The alchemist

Alchemy 101 equivalent exchange

Ronan Carter woke to the blaring of his alarm clock. The scruffy haired teenager dug himself from under his dishevelled quilt which was littered with pages and pages of scrawled nonsense from his ongoing personal research project. He slumped to his feet and began rooting around the room looking for the alarm when he came across his long-since missing ring, a simple silver band with a flat bed where a crest should sit, but the ring itself was blank. He finally found the alarm sat atop his college bag to remind him not to forget it this time.

Just as it clicked in his head, Ronan hurriedly pulled his clothes from the propped up wardrobe and climbed into them, he chose the only remaining clean black cargo-trousers and a faded t-shirt with the phrase 'I'm not a victim, I'm a survivor' repeatedly written calligraphically around the outside of a Celtic style pentagram (right way up) and grabbed his necklace as he ran into the bathroom. It was a dull pewter chain with a pewter pendant consisting of embossed runes ringed twice around a green crystal; he never went a day without it.

"Right, college, Monday morning, two hours psychology professor Halling; one hour psychology professor Stevens; hour lunch break; two hour philosophy professor Cadwyn; one hour philosophy professor Windsor; left over time for socialising" he listed under his breath as he checked himself over in the mirror and washed his face. He decided he would have to brush his teeth on the bus-stop as it was 07:10 and the bus arrived, rather unreliably, at approximately 07:15. He ran back to his room to grab his rocker-boots; basically army boots with a thicker metal-emblazoned sole and studs and large buckled down the outer sides, he added the studs to the toe himself. He ran downstairs, pulled on his fingerless gloves on and reaching for the keys on the hook he swore; Ronan then doubled back up the bare-wood stairs and picked up his bag, a worn n torn canvas backpack. Late for sure today, no way in hell am I catching this one.

As he ran to the bus stop he saw his friend Gwen Baker, she had long scarlet hair, and Ronan noticed the rather naughty looking pleated skirt she was wearing with fishnet tights and a white blouse and loose tie; Gwen was a rather flirty girl but she was very intelligent, plus she was well connected in the techy community, she was an internet wiz, if u wanted to know something, she could hack her way into it, no matter what the challenge she could do it.

"Run Ronan run!" she mocked with a giggle as the bus pulled up, but she held the bus for him and he flashed his pass and went to sit down next to her. Ronan then took a quick look at the other passengers, he always did, old habit. He then took a sneaky proper look at Gwen's blouse when she went to adjust herself, Ronan had a little mega-crush on her, and she probably knew it too.

"God I'm tired" she said, now Ronan had broken from his mental limbo he nodded.

"Same here, what time were you in bed?" he asked, relaxing now, the bus trundling along for another hour till they reached college, he thought about talking about his research, but decided against it.

"I went to sleep at around three in the morning? I'm not sure, I was up talking to a friend online, he's been on the run for six months now, keeps going on about some organisation that wants to freeze him, however he is quite good at this story thing, he's been on webcam in a cave somewhere, he asked me to write him a code to mask his location from tracers and hacks n stuff, I did it, but its all really weird" she said, Ronan knew about this kid, he and Gwen had been friends for a good couple of years now, she actually conned the kid into translating some ciphers for Ronan's research.

"So, I'm guessing you were up longer? How's the magic coming?" she asked, quite seriously as well. Ronan had been researching it after delving into his family history to find that he was descended from a famous alchemist. He's been researching ever since, but recently he had a lead about using circles and symbols in a ritualistic manor.

"going quite well actually, I've gotten a few leads from a spell book, I might try them out tomorrow night, full moon; plus I've decided to use transmutation circles in order to focus my intentions, to boil water I will need a triangle place on a circle, then with each corner, add lines to them to make the three required symbols, fire to boil, water as material, and air as the final results, each symbol is basically a triangle with certain modifications." He explained with lots of hand movements and gusto. Soon after that Gwen asked something that surprised him, seeing as she was studying physics and chemistry alongside physiology.

"Can I help you out?" she asked, eagerness written across her irresistibly cute face, you just couldn't say no. so he folded on his reservations.

"Alright, but be warned, I intend on doing this at midnight in the forest. My mum wont let me out past seven so I will have to stay at yours overnight to override her deadline, will that be alright?" he asked nicely, knowing he had deliberately twisted her arm into letting him stay at her flat. She was eighteen and already owned the flat. She bought it with money from an internet business in selling books, she sourced allot of Ronan's bookshelf.

"Alright, but your seventeen, so no booze or porn, those are my rules" she smirked, earning a most menacing glare from the elderly couple across the aisle of the bus.

Soon enough they had arrived at the college. Stopping the bus they departed into the now windy weather, Ronan insisted Gwen lead the way, just on the off chance of her skirt blowing up, and it did, sadly for Ronan she was wearing cycling shorts underneath to foil the plan.

"I saw that!" she jibed over her shoulder, but she was smiling so he had gotten away with it. As the two walked into the a-level building they headed past the café to the right and down the long glass corridor and into the seating area and computer room that served as the common room; they took up their usual spot among their other friends and began the day chatting.

"Ronan, we've got to go to lesson" Gwen warned as the time drove on toward 08:50, the lesson began at 9, but they liked to get there early.

As the two climbed the stairs at the sedate pace of the morning crowd in front of them, Gwen tripped and landed on Ronan, causing the two to fall backwards down the flight to the ground, unfortunately Gwen landed safely on top of something squishy, then it groaned.

"Not that I'm against you jumping on me, but I would prefer it wasn't from the top of the stairs" he moaned, just before loosing consciousness. Then someone screamed as there was blood soaking the carpet beneath him.

"SOMEBODY CALL AN AMBULANCE!" Gwen screamed at the top of her lungs, the staff members then took hold of the screaming crowd, it all happened so quickly that nobody had time to really panic. But as the staff started to clear everybody away and send them off to class, Gwen demanded that she stay with Ronan, and her request was granted without to much question, Ronan was well known and well liked among the faculty, and they all knew Gwen by association. Soon enough, the ambulance arrived, took one look and said he had broken ribs and a possibly fractured skull; they put him on a stretcher and carried him out to the car park behind the building.

"I'm sorry but we can only take one person in the back with him, preferably someone who knows his medical history" one of the paramedics said to the head of sixth form, the woman now in charge of Ronan's wellbeing.

"I'm responsible for him until his mother arrives, I will take charge till then" she explained, routine taking over, but Gwen was having none of it; this woman didn't know the first thing about Ronan's medical records, or what he would want.

"Thanks miss, but I know him better, and I know most of his medical record, at least what's relevant." Gwen interjected, annoyance written across the woman's face, confusion across the paramedics.

"Well make up your mind, he's bleeding internally and externally, there's only 4 pints left in him at best! You girl, get in for his sake, and don't screw up 'cause my jobs on the line now I've gone against protocol" the paramedic flustered. "Look madam, you're a teacher, you have a car, get in it and follow us there" he went on, signalling everyone to move.

"Thank you so much" Gwen said as she climbed in next to Ronan's unconscious form. There were already machines connected to him, making sure he was breathing, going over his heart beat; that was the paramedics first mistake, it was beating irregularly and he barked loudly.

"Paddles, stand clear miss I'm going to shock his heart into rhythm" the man reached for the machine and tore the paddles from the charging thing.

"No! Don't! His heart beat is always irregular, but it has a certain rhythm to it, I will know when it goes wrong" she explained, her hand reaching out for his chest, the paramedic looked confused, and decided to trust the girl covered in blood, if she remained this calm and told him not to shock, she wasn't lying.

"He's also allergic to paracetomol and anything that could mess with his heart, is a bad idea. He's a cautious person, he knows all my details, I know his, he thought it would be a good idea when we were kids" she went on, keeping her hand on his chest. The paramedic just sitting there checking the other vitals, and began to take a look at the ribs when he saw the t-shirt.

"I like his shirt, it's a good phrase actually, I hope its true; how long have you known him?" he asked, the ribs were fine where they were, one clean break and three looked fractured, but they were all holding up fine, they would be there in five minutes so he thought it would be good to calm the person in charge of his decisions, no need for a rash adrenaline fuelled teenager to call the shots.

"We met in secondary school, year seven we were both bullied but he put an end to it by fighting the kids back, ever since we've been thick-as-thieves; his dad died in a car crash two years ago and I helped him through it, he's only a few months younger than I am, but he still lives with his mum in a flat, I have my own flat on the other side of blaise forest from him, we never dated either, were almost brother and sister." She went on. Soon enough they arrived and they got him out from the back and onto a proper gurney. They took him into a ward and fixed him up on the spot, nothing they can do about ribs except feed him painkillers and tell him not to move too much, the clean break had been re-aligned when he gasped, nothing else to do but wait for him to wake up.

"I will leave you two alone, he just needs rest until the ribs can heal, we can't cast anything there but the x-rays didn't show anything dangerous, he will be fine; hit the nurse button when he wakes up" the doctor said, obviously needing to be elsewhere he jogged off to another patient and left the two alone.

Gwen realised that she had both her and Ronan's bags, Ronan had his note book with him, and it had all of his research that was useful in it. She thought of taking a peak when his mother arrived, she looked distraught with worry.

"Oh Gwen, what happened? Will he be ok? What's going on?" she went on. She was a short woman, she wore her work clothed from Asda, and she worked the tills.

"he will be fine Miriam; we both fell down the stairs at college, someone shoved me and I fell into him, he broke my fall at the bottom, he broke a rib and fractured another two and knocked himself out" she explained, the short woman simply nodding, trying to understand, then she got up and said she had to go back to work, she couldn't afford to miss the days work.

"don't worry, I trust you to look after him" she soothed as she left, Gwen thought as much, she and Ronan never got on well, she always appeared to care, but there was always something not quite adding up about it.

Gwen sat on the chair next to him and started reading about his recent research after she drew the curtain around the two of them.

"If I use a simple circle to represent the rule of equivalent exchange in modern science and ancient alchemy, then I should use the alchemic symbols used to represent the elements required for use in the process of the transmutation. I must start small in case of backfiring. So I shall attempt to use the symbol for fire and water in order to generate steam. The transmutation circle will be the generic one I found that is supposed to be for changing the shape for matter, hopefully I can use this to change the placement of the molecules of water to move them farther apart in order to generate a gas from a liquid. Water and focus should be the only ingredients needed. This should be what the circle looks like:

*there was a picture here, I swear! Just Google transmutation circle, I will come up under images, I got the idea from an anime to combine the circles and symbols of magic with the scientific laws of physics (or disobeying them)*

Hopefully if I place a bowl of water in the center of this transmutation circle in the middle of a full moon, I can focus just enough to agitate the molecules into a gas, I guess all I have to do is try now. But if this works, it will mean that provided I focus, I can re-arrange and re-shape objects at will."

"Wow, I think your getting a bit ahead of yourself there Ronan" Gwen said under her breath, just as she said it, Ronan snapped awake, and yelped.

"Gwen, three questions, where am I? What happened? And why am I here?" he asked as he tried to sit up, but failed miserably, he was way too sluggish, plus his ribs ached like he had stepped in front of a bus.

"your in hospital, I broke your ribs, and that's why your in hospital" she answered with a smile, she leaned over him, much to Ronan's delight as he got a rather nice glimpse of what was under her blouse, and she pressed the nurse button.

"I have broken ribs? And why take me to hospital? Are you trying to get me sick by putting me in a big building full of people with various diseases and ailments?" he went on complaining until the nurse arrived, he hated hospitals, he once had to be dragged in for an infected gash on his leg, he said he would rather wait to be measured for a prosthetic. Just as Gwen was about to tell him to stop nagging, the nurse arrived.

"Hello Mr. Carter, how are you feeling?" the young man asked.

"I feel like I just broke three ribs, lost consciousness, missed lunch, and want to get on with my day, how 'bout you?" Ronan snapped, he wanted out and fast.

"so I'm guessing your pretty lucid; ok, now you mustn't do anything involving straining your right side for the next 3 to 4 weeks, preferably nothing to elevate your blood pressure or breathing rate, so I'm afraid your girlfriend here will be out of luck for a while" the nurse smiled, however he regretted his joke as soon as he said it.

"I'm as much a virgin as you are, undergraduate, however my celibacy is of choice; and this young lady is not interested in funny nurses, so please unhook me from these tubes and machines and give me a prescription for some painkillers to combat this thing that don't involve paracetomol or playing with my heart or blood. Before I do it MYSELF!" Ronan barked like an army sergeant. He was in no mood for any of this nonsense, nor did he appreciate the joke. The nurse jumped as Ronan finished his orders and began unhooking him and removed the needles and things and handed Gwen Ronan's prescription before the two of them left. Once outside Gwen began to apologise.

"Ronan I am so sorry! I really didn't mean to, I mean it was a complete accident; please forgive me?" she babbled as they both sat on the bus stop. Faking a studious face, Ronan grimaced.

"Well… I will assume that you didn't intend for me to end my day with three broken ribs and stitches up my back, thus I shall forgive you" he smirked, he loved toying with her, but they both knew the limits. She then went to hug Ronan but he raised his hand just before contact.

"Are we forgetting why we are here instead of our lessons?" he said with another smile, barely holding of the laugh, god how much laughing was going to hurt.

"Sorry" she mumbled in such a child like way it was irresistibly cute. Then she did something Ronan had wanted for so long, yet it felt so sudden. She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.

"What happened to not raising my blood-pressure?" he smiled, he felt so much better about the day it was ridiculous. He almost felt happy about broken ribs.

The two of them headed back to the college and sat in the computer/common room; questioned on all sides Ronan got Gwen to tape a piece of paper to his back saying if you ask a question you shall receive one of two things, a kick between the knees, or a slap to the cheek, if you ask again you shall receive both simultaneously. This seemed to do the trick as people stopped asking once Ronan went along with the sign and kicked a boy in the crotch with his Goth-boots, luckily for the boy he aimed to hit the inner of his thigh as a slight mercy.

"What are we going to do about tomorrow night?" Gwen asked earnestly, she was really excited about trying to use a combination of alchemy/science and magic.

"We still go ahead with the plan, I will stay at your flat, and we will go into the forest at midnight we will try and use transmutation to boil water, if that works, I will try to freeze water, and from that I will try to change the shape of the ice, if that is successful, I don't know where we will go from there." He said, a slight gleam in his eye showed itself as he got into the swing of it. He really hoped it would work.

The two of them got on the bus together and went home there separate ways, Ronan taking some of his painkillers to take the edge of, he had served worse, and he walked in through his front door he decided to pack his bag for tomorrow and go straight to bed, he needed the sleep, plus getting comfortable tonight was going to be very difficult. Lucky for him, his mum wasn't going to be home as she was on the night shift, so Ronan would be out the door before she even got home, he would leave a note.

In his bag he put the usual Tuesday's college equipment, plus a porcelain bowl, a pen-knife, a candle, and some matches; as always he had his note book with all the information, and the water would come from the stream in the forest.

As he climbed the stairs and got into bed he thought for a minute, just before he drifted of, if he could change the shape of ice, maybe he could change the shape of his ribs and fix them himself?

The next morning Ronan woke up only to yell out in agony, his ribs were on fire, he had to reach over for the painkillers and take a double dose and lie there for half an hour before he could even move.

"shit, gonna miss the bus, gonna miss the bus!" he kept repeating as he went through the normal routine, albeit with allot less flexing and running, and got out of the house to see Gwen sat on the fence waiting for him. She wore army boots with black-jeans and a grey vest-top, Ronan was painfully aware that he wasn't able to remove his cloths from the previous day and still wore the blood stains under his coat, luckily it was a modernised trench-coat, grey cotton, but it fitted him well and he wore an open-zip blue hoody under it, it looked a bit surreal but he liked it; and apparently so did Gwen; she wolf whistled.

"Nice coat there mister magic, got everything for tonight?" she asked, a bit more of a spring in her step, Ronan knew she was really excited, in all honesty, so was Ronan.

"All in here, but I have lessons today, and so do you! Now; how do we get to college, as we just missed the bus" he said, just as the bus rolled past them.

"Well, as you know I'm a licensed driver… I borrowed my dad's car for the day!" she danced enthusiastically. Her dad only ever leant Gwen his car when he was one of two conditions; either drunk, or he was very drunk.

"AWSOME!" Ronan celebrated, Gwen's dad's car was an old army-style truck. Two seats up front, three in the center, and two rows sideways in the back. Plus it had a load of camping gear in the back, but best of all; it had been messed with by Gwen herself. In the back of the truck's sideways section, there was a full computer system with satellite internet connection and sky-TV anywhere in the world completely free!

As her dad loved his jeep he had the best gear equipped, winch, and roll-bar tough enough to stop a plane, bulletproof windows for the off-road shrapnel from crashing through trees, even the interior had been messed with so that in the winter you didn't sit in an ice-box, the car was flipping thermal!

"Come on then!" she dragged his good arm around the corner where she had parked it, Ronan noticed the exhaust pipe had been moved to point out of the roof so it didn't flood, and the new tires were positively monstrous. Ronan got in the passenger seat and Gwen in the driver-side, whenever she turned the key she had a certain glee in her eye that only ridiculously off-road-cars in the city can give a new driver. She hit the gears and road off to the college while Ronan decided to blast a song through the upgraded speaker system Gwen had installed, rise against's song prayer of a refuge. And the two rocked out all the way, Ronan took enough of his pain killers that he didn't really care about Gwen's rather enthusiastic driving.

"Okay" he said as he rushed out of the car upon arrival, "I have to go to Chemistry; I will meet you back here afterwards instead of in the common room, so much more fun in the truck!"

In chemistry, Ronan sat at the back of the room, only paying attention long enough to know what work we wasn't going to do and he began to look through his textbook, he was thinking of alchemy, and how he could use it for a weapon when he began mumbling to himself.

"By using the oxygen in the air I could liquefy it by changing its state, then project it by manipulating the air currents and using the nitrogen levels in the air as an explosive accelerant I can create explosives with just the air around me and a basic transmutation circle, the only thing required would be a spark to light the initial oxygen accelerant then to direct it unto a target to be soaked in a nitrogen/oxygen mixture." He mumbled, quite content, and he wrote it all down in his little book all I need to acquire now, is a flint-&-steel from somewhere he smiled to himself. Or maybe I could make one by finding a rock with enough flint in it to extract with alchemy?

"Lessons over Mr. Carter, what are you still doing here?" his teacher queried as Ronan jolted himself back to reality; he had drifted of into his own little dream world where he could use alchemy in public.

"Sorry sir, just day dreaming; anyway, see you tomorrow" he said as he gathered his stuff to leave. As he ran across the car park toward the truck, albeit in a hobbling fashion due to the ribs, he saw something worrying.

The back of Gwen's truck was open, but she wasn't inside, and there were bullet holes in the door; lots of 9mm wide bullet holes, certainly more than one magazine.