Jul 06, 2020 1:15 PM
Belmarniss in Fullmetal Alchemist
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Emma's head's starting to hurt from staring at Doctor Marcoh's stupid notes. She understands why he encoded them so thoroughly - and this code is brilliant - but it's been ten days of very, very little sleep. Bellona hasn't been sleeping, though she generally doesn't.

Still, Emma's almost there, if she could just decipher this last little reference...

She's disturbed by a yawn. Her own. Great. Emma blinks, glances around at the piles of books, and has an idea.

She pulls down one of her earlier sets of notes, starts cross referencing...

And she finishes the code.

Emma sits back, hard, staring at the pages.

The key ingredient to the philosopher's stone is human lives.

And that's just the start.

Of course, before she can process this fully, life decides to interrupt her, because when does it ever let her rest.

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The life that interrupts her is not human but some kind of purple creature, very wrapped up, white-haired, with goggles stuck to her forehead and a knife and crossbow at her belt and a bag on her back. "Yaugh!"

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She jumps and just barely doesn't knock over her chair.

She does not reflexively cover her notes. She almost does. But her notes and translations are also in code so it just looks like someone's writing a very detailed and messy draft travelogue while reading a cook book, and covering that'd be suspicious.

She slides into a ready stance to cover her flinch. It isn't quite threatening, but she's staring at the stranger, and very clearly trained in fighting herself.

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The advantage of being an empty suit of armor with a soul attached is you don't have an adrenal gland, and Bellona's trained herself out of instinctive flinches.

She stays seated, calmly looking up from the mess of notes she has spread out.

"Hi!" she says. "Who're you, and how'd you get in here like that?" Bellona has perfectly good priorities and she is fairly certain the woman wasn't standing there earlier.

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"Tongues. Say again?"

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"I said 'Hi, who're you, and how'd you get in here like that.'" Someone with attention issues?

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"I'm Belmarniss and I don't know."

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"Why are you purple?" Emma asks, sensibly, before Bellona can get nerd sniped.

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"Runs in the family. Where am I?"

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"A library in Central City in Amestris! Where are you from?"

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"You won't have heard of it. This spell lasts an hour total, by the by."

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"Spell?"

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"That I'm using to speak your language. I have another one that'll let me understand you but not talk back."

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" - I haven't heard of alchemy that lets you speak languages. Is a spell something else?"

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"...yeah, it has nothing to do with alchemy, I don't even know how to make potions let alone alchemical preparations."

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"Potions? Alchemy's the science of transmutation."

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"I know some spells in the transmutation school, but I suspect we're talking at cross purposes."

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"Probably, especially if you have something translating for you. Which is cool - you're stranger than what we usually run into."

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"It's mutual."

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"Do you have a way to get back where you're from?"

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"Not as such. I can probably figure it out eventually."

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"You'll need a place to stay here - you'd really stand out... Our guards would probably report you to the military government, too, and they're outside the door, and the government doesn't like foreigners wandering around without papers but that's probably because we're at war with all our neighbors... I guess if you're foreign though some kind of - foreign affairs building or department or something would be appropriate though?"

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Emma mentally puts together 'Philosopher's stones are people' and 'Marcoh worked for the government' and 'if I was a military dictatorship with the ability to trivially vanish people and a lot of motive to do that', and says: "Government's evil."

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"But the government's evil so that might actually be a bad idea."

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"I have a spell that turns my skin beige and my hair brown but I can't cast it till tomorrow."

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"I can get people around without them being seen pretty easily but it's a bit graceless - my armor's hollow, and I can modify it to be cozier... Probably no one'd question it if we stayed in here overnight again, too, but I'm guessing you need to eat? And there'd still be questions about how you got into a guarded room in a restricted library..."

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