This story is adopted from Ariel Riddle, and the story was previously titled Twilight Empire. I will be up front, parts of the story has been changed. There will be MATURE CONTENT in this story! if Evil-Edward is not your cup of tea than don't read, just keeping on moving. I obviously don't own Twilight or the characters. Please Enjoys!
The Emperor surveyed the entourage of people all but groveling for his attentions. They really were all the same and Edward grew tired of the palace games. He misses the days of being on the campaign where he didn't have to deal with these power hungry families trying to gain his favor. It has been like this ever since he has secured his power in the empire. There was no one to check his power; he had taken care of them with a startling quickness—his own family was not even immune to his judgement. Perhaps he had given into his murderous desires too quickly, without thinking them through entirely. But he had felt he was the pawn for years, meticulously his family had set him up for power with little consult to his own person. Edward did not wish to be a tool to be used—he had motivations of his own and those that made the ill-advised decision of using him learned this lesson the hard way. He was not the pawn anymore.
Since coming to power, Edward knew how his dictatorship was viewed by the masses; he had a reputation for being cunning and merciless, inspiring fear in the hearts of his people. It all started with the swift brutal killings of his opponents; the people who dared defy his right to rule. He had deployed campaigns to the ends of the earth ruthlessly destroying nations and bringing them bowing and in ruined into the folds of his empire, and the wealth that came along with those victories just strengthen his rule across the empire. He would rebuild them anew—the way he saw fit. He had controversially brought back the games to the arena and reigned with an iron fist. Yes, he certainly did what he wanted when he wanted. The power he had at his disposal seemed unending. But with that power—came paranoia. He may have made a few hasty executions, not that he would ever admit it, but in the end his word was final and no one dare opposed him.
He looked around his newly renovated palace and was pleased—a testament of his wealth and power. Gold plated columns and marble floors imported from Spain. Persian mosaic tiles adorned his walls. His stronghold suggested affluence and prosperity. Many dignitaries made the journey to Rome, the world's capital, simply to grovel at his feet. He should be content…but he was restless. It was never a good thing when he was restless—it really did bring out his cruel and brutal nature. If the even continue as it is, he might need to bring out some prisoners. With nothing else to do, he tuned into a conversation among his followers.
"And the audacity that the girl has for the society!" Rosalie spewed the bit of information as if it were the vilest thing she had ever heard.
Aw, what can the Emperor Edward say about Rosalie? She was almost as vicious as he was, and her family was hungry for the power he holds. His cock always harden watching the woman cheering when gladiators were slaughter in the area. He remembers when he took her for the first time, and how she cried a little at the violent way he took her. However, she did learn how to love his dick as the other do, and she began to love the violent nature of attentions. His cock harden at the fond memory of fucking her over the desk in his chambers. He might even grace her with the privilege of servicing him tonight instead of his little slave whore.
"Spending time with her slaves as if they were her friends." Rosalie spat. "Freeing, and she proceeds to 'hire' them as labor!"
James cried clearly disgusted, "What an outrage, to think a woman of noble blood to be so sympathetic to her inferiors!"
"Well," Jessica added timidly, "I did hear that she formed a small a small musical group with some of her slaves. They actually have quite the reputation of being rather accomplished musicians. Michael and I heard them when we were in Capua, and they sound amazing."
"Oh get a grip," Rosalie interrupted her words laced with venom, "It is completely uncouth for her to be lowering herself on any level with that of her slaves. Allows the chattel to earn and maintain those earning, and she plays in a music with them!"
"I heard she buys slaves from good Roman citizens, assertive in their treatment of their property as is their right, only to release them later on," Victoria threw in repulsed, "Some of them down right scoundrels and criminals!"
"Rescuing slaves from such abusive master!" James added with thick sarcasm. "All hail the savior of slaves!"
They all snickered at this.
"Who is this you speak of?" Edward inquired wondering who possibility could be causing such a scandal at court while grabbing Rosalie's hand to place it on his lap.
"Your niece, Excellency—Isabella Cullen," supplied Jessica helpfully.
"You mean Isabella Swan," Rosalie snapped dangerously as she moves her had with discretion, "Esme already had her when she married Carlisle, she is hardly his niece." Rosalie sat back proudly, speaking boldly; she knew Edward was not against punishing his own family so she must be careful for her own. She cannot speak to boldly in front of the emperor.
"Carlisle was my brother however a traitor that he was did adopt the girl. He insisted giving her his name." Edward said darkly, "Even though I did execute him, she does carry his name, and she is his child. Besides, she is an orphan, what threat does she poses?"
"She defies your reign!" Rosalie supplied haughtily resting her hand on the emperor's thigh. "She does not follow the rules of nobility, when do you see her ever at court? She has been prancing around doing whatever she pleases and without a guardian no less!"
"It's as if she declared herself above society." James caught on what his sister was doing. "Thinking one is about society is thinking one is above the ruler of society."
"It's a scandal!" Rosalie continued on her rant. "Her behavior reflects on her family name. Perhaps it is time to make a match for her…or whatever you see fit Excellency."
Though he was the younger brother, he was the son of his mother's second husband, the one with the right to the throne. After his father's untimely demise, he had heard talk of an uprising—a new regime to be implemented. They called it "A return to democracy." They wanted to return to the glory days of the Roman Republic. Thinking the word 'democracy' left a sour taste in his mouth. Roman Empire will never return to the Republic while he was in power.
Rumor had it his brother Carlisle was behind the rebellious movement and meeting with leaders in Sicilia. He had marched to Capua straight away to remedy this problem. When he arrived at his half-brother's home, Carlisle was nowhere to be found. When Edward went to investigate where the traitor had gone after his captain returned empty handed. He approached the villa when he found his young niece playing in the garden, and he knew that the girl would give him the answers that he wanted when he approached her.
"Who are you?" She had inquired.
"I am Edward Cullen, and you must be Isabella," he had replied, grinning sweetly at the child, as he kneeled down to her level.
"Bella," She was holding a small bird in her hands. "You are papa's brother? "
"I am, and what are you doing with the creature?" He asked the girl. The bird looked wounded.
"I am going to heal it," she explained softly.
"Bella I do not think there is anything you can do, sweetheart."
"Oh, but I did." She said with the confidence before opening up her hands, and the bird had fluttered off peacefully. She smiled up at Edward who dismissed it thinking the animal must have not been as bad as off as he thought.
"Bella," he had continued voice sweet like honey, "I want you to tell me where your father is. It is very important."
"Is he in danger?"
"Yes Bella he is, but I am here to help him, can you tell me where your parents are?"
"They went to Sicilia for business is what papa said when he and mama said goodbye to me when they left. They wanted to work extra hard on my studies. Jasper is taking care of me now- he is teaching me to play the viola-would you like to hear?"
But Edward was already picking her up, a slight skip in his step bringing her back into the villa. His eyes had darkened alarmingly and Bella looked like she was not so sure she trusted him anymore.
"Come my sweet; let me take you back to Jasper."
His poor innocent niece had not realized it at the time, but she had unknowingly sealed her step-father's fate, dooming his sister-in-law Esme to run away, evading his justice for years. Recently, her mother Esme met the same fate as her step father did years ago—once she was apprehended from hiding. He had truly not thought of the girl since.
He knew what Rosalie was trying to do, and he did not appreciate her trying to manipulating him. It became very apparent when he suggested that he married her off, and it annoyed him. If he was going to marry his niece off, he was going to because he wanted to and not because someone else wanted him to. He was the emperor. He makes the decisions.
He noticed his worshipers looking at him politely, they must have said something to him. He didn't particularly what they have to say about Isabella Cullen because if what Rosalie and the other worms have to say it's true, he needs to bring his brother's adopted child under his power. He can't have her action reflect poorly on the family name and by the extension of that name, the empire and emperor himself. The only way to gain control over the rebellious girl was to have her brought here.
"Hmmmm," he thought aloud, "Perhaps it is time to bring Isabella to court?"
Rosalie laughed wickedly successful in her mission in bring that Swan brat to court, and now she just needs to get rid of the little annoyance.
Relishing the delicious scent of the ocean mist as it descended on her in a warming caress, Bella Cullen lay down on the lush sea grass looking up at the clouds. She still wore black. She knew it was not proper nearly a year later after her mother's passing especially considering her mother's death had been openly sanctioned by the government and did not even warrant grieving legally speaking, but it was her way of letting everyone know of her stance against this atrocity. She would not stand by idly on the hush as so many of her parent's alleged friends had done.
Bella could not understand it for the life of her why so many influential people sat back, useless, content to turn a blind eye and bear witness to the crimes Rome committed. In truth, she was quite sickened by it. She knew many worried over her, and they probably thought she had some inherent immunity what with being the current emperor's niece and all, but really. Everyone knew how safe that was. The emperor would sell his own mother out if it meant advancing his power. No one was immune, and she knew this first hand. Not a day went by that she did not think about her thoughtless actions of being so forth-coming with her uncle so many years ago. Esme and Carlisle would never place the blame on her if they were still alive, but she knew she was responsible for their deaths. The rash actions of a child too ignorant to sense her own demise.
Bella consoled herself at her refuge by the sea. In this isolated part of Capua, she was sheltered from the antics of the court. She really could do as she pleased, and so did she. Bella and her parents had always been quite intolerant of slavery. The idea was repugnant to her! She bought slaves yes, but those she did not free chose to stay with her, some of whom had become her dearest friends. For it was true, Jasper, Alice, and Angela had become her family. Jasper raised her for Jupiter's sake.
Together they had formed a quartet to be reckoned with, her and her family. Quite well off and wealthy, even after her adopted father's accounts were seized by the government. Bella reaped a bountiful harvest from the numerous lucrative endeavors Carlisle had left for her and her mother; he truly had quite the head for business. There really was nothing for her to do but cause mischief. She was quite vocal in her views of the oppressive dictatorship her country lie under, but not too much so to draw unwanted attention from the capital.
Though an integral part of the Roman patriarchs, what with her family name and status, Bella was to say the least, infinitely displeased with the status quo. She abhorred slavery, and could not reconcile the fact that the Roman Empire pillaged through peaceful countries wreaking havoc wherever they went. Cultures destroyed, temples brought down to rubble. Meanwhile the self-appointed deity, her uncle, sat on the throne unchecked and dangerous.
Bella marveled at the spineless political leaders that had allowed this to happen. She knew they thought her spoiled and lethargic, here she was on the fringes of society, far from the palace intrigue. She enjoyed nature and helped her loyal followers all she could; they knew she would not blink an eye of sending them wherever they wished no matter the cost. It was simply safer at Capua by the sea.
Truly why would they leave? She provided a safe haven. She kept families together. The work was light as all helped out including herself. In the mornings they would spend planting, reaping—afternoons in the sea, evenings they would prepare delicious feasts at which the music was likely better than any the palace could boast of. And they were seemingly untouchable, for really what could the palace want with her now?
The crown had seized any substantial wealth she could have claim to, save her personal property she lived on and the grounds where she had her winery and crops. The only thing remaining of value were her properties and self-sustaining agricultural endeavors. Indeed, Bella was notoriously frugal with her funds, and many wondered what she did with her wealth. It was apparent she did not spend wastefully though her house was quite thriving, it was hardly luxurious. Where other noble patriarchs desired rare gems around their necks, Bella was content with shells she found herself at the beach.
Her ability to self-sustain quite lucratively in Capua was not the only thing garnishing a blind eye from the capital, Bella was…different and those close to her knew it best. Though some may call her a beauty, despite her unconventional looks unhindered by cosmetics and perpetual insistence on dawning black, there was something unique about the outcast royal—one of the last Cullens of her time. She has power—a force within her that was as commanding as mysterious. She did not dwell on this covert part of herself, rather enjoying the right to live freely far from the tyranny of the capital. But there was something inherently within her, and those closest to her knew—there was something special about Bella. With an affinity for animals and the elements alike, it seemed to those around her Bella was far more than she seemed.
"Bella," Jasper called. "You have wasted away at the sea this afternoon."
"Yes, friend," she replied serenely. "I only wish to have submerged myself in these clear waters this day. The sea is quite reminiscent of crystal, how I would love to—waste away in it!"
Jasper laughed good naturedly, "Even so, it is time to prepare the evenings meal, might I escort you back to the villa?"
"If you insist Jasper," she replied linking her arm with his. "Let us be off."
Bella and Jasper walked in a comfortable silence appreciating the cool, evening air as they headed towards the villa. Their peaceful walk was interrupted however, as Alice hastened to greet them.
"Bella, oh Bella!" Alice cried. "I have horrible news."
Bella was quite shaken the last time Alice was this upset, it had been to notify her of her mother Esme's capture and impending execution. Alice always seemed to be the bearer of bad news. She even had what some may call a sixth sense and seemed to know when to expect something ominous.
"What is it this time?" Was Bella's tentative reply.
"It is a royal edict," Alice answered. "You have been summoned…to appear at court. By the Emperor's own edict."
Jasper gasped in dismay, "Why now?" He wondered aloud.
"Why now indeed?" Bella said thoughtfully. "I have never been summoned before."
"The Emperor needs a new toy thing," Angela came by suggesting worriedly.
"Angela!" Alice chastised.
"No, she is right," replied Jasper. "The Emperor never does anything unless to amuse him."
"We must tread lightly," was Bella's soft reply.
Edward paced around his opulent quarters dangerously. Irritation coursed freely in his veins. The Blue Phoenix had struck again. Blast the Blue Phoenix and all it stood for! He did not need slave-loving vigilantes stepping all over his laws. The group had been active the past years, pirating slave barges before they reached Roman shores—setting the ship's captives free, freeing the gladiators as well, coming to the aid of cities Rome wished to capture. It was infuriating. It was not to be tolerated!
The graffiti on the Roman walls is what irked him further. Having that propaganda in all its glory for his city was maddening. The symbol of the phoenix appeared on many street corners, faster than they could paint over them. No matter, if Edward had learned anything it was that nothing became a threat until it was acknowledged as such. He would simply ignore the affair and deal with it quietly—he would not give power to the movement.
Calming himself, his thoughts drew suddenly to his kin—Isabella quite literally the last of his kind. He knew the court wished to see her shamed and brought down, could he really bring himself to destroy her making himself the last of his kind? He had let the girl alone graciously, but it was true she had too much freedom at her disposal. As her only family left, it was his duty to see to a worthy match. He shrugged at the thought of her coming arrival; it was a chore to be dealt with swiftly, nothing more. Then he could turn his attention with a keen eye to that of the situation with the Blue Phoenix.
Readying their convoy, the Capua Cullens ran about swiftly packing the necessities for their trip north. Bella had decided only a few attend her. She would take her trusted guards and her inner circle, but that was it. She left Charlie as care-taker to watch her villa and lands.
Tears streaked across her face as she bid the old care-taker goodbye, "I will miss you," she promised solemnly.
"Never fear child," Charlie replied, "All will be just the same when you return. Remember to stay true to yourself on your journey. Always trust your instincts; they will not fail you."
Bella hugged the old man goodbye. She pondered his words as her caravan began the arduous journey north. In the company of Jasper, Alice, and Angela, the group stilled themselves for whatever obstacles lay ahead for them.
Days later they arrived in Rome, the Beacon on the Hill seemed rather grimy and soiled to Bella. Nonetheless, the opulence of the capital could not be denied, nor the power it represented. The buildings were tall and striking with great care taken in the architecture of it all. The bath houses were new and innovative, museums and theaters to proclaim the countries creativity and flare for the arts. Bella's group made their way to her family house on the coveted Palatine. Servants had been sent ahead to prepare for their arrival.
When Bella saw her family house, memories crept up on her, memories of better times where she had been surrounded by family. The house on the hill looked well-cared for, and Bella and her friends began the laborious of making their new environment like home.
"Bella," Angela called hesitantly. "You certainly won't be able to attend court like that—think of their reactions."
"Yes," agreed Jasper. "Wearing black in the presence of the emperor is considered blasphemous, it will cause unwanted problems."
"I care not," stated Bella callously. "I am in mourning after all. He should understand more than any, he is family."
Her friends exchanged looks worriedly.
"Yes," Jasper conceded. "But he also gave the order to end her life."
Bella simply shrugged at this, she wanted to remind her uncle just what grievous affect his actions caused. She cared not for herself in this matter.
The next day, the group made the journey towards the palace. Bella wore her typical black ensemble, with her hair arranged half up, half down in Roman fashion, but devoid of a wig, accentuating her long brown locks. Her three friends wore the typical wear for royal slave—orange tunics, though nicer then the orange other slaves had to adorn. Her dawning the black would be the only statement made this day.
"Announcing Isabella Cullen of Capua," stated the commentator.
Edward heard whispers before he saw the girl herself. She wears black in the presence of the emperor!? Can you believe the gull of her? She arrives with slaves doing her bidding? Does she have no one of notoriety to escort her? Edward rolled his eyes turning to look at the girl that sparked all the gossip herself.
Expecting to see the child he had met several years prior, he was mildly surprised to say the least at the woman he saw before him. Though her features were far from classically beautiful like that of Rosalie, she had a striking honest beauty about her. Her hair was unadorned but still long, thick, and luscious, curling at the bottoms in proper Roman fashion. Her eyes were heavily rimmed with dark lashes encasing honey colored orbs that seemed depthless and doe eyed. She screamed, vulnerability, she had a face Edward knew many would fight to do defend, and that in itself was a danger. He hated her immediately yet was intrigued by her.
It was time for Isabella to bow to him deeply, calling him some title fit for a deity. Edward knew the process, each of his followers always tried to outdo one another in who could bow the lowest. He watched her like a hawk, as she slowly inclined her head ever so minutely and greeted him with a one word, "Uncle."
There was an audible gasp throughout the court as members of the audience shook with wonder at the impudence of the girl. Surely she had known Edward had killed for less? Eyes were glued to him seeing what his next move may be.
Steeling himself, and covering his scowl with a dismissive, blank face, Edward answered back, "Isabella, my niece." He could tell the crowd was surprised with the acceptance he had extended her. He widened his arms in an invitation to embrace him. He, however, did not soften his eyes or the malice that lay within them.
Isabella approached Edward gradually with a hint of confidence, not breaking eye contact. Once she reached him, she slowly put her arms out, meeting his icy glare with a warm smile of her own, though her eyes were quite insolent. Emboldened, he circled his arms around her and pulled her to him, marveling in the sweet scent of her hair—so different from that of the wigs he was used to. It smelled of the sea and...wild flowers. The girl felt fragile in his arms as if she may break any moment. It was like that of a person who bore the weight of the world on her shoulders.
She looked up at him then, mere inches from his face, "It's Bella, uncle. Remember?"
Amid the shocked whispers and intake of breaths at her correction, Edward thought steadily, yes I definitely hate her.