Predictable.

His smirk grew as he drummed his fingers against the wooden table, eyes glued to the device held in his other hand. Everything is going according to plan. All he ever did was plant a thought in the minds of some overly zealous rights advocates through an article, add a few opinions on the price of heroism and wait for the outcome. He had to admit; that part of the plan took time. He was already considering an alternative scheme when news broke out that the imbeciles in the Council had indeed granted his victim rite of passage above ground under the guise of medical treatment.

Hilarious.

He could have ended this quickly; all it would take is one accidental mandatory medical test, and within a day, the female captain will be gone. No one will know it was his doing; he can even make it look like the Council is behind the murder.

But then again, where is the satisfaction in that.

He pocketed the device in his coat and poured himself a cup of hot tea. Without waiting for the drink to cool down, he took a big sip, letting the tea stay on his tongue longer before swallowing. Then without a second thought, he drank the contents of the cup dry. He had lost his ability to feel, to smell and to taste a long time ago, long before he started creating the serum.

He closed his eyes as he chuckled softly.

Creating that serum was such an educating experience, the dark mixture of science and magic, an untraceable serum made from an extract of various magical herbs that will slowly deteriorate the mind and body of its victim. However, a poison is not without an antidote. Faerie herbs are capable of creating the extraordinary when correctly combined but many are afraid of the dark side of faerie magic.

He had to take precautionary measures soon.

No matter, by the time that antidote is discovered, it will be too late.

He set the cup down, the small smile still on his lips.

Oh, how exhilarating it must feel to witness how his revenge play out. The feeling of helplessness, knowing that nothing can be done to stop the inevitable. Oh, how he will cherish that sight when the time comes.

Unfortunately, he would have to wait a little longer and he had nothing but time.

There was a knock on the door, interrupting his thoughts.

"Sir, the meeting will start in five minutes." Someone said.

He clenched his fist, letting his magic flow once again, before regaining his composure. With a few strides he was already at the door, opening it to reveal one of the council juries; a fidgety one who he had no intention of knowing.

"Yes, thank you. Just had a cup of tea." He responded, switching to a more compassionate character, "Shall we then?"

-o-o-0-o-o-

Holly Short was not sure what woke her: the light against her closed eyelids or the steady beeping noise. Slowly, she cautiously opened one eyelid and immediately regretted the action once the blinding glare of light greeted her vision, sending shots of pain to her head. Closing her eyes, she moved her head to the opposite direction from the source of light, and slowly opened her eyes again. The surroundings is still bright but more bearable than the first. Once she blinked away the dancing black dots from the sudden glare of light earlier, her eyes roamed to look at her surroundings; a sky blue curtain was draped on her right side, concealing whatever that is beyond it. She shifted her gaze to her left; a few paintings decorated the cream-colored walls, some cabinets hung on the side, there were shelves lined with books, a machine placed a few inches above the headboard of the bed she is lying on - - - - probably where the beeping sound is coming from.

A beeping sound?

She blinked a few times before realization finally came to her; she was lying in bed inside a room with no clue how she got there. Quickly she sat up, an action that earned additional spikes of pain to her growing headache. She clutched her head as if it will lessen the throbbing pain while she tried to calm herself and not panic. She mentally recounted the recent events: she remembered landing in Tara safely, the Mudboy and his driver picked her up, the car ride, arriving at Fowl Manor and then - - - - - -

"I believe she is hyperventilating," a voice said interrupting her thoughts. Obviously, it meant to be a whisper but ended up loud enough for Holly's sensitive hearing to catch.

"Beckett," another chided

Immediately her eyes looked to the direction of the voices. Standing not far from the foot of the bed were two mudboys: one with messy blonde hair in a striped shirt and khakis while the other looked eerily like a younger version of Fowl Jr. himself from the black suit to his jet black hair.

"Who are you?" came an immediate question from her own lips; she didn't mean for it to be said out-loud. Her throat felt hoarse and dry, her fingers felt tingly and her headache rose to another level of pain.

"Should we call the grown-ups?" asked the blonde mudboy to his companion.

"You're finally awake. That's good," the black-haired mudboy stated as if observing the progress of an experiment.

Holly frowned. She didn't like that idea yet she couldn't remember being captured either.

Reading her expression the black-haired mudboy smiled opting for a comforting approach that made Holly think otherwise, "Oh, don't be afraid,"

"You are a guest here," the blonde one responded cheerfully, "I'm Beckett and this is Myles."

Holly massaged her temples; the last she remembered was driving up to Fowl Manor but she couldn't remember ending up this room like a patient. She could guess that the bed itself was connected to the machine above it since there are no wires attached to her yet the machine's beeps is in sync with her own heartbeat.

"What's your name?" the blonde mudboy - - - - Beckett asked, "I'm Beckett."

"You already told her your name," Myles interjected

"She didn't seem to have heard me," Becket countered

The two were interrupted by the sound of a door opening and both mudboys looked at the direction of the sound. Immediately the blonde mudboy beamed. Since the door was obscured by the curtain on her right, Holly didn't see who the new comer was but she could make out the light footsteps coming to their direction. On instinct, she tensed like a cornered animal.

"So this is where you have been hiding," a female voice said with a hint of a chiding tone as the door closed, "Your brother is not going to like it when he finds out that you have been hanging out here while there is a patient."

Beckett pointed at Holly while his eyes were still on the new comer, "She's awake."

Hurried footsteps and soon a mudgirl came to view; it was the driver who came with Fowl Jr when they picked her up in Tara. The mudgirl - - - - Juliet, Holly mentally reminded herself - - - - smiled, visibly relieved as she looked at her. Seeing a familiar face, Holly relaxed as well.

"Thank goodness you're awake, Holly." Juliet said, then her expression changed from relieved to worried, "How are you feeling?"

"Parched. My head hurts," Holly answered honestly seeing no point in masking it.

Juliet nodded. "That usually happens when you're unconscious for the whole day,"

"Unconscious?"

Juliet disappeared behind the curtained side of the room. When she appeared in Holly's view she was holding a bottle of water. She then looked down and addressed the two mudboys, "Your brother is going to be down here any minute. You don't want him to find out that you've been here, do you?"

"He won't know that we're here," Myles stated

Beckett beamed, "Yes. He won't,"

"Is that so?" Juliet raised an eyebrow at this then in a more chastising tone she added, "Well, I suggest that you leave before your brother finds out what you did. You know better than to mess with your brother's stuffs."

The mudboys looked at each other for a moment before running out of the room without hesitation, making Juliet smile fondly at their antics. She then uncapped the bottle she had been holding and gave it to Holly, who gingerly accept the object being handed to her.

Her reaction was enough to make Juliet laugh.

"Really now? It's not poisoned or anything." Juliet said, smiling, "I was going to give you a glass of water but I figured as much that you would be hesitant that's why I took a bottle of water from the fridge instead."

"I didn't say it was poisoned," Holly countered.

"Your expression says otherwise,"

Holly rolled her eyes, "Well. You can't blame me for that."

"I guess I can't," Juliet relented with an amused smile, "Besides, considering our first encounter, well…let's just say this is better than that. We didn't exactly start on best of terms back then,"

Holly looked at the bottle in her hands then eventually lifted it to her mouth and drank. Once the water ran through her tongue, Holly instantly reveled at the comfort it gave her. She greedily gulped the water not even pausing once until the bottle was empty.

"Easy girl. You'll drown yourself." Juliet laughed as she walked away from a small device mounted on the wall; an intercom of sorts perhaps, Holly mused.

Holly wiped her mouth. She must have been so absorbed in quenching her thirst to not notice Juliet who just probably finished relaying the message to whoever - - - probably Fowl Jr. - - - - was at the receiving end. Juliet gave her a sheepish smile as she walked over to the foot of the bed and sat down, giving Holly a change to study her. Blonde hair, fair skin, blue eyes, and a playful smile; given her age, no one would think that she serves as a bodyguard for one of the criminal families on earth.

"You are a pretty human," Holly said absentmindedly.

Juliet smiled, "You said the same thing once not long ago in this very room,"

"I did?" Holly was visibly surprised.

"Yes you did. Though that was when you were trying your Mesmer on me so you could escape," Juliet laughed as she recalled the memory.

Holly's eyebrows shot up, "Escape?"

Juliet was about to answer when a voice interrupted their conversation, "That's a bit tactless, don't you think so Juliet?"

Holly looked away from Juliet just in time to see Artemis Fowl II walk into view looking composed as ever in his black suit. But, the moment Holly met those eyes, she could immediately tell that there is more to his appearance than meets the eye.

"Right. Sorry," Juliet said, abashed, then gave Holly another sheepish smile, "I'll make some Peppermint Tea to help with that headache,"

With that she stood up, patted Fowl Jr. on the shoulders before walking away leaving them alone in the room. As soon as she heard the door clicked shut, Holly can't help but feel the awkwardness in the room increase. To distract her from the deafening silence, save for the beeps from the machine, Holly studied the mudboy in front of her instead, trying to see through his composure. He met her gaze again and Holly was immediately drawn to it. There was something about it that felt a strange sense of familiarity yet at the same time deceit as if something wasn't there.

"How are you feeling?" he asked, face not betraying any emotion, yet his gaze didn't falter.

Holly held his gaze, "I've been better."

"You're wondering why you're here," he stated, voicing the question that had been in Holly's head since she woke up.

"You'll explain why eventually," Holly countered hoping to sound nonchalant

Artemis II breathed out slowly, "You have been unconscious for almost twenty two hours. The moment you stepped out of the Bentley, you collapsed."

Holly stared at him wide-eyed.

"I've run tests. Nothing seems amiss which leaves us to conclude that you were overwhelmed to the point of mentally and emotionally exhausting yourself thus the reason why you collapsed." Artemis II continued, not paying much to Holly's surprised look, "Either that or you fainted at the sight of Butler. He has that effect on other people,"

Holly blinked at that last part. She may be amnesiac but she knew for a fact that the notorious Artemis Fowl II was not one for such quips.

Reading her facing expression, Artemis II continued, "The last part was meant to lighten the mood,"

"And here I thought you don't have a sense of humor," Holly said as she raised an eyebrow, clearly amused.

"I do have a good sense of humor. It's just most of the people around me don't share the same level of humor," Artemis answered, "I just seldom do it that's why people tend to think that I am not capable of it,"

Holly laughed, "I can see why,"

Artemis II regarded her for a moment, staring at her as if looking for something. There was a quick flash of emotion in his eyes that Holly couldn't place but disappeared immediately making her wonder if it was just her imagination.

"I'm relieved that you are awake now." He said

Still baffled by what she believed she saw earlier, Holly forced herself to nod. For some reason it made her feel melancholic and somewhat confused.

"Would you like to transfer to your room?"

Holly repeated, "My room?"

"This is just our medical room. You'll be staying in one of the manor's guest rooms."

Well, that at least explains the hospital ward like vibe and the equipment, Holly thought.

"There was something Juliet was telling me a while ago before you barged in," Holly said.

"I didn't barge in," Artemis countered

"She told me I was trying to escape this room once," Holly pressed.

"So I have heard" Artemis nodded.

"Aren't you going to tell me about it?" Holly was starting to get impatient.

Artemis stated at her as if gauging something, "I know it's frustrating but it's not advisable to force yourself to remember when you just woke up after you've been unconscious for almost a day."

"Try me mudboy," Holly answered.

Artemis walked over to her bed slowly then he sat on her right just an arm's length away from her body, all the while not ending their staring match. There was a change in the interval of beeps from the machine above when he sat down on the right side of the bed. He crossed his legs and leaned in close to her. Instinctively, Holly leaned widen the space between them. The reaction was enough to draw that vampire smirk on his face.

"Have you heard of the story of the great Fowl Manor Siege?"

-o-o-o-0-o-o-o-

It's been sooooooo long. I'm trying to get my bearings back to writing.