Benny tells Mr. Ledin of how the sisters and Leo are coping after the death of Chris.
Benny's Report, Day 5
After almost one week Benny's team was fully installed under The Halliwell Manor. They found that the sewers under the house was warm, humid and full with interesting fungus that smelled a lot - just the way Kalla Bong likes it.
All their equipment was now up and running. Benny was especially happy with being able to tap into the Internet connected to the house. Björn, one of Benny's junior agents, had made it possible for them to monitor all the internet activity coming in and out of The Halliwell Manor.
Now it was time to give his first report to their client - Mr. Ledin.
Benny went alone to the second meeting with his client. He preferred it that way, alone he would be able to closely watch Mr. Ledin without the distraction of having to worry about any of his younger agents.
This time Mr. Ledin had rented a luxurious conference room across town. It was on the eighteenth floor with a fabulous view over the city, which meant another exhausting climb for the legless Kalla Bong.
Again Mr. Ledin met him with an overwhelming enthusiasm and respect that was bewildering. Demons were never polite or respectful but rather straightforward and rude. A behavior Benny had come to appreciate over the years.
"So tell me, have you and your agents been able to settle down close to the house for surveillance?" Mr. Ledin asked as he served Benny Colombian coffee and Danish bread.
"Actually Mr. Ledin. We live right under them, in the sewers." Said Benny as he took a bite of the Danish bread – it tasted truly delicious.
"Ah, how perfect! I hope it is not too much of a discomfort for you living there?"
"Actually it is quite nice."
Mr. Ledin gave him an intrigued look. Benny never liked that - clients who where curious of the lives of Kalla Bong.
Right now, you, my dear reader, are probably wondering; what exactly IS a Kalla Bong??? What is it that Kalla Bong DOES??? Well, it's complicated…
The best way to describe the Kalla Bong's function is to say that they are the private investigators of Underworld. They know almost every secret there is to know of the The Evil Realm and that is one of the reasons that they are so despised by all the other evil species.
Beside that, the Kalla Bongs are known for their focus, efficiency and loyalty - they are one of the few, maybe the only ones in the Underworld that never breaks a promise or a commitment. They never strive for power - they strive for control. Kalla Bong believes that the only way to gain control is by controlling the information.
Kalla Bong can stay invisible to most creatures on earth, which means that they can do their business undisturbed. Furthermore some of them have a small amount of telepathic or emphatic power, which is a good thing if you are working in the investigating business.
They are also somewhat of the Underworlds equivalent to Leprechauns… in a way… they do not have the power of luck or anything, they rather make things happen - they are catalysts. If they actively meddle in the things they are investigating, they set things in motion… BIG things. Anything can happen! Which is an explanation to why Kalla Bong strives for control. They feel if they have all the information they possibly can have, maybe then they have a chance of controlling what they set in motion.
They are by all means the Underworlds best kept secret - the Elders know almost nothing about them thanks to their discreet and professional way of working. They are everywhere and they are monitoring and influencing some of the most important leaders of today. Trust me when I tell you this - more or less every presidential election anywhere in the World the last thirty years has some Kalla Bong involvement…
"So, Benny what do you have for me? How have you set up your work? Do you have anything of substance to report to me already?" Mr. Ledin was ready to get to business and he sounded very eager to hear everything Benny was about say.
"Yes. As I told you before - we set up a base under their house so that we can monitor them and move freely around the house. Each of my agents has been assigned to a Halliwell female in the house." Benny wanted Mr. Ledin to understand that he and his team was very serious and methodical about their mission.
"Good thinking! So how are things in the Halliwell household? I want to know EVERYTHING about them! What kind of people are the girls? What do they like? What don't they like? Do they get along? What are they doing? What kind of hobbies do they have? Do they have hobbies??? Who or what will they vote for in the coming elections? Are they going to vote? Are they happy? Are they bitter? How is the magic life treating them??? I want it ALL, Benny!" Mr. Ledin sounded very manic when he was talking and he made a sweeping movement with his right arm that would have knocked Benny out if the Kalla Bong hadn’t ducked in the nick of time.
"Well… we will do our best to answer all your questions but some of them will take some more time. I hope you have the patience and understanding for our work Mr. Ledin. Furthermore I think we need to define the nature of our assignment, the exact purpose of… " Benny tried to address the importance of defining their mission and at the same time stay out of reach from Mr. Ledin’s flailing arms.
"Yes, yes we will get to all that later, but now just give me a quick report on how things are in that house!" Mr. Ledin had started to pace around impatiently in the room.
"From what we gathered so far is following; it has been a rather calm period for the sisters, after that whole incident with Mr. Gideon - you know, the former mystic and teacher at The Magic School… They try to act normal but it is obvious that they are all pretty shook up since the death of young Chris Per… "
"Wait a minute! Wait a minute! What are you saying, is the young whitelighter dead???" Mr. Ledin stopped and turned towards Benny with an angry look on his face.
"Yes, haven't you heard that? That's the only thing the Underworld been talking about these last three months." Benny was a little surprised that Mr. Ledin didn’t know this consider his all-consuming hate towards the sisters.
"Why haven't I been informed about this before??? Don't tell me that… that DOLT of a husband to the oldest sister is back as a whitelighter???!!! That could seriously mess up my plans!"
Benny didn't like the way his client looked. Mr. Ledin was absolutely furious and he was starting to ramble about associates and who to trust.
"We don't know if he is their whitelighter anymore. From what we gathered he has hardly been there since the birth of his second son. You know there is some speculation that the deceased young whitelighter was in fact their second son… sent from the future to protect his older brother from turning evil. " Mr. Ledin was starting to frighten Benny with this sudden outburst.
"Is it true?" Mr. Ledin stood right over Benny and looked him straight in the eyes.
"It would make sense."
"He he he, that would make them all kind of anguished and tormented right?"
"Excellent!!!" Mr. Ledin gave him a smile that looked more like a grimace and his eyes glittered in a way that made Benny finally see the demon under his client's polished façade.
Benny suggested that he would continue with his report. It consisted mostly of Benny and his team’s first hand impressions of the Halliwell sisters and hopefully Mr. Ledin could get some of his questions answered. Mr. Ledin sat down in of the room's expensive leather chairs and listened to him intensely.
"I will start with the oldest sister; Piper. I have assigned agent Björn to monitor her. She had her son three months ago as I said before, and though it was a rather difficult birth she is now fully recovered and spends all her time and devotion on her two sons. She seems to be a bit isolated and worried - Leo, the husband and father of her sons haven't showed up in the house for a loooong time. And she misses him, we can tell."
"Has Leo walked out of his wife and two kids??? How utterly remarkable!" Mr. Ledin looked very amused at this fact.
"Indeed. Everyone talked of him as an Elder with the highest morale… We suspect he is on some kind of revenge bend for the murder of his son - the one who is now born. Yes, I know, it IS confusing! Leo seems to be the one who took Chris's death the hardest while Piper ironically enough is the one who is seems to be the least affected. Which is weird since she was the one who almost became a fury after her older sister, Prue's death."
"Interesting… do you have any theories?"
"Well… Piper is the mother figure of the Halliwell household. She was that even before her older sister died. Piper was the one who opposed the magical life and all the dangers that followed, the most. Yet she is the one with the aggressive witch power. She can explode things with her mere hands. Other than that she has the power to stop time. Piper is the worrywart of the family but at the same time she is extremely grounded and matter-of-factly. This is why we think she understands that Chris is alive, he is three months old and he needs her - that is her only focus right now - to love her sons and to protect them. I also think that Piper knows that magic is the ONLY way for her to protect them."
"But why doesn't that dimwit whitelighter of hers understand that?"
"Since he is never around we haven't really gotten a clear picture of who he is. As to your other questions regarding Piper: She likes to try out old recipes in her kitchen. She can watch her sons when they sleep for hours and hours. She doesn't like how the other two sisters messes up in the kitchen or in any other part of the house for that matter. Piper absolutely HATES surprises since she feels most of them are bad. As I said before she is isolated and worried about her husband and her sons right now, but other than that she is quite content. She gets along fine with her sisters as long as they don't mess up her kitchen or when she is in a grouchy mood. The mood is a hormonal thing that will pass says her doctor. We think that she is a republican but that is pure speculation on our behalf. Björn heard her say something positive about Anne Coulter in the kitchen once." Benny felt proud of his junior agent, it was a brilliant analysis of the oldest sister and Benny couldn’t have done it better himself.
"An absolutely excellent first report! Give my congratulations to Björn! Now lets hear about the middle sister… Phoebe?"
"Thank you Mr. Ledin. That's right Phoebe is the middle sister, former youngest sister of the Halliwells. I have assigned agent Agneta to monitor Phoebe and… "
"Agneta, that's the pretty pink one, isn't it?"
"Yes… if you let me continue. Phoebe as you know, works as an advice columnist. She is very popular and has a lot of readers. As for her witchy life… The Tribunal recently stripped her of her active powers - empathy, premonitions and levitation. She has yet to earn them back."
"So she is entirely without power?" This was a fact that made Mr. Ledin very excited.
"Phoebe is still a witch, she can still cast spells and is well trained in Martial Arts so she is not harmless. She is without a doubt the most creative of them when it comes to making quick spells. The funny thing is that I was told she was the one of the sisters who embraced magic the most, but since we came to the manor I have gotten the impression she is actually the one who wants out of the magic life. She hasn't really tried to earn back her powers and she seems restless and distant."
"My theory is that the death of that young whitelighter, her nephew, made her think that the price of magic and fighting the good fight, was too high. She wants a real life and seeing Piper alone with two magical children made Phoebe realize that she isn't getting any younger and it is time for her to fulfill her dreams before it is too late."
"So what are her dreams?"
"The hard part for Phoebe is that her dreams change from day to day. I have never seen so much indecisiveness or in-continuity in my entire career! It is like she has an attention span of zero! Other than that I can tell you that she is secretly working on a radio deal and a stint at a TV show but hasn't had the guts to tell her sisters about it. She LOVES attention and doesn't seem to distinguish between good attention and bad attention. That can result in very destructive behavior if she's not careful. Her other weaknesses are handsome dark men and shiny things. As you can imagine it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Phoebe likes and dislikes since it changes all the time, but this is as close as we can get. She pretends to get along with her sisters right now but our impression is that she tries to be at home as little as possible. We have absolutely no idea of who she will vote for in the coming election, she can go either way depending on…eh… anything."
"Wow! Again a very good report! Please, will you take this box of chocolates to your beautiful little agent as a token of my appreciation?"
Benny took the box with a small sigh. Agneta was a total useless agent. She had done very little this week, besides surfing the Internet and telling everyone how good Phoebe dressed. Most of the report was Benny's own thoughts on the middle sister.
They took a small pause and Mr. Ledin again proved he was an excellent host and served Benny more coffee and the best cognac he ever tasted. Afterwards they smoked a cigar.
"So tell me about the youngest one, Paige Matthews."
"Paige Matthews is their half sister. She moved into the house three years ago, replacing Prue - the oldest sister that was murdered, as a Charmed One. No one of them knew each other before that so it must have been quite a shock, for everyone. Paige have accepted and learned magic amazingly fast. Almost too fast… She is like Piper's two sons - half witch, half whitelighter. She can orb herself and other things. I have assigned agent Annifrid to monitor Paige. "
"What do you mean 'too fast'?"
"I don't have the entire answer to this question, but what normal person accepts that she is a witch and has to fight evil in almost no time at all? Paige even gave up her job as a social worker to become a better witch and support her new sisters. This summer Paige has been helping Piper with her children and Piper's club - P3. Paige has also been the only sister who has been reading up on magic during this time. Why is she always over compensating? Is she THAT insecure about her relationship with her new family? Unlike the other sisters, she was in the police register. We are still waiting for them to send us all the files. Maybe we can find some more insight to… "
"You will find some really interesting stuff, trust me! You should also try to get her files from Social Services."
"We're waiting for them too. I don't understand how hard it can be to e-mai… Stop there for a second Mr. Ledin, do you know something about Paige Matthews that we don't?"
"Lets just say that Paige and I have some history together. And don't you worry, Benny - you will know everything you need to know in those old files that they are sending you. Now, let me hear more of your thoughts on my little friend Paige Matthews." Mr. Ledin looked like he hardly could contain himself from telling Benny what he knew.
Benny loathed the fact that Mr. Ledin was hiding things from him. He hated surprises as much as Piper Halliwell did.
"Paige tries to be cheerful for Piper's sake but we don't buy that - after Leo she seems to be taking Chris Perry's death the hardest. Paige gets along well with her sisters and looks up to them quite a bit. She loves helping people and hates being alone. Since she is a social worker and the fact that she went to the cinema and saw 'Fahrenheit 911' makes us think it's a safe bet that she will vote for the democrats." Annifrid wasn’t a bimbo like Agneta and her analysis of the young witch, was solid. Benny was thankful but he still didn’t like to work with female Kalla Bongs – he was just too old fashioned for that.
"This is brilliant Benny! You and your team have impressed me very much. This bodes well for the future." Mr. Ledin clapped his hands.
"I am glad that you are satisfied with our work Mr. Ledin. But I still think there are matters of this assignment that we need to discuss. What is the exact purpose us spying on The Charmed Ones? What are your plans and what are we looking for?" Benny held his breath for a moment because this was the most important part of the meeting for his part. Mr. Ledin had so far been very elusive with the details of their whole operation.
"Your job is to continue to spy on the Charmed Ones and report to me what is happening in the Halliwell household. There is also the task of finding this... thing for me. Something that those wretched bitches have stolen from me."
"I can't tell you exactly what it is but you will definitely know when you find it. My best guess is that it is probably the most guarded thing in the whole house "
"You wants us to find something that they stole from you, but you don't know what it is???"
"Now don't be such a pessimist Benny! This is going to be fun, trust me! My associates and me have a BIG surprise planned for The Charmed Ones. Something that will rock their world! Something that will eventually destroy them." The laughter that followed that sentence was deeply disturbing even for an old, seasoned Kalla Bong like Benny, who had worked with some of the Underworld's most twisted minds.
So there it was - Benny's new employer wanted them to spy on the Charmed Ones, the most powerful witches in this part of the hemisphere. Mr. Ledin also wanted them to find and retrieve an unknown object of great importance for him that was hidden in the Halliwell Manor. Benny sighed - he knew there was more at stake for Mr. Ledin than simple revenge - he wanted the girls dead or worse - hurt in every possible way. Mr. Ledin truly hated the Charmed Ones and he would stop at nothing to make them suffer.
To be continued in "Chapter 3. - Leo Drops The Bomb"...