What if there was an Artemis Fowl the Third… and this Artemis was female?
“Who are you?” Crimson met ice blue. 22-year old Artemis Fowl the Second suppressed a shudder. Artemis was facing a young 5-year old girl with raven-black hair who claimed she was called Hunter Quartz. He could feel a foreboding sense of mild danger. Beside him, Butler shifted his weight uneasily. Artemis had learnt to trust Butler’s intuition. If Butler felt something was not right, something was not right. Hunter Quartz was more than met the eye.
“I could ask you the same question,” said the 5-year old, guarded red eyes flickering from Butler’s size to the nearest exit.
“I am Artemis Fowl.”
“That tells me nothing.”
“Who are you, then?”
“That tells me equally nothing, now doesn’t it?”
“I suppose,” she replied a bit disdainfully, ignoring the matron’s frantic warnings and attempts to interrupt the conversation.
“Ah, please excuse her. She is very unsociable and disrespectful even at best,” the flustered matron said. “But pure talent, the girl has. She’s a child prodigy. You saw her work just now.”
“That is the reason why I am speaking to her now,” Artemis said with a growing sense of irritation. There was practically no topic to the conversation, much less the one he intended to pursue. “Please elaborate on the painting in the hall.”
Pause, and then, “What?”
“Tell me about your painting of the fairy.”
“What about it?”
“Why did you do it?”
“I find supernatural objects fascinating. Therefore, I decide to make them the subject of my artwork.” Simple as that?
One eyebrow reached his hairline. A very large display of emotion from the usual stoic character. Obviously, the stunning vocabulary from the girl had left quite an impression. Silently, he wondered if this is effect that he, himself, used to have on people. Butler was having silent fits of laughter behind him. Apparently, yes.
“Can I go now, sir,” she stressed ‘sir’ in a manner that held no respect.
Artemis felt insulted but only nodded his head. He signaled that it was time for them to take their leave. Only when they were well out of the door did it strike Artemis that he never did ask the girl whether or not she believed in fairies. In the car, he asked Butler his opinion on Hunter Quartz. Chuckling, his friend replied, “Well, Master Artemis, she reminds me a lot of you.” Artemis could only stare in shock.
“Excuse me?” he spluttered in a much undignified manner.
“My apologies, Master Artemis. I have apparently said too much.”
Back at the Fowl Mansion, Artemis restrained himself from hitting the multi-million euro computer. He knew that it wouldn’t help. It seemed that the Quartz family didn’t even exist. Oh, he found the website alright. He just couldn’t get in. No matter how many times he tried. He would have bet that even Foaly could not access the site. He hit the keyboard with a fist. The screen beeped.
“Password:7. Accepted. Please browse the site at your leisure,” a cool recorded voice said.
Artemis reeled from shock as the realization that the password he could not guess was a single digit number hit him. After recovering, he browsed the site only to be disappointed. The information he gathered was far too general to be of any use. He would have to have another talk with Quartz.
“Master Artemis, I think this may interest you.”
“An art exhibition? Now why would I wish to see that?”
“Have a closer look Master Artemis.”
“Is that what I think it is, Butler?”
“If you are thinking that a young child painted what looks like an elf who looks remarkably like Miss Short sitting on the far east balcony of the Fowl Mansion talking to a boy of your likeness, then, yes, I believe it is.”
“Do you think the artist knows of The People?”
“We cannot be sure. If yes, then the child must be a genius to portray it as such.”
“The exhibition ends at three. If we leave immediately, we shall arrive in time to evaluate whether or not the painting is authentic.”
“Very well Master Artemis.”
He would need another talk with the mysteriously infuriating young Quartz. It would have to wait till the next day.
Hunter Quartz was woken up early by that highly irritating matron. She meant well but even a coin can tip the dragon’s hoard. Hunter chuckled inwardly. Old habits break hard, especially if you’ve had them as long as you lived. Her speech mannerisms and phrases left many puzzled. She yawned and slowly dragged herself downstairs. On the last step, the one which made an awful creaking noise, she miscalculated the distance and overstepped it. She never did hit the floor. Someone had caught her just in time. She twisted round to see Artemis Fowl the Second standing there. He let go of her.
“Nice day,” he said, as if nothing happened.
“Red sky at set, Sheepers not wet ,” Hunter agreed.
An eyebrow was raised. “Pardon?”
Hunter rolled her eyes. “Birds are for Featherers ,” she mumbled, making a beeline for the door. It was blocked by Butler.
“Master Artemis asked you a question.”
“When tigerpards eat kittypet mush!” she snapped back.
“‘Sheepers’, ‘Featherers’, ‘Tigerpards’, ‘Kittypet’?” Artemis echoed.
“What do you want from me?” Hunter growled.
“Simple. A logical and reasonable answer.”
Hunter spat something which sounded abusive.
“What does that mean?”
“Translated it means: Make like a dinosaur and eat clay.”
“Is it even possible to have a decent conversation with the likes of you?”
“Do you believe in fairies?”
Hunter just laughed. “Do Centaurs eat carrots?”
“Yes, they do.”
“You are a strange one.”
“Same for you, Hunter Fowl.”
“Hunter is your name.”
“And yours as well. Unless, of course, you really do practice archery.”
“It’s a female name, by the way,” Hunter added as an afterthought.
... “It can be used for either gender.”
“It doesn’t concern me. I thought you might want to have it changed.”
“How did this topic stray so far from the point?”
“You let it. I’m going now,” Hunter took a running stride and jumped out of the window.
The matron ran to the window. “You need not have surprised the guests with your circus tricks, young lady! This is the second floor!” she shouted out the window.
A voice floated up. “So what!”
“Please excuse her. Quite a regular little mountain goat she is, sirs.” The matron apologized to Artemis and Butler.
Artemis did not doubt the statement. Hunter did not sound the least bit hurt. Or human, for that matter. A challenge.
Artemis Fowl the Second never backed down from any challenge.
“I would like to file for an adoption immediately.”
“For Hunter Quartz?”
“No. For Artemis Fowl the Third.”
“What! Who is going to adopt me!” Hunter was having a bad day. This just made her life worse.
“Oh, you know... the nice man who came to talk to you earlier.”
Oh, no. No, no, no, no, NO! THIS IS THE WORST, WORST, WORST! Why me! Hunter was crying in her head.
The matron seemed to have heard Hunter’s thoughts. “Now young un. You should be grateful that someone wants to give a good home to a monkey like you. Dress up nicely like a good little girl. He will be here shortly.” The matron said patronizingly as she took out a cute little dress.
“I REFUSE TO PUT THAT HIDEOUS CREATION OF YOURS ON AS LONG AS I LIVE!” Hunter screamed.
“Don’t you throw a fit now you little goat,” scolded the matron.
“A second ago I was a monkey,” Hunter retorted.
“Hunter Quartz! You are not to behave like this!”
A cool voice interrupted the squabble. “Amusing as this is, it must stop now. Matron, you seem to have forgotten the girl’s name already.”
“What’s wrong with my name?” Hunter demanded. She was extremely suspicious of the dark-haired man standing in the door way.
“Just a minor adjustment. It was changed.”
Hunter, now called Artemis, started saying/ranting words which should not be in her vocabulary at her age.
Just behind the newly appointed foster ‘father’, Butler was shaking his head, amused smile on his lips.
Life at the Fowl Mansion just got a lot more interesting.