With his automail arm obliterated by Scar's attack, Edward collapses to the ground as the immobilized Alphonse, terrified for his brother's safety, cries out desperately from his place on the pavement. Frozen in shock and despair, Edward asks Scar if Alphonse is one of his assassination targets as well. Scar explains that, while he will kill anyone who gets between him and his objectives, Alphonse is not one of his priorities and so Edward offers his own life up in exchange for Scar's word that Al will escape unharmed. Scar agrees to Fullmetal's conditions and moves in for the kill, but Alphonse - vehemently opposed to his brother's resignation - begs Ed to flee. Fortunately, Scar is interrupted by the sudden appearance of Colonel Roy Mustang and his accompanying forces.
Roy explains Scar's identity and his involvement in the deaths of Shou and Nina Tucker to Edward, but Scar counters by declaring himself an agent of God's divine punishment. Roy, goaded by Scar's words, attempts to take on the murderer with his powers, but is rescued and reminded by Lt. Riza Hawkeye that his Flame Alchemy does not work properly in the rain. While Scar is distracted by Roy's actions and his own threats, Major Armstrong delivers an attack from behind and formally introduces himself as the Strong Arm Alchemist. Armstrong and Scar engage each other in battle and, observing and analyzing the alchemist killer's counterattacks, the Major deduces that the mysterious assassin's "power" is, in fact, alchemy with the "reconstruction stage" omitted, leaving all matter transmuted by him in the second stage - the "deconstruction stage". With his opponent proving to be far more troublesome than originally perceived, Scar changes his attack pattern in an attempt to exploit Armstrong's wide swings, but when the Strong Arm Alchemist suddenly pulls back from combat, Scar realizes that the frequent openings were intentional - bait to distract him while Mustang's forces move into formation. With her target now clear, Lt. Hawkeye opens fire on Scar with her rifle; Scar manages to evade her shot but the bullet grazes his face and knocks off his sunglasses, revealing the irises of his eyes to be red. Seeing this, Armstrong and Mustang recognize Scar as an Ishvalan. Not having anticipated so many foes and unexpected turns, Scar cuts his losses and deconstructs the street beneath him, escaping into the sewer system. With the danger passed, Edward rushes to Alphonse's side only to be met by his furious little brother's physical and verbal abuse. Alphonse berates Ed for giving up on life and lectures him on the importance of surviving for the future and their goals.
Back at headquarters, Mustang explains to the Elric brothers that the region of Ishval in the east had been the center of a civil war that had begun thirteen years ago when an Amestrian soldier accidentally shot and killed an Ishvalan child. After seven years of fighting, the State Alchemists had been sent into Ishval to end the war by eradicating all of the Ishvalans in the region. As one of the State Alchemists involved in the extermination, Col. Mustang asserts that there may be some justice in Scar's killing spree, but Edward rebuts, saying that Scar is merely disguising his own revenge as righteousness. As Roy vows to hunt Scar down and eliminate him, Edward asserts that his lost arm makes it impossible to repair Al's armor while guaranteeing the integrity of his bound soul. Therefore, he declares that his next move is to visit his automail mechanic.
- It is this chapter which begins the running gag of the Colonel being called "useless" in situations involving water.
- It is this chapter which begins the running gag of Alex Louis Armstrong and his relatives cherishing things that have been "passed down the Armstrong line for generations".
|Fullmetal Alchemist Manga chapters|
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