To my fellow readers,

Here's chapter 24 of Quintessence. Now those who were very, very, very patient with waiting for this new chapter, I can't express my thanks enough to you. In this chapter I included some action, some plot development, some fluff at the end, and something to leave you, hopefully, waiting in suspense for the next chapter.

So read, review, and hopefully enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.

Chapter 24

Soaring through the air, with a swift twist to reposition myself, I landed gracefully on a nearby coniferous. "Now commander, is such violence necessary?" I asked with a sigh. This was everything I was hoping to avoid but I suppose if this is what it came down to then I'm not going to give them the satisfaction of defeating me.

Glancing down, a crowd had formed underneath. It was without a doubt that the wolves would notice the hostility and clash that would begin to ensue. A feral snarl ripped from the commander's throat. I know he wants a battle, a battle to the death. Whether his intention is to prove my worth or simply for revenge I know not, but I know that death for either party is not what I want. Not only would it ruin everything that I've been trying to establish between the wolves and the vampires, then my hopes for ending this never-ending war between me and James would disappear. What I need to do right now though is to douse his anger.

Removing my cloak and letting it hang off the branch, I leapt off the tree and into the throng of wolves beneath. Anticipating entertainment, a large circle formed around me, providing enough room for a delightful confrontation. Commander Greene followed shortly after, just as angry and fierce as ever. Fortunately the vampires decided to reside at the top of the cliff, best to avoid another angry skirmish as well in the midst of one already happening.

"I will not accept you as our leader, let alone as one of us. It is my sworn duty to protect our kin, no matter the consequences; even if it costs me my own life!" And without a thought, he immediately charged at me. I dodged every swing, every kick, and every attempt at a hit.

"Please Commander, I do not wish to fight something that can be avoided altogether!" I tried to negotiate, although I could easily it was a fruitless endeavor. His judgment was clouded by his fury. I needed to strategize brilliantly in order to avoid bloodshed, "Please, just calm down!"

Moving unexpectedly fast, I was suddenly pinned downed by my throat. He was pushing down so roughly, a small crater was beginning to form around me. Another growl escaped his lips, "Calm down?! How in hell can you expect me to calm down?! Has our kind sunken so low as to align ourselves with your filth? As a warrior, I cannot allow this type of alliance to happen!" He pushed down harder on my neck. I gripped his wrists, trying to loosen his hold. "You creatures are nothing but scum; an abomination to humanity! What's dead should stay dead!"

I could hear the murmurs all around me; some were intrigued, others agreeing, many worried, and the rest just unsure. The pressure increased, "You are nothing but soulless, bloodsucking cannibals! How on earth can we trust such cretins like you?! Why should we show you mercy when you show us none?!" The Commander was roaring ferociously.

Everything was deafeningly silent all around.

" -- on, -" I mumbled, slowly bringing my legs towards my body underneath the pressure.

The Commander hardly paused in his tirade, "What is dead should stay dead!"

My eyes flashed red for a swift moment, my anger reaching its peak. Kicking upwards, I completely threw the Commander off me and took in a deep breath. I still felt a lingering pressure on my neck.

Thrown quite a few feet away, I watched, with observing eyes, the Commander get back on his feet, no doubt stunned by that unexpected attack.

"You're wrong Commander Greene," I stated firmly, my voice and stance strong. Refusing to listen, he ran forward. His arms swung outwards in a strike. Expeditiously, I dropped to the ground and turned to kick him off his balance. Reaching up to my full height, I strode forward to press my weight down on his chest. I also suppose a bit of wind helps to keep him down.

"Release me!!" he snarled, struggling aggressively underneath my hold.

Crouching down, I looked him straight in the eye, "You will listen to me Commander," I commanded firmly, holding our steely gaze, "Whatever it is that holds you back will only cloud reason. You may be the vampire's natural enemy but you should realize that now, out of any time, this unlikely alliance is most definitely needed."

He continued to struggle, disregarding my logic, "what proof do you have to show me of this 'needed alliance'? For all I know, you scum could be luring us into a trap!"

Taking a stand, but keeping the Commander pushed down with the wind and my foot, I was left with no choice, desperate times calls for desperate measures, and this was most definitely one of those times. A white glow surrounded everything around us as my sword materialized in my hand. With a skilled swish of my sword, I held the tip straight at his throat. "If I am not proof enough for you, then perhaps my sword is. This here is Quintessence, a sword of life. Do you recognize it, Commander?"

From my peripheral, I could see effort from the wolf crowd to see Quintessence more clearly, but I wanted the Commander to realize it. "What say you now?"

I watched with delighted silence as the Commander's face contorted with realization, his fury was finally calming and I released him from his confines. However I knew that though his pride was wounded, he will not fold so easily to my wish.

I moved back slightly as the Commander stood, huffing, "Albeit reluctantly, I accept you, with that sword, as the daughter of the great wolf Cera, but however, I will not acknowledge you as our leader, as a true warrior," This was progressing well. I may not be accepted as teammate just yet, but I have some trust. It didn't matter how miniscule it was, it was something at least. He was beginning to show me his role as a justified warrior.

"I accept those terms Commander," I could hear the murmurs of confusion around me. The sword disappeared from my hand, returning back to its slumbering form and leaving behind a trail of lingering light.

"So I challenge you to a duel. We are not allowed special abilities or transformations, just our own strength, skill, strategic knowledge, and wisdom of the battle. Do you accept, Commander Greene?" I made sure to stay firm and keep my eyes focused and resolute.

The Commander gave it careful contemplation. Removing his gloves, he returned my unyielding glare with his own, "I respectfully accept your challenge, Miss. Vitalis" and placing his hands together, as almost in a prayer, he gave a humble bow.

Returning his bow with my own, then crouching into stance, I beckoned him forward, "It's your move, Commander. And by the way, call me Bella."

With a warrior's cry, he charged forward, swinging his arms outward with incredible, and almost unseen speed, and great force. The Commander attacked with all his might and was slowly pushing me backwards. Using my own arms, all I could was block his hits; left head, right torso, left torso, front block, duck. Barely able to match his speed, I was left with no room to make my retaliation.

Head, left shoulder, twist and right hip, left torso, duck, front block. His strikes were never-ending. And I knew that I would be left with some massive bruises after this.

"The rumors, it seems to me Miss Vitalis, seem a slight misrepresented," he smirked. The Commander picked up in speed and strength. It was taking steps back now.

I returned his mocking stare with a glare of my own, as well as a huff, and decided that I've had had enough of defending, it was time I made my own offensive attack. I observed closely for an opening, watching his every movement carefully. There I noticed that he was slower on his left side, just by a few seconds but it was enough. I feinted an opening on my left, and according to plan, he took advantage of the opportunity. He made a fast roundhouse left kick at my torso.

This was my only chance to break out of this wearisome routine and with practiced ease I swiveled towards the right and grabbed a hold of his ankle. Matching his smirk, I twisted his foot towards the right. A reluctant grunt escaped his mouth, "I think not Commander Greene." Then repeating his earlier attack, I repeated his roundhouse kick with one of my own, sending him flying a ways away and skidding to a screeching halt quite far from where I stood pleasingly.

I was only given a fleeting moment to notice that our boundaries had widened marginally, allowing more room for movement, before I flipped backwards to avoid an incoming projectile. Then using his body as leverage, I pushed off with my hands further into the air, made a turnabout and used both to kick him forward; knocking him off balance and using the Commander as a base for a perfect summersault.

While he took a moment to right himself, I acted immediately and rushed forward to rob the Commander of this moment. But instead, the Commander turned around, so imperceptibly then it stunned for me for a split second, in which the Commander blocked my hit easily and grabbed my arm to send me flying the air and a kick to the stomach. I was thrown against a tree, hitting it squarely against my back. I couldn't help the painful cry that left me.

Then before I landed on the ground, the Commander held me up against my throat. He was amazingly fast. "Do you surrender, Miss Vitalis?" He pressed harder against my throat.

My air was depleting quickly and I grabbed, by instinct, as his hands. "Surrender now or I will end it all, right here!" he growled. His body was looming menacingly over me, pushing me closer and deeper into the tree behind.

Foolishly deciding to mock him a bit, I smirked, "I'd like to see you try," I choked out. I could feel his chest rumble with angrier growls as I reached for the branch, which was conveniently, and thankfully, low enough for me to hold, and thrusting my knees upwards, I push him far away. I then flipped on top of the sturdy branch, spitting out blood that had collected in my mouth from the hit. Taking in a deep breath, I alleviated my lungs from the oppressing pressure. I could feel myself getting weaker, due to starvation. I haven't had a proper blood feeding in quite a while. This battle needs to end now.

The Commander, on the other hand, appeared to be stable, if not, perfectly able. His stance seemed strong, and his face was etched with fierce, pure determination. But I will never back down; I will and prove my worth to the Commander and these wolves.

Leaping down to the base, I stood up tall, ignoring the pain shooting throughout my body, "Commander Greene, before we end this, let me say this!" I announced humbly. Everything was hushed as I tired to turn these battlegrounds into an area of peace, hopefully. "You are a respected warrior Commander, a true one at that. Judging by your movements, your stance, your fight, you'd be a worthy opponent no doubt, but you are confused and mislead. I do not mean to offend you commander, but to warn you: please don't make a mistake you'll regret."

I watched his face carefully. He was doing better to regain control of his actions and better judgment as his face remained neutral, but would it last? God knows what had happened to him personally that led him this way, but he needs to realize that these emotions will not do well for him; for his life or as a warrior.

Only a mere few feet away, I took in a deep breath, "Do you still wish to carry on?"

Keeping eye contact, he nodded determinedly. This has now become a true battle between warriors. Smiling inwardly, it was time to turn things around as I made the hits, matching, if not, besting, the Commander's speed; right hook, left punch, elbows, knee, uppercut, round kick, sidestep, punch.

This technique was a fantastic way to wear out my opponent, I could see his breathing become laboured, his movements a tad more sluggish. But I could also feel the toll on my body. Everything, the entire fight, our fate, all depends on my one last final move, a complete knockout attack. I could either finish the Commander, and perhaps set thing right, or screw myself over entirely, and I very much avoid the latter. Let's hope this works.

Continuing my punches at breakneck speed, it came as a complete, utter surprise when my arm was suddenly grasped and I was thrown violently over his back and landing painfully on mine. Propelling into a crouch, I stood guarded as the Commander loomed menacingly over me, "I think I've had enough of this dodge tactic Miss Vitalis," I could tell he enjoyed mocking me with that name.

I swung my leg out under his feet, which he skillfully jumped away and landed in a crouch. I grinned, "Well then, Commander, why don't you surrender?" I bantered, enjoying the fight a little more. The grin widened as I heard him huff impatiently. "Or not," I muttered, and then I ran forward and leapt into the air. Flipping forward, I straightened my leg outwards and summoned my strength into it.

The Commander caught me by my ankle as I remained suspended above him, body still positioned for a kick. "Did you think that measly kick would stop me?" the Commander sneered,

"Of course not," I replied audaciously, keeping eye contact, "I was hoping this would." Giving the Commander a wink, I flipped backwards, breaking out of his grip. Using my hands as support, I performed a graceful spin kick, hitting him squarely in the face. Then becoming even angrier from the hit; he lunged for me, missing by mere inches as I wormed my body to the ground.

Quickly I turned my head just in time to see the Commander lunge towards me again. I rolled away from the spot and got to my feet just to jump upwards to dodge another lunge. The Commander wasn't stopping, as soon as he'd land on the ground; he would promptly turn around to lunge again. Once again it had become another bout of attack and dodge, and quite frankly, I am downright annoyed now.

Standing straight, firm, and determined, I waited as the Commander made his turnabout and pounce. "This is over," I smirked inwardly as I won the match with a flawless high kick, bringing the Commander out of his spiral, and delivered spin kick straight to his chest, sending him soaring miles away to land in a very painful, miniature crater.

Striding over towards the wreckage, there laid the Commander, sprawled out and in pain. I placed my foot on top of his chest, now this seemed familiar. He cracked open an eye, grimacing slightly. Whether it was at the pain or because of my victory, I wouldn't know. "Commander, I announced this battle done," stepping aside and off the Commander, I reached my hand out in a welcoming manner, "do you agree?"

He rose himself on his elbows, rubbing at the back of his neck while staring at my hand. No doubt he was contemplating about the proposal. After a minute of contemplative silence, the Commander looked up at me. He gave a defeated smile, "I accept, Bella."

I was positive that I was practically glowing at his words; completely and utterly euphoric at my conquest. But just as the Commander to reach for my hand, a ferocious snarl broke through the joy and I was tackled unexpectedly into the ground.

Screams of my name and shock were heard throughout the surrounding crowd. On top of me was a looming, fallow brown wolf, pinning down by my arms and my entire lower body. His muzzle and gleaming fangs were only inches away from my face; I dared not take a breath. I felt his claws dig into my skin, but just light enough to not break through the skin, and I didn't need more blood to mask.

"Um, hell-lo?" I asked uncertainly. Why and how does trouble keep coming after me? I'm truly starting to believe that there really is some greater being above whose life purpose is to torment me, bad luck can onlyhappen so much.

The wolf above continued to growl viciously and quite angrily, if I may add, as he applied more pressure on top of me. Already weaker from the previous battle, a tiny whimper inevitably escaped me. I could feel my breathing grow harsher as I tried to take in imperatively needed deep breaths.

From the corner of my eye, I saw the Cullen's and Alex emerge from the throng of wolves, as well as our very own Quileute pack. "What is this?!" Alex bellowed, striding forward to Commander Greene, as well as towards me, followed closely by the rest. "Commander, who is this? And why has he interrupted this fight?"

While Alex, Carlisle and Sam went to confront the Commander, as well as the Elders who were headed that way as well, the rest came over to rescue me. "Or perhaps the Elders could shed some light on this situation?" Alex asked. Though he was concerned about my safety, quite angry about the sudden treachery, he still retained his logic to not anger the Elders that will cause total chaos.

I felt the pressure increase even more as they approached our current position, his growls sounding even more aggravated with my family nearing. Edward paused in his step, the others following suit as he held out his arm. "He said he'll snap her neck if we even try to help," Edward explained seething. I could see that he was practically livid as this wolf's paw moved to my neck, cutting off my air supply almost completely. I gasped, surprised by this new development. This brought the arguing "adults" attention over towards me.

"He's dead serious," Edward warned; crouching low into his hunting lunge.

Scanning around my area, I could see the shock looks, the delighted looks, and the confused looks adorn the faces of the wolves. No doubt this was clearly something that was unheard of by the rest, but as my eyes set upon the Elders eyes, while they appeared to have no knowledge of this ever going to happen, I knew that this was what called a "pop quiz".

"Wait," I choked out, just quick enough to stop Edward from actually lunging. Quickly grabbing the heavy paw with my free hand, which I suppose he foolishly thought I wouldn't use, I gripped it strongly enough to make a very painful throb. Yowling in anger, he quickly removed away from my hand, assuaging just enough pressure for me to knee him in his stomach, a punch to his muzzle, and kick him off me entirely. I stood up to my feet quickly, facing the direction I threw him in.

"I – got – it," I wheezed, holding my side in pain. I could feel something flowing on my hands as I rued the rock that I had painfully cut my side on. The tackle was verily unexpected and I had to unfortunately land on something jaggedly sharp. It was taking an extra toll on me to ensure that the vampires weren't breathing in the fragrance.

As quickly as I had threw him off, the opposing wolf made for another pounce. Just inches away before he made contact, I rolled onto my back and kicked him further away. Immediately I got into stance. Since my challenge wasn't proposed to him, there was no need to restrain myself. Let's just hope this new technique works.

Dexterously landing on his feet and skidding to a turning halt, he ran at me again. I planted my feet firmly to the ground, feeling it, to some extent, sunk underneath ground level. 'Feel it,' I chanted in my mind, 'Feel it all around you; as it vibrates all around you.

The wolf neared closer and closer, the sounds of confused and astonished whisperings sounded in my ear.

Taking a deep breath and arranging my palms outwards, I completely isolated myself and my opponent. Blocking out all those mutterings and sneers of failure, just the sounds of the sounds of running filled me. Getting closer and closer, I prayed to God that this worked.

Giving out a yell, I stepped forward. I felt a tingling sensations start from my feet and work its way up to my palms as a giant pillars of Earth emerge underneath the wolf, and pushed him upwards. Now it was just complete quiet, except for my heavy breathing.

The moment the wolf landed on the ground, I let out another yell and twisting my palms around, earth manacles encased each of his legs and his torso. He struggled violently, trying to break the earth that confined him, but I effectively kept him immobile.

Striding forward, feeling every pair of eyes following my movement, it was my turn now to be the menacing one. "Surrender now," I demanded, making it firm that I was the one in charge. However, choosing to ignore instead, he continued to struggle. He stopped as I slightly tightened the earth around him, whimpering. I couldn't help but feel a little guilty.

"Surrender," I repeated, "now!"

After a tense and excruciatingly silent moment, he lowered his head in defeat. Letting out my breath that I didn't even know I was holding, I felt so relieved, but I knew it wasn't done just yet. Turning around, I was faced with shocking looks. I addressed the Elders, "Is there anything else you wish to test, Elders?" Though I knew the attack wasn't their fault, I was beginning to lose patience on this constant distrust. I mean I know over centuries of hostility and war between vampires and wolves that probably my words aren't that much to reassure the wolves, but I'm reaching my limit here, and I am still human after all.

Silently answering, I nodded in return, "After centuries, maybe even millennia, of war, I know that I can't expect to waltz right up to your territory and expect open arms," I began, addressing everyone around me, "and I definitely don't expect everything to be resolved in a matter of minutes, but there are lives at stake here! Not just ours, but human lives! And these lives are the reason for your being! For wolves, for the most part, you protect them, and for vampires, we're, unfortunately, you're source of food, humanity needs you just as much as you need them."

I paused to take a good look at everyone's face, even the Volturi members who remained up top the cliff. "So what's it going to be? Your pride," and taking a deep breath, I left them with a pondering note, "or their lives?"

Headed back to the wolf that was still tripped in manacles, I crouched down, letting him know that I meant him no harm as I reassuringly placed my hand on his neck. "I'm sorry for your loss," I muttered, unbinding him from the earth, "I hope that you can find closure."

I watched as the wolf hesitatingly moved away from me, but kept his eyes directly aimed at me as he moved back towards his pack. As soon as he disappeared from set, I set my sights on the Volturi, "I suggest you relay my message back to your army once they arrive." The leaders respectfully nodded.

"Now if you'll excuse me, I have business to attend," and I removed myself from the spot, transporting away from the questioning eyes and into the mountain forests, miles away from the site. It's been a long day, and now I needed to feed.

Now that my blood hunger was satiated, and taking my own sweet time getting cleaned and refreshed under my mountain refuge, I figured that I deserved a nice break from the problems going on. I also suppose that I'd best arrive after the Volturi army arrives, that way Aro, Marcus and Caius would have time to discuss certain matters with them.

Instead I wanted to train, test my new technique that I had spontaneously discovered, and test my limits and abilities.

Clearing my mind, I tried to remember the battle; how I felt, what I was thinking during that time. Then taking a deep breath, I maneuvered my palms and stance into the appropriate, or what I thought worked anyway, position. Three large pillars rose from the ground. I wanted to manipulate them, call the earth to bend towards my will. But I had to listen, feel it around me, and for a lack of better and less stupid sounding words, I needed to become one with the earth.

Time flew as I enjoyed enhancing my new ability, and before I knew it, night had already fallen. If I recalled, the army wouldn't arrive until mid-morning, giving me plenty of time to relax back here at home. Although I did feel a little guilty for shirking off my responsibilities, I did need some time to think and be off my own , just a little moment in my life where I can actually hear my own thoughts.

Quickly taking another shower, and changing into some comfortable clothes, I grabbed a bag of marshmallows, a CD player, and headed outside once again to sit in front of the lake. I lit a fire nearby, and amused myself with influencing my control of the elements; playing with waters, creating water women figurines, bending the earth to create men to accompany my women, and just absorbing in the natural wonders that surrounded me.

And before I knew it, I fell asleep on the sandy shores.

"So what's up?" I asked, amused by the fear I managed to instill in some of my fellow companions.

After enjoying a restful night's sleep, I quickly showered, dressed into pair of jean shorts and black tank top, followed by the usual attire, then grabbed some toast to go and sprinted out the door. Once I was out from under the mountain, I then found myself seated comfortably on a fold-out chair, finishing the last bit of toast I brought along.

"Holy Hell Bella!" Emmett exclaimed, one of the products of my successful scares. "Why can't you walk like normal people?"

I smiled earnestly back at Emmett, "since when did I fit in with normal people?" I replied teasingly. Unfortunately it left him at a loss for words.

I turned back towards the rest of the group who were staring at me with relief. Edward moved immediately to my side, "Good to have you back," he muttered affectionately, wrapping an arm around my shoulder. I moved closer towards him. Even though I did enjoy my solitude and reflection moment, I would still miss Edward nonetheless.

Looking around, I noticed that it was just the original team that we had arrived with. I surmised that the Volturi army had arrived the leaders, I hope, were having a nice and thoughtful discussion with them. "So what chaos ensued after I left?" I asked, unable to hide my curiosity any longer. I needed to know how everything went after my spiel.

Alex grinned, "Well you'll be happy to know that bloodshed was avoided," I breathed a sigh of relief, "and you definitely left an impact with that speech,"

"Surprisingly," Quil muttered mischievously. I couldn't help but stick my tongue out at him.

But all childish actions aside, all that was left that I needed to know what the outcome. I left an impact on the wolves and vampire, hallelujah, but what good will my impact be if they continue to fight? "Alright, and now we are going to…?"

A chuckled went around the circle. This time Carlisle answered, "The leaders on both sides want to meet, perhaps come up with a compromise of some sorts, just until the matter at hand is resolved at least.

"The Volturi army has arrived so Aro, Caius and Marcus have left to deal with them, as well as finding an appropriately distanced area for them to reside."

I nodded, genuinely happy with the results. I was making progress, and if I played my cards right, the pot's mine. This excitement was almost hard to contain, but it wasn't over yet.

"By the way Bella," Sam interrupted, staring inquisitively at me, "if you don't mind me asking but about yesterday's battle, I just wanted to inquire about something." Although confused about what he wanted to know, I let him continue, "Your, well I guess I would call it technique, it was, well, it was different."

Oh! I had completely forgotten that it was new. I was amazingly mastering it so well yesterday that it felt like I've had it for decades. I returned his stare with an embarrassing grin and rubbed the back of my head, "Well it sort of happened on a whim," I answered abashedly and with a nervous laugh.

"What?" I heard Edward asked, deadpanned, "You mean almost killed yourself for a whim?" I felt as Edward tightened his arm around me to prevent any means of escape. Crap, he was onto me. The rest of the onlookers were observing amusedly and curiously, although along with Edward, Alex looked almost as serious as Edward.

"I mean I saw it on TV and wanted to try it out. I was planning to test it out early before I was interrupted and –,"

Then facing Edward, I shut my mouth at his expression. Emmett beat him to asking the prime question though, "Wait, you did something that you saw on TV?"

I instantly covered my hand to my mouth; I did not want to tell him that. Edward's eyes narrowed, as Alex's did as well. The faces of the others were stunned, amused, or proud at this new piece of information. Giving another nervous chuckle, I unsuspectingly slipped away from Edward's arm, "Well seeing that this is probably a bad time and all, I'm just going to go find a fish to read," then hurriedly turning around, I was stopped by Edward in my line of sight.

"Love you," I said, hoping to bribe him a bit before I gave him a quick peck on the cheek and then vanished from the site and into a relatively safer area. While I did feel a bit remorseful for upsetting Edward then leaving him, there was another matter that required my attention.

Emerging out from the shadow of the trees, I found myself at the wolf base, with, awkwardly, all eyes staring at me. Clearing my throat, I announced my purpose, "Where is Commander Greene?" It was only a few moments later when he surfaced from the throes in the crowd, accompanied by who I assumed to be his imprinted, and an unknown man with familiar brown hair. I nodded upon his arrival, "Commander Greene," I greeted.

"Miss Vitalis," he returned, nodding respectfully. "This is Julie, my imprinted," he introduced. Julie was drastically tinier than Commander Greene, delicate looking with long black hair, and olive toned skin. I suppose opposites attract in this case. "And this is Kyle, my brother," referring to the man that was much closer to the Commander's stature. Similar build, almost identical height, just the difference was a lighter hair colour and blue instead of brown eyes. Brothers indeed.

Greeting each politely, and trying to ignore the sorrow-filled glare sent my way from the brother, I turned to head back to the forest, "a word please Commander if you don't mind. And perhaps your brother as well if he could."

Trekking back to the forest first, I gave the brothers some time to decide their next course of action. Moments later, I heard them follow. We walked in silence for the next few minutes before deciding to stop a miles away from the base camp. I turned to face the brothers, and bowed respectfully.

"Commander Greene, I commend you on a well-fought battle. I enjoyed the fight and hope to have another one in the near future." Though he didn't bow, he extended his hand out for a gripping handshake.

"I as well enjoyed it Miss Vitalis, and would very much hope for another one. Not only have you proved your worth in your battle against me, I would be honoured to help you in this upcoming war," I smiled gratefully, glad to know that this one issue was resolved.

But there was another matter at hand. I turned towards the brother, Kyle. "You're not hurt are you?"

Though his face remained expressionless, I could see in his eyes that he was slightly stunned that I recognized him. It was his hair, and a certain gut instinct that I felt that I knew that he was the wolf from yesterday. It was confirmed immediately when I found out that he and the Commander were brothers. He shook his head

"I'm sorry that you were the subject for my experiment yesterday," he raised his brow inquiringly, "Oh, it was a new technique that I wanted to try out. Sorry but you just happened to be when the moment required it," I apologized, in which he thankfully understood.

After yesterday, the Commander fortunately gained a new perspective on me, and respected who I was. "Is there something that you wanted Miss Vitalis that required you to call us out?"

Smiling warmly, I took out a picture of my Renee and Charlie, handing it to the Commander for him to see. I could tell they were becoming even more confused, "These are my adopted parents, Renee and Charlie. Even though they aren't my real parents, they were still my mom and dad, and I'd hate to lose them." They returned the picture to me and I stared at it lovingly. It was the first beach trip that we took, I was four at the time.

I then took out another picture, this time of me and Jacob, working on the bikes. "And this is one of my closest friends. He's a great guy, and also one of you." Though I felt my heart tighten in my chest, I made sure to keep my voice strong, "And recently, he's been missing."

The Commander smiled apologetically, handing back the picture. Kyle's eyes conveyed his emotion. "But what does this have to do with us Miss Vitalis?"

Swaying on the balls of my feet, I extended the branch of a nearby tree towards the palm of my hand. The wolves watched in silent awe as I grew a white rose from the leaves, "one can be quite distraught after losing someone they love," the rose bloomed beautifully and I plucked it from the branch. "I've experienced it one too many times." I concluded, handing the flower to the Commander.

"A flower for your lovely wife," I told the Commander.

Walking away I heard the Commander speak to me, "Thank you, Bella."

I turned my head slightly, giving a gentle smile in return, "Commander," then turned to the brother, "Kyle."

He nodded, speaking out his first words to me, "Thank you." And then they returned back to the base. My mood has lightened considerably, and I felt really good, and now it was onto the next mission.

I waited until the wolves were out of hearing distance before I spoke out, "Come on Edward, how about a walk?" and instantly he was by my side with his arm out for me to take. Giving him the smile I reserve only for him, I accepted his arm as we took a stroll to a nearby lake.

"How long have you been listening?" I asked quietly.

Edward was silent for a moment, no doubt debating whether he should lie or tell the truth. Thankfully he went with the latter, I could tell, "When you showed them the picture of Jacob." A sad smile adorned my lips as I nodded in affirmation.

Another silent moment surrounded us as we strolled to the other side of the lake. We were walking at a rather slow pace.

"Are you angry?"

Looking up at him, I kissed his cheek. Edward can be so endearing at the best of times, "No, I'm not. Just thinking, that's all." There was just a huge mess in my mind; the future, present and past. I couldn't sort out what was important and what just there to confuse me even more. But right now, it should just be me and Edward that's on mind.

"And I should apologize for yesterday too, I'm sorry I made you worry." This time coming to a full stop, Edward brought my face up to his to place a sweet and tender kiss on my lips. It was full of meaning, of reassurance, and of his love. It just made me feel all aflutter inside. A breathless sigh left my lips, as well as all the worries in my head.

We resumed our walking. I let Edward led the way, no doubt to our main base, but we traveled at a snail's pace. They could wait, and I haven't enjoyed alone time with Edward for a long time. "Well I guess it can't be helped when you go gallivanting about for the safety of the world," he chuckled, effectively brightening up my mood, "just as long as you don't do anything that reckless again."

Giggling, I replied, "I can try, but no guarantees, Edward."

He sighed softly to himself, "It was worth a shot," he conceded.

I nestled closer towards him, and slowed down our walking a little more, wanting to prolong this peaceful moment. Without Edward, I think I'd probably never make it up to this point in my life. He was my pillar, my support, my everything, and probably the top reason for wanting to save the world. He was the one I wanted to be with forever. "I love you," I whispered affectionately, resting my head on his arm.

I felt a smile on his face, "I love you too," he replied. And we walked the rest of the way in a peaceful silence.

Lachrymose moans could be heard above the violent sounds of struggling from an angry captured prisoner. Cries and pleads we begged by the ones trapped between bars as the two spellbound guards, both with striking good looks and a power of high caliber, led their hostage down the morbidly depressing corridor held their victims and experimentation subjects.

"Let me go you sick bastards!" he roared furiously, trying with all his might to break free, but his severe injuries decreased his strength tenfold.

The newly caught prisoner was soon brought in front of a cloaked man,uching in front of an open cell and observing the prisoner inside. The fragile looking creature trembled violently fear with every touch he lay upon her. He mumbled to himself quietly, "seven years, no signs of surrendering just yet, a persistently resisting mind, drastic measures are required." He jotted a few notes down before he snapped his book closed at tossed the girl aside.

He stood up to face the newcomer, "Ah finally, you have arrived to my humble abode," he exclaimed excitedly. "Now let me see, let me see." The cloaked man grabbed the prisoner by the chin, tilting his face side to side. He walked around the prisoner once, and grazed the many injuries that the prisoner was garland with. "Seems like a strong young fellow," he reached for the chine again.

The man snapped at the incoming hand, growling low in his throat, "Don't touch me!" spitting at his face, the disrespect sliding down the opposing cheek.

Rather then receiving intimidation as he hoped, the cloaked man chuckled deeply, "and lively as well," and suddenly it felt like the whole area darkened dramatically, even more than hell would allow. The prisoner received a unexpected and an excruciating hit to the jaw, perhaps even dislocating it. "You shall be rather fun to break I imagine," then addressing the guards, he commanded, "throw him with in subject M71, I surmise they'll enjoy discussing about what, or rather who, they have in common with each other."

Listlessly obeying, the prisoner was thrown rather harshly into the open cell. The man let down his hood, revealing his face to the prisoner, "you!" he snarled, and about to lunge until stopped by the sudden bars blocking his way.

An amused and malicious smirk touched his lips, "How nice of her to tell you all about me, I guess she does care after all," he taunted.

"I suggest you be an obedient little boy as you enjoy your stay here. Someone will be down here soon enough to stop your bleeding, after all, we only need you just slightly alive to lure my precious back to me."

"You bastard," the prisoner growled, unable to get up from his injuries, "if you do anything to her, I will murder you!" The other prisoner feebly crawled over to her new cellmate, helping him get comfortable.

"Well it looks like you two are getting along quite swimmingly. Take good care of our friend Jacob here," he bid cheerfully, making his aura contrast quite oppositely to his outward appearance, "if not, then you know what will happen, Maria."

Jacob felt the girl shudder fiercely at his words, no doubt completely terrified.

As soon as he left, all Jacob could think was 'shit, what the hell have I gotten myself in to now?'

So as you read this chapter, note that after 2 years, my writing has undoubtedly matured, maybe not by that much, but enough to tell the difference between the chapters, well I think anyway. I'm debating in possibly rewriting my chapters so that they fit with this chapters. If you agree, disagree, don't care, let me know. Please and thank you!

As well, I'm also debating on the possiblity of finding a Beta reader for this story. While writing it is no problem to find time for, it's just the editting portion that I really don't have any patience with. If I have any volunteers, give me a shout out. Thank you very much!

And with one more note, I will often repeat this. Though I am not dropping this story, I have absolutely no specific date as to when the next chapter will be released. I'm persistently trying to find time to write even a couple of lines for the story, but I cannot gurantee that a new chapter will be written in a matter of days. This comes as a forewarning to those who may not choose to patiently wait for this story to finish.

Aside from that, thank you for reading!
Sincerely, Lady R. Lotus