Lila Rossi sat smugly in her element, the brainless idiots that passed for her classmates hanging onto her every word as she regaled them with false tales of adventures she'd been on and people she'd met. It amazed her just how gullible people could be, though not everyone fell for what she said. It had happened before in the schools she'd been to in the past, a select few who were marginally more intelligent than the rest and who'd made the mistake of trying to challenge her, only to find their lives come crumbling down as Lila showed them why it was a bad idea to make her an enemy. But she enjoyed it, watching them realise the truth as she turned their friends against them, destroyed their reputations and left them alone, seeing the despair and anger and grief in their eyes as their worlds came crumbling down and they could do nothing about it. She was especially looking forward to inflicting such a fate on Marinette, the infuriatingly goody-goody class representative.
Marinette. How she hated the girl, and especially how everyone thought the sun shone out of her every orifice. Same with Ladybug, the so-called hero. So what if she'd lied about being her best friend, and being a descendant of Volpina? It hadn't been hurting anyone, and yet the great heroine had come and shot her down in front of Adrien, the boy she was trying to impress and who would be hers eventually. She relished the day when Hawk Moth would grant her the power to squash the wretched bug, but until then she would have to suffice for Marinette, who wasn't there at the moment. She mentioned it, casually, making it look like she was concerned. Alya, good and gullible Alya who would do anything for a story, snapped up the bait.
"She's not coming in today. She has this special commission she has to finish, and it's going on her extra credit.", Alya said.
"Oh, I see. Noble, but isn't she supposed to be our class representative?", Lila said, sowing the seeds.
"Yes, she is.", Alya replied.
"And doesn't one of those things entail being present in the class, regardless of personal wants and needs?", Lila pressed, now watering the sown seeds.
"Well, I suppose…..", Alya trailed off.
Lila hid a smirk as she watched the seeds grow, but then Rose decided to open her fat mouth.
"But Marinette is always here for us! We only need to call her if we have any problems and she always finds a solution.", she said.
"And she's great at multitasking. She was able to help me with my history homework while she did a commission for Jagged Stone.", Nino said.
Lila sensed she was losing her control and tried to think of something to get it back. But a sudden explosion that shook the very building around them was a bit distracting. Several people screamed and clutched each other.
"What was that?", cried Rose.
"It must be an akuma!", said Alix.
"Not again! That's the second one this week!", grumbled Nathaniel.
The voice of Mr. Damocles sounded over the loudspeaker.
"Attention, students. There is an akuma alert in place, level three. Please seek a safe place at once."
Another explosion, much louder this time, shook the building and dust fell from the ceiling. Adrien sprang up, taking charge.
"You heard him! Everyone out! Now!", he said.
The class scrambled for the door, scattering in all directions once outside. Lila waited until Adrien was going past and latched onto him.
"Adrien! Please, don't leave me alone!", she simpered.
"Lila! Please, you have to let go of me!", Adrien replied.
She hung on tighter, digging her nails in and making him wince, but then something large impacted in the courtyard, sending up a cloud of dust. When it cleared, there was the akuma. It looked like a large man, in a nice suit, and hanging from his belt were six little dolls dressed as traffic wardens, likely the cause of his akumatisation. As the akuma pulled itself up, several hiding students pointed to the roof and cheered.
"It's Ladybug! She's here to save us!"
Sure enough, there was a flash of red and black spots and the heroine of Paris swooped in, wielding her yo-yo. Lila gritted her teeth and growled at the sight of her hated foe, but her distraction allowed Adrien to slip out of her grasp and pull her over to an empty classroom.
"Hide in here! You'll be safe!", he said.
Before she could manage a retort, he slammed the door shut and darted off. When she opened the door he was out of sight, but now Ladybug had been joined by Chat Noir and they were fighting the akuma off quite well. Lila crept around the upper mezzanine, watching the battle unfold. Maybe this one would be the one to finish off Ladybug, which she was not going to miss for the entire world. The akuma hurled a large chunk of stone at the heroes, which missed and hit the library stairs, bringing down a huge pile of rubble and part of a wall. Ladybug and Chat Noir exchanged looks, a plan of attack already formulated, then Ladybug leapt back from the fight as Chat Noir jumped in. Clearly he was to wear the akuma down before Ladybug struck the final blow. Lila's cold green eyes took in the scene, noticing that Ladybug was standing beneath where the library stairs once were and above her was the large chunk of wall, which was leaning at an awkward angle. Lila took this in and her mind worked, noticing how it could fall if it was pushed and if it did, it would land right on Ladybug. An evil grin appeared on her face as she walked over to the wall. Ladybug was still there, all focus on the akuma and Chat Noir; she would never see it coming.
"This is what you get, Ladybug!", she spat.
And she pushed the wall, hard. It shifted, groaned, shifted again… and then toppled over. Ladybug looked up and saw it falling, eyes widening in horror, and tried to jump out of the way but she was not fast enough. Even over the sound of crashing masonry and shattering brick, her cry of agony and surprise was audible.
"Milady!", Chat Noir cried, horrified.
His momentary distraction was all the akuma needed to slam the leather-clad hero into the ground, dazing him. Both heroes were out for the count, Ladybug half-buried in rubble, Chat Noir barely conscious in a Chat Noir-shaped hole in the ground. Lila stood on the edge, smirking down at her handiwork…...
"That'll teach you a lesson. My gift to you, Hawk Moth.", she said.
….unaware that the entire thing had been filmed on a camera phone, currently held by a completely shocked Alya Cesaire. Her mind buzzed, trying to come up with a possible explanation to what she had just seen, but the part of her brain that had been warning her against Lila finally asserted itself with a dope slap to the rest of her brain.
"Lila just tried to kill Ladybug!"
The words screamed inside her head, obliterating all conscious thought. Her phone slipped from her numb fingers and clattered to the ground as she fell back behind her cover, almost hyperventilating. The look on Lila's face as she pushed that wall, and when she was looking down at Ladybug as she was half-buried, was more terrible than anything she had ever seen. She didn't look shocked that she had accidentally pushed a wall onto Paris' most beloved person, she looked happy, gleeful, almost joyful. Her eyes…. such hatred should not be possible. And then she said something, too quietly for Alya to hear it but she knew how to lip-read.
"That'll teach you a lesson. My gift to you, Hawk Moth."
Alya buried her head in her hands. This was too much. She had trusted Lila, believed her when she said she was Ladybug's best friend, and now she had seen said supposed best friend push a wall onto her and try to kill her. The interview she'd published on her blog, her beloved blog, was false. And now the shock really began to eat into her, because if the interview was false then how many other things were? All the stories Lila had told, all the celebrities she knew, all the grand things she had done and….. all the things she'd said about Marinette? Marinette had said Lila was a liar and Alya had told her there was no proof. She hadn't believed her best friend off the bat, but had believed a strange new girl right off the bat, had posted that interview without verifying if it was true with Ladybug.
Tears began to leak out of her eyes as she realised this. She prided herself on being a good journalist, it was all she aspired to be, and she had failed to heed her own advice in verifying her sources before airing them. She had failed herself, she had failed Ladybug and she had failed her best friend. Clutching her phone, Alya curled in on herself and began to cry.