Another new character, though the narrator reminds us that he'snot actually new since we met him in the police station when Holly zapped him
with her buzz baton while he was pickpocketing another officer. Anyway, Shmoopsters:
Meet Mulch Diggums, kleptomaniac dwarf.
A little bit of background on Mulch: the main thing is that hehas no magic anymore. He gave it up because his favorite pastime is breaking
and entering, and you forfeit your magic if you enter a human dwelling without
an invitation. He's okay with it, though.
We learn Mulch has been in and out of prison for three hundredyears, which is simultaneously impressive and appalling when we think about it.
Just in case you really wanted to be grossed out, we alsolearn how dwarf males tunnel through the dirt by eating it and ejecting it out
the other end.
Currently Mulch Diggums is trapped in a prison cell with agang of goblins—and goblins really
Mulch tries to pal around with the goblins so they don't killhim, but they don't really appreciate this; also, goblins can create fireballs,
which they then like to inhale and shoot out their noses at people. Stay
The leader goblin sneezes a fireball at Mulch, who stuffs histhumbs up the goblin's nose and makes it backfire straight up through the
leader's head. Ha.
This doesn't make the other goblins back off, so Mulchunhinges his jaw and clamps down on the nearest goblin's head.
Release orders save Mulch from eating a goblin just in time.
Mulch is taken to see Root at the time-field portal, whichwill allow people to enter the time field without affecting it (Foaly's
invention, of course), and we learn that Root is the one who sent for him.
Mulch immediately sees why Root got him out—Mulch has nomagic, and Root needs someone who can get into that house without an
invitation. Mulch, of course, uses this to strike a deal for a reduced
Foaly fits Mulch with an iris-cam like Root wore tonegotiations, and a tiny little earpiece so he can call for help if he needs
it. Foaly also tells him that he scanned the house and found that some of the
renovations to the house were built on clay instead of the original rock, and
there's a wine cellar that will provide easy access.
Mulch gets to tunneling (yup, like a mole) under the house toget inside, and on the way, he notes the location of a rabbit warren because it's
a useful thing to know. We'll take his word for it.
Mulch comes up in the wine cellar, creeps up the stairs, anduses one of his super weird dwarf hairs to pick the lock on the door.
Foaly helps Mulch out with the cameras by feeding them a videoloop, and Mulch goes after the wall where the cameras are pointing.
Mulch learns that safe-cracking would be much easier with thatiris-cam, since it has an X-ray function—but once he gets the same open, it has
nothing in it except normal old money.
Mulch suspects how smart Artemis is, so he searches arounduntil he finds the real safe hidden next to the decoy one; with some help from
his non-magical but still strange beard, he cracks that one too.
We don't find out what was in the safe because right as Mulchgrabs whatever it was, a "rather large gentleman" stumbles across him
and he gets slammed in the chest with a huge gust of "wind" (7.232).
Jumping back a few minutes, Artemis is in his surveillanceroom watching everything like a hawk, and hoping that the people reviewing the
tapes of his negotiation with Root will find the "accidental" clue he
left for them.
Nothing seems to be happening though, so Artemis realizes thefairies have control of his cameras and he's been duped.
He quickly sends Butler to the safe room and sends Juliet(currently making Holly's meal) to check on the prisoner.
Artemis reboots the system and sees Mulch, though he has noidea what exactly Mulch is; he can also see Holly, who has resumed smashing her
bed into the floor.
Artemis suddenly realizes (finally) that Holly has a magicalplan, except he already sent Juliet in to check on her.
Butler goes down under fire from Mulch's bum.
Holly breaks the concrete and completes the Ritual, renewingher magic.
Juliet sulkily enters the cell and can't see anything, so shedecides to take off her mirrored sunglasses for a quick peek. Holly, who is
waiting for this exact thing to happen, appears and gets Juliet with the
Holly asks Juliet how many people are in the house, but doesn'tclarify Juliet's comments that Mrs. Fowl was here and is now gone—the narrator
does that thing he or she always does and points out how big a mistake this is.
Holly mesmerizes Juliet to imagine 24/7 wrestling, and thenshe escapes her cell.
Back with Mulch and the contents of the safe, he notices agigantic human who got caught in his "recyclings" (a.k.a. the dirt
that went in through his mouth and came out through his, well, youknowwhat) and knocked
out. Root tells him that this human took out an entire Retrieval squad, and
Mulch decides it's high time to leave.
Mulch runs into Holly on the way to the cellar and shows herthe contents of the safe—Artemis's copy of the Book.
Holly can't leave, so she shields up and heads elsewhere inthe house to find some of the equipment Butler took from Retrieval.
Meanwhile, Artemis has been watching all of this from his room,and is thinking quickly to come up with some adjustments. Because he's Artemis
though, he realizes he's still in the lead since Holly can't escape and the
fairies will have no choice but to use their bio-bomb.
Mulch tries to escape underground and has another windy run-inwith Butler. Butler, however, has learned, and lets go before he gets knocked
out again. Mulch gets away.
Remember those rabbits Mulch noticed? Turns out Mulch has hisown plan, where he uses them to fake his own death from a cave-in. So much for