Holly Short is an Elf with the pointed ears and dark nut-brown skin, cropped auburn hair, and hazel eyes (the events of The Lost Colony cause her to swap an eye with Artemis Fowl, resulting in her having one hazel eye, one blue eye). She stands at 100 centimetres (40 inches), 1 centimetre shorter than average fairy height. Her nose has a hook and her mouth is plump and cherubic, which is appropriate considering her great-grandfather is Cupid. In the Time Paradox, it is also mentioned that fairies in general have much wider foreheads, which make their faces seem more akin to heart-shaped.
Holly has a slim frame and long tapered fingers. It was revealed in the graphic novel that Holly's physical appearance was as depicted in the Novel, with a slim waist.
The Graphic Novels depict her with chin-length golden-brown hair, dark brown eyes with green sclera (also known as the whites of your eyes) fair skin, and approximately the same height as Juliet Butler and Artemis. In the original books this is true for the first two, however at just over one metre Holly is fully grown and as a year passes between each book Artemis and Juliet continue to grow, while Holly does not.
She is often described as rather attractive.
Based on description by Eoin Colfer.
Holly Short was the first female member of LEPrecon, enlisting after her Mother, Coral Short, died a week after a prolonged mission in an LEPmarine vehicle from radioactivity poisoning. She swore to her mother there that she would destroy all the humans (because it was a human tanker that dumped radioactive waste on the sub), and her mother, on her deathbed, whispered, "Holly, I spent my life saving creatures. Do not undo my work. Save them as well." Coral Short died a few years before the Spelltropy outbreak.
She originally started out in LEPtraffic, then, when her promotion came, she had to prove herself worthy to Commander Julius Root. She is at least 80 years old, as The Arctic Incident notes her father died when she was barely sixty, which was nearly twenty years ago. Sometime in her life, she says she was bitten in the behind by a Swear Toad, a major nuisance of the Lower Elements.
To get into LEPrecon, Holly was taken to an island not far off Tara (Tern Mor), where she was challenged to tag Root with a paintball gun before he tagged her. Whilst being filmed by Trouble Kelp, she noticed someone hidden by Cam Foil lying on the beach. When the two investigated, they discovered Turnball Root's secret hideout, and later foiled the fiend.
In Artemis Fowl, while performing The Ritual, Holly is kidnapped by Artemis Fowl and Butler, taking her to Fowl Manor. There, she is kept in a cell and Artemis tells Commander Root that they can only get Holly back if they pay a ransom of one ton of 24 carat gold. Root refuses and launches a time-stop to save Holly. The LEP lays siege to Fowl Manor for eight hours.She manages to complete The Ritual while in her cell and escapes, not long after the LEP send in a squad to save her. Holly almost dies during this escapade, which involved saving and healing Butler after fighting with a troll. Holly is set free after the LEP send in the gold in exchange for the still-alive Holly. The LEP then bio-bombs the house and assumes Fowl is dead; however, they underestimated Fowl because he becomes the first human to escape the time-stop. Artemis also gives back half of the gold in exchange for the healing of his mother. Mulch steals a large-sized portion of the gold left over.
The Arctic Incident
Later, in The Arctic Incident, Holly is assigned to watch E37 with Chix Verbil. After detecting the presence of moving gray on a heat scanner (which is supposedly impossible) and in the injury of Verbil, Holly investigates and learns that they are in fact goblins in fire suits. Equipped with Softnose Lasers, they take Holly on, but lose due to their stupidity. Foaly then finds out that the goblins are trading with the humans, and Holly speculates Artemis is behind it. Upon further investigation, it is revealed that Artemis is not the culprit; it is Opal Koboi and Briar Cudgeon. Holly and Commander Root agree to help Artemis find his father, who is being held captive in Russia. They are unable to complete their mission, due to a Goblin Hit Squad sent by Cudgeon. Artemis and Holly then logically conclude that if Goblins were sent above ground to kill the head of the LEP, Root, then they are also after the body, which means rebellion. Foaly confirms his suspicions by sending a text message to Artemis's phone. While trying to get on a train full of radioactive waste to get away from the goblin hit squad, Holly loses her finger. Without a drop of magic left, Holly needs to complete the ritual. They then foil Cudgeon and Koboi by breaking into Koboi Labs with the help of convict dwarf Mulch Diggums.
The Eternity Code
In The Eternity Code, Holly helps Artemis recover the C Cube from Jon Spiro. She is the one who actually saves Artemis from his prison and, in the end, foils Spiro by making Artemis invisible. She then mind-wipes him.
The Opal Deception
One year later, in the Opal Deception, Holly witnesses the death of Commander Root, for which she has been blamed. Holly then goes to the Kronski hotel to try and save Artemis from a Bio Bomb, which was meant to kill him. However, Artemis cannot remember her, though he tries to help Holly stop Opal's plan nonetheless. The two are taken to the replica Temple of Artemis in the Eleven Wonders Exhibition, where they are nearly killed by trolls. Artemis remembers all of the past years adventures, thanks to the computer disk that he gave to Mulch Diggums. Together with Holly, Butler, and Mulch, they then foil Koboi's plot and save Haven City.At the end she quits the LEP because of the replacement for Root.
The Lost Colony
In The Lost Colony, readers discover that Holly and Artemis have been working together on cases that Holly takes for her private eye job with Mulch.She later gets recruited by the Section 8 guys and is sent to ask Artemis why he made contact with a demon and Foaly was off by ten feet. She maintains her presence throughout the novel until she is sent by Artemis to rescue N°1. From that moment on she "sits in the driver's seat" switching between Artemis and other character on occasion. After rescuing number one, Holly, Artemis, and Qwan (a demon warlock) take to the skies with a bomb strapped to Holly 's wrist. The plan was to fly to a safe location and dismantle the bomb. Only her suit can't take the weight so they fall from a great height. Artemis uses his wits to enact a plan that sends everyone connected to Holly to Hybras. There Holly dies begging Artemis to help her. Artemis takes one glimpse of her and walks away. Later he saves Holly, Qwan, and N*1 by reversing time after Abbot, the traitor demon, kills them. Eventually Artemis transports everyone on Hybras (including a living Holly) to a future three years from the time they left. Holly rejoins the LEP because Trouble Kelp becomes commander. The end for another save the secret society adventure.
The Time Paradox
In The Time Paradox, Holly teams up with Artemis once again when Artemis manipulates her into helping him, by blaming her for infecting Angeline Fowl with Spelltropy, a debilitating disease that decimated nearly 25 percent of the fairy race. Holly and Artemis then proceeded to travel back in time to rescue the last silky sifaka lemur, whose brain fluid is the cure for Spelltropy. Holly exited the time tunnel as a teenager and Artemis grew older. She is also reverted to an adolescent emotional state. While trying to rescue the lemur from Artemis' younger self, Artemis is mortally wounded. She heals him, and then kisses him. However, when he confesses that he lied to her about giving his mother Spelltropy, she is appalled, and becomes icy towards him. Later, when he tries to make it up to her by letting her say goodbye to a (younger) Julius Root, Holly became unsure of herself; she tells him that he is forgiven, but adds that his 'Elf-kissing days are over'. At the end of the book, the atmosphere between them seems uncertain. She heals Artemis from the Kraken explosion and has conflicting feelings as she carries the unconscious boy back to Fowl Manor. She uses her wings to rise to eye level with him, paused, kissed him on the cheek and says: "In another time," and left.
The Atlantis Complex
In The Atlantis Complex, Holly was one of the four fairies invited by Artemis to attend his presentation of the Ice Cube. She later concluded that Artemis is suffering from Atlantis Complex, then witnessed the homicide of Wing Commander Vinyaya along with fourteen LEP officers by the rogue probe Turnball Root cannibalised as part of his bid for freedom. Eventually, Holly saved a then delirious Artemis from being crushed by the descending probe, reverting Artemis' alternate personality, Orion, into control in the process, and used his Ice Cube to fend off the murderous Amorphobots while Artemis lay unconscious from her Neutrino blast. When the Martian probe dives down beneath the ice sheets, Holly, with Foaly and Orion in tow, pilots a service pod after it, only to find it aiming to crack Atlantis's Dome. She was forced to knock out her passengers and falling unconscious herself while struggling to send word to Haven due to a leak in the oxygen tank.
Upon breaching the water surface, Artemis was back in control and the trio received contact from Commander Trouble Kelp. They were later rescued by Mulch Diggums and the Butler siblings, before falling hostage to Turnball Root while tailing him and his Amorphobots. Holly was then branded with a thrall rune and sent to detain N°1 to grant Leonor Carsby her youth. Orion later incapacitated her and witnessed Turnball and Leonor's deaths.
Holly was last seen remaining by Artemis's bedside inside the Nostremius hospital ship, back in control of herself. She caringly consoles a guilt-ridden and miserable Artemis, assuring him of the J. Argon clinic's credibility and promising to keep him company during his rehabilitation. She lastly stated she would leave soon to put a stop to Juliet's wrestling match with a jumbo pixie.
The Last Guardian
In the final book, Holly develops a fascination with the clone of Opal, cruelly nicknamed "Nopal". Artemis discovers her staring at the clone shortly after he is release from the J. Argon clinic. They are then called to Internal Affairs to witness the younger Opal being held hostage by pixies. Holly flies them to Fowl Manor and plays a large role in the Battle of Fowl Manor, taking out a large number of Berserkers. Artemis is forced to sedate her in order to complete the final step of his plan to defeat Opal and close the Berserker's Gate. Before she passes out from the drug, Artemis kisses her forehead and leaves. He is killed shortly after, but not before Holly sees him helpless in the force of the closing of the Gate. Holly then brings Artemis's DNA and they make a clone. His spirit comes and inhabits the clone, therefore essentially bringing himself back to life. He does not yet remember anything, and so Holly is last seen walking with the newly resurrected Artemis back to Fowl Manor, telling him the story of his life.
- "Always good to be dressed when you're stealing monkeys."
- ―The Time Paradox
- "Thanks, Arty."
- ―The Time Paradox
- "But your elf kissing days are over."
- "I see."
- "It's not a challenge, Artemis. Over is over."
- "I know."
- ―Artemis, The Time Paradox
- "So what is this master plan, Fowl. Let me guess: World domination?"
- ―Artemis Fowl
- "Holly. You saved me again."
- "Of course I saved you. I couldn't do without you."
- ―Holly, The Time Paradox
- "Seven and a half hours to save the world. Isn’t there some law that says we get twenty-four?"
- ―The Opal Deception
Great, thought Holly. No matter what dimension you're in there's always a big-headed male trying to take over the world.
- "No, keep it. To remind you...To remind you that deep beneath the layers of deviousness, you have a spark of decency. Perhaps you could blow on that spark occasionally."
- ―Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident
- "I liked you better asleep. My head hurt less."
- ―The Time Paradox
- "Friendship is not a science, Mud Boy. Forget about your massive brain for one minute. Just do what you feel is right."
- ―The Opal Deception
- "Save the world? Same old Artemis Fowl. And I say that sarcastically as saving the world is not like you at all."
- ―The Atlantis Complex
- "It wasn't in my report, OK? Because there was no moment of passion."
- ―The Atlantis Complex
- "Foaly is singing. Surely that's illegal."
- ―The Atlantis Complex
- "Close your eyes if you love me."
- ―The Atlantis Complex
- "Now is not the time to blame Artemis... There will be plenty of time to blame Artemis later when this is resolved."
- ―Holly Short[src]
Holly is friends with Artemis Fowl, Butler, Foaly, and Trouble Kelp.
She has gone on 3 dates with Trouble Kelp, the last ending with them both being thrown out of a crunchball match.
During The Time Paradox, Holly kissed Artemis in excitement after just saving his life. Artemis had a crush on her, though she never reciprocated the feelings and later said "Your elf kissing days are over." No other romantic feelings between the two were expressed after that.