Categories > Books > Artemis Fowl > The Charity Case

Thinking Fast

by shadowgirlvg 0 reviews

Estella tells her story and Artemis comes up with one.

Category: Artemis Fowl - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure - Characters: Artemis Fowl - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2005-12-26 - Updated: 2005-12-26 - 2372 words

Chapter Three: Thinking Fast

Business was slow, slower than molasses on a hot day. Business like this was something that would send most fairies skittering off, scared of sticking out the draught. But Mulch Diggums was not most fairies, he was Mulch Diggums: Private Eye. No one knew the underworld criminal web like he did and no case would remain unsolved while he was on it.

Then there was Holly, his trusted assistant, she was a bit inexperienced but Mulch kept her afloat. Perhaps with time she'd be able to learn from him and work some cases by herself when he was too busy with the more important ones. Not that they were getting enough business right now to even pretend to be busy.

Just then Holly poked her head into the room where Mulch's sitting and brooding was taking place, breaking into his thoughts. "Hey Mulch! We've got a customer, get out here."

Immediately the dwarf let out a whoop and rushed into the main room of their headquarters. He then quickly whipped out a notepad and prepared to take down the details of their first case in weeks. Once this was accomplished Mulch took a good look at the customer.

Using his great powers of deduction he decided that she was a centaur as could be clearly seen by her horse-like teeth (and possibly her four legs and tail but Mulch wasn't one to take the easy path). She relatively young, had blue eyes and blonde hair, and her horsy features were a slightly grayish tint of white. Just as the dwarf finished making note of these features the girl began to speak.

"My name is Estella Lunos, I've come here because I am in desperate need of help and it is vital that word of my problem not leak out. Can I trust you?" She looked at them both expectantly.

"Discretion is our middle name Ms. Lunos," said Holly. "You can rest assured any secret you have will be safe with us."

With a sigh of relief the girl began her story. "The matter which needs solving is very simple to say, my father has been kidnapped. For the past several decades I have lived alone with him since my mother is long since dead and as he ages my fathers health is deteriorating rapidly. We have been to many doctors but they all assure us that he only has a few more years to live. I suppose I should give you a bit more background about his life thus far though. His name is Mamilton Lunos and he has always been a bit solitary. As far as I know the only people he ever grew close to were my mother and me. When she died he went into further seclusion and would only ever speak to me. He has devoted the rest of his life to his work.

"My family is part of a long line of prosthetic limb manufacturers. We have run the company for the past five generations and brought much hope to the maimed. There are even rumors that our designs were what inspired the original mud man branch of the field back when we were still above ground. Of all the workers our business has ever known my father is by far the best, he devotes a special passion to every order that comes in, making it special for every customer.

"About a week ago he got a very unusual request: someone wanted four extra-large limbs capable of independent movement. The fairy who delivered it seemed to be very irritated to have to deal with me rather than proceeding directly to my father. This, and the fact that he seemed to have all his limbs didn't bother me at the time, many people are very self-conscious of their need for new arms or legs and would prefer to have as few people know about as possible. They will also often send a close family member in their place when the initial order is made.

"However when I took the order to my father he was very confused because it was so unusual and decided to see our customer in front. The instant my father saw him he went pale and seem as if he were about to collapse from shock. He was silent for a moment and then he told me he would be dealing with the mysterious fairy himself and that I wasn't to disturb them. They then went into the back room and remained in there for several hours.

"I have now idea what happened in there but for the next few days before his disappearance my father was beside himself. He finally announced three days ago that we were going to be going on a long trip and that I should prepare to leave immediately. The next morning when it was time to go I went to his room to wake him up but his bed hadn't been slept in. I thought maybe he had just spent the night working on some of our other orders but he wasn't in his workshop either.

"I then went back to his room to see if I could find any clues as to where he was and it was then that I noticed my mother's bracelet on the floor. Ever since she had died father had kept it with him at all times. I knew something was very wrong. I went outside his window and saw that there were three sets of footprints there; one was undoubtedly Father's, one looked about the size of an elf's, and the last would start and stop sporadically so I think it must have been a sprite hoping into flight every few seconds.

"The trail ended at the road so I have no idea what happened next, though I have been trying to find out these past few days, and now that I am at my rope's end I've decided to go to the professionals for help."

Holly had listened to the story with as much professionalism as she could muster but she couldn't help a hint of excitement trickling in, this was just like the mysteries in old detective movies. She almost giggled but quickly covered it with a cough and proceeded to business.

"What did this fairy who visited you look like?"

"He was of a fairly average height, he had dark brown skin and his hair was cooper. He looked fairly old, about my father's age and he was definitely an elf."

"Did he seem to know your father?"

"I don't see how he couldn't."

"Do you have any idea who he was?"

"Not in the slightest. He didn't even give us a name for our registry."

"Are there any security monitors in your store?"

"Of course, I went to see what had happened in the back room when the elf had come that very night. Something was wrong with the recording; I think Father might have encoded it so I couldn't see. The same thing happened to the hours of the recording when my father must have been kidnapped so I have no idea exactly when that happened either."

"Do you know of any reason why anyone would wish to kidnap him?"

"None at all, few people knew my father but those who did quite liked. No one holds a grudge against him as far as I know."

Holly thought for a moment, this was really a most intriguing case. A missing father, a mysterious elf, and an encoded security recording, these all pointed to something sinister.

"Do you have a copy of the encoded hours?"

"Yes, I brought it on this disk. Do you think you can decode it?"

"I can't, but I think I know someone who can." Holly tossed the disk over to Mulch. "We'll run this down to Foaly as soon as possible."

Estella's head snapped up, "You know Foaly?"


Butler had been twenty feet away in line at an airport coffee stand to buy Artemis a bagel when the flight came in. Seeing it he headed back toward his charge, now that the object of their journey had arrived the manservant doubted Artemis would still be hungry.

As he approached he saw Artemis begin to speak to a boy slightly taller than him who could only be Matthew Burbenshire. However, being the highly alert and well-trained bodyguard he was, that was not all Butler saw. He also saw a man across the terminal reach for his ankle and unstrap a small gun. He saw the man raise the gun and point it towards Artemis. He did not see the man fire the gun because by that point he was running towards his principal at a speed that would astonish most athletes.

When the bang of the bullet came Butler had almost reached Artemis but was still a step away. The young genius was now lying on the ground but the strange thing was that the other boy he had been speaking to was on top of him. Butler quickly surveyed the damage; it seemed that both boys were perfectly fine, it seemed that Matthew had pulled Artemis to the ground an instant before the gun had fired.

The bodyguard looked around anxiously; the shot had frightened the crowds and the airport was now full of people screaming and running every which way, it would be impossible to track the shooter now. Hopefully the man had been caught on camera and would be caught by the airport police. Butler wasn't counting on it though, if someone knew enough to have a reason to shoot Artemis he was probably informed enough to be able to escape security like this.

At Butler's feet Artemis lay dazed for a moment. It was enough of a shock to be thrown to the floor in the first place but to be thrown there because you were being shot at tended to heighten the blow. After the moment had passed Artemis tried to get up and realized he couldn't, there was still a boy pinning him down.

"Would you kindly get off?" he said icily.

Mathew blinked and seemed to realize the position he was in. He hastily jumped up and muttered apologies which the young Fowl heir brushed aside. Instead he asked what had first come into his mind when his thoughts were back in order. "How did you know I was going to be shot at?"

A moment before the young boy from Britain had merely looked scared; at the sound of this sentence he looked absolutely petrified. "You were the one being shot at? You mean it wasn't some businessman behind you?"

Artemis mentally smacked himself, having the boy know his new guide had been the target of an assassination attempt was going to complicate matters a great deal. Sometimes he wished more than anything he had one of the Peoples' mind-wiping machines. Sadly for now it was just wishful thinking and he would have to clean up this particular mess himself.

Artemis thought fast, "I'm sorry you had witness that within your first five minutes in Ireland but," he leaned forward as if confiding some important private matter, "my father is on the verge of making a large amount of money right now an I fear that man was trying to shoot a tranquilizer at me so that I could be kidnapped and held for ransom."

This explanation seemed to satisfy the boy despite its many holes (it was a spur of the moment plan) and though he was still far from calm he seemed to have recovered the ability to think and walk independently. During this time Butler had been guiding them discreetly through the airport, avoiding all the havoc and security, to take them to their car.

After five minutes of driving the ability of speech also returned to Matthew and he began to question Artemis once more.

"If someone's trying to kidnap you what are you going to do?"

"I'm sure I'll be perfectly safe inside the school, their security is top-notch." Butler's was at any rate and he would be on red-alert until this matter was resolved. "In the mean-time I refuse to live a life of fear so would like to proceed as normally as possible. I would like it if you would help me by letting me be your guide at school like we had planned." He put on his best hopeful face.

Matthew seemed to still be trying to get to grips with everything that had happened. Artemis could almost see the emotions of fear, shock, and confusion fighting it out on the boy's face.

"All right," he said with a sigh, "I suppose I can do that much for you, though I have no idea how you can be so calm about all this."

Artemis's cold features broke into a slight grin; everything was going wonderfully as far as his plan with the boy was concerned. This airport scare might even serve as a nice bond between them. The Fowl heir would never have to see Dr. Po's condescending face again.

"Thank you Matthew, let us start over. My name is Artemis Fowl II." He held out his hand.

Matthew smiled and shook it. "Pleased to meet you Artemis, my name is Matthew Burbenshire I, but please just call me Matt. Being called Matthew just isn't me."

"Very well then Matt, allow me to be the first to welcome you to St. Bartleby's School for Young Gentlemen. I hope you enjoy it here."

They had just driven up the gravel driveway of the majestic school. It was everything Matt had hoped it would be. In a building this magnificent who knew what he would learn, he only had to hope that no one would learn too much about him.

And so, each with their own thoughts, the boys ascended the front steps to begin what promised to be a very interesting school year.


I'm very sorry that Artemis made such a small appearance in this chapter. I promise the next one will have more of him. I hope you all have enjoyed this story thus far, I'll see you soon. Remember, reviews only encourage.
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