Title: Ripples - Chapter 5
Series: brotherhood. Legend!verse part 2
Pairing: Roy/Ed, Al/SECRET
Summary: Rumors are stirring just like Ed's boredom, and the world begins to change. "You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
Notes: I turned Al into a pervert. Sorry. *So not sorry. * I also swear I’m not trying to give you history lessons in these things, it just tends to happen that way. I love love love history. So when I bring up history I try to do my best to explain it, but again, please please please tell me if you get confused. I am more than happy to clear it up. Also, see if you find something you remember from early on! :D
I was also severely sick when writing this (still am) so forgive me for any mistakes.
Al flipped through one of the books found at El Dorado. His brother and the General had told them that after they’d recovered from the idea that El Dorado had been a fake they’d gone and explored a bit more in it. Apparently not everything was fake. They’d found many books talking about all sorts of things, from ancient religions to ones more like modern societies. There’d been books on biology and medicine as well as astronomy and history. There’d been literature and biographies. It had also held “court” documents and laws. It was a treasure trove of information about ancient society. The most amazing part of it was that there had been books on ancient alchemy of a kind as well as “magic”. Al had taken those before his brother could get to them. Although they’d long moved past the strain of Ed not having alchemy, Al knew it still hurt. So he tried to do as little alchemy as possible around his brother, and tried not to talk about it either. He consoled himself with the idea that he’d taken the books for his brother’s own good, and not out of his own desire to find what exactly ancient alchemy had been like. Al momentarily wondered how the General dealt with Ed and the alchemy issue, he’d never asked, not that he wasn’t curious, because it seemed so…private. Al’s mind temporarily derailed into wondering about the uses of alchemy and sex. He blinked. Winry’d never let him use alchemy on her, she’d been afraid of the loss of control. He felt the flush come to his face quickly and he slapped both hands to his cheeks and the sound resounded in the library just as Mei walked in. She raised one of her eyebrows but thunked a couple more books down onto the table in front of Al.
“Here are the rest of the books. Can you read ancient Xingian?”
“A little. I’m better with the more modern version though.”
The princess sat down in a chair across from him. “Even though you’d probably be able to read it, it’ll be easier if it’s in Amestrian right?”
“I suppose so.”
“Then I’ll translate some of it for you. It’ll lighten your work load, right?”
Al smiled. “Yes. Thank you, Mei.”
Mei smiled back brightly. “I don’t mind, as long as you let me take a look at some of those texts you’ve got over there.”
Al shoved some of the books across the table towards her. “Take your pick.”
The quiet in the library was a wonderful and familiar feeling to Alphonse who remembered the long days he and his brother used to spend when they were searching for answers. He smoothed his hand over a page thoughtfully, and as he read his eyebrows began to climb.
“It is said that in a time before alchemy there was magia or malificarum. There is a large difference between these two. Magia is “white magic” andmalificarum is “black magic”. In the olden days there were those who were healers and used magia, and those who consorted with the devil usemalificarum for evil purposes. Healers were also frequently charmers, and they were known to cure and heal those who were cursed or ill. Those who consorted with the devil often took vengeance on those they thought had wronged them by killing their children and crops. They often poised enemies as well. But as time moved forward there was a change in this thought. Healers and charmers – the wise people – were lumped in with witches – the ones who consorted with the devil – and a world-wide witch hunt started. Villagers accused villagers, family accused family, friends accused friends. It was devastating. Eventually this craze passed but seventy five percent of the women accused were executed as witches. Approximately fifty to eighty thousand people were killed. These witch hunts died down and then there were no more healers or charmers or witches. Instead medicine and biology took over…
Al looked up and turned to Mei, “Do you think you can find anything in your books – the Xingian ones about witch hunts or witch crazes? I’m looking for a more recent one.”
Mei shuffled some books around and stood up. “I’ll go take a look. We might have something.”
Al bent his head over his reading again. Mei returned quickly carrying three large volumes in her arms. “There’s bound to be something in these.”
They each took one and biting his lip, Al meticulously took down dates of different events that occurred. His eyes continually scanned the pages for names. He hoped that by finding names he could go to the archives and perhaps gather more direct information from a primary source rather than a secondary source. In the third volume, the most recent, he found something interesting. It was a massacre that took place not too long after Amestris was founded. It didn’t go into any great detail, but it stood out to Alphonse and he hoped to explore it more thoroughly. It gave a location in Amestris where there was a graveyard.
Mei stood over his shoulder and shook her head, “It was like a war against a single type of people.”
“Genocide, like Ishval.” Al whispered. “It’s horrible. Absolutely horrible.”
Mei closed her fingers over Al’s shoulders and squeezed. “I’m sorry, is the research not going in a way you want it to?”
“That isn’t it…I never had intention of making it go one way or another. I’m just trying to discover the meaning in these books. But so far it’s got little to do with alchemy.”
“Just keep reading. Maybe something you find will explode all notions of what you were hoping to find.”
Al patted Mei’s hands. “Thank you, you’ve been extremely helpful. Say, why don’t I take you to dinner tonight to thank you?”
Mei’s eyes lit up. “Really? I’d really like that, there are some great places to go here!”
She placed her cheek against the top of Al’s head. “It is really good to see you, I missed you.”
Al let a small smile curve his lips as he turned to look at Mei. “I missed you too.”
There was a small silence and then Mei bounded back a few feet. “Well, I have some other things to attend to. Dinner at seven then?”
Al nodded and lifted a hand in farewell. He dragged one of the books that Mei had had on her side closer and flipped through it. His hands shook as he stared down at one of the pages and his mouth hung open.
“Magia developed in secret after the exterminations. As it developed it lost a lot of what it used to be. It could no longer be used without restriction. It begin to separate and divide, one side healing, one side reforming. The healing side used the energy of the earth – let it flow and ebb like the beating of the human heart or of blood rushing through veins. The reforming side retained the ability to transform one object into another. But soon more restrictions were placed even on that. The ability to transform one item into another without consequence disappeared. Now one couldn’t preform magia without equivalent exchange. It was renamed alchimia. This slowly traversed across to the Eastern Desert.
Al let his head fall into his hands. He had the origins of Xerxes’ alchemy and alkhestry. He rubbed his eyes. God, he thought, this is huge. So much bigger than anything we’ve ever known. If someone could find out how to perform the real magia then the laws of equivalent exchange would be forever broken. It’s too dangerous…far too dangerous.
Mei recruited him for their dinner at half past six. Al offered her his arm and she took it. They walked in silence to the restaurant. The princess must have come there often since when the hostess saw her she bowed and picked up menu’s and led them towards the back. They reached a flight of stairs which they went up. They didn’t stop there but mounted another flight of stairs. It left them on the third level. It was beautifully decorated in the colors of the night sky and Al could see why. The ceiling was covered with a blue cloth with all the stars and constellations meticulously mapped out. Al motioned the hostess closer and whispered something in her ear. The hostess nodded and turned towards the right corner of the room where she yanked on a crank. All of a sudden the cloth began to part and it revealed the real night sky, spread above them.
Al could feel his mouth trying to form words, but not quite making it. “Beautiful,” he managed as he looked down at Mei who was biting her lip.
“I had hoped you’d like it. I love coming here to eat, it always feels so magical and wonderful.”
“I can see why.” Al turned his face up to the sky. He felt Mei’s hand slip into his and squeeze. He squeezed back. They didn’t talk about work while they ate, instead they talked about their past and things they wanted to do in the future. Al told Mei that he had been thinking about doing something in the medical field or in the military.
“I’ve had a couple years to think about it, and the military is changing. I think I could go willingly into a department like investigations, I’d like to be able to make a difference.”
Mei leaned across the table murmuring, “That’s wonderful! Here I am simply a princess and a healer.” She took Al’s hand in hers, turning it over so it was palm up. She traced his lifeline. “I always knew that to win the throne I’d have to be strong and diligent, be able to do what others could not. I did chose this path, but now that it is moot, I’m searching for a new one. Perhaps, when you return to Amestris, you will take me with you?”
“I don’t mind if that’s what you’re asking. I think you’d do Amestris another great service if you came back with me. You already helped save my country once.”
Mei leaned back and clicked her chopsticks together as she spoke, “You know, there’s plenty more books like the ones I pulled out today. They’re not well used so they’re in the back.” She shook her head. “A lot of them reference Amestris and the other later countries. Xing has always made it a habit to study their potential opponents. Now though, we may have finally found peace.”
“I’d like that, I wish I could bring them back to Amestris though – the books I mean – because so much of the work is field work and needs to be done on the spot.”
Al tried to steer the conversation away from work and back to what they wanted to do. “In any case, if you do come back to Amestris, what would you like to see?”
“I’d like to see everything that has to do with your alchemy! And your medicine! Especially Central! I’ve seen so much of the East, but so little of the heartland!”
“Heartland, huh?” Al said, “Interesting word choice.”
“But isn’t that what it is? The heart of the country?”
Al laughed. “I suppose it is. I’ve never thought of it like that before. Everything did used to radiate out from there when you think about it. Maybe you’ll bring insights to the medical field no one has thought of before.”
“You don’t need to compliment me, Al.”
“You deserve it though.”
Mei’s eyes narrowed. “Stop buttering me up.”
Al grinned and rested his head on a fist. “Am I?”
She leaned over and slapped him on the arm. “Stop teasing!”
Al leaned back and rocked his chair. “It really is praise well deserved. You have no idea what it meant to us that you saved Riza Hawkeye. You may have helped save us all.”
Mei’s eyes softened. “I’m glad I helped then.”
Outside the palace, after they had left the restaurant, Al took Mei’s hand in his and kissed it, before leaning over to place a chaste kiss on her mouth. “Good night,” he whispered.