A/N: To help make things better, I'm going to try and make this chapter longer than the last one, which puts me in a bit of a pickle since I'm suffering major writers block due to having to droll out filler plot. *Gulps* So, yeah. I do plan on throwing my A/H fans a chunk of fluffish-ness, or as fluffish as you can get after an event like death. Forgive if Artemis goes a bit angsty in little bits for the next few chapters. My idea is that he'd revert a bit back to his old self after losing Butler. (And to my dear anonymous reviewer, though I love reviews, I cannot change something once it's been decided, let alone written. I apologize for killing Butler in such a manner that you didn't like it, but I'm not going to change something I've already posted. In my mind it is how the story works, and will continue to work.) So yes, Butler is, and will be dead for the rest of this. I doubt I'll do a sequel, but you never know. Anyway, more blather at the end, sorry for not doing review replies. On with Chapter Seven!
Artemis Fowl: The Enigma Complex
The Cold Move
Artemis was cold, but Holly felt him breathing shallowly under the icy layer that was his skin. Her hands were numb and she cursed under her breath as the cold air ripped at her insides. She was disturbed that Butler was nowhere to be found, but she realized getting Artemis to safety was more important than anything, and most likely the other boy too. She strapped them onto her Moonbelt and flew off, not even able to get hold of the camfoil in the wretched weather. She'd take her chances with Trouble later, but Artemis came first at the moment. Holly prayed that no one would see two boys flying over the Antarctic in the middle of the night, let alone when they got to Africa. She sighed, ready to doom the world once again.
Foaly had not been paying much attention to Holly since she began her journey to Artemis for various reasons; mainly that she was an accomplished LEP officer and could take care of herself in the field. The other reason was because he'd spent the last several hours working out the kinks in his prototype project that he planned on initiating with the Halfling girl. Not that trying to make contact with Holly would do him any good, he wasn't yet aware that he'd lost all communication outside Haven on the com links.
He'd finished propping the last panel on the ceiling as Trouble came in, ready for the little feat in history as well as the story behind what was going on. They didn't bother with the formalities, nor did Foaly go into the normal rambling speech on his Sleeper Deeper technology and how he'd transformed it.
Today it was quiet, none of Foaly's new lackeys hanging around to observe, no Council to interfere, only Trouble, Foaly, and a girl that wasn't supposed to exist. Foaly whinnied lightly as he flicked on the screens above and below them, and the each flashed a brilliant blue to show its power up, and the room filled with a pleasant humming noise.
Trouble cleared his throat and Foaly had to stop short of his own praise, causing him to huff a little as he trotted over to the table with the Halfling girl and began to prep the machinery. Setting up the monitor pads on her head, Foaly checked each one to make sure it was getting a signal. He set up the girl's heart to another device that had long been perfected by the fairies and would save her life should any problems arise in the program. Though Foaly doubted anything could go wrong, he'd come up with the entire thing himself.
Double checking everything, he waited a moment to be sure the Sleeper Deeper was doing its job before typing a command into the room computer. Slowly the floor began to vibrate gently beneath them and Foaly swore silently that he'd go and strengthen all the power circuits if they didn't give out on him now. Beside him Trouble was looking back and forth between Foaly, the girl, and the floor, and Foaly almost laughed in spite of the situation.
He began to chortle, but then he caught Trouble's glare and forced himself back to the tension that crammed within every space of the room. This was it; his hit or miss moment in the development of his plans, as well as the development of the threat to Haven and the fairy way of life.
He punched in his code to the room computer for double confirmation, and then he punched in the last code and the room grew even brighter with the glare and the refraction from the power cells. The lights began to flicker from the overload, which in itself was a rare occurrence in his technology. Panic rose in him, but he suppressed it, eager to wait and see if his new invention worked.
Pain flashed across the girl's face, and Foaly hoped silently that he wouldn't literally fry her brain in this experiment. After the lights went even at a dull pulse of blue, he stared at the middle power cell and waited, after a minute a thin female voice rang through the room, "Voice confirmation needed."
"Foaly, inventor," Foaly replied, and as he said it the girl appeared on the power cell, a perfect replica of the Halfling on the bed. Now that he knew his holo-room worked, he had to make sure the girl was actually alive rather than so much brain consommé.
"Can you hear me?" Foaly called out, his own voice startling him with the gruffness in such a climactic moment. For a moment there was no change, the girl was limp in real life as well as hologram, and her vitals held though her brain was on the verge of too much activity.
The slowly, in a more channeled and grainy voice, came a reply, "Why can't I feel anything? Where am I?"
Next to Foaly, Trouble jumped a little in shock, but altogether he had a thrill in his eyes like a cat finding a new way to the mouse. Foaly felt sorry for whoever had created the bombs; because at that moment he knew that Trouble meant every move from then on out very seriously.
Artemis groaned, the sound ripping its way through his mouth like a corpse crying out from the grave. The main reason was because he was in pain, even if his body couldn't register it yet. But before the pain he remembered the unholy cold of the Arctic sea and air and wondered briefly why he was once again, still alive.
His answer didn't take very long to show up; Holly was over him in a flash, a warm spot in his cold half-sleep. She asked him a flurry of questions that he knew he couldn't answer and took part in various means to try and snap him out of his zombie state. Finally, after much obvious consideration, however biased, she punched him hard across the face.
That woke him up, and he gave her a long incredulous look as he wiped his mouth, the words 'How dare you' dying on his lips. Holly was in front of him, and he was alive, his cold and sluggish genius mind put the two together after a moment and he noticed her tired and ragged look.
"What happened?" he asked, his jaw still buzzing from the feel of the hard fist across his face. He was bleeding now from a cracked and much damaged lip, and he had a feeling the cold extremes he'd felt were not just a dream. His mind still hadn't caught up to its full potential, but the need for understanding had come back to him.
Holly breathed a sigh of relief that she had been holding in for hours now while her healing took place. Wrapping her small fairy arms around what she could of his torso, she smiled and replied, "Good to have you back Artemis, I almost thought you were a goner."
Artemis blinked and felt rather awkward in the embrace, but returned it as best he could in his slow and jumbled state. He hated how bent up he still felt about the events that had passed between them, and it felt good to have her forgiveness after such an amount of time. But unfortunately, his mind caught up with him, and he became observant of where he was, and the hovel didn't look very accommodating.
In the corner, a figure lay huddled on the floor covered with a ratty blanket, and he recognized the boy as the same one from New Zealand, and the plane crash flooded his memory once more. Slowly he pushed Holly away and looked down into her eyes, "Where is Butler?"
Holly stared at him, the color fading from her face as a horrifyingly understanding look came into her eyes, "He wasn't around the wreck, and I thought he must've been back in Ireland…"
The truth dawned over them both not even a minute later, and for the second time in his young life, Holly saw Artemis Fowl the Second begin to sob. She wanted to reach out and touch him, comfort him in this show of human emotion that he was never known for, but before she was given the chance they were interrupted.
"Well hello," came the nasally New Zealand drawl of Arno Blunt from the door, the sound of a gun being prepped behind Holly.
Oh gods, I'm so sorry it took me so long to get this thing done, I have had such a bad case of writers block and addictions that keep popping up, I hope you guys can forgive me. I also have been busy with school and work, so it's not all been a load of sunshine and bubbles. I hope you don't mind another filler-ish chapter, I couldn't really figure out much fluff to squeeze in, but I did try, and that's what counts, right? I hope you like, I will try to be quicker with the next chapter!