Be Careful What You Ask For
Chapter Four - Be Careful What You Ask For
Aro was surprised to find Edward Cullen requesting an audience the next day. He and his brothers were waiting when Edward was led into the receiving chamber. Aro had dismissed all but a handful of his guard, whom he had warned to guard their thoughts, in anticipation of Edward's presence.
"Ah, young Edward, what brings you here today?" he inquired with fake cheer.
"I have come to beg you to end my existence. My mate has passed on, and I wish to join her in the afterlife," he requested.
Caius and Marcus exchanged evil smirks, both eager to grant his request.
"Indeed? I must request you come share your story with me," Aro insisted, holding out his hand. Edward stepped forward without a second thought, placing his hand in Aro's. He watched his memories in Aro's mind. It only took a few seconds for Aro to process his entire existence, after which Aro thrust him violently away, narrowing his eyes menacingly.
"So you believe you made the right choice, do you? You believe Bella is better off dead than as a vampire?" he growled angrily.
Edward squared his shoulders and stood his ground. "Yes, I do. I never wanted her to become a monster like me. I would not take away her soul."
The brothers and their guard all growled at him. "It is a good thing she came to us then, isn't it?" Caius sneered.
"What?" Edward shrieked. "What do you mean?"
"He means that Bella came to us last week requesting we change her, which we have already done. She is really quite controlled, having almost completely skipped the newborn stage. She is rather powerful as well, an excellent addition to our coven," Marcus informed him smugly.
"NO!" Edward screamed. "You're lying! Bella wouldn't come here! She wouldn't join you!"
Aro laughed. "Look out that window there. She's in the courtyard below, hanging out with Heidi and Chelsea."
Edward raced over to the window and was dismayed at the sight of a red eyed vampire Bella, sitting and laughing with two female human drinkers. His features contorted with rage. "How dare she? How could she? She was supposed to stay human! She was never supposed to be one of us!"
Felix dragged him away from the window before he could smash it. He threw Edward down on the ground in front of the brothers' thrones, growling with disgust at the miserable vampire. The brothers glared at him righteously.
"We have decided to grant your request, Edward. We will gladly send you along to the afterlife," Caius sneered.
"No, wait! I've changed my mind!" Edward protested.
"Too bad," Marcus growled. "Our decision is final."
"I won't leave Bella here with you!" Edward insisted.
"Like you have a choice!" Aro laughed. "She is ours now. She is no longer your concern. Besides, you broke our main law by leaving behind a human with knowledge of our existence. That law carries the death penalty for the one who breaks it."
"Please, Felix, show Mr. Cullen here the error of his ways," Caius ordered triumphantly. The three brothers watched as Felix and the other guard members slowly pulled Edward apart into tiny pieces before finally granting him the mercy of burning the pieces to ash.
"Justice has been served," Caius remarked smugly as the last of the fire burnt out. "What of the other Cullens?"
Aro glowered at the pile of ash. "He deceived them as well, convincing them it would be in her best interest if they left. They didn't want to go, but believed she was his mate and didn't want to interfere between them. They have only just started questioning the lines he has been feeding them and the full extent of his deception. They trusted him, and he led them astray. Apparently, they really do love our girl. We shall give it some time and see how it goes.
His memory did bring up a more pressing matter though. The tracker who bit Bella was survived by his mate Victoria. Edward dismissed her as a nonthreat, but he was greatly underestimating her. I have seen her before in the minds of other vampires. She has the gift of evasion and thus is very hard to catch, but she was just as sadistic and vindictive as James. She will be planning revenge and will be looking to kill Bella. Demetri, I need you to track her down and bring her here to me. I advise you to take Jane and Alec with you. She will be no match for them."
Demetri nodded and bowed and then was gone, Jane and Alec on his heels.
"Should we send Edward's ashes to Carlisle?" Marcus pondered.
"The young bastard doesn't deserve for his ashes to be treated with respect," Caius declared with a grimace.
"I suppose we should. I do hope Carlisle doesn't hold it against us. Even he must admit that Edward did break the law definitively. We were well within our rights and obligations to destroy him, even if we weren't emotionally attached to his victim," Aro commented. "I'd like to take care of the business with Victoria first, however."
"Fair enough," Marcus agreed. "Felix, please clean the ashes up off the floor and box them to be shipped to Carlisle in America, but don't send the parcel until you are told."
"Yes, Master," Felix accepted with a bow. He headed out to the utility closet for a broom, a dustpan, and a plastic bag. He already loved Bella like a little sister, even after just a few days, and he agreed with Caius that Edward's ashes didn't deserve any respect. How dare that asshole treat Bella that way? How dare he think Bella would be better off dead than as a vampire? What a little shit. Good riddance. He clearly didn't deserve to be anywhere near Bella.
Felix decided if a little dirt and dust were mixed in with the ashes, then it was only par for the course with Edward's personality. He was tempted to add in a bit of manure from the garden, but resisted, knowing it would mar the odor of the ashes to the extent that Carlisle might not be certain the ashes were of Edward. Can't have that, can we?
A few days later, Demetri returned dragging Victoria. Alec had taken away her senses of sight, sound, and smell, which were interfering with her ability to escape, but he had kept her other senses intact so Jane could work her own particular brand of magic on the bitch. All of the Volturi had become rather fond of Bella in the short period of time they had come to know her, and these three were no exception. They were angry that Victoria wished to harm the Princess – her new title since being adopted by Marcus. The changes she had wrought on not only Marcus, but on Aro and Caius as well, had quickly cemented her place in the hearts of the entire guard.
Bella was clearly the best addition they had ever made to their elite group, and the guard was devoted to her safety and well-being. As such, Victoria's trip to Volterra was a never-ending hell for her. Not only did Jane torture her with her gift, but Demetri would frequently pull her just a little too hard, separating her from her arm, hand, or fingers. He would apologize insincerely and then allow her to knit back together again. The pain of body parts both separating and rejoining was excruciating.
The newborn companion she had made, Riley, was with them as well, seeing as he was claiming to be her mate. It frustrated her to have him publicly claim her as such, but she only had herself to blame for that. She had told him he was her mate in order to get him to be obedient to her every whim. He could be the key to her escape and survival now, so she didn't dare refute his claim just yet, not while he could still be useful to her.
Once in the castle, they were met by Felix, who quickly took charge of Riley. He looked at Victoria with distaste. "Well, look what the cat dragged in here," he taunted. Riley growled and struggled, not liking the way he was talking to Victoria, but Felix simply kicked him hard in the balls and the fight went right out of him. In fact, he was docile as a kitten for quite some time after that.
They brought both of them before the kings. Aro glided over to the immobile Victoria and grabbed her hand, reading her memories. A few moments later he dropped her hand as if it were contaminated. Alec restored her hearing, in anticipation of Aro's decree.
"As you intended to do to Bella, so shall it be done to you," Aro growled. He gave instructions to Afton, the sadistic vampire in charge of the torture chamber, which was reserved for very special cases. "Take her to the dungeon and let her feel the pain she wished to inflict on another."
"No!" Victoria screamed. "I have the right to avenge my mate!"
"Except your mate is the one who started it. He brought about his own demise by foolishly challenging a large, gifted coven, all to play a stupid game. The same game he has played multiple times over the years. He was cocky and arrogant and deserved what he got. If your mate was foolish enough to play Russian roulette, it does no good to blame the bullet for his demise. He is the one who pulled the trigger. It's amazing he lasted as long as he did, especially considering his blatant disregard for our laws," Aro snarled.
Victoria shrieked in defiance as she was hauled away.
"By the way, Victoria, James was using you the way you've been using Riley here. He never truly considered you his mate. He lied to you, just as you've lied to Riley," Marcus added smugly.
"Noooo!" Victoria howled as the door closed, muffling the sound.
"What?" Riley demanded. "What do you mean? She wasn't lying – she is my mate!"
Marcus shook his head in denial. "Sorry, Riley, but my gift is to see relationships. She didn't give a damn for you personally. You were just a means to an end."
Riley crouched and attempted to pounce on Marcus, unwilling to hear the truth and looking for someone to blame. As he sprang, Felix fired his flame gun, reducing Riley to a pile of ash. Marcus sighed as he asked Felix to sweep up the new mess and dispose of it around the rose bushes in the east garden.
Bella entered the throne room a few minutes later and saw how self-satisfied the kings seemed to be. "Well, don't you look like the cats who ate the canaries, Father, Uncles. What did I miss?" She came over and sat in Marcus's lap as the three vampires smiled lovingly at her.
"Well, dear, I have good news for you. Victoria has been taken care of, so you need have no fear of her attempting revenge against you," Marcus informed her.
"She wanted revenge against me?" Bella asked in disbelief. The kings nodded. "That bitch! It wasn't bad enough for James to hunt me down, beat me up, and then bite me, but she wanted to make me suffer even more for his stupidity?"
The kings nodded again. "But don't worry, my dear. She has gotten to experience everything she had planned for you, courtesy of our torture chamber," Caius assured her.
Bella snorted and muttered, "Good riddance."
"We had another visitor, Bella," Aro began hesitantly, unsure how she would handle the news. She looked at him expectantly. "Edward came here begging for death. It seems he learned of your death and came to end his existence."
"What? Why?" Bella wondered, truly confused. "Why the hell would he respond that way? He left me! He didn't want me! Oh, he probably learned about the cancer and felt guilty. I see. Did you tell him I wasn't really dead?"
"Yes, we did," Aro replied, looking down.
"And . . .," Bella encouraged, wanting to know how he responded.
"Actually, Bella, he was very upset and declared it would have been better for you to have died than to be a vampire now," Caius sneered angrily. "Since he had so little appreciation for the gift of immortality, we decided to remove that gift from him. We burnt him to ash, so his 'spirit' could be at peace."
"As it burns in hell," Felix muttered. "Ungrateful asshole."
Bella gaped at them for a minute. "He actually said he would have preferred for me to die?"
They all nodded in disgust. "Well, screw him! You're right. He didn't deserve this existence if he had so little appreciation for it that he believed death was preferable. Asshole!"
The guard all tried to hide their chuckles, while the kings attempted to maintain a stern demeanor long enough to scold her for her use of foul language.
"The good news," Aro shared. "is that I was able to see what happened in the case of your little psychic pixie. I did indeed discover the identity of the 'old one' who made her. In fact, he is still alive, and I shall send Demitri and Alec to fetch him back to the palace, so we can hook the two of them back together. It should be a rather interesting reunion."
Bella bounced excitedly in Marcus's lap. "Awesome!" She jumped up to kiss Aro on the cheek. "Thanks, Uncle Aro."
While Demitri and Alec were off on their mission, Bella was in conference with the three kings and the elite guard.
Bella introduced a proposal. "You know, guys, killing humans is like killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. Blood is a renewable resource. If you want a wool sweater, you don't kill the sheep. It would be a total waste of resources. Look, you've got more money than you know what to do with, right? So open up blood banks in several major cities. Have bloodmobiles travel around the less affluent areas of town and pay people for donations. Carlisle objects to drinking donated blood because it takes blood away from the sick or injured humans in need of a transfusion. However, you could actually kill two birds with one stone. Carlisle is working to preserve the human race, which is truly a smart proposition, like humans have veterinarians to care for their farm animals. Shouldn't you want to preserve your food source? I mean, is it really all that different to a human drinking milk from a cow? So, by opening up the blood banks, you can both benefit humanity and feed vampires at the same time. Simply give or sell the 'medical grade' blood to the hospitals and use the rest of the blood for vampires. They have machines which will heat the blood up to body temperature already. Simply use something like that to prepare the blood and then you have it ready and available whenever and wherever you want. It's portable and much less revealing.
Plus, not only does nobody need to die to feed us all, but there is truly no moral dilemma as the blood has been bought and paid for fair and square. Using vampires to test the blood for contaminants that are too risky for human transfusion would be much faster and more efficient, reducing the costs significantly, providing a great benefit to the medical community. It is a win/win scenario all around, including providing jobs for both humans and vampires, as well as the redistribution of wealth within the community to help stimulate the economy. All in all, I really can't imagine why you haven't all considered this before now."
The kings and guard discussed her ideas and agreed they were well worth a try. Immediately, several guard members were assigned the duty of setting up blood banks and beginning the process of acquiring donations.
They also sent the Cullens a royal summons, demanding their presence before the Royal Council in Volterra.