Oho YES. What is this, you ask? Why, it's ANOTHER CHAPTER! That's right. Two in one day!
I got really fast reviews for the last chapter that made me so happy! To hear that people still care enough to not have massive rants at me is just… I love you guys!
So… I just wrote this in like an hour. Its short as well, but it needs to be. Because the next chapter will be epic.
Man its good to be writing again. I'm not even taking English this year, so I basically haven't written a thing since June. It could take me a couple chapters to get back into the swing of things, but here we go and hopefully its okay.
Chapter 22: Another Turning point
Fowl Manor: Ireland
Five days had passed since Mulch and Qwan turned up on the doorstep of Fowl Manor. Five amazing days. Holly was still reeling over the discovery that they'd survived, and she was coasting along on some sort of happy high. She'd even had a civil conversation with Artemis the other day.
They seemed to have come to some sort of silent agreement not to mention any of their fights over the last few days, instead choosing to remain unerringly polite in the other's presence. At the moment, as far as Holly knew, things stood as follows; Artemis loved Holly. Holly loved Artemis but was still mad at him. She did not want a relationship with a human. Artemis was a human. Holly hated humans. Artemis was waiting for her anyway.
Frond, things were simpler when he was twelve.
She actually hadn't seen hide nor tail of the teenager since breakfast that morning. Him, Qwan and, she suppressed a growl, Opal, were practically living in the lab since the demon had returned. A time-travelling warlock certainly made their predicament a whole lot less dire than it had been earlier that week. Qwan was fairly certain he would be able to locate No1 if they found the correct temporal co-ordinates, and so the trio had set about finding them. Apparently this involved a whole load of quantum physics. Nothing that Holly needed to, in Opal's own words, "worry her tiny little troll-sized brain about." Holly had uncharacteristically chosen to ignore this last remark, instead opting to allow the three geniuses to get to work. After all, the sooner they got home, the sooner Opal would be out of the picture forever.
Instead, Holly was spending most of her free time in the gym with Mulch. Not that Mulch exercised, he spent most of the time steadily eating his way through the remainder of the supplies while Holly gradually improved her stamina.
She really had missed the dwarf. She'd missed the inane chatter, the frequent rude remarks, the uncanny ability he had to annoy literally anyone. Mostly she had just missed how easy it all was. With Artemis, every moment was charged with some sort of tension. It was good to be free from that, even if it was just for a few hours every day. With Mulch, conversations were effortless. The back-and-forth banter they had established early on in their relationship was still there, and Holly felt her personality begin to slip snugly back onto her shoulders as she bickered with the dwarf, hiding the beaten, fragile elf left behind after the humans took everything from her. She loved that Mulch never asked questions about her personal life. Everything was uncomplicated, comfortable, stress-free…
"…What about mud boy? You're not speaking to him?"
She'd spoke too soon. Sighing and hunching her shoulders, Holly turned back to the grinning dwarf. She had to admit, he'd been unusually tactful in avoiding the question the first few days since they'd arrived. It had only been a matter of time really, and she couldn't dodge the subject forever.
"Nope." That wasn't to say she couldn't try.
She switched off the treadmill she'd been jogging on and slowed to a stop, wiping a careless hand across her brow and taking a sip of the bottled spring water beside her.
Mulch, noticing the lack of reply, eyed her curiously. "How come?"
Holly strode over to the punch-bag and slipped on a pair of gloves. If she was going to talk about this, she'd need to take her angst out on something.
Meanwhile, upstairs, Artemis was also having a pretty good day.
"Come on, that's it…"
"Bring it back a little… yes, yes, yes!"
"Opal, come on!"
Artemis and Opal were indeed holed up in his study, and contrary to the sounds they were making, were not actually up to anything indecent. The glowing, multicoloured warlock in the centre of the room was the cause of their exclamations.
"I'VE GOT IT!" Opal Koboi's triumphant cry echoed through the silent manor, causing the sensitive electrodes attached to her temples to spark a little.
"Opal! Careful. You'll break the connection!" Artemis lurched forwards but the pixie just waved him off impatiently."
"I've been doing stuff like this for years mud boy. Sit still and let the big kids work."
Artemis scowled a little, then realised that probably did nothing to help his argument. He was currently sitting on a swivel chair, facing the two colourful fairies opposite him. Qwan was in a magically induced trance, hence the glowing. If anyone had been walking past the windows that night, they might have thought the manor was the location of an underground nightclub. Opal was attached to the Warlock via a maze of multicoloured electrodes, and was wide-awake, concentrating on building and maintaining neural connections between the pair. Her eyes were narrowed in concentration as she focused every ounce of her mental capacities with a laser-point precision into the electrodes.
To be honest, Artemis felt a little useless at this point.
Earlier that day, they had hit a breakthrough. Qwan had been pretty certain that he now had all the information he needed to attempt to reach No1 through the time stream. He was now attempting to locate the warlock through time and space, which was risky business. If they reached him at the wrong time, they could end up in Hybras, or imprisoned in Minerva's mansion, or at the top or Taipei 101. either way, it would be certain suicide. Which was where Opal came in. they had found the exact temporal co-ordinates of No1's position when they had been sent through the time stream by Abbot. Opal's job was to focus on the exact time and place, broadcasting it to Qwan as he searched through the millennia for that single point. It was a bit like finding a needle in a really, really big haystack, only, as Qwan would say, "much more complicated."
This required a lot more fine tuning than their escape from Hybras had, hence the electrodes and co-ordinates. Because they were now in an alternate reality, rather than one which was simply removed from time, any wrong calculation could end up with them simply having never existed at all.
Opal yelled once more, almost yanking Artemis off his chair as she grabbed his hand, sharp nails digging into his wrist. Her eyes flew open, glittering darkly in triumph as she grinned at him. "We've got it."
Artemis leapt to his feet. This was it. This was the moment he'd been waiting for almost three months now. He grabbed the walkie-talkie from the desk next to him and yelled into it, almost dropping the device in his haste. "Holly! Mulch!"
Downstairs, a small black walkie-talkie crackled into life. "Holly! Mulch!"
The pair in the gym stared at the piece of electronic equipment as though it had grown two heads.
Holly turned to Mulch, eyes widening. "You don't think…"
The dwarf shook his head, eyes widening in amazement. "Nah, they couldn't have… not already…"
There was a split second of silence, and then, "ARTEMIS! WE'RE COMING!" they scrambled up and rushed to the heavy oak door, almost crashing into it in their haste to get upstairs.
In a moment of clarity, Holly swiped up the walkie-talkie. "Artemis, have you done it?"
There was a pause and a crackle of static on the other end, then, "yes! We've done it! Qwan's made the connection! We're going home!"
Holly slowed down as she reached the top of the staircase, staring down at the walkie-talkie in her hand. She watched Mulch career up the steps, waving a half-eaten sandwich in his hands. She shook her head in wonder and then laughed a little. In the last two months, she'd never have thought it would come to this. Success hadn't really seemed an option at the time. She had just been trying to survive. But now…
"They've done it. We're going home."
Whoo! Oh yeah another chapter. And it ends on a high note! Since when do I ever do that? Haha. Still not 100% happy with this but at least I am now updating! I have now gotten past the horrible point and I think I'm on a roll. Gonna try and write the next chapter tomorrow.
Thanks again so much for the reviews, shtoobs and Alexeng1995. You guys made my reopen my word document and keep on writing straight away. This chapter was for you.