He stood atop the hill, looking around the valley.
Not that there was much to see as he squinted through the falling rain.
He ran through what he remembered of solid-state alchemy in the back of his mind as he pondered whether to find the Elric home now, or wait until morning. It was late enough as it was. Certainly there had to be some sort of inn closer to the train station.
No. He didn’t want to stay in this village any longer than he absolutely had to.
He’d only come because Hohenheim was far too powerful to simply fall neatly into Gran and Bradley’s grasps without knowing what had been done with alchemists in Ishbal. That, and if anyone in the military was going to be mistreated by the village of Risembool, it really ought to be him.
A feeling of alchemical mischief was in the air, but not like any of the pranks he’d pulled during his teenage years, this was something more... dangerous.
“There’s something foul in the air.”
The glow of good normal alchemy comes from the Elric home, then shifts into a shade Roy has never seen.
Well, I was warned that Hohenheim was a potential taboo-breaker. There, problems all solved. He could get out of this valley and back on a nice dry train to Central.
The scream of a young child, coming from the house.
The glow faded.
The scream repeated.
He walked down the hill towards the home, carefully watching his step. If he fell and broke a leg, he’d be no good to anyone.
A shape left the house, running down the street and carrying something.
Another scream, coming from whatever had just left but sounding the same.
Roy glanced around the frontporch, then followed the trail of blood down the country lane.
He reached the top of another hill just in time to see a door close on a yellow house with a sign. He squinted and felt his heart begin to race.AUTO
Oh please no.
Insubordination to Gran would be suicide, and he was here under Gran’s orders. Gran would know, and it would attract attention to them, the little girl and whoever she had left in this world. He couldn’t just leave.
He would have to go to the house, and he would have to be rude. Otherwise, he might be invited in. He would have to enter, uninvited, and act like just another soldier with a superiority complex over civilians.
It took an hour for him to talk himself to the front door, where he waited quietly.
A woman’s voice, familiar enough that he knew it had to be the elder Mrs. Rockbell. “... a product of mischief. You were trying to bring back your mother, weren’t you?”
So, Hohenheim’s boys had tried to bring back their mother from the dead, and at least one had survived the attempt. He knew the feeling. If I had been exposed to alchemy when I was thirteen... Not that he could have been, with his uncle’s views on the universe, but he could commiserate somewhat.
He barged in, flank to the inside and hunching over. He barely looked towards the center of the room, watching from the corners of his eyes. “Well that explains a few things. A human transmutation. I’ve never seen such a furious reaction before.” Or that color before. Which deities did you have to tick off to make alchemy go purple? He pulled the door closed; no use giving the injured kid in the bed pneumonia.
He reached for his watch. “Pardon me.” He held it up.
The armor in the room spoke with the voice of a small boy as Roy walked forward as firmly as he could. “A State Alchemist?”
And then she spoke, with her son’s eyes and the battering-ram hint of her son’s voice. “What are you doing here? I have no time to entertain dogs. Can’t you see these boys are hurt?”
It stopped him in his tracks. She knows.I have to defuse the situation before she gets in Gran’s sights too. “Take it easy, Ma’am. I’m just checking the mail.” He held up a letter.
“One of our letters! Then you know where my dad is?”
“I only wish, kid. We’ve been looking for Hohenheim for a long time, and we’re still only kicking up dirt.”
He couldn’t help but look at the girl standing next to the elderly woman. She’s their daughter.
Mrs. Rockbell spoke again. “Well if you didn’t have any information why did you come? You sure as heck aren’t going to find their dad here.”
He turned to look at Hohenheim’s other son, the one in the bed. “Let’s call it nostalgia, or a misplaced curiosity. Whatever it was, I’m happy I came. If these boys can attempt human alchemy and survive, their dad just dropped a rung on my priority list.” Hohenheim can take care of himself. These kids can’t, and Gran’ll use them if he ever gets the chance. He’d have the red stone labs running again in six months if he ever had direct access to these boys.
“I want you out of this house immediately! I’ve had enough lives wrecked by the state.”
You and me both, Ma’am. On both counts. He turned and walked toward the door, not looking back. “The name’s Lieutenant Colonel Roy Mustang, State Alchemist. Pay me a visit in Central sometime.”
He opened the door and left into the night. He got on the next train back towards Central, found an empty compartment, shut himself inside.