A/N: *Insert overly theatrical Mission Impossible music*. It's time for the drama to begin! *Incredibly evil laughter*.
Oh yeah, so this works, lets just say Carlisle knew a lot about the Volturi than he ever let on to Bella in the books...
Because of school, I doubt I can write chapters longer than this at the moment. I've got severe block, so instead of giving you a really long chapter in like, three months, here's a small one now. Veeerry small, especially compared to my normal lengths.
Busy busy busy bee, that's what I am at the moment. I've got to work through two assignments, three in-class essays, two double-exams, a test or two, not forgetting to mention the oral report I have due... oh, and I have camp coming up tomorrow as well. *Sigh*.
Disclaimer: Not mine at all. Just telling you again in the case my other disclaimers slipped your notice.
Synopsis: In case you forgot what happened from me taking such a long break:
Bella (whose a half-blooded vampire/human hybrid) just got a call from Annalie (her sister) claiming that the latter was in trouble and deduced that the Volturi was involved. Her sister-in-law, Sophia, and her half-brother, Corrin, are off to Italy to save her. Oh, and her boyfriend, Edward—now claiming term 'soul mate'—is tagging along too, as reluctant as he is to the danger. Just a normal day in the life of the Swans.
Taking a deep breath, I walked into the shadows. We were initiating "Part A" of the plan, and this was were we were meant to be collected. Looking up at the mild cloud cover, I smiled tightly at the fact the weather was on our side.
Corrin was by my side, smiling genially, his strong arms wrapped tightly around Sophia, his only outward indication of tension. Our acts were quite convincing – we appeared to be the perfect image of a traveling family. Sophia even had her hand tucked in the back pocket of Corrin's jeans, making them the loving couple. Although, for that, those two did not need to act much at all. They already were the loving couple. I was more stoic than the others, my anxiety stopping me from acting as well, but I pulled through.
Here where we were was the area where tourists were taken on tours to castles. And here was where, on occasion, a beautiful enchantress would come and take several dozen on a "personal" tour. Safe to say none of those people ever returned.
Yep, we were waiting a few minutes out of Volterra for a vampire to pretty much collect the take out food. To get inside the gates we would infiltrate the livestock.
Now that I think about it, the plan was too simple – something definitely had to go wrong.
It was moments like this that I hated being the pessimistic one. Thousands of possibilities ran through my mind, most of them with the outcome being horrifically bad.
The only thing that kept me grounded was the fact that Edward was waiting for me in the villa. He could not go, not because he did not want to, but because I insisted. Even though he was my mate, I could not risk his presence being seen in the case the Cullen family face the consequences of our actions. That and the fact that his entire being screamed 'vampire'.
He protested loudly against the idea of staying behind, but after I implored for him to stay here to protect his coven, he finally caved. A small part of me acknowledged that part of the reason I wanted him to stay away was so he stayed safe. I could not refuse Corrin or Sophia – they were family. However, I came up with an acceptable excuse to keep Edward at bay; I suspected that Sophia knew of what I was doing, but she said nothing on it, sparing me only one searching glance.
Since he could not be part of the action, he threw himself into the planning stages, intent on keeping all of us out of harm's way as much as possible. Carlisle's knowledge of the Volturi's inner knowledge was immense, hopefully enough to make this rescue mission as painless as possible. Edward tried to pull as much as he could to his advantage.
Edward had relayed to us what Carlisle had known about the feeding schedule. Thankfully for us, the Volturi were a rather stuffy bunch of old men, and although cunning, they were rather reserved in their habits, some of which – like the feeding ritual – going back centuries.
As my wristwatch glowed half past midday, I suddenly feared that we were wrong. They were incredibly late and I don't think that was right and –
My inner ramblings were cut off when a beautiful vampire, dressed in clothes that left little to the imagination, walked into the shadowed courtyard, eying the tourists mulling around the area with glee. Barely a minute had passed before her entrance and she had already collected a reasonable amount of humans. With a sickening jolt, my stomach plummeted when I realized that these people were facing death in a matter of minutes.
And they didn't even know it.
The idea was immediately rejected from me, being so repulsive, I didn't know what I could say or do. But one thing I knew was that I couldn't make a scene. There was no way I could free Annalie if I were led to her in chains. Metaphoric ones at least; there were no chains on earth that could hold me.
The vampire's eyes darted to us; we pretended not to notice, instead talking animatedly about some of the sights we "planned" to see. From the corner of my eye, I notice her take a deep breath in our direction. We all smelled a little like vampire because of both Edward and because of some adrenaline – not enough to create suspicion, but hopefully enough to attract certain attention...
When she waltzed her way over to us, and started sweet talking us in the hopes of getting us to join her tour, our hopes were confirmed. Edward's scent was light enough to pass by without notice, but enough to make this vampire territorial over the food.
We needed that edge to get picked, because our scent on its own wasn't alluring enough to vampires because we didn't smell like very sweet humans. Generally, in the eyes of the human drinkers, we smelled barely above average. Animal drinkers could smell our special qualities with more intensity because they were just so sensitive to any scent after enough time. But human drinkers never abstained long enough to heighten their olfactory sense.
When possible, average didn't cut it for the cuisine selection at the Volturi household. So a possessive selector was to our advantage.
With a feeling of mixed dread and excitement, we were led to the Volturi castle.
While walking through the doors of the Volturi castle, my eyes darted everywhere, absorbing as much information as possible. So far, the castle looked exactly like a castle was meant to, and the tourists surrounding us were lapping up the scene. The song-like voice of the vampire at the lead made up the background, white noise of the walk. I blocked everyone out, except for my brother and Sophia.
I quickly went through "Part B" of the plan in my head. Basically it was about finding Annalie.
Annalie's comments on the phone were obscure, but one shone through: Beware of the ice room, the air is paralyzing, a jail nearly impossible to escape from! Keep your inner fire alive!
Two words were given from Carlisle to Edward, but they explained everything: blood bank.
The Volturi were smart. They knew that even hunting carefully would bring too much attention to the Italy if someone noticed too many suspicious, related-looking disappearances happened. Aro created the first of many blood banks in the old dungeons of the towers.
Back a few hundred years, the rooms were filled with convicts, the homeless, the runaways; generally people no one would miss for long periods of time. These living bags of blood were not coveted as the only ones that lasted more than a few days smelled absolutely ordinary; something that "royalty" considered below their standard. So they drank from them only when necessary.
But as technology got better with time, Carlisle told me that when visiting the castle fifty or so years ago for a brief time, he noticed that the rooms that once held the screaming humans for feasts on a rainy day, were now equipped as walk-in freezers, stockpiled with blood just in case of an emergency. Perhaps a shortage of disposable humans. I knew that famines were generally hard for vampires; victims were decimated with hunger, and the blood became thin, and often unsatisfying, forcing nomads to seek better climates.
In the Chernobyl explosion, Carlisle told me that many humans in and around Europe were infected from the nuclear fallout and somehow their blood did funny things to the vampires that feasted from them, forcing most to leave to other countries.
However, the Volturi were no nomads. They were stuck here, in their headquarters. In the olden days, castles were generally filled with food and weapons in the case of a siege, an attack on the castle. I guess Aro had the same idea ... substituting food for blood.
Yet it was in one of these freezers we believed Annalie was held. Fire was intolerable in the castle, and they must have realized that the best way to keep a fire away was to freeze the source. Placing a candle in a freezer to snuff out the flame.
The mental image of a decimated Annalie appeared before my eyes, her eyes blank and hollow, once rosy cheeks now pallid and sunk in, shivering uncontrollably in a corner of a tiny blaring white room, the tendrils of misty white fog, icy cold to the touch, swirling around her, swallowing up her small frame. Just the thought alone made me want to vomit what little food I was able to consume earlier.
Corrin wasn't sure how cold was cold enough to disable me and Annalie; our hearts were like fire, burning as if powered by everlasting coals, and illuminated like the bright sun in the sky. To ice us over would be like attempting to cool the blazing fire of a blacksmith's furnace.
What was disconcerting was the notion that if anyone could do this, it was the Volturi.
Those bastards had perfected the very art of torture. Years upon years of free time, a huge supply of power, and sadistic tenacities would do that to you. Not to mention that since their "collection" of the famous twins, no doubt that the pain they could inflict had doubled, maybe even tripled.
The slightly hastened, panicked beats of my heart fortunately drew no special attention from our tour guide, but Corrin and Sophia both spared a worried glance in my direction. Shaking my head slightly at them, I tried to tell them not to worry about me. I could hear their speeding hearts as well as my own, so I knew I was not the only one with nerves strung as tightly as piano wire.
We were prepared to make a distraction so we could slip without notice, but fortunately that wasn't necessary. One of the girls in the group started screaming, hollering something vague about seeing a rat. In the chaos that pursued—people running to higher ground, running in the opposite direction of the rodent, or people just running for the heck of it—we were able to slip away, unnoticed, as the vampire tried to calm the horde of panicked people down.
When we were in a deserted hallway, Corrin and I put on the wireless headphones that I was just given for my birthday. However, they were now new and improved, Corrin fiddling with them until they were high-tech walkie talkies, enabling us to remain in contact in the highly probable case we are split up. The small buds were easy to hide from sight, and were reliable to work.
My brother was wearing the headpiece instead of Sophia for a few reasons. Corrin swore that he would never leave Sophia, so they were paired up, and I was left with my own headphone. Sophia, hating technology, refused to wear it, and insisted Corrin wear it instead. They wasted a few minutes squabbling, but realized quickly that time was of the essence.
The corridors and halls seemed the same to the untrained eye, but Edward had shown and had gone over the maps Carlisle had given us with such repetition that I felt sure enough to walk the castle blindfolded. Not that I would. I needed all my senses to find my sister.
A/N: Yeah... and that's where I've been stuck on for the last few months. Urgh, hate my life. So read, review, you know the drill. :-)
Shameless plug: if you like Naruto, Harry Potter, Mortal Instruments, Hunger Games, or Doctor Who, I've written stories/one-shots for them, just go look at my profile. ^-^