"How is he?"
Winry sighed as she set the cup of tea down in front of Al. "He's stable, for now," she said as she rubbed her hands together in the chill of the night.
Al nodded and said, "I see," before he turned back to his books.
"Is that it?" asked Winry softly. "Al, Ed could, maybe IS dying in there."
"I know," replied Al as he turned the page and scribbled down a couple of notes. Taking a sip of his tea and wincing at the heat of it, he returned to his studies. "I won't loose brother. Not like we lost mom. And father. He sacrificed so much to return back to us, and I lost the memories that made our journey precious. I know I can help him, because there must be a cure."
Winry sat down and buried her face in her hands. "I know. But I just can't stand waiting around."
"Brother could use the company," said Al as he turned another page. "Go to him. I'll be here, finding that cure that I promised him."
Winry smiled, leaned over to peck him on the cheek and whispered, "Ed is lucky to have you, Al." Then, she was gone in a rustle of skirts.
Al held a hand to his cheek and smiled before returning to his work.
A week passed and then, in the dead of night next to a softly glowing candle-lit desk, Al's pencil stopped writing, the scrit scrit sound of lead on paper over. "I... found the cure."
Al stared at the results of his research. A hand went to his forehead and he massaged the bridge of his nose as he whispered, "Now how do I break it to the others?"
written by Shaun Garin
Fullmetal Alchemist is owned by Square-Enix and Hiromu Arakawa. Mahou Sensei Negima is owned by Ken Akamatsu. Aesirflower is in no way related to another fic Twelve Wishes and timeline is set post-anime for Fullmetal Alchemist with some mangaverse conjuncture for anime events in Negima and FMA. The Fullmetal Alchemist movie does not apply for this timeline as of yet and the Negima timeframe is sometime before the end of the anime before the Sayo episode. Everything altraverses from there.
"You want to do what!"
"I found the cure, but it doesn't exist anymore," said Al softly as he held the book in his hands. The heavy leather bound book seemed to weigh so much more as he shifted it around in his hands. "It used to exist, back during the old days when Alchemy was still young. Due to its miraculous powers in jump-starting many transmutations as a catalyst, it was hunted to extinction. The war right now made it worse, as the native soil is in Ishbal. What I want to do is open the Gate, and travel to another world to find it."
"That's suicide," said Roy Mustang, a dark scowl on his face as he rubbed his eye patch in memory of the war on Ishbal. "Not only there is the problem of actually finding the cure in a one in seven million chance, but you may very well loose the means to traverse the universe. One false step could lead you to oblivion. I can't let you do this just to save Fullmetal's life! I'll go to Ishbal myself if I have to and BEG the first shaman I see for the cure!"
"I didn't know you were so concerned," said Al, making Roy sputter. "But it's for brother. And I know he sacrificed so much to return home to me. I can't let that go to waste."
Roy sighed as Riza massaged her forehead and added. "There's a chance you will make it back, but you may never return home in a lifetime. Are you willing to do this?"
"Yes, no matter what," said Al. "I've already found a way to open the gate without attempting real Human Transmutation."
"How exactly?" questioned Riza. "As far as we know, there is no other way."
"By using Rose's child. Her child has the power to open the gate, and from there, I can transfer myself safely. Or as safely as possible as the worst case scenario is that I will loose my body once more."
A stunned silence followed and Roy shook his head again. "Utter suicide. But if you're up to the challenge, we'll help prepare the circles and gate. Even though I think it's akin to shooting yourself in the foot or transmuting your heart into a gold brick."
Al blinked twice before he smiled. "Brother's wrong. You're not a heartless bastard."
"Don't say that," said Roy, sniffing. "You'll wreck my reputation for being an utter jerk."
"I don't quite understand all of it, but this is the final mark, right?" said Riza as she sketched out the last part of the circle. Al nodded as he finished marking out the last parts of the double layered transmutation circle.
"Yes. The first layer will open the gate, force a human transmutation. The second part of the gate will automatically force my soul into the blood circle on my old armour," said Al. His finger was bandaged from where he had marked out the seal in his own blood. Stepping back, Rose lay her child on the stone floor. "Don't worry Rose," assured Al. "The child will be safe."
"Don't worry, I trust you," said Rose. "After all, you helped me, a long time ago."
Al smiled as everyone stepped back. Looking at the transmutation circle, the array seemed to glare back at him. "All right... I'm going."
Al held up his hands and crossed them. With a deep breath, he activated the circle.
Red flickering light flared around the circle, marking a standard transmutation. Rose's baby simply turned over, sleeping as its stomach glowed. And then, Al slumped forward as a sparkle of life appeared in the armour's eyes. Raising a hand, it literally vanished as the body vanished in a sparkle of violent violet light.
Al looked up at the gate. It was grotesque, a parody of life. And before him, stood the creature who took him once before. His own face mocked him as he grinned a smile that stretched the mouth unnaturally. "So... you returned," said the being. "Back for more?"
"I want through," said Al, bringing his voice level in tone.
"You know there is a price," said the voice mockingly. "To pass through, you must pay the toll."
"You and your kind are thieves," said Al as he marched past the being who tried to catch his arm. Al merely moved away from it and with a mighty kick, forced the door open. "You give, and never return. You took something from my brother, I'm sure of it. And now, I'm going to restore it."
"Foolish creature," spat the being. "You'll never travel the space of the universe without paying the toll."
"Well... there's a first time for everything." With that, Al ran headlong into the swirling mass of worlds and memories.
The angry hiss of the Gate beings came from behind him and Al smirked to himself as he felt his soul detach from his physical body as the Gate beings pounced on him, ripping his very flesh away for his own. The suit of armour winked to life and quickly inched away from the Gate beings and launched itself through the gate where it slammed shut with a reverberating clang and the sound of a lock being undone.
"Oof!" Exclaimed Al as he hit the ground hard with a jarring clang. Sitting up in what appeared to be a solid road of some unknown material, the roar of an engine caught Al's attention and his head snapped upwards. Bearing down on him, honking its horn was a huge monstrosity of a vehicle that had eighteen wheels. Al scrambled off the road and threw himself into the ditch as the giant vehicle roared past, honking loudly with the cry of "Watch it bum!"
"Well that was a fine way to arrive in another world," said Al to himself as he sat up and removed the various bits of grass and twigs that found itself lodged in his metallic body. The cool unfamiliar yet familiar sensation of not being able to feel hot or cold anymore assaulted his senses. Theoretically, he shouldn't be able to sense anything, as he could move his body but at the same time, never feel pain or hunger. Though Al had a feeling he would begin to grow to miss hunger.
Getting to his feet, Al stumbled up to the roadside where several more vehicles of varying sizes roared past at incredible speeds. Looking around, Al decided on a plan as he stuck his thumb out in the universal symbol of pick me up. Ed tried it once before, but it usually involved a huge blinking transmuted sign that read "Pick us up NOW."
Several hours later, the chatty old people who picked him up where pulling into a small seaside town. The streets were a mix of what they called asphalt and old style cobblestone that Al was more familiar with. The elderly man smiled at Al and said, "You take care now son. And make sure you don't dent that armour. Must cost a fortune if you're wearing it to a play."
"Thank you sir," said Al. Fortunately the elderly man and the elderly woman also spoke his native language as they were "refugees" from some place called Germany. Al had given thought to the point that someone may not be able to understand him but luck was on his side today.
"Such a nice boy," said the elderly woman in her thick German accent. "You take care now son!"
With that, the elderly couple in the stylistic Porsche zoomed off across the countryside of England.
Clanking into town, Al paused at the local town map. Locating the nearest travel agency which was marked in several languages, he headed for the business at the end of the street.
"Another slow day," sighed Lloyd Smith. "Shut it down Paul, we're not going to have any more business."
Paul nodded and headed for the door. But before he could get there, the door opened as Al stuck his head into the store. "Hello?" he asked.
"Ah, a tourist!" Exclaimed Lloyd happily. It had been a while since someone came to their small town near the coast of Wales. "Welcome, welcome!" he greeted in German. "How can I help you today?"
"Ah, yes, I'm looking for a guide actually," said Al, feeling self conscious. "I'm looking for this type of flower." Reaching into his backpack that made the trip unscathed, Al handed a sketch of the Aesirflower which Lloyd took and examined.
Lloyd hemmed and hawed for a moment before saying, "There's a place up in Wales where these flowers grow. If you hurry, you can make it before the growth season here in this hemisphere ends."
"The growth season?" asked Al curiously.
"Yeah kid," said Lloyd as he lit up a pipe. "You see, there's a specific growing climate for this type of flower. Really rare but some Wales people cultivate them around this time of the year to be used in perfumes and what not. If you hurry, the next bus will be leaving for St. George. After that, you're on your own."
"Look kid, I won't lie to you. The people who grow this place are kind of weird. They like to keep to themselves in St. Royale. It's an academy town but it's kind of a different academy town. Anyhow, you want to make the trip up as soon as possible. I can book you a ticket right now for the low cost of twenty bucks. Whaddya say?"
"Um..." said Al, patting himself down and then reaching into his pack. "I'm not too sure if I have any of the local currency," said Al.
"So what do you have? German Marks?" asked Lloyd.
"Um, something like that," said Al as he pulled out a few dollars and handed it to Lloyd who examined it. Lloyd whistled.
"Damn these are old. Well, I'm sure they're still good. Lets see, conversion going here..." Lloyd's fingers danced across a calculator and he announced, "Five pounds, three pence return," as he popped the cash register and then dumped the pounds and brown coins into Al's hands. "It would have been more but I doubled your seat space. I think you'll need it cause you're wearing that funky armour. What's it for anyhow?"
"Er... I'm a traveling actor," said Al, flexing the rehearsal of the excuse that he came up with when asked about it by the elderly people who picked him up. "I wear it cause I wanna keep in character."
"Makes sense. Okay kid, the bus leaves to St. George and then it's a ten minute walk north on a dirt road. Make sure you take a left at the fork in the road, okay?"
"Thank you sir," said Al, bowing.
"Aw don't worry bout it kid. Now remember, take a LEFT at the fork in the path."
As Al closed the door behind him, Lloyd puffed once on his pipe as Paul looked at him. "You're letting him find the Academy Town?"
"You didn't look into his eyes," said Lloyd. "Thy're old. Close up shop Paul, I need a drink."
"Hey mister, is that a real suit of armour?"
"Is it hot in there?"
"Oh. Can I try your helmet on?"
"George, don't bother the nice gentleman," said the woman softly. "I'm terribly sorry, sir."
"No, it's okay," said Al as he reached up and undid the latches on his helmet. "I'm going to do a magic trick, so don't be frightened, okay?"
The little boy nodded as Al popped his helmet off, handed it to the little boy and bowed. George shrieked in delight and laughed gleefully. "Look mommy, he has no body!"
"Oh my, that really is an incredible trick!" exclaimed the woman. "How did you do it?"
"A magician never reveals his secrets," said Al with a laugh as George played with his head.
An hour later, Al disembarked as George handed him his head back. "Are you going to perform here in town?" asked George hopefully, eyes shining with delight. Some of the other children who had been on the long bus ride had taken a shine to Al and he entertained them with little tricks that he had learned, some slight of hand where he used the pence that he received with his change. How he actually got change from his possibly worthless Amestris currency was beyond him.
"I gotta head out for a little while first," said Al, ruffling George's hair. "No worries, I'll be back later on. Okay?"
"All right! Later Al!" Cheered the kids as Al shouldered his backpack, took his head from George and headed north out of the town.
"So he said a left turn at the fork in the road," said Al to himself as he found himself standing in front of the proverbial fork. The road split off into two directions, one direction heading towards a small burg. The other, the road he was meant to take, went deep into a darkened forest where little sunlight hit. Gathering his courage, Al headed into the forest.
Heading deeper and deeper into the forest, Al felt a prickling at his senses. Something similar to Alchemy was being performed in this forest. But where, he couldn't tell. Ed always laughed at him when he said that he could feel Alchemy being used once in a while, citing it to be un-scientific and dependent on supernatural explanation.
Plodding deeper and deeper into the forest, the forest suddenly broke off as sunlight hit him, making his old armour glint and shimmer in the light as the forest turned into rolling hills. Across the town was a huge academy, sculpted from blue stone and granite, the surrounding hills peppered with well maintained homes although with the stonework signifying that it was of an old establishment.
Al felt his spirits lift as he practically ran into town, his armour making deep footprints in the soft earth. Leaping over a farmers fence, he rushed off an apology as he nearly trampled an old duck and the Farmer who was bent over, picking up beans from his fields. Leaping over the other side, he fairly skidded into the main streets, drawing attention of the people who looked up curiously but paid no real attention to him.
"I made it," said Al happily as he ran for the nearest flower shop. Banging the door open with the exuberance of a man who had just found an oasis, the woman at the front looked up. "Excuse me," he said and the woman blinked a few times. Al winced as he realized she probably didn't speak his language.
The woman muttered something that sounded like Latin, one of the older dead languages and then said, "Yes?"
Relieved, Al pressed forward. "I need a flower like this," he said, handing the sheet of paper to the woman who studied it. "Please, it's of the uttermost urgency."
"Hm, I don't sell these, but old man Higgins does," said the woman. "You want his place, near the middle of town. Look for the blue awning."
"Thank you ma'am," said Al, sketching out a quick bow as he practically ran out the door, leaving a bewildered woman behind.
"Hey, stop it!" cried the young girl and she was pushed by the laughing drunk men. "That does it!"
The leader of the men, a red in the face man with a scraggly beard laughed and hiccuped. "Oooh, the niece of the famous Nagi Springfield wants us to stop. I'll stop when I'm good and ready to!" He shoved the girl once more and she went tumbling out the door.
Al, who was passing by in a mad rush, skidded to a halt and caught the girl. "Hey, you okay?" he asked the girl who looked up at Al. His inscrutable features gave her the impression of a scowl. "Hey, who shoved this girl?"
"What's it to you, kid?" sneered the lead man, recognizing the tone rather than the words said.
"Hey Trevor, he's a non-magical folk," said another, a rat-like man who sported scraggly brown hair that fell across his face. "And he's German to boot."
"Well well, we don't take kindly to non-magical folk stumbling around these parts," smirked the first man. "Now as for the girl, we can do what we want with her."
"I don't think so," said Al as he helped the girl to the side. Even with the language barrier, he could easily get his point across. The men staggered out of the bar but the third, a large ape-like man muttered a quick phrase in Latin. To Al's surprise, the air sparkled around them as they righted themselves, their expressions angry but coherent.
"You're wasting your time kid," said the first man, smirking as he held up a hand. "I have a hangover now and I'm itching to take out the pain on someone else. Get him!"
The first two men lunged forward, one of them calling out a massive sword from nowhere and the other making a smaller but none the less more deadly Rapier appear from thin air. The leader started chanting loudly in Latin as Al took action.
Dodging the first overhead strike from the giant sword wielding man who looked like a rat, he planted a fist into his stomach as the man flew onto his back from the force of the impact. The steel rapier was parried smoothly by a two-handed receiving motion as he bodily hurled the bigger ape-like man who had somehow removed their hangovers over his own head. That man joined his dazed companion on the ground.
There was a concessive sound of rapid fire shots that rang out like gunshots as Al turned to see several spears of light hurling at him, the origin of them the first man who sneered. Grabbing a piece of chalk from his pouch, Al sketched out a Transmutation circle, prayed quickly and slammed a hand down on it.
Immediately, a wall of stone erupted between him and the spears of light which slammed up against the wall, blowing chunks out of it. But otherwise, the stone wall held.
Al let out a terrific sigh of relief but a pang of guilt shot through his thoughts. Someone just died over on another world, maybe even on his own. That was the theory of Alchemy anyhow - Equivalent Exchange.
When he had first decided to head to the world, Al told Winry he wouldn't take any unnecessary risks. Alchemy came with the heavy price of being fuelled on the deaths of people, both natural and unnatural from the past and present of this world that he was in. It carved a sharp worry into his mind that if he used it, he could very well be the cause of the death of someone he loved. Al was still uncertain as well if he could perform what Ed referred to as The Clap, the act of using ones own body as the Transmutation Circle. It would be handy, but now was not the time to use something that had a fifty percent chance of actually working.
But for now, Al shoved the thought away violently as he sketched out another circle and slammed his hand against the stone wall. The wall surged forth and the man who had been taken aback from the sudden transmutation, barely dodged the giant stone hand that grabbed and pinned down his fallen comrades.
"Bastard!" growled the man as he held up a hand and light shone from it. "You'll pay for tha-URK!"
Suddenly, the man pitched forward as an elderly man dressed in long robes smiled down on him. His hands were folded into his wide sleeves as he gazed on the fallen man. "My my, what a display," he said cheerfully, his eyes twinkling from behind the thick brows and the very long beard that fell past his belt.
"Magus!" exclaimed the girl and the man smiled down on her.
"Nekane, please, do try to keep out of trouble," said the Magus and Nekane blushed. Chuckling, the Magus turned toward Al and said, "Well now... perhaps we should speak indoors about this?"
Al looked back at the men who were being helped out of the stone hand by several townsfolk and the unconscious man who was being dragged towards the water trough that served as a horse watering hole by another helpful citizen. "Er, okay."
"So you came seeking the Manaflower," said the Magus as the girl, now identified as Nekane Springfield served up some hot tea. Al accepted out of politeness. Fortunately for Al, the man named, inexplicably Magus, was a skilled linguist. "I'm sorry, but they were all harvested and preserved three hours before you arrived. The essential power that you seek is now bottled away and sealed within the seeds of the Manaflower once more."
Al's head nearly dropped off in shock. "What? But I came all the way here, and..." His voice dropped. "I... need to cure my brother. He's sick, and the Manaflower is the only thing that can save him."
"Hmm... what is your brothers condition?" asked the Magus. "Is he twitching or convulsing or perhaps simply ill?"
"Brother, I mean Ed is ill," said Al. "He sweats a lot and then is cold the next and then he is coughing up liquid and sometimes blood."
"Hmm... anything else?"
"Well..." said Al thoughtfully. "There's the problem. What he has is the common cold but he's too sick for it to be a normal cold. All the symptoms are there."
The Magus nodded as he turned to Nekane and spoke in English. "Nekane, can you please bring the third edition medical journal in the front den?"
"Yes Magus," said Nekane, heading off. She soon returned with an aged looking book that the Magus ran a finger down the spine and then opened to a seemingly random page.
After a moment, the Magus said, "Alphonse... has he lost something important? Something vital to the human body?"
Al's breath, or what would be constituted as his breath, caught in his throat. "Lost?"
"Like a limb..." said the Magus.
"Brother lost his leg and then his arm, trying to save me..." said Al. The Magus closed his eyes as he shut the book.
"I see, you attempted Human Transmutation," said the Magus, drawing a startled look from Al. "Don't look so surprised young one. The study of Alchemy, while not as broad as you have delved into it has been a fine line of professional ethics and work. Those who have survived, have also told stories of losing something dear. An arm. A leg. An entire body. But sometimes the Gate can be cruel and unusual. I suspect your brother, has lost his Immune System - the body's ability to protect itself from Viruses. We call this phenomenon over here, AIDS but not transmitted by Sexual Contact. If he lost his Immune System through encountering the Gate, then he can also have it restored with a potion made with what you call the Aesirflower and what we call the Manaflower."
"Where can I get this potion?" asked Al. "Please, it's important that I return as soon as possible to my world."
"Hmm..." said the Magus. "I will arrange two tickets to Tokyo Japan. From there, travel to Mahora Academy City to speak with the Headmaster, Konoemon Konoe. He will allow you full range of the city flower gardens. Be quick about it mind you; the blooming season will begin in a week and a half where you must gather the ingredients for this rather expensive and rare potion."
"Two tickets?" asked Al curiously and the Magus chuckled, looking at Nekane who sat with a blank gaze, the German language flying over her head like a high flying sparrow carrying a coconut. "Nekane," he said, switching back to English. "Please accompany Mr. Elric. He will be in need of your potion brewing skills."
"Yes Magus," said Nekane. "Although it will be hard to communicate. I am not fluent in languages like my cousin."
"I will provide you with a translator earpiece but it will only last for a while," said the Magus. "But be quick to make your way to Japan. Time is of the essence, if you and Mr. Elric are to journey to Japan, make the potion and then find a way to safely send him home."
"Yes Magus," said Nekane.
"Ho ho ho, and in the mean time, you may wish to brush up on your basic German," said the Magus and Nekane colored and muttered something in Japanese.
"You look green, and that's hard for a suit of armour to do," said Nekane as they got off the plane and headed down the ramps to pick up their things at Carousel Number Two. Al shuddered for a moment.
"Back home, there are no flying machines," said Al with a shudder. "I know my brother likes heights but I've always been a little squeamish around them. And then there was that train that went faster than I thought it should have gone."
Nekane giggled as she hefted her seemingly huge backpack. When Al had asked her about how it was too big and heavy for a girl of her build to carry around, Nekane said something about weight being not what it appeared to be.
Al had learned a lot through their twelve odd hours of traveling together. That in this world, Alchemy took a backseat to Technology and Magical means. Magic, meaning that it defied all laws of conventional physics at least to the common eye. It took Nekane a few tries to explain how they simply used magic to convert mass, create light and shadow and even fly. Of course it didn't help that Al was probably the first Amestrian who had experienced Fear of Flying. The flight attendants were probably trying to figure out how to explain the ruts in the armrests.
Al knew he was drawing a lot of stares. As he made his way through the thrice-damned contraption that insistently tried to tell him that he was metal (Nekane called it a Metal Detector and was used to prevent weaponry and sharp objects onto the airport), Nekane was suddenly tackled by a four foot nothing blur of jabbering Englishman. Two more girls and a tall buxom woman followed close behind.
"Nekane!" Exclaimed Negi Springfield happily as Nekane rubbed his hair. "It's so good to see you again!"
"My my, you grew Negi," said Nekane in English, pushing back to look at the little boy. "And are these your students?" she asked in heavily accented Japanese.
"Yes," said Negi and immediately, Al was completely lost as Negi continued in rapid fire Japanese. "This is Konoe Konoka, the Headmaster's Granddaughter, Kakurazaki Asuna and Shizuna-sensei, the one who drove us here."
"Pleased to meet you," said Shizuna and the girls echoed their sentiments.
"This is Alphonse Elric," said Nekane, introducing Al who waved at the use of his name. "I'm afraid he doesn't speak Japanese but he does read it."
"Eh?" asked Negi, curious. "Does he speak English?"
"I'm afraid not," said Nekane and Al sighed in agreement. "He speaks German."
"Boy, what a language barrier this is," said Asuna and Konoka nodded in agreement.
Sensing the uncomfortable situation, Al said, "Lets get going." His statement could easily be noted and the girls, one boy and a suit of armour that was a boy piled into a Japanese sports car, on loan from Takahata to Shizuna.
The ride to Mahora was mostly Negi telling his sister about the incredible adventures he had been having and how he found out that their father, Nagi Springfield had left a clue to his whereabouts. Al sat squashed in the front seat, wishing he could understand what they were saying.
Asuna and Konoka both were speaking rapidly to each other to which Konoka pulled out a small notepad and bugged Negi for a pencil. Scribbling down something, she tapped Al on the shoulder and handed it to him.
Al took a look at the pad and with a relieved sigh, realized it was the same as his local dialect.
Asuna and I were wondering why
you're wearing armour.
Taking the pencil from Konoka, Al scribbled down his reply and handed it back to Konoka who read it, Asuna peering over at it as well.
I wear it because I have no other choice. Nekane said to me that you two know about magic, so I'm telling you now that I have no body.
How is that possible? Wrote back Konoka.
My brother and I committed a sin, trespassed on God's Domain. As a result, he lost his leg. I lost my body. We spent a long time trying to get our bodies back and here I am, trying to save him.
We're sorry... we didn't mean to pry...
No, it's all right.
After the long highway of Tokyo stretched into the view of Mahora, Asuna took the pencil and scribbled something down. Al looked at it when she handed it to him quizzically, trying to decipher her atrocious hand writing.
I hope this doesn't sound too forward but what sin did you commit?
Al took up the pencil, clicked it twice to feed lead and scribbled for a good long while. Then, abruptly he erased the whole lot and scribbled out the last message within a few strokes of kanji. Handing it back to Asuna, she read it.
We wanted to see our mother again.
"I'm going to take a shower," said Nekane as she unpacked her things into the small dresser provided in the guest rooms. Al had already unpacked his things onto the counter top, mostly consisting of various objects from his homeland along with the worthless Amestris currency. "Why don't you take a walk around the campus?"
"Shouldn't we go and look for the Aesirflower first?" asked Al, fidgeting as he sat on his own bed. It was comfortable, but Al couldn't really tell.
"Manaflowers are in the campus green houses," said Nekane as the rush of water could be heard from the bathroom. "They're only a ten minute walk from here. Just go straight. You can't miss them from here."
"Er, all right," said Al, seemingly put off by Nekane's tone of voice. The girl poked her head out of the door and added, "Mind you, they are NOT to be harvested yet. Magic is like Alchemy : It takes time to make a process work. So keep your hands off them. And mind you, no one else has a translator earpiece. This one is about to give out too so if you need to talk to someone, bring your sign."
"Yes mother," shot back Al and Nekane threw a bottle of shampoo that bonked off his armour with a dull CLUNK. But she and he were laughing.
Outside in the sunlight, Mahora Academy looked bigger, the light glinting off the old-style that Nekane called European. Al called it Amestrian decor as a stand alone. The style of the city made him feel comfortable with very little cars and a lot of students going back and forth through the city.
Al knew he was drawing stares from many of the people around the city as he marched towards the green houses. After all, it was a normal day and there were very few people who managed to walk around in a full suit of heavy armour. One or two groups of kindergarten kids ran around him, cheering happily and Al paused to play with them on his trek to the shining steel and glass green houses.
Kids were thoroughly amused by the bodiless walking knight as kids danced around and played with his head. Al went as far as to detach one of his arms and re-enact a sword fighting scene before popping it back on with little fanfare. There was a limit to how much he could attach and detach from his body, but as long as nothing damaged the blood circle near the neckline of the armour, he was mostly safe. The Magus had charmed the alchemy circle with some sort of spell that kept it from getting damaged by any means other than a high level breaking charm. The Magus had tried to explain it in a way that made it scientific but all Al gathered was that the alchemy circle was permanently fused into the metal as if it was part of it.
Pushing the doors of the glass-and-steel greenhouse, Al poked his head into the warm environs and walked in, looking around at the exotic flowers and plants. Letting out a whistle or a fair approximation of it, Al manoeuvred around the plants, running a finger over several and examining the textures.
Rounding the corner, a girl looked up from where she was watering the plants and said, "Oh, hello there. Come to look at the flowers?"
Al scratched his head in
embarrassment as he couldn't understand
the girl. Reaching into his torso, he pulled out one of those neat
little cardboard signs that Nekane had made up for him and held it
up. Sorry, I don't speak Japanese. I
only speak German and write in Japanese. Al then flipped it
around. Pardon my intrusion.
Kamo, Negi's familiar said that there was a method of charming a wooden sign that would read things properly when held up and flipped around every time one wanted to speak. Nekane was familiar with the spell and she had put a temporary charm on a cardboard sign.
The girl smiled as
she held out a hand. Al placed the sign in her hand as she whipped it
behind herself and pulled it out. Terribly sorry about that.
Flip. I'm Kazumi. And you are?
The sign traded hands and Al flipped the sign around. Alphonse Elric, nice to meet you.
Kazumi took the sign back and whipped it around behind her back and held it up. Likewise. Are you here visiting Negi-sensei?
Actually I just met him today. Flip. I was traveling with his sister however. Flip. We're looking for a flower called an Aesirflower.
Kazumi tapped her lip in thought as she took the sign and flipped it around. You know, there's someone who might have them in full bloom, but she's a bit testy.
Can you take me to her?
For the most part, Evangeline A. K. McDowell did not entertain guests on an often basis. The shrimpy vampire as one Kakurazaki Asuna called her on a regular basis was not what you would call a people person. The few that she regularly associated with was the headmaster on their nightly sessions of shogi, the occasional check up for Chachamaru from Hakase Satomi and lately little Negi Springfield when he was in need of magical mentoring.
Evangeline's home was a rustic log-and-beam style of home in a mix of European classiness and the feel of a little oriental here and there. Her living room was decorated with nearly a hundred dolls of various shapes and sizes; a hobby that she came up with over the centuries of existence. Certainly there were more dolls around, but she only crafted one every five years and thus there were less than they should have been.
Today however her peace was shattered by a loud rapping at the door and the call of "Hey! Eva-chan you in there?"
Evangeline sighed and said, "Chachamaru, can you get rid of Asakura for me?"
"Yes mistress," said Chachamaru and the robotic doll girl headed for the door. Opening it, Chachamaru opened her mouth to say something to get Asakura to leave when Kazumi shoved herself into the room, followed by a guy in armour. Very BIG armour Chachamaru noted as he was even taller than Tatsumiya Mana, arguably the tallest girl in the class.
"Heya Chachamaru," greeted Kazumi as she walked in, flourishing her camera. "Is the shrimp home?"
Evangeline boiled over and leaned over the railing, shouting "I am not a shrimp!"
The armour blinked, or seemed to as he looked over at Kazumi and held up a cardboard sign. Is this your friend, Kazumi?
Kazumi nodded and the armour bowed and spun the sign around. Nice to meet you miss. I'm Alphonse Elric. Flip. I'm sorry but I don't speak Japanese.
Evangeline, slightly fed up with Kazumi's antics walked downstairs and paused for a moment, examining Al. Al fidgeted for a moment under her gaze before she folded her arms and said, "Who's the guy in the armour?"
"He said his name is Alphonse Elric mistress," said Chachamaru, answering the question. "He does not speak Japanese."
"Ask if he speaks English," said Evangeline, feeling a headache coming on. Chachamaru nodded and borrowed Al's sign, relaying the message. Al replied in kind and Chachamaru said, "He speaks German, or as he calls it, Amestrian mistress."
Slightly thankful for having the time to learn another language, Evangeline turned to Al and said in flawless German, "So what do you want?"
Taken aback a little at the brusque question, Al said, "Please miss, do you have an Aesirflower? My brother is suffering from a lack of an immune system and he needs a cure made up."
Evangeline tapped her finger against her lips and smirked. "Getting frisky with the ladies huh?"
Alphonse sputtered and waved his hands. "No! Brother would never do that! He passed through the Gate returning home and he lost his immune system in the process!"
Evangeline nearly fell over in shock. "T-THE GATE!" she shrieked, nearly deafening everyone in range.
"What's this thing you're yelling about?" asked Kazumi curiously in Japanese, having heard the panic associated with the words. "Sounds dangerous."
Evangeline looked at Kazumi and then sighed. Going over to the drawers, she picked up a hoop earring and marched over to Kazumi. Jamming the earring around Kazumi's earlobe, she said in Japanese, "There, a translation earpiece. It won't last long so make the most of it." Then turning to Alphonse the girl added, "Start at the beginning."
After two cups of Chachamaru's famous tea, Al had related the entire tale to the assembled girls. "And that's where I am today," said Al, his tea still untouched. "Currently I need to get that potion and return home, but I'm uncertain how to pay the passage fee again."
Evangeline tapped her fingers on the table before saying, "You need to pay the passage fee in souls. I have a book on fundamental alchemy and it details on how to reach the Gate of Truth. But the amount of souls needed for an unchecked passage may be difficult to find."
Kazumi made a face. "Tell me about it. I don't think the faculty will overlook us sacrificing a few people to get Al home."
Evangeline chuckled darkly at the thought of Negi and Asuna trussed up on crosses with expressions similar to the painting The Scream and Alphonse went a little pale, despite having no movable facial expression or skin.
Chachamaru cleared her throat and said, "Mistress what about your special object? The one locked in the vault under the bed?"
Evangeline froze and she looked at her servant. "We can't use that," said Evangeline. "I won't allow it."
The vampire sighed and then looked at Al. "Alphonse, give me two days and I'll get that potion made up for you. During that time try to find some type of spirit that we can use to pay the passage fee."
"But spirits are usually invisible, right?" asked Al and Evangeline glared at him. "YES MA'AM!"
"A spirit?" said Kazumi, her arms folded behind her head. "Where are we going to find a spirit to pay for the passage fee?"
"I have no idea," said Al morosely. "I'm a scientist and I'm sure god hates me enough to never send one when we need it."
The pair slumped to a park bench and sighed simultaneously as the day began to wane. The sun burned a brilliant golden color as it was just touching the tips of the trees. "This sucks," summed up Kazumi. "We can't sacrifice people and we need to help your brother, right?"
"Yeah, but even brother would disapprove of using anyone as a fee," said Al. "I think we're sunk."
Kazumi nodded, turning her camera over in her hands. As she thumbed through the digital photos, a photo taken of the inside of the 3-A classroom made her pause. In the corner was a whisp of a girl, staring out into the light. What caught Kazumi's attention was that the light was going THROUGH her. Tapping Al on the arm, she held up the photo. "Al, what do you make of that?"
Al peered at the photo and said, "Uh, bad photography?"
Kazumi walloped him so hard his head flew off. As Al scrambled to retrieve it, Kazumi exclaimed, "NO! I've never seen that girl before in our classroom and look, the light is going THROUGH her! I think she's a ghost that I caught on film!"
"A ghost? Do you think...?" Al stood up and new determination began to grow within him as Kazumi stood up as well.
"Yes! We'll track this ghost down!" Exclaimed Kazumi triumphantly. "If she's an evil spirit, then we have no qualms about sacrificing her to the gate, right?"
"Er... I guess..." said Al, sweating despite having no pores.
"Mahora Ghostbusting Squad go!" proclaimed Kazumi and she grabbed Al by the hand to haul him to the school.
Al felt silly. Even sillier than when Ed convinced him to do something that would spell tragic doom for both of them in a roundabout manner. It was worse than the time when Ed had somehow gotten Riza Hawkeye in a prank on Colonel Mustang and Ed pretended to be Mustang's son. It put the icing on the cake cause Riza was looking for him since he had skipped paperwork once more to hit on an office woman. The end result was a nearly charbroiled Fullmetal and Al had scrubbed himself over with steel wool to get the scorch marks out of his armour as Ed had hid behind him.
This topped the cake as he was sneaking around with a giant glowing net that read "Property of Mahora Technology Branch". The giant backpack complete with gun thingy also unnerved him as Kazumi seemed at home with the weirdness that they were about to perpetrate.
Peering into the room, Kazumi held up a scanner which flashed and blinked. "That spirit was in here," said Kazumi, adjusting some knobs on the side. "This way."
The pair crept down the hallway, out the door where Kazumi paused to change her shoes. Around the corner and down the main walkway where they peered around a building. "There," said Kazumi, holding up her camera to take a picture.
The spirit was of a young teenaged girl with silver hair. Her uniform was much older by Japanese schooling standards and she looked into the family restaurant fondly. Al felt the equivalent of his heartstrings twang and said, "She looks so sad."
"Yeah," said Kazumi as she holstered the weapon. "And she's too cute to be evil. Maybe we should talk to her then?"
"Yeah," said Al. Stuffing the net into himself, Al walked around the corner. The girl looked up but didn't flee, assuming that he couldn't see her. It wasn't until Al was beside her with Kazumi that he said, "Nice night."
"Huh?" asked the girl and she looked up at Al. "Uh..."
"It's a nice night," repeated Kazumi for Al and she smiled. "Hey."
"You... can see me?" said the ghost girl and Kazumi and Al nodded. The girl trembled and then began to cry.
"We didn't do anything, honest!" exclaimed Al, waving both his arms.
"Thank you!" exclaimed the girl, hugging Al to his surprise but with a surprised squeak, she fell through him. "Ouch!"
"Hey, you okay?" asked Kazumi and the girl got up. "What's your name anyhow?"
"Aisawa Sayo," said the girl. "You're Asakura Kazumi, the girl who sits beside me."
"Yep," said Kazumi with a wide grin. "And this is Alphonse Elric." Then, Kazumi blinked and added, "Wait a minute, you can understand him?"
Sayo nodded. "I noticed it actually a few years ago. A few Americans came here for some reason or another and despite being terrible in English, I found out I could understand any language."
"Looks like language barriers isn't an issue for the dead," said Al.
"So what do we do now?" asked Kazumi curiously. "We can't use her as a passage fee; she's too nice and too cute."
"P-Passage fee?" stammered Sayo.
"It's all right," said Al, holding up his hands. "We'll find something else."
High above in the clouds, thunder rumbled and Kazumi grimaced. "Lets get inside before it begins raining."
"Yeah," said Al and the three headed for the closest shelter.
"Sure is nasty out there," said Alphonse as he looked out the window of the cafe. Sayo sat in the third chair while Kazumi leaned back in the second around the table. Lightning illuminated the skies accompanied by a crash of thunder and Sayo squeaked in fear.
"You okay?" asked Kazumi of the girl.
"I don't like thunder," said Sayo. Another bolt of lightning lanced the skies and Sayo squeaked once more.
"Brother and I saw a lot of storms in our time," said Al. "Mostly while we were traveling."
"You've seen a lot of places back home?" asked Kazumi curiously.
"Yeah," said Al. "A lot of places. And a lot of people too. Although they're all kind of fuzzy images now, since I lost most of my memories when I was transmuted back into a human."
Kazumi stirred her drink. "I couldn't imagine how it would be like losing so much all the time."
"It's the basis of our theory, Equivalent Exchange. In order to gain something, you must give something up," said Al. "Like turning water into wine. You can only do that when the component molecules are similar. You can't turn water into say a dinner fork."
Another bolt of lightning split the skies and Sayo shrieked at the thunderous explosion that seemed to rocket across the skies. Al noticed this and his expression seemed to narrow as a second bolt of lightning arced upwards in numerous streams.
"Something wrong?" asked Kazumi as she tried to comfort the ghost girl.
"Lightning doesn't travel upwards or in streams," said Al. Getting out of his chair, he said, "Wait here. I'm going to check it out."
"Be careful out there," said Kazumi and Al nodded before heading off.
The pair sat in silence for a moment before Kazumi got to her feet. "C'mon Sayo, he needs our help."
Negi panted as he and Kotarou stood in the driving rain. This demon, Wilheim came out of nowhere and said simply that he was one of the demons that attacked his hometown six years ago and he had been sealed away by Stan. Wilheim was beyond anything he had fought thus far and was a stark comparison to Evangeline who had obviously been holding back despite her attempt to kill him. The demon hovered overhead, looking rather smug despite himself.
"Is this the best you can do?" asked Wilheim contemptuously as Kotarou struggled to his feet. "I'm saddened that one with such a legacy behind him cannot do half the things his father could."
Wilheim sighed theatrically as he pointed a hand and a glistening ball of crimson energy formed in it. "I suppose I should just finish you off now."
"Negi, RUN!" chorused the girls from inside the bubble shield and Negi could merely put his arms up in front of him to try and protect his face.
A crackle of sparkling blue light and a harsh metallic crackle rang out as a wall of stone erupted in front of the blast. The blast crashed against the wall but otherwise did not penetrate. Wilheim floated backwards more out of surprise as he surveyed the newcomer. Alphonse Elric merely stared back at him, the sketched transmutation circle on the ground washing away with the driving rain. "An alchemist," said Wilheim in a surprised tone. "One that was able to penetrate my barrier. Interesting."
"Alphonse-san!" exclaimed Negi and Kotarou looked at Al who nodded. Switching to a rough version of German, Negi said, "You come help?"
Alphonse nodded and replied in a very rough Japanese, "Is okay. Al help."
Wilheim laughed. "Well this is unexpected! Well met, well met Alphonse Elric! It is rare that we see such an event twice in a lifetime. It explains how you got through the barrier." Alphonse stiffened and Wilheim smiled, an unnerving thing to see on old man. "Oh yes, I know of you Alphonse Elric but that mystery will hold for another day. Well played. But nature is against you alchemist -- the ground is too wet for you to make your vaunted arrays now!"
Alphonse looked down at the water and mentally grit his teeth. He's right.
"Feh, with or without an alchemist we'll still beat you!" shouted Kotarou. "Right, Negi?"
Negi's eyes were affixed on Asuna who was trussed up. That gemstone at her throat continued to glow. "Negi, I'll be okay!" called out Asuna. "Kick his ass!"
"Heh, neechan is right," said Kotarou. "If we can't solve this with magic, we'll solve this with our FISTS!"
The dog boy rocketed forward in a flying kick while Negi launched himself at Wilheim who fought back with single lashing strikes that knocked the opponent backwards. Suddenly Al was behind Wilheim and the old man turned, his fist clashing against Al's. "You're good child," said Wilheim as he punched Al hard enough that his chestplate buckled and he flew backwards with a loud clang.
Al got to his feet and drew a little circle on his chest. Blue light played over his hand and the chestplate was pulled back into it's normal shape. "For such an old guy, you move quickly too," said Al, trying his hand at Ed's antagonistic manner during a fight.
Wilheim raised an eyebrow as he returned his attention back to Kotarou and Negi. Brilliant bursts of magic erupted from his palm and the pair were thrown back.
Kotarou sat up and coughed. "He's tough. You still alive?"
"Yeah," said Negi, getting to his feet. "Al, can you give us a leg up?"
Al nodded and together, the group rushed the pair as the kids landed on his hands. With a mighty hurl, Al flung them at Wilheim who retaliated with a blast of magic that knocked them all to the ground. "This isn't your best," said Wilheim, sounding disappointed. "I thought the Thousand Master's son was more of a challenge."
"What are you saying?" demanded Negi. "I'm giving it my all here!"
Al tuned out the chatter that Negi and the old man was indulging in as he turned towards the girls who were in the bubble. If he had skin he'd blush as they were all naked and quite attractive. Are all villains in this world perverted or something? Al wondered as he tried to avoid gazing at Asuna.
Asuna looked over at Al and called out, "Hey! Al! You gonna help or something?"
Al couldn't understand what she said but the intent was there. Taking a step towards them, one of the creepy little children said something and Kamo relayed it in German. "Hey, stop! Get too close and they'll be petrified or dissolved or something worse!"
Al paused and looked over at Asuna who nodded. "But..." Al looked over at Negi and Kotarou and were receiving a beating. It was eerily like how he and Ed fought with the never give up motto. The fierce protectiveness he saw on Ed's face was evident on Negi's own. But the young boy was beginning to tire as evident in his movements. "All right."
Al took the equivalent of a deep breath and prayed, clapping his hands together. The surge of energy could be felt by Wilheim and the old man turned in shock at the sound of metal hands meeting each other. "Uh oh."
"The light," said Al as the warm green light flowed from his hands and formed several concrete golems in the form of friends and family. Winry with her wrench, Ed with his automail already crafted into a blade, Major Armstrong already shirtless and posing, First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye with her gun and Colonel Roy Mustang, still smirking. As one, the golems surged forth at a speed Al previously thought was impossible for simple crafted golems. "It's warm," finished Al.
There was a loud cracking sound and the bubble exploded outwards. "We did it!" cheered the girls as they set to work sealing in the water demons into a phial and Ku Fei yanked the gemstone from the pendant around Asuna's neck.
"All right!" exclaimed Negi as Kotarou grinned. "Without that, he's affected by our magic again!"
The Ed golem moved in of his own violation, driving his blade downwards in an attack that made Wilheim step aside and blow its head off, only to find himself being attacked by blasts of stone hewn fire that smashed into him and knocked the old man backwards. The Armstrong golem slammed his fist into the ground and a pillar of stone erupted from below, sending Armstrong flying upwards as Riza shot stone bullets that he was hard pressed to dodge.
Negi and Kotarou wasted no time whatsoever in attacking as well. The Inugami split into several solid clones and magic glowed from his fists while Negi aimed several bursts of magic at the opponent.
Willheim fell to the earth and without warning, was struck by Kotarou and then by Negi who delivered a punishing elbow into his chest. Negi's hand moved in an arcane pattern and with a punishing blow accompanied by the thunderous crackle of lightning, the fight was over.
"You're strong, Negi Springfield," admitted Wilheim as the dawn broke. "And so is the young girl. Perhaps one day she will be strong enough to save the villagers whom I petrified."
"Maybe someday," said Negi.
Wilheim smiled. "Well, perhaps I will see you again." But before the man could vanish, a foot came down on his wrist and he looked up into a grinning blonde vampire. "Oh hello Evangeline. Fancy seeing you here."
"Wilheim," said Evangeline as the other girls were made up rough clothing by Al. "We need to borrow some souls."
"Ah," said Wilheim with a nod. "I thought as much. You never do anything by halves do you, Dark Evangel? "
"Not when there's prophesy involved or Alphonse for that matter," said Evangeline. Looking up, she barked in German, "Alphonse Elric, front and center!"
"Yes ma'am!" exclaimed Al, running to her side.
"Ha!" laughed Wilheim and he continued to laugh. "Ah," he said when he calmed down "I suppose he is planning on heading home then?"
"Yes," said Evangeline and the old man sat up. "It's just a little bit of soul, not too much."
"Well I can never refuse an offer from such a lovely lady," said Wilheim and Evangeline flushed. Negi looked at Kotarou who shrugged, the German going over their heads.
"Negi!" Negi looked up and was immediately smothered in Nekane's arms. "I saw the fighting but I couldn't get in! Are you okay?"
"I'm fine neesan," said Negi from between Nekane's breasts. "Really."
"Oh look at you, you're all bloodied up," said Nekane as she began to work on Negi's face.
"All's well that ends well?" asked Al and Kazumi came up next to him, accompanied by Sayo. "Did you two go get Evangeline?"
"Yeah," said Kazumi and Sayo nodded. "So, ready to go home?"
Al looked over at Evangeline who held up a leather pouch. "The potion and something extra," the girl said. "Try not to mix them up."
Al gave her a questioning glance and Evangeline smirked. "I always quote double the time it takes to make a potion and then multiply it by four."
It took Al less time to draw the array with so many hands helping. Wilheim stood to the edge of it, prepared to give a bit of himself to the Gate as Al stepped in the middle of it. Kazumi had insisted on a group picture and within an hour and a half, Al was loaded down with packages from everyone. Wilheim looked a little put off as he grumbled about the Gate possibly wanting more because Al was bringing across so much.
"I guess it's time to say goodbye," said Al. "Maybe I'll see you all again."
"I'll let the Magus know you got home safely," said Nekane as the girls stood to the side, unwilling to get caught in a transfer. "Take care, all right?"
"I will," said Al. "Thank you for all your help."
"All's well that ends well, right?" asked Kazumi and the others nodded.
"Hold on Al!" added Evangeline. Alphonse got back to his feet and looked over at Evangeline. The short girl floated up a little bit and planted a deft kiss on his helmet. "Take care," she whispered, the actions gardening her shocked looks from everyone else.
"Um… what was that for?" asked Alphonse, puzzled. Evangeline's only response was to nailbat him.
After fixing himself, Al looked at the array below his feet and with a deep breath, crouched down, clapped his hands and slammed it onto the array. Warm green light flowed up and the array activated with a musical chime. The light went out in Al's armour and the armour slumped to the ground as the packages vanished along with Al's soul.
"Al? Al! Al, wake up!"
"Look at him. Unconscious and he brings presents too," said a masculine voice. Al opened his eyes to stare up at the people looking at him. "How many fingers am I holding up, Alphonse?" asked Roy, the previous speaker.
"None, that's a rude gesture," said Al and Roy chuckled as Winry and Rose helped him to his feet. Rose's child slept well in the arms of Auntie Pinako and Riza sat to the side. "How much time has passed?"
"Barely a half an hour," said Rose. "You rematerialized all of a sudden when the array activated once more. "Are you all right? The Gate didn't take anything?"
"A kindly old demon gave me enough passage fee for me to transfer over," said Al and the others shared a puzzled glance. "Is Ed still asleep?"
Winry nodded. "C'mon, lets go see him."
The sound of the door awoke Ed as he looked over. "Al..." he said and dropped into a fit of coughing. "You're back."
"I told him everything a half an hour ago," said Winry as Al stood there, still flesh and blood. "He almost got out of bed to follow you."
"Brother, here's the medicine," said Al, reaching into the pouch and pulling out the crystalline vial. Setting the pouch to the side, it made a clinking sound but Al ignored it. "Drink it all in one go."
Ed took the drink and chugged it. "Tastes like vanilla," said Ed sleepily as he drifted off once more.
"His immune system will be restored in a half an hour," said Al as he rubbed his hands, feeling the chill of the early morning. "We should let him rest to fight the cold."
Winry picked up the pouch and hefted it. "There's something in here," she said and pulled out a translucent orb and a piece of paper that was yellowed with age. The orb glowed green with a soft inviting light.
Al looked at and Winry put it into his hands. The light became warmer in his hands as Winry opened up the paper. "Dear Alphonse, I give this present to you..."
"... In our world, Alchemy was used to save the lives of thousands and keep the forces of darkness from dying. The wishes and hope and love of the people who wished to keep the world from dying from the horrors of war was forged into this orb you hold. When the sorcerer who forged this item finished it, he said only this. He who has given himself up thrice will know pain and suffering. When his planet calls out to him, he will answer and when the souls call out, the full circle will resume its proper course. I have learned over the nearly six hundred years or so of life that prophesy should never be ignored. Thus I bequeath, as the guardian the strength of the Philosopher Stone. Use it well, Cetra. Sincerely Evangeline A. K. McDowell."
"So this is a Philosopher Stone," said Roy, running his hands over the smooth green orb. "It looks so peaceful in comparison to the ones the Homunculus have."
"It was made with wishes," said Al. "After what I've seen, it's hard to ignore."
"So..." said Ed who was sitting on the couch drinking soup, "What did she mean by Cetra anyhow?"
"Cetra means he who is closest to god," said Rose. "Or in the Ishbalian tongue, it means he who is the messenger of the planet."
"Feh, god still hates us anyhow," said Ed and Winry sighed.
"In any case, Ed's back on his feet." Riza sighed. "I suppose there's no answer to these strange events, don't you agree?"
"Yeah," said Al as he unwrapped the first package he brought over.
Winry looked over at the title of the book and arched an eyebrow. "Beginner's Guide to Western Magic?"
Ed sputtered his soup. "Al! Magic isn't real!"
"But brother it IS real!" defended Al and the pair squabbled over the book like a pair of two year olds.
Roy sighed. "Looks like the family is back together again."