Warning: Swears, and using the god’s name in vain, because that is what teenagers do.
Well, it starts somewhere, so I suppose it starts here.
Chapter One: Of Fate, Lady Luck
, and Puberty
Artemis strode into St Bartleby’s hurriedly, briefcase in one hand, the other snatching a pair of mirrored sunglasses off his face. He was going to be late. And that was not acceptable.
Fowls were never late, unless they wanted to be, and this Fowl did not want to be late.
He would rather not listen to his principal drone on about the Importance of Education – a speech Artemis had almost memorized, due to the number of times he had arrived late. His laboratory deserved more time than he gave it, and it wasn’t like he actually needed education – his marks boosted the entire school’s grades – they should be grateful instead, that he deigned to come at all.
Then he stopped, abruptly, his briefcase still swinging slightly. This wasn’t his school, was it? He spun around, glaring at the dripping wet leaves of a tree beside him. This wasn’t where he was supposed to be, was it? It definitely wasn’t raining that morning, and neither did he remember it raining on his way here. Besides, St Bartleby’s didn’t grow this kind of plants. They preferred carefully pruned shrubs, and Artemis had never seen that particular tree in campus before.
The Fowl looked at the clear blue sky expressionlessly. He would have rolled his eyes, except that it was so far beneath him that he didn’t even pause to consider it.
Well, didn’t Fate just love him.
An alternate reality? Alternate timeline? Parallel universe?
But it was still obviously a school, with all the typical functions schools had, including – the high-pitched giggles and squeals of girls. His headache became ten (or maybe twenty) time worse at the unwelcome noise. God save him, this reality, or whatever it was, still contained immature girls.
Either way, he was definitely not content with fumbling his way around with no information, and he gathered that silly girls were the best choice for gathering information, what with their tendency to gossip about everything they had ever laid their eyes on. That was what girls did, wasn’t it?
It was a universal hobby, if Juliet was any example, and Artemis was about to make use of that hobby right now. And if it wasn’t, or the girls he was about to encounter were exceptions, then he would quickly smile at them and try to remember the lesson Juliet had given him on flirting, long ago. Something about cool, dark, and handsome – the type that most girls fell for.
Artemis had many doubts about that, but maybe it would work. If it didn’t, then he would count that as an experiment and never try that again.
Yes, that would be the back-up plan, but if both plans failed, then he would politely excuse himself. That, at least, always worked.
Two girls made their way around the corner, laughing, and in the case of one of them, blushing. Quickly transferring both items to his left hand, Artemis stepped in front of the girls and held out his now-empty right hand and greeted them with a cool, economical, “Hello.”
He continued, slightly nervous, though he never would have admitted it. Girls were, after all, of the same species as Juliet. Fooling Juliet hadn’t come off very well, especially after she found out who was behind the entire affair. Unfortunately for him, he hadn’t predicted that Butler would be in the toilet at that time.
“My name is Artemis Fowl, and I’m a new transfer student from Ireland. Nice to meet you.” He actually had no idea whatsoever if he was a transfer student, but it could be changed the second he found the way inside the school’s mainframe. (Unless, god forbid, this dimension did not possess the benefits of technology.)
“Hey. I’m Milly Ashford, president of the Student Council.” She shook his hand, and Artemis noted that her grip was rather tight. Not that it should matter, but there was one other thing… She was also rather pretty, with curly blonde hair and… It’s puberty talking, Artemis told himself. Ignore it.
The other girl had red hair and green eyes, causing Artemis to stare at her for a fraction of a second longer than he had to. She seemed to feel it somehow and blushed an even deeper shade of red, giving Artemis’s raven hair and blue eyes an once-over.
“This is Shirley Fenette, “Milly said, grinning, and pushed the girl in front of Artemis, who flinched and took a step back at the sudden and very unwelcome intrusion of his Personal Space. Shy, he thought. Not much use if I want information, then. But his eyes lingered on her discretely as he shook her hand. Shirley, after all, had very, very, distracting assets, namely the ones on her chest.
Puberty. Goddamn it.
Student Council president, eh? He was quite interested in this female. How did the school fare, under the supposed rule of an over-enthusiastic airhead with a tad too much confidence? How did they manage to get anything done at all? The other. Well, he decided, she was just another of those millions of lovestruck fools around the world.
He might have been a bit too harsh in his judgement, but then again he was in a foul mood. The day had not exactly gone according to plan.
Milly slung an arm around Artemis’s shoulders, and grabbed Shirley’s wrist. “Come on. As the president, I insist on giving you, the transfer student (!) a tour!” Artemis sighed mentally. He seemed to be in the company of two females whose attitudes were either hyperactive and too familiar for his liking, or self-conscious and withdrawn.
Well, didn’t Lady Luck just love him too. He felt suffocated under the warmth of their affection.