The next afternoon, Edward and Bella finally made their way out of the cottage after thoroughly practicing expanding her shield. Needless to say, practice did make perfect, but now there was the big question, could Bella expand her shield on command without losing herself in Edward? Could she do it on command with the pressure of an impending battle around the corner? That was something they would practice outside the bedroom. Every time they tried, they had to move to opposite sides of the bedroom; Bella couldn't help but attack him. She simply couldn't get enough of him.
But now was the time to really test out the theory and give everyone the good news. There was hope of an even battle against the Volturri.
Bella and Edward walked into the Cullen household hand in hand, hoping to bring good news to the family. Instead, they walked in on a disagreement between Carlisle, Emmett and Rosalie while the others stood back letting the situation play out.
"I'm not saying you shouldn't go," Emmett insisted. "I'm saying I should go with you. For back up."
"No, you shouldn't!" Rosalie demanded. "What is it with you always running towards potential danger? If you go, they'll view the two of you as a threat! Why else would you suddenly be making an appearance!"
"I don't think they'll view us as a threat," Carlisle assured her. "I've made contact and they've agreed. It won't exactly be a meeting between two of us Rosalie."
"All the more reason I should go with him, Rosalie" Emmett tried to explain. "He can't go in alone. It's too much of a risk!"
Edward and Bella exchanged a look, before stepping in to try to help remedy the situation. They're thoughts were all over the place, it was hard to decipher what was really going on.
"What's going on?" Edward asked. The three turned their attention to Edward and Bella, while Rosalie glared at Bella.
"Sometimes I wish you were just a pathetic human!" she said to Bella as she held her glare. "Then I could kill you without being restrained by you and your damn magic!"
"What'd I do this time Rosalie?" Bella asked, somewhat taken back. She knew Rosalie didn't like her, but she had barely been in the house for five minutes and the hostility was fresh in the air.
"What is it that you don't do?!" She snapped back. "Constantly putting my family at risk! I'm sick of you and your presence around them!" I hope they kill you!
Edward growled, attempting to step forward to get to Rosalie but Bella wouldn't let him, yet again.
"I thought we've been through this," Bella shook her head. "I'm not making anyone do anything. I don't want anyone risking their lives for me. But these are choices they are making. I can't take that away from them. You shouldn't either."
"Except that you can make them stay out of it," Rosalie spat. "For your own selfish reasons, you won't fucking do it!" I'll lose everything, and it will be your fault!
"Rosalie, you won't lose anyone," Bella assured her.
"You don't fucking know that!" Rosalie shouted. "He's all I have!" You're turning him against me! You'll get him killed!
"Rosalie, he won't get hurt," Bella told her, finally understanding where Rosalie's hostility was coming from. She was scared. She was scared of losing her family. She was terrified of losing Emmett and even worse, surviving everything without him.
"How can you say that with a straight face!" she demanded, getting closer to Bella. Edward attempted to step in between them, to protect Bella from whatever Rosalie may or may not do. Bella shook her head at his attempt and stepped toward Rosalie, taking her by the hand. This action surprised everyone, even Rosalie but she did not pull away.
"Because we found the solution to the problem," Bella smiled at her. "We'll have an even playing field."
"What?" Rosalie asked, surprised.
"What do you mean you found a solution?" Emmett asked, coming to stand next to Rosalie.
"Last night, we found out Bella is capable of extending her shield," Edward told them.
"So she does have a shield," Jasper said from where he stood.
"Yes," Edward smiled at Bella. "She's been able to expand it from herself multiple times last night and this morning, but we need to make sure she can expand it in stressful situations."
"How are you able to do it?" Emmett asked.
"I'm not quite sure how I can do it," Bella admitted. "I need to feel it out, get a good grasp of it and then expand it."
"But if you've already expanded it, how do you not have a good feel of it?" Rosalie asked.
"Well, we weren't purposely trying to practice with it when it first happened," Bella admitted. "And I wasn't paying too much attention to it the other times…"
"What were you doing?" Emmett asked.
"We were preoccupied," Bella simply told him.
"What could you possibly be doing that would leave you without paying attention to….oh!OH!"Suddenly Emmett burst out laughing at the realization at how they learned about Bella's shield.
"What's so funny?" Rosalie asked.
"This is priceless!" Emmett said through his laughter.
"It's not that funny Emmett," Bella told him.
"I think it's hilarious!" Emmett countered. "I didn't know you had it in you Edward! I guess I was wrong!"
"Emmett," Edward warned.
"What?" Emmett asked. "I personally find it entertaining that you blew Bella away so much so that she shields came down….literally!" Rosalie snickered by Emmett's side.
"Laugh all you want," Bella said, arms crossed. "Maybe I'll be the one laughing when I don't use it to shield you from their powers. What then?" She obviously didn't mean it in the literal sense. She would never leave anyone unprotected willingly. Rosalie growled at Bella.
"Relax, Rose," Emmett assured her. "Bella's messing around."
"Better be," Rosalie muttered under her breath though everyone heard.
"Regardless," Bella said. "Now we know about the shield. What I want to know is what we walked in on. Where is Carlisle going that Emmett insists on keeping him company?"
"He's not going anywhere," Rosalie said. "He thinks he is, but he isn't."
"I'm meeting with the Quiliettes," Carlisle told Bella, though she didn't know what that was.
"What?" Edward asked, surprised. "Why?"
"If the covens agree to come meet us here, they'll be a lot of vampires crossing into the land," Carlisle explained. "They need to be prepared and need to be warned not to attack." We can't exactly make allies in this if they're being attacked…
"It makes sense," Edward conceded. "But why would you think of going alone?"
"I wasn't," Carlisle assured. "But the last thing they need to be thinking is we plan on attacking. That would work against us."
"I'll go with you," Edward told him. "I'll keep track of their thoughts in case they try anything."
"See," Rosalie spoke up. "Emmett doesn't need to go. Send the mind reader."
"Wait," Bella spoke up. "I'm completely lost here. Where are you going? Who are you meeting?"
"We're going to meet the Quiliettes," Carlisle told her, not realizing Bella was unaware of who or what they were.
"Yea, not ringing any bells," Bella told him. "Who are they? Why do we need their permission for vampires to cross their land?"
"You don't know?" Carlisle asked, somewhat surprised.
"Kept in the dark until my sixteenth birthday, remember?" Bella answered, growing more curious by the second.
"Of course," Carlisle realized. My apologies Bella…
"It's ok," Bella smiled. "I'm just curious as to who we're suddenly dealing with."
"The Quiliette tribe is located on the reservation in La Push," Edward told her. "The tribe derives from ancestors who carried a specific genetic marker in which—when triggered—causes them to shape shift. They shape they take on is that of a werewolf."
"Werewolves?" Bella asked. She honestly didn't expect for them to say there were werewolves.
"Yea, pretty much," Edward told her. Surprised?
"I didn't expect you to say that," Bella admitted. "Are they tamed?" Emmett couldn't help but laugh at Bella's question. "What? Was that not a good question to ask?"
"No, it's fine," Edward smiled, trying to suppress his own laughter. "They're coherent after the change, if that's what you're wondering. They protect humans from vampires; it's the reason they exist."
"Protect them how?" Bella stood, cautious. These wolves were against vampires, which meant they were against her family. And now, they were against her simply by association. If needed, she'd take them out too to protect her family. First, she needed information.
"The wolves are very fast and strong," Carlisle took over explaining. "They are capable of killing vampires. They attack those who pose harm to humans."
"And they've left you alone?" Bella asked, wondering why they haven't been attacked by the wolves yet.
"Other vampires are not like us, Bella. They do not choose to refrain from hurting innocent people. Decades ago, we signed a treaty with the tribe. We are not to hurt, bite, or kill any human and refrain from crossing the treaty line to their land. Simple terms considering our lifestyle," Carlisle told her. "That's how we live here in peace." They mean us no harm Bella, just as we do not wish to harm them…
"And you're going to meet with them now?" Bella asked.
"Yes, that's where I am headed," Carlisle told her, glancing at his watch. "I should be on my way, they'll be expecting me at the treaty line."
"I'm going with you, Carlisle," Edward told him.
"I am, too." Bella said, taking a step closer to Carlisle.
"Bella, there's no need," Edward assured her.
"On the contrary," Bella started. "There is every need. You're about to go out there to inform them we'll be expecting vampires to cross the land to come here because of me. They may or may not question if they could trust you and may turn on you. I don't know them. I have no treaty with them. I am coming with you…just in case."
"If she wants to come, I see no reason to object," Carlisle told Edward.
"If you can trust them, they'll need to know about the Volturri," Bella added. "They should be warned there will be a battle and not to interfere."
"Alright," Edward sighed, wishing they could avoid having to mention Bella to the wolves. He wanted to keep the wolves on a need to know basis, but with Bella present that may not be easy.
"So, we're going?" Emmett asked, getting ready to make his way over to where the three stood.
"No, you're not."Rosalie said, blocking him path.
"But why do they get all the fun!?" Emmett complained.
"Because they don't answer to me," Rosalie simply told them. "You, however, do."
"Okay," Edward said. "And on that note….ready?"
"Yea," Bella smiled, taking his hand.
Three members of the tribe stood waiting at the treaty line, just as the leader, Sam, had arranged with Carlisle. Jacob, his second in command, didn't understand why this meeting was necessary. That didn't stop him from entertaining several scenarios as to what this meeting could be about. Had they broken the treaty and killed a human? Even worse, did they turn a human into a blood sucker? He would've loved an excuse to kill these vampires. He may not have had a personal vendetta against them, but he blamed them for what he was. Embry was the third with them, waiting impatiently. He had better things to do than meet with a bunch of bloodsuckers.
They watched as Carlisle Cullen and Edward Cullen approached the treaty line with an unknown female. Immediately, they started assessing her appearance. Her eyes were brown, which eliminated that she could be a vampire. She was human. While not in their wolf forms, they couldn't pick up on her slightly increased heart beat. The scene was strange. What would a human girl be doing here with the Cullens? What could she possibly be here discussing with a bunch of wolves as well?
"Sam, Jacob, Embry, thank you for agreeing to meet me here at such short notice," Carlisle started as soon as they approached the treaty line. Bella, this is as far as we go without breaking the treaty…he silently told her, hoping she wouldn't go further. Though Bella was a bit smug, if she needed to, she'd go over that treaty line. It didn't apply to her, nor was she a bloodsucker…she picked up on that term in their minds. It only angered her more.
"You said it was urgent," Sam answered, maintaining a cold demeanor while glancing at Bella. Why bring the human…what does she know… Bella and Edward both heard his thoughts.
"Yes," Carlisle started. "We're here to give you a heads up, so to speak."
"Psht," Bella scoffed. The three werewolves glanced her way, surprised by her minor outburst. "Call it what it is Carlisle. It's a warning."
"She's right," Edward said. "They need to know everything that's going on. With their dislike of vampires, I believe we can trust them with the truth."
"Believe all you want," Bella said, crossing her arms. "I'm not convinced. 'Bloodsuckers'" She scoffed at the term. "Can't you think up a better term for a vampire?" Edward laughed momentarily at Bella's demeanor and confidence. The wolves knew nothing about Bella; so her referring to their thoughts caught them off guard. They'd been aware of Edward's mind reading through rumor over time, but Bella was confusing them. Her involvement was still to be determined.
"Don't take offense," Edward told her. "They don't trust us or our kind. We don't expect to be referred to in pleasant terms." They act as they are at times, Bella…dogs.
"What is it that we must be warned of?" Sam insisted, ignoring Bella's rant, though she definitely had peeked Jacob's interest. She was human, at least he thought, and surely she had no ties to the bloodsuckers.
"We wanted to warn you that soon a few covens will be entering the area," Carlisle started. Instantly Embry, Jacob and Sam's stance stiffened. "They will have to pass through the area to get to our property. It is essential you not attack. This is why we are here."
"What makes you think we'll agree to that?" Jacob demanded. We'll kill each and every one that steps foot on the land!
"I thought you were supposed to be protectors!" Bella scoffed.
"We are protectors," Sam assured, making sure to keep his anger in check. "And you clearly have no idea what you've mixed yourself up in. Allowing however many you claim may pass through to survive puts every human at risk in the area, including yourself." Does this girl honestly have a death wish?
"If you don't let them pass through, the humans in the area will be at risk anyway!" Bella spat back at him, not backing down.
"Sam, you know I would not ask for you to allow them to pass if it weren't essential," Carlisle tried to reason with him. "I assure you, no human will be harmed while they are in the area. They will abide by the treaty."
"To agree to any of this, would be going against everything I stand for," Sam told him. "You have to see why I cannot make this decision lightly."
"You want to protect humans from the evil vampires," Bella taunted. "How is this a difficult decision to make? If you don't, even more powerful vampires will come into the area and who knows what they'll do to find what they're after. None of you would be able to stop them."
"You don't know what you're talking about," Jacob answered, cutting off Sam before he could get a word in. "We are more than capable of taking down any vampire."
"Even those who can incapacitate without so much as blinking an eye?" Bella asked.
"That's not possible," Embry snorted, crossing his arms thinking highly of their abilities. "Vampires can't do that."
"It's called special abilities idiot," Bella retorted.
"You all have heard through legends of vampires capable of abilities. You'll all heard rumors of my mind reading," Edward added. "The rumors are true; I can read your minds." He looked at Jacob as he said this.
"So who are we supposed to be more worried about, the ones you need to pass through or the ones that will come anyway?" Embry asked. I just want to kill some bloodsuckers…
"The ones that will come anyway," Bella told them.
"What makes them a bigger threat than any other vampire?" Sam asked, curious.
"This particular group of vampires is known as the Volturri. They set and enforce the law among our kind," Carlisle explained. "Each member of the guard has their own unique ability. These abilities are used against their victims rendering them defenseless. Even our coven wouldn't stand a chance against them. They will make an appearance here in Forks, we are certain of this."
"And they are after you?" Sam asked.
"No, they're not coming for us," Carlisle told him. "Not directly though what they are looking for will lead them to us. We mean to fight against them, but there are at least fifteen of them and seven of us." Seven? I thought there were six members of the Cullen coven…they've violated the treaty! Jacob's thoughts screamed.
"There are seven Jacob," Edward addressed him. "But we did not violate our treaty as you would have loved for us to have done." I would take any excuse to hunt you all down…Can't we hurry this up? We have three vampires to hunt down…
"If these Volturri have abilities which make you defenseless, how would involving other covens to increase your numbers be of any use to you?" Sam asked, trying to figure out their strategy.
"We have something on our side that will protect us from their powers," Edward told them. "It will be an even battle field; except being outnumbered. We need more to stand and fight. We're recruiting old friends of Carlisle to help us."
"What makes you so sure they'll fight?" Embry asked.
"Because the Volturri have abused their power for centuries and kill innocent humans without a second thought. They don't kill for pure survival; they kill as sport. This isn't right," Carlisle told him. "These are friends who would take the chance to bring down the Volturri once and for all."
"And what role do you play in all this?" Jacob asked, looking at Bella. Damn she's hot…what I'd kill to get a few hours alone with her…
"My role in this is none of your concern you pervert!" Bella spat, disgusted with his thoughts. "What I want to know is what three vampires you are hunting?" She'd picked up Jacob's thoughts and needed to know if Alec had showed up with some friends and earlier than expected.
"Huh?" Jacob asked, confused. I thought he was the mind reader…she can't possibly read my mind..she's human…Bella heard at first, followed by what she wanted to know. A red head female and two males traveling together…
"Those vampires you're looking for are no longer your concern," Bella said to Sam. She'd realized through the entire exchange that he was the most level headed and most willing to understand the situation. "They're dead."
"How do you know that?" Sam asked.
"Bella, you don't have to tell them anything you don't want them to know," Edward assured her.
"Edward, they share the same vision that I do. Innocent humans do not deserve to be hunted and treated as snacks so that evil vampires could live," she told him. "If we all share the same goal, to eliminate the one thing that stands in the way of fixing that problem, then why not entertain the idea that we all may share a common cause to fight for…together. If the Volturri get here and we don't stop them, everyone is screwed. Even the people on the reservation. From what I've learned, they don't care who they kill. That needs to end."
"Except that we will stop them," he assured her.
"Not unless we increase our numbers," Bella told him. "There's only so much I could do alone."
"What use could you possibly have in all of this?" Jacob asked, insulting her.
"I'm the one thing that can stop them from using their powers against us and any of you," Bella glared at him. "We didn't come here with the intention of bringing you into the battle with us. We needed your permission to bring vampires here to help us fight. But I have more understanding of how you operate, thanks to Sam. You're warriors, protectors. My intention, now, is to ask you to fight with us…those who are willing of course. Fight with us; help me to defeat the Volturri and restore proper order."
"I'm afraid I'm not fully understanding," Sam spoke. "I've been trying to make sense of this all. I understand we stand no chance against the Volturri; if bringing vampires here to help protect the people against them, then I will allow it as long as they do not hunt on the land. But I'm having trouble understanding your role in all of this and how you could stop them from making us all defenseless…I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name…" What could this human girl do to protect vampires…I'm not understanding…
"Bella," she told him. "And your confusion lies in your assumption that I am human. To answer your previous question, I'm the one that killed those three nomadic vampires. I'd love to give you more information, but I will not do so until I know where you stand."
Not human? What the hell? What is she?
She isn't a vampire…her eyes are brown…not gold, not red…
"I will fight," Sam said. "I will not order my pack to join me, but I will fight to protect the ones I love."
"You know we'll stand behind you Sam," Embry assured him. "We do need more information to go on."
"And we will give it," Bella promised. "As soon as we learn of their current location, we will let you know."
"Each time we expect a coven, I will give you the number of who I am expecting and a description," Carlisle told them.
"Bloodsuckers are bloodsuckers, what's the difference?" Jacob said angrily. He didn't want to be involved in this mess; but he agreed with Sam. He would fight to protect his family.
"The difference is that one of the Volturri members will be here before the month is out," Bella told him. "He's not welcome…and he'll stand out like a sore thumb. Don't be dumb enough to attack though. Without me, he'll use his powers on you."
"How do you know that one of them is going to be here?" Jacob ordered. "What are you hiding?"
"I'm not hiding anything," Bella smiled. "I will gladly inform you with what we are dealing with, but right now we have calls to make."
"We'll be in touch?" Carlisle asked Sam, who nodded in agreement. As Edward, Carlisle and Bella went to turn around to retreat Bella had one more thing to add.
"Oh, and Jacob?" she said, sweetly. He took her smile as flirtatious and considered the off chance of hitting it off with her. She wasn't a vampire…how bad could whatever she is be?
"Yes, Bella?" he replied, grinning at her, attempting to make himself look sexy in her eyes. But instead of answering him right away, she sent him flying back into a nearby tree. The crack from his hit resonated through the surrounding woods. Sam and Embry stood, taken back. Not fully believing that whatever just happened came from Bella.
"What the hell!" he shouted, starting to stand up.
"Next time you want to be a pervert and have inappropriate thoughts about me, do it around people who aren't telepathic!" She turned on her heel and walked toward the car they arrived on. Jacob was left dumb struck, while Edward and Carlisle followed Bella to the car. Edward couldn't help but feel a bit smug at her actions; he was glad he hadn't interfered. Bella had it handled, he knew that without a doubt.
Back in Volterra, Italy, Aro and the rest of the guard had just been sent word from Alec. He'd been gone two weeks which meant he still had time before Aro took matters into his own hands. According to Alec's message, he'd traced Jane's sent up towards Washington. He was going to search the cities, following her scent.
"Do not worry, brother," Cauis said to Aro. "He's traced her to Washington. It won't be long now."
"It's not good enough," Aro retorted angrily. "Demetri!" Demetri stepped forward.
"Master," he bowed before Aro, awaiting his orders.
"You are my tracker," Aro said to him. "You will fare better than Alec tracing Jane and her whereabouts. Find her. Report back to me what you find."
"Yes, Master," Demetri bowed and took his leave.
There was now two of the Volturri guard headed towards Bella's location, unbeknownst to her. But that didn't stop her from preparing herself to fight against each and every one of the guard. Especially since the Denali coven had agreed to come meet with the Cullens. They were preparing for battle. And when the time came, the Volturri was going down.
A/N: So I hoped I remembered which one of the guard was the tracker…and I hoped you all enjoyed the update…until I post again…