Bella stood in an empty clearing several miles away from Forks, alone, taking in the surroundings. So much had happened in a short amount of time, she couldn't stop her mind from spinning as a result of the turn of events. As she stood in the field, she thought back to everyone's attempt to develop a strategy which would ensure their victory over the Volturi
"No matter what you all come up with, there will be causalities," Garrett pointed out as everyone tried to work together to prepare for the arrival of the Volturi.
"Maybe it doesn't have to end that way," Kate mused. "You're able to kill them where they stand, isn't that right Bella? You've done it."
"That is not an option." Edward answered, not giving Bella a chance to respond.
"How can you say that!" Rosalie rebutted in anger. "Of course it's an option. It guarantees our survival!"
"Rosalie," Alice warned.
"No!" Rosalie started. "I get it. I do. But this was never our battle to begin with. It's hers. And if she has the means to end the Volturi once and for all, it's selfish for her not to do it. None of us have to die! Especially not for her!"
"None of us have to risk our lives but it's ok for her to sign her own death sentence!?" Edward rebutted. "That's exactly what will happen the moment Bella allows herself to use that magic. But you don't care about that. You only care about yourself!"
"Please," Rosalie scoffed. "It's not just about me! It's about all of us! What other option do we have!"
"Rosalie, Edward, "Carlisle stepped in, an attempt to try to keep the peace. "We all came here knowing the consequence of standing against the Volturi. It's not just about us. It's for our entire race and witches and humans. In the grand scheme of things, if our sacrifice paves a path towards a more peaceful existence, then none of this will have been in vain. But I implore you, friends, if there is doubt…leave in peace. There is no expection, nor obligation of any of you to to stay and fight. If you choose to do so, let it be that…your choice."
"Bella," Alice started. "You know my vision is clouded. I don't know where they will go…if we cross paths away from Forks or if they come to us directly.I don't know what the possible outcome will be with whatever we choose. Is there anything…anything at all in your Grams' old books that could help us out in the battle?"
"I will go and take a look in the books," Bella started, looking down at the floor deep in thought. She was thankful Edward could not read her mind. "Perhaps with me keeping a distance, you'll be able to see something to help give us the upper hand."
"I'll go with you," Edward said.
"No," Bella shook her head. "You stay here. While we figure out the next steps, Jasper can help get everyone trained in battle." Jasper nodded in agreement."
"Don't take took long,"Edward whispered in Bella's ear as he pulled her into his arms. She held onto him tightly. Unbeknownst to Edward and everyone in the room, this would be the last time they embraced. She knew what she had to do. She'd seen different spells in her Grams' old books. She knew what she had to do.
While at her Grams' cottage, she took in the various spells which had been added to the books through generations. There were many. Too many. And only a few would serve the purpose for what she would need. First and foremost, she needed to know where the Volturi would be. She needed to be able to cut them off before they can make their way into Forks. Before they could attempt to find where Carlisle would be.
She gathered the necessary ingredients— sugar and pepper—and placed them around a glass filled with water. She then poured in the sugar first, followed by the pepper. She began to tip the glass back and forth repeating the incantation.
"Show me the future,
I want to see.
Show me the future,
I want to see"
She continued to repeat the motion while reciting the words until finally, the glass was half empty. Looking into the glass from the side, she could see what she'd been looking forward. She could the face of Aro, the vampire whose eyes had been haunting her visions. He was surrounded by the rest of the Volturi and the guard. She could see, clearly, as they crossed an empty clearing on their journey into Forks. She recognized the clearing. It was the perfect spot to intercept them. But she had to do it alone.
She knew there was no way Edward would willingly stay away and let her handle them alone. No one would. It wasn't a question anymore of whether or not she was capable. They'd become family. And family, as Carlisle made explicitly clear, protects one another. The only way to ensure their safety…was for them to not be there. To ensure they not be there…they had to forget. Forget about the impending battle. Forget about the prophecy. Forget about Bella.
That realization shattered all of Bella's hopes for a future with Edward. This would be her ultimate sacrifice. It didn't matter if her powers took her over. She would have nothing left to hold onto. Not with Edward living his life without her, not remembering her. But it had to be done. She knew what she'd need to do.
Bella hadn't been gone too long. Everyone had gathered outside and were following Jasper's advice to prepare for battle. She stood far enough away without being detected but close enough to be able to achieve her goal. The wolves were all present, sitting on the sidelines listening intently to Jasper's advice.
She focused her mind on everyone in the yard: Carlisle, Esme, Rosalie, Jasper, Alice, the other coven members and most importantly, Edward. She took in the dedication each applied to their defensive attacks. She took a deep breath. Bracing herself for what she was about to do.
"On this day and in this hour,
I call upon the ancient power.
Make them forget what has been done before the rising of the sun.
By the powers of spirit, water, fire and air,
Your memories shall no longer bare"
A clear mist had started to form when Bella began to recite the spell. It travelled slowly towards everyone in the yard, engulfing them completely. Bella stayed long enough to watch everyone look around the yard in confusion, the coven members having no longer having any memory of why they were in Forks, Washington to begin with. Her focus was on one person. Edward. She searched his mind for any memories of her and found nothing. She had done it. Saved them all. She only hoped her sacrifice would be worth it.
She could hear the Volturi were not too far off when strange voices started to fill her head. She knew who they belonged to and stood in the center of the field, listening quietly. Only the Volturi would be able to enter that field. Bella had ensured a protective barrier surrounding every inch of that clearing.
And when the three entered the field, Bella realized all to quickly what the best course of action would be. She realized this prophecy was never about taking down the Volturi. It was about taking down the leader which brought about toxic rule. Listening to their thoughts, only Marcus had the best intentions. She could see in his mind the purity which resided there. He, too, was tired of Aro's reign and the abuse which he had taken his power to. Caius was no better. He could not be trusted to continue to reign, like Aro.
What is this…Marcus thought, curious as to what a human girl would be doing alone in the clearing.
How peculiar, Aro thought, observing the girl with caution.
"Aro, Caius, Marcus," Bella acknowledged, taking them all by surprise. "I'm glad we could take this moment to get acquainted…without the company of your witnesses."
Enraged, Caius looked behind them to see where the witnesses were. They were no where in site.
"What sorcery is this?" he demanded. He attempted to attack her but could not move from his spot.
"Resistance is futile," Bella told him. "You will move if and when I allow it." She looked among the three of them. She could see the fear in Aro's mind. He knew who she was and knew where this would lead. It was clear just how much power Bella possessed with so little effort on her part.
"Marcus," Bella started and smirked. This was the solution everyone had been trying desperately to reach. A conclusion to a battle which did not need to occur while allowing their lives to be spared. With Aro and Caius out of the picture, a peaceful treaty could be forged to combine the two worlds. This could only occur with Marcus on the throne in Voltera. Aro and Caius would be the only causalities. "I have a proposition for you."
She opened her mind to Marcus and Marcus alone, silently explaining who she was and showing Marcus all of Aro's treacherous actions. She could see in his mind he believed it all and for the first time in the many centuries of Aro's reign, Marcus could see a future of peace. She offered him the future he'd always wanted. One where the humans would not be hunted to the degree Aro has enforced. A future which allowed witches to no longer be hunted by Aro in his journey to find Bella and destroy her.
"Do we have an alliance? A treaty we can sign and agree to?" she asked.
"You have my word," Marcus vowed. She allowed him to step closer to her to shake her hand, acknowledging their silent exchange.
"What are you doing brother!" Aro questioned, angrily. "Kill it and be done with this!"
"Yes, Marcus," Bella mused. "Aro is right. Kill it and be done with this." Not a moment later, Marcus had removed Aro's head and Bella had ensured his body would go up in flames. Caius stood, still unable to move, fearful.
"Brother, think of what you are doing!" Caius attempted to reason with him. "This is treason!"
"No," Bella disagreed. "This is a revolution. And you are looking at your next leader" She said while focusing on Marcus.
"How do you think the guard will respond to your treason!" Caius persisted. "Come, brother. Together we will rule. No one need no of how we lost dear Aro."
"It is because of Aro and your willingness to be subservient that you find yourself in such a position now, Caius," Bella told him. "The world will no longer tolerate such rulers. You are too like Aro to be allowed to pollute the world with your existence."
Not too long after, Caius met the same fate as Aro and was up in flames.
"Now to face the guard," Marcus said quietly.
"I think you'll find you won't need to say anything," Bella assured him. He looked at her questioningly. "They will have no memory of Aro and Caius ever being here. As far as they will be concerned, they lost their lives to a vicious attack after Alec, Demetri and Jane never returned. Without their defenses, they were conquered, leaving you to rule." Bella would use the same spell she used on the Cullens' and the wolves to wipe the memory of the guard.
Marcus nodded his head in understanding. "Now about that treaty," he smiled.