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Maybe I Did, Maybe I Didn't

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New member
Feb 4, 2008
Dewford Town
So I had the urge to write something the other day, and behold, this was born.


Scholasticism with its infinitely subtle argumentation,
Theology with its ambiguous phraseology,
Astrology, so vast and so complex,
are all children's play when compared with alchemy.
- Albert Poisson

There is not a method nor calculation, religion or deed that holds the power to erase what I have done. I was given innumerable warnings; many a night would I find that those intuitive to the ways of the earth had got wind of my plans and set out to disgrace my public image, spreading malicious rumors about the secret experiments I performed within the bowels of my private mansion. Of course, no one believed such folly… I was to those people like a god, a flawless entity to be revered and cherished without question or understanding or even the slightest need for intelligent thought.

Like lambs led mindlessly to the slaughter.


I did not originally intend to make a Philosopher’s Stone. The bloody thing was so overrated that I was thoroughly disgusted and appalled with the materialistic desires of the alchemists of the age. Truly, I entered into the profession because my father had always envisioned me as the child who would climb from the pit he had dug for himself and our family and carry on his research, which even then was conducted for purely medicinal purposes. I must admit that I admired my father for this reason, but only with a certain reserved respect, as I imagine one would view a poisonous reptile within their midst. He was not a bad man, however… merely misunderstood by the rest of the practitioner population.​

My father had always had the most patience with me, as I was a rather stubborn child who enjoyed finding things out in her own fashion. Even when he first began to practice alchemy I would humor him, letting him explain certain formulas aloud while I feigned interest in whatever visual interpretations he had been working with at the moment. The only times I ever really paid attention to his ramblings were the rare occasions when he would discuss chemical decomposition , as a demonstration was sure to follow . It fascinated me to no end; to witness an object rent asunder as the physical bonds which held it together were torn apart in moments, causing pieces of the unspecified item to completely shun their former existences and fling themselves helter-skelter upon the ground like raindrops in a summer storm. Those instances would ignite within me a fleeting passion to unlock the secrets alchemy held, but my wayward heart would always find some other preoccupation to channel my energies elsewhere.​

There was no specific occurrence that could be labeled as the catalyst for my decision to become an alchemist. As I said, my father had somehow always known that I would follow in his footsteps, and since I did not desire a mediocre life, I took the opportunity when it was presented to me. I became apprenticed to a man who knew the bare basics of the art, but often enjoyed pretending that he was far more skilled than some of the most brilliant practitioners in the country. Indeed, it pained me greatly to stay my hand as I watched him present the chimeras that I had transmuted to other alchemists; time after time, standing by as he received all the credit for my hours of research and toil, conducted many a night by candlelight…​

I suppose this may have been part of what caused me to break in the end.


The transition from an average, middle-class errand girl to fully credited biological alchemist forced me to grow up in ways I would never have imagined. I understood the workload and intellect that would be required of those who desired to pursue the trade, but I did not expect alchemy to change me as it did, both physically and mentally. As a rule, biological alchemy requires one to review his or her personal moral and social beliefs in order to determine when to draw the line; that is, when experimentation can no longer be labeled ‘humane’. Once this line has been crossed, there is no turning back, for the insatiable drive to discover what lies beyond that first step across the threshold cannot be stopped.​

For two years I put up with the abuses of my boastful instructor. Somehow I always managed to shoulder the emotions caused by his incessant denial of my contributions, hiding the feelings deep inside so that I could pour over them whenever I felt the need. I was young, being merely twelve, and did not understand the proper way to deal with the emotional residue of such situations. My teacher certainly knew how to add fuel to my secret fire, though, for every time he would invite neighboring practitioners to his laboratory, he would look at me and smirk, saying “It’s just, good business.” You can imagine the sheer pleasure I experienced when I quoted that phrase in his ear just before I killed him.​

“…It’s just, good business.”


I was not the first person to be suspected for the death of my master (mostly because of my ripe age), but by the time the gruesome clues had even began to point in my direction I was long gone. The usefulness of my hometown had run its course, and I was eager to extend my knowledge past what meager sustenance my previous education had provided. My obsession was alchemy: I lived it, breathed it, and allowed its complicated reasoning to completely control my view of the known world. It took me eleven years to find the perfect environment in which to settle, a city so young and naïve that its people were practically like nuggets of gold within my hands, ready to be bent and twisted into whatever shape my uncontrollable passion deemed. Due to the extremely isolated location of the town and the forbidding climate that came with its locality, not a single resident had ever heard of the existence of alchemy or its uses. This gave me the freedom to create whatever scenario I wanted to explain the methods behind a transmutation, and since I held all the cards in this game, my possibilities were endless.​

It took several weeks for the members of my newfound city to become adjusted to my presence. The more superstitious ones (mainly, those persons more advanced in their age) denied me for an even longer period of time. I am not foolish; I kept to simple transmutations and offered my services to the population in full humility and respect. However, even the symbols I exploited in my transmutation circles seemed to repulse those definitively wary individuals. There is no doubt that I pride myself on my patience, though, for I conducted myself honorably and soon won over even the hearts of those who had shunned me from the first moment of my arrival. Alchemy is indeed an incredibly useful knowledge to possess, so the people eventually realized that I was rather handy in certain situations. And of course, I was simply dying to help a fellow soul out.​

It did not take long for me to fully grasp what I meant to these people. Their humble lifestyles and general acceptance of the everyday occurrences of life had previously acted as the center point of their existence, but my arrival marked the beginning of a new era in their pitiful cycle of reality. Since my specialty was biological alchemy, I acted as a sort of beacon of hope to those condemned to the consequences of their negative physical conditions. A single patient cured of his or her ailment started a chain reaction of joy and thankfulness that would spread to everyone and anyone who had at one time sympathized with the previously inflicted individual. From these people I received a sort of flawless admiration that should belong only to the utmost of deities… and merely the presence of that level of blind esteem empowered me with a sense of ownership: that these souls were mine, and I could do with them whatever I so wished.

Alchemists are such sick living things.


As soon as I had established myself within a monstrous estate that was provided to me by several of the city’s members, I began to perform more serious experiments. My primary focus was the development of moderately to highly intelligent chimeras: creatures that possessed the ability to reason or perhaps the capacity for human speech. Unfortunately, I was met with disappointment after disappointment. There was no combination of minor organisms I could find that would act together as the perfect blend of mental capacity and physical competence. In the best case, the resulting chimera would retain a mildly dependent memory bank or even be able to manipulate such human tools as a fork or knife, but those chimeras were failures in my eyes. I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I could achieve my lofty goal. All I needed to do was identify the perfect arrangement of organisms that would fulfill the requirements for my intelligent chimera. Little did I know, the main ingredient for this transmutation was going about its business merely feet away from the entrance to my study.​

There was a young girl who had lost her parents in a severe winter storm and made her living by taking odd jobs throughout the city. Her name was Carrie, and the spark that had existed within her I doubt I will ever see again in another. She had taken an interest in me when I had first arrived, and not long after I had taken refuge in my mansion she begged me to take her in. I had no doubt that she felt it her personal responsibility to serve me in whatever way she could, so I kept her as a servant girl for several months. I suppose I could best describe her as sweet, caring, and gullible. She never complained about her tasks, and I must admit that I had never seen any fault in her during her time in my house. Her innocent spirit could never have guessed that I would use her as an ingredient in my chimera transmutation; the one that actually succeeded. Not a single question escaped her lips when I set her up in the middle of my transmutation circle, and not once did her eyes leave mine even as I held out my arms to activate the circle.​

The chimera’s first word was “culpa.”


Yes, the transmutation was a success, but despite the fact that I had finally created an intelligent and speaking chimera, I admit I knew not what to do with it. I created it mostly because I knew that I had the knowledgeable capacity, but there was always that underlying reason as to why I had gone through these pains to achieve my goal; this smouldering desire to prove any person critical of alchemy’s success wrong. The constant nagging voices of the critics who had lived back in my home town would echo constantly throughout my subconscious mind as I toiled on with the imperfect fruits of my labor… but now all that had changed. My chimera spoke, and I knew it would be capable of far more than that after I had taken the time to educate it upon the finer points of civilized humanity. More than anything, I yearned to return to my birthplace to show off my creation. However, I knew deep down that this whim of mine would never come to pass. Even if I managed to disguise myself well, I did not dare risk the chance of being found out by another alchemist.​

It was about this time that I began to pay heed to the notion of a Philosopher’s Stone; a legendary substance said to be capable of turning worthless metals into gold, but containing a far deeper meaning than this simple explanation. Of the tales that had often circulated throughout the practitioner population about this subject, there were few I cared to hear. I was inclined to gravitate towards more intelligent and realistic topics, but there had been one theory about the stone that captivated me. Many years ago I had overheard a conversation between two alchemists, one of whom had formulated his own thoughts about the Philosopher’s Stone. The passion with which he communicated his mindset and his flawless explanation of that belief rooted his ideals into my very being: “The knowledge of creation, an emblem of man’s final transformation, joy out of suffering, victory from battle, even life to the dead… this is what the blood-red stone grants.” As I contemplated these things, I discovered within myself a desire that had not existed there before:

I wanted the Philosopher’s Stone.

Since it apparently did not exist, I would create it.

… Let the fun begin.


Of course, immediately after I came to this conclusion there were numerous problematic situations that arose. Other than the information I had previously overheard or read from times past, I knew little to nothing about the Philosopher’s Stone. The first step in this journey would therefore be one of great importance, as I would have to gather whatever intelligence about the stone that I could possibly find. I realized that the town I occupied currently would not contain any information worth a second glance, so I went about preparing to leave under the guise of visiting relatives from a far-off country. My chimera was left in the care of an unsuspecting neighborhood family; I knew the two young sons of the couple would find the creature amusing. After I was sure that all my affairs within the town were in order, I set off in the direction of the largest city known to the age. I remember that the sky was slightly overcast the evening I left, and the sinking sun caused the underbelly of the cloud bank to ignite a brilliant crimson color. At the time, I took the sight as an omen of promise.

Alas, it was a futile effort. I could not find a single solid clue as to the composition of the Philosopher’s Stone. Certainly, every other alchemist had his theories and personal convictions about the subject, but since none of those hypotheses coincided, I deemed them not worthy of my time. The universal solvent Azoth, carmot, the panacea… I even pursued information on the copper-antimony alloy commonly known to alchemists as the “Net”. None of it made sense, and I felt as if I was running out of time. I traveled from town to town, mindlessly chasing a concept that seemed unfathomable, until I could take it no more. I returned to the remote village empty-handed and utterly disgusted. Without saying a word to anyone, I entered my house and immediately retreated into my study, sealing the door with alchemy; I was intent on figuring out the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone myself, within the comfort of the sanctuary that was my laboratory/library. I cared not how long it would take, nor the price to be paid for the goal to be achieved. One cannot gain anything without first offering something in return.

I remained in my study for… I cannot recall how many days. There was not a thing in the world that mattered to me save discovering the ingredients for the Philosopher’s Stone, much less the passage of time. The intelligent chimera I had transmuted was forgotten; any and all other topics I had been researching before I had been seized with this madness were now meaningless to me. Consumed, controlled, driven by an impulsive desire for understanding, I found myself also lacking in need of sustenance or rest. I poured over innumerable parchment manuscripts and dozens of worn leather-bound volumes, anxiously seeking enlightenment to the truth. It was not until I had very nearly given up my search altogether that I stumbled upon the thing I had been trying to obtain for nearly seven years. In a moderately dusty corner of my study I discovered an ancient-looking tome beneath a mountain of used quill pens. Flipping through several of the pages, I was quick to realize that the text of the book was in a language I did not recognize, but what truly drew my inquisitive gaze were the curious transmutation markings inscribed with great detail upon each aged leaf. They were unlike any of the circles I was accustomed to using; each symmetrical design contained strokes that branched off from a significant center point, twisting amongst one another until ending with a distinct arrowhead shape. I was oblivious as to the meaning of these abstract drawings until my eyes fell upon the universal symbol for the Philosopher’s Stone. There was no mistaking it… these were the transmutation circles supposed to help channel the raw energy of a completed Philosopher’s Stone. I clutched the precious volume to my chest and hurried to find a glossary of world languages in one of the many bookshelves that line the walls of my study. With the secret of the stone merely minutes from my discovery, I would let nothing postpone the climax of this investigation.

As if, after all that I had done, the truth would faze my final judgment.


Human souls. The main ingredient absolutely required to create the Philosopher’s Stone was human souls. Never in all my years would I have guessed that a thing so unexplainable, so misunderstood, and yet altogether wondrous, would act as fodder for alchemy’s most coveted object. I cannot describe the numerous things I felt when I finally reached the truth of my desire, though I can say that hesitation was not one of those emotions. The Philosopher’s Stone was what I set out to create, and create it is what I was determined to do. Did I not have an entire city practically on their knees in gratitude of my charitable actions? Was I not right in requiring my due? The opportunity was presented to me… finally, in all its unrestrained glory it lay before me, and I was prepared to take it. I was truly past the point of no return.​

As I first began to instruct the people of the village in the construction of what they thought would be an ingenious new irrigation system, I caught myself contemplating the selfish actions of mankind. Humans have a limitless desire to use their knowledge in real life. It is a desire to see what one can do with the power that is given; a craving to understand all the secrets in this world, and ultimately to experiment with them. I watched the smiles of the workmen and listened to the words of their friendly banter with a mild sense of amusement. How insignificant these individuals were, going about their lives of unexpected pulsation with easily calculated action and reaction. The laughter of children, the secrets exchanged in a lover’s embrace, the collected calm of a restful evening… each of these things meant nothing to me. All of my energies were spent in anticipation of the night I would take everything worth any meaning from these people. Some would call it heresy, and others would call it toying with human lives, but it only meant one thing to me: success.

It is as they say: “A painless lesson is one without any meaning.”


There was once a hero who flew too close to the sun.

His wings of wax fell apart, and he plummeted to the earth.

… Failure is the one outcome of any incident that can leave a variety of scars upon its victim. Anguish, loss, sorrow, guilt, and regret are but a few of the blemishes inflicted when what is deemed perfect goes horribly wrong. Whoever is affected when such indelible sins are committed loses not only confidence in oneself, but also now carries the weight of what is and the pain of what could have been. It is true that such things as failure and sorrow can act as purifiers of the soul, melting and reshaping an individual’s way of thought process. However, when it seems as if one never managed to gain this formless entity from the very beginning of life, what then? My failure to create a Philosopher’s Stone resulted in the enormous loss of an entire city of human life, and also took from me several apparatus required for my physical sustainment. I have gained nothing, lost everything, and as the sun rises upon what I have done there is but one thing that I can be sure of.

There is no such thing as a Philosopher’s Stone.​

Bring on the critique.
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New member
Oct 14, 2007
Bakersfield Ca.
Absolutely wonderful..........seriously wonderful......you may not think about it, but this could be the base platform of a great series....As in this story being another's predecessor.

Who Me?

New member
Feb 19, 2008
Land O' Clich?
This is just plain awesomeness. Nuff said.
You have actually written something in my favorite style....but I don't know how to exactly describe it. lol
Kinda like a memoir maybe...I don't know. Anyways, incredible as always. ;P


Break the Spell
May 18, 2007
Somewhere 2D
*wistful sigh*
I love FMA . . .

Anyway, this was fantastic! I didn't see anything wrong grammatically, and my current infatuation with the theme just made my enjoyment of this piece sky rocket!
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