In East City, Colonel Mustang speaks over the phone with Lt. Col. Hughes and after a bit of friendly banter, their communication turns to the Scar case. Roy informs Maes of the recent sewer explosion and that, of the several unidentified bodies that turned up on-site, the Ishvalan killer's may be one. With the general consensus in the area being that Scar's mysterious absence suggests his demise, they decide that the Elrics' assigned escorts may be lifted soon. Hughes goes on to inform the Flame Alchemist that, with several commanding officers in the State Alchemist bureau dead by Scar's hand, rumors have been circulating around the capital that Mustang himself may be called in to serve. Roy sees opportunity in this kind of talk, but Maes warns him that joining Military Command at such a young age will earn him many enemies in Central and advises him to surround himself with as many trustworthy supporters as possible. Their phone call ended, Hughes realizes that he had forgotten to mention Ed's hospitalization, but merely shrugs it off.
Winry arrives at the clinic where the Elric boys are staying and fusses over Edward's injuries, lamenting guiltily that he was put in this state by his automail's failure. Not realizing the malfunction's true origin, Ed clumsily tries to console her and assure her that it wasn't her fault and, discerning that Edward knows nothing of the missing bolt, she accepts his consolation and cheers up. As the two of them fall back into their old pattern of arguing, Alphonse suddenly and wordlessly exits the room, much to their surprise.
Winry begins work on Ed's arm and Edward mentions that Al has been acting strangely, as if he's been lost in thought the past few days. The repair ends quickly and the group is suddenly visited by Hughes, who - after being introduced to Winry - informs them that Ed's bodyguards will soon be dismissed. Ed is ecstatic, but Winry - who was unaware that Sgt. Brosh and 2nd Lt. Ross were bodyguards - is upset that she was not told and questions the dangerous life her friend has apparently been leading. She huffily gathers her things and states that she is off to find lodgings for the night, but Maes insists that she simply spend the night with his family. Winry politely protests, but Hughes gleefully drags her off in familiar fashion.
Maes takes Winry shopping around town and explains that they are buying presents for his daughter, whose third birthday is today. He introduces her to his wife, Gracia, and daughter, Elicia, both of whom welcome Winry into their home and extended family. As they celebrate, Winry speaks with Maes about how worried she is about Ed and Al and how frustrated she gets when they refuse to confide in her about their difficult, dangerous life of travel. Maes explains that men like Ed and Al are the types to hold in their problems so as not to worry those close to them and probably assume that she understands them without requiring an explanation, but assures her that when they really do need her assistance and support, they will open up and ask out loud.
The next day, Winry and Maes set out to see the boys again, but before they arrive, Edward tries to cheer his little brother up with small-talk. Lamenting that everyone continuously mocks his height and refuses to acknowledge his physical growth, Ed jokes that Alphonse is lucky to have such a large body. This triggers Al's standing unease and, as Winry enters the hospital room, Alphonse explodes angrily at his brother, declaring that he had never asked for this body.
- It is in this chapter that Edward's distaste for milk is first mentioned.
- Izumi and Sig make their first unofficial appearance in this chapter; they can be seen in the background when Winry arrives at Central Station. It is likely that this instance is the trip to Central during which they later claim to have met Van Hohenheim, suggesting that Hohenheim himself may also be somewhere in the city at this time. Such a suggestion that Hohenheim is around Central is also another key to implying that Hohenheim might be Father, as it was still ambiguous this early in the story to even Arakawa herself.
- It is reported by Roy that a great number of bodies had turned up at the site of Scar's underground battle with the Homunculi, but given the secluded area, it is unspecified whom they might be. It remains likely that the bodies found were that of homeless people in the area.
- As the phone receptionist marks down Lt. Colonel Hughes in her logbook as having used the military line, she notes the number 13420 after his name. The significance of this is unclear.
- It is revealed that this chapter takes place two weeks after Chapter 9: A Home with a Family Waiting.
|Fullmetal Alchemist Manga chapters|
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