Of Witches and Men
It's a moonless night. The stars barely lit up the sky. Five men in all are assembling in the clearing. They all stand around a rocky altar which has been used for immemorial times as a place of worship. They plant their torches just outside of the circle.
Still their faces are poorly lit. The flames dancing around create shadows that hide their features. All at once without the need for a sign, the men start chanting:
"Lord of Magic, Powers from Above,
Hear our calls, Feel our love,
Thy word is law. Thy will is sacred.
Grant us Salvation, Bring us the Undaunted"
They repeat the chant incessantly through the night hoping that their cry for help will be heard…
That morning, the girls are eating breakfast together and being just them girls, the conversation automatically turns to their men:
-You're so lucky Piper, he is so attentive to your needs. Not that I want to complain or nothing but I wish sometimes Cole just came in with a little something romantic… Phoebe says to them.
-And there I thought you were blissfully happy?
-I am! It's just, you know, he doesn't have much experience in relationships. And of course, what good would it do if I was the one suggesting it. It would just take the fun out of it.
-You know what? Leo may be all attentive and the sort but, sometimes I just wish he was a little bit more assertive. And maybe a little more, well, I don't know unpredictable.
-Not always but you know sometimes a girl likes to be surprised…
Phoebe smiles a bit, assuming she knows what her sister can't bring herself to say.
-I didn't know you were going for stuff like that. She says teasing her.
Piper almost turns red at that and almost screams:
-You know you two are really something. For my part, I'm totally and blissfully satisfied.
The other two look at her with an air that says: listen to that one.
-Anyway, it's certainly not that I'm not very happy. We are just talking here…
-Yea! But still…
Leo orbs in at this moment and Piper looks down at her food. She utters a nervous laugh and takes a moment before acknowledging her husband's arrival.
-Hello you! Late for breakfast again.
Leo is not fooled but decides to ignore the obvious attempt at covering some inside joke. He goes to his wife who is finally able to look at him in the eye.
He gives her a kiss and says:
-Actually I think I'm going to pass on breakfast and sleep for a while. The night was long…
Piper becomes serious all of sudden:
Leo smiles at her reassuringly:
-Nothing to concern you. And it's all better now, so I can take a well needed break until the next crisis. She stands up and puts a sweet kiss on his lips saying:
-Hail my hero!
He smiles back and waves them good bye.
Phoebe, after he left:
-Now you see what I meant. He knew you were talking about him but did he comment or get angry? I tell you, sweet as pie.
-That's a part of what I meant. Sometimes I just wish he would get upset at me.
-Girls, girls beware of what you wish for or….
Phoebe cuts her off:
-That's not likely to change and I guess it's for the best.
Their conversation is interrupted by a strange noise that is coming out of nowhere. Like a wind storm approaching but they can see through the windows that the day is clear and sunny.
The noise augments constantly in volume until it becomes deafening and right there beside the table a vortex opens…
The 3 girls are pulled to it before they had a chance to react and the vortex closes behind them.
Leo hearing the commotion returns to the dining room worried. And all of a sudden he realizes something even more alarming than the noise was. He can't feel them anymore. They have vanished…
The girls hit the ground hard, still dazed. They look around unable to comprehend what just happened, then Phoebe says:
-Oh no, not another time travel thing. I'm getting tired of those…
-Where or, I guess when do you think we are?
-Lets not assume here. Not all vortex travel brings you to the past. After all we may just have ended up in a park nearby…
Their hope is quashed the moment they spot a group of men definitely clothed the old fashion way. But what makes them jump is who the men are.
Right there in front of them stand 4 demons that they have either already vanquished or saw die. But if it wasn't enough, the look of abject fear on their face just finishes to floor them.
Phoebe stepping away from them babbles:
-Wa… what? What is happening here?
The next moment is so eerie that the girls don't even try to run, astounded as they are.
The men start backing away pointing at them and screaming:
-They sent us the evil ones. They sent us the evil ones.
We're all dead…
Prue finds her voice:
-What the hell are you talking about? You are the demons…
But as far as all of you dying, I'm sure going to try…
The one they knew as Andras seems to find some courage and takes a step forward.
-We'll fight you. The Elders forsake us but we will defend ourselves. He casts a look at the other men, trying to get them to advance with him.
Phoebe in a low voice asks Prue:
-Do you think we just arrived in the twilight zone?
Then turning back to the men:
-And the nerve of you calling us evil, that's rich coming from demons…
As proof that the surprises are not over yet a very familiar voice calls from behind them:
-Why do you persist calling us demons? You know that we are witches, and we know that you came to kill us…
Phoebe can't help but jump at this for it's Cole's voice that was just heard. She turns toward him and is astounded to see the fear on his face.
He steps back when she moves toward him, raises his hand and tks her, sending her at least 20 feet away, where once more she falls hard on her behind. Now really pissed she gets up and walks back toward him.
-Now wait a minute, what's got into you?
Piper reacts at this by attempting to freeze the whole lot of them even though with some of them she hasn't had much success in the past.
But low and behold none of them do!
Seeing this Phoebe stops in her tracks.
-I know that you have been warlocks for a long time but have you already forgotten you cannot freeze good witches?
Now the girls look at each others dumbfounded…
-Ok I thought your twilight zone thing was a bad joke but now I have a feeling it might just be true.
-YOU THINK? She almost screams.
Piper asks with an edgy voice:
-Would somebody try to make sense here?
She is just this close to a panic attack.
Prue to Andras:
-Ok I think we should start from the beginning.
First of all, stop calling us warlock. We most certainly are not!
Andras and the others look at them with dubious expressions:
-Don't even try it. We could recognize you anywhere. You have killed enough of us.
-Yeah you are demons. We are witches and that's what we do…
Cole moves slowly around them and asks the others:
-Could it be?
They look at him like he has gone crazy.
-They are just trying to fool us, then they'll finish us. It's one of their games.
-Why would they? They could have struck us down at any time.
Andras looks back at the girls with a sudden hopeful look but still he has doubts.
-Why would they look exactly like them?
-Like who? She screams.
Cole turns to her, or at least she thinks it's him, and says:
-The 3 devils that have been chasing us for years. We have to hide in the forest. Our number is diminishing so, that we cannot protect the innocents anymore.
But if you are not them, then who are you?
-As if you didn't know…
-Phoebe… I think he really doesn't.
Phoebe turns to her sister:
-It doesn't make any sense.
-Well is it so impossible to think that this might be some alternate reality?
We have seen some of those too.
Phoebe is unconvinced:
-Alternate maybe but now if demons become witches, I give up trying to understand.
-Maybe it would help if we started by not trying to attack each other and talk it out instead…
The men acquiesce warily.
She continues as calmly as she can:
-If I'm not mistaken, it would seem that we came from a very different world. A vortex brought us here against our will. And turning to the alternate Cole she asks:
-Is it possible that you could be responsible for that?
The men look at each other with a renewed hope. Maybe the Powers heard their pleas after all.
-You're telling us that you are good witches, that's what you mean?
Prue with a sigh:
-Yes we are.
He smiles and turns to the others:
-Then it is true. They must be as powerful as the evil ones. That's probably why they were chosen to come.
But his smiles fades as he asks them:
-You haven't yet told us why you called us demons?
Are witches called demons in your world?
-Like I said we come from a very different world.
-Are we supposed to believe that in this world our counterparts are evil?
-They are the vilest evil that ever walked the land.
The three sisters look at each other with apprehension.
-And you have called for help and got us, is that it?
The man who looks for all the world like Vinceres the unstoppable demon finally addresses them:
-Can you help us?
Prue, remembering full well this one as the demon who gave her the empathy curse, takes a moment before answering:
-I suppose that if we are here, it must be the reason.
Krell, whom they know as the demonic bounty hunter, comes closer and almost timidly asks:
-Are there many women witches in your world?
-Because in our world they are rare and that is fortunate because most of them become warlocks.
The sisters again dumbfounded give each other disbelieving looks.
-I know don't say it again, when she sees her sister about to reiterate her comment about this place.
The men are all smiling at them now, apparently convinced that their salvation is at hand.
Prue and her sisters wish they had the same confidence.
-Ok where do we start from here?
Cole approaches them and looks at their clothes with a meaningful expression:
-I think we should find you more appropriate garments. He ads:
You must be from a very different world indeed he says as he can't help looking down at the very revealing clothing the girls wear.
Although they are not shy by nature, the girls feel very self conscious at this point and do not argue, seeing that the other men now calmer have just about the same reaction to them.
Phoebe can't help commenting:
-I guess men witch or not they are still men.
Hearing that comment, Cole averts his eyes and apologizes profusely to an astounded Phoebe.
-Blessed one, he says please don't take offense.
When she finds her voice she says:
-Now I know you're not him.
Not looking at her directly anymore he still questions:
-Don't worry about it. It's just me babbling.
He looks surprised but doesn't insist.
The men suggest that they start toward their encampment where they will find women willing to lend them clothing.
They head off.
Once in the rudimentary camp the girls are directed to a group of women who, at first, have the same reaction as the men earlier. They need reassurance from the men witches but finally understand that those are friends rather than the enemy, and they greet them with a renewed respect.
It doesn't take them long to find more appropriate garments for them.
After they changed, they are ready to discuss what it is exactly that is expected of them.
At this, the one they know as Andras and Cole give them puzzled looks:
-We thought that you would know.
Prue is exasperated:
-Why is it that everybody assumes we are all knowing I'll never understand.
Fearing that he might have again angered them in some way, Cole apologizes again. Phoebe is just about done with that. To her, it seems so incongruous to see the man she knows to be so confident, even arrogant, acting in such a weak manner.
So she practically explodes:
-Would you stop apologizing at every word we say; you're giving me a headache.
The hurt on his face just exasperates her even more.
She sighs heavily but chooses not to ad anything for fear of getting another round of apologies.
Prue looks at the sister a little amused:
-I thought you wanted a softer man?
Phoebe casts a warning look at her sister who just smiles teasingly but doesn't insist.
Then she becomes serious again, and turns to the others:
-What I would like to know is do you have any idea of what it will take to vanquish them.
Andras takes over:
-There is a spell in our Book of light.
Piper winks at Prue but doesn't interrupt the man.
-But none of us has been able to cast it on them. Most who tried perished before they had the chance. The others barely escaped with their lives.
We are not powerful enough to do this. Which is why we have asked the elders for your assistance.
Once a long time ago, there was a trio of man witch with similar powers to the Evil three. But they were separated and killed by them. Ever since, things have gone from bad to worst.
They find all our hideaways eventually. They are intent on destroying all the witches.
This description doesn't reassure the girls in any way. They have to wonder if the equivalent of the charmed ones in this world failed, what will they be able to do?
-Do you know of any weaknesses we could exploit?
Cole seems about to say something but somehow shies away.
Phoebe notices it and asks him directly:
-What is it?
Once again he seems unable to assert himself, looking away from her.
She shrugs, annoyed and turns away from him. Somehow it seems to decide him:
In a low and uncertain voice he begins:
-Maybe, he hesitates again. They turn to him curiously.
Then he starts again slightly more assured:
-Maybe you could use your resemblance to them…
-What good will it do to us?
A powerful wizard and a dark angel are helping the evil 3. Without those two, their power would be diminished and they might become more vulnerable.
A bad feeling grows into Prue and Piper about those two new additions to the list of enemies.
Prue, barely believing it might be possible:
-Two powerful men who have devoted their life to the same goal as the evil ones. Destroy all witches.
-Pardon me but again what good will it do to us?
She is also having the sinking feeling that she knows who the dark angel will be, with their luck.
-I see my friend's point here. If you could pass for them, you might do what no one can and get close enough to destroy them.
Unsure Prue still answers:
Then she has to ask:
-You wouldn't have, you know, pictures or something of those men…
She dreads the thought of finding herself in such a situation as Phoebe's.
Andras says happily, unaware of the discomfort of the witches:
-Yes we do, in the book…
-Then I guess that's our next move. Let's have a look and then figure out how to find them maybe?
-That's the easy part, they have taken our village and they mostly return there after each raid. Most people have left but some have been taken as slaves. He ads sadly.
-If we decide to do this and I mean if…
We still need to know how to act with them so that they don't suspect.
-All we can do about that is showing you where to observe them from afar. If we get too close they'll know.
But maybe it will be enough.
-And how are we supposed to destroy them if they are so powerful?
-There is a potion; they would have to drink it. Hence the need for you to be close to them and gain their trust.
That potion only could work with the power of the blessed 3 but maybe now that you are here, you could chant the spell in their place.
-That makes a lot of maybes she says a bit irritated.
But I suppose that's why we're here so we better get to it.
Let's see the book first then we can go to your village.
-We cannot go today, it's too far away and nightfall is coming soon. The forest is treacherous by night.
The girls become very upset at the idea of spending any more time than necessary in this place and tell them so.
-We have people back home who will be very worried if we don't come back soon.
That provokes some embarrassed looks among the men.
Prue immediately picks up on this:
-What is it?
-Well you see we barely knew how to bring you here, but we really have no idea how to send you home. We kind of thought that you would stay for good.
The look of consternation on the girls face explains more than words how little they care for this.
The men are understandably very apologetic now, but Phoebe won't have any more of this and stops them with a hand gesture. Then she turns to her sisters:
-Ok you say that's an alternate plane right?
Prue suddenly understands where her sister is going:
-Do you think he could find us? Assuming that he knows what our predicament is.
Phoebe with assurance:
-If I know him, and I think I do, he will be looking for as long as it takes…
For my part, and now she casts yet another annoyed look in the direction of alternate Cole, I can't wait.
-Let's just hope we won't have gray hair by the time he finds us.
-Don't be so negative… And I guess in the meantime we might as well do what we came here for.
Meanwhile at the manor:
Leo is just orbing back in, after spending time with the Elders and trying to figure out what happened. These were not much help because they had told him that this time they had nothing to do with what happened.
They couldn't even feel the girls either. But they could tell him that at the very least, they had not died. At least not in this world…
And that is with this in mind that Leo is coming back. He is pretty discouraged and still hopes against all hope that they have already come back on their own, even though he still can't feel them.
This hope disappears rapidly as he surveys the house and still can't find a trace of them.
He is about to go look further when the doorbell rings.
He opens the door to see Cole smiling, hoping that Phoebe was waiting for him. His smile vanishes when he notices the troubled look on Leo's face.
-Hey what's wrong?
Leo seems to be thinking, which unnerves Cole:
-Ok cat got your tongue?
Finally Leo seems to make a decision and he indicates to him he should come in still keeping silent for a moment. Once Cole is inside Leo begins:
-Hem, first off yes there is a problem.
Cole is just about out of patience:
-Did something happened to Phoebe?
-I don't know. That's the point.
-What is the matter with you? Can't you just spell it out?
-Ok I need your help.
Cole doesn't answer and waits for what's certain to come.
-I'm just not too comfortable with it.
-The girls have disappeared.
Cole reacts to this but doesn't have time to talk.
Leo continues rapidly:
-Don't ask me how but they just vanished this morning. I have been trying to find them all this time with no success.
Even though he was warned Cole still asks:
-I already told you that I don't know that. But I may have an idea.
-If neither me nor the Elders can feel them it has to mean that they are not in this reality anymore. We only know for sure that they didn't die. At least not here.
Cole is starting to get really impatient and irritated at Leo lengthy explanations:
-How reassuring, he says a little aggressively.
Leo chooses to ignore this and continues:
-So the only option left to me is to ask you to search with me.
-I suppose that that's where the "I cannot work with demons" is coming?
Well don't bother, I don't need you. I'll look for them myself.
My wife has also disappeared and I want very much to help.
Cole is very surprised at this:
-What happened to the rules?
-Like everybody tells me all the time; rules are made to be broken. Besides, I think I can trust you.
This was said with such reluctance that Cole can't help let a little sarcasm sip through his next remark:
-Jeez, who would have thought?
Leo again chooses to ignore this and instead he says:
-Besides you will need me to find them. I should be able to sense them if we get to the right place. So, when do we start?
-Finally! I thought you'd never ask.
Then he doesn't lose any time and grabs Leo by the shoulder. They shimmer immediately.
Back at the camp the girls just entered one of the larger tents. In the middle of the otherwise bare interior, they see a small altar on which the Book of Light rests.
On the book they can see two snakes intertwined around an arrow. It reminds them of the symbol used by the medical establishment.
Andras walks to it and reverently opens the book beginning the search for the Evil ones page.
While Prue and Piper accompanied him inside, Phoebe decided to stay out, hoping to catch a break from the way too pale imitation of her boyfriend.
Unfortunately for her, he has other ideas.
She is walking toward the edge of the camp when she senses more than sees that Alternate Cole is following her.
Unable to contain herself anymore she whirls around to face him, determined to shoo him away.
-Why are you following me?
-It's not safe anywhere anymore. I thought I should keep an eye on you.
-I can very much defend myself thank you. Just…Please, leave me alone.
But instead he seems to hesitate then he decides to ask:
-Pardon my asking but what have I done to offend you so?
Phoebe feels a sudden pang of guilt. She realizes that she has been way too hard on that man:
-You haven't done anything really. She says in a more reasonable tone of voice.
It's not your fault. You just remind me too much of someone…
Cole makes the wrong assumption:
-You must really detest that man.
Phoebe horrified almost screams:
-Now I'm really confused.
Phoebe is angry again to have let him provoke her but she still answers:
-It's just that you look identical but you're so different, inside.
Cole looks away then lets out a:
Phoebe feels that there is more to it.
But now he backs away from her:
-Nothing it's really not important. But you still shouldn't go too far.
We need all of you and it wouldn't do if something happened to you right now.
Phoebe relents and walks back toward the encampment with him.
Inside the tent, Andras has found the page he was looking for and Prue as well as Piper are now staring at it with mix feelings.
It was already very disconcerting to look at their perfect twins as the enemy. But now they also have to contend with something even more disturbing.
Piper mirrors this at the very same time:
Then she continues:
-Is it just me or the situation gets wackier by the minute?
-I was just about to say…
-What's wrong? You know these men?
-In a way. But not really.
Andras is very confused by this.
-What do you mean?
Prue just dismisses it:
-Don't worry about it.
Andras reluctantly drops the subject.
-Ok, then I guess we should get on that potion.
And turning to Andras, we would need paper and a pen to copy those spells.
-Right away Blessed one.
When he has left, Prue can't help a little smile:
-You know that is the part I could get used to…
-Prue! For my part all I want is to return home. Let's hope Phoebe is right.
-What is this place?
They stand in a waste land. Strange animals are surrounding them, growling.
-Never mind what this place is. Do you feel them?
-Give me a moment…
-I don't want to be rude…No scratch that, I do… We are about to be lunch!! He screams.
-No there not here.
-Finally. Just as the pack is about to pounce Cole picks Leo by the collar and shimmers them out.
Fortunately the next place seems a bit quieter.
-How many realms did we try?
-I stopped counting a while ago.
And in an attempt to humor him:
-And there I thought our world was screwed up sometimes.
Cole doesn't feel like joking though:
-Welcome to my hell. Very few realities are what you would consider normal.
Actually this one is a rare example.
Could we move it along? It's been hours.
-Cole my wife is lost too, remember?
Cole seems to mollify a bit:
-I know. So do you feel them now?
Leo shakes his head dejectedly.
The next day the girls, alternate Cole and Andras arrive at the edge of the village. They can see a few wooden houses, which confirms their suspicion about the apparent time frame of this world.
-I wonder if we are also in the past?
-I prefer not to think about it. There are too many things that don't add up already.
Phoebe makes a face.
-Quiet you two, we don't want to attract attention.
Her sisters glare at her but keep quiet.
The villagers are few. The ones who are in the street are all busy at one task or another. Many of them are sickly and cast fearful looks around regularly.
But of the evil ones or the men they are looking for they find no trace.
-Are you sure that they are here?
-The wizard at least always stays behind. He watches the people here. Even though it might look like they are free to go, it is not so.
If one of them tried, he'd kill him on the spot.
-How would he know?
-You could say he has the evil eye watching them. Suffice to say, he would know.
That is why we cannot go nearer at least not yet.
Given that they do not have too much choice they settle down to wait.
A few hours later, they are ready to give up when they hear the sound of horses running toward the village.
Right away the boredom is replaced by an intense sense of foreboding.
Neither of the girls relishes the idea of seeing themselves as evil.
At first all they can see is the cloud of dust that the horses raise from the path. Then they finally get a good look at the new arrivals.
Piper can't help a little scream fortunately covered by the noise. She just saw her alternate husband, clothed all in black. His expression is hard and joyless. He precedes the girls by a good hundred feet entering the village fast and stopping short right in the middle of the street.
He looks around as if searching for something, and the girls fear that they might already have been discovered. But after a moment he seems satisfied of what he saw and turns toward the others with a sly smile.
-Come on girls, hurry up. It's time to party.
The witches have to admit that the evil ones are their exact replicates. They are wearing leather top and pants that do not leave anything to the imagination. Which almost make Phoebe chuckle at the thought of yesterday's complaints about their clothing.
After a little intimidation toward the villagers who do not dare look at them directly, the evil ones enter a building that could pass for a hotel in these parts.
The girls are just starting to come out of shock and speak low to each other:
-Those girls could be part of a rock band back home…
-I don't think we should trivialize them.
Then she notices that Piper is still staring at the place Alternate Leo just left:
-Remember Piper that's not Leo.
Piper turns to her sister:
-It doesn't make it any easier to know that.
Now I'm starting to understand how you felt Phoebe.
Alternate Cole looks strangely at them during this exchange.
-Well at least we have an idea of the clothing. That's a start but lets watch some more. We cannot get enough information before we try to pull that stunt. Let's pay attention shall we.
Until now Prue has been the one keeping together the best. But just then, Alternate Paul comes out of the hotel with evil Prue hung at his neck. They are laughing at some unknown joke. Prue feels the burning sensation to run and twist their neck for causing this whole adventure.
She has to contain herself at great effort. Leo who harbors both of the other sisters on each arm soon follows them out. He shares his attentions between the two sisters equally, which make both Phoebe and Piper cringe.
-Now that's going to be fun. Yuck!
As they are leisurely walking around the village one of the people on the street has the misfortune of crossing their path.
The wizard calls rudely at him:
-Hey you, How dare you stand in our way. The villager shakes visibly, head down. He tries to babble an apology but the other ones won't have it.
Paul turns leisurely toward Leo and asks:
-What are we going to do with this one? Those villagers have no respect for us.
The man who is being accused throws himself on the ground begging for mercy. But Leo won't have it.
He comes to him and puts his hand on his back. A bright flash of red light explodes and the villager catches on fire. The girls look upon this in horror.
Prue is about to run to help but Cole puts his hand firmly on her arm.
She looks at him, angry, but he signals her silently to let it go.
From the look on his face she understands that he feels just as terrible about this as she does. She then understands that attacking them now would just cause their destruction. Too many more innocents would die if that happened.
Still she doesn't want to see this spectacle anymore and like her sisters, averts her eyes, ashamed.
When the screams subside they dare look again in the direction of the evil ones and the look of glee on all their faces brings a renewed indignation in all of them.
When nightfall comes, they decide that they had enough of this and retreat to the woods.
Where they finally breathe easier, relieved that they have not been discovered.
Prue asks Andras:
-Does Leo usually ride with the girls on those raid you talked about?
-Not usually, that is why we think that the plan can work. Him and the wizard usually stay behind. The evil ones do not need them around except when attacking a large number of witches and that doesn't happen too often anymore. Given the fact that our number is so low already.
-Come to think of it, why do they ride at all? Can't they blink?
Yes they do, but fortunately we have spells of protection that hide us from them if they try. At least it prevents them from blinking right in the middle of us. That is why they couldn't sense us either. We brought a protection talisman with us to shield ourselves.
But it works only at a distance…
-All this waiting around is starting to get on my nerves.
-You cannot attempt anything until the evil ones have left. They depart every day on their hunt. So that tomorrow morning, you might be able to implement the first part of the plan.
Piper says in a little voice:
-Killing Leo and Paul…
Prue looks at her with the same expression of dismay.
-Maybe you should try to sleep Blessed ones. Tomorrow is going to be a difficult day. Andras and me will stand guard do not worry.
Although they think that sleeping might be difficult under the circumstances, they accept to give it a try. The men offer them blankets that they brought with them. Prue and Piper rapidly fall asleep contrary to what they thought.
But Phoebe is observing the Alternate Cole with curiosity. For a fleeting moment she almost saw her man's assurance in him. It brought a longing to her and she can't help but imagining it's him there and not the stranger that he is.
Cole turns toward her and notices her staring.
-What is it Blessed one?
She's suddenly brought back to her senses by this and just says:
-Nothing. Just couldn't sleep.
He smiles at her and she smiles back but she knows that he isn't the one she wants.
Finally sleeps comes but an agitated sleep where innocents are burned and she is powerless to save them…
Cole and Leo reappear in another of those weird worlds they have been visiting briefly for almost 2 days now.
-I'm starting to wonder if they have not disappeared for good. He says with a discouraged intonation.
-I'm not about to give up. I thought whitelighters had a better constitution.
This offends Leo:
-I never said that I was going to give up…
Cole doesn't answer and instead surveys the strange place. The sky is bright orange. The vegetation or what there is of it has a blue tint. Not at all appealing. They cannot see any living thing around.
Cole he says:
-By the way, next time you get a feeling make sure they are the right ones.
-It felt right at the time.
-That's the third time we get to the wrong ones. I'm kind of tired of being threatened by their lookalikes.
-It's not that easy. At any rate you're still in one piece so stop complaining. I almost got killed many more times than you. It's a good thing I'm already dead. He says with a hint of irritation at Cole's complaints.
Then he asks:
-I was wondering, with all the other Phoebes around, can you really see the difference?
Cole looks at him dismayed:
-I can't believe you asked me that. No matter how much alike they look in each reality, the differences are obvious. I could never make that mistake.
-Sorry, you're right. I noticed that too about the other Pipers.
-I guess we should get back to our search.
-Yes, and no I can't feel them here either. He says answering to the unspoken question.
They depart again.
Phoebe is standing in a strange blue field. Over her head the sky is a nauseating orange color. But what gets her attention is what she sees in the middle of the field. Cole and Leo are standing there looking around but they do not see her. She calls Cole's name many times to no avail. Then they turn around and walk away…
She wakes up with a start. Still calling Cole. The alternate Cole comes to her and asks:
-What is it Blessed one?
Phoebe is still a bit confused and for the shortest of moment she imagines that Cole has come back. But then she remembers and pushes him away rudely.
-It's nothing she snaps.
He backs away, slightly hurt and Phoebe has yet another pang of guilt but she doesn't apologize.
Her sisters are waking up too, and she turns to them instead:
-I think I might have had some kind of a vision.
That picks the other's interest:
-I saw Cole and Leo in a strange world. I think they really are looking for us. But they couldn't see me or hear me. She says this sadly.
-I hope you're right. I so much want to go home. This place and everything in it gives me the creeps.
I can't wait until we're done.
They turn to the men witches:
-Are they gone yet?
-Yes Blessed one. They departed about 30 minutes ago.
We prepared you some breakfast. Please eat and then we'll give you the necessary clothing to create the illusion.
Phoebe a little more animated:
-I'm famished, let's eat then let's finish this.
I can't stand all this waiting anymore…
Later when they come back with the new clothes on, the men can't help but take a step back at the sight of them.
-You look so much like them, it's a bit unsettling…
-I see. Well I hope the wizard and the dark angel will have the same reaction or this plan is going to go sour very fast…
Meanwhile she notices that someone brought a threesome of horses looking almost exactly like the ones they saw the evil 3 ride the day before.
-Well, you are well prepared…
-They might get suspicious if you come back on foot.
Phoebe on the other hand eyes the horse with a little worry:
-I'm not very good with those. She says pointing at the horses.
That wouldn't do us any good if I fell off at the most inopportune moment.
Prue mocking her a little:
-Come on Phoebe it's only a little ways till there. We'll go slow. I'm sure you can fake it.
Phoebe doesn't share her optimism but agrees nevertheless.
Cole comes to her and indicates that at least the mount she is getting is a very calm one and she should not worry. He helps her mount it and she can't help the feeling of unease again.
She thinks to herself " Cole please get here before I completely lose it"
They enter the village with apprehension but ready to play their role.
Since they have had a previous experience at being evil, they try to draw from it to direct their subterfuge.
They don't have long to wait to start playing the role of their life, literally, because alternate Paul and Leo are already coming out of the hotel with puzzled expressions.
They walk toward them as the girls dismount the horses.
-Hey girls, we were not expecting you back so soon. Didn't find anything?
Prue hesitates just so, then she answers:
-Not a one. We decided to get back at it tomorrow.
She hopes they'll buy it and holds her breath.
Paul seems unsure for a moment then he gives her a crooked smile and takes her by the shoulders saying:
-Well, I guess my girls are lazy today. All the more fun for us.
Alternate Leo takes both of the other girls by the shoulders and directs them toward the hotel while a scared villager comes to take the horses back to the stable.
Inside, the décor takes them by surprise which they try to hide the best they can.
The place looks more like a harem than a house. Cushions are thrown all over the floor at random. A low table is standing in the middle with a gold pitcher and goblets on it.
The men pull them down in front of the table. And they poor them drinks.
-So nothing at all today? Maybe we are close to victory he says lifting his goblet with a cruel smile.
-I'm sure we can find more another day.
-Yes, that's the only thing that I will miss when they are all dead. But hey there are still many humans to amuse us.
Paul looks at her with a hint of suspicion:
-You are not very talkative today. What's the matter?
Prue decides she hasn't been bitchy enough:
-What do you care she says with anger in her voice?
Paul suddenly smiles at her:
-Now that's my girl.
Prue smiles back relieved.
But when he kisses her, she realizes finally what Phoebe meant by different.
She knows right away that she could not mistake him for the man she's fallen for.
Piper has a similar experience on her side. But she has more trouble faking it than Prue:
When Leo tries to kiss her, she can't help but back away from him. She reads the same suspicion on his face as Paul's earlier so she rapidly says:
-I'm not in the mood leave me alone.
Hardly enough this makes him laugh.
Leo looks at Paul:
-Wonder what they ate today? We should check if those idiot villagers tried to poison us again. But he says that with a laugh that tells the girls they are not too worried about that.
Phoebe uses that moment of inattention to slip the potion into the pitcher. Then she pours them some more wine, daring to hope that the plan will work after all.
Unfortunately before they had the time to touch the drinks, a commotion erupts outside the hotel and they stand up to go investigate.
Phoebe can't help a little grunt of disappointment, which fortunately the men take as a sign of annoyance at the disturbance.
When they come out of the hotel, the girls realize that the situation just became more complicated.
Standing in the middle of the street are the angry evil 3 who unfortunately also have come back early.
The 6 of them look at each other with a mix of surprise and foreboding.
Prue hopes that the confusion will give them an advantage and she tks the evil Prue, who flies in the air and falls on a display with a grunt of pain.
She turns to Paul trying to talk her way out of it:
-Who are those imposters?
Paul is unsure now. He looks at both sets of women in confusion.
The evil Piper looks back at her sister and then comes closer to them with fire in her eyes:
-So that's what this idiot witch meant. I couldn't believe it even when Phoebe told me what she saw.
Evil Phoebe still smiles at an inner joke then says:
-I told you it was true. I never make mistakes when probing their little brains.
-Yeah his pain was a joy to look at.
Then they return to the matter at hand.
Evil Prue coming back toward them:
-Hey guys, those imposters fooled you. I don't know how the witches pulled it off but that is one new trick if I say so myself.
And in retaliation she tks Prue against the hotel walls violently. Prue almost loses consciousness and feels that they have gotten in more trouble than they bargained for.
Leo and Cole materialize in a clearing and looking around decide that at least this place looks normal enough.
Leo immediately starts his searching and a sudden smile comes to his lips:
-I found them!
Cole can hardly believe it.
After all this time and in spite of his assurance to the contrary, he really was starting to feel they'd never find them.
-Are you sure?
Leo still smiling:
-As sure as I can be.
-Where are they?
-Let's go then.
This time Leo leads the way.
Back in the village, things get worst by the moment. Now Paul is looking at the 2 Prue and he finally decides who he thinks is the wrong one.
Bad move for the good ones. He extends his hand toward good Prue as she is trying to get back up and she feels an invisible grip on her throat that lifts her off the ground.
She can barely breathe and when she tries to tk him away from her she realizes it doesn't work.
-Your powers don't work on me witch.
But now at least I know I chose right.
Piper tries to freeze the lot of them but it doesn't work either and they all start to think that it's going to be the end of them…
The evil Leo still holding the goblets he brought from inside is laughing crazily at this turn of events.
-Well so much for the last resource trick of the witches. I'm going to drink to our impending victory and he brings the cup to his lips.
Phoebe holds her breath trying as much as she can not to look at the man.
The moment he swallows the wine, he starts screaming in pain and fire seems to be coming out of his eyes and mouth. Soon he is engulfed in a ball of fire and consumed.
This startles the others but Paul doesn't let go of Prue yet.
Cole and Leo are just arriving at the edge of the village and they stop short at the sight of the burning alternate Leo. Then they take in the ridiculous scene of all those Halliwells in the same place.
-Right now I don't know but my guess is, we should help the ones in trouble.
Cole doesn't answer and goes into action instead.
He shimmers right behind Paul and puts a choke hold on his neck which has the effect of him finally letting go of Prue who falls to the ground trying to catch her breath.
Phoebe has understood that they finally found them but there is no time to rejoice. She plunges toward the Evil Prue to keep her from using her tk.
Piper goes after Evil Piper and Leo who has just rejoined the others gets a hold of Evil Phoebe but without hurting her since he is not sure which one she is.
Evil Phoebe herself has been caught off guard because seeing Cole shimmer in she exclaimed:
-But I just killed you!
Cole doesn't have time to pay attention to this however since Paul is getting out of the choke hold and turning toward him to fight.
Hearing this Leo is still not sure who is who figuring she might have meant the Demon Belthazor, and when she is back from her surprise she gets away from him then she hits him hard in the chest with a kick which cuts his breath.
The battle rages for a while, a melee that becomes more confusing by the moment.
Until the charmed ones manage to knock out the evil Piper and Prue. Leo on the other hand is in trouble when Phoebe applies her hand to each side of his head and he feels like she is squeezing it.
Phoebe seeing this kicks the evil Phoebe away from him and she goes to help Prue stand up. Cole and Paul are still fighting and exchanging energy balls which keep missing. But eventually Cole shimmers behind him and twist his neck. A crunching sound is heard and the wizard finally falls to the ground.
Cole is out of breath and turns toward the girls as they are preparing to chant the vanquishing spell. Unsure of who is who still, he looks at both Phoebes but when he catches Good Phoebe's eyes he understands.
The girls have no time to show their appreciation. They hurry to chant the spell before the evil ones get back on their feet:
"May the Power in the Sky
Strike you down where you lie
Let now the wrong be righted
May your evil be forever defeated"
As soon as they finished the chant a deafening noise begins to resound, the sky darkens and from it a lightning bolt strikes down strait at the evil ones.
Screaming in terror now the 3 of them are engulfed in a ball of flames. When they are consumed the flames die off but where they were standing a crater has been left by the lightning strike.
For a moment nobody moves the sisters look at the crater with big round eyes. Then Phoebe finds her voice somewhat and whispers:
-Remind me not to turn evil again. That looked like it hurt. A lot!
Finally Cole comes to her and practically picks her off the ground holding so tight she thinks she will choke. But she doesn't mind…
Piper runs to Leo who is just now managing to get up after his ordeal. She kisses him and holds him.
-I was starting to believe I'd never see you again.
-I would have found you anywhere. Then he smiles at her.
The villagers finally finding the courage to come out look at the witches with a bit of distress still. Prue tells them that everything is ok now.
The monsters have been defeated.
They can barely believe that they are now free.
Andras and a few more of the men witches are entering the village at this moment and fortunately for them, Phoebe stops Cole before he attacks them thinking that they are more demons.
He looks at her questioning but she just says:
-Let's not get into this right now. Too complicated. Suffice to say it's all good now. She smiles and pulls his face toward hers to kiss him. He is still perplex but trusts her word.
Then Phoebe notices that alternate Cole is not among them and she suddenly remembers what Evil Phoebe said. Although she had not grown fond of the man, she still is saddened by his death and a bit guilty also for the way she treated him.
They accept the thanks of these people graciously. It is not often that they get to save a whole world.
At last they can say their good byes and Cole shimmers them home one at a time.
When they are home, the girls, still wired are planning to go celebrate their good fortune but they find Cole and Leo fast asleep on the couch.
Phoebe goes to shake him.
-Hey what are you doing?
Piper does the same with Leo who wakes up with a start:
-What is the matter with you two? We're the ones who should be exhausted.
Leo and Cole look at them totally dumbfounded then they look at each other and say:
They just go back to sleep.
-Of all the….
But Piper stops her:
-Remember what happened? It's better to appreciate what we got.
Phoebe smiles at that and they leave them alone.