I woke up to a guard leaning over me.
He was shaking me roughly, squeezing my arm tight. His nails were digging into my flesh.
Suddenly, I heard Artemis hiss, “Stop it!” The hand on my arm was smacked away, and replaced with his own. “Holly,” he breathed, right by my ear. He was so close I could practically feel his lips moving as he spoke. “Wake up.”
I opened my eyes. “Artemis,” I croaked.
“We have to go, Holly. Opal sent the guards.”
“Oh,” I said, and sat up.
He smiled down gently at me. “Yeah, best to go see what she wants,” he said. I nodded, and he put a hand out to help me up. Once I was on my feet, he twirled me around so that he had his arm around my shoulders. Then he looked up at the guard, and his face took on that same old, cold look I remembered from years before. “Well?” he demanded. “What are you waiting on? Christmas? Open the door!”
There was six more guards waiting on us outside the door. Apparently, Opal didn’t want us having at least the slightest chance of escaping, so she wasn’t taking chances. I made a face and looked at Artemis. His eyes seemed to say, Its okay. She’s still the same old, stupid Opal. She’ll make a mistake, and we can get out of here.
Yeah, right, I thought. But out loud I said nothing.
The guards led us down a few hallways and around a couple of corners. They finally stopped in front of one of the doors. Artemis and I were pushed inside, separated, and pulled in different directions. I was pushed roughly back against the wall and pinned there, my right arm out to the side. I felt a sharp pinch in my forearm, and suddenly my knees buckled, and I fell unconsciousness.
When I woke up, I was tied to a chair. I was still in the same room, but all of the guards had disappeared, leaving me alone with Artemis. He was sitting in a chair a few feet away from me, but he didn’t seem to be asleep. In fact, when I turned to look at him, he almost jumped out of his skin when he realized I was awake.
“Holly! Oh, thank god. Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, I think,” I said, a little shocked. “W-what happened?”
“Opal had us brought in here and separated, remember?” I nodded. “Well, I think you fainted.”
I shook my head. “No. I think they knocked me out with something. I remember being brought in here, being separated and pinned against the wall, then a sharp pain in my arm and nothing after that.”
“The pain was probably a needle,” Artemis said. “I’d be willing to bet that they injected you with something.”
“Right again, Fowl,” a voice said. A voice that made me tremble with hatred and clench my fists against the urge to start swinging wildly.
Opal stepped from the shadows in the corner of the room. Noticing the look on my face, she grinned evilly. “Hello, Captain Short.”
I growled in response. That was the best hello she was getting from me.
Artemis, on the other hand, just sighed. “What do you want, Opal?”
“Oh, as if you don’t know. Come on, Fowl, I know you’re smarter than that. What do you think I want?”
“Revenge,” Artemis and I said in union.
“Of course, I knew you could get it,” beamed Opal. Then her features twisted into an ugly mask of hatred. “Yes, I will have my revenge, and this time, I won’t fail. I will not be thwarted by you two again.” She walked over to the corner that she came from and bent over to pick something up. It was a little black remote. It looked like a TV remote. “Enjoy the show.”
Then she walked out of the room, leaving us alone.
“Okay, that pixie has finally cracked,” I said. “How are we supposed to watch anything when there’s no TV in here?”
“Holly,” Artemis said, his voice low. “Look.”
I followed his gaze. The wall on the opposite side of the room was disappearing, pulling back. It was replaced by a giant view screen. “Oh,” I croaked. “Spoke too soon.”
“Yeah,” Artemis said. “Way too soon.”
“Let the show begin,” Opal’s voice boomed from nowhere, probably from some hidden loudspeakers on the ceiling.
The lights shut off, and the screen flickered to life.