Chapter 20: Dawn Confrontation
Gig had been sober enough the previous night to remember to leave Artemis’s door unlocked. Artemis set his provided alarm clock to 5:00 AM and began to undress. He found a new set of clothes lying inconspicuously on his bed when he walked in, he realized they were pajamas. Undressing and putting on these new cloths, Artemis had the strange sensation he was putting on a uniform. Artemis had begun his life in a suit, but now he felt that he wanted to end it in jeans. The Extendes were a fascinating group of teenagers, each with their own ambitions, talents, and problems. Together they had a bond that could only be described as a brotherhood.
The loud beeping woke Artemis up at 5:00 AM on the dot. He rolled out of bed, turned on the lights, causing temporary blindness, and began to dress. Spin should be up by now and in the common room fixing herself some tea. Artemis wondered if the Extendes had decent tea as he exited his room and walked cautiously down the pathway. There were no lights on in any of the rooms, and the lack of any torchlights on the outside would have made the walk difficult. Artemis however had been lucky that tonight had been a full moon, and the suns blue rays were just peaking over the hills in the East. The entire scene made everything different shades of blue without any distinction between actual colors and depth.
The sliding glass doors were open, and on Artemis’s entry he went to the kitchen and began to search high and low for tea and mugs. He found both and made himself a cup of tea. The cup didn’t steam as much as he was use to, then again it was easily 80 deg outside and he wasn’t use to that either. He turned left on the walkway and went down to the corner building and down the opening on the right side of the door between the two buildings. The path was subtle but well used.
The Heir fallowed the path to a line of trees where he realized he was on a small plateau looking over the land like a king. Turning his head he realized that the base was a simple hill with lots of tree engulfing it entirely. Completely isolated, completely concealed from satellites, after all who would search out here? Artemis walked to the line of trees. The path wound around trees over large rocks, and between large expose roots of trees. Artemis heard it before he saw it. It was talking; someone was talking to someone else, or was it the same person? Artemis stared at where the sound was coming from and continued to go forward.
Artemis had never been very agile, though he had improved much since his childhood he still under stepped a rock and fell flat on his face in the blue morning fog. The talking stopped instantly; Artemis got up and brushed himself off looking around. The first thing he noticed was the large hole in front of him. It was another wash, the second was Spin.
Artemis looked to his left only to find Spin sitting on a large smooth grey rock using a smaller rougher red colored one as a footstool. She didn’t look at him nor did Artemis say anything. Spin was wearing her pajamas as Artemis was, accept Artemis had brought his jacket along as well; she was wearing a light pink loose cotton T-shirt with thin light grey sweatpants with a rainbow on the hip. Her slippers were dark brown with rubber soles, made for the outdoors, she wasn’t wearing any makeup, and her hair was loose from the bun and hung thick around her shoulders. Her skin was much lighter than Artemis had seen before; though it had its share of sun spots he couldn’t say that Spin in this relaxed state was any less ugly than their previous meetings.
“Gig told you where I’d be I bet.” Said Spin still not looking at him. Artemis looked at the wash in front of him.
“He said it would be a good idea if we talked.” Spin’s eyes sneered.
“Gig says a lot of things when he’s drunk a surprising number of them are not true.” Artemis pressed on.
“I want to talk to you, is that such an appalling occurrence? What did I ever do to you to deserve this kind of treatment?” Spin put her hands on the rock she on which she was seated, she felt uncomfortable talking directly to the enemy and didn’t want this conversation to go any further, Artemis could tell.
“If you want to talk then sit down Mr. Fowl, though I’m not interested at all in much you have to say.” Said Spin she shook her head as Artemis made his way over to a small but smooth whitish rock next Spin but closer to the edge of the wash.
“You imply that you will talk to me about something . . . “ Artemis leaned over trying to get Spins attention, it worked.
“Yes if you want to tell me that you plan on helping us then I’m all ears.” Rebutted Spin. Artemis grew frustrated.
“When I’m through with a plan and I’ve succeeded I’m usually happy about it, however I haven’t even seen you seriously smile or brag, or tell me how you did it, and that’s what I want to know.” Said Artemis his eyes fire, she stared into his, her eyes were ice crystals.
“You want to know where you went wrong and how I duped you?”
“Yes.” Spin went back to looking at the wash once more before she answered. “About three years ago a LEPretrival shuttle stumbled into our air space. We didn’t mind because they were busy trying to capture an escaped troll, however at the time I wasn’t aware there was a difference between LEP and our enemy, Control, we attacked them, as to tell you the truth once they left we backed off, after all the troll was on our land. During this skirmish Wolf found a wireless signal that went underground.” Artemis nodded.
“Foaly.” Spin nodded.
“Foaly was just the beginning. From that signal we were able to basically work from the database catching and retrieving information which was copied and quantified accordingly, that was when we came across your file.” Spin sighed. “Once we figured out there was someone else out there that knew, I knew that we had to make contact.” Spin stood up and began to walk around the small clearing around the rocks.”When this group began it was Gig, Wolf and I, and we were barely getting by. My connections were able to keep them safe, my skills, well why do they call me Spin?” She looked at Artemis, an evil glare in her eyes Artemis had seen many times before.
“Because I spin the truth.” Artemis met her determined look with one of his own.
“So you’re a conartist, you swindled people and resources to get what you wanted, you stole, blackmailed, laundered, and edged your way up to where you are today.” Spin smiled.
“Well yes, not all of us are independently wealthy Artemis, the rest of us don’t have that luxury, we have to work for it.” Artemis raised his head.
“Are you implying that I don’t work for anything so you can get off the subject by causing me to interject?” Said Artemis forcefully, Spin was taken aback. “No more parlor tricks, tell me what happened next.” Spin shifted her weight, dust coming up from her movement.
“Fine, we made the plan and agreed on it two weeks later. It took forever to finish building this place, make plans for you, protect people here, and find more Extendes else ware. El Vaso de Guadalupe was an idea I got off of the painting The Fairy Thief you seemed to be getting into that trade so I thought it was a good idea.” Spin sighed, but this time with regret. “This must have been where it happened. I made a personality profile of you; it took me longer than anyone else I’ve ever investigated. I knew how you would react when certain obstacles were put into place, I knew what choices you would see and which you would take, I knew before you did.”
“What exactly is a personality profile?” Asked Artemis supporting his head on his fist.
“Every organism no matter how small reacts to stimuli. People are, of course, more complex and tend to make decisions on feeling rather than factual information, especially when there is emotion involved. I knew that if you succeeded in finding your father and your mother was well again, and you would be forced to settle down, the dragon in you would feel chained and alone. I knew you would feel jaded by every little thing around you. You would go mad!” Spin pointed at Artemis. “That was when I knew we had you, which was when I knew you would make mistakes; I knew you would do anything to come all the way out here even if information was sketchy. You were dying of thirst for action.” She lowered her hand. “It was so perfect, the whole thing worked so perfectly . . . “ Artemis saw to his horror a face similar to that of Minerva’s right after capturing N deg 1 the perfect plan, and it had worked.
“How did you get me interested in the vase? I researched that on my own, I was looking at it months ago I . . . . “Artemis answered his own question, and lowered his head shaking it in shame. “You knew I was for searching it because Foaly was keeping tabs on me and you were doing the same to him.” Spin nodded. “I see so that’s how you did it, you predicted my future feelings if I succeeded and I did, so my triumphs were your ammunition against me.” Spin said nothing, her face analyzing every bit of Artemis’s face.
“However I get the feeling I’ve made a mistake, and I’m not . . . sure what to do.” Spin sat back down on her rock her chin in her hands. “There’s something I must have missed in your profile, I know I went wrong somewhere in the beginning. This is just too perfect.” Artemis looked on.
“Is that why you’ve treated me like an old shoe this whole time?” Spin looked furious.
“When I completed your profile I assumed you would come down here and be an absolute jerk to everything and everyone. I thought you were going to at least try something!” Said Spin cogently.
“Why did you think that?”
“I base future decisions on past decisions. What did you do when you first knew about the People?” Artemis blinked. “You kidnapped one of them and held her for ransom; you’ve taken advantage of them loads of times! Did you think that I would assume you would be on your best behavior once we captured you?” Artemis was about to answer but was cut off. “No, No you would try your best to escape or undermine me in front of the entire group!” Spin was yelling now.
“You truly believe I’m that horrible of a person?” Asked Artemis, turmoil in his eyes.
“Yes,” Spin nodded, “I knew that the moment you set foot here you would be nothing but an obstruction.” Artemis grew angrier, which was odd nothing usually did this.
“YOU THINK I WANTED TO BE KIDNAPED?” yelled Artemis, bewildered by the absurdity which was apparent in her previous statement.
“YOU’RE ASSUMING THAT YOU WERE THE ONE I WANTED TO BE KIDNAPPED!” Yelled Spin. Artemis blinked and stood up confronting Spin.
“I wasn’t your target?” He asked, his voice almost a whisper. Spin looked at him, her face not revealing any emotion.
“When we knew about you, when we figured out it was you who could help us, Wolf Gig and I were torn over how to win you over. I explained that your profile suggested a lack of compassion for the weak and those in need. I didn’t think your personality could be altered into helping us, I didn’t think we could make you care.” Spin looked away, but for only a second before she met his gaze again. She stood at her full height, about 5’3”, and addressed him again. “If it had been anyone else, I would have chosen them in’a heart beat.” Artemis inhaled deeply.
“You don’t think I care? You don’t think I have a heart, at all?” Spin’s eyes grew immediately fierce.
“Both Wolf and Gig said you could be turned but I don’t believe them, I suggested that we should, instead of capturing you, capture a family member, like your father for example, since you worked to such great lenghths to find him.” Spin shifted her weight again, more relaxed. Artemis looked furious at the very mention of his father in any such plans.
“MY FATHER?” Yelled Artemis, Spin said nothing, he leaned back. It made perfect sense, and it would ensure his support the whole time until the Extendes were free. “And you didn’t go through with it because of Wolf and Gig.” Spin nodded, and held her arm like a wounded animal. “How far along did you get? Are you planning on going through with that plan I case I say no?”
“We do not seek such revenge, the primary goal of the Extendes is to survive, however we cannot involve humans.” Artemis nodded and looked at the wash. If anything it was an illustration of Spin’s hatred for him, deep and dry.
“You don’t think I’ll help you?” said Artemis. “You truly believe I would try to take advantage of you?” Spin’s eyes were furious.
“Look at what you did to the people, they didn’t even ask for your help, and what did you do? You kidnapped a LEP officer, you held her for ransom! We are like them; I base your reactions on previous reactions or choices you’ve made! How did you think it would come out! You’ve taken advantage of them before, and I believe that you will again, only this time to us!” Spin’s chest was heaving, her right leg was out in front of her, her body language screamed, attack.
“You thought I would do the same thing to you?” Said Artemis convincingly.
“You know what would be the best day of my life!? The day when I know those people,” She pointed in the direction of the complex. “If I knew that they could live their lives without fear, without fearing the unknown enemy who hunts them! Hawk died because of Control! I have worked all my life to ensure their survival! I am their protector! I PROTECT THEM FROM PEOPLE LIKE YOU!” She pointed at Artemis. “ASSHOLES LIKE YOU WHO WOULD RATHER TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM, WHO WOULD SUDDENLY HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS, WHO WILL BRING THEM TO DEFEAT, WHO WILL MAKE PROSISES HE CAN’T KEEP!!”
Spin bellowed, Artemis was amazed such loud of a voice could come from such a small body. “THE FACT THAT YOU’RE HERE,” Spin’s voice broke as she spoke the emotion welling up inside of her like hot steam; her entire body was shaking with rage. “YOUR VERY PRESENTS HERE IS A THREAT! YOU THREATEN EVERYTHING THAT I’VE ACHEVIED, YOU REPRESENT EVERYTHING I’VE BEEN FIGHTING AGAINST! I WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO INFECT THE EXTENDES, WITH YOUR LIES AND SECRET AGENDAS! I WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO HARM THEM!!” Spin shrieked, tears were welling up in her eyes, she grit her teeth and charged forward. Artemis’s eyes widened half bewildered, half in fear, he took a step back. “You are a bad person, why are you here?” Spin pointed at his chest and poked him.
During many arguments in his life Artemis had reacted perfectly, never getting angry, never raising his voice, and he always had had Butler to back him up. However Artemis had never had a fight with someone who attacked his very essence. Besides Artemis had done good things for the people. He had saved them from a couple of disasters; he had defeated Opal twice, and prevented an island in another dimension from unleashing torment onto the human population as well as the fairies.
“So that’s why you hate me, because you think I’m going to ruin everything you’ve done to protect them.” Spin’s tears had dried in an instant, the salt on her face only visible close up. “How do you think I feel about all of this, I mean, I didn’t even know you existed until you brought me here.” Spin looked livid.
“DO YOU THINK I GIVE A RATS ASS ABOUT YOU?” Bellowed Spin. “My life has revolved around this moment, the moment when I can stop protecting them, that is my purpose; I am here to protect them!” She looked at Artemis in the eyes. “And you think I CARE about you and how you FEEL?” She said sarcastically. “I want this to end, but I want it done right, I want them,” she pointed at the complex once more, “to live the life that they can only dream about now!” she sneered at him. “This is all your fault! WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE YOU, YOU HEARTLESS SON OF A BITCH!!!” Spins knuckles were white and shacking.
At this point Artemis should have realized what would happen next. Spin had had all of this irate emotion built up inside her, and she had never let any of it out, until now. Her fist hit Artemis in the stomach so hard, in the future when Artemis would tell this story he would leave this part out. Artemis stepped back, what had just happened was she hitting him again? The next fist hit the young man’s ribs; he felt the bones touch each other. Artemis let out a cry and the punching discontinued. When Artemis opened his eyes he found Spin looking down at the ground, she was crying and though she was trying to not let Artemis notice by turning to the side, he had and her face grew red in shame. Artemis, who had crouched during the fight, stood back up and held out a hand to put on her shoulder. As if she sensed his hand coming she moved away.
“Spin I . . . “ Artemis wasn’t sure what to say, for one of the few times in his life.
“I’m being immature, go away, just go . . . “ But Artemis heard nothing. This girl, who had believed for so long that he was a heartless bastard, knew nothing about him, he had changed, he felt things now, and now he felt something new, selflessness.
Artemis walked around to Spin who was looking entirely at the ground her long blonde hair in her face. Artemis with his arms stretched went to huge her. She looked startled, and began pushing him away. “NO! Get out of here! Go away!” However as someone might have guessed Artemis accepted the punches and yelling as if they were compliments and friendly smiles.
Artemis had never met anyone with the intelligence to kidnap him, the passion to keep others near without having money involved, and the selflessness to sacrifice her life for the better of others. He had never met anyone with her determination, not to mention her ferociousness; he was truly worthy of being her opponent. Artemis’s hands found one another behind Spins back as he embraced her, without judgment, without hate or love, without any other emotion besides his own desire for her to stop crying.