**WARNING. FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD SPOILER ALERT. READ AT OWN RISK.**
Envy. That's my name. What they call me. Who I am. At least that's what they tell me. I don't remember how I was born, when I came into existence, or whatever happened to me before. Now, Wrath was a different story. He was human once. I sometimes worry that he's still a little bit human on the inside, for fear he'd go rogue – we wouldn't want to be up against someone like him. Father has gone to all measures to make sure he doesn't end up like Greed.
Ugh, Greed. What was the big deal with that guy anyway? He just wanted. Money, power, fame, women, whatever. Shame he never realised he had it all. Those troops at the Devil's Nest were loyal enough friends. But of course he wouldn't be happy with them, he'd just want more. He didn't realise what he'd got.
I never had any of that. My siblings don't count – Lust is just a slinky old maid and Gluttony is a fat idiot. Pride thinks he's all IT. Wrath is too busy being all high-up King Bradley. And don't even get me started on Sloth.
Despite their flaws, Father loves them all. So much more than he loves ME. Me, Envy Incarnate, the Jealous One. Ugh, it makes me fume just thinking about it.
The floor is cold and hard. Just like myself, as I pace along it, forcing myself to grin ruthlessly at the absolute wonder of our plan. Sure, we had the little slip-up here and there, but we can adapt. We're homunculi, not humans.
I catch sight of my perfect body in a shiny pane of broken glass. I love making myself look young and cute – suits me, eh?
You vain monster…
"Shut up before you say something else you'll regret," I sharply chop the words of the one who dared to speak up. Maybe having so many souls inside me wasn't the best idea after all – the stupid human spirits bug me all day like a nasty case of schizophrenia. I long for the day when I can be rid of their moans and complaints. Pity that day will probably never come.
Still trying to work out what I'm doing down here. Maybe I just needed a break. Chasing down the Fullmetal Pipsqueak all day can get a bit tiring, not to mention I have to stop Gluttony from accidentally eating him and throwing everything off the rails. You thought your younger brother was annoying, teenage girls? You haven't met mine.
I sigh and lean against the wall, wiping off my forehead. It's kind of hot down here and I'm sweating. It's times like this that I wish I wasn't so human.
"Shouldn't you be working on your family's plan?"
"Cut the chit-chat, old man. I don't have time to waste listening to you stupid souls moan and groan at me all day. Just keep your dead mouths shut for-"
"Now, I've never been called 'old man' before. Even more fascinating that you think I'm coming from inside you."
"I said cut the crap! There's no-one else down here, just me, so you MUST be from inside me."
"You'd be surprised. Look to your left."
"Why should I?"
"Just do it, Envy."
Letting out a long, bored groan, I turn my head to the left and look down the tunnel. "See? No-one there. I'm fed up of the tricks my own Philosopher's Stone plays on me…"
"Don't jump to conclusions, homunculus." Then footsteps. Emerging from the shadows is someone I've never seen before in my life, and I instantly feel a total idiot for thinking that his voice belonged to one of the souls in me. It didn't MOAN enough. I'm such a dork.
He's quite tall, with dark grey hair in some weird upswept style, and he's dressed in a long black coat that reaches down to his ankles. It has fur around the collar and weird blue patterns that look like lightning strewn down it, and it flows behind him as if it has a life of its own. His skin is pale, like mine, and two dark scars run down his cheeks from the corners of his eyes. They are glittering green with slit pupils. The parts that should be white are bright red. Is he a homunculus like me? If he is, I don't like this homunculus. He gives me, ruthless as I am, the shivers.
"So for once my Stone wasn't bugging me," I mutter. "Who might you be?"
"Who I am is irrelevant. The important thing is that you are Envy Incarnate, am I correct?"
"Unless Father changed my name, you're right. So, how many souls do you have inside you?"
He looks perplexed. "Souls?"
"You know, something that connects the spirit to the body. Humans have them. I had to absorb hundreds to make my Stone and they get on my nerves."
"Oh." He nods once. "Of course. The main ingredient of a Philosopher's Stone is a living human being."
"Not just one. Hundreds. Thousands. Damn, who made you? It sounds like they didn't do their research."
"Funny you should say that, as I made myself."
He smiles, closing his eyes and chuckling once. Stuck-up asshole!
"Hey, what's your problem?!"
"Envy." He opens his eyes and walks towards me. "Silly, silly Envy. You think I'm just like you, don't you?"
"Well, what else could you be? You're pale, you look funny and you have a bad hairstyle. Pretty much like all of us, save for me. Oh, and Gluttony, since he doesn't have any hair."
He looks taken aback by me remark. "You'll have to learn not to be so rude," he mutters. "However, following your outburst, I will explain." He pulls his coat up his shoulders so that it fits securely. How he's not roasting with that on in this heat I'll never know. "My name is Mephiles…Mephiles the Dark. Of course you won't know me. Long ago I was erased from time. You may ask, how am I here?" He smiles. "The ability to travel through time does come in handy sometimes."
Wow. Time travel. I have to admit I'm a little impressed.
"All that travelling changed me…making sure you're not erased is certainly a chore."
"So what are you?"
He pauses, staring me down. "Complicated. I am the mind, soul and spirit of a god. The god Solaris, to be exact."
"And where's Solaris's body?"
"Gone. I could stop myself being removed from time, but I could not stop Iblis. Iblis was the raw power, the wrath of Solaris on the people. A huge beast of fire…a monster."
I've been taking in everything he's said. "And if you fuse with Iblis again, you'll restore Solaris."
"Correct. Then the world will be under my power…and these foolish people will learn their lesson. I will destroy life as they know it. Their world will crumble." He gives me a serpentine grin. "In some ways, it's already started."
"I like your way of thinking, pal. Already started, you say?"
"Yes, yes. Envy, the only god you know of is the Truth, am I correct?"
"You may or may not have guessed that I'm from another universe entirely…"
"Oh, I guessed it. You're abnormal, Mephiles. You're not homunculus and you're not human, you're a GOD."
"Not yet. Right now I'm just an incarnation. Only when I reunite with Iblis will I become a god."
I fold my arms. "But you need Iblis to do that. How exactly do you plan on getting it back?"
"I was just getting to that."
My eyes widen as I realise he can't have just turned up to talk to me for a chat.
"Yes, Envy. That's where you, and your siblings, come in."
"My siblings? What do you want with them? Lust is a slut and Gluttony just eats everything…"
"You'd be surprised at what I could do with their talents." He suddenly swipes his hand over the glass pane I was admiring myself in earlier. It makes a strange whooshing sound. "Tell me…do you recognise this child?"
I squint to look at the image appearing in the glass, and I see none other than blonde, golden-eyed shorty Edward Elric.
"Yeah, I know him. That's the Fullmetal Pipsqueak."
"Your human sacrifice."
"That's the one. What do you want with him?"
"Well, he's become very good friends with this girl, has he not?" Mephiles wipes the glass again and I see an image of that...girl. The brown-haired one.
"That's…that's that Peace girl or whatever she was called."
"Peace Gem. Fifteen years old, from London, England." He turns to look at the illusion. "That girl has no idea what power she possesses."
"You think she could bring back Iblis?"
He turns to look at me again, smirking. "Envy…how would you like it if the execution of your plan were sped up a little?"
I'm taken aback. "Are you serious? I was getting bored over here!"
He laughs. "Well, you'll be very pleased about what you're about to hear."
I start to grin. "What? Go on, tell me!"
"I have a plan of my own. It involves Peace, the Fullmetal boy and their little band of friends. And you, Envy Incarnate, are part of it." He holds out his hand for me to shake. "All you have to do is follow my instructions, and I promise you will get your human sacrifice. Your Father will gain what he craves, and I will regain my raw power to become Solaris." He pauses. "What do you say?"
"Done." Immediately I'm shaking his hand, on a whim, without knowing what I may be letting myself into. Suddenly I flinch a little.
His hand. It's ice cold.