My siblings often amuse me.
At that moment, I was wavering between amused and annoyed.
I wasn't pleased, either, but sometimes it is necessary to hunt the less appealing. We often adjust our activities based off the balance of nature in the area. Recently, there had been a surge in the deer population.
I much prefer mountain lion. Not for the thrill of the challenge, but simply because they taste better. Emmett prefers bear. Not because they taste better, but for the thrill.
Alice, as always, was indifferent. As I was, she was waiting for Emmett to decide on how to best create entertainment for himself. Deer are docile creatures, and rarely put forth much of a fight during the brief struggle to survive.
Emmett is not fond of gentle game.
If he doesn't hurry up, I say we go and leave him to chase his down.
I gave my sister a nod of approval, watching as each of Emmett's decisions turned to visions inside her mind. The one where he ended up in the river brought a smirk to my face.
But then the winds shifted, taking our scents to the herd of deer. They scattered, but I was unconcerned with that. New scents came with the change. The scents both enticed me and worried me.
Instinct drove me. I was faster than most. My siblings struggled to keep up with me.
A vision played out inside her head, but that just prepared me for what I was about to find. The vision then changed to something far more acceptable. Then it vanished. We both knew why.
Finally, I saw them, but he was too busy feasting to discern my approach. Surprise was my advantage. I hit him full force, sending him flying across the field. He righted himself quickly and took an offensive stance, crouching and hissing as I crouched over his victim defensively.
"That's mine!" he growled.
"Not rightfully! You are on claimed territory!"
Like hell I am. Twerp is a scavenger.
His thoughts were preposterous, so I didn't bother responding to them. I just glared back and waited. He was eyeing me, trying to determine what my weaknesses were. I allowed it. I only needed a few seconds more.
It's a Cullen!
They broke the treaty!
But who's the other one?
Wait for the command!
He's standing over her!
The wolves' thoughts bombarded me all at once. I hissed in response, and to get their attention. "It wasn't me! Look at my eyes! Are they red? It was him!" I pointed at the trespassing vampire for emphasis.
The trespasser's thoughts filled with curse words and plans to flee. And then he did. All the wolves but the alpha gave chase, just as Alice and Emmett arrived.
He thinks you did it.
"He's not sure," I answered my sister. One thing that was for sure… he knew the victim. He was lamenting over the idea that, if she didn't die on her own, he would have to kill her, because she would now turn into the enemy of his tribe. I felt a pang of sympathy for his grief. "I might be able to stop the change from happening, Jacob."
You can save her?
Edward, no! It's not safe! I can't predict when the mutts are around!
I ignored Alice. I was fully aware of the risk involved. If I could not restrain myself, the treaty would likely be seen as broken, and a war between the wolves and my family would break out. Starting with my death, and possibly Alice's and Emmett's as well.
"I can try. I cannot guarantee the outcome."
I knelt next to the young woman and located the wound. With where it was, on her forearm as opposed to a wrist or her neck, the nomad's intentions were clear. He had planned to drain her slowly while she suffered. Rage filled me, but I used it to help me through what I was about to attempt.
Spit it out. You'll drain her and doom us all if you don't.
I took my sister's advice. The first pull tasted heavily of venom. If not for that, I might have failed instantly. The second pull wasn't any weaker. There was no stopping the change from happening. I took a third pull, just to be certain. I didn't dare take another.
I glanced at Jacob and shook my head, then I sealed the wound closed with my tongue and placed her hand on her heaving chest. Her heart rate was fast and erratic. Her breathing was labored. She was twitching and convulsing alternately. The shock of her ordeal had, mercifully, rendered her unconscious.
So, that's it? You can't save her?
"Not her humanity, no. But she doesn't need to be destroyed. We can teach her to live as we do, if you will allow us to."
I don't know… I can't…
"Yes, you can. You are the alpha. You are the only one who can rightfully make this decision. I know you consider us the enemy, but this isn't her fault."
Jacob's thoughts jumped randomly. Memories of spending time with this girl intermixed with horrifying images of ripping her apart.
"It doesn't have to be like that," I assured him.
He seemed to be searching for opinions from the rest of his pack, but the only two still in wolf form were Seth and Embry. The rest had phased into their human forms so that they could burn the pieces of the dismembered vampire.
Seth and Embry were younger than Jacob, and offered nothing of help in making a decision.
Pups in charge of anything besides where to find a good ass scratching tree is ridiculous!
I ignored Emmett and tried again with Jacob. "You obviously care about her. She didn't ask for this to happen. Isn't a life such as this better than no life at all?"
Jacob's love for the girl and hatred of my kind battled for a moment within his thoughts. Finally, he conceded.
Fine. Help her.
As I began to lift her, Alice asked, "What's her name? How old is she?"
Bella. Isabella Swan, but she goes by Bella. She just turned eighteen a couple weeks ago.
"She goes by Bella," I said, translating Jacob's thoughts for my siblings. "She's eighteen."
At least she's legal. Less complications.
I nodded at Emmett, then turned back to face Jacob. "Would you like us to contact you? Later? After?"
I'm going to need some time.
He turned and left then, anger and anguish filling his mind. I felt pity for the boy. I also felt for the young, limp woman in my arms. The days ahead of her would be excruciating, I knew.
A few miles away from the clearing, as my siblings and I ran for home, I heard a lone, heartwrenching wolf cry.
To be continued…