Chapter 30

"NO!" Riza snapped, "I'M NOT GOING TO DO THAT!"

Roy twitched one of his eyebrows "No? Are you sure that's an answer of a responsible soldier?" he asked.

Still trembling, Riza grabbed one of her handguns and pointed it towards Roy. It surprised him this time, and he instantly raised both of his hands. He didn't think that his subordinate really dared to point a gun at him.

"P-Permission to speak freely, sir" she asked nervously

"Permission granted" he replied at ease

Riza stepped forward and released the safety lock of her handgun. Roy raised both of his eyebrows in surprise hearing the safety lock's click – he thought it was off already when she aimed it to him.

"Shut up, Roy. What do you think you're doing? You're a soldier. A soldier has to stay on his duty to serve the nation until the end. And you know that we have to stay on our promises for the sake of the future of the nation!"

Riza trembled, tears started to flow down her cheeks. "But you…"

Roy didn't dare to say a word seeing her breaking down in tears in front of him, gun still pointed at him.

Riza lowered her gun as she continued her sentence, "But you're also a father…"

What Riza just said felt more hurting in his heart than a bullet piercing through. She just shot him with his words, right on his heart.

Riza marched forward and slapped Roy with her handgun.

"A father's duty is to protect his son until the end! And that… that's more important than anything… in the world."

Rain started to fall. Riza still looking straight towards her superior, her eyes were burning red with tears flowing down her cheeks.

Roy stepped forward and wrapped her in a hug.

"…You were right, Riza. I'm sorry."

"It's okay. Now… let's go save your son before I have to shoot you."

And then Roy pressed his lips to hers. Riza blushed as they broke apart, and Roy took off his coat to shield her from the rain as they went back in to the car.

"Finally, after the loooong years, huh?" Maes said, "Now Ed's officially got a mommy"

Havoc just sighed and replied, "The Mustang father and son are sure lucky bastards, eh? Havin' someone as fine as Riza to be Mrs. Mustang…"

"Mm-hm"

And right after Roy and Riza went back in to the car, they continued their journey immediately. When they arrived at their secret hideout, Roy was surprised to see all the people in his unit were there.

"You all do realize that this is only a selfish mission of mine to save my son? Even if we get out of this fight alive, it won't add any points for promotion – you might even get demoted, kicked out of the military… heck, if things goes wrong, being let to live is a blessing already…"

Hearing that statement said by their own Colonel, everyone laughed.

"What are you talking about, Colonel? Edward is a valuable member of our unit!"

"He's our mascot!"

"He's like a little brother to me."

"More like a son to me!"

"He brightens up the mood in the boring office!"

"I never liked children, but Edward's a different case!"

"And this regards to the future of Amestris too!"

"Yeah! We have to stop an innocent child being a victim of dirty politics and conspiracy!"

Roy tried to hold up his tears hearing each and every word his comrades say. He never realized that Ed was more than the son of their superior officer – they treated him just like a family.

"Roy, if this has to be called a selfish mission, then we're all being selfish here!" Maes finally added.

"Alright then everyone, let's start the briefing!" Roy said with a smile on his face – a smile of pride.

Meanwhile, down in the deepest, darkest part of Amestris, lies a secret chamber. To get there, you have to go through a maze of sewer tunnels that reeks of waste, and you might end up dying as a tunnel rat if you can't find your way out. However, the homunculi know their way through as if they're playing in their own backyard. Juliet Douglas, Alphonse and Edward, now known as Sloth, Wrath and Pride, stood right in a room full of complicated runic circles.

Edward is now with his shoulder-length golden locks let loose and dressed in black, sleeveless turtleneck and a black pair of leather pants and boots, along with red temporary tattoo painted over his arms – they said that the paint is made of rare bloodred petalite that is believed to be able to boost alchemic powers when painted on an alchemist's skin.

"Here, brother" Al said as he tossed a jar to Ed. He caught it, and looked at what's inside – it's some kind of candy with bright red color, but it's glowing. He remembered when he was younger the Fuhrer tried to give him some, but Selim came and startled him before he managed to eat one.

"What are these, actually?" Ed asked.

"Those are the philosopher's stone." Al answered, "For human alchemists, it allows them to transmute anything without equivalent exchange – many called it the wish-granting stone. But for special beings like us… they're food"

"Food?"

"By consuming the philosopher's stone, we will become stronger – we will have more physical strength and alchemy power"

"Really?"

"Why not try one?" Sloth offered.

Ed gulped, and ate one bit of the stone. He suddenly felt inner strength rushing in his whole body. And then, he tried his alchemy skills, and managed to transmute a fresh, living flower out of thin air.

"Wow…" Ed was amazed by his own skills. He could not believe how amazing the stone is. He grabbed the jar again and starting to eat all the stones.

"Eat them all, Pride. We're going to need it for our battle soon…" the beautiful woman said as she stroked the golden haired boy's head with a mysterious smile.

It feels like an eternity in the underworld of Amestris, or known as the sewers. The smell is nasty, and there are lots of cockroaches and rats everywhere, and everywhere looks the same – wet, damp and cold. Their only source of lighting is the dim lights and some flashlights that his subordinates brought. However, Roy could only trust his subordinates for now. Nobody told him exactly where he was lead to – Armstrong was the one who ordered so because if Roy knows the exact location of his son, he will just rush in there without thinking. They can't risk him to do that, because it will blow up the whole thing. So he told Havoc to remember the path and be their navigator.

"Remember, Roy. Our enemies this time are not humans, they have the philosopher's stone, and they're very dangerous. We don't have time for mistakes, and rushing everything won't save your son" Maes said.

"Okay. I understand. Just…just lead me to the right way." Roy replied.

And after endless walking in the tunnels of the nasty sewers, they finally arrived in front of a huge stone door. There are no doorknobs or even a keyhole, just only one line of this Latin sentence carved on it:

Me secum in carne mea alchemy ultimum peccatum, sint mundi variari potest, quod sacrificium pro cognitione diei

Roy recognized those words. He just stepped forward and started to draw complex runic circle on the door, and fused energy on it. The door opened.

"How did you know that was the key, Roy?" Maes asked.

"Those words…are carved within the edges of the transmutation circle on Ed's back" Roy said flatly.

"It seems that it's written in Latin…" Rebecca added as she walked into the door, following the others.

"Latin is the language of alchemy after all, Becca. Every alchemist must be fluent to Latin to fully understand alchemy. Starting this year, the national examination board added Latin to the annual state alchemist test" Lieutenant Ross explained.

"I wonder what does the words on the door say… hey Roy, care to tell us?" Havoc asked. Roy suddenly stopped. Everyone followed, confused.

"…In my flesh I carry the ultimate sin of alchemy, for I am to be sacrificed for the knowledge that can change the world…"

"…What's that?" Maes asked. Roy didn't budge.

"The meaning of the words carved on the door…and on Ed's back."

Everyone gasped and shivered. Roy didn't say a word and just continue walking, and everyone followed.

CLANK.

The marching soldiers stopped their tracks when they heard a loud noise that surely came from somewhere nearby. Roy gave a signal and they all readied their weapons and stand by on combat position.

"Sir, I hear footsteps." Havoc said. Even though he isn't the brightest one, his hearing skills can be trusted.

"How many?" Roy asked without even flinching, his hands folded.

Havoc focused on his ears and when he got the answer, he went completely silent.

No… this can't be…

"Havoc?"

"Oh!….Two, sir."

"Just two? I wonder if this is some kind of trap or something…" Roy turned to Havoc, seeing that his subordinate's face turned pale.

"Havoc? Are you okay?"

"…The footsteps… They're…"

"What? Tell us, Havoc! It's an order!"

"They're…children…"

"Hello there, Mr. Mustang."

Roy quickly turned back to see who called him.

"Edward! …and Alphonse…"

It's Edward and Alphonse. Roy couldn't find any words to describe the state of his son. Expressionless, cold, and somehow… frightening. Very frightening.

"It's Sloth and Wrath, Mr. Mustang," Alphonse said.

"Wha-?"

"I am the seventh deadly sin of alchemy, my name is Sloth" Edward said as he clapped his hands and put them on the ground.

The whole ground rumbles and it started to crack rapidly.

"Edward…?"

"I told you, Mr. Mustang. My name is Sloth. Not Edward"

The ground collapsed and everybody fell into a seemingly endless hole. Including the two boys.

After falling into what seemingly an endless pit of darkness with no end, Roy finally felt that he had touched the ground. However, he did not feel any pain. Instead, he heard a huge splash and felt something that feels more horrible than being in pain – being wet. His gloves were soaked for good, but he is lucky to keep a spare pair inside the secret pocket on his military uniform top. He throw his soaked gloves and put on the new ones, and carefully stood up. He could not see anything at all, and the thought of being blinded went through his mind. But he felt so relieved when he tried to snap his fingers and could see the fire he sparked. He snapped a few times as he scanned his eyes throughout the mysterious space, trying to catch a glimpse of another survivor or something to make a torch of between the nauseating blitz of light that only survived a few seconds each time he snapped. He finally found a piece of wood, so he quickly took off his waist cloak, rip them off and wrapped it on the wood, and sparked the makeshift torch with his own fire.

"Finally, I can see something-"

He wished he didn't spark any torch at all.

He's standing in a sea of blood. Fresh, red, and stank of rusty iron. He looked around and as far as his eyes could see, it's nothing but the endless sea of blood.