Hello Everyone, thank you for sticking with my story. This is the last chapter, however there will be an epilogue. A big thanks to my beta Melolabel. Another big thanks to my brother in law Knarf. He just wanted Mike to have one moment in the sun, he asked for a Warewolf-Vampire-Ninja-Pirate. This was the best I could do. Let me know what you think.
I had spent the better part of a week sitting on the bow of the ship, contemplating everything that I had learned from Aro, everything that I had become, and everything that I would be. It took quite a bit of adjusting to my new body, and to get a better understanding of what I was capable off.
Everyone on the ship had left me alone, except for Eric, he was also a...the word still stuck in my throat...vampire. He was from the distant orient and his real name was something no one could actually say correctly.
He had become a welcomed silent companion to my introspective revelry. He was covered from head to toe in black. His pants fit tightly over his legs, and yet they afforded him an ease of movement and unexpected agility. The complicated tunic wrapped intricately around his torso again covering him entirely but allowing him to move freely. The head wrap covered most of his face, leaving a small swath opened, for his almond shaped eyes, and he always carried a dagger on the sash that tied around the tunic. I actually had no idea what he looked like. But I appreciated the non-intrusive companionship.
My hearing had become insanely acute. I could hear whales calling out to each other and birds that were miles away. I could hear and smell everything that was happening on the ship.
From what I heard and understood, Eric was some type of Japanese warrior. He had started a sect of secret assassins known as Ninjas before he encountered a Vampire and chose to be changed so that he could always look over his warriors and protect his empire. He was in love with the emperor's daughter and knew that as a soldier he could never be with her, so instead he chose to protect her for the rest of her life.
I understood how he felt. I knew we were headed to Bella, I could feel myself pulling towards her. My initial horror at what I had become had begun to subside as I realized that I was in a better position to help save her now. I had fought with her captors and I knew their strength. I turned towards Eric.
"What can you teach me?"
"Much," he responded serenely.
"When can we start?"
"We already have. Silence and patience are your greatest weapons, you have those, now you can learn the rest."
"How much time do we have?"
"Then we begin."
I was accepting the fact that my role in Bella's life may not be what I had hoped, but I would do anything I could to make sure that she was safe and happy. My stone cold heart cracked as I considered that I would not be a part of that life. As I looked out on the horizon I felt myself pulled towards Bella, and I had to consider all that meant. I knew she was alive, I could feel that deep in my soul. I knew that her whole world was turned upside down, and I wasn't going to be a part of it anymore. I knew that the moment I could confront the man who had done all of this to her, the heavens would turn a blind eye to the Hell I would unleash on him.
The change in the motion of the ship let me know that we were most likely nearing the islands they had spoken of. If my plan was going to work, it had to be soon. We had to be far enough away from the island for them to easily escape to it, but close enough for us to have a fighting chance at life.
Though our captors never slept, they often spent several hours unmoving on the deck above. I signaled a few of the women to begin coughing and moaning, and creating a racket while we undid everyone's chains. All of the men quickly scampered below to locate the gunpowder while the women stood around the ladder to the deck to distract James if need be, by any means necessary. This was life and death now and I had no illusions that everyone here would make it out alive. My only true goal was to make sure that Isabella did. She stood bravely at the head of the pack of women.
The men returned quickly carrying several barrels of gunpowder, and a few water barrels they had emptied. After unplugging the barrels they set a small stream of gunpowder all around the edge of the interior of the ship and around several of the inner supports. The largest share was around the mast supports and by the hatch. The remainder of the items below, a few trunks and the barrels that had been brought up were placed in a circle as far away from all of the gun powder as was possible. I could hear movement begin above. One more glance out of the grimy porthole told me that the strongest might be able to make it to the island if the sea was favorable.
I reached over to Isabella, "I'm so sorry that all of this has happened, but I will never be sorry that you came into my life." I drew her near to me, with my arm around her waist I picked her up and pulled her head to mine. I kissed her with all of the feelings that had grown in my heart. I wanted her to know how much I loved her and I didn't regret one moment with her. She was startled at first but quickly sunk into my grasp and returned my kiss with a fervor of her own that surprised me.
"I'm not sorry for one moment we have had together." She looked into my eyes so deeply when she said this. I knew she meant it from the depths of her soul. As the cover to the deck lifted I turned towards the men.
The moaning and noise had become intolerable; these humans were becoming more of a bother than most. Victoria was lucky the island was in sight so she could release them and have her fun chasing them all around. Anything for a laugh I suppose. I could see we were near enough to land now and I wasn't going to listen to them anymore. As I approached the hatch to put a little unholy fear in them, I felt at my hip for the key to their chains. My hand slid past the spot my key should have been. I looked down desperately at my belt to find there was noting there. A loud blast rocked the ship and a violent explosion of light and fire burst out of the hatch, engulfing my whole frame.
I could see James heading towards the prisoners and reaching for his key. I didn't know what he had planned but I was sure it was something to toy with me and drive me insanely jealous; he loved to dangle my food in front of me that way. I got up to follow him and just as I stood, a blast from the hatch covered him in fire. The sound of his body crumbling under the heat as his clothes burned was sickening, an in less than a moment he was engulfed in flames. The scream that tore from my throat seemed to be from another place entirely. I barely noticed the blast from below the ship and the way that it was quickly turning to its side. These disgusting humans would not survive this! As the ship was turning I could hear them screaming below and I was glad. Let them scream. I leapt off the side of the ship just in time to avoid a burning sail landing on me. As I dove into the water I saw something more frightening than the fire; it was the Volturi, and they had finally caught up with me. Well, I would teach them a lesson along with any human that was left.
I knew we were close. My soul cried out to hold Bella, to protect her, to take her away forever. But I knew that could never be. I would never let her become the monster that I had become. I would take everything I had learned about my new state of existence, everything I had learned from Eric, and become her silent protector. And that would start now.
Eric and I were sparring on the deck. I was lunging at his crouched form when out of the corner of my eye I saw a large explosion. We had spotted the ship a few hours ago and knew we would catch up in a few more, but it appeared as though something had gone horribly wrong. I needed to get to Bella. Eric and I looked at each other and we both immediately flew off the edge of the deck into the water. My first reaction was to quickly surface., I felt like a rock sinking quickly, but Eric grabbed my arm and held me under. He began pulling me along and motioning in the direction we needed to go. I found that I didn't need to breathe.
It was a strange and overwhelming feeling to combat; I hadn't realized that my need to breathe air was over. I felt even more detached from humanity. But my hearing in the water quickly picked up. I could hear people screaming and wood burning and snapping. With all my new found strength I swam as fast as I could towards them. It was only a few minutes when we surfaced near the wreckage of the ship.
When I pulled in my first breath out of the water I was overwhelmed by the scents that assaulted my nose. There was one that was familiar and I began frantically looking for my Bella. Thank goodness it was a clear day and the sea was calm. Eric motioned that he was going after a Vampire scent he had picked up and he headed for the island.
I saw a woman's body floating upside down in the water and I quickly rushed to it. When I flipped it over it wasn't my Bella. It was the pregnant woman, Angela. I quickly pounded on her back, to force the water out, and even as I was treading water, I put my mouth on hers and blew air into her lungs. She began coughing and hacking, then looked at me with a strange mix of familiarity and horror. I pulled her towards a large plank of wood from the almost completely sunken ship and pushed her onto it.
Another quick scan and I could see several other people scrambling for something to hold or float on and then I saw Edward. He was going under as he was desperately trying to hold Bella out of the water. Even though she didn't appear to be injured I could smell her blood and I knew she needed my help, fast. The thought of her dead set off an explosion in my mind and with what I knew was inhuman speed I raced over to them.
As the gunpowder was lit and the explosion started going off, my only thought was to reach Bella. I got to her in time to push through the hatch with her after the initial explosion. I hadn't expected it to completely kill James, but when I saw his body parts twitching in what looked like a pile of burnt and cracked statue, I knew he wouldn't be a problem anymore.
I had Bella around the waist and as I looked into her eyes I saw a fire and determination that was so compelling I couldn't look away until she shouted my name. The ship lurched forward and was quickly tilting to the side. As the mast was coming down I saw a long rope, with a leap and all my strength I grabbed the rope, twisted it around my arm and swung out from the ship as far as possible. The rope was connected to one of burning sails and as we passed it I heard Victoria scream and saw her leap past us into the water.
I couldn't worry about that now though, I was barely holding on to the rope. I saw everyone else clambering out from below decks and leaping to the water. One last explosion cracked the mast completely and sent a massive plume of smoke and shrapnel towards Bella and I. I let go of the rope hoping we would hit the water in time to avoid most of the burning projectiles.
As we kicked to the surface I thought we had actually made it. When I looked at Bella though, I could see that she was loosing consciousness quickly. I looked over her head for any obvious wounds and as I struggled to keep us both above water I could feel a splinter of wood impaled in her side. She was gasping for breath and unable to kick or speak. I looked around desperately to find a barrel I could use to float her on and swim to shore, but I knew there wouldn't be enough time, she was bleeding and she couldn't breathe. My own heart was being to feel like a vice was squeezing it, and I could hear myself screaming.
"Please God, NO! TAKE ME, save her, TAKE ME, NO, NO." Out of the corner of my eye I saw a movement that was unbelievable fast. I figured the sharks had found us and there was no more hope.
"Give her to me. Hold on to my neck." I saw Michael Newton, or some creature that looked like him. As far as I knew Newton died on his Father's ship. He was larger and paler. He seemed to exist in the water so easily. He took Bella from my arms.
"HOLD ON TO MY NECK." He yelled again to get my attention. I did as he said and before I could look around or try to conjure up an explanation for what was happening in my mind we were off like a cannon shot. He held Bella above the water and his legs were kicking so fast they were a blur, I held on with the last bit of strength in my arms as he pulled us to shore. In a matter of moments we were on the beach. And I could see the true damage that was done to Bella.
"You have to help her." Mike said. I looked at him again and was mesmerized and terrified in the same moment. My medical training took over in that moment.
"Give me your shirt. We need to stop the bleeding." Mike pulled off his shirt and handed it to me. I slowly pulled the 14 inch long splinter from her side. It was obviously painful, but thankfully she was unconscious. "Go start a fire, and find a branch that you can pull the bark from." As he ran off, I was holding his shirt to her wound applying pressure. The bleeding was slowing but not stopping. As I saw Mike run off, I knew that he did not look like that on his father's ship, and he was moving faster than my eyes could conceive. Within moments he had collected the dried driftwood on the beach, started the fire and had a smooth branch.
"Heat the branch as much as you can without starting it on fire." He did as I told him too without question. Though I could barely take my eyes off of him now, he would not look at me. As though there was a question between us that he knew the answer too and would not be telling me.
"Hand it to me." As he hand me the branch I removed the shirt on Bella's side where I had been applying pressure. I plunged my finger in the wound and it seemed there were no leftover splinters and no organs had been injured. I took a deep breathe and plunged the burning hot stick into her side.
"AHHHHHHH". She immediately screamed and began to twist.
An intense pain as I've never felt seared through my entire being. It felt like it lasted for hours. I could hear someone screaming and realized it was me. I looked up at Edward's face which looked like a beautiful ray of light amidst the pain that was robbing me of sanity. Then next to him I saw Mike. I was so confused. The setting sunlight bounced off his skin and it seemed as though he was lit from within. He was beautiful.
"Mike, you look like...like – a ruby." Then I felt the familiar blackness pull over my mind again and fell into darkness.
"What are you doing?" Mike demanded and grabbed my arm so hard I could feel the bones about to give way.
"I have to use the heat to stop the bleeding and to prevent an infection." He released me and I could feel the blood rush back into my hand, there was already a large purple bruise in the shape of his hand. Bella had passed out again and was starting to breathe more regularly and controlled. Mike carried her further up the beach.
"The others, you have to help the others." I directed Mike back out to the water where you could see several people still struggling. He looked wistfully back at Bella then back to the horizon. In movement so fast it seemed more like the idea of running and swimming he was back in the water, moments later he pulled a wooden plank onto the sand with Angela on it. Gently he carried her up to where I was and laid her on the ground. In a flash he was back in the water. Angela was barely conscious as I checked her for broken bones or bleeding. She seemed to have a badly sprained ankle, but the bones were all intact. I let her to rest next to Bella; that was all I could do for now.
As Mike pulled in more and more people, I gathered more wood to stoke the fire and tended to everyone's injuries as best as I could. Within about 20 minutes there were less than a dozen people laid out on the beach. I was barely able to sit let alone stand. Every muscle in my body ached, my lungs burned from inhaling so much salt water and smoke and my mind was in a foggy haze.
I was so concerned with Bella that I couldn't even begin to think what had happened to Mike. I had been so sure that he had gone down with the other ship. And his abilities, they were beyond what he should be capable of. My mind was fighting back at everything that I was contemplating, and my body was beginning to betray my will. I laid down in the sand next to Bella and closed my eyes, just for a moment. Beyond my control I had to relinquish myself to sleep just for a few moments.
After scouring the wreckage and the surrounding waters, I was sure that I had all of the survivors. Most were passed out on the beach, a few were mumbling incoherently about vampires and demons, I encouraged them to sleep. A few of the older captives had not been able to survive the blast and subsequent sinking of the ship. I found them as well and decided it was best to leave them to their watery graves. It was an honorable burial; I had seen more than one laid to rest at sea.
I could feel an unquenchable desire for Bella rising in my chest. Just knowing that she was alive and now safe was more than I could have hoped for, more than I had expected.
After scanning the beach, I saw that Edward was fast asleep beside Bella. I moved quietly over to them and I could not resist touching her face, caressing her delicate check bones, tracing her perfect heart-shaped mouth. Before I knew what I was doing I lifted her into my arms--she was lighter than a feather--and carried her off into the woods. After finding a private cove with a small waterfall I sat with her cradled in my arms for a long time. Her beauty was overwhelming and I felt like crying, however no tears would come to my eyes. I was reminded of my inhumanity; of the monster I had become.
"Mike?" Bella had woken and was staring up at me.
"Everything is alright. I'm here now. You are safe." Just saying the words felt like daggers ripping through my chest. How long could I be there? Was everything alright?
"You seem so different. What happened? I thought…I thought," she was trying to hold back choking sobs. "I thought you died."
I knew I couldn't hold back anything from Bella. She knew my soul; she owned my soul. It was all hers now.
I could only sit in stunned silence, trying to grasp everything that Mike had just told me. Could it all be true? Did such creatures exist? I was trying to consider all of this information. The horror that had been my life for the past week was more than I could handle. I had to put it all in a little box in my heart, to be opened and dealt with later. Right now I could only consider three things. I still loved Mike, I thought he was dead and yet here he is before me, and I love Edward. The last realization was more powerful and confusing than I had expected.
I looked into his wide scarlet eyes, pulled my fingers through his long beautiful hair, and rested my hand on his rock hard shoulder. I was amazed at what he had become.
"I love you." a whisper, a promise, it was all I had to offer.
"I love you too."
"Than stay with me."
"I can't Bella; I don't belong in your world anymore."
"You possess a part of my heart. How can I go on without you?" I pleaded.
"I will always be with you, to protect you, to watch over you. I will always be there." I knew, though that he meant to remain forever in the shadows of my life.
"How can you ask me to let go so easily." I could see that my statement cut him to the core and he cringed.
"Not easily," he said in a weak breath, "but it's the only way."
"It's your only way." I felt my heart breaking. Mike rested his hand on my heart and pulled me close, as though he could see the fissure already cleaving my heart in two and he wanted to stop it, to heal it.
When carried me back out of the forest, some of the people were stirring. Edward was sound asleep on the sand. Even in a fitful sleep, brows drawn together and lips pulled tight, he was handsome to behold. I had a small spark in my heart and I felt that somehow, Mike was right. This was how it was supposed to be, and the wound he left unintentionally on my heart would one day be repaired.
A moment later a large group of impossibly beautiful and frightful people emerged from the forest. As they stepped onto the beach they all glistened like jewels in a crown. Victoria was before them, obviously strangled in pain, though no one and nothing was touching her. Mike instinctively set me down behind him. At that same moment Edward woke up and when he saw that I wasn't beside him, he looked around frantically. Upon seeing me with Mike and noticing the fearsome group that had joined us, he was at my side faster than I could blink. I leaned into him for support immediately, feeling his warmth, feeling his heart beat.
Aro looked calm as he approached me, I could see that Jane had her powerful grip on Victoria's mind, causing intense pain throughout her whole body, just by thinking it. Erik was with them as well. I hadn't spared him another thought once I saw Bella. As I was rescuing everyone he must have been chasing after Victoria.
"Well, well, I see what she had planned here and this is a precious little island." Aro said in his calm, controlled, yet menacing voice. "Our problem is solved, or at least it will be momentarily." He motioned over to Victoria; she writhed and tried to thrash at him, but was immediately crippled by Jane.
"And what now?" I asked, knowing that I would not be allowed to make this decision.
"I can see you found your little plaything." He said as he approached Bella. "May I my dear?" He reached out to hold her hand as she was still mostly behind me and I knew, for her safety, there was nothing I could do to stop him. He enveloped her hand in his and looked at her, unblinking, inhuman. A quick glance in Edward's direction, then mine, and he released her hand. He began to chuckle.
"Just when I think humans have become the most boring species on the planet, someone like this comes around and I'm…amused." I didn't like the way that Aro was looking at Bella.
"If you would like Bella, you are more than welcome to join with us." Bella shot a horrified look into my face, Edward stepped forward, as though his brave gallantry could do anything to protect her.
To my surprise Bella stood a little taller and spoke for herself, "I'm quite satisfied with my current state; I'll let you know if that changes." And to my utter sorrow, she stepped back, leaning into Edward's chest.
"Well, I can see we are done here. There are too few survivors to cause a problem, so we'll leave them to you." Aro slightly bowed in my direction and almost instantaneously the whole group disappeared back into the tropical forest and moments later we could hear the distinct sounds of granite being torn apart and shrieks coming from deep inside the forest. After about 10 minutes we saw the plumes of purple smoke in the air and I knew that the tiny band of survivors were safe now. Victoria was gone.
I realized that as we had been transfixed on the scene unfolding deep in the forest, Bella had been holding my hand and Edward's. She looked down at our hands at the same moment then back into my eyes. I knew I needed to leave then or I never would. Slowly I pulled my hand out of hers, and as though she sensed my thoughts, she reached towards me.
"No Bella, you know I need to leave. Edward, I'll always be there, watching, protecting." I expected for him to answer back prideful, or angry, but he didn't. With a grace and dignity I hadn't noticed before he stood a little taller, took Bella by the shoulders, and while holding her, gave me a look filled with appreciation.
He loved her as much as I did, I understood that now, and it made leaving so much easier. I took off towards the forest, towards those who had now become my kind. One glance back to the beach and I saw Bella in Edward's embrace, she was sobbing into his chest. Yet she hadn't watched me go. Though it hurt worse than I could imagine, I was glad. I knew this was best for her.
As I followed the group's trail I saw Erik waiting for me on the trail ahead. I didn't want to talk about it, and he was the only person in the world who could understand that. Without breaking stride I kept running and he came up along side me. We ran that way until we reached the other side of the island.
I saw Aro and Caius and Marcus on the ship anchored deep in a bay. We both looked at them, and then Aro shook his head, Marcus threw up his hands, they raised the sail, and the ship began to sail away. We watched it leave. For a long time we just stood there. Knowing I would need some time away to heal, Erik tilted his head towards the west and we ran and swam, island to island, then through open waters until we reached the New World.
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