"We enjoy the night, the darkness, where we can do things that aren't acceptable in the light. Night is when we slake our thirst."

IMMORTAL * WALTZ

Moka, unsealed, once again found herself in her ruler's castle unattended and bored. This time, she was dragged away from Youkai without the choice of bringing Tsukune. Inner Moka hated to admit it, but she missed him.

Her seal itself was with her father, kept under heavy magical supervision so it would not break again. After the Fairy Tale incident, the Shuzens had taken many precautions so the seal would be as safe as possible. Tsukune was a bit tore up at the idea of Outer Moka being a fabricated personality, but Inner Moka had also grown attached to her, like an older sister. She couldn't bring herself to get rid of the pink-haired pseudo personality, nor could she hurt Tsukune like that.

She decided to give the Cullen kid (she called him that, despite him being at least a century older than her) a surprise visit.

Edward had been making himself comfortable in the Rehabilitation Ward. He insisted that he needed no help getting back on his feet and he was just fine, but the doctors still put him through regular procedure. Instead of doing the rehab exercises like he was supposed to, he was getting cozy with the nurses. Not too cozy, but friendly enough to be on a first name basis.

When Moka entered, he didn't notice her. He was sitting shirtless, engaged in conversation with a few of the nurses. One was chatting with him while examining his wound.

He was heavily scarred, and those scars weren't just limited to his left shoulder. They went all the way down the left side of his chest, almost to his abdomen. Whatever the Hunter had used against him, it was dangerous and magically infused with something awful.

To Moka, it was a depressing sight. Stregoni Benefici are the symbol of beauty and purity in the vampire world. They were untouchable, perfect, creatures. Even a Nosferatu like Moka could be scarred. But to see a Cold One defaced like this? It was like rust on a broken diamond. It was so far into the wrong category that she could almost cry.

Of course, she was a lot stronger than that. She kept her emotions in a locked box with no key.

"Hello, Cullen."

He glanced up from his conversation.

"Miss… Shuzen?"

"Akashiya," she corrected.

"Ah. You were the one who was chosen as heir during the ball."

"Correct."

There was a brief awkward silence.

"So, how are you doing?" she finally asked.

"Oh, splendid. It's been a bit rough adjusting, but I've caught on quite quick. Of course, you may have heard about my brother's project-"

"I contributed to it, yes. Personally."

He gave her a quick surprised look.

"Well, thank you. I never expected to gain this much attention."

"Seriously? An invincible Stregoni get's his arm chopped off at the Volturi's Spring Ball and you think it's not going to attract attention?" she asked incredulously.

He frowned a little.

"Well…"

"Well nothing, fool. If you weren't injured I'd kick you in the face," she growled.

"I'm not injured! Just slightly disabled! And I'd like to see you try to kick me!" he spat back.

"Very well then! Know your place!"

But the kick landed in an empty chair surround by nurses.

"What are you attacking? I'm over here!" called Edward, sticking out his tongue.

"GRAH!"

She launched another one at him, but he disappeared again.

"I don't think you realize that I have a reputation as the fastest vampire on record," he mocked.

"And I don't think you realize I'VE GOT DAMN SHINSO BLOOD!" she screamed.

This went on for at least an hour, and the Rehabilitation Ward was decimated by the end of it.

It ended with Moka launching a rather powerful hit at a structural beam that supported quite a bit of weight, and the offices above them suddenly came crashing down on top of them. This attracted the attention of several guards.

In the end, no one was hurt. Edward and Moka were given a brief scolding about fighting inside the castle, and Mina let them off without any extra punishment because, hey, accidents happen.

"So, even though I eluded you repeatedly and caused you to break a support beam, can we be friends?" he asked, grinning.

"You sound like a five year-old," she scoffed. "'Can we be friends?' Is that how you start all your friendships?"

"Not really, but it's the most straightforward."

She bit her lip.

"Well… okay," she finally mumbled.

"What was that?"

"I said yes."

"Epic!" he shouted, doing a fist pump with his remaining arm. "I gotta go, see ya!"

Edward ran off down a side hall.

"He really is like a little kid," Moka observed, smirking.

She walked on to find something else to keep her occupied for the time being.

IMMORTAL * WALTZ

"Spasibo, Larten. Ve are happy zat you have provided us vith zese vonderful living quarters."

"Nobody said anything about we," grumbled Aido.

Aido and Afanasii were staring at their room, no, their cave. It was supposed to be where they were staying during their visit to Vampire Mountain.

"This is outrageous! How do you people live in these conditions?"

"We are strong, hardened, warriors, and we prefer the ways of old," explained Larten.

"The ways of old are giant, ornate castles! Ever seen Dracula? He wasn't spending his days in a freaking cave! He was living it up! The life of luxury!"

Larten's eyes narrowed.

"Older ways. Before your silly castles. Like cavemen."

"Dear kami, I'm spending the night with Neanderthals!" Aido screamed. "Kono kyōki wa, kore made ni shūryō shimasu ka? Watashi wa kore o eru tame ni nani o shimashita ka? Ā, Kaname-sama, nazedesu ka? Dōshite watashi ga?"

(Will this madness ever end? What did I do to earn this? Oh, Kaname-sama, why? Why me?)

"What's he saying?" Larten asked Afanasii.

Afanasii dismissed the question with a wave of his hand, and instead turned to Aido.

"Damatte jibun no hōrudo o shutoku shi, shōnen!" said the Russian native.

(Shut up and get a hold of yourself, boy!)

Aido was a bit shocked at Afanasii's sudden prowess with the Japanese language, but dismissed it as he remembered how long the vampire had spent in the Bund, a mixing pot of cultures and languages. It was only natural that a crime lord like him would be multilingual.

Larten handed Aido a map of the main features of the mountain.

The blond vampire stood, jaw agape, eyes wide.

"You mean I have to SHOWER in a DIRTY WATERFALL? What's wrong with you people? You are SO uncivilized!"

Larten just rolled his eyes and walked out.

Prissy boy, how he calls himself a vampire I do not know…

IMMORTAL * WALTZ

Edward's arm was being put together quite swimmingly.

Jasper walked casually through the streets of a small German town. It was the only place he could quickly have Vampiron parts molded. The blacksmith was an old friend of his from Maria's army who specialized in making mystical metals.

He was on his way to pick up parts when he saw him.

Arix looked just like the sketches Demetri had drawn. The Hunter was skinny, pale, and had those shocking blue eyes. His hair was bright white, which made him stand out in a crowd even more.

The ex-Confederate hissed.

The parts could wait.

Faster than the human eye could see, Jasper whisked the Hunter into a back room behind the Blacksmith's place. A hot fire made for smithing was burning in the corner.

"What? What is this?"

The blond vampire growled.

"Your buddy Troy chopped off my brother's arm!"

Arix chuckled.

"Ah, yes. Our weapons impress you? Steel strong enough to cut a Stregoni in half!"

"Silence!" Jasper commanded, venom in his voice. "You are going to pay for your actions. Not now, but soon…"

Jasper raised one finger and dragged his nail from Arix's forehead, over his eye, and down to just above his jaw. The Hunter held in his screams of pain and silently cursed himself for going out without protection. When he opened his eye, blood from the wound poured into it and blinded him.

"Not. Done," said Jasper darkly.

He slowly made two diagonal cuts through the first one, below his eye. Then he made vertical cuts through the two new cuts on each side.

"And so you won't forget who did this to you…"

Jasper held his Cullen crest over the fire until it was red hot. He pressed it against Arix's chest as hard as possible. The skin hissed and bubbled around the mark.

"This thing on your eye? It's the Mark of Fear. It means you won't die by my hand, but by my ally. Watch your back."

He released his grip on the Hunter's collar and went to collect his parts.

With those, the arm would be finished and ready for attachment.

IMMORTAL * WALTZ

Arix was having his wound cleaned by a castle servant. Troy was across the hall picking at the scabs on his chest scars. Res, the castle historian, was talking to Arix as the wound was being cleansed.

"Tell me of the 'Mark of Fear', Res."

"I assume you are familiar with Tritan, the son of Dracula?"

"Yes. He was killed by a Dracularian general in combat," said Arix.

"Yes. Well, that was, of course, Dracula's doing," Res spoke. "However, not in the way you'd think! One night, Dracula approached Tritan. He carved the Mark of Fear into Tritan's back. This Mark is a curse developed by the first vampire himself, and it means that the one who carves it will not kill the bearer of the Mark, but the carver's ally will."

The German Hunter sighed.

"Does it really work?"

"I'm not sure," mumbled Res. "All the history regarding it is very vague. Dracula's own races, the First Race and the Nosferatus, did not even accept it well. The Cold Ones, however, fully embraced it and it became an outstanding symbol in their culture. Since most Stregoni history is locked up in Volterra, I don't know much of its use. I do know that Aro himself used it on Krovik, the third Romanian. Krovik later died by the hand of Marcus."

The cut was completely clean.

"I'm sorry, my king, but I will not be able to heal your eye itself," the servant mumbled nervously. "That eye is blind."

Angry, Arix tossed the servant out the stained glass window depicting a field of slain vampires. It shattered, and the helpless servant hit the ground with a sickening thud. Troy got up to comfort his ally, but was shoved aside.

Arix screamed and walked out of the hall, slamming the massive doors shut on his way out.

Inside, Res just looked at Troy and shrugged.

IMMORTAL * WALTZ

Simon Walker made himself comfortable in the lounge in front of Mina's throne room. He had guard duty (by himself), which wasn't too much of a job. It would take someone extremely tough to make it through the first few halls of Beowulf members and Honor Guard agents.

If they did, though, he was prepared.

Prepared, but just a little bored.

He yawned just as someone walked through.

Oh. It was the Tod boy.

"'Ello there, mate."

"Hi…"

"You want somethin'?"

Vlad thought about it for a moment.

"I guess I was just bored."

"Well, me too, kiddo."

Simon laid back in his chair and closed his eyes. Vlad sort of stood there, rocking on his heels.

"So… What's it like? Being an Honor Guard agent and all that," Vlad finally asked.

"Well… Righ' now it's bloody boring. It occasionally gets excitin'. Findin' you and your pal was fun. Then when there's an attack I bust my arse tryin' to protect Hime-san, even though Akira does most o' the work. It's still a bit of a rush or somethin' like that. When you're fightin' Telomere's stupid lowlifes or an army of explodin' vampire slaves, it gets your heart pumpin', even if you're already dead."

He grinned big.

"Sounds pretty cool. Maybe I could do something like that," Vlad though aloud.

"Sure. Go righ' ahead. Sign up. It's like the army, 'cept we're not humans and everythin' is twice as deadly. And you'll end up on the telly more often. Folks are bloody obsessed with us vampires these days," he grumbled. "'Sides, your race is pretty much devastated, and I'll bet it'll be collapsin' soon. We can't find your people, so we can't very well help them. Without the Council, they'll be fallin' to bits soon unless they come to us lookin' for some way to govern. Maybe you can buddy up with the Vampi. They need all the help they can get."

Vlad looked at his feet and shuffled them around a bit.

"I guess you're right…" he mumbled.

"You bet I am. Ask any Honor Guard agent, they'll tell ya the same damn thing. The Elysians are doomed."

Simon got quiet and stared at Vlad.

"Sorry, kid. I'm probably bein' a bit too harsh. I feel bad about it, I really do, but there ain't much hope. Despite what some may think, vampires don't do too well without someone to rule over them. We're a very 'in the moment' species. Without any laws or control, we'll disrupt the natural order and plunge the world into chaos. The rest of the Elysians have no leader, so they'll be getting' panicky soon. Watch the news. You'll be hearin' about it. Not directly, like 'Vampires start killin' everyone!' but stuff like 'Mysterious disappearances' or 'Death count rises'. Not long after that-if no one steps in-they'll start killin' each other. Then, there'll only be a few left, and they'll die off too. It's just how we work."

"I think I understand," said the dark-haired boy. "Without laws or control, we're just a bunch of savages."

"Now you're getting' somewhere! It is a bit sad to see a race like the Elysians disappear. Maybe you and your buddy can round them up and save them. After all, we need more warriors. We won't last too long against those Hunters with so few men," said Simon.

"Thanks for talking to me, Mr. Walker. I think I might get some sleep now."

"Sure thing, kid. Enjoy it while it lasts."

IMMORTAL * WALTZ

A day later, Jasper was back in the Bund, parts ready for assembly.

"Let's move, people! Time waits for no man, immortal or not!"

With help from a few scientists, the arm was assembled quickly, in about an hour. After completion and a few checks, the mages were called in to work upon it. After reciting many spells and inserting a glowing red substance into the power core (located in the shoulder), Jasper hooked the arm up to a computer and started running a program that simulated brain waves sending out commands to the arm. It twitched for a moment, and then began moving as each of the commands was issued. The movement was smooth and exact, sharp and quick.

It was perfect.

"Carlisle! Prep for surgery! Let's see if we can get this attached to him," called Jasper.

He quickly unhooked the arm and carefully made his way to the surgery room where Edward was already waiting.

"Is this going to hurt?" asked the redhead.

"I saw Stregoni cry like babies when they were getting their ears pierced," said a vampire surgeon. "Well, something like crying. So, yes, it will. Very badly."

Edward swallowed and closed his eyes.

IMMORTAL * WALTZ

"AUUUUUGHUUUUH!"

Bella shuddered.

She, along with Mina, Moka, Kahlua, and the rest of her family were sitting patiently outside the surgery room. Screams of intense pain echoed throughout the corridors of the Bund's medical facility.

She dug her sharp nails into the armrests of the wooden chair she sat in.

Moka wasn't quite sure how she should be responding to this or why she was even present at this moment. Kahlua had pulled her away from her computer, her only way of contacting her friends at Youkai, and brought her here. She considered herself acquaintances with the Cullen boy, but never so much that she would sit here and force herself to listen to his pain (especially because she wasn't causing it). Apparently, her elder sister had formed some strange emotional attachment to him.

Mina was here because, despite her sometimes cruel and cold nature, she did care. As stated before, the so called "vegetarian" vampires of the Stregoni race were like the Fangless to her, and she made sure they were safe and healthy at all times. It pained her to hear someone as kind as him in such awful pain.

The rest of Edward's family sat in a worried silence. Occasionally they would give each other reassuring glances or stare at the room's double doors.

After an hour, Kahlua grew weary and Moka, being the more responsible one, suggested that they head off to bed. The elder sister protested, but was too tired to win the argument and grudgingly followed the silver-haired vampiress down the hall.

Not long after, Esme became too stressed to remain there. Emmett and Rosalie took her back to their quarters.

The emotional aura of pain was starting to get to Jasper too, and he followed suit with Alice.

This left Bella and Mina alone.

The princess moved from the seat beside Bella to the one across the hall from her in order to get a better look at the girl. Mina observed her for a moment when a glimpse of red caught her eye.

Could it be?

She shut her eyes and shook her head, trying to clear the fatigue from her mind. When she looked at Bella again, the brunette was trying to discern what had caused Mina's confusion.

"Something wrong, milady?" she asked.

"No, no. Just a bit sleepy," responded the ruler of vampires. "Sorry. I've been working a bit too much lately."

"I can understand. You can leave if you want. I'll be fine," Bella suggested.

"I wish to remain here. Edward's safety is a large concern of mine… Your entire family's safety…"

Her exhaustion caught up with her and she drifted off to sleep. Bella almost got up to see if she was okay, but decided against it. Akira walked through moments later and eyed the sleeping queen.

"Ah, Hime-san, always working so hard."

He sat down in the seat next to her and ran a hand across her head.

"You do a good job of taking care of her," commented Bella. "I don't think I've ever seen such dedication."

"Thank you. I made a promise to her when I was young and I don't intend to break it. Do you think she'll be mad if I move her?"

"Hmm. Maybe."

"Yeah, you're probably right. I'll just go grab a blanket and a pillow from my room," he said. "She prefers those because she says they smell like me."

In her sleep, Mina smiled.

IMMORTAL * WALTZ

Mina Tepes shot up out of her sleep.

"Woah! How long was I asleep?"

"Long enough," said a hoarse voice.

Her eyes watered with tears as she looked over to see Edward Cullen sitting upright in a hospital bed with a brand new mechanical arm.

"You're okay!"

"Ha, why would I not be?"

She blushed a little at her sudden outburst, but gave the Stregoni a gentle hug and stood up.

"I'm glad everything went as planned. It works?"

"Like a real arm."

He waved at her and it moved just as a normal arm should.

"It's also got a nifty, thought-activated sheathing feature," he added.

In the blink of an eye, the arm folded itself into a small metal cap on his shoulder, then unfolded back into an arm.

"I think I'll keep it folded up most times, though. Wouldn't want anyone asking where I got such an advanced prosthesis, would I?" Edward joked.

Mina smiled.

"Well, I've been resting long enough. I think the Tod boy finally deserves a proper conversation with me. I hope your journey home is safe, and I hope to see you again when the time comes. Bring your allies."

With that, the small queen turned and left. Edward laughed a bit at her proper demeanor, then rubbed his shoulder.

"That hurt an awful lot, Jazz," groaned Ed.

"Yeah, but you're better now, kay?"

"I was never sick!"

"Quit bickering, you two! Let's just go home!"

"What's the wheelchair for? I'm not that weak!"

"Standard hospital ward procedure. Get in."

"No! This is stupid!"

Mina listened to them bicker until she got out of hearing range. When she did, she smiled, knowing that her race was safe in the hands of honest vampires like those.

IMMORTAL * WALTZ

"Imouto! The Cullens left while I was sleeping!" screeched an irritated Kahlua.

"Oh. Yeah. They did."

"Stupid! Was Edward alright?"

"Yeah, he was fine. They strapped him in a wheelchair on the way out and he was complaining the whole way," explained Moka.

"Ugh. I guess I'll just call him later…"

"I can tell you're still tired. Go back to sleep."

"Seriously?"

"Hai. We're leaving later anyways, and you know you can't sleep on planes," warned the younger vampire.

"Fine…"

The elder vampire rolled back over in bed and fell into a deep sleep. Moka rolled her eyes and wondered why she got stuck with such a ditz for a sister.

IMMORTAL * WALTZ

"Vladimir Tod."

The half-vampire in question yawned and rubbed his eyes. Mina rolled hers at his laziness. Typical teenagers…

"I heard that," he grumbled.

"Right, you read minds."

"Not really easily, but yes. And like you're one to talk about teenagers. You're two feet shorter than me."

"But thousands of years older than you. Don't disrespect your queen," she scolded.

"Why do I need a queen if my race is falling apart?" Vlad shot back.

She sighed.

"Who told you?" she asked.

"Simon," he responded.

"Walker?"

"Yes. The dude with the British accent. Red hair."

"He knows better…" she growled almost incoherently.

"What?" asked the black-haired boy.

"Nothing. Look, I can stop that from happening."

Vlad hesitated.

"How?"

"Well, I am the supreme queen of all vampires. I have a knack for working the impossible."

He gave her a disproving look. Mina laughed a little.

"It's not that hard. Gather as many of your kind as you can together and I'll help establish a new ruler."

"And that new ruler is who?" he asked.

"You. You're the Pravus, aren't you?"

"I have no idea! I don't want to fulfill that dumb prophecy anyways!" he screeched. "Why pick me? I'm just a stupid teenager, right?"

She hissed, and the pupils of her eyes glowed yellow.

"You will continue to be one if you don't mature soon! Darren Shan is even younger than you, but look at him! He's a Prince! He's seen more death than you could stomach! Moka Akashiya is now lined up to be the next Lady of the Nosferatus! Yuuki Kuran was thrust into the hierarchy of the Royals without a moment's notice, but she adapted! Why can't you do this? Are you too scared, too weak? I don't care if your entire family has betrayed you and all that's left is your uncle, if you're smart enough, you can be whatever you want! Aren't you at least intrigued by the idea of power? Wouldn't you enjoy leading your race into a better future?"

Mina stopped, breathing heavy after screaming at the boy, who was now showing signs of fear.

"Listen to me, boy. Are you afraid? There is nothing to fear. Are you worried? Worries are a product of your imagination. Are you weak?"

She paused.

"I don't think you are. I believe you can lead your people. Do you?"

Vlad shuffled his feet and looked around the throne room nervously.

"Yes. I think I can," he finally responded.

The queen grinned.

"Then, with my help, you will become their Lord. I hope you are ready, Vladimir, I truly do."

After much deliberation, he said "It's Vlad, your highness. Just Vlad."

"Alright then, Vlad."

Before they could shake on it, a loud boom echoed throughout the building.

"Hime-san!" yelled Simon, bursting in through the large throne room doors. "You might want to see this!"

She jumped up and began taking long strides down the steps and across the hall. Vlad, a tad bit confused, followed her. Otis, waiting outside, followed him.

The four vampires quickly made their way down several flights of stairs into a laboratory that became more cave-like as they went on.

"Righ' 'ere."

Simon pointed down into a huge pit. At the bottom, a disgusting black ooze popped and bubbled.

"What is it?" asked Mina.

"We're not quite sure, Hime-san. Scientists 'aven't been able to get any samples yet."

They leaned carefully over the edge, looking down into the pit. Vlad stepped just the tiniest bit closer…

The ledge crumbled beneath him, sending him tumbling down into the dark substance. No one reacted fast enough to grab him, and he fell straight into the ooze and was totally swallowed by it.

CLIIIIIIIIFHANGERRRRRRRR.

Oh no! What's gonna happen to poor old Vlad?

Well, I know. You guys don't.

Sorry if it seemed like Edward's total recovery went too fast, but I wanted to get him and his crew back to Forks ASAP. They are no longer needed in the Bund (for now…). Also, Mina's catching on to whatever's going on with Bella! What is it?

Well, once again, I know. You don't. Ha. Haha. Hahaha.

Hopefully the next chapter will be up soon! Please keep reading and reviews are appreaciated!