XIII – The Heist
Western Alps – Mountain Facility
Footsteps echoed down the metallic hall, reverberating through it’s long expanse as it got louder and louder, the noise marking the steady approach of six individuals. Commander Ivankov lead the others down the passageway with a steady and purposeful gait. Behind him strode Artemis and the two Butlers, all three of them now perfectly dressed in professional attire, their figures imposing in their own unique ways. Captain Holly Short followed behind along with Mulch, mainly to keep a eye on the kleptomaniac dwarf, who had already made several attempts at stealing expensive hardware. She was fully decked with a new shimmer suit and an advanced pair of wings, both of which she acquired from Foaly. Along with two neutrinos and her unassailable expression, she was the definition of a soldier. Juliet also shared the expression, though she had a more deceptive appearance, one of a rose. But everyone knows that roses have thorns, and Juliet’s were more like razor sharp blades, beautiful but deadly. She was a skilled bodyguard, and though she lacked her brother’s experience, she could easily defeat most foes that they may face. Her arrival was rather unexpected for those not informed of her involvement, though such surprise was quickly replaced by grins and camaraderie; it was great to have her aboard. As to how she got over to the facility in only an hour, nobody knew except Butler.
As the group went down the hall, nobody else appeared, the area devoid of occupation apart from them. None of them spoke, the air around them one of pure determination and purpose. They knew their plans to the letter, and now were about to embark upon one of the most important missions of their lives, to acquire the one thing that could stop Opal Koboi from destroying the earth. There was no greater calling than that.
A door opened before them as they reached it, the metal portal sliding smoothly aside to reveal the expansive garage that the facility possessed. Though all of the armored machines were not present, there were still numerous cars and trucks, all a perfect black. One of the trucks, the same armored SUV they rode before minus the turret, was right in front of them when they entered the room, its finely dark surface gleaming against the lights above, its form without a speck of detritus.
Commander Ivankov stopped at the vehicle, turning to the others fluidly, a serious look on his visage. “I’ll leave you to your mission. This vehicle should prove adequate for that which you plan on doing. Just be sure to bring it back, I’d rather not have a fusion powered truck fall into the hands of a crime lord.” He tossed Butler the keys, who caught them without even a glance. “Be careful out there. If you get in over your heads, feel free to give me a call.”
Artemis grinned. “I appreciate the gesture, but we’ll be quite alright. In fact, this will be more fun than it is business.”
The Commander nodded slowly, his demeanor still one of stern composure. “So be it. Regardless, bring everyone and that dagger back, best of luck to you.” He then checked his communicator, noting the time as he observed something upon the device. “Anyway.” He stated abruptly. “It appears as though my superiors wish to have a meeting regarding the recent events. I trust you all know the way out, so I won’t bore you with my idle banter any longer. Good luck and godspeed.” With a nod he turned on his heels, striding quickly through the door from which they came, leaving the five others alone in the large room.
Artemis watched him leave before looking to the others. With a grin only he could procure the genius spoke. “Well then, my friends, let’s get this show on the road. Opal’s demise awaits.”
Nobody needed any encouragement. They swiftly piled into the vehicle, Butler taking the wheel. Within no time at all, the SUV was flying down the exit tunnel, emerging into the dark night that surrounded the looming mountains. As they disappeared into the forest covered hills, the winking stars above watched on, an audience to the show that was about to begin.
Sawyer’s Estate – One Hour Later
The sky was perfectly clear, not a single cloud present amidst the sea of stars, the bright pinpricks of light shining fully along with the moon as it reflected the sun’s rays onto the earth. The ubiquitous breeze blew gently across the plateau, its smooth passage interrupted by the large mansion that sat in the middle, its many windows glowing with light. On the far end of the plateau, where the road disappeared into the forests below, the sound of an engine slowly rose above the faint winds, the mechanical noise being mostly absorbed by the nature around it. With its light switched off, a black SUV emerged from the dark woods, driving casually onto the plateau, stopping suddenly before it fully crested the hill. Within the gloom hidden vehicle, Artemis Fowl smirked.
“Time to introduce their security systems to Foaly.” He said mischievously.
The boy gave Butler a small device, a bug-like machine that was no larger than an acorn. The bodyguard silently took it, rolling down the driver’s side window simultaneously. He reached out, opening his palm. The tiny machine sprung to life, its artificial wings flapping rapidly. It took off quickly, flying towards the mansion with blinding speed. It narrowed in on the closed gates of the building, moving itself beside the intercom box at the entrance. As the vehicle’s occupants waited, the mechanical bug hovered by the box, inserting several long limbs into its interface, the energy coated extremities cutting into the metal with ease. After a few more seconds, the bug had dug its way into the system, lodging itself amongst the wires and microchips. As they waited patiently, a voice spoke over the vehicle’s speakers.
“Alrighty then.” Foaly said excitedly. “I’m…in!”
As the centaur finished his sentence, the metal gate swung open, allowing them access. Foaly continued his egregiously proud banter almost immediately.
“I’ve hacked all of their inept systems. All cameras are now running loops, and the little package you wanted for them is now being arranged. I’ve run several scans on on the area, it appears as though most of the individuals within the building are located in the dining hall, seems like they’re having a little get together.” The centaur stated.
“Excellent.” Artemis said smoothly. “That should make things easier. Butler, take us in.”
The vehicle lurched forward, passing through the field of grasses which swayed rhythmically with the wind, a living sea of sleepy green forms. They entered the courtyard without incident, the gates wide open thanks to Foaly’s bug. Butler brought the vehicle to a halt by the stairs, shutting off the engine as he did. Everyone waited in silence. Artemis looked to each of the people around him before speaking.
“Ok, we’re going to do this as we discussed earlier.” He said. “Butler and Juliet with me, Sawyer won’t question you two guarding me, especially given this is a business transaction. Holly, you keep cloaked above us with your wings, wait for the code word. Mulch, you stay here. Use your shimmer suit to go about your work unnoticed, just get it done before the timer runs out. Foaly, I trust you’ll have your side ready when it’s needed.”
Everyone nodded, especially Mulch, who had a very anticipative grin on his face; he was going to have some fun tonight. After a few seconds of calculated silence, Artemis smiled. “Then let’s go, shall we?”
The side doors opened, from them visibly stepping Artemis and the two Butlers, as well as two invisible fairies, their passage almost unnoticeable. Butler, who was carrying a large black suitcase, looked around briefly before following Artemis, ensuring that there were no sharpshooters in proximity to them. The three humans started up the stairs, Holly hovering over them noiselessly. The wind blew with sudden ferocity as they climbed the stone steps, leaves flying by them, as though the gravity of the situation was reflected in the elements. Upon reaching the door, Artemis raised his hand, moving to knock on the large wooden portal. But before he could even touch it, the door swung open, four armed guards stepping out with weapons drawn. The four well dressed men held high powered handguns, the way they carried them reflecting their decent level of training and experience. Artemis and his two bodyguards didn’t even flinch, completely expecting this to happen.
“Put your hands on your heads and identify yourselves!” The lead guard stated roughly. The three complied, though Artemis looked rather annoyed.
“Is any of this necessary?” Artemis stated in a vexed tone, his face otherwise impassive. “I am Artemis Fowl the Second, criminal mastermind, and yet you treat me like a vexatious interloper. I’ll have you know that I am here to do business with your boss, Mr. Sawyer. It would be rather inconvenient if you were to impede the otherwise efficient flow of business that he likes to uphold.”
The guards, to their credit, didn’t even blink. They were used to this sort of situation. The head guard motioned to the others to keep their weapons aimed, while he himself took out a cellphone. After a brief moment of waiting, he spoke into it.
“Sorry to bother you sir.” He said apologetically. “But there’s a kid here who says he has business to do with you, a Mr. Artemis Fowl.”
After a second of listening, the guard nodded, hanging up the phone with a beep before putting it back into his pocket. He motioned for the others to lower their weapons, thought they kept them in hand, never taking their fingers off of the triggers. The chief guard looked back to Artemis.
“He will see you now. I need to seize any weapons you may have on you at this time.” He said, looking mainly to Butler, who was already scary without any weapons drawn. Two of the guards did a quick frisking of each of them, though none of them had any weapons anyway. After the security check, the head guard motioned for them to follow. With two men in front and behind, Artemis, Butler and Juliet strode into the grand hall of the elaborate mansion, their faces impassive and their gait confident. Artemis casually appraised the numerous paintings on the walls as they passed them, easily capable of telling a genuine piece from a false one, though not a single one was anything but an original work. Along with the art, several sets of Japanese samurai armor stood guard along the walls, their ancient weapons still gleaming and sharp. As they were escorted down the huge hall, the sounds of laughter and conversation began to rise, the noise coming from the large door at the far end. They were about to enter a den of wolves.
Sawyer’s Mansion – Dining Hall
The lights were slightly dimmed within the large room, illuminating everything with a faint glow that balanced day and night on a knife point, defining the shadows that lurked throughout the elaborate expanse, yet giving them little purchase. The fireplace burned brightly, casting warmth into the room beyond, its flames licking hungrily at the air. The sounds of laughter and talking reverberated around, the smell of cigarette smoke and food wafting into the air along with the cacophony of smooth jazz music. The large banquette table was occupied by many people, as well as the numerous tables and couches throughout the room. Overall, there were seventy men and women in the room, all of them veteran mobsters, and all of them with some sort of firearm concealed beneath their expensive suits.
Jack Sawyer sat at the head of the table, enjoying one of his signature cigars as he held a glass of aged red wine. Around him were all of his most trusted officers, each individual with ample expertise in the criminal underworld, as well as a ruthless dedication to the family. He had worked with many of them since the conception of the Chimera Firm, thus they were his very best and most capable officers. He grinned as he raised his glass, exhaling a cloud of cigar smoke as he did.
“Ladies and gentlemen.” He declared loudly, grabbing everyone’s attention. “We are gathered here tonight to celebrate the demise of the vexatious gang that sought to infiltrate our ranks. Not five hours ago I broke their pathetic rat, and in only a few more hours we had their entire headquarters bombed to oblivion along with every single one of their operatives. So, as they burn in hell, let us drink to their memory.”
Everyone drank fully, emptying their glasses completely. Jack grinned wider, emptying his glass as well. Beside him, Victor held a large bottle of vodka, which was already half empty, though somehow he was still very sober. Given his size, it would naturally take more alcohol to affect him, but even so, the Serbian had such a high tolerance that it took several bottles to even feel it. As everyone enjoyed the taste of victory, the doors to the room swung open, from them stepping several armed guards along with three other individuals, who were an instant focal point.
Everyone in the room looked to the new entrants, ceasing any conversation as their mood changed from merriment to serious business. Any one, no matter who they were, would elicit such a response, the presence of foreign individuals an occasion that called for complete attention. As they saw the terrifying man mountain that was Butler, their hands automatically moved to their concealed guns, many of them aware of who the man was: a man of legend. Noticing the sudden tension in the air, Sawyer stood up, putting his hands in the air.
“Everyone please, calm down.” He yelled. “I know that one guy is one scary son of a bitch, but they’re guests.” He turned to Artemis, who was waiting by the door, the two Butlers flanking him. Jack grinned the widest grin he’d ever made. “Why if it isn’t the one and only Artemis Fowl the Second! And the two renowned Butlers no less!” He said excitedly, walking across the room to meet them. As he came within several meters of the trio, he stopped, taking the cigar from his mouth before speaking again. “I’ve got to say, I could hardly believe it when my guards told me you of all people were here to do business with me, I mean come on! That’s like being visited by the tooth fairy!” He laughed, taking another drag from his cigar. “Tell me.” He said casually. “Whatever happened to your father? Ever since that incident with the Russians he’s been out of the game! What happened? Did he lose more than just his leg or something, perhaps his nuts?”
The people around him chuckled, eliciting a bit of irritation from Artemis, who had a low tolerance for disrespect, especially for his father. Despite this, he kept calm. The boy looked around the room, his eyes studying everyone before falling on the dagger upon the fireplace. It was so close, yet so far, a small army of mobsters in between them and Opal’s fatal weakness. He quickly reverted his gaze back to Sawyer.
“I assure you such is not the case.” Artemis stated intelligently. “However, after such a debacle, he saw it fit to resign from his position. One can only handle so many near death experiences in one lifetime.”
Jack frowned. “That’s too bad. He was such an excellent business partner, maybe even the best. We used to do all sorts of things together, like selling narcotics, running human trafficking rings, insurance fraud, arms dealing, that kind of stuff. I can tell you, I really miss the monthly game of golf we’d play, the eighteen holes are rather boring without him, I even had to cancel his membership for our county club given his absence. It’s too bad he’s finished with the business, it really is.” Sawyer grinned wolfishly. “However, it seems as though you’re still in the game, which is music to my ears.”
Artemis nodded placidly. “Indeed, it is my duty to uphold the family affairs in his stead, thus any and all business actions. I am here tonight with a proposition.”
Jack rubbed his hands together. “Excellent.” He said happily. “What do you need? Drugs, guns, art, hitmen, cars, boats, planes, tanks, accountants, lawyers, women…” He paused, seeing Artemis’ utterly unamused expression. “Men?”
The genius shook his head. “None of the above. I am here for something else, something rather unique.”
The crime boss raised an eyebrow, enticed by Artemis’ words. “Do tell.”
“I am here.” Artemis stated. “For the dagger that is precariously placed upon the mantlepiece on the other side of this room.”
Everyone was silent, even Jack was quite surprised, his eyes betraying pleasant shock. He’d only just acquired the dagger, and yet the great Artemis Fowl had already found out about it and subsequently come knocking on his door for it. He could hardly believe his luck.
As the whole room watched, Sawyer walked over to the fireplace, grabbing the ancient dagger carefully from the mantle before moving back to face Artemis. He held the dagger up, showing it to the boy, but keeping it out of arm’s reach. “You want this raggedy thing? I didn’t take you for an archeologist.” He said, a look of curiosity crossing his features.
Artemis kept his cool demeanor, not changing his expression. “I don’t. My mother’s birthday is coming up, and she has a liking for historical pieces such as this.” Artemis said, motioning to Butler. The massive bodyguard took the suitcase and placed it upon the table, opening it before spinning it around, showing Jack the money that filled its interior. As Butler moved back behind Artemis, the boy continued. “I’m willing to pay top dollar for it, one million dollars to be exact.”
The mob boss whistled, eying the stacks of fresh dollar bills, which were in fact exact replicas courtesy of Foaly. Grabbing a random wad of bills, he removed one and held it into the light, observing it carefully. It was perfectly legit looking, even to the best professional, the centaur’s work extraordinarily flawless. With a satisfied grunt he tossed the money back into the case, closing it smoothly as he twirled the dagger skillfully in one hand. He then regarded the ancient artifact, his eyes appraising the blade as he arched an eyebrow, before turning his attention back to Artemis.
“Funny.” He said smoothly. “You’re willing to offer me one million dollars for a birthday present for your mother. I gotta say, that’s precious, your gonna make me cry.” He strolled slowly back a few paces, speaking calculatingly as he did. “However, there’s an abnormality within the construct of your story. Having worked with your father for many years, I’ve learned a bit about his wife, one of them being her tastes, and as you well know, a refined woman such as herself doesn’t change her preferences that easily. Judging by what I was told during our drinking hours, your mother doesn’t have any remote interest in ancient weapons, especially such an esoteric dagger as this, which hardly has any connection to the usual eras that rich Irish housewives tend to favor.” He turned around to look at Artemis again, his face now serious and slightly cold, a complete switch in emotion. “And you brought two of the most dangerous people in the world plus one million dollars into my estate without even calling ahead. That’s odd, isn’t it? In a normal situation you would have simply sent me a message, and would have arranged a meeting in which we could have made the transaction. However, you didn’t, instead opting for a much more egregiously abrupt and blunt approach, one that shows me that you are on the clock, far too constrained by time to do things as per normal protocol. Given that you’re mother’s birthday isn’t for a few more weeks, that could hardly be your reason to rush so blatantly. What that tells me is that this artifact is much more important than you say it is, that you desperately need it more than anything, and that you need it now for the almost immediate application of its properties. You could a least lie better, your complexion and slightly abnormal enunciation gave it away quite effectively.” He set his cigar onto an ash tray, tilting his head. “Now tell me Artemis, why do you want this dagger?”
There was a growing tension in the room, the numerous occupants now utterly alert and ready to take action should anything threatening transpire. Butler and Juliet were completely calm in appearance, but they were beginning to sense danger, their eyes changing from impassive to slightly threatening. Above the ground floor, perched upon an elephant head that was mounted on the wall, was Holly Short. She was invisible to the eye, but she much more preferred to sit on something that gave her a good tactical position instead of hovering over the meeting. Even though she hated taxidermy with a passion, the mounted head gave her the best vantage point. As she observed the exchange below, she couldn’t help but grit her teeth. Things were starting to get sketchy.
Below, Artemis kept his cool, though he was surprised by Sawyer’s insight. He’d seen right through his perfect ruse, something that a rare few ever accomplished. Nonetheless, the boy spoke smoothly, without any hint of worry or hesitation. “I assure you, that is none of your concern. What matters is that you’ll be payed.”
“With one million dollars?” Sawyer coughed, pointing to the case. “That’s pocket change kid and you know it. I just made a hundred times that from a deal that only took a few days to accomplish, so what makes you think I’ll give you such an obviously important piece for dirt cheap?”
“Because you knew my father, and it would be in your best interests to keep your syndicate’s relations with the Fowl family optimal.” Artemis responded placidly.
Jack grinned. “You think that just because I did business with your dad that I’ll cut you some slack? You do know that your family has been rather…inactive in the industry as of late. You aren’t even in good standing with any of the major syndicates out there, whilst I am. Hell, you seriously pissed off the Russians with that little trick you pulled on them during your father’s hostage situation. And then there’s Jon Spiro and Billy Kong, man you got some people mad when you took them out.” His face turned serious again, all amusement vanished, his visage growing ice cold. “They were rather valuable partners to me as well. Spiro was quite useful when it came to connections with the Antonelli family in America, and Kong was the perfect killer, always finishing the job with precision and ruthlessness. I lost quite a bit of money thanks to you. But back then I let it slide, given your father, figuring that I owed him. Now, however, such favors have been spent, leaving you with nothing to bargain with.”
Artemis didn’t show his growing anxiety. He had known a lot about Sawyer, but even that wasn’t enough. The man was proving to be more dangerous than he’d anticipated. Maybe he’d been removed from the criminal underworld for too long, maybe he was losing his edge. Impossible. Regardless, there were some things that even he didn’t know, especially when it came to a professional like Jack. This unsettled him greatly. Time to use plan B. He thought, pressing an invisible button on his thumb.
With a slight smirk Artemis spoke, this time with a more predatory tone. “On the contrary, I have plenty to bargain with.” He motioned to the widescreen television on one side of the room. Come on Foaly, show us what you can do.
The screen flickered to life, upon it a live feed from one of the mansion’s perimeter cameras. It showed the forest road at the edge of the plateau. At first there were only trees and mountains visible, but as the image sharpened, more became clear. Upon the path were dozens of police vehicles and tactical units, their lights off, as though waiting for something, hiding in the dark as they anticipated a command. Many of Sawyer’s men were shocked by the convincing image, speaking amongst themselves nervously. It was every criminal’s nightmare, the crime lord’s boogeyman; Interpol.
Artemis grinned devilishly as Jack looked at the screen. “As you can see, I have half of Interpol just waiting outside your estate. You see, I have connections, so I was able to bring them over here as collateral. If you seek to inconvenience me further, I will inform them that this place is a front for the Chimera Firm. If you comply, I will make them leave and no one will bother you. So, what will it be?”
Sawyer observed the screen for a few more seconds, his face surprisingly calm, if not slightly amused. He turned back to Artemis, a grin growing across his face. “You know.” He said. “That’s quite a convincing bit of editing you got there, I can’t even tell the difference.” He twirled the dagger in his hand absentmindedly, the ancient blade moving faster than the eye could track. “However, you’re not the only one with connections.”
Jack walked slowly back to the table, his right hand man, Victor, now next to him. The large Serbian man stared at Butler with deadly eyes, his scar slashed face stern and confident. Butler returned the favor. As the two giant men stared each other down, Sawyer reached to the table upon which the suitcase sat, grabbing a wineglass as he did. Taking a deep sip, he turned back to face the genius, his eyes now dangerous. He was getting irritated.
“You see, I like to be many steps ahead of my enemies.” He stated smoothly, setting the now empty glass down again onto the table. “I have operatives within the higher ranks of Interpol, the FBI, SOCA, and most other major law enforcement agencies, and I pay them more than you ever could. If anyone so much as Googles my name or looks me up on facebook, I hear about it.” He paused. “Not that I use facebook, that would just be stupid.”
Artemis couldn’t help but grit his teeth; this man was much more trouble than it first appeared. He’d seen through both of his plans, and now things were nearing the third, a course of action that he’d rather not carry out, but had little choice. Jack watched him, his face completely serious.
“So yet again, it appears as though you are left without anything to negotiate with, though I commend your efforts thus far.” Sawyer stated calmly. “You see, I like you. You’re so much like your father, and I can respect that. However, this is a business that I am running here, and as with all enterprises, it requires significant amounts of monetary affluence in order to function optimally, so it’s only logical for me to make the most out of this situation.” He twirled the dagger again teasingly, his eyes still on Artemis. “So here’s how it’s going to go. You will give me fifty million dollars, and I will allow you to have this artifact.”
Artemis didn’t even think about accepting the offer, he didn’t have time for any of this. The clock was ticking, and every second that passed was a second given to Opal to near her goal. The boy gave Jack a cold stare, shaking his head. “No deal. My original offer stands. You can take the offer and leave us be, or you can cross us, which will not end well for you.”
Sawyer grinned wolfishly, a look that showed no merriment or good will; it was a look of dangerous intent. “So you’re going to threaten me in my own house now? Seriously, have you no class?” He took a step forward, the tension in the room reaching a climax as he did. The crime lord’s gaze bored into Artemis’ head, his stare utterly cold and death-like, as thought the tortured souls to all the people he’d killed were just beneath his eyes.
“There was another man who did the same thing many years ago. I was thirteen at the time, several years after the Gambino family took me in from the streets. Up to that point I was much more like an errand boy, doing simple tasks whilst they taught me the basics of the industry, nothing violent mind you. When I turned thirteen, they sought to make me something more. They knew what I did to survive all those years in squalor, and saw potential. They finally decided to put such potential to the test.” He paused, his gaze ever one of the emptiness that killing brought. “They had me sit in on a little meeting between one of the Gambino family’s Lieutenants, and some low level gang that had become too intrusive. Though they gave me a gun just in case, I wasn’t told anything about the proceedings, nor was I given any instruction but to watch and learn. So I did. It was a rather vexing meeting, the insignificant gang boss a whining asshole who showed absolutely no respect. He threatened us, our boss, our families, and all the while held a false sense of security, a foolish confidence that only idiocy can produce. I couldn’t care less about what he said, I was simply there to learn, to see what the Lieutenant did. You can imagine my surprise when that Lieutenant gave me a look, one that was evident in its demands. He wanted me to shoot them. Apart from the boss, there were four other men present, all members of the rival gang. I knew each had a firearm, and with the teaching I’d been given over the last few years, I knew exactly where they were concealed and how long it would take the amateurs to draw them. I only waited for a few seconds, just enough time to size up my foes, before taking action. I drew my gun before they cold even blink, firing a single shot into each one of them. They all met their marks, except for the boss, who I hit in the shoulder instead of the head. So as his boys lay dead on the floor, he was screaming in agony, desperately trying to stop the bleeding. I looked to the Lieutenant, who simply handed me an old hammer. I knew what was expected of me. You know how a watermelon goes if you hit it too hard? Well that man’s head did the same thing, though it was much messier, I got bits of him all over me. Not that I cared, killing was a simple thing for me, ingrained in my mind as a basic fact of life, just as easy as having my hair cut once and a while. But, before I digress, allow me to get to the point. You see, I very much dislike being threatened in my own territory, much like that Lieutenant disliked it back then, though at least you have been professional about it. Regardless, you should think twice before making such a move when you are clearly outnumbered and outmatched, a complete tactical blunder that in many cases would mean your untimely death. But I do not wish for anything unfortunate to befall you, after all, you’re a brilliant kid. Still, your words will have repercussions.”
Jack waited for a moment, watching Artemis’ face for any sort of reaction. When he found none, he continued. “Now, how about I make a more suitable offer, Mr. Fowl.” He stated softly. “I know that you’re a person who loathes to be commanded by others, you detest being bent to the will of another, such is your hubris. At times, your brilliance is your downfall, as you are so lofty that you cannot even consider being beaten. So be it. If you cannot give me the price I demand, I will just have to take something of even greater value.” His fingers made a motion, almost unrecognizable, but noticeable enough for all of his operatives to understand. The crowd of criminals spread out to surround the trio, their hands hovering over their holsters. Butler and Juliet tensed, now certain that conflict was inevitable. Artemis kept his gaze on Sawyer, who was standing now a few feet from him.
“I will just have to take you, Artemis.” Jack stated dangerously. “After all, your life is no doubt worth far more than fifty million, is it not?” He raised a eyebrow, again twirling the dagger effortlessly. “Your parents no doubt have become soft, their isolation from their past making them weak. Coupled with the fact that they could hardy go to the police over this given their criminal ties, they would easily acquiesce.” He looked at the Butler and Juliet. “And as for your friends, they too will fetch a good price. There are plenty of individuals who have scores to settle with them, and you.” He turned his gaze back to Artemis. “I might even hand you over to the Russian mafia, they’ve been dying to get their hands on you.” He took another step towards Artemis.
Butler glared at the man, his fists clenching into giant boulders. He was getting irritated as well, his body aching to get Artemis out of there, yet his mind holding the urge at bay. Jack didn’t even hesitate, utterly confident. “You think that you could take all of us on and survive? Even with your skill, what are three unarmed individuals against seventy-five trained professionals?” His eyes narrowed. “Dead meat.”
Above the intense display below, Holly readied her neutrino, her face angry and stressed. How dare they treat Artemis like that! They had no idea what they were dealing with, but all the same they were ready to pounce, the occupants of the room each seconds away from drawing on her friends. Come on Artemis! She thought. Just say the word!
Below the elf, Sawyer and his operatives had surrounded the trio, ready to draw their weapons. Jack, with an all to casual demeanor, grinned at Artemis. “Sorry kid.” He said in an business like tone. “But there’s no such thing as honor amongst thieves, not in this day and age.”
Artemis smirked. Plan C it is then.
He gave Jack his signature grin, eliciting a slight bit of unease from the man. “Well then, Mr. Sawyer, I’m afraid I’ll just have to decline your offer yet again.” With a faint motion to Butler and Juliet, they each took out a pair of black shades, the air filled with raw anticipation. Jack smirked as Artemis put the glasses on. “What, do those shoot laser beams or something?” He said sarcastically.
“Close.” Artemis said deviously. He paused, looking slowly to the mounted elephant head where he knew Holly was sitting. They were ready. He took a deep breath before speaking loudly. “Troll droppings.”
Above them, Holly smiled. About time.
As Artemis uttered the words, Jack’s face contorted with sudden surprise, along with Victor and most of the other people in the room. They knew what he had just done; he had said a code word, the enunciation a dead giveaway despite the rather curious choice of words. There was no mistake, something big was about to happen.
With a shout Jack reached into his coat, dropping the dagger as he drew his Beretta 96, a look of irascibility on his face. Everyone else also drew their weapons, the sound of slides being racked filling the room. However, just as they were about to aim at their three targets, Holly pressed the detonation switch on her communicator. With a series of loud bangs, several dozen LEP flash grenades exploded around the room, filling the expanse with a blinding wall of light. The mobsters dropped their guns, shielding their eyes as they stumbled about in a disoriented mess. Jack growled loudly, falling back as he dropped his Beretta onto the floor. Temporarily blinded, the man stumbled into a table, tripping over it violently. As he fell, he grabbed onto the nearest object, trying to stop himself. To his dismay he had grabbed the table mat, and subsequently dragged the food and full glasses of wine that were on it down with him. With a crash he hit the floor, the various items of food and drink covering him messily.
Artemis didn’t waste time, he dove for the dagger, grabbing it quickly as chaos filled the room. Butler grabbed the two guards behind him, throwing them several meters into a group of recuperating mobsters. Juliet took on the other two, using her jade stone as she spun about, hitting them in their foreheads with blinding speed with her weaponized hair. As the two men tumbled over, unconscious, numerous other henchmen began to see straight, aiming their weapons once more at the trio, who were now moving to the door. Holly was not going to let that happen.
The elf, still hidden by her shimmer suit, launched herself off of the elephant head, her two neutrinos in hand. Without a moment’s hesitation, the elf went all out, blasting any mud man that so much as stood up with stun beams. The shots met their marks, dropping a dozen men immediately, and stunning several others shortly after.
Butler motioned to the door, roaring loudly. “Time to go!” He grabbed Artemis, dragging him into the hall as Juliet and Holly knocked out several more assailants. Victor, though still disoriented, charged at the group, his magnum aimed in their general direction despite his temporary blindness. Juliet sized him up, grinning. Hello big guy. She quickly grabbed the man’s arm, jabbing a nerve cluster in his wrist, causing his grip to fail and for the gun to fall to the floor before sending a series of blows into his chest. As the large man stumbled back, she spun around, sending a perfect roundhouse kick right into Victor’s face. The massive mobster fell like a sack of bricks, crushing a wooden table like it was made of paper. Juliet quickly ran after her friends, lithely stepping over the mobsters that littered the floor. As the four of them burst into the hall, sirens started to go off, the sound of shouting coming from down the hall. When they were about halfway to the main entrance, a dozen heavily armed guards stepped out into the passage, blocking their path. Butler placed himself in front of Artemis, but otherwise didn’t stop; he’d just have to go through them.
Back in the dining hall, dozens of armed individuals began to get off the floor, dispelling the disorientation that had temporarily incapacitated them. Jack Sawyer lay in a pile of food and shattered glass, covered in red wine. He slowly got up, brushing off his suit before realizing it’s abysmal state. The man frowned, his eyes murderous.
“That little prick ruined my suit!” He seethed. He looked around, seeing dozens of his comrades lying on the floor, motionless. Even though they were just stunned, Jack couldn’t tell the difference in the heat of the moment. With a new look of utter rage he grabbed his pistol, yelling to his men. “After them! Do not let them escape!”
As scores of armed mobsters ran to the hall, Jack looked to Victor, who was just getting off the floor after being hit in the face by Juliet’s foot. The large man had his magnum in hand, nodding to Sawyer. Jack nodded in return. “Let’s get to work.”
Down the hall, the foursome smashed through the defenders, leaving a trail of unconscious guards as they went. Holly hovered overhead, blasting anyone that got close both from behind and in front, sending blue beams into the assaulting forces as they poured from every direction. Butler acted as a battering ram, plowing through anything in his path, making unfortunate people fly into the air like confetti. Juliet snaked in between the attacking mobsters, dodging their attacks and delivering precise blows to their pressure points, sending the men tumbling to the floor like ragdolls. As they dropped, she kicked a gun from another man’s grip, leaving him defenseless. The disgruntled mobster stepped back, pulling an ancient naginata from one of the armored figures on display. With a threatening grunt he swung it forward, assuming a low stance. Juliet grinned. Finally, a challenge. With a battle cry the man thrust the naginata forward, aiming for Juliet’s midsection. The Jade Princess dodged the attack, stepping to the side effortlessly as the blade flew by her. As she did this, the mobster followed through with a broad swing, sending the already extended blade flying after Juliet. With an excited grin, she bend backwards, the blade passing over her with a swoosh as its razor sharp blade sliced the air. Almost immediately, the deadly girl grabbed the weapon by the pole. With a shout she pushed it into it’s wielder’s gut, the blunt end knocking the breath from him. As he tumbled over two more guards grabbed katanas from other displays, Juliet preoccupied as she swung the blunt end of the blade into another nearby mobster, tripping him before he could fire his rifle. The two mobsters charged in unison, their blades arcing through the air, glinting with deadly intent. Juliet saw them coming, spinning about with her naginata raised. The long pole weapon caught the two katanas as they came down, their sharp blades deflecting just enough as they sliced though the strong wooden pole. She then took the two separate end pieces of the weapon and swung them into the hands of her attackers, making them drop their swords. With an invigorated yell she smashed the two blunt sections of the naginata into their heads, sending them flying several feet before landing in a pile. Amidst all of this, Artemis just ran, yet again displeased by the situation. Why has this sort of thing become a regular occurrence? He thought incredulously as he dodged a pile of fallen guards. I’m a genius for goodness sake, not a soldier!
As they neared the door, five guards stepped before it, forming a line as they aimed their sub machine guns. Too bad for them they were dealing with Butler, who was on top of them before they could even fire. In a blur of motion, the man mountain collided with the door and the unfortunate guards, blasting them as well as the wooden barrier out into the courtyard, scaring the living day lights out of Mulch Diggums, who was waiting on the doorstep. The dwarf, who was still hidden by his suit, dove into the nearest bush as the large doors flew past him, embedding themselves in the side of a blue Lamborghini. The five guards were more fortunate, though they still ended up unconscious, strewn about the courtyard.
Mulch emerged from the bush just in time to see the the three humans sprint out, the sounds of gunfire chasing them as they ran down the steps. Butler was shielding Artemis from the bullets as Juliet a Holly gave them cover. As they flew down the steps, several armed mobsters ran after them, most of them only to be stunned by Holly. The remaining one had a close encounter with Juliet’s fist, an encounter that sent him to the ground alongside the rest of his comrades.
“Mulch, get in the truck!” Artemis yelled as he passed the dwarf’s invisible form, somehow knowing exactly where he was. Mulch complied immediately as bullets flew by at random, booking it to the black SUV that was parked a few meters away. Butler unlocked the vehicle remotely as he ran, grabbing Artemis as he did. The bodyguard pulled open the side door and literally threw the boy inside, knowing that he had a much better chance against the soft seats than he did against bullets. After depositing the genius, he got into the driver’s seat, most of the others having by now entered the truck as well.
Holly was the last to get in, stunning a few guards as they tried to fire on the truck before flying into the open side door. As she landed within the interior she unshielded, yelling loudly to Butler. “Let’s go!”
The bodyguard hardly needed any motivation. “Hold on!” He bellowed as he slammed his foot onto the accelerator, sending the black truck flying forward towards the open gate.
As the vehicle sped up, several dozen heavily armed guards poured from the now smashed doorway, with them coming Jack Sawyer. The angry American raised his own handgun, yelling loudly. “Fire at will!”
The response of several dozen automatic weapons filled the air, the sound of shell casings littering the stone walkway making a bizarre cacophony of metallic pinging. The bullets flew into the fleeing SUV, colliding with its armored surface with a storm of loud bangs. The mobsters kept firing, unloading their magazines upon the ever distancing truck, which didn’t even lose control as it was hammered with hundreds of rounds. After about fifteen seconds, the vehicle disappeared into the forest, leaving the small army of vexed criminals with empty magazines and smoking barrels.
Jack stood with his Beretta, now empty, aimed into the night. He motioned to his men, “After them! We can not let them get away with the deaths of our comrades!”
The numerous men and women ran forward, getting into any available vehicle. As they started their engines and floored their accelerators, the mobsters failed to notice the collection of nuts, bolts and screws that littered the entire courtyard, parts that should have been within their vehicles. As Jack watched obliviously, the fleet of cars and trucks began to move out. At first they appeared to be in working order, but after a few seconds, everything fell apart, literally. While they approached the open gate, every one of the active vehicles lurched violently and made rather unhealthy noises. Jack heard the screeching cacophony, raising an eyebrow in confusion. Soon after, each of the vehicles suddenly fell to pieces, their wheels rolling off and their entire undercarriages spilling in every direction, leaving their drivers gaping in surprise. It was like someone had painstakingly undone every single screw and bolt, leaving the vehicles as fragile tinker toys. And of course, that’s exactly what had happened, courtesy of a certain kleptomaniac dwarf.
Sawyer couldn’t help but grin a little. He looked off into the distance to where the forest road vanished into the night. “Well played kid, well played.”
The man turned back to the mansion, seeing Victor walking up to him with a rather relieved look on his face.
“Victor, what’s our status? How many did we lose?” Jack asked solemnly.
The Serbian looked perplexed at what he was about to say. “None sir. Though we’ve sustained forty-three casualties, there are only minor injuries. It appears as though they used some sort of stun weapon.”
Sawyer couldn’t hide his look of pure surprise and relief. He had never expected such an adversary to use non lethal force in such a situation, and yet Artemis had. Jack nodded slowly, his anger dissipating. “He showed mercy on us…I honestly didn’t see that one coming.” He looked off into the night, his previous rage now simmered down to almost nothing. If there was one thing in life that he wanted more than anything, it was a normal childhood, but that would never be. He never had a family that he truly could call his own, never had people in his life that were like brothers, at least not until he formed the Chimera Firm. The men and women under his command were very much like his own flesh a blood, people with whom he’d shared much hardship and much adventure. He felt that, despite all that he’d been through, despite the fact that he was a stone cold killer who made a living through other people’s misfortune, that he had a family after all. Sure, they weren’t the conventional family, instead one that maimed, killed, stole and destroyed, but to him it didn’t matter; they were the closest thing he had. There was nothing more he hated than to lose one of his own, and now, upon learning that Fowl, despite having every right to kill, had mercy on the worst of humanity, he could hardly believe it. It blew Sawyer’s mind.
Victor looked off into the distance as well. “Should we pursue?” He asked.
Jack shook his head, still lost slightly in thought. After a moment he turned to the man. “No.” He said smoothly. “Artemis stole it fair and square, it’s only just an old dagger after all. Going after them would just be a headache, and such an endeavor is not worth the lives of anyone here.” The crime boss turned back to the night shrouded mountains. “Artemis took it easy on us, so I’ll take it easy on him. Sparing our lives has bought him some slack, but he still caused quite a bit of damage, ruined our entire fleet, and made us all look like fools…” He paused, a grin working its way across his features. “Maybe it’s time I called in that favor that the Russian Mafia owes me.”
Jack reached into his wine stained suit, pulling out his cellphone. “Besides, we can’t just let them off so easily, that would make us look bad.” He dialed a number, putting the cellphone to his ear. As it rung, he spoke through a very wide grin. “Artemis, if you can survive this, we’re even.”
Somewhere in the Alps
The peaceful night was shattered by the passage of the black truck, its engines roaring as it powered down the narrow mountain road, leaving nothing but clouds of dust in its wake. The sky was still clear, and the wind was calm, but despite the tranquil environment, the vehicle wasted no time, flying along the road with a great sense of urgency. Inside the truck, the occupants held onto their seats, some looking back behind them, half expecting something to give chase.
Juliet Butler sat in the rear with Holly, both of them looking out the rear window with serious expectancy.
“It appears that they aren’t chasing us.” Juliet said to the others, relieved that they were, so far, home free.
Artemis, who was in the middle, smiled deviously. “Of course they aren’t, Mulch made sure of that.”
The kleptomaniac dwarf chuckled. “I didn’t miss a single part, they must have fallen to pieces like jigsaw puzzles. It must have been priceless, I’ll have to get a copy of the surveillance video from Foaly once this is over.” Mulch grinned widely, his tombstone teeth making him look slightly terrifying. “Just like old times.”
Butler held firmly onto the wheel, driving the truck along the winding roads with practiced control, not at all worried about breaking the speed limit by twice the amount. As they drove, Holly kept looking out the rear window, a perplexed look on her face.
“Still.” She said. “Given the amount of power their syndicate possesses, you’d think they would have another means of pursuing us.”
“They most certainly do.” Artemis nodded. “If they so desired, we’d be in a lot of trouble right now. However, it appears as though they have decided to take it easy on us, most likely for using non-lethal force on them during our escape. That is one aspect of Sawyer that I knew I could count on. Despite his evil nature, he still has a small sense of honor.” The boy looked off into the distance, thinking. “But that doesn’t mean he won’t do something. He can’t just allow us to get away so easily, it would damage his reputation, something that is of extraordinary detriment for a man in his position.”
“Great.” Juliet said, still excited up by the fight. “What can we expect?”
Artemis frowned, contemplating the possibilities. “Quite a bit, though nothing we can’t handle.”
As the genius finished his utterance, a faint rumble rose from the valley below. They were driving along a sheer cliff, the land far down completely hidden by the darkness. As they rushed down the mountain road, the sound of engines and rotating blades echoed up to them, capturing their attention immediately.
Juliet frowned, hearing the noise with a look of recognition. “Oh crap, you’ve gotta be kidding me.”
Artemis’ visage didn’t change a bit. “Nope, I’m afraid not.”
A light began to shine from below the cliff before them, followed by a strong wind that seemed to assault them purposefully. A second later, a blinding beam of light blasted into their view, though the windows dimmed it so that they could make out its source. There, hovering right in their path, was a fully armed Mi-24 Hind. The Russian attack helicopter, popularly nicknamed the crocodile, hovered in the air, its massive rotors creating a loud roar as it focused on its prey.
“Where did they get one of those!?” Holly yelled from the back, weary of the ex-Soviet gunship’s capabilities.
Butler noted the lack of any markings on the aircraft, making a deduction immediately. “It’s not theirs, it belongs to the Russian Mafia!” He bellowed as he slammed on the breaks. Just as he did so, the gunship fired a salvo of rockets, sending the deadly projectiles barreling towards the SUV. Butler swerved the truck onto a separate road, dodging the rockets by mere feet, driving away from the helicopter as fast as he could. The explosive projectiles slammed into where they once were, tearing the entire cliff side apart, the explosion shaking the vehicle as it retreated.
As Butler pushed the truck to its limits, he yelled back to the others. “That gunship has heat seeking missiles. If they use them, we’re done for!”
“Don’t worry about it.” Holly said as she crawled from the back, neutrino in hand. “This gun has a flare function. It should be enough to divert them.”
Butler nodded. “Alright, get to the opening.” He referred to the hatch on the ceiling, where there would usually be turret. In place of it, a highly skilled LEP officer would suffice.
As Holly readied herself by the hatch, a wall of wind blasted into the side of the truck, buffeting the vehicle violently. Butler swerved desperately, avoiding a sheer drop by a few inches, before regaining control. The source of the wind flew up from in front of them, the helicopter barreling into view from behind a bend in the road. As it came for them, Butler floored the accelerator, sending the truck speeding towards the gunship. They couldn’t stop or turn around, so their best bet was to take it head on.
“Everybody get down!” The bodyguard roared as they approached the attacking aircraft. Everyone quickly ducked, just as the gunship lit the entire area up with its front mounted four-barrel Yak-B machine-gun, sending a wall of high caliber rounds into the SUV. Butler clenched his teeth as the heavily reinforced vehicle shook violently, the fifty caliber bullets making fist sized dents in the roof, and almost pulverizing the advanced windshield. The gunship kept firing until its target drove under it, turning down the road with surprising ease given it had been lit up like Washington on the fourth of July. It quickly turned about, flying with renewed persistence towards the distancing vehicle.
Inside the fleeing truck, Artemis thought intensely, eying the distant mountains with a tactical demeanor. He then considered the roads, which he had memorized before embarking on the mission, as well as the specific topography around their region. After a few seconds, he grinned. That will be sufficient.
The boy looked to Butler, who was concentrating on dodging the bullets and rockets that were exploding all around them. “Old friend, I have a plan.”
Butler gritted his teeth as another explosion rocked the vehicle, followed by the ping of several large bullets. “Then get to it Artemis!”
The genius nodded. He pointed to the upcoming fork in the road. “I predict that they will fire a heat seeking missile in about thirty seconds. Ignore it, just take the next right through that mountain pass, it will force them to go around.” As Butler nodded, Artemis turned back to Holly. “Holly, when those missiles come, fire a series of flares up to the top of the next mountain. Be sure that you timing it perfect as to attract all of them.”
The elf powered up her neutrino, her eyes now filled with anticipation. “You can count on me.”
Artemis then looked to everyone else, a grin on his face. “The rest of you can simply enjoy the ride.”
Juliet laughed excitedly whilst Mulch frowned in dismay. This was the second time he was chased by death while in a black SUV, and he was starting to get tired of it. He mumbled something about rather being in a goblin ghetto as he ducked below the seats, eating whatever he had in his beard without discretion; it was a comfort thing.
Artemis now had his attention on the road ahead. Butler made his way to the passage that the genius had designated, completely confident in the boy’s plan. Behind them, the helicopter had stopped shooting its unguided rockets, and was preparing to fire something else. Artemis looked at his watch, counting down the seconds. Heat-seeking missiles right about..now.
The gunship lit up the sky as it launched four heavy missiles, the large weapons flaming through the sky with blinding speed whilst the aircraft split off to avoid the narrow pass. As they approached the truck, Holly opened the hatch, her neutrino in hand. Looking to the mountain she set the gun to flare mode, lining up the shot. With the missiles no farther than fifty meters, Holly fired a stream of bright red energy fares into the mountain, the glowing orbs lighting up the night with a crimson glare. The missiles, which were almost on top of them, suddenly split off in the direction of the countermeasures, rushing to meet the mountain top. With a loud thump, the projectiles slammed into the snow covered peak, a hot ball of fire rising into the air.
“Done!” Holly yelled down into the vehicle.
Artemis grinned. “Excellent.” He stated. “By now they should be circling around to meet us as we emerge from this pass.”
“And that’s a good thing?” Mulch said worriedly from the back seat.
“The best.” The genius said deviously.
The black SUV drove through the mountain pass, the night now oppressing again as they flew through the narrow gap between the giant stone sentinels. After about thirty seconds, they emerged onto the other side, skidding to a halt at Artemis’ signal as they turned onto the hill side road. There was a steep cliff behind them, the tall rock formation rising high into the star studded night sky.
“What now?” Butler asked calmly, not at all worried. He simply liked to know how the boy planned to win.
Artemis looked into the night. “We wait.”
As they sat there in silence, the sound of the helicopter began to rise again from below them, the faint outline of its spotlight now becoming evident upon the hillside. Along with the gunship’s noise signature, another, more ominous rumble, began to rise from behind them. As these two cacophonies grew in intensity, the vehicle’s occupants, with the exception of a nervous dwarf, waited calmly. Suddenly, with a whoosh of heavy gusts of wind, the Russian gunship rose into view from the valley below, the aircraft looming over them, not even twenty meters away. As its four-barrel gun began to rotate, Mulch whined from the back.
“Oh great, we’re going to be turned into meat puree. I’m only several hundred years old, I’m too young to die!” He said sadly.
Artemis smiled gleefully, speaking with a cunning tone. “Not this time.”
As the gunship readied to fire, the rumbling above reached a climax. For the pilots in the gunship, who were isolated by the thick canopy, it was much less noticeable, their line of sight of the mountain above blocked by the steep cliff. At first it appeared as though nothing would happen, but at the very last moment, just a split second before the helicopter opened fire, the loud rumble exploded over the cliff above in the form of an enormous avalanche. The wall of pure white snow, which had been caused by the diverted missiles, spilled over the cliff side, falling ahead towards the hovering gunship, missing the bullet dented truck by a few meters. The pilots veered away, but it was too late, as the avalanche was right on top of them. With a muffled thud the snow slammed into the helicopter, pushing it down into the hillside with its combined weight. The aircraft’s rotor blades shattered due to the force of the impact, the tail end of the Russian machine being torn off as it collided with the hill. As the snow continued to pour down, the gunship was taken with it, its now incapacitated form being pushed down the mountain side. After a minute of this, the avalanche came to a halt, the now useless helicopter coming to a rest upright at the bottom of the valley. Inside the truck, everyone cheered, amazed by the perfect timing of Artemis’ plan.
“That was totally awesome Artemis!” Juliet cheered, clapping the genius on the shoulder. Everyone else gave similar comments, all except Butler, who sat in the driver’s seat with a grin on his face. Despite all of the impossible adventures they had been on, Artemis never ceased to amaze him.
The genius smiled widely, accepting the compliments professionally. After a moment he held up his hands. “Alright, alright. I know that it was a flawless plan, but I believe we have to get this dagger back to Haven as soon as possible.” He nodded to Butler, who took the battered vehicle forward once more.
As the truck disappeared into the night, the ruined helicopter below sat in silence. After a few seconds, the thick canopies that covered the two separate pilot seats were pushed open, the snow making them heavier to move. As the wind blew gently through the valley, the two Russian pilots, Mikhael and Kamar, emerged from the craft, swearing profusely. They had managed to get promoted from being low level mafia enforcers a few years ago, even after the egregious debacle with the Fowl hostage incident. Work was good, and when they were told to take a gunship and destroy Artemis Fowl, they had been ecstatic. Now, they were quite the opposite.
“дерьмо!” Mikhael swore as he brushed the snow from his clothes. “I can’t believe this shit! He took us out with an avalanche!”
As the large Russian went off into another flurry of expletives, Kamar rubbed his cold hands together, a worried look on his face. “Britva’s going to be pissed!” He said apprehensively.
Mikhael gave him a look. “No shit, we just lost a thirty million dollar gunship!”
The large mobster swore again as he put on a thick hat that was sitting in the cockpit. He took out a cigarette, handing another to Kamar before lighting it. As he blew out a thick cloud of smoke, he looked off into the distance. “That’s definitely coming out of our yearly bonus.”
The estate was in the process of recuperation, the damaged vehicles still strewn about the courtyard in a mess of wheels and other components. On a balcony overlooking the ruined cars below stood Jack Sawyer, now in a fresh suit, looking off into the distance. He watched as the grasses swayed to the breeze, the distant mountains ever silent in their eternal slumber. The door behind him opened, from it stepping Victor, a weird look on his usually impassive face.
“Sir, I just got a call from Britva.” He said roughly as he came to stand by his boss.
Jack turned around, an expectant grin on his face. “And?”
Victor cleared his throat, pausing for a second before speaking with slight astonishment. “He says he now needs to buy a new helicopter. It seems as though Fowl managed to destroy their gunship with a well timed avalanche, and escaped without taking any casualties. Britva also made it clear that that’s the last favor he owes you.”
Sawyer processed the ridiculous story for a second before bursting into laughter.
“Oh man.” He said in between chuckles. “That made my week, I bet Britva is pissed.”
Victor nodded. “He was indeed very perturbed sir, said that’s the second time Fowl ruined his day.”
Jack grinned, wiping away a few laughter induced tears. “For sure it is.” The man said humorously. After a few more chuckles he recomposed himself, turning around once more to face the brilliant mountain range. “Artemis, it looks like you’ve earned my full respect. We’re even now.” He said smoothly. As the winds blew gently past him, he smiled genuinely, looking off into the distance where Fowl had went. “Boy, that kid’s got style.”
With a final glance into the night, the leader of the Chimera Firm left the balcony, heading into the mansion along with his right hand man. The faint shimmer of mountain snow began to blow through the air above, the white particles dancing in the wind with tender grace. High above in the sky, the moon and stars watched as they always did, witnessing the events that would truly change the world forever.
Opal’s Command Ship
The air was saturated with pure magic, the sickly red and impenetrable black tendrils snaking rhythmically around the circular chamber in a hellish pattern. Ancient symbols burned like fire in the air, the glyphs spinning around in a chain as they were strung out from the manuscripts that hid them, the stream of archaic dark magic pouring from the ancient artifacts like a relentless tide of evil. Amidst this utterly terrifying whirlwind of power sat the perfectly still form of Opal Koboi, the malicious pixie in a state of absolute concentration, her vast intellect and enormous power working together to unwind the extremely intricate magical threads that were in her way. Her entire being was aglow with crimson fire, the blood like flames all around her, grabbing at the air like living beasts hungry for flesh. Though her eyes were closed, their deadly red glow shined brightly all the same, adding even more entropy to the impossibly chaotic scene around her.
As the magical glyphs burned in the air, the long strands of ancient writing slowly being pieced together from the convoluted safety of the manuscripts, Opal couldn’t help but grin, her sharp teeth accentuating her rancorous smile.
I’m getting close, I can feel it! She thought, her mind still caught in the firestorm of powerful magic. Soon, so very soon, it will be mine, and every one of those mortal fools will be burned to ashes! No one will ever challenge me again!
As the pixie continued her deadly work, the magical storm grew in intensity, its chaos approaching a dooming climax. Time was running out.