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The Ashen-Cloaked Child

Aro may not have been able to get Renesmee, but he was going to have a half-vampire in his guard. Somehow.


3. Hormonal Imbalance

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“If I had known you would choose Gianna, I would have said no.”

“But surely, who else did you think I had in mind?”

“Someone who at least had some potential.”

“Like who?”

“It is an inconsequential matter, but I do agree with Caius. If neither the mother nor the child present any use to us, then why do it?”

“If you'll excuse me, brothers, I can understand your doubts about the mother, but the child, at least, should have plenty potential.”

“We don't need another mind reader, Aro. Or anything much in that field at all.”

“Patience, Caius. We will see what becomes of them. There are several possibilities in play here.”

“I will not stand for you making our guard a playground for these . . . these experiments!”

“This has far more value than a mere experiment. However little talent the child may possess, it will still provide quite an advantage. It is the only way to catch our enemies off guard.”


“What of the mother?”

“Well . . . she doesn't absolutely have to live. Her death may occur anyway.”

“Then let it occur.”

“. . . Perhaps.”


“Oh – I think that was a rib, Regina.” I cursed under my breath. “That hurts.”

She sighed and examined my side. “I wish we could get an x-ray installed here. I hate doing this blind.” Her hands quickly found the spot.

“Ouch – yes, that's it. Oooo.” And I grunted.

She snorted in response. “Well, at least it seems to be a clean break. Doesn't look like it's torn anything. Hold still while I tape that up.”

“Ha! Like that's going to be a problem. Regina, be careful.”

“I'm doing the best I can, Gianna. You should be fine in a few moments.”

I sighed in exasperation.

“Well, when you're done, could you get me some food? How about a nice, hot panzaratti?”

She made a face. “No, I am going to get you some nice, cold B positive. But if you insist on it being hot, you'll have to find a microwave somewhere.”

“Please, Regina? All I want is some food.”

“I do not want to handle your vomit, Gianna. Food doesn't nourish you anymore, and blood does. Just drink it. You like the blood once I give it to you – I can tell.”

My jaw set and my eyes narrowed. “I'm pregnant. I can't help if I get cravings.”

“Exactly – you crave blood and you won't admit it. Instead you have me trip over my own feet fetching you food you don't need, just to have you throw it back up. Then I bring blood into the room and you all but rip it out of my hands. Just drink the blood.”

“I do not rip it out of your hands!”

She laughed.

“Don't laugh at me!”

Regina shook her head. “I don't understand you, Gianna. How can you get so squeamish about drinking blood when you facilitate rampant murder -”

“Shut up, Regina.”

“ - and then allowing your employers to use your body like a -”

“Don't you dare say that word!”

“ - like a – like a whore!”


“And you're going to take some empty position on the guard – the bodyguard nobody needs. But your real title is – will always be – concubine.”

“Go AWAY, Regina!”

“Aro's pimping you out, Gianna, and the child you bear is his payment. And then you get to spend the rest of eternity with them – that is, if they weren't lying when they asked me to keep you alive.”

“I hope someone's thirsty on your way out. I hope they ignore Aro's orders and suck you dry. If they don't, I think I might just do it myself.”

She stayed put. “Go ahead. My life's ruined anyway. The Volturi have taken away everything from me, just like they've done to you. You're just too blind to see it.”

“And you're too stupid to realize that I want you to GET OUT.”

“I'll bring you back some blood.”

“Don't ever come back!”

“Ha – like Aro's going to get someone else to put up with you. I was just the most convenient. As long as he gets the kid, you can die for all he cares.”

I yelled every bad word I could think of at her, every insult, every curse, but only the door was left to hear it. Tears landed on my pillow, and I used Regina's bandages to wipe my snot on, since I had no tissues. I must have fallen asleep, because at some point I opened my eyes and there was a cup of blood on the table next to me, and I had not seen anyone enter or exit the room.

It smelled so good, and I was famished. I hated proving Regina right, but I needed that blood. She was wrong about the important things, anyway. Aro may be ruthless, but he was not an oath-breaker. He would keep his promise to me, I was sure of it. And even if I had no gift, I would make myself useful to him in some way. I would become a warrior. I would get Felix to train with me every day if I had to. I'd be more than just the mother of Aro's child.

What was so bad about that, anyway? It was a place of honor, not shame. The woman to bear the king the most children always got the highest place in his house. And this one would be highly gifted, I could tell. Everyone would envy me this child. And like every other ruler, Aro would have a progeny. It was no less than he deserved.

Regina was a fool. She thought the world belonged to her and her kind and could not accept a higher class of beings. I pitied her. She was plain and dull and bitter, and she would make a far less worthy replacement of my duties with the Volturi. She was not worth my petty anger.

So when Regina returned again, I accepted her apology. I gave up trying to get food from her; I took blood when she gave it to me three times a day, and I never asked for more or less. This baby would be out of me soon, and I'd never see her again.