Rehabilitation

Overall, Artemis thought, his recovery could be going better. Some of the problems had been overcome without much difficulty. The paranoia, for one thing - he no longer feared that Butler was plotting to betray him. And while he still wasn't completely comfortable around fours, he had at least stopped counting the words in his sentences. But very little progress at all had been made on the main issue: Orion.

The magic purge had been what set it off. They had wanted No. 1 to do it immediately, hopefully before his mother had arrived. While the plan had been to gently remove any residual traces of magic, instead of a quick cleansing, it had resulted in Artemis screaming as though No. 1 was instead trying to make his brain explode, until the human boy eventually had to be sedated. That was not the end of his embarrassment, either. Artemis had gone under, and Orion had come to. And Holly had been in the room at the time.

"My princess!" he had exclaimed, upon regaining consciousness. "Have you come to watch over me as I recover? Such admirable devotion!" And before Holly could speak, he planted a quick kiss on her lips.

Artemis had returned to consciousness a quarter of an hour later, with a small red welt on his cheek approximately the size and shape of an elvish fist. Holly's face was red; she looked a little embarrassed, but mostly angry.

"Sorry, Artemis," she said, not sounding particularly sorry. "It was Orion. He really was asking for it.

"I am sure he was," Artemis replied. "I am aware of what goes on when I'm not in control, you know." A comment about elf-kissing darted into his head, and, with one look at Holly's poor temper, vanished instantly. Curse that fool Orion, he thought. His antics are getting exceptionably irritating.

He was in an even worse mood when he discovered somebody had posted a video clip of them kissing on .

And now, Artemis was having a session with Dr. Argon. It was not a normal session - No. 1 was sitting in, as they were supposed to be going over the failure of the magical purge. Artemis, however, had another topic in mind.

"Something must be done about Orion," he insisted. "He is a threat to my mental health, and there is no way I can make a proper recovery from my... other issues... when an alter ego is floating around my brain and undoing the progress I make."

"Of course, Master Fowl," Dr. Argon said patiently. "I've planned out some mental exercises and hypnosis sessions to help integrate your personalities."

Artemis was appalled. "Doctor, I do not wish to integrate with Orion. I wish to have him removed."

"What you wish isn't the issue at hand. Orion represents all your repressed emotions, all the feelings you refuse to let yourself express. You need to embrace him, not reject him, or else you will never make a full recovery."

Artemis resisted an urge to roll his eyes. Honestly, Dr. Argon was little better than the quacks at St. Bartleby's. "Please, doctor. I am familiar with the theories on split personalities. In fact, I published an article on Dissociative Identity Disorder. I was hoping that there might be some other way to separate us. Perhaps a magical way." He looked directly at No. 1.

"Oh, gee," said the little demon, "I'm not sure about that one. Warlocks don't really study all that much psychology. And it's not like we could split your two halves into different bodies somehow. We haven't got a transporter." No. 1 had recently developed a fondness for Star Trek.

"Perhaps a repurposing, then? Some sort of technique for transfer of consciousness?"

"Hmm... What about a golem?"

"An animated clay statue? I fail to see how that would be relevant."

"Well, that's one type of golem. But, sometimes warlocks would control them by going into a trance, and sort of moving their mind over to the golem. I was thinking maybe if you did something like that..."

"... Then Orion could take control of the golem, while I have my body to myself?" Artemis replied hopefully.

"Not quite. Golem spells don't last that long - just for a week or two. But I bet we could speed-grow you a clone, and maybe it'd work for a short-term solution, while you work on that number thing."

"Not exactly what I was looking for," responded Artemis, but Dr. Argon cut in quickly, as though he was desperate to be part of the conversation.

"I think it's a brilliant plan!" the psychologist exclaimed. 'It'll really give you a good chance to talk to each other, hash out your differences. Who knows," he added, smiling falsely, "the two of you might reach a new understanding."

I sincerely doubt that, thought Artemis, but he didn't say it out loud. Instead, he nodded, and tried to look enthusiastic. After all, this was his only chance to get some time to himself.