“So, where are we going?” Myriam asked as she looped her arm through Bella’s, not bothering with the leash because that was so stupid. Granted, it was a safety measure, but Myriam wasn’t about to get distracted lose Bella out of her sight.
“We are going to some place quiet to have a chat with Carlisle Cullen,” Bella replied as she steered Myriam towards the kitchen and pantry. “He and I had a conversation and I want to know his reply.”
“What did you do?”
“Well, for one, I asked him politely to leave my friends alone. Which they did,” Bella replied as she scratched her head. “Although I hadn’t specified that it included me as well. Ugh, I still feel like I need a hot bath when we’re done.”
Bella turned off her mic and gestured for Myriam to do the same. “To gain access without any trouble to their Volturi Sanctum for information and the promise I’ll make sure Edward won’t get his hands on it.” She was surprised to see Carlisle with what looked like his wife Esme in the kitchen, waiting for her. Emmett just walked in from the pantry. “I’ve asked nicely, of course,” she smiled at Myriam before turning to the spirits. “Have you given it some thought?”
‘Despite our temporary truce, Miss Swan, we cannot allow you access to our Sanctum. I am deeply sorry that Alice broke our truce, but after spending some time within you, she could tell me that you’ve been lying to me.’
Bella saw Emmett advance on Myriam and she stopped him with a blast of her energy, evaporating him instantly. “You see, I don’t need your permission,” she said easily, half shrugging. “You see, I’ve been practising with what I can do with the guidance of this brilliant woman and I can use force. I’d rather not, because that’s not who I am, but I can and I will.”
Myriam was impressed. She leaned against the kitchen counter, making sure not to knock over some of her and Linda’s barrier spell to weaken the Vortex, but she had never seen Bella this determined, this feisty before. She had always hated hurting spirits with her touch, and rather liked doing it the less painful way. But when she stopped one of them, even Myriam could see the energy discharge and no doubt some milligauss meter in the vicinity was going nuts for it.
‘You can’t do this!’ Esme cried out. ‘Don’t hurt my husband or my children!’
‘Quiet now, dear,’ Carlisle shushed his wife before looking at Bella. ‘And here I thought you were this sweet little thing.’
Why were bad guys always this wordy? Bella couldn’t back down now, so she was going to have to channel some Mikaelson ‘diplomacy’ without looking like a little girl. Because let’s face it, Bella didn’t like hurting people or being mean. This was a mess she created by wanting to have a chat, while she should have blasted all of the Cullens into the ether in the first place. “You are going to allow me access and in return I’ll make sure Edward won’t be able to get to it.”
‘And if I refuse?’
“Then your exit from this Earth will be as painful as Emmett’s just has been,” Bella stated simply as she touched the kitchen counter and closed the weakened Vortex without taking her eyes off of Carlisle. “The Vortex is closed. No more vacuuming ghosts inside from the surrounding areas and keeping them here. Your choice, Carlisle. We can do this peacefully or not so peacefully. I will keep the Volturi secrets safe and out of his hands, I wasn’t lying about that.”
‘Can you ensure the complete destruction of this house?’
Bella blinked at that. “You want this house to be leveled to the ground? Why?”
‘This house is no longer a home,’ Esme quietly said from behind her husband. ‘All of the efforts of protecting what’s sacred has made this house a nightmare to be in. My husband wants you to take what you need from the Sanctum and then destroy everything, he’s merely being a bit stubborn about it.’ She then stepped from behind her husband to face Bella. ‘I do not dismiss the awful things this family has done out of loyalty towards each other, and the Volturi. My family did what we had to do. Unfortunately, it had to end. Edward is our only relative and he’s not cut out for this.’
‘He’s too fanatical,’ Carlisle added.
Bella snorted and looked at Myriam, knowing that her friend couldn’t hear the spirits. “They’re doing a complete 180 now. They are the ‘good guys’ doing ‘bad things’ for the greater good.”
Myriam nodded slowly. “It’s a familiar story.”
‘Our families are quite similar, albeit yours being one of immortals and we were mere mortals,’ Carlisle said kindly. ‘They are protecting what the Volturi have been seeking for a millennia, you.’
“How do they know about me? I know that I’ve had a previous life and that my adoptive parents were Volturi worshippers, but how? How is that possible? They’re in Italy!”
‘Your vampire friend is strong and fast enough to get things out of this house unseen, yes?’
‘Follow me then,’ Carlisle said he gestured for Bella and Myriam to follow him to the Sanctum. ‘The Volturi were created, if you will, in the Old World. The continents of Scandinavia, before moving to the land of magic and settling in a place called Volterra, as our leader did not wish to stay in the cold any longer. I believe it was also a sort of family spat she had with her sister, the sister she lost when she went to the New World with her family. The history of it is written in one of the books we have downstairs, it’s a book all of the Volturi worshippers own.’
“Like a bible?”
‘Well, you live in a world filled with immortality, vampires and magic, so it’s not really a bible. While the Volturi are all human and have no desire to turn into vampires, there are powerful witches among us. There have to be, to be able to control spirits they use to spy on their enemies or objects of fascination. It’s a diary or Grimoire, if you will.’
“You mean you have voodoo priests and priestesses?”
Carlisle shrugged. ‘I believe your friend Linda would call our witches Dark Witches.’
Bella let out a whine, not liking what she was hearing. She had believed that the Volturi were hard to take down, but Carlisle made it sound like it was going to be even harder. But what he said made sense. It explained so much when it came to her guide Valerie. Bound. Lying. Not lying. Uneven. Unbalanced.
‘Even with the help of your vampire friends, you wouldn’t be able to defeat the Volturi,’ Carlisle continued. ‘They are a true force to be reckoned with and perhaps it is best if you turn yourself in.’
“And what would happen if I do that?”
Carlisle then shrugged. ‘Over the years there had been many ideas, ranging from experimenting on you either through witchcraft or science, or another suggestion was to try and breed you.’
“To try and breed me?” Bella spluttered. “Seriously?”
‘You’re not a human and thus your human rights wouldn’t be in jeopardy,’ he replied. ‘And I don’t believe you can escape their imprisonment that easily, either. There had been rumors about you being a being of pure energy, they have adjustable faraday cages tailored to what they know about you after your life with the Volturi family all those years ago. You’re energy, just like us, and will be able to be contained by electricity.’
Bella grumbled as she pulled the tarp away from the wall, revealing the passage to the maze downstairs. “No surprises downstairs?”
‘Absolutely none, if there were, you would have been able to see them the first time you were there,’ Carlisle replied truthfully.
“The last time I was here, Emmett took over my boyfriend and nearly killed me.”
‘You can’t be killed, that had been a test.’
“A fucking extremely traumatizing one!” She grabbed her walkie. “Hey Jer?”
“Remember the last time we were here? What did you see when the ceiling collapsed?”
It was quiet for a while before Kol’s voice came over the walkie talkie. “You’d better not be doing what I think you’re about to do!”
“No, I’m not doing anything, I’m just wondering because I’m feeling weird vibes coming from that area and I might want to check it out.”
“Bella, it’s not good,” Jeremy replied. “Wait, so that I can come along, too, in case there’s another collapse.”
“Hey, if you’re going to that area, why are your cameras turned off? This is something we’d like to see too!” Jace’s voice came over the walkie talkie.
“Uh, maybe later, I need to do this by myself first…” Bella said a little bit hesitant before turning off the walkie talkie. She believed Jeremy when he said it wasn’t good, but wasn’t going to say anything about it to Carlisle.
Myriam hated this. While she could hear at least one half of the conversation, she didn’t like what Bella was replying, her pauses and her patience. Was she really going to trust this Carlisle guy? She sure hoped not. Talking to Jeremy, and Kol, on the walkie talkie had been a good thing, the guys would know where she was in case something would happen. She followed Bella into the passageway and for Bella’s sake shone her flashlight around. Myriam could see perfectly well in the dark, and the maze looked somewhat claustrophobic.
From what Myriam had gathered so far, Carlisle was telling Bella all about the origins of the Volturi, and no doubt that Bella would inform the family as soon as she could. She’d better. The little scrapes of information from Elijah weren’t of any use at all.
Once they passed through the maze – that wasn’t really a maze just a set of corridors, Myriam was greeted by the smell, and sight, of a puddle of dried blood. Bella’s blood, and it was a lot of blood. They hadn’t been kidding when they had said that Emmett, in Kol, had done a number on her and that she had nearly died. Anger started to bubble up underneath her skin and decided to focus on other things instead.
The Sanctum was nothing but a fancy witches’ altar with large bookcases on each side of the walls filled with books and scrolls. The Volturi flag was hanging proudly, albeit a bit dusty, and some strange scribbling on the walls that she didn’t fully recognize. It was clear that the Cullens used to do rituals and perhaps even sacrifices in this room, Myriam recognized some of the tools and herbs.
When she looked over to her friend, she stood frozen into place, looking at that same puddle of blood Myriam was trying to ignore. “Bella?”
Bella snapped out of her thoughts and looked at Myriam as she ran a hand through her hair. “Yeah… sorry…” She had dealt with it, truly. Fully. Or at least she had thought she had dealt with it, but it was almost as if she could feel Kol’s teeth on her again, tearing her skin apart because Emmett was in him. Kol wouldn’t ever hurt her, but the puddle still brought back memories.
Bella then looked around in the Sanctum, and yes, Carlisle was there, but there were other beings there as well, and it didn’t feel too good. Shadow people. At least a dozen. They felt like they were watchers, sentinels. Keeping an eye on things and they were likely connected to the Volturi. They were threatening, sure, but Bella didn’t feel that these were capable of hurting anyone.
There was a large, black mass in one of the corners and it made Bella feel sick. Very sick. As she tried to identify what it was, she could feel it affecting her mind and her body. It felt like an accumulation of emotions, extreme emotions. It was connected to the entire Cullen family, it once started hundreds of years ago, and then continued with the rest of them. Feeding. Even in death. “I’ve never seen such a large PK manifestation in my life,” Bella muttered as she leaned against the wall. “Wow… so much depression…”
“What was that again?” Myriam questioned, worried about her friend. “Are you alright?”
“It’s a variation of the Poltergeist. The PK is a psychokinetic entity, created by extreme emotions by someone with the ability to see spirits, someone who’s a sensitive. It usually takes years to develop a small one, and it’s easily to get rid of by getting that person help, but this thing is ancient and connected to this family,” Bella explained as she took a deep breath to sever the connection with it and then nodded. “Yeah… I’m fine… now… But wow, this family was fucked up for centuries.”
‘I am still here,’ Carlisle reminded her. ‘There is no need to tell me how fucked up our family was, we had a great family. Our generation was the best.’
“And Carlisle is now boasting that they were a normal family,” Bella sighed as she thumbed over her shoulder towards Carlisle. There were a handful of tiny, inhuman spirits underneath the large table between two bookcases and they seemed to have sharp teeth. Unlike last time, there weren’t any books or scrolls lighting up for her immediately, which was a good thing, because it had been scary the first time.
“How good are you with interacting with solid objects, Carlisle?” Bella wondered as she went over to the first bookcase and started to look at the book covers. “Can you like… turn knobs?”
“Good,” Bella hummed as she grabbed a book and dusted it off. “Because I reckon since Edward kept the lights burning, the gas line is also still connected?”
“Good,” Bella grinned as she handed the book to Myriam before moving on to finding another one. She felt that the books had different feelings, different kinds of energy, and she decided to go for the ones that had the strongest. In the back of her mind, she could see Ylva standing at another kind of altar, no doubt the one that she had in her home when she was with Kol a thousand years ago, and she was holding a book, smiling widely. Bella needed to find that book, and it was here somewhere. “I think we’ll have a gas leak… and then as grand finale, it’ll be Edward who will lit a match and makes this house go kablooey.”
“Bella!” Myriam laughed. “You can’t be serious! Besides, you’d need more than just gas… I mean, I’m sure Klaus and Kol would love to almost empty some gas tanks and pour it inside this house…”
“Oh, wicked, I like it,” Bella grinned as she grabbed another book, still not the one she wanted, and handed it to Myriam to hold. “Only when there’s nobody left inside the house or when there’s enough time for them to leave when someone yells ‘gas leak!’.”
“Careful, missy, you’re crossing into the darkness now,” Myriam warned her, but thought the idea was brilliant. “First exploding Emmett and now contemplating to blow up a house?”
“Well, it’s fast, and that way Edward will no longer have a house to torment the dead with,” Bella replied as she moved onto a new bookcase, this one also had a few scrolls in them, but Carlisle told her that they weren’t important. Mostly about other people they had suspected to be what Bella was and upon checking a few of the scrolls, she had found him speaking the truth.
She found the book she wanted across the room and Carlisle told her that it was their ‘handbook’, with the origin story, some sacred rituals and names of members up until the date that Carlisle had received the book – but it was likely that their relatives were part of the Volturi as well. Bella handed it to Myriam who quickly put it into their car without being seen and instructed Kol and Klaus to get some gasoline from the trucks and cars around them while Bella discussed some more with Carlisle, how to completely destroy the house and help the spirits move on.
Bella was relieved to see Jeremy and Linda return with Jasper and a worse for wear looking Rosalie from the top floor. “You were right, she was up there,” Jeremy smiled at her and then looked around. “Where is Myriam?”
“On her way back, don’t worry,” Bella sighed relieved as she looked at Jasper and Rosalie. “You two deserve a chance together.”
‘Oh, we will certainly be happy in the afterlife, Miss Bella. The house has released us.’
“That’s good to hear,” Bella nodded, a smile forming on her face as she looked at Myriam who had just returned. “Hey, care to take two spirits home with us?”
“And then what?”
Bella shrugged as an answer. “Whatever they want, but at least it’ll be in warmer climates.”
“Sure, but the vials I brought with to contain a soul are already filled,” Myriam smirked as she shrugged. “I couldn’t help myself but to bring a little bit of power back to play around with.”
“Don’t worry, Linda made sure I didn’t catch innocent ones,” she grinned. “Have them be monkeys on Jeremy’s back, I’ll pry them off in New Orleans.”
‘Rose and I appreciate the sentiment, Miss Bella,’ Jasper said kindly. ‘But we have been around for a very long time and we want to move on. Together. Go into that glorious light and have peace.’
“Are you sure?”
‘Absolutely,’ Rosalie replied, a smile on her face despite her worse for wear appearance. ‘We are tired, Bella, but thank you for your persistence in helping so many lost souls find their peace and thank you for caring about us, too.’
“Then I wish you two all the love and peace you desire and deserve,” Bella smiled and nodded. “Thank you for your help and guidance, Jasper.”
‘Stay safe, peaches,’ Jasper winked at her before he and Rosalie took their leave.
The peace of the whole situation was broken when Jace, Hugo and Drew walked back into the house with ‘the vampire’ and the electrical engineer on their heels. “Right!” Jace smiled widely as he looked at Bella. “You need to turn on your mic and camera, how else can we see what you’re doing and share it with the rest of the world?”
Bella turned on her mic and smiled sweetly. “Sometimes you do things you don’t necessarily want to share with the rest of the world, such as moving on a handful of spirits.”
“Fine, whatever,” he said as he rubbed his hands together in glee. “Since we’re all here, how about a big experiment to end the night with? We’ll set up some camera’s here and some equipment and then Linda will lead us into a seance, what do you say? With so many gifted people around, things are bound to happen, yes?”
“Here? In the reception area?” Bella smiled as she looked around. There wasn’t much left. Since she had released the anchors and Linda and Myriam had messed with the Vortex, all the spirits that wanted to leave, left. “I think the ballroom would be more exciting. There are mirrors in there, and I believe a few spirits are left there.” And, with the mirrors, she wouldn’t be spotted on the equipment that easily as mirrors were good at reflecting things. She could behave herself. “I mean, Linda has been here since the start, yeah? Not a single break for her, she must be exhausted.”
“I am more worried about you,” Drew said as he looked at her, a serious look on his face. “You’re pale, you have bags underneath your eyes, you’ve been dealing with a full possession and god knows what else you’ve been doing right under our noses.”
“You don’t want me in?”
“I don’t want you in,” Drew nodded as he pointed at the door. “Enough is enough.”
Bella looked at Jeremy and then at Myriam who had just returned. “Out?”
“Yes, you’re out,” Jeremy laughed as he playfully pushed her towards the door.
She sulked as she walked towards the door, turning off her mic and setting her camera on the table. The moment she walked out, she was greeted by Kol, who scooped her up and kissed her on her head. “Thank you.”
“For what, darling?” He replied innocently. “For giving you an alibi to go and have some fun in the seance? For giving you an alibi to start messing with Edward and the house?”
“Yes,” she smiled at him as she put her arms around his neck. “How’s the gas hunting going?”
“If you’re able to open the back door for us, we can easily sneak it in and start pouring it around. Sending them into the ballroom was a neat trick, that way they won’t hear us at all,” he replied before sighing. “I can’t believe you managed to get Carlisle’s support.”
“I blasted his son into a thousand pieces for wanting to come after Myriam, he then realized I didn’t need his permission to do anything but that I was merely being courteous and stuff. We have the same goal in mind; not to allow Eddie near the goods and I told him that I could help him with that.”
“Don’t worry, I really don’t trust him,” Bella replied as she softly kissed him after he put her down behind some trailer out of sight. “But yeah, if he can turn the gas on… that’d be a help, but then again, I can help him with that too.”
“Happy haunting,” Kol grinned as he kissed her. “Be careful and Nik and I will enjoy watching your shenanigans during that seance.”
“I’m not going to mess with that seance if everything is going well, wouldn’t want to hurt Linda’s feelings,” Bella grinned as she poofed out. She went to find Carlisle first, who was struggling with the knobs on the stove. Seeing as Bella wanted some time for the gas to penetrate the house, she helped Carlisle with the stove and had him show her to the furnace so she could do more damage as Esme discreetly tried to close some windows.
Bella then unlocked the back entrance and made one final pass of the ground floor and the first floor to see if there were any lost spirits that were in need of help, but all that was left was sticky darkness and she felt glad that she could have helped them all. In the ballroom the seance was happening, but there were absolutely no spirits around. And Bella felt sorry for that, but not really.
Linda was struggling to connect with spirits and even sighed. “I think we have to call it quits, there’s nothing here.”
‘Are you sure about that?’ Bella asked as she snuck up on Drew and poked him in the side, followed by a poke on the cheek.
“Woah, are you sure about that?” Drew said spooked as he looked around, wide eyed. “I was just poked. I swear!”
Bella then moved to ruffle Jace’s hair and nudging some of his accumulated darkness to release him. Perhaps that made the guy a bit more bearable. “My hair!” Jace whined.
Linda smiled. “Thank you, spirit, for making yourself known. I sense a playful female spirit,” she continued as she looked around the table. “Like many other spirits we have encountered this evening she was brought here.”
Bella stood next to Jeremy and sighed. ‘Anything for the views!’
Jeremy couldn’t help but let out a chuckle. “She’s playful alright.”
“We have some equipment around the table for you to communicate with us, whatever is easy for you to use, please,” Drew said as he pointed at the table filled with the paranormal puck, the Ovillus and some other things that Bella absolutely hated.
“I want you to be cautious,” the electrical engineer said as he looked at his readings. “Whatever it is, it’s giving off some strong readings.”
“What’s your name?” Hugo asked as Bella moved to the puck and rubbed her hands together in glee. She wouldn’t have any problem with these devices and to communicate with them, but she needed to pretend she was an ordinary spirit.
“Woah!” Jace cried out. “That is amazing! It’s easy to say our names, but a name with three syllables?! Twice?!”
“She doesn’t want to reveal her name,” Linda said as she looked over to Jeremy, looking right past him and at Bella, causing Bella to move out of fright. “There’s nothing to be afraid of, sweetheart. This is a positive and loving environment.”
‘Yeah right,’ Bella huffed as she shoved the puck across the table. ‘What else?’ She quickly went over to the back door when she heard some banging and shook her head when Kol and Klaus were both running in and out of the house, splashing things around. Bella playfully shoved Kol to the sanctum.
“Oh, right, thanks,” Kol grinned as he briefly stopped. “Go back playing ghost.”
She went back to the ballroom and decided to stay around Jeremy again. ‘Stalling is awesome.’
“Jeremy, a figure just appeared next to you,” the electrical engineer said as he looked at his cameras. “And it’s now sitting on your shoulders.”
“Yep…” Jeremy rolled his eyes at that while Bella was laughing out loud, it was even picked up by the SB7 that Hugo was holding on the other end of the table.
“That was a woman’s laugh, she didn’t sound very nice,” Jace said as he looked at Linda. “Are you sure we’re dealing with a good one?”
“You need to get your ears checked, dude, she sounded like she was having a blast,” Jeremy laughed as Bella was now playing with his hair.
“This house changes people,” Jace said on a serious tone. “We’ve all experienced this tonight in different ways, it has affected us all. The spirits can’t be trusted in this house.”
‘Aaaand that’s my cue to see if we’re good on the gas and gasoline,’ Bella said as she hopped of Jeremy’s shoulders and walked around the table to smack Jace on the head.
“Seems like this spirit doesn’t like you that much,” Jeremy laughed as everyone stared at the Ovillus in shock. Bella moved through the house and all the areas were significantly doused, except for the reception area and of course the ballroom. The gas was already spreading through the house like a silent and invisible wildfire, and Bella thought it was time.
She found Carlisle and Esme, and Alice, in the kitchen. ‘So, I’ll have Eddie walk in here and to the Sanctum. Don’t stop him, he’s going to set the things on fire.’
‘You’re going to possess him?’
‘Yep,’ Bella grinned. ‘He’s so obsessed with me, now he’ll feel what it feels like when I’m inside of him… and I’ll need an even hotter bath afterwards…’ She shuddered as she looked at Alice and then smiled. ‘No offense, darling,’ she winked at her before going outside of the house and behind the trailer to make herself seen again and Kol was waiting for her. “Hello,” she smiled at him.
“Did you have fun?”
“Did it look like I had some fun?”
“Oh yes,” he put his arms around her and pulled her closely against him. “But don’t ever sit on Jeremy like that again,” he said with a hint of warning in his voice. “You’re mine.”
“I could have sat on Drew.”
“You could not have sat on anybody,” Kol pointed out with a small smile. “I am so ready for this night to be over and to take you home with me. And then not have us leave our bed for days.”
“I know you are, that’s why I want to take you home and not have you leave the bed for days. We have never tested your abilities and your strengths to the extremes you’re going through today, but I’m trusting you into not pushing it too far. Again.”
“Hard part is over. Now the disgusting part,” Bella softly kissed Kol and let go of him. “You have to let go of me so I can make Edward look like an asshole,” she laughed at him. “Please.”
“Can’t I simply kill him, darling?”
“This is better. This means I can make him look like a fool, an asshole and a criminal all in one go, it’ll ruin him,” she was still being held by Kol. “He’s not a very nice person, he doesn’t deserve an easy exit out of this life. With a little luck, he won’t be able to claim the damage to the house with any insurance company and he’ll lose his job as a TV boss, freeing Drew and his buddies from a stranglehold, because their show does get the right numbers and this has all been a ruse to get me here.”
He raised an eyebrow as he looked at her. “Have you been spending too much time around us?”
“Nope, I can do with some more,” she grinned as she softly kissed him. “Don’t worry, I’m not straying that far into the darkness, I’ve already been warned a few times. I’m still your Bella who loves her spirits and hates the guy for making that house even worse than it already was. I owe it to them to ruin him,” she then sighed as she put her arms back around him after realizing he wasn’t going to let her go that easily. “I don’t like this version of me, though, but what he did… everything that he did to that house to those spirits… and then the lengths he went through to orchestrate this… I need to remain fearless.”
“Your heart is what makes you so beautiful,” he eventually said as he let go of her. “I’m still not liking the idea and want to rip out his heart, but you are right, you deserve your revenge as well.”
Bella let go of him and pointed at her mic pack. “But first… let’s see if I can bait him a little in front of a camera,” she smiled playfully and headed to the food table where she had last seen Edward lurking about. Turning on her mic, she went for a nice hot cup of tea and waited for Edward to show up and she didn’t have to wait long.
She just didn’t like his guest, and the fact that he was followed by a camera.