Chapter 9 - Another Secret
As we returned to the Volturi throne, an unexpected guest welcomed us.
"Someone's here," I whispered, extending an arm out in front of Gianna. While she was improving tremendously in self-control, I did not want to take the chance.
"It's Sarah," Gianna cringed her face as the exuberant smell of the girl's blood flooded the narrow corridor. The small child hid behind the wall at the turn of a corner, poking her tiny head out and staring at us with frightful eyes speckled with the infinitesimal hint of curiosity.
"What is it you seek?" I said too coldly.
"Be kind, she's a child and her work is difficult," Gianna explained emphatically. She knew how the young girl felt because prior to her, she was the human servant of the Volturi. I only hoped that Sarah would not be used as the first meal for the next newborn as Gianna had, though I knew her fate in the Volturi cathedral was only ominous.
"It is best for her to not be involved with us," I muttered, knowing full well that anyone involved with me would either be punished or forced to join the ranks in my coterie. Still unable to relinquish the guilt of ruining Gianna's life, I could not fathom the possibility of turning Sarah into a lifeless drone as well.
"I..." the girl's soft voice cracked as soon as she opened her mouth and hot rivulets rolled down her large, crystal blue eyes.
"Do not be caught speaking to me," I muttered with hostility. "Jane will not take it lightly. And when given the opportunity, you must run," I explained clearly, though I knew not whether I could ever gift her the chance to try.
"Do not take his advice lightly," Gianna added. "He only means well." The young girl looked over at us one last time before jetting down the halls as fast as human legs would take her. As she came across the next turn, she gasped and stumbled as uninvited guests met her.
"Great," Gianna muttered as the unpleasant chuckle of Felix vibrated down the hall.
"What do we have here?" He snickered and the girl began sobbing. "I generally don't like criers, it irritates me. I can help you stop if you'd like." The girl screamed, and I jetted down the hall to see her flailing her arms and legs as Felix held her tightly by the neck.
"Let her go," I muttered angrily.
"Or what?" Felix challenged, tightening the grip around the young girl's neck.
"Let me-" Gianna started, but I put my arm out, motioning her to stop.
"Don't get involved," I instructed. I had informed her time and time again to not go against Aro or the wishes of the Volturi. I wanted to keep her safe, and that meant ensuring that she would do nothing that would make it appear as though she was a threat.
"Finally stopped crying," Felix chuckled, his grip now strong enough to tear a normal person in two. But Sarah was not normal. She had me protecting her. No vampire's grasp could cut through the solid stone barrier that I had wrapped around her body. How soon would Felix learn that in my presence, he could not kill her?
"Clever little trick," he smirked, unclenching his fist, causing the girl to shriek as she fell to the ground. I moved swiftly to procure her petite body, but was interjected with a hard blow to from my right.
"Brad!" Gianna shouted as I plummeted into the wall, Demetri pinning me down tightly as Felix once again picked up the crying girl. Before I could recreate a physical barrier on the girl, Felix had slammed her into the wall, certainly breaking several bones.
"No!" I shouted out as Felix quickly pierced his fingers into Sarah's chest, now unprotected and exposed. The sweet scent of her blood filled the air, followed by a loud thud as Gianna's powers overwhelmed Felix. I did not blame her for disobeying my orders and using her powers against Felix; I knew that she was just as furious as I was at our failure in protecting Sarah. As she channeled her powers to Demetri, I rushed over to the lifeless body, blood flowing vigorously from her pale neck onto the marble floor.
"You...you did this!" I shouted out to Felix, my body trembling in rage. But before I could tear him apart like I wished I could, Gianna grabbed me.
"Brad, stop!" She screamed. "The Volturi will surely punish you if you kill him now! The girl may survive if you convert her now!"
"Becoming one of us is not surviving!" I cried out, though I did not struggle to break loose from Gianna. I could overcome her easily, but even blinded in my rage, I knew that destroying Felix would only cause more problems.
"We must stop the bleeding," Gianna moved quickly, tearing off a piece of her robes and wrapping Sarah's body. "You must change her! I do not have the self control to do so!" she begged, trying her hardest to prevent Sarah's blood from leaving her body. Reluctantly, I knelt down and sank my teeth into her soft neck.
"How many people have to suffer at the hands of the Volturi..." I muttered angrily.
"You speak too loosely," Gianna sighed. "Do not let your words be heard by the wrong ears."
"It's not like we can hide anything from Aro," I countered, though I already knew that I could. I had to ensure that Gianna did not know I had finally understood how to isolate some of my memories, thoughts, and emotions in the deepest corners of my physical body. How I could package small spheres of thought away from the mind where Aro was omniscient. I could not hide much, nor did I have the strength to do so for extended periods of time, but slowly my powers grew and I was able to hide significant details from him. At times when I felt my strength growing weary, I could conjure up the deepest agony - Jane's fiery bolts of pain, the avaricious hunger for human blood, the emotional trauma of my mother's death - and Aro would not be able to face the horrors for long, being forced to let my hand go.
"My what do we have here," his cloying voice echoed.
"He intended to kill the girl, we had no other choice," Gianna defended herself as Aro studied the bodies clearly affected by her powers.
"May I?" He asked. I walked over to him to give him my hand, but he shook his head. "You," he said to Gianna. Had he already figured out that I could hide things from him? Or were there too many horrific memories hidden within me that made it difficult for him to scour my thoughts for long? Gianna slowly walked towards him, reluctantly giving him a hand.
"Interesting," he mumbled as he searched through her mind. "Splendid..." he smiled, letting her hand go. "You two have done a great job in bringing justice to Isaac. What great warriors you've become. Your strength together is remarkable. This little strife you had; why is it so important for you to protect our dear Sarah?"
"She is but a child, in constant danger in this throne," Gianna explained. "Someone must ensure that she is not harmed."
"Do you not believe we can protect our own employees," Aro challenged.
"At the present situation she was in danger and we, being part of the Volturi, found it imperative that we protect one of our own, whether she be human or vampire," I countered.
"Quick with your wit, articulate with your words. How you continue to impress me," Aro chuckled creepily. "I will ignore this little strife and I suggest you prevent it from happening again. I would hate to lose either of you."
"And the girl?" Gianna asked.
"A gift to you," Aro spoke to me. "Do as you wish with her." With that, he took his leave, Renatta glued to him as she always was.
"They will awaken soon, let us leave here as well," Gianna added. I scooped up the girl in my arms, and we quickly returned to our quarters. While I wished that she could remain human, I was glad that she would be allowed to live. Like I had done with Gianna, I would focus my next three days ensuring that she was born powerful, able to protect herself so that she could never be harmed again.
When she awakened, she was no longer the sweet, innocent girl she was before. She snarled viciously, forgetting everything and anything beyond her thirst. We expected it, and were prepared. Thankfully we had an arsenal of skills that would allow us to control her until she learned to control herself.
"Sarah, you must control this," Gianna urged.
"Let me go!" She hissed, incapable of moving her body as I bound her tightly against the wall.
"We need to feed her," I explained quickly.
"If you let her go, she will attack," Gianna said, concerned.
"Sarah," I spoke softly, gazing intently into her ebony eyes, an infinitesimal crescent of crimson drowning deeply within. "I understand you are in a lot of pain and that you are confused, but we can help you. Will you please listen?"
"What's happening to me?" She asked, her body trembling as I slowly eased my hold on her.
"I'm sorry, Sarah, we tried our best to protect you," I muttered regretfully. "But I failed"
"I-" she gasped, and I knew she suffered greatly with her thirst. Fighting the anger, the pain, she slowly looked up into my eyes, no longer fearful of me. "I've become one of you."
"I'm sorry," I didn't know how many times I could apologize before the guilt would ease up. "If only I were stronger, I could have prevented it. But even in this form, there is a future for you," I whispered to her. "Run..." She looked into my eyes as though she longed to say something, but it was unnecessary. I understood her and felt her gratitude exuding out of her. The words were unimportant.
"She must feed," I told Gianna.
"No!" The girl shirked. "I cannot kill any more people!"
"You've killed no one, it was all the doing of the Volturi," Gianna explained. "And you've no reason to harm a soul."
"Let me show you," I smiled, grabbing her hand and jumping out of one of the ostentatious windows of the Volturi throne. I ran swiftly through the dense trees, still pulling Sarah with me.
"Careful!" Gianna shouted, running after us.
"Ready?" I asked, and the young girl nodded both in amusement and fear. I tossed her over a clearing, and she landed softly on a cliff a good distance away. The ferocious snarl of a lion welcomed her into her first battle. While a part of me feared the tiny girl facing the enormous animal, I knew that she was a newborn and thus had titanic strength. She easily fought off the forest beast. I jumped over, ensuring that Gianna was far enough that her powers would not be effective. "Go," I mouthed silently to Sarah, and she took off into the woods.
"Sarah!" Gianna shouted out. "What is it!?"
"I don't smell human blood," I muttered, pretending to be addled at what had caused this strange behavior. She weaved through the trees with mercurial speed, and both Gianna and I were quickly falling behind.
"Can you bind her?" Gianna grunted, ducking under a tree. "My powers do not reach her."
"Let her go," I almost whispered, stopping suddenly as Sarah jetted off quickly until I could barely see her.
"Are you crazy!? If she does not return, Aro will send Demetri to kill her! And she is a newborn! Do you know how dangerous that is!?"
"I want her to be free," I explained. "Aro explicitly said that I was to do as I wished with her. This is what I wish."
"I do not think he will take this lightly," Gianna scrunched her face in concern.
"So we keep it a secret," I smiled.
"A secret? Now you've really lost your mind."
"You're saying you keep no secrets?"
"Not from Aro. You know he has the ability to see everything, even thoughts that we have long forgotten."
"So what do you wish to do? Go after her? I don't suppose you know where she's gone?"
"How dare you," Gianna tried to sound angry, but she couldn't prevent letting a tiny smirk appear on her face. "You deceived me."
"Only to let the girl go," I chuckled. "Never again will I keep a secret from you," of course, I was again lying. There were many secrets I kept from Gianna, though my only intention in doing so was to protect her. If she knew all that I kept hidden in the pockets of my body, Aro would quickly destroy both her and me.
"And what of Aro and Demetri?" She was clearly still concerned.
"You were not to blame, he will see that. Only I will be punished," I tried to comfort her, but she found little peace in this explanation. We both knew that Aro would want her back, afraid that her knowledge of the Volturi clan would be a threat. What Gianna didn't know was that Sarah would be safe, hidden in the confines of my mysterious ability, of which even I still did not understand its limits. I knew that I could not only mask her from Demetri's tracking abilities, but hide the truth from Aro, having already done so with another. My powers were perfect - they had granted me the ability to save others.