Five days passed. There were only eleven left in the survival game. Marinette pressed her palms over her eyes. If she had to look at one more piece of paper, she was going to stab someone.
"Mayor Bourgeois is Eleventh," Adrien spoke softly. "Chloe Bourgeois is Ninth. And Eighth..."
"Adrien, let's take a quick break," she groaned, getting up and pacing. "We need to figure out how to get Chloe and her father at the same time, but if I have to pounder this for one more minute I'm jumping off the Effiel Tower."
"Eighth is Caline Bustier," he whispered. "He's trying to shut down the school to get her server Diary. I'm sure of it."
"He can take care of her, then. Then we'll take him out!" Marinette had an unhinged look deep in her eyes. She had barely slept or eaten anything since her parents' deaths.
Adrien looked to her, for once, the calm one. "We have a meeting today, with all of them. And I don't think he wants to take her out, I think he wants to ally with her. So we need to ally with her first, and kill all her devoted students, and then her. Eliminate the threat, and then eliminate Eleven. And Chloe will be easy to backstab."
"You're right, you're right," she muttered, taking a deep breath to calm herself down.
He kissed her cheek. "We should get you some food, okay?"
"Okay..." She sat down, fidgeting. She wanted to end this game as soon as possible.
He brought her macarons, the kind she'd told him were her favorites, and a croissant for himself. "Eat. And then think about your strategy. Remember what I told you about how to act and give lines. This alliance needs to be believable."
"Okay," she repeated, nibbling on a macaroon while she went over her plan in her head.
He kissed her forehead. "You ready to be god?"
"I'm ready to fix all the mistakes," she whispered, her eyes flashing like a storm.
He smiled brightly. "Are we the good ones?"
"Yes." She cupped his cheek. "We're going to bring all of them back, we're going to fix all the mistakes."
"You are," he corrected her gently. "Don't forget, you have to kill me first."
"I know," she bit her lip, lowering her head. "I'll make it quick, I promise. You won't be gone long."
He smiled, and almost looked sad. "I'll always be with you, and I'll always protect you. You made me good."
She pressed her forehead to his, giving his nose a kiss. "I know." He hugged her suddenly. Eleven days left with her. It would have to be enough. She petted his head, looking up at the ceiling. Almost... It was almost over.
He hugged her tighter. "I'm glad that I'm dying for you." She didn't respond, just continued to stroke his head. He purred softly. "I love you..."
"...I love you too," she promised, giving him a kiss. It wasn't a lie, was it? She shut her eyes and went over the plan for the meeting, as she broke the kiss.
"Now, you're going to be the one doing all the talking," he reminded her. "You need to seem confident, and dangerous."
"I know." She took a deep breath. "Hopefully they don't see through my acting."
"They won't," he promised. "You've gotten really good."
She nodded and got up, stretching her arms above her head.
He smiled, as the meeting began taking them to the other place.
"Five remain," Tikki remarked. "First, Second, you're late."
"Sorry, we had other things to attend to," Marinette replied, raising an eyebrow of defiance.
"I was about to erase both of you from existence, at Eleventh's request. Be on time," Tikki smiled, viciousness hidden behind the sweetness.
Adrien glanced to her. "Marinette, is his name Eleventh?"
"Mayor Bourgeois, you have a lot of nerve complaining about us being late," Marinette laughed, glaring over at the shadowed form of Eleventh.
The masks fell, leaving everyone revealed in the arena. "How did you...?" The man looked shocked.
"A lady never tells," Marinette winked, pressing a finger to her lips.
Adrien kissed her cheek, arms draped around her. "Impressive," he whispered.
She leaned into his arms, looking up at Tikki. "So, anything you wanted to say?"
The god smiled. "Just that I'm proud of each and every one of you."
"As if," she said, rolling her eyes. "All you care about is this stupid game. We're all nothing but pawns to you."
"You're my predecessors," Tikki corrected. "I am dying, and one of you will take over the casualty continuem."
"Fantastic," she mumbled, leaning back into Adrien's arms.
"Now that you know all," Tikki smiled. "What is your plan?"
"I propose a face-to-face meeting," Marinette tilted her head, her eyes flicking to Chloe and her father.
Chloe shrugged. "You have my cell number. We literally had coffee a few days ago when we were talking about how to kill Rose and Juleka."
"I meant with the both of you," she shot back. "We both knew it would come down to this."
He crossed his arms. "That girl has not been my daughter in a year."
"That's cold, Mr. Mayor." Marinette's tone softened a degree. "She's still your daughter."
"She's a deranged terrorist. I refuse to meet with her. Kill her if you like."
"Sure- but then I'm coming after you."
Chloe stared. "Um, hey! Right here?"
"Sorry, Chloe," she sighed, rubbing her eyes. "Look, are we done here? You can come if you want or not."
She pouted. "Ugh, whatever."
Caline raised a hand. "Can I just say that the fact that three of the competitors left are minors is really, really messed up?"
"This entire game is messed up," Marinette sighed, turning to her former teacher.
"It really is," Adrien laughed softly, kissing her cheek. "Alliance," he reminded her, in a very quiet whisper.
She nodded, glancing around at the remaining Diary holders.
"Well, am I still with you guys or not?" Chloe snapped.
"Yeah, you are," Marinette sighed, returning her gaze to the pouty blonde.
She nodded. "Good. Because I really, really want to be part of killing my dad."
"Then one of us is going to have fun doing it..."
She laughed. "This'll rock."
"Can we go now?" Marinette turned back to Tikki.
The god nodded. "Released."
Marinette closed her eyes, feeling Adrien's hand burning against hers as they fell out of the other place.
They landed next to each other, and he hugged her. "You were awesome!"
"Thanks. I was actually pretty nervous," she said, looking a little embarrassed.
"Now we just need to call Ms. B," he grinned. "Andthenkillabunchoforphans."
"What was that last part?" she asked, tilting her head.
He rubbed his neck. "My plan kinda involves... killing a bunch of orphaned children... haha..."
She pinched the bridge of her nose. "Is there any OTHER course of action where we don't kill children?"
He shook his head. "Not really, no."
"Can't we just take them hostage or something?" she asked.
He shook his head. "No, we have to pretend to be on their side to get Ms. B's guard down. Then when the mayor shuts down her server, we'll need to cut through them all to get to her and kill her."
"Fine," she sighed, turning her head. "If it's the only way."
He smiled cheerfully. "Don't worry, it'll be fine!"
"Let's hurry up and finish this," she said, standing up and dusting herself off.
He nodded. "Make the call."
She dialed the number and waited for Caline to pick up. Ring... ring... "Yes, Marinette?"
"Mrs. Bustier, we wanted to talk to you," Marinette said, walking around as she talked. "We plan to take out the mayor, but we need some help... if you're willing?"
"I am," Caline agreed. "You children need protection. I've been staying out of the game for far too long.''
"Thank you so much," Marinette said, putting on her innocent, pre-game voice. "We can come to you, or we can meet up in a different location."
"Meet me outside the city. He's taking a trip to the South of France soon, and we should ambush him."
"Alright, we'll be there," she said, hanging up. "We need to meet her outside of Paris."
Adrien nodded. "Alright. Are you prepared for this?"
"I have to be." She pulled out her yo-yo, not meeting his eyes.
He kissed her cheek. "You will be." She nodded and ran her finger along the top of the deadly toy. He laughed softly. "I knew you'd like it."
"It feels so natural to use."
He nodded. "You wield it well."
"Yeah," she agreed, sticking it back into her satchel and opening her diary.
He kissed her cheek. "I wish I could see how wonderful a god you'll be."
"You will," she told him, looking up. "I'll bring you back, I promise."
He nodded slowly. "Right. Yeah, of course. We should get going to meet Eighth."
"Alright," she said, putting her diary and weapon in her satchel. He hailed a taxi, and held the door for her. She climbed inside and gave the driver the directions. He took her hand gently, and she gave it a squeeze. "Before we get there, there's something I really need to ask you."
He looked to her, wide-eyed. "Yes, Marinette?"
"I want you to tell me about... What happened to your father?"
He cringed. "Once it's just you and me. After eight, eleven, and nine are dead."
She nodded her head. "That's a promise?"
"Yeah," he nodded. "That's a promise. Before you kill me."
"Okay." She looked out the window.
He kissed her cheek. "I love you."
"I love you too," she murmured, turning and giving him a kiss
He kissed her back, eyes closing, and wondered how she'd react, when he told her everything... when he confessed to his lies.