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A year or so after The Cullens' run in with the Volturi, Alice has a vision that will bring the terrible Italian vampires back to their doorstep, only this time, there are 3 new commers. The Cullens must fight for their right to survive yet again, and battle against a new danger that appears as a beautiful face.

Just about everything in this story happened in a week long dream I had a few weeks ago. I just never got around to writing it out until now.

13. Preparations

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I play fought with Edward for a little while, until he became tired of attacking me. Emmett had a go at me a couple times, saying that he wanted to get back at me for the arm wrestling incident. After some time, I sat on a boulder and watched everyone else practice. I wouldn't need much physical training, as I'd be protecting everyone with my shield. Edward stayed with me by the rock as long as he could, until Jasper called him to demonstrate a particular move.

The wolves were positioned in a loose circle around the fighting vampires, watching their moves with intense eyes. I picked out Jacob instantly and suppressed a smile at the slight crookedness of his jaw. His quick eyes flashed in my direction and he silently rode from the ground to pad over to where I sat.

"Hey Jake." I murmured, patting his large head. He nuzzled against my hand and whined.

"Don't worry. Just keep with the plan from last time if things start to go badly. Nessie will have the bag with her with everything you'll need inside it." He looked up at me warily. I bit my lip and looked out to the field, pretending to be preoccupied with watching the mock fight.

It was a long night. The practice went on well into the morning and the sun glinted off all the vampires' skin. Nessie lay asleep in my lap, restlessly tossing and turning. I occasionally pressed her small hand to my cheek and saw images of us all facing the Volturi again, of us dead, things I wish I could wash away from her mind forever.

It was nearing 8:00 in the morning when the others showed any signs of stopping for now. Edward sprinted to my side and kissed the top of Nessie and my head.

"I have a good feeling about this, Bella. We may be able to do this if we follow through with your plan." He smiled at me, too cheery for the current situation.

"You don't have to be so optimistic for my sake. I know you better than that."

His smile quivered ever so slightly. "I don't want you to worry so much."

"I'm worried that you may not be taking this as serious as you should." He opened his mouth to protest, but I held up a hand to stop him. "She may be your sister, Edward, but she is dangerous. I can just tell with her, she will not hesitate to kill us if we get in her way. My plan probably won't even work. She's so strong and fast, maybe even faster than you." I paused, looking him in the eyes. A couple others were close by and I knew they were listening. "And even if we do somehow stop Stephanie, Connor, and Emmanuel, there is still the whole Volturi behind them. How can we possibly win? Numbers are in their favor. We may have many gifts on our side, but only a few of them would do much good in battle. They have Alec and Jane! What if I can't protect myself and the rest of you at the same time? I mean... I've never tried to shield anyone in motion!" I was going into hysterics.

Edward finally spoke up, holding my shoulders firmly. "Bella. I know you're scared. We all are scared. I am taking this as seriously as anyone, and I take a great personal offense to my sister being the one causing my family such pain." He looked down at Nessie, still sleeping in my lap. "It will be... difficult. I will not lie and tell you that we will all make it out alive. We will probably lose a number of our own. They will be missed, and honored, but our losses will not amount to the loss of the Volturi. None of them shall survive." His eyes narrowed. "I'll be sure of that."

"Here here!" Vladimir shouted from across the field.

I sighed and shifted Nessie up into my arms as I rose from the rock. "I'm going to put Nessie to bed." Edward nodded and kissed me softly.

I turned to go when Edward gasped sharply and we both whipped around.

"What Edward?" I growled.

"Alice." Edward growled back.

I zeroed in on Alice sitting in the middle of the field cross legged. She looked as though she was meditating. Edward and I walked quickly over to her and kneeled down until we were eyelevel with her. Everyone else crowded around us as well.

"Is Emmanuel giving her a vision?" Eleazar asked.

"Yes, but I can't read her mind. Emmanuel must have duplicated Stephanie's power somehow because there is a shield around Alice's mind."

"How did you know she was having a vision, then?" Eleazar pressed.

"I caught a second of it before the shield blocked me out."

"She doesn't seem to be in pain this time." I pointed out. "Could it be the shield?"

Edward shrugged. "I don't know."

The conversation took all but a couple seconds, which was all that the vision needed. Alice opened her eyes slowly and her shoulders hunched over slightly.

"They're coming tomorrow at noon." She whispered.