"Take the high road," he said. Lila's actions would catch up to her eventually, with or without their help. No need to hurry things along, or provoke her any further by trying to expose her to the rest of their class.
Marinette didn't agree, but she listened all the same. For this was Adrien Agreste, the perfect boy she'd been crushing on for months, and he promised her that they'd stand together. As long as they both knew the truth, did it really matter that Lila was still lying...?
...Yes. Yes, it did. For taking the high road only gave her more time to string her victims along, forcing others to pay the price — quite literally. And now a new akuma has been born from the fallout: Witch Hunter. And she's whipping all of Paris into a rage, calling for the deceiver to die for her crimes.
ChaoticNeutral's BURN THE WITCH is yet another tale inspired by the events of the Miraculous Ladybug episode "Chameleon". In this case, it sees Lila's true nature exposed by her conning Rose and many others into donating to a charity that never existed, letting her live the high life at their expense. When that awful truth comes out at a devastating cost, Marinette finds herself fighting to keep her enemy alive, much to their mutual dismay.
See also Missing, another tale by the same author which was similarly inspired by "Chameleon", but removes Marinette Dupain-Cheng from the picture while keeping Ladybug involved.
This fanfic contains examples of:
- Above the Influence: Marinette is probably the one person in the entire city of Paris who hasn't fallen to Witch Hunter. Not even Tikki wants to save Lila. Plagg keeps his head, probably because he's more jaded than Tikki, but Adrien eventually snaps and gives in to Witch Hunter.
- Accidental Public Confession: Lila gloats to Marinette about being allied to Hawk Moth, apparently completely forgetting that Witch Hunter's scroll allows her to receive information on Lila's crimes in real-time. Witch Hunter, of course, takes the opportunity to announce Lila's affiliation with Hawk Moth to the entire city.
- Adults Are Useless: Downplayed. When Marinette confronts Lila in Chapter 6, she finds out that Lila was in her house, and is wearing her clothes. She muses to herself that while she loves her parents, they have not always been the most reliable (citing her wrongful expulsion as an example), and she's somewhat annoyed at the idea that they would let Lila into her room and go through her stuff. They didn't. They allowed Lila to rest at the bakery after Lila dove into the Seine to escape Luka's family, and Lila snuck in to find blackmail material. They were quite upset when they found her in there, but Marinette doesn't find out about that until Chapter 8.
- Ambiguous Situation: During the epilogue, it's left deliberately unclear whether or not Prince Ali responds favorably to Rose's apology.
- Armor-Piercing Question:
- Chloe gets one during the confrontation in the classroom:Chloe: Haven't you losers figured it out, yet?
Alya: Figured out what?
Chloe: Well, Rossi certainly couldn't afford her new designer jacket and shoes ensemble on her own allowance, now could she?
- Lila desperately attempts to appeal to Witch Hunter by pointing out that they're both working for Hawk Moth, meaning they should be on the same side. Witch Hunter's having none of it:Witch Hunter: Were you on my side when you stole from me? When you lied to me? Used me? Tell me, Lila, when did this supposed camaraderie between us suddenly start to matter to you?
- Lila's attempts to slander Marinette by revealing what she discovered during her stay at the bakery gets countered by Alix asking "How do you even know any of this?", pointing out that she probably wasn't invited into her room.
- Chloe gets one during the confrontation in the classroom:
- Armor-Piercing Response:
- When Rose tries to mollify the frustrated prince by insisting that his 'good friend' Lila Rossi is in charge of the charity:Prince Ali: I don't know a 'Lila Rossi'.
- Played With when Lila tries to take credit for Rose gaining so much power as Witch Hunter, only for the akumatized girl to respond "I DIDN'T WANT POWER! I WANTED A FRIEND!" Her words are completely lost upon Lila, but cause everyone else present to regard Lila's lack of reaction with disgust. However, this does finally have an impact when Hawk Moth proceeds to use her own definition of the word 'friend' against her, giving her a taste of what all of her 'friends' felt like after she'd wrung all the use out of them.
- When Rose tries to mollify the frustrated prince by insisting that his 'good friend' Lila Rossi is in charge of the charity:
- Asshole Victim: This is the reason why Marinette is the only one to actually try to help Lila. Lila's sociopathic nature combined with Witch Hunter's influence means that everyone thinks that it wouldn't hurt to let the Akuma find its target just this once...
- At Least I Admit It: Lila firmly believes that everyone is innately selfish, and that Marinette and Ladybug are just Holier Than Thou Hypocrites pretending to be noble do-gooders.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Downplayed. When Marinette confronts Adrien on his defense of people like Chloe and Lila over herself and others they are causing harm to, she expresses wishing that he would stand up for her the way he does for them. One scene later...
- Bad Samaritan: All of Lila's supposed "charity work" is just her taking advantage of Rose's trust and goodwill.
- Because You Can Cope: This is Adrien's reasoning when Marinette points out his tendency to defend Chloe and Lila when they are being hurtful, but not herself when she is being hurt.
- Adrien: I just...I know they arent the nicest, but theyre struggling. Its harder for them than it is for you.
- Though it is immediately subverted when Adrien realizes how wrong such a train of thought was. Just because Marinette can cope better doesn't mean that he should burden her with being hurt for somebody else's sake.
- Believing Their Own Lies:
- Marinette's rather shocked to realize that Lila honestly believes that Ladybug is completely at blame for exposing her deceit to Adrien, despite how she was the one who chose to lie in the first place.
- Along similar lines, Lila firmly believes that she is an absolutely vital asset to Hawk Moth, and that he would never allow her to be truly imperiled... despite all evidence to the contrary.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Rose is a sweet girl who only wanted to donate to charity through Lila. When she realizes how Lila swindled her, she akumatizes into Witch Hunter, whose goal is to kill Lila. No Never Say "Die" workarounds like transforming her into something or trapping her somewhere, just plain ol' burning her alive. Adrien becomes part of Witch Hunter's mob when Witch Hunter reveals exactly how much Lila has hurt both his classmates and himself.
- When Marinette finds out that Lila was at the bakery, she is immediately suspicious. Tom and Sabine are kind and generous people who would open their home to anyone in need without hesitation, and the fact Lila is on the streets and not still at the bakery leads Marinette to (correctly) suspect that Lila must have done something to make them kick her out. Lila brushes this off and says she left of her own accord, but obviously Marinette doesn't believe her.
- Bookends: The story kicks off with Prince Ali confronting Rose about Lila's false charity and breaking off their friendship. Rose's final scene has her sending him a sincere apology, with it left unclear how he responds.
- Breaking Speech: Hawk Moth delivers one through Witch Hunter during the climax.
- Burn the Witch!: Witch Hunter's goal, and that of the angry mob she incites. Marinette would much rather prevent that, thank you very much. Really, it's tempting, but no.
- Cassandra Gambit: Gabriel knows that Lila is likely aware of his secret identity but decides to do nothing about her before she can try to tell anyone, knowing full well that with her widely revealed as a liar and manipulator, no one would believe her and if anything it would only serve to lessen suspicion on himself. Sure enough, it worked. Well, mostly.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Lila's backstabbing is so excessive, you'd think she actually had the disorder. She never misses a chance to throw Marinette under the bus to save her own skin, even after the nth time it's backfired horribly and left her running alone from the mob again.
- Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like:
- Lila does not appreciate Marinette's efforts to keep her alive, or the prospect of being protected by Ladybug, "the only person more self-righteous than [her]".
- When Ladybug rescues Lila from being burned alive by using the Dragon Miraculous's Water powers to put out the fire, Lila is more upset that she got drenched than anything else.
- Ladybug also makes very clear that she intends to take full advantage of this by deliberately 'rescuing' Lila in ways that will make her miserable, all in the name of 'protecting' her... and ensuring that her ability to cause more trouble is hampered.
- Condescending Compassion: Hunter!Alya cheerfully reassures Marinette that she can't be blamed for falling under Lila's sway, as she couldn't have known any better. Mari doesn't care for the Irony or the blatant patronizing.
- Conspicuous Consumption: When Lila's lies start falling apart, it doesn't help her case that she spent her ill-gotten money on clothes she couldn't have bought with her allowance alone.
- Cruel Mercy:
- Marinette/Ladybug saves Lila from being burned at the stake and frees Rose from the Witch Hunter Akuma. She then explains to Lila in explicit detail how she's going to ensure that she won't be causing much trouble anymore: by treating her as her very special friend and ensuring her safety by delivering her to all number of unpleasant hiding spots during future Akuma attacks. When Lila attempts to get out of it by saying she can tell people that Ladybug is stalking her, Ladybug points out that Lila claimed to be Ladybug's best friend, so people would see that Ladybug is just attempting to protect her "best friend". This means that Lila is either forced to admit that she lied about that, too, or deal with what Ladybug is planning to do.
- After her lies to the adults unravel, Lila assumes that she's going to be expelled, only for Mr. Damocles to declare that they don't expel students for truancy. Given that Lila was counting on leaving Paris and Dupont behind, she's hardly thrilled by the idea, or any of the other plans he has to accommodate for her unique circumstances.
- Crying Wolf: The reason Gabriel doesn't do anything about Lila knowing he's Hawk Moth. With Paris no longer believing her about anything, what chance does she stand telling something that's true? He's right... to a point.
- Curse Cut Short: When the class finds out about Lila throwing Marinette to the mob, someone says, "That lousy little b"
- Deconstruction Fic:
- Picks apart the concept of 'taking the high road' by not exposing Lila, illustrating how this only leaves her free to continue hurting others, adding to the list of crimes they weren't even aware of until Witch Hunter is born.
- Contrary to most salt fics with this focus, it highlights that Marinette wouldnt be the only one at risk of being hurt if Lila is allowed to continue and that no one is safe from her turning on them, even her own followers.
- The matter of Lila being both a consummate and blatant liar is also deconstructed, showing that part of the problem is that she hasn't been held accountable for her actions until now, leading her to be more willing to push the limits of what she can get away with.
- Another concept that gets harpooned is the notion of Lila being an incredibly valuable resource to Hawk Moth. She completely believes this to be the case, but is actually an Unwitting Pawn - a selfish teenager being manipulated by an adult.
- Highlights the pressure Marinette has been put under to become an Ideal Hero, and how the series punishes her for having moments of weakness, with Tikki criticizing every little slip or human mistake she makes.
- Deliberately Distressed Damsel: Lila convinces herself that this must be Hawk Moth's plan with Witch Hunter: to lure Ladybug into a trap by pretending that Lila is in mortal peril.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Basically every other action Lila takes is some completely unnecessary act of backstabbing that just gives Witch Hunter more allies and updates her on Lila's location.
- Didn't See That Coming:
- Lila's attempt to spite Marinette by revealing that she keeps track of Adrien's schedule fails because Adrien sees absolutely nothing wrong with that — and in fact, Nino does the exact same thing.
- Similarly, Lilas follow-up attempt to make her look creepy with how she's planned out what to give him for birthdays and holidays in the future fails because Adrien, who still doesnt know the birthday scarf was from her, thinks shes doing it out of guilt for forgetting his birthday and finds that level of concern to have something for him for the next time incredibly thoughtful on her part. Despite knowing her crush, the other classmates are even convinced this is the case. Alya also privately notes how much bad luck Marinette has had when it comes to giving gifts and decides that it makes sense she'd be trying to counter that by planning ahead.
- Didn't Think This Through:
- Lila's tendency to spin fantastic, unbelievable tales without considering credibility is delved into and picked apart.
- Pointed out by Marinette that Lilas attempts to appeal to Adrien when they first met wouldnt have done her any good even if her lies hadnt been revealed since Adrien had gotten in trouble over Lila stealing the Grimoire. Meaning that even if Adrien had fully believed Lila, it wouldnt matter if he was pulled from school and never saw her again.
- Marinette also specifically points out to her that her claims about being Ladybug's bestie could have drawn the attention of Hawk Moth or other criminals.
- In a last ditch effort to spite Marinette, Lila tries to paint her as a creepy stalker by revealing she has Adrien's entire schedule, her pictures of him, and all the gifts she made him. However, she shoots herself in the foot when Alix asks exactly how she gained this information. Not only were the schedule, pics and gifts in Marinette's room, which Marinette would never let Lila enter under any circumstances, but Marinette states that the items in questions were either put away or at an angle where they wouldn't be immediately seen upon entering the room, which means Lila would have had to actively look for them. In short, she ended up making herself look bad instead of Marinette.
- Disappointed by the Motive: Marinette is very disappointed when she realizes that Lila's been spreading her lies and hurting everyone around her just for things like more pocket money, sitting near the boy she likes, and being popular in high school.
- Dramatic Irony:
- Marinette completely refutes and rejects Lila's attempts to pin all the blame for her actions onto her and Ladybug for daring to expose her. Yet when left to her own devices, Marinette blames herself, convinced that she let her emotions get the better of her. In other words, she only rejects the idea that everything is her fault when Lila is the one telling her that.
- Lila happily trusts Chat Noir and Hawk Moth to be on her side, while mistrusting Marinette, who's the only person in the city to encounter her without becoming part of Witch Hunter's mob. And if Nathalie bluntly shutting Lila out of the Agrestes' lives for being a stalker towards Adrien is any indication, Hawk Moth has probably already decided to throw her under the bus.
- Tikki's efforts to comfort her only serve to reinforce Marinette's guilt, as she sincerely believes that Tikki wouldn't be saying such things if she were in her right mind.
- While taking stock of the situation, Marinette's thoughts concerning Chat Noir are especially ironic, as she muses about how he's likely familiar with Lila's true nature already just from the few encounters they've had while she was akumatized. She's blissfully unaware that he's much more familiar with her than that.
- Hawk Moth's Breaking Speech highlights how Lila has ultimately fallen victim to the exact sort of crass manipulation she subjected countless others to... at his own hands. Right down to believing that she was far more valuable and important to him than she actually was.
- The only time Lila is telling the truth (first at Marinette having a huge crush on Adrien, the second about Hawk Moth being Gabriel Agreste) nobody believes her (or just Adrien in the former's case), since she has been exposed as a liar and her classmates just think she's trying to hurt Marinette and Adrien. Though Marinette does believe Lila, because she knows that while Lila isn't usually trustworthy, Hawk Moth betraying and humiliating her means that she has a good motive to tell the truth this time- and she'd already suspected Gabriel for other reasons, so it's not as if she's fingering a random person.
- Easily Forgiven: Subverted with both Lila and Adrien:
- Lila thinks of Rose as a naive goody-two shoes that can be convinced into forgiving her with Crocodile Tears. To her surprise, Rose does not forgive Lila.
- Also Downplayed with Adrien. The rest of the class is outraged upon learning that he knew about Lila's true nature but didn't warn them, and let Rose decide if he should be forgiven or not. Rose doesn't forgive him immediately, but gives him the chance to work for their forgiveness.
- Enemy-Detecting Radar: Witch Hunter can track down Lila when her list updates, as it will show the victims of her crimes, as well as where it happened if the location is important (i.e. Witch Hunter knows that Lila is at the Dupain-Cheng Bakery when her list updates with "Lila snuck into Marinette's room for blackmail material").
- Enemy Mine: Marinette tries to work with Lila in order to protect her from the mob. Lila proves less than cooperative.
- Even Evil Has Standards: When Lila tries to use Marinette as bait for the mob, they quickly realize that Marinette is innocent and refuse to hurt her in their chase after Lila.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
- Lila is firmly convinced that Marinette is a hypocrite who pretends to be good, but will stab Lila in the back. This bites her in the ass, as it means she tries to sabotage Marinette's legitimate attempts to help her and often nearly hands herself straight to the mob while trying to get away from Marinette.
- She also struggles with the notion that she didn't need to lie to impress anyone in the first place, and that she could have been accepted by her peers without having to 'sweeten the pot' with claims of what sort of favors she could do for them.
- Exact Words: Nothing that Chat Noir tells Lila is untrue... it's just said in a way that convinces Lila of her own preconceived notions. Yes, there are civilians getting set up at the Eiffel Tower- they're getting set up to burn Lila at the stake. And yes, he's taking her where he thinks she needs to go- he's part of Witch Hunter's mob, and he means he's delivering Lila right to them.
- False Reassurance:
- Chat Noir tells Lila that they're "taking you where you need to be." Naturally, this turns out to mean where Witch Hunter and the mob are setting up her funeral pyre.
- Witch Hunter cheerfully reassures Lila that the smoke inhalation will kill her before the flames do. So while she'll still feel the pain of being burned before succumbing to the smoke, she won't suffer through all of it.
- The Farmer and the Viper: Marinette wants to help Lila. Lila tries to throw her to the mob to escape herself, and later convinces Chat Noir to leave her behind. This doesn't work out for her- not only does the mob immediately realize that Marinette is innocent, but they conclude that the only person who'd try such a thing would be Lila, which ruins the disguise she was wearing. And Chat Noir was part of Witch Hunter's mob, and he was taking Lila to her lynching.
- Fake Charity: What kickstarts the whole plot: Lila cons her classmates into donating to a charity that doesn't exist. Rose also asks Prince Ali to donate as well. When he can't find anything about the charity's progress, he has a team of investigators to find anything about it, and he's pretty angry when they reveal that the charity doesn't exist and that it was a scam. Angered at Rose, he terminates his friendship with her. Upon learning that not only Lila had been scamming them, but her lies cost Rose a prized friendship, Rose is so angry and distraught at Lila, she ends up being akumatized into Witch Hunter.
- Fatal Flaw: Lila is Prideful, arrogant, thrives on attention, and used to evading any serious consequences due to how frequently her family moves around. She doesn't consider the long-term ramifications of her actions because she's not used to having to deal with them — and she certainly doesn't care about the impact they have upon others. Even when faced with mounting evidence that her methods won't work forever, she refuses to change, as that would mean acknowledging that she's not totally in control.
- Foil: Prince Ali serves as one to Adrien. Both come from wealthy and somewhat sheltered backgrounds, and want to have friends outside of their normal circles. However, where Adrien takes the passive 'high road' and hopes the Lila issue will resolve itself, Ali takes decisive action and refuses to tolerate deception.
- Good Is Not Soft:
- Tikki falls under the influence of Witch Hunter and is more than willing to cut Lila loose/let her suffer the consequences of her actions.
- Marinette strives to protect Lila as both herself and as Ladybug, but doesn't shy away from calling her out. There's also her To the Pain speech she gives as Ladybug where she details her intent to 'protect' Lila in various humiliating ways.
- During the epilogue, it's all but outright stated that Tikki made sure that the Miraculous Cure didn't stop Lila from developing a rash. Not to mention her deliberately backing up Ladybug's threat to make sure Lila doesn't cause any more trouble, spooking her by letting Lila see her glowing blue eyes watching her in her bedroom.
- Heel Realization: Adrien has one when he realizes that he only fell under Witch Hunter's spell after hearing how Lila's actions had affected him personally, and that he was more offended by the fact Marinette hadn't confided in him about her threats than the fact that Lila threatened her in the first place.
- Hoist by Her Own Petard: Lila's trickery catches up to her when Rose learns the hard way that the charity she's been donating to — and convincing others to donate to — doesn't even exist. This quickly becomes a Running Theme, as Lila handles the crisis by continuing to conduct herself the way she always has, only for her schemes and lies to keep blowing up in her face. Keep lying to people? Witch Hunter can reveal her lies as they happen. Throw Marinette under the bus? The mob knows who they're targeting, Lila, and this just gives them more ammo. Trick Chat Noir into saving you, but leaving Marinette behind? He's under Witch Hunter's influence too, and he's actually bringing you to be burned at the stake.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Lila's character judgement skills are entirely based on if she has successfully lied to them. She thinks that Marinette is trying to turn her into the mob because Marinette called her out, while she trusts Hawk Moth of all people because she "tricked him" into Akumatizing her and helping her plans. Because Chat Noir believed her about being a superhero before Ladybug revealed the truth, she trusts him to take her to safety... unaware that he was also affected by Witch Hunter.
- Ideal Hero: Deconstructed. Marinette believes that she should be, and frets over her inability to live up to that perfect, shining image of the heroine who's completely above it all.
- Immune to Mind Control: Plagg of all people, which is notable because it's explicitly shown that Tikki isn't. The implication is that Plagg is just that much more jaded regarding how terrible people can be and is honestly not surprised by any of Lila's long list of crimes. Unfortunately, Adrien doesn't share this immunity and calls for his transformation before Plagg can make use of it.
- Insufferable Imbecile: Lila's hatred of Marinette reaches Stupid Evil levels, trying to throw her under the bus, make her the target of Witch Hunter's mob, and go through her room to find stuff to blackmail her with, even when it's clear that Marinette is the only one in all of Paris trying to keep her alive, and doing things that would make her...well, not want to do that, is not smart.
- Internal Reveal:
- Rose and the rest of Mme. Bustier's class learn that Lila is a Manipulative Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, and that she never met Prince Ali or did any charity work.
- Witch Hunter's scroll grants her a list of all of Lila's crimes, which keeps updating in response to her target's actions. This includes plenty of things that Marinette and Adrien weren't aware of, despite knowing her true nature.
- Lila learns that Rose actually knew Prince Ali, and briefly laments the lost opportunity to get in good with actual royalty.
- While she didn't hear Witch Hunter's announcement of it, Marinette figures out — and Lila confirms — that she has been working with Hawk Moth. Lila even openly brags about this to her, insisting that it means she's not in any real danger, as surely Hawk Moth realizes that she's far too valuable to sacrifice.
- Ironic Echo: As far as Lila is concerned, 'friend' is just a nice little way of calling somebody her Unwitting Pawn. Hawk Moth ends his dismissal speech by calling her his 'friend'.
- It's All My Fault: Rose after her akuma is defeated and Marinette throughout the story.
- Jerkass Realization: Tikki realizes that her well-intentioned efforts to encourage Marinette to be a paragon have done a number on the teenager's self-esteem, to the point that she pushes herself too far and blames herself for things that aren't her fault, focusing on her flaws rather than her virtues and successes.
- Just Between You and Me:
- Lila gloats to Marinette about how she's aligned with Hawk Moth, not caring about the fact that she's revealing this to her despised rival — after all, who would ever believe her? Never mind how Witch Hunter's scroll lets her announce this to the world anyway.
- Later, once she's finally dealt with Witch Hunter and the mob, Ladybug returns the favor, explaining to Lila how she's going to ensure that she won't be causing any more trouble in the future... and when Lila protests, pointing out that nobody will ever believe her.
- Karma Houdini: Justified. Lila never faced long-term consequences for her lies because her mom's diplomatic work meant that her family moved often enough that her short-term solutions (impressive claims, the Wounded Gazelle Gambit) never had time to completely unravel on her; by the time people figured what she was doing, Lila would be gone and ready to try again with a new audience that never heard of her.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: This story is all about Lila's expiring. Marinette's arc is trying to prevent it from becoming fatal. Not only does Marinette succeeds at this, when Lila still tries to rage against being humiliated by Ladybug for saving her, Ladybug swears she will make sure Lila continues to be humiliated on a constant basis as long as Hawk Moth remains active. And now that she's been exposed as a liar for everything except her original lie of being friends with Ladybug and Hawk Moth will no longer use her as an ally, Lila is completely unable to fight back.
- Karmic Jackpot: The last few chapters end up being a series of these for Marinette:
- Adrien gives Marinette a sincere apology for advising her to "take the high road" while dealing with Lila and admits he gave her the advice in part because he looks up to her and wanted to help her the way she was always helping others. That alone would have Marinette over the moon on a normal day, but amid the fallout of Lila's lies, Adrien ends up planning not one, but three dates with Marinette; one for a dinner, one to play Mecha Strike and give her his schedule so they can hang out more in the future, and one to watch a movie together. Marinette somehow refrains from combusting on the spot.
- Lila leaves the expensive designer clothes she bought with her ill-gotten money behind when she flees the bakery. While they were soaked, if not outright ruined by Lila's dip in the Seine, the Miraculous Ladybug Cure fixes them up as good as new...without returning them to their owner. Tom immediately jumps on the idea of giving them to Marinette for her birthday. Sabine is quick to remind him that they should at least try to return the outfit, but doesn't seem particularly bothered by the idea of Marinette keeping it.
- Lila's last-ditch effort to pull a Taking You with Me by revealing Hawk Moth's identity is mostly laughed off, but Marinette treats it as a genuine lead due to knowing Lila worked with Hawk Moth and may know his identity, as well as having suspected Gabriel before. Master Fu agrees, especially when Marinette can cite the odd amount of trust Gabriel seemed to place in Lila as further evidence that Lila might have been telling the truth for once.
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- The whole story revolves around Lila finally getting hit with this, the most visible and dangerous part being the Akumatized person out to lynch her, but by Chapter 5 all of her truths have been exposed and she is completely out of allies or places to hide, with Marinette being the only one willing to help her just because Witch Hunter's "justice" is too extreme.
- Even if she manages to escape Witch Hunter, she didn't escape from karma: not only is her true nature as a manipulative liar exposed to her classmates, but just when she was planning to leave Paris forever and move to another school to avoid the fallout, said plan crashes down when both her mother and Mr. Damocles learn about her many lies and deceptions, such as the fake disabilities or the school being closed for entire weeks due Akuma attacks. As a result, Lila now will be under an extremely close watch by her mother and the teachers, she will have to study a lot and take remedial classes to make up for all the missing coursework unless she wants to be held back a year, and will be stuck with the people who know she manipulated them and wont be inclined to trust her. On top of that, her mother is fully planning to punish her as well, stating her intent to confiscate both her phone and laptop, force her to take a job in order to reimburse all the money she scammed, and that she will ensure Lila accepts the terms of any legal ramifications that may result from this.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Rose's list of conditions for Adrien to earn her forgiveness on the rest of the class' behalf for not warning them about Lila's true nature:Rose: I want your endorsement on the charity.
Rose: And a cake for the class as an apology.
Adrien: Just tell me what flavor.
Rose: And for you to take Marinette on a date to a fancy restaurant.
Adrien: Ill check my schedwait, what?
Marinette: (while clamping Rose's mouth with her hand) Just the first two will be fine.
- Liar Revealed: Lila finds herself at the center of this when her luck finally runs out. Deconstructed because by the time her lies have gotten big enough to be revealed naturally, she's already done irreparable damage and the resulting fallout pisses someone off enough to create an Akuma bent on lynching her.
- Living Lie Detector: Witch Hunter, though only for Lila. Her scroll contains a list of Lila's crimes and is updated in real time, meaning that whenever Lila tells a lie, Witch Hunter gets an update saying 'Lila lied to X about Y', which she usually then announces to everyone around her. This causes the aditional problem of alerting the mob to where she is or who shes with, letting them either hunt her down themselves or make contact with whomever is around her to bring them into the mob.
- Mama Bear: Sabine Dupain-Cheng was already pissed off at catching Lila entering her daughter's room without permission before she becomes brainwashed by Witch Hunter.If you take advantage of our kindness to harm my daughter, youre going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for politicians and people who talk at the theater.
- More Than Mind Control: Witch Hunter's primary ability is that whenever someone gets angry at Lila while aware of Witch Hunter, that person joins her mob. And Lila's incredibly long and varied list of crimes, along with Witch Hunter's ability to reveal them, mean that often enough it's really hard to tell where the genuine anger ends and Witch Hunter's magical influence begins. Tikki's POV illustrates this well: having personal experience with witch burnings, she's far too used to witnessing innocent people on the pyre. But Lila has committed so many crimes and is so unrepentant that the world would truly be a better place without her, wouldn't it? Better her than someone like poor Marinette...
- Mundanger: While she has magic that makes the task easier, such as the ability to track her target and More Than Mind Control, Witch Hunter's threat is all about a Rabble Rouser driving people to hate on a single person and causing a riot.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- Marinette feels far more guilty about staying silent and "allowing" things to play out this way than Lila herself does about... well, anything she's done.
- Preventing this is also Marinette's main motivation for protecting Lila. Even if the cure sets things right, she doesn't want anyone to be haunted by the memory of their actions while under Witch Hunter's influence, or the realization that they helped kill a girl.
- Tikki has a moment of this upon realizing that her high expectations of Marinette have led to her being less than supportive during her bearer's moments of weakness, contributing to her guilt complex and how Mari blames herself for Lila's actions.
- Adrien gets this in the end when he realizes how badly his advice backfired and how his defense of people like Lila and Chloe has been hurtful.
- Never My Fault:
- Lila, Lila, Lila. She blames everyone hurt when her lies are revealed for trusting her in the first place, and hates Ladybug and Marinette for exposing her lies, never considering that none of this would have happened if she'd just, y'know, told the truth.
- Downplayed with Adrien. When he hears Witch Hunter reveal how Lila threatened Marinette in the bathroom, he's more hurt by how she didn't mention that to him than upset on her behalf, thinking that he wouldn't have told her to take the high road if he'd known.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Technically, Adrien was right: Lila's behavior did catch up to her. But the decision to stay silent and let things play out naturally led to Rose and many others being hurt, and to the creation of Witch Hunter. Marinette blames herself for not acting sooner, feeling responsible for the fallout.
- On top of everything she invested into Lila's 'charity', Rose convinced others to donate as well. Friends, family, neighbors... Prince Ali... all of whom wound up victimized because she trusted her False Friend.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
- All Rose wanted was to help others, and Lila's charity seemed like the perfect way to do so. She even took on extra jobs in order to earn more money to donate, and convinced others to join her. As a result, she loses Prince Ali's trust and friendship, and is horrified to learn where their donations were really going.
- Marinette's attempts to protect Lila get her thrown under the bus — though this is Subverted in that the outcome clearly isn't what either of them expects.
- When Sabine takes Lila into the bakery, Lila takes the opportunity to sneak into Marinette's room looking for anything she can use against her.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis: Downplayed. Witch Hunter is out to get revenge on Lila for the evil deeds she did, and is out to do so by lynching Lila, none of those fancy magical methods other Akumatized villains have used like sending her to another dimension or turning her into a statue or making her Ret-Gone.
- No Sympathy: Even after Lila is found out, she refuses to pay back the money she scammed out of people, mocking Rose for even suggesting it.
- No Sympathy for Grudgeholders:
- Lila begrudges Marinette and Ladybug for existing after both of them called her out on her lies. This is clearly shown to be ridiculous and self-destructive.
- Notably, Marinette also privately berates herself for letting her anger at Lila ever get the better of her, thinking this makes her at least partly responsible for Lila's actions. Though Tikki tries to convince her otherwise, Marinette is so used to her kwami lecturing her about her responsibilities as Ladybug that she dismisses her efforts at comforting her as just another sign that she's not herself.
- Not Himself: Tikki falls under Witch Hunter's spell, encouraging Marinette to consider letting Lila get burned a little. Or a lot. Preferably a lot. This is played for humor and angst alike, with the latter coming out particularly when delving into why Tikki was susceptible...Marinette: Tikki, this isnt like you!
Tikki: Shows how well you know me then.
Marinette: You are affected, arent you?
Marinette: I think you are. And I think youre lying to me to hide it because you dont want me to know.
Tikki: [whining] But if I admit I am, you wont let us roast Lila!
Marinette: Nobody is roasting Lila either way!
Tikki: [pouting] Killjoy.
Marinette: ...I want old Tikki back, please.
- Not So Above It All: Lila develops a pretty bad skin rash over being thrown into the very polluted waters of the Seine river, which Marinette finds strange because the Miraculous Cure should have fixed that.Tikki: The Cure sometimes acts in mysterious ways.
Tikki: Oh, look at the time! You should be getting home, Marinette!
- And following that, Tikki goes to Lila's room in the middle of the night just to scare the shit out of her.
- "Not So Different" Remark: Lila attempts to convince Marinette that the two of them have a lot in common, in a mixture of Breaking Speech and a ploy for sympathy. Marinette doesn't buy a word of it.
- Oblivious to Love: Adrien's inability to pick up on Marinette's crush on him reaches whole new levels when Lila attempts to out her, only for him to accuse her of making it up. Justified, as Lila has been outed as a liar and it casts serious doubt on anything she says.
- Oh, Crap!: Lila has several throughout the course of the day, but her biggest one comes when it finally sinks in for her that Hawk Moth has been using her the same way she's used all of her own 'friends'... and is more than willing to let her die.
- Only Sane Man: Marinette, who seems to be the only one who doesn't want Lila to be burned at the stake, though that's not to say she isn't tempted.
- Paranoia Fuel: Invoked. By the end of the story, Lila finds herself as a loose end for Hawk Moth and Ladybug has told Lila under no uncertain terms that she would be keeping a close eye on her. Tikkis visit at the end likely doesnt help.
- Pass the Popcorn:
- Master Fu, under Witch Hunter's spell, starts selling popcorn for Lila's lynching.
- Along similar lines, Chat Noir passes out sticks and marshmallows so children can toast them on the bonfire.
- Plot Parallel:
- The witch hunt reminds Tikki of one of her past bearers: Jeanne d'Arc. In this case, however, it's clear to her that the victim actually deserves to be lynched. Now if only she could convince Marinette to be a little more selfish for once and let it happen...
- Tikki being corrupted by Witch Hunter's influence while Marinette holds out and tries to argue some sense back into her is mirrored by how Plagg finds himself faced with a corrupted Adrien, who doesn't bother arguing and simply transforms.
- Poor Communication Kills:
- If Adrien had known about Lila threatening Marinette in the bathroom, he wouldn't have told her to take the high road. When he finds out from Witch Hunter, his initial reaction is to wonder why she didn't tell him, failing to consider any of the reasons that might be the case.
- When Marinette and Adrien have a heart-to-heart about what happened with Witch Hunter, Adrien reveals that part of the reason he was so insistent upon her taking the high road was because he admires her and wanted to impress her by showing he could be just as virtuous. Marinette is completely taken aback — from her perspective, it felt as though he was looking down upon her, not up at her.
- The Power of Friendship: Invoked by Lila, when she claims that this was what ensured that Ladybug never fell under Witch Hunter's sway.
- Rage-Breaking Point:
- Adrien manages to hold it together when Witch Hunter reveals how Lila tricked everyone about Marinette, allied with Hawk Moth, stole his book, and akumatized herself to ruin Adrien's reputation, but finally loses it when she announces that Lila had been serving as Gabriel's spy in school.
- Marinette hits her own once everything is over and Lila remains an ungrateful bitch who complains about Ladybug drenching her to put out the fire that was about to kill her. Her response: swear to Lila that, because the only lie that is still unrevealed is the one about how they are friends, she will continue to subject Lila to highly humiliating "rescues" for as long as Hawk Moth is still a threat. And because Hawk Moth has made clear that he won't use Lila as a pawn ever again, or at least the way Lila wishes to, Lila can only sit back and take it.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
- Prince Ali gives Rose a brief, but no less cutting one before cutting her out of his life:Ali: I don't know a 'Lila Rossi'. You are either a liar or a fool, and I cannot abide either. This will have to be our last discussion. Goodbye, Rose.
- Marinette gives one to Lila, ending up with her going into a full rant on the reasons why Lila's behavior is horrible. Not just that she's been manipulating and hurting people, but focusing on the things that Lila would actually care about, i.e. that her lies are so over the top and downright dangerous while whatever she gains from them is so minimal that it ultimately isn't even worth the effort. Especially of note is she brings up how Lila is so petty that she willingly gave up an opportunity that would only have benefited her when she rejected Ladybug's apology and friendship in favor of choosing to help the supervillain actively attacking Paris with monsters just because she can't let go of a grudge over Ladybug calling out her lies one time. Marinette is not impressed.
- Hawk Moth himself delivers one to Lila using Witch Hunter as his vessel, informing her that her services are no longer required now that her true nature has been fully exposed.
- Prince Ali gives Rose a brief, but no less cutting one before cutting her out of his life:
- Reconstruction: The last couple chapters reconstruct Adrien's character, whose flaws are often deconstructed in Salt fics. Here, Adrien is depicted as a well-meaning guy that sometimes make mistakes and can be a little thoughtless and insensitive. Marinette calling him out on putting Chloe and Lila's feelings over her well-being, as well as how his "taking the high road" approach caused so much harm is portrayed as the right thing to do. However, while Salt Fics would have Adrien as a Jerkass doubling down on Never My Fault and accusing Marinette of being selfish, this Adrien is mortified to learn how much he hurt both Marinette and the rest of his classmates, profusely apologizes, vows to be a better and more supportive friend, and asks what he can do to make up for his mistakes.
- Rejected Apology:
- Downplayed with Adrien, who realizes that apologizing for not warning anyone about Lila is not good enough and accepts that he will have to work harder to make amends. The classmates leave it up to Rose, who chooses to forgive him, though she does have conditions that include his help with the charity, an apology cake, and a date with Marinette.
- Played straight with Lila, who honestly believes that a few fake tears and a flimsy excuse will be enough to sway the soft-hearted Rose to her side, even after everything that happened with Witch Hunter.
- Shout-Out: Twice to Firefly. First when Lila betrays Marinette by trying to sacrifice her to the mob. Then again later when she's given a threatening speech by Sabine after she's discovered in Marinette's room.
- Shipper on Deck: Played for Laughs. When Adrien offers to do anything Rose wants to make amends, one of her demands is that he take Marinette to a fancy restaurant.
- Sidetracked by the Analogy: After Adrien tells Lila she's fired using an The Emperor's New Groove quote, everyone shifts focus to gushing over that and then getting mock offended when Marinette reveals she's never seen it.
- Skewed Priorities:
- Even with an ever-growing angry mob combing through Paris for her, Lila still tries to take advantage of any opportunity to badmouth or sabotage Marinette.
- While Marinette is freaking out about having to knock out Master Fu, Tikki complains that they won't be able to sell anyone popcorn now.
- Lila attempts to appeal to Witch Hunter this way, pointing out that she isn't making any effort to obtain the Earrings and Ring despite Chat Noir being completely under her spell.
- During the final confrontation, one of the members of the mob calls out to "AVENGE MY MARSHMALLOW!"
- Smug Snake: Lila continuously thinks that she's just on the edge of escaping the situation for good and Hawk Moth will protect her, dismissing the fact that she's got an angry mob after her and that Hawk Moth doesn't seem all that interested in saving her.
- Spotting the Thread: While disguised as a janitor, Lila declares that she's 'fixing to do her sweeping', leaving the mob members she declared this to wondering how she intended to do that with a mop.
- Stupid Evil: Lila's so deep into this trope, it's almost comical:
- Even when faced with an akuma that magically knows her every crime the moment it happens and turns ordinary citizens into a Torches and Pitchforks mob by reading those same crimes, she simply can't stop committing more crimes that inevitably undo her attempts to escape.
- Despite Marinette being literally the only person in all of Paris willing to help her, Lila just can't stop herself from backstabbing her at any opportunity, such as trying to sell her to the mob so she can escape (which backfires horrendously, as not only the mob immediately recognizes Marinette, but realize that whoever pushed her must be Lila, thus blowing up her cover), to sneaking into Marinette's room and try to find something embarrassing about her when Tom and Sabine were gracious enough to shelter her from the mob (needless to say, they kick her out to the streets). This also has the side effect of making Marinette a borderline example of Stupid Good.
- This was the reason why Hawk Moth decided to let Witch Hunter kill Lila: as skilled as she is manipulating and sowing discord, Lila's lack of subtlety and pragmatism cause her to out herself as a willing ally of Hawk Moth, meaning that he has no longer any use of her as a spy.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
- As Adrien predicted, Lila's deception catches up to her without him or Marinette having to do anything about it. However, said inaction left her free to continue doing as she wished in the meantime, cheerfully swindling Rose and everyone who believes in her nonexistent charity. When he confesses he knew Lila was lying to the rest of the class, they naturally aren't happy with him, and he says he'll do whatever it takes to make it up to everyone.
- Rose's friendship with Prince Ali falls apart, as he holds her responsible for convincing him to donate to a charity that never existed. The fact she was tricked herself doesn't stop him from being upset that his trust in her was ill-placed, and he makes it clear that he wants nothing more to do with her.
- Lila spends most of her ill-gotten gains on the latest — and most expensive — trends. All Chloe has to do when Rose starts pestering her for answers is point out that she obviously couldn't normally afford what she's wearing, helping her classmates connect the dots.
- Marinette is so used to being held to impossibly high standards as Ladybug that when Tikki tries to comfort her, she passes it off as just part of her being brainwashed, thinking that "the real Tikki" would never tell her that it was alright to be upset.
- When Lila tries to contact Nathalie to reveal Marinette's Stalker with a Crush tendencies towards Adrien, Nathalie reveals that all her accusations fit Lila's own actions better and that she is being summarily fired from Gabriel and that a a restraining order is being filed before telling Lila to never contact them ever again.
- Lila plans to browbeat the akuma into letting her go on the grounds that she's more useful to Hawk Moth alive, only for Witch Hunter to relay the message You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, which finally drives home to Lila how utterly screwed she is.
- Lila suffers through several instances of this after Witch Hunter is defeated.
- Despite everything, Lila honestly believes that she will be able to maintain her claims about being friends with Ladybug, and is legitimately shocked when people start calling her out on her lies.
- She also assumes that the usually soft-hearted Rose will be so guilt-stricken over her behavior as Witch Hunter that she'll accept an apology delivered with Crocodile Tears. Rose doesn't believe her either.
- Lila was thrown into the Seine by Luka and Anarka after they fell under Witch Hunter's influence. While Lila is capable of swimming, the Seine is still incredibly polluted. Not only does Lila come out of it smelling awful, but by the time she's in Mr. Damocles' office, she gets a terrible rash on her skin.
- All of Lila's lies to the adults unravel the moment her mother meets with Mr. Damocles and the two are able to compare notes.
- Because she's missed so many days of school (without doing any schoolwork), Mr. Damocles informs Lila that she may need to be held back a year.
- Contrary to Lila's expectations, she isn't going to get to leave Paris or start over at some new school where no one will really know what she did. Damocles even points out that expelling students for truancy is counterproductive. Instead, she'll be remaining in the school and having to face everyone she's lied to for the foreseeable future.
- Lila's mother is horrified by the discovery and extent of Lila's manipulations. Not only is Lila grounded, but she will be paying back all the money she stole.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Ladybug is forcibly reminded that this is NOT the case when her transformation drops while she's comforting Rose. Fortunately, it was only her Ladybug transformation that gave out; Longg is still active, saving her identity.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: Tikki's POV has shades of this by showing how her logic is being twisted just enough by Witch Hunter's influence to make her support the mob's intentions for Lila. She's all too familiar with the horrors of seeing somebody murdered by a mob... but the victims are usually innocents. Undeserving, like Jeanne d'Arc. Given the sheer scope of Lila's crimes, wouldn't it be poetic for somebody who actually deserved it to be subject to such justice...?
- To the Pain: Ladybug delivers an interesting spin on this when she explains to Lila in explicit detail how she's going to ensure that she won't be causing much trouble anymore: by treating her as her very. Special. Friend. Ensuring her safety by delivering her to all number of unpleasant hiding spots.
- Torches and Pitchforks: Witch Hunter and the brainwashed crowd are going full-blown Spanish Inquisition/French Revolution on Lila.
- Tranquil Fury:
- Sabine falls into this when she catches Lila snooping around in her daughter's room, then learns from Tom about Witch Hunter's announcements concerning her crimes.
- When Adrien learns the true depths of Lila's lies, including siding with Hawk Moth, he scares Plagg with the murderous look in his eyes before transforming into Chat Noir and tricking Lila into letting him take her to the execution site.
- Ladybug descends into one while detailing to Lila how she's going to be watching her very closely from now on.
- Ungrateful Bitch: Marinette's efforts to protect Lila are rewarded with complaints, sniping, and attempting to sacrifice her as a distraction.
- Vigilante Militia: Witch Hunter's greatest power is the capacity to brainwash people into becoming this, in the old-school "French Revolution" fashion.
- Villain Ball: Lila. Even if she didnt know Witch Hunters powers, she knew the akuma was after her and that laying low until Ladybug saved the day was her best option. Instead, she used every opportunity to try and cause trouble for someone else needlessly, resulting in her attempts backfiring and costing her any measure of safety she had managed to find. Repeatedly.
- Villainous Breakdown: When Lila finally realizes as on the stake that Hawk Moth isn't going to save her and she's about to be burned to death with all of Paris watching she starts screaming her head off.
- What You Are in the Dark: Given the circumstances, nobody would fault Marinette for not saving Lila. Especially given how much she bullied and tormented her. Only Marinette herself feels that it isn't right for her to stand by and let Lila suffer.
- Would Hurt a Child: The fact that Lila is a supreme example of the Asshole Victim doesn't remove the fact that Witch Hunter wants to lynch a girl in her early teens, is brainwashing most of Paris to help her accomplish this, and Hawk Moth was okay enough with this to give her powers.
- You and What Army?: Variation; Lila responds to Marinette's declaration that she needs to give the money back with a mocking "And who will make me, you?" Cue Witch Hunter coming into being and creating her own backup in the form of an angry mob.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Tikki does her best to reassure Marinette of this after the fact, pointing out all of the ways that Lila contributed to her own downfall and apologizing for holding her to an impossibly high standard.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Lila, twice over.
- Lila tries to call Gabriel to inform him about Marinette "stalking" Adrien, only to end up speaking with Nathalie, who promptly tells her that her contract with Gabriel's company has been terminated, a restraining order has been filed against her, and to never contact them again.
- Hawk Moth finally informs Lila of this through Witch Hunter in the form of an extensive Breaking Speech about how she's managed to waste the one thing she had going for her.