Visitors to Volterra
Chapter Five - Visitors to Volterra
Once Alice's maker was located, the Cullen clan was 'invited' to Volterra. The kings decided to present the ashes to Carlisle in person. The Cullens were understandably nervous to receive the summons to Italy, but they could hardly refuse without bringing the wrath of the Volturi down upon themselves, so they reluctantly made arrangements to go.
Once they arrived at the castle, they were led into the throne room, where only the three kings and their personal guards were in attendance. Aro insisted upon reading all of their memories before revealing any of his reasons for inviting them there. Upon determining that they did not feel the same about Bella's death as Edward had, he proceeded to catch them up to speed on recent developments. After reading Jasper and before speaking, he exchanged meaningful glances with Caius and Marcus. All three of them seemed quite smug after that.
"We've had a few interesting visitors lately, Carlisle," Aro began.
"Indeed?" Carlisle inquired politely, knowing the games Aro liked to play with people and deciding the best course of action was to play along. "And who might they be?"
"The first was a very angry young lady who informed us that your son had abandoned her after telling her she wasn't good enough for him." There were several gasps, both hopeful and outraged.
"The no good piece of shit said WHAT to her? He's dead. He's worse than dead. He's going to be begging me to burn his ass, once I start showing him all the ways vampires can feel pain. I'll finally be able to put all the knowledge of torture I gained from my time with Maria to good use," Jasper muttered, fists clenched, teeth gritted, though there was a spark of hope in his eyes that hadn't been there before. He kept surreptitiously turning his head this way and that, inhaling deeply, as if searching for something. Caius smiled and nodded approvingly at Jasper's outburst. To the shock of the Cullens, even Marcus's face split into a grin before he tried to hide it.
Aro flashed Jasper a quick wink, before continuing as if he hadn't heard any interruptions. "She was dying of cancer and wasn't yet ready to end her life, and thus wished to become one of us. Since Edward refused to grant her request, she came to us, hoping we would be more amenable to her wishes. We were very disturbed to learn how careless Edward had been, breaking our primary law, allowing a human to gain knowledge of our existence, refusing to change said human, and then even insulting and abandoning that human, providing her with the perfect excuse to reveal her knowledge to the world. Luckily for all of you, she kept our secret, despite being a woman scorned. She had no desire for revenge, against him or any of the other vampires who abandoned her without a word, seeking only to be allowed to prolong her time on earth."
"Our Bella!" Esme exclaimed. "Is she here? Did you change her?"
"Thank God!" Carlisle whispered prayerfully.
"Can we see her?" Alice begged. Jasper was frozen like a statue, every aspect of his being focused on Aro, awaiting further enlightenment.
The kings all smiled to see their pleading expressions. "Yes, I changed her and adopted her as my daughter. She is now a member of our family, not just of the guard, making her the Princess of the Volturi," Marcus announced proudly. "She sits with me upon my throne, as Aro's and Caius' wives share with them."
"Yesss!" Jasper hissed joyfully, his whole body sagging with relief. His eyes began darting around, testing the shadows, as if expecting Bella to suddenly appear out of thin air.
"Awesome!" Emmett boomed excitedly. "So where is she? Does she know we're here?"
"All in good time," Caius stated with a mild scowl. "There is the matter of the second visitor to be discussed first. A certain gifted mind reader arrived in our fair city to seek a favor from the court. He begged to be released from his existence as a vampire, to have his flesh incinerated and his spirit set free. We were hesitant to grant his request, especially considering our friendship with you, dear Carlisle, and his former relationship with my beloved niece, as he referred to her death as the reason for his desire to end his existence.
However, when we informed him that she still walked upon the earth, only as a vampire now, he raged at her transformation, wishing she had been allowed to die rather than be changed. As we had all grown quite fond of our Bella, we took exception to his insistence he would have preferred her be dead than be a vampire. At that point, we chose to grant his request, figuring if he loathed his existence to such an extent, then we would not force him to continue it." He was smirking smugly as he delivered the last line.
"He said what?" Emmett howled in outrage.
"That bastard!" Rose snarled. "How dare he?"
Carlisle was shaking his head and moaning. "I never should have changed him. He was clearly too young."
Esme was sobbing into Carlisle's chest, unable to form a coherent sentence.
"I can't believe he was so selfish and stupid!" Alice exclaimed bitterly.
"I'm glad he's dead," Jasper muttered, growling to himself. "Self-righteous prick! I should have killed him ages ago. He never deserved an angel like Bella."
The kings were pleased with their responses to Edward's disgusting comments, and the news of his demise. Marcus instructed Felix to present Carlisle with the package containing Edward's ashes. Carlisle accepted it solemnly, but did not make any further comment regarding his son.
He realized the kings did not seem to be done with them yet. "Were there any other visitors of interest?" he asked hesitantly. Who else could have been here?
Aro nodded. "Indeed. Our next guest was Victoria, accompanied by a newborn she had created to help her get her revenge, on Bella in particular and eventually the rest of you, for the loss of James, whom she considered to be her mate."
The Cullens gasped in shock. "Victoria?"
"I told you all we should have gone after her and eliminated her once we finished off James, but no, Edward insisted there was no need, and I was outvoted! You don't bet against Alice, and you shouldn't have bet against the advice of an experienced military leader when it came to tactical and strategical maneuvers," Jasper griped. "I told you she would be trouble, but you didn't listen! Instead, you let Edward decide to leave her unprotected, completely at Victoria's mercy."
They all looked at him apologetically, and he shrugged, accepting that no one could change the past and hoping they would keep it in mind for the future. He knew he wouldn't make the mistake of letting others talk him out of doing what he felt was right again. He should have just taken care of it himself, no matter what the rest of the coven felt. They didn't have experience dealing with vampires like James and Victoria, while he did. He should have trusted his instincts and experience and not allowed himself to be steamrolled by pacifists and cowards.
Caius nodded respectfully to Jasper and smirked at the rest. "Well, Aro determined all the torture techniques she intended to use on Bella and informed the dungeon master to use them on her instead. Her last days on earth were rather unpleasant, if I do say so myself. She was rather creative in some of her ideas of punishments, a fact which I believe she deeply regretted as she learned first hand how painful they could be. Her newborn companion was not forced to suffer as she was, since he was merely a tool. He welcomed the flames that incinerated him."
The Cullens took a few minutes to absorb this latest bit of information. Jasper was the most horrified, having the clearest understanding of any of them the type of tortures Victoria had likely devised. The worst part was knowing that would have been Bella's fate if she had not gone straight to the Volturi after the Cullens left her. She was left defenseless against one of the most sadistic vampires Jasper had encountered in over half a century, all because Jerkward had gotten cold feet and run away with his tail tucked between his legs like a bloody damn coward of the worst kind. The pathetic prick had used his mindreading talents to manipulate each one of his family members, playing on their guilt, weaknesses, and worst fears to convince them leaving Bella would be the best thing for her. It was total bullshit, but they hadn't seen through it until it was already too late.
Jasper unconsciously began separating himself away from the rest of his family. Carlisle was the coven leader, the father figure, and he had allowed a mere frightened child to lead the entire coven astray, causing them to endanger and offend their weakest but most important member.
After recovering some from the guilt and self-loathing consuming the Cullens upon learning the extent of their stupidity in leaving their newest and youngest family member behind, Carlisle grimaced and looked up at the kings hesitantly. "I almost hate to ask if there was anyone else?"
This time Aro beamed at him. "Indeed, I have located an old friend of yours, Carlisle, who is eager to be reunited with you."
Carlisle regarded him warily, unsure of whom he was speaking. He wasn't sure whether or not to trust Aro's sudden good humor in light of the way the rest of the meeting had been going thus far.
Aro grinned widely. "As a matter of fact, you are not the only old friend of his. He also happens to be the young psychic's sire."
Alice gasped in shock. "What? Who? I thought James had killed him?"
Aro smiled gently at her. "No, though James did fight him and disassemble him, spreading the pieces far and wide. It took several decades for him to restore himself back to one piece. His mind hasn't been quite right since then, as James had told him he found you in the middle of your change and destroyed you while you lay helpless to the burning. Since James described the place where your sire had hidden you and produced the bloody clothing you were wearing at the time of your change, he believed James's story. However, though James found you, he was too intent on destroying your maker to bother destroying you. By the time James returned to finish you off, you had disappeared. Your poor sire became a total recluse, avoiding all social contact afterward, believing you to be dead and gone."
The door opened and a short male vampire in a state of disarray strolled in, glancing all around and twitching nervously. He was followed discreetly by Bella, who wanted a front row seat to whatever was about to unfold. The unkempt vampire's paranoid gaze lit upon the Cullens, one in particular.
"Alis?" Alice gasped in amazement, her memories of her caretaker in the mental institution rushing back to her suddenly.
"Mary?" the new vampire whispered in awe. "My sweet Mary, is it really you?"
"Alistair?" Carlisle inquired in confusion.
"Carlisle?" Alistair replied without taking his eyes off of Alice. "Has she been with you all this time?"
Alice ran to him and embraced him, as he met her halfway. Carlisle had never seen the strange little man so full of joy, love, and hope.
Marcus chuckled. "You see, Alistair, there is hope. You have been reunited with your soulmate after all."
Alice pulled back, shocked, and turned an anguished gaze back to Jasper. He was staring at her and Alistair in confusion and despair.
Aro grinned excitedly. "You see Alice, when you awoke with only the memory of the name 'Alis', it was not your name, but your mate's name that you were remembering. You had always gone by Mary before. It was sheer coincidence that your middle name was actually Alice. Alis was your personal nickname for Alistair."
Alice nodded, remembering certain vague human memories now. Jasper turned away from them. It was hard enough for him to feel the massive love between them. He couldn't bear to see them together too. Now what was he supposed to do? Alice was his everything. Where would he go? He couldn't stay and watch the woman he loved be intimate with another.
Bella chose that moment to reveal herself. She walked straight up to Jasper and gave him a loving hug. "You're always welcome to stay with me, Jazz," Bella offered. "I would love to have you here with me."