Atlantis City, the Lower Elements

Holly's apartment in Atlantis, while not as spacious as her previous one in Haven, was pleasant. It was situated near the top floor of its building, overlooking the large lake covered in floating markets that made up the city's centre square. It had a bathroom, one bedroom, a nice living room, a kitchen—which, though small, was large enough—and of course, a television: everything a single elf needed in her home. Said apartment had been well lived in over the past twenty five years, being as Holly almost never left it, except to go to work every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at the local library.

It was when she realized that sad fact, that she decided it was most certainly time for a vacation.

Holly made short work of finding a surface tour that appealed to her, and after reserving her spot, she packed her bags and headed out. The tour left that afternoon, so, before sundown, she was standing on a beach with the rest of the invisible tourists, listening to a recording of their tour guide's voice telling them that this was Saint Pierre's beach, and that right here, on these very sands, some guy was killed on May 21, 1746.

Holly sighed. This was hardly any different from sitting in the library all day, listening to some history buff drone on about how so-and-so murdered so-and-so, and then so-and-so did blah blah blah… glancing around to see if anyone might notice if she was gone, she crept away from the group, setting her tiny feet carefully on the sand so as not to disturb the grains.

Once onto the pavement, she looked around for something else to do, and her gaze fell onto the ocean and the people playing in it. Now that, she thought, is what I came here to do. She hurried towards the changing rooms, almost went into the men's by accident, but noticed the sign on the door just in time, reversed direction to the women's, and slipped into the plain, blue, one-piece swimsuit the tour company had given them all. "To make you look like human children, so you can go swimming!" the pixie handing them out had said. Holly hmphed with the remembrance, glancing at herself in the changing room's mirror. I do not look like a mudgirl.

It was true. Though she lacked what most males would consider an attractive figure, her waist dipped in slightly, and her chest was reasonably rounded. Her hair was longer than it had been when she'd worked with the LEP and Section Eight, but still barely passed her earlobes. Pursing her lips in annoyance at what the pixie hadn't been meant as an insult, but what had been taken as one, she tucked the auburn locks under a swimming cap to hide her ears, then shouldered her bag and left.

As she jogged past where she knew her tour group was still standing, she felt slightly sheepish, but consoled herself with the thought that they'd be joining her in the water soon enough. Nothing wrong with going in a little early…

She set out her things on a vacant halfway up the crowded beach, laying out her towel and setting her bag on top of it. The person with the spot next to hers, a young boy in a suit doing something on an expensive-looking laptop, glanced up. She caught him looking and he returned his attention to whatever he was doing, and Holly shook her head. Who wears a suit and works on a laptop at the beach? she wondered, and unbidden, her mind answered her own question. Artemis would.

Her hands froze in the smoothing out of her towel and she looked over at the kid again. She only had a profile view of him, but there was something familiar about his features—the striking blue eyes and raven hair. She dismissed the notion quickly. He died thirty years ago, Short. Don't be ridiculous.

Still, though, as she made her way toward the water, she couldn't help but finger the simple gold band on the third digit of her left hand. Fowl, she corrected herself, not Short. He may be long dead, but you're still married to him.