Holly rushed through underground traffic, her heart racing in her chest. She was running out of time, she had to hurry. Today was Artemis’s birthday and he was having a little get together for his fairy friends before his parents got home for the real party. The fairy party started in an hour and Holly was stuck in rush hour traffic. She could see smoke rising up ahead companied with yelling and sirens. An accident to?! Holly bumped her head in frustration. Why couldn’t Artemis have his party on a Sunday? It was never busy on Sunday.
Why all this frustration over a silly party you ask? Holly bet Folly and Mulch a weeks pay that she wouldn’t be one second late for the party and her pride wouldn’t let her lose a bet. The bet sprouted from the fact that Holly had had a streak of tardiness for the past month due to her ventures with young Fowl. An image of Folly and Mulch’s smug, triumphant smiles popped into her head. They were holding her paycheck and heading of to blow it at a small pub, laughing all the way.
Oh no you don’t, Holly thought nastily, Your not blowin my money on hot-headed, fluzy-eyed, females with brains so small they don’t even measure on the scale!
Holly suddenly had an idea. It was risky but she had to protect her paycheck. She reached around to the back of small LEP ship she had rented and grabbed a small wrapped package, it was Artemis’s present. It was nothing overly expensive. Just a copy of the latest journal of the fairy scientists and their latest discoveries. Holly knew she could trust Artemis with it now and figured he could use it for some good. Next she grabbed a pair of wings in the back used for emergencies. She figured it was an emergency. Her paycheck was at stake. She slipped on the wings, stepped out of the ship and lifted into the air.
Holly flew through air as fast as she could without slamming into a tower. She was almost to the pod center when something below caught her eye. It was a struggle between two goblins, fighting over what seemed a box of contraband. Holly recongnized the bigger by the tatoo on his neck. He was wanted for smuggling and suspected for murder. Holly looked at her watch and sighed. She had thirty minutes to get topside and get to Artemis’s party before she lost the bet. But that goblin was dangerous and wanted all over the underground. Holly sighed again. Your job comes first, she reminded herself.
She set the present on the roof of a nearby building and zoomed down towards the goblins, pulling out her neutrino. She landed softly behind the goblins, leveled her neutrino and said loudly, “LEP! Freeze and put your hands on the wall!” The goblins froze. The smaller goblin suddenly darted away back down the ally. Holly let him go, the big one was her prize. “Put your hands on the wall.”, she repeated loudly. The goblin looked at Holly and then at the neutrino leveled at his chest. His tiny brain worked out the situation and he complied, turning and facing the wall.
Holly reached into her belt and pulled out a pair of cuffs. She was just putting them on when the goblin whipped around, his fist hitting her squarely in the jaw. Holly landed on her behind and saw stars. She shook it off and saw the goblin sprinting away. With a growl, she leveled the neutrino at his back and fired. The shot hit him and he fell jerkingly to the ground. Holly walked over and slapped the cuffs on him. “You are under arrest for assaulting and officer.”, she said smoothly, as if she couldn’t feel her jaw throbbing. She called in to LEP headquarters and reported the attack, told them where to find him and took to the air again. She grabbed the package and sped toward the pod center, not worrying any furthur about the goblin. He wouldn’t wake up for a few hours anyway.
She finally reached the pod center, showed her visa and hopped into the pod. After taking off, she looked at her watch. Only fifteen minutes left! She started wishing the little pod could faster. The pod suddenly stopped with a hiss and opened, she’d made it to the top. She slipped the wings back on, ran out side….and fell face first into the mud. She laid there for a second , then slowly stood back up. She looked down at herself and saw that she was cover in mud, head to foot. She groaned in frustration, picked up the present, and flew off. She didn’t have to worry about the mud. Besides, she could wash up when she got to Artemis’s.
About five minutes later, the wind picked up and Holly felt a drop of rain, then two drops and suddenly it was a down pour. Holly groaned again. Why hadn’t she checked the wheather report? Now she was wet, muddy and cold. She looked at her watch again. Ten minutes! She turned the throttle on the wings all the way up and sped towards Artemis’s house like a bullet.
Nine minutes later, Artemis’s house came into view. Holly kept the sped up until she was almost at Artemis’s door and then tried to turn down the speed. Something was wrong. The dial was stuck! Uh oh, she thought just before she hit the door. She hit with a loud thud and landed on her face. The wings sputtered and died with a puff of smoke. Holly heard door open and a loud exclamation. “Holly!”, Artemis said as he helped her to her feet, “Are you all right?” Holly groaned as Artemis led her to a chair. Holly heard what could only be Butler’s heavy steps and then his rough voice asked, “Artemis? What’s going on?” “It’s Holly.”, Artemis answered, “Get a glass of water.” Butler walked off quickly.
“Holly? Holly say something.”, Artemis said with concern.
“Owww.”, Holly groaned.
“Well. It’s a start.”, Artemis said in relief. Butler returned with a glass of water and Holly took a big drink. She could taste the pollution but she didn’t care. She looked down at her watch just as it hit noon. Noon? Noon! She made it! She won the bet! “Yes!”, she said quietly, “I made it! I made it!” Artemis looked at her with one brow cocked. He looked at the water, took it carefully and poured in a nearby plant. “Made it where Holly?”, he asked softly. Holly looked at Artemis and said, “Your birthday of course.” She reached over, grabbed the present and held it out to him. “Happy birthday.”, she said.
Artemis took the present, understanding spreading over his features. “Oh.”, he said, smiling, “Um. Actually Holly, my birthday isn’t until Sunday.” He pointed to a calender on the wall. Holly looked and saw Sunday was circled. It said “Arty’s birthday!” Holly felt her eye twitch and for some reason she fell into a fit of giggles. She couldn’t stop and the giggles only got louder. “Holly?”, Artemis said, “Holly, your worrying me.” “I’m sorry.”, Holly said between giggles, “I..I need to get…home.” Artemis led Holly to the door. She picked up the wings and walked down the drive, still giggling. She turned back and yelled, “I..I’ll see you…Sunday.” Artemis looked and at Butler, who shrugged and walked back in the house. “Yes, see you Sunday.”, he yelled back and walked back in the house.
“Must be a fairy thing.”, Butler said in the house. “Perhaps.”, Artemis said, “They are strange creatures.”