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Welcome to Volterra

Summary:
"Caius, surely you see the potential. I haven't seen a prospective talent so promising since we found Jane and Alec. Can you imagine the possibilities when she is one of us?" - Aro Edward is gone. Jacob never came to Bella's room. She is alone. What happens when she goes to Italy for her senior class trip?


Notes:
This is my second fic and my first attempt at a multichaptered fic.


18. Chapter 18: Let the Training Begin

Rating 3.5/5   Word Count 927   Review this Chapter

We arrived back at the castle around four am. Demetri dropped me off at the entrance to the gathering room. Relieved from his babysitting duties, he took off down the castle halls like a bat out of hell, leaving me to enter the great hall alone.

The three brothers were present. Caius and Marcus resumed their places on their thrones. Aro was standing along with a few members of the guard and several others that I didn't recognize. Nothing of importance seemed to be happening. Those gathered were talking in pairs or small groups, socializing.

"Wonderful! You have returned," Aro greeted me. "It is time we began your training. You will be paired with Renata since your talents are similar in a way." Renata was a shield like me, but hers was a defense against a physical attack whereas mine was a defense against the gifts of other vampires.

The small brunette stepped out from her position behind Aro and motioned for me to join her. "We will be working on projecting or learning to push your shield out from yourself. That will enable you to protect others along with yourself."

Hearing her say that I would be able to protect others made something click in my head. I knew this was something I had to do. "Is that really possible?"

"Oh, yes. I can project my shield several meters out from myself," she bragged, flashing her perfect white teeth in a breathtaking smile. "I am Aro's personal bodyguard and I also protect Caius and Marcus when needed." Gee, pat yourself on the back. Why don't you?

I ignored her boastfulness. I needed her to teach me, and I was very eager to learn. "How do I do it? I don't even know how I am shielding myself."

"It will take much practice, but being immortal we have plenty of time. It will help if you try to visualize your shield. I like to think of mine as a bubble, but use whatever works for you. Close your eyes and picture it. Can you see it?"

I imagined a clear Saran wrap clinging to me. "Yes."

"Now, use your mind to stretch it."

I did as she said, and visualized the elastic material stretching out to include Renata within its confines. But I wondered if it was all in my mind or if it was really working. "How do we know if I am actually doing it?"

"We will need to test it. It is time for Aro to receive the daily reports and he will not be getting the information verbally. It is your job to try to block him from reading the thoughts of the messengers. It will be easier the closer you are at first. It might also be helpful to touch whomever you are trying to shield."

"Let us begin!" Aro declared.

A handsome male, who appeared to be in his mid-twenties with short blonde hair, stepped forward to meet Aro in the center of the room. I moved to his side and placed my right hand on his left arm, visualizing my shield stretching out to encompass the stranger. He held out his right hand to Aro, who took it in his own. The elastic turned to mist, and I knew my shield would be ineffective.

"Thank you. You are dismissed," Aro told the stranger. He was obviously able to retrieve the thoughts from the man's head.

"Next," Aro called, making no comment on my failure or the information gleaned from the stranger's head.

As another vampire approached, Renata quietly coached me. She told me not to be discouraged. They didn't expect me to master it on my first try. She was a kind and patient teacher. She instructed me to focus and use every ounce of my concentration. I took her advice, but failed at my second attempt at projection.

I achieved the same result with my third attempt, and fourth, and fifth. On my sixth try, I was able to briefly block Aro, but I couldn't manage to hold onto my shield. There was nothing tangible to grasp. I was only able to produce brief sporadic flickers of my shield until there were no messengers left.

I was expecting Aro to be disappointed, but he said nothing to indicate he was. And Renata was very encouraging. She said I did very well for my first session. I just needed to keep practicing.

I wasn't sure if I could stand any more practicing at the moment. While my body could no longer tire, I found that my mind could. I was mentally exhausted. That was the first time I missed having the ability to sleep.

With no one left, I was hoping for a break when I saw Caius take Aro's hand. He was sharing his thoughts with Aro. Then he spoke aloud, "Perhaps she isn't properly motivated."

"Excellent idea, brother." I obviously missed something there, and I found it frustrating. If you are going to communicate through thoughts keep it quiet. Or if you are going to communicate verbally say everything aloud. I had a feeling that listening to these half verbal half mental conversations would get very annoying, especially when I knew they were talking about me.

Aggravated, I almost stopped wondering what Caius had suggested when Aro addressed me. "You may take some time to rest, my dear. We will resume your training once Jane returns."