Chaper 5. AF
Artemis Fowl, certified genius and ex-criminal mastermind was sitting at his desk, solving an impossible formula when something vibrated on his palm. He paused in the middle of his calculations and looked down at his hand, or more specifically, his middle finger. There on his finger was a rather ostentatious ring, embedded with a red crystal which appeared to be pulsating. It was his fairy communicator.
“Greetings, Holly. And what is it this time, may I ask?” he greeted her, “Has a human made contact with a fairy? Or…” he sat up straighter, “Is it Opal Koboi? Has she come back?”
“No.” Came Holly’s short reply, and Artemis sighed a small sigh of relief mixed with that of regret. While it would certainly have been troublesome if Opal was back, at the same time, it would have surely been more entertaining than sitting at home and solving formulae that were little more than a child’s play. “But I need to see you. Now.” Artemis paused, if only for a split second. He could hear that something was troubling Holly; she sounded on edge, as if she was being followed by someone, or as if she was unsure of herself. It was most unlike Holly.
“Why of course,” said Artemis smoothly, “How long will you take?”
“Five minutes.” Said Holly, and then she hung up.
In an actual fact, Holly Short, ex-major of the LEP and one of Section Eight’s most important officers only took three minutes and two seconds to reach Fowl Manor with her new wings and notorious flying skills. She knocked on Artemis’ window twice.
Inside his room, Artemis started. He had meant to tell Butler that Holly would be coming before she arrived, but she had arrived early. By one minute and fifty eight seconds. Sighing, Artemis went over to the window, pulled open the curtains, undid the latch and let Holly in. Holly zoomed in, unshielded and noted with surprise that Butler was not there.
“Where’s Butler?” she asked.
“In the surveillance room,” Artemis replied, “which means that he will be entering this room at any second, no doubt.” And as if on cue, the door burst open and Butler appeared, Sig Sauer in hand, and with a dangerous expression.
“Take off your helmet!” he commanded, pointing the gun at Holly. Holly slowly removed her helmet, and held her fists behind her head, looking at Butler with a raised eyebrow. Artemis smirked.
“Oh, Holly, it’s you.” Said Butler, grinning. “Sorry about that, Artemis didn’t tell me that you were coming so when I saw you come in, helmet and all, I just had to come and check who it was.”
“No worries,” said Holly, and she relaxed from her position, but Artemis noticed that one of her fists were still tightly clenched.
“So,” he said, taking command, “what brings you here?”
Holly quickly retold the events of the day to her two friends, from how she had been sent to a gnome convention right up to how she had found the ring. All the while, Artemis listened to it with a frown upon his face. “And, do you want me to find out what caused the explosion? Or whose ring it is?” he asked, because although Holly had explained that she had found the ring, she hadn’t explained how it had pulled her to it so magnetically, how its shine seemed to draw her in… “Holly?” Artemis asked, concern escaping into his voice. His elven friend appeared to be in a trance, staring at the ring with wide open eyes.
“Yes? Oh, sorry…” said Holly, shaken out of her trace by the sound of Artemis’ voice. “I think that this ring might have something to do with the explosion. It’s hard to explain, but there’s just something about this ring…” she trailed off, unsure.
“I see.” Said Artemis. “May I?” he held his hand out for the ring and examined it as Holly handed it over to him. “There’s an inscription on it.” He stated. “Can you read it?” Surprised, Holly took the ring back from him.
“Yes,” she said, “It’s in ancient elvish. It says…” she frowned, clearly perplexed.
“It says?” asked Artemis, starting to become a little impatient.
“It says ‘Made in Angmar’.” Holly finished, still frowning at the ring.
“Made in Angmar?” Artemis repeated, also surprised. “This may be a joke of some sort… However, if it isn’t… Butler, may I ask you to research this, please?” Butler nodded and left the room. “Well, Holly, it has to be said that this has certainly made my day more interesting.” Said Artemis, smiling in a way that sent chills and thrills cascading down Holly’s spine.