Notes: This is sort of a sequel to my other Artemis Fowl story, Of Two Minds. It's not required reading, but this story will definitely reference plot points from it. Also, that way, you'll know what happened with Orion.
Also, because for some reason people always do this, I don't own Artemis Fowl. If I did, I wouldn't be writing fanfiction, and I would also be an Irish man instead of an American girl.
School, Minerva Paradizo decided, did not agree with her. She had liked studying from home perfectly well; she could do whatever she wanted without interruption and structure imposed on her. Her father, however, had taken issue with almost this exact same trait. Paradizo had been concerned to discover his daughter was kidnapping demons (a fact which a simple mindwipe had taken care of easily enough), but he was furious to learn that she was dating a twenty-five year old Swiss skiing instructor.
"You are becoming wild!" he had raged at her. "Uncontrolled! You're sixteen, for god's sake; just because you're a genius doesn't mean you know everything."
"Perhaps, but I know more than you do," Minerva had made the fatal mistake of saying, and perhaps because of that, he had set out to find someone that she did not know more than.
He had been imminently successful when he found St. Agatha's Academy for Unusually Gifted Girls. It was not your ordinary all-girls school designed to target problem daughters; every student there was a genius-level intellect. And while Minerva was beyond most of them in pure IQ, she found that many of them had focused on areas that she was far less familiar with. Minerva was bright, but she was not the polymath that Artemis was, and for the second time in her life, she was forced to admit that maybe there were a few people out there who knew more than she did.
It was not an experience she enjoyed.
Also unhelpful was the fact that she had lost her other advantage. St Agatha's fees were exorbitant, and there was no chance of academic scholarships. While there was a subsection of the girls who were on financial scholarships, being rich enough to afford the school meant that Minerva's wealth was no threat. Minerva was forced to face the fact that she wasn't as special as she liked to think she was next to her new schoolmates.
There was just one little thing that set her apart. None of the other girls knew about fairies.
Magic, Artemis decided, was not quite as useful as one might think.
With his mother Angeline in the know about the People, using the mesmer was only a viable option if he wanted to earn her ire. Healing was possible, as it carried less risk of him getting caught, but Artemis very rarely engaged in any action likely to provoke injury. Any attempt at shielding would drain his entire reserve in ten minutes, and there weren't too many times when he needed it. The gift of tongues was useful, but Artemis was already fluent in five languages, and could carry on a conversation in four more. And he had to hide it completely hidden from any of the People, who would not be happy to learn their old enemy possessed their most important gift.
The problem with keeping secrets from the People was that it also meant keeping secrets from Holly, something that was much harder than he had thought. His conscience prickled almost every time he got a call from her, usually to update him on the Atlantis rebuild. It was an even worse sign than usual – an overabundance of guilt could restart his Atlantis Complex, and he would be back to counting words, hiding from fours, and praying that when he woke up, he would still be the one in control of his body. Getting rid of Orion hadn't been an enjoyable experience, and he would very much prefer that his alter ego not return.
Of course, even he had to admit, there was more to it than sheer pragmatism. He quite simply didn't like lying to Holly. But that didn't mean that every month, on the full moon, he wasn't out at an ancient oak by a bend in the river, burying an acorn to renew his magic.
Generally, the time spent with Holly was supposed to be spent tracking down Opal Koboi. Her past incarnation was still, theoretically, on the loose. But there was no trace of her to be found anywhere, and while Artemis dug for hints of fairy activity, using the same techniques that had been employed to find his original fairy contact, the pair would, to use the term Angeline had, "hung out." Holly had managed to pique Artemis' curiosity with a copy of The Hills of Taillte, a semi-fictional account of the famous battle; he had done the same with The Hobbit. In between teasing each other about their species' respective literature, they had an even closer relationship than before. Perhaps that was why when Holly asked for the next book, he had given her A Midsummer Night's Dream instead of The Fellowship of the Rings. Or why he had decided that knowing how to use a gun might be a useful skill when she'd offered to help him with his aim.
And then one day, everything changed. And not in the cheery, romantic kind of way that involved tender moments and unexpected kisses. More in the kind of way that involved old nemeses and bureaucratic idiocy.
Artemis was shocked to see Holly's face when she arrived at Fowl Manor. It looked as though she had been yelling and crying simultaneously for the last few hours. The reason was out of her mouth before Artemis could even ask her what was wrong. "It's Koboi!" she shouted, the tears still not quite out of her voice. "They've gone and released her!"
Artemis was appalled. "Why in the world would anybody even think to do that?" he exclaimed loudly, with uncharacteristic rage. "Are they complete morons – or has she mesmerized them?" He settled on the second explanation with a sort of relief in an opportunity to maintain his faith in the People.
"Worse," said Foaly bitterly, who was on the other end of a video call. "She got her lawyers to convince them that since she's technically not a fairy anymore. As a human – which to be fair, for all intents and purposes she is – she's not subject to our laws, like another certain famous criminal mastermind we're all familiar with. Since we beat her, we're back to mindwiping her and letting her go."
"So you – and let me just get this clear, to make sure I didn't misunderstand the situation – had her mindwiped and introduced her into human society, correct?"
"They dumped her in Disneyland Paris without any money or ID," said Foaly defensively. "It's not like they set her up with a trust fund or something."
"Disregarding the fact that Opal's past self is still on the loose, and we have no idea where she might be, or whether or not she is still under the influence of the many magic-enhancing substances she was using?" Artemis continued, undeterred.
"Well, there's this warlock, Fungal, who put a lot of research into the whole time-traveling thing, and he says there's no evidence she's still survived. He had a presentation and everything on how she would have gotten sucked back into the time stream after seventy-two hours."
"And your council is actually prepared to accept a statement as ridiculous as that." Artemis tutted and shook his head.
"Let's not get into what the Council is prepared to accept right now," Holly said testily. "We need to focus on exactly what we're going to do next."
"What does the Council want us to do next?" asked Artemis arching an eyebrow.
"Nothing!" Holly fumed. "Just sit back and let her go. She counts as human now, so apparently we don't have jurisdiction over her! She's a vile murderer who should be rotting underground for the rest of her thousand-year life, and the People can't touch her because of their stupid rules!"
Artemis gave an unusually quiet cough. "If you don't intend to do anything about it, then why have you contacted me?"
Holly's fury settled into a look of surprisingly familiar menace. "Me, not doing anything about it?" she said, with unusually threatening sweetness. "Oh, Artemis. Whoever said I was planning on doing that?"
Minerva Paradizo did not like the new girl. There was something that was simply not right about her.
Maybe it was the way she'd just appeared out of nowhere. A transfer student in the middle of the year was unusual at most schools; at St. Agatha's, it was unheard of, especially in the case of a complete unknown, like this girl. Or maybe it was the way that the teachers and the other girls seemed to have that strange, almost worshipful, respect for her. The magisters were used to dealing with cunning, headstrong teenage girls, and the students themselves were so secure in their status that it would take a miracle to win them over that fast; even she was still proving herself worthy of her status at St. Agatha's.
Maybe, Minerva had to admit to herself, she disliked her simply for being smarter and prettier than she was.
But there was still something off about her. Those too-big eyes, that cunning smile. The fact that, even though she couldn't be more than fifteen or sixteen, she acted as though the other girls were children compared to her.
No, Minerva decided, she definitely did not like Belinda Lutin, and there was definitely a reason why.
So, an author's note. Not as much to comment on here, but yay, Minerva! Sure, I write pretty subtle A/H, but that doesn't mean I hate Minnie, and I want to let her be a cool, individual character. "Lutin" is, according to Babelfish, French for pixie, which is a little too obvious, but I like the sound of it. Also, I would just like to say that if it seems extremely uncharacteristic to let her go... maybe it is.