When Holly passed out, what seemed like a bunch of random scenes started playing out before her. She was looking down on them, almost floating in the air. No one seemed to notice her, so she got closer to watch the scene play out a little better.
I must be in my own mind, she thought. That little guy must have transported me in here somehow or something, and these are my memories I need to regain.
For some reason, this explanation seemed perfectly reasonable, and the fact that she could come up with such a thing at all didn’t particular bother her. Right now, at least.
She quietly snuck up and leaned back against an oak tree, watching first memory play out.
“Stay back, human. You don’t know what you’re dealing with.”
Holly was slightly shocked to realize that the figure who had spoken was herself. She turned to look at the person she was speaking to. A boy, who she recognized as Artemis, now standing there laughing. That probably meant the giant man behind her in the memory must have been Butler.
Artemis stopped laughing. “I believe, fairy, that you are the one unfamiliar with the facts.”
The confusion on the younger Holly’s face was plain to see to the older Holly, but nevertheless she hid it well from the other two. “I have magic, mud-worm. Enough to turn you and your gorilla into pig droppings.”
“Brave words, miss. But lies nonetheless,” Artemis said, stepping closer. “If, as you say, you had magic, you no doubt would have used it by now. No, I suspect that you have gone too long without the Ritual and you are here to replenish your powers.”
Younger Holly stared at him for a minute, seemingly dumbfounded. Then she blinked for a moment and said, “Human. Your will is mine.”
Artemis smiled, the Mesmer having no affect on him with his mirrored glasses. “I doubt it,” he informed her, then he looked at Butler and nodded quickly once.
Butler shot the younger Holly quickly, watching her look at the dart in her shoulder when she felt it enter, and then sink down to her knees, falling unconscious.
The older Holly watched in horror from her spot a few feet away as her younger self was thrown into an oversized duffel bag.
The scene changed.
This time, Holly, to her relief, saw her younger self again, still alive, thankfully. A rational part of her said that she wouldn’t be alive if her younger self had just died, so she had really been worrying over nothing, but she ignored it.
Artemis and herself were standing in a concrete room. Holly herself didn’t seem to have noticed the human boy yet; she had her head turned in the opposite direction, cheek and palms pressed against the wall.
Artemis took another quiet step forward. He wasn’t standing two feet from her. “Looking for something?”
The younger Holly reared back from the wall, jumping away from him.
“Sit, please,” Artemis said. Holly stared at him, and as the older Holly looked in her eyes she could see that she was debating whether or not to just incapacitate Artemis right then and there, and when she looked at Artemis she saw that this amused him. “Getting ideas, are we, Captain Short?”
She simply bared her teeth at him. It was answer enough.
The conversation went on like this for a while. Holly couldn’t believe that that boy was actually Artemis; in reality he seemed so nice, and sweet, and he acted like he actually cared about her. Frond, she thought, he even kissed me once. Was it all just a trick? she wondered.
As if in answer the scene before her disappeared, showing her, Juliet (she somehow recognized the girl even though she hadn’t seen her since being rescued), Butler, and Artemis in the front hallway. There was a trolley full of gold in the front, and Butler had a small piece in his hand.
“It’s real all right,” he was saying. “This one, at any rate.”
“Good. Very good. Begin unloading it, would you? We’ll send the trolley back out with Captain Short.”
Older Holly fell back against the wall, breathing a sigh of relief. He had been telling the truth. She had worried herself again over nothing. I really need to relax, she thought, closing her eyes as the scene changed again.
The next scene showed her, Artemis, a centaur, and another elf over a low table. The centaur, she realized, was the same one she saw when she was awake. Foaly, his name was. The elf… she hadn’t seen him, so she had to push herself, searching hard to remember him. Julius, she realized after awhile. Commander Julius Root.
She looked back at Artemis. He looked different in this memory, a little older, perhaps maybe a year or two. Also, he was unconscious and shackled to his chair.
That surprised Holly a little. Then she looked at herself in the memory.
To the rest of the people in the room, she looked like she normally would; back straight, same hard, determined mask plastered on her face. Her officer side.
But when Holly looked at herself, she saw what she hid from everyone else. She was tired, and angry, probably because of Artemis was what she gathered from the hateful yet wary glances she kept throwing at the boy.
Foaly was standing a few feet away from the others, beside a computer and what looked like a pair of common kitchen plungers.
She watched this scene play out, and another, and another, until her brain finally seemed to fill in most of the missing pieces. When I scene popped up, after taking a minute to recognize it, she could have told you what was going to happen before it finished playing out.
Finally the dream seemed to be coming to an end, and everything, including her, seemed to be dimming, draining of color and slowly disappearing. As she herself started to fade, she listened to a bunch of her friends voices in her head, some times even her own as she waited to be transported back into the real world.
“When are you going to learn, Mud Boy?”
“I am nothing like Jon Spiro!”
“Do I look like a fly-boy to you, Fowl?”
“I believe, fairy, that you are the one unfamiliar with the facts.”
“That little misunderstanding last year, where you and Artemis kidnaped me? After this, we’ll call it even.”
“Holly! You’re back!”
“I’m not going to kill you, Holly. I won’t torture you either. You’re safe here, I promise.”
“Are you okay, Holly? You look like you’ve been crying.”
“Don’t call me Julius!”
“Your elf kissing days are over.”