A/N: Yay! I'm back at ff.net! I used to be here under Jade Shadow, but then my email screwed over and they revamped the site, so I think I disappeared. Anyway, this is my first story under the new name. *grins* can't wait for those reviews…boy have I missed those things…*hint hint* Also, I own Artemis Fowl and Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code, but I don't have Arctic Incident available (at the moment), so please forgive me for any errors on that part. Once I get the book I'll go through and correct everything.
Disclaimer: Well, Arty's near my age, so if I owned him we'd be engaged. As I don't, we're not. *sniff*
Excerpt from Artemis Fowl's diary, disk 2 (encrypted)
I celebrated my fifteenth birthday last month. Much to my horror, the rest of me has decided to catch up to my mind. This has started to appear most prominently, especially in situations where I do not wish for it the most.
Today Father asked me to handle the Tropsberry affair, as I will be going back to school soon and he wanted me to have a little more experience. I wore my Armani suit, which has recently become too short in the arms and the legs. Mother will not allow me to order a new one until my "growth spurt" is over, so I have been reduced to using my extra suit to let out the pants and jacket in my formal suit.
I met Tropsberry and his associates and we immediately set down to business. Just as we were going to seal the deal, my voice cracked and jumped about two and one half octaves higher than I was aware I could speak. Tropsberry managed to keep a straight face, although I could see one of his associates snickering behind his hand. When the meeting was over, I shook hands with Tropsberry, who had the audacity to say, "Tell your father I said hello, young Fowl, and don't worry, you'll calm down soon enough."
I wish I could say I did not blush, but I doubt that is the case. I waited for them to leave and turned to Butler, who looked very much as though he would like to laugh. I settled on a glare and left.
Mother is not helping matters. She thinks it is "cute" that her "little Arty" is growing up. Father keeps telling me that soon I will be a man, and this is "just a stage" that I'll pass through on my way to manhood. If this is "just a stage," it has gone on far too long. Yesterday I was speaking to Juliet, who is home for a break before going back to wrestling, when I caught myself thinking how attractive her eyes were. This simply cannot continue. I cannot allow my hormones to control my actions. From now on I shall have to keep a close watch on myself, until this unpleasant "stage" is past.
Butler hasn't been very helpful, either. He keeps his silence, knowing that I most likely would fire him if he tried to say anything.
Onto business. My attempt to shut down FeatherSoft Soap has failed (again). I cannot fathom how the Russian government is willing to allow the whalers to continue their work. Of course, I do know that Russians in general are quite barbaric, judging from my father's wounds upon his return.
His return…I have a nagging feeling I'm forgetting someone important. Someone or something about his escape. His escape that I had a hand in, and yet had nothing to do with at all. Again I have that phantom feeling that has plagued me for many weeks now. I'm forgetting something, and it's locked in my mind, just beyond reach.
But no matter. Mother is calling me to pack for school.
Saint Bartleby's School for Young Gentlemen
Artemis Fowl the Second sat in his dormitory room, staring at his laptop screen and trying to decide how to deal with the newest catastrophe in his life.
The day had started regularly, with breakfast followed by classes, but at lunch he had been introduced to a most unpleasant surprise. The councilor had announced to the school of approximately two hundred young men that the neighboring school, Saint Cecilia's School for Young Women, had graciously agreed to attend a Christmas social hosted by Saint Bartleby's.
Girls. Artemis had never thought the day would come would he would think in terms other than male and female, woman and man. But now…girls. In all honesty, he was terrified. The only true interaction he had ever had with girls was his mother and Juliet, who was not a typical girl at all. And there was that other girl, the one with hazel eyes and red hair and a pretty, elusive face that appeared in his dreams. With this girl he associated trust and respect, as well as attractiveness, but he could not recall where he had met her.
In the end, it did not change the fact that Artemis had no idea how to deal with a school dance. Obviously, they wouldn't know any of the girls…well, perhaps his schoolmates might know some of the girls, but…. Artemis felt an emotion, but for a moment he could not identify it. Then he remembered: panic. Panic. Artemis rarely panicked. But a school dance with girls was coming up in less than a month and he had no idea what he was going to do.
Quickly he wrote two emails, one to his mother asking what he should wear, and one to his father asking how he should act and for any advice. Then he closed his laptop and pulled out his cell phone.
"Hello, sir?" said Butler's familiar deep voice.
"Butler," Artemis said, thinly disguising his relief. "Where are you?"
"My hotel. Is there a problem?" Butler asked, his voice conveying his alertness.
Artemis sighed. "Sort of."
A pause. Then, "Oh. What sort of problem?"
Feeling slightly ridiculous, the teenager said, "Well—it's just that—er—there's been an announcement at school."
"Have all the student's bodyguards been banned from city limits?"
"No," he said, feeling more embarrassed as the moments passed. "Actually, it's—they announced today that there's going to be a dance in two weeks."
Not only did he feel quite foolish, his extensive vocabulary seemed to have abandoned him. The silence from the other end of the phone line only served to intensify his feelings.
"Butler? Are you still there?"
"Yes," said Butler in a voice that Artemis recognized. It was a rare tone; it was the tone Butler had after he laughed.
Cheeks flaming, Artemis said, "Do you have any advice?"
"Well—will you know any of the girls?"
"Then—I suggest you learn to communicate. Nicely. Erm—don't attempt to impress your overly large vocabulary on any girls you might like. The main issue is to be polite. Nice and polite. Girls seem to like that."
"I don't understand."
He could almost see Butler restraining an eye roll. "Perhaps you should call Juliet," the man suggested. "She would knock some sense into you."
Another pause. "It was a joke, sir."
"Ah. Of course."
Butler was probably laughing again, because he said, "Er—if that will be all for now, sir?"
"Yes, Butler. Good-bye."
He pressed the End button and sighed. It was going to be a long two weeks.
LEP headquarters, the Lower Elements
Captain Holly Short rubbed her forehead as she sat down in her cubicle, considering all the work she had ahead of her today. Mostly reports to write, but those were headaches in themselves. Trying to explain to the Council why she was doing her job correctly was about like trying to teach a troll to speak. Actually, trolls had been taught basic words before. The Council was much more stubborn.
Sighing, she called up her mail service and checked for new messages. There was one from Chix Verbil, which she deleted without looking at, and a joke about Root from Foaly and sent to everyone else. It brought a smile to her face that was quickly wiped away by Root entering.
"Short," he said. "You're needed at the prison."
"You are needed at the prison—"
"I realize that, Commander. What's wrong?"
"They won't tell me," Root snapped. "It's a call for you specifically."
Holly stood. "All right," she said uncertainly. "I'll be on my way, then."
The prison was on the outskirts of Haven, away from the busy roads. The trip went uneventfully, except for a major wreck between a gnome and a goblin that had blocked up one side of the freeway due to the flames.
"ID please?" said the dwarf guarding the gate. Holly handed him her ID and he scanned it, grunting. "You're good. They want you in the high-profile block. Down the hall, to the left," he added, pointing.
Holly nodded and followed his directions, which led her to a lounge with a window in one wall. There lounged a bored-looking pixie. The fairy girl smacked her bubble gum and examined her hands without noticing Holly enter. The LEP captain sighed and cleared her throat.
The pixie looked up. "Oh, hello. Are you here to see someone?"
"I was told to come to the prison," Holly explained patiently. "Apparently someone needed me?"
"Oh," said someone else. It was a male elf wearing a guard's uniform and twirling a stun baton. "You're Short, right?"
He jerked his head towards the door he had come through. "Follow me," he said. "Koboi wants you."
Koboi? Holly wondered, following the guard. Not Opal Koboi? What would she possibly want with Holly?
The guard stopped. "Wait here." He disappeared through a door and then reappeared with the prisoner.
Opal Koboi looked a mess. Prison hadn't been good to her. *Insert description of Opal*
"All right, prisoner," Holly said briskly, "what do you want?"
Opal surveyed her, a wide and partially unstable grin splitting her face. "I wanted to see what you looked like," the pixie said, "so I could remember. Rememememember." She giggled. "M, m, m!"
Holly stared. "Um…is there anything else?"
This seemed to shake her from her babbling. "No," the technological genius said. "That's all. I just have to remememememember you for my revenge."
"Um…right." Holly looked at the guard. "I think we're done here."
The guard was eyeing Opal as he lightly jabbed her with his buzz baton. "Come on, now, Ms. Koboi," he said. "Back to the cell."
"Not for long!" Opal giggled. "Not for long, not for long, long for not, not long at all, not long, not long, not long…"
Her wild singing echoed throughout the hallways as Holly made her way back to the entrance. That was one of the weirder encounters of my life, she decided. Opal's definitely lost something since she went to prison.
"All right, there, Fowl?" asked one of Artemis's hallway mates, Bobby O'Bobble, poking his head into Artemis's room as the genius straightened his tie for the thousandth time. "We're all about to go down, are you coming?"
Artemis frowned into the mirror, wondering if his hair was straight enough, if his suit looked right, if the tie actually brought out his eyes like Juliet had said it would. "Are you all right?" Bobby asked again. "Don't tell me this is your first dance."
"Maybe it is," Artemis said, finally turning around. "In any case, it doesn't matter. I am ready to present myself, for better or for worse."
Bobby shook his head as Artemis joined him and two other boys in the hallway. "You're weird, Fowl," he said informatively.
"Your next point?" Artemis said calmly.
Fowl Manor, Ireland
Juliet was in the kitchen, getting out the caviar for Mr. and Mrs. Fowl, when she heard the door crack open. She froze and set the caviar back down on the shelf, then moved soundlessly to the door. Just as she went to yell for the Fowls, the muzzle of a gun pressed itself to her neck.
She looked down at the gun. Sig Sauer, impressive. What was more impressive was the fact that the gun was seemingly floating in midair. She reached for it.
"Stop it, Mud Girl," a disembodied voice said. Juliet froze again. First a floating weapon, now an incorporeal voice speaking to her? She shook her head. Domovoi was right. All those wrestling matches were getting to her head.
"You'll realize," the voice continued, "this isn't personal. You didn't do anything to me. But, unfortunately, we need you in order to get your brother. And besides, you're a Butler, which automatically makes you dangerous. Now come quietly."
"And if I don't?" she asked the voice.
"Then I'll just do this," said the voice, and she felt a prick on the back of her neck as a sterilized needle pumped tranquilizer directly into her skin.
Dom would have seen that coming, she thought to herself. Oh dear.
Haven, the Lower Elements
Holly awoke to the sound of someone squawking over the alarm in her room. "SHORT!" Root roared through her alarm's speakers. "SHORT! Get to the office NOW!"
"I'm up, I'm up," she groaned, sitting up on her futon. "How on earth did you get into my alarm?"
"Yours truly," put in a centaur's voice. "And do hurry, Holly. This is an emergency the likes of which you've never seen."
"I doubt that," Holly mumbled as she pulled on her suit. "I've save the People what, twice now?"
"Cut the chatter," Root ordered. The speaker went dead, then the usual radio show started broadcasting.
Holly was at headquarters in under twenty minutes, a monumental feat. "I never knew traffic was so dead at seven o'clock," she yawned, entering into the Operations Booth where both Foaly and Root waited for her. "What's wrong?"
"Yeah, it's amazing what happens when you get up before everyone else," Foaly managed in before Root got started.
"It's Koboi," Root said. "She's escaped from prison."
That got Holly's attention. "She what?"
"We're not sure how, yet," Foaly said. "My best guess is that she bribed a guard or three with her devilish good looks."
"Um, right," said Holly.
"Enough!" Root shouted. "What matters right now is not how she escaped, it's how to detain her before she gets too far!"
"Where is she?" Holly asked.
Foaly pointed to a blip on one of his screens. A screen showing a map of Ireland.
"Right there," he said. "She must have hijacked a shuttle. Right now she's at some place called Saint Bartleby's. Some sort of school."
"Right," Root said. "Holly, you go get her."
"Why me?" Holly asked, stifling another yawn.
"Because you've dealt with Koboi before and you realize that no matter how insane she may seem, she's quite dangerous. I don't trust any of the other officers on this one."
"I guess I'm flattered," Holly mumbled. "Foaly, what do you have for me?"
"The usual. Iris cam," he handed it to her, "sponge plugs, earpiece, microphone." Then Foaly grinned, fixing his tinfoil hat. "Oh, and something else. New magic."
"New magic?" Root barked. "What do you mean, new magic?"
Foaly pulled out a bottle. "This," he said, "has yet to be approved by any sort of Council, has never been tested, and basically is a bit of an enigma. But it's working for Koboi, so it should work for you."
Holly eyed the bottle. "What is it?" she asked.
"Instant growth," Foaly answered. "It'll stretch you until you look human. I happen to know Koboi's got some because my other bottle is gone, and I know it's working because she's still alive. If she's going Mud Girl, you have to, too."
Holly turned a pleading face on Root. "Commander—"
Root looked a bit green himself. "Sorry, Captain. We're running short on options."
"D'arvit," Holly said to no one in particular, taking the bottle from Foaly. He also handed her an extra suit.
"Go on in there," he said, pointing. "And don't come out until you're dressed and your insides have stopped moving. I don't want you puking all over my computers."
"Gee, thanks for the concern," Holly said sarcastically, stepping into the spare equipment room. She took off her suit and put on the overly large suit as best she could. Then, holding her nose, she downed the contents of her bottle.
The effects were immediate. Holly felt her skin stretch as her legs and arms lengthened. Her bones groaned. Strangely enough, there was no pain. Instead there was just the distinct feeling of stretching, and the weirdness of it made her stomach flip.
Finally she had grown enough to fit comfortably into her suit. Her arms seemed to be relatively stable in size, as did her legs. She did notice some differences, mainly in her cropped hair sprouting to cover the tips of her ears.
Emerging from the closet, she banged her head on the low ceiling. Root and Foaly stared at her.
"Whoa," Foaly said finally, in an awed voice. "It worked."
Holly glared at him. "Yes, I noticed." Despite the sharpness of her voice, she found a secret pleasure in looking down at the two fairies for a change.
"You make a very good Mud Girl," Root grudgingly admitted. "Take that as a compliment to your disguising techniques, not as an insults to your facial features."
"Funny," Holly said. "How soon can I be aboveground?"
"Two minutes," said Foaly. "And while you were in there…growing…Koboi got into the school. I checked; there's some sort of dance tonight. Go buy yourself a dress before you try and get in."
"Great, Foaly," said Holly. "Just great. When I get back, if I'm still tall, I'm taking out my anger on your plasma screens."
Foaly chuckled as he and Root watched a 5'4" Holly squeeze her way out of the Ops booth. "How long will that last?" Root asked.
Foaly shrugged, still snickering. "No idea. Never been tested before, remember?"
"Foaly, remind me to have your budget cut."
"That is," the centaur added hastily, "supposedly it should only last about a day or two. Probably not even that long."
Root nodded. "As long as she comes back with Koboi in time, we should be okay."
They were silent, then he added, "Saint Bartleby's?" Foaly nodded. "You know, for some reason that sounds familiar."
Random Hotel, Dublin
Butler grinned to himself as he ate his dinner. Master Artemis was at his first school dance. How cute. The poor boy was probably so nervous he could barely talk. The manservant laughed quietly. Technically he should be supporting Artemis, but the thought of the genius reduced to stammering was quite amusing. He had it coming.
He munched thoughtfully on his sandwich, looking around at the other patrons, doing an automatic search for potential threats. Even now, at an age somewhere fifteen years later than he should be at, he still couldn't stop being the bodyguard and relax a bit. But then, if he had been relaxing, he wouldn't be in Dublin at all, but out somewhere else, looking for a nice girl to settle down with. Instead he was still trying to protect Artemis Fowl the Second through any means possible.
Butler finished his dinner and headed back up to his luxurious hotel room. Thanks to Artemis's Swiss account, he didn't have to worry about the expense of the stay. Still, it was boring, not having anyone to protect or any information to look up. He toyed with several ideas of what to do, including roaming the streets and terrorizing the pickpockets, but he decided to call his sister. Juliet was prone to worry about him, especially since he had slowed down. He didn't want her calling at two in the morning, either.
The phone rang twice before she picked up. "Hello?"
Butler frowned. It might have been nothing—he might have just interrupted her while she was talking to her boyfriend—but her voice sounded odd. "Juliet?"
"Oh, Dom. It's you." Definitely a tone of relief there. Something was wrong.
"Juliet? Are you all right?" he asked.
"Fine. It's just that Leo the Logger just got beaten again."
Leo the Logger. In any other circumstance, Butler would have repressed a sigh. Trust Juliet to come up with a code using wrestling. However, since Leo the Logger was code for trouble, his attention was directed towards other matters.
"Really? That's too bad. How's Marvin the Metaleater?" Translation: is it serious?
"Marvin's doing well." It's bad. "Very well." Really bad.
"What channel is it on? I want to watch." Where are you?
"Channel 109." Near the manor. "But don't bother turning it on, it's probably over." We're moving away from there.
"All right. I'll turn it on. Thanks." I'll get there ASAP. "Bye. Take care."
Butler hung up and took a deep breath. His left lung, which had incredibly restricted breathing, stopped before his diaphragm could fully expand. It hurt.
He dialed another number, and the phone picked up instantly. "Butler?"
"Artemis," he answered. "I just called Juliet. I think something may be wrong. I'm coming to the school to get you."
"Is it that bad?"
Butler thought. "It just may be. Leo the Logger is involved."
Artemis sighed. "You really need to come up with a better code than that." He paused, and Butler could practically see his eyes lose focus as he thought. "How long will it take you to get to the school?"
"Approximately twenty minutes."
"Very well." He paused again. "We're in the Student Union building. I will be waiting for you."
"I'll be there," Butler promised. "Er—if you don't mind me asking, how's the dance?"
"I'm sure it is quite enjoyable," Artemis said, his voice suddenly clipped, "for someone who enjoys this sort of frolicking around."
"Good. I'll see you then."
"Goodbye," Butler said, hanging up. He couldn't resist a smile. Artemis was uncomfortable, all right, and was uncomfortable with the feeling. It would do the boy good to come out of his shell, all right. Hopefully this was a step in that direction.
"Good one," said a voice. "I trust all the wrestling terms were actually directing you to your sister's location?"
Butler spun around, searching for his unknown opponent. The room was empty.
"It's a good thing you called," the voice continued. "We were about to have her call you, and that would have been slightly harder to trace."
"Where are you?" Butler finally asked, eyes still darting around.
Something pricked his neck. "Right behind you."
As he felt the tranquilizer pump through his blood stream, Butler twisted to see his attacker. All he could see was a hypodermic needle hovering in midair right in front of a heat shimmer.
Saint Bartleby's School for Young Gentlemen
Artemis hung up and pocketed his cell phone. Thankfully Butler would soon be here to deliver him from this torture. He backed up farther into the corner, hoping the shadows would hide him. His classmates were out on the dance floor, enjoying the company of the girls from Saint Cecilia's. Luckily, none of them had seen him yet—
Too late. He glanced over and spotted a group of girls standing near the punch table, eyeing him. He offered them an appeasing smile, hoping they would go away. Instead, one of them nudged another and said something, making the other girl giggle. Slowly they started towards him. Artemis felt panicked again. Soon they were close enough for him to pick up on their conversation.
"…he's got pretty hair," one of them said. "All dark and shiny."
"Very cute," another one agreed.
"He's pale," a third said. "Unnaturally pale."
"Maybe he's a computer geek."
"But he's got gorgeous eyes!"
Having said this, the quintet stopped, still a safe distance. Artemis eyed the hallway to the bathroom, calculating how much time he had to escape.
"Excuse me, what's your name?"
He jumped and looked in front of him. The leader had approached him and was now smiling slightly, waiting for an answer. He didn't curse, but came close enough.
"D'arvit!" he said, wondering where the word had sprung from.
"D'arvit?" she asked. "That's a weird name."
"No—that's not my name," he corrected hastily, doing a quick spot check. Dark hair, sparkling brown eyes, pretty but not quite his type. "It's—um—"
Another girl giggled. Artemis felt his cheeks flame. "Artemis," he remembered. "Artemis Fowl. And you are…?"
"Leila Shennigen," she said, smiling at him. "Artemis. That's an interesting name."
"It's a family name," he answered, almost bashfully, smiling a little without thinking about it.
"I like it," she said, smiling even wider, showing off her pretty white teeth.
The hazel-eyed girl of his dreams had a white smile, too, and skin about this girl's shade. Tan, but not too dark. Artemis shook the image out of his head. "Thank you."
One of her friends giggled again. "So…" she said.
Artemis nearly panicked, but years of trying to restrain his emotions instantly kicked in. "Would you care to dance?" he asked smoothly, gesturing with one hand to the dance floor.
"I'd love to," she answered, taking his hand. Artemis felt a jolt as he smiled at her and led her onto the dance floor. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad, after all.
LEP Headquarters, Haven
"Julius! Julius!" Foaly called.
Root appeared in the Operations Booth immediately. "What have I told you about calling me Julius?" he barked.
Foaly waved it away. "You said Saint Bartleby's sounded familiar, right?"
"Yes, what does that have to do with you calling me Julius?"
Foaly handed the commander the pad he was holding. Root read it and his eyes widened.
"Of course! Holly said Koboi wanted revenge. Of course Koboi would be going—oh no."
Foaly guessed what was on his commander's mind. "Holly's walking into a trap," he breathed. He turned around in his swiveling chair and hit a button. "Holly? Holly, come in!"
Holly had found a girl outside the building looking sad and asked if she wanted to go inside. The girl had gone in and Holly had hung around the door until the doorkeep asked her inside. Once she was invited, Holly breezed in and started the hunt for Opal Koboi.
With any luck, Koboi's disguise had left her features intact, as it had for Holly's, so finding the pixie shouldn't be too much trouble. Of course, the fact that Opal was now over five feet tall made the task slightly harder.
"Holly? Holly, come in!" Foaly's voice blasted into her ear and she clapped a hand to it.
"Yes, Foaly, I hear you!" she hissed. "Not so loud! It hurts. What's up?"
"You are walking in the midst of a potentially dangerous situation," Root's voice informed her. "Tread carefully."
"We knew that already," Holly snapped back as she grabbed a cup of punch and drank some, then nearly spit it out. Disgusting Mud Men drink.
"But it's possible that Koboi was planning on us having you follow her. That way she could start her revenge by killing two stink worms with one skewer."
"How so?" Holly asked out of the corner of her mouth, surveying the room over the rim of her punch cup. As Foaly started to reply she interrupted. "Wait, Foaly, I have a potentially dangerous situation on hand. I'll get back to you." Before the centaur could protest she started towards the circle in the middle of the room.
Artemis actually found himself enjoying the dance with Leila, which was unheard of. When the song ended he escorted her back to her friends. Or tried to.
"Hey, Fowl," said a burly seventeen-year-old, stepping in front of their path. Artemis recognized him immediately as Sean Finnegan, well-known as a school bully.
"Yes, Finnegan?" he asked, stepping slightly in front of Leila.
"Are you messing with my girl?"
Artemis sent a swift glance at Leila, whose guilty face told him all he needed to know. Great. "Not that I am aware of," he replied calmly, stepping away from her.
Finnegan turned his attention on Leila. "Is he bothering you?"
"No," she answered. "We were just having a dance."
This only served to make Finnegan angrier. Whirling back onto Artemis, he growled, "I don't like anyone doing anything with my girl, Fowl."
Using his peripheral vision Artemis noticed that a wide circle had formed around them. Even better. "I'm sorry to hear that," he retorted. "Her life must be awfully boring." Realizing that insulting Finnegan probably was not the best idea, he added, "I didn't know that you had any particular sort of primal claim on her."
"It's not primal, Fowl. This is the twenty-first century, and she's my girl."
"I realize that now," Artemis said patiently. "Now, if you will forget this incident I will."
"Apparently, Fowl," Finnegan said, now cracking his knuckles, "you're not taking any lessons from this incident. So I think maybe I'll teach you one."
Where was Butler? Artemis thought, beginning to feel fear. This was going to be messy.
Even Leila looked scared from her position behind Finnegan. "Sean," she said soothingly, "it was just a dance. And it was my fault anyway—" Her voice faltered when he looked at her.
"Now, hold on," said another girl, "there's no need for this to—"
Artemis lost the end of her sentence when Finnegan's fist connected solidly with his nose. He flew past a hastily-made break in the wall of people surrounding him and fell firmly on the ground. Pain shot through him. Gingerly he touched his nose. His fingers came away bloody. D'arvit, whatever that meant.
No one else had ever punched him on the nose, he realized. No one else had ever punched him. No, wait, someone had. Holly had.
Holly had punched him on the nose because he had kidnapped her in an evil scheme to steal gold from the LEP, that is, the Lower Elements Police. The People.
Artemis cradled his head in his hands as a thousand memories came flooding back into his mind. It appeared that his headache was going to be larger than anticipated.
Holly shoved through the crowd. "Excuse me, excuse me," she muttered, pushing past several girls who were standing on their tiptoes, straining their necks for a glimpse. Stupid Mud Girls.
Finally she reached the center of the circle. Her eyes instantly took in the situation. A girl was standing behind a large boy who was standing before a pale, skinny boy who looked incredibly apologetic. The large boy was cracking his knuckles. Great. This was going to be messy.
"Now, hold on," she said in what she hoped was an official-yet-still-girly voice, "there's no need for this to—"
The big boy punched the smaller one in the nose, and he went flying. "—become violent," she finished, sighing.
"Sean!" said the girl hiding behind the big boy. "You didn't need to hurt him like that. He's learned a lesson, now."
"Poor guy," said a boy from behind Holly. "Don't think he's ever had a good experience with girls. Didn't even want to come tonight."
Holly looked around the crowd. Finally she shook her head. "Well, don't everyone go help him at once," she muttered under her breath, starting towards the boy sitting on the floor, holding his head. "Are you okay?"
"No," he said. Even though his voice was muffled, it still sounded slightly dignified. "My nose is bleeding."
At least that's what he meant to say. What came out was more distorted, but Holly understood it enough to give him a hand. "Come on," she said, "I'll look at it for you."
He stood and put his head back into his hands, following her out.
"Holly!" hissed a voice in her ear. She jumped; she had forgotten about Foaly. "What are you doing?"
"I'm helping him," she muttered back. "He just got punched in the nose by a bully, Foaly. You know how I feel about bullies."
"Girlie," Foaly responded. Holly had been pushed around quite a bit when she had first joined Recon and as such had no tolerance for bullying of any kind. He knew how she felt, all right.
She found a vacant room and sat the boy down on the floor. "Wait here for a second," she instructed, then started hunting in her purse for her field kit.
Artemis watched his savior through his fingers. She was very pretty, as far as he could see, with short auburn hair and Leila's skin color. Her dress was forest green with spaghetti straps, a low neckline, and an empire waist that suited her willowy figure. Very pretty.
Then she turned back to him. Hazel eyes looking at him with concern, perched above a slightly hooked nose and full, plump red lips. A beautiful face.
"Now, hold still," she started. That voice. Everything fell into place. Artemis was so surprised he dropped his hands and stared at her.
Holly turned back to the Mud Boy. "Now, hold still—"
His hands dropped and she found herself staring into a pair of deep, deep blue eyes, wide with surprise. A lock of his dark hair fell into his face, and his mouth was slightly open.
The face didn't scare her as much as what she saw in those eyes. Surprise, lingering pain from his nose, but worst of all, recognition.
"What in the name of Frond—?" Root gasped.
"Holly?" the boy whispered.
"D'arvit," Holly answered. It seemed everyone's fears had come true: Artemis Fowl had regained his memory.
A/N II: Review, review, you want to review! Please? At least five before the next chapter?