"THE POWER OF ONE"
"Oh my God!" Piper wailed in despair. "Oh my God! I can't believe this has happened!"
Phoebe retorted darkly, "I can. I told you there was something off about her."
Paige added, "I thought that the bottle had contained a power stripping potion. But she already had Wyatt's powers."
"The milk was probably poisoned," Cecile explained. "Ms. Thompson needs to kill Wyatt in order to make the power transfer complete."
The youngest Charmed One glanced at her former brother-in-law. "Like when Barbas had Cole's powers?"
"Yeah." Cecile glanced at the opened double doors that led to the backyard and headed in that direction.
Phoebe asked Cole, "Why did you wait so long to try to vanquish her?"
Piper rolled her eyes, as the half-demon gingerly handed over Wyatt to her. "Well that's a good idea, Pheebs. Cole should have attacked her, while she was holding my son. Who no longer has his powers."
"I doubt that I would have been able to kill her anyway," Cole added. "I had noticed that she was wearing that amulet."
A distressed Piper wailed, "Oh God! How in the hell are we going to get Wyatt's powers back?" The infant in her arms began to cry. "Oh Wyatt, honey! I'm sorry. Mommy's sorry."
Olivia added, "If this Daley Bakker had waited this long to do the ritual, why did she pick tonight?" She stared at Andre. "And who exactly is she?"
Andre sighed. "Daley Bakker . . . happens to be a member of the Anansi Order."
A low whistle escaped from Cole's mouth. Olivia gasped aloud. The Charmed Ones stared at the couple. Frowning, Paige asked, "Who is this Anansi Order? And why have both Cole and Olivia heard about it?"
Before Andre could answer, Olivia said, "Victor Lacroix. He . . . uh, he was a drug dealer, who was a member of this criminal organization called the Anansi Order. I had to go to Louisiana over four years ago to extradite him. For murder. That's how Cecile and I first met Andre." She glanced at Andre. "You mean to say that Daley Bakker is . . .?"
Andre finished, ". . . one of the top drug lords on the West Coast. In this country. Her distribution area is from California to Texas. My old boss, Victor Lacroix, covered the entire Mississippi Valley - from Minnesota to Louisiana. And any area east of the Alleghenies. The Anansi Order is a group of criminals who are heavy into the West African supernatural. Many of them are familiar with Vodoun . . . which means that most of them are powerful bokors. Victor was among the few who had hired a bokor to work for him." He paused. "Namely me. Back in '97 or '98, Victor was visiting San Francisco, when he had murdered some local drug dealer."
"He had left the city before the police could arrest him," Olivia finished. "Then around the spring of '99, we had received a tip that he could be found in Morgan City, Louisiana. My captain contacted the law there. And I was ordered to bring him back."
The houngan added, "I was the one who had tipped the police about Victor's whereabouts."
Paige gave him a thoughtful stare. "You snitched on him."
Nodding, Andre replied, "Yeah. To get control of his operation. Only . . ." He shook his head in disbelief. "I didn't count on meeting Cecile. And Olivia, of course." He had the red-haired witch exchanged fond smiles.
"What about this Daley Bakker?" Phoebe asked. "If she was in control of the West Coast, how could she allow this Victor Whatshisname to commit a crime in her area?"
With a shrug, Andre replied, "I don't know. I never met the woman. But I have heard of her. After Olivia had brought Victor back here, he was mysteriously killed, while in jail. It's believed that Ms. Bakker had arranged the hit. The Cartel had tried to kill me, after I had turned my back on them. But they had apparently gave up . . ." Andre's eyes grew hard. ". . . after I dealt with a few of their people." He sighed. "Like I said, I've heard of Ms. Daley Bakker. She had started manufacturing cocaine in the small factory she used for her herbal products. And this was around the time she had reached her mid-twenties. A year or two later, she was manufacturing 'Cat' from a ranch outside . . ."
Piper cried out in dismay, "You mean to say that my son's nanny is a drug lord?"
"What's Cat?" Paige demanded.
"Methacathinone," Olivia explained. "Powdered drug that's inhaled."
Andre added, "Victor had several labs, outside New Orleans. I don't know where Ms. Bakker had her labs, but before Victor's arrest, she had been a member of the cartel for at least three or four years."
Phoebe asked, "Who's the head of this order? A demon?"
"Who cares?" Piper retorted. "That bitch has my son's powers! I'm more concerned about her." She turned to Andre. "Where does she live?"
Olivia interrupted, "Piper? Before you go charging after this woman, may I remind you that she now has Wyatt's powers? And we don't even know if Cole will be able to deal with her."
"You saw how he had blocked her energy balls!"
Cole added, "Yeah, but she can probably do the same to my powers. Like Dako. And she has that amulet."
Piper demanded, "So, what do we do?"
Andre sighed, "Other than try to keep Wyatt safe, I don't know. Like Olivia had said, Daley Bakker needs to kill him in order to keep his powers. Permanently. The only way out of this mess is to find out what kind of ritual she had used."
"And how do we do that?" Phoebe asked.
"I . . ."
Cecile returned to the others. "Look what I found, outside." She held up what looked like a strand of weed or some kind of plant. "Bloodroot. Daley Whatshername must have used it as a substitute for Wyatt's blood."
"Then why was she taking hair from Wyatt's brush?" Phoebe asked.
"She probably combined the bloodroot with the hair."
Paige's face puckered in distate. "Eww!"
"It's a hell of a lot better than using Wyatt's blood," Cecile argued. "Which she would have never been able to get, anyway."
Andre added, "Which would explain why she had waited until tonight for the ritual."
Cecile nodded. "The first quarter moon. Naturally, one would use a ritual for some kind of transfer, when the moon is in transition." She broke away.
Andre continued, "Must have been a powerful ritual that she had used. Then again, we're talking about Wyatt here. Such a ritual would have been needed for his powers. The best thing I can suggest is that you keep him under wraps."
"Hey! Look at what I had found!" Cecile's voice cried. The others followed her voice to the Solarium. She pointed at a blanket filled with a few objects, on the sofa. "Must be part of the altar that Ms. Bakker had . . ." The blanket, along with the items, disappeared. Cecile frowned. "What the hell?"
Olivia turned to Cole. "Can you get them back?" The half-demon waved his over the empty spot. The blanket and the items reappeared. But only briefly. They disappeared a second time, before he could react.
Paige cried out, "Altar!" After a few seconds, the space on the sofa remained empty.
"Oh great!" Piper exclaimed. "Now what?"
Andre replied, "Like I said, keep Wyatt under wraps. Cecile and I can find out what ritual the Bakker woman had used. Only I don't know how long it would take us to find a way to reverse the spell."
Piper sighed. "Oh God! I guess I better take him to the Whitelighter Realm."
"He won't be safe there," Olivia said, taking the Charmed One by surprise.
Olivia continued, "Piper, this Daley Bakker has Wyatt's powers. She probably knows about Leo and has already met Chris. I wouldn't be surprised if she starts searching for him . . . up there."
Looking slightly exasperated, Piper began, "Then where do I . . .?"
"Keep him here," Olivia suggested. She nodded at the half-demon. "And have Cole cast a protection spell over the house. I doubt that even Daley Bakker will be able to get inside."
Shaking her head, Phoebe murmured, "Boy, she really played this beautifully." Piper stared at her. "Daley Bakker, I mean. I wonder how long she had been planning this?"
"Who knows?" Cecile commented.
Phoebe added, "And hiring that demon to attack Piper and Wyatt. Very well planned."
"Phoebe, do you mind NOT EXPRESSING your admiration for this woman?" an annoyed Piper grumbled. At that moment, blue orbs appeared before the group, eventually forming into both Leo and Chris.
The young Elder glanced around the room, his troubled eyes resting briefly upon Cole and Andre. "The Council had felt a disturbance, not long ago," he commented. "From here. What just happened?"
Piper heaved a silent sigh. As if her night could not get any worse.
The moment Daley had teleported into the warehouse, she marched straight toward her right hand man, Marc. The latter sat behind a small table that held a computer laptop. "Is everything ready?" she demanded.
"Yeah." Marc stared at her. "How did it go? Did you . . .?"
Daley spotted a mouse scampering across the floor. She incinerated it with an electrical ball. ". . . perform the ritual? Yeah, I did."
Marc's eyes widened in shock. "Damn woman! That's some firepower!" He stared at the last remains of the mouse - a scorch mark on the floor. "What happened to the mouse? It's gone."
"Precisely." Daley bent over his left shoulder. "Let's get this show going. Contact Ruben in L.A."
Still looking slightly stumped, Marc mumbled, "All right." He flipped open his cell phone and dialed a number. Then . . . "Yeah Ruben, it's me. Marc. Time for the delivery." He stared at Daley, who walked over to a stack of crates. She waved one hand over the stack and the crates immediately disappeared. She returned to Marc's side and they both began to stare at the laptop's screen. A few minutes passed before the computer indicated a deposit of 32 million dollars into the bank account of Daley's organization. Marc grinned. "It worked." He said to Ruben over the phone, "Transaction has completed, Ruben. See you in a few days." Then he hung up. "Man, that was fast!"
Daley nodded sharply. "Of course. Now, contact Gloria in Denver." Marc did as he was told. The sorceress teleported another stack of crates out of the warehouse. Minutes later, the pair learned that they had just earned a profit of eleven million dollars.
With a smile stamped on his face, Marc declared, "So far, we've earned 43 million dollars, tonight. Damn"
"And it's not over," Daley coolly added. "Call Tony."
Marc contacted the sorceress' agent in Houston. Daley teleported the remaining crates to the Texas metropolis. A few minutes passed before their account reflected a deposit of 20 million dollars. "That's it," Marc declared. "We've made 63 million dollars, tonight. That's . . . shit! This is the biggest delivery we've ever made in one day. This is like . . . history! Any more nights like this . . . hell! We can control the entire order." He paused. "So, I guess that everything went according to plan."
Daley snapped, "Not quite!"
"What do you mean?"
With a sigh, Daley explained what had happened at the Halliwell home. "With Wyatt still alive, there's a chance that the ritual can be reversed . . . or it will be reversed by the end of the moon's next Last Quarter. I have to get rid of him. Fast!"
"Do you think that Andre Morrell might find out about the ritual?" Marc asked.
Again, Daley sighed. "I don't know. Either he will or that girlfriend of his. The mambo I had met." Recalling the good-looking attorney who had blocked her attacks, Daley demanded, "And who in the hell is this Cole Turner?"
Marc looked stupefied. "Who?"
"I had met a tall, good-looking man, yesterday. He was with Piper, the Dubois woman and that red-haired witch," Daley explained. She then described how Cole Turner had easily deflected the electrokinetic power that she had stolen from Wyatt. "Either Wyatt isn't as strong as we had believed . . . or there's another player in this game." She fixed Marc with a hard stare. "Find that warlock friend of yours. Get him to tell me everything he knows about this Turner guy. Meanwhile . . . I'll have to find a way to get close to Wyatt, again. And kill him."
END OF PART XIV