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It has been sixteen years since Meg Cullen was kidnapped by the Volturi. Sixteen years of Edward and Bella mourning their dead daughter...supposedly killed by the Pack. Then, Meg returns to Forks. Only then does the race for answers (and survival) begin... ~SEQUEL TO MY STORY "CHOICE"~EPILOGUE: BRILLIANCE IS UP!"BY THE PRICKING OF MY THUMBS, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES." ~MACBETH

Here it is! The sequel to Choice! Hope you enjoy it! Disclaimer: I own nothing. All characters belong to the lovely Stephenie Meyer. Except the characters of Meg and Ambrosi, though. As well as the lovable (but annoying) Dean Newton. They come from my own imagination. © Edward's Rose 2008

13. Chapter 13: Escalate

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Chapter Thirteen: Escalate


“Jane!” a familiar voice called behind me.

I turned slowly to face Alec and felt a slow smile spread across my face. “Brother,” I said softly, giving him a chaste kiss on the lips.

“He’s back,” Alec said softly in my ear.

I drew away, giving a slight nod. “Send him in.”

At this, the door opened with a resounding crash…a strong breeze accompanying the dark figure standing in its frame.

“Ambrosi!” I called in a high, clear voice, gently crooking a finger.

He glided forwards, black cloak rustling against the marble floors. “Jane,” he said softly.

I studied his face carefully. To my satisfaction, I saw his eyes were a dark red…he’d been hunting. His features were lined, etched with pain and anxiety.

“What news?” I asked shortly.

He didn’t respond for a moment, only letting a soft sigh escape through his lips.

“What news, Ambrosi?” I snapped, noting his hesitation.

“She’s…changed,” he said finally.

I gave a brisk laugh. “But not her temper, I trust?”

He ignored me. “She’s dealing with…werewolves.”

My head snapped up, so I was looking straight into his eyes. “What did you say?”

“Werewolves…they have a pack. I had a...slight disagreement with them.”

I raised my eyebrows ruefully. “A slight disagreement?”

He looked away. “Yes.”

He’s holding so much back, I could tell. “Ambrosi…do you remember our pact earlier?”

Ambrosi nodded quickly, head still turned.

“Your…involvement with Meg really is quite touching, but you’re a well-practiced actor. She’ll get over it soon enough. Just like her mother.”

Suddenly, his head swung back towards mine…eyes blazing. “Don’t you dare, Jane, or…”

“Or what?” I gave a high-pitched laugh, shaking my head. “I am Jane Volturi…and you, Ambrosi. You are nothing. Have you forgotten that not just your own life hangs in the balance of Meg’s decision?”

“I haven’t forgotten,” he answered tersely.

I took a step closer, until I was standing a hairs-breadth away. “I know what you would do, Ambrosi. When, and if, she came back to Volterra…you couldn’t stand to see her prisoner. You’d help her escape. Now, before I have to go into all this again, tell me what happened!”

Ambrosi dropped his head, dark curls falling into his burning eyes. “I can’t betray her, she’s…”

I gave another laugh, which echoed almost cruelly against the walls. Alec was watching us with a queer expression on his face, fingers curled against his lips.

“Oh, but you will, Ambrosi. Come.” I turned sharply towards the window, he following hesitantly in my wake.

We were in the “round tower” of Volterra…able to gaze upon the city streets through tinted glass. I narrowed my eyes against the sunlight’s glare, watching the tableau of the plaza laid out before me. A young girl was being chased around the fountain, letting her hand splash carelessly in its waters. She had a mass of dark curls, all too similar to those of the one standing next to me…

I heard him draw a sharp intake of breath, watching the girl’s every movement with a guarded wariness. “What happened?” I asked again, my voice barely above a hiss.

I could see the conflict raging in his eyes, which were as tumultuous as the ocean. “Your sister’s grand-daughter,” I mused. “Such a pity to see her life wasted. Alec!” I called, snapping my fingers.

My brother began swiftly towards the door, a vicious smile curling his lips. “No!” Ambrosi screamed, turning towards me. “Please…I’ll tell you everything. Just don’t hurt her!”

I smiled at him radiantly. “Very well, then. Tell me everything.”

“Swear to me, Jane. Swear to me that you will not hurt Meg…or Elena,” he growled.

I cocked my head to the side, giving him a slow smile. “I don’t swear, Ambrosi.”

Suddenly, the ornate door flew open and I saw three shapes glide towards us. I coolly regarded Aro, Marcus and Caius…annoyed they’d interrupted us. Something must’ve been important, though, for they all looked agitated and hardly ever left the confinements of their chamber. Ambrosi dipped his head begrudgingly, but they swept past him…focused only on Alec and I.

“Jane, dear one,” Alec called out, brushing his papery-white lips against my cheek.

“What is it?” I demanded sharply, glancing between their faces.

“Marcus has…sensed something,” Caius hissed.

“And?” I questioned, turning the full force of my gaze on Marcus.

Marcus had lost his mate quite some time ago, causing him to become withdrawn and silent. He, however, was the most sensitive of the three…having known the experience of love.

“There’s been a killing in Forks,” Aro answered calmly.

I was annoyed at not hearing this from Marcus himself. “Did little Meg obey the call?” I asked sardonically.

I was too preoccupied to notice the expression on Ambrosi’s face.

“No, not Meg.”

“Your point, Aro?” I asked impatiently.

“Marcus’ ability to keep the Cullens at bay is being penetrated…by some greater force. One of the girl's visions slipped through. Our dear Bella seems to have gone missing, and Edward has gone after her. To Forks…where he thinks she murdered the victim,” said Caius, obviously annoyed by the tone in my voice.

Panic bloomed in my throat, spreading like a cold tide through all my senses. “What do you know of this?” I snarled, whirling towards Ambrosi.

He looked me directly in the eyes. “I bit a girl. The werewolves put her out of agony, prepared to murder me. Meg convinced them not to…forcing me to come back.”

A scream of rage tore from my throat. “You stupid, stupid fool! You have no idea what you’ve done!”

I crooked my fingers, watching as Ambrosi silently crumpled to the floor. He didn’t scream, but his mouth was set in a tight grimace of pain…bolts of fire coursing through him.

“Jane!” Alec warned, seeing my composure disappearing rapidly.

With an angry gasp, I broke the connection…regarding Ambrosi’s figure coldly. I turned on my heel, back towards Aro and the rest.

“The time has come. Meg must leave Forks…before the Cullens' return.”

I pushed it down, but the beginnings of fear pulled at my heart. What if the Cullens found her…? They’d know I took her from them…they’d want their revenge. Their coven was one of the most powerful I’d seen, and with their extra rage, there was no telling what they were capable of.

“Alec, Felix, Demetri, Heidi…and Ambrosi, will accompany me to Forks. I’ll bring Meg back to us…her end of the bargain is yet to be repaid.”

Aro nodded calmly, giving me another kiss on the cheek. “We are counting on you, dear one.”

Then, quick as they came, they disappeared…back to their chambers of darkness. Alec quickly left my side, promising to go tell the others of our plan.

“We leave at first light!” I called after him.

When the door closed sharply, I turned towards Ambrosi…who had struggled into a sitting position. I slowly sank towards the floor, so my cloak rippled around me like a snake.

I put my lips close to his ear and said: “If Meg does not return with us, she dies. You and Elena’s lives hang in the balance of her decision. You will find I do not forgive insults very easily…something Meg is soon to find out.”

With that, I stood up…tossing my head furiously. As I glided towards the door, I stole a glance back at Ambrosi…whose broken expression seared into my memory worse then the fires of my transformation.

Then, I closed the door with a resounding boom…locking him with his grief.


“You’re exactly my brand of heroin...”

A soft breeze tickled my face, causing stalks of grass to gently brush my skin. I curled my fingers around the charm bracelet, drinking in the serenity wafting around the meadow. I’d discovered it this morning while wandering in the woods…feeling a strong pull that could surpass even the dappled sunlight.

With a soft sigh, I closed my eyes…rolling over onto my back. It had been two days since the murder of the girl, and the horrible events following. I’d talked to Jacob briefly yesterday; the pack on full alert after Ambrosi’s visit. I wanted to tell him…tell him that the Volturi might come for me. That I wasn’t who he thought I was.

That my month of freedom was rapidly drawing to a close.

I squeezed my eyes shut tighter, willing all those worries to go away. For a brief moment, I thought of myself in Volterra. My abilities harnessed to the Volturi’s will…to become one of them. To join the life I’d always hated. I’d have nothing…not even Ambrosi to make the lonely years more bearable.

Slowly, I pulled myself into a sitting position, drawing my knees to my chin. My eyes lighted on a small flower close by, its petals seeming to stare up at me innocently. I gently plucked it from the ground, twirling it between my fingers.

I closed my eyes for a moment, tentatively drawing on the rush of energy building up inside of me. With great care, I didn’t let it all go…letting just a bit pass from my fingertips. I felt a strange jolt, and my eyes opened with a snap. The flower’s petals had curled and wrinkled, the vibrant purple turned brown. I stared at it mournfully for a moment, and then an idea occurred….

I closed my eyes again, imagining a lighter kind of energy…passing back into my fingers. I felt rather idiotic, but decided there was no one here to stop me. A strange tingling passed through me, and when I opened my eyes, the flower was whole again. Healed.

Puzzled, I stared at it for a few minutes. So many things seemed to be kept from me in the shroud of darkness I lived in…

Suddenly, a violent breeze blew through the meadow…storm clouds seeming to eclipse the sun. I took a long, shuddering breath, suddenly wishing Jacob were here. Mastering my fear, I looked towards a small opening in the trees…an unchecked scream of terror nearly bursting from my throat.

Framed by the trees, was the small figure of Jane Volturi.

She took a step towards me, a high-pitched laugh bubbling from her mouth. “Child's play, Meg,” she declared, her eyes fixed on my face.

The flower fell with a deafening slowness towards the ground, and I involuntarily moved back.

“What do you want, Jane?” I called out in a tremulous voice.

She smiled. “Have you forgotten, Meg? It’s been exactly a month since you left Italy. It’s time to return…fulfill your end of the deal.”

I shakily stood, raising my chin. “I have no desire to become a member of the Volturi, Jane. There’s no way in hell I’ll return with you.” My words were a lie, rolling easily of my tongue. It was my only defense, though. Would I have to fight her…?

Jane’s eyes blazed like coals, turning a ghastly color. “Oh, but you will. You see, the deepest circles of hell in no way compare to what the consequences may be,” she hissed.

Then, she rose her arm in the air…snapping her fingers. To my horror, cloaked figures

melted from the trees…closing me into the meadow. I whirled around, my eyes meeting the penetrating stares of Alec, Felix, Demetri, Heidi…and Ambrosi. He was closest to Jane, eyes fixed on a point beyond my head.

I glared at each one of them, knowing the expression on my face was full of hate. My breath came in shallow gasps as I thought of freedom slipping from my grasp…it was too much! With an anguished cry, I leapt towards the fringe of trees...energy blasting haphazardly around the meadow. I saw the force of it knock straight into Heidi, whose face was filled with surprise. I soared over a log…desperately crashing through the undergrowth. Adrenaline coursed through my veins, the wind rushing past my face.

“JAKE!” I screamed, thinking of the one person who could save me.

I was fast…but so were they.

An arm tightened around my waist, a hand covering my mouth. “Don’t scream,” Ambrosi hissed.

I twisted within his iron grasp, kicking and clawing…traitor!

“Meg!” he said again, more forcefully. “Meg, stop it! Please…”

I heard Jane give another laugh, right behind us. “Let her go, Ambrosi.”

He gently lowered me to the ground, and I desperately tried to call on my powers. They wouldn’t come…frozen by the fire in Jane’s eyes.

She approached me carefully, flanked by Heidi and Alec. Heidi was livid, the makeup on her beautiful face smudged with dirt from her recent fall. I painfully got to my knees, gazing at Jane defiantly. She regarded me thoughtfully for a moment, and then raised her arm. The blow was well-aimed, connecting with my jaw almost instantly. Pain shot through me as my face turned towards the side. The taint of blood rose in my mouth, and I swallowed it hastily.

“A kitten spitting fire,” Jane mused. “Little Meg…meddling in things she shouldn’t. Just like her mother.” A soft laugh came from her throat, and the mention of my mother in this way puzzled me.

“And you, Jane, sent to do Aro’s bidding…reduced to a task such as this. And your reward? A kiss and a few words…always the Volturi’s pawn in greater games.” My words were fused with hatred, and I instantly knew I’d made a mistake.

Jane’s eyes widened, as if she’d been slapped, then fiery waves of hatred rolled from her. With a scream, she launched herself at me. She twisted my arm behind my back, and I could feel the tears gather in the corners of my eyes. I gave a small gasp, feeling the bone ready to snap…

“Jane!” Alec called.

She didn’t listen. Another blow met my face, and this time, I felt the warm blood begin to drip down. My eyes were tunnels, and in a haze of agony, I fell backwards…a pair of stone arms catching me.

Then I was flying…the cold rush of air slamming into my face.



“JAKE!” a voice screamed.

My head snapped up instantly…it was Isabella. Her voice was saturated with terror and anguish, creating a heartrending call which I couldn’t ignore. I pulled off my sneakers, beginning a mad dash towards the trees. The tremors ripped through my body as I prepared to phase…

Then, my nose caught the scent…vampires! And there were more then one.

“Jacob, Jacob Black!” a voice suddenly called.

I turned sharply, still in my human form, to meet the unfathomable gaze of Alice Cullen.

“What…?” I began.

This was impossible…Bella had said they were never coming back. It was her, though. The short, dancer’s frame…with the cropped, black hair.

“No time,” she said swiftly. “Jake…who was that voice? They’re in danger…the Volturi are here!”

My mind was in a fog, and only one word came to my lips. “Isabella’s,” I said quickly, Alice keeping pace with me.

“Tell me what this Isabella looks like.”

I was confused by her question, but decided not to resist. “She has long, dark-bronze hair…golden eyes. I…”

Suddenly, Alice’s eyes widened…her mouth forming a perfect “o.” Her rhythmic breathing seemed to stop, and one word rolled from her lips: