The frigid northern borderlands become a battlefield when Kimblee finally closes in on Scar. Deeper into the frozen wasteland, Ed and Al's fight is against the bitter elements as they struggle to reach Fort Briggs.
Investigating the train route along which Scar has disappeared, Solf Kimblee is able to deduce the Ishvalan's path through the mountains toward the north area through the local incident reports and the signs of a recent transmutation. Now knowing roughly his quarry's destination, he orders his troops to head further northward.
Edward and Alphonse finally arrive in North City and marvel at the snowy conditions as they await the train to Briggs, unaware that Kimblee is a step behind them. Arriving at North Area HQ that evening, Kimblee receives word that Scar and a middle-aged man believed to be Dr. Marcoh were seen sneaking aboard a military train bound for Briggs. Eschewing any military actions that might alert Scar, Kimblee orders all his men to stay behind while he goes off to deal with the Scarred Man personally.
Aboard the aforementioned train, Scar notices that something is amiss and takes leave of his hooded companion to discover that their transport is being chased by an adjacent military train. Kimblee jumps across onto the first train and casually strolls through the empty cars in search of the fugitives, soon coming across the lone and hooded Marcoh. However, when he attempts to place the fleeing alchemist under arrest, the hood is dislodged, revealing that the middle-aged man traveling with Scar has been Yoki all this time. Startled by this unexpected turn, Kimblee narrowly escapes when Scar himself bursts into the car and attacks. However, as the two alchemists square off, a moonbeam illuminates the dark train, causing both Scar and Kimblee to recall their brief yet significant previous encounter during the Ishval Civil War. Furious at the man who had slaughtered his family, Scar flies into a rage which destroys the train car entirely. He asks the Crimson Lotus Alchemist if he remembers this face, to which Kimblee responds in the affirmative, going so far as to mention Scar's home district, his family and his older brother's death from a wound in his left side. Further enraged, Scar continues his assault, but while Kimblee nimbly dodges each blow, the State Alchemist realizes that he - still weak from six years in isolated incarceration - is at a disadvantage against his Ishvalan foe - who has not stopped fighting and gaining strength since the war ended. He remarks that he may have a chance since Scar is only capable of using Destruction Alchemy, but the Scarred Man catches Crimson Lotus off guard by deftly pitching a broken pipe at him, impaling his left side and pinning him to the wall of a forward car. As Scar closes in for the kill, Kimblee laments his twofold failure to kill the same Ishvalan and uses the power of his Philosopher's Stone to destroy the mooring between the car to which he is fastened and the platform upon which Scar is standing, causing the Ishvalan and the rear train cars to fall away. As he escapes with the engine-bound cars, Kimblee promises the infuriated Scar that they will settle their score another time. The train conductors notice that the rear cars have detached and stop the train to investigate. But when they reach Kimblee, he angrily commands them to continue moving northward to Briggs, raving gleefully that he is being chased by death and remarking that a job in which one risks one's life is the only kind of work worth doing.
In the northern wilderness, May travels with the real Dr. Marcoh, whose face has become disfigured from Scar's earlier action. Hoping that Scar's diversion has managed to hide their own trail, they come upon the Briggs Mountain Range and remark that they should be nearing the location that Scar indicated on his map.
In Rush Valley, Winry calls the boys' hotel in Central only to discover that they've left for the North Area. Communicating this to Garfiel, the proprietor responds ominously that the boys are in mortal peril, because they'll catch frostbite. Having taken a cart from North Area HQ up to the base of Mt. Briggs, Ed and Al are dropped off and instructed to follow the mountain road to the base, but before he leaves them, the escort makes two ominous statements. First, that automail may prove troublesome and second, that straying from the mountain road may result in death. Unfortunately, the boys quickly lose track of the road as a sudden blizzard blinds them halfway up the mountain. They lament their current state, arguing about the legitimacy of the peril, when they are suddenly attacked by a massive man dressed in a State Military uniform and wielding an abnormally designed automail right arm. Trapping Alphonse with a net-gun, the behemoth turns to Edward and orders that he surrender, accusing him or being a spy from the neighboring country of Drachma. As he tries to refute this claim, Edward feels a sharp pain in his right shoulder and notices that his automail arm is not moving as it ought. Unfortunately, this momentary pause allows the large soldier to make his move; trapping Ed's automail in his own right arm's strange claw, he actives a chainsaw inside which begins cutting into Edward's arm. Desperate to escape lest his automail be destroyed, Edward attempts Destruction Alchemy on his opponent's appendage, but discovers that it has absolutely no effect. Freeing himself, Al tosses his helmet to Edward, who uses it to jam his opponent's chainsaw and escape. The brothers regroup, but as the soldier informs them that the battle is over, they realize that they are surrounded on all sides by the infamous Briggs Mountain Patrol. As the blizzard lifts, Ed realizes that they have walked right up to a massive fortified wall, down from which a stern woman demands an update on the situation from the large man - to whom she refers as Captain Buccaneer. He greets this woman as Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong and the boys realize that this woman is the one they have come to see. General Armstrong demands to know the boys' identities and Ed responds that he is the Fullmetal Alchemist and has been sent by her brother to speak to her. Remarking that anyone can claim to be someone famous, Armstrong refuses to call off her guard, but when she orders the Elrics searched, Alex's letter of recommendation is found and brought to her. She recognizes the family seal as genuine, but tears the letter up without reading it, remarking that such things are meaningless to her as she judges people with her own eyes rather than by word of mouth. She gives them leave to enter the massive, wall-like Fort Briggs but warns harshly that they will not be coddled, as Briggs is a land where only the fittest survive.
Arriving at Scar's specified location - a small hut - Marcoh and May uncover a small, buried box inside of which lie the notes left by Scar's brother on the fusion of Xingese alkahestry and Amestrian alchemy. Wondering whether this information will bring about hope or despair, Marcoh gets to work deciphering the code.
- This episode is based on content in Chapter 64: The Northern Wall of Briggs and Chapter 65: The Ironclad Rule.
- The Transmutation Array which appears as the background of this episode's title card is part of the array on Scar's right arm.
- The entire game of cat and mouse played by Kimblee and Scar is absent from the manga. Kimblee still finds Scar, but it's much less thorough of an investigation.
- After Kimblee uses his explosive alchemy to separate the train carriages, the rear cars mostly remain intact and just stop, while in the manga, they all crash and are destroyed, with Scar and Yoki emerging from the rubble later.
- This episode features North City for the first time in any media. It was only mentioned in the manga beforehand, but never seen.
- In the English dub of this episode, both Kimblee and Scar's references to the location of Scar's brother's wound as well as Olivier's threat to Edward's antenna forelock are dropped.
- In the Adult Swim broadcast of this episode, the final post-credits scene regarding Marcoh and May finding the research notes was omitted due to time constraints.
|Fullmetal Alchemist 2009 Anime episodes|
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