Disclaimer: I do not own Full Metal Alchemist or any characters except for Kemairia. Avarice belongs to the loverly Ryuu-Kitsune-Onna1, used by her permission, and everyone else belongs to the creator of Full Metal Alchemist. I make no money off of this.
AN/ I came to a realization as I read this that I do not think Dante would have had her young body yet. I cannot remember when in the storyline she took Lyra's body. Oh well. And things are gonna get weird up ahead, because I am mixing the fact that I am using the Homunculi (aside from Avarice who is owned by Ryuu-Kitsune-Onna1) are the 2003 anime version, I am going to be following the manga/2009 plot of Scar and Kimblee and the State Alchemists. So it may get a little confusing. So I give my heads up here :p, and likely a reminder in the next few chapters. Anyways, sorry that not much happens in this chapter, it is mainly a transition chapter, but some plot bunnies start poking their noses around, so don't skip it!
Last Time: "He…seems to be able to…explode them somehow. I want to know the exact method used. As to your regular returns, I doubt you could make enough of your potions to last for as long as this may take, and I would like you to make note of other points of interest while in Central…you know what I pertain to." She meant the Philosophers stone. Kemi was to at all times keep her ears open for even a hint of a rumor. She gave a curt not to signify that she understood, and when Dante waved her hand in a clear dismissal she bowed once more and turned to leave, a spring in her step and anticipation in her eyes.
Kemi adjusted the straps over her shoulders a bit and tightened the waist belt slightly until she was satisfied with the fit. Aside from several vials of her potions, and a pouch full of reusable needles (not like she could infect herself with anything) she also had a few pouches of powder that had many uses, mostly in distraction. She also had a set of brass knuckles Avarice had gotten for her somehow, and a knife from Lust that was sheathed in the between her shoulder blades to be drawn upward as well as a second one sheathed and strapped to her inner upper right thigh, her shirt fell almost mid-thigh, so covered the sheath and belt well enough. Not that she needed any such weapons, but it was said that variety was the spice of life. Not that she said anything such thing, but if it worked to her purposes she would use it.
She pulled on a loose black leather jacket on over her shirt and bandolier, and put on steel-toed boots. She pulled a black knit cap on over her hair (and ears) and her tail was tucked through the belt of her bandolier (although it did have the unfortunate tendency to cramp if left like that too long). Thus clothed she appeared to be a child of 12 or 13, and perhaps this is as she would have looked by now save for the 'doctor's' experimentations. Her eyes were a little more difficult to hide effectively, but a pair of darkly tinted glasses worked well enough. She looked a little like a gangster dressed this way, but she rather liked the effect. She looked dangerous. She finished the look by pulling on black knit fingerless gloves.
She looked around the room for a moment, her thoughts stuttering to a halt and she stared at her medical files blankly for what seemed like hours although it was only a minute. She was shaken out of her stupor when her door was suddenly unceremoniously slammed open. Before she could fully react she was wrapped in strong arms and squished to a pair of soft breasts. She tilted her head back and stared calmly up at Avarice.
"I was expecting you to be here sooner." She commented dryly as Avarice nuzzled her possessively. She wiggled her way out of Avarice's grip, and although the woman's hands tightened on her arms in what may have been painful but for Kemi's tolerance. She turned to face to woman, her head tilted to the side to appraise the woman.
"You came to see me off?" She asked the question as a rare courtesy, she wasn't really curious as to why Avarice was there. The woman was here, she had her own reasons, and she never gave Kemi a straight answer anyways. She seemed to thrive on driving everyone around her insane with trying to understand her. So Kemi didn't even try. Avarice didn't care.
"Of course I did, Kitty-kat!" She avowed, hugging Kemi once again before finally releasing her. Kemi didn't even growl or roll her eyes anymore, she hardly acknowledged the inane moniker that the girl seemed all too pleased to bestow upon her constantly.
"Well now you have seen me." She informed the older girl.
"Oh, always so cold, Kitty-kat!" Avarice whined and tugged at her cap a little, ostensibly to complete the image of a whiny child, but in reality she was adjusting the fit over the younger girl's ears. Knowing the motives behind Avarice's actions Kemi did not slap her hand away as her instincts screamed at her to do.
"I'm body temperature." She commented dryly which sent the older girl into a fit of giggles that had her stumbling back from her, her hands on her knees as she gasped for air. Kemi allowed a smirk to curve her lips, she did know what Avarice had meant by her comment, but seeing Avarice's reaction made her pleased to have told 'a joke'. Avarice had been trying to teach her humor recently, it was having mixed results.
"What the hell are you cackling about so damn early in the morning?" An annoyed voce snarled from behind them, Kemi turned to glance over her shoulder at a disgruntled Envy. Avarice was still recovering, her face quite pink.
"I told a joke." Kemi informed him smugly, he scoffed in disbelief and walked past her to grab Avarice by her collar and pull her upright. "Were you not here to see me off?" She asked when it appeared that he was just taking the older girl and leaving. Not that she particularly cared. Not a bit.
"Why would I want to do something like that?" Envy asked her with a haughty sniff, looking down his nose at her as he began to drag Avarice from the room, not that she resisted very much.
"Because without me stalking you incessantly you will lose your edge and become fat and lazy." She informed him with a slow drawl as he was about to leave her room. Her comment caused Avarice to collapse to the floor in laughter, slipping from Envy's suddenly slack hold as he turned to face her slowly with a blank look on his face; almost, but not quite shock. His mouth worked soundlessly for several moments as if words were actually failing him.
"You….have a real smart mouth on you, girl." He growled somewhat threateningly, but Kemi really didn't think he was mad, partially insulted perhaps, somewhat amused, not mad. The way he snarled the last word like it was an insult though…
"Better than a stupid one."
"Hnn. Perhaps." He smirked, looking amused. He turned to pick Avarice up be her arm and began to leave again, throwing a parting shot over his shoulder, "Well, you best hurry back in one piece, lest I become too fat to walk." Kemi assumed that was his way of telling her to stay safe. She felt oddly pleased by his concern, not that she needed it. And if he had announced his concern (not that he was concerned) clearly she would have had to attack him for her honor, so it was best he had been subtle.
She had been walking for hours and had made good time. Being on her own out in the world was different. She much preferred it. She could set her own pace, and not have to put up with people she did not trust in the least nor like very much. She would admit to some degree of fondness (for Lust and Avarice at least, maybe even Gluttony. Sloth was too timid and simpering for her taste, but she was actually fond of Wrath, a boy after her own heart he was. Envy went without saying that she thrived on making him annoyed, and she had never met Pride), in the deepest depths of her mind, but that did not mean she cared to spend so very much time with them. She had been alone for as long as she could remember after all.
She had grown used to being surrounded by trees again, after having never seen any before in her memories, to walking through them for two days to reach the manor, and then not having much to do with them the couple months she had lived at the manor. She was thankful to her quick adaptability. The shade was nice, and she had begun to practice climbing the trees and jumping from branch to branch, seeing how long she could go without touching the ground; it was almost fun. It made hunting interesting as well, and when she leapt from a branch twenty feet off the ground and tackled a stag to the ground while breaking his neck so that he was dead before hitting the dirt she felt nothing but triumph and satisfaction.
But it was not all fun and games, she was on a mission and this mindset never left her consciousness for a moment. She was always aware of the plants around her, stopping regularly to examine any species she had not seen before, smelling, touching, tasting. Anything at all that could be used to stem her chemical breakdown. She could not die before she killed the 'doctor', and she could not kill him until she found him, and so far as she knew (and Dante was ostensibly keeping her informed, although Kemi was not certain how much she could trust anything that the women told her) he was still 'underground' as it were. She would need to wait for the bastard to show himself, the filthy coward. And then after that, well, she had always planned on dying after taking him out, even as an eight year old when she began to fantasize more and more elaborate ways to kill. But now that she had a taste of life away from the facility…well that did not matter. She was on a mission, and she would not fail Dante. She would find her Alchemist killer, and find out about the Philosopher Stone.
She had discovered recently however that Dante already had a rather strong breakthrough in that field, each Homunculus had his own stone, albeit an imperfect one. Avarice had shown her. It was how they survived. At that thought she suddenly stumbled to a halt, almost falling on her face as she fell to one knee. Could that be…would that work? If they implanted one of their crimson stones in her body like they did to the others? Would that stop her body from breaking down? Could the right chemical combinations make their proto stones stronger? She shook her head violently, pulled her backpack by the back up over her head and pulled out her notebook and a pen, quickly scrawling down her thoughts. It may be that this conclusion has already occurred to them, it may not. But as it may be, this was nothing she should distract herself with at the moment. She had work to do dammit. She undid the chest strap and pulled the backpack on one arm at a time before re-strapping it, no need to break the thing.
She got back to her feet with a lithe motion and began jogging once again, her eyes alight, there may be hope for her yet!
She stood in the shadows of trees, hidden from sight, and shaking slightly with a mixture tension and anticipation. She was on a forested bluff above the outskirts of the city, and she had never in her life even imagined of so many people. The most she had ever seen at one time before leaving the facility was fifteen people when the 'doctor' had been holding some sort of meeting concerning her designs. The villages they had passed through on the way to the manor had perhaps ten times that number. Her away missions had taken her to some places larger on the two occasions she had left the manor for longer than a week before, but that could hardly compare. This…this was hundreds, thousands times that number. Their scent was overwhelming, and she had stood there with her hand over her nose for almost an hour now, acclimatizing to the sight and smell of so many people. And so loud! She had never been so grateful to have her hearing muffled by the hat as she did in this moment.
Disgusting, squirming little rats, bustling without thought. Her lip curled back in disdain as she watched the people below. They were still so far away, they seemed like ants, but she could still hear and smell and see them. She would have to go among them, talk to them…be touched by them. She snarled silently at the thought. This would be both harder and easier than she had thought. Firstly, with so many people, she would obviously be nothing special, nothing to pay any attention to. And it would be easy enough to escape detection through such crowds. However finding her way would prove difficult, this took her quite out of her comfort zone. And she would have eyes on her at any moment, she would have to think of how she wanted to portray herself, now, and then stick to it no matter what.
Hopefully with so many people about, it should not be difficult to find out about strange murders of high ranking men…especially when explosions are involved. But even so she was still reluctant to enter town. She almost wished she had Avarice with her, the woman would know what to do…she blinked. Could she really? Dare she act like Avarice? Hadn't she always thought the woman behaved like a child? She didn't know if she could stand to touch people as much as Avarice did though, nor would leaping about waving her arms and babbling inane nonsense do her any good. No, it would do no good to act as Avarice did, not until she had as much practice at misdirection as she did.
She sat down and gave thought to what part she would act when she entered the city of men. Central city.
AN/ OMG, I updated. Working on next chapter now.