Root and Foaly listen in distress as Mulch seemingly dies in a caved-in tunnel. Foaly is confused, because a reading of Mulch's vitals right before they lose contact suggests that his heart is beating abnormally fast. They cannot ponder the problem for too long, however, because the behavioral analysts return with news. According to them, Artemis has made a mistake. They pull up the recording of the negotiation between Artemis and Root, pointing out that Artemis told Root, "none of your race has permission to enter here while I'm alive" (196). The loophole buried within Artemis's statement, the behavioral analysts explain, is that the fairies would be allowed entry into the Manor after Artemis is dead. Root tells Foaly to get him on the phone with the Council. He is going to request the gold that Artemis asked for, now that he knows they will be allowed into his home after he is taken out by the blue rinse. Their updated plan is as follows: they send in the gold, Artemis releases Holly, they blue rinse the manor, and ultimately recover the gold. Root expresses misgivings about whether the Council will agree to his plan, as Artemis is requesting quite a bit of gold. Before he can get in contact with the Council, however, Cudgeon approaches with a swarm of troops. They have with them a floating hovercage. He notifies Root that he has visited the Council and they have placed Cudgeon in charge of the mission, replacing Root.
Cudgeon's plan is to set a troll loose in Fowl Manor in an attempt to flush the residents out. Root immediately sees the faults in Cudgeon's plan—namely, it is impossible to give a troll orders and very difficult to subdue a loose troll—but Cudgeon does not listen to him. Root sets a backup plan in motion, asking Foaly to gather the gold for when Cudgeon's plan goes awry. Meanwhile, Holly is moving around the manor with her shield in place. Her plan is to recover some of her weaponry and wreak havoc until Artemis has no choice but to set her free. She makes her way upstairs and approaches a closed door with light pouring out from underneath the crack. She hears movement inside that is coming toward her, so she backs away from the door just in time for Butler to come barreling out of it, calling for Juliet. Holly sneaks into the room after Butler and comes face-to-face with Artemis, who has anti-shield glasses in place. He greets Holly. Holly rushes to a bench on the far wall that is holding fairy equipment. She grabs a helmet and places it on her head just in time to hear Foaly telling her to take cover. He warns her that a troll is about to be set loose in the manor. Artemis asks her what she is hearing, which grates on her nerves, leading her to punch him in the face. Holly can see on Artemis's surveillance monitor that the fairies have begun the process of letting the troll loose inside the house. Meanwhile, Butler has grabbed Juliet from the cell and is bringing her upstairs, putting them both right in the line of fire. Holly runs off to help them.
Meanwhile, Butler finds Juliet in Holly's cell, he sees that she is sprawled on the cot and staring at the concrete wall. When he asks her what she is doing, she tells him that she is watching wrestling. Butler assumes that she is drugged. He tells her they need to move, and she tells him to wait because she wants to watch the match. He grabs her and throws her over his shoulder. While Butler is transporting Juliet, Artemis calls him and tells him to take cover. He and Juliet duck into an alcove that is partially protected by a medieval suit of armor. In that moment, the front door to the manor explodes, letting the troll loose in the house. Butler's instincts tell him to move as far away from the door as possible, but he has his baby sister to take care of, who is currently speaking nonsense. When the dust from the explosion settles, Butler can clearly see the huge troll making its way into the house. For the second time in his life, Butler feels fear. Butler watches as the troll enters the manor, noticing how deadly it looks. He realizes that the fairies have sent the perfect predator into Fowl Manor—a creature who had no interest in rules, who will simply kill any creature that gets in its way. Butler watches as the troll catches his and Juliet's scent and begins to move towards their hiding place.
Butler shoots his gun at the troll, but this merely enrages the animal. The troll spears him in the chest with his tusks. Butler knows that the wound is fatal and can feel himself losing huge amounts of blood. The troll throws Butler's limp body over his head and Butler hits the opposite wall. Butler can feel his spine break. Juliet, still under the mesmer, thinks Butler is faking his injury, and the troll's curiosity is piqued by Juliet's apparent lack of fear. Just as he reaches out a hand to grab Juliet, Holly bursts in. She presses the Sonix button on her helmet, which emits a high-frequency sound that could potentially disorient the troll. However, the troll pays no attention to the sound. Holly is forced to attack the troll herself. She flies over the troll's head and drops herself down at a high speed, which causes an injury in her knee. She lands on the troll's back and the troll grabs her in a tight grip. Foaly and Commander Root's voices through the intercom tell her to turn on the high beams of her helmet. She presses the button, but no light comes out. Apparently, she has grabbed one of the helmets that Artemis has taken apart from Artemis's office. She resorts to her last option: butting the troll in the head with her helmet. At the impact, some wires in the helmet connect together and one of her high-power beams comes on. The troll throws her against a wall. Holly can feel her magic working to heal her. Right before losing consciousness, she places her hand on Butler's arm, sending healing magic towards him.
Meanwhile, the troll bends down to eat Juliet. Butler wakes up after Holly's healing magic enters his body. He is shocked that he is still alive. Soon, he jumps to his feet and picks up the Sig Sauer that Holly had dropped on the floor. Foaly and Root have lost visibility and hurriedly try to get their connection back so they can monitor the situation. When they get finally get a video of the scene, Root is at a loss for words. Butler is strapping on the medieval suit of armor. He picks up the long mace that accompanies the armor and drives it into the troll's shoulder blades, causing the troll to turn away from Juliet. Butler speaks to the troll in an even tone, telling him to walk away from Juliet. The troll roars in response and is confused when Butler doesn't show any fear. Butler takes this opportunity to jab his medieval weapon under the troll's tusks and shoot him in the head with his handgun. Though this does not kill the troll, it gives him a concussion. The troll falls to the ground, and Butler steps on his leg, limiting his movement. Butler does not relent, and severely attacks the troll until it is seconds away from death. At that moment, Holly intercedes, imploring Butler not to kill him. Butler ignores her at first but finally listens after Holly tells him that he owes her for saving his and his sister's lives. Butler acquiesces and rolls the troll's unconscious body out the front door.
Artemis and Root are both dumbfounded by the events of Chapter 8. While Root was negotiating with Artemis and sending Mulch into the manor, Lieutenant Cudgeon went behind Root's back and has been placed as acting commander of the mission. His plan is to respond to Artemis's wit with full force: he and his lackeys decide to release the deadly troll from Chapter 3 into Fowl Manor. At the same time, Holly finds Artemis, and she punches him in the face. These developments leave Artemis scrambling, as he is both shocked and at a loss for words. After Holly hits him, she quickly overpowers him: "Artemis was propped on his elbows. 'You hit me,' he said in disbelief. Holly strapped on a set of Hummingbirds. 'That's right, Fowl. And there's plenty more where that came from. So stay right where you are, if you know what's good for you.' For once in his life, Artemis realized that he didn't have a snappy answer. He opened his mouth, waiting for his brain to supply the customary pithy comeback. But nothing arrived" (208). If we saw the climax in Chapter 7, then this moment in Chapter 8 is the all-is-lost moment right before the resolution. Throughout this chapter, it is completely unclear who will come out on top. Artemis and Holly have reversed places. In Chapter 4, Holly was the prey. Now, she is the predator: "Captain Short felt in control now, on the hunt. This was what she was trained to do. When this affair had started, the advantage had been with the Mud People. But now the boot was on the other foot. She was the hunter and they were the prey" (204). This reversal is particularly salient at this moment because of Artemis's name. In Greek mythology, Artemis is the goddess of the hunt, which endows Artemis the character with the senses of hunting and power. Now, however, Artemis is the prey—just like the "fowl" (birds that are hunted for prey) that his last name alludes to.
The theme of individual vs collective appears in this chapter. We have already seen how Artemis and Mulch favor their own gain over the wellbeing of the collective. It seems as if Lieutenant Cudgeon does so as well. As Cudgeon confronts Root and tells him that he has been replaced, Cudgeon tells him, "'Julius, despite what you think, I have only the interests of the People at heart'" (202). Root sees through that and tells him that he is only interested in "'one person in particular'" meaning himself (202). At this moment, the 600-year-long friendship between Root and Cudgeon has ended. Cudgeon has little to say to Root about that fact: "What could he say? Ambition had a price, and that price was friendship" (202). Evidently, despite the fact that the People are unified beneath a common set of rules (as ordained by the Book) and morals (harmony with nature), there are individuals that break out of this mold, showing that the individual is not defined by the collective in the world of Artemis Fowl. Like Artemis when he was kidnapping Holly, Cudgeon experiences misgivings which he must suppress within himself: "Cudgeon felt a momentary pang of guilt, which he dispelled with his favorite daydream—a vision of himself sinking into a beige-velour Council seat" (211). Like Artemis, Cudgeon's ambition is more powerful than interpersonal ties.
In Chapter 8, we see a different side of Butler that we have never before seen. Holly has placed Juliet beneath the mesmer, which leaves her happily giggling while staring at a blank wall in what was once Holly's cell. Now, Juliet is in the troll's direct line of attack, putting her in mortal danger. Butler faces a decision: go to Artemis and fulfill his duties, or try to save his sister. He chooses the latter and thus breaks out of the loyal servant mold: "Butler took the stairs four at a time. It was possibly the first time he had ever abandoned Master Artemis in a time of crisis. But Juliet was family, and there was obviously something seriously wrong with his baby sister. That fairy had said something to her, and now she was just sitting in the cell giggling. Butler feared the worst. If anything were to happen to Juliet, he didn't know how he'd live with himself" (211).
Because he goes to save Juliet, Butler must now face the troll himself, which is a daunting situation even for a man of his stature. This is an unprecedented situation which he has never before faced: "Butler felt a tingle low in his stomach. He'd had the feeling once before. On his first day at the Swiss academy. It was fear. The creature stepped clear of the dust haze. Butler gasped. Again, his first since the academy. This was like no adversary he'd ever faced before" (215). As a reminder, this is the same Butler who fought and defeated five beefy dockhands in a matter of minutes in Chapter 4. Butler immediately understands what Cudgeon has done: "the manservant realized instantly what the fairies had done. They had sent in a primal hunter. A creature with no interest in magic or rules. A thing that would simply kill anything in its way, regardless of species. This was the perfect predator" (215). The word "predator" is an echo of the scene in Chapter 4 when Artemis and Butler kidnap Holly as well as the scene we have just seen, when Holly calls herself a predator. It seems as though even though Artemis and Holly like to believe that they are predators in any given moment, they are no match to the true predator of the troll, which will kill without thinking.
In fact, the fact that Holly is not the perfect predator puts her under threat when she realizes that Juliet's life is at risk. After Butler has been almost-fatally injured, Holly makes the decision to help Butler defeat the troll: "Whatever the problem, it forced Holly to adopt a strategy she would rather not have resorted to. Direct contact. All to save a human's life. She'd gone section eight. Without a doubt" (219). In this moment, Holly's compassion for others—particularly innocent people—outweighs her hatred of the Mud People. She feels as if she has a moral imperative to do the right thing, which is to fight off a troll she had come into contact with just a few days before (Chapter 3). When Holly is knocked out by the troll, she places her hand on the fallen Butler's forearm, thus healing them both. In these critical moments, Holly acts entirely selflessly, despite the fact that these humans had kidnapped her and held her against her will. Once Butler is healed, he is able to take down the troll, and almost kills it. With her last moments of consciousness, Holly saves the troll's life: "'No,' gasped Holy, with the first breath in her body. 'Don't.' Butler ignored her, jamming the barrel beneath the troll's jaw. 'Don't do it. . . . You owe me'" (230). In the end, Holly is one of the only characters in this novel who stays true to her moral compass despite the circumstances. She saves the lives of two humans who have hurt her, Butler and Juliet. Then, she advocates for the troll's life, despite the fact that he has just wreaked havoc within the manor and nearly killed Holly. It seems as though there are many morally dubious characters within Artemis Fowl, but Holly is not one of them. Instead, she strives to live in harmony with all living things—whether they be fairy, human, or troll.