It’s difficult for a genius to adjust to normal boring life. When Artemis is given a chance to blow off some intellectual steam he ends up in a place he could never imagine! What will Artemis do now that he’s cornered, and more importantly by whom was he cornered?
Artemis didn’t like the sun, he much preferred to be in his office working on some kind of new money making scheme in the dark with only a computer monitor as light. Arizona however was the last place someone like him would want to be. It was summer and today it was 113 F. Artemis turned to Butler unable to look at the sun any longer.
“When do we get there?” he asked annoyed. Butler who knew Phoenix quite well responded promptly from the driver’s seat.
“I believe that we will be there in about ten minutes master Fowl, the streets s have changed a bit since I was last here.” Butler had indeed been here about twenty-five years ago while working as a body guard for a mafia man. He was surprised that Artemis wanted to come here at all.
Truth be told Artemis himself wasn’t sure why he was drawn to this desert. He pondered about it for a moment. Perhaps it was the fact that his father was back and not letting him get involved with the family business, and his mother was constantly pushing him towards school and making friends. He was tired of it all and needed a rest from the lack of intellectual stimuli that was slowly making him mad.
It had started a few months ago when Artemis had put out a want ad for a priceless vase which had been stolen and restolen for hundreds of years and just recently from rival Mexican drug lords. He received a hit a few days ago about a man named Hugo Gonzales that who knew of its location and was willing to answer any questions about the object. Artemis who had been looking for any excuse to get away from his house told his parents he was taking a holiday in the U.S. His parents admitted that he deserved it and let him go for two weeks Artemis was thrilled finally something interesting was happening.
Arizona was an odd state and Phoenix was an odd city. It was hot for one, but it also had a casual yet self-righteous air that Artemis found fascinating. Nothing was particularly clean, the air was full of dust and asphalt was everywhere creating heat on top of heat. The primary colors were terracotta, tan, rusty gold, and a kind of brownish-purple that Artemis had never seen before. In doing his usual background check Artemis had forum that Hugo was a illegal alien caught in possession a meth among other things and had been deported many times. He often did business with the major drug factions but had never been caught giving information from one to another. This simple fact would have been a red flag for anyone who was looking to meet this man, since it was unlikely that Artemis would be meeting anyone. In fact if Artemis had looked at any other records besides the federal records he would have known Hugo Gonzales had died three month ago.
When Butler changed lanes on the freeway called the 101 Loop, getting off at an exit called Scottsdale Road. Artemis could tell they were in a better part of town as they passed a number of fancy resorts and modern looking restaurants. The air port seemed to be surrounded by mobile homes with cars on blocks in the front yard; Artemis was afraid everywhere in Phoenix was this disagreeable but with the onslaught of well kept freeways and art deco shops Artemis’s worries vanished. It was a new place and for a moment he forgot this trip was a business one and though about walking about in the cool shade to each of the quaint shops. These thoughts soon vanished as the “Mercy” braked to a stop. They were at the Princess Resort. Butler opened the door for his charge and walked with him to the door as the busboys sweating from the heat (despite being in the shade) picked up the bags and hurried inside. Butler secured the rooms and they proceeded to their room and unload all of their equipment. Butler looked around the common room of the resort checking out its security and after being disgusted at the lack of it fallowed master Fowl to the elevator. Once on Butler felt it was time for him to ask.
“Why are we here Artemis?” He asked as casually as possible. Artemis had been expecting this question to arise and although he had the perfect response. However he knew that he would only alarm Butler more if he were to hear something Artemis had canned and saved as a rebut to that very question. Artemis sighed.
“I needed to get away Butler.” Butler looked at the elevator doors as they continued to move.
“I don’t understand master Fowl what was wrong?” Artemis shifted his weight. He wanted to tell Butler everything how he was simply bored out of his mind, and why this had been the best time he had had in a long time. Artemis’s mind was filling with the possibilities of the vase. Where would it be located, how he would get it, what he would do with it once he had it?
The elevator doors opened and Butler checked the corridors to insure his charges safety as they made their way to their room. It was a typical two bedroom suit with large windows and a small balcony. Butler began setting up some equipment from the bags which had been brought up a head of them; he then preceded de bugging the room. Artemis sat down at his computer and began to talk with Minerva online. Minerva had fared far better than him when it came to the boring existence called being good. She had adapted well to school and seemed to even been able to make friends. Artemis hadn’t made a new friend since N deg 1. He then checked his email and to his surprise Hugo was in town and was ready to make a trade of info for cash $10,000 actually, but he wanted to meet that day at 2:00 at some shopping center called Desert Ridge, more specifically at the Barns and Noble. He seemed a little frantic but Artemis accepted the challenge.
“We need to move in about fifteen minutes Butler, do you know where Desert Ridge is?” Butler looked disappointed as he ended up not finding any bugs in the room.
“No I do not but I can find out.” He sat at on the coach and began planning the trip. “Is this where we are meeting Hugo?” Asked Butler. Artemis nodded engrossed in his message to Minerva. “Are you ever going to answer my question Artemis?” Artemis stopped typing resting his hand absentmindedly on his laptop.
“I don’t know if you’d believe me Butler . . . I” Butler looked across the room at him meeting his gaze with a fearless one of his own. The last thing he wanted Butler to think was that he had done this all because he was bored, no that sounded selfish.
“You know you can tell me anything Artemis.” Butler’s voice was as sincere as fathers. Artemis couldn’t do it, he couldn’t he was being selfish after all shouldn’t he be happy about having so much peace?
“We need to go Butler perhaps we can finish this talk after we meet with Mr. Gonzales?” Butler sighed, so much was it like the old Artemis to change the subject when he was getting close, it was scary. Butler nodded.
“I have the location Mr. Gonzales specified, Artemis do you know anything about this man?” No Artemis had been too preoccupied on leaving to find out anything else but the basics on him.
“I imagine I can find out plenty once we meet the man Butler, have you suddenly lost faith in my abilities?” Said Artemis.
“No sir,” Said Butler, “never.” Artemis nodded.
“Good then, we might as well leave now he’ll be there in two hours.” Butler’s eyes narrowed.
“It will only take us thirty minutes to get to Desert Ridge.” Replied Butler, Artemis grew ever more restless.
“Well then we’ll be early!” He said franticly, Artemis stopped for a moment and regained his composure. If a few months without scheming had done this to him! Butler looked alarmed and grabbed Artemis by the shoulders making him stand upright.
“Tell me what the problem is Artemis you’re not acting like yourself and I’m considering going in you place.” Artemis looked into Butlers dark green eyes, so steady. Artemis looked down at the floor unable to look at him. Why was he getting so emotional? What was going on?
“I’m sorry Butler, I . . . I’ve just been so . . . so . . . “Butler’s eyes softened.
“Bored?” He said. Artemis looked at him like a bolt of lightning had just stuck him.
“Yes.” Butler smiled.
“I thought so.” Butler let go of Artemis and sat on the couch so they were eye level, though now he had to crouch some to do so. “Look Artemis it’s okay to go out and do all of this to blown off some intellectual steam but.” Butler looked at him and then the window. “You need to still be careful Artemis. No matter what you may think you’re a young man, though you’ve been through what no person your age should ever go through you’re not a man just yet. You have your whole life to be full of hardships you don’t need to put yourself through this. Furthermore you should not act this way before you meet someone with information you need.” Artemis nodded. “Good, Artemis we have two weeks to get a priceless Mexican vase and we have no idea where it is or who has it, but in two weeks we have to have it in our hands.” He stood up. “Can I count on you to do that?” Butler couldn’t help but crack a smile. Artemis knew now what he was doing, first identify the problem, put things in perspective, then pep talk. Artemis had forgotten how smooth Butler was.
“Who are you talking to again?” Butler raised an eyebrow and began to gather his things.
It had been two year since the idea was raised and after months and months of planning the day had finally come. Spin however began to realize this after they had sent the response to the wanted ad and it was then when she became nervous. Spin was like that though although she could see plans into the future watching them actually happening and working she was new at. She grabbed her phone and called her second in command.
“Gig, I need a twenty again, just tell me everything is going accordingly.” The young man sighed on the other end.
“Yes, operation Hunter’s Trap is in full swing.” Spin began to nod and shiver as she did so, her blond hair falling out of her hair net.
“Kay,” she said slightly breathless.
“You’ll do fine after all it’s your plan if I’m not mistaken.” Spin stopped nodding and regained composure. “Just remember who you are, you’re Spin and you answer to no one in this life.” Spin smiled evilly.
“Correct,” she said coolly. “Thank you Gig I’m leaving right now.”
She put down the cell phone, put on the black wig and turned the key. She let the engine roar for a moment until she turned on the radio. It was then she began to grip the wheel tighter. In reality Spin’s hair color was blond with dark roots that matched her eyebrows. Her skin was typical of Arizonans a tan that was more gold than brown, and finally her eyes which were the color of the sky before a monsoon, dark blue almost black. She had a long face and a short but strong blocky build. If you were to meet Spin on the street you would probably look the other way. She had the tendency to gaze straight into a person’s eyes, or when she wasn’t doing that she was looking straight ahead. If you however were unlucky enough to assume that that means she isn’t looking at you as she passes your classroom think again, she is always watching.
Spin parked behind the Barns & Nobel and adjusted the wig so it looked as natural as possible she then took the duck tape and pulled back her eyes to make her eyelids appear Asian. Then she began the makeup, Spin didn’t often do her makeup in her car, but then again few people planed on kidnapping Artemis Fowl either.
Artemis and Butler parked as close to the entrance as possible. Not that that was difficult, after all it was summer and a Tuesday; most people were a work or staying as cool as they could at home. Artemis was impressed with the size of the shopping center. It had everything, a movie theater, numerous restaurants, bars and a few shops. The Barns & Nobel was very large with its own Starbucks on one side. Artemis bought a mocha double shot latte in the hopes of causing his brain to think faster, it did and now Artemis was on the prowl. Butler opted for a green tea and sat opposite Artemis looking up guns and ammo on his laptop. Artemis amused himself with a mind game or two that had been the only stimulus he had had since he had come back to this dimension. He was bored again and told Butler he was going to look around. Artemis knew that Butler didn’t like the idea but approved anyway understanding that Artemis needed to move around.
This was indeed an American book store; all of the brightly colored books with pictures were located near the eye line while the intellectually stimulating books were near the top of bottom of each aisle. The store was practically deserted with only a few pre-teens in the teenage section, some grown business looking men (If you could call them that they were still wearing jeans) were in the automotive, and some older ladies were reading in the cooking section. Artemis who wasn’t interested in any of these subjects instead made his way over to the current event section to see if there was anything he hadn’t read in the entire sector.
The current event section was, for the most part, out of Butler’s field of vision. Artemis began by walking along each aisle before selecting a few books he had not read before. Upon further examination he knew why. He was standing against the area of the aisle that separated it from the wall which was another aisle all to itself. Artemis began reading a book he knew nothing about but was sure he had read something similar before.
“I don’t often see people your age in this section,” said a low, dark female voice. Artemis couldn’t believe his ears, was someone starting a conversation with him? He looked right and then left, but then she spoke again. “O ’come on I’m in fount of you for goodness sakes.” Her voice was still dark and smooth almost like a despite the insult. Artemis, curious about this voice, put down his book slowly and walked briskly around the corner. When he reached the edge he looked around the aisle and saw her standing there looking at a book. She seemed not to notice him until she gently lifted her head, and looked at him surprised.
“Well you certainly didn’t need to walk all the way over here.” She said. Artemis was, needless to say, interested. She was short, muscular, yet she carried herself very straight as if she were twice as tall as she actually was. Her hair was black and thin barley coming down to her ears. Artemis found this interesting as he recognized her as being of Asian descent.
“And who might you be?” He asked trying to keep his cool in fount of her. She was wearing a dark blue full skirt and business-like white button down shirt that was not fully buttoned. She smiled as if she were embarrassed.
“You can call me,” she looked for a long time in the air before replying, “Sierra.”Artemis wasn’t sure what to say. Was this girl so disgusted that he was talking to her that she would give him a fake name? “Out of curiosity, what is Artemis Fowl doing in Arizona during the summer?” The red flag finally sounded, Artemis was on full alert, it must have shown on his face because she looked taken a back and embarrassed. “You have nothing to worry about Mr. Fowl.” She closed her book revealing Artemis’s face plastered on the front. His book she recognized him from his book.
“I see, and might I inquire why you say your name is Sierra, do you really expect me to believe that?” Artemis was interested; this girl was playing games with him. She put the book back on the self.
“I find your predicament much more fascinating really. First I notice you are indeed Artemis Fowl since you have not denied it. Then I notice that you’re in your usual uniform, a suit, hardly fit for an Arizona summer correct? Then you’re in a book store where you probably know more about any of these subjects than the writers of the books, why? I can then assume that Butler is near, yet he’s not with you, why?” She paused looking at him more. “And on further examination you smell strongly of a cleaning solution often used on commercial airlines, and not from your room, which means you arrived today.” She paused again and walked slowly toward him then turning to the left suddenly just out of Artemis’s reach. “So questions remain, what is Artemis Fowl doing in a place like this on such short notice. I will then conclude that you’re waiting for someone and you’re just killing time. The nest question is who . . . “Artemis was getting annoyed.
“Though this is all fun and good unless you are the man I seek I have nothing further to say to you.” Artemis had used this method of extracting information from someone before; act like you’re not interested and they will come.
This time Sierra did not smile, instead she held his gaze far a full two minutes unblinkingly, before she spoke.
“You’re looking for a man named Hugo Gonzales; however you will not meet him today.” Artemis was now alarmed, how did she know about his contact, and if she had known this whole time how had she been able to anticipate his movements enough to corner him in such a way? Was she taking direction from someone else or was she acting alone, while thinking this Artemis instinctively looked around him.
“Why won’t I meet him today?” She smiled, and her eyes narrowed into a considerable evil glare, Artemis noted her right hand was in a fist her knuckles white.
“Because you’re going to die.” She said the word so matter of factually Artemis wasn’t sure what she was truly saying. He yelled out for Butler but couldn’t he had no control over his facilities in fact he could hardly breathe. He looked at the girl helplessly, she only laughed. “It’s almost comical; you standing there all stoic before, your mind is racing trying to understand what is happened to you.” She smiled and turned to him looking at him straight in the eyes. For the first time Artemis saw them, colored contacts. “It isn’t chemical, but it will stay with you forever.” The color of her and the entire book store began to twirl into a mess of color and sound, until he saw, felt, and thought no more.
Butler watched closely as Artemis walked around the corner of the Current events section to the aisle closets to the wall. This did not alarm particularly alarm Butler since he knew of no enemies and had seen no one in the store that he could deem a threat. Since Artemis had felt his side he 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 most of the people had vanished from the store. 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 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 a 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. He was alone and consequently without Artemis, his charge for so many years was gone; he had fail 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 standing 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 and flung herself of the table and onto her feet. She was a big girl, maybe eighteen, 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 and 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, 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, we do this so you will consider not pressing charges against us or 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 Extendes, and my code name id 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 here 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 it 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-But’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?” More talking from the leader, how disorgainized 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 she’s 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 his 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.
Artemis could hardly move, then again people whose hands and feet were tied, couldn’t see anything, and mouths were gagged weren’t able to move much at all. Artemis could feel the car moving quickly on the freeway and the radio was blaring. The girl who he had spoken to not too long ago was singing loudly to the music which was playing. It could have best been described as Alternative Rock and she seemed to know every word to every song and sound excited when she heard another song she didn’t know. Artemis listened to this for about an hour before something happened. The girl suddenly reached back and tore off his blind fold and gag. Artemis’s eyes were temporarily blinded by the Arizona sun as they car suddenly dropped onto a dirt road. Before his eyes adjusted he flew forward so hard he toppled over the seat hitting his head on the center counsel and landed seat first on the passenger floor of the car. He uncovered his eyes and felt the back of his head tender to the touch.
“What’s going on? Why did you insist on doing that?” Yelled Artemis, but there was no answer, and the car lurched forward.
“Sit up Mr. Fowl you’ll hit yur head again if you sit down there the whole trip it gets kindda bumpy.” It was the voice of the girl he had met in the book store only this time more direct and orderly. Artemis looked up and saw a completely different person though. This girl has blond hair tied up in a lose bun, jeans, tan skin, and scars on her arms, and strong looking hands. She had the same build as the girl he had met in the bookstore though and Artemis made the connection. He got up off his seat and lurched himself forward still holding his head as if it were to fall out if he didn’t hold it in place. Then he looked at her.
Her eyes where a dark unforgiving blue that seemed very direct, forward, and merciless.
“Who are you, and what the heck is going on?” Said Artemis. She did not take her eyes off the road and instead turned up the radio where a song was just beginning.
“This is our song Artemis, it’s called The Pretender, I doubt you’ve heard of it.” Then she began to sing. She didn’t have a bad voice; her low tones helped her master and male singer. “Keep you in the dark you know they all pretend, keep you in the dark and so it all be-g-aaaa-n.” She continued to sing each word and Artemis knew why she said it was their song. The whole song was about two people, both were accusing one another of pretending, and both had their own way of expressing that anger. Artemis assumed he was the one that remained calm while she was the one that began to practically yell. When the song was finished she turned the music down. Artemis looked outside; they were in the middle of nowhere. Artemis couldn’t see one bit of civilization anywhere and they were on an unmaintained dirt road dodging washes and large rocks. She was driving a red Hyundai Elantra, the MPG rating was up on the car which read 45.2, and impossible feat for such a car. Artemis said nothing, he was thinking of a way to get out.
“I wouldn’t even try if I were you.” She said coming almost to a stop as they cleared a small handmade bridge over a large wash surrounded by prickly trees and bushes.
“Oh really, you have no idea what you’ve done you have no idea who will come after me, and you’d survive a lot longer be taking me back right now.” Artemis tried to sound threatening but his attempts seemed to not have worked because she smiled.
“You fail to see the point, are you not interested why on Earth I would kidnap you and how I did? I mean I must have a death wish right to want to pick a fight with Butler, and everyone else? What do you think?” Artemis wasn’t sure what she meant by “everyone else” but played along.
“I think you work for someone who has a death wish.” She laughed evilly.
“I work for a team Mr. Fowl and I assure you I do not have a death wish.” She frowned.
“Then what do you want?” Asked Artemis. She thought about telling him for about a minute before she looked him in the eyes and he fell over hitting his head on the inside of the door and passing out for the second time that day.
Blossom had left just as mysteriously as she had come, after she was done explaining the rules, she simply walked out of the store while she picked off Butler’s feeble attempted to track her back to her group. He was going mad, the bio bomb had disappeared and he was free but Artemis was not. Butler raced to the security booth where he flashed a fake federal badge and was given access to all of the security tapes from that day form the two meek looking rent-a-cops the store employed. He found the needed taps for that month made copies and left without a word of disagreement from the security guards who looked out of their element standing next to a federal agent.
Butler drove back to the Princess resort where he began to research the taps However he wasn’t alone Foley seemed glad to help.
Artemis woke up for the second time that day in an awkward position. His head felt cold and his ankles had a pressure on them he could not recognize. Artemis heard nothing accept the white noise from the fan above him, but there were no human sounds, no footsteps, whispering, or coking of weapons. All, he assumed, were good signs. After all if they weren’t bothering him then he wasn’t that important. Although Artemis knew that there must be a number of cameras on him he decided to open his eyes. At this point Artemis was centered on one idea; the girl would not cause him harm. Artemis didn’t know this for a fact but something told him that she wouldn’t allow anything or anyone to hurt him. What Artemis didn’t take into account here was the fact she wouldn’t let others hurt him, but she could do whatever she wanted. He surveyed the room without lifting his head. He realized her was in a sitting position in an American high school desk. He lifted his head and saw nothing.