“Is she awake?” A deep, but soft voice asked.
“I thinking it’s waking,” a cold voice answered, not even bothering to try to be quiet. “Why don’t you go; I call you if I need anything.”
“Go, Butler,” the cold voice cut in.
There was a sigh and heavy footsteps as ‘Butler’ exited the room.
My eyes flickered, but closed again almost immediately.
“Ah, so she is waking,” the cold voice, Artemis, said, with a hint of satisfaction.
I opened my eyes again, and this time they stayed open. I looked up to see a boy standing over me, obviously the owner of the voice. He studied me carefully. I said nothing, but merely looked back at him.
With a start, I realized this boy was my age, or at least close. Twelve or thirteen, somewhere in that area.
Finally, I decided to break the silence. It was going to drive me nuts if I didn’t. “Who are you?”
He smirked and bowed mockingly. “Artemis Fowl the second, at your service,” he said. “May I ask who you are?”
“I’m not telling you my real name,” I told him. “So you can just call me Power. That’s my nickname.”
“Hmm…” Artemis mused. “No, I think you shall prove very talkative, very talkative indeed. Or at least,” he paused here, probably for dramatic effect, “You would if you knew what was good for you.”
“Is that a threat?” I demanded, sitting up a little straighter. No reason for me to look as scared as I felt.
He leaned down, getting so close I could feel his breath in my face. “Maybe.”
Butterflies fluttered around my stomach, but I tried to hold the fear at bay.
Okay, okay, I thought, shaking myself internally. Get it together.
“What do you want?” I demanded. “If you think you’ll get something from this, you’re wrong.”
He shook his head. “Oh no. You’re the one who is wrong. I will get something from this.”
“Yeah, a diagnosis of psychosis,” I muttered.
He wagged a finger at me. “You are testing my patience, Miss Power,” he warned. “I assure you, this is not a good idea. And I believe you know exactly what I will get from this.”
I shook my head. “How could I? For all I know, you’re just doing this because you think it’s funny, which, by the way, it is not.”
He frowned. “No, certainly not.” At the look on my face, he sighed. “Okay, I’ll level with you here.” He dropped down, sitting in lotus position in front of me.
Then he leaned forward as if to share some great secret with me. “I know what you are.”
“Yeah,” I snorted. “So does everyone else in the world. I’m human.”
“No, you’re not,” he said, obviously beginning to lose his patience with me.
“Yes, I am,” I said, my patience beginning to wear thin as well.
“Okay, let’s stop playing this game. You tell me the truth, I’ll tell you the truth. Agreed?”
“But I am telling the truth,” I protested.
“No, you are not,” he said. “You are a fairy. An elf, a leprechaun, whatever term you prefer.” I opened my mouth to protest, but he held his hand up to silence me. “Do not try to deny it. I already know for certain.”
What I said next was probably one of the stupidest things I could have said. “Prove it.”
He smirked. “Prove it? Okay then.” He reached behind him and grabbed a little black box.
“This is a proximity meter,” he informed me. “It is set to detect magic in a certain area around it. It detected the magic in you.”
“Then why is it not going off now?” I asked, eyeing it warily.
“Because it’s not on,” he replied. “Nice try though.” He flipped it over and pressed a little red button on the back. There was a click and then box starting humming as it started up. Almost immediately, it began to beep.
The same high pitched keening beep from before.
He smirked again and showed me the screen. It said MAGIC DETECTED, and gave exact directions on how to get to me. The list was very short, as I was sitting a few feet in front him. He moved it closer to me, so it was just a few inches away. The beeping got so loud it was almost unbearable. I flinched and pulled back. He just moved it closer again. “Take it,” he insisted. “It won’t hurt you.”
“Except for that stupid insisting beeping,” I muttered, taking it from him and flinching when the beeping got even louder on contact with my skin.
Artemis plucked the device from my hands. “Convinced yet?”
I thought about it. He had a convincing argument. But how was it possible for me to be some weird mythical magical creature and not know it? I decided I wanted more proof. “No,” I said. “For all I know that little box thing is a trick. I want more proof.”
He raised an eyebrow. “More proof?” I nodded. He thought about it.
“I have a way,” he said, slowly, making sure I was comprehending. “But it’s a little extreme. You’re not going to like it.”
“Tell me,” I demanded.
He told me. I didn’t like it.
But I still agreed to it.
I needed this. I needed proof. I had to know the truth.
“Are you sure?”
I bit my lip. I really wasn’t sure, but I felt I had to. I was confident that I was right, that this guy was nuts, but I still couldn’t help the what ifs that kept popping up in my head.
Finally, I nodded.
He stood. “Then I’ll be right back.”
As he exited the room, I leaned my head back against the wall, feeling the cold concrete surface behind me, and squeezed my eyes tightly closed. I laid there like that until I heard the door open again.
“Is she okay?” A deep voice murmured. “She looks a little green.”
“She’s fine,” Artemis’s voice assured.
“Are you sure, Artemis? You told me she wouldn’t be harmed.”
“I’m not condoning to anything here that wasn’t agreed upon. Correct?”
I opened my eyes. Artemis was standing over me, looking expectantly at me for an answer. Standing behind him had to be the biggest man I’d ever seen.
I swallowed hard and nodded, forcing the words out around the lump in my throat. “Yeah. Yeah, I agreed to it.”
The big man didn’t look convinced. “Really?”
I nodded, then turned to Artemis. “Well,” I said, leveling him with one of my signature looks, “Depending on whether this does or doesn’t work, I’ll officially labeling you crazy… or a genius.”
“I prefer genius,” he said.
“Me too,” I admitted. “I rather be kidnapped by a genius than a psycho.”
It was the truth, though I couldn’t help the tag-along thought that ran through my head. Not that there’s much of a difference.
The big man knelt down beside me. Taking my hand, he turned it palm up. He looked at it for a moment, then looked up at me. “Which hand is your dominant one?”
“My right,” I said. “Why?”
“I want to use your weak hand, just in case.”
I wanted to ask, in case of what? but I didn’t. I already knew.
Spreading my fingers out from my palm, he reached back into his pocket and pulled out a pocket knife. “This will sting a little,” he murmured to me, opening the knife and pressing the tip of it into my palm.
I nodded. “I had figured as much.” Then I took a deep breath. “Okay,” I said. “I’m ready. Do it.”