Chapter 3: Man will Kill You
Note: My Envy (meaning, the one I portray in this fanfic) speaks in an archaic fashion, so excuse the fact he sounds incredibly sophisticated. He is sophisticated, and you'll find out why later.
Note 2: I attempted to do a different take on Envy, his personality and the FMA story in general. Hope you like!
The darkness is alive.
It shreds, it rages, it paralyses.
My tiny being is an atom
Inside its putrid black stomach.
Bile and sweat.
The darkness is alive
And it is slowly devouring
The slivers of identity
It had been three days. Thee days since Edward Green had first encountered the foetal homunculus, and faced the hideous wrath of the fat ringmaster. This is not to suggest that Edward had not approached the circus tent in which all this had occurred. He had indeed passed the huge white-and-green striped mass several times since. But
As the boy gazed, heart throbbing hard in his chest, up at the looming marquee, and remembered the homunculus's desperate pleas for help, something extraordinary yet wholly repulsive occurred. Something inside him quivered and urged him to run to the creature's salvationbut then Edward would jar as the fat, writhing, grinning face of the ringmaster would poison his mind's eye and rip apart his resolve. Every time, Edward found himself trudging away from that dreaded place, and every time a pitiful image of the homunculus, alone and waiting anxiously for his appearance, crying out in desolation as its one hope abandoned it to its hellish fate.
And every time, Edward Green would sob and moan in agony in the writhing grasps of remorse and self-loathing.
He ceased to eat. The sight of it made him retch, although his eating habits were the least of other's concern. The young boy's mind was sore and painfully aware of the emotions raging within him, the pain he had caused, and all this utterly negated any desire to eat. He lost weight, and his mind reeled with the strain. Every night Edward would awake screaming as he witnessed the homunculus standing, enraged and humanoid, before him, accusing him of betrayal and cowardice. The boy's dream-self would cry, no, no, please, I
I will save you! but the creature would look away, agonised, and call him a filthy liar, just like him. Before Edward could muster the strength to implore the creature to reason, the homunculus would spit at his feet, turn, and vanish into the darkness, leaving the boy to wake cold in his icy sweat and tears, croaking for it to come back.
By the third night, the boy was past the point of fear, eaten up by remorse, and leapt from his bed, spurred by the ardour of his wild determination. Seizing the matchbox lying on the crudely-fashioned beside table beside him, he struck it, sparked a glowing flame, and lit the candle in its brass candleholder, grasped the handle, and made his way cautiously across the room, out of the room, and into the living room.
It was engulfed in darkness, save for the eerie haze of light the candle flame provided. Edward inched his way across, shifting around the coarse dining chairs, iron stove, scrambled assortment of kitchenware, food and disorder strewn about the floor, until his clammy palms finally came into contact with the doorknob, and the rough material of his jacket hanging from a hook beside it. He knew full well the single other inhabitant would not stir for a raging riot outside his doorstep, such as the power of drunken slumber, but the unearthly silence made Edward feel endangered with discovery.
Snatching it off, he placed the candleholder down beside him on the floorboards, hastily donned his jacket, picked the brass holder up again, and grasped the cold knob with an apprehensive hand. Swallowing the last residues of fear and escapism, Edward Green ventured out with his little candle into the vast cold night stretching out before his raw vision, like a shadowy cosmos so genuine yet unknown to his senses.
Help me. Help me.
The homunculus's trapped whispers shivered in the frozen air around him, and Edward shook, walking in a pace agitated by urgency and a rising sense of the enormity of the mission he had undertaken. Hurrying past familiar hovelsnow black masses in the moonless nightacross the grass near the dirt path running through his village, Edward was aware of the utter silence prevailing him. It seemed he was the first man, wandering in search of a companion to share his desolate existence, through the freezing wind, dew-soaked grass dampening his torn trousers and tripping over dislodged stones in the undergrowth.
But still he hurried, as the tear-choked pleas of the creature who had placed the weight of its very existence on the boy's small shoulders, grew all the more loud and persistent.
At last, Edward felt the presence of the seemingly vast black shadow of the circus tent towered over his insignificant body, cold and ominous in the pitch silence.
Clenching the handle on his candleholder tightly, Edward crept across the grass towards the flap of the entrance and dropped into a crouch beside it. Risking a shallow breath, the boy licked his dry lips, and held the light to the gap in the entrance.
The air was like that of a bitter winter nightthe whole world's cold condensed into a single space. Shivering uncontrollably, Edward cast his feeble sallow haze across the hushed darkness, and saw it.
In the centre of the scope, was a single table, and upon it, the bulbous flash containing the tiny green creature lying within it. Surround it, only various props and boxes. All were stored for the next day's show.
Edward could not believe his own determinationthe steadfast resolution that had led him to come here and save this tiny being.
Sparing a few moments for silent inner meditation, Edward explored exactly why he was risking almost certain death at the hands of one who would most certainly destroy him, in order to save the life of tiny, insignificant homunculus. Then he remembered how its eyes had shone with a fervent hope as it gazed full at him, as if it had witnessed a deity in him, and how it struggled with despair to free itself from its glass prison, and how those around him had mocked its pitiful efforts with malice, as if saying: Ha! An inferior being such as you cannot hope to break free of our superior resources!
Edward grit his teeth, and, approaching the flask, glistening perfectly in the candle glow, crouched down so its gaze was level with that of the sleeping creature. Then, Edward raised a hand, and gently tapped the glassthe motion ringing like chimes in the quiet.
The little green foetal homunculus twitched, and, grudgingly, rose upwards. Its huge, bulging eyes half-opened, weary with sleep, and, upon seeing Edward, snapped open.
Light danced in the creature's deep purple eyes, and shone with tears. Opening its mouth, it spoke in a shrewd, shrill voice, as if the creature had inhaled a mouthful of helium.
'So you came...'
Edward's mouth almost dropped onto the floor in shock as his mind processed the fact that, heavens be praised, the creature had spoken! He controlled himself and nodded.
'Yes,' Edward replied, smiling. 'I'm sorry I took so long.'
At this, the creature's eyes sunk in recollection of the last few days' distress.
'Indeed,' it remarked quietly. 'I was beginning to resign myself to the notion I could not rely on a mere boy to quit me of my suffering.'
Edward flinched, and agony etched across his innocent features. Tears came to his eyes as the nightmares of his terrible nights came to haunt his reality.
'I...I'm sorry...' the boy choked, biting his lip. 'I...I...was...afraid...I...I wanted to save you...so much, but...but...'
He could not find an explanation, and the thought that he was excusing himself from his position of trust he had been bestowed threw Edward into a torrent of self-hatred.
The homunculus stared, wide-eyed and utterly bewildered at the genuine emotion in the boy's words and expression. It then occurred to it the insupportable weight of dependence and desperation had caused the boy to almost crumble under the strain. What had it been thinking? Ah, of course, it realised with horror and disgust. It hadn't been thinkinglonging and suffering had warped its judgement and actions, and any kind of rationality on its part. Now, this poor child was suffering, and it had been the cause. It, who had firsthand endured unimaginable suffering, had unremittingly inflicted the same on others.
'...It is I who should apologise,' the homunculus said, at length. Edward gazed at the creature, eyes ignorant and amazed. 'I forced you into a position that I was mad to believe any young boy capable of mentally and physically accomplishing, and did so without regard to yourself or your feelings, focusing instead on my own desires.'
With a calm breath, the foetal creature looked the boy straight in the eyes, and said:
'Leave me here. I have no business leaving this flask if I do so exploiting the life of a child. I apologise sincerely for causing you such distressnot to mention forcing you out of your home at this ungodly hour and cold. I thank you for your compassion, and I hope, perhaps, you can forgive my selfishness. Goodnight, boy.'
Edward Green was struck dumb. Presently, the homunculus closed its eyes and ventured to sleep. It had given up. This realisation sent a wave of injustice and pity coursing through his body. He tapped the glass.
Cracking open one eye, the homunculus regarded the boy sharply.
'What is it? Why do you remain? I have realised my error. Go home, before you are caught.'
It stopped as it saw a broad smile grace the boy's lips.
'You made no error,' Edward told the creature. 'I came here to save you. And that's what I'm going to do! I can't leave you in pain like this! I'm...I'm like you, after all. I've been waiting for an opportunity like this to take me away from the life I hatejust as you have. Now we both have a chance to be free. You and me, together! We can go anywhere we want without fear of punishment, not restrained or trapped by our own suffering. We could walk about, maybe make money doing odd trades, maybe eat some sweet buns, play games, and talk and laugh like...like...like friends...would...' Tears were spilling from Edward's eyes, and he trailed to a halt, sobbing.
The homunculus felt a sharp tug within its being, tears now in its own eyes. Without at first realising it, he had come into contact with a kindred spirit, one in the hundreds of humans he had witnessed, come and gone. Now he understood the factor in Edward's keen empathy, and wished to reciprocate it.
'Boy...cease your tears,' it soothed. 'We shall do all of that, together. I wish to show the selflessness you showed to me, and accompany you away from this accursed place.'
The homunculus' eyes shone brightly in the gloom.
'It seems I have underestimated you, little boy.'
Suddenly, Edward perked up, eyes alive with anger and entire being glowing with an almost uncontrollable loathing.
'Says the tiny, minute, undetectable, petite little homunculus!!' he shot back with comic indignation.
The homunculus stared. Then burst into high-pitched peals of laughter. So hysterical was its laughter, it seemed it had never done such a thing before in its life.
'Oh my...oh dear...I wondered what your weak spot was!' it sniggered through its giggles. 'Oh my...HA!...You have a funny temper...Ha ha...shorty! Ha!...'
'Don't call me that!' Edward cried, most of his anger diffused by the creature's mirth. '"Shorty", I mean!'
Wiping its eyes with its tiny hands, the homunculus suppressed its amusement.
'Apologies, apologies...' it said, still chuckling a little. 'Now you know me to be the biggest hypocrite known to man.'
'True,' he agreed, placing his candle on the table and picking up the creature's flask with both hands. 'But that's nothing you can't avoid if you stop calling me small!'
'We'll see,' the homunculus relented with half-hearted reluctance as Edward proceeded to grasp the thin, tube-like glass end and break it off with a sharp cracking sound.
Free, the homunculus leapt out from its ancient prison and onto the boy's shoulder, shrieking with ecstasy, bursting with a passion so long buried under the mires of despair the homunculus had been smothered amidst.
Edward's heart rejoiced to see the creature so infinitely happy. He felt its light elation lifting its heavy soul and propelling it heavenwards. He felt its long-awaited sight of true happiness before his eyes, and the bubbling anticipation of future times ahead.
'Ah!' the homunculus cried suddenly, having calmed somewhat. 'I have been so lost in rapture as to forget my manners! What is your name, child?'
'Edward Green,' the boy replied.
'Pleasure to meet you, Edward!' the homunculus exclaimed, 'Let's go!'
'I think not.'
A cold slice of ice scraped down his spine as the heavy, hissing voice of the ringmaster slithered into his ear. Edward let out a strangled cry as two fat hands seized him by the throat and squeezed. He tried to cry out, but the air was blocked in his mouth, choking him. Instead a terrified gurgling shuddered out, and he looked up to stare directly into the terrifying black orbs the ringmaster dared call eyes. Boxes crashed to the ground as the boy's legs collided wildly with them, sending props and costumes tumbling to the floor.
'EDWARD!' the homunculus screamed, horrified. It watched,eyes bulging, as the boy's kicking limbs began to grow slack, his breathing clogged and raspy.
'I told you not to go near the homunculus, boy!' the ringmaster snarled, shaking him till he cried out.
The tiny creature's hands balled into fists as a hot, raging hate and anguish boiled through his veins and clouded his brain like black smog.
Without warning, the creature flew at the ringmaster's fat crimson face. The huge man roared as the homunculus plunged its dagger-like teeth into his forehead, scratching at his flesh with all six of its scrabbling hands. The man's fingers fell away from Edward's throat, and the boy fell to the ground, gasping for air to fill his lungs. His cloudy vision fell upon a wooden staff that had fallen out of one of the wooden crates, and inched his fingers towards it, groping across the grass and dirt
Meanwhile the ringmaster bellowed as the homunculus tore, bit and scratched, blood streaming into his eyes and mouth. He tried to wrench it off, but the creature darted away from his fat fingers and continued its frenzied onslaught.
Edward's fingers curled around the staff
The ringmaster finally seized the homunculus and threw it away from him. The creature let out a piercing shriek as it smashed into one of the wooden crates nearby and fell to the earth a few meters from where Edward lay with a painful smack.
Edward gasped, straining to focus his vision, as he saw the blurred figure of the ringmaster approach the motionless little creature. He tried to raise himself, but the strength had left his legs and he fell down again.
'You shall pay for your insolence, homunculus!' he growled.
Fear and helplessness clawed at the boy's heart as he heard the creature's moans. It was then that the ringmaster raised his left leg and brought the hard sole of his shoe straight down upon it.
But it was too late.
A piercing scream cracked the air, and there was a sickening crunch as every bone in the creature's body shattered.
Edward heard the homunculus' pleasant words circling around his head.
'What is your name, child?', 'We shall do all of that, together!', 'Pleasure to meet you, Edward!'...
An unfathomable rage swept over him. He heaved to his feet and charged at the ringmaster, blinded by senseless fury. He raised the staff high with both hands and brought it driving down between the man's legs.
The ringmaster let out the most a howl of rage, swooned, and collapsed with an almighty thud upon the earth.
Edward held the staff in his shivering fists, staring at the massive form lying flat out before him with a mixture of terror and bewilderment, panting. His body had numbed, and he felt as if his body had suddenly taken over his mind. He stood there, motionless and cold. Then he heard a weak cough somewhere far away. He jumped, and suddenly he remembered.
He shook himself out of the daze and ran to where the tiny homunculus lay on its side, kneeling beside it, tears in his eyes.
The creature, breathing raggedly, cracked open the one eye and gazed up at the boy. The snake-like pupils were strained with pain, and yet there was no innate knowledge of certain death, an outcome which Edward feared was inevitable as he glanced in horror at the pitiful creature's crushed body.
' it wheezed.
'Homunculus, you shouldn't talk now
' Edward stammered, fearing any word could spell the end.
' the homunculus assured, chuckling weakly, 'homunculi are
ow!...sturdy creatures. The internal injuries are currently
Edward blinked, confused, and then noticed crackling red sparks dancing around and over the creature's mangled body. Looking closer, he saw, with amazement, that the sparks of energy were indeed repairing the crushed bones within it, the lost blood replaced into the newly repaired veins and arteries flowing to fuel the struggling heart.
'Oh...my...' the boy whispered, his pale features illuminated a faint pink in the light of the busy little sparks.
'What did you do to the fat human?' the homunculus inquired, more energy pumping in his voice, now that his punctured lungs were more or less healed.
Edward grinned somewhat awkwardly.
I rammed a staff into his
' He gestured self-consciously to the manly area in question.
The homunculus followed the vague motion of the boy's hand, the realisation lighting in its eye, and burst into peals of high-pitched, somewhat pained, laughter.
'HA! You thrust it into his groin?' it exclaimed, with admiration and hilarity, 'Well done, Edward, well done!'
why did he fall unconscious?' the boy asked, pleased despite himself.
Pure glee danced in the homunculus' amethyst eye.
'Ah! Ha ha ha! The groin is one of the many vulnerable spots on the human bodycalled pressure points. If the blow to this area in particular is hard enough, as yours was, it causes instant unconsciousness! My guess is,' the creature added, not without some relish, 'that the man will not awaken for quite a while!'
Edward shifted uncomfortably.
'We need to get out of here, before someone finds us,' he urged. He made a move to place his hands underneath the homunculus' body (the sparks having just fizzled away) in order to lift it, but stopped.
'Don't worryI am completely healed!' the creature asserted with an unshakable confidence. To prove this, it lifted itself up into a sitting position and leapt into the boy's palms with all the vigour of the sparks that had healed it.
Edward smiled in relief, and the homunculus scrabbled up the boy's arm, perching on his shoulder as if it had always belonged there.
'Are you certain about this?' the homunculus asked, peering intently into the boy's eyes.
The creature's human companion nodded, beaming.
'I've never been more certain about anything in my life,' he replied, with confidence and surety that swayed the homunculus completely from doubt.
'Be sure to move quicklymorning is fast approaching,' it warned. 'First you must hurry and stock up on fooddo not bother with myself, though. Homuculi have no need of food. Do this, and go. We must gather enough ground to outrun any pursuers,'
'I will,' Edward replied, and, taking one uneasy glance at the unconscious ringmaster, dashed out of the circus tent, through the entrance and out into the bright, cool dawn, where skylarks cried out in their joyful song and soared high across the heavens as the duo raced across the fields below towards the forest in the distance.