Right, I've decided. This will be the second last chapter of this fic so enjoy! :D

Thanks again for all the reviews! I love you people!

Disclaimer: I do not own Artemis Fowl

(also, I really hate the very beginning of this chapter. It didn't want to be written for some reason :( but it does get better so bear with me)

Chapter 15: what else could possibly go wrong?

15 metres below ground: just outside Fowl Manor grounds

Mulch Diggums was conflicted. Conflicted and hungry. But then he was always hungry, so that wasn't too important at the present moment. Though his stomach said otherwise.

He was conflicted because one of his closest friends was apparently being held captive by none other than Artemis Fowl. Which in Mulch's mind was completely impossible. Fowl wouldn't do that now. He was no longer the ruthless twelve-year-old he had once been, no matter what the council seemed to think. And now Mulch was being ordered to break into Fowl Manor to attempt to break Holly out, by force or otherwise.

As he pondered this, he was digging his way deep down into the earth below where the LEP Commander Kelp was standing, waiting for Butler to allow him through the force field. Mulch had to be ready for the breach, or he would never break through it.

On his left, he could sense the vibrations that the blue orb was sending through the earth. He must only be about thirty centimetres from it now. Mulch stopped dead and immediately carved out a tiny cavern for himself. In the same second, he spat into his hands and began to cover his entire body in dwarf spit. It hardened almost instantly. Once he had made sure he was entirely coated, he tuned his attention back to the force field and settled down to wait. It didn't take long. Barely ten seconds had passed when Mulch finally sensed the change in vibrations that signified the weakening of the force field. He wasted no time, diving headlong through the earth and the blue light. As he passed through, he felt a strange tingling sensation in his knees. That would be the electricity. The spittle had mostly insulated him, acting as a sort of makeshift lightning suit, though few sparks still tingled around his legs. He was in. Mulch tunnelled his way up through the earth, to a spot directly below a window. As he broke through into the open air, he pulled a bottle of dwarf rock polish from his pocket. With one hand, he unscrewed the top and poured a tiny amount onto the glass. It dissolved instantly and Mulch slipped inside. He had to find Artemis and Holly.

He soon located them in a small sitting room. The door was shut but the sounds coming from the other side told him that there were three occupants. Trouble hadn't left yet so he decided to wait. He listened to the voices on the other side of the door. He could barely hear the Commander's calm tones through the wood. Artemis mumbled something back. This was so frustrating! He couldn't hear a thing they were saying.

All of a sudden, a wall of sound practically blasted him back from the door. That'll be Holly then.

"I don't care what the flipping council say! For Frond's sake! How many times do I have to tell you people that?"

"Holly," Kelp's voice was louder now, he appeared to be attempting to be heard over the din the female elf was creating. "Holly, we know you're upset about this. We all are. None of us think it's fair but the council-"

Mulch snorted. Upset. Understatement of the century by the sounds of things. Obviously Holly was thinking along the same lines.

"Upset? Upset? I'm a little more than upset! After everything he's done for us? We should be fighting this, Trouble. Not simply complying with a bunch of pompous old upstarts who haven't seen the surface in the last century! I'm standing up for what I believe in, even if you're too cowardly to do so."

"Holly. Please." came the commander's voice again. "We can sort this out in court. You're just making things worse."

"Please. Court? What fairy lawyer is going to defend Artemis Fowl?"

After that, the voices quietened down again and Mulch could only make out random phrases here and there.

"…He's facing a life sentence now he's under fairy jurisdiction…."

"…The Deeps…"

"…Opal Koboi…"

The Commander raised his voice one last time, speaking clearly and officially. "…You have six hours Fowl. Then we have orders to start bombing the force field."

After that, Mulch heard a door open and close, and then after a pause, Artemis's voice. "He's gone Holly."

Mulch heard his elfin friend reply, but it was jumbled and incoherent. Perhaps now would be a good time to make his entrance. After all, it sounded like they needed saved by him once again. They can't do anything without me. Mulch thought as he swung open the door. Only to get the biggest shock of his life.

"Holly! Artemis! What in Frond's name do you think you're doing?" he cried, jaw hitting the floor as his two friends broke apart from their kiss and stared at him in shock. A pair of rabbits caught in the headlights.

Holly recovered first. "Mulch. How did you get in?"

He grinned a secret smile, unable to resist irritating the elfin captain a little. "Ah. Now that would be telling. I won't go giving away more of my race's little talents."

Artemis rolled his eyes. "He tunnelled in and broke through the force field when it was weakened due to Butler letting Trouble through."

Mulch crossed his arms and pouted a little. "How'd you know?"

The human grinned his vampire smile. "Just a guess. But then, my guesses are usually correct."

"You know what, mud boy? You're too smart for your own-" Mulch stopped and back-pedalled. "Hold on here! We're getting off topic!" he spun to face Holly, a smug grin slowly spreading across his face. "So… you and Arty getting cosy then?"

Holly actually blushed. "Shut up Mulch."

Artemis interrupted before he could make a comeback. "Why are you here anyway?"

"The council ordered Section 8 to get me up here to either try and get the LEP in or get Holly out. They obviously knew Trouble would fail. I think they thought Artemis might listen to me because you guys both trust me."

Holly snorted at the 'trust' part, but otherwise remained silent so Mulch continued. "If Artemis wouldn't let you out willingly, I'm supposed to drag you out by force."

"I'd like to see you try." She retorted.

"Nah. I wont. Its kind of obvious that you're both better off in here than out there. The council's after your blood Arty."

The human scowled. "Don't call me Arty."

"So, Arty," continued Mulch, completely ignoring this interruption. "What's the plan?"

For the next few hours, Artemis and Holly sat in an uneasy silence. Artemis was sitting with a laptop balanced on his knees, trying to figure out their next move. Though he was slightly worried, he also felt a twisted sense of anticipation. In a strange way, it felt good to know that things were finally coming to an end, one way or another. Beside him, Holly squeezed his knee reassuringly. She could tell that he was nervous. Well, she was probably feeling the same way herself. The only person who seemed unaffected by the whole situation was Mulch. He was currently raiding Artemis's kitchen cupboards, having completely emptied the fridge some hours previously. They could hear the banging and crashing emitting from the kitchen from halfway across the house. Artemis continued on like this for some minutes before finally closing the laptop with a 'click' and a sigh.

"There's no way I can work like this. It's too distracting."

Holly nodded and twined her fingers into his. "Its fine. We still have time."

Suddenly, an ear-splitting bang echoed through the manor, shaking the entire structure. Picture frames rattled on the wall and ornaments smashed to the floor.

Artemis jumped up."You were saying?"

They rushed to the window and yanked open the heavy curtains just as another explosion rocked the foundations. High above them, a huge column of fire dissipated into the air. As the smoke cleared, Artemis could just make out the wing of a LEP shuttle. They'd started bombing the force field.

"How long will it last against explosions of that magnitude?" Holly asked him as Mulch hurried through, followed closely by Butler.

"I- I don't know."

1 hour previously: outside the force field

Trouble Kelp stood ramrod straight, facing a plasma screen bolted on to the wall. An elderly gnome glared down at him from the monitor. It was the fairy council's Chairman, Cahartez. He did not look happy.

"Commander Kelp. You have been lying to us."

The elf hung his head in shame. "I know."

Chairman Cahartez continued. "Holly Short is staying in Fowl Manor of her own free will. She has had the chance to escape, but she has not taken it. Instead, she has chosen to side with a human. She will be severely punished for this. As will Fowl."

"Wait. Fowl didn't do anything. You know that now."

"We have a duty, commander. There are hundreds of fairies out there depending on us to put the Fowl menace behind bars one and for all."

"But he hasn't done anything." Trouble was getting angry now.

"He's a human. His mere existence is a crime in itself."

"What?" there was something not right here. "That's going a bit far is it not?"

"Au contraire, my dear commander. It is not far enough. The council have reached a unanimous verdict pertaining to the human race. It is time we fought back."

"What?" he couldn't believe what he was hearing.

"Ah, don't look so shocked Kelp. It was your Recon officer who acted as the catalyst for our decision. Now, listen carefully. Your orders are to capture Fowl and the traitor Short. You will bring them down to the Lower Elements where they shall be tried before the council." The gnome grinned nastily. Not that there's really much point in a trial. Its just a formality at this stage."

Trouble tried to backtrack. "Chairman Cahartez. What do you mean by; 'it's time we fought back'?"

"The council have decided. The Lower Elements are in turmoil from Short's supposed kidnapping. There are riots in the streets of Haven; they are fed up of human brutality. The fairies will finally make a stand against the mud people, starting with the capture of Fowl. After that comes the battle."

This was all wrong. The fairies were a peace loving people. And now their leaders were proposing an all-out war. Trouble tried to choke out his next question. "Are you suggesting that we… take back the surface?"

The fairy on screen smiled and leaned forwards conspiritally before giving a slow nod.

"Of course, preparations will need to be made. I'd say the war wouldn't start for at least a few months. However, we need to send a message to the people. They need to know that their demands are being taken into account. That is the real reason for our capture of Fowl and Short. They will be an example. Fowl, the first human casualty of the war, and Short, the traitor who tried to switch sides."

Trouble couldn't believe what he was hearing. The people wanted this? They were not a bloodthirsty race (with the exception of the demons); they would never want a war.

"We need you to do this Kelp. It will be our first strike against the humans. Get them both down here ASAP." With that, the council chairman leaned forwards and switched off the video feed. The screen plunged into blackness.

Trouble stayed frozen for a moment, then rushed out of the shuttle to find Foaly. He was waiting for him in the supersonic shuttle.

"Were you watching that Foaly?"

The centaur nodded seriously. "This doesn't look good. For any of us." from behind his left flank came the sound of someone clearing his throat. Trouble peered round Foaly and saw Qwan and No1 seated at a small table. Qwan stood up when he saw he had the commander's attention.

"Kelp, you're screwed." He stated bluntly. "The entire fairy populace is down there screaming for human blood."

"How? How could this happen?"

The warlock shook his head and all of a sudden looked extremely tired. "Did you notice Cahartez's eyes? His pupils were ragged."

"He's been mesmerized."

"Yes, and strongly."

"Well that's okay then, isn't it? As long as the rest of the people don't want a war. We can just get down there and un-wipe the council."

Foaly stepped in. "actually commander, it's not going to be that simple."


"Take a look at the live feed from Haven." He brought up a screen of the city centre. It was in chaos. Fairies were running about everywhere, sporting banners depicting humans getting killed in various ways. Goblins were running at haphazardly through the crowds, throwing fireballs all over the place.

"Where's the police?" he whispered, eyes fixated on the drama unfolding in front of them.

"Look." Foaly pointed and Trouble caught a glimpse of a LEPRecon officer in full riot gear, battling his way through the crowds. There was something wrong with the way he was moving though. It was almost as though…

"The LEP are rioting too."

Qwan nodded grimly. "Somehow, every last fairy in Haven has been mesmerised into hating humans."

"Oh Gods. This is awful." Trouble murmured.

"It must have happened in the last few days whilst we were on the surface. Somehow, someone has gained control over the entire fairy population."

"We have to get them back to normal, before they reveal themselves to the humans."

"Right." said Foaly. "What do you want us to do Commander?"

"Well, first things first, we need to get Fowl and Captain Short out of the manor so start bombing the force field. We're going to need all the help we can get."

Well, I'm pretty sure you're all wondering how I'm going to resolve this with just one chapter to go. Ha! I'm not entirely sure either, but it does have sequel potential… hmmm… :)

Please review and tell me if you liked, or didn't like. I didn't like this chapter so it's fine if you feel the same way.

Yaay! Last chapter soooooon! It'll be up in the next couple of days because by now I just want to get this story done. -_-

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