Holly took a break from piloting and let Trouble take over. She needed to think over why she was still mad and what she would tell Artemis. After a few moments, and a sigh, she decided she had no reason to still be mad, and needed to apologize. However, right now he was unconcious, and probably would be for a while.
Suddenly, there was a clang as something crashed into the ship. Who could be attacking them now? They had Opal right here, and as far as they knew, the other Opal was dead. What enemies did they have now? That was answered in moments as the shuttle went down in the middle of the rainforest and an LEP squadron broke in. A ghost squadron.
No one could believe what they were seeing. It was if all the LEP that had died that were friend’s of Julius Root had come back to life and turned against them. Yes, you read that right. Ghost Commander Julius Root was heading this squadron, along with all the rest of the dead LEP from about five years.
Everyone was taken aback, but it hit Holly the worst. She had witnessed Julius’s death herself, and he had seemed happy to die. But now he was coming back like he was extremely unhappy and wanted someone else to die and feel his pain.
As the ship was going down, Butler, Holly, and Trouble were able to form the available people into a half squadron.(8 Minerva, Butler, Holly, Trouble, Foaly, Mulch, Harry, Bobby. Okay so one more than half, but still) However, now at the sight of danger, people were starting to back off. Now, Butler, Holly, and Trouble stood alone to face this ghost squadron.
Ghost Comander pulled out a ghost Nuetrino and shot a round into the back of a chair. Even if it was ghostly, it could still do some pretty good damage. At the sight of this, three hands went to three guns. To their surprise, Root put down his weapon and held up two fingers to his ghost squadron. They all put down their Nuetrinos and took a step backward.
Upon seeing this, the three realized they needed to do the same.
“Let me handle this guys,” Holly said.
The two men tried to object, but Holly silenced them with a knowing smile. Butler bowed his head quickly to her respect, and went back to stand over Artemis. Holly then turned to Trouble, who was refusing to leave.
“Trouble, just trust me on this. It’ll be fine. I promise.”
“Okay, Holly. Just be careful. Julius may not be who you remember him as.”
Holly nodded and Trouble stepped back. Then Holly turned to face her old commander, Julius Root; deceased.
“Evening, Captain,” he said, as if he were still alive and this was just a drop in during the mission.
“And you too, Commander.”
“Holly, how have you been? Because I haven’t been very happy. I’ve watched you sing that song to yourself every night from Elf Heaven, and I just can’t get over the fact that you didn’t follow the order I gave you right before I died. I said,’Be well,’ Holly. Do you remember that? All you’ve done is mourn. Get a grip on yourself. Someday you will make it to the positon Commander. You can’t do that job with a heavy heart. You have to be firm, girl. Do you hear me?”
“Yes, sir. Loud and clear.” Holly knew exactly what song he was talking about. It was a mud man song from “The Phantom of the Opera” called Wishing you were somehow here again. She had heard Foaly singing it to himself one day, and thought that it applied very well. It also helped to bring up her spirit when she thought of Root.(Listen to the song on YouTube or something. It’s really sad, and pretty too. I play it on the piano)
“Then, Captain, I will give that order again. Be well, Short. I will now depart with my squadron, and we will be watching to make sure you follow it. Oh, and Short?”
“Take good care of your loved ones. You never know what might happen to them.”
“Thank you, Commander. I will. Oh, and that is an order that I will follow. I’m sorry that I displeased you. I’ll try harder.”
“Very good. But one thing.”
“Holly, call me Julius. Commander is too formal.”
“There. That’s better. Be well, Holly.”
He said this and was suddenly just gone. No opening of doors, no nothing. They were just…. gone. All their ghost weapons dissapeared without being touched, and the hole in the back of the chair disappeared. It was as if they had never been. Holly would have believed that it was just a hallucination or a dream, but the others blinked, trying to believe what they had just seen and what had happened to them.
Holly turned back to the group, only to find them all tied to their chairs, and Opal smirking in front of her. Holly looked at her friends one by one, her horror growing more with each one. All of them were gagged and completely tied so tight that Butler couldn’t even loosen the knots. And Opal had escaped and was standing in front of her wiping hardened chunks of dwarf spit off her face.
When Holly rested her eyes upon Opal, she knew that she had been stupid to face away alone. It had only been a couple minutes, and Opal had managed to do all this. For a brief moment, she suspected that Root and his ghost squadron might have just been a cruel decoy, but looking at Opal, she realized that it was real and had just played into Opal’s hand.
“I’m not so easy to capture after all, huh Captain Short?”
Holly scowled. “You won’t get away with this, Opal.”
“Ooh, tough talking are we now. I’m sooo scared.”
“Shut-up, you grand oaf, ugly pixie.”
“Oh no you didn’t!”
“Oh yes I did!”
“Hey! You two. Let’s break up the cat fight, now. Holly, there’s no time for this. Use your time wisely, not in stupid bickering.” This was from Foaly. He had managed to work the gag down to between his bottom teeth and lip.
Holly caught the meaningful look that went along with this, and realized he was right. She was about to throw out one more jibe, when there was a flash outside and a tall man in white with a staff came into the shuttle looking around.
He saw Holly, and said, “You called?”
“Um, no I didn’t.”
“I am Gandalf the Grey. You most certainly did call me.”
This clicked in Holly’s head, and realized that when she said “grand oaf” it must have sounded like Gandalf. “Oh, well yes, yes I did. I need help to vanquish this pixie. Not to kill her, but to make sure she will not hurt anyone again.”
“Happy to oblige,” Gandalf said. He pointed his staff at Opal, who was backing away, shooting random shots at Gandalf. None of them affected him, however.
He shot a shock of pale pink light at Opal head, and she fell onto the floor, spasmed for a moment, then went unconcious. Holly untied her friends and they took turns thanking Gandalf. At the end of the line, all of them stepped back. They got a surprise, though.
Opal had woken back up and had joined them without their knowing. This wasn’t a threat, they found out out though. Opal went up and thanked Gandalf, too.
“Thank you for freeing me,” she said. “I have been trapped in my brain for so long, waiting to be released. You see, I was developing the Atlantis Complex, but hadn’t yet been released. Now, I won’t have to deal with that evil side of me ever again, thanks to you.” This was of course a false statement, because this side of Opal was not as bright, but for now, it was.
“You are all very welcome. Now, I suggest you come take a rest in my hut. I have one in this forest, you know. Bring that boy with you, too. He will heal.”
“Okay,” Butler answered for the group.Let’s get a move on, then.”
They all departed from the shuttle and entered the hut of Gandalf. The complex was explained to this side of Opal here, which they found to be named Melody-Christine because it sounded like monochrome, an opposite of opalescent.
Gandalf’s Rainforest hut
“So, this Opal is only good for a short time, and then she’ll be bad again?” Artemis asked, sounding very childish.
“Unfortunately, yes. We’ll keep her under control, though,” Holly answered him. “Now, you know the story. Once you’re healed well enough, we can all go back to where we came from. And we have Opal for hopefully the last time. This is great Artemis. Oh, and Arty,” she said, leaning in. “I have something for you.”
They kissed long and sweet, their friends looking at them and smiling. They were happy for the couple. Artemis pulled away and asked, “Are you my girlfriend, now then?”
“Why, of course Arty. I love you. Duh,” she said, and kissed him again.
Artemis pulled away again, and said, “Oh, Holly. I have someone to tell you about.”
Holly stood up and looked at him, horrified.
“No! Holly it’s not like that. I wanted to tell you about a dolphin.”
“Oh. Only a dolphin. Well, what is it then?” she asked curiously.
“The dolphin that saved me, I named her Berry.”
Holly understood this right away, but their other friends stood there, puzzled.
“Oh, thank you Arty,” she said and kissed him one last time. When they separated, their friends had got it.
“That was nice, Artemis,” Minerva said. “And no pressure. I’m with Trouble completely now. It’s okay.”
Artemis smiled at all of them, but stopped as a shot of pain went through his knee.
“Ahh! What happened to my knee?” he asked.
“Oh. We forgot to tell you that part of the story,” Foaly said. “You see, when Root’s ghost squadron was putting down their weapons, one of them dropped their’s and it shot you in the knee. You should be fine though.”
Artemis nodded and smiled. He was where he belonged now. With his friends. His family.
A few days later….
A few days later, Artemis had sufficiently healed and the fairies returned him home. Bobby Pendragon was returned to the flume and Harry was taken back to Hogwarts. Gandalf stayed at his hut. The fairies returned underground to await another great adventure. Minerva went to the manor with Artemis and Butler.
Artemis thought everything was taken care of, but he was in for a surprise when he got home. He had forgotten about his parents.
Thank you to 21bub21 for the idea of Root attacking back from the dead. I was out of ideas and helped a lot. Thanks!