Juliet didn't know what these creatures were that she was shooting at, but she did know that they were becoming a lot deader than they were before they met her. The adrenaline was pumping, the endorphins were being produced in massive quantities, and she was feeling totally kick-ass! She had seen a minigun used as a personal weapon once. Only once. And that was in the movie, Terminator II. When she saw Arnold Schwarzenegger destroy all those police cars, she knew that, just once in her life, she wanted to do that. Well, she had just gotten her wish. Just as she began to worry about reloading the minigun, the creatures stopped charging. She must have killed—well, lots.

She turned to Artemis, grinning cockily. It felt good. "Hey, Artemis, are you alright?" She offered him her hand. He pulled himself to his feet with alarming speed, and took her face in his hands and kissed her. For a second, Juliet froze, acutely aware of what he tasted like.

She was so shocked, that when he pulled away, all she could to for a good span of time was stare at him, as they both blushed. It could have been a second, it could have been an hour. Suddenly she snapped out of it. He's just a boy, she scolded herself. She said, "Can I take that as a 'Thank you'?"

"I'm sorry. My emotions got the better of me," his blush deepened, and quickly added: "I mean, my hormones. Yeah, those."

"It happens," Juliet said. She looked at the creatures. "I've never seen anything like these animals before. Hands, are they primates? But tusks…never seen anything like this."

"They'll still be here when we come back."

"I suppose you're right," Juliet said. "What's our next move, fearless leader?"

Artemis looked at his watch. "My GPS is broken," he said. "Drat, that had my map in it."

"So, what, we turn back?" Juliet asked.

"Not just yet. You see, I have a theory to navigating this place that is genius in its simplicity," Artemis said.

"And that would be?" Juliet asked, wishing he would can the dramatics.

"Always take the lowest road," Artemis said, smiling impishly.

"That's it?" Juliet asked.

"I have three very good reasons why it should work," Artemis said.

"Really?" Juliet asked.

"Firstly, the people who built this place would need some way to memorize which way to go, something simple, but something outsiders would miss," Artemis said.

"This place is man-made?" Juliet asked.

"In a manner of speaking," Artemis said. "Secondly, there is only one place in this complex where they wouldn't worry about flooding, and that's where we're going. It would make sense to have it so that all of the rainwater that comes down from the well would go down to the lake."

"Lake?" Juliet asked.

"You'll see," Artemis said.

"This better not be some sort of weird Journey to the Center of the Earth thing," Juliet said.

"Oh, we're not going quite that far. But it promises to be weird," Artemis said.

Now, what does that mean? Even if she asked, Juliet knew that he wouldn't answer.

He went to the trolley and played with a computer. "Machine guns only serve to make them angry enough to attack in spite of their natural fear of light. I just took those liabilities offline."

"What of the third good reason then," Juliet asked.

"It has worked so far," Artemis said, grinning. "Let's go." And so he walked away, putting up searchlights in all of the unused tunnels to keep the creatures back.

In spite of being in an uncharted cave network filled with bloodthirsty, primate-like monsters, it got rather boring. Juliet looked at Artemis, and thought about the feel of his lips on hers… Stop it; he's just a boy. Still, she recalled her thoughts on the airplane to Miami: Smart, rich, easy on the eye; what female could resist him? (or something to that effect), only now she was acutely aware that she was female. Rich was easy enough to dismiss; she wasn't that kind of girl. Easy on the eye (the phrase she preferred, as Artemis wasn't handsome in the traditional sense of the term, but beautiful sounded a bit too effeminate) was a bit harder. They say that looks aren't everything, but they only say that when there is some deficiency large enough to make you not care what they look like (i.e., being a jerk). Back burner. Which left smart. That was a tricky one. She remembered him as this bossy little kid, this pain arrogant pain who couldn't even be called on his arrogance because he just so happened to always be right, the little genius. (Huh, she thought; did I just argue that it is justifiable to be an arrogant snob until you are wrong about something and have to eat your words?) He had matured since then, though. He was still arrogant at times, but didn't treat the people around him as his own personal playthings or the scum of the Earth like he once did. She remembered a conversation they had once…

"Say, do you know who Aleš Hrdlička was?" Artemis asked idly, pronouncing the name A-lesh Herd-lish-ka.

"Should I?" Juliet asked.

Artemis shrugged, "Probably not. He was an anthropologist, one of the first to argue that Native Americans crossed the Bering Straight. He became the first curator of physical anthropology of the U.S. National Museum, which would later become the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, in 1903, and was the founder of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. He even had a WWII liberty ship named in his honor. As it would turn out, he was incredibly hidebound, though, and refused to believe that the Americas were peopled in the Pleistocene, even after Clovis and all that…you know about Clovis, right?"

"Rings a bell," Juliet had said. "Something about an arrowhead in a mammoth bone, or something."

"If we were actually talking about anthropology in the Americas, I'd be appalled, but that's good enough for this discussion," Artemis said.

"What are we discussing, then?" Juliet asked.

"The ability of pride to cloud the judgment of normally-brilliant people," Artemis said. "A few more of the things that Hrdlička considered to be 'intellectual fads' include female scientists, genetic analysis, and the entire discipline of statistics." Artemis chuckled snidely. "Even such simple statistical measurements as standard deviation were conspicuously absent from the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. I flatter myself that if I am ever proven wrong about something, I would have the courtesy and the common sense to realize and admit defeat, and then proceed to integrate the new data into my thinking in order to form a new hypothesis."

"Is there a point to this story?" Juliet asked.

"Hmm? I didn't already explain it? Ah, well: it's just that one can never allow oneself to be blinded to the truth of things by one's arrogance. All I'm saying is that you must always be prepared for, or at least open to, the possibility that everything you think you know is wrong, and that the universe is a much more magical place than you think it is.

Juliet noticed the emphasis on "magical," but also that it wasn't wistful, more like he was hinting at something. "And what are you getting at with that?"

"Oh, you meant 'what was the relevance of that story?'" Artemis said. "Nothing at all. I was just thinking of this story I ought to tell you some time." As much as she would later try, he would not elaborate on this point.

Why did this pop into her head now? Duh: it was a peak into his character, which she was desperately trying to find flaws in. Every flaw had an extenuating circumstance, though. He was a bit arrogant, but who wouldn't be, when they were so much smarter than everyone around them? And he could have been a lot worse—in fact, he used to be worse. He was overly ambitious, but that was again a factor of his intellect. Being so young and so gifted, he wanted to do everything—and to do it first. Because he had the capability to be the youngest to do anything he chose, he wanted to be the youngest to do everything, and not only that, but the best at any one thing, even when doing three or five things at a time. And he wouldn't be young forever, so he had an imaginary time limit to fulfill his ambitions. It was a good thing he didn't set his sights on world domination…

He's still just a boy, Juliet told herself, returning to the topic at hand before she could end up fawning over him too much. In a way, this was the weakest argument of all. The reason it wasn't okay to have relationships with children was because they supposedly weren't capable of realizing the possible consequences of their actions. This theory was about as far from applying to Artemis Fowl as it could get.

Part of her mind kept telling her that it was disgusting, but that was hardly proper reasoning. People considered many things to be disgusting—homosexuality, eating insects, sushi: that did not make these things wrong. "Disgusting" was a matter of opinion.

Still, it seemed almost sacrilegious. She was a Butler, he was a Fowl; Butlers did not fall in love with Fowls, they served them. Besides: getting involved with an impressionable youth who just so happened to be filthy rich? It's not like that, but part of her would always nag at her, believing that it was—and everyone else would believe that it was "like that," too. Not that she cared what people think, she told herself, but part of her doubted even that.

She didn't know how far they had traveled, when suddenly, impossibly, one of the tunnels had light at the end of it.

"That can't be right," Artemis said. "We're still ten minutes from the end, according to my calculations, and it's not the lowest road." He went forward to investigate anyway. Juliet followed. The rock turned to ice (ice? In Florida?), as if the rock simply merged into it, and above their heads, they could see the distant sun. "Clever," Artemis said, and then he disappeared.

Artemis couldn't believe his eyes when he saw light. It turned out to have just been a section of ice in the rock cavern. It made sense, as far as it went (after all, there are cave systems in icebergs, too—ever-changing, unmappable cave systems), but the problem was that even to someone who wasn't exactly a geologist (and Artemis was: he noticed several queer oddities where the builders went from something from one cave system to something from another, or even just seemed to make stuff up), ice would stand out against rock. This piece of ice was here for the sole purpose of confusing anyone who came this way, and trick them into coming this way. "Clever," Artemis said. He realized that there could only be one possible reason for such a distraction just a millisecond before the ice cracked and he was sucked under.

Of course it's a trap! Artemis's brains screamed at him as he was being dragged under, struggling to breath. What other purpose could there be for such a place—a pleasant detour from the troll-infested labyrinth? Obviously, it was meant to draw people in and keep them. His body screamed for air, and he tried to swim against the current, but it was too strong for him. Just as he was about to give up (not voluntarily; there was only so much a person could ask of his body, even under threat of impending doom), he felt someone grab him, and drag him back up to the surface, and then she (he couldn't see who it was or this person's sex, but there was only one possible person) dragged them both out of the water.

Artemis was laying face-up, and Juliet stripped him of his water-bogged clothes. (There was nothing sexual about it, of course. When a person is wet and suffering from hypothermia, you get them out of their wet clothes. It's just common sense.) He was so preoccupied with not dying that he didn't even care that she was wearing only bra and panties, except to note, with scientific detachment, that she probably took her clothes off before jumping in and trying to rescue him, being someone who was actually smart and knew that she wouldn't be very good as a rescuer if she was carrying a lot of dead weight (well, waterlogged). She dragged him under a lantern and they lay entangled, face-to-face. Again, it was not sexual. They had to warm each other up. The baking light would help, but each other's body heat, that was the real ticket. Still, as felling returned to his body, so did emotional feeling. Being held in her arms, he felt safe. She had an athlete's build, he was acutely aware. Muscular, but not freakish, like those muscle-people, men and women with so much muscle mass that they barely seemed human anymore. His body felt hers around it, knew that she wouldn't hurt him, and felt safe. This was a novel experience. For so long, he had challenged the world, not letting it too close, except for some select individuals (Holly, Butler), and never anyone this close. Holly, and even, strangely, Butler, were people that he felt he had to protect, whereas at this moment, he felt protected.

He wondered if it were a cliché: to feel safe held in her arms. Artemis quickly decided that it was the precise inverse of the cliché: in all the romance novels he had read, it was the woman or girl who felt safe in the man's arms. Artemis had always found this to be exceedingly boring, and sexist besides. By the time he had turned seven, having read a fair amount of the trashy, cliché-ridden genre, he swore that when the time come when he would inevitably be interested in women (unless it turned out that he was part of the other ten percent…which it didn't), he would avoid those clichés at all costs. Even as he did this, though, he wondered if it wasn't his version of how boys his age hated "mushy stuff" (and yet were interested in trying to figure out where babies came from—Artemis wasn't, but then, he figured it out when he was four). Part of him was pleased at having remained true to his childhood vow (so far), but the rest…the rest was trapped in the moment, on the feel of her body on his, the strength of her arms as she held him close, even if just for warmth.

He looked into her eyes, and it was almost like being mesmerized. It was almost compulsory; he kissed her. For the second time in as many hour and as many decades, Artemis Fowl kissed a girl.

"I'm sorry about that," Artemis said. "I fully realize, that as an adult, you can never return my affection for you, which by now there is no point in covering up…"

"Artemis," Juliet interrupted. "I have been running all the arguments through my head for why it would be wrong to have feelings for and/or strike up a relationship with you, the question of age being prominent among them, and the more all the same arguments repeat themselves, the less valid they seem to become."

"Really?" Artemis asked, his heart pounding, his endorphins rising, his—well, lets just say that with the front of him pressed to the front of her, Juliet could tell that Artemis was very happy to be there. Knowing that there was no chance had allowed him to keep his excitement in check, but if there was—

"Don't read too much into it. I may see common sense again as soon as we leave this cave, or decide that I don't like you and go date some other genius fifteen-year-old," Juliet smiled at her own joke, "but until then…"

"What happens in a troll-infested cave a thousand feet beneath Florida, stays in a troll-infested cave a thousand feet beneath Florida," Artemis agreed. And then they kissed. "Too bad we're already running late, or that would mean something," he sighed.

They got up, donned their clothes, and continued their journey. It wasn't that much farther, by that point. Ah, he thought. Here comes the climax.

Juliet's mouth dropped open as they approached their destination. She looked up through hundreds of feet of water to the surface, and asked, "What is this?"

"It's an illusion," Artemis said. He was telling the truth. Sort of. It was real, but they were phased out of reality, in a dimension that was just a degree off of being parallel to their own.

Four billion years ago, the Earth was a fiery place devoid of life, and then came rain, when a giant comet struck the earth, bringing to it life-giving water and host of microorganisms that would evolve into all life on Earth. Except for demons, he amended mentally, but even he wasn't paying attention. The core of that comet was the stuff of life, the stuff of magic, the stuff of being. This very core formed an island in the middle of a mist-enshrouded lake, with water flowing down and around it in an almost natural-looking corkscrewing river that bubbled from the peak. This wasn't natural, though. It was man-made, or rather, fairy-made.

Because of a law of nonparallel dimensional physics, any threshold between two three-dimensional planes had to be two-dimensional. This was fine to the fairies. Because of another, more complicated law, a tunnel's two thresholds had to face opposite directions. This meant that a tunnel couldn't end five feet before where it begun, annoying a lot of would-be tricksters (they eventually found a way around that, using two nonparallel dimensions, but this was highly taxing, even by the standards of the kind of people who make tunnels through alien dimensions), but otherwise, the fairies were fine with that, too. Artemis had seen a diagram of this place, or rather, the mechanisms that kept the fountain at the top of the "island" going. The bottom end of the tunnel opened onto an underground lake of boiling water, which managed to keep enterprising dwarves from chewing a shortcut into this chamber, but that wasn't it's intended purpose (just a delightful side-effect).

The boiling cauldron of water was connected to the center of the earth through a much smaller and much more straightforward tunnel through the dimensions, which brought heat to the water. The heated water rose into a chimney cut into the alien rock and then poured down it's outside into the lake, which then sent water back into the cauldron by way of a third tunnel, completely within the tunnel that Artemis and Juliet were in, that functioned only one way. The entire thing functioned like an ancient, magically-expensive steam engine.

This artificial spring, river, and lake didn't exist just because it looked cool, though. The rock was too powerful to be touched, but if they managed to distill its power into water, they managed to come up with a beautiful healing potion. Yes, this was a spring of healing. Unfortunately, neither Artemis nor Juliet were anything but young and perfectly healthy, and there was such a thing as too much of a good thing. Artemis could feel the minutes being pulled off his life just standing here.

He approached the lake, pulling a pitcher and a bottle of water from his bag, some name brand, something he got simply because it was almost precisely the size he needed. He dipped the pitcher in, and then pulled it out before dumping the contents of the bottle into the lake and then refilling it (he didn't want to dilute the water he took away from here), careful not to spill so much as a drop on himself. Filling it the precise amount, it looked like he had taken a few swigs of it. That was good, as a bottle of water that had been open but was still full might arouse suspicion. He wasn't actually doing anything illegal; after all, who ever heard of smuggling water? And he was certain that if the authorities tested it (for drugs, as an example), it would register as nothing but distilled water.

"Where are we?" Juliet asked.

Artemis capped and bagged his bottle and bagged his pitcher. Then, pointing with his non-deformed hand, he said: "Bermuda is roughly northeast of us, Miami roughly west-southwest of us, and Puerto Rico roughly southeast of us. We're just about equidistant from all three points."

The mental calculations were not difficult: "So, in other words, we're in the center of the Bermuda Triangle. When did this turn into an episode of the Twilight Zone?"

"I'll explain on the way up," Artemis said. "Let's just go."

Then a figure in conquistador-style armor rounded the island and came into sight. "Hey," you're just a kid," he said in old-fashioned Spanish.

"I'm plenty capable, despite my age," Artemis said.

"Maybe, but why would a kid come here, capable or not?" the conquistador pointed out.

Oh. Right. "It's for a friend," Artemis said.

"And what's this?" the conquistador stared at Juliet.

"A woman. You know, female of the species," Artemis said cheekily.

"I know that! But, you brought a woman down here? There's monsters—it's no place for the fairer sex," the conquistador said.

"Juliet is quite capable of taking care of herself," Artemis said. He decided to change the line of questioning: "Identify yourself."

"Identify myself? I am Juan Ponce de León," the conquistador said. He was, of course, lying; Juan Ponce de León was five hundred years dead of an infected wound incurred while conquering the Caribs. "Trapped under the ocean for five hundred years. Identify yourself, young master."

"Artemis Fowl, of Ireland," Artemis said.

Ponce de León narrowed his eyes, "I knew an Irish gentleman by the name of Lord Fowl once. He sold me on a venture, and then robbed me blind. I had to become a conquistador in order to reclaim the family honor, not to mention the family wealth."

Ouch. This was not good. "Um, I'm sorry for my ancestor's misdeed…"

"I am willing to forgive," said Ponce de León, "but I require something from you." His gaze had returned to Juliet, and neither Artemis nor Juliet liked the way he was leering.

"And what would that be?" Artemis asked, fearing he already knew the answer.

He did: "Your woman," said Ponce de León.

"I'm afraid that that is unacceptable," Artemis said.

"There will be other women for you, Master Fowl," Ponce de León said. "This is the first I've met in a long time, though…oh, so long…longer than you've been alive."

"Juliet, be prepared to shoot him," Artemis said, still in Spanish, so that Ponce de León would understand what was going on.

"Your woman is armed?" Ponce de León asked incredulously. In his time, such a thing would seem unnatural. "Very well, then; I will play." He walked towards Juliet. "Go ahead and shoot me, woman. Shoot me with your weird musket, in a musket it even be." In close quarters, his stench was unbearable. Sixteenth-century Europeans didn't bathe. Ever. Five hundred years of near-solitude and (presumably) wearing the same clothes day-in, day-out (unless he had spares hidden somewhere) did nothing to help his smell. When he got too close for comfort (meaning almost close enough to grab her gun), she fired. One round, through his armor, into the chest. He should have died, but managed to pull himself to the water's edge, and splash water onto the wound. The bullet actually forced its way out of his heart as his flesh reknitted. "You will pay for that, bitch."

"What the hell was that?" Juliet asked.

"The water has restorative properties," Artemis said. He put his brain to work: the water had restorative properties. This he knew, of course. It was why he was here, after all. It could even bring a dead body back to life, so it may have been possible that Ponce de León was, indeed, Juan Ponce de León, as he claimed. There wasn't any food down here, except for trolls, and whatever the trolls were eating (Artemis had decided long ago not to investigate this), so whoever Ponce de León was, however long he had been here, he was probably getting sustenance from the water, or rather, healing himself after getting emaciated. Maybe even cannibalizing his own flesh and then regenerating it via the water (there's a gruesome thought). Long-term exposure to the water created tolerance and dependency, though, for ones cells got replaced by the comet stuff, and I fact… "Juliet! Incapacitate him and drag him into the tunnel!"

Ponce de León actually took his attention off of Juliet long enough to give Artemis a look like he had just said something profoundly stupid. The man was several centuries behind current, so he thought he had. "You expect me to be incapacitated by a woman? Get real, kid." And then Juliet pinned his arms behind his back and, trying not to breath too deeply, pushed him out of the room one step at a time. As he realized what was happening, he began to scream, and plead, and flail frantically in an ill-advised attempt to escape. When they were in the tunnel, Ponce de León began to scream again, but this time with pain.

"Should I break his neck?" Juliet asked over his screams.

"It would be the merciful thing to do," Artemis said, mentally adding, for all of us.

Juliet neatly snapped his neck, and dropped him. He then dissolved, leaving nothing but rusty armor and rotted clothing to prove he had ever been there. "What the hell was that?" she asked.

"It's a long story," Artemis said.

"We have a long way to go," Juliet said.

"That we do," Artemis said.

The story Artemis told her was incredible, involving fairies, trolls, and bad guys; and yet… "You still haven't told me what that lake actually is," Juliet said.

Artemis smiled. "A master performer never reveals the last plot twist until the end of the show," he said.

Now, they were at the well, and there was no trace that they had ever been in the tunnels (the troll corpses were taken care of quite nicely by a couple grenades).

"What happens in a troll-infested labyrinth underneath the Bermuda Triangle stays in a troll-infested labyrinth underneath the Bermuda Triangle," she said softly.

"Yeah…unfortunately, if we delay any longer, Valdez will leave without us," Artemis said. Juliet could tell how it visibly pained him to say so. She kissed him, and then they climbed to the surface.

"You're late!" Valdez shouted at them. "Half an hour late! Hurry up and give me the antidote!"

"What antidote?" Artemis grinned.

"The antidote…oh, you bastard of a child!" he positively screeched, catching on.

"Just drive the boat, Valdez," Juliet said.

Artemis's phone rang. Not a regular phone, but his fairy communicator. It had undergone another transition since his adventure with the demons, and now consisted of four parts. The first, the body of the device, which contained, amongst other things, the omni sensor, was disguised as an old-fashioned pocket watch. Then there was a speaker hidden in his ear, which of course, allowed him to hear what the other person was saying. (He had considered making it look like an ear piercing, but had decided that that would attract too much attention, at his tender age—maybe when he was older) The third part of the assemble was a flesh-colored patch on his throat, which picked up on the movement of his vocal cords, and translated them to speech. The fourth was the contact lens that he wore in his hazel eye, making it his natural color. It also served as a screen. The result of this collection was that he could carry on lengthy conversations while pretending to be asleep, say, on a red-eye flight from Miami to Dublin, and the person next to him, say, a certain bodyguard-turned-love interest, would be none the wiser.

"Hello," Artemis said, his eyes closed so he could clearly see the image of Foaly. The trick was to move the vocal cords as if speaking, while not speaking.

"I figured out what you were doing, you Mud Boy!" the centaur said.

"Why, whatever do you mean?" Artemis asked.

"Don't play dumb," Foaly said.

"I couldn't pull that act off if I tried," Artemis said.

It took Foaly a second to get it. "Oh, ha, ha. Very funny. Seriously Fowl. I know what you're doing, but not why."

"Think about it, Foaly," Artemis said, no longer playing dumb. "Why would I want this—or rather, for whom?"

"Oh," Foaly said, realizing everything. "Well, I suppose that I can forgive you, this once. Why didn't you tell me? I'd have helped you, even if it is against some rules."

"I know, but you'd eventually have to report to your superiors," Artemis said. "I'm not sure that the fairies are ready for what's there."

"What about the humans who already know about it?" Foaly asked.

"Well, if you want my opinion, leave them. They're doing a pretty good job of keeping that place secret. Even we had difficulty finding them. And they're not trying to conquer the world, or any weird thing like that," Artemis said. "It's up to you, though. If you think that fairies can know of this, go ahead and tell them. Now that you've figured it out, it's your problem," Artemis said.

"Gee, thanks," Foaly said.

"Consider it your reward for sticking your nose where it doesn't belong," Artemis said.

"Hey, Artemis, wake up," Juliet said.

"I've got to go, Foaly," Artemis said. He reached into his pocket and pressed the disconnect button on the master controller, hanging up on Foaly. "Yes?" he asked, opening his eyes.

Juliet had to admit, he did look cute, asleep like that. Angelic. Every once in a while, he'd make this weird, nasally sound, which wasn't really a snore or a whine. She shook him awake. "Hey, Artemis, wake up."

When he opened his eyes and looked up at her, she was tempted to kiss him. "Yes?" he asked.

"Look, Artemis, I've been thinking, and I can't be your bodyguard anymore," Juliet said. "It's not that I don't still feel for you; quite the opposite, in fact: my feelings have only strengthened. But, well…"

"Conflict of interests," Artemis said. "I understand. After all, I'm hardly likely to be a good principal and let you sacrifice your life for mine. I was kind of hoping you wouldn't figure that out. I'm also kind of relieved. I hope you don't think it sexist of me if I say I want you to continue being a wrestler, where you're safe."

Juliet laughed. "Says something about your life, though, doesn't it? Don't worry, though; it's perfectly natural," she assured him. "You'll need a new bodyguard, though."

"So I will. I think I've already got one in mind, though," Artemis said.

Juliet mock-frowned. "Not a sexy female bodyguard, I hope?"

Artemis smiled brightly, "Nothing of the kind, I swear."

Butler was an old man. Nominally forty-three, he was more like fifty-eight. He had been a bodyguard, but now was retired. An old man, in a cottage by the sea. No one would believe the things he saw, the things he did.

There was a knock on the door. He opened it, and in came Artemis and Juliet, barely able to stand. Artemis rummaged through a duffel bag. "We took a red-eye from Miami to get here," Artemis said. "I have a surprise for you, and then Juliet and I are going to need a place to sleep—I mean, places! Here, drink this." He tossed Butler an opened bottle of water.

"Artemis, that's—" Juliet started to say something.

"Just trust me, Juliet," Artemis said.

"I take it that this isn't what it says it is?" Butler said. Not asked; said.

"Just drink it, I only have enough energy for one dramatic speech, and I can't give it until you drink that water and tell me how it makes you feel," Artemis said.

Butler shrugged, and chugged the water. It didn't taste like anything special, but as for how it made him feel, it made him feel good. In fact, "I feel ten years younger."

"Twenty, actually," Artemis said. "That was water from the Fountain of Youth. And now that you're young enough to be a bodyguard again, how would you like a job? Juliet is good, but a recent…conflict of interests…has arisen," he put a world of implication in those words, and then, as if to prove the point further, he and Juliet kissed.


Author's Commentary (As If You Care)

So, did that whole fountain of youth revelation surprise anyone? Anyone at all? Aw, man.

Let me start off by saying that I took some liberties. Juan Ponce de León is an actual historical figure. If he had any blood connection to nobility at all, he was probably a noble's bastard child or a disinherited younger son, as was the pattern with conquistadors. Also, as far as I know, he and his family never had any dealings with any Irishmen named Fowl. I have no real idea who Ponce de León was, except that he discovered "the island of" Florida, supposedly while searching for the fountain of youth. Also, he really did die from an infected wound and really is buried somewhere in Cuba. Havana, I think. It's in this big churchy place.

The thing is, I am a Holly/Artemis fan, so why is it that my first Artemis Fowl fanfic ships Juliet/Artemis? I dunno. This sort of thing also happened to me in FLCL, too (FLCL is the greatest anime ever; if you do not know what FLCL is, learn!!!).

Juliet/Artemis just seemed like a perfect fit for this story. I considered making it a Holly/Artemis fic, but then Artemis would have to have brought Holly along instead of Juliet, and, well, that would not have made much sense. Firstly, Artemis was doing this without the knowledge or consent of the fairies, and secondly, Holly would sort of stand out in a crowd. Besides, I was also writing another story which was Holly/Artemis at the time, and hey, you can't have all your eggs in one basket, as the saying goes (sadly said Holly/Artemis ship, as well as another story that may end up shipping Holly/Artemis but could just as easily not be a romance at all, have both been postponed indefinitely).

Also, the whole Aleš Hrdlička thing, that's all true. Do you honestly think that if I would make up a name, it would be something like Aleš Hrdlička? He just so happened to come up in a book I was reading while I was writing this. (I wasn't doing both at the same time, though, you understand.)

I don't really recall how I came up with the story, but it's possible that the fact that I was reading a book that was mainly about pre-Columbian America that also touched on the effect of Europeans and the history of Archeology in the Americas (hence the whole Aleš Hrdlička thing) might have had something to do with it. I'm not really sure, though…

Anyway, thank you for reading, please review, and tell all your friends. I hope you liked it. My vanity depends on your praise, lol. Oh, and if you can think of a better title for this story, I'd be happy to hear it (this is, like, the third time I couldn't come up with a title!).