This chapter begins with Solf J Kimbley , the Red Lotus Alchemist, rhapsodizing about the symphony that he believes lies within destruction, as he clamps his teeth on one end of the Philosopher's Stone he has been given to hasten the end of the Ishvallan Extermination.  While some of the men under his command are impressed by the power he displayed, Kimbley feels he could have created somethiing more "artful".  He then grabs one soldier to use as a human shield when an attack goes off near him.  The soldier he used is dead, but Kimbley is angry because his jacket got dirty.  

Scar is rushing through the village, attacking and killing as many Amestrians as he can, and reaches a group that includes his parents and older brother.  The frightened Ishvallans worry about where they should go and how many State Alchemists may be among the troops, when Scar's brother gives him his notes.  He points out that while Scar is a warrior, he is only a bookworm whose legs are shaking; "Who do you think is more likely to walk out of here alive?"  

They then see Kimbley standing on the roof of a building above them.  Scar moves to attack, guessing it is another soldier, but Scar's brother sees the Transmutation Circles on the palms of Kimbley's hands, and realizes Kimbley is a State Alchemist.  Kimbley releases an alchemic attack, sending shock waves and stones spurting from the building and ground, to attack the Ishvallans, and Scar's brother leaps in front of Scar to protect the younger man.  As the devastation is unleashed, Kimbley revels in the noise of chaos and glories in the power of his Philosopher's Stone.

Scar's brother searches among the rubble and finds Scar, who is bleeding heavily from both a wound on his forehead, but also from his upper right arm, which has been sheared off through the muscles below the shoulder.  Desperately, Scar's brother tries to stop the bleeding but cannot, and screams for help from anyone, looking helplessly for the missing arm.  Finally, staring at his arms covered with the tattoos for construction and deconstruction, he makes his choice, and performs a transmutation that will change Scar forever.

Scar slowly wakes in the Rockbells' clinic, and hears the doctors urging anyone who can to escape before the route is sealed by the military.  Scar thinks of his big brother, and wonders where he can be.  He then sees the familiar tattoos on an arm, and for a moment relaxes, believing that at least his big brother is okay.  Then the horror sets in as he sees that the arm he is looking at is now attached to his body - his brother's arm is now his.  He screams, "WHAT IS THIS?!", scaring everyone, and Urey Rockbell asks for a sedative, but is told there aren't any left.  

Thinking of the grinning soldiers who mowed down his people, as well as Kimbley's gloating, Scar growls that he will never forgive the Amestrians, and snatches a large knife with his left hand.  Madam Shan, sitting with a young Ishvallan boy, sees him move to attack but is paralyzed with fear, so only Urey notices as Scar moves towards him and Sara, but it is too late as Scar murders both doctors.  Taking the notes his brother entrusted to him, Scar leaves the clinic, dripping blood and in pain, but when he reaches the top of a hill above his village, his pain intensifies to a nightmarish level, for his village has been flattened.  Kimbley has left no-one alive, and no building standing.

Soon after the Rockbells were murdered, most of their patients fled, so that when the military arrives with Kimbley, they find no equipment and very little medicine left.  One soldier explains that Urey and Sara must have been killed by their patients, and another complains about their having to struggle to reach this clinic for nothing.  Kimbley points out that a soldier's duty is the battle against the enemy, while a doctor's duty is to save life.  He admires their conviction, and pulls a photograph from Urey's back trouser pocket, which shows Urey and Sara with Winry.  As he looks at the photo, he expresses his wish that he could have met them while they were still alive.

In another village, Major Mustang faces the last Ishvallan survivor in that place, and he asks if the old man has any last words.  The man laughs sarcastically and looks directly into Roy's eyes as he declares, "I will never forgive you."  The Flame Alchemist merely lifts his right hand and uses his alchemy to burn the Ishvallan to ash.  

At a command post, Basque Grand receives a report that Dahlia region has been secured, which means that all the regions within Ishval are now officially secured by Amestrian forces.  While many of the soldiers wonder if this means that the war is actually over and what they can take home, Hughes slumps gratefully against the transport that had been about to take him with another unit to fight, and sighs that he can go home at last.  

After returning to camp, Mustang sits alone as others celebrate the end of hostilities, only to find a man inviting him to join them for a drink.  As his cup is filled with drink, Mustang asks what their names are, and then what company they belong to.  The men laugh cheerfully, and inform Roy that they are his squad, but they are all low ranking men and never imagined he knew who they were.  One man says he's a recent arrival, which reminds Roy of how many men died during the fighting.  Roy sadly remarks that he doesn't know the names of any of the men who served under his command, much less the many Ishvallans he killed.  

Charlie, the man who invited Mustang, takes a long drink, then tells Mustang to not be so hard on himself.  While he was their leader, he used his alchemy to cut a path through the enemy, and never used any of his subordinates to protect himself.  His squad would feel braver for seeing his flames, and trusted him to lead them through each conflict, and they regard him as a hero.  They all offer a salute to Roy, and their thanks for their survival.  Roy returns the salute, then watches them move away to the trucks.

Mourning the loss of his youthful ideals, Roy sadly reflects that despite Charlie's encouragement, he only saved a handful of men.  As Hughes arrives behind him, Roy castigates himself as a failure instead of a hero.  Hughes reminds Roy that to the upper echelons of the military, they are all so much garbage, and Roy considers that even a piece of garbage has a small amount of pride.  He then vows to protect as many people as he can, and to encourage those people to also protect those they can.  

Hughes retorts that it is a pipe dream with a child's logic, but Roy states that unless someone chases that kind of dream, nothing will change.  Hughes grins and says Roy is still a dreamer, but if he's going to succeed in his dream, he'll have to climb to the top of the pile, as he points to where Fuhrer Bradley stands above the troops.  Roy can't imagine how it feels up there, and explains he won't reach that position without help, promptng Hughes to tease him about the not-so-subtle arm twisting even as he volunteers to support Roy all the way.  But as Roy makes his vow, Bradley notices the Flame Alchemist's steely stare, and promises to watch Roy as well.

Major Kimbley is in a building with a collection of high-ranking officers who congratulate the Red Lotus Alchemist on what he achieved, and they ask for his personal opinion of the Philosopher's Stone.  Kimbley comments on its ability to bypass Equivalency and its power, and a general demands that Kimbley return the Stone.  After considering it, Kimbley shocks the officers by tossing the Stone into his mouth and swallowing it.  He then gloats that they are the only people who know that he has a Philosopher's Stone, as he raises his hands to perform another explosion transmutation.  After setting off a massive boom, Kimbley emerges from the smoking building laughing like a lunatic, unaware that inside the room, Envy has seen and heard everything, and the Homunculus congratulates the destructive alchemist.

In a barren field,Riza Hawkeye is finishing a small grave.  Mustang finds her and tells her that she could be left behind while most of the soldiers are getting in the vehicles.  He wonders if the grave is for a fallen comrade, but she sadly explains that it is for an Ishvallan child that had been abandoned beside the road.  Roy says that the war is over, and pleads with her to leave, but Riza says that for her, the war can't end.  She then begs Roy to make the tattoo on her back, which shows the secrets of Flame Alchemy, illegible due to burn scars.  She doesn't want to be responsible for the burden any longer.  Seeing her determination, Roy reluctantly pulls on his gloves, angry at how this war has honed his alchemy so that he can burn with precision.

This is followed by a montage of Kain Fuery, Vato Falman, Heymans Breda, and Jean Havoc, summarizing their strengths and talents to Roy as subordinates.  Riza then presents herself to Roy, requesting to be part of his group that he is organizing.  Given the misery she suffered in Ishval, Roy is surprised that she has continued as a soldier, and asks what her field of expertise might be.  "Guns."  Riza reasons that when a soldier uses guns, death doesn't linger on the soldier's hands as long.  Roy argues that she is lying to herself, and she counters that soldiers should be the only ones with blood on their hands.  In order for the future generations to live in peace, she is willing to be with the soldiers who carry corpses on their backs through a sea of blood.  

Mustang stands, and offers her the post of guarding his back, pointing out that this would mean she could also shoot him in the back at any time that she feels he is leaving the path they have discussed (for future peace).  Riza bows her head and accepts the position, adding that she would follow him into Hell if he asked it of her.  Roy then tells his new subordinates that they must all survive and protect those dear to them and entrusted to them, in order to bring about the world they wish to see.  

But even as Roy is asking his subordinates to commit themselves to changing Amestris, far away Scar swears to commit himself to vengeance for his murdered family and comrades.  Only vengeance gives him the strength to go on, with his holy homeland destroyed and all he loved lost.

Chapter Notes

  • Although Kimbley has been sent to arrange an "accident" for the Rockbells (Chapter 60: In the Absence of God), it is not clear whether the men with him are aware of this, as they do not seem to find Kimbley's admiration of the Rockbells to be misplaced in spite of his mission.
  • Unlike either anime version of the story, when Kimbley finds the bodies of the Rockbells, the picture of them with Winry is in Urey's pocket, not on the floor and stained with their blood.

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