"What are you willing to bet that Holly can shoot three coins simultaneously in the air?" Foaly has asked one day.
Artemis cocked his head. From his limited memory of Holly, he had no doubt of what the fierce she-elf was capable of.
"Three is too easy." He said. "How about six?"
"Seriously?" Foaly sputtered.
"If you're going to gamble, at least raise the stakes," Artemis replied with a sharp-toothed grin. He looked from Foaly to the door of the operations booth.
Holly walked inside holding a boxed salad and a carrot. Presumably for her equine friend. No. 1 followed closely behind with a book in his rough palms. They made quite a sight.
"Peaceful day?" Artemis queried. Holly snorted. "Absolutely boring. No robbers, no gangs, and no rampant trolls. It's creepy how serene the Lower Elements are right now."
"So, Holly," Foaly began. "How many coins do you suppose you can shoot out of the air in one strike?"
Holly considered this for a moment. "About four or five. Why?" "
I told you three would be too easy." Artemis grinned.
"Why are you trying to make this harder on yourself?" Foaly groaned.
"What's going on?" Holly demanded, placing her things down.
"Artemis wagers that you can knock out six coins out of the air in one shot," Foaly explained.
"Alright," Holly answered. "Does anyone have six coins?"
"Wait, seriously?" Foaly stammered. "You're going through with this?"
"Like I said, I'm really bored. The entertainment could prove interesting. What are the stakes of the bet?"
Foaly sucked his lip. "If Artemis loses, he has to dress up like the cat from Sailor Moon. If I lose, then you guys can dress me up as something or other. I dunno."
"If I'm right, Myles and Beckett get to decide what to dress you up as," Artemis said.
"Oh FROND no." Foaly protested.
"I doubt they can do anything more humiliating than dressing Arty up as a fictional Japanese cat." Holly snorted. "I'm going to see if Grub has any coins."
As it turns out, Grub did have six coins and allowed Holly to use them if she'd allow the other officers watch the bet.
It got worse when everyone realized that if Artemis won, the smug centaur would have to dress up in something ridiculous, and decided to fill a top hat with embarrassing suggestions for Artemis. He'd draw one out of random if he won, and Foaly would have to dress up as that for an entire day.
During the lunch break, every LEP officer and their great-uncles headed into the Operations Booth to watch the events unfold. Holly stood up on a lab table while Artemis and Foaly stood on the edges. She cleared her throat loudly and everyone calmed down.
"Okay, everyone! Just in case you don't know the rules, I'll run them by everyone. Foaly has placed a bet against Artemis that I could shoot six coins in the air before they fall onto the ground. If Artemis wins the bet, he gets to draw a suggestion from the top hat, and Foaly has to dress up as that for the entire day tomorrow. If Foaly is right, and I can shoot through all six coins before they reach the ground, Artemis has to dress up as a magical anime cat all day tomorrow."
Everyone gathered closer. Grub threw the coins straight into the air. They made a perfect line in the air. Holly squeezed the Neutrino's trigger.
Zap! The neutrino shoots straight through the coins, and they scatter in mid-air.
Artemis and Foaly held their breaths as everyone searched for the coins.
"I found one!" Mayne shouted, holding up a coin with a hole in the center.
"I found two." A female recon officer said, holding up the coins in between her greenish hands. Each one had a hole in the middle.
"I found one." Lili Frond said, holding the coin in between perfectly manicured nails. It had a hole as well.
Artemis began to check for nonexistent dirt in his nails, trying not to look worried. Foaly whinnied nervously.
"I found one, too." Chix held up yet another coin with yet another hole.
"That just leaves one left," Foaly said.
"I found it!" shouted Grub. He trusted the coin into the air, and everyone let out a cheer. Foaly's face split into a grin.
"D'Arvit!" Artemis swore.
"Aww, who's a grumpy kitty today?" Juliet teased, playing with the fake tail Artemis had been forced to put on.
Artemis made a cat-like groan of protest and crossed his arms. He glowered at the six coins that had spelled out his fate.
"I'm docking your pay." He hissed.
Juliet giggled even louder.