A/N Stephenie Meyer Owns Twilight.
Thanks once again to Aisha Rotterdam, Chocaholic123 and SparrowNotes24 who find the time to work on this even though they are busy with their own fics and real life.
This chapter is especially dedicated to SparrowNotes24 after her fantastic news over the weekend. Congratulations huni.
WARNING: A brief warning before this chapter. Some of it is a little graphic in places. If you are overly sensitive to violence then feel free to skip over it. It's the paragraph that begins That was it.
Peruvian Amazon Rainforest, Peru January 20th 2005
A group of seven vampires were fast closing in on Edward and Isabella. Scanning their thoughts, Edward could see it had been Isabella's scent that had given them both away. She smelled like nothing any of them had ever encountered before and it had drawn them away from their duties and into the rainforest. At first, all they had been doing was following the scent.
Then they had spotted Edward.
As soon as Aro had come up with Edward Masen's name, every vampire had been given his description. He had promised a position as his right hand man within The Guard to anyone who could bring Edward to him and every one of the non-gifted vampires who had been patrolling the site were desperate for that kind of glory.
They never dreamed The One Aro had been so determined to find would be with the bronze haired vampire, and their thoughts swirled with the kind of praise and glory Aro would bestow upon them.
"Are we supposed to kill the girl or take her with us?" A big, burly vampire, who rivalled Emmett in size was leering at Isabella, and Edward's growling was becoming progressively louder and more vicious.
"I think we should have a little fun with her first," one his mates replied, flashing a wide, toothy grin in her direction. "Has anyone ever been inside that sweet smelling pussy of yours up in Heaven, baby?"
That was it. Isabella could almost hear Edward's last nerve snapping, and she grabbed his hand to ground him before he could launch himself at the slime ball. He wouldn't need to. She could already see what was about to happen. As Edward's glare intensified, the smile suddenly dropped from the face of the other vampire and was replaced with a look of pure confusion. He began grabbing at his clothing, pulling them away from his body as his friends looked on concerned. His look of confusion switched to one of horror only seconds before a loud and piercing scream rang out in the clearing. His friends took a step back, watching as his skin took on a faint orange glow that increased in intensity as his screams grew louder and more primal. Just as suddenly as they had started, the screaming cut off as flames burst from under the skin covering his body and soon, all that was left of the leering vampire was a scorch mark on the floor where he had been standing.
His friends shared a glance before they scattered, running in opposite directions with only one thought in their minds – to get the hell away from Edward Masen as fast as they could.
Isabella moved closer to Edward, gently scratching her nails along the base of his spine, just under his shirt, to try and calm him down. Even though breathing was unnecessary for a vampire, Edward was breathing hard. She waited for his breaths to slow and even out before moving in front of him and taking his face into her hands.
"It's okay, Edward. They are long gone now and I don't think they will be coming back anytime soon. You actually did us a favor, we can get onto the site now and see if my father has left us anything else. But we do have another problem." She looked scared and Edward hated seeing that look on her face. He never wanted her to be scared of him.
"I'm not, I'm just worried about how you are going to take my news," Isabella soothed, in answer to his unspoken concerns.
"I'm not going to burn you alive, I promise." Edward tried smiling at his comment but it was awkward. He was shocked at what he had done to the vampire. As twisted as his mind had been, Edward had never wanted to inflict that kind of suffering on him. He had made a promise to Carlisle long ago - he was not that kind of person anymore. Clearly, he was wrong.
"No, Edward. You're not. You are not that person. You got angry, and you have all of this new power running through your veins. It was boiling under the surface and found its own way out. I can assure you there was no conscious thought behind what you did. You didn't want to do that, the power took over." Isabella was trying desperately to get through to Edward but she had watched him all his life. She knew he would continue to worry about what had happened.
When he had returned from his rebellious stage in the twenties, he had tried desperately to lock the monster inside of him away, for good. He had gone out of his way to try and make amends for the lives he had taken, and to try and erase those memories from his beloved father's mind. He had been so determined that he thought he had succeeded and the monster inside of him had been locked away tight for many decades now. He was worried with this new power the monster inside would try and seize control and make his own play for supremacy. Hearing the conflict inside Edward's mind, Isabella knew she had to say something to put the issue to rest.
"That is never going to happen, Edward. The monster you are so concerned about doesn't exist. There is just you and your natural urges inside there," she tapped on the side of his forehead and then slid her fingers into his hair, twisting and pulling gently at the strands. "Vampires were born from evil, you know that and I know that. The fact your family can even live amongst humans is a remarkable achievement. You are proof every living creature can be good, no matter what its origins. You are the reason why my parents and their brother's and sister's will fight this war. That, back there, was just a loss of control. Everyone has them, everyone slips and makes mistakes. It shows just how human you are, underneath the vampire coating."
Edward smiled at Isabella's words and leaned further into her embrace. Her touch comforted him more than he could ever say but her words…her words were perfection. Just what he needed to hear to ease his conscience.
"Thank you, sweet girl." He placed a playful kiss to the tip of her nose before becoming more serious again. "Now, what were you going to tell me earlier?"
Isabella's face sobered when she remembered Rosalie's pained messages to her earlier in the evening. "I think Rosalie is in trouble. Just before we were surrounded, she called to me asking for help. Then, her messages were cut off with the most sickening scream I have ever heard. I haven't heard anything since."
Edward's face had darkened with every word that Isabella said. When she finished he took one, long, deep breath before exhaling through his mouth and turning to head back to where he had stashed his backpack.
"We need to call Carlisle."
Seattle, Washington, USA January 20th 2005
Rosalie sagged in her bonds, her body drained from the dismemberment earlier in the week and her mind abused from the attacks Jane and Alec had been launching her way, trying to extract information from her about the goddess that was now with the rest of her family.
Through it all, Alice had remained a constant in her line of vision. Her face was impassive as she watched her sister cry out in pain, writhing and twisting in her chains. She never said anything. She never did anything. If Rosalie hadn't been able to smell her, she would have presumed Alice was just a figment of her imagination.
"My dear, you are making this so much less enjoyable than it could have been," Aro approached Rosalie once again, his touch making her shiver and cringe away. She didn't even try to hide her reaction as he ran his withered fingers through her tangled hair. Memories from her human life flashed before her eyes and Rosalie vowed, when she got out of this place, she would see to Aro's destruction herself. "Just tell me where Edward and the girl are and then you will be free to go. Don't you want to go back to your family? Your mate?"
The mention of Emmett almost made Rosalie's resolve crumble but she knew Aro and his reputation. There was no way she would be leaving that warehouse alive without swearing allegiance to him. As much as she wished for one more chance to see her mate, to make amends and tell him just how much she loved him, how much of a blessing he had been in her life, she would not sell her family out. She would rather Aro kill her now, than after he had found Edward and Isabella.
"Bite me," she spat back at him. Aro simply shook his head and moved back to allow Jane to take her place. The wicked young girl did so with pleasure, a wide smile twisting her features and making her look every bit as inhuman as she was.
Once again, all coherent thought left Rosalie's body as a white hot fire made its way through her body, burning brighter and hotter with every second. This time, Rosalie did not give her captors the satisfaction of hearing her scream.
Tacoma, Washington, USA January 20th 2005
Carlisle and Esme had taken refuge in a hotel for the evening. Volturi Guards had been swarming all over Seattle and they couldn't take the risk of being caught. They knew if Aro managed to get his hands onto one of the family he would use them to get to Isabella. They couldn't allow that to happen.
Emmett and Jasper were still out searching. They couldn't stay still in a hotel room while their mates were missing. They had been over and over the scent trails looking for something new, something they could have missed. Every time they returned to the hotel they were more frustrated than the last. There were no traces at all of Alice or Rosalie in the surrounding areas.
Carlisle had just finished worshipping his wife and pulled her into his arms. While Isabella may be an actually goddess, Esme would always be his own personal goddess. She was everything he never knew he was missing, until she fell into his life almost a century ago. Now, he couldn't imagine life without her by his side. He would do anything to keep his beloved mate safe, even if that meant not being out on the streets searching for his missing daughters.
The ringing of his cell phone broke his inner peace and he unwound his arms from the beautiful woman within them to answer the call. He knew it would be important. Only Emmett, Jasper and Edward would have this number.
"Dad, I have some bad news, are you all there?" Edward's voice was rushed and a slightly higher pitch than normal. He was panicking.
"No, Son. It's only Esme and I. Your brothers are out looking for Rosalie and Alice."
Edward sighed deeply. "I guess that may be for the best. We can discuss what to do calmly before Emmett gets involved."
"Emmett? Is this about Rose?" At Carlisle's question, Esme sat up, pulling the sheet tightly around her naked body.
"Yes. Isabella is able to communicate with her, telepathically, from any distance. She heard from Rose a few hours ago. She's in trouble, Dad. Isabella said she was begging for help before she began screaming. She hasn't been able to get through to her since then but she is certain Rose is still alive. She said the connection is there, it's like someone is blocking it."
"Fucking Alec and Jane," Carlisle cursed softly and his wife began gently rubbing his back, just between his shoulder blades. It was a move she had used for decades to comfort her husband when he needed her most and his cursing told her he most definitely needed her now.
"Do you have a plan?"
"Isabella can talk me through one of the gifts I have that will get me to Rosalie without being seen by whoever is hurting her. But I won't be able to help. She says it involves moving to the Higher Plane and I can only look, I can't touch. If I try, The Guard will see me and who knows what will happen then."
"Okay, so we do that. We find out where she is and who has her and then we find out how to rescue her, right?" Carlisle was becoming more and more worried with every word Edward spoke. As Esme's hand went to make its next pass, he grabbed a hold of it and gently tugged her onto his lap, the sheet falling to the bed and leaving her gloriously naked. He didn't even register the intimate position they had found themselves in. He was far too concerned for his family.
"We have another issue too."
Carlisle scrubbed his hand across his face in an incredibly human gesture of frustration.
"Isabella and I were spotted down here in Peru. When we were attacked, I managed to scare off the guard working on the excavation site. We have a few hours, maximum, until Aro finds out and sends someone to replace them. Someone more sadistic. We need to check the site and see if Isabella's father has left anything else for us before that happens."
Carlisle buried his face in his wife's neck, inhaling the sent that could only be described as pure Esme. He knew why Edward had called. He needed to know if he should save his sister first or the rest of the world.
"Go to the site. Keep asking Isabella to try Rosalie. See if she can get through Alec's gift, he will drop it eventually. Aro will ask him to do it so that she can recover some of herself or Rose will go insane and then she won't be able to give him any kind of information. As soon as you have what you need, do what you need to do and then call me. I'll find Jasper and Emmett and bring them back to the hotel to wait for your message."
"I love you, Dad." Edward ended the call and Carlisle fell back onto the bed feeling every bit his three-hundred-and-sixty-three years.
Peruvian Amazon Rainforest, Peru January 20th 2005
Edward and Bella made their way through the forest and back to the dig site quietly and quickly, keeping all of their senses on alert for anyone who may be following them. There was no one around and hopefully it would stay that way.
The site itself was bare. It had been combed over time and time again by Aro and his men, all of the artefacts were housed in a special warehouse close by. Edward gave it a good look over, hoping to find another message in the dirty but it looked like no god had ever been there before.
Instead, he and Isabella made their way to the warehouse, easily disabling the locks to get inside. Once again, the building was empty, the guards having given chase when they caught Isabella's scent and then ran away when they saw what Edward was capable of.
Everything recovered from the dig site had been cleaned up and placed into airtight glass display cases. Edward took his time, scanning each individual piece for any trace of the godly presence he had noticed with the tree. He found it in the third batch of items. A small piece of pottery, a chip really, that was glowing brightly.
"It's this. Your father touched this," he pointed the piece out to Isabella. "Do you have any idea why?"
Isabella reached out to gently remove the piece from the case before examining it closely. To the untrained eye it was junk. Just a broken piece of pottery from an old bowl or jug. However, Isabella had an incredibly well trained eye.
"It's not from the same era or location as the rest of these pieces. My father must have placed it there on purpose. See these markings here?" She pointed to the small designs that had been cut off when the piece was broken. "I've seen them before. They are part of an ancient Chinese language. My father is telling us where to find Quintus."
Her face lit up with the realisation that they had managed to solve the first piece of their puzzle.
A noise in the distance caught their attention and they both froze. They could hear footsteps approaching their location and the closer they came, the clearer their thoughts became.
"Shit, Aro has sent others here. We need to go." Edward grabbed Isabella's hand and before he could think about what he was doing the two of them found themselves back on American soil. This time they appeared in the cool grey light of early morning, overlooking three headstones at a cemetery. Isabella glanced down to see the familiar sight of Edward Senior and Elizabeth Masen's final resting place.
"You're getting better at controlling this."
"Sorry, it was the first place I could think of," Edward admitted quietly. His hand had already reached out to trace the lettering on his own headstone. Isabella gave him a few moments of silence. She knew he didn't come back here often; it was frustrating for Edward to return to a place that he had spent so long in, but couldn't remember. Instead, she wrapped her arms around him, offering her silent support and vowed to herself that when this mess was over, she would show Edward everything she could about his life before his change.
Seattle, Washington, USA January 20th 2005
Jane stepped back, huffing a little. What good was it being able to torture someone if you couldn't hear them screaming in pain, begging for mercy? She was becoming frustrated and Aro knew he needed to send her away before she lost her temper. She had done it once before and every guard in Volterra had suffered.
After ending his call he turned to the young woman in front of him. "Jane, Sweet Jane, why don't you go and find yourself a snack? Build your energy up again so you can fully enjoy this tomorrow." Jane smiled angelically at her master, kissed his cheek in much the way a beloved daughter would kiss her father, and then skipped out of the warehouse.
Rosalie used the time she had free to call out to Isabella again. She wasn't going to waste a precious second of her mental freedom.
Isabella? Can you hear me? I need help. Aro has me, he's torturing me for information about you. Get me out of here. Please!
She repeated her thoughts on a continuous loop, praying that the goddess would catch something, anything to help her family find her.
"Well, it looks like your brother and this so called goddess have been found." All of Rosalie's attention snapped to Aro's face. He couldn't have them, could he? "Edward managed to incinerate one of my Guard with just a look." The look on Aro's face was maniacal. All he could think about was getting his hands on that kind of power. He wouldn't need Evil then, he could rule this world alone. As Aro lost himself in his own dreams of world domination, Isabella finally broke through the block between their metal connection.
Rosalie, I'm here. Hang in there. Edward is on his way. He's going to find you and then we will come for you. Stay strong, your family is on their way.
Isabella's voice in her mind was the last thing Rosalie heard before Alec stole her senses, leaving her deaf, blind and mute.
Thanks for reading, all your reviews, alerts and favourites. They mean the world to me. I think I got all teasers out to reviewers but I am sorry if I missed you.
Special shout-out to Lel2768 for being review 200!