A/N: Alright. This is a story that I am really excited for and have been planning for months. It's a bit dark and will maybe be a little frightening at times, but it's more mystery than horror. The events in this story take place after the Last Colony, but before the Time Paradox.
Also, I dislike Minerva as much as the rest of you out there-- but I am giving Colfer the benefit of the doubt (because I love him that much) and will say that Minerva was just a brat in LC because she was young. She is in this story and I matured her up a great deal. So if Minerva seems a little OOC-- it is because of the time change. And honestly, would you really rather her be in character?
Okay, so after this novel length author's note, I just want to say, here is the first chapter. I hope that you all enjoy it!!
The Last One Standing
Sins: The Game Begins
Artemis had two problems on his hand— both of them in the form of very unwelcome guests. The first, a childhood "friend" returned from years of jetsetting and general debauchery. The second...well the second was a little bit more complicated.
"Mother, I do not need another bodyguard," Artemis whispered fiercely, grabbing Angeline and dragging her into the nearest room, making sure to close the door firmly behind him.
"Darling, you know that Butler is in no shape to protect you anymore," Angeline answered kindly, "why don't you just give Ryn a chance?"
Artemis exhaled deeply, trying not to think of the lithe girl that was standing in the front parlor of the Fowl manor.
"The Fowls have legitimized their businesses and have minimized animosity between partners," the boy said calmly, "I do not need to be protected all of the time anymore".
"A Fowl is always in danger," Angeline said firmly, "and besides Madam Ko herself sent this girl over".
"What does that have to do with anything?" Artemis demanded, "this girl looks as old as me and about as strong as well. I doubt that she will be able to defend me against anything".
"Power and size are not the same thing. You can be small and be powerful," Angeline retorted. Artemis almost snorted at the statement. He of all people should understand that size had nothing to do with power. After all, he had seen the LEP agents in full action. But still, there was something strange about this new girl.
"Mother, there is something odd about her. I don't get a safe feeling when I see her," Artemis said, hoping to appeal to the woman's emotional side. Angeline wouldn't have any of it, though.
"We cannot offend Madam Ko by sending Ryn back so soon," she said, "just bear with her for a while. I am sure that you will become more comfortable with her in time".
Artemis sighed. He knew that he had lost the argument. But he had never really expected to win in the first place; they didn't call Angeline Fowl the most stubborn woman in the world for no reason.
"Besides," Angeline said, a sly smile spreading on her face, "you won't just be looking after yourself in the future, will you?'
"What in the world are you talking about, mother?" Artemis asked, eyes narrowing. Angeline grabbed hold of one of her son's hands.
"I am just saying that you are growing up very quickly. Who knows when you will one day decide to get married and start your own family," she said. Artemis gaped at her.
"I am only eighteen!" he cried out. Angeline just shrugged.
"You never know, Fowls tend to get married early" she said, "besides Minerva has been over here quite often lately. And I have never wanted to be an old grandmother"
"I am not going to get married anytime soon," Artemis said, snatching his hand back, "aren't the twins young enough for you? Why are you thinking about grandchildren already?"
"Alright, I promise not to bring up the topic of marriage anymore if you promise to give Ryn a chance for a while," Angeline said. Artemis sighed deeply.
" Fine," he said angrily, walking towards the door. He didn't like the idea of Ryn at all, but there really was nothing he could do. He reached to the door handle, turning it.
"Oh, and Artemis," Angeline called as the boy was opening the door. Artemis turned his head and looked at her.
"I still have the engagement ring that your father gave me, just in case you ever wanted to use it for some reason," she said with a smile. Artemis gave her an incredulous look and stormed out of the room, firmly closing the door behind him. That insufferable woman!
The boy made his way down the main stairs into the parlor, his mood already darkened. So seeing Ryn, the newest intruder in the Fowl manor, standing calmly by the parlor door didn't help his mood at all.
Artemis just stood there, looking at the person in front of him. Ryn wasn't much of a looker, even in Artemis's lenient standards. She was quite tall, around 5'9, and lean. Her hair was a dark brown and fell to her shoulders in a odd, choppy manner—as if she had taken a pair of garden shears to it without having a mirror in sight. Her features might have been pretty if she decided to put makeup on, but she seemed like the type of person who never would. In fact, the only spectacular thing about were her eyes—which were the same brilliant shade of blue as Artemis's.
Her appearance wasn't threatening, but there was something about her that wasn't right.
"You can stay," Artemis said curtly to the girl. She just nodded her head. As though I didn't hear every word of the conversation, she thought to herself bitterly, who wouldn't be able to with those two talking as loudly as they had been.
"You will stay in the quarters next to mine," the boy continued, "I am sure that Madam Ko provided you with a sufficient blueprint of the manor".
Once again, Ryn just nodded her head obediently. The boy just looked at her.
"Then you will be able to show yourself to your room," he said, still standing his place, looking at the girl with a single eyebrow raised—as though he was challenging her.
Ryn just picked up her bags and made her way up the large set of stairs. Artemis observed at her as she walked up the steps, wondering what in the world was wrong with the girl. She reached the top of the steps and suddenly stopped. Artemis looked as she turned her head and pinned him with those eyes—so similar to his own.
"I am not taking his place," she said simply. Artemis frowned.
"You never will," he answered. Ryn dropped her bags and turned, facing him fully.
"I will not be as loyal as him," she stated blankly. Artemis' eyes widened fractionally. So finally, she was showing some personality.
"Not a good trait for a bodyguard, disloyalty" he said. Ryn shook her head.
"I did not say that I would be disloyal," she said simply, "I just cannot be as completely subservient as the Butlers"
"Subservient?" Artemis asked, "I thought that was a requirement for a bodyguard. What makes you so different from the Butlers?"
"I have a life outside of yours," Ryn states simply.
"So you will be leaving often?" Artemis asked. The girl shook her head once more.
"I will take the first Sunday of every month off," she said, "that is all I need. Other than that, I will be all yours".
"And the purpose for this monthly day off?" Artemis asked. The girl just looked at him.
"I will take the first Sunday of every month off," she said once again, "that is all".
And with that, se took her bags and proceeded down the hallway, away from the stairs. Artemis just looked at her from above, not quite knowing what to make of the girl and her odd request.
He didn't need protection, so he didn't care how many days off Ryn took. But the fact that she wouldn't tell him what she was going to do on these monthly absences put him off guard.
"Who's side is she working for?" Artemis wondered out loud. The personal threat level that he had calculated was minimal, but his mother's words still rang loudly in his head. A Fowl is always in danger…
Suddenly a loud noise sounded from the other side of the parlor, interrupting the boy's thoughts. Cautiously, Artemis turned around to see the intruder.
Standing a few feet from him was a very familiar figure—a tiny girl with a waterfall of flaxen curls and large, sparkling eyes. Though normally demure and controlled, the girl's eyes were currently lit in up a livid light blue.
"Minerva, you look less than enchanted today," Artemis said coolly. The girl strode towards him.
"You never told me that you knew Aidan Masters," she whispered harshly to him. Artemis sighed slightly.
"Do not tell me that pervert has finally made his way onto our property," he said drolly.
"If by that pervert, you mean me, then yes, I have," a boy called, stepping into the parlor. Artemis turned his eyes towards one of the two new menaces in his life.
Aidan Masters was no new figure to Artemis. The boys had grown up next to each other in their childhood. Then, when Artemis went of to boarding school, Aidan took to traveling the world—hopping from one exclusive prep school to another. It wasn't as though money was an issue. The boy was heir to the Masters Financial Group—a company so powerful that all of Ireland, if not all of Europe, depended on them.
Aidan's inheritance was too large to imagine, as was his arrogance. The boy had it all, infinite money, and angelic looks to boot. Tall and thin, Aidan was blessed with perfectly delicate features, a head of immaculately styled platinum hair, and stunning eyes a wondrous shade of dark emerald. And with his looks and his money, it took no one by surprise that he was a arrogant, immature boy. With a sharp and quick temper and a knack for being a fierce womanizer, Aidan had the body of an angel but the mind and soul of a devil.
"Happy to see me?" Aidan asked Artemis, grinning.
"Happy is not exactly the word I would choose," Artemis said.
"Ah yes, you are a genius. You would probably say something more along the lines of…"
"Exultant" Minerva chimed in. Aidan raised his eyebrows a fraction.
"It seems as though you have snagged yourself a genius girlfriend as well," he said, "how typical".
"I am neither happy nor exultant to see you here, Aidan," Artemis said, "and I do not understand why you decided to drop by so unceremoniously."
"I thought that since we were going to be neighbors again, it was only polite of me to drop by and say hello," Aidan answered.
"Since when have you been known to be polite?" Artemis asked. Minerva saw Aidan clench his fists at his side and quickly grabbed onto Artemis' arm. If Aidan's temper became riled, there is no limit to what the boy would do. Of course, Aidan never punished anybody himself-- he was too lazy to. But no matter what he decided to do-- the person he was targeting always suffered.
"Artemis, he is your neighbor now," Melinda said smoothly, "it would be best for the two of you to get along".
Artemis looked down at the girl and nodded. That was one thing he noticed about Minerva ever since he had returned. She had matured greatly.
"That really is a smart girl you have there," Aidan said, "rather pretty as well—and my standards are quite high".
"How flattering," Minerva said, her voice tinged with irony that was totally lost on Aidan.
I try," the boy answered with a sly grin.
While Minerva and Aidan continued on their verbal duet, Artemis's mind wandered back to Ryn. Why wasn't that girl back yet? Hadn't she just wanted to place her bags in her room? Normally, Artemis wouldn't care, but the girl's earlier words still had him a bit off guard.
"Minerva, Aidan. Excuse me for a moment, I have to get something from upstairs," he said quickly.
"Do you need help?" Minerva asked, seemingly nervous at being left alone with Aidan.
"It is fine," Artemis said, flashing the girl an understanding smile. She was a smart girl, she would figure out how to handle Aidan, "I will only be gone a moment."
"Take your time," Aidan answered, raising a single eyebrow at Artemis. Artemis could not even begin to fathom the meaning behind that gesture—and he was fairly sure that if he knew, the answer would disgust him.
Without another word, the raven-headed boy went up the stairs and turned into the left wing. The left wing of the Fowl manor was specifically designated for family bedrooms and personal offices. Strangers and guests were never allowed in it—and so the fact that Angeline Fowl had chosen to place Ryn in the left wing meant something large.
"Obviously mother plans to keep te girl around for some time," Artemis whispered bitterly to himself. He hadn't bought Angeline's 'just bear with her for a while' argument; but still—giving Ryn a room in the left wing seemed so final.
Sighing, Artemis reached the room. He was surprised to see that the door was cracked open a little.
"What kind of bodyguard would just leave a door open like this?" he asked, shaking his head. The boy had the tendency to talk aloud to himself when something was truly bothering him.
Slowly, he raised a fist to the door and knocked. There was no response. He tried once more, yet still there was completes silence on the other side of the door.
"Ryn, I am coming in," Artemis said as he cautiously opened the door of the room. He stepped inside to find it completely empty. Frowning slightly, Artemis made his way into the room.
Ryn's bags were placed neatly next to the bed, and Artemis could see that the girl had even unpacked a few things and had placed them around the room. The clock on the bedside table caught his attention, especially, though. The boy walked over and touched the clock lightly. He recognized it right away—it was the make of a very famous Chinese company that sold their products exclusively in China. The clock model that Ryn possessed was a very rare one and was most likely quite expensive.
"How could she afford to buy one of these?" Artemis questioned, "and when was she in China?"
The boy's eyes moved from the clock to a small binder next to it. Artemis immediately recognized the binder. It was many of the reference binders that his father kept in his office. What was Ryn doing with it? Artemis immediately picked it up and looked at the cover.
"Lawyers," he read out loud. Over the years Artemis Fowl II had collected the names and numbers of every lawyer that he had ever consulted—and in the business endeavors that the Fowls used to partake in, there were quite a few contacts in there.
"What in the world is Ryn doing with this?" Artemis asked, putting the small tome back on the table. What would the girl need a lawyer for? Usually bodyguards and lawyers ran in completely separate circles. Butler had never needed a lawyer before.
Suddenly there came a noise from the bathroom. Artemis turned around. He had failed to see before that the bathroom light was on. He quickly made his way to the door. He had just positioned himself in the doorway when Ryn stepped out of the bathroom.
She looked up at him, her face completely impassive. She moved over to her bed without saying a word.
"I came to see if you had put your bags away and to make sure that the room was of your taste" Artemis said, feeling slightly uncomfortable.
"Your mother dropped by a few moments earlier to ask the same thing," Ryn said, "you seem to have a very gracious family".
"We just know how to be polite," Artemis said. Ryn nodded her head, not saying a word. She looked down at the bedside table. Artemis observed the girl closely and saw that her eyes lingered on the binder a little longer than was normal.
"Do you want to go back downstairs?" Ryn asked, turning towards Artemis, "I have placed my bags away already"
"Alright," Artemis answered, walking out of the room. Ryn took the binder off the tabletop and slipped it into one of the drawers before following Artemis out of the room.
The two teens walked down the hall in silence. Artemis's mind was racing, storing up all the information he had gotten about Ryn so far. There was something very suspicious about this girl.
His thoughts were interrupted however, when they started to walk down the stairs.
"My, my Artemis—I never thought you would be the type to keep two girlfriends!" Aidan called up, "you have changed since we were young."
"Don't be vulgar," Minerva said to the boy. Aidan, however, did not seem to hear the girl.
"Though I will say, the brunette you can ditch. She seems to lack charm," he continued. Ryn just continued to walk down the stairs—looking as though Aidan's words had no meaning to her, which in reality, they didn't.
"Ryn is not my girlfriend," Artemis said, "she is my new bodyguard"
"Ryn, huh?" Aidan asked, looking at the girl, "not your real name, I suppose"
Ryn looked at the boy were with impassive sapphire eyes, not bothering to acknowledge his words.
"And a mute as well, I see," Aidan sneered, "let me tell you, little missy, it would be in your best interests not to anger me."
"It doesn't matter at all what you do to me," Ryn said stiffly, "as long as you don't bother the client".
Artemis looked at the girl with raised eyebrows. The client? Is that what he was going to be known as from now on?
Aidan, however, just seemed satisfied that he girl to talk and backed off. Minerva stepped forward and looked at the girl.
"You do not look like the typical bodyguard," she said slowly, "your muscle ratio is not up to norm with that of a typical safety officer—and you do not seem to be carrying any weapons at the moment. Are you sure that you are properly qualified?"
"I prefer to conceal my weapons," Ryn said shortly, "and I studied under Madame Ko. She specifically asked me to take this job, so I would say that I am qualified"
"I meant no offense," Minerva said, taken aback by Ryn's abrupt answer, "I only worry for Artemis's safety"
"There was no offense taken," Ryn answered, looking down at the girl. Minerva nodded her head and turned towards Artemis She frowned slightly at him, expressing her feelings about his new bodyguard.
Antisocial and mentally reclusive tendencies, Minerva thought. Usually that is the sign of a great impact or tragedy in a person's life. What had happened to this girl?
From up above, on the third story balcony, a figure looked down on the group of four teens with a creeping smile.
Perfect, all four of them were together at last. Now the fun could really begin.
The figure moved slowly across the balcony, making to sure to be covered by the shadows.
Four teens—each one morally corrupt, each one responsible for engaging, living, in one of the deadly sins.
Artemis leaned against the banister of the stairwell. Greed. The boy was consumed with greed—consumed to the point where it was impossible to tear the boy's personality away from his need to gain.
Minerva waked towards Artemis slowly. Pride. The amount of pride in the girl was incredible. She was a vain creature—always priding herself on her looks, her brains, her wealth. She would slowly drown in her own pride eventually.
Aidan just stayed in his place, lazily observing his surroundings. Sloth. The boy had never worked a day in his life—instead, he just relied on his money and looks to provide him with everything he needed. He was lazy and indifferent—unwilling to act or care about anything.
Ryn turned instinctively towards Artemis, her eyes looked around, as though to spot put danger. Wrath. Oh, what a wrathful girl she was. Maybe it was justified, after everything that she had gone through and the even more horrific things that were yet to come. But still, the girl's wrath emanated from her like a black cloud, suffocating all those around her.
Four teens—four sinful natures. Could they atone for them?
"We will let the game decide," the figure whispered, smiling widely.
Down below, the lights suddenly went off. Ryn slinked towards Artemis, a hand placed on the small of her back where she had concealed a handgun. Ryn preferred hand-to-hand combat, but now, in the darkness, she had no idea what to expect.
"Are the Fowls so poor that they cannot even afford to pay their electricity bills?" Aidan asked, indignantly.
"All of our bills are up to date," Artemis answered, looking around.
"That means that someone must have switched off the lights in the circuit box," Minerva said. She nervously clung on to Artemis's arm.
Suddenly Artemis's phone rang. He reached into his pocket. The four teens huddles around, the weak, eerie light from the phone screen lighting their faces.
"This is a new number," Artemis said, "and it is restricted, so it can't be traced".
Ryn grabbed the phone and opened it, placing it on speaker.
"Hello," she said.
"Hello," the person on the other side answered. The mysterious caller was using a voice masker, so their voice was completely unrecognizable.
"Are you the one who turned off the lights?" Minerva asked. The voice on the other side chuckled.
"You seem frightened, Mistress Paradizo. If you think a little darkness is frightening, then you have no idea how terrifying the world you will soon enter will be"
"Who are you?" Artemis asked, "and what do you want?"
"You are really quite daft if you are actually going to try and harm the Masters prize son," Aidan said with a snarl. Ryn placed her hand on his arm, signaling for him to stop.
"I just want to play a little game," the voice continued, "play with me and I will help you atone for your sins and lead you to the truth. Go against me and I will make sure that whatever is precious to you is forever lost"
"Don't be so bold," Ryn said quickly, "if you were a true villain you would come put here and put up a real fight. Enough with the smoke and mirrors"
"The four of you look so innocent huddled over the phone like that," the voice said happily, "Artemis, look at how Minerva is clutching on to you. What would you do if someday she wasn't there to clutch on to you anymore."
"You're in my house?" Artemis asked quickly, looking around—though it was useless in the darkness.
"Yes, I am in your house. And in perfect shooting range. One false move and your girlfriend gets it—and not even your new bodyguard can save her".
"We'll play," Ryn said quickly, "tell us what you want us to do."
"First all players have to agree," the voice said, "and also agree that they will continue to play no matter how dark and horrible it gets"
"I agree," Ryn said.
"I agree," Artemis added in, looking down at Minerva. The small girl nodded her head.
"I agree as well," she said. The three teens looked at Aidan.
"Why should I have to play this idiotic game?" the boy asked, "I am the Masters heir. Nobody tells me what to do!"
"You returned to Ireland solely because your grandfather is on his deathbed," the voice said, "what if old grandfather's will were to mysteriously change and name a new heir to the Masters fortune. What would you do then?"
"How... how did you know that? You cannot do that," Aidan said sounding choked.
"I already said, I would make sure everything precious to you is lost forever," the voice retorted. Aidan swallowed deeply. For the first time in his life, he was being forced into a position that he didn't like.
"Fine, I agree then" Aidan said finally.
"Good. Then let the game begin…"
A/N: Alright, how was it? Like I said, this story is a bit darker than the ones I usually write, but I always like trying new things and expanding my writing skills.
This first chapter might have been a bit confusing or a bit rushed since I had to introduce both OCs . If you have any questions, just send them to me-- or keep reading, everything will be explained in due time.
And please comment/review and tell me what you thought so that I can continue to improve the story! Thank you all so much! Gracias y besos.