Chapter 38 - With Bloody Endings

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The fire was hot and angry. The Cullens did not take a task lightly. They wanted to rid their world of this danger. The mass of limbs provided more than enough fuel to keep the fire hot. There was no smell of burning flesh. Vampires did not burn in the same way. They were not human. It only smelled like ordinary smoke. It was almost as if they were created to burn.

No one was thrilled when Alice was pulled into a vision. Everyone was still on edge from the battle. The sudden appearance of Edward and Bella took the group by surprise. It was originally agreed upon that they were never to enter this part of the forest. The wolves tensed as it became clear that Bella was bleeding. There was no time to explain. Edward's and Alice's panic was self-explanatory.

"How long?" The edge in Edward's voice was to be expected.

"A few minutes. Maybe ten." Alice quickly moved to stand at Bella's other side.

"They timed their arrival well." Rosalie's voice dripped with sarcasm. She had no interest in staying here. The battle was finished. Now, there was only one thing on her mind.

"Probably hoping the newborns took a few of us out." Emmett was cold.

Bella looked over the group. Everyone looks disheveled but otherwise unscathed. Some of the wolves had deep scratches but nothing life-threatening. No one had died. No one died for her. She did not have to add another life to her conscience. She felt herself relaxing some even in the tense atmosphere.

"The pack needs to leave. The Volturi won't honor a truce with the werewolves." This was an urgent matter. The pack immediately understood the situation.

Sam stepped forward. "We will all head back to Billy's. We will settle everything later. I believe there is much to discuss."

Carlisle was solemn. "I'll be there as soon as I can."

The wolves barely disappeared before Alice spoke again. "They're here."

The Cullens gathered in the center of the field forming a protective wall around Bella.

They can hear them before they can see him. Jane's voice was always able to unsettle someone. "It appears you've done our work for us."

There was a small representation from the Volturi. Jane seemed to evaluate the scene in front of her. "Impressive. I've never seen a coven escape an assault of this magnitude intact."

"We were lucky." Carlisle felt the words in his bones. He could feel Esme grip his hand tighter. They had been extremely lucky.

"I doubt that." Jane tilted her head in a silent challenge.

"It appears we missed an entertaining fight." Alec seemed almost disappointed.

"Yes. It's not often we're rendered unnecessary." Jane's acting could use some work. She wasn't fooling anyone present.

"If you'd arrived a half-hour ago, you would've fulfilled your purpose." Edward's response is harsher than expected.

"Pity. Any idea who caused your situation?"

"Like you don't know." Edward directly challenged Jane. This was bad. They were not prepared for this.

"Edward. If the Volturi had knowledge of Victoria, they would've stopped her. Isn't that right, Jane?" Carlisle tried to pacify the situation ignoring Edward's glare.

Jane carefully thinks over her words. "Exactly. I advise you to remember your place. The Volturi don't give second chances. Keep that in mind. Caius will be interested to know that she's still human."

Bella surprised even herself by speaking. "The date is set."

Jane looked slightly taken aback by Bella's confidence. "Well, I hope so." She turned her attention back toward Carlisle. "I suggest you act quickly. I would also advise against acquiring any more human pets. Things tend to get..." Her eyes scanned the crowd in front of her before settling on Esme, "...messy."

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