Butler closed and locked the cell door door behind him, then headed up the stairs to Artemis’s study.
The boy was sitting up at his desk, watching the news. He didn’t even look up when the manservant entered the room. “Did you do it?”
“Yes, sir. She has no magic left.”
“Good.” He paused. “Do you believe her, Butler? What she said about not knowing, I mean.”
“She seemed pretty sincere to me, sir,” Butler answered.
“It doesn’t add up, though. Why would the fairies abandon one of their own? Leave her here, in the world of humans, with no knowledge of her true heritage? It would seem to me that she did something to make them not want to associate themselves with her, or offend them, perhaps. Which leads up to the million dollar question— is this particular fairy even worth an ounce of gold? Did we grab the wrong girl?”
“I don’t know, sir.”
“The only way to find out is to continue on with the plan. We need a way to contact the People, find out whether we can continue on and use her or not. If we do contact them, and then find out that we can’t, then the whole plan is ruined. They’ll know about us, know to keep themselves hidden from us so that we can’t capture any others, if we did live. Which we presumably wouldn’t, because they would probably send a team to blue rinse us.”
“But sir, you said that you knew how to escape those!” Butler protested. “I thought-”
“I said that I know how to escape the time stop,” Artemis corrected. “Which, in theory, would allow me to escape the blue rinse, yes.”
“Oh,” he murmured. “So what if she isn’t worth anything? What happens then?”
“She dies,” Artemis said simply. “When they blue rinse the place, she’ll be killed with anything else living left behind in the time stop.”
Butler nodded hard, his jaw set. It was easy to tell he didn’t like the idea, but he didn’t say anything.
Artemis, either obvious to this or just ignoring it, continued. “The plan will probably have to be aborted, at least for a while, until the People relax a bit, before we can try to capture someone else. I imagine they’ll be on their guard for quite a while after this, whether this plan succeeds this time around or not.” He sighed and turned back to the computer. “Leave me, Butler. I need time to think about how I’m going to do this. I have to contact the People some how, I just have yet to figure out exactly how to do it,” he murmured to himself.
Butler, noticing this, slowly began to back out of the room. Artemis was immersed in his work, now lost in his own little world. There was nothing else to do now but leave him to his own devices and let him work.
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