Chapter Sixteen: The Same

The second last chapter of the Witch Twins, which means it's going to be pretty long :D The next one will, absolutely be, the final chapter. I know I'm dragging it out, but I figure better an update than none at all.

Jane and Alec have some heartfelt sibling time, and he makes a great sacrifice. Iribelle finally shows her powers, and the Child of the Moon goes on a vengeful rampage.

Iribelle's POV:

"Such strength," she said, snapping her neck back into place. "I do believe that we can be of mutual benefit to each other."

The woman simply rose from the ground, cracking her bones back into place, and letting her protruding ribs slide back into her chest. Her flesh healed almost instantly, and the blood that had been spilt dried up moments later.

"What do you want?" I hissed, pushing Athenal behind me. I darkened again, feeding off the fear of the prisoners that had pervaded the dungeons for thousands of years, and becoming incredibly strong for it. I felt the power surge through my body, strengthening my muscles and hardening my skin.

"Nothing from you in particular," shrugged the woman, walking towards us. "But you happened to come along at this moment. You cannot leave this place," she said, pointing at the massive stone walls that surrounded us. "And neither can I."

"I propose an alliance," she said, her dark eyes glistening. "We escape from Volterra, then go our separate ways. And if we can kill Aro along the way, that's just a bonus, isn't it?"

I turned my back to her, and kept a firm grip on Athenal's hand, almost cracking it with my enhanced strength. "Come on, let's go. We don't need her."

"Yes we do," he whispered into my ear. "We can't even get out of here, let alone escape the castle."

I ignored him, even though I knew that he was right, and dragged him away. The woman was a Child of the Moon, that much was clear – Caius hated all their kind, and if he had kept this particular one alive, then she was either very powerful, or very, very cunning.

We came to a dead end, several feet of solid stone. I screamed and punched at it wildly, tearing off massive chunks, but they were incredibly thick, and I barely made a dent in them.

The Child of the Moon walked in between Athenal and I – bitch – and gave a little smile. She flicked her wrists at the wall, causing it to literally explode outwards – bits of flaming debris filled the air, and a burst of heat almost knocked us to our feet.

"Come on," she said, grabbing Athenal's hand and running off into the newly-cleared passage. I gave a snarl, and ran after them.

Aro's POV:

I burst into the Main Hall, with the rest of the Volturi behind me. It had been transformed into some sort of frozen palace – ice covered everything, and a gentle snow fell from the ceiling. Ramps of ice raced across the room, and falling objects had been frozen in mid-air.

The Volturi were confused, but followed the orders I had given – they formed a perimeter around the room, covering every possible exit. There was no way that they could escape now – it was now the time to kill or be killed.

"Where are the twins?" I demanded.

"We don't know," admitted Renata, who clung to my side. "They attacked me when I attempted to retrieve them. I am sorry, master - "

I roared and struck down the woman, knocking her down the stairs. There she cowered, not daring to move or even breathe.

"Find them!" I ordered. We needed them if we were going to capture Iribelle and Athenal!

Alec's POV:

Of course, I was standing in front of them the entire time. I had used my powers to conceal us, and blinded them in the area where we were standing. The entire hall had been covered in my ice, and it glistened in the dark lights that flew above, in the ceiling.

Jane lay before me, shrouded in not fire, but smoke. I had drained the heat from the air around her; with no fuel, her flames had ceased to burn. Smoke rose from her eyes and mouth, a thick black smoke as the inferno within her body weakly attempted to ignite.

Her eyes had turned black, but I imagined that they were looking upon me with fury. She was sitting on the floor, rocking back and forth, trapped in a place of complete darkness. She could not feel anything, except for the truth and horror of the endless life that she had chosen.

"Make it stop," she breathed. Her eyes quivered, but she could not cry. "Father. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

And there, in her one moment of weakness, I imagined that Jane might have cried. But her body was dead, as dead as her soul, and the despair welled up inside her with no way to escape.

My eyes flickered to the stairs, where Aro stood. Our eyes met for just an instant, as though he could see us; but he was blind to my body, my smell, and anything else that could have betrayed me. I might as well have not existed.

There was a sudden movement in the wall behind me. I felt an explosion through the earth beneath Volterra, as though something was blasting its way out. There was a feral snarling, almost as though a wolf was digging its way through the foundations.

I was alarmed. There was another explosion, and then another, coming closer and closer.

Aro had said that prisoners had escaped from the dungeons. What could possibly be –

Bang.

The ground before me burst into flames, the stone literally being torn apart, each molecule being torn apart from the other with explosive force. The light was blinding, and I felt the heat of the flames and searing light burn my eyes.

I stood there, stunned, when a light finger tapped my shoulder.

Iribelle was standing behind me, with a victorious smile on her face. Athenal was with her, though he did not smile so much as grimace. There was another woman with them, her hands glowing with destructive power, and her smile was wicked and royal.

"Can't hide your fear," Iribelle said, tapping her head. The sheer amount of terror flowing through the blood spilled in Volterra tonight had made her change. She was taller, darker, greater – her black hair seemed to be water, spilling down her shoulders and into her shadow.

"Are you running away?" I asked her.

She knelt down, until her eyes – terrible, black eyes now – were piercing into mine. She laid her hand on my shoulder, and leaned so close that her perfume seemed like poison, sweet and deadly.

"Yes. But are you coming with us?" she urged.

I glanced at Jane, silently sobbing on the ground. This place had brought out the worst in her. The creature there, her hands soaked with blood, was not my sister. It had taken over her, burned inside her like a fire, and she killed to quench that thirst.

I made a decision, then and there. I laid a hand on Jane's shoulder, and though she could not feel me, I knew that she did – somehow. She relaxed a little, and did not scream as I released the frozen power within me, putting out the flame that burned within her. I stripped her of that terrible power, her ability to burn everything she saw with her fiery gaze. The flames would no longer listen to her, she was not their mistress any longer; but at the same time, I could not control the ice.

In that moment, the frozen water throughout the hall burst back into life. A wave of water fell from all directions, roiling, churning, ready to crush us all – but it struck an invisible barrier, a white sphere that rose from Athenal's hands.

"Let's go!" he roared.

At that very moment, as the greater part of my power was sacrificed, it ceased to protect us from Aro's gaze. The mental amnesia that prevented all the Volturi from seeing us broke down, and they came upon us like a swarm of locusts.

A few moments of confusion followed. There was a hiss and a snarl, followed by a monstrous roar from a creature I had never seen before. It was a massive black wolf, easily thrice my size, with massive fangs that were covered in blood. The beast leapt from the crater it had made and across the hall, crashing into the crystal chandeliers and smashing them into tiny fragments. It landed on the grand steps, seizing one of the vampires there, and before he could even defend himself, was torn into two bloody halves.

Three vampires hissed and leapt onto the creature's back, but it roared and smashed itself into the marble wall, smashing every bone in their bodies. They fell to the floor, screaming, and the creature sank its fangs into them, ripping apart not only their hearts but their arms and legs, anything that could be torn off.

This was the first time I saw Iribelle use her powers, and I would never forget it. She moved faster than a shadow, vanishing from before me and reappearing behind Renata, sinking her fangs into the other woman's neck. She savaged her like a wild animal, her elegance invisible behind blind fury. Renata screamed, trying to shield herself, but Iribelle was all the stronger for her fear. With one clawed hand, Iribelle slashed Renata's throat and threw her body aside.

And Athenal, who had never done anything more than shield with his mind, was enraged now. He lifted the glass shards of the crystal chandeliers, easily a thousand of them, tiny, sharp glass fragments – held them in the air for a minute, before the Volturi could realize what was happening.

It was like a volley of arrows. The vampires were pierced by the long shards, through their skulls and hearts and everywhere in between – they were flung against the walls by the force of the blow, screaming as they were impaled, before finally falling silent.

"Alec?" whispered Jane, as she stirred. I stroked her hair, as she lay in my lap, her voice clear for the first time in a long while.

"You're alright," I said, in what I hoped was a soothing tone. I was normally the younger one, the one who needed comfort. But nothing was the same anymore, I could forget all about my life and what I knew – everything was changed. Jane needed me.