AN: Finally, a real story! The plot may sound a bit clichéd at first, but it'll evolve. I hope. I don't own anyone, so don't sue.
"Bad news, Captain."
It was almost quitting time on a Friday.. Need I say more? Holly Short was sitting in Root's office. She just knew this was going to be one of those days where you just felt like hanging a centaur, telling off an elf, and setting fire to a sprite. You know which ones I'm talking about.
Holly sighed. "What is it, sir?"
Root gnawed on a fungus cigar, blowing a cloud in Holly's face.
She resisted the urge to inform her superior about second-hand smoke.
"We've got us a rouge fairy."
Holly almost groaned. Could this get any worse?
"And, as if it's not already bad enough, it's a goblin."
Holly did groan. It could.
"Where's it at, sir?"
"Somewhere called Can, Can something."
"Canada, sir?" Holly suggested. She had never been there, but she had heard it was quite nice. Not too many oaks, but it had a great view.
"That's it. I don't know the details, though. Get down to Ops, and Foaly will fill you in."
Holly sighed, and made her way down the hall. She put her life on the line, dealt with humans, goblins, dwarves, and Frond knows what else. It was a bit unfair that she got paid half as much as Root, who pretty much sat around all day, and smoked and hollered. Life sucked more dirt than Mulch.
Holly walked into Ops.
Foaly was one of the few rare people who didn't mind working overtime, and took great pleasure in watching those who did. "Beautiful morning, isn't it Holly?" he asked perkily.
"Cram it down your hoofed windpipe, pony-boy." replied a less-than-chipper Holly. Who could blame her? She'd been up since that evening, and it was almost three o'clock pm for Frond's sakes.
Foaly scowled. "Aren't we just little Miss. Cheerful. And my windpipe isn't hoofed, it's not even horse."
The centaur studied her face. "Have you ever had a blood test done? You could be Beetroot's long lost daughter. You look enough like him."
Holly made a motion that resembled her choking someone.
"Er, right. Cute 47, Nova Scotia, Canada. We're sending Retrieval up, but if you can't contain your anger, feel free to take it out on the goblin."
Holly snatched a gun from the table. "I will. What about a locator?"
Before she knew what was happening, Foaly grabbed her wrist, and clamped something into the skin.
"OW! WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT FOR?!" Blue sparks were already mending the skin, but to her horror, the skin was healing over the small, metal object.
The half-horse grinned at Holly's discomfort. "That's a locator. It goes into your wrist, and stays there. You'll never have to use a watch-like one again."
Holly rubbed her wrist where the locator had entered. It was a small, but noticeable bump now. "Well, you could have warned me. That hurt!"
Foaly turned towards his computer. "Oh, does baby Holly want a hug? Maybe it was a mistake to admit girls into LEP."
The elf balled her fists. "I swear, pony-boy, you ever say that again, I'll force-feed you your tinfoil hat."
The centaur frowned. "I don't wear that anymore, you know." He trotted towards the chutes.
Holly followed, pausing only to push Trouble Kelp into a garbage can after he innocently asked, "Holly? What's with your wrist?"
After a rough ride up, not improved any by the fact her wrist was killing her, Holly was flying over the shore of Nova Scotia. It was really quite beautiful. The sea air, with only the barest hints of pollutants, the whales, which she would occasionally see splashing their tails, and the odd seal, jumping from the water. Then again, there was also the lighthouses, which she had to avoid at all costs, the strong wind, and, of course, the mosquitoes. Her wrist still throbbing, Holly spotted the goblin, and dipped her wings downwards.
The scaled fairy was bending down, probably to pick up something.
Captain Short sighed. He was just making this too easy. She gunned the throttle, and used the same tactic as with the troll in Fowl Manor. Her boots connected with the goblin's skull, and he was out cold before he even knew there was someone else around.
As if on cue to get out of actually doing something, Trouble Kelp dropped his shield, and the rest of his squad followed.
"Good work, Captain. We'll take it from here."
As the squad worked to secure the goblin, Holly looked around the place where the goblin had been bent over. To her surprise, there was a blood-red stone on the ground. She picked it up, and looked it over. It seemed ordinary, a semi-precious gem. Not worth a lot. She shrugged, and pocketed it. Maybe Foaly could look it over after.
As she was flying back towards the pod, Holly encountered a slight problem. On a note, birds can't see through fairy shields. That's why the flock of Canadian geese didn't see Holly until they had collided with her. The elf fell towards the ground in a tangle of feet and feathers, until she landed in a pond. She broke to the surface swearing.
Foaly's voice came over her mike. "Holly? Are you alright? What was that?"
"I flew into a flock of geese."
"Come again. I thought you said . . . "
"Yes, Foaly. Geese." Just then, Holly heard a shot.
"Holy sh… What was that?"
Captain Short flew out of the water, and peaked out from behind a bush. She gritted her teeth. "A hunter."
Now faeries don't like hunters. They don't like any mistreatment to animals. With the exception of trolls and goblins, of course.
The centaur sensed what Holly was thinking. "Oh, no. Don't even think about it, Short."
The elf ignored him and popped out her camera, but forgot to disconnect her mike.
All Foaly heard in Ops went something like…
She reconnected her camera.
"What the hell was that?"
"Let's just say he won't be hunting for a while."
"'Cause his gun's on the bottom of the lake."
"Ah. He didn't see you, did he?"
"Nope. I kept my shield on. I'm not an idiot, Foaly."
"Sure fooled me."
Holly rolled her eyes. Males. This male in particular.
Back in Police Plaza, Foaly, Holly, and the commander were having a brief meeting.
"So we still have no idea why the goblin was up there in the first place?"
"Nothing, Julius. Short's boots pack a hard punch, and he's still out cold."
"You call me Julius again, pony-boy, and I'll shove your hooves so far down your throat they'll come out the other end."
"Er, as much as I enjoy these graphical conversations, I think I might have a clue." Holly reached into her pocket to pull out the stone, but all she felt was pocket. "Uh oh."
If Root hated one thing, actually, he hated a lot of things, but he really hated not knowing what was going on. "What? What do you mean, uh oh?"
"There was a stone, a red stone, where I found the goblin. I put it in my pocket, but it must have fell out when I collided with the geese."
The commander's features were establishing their memorable scarlet tint. (guess who just went thesaurus-crazy) "You moved evidence from a crime scene, Short!?"
"Um, oops? "
"Oops hardly covers it, Short!" roared Root, "That stone could have been the clue we needed! No to say anything of fingerprints!" he turned to Foaly. "Is there anyway we can track it, or something?"
The centaur let out a very horse-like snort. "I don't even know what it is! What do think I am, Julius? A god?"
"One, don't call me Julius or you won't be wondering what death is like much longer. And two, the way you strut yourself around is reason to make a fairy think you thought you were a god. Now, GET TO WORK!"
Holly and Foaly bolted out of the office, and towards the Ops booth as fast as their six legs could carry them.
Foaly had opened a program designed to identify items, normal, magical, and mythical, going on certain details. A bit like a Google search, on a bigger scale.
The half-horse cracked his fingers. He was at home. "Okay, what can your tiny Recon brain remember about the object His Worship Beetroot wishes his humble servants to find and locate?"
Holly snorted at the idea of Foaly being humble. "Well, it was a stone."
"Duh." He typed it in, anyway.
"It was a deep red. Kind of round, an oval, a couple of nicks and starches, but nothing too major. And it had sort of a pattern etched in the bottom, but it didn't really look like anything."
The technician was done typing before the elf had even finished speaking. "Okay. And now, we play the waiting game."
The two stared at the screen for several minutes.
"The waiting game's boring. Let's play cards."
A Half Hour Later:
"D'Arvit! You always beat me at Crib! It's not fair!" sulked Foaly, throwing down his hand of cards in a very childish manner.
"Actually it is." stated Holly, "Considering all the times I've gone to gambling parties, and all of the times you've said you caught hoof fungus. What's taking that damn program so long?"
The computer had been running for the full thirty minutes that Holly had kicked Foaly's hindquarters all around the booth.
"Well, I wrote it in my spare time. So, it's not done, and it's not priority. And the computers don't like it when you sweat at them."
"What? Are you like their item of worship or something?"
"Considering I did invent them…"
"I was kidding!"
Suddenly, a small beep admitted from the speakers. A match.
The two faeries rushed over to the screen. Displayed there was one name. The Maple Stone.
Foaly clicked on it, and scanned the data the appeared.
Holly didn't bother, as Foaly was going to yak her ear off about it anyway.
After the centaur was done reading, which wasn't long, he turned on the elf. "Okay, the Maple Stone. The odd pattern on the bottom, if that's the rock you found, is actually, a maple leaf, hence the uncreative name. Now this stone isn't supposed to exist, but, we thought no one could escape the time field. And look how we ended up there."
"Foaly, shut up about the Fowl Fiasco, and just tell me about the stone."
"Okay, now this gem is said to have unbelievable powers. But, do you know what the strange part is?"
"No." said Captain Short, her voice dripping with sarcasm, "But I'm sure you'll tell me, whether I want to know or not."
"No ones knows what kind of powers. Or how to activate them. No stories, no rumours, no nothing."
"Well, can we track it?"
"We can't. But someone else can. We need to call…"
"I swear to Frond, pony, don't say it!"
"… Artemis Fowl."
"Get with the program, Short! We need his help. If this stone falls into the wrong hands…"
"But no one knows how to use it!" interrupted Holly.
"True, but if they find out, it could mean disaster."
The elf held her head in her hands.
Who knows how many miles away, a girl, sitting on a bus, said exactly what Holly was thinking. "Why?"