Hello everyone!

It's been a long while and for that I am sorry. I have lost a lot of interest in Edward and Bella stories, and straight-up twilight stories in total but I do wish to keep my promise to finish all incomplete stories and rewrite some before moving on completely.

Here's chapter 8. You have ESMERA to thank for her review to my other story, Love Knows No Bounds—it was one of the most amazing reviews I have received to date and it gave me the desire to finish this chapter. She asked for more from me; I gave it. :D Thank you for your kind words, love. This is for you!

I will be working on the next chapters and will upload them as they are done. I have stories on my non canon profile, however, that do take precedent, so while there will be more updates until the story is complete, I cannot promise that there will not be some waiting periods. The chapter length of this story is much smaller than the other, and thus takes a lot less, but the other story takes priority and takes more time to write and thus needs more of my attention to continue on its tight schedule.

Thank you for reading; please review to tell me you want more. It'll convince me to write faster!

I took a deep breath and looked at my brothers, who all were serious as they watched Edward for his reaction. Our past—mine in particular—was quite gruesome, and at the time of the Romanian Downfall, I was not in a good way. I was vicious, I showed no mercy whatsoever, and I was prideful to a definitive fault—it prevented me from ever learning of the mate bond and thus my idiotic actions had led us to the trouble we would have before us now.

Only now I knew that my actions, though they were what won us our stature in the supernatural world, were not for the better.

Swallowing my nerves, I sucked in a breath and squared my shoulders. I would not back down; I was Queen, the only rightful queen of the Volturi. I needed to act like it. "I was quite different back then, my love. Before meeting you, I was vicious, I was prideful, and I showed no mercy whatsoever; you could say that meeting you, though I could never regret it, has made me go soft." We shared a small smile before they fell from our faces.

"We first encountered the then-leaders upon our travels through Egypt. They had just been met with a large army issue and we were passing through on our way back to our home in Greece. They asked if we knew anything and we were quick to confirm to that we had not, but we were intrigued as to why they cared. They invited us to their home and began to regale us with stories of their triumph over the last leaders two millennia before and since then all their work to 'protect' our people.

"We were disgusted by their methods. In their stories they mentioned their own regal abode, but we had seen the squalor the rest of our kind had to hide in because of their tight rule. But at the same time, we were witnesses to the devastation of the very kind we had to feed on, diminishing feeding possibilities for everyone but themselves."

"How could their rule have been tight if our kind was diminishing the very kind we must protect in order to live?" Edward asked me with a confused frown on his face. He was leaning forward, elbows on his knees with his hands clasped under his chin.

I sighed. "The Romanian empire was fraught with conspiracy against them from outsiders and corruption within their ranks. In short, they were cruel and unjust, their ruling changing upon the person and not upon the crime and circumstance. But at the same time they were too lazy, too conceited, to go out into the world unless the problem was in some way impacting upon them directly."

"So basically they only looked after our world for their own sake and not the sake of the people?" he asked, enraged.

I smiled as I nodded. "Precisely, thus the feeding was taken advantage of by our people and yet they lived in so much fear they did not live as they do today; they hid among the shadows, constantly moving, while those two fucks sat in their castle all day and drank the fine blood of virgins."

Edward nodded. "So this is what made you step forward to take control?"

Caius chuckled, the three brothers allowing smirks to take over their faces.

"Not quite," Aro answered. "Indeed it was my dear sister who begged us to better the conditions for our fellow kind, but we only did so because we wanted the power for ourselves. We, too, had been affected by their rule, and we wished to change the circumstances we found ourselves and our mates in."

Caucus then gave his own two cents, a dark glint in his eyes mirroring the wicked smirk upon his lips. "Bella went along with it for the violence; she loved it back then."

I sighed, rolling my eyes and shrugging at my mate when he turned back to me. "It was the time for if, my love." I glared at my brothers, raising an eyebrow. "And you were just as bad, you rat bastard!"

Caius merely smirked and shrugged; it was the truth, after all. Who was he to deny it?

"What happened then?" Edward asked, bringing us back to the story.

I nodded. "We began to plan. It took quite a while; we wanting it to work seamlessly. We planned little intervals for each stage of progression in our attack-we would start subtle, discreetly, until we would attack outright."

Marcus continued. "Bella was impatient, but she waited in the shadows as first we infiltrated their ranks—already rife with corruption and easily swayed servers, it was easy and quickly achieved. Phase one was complete."

Aro picked up then, with a smile as he leaned forward. His childish face lit up, devious as he spoke animatedly. "It was then that we planned to take down the small senate they had constructed; they perished in fires and revolts we organized, as well as scuffles we designed amongst the senators as we planted the seed of doubt into their heads about their own safety. Our kind is very much about self-preservation, and, we had gained the favour of many in our travels whom agreed to help when they, too, saw what was wrong with the ruling coven. They were eager for a change as we were eager to give it. Phase two was complete the moment the last senator was ash."

I chose to speak next, annoying the blond ruler across from me as I did so. "Phase three would end in the destruction of their empire, the infiltration of their castle and the weakening of their guard and the rulers. There used to be six; in that fight, we murdered four. All the guard perished, though some decided to defect and switch."

"How did the defectors die?"

Caius smirked. "Bella did not trust them. You know how protective the little chit is." His voice was full of annoyance though the somehow loving smile on his face spoke otherwise of his feelings on the matter.

Edward sat in silence, waitin and then growing confused as no one spoke. "But what happened? Why do I feel your leaving something out?"

I sighed, keeping we could not keep it to ourselves any longer. "Back then I was incredibly nonchalant and I had no knowledge of the mating bond—I had no interest in it, after all, so why would I bother to learn about it? Vladimir and Stefan, along with their mates, were the only ones remaining, and I decided—for no reason at all—that I should kill their other half. In the heat of the battle, I was at my worst, my most bloodthirsty, and I craved more chaos. I created it; I murdered their mates in front of them and was nearly murdered for it. The distraction they caused in enraging my brothers by nearly killing me in return allowed them to flee the castle, giving up their rule to us. Since then they have lived in their old castle after we vacated it; they've been in utter isolation and many think them dead because vampires are unable to live without their mates."

"Then how are they alive?"

"We've no idea," Caius replied, sighing harshly in his aggression. I smirked at the other two darker-headed of my brothers; I did love seeing Caius so flustered. "But I, for one, intend to remedy it."

"And you think they're the threat?" Edward asked us, and I looked between my brothers, all of us with the same look upon our faces.

"Yes," I confirmed for us, my tone aloof and my face an expressionless mask. I faced my mate, who I knew could see through the facade.

"We should send for Jasper," Edward said with passion, the flare of anger in his eyes hinted at the thoughts he kept hidden. "He needs to prepare the army. If rather not have a repeat of the recent events, so we should double the amount of guards on duty and prepare for war; I doubt they'll be idle much longer-they've had a millennia to prepare for this moment."

"Tell him to bring Alice for an update on her visions," Edward said, his eyes darkening. "I want any and all information I can get on these people. The less risk they are to you, the better."

I sighed as his arm locked around my waist and he pulled me right against him. I could feel how much he meant every word, but my own concern was his own safety, not mine; compared to myself and my brothers-hell, compared to Stefan and Vladimir, Edward was a mere babe. So instead of speaking, I said nothing as I shared alln with my brothers because I had an idea of what they were planning-we all did-and with grim expressions, we awaited the arrival of Jasper and Alice. We would sepak later on the matter of the safety of our mates; plans would have to be made to keep them safe when the time came.

They arrived soon after, and Alice's troubled expression told us there was much for her to notify us about. Jasper's tense arm around her as he guided his dazed wife to the only available couch absolved us of any lingering notion that things would be easy from here on out; denial left us in a crash of a wave upon gritty rock.

Jasper sat after bowing in greeting, Alice following the motions she felt from him. She was still embedded in long visions, consecutive and unceasing, but she was half-aware of her surroundings. "What seems to be the issue?" Jasper drawled as he settled.

"We believe we have found the culprit for the attack," Aro began, his face from as he once again leaned forward. "And we need you to ready the guard."

Jasper's face was wiped or any emotion as he stared down at his lap, the furrow of his brow telling me he was contemplating the words. Finally, after some time had passed, he nodded, and his vice was low as he replied, "all right then, I can do that. When?"

"As soon as possible," Edward started before any other could get a word in. He stood from my side on the couch and began to pace, each movement aggressive as his rage and protective notions grew in need to act upon them.

Jasper looked to me, our eyes just catching as I looked away from my mate, a frown creasing my brow. I was worried things would not be as easy as they needed to be when it came to getting my mate out of way.

"I think tonight would be best," I said in a much softer tone than Edward's though there was no mistake to be made about my authority.

"I will prepare as soon as this meeting ends," Jasper confirmed with a nod. "But what should I be preparing them for?" He asked, casting a look across the room.

"You must prepare them for war, Major Whitlock," Marcus said in a dark tone, his expression giving nothing away.

Jasper's own expressionless face seemed to twitch at the word before he breathed in and let it out in a gust of air. I watched as his shoulders slumped but he righted his posture and determination-his own-flooded the room. This was his job.

"We will meet tomorrow to further discuss plans," he said, voice quiet, and the four of us nodded. We shared glances and I knew I'd have a fight on my hands about Edward's attendance.

"Alice, you'll need to keep an eye on the Romanians in particular from now on," I added as the two stood.

"But if you'll wait, I'll follow you out," Edward said, sending me a look and I returned one to my brothers; we'd stay to discuss our own plans. "I have a few questions."

Alice looked to me and I nodded, which she, in turn, gave Edward.

"What about the rest of the guard?" Jasper asked as he turned at the door. "Do you want me to debrief them on the situation or prepare them inconspicuously?"

"At the moment, remain inconspicuous, though all guard members of the highest rank are to be notified immediately," Caius said, and the rest of us agreed.

I smiled at Edward, who looked over me with worry before returning it. He would return soon, I knew; our bond still wanted us close after recent events in an effort to protect from possible belated issues that could arise, our instincts telling us to be vigilant and remain close.

I tried to ignore the ache as he disappeared into the hall with Jasper and Alice, my brothers smiling sympathetically. "Let's be done with this," I grouched imperially, raising a haughty eyebrow.

They chuckled.

"We know that they will come after our mates; they have already attempted to do so. We must develop a contingency plan."

I nodded at Caius's words. "I agree. I believe the sooner we have the plans in place for the final battle, the better; I for one do not wish to have any doubts on the day of the battle when it comes to the safety of my mate. I am sure you agree?"

"Of course, sister," Aro said with a nod. He was the most serious I had seen him all meeting, the mischievous light gone.

"Good then," I said and I rose from my lounge. "I will be in my chambers if you wish to speak more. We must meet again soon with the inner guard at some point to discuss this issue further. I want none of our mates to know until everything is in place."

"Agreed," the three chimed in their baritone voices.

I departed for my rooms with Edward, the ache telling me he was still away and I was alone to plan.

We had stolen everything from the Romanians for the good of our people-even if our reasons were not so pure.

I would be damned if we met our downfall at their hands.

Thanks for your interest and for reading; I hope that was enjoyable after such a long wait.

If you review, it won't be nearly as long before you wait for the next chapter-so please review and I'll see you soon!