He took it up to the cashier, trying to remain calm.
"Artemis Fowl, huh?" the cashier said. Artemis snapped to attention. "What?"
"I've read this book. You look a lot like the main character."
"Yes, well, I'll see about that." Artemis made sure not to pay with his credit card. Attention was the last thing he needed right now. He and Butler briskly walked to the car, arriving back at Fowl Manor in a few minutes. Artemis hesitated to read the book on the way there, wanting to wait until they were back in the safety of the mansion. Someone was spying on him, and he would not give that person the satisfaction of knowing that he, Artemis Fowl II, had been a step behind.
Artemis raced to the door, and it opened for him, sensing the magnetic key in his pocket. Butler locked the car and was not far behind. Artemis's pace was slowed as he reached the stairs, but he took off again when he reached the top stair. He quickly glanced into the open door of the security room, which was a few doors down from his study. Something caught his eye, but he ignored it. Artemis took the book and placed it on his desk upon reaching his study. The light from his computer wasn't enough to read by, so he turned the desk lamp on. He flipped to the prologue and began to read, eyes scanning the words slower than the usual 700 words per minute. He didn't want to miss anything.
'How does one describe Artemis Fowl? Various psychiatrists have tried and failed. The main problem is Artemis's own intelligence. He bamboozles every test thrown at him. He has puzzled the greatest medical minds. And sent many of them gibbering to their own hospitals.'
It was true. Artemis was the reason St. Bartelby's had hired six different psychiatrists during his past year.
'There is no doubt that Artemis is a child prodigy. But why does someone of such brilliance dedicate himself to criminal activities?'
"Because it's in my blood," said Artemis quietly. "This author obviously knows nothing of my family's history." Artemis would later be eating his words.
'This is a question that can be answered by only one person. And he delights in not talking.
Perhaps the best way to create an accurate picture of Artemis is to tell the by-now famous account of his first villainous adventure. I have put together this report from firsthand interviews with the victims, and as the tale unfolds, you will realize that this was not easy.
The story began several years ago at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Artemis Fowl had devised a plan to restore his family's fortune. A plan that could topple civilizations and plunge the planet into a cross-species war.
He was twelve years old at the time.'
Artemis soon became lost in the book. True, he found several typos and spent half of the time reading the Gnommish at the bottom of the page, but the writing itself was exceptional.
Several hours later, Artemis had completed the book and translated the Gnommish at the bottom. He called Butler up to his room.
"It seems I have a stalker. This Eoin Colfer has been interviewing the so-called 'victims' of my recent crimes, then put it all together in this book. A biography, of sorts," said Artemis. Butler wasn't sure how to respond, so Artemis kept talking.
"Luckily, it's written to be fiction, so I don't believe there is much danger of anyone thinking this all actually happened. As far as I know, a large part of the world thinks I am a mere character in a book. This could prove useful..." His last sentence trailed off, his brain already calculating the possibilities. "At any rate, the Gnommish at the bottom is quite interesting. It refers to a phlegm pot cleaner who deciphers prophecies in phlegm. Disgusting, yes, but moving on. Here's what the important part of it says." Artemis had taken the liberty of writing it down earlier for future reference.
" 'I saw an age when the People have been driven underground by the Mud Men. This is what the phlegm told me. In this time one shall come among us, Fowl by name and foul by nature, a mud man unlike any other. He shall learn our secrets and use them against us. I see him now as plain as day. His face is pale; he has dark eyes and raven hair.' "
"The descriptions are accurate, at any rate," commented Butler. Artemis continued to read.
" 'Yet it must be a mistake for he seems a mere youth. Surely no mud boy could outwit the People, but now I see that the boy is not alone. He is aided by a formidable warrior, scarred from a thousand battles. This Fowl shall hold the People to ransom for their most precious possession, gold, and in spite of all our magic there is still a chance that he will prevail, for he has discovered how to escape the time field.' "
Butler smiled at the sentence about the 'formidable warrior'. The descriptions were accurate indeed.
"So you see the slight problem: On one hand, this book could be the greatest tool of defense for the People. On the other, it could be the one thing that destroys their civilization. If humans think it's just fiction, then no one will suspect anything of the People's existence. But if a few humans believe it's real, which I find likely only in very young children who can hardly read anyway, then they will go looking for the People, putting them in jeopardy."
"I see," said Butler. "We must find Eoin Colfer and 'convince' him to stop writing your biography."
"Yes. And we won't have to wait long," said Artemis calmly, glancing out the window and placing one hand on the sill. He felt a slight vibration as he spoke, confirming his theory.
"Why is that?" asked Butler, looking out the window as well.
"Because he is bound to show up wherever I am at any time. And right now he's out on the front lawn."
Eoin Colfer was hiding in the bushes around Fowl Manor. He was not worried too much about being seen; Foaly's cam-foil would hide him. The centaur had harmlessly hacked the security system to get live feed of all cameras and microphones in the house, and was feeding a loop to selected cameras surrounding the manor. Colfer held a small screen and was wearing a headset so he could see everything that was going on. He was worried, and rightfully so. Artemis Fowl had stumbled across a copy of his book, Artemis Fowl. Colfer had always feared that this would happen, but after a month without any mysterious threatening phone calls from him, his fears were eased and he almost forgot about it.
Now he was on stakeout to figure out Artemis's next move. He had arrived there not long after Artemis had discovered the book. For three hours now, Colfer had been waiting, almost bored, slowly eating the sandwich to pass the time. His muscles were sore and he felt like standing, but the cam-foil sheet would not completely hide him if he did that. It barely hid him as it was.
Now that Artemis and Butler were talking, he was completely alert. He could understand every word the two exchanged, though Artemis did most of the talking.
Upon hearing the sentence, "We must find Eoin Colfer and 'convince' him to stop writing your biography," Colfer's face paled greatly. He made sure that the cam-foil was completely covering him and watched the small display screen with horrified blue eyes.
"Yes. And we won't have to wait long," said Artemis calmly, glancing out the window and placing one hand on the windowsill.
"Why is that?" asked Butler, looking out the window as well. Colfer nearly stopped breathing.
"Because he is bound to show up wherever I am at any time. And right now he's out on the front lawn." Colfer could have sworn that Artemis looked straight at him with his cold, brilliant blue stare.
He could have died.