It was dark in her room. Bella liked feeling the warmth of the sun caressing her cheeks, making them sparkle. It was...pretty. But it was dark. And cold. Since arriving in Volterra she had never had any doubts concerning the choice she'd made to become a vampire and therefore a member of the Volturi Guard. Here she was though, tortured by the faces of the men and women she'd killed, the men and women whose throats she'd ripped out mercilessly, whose bodies were drained dry the second the monster struck. She hated Edward. Loathed every stone cold fibre of his being. She'd quite happily watch his head be torn from his shoulders. But she ad to agree with his firm beliefs about a vampire's soul. Or rather their lack of one. How could a monster have a soul. She neither accepted nor denied her revelation. It just was. She was a monster for now and forever. And nothing would ever change that. She envied the way that Jane embraced him, let him consume her and focus only what was important and what was not, without all the feelings, all the guilt and all the conscience. Jane didn't wallow in shame every time she fed. Bella doubted that the witch even noticed whether her meal was male or female, such was her indifference and disdain for the human race. To Jane, food was food and nothing more.
Bella sighed, letting her head fall back against the headboard of her bed. She hadn't left her room in three days. Already she could feel the familiar burning sensation in her throat. She knew that if she looked in the mirror, her eyes would be black. She'd begun to think that maybe the Cullens had it right. Perhaps she should give their diet a try. Then she laughed, hating the too perfect sound even as it left her mouth. Aro would never agree. He wanted a ruthless killer, not a cowardly girl, too tortured by her victims to even drink their blood. No, he would never allow it. She knew he was frustrated with the lack of her skill. It hadn't made another appearance since the bloodbath. Eleazar Denali hadn't ben able to prise any information from her either. He was frustrated and confused. Bella was scared. If she couldn't, if she wouldn't, allow the monster control, would they kill her? After all, without her what use was she? She couldn't fight. A useless weakling who'd be a liability if the Cullens came knocking. For now, Aro had ordered that she stay within the Volturi.
So he could decide what the hell he was going to do with her most probably. She shuddered. The raven-haired leader had looked most displeased the last time she had seen him.
A sharp knock on the door startled her out of her thoughts.
"Yes?" she said, her hands clenching into fists. Alec entered, his expression guarded. Bella rose from her hunched position on the bed. She forced her lips into a smile.
He eyed her distrustfully.
"Master Aro asks that you accompany me to the training rooms for your first combat session."
Bella inhaled, her smile wavering.
"Now?" she asked, her voice shrill.
He looked her up and down.
"You will need to change."
Bella was sure that if he were human, her face would be beetroot by this point. Ignoring her embarrassment, Alec walked over to her closet. Quickly rifling through her clothes, much to her annoyance, he passed her a pair of loose-fitting black trousers and a blak tank top.
"I'll wait outside."
Bella changed swiftly, keeping her gaze fixed firmly on the door, lest Alec decide to come back in. Breathe Bella. She secured her hair in a ponytail with shaky hands, and then opened the door. Alec was standing stiffly on the other side. He jerked his head.
Bella followed him down the corridor, all the while fear and suspicion pounding through her. At the end of the corridor, he turned abruptly, leading her down several flights of stairs, and then along another corridor. It was darker down here, the space lit by a weak yellow glow from lights that ran the length of the passage. Alec stopped outside two steel-enforced doors.
"In there," he said shortly. Gulping, Bella hesitantly pushed one open, conscious of Ale's burning gaze. she blinked. In contrast to the earthy colours of the stone walls of the rest of the castle, this room was a brilliant white, the lights blinding. To her surprise, it was completely bare.
"Different, is it not?"
Bella froze. The voice didn't have Alec's soft tones. Instead it was hard and cold, like ice, despite the casual nature of the question. Almost like Caius' chilling tones, but rougher, less sophisticated.
She turned, acutely aware of the waves of fear that were rolling off her; fear that this stranger would surely smell. Her whole body tensed.
The man in front of her wasn't particularly tall nor particularly muscular, something which Bella wasn't sure was good or bad. Aro wouldn't send a weakling to beat her black and blue, so what he lacked in size, he must surely make up for with skill. His skin as pale like hers, and sparkled slightly under the fluorescent lighting. He had dark hair that was cut short instead of the longer locks Bella had seen so far on Volturi men. His face was all angles and sharp lines. He was very handsome she thought begrudgingly. As she dragged her gaze from his body to his face, she tensed. Burning pools of crimson. Staring straight at her. He raised an eyebrow.
"Take your time why don't you?" he said sharply. Bella fidgeted uncomfortably. He was silent for a moment.
"Have you ever fought?" he asked.
"No," she muttered. If possible, his scowl deepened.
"Um,no," Bella said softly. He bared his teeth. Her eyes widened. He exhaled heavily. She bit her lip.
"Alec said-" she started.
"That this would be a combat session?"
"How the hell does he expect me to teach a thing when you have never fought I you life and possess about as much aggression as lamb, hm?" he growled.
Bella opened her mouth to reply but no words came out. He glared at her.
Bella stared blankly at him.
"I just said attack me. Are you dumb as well as defenseless?" he snarled.
She let out a feral growl, lunging at him. He turned last minute, slamming her to the ground so hard that cracks formed on her normally smooth skin. She lay there stunned. He kicked her.
Filled with anger and embarrassment, she flipped back to her feet before flying at him once more. This time he threw her against one of the walls. Hard. She slumped to the floor for a heartbeat before the red mist descended and she charged, a growl ripping from her throat. Again and again he threw her to the ground like she were a puppet. The more she tried, the easier it seemed for him to stop her.
Venom leaked from a scratch on her shoulder. It hurt like hell. He wouldn't let her stop though. As she finally began to calm down, the pain it her like a train and her efforts became weaker and weaker which only seemed to make him more annoyed. After a particularly hard landing she lay there, frustrated tears pricking her eyes.
"Stop," she said raggedly. He kicked her again and she crunched against the opposite wall,
"Stop?" he snarled.
"Rest is for weaklings," he said scornfully.
"I don't care," she growled defiantly,"Go beat up someone else."
"Go beat up someone else?"
"That wasn't me beating you girl, that was playing."
"I can show you what beating is though," he snarled.
Bella froze for a split second before whirling around and sprinting for the door. She hadn't got two steps before he was upon her. His teeth ripped into her neck and she screamed in pain, twisting frantically to get free. He slammed her to the floor and made to tear another chunk from her shoulder until her survival instincts kicked in and she flipped to avoid his snapping teeth. They thrashed around on the ground, a whirlwind of biting and clawing. She felt his teeth pierce her arm and then her ankle. The fire worsened. Pure terror was coursing through her. Her head whipped around as she he cracked her across the face. She wriggled desperately and a flying limb caught him square in the jaw stunning him momentarily. She sank her teeth into the wrist around her neck without a second thought.
He hissed in pain and the mad gleam turned murderous. One second she was staring into his scarlet gaze and the next she was flying across the room. She braced herself for the following bite but it never came. She shot a glance across the room. He was stood inspecting his wound.
"That is enough for today," he said. She nodded silently, not trusting herself not to cry out in relief.
"You may go."
She got to her feet, watching him warily. He made no move towards her. Still backing away she released her pent up breath when her back hit the door. Once on the other side, she collapsed shakily against the wall. Alec wasn't there. Her whole body burned. She was more scared for her life than ever. The monster stirred.