And as an apology, I’ll put another one up on here too! And I suppose just cause I’m nice like that. 🙂
Chapter 3- Exposure and Trial
“You are what?” Foaly and Trouble shouted in unison.
“I’m pregnant,” Holly repeated, slowly, emphasizing each syllable.
This evoked two completely polar reactions from the elf and centaur: while all the color drained out of Foaly’s face, it seemed to drain into Trouble’s, as the commander’s face turned a shade of red that would have made his successor, Julius Root, proud.
After Holly had told Artemis that she was pregnant, he immediately loaded her up in a shuttle and they went down to Haven. It would be better to get down there now, before it was demanded of them; this wasn’t the sort of news you wanted to get over a video call, and even if it was, the Council would, no doubt, be wanting a tribunal once it leaked to their ears and would want at least one of them to attend. If they were already below ground, it would be much easier to deal with this.
“Pregnant…” the male elf murmured. “How under the Earth did you achieve that?”
Holly shifted uncomfortably. “How do all people get pregnant? Do you really need a lesson on this?”
“No… I just meant..” Trouble shook his head. “I didn’t realize you were fertile now, Holly. I wasn’t sure if it was implanted or…”
“No,” Holly said quickly. “This was natural. Unintended, but natural.”
“Fine. But still… you know what the Council will think of this, Holly. Especially because it’s natural. And unexpected. I mean, if it had been cleared with them, maybe, but since it hasn’t, I don’t think they’ll take the news well.”
“Let them take it however they want to,” a level voice called to them. “Any way it goes, we’ll deal with it.”
Everybody turned. Artemis was standing in the doorway, watching the exchange with his head cocked and his arms crossed.
He walked over and put his hands on Holly’s shoulders. “It doesn’t really matter what the Council says now. What’s happened has happened, and what it is is exactly that- what it is. They don’t have to like it, they just have to deal with it.”
Trouble nodded. “Of course. It’s not a question of that. It has to be dealt with. The question is, how will they deal with it?”
“It all depends on how they take it,” Artemis said with a shrug. “Either way, like I said, we will deal with it. Everything will work out fine as soon as I have enough information to make a plan.”
Everybody agreed to that. Even Foaly murmured in agreement, even though he had been silent through most of the conversation.
Suddenly, a face appeared on the techie’s screen. The Council’s chairman’s face popped up. “Looks like you’re about to get that information,” Foaly murmured. Trouble nudged him with his elbow, and Artemis shot him a look. Holly, however, ignored it, staring at the screen.
“Artemis Fowl II, report to the Council’s chamber immediately!” the chairman bellowed. Then he abruptly cut the connection, leaving no room for argument or other responses. The screen went black again.
All eyes flashed to the human.
Foaly snickered, in spite of the situation, and said, “ooooh, Arty boy is in trouble…”
Holly flashed him a death glare.
Conveniently, the centaur decided to shut his mouth just then.
Holly nodded, then turned and wrapped her arms around her partner. “Do you want me to come with you?” she asked.
He shook his head, squeezing her shoulder gently. “No. I don’t think that would be a good idea, Holly. Just stay here, relax, and we’ll talk about this when I get back. Okay?”
“Okay.” she sighed.
“Thank you.” He kissed her head, then gently pulled away from her. “I shall return,” he announced, then turned and headed towards the door. He didn’t say what he was thinking aloud, but the thought was prominent in his head: I hope…
Artemis walked slowly into the Council’s chamber. He hadn’t bothered to knock; they’re was no sense in it. They knew he was coming anyhow.
“Good afternoon, Councilmen,” he said, nodding respectfully.
A few returned it, however, Hilder, the Council’s chairman, did not.
“Don’t ‘good afternoon’ me, Fowl!” he snarled, jumping up and slamming his hands down on the desk with enough force to make it rattle. “Sit down, now!”
Artemis sighed, but did as he was directed, sitting at the small table in front of the podium. Hilder jumped down and stalked over to him, stepping up onto a stool and putting his hands down on the table. He leaned over the human, and, when he spoke, his voice was no more than a furious whisper, although it echoed through the vast chamber loudly nevertheless.
“What is the meaning of this?” he growled at Artemis.
“The meaning of what, Hilder?” Artemis asked, cocking his head and looking up at the man over him.
“You know exactly what. Don’t give me the innocent line. You got Short pregnant?”
“Yes,” Artemis admitted. “Unintentionally, but yes. Holly is pregnant with our child.”
“I don’t care if it was unintentional or not, it still happened, and it still has to be dealt with accordingly.” He stood up, extending his back to his full height (which wasn’t much,) and crossing his arms. “It has to die.”
“What?!” Artemis exclaimed, jumping to his feet. “No! Why?!”
“It is a hybrid. It does not belong on the surface or in Haven; either way, it will stand out. That’ s no kind of life you want a child to have. And anyways-”
“That is no reason for us to have to kill it!” Artemis argued. “It’s not even logical! And my child could stay on the surface with me, and for that matter, so could Holly. Yes, later in life they would stand out, but not for several years, and even so, it could be fixed! Besides,” Artemis added, “you have no rules against it. There are no rules that say a human and a fairy can’t be together if they so chose, or that we couldn’t have children together. Therefore, you can’t make us do that.”
“I can, and I will,” Hilder growled. “You have taken too much from the People already, for us to let you get away with this as well! Be grateful that this is the worst you are getting!”
“This is the worst thing we could be getting,” Artemis said quietly. “You’re asking me to kill a child of my own flesh and blood; a product of Holly’s and my love, and you expect me to be okay with it?”
“I never said you would be okay with it. I just said it needed to get done, and it will.”
“It won’t. I won’t.”
“If you don’t do it, then I will,” Hilder threatened.
Artemis snapped then. He had had enough. He snatched the little elf’s shirt, hoisting him up in the air. “You will not lay a finger on my child,” Artemis snarled at him. “Otherwise, you will be the one getting killed. And I will see to it personally. Understand?”
Now, any other person who saw this side of Artemis, even Holly, would be freaked out to the point of giving in, or they would at least be close. Hilder, however, was only a little shaken, and he simply said, “put me down, Fowl.”
“And what if I don’t want to?”
“Then you obviously don’t want to hear all of your options.”
Artemis hesitated, then sighed, dropping the elfin man on the ground. He didn’t sit back down, however, instead crossing his arms and glaring down at Hilder. “What are my options?” he demanded through gritted teeth.
“Your options, yes…” the Councilman muttered, dusting off his shirt and smoothing out the wrinkles. “You have to make a sacrifice either way, Fowl, fair warning.You can have the child… or you can have Holly.”
Artemis’s temper flared up again. “I won’t kill Holly, either, Hilder.”
“Oh, perhaps you won’t. Perhaps you won’t have to. I’m not going to explain all my reasons to you, for that would take way to long, but I will explain the options. You pick with no further information than I give you.”
Artemis sighed and nodded, rubbing his temples. “Do I have to pick as soon as you tell me?” he questioned.
“Oh, no. You don’t have to tell me your decision at all. However, you do have to make a decision and stick to it, because if you think that use can use this to your advantage or trick me, you are mistaken. I will be watching you, every single move, and if you don’t choose, then I will choose for you.”
“You cannot plant bugs on me or in my household without permission. It is illegal,” Artemis countered.
Hilder leaned forward, a smug smile on his face as he whispered, “I am the Councilman. I can do what I want. Nothing is illegal for me.”
Artemis seriously doubted this was true, but he resisted from saying it aloud. Instead, he decided to humor the little man. “Fine. Bug me now, if you’d like, but when the decision is made, and it is all said and done, they had better be gone.”
“Good. Now, what are my options?”
“Your first option is the simplest: you can kill the child. You can abort it, stab it, shoot it, I don’t care. Do this, and you can keep Holly. Life can go on as it is now for the both of you.”
“Not going to happen,” Artemis said firmly. “Even if I went with that, life for us would never be the same, and our relationship would be ruined.” He paused, then said, “next option.”
“Your second, and final option is this: you can keep the child, and get rid of Holly. You don’t have to kill her, but you have to stop seeing her. Either for life, or until you receive further notice from the Council stating that you can see each other again if you so please. Which won’t happen as long as I have my way, just so you are aware.” He paused. “Holly is not to know about the child; tell her whatever you want, but she must believe that something has happened. You don’t have it, neither does she. It is gone.” He stopped again to let that sink in fully. “And it must be kept from the human world. No contact with anybody other than the people who live in the household- human or fairy. It can’t exist to anybody but them.”
“I can’t do that, either,” Artemis said, after a moment. “It is certainly the better of the two options, but also the least feasible. I cannot do either of these.”
“You have to pick one.”
“Or what? What if I don’t?”
“Then I kill Holly and the child both, and you will rot in a prison cell the rest of your miserable life,” Hilder said simply. He crossed his arms and stared at Artemis resolutely.
Artemis shook his head, pacing rapidly now. “No. Neither of these are logical, or even feasible for that matter. I cannot do either.”
“Then you are dooming yourself and the ones you love most,” Hilder warned.
Artemis stopped and glared at him. “You are a vile creature,” he snarled. “Why on Earth are you doing this?”
“I do not have to explain myself to a human,” Hilder snapped. “Especially one with no regards to me or my kind, or our way of life. Remember this, human: you brought this upon yourself. You should have known there would be repercussions for your reckless actions eventually.”
“You-” Artemis started to say, but Hilder just kept on talking right over him.
“You have until the baby has turned a month old to make and carry out your decision. Chose wisely what you do, and choose soon. Remember, I will be watching you.” Hilder stood again, walking back up calmly to the podium and, ignoring Artemis’s heated glare trained on him, called down in a level tone, “you are dismissed, Mr. Fowl.”
Artemis stalked towards the door, but paused in the doorway to look back and growl, “this isn’t over, Hilder; far from it. I’ll do what you say, for now, but do not think that this is the end. Mark my words: I will be getting retaliation on you for this.”
Then he turned on his heel, and, without another word, stormed out of the chamber.
Did I say I’m nice? Oops, I lied… ….. who all hates me now? Probably a bunch of people… R&R!