A/N: And this is the last one for today. Enjoy!

Chapter 26

The vampires in the cells looked pissed. All of them glared with matching disgruntled expressions – like being in the cages was a fate worse than the death I could have dealt them.

Ungrateful assholes.

I poked Jane and nodded to the one glaring the hardest, and everyone's expression rapidly changed to neutral when the first screams rang out.

That's right, cheer the fuck up people. I can totally make it worse.

Aro's humor replaced my satisfaction and I grinned at him in response. It probably made us look sadistic.

Oh, well.

"So, who first?" I questioned.

"Demetri," he supplied, pointing toward the single occupant of the first cell.

I nodded and retrieved the key from my cleavage where I'd stashed them.

As I fitted the key in the lock, I willed his compliance and directed him when I cell door swung open - "Come with us."

I turned my back to him, and heard the gasps that rung out from the assembled vampires that watched.

I forgot they'd have no recollection of their own submission.


We retreated to the hallway outside the cell block and I turned to Aro, "He'll have no memories of his time under my thrall, so they'll be a few blank spots."

He nodded and grabbed Demetri's hand.

The reading only took a minute, and we all waited tensely for the verdict.

"Release him," Aro commanded, and I did – watching closely for Demetri's response.

I was not disappointed. He was confused, and his bewildered gaze took in his surroundings anxiously.

But he shook it off quickly, and looked to Aro with a beseeching expression, but decided against saying anything.

"I don't feel emotions, Demetri – so I have no way of knowing the amount of loyalty you actually feel to the guard. However your actions of late have been disappointing, to say the least. I can see you had no true desire to align with our enemies, so I will offer you the chance here and now to leave without repercussions. Go now, or swear an oath of loyalty to the Volturi, that you will have to uphold or the punishment will be death."

Aro had yet to relinquish his hold on Demetri's hand, and I could feel his happiness and relief and knew Demetri had chosen to stay.

"I swear you will have no reason to doubt me again, Master."

Aro nodded, saying only - "See that I don't. Return to the castle after you have fed and wait in the throne room. We will apprise you of our current situation then."

Demetri nodded and left quickly without looking at any of us.

Aro waited until his steps could no longer be heard before reporting, "Chelsea's gift was stronger than I gave her credit for. Demetri really did enjoy his time with the guard, and she was still able to replace that with apathy, and invent a bond with the Romanians."

My brow furrowed, my thoughts going straight to the only person who'd been able to shake off her talent – Jane must really love Aro to be able to feel nothing but a moment of unease when her bond was broken.

I shot her a quick look, involuntarily – but Aro saw it.

He shook his head minutely and sent me some trust through the bond.

I nodded, and replied - "Now that you've seen who's here, you can go back to the throne room, and I'll bring them up one at a time. Just tell me who you want next."

"It makes no difference, there's no one of particular interest here. Pick them at random, it will heighten the suspense."

He kissed my cheek and took off for the stairs leading out of the dungeons.

Jane stayed with me, and I gave her a small smile of gratitude before holding the door to the cell block open for her, and waving my hand - "After you, my lady."

She giggled and skipped through the door and we began the tedious process of weeding out the scum from the idiots.

Several hours later, we had Sierra, Demetri and Afton back in the guard – and we were up an additional 3 – Benjamin, a large African man with a talent for element control; Peter, a strategist that could see if his plans would be effective; and Charlotte, his companion who could escape any situation unscathed.

Things were looking up.

But sadly, none of them had any idea where Stephan was – and his notebook hadn't listed any previous hide outs or additional accomplices names.

Aro instructed the new guardsman to see Jane for accommodations and told the others to settle in. I nudged him, and mouthed, 'The Witches.'

"Oh, yes – and please do not eat any humans you find in the castle. They are an American Coven of Witches, aiding us in our current plight - we cannot afford to damage our relationship with their Queen."

Everyone nodded, and dispersed. And as the door closed on the last of them I turned from my spot on the side of Aro's throne to plop into his lap.

"Do any of them have difficulty controlling their thirst? Should I warn my mother to stay away from anyone in particular?"

"No. They are all fairly seasoned when it comes to controlling themselves, and I told them all they were free to leave to hunt, should they need to. It should be fine. The guard rooms aren't even in the same wing as the coven, anyhow."

"Speaking of hunting... it's been days since I drank any blood – and earth's energies really don't compare. Come with me?"

"Of course, dear. Caius? Do you and Athenadora want to join us?"

I turned my whole body toward Caius - "I completely forgot about your wife! Where has she been hiding throughout all this?"

"I send her away to our safe house when there is trouble in the guard – Athena is talentless and a terrible fighter. She is no help in a dilemma. She just returned a few hours ago. I'll go ask if she'd like to come. But, I will certainly accompany you, either way." He replied.

I nodded, and Caius took off.

"Huh. Somehow I didn't expect Caius to be with someone like that. He's such a warrior, but he's married to the consummate damsel in distress."

"Yes. I always imagined that if Caius was going to mate – she'd be a veritable Amazon woman."

We both chuckled at the image.

"Well, since you're both so well protected now – and we don't need the guard to follow... shall we pick a more exotic location to teleport to? I'd like to try going further. I had no trouble at all going from Central Romania to here. Maybe we can go to Paris or London to eat?"

I gave him my puppy eyes, but it was totally unnecessary. He was completely on board – I could feel his excitement and enthusiasm pouring into me.

"Yes, let's! We can get a picture in my office."

I stood, and we walked to the door in unison.

I rolled my eyes when we entered his office – at the sight of his ridiculous desk. Seriously, it was bigger than the President's.

And there were at least 50 drawers.

In Aro's defense, though – his desk was probably 500 years older than the President's.

Speaking of drawers, Aro opened one and out popped his lap top – we settled in his chair, with me on his lap and looked for a good place to travel.

After looking at a map, and discussing my complete lack of language skills – we decided on London.

Aro was also considering a small stop at the London Coven's home – where his friend, or should I say ally, Alexander had just disappeared from.

Wintergreen's coven.

That in mind, he pulled out a massive Rolodex from one of the many drawers and gave me the coven's address to map.

Turns out they had a charming townhouse in the rich neighborhood – go figure.

I was able to get a satellite image of a restaurant a few streets over – and the convenient alleyway running alongside it.

Caius had impeccable timing, as usual. Just as I'd gotten the image memorized and turned around to make out with my sexy mate – he knocked.

I growled a little and sucked on Aro's bottom lip for only a second before begrudgingly allowing him entrance.

"Might as well come the fuck in already, Caius – you totally ruined the mood, either way."

He was laughing as he pushed the door open, "Glad to be of service. Bella, this is my wife – Athenadora."

The small blonde followed him in, wide eyed – probably at my crass welcome, and I hopped up and walked over to shake her hand.

"Hi Athenadora, we never got a chance to meet properly. I'm glad we'll have this chance to spend some time together."

She nodded, rather meekly and didn't return my warm sentiment.

Well, fuck you too.

I turned my back to her, catching Aro's eye and touched my necklace – trying to send the question of whether or not I should protect her as well, since we were headed for a possibly dangerous meeting with Wintergreen's "family."

He shook his head no, which surprised me – but I kept my face blank.

I shrugged it off, and turned back to the two of them.

"Aro and I decided to go to London, so we can question Wintergreen's coven during the trip. You guys ready?"

Athenadora looked a little put out at this, but said nothing – and I was starting to wonder about her being Caius's wife. She was technically as much a Queen as I was – shouldn't she be more interested in resolving the threat against her companion?

I turned a questioning look to Aro, but he just shrugged – and made his way over to me, he put his arms around my waist and I put my hand out for Caius and Athena. Caius immediately put his hand on my wrist, and Athenadora gave me a distrustful look for gingerly placing a few of her fingers against mine.

I turned my hand around and grabbed hers firmly, and teleported.

It was with grim satisfaction and amusement that I saw how horribly effected Athena was due to the trip.

I gave her an insincere smile and said only, "It'll pass."

Then I turned to Caius and Aro and raised an eyebrow - "Eat first or visit first?"

"Eat," they responded in unison.

"Is there a bad neighborhood near here? I wouldn't mind a few criminals to even the moral score up with the number of innocents I've drained recently."

They both smiled and nodded, but Athena - I was disturbed to note looked like she might protest. All three of us ignored her put out expression though and we walked out into the street without another word.

London was lovely. I'd always wanted to come, and everywhere I looked I saw something I'd only daydreamed about.

Red telephone booths, double decker buses, Big Ben in the distance, the London Eye.

I was practically giddy.

Which of course, Aro could feel – and he wrapped an arm around me and kissed my cheek.

"A neighborhood, quite similar to the one you requested, is only a few blocks to the North. There are many vampires here, if we cross a path with any, I need you to describe their scent to me immediately, and we need to deviate our course as to avoid them."

"We're perfectly safe, baby. Why avoid them? Let them attack – I'd so enjoy kicking the ass of anyone dumb enough to try. Especially with Caius here. Between the three of us we could probably vanquish a fucking army."

"I'd rather not spoil your day with violence, sweetheart. It's not a question of whether or not I think someone would be successful against us. I just don't want anything to ruin our excursion."

"Ruin, smo-uin. I quite enjoy that side of my vampire nature. Speaking of," I took a deep breath to confirm it, "we've just crossed the path of Corin. I borrowed a jacket from her – there is no mistaking that wet basil stench. I'm still working on determining how fresh a trail is, though. Do you guys smell it?"

Aro shook his head no, unsurprisingly – but Caius said, "Yes, I can smell her. You're quite right, it does smell like wet basil. But its at least 2 days old."

Aro and I nodded, and we continued on.

The streets got a bit more crowded, and the clothes of the residents got a bit shabbier as we traveled.

Finally, I started seeing homeless people, and knew we'd arrived.

I turned to Caius and Athena - "Want to meet back here in 20 minutes?"

Caius nodded, and Athena's face maintained it's pinched look – and they turned and walked away.

I turned to Aro, wrapping my arms around him and whispering in what I hoped was a seductive tone - "Alone at last, lover."

He chuckled, so I probably missed the mark – and kissed my cheek in response before moving out of my embrace saying only - "Not quite as alone as we need to be for that tone of voice, sweet."

I laughed too and shrugged, taking a hold of his hand and tugging him down the street.

"Bar?" I asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Bar," He concurred.

A small pub with blacked out windows and several scumbags loitering in the entrance appeared as we got to the end of the block.

We turned and headed inside. I squeezed his hand once before dropping it and heading toward the back.

I was accosted before I made it a handful of steps, by the most disgusting creature on the face of the planet. In my opinion, anyway.

Brown rotted teeth, acne ridden face, horrifying breath, stained clothes, and somehow a lady's man persona...

The world is a strange place.

"Hullo there, beauty" He slurred, running a hand down my back and palming my ass, lightly.

I tried for polite, straining to keep a blank face - "Hello, sir. Do you happen to know where the restrooms are in here?"

I figured if he was half as awful as I expected him to be, he'd follow me and try something in the restroom, which worked out for me – because then I could kill him in the restroom.

"Sure do, luv. But it's gonna cost ya." He slurred, while giving me a licentious look.


I tried to play coy and seductive – though I really wasn't sure he was worth the effort.

"Oh?" I raised my eyebrows, "And just what would a gentlemen like you charge me?"

"Costs a kiss, luvey – a wet one, right on the lips."

I tried not to let my reaction at the thought of my lips anywhere near his show on my face, but I think he caught my aborted grimace.

His face darkened, and I started to see the monster that lurked underneath.

His arm grasped mine in what I'm sure was a punishing grip, and he whispered low - "Or maybe more... let's get you to that bathroom, sweetness." He pulled on my arm and dragged me toward the back.

I had to fight my smile. I truly loved the bad neighborhoods. This was going to be my fastest hunt, ever – and I snagged a rapist. Score.

I pasted a frightened expression on my face, since I figured that's what turned sickos like him on – and I was right, when he caught sight of my distress, he smiled hugely.

The bathroom was disgusting, but at least it was empty.

He pushed me into the handicapped stall and bolted the door behind us, already tugging on his belt.

I gave him a second to think he'd won – before I grabbed him by his shirt front and pressed him against the wall.

"You really picked the wrong one, dickhead." I didn't snap this one's neck, I wanted him to feel the pain and agony of death by exsanguination.

It was a punishment he'd earned.

I drove my teeth deep into his neck, and relished the feel of his heart pumping his blood right into my mouth.

It made feeding much faster, and I was done in only a couple minutes.

I teleported the body to the forest outside Celje and dropped him carelessly, after picking his pockets and getting his wallet and a super cool Zippo lighter he carried – I took my fingers and ripped his neck open to disguise the teeth marks and took off.

I washed my hands back in the bar's bathroom and went in search of Aro.

He was waiting for me in the entrance and I raised my eyebrows – to which he only nodded and we took our leave.

I looked through rapist extraordinaire's wallet on the way.

He had $62 in cash – which I decided to buy myself a souvenir with, and not much else. I threw it in a dumpster we passed on the way out.

Aro eyed me as I shoved the money in my bra – a bit of concern and remorse coming through the bond.

"Are you in need of funds, Isabella? I have yet to get a credit card for my accounts with your name on it, but I have more than enough cash in my office to facilitate any spending needs you might have. Forgive me for not telling you before. As my mate, you are, of course, more than welcome to any funds from my personal accounts or the Volturi coffers you want."

I smiled and patted his cheek, "Awww. That's so sweet, baby. But I'm good, my mother gave me a few thousand dollars the other day and I don't have a lot of – what did you call them? - spending needs? I'm not a high maintenance person. I might need to go bra shopping one of these days, though. You ripped the only one I had in my new size."

"If you're certain, sweetheart. I am more than happy to replace the money your mother loaned you, and purchase your underclothing. In fact, hold on just a moment – let me have Jane order your credit card now, while I'm thinking of it."

I opened my mouth to protest, but snapped it shut when he gave me a don't-argue-with-me look.

I figured he was probably right anyway. I really should return my mother's money. The witches were more than likely pretty broke without it.

"Will you order a credit card for Isabella for my personal accounts and the Volturi accounts, please? And we need an ID for her, too. Isabella Volturi, please. No middle name. Yes, make her 18. Or, hold on a moment Jane -" he put his hand across the telephone receiver, "would you rather be older, darling? Or is 18 all right? You'll be able to keep the same one for longer if we do 18..."

I nodded, I could always force compliance if I tried to feed in a bar that wouldn't let me in. "18 is fine."

He turned back to his conversation, "Yes - 18 please, Jane. Thank you."

He hit the end button with a smug sense of satisfaction and happiness.

I nudged his shoulder with mine, "What's all that happiness about? Glad to be providing for the little woman? Or is it just that my ID will have your name on it?"

"Both. But your taking my name without a fuss does make me extremely happy."

I laughed, and looked at him - " I don't mind. And I'm a bit relieved we can just do it this way, instead of you asking me to marry you."

His emotional signature plummeted, and I knew I'd fucked up.


I guess he did want to get married.

Aro looked the other direction, vainly trying to hide his devastated expression.

"Fuck," I muttered, before grabbing Aro's face and turning it to mine, keeping my hands firmly planted on his cheeks so he had to keep eye contact. "Baby, do you want to get married? It's not like we have to, we're already mated. You won't get rid of me either way."

"Isabella, I am ancient. Of course I want to be married. In the majority of my years on earth all couples that planned to be together for the foreseeable future were married. It's only in the last 50 years that the practice has changed. You are my mate – which is why I won't worry if you don't want to marry right away, but rest assured – it is definitely in my plans for us in the future. Nothing would make me happier."

I gave him an Eskimo kiss, rubbing my nose against his – and nodding. "Okay. Nothing makes me happier than your happiness, babe. If that's what it takes, I'll suffer through it for you."

"Suffer? Do not all women wish to be married? Am I really saddled with the only one who finds it a chore? REALLY?"

"Yeah, you got the shit end of that stick, babe. I'm just not into it. The white poofy dress, or everyone staring at me as I inch down the aisle, or saying private things to you in front of an audience. Everything about weddings makes me shudder in distaste. Pass. Yeah, I'd rather pass on all that."

I could feel Aro's disbelief and disappointment, but thankfully I saw Caius at the end of the block – so he wasn't able to continue our discussion.

"Well, let's get back to the London Coven, shall we?" I said with too much enthusiasm and too much relief.

Aro gave me a sharp look of suspicion, but I just grabbed his hand and towed us along toward Caius and the ever sour Athena.

"So, have any of you been to London recently? I figure I can squeeze one tourist activity into this trip..."

I let my sentence trail off, and looked at the three of them expectantly.

"Well, I'd suggest the London Eye for sight seeing – especially with our vision. Or the Tower of London if you want to take a tour..." suggested Caius, looking at Aro with raised eyebrows for his opinion.

I turned to Aro too, wondering if he was still stuck on that I-don't-want-to-marry-you conversation.

He totally was – he looked completely dejected.

"Fucking snap out of it Aro – it's not like you haven't been married before. Chill the fuck out and be a tourist with me already." I demanded, somewhat meanly.

Okay, very meanly.

He threw me a grimace, and a sour look – and ignored the gobsmacked expressions on Caius and Athena's faces.

"Depending on how long it takes us with Alexander's coven, either of those choices is a good one – but the Tower closes it's tours early, and they probably have security cameras in this day and age or I'd just sneak you in and provide a tour, myself. The London Eye should prove interesting, and it's better at night, anyhow." Said Aro grudgingly, expression still upset.

"Great! I can't wait. Doesn't that sound like fun, babe?"

"Yes, dear. I too cannot wait." He replied in a monotone.

I punched him in the arm. "Don't think there's any protection for you if I decide to beat you to death, fucker. Now, say it again with enthusiasm, damn it."

That finally got a laugh out of him, right before he launched himself at me – tickling my sides relentlessly, "Yes, sweetheart. I cannot WAIT!"

I giggled at him, and shoved him away - "That's better. Thank you."

By that time we were practically on the doorstep of the London Coven's townhouse.

I sighed my moment of levity ruined and mentally prepared myself to be attacked, again.

I knocked on the door, and kept my senses sharp. I didn't hear anyone inside, nor did I see any lights on. It would suck if nobody was home, after all this build up.

Seconds after that thought passed through my head, the door sprung open soundlessly, and a small waif-like girl sneered, "What do you want?"

I opened my mouth and replied automatically, "Less attitude would be nice, unless – of course – you don't fear death."

She snapped her mouth shut with an audible click, blinked twice and tried again, "How may I help you?"

Aro answered this time, "We'd like to see your coven leader, if Alexander is back, or Phoebe, if he is still missing."

A look of fear passed over her face, and she swallowed before replying, "Neither of them is in at the moment. However, you are more than welcome to wait. Phoebe should be back in an hour or two."

I looked pleadingly at Aro – and he sighed, "We'll return then."

He produced a card from seemingly nowhere, handing it to her gently.

"Have her call if she arrives before we get back."

The girl's eyes read the card quickly before she gasped and stuttered out, "Yes, sire. Of course. Are you sure you won't wait? I could bring you refreshments, and we have an excellent library and..."

Aro held up a hand signaling for her to shut up,"It's quite all right, child. We'll return shortly."

Aro nodded to her, and I shot her a look of warning before turning to leave.

As soon as the door shut, I launched into excited chatter - "Does this mean we have time for both?"

Athena hissed, and I turned to her - "I can take you home, if you'd prefer, but Caius really needs to be here for the meeting later."

I sent him a look of apology but he waved it off - "Yes, Athena – go home. Your bitchy attitude is ruining my day." He sent her a look of disgust.

She snarled, "Yes – take me home, then." She held her hand out to me imperiously and I raised my eyebrows before clutching it so tightly I felt her bones grind together.

I turned to Aro, "Be back in a sec, babe."

And we teleported.

As soon as we arrived in the hall outside Aro's office, I dropped her hand and willed her mind to be open to mine.

...don't know who this bitch thinks she is. Turning Sulpicia out of her home, taking over as Queen less than a week later. Treating poor Aro like trash, in front of company no less!

I had enough.

"Look, princess. I don't even know you – and frankly, if this is going to be your attitude – I don't want to. Just do us both a favor and stay the fuck away from me if you want to be bitch."

"Who are you to talk to me like that? I have been a Volturi Queen for 250 years! This is my home. I'll say and do whatever I like in it."

"Don't get yourself worked up, lady. I don't give a shit about being Queen. Aro is my mate, and so I'm stuck here as long as he is. But while I am, this will also be my home. And I'll say and do whatever the fuck I like in it, as well. Including killing the annoying talentless cow that continues to pester me. Don't delude yourself into thinking your irreplaceable. You're a companion, and I don't think Caius would be too broken up if I slaughtered you in a fit of rage. So fuck off, already."

She screamed, and probably would have attacked me – but I didn't want to kill her until I could be sure Caius wouldn't be too pissed over it. So I teleported back to Aro, instead.

I arrived and the two were waiting exactly where I left them.

Aro's eye brow quirked up, "Did you leave her alive?"

"For the moment, but if she keeps on she's going to wish for death long before it's delivered. Stupid cunt," I waved at Caius, "no offense, intended – blames me for what happened with Sulpicia. And for the fact that she thinks I have more power than her? I don't know – her thoughts were disjointed. I tried to explain that I'm not a queen, we're just mates. Not like I did that deliberately. And I wish on a daily basis that you weren't a king."

Both men now sported matching incredulous expressions, so I felt the need to explain, even though I thought it was obvious, "You know, because of the constant danger, threats, interruptions, intrigue, and general annoyance that goes along with it. If you were just a regular guy, we'd still be in a bedroom fucking each others brains out for the next decade. But, instead... I have an arrogant witch posturing about how long she's been a queen, I haven't had sex for 10 whole hours now, the London coven may or may not be planning your assassination as we speak, I have to temper my long held plans to see all of London into a 2 hour excursion and I'm constantly on edge awaiting our next attack, by Christ-knows-who because the entire world hates my mate. How the hell would either of you feel?"

They both stared at me dumbly, and I took off down the street without waiting for a response – taking deep breaths to avoid any vampire trails.

I got half way down the block before I realized I was alone.

"Are you two coming or what? Athena already stole 15 minutes of my 2 hour tour time. Don't fuck up the rest, damn it."

That spurred them into action, and for the next two hours I listened to a constant litany of facts about London and it's current and previous inhabitants.


I was just sad we had to return to the Coven's house.

But Aro's phone finally rang with the news that Phoebe was at home and awaiting us.

Aro shot me a tortured look, his emotions echoing it when he felt my disappointment. "We'll come back again, sweetheart. I swear, and we'll take a whole week to see every single sight in this city, I promise."

I nodded, resigned. That shit probably wouldn't occur for another 20 years... and trudged in the direction of the coven's townhouse.

It wasn't far.

The same girl opened the door, but unlike last time she was entirely prepared to grovel.

"Your majesties, please come in. We're so pleased you've decided to visit."

If she was human I swear she would have been sweating.

Aro noticed, too – and held out a hand for her to shake – "I'm afraid I didn't catch your name before, dear. I'm Aro, of course, and this is my mate Isabella. And Caius, my co-ruler."

She shook his hand, not realizing I suppose that she was giving away all her secrets when she did it.

They were mid-shake when Phoebe arrived, and she hissed a little when she saw they were touching.

I immediately willed knowledge of her thoughts.

...Rats. And now he knows we've been in contact with Ethan. I do wish I had warned the silly twat. No matter. We had nothing to do with Alexander's disappearance, nor did Ethan explain where he was. I just sent him some money. Poor boy is mentally challenged, I couldn't let him wander the countryside without funds. What would have become of him?

I growled a little in response, knowing that Wintergreen prick had somehow escaped the clutches of Stephan and was now alone and even more undetectable than before. Excellent.

Thank God I made those amulets for Aro and Caius.

Aro turned to me when a questioning look, but I decided to tell him later. He would probably read it from Phoebe any second, anyway.

He dropped whatever-her-name-was's hand, and turned to Phoebe, "How lovely to see you once more, child. I read from Megan here that you've yet to hear anything back from Alexander? He is an old friend, I'd like very much to assist in the investigation."

"Investigation? We are firmly of the mind that he has left us of his own volition. He will return when he is ready."

"Oh? And what gave you that impression, dear? Does he make it a habit to leave suddenly, without taking any of his things, without telling a soul, and without accessing his credit cards in extended intervals, frequently?"

Yeah – sounded like bullshit to me, too.

I monitored her thoughts again.

damn, he wasn't supposed to know all that. I shouldn't have called him regarding the disappearance. I don't want anything to happen to Ethan, but there is no way I can keep this from Aro. He is rather unprotected at the moment. Caius doesn't have a gift... maybe now is the right time...

Right time for what? Is she about to attack? I backed up automatically, and put Aro behind me, keeping both women in my field of vision.

I decided I had no idea what the fuck I was waiting for – they wouldn't even remember telling me their plans if I willed their compliance.

I quickly did so – and watched their expressions go blank.

"What is now the right time for? What are your plans?" I demanded.

They both started to speak at once.

"Silence." I commanded Megan, "Phoebe, you answer."

"The right time to beg King Aro's pardon for Ethan. We suspect he was the one to kidnap Alexander – but he will not admit it. Or tell us if he still lives, but I believe he has been killed for threatening to tell Aro about Ethan's conduct, by the Romanian scum. Ethan has been spying for them. We are certain of that, but not much more. Ethan is somewhat retarded. They took advantage! Alexander must have discovered something Ethan observed that they decided was worth his life to protect. We hoped that by catching you without your guards you would not immediately put us to death for keeping this secret from you."

I breathed out a relieved breath, and questioned Caius, with a small smirk in place - "Why does nobody properly fear you? Without the guards? Like you couldn't rip them to shreds by yourself."

"Thank you, Bella." He buffed his nails on his shirt, "I am awesome in action."

I laughed and turned to Aro - "So, should I let them out of thrall or would you like more information first? You could read her real quick..."

He nodded and proceeded to do so, but must not have gleaned much more than what we'd already heard.

"Just remember, they will have no memory of confessing. Try not to give it away, I want to see what she does. In her thoughts it sounded like she planned an attack."

They both nodded, and I released the two women.

Aro started, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off, dear – you were saying, Phoebe?"

Her confession was spot on the last one.

We all nodded and acted surprised, but really – she wasn't helpful in the slightest. We already knew all that.

AND the useless bitches wanted to come stay in Volterra for protection.

What a waste of our resources.

Aro had no choice but to agree – but we didn't want to reveal my talents, so we told them they would have to make their own way.

They quickly accepted that and the meeting was over.

I totally could have toured more of London, and we'd still have been in the same shitty boat...

Story of my life.

A/N: Thanks for reading. Review if you have time! A