Chapter 8 - The Coven
Gianna was much more powerful than I gave her credit for. She slipped up a few times and killed a handful of humans, but she felt gravely upset about it and I held no antipathy towards her mistakes. But as mine, her eyes glowed a vibrant gold, like the Cullens, which mollified me exponentially, as this suggested that they too fed on animals and killed no humans.
Things were slightly different now. It had been over a month, and we were thriving to the point that Jane and Alec no longer needed Aro's words to keep their distance. Only the three main Volturi circle, and the jet-black haired girl, Renatta who never separated from Aro dared to approach us. Both Gianna and I still felt enmity towards the Volturi, and I wondered why Aro had not ordered Chelsea to bind us to them, knowing clearly our every thought and emotion. Gianna had explained to me earlier that both Chelsea and Marcus had a way with understanding bonds between people, and their ability to alter such ties. It was also clear that Jane had despised us for her tacit demotion below us, particularly on the night that Aro had sent us out on an errand, despite feelings of disapproval from the rest of the clan.
"They are powerful enough," Aro silenced the murmurs when he had called me into his throne room.
"Your majesty?" I said coyly as I knelt on one knee. Gianna knelt inches from me on my left side. She was silent, as she never spoke to any of the Volturi, except through her mind to Aro when forced. Every time this happened, I tried to slip images into Aro's eyes to see if my powers would ever grow strong enough to do so. Sometimes he would make awed faces, which made me believe that I was slowly learning how to deceive his powers, how to weave specious images into his mind to mask my true intentions.
"I hear a vampire clan of ours has been spotted by some humans as they were hunting," Aro explained to me with his same smile. "They claim they have cleaned up after themselves, but I do not take risks so close to my quarters. Your task is simple, you must find and destroy them."
I winced at his words, and I knew Gianna fought all the emotions inside of herself to remain still besides me. Caius chuckled, and Marcus sat listlessly as always. In the same corner where Jane's diamond formation stood, I felt an intense amount of hatred percolating. I knew that the Volturi were planning to attack the Cullens soon, and this was my test of loyalty. Aro knew Gianna could kill since, though remorseful, she already had, but they doubted my pacifist ways and trying to force me to fight in such an intense battle would hurt them significantly. They had to confirm that I would fight.
"As you please," I said in a low voice.
"Would you like Felix or Demetri to accompany you?" Aro asked thoughtfully, a loud hiss coming from none other than Jane. I felt the stinging pain from her violent attack, but I held my ground, no longer affected by her useless talent. She tormented me with her ability every day, almost every second that I was with her. Her master's dominating voice often made her stop, but she would continue as soon as he turned his back. I no longer screamed, I no longer winced. I was somehow capable to resist the pain, block my mind from my physical body and carry on as though she did nothing. Jane's powers only inflicted the chicanery of pain, flooding in your mind and thus sending agony riveting through your body, but nothing she did could actually touch the corporeal. When I realized this, she was useless against me. This intensified her wrath towards me, and often she would unleash her powers on Gianna, who retaliated quickly with comatose.
"Jane, please," Aro looked over at her. "Such power..." he said to me with bright eyes. "I've actually had Jane use her abilities on me, just out of curiosity. How you stand there as though you are being scratched by a fly amazes me!" The petite blonde snarled.
"The vampire who I am to kill?" I asked, ignoring the idiocy that filled this room.
"Ah, eager to please," Aro said delightfully and pulled out a white shirt stained with blood. Gianna and I committed the scent of the vampire to memory, easily blocking out the craving from the sweet human blood. Their tricks and guile never fooled us. We quickly took our leave.
As we approached the windows of the manor that we often used as our exit, we were stopped by an unexpected visitor. The young girl stared at me with her beaming blue eyes, her tiny body shivering slightly in what I could sense as fear. Her scent was sweet as I had remembered Gianna's to be. The girl opened her mouth as though to speak, but when only a small whine would escape, she ran off quickly.
"Wait!" I shouted, but she jetted off, a tiny trail of tears fluttering out behind her, capturing the beauty of the moonlight.
"What was that about?" Gianna raised an eyebrow. I only shrugged, though I knew her intentions. She wanted to know whether I was the vampire who protected her, kept her safe against Jane's powers and comforted her in her harshest times. She wanted to thank me, but didn't have the courage to speak, having only had negative experiences with vampires. I wanted to console her, but I could not approach her or Aro would find interest in my connection with her and attempt to have her converted. I failed to keep Gianna in her pristine state of life, and I would not fail for Sarah.
"Are we really going to kill them?" Gianna asked when we plunged into the ocean.
"We have no choice," I sighed. "Jane's group will definitely be on our tail. They want to do whatever they can to make Aro distrust us."
"That bitch can do whatever she desires, but Aro will not risk losing our powers," Gianna replied confidently.
"How are you acting this way?" I asked, amused.
"You don't like me as a vampire?" she chided playfully.
"No, I meant how are you berating any member of the Volturi when Chelsea should have you bound tightly with Aro?"
"My goodness you are dense," she chuckled. "It's hard to believe you figured out about the Cullens so quickly, and even harder still to see how powerful you are!"
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"What do you think holds the Cullens so close together? Their pretty little topaz eyes?" she mocked, back flipping in the water to splash a huge wave at me. She then jetted ahead, leaving me thinking about what she just said.
It's true, why hadn't Chelsea broken the bonds of the Cullens to make them join the Volturi, particularly Alice if Aro loved her so much? Other than their abstemious diet of animals, what had they had that the Volturi lacked? I tried to think back to the way the Cullens acted in Dartmouth. I remembered Emmett's playful cracks with Bella, Nessie's automatic joy at the sight of Alice's face, and most of all, the love flooding between Edward and Bella. None of the Volturi acted in a way even closely resembling this, especially not Aro and his pasty wife who I barely saw. And I finally understood.
"Wait a minute!" I shouted out towards Gianna as I swam as quickly as I could to catch up with her. I instantly knew that no matter how things turned out, whether we safely escaped the Volturi, or would be forced to fight them and lose, we would always be together. We had created a coven.
"I sense their trail," Gianna said, perched up on a tree.
"They know we're here," I replied, moving closer to her. We jumped down, and pulled over the hood of our cloaks that marked us as members of the Volturi clan. We quickly walked towards the smell of the vampires we were assigned to kill. I couldn't fathom how we would actually accomplish our task, and I could tell that Gianna was no more excited about this as I. We moved at a slow pace for the creatures we were, and the two vampires, a male and female froze when they saw our hooded figures.
"We cleaned our trail!" the female hissed. I could smell the fear in her voice, and it made me guilty. I wanted nobody to fear me except those who I worked for.
"I'm shocked Aro didn't send Jane," the male snarled. Both Gianna and I looked up at the two, and the male looked at me quizzically. "How demeaning. He sent us newbies," he scoffed.
"I take less pleasure than you in this meeting," I said calmly, though the other two were already in their battle stances, crouched, teeth bared, and claws ready to rip at any second. Their eyes were a bright red, which meant they had fed recently. They anticipated this meeting, and were ready to fight.
"We do not wish to fight," Gianna tried to explain, but the other two laughed at her remark.
"The Volturi are a bunch of crap," the male snarled angrily.
"I do not agree with their actions, I only follow orders," I said quickly, and the male seemed a bit shaken at my comment, but he quickly composed himself back into his stance, ready to pounce at any moment.
"What is our offense? Let's get this going, I don't have all day," he hissed.
"Isaac, how quickly do you wish to die?" his partner scolded him.
"Isaac?" Gianna asked curiously. "It is you! Why would Aro send us after you?"
"Don't talk to me like you know me!" he hissed and lunged towards Gianna.
"Stop!" I shouted, sending the dirt below to surround him. Isaac crushed my barrier into dust, though he stared at me wide-eyed.
"So he got himself some new toys," he growled again. "Don't get cocky. Even unique powers won't stop Aro from killing you once you've served your purpose!" With that, he vanished from sight, and the female vampire lunged at me. I compelled a tree from its roots and flung it at the female who quickly swiped her arm, crushing it into pieces. These two were strong, and I couldn't understand why Aro hadn't sent Jane to fight. I used my powers to freeze the woman in her respectful position, and she let out a wild howl as she lost control of her body.
"Brad, watch out!" Gianna shouted, and I felt a sharp blow hit me in the back of my neck, and hissed at the stinging pain. This interrupted my concentration, and the woman plunged her hard body at me, sending me flying through several trees. As she came at me again, she had fallen to the ground in a slumber induced by Gianna.
"I'm sorry," my partner said. "If I had known it was Isaac, I would have warned-" she was interrupted and screamed as a loud tearing sound followed the detachment of her left arm. I knew why Aro had not sent Jane. Isaac's special talent was to cloak in the shadows, and if Jane didn't know where he was, her powers were useless, as was Gianna's now. Alec would have to send his mist flying everywhere to affect Isaac, which could potentially harm his entire team. Though a tracker like Demetri should be able to find his scent, I knew that Aro did not want to risk losing Jane or Alec in a battle he knew I could handle.
"Nobody hurts her and gets away with it," I snarled angrily. I closed my eyes and concentrated on reformulating the hidden body of our foe. He had immense power, but I could sense his body moving quickly. He could easily hide himself from someone who relied on the eyes and mind to see, but he could not fool my mastery of the physical world. He swung around to my left side, and I barely dodged his blow. I felt him come at me again from the back, and I jumped into the air, scattering the dirt below me. The dry dirt fluttered off the ground into dust cloud, formulating the outline of Isaac's body.
"Gianna!" I shouted, and within seconds, I heard a loud thud, telling me she had put him to rest. Worried, I ran over to aid her, but her arm was already securely back in place. "I'm sorry," I said.
"No, that was my fault," she replied, rubbing her shoulder where her arm had been torn off. "I should have known. I can't believe Aro chose to kill Isaac...he was such an important member of the Volturi, with phenomenal powers."
"I can see that," I mumbled, looking at the motionless figures of the two vampires on the ground. I wondered what happened to them when Gianna used her mysterious powers. Were they still conscious, only unable to move their bodies, or did they fall into the same trance as with Alec's powers? Our kind did not sleep, so the fact that she could induce sleep was quite fascinating. I decided I would ask her to try it on me if we ever got away from this mess and into safety.
"Must we?" Gianna looked reluctantly at the two motionless bodies. I nodded, and I knew that if she were still human, she would be crying now. "At least they will not feel anything," she said as she reluctantly ripped apart the woman's body and set it to flames. She turned her back to Isaac. "Please..." she said as she walked a good distance away.
"Of course..." I mumbled, kneeling down to the one she probably saw as a friend. If there were any way to save him, I would, but Aro would be able to read through our memories and we would be killed. Even if I was right and I could cloud some of my thoughts from him, he could see through Gianna's mind. Though I knew I could easily muddle Demetri's tracking abilities, I knew that Aro would be a threat. I saw Gianna cringe at the shredding sound of every piece of Isaac's body being torn apart, and she was weeping tearlessly. I closed my eyes, focused my strength to purge the effects of Gianna's spell, and set the forest ablaze.