Note: Once again, I will assume that Rose's kid is a boy. But this time, I will assume that she has named him Kain, after her dead boyfriend.
I am currently writing this letter from the huge library beside military headquarters. I do hope that you and Kain are fine there at Rush Valley, and that your sick nephew gets well. Please, do send them my regards.
The state alchemist exam is five days away. Even though I know I'm giving it all I've got to study and to clear my mind before that fateful day, I must admit that I'm quite nervous. It was easy for my brother back then – he doesn't need to use transmutation circles, which is, for many, truly a sign of a great alchemist. But compared to him, I'm not exactly as impressive, but hopefully I will do my best.
I guess I'm writing to you because I don't have other people to talk to. I can't talk to Ed right now, since he's really busy organizing the exam and I wouldn't want anyone to accuse him of leaking anything to me. Neither can I talk to Winry…she's been very busy, too, with keeping their automail business up and I can't bear to disturb her.
I do hope you will be able to make it on the day of the exam. But if you need to stay there at Rush Valley for a little while longer, I understand.
We're all fine here, but my nephew's still not looking well. Unfortunately they have to amputate his left arm, and he's always moping and crying about no longer being a real person because he'll just have one arm left. But I told him about the story of the Fullmetal Alchemist, about how he only had one arm and one leg and was still able to achieve great things, and about the great mechanics around who can make him a new arm. Thankfully he's calmed down, and right now he and Kain are talking about what kind of weapons to fix onto that new automail arm.
Don't overwork, Al. I don't want you to get tired and not be able to concentrate on the day of the exam. Just stay calm, and do whatever you can. I think you and your brother just have unique talents, and shine in different ways. I wish you the best of luck in studying, but trust me, you won't need luck. You're already a great alchemist as it is even if you don't make it…not that I'm saying you won't.
I'm always here to listen. In fact, it's a good thing you're telling me all this so I don't worry back here about how you're doing and how you're studying and whether you still have time to eat between library sessions…
And as for coming back to Central this Saturday, I'm afraid I don't know if I can. It's not that I don't care for your exam. I do, but I just haven't seen my nephew and his foster family in a long time, and they most probably want me and Kain to stay a little while longer. Please understand if I won't be able to see you then, but I'll offer up my prayers for you.
Only two days stand between me and that exam. I have a feeling my head will soon explode from all the things I'm reading about and I might forget all that I've studied.
Once again, I extend my warmest greetings to your son, to your nephew, and to your nephew's parents.
Yes, don't worry about me…I'm taking care not to stress myself, as many state alchemists-to-be have done in the past and lost their chance when they pushed things too far. In fact, you sound like Ed. He's always telling me to keep my cool every chance he gets. By the way, he, Winry and Pinako are all hoping that you're fine too. Winry in particular is asking if you've seen the latest automail arm model, because she thinks it would be a good choice for your nephew.
No, I understand, and I thank you for your concern. That is why I love you so much…you have an attitude as charming as your face. Hmm…maybe I think I've gone overboard with the cheesy poetic words here.
Take care of yourself too, and stop worrying so much. I'll be fine, whether I pass or not.
P.S. I'm sorry if I might not send any more letters after this one, because I'm going to really need to concentrate on studying if I definitely want to pass the exam, and the written part and the interview are tomorrow afternoon, and then there's the practical application bit, with all the people watching. But I'll always be thinking of you. You're my muse, my inspiration, Rose.
I know you'll pass. I know you will. And don't start becoming a pessimist…it's not good for you.
Do tell Winry that if she's talking about the slender, light model made by Dominic, she's definitely right. That's the one his parents picked for him, and even he thinks it's cool. By the way, tell Ed, Winry and Pinako that I send my regards.
I'll make this one really short, since you probably do need all the time you can get to wrap up everything and get ready for the exam. I suggest getting a good night's sleep and not cramming on the day itself.
I think I should be the one telling you to take care of yourself. Work hard, but not too hard.
And thanks so much for understanding. I thought you were going to be disappointed…thanks so much. I really appreciate it.
Wishing you all the best,
The grounds were dotted on one side with such resources like tall trees, rocks, one pile of which was capped by snow and ice, and a clear, rushing stream fed by an unknown source. Everything stood on earth dotted with patches of green grass. The other side was full of people in blue military uniforms and several onlookers. And in the middle was a knot of nervous-looking men, some of whom looked over forty and had probably tried whatever they would be facing before.
Stepping forward from the audience was a tall man with a head of black hair, one eye obscured by an eye patch, hands covered with gloves with transmutation circles and the Fuhrer's badges on his shoulders. He was flanked on either side by a blond woman with an alert expression on her face – probably a lieutenant general, and a black and white dog wearing the symbol of the state military on its blue collar.
"As you can see, we have provided you with your raw materials for alchemy. Your task is to create something – anything you can think of – that will impress the judges. The best creation will win the creator the most-coveted silver watch of the state alchemist and the rank of major," proclaimed the man.
"And the leash of the military, courtesy of everyone's favorite guy Mustang," muttered a blond military officer, narrowing his golden eyes at the Fuhrer.
"Shush, Lieutenant Colonel Elric," snapped Fuhrer Mustang, shooting him a reproachful look.
While Mustang chastised Ed and went back to his speech about what it was like to be a state alchemist, Al huddled with the men in the middle of the grounds, not participating in their nervous monologues or their hushed whispers, scanning the audience for any sign of anyone he knew, besides his friends and brother on the military. He caught sight of Ed discreetly flashing the thumbs-up sign at him, but after he smiled back and began looking through the crowd again, he saw someone who made his heart suddenly soar and take his nervousness away.
There was a woman in the front, her tanned face framed by pink bangs. A slight breeze blew her brown hair, and she gently pushed it back behind her shoulders. She grinned and waved excitedly, mouthing his name and possibly a "Good luck!"
Al returned the wave, feeling just a little bit more confident. He took a deep breath and faced Fuhrer Mustang, ready for the exam.
He knew that he had studied well, but it still wouldn't be complete with his muse.
And there she was, standing in the audience, giving him the warm smile she often reserved for him and blowing him a kiss.