WHAT? An Update?
You should all thank Satan (liv) because w/o her this would still be sitting inside a doc dying.
Ham, she's the backbone here. The support these two have shown me is just beyond words. Not a single thing in this update would have been possible w/o them. Onward!
I wake to the sound of thunder as feathers fall slowly, circling around me like a halo in the sky. The earth shakes under me. I feel it trembling deep inside as I clutch at my throat, trying hard to scream for Masen.
"Sam!" He yells and my eyes go wide as thick gnarled paws land at my side. They dig into the ground so deep they disappear, leaving only the mangled legs of the beast that watched me.
Sam's growls pierce my ears as thunder rumbles once again. His teeth drip with blood and his pitch black eyes reflect back the bruised and beaten mess I've become.
It's war around me. Fallen trees and shattered rocks. Blood covers the grass and flames lick at the forest's edge. Smoke burns my nose and tickles my throat.
Masen is a beautiful nightmare hovering in the sky. His wings are outstretched and shimmering in the air as he clutches a blade in his hand, a terrifying smile gracing his lips. His jeans are ripped and his face is smeared with ash and blood, but he's here and he's looking straight at me.
You saved me, I think at him. I remember his face as the car toppled over the bridge, his wings wrapped tightly around my body, protecting me. His heart against my cheek, beating wildly as his fingers dug into my back.
A loud snap pulls my eyes from Masen as a knife whirls past my face, slicing a path along my hairline. I reach up brushing away the blood before it reaches my eyes and wince.
Anger floods through me, red hot and seething, until I see Alice's features change. Her smooth skin pales to a paper white, breaking off in chunks and revealing the creature from before as a forked tongue licks over what remains of her lips. Holes in her arms reveal muscle and bone. Her nails turn sharp and her fingers curl. All the scars and broken flesh disappear as she stands tall, her eyes roaming over Masen in challenge. Wings, grey like the night's clouds, break through her shirt, spreading wide. She looks powerful, threatening. Like a fallen angel, ravaged and broken in battle, but still beautiful. And for the first time ever, I'm afraid for him.
Time slows in an instant as Alice notices me. I see the hatred in her eyes.
Masen screams once more and Sam's legs become rigid as he opens his mouth and howls, his paws digging deeper into the earth. In a flash he jumps, connecting with Alice as she barrels toward me. The sky grows dark as they collide. Lightning flashes sharp before my eyes as I try to move. Sam's teeth snap around Alice's side and blood showers down on me, leaving me soaked in crimson and terrified.
"To Bella!" Masen orders as Sam sets Alice's limp body free, letting it fall to the ground with a thump. "Protect her."
Sam's wet nose nudges me once, breaking me from my frozen spot, and begins shoving me harder away from Alice as Masen's foot lands against her side.
"You thought you could play with what's mine?" He laughs harshly as she coughs up blood and spits on his chest.
"She was never yours, Masen," Alice hisses, lifting herself off the ground as Sam continues to push me away. "She's fair game."
"For what? Money? A seat beside my father's throne?"
"You think he's the only one that wants her?" Her shrill laughter fills the air. "How naive of you, Masen. To think you were smart enough to take over the underworld. And you'd throw it all away for a simple girl. How pathetic."
Masen growls. He catches her face in his hand, his fingers digging deep into the holes on her cheeks as he lifts her until their eyes meet. Sam moves slowly, his steps quiet as he grows closer to Masen's side and further away from me.
For a moment I wonder if it's instinct, an unshakable urge to protect his master.
"Trying to win over my brother's heart by taking said girl?" He tsks, tossing her to the ground as he begins to circle her. "I think if you were to look into the mirror you'd see what pathetic really looks like, Alice."
"Do you have any idea what she's worth?" Alice glances at me before Masen blocks her.
Her eyes turn a deep red, a vile color filled with malice. I know then why Masen had Sam push me so far away from her.
His arms flex and the muscles in his back tighten as his wings flutter. His tattoos fade and appear, over and over. They snake up his neck and crawl into his short hair. Their power vibrates over his skin as other markings begin to appear. Jagged lines like those scarred into my palm.
"As a matter of fact I do. If you think I'll let you collect…" he starts, but Alice's laugh cuts him off.
"You don't have much of a choice. You broke the rules, Masen. There are consequences to be had. Did you really believe it would go unpunished? Unnoticed?" Alice looks around, her eyes roaming past me. "Did you truly believe I would come unprepared?"
Masen looks high into the sky and curses as Sam grows agitated at his side.
"Go to her. No one gets past you, understood?" Masen snaps and Sam howls as Alice rolls her shoulders. "Go!"
Sam's paws dig into the ground as he takes off and Alice growls low.
It's like slow motion as Masen reaches behind him, pulling out two bowed blades, each covered in symbols. They wrap themselves in his grip as Alice pulls a blade from her boots and kisses it with gnarled lips.
"I've waited for this moment for years." They are the only words spoken as Alice leaps toward Masen, her blade barely missing his side as they collide. The sound is deafening as their bodies meet in the air and they tumble to the ground.
It's a blur of greys and blacks. Torn feathers fall slowly as they separate.
Masen twists and turns his blades and Alices hisses as she wipes blood from her nose. My eyes run over Masen's body quickly checking for cuts, but I see none as he bends his knees and shoots into the air once more.
I notice Sam then, inching closer to me as shadows rise from where Alice once stood. Their glowing eyes land on me and their hollow mouths stretch wide as smoke rolls over the earth. Sam looks at me as if to ask for approval before the crack of thunder pierces my ears.
Masen lands to the right of me, his foot taking purchase on Alice's chest and knocking her back as Sam takes off toward the shadows. They move faster this time, and I don't know who to watch.
Screams fill the stale air and dark blood splatters across my face as a tangle of limbs moves past me. Tears roll down my face and my heart pounds wildly in my chest as I try to make out who is who. Masen's wings wrap around Alice, throwing her high into the air before following after, catching her before she hits the ground. His fist lands in her cheek as she swipes her blade at his neck, cutting a thin line from his ear to his jaw.
I move then, gathering all my strength as they fall, but something grabs my foot and pulls me back. Shadows surround me, their clawed fingers digging into the earth as their broken teeth snap at my legs. I kick and stomp as they begin to roll into each other, growing in size until they become one. With each punch I throw or kick I strike they break apart, only to form once again, taller and faster than before.
I turn to see Sam fighting off his own shadows. They strike fast, disappearing into his body only to roll out the other side and attack him again. It doesn't look like they are doing any damage, but I only get short glances as the shadows that surround me swarm again.
"Bella!" Masen roars, panicked, and my eyes shoot to him. Gone are the green eyes, replaced by pitch black as his tattoos swim over his body, cutting a path of visible power with every move he makes. He turns from me quickly and I feel my arm begin to tingle as the air shimmers and a blade appears in my hand. I look up at the sound of Alice's cries. His hands are on one of her wings. Her screams mix in the air with the sound of it tearing from her body. Feathers scatter as it falls, each one catching fire until only a smoke shaped wing floats in its place.
"Fight!" Masen commands, startling me. I look down with round eyes and wrap my fingers around the familiar handle before I cut a wide path along the shadows. They scatter and hiss, but quickly reform as I stumble, catching a glimpse of Masen and Alice as they slam into trees.
More shadows billow from the ground. Winged creatures covered in blood rise from their backs and fly around Sam and I as I swing my blade. They howl in pain when I make contact, but it doesn't stop them. They only attack faster, coming at us harder with their webbed wings spread wide into the sky. They swoop down and attack from above while the shadows pull at us from below. Sam's teeth snap and chew. Spitting, he takes one into his mouth. I don't have time to be shocked as another swarm of them head straight toward us.
I close my eyes and feel Masen's powers inside me, his strength. I think about his words, about what I'm capable of. When I open my eyes again, the blade is glowing. The power washes over me once more, pulsating within me, growing stronger with every strike I make.
I move quicker, push harder. Cut faster. My eyes lock with Sam's as he tosses the smoky creature my way, and for the first time, I feel powerful.
"She's losing, Masen." My eyes lift at the sound of Alice's laughing, distracting me as Masen's hand makes contact with her face.
I'm knocked on my ass before I can even swing the blade again, dropped back into reality by a large beast. Gnarled bodies rise around Sam and I, and I know I can't be a coward. Not now. Not when they look at me with hungry eyes and waiting opened mouths.
When I slice this time their bodies break in half, but not before busting my lip and cutting my cheek. Blood drips down my face as I push against them, fighting my way through the shapeless forms that claw at my flesh and growl at my desperation. The noises that escape them as I jab at them burn at my ears. Their cries grow louder as I cut path after path through them.
Soon they have us backed into a boulder. Creature's bodies line the grass, their mangled corpses being devoured by the shadows that produced them. I take joy in my carnage for only a moment before black wings swirl in the sky and Masen cries out.
I only have time to blink before everything stops. Before time becomes still and unmoving. Before terror seeps into my bones.
Suddenly a blinding light covers the earth as I fall to the ground, and then I see her. She makes her way over to me, her white cotton dress floating over the dead. The air shimmers and glitters as she moves, like it's breaking apart just for her.
She smiles down at me, the action unnerving, as if I've seen it before. She stops near my blood-covered bare feet and reaches for my hand.
"You're hurt." Her fingers skim my arms that are littered with bite marks and bruises before suddenly they're gone. Only mud and blood remain.
I scramble away from her touch, my skin burning in it's wake.
"I'm not here to hurt you, Isabella," she says, crouching beside me.
"Rose?" I grab at my throat, my voice shocking me as she moves closer. Golden blonde hair, no longer stringy, flows in curly waves over the woman's shoulders. Her silk gown clings to her like a second skin and when I finally reach her eyes, I know I'm wrong. "You aren't Rose, are you?"
"You've always been very observant."
"Shh." She presses her fingers to my lips, then against my cheek, sealing the wound.
"What are you? When did you leave the hospital? Does Emmett know?" The questions fly from my mouth.
Esme smiles. "Rose is still in the hospital, Isabella. I only appear to you now in her likeness because I don't wish to frighten you."
"Her likeness? So this isn't what you look like?" My eyes widen. "Did you possess her?"
"I did. But I never caused her harm. I merely needed a vessel to observe."
"You. A chain of events began long ago that led you to where you are now."
"Which is where?" I scream. Anger heats my cheeks as the realization that the person in front of me knew how my life would unfold and did nothing to stop it. "I nearly killed my father. My mother is dead. I have creatures trying to end my life at every turn. Not to mention..." My eyes burn as I look to Masen, suspended in air, frozen, his lips parted in a silent scream as a spray of blood shimmers around him.
"Calm now," she whispers, her tone heavy and commanding. I feel a weight press against my shoulders and I am helpless against it.
"I would love to answer your questions, but my time is limited and there are things I need you to do."
"I'm not doing anything for you." I try to make my words bite, but there is nothing but lethargy in my voice.
"It's not for me. It's for Masen. You need to give him the answers he seeks. You need to stop fighting against the voice in your head and understand that she is not the enemy." She glances up at Masen and I see the hurt in her eyes.
"I can't," I say as the weight shifts to my heart.
"You can. You just don't want to. Isabella, she is not a separate entity from you. She is you. You are one in the same. When your soul refused to leave your body, the two of you became one. She is not to Masen what you are. She never was. I suspect that is why you are so hesitant to accept him fully. Because she does not love him."
Esme pauses, kneeling once again at my side as she brushes the hair from my face. Her fingers chill me to the bone and I gasp.
An image invades my mind. A woman smiling at an infant cradled in her arms and a man staring at them with adoration and love. I know the woman the moment I see her. She is the vision in my head. The one who haunts and taunts me. But the child she holds and the man at her side look nothing like Masen. "What is this?"
"This is my way of showing you what you already know. This woman is not what you fear. Her only reason for helping Masen was because of her faith."
"Faith? Faith in what?" I laugh thinking of Carlisle.
She reaches for me once more, her fingertips touching my eye lids before she whispers into my ear.
"Me, Isabella. Her faith in me." Something within me cracks, and then I fall.
I wake to the sound of heavy breaths in my ear. Sam is curled up next to me, my face on his paw as his eyes stay trained above my head.
I look up to see Masen, his foot resting on something small as he speaks.
"Betraying me again, brother?" Masen asks as he pushes the object under his foot back and forth.
I blink, pushing myself up, only to see a blond Masen, but slightly slimmer. His wavy hair reaches his shoulders and blows in the wind as he stand at the edge of the trees. His wings, black as night, hold tight against his body as his eyes travel to mine. Instead of the bold green of Carlisle's I expect, his eyes are blue. It's like looking into the sky as they roam my body. There isn't a single sign of emotion on his sculpted face as he watches me, only a slight nod as Masen clears his throat.
"Is she worth it?" The blond man asks as he stands tall. Armor graces his front, a beautiful dark metal covered in carvings. He looks majestic, like a king. "Risking your future, your fortune, is that worth it for a girl?"
"Aren't all wars?"
"Started over a woman? For a mortal it would seem so." He laughs and takes a cautious step forward.
"It would be for the best if you stayed back, Jasper." Masen side steps, moving closer to me as Sam's chest rumbles low.
"If father could see you right now." Jasper shakes his head, his blond curls looking more like woven gold in the sunlight.
"Oh, I'm sure he can," Masen sneers and I finally look, gasping quietly at the scars that now litter his skin.
"If you plan to go against him, I won't stand in your way, but I can not help you. You two aren't very different, Masen. Try to remember that," Jasper says and nods toward Masen's foot. "May I?"
"This was a fools move." Masen kicks and the object flies into the air, landing at Jasper's feet.
"Can you blame me for trying?" He laughs picking up the object and turning it. "How else am I supposed to get my brother's attention?"
I almost scream when Alice's dead eyes look back at me from his hands.
"You should leave. Be safe in your travels."
Jasper turns, his wings extending wide behind him before he turns back, looking me right in the eyes.
"He's coming for you, Isabella. Carlisle is not a man you wish to anger, and yet you have. It takes guts, as you would say. Be careful." And then he disappears.
Masen is at my side before I can process the words his brother said. He lifts me, holding me in an iron grip before pulling my face to his.
"He's right." He looks behind me as his wings emerge, blocking the sky. "Carlisle will be here soon. We aren't safe here."
"What?" I whip around pushing against his chest. "Where are you taking me?"
"Somewhere safe that he can't reach. My home ."
So it has been awhile huh? Only 4 more chapters and then we're done guys.
Thank you so much for being patient while I got my head uh... straight?
And because I love you all, you should know there will be something special next chapter.