From inside the transmutation circle, Al watches in horror as Envy impales Ed, seeing his beloved brother fall to the floor while being wreathed in his own blood. Rose snaps out of her trance, realizes what's happening, and screams Ed's name in shock. Dante, however, keeps her from going over to him.
"No, brother, you can't die," Al says plaintively. "It's supposed to be me!"
Even Wrath, who's lying in his own pool of blood, is becoming aware of what's happened---Edward Elric, the one he's wanted to become for so long, is dead.
Envy laughs maniacally---this is just the start, he crows. Ed is paviing the way of what's to come: the destruction of the entire human race, "until only the homunculi are left."
Al's still trying to wrap his head around all this---Ed can't possibly be dead; it's ridiculous!
Dante, however, tells him that that is the way of reality. Ed gave up so muh to come so far, and in the end, he got absolutely nothing for it. "You can pay all you want," she says in regards to equivalent exchange. "It's never enough."
Two cars are leaving the Fuhrer's mansion---one containing Mrs. Bradley and Selim, the other carrying a captive Hawkeye. Suddenly there's a car speeding up the hill, its driver being so erratic in his steering that he causes an accident. Mrs. Bradley is badly hurt, but Selim remains unscathed.
The driver of the erratic car approaches---it's Archer!---and the soldier escorting the party explians to him that they had just left the Fuhrer's mansion under the order of the Fuhrer himself. When Archer asks about the "rebels" and is told that Hawkeye was among them and is being detained for inquiry at he Fuhrer's request, Archer takes it upon himself to see to it she doesn't survive.
After receiving fire from Archer, Hawkeye spots her fallen guard's pistol. She takes it in her bound hands and manages to fire off several shots at Archer. Archer, meanwhile, is being detained by two more soldiers who insist that Hawkeye's to be taken to Headquarters.
"Have you seen
Headquarters?" Archer bellows. "It's a war zone! There are rebles everywhere!"
In the wine cellar, Mustang is watching as the entire place is being engulfed by flames. He is trying to compose himself, as Bradley has inflicted a number of wounds on him.
Just then Bradley appears from the middle of the flames, burned beyond recognition but very much alive. "Is my species of consequence to you now?" he says sardonically as his "black" form reveals itself. He claims he hasn't had much opportunity to use his homunculus "traits", but that now is as good a time as any.
Bradley chides Mustang---he must have really
wanted that promotion to get his seat in the military. Even if his coup had worked, Mustang would eventually be found out, and that would end things for him.
"I didn't do this for politics," Mustang snaps. "I couldn't forgive myself for being blind for so long. This was the only way that I could atone for the friends I didn't save."
Bradley chuckles. "Well then, let me help you with that," he sneers. He drives his sword point deeper into Mustang's flesh and says "Give my regards to General Hughes." As Bradley's sword drives further into his flesh, Mustang finally screams out in agony.
His screams don't go unnoticed---they're heard by Selim, who asks his father what's wrong. Bradley smiles, assures his son that things are all right, and that he's "caught the rat."
Selim explains that he knows he's disobeyed his father, but he simply had
to come back---he forgot something important. Bradley goes to hug his son, and places his hands on his shoulders. Mustang, still pinned by the sword blade to the wall, wonders how on earth Bradley can love his son is humans are all useless.
Suddenly, Bradley is frozen, and looks pained. Selim worries what's wrong, when Bradley calls him an idiot. Selim reaches into his little messenger bag and retrieves what he came back for---his father's "treasure", which happens to be the skull to his original body. Infuriated, Bradley begins throttling Selim. "You're all foolish," he spits, "even my own son."
Mustang can't sit idly by; with great difficulty, he pulls Bradley's sword out of the wall and out of his body, and goes over to check on the boy. As Bradley turns to make a move, Mustang grabs the skull from underneath Selim and takes it into his hand. Using his own blood, he draws his familiar transmutation circle on his hand. "I don't know how long you've lived, Fuhrer, or how many times you've cheated death, but no more." With that, Mustang activates the transutation circle he's drawn, engulfing Bradley into flames. "It's the end of the line."
In the underground city, Gluttony is feasting on Al's armor. As Rose pleads with Dante not to do this, both they and Envy hear the familiar sound of a transmutation being activated. To their surprise, one has
...and as Gluttony lifts his head from the armor, they notice his lower jaw is missing.
Al's used the Stone to perform alchemy, and as the Grand Arcanum circle glows a brilliant red on his remaining armor, Dante upbraids him for using more of the Stone. When she tries to stop Al, he angrily snaps at her to stay back.
In horror, Dante watches as Al goes over to Ed's lifeless body, noticing that he hasn't been dead for very long---in fact, there's still some color left in him. Al reasons that Ed's soul is still at the Gate, and that by using the Stone, he can do for Ed what Ed did for him all those years ago, and pull his soul from the Gate.
Dante tells him he's being foolish; after all, does he know what will happen if he attempts all that?
To her great surprise, Al does. "A lot of people died to make this Stone, and I would have died too, if not for them. It's time I gave my share, and made my own choice."
Al then tells Rose goodbye, and tells Ed's memory that what he's doing is for him. "I'll miss you," he says.
With that, Al claps his hands, and activates all of the transmutation circles in that grand room just as Envy leaps inside the activated circle.
In the wine cellar, Mustang attempts to catch his breath as he gazes on a pool of blood that was formerly the Fuhrer. In spite, and to make absolutely sure he's dead, Mustang ignites the pool, watching it burn away to nothing. He then ignites the skull, and it too burns away to nothing. As he basks for a moent in tortured relief, he spies the limp form of Selim, and begins carrying him out of the burning residence.
Just as Mustang and Selim reach the main door, they're met by a grotesque sight---that of the auto-mail Archer, who's out to destroy the enemies of the Fuhrer. Archer raises a service pistol towards Mustang just as Hawkeye shows up. Without hesitating, she unloads a clip into the human side of Archer, which finally destroys him.
As the lifeless Archer slumps to the ground, Hawkeye looks up at the portico and sees the bodies of Mustang and Selim lying there, motionless. She runs up, trying to get Mustang to speak to her, and when he does not, she sits over him and begins to cry.
In the passage to the Gate, Ed's soul is met by a vision of Al in his armored form, which disappears and is replaced by the corporeal form of Envy. When Envy demands to know where he is, Ed tells him that he's at the Gate.
Envy then turns and spies the intimidating form of the Gate. When he asks where it leads to, Ed replies he doesn't really know; however, for him, it was a place called London. At least, he notes, that's what his "old man" said.
Envy reels at this revelation---Hohenheim's still alive?!?
Ed concurs, and with that Envy strides over to the Gate, forcing its doors wode open. Ed cautions Envy, telling him that there's no way to know where it will take you. Envy simply states that he'll tell the Gate where to take him, and after he does just that, the creatures of the Gate engulf him.
After several minutes, the creatures begin to break down Envy's corporeal form, just as it has on so many other occasions to countless others. Envy becomes infuritated, changing fom his preferred form into that of Ed, then of his "true form", then of a giant serpent; all the while demanding to be taken to kill Hohenheim.
As the Gate finally swings shut, Ed continues to stand there, with tears running down his face. He calls out quietly for Al, and then he vanishes from the entrance to the Gate.
When he regains consciousness, Rose is standing over him. He tells Rose that he can hear her, but he wonders why he's crying. He also notices that his missing arm and leg have been fully restored. As he becomes more aware, he calls out for Al, but to no avail---Rose tells him that Al used the Stone and his alchemy to bring Ed back from the dead.
Meanwhile, Dante is hastily making her escape in Bradley's secret elevator, all the while cursing Al for using the Stone for his own ends and not for hers. She plans to send Pride down later to teach them a lesson, unaware of what's happened on both ends.
Just then there's a sudden thump in the elevator floor and Gluttony appears, having chewed his way through. Dante tries to get the oblivious and maniacal Gluttony to hold on, but to no avail. There's a familiar clap, and a growl, and as the elevator door opens in the Fuhrer's office, there's no one inside.
In the underground room, Ed asks Rose to take Wrath to the surface. She agrees, and then asks what Ed will do. He tells her he's going to destroy the underground city, down to the last scrap of wood, so that no one ever
gets the idea to create the Philosopher's Stone the way they did ever again. Rose tells Ed that he has strong legs, and that he'll use them to get out safely---won't he? Ed smiles, but says nothing.
After Rose leaves, Ed puts his plan into action. He draws the familiar seven-point circle and uses his own body as material to transmute a passage to the Gate, where Al's mind and body should still be residing.
Even though Ed can't prove its true, he still believes in the throey of equivalent exchange, and he's willing to sacrifice himself---to save his brother. He claps his hands, sets off the transmutation, and places his hands on his own body, on which there are various transmutation circles drawn over key points. There's a bright flash of light, and then nothing.
Some time later, Sciezska writes a letter to Winry detailing the changes in Central after the coup. After the fall of Bradley, the State wasted no time in reinstating the old Assembly, with the military voluntarily relinquishing the political control it once had.
Sciezska herself is back at work coping over documents for the military, and she's being aided by Ross and Bloch, who have yet another batch for her to do.
The Assembly has decided to reverse the old Ishbalan policy, and allow the Isbalan people to rebuild in their homeland. There are several familiar faces involved in the project, such as Scar's teacher, Rick, Leo, and even the old exile, who has been welcomed back into the fold.
Mustang is laid up from his wounds he recieved at the hands of Bradley and Archer; though he is healing, he has lost his left eye, which he covers with a patch. He asks Hawkeye, who's constantly by his bedside and currently peeling him an apple, why she's so morose. Hawkeye tells him that his plan was perfect, and he did his part; she however, should have gotten there sooner to protect him.
Mustang tells her that the world's not perfect. However, it's doing the best it can to help humanity, and that's what makes it so damn beautiful. Hawkeye, however, shoves a slice of apple in his mouth and tells him to eat.
As Sczieska's letter continues, she wishes to know more about Al---it seems when they found him, he was in his old ten year-old body again, with absolutely no memory of what he experienced after that fateful night. She wonders if any of his memories have returned to him, and if there has been any sighting or news of Ed.
In Resembool, Winry watches as Al plays with Den. She is joined by Rose, who along with her baby has apparently taken up lodging at the Rockbells. Suddenly, Al notices someone coming in the distance, and smiles---it appears Izumi, Sig and Mason have ventures to Resembool to see how things are.
As Winry, Al, Mason and Rose play with the baby, Pinako tells Izumi and Sig she can't get her head around all that's happened. Izumi tells them that though Ed sacrificed everything he had to bring Al back to his original form, it's very possible he also traded their experiences from the past four years to complete the exchange.
Pinako adds that lately Al can't go an hour without sticking his nose inside an alchemy book---it's much like it was before, only this time it seems he's looking for a way to bring his brother back, instead of his mother.
Also, Pinako tells the Curtis's that the boy named Wrath had gotten some help from them---in the form of auto-mail Winry had originally designed for Ed. When Sig asks where he is now, Pinako reveals that Wrath wandered off on his own days ago. Izumi notes that it sounds like him.
At dinner, Winry is trying to come to terms with Al's plans---he means to train in alchemy again, and asks Izumi if she would again take him on. Al believes that if he learns more about alchemy, he can one day find the solution that will reunite him with his brother again. Though he doesn't know exactly how that will work, he just knows that his brother is alive somewhere and that he can help bring him home.
As Izumi studies Al's determined face, she is once again reminded of when they were little and had the same determined looks on their faces---the ones she just can't say no to. She finally agrees, and at the train station Winry extracts a promise from Al: to study hard and bring Ed back. She, in return , will study herself and become the best auto-mail mechanic she can so that later on she can help them. Al agrees, and the trains sets off.
In a dungeon-like area, there is a fraternity of men that are performing some sort of ritual, chanting in German. One of the men, a Professor Haushofer, thanks someone he calls Professor Hoheinheim for his help and insights. Hohenheim Elric accepts this thanks, and asks if Hausehofer really believes that he and the members of the Thule Society can get anywhere through this new form of magic. Hausehofer does; in fact, he believes taht the Society decends from peoples of a forgotten island, and that by communicating with the Ancients, their destiny will be fulfilled.
In the world on the other side of the Gate, Hohenheim is in Munich, Germany in the year 1921. He notes the high cost of food and other necessities and wonders how long this rate of inflation can last.
As he arrives home, he looks in on Edward, who's been staying with him. He sees that Ed is packing for a trip, and Ed shows him what he's been reading---a dissertation on creating a "liquid fuel rocket", which has been written by an American. It seems there's a man in Transylvania that' s researching the same thing, and that man is attempting to fly a rocket into outer space.
Ed reasons that no one knows for certain what's in outer space---perhaps, he reasons, there's a way he can return home, to his own world, and to Al. Hohenheim realizes that Ed will try anything, no matter how far-fetched, to get back home.
Ed tells Hohenheim that he knows his alchemy did something---he saw Al put back together at the Gate---but that instead of the Gate taking him, he ended up here. Hohenheim tells him that he knew in his mind that in order to survive, he had to cross the Gate, and that he did so subconsciously.
Ed replies he's not going to give up. He looks down at his arm, which is now a prostethic (auto-mail doesn't exist on this side of the Gate). He chides himself, saying he should have found a better method for going through with his plan, as what Al gave him he lost again.
Hohenheim takes a page out of Mustang's book, and tells his son much as Mustang himself told Hawkeye---that the world's not perfect, but it's doing the best it can with what its got, flaws and all.
As Ed leaves, he says once again that he thought he made an equal exchange---his mind, sould, and body for his brother's. However, here he is, alive though on the other side of the Gate. He wonders if Dante was right after all, but in the opposite extreme---that Ed got something for nothing---or if his sacrifice was really successful after all...
Hohenheim tells his son much the same thing Izumi told Pinako and Sig; that the boys spent the last four years as constant companions, sharing determination, blood, sweat, and even tears. He reminds Ed of all the people they helped along the way, the friends they lost, the strides they made for themselves. Hohenheim verbalizes that maybe it's possible that that
was the exchange, and not anything physical. Ed smiles, understanding, then turns and heads for the train station.
On the train, Ed notes that he doesn't know exactly how to return to his brother---after all, the world on the other side of the Gate is a strange place---but that he will
find a method of getting back home, or at least back to Al. He stares off into the distant space...
...where Al, on his own train, contemplates the law of Equivalent Exchange. He realizes now that the law is flawed, and that the world isn't perfect. The theory doesn't encompass all of the world, but for himself, Al still chooses to believe in the principle on a personal level. Anyone who perservers, and is determined, will get something in return, even if it's not what they expected.
In flashes, the fates of the many people Ed and Al met along their journey are revealed.
Shou Tucker is still holed up in the factory basement in Dublith, cradling the soulless Nina and still attempting to fully revive his daughter.
Rick, Leo, and the other Ishbalans are taking strides to rebuild their homeland, and are coming along quite nicely.
Mustang's health is improving, and he and Hawkeye go out to the market, where they share a more-than-friendly glance as Hawkeye buys more apples.
Wrath is currently taking refuge in a forest, making use of the auto-mail limbs the Rockbells gave him.
Gracia and Elicia Hughes, along with Sciezska, go out regularly to visit Brigadier General Hughes's grave; the three of them have become very close indeed.
Rose is still staying at the Rockbells', where Pinako continues to manufacture auto-mail.
The Tringhams are still residing in Xenotime, putting thier alchemy to good use.
Winry has gone to Rush Valley, having somehow convinced Dominic to take her on as an apprentice, and is staying with him and Paninya.
Mustang's crew---Armstrong, Breda, Falman, Fuery, and Havoc---are still involved with the State Military, though they seem to have a lot more down time these days.
Al himself is on his train, sitting with Izumi, Sig and Mason on the way to Dublith to continue training. He promises to himself and to Ed, who's making the same promise on his train to Transylvania, that one day, they will be reunited and continue their journey through life together. Share this article with your friends