Holly had damn well not expected this. She had not expected the giant ship-thing to come out of the sky, she hadn't expected well over a dozen fairies to die at the restaurant (including Wing Commander Vinyaya), and she certainly hadn't expected Artemis to be blamed for it all, then taken to the Atlantis prison, with herself as an escort.
Upon arriving at the prison, Holly had led Artemis down long winding hallways, some of which seemed to last forever, to a small meeting room. Commander Trouble Kelp himself had asked that they meet there to talk, along with Foaly. But Foaly was recuperating at a hospital, so he had to set up a video chat for them all to be able to talk.
Holly led Artemis to the faux wood, round table in the middle of the room. "Artemis, are you okay here?" Holly asked, hoping that her words would calm him down.
"I-I think so, Holly," Artemis replied, his gaze jumping from place to place around the room. His eyes finally landed on the huge screen on one of the white walls of the bare room.
The door suddenly opened to show Trouble entering the room. He appeared very stressed as he walked up to Holly. Artemis shifted his view from the screen to Trouble, then Holly and back again as they began to speak.
"Holly, can you come outside for a moment?" Trouble asked, his features calming dramatically as he focused on her. Artemis winced slightly as he counted the number of words.
"Of course I can, Trouble," Holly answered, her eyes flickering to Artemis, the look on them obviously commanding him to stay. The two started walking toward the door. As soon as the door closed behind them, Artemis got up and shuffled over to it, pressing his ear to it to listen to their conversation, counting the words as they came out.
"Holly, I'm not exactly sure how to ask this..." Trouble's voice seem to quiet a lot.
Sensing his discomfort, Holly said, "Go ahead," and Artemis got more and more nervous as he thought about the ticked off "number gods" and what Trouble could possibly be talking about.
"Holly, would you like to go out with me?" Trouble asked this rather fast. Holly was almost sure she had heard wrong.
"I'm sorry, what?" He repeated the question and there was a moment of silence.
"Uh... Well, I don't really know. Um... can I get back to you later?" Holly nervously responded.
"Um... Okay. I suppose we should go back inside." The door handle started to turn and Artemis scrambled to get back to his seat.
The pair reentered the room and sat down just as the screen on the wall turned on and Foaly's face suddenly filled the screen along with a blank hospital wall. The centaur smiled at the trio in the room, happy to see some friendly faces (the hospital staff had not been friendly at all). Soon he began to speak, "Hello. How are you guys?"
"We're perfectly fine. How are you, Foaly? You were unconscious when we found you." Holly clearly displayed her concern on her face. She remembered the scene quite well: The icy snow was completley trashed, shrapnel scattered everywhere, blood had been pouring out of Foaly's head and his left arm was twisted at an odd angle. Holly was sure this image would haunt her for the rest of her life.
"Well, I'm much better, though not exactly elated to find that Artemis is being blamed for this. Artemis, are you alright?"
They all turned to the boy, who's face got angrier and more nervous by the second. His thoughts raced uncontrollably about the lack of worry at the number of words in the sentences, among other things. He seemed to be muttering something that sounded suspiciously like, "One, two, three, four, five, one, two, three, four, five..."
A full minute passed as the occupants of the conversation waited anxiously for the mud boy to answer.
"Eh… I should probably mention that this talk is being recorded for The Council to go over later," Foaly added.
The sentence snapped Artemis out of his reverie. "That's it!" he shouted, standing up and surprising everyone. "I am sick of this! You all have no worry over the number five and you," he pointed an accusing finger at Trouble, "just asked her," he pointed at Holly, "out! Well this can't go on, this cannot. Go. On!" He calmed down significantly fast as this he said this: "I love you, Holly Short! Please be with me! I can't be without you!" He offered his hand to her (literally), a waiting smile plastered on his face.
Everyone sat shocked for a long time.
"Well…" Holly finally said. "That was unexpected."
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