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Artemis Fowl: The Vampire Conspiration, chapter 3

August 23rd, 2009 (09:19 pm)

This is the third installment of my story, and I don't know if I'll manage to post another chapter before next week (I'll be away from the internet for half of it).

Summary: The Volturi hear about Artemis Fowl's prodigious intelligence and decide to turn him into a vampire and make him join the guard. Artemis must not only protect the People from the Volturi's greediness, but there's also the matter of punitive expedition concerning the Cullens. Post TTP and during Breaking Dawn. A/H, canon Twilight couples.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2

Story on fanfiction.net




Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


“Then cover for me until I’m above ground,” Holly said determinedly. “In any case, I have the recording of the communication. Maybe you’ll be able to extract more information than me.”

Foaly hesitated, but Holly was already outside the door. He didn’t understand: since that episode with the lemur Jayjay, Fowl and Holly hadn’t seemed to get on as well as usual–not they had ever gotten along particularly well. Why was she now determined to rush aboveground to save him from what sounded like the most dangerous situation they had ever came across?



Chapter 3: Awakening




Artemis looked at the people in the room. He could recognize Felix, Demetri and Jane, their features more detailed that he had ever seen them, but there were also other vampires he didn’t know. All their eyes were fixed on him as Demetri approached slowly.

“Yes,” he said slowly. “You are a vampire.” Artemis gasped, even though he was prepared for the news.

“Why?” he whispered.

“Aro heard of you,” Demetri answered. “He heard you were … clever. Very clever, much clever than most humans. So he was interested in you and what you would become.”

“What I would become?” Artemis asked weakly. He didn’t like the direction this conversation was taking.

“Indeed. You see, we have noticed that some humans bring into the immortal life their strongest traits, enhanced by the change. Your mind was already phenomenal, but now, if everything went right, it must be...”

“Beyond description,” Artemis said, feeling his stomach sinking. There was another feeling however, one he couldn’t quite describe, something stronger than anything he had ever felt before. At the same time his mind was reeling, analyzing the situation, remembering a conversation he once had with Minerva on the phone.

I am not as careless as you, Artemis. I prefer anonymity, until I have something exceptional to be recognized for.

Thirst, it was thirst. Intense, painful, all-consuming thirst. While part of him acknowledged what the feeling was, the rest was still working hard on finding an escape.

He had been careless. Even though he had hidden the existence of the People, he had not hidden the fact that he was a criminal mastermind. He had an Interpol file for heaven’s sake! Another memory came back to him, of when he had been listening outside of a van in which Holly was healing Butler.

“Not smart enough to keep himself out of trouble.”

“I’m thirsty,” Artemis said with horror. If he really was a vampire, that would mean he would have to … He didn’t want to think about it.

“Yes,” Demetri answered with a grim smile. “That’s quite normal. Before you sustain yourself however, I will explain a few things to you.”

“Sustain myself?”

Artemis found himself unable to hide the panic in his voice now. Jane was looking at him with an angelic smile, a smile he was starting to associate with bad news. Demetri nodded.

“As you know, you are in Volterra. Here is the home of the most ancient vampires, the Volturi. Our masters, Aro, Marcus and Caius, have ruled over the vampires for three thousand years now.” So Aro, the man who had wanted him, was one of the leaders. Things weren’t getting any better. “You are now part of their guard, as we are,” Demetri continued.

“I suppose you also have powers, don’t you?” Artemis asked.

“Yes, we do, but that isn’t the point now. Now that you are a vampire, you owe the Volturi loyalty. Make no mistake, they will know it if you so much as think of betraying them. Even your mind will not outwit them. We will take you to them, and you will do a little bit of training, before you start to go on missions.”

As Demetri finished his sentence, a sunbeam from the window hit Jane. Artemis eyes widened in realization, but Jane did not look troubled. Under his bewildered gaze, her skin started to sparkle. It was the most shocking, beautiful thing Artemis had ever witnessed, and he had seen a lot.

“What?” Demetri asked, noticing that Artemis’ attention had shifted to something else.

“I was just realizing that part of the myths about you don’t apply.” Demetri looked back at Jane, and understanding lit his features. “So clever,” he whispered very low, and Artemis was surprised to find out he could hear it.

“What else is different?” Artemis asked. He needed to get as much information as possible if he wanted to make a plan to escape.

“Apart from the sun?” Demetri said. “We don’t sleep. The usual weapons used against vampires in stories are completely useless–stakes, crosses, silver. The only way to destroy us is to tear us into pieces and burn them.”

“A fate that will happen to you if you betray us,” Felix interrupted. Artemis fought back a shiver. He had the feeling that Felix would enjoy doing just that. It would perhaps be smart to change the conversation.

“What do your masters want me for?” he asked, trying to sound confident.

“Well, before you are asked to do anything, we will have to evaluate your … abilities.” Artemis gulped, and the thirst he was feeling doubled. Demetri seemed to notice his reaction. “Come,” was all he said, and Artemis followed obediently.

Felix and Jane were right behind them as they walked through the corridor, while the rest of the vampires that had been silently observing him in the room headed in another direction.

“Demetri?” Artemis asked slowly. “What are we doing?” Demetri looked back at him and smirked.

“We are going to feed you.”

At those words, Artemis stopped dead in his tracks. He felt Felix and Jane almost colliding into him, but obviously they were too fast to be so clumsy. “Move,” Felix hissed.

“From humans?” Artemis whispered, horrified.

“Of course,” Demetri replied simply.

“Isn’t there another way?” Artemis asked desperately. There had to be another solution, there always was. He had to find something fast, because the mere mention of him drinking from humans intensified his thirst tenfold.

“It is natural for vampires to drink from humans,” Jane answered from behind him. Artemis frowned. They were hiding something from him, and he had to figure it out before he got close to a human. If his intuitions were right and he was really thirsting for blood at this very moment, he didn’t know how would be able to control himself.

“That doesn’t mean there isn’t another way,” he insisted.

“We will see,” Demetri said, and he continued to walk through the corridor. Artemis’ panic was rising every instant. There had to be another way. What was it?

But then something happened that made him forget all of his former worries. It was a scent, so delicious, so utterly tempting he couldn’t resist forgetting about everything else. He quickened his pace, leaving Demetri slightly behind. No one tried to stop him. Goodness, what was that scent? He had to find out, he had to quench his thirst that was burning his throat. He broke into a run.

The scent was coming from behind a plain wooden door. He pushed it open, and pounced. There was a form there, screaming in terror, but in less than a second later, the only sound left was the sucking of blood from the human’s neck. It felt so good, so right.

Suddenly, there was no more blood to drain, and Artemis snapped back to his rational sense, jumping back in horror. What had he done? Lying lifeless on the floor was a woman, her eyes frozen in terror, her face deathly pale–not a drop of blood was left in her frail body.

Artemis recognized the woman from the front desk–Gianna.

He heard noise behind him, and turned around, his eyes wide. Demetri, Felix and Jane were looking intently at him.

“You don’t want to drink from humans, Artemis Fowl?” Jane asked in a sweet voice.

“No, I don’t,” Artemis replied, trying to sound determined.

“How then?” she asked, and he couldn’t answer. He couldn’t believe he had done this–he was a monster, worse than a monster.

“What have you done to me?” he asked in horror.

“The question, Artemis,” Felix said with a smirk, “is what you have done.”

I am not a cold blooded murderer, he had said once. Just give yourself some time, Holly had answered.

“I just killed a human being,” Artemis whispered.

“Yes,” Jane said with disgusting glee. “It’s the way it’s supposed to be. It’s only natural.”

Artemis was too depressed to fight back, but he knew intuitively–and was strongly comforted by the way they had skirted around the issue–that there was another way, an unnatural way, a way these vampires didn’t like, but a way nonetheless. He would have to find out.

“Come,” Demetri said comfortingly. “It’s time for you to see your masters.” Artemis wasn’t comforted in the least.

Again, they walked through the endless corridors, but Artemis’ mind seemed to memorize every twist and turn faster and with much more ease than what he was used to. That would mean that his captor’s theory was right–his mind had been enhanced. That was probably the only advantage of this situation: he’d need more than his customary–even if it was extraordinary–intelligence to escape.

Finally, Demetri opened a door and mentioned Artemis to step in. He obeyed silently, and the others followed after him. They were in a large circular room, that looked like the inside of a tower–they were still inside the Volterra castle. After taking in his surroundings, Artemis studied the occupant of the room. There seemed to be a huge commotion. A frightened looking female was talking to three others, fragile looking cloaked vampires, the rest–some of which he recognized as those who had watched his awakening–were observing the scene a few meters away.

“Are you sure?” the scariest of the three vampires asked in a harsh tone. The female vampire in front of him trembled, nodded, and touched the outstretched hand of another of the three vampires.

“Jane, dear,” one of the three vampires said in a pleasant voice, “can you please take Irina to her room?”

“Yes, master,” Jane answered in a meek and loving tone, which Artemis thought was totally out of place. Jane left, followed by Irina.

“We have a lot to discuss,” one of the vampires said. Artemis thought he recognized him: he was the one who came to visit him during his transformation. “I can’t believe Carlisle betrayed us in such a way.”

“He is to be punished,” the angry looking vampire said. “They should all be destroyed.”

“Come now, Caius,” the first one said, “we must think this over.” He turned towards them and his eyes brightened. “Ah, good news at last! Young Artemis is finally changed!”

The vampire Caius scowled.

“Really, Aro, this isn’t the time, with what we heard of the Cullens…”

“Nonsense! A few minutes won’t hurt. You must excuse Caius, Artemis, for we have just received some very distressing news.”

Artemis nodded, unsure of what was expected of him. When he looked back up, he saw the vampires eyes widen.

“Your eyes …” he murmured. Artemis tried to stay impassible. It wasn’t surprising that the vampires, with their incredible eyesight, would notice the difference between his human blue eye and his fairy hazel one.

“We noticed only one eye changed color, master,” Demetri said quickly. “He had a blue and a hazel eye, only the blue changed.”

“My eyes changed?” Artemis asked, a little worried.

“You haven’t showed him a mirror?” the joyful vampire asked, still observing Artemis closely.

“We came almost straight to you, master,” Felix explained. Artemis’ body went rigid at the implication. He could see the woman’s lifeless body, and he hated the fact that his own still craved more blood. He was a monster …

“Yes,” the vampire said, “we shall certainly explain this later. Let us start properly though. I’m very sorry, Artemis, I haven’t introduced myself …”

Artemis took a wild guess.

“You’re Aro, aren’t you?”

“Spot on!” Aro nearly clapped his hands in appreciation. Artemis hid his surprise as best as he could: he hadn’t expected a powerful vampire to act like a child with a new toy. Aro looked nothing like a child, though. He was more fragile looking than Jane, Felix and Demetri, but it was plain he was still very dangerous. He had long black hair that flowed down his back, the same color as his cloak. What unsettled Artemis the most was the milky film in his eyes.

“Of course, you do not know my brothers,” Aro continued, oblivious or ignoring Artemis’ inspection. “These are Caius (the angry vampire with white hair nodded once) and Marcus.” The last one, looking utterly bored, didn’t even react. And these were the most powerful vampires on earth? Looks must certainly be deceiving, for Artemis would never have bet for them in a fight, and he remembered what Felix had said about them. Aro seemed unfazed by both of his brothers’ lack of enthusiasm, and continued speaking.

“I’m afraid you haven’t met us at the best of times, for we have just received very grave news from abroad.”

Artemis noted how delighted Felix seemed, despite what Aro had said.

“Now, I know Demetri has explained a little bit of our world to you, and that you have discovered some of it on your own–” Felix snickered, “and I think we should take a few minutes to get to know each other. What do you say?”

“What is there to say?” Artemis replied coldly. He didn’t like Aro’s friendliness. Anyone with that much power would never bother to be genuinely nice. Artemis knew it was only a facade. Aro, however, didn’t seem bothered by his insolence.

“Well, we can start by shaking hands, if you don’t mind.”

Artemis clenched his fists reflexively. There was a trick, he knew it. He had manipulated enough people to sense when someone was choosing too carefully their words.

“I do,” he said boldly. Caius, who had gone to sit on a throne at the end of the room, frowned. It was still mind-boggling for Artemis to catch so many details. Never had his fairy eyesight been so accurate.

Aro laughed.

“I should have known you would be wary. I’m afraid, however, that you don’t have much of a choice.”

“What will happen?” Artemis asked, as his hands instinctively went behind his back. This was a trick, he wouldn’t let himself be tricked.

“Do what the master says,” Felix hissed, but Artemis ignored him.

“Felix,” Aro said gently, “no need to be so impolite. I understand young Artemis’ worries. I will tell you what will happen, but you will have to subject yourself to this in any case.”

Artemis nodded. It would be impossible for him to resist all the vampires against him anyway.

“I am a mind reader, Artemis Fowl. When I touch somebody, I can read their mind, know everything they are thinking and everything they have ever thought.”

“No!” Artemis cried, and he bolted. Felix and Demetri must have been prepared for this, for they had caught him before he had time to reach the door. They both snarled ferociously, and if Artemis had still been human, he would have been terrified.

He wasn’t anymore though. He was a vampire, and his instincts had changed too. He roared back at them and tried to break free. He was surprised to do it relatively easily, but then more vampires came and he was quickly subdued.

“Now, now,” Aro said reproachfully. “We are civilized here, Artemis. Don’t force me to call Jane.”

Artemis stopped struggling, realizing it would be pointless. In one last desperate attempt, he crushed his fairy transmitter. If Aro was going to learn about the People, Artemis wasn’t going to help him reach them.

“Give me your hand, Artemis, and be reasonable.”

“No,” he whispered, but he put out his hand anyway, and Aro took it.

Artemis didn’t feel anything. He could only watch Aro’s fascinated face. Fascinated, and then–

“Oh!”

Artemis reflexively jerked his hand away, but then he felt the most terrible pain–nearly as painful as the transformation–burn his body. Seizing, crying, he fell to the floor.

“That is enough, dearest,” he heard Aro say through his screams, and the pain stopped as suddenly as it had come. Looking up, he met Jane’s delighted smile–truly, there was nothing more beautiful nor more terrifying than that smile.

He got up quickly, mortified by his weakness.

“Artemis,” Aro said calmly, “your hand.”

“Please don’t,” he pleaded. “I can’t betray them.”

“You already have, Artemis. Give me your hand, or I shall ask Jane to persuade you some more.”

“Please.”

Only a few days ago, Artemis would have thought it beneath him to beg. Aro’s greedy expression was enough to persuade him otherwise. He had to protect the People, had to protect Holly from the vampires. He backed up, and Jane attacked again.

He wished he was stronger, that he could withstand the pain without screaming, but it was beyond his strength. He sunk the ground shaking. Dimly, he noted the surprised faces of Demetri and Felix, Jane’s delighted smile and another young vampire, just as young as Jane really approaching.

And then the pain stopped.

All the rest stopped with it too. Suddenly, Artemis found himself deaf, dumb, blinded. Even his sense of smell was missing–something he hadn’t used much as human, but was essential now that he was a vampire. He couldn’t feel the ground beneath his feet, he couldn’t tell if he was moving or not. With panic, he realized he wouldn’t be able to tell if somebody was touching him or not.

He didn’t know how long he stayed like this, completely deprived of all his senses. Slowly, he felt the terrifying sensation faded, and the room came back in focus. The first thing he saw was Aro, standing in front of him, a look of complete confusion on his face.

You’ve become a severe liability for the People.

Those were commander Root’s words a few years ago, when he was justifying Artemis’ mind wipe. Goodness, if only his memories hadn’t come back to him, he could have saved the People from discovery!

“What is it?” Caius snapped after a few seconds. Apparently, he didn’t know much about patience. Aro was still immobile, watching Artemis.

“We never knew …” he whispered.

“Never knew what?” Caius asked as he stood up and swept towards Aro. Marcus, on the other hand, still seemed absolutely bored.

“Brothers,” Aro said after a while. “I think we need to discuss this privately.” Marcus mechanically stood up from his own throne and joined the rest of the group.

“You may resume your activities if you wish it,” Aro instructed the room. “Demetri, you will be in charge of Artemis here. Stay close, we may need him at any moment. We shall summon you all in a few hours to decide what must be done–there are two important issues at hand.”

With those final words, the three vampires, accompanied by what seemed to be vampire bodyguards, left the room. A few seconds later, the assembly broke into frantic whispers. Artemis was surprised to hear almost everything that was said as clearly as if someone had been speaking in his ear.

He was also surprised to realize that it wasn’t the scene he had caused that was the subject of their conversations, but some “immortal child” and “Cullens” that scandalized them.

“Come, Artemis,” he heard Demetri said. He followed meekly the vampire into the corridor. They walked quickly–much faster than what he could have achieved running when he was human. After only a few minutes, they entered a room. Artemis shivered when he realized it was the place where he had been changed.

“This is your room now,” Demetri indicated. “Though I doubt you’ll be using the bed much–you can always remove it if you’d like …”

“Demetri,” Artemis interrupted. His mind was working faster than ever, and he had to figure out how to avoid killing humans before Aro called him back. Then he would have to devise a strategy to save the People, without Aro realizing it. Not an easy feat. “There has to be another way of feeding. You all hinted at it.”

Demetri made a disgusted face.

“It isn’t natural.”

“I have to know. I don’t care if it isn’t, I don’t want to kill humans.”

Demetri sighed.

“Animals. You can feed off animals.”

“It works?”

Demetri sneered.

“Did them a lot of good, didn’t it? Drove them crazy–creating an immortal child. Serves them right, they’ll be destroyed.”

“Who will be destroyed?”

“The Cullens,” he answered. “They’re a coven of vampires who only drink from animals. There are eight of them–that’s a lot by our standards, if you exclude us. The latest addition was only changed a few months ago. She was human when she discovered the existence of vampires, and she fell in love with one of the Cullens–who shared her feelings, the freak.”

Demetri’s face was incredulous.

“Anyway,” he continued. “They have done something completely forbidden–creating an immortal child–and they will be destroyed for that.”

“What is an immortal child?” Artemis asked.

“It is a child that has been changed into a vampire.” Artemis shuddered at the thought of inflicting so much pain on an infant. “They are completely incontrollable, a danger to us–they could alert the humans of our presence.”

“And the Cullens will to die for that?”

“Yes,” Demetri answered simply.

“Does no one else drink from animals?” Artemis asked, trying to hide the desperation from his voice. He didn’t know if he’d be able to follow that path on his own. Usually, he was independent and trusted in his abilities. But the memory of the craze that had possessed him when he had smelled the human woman’s blood made him doubt he would ever be able to control himself on his own.

“There is another coven,” Demetri said slowly. “Actually, Irina, the female who informed us about the Cullens’ immortal child is one of them.”

Artemis controlled his features. One part of his mind was rejoicing that he may have found a mentor, but the other one was trying to figure out the complex manipulations that seemed to be going on. It would seem logical the non human eating covens would stick together. Why then did Irina betray the Cullens to the Volturi? Fear? Hate? Envy? He’d have to figure it out if he wanted to have the upper hand with the vampires.

“Do you think I might be able to see her and ask for her help?”

“Really, Artemis, animal blood is not nearly as satisfying or nourishing as human blood. I know it’s shocking in the beginning, but you will get used to it very quickly.”

I am not a cold blooded murderer.

Just give yourself time.

He wouldn’t allow Holly’s statement to come true. He would never voluntarily kill a sentient being–it went against the few moral rules he had.

“I don’t want to get used to it. Can I please go see her?”

“Not now,” Demetri answered with a sigh. “You must wait for the master’s summons.”

Right, Artemis thought, having almost forgotten about that. Time to figure out a way to keep Holly safe. No problem at all.

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At that very moment, Holly Short was sneaking into a civilian shuttle towards the surface, hoping the counterfeit pass Mulch Diggums had made for her would fool anyone who checked. She knew she should have asked the LEP to go out, but it was faster this way. Illegal is faster, Mulch had recalled Butler once saying. She didn’t care if Artemis had begged her not to come. She would go anyway.

She didn’t understand why she felt this urge to save Artemis. He had betrayed her in the worst way several times over. She didn’t trust him one bit and yet she still would risk her life–and possibly the secret of the People’s existence–to save him. She couldn’t explain it to herself.

Yes, and she could always pretend it was also only by accident that she had kissed Artemis Fowl–that her magically adolescent body had let her feel attracted to him, had made her more emotional and vulnerable.

Everybody would fall for that one, wouldn’t they?

If she was honest with herself, she knew she would never have kissed him if she hadn’t been attracted to him in the first place. He didn’t deserve it, of course, she tried to rationalize, and all this proved how superior she was to him, to give him so much when he didn’t hesitate to use her.

Keep telling yourself that, she thought. You might convince yourself someday.

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An hour later, Artemis was summoned by the Volturi brothers–he had learned in the meantime the entire hierarchy of the Volturi guard. They were in a smaller room, and only three other vampires were there, hovering protectively around the brothers.

“Artemis!” Aro exclaimed with his usual enthusiasm. Artemis really didn’t like it; he much preferred Caius’ anger–so much easier to understand and manipulate. Marcus, he had learned, had lost his mate centuries ago, and had been apathetic ever since. Not much of a threat anymore, apparently, apart from his ability to sense people’s relationships.

Could he see how much Artemis hated them? How much he wanted to escape?

How he would do anything if he could keep Holly safe?

“My dear boy,” Aro continued, “I am aware of your inner turmoils. It is hard for everyone to become immortal, despite the advantages. I know however that it isn’t your transformation that is troubling you the most, isn’t it?”

“No, it isn’t,” Artemis answered tonelessly. No point in denying it now, was there?

“We have to admit that we were fascinated by what you revealed to us.” Artemis fought to keep an expressionless face. He had already done begging. Besides, they probably didn’t care much for weakness. “A whole new world, completely hidden to us!”

“I wonder how …” Caius muttered. Artemis noted that for once, he didn’t look angry, merely unhappily surprised.

“Yes, we all do,” Aro answered, before turning to Artemis. “Maybe you might be able to give us a theory as to why we have been unaware of the existence of the People for so long, dear boy.”

“It’s simple, I think,” Artemis said, unable to stop relishing giving a lecture. “You both have been hiding extremely effectively from humans, and you have focused your attention on humans.”

“Focused our attention on humans?” Aro asked.

“Yes. You see, you were not afraid of discovery in itself. You were afraid of humans discovering you. Therefore, you have watched them closely, and have ignored the small signs that pointed to the existence of other sentient beings.”

As had the People.

“Clever,” Aro commented lightly. “Unfortunately, we may never know the answer. Now, we have decided that this business with the Cullens is slightly more urgent than the People. After all, they won’t vanish that fast. It’s a pity you destroyed the communicator, I must admit.”

“I can’t come to regret it,” Artemis replied coldly. Caius hissed in anger, and Artemis would have taken a step back, if not for his determination to hide his fear from the Volturi. He had to have the upper hand. If they hurt Holly …

“We know you care for them, of course,” Aro continued, and he was more serious now, though his pleasant tone never seemed to depart him. “For her specifically.”

It was a vampire characteristic to be able to stay perfectly still. Artemis was already motionless but Aro’s mention of Holly froze him more completely than ever.

“You can help us, Artemis. We are powerful, we shall defeat any resistance in any case. If you help us however, you will have our word that no harm will ever come to your Captain Short.”

“She would never forgive me if I helped you.”

“Don’t you think, Artemis, that you have already done worse to her?”

His wince was imperceptible, but he was sure everyone caught it.

“You must think it over, dear boy,” Aro said. “Do not answer hastily. In the meantime, I am certain you are still quite thirsty.” Artemis’ throat burned at the reminder. “I am certain Demetri or Felix could–”

“I’d rather not,” Artemis interjected coldly.

“Really?” Aro said in a surprised voice. “My dear boy, you really are extraordinary. Tell me, though, what would you rather do?”

“Drink from animals.”

Caius hissed again. Marcus didn’t react. Aro’s milky eyes were observing him attentively. “I heard it was a possible replacement, and that there was a vampire here who did as much.”

“It’s unnatural,” Caius sneered. “Besides, it’s far too dangerous to let him out in the open to go hunting animals.”

“Yes, I’d rather not you go out quite yet,” Aro remarked, frowning.

“Then if you can bring humans in here, can’t you bring animals?” Artemis knew he was asking a lot, but he was desperate. He didn’t like the feeling he had–like he couldn’t manipulate anyone anymore. Goodness, he hated straightforward thinking.

Caius’ sneer changed into a snarl, and Aro grabbed his arm to calm him.

“Your mind is very powerful, Artemis, isn’t it?” he asked.

“I believe so,” Artemis answered.

“Then give me your hand and think carefully–and truthfully–about the answer of my question: will you be able to hold your breath and stay in
control in the middle of humans?”

Artemis held out his hand. He couldn’t cheat, he knew it. Would he be able to do this? He remembered how it had been with the human Gianna. He had been uncontrollable, his rational self completely overpowered.

But what if he held his breath? He remembered faintly hearing Gianna’s heart, and that sound had made him even more ravenous. Could he be able to ignore the sound of hundreds of hearts pumping that delicious …

He couldn’t think of that. He had to focus. His mind was powerful. He had been surprised with Gianna, but he wouldn’t let it happen again. Ever. He was strong. He was Artemis Fowl the second for heaven’s sake!

Aro laughed as he let go of Artemis’ hand.

“We shall ask Irina to go hunting with you tonight.”

Now, he only had to find a way to save the People. No big deal.

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Irina was sitting on a chair in her room, her pale, beautiful face devastated. She didn’t budge when Artemis came in–having knocked three times and receiving no response.

“Miss Irina?” he asked tentatively.

She slowly came out of her reverie and eyed him curiously.

“You’re still very young, aren’t you?” Her head tilted to the side, observing him sadly. “Could you call me Irina like everyone else and tell me who you are?”

“I’m Artemis Fowl.”

“How old are you?”

Artemis hid his scowl. Adolescence certainly wasn’t the time he had wanted to be frozen for eternity into.

“Fifteen,” he answered shortly. Irina laughed softly.

“What I meant was: how long have you been changed?”

“Only a few hours,” Artemis said nervously. He could see Irina’s point now; he must really seem like a baby. Not an impression of himself he like to give. Irina’s eyes widened.

“A few hours? How is it possible? You have too much control for a newborn!”

“I always was exceptional,” Artemis pointed out with his usual smugness, before mentally berating himself. He was supposed to ask this vampire to help him. He should make a good impression. But Irina merely chuckled.

“What do you want?” she asked.

“I heard you fed from animals.” She nodded slowly. “I was wondering if you could teach me how.”

Irina hid her surprise very well, but Artemis was far too observant to miss it. She was probably wary of any one of the Volturi guard–which he was part of now, apparently.

“Your masters would let a newborn out of the castle?” she asked, incredulous.

“Apparently,” Artemis answered. He hated when people underestimated him.

“It is true you seem very controlled for a newborn,” she noted. “When are we supposed to start, then?”


Chapter 4