haha told you i'd be quick to update! Anyway, i decided to send Artemis to Scotland because thats where i live and i like it here :) don't worry though, he'll be back in Ireland before you know it.

disclaimer: Artemis fowl isn't mine, no matter how much i wish it :'(

chapter 3: complications

Tara- Ireland

An hour later, Holly was on the surface, hurrying away from the shuttle port at Tara. Her ears were still ringing from the noise of the flare. She had been extremely lucky to make it to the pod in time for the next magma flare. Of course, the other Recon officers were taking the nice, cushy supersonic shuttle. And Retrieval were taking an even nicer, cushier Ambassadors shuttle. She activated her wings and leapt into the air, climbing rapidly. Boy, these new wings were fast. She sped up even more; a bullet rushing through the night sky. She had to reach Artemis before it was too late.

Suddenly, Holly stopped dead. She had just realised she had no idea where she was supposed to be going. Gods, what was wrong with her today? Rational thought seemed to have deserted her completely. Shaking her head at her stupidity, she opened a com-link in her helmet.

"Foaly? Are you with me?"

"Sure am, darlin', I'm just sending you the tracker signal." Sure enough, a second later a map appeared in her visor. There was a red dot flashing in the centre. Apparently, Artemis was in Scotland. Holly adjusted her course accordingly and once again opened her wings to full throttle. The centaur was unusually quiet in her helmet.

"What is it?" she asked.

"Nothing," he replied. "It's just… don't you think this is a bit too easy?"

"Foaly, it's a trap, remember? It's supposed to seem easy."

He sighed, a rush of static through the speakers. "I know that Holly, but Koboi is smart enough to know that we know it's a trap, yet still we are just stumbling in blindly. You know what happened last time we underestimated Opal." Holly nodded. Then remembered that Foaly couldn't see her.

"Yes. I do remember." Last time, her commanding officer and good friend had been murdered and she had taken the blame. Holly unconsciously sped up. She wouldn't let Artemis die. She had to get to him. She laughed softly. So much for her promise to never see him again. It seemed like fate just wouldn't let that happen.

"What's funny Holly?" asked Foaly in a scandalised voice. Oops. She hadn't meant to laugh out loud.

"Nothing, I was just thinking of something I said to Artemis last time I saw him."

"What did you say?" Foaly asked. His curiosity always got the better of him.

"I swore that I would never see him again. Ironic, isn't it?" she choked back a sob.

"Holly, Artemis isn't going to die. You will save him, like you always do."

"Yes, but what if I don't?" what if the last thing she ever said to him was the thing that broke his heart? One of the only times he had been truly honest with her. He had placed himself at her mercy, and she had thrown the gesture back in his face. And now her friend was going to die before she could make things right.

"Holly. Come on. You're a professional. Pull yourself together right now or you'll be in no fit state to face Opal.

Holly nodded and blinked back a few stray tears from her eyes. Foaly was right. She had to focus.

By now, Holly was closing in on the signal. It was stationary in central Scotland, a couple of minutes from her current location. Thank Frond Foaly upgraded these wings. "Foaly. What do I do once I get to the location?"

"You've got to check out the area. Retrieval are only half an hour behind you so Kelp says don't do anything stupid." Holly sighed. They knew her so well. If she had a chance to take Opal alone, she would. Well, not completely alone. She'd have her new super humungous neutrino with her…

Smiling at that thought, she began to descend as the centaur relayed the rest of her instructions. "… And make sure you check out the area. It seems like she's in the basement of a building so I want you to put an optic twist round a camera before doing anything else. We need to see everything that's going on."

Very soon, the building in question loomed up out of the darkness. It seemed to be an abandoned warehouse. She landed lightly on a wall, still shielded, and pulled out one of Foaly's video cables, wrapping it securely round the nearest security camera. Good. Now the LEP had eyes and ears. Not to mention total control of the video feeds. There came the sound of furious typing through her helmet.

"Okay. I've got all visuals. There's no sign of Opal. I only have one heat signature in the building and judging by the size, its Artemis. I'll find out his location since I already know you're going to disobey orders and fly in there." More typing echoed down the line. "He's in the basement. First door to your left when you go down the stairs." He sent her the building blueprints and Holly flew cautiously inside.

Why would she just leave him here? It didn't make sense. She drifted along a narrow corridor, which opened out into a wide storeroom. She could see the stairs on the other side. If this place were booby-trapped, it would be in here, she was sure of it. Nonetheless, Holly carried on. No traps were sprung. No bombs went off. Nothing. This was very un-Opalesque. She flew down the stairs and stopped outside the correct door.

"Are you sure there's nothing on the other side, Foaly?"

"As sure as I am that dwarfs eat mud." That was good enough for her. She pushed the door handle down. It was unlocked. Not a good sign. On the other side was a brightly lit room. She buzzed up her visor and took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the blinding light. It came from a set of lamps on the ceiling. They were obviously new. Her gaze drifted down and she spotted Artemis, kneeling at the opposite wall. She let out a breath she hadn't even realised she'd been holding.

"Artemis! You're alive!" the mud boy jerked upright. When he saw Holly, his eyes widened in disbelief, which quickly changed to panic, which in return was replaced by a mask of cold indifference.

"Captain Short. I wasn't expecting you here." Holly sighed. Great. Obviously he was mad at her then.

"Artemis, there's no time for this now. We have to get you out of here. Do you know where Opal is?"

"I do not." His expression did not change. "Captain Short, you cannot possibly hope to get me out of here."

Holly wasn't listening. She addressed Foaly. "Are you detecting any traps?"

"Nope Holly, there's nothing dangerous that my sensors are detecting. Oh wait, hold on…" he paused for a moment. "There's something on Artemis, a spot of interference. I can't see what it is in the camera. Ask him if he knows." She looked back at Artemis, who was smiling at her patronisingly. Of course he knew. They were always two steps behind when it came to this human.

"Artemis. I know you're dying to tell me. What is on you?"

He continued to smile in the most superior and extremely annoying fashion. "Why Holly, you should know. It is fairy technology after all, not really designed for humans." She could hear barely concealed anger behind the sarcasm in his voice.

Holly rolled her eyes. She didn't have time for childish pettiness. "Come on Mud boy!" she snapped. "I know you know so just tell me."

He straightened up. "I apologise. That was quite rude. From what I can see, it is a design similar to octo-bonds, used by the LEP. I believe you are familiar with them?" Holly's mind flashed back to the bomb clamped onto Julius Root's chest. Yes. She was all too familiar with them. She nodded.

"Well, these are Opals version, with a twist." His lip curled into a sneer at the thought of the deranged pixie. "She took great pleasure in explaining to me how they work. First, it contains a proximity detector. The closer someone gets to me, the further the bands will constrict, eventually crushing my ribs or lungs, which you, Captain Short, will not have enough magic to heal considering that you have probably been shielded since Ireland."

Holly growled. He was right. She hadn't completed the ritual in ages and shielding had depleted her resources drastically. She barely had enough magic left to heal a grazed knee, never mind major internal injuries. "Show me it, Artemis." She said.

He obliged, lifting up his shirt so she could see the thin metal tendrils wrapped round his chest and waist.

"Is there a way to deactivate it?" she asked.

"Yes, there is a four-digit keypad on the back, but I cannot hope to reach it without dislocating my shoulder."

"Right, so it has to be de-activated manually." She addressed Foaly in her ear. "Can you at least find out what the code is?" the centaur whinnied.

"I'm already on it, Holly." There was a slight pause… "4,4,7,1."

Holly nodded. Good. Now all she had to do was somehow type it in. "Artemis. I'm going to come a bit closer to you. We need to see how far this thing constricts before hurting you."

Artemis nodded, his eyes still cold. "Very well."

She took a couple of steps forwards. All of a sudden, she was distracted by a loud beeping noise. "What's that?"

Foaly groaned into her headpiece. "More complications. I think she's put explosives in the octo-bond cable box. That'll blow in exactly three minutes if you don't get it off mud boy.

Great. So it's a choice between Artemis dieing slowly and painfully, or quickly and painfully. Holly thought sarcastically as she stepped back again. She quickly relayed this information to the human. Though his face paled, he seemed unsurprised. Well, it was Opal behind this after all.

"Artemis." Holly said. "What do you want me to do?" she watched as he paused for a moment, possibly trying to collect himself. He took a deep breath and then spoke.

"You'll just have to try and put in the code. Hopefully, you'll be able to heal me in time."

Holly shook her head frantically, her hair flicking into her face. "I can't do that to you."

Artemis's cool persona seemed to evaporate. "Holly!" he snapped. "Its either that or I get blown to smithereens. If you don't do it quickly, we all will, so please hurry up."

She made up her mind and took a step forwards. "All right. Artemis, this is probably going to hurt."

okay, i would like you to review please. i love everyone who reviews! constructive criticism and ideas for later are welcome :D