"If you'd been paying attention to the security cameras, you would have seen that the camera outside the front door was frozen at exactly the moment when I entered the house. It has since been refreshing every ten seconds. This would normally mean that it has malfunctioned, but several of the other cameras are caught in a similar cycle, including the one outside my study. Its picture is normal except for the remains of a sandwich in one corner. The system is being fed a loop. Also, there is a microphone on the other side of this windowsill. I can feel it picking up vibrations from my voice." To prove this, Artemis opened the window and searched for a moment, prying the ant-sized microphone from its resting place and speaking into it clearly. Not that he really needed to.
"I know who you are, Eoin Colfer. I will be seeing you soon. And next time, maybe you shouldn't leave your sandwich crusts on the ground next to you." With that, Artemis crushed the microphone in one hand and closed the window.
Eoin Colfer, now completely white with shock, knew he was defeated. He gathered the LEP equipment and put it in the backpack, tossing in the incriminating sandwich crusts as well.
He glanced up at the window, seeing Artemis walk away from the window for a moment. Colfer took his chance and ran, not bothering to use the cam-foil. Now that he had been found out, it would only be a matter of time before Artemis arrived at his front door, and he wasn't going to let the genius get away this time. At least, not without a proper interview.
Artemis decided to let the writer have twenty-four hours before he visited unexpectedly. By that time the next day, Colfer had barely recovered from the shock of his stare before he got the impending knock at his door. He knew who it was before he even stood to answer it.
Clad in an expensive black suit, Artemis Fowl stood at the door, glaring a hole through the wood. Colfer opened the door slowly, absolutely terrified of what Fowl would do to him. Would he instruct Butler to kill him? Would he sue Colfer for all he was worth? Or- worst of all- would he stare him into submission?
Surprisingly, Artemis was alone. Colfer knew Butler would not be far behind, and thought he saw a glint of gunmetal hidden behind the oak tree in his front yard. But it was probably just the fear talking.
"Hello, Artemis," Colfer said coolly, trying to hide his fear. Artemis glanced up at him, as though confused.
"Aren't you going to let me in?" Colfer instantly stepped aside and was half-tempted to bow, as if Artemis was a royal ambassador. He might as well have been.
"As I'm sure you are aware, I discovered your book. I find it intriguing," said Artemis, as though he intended this to be a pleasant chat. He sat down on the sofa, crossing his arms in front of him, the cold stare nearly gone from his eyes. A lesser soul might have fallen for it, but Eoin Colfer knew Artemis Fowl better than that. He sat in a chair opposite Artemis, doing everything possible to avoid eye contact with the intimidating teenager.
"You can look at me. I'm not going to bite you." It was a command rather than an invitation. Colfer looked straight into Artemis's eyes, immediately wishing he hadn't. His usual cold stare was cemented onto his whole face, and his eyes seemed to be made of ice.
"So, what do you have to say for yourself? I'd love to know why you've taken it upon yourself to document my criminal escapades and sell them as a book," said Artemis, absentmindedly studying the fingernails of one hand. Even absentmindedly, he was still making himself sound like the victim and Colfer, the criminal.
"It makes great fiction," said Colfer innocently. Artemis's expression did not change.
"Fiction. Exactly." Artemis stood, crossing the room to look out the window. Sometimes looking at the rolling emerald countryside helped ease his mind. "As far as the world knows, I am a made up character. I don't really exist. This book you've written could prove to be the greatest tool of defense for the People. But it could also be the one thing that brings their society to its knees." He glanced back at Colfer, who was staring thoughtfully at the large grandfather clock on the other side of the room. He was definitely paying full attention. "If humans think it is merely fiction, they will think it is just that: fiction. Not real. Make-believe, if you will." The author didn't think Artemis Fowl knew the words 'make-believe'. Artemis returned his gaze to the window, catching sight of his own vampire-like, dark-haired reflection.
"And while it is highly unlikely that anyone will believe it-" Colfer held back a retort. Trying to make people believe fictional stories was the greatest goal of any writer, and having a thirteen-year-old boy tell him it was unlikely to happen was a huge insult. But then Colfer remembered who was speaking to him. "-There is always that .1 percent. Then there is the .01 percent of those people willing to go out and search for the People. Now, let's say exactly ten million people- including myself- have read this book. That means that 10,000 of them believe the People exist. And one ten-thousandth of that is..."
"One," answered Colfer.
"Yes. One." Artemis slowly returned to his place on the sofa. "But one person is all it ever takes." Colfer agreed with this statement.
"So, let me guess. You want me to stop writing these books so you can be sure the People will be safe?"
"I would prefer it. I would even pay you. Do we have a deal?" Artemis said, holding out one pale hand. The offer was short and to the point, and if Artemis Fowl said he would pay you, then he would pay you handsomely. Colfer thought about this momentarily, then shook his head.
"I'm sorry, Artemis. But I'm a writer by nature. Asking me not to write is like asking you to stop being a genius criminal mastermind. It's in your blood, and you would probably rather die than quit." Artemis withdrew his hand, nodding once at this.
"Very well. You may continue to write these books. But I warn you," he said, rising from his place and walking towards the door. He cast one last glance back at Eoin Colfer before opening it. "I won't make it easy." And with that, he was gone. Colfer let out a breath he hadn't known he'd been holding, and then just about slapped himself in the face. 'I forgot to ask him for an interview.'
Artemis was thoroughly displeased with Eoin Colfer's response to his offer, but he'd expected it all along. Writers were all the same. Though his own work had never been discarded by any publisher, he could imagine that anyone with a weaker constitution than him-presumably everyone except Butler-would not respond well to rejection.
He had hoped against hope that by hinting at the insult of no one believing Colfer's work to be realistic, the man would give up and go along with whatever Artemis wanted. Hardly. If anything, Colfer was determined to make the next book even better.
And, surprisingly, Artemis couldn't wait to read it.
When they arrived back at Fowl Manor, Artemis found a note in the kitchen.
I went out to go shopping. I'll be back in a few hours.
Artemis smiled his vampire smile. Now he would have more time to plot out his next crime. He would definitely need to 'make' some more money if he was to continue funding the gargantuan search for his father.
Then he remembered that he had a meeting with the school counselor the next day, and the smile became a smirk. It would be fun to mess with whatever poor soul they had hired this time.