“So are there any other traditions you all think Holly and the twins should experience?” Artemis asked with a sigh. “Before I get my hopes up in believing we’re done here.”
They had finally finished decorating and were all back around the fireplace in the living room, upon which there was now a wreath and stockings. Artemis’s reindeer antlers were askew but no one wanted to point out this fact. They hadn’t let him take them off, shoving them right back on his head whenever he tried.
After a while, Beckett cried out, “I wanna build a snowman!”
Artemis rolled his eyes. “I suppose I don’t have any choice in this decision?”
“We could have a contest,” Juliet suggested. “Whoever makes the best snowman…can be the first to try Angeline’s cookies.”
Artemis sat up immediately at that. Talk about motivation. Angeline Fowl was famous for her cookies. No one knew what kind of cookies they were exactly, just that they were the most delicious baked good they’d ever had. She kept the recipe in her head, so no one was able to recreate them either. In the years after she’d gotten better and come out of her room, Angeline had started making her cookies again and they were just as good, if not better, than Artemis remembered them to be. Artemis was very suddenly enthusiastic about making a snowman for the first time in his life.
Outside, the first task was actually teaching Artemis, Holly, Myles, and Beckett how to make a snowman. Butler helped his sister make the first one. Showing how it was rolled up into three large balls, then adding on decorations. It was an example, so there wasn’t much effort in it, but Myles and Beckett dove right on the ground, excited to build their own snowmen.
Artemis was more dignified but only just. There were Angeline Fowl homemade cookies to be won. Holly was still a little confused, but caught on quickly. Juliet and Butler had a very short argument over who got to have the already-made snowman. It ended with a winded Butler curling over a painful blow to his solar plexus, and a grinning Juliet looking around for things to put on her snowman.
At the end of an hour, each member stood near their snowman. Butler ended up being judge, mostly due to the fact that his snowman consisted of nothing out of the ordinary beyond the Santa hat he’d been wearing earlier.
The twins were the first to be judged. Their work was impressive for eight-year-olds. Their snowman could have held up to the example perfectly. Still, though, it lacked any real creativity. Holly’s was a little better, if only because she’d given hers elf ears and stuck her Neutrino in its “arm”. Juliet’s was…impressive, actually. She’d given hers hair and Juliet had even shaped it so that it looked like it was wearing a dress. Artemis, on the other hand—the poor, poor teenager. His snowman was an absolute mess. The lumps piled on top of each other could hardly be called round, and it looked like they were going to fall at any moment. Butler didn’t even want to think about the crudely disproportionate facial features he’d been given.
The bodyguard almost wanted to let his charge win out of pure sympathy, but with such high stakes, he didn’t want to risk bodily injury. He didn’t choose the twins’ either for the same reason. Juliet’s was clearly the best of all, but he didn’t want to look like he was playing favorites. That left the fairy captain.
Holly grinned, looking back at her work with a proud eye before turning back to Butler. “Wait, what was my prize again?”
Butler laughed and patted her on the back. “It’s the prize of a lifetime.”
That night, all six of them were curled around the fireplace for the third and final time that day. Holly’s stack of cookies was dwindling fast and everyone else silently devoured the delicious goods in silence. Artemis looked around at everyone and couldn’t help but grin at how beautifully, drastically different his life was now. His old self would have rolled his eyes at the sight.