Charmed Role Reversal



Witch's Holiday

Piper put down the Book of Shadows. She raised her hands to her face, rubbed both of her eyes with the tips of her index fingers and exhaled.

It was getting to her. It was really getting to her.

She had not had enough time to fully recover - neither mentally nor emotionally - from her trips to Russia and her encounters with the KGB demon who almost killed her. And now, this very morning, they had followed a trail they thought would lead them to the demon who was killing the young girls. Instead, it led them to a demon named Mortimer, a demon un-connected to the girls' killings.

But Mortimer was a powerful demon, nonetheless. He had knocked Piper out, then almost crushed her and Phoebe to death, before Prue intervened at the last moment and rescued them.

They had barely managed to escape from Mortimer and had not vanquished him. Maybe he knew who they were and was going to come after them at The Manor, Piper thought to herself. And even if he was not coming, there were surely other demons trying to kill The Charmed Ones. And besides that danger to them, they still had to find the demon killing the girls, before the Summer Solstice arrived. And before he killed again in preparation for the solstice.

The stress was becoming too much. Piper needed a break. She needed to just get away from everything.

To get away for a week. To get away for even a day.

But there was no getting away. Not even for an hour.

Not from the demons who wanted to kill her.

And not from what she had to do as a real-life witch.

Piper exhaled again, stood up and closed the Book of Shadows. She made her way to the attic door and started down the stairs. She had reached the second floor and was about to go into her bedroom when she heard a very loud bang come from downstairs.

Piper hurried down to the first floor and stopped short at the foot of the stairs. What was left of the front door was now lying on the floor of The Manor some five feet from the doorway, having been smashed off of its hinges, its glass shattered and strewn all around. And standing a few feet past the door was Mortimer. He had indeed followed them home to kill them.

Piper instinctively waved her hand at him. But Mortimer had been immune to being frozen in their morning encounter and he was no less immune to it now in the afternoon.

"Phoebe!" Piper shouted as she turned and ran back upstairs

"Mortimer's here," Piper called out as Phoebe ran out from her room. "Make up a spell - quick!"

"Agghh," came from Piper.

Mortimer was now at the bottom of the stairs. Using the demonic power of his right hand from afar, he had raised Piper two feet off the top step of the staircase and was squeezing and crushing her throat.

"Uh...uh..." Phoebe stammered. "Demon named Mortimer, who's here...uh...below us...uh..."

Phoebe tried to think of what to say next. But she couldn't. No words came to her mind.

"Uh...uh..." Phoebe said. She gave up on the spell and ran down the stairs at Mortimer, intending to use her martial arts on him. But the demon used the powers in his left hand and from a distance sent the force of a punch into Phoebe's stomach that doubled her over half-way down the staircase. Then he sent another force of a punch on her chin, knocking her head back and her body over the railing. Phoebe fell to the floor and lay on her back, knocked out.

Mortimer turned his attention back to Piper and tightened his demonic grip on her throat. Her air cut off, she felt herself helpless and losing consciousness.

"So there you are!" a female voice shouted from The Manor's open doorway.

Mortimer turned towards the voice. Seeing who it was, he focused his anger and his powers on her. As he did, he released his grip on Piper and she dropped to the top step, then tumbled down the rest of the stairs to the living room floor.

The woman who now had the demon's attention was standing squarely in the doorway, staring defiantly at Mortimer. She was in her late-thirties, close to six feet tall, with broad shoulders but without an ounce of fat on her Amazon-like body. She was wearing a khaki shirt and khaki shorts, with lots of cargo pockets on them, and matching khaki knee socks. On her head was a bush hat, the left side of the brim tied up. A yellow bandana rested around her neck.

Mortimer growled in anger at the woman as he stretched out his arm to send his demonic force at her.

"Oh, that will do you no good with me," the woman said, sprinkling something in the air between her and the demon. He stretched out both of his arms at her but nothing happened.

"My turn, now," the woman said in an Australian accent. She took out a vial from her shirt pocket as she quickly moved closer to the demon. Opening the vial, she threw it's contents in Mortimer's face.

"AGGHH!" Mortimer screamed and began to shake.

"AGGHH!" he screamed again and then a third time. Then, it seemed to Piper, he just exploded. And he was no more.

"Are you all right?" the woman asked. Piper, gasping for air and wincing from the pain, couldn't answer. Seeing Phoebe spread out unconscious on the floor, she forced herself to crawl over to her.

"Phoe...be," Piper said with difficulty, shaking Phoebe with one hand.

"Oww..." Phoebe moaned as she began to stir.

"Are...you...OK?" Piper asked, still trying to catch her breath.

"I...think so," Phoebe said. "Agghh...what about you?"

"I'm OK...more or less," Piper replied. "Thanks to..." She looked up at the woman.

"Lumeire Darby," the woman said. She approached the girls, lent Piper a hand and helped her up, then did the same to Phoebe.

"Aghh," Piper moaned, wincing again.

"Are you sure you're all right?" the woman asked her.

"Uh, yeah...just bruised," Piper replied. "And my throat's been better." She twisted her head back and forth and ran her hand around her neck.

"I...I just couldn't come up with a spell," Phoebe said, rubbing her chin. "Oh...that hurts!" She rubbed her other hand across her stomach, which felt equally sore. "I just...couldn't think."

"You're witches," Lumeire said.

"Uh...yes," Piper replied.

"Well, that explains it," Lumeire said. "I've been chasing after Mortimer from Canberra, to Sydney, then to Wellington and now here to San Francisco. He was doing his business with no time for side trips. Couldn't understand why he suddenly came to this house. But now I do."

"We ran into him this morning," Piper said. "He tried to kill us and when he realized that he hadn't he must have followed us home." Piper took another deep breath.

"My power to freeze had no effect on him," she said.

"No, it wouldn't," Lumeire said. "He was strong and a real bounce of a demon."

"Bounce?" Phoebe asked.

"Uh, that's means bully in Yank," Lumeire said.

"My power didn't work," Piper said, "and Phoebe couldn't come up with a vanquishing spell when we needed it. We're stressed out. It's all become...too much."

Piper thought longingly of her home. At that moment, she wanted so much to be there and to just be Holly Combs again. Just her horses, her garden - and no demons trying to kill her.

"That was close," Piper said, bringing her mind back to her surroundings. "Much too close - again!"

"You need to take a break," Lumeire said. "You need to go on holiday."

"We can't," Piper said.

"Can't?" Lumeire asked. She looked at them for a minute. "You're new at this, aren't you?"

"New at what?" Prue asked, standing in the doorway where the door used to be. "And what happened here?"

"Mortimer was here," Phoebe said, "and almost killed us. Lumeire vanquished him and saved our lives. Oh," she said turning to Lumeire, "I'm Phoebe. This is Piper and that's Prue. We're the Halliwells."

"Thank you...uh...thank you," Prue said to Lumeire, taken aback by what had happened to Piper and Phoebe.

"Always glad to help a mate," Lumeire said.

Prue steadied herself, took a deep breath, then came into The Manor and joined them by the staircase.

"You're a witch, too," Prue said.

"Just like you," Lumeire replied.

"And you're from Australia?" Prue asked.

"From Brizzie," Lumeire said, then saw the quizzical look on Prue's face. "That's Brisbane," she explained.

"Your name...Lumeire," Prue said. "I know it from somewhere...uh, photography. Louis Lumeire and the Autochrome. It was...an early process for color photography."

"Good onya," Lumeire said. "You know your photography."

"I've, uh, recently become a photographer for a magazine," Prue said. "And, uh, somethings about photography are...now in my head."

"Louis Lumeire and his brother Auguste were my mother's great-uncles," the witch said. "Our branch of the family wound up in Australia and the name got passed down to me as my given name."

"I didn't know the Lumeires were witches," Prue said.

"They weren't," Lumeire replied. "My powers come from my grandfather who married into the family. The powers skipped my parents' generation but then I got them."

"So you've been at this a long time," Phoebe said.

"Indeed I have," Lumeire said.

"We haven't," Piper said. "We are new at...being witches."

"You have to learn to take a break every now and then and go on holiday," Lumeire said.

"The demons won't let us," Phoebe said.

"And besides them, there's one particular demon we have to find before the Solstice," Piper added.

"It won't do you any good to find him," Lumeire said, "if you'll be all stuffed and burnt out when you do. You won't be able to take him on." She paused for a second.

"You need the show, mate," she said.

"The show?" Prue asked.

"What show?" Phoebe asked.

"The show," Lumeire said, and gave them a small smile. "Where's your telly?"

"Telly?" Phoebe asked.

"Television," Prue explained. "It's in here." She led Lumeire into the parlor.

Lumeire picked up the remote control. She closed her eyes and concentrated as she aimed the unit at the television set.

Suddenly an image appeared on the screen.

"And now, live from our studio," the voice-over announcer said, "it's time to play
Let's Make a Spell."

The name of the show flashed in large red letters across the screen as the show's theme song began playing.

"What is this?" Phoebe asked.

"And now," the announcer continued, "the one who can make the right spell just for you, the one who can make your spell come true. Our own spell master - Montgomery Hallmark!"

The audience broke into applause as a man carrying a microphone came out from behind the wide, off-white curtain and onto the stage. He was in his late forties, with a square face, neat hair and a blue suit.

"Hello, hello," Hallmark said. "Thank you, Johnny. And welcome to Let's Make a Spell. We're going to give a chance to win a fabulous prize to the witch who is the most stressed out, the most under pressure, the most in need of a break."

"Oh," Piper said, "that's us. We should be there."

"That's good, now," Lumeire said. "You had to say that first. Now we can go on." She pulled out a pouch from one of the cargo pockets on her shorts, looked inside it for a second and then closed the pouch.

"Here, take the whole thing," she said, tossing the pouch to Prue. "I'm sure there's something in there that will be what you'll need."

"Need for what?" Prue asked.

"Oh, and I usually get a feeling about this," Lumeire continued, "and I'm always right." She paused, looked at Prue and gave a little shrug. "Hmm...most always, right. Take number two."

"Number two?" Phoebe asked.

"Number two of what?" Piper asked.

A gong was heard coming from the TV.

"Now, look there," Lumeire said. "Don't take your eyes off the telly. He's starting his spell."

"Find the ones who are most deserving," Hallmark began the incantation.

"Good luck," Lumeire said.

"Ohhh!" Phoebe said as she felt herself being pulled towards the television.

"Ohhhhhh!" Piper and Prue said as they were pulled along with her. They all felt themselves hit the TV screen - and then go right through it.

The next thing they knew they were sitting in the show's studio audience. They were in the three seats off the aisle in the fifth row. Below them, on stage, was a large curtain. In front of the curtain were cameras pointed away from the stage and at Hallmark, who was standing in the first row in the audience.

"What..." Piper began to ask as they looked around.

"...light up for us to see," Hallmark finished saying his spell. As he did, small lights suddenly appeared around the girls, outlining each of them as they sat together.

"There," Hallmark said, "the spell has found not one but three witches who are deserving of the chance to play - Let's Make a Spell."



Click speaker for Opening Credits Theme Song

The audience began to applaud as Hallmark made his way past the first four rows and down to the girls.

"What is your name?" he asked as he stuck the microphone in Piper's face.

"Uh...uh..Piper," she said.

"And you?" he asked.

"Uh...Phoebe.

He moved the microphone to Prue.

"Uh...Prue," she said.

"Ah...a coven," Hallmark said.

"Uh....no, we're not a coven," Prue said, trying to make sense of what was happening. "We're...sisters."

"Now, stand right up, all three of you," Hallmark said.

The girls looked at each other, looked around the studio audience and the stage, then slowly and self-consciously stood up.

"Are you ready to play Let's Make a Spell?" Hallmark asked.

"Uh...uh..." Piper stammered.

"Good," Hallmark said. "Now, for the Level-One prize, give me a sprig of clover. A not un-common ingredient in potions. If you have a sprig with you you'll win the Level-One prize."

"Uh...we uh...didn't bring...uh...anything with us," Phoebe said.

"Uh...wait," Prue said. She was holding Lumeire's pouch. She opened it, looked around inside it and pulled out a sprig of clover.

"Congratulations!" Hallmark announced and the studio audience broke into applause.

"Uh...why does this all...this show...seem...familiar?" Phoebe asked.

"OK, you have the Level-One prize, which is OK," Hallmark said, handing Phoebe a card with a big Level-1 printed on it. "But wouldn't you like to give this up and try for the Level-Two prize instead?" he asked.

"Level-Two?" Phoebe asked.

"Phoebe said 'Level-Two'," Hallmark announced, taking back the Level-1 card from her. "So here we go."

"A potion contains araceae, borage, valerinaceae and iridaceae," Hallmark said. "What is the most likely missing fifth ingredient to make this potion work?"

The girls were silent.

"You can discuss it together," he encouraged them.

"I've put arvensis into potions," Phoebe said, "but not in every potion."

"I've mixed araceae and iridaceae," Piper said, "uh...uh...with capsicum."

"All the time?" Prue asked.

"No," Piper said, "not all the time."

"I've used capsicum in potions with borage," Phoebe said.

"Your answer, ladies?" Hallmark asked.

"Ok," Prue said, "then we'll go with capsicum."

"Uh...capsicum," Piper said.

"That's it," Hallmark said, holding up a card with CAPSICUM written on it. He pulled out another card with a large Level-2 on it and handed it to Piper as the audience applauded again.

"Of course, you can stop with your Level-Two prize and not risk losing it," Hallmark said. "But you don't really want to do that."

"We don't?" Piper asked.

"Piper said 'we don't'," Hallmark announced. The audience applauded as Hallmark took back the Level-2 card from Piper.

"Look to the stage," he said, as something rolled out onto it. It was about ten feet high with what looked to Piper like a picture of a demon in a circle in the top half of it. In a half-arc above the picture's head was the word 'SPELL-O-METER'.

"Now," Hallmark said, "just come up with a spell to vanquish that demon."

"What?!" Phoebe exclaimed.

"OK," Hallmark said, "you're stressed out witches so I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll give you the first line of the spell. You supply the last line. Ready?

"To vanquish this demon who stands so tall..."

"Uh...we'll...uhh," Prue said, "say our words..."

"Uh...no," Phoebe said. "Not our words, our powers. We'll use our powers..."

"And..." Piper said, "make him...small?"

"Fall," Phoebe said. "We'll use our powers and make him fall."

Hallmark turned towards the spell-o-meter and Prue could hear the audience collectively hold their breaths.

Suddenly there was a loud ringing sound and smoke started to come out of the demon's picture. Above his head appeared dozens of small lights, flashing on and off. The lights spelled out the word 'VANQUISHED'.

The audience applauded wildly as Hallmark turned back to the girls.

"Congratulations," he said, "that was great spell making. And now its time for your chance to win the big prize."

The girls looked at the stage as something small flew out to the curtain. It had wings, was green in the middle and yellow on top. And it was holding a wand.

"What..." Prue started to say.

"Is that a...fairy??" Piper asked.

"It looks a lot like Tinkerbell," Phoebe said.

"Yes, of course it's Tinkerbell," Hallmark said. "Go ahead Tinkerbell."

Tinkerbell touched the curtain with her wand and the curtain disappeared, revealing three identical beige colored doors. Each door had a large, red triquetra on it. Inside the triquetra were the numbers 1, 2 and 3 on each of the three doors, respectively.

"Oh my goodness," Phoebe said. "I knew this show looked familiar."

"OK," Hallmark said, "the coven now has to pick which door they think the big prize is behind."

"We're not a coven," Prue repeated, "we're sisters!"

"Which door do you choose," Hallmark said. "Door number one...door number two...or door number three?"

"One," someone next to them in the audience shouted. Three, two, three, one. The advice was coming fast and furious from the whole audience.

"We don't know what this all really is," Prue said in a low voice. "For all we know this could all be a demon's trap."

"If it is a demon's trap behind those doors," Piper said, "it's a heck of an elaborate one."

"Lumeire said to go with number two," Phoebe said. "She seemed like a real witch. And she was right about needing that pouch."

"We don't have anything better to go with," Piper said, "so I say we take her advice."

Prue thought for a second and then exhaled.

"OK," she said, and turned to Hallmark. "Number two."

A hush quickly fell over the audience.

"The coven has picked door number two," Hallmark said. He made a half-turn to the audience then turned back to the girls.

"We're not a coven!" Prue repeated again, more annoyed.

"Let's see what's behind..." he began then paused for three seconds. "...door number three that they didn't pick."

Tinkebell flew over to the door, touched the triquetra with her wand and the door disappeared.

"A witch's library," Johnny the announcer's voice boomed. "Twenty-four volumes of the best in witches' reading, including Spells for Dummies and its new companion book, Potions for Dummies. It also includes the popular The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Witches and the newest best selling autobiography of that singing 'Chairman of the Witch Board' -  I Did It My Way: a Witch's Lifetime Rebellion Against Conventional Spell Making."

The audience applauded briefly then stopped in anticipation of what was coming next. Hallmark, with an enigmatic half-smile, turned first to the audience then back to the girls.

"Now we'll look at what's behind..." he began, then stopped again. He checked that the audience was on the edge of their seats.

"Door number...one," he finally said.

A soft "ooh" came from the audience. They knew what that meant.

Tinkerbell flew over to Door Number One and touched the triquetra with her wand. The door disappeared to reveal a hideous looking head on an oval piece of wood.

"It a demon's head," Johnny the announcer boomed, "from the demon Vadim. Vanquished but preserved and mounted, it's suitable for hanging over the mantle of your fireplace. Shows what your powers can do and serves as a warning to other demons that you're a powerful witch not to be fooled with."

"We-e-ll, that certainly was not the big prize," Hallmark said. "So that means that the big prize..." he paused for a second, then continued in a louder voice, "is behind Door Number Two! Tinker...."

Tinkerbell used her wand and the door disappeared. In its place was a beach, with coconut bearing palm trees towering over pristine white sand. Behind the sand was ocean, a small wave forming and then breaking at the beach's edge.

"It's an all expenses paid vacation spell in beautiful Hawaii," Johnny's voice boomed.

Tinkerbell flew over to the girls and dropped yellow and pink leis around each of their necks.

"Included in this spell," Johnny the announcer continued, "are four days and three nights at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island. You'll cruise on mahogany canal boats along tranquil waterways and explore the oceanfront resort by air-conditioned monorail."

"That...doesn't look like a picture," Piper said, motioning to the beach on stage.

"I...can feel the breeze coming in off of the water," Piper said.

"That looks...is this...real?" Prue asked.

"Is this real, Prue asks," Hallmark said. "The coven is overwhelmed."

"Not a coven...sisters," Prue said, half absentmindedly, her head concentrating on what was on the stage.

"Tell them more, Johnny," Hallmark said.

"You'll relax under palm trees," Johnny the announcer resumed, "and walk carefree along both the white sand and the black sand beaches. You'll get away from everything, from the stress of daily witch life. They'll be no demons for you to chase after. And, best of all, they'll be no demons chasing after you."

The audience was applauding wildly. One woman next to Piper stood up and gave her a congratulatory hug.

"And that's not all," Hallmark said. "Go on, Johnny."

"Need something in Hawaii but don't want to use your powers for personal gain?" Johnny asked. "Well, we've taken care of that. Included in your prize are three on-demand, personalized spells with invocation. So you don't have to use your powers at all. Courtesy of Merlin's Magical Services.

"Don't know where to get that hard to find apocynaceae root for your potion? Have a writer's block trying to finish that last line of your spell? Let Merlin's help you. With over fifteen-hundred years' experience, Merlin's is the most prestigious name in magical services. And the only service to bear the King Arthur Seal of Approval.

"Merlin - the most respected name in magic. Serving England, and the world, since the year 525."

"Uh...uh..." Piper stammered. "We...uh...don't have time..."

"Time is not an issue," Hallmark assured her. "We'll get you to Hawaii in no time."

"Transportation to and from Hawaii," Johnny the announcer resumed, "as well as between the Hawaiian Islands, is provided by Broomstick Blue."

Tinkerbell fluttered above the sisters and waved her wand. Immediately, three metallic blue-colored broomsticks flew out from the stage and came into each of the girl's hands. There were eight sections to each handle. Each section had words written on it and was outlined in tiny lights.

"Having trouble keeping up with that demon?" Johnny the announcer went on. "Tired of using slow, mortal transportation? Fly Broomstick Blue. Whether your travel is round-trip or multi-city, Broomstick Blue has a supersonic broomstick for you. Each equipped with the new 'Follow-that-Demon' autopilot. And each broomstick comes with a sound barrier sonic boom noise suppressor so you can travel quickly and quietly.

"Fly with Broomstick Blue and before you can say 'Abra Cadabra', you'll be at your destination.

"And Broomstick Blue's broomsticks have a hidden compartment filled with Terra Blue chips. So you won't go hungry while you're flying.

Broomstick Blue - Vanquish Hard, Fly Right."

"Congratulations to the coven of Phoebe, Piper and Prue," Hallmark said.

The broomsticks suddenly moved backwards between the girls' legs. The section on the broomstick marked 'Waikoloa' lit up.

"Tune in again next time," Hallmark said, "when another deserving witch will get to play Let's Make a Spell. Good-bye everybody."

The girls felt the broomsticks slowly rise above the floor.

"Ohhh," Phoebe said.

"Hold on," Prue cried. And the broomsticks, with the girls on them, took off.



"Oh...that was really great!" Phoebe exclaimed. She dried herself with her large hotel towel, adjusted the strap on her two-piece coral swim suit, then pulled up a lounge chair on Piper's right and sat down next to her. "Swimming with dolphins is amazing. No wonder this resort is so popular. You have to try it, Piper."

"I've signed up for it for late this afternoon," Piper replied. "But for now, I just want to lie here in the sun, feel the cool breeze and do absolutely nothing."

"Except drink a few piña coladas," Prue interjected. She was lying on the lounge chair on the other side of Phoebe, her two-piece aqua-blue swim suit matching the color of the pool's water. She took a sip through the straw of the drink that was on the small table beside her. "Was Stuart upset about our being here without him?"

"No, he wasn't," Phoebe said. "Well, maybe a little. But he understood our need for a vacation and how it happened. And he said that someone needs to be at P3 while we're here so it's for the best that he's back in San Francisco."

"What about Leo?" Piper asked. "I've been afraid to call him."

"Just as well," Phoebe said. "Stuart explained to him what happened. After Leo fixed the front door, he told Stuart that if The Elders found out that we went on vacation in the middle of these demons trying to cause major destruction they would be pretty upset with us. And if he were to join us they would surely find out. Not being here, he can try to cover for us. But we should make sure not to use our powers to make spells while we're here. That might tip off The Elders where we are."

"I have no intention of using my powers for anything while we're here," Piper assured her. Lying on her lounge chair in her black two-piece swim suit, with her eyes closed, she seemed to be perfectly relaxed and at peace with the world. "As far as I'm concerned, our powers were left back in San Francisco, along with everything else that's connected to being a real-life Halliwell."

Phoebe picked up the resort map that was lying on the small table next to Piper. They were at the Kona Pool at the southern end of the resort, near the dolphin area and the Lagoon Tower, one of three towers that housed the guest rooms and the tower closest to the resort's main lobby. The map showed her that their rooms, in the Palace Tower, were at the center of the semi-u-shaped resort. The Ocean Tower, the largest of the guest room structures, was at the northern end.

Though the distances among the towers was not that great, Phoebe was glad that they didn't have to walk between them. Her map showed her the routes of the canal boats and the monorail that  connected the guest rooms, restaurants, pools and the main lobby.

As Phoebe looked up from the map, she noticed a girl on a lounge chair behind her holding a colored drink. That looks like a Blue Hawaii, Phoebe said to herself. Hmm...I think I'll get one, too.

She put down the map, got up and headed toward the pool bar as Prue sat up on her chair and took the bottle of sun block lotion from the small table.

"Would you put some lotion on my back?" Prue asked. She put her hand with the bottle behind her back, in the direction of where Phoebe had been sitting, not knowing that she was no longer there.

A hand took the bottle from Prue, squeezed out some lotion and began applying it to her back.

"That's good...now a little lower," Prue said. The hand dutifully moved to the position Prue had requested.

"I think I'm going to go," Prue started to say, turning around, "to the - Ahh! What are you doing!" she demanded.

"Applying your lotion, as you requested," the man said. He was in his mid-thirties with black, wavy hair and a tanned face. He stood a good half a foot taller than Prue but with a build only slightly larger than hers.

"I was walking by when you stuck out your hand and asked to have the lotion put on you. There was no one else here so I assumed you were asking me...and I obliged."

"Uh...I was asking my, uh, sister," Prue said. "She must have left. Sorry...I apologize for shouting at you."

"No apology needed," he said. "I'm Damian Hallett." He extended his hand with the lotion bottle to Prue.

"Uh...Prue Halliwell," she said, taking the bottle from him.

"I trust you're enjoying your vacation," Hallett said, smiling.

"Yes, I am," she replied. "It's very relaxing here."

"I suppose it is," he said, though his tone seemed less than sure about it. "Where are you from?"

"San Francisco. And you?"

"What a co-incidence," he said. "So am I."

Co-incidence? Prue thought. There aren't any co-incidences with the Halliwells. But then again...we're on vacation from being The Charmed Ones.

"What do you do there?" he asked.

"I'm a photographer with Four One Five Magazine," she answered, looking at him carefully.

"I read it occasionally," he said. "I'll make a point when I get back to read it more often and look for your photo credits. Though I'm sure I'll be able to tell which ones are yours without looking at the name."

"Really?" she asked.

"You are a most charming and beautiful woman," Hallett said. "Your photographs couldn't be any different."

"That's...very kind of you," Prue said, and found herself blushing.

"And what line of work are you in?" she inquired.

"I dabble in opportunities," he answered

"What kind of opportunities?"

"Any kind...and all kinds," he said. "Whatever presents itself."

"So you're here for business?" she asked.

"If an opportunity arises," he answered. "Or if I can make one arise. If not...I'll just be on vacation. But unlike you, I'm not here with anyone. A vacation in Hawaii alone is not much of a vacation."

'I can understand that," she said.

"Good," he said. "Then perhaps you'll do me the honor of joining me for a drink later."

"Uh...I don't know," Prue demurred.

"Your company will make at least part of my vacation a real vacation," he countered.

Prue looked at Hallet for a moment.

"Sure," she said, and smiled at him.

"Six o'clock in the Malolo Lounge off the main lobby," Hallett said, smiling back. "Until then...enjoy your lotion."

Prue watched Hallett walk away. Then she gave a small smile of satisfaction and went back to her lounge chair.

 

The stars were so clear and sharp. Phoebe was sure she could reach out and touch them.

Piper sat back as far as she could, her eyes looking up at the stars, as well. The gentle movement of the hotel's canal boat as it followed its course through the hotel's waterways and lagoons added to the serenity that she felt. Everything was quiet and peaceful.

Phoebe took a deep breath. She loved this night air. She had enjoyed Hawaii two years earlier when she had been here filming the Fantasy Island episode, just before she got the part on Charmed.

But it was different now. Maybe it was because she wasn't working all day on the show. More likely, she thought, it was because she wasn't working all day - and all night - being a witch. They had finally managed to get away from their daily lives as The Charmed Ones, if only for a few days.

They were still the Halliwells, of course; not Alyssa Milano, Holly Combs and Shannen Doherty. But as far as anyone here was concerned, they were just three ordinary sisters on vacation. Three sisters whose name happened to be Halliwell.

"The sky...is so big here," Piper remarked.

"There's no light pollution here," Phoebe said. "That's why it looks so big...and so beautiful."

"Everything is so beautiful here," Piper said, thinking about what she had seen that day. The coconut trees against the background of the ocean, the purple shadows of the banyan trees at sunset. Hawaii is really someplace special, she thought.

They came to a stop at the boat landing at the Ocean Tower, the guest rooms furthest from the main lobby, at the opposite end of the resort's property, and the largest of its three guest towers. The tower complex was actually made up of three not quite complete rings of rooms, so that the grounds within each ring were open to the grounds of the ring next to it.

Two couples sitting in front of them got off and after a moment the boat left the landing and continued on its journey.

It circled around the length of the Ocean Lagoon that filled most of the grounds within the Ocean Tower complex, then doubled back on the canal towards the Palace Tower. Their rooms were in the Palace but they were enjoying the tranquility of the boat ride and had no intention of getting off. And so when the boat reached the tower's landing, they didn't.

"We're just here for the ride, Captain," Piper said to the girl in the naval uniform at the bow of the boat, as she turned around to see if they were getting off.

"And my compliments on how smoothly you've steered the boat," Phoebe added.

"Thank you, but I'm just an operator, not a Captain," the girl replied. "I don't really steer anything. The boat is on a track that's hidden beneath the water. It's course is fixed - it's just like the boat rides at Disneyland. I start it and stop it and control its speed but I don't get to navigate anything."

"Hmm...well, we're enjoying your ride anyway," Phoebe said.

"Prue's missing a good thing," Piper said. "I hope her dinner date is worth it."

 

"Zabaione con Frutti di Bosco Gratinato," the Donatoni's waiter announced, placing the cream and berry pastry cup dessert in front of Prue.

The Italian restaurant's lanai-front seating along the resort's boat canal had given Prue and Hallett a spectacular view of the sunset. And now the candle-lit table and the subdued canal waterway lighting complemented the star-filled night sky.

"I hope you've enjoyed the evening," Hallett said.

"I have," Prue assured him. "Though I had expected only a drink or two."

"You had to have dinner anyway," Hallett replied, "so there was my opportunity to have it with you. I told you I dabble in opportunities."

"But that's in business," Prue said, tasting the dessert.

"And one that's a pleasure should be passed by?" he asked, rhetorically. "I take every opportunity that comes -"

A few musical notes coming from Hallett's jacket pocket interrupted him.

"Oh," he said, as he looked at the number on the cell phone he now held in his hand. "Uh...would you excuse me for just a moment, Prue?"

"Of course, Damian," she answered.

"Yes," Hallett said into the phone, as he stood up and turned partially away from Prue. He listened for a moment to what was being said on the other of the call. "That is not acceptable." Hallett's voice was low - and stern. "If you fail, you'll have to answer to The Source!"

Hallett closed the cell phone and put it away as he sat down and smiled at Prue.

"I'm sorry...business," he said.

"An opportunity?" Prue asked, finishing her desert.

"That remains to be seen," he replied, ambiguously.

"Well, drinks and dinner have been a most enjoyable opportunity for me," Prue said. "Thank you very much, Damian."

"My pleasure, Prue," Hallett said, "and I do mean a pleasure." They both stood up from the table.

"Are you going?" he asked.

"I think I'm going to say good-night," she replied.

"Another opportunity is presenting itself to me," Hallett said. He went over to Prue and put his arms around her shoulders. "The opportunity to kiss you." He pulled her closer to him and started to kiss her. Prue hesitated for a second - but only for a second. Then she put her hands on his neck and back and solidified their kiss.

"Still want to say good-night?" he asked, after their kiss ended.

"Ummm...maybe not," Prue smiled at him.

 

 

"King David Kalakaua built and kept 'Iolani Palace as a modern, up-to-date building," the docent said, as she pointed around the room. "Less than five years after its completion in 1882, the King installed electric lighting, only a few years after its invention."

The docent walked past a portrait of King Louis Philippe of France, a gift to King Kamehameha III, the third of the Kamehameha Monarchs of Hawaii, and stood next to two portraits of a man and a woman.

"And here is King David Kalakaua, the last King of Hawaii, and his sister and successor to the throne, Queen Lili`uokalani," she said, pointing to the paintings. "David Kalakaua was known as the Merry Monarch, an appellation he shared with Charles II of England. In addition to supporting the arts in Hawaii - he himself was a musician - he liked to entertain and socialize.

"But he did not do that here, in the Blue Room, but rather in the Throne Room, just across the hall. And if you will follow me, we will go there now."

Phoebe walked over to the portraits to get a closer look, then turned and looked around the room at its blue draperies, blue furnishings and blue carpet. They don't call this the Blue Room for nothing, she thought.

'Be sure to hop over to Honolulu and take the tour of 'Iolani Palace,' Stuart had told her over the phone. 'It's the only royal palace in America'.

Stuart knows his history, she thought, and he was right about coming here. She had been on the lanai hale kia - the veranda with pillars that runs the length of the palace and looks out onto the palace grounds. She had walked through the Grand Hall, its walls covered with portraits of Hawaii's monarchy, a magnificent koa wood staircase at one end leading up to the family rooms on the second floor, the Hall's handsome symmetrical arched wooden doorways leading off to the first floor rooms. Including the Blue Room where that she was in.

In her mind, Phoebe pictured King Kalakaua and his wife Queen Kapi`olani in the room, greeting their guests in the informal gatherings that were held there. And the pride that he had in his palace, built to reflect a modern Hawaiian nation in a modern world.

"If we don't go wikiwiki we're going to miss the rest of the tour - Phoebe."

Startled, she turned around and saw a man behind her. In his early thirties, tall and slim, a handsome face and neat, brown hair, he stood there faintly smiling at her. Phoebe stared at him intensely.

"Phoebe Halliwell, you really should continue with the tour and see the Throne Room," he said.

"Who are you - and how do you know my name?" she demanded, alarmed.

"Colby Lockwood," he replied. "I'm also staying at the Waikoloa and I saw you at the pool yesterday. When I see a beautiful girl, I make it my business to find out who she is and learn what I can about her."

"So you inquired about me," Phoebe said, feeling cautiously relieved at his answer."And what did you learn about me?" she asked.

"That you're from San Francisco and that you're not here alone," he replied. "That is, you're here with your sisters...but you are alone in that you're not with a man."

Phoebe tilted her head and looked at him closely. "You're not very shy, are you," she said. "The 'man' in my life, if you must know, is back in San Francisco."

"One doesn't come to romantic Hawaii alone without the man in one's life," he said. "If he let you come here by yourself, then that begs the question of how much you really mean to him. Or...how much he really means to you."

"Do you always come on this quickly - and strongly?" she asked.

"Only when I come upon someone as lovely as you," he answered.

Phoebe gave a slight chuckle.

"It appears that you're here - in romantic Hawaii - by yourself," she remarked.

"At the moment, I don't have anyone special to bring with me. And besides, I'm here on business," Lockwood said.

"What business would that be?" Phoebe asked.

"Now you're the one doing the inquiring," he said. "But I don't mind. I'm a facilitator."

"What does that mean?" she asked.

"I do what's needed to help people get what they want," he replied. "I arrange things so that their business goals work out."

"In other words," Phoebe said, "you...uh..."

"Facilitate," he said, and she laughed..

"By the way, I didn't see you on the plane coming over from the Big Island this morning," he said.

"I...uh...took an early flight," she replied

"I was on the first flight," Lockwood countered.

"There, uh...was an un-scheduled flight before that," she said, trying to cover up for her Broomstick Blue 'flight' that brought her to Honolulu. "It was just there when I came to the airport."

"Well lucky for you," he said. "Shall we catch up with the tour?"

"By all means," Phoebe said and they headed together towards the Grand Hall.

 

The tour finished, Phoebe and Lockwood stepped out on to the Palace's lanai.

"I learned a lot this morning," Phoebe said. "This was really nice."

"Yes, it was," Lockwood agreed. "Especially taking the tour together with the present company."

Phoebe gave him a small smile.

"I have some business to attend to in Honolulu," he said.

"Facilitating?" Phoebe asked, still smiling.

"Yes - precisely," he said. "But I'll be on the Aloha flight back to Kona on the Big Island at twenty past four. Will you be taking that one?"

"Uh...I haven't decided yet," Phoebe said. I don't need a reservation with Broomstick Blue, she thought.

"Well, then I'll see you back at Waikoloa," Lockwood said. "I'd like that to be for dinner."

"As I said before, there is someone," she reminded him.

"Yes - the one who let you come to Hawaii by yourself," he said. "But there's no ring on your finger - and perhaps that's why. But in any case, you're not committed yet."

Phoebe glanced at her left hand. Maybe I should be committed by now, she thought. But no - she knew that she still wasn't ready to do that.

"Uh...maybe for drinks," she said.

"OK...I'll start with that," Lockwood said, smiling. "Six-thirty at the bar in the Boat Landing Pavilion in the Ocean Tower."

"OK," Phoebe said.

 

There was a broad smile on Piper's face as she emerged from the dolphin pool. With their permanent smile, she felt the dolphins were smiling back at her and started to wave good-bye to them.

I probably look foolish doing that, she thought. But...I don't care. I'm on vacation and I don't care how it looks. And so she waved at the dolphins again.

Then she noticed a woman near her doing the same thing.

"With their intelligence I think they really like that," the woman said. "I think they make some kind of bond with us."

"I think you're right," Piper said. "I certainly feel like I made a bond with them."

"First time?" the woman asked.

"Yes, it is," Piper replied.

"Third time for me," the woman said. "Oh, I'm Rita Wilkie."

She was about five inches taller than Piper, pretty with dark brown hair, high cheeks, luscious lips and in her early to mid-thirties. She projects a presence about her, Piper thought.

"I'm Piper Halliwell."

"Halliwell," Rita repeated. "Hmmm...that name rings a bell. But I can't remember why. Oh well, no matter. I'm pleased to meet you."

"I...don't recall our having met before," Piper said, "but I'm glad to meet you, too."

"Where are you from?" Rita asked.

"San Francisco," Piper said. "And you?"

"Hollywood," Rita replied. "At least, I used to be. When I was acting."

"You were a movie star?" Piper asked, her interest piqued.

"Hardly a star," Rita answered. "Though I like to think that I could have been had things worked out differently. No, I made half a dozen pictures - even made one with Meryl Streep - but my name was always way down in the credits. I was Rita Ellison back then, using my maiden name. I did a few guest shots on TV - I did 90210 twice and thought I might have a chance there after Neve Campbell left her Brenda role."

"Uh, that would have been, uh, something," Piper said. She remembered that Tori Spelling told Shannen that Campbell had starred in that role in the changed real world - the real world that changed when Charmed became part of it

"Something...yes," Rita said, her mind briefly going back to a Hollywood of a few years earlier. "But I didn't get the call. And then I met Roland - my husband. And I had to choose between continuing to seek fame or settling for fortune. Roland is a property developer, both of new and existing ones. I was discouraged at my acting prospects so I chose Roland. Oh yeah, and love, too."

Rita shrugged her shoulders.

"Well, at least I got the fortune part of it," she added with a wink. "Or at least something akin to it. That is, depending on how successful Roland's work is. Sometimes he's got so much on the line I wonder if we'll have anything left if it doesn't all work out right. Especially when he's trying to take over existing properties. But then he manages to pull it off...like some kind of magic."

The words caught Piper's attention. No, she thought. I am on vacation! I am not going to even think about what she meant by 'magic'.

"Ah, but enough of me," Rita continued. "I can get carried away. It's my acting background - sometimes I think that the camera's still on me."

"You really miss it, don't you," Piper said.

"Oh, I don't know...maybe sometimes," Rita said. She hesitated for a moment. "Yeah...truth be told I do miss it."

"I know how you feel," Piper commiserated. I miss it even more than you do, she thought.

"You do?" Rita asked, surprised.

"Uh, that is...I know someone who was - uh, is - an actress," Piper said. "And she...she had to stop acting, at least for a while. She misses it a lot."

"Who's that?" Rita asked. "Maybe I know her."

"Holly Combs," Piper replied, a little sadness in her voice. Rita's longing for her acting career had touched a nerve in Piper.

"Don't think I knew her," Rita answered, shaking her head. "But if she has a chance to get back into it, tell her not to give up. There's nothing like it."

Piper exhaled.

"I know," she said. "And I won't. I mean, I know that she won't give up."

Rita gave Piper a quizzical look. She was about to pursue what Piper had said when a man interrupted her.

"There you are, darling," he said. He was tall, almost six feet, with broad shoulders and just a tad more weight than he should have had. Blonde hair lay on a broad face with a pointed nose and dark, piercing eyes. He looked to Piper to be almost ten years Rita's senior. And there was something about the way he looked at Piper that bothered her.

"Did you enjoy your swim with the fish?" he asked.

"I've told you they're mammals, Roland, not fish," Rita said, exasperated. "And yes, I did enjoy their company. Oh, sorry Piper. This is my husband, Roland. And this is my new friend, Piper Halliwell."

"Hello," Roland said. "You have a knack for making friends so quickly, Rita." Piper detected a disparaging tone in his voice.

"Left over from my Hollywood days," Rita retorted. "You have to learn to be friendly to everyone there, Piper."

"Yes...you can't afford to do otherwise," Piper said.

"Now that you've finished your swim here's your ring back, darling," he said. He took out an emerald ring from his pocket and handed it to Rita. Piper saw that it was a stunning white gold ring, an oval emerald set in a cluster of diamonds

"Are you also from Hollywood?" Roland asked Piper in a cold tone.

"Piper has a friend who is," Rita interjected. "Are you up for breakfast tomorrow, Piper?"

"Uh...I don't want to...uh -"

"Intrude on us?" Rita asked, finishing Piper's sentence. "You won't be. Roland has some business to attend to so he'll be out early. So I'd enjoy the company."

"Uh, in that case...sure," Piper answered.

"Nine o'clock at the Palm Terrace by the Ocean Tower," Rita said. "I just love their Mango Tango Smoothies. See you then."

 

 "I haven't seen you all day, Prue," Phoebe said. They were standing by the boat landing at the Palace Tower, "Piper had breakfast with...uh, what's her name?"

"Rita Wilkie," Piper said.

"Right," Phoebe continued, "but I thought we'd have breakfast together before I went touring in Honolulu."

"I, uh, had breakfast with Damian," Prue replied.

"Whoa...you had dinner with him last night and then saw him again this morning for breakfast?" Piper asked. "I see I don't have to ask how dinner went."

"It was...fine," Prue admitted. "I had a...wonderful night."

"Night?" Phoebe asked, surprised. "Was breakfast...a continuation of your dinner?"

"Prue, you just met him!" Piper exclaimed. "Don't tell me you spent the night -"

The loud crashing sound cut Piper off.

"What was that?" she asked.

"Over there," Phoebe said, pointing down the boat canal. "That boat turned over in the water."

The boat was about seventy yards from them, near the ballrooms attached to the main lobby. They started running towards it, passing the red-orange flamingos in their private water Sanctuary, seemingly un-disturbed by the loud noise of the crash. They reached the boat as it lay in the water at the bend in the canal, opposite the Japanese Tea Room.

Four people, including the boat's operator, were in the water. Two others were still inside the boat, hanging on to its window pillars, which with the boat on its side, were now on top and above them.

The sisters went into the water, which reached above their knees. They grabbed three of the people and pulled them onto land. Prue went back for the fourth person while Piper and Phoebe got into the boat and helped the two people inside it get out.

"Are you hurt?" Phoebe asked two of the people who were spitting up water.

"I...I don't think so," a young girl said.

"I'm soaking wet...but I think I'm all right," a man said.

"Margie...Margie," a woman frantically shouted. Piper had just helped the woman out of the boat and the woman ran to the young girl and hugged her.

"Are you all right?" the woman asked.

"Yeah...I'm fine, Mom," Margie said.

"What happened?!" another woman asked

"I don't know," the operator said. "We just...went off the track."

"Has this ever happened before?" Prue asked.

"No...never," the operator said. "We've never had an accident like this."

Hotel staff were now running to them as a crowd of guests started to gather.

"Is everyone all right?" a hotel man in a suit asked.

"OK everybody," another hotel man in a suit said, "it was just a minor incident. We'll take care of everything. Please move along and enjoy your stay here."

A couple of men that Phoebe assumed to be part of the hotel security starting politely but forcefully leading the people away.

"You too, ladies," one of them said.

"We just saved all of those people from -" Piper started to say.

"Thank you but we'll take it from here," he said firmly and led them away with the other guests.

"That was very strange," Phoebe said. "To run off of its track like that."

"Well, now that we're sopping wet," Piper said, "let's go up to our rooms and change."

That was strange indeed, Prue thought. She looked back over her shoulder at the boat as they slowly walked to the Palace Tower and their rooms.

 

"The Crossroads of the Pacific," Lockwood said. "That's how Hawaii was known back in the days of the great ships that crossed the Pacific in the twenties and thirties. Honolulu was always a port-of-call for them, wherever they were headed. It gave the Islands a unique combination of mystique, charm - and romance."

They had been sitting at the Boat Landing Pavilion at the edge of the boat canal for the better part of an hour, enjoying their drinks.

"I think Hawaii still has all of that," Phoebe said.

"I'm glad you feel that way," he said. "Especially about the romance part."

"You're persistent, aren't you," she said.

"As a facilitator, I have to be," he replied. "It has its benefits in non-business areas, as well."

"I'm meeting my sisters for dinner," Phoebe said, as she started to get up from the table. "Thank you for the drinks. This was...very nice."

"It was indeed...nice," Lockwood said, as he stood up as well. He came closer to Phoebe, put his hands behind her shoulders and gently kissed her.

Phoebe did not put her hands around him. But she didn't resist him, either.

Their kiss ended, Lockwood had a small smile on his face. Phoebe, self-consciously, realized that she had one, too.

"Perhaps we can move up to dinner tomorrow evening," he said.

Phoebe hesitated. She knew how she felt about Stuart. But despite that, she knew that she wasn't prepared to commit herself to him. Maybe being away from him for a few days was relieving the sub-conscious pressure she felt about making that commitment. And maybe seeing someone else would give her a fresh perspective.

"Perhaps," she told him. "I'll...call you tomorrow."

 

"That was a marvelous breakfast," Phoebe said, the next morning. They were walking towards the exit of the Orchid Café, just outside the Lagoon Tower, the guest room complex closest to the Main Lobby.

"I'm glad we were able to have it together," Piper said. "Thanks to Damian and your friend uh...Colby being busy."

"Let's not forget the Wilkies," Phoebe chimed in. "They were also -"

The loud crashing sound interrupted her. They stopped and looked at each other.

"Not again," Piper said. "It can't be."

They ran outside and saw a crowd starting to gather on the tower's grounds. They rushed towards it and made their way past the people standing at the edge.

"Oh my goodness!" Phoebe exclaimed.

The lead car of the monorail was off its track, twisted and suspended in mid-air. The car attached to it was twisted sideways while the third car was halfway off the track. They could hear the moaning and the cries for help coming from inside the cars.

But before they could do anything, half a dozen of the resort staff came running and pushed aside the crowd. One of the staff was talking excitedly into his walkie-talkie. Three of the others started to go into the monorail cars to reach the people trapped inside them while the remaining two men started to push the crowd back.

"Everyone...please leave...it's all under control," one of them said as another five men from the resort staff came running.

"Everyone back!" one of them ordered. Two of them joined the first two in aggressively dispersing the crowds while the other three started crawling inside the overturned car to help the trapped guests.

The girls found themselves being pushed back and away from the scene when a man they recognized as the Assistant Manager approached.

"What happened here?" Prue asked. "Yesterday it was the boat and today the monorail."

"Just minor incidents. Nothing for you to be concerned about," he said, as he brushed past them.

"These aren't minor incidents," Prue said. "There's something going on here...and we need to find out what it is."

"Prue, we're on vacation," Piper said. "Let the resort's staff take care of it. They get paid to do that. And besides, what makes you think it's something we should get involved in?"

"I was speaking to one of the other boat operators last night," Prue said. "We had gotten to be a little friendly from my rides that I took. He told me they've had an occasional breakdown of a boat. But there has never been an accident with the boats in the twelve years that the resort has been open. Nor any accidents with the monorail.

"And now it's more than just getting dunked in the canal water. People were hurt here today," she added. "Two accidents in a little more than twelve hours. We have to find out what's going on."

Piper exhaled.

"OK," she said reluctantly. "But how do we do that? We just saw the Assistant Manager stonewall us."

"We have to get someone with the authority to make them tell us about what happened and everything that they know about it," Phoebe said.

"And how do we do that?" Piper asked.

"With a spell," Prue answered.

"Uh, Leo said we shouldn't use our powers here to make any spells," Piper reminded her.

"Not our spell," Prue said. "A spell from Merlin's Magical Services."

 

"Merlin, we need a spell," Prue announced and the section on the broomstick marked Spells lit up. Piper and Phoebe looked on as Prue held the broomstick with both of her hands.

Spell Description began to flash in the next section.

"I guess we describe the spell, now," Piper said.

"A spell to get authority to make the resort give us information about the accidents and let us find out what is really going on here, so that we can stop it," Prue said.

The flashing light changed to a steady light.

"What happens now?" Piper asked.

"I don't know," Prue said. "Let's wait and see -"

Prue stopped as they saw the words change to Connection Established.

"Huh...high tech spells. Do you think they're using Internet?" Phoebe quipped.

After a few seconds the word Invocation lit up below it.

   "Provide the authority, provide the power 

    To learn what you wish, this very hour."

"Who said that?" Phoebe asked. "And what was that?"

"It came from the broomstick," Piper said.

Spell Invocation Completed was now lit up in that same section.

"Who was speaking?" Phoebe asked.

"Someone at Merlin's," Prue answered. "They made a connection with the broomstick and cast the spell."

"That connection must have made it as if they were here with us," Piper said. "Which would let the spell be invoked here."

"Hallmark said that we get three spells with invocation," Prue reminded them. "So this must be the way Merlin's does it."

"That was innovative," Piper said.

"OK...so Merlin's made up the spell and invoked it," Phoebe said, "but what's changed?"

"I don't know," Prue said. "Let's find out."

They left the room and went down to the Palace's atrium lobby. Phoebe liked the small palm trees that were spaced throughout the lobby, which ran the length of the tower and led out to the boat landing and monorail stop.

"I don't see anything different that will help us find out what's happening," Piper complained.

"Perhaps my unworthy self can be of assistance to you," a voice said.

They turned around and saw a somewhat heavy man with oriental features and small, black eyes. He wore a white three-piece suit and a white derby-style hat with a turned-up brim.

"I am Inspector Chan of the Honolulu Police," he said, showing the girls his badge.

"Inspector...Chan?" Piper asked.

"Uh...Charlie Chan?" Phoebe asked, incredulously.

"My humble self is known to you," Chan said. "It must be from imaginative journalists who write of my cases to sell newspapers."

"How...how can this be?" Phoebe asked, stunned.

"We used a spell to get us authority," Prue said. "And a police Inspector certainly does that for us."

"But he's...Charlie Chan...he's...," Piper stammered.

"Just like some other people..." Prue said, "like witches who are now real."

Phoebe put her hand on Chan's arm and felt it.

"Uh...he's real, too," Phoebe announced.

"Very real," Charlie said, "to great relief of my daughter Rose. She complains that sometimes newspaper exploits make me into make-believe Superman."

"I'm Prue Halliwell and these are my sisters Piper and Phoebe."

"Haie - three lovely young women with same last name," Charlie said. "I will have to look at you when I speak so you will know which Miss Halliwell I address."

"Just call us by our first names, Inspector Chan - Prue, Piper and Phoebe," Prue said.

"I will agree to your request if you will do same and call me by very American first name," he said.

"Uh...sure - Charlie," Prue said.

"Now, let us talk of how I can help," Charlie said.

Prue told Chan about the accidents with the boat and the monorail.

"And we want to find out what is happening and if there is more to this than just accidents," Phoebe added.

"You have special skills to bring to investigation?" Chan asked. "Perhaps witch skills?"

The girls looked at Chan with surprise.

"You refer before to spells and witches being real," Charlie said, "so I make policeman's connection. All three of you are real witches?"

The girls looked at each other, not sure how to answer him.

"Yes, we are," Prue admitted.

"Good," Charlie said, with neither surprise nor disbelief. "Your powers may yet be of big importance. Now I go and do basic investigation."

"Good," Phoebe said, "where do we start?"

"You start by going out into nice sun and sitting in lounge chair at pool," he said. "Group of spiders put flies on guard but single spider can work successfully with little notice. Three beautiful young ladies together will draw much attention to investigation. More than would one old policeman.

"But I need one lady to assists me. Miss Prue, you come with me," Charlie added. "You have knowledge of accidents and resort people. My ample girth and weight will serve to obscure so slim a young woman."

Chan and Prue headed outside, leaving Piper and Phoebe in the lobby.

"He didn't give our being witches a second thought," Phoebe said.

"I guess Merlin's spells are really thorough and cover everything," Piper said.

"And compact," Phoebe added. "There was a lot of spell power packed into those few words. He even has a family and a history," she remarked, with some amazement.

"Just like we Halliwells have," Piper said. "You shouldn't be surprised about that."

"I've seen a few of the old Charlie Chan movies with, uh...Sidney Toler," Phoebe said, "and he looks exactly the way he does in them. And he sounds like him, too."

"Someone at Merlin's must have seen the movies as well," Piper smiled. "And...we also look and sound exactly as we do on TV," she added.

"But that's different," Phoebe said. "We are real. That is, we play witches but we...uh that is, our characters..."

Piper smiled at her.

"OK," Phoebe said, giving up. "So what do we now?"

"Do as Charlie said and head for the pool," Piper said, enthusiastically.

 

Prue saw the ambulance pull away as she and Chan approached the scene of the morning's accident. The resort's security staff had cordoned off a very wide area around the monorail and they were some distance from it when they were stopped by one of the security men.

"I'm sorry but this area is closed off," the man said firmly.

"Wise decision but we must examine the scene," Chan said.

"You can't come through," the man said, trying to push them back. "This is only for authorized people."

"This makes me authorized," Charlie said, showing the man his police badge. He didn't wait for a reaction but simply brushed past the security man with Prue.

The security man turned around and saw the resort's Assistant Manager looking at him. The man shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. The Assistant Manager rushed over to Charlie and Prue.

"You can't be here!" he said to them.

"Understand your desire to keep people away but cannot honor it," Charlie said. "I am Inspector Chan of Honolulu police."

"Honolulu?" the Assistant Manager repeated. "Uh...this isn't Oahu and you're out of your jurisdiction here. You'll have to -"

"Chief of Hawaii County Police felt it valuable to request my temporary assignment to his department," Chan said. "All of Big Island now my jurisdiction."

The Assistant Manager exhaled.

"I see," he said, unhappily. "I'm Hugh Nichols, the Assistant Manager. But this woman -"

"Is assisting me in investigation," Chan said, cutting him off. "Now, tell me about monorail."

Nichols gave Prue a hard look, then exhaled again.

"The metal shoe that keeps the monorail on the track broke off in the lead car," Nichols said. "Though the monorail's speed isn't that fast, it was enough for its momentum to propel it to jump the track. That pulled the cars behind it off as well."

"And when was monorail shoe last checked?" Charlie asked.

"Last night," Nichols replied. "It's standard procedure to check the equipment when it stops running."

"What time is that?" Chan asked.

"One a.m.," Nichols replied. "Look, this was just an accident. It was metal fatigue."

"Accident is like bad marriage," Charlie said. "Terrible result even more tragic if could have been avoided,"

"What?!" the Assistant Manger said, angrily. "Are you accusing the Waikoloa staff of not having properly checked the monorail?"

"Accusations are like baking cake without all ingredients," Chan answered. "May look good on outside but cannot withstand close inspection. For now, I am just asking questions.

"And what of canal boat? Same inspection made?"

"Of course," Nichols said. "And that boat had been running since mid-afternoon when it was put back into service."

"And same metal fatigue?" he asked.

"Yes...they were just co-incidences," Nichols replied.

Chan's black eyes took on a sleepy look. But it was only a look.

"Co-incidence like ancient egg - leave unpleasant odor," Charlie said.

Now that's a good line, Prue thought. I'll have to remember to tell Brad to give it to me on Charmed when I talk about there not being co-incidences for the Halliwells.

"I will look at monorail cars and boat," he said. "Kindly advise your security staff to not touch anything else until I am done. Also, most important that no public mention to be made about broken shoe. No one besides security staff to know about it."

Charlie turned away from Nichols and motioned to Prue to follow him. He walked over to the lead monorail car, its twisted hulk still half-suspended in mid-air. The sun was shining on the underside of the car and he closely examined the mechanism.

"Look closely," he said to Prue. "What do you see on metal where unfortunate shoe was attached?"

"Uh...nothing," Prue said.

"Precisely," Charlie said. "Metal fatigue leaves scratches, particles, small cracks in remaining metal. Even if fatigue is sudden, trace of something should be in remaining piece."

"And this doesn't have anything," Prue said.

"This was clean break," Chan said. "Too clean for natural occurrence."

Prue took a deep breath and exhaled.

"That leaves...a supernatural occurrence," she said.

"Your witch experience will provide important insight," Chan said.

He knelt down on his knees and looked at the now exposed rail under the track way. He pulled out a small flashlight and examined the rail carefully.

"Rail is scratched from car going off," he said, "but otherwise not damaged. Come - we must examine boat from yesterday."

They went to the boathouse where a surly security guard reluctantly let them in. The boat was mounted on high skids. Chan and Prue bent down and looked underneath it.

"Same thing," Prue said. "No marks on the remaining piece."

"I must see broken show from accident," he said to the guard.

The guard exhaled, then slowly walked over to a locked cabinet. Opening it, he pointed to the piece.

"Equally clean break," Charlie said, as he looked at it closely.

"Fingerprints?" Prue asked hopefully.

"Taking fingerprints useless now," Chan said. "Too many cooks have been handling key ingredient."

"We need to find suspects," Prue offered.

"Hotel full with guests. No shortage of suspects," he replied. "Long experience teach, until guilty person found, suspect everybody. Not always easy to reduce many suspects but we must find way to eliminate and concentrate on likely possibilities."

He thought for a moment.

"We must talk again with un-enviable Assistant Manager Nichols," he said.

Chan and Prue went to the Main Lobby and headed for the office. Five people were in it, besides the secretary, and they all were talking excitedly on the telephones.

"Excuse me, can I help you?" the secretary asked.

"Must speak to Mr. Nichols," Charlie said.

"I'm sorry - he can't see anyone now," she said. "You'll have to come back."

"May indeed come back again," Chan said, showing her his badge, "but does not replace need of Mr. Nichols at present." They walked past her and into the inner office behind her.

"Ah, Mr. Nichols," Charlie said, "must again impose my presence on you."

"Yes, what it is Inspector?" he asked. "But be brief. You can see that I'm very busy right now. The Manager is away on the mainland so I must do everything."

"Understand you have much to do to keep guest calm," Chan said, "but problems rarely wait for clearing weather.

"Do you have any enemies who would want to hurt you?" he asked.

"Hurt me?" Nichols repeated. "What are you saying?"

"Must consider possibility of planned accidents," Charlie replied.

"Planned," Nichols repeated in disbelief. "Are you suggesting that these weren't accidents?!"

"Evidence strongly pointing in that direction but proof not yet at hand," Charlie answered. "Again I ask, do you have any enemies?"

"No, I don't," Nichols replied, indignantly.

"Most happy to find lucky man without enemies. What of resort manager and resort owner?" Charlie asked.

"Not to my knowledge," The Assistant Manager replied.

"Resort is big business," Chan said. "Much opportunity to at least make someone angry."

Nichols was silent for a moment, then exhaled.

"Well, maybe Tyr Castillion," he said. "He wanted to open his own resort on this part of the island. When he saw that it wasn't financially feasible, he offered to buy Waikoloa Village, instead."

"And owner refuse to sell?" Charlie asked.

"Yes, the resort is doing quite well and he's happy with it," he replied.

"Did Mr. Castillion keep pushing owner to sell?" Chan asked.

"Yes, he was persistent," Nichols admitted. "Finally, the owner named a very high price. Too high for Castillion and he walked away."

"Perhaps not walk very far," Charlie said. "I must see canal where boat go off the track."

Nichols exhaled. He had a potential catastrophe on his hands and didn't have time for distractions.

"Go ahead," Nichols said. "It's just down at the bend by the Japanese Tea Room."

"I desire make complete examination of boat track," Charlie said. "Would have great appreciation if you provide tall boots from maintenance men to wear."

Nichols exhaled again.

"Beth," he called and the secretary hurried in to his office.

"Get Inspector Chan a pair of maintenance boots," he instructed her.

"Two pair," Charlie corrected him. "Miss Prue require boots as well."

Nichols nodded his head and Beth went out.

"Beth will bring them to you," he said. "Now if you will excuse me, Inspector, I have a lot of work to do."

Charlie and Prue went into the outer office. Presently, Beth brought the two pairs of boots. Prue quickly slipped hers on while Chan sat down on a chair along the wall.

"Need of furniture to put on boots proclaims to world my excessive avoirdupois," he said. "Daughter Rose give me latest diets to try but I am what I am."

Having managed to get his boots on, Chan stood up and went outside with Prue.

"Accidents make bad publicity for resort," Charlie said, "that keep guests away. Business becomes bad, re-think offer from persistent Mr. Castillion, Owner loses money, price for resort drops like coconut from wind-blown palm tree."

"So Castillion hired someone to make these 'accidents'," Prue said, as they walked past the ballrooms.

"That is direction logic takes us," Charlie said.

"You said that we need to eliminate whoever we can and concentrate on likely possibilities," Prue said. "I can make a few suggestions."

"Am all ears to hear suggestions," Charlie said.

"Some people that we've met here," she continued. "Roland Wilkie, for one. He's a developer who takes over existing properties - like a resort in trouble. Piper said he's doing business while he's here. Maybe putting the resort in trouble is that business.

"And then there's Colby Lockwood. He told Phoebe he's a facilitator - he arranges things for people's businesses. Maybe he arranged these accidents for Castillion."

"Most interesting possibilities to examine," he said. "Are there others?"

There was one other, she knew. Damian. He looked for opportunities - or made them. But no...he couldn't be involved in this.

Prue hesitated.

"That's all for now," she said.

Charlie noticed her hesitation but said nothing about it.

"Will have important talk with two people you suggest," he said.

They approached the bend in the canal where the boat had overturned. The area had been cordoned off with a security guard posted to keep guests away. The guard had apparently been told to co-operate and he lifted the 'Do Not Enter' tape to let them through.

Charlie removed his white suit jacket, laid it down on the ground, and rolled up his shirt sleeves. Prue did the same with her blouse sleeves and they stepped into the water.

The water was clear and the sunlight made the inspection relatively easy. Charlie bent over and ran his hand along the track.

"Track is in tact," he said. "As we expected."

Remaining bent over, Charlie began to closely examine the canal bottom.

"What are we looking for ?" Prue asked, as she did the same.

"Facts to show us that present direction is not path to nowhere," he replied.

They continued slowly searching the canal bottom. Prue saw something shiny but when she picked it up she saw it was just a coin that had fallen into the water.

"Haie - what is this?" Charlie exclaimed as he picked something up. It was an indigo-colored, elliptically shaped metal object about three inches long, fitting comfortably in the palm of Charlie's hand. On the side facing upward was a gold-colored design.

Prue stared at the object and exhaled.

"That's a pentagram," she said. "It's a symbol that's been taken by demons and warlocks and used for their evil purposes."

"Small things sometime tell large stories," Charlie said. "This small object, shaped like egg, tell us that our direction is path to somewhere."

 

"Phoebe has the power of getting premonitions from things," Prue explained to Chan.

They stood around Phoebe in her hotel room as she took the indigo-colored object from Prue.

"But also visions from the past of things that happened with it," Prue added.

"Please Miss Phoebe consider offer for permanent employment in Honolulu station house," Charlie said. "All murder weapons come to you. Can eliminate tedious fingerprint check."

"You would still need your experts because it doesn't always work," Phoebe said. "And I don't know how to make it happen. Sometimes I feel it's just pot luck."

"One grain of luck sometimes worth more than whole rice field of wisdom," Charlie said. "Let us hope this is such lucky time."

Phoebe closed her eyes and concentrated for fifteen seconds.

"I saw him," she said.

"Who is he?" Prue asked.

"I don't know," Phoebe said, "I don't recognize him. He's tall and slim, maybe forty. Dark, straight hair, neatly parted."

"That eliminates anyone I've met here," Prue said.

"Me, too," Piper said.

"We must find this man right away," Chan said.

"He's here at the resort," Phoebe said. "I recognized the hotel's furniture in his room."

"How do we find him without a name?" Piper asked.

"We can try scrying," Phoebe said.

"How? We don't have a chain and crystal," Piper said.

"Maybe we do," Prue said. "Where did you put Lumeire's pouch?"

"It's in the second drawer," Phoebe answered.

"She had a lot of things in it," Prue said, as she went to the drawer and opened it. She pulled out Lumeire's pouch, brought it to the table and emptied it.

"What do you know," Phoebe said, as she picked up a chain and crystal.

"Lumeire said there'd be something in there that we'd need," Piper said. "She was right - twice."

"Scrying is something witches use to find someone," Prue explained to Chan.

"Only it doesn't always -" Phoebe started to say.

"Work, I know," Chan said, finishing her sentence. "Your modesty about your witch powers like suitor never asking girl to marry him for fear of seeming pushy - honorable but misplaced. Your powers very good. Please proceed with scrying."

"Here's the map of the resort," Piper said, spreading it out on the table.

"OK - here goes," Phoebe said. She held the chain between her thumb and forefinger and let the crystal begin to swing across the map. The crystal started to swing in a small circle around the Ocean Tower. Suddenly it stopped and dropped down on the map.

"That's the Ocean Tower pool," Piper said. "He must be swimming in it."

"Or sitting around it," Prue said. "Let's go."

 

Having checked out the few swimmers in the pool, Phoebe slowly walked around the lounge chairs. Prue, Piper and Chan took up positions around the pool area, ready to move in at Phoebe's signal.

Phoebe had half-circled the area when she stopped. She stared at a man lying on a lounge chair, his eyes closed. She waited a few seconds to be sure, then signaled the others to come.

Despite his weight, Chan moved quickly on noiseless feet and reached her before Piper and Prue did.

"We must speak to you," Charlie said, shaking the man's shoulder.

"Huh?...What?"

"I am Inspector Chan of police. Please sit up."

"Police?" the man asked as he sat up on the lounge chair. "How can I help you, Inspector?"

"What is your name," Charlie asked.

"Gerry Richards."

"From where?"

"Boise, Idaho," he replied.

"Tell me Mr. Richards," Charlie said as he removed the indigo object from his pocket, "is this object known to you?"

"Yes, of course," Richards said. "That's from the treasure hunt. Did I win?" he asked excitedly.

"What treasure hunt?" Charlie asked.

"The resort's, of course," Richards said.

"Do you know of this?" Chan asked Prue.

"No, I never heard of it," she answered.

"Then you weren't one of the guests chosen to be part of it," Richards said.

"Please explain about this treasure hunt," Charlie said.

"I was to hide this thing in the canal, near the Tea House," Richards said. "Then when someone found it, we'd all win a hotel prize."

"If you were supposed to hide this, how did you expect it to be found?" Prue asked.

"I wasn't supposed to hide it too well," he answered. "Just so that it wouldn't be seen by anyone casually walking along the canal. Only by someone who was looking for it."

Prue and Charlie gave each other a look.

"Who told you to hide it?" Chan asked.

"Martha Peterson," he said.

"A resort guest?" Prue asked.

"Yes. She was also chosen to be in the treasure hunt," he answered.

"Did you know her before you came to hotel?" Chan asked.

"No," he said.

"Where is her room?" Chan asked.

"I don't know," Richards replied. "She brought the treasure to me."

"Do not leave resort until I give approval," Charlie said to him. "We will now find Martha Peterson."

After Chan called Hugh Nichols and got Peterson's room location, they went to the Lagoon Tower at the other end of the resort and up to her fourth floor room.

"Who is it?" a female voice asked in response to Chan's knock on her door.

"Inspector Chan of Honolulu police. Please be so kind as to open your door."

There was a moment's wait before the door slowly opened to reveal a woman a little taller than Phoebe. She was in her mid-thirties, with slightly curly dirty blonde hair, a pale complexion and big, green eyes. She was wearing a rose-colored print robe with, Piper assumed from the way she was pulling its lapels across her chest, nothing underneath it.

"I must speak to you," Charlie said, showing her his badge, "and much prefer to do so inside."

"Wow, a real police Inspector. Come in," Peterson said. "Are you like the ones on TV?"

Piper gave the woman a look,

"More like the ones in the movies," she told her. The Charlie Chan movies, she thought.

"Are you detectives, too?" she asked. "Three female detectives. They never do that on TV."

"You are familiar with this?" Charlie asked, showing her the indigo object.

"Yes, of course. That's part of the treasure hunt," she said. "Did I win a prize? Oh that would be so wonderful. I love contests. I always enter them back home in Peoria. Imagine, winning a prize from the Hilton Waikoloa."

"No prize today," Piper said. "You gave this to Gerry Richards?"

"Gerry Richards...oh yes, he was the next player in the treasure hunt," she said. "Everyone on our team is supposed to win a prize if the hunt is successful."

"Who told you to give it to him?" Chan asked.

"It was in the instructions that came with it," Peterson replied.

"Instructions from whom?" Charlie asked.

"From the hotel," she answered. "It said so right in the instructions. It came with that treasure hunt object."

"Who gave it to you?" Prue asked.

"The bellman brought it to me this morning," she said.

"You have instructions in your possession?" Charlie asked.

"No, I threw it out," she said. Charlie quickly looked around the room for the wastebasket and moved towards it.

"It's not in there, Inspector," Peterson said. "Housekeeping cleaned up my room before."

Charlie exhaled.

"What was this wrapped in?" Phoebe asked.

"Some plain brown paper," she said. "It just had my name on it. I threw that out, also."

"Do you remember which bellman bring this 'treasure hunt' object?" Charlie asked.

"The nice one, Rong," Peterson replied. "He helped me with my bags when I checked in. I asked him about his name because it's so unusual - I don't know anyone named Rong back in Peoria. He told me its Chinese."

"Beautiful and common yellow daisy in meadow only seem unusual to person living in barren desert," Chan said, with a hint of indignation. "I will speak to bellman with such unusual name. Thank you for your help."

They left her room and were standing in the tower corridor. 

"I don't think she knows any more than what she told us," Phoebe said.

"Unfortunately, neither do we," Charlie said.

 

 

 

Charlie and Prue came into the Main Lobby and walked over to the bellstand.

"Please be kind enough to summon Rong," Charlie said to the young female bellman standing there.

"Certainly, one moment," she said and headed off into a room off to the side behind the bellstand. In a moment, a young bellman came out of the room and approached them.

"Someone want me?" he asked them, looking from one to the other.

"I requested your presence," Charlie said, and proceeded to address him in Cantonese. The bellman replied in the same language and their conversation went back and forth. The three sisters stood by as spectators, unable to understand what was being said but sensing Chan's thorough probing of the bellman. The only words they recognized were 'Richards' and 'Peterson'.

Their talk finished, Rong went back into the side room and Chan returned to the three girls.

"He knows nothing that can help us," Charlie said. "Package was found on bellstand this morning. No one saw who put it there. Only Peterson name on it."

"Where does that leave us?" Phoebe asked.

"In hotel lobby at three o'clock," Charlie replied. "We have taken much time following path of pentagram object but have learned little of -"

The commotion of people suddenly running past them and out of the lobby cut him off.

"I recognize them," Phoebe said. "They're the hotel security staff."

"Something must have happened again," Prue said and they hurried outside.

The security staff was running towards the Lagoon Tower and they followed them. But instead of going into the tower grounds, the security staff ran around it towards the Dolphin Center.

Two young teenage girls were standing near the dolphin pool, Soaking wet, they were both shaking. One of them was crying. Three adult women and one man, also wet, stood beside them.

"Is everyone all right?" one of the security men asked.

"We were just...so...frightened," the teenage girl who was crying said.

"My arm hurts," the other teenager said. "I banged it trying to get away from them."

"Everyone back," one of the security men shouted. "Please clear the area."

"Best for the moment if you do as they say," Charlie said to the sisters. He pulled back his jacket to show his badge to the security man.

"I must see what has happened," Chan said. The security man exhaled and reluctantly let him through.

Chan went over to the teenager.

"Please tell me what happened?" he asked.

"The dolphins...they just went wild," she said.

"You were in the pool all together?" he asked.

"Yes...and we saw the dolphins starting to come in. We were ready to have fun with them," she replied. One of the security men gave her a towel and she quickly pulled it around herself.

"Then what?" Chan asked.

"I don't know," she answered. "The dolphins...just went crazy. Jumping...and turning in circles. They knocked us and hit us..."

"Did you see anything happen before that?" he asked.

"No...I don't think so."

"Did anyone see anything?" Chan asked loudly to the others.

"All we saw is those dolphins attacking us," the woman said.

"Did you see anyone near the dolphin pool?" Charlie asked. "Maybe on side, watching?"

"I don't know," one of the men said. "We were all looking at the dolphins."

Chan looked around at the six people. There was nothing more he would get from them, he realized.

"Was anyone from your friends or family watching you swim with dolphins?" he asked.

"My mother...was there...when I went in," one of the teenage girls said. "But she left right away."

Chan exhaled.

"Who is leader of swim with dolphins?" he asked.

"I am," a young girl said. She was in her mid-twenties, her dark brown hair in a ponytail which she was in the midst of opening. She was standing on the side next to one of the security guards.

"I am Inspector Chan of Honolulu police," he said.

"I'm Iris Menlo, the marine biologist," she said.

"Tell me, please, what your trained eyes saw happening," he said to her.

"I don't know what happened," she said. "I opened the gate to let the dolphins in to the encounter part of the pool. And suddenly they started jumping into the air, and swimming very fast in short circles. And they didn't look at who was near them. They hit a few of the people as they did that."

"And that is not normal behavior for these friendly creatures," Chan said.

"No, not all," Iris said. "They never act wild and excited like that. And they're always careful around people."

"Anything that you see would cause that?" Charlie asked.

"No, not yet," Iris replied. "But they seem to have calmed down now. I'm going back in and examine them."

"I will be anxious to learn what you discover," he said. "But please be careful during examination. Whatever affected dolphins may still be there."

Charlie walked over to the encounter pool and looked inside it for a moment. Then he turned around and went back to the sisters.

"What happened?" Piper asked, as they walked away from the dolphin pool.

"Dolphins attacked people coming to play with them," he replied.

"What?" Phoebe asked. "Dolphins don't do that."

"They do not unless something done to change their friendly attitude," Chan said. "Young biologist will examine dolphins and pool."

"And she may find another pentagram object," Piper suggested.

"Most definitely another pentagram will not be found," Charlie said. "We are in duel with someone quick and clever. Opponent left meaningless but elaborate pentagram clue to keep us busy chasing after trail and not interfere with his plan for dolphins."

"It's more than just that, Charlie," Prue said. "With the utmost respect for your abilities as a detective, had you found that pentagram by yourself you would have thought it to be curious. But you would not have understood what it meant nor have known who had held it. And without that knowledge you would not have been kept busy tracking it down and been out of the way all day.

"It's only Phoebe's power to get premonitions that gave you the trail to follow," she continued. "Whoever is behind all of this was counting on that. Which means...that he knows who we are."

"I must now amend my earlier offer to Miss Phoebe to join station house and extend same to you, as well, Miss Prue," Charlie said. "Your analysis make you first-rate detective."

"He's taunting us," Piper said, "challenging our abilities as witches."

"We must concentrate on reduced list of suspects but mind, like parachute, only function when open." He paused for a moment and glanced at Prue. "Must not have closed mind that there may be others."

"What do we now?" Piper asked.

"I go and find whereabouts of man who so covets this resort, Tyr Castillion," Charlie said. "There may be much to learn from him. You go and think about possibilities of all suspects. Especially of supernatural kind."

 

"Let's narrow down the suspects to whom we've had something to do with," Phoebe said.

"Let's start with your friend Colby Lockwood," Piper said.

"OK...he already knew all about me when we met at Iolani Palace," Phoebe said. "Which could be because he knew who we really are. That business about asking about me because I was pretty could be just a story he made up. And he was very interested in how and when I flew over there."

"He could have been toying with you about that," Piper said.

"Right," Phoebe said. "And he came on to me very strong, despite my telling him about Stuart."

"Like he was trying to keep close to you to keep tabs on what you were doing," Piper said.

"And, he facilitates getting business people what they want," Phoebe added. "Maybe he was using a demonic power to do just that."

"OK, he's certainly on our list," Piper said.

"Next up is Roland Wilkie," Phoebe said.

"Develops properties, including existing ones," Piper said.

"That would give him the interest in making the Waikoloa fail," Phoebe said.

"But there's nothing to link him to knowing about us being witches," Piper said. "And he's hardly said two words to me."

"Piper!" a woman's voice called out.

They turned and saw Rita Wilkie hurrying by.

"Hi," she said, breathlessly. "Did you hear about what happened at the dolphin pool?"

"Uh...yes, we did," Piper replied.

"Scary," Rita said. "Oh, I remembered why your name Halliwell was familiar. I heard Roland mention it the other day when we were having dinner. I think it had to do with a business deal...I don't remember which, Roland always has so many that he's juggling. Anyway, it was something about not letting Halliwell get in his way and stopping him.

"Of course, he couldn't have meant you, Piper. I hadn't even met you yet until the next day. And anyway, you don't have anything to do with Roland's business deals."

"Uh...no, I'm sure that I don't," Piper said.

"Well, I'm going to run," Rita said. "I want to grab a massage at the Kohala Spa. It's about the only thing left here that hasn't been shut down. Honestly, this place is falling apart. Broken monorail shoe, wild dolphins. What's next - facial mudpacks getting stuck on? At least the masseuse is human so I'll be safe. See you later."

"OK," Phoebe said, "that adds Roland Wilkie to our list. Sure sounds like he was talking about us being witches who could stop whatever he was planning on doing."

"Yes...maybe that's why he gave me that odd look when Rita introduced me to him," Piper said. "But we're not done yet." She paused. "You've been very quiet, Prue."

"Have I?" she asked.

"Yes you have," Piper said, "and you know that you have."

"There's one more person we have to consider," Phoebe said. "Damian Hallett."

"No...it can't be him," Prue said.

"Can't be?" Phoebe asked. "You mean, you don't want it to be."

"He's from San Francisco," Piper said. "Even though we didn't know about him there, he could have known about us. Remember what Tallor told us about our being on the Demons' Map to Witches Homes? And he just happened to be standing behind your chair so that he could put the lotion on you and meet you."

"And you said that he deals in opportunities - and makes opportunities if he they don't come along," Phoebe reminded her. "He could be making this opportunity for Castillion,"

"No...he's not like that," Prue said.

"Honey...you're heart's been reached by him," Phoebe said. "And that's stopping your head from working. And that may be exactly why he spent the night...uh, why he got close to you. To block your witch's perspective."

Prue exhaled.

"Charlie meant me...when he said not to have a closed mind," Prue admitted, slowly. "He knew that I was holding back a name. He may be from fiction but he's one sharp detective."

"Then you agree we have enough reason to add Damian to our list?" Phoebe asked.

Prue exhaled. She looked at Piper and then at Phoebe, then exhaled again.

"What is it?" Piper asked.

"There's...one more thing. One thing that I haven't told you," Prue said.

"Out with it," Piper said, firmly.

Prue hesitated.

"While we were having dinner, Damian got a call on his cell phone," Prue went on. "He turned away from me as he was speaking and thought that I didn't hear him. But I did." She paused.

"I didn't make anything of it at the time," she continued. "I was in the middle of enjoying being with...enjoying being on vacation and not thinking about demons." She hesitated.

"What did he say, honey?" Phoebe asked, taking Prue's hand.

"He told the person on the other end of the call that if he fails he'll have to answer to The Source," Prue reluctantly said.

"Oh, I'm so sorry, honey," Phoebe said, squeezing Prue's hand.

"We haven't run into The Source since we've become real Halliwells," Piper said. "But since he was referred to in some of the Charmed episodes he's real now, too. That is, if he wasn't real all along, just like the rest of the demons were real."

"And Damian may have someone working for him," Phoebe said. "And if The Source is involved, then this is bigger than just Castillion,"

"No...I still can't accept that Damian is...is...anything other than..."

"Someone who's made you happy," Phoebe said.

"We understand that," Piper said. "But, as much as I don't want to do this to you, Prue...there's just too much pointing at Damian to exclude him from our list."

Prue sighed and swallowed hard, then looked off unfocused ahead of her.

"Maybe it won't turn out to be him," Phoebe said, and gave Prue's hand another supportive squeeze.

"But for now, we have to suspect him," Piper said.

 

"Come in, Charlie," Phoebe said, opening the door to her hotel room. Piper was sitting on a chair while Prue was sitting on the bed, looking dejected.

"Unhappy Assistant Manager informs me that Mr. Castillion is now on way to resort," Chan said.

"Coming to see the results of his demon's work," Piper said.

"Also informs me that sixty-eights guests checked out early today because of 'accidents'," Charlie said, "and one hundred more said they will check-out tomorrow morning. Seventy-three reservations for future also have been cancelled."

"And that's just the first day," Phoebe said.

"I see," Charlie said, looking at Prue's face, "that list of supernatural suspects now expanded. Happy solution never see light if truth kept in dark," he said to Prue.

Phoebe went over the list of suspects and the reasons for their being on the list, including their conversation with Rita Wilkie. Charlie listened carefully, his mind making note of everything Phoebe said.

"All three could know who we are and could have a motive to see the Waikoloa fail," Piper said.

"Now we work to find which one has connection to Mr. Castillion and eliminate the others," Charlie said. "I will speak to each one."

"If you can find them," Phoebe said. "We don't know if they -"

A muffled noise at the door interrupted her. Piper walked over to the door and saw that an envelope had been slipped under it. She picked up the envelope, opened it and took out a sheet of paper.

"Everyone is invited to a free cocktail hour with a full buffet," she said, reading from the page. "To make up for the inconveniences and difficulties that have happened."

"They're trying to stop the stampede out the front door," Phoebe said.

"Whoever hasn't left yet will surely be there for the free food," Piper commented. "From five o'clock until half past seven in the Monarchy Ballroom," she continued to read from the invitation.

"That's in a little over half an hour from now," Phoebe said.

"Three suspects will likely be there to partake of hotel generosity," Charlie said. "I will speak to them individually there. After that, I will speak to man who so desperately wants to own Waikoloa Village resort."

 

"Mr. Colby Lockwood, I am Inspector Chan of Honolulu police."

"Hello, Inspector," Lockwood replied. "I've heard that you're about."

"I am investigating most unfortunate incidents at resort," Chan said.

"Investigating...do you mean that you suspect these are something other than accidents?" Lockwood asked.

"Suspicion is father of truth," Chan replied. "Remains to be seen nature of offspring."

Lockwood picked up a miniature frank-in-a-jacket.

"I see happenings at resort have not diminished your appetite," Chan said.

"I've seen all sorts of things happen in lots of places," Lockwood said. "Besides, the hotel's food is quite good. It would be a shame to miss it."

"Pardon my impertinent questions but it is routine with investigation," Chan said. "You have not chosen to leave unlucky hotel as have other guests today."

"No, I'm enjoying myself," he answered. "And I still may have business to keep me here."

"Yes, as facilitator," Charlie said.

"You know what I do - you've already investigated me," Lockwood said.

"I am informed of your business by Miss Prue Halliwell," Charlie said. "She is assisting investigation with her special talents."

Charlie looked closely at Lockwood's reaction to his choice of words about Prue. But he could not detect anything to indicate that Lockwood associated any meaning to them.

"I've only said hello to her once," Lockwood said. "But if she is anything like her sister Phoebe, then you have a formidable ally."

"How so?"

"Phoebe is an intelligent, self-confident and very capable woman," Lockwood answered. "My business aside, it may well have been worth my coming here just to have met her."

"Are you familiar with businessman Tyr Castillion?" Charlie asked bluntly.

"Yes, indeed," Lockwood admitted. "The business that brought me here is for him."

Charlie was taken aback by Lockwood's readily admitting the connection.

"In your business as facilitator, you are involved in Mr. Castillion's attempt to purchase this resort?"

"Yes, my job was to facilitate that, to convince the owners of the advantage to them to sell the hotel."

"Advantage that given problems at hotel past two days may be even greater," Chan said.

"That's how things go in business," Lockwood said. "Thing can change rapidly from day to day."

"I must ask where you were at ten minutes past five yesterday afternoon?" Chan asked.

"Ah - I see I need an alibi," Lockwood said. "Well, I have one. I was at Kona airport. I had just gotten off of my flight coming back from Honolulu. Will that do?"

Charlie shrugged his shoulders.

"Alibi like man holding cards in poker game," Charlie said. "Hand always looks good until challenged. Thank you for your time, Mr. Lockwood. Must ask you to please remain at resort until matter is concluded."

"I have no intention of leaving," Lockwood said as he helped himself to some coq au vin. "You should try some of this, Inspector."

"Alas, investigation and eating often like two ends of see-saw," he replied. "Almost impossible to achieve balance and allow both to have equal position."

Charlie made his way around the buffet to the other side of the room. A man and a woman, holding wine glasses, were standing off by themselves.

"Mr. Roland Wilkie and charming wife Mrs. Wilkie, if I am not mistaken," Charlie said.

"You are not mistaken," Wilkie said. "And just who are you?"

"Inspector Chan of Honolulu police."

"Honolulu? You're a bit far from home," Wilkie noted.

"I would very much enjoy being home with family on Punchbowl Hill," Chan said. "But requirements of investigation keep me at distance."

"Well, whatever you are investigating has nothing to do with us," Wilkie said, cavalierly.

"Regret having to contradict such a distinguished gentleman," Charlie said, "but investigation has very much to do with all resort guests."

"Really? And just what is it that you are investigating?" he asked.

"Unfortunate incidents that have plagued resort past two days," Chan replied.

"And that is all that they are," Wilkie said. "The result of poor management. Why do you policemen always try to look for things under rocks?"

"Oh Roland, you don't have to be so discourteous," Rita said. "I apologize Inspector Chan. Roland sometimes has his own little view of how the world should run."

"And that view includes developing existing properties such as Waikoloa Village?" Charlie asked.

"As a matter of fact it does," Wilkie said. "If you must know, that's why we're here. I will be developing this place for Tyr Castillion, once he buys it."

Chan's black eyes focused on Wilkie. He had not expected to hear him volunteer that information.

"I am intrigued as to how you develop existing resort that has been successful?" Chan asked.

"It's current situation has shown it to be less than successful," Wilkie countered. "Poor management always takes its toll. That's the first thing that I change when I take over rebuilding a property."

"And this resort certainly needs that," Rita said. "Broken shoes on the boat and the monorail, wild dolphins - about the only thing they've been good at is having a good chef. And a good wine selection." She took a sip from her wine glass.

"Then I look at each aspect of the property and find what is not efficient or not properly designed," Wilkie continued. "I am quite experienced at doing that."

"Waikoloa Resort has things not found in other hotels," Charlie said. "Like Dolphin Center."

"Last year, I spent four months developing the Wellington Exploration Center," Wilkie countered. "That included a marine biology education section that showcased dolphins. I know exactly how to turn this resort around."

"Pardon nature of question but I must ask where you were at six minutes to nine this morning?" Chan asked.

"Six minutes to nine?" Wilkie asked. "Why?"

"That is time of unfortunate incident with monorail," Chan answered.

"What? Are you actually asking me for an alibi?" Wilkie asked, indignantly.

"Role of policeman in investigation does not allow luxury of choosing questions," Chan said. "Must indeed know of your whereabouts at that time."

"Why are you asking that of me?" Wilkie asked.

Charlie shrugged his shoulders.

"You are not only hotel guest receiving question," Chan said.

"Oh tell him, Roland," Rita said. "You have nothing to hide."

Wilkie looked coldly at Chan. Then he exhaled.

"I was on my way to Kona," he said. "I was having a problem with the car rental and went back to Avis to exchange it. I recall the agent noting the time-in on the first car as nine o'clock."

"Unfortunate car problem may have good fortune for you hidden in it," Charlie said. "Significant alibi noted. Thank you for your time."

Charlie went back to the other side of the room and saw who he was looking for.

"Mr. Damian Hallett, I am Inspector Chan of Honolulu police."

"Hello Inspector," Hallett said. "How did you know who I am?"

"Miss Prue Halliwell assisting me in investigation gave me most accurate description of you," Charlie replied.

"Humm," Hallett said. "What are you investigating, Inspector?"

"Incidents of boat and monorail."

"And Prue thought you should investigate me?" Hallett asked, with mixed surprise and disappointment.

"Unfortunate profession make detective suspect innocent with guilty," Charlie answered. "Miss Prue responded to my request."

"I see," Hallett said. But there was some hurt in his voice.

"You are man who makes business in opportunities," Chan said. "But you do not take opportunity to leave afflicted resort as others have."

"Opportunities do not come along when everything is at its best," Hallett replied. "The situation here may yet present an opportunity for me."

"Failure of deer to run swiftly make lion very happy," Chan said.

"Oh, it's not quite that dramatic," Hallett said. "But business opportunities for success are often predicated on another's inability to do the same."

"And you feel that you can make successful opportunity here?" Charlie asked.

"I can do my part of it," Hallett replied. "There are people who know how to bring a certain touch to a resort. Just the right mixture of new and exciting activities that will bring more guests and keep them coming back. I may have the opportunity to woo such a person from his present employ and bring him here for the new owner."

"I was not aware resort was for sale," Chan said, innocently.

"Tyr Castillion has been trying to buy it for some time," Hallett answered. "The current environment may give him the opening he needs. If he does, I have the opportunity to receive a considerable fee from Mr. Castillion if I can bring this key person to the Waikoloa."

Again, Charlie thought. This suspect also has connection to Castillion.

"And you are negotiating with this important activity person while you are here?" Chan asked.

"I did most of the preliminary negotiation myself," Hallett said, "but it is being concluded by my agent. He's paid on contingency, of course."

"Regret must ask most un-comfortable question," Charlie said. "Where were you at ten minutes past five yesterday and at six minutes to nine this morning. Those are times of inability of present resort management to be successful."

"Throwing back my words at me, Inspector?" he asked. "And now I see that's cause for me to need an alibi. Uh, two alibis, apparently.

"Well, let's see. I was trying out the Kohala Pool sometime around five o'clock. Had I known I would need an alibi I would have been sure to note the exact time. But I wasn't alone in the pool and I stayed there for a good half-hour.

"As for this morning," Hallett continued, "I had gotten up a bit late and decided to let room service bring my breakfast. They were not particularly fast in coming and I had to call a second time. So I recall when it finally came it was ten minutes to nine. I'm staying in the Ocean Tower and the monorail accident was near the Lagoon Tower. I could hardly get there from my room in four minutes."

Charlie looked at Hallett carefully. This was the third of his suspects with what appeared to be a good alibi for the time of the 'accidents'.

"Did I pass your test, Inspector?" Hallett asked. "I believe my alibis are good, if not perfect, if I say so myself."

"Perfect alibis have way of turning imperfect without warning," Charlie replied. "Thank you, Mr. Hallett. Please do not leave Waikoloa Village until investigation is completed."

"No need to worry on that account," Hallett said. "The resort is offering this delicious free food. I wouldn't miss the opportunity that presents to me."

Charlie left the Monarchy Ballroom and went back into the Main Lobby. He asked a few of the hotel staff until he came to the girl bellman, who directed him to someone sitting in a club chair at the far end of lobby. Chan made his way towards the man.

"I am Inspector Chan of Honolulu police. I am informed that are Mr. Tyr Castillion."

"I am," the man replied. "What can I do for you, Inspector?"

He was a broad shouldered, large man, with a fittingly large, broad face. In his late-forties, he was younger than his prematurely grey hair would indicate. His eyes were a deep, piercing grey. Chan sat down in the chair that was at right angles to Castillion.

"I am investigating incidents that have befallen this fine resort the past two days," he said.

"I heard about the accidents," Castillion said. "Why are you investigating them?"

"If 'accidents' is proper word of description," Chan said. "You have for some time tried to buy Waikoloa Village."

"That's not a secret," he replied.

"Despite owner's insistent unwillingness to sell, you persist," Chan continued.

"I have and will continue to try to buy the Waikoloa," Castillion said. "Until I have it."

"Most ordinary businessmen recognize impenetrable wall and look for easier wall to break down," Charlie said. "Yet you have not. You have reputation as plenty smart businessman but you continue pursuit of resort. Perhaps expecting something will happen to change owner's mind."

Castillion's expression became excited and he leaned forward in his chair.

"My father was a persistent man," he said. "He kept after his goals no matter what happened and didn't lose sight of them. He taught us to do the same thing. My sister and I learned that lesson from a very young age - don't be deterred from what you really want."

"And you have both followed that lesson closely through life?" Chan asked.

"Yes - I've been better at it than she has, but yes - we have followed that lesson," he said. "And that is why I have not given up my effort to buy this resort. What I am expecting is that my persistence will wear him down and he will sell it to me."

 

"Inspector Chan," a girl's voice called to him. Charlie turned around and saw Iris Menlo coming towards him.

"Ah...respected marine biologist," Chan said. "Did your examination of dolphins lead to discovery?"

"It did indeed," Menlo replied. She held out her hand to give something to Charlie. As he put his handkerchief in his hand and took the object, he saw that it was a suction cup, made of clear plastic and about four inches in diameter.

"I found this caught in a corner of the gate that separates the encounter area," she said.

"Please be so kind and enlighten somewhat dense detective as to significance of find," Charlie said.

"A little over four years ago," Iris said, "as part of a study of dolphins in New Zealand, dolphin researchers Dr. Ingrid Visser and biologist Robin Baird, attempted to tag dolphins with radio transmission tags that they attached to them with suction cups. The dolphins immediately started jumping wildly in the air and swimming very fast in short circles. They realized that the dolphins were trying to dislodge the suction cups, whose presence was foreign to them and annoyed them, or even made them feel that they were in danger.

"It was exactly the same behavior that they displayed here today."

Charlie looked carefully at the suction cup that he was holding.

"Someone who wants to cause problems with dolphins would use this," Chan said. "Assumption made that he knew of this study."

"The results were published about two years ago," Iris said. "Anyone involved in marine biology would have known about it."

"All of the dolphins acted in this manner," Charlie said. "Would have required suction cup for each dolphin. But you found only one suction cup."

"The water in the dolphin pool is continuously being filtered," Iris said, "because people tend to accidentally drop all sorts of things into the pool. That can be dangerous for the dolphins. At the very least it could contaminate the water.

"So the filter automatically disposes of whatever it traps so that it does not affect the water as it's re-cycled. Whoever did this knew that the study reported that most of the dolphins had been able to dislodge the cups relatively quickly. So he knew we wouldn't find them on the dolphins when we examined them. And he counted on the filters to dispose of the cups once the dolphins had gotten them off."

"And no one would then no about suction cups," Charlie said. "He only needed brief time of cups annoying to dolphins to frighten swimmers." He stopped and thought for a moment. "Person who did this must also know about workings of pool filter trap. But did not expect that one suction cup would get stuck and not reach filter."

"What I don't understand is how anyone could get close to the dolphins to put the cups on to them," Iris said. "One of us would have seen someone near the dolphins on the other side of the gate where no one is supposed to be."

"Possibility of explanation begin to appear like vision of small pond in desert," Charlie said. "Whether real or only mirage requires more investigation. Thank you Miss Menlo for your great help."

 

"Haie - I go to three suspects to find which one has secret connection to Castillion and eliminate other two," Charlie said, "But I find that all three have relationship with him. And openly tell me of it."

He had just finished telling Prue and Piper about his conversations, including the ones with Tyr Castillion and Iris Menlo.

"And each suspect claims alibi for time of accidents," Charlie added.

"You can check their alibis," Piper said.

Charlie thought for a moment. "Something is very wrong here."

"At least we have a real piece of evidence," Prue said.

"I must go and make inquiry from my sources," Charlie said. "Also check on alibis. It is most likely that when I return I will ask you to make inquiry from your sources, too. In the meantime, I leave real piece of evidence in your care."

 

It was almost nine o'clock when Charlie and the sisters approached the bellstand. Rong, the bellman Charlie had spoken to earlier, was on duty.

"Rong, I have most important matter for you to do," Chan said to him. "Find these people, give them note from me and tell them it is urgent they come to Water's Edge Boardroom immediately. But do not tell them together nor bring them at same time. Understood?"

"I understand," Rong said. He took the paper with the names and went off on his task.

"Assistant Manager made small meeting room available for us," Charlie said. "Let us go await arrivals."

They made their way out of the lobby and onto the Lagoon Lanai walkway that curved between the boat canal and the resort's lagoon. They walked down to the Boardroom and went inside.

"Now we wait," Charlie said.

They sat down in the chairs that were set up around a round conference table. Their wait was not long. After five minutes the door to the room opened and Tyr Castillion came in.

"Your note said this was urgent, Inspector," Castilllion said. "It is after nine and I want to get back to Kona, where I'm staying."

"Apologize for lateness of hour," Charlie said, "but interference with your return home unavoidable. Please have seat until all are here."

Castillion gave Chan a hard look, then pulled back one of the extra chairs that was not at the table and sat down. Again the wait was not long for presently the door opened again.

All eyes turned to the door as Rita Wilkie walked in. She looked around the room at who was assembled with surprise.

"What's going on here?" she asked.

"Please come in and join us," Charlie said, standing up. "Your presence is most important."

Rita slowly came in to the room but did not take a seat. Castillion now stood up and the three sisters did the same.

"Incidents happening at resort past two days were meant to look like accidents," Chan began, "to frighten away guests and convince owner of need to sell. But close investigation show that "accidents" were not natural." Charlie carefully emphasized the last two words.

"Broken shoe on monorail caused cars to go off the track," Chan continued. "At my request, resort Assistant Manager did not make that fact known. Yet in conversation with Miss Piper, Mrs. Wilkie, you tell her of broken shoe. And repeat same in conversation with me. Fact that could only be known to person who made it break."

"What?" Rita asked. "What are you insinuating?" She hesitated. "I must have heard that from one of the workers. Hotel people are careless in what they say."

"Likely true in many cases," Chan said, "but not here. Assistant Manager plenty worried about resort reputation. He make sure no one outside of security staff knows about it. No one except person who breaks shoe."

"Are you suggesting that I somehow crawled underneath the monorail and...and broke it off myself?" Rita asked, incredulously.

"I have fumbled around, foolishly playing part in well done scene worthy of Hollywood movie that left me in dark," Charlie said. "But at least when light at last begins to stream in, I do not close the shutters. Light now streaming in...because there is more.

"You told Miss Piper that you were actress under maiden name of Ellison. But inquiry I made with mainland police make clear that is not your maiden name. It was, and is, your middle name. It was maiden name of your mother, Ruth Ellison. In accordance with sometime Western tradition, mother's maiden name passed on to daughter as middle name."

Rita stared at Chan but said nothing.

"Inquiry with Hollywood police also reveal you married Mr. Wilkie there," Charlie went on. "Last name of bride written on marriage certificate is...Castillion. You and Mr. Castillion are brother and sister."

Prue saw the features on Rita's face change and become very cold, as she continued to stare silently at Chan.

"Mr. Castillion refer to sister in conversation with me first give me idea of possibility," Charlie said. "Further inquiry by Miss Piper from her whitelighter source named Leo reveal forty years ago there was a witch named Ruth Ellison. She retired from doing with things when she married. But witch powers often passed on to children. Especially to daughter.

"You send me on chase of wild goose with pentagram object to keep me busy and not interfere with your plan for dolphins." Charlie took out the suction cup from his pocket.

"Affect of suction cup on dolphins was learned in recent study in New Zealand," Charlie said. "You spent four months in Wellington, New Zealand last year, where your husband worked on developing marine biology section. Plenty time for you to become friendly with marine biologists there and learn of study report about cups. Also give you opportunity to learn how dolphin pool filter system works.

"You were careful not to leave any impression of you touching pentagram object so that Miss Phoebe would not get premonition of you, only of innocent Mr. Peterson," Charlie continued. "But knowing how filter system works, you count on filter trap removing suction cups and cups not being found. So you feel no need to be careful when touching them. You did not expect this cup to be caught on pool gate and found by Miss Menlo. Premonition of past that Miss Phoebe get from cup is of woman's hand holding it. A hand with distinctive oval emerald ring on finger."

Rita glared at Charlie as all the other eyes now focused on the oval emerald ring on her finger.

"Ring Miss Piper remember you showing her when first meet," Charlie said. He paused for a few seconds.

"Only person with witch powers could break both boat and monorail shoes in such un-natural manner," he continued. "And also put suction cups on dolphins without having to be in water with them."

Rita exhaled, then a small smile crossed her lips.

"That was very good, Inspector," she said. "You put it all together."

"Don't say anything, Rita!" Castillion shouted.

"Oh, it doesn't matter, Tyr," Rita said. "They can't legally do anything to me. And besides, I still enjoy a good review of my acting. And Inspector Chan has just given me one."

Charlie gave a small bow of his head to her.

Rita pulled up a chair and sat down.

"My mother died two years ago," she said. "Just before she died, she told me that she was a witch - it was a complete shock to me. She said it was passed down in our family from mother to daughter - Tyr has no part of it. She told me she bound my powers when I was a baby because it was too dangerous for me to have them. I could easily use them for bad instead of good. She had seen a couple of witches turn bad and didn't want me faced with that temptation. When she died, my powers were unbound.

"And you know...my mother was right. Once I had them, the temptation was too great - I did use them for...bad things."

Rita paused and look at her brother for a moment.

"I had been out of Hollywood for almost two years," she continued. "I thought about using my powers to get back into movies or at least into television but I couldn't figure out how to do it. My powers are strong but they're limited in their scope.

"So I used them to make money. Roland's development business sounded better before I married him than the reality of it. His deals fell through more often than they succeeded - that made things financially...erratic. So I started to use my powers to help make his deals work out."

"Like you were doing here at the Waikoloa," Prue said.

"This was a bigger deal and needed a little more effort," Rita said. "And Tyr was going to gain, as well."

"I didn't ask you to do anything, Rita," Castillion said.

"And you didn't tell me not to," she replied. "I didn't want anyone to be seriously hurt. That first monorail car looked empty when I broke the shoe. I didn't see the people inside it from my angle of where I was standing."

"Were you acting when we met and you said you didn't know why my name was familiar?" Piper asked.

"No, that was real," Rita replied. "I didn't know who you were, just that I'd heard the name somewhere. My comment about Roland's using magic to close his deals was my own little inside joke. Later, I remembered who the Halliwells were."

"And so that little act about your husband saying the Halliwells might stop him was made up," Phoebe said.

"Yes...just because I'm out of Hollywood doesn't mean that I can't still act," Rita said. "And it was some very good acting if I say so myself."

"You threw suspicion on your husband," Phoebe exclaimed.

"It was a diversion to send you off looking in the wrong place and away from me," Rita said. "Poor Roland, he doesn't know anything about any of this. Not what I did, not that I have powers. So there was no way that you could ever really involve him. He was perfectly safe."

"Your confession explains much," Charlie said.

"I told you, Rita, not to say anything," Castillion said.

"What is Inspector Chan going to do?" she asked. "Throw me into jail? They couldn't keep me there. And he didn't even read me my rights."

"But we could do things," Phoebe said. "Like vanquish you."

"No...The Charmed Ones wouldn't do that to a little witch like me," Rita said. "It would not be justified...and you're such good witches."

"You're right, we're not going to vanquish you," Prue said. "But that's because we need your brother to do something. He's going to hold a press conference and announce that these 'accidents' were the work of one of his employees. Someone who did these 'dirty tricks' on his own. You can make up a name to give to the police. Tell them he's run away and you don't know where he is."

"And at the same time, renounce any plans to buy the Waikoloa Village," Piper added.

"What? No - I'm not going to do that," Castillion said. "That would blemish my reputation. And I still want this resort."

"You'll do it if you want to save your sister," Prue said. "We put a 'pending' spell on her. If you don't make that announcement by tomorrow morning, she'll be automatically vanquished."

"And the spell will also vanquish you if you ever try to use your powers again," Phoebe said to Rita. "It will warn you a few times - each time with a stronger warning. If you don't stop, then..."

"I don't believe you," Rita said. "You may be The Charmed Ones but even you couldn't come up with a spell that complex."

"We had help," Piper said. "We got the spell from a very powerful place - Merlin's Magical Services."

"I still don't believe -" Rita said as she raised her hand to use her powers.

"OWW!!" she screamed as an energy charge surrounded her body.

"Warned you," Phoebe said. "It will get stronger each time until you're vanquished."

"Or if you're not vanquished first by the timer," Prue said. "You have until ten o'clock tomorrow morning to hold that press conference. If you don't, or if Rita tries to use her powers, then it will be your own actions, not ours, that will trigger her vanquish."

"Sooner the safer," Chan said. "Suggestion to make announcement tonight, in time for late night news broadcast."

 

 

"A startling announcement just moments ago by Tyr Castillion," the woman said.

Charlie, Prue, Piper and Phoebe watched the eleven o'clock news anchorwoman breathless report on the large-screen television in the Malolo Lounge off the main lobby.

"Someone employed by him was responsible for what had appeared to be accidents at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island. Castillion, nicknamed 'The Source' because of his being behind much of the funding and purchasing of hotels, resorts and shopping malls in the Islands and in California, said -"

"Did you hear that?" Phoebe asked. "Castillion is called 'The Source'. That's who Damian was referring to on that phone call you overheard, Prue. Not The Source who's the demon."

Prue exhaled. In response to her asking, Charlie had told her of Damian's disappointment in her   suspecting him. Maybe there's still time to explain things to him...and patch things up, she thought.

"- and will not pursue his intended purchase of the resort," the anchorwoman on the TV screen said.

"Well, that's it," Piper said. "It's over. The resort's reputation has been saved. And Castillion will not be getting his hands on it."

"Thanks to you, Charlie," Phoebe said.

"'Thanks' is like family holiday dinner," Charlie said. "Always enough portions to go around to everyone. Great thanks go to you for immeasurable important assistance. Old saying 'Do not challenge supernatural unless armed with sword of truth'. You bring needed sword to this supernatural case."

"That's very kind of you, Charlie," Phoebe said.

"Now I go home," Charlie said, "where daughter Rose and son Henry anxiously await latest story of father's exploits. It is happy occasion when I come home and case is solved. Otherwise, eleven children want to send me back out until I find guilty."

"Uh...where is...your home?" Phoebe asked.

"On Punchbowl Hill in Honolulu," Charlie answered. "There is most beautiful view of city and mountains surrounding it."

"Everything here in Hawaii is beautiful," Piper said.

"Hawaii quickly make such impression of beauty on malihini," Chan said.

"On who?" Prue asked, her mind having returned to the present company.

"Malihini means newcomer," Charlie explained. "I am kamaaina - old-timer - and still am in awe of beauty of Islands."

"Meeting you and working with you has been very special for us," Phoebe said.

"My feelings same for you," Chan said. "Please to make presence known next time you visit the Islands. Place reserved for you at my side."

"Thank you Charlie," Prue said. "Aloha."

"Aloha," Charlie replied. He turned and began walking towards the door. The girls stood watching the white-suited figure until he walked out of the lounge.

"What do you think...is going to happen to him, now?" Phoebe asked.

"I...I don't know," Prue replied, shaking her head slightly.

"Do you think Merlin's spell was powerful enough to somehow...keep him real?" Piper asked. "I know...it doesn't make sense for Charlie Chan to stay real."

"No more than it makes sense for the Halliwells to stay real," Phoebe said, "and we still are. So maybe he will be, too. At least, for as long as Charmed remains real."

 

 

 

They had gone back to Prue's room. Phoebe pulled aside the curtains and looked out the window. The path lighting around the Palace Tower partially illuminated a few couples strolling on the walkways. A canal boat was pulling away from the tower landing dock.

"They've got at least one boat running again," she said. "Things are getting back to normal. The guests who were ready to check out tomorrow will be staying."

"Except for us," Piper complained. "We're still leaving tomorrow because our three day vacation is over. But it isn't fair! We were promised three days without having to chase after any demon, warlock or anything like that. And we lost one whole day of that chasing after Rita today."

"We haven't had enough time...for everything," Prue agreed.

"Like time for you to have another dinner...plus, with Damian," Phoebe said.

"Or another cocktail hour for you with Colby," Prue replied.

"Point well taken," Phoebe admitted.

"We've had a witch's holiday," Prue said.

"A what?" Phoebe asked.

"It's just like a postman's holiday," Prue said. She saw the blank expression on Phoebe's face.

"A postman is what they used to call a mailman," Prue said. "He walks around all day delivering mail. When he goes on vacation, instead of doing something different to relax, he winds up taking long walks, just like on his job. They call that a postman's holiday.

"We just did the same thing. Instead of relaxing, we wound up chasing after Rita just like we chase after demons and warlocks back home. So we had a witch's holiday."

"I get it, now," Phoebe said.

"But you're right, Piper," Prue continued. "We are entitled to another day, a day without worrying about bad witches, to make up for today. And we're going to get it."

"Just how are we going to do that?" Piper asked.

"We got this vacation through a spell Markham made," Prue said, "and we're going to get the make up day the same way. Through a spell from him that give us another day at the resort."

"He's not here to do that for us," Piper said.

"He doesn't have to be physically here," Prue said. She went over to the closet and took out the Broomstick Blue broomstick.

"Markham gave us three spells from Merlin's," she said. "We used two of them - one to get Charlie here and one on Rita. That leaves us with one spell left."

She looked at Piper and then at Phoebe, then held the broomstick tightly in both hands.

"Oh Merlin," Prue said, with a smile on her face. "We...need a spell."

 


Top