Super sorry for the million and one time! Way too much has happened that it's a wonder I haven't keeled over! I had a practice gateway test that was going to determine whether I get to take the actual test- which my class credit depends on. (I have a good class grade but if I fail the gateway the average would screw me over) I was freaking out to the point where I was about to become violent (which is not something I do).
Turns out, I passed but not well. I was one of the highest grades but if you knew our classes, was terrible. I escaped with a maybe C. But I still have to work my butt off the rest of the school year and there are a heck of a lot of tests involved. I also spontaneously decided I would sing a duet with this girl in chorus which got me a speaking part in our school musical.
I'm the quit girl who NEVER does things like this, so it took everyone by surprise- including me. On the down side, the character is completely different than me and I'm pretty sure that I have the wrong voice for acting. I can act serious and look convincing, but I have a rather quiet and childish voice so the combo is pretty terrible. And when I sing, projecting is not my thing. I realized this when my singing partner was amazing at singing Beautiful Liar, even as nervous as I was she was amazing.
People said I sounded good, but I think it was more curtsy than actual praise. I encountered some family problems as well over this period of time, and I've had to get out of the house with my mom to try and help her regain some composure. It was fun but I've also been working on my novel. These aren't excuses, I'm just telling you that this was why I've been reluctant to update. But since this story has been going on for a long time, this will be the end I think. I will come back with the sequel but you'll have to wait until I post the new story. It'll be called Vampires, hunters, werewolves- Oh my!
Epilogue: Conducting Business
With both Jane and Fiona accompanying me, I felt rather safe, or at least as safe as I could ever feel outside the protection of the castle walls. Tuscany at night is really stunning; I suggest all the people who never leave their homes go to see it. The stars shone brightly up above, tiny pin pricks to guide us to our destination- not that we couldn't see perfectly well without any light. We moved slowly, the dark cloaks swirling around our legs and obscuring our faces. Fiona and Jane, each on both sides of me, talked in whispers only other vampires could hear- reviewing our plan of action.
To humans, we must have stood out against the scenery- but it was well past sunset and there were no cars or even houses here. I smiled to myself, already imagining the victorious moment when the hunter-vampire would sink his teeth into Isabella's pale neck. She'd look into the vampire's eyes and hers would grow wide and fearful. She'd try to fight him off but ultimately be unsuccessful and then…
"Aro, we're here." I nodded at Jane as the three of us glided soundlessly along the gravel and up to the metal door that would have been quite pretty, had we not known what was behind it.
And just as Jane was about to knock on the door, it swung open and he stepped out. His name was Antonio Paulo and he was a good friend and ally of mine. He was one of the only vampires I knew who didn't actually look like a vampire. Sure he was inhumanly beautiful as all vampires, but he didn't have ultra pale skin or the frequently changing eye color- it always remained the same Mediterranean Blue.
I saw Jane stop dead in her tracts and gasp almost silently at him. She looked down at her feet, and I couldn't help but to chuckle at this. Jane, the great and powerful Jane, was blushing (or would have been, had she been alive) because of Antonio, the Italian vampire?
"Antonio, it has been too long!"
"It has, hasn't it? Come in, come in, all of you," he said waving us in like only old friends would. Fiona seemed unfazed by Antonio, but Jane however, still had her head bent partially to hide her bashful expression. The three of us removed our hoods once we were safely inside and sat respectably in four of the chairs in the parlor.
The house of Antonio Paulo was just as I had remembered; with its light and airy feel that allowed windows to be thrown open during the day and allowed air to flow freely through the mansion. It sat upon a beautiful hill that overlooked the bordering town, old churches and buildings that have been there for centuries. Antonio also did not "sparkle" in the sun, so he was free to be out and about in the sun of Italy all the time- and his house provided privacy for other visiting vampires to be allowed the same luxury.
The interior was beautifully done, red pillows to accent the white couches.
"What brings you to Tuscany, Aro? I do believe I'm right in assuming you didn't come just to say hello to an old friend." He flashed one of his famous smiles that would make girls weak in the knees- in fact; Jane did look a little like she was slumping against the couch…
"You are. I need your help."
"And what kind of help are you looking for?"
I leaned across the table, and seeing my movement, Antonio bent forward slightly as well. His expression was still light but I was pretty sure he knew what I was hinting at.
"I need you to help me change a hunter." I said it in a quiet voice but one of the maids had heard me. She dropped the basket of sheets she was carrying and clasped a hand to her mouth to stifle her gasp. The dog on the pillow beside Antonio's chair growled demonically in response; and the second maid made the sign of the cross before retreating from the room with the first maid- both speaking quickly in panicked Italian voices.
Antonio looked shocked, surprised and maybe even a little angry. His blue eyes seemed to be a bit darker as he straightened up to respond to my request.
"Do you realize what you're asking, Aro?"
"I believe I'm well informed, yes." But Antonio shook his head anyway, almost regretfully.
"Doing that, it's almost taboo. Fire and ice don't make rainbows-
He was interrupted briefly by Jane's quiet giggling response and Fiona's almost inaudible snort. He glared at the two before continuing.
"For one thing, it is incredibly dangerous to do and there are many variables that apply to it for another. Even if I succeeded, it could go terribly wrong during the transformation. Out of all the transformed hunters, still only two successful cases."
"Only two?" Fiona snapped, her brow wrinkling in frustration. "Aro has been gracious enough to ask for your help in a small matter and this is how you repay him? Do you not realize-
"Small matter? Hardly, child," Antonio spat back, equally as venomous. A hissing sound erupted from Fiona, her hands shaking a little as she scribbled down notes of this trip.
"I'm not a child, Paulo. I am three hundred-fifty years old!"
"Fine then! But you're still a three hundred- fifty year old in a child's body!"
"I was sixteen when I was changed!"
"Well good for you!"
"Fiona, stop this argument at once!" I hissed. She glared icy daggers at Antonio but nodded and sat back on the couch. "You were saying, Antonio?"
He too sat, flipped back a stray piece of hair and relaxed into a more comfortable position- wrapping an arm around the back of the couch and pushing up his sunglasses so that they sat on his head instead of falling angrily into his eyes like they had when he was arguing with Fiona.
"The first success was named Willow Dirr. She'd been captured while she was on a routine mission almost one hundred years ago- her mission was to assassinate the nomad Alfonso, whom I heard was an ally of yours."
"He was indeed, I never knew he was targeted."
"Well, she was transformed in twenty-four hours but the result was disastrous. Even a regular hunter transformed into a vampire proved that the hunter would have too much bloodlust. Roughly two or three times the regular amount- she and the others were much too noticeable.
"How did you even have one full success if it was two or three times the regular-
"Oh it wasn't for her. She's proven quite effective in being a spy on our side. She has regular bloodlust but she prefers to exercise in different ways." Antonio smiled to himself.
"Would you show me?"
"Oh you mean you'd like to meet her?"
"Yes, of course!"
"Melanie, dear, please come out here. Aro would like to meet you."
Not even a heartbeat later, the vampire prodigy was sitting on the arm of Antonio's chair, her smile dangerous.
She was tall at 5'9, soft silvery-blond hair tumbled in waves over her shoulders to about a quarter of the way down her back. She had slightly narrowed eyes that were a shocking violet, almost as if she were scanning every inch of you- inside and out, assessing you. Her skin was slightly tanned, as if she had gotten one during the days in Tuscany. Her expression was mischievous and flirty at the same time, watching everything at once like a cat.
Yes, even her movements were vaguely feline. Even if I hadn't known she had previously been a hunter, I would've been able to tell that she wasn't exactly all vampire either. She looked as if she were about to spring, like she had the mouse within her sights and was only toying with it.
"Hello, Aro. Jane, Fiona," she recited in musical tones that soothed as well as terrified. "Antonio tells me you're interested in hearing the finer points of my 'rebirth.'"
"But he didn't have any time to tell you…," Jane trailed off in a confused tone. Both Antonio and Melanie's faces twisted up in identical smiles.
"One of her many gifts. She can hear thoughts, but it's also easily turned off. She's a very skilled tracker, but she also has skills that allow her to get very close to her prey as well as mingle among humans."
"What did you mean when you said she had other ways of exercising her bloodlust?" Fiona asked, straightening defensively as she gazed at Melanie.
At her question, Melanie laughed- the sound like bells.
"I don't drink blood if that's what you're asking. In fact humans aren't even interesting to me, I prefer the occasional hunter but usually I just enjoy collecting bits of people's essence."
"Thoughts, memories- they have them but I have them too, I can know them better than anyone else."
"A perfect spy!"
"Of course. Why do you think I've done so well at Headquarters? I don't leave a messy trail." At this her smile grew, twisting like the smile of the Cheser cat in Alice in Wonderland. "I'm very close to Morgan Burns, in fact, I portray her sister. Her mother 'adopted' me when she was younger, and as I can make myself any age, I gradually grew up with her."
"Yes, she's on the Council."
"So who did you have in mind to change, Aro?" Antonio asked cautiously.
"Her daughter, one Miss Isabella Swan."
Antonio's eyes blazed angrily, his skin going almost white at once. Melanie jumped as if I had physically slapped her.
"Are you insane, Aro?" Antonio whispered almost hoarsely. He abandoned the relaxed position and bent forward, try to keep the conversation quiet.
"No, I'm not. She would be excellent-
"She is the most wanted vampire hunter in, in…
"The world!" Melanie supplied helpfully.
"I don't believe she'd be that hard to overtake," I said defensively. "Why, Felix was simply caught off guard-
"She came to you?" Antonio and Melanie asked at once. "And you lived?"
"She's on the run, she wouldn't want to fight us all single handily- even if she could do it. She's tired of it, that's why she's running," Fiona said out of the blue. Everyone stared at her. But she just stood, straightening up so that her tall, elegant body looked intimidating.
"It is my gift. I can also know my prey well, mostly it's used in surveillance of possibly dangerous threats. I can get flickers from her, much intuition and vague emotions. She is running, but not looking for a fight."
"So it seems now is the time to advance," Jane said, straightening up beside Fiona. "And if you won't help us, so be it," she snarled. Her icy glare was familiar, but it almost unseated Antonio.
"Do you realize this could end in all of our deaths?" Antonio asked again.
"But think of the weapon we'd have when it was over!"
"She's the most wanted hunter for a reason, she hunts vampires with the thought that it's right- almost a bloodlust in and of its self. If you added that to a vampire transformation…"
"Trust me, this will all turn in our favor," Fiona supplied. Antonio gaped at the tree of us one last time, searching our eyes like he'd find a weak chink in our armor to unsettle us from doing this. But he found none. When he realized this, he too stood up and composed his face into a business like one.
"Then we will begin our hunt for the hunter tonight, after the sun has set."
"Isabella?" Melanie questioned again. "She's my niece…" Everyone turned to stare at her. "Not my real niece! I mean, she's Morgan's daughter. This will blow my cover and-
"No, it won't. We'll leave no trail of evidence," Antonio said in a voice of finality.
"Yes, Antonio," she said with the return of the mischievous expression.
Sequel: Vampires, hunters, werewolves- Oh my!
Melanie is hot on the trail of Bella, getting closer and closer each day. Even though she's her aunt, Melanie can spare no sympathy and hunts with the passion Bella used to. With everyone vulnerable, it's hard to keep eyes from seeing the inevitable- who's going to be exposed? Forks is concealing too many secrets, it's not going to be long until someone lets the cat out of the bag- or cats.
Vampires, hunters, werewolves- Oh my!