Butler went up to the room where Holly was being kept in, and knocked on the door. When there was no answer, he knocked again before entering.
Butler looked around the room and found Captain Short scrunched in the corner. Butler shook his head and silently kneeled down next to her.
She looked up, eyes wide and tear streaks running down her face. “What do you want?” she asked bitterly. She put her head back on her knees.
“Are you okay?”
“Why should I tell you? For all I know, you just want information for Fowl.”
“Well, for one, I’m the only reason your not dead, or bloody right now.”
“What?!” she gasped, though she didn’t look up.
“Are you okay?” he repeated persistently.
Holly sighed. “What do you think? Everyone thinks I’m dead.”
“Well, if it means anything. Those people think I’m dead too,” Butler said, smiling.
Holly lifted her head again, a small smile forming on her face, a breathy laugh escaping her lips. “That was kind of the point.”
“Listen, Artemis is a-“
“Maniac, conceited jerk, annoying twit? Any of those work?” Holly interrupted.
“Well, I was going to say that he’s a little rusty with trying to get people to trust him, or even like him.”
“Well, I could have figured that out.”
“But he has been trying.”
Holly looked at him, a confused and slightly angry look on her face. “Oh, he was trying, huh? I don’t think telling me to go rot in the basement is earning my trust that much.”
“He has a very short temper. Making him mad isn’t really helping your case.”
“Really? And what is my case?!” she said, standing shakily and backing away. “You don’t know anything about me. You all ruined my life! You don’t know anything about me, especially my case.”
Butler got up and made his way to the door. “Why don’t you try and listen to him next time, see if maybe you can trust him, or at least get along with him.”
“I. Will. NEVER. Trust. Him!” she exclaimed.
Butler shook his head. “Just don’t make him mad next time. Or I won’t stop him the next time he goes to get a sharp object.”
And with that, Butler left, leaving Holly more scared than ever.
“How did it go?” Artemis asked when Butler returned to the kitchen. He’d done as he was asked, taking the food off the stove after five minutes of letting it boil, and even made up plates.
Butler sighed and sat down. “That’s between her and I.”
“So not very well, then, I take it? I told you she was a little ingrate.”
Butler didn’t reply to that. “Maybe not. But I do think you should make another plate up.”
“Why?” he demanded, though he had a sneaking suspicion he already knew. “Mother already ate, and Juliet left earlier.”
“Artemis,” Butler chided, “you may not like her, but you cannot starve her, either. She has to eat too, you know.”
He groaned. “You’re the one who wanted to let her live, not me. Why can’t you take care of her?”
“She’s not my guest,” the manservant answered.
“Well, she certainly isn’t mine!” Artemis countered furiously.
“Yes, she is! Get over yourself, Artemis! As of right now you are the master of this manor, so you’d better suck it up and act like it. And if you can’t, then you might as well just kill her, because this-” he paused for a moment, unsure of how to put it correctly, “-this just is not going to fly.”
The room was silent for a minute after Butler’s little outburst. Artemis stared at his bodyguard in shock; he wasn’t accustomed to him being so opinionated in such matters.
He must feel strongly about this, Artemis realized. “Fine,” he relented quietly, “I’ll go try and see if I can get her to come down and eat something.”
“Thank you,” the man said. Artemis started walking toward the door, but he was stopped again, “oh, and Artemis?”
The boy stopped in the doorway, but didn’t turn. “What?”
“Please be nice to her.”
Artemis sighed. “I’ll try,” he promised, “but I can’t promise anything more.”
Figuring that was the best he would get, Butler nodded once and watched the boy leave in silence.
When Butler left, Holly retreated into her little corner. She hadn’t moved since then, preferring to curl back up into a ball and start crying again. She knew it wasn’t going to do her any good, but it still felt good to get it out.
She thought about what Butler had said for awhile. “Just don’t make him mad next time. Or I won’t stop him the next time he goes to get a sharp object.”
This was important for a few reasons. For one thing, it meant that if and probably when Artemis went for a sharp object, it wouldn’t be the first time. It meant that Artemis had seriously wanted to hurt her before. And it meant that he thought that it probably wouldn’t be the last time, and, of course, that when the next time came around, that he wouldn’t stop him. Not a very good sign, she couldn’t help but think.
Suddenly, a knock outside the door startled her from her thoughts, and for some reason, a picture of Artemis outside the door with a knife in his hand was the first to pop into her head. She shuddered. It wasn’t a pretty picture.
What could I have done to make him mad already? she wondered. She couldn’t think of anything, unless Butler told him that she’d called him a bunch of names… She cringed at the thought.
“Holly.” It was Artemis’s voice that came through the door, though it wasn’t like she expected. It was calmer, more controlled than before when she’d spoken to him.
“What?” the elf asked. She hated the way her voice cracked when she spoke, but on the other hand she made no attempt to hide it. She figured it would only get her in more trouble than before.
“Can I come in?” he asked.
He sighed. “Look, you need to eat something.”
“I’m not hungry.”
He sighed again and opened the door. He walked slowly over towards her, and she shrank back into the wall, away from him.
She acts like I abuse her, he thought, rolling his eyes. I’ve thought about it, but still, I’ve never actually done it, so that’s not the point…….
He raised his hands slightly, pausing mid-stride. “I’m not going to hurt you, Holly, but you need to come down and eat.”
“I’m not hungry,” she insisted. “And besides, you may not actually hurt me, but you want to. I can tell. You hate me, and you want to hurt me. You’ve tried to, too, Butler told me so. I don’t see why you don’t just do it.”
“You want me to hurt you? Because that can be arranged.”
“No. I don’t want to be hurt, or tortured. But anything is better than you growling at me, and threatening me, and giving me those angry and absolutely hateful glares.”
“Hypocrite,” he growled. She flinched.
“At least I have reasons! You just hate me because- well, because…. I- I don’t even know! You just do! And if you hate me so much, I don’t see why you even kept me alive in the first place! I don’t see why you didn’t just kill me!” She was shouting by the end of it, all of her pent up emotions flying out into the open, unbidden.
He growled again, low and frustrated. He was on the verge of shouting himself, and, admittedly, he wasn’t quite sure what to do. If he went down to the kitchen again, he wasn’t positive he could restrain himself from getting a weapon and coming straight back up here with it, but on the same note if he stayed in here and tried to try to rationalize with her, he would probably lose complete control after a few minutes longer and snap.
So he did the logical thing; he turned on his heel and raced out of the room, slamming the door behind him, and went to his room. He locked himself in and didn’t leave for the rest of the night.
Holly, on the other hand, never moved. She slid down the wall into a ball, curled her arms around her knees, and stayed there all night until she fell asleep.