Chapter 4: Disappearance
Butler watched closely as Artemis walked around the corner of the Current Events section to the aisle closest to the wall. Now he could not see Artemis at all. This, however, did not particularly alarm Butler since he knew of no enemies of his charge in Phoenix, and had seen no one in the store that he could deem a threat. Since Artemis had left his side, Butler had watched and seen no one come even close to the section in which Artemis was currently. Artemis was, at 1:23 PM safe. About thirty minutes later Butler looked around the store. The walls had been recently painted a moss green color, and the sections were divided by walkways lined with tables full of books. The front of the store consisted of many tables full of books, and the registers on the far side, and in the center of the store was a kiosk that was currently unmanned. From Butler’s angle he had a clear view of the entrance, the registers, and most of the front of the Barns & Nobel. Most of the people had vanished from the store, not surprising considering the time of day and the weather outside. However there was something wrong with this, no one was here, there was no one manning the cash registers, and he was beginning to feel tired, very tired.
“It couldn’t be,” Butler said out loud, he looked at his watch, it had stopped. He got up and looked at the world outside through the large windows. Not that there was much to see, after all it is very difficult to see anything through the blue haze of a bio bomb.
“What the hell!” He yelled, and, disregarding his laptop, ran over to the aisle where he believed Artemis to be. He rounded the corner, and found to his surprise, no one. Butler was alone and consequently without Artemis, his charge for so many years was gone; he had failed his one duty above all else, protecting Artemis Fowl. Butler ran back out in the main a gathering area of the store. But this time he was not alone, a girl was sitting there waiting for him.
She sat absentmindedly on a table full of books swinging her legs back and forth, that was, until she saw Butler. She smiled almost on cue, when she saw him, and flung herself off the table and onto her feet. She was a big girl, maybe seventeen, short with a round kind face, and tight clothing.
“Well, hello there Butler!” She said cheerily. Butler was about to pounce when she shook her finger lightly at him. “Now that’s not very nice, if you would do me a big favor and calm down a bit for me.” Butler stood still.
“Where is Artemis Fowl?” He asked his voice breaking under the pressure of his rage. She frowned.
“I am here to inform you of the ground rules, set by us, for the duration of three days.” She said flatly. “First But-But you must understand that we will not harm Artemis in any way, and will, at the end of three days, return him to you without any harm done. Okay But-But? Second, the rules for getting him back at the end of three days on your side are:” She began pulling her fingers to each rule. “You must not make any attempt to contact Artemis, or literally try to find him, like driving around, but trying to find him virtually is fine. Oh yeah, and you must promise at the end of this not to press any charges against us.” Butler was flabbergasted.
“So you’ve kidnapped Artemis, what do you what in return.” The girl smiled.
“Nothing But-But absolutely nothing,” She said, Looking at her eyes he saw she was telling the truth.
“Are you working with anyone? And why don’t you want anything from him or me?” She sighed.
“You are wondering if we are members of LEP. No I’m afraid that we are not, however I will tell you that neither are we human. I have created this barrier and it will dissolve when you are free to go. To answer your next question, we will give him back to you safely in three days, like; we do this so you will consider not pressing charges against us or, like, making the public know of his disappearance until we return him.” Butler was still in awe.
“Who are we?” She finally smiled.
“We are called the Extendeds, and my code name is Blossom nice to meet you But-But.” Butler looked annoyingly at her.
“My name is Butler.” She smiled wider.
“I know, I just think But-But is more appropriate, would you rather me call you Domovoi?” She smiled as Butler almost had a heart attack. How did they know his name? Butler knew he couldn’t harm her lest they harm Artemis.
“Fine,” He said swallowing his pride as a Butler, “When can I talk to either Artemis, or your leader?” Blossom looked at the ceiling for a moment.
“Now that I think about, like, I’m not sure, I’m sure you will some time, wait! Let me give them a call really fast.” She pulled out a headset and pushed the button on it. “Hey Spin! Look, But-Butt’s asking when he can meet you or Artemis before the drop off date.” She sounded cut off as the other person of the other line told her what to say. “Oh okay sorry, I didn’t know, and, I kind of feel bad keeping him in the dark till then, can I just . . “ The person on the other side cut her off again. “Kay I will, when will this operation be completed, I, like, need to . . ?” More talking from the leader. How disorganized, thought Butler, it was clearly the first time they had attempted anything of this magnitude.
“Alright, see you then!” Said Blossom, and she hung up.
“Spin said tomorrow probably, cause she’s, like, tired right now, I don’t blame her.” She looked like she wanted to tell Butler more. “Well, okay I’ll level with you a bit okay?” Butler was ready for some kind of information about this new enemy.
“That’s fine I’d really like to know what’s going on with Artemis.” She smiled weakly.
“As you probably already realized this is the first we’ve ever kidnapped anyone, and well, we don’t kill people, it’s just not for us. You have nothing to worry about. Artemis will be returned to you safely in three days. You have my word for what it’s worth.”
Butler was as amazed as he had been in the beginning, and wanted to know more. That was when he was hit in the back of the head with a heavy blunt object and fell to the floor.