A/N:

Thanks for the reviews.

Chapter 9

Breaking the code

It was a new day in the underworld and time has started to blend into each other to where it was lost all together. Two weeks has past and now it was already on the 4th week and the only interaction she had with her sisters was Phoebe at the first fight. Piper was sitting in her cell holding the wedding ring and wondered if they found out that they tried to get to her. Sesu walked in with the horror box as she called it and put a piece of paper inside it. He then triggered the device and opened Piper's cell as she hid the ring when he turned his back. She stepped out and looks at the box, inspecting it this time. She was not just going to reach in but instead try to outthink it. She walked over to the side and blew hoping the small amount of wind would move the paper off, but it just sat there. Sesu watched as Piper bit her lower lip as she studied the little box and then picked up a wooden sword and began to bang on it, but again it did nothing. She knew it was not going to be so easy but the want to know if her sisters were alive or dead was too overwhelming and she reached in with a shaking hand and touched the paper. She tried to pull it out quickly but the metal rod was much faster and it went right through her hand. She had her other hand holding the box while Sesu picked up the paper that sat on the little pedestal inside and it released the mechanism therefore her hand from its tiny little prison. Piper pulled out her injured hand and took the paper out of his hand as she held hers to her chest while blood was making her dark blue top almost black. She used her teeth to open the small thing that would give her a little piece of mind. It said they were alive and she let out a sigh of relief mixed with a whimper as she sat down on the floor and rocked back and forth. The healer was already there as Sesu knew she was not ready to let go just yet. The healer put the familiar tar on her wound and this time she said nothing as he finished and tried to give her the small vile that would put her to sleep.

"Wait we still need to practice," Sesu said and took the vile out of his hand.

"Yes master," the healer said and gave Piper a sympathetic look as he got up to leave.

"You expect me to practice like this?" Piper asks while continuing to rock.

"Piper you will get hurt in the arena and if you cannot fight while in pain, you will not last," he said and took hold of her arm to get her off the floor.

"How can you not be a demon," she said as he brought over the practice dummy for her to hit.

"Just do it and if you concentrate enough the pain will subside," he said as he stood back. Piper looked at the wooden dummy that she has had to hit over and over again in a certain pattern for the last 3 1/2 weeks and tried to get control over the pain as she used her good hand to do most of the hitting. "Use the other as well."

"What are you a masochist?" Piper asks as she gingerly hit the center of the wood and grunted when the pain shot through her hand.

"A what?" Sesu asks a little confused.

"Nothing," she said and continued.

Prue and Phoebe were in line at the Museum to see the Mayan calendar as Prue looked at the pen.

"So we just steal this thing, because I'm sure that will go unnoticed?" Phoebe asks to get her older sister's attention.

"Keep it down and no we will have Leo orb it to the house," Prue replied.

"You think he can do that, it want strain his orbs will it?" Phoebe asks and Prue snickered witch made her happy as Prue has not smiled at all sense Piper has been gone.

"I hope not, he will need them when Piper gets back," Prue said as Leo walked up to them.

"Speaking of orbs," Phoebe said.

"How much longer?" he asks.

"It should be a few minutes now. Did you find out where we need to take this thing?" Prue replied.

"No, but we need to get it home first," he replied as the line started moving.

"Ok but I still don't know how we are going to get it out," Phoebe whispered as they moved forward.

"I have a plan," he said and went in with them.

"So where is Cole?" Prue asks coldly.

"Hiding and going to the underworld to check who Piper fights next," Phoebe replied as she didn't want to start a fight about Cole at the moment.

"He is in disguise right?" Prue asks.

"Yeah."

"Good because I don't want the underworld coming after us when we are so close to getting her back," Prue said as they walked into the Museum.

They made their way to the back along with most of everybody else that apparently were coming to see the famous Mayan calendar. Leo disappeared from their site as they looked over the massive carving out of stone.

"Have any idea on how to use it?" Phoebe asks.

"Not a clue," Prue replied and the fire alarm went off, "Leo."

"That was his big plan?" Phoebe whispered as people were moving past them and to the exit.

"Hide," Prue said and they both looked for someplace to hide from the security guards as they moved people through and out of the building. Once the room was clear they moved out from a large statue they were hiding behind as Leo orbed in.

"Leo what about the cameras?" Prue said as she pointed to the red light flickering on one of them.

"Don't worry it has been taken care of now come on," he said and put his hand on the stone while Prue and Phoebe touched his shoulder. They orbed away with the calendar.

Piper was still striking the wooden dummy as tears rolled down her face. Her hand became unmovable as pain screamed through it. The black tar was making small marks on the dark wood as she hit it.

"Enough," he said and she stumbled backwards and landed in a chair next to the table. "Tomorrow you learn how to redirect incoming punches," he said as the guard opened the cage for her. She stood up and used the cell bars to give her balance as she walked in. She laid down on the floor and turned her back to them as she pulled out the little piece of paper she tucked away in her shirt and held it to her chest. She didn't know why she kept the small paper but it gave her comfort somehow.

"Here," Sesu said and put the vile in her cell. She did not hesitate and turned just enough to grab the vile and drink. It put her to sleep in a matter of moments and released her from physical and mental torment.

Leo orbed the giant stone into the living room and could immediately hear the floorboards cracking underneath them.

"Leo maybe we should..." Prue started to say as the floor gave way and the calendar was now on the basement floor." Fine a more stable place," she said as she looked down the gaping hole that was now in the living room.

"Sorry," Leo said as the stone sank a little into the concrete and other symbols formed around it. Four layers in a circular pattern rose out of the floor.

"Ok what the hell is going on?" Phoebe asks.

"The nexus," Prue replied and made her way to the kitchen to get to the basement.

"Prue wait!" Phoebe yelled as she went after her.

"The nexus it must be activating it somehow," Prue replied while going down the steps.

"The lay lines," Leo said behind them as Cole shimmered in and looked at the calendar.

"Is that what I think it is?" Cole asks.

"This is where the lay lines cross so it must be activated by that," Prue said as she tried to take a step on it but Phoebe stopped her.

"Whoa there miss inquisitive, we have no idea how this works," Phoebe said and Prue stopped. All of them looked at what was in front of them. In the center was the calendar and around it were four rings that had symbols on but mostly were abstract. They were lose like they could be spun with very little force if they touched it. Prue ran her hands through her hair looking for anything that was identifiable.

"Now you know why the source wants this house so badly," Cole said.

"Well if we don't get Piper back soon he may get it," Prue said.

"Um there is something I need to tell you guys," Cole said and his voice was filled with concern.

"Cole is Piper ok?" Leo asks while holding his breath. Cole hesitated on the answering as he was not sure how to reply, "Cole."

"She made a deal with the source from what I heard, if she dies in the arena he gets her soul in exchange to not attack you guys," Cole replied and saw the utter disbelief in the sisters faces.

"She would never do that," Prue said but knew that Piper just might.

"I am sorry Prue but it makes sense, she probably thought she would be out of there by now and with just the two of you up here, she knew you were vulnerable," Cole said as Leo sat in a chair that was close to the sink.

"No," Leo whispered as his face went pale.

"We need to go now," Prue said and jumped on the contraption making her way to the center. It shifted slightly from her weight and seemed to be hovering off the ground. Phoebe did not question as she climbed onto the device as well.

"Phoebe you don't now how to use this thing," Cole said worriedly.

"The next fight is in two days Cole so we don't have time," Phoebe said as Prue pulled out the pen from her pocket.

"On the job training," Prue said as she saw a whole just big enough for the tip of the pen to fit in. She placed the tip in and could feel it vibrate underneath her as the four circles begin to spin in opposite directions.

"Ok this is freaking me out," Phoebe said as Prue was focused on the pen. She pushed it down and it laid flat in a groove as the tip was on a hinge from what she could tell. The spinning increased and the next thing they knew the basement was above them as they went down at an incredible speed. "Prue!" Phoebe yelled while holding onto her older sister while their hair now took on the form of something from Frankenstein as it was going straight up while they screamed. The not so fun ride came to a stop and they felt their stomachs continuing as the momentum were sudden.

"Ok – ok," Prue said as she let go of Phoebe.

"What the hell is it with the underworld and elevators, have they ever heard of a gradual stop," Phoebe said as she fixed her hair that was in her face.

"Wait I think my organs are still moving," Prue said as she put her hand to her stomach and try to get her balance.

Phoebe was looking around at the darkness, there was just a little light coming from the calendar they were on that seemed to glow little bit. She looked up and the same thing, darkness. "I can't see the basement."

"All right Pheebes lets figure this out," Prue said as she started looking at the symbols all around her. The others stopped spinning but she still could not see a pattern or recognizable design.

"Um do we know how to get back up?" Phoebe asks.

In the basement of the manner Leo and Cole were looking down a black whole. "Phoebe!" Cole yelled and then pressed his lips together," stubborn."

"I should have gone with them," Leo said as he started to pace the room and made sure not to fall into the whole.

"Can you sense them, can you?" Cole asks as he could no longer feel Phoebe.

"No, but I usually can't when they go to the underworld," he replied.

"I hope they know how to get back up because I can't seem to shimmer down there," Cole said.

"Me too," Leo said and both men looked down the whole.

Eight hours moves quickly when you're mostly unconscious and Piper was pulled out of her cage and put into the barrel filled with ice. She was too tired to make comments and her head was pounding from the lack of food and water so she decided not to tempt the guard to hit her in the back of the head. Sesu brought out the deck of cards again as Piper used the water to clean off her hand and picked up a piece of ice and put it in her mouth. The cold was nothing compared to thirst and luckily the guard and Sesu did not see her do it. After 10 minutes she was pulled out and took over to the table.

"You know the routine," he said and put the cup of water and plate of food on the table as Piper started the process of making the house of cards.

"I thought I was going to train today?" Piper asks while shivering and trying to concentrate as a card fell and he poured out some of the water and took some of the food off. Piper could feel her temperature rising as her anger was causing it. "I bet you're a bully in school," she said and continued building cards. Sesu said nothing as he drank his tea. Her hand was healed but now gave company to the other scar on it. By the time she was done only half of the water remained and three bites of food was on the plate.

"You're getting better," he said and moved the substance over to her. Piper drank the water and what was left of the food as the headache and nausea was beginning to subside as her body was warming up. "Good now we spar," he said and Piper stood up as the men cleared the room of anything that would get in the way. Sesu stood sideways and outstretched his hands one in front of the other. "Ok come at me with what you know," he said and Piper stood in the ready position. She then tried to strike him by remembering how she hit the wooden dummy, but Sesu was too fast and too good as he just moved her punches to the side and occasionally smacked her in the ribs, although it was not a fist it still hurt. He also occasionally slapped her face as though it was an insult.

"Let me show you," he said and moved much slower as he tried to strike her. Piper took the palm of her hand and pushed his arm away from her. It was then that she understood what he was doing to her. He was just moving her momentum and exposing open spots. It was like a light bulb went off in her head and she began to understand why she was hitting the wooden dummy like she was. He extended his arm again and she did the same thing but for added measure she smacked him in the ribs and he smiled. "See you can learn," he said and they continued this process until he felt she was deserving of a break.

"I do it when you go slow," she said and sat down while breathing heavily.

"You know it doesn't really matter in the ring because everything you learn goes out the window," he said and Piper looked at him confused.

"Come again?" she asks while a guard brought a cup of water.

"Its not like the movies Piper, things don't happen that way. For the most part it is just ligaments flying around hoping to make contact, but on occasion the training does kick in and you can take advantage of an opportunity," he replied.

"Who is my next opponent?" Piper asks while trying to absorb what he just said.

"A Viking," he replied and she almost choked on her water.

"Aren't they big?" Piper asks.

"Yes very, but size is irrelevant," he replied.

"Ok if you're going to bring up the little ant song don't bother," she said and he gave her an odd look.

"Ant song?"

"Never mind," she said as she heard humming in the background coming from a guard as she recognized the tone. She looked behind her and the guard smiled a little and lowered his head.

"We should continue," he said and they both stood up.

"Are you going to teach me how to kick?" Piper asks.

"No it makes you too vulnerable for attack, you must hit quickly and deadly," he replied and got in his ready position. Piper finally got a good look at his features as she has not wanted to look at him with any detail. She expected to see horns and red glowing eyes but instead there was a gentle face and short dark hair. He was wearing a long jacket that went down to his ankles and a white shirt underneath that showed a little on the collar and the sleeves. His shoes look more like slippers as they match in color of his outfit. He was not much taller than her which was odd considering how short she was. His dark brown eyes seemed focused and knowing. For brief moment he seemed like the guy next door but once he started throwing punches she was brought back to reality he was not.

Prue was sitting in the center with her hands to her face and her legs crossed while her elbows rested on the tips of her knees. Phoebe sat a crossed from her as she looked around into the darkness.

"Prue how long have we been down here?" Phoebe asks while looking at her wristwatch that stopped moving when they got down there.

"I don't know," Prue mumbled.

"It is really hot down here," Phoebe said and took off her small jacket and tossed it over the platform they were on. Prue lifted her head for a moment and saw her jacket floating in the air but moved slightly away from them. "What is something behind me?" Phoebe asks as her body tightened.

"No," Prue replied as she got up from her sitting position. Phoebe turned around and saw her jacket floating. "Its like there is no gravity down here," she said and took Phoebe's hand. "Hold on to me."

"Why – Prue don't," Phoebe said as Prue stepped out and off the platform. She started to float and pull away.

"Ok pull me back," Prue said and Phoebe did what she asks.

"That was insane," Phoebe said and smacked her in the arm.

"Ouch and I don't think we should fall off because I think we would just hover for eternity," Prue said and looked back down at the puzzle she could not figure out.

"Oh well we might die of starvation first," Phoebe said as she looked down at one of the symbols and noticed a Roman numeral on it. "Prue why would there be Roman numbers on a Mayan calendar?"

Prue began to look at all the symbols and noticed each one of them had a different number. There must have been hundreds but it was something. "Phoebe you're a genius," she said and for the first time since they've been down there she smiled.

"Um not sure what I did but I like the complement," Phoebe said.

"Math is the universal language," Prue said as she began to look for number 2.

"If you're going to say this was built by aliens..."

"No but I think we spell out the realm we want in numbers," Prue replied.

"The Buddhist realm right?" Phoebe asks.

"Yes," Prue replied and found the Roman numeral for 2 and placed her hand on it. She moved it to the front of her were the two pyramids were above each other, like dialing an old phone but did not snap back. "What number is U?"

"21," Prue replied as she moved the other symbol into place and continue this process until they spelled the word Buddha using numbers. Prue looked at the symbols and could not believe it was right in front of her face the whole time as it made an image of Buddha. They felt the contraption vibrate and the outside cylinders began to spin.

"Hold on here we go," Phoebe said as they began to move sideways and then up. They had to get on their knees as the G forces were pushing them down. And just as suddenly as it started, it stopped but they saw something completely unexpected.

"Are you kidding me," Phoebe said as she got a good look at what was in front of her.

"Shangri-La," Prue said and could not believe the beauty as bright vibrant colors filled their eyes. There was bright green grass beautiful flowers blooming and an ornate building in the background.

"Wait this is not where Piper is," Phoebe said.

"Yeah we need to reverse it," Prue said and looked down at the platform once more and this time spelled Buddha backwards.

"Ahddub?" Phoebe said and giggled a little but the little humor were short-lived as again they were tossed around like rag dolls and was barely able to hold on as they stopped in front of the underworld realm of Buddha.

"That doesn't look ominous at all," Prue said as she looked down a long bridge. There were statues of red Lions and dragons as a man at the end dressed in Japanese armor was at the gate.

"Lets go get our sister back," Phoebe said and they both stepped off as Prue grabbed a pen to keep the device from going anywhere and stepped onto the bridge.

To be continued…