We walked beautifully slow in synchronization, in our most formal formation. We were in an unbroken shape, and progressed so smoothly that to the Cullens, we would appear to be hovering atop the glistening, pure white snow at our feet. We had aligned the members of the Guard so that the lesser, grey-cloaked members were in the very front of our structure, and as the ranks sloped higher, the robes got darker, until they were as dark as they could get before the purely black cloaks of the Ancients and their wives. Cloaked in the second darkest robes were me and my twin brother, Alec. All thirty-two of faces were shadowed by our hoods as we fanned out, the lesser members creating of barrier shielding the front and flanks of the higher members, who now shifted to the center. Me and Alec were standing next to Marcus, and flanked by Demetri on the other side. We were the most important members of the Guard because of the powers we held. Aro wanted to make sure we were protected.
We had a small opportunity to glance up at who we were facing. Thirty unorganized figures stood opposite of us, one of them being a canine. It failed to change our emotionless forms. Following closely behind the Ancients were the vampires Aro called. Only he knew how many there were, but my guess was he had called a few more than forty. They were intended to be witnesses, but if this turned out to be a battle, they would aid us. Not that we needed it. We could slaughter every being on the planet with the gifts we had. It was just another measure Aro took to make us seem even more intimidating than we already were. There was only one vampire standing behind us that would not help fight. Irina, the girl from the Denali Coven who brought Bella's immortal child to our attention, finally giving us a reason to kill the Cullens. Darkness and despair weighted the air. The Volturi and our witnesses froze one hundred yards from them as sixteen more canines had joined them, spacing themselves evenly around our foes.
We waited for our next orders. Even though we didn't look to our side we all could tell that Aro along with Caius and Marcus were deciding upon a course of action. On the other side of the field, Carlisle stepped forward and out of their defensive line. He was completely unprotected. "Aro, my old friend. It's been centuries." He said, The clearing was silent for a prolonged moment, and Aro stepped forward, clearly intending to step outside our formation. I almost protested, but as soon as I saw Renata following close behind, I knew Aro was safe. Renata could shield any person she touched from other's gifts. That means their mind-reader Edward would not be able to listen in on Aro's thoughts. I was ready to use my gift if anything went wrong. A few of the lesser guard members at the front reacted as Aro walked by, crouching down, growling, baring fangs, anything to prevent anyone from trying to attack Aro. He didn't turn, just put up one hand towards them as a signal to stop.
"Fair words, Carlisle," He said. "They seem out of place, considering the army you've assembled to kill me, and to kill my dear ones." Carlisle shook his head. "You have but to touch my hand to know that was never my intent." He extended his right hand as if he was right next to Aro rather than the ninety-two yards away that they really were. "But how can your intent possibly matter, dear Carlisle, In the face of what you have done?" Aro replied. "I have not committed the crime you are here to punish me for." Carlisle claimed. "Then step aside and let us punish those responsible. Truly Carlisle, nothing would please me more than to preserve your life today." Aro said. " No one has broken the law, Aro. Let me explain." Carlisle said, offering his hand once more.
Caius swiftly drifted through our lines and to Aro's side. I hoped he could get Aro to decide to hurry it along so we could kill those Cullens already. I was particularly excited to rip apart Bella, the one who defied my ability and angered me so much. "So many pointless rules, so many unnecessary laws you create for yourself, Carlisle. How is it possible that you defend the breaking of one that truly matters?" Caius hissed. "The law is not broken. If you would listen¾
" Carlisle began. "We see the child Carlisle, do not treat us as fools." Caius snarled. "She is not an immortal. She is not a vampire. I can easily prove this with a few moments¾
" Carlisle began, but Caius cut him off. "If she is not one of the forbidden, then why have you massed a battalion to protect her?" "Witnesses, Caius, just as you brought." Carlisle said, gesturing towards our witnesses. "Any one of these friends can tell you the truth about this child. Or you could just look at her Caius. See the flush of human blood in her cheeks."
"Artifice!" Caius snapped "Where is the informer? Let her come forward!" Caius turned his head and pointed to the Denali girl, Irina. "You! Come!" I didn't hear her footsteps, the weakling was hesitating. Caius snapped his fingers impatiently. Irina timidly walked forward, eyeing her sisters on the opposite side of the field. Caius walked to Irina and slapped her across the face. There was no way it could possibly have hurt her, it was just humiliating. Her sisters across the field both hissed. Caius pointed at the child clinging to Bella's back, and the wolf next to her let out a low growl.
"This is the child you saw? The one that was obviously more than human?" Caius demanded. She looked at the child and tilted her head to the side in confusion. "Well?" Caius snarled. "I
I'm not sure," She said in a puzzled tone. Caius's hand twitched, and I knew he wanted to slap her, but I didn't know why he didn't. She deserves it. "What do you mean?" Caius angrily whispered. "She's not the same, but I think it's the same child. What I mean is, she's changed. This child is bigger than the one I saw, but¾
" Caius furiously gasped and bared his teeth, and Irina broke off. Aro put a restraining hand on Caius's shoulder.
"Be composed, brother. We have time to sort this out. No need to be hasty." Aro said, then turned to Irina. "Now, sweetling," Aro said amiably. "Show me what you are trying to say." Aro held out his hand to her. She took it, and it took Aro a mere five seconds to find what he needed. After centuries of practice he learned to use his gift masterfully. "You see, Caius? It's a simple manner to get what we need." Aro said. Caius didn't answer him. Aro turned to glance at the Guard and his witnesses, then turned back to Carlisle.
"And so we have a mystery in our hands, it seems. It would appear the child has grown. Yet Irina's first memory was that of an immortal child. Curious." Aro said. "That's exactly what I'm trying to explain." Carlisle said holding out his hand again. Aro hesitated for a moment. "I would rather have the explanation from someone more central to the story, my friend. Am I wrong to assume this breach was not of your making?"
"There was no breach." Carlisle claimed again. " Be that as it may, I will have every facet of the truth." Aro's voice hardened. "And the best way to get that is to have the evidence come directly from your talented son." Aro inclined his head towards Edward. "As the child clings to his newborn mate, I'm assuming Edward is involved."
That wasn't the only reason why he wanted to see into Edward's mind. He wanted to see all of the Cullen's thoughts through Edward. Except Bella's. Master Aro was clever. Edward quickly kissed Bella's forehead and the child's, then he walked across the field, clapping Carlisle on the shoulder as he passed. I smiled as he got past midfield, being closer to us than to them. He stopped a few yards away from Aro, then held his hand out. Renata followed nervously as Aro moved up next to Edward. My teeth were bared, but I was ready to use my ability on a moment's notice. Alec was ready too.
Aro took Edward's hand and closed his eyes in concentration. Every thought was now his. Not just of Edward's, but of all of the Cullen's. Again, excluding Bella, who was really beginning to get on my nerves. She was as concentrated as me and Alec when really she could do nothing if something happened. Aro looked up, his hand still in Edward's.
"You see?" Edward said. "Yes, I see, indeed." Aro agreed. "I doubt any two among gods or mortals have ever seen quite so clearly. You have given me much to ponder, young friend, much more than I expected." Edward didn't answer. "May I meet her?" Aro asked. "I never dreamed of the existence of such a thing in all my centuries. What an addition to our histories!" Aro said. "What is this about, Aro?" Caius snapped before Edward could answer. "Something you've never dreamed of, my practical friend. Take a moment to ponder, for the justice we intended to deliver no longer applies." Caius hissed in surprise, and I frowned, realizing that there would be no fight. None of the Cullens would die. I would not get to tear Bella apart. I hated that girl right now more than I ever hated anyone ever, and I hoped that someday, I would get my revenge on her.