The woman ran towards the house, screaming.
"No! Oh, please no!"
Inside, a scuffle ensued, and the gun went off. Still she ran, even knowing already that she was too late; he was gone.
The night air remained still, save for the cries of her friends, desperately trying to halt her flight into the line of fire.
Luned blinked rapidly against the bright light and blaring noise. Above her head was the sloping roof of a knight's tent. She rolled over quickly, brushing down the rumpled skirt of Tangwystl's brown dress. She frowned. Last thing she had done was run James through, with a thrill of raw anger and grief, tinged with a melancholy relief that she had finally achieved her goal. And a sense of loss; what purpose had she now? Jacob was dead, as was her entire family. Her need for revenge was fulfilled, and there was Bella, crouched over the lifeless body of Edward…then nothing.
Until the noises.
The odd, piercing noises that were unlike anything she had ever heard before. She scrambled to her feet, looking around the tent in amazement. It seemed like a knight's tent, but there were things totally unfamiliar to her. The chair to the side was an unnaturally bright white color; the table at the front didn't even seem like wood. She stepped closer to it slowly, reaching out with a wary hand to run her fingers across the smooth surface.
She ran her fingers across again, her eyes bulging. Certainly nothing like wood.
She crossed the tent, touched the chair with the same tentative fingers. They felt the same. She shivered in fear. What could feel so smooth? She rapped sharply on the chair, deciding it must be metal, although a metal chair was something completely unheard of.
It didn't 'ting' the way metal did. The sound it made under her knuckles was an oddly heavy noise, almost like wood, but not quite…she stepped away from the chair slowly, backing right into the table and knocking it over. She leapt in shock and spun around, seeing flashes of silver under the table. She knelt down and touched them also. Those were metal; cold and hard, though shinier than most she had laid eyes on.
Luned rose quickly to her feet and scurried out of the tent, terrified to be caught poking around in a knight's belongings. She knew the consequences.
Outside the tent was as odd as inside. Clearly, she had found herself at the fair. She could only imagine that she had blacked out and the horse had taken her back--she shook her head against the thought of how she had come to find herself in a knight's tent, and stared around herself instead.
And noticed more oddities.
There were more tents than she had ever seen in her life, and some of the colors were brighter than she thought even existed. Right in front of her was a tent that shone in the sunlight, and seemed to be made almost entirely from cloth-of-gold. That tent could only belong to a king.
She turned in a slow circle, looking for Cullen Castle itself.
Nothing but tents surrounded her.
She spun around again, even slower.
Huffing in exasperation she returned her gaze to the amber and black one only a little ways to her left. Amber and black were Edward Cullen's colors. Although clearly he wouldn't be there, someone she knew would.
She made her way through the crowds, marveling at the revealing gowns. So many whores, wandering freely around the fete, their bodices low cut, their hair free, advertising their wares. She shook her head and clucked her tongue to herself. Sure, she was no maid, but she was much less obvious about it than these women.
Look at that one. She thought to herself in amazement. She is barely wearing a gown at all!
She walked onwards, finally reaching the tent she sought. She lifted the flap and froze in horror.
"You're dead!" she cried, her eyes wide and terrified. She crossed herself quickly.
"I am very clearly alive," Edward Cullen replied, smiling and twisting a small shiny object in the fingers of one hand.
Luned backed out slowly. "No…"she whispered."You are dead, I saw you myself…"
Edward grinned. "My lady, you are mistaken."
"I am no lady," Luned replied, biting her lip. "And you are no man, but a demon from hell, sent to make me suffer for my mistakes. I am sorry!" she cried before fleeing the tent.
She wandered, not looking at anything, horrified by the spectre she had seen. Would it haunt her all her days, make her suffer as she had now made Isabella suffer? She prayed not.
"I need to know what happened, Alice. To everyone. I need to go home. I need my computer." That voice was familiar, was a light shining its beacon through the darkness of Luned's terror.
"Bella," she called quietly.
The other woman turned, looked at Luned as though she had seen a ghost of her own. "No way…"
"Help me," Luned pleaded.
"Luned?" Bella croaked. "What, how?" She half rose from the stool she was sitting on, staring in shocked amazement at the Welshwoman who had been her maid in a whole different world. The gaping ache in Bella was torn a little wider by the proof of her alternate world, proof that her Edward had been real.
"Bella, please help me." The other woman covered her ears, her eyes filled with terror. "It is so loud!"
Bella frowned, stepping around the stool. She listened carefully. The babble of voices, the whinny of horses, that was nothing unusual for Luned's time.
Underlying that, though, was the roar of the cars on the road nearby; the backfires, honking, screeches of tires…
Bella chewed thoughtfully on her lip, her misery pushed away for the moment by their predicament.
"How did you get here, Luned?"
"I do not know, my lady! I just...awoke...in a knight's tent…"
Bella shut her eyelids tightly. A tent.
"The furniture was so odd, my lady…smooth, like metal, but not metal…"
"Plastic," Bella murmured under her breath.
"Sorry, my lady?"
"Plastic," Bella said a little louder. "Something you have never seen before, Luned. There'll be a lot of that here."
Luned continued to watch her with frightened eyes.
"I saw Edward, too, my lady. I think his soul is punishing me, for believing he was at fault for the death of my family-– "
Bella's chest imploded. Edward. She sank back onto the stool she had been seated on. "It's not the same Edward, Luned."
"I know that, my lady!" She cried, her eyes filled with fear. "He is more a demon!"
"No, Luned. He is a flesh and blood man."
"I do not believe you, my lady."
"Someone from that time, I assume?" Alice said quietly to Bella, watching the other woman warily.
"Yes," Bella breathed.
"Lady Alison." Luned calmed as she noticed Bella's friend. "What relief that you are here also, and I am not so lost after all."
"This isn't Alison, Luned." Bella said gently. "This is Alice."
Luned frowned. "But she looks just like Lady Alison?"
"Have a closer look, Luned."
The maid did, stepping forward and peering at Alice intently. "Oh!" She stepped back in alarm. "You are right! But she is so much the same…" She frowned, looked thoughtful. "Is that the same with the Edward that I saw?"
Bella dropped her face forward into her hands. "Yes, Luned," she wept. "It isn't the same Edward."
"Oh, what a relief," Luned said, holding her hand to her chest. "I was so fearful…"
"I don't know you--Luned is it? But it's not that much of a relief," Alice said severely, motioning to Bella sobbing by her side.
"Oh," Luned said. "Oh, I did not mean…"
"It's ok, Luned," Bella said. "I get it."
"I am sorry, my lady." Luned fell to her knees in front of Bella. "Truly I am. I wish--"
"I wish, too, Luned. But that doesn't help anything." Bella stood slowly, her legs wobbling. "You're going to have to come with me. I understand all too well that this will be very much of a shock to you."
Alice raised an eyebrow. "Bella, are you sure? You don't look like you can handle yourself at the moment—"
"Can you imagine her alone here, Alice? She wouldn't survive half a second."
Alice sighed. "I guess."
Luned watched the exchange carefully, frowning at Bella's words.
"I can survive very well, my lady, if you feel that you can not bear to have me with you. I have survived thus far."
"Things aren't what you think, Luned. Not even close."
Just then, Rose came running up. "Here, Bella. I brought you an apple; supposed to better than caffeine--"
She looked around at the faces. Bella's miserable, Luned's lost and desperate, Alice's distant and thoughtful.
"What have I missed?"
Bella sighed. "Rose, this is Luned. She'll be staying with me for a while."
Rose nodded. "If you can make it now, I think we should leave."
Bella nodded. "Luned, just stick with us," she muttered. "You can see your first car."
"Car?" Luned asked, mystified.
"You'll see." Alice smiled gently.