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Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer - And Another Thing... - Eoin Colfer – Douglas Adams's Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: 6of3

And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer

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Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl

Synopsis

Twelve-year-old villain, Artemis Fowl, is the most ingenious criminal mastermind in history. His bold and daring plan is to hold a leprechaun to ransom. But he’s taking on more than he bargained for when he kidnaps Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon (Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance Unit). For a start, leprechaun technology is more advanced than our own. Add to that the fact that Holly is a true heroine and that her senior officer Commander Root will stop at nothing to get her back and you’ve got the mother of all sieges brewing!

Extract

Butler checked the porta-radar, muting the volume in case the equipment betrayed their position. The red arm swept the screen with agonizing lethargy, and then … flash! An upright figure by the tree. Too small for an adult, the wrong proportions for a child. He gave Artemis the thumbs up. Possible match.

Artemis nodded, strapping the mirrored sunglasses across his brow. Butler followed his lead, popping the cap on the weapon’s scarlet scope. This was no ordinary dart rifle. It had been specially tooled for a Kenyan ivory hunter, and had the range and rapid-fire capacity of a Kalashnikov. Butler had picked it up for a song from a government official after the ivory poacher’s execution.

They crept into the night with practised silence. The diminutive figure before them unhooked a contraption from around its shoulders, lifting a full-face helmet from a definitely non-human head. Butler wrapped the rifle strap twice around his wrist, pulling the stock into his shoulder. He activated the scope and a red dot appeared in the centre of the figure’s back. Artemis nodded and his manservant squeezed the trigger.
And in spite of million to one odds, it was at that precise moment the figure bent low to the earth.

Something whizzed over Holly’s head, something that glinted in the starlight. Holly had enough on-the-job experience to realize that she was under fire, and immediately curled her elfin frame into a ball, minimizing the target.

She drew her pistol, rolling towards the shelter of the tree trunk. Her brain scrambled for possibilities. Who could be shooting at her and why?

Something was waiting beside the tree. Something roughly the size of a mountain, but considerably more mobile.

‘Nice pea-shooter,’ grinned the figure, smothering Holly’s gun hand in a turnip-sized fist. Holly managed to extricate her fingers a nanosecond before they snapped like brittle spaghetti.

‘I don’t suppose you would consider peaceful surrender?’ said a cold voice behind her. Holly turned, elbows raised for combat.

‘No,’ sighed the boy melodramatically. ‘I suppose not.’

Holly put on her best brave face.

‘Stay back, human. You don’t know what you’re dealing with.’

The boy laughed. ‘I believe, fairy, that you are the one unfamiliar with the facts.’
Fairy? He knew she was a fairy.

‘I have magic mud-worm. Enough to turn you and your gorilla into pig droppings.’
The boy took a step closer. ‘Brave words, miss. But lies nonetheless. If, as you say, you had magic, you would have no doubt used it by now. No, I suspect that you have gone too long without the Ritual, and you are here to replenish your powers.’

Holly was dumbfounded. There was a human before her, casually spouting sacred secrets. This was disastrous. Catastrophic. It could mean the end of generations of peace. If the humans were aware of a fairy sub-culture, it was only a matter of time before the species went to war. She must do something, and there was only one weapon left in her arsenal.

The mesmer is the lowest form of magic and requires only a trickle of power. There are even certain humans with a bent for the talent. It is within the ability of even the most drained fairy to put a complete mind kibosh on any human alive.

Holly summoned the final dribble of magic from the base of her skull.

‘Human,’ she intoned, her voice suddenly resonating with bass tones. ‘Your will is mine.’
Artemis smiled, safe behind his mirrored lenses. ‘I doubt,’ he said, and nodded curtly.
Holly felt the dart puncture the suit’s toughened material, depositing its load of curaré and succinylcholine chloride-based tranquilizer into her shoulder. The world instantly dissolved into a series of technicoloured bubbles and, try as she might, Holly couldn’t seem to hold on to more than one thought. And that thought was: How did they know? How did they know? How did they…

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