Author's Note: Ok, I know. Long time no update (again). Still, that's what uni holidays are for, right? There should be more on the way soonish.

Being the practical elf she was, Holly didn't waste too much time being upset. She had done a terrible thing to her friends, but she was back now, and ready to make it up to them. With her chin just a trifle higher and more defiant than usual, she set off to explore.

Trouble was nowhere to be found, so Holly took the liberty of investigating the house on her own. There was really not much more to it than she had already seen the previous night, just a smallish room which appeared to be a library, another which for some odd reason seemed to contain a disassembled LEP shuttle, an attic full of old junk, and (as was usual in fairy houses) an outside toilet. Holly made use of the latter, washed her face in the bathroom sink, and brushed her teeth with a finger.

Finally, she found what she was looking for – an old blue communicator half buried beneath a stack of paper. Breathing with slightly more effort than usual, Holly shut her eyes tight and dialled an Atlantis number. Her great grandfather answered on the fourth ring.

Holly had lost both parents before she was eighty, but she had a large and affectionate extended family. The thing about fairy lifespans was that it was quite possible to have seven or eight generations living concurrently. Holly, to the best of her knowledge had a family numbering somewhere around ninety three. And all of them thought that she was dead. It was going to be quite some phone call.

Half an hour later, and feeling more than a little teary, Holly hung up. Great grandpa Larch had wept like a twenty year old, and insisted on passing the communicator around each of the seventeen family members currently residing at his Atlantis beach house. From there, Holly had no doubt that the word would spread, and she would receive half a hundred ebullient calls and enthusiastic invitations within the next few days. A glance at the moonometer in the hallway told her that it was 2.00 in the afternoon. Without further ado, Holly went in quest of breakfast.

The kitchen pantry proved to be surprisingly lucrative. Obviously Trouble had had a few cooking lessons since getting his own place. There was a time, in Holly's not-too-distant memory, when Trouble Kelp had been barely capable of charring a pit slug. Holly wasn't complaining though. She laded herself with the ingredients necessary for a large fruit salad, and discovered a sharp knife lurking in a drawer. On the kitchen bench, she found a hastily scribbled note:


Big crisis at work. Armies of demons chewing up everything they can find, and the Council's going mad. Reporters everywhere, so if you go out, don't say anything if you can possibly help it. No idea when I can get away. Expect me when you see me!


Holly might have felt bad about leaving Trouble to deal with her demon friends. But she was really far more preoccupied with the large melon she was currently disembowelling. And besides he was a Retrieval boy. Cleaning up messes was his job. Her job just involved finding them.

Holly was halfway through her second breakfast when she heard a key turn in the lock. There were footsteps down the hallway, and Holly turned in her chair, expecting Trouble.

"Hey," said a smiling voice. "You must be Holly."