They found themselves standing at the bottom of a hill that had a village on it surrounded by some witches and vampires that were loyal to Elijah, Rebekah, and Klaus. According to some of the witches, all who lived in Volterra was part of the Volturi cult.
The plan was for the vampires and half the witches to tear through the village while the Mikaelsons and Jeremy made their way up with the other half of the witches. It was easier said than done. “How about you go ‘poof’ and get up there and wait for us for you to turn back?” Kol suggested. “That’s the only way I know to keep you safe, we don’t know what’s coming.”
She eyed him for a moment and nodded before she forced herself to become energy and headed straight up. The village itself was so beautiful, and it was difficult to understand that the inhabitants of the village, and the castle, were a great evil.
But were they, really? Hitler was a great evil. So were many other dictators. A bunch of people wanting to find immortality without turning into a vampire? Not really? All they wanted was her and Bella wasn’t even human. But then again, they were harming spirits and perhaps normal people. They wanted to harm Bella and to hurt someone was morally wrong.
It would have been easier to hand herself in. But, she also knew that her new family wouldn’t stop at anything to get her back and likely massacre the village anyway. Bella was lucky. Very lucky.
But the lingering anxiety she had about all of this, still lingered and nagged her. Kol had been extremely anxious as well; what if she wouldn’t return from this? What if after they had defeated the Volturi – which was just as important to the Mikaelsons as to her, what if she didn’t return?
When she saw Kol come to the castle followed by everyone else, she shook the feelings off and made herself corporeal again, causing everyone to shield their eyes as she tried to contain herself again. “Sorry, sorry…” she muttered. “Haven’t mastered that yet…”
“Don’t worry, darling, your light is very beautiful,” Kol assured her as he kissed her after she had pulled herself back together. “Did you get anything we need to be aware of?”
She pointed at the castle. “About that? No, it’s like it’s shielded or warded. I won’t know what I can do about it until I actually get inside.”
“Maybe it’s not a good thing if you’re going inside with us at this moment,” Klaus suggested. “We know that they want you and will do everything in their power to get you. Allow us to go in first, do some damage and then you can come inside.”
“She’s not safe out here, Nik!”
“Then you and Jeremy stay with her,” he told his brother. “Unless you want to forgo on her safety and have us all barge in something we don’t know the situation of.”
“I think that’s not your decision to make,” Kol said as he looked at Bella. “What do you think?”
“I’ll be fine,” Bella nodded. “If there’s danger, I’ll poof out or you know, try to jump into someone.”
Kol sighed. “I had hoped you’d be wise and stay outside with me and Jeremy.”
“Then you shouldn’t have given me a choice,” she said smugly as she stuck out her tongue to him. “Let’s do this,” Bella replied before walking past the vampires and opened the door. Oh, she was shitting herself. But, she couldn’t allow herself to be scared. Fresh haunting, fresh feelings. Fresh everything. Although this building wasn’t likely to be haunted, it still worked the same. Fearless.
She took a step back as she looked into the hall that was likely leading to some kind of reception area and shook her head. “Nope, you guys can go first, I’ll wait,” she said as she took another step back. “Have fun getting groped.”
“Come on,” Jeremy snickered as he put an arm around Bella. “You’re the ghostbuster here.”
Bella scowled and kicked him in the shins before shrugging him off and taking a step forward. She placed her hands on the doorpost and sent enough energy through the walls to get rid of the bad energy in the hallway.
‘What the hell are you doing?!’
Bella jumped back when Valerie appeared before her. “What do you think I’m doing?” Bella was relieved though that Valerie was looking slightly better. Now only back in shackles, and not all wrapped up.
‘You can’t be here, they’ll get you!’
“No, they won’t,” Bella replied as she set foot inside. “We’re here to help you.”
‘I can’t be helped, Bella, just leave.’
“And we have another reason to be here. So, are you going to stand in our way or are you going to be helpful?”
“Darling? Who are you talking to?”
“Val. Don’t worry, not listening to her, let’s go,” she said as she took another step inside before the vampires rushed ahead, leaving her with Kol and Jeremy by her side and the witches moved in as well.
“It’s not too late to back out,” Kol said as he took her hand and put the leash through her belt loop.
“What?” Bella looked at the offending thing and then at Kol. “What?”
He then smiled at her. “I feel a lot safer with you tethered to me. We know absolutely nothing what we can run into.”
“No, and that’s exactly why this is a bad idea,” Bella said as she tugged on the chord. “What if you’re in a fight? Or get flung across a hallway? It’s fine when we’re in buildings with just ghosts. We don’t know what we’re up against here.” She tugged on the chord again. “This is a hazard.”
“But you’re immortal, darling,” he smiled at her. “You’ll just end up a little bruised.”
“He’s right, considering everything, you’re safest when we know you’re close and not able to go anywhere.”
Bella sighed and gave up. Some fighting and cries of pain could already be heard coming from the area after the hallway they were in and Kol was tense. She didn’t like it when he was tense. Looping her arm through his, she allowed him to guide her into the building. She didn’t like the feeling she was getting from the building, it was almost as if there was a noose around her neck and tightening with each step she did.
The first area wasn’t just a reception area, it looked as if there were multiple corridors or areas behind the doors in the circle that they were in now, bodies lying all around them. The walls were made of thick stone and the doors looked as if the only one who could open them had to be really strong. There was a small desk area in the middle where likely the bodies were working at before and Myriam was sitting on top of the desk, giggling like a lunatic with a bewildered look on her face. “More please!” she said as she excitedly clapped her hands. “Where do we go next?”
After a not so long discussion, Elijah decided that it was wise to split up. He and Rebekah would go through one door with a witch, Myriam and Klaus would take another with some witches and Kol, Bella and Jeremy would take another door. If uneventful, they’d come back to this area and choose another door not chosen.
Bella thought that this would be the worst idea ever. The castle was enormous and who knew what they would find? There was no way that everyone would come back unharmed, they didn’t know what they were up against and all of a sudden she thought this was an incredibly bad idea.
So far, the castle wasn’t worse than the Cullen House, although that was a disorganized mess and deliberately made so to make sure that either the secret Volturi lair wouldn’t be found or out of revenge. But she couldn’t say what was behind all the doors. If the Volturi were a cult, with witches and ghosts in their possession, then surely they’d have them as a security system.
No, Bella hated this place because she couldn’t get anything. It was as if the place was void of energy. Even in their bubble in Kol’s apartment in New Orleans, she could still feel at least the energy of the building, the energy that the both of them left. Much like breadcrumbs. A linger. It was even difficult to keep the shallow connections to Kol and Jeremy like she usually had, she still felt them slightly, but that was likely because Kol was a vampire and Jeremy supernatural himself.
It felt as if she was in a sensory deprivation tank, without the salt water and the darkness, but alone. Cut off. No room for distractions. No room for error. She wasn’t physically blind, but she felt that way. Bella wasn’t even sure if she could use her energy to do things and she didn’t dare to try at this point. The cleansing of the hallway earlier had been done from the outside.
They watched everyone go through their assigned door and when Kol opened theirs, Bella wasn’t sure what to make of it. A long corridor with more rooms. Barely to no light on the walls and no visible windows. How could there be? The corridor was leading further into the castle and they weren’t anywhere near the outside walls.
“What are you getting?” Jeremy asked her as she stood frozen in the doorway.
“Are you sure?”
“Are you getting anything?”
“Well then,” Bella said as she took Kol’s hand and pulled him along with her.
“But you should be getting at least something, Bella, you’re different than I am.”
“Yeah well… guess they found a way to block everything,” she let out a breath as they stopped at the first door. “I don’t even know what we’re looking for.”
“People to kill,” Kol reminded her as he kicked in the door and found the room empty. The next room was empty too, and the next, and every other door they opened along the way. It was only the slightest feeling that made Bella stop and turn around to the room she felt it coming from. She opened her bag and took the EMF meter out of it and it was going off like crazy. In the hallway itself it became quiet and in the room it went nuts again. Kol watched her as she had a confused look on her face before she put the meter back in her bag. “What?”
“What if these rooms are like holding cells? For spirits?”
“Are you saying you’re not seeing anything?”
“I could try a little harder,” Bella said bravely as she rolled her shoulders and neck and closed her eyes as she used a bit of her energy to reach out further. It was difficult, because it still felt as if she was getting choked, and this time also experiencing the feeling of a heavy blanket weighing her down. She wasn’t going to say anything to Kol or Jeremy, because they were here for a reason. She was going to soldier on.
When Bella opened her eyes, she saw a young girl in shackles stuck to the wall. Subdued. Cocking her head, Bella approached the girl for a moment but then fell back when the girl started to scream at her for no reason and Bella could feel her fear, her anger and her insanity.
“I’m fine,” she muttered as she walked to another room and did the same, this time encountering a male spirit in shackles, much in the same position. But instead of approaching him, she used more of her energy to reach out to him as not to startle him like she had with the girl. “These rooms are prisons. They’re using these souls as fuel for their spells or they have several Voodoo Priests and Priestesses… or both.”
“There’s nothing you can do about it now,” Kol said as he reeled her back in by tugging on the chord. “Let’s head back out, it looks like this is a dead end.”
“No. Maybe you can help them later, but not now.”
“But, these guys give others power, Kol. Isn’t that what you do when it’s war? Take out their resources? Sources of power?”
“Well, yes, but let’s save your energy for now, huh?” he then looked at the witches who had joined them. “Can anyone of you move these spirits on without too much hassle?”
Selene shrugged. “I’d have to try. But I can’t move on what I can’t feel. If they’re put here by a shaman or voodoo practitioner we’re screwed. Our best chance is Bella.”
“And you’re both right,” Jeremy said as he leaned against one of the walls. “We don’t want them to have more power or have a source to draw from, but we don’t want you to drain yourself, either, Bella.”
“I’ll be fine, this is peanuts,” she lied with a huff as she estimated the length of the corridor and found the middle. She imagined a part of her being this bright light and moved it from room to room, cleansing the area before returning that light back into herself. Peeking into the room with the screaming girl, she was satisfied with her job and it required not a lot of energy. “Okay, done.”
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, fine,” she smiled at her boyfriend as she looped her arm back through his. “Let’s go for another.”
Kol looked at Selene. “Can you seal this corridor off?”
“That I can do,” Selene nodded with a big smile on her face.
“Oh good, you’re not useless then,” Kol bit at her.
“Hey!” Bella smacked him on his arm. “Be nice. She doesn’t have to be here, but she is. Be nice. Now apologize.”
“That’s alright, Bella,” Selene said as she followed the group out. “I’m only here to help you. His insults don’t faze me, although you wouldn’t mind if he’d grow a tail, would you?”
Bella let out a snort. “Sorry, I would.”
“A bigger penis?”
Bella was quiet for a moment as she looked at Kol who had a fearful look on his face. “Nah, he’s big as is. You’ll leave him alone, please.”
“Shame,” Selene sighed as she closed the door and started to magically seal the door as Bella, Kol and Jeremy headed to another door, but before they could open it, they could hear Rebekah curse up a storm as she and Elijah ran out of the corridor and slammed the door shut.
“Do not go in there!” Rebekah said angrily as she made sure the door was shut. “I don’t know what the bloody hell that was, but it was almost as if our worst nightmares came through and we didn’t even realize it!”
“I don’t know how, but they were inside our minds,” Elijah replied, obviously shaken by the whole ordeal as he took his handkerchief and started cleaning his still clean hands. “It was almost similar to Mother’s treatment, just more crude and we were aware.”
“Let me see,” Bella said as she walked to the just closed door and Kol had no other option but to follow her up until a certain point.
“No,” Kol said as he looked at his siblings and pulled Bella back. He was surprised that she had meant that. “If they believe it was that bad, I’m not going to set foot in that.”
“I want to see what they’ve used,” Bella pouted as she tugged on her chord.
“No,” he said again and pulled her with him to the door they were about to open for themselves. “Evil corridor, we’re staying away from it, especially because nothing scares Elijah that much.”
“They didn’t find the inner sanctum, let’s move on,” he said as he opened the door and practically pushed Bella in. The whole corridor was filled with light and mirrors and again, Bella couldn’t see anything, but she could feel that this was very very bad. Whatever was here was friendly to the cultists, not so much to anyone who had not been introduced by them. She wasn’t even sure if she could protect Kol and Jeremy at this point.
“Maybe I should go in here alone,” she suggested.
“Not a chance,” Kol bit at her. “Let’s do this, I can fight them off.”
“At what cost?” Jeremy said as he eyed the vampire. “You know what happened at the Cullen House, and this might get worse.”
“I’ll be fine, Jeremy,” Kol said angrily as he pointed into the corridor. “Let’s go explore and kill some.”
Bella looked at Jeremy and she was glad that he didn’t have any weapons on him that could kill Kol. She had Kol’s dagger in her sock but hoped that it would stay there, and that the vervain in her pocket would be enough to protect herself. But Jeremy had a murderous look on his face. It was a good thing she hadn’t told anyone she was bringing a dagger with her.
This was a very very bad idea, and there was no way that Kol would allow her to use more of her energy to make sure this corridor wasn’t haunted, that, if there were portals, the portals would be closed and reduce the risk of him being taken over. Or maybe Jeremy even. Both men were a danger at this point.
Going to Volterra to end the Volturi had been a bad bad idea.
She could feed Kol her blood, which would make it possible for him to see things, or perhaps not since she was being blocked as well, and it would make sure he wouldn’t drain himself too much. But he’d refuse, and Jeremy was so high strung that Bella wasn’t sure that the hunter could behave himself.
Letting out a breath, she closed her eyes for a moment and deepened the connection she had with both of them and tried to calm them down before starting to walk, concentrating mostly on Kol’s inner turmoil at this point.
“Bella, whatever you’re doing, you need to stop. You’re going to wear yourself out,” Kol said as he took her hand again. “We’ll be fine.”
“And that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. So that we will be,” she assured him as the noose around her neck tightened even further, her heart was being squeezed and it felt like she was being touched all over her body. It felt as if she was wading through a mass of dead people, no room to walk or bumping into them all the time, and this was strange.
The Volturi were supposed to be humans. Mortals. Perhaps some witches on staff, but this? This was insane and she wasn’t sure if their information had been complete. She tried reaching out to a spirit and it took her a lot more energy than she had wanted, but she received her answer. This corridor was new. The spirits had been put here right after the corridor had been built. The Volturi knew they’d come for them.
They were halfway through the corridor and Bella could see an elevator in the back, which was great because that meant they could go somewhere else, but before she could say anything, she found herself pinned against the wall and looking up at a very hungry vampire. Kol was still Kol, which was a plus, but he was very hungry.
“Shh,” she said softly as she reached up to his head with her hand and tugged on his hair a little. “It’s okay, take as much as you need.”
“It’s okay,” she smiled up at him, using her energy to make him feel her trust. “Take as much as you need,” Bella said again but before Kol could even take a bite out of her, Jeremy had grabbed him, unhooked the leash and had thrown Kol across the corridor. His whole stance had changed and Bella knew that this was going to get painful.
“She needs to remain alive!” Not-Jeremy said as he advanced on Kol. “You, however, you’re merely cannon fodder and we’ll get rid of you.”
Kol had gotten back to his feet. “Bring it, mate,” he said as once again his vampire face bled out. “I’d rather drink from her than you, but whatever it takes.”
This wasn’t going to end well.
Bella took a deep breath. “Myriam!” she called for her best friend. “I could use a little help here!”