There were several ways Artemis could have interpreted the situation. One, he could have called Colfer and apologized. While he was at it, he would invite the author over for tea and cookies and completely halt any criminal activities from that day forward. Needless to say, that was the last thing he would have done. Another thing he could have done was to punch the wall in frustration, but he knew the wall would win, and he wasn't one for emotional outbursts.
Three, he could hack various fairy websites and find out as much information on Argon as possible. And that was just what he did.
Artemis had read through the first few pages of Colfer's fourth book, 'The Opal Deception', when he noticed the name J. Argon popping up again and again. At first he thought it was another ploy by Colfer to trick him. He quickly realized that this character was very real. Paranoid, slightly self-absorbed, and considered himself smarter than Opal Koboi. If Artemis didn't know better, he'd swear this character was based on Foaly.
He shook the thought from his mind. Foaly certainly had his issues, but the only person, fairy or otherwise, that could act like Foaly was the centaur himself. Argon definitely didn't seem like the annoying type. Plus he was married, even if it would be short-lived.
Artemis would forever have trouble accepting the fact that he had been wrong. For now he decided to give his sleep-deprived mind a break, and sent the computer into standby mode. He refused to shut the computer off, having calculated that as often as he used the machine, it was much more economical to put it in a power-saving mode than to waste energy turning it on and off all the time. It saved money, and if Artemis were ever to achieve his goal of restoring his family to billionaire status, then even a small amount such as that would be important in the long run.
So he put the computer into standby mode and stumbled back to his room, falling asleep the second he fell on the bed. Just outside, Butler walked by, completing his nightly rounds, and smiled. "Goodnight, Artemis," he whispered softly, closing the door and cutting off all sources of light. Artemis was left alone in the darkness, dreaming of ways to get back at Colfer for making a fool out of him.
Colfer checked his emails the next day with a small smile. The fans had received 'Opal Deception' better than he had thought. Most of their emails were positive, with the occasional idiot flamer who couldn't even spell 'shoes'. Then he clicked on one that made his blood nearly freeze. It was from Artemis Fowl. A very angry Artemis Fowl.
Like your millions of other fans, I recently picked up a copy of your latest story in my series. I found the name J. Argon to be a recurring factor in the book. At first, as I'm sure you are aware, I did not believe it was real. You should know that my opinions have changed.'
Colfer's smile grew. This was mildly unexpected.
'Don't get any ideas. You should also know that making a fool out of me was not a wise choice. I officially take my previous offer and turn it into a demand. I will not allow you to continue publishing these books. You may certainly try, but you should know that I will make it as difficult as is humanly possible, and then some. Normally I would elaborate on this, but knowing the lack of security on the Internet, I will refrain from any mention of my other resources. Naturally you should already know what I'm talking about. By the way, I'd advise you not to leave your house for the purpose of further research for the next few days. My new security team, consisting of various members of Butler's family, will not hesitate to follow my orders.
Remember, Mr. Colfer. Gold is power. And I have plenty of it.
Colfer stared blankly at the computer's glowing screen. His face's pallor almost matched it perfectly. He decided to stop answering his email for a while, contemplating Artemis's message. 'But I have to keep writing! Didn't he hear a word I said last time?' Colfer massaged his forehead. This was quite a dilemma. Maybe he should listen to Artemis this time around. He didn't exactly want to find out what the mastermind's orders were.
Then he felt his author's instinct kick in with more than a little Irish stubbornness. Artemis Fowl was not going to keep him from doing his job through to the end, no matter how long it took. Now all he had to do was convince him of this, and his problems would be over.
Artemis gripped the armrest of the leather chair, trying to control his anger.
"You want me to do what?" he asked, keeping his voice steady.
"You have to understand, Artemis. This is for your own good. All we want you to do is to go back to school and get a real education."
"I hardly see how a 'real' education will help me when I know more than the teachers," he said through nearly gritted teeth. Normally something such as school wouldn't be much of an issue. He was pretty much running the place by the end of the first week. The problem was that the edict was being issued by his own father.
"I'm afraid you don't have a choice in the matter. That's final." His father left the room, walking with only a slight limp.
Artemis rose and went up to his room to check his email. Maybe there was a message from a certain author he was also angry with. Sure enough, there was a reply to his email.
'Call me so we can set up a meeting. This is not something that can be solved over the less-than-secure Internet.
"It seems our author is getting a mind of his own. We can't have that, now can we?" he said to himself, sliding his cell phone out of his pocket and pressing the speed dial number. Colfer picked up after one ring.
"Yes, Artemis?" he asked, sounding annoyed. Artemis's mouth curved into a vampiric smile. Suddenly his sentence of education could prove useful.
"I'd like to meet at your house in a few minutes, if that's alright with you." On the other end of the line, Colfer went pale.
"Sure. I'll be here."
"Good." Artemis closed the phone and walked downstairs, where Butler already had the car started. This was going to be a very important meeting.
Colfer sat across from Artemis, refusing to be a part of the staring contest the young mastermind was trying to begin. He couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"You're going to do what?" he asked incredulously.
"Since you refuse to agree to my terms, I will do the one thing you can't do anything about: I'm going to go back to school and halt all criminal activities and interaction with the People for an extended period of time. You'll have no material, and I'll be able to stop worrying about you following me and writing down everything I do." Colfer sat back in his chair and tried to take it all in.
"You can't possibly, Artemis." Artemis leaned forward.
"And what makes you think so?"
"It's simple: I know your ways. You can't resist a challenge, and you feel the need to constantly be in charge of your own life. You aren't going to listen to your parents' orders to stay away from crime and go back to school. It just wouldn't be like you." Artemis suppressed a laugh.
"If you know me quite so well, you must already know that something like this already IS a challenge for me. I am willing to do anything to protect my father, even if it means giving up something I've become accustomed to. Now I have a challenge for YOU, Mr. Colfer. Do you think you can find anything to preoccupy yourself that's more fascinating than my life?" Colfer actually did smile, much to Artemis's dissatisfaction.
"You're forgetting something, Artemis. I'm an author, and you're not the only person I've ever written about. I can write about other things. So it seems the only remaining question is who will crack first? Me, or you?" Artemis folded his hands.
"Do you honestly believe it's that simple? I've monitored your book sales over the past several years. Collectively, books in a series make more than single books do, as a rule. You've made so much money documenting my life that you probably wouldn't know what to do without me. Granted, you're not the type of person who's greedy like the rest of us, but money is money, isn't it, Mr. Colfer?"
"That it is, Artemis. But I have something else you don't have: a dedication to my fans. Or, more accurately, your fans." He stood and opened the email account on his computer and scrolled through the inbox, finding Artemis at his shoulder, speed-reading them.
"I see your point."
"I don't care what you do, Artemis. You can go into hiding for all I care. But you'll be letting down millions of people."
"That hasn't stopped me before." Colfer smirked.
"Ah, but you didn't know about your book a few years ago, did you, Master Artemis?" Artemis frowned slightly.
"No, Mr. Colfer, I don't believe I did. The fact that I do now doesn't make much of a difference." He turned away and exited without warning, a plan already forming in his head. When he reached the car, Butler handed him his cell phone.
"You've got a call. It's Foaly." Artemis frowned again and answered it.
"Hey, Mud Boy. Ever heard of demons?"
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