Hello. I just reread chapter 4 and realized just how many typos there were. Sorry. I'm too lazy to fix it, though, and none of them were so bad that you couldn't figure out what I meant. I also accidentally switched to first person when talking from Al's POV. Twice. Sorry about that, never again will I post a chapter without reading it through at least twice.
Recap: We're at Cornello's little fiasco, Jack Ryenn came to this world, nobody knows who he is (yet, haven't planned that far ahead yet) and the only one who trusts him is Al. And maybe Rose.
They glared at Cornello as he explained the reason Edward was a cyborg and Alphonse was empty. Meanwhile, I was busy thinking about the old myth he had spewed earlier. The one about Icarus, who had been warned by Daedalus not to fly too close to the sea or too close to the sky, for the sun's heat would melt the wax and the sea spray would ruin the glue. However, the moment Icarus got into the sky, he was so overjoyed by the feeling of flying that he flew right down to the sea to feel the water on his face. He then flew up high to see if he could touch the sun. But the glue was ruined, and the heat melted the wax wings. Icarus came crashing down to the sea and perished.
A metaphor for their own situation. I thought to myself. How apt and poetic of you.
Of course, in the midst of all my thinking, the world had still been going on around me. So naturally, it was during this time that Cornello made his cane into a gun-thing that looked way too advanced for all the old fashioned stuff they had here.
The priest fired at us, but before he could do any damage, Edward did some magic-alchemy-voodoo whatever and put a nice thick wall between us and him. He then said some cheesy comeback about God just sending him back.
I sighed. I would have to help him with those later. Right now I had to focus on staying alive. Noticing that Cornello had redirected his aim, Alphonse picked Rose up bridal-style and ran, guarding her with his armored back. I quickly snatched the gun I had tossed him earlier and ran after them, Edward following close behind me.
"You can't escape! The door is heavily guarded on the other side!" I heard Cornello shout out.
"Then I guess we'll just have to make our own!" Edward called back as he pulled ahead, clapping his hands together and pressing them to a random section of wall. With a flash of light, a new door appeared in the wall. It was really detailed, but also really tacky.
Edward kicked open his new door, startling the guards to our left and completely bowling over the few who were unlucky enough to be standing in the way. We made a sharp right turn and sprinted down the hall, Cornello chasing after us and shouting at his less than capable guards to get us.
We turned another corner and found the next intersection blocked by about 10 new guards. "Give it up! You're outnumbered and unarmed!" One called out.
Another cried "We don't want to have to hurt you."
Edward glanced at them for a moment before adopting an absolutely terrifying grin and alchemy-ing his robot arm into a wicked (and tacky) sword/scythe of death. Needless to say, the men before us started screaming in terror. Hell, even I was scared, and I was on his side!
This would be so much more awesome with background music, I thought to myself as I jumped over the recently incapacitated guards.
Edward went to Cornello's office, while the other three left to find the bell tower. Alphonse did some alchemy to rise up to the bell and separate it from where it hung. He set the bell down on the ground and pulled out a piece of chalk from a pouch at his thigh.
"What do you think of Cornello now, Rose? He just opened fire. He didn't even care that you were there and could've gotten hurt." Alphonse said as he drew a transmutation circle on the ground.
Rose, though much calmer, still looked shocked. "But… that's because…" She paused, unsure of how her beloved Father Cornello's actions could possibly be excused. She looked down at her hands. "What he said back there is true, isn't it?"
Alphonse paused. "We're not evil." It sounded lame and weak, even to him. "All we wanted to do was see our mom smile again. But we failed, and it cost us dearly. Brother lost his leg, and I lost my entire body." At this, Al turned towards Rose and slowly pulled off his helmet. "Do you see that seal there, at the back? That's the only thing keeping me alive right now. My brother drew that in his own blood and gave up his right arm to save me from our mistake." He put his helmet back on. "Rose… The thing we made…"
"It wasn't even human." Rose stifled a gasp and was about to retort when the bell started talking. It was father Cornello.
"There you are, you infernal brat!" Cornello's voice echoed loudly through the bell.
"Look, can we just cut the crap here?" Edward could be heard responding. "All I want are some straight answers about the stone. Tell me what I need to know, and I'll be on my way. Or, we could get the military involved…"
There was a groan of anger, then the sound of a door being shut. "Ask your questions."
"You could do anything with the Philosopher's Stone, right?" Ed asked calmly. "So why waste all that power performing miracles?"
"Because with each miracle I can attract new believers to the Order. Believers who would lay down their lives for my sake. I'm slowly building an army, a legion of warriors unafraid to die! In a few more years I'll be ready to unleash this mindless hoard upon the world!" Cornello sounded positively evil now. "And I'll use the Philosopher's Stone to tear this country apart. Who knows, I might even carve out a slice for you!" Cornello gave an evil laugh. Then Ed started laughing with him. "Wait, what are you laughing about?"
"I knew it, you really are a novice, aren't you? Heh." There was a long pause on the other side of the bell. Jack held up his fingers in a silent count. Three. Two. One.
"YOU DON'T MEAN THAT—WHY YOU! HOW LONG? HOW LONG HAS THAT BEEN ON?" Cornello sounded absolutely murderous.
Edward responded "From the start. Your 'believers' heard every word."
"How could you? You'll pay dearly for this!" There was an echoing ringing sound that cut off the connection, but not before a clap was heard and the town of Liore could hear Edward cry "Sorry, not today!"
Al put down the bell. "He lied to you, Rose. There were never any miracles. Father Cornello was just a fraud."
Rose looked like her world had been shattered. All hope was lost. She was alone.
We made our way down to the front of the church, leaving Rose behind. There were sounds of battle echoing outside earlier, but now it was just Edward waiting there for us. Alphonse made his way to his older brother, asking about how things went.
"And the stone?" I asked at a lax in the conversation.
Edward scowled at me. "A phony, just like that priest." Then his face changed, and he turned to Alphonse. "I'm sorry Al, I thought I had finally found a way to get your body back. Now we're back at square one."
"Give me the Philosopher's Stone!"
We all turned around in mild shock and surprise to see Rose standing there, trembling hands aiming a gun in our general direction. I frowned. When did I leave the gun lying around? I thought I had brought it with me. "Pickpocket." I muttered to myself.
Edward squared his shoulders. "Like I was just saying, it was a fake. Besides, it's just dust now."
"You liar! You want to keep the stone for yourself so you can use it on your bodies!" Rose sounded so desperate. "That's right! And so you can bring your mother back to life!"
Edward tensed. "You shut up!" Rose jumped and even I gave him a harsh look. You don't just go yelling at recently traumatized people. Especially not traumatized girls. "The dead don't come back to life Rose. Not ever."
Rose shook her head, furiously blinking back tears. "You brought Alphonse back, didn't you? He lost his entire body! There's no way he could have survived that!"
"Rose." I stepped forward, feeling the need to intervene. I couldn't trust Edward to a matter as delicate as this. "When they tried to bring their mother back, they lost their bodies. When Al lost all of his, his soul was still present. The only reason Edward could bring Al back was because he was still here with us. They only took his body. When you die, your soul goes to the gate and passes on, leaving your body here. It's a one way trip, Rose. You can't just open the door and call back whoever you want to. That's the point of passing on." I put a hand on her shoulder and slowly pried the gun from her hands. "I'm sorry, but he's never coming back."
Rose fell to the ground, tears freely flowing. "But he… he promised me!" The brothers started moving towards me, ready to get out of this town. "That hope was all I had left! Tell me what to do now! You owe me that much!"
Edward lowered his head, but continued moving. "Stand up and walk. Keep moving forwards. You've got two good legs, so get up and use them." He raised his head, gazing at the sunset before him. "You're strong enough to make your own decisions."
And with that, we left Rose and the town of Liore behind us forever.
The girl in the white dress frowned at the scene before her. "Hey, Truth?"
"Go ahead." The bland god responded boredly. "Just take an equal amount from both this time."
The girl grinned, then proceeded to use alchemy to create something that almost took Truth by surprise. "What would you want that for?"
The girl shrugged, bracelet jingling. "I figured it would make the world a little less boring. Besides, I just remembered I know how to play." She turned towards the instrument before her, sat down, and placed her fingers on the keys.
Music filled the air.
The brothers and their companion stood at the train station, the ginger cat returning from wherever it had vanished to and Jack wielding a new, concealed weapon. Sighing, Ed picked up the phone and called his superior officer.
"Hello, this is Colonel Roy Mustang."
"Hey there, bastard, it's me. Liore was a bust. The stone was fake and the priest was a fraud. The people here are officially better off." Ed sounded tired. "So what now?"
"Now you leave for your new mission." Mustang responded, his smirk practically audible through the telephone. "Being the closest to the location, you're being sent to the coal mining town of Youswell to conduct an inspection. I want an official report for this one."
Edward groaned. "Yeah, yeah, sure." He paused. "While we were here, Ryenn picked up a gun. Should I let him keep it? He's an almost decent shot."
"Let him keep it at your own risk, he's your charge." Mustang replied. "Now get a move on, the next train to Youswell leaves momentarily."
Sure enough, a train whistle sounded at that moment, signaling it was about to pull out of the station. "Aww shit, don't do that to me!" Edward snapped before slamming down the receiver. "C'mon guys, we gotta move now! New mission leaving with that train!"
With that, the group bolted for the train, leaving the city of heresy behind them.
Woo, done! A special thank you to LeFay Strent, who was the only reviewer for the last chapter, and had the decency to review to every other chapter as well. (my back is much abliged, thank you) I realize that Youswell technically isn't a part of the brotherhood timeline, but it's a part of the manga, and I just LOVE that town, so I'm putting it in.
And just a little explanation: That huge speech Jack gave was all knowledge he got from Truth's gate and the story Ed and Al told (well, Al really). That'll be actually put into the story in the next chapter, but I thought I should just clear the confusion now.
Winter is a super busy season for me, so don't be too expectant with the updates. I'm trying to get chapter 6 up by Thursday (I won't have time to post on Friday and will be away Saturday and Sunday) but that's rather unlikely, so I'll just update ASAP.
See you all again soon! Hope to see some more reviews with this one, too!