Better than Penicillin
The physician's cure just sounds important. And it is. The cure is our quest item for the crew of the Argo II—the thing they're after throughout their adventure.
They first hear about it from Nike, who mentions it because one of them—Piper, Jason, Percy, Annabeth, Frank, Hazel, or Leo, we don't know who—is supposed to die. (Is it just us, or are prophecies always about someone dying?) The physician's cure will allow them to fulfill the conditions of the prophecy (i.e., croak), but it comes with a loophole which will bring them back to life. Sounds like an okay option.
In order to make the cure, the gang needs three ingredients:
- the poison of Pylos
- a chained god's heartbeat
- the curse of Delos
You know, all things you can find at your local grocery store. (Don't ever settle for generic heartbeat!)
The group finds the first ingredient, Pylosian mint, fairly quickly, but the other two take a little more work. The chained statue of Ares under Sparta houses something called makhai, little war spirts, and it's a fight to the death for Piper and Annabeth vs. a giant to get to them. They do, of course. And lastly, Leo trades Apollo a musical instrument of his own invention for a daisy. The rockstar god can't resist something new to jam on, and "curse of Delos" is just such a clever name for a flower.
One of Apollo's children, Asclepius, crafts the cure for them…but only one dose. (It wouldn't be an adventure story if it were easy.) Leo is the victim of the prophecy, but he uses the cure to bring himself back to life, and everything works out just fine.
Good thing, too, since it's the last book in the series.