Corbeau Noire, Flamingo, Arachnid, Antelope and Dragonfly grab everyone you see that shouldn’t be here and take them outside! We don’t want any innocents getting hurt. Chat, Turtle and Doe, you go after Amélie Dufayel and get out of here, while dealing with Reptile. Make sure you take her somewhere safe and away from here!” -she ordered them all.
“What about me?” -Panda Rouge asked, having been left out by Ladybug.
“You try and come up with a way to contain this mess. No one gets in. Remember what happened when Gargantua started spitting akuma butterflies and we had all those bystanders turned into creepy shadow minions? We don’t want that to happen again, in case this one is also able to do the same thing.” -Ladybug winked at him.
“Right!” -he said.
“Leave to us!” -they all said in chorus, as they spread out to fulfil what their leader had ordered them.
As Ladybug and her friends tried to take care of things, Hawk Moth watched them, wondering if they actually believed they stood a chance against this new akuma of his. By his side was Madame Romani, who also watched as the action took place. The fact that there was something going on and she was stuck down there was driving her insane. She was eager to use her powers on the Miraculous Team, to hurt them both physically as psychologically.
“Master, please, let me join the fight. I know Reptile won’t be able to defeat those teenagers on his own, even with the help of Haute Couture.” -Madame Romani begged her master.
“You are more helpful here.” -Hawk Moth said. Secretly, he needed her by his side, until he had recharged his power. Though Haute Couture was providing him with a substantial energy wave, it was still not enough. Romani’s energy was equally powerful, and if she was using it to fight the Miraculous Team, he would not be able to absorb it and regain in his full power.
“But master, if I may, I would be far more helpful in the battle field. I’ve been practicing and mastering my powers for such an occasion, and I can assure you that I will be able to get those teenagers to turn on each other, and let them kill each other.” -she declared, already picturing the kind of hallucinations she would use on each of the kids.
“And I say that your job right now is to obey your master’s orders, without questioning them.” -Hawk Moth told her with a low and menacing voice. Though he knew Romani’s powers would surely enable her to get rid of those heroes, once and for all, he needed her near him. He needed to regain his full power, even if that meant taking his most powerful player temporarily out of the game.
“Yes, master.” -she said. She did not like it, but she would obey her master’s orders, no matter what they were.
Combining their powers, Ladybug, Louve Grise, Grizzly Bear and Volpina went up against Haute Couture, who was proving more and more of a challenge to them. As time went by, her control over her powers got better, and instead of just summoning scissors and throwing at the four heroes, she was now also summoning needles and pins which increased in size. Swinging her yoyo, Ladybug used it to create a shield with which she repelled everything the villainess threw at her. Louve also used her fan to create powerful gusts of icy air that would either freeze the objects thrown by Haute Couture or, the very least, deflect them. As for Grizzly and Volpina, they both used the environment around them to hide and wait for an opportunity to strike her.
“We’ve got to find a way to get her down!” -Volpina yelled at Grizzly Bear, who was hiding for cover behind a broken sound column.
“But how?! We can’t even get near her!” -Grizzly told her.
“Use your special ability and make her fall! That’ll give us a little time!” -Volpina suggested him.
“Why don’t you use your illusions instead?” -he asked her.
“Because we need her taken down, not confused.” -Volpina declared. –“Now, go on, use it!”
It was a risky move, even Grizzly Bear knew that, given the sheer force of his special attack, the Earth Shaking, if he was not careful, he could end up destroying everything that was around them. Still, he knew that Ladybug and Louve Grise were starting to get tired and needed to catch their breath. Focusing, he visualized his target, closed both his fists and then, he jumped over the sound column and with a precise and almost graceful move, he landed his fists on the ground as hard as he could, producing a well-placed earthquake accompanied by a few jolts of electricity, which made its way to where Haute Couture was. Seeing that Grizzly forgot to warn Louve and Ladybug, Volpina quickly yelled at them.
“Girls, earthquake!!!” -Volpina yelled at both girls, who understood what was going to happen.
Ceasing their attacks, the girls backflipped, avoiding the sheer force of the earthquake, which hit Haute Couture and made her lose her balance, as well as knocking her out. Landing on their feet, both Ladybug and Louve Grise, turned around to face Grizzly.
“Nice work!” -Louve commended him.
“But next time, remember to give us a heads up.” -Ladybug warned him. –“I don’t want to end up like her, over there.”
“Sorry about that.” -Grizzly apologized. Whenever he used his special attack, he got so carried on with it, that he forgot to warn the others he was about to use it.
“Never mind that now, we got her!” -Volpina said, as she joined the three of them, and went to check Haute Couture, who was still lying on the ground, without moving a single muscle.
“You think I went too hard on her?”
Before anyone could answer him, Haute Couture opened her eyes and raised her left hand, shooting a measuring tape from it, which wrapped itself around Grizzly Bear’s neck, choking him. She tried to do the same thing with the other three heroes, but they proved to be faster than their friend. Grizzly tried to rip the tape from around his neck, but the more he pulled it, the tighter it became. Using her yo-yo, Ladybug cut the tape, which allowed Grizzly to remove it, before it choked him to death.
“T-Thanks, Ladybug!” -Grizzly Bear told her, as he grasped for air.
“Don’t mention it.” -Ladybug smiled at him. If it was up to her, she was not going to let one of her friends to be hurt on her watch.
“I was trying to go soft on you, but it seems to me that I have step up my game.” -haute Couture told them.
“Bring it on, lady!” -Volpina said, as she pointed her flute staff at the villainess, like a bow-stick.
At the same time, Dragonfly and Antelope were using their speed to get everyone out of there as quickly as they could, with Queen Bee, Corbeau Noire, Flamingo and Arachnid helping them out.
“This way, please!” -Flamingo asked a couple, as they picked up the pace. She thought about using her multiplication ability to speed up the process, but was afraid that having too many people doing the same thing, would make things even more chaotic than they already were. People were scared, and
“It’s madness out here!” -Corbeau Noire said out loud. –“We need to be even faster.”
“I’m going in as fast as I can!” -Antelope said, as he stopped in front of yet another civilian, and grabbed him. –“Hang on, you’ll be out of here in no time!” -he said, as Dragonfly flew just a little above his head, looking for another person to carry out of that tent.
“I sure hope others are doing better than us, right about now:” -Arachnid said, as he used his lasso to pull out of the way a few speakers that had fallen, and were blocking a path.
Outside, the police had just arrived with numerous SWAT team trucks. Ever since Hawk Moth had showed his face for the first time, that city hall had ordered the police to have their men ready to deal with any other threats the madman would surely
Trying to ignore the infernal commotion that was starting to take place on the lawn of the Champ de Mars, Panda Rouge worked as fast as he could to create a wall that would prevent any civilians from entering where the action was taking place, as well as keeping everyone at a safe distance. At the same time, he also designed a net that once deployed would spread over the whole place and catch any akuma butterflies that Haute Couture could produce to create minions.
“Let’s hope this works.” -he told himself, as he watched the police getting ready for the worst. The people nearby had already understood that something was going on, and just like before, they did not want to go. They wanted to feel close to where the action was going, and made sure to record everything either on their cell phones, or with their cameras.
Inside the event, Chat Noir, Jade Turtle and Forest Doe kept looking for Amélie Dufayel and Reptile, who seemed to have disappeared out of sight.
“Where is she?” -Jade Turtle asked.
“I can’t see her! Do you think she’s managed to go outside?” -Chat Noir asked.
“I don’t know. She was too scared to even know where she was running to, but there’s always the possibility she managed to do it.” -Forest Doe answered him.
Still, the fact that she kept yelling for help like crazy helped the young heroes. Unfortunately, they had to concentrate on to tell those very same yells of help from the rest of the noise you could hear, mixed with some annoying song that was still on. If it was not for Doe’s incredible hearing, it would be impossible for them to accomplish such a feat.
Reptile, on the other hand could not be happies. The Miraculous Team was fighting against an akuma that would most likely end up destroying them, while he was chasing the one person that was the full reason why all of that was happening. Amélie’s panicking screams were like music to him, as he kept chasing her. His plan was to get her tired, and then, when she was too exhausted to even move a finger, he would carry her out of there and wait for her to accomplish her mission. Still, he was not going do that just yet. He was having way too much fun, chasing that woman, her screams were like a melody to his ears. If Haute Couture was not so determined in killing her, he would do it himself just for the fun of it; after all, Amélie Dufayel was someone who represented the kind of people he hated the most, and just like that kind of people, she deserved to suffer.
Using his powers, he would change his appearance to get near her, as she looked for a place to hide, and then, revealed his true appearance to her, scaring her even more. It was game of cat and mouse they were playing, and that now deserted and chaotic part of the event, proved to be the perfect place to play it. There were so many places she could hide, as well as places for him to wait for the right moment to show up and scare her.
“There’s nowhere to run or hide… I’ll find you!” -he yelled, making Amélie’s skin crawl, and his heart beat with anticipation.
It did not take him long to find her once more, as she was exhausted and her heart was beating like a drum. She wanted to get away from that lizard man, as she was calling Reptile in her mind, but her body did not have any more energy. All she wanted was to lay down and die, right there.
“I’d love to keep this going on for a little longer, but this infernal music is starting to make me go nuts, and I have a job to do.” -Reptile told her, smiling menacingly at her with his pointy teeth. But, she was already too tired to react, that he could have gobbled her up or just eat one of her arms, that she would not offer any kind of resistance.
As he was about to grab her, another one of Forest Doe’s arrows prevented him from doing it so, as Jade Turtle created a sort of sphere around Amélie, using his ability to create turtle-shaped energy shields.
“Keep away from the lady, you snake!” -Jade Turtle told him.
“Because if you don’t, you’re going to regret it.” -Chat Noir warned him.
“One more step, and I’ll pierce your eyes with my arrows, you hear me?!” -Forest Doe told Reptile, not taking her eyes from him.
“You really don’t know when to give up do you?” -Reptile said, as he took out his trademark blade, and got ready to fight them. –“Neither do I…”
“You’re going to fight us?” -Jade Turtle asked him.
“No… I’m going to skin you alive. And I’m going to start with you, pretty girl, then the kitty cat, and finally, I’ll peel off that suit out of you and make turtle soup out of you!” -Reptile warned the three of them, of his intentions.
“Oh, I’m shaking in my boots…” -Jade Turtle told him, sarcastically. –“If you’re going to attack us, then do it already. I got plans for tonight, so hurry up!!”
Not giving him time to think about his next comment, Reptile threw himself at them, using both his knife, as well as his jaws to attack the three of them at the same time. Luckily, thanks to their fast moves, Reptile was not able to land a single hit on them. Still, they all noticed, especially Chat and Turtle, that he was faster and his thrusts were more accurate than they were the first time they fought him.
Inside the makeshift sphere, Amélie Dufayel had regained some of her and was now watching the three heroes fighting Reptile. She had heard about them and read about them in the papers and on the Internet. When Gargantua and Hawk Moth showed up, she was in Japan, promoting one of her latest designs, and initially thought that everything had been just an elaborate publicity stunt for a film. And now, she was seeing first hand that they were all real, and were trying to save her. But soon, something else caught her attention, and that something was actually someone. Across from where they were, was the man she called her archenemy and rival, Gabriel Agreste, who looked incredibly
“Gabriel Agreste, you swine! This is all your fault!” -she screamed on top of her lungs to the designer, who heard her. –“You heard me! This is all your fault!
The fashion designer, who had been helping people out, while making sure that no one from his staff would be left behind, only saw what was going on, when he heard Amélie’s voice calling his name among all that noise.
“That’s right! It’s your fault!” -Amélie Dufayel pointed at him.
“Dad? What he’s still doing here?” -Chat asked himself, seeing his father just a dozen meters from him.
“Well, well, someone else to play with.” -Reptile smirked, as he noticed Gabriel’s presence. –“And if that woman says that he’s the real one who’s to blame for Haute Couture’s transformation, well, maybe she’ll want to take care of him as well…”
Reptile was about to ditch the three heroes to make a run for Gabriel and make him his hostage, when Antelope showed up and punched him in the face, at a speed worthy of the Flash himself. The speed at which Reptile was hit, made him fly a couple of meters into the air, and landing on pile of chairs.
“Don’t you just hate that guy?” -Antelope joked.
“What are you doing here? Weren’t you supposed to be helping the others evacuating this place?” -Forest Doe asked, after seeing him.
“They got everything under control. You guys on the other hand, could use a little hand.” -he told her, when he noticed Gabriel’s presence. –“Mr. Agreste, a pleasure to meet you. Big fan of your work.” -Antelope tried making conversation, to get him to relax little and understand that they were there to help him.
“T-Thank you, I guess.”
“I don’t know what you’re doing here, sis, but you can’t stay here.”
“I-I can’t go… I have to go and see if my son and his friends are alright.”
“If you tell me where they are, I can go and see if they’re alright. But you, you’ve got to get out of here.” -Antelope told him.
“Listen, I don’t like to be given orders, especially by strangers. Now, I’m going to get my son and his friends, and then I’m leaving.” -Gabriel Agreste told Antelope.
“Leave him there! I’m the victim around here!” -Amélie Dufayel yelled at the heroes. –“You heard me! Get me out of here!”
“You got to get my dad out of here.” -Chat whispered to Jade Turtle. –“I can’t have him getting hurt.”
“But how are we going to do that? He won’t go without you and the rest of us.” -Jade Turtle reminded him. Gabriel would never leave without taking his son with him, and they both knew that.
Chat was about to answer him, when Reptile grabbed Gabriel Agreste from behind and placed his blade against the man’s neck. Taking advantage of the heroes’ distraction and Dufayel’s incessant screams, he moved past them and take Chat’s dad as his hostage. Smirking, he said:
“Back away! Do it, or this guy gets it!” -Reptile told them, as he gently pressed the switchblade against Gabriel’s neck. Hearing him, Antelope backed away. –“I’m going to take him and woman there out of here, and you’re not going to stop me… Because if you do, I’ll cut off his neck. No, better yet, I’ll rip off his neck.” -he said, as he opened his mouth as wide as he could, showing his pointy teeth. –“I warn you, I’m not kidding! Get the woman out of that sphere you created around her and back away!”
Feeling that he had heard enough, Antelope used once more his speed to take Reptile down, only this time, he used a fast series of punches to take him down. Then, he caught some wire that was around and tied him up like a Christmas goose. All of that in less than ten seconds. The only thing he did not expect was to also hit Gabriel Agreste, who blacked out and fell on the ground.
“Don’t worry, he’s alright. He’s just out.” -Antelope told them. –“Sorry about that, Mr. Agreste, it was not my intention to hurt you.” -he whispered at the unconscious man.
“That’ll make things easier. If he stays out cold until we finish this, then we won’t have to worry about him finding out we’re not in the trailer.” -Chat Noir thought to himself. –“Okay, then let’s get him out of here, as well as Miss Dufayel. It’s obvious they’re not safe here.”
Jade Turtle created another sphere out of his shields around Gabriel Agreste, who was still unconscious. While he did that, Antelope traded places with Dragonfly and told her to take Arachnid with her. Chat quickly told them what they were supposed to do, and the two of them did exactly it. Using his lasso, Arachnid wrapped it around the two spheres and then tied a nose, so Dragonfly could hoist them into the air. The plan was to get them both out of there, while keeping them safe in those energy spheres, in case something worst happened.
“What are you waiting for?! Get me out of here!” -Amélie Dufayel yelled at them.
“I’m starting to understand why Haute Couture was akumatized… this woman’s getting on my nerves!” -Dragonfly thought to herself. –“Just one moment, please. We’ll get you and Mr. Agreste out of here in a minute.” -she said, trying to be as polite as she could.
“Who cares about him?! It’s because of him that this whole thing started I the first place! If I were you, I would just leave him
“Yeah, well, we’re not you, lady, and he’s coming with us.” -Arachnid told her, already fed up of that conversation.
“What about him?” -Forest Doe asked, pointing at Reptile who was still unconscious and tied up.
“He’s not going anywhere. We’ll come back for him, later. Right now, we’re getting out of here.” -Jade Turtle told her.
While Chat and the others began their plan to get both Amélie Dufayel and his dad out of there, Ladybug, Grizzly Bear, Volpina and Louve Grise had taken the fight with Haute Couture outside. Making use of Volpina’s illusionary powers, she created duplicates of the four of them, and with them, they tried to exhaust her as much as they could. Still, it did not take long for Haute Couture to see through their tricks and take down the duplicates.
“You’re good, I’ll give you all that. But a genius such as myself, has always a trick up its sleeve.” -she smiled maliciously at them. The trick she had was sure to tilt the scale to her advantage, and to cause numerous problems to the miraculous holders.