The story takes place sometime between 1911 and 1914, before the main events of the series. Ed and Al are walking through a town, trying to find gifts to bring back to Pinako and Winry before they return to Resembool. Ed doesn't want to buy Winry a gift, but Al insists, reminding Ed that since he has once more ruined his Automail, giving Winry a gift might diverge her anger. It is Al who decides to purchase a pair of silver earrings, as he remembered that Winry had recently gotten her ears pieced.

They arrive at Resembool, and, by the time Ed shows the damage in his Automaiil, Winry menaces to hit him. However, he quickly presents the earrings as protection. Winry is thrilled by the gift and the next time they come to visit, they see she has pierced new holes in her ears to wear the earrings they bought.

Later on, Ed once again ruins his Automail and asks Winry to repair it. Just before she bellows with further anger, he quickly produces yet another new pair of earrings to her. She is quick to accept them and happily fixes his Automail once again.

Edward than asks Winry why she decided to pierce her ears in the first place. She replies that when "the woman from the Military" (Riza Hawkeye) came to Resembool, she wore a pair that looked "really nice", so she too decided that they might look good on her.

Ed scoffs at her reasoning, stating, "That's incredibly simple."

The next morning, as Ed and Al are preparing to leave, they find that Winry has one again pierced new holes in her ears to wear all the earrings they continually bought for her, solely because "they gave them to her". It instantly ignites Edward's anger, saying he definitely won't buy anymore if she's to keep hurting herself by making so many holes. He leaves, calling her stupid for acting so thoughtlessly.

The scene then cuts to the Eastern Headquarters, where Lt. Hawkeye and Lt. Rebecca Catalina are about to leave the shooting practice area. Rebecca comments that she's recently noticed that Riza has started to grow out her hair, and that it is quite long already. She notes that Riza has always kept it short during her time in the military and wonders if maybe the reason is because she's found a man who "likes it better longer".

Riza answers that it's nothing of the sort, stating that when she went to Resembool awhile back, she met "this girl" (Winry Rockbell) who kept her hair long and thought it might not be so bad to let her own hair grow out.

Rebecca states that that's "a real simple reason" to do something, to which Riza replies, "The reasons we do things in life is always simple."

Chapter Notes

  • The line that Riza quotes to Rebecca comes from a line said by Maes Hughes during the Ishval Civil War.
  • The openness of the end of this chapter, after Riza states that line, in emblematic as a metaphor to the whole sequence of the Ishval Civil War and the reflections the author of FMA wants to bring about human nature; the nature of war and the difficulty people have in dealing with facts that are, in essence, very simple. That thought is more evident at the time Maes Hughes says a similar line, as he states to Roy Mustang that he fights the war for only a simple reason: "he wants to live", as opposed to merely giving up and dying.
  • The title "Simple People" is also very significant, meaning not only "simple-minded" people that make decisions based on very simple reasons, but also about people wanting life to be simple, or wanting to take a humble or simple approach to life, in contrast to the heaviness of military life and war.
  • This story was later adapted into a Bonus Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood OVA of the same name.
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