My entry to KellyKat77’s AEC contest on FF! Enjoy!
On FG, dedicated to ThunderSpirit, Silver, CaptainS10, Mastermind Excello, Solinium Pulse, And pretty much everyone of you fantastic people reading this!
IMPORTANT NOTE: Artemis is sitting on Foaly’s back. Don’t forget that 🙂
And so Holly began her story. “It all started in Ho Chi Minh City one summer. It was sweltering by anyone’s standards. Needless to say, Artemis Fowl would not have been willing to put up with such discomfort if something extremely important had not been at stake. Important to the plan…”
She continued. She told him of the Ritual,the abduction, the fairy gold that had been at stake, the Time Field. She told him of the Goblin Revolution and his aim to rescue his father. She told him of the C-Cube, Jon Spiro and the Mind Wipe. Holly sadly but surely recounted Julius Root’s murder, how she had been suspected, how they had survived a horde of bloodthirsty Trolls on the Temple of Artemis, how he regained his memories. She went on, explaining every last detail of their mission on Hybras. She mentioned how he had brought her back, with no resources but his intellect and her neutrino alone, how his genius had saved so many lives including hers. Holly told him about the severe and fatal case of Spelltrophy his mother had been affected with. She was intending to avoid the whole ‘take off your clothes’ situation, but Foaly chose that moment to interrupt and tell Artemis how ridiculous it looked when he held hands with the almost-naked elf. The elf in question attempted to punch him straight in the jaw with such force that Foaly calculated would send his first two teeth flying off, so he shut up as quickly as he had spoken which calmed her down a little.
Things got a bit more complicated during the Gorilla Cage healing scene. Holly longed to tell him every bit and piece of it, but that was not an option in the company of a really nosy, gossping centaur and Fowl’s faithful bodyguard who would probably choke if he found out that his employer had actually…she couldn’t find the right word.
But then she gingerly skipped that incident, moving on with her story. Foaly was more than helpful in describing Orion’s charming personality and how hilarious Artemis had been, afraid of the number four. The human did not react to his comments in any way, already having realized that Holly was the only narrator here worth his attention.
And finally, their latest escapade. The more recent details seemed easier to talk about, and would have made a lot more sense to the Mud Boy than anything had so far, explaining why exactly he woke up six months after his funeral with absolutely no memory of anything that had just been said.
At the end of the entire tale, a long silence drifted between the elf, centaur and two humans. Finally, clearing his throat, Foaly spoke.
“So, Arty, what happened during those six months it took me to create that clone of yours? My, it must have been eventful. Did you meet Opal’s soul or something? I bet she went to hell right after she…”
“Shut up,” snapped Holly, irritated. “For Frond’s sake, Centaur, let him recover.”
“No,” said Artemis, quietly. It startled the other three to hear him speak after what seemed like an eternity of silence. “All of you, I owe you my life. There is nothing I can do to express my gratitude, though I wish I could.”
Butler patted him on the back. “Don’t worry, Artemis. Your existence is good enough.” He smiled reassuringly. “We’re glad you didn’t give up on us.”
“Well,” said Foaly dryly. “You can start by getting off me. That’s all I’m asking.”
“Perhaps when we reach the Manor,” Holly grinned in an evil way. “Quit whining, Foaly. He can’t walk all that way, you know.”
Foaly whined again. “Of course not! Why does he have a 200-acre backyard?”
Butler glared at him, while the other two pretended he wasn’t even there. (Yes, Artemis had to imagine himself floating in mid air. Haha.) The slow-paced stroll continued for a few minutes, until Holly felt a sudden churning feeling in her stomach. She looked up at Artemis, hoping he’d get the message that they needed to go somewhere else, now.
“Foaly,” she said, turning the other direction. “I think you’d better put Artemis down. I want to say something.”
Artemis nodded, and Butler lifted him off the centaur’s back and laid him on his feet. He didn’t have the time to adjust his suit because right then Holly grabbed his hand and tugged at it gently. He followed the elf. The bodyguard couldn’t help but sigh in relief. Things were finally getting back on track, it seemed. He wondered briefly what Holly had to say, but decided it must be a personal matter and let it slip. Foaly walked alongside him reluctantly towards the manor.
When the were alone, the first thing Holly did was give him a light punch on the shoulder. Artemis supposed it wasn’t meant to hurt, although it stung a bit.
“That,” she said. “Is for being dead for nearly half a D’Arvitting year, worrying us all, making me cry into my pillow each and every night, and leaving your brothers behind.”
“Captain, it was not intentional-”
She punched him again. “That’s for calling me Captain. Please Arty, it hurts that you can’t remember me. Or at least couldn’t.”
He smiled weakly. “I suppose an apology would make it even?”
Holly frowned. “Not entirely, no. But still…” She gripped his hand again, even more tightly this time. “I have to ask you something. Well, I meant to, some time ago before you…died and everything. I don’t think you’ll be able to answer it now, but I really wanted to know.”
He shot her a vampire grin. “Please Holly, I can answer anything. Have you forgotten who I am?”
She awkwardly avoided his gaze. “Arty…” Arty. Why would she call me Arty?
Holly continued in a rushed tone, as if she wanted to say it and quickly be done with it. “Well, when I was talking about the Gorilla cage scene, I kind of left out something and…and that was, very, you know, important, I don’t know if you’ll understand but-” She caught herself, realizing that she was getting nowhere at this rate. She spoke the rest slowly, carefully, trying to avoid anything but the very vital details. “After the healing, I…We…”
Artemis raised an eyebrow, but was not expecting what came next.
He stared at her in disbelief; had they really done such a thing? Had he really had feeling towards someone? Had he once lo-
“I know it’s hard to take in,” said Holly, hurriedly, interrupting his wave of thoughts. “But believe me, please. It happened. It was all so fast, it just passed by quickly, but it still happened. It changed my life forever, Arty, I-”
“Yes,” said Artemis, absently. He turned to face her. “I know what you want to ask, Holly, and the answer is yes. You are more than a best friend to me. You are an inspiration, someone I take pride in knowing. Even as I listened to your story, memories resurfaced. They were merely blurred images, Holly, but you…”
“Artemis, please don’t-”
He pressed his lips to hers. “Thank you. For everything.”
The elf felt strangely comfortable. She embraced him tightly, as if she was not going to let go. “No, Arty. Thank you.”