Thanks to Shrrgnien for allowing me to use the chapters he wrote.


Prologue: Holy Duck

A torrent of white-hot flame erupted inches from Thalia's nose. "Whoa!" she yelled, backpedalling wildly. "Diana! Tori! Watch its tail!" she called to the nearby Hunters. "Phoebe, get back! Try to get a clear shot!"

Of all the places to find a chimera, Border's bookstore would not have been Thalia's first guess, but it was here, all right. Cynthia, her second-in-command, slipped into position at Thalia's right, defending her lieutenant's flank. The two huntresses ducked as another jet of fire roared over their heads, accompanied by a howl of pain from the monster as the rest of the Hunters retaliated. Ari shot a desperate, slightly impatient glance at Thalia. "Now can we kill it?" she cried, swiping her short, slightly singed red hair out of her eyes.

"Fire!" Thalia agreed wholeheartedly.

There was a collective twang, a veritable hailstorm of silver arrows, a loud crash as the chimera flailed and tipped a bookcase at a dangerous angle, and then silence. The fire-breathing monster was no more.

"Is everyone all right?" Thalia asked. Everyone was, with the exception of Phoebe, who had gotten a nasty bite that was soon put right by ambrosia.

Thalia gave a reluctant chuckle. "Well," she said, "That was fun. I mean, holy c-OW!" Cynthia had stomped on her foot. "Holy…cow!" Thalia amended hastily. Then she smirked at the other girl. "Why, Cyn, whatever did you think I was going to say?"

Cynthia raised an eyebrow. "Duck," she said simply.

Thalia laughed. "Really, Cyn? Who says 'holy duck?'"

That was when the bookcase fell on top of her.

Clambering out from underneath it amid the uncontrollable laughter of the Hunters, Thalia couldn't stop herself from glaring at Cynthia. "Very funny. Hilarious. Glad I could make your OW!" A blue book had fallen, corner-first, onto her head. "Oh, shut up," she muttered, picking up the book without realizing what she was doing. "Let's get out of here."

Outside, Lady Artemis was watching the Hunters with a strange mixture of concern and amusement. "Well done," she said to Thalia. "Considering that was the first hunt you led alone, you did very well indeed."

This successfully banished Thalia's irritation. "Thanks," she murmured, looking down and trying to stop the grin she could feel spreading across her face.

Suddenly Artemis frowned. "What is that?" she asked sharply, eyes locked on the object in Thalia's left hand.

Thalia looked down. "Oh, this?" she said. "I don't know, it hit me on the head."

"Read the title, Thalia."

Thalia hesitated. "I…can't."

"Try," said Artemis tersely. Thalia had no idea what was the matter, but she frowned at the book, struggling to decipher the title.

Suddenly, she looked up, meeting her goddess' eyes. She swallowed. "We need to get to Camp Half-Blood, don't we?"

When the silver chariot landed gracefully on the crest of Half-Blood Hill, it was greeted enthusiastically by the friendliest furry wall Thalia had ever seen. "Don't kill it," she said quickly to Artemis. "That's just..."

She was interrupted by frantic shouting from the base of the hill. "Mrs. O'Leary!" said a familiar voice. "No! Bad! Sit! Stay! Heel!"

"Hello, Percy," said Thalia as calmly as she could. Considering she had just gotten off a flying chariot and jumped on by an apartment-sized dog, this wasn't saying too much.

"Hey, Thal-Mrs O'Leary, don't-" Percy groaned and turned to Artemis. "Sorry," he said nervously. "She, uh, has a thing for sacred deer."

Artemis, thankfully, didn't seem upset at all. She patted Mrs. O'Leary distractedly on the head before handing Thalia the book that had attacked her in Border's.

"What's that?" asked Annabeth, panting slightly. She had just run up to the group.

"Ah…a book," said Thalia. "Called…Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse."

There was a heavy silence on the hill, broken only by Peleus' snoring.

Percy, naturally, broke it. "What?" he exclaimed. "That's…"

"I would say it was impossible if I wasn't holding it," Thalia said, tense.

"But how did you get it?" asked Annabeth, ever the practical one.

"It fell out of the sky and hit me on the head." said Thalia honestly.

"I'm serious!"

"So am I! We were fighting a chimera and it knocked over a bookcase and this book fell out of the sky and hit me on the head!"

Artemis picked up her lieutenant's train of thought. "We thought that, since it obviously centers around you, you should be present when we read it. You are more than welcome to be there as well, of course," she added to Annabeth.

"So…" said Percy, "We'll read it…where? I always heard Cabin Eight was cursed…"

"There are protective enchantments," Artemis corrected sternly, "around my cabin, to keep the Hunters safe when they are here. This is true. Therefore, we will read it somewhere else."

"The forest?" suggested Annabeth. "We could find Juniper's tree, I'm sure Grover would love to read this as well."

"Just don't let him eat it," muttered Thalia. "We've only got the one copy."