Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters or places etc in this work

'Equivalent exchange is the ultimate guiding principle of Alchemy, the world even. You know this Edward. We cannot escape it. For something to be gained something of equal value must be lost.' Declared Hohenheim solemnly, as he rose from of his recently reincarnated younger son. 'In order to bring back your brothers body just now you had to trade your gate, your connection to alchemy, didn't you?'

'Yes,' Ed replied tersely.

'Do you regret the price you've paid?'


The forceful simplicity of his statement bespoke volumes of his resolve, causing a slight smile to spread across Hohenheim's features. 'My my that's such a mature sentiment; you've really grown on your journey.'

'What the hell's that supposed to mean bastard,' growled Ed in response, as quick to anger as ever, especially whenever anyone drops the g-word.

'It means that we believe you have suffered for your sin already.'

With no more warning than that, Hohenheim launched himself forward, his hand smashing into Ed's face, grinding it into the ground.

'What the hell are you doing?' came a smothered gasp from Ed; his surrounding comrades only able to look on in shock.

'I'm giving you exactly what you deserve my son.' Hohenheim whispered into Ed's ear, as he was surrounded by a flash of blue light, 'I'm bringing you justice!'

The glorious light given off in the alchemic reaction warred in a powerful disharmony with the grating screech of Ed's laboured screams. It lasted only a moment, but for Ed it seemed an eternity. Every inch of flesh, every fibre, every cell of his body burned in agony as Hohenheim's Alchemy worked its way to his very core.

Rising from his son's smoking form, Hohenheim whispered in a barely audible voice, 'Just because a price has to be paid doesn't mean that you cannot choose who is to pay the price. Goodbye, my son.'

Sparing one last glance at Alphonse's withered form, Hohenheim turned and walked away, it was not long before he had completely disappeared in the crowd.

Even as his father walked away, Ed's world seemed to waver. Like a ripple across his mind, reality shuddered as the young man fought towards consciousness.

Edward awoke to find himself aboard a train. Sweat drenched his face and a chill curled down the length of his spine, defying the warmth of the summer afternoon. He'd been having that dream on and off for almost a year now. For a year now he'd been intermittently reliving his last moments with Him. And yet, despite continually reliving the experience, despite dwelling on it for hours on end, he knew that there was something he didn't remember. Something he didn't understand about what had happened that day. Something that He had done. An impossible act, that had given Ed back his Alchemy. An action that had cost Hohenheim the last of his philosopher's stone.

Sighing, Ed stretched into a sitting position, his vertebrae cracking as he pulled his back taut. A quick glance out the window told him that they were nearing Central Station.

He'd spent the last year and a half in the Western country of Creta, officially to further international relations, but in reality he'd actually been studying Western alchemy. Unfortunately though it hadn't really done him much good; the alchemy of the land wasn't hugely developed and was mostly centred on agricultural alchemy besides. He found some solace in the fact that his official goal had been successful, having been able to stop the decade long war that had been waging between the two countries.

He supposed that that was enough to make the trip worthwhile, but he couldn't help the slight twinge of guilt he felt whenever he thought how long he'd been away from home. Away from Al and his friends; away from Winry. He felt his face heat up at the thought of the blond mechanic. Immediately embarrassed he desperately tried to banish her from his thoughts. It was for naught however, as he soon felt the usual litany of doubts and questions raise up in his mind. What if she'd changed her mind and moved on? What if his ambiguous confession had been misconstrued? What if she'd found a bigger wrench? He'd been brooding over these questions for almost a year and a half now, his worry only intensifying with time.

'I wonder where I should go first,' mused Ed aloud as he disembarked from the train, 'I could either go see Winry, or I could hand in my report. Ha! Like that's a choice.'

'You're right Fullmetal it isn't, your duty to the state clearly comes first.' Declared a figure stepping forward to walk besides him.

'What's the point in that Mustang?' returned Ed, completely unfazed by the Flame Alchemist's unexpected arrival. 'The fact that you'd knew I'd be here means that you've been following my movements pretty closely, as usual.'

'I've had the occasional report on your whereabouts. I'd mostly stopped reading them though, there are only so many times you can read about cow tipping before it becomes boring.'

A muscle in Ed's eyebrow began to twitch.

'But when I heard that a 'short Amestrian alchemist' had saved the life of the Cretian King and thus ended the war, well I immediately started to pay attention to my reports.'

Another muscle began to pulsate.

'Imagine my surprise when I found out that the short Amestrian alchemist was actually our short Amestrian state alchemist. I couldn't believe what I was hearing, but there it was, all reports confirmed it. Every single one indicated that you still hadn't grown.'


'Now now Fullmetal, someone of your standing needs to keep his composure. Oh and by the way, it's Lieutenant General now.'

'Lieutenant what?'

'Lieutenant General, I was promoted. Shortly after you left, Fuhrer Grumman did a complete work through of the military, seeing as we sadly lost all of our higher ranks a new top brass had to be assigned.'

'I should probably head back to Creta right now then shouldn't I, with you helping to run the country everything will go to hell in no time.'

'Thanks for your confidence, I'll be sure to pass it on to the poor Lieutenant General that they made Minister of Internal Affairs.'

'So the army is still the governing body huh? What did they make you head of then?' sighed Ed as he stepped out of the station and into the sweltering heat of the midday sun.

'You're looking at the Minister of Foreign relations and Espionage,' preened Mustang as he stepped into an awaiting car, gesturing for Edward to follow him.

'Heaven help us, a blind man watching our borders,' muttered Ed under his breath.

'I can see perfectly fine now, thanks to Dr Marcoh,' smirked the Lieutenant General, clearly glad with the way things had worked out.

'What have you done with Hawkeye then? I'm surprised she's not with you,' inquired Ed, finally managing to get a rise out of Mustang, as the former Colonel flinched at the very name.

'The Lieutenant doesn't know that I'm here. As far as she is concerned I'm in my office doing my paperwork, and haven't left the office all day. And that's the way it will stay!' said Mustang, driving home his declaration with a death glare in Edward's direction.

Ed only smirked and turned away to look at the window and watch the crowds of Central engage in their day to day lives. Minutes began to pass as the silence between them stretched, before eventually Roy decided to speak into the silence.

'You're going to have to start work straight away you know.'

'No can do, my leg is busted, I need to go and see Winry at Resembool. Besides, work on what exactly, I said I was turning in my resignation after I went to Creta.'

'Yes I know, and at first we accepted it, but then some problems came up.'

'What sort of problems.'

'Well first of all there was a general outcry from the people when it was announced that the 'People's Alchemist' was leaving his post. People assumed it meant you didn't approve of the current order, there was substantial unrest, and so we had the publicly rescind your resignation.'

'Smart people Amestrians,' murmured Ed smugly, 'however that's not enough to make me stay, it's nothing a carefully worded speech couldn't fix.'

'Well then there was the matter of your promotion, and the fact that the Fuhrer has ordered that you accept your new position.'

'I don't really care about that, he can't stop me from leaving.'

'Yes but he's placed you in a rather pivotal position, your loss would be rather devastating.'

'How could my loss possibly be devastating? I haven't even been working in it, whatever it is. What is it anyway?' Asked the young Alchemist, curious despite himself.

'Well Lieutenant General Elric, you have been made Minister of Internal Affairs,' the Flame Alchemist smirked, sitting back in his chair to fully appreciate Edward's facial expression.

'WHAT!' screamed Ed, 'that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.'

'I agree, I spent many hours arguing that we needed someone bigger to fill that chair, but the Fuhrer was adamant.'

Ed's eyes narrowed in a slight glare, 'It doesn't matter anyway, I'm still resigning my post.'

'Really, is that so?' said Roy as the car pulled up at a hotel.

'Yes it is.' Replied Ed as they disembarked from the car.

'What if I told you that there's been a lot of civil unrest in Central at the moment. That there have been a lot of people disappearing or turning up dead. That the corpses of human chimaera' have been found in the street.'

'I'm sure that you'll be able to deal with it.'

'That's the thing, I'm not sure if we can, this is an area that no one but you has any real experience. This is class A abuse of Alchemy we're talking about, try though we might you're the only one we've found who is even remotely capable of handling this sort of situation. You know damn well that this sort of thing is suited to your talents, and you know damn well that if you don't accept the Fuhrer's position that you'll be dooming more people to death. We might be able to solve it, but without you the process will be far slower.'

'Shit, he always knows just how to work me doesn't he.' Thought Edward, resigned to his fate. He'd known as soon as Mustang had mentioned the chimaera that he'd have to do something, he just hadn't wanted to admit it.

'Fine I'll do it.'

'Alchemist be thy for the people.'

'Don't go quoting that old adage to me, I already said I'd do it.'

Mustang shook his head as they began to climb the stairs, towards what Ed assumed was a pre-prepared room. 'No, that's not what I'm saying it for. The other thing about the recent incidents is that on each occasion we've found a piece of paper on which was written that saying.'

They travelled the rest of the way in contemplative silence as Mustang let the possible ramifications of that fact sink in.

Eventually Mustang stopped in front of a door.

'Here we are Elric, these are the rooms the military has booked out for you until a more permanent residence is prepared for you, a car will pick you up in the morning and you can make your report to the Fuhrer and brief you on all the details of the current situation.' He said, handing Ed the key to the room and then walking off down the street.

'But I still have to visit Resembool!' called out Ed to the Flame's retreating form, 'My leg is basically scrap metal.'

'Oh I wouldn't worry about that Fullmetal, preparations have been made,' he called back as he descended down the stairs.

Shaking his head in confusion to the ex-colonel's words, and turned back to the door. 'What's he going on about, he knows that Winry won't let me use military mechanics. He knows that if I showed up with someone else's automail that she'd kill –'

He never finished the rest of that thought, for just as he went to open the door to his room it suddenly burst open. He caught a brief glimpse of blond hair and a black skirt before blacking out as something very hard and very metallic smashed into his face.

The first thing that Ed was aware of was an annoying wet feeling on his face, spreading out from what felt like a full blown migraine. The second thing he realised was that he had no idea where he was. Fortunately, the last year and a half in Creta had gotten him used to exactly this kind of situation. Safety, he knew, lay in gathering information, and to do that he'd best feign sleep for as long as possible. Leaving his eyes closed he did his best to prevent his tension and apprehension from appearing on his face. Relaxing his muscles, he regulated his breathing so as to make it seem like he was sleeping.

'Ok, first things first, gather information,' he thought, 'what do I know about my situation? Pain in my head, most likely knocked out, meaning the enemy is probably hostile and violent. Seem to be laying on a soft surface, likely a bed, meaning that –'

His thought process brutally cut short by Winry rapping him on the head with her wrench.

'I know you're awake idiot, you forgot to mimic your snoring,' annoyance all but dripping from her voice.

'Owww, God damn it Winry, what was that for?' groaned Ed to glare at her angrily, 'What a way to welcome me back!'

'What was that for? It was for 18 months without so much as a single letter or a phone call! 18 months with absolutely no news from you! That's what it's for. Give me one good reason why I shouldn't do it again,' ground out Winry from behind clenched teeth.

'Umm, I'm currently wounded and barely conscious; who knows what another blow could do now?'

She frowned down at his blood smeared face. She knew he was just being glib, she'd hit him hard enough to leave an impression on him, but not enough to seriously hurt him, a fact which she knew he knew. Nonetheless, looking down at his face, she couldn't help but feel a little bit of guilt, especially when she looked at his nose; she really hadn't intended to break it, it just sort of happened. After a moments contemplation she decided that her only real course of action was to relent, for the time being at least.

'Alright, fine. I won't hit you with the wrench again. But that doesn't mean you're off free, you still had better have a bloody good reason for not even trying to contact me.'

'You promise that you won't hit me again with the wrench,' nudged Ed, a sly lilt to his voice.

'Yes I promise, no more wrench.'


With that Ed sat straight up from where he'd been laying on the bed, forcing Winry, who'd been leaning over him at the time, to jump back in order to avoid a collision. Wincing slightly from the pain in his head, Ed clapped his hands together to make an alchemic circle. He then placed his hands over his temples and allowed the alchemy to take its course. When he took his hands away the bruise that had dominated his face was gone and his broken nose was back in its rightful alignment.

'What? How did you do that? I thought Human Transmutation was impossible?' stammered Winry, as Ed began to wipe his face from a nearby basin that Winry had prepared.

'Not impossible just difficult. I figured out how to do it one day,' said Ed, frowning for a moment as he realised that he couldn't remember when he'd figured it out, ' you've got to really know what you're doing, have a strong grasp of human anatomy. It's only impossible to bring a dead person back to life, once they die, their souls gone and it's impossible to get back. But my soul is still here, the connection between mind, body and soul is still strong, thus it's just a matter of fixing my body.'

'Oh,' said Winry, who'd long since learned not to bother listening to him during his alchemy rants, 'But you still haven't explained why you didn't call. Once Al got to Xing he called every week, and he sent several letters, would it really have been so difficult to call once?'

'Creta's pretty back water, Win, they only people who have phones are the government and royal family, and by the time I'd gotten to close enough to them I was only a day or two away from coming home.'

'Ahuh, and what about letters then, going to try to convince me that they don't have paper in Creta? Or that you couldn't pass a message through the military?'

'Things happened, got in the way, I didn't have time to write a letter. It doesn't matter now I'm back, you can let it go.'

'That's bullshit Ed and you know it. Every day I worried about you, about whether you were safe, about whether you'd managed to piss off anyone, like you usually do. About whether your automail was holding up. And you're trying to tell me that it doesn't matter. You prick,' replied Winry, on the verge of tears by the end. Seeing this, and know he had to prevent tears at all cost, Ed folded. Reaching forward he pulled her into a hug.

'Don't cry Winry, look I'm sorry I really am, but things were difficult, and I couldn't write anything that sounded right. Does it really matter now though? I'm here, and I'm healthy so everything's alright right? There's no need to cry now. Besides, you're only allowed to cry tears of joy, remember?'

A rather wet giggle escaped Winry at this last comment. 'Ok, I suppose. I'm glad your back Ed, I m-missed you.'

Ed felt a blush rise to his cheeks, 'Umm, yeah I missed you too Win.'

They stood there, like that, in each other's arms for a moment, both content for the time being just be with the other. A small smile played across Ed's lips as he held her, gently stroking her hair; nothing else mattered, the military, Creta, all his doubts and worries melted away under her warm embrace. For a while they were both at peace.

Sadly though, no embrace lasts forever, and eventually something that had been insistently nagging Ed for months finally spilled out.

'Ah, look Winry, I know I just got back and all. But I really need you to take a look at my leg, it's killing me.'

'What?' frowned Winry, ice suddenly dripping from her voice.

'My automail, it's possible, just vaguely possible, that I kinda, maybe broke it. Only a little bit though!' rushed Ed, sweet pouring down his face despite the coolness of her glare.


'Only a little bit Winry I swear!'

'How much is only a little bit, ED? Well?' ground out Winry, regretting her promise to avoid using her wrench.

'W-well, um it's all st-still in one piece,' stammered backing away from the enraged girl, 'but unfortunately that piece is over there, in my bag.'

'WHAT?' somehow her expression darkened as the import of what he was saying sank in. 'Tell me, Ed, if your leg is over there then how exactly is it that you're standing right now.'

'Well I was kind of in the middle of, something, at the time, so I sort of improvised a new leg using my alchemy.'

'Does it work?' she asked in a small voice, secretly terrified that Ed no longer really needed her.

'Well yes, and no. I mean I can move around but it's a little bit on the heavy side,' he replied, sitting down on a nearby chair and pulling up his pant leg. What he revealed looked more like a building's support girder than any piece of automail Winry had ever seen. It was essentially just two lumps of steel connected by a crude hinge, the whole thing held to his leg by some sort of brace. Most bizarre of all however, was that all around the steel was an intricate system of strings, all leading up to attach to various parts of his upper thigh.

'What the hell is that? What's with all the strings?' said Winry, torn between relief that she hadn't been replaced and professional horror at the sight before her.

'Those strings are a work of pure genius,' preened Ed, his tone taking on an irritatingly smug edge, 'I decided it would be better if I didn't mess with the port on my leg, or my nerve endings for that matter. So, instead I rigged up these strings to be sensitive to muscle clenches in my thigh. By clenching it just right I can move my leg. I don't have a lot of movement but enough to walk in a straight line. Not bad for a three second job.'

'It makes your leg look like the deformed offspring of a support beam and fishing net.'

'Just because you can't appreciate its beauty.'

'I'd have to be deranged to appreciate that things beauty.'

'Every work of art has its critics you gear head!'

'Yeah but most have their fans too, you alchemy freak! That,' she declared, pointing at his leg, 'is what happens when you use your alchemy to try and work on a pure art form. How much does that thing weigh anyway?'

'About 35kg,' mumbled Ed, avoiding looking her in the eye.

'35! How the hell are you moving that thing around?'

'Skill and raw manliness.'

'More like idiotic brute force.'

'Ok, ok, I get it, you're not able to see its brilliance, and that fine, I'm willing to be the big man here and let it go.' Said Ed in as high and mighty a tone as he could muster, sending Winry's fingers twitching towards her wrench. 'Are you able to build me a new leg?'

'Not here, no, I need a work shop. When we get back to Resembool though I should be able to yes.'

'Ahh, yes well about that...'

'About what?'

'Never mind, we'll worry about that latter,' said Ed, wisely deciding that he was in enough trouble at the moment as it was, 'how about for now we just go and get something to eat, I'm starving! And while you're at it you can fill me in on what's been going on here, and with Al.'

'What's that? You're offering to buy me dinner? Oh that's so nice of you.'

'Umm, yeah ok, sure I guess.' Returned Ed now suspecting that he'd was being played.

A few minutes later they found themselves in the lobby of the hotel, a large finely furnished room which was clearly designed to be appear as rich and grandiose as possible. The room was mostly deserted, a little girl and her mother sat in one corner, an elderly man smoked a pipe in another, and a receptionist attended the front door. As Ed and Winry entered however, another group swaggered in through the front door.

There were five in total. Four of them were so heavily cloaked to completely hide all discernible features, except, that was, for the pronounced stoop that each of them had in common. The other member, clearly the leader stood apart from his fellows, standing confidently ahead of the group, radiating arrogance with every breath. Dressed comfortably in business attire, from the long formal pants and shirt, to the light brown vest and red tie, he stood in stark contrast to his hunched associates. Long neat black hair framed a thin yet handsome face, from the mouth of which he held a cigarette. In his hands he toyed with a deck of cards, throwing them back and forth with the confidence of a long time gambler. Together they radiated an aura of violence, hostility and death.

Upon seeing them, Ed grabbed Winry by the arm and forced her back into the corridor they'd just come from, hiding her from the group behind a wall.

'Hey Ed, what the hell are you doing, you're hurting me!'

'Just stay here a minute would you.'

'What, why? What's going on?'

'I'm not sure, but something's not right, just wait here for a minute ok,' without waiting for a reply Ed turned around and walked back into the lobby. He got back in time to see the uncertain looking receptionist approach the group and ask the leader if they had a booking.

'Why yes, I believe we do.' Smirked the man in reply, his voice educated and refined.

'Ok, what name is that under?'

'Here all the details are written on this,' he declared handing her a sheet of paper, smirking as he did so.

Unfolding the paper the receptionist squinted down at it for a moment, her lips moving slightly as she read, a look of confusion growing on her face.

'I'm sorry sir there seems to be some kind of mista-'

She was cut off as the cards in the man's hands flashed in alchemic energy. All of a sudden some of the cards shot out from his grasp, forming a sword in his hands. The cards pierced through the young lady, ripping straight through her heart, silencing and killing her in the same instant. Without a further sound she collapsed forwards to the sword of cards, only to collapse to the ground as the 'blade' suddenly disappeared back into the mysterious murderer's hands.

His countenance gave no indication of what he'd just done, Ed had been looking directly into his face at the time and he saw not a flicker of emotion cross his eyes. He just stood there with his smug smirk plastered across his face. The woman had died, and it didn't affect him at all. Ed felt a small part of himself die as he looked at the lady's corpse on the floor, her blood seeping across the tiles. Horror filled him at the thought of her death, and disgust that he'd been there and been unable to do anything about it

For a moment there was silence as everyone stopped to register what had just happened, then there was a high pitched scream from the mother in the corner as she grabbed her daughter and started to run for the door. The old man also jumped from his spot, hobbling towards Edward in a desperate attempt to escape. At the same time however the cloaked figures abandoned their disguises and leapt into action. They were a group of four human chimaeras, all of them in their half-human half-beast form. Two of them, a pair of dogs, went after the mother and daughter, the others, half human half lizards, chased the old man at inhuman speed.

In a heartbeat Ed processed and analysed this change in situation. Bolting forward till he passed the old man, Ed clapped his hands to make a transmutation circle and leapt forwards, spinning in midair so as to land on his hands. The ground rumbled as his hands touched the floor, a wall of earth forming in front of where he stood and running the length of the room to separate the mother and child from the pursuing aggressors. Satisfied that they'd get out unharmed, Ed turned his focus on the two fast approaching lizardmen.

Using the momentum from his jump Ed propelled himself feat first towards his foes, delivering a devastating blow with his left leg to the closer of the two. The hardened face of the chimaera was no match for the block of solid steel that was Ed's leg; the contact shattered a cheekbone and sent the target flying into a nearby wall, rendering him unconscious. Still riding the momentum from his leap, Ed reached down grabbed his other foe by the shin, tripping him up as Ed landed gracefully behind him. The moment he landed Ed spun on the spot, raised his automail limb in the air and delivered a powerful downwards kick to the back of the fallen chimaera. By Ed's usually accurate calculation, the lizardman suffered several broken bones, some minor organ damage and would lapse into unconsciousness for several hours. He would be in pain for a long time, but thereno life-threatening injuries

Slow, almost sardonic, clapping reverberated through the room. The source was the group's leader, his smirk still plastered over his face.

'Well done Mr Elric, most impressive. I'm glad to see that the tales of your skills are not exaggerated. You managed to save all of them; well, three out of four isn't bad,' he mocked, idly kicking the receptionists motionless body.

Edward had to grit his teeth in order to hold back his rage at the murder's callous disregard for life.

'What the hell do you want?'

'Straight to the point hmm? No desire for the pleasantries? Well, as you wish. To be honest I would have thought that the reason for our attack here would have been apparent. We want you, or more precisely we want you dead. What other reason would an alchemist and four chimaera attack a hotel so close to Central HQ?'


'Oh come now, you don't really expect me to answer that do you?'

'Then answer me this? Why did she have to die?' Demanded Ed, gesturing at the receptionist.

'Her? Why did she have to live?'

For one who had been through hell in the preservation of life, such a cold answer was nothing more than insulting, especially with the deceased still warm at the feat of her murderer. Incensed, Edward started to walk forward, fury dripping from him from every pore.

'Ah ah, I wouldn't do that if I were you.' Suddenly a tendril of cards shot out from the murderous alchemist, snaking past Edward. A slight squeal of surprise, quickly cut off, sounded behind him. The cards retracted, dragging Winry, who'd apparently come to investigate, with them, an elaborate array of cards holding her in place while simultaneously threatening to slit her throat. Dread suddenly clenched Ed's heart, and fear spread across his face; he stopped dead in his tracks. If anything his foe's smile became darker.

'Let her go you bastard!'

'Now now, Edward, there is a lady present, we have to retain at least a modicum of civility. You can start by staying where you are.' He grinned as he pulled another piece of paper, identical to that which he handed to the receptionist, from his pocket. Leaning over Winry's terrified form, he trailed his moth across her exposed neck as his hand slid down and nestled the paper between her breasts. 'She really is a pretty one too, a shame really.'

'Get your hands off her you prick,' growled Ed his fists clenching by his sides as he shook with rage.

His response was for the captor to turn to one of the chimaera and bark an order.

'Number 3, release your restraint, then kill.'

Immediately a bloodcurdling howl ripped from the throat of the chimaera, as he began to transform. Somehow, the already animalistic form of the man became more bestial. Muscle grew upon muscle, his grey fur thickened, fangs and fur lengthened and sharpened and his stoop became more pronounced. His upright posture the only indication of his partial humanity.

Turning, the beast charged Ed, far faster than it had been before, it closed the distance between them in seconds. Surprised by this change, Ed hesitated a moment too long and was unable to block his attack. He felt the wind knocked out of him as the monster sparta kicked him into a nearby wall, a small crater forming around him.

'And to think, for a moment there I was actually worried. You're nothing special Mr Elric, nothing more than another tool of the state' called the alchemist.

Ed felt a gash at the top of his head causing blood to trickle down his face. Ringing filled his ears. A pain in his chest told him that at least three ribs were broken. And worst of all the person most dear to him was being held hostage by an alchemy wielding psychopath. Definitely not Ed's best day.

With a grunt at the pain Ed pushed himself free of the debris that had fallen around him, clapping his hands together the moment he was free of the wreckage. The chimaera mercilessly charged him once more, this time attempting to use his claws to gut the blond alchemist. Ed was prepared for this however, and had already adapted to the creatures speed. Waiting till the last moment, he calmly sidestepped the attack, backhanding the beast as he stumbled forward. At his touch the chimaera's entirely body clenched before collapsing to the floor in a twitching heap.

'Ohh now that was interesting. I thought the so-called 'Hero of the People' was above killing.'

'He's still alive, I just activated all the nerve endings in his body, every muscle in his body from the neck down just cramped, he'll be out of action for days.'

'Clever, but it still doesn't change your current predicament. Unless you want to see your pretty young girlfriend here sliced to pieces suggest you stop resisting,' he growled grabbing at Winry's chin to emphasise his point.

'We both know that that's an empty threat now. You pointed out yourself the proximity of this hotel to Central HQ, a legion of soldiers will be here in a matter of seconds, you can already hear the sirens. When that happens you'll have no means of escape, you'll be trapped here to face imprisonment or worse. If you hand her over now, unharmed, you might still have a chance to escape.'

The alchemists smirk finally faltered, a thoughtful look clouding his eyes as he listened to the sound or approaching sirens.

'You might just be on to something, amazing to see a dog of the military thinking for himself. But this only delays the inevitable, this doesn't end here, we'll come for you, and the rest of you war hounds, and we'll make you wish you'd never been born. Number four, fetch.' He hissed at Ed before yelling at the last chimaera. As he finished speaking the cards in his hand binding Winry began to undulate, eventually raising her up off the ground in order to fling her against the room.

Both Ed and the chimaera sprinted towards Winry's flying form, even as the other alchemist began to flee out the door. Ed was hampered by his ungainly leg and wounds, but he didn't have far too go, and so managed to catch Winry before she hit the floor, saving her from any serious harm. Unfortunately the beast was almost as fast as his partner and was upon them before Ed had time to properly react.

Filled with bloodlust the chimaera lunged forward and attempted to bite Winry's head. Spinning, Ed flung up his arm in front of the beast shielding Winry from the beasts fangs. The full force of the chimaera's bite came crushing down on Ed's right shoulder, fangs plunging deep into flesh. Instinctive the dogman started to tear at his arm, dislocating the limb and shredding muscle tendon and bone alike. A scream of agony filled Ed's lungs under the might of the chimaera's attack.

Collapsing to the ground, darkness from the loss of blood started to cloud his vision. Ed could only sit and stare as the brute in front of him reared up in the air, howling its victory. Its howl was cut short however, blood spraying out from its chest as a bullet cut through its heart. The chimaera toppled forward dead, showering the blond couple in its death blood. Ed caught a glimpse of Lieutenant Havoc standing at the front door, a smoking gun in his hand. It was the last thing he saw as the darkness consumed him completely and he was sent into unconsciousness to the sound of Winry desperately screaming his name.

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