Edward and Major Armstrong arrive in Resembool, where Ed continues to gripe about having essentially been kidnapped by the Strong Arm Alchemist and expresses shock at being met outside the train station by 2nd Lt. Heymans Breda. Breda leads the two alchemists to a nearby coffee shop and introduces them to a Xingese immigration coordinator named Han whom Fu had recommended, but when Edward realizes that whatever is going on will involve an illegal border crossing out of the country, he demands to know exactly where they are headed and Breda declares that their secret destination is to the east.

Deep underneath Central Command, in the underground lair of the Homunculi, Envy demands to know why Wrath allowed Colonel Mustang and his cohorts to escape after they had murdered Lust and nearly discovered this secret base. Father asks the same and Wrath replies that the kind-hearted Mustang may be able to open the Gate. Pleased by this response, Father puts the Flame Alchemist under Wrath's jurisdiction while the Führer reassures Envy that Mustang is still accountable to military action and will soon be stripped of his freedom.

At the hospital, Alphonse and Sgt. Fuery come upon Roy and Havoc's room to find the Colonel berating Lt. Hawkeye for having been swayed out of her resolve by the words of the enemy during their underground battle. Al enters while Fuery delivers a map of the city to the lieutenant, who explains that she had counted her steps while they party was traversing the underground facility, but because the hallways were slightly curved, she could not get an exact fix on their location, only confirming that they had ended up somewhere within a circle she had drawn on the map with Lab 3 at the center. Mustang notices that both Central Command and the Führer's executive mansion lie slightly within the circle and ponders whether Bradley is involved with the Homunculi, but Alphonse notes that the Führer had completely decimated Greed's forces in Dublith, causing Roy to wonder whether King Bradley can be counted as an ally or an enemy - especially since it had been the Führer who called for the ambulance that picked them up. After Alphonse and Fuery leave the room, Mustang, Hawkeye and Havoc continue discussing the situation, remarking that Hughes' statement regarding the danger that the government is in likely means that the conspiracy threatens the very existence of the nation. Mustang asks his subordinates to continue digging into the matter, but is surprised when Havoc suddenly bows out, declaring that he can no longer feel either of his legs.

In the eastern desert, Ed, Armstrong, Breda, and Han make their way to the ancient ruins of Xerxes, where they are greeted by Fu. Edward remarks that all his knows about Xerxes is its role in the legend of the Philosopher from the East, in which a survivor of Xerxes overnight destruction ventured westward to teach alchemy to the earliest settlers of Amestris. Fu comments that the people of Xing have a similar legend regarding a Philosopher from the West wherein the Xerxesian survivor ventured eastward to deliver knowledge to the Xingese that would later become alkahestry, causing Edward to understand just why Ling was so interested in seeing the ruins for himself. As they continue towards their destination, where the last of their party is waiting, Edward notices the remains of a large mural that appears to be the ruins of a large and familiar-looking transmutation array, but is called back to the group before he can examine it further. Fu explains that they could only hide their final member deep within the ruins, where she couldn't be discovered and, just as Edward is about to ask who this mysterious person is, he remembers Mustang's strange comment about women in the east being beautiful and lays his eyes on a healthy and alive Maria Ross. Breda explains to Edward that, after becoming suspicious of the flashy way in which Central Command publicized Ross' arrest and conviction, he orchestrated her apparent death while helping her sneak out of the country where no one would recognize her.

Back in Resembool, a mysterious bearded man resembling the Homunculi's Father arrives in town and walks to the charred remains of the Elric homestead before changing course to the Rockbell house where Pinako is perusing old photo albums. As Den picks up the man's strange presence and begins to bark madly, the stranger opens the door, at which time the shocked old woman refers to him as Van Hohenheim, Ed and Al's father. As the outside winds blow the pages of the album to a photo from some fifty years ago, Pinako remarks that Van Hohenheim has not changed one bit in all this time.

Chapter Notes

  • On the first page, when Edward arrives at the train station at Resembool, May Chang and Xiao-Mei can be seen in the background, purchasing food.
  • In this chapter, it is first mentioned that climate changes like unusually high temperatures cause automail users discomfort as the metal in the automail limbs and the connection socket grafted directly to the flesh retain external heat instead of mirroring normal body temperature.
  • Fu explains in this chapter that alkahestry, while based on concepts similar to alchemy, is also based on ancient Xingese medicinal and mystical practices, many of which were ill-conceived and fatal.

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