Ed and Al come across some very unwanted trouble.
They were certainly more fortunate than the lower-ranking officers who were at the front seats and so took the greatest damage, getting killed instantly.
That hardly seemed to trouble the dark-skinned man, though it was true that any expression in his features was hidden behind black glasses. He simply walked up to Brigadier General Grand with determination and purpose.
"The Iron Blood Alchemist, Basque Grand," he said simply.
Grand arose, locking his gaze on the stranger that now blocked his way.
"Your timing is too bad; just as I got my hands on this!" And with that, Grand reached for his pocket.
Ed felt his heart jumping. He knew he had seen that strange man before, that odd scar on the forehead wasn't a thing to be forgotten so easily. But he was also somehow aware what was going to happen next and it wouldn't be a pretty sight.
"Stop!" he shouted.
He was too late. Scar had already placed his right hand on Grand's face, another blinding flash of red light emanating from his arm.
Grand's death was quick, but ugly. Blood spurted from almost every part of his body, staining everything before Grand himself fell lifeless in a heap on the ground. The red stone that he was holding onto in the clear hopes of using it slipped off his fingers and rolled away, only to stop at Ed's feet.
Edward never saw it. He had remained staring at the man, shocked and confused. He didn't even try to move when the scarred man turned his gaze at him, his piercing look petrifying even through his black glasses. Ed's mind screamed at him to run as fast and far as his legs would carry him but it was hopeless; his limbs had gone numb and cold, refusing to listen.
However, it wasn't Edward that Scar was interested in for the present. The dark-skinned man had shifted his gaze and looked at Dr. Marcoh, who was still on his knees, fear coursing through his veins as he returned the gaze.
"The Crystal Alchemist, Dr. Marcoh. I heard you were dead," noted Scar, mild surprise evident in his voice. "It looks like I'll have to kill you thoroughly," he stated, raising his bloodstained hand.
Marcoh's eyes widened. "You're..." But he didn't continue, the words failing him. He merely bowed his head in defeat. "I must accept my fate then."
Scar only bothered to regard his prey with a stoic look before his hand reached for Marcoh's forehead. "In the name of God, die."
But his hand never touched the doctor. At that moment, Edward lunged forward and grabbed Marcoh by the sleeve of his jacket and pulled him away.
"Edward..." Marcoh started, but Ed proved faster.
"Don't give up like that! Run!" And with no other word, the young alchemist dragged the doctor along with him as fast as he could.
Scar seemed surprised that his hand didn't destroy anything this time; yet it was the name the doctor said that clearly made the greatest impression on him.
"The Fullmetal Alchemist?!" He looked at the direction the boy had taken off, Marcoh still with him. "I won't let you get away!" He shouted, and started running after them.
Those words made Edward worry considerably. Not only did that psychopath know of him, he was determined to kill him!
"Brother, this way!" said the most welcome voice in the world at this time. Ed turned the corner off the main road to find Al.
His little brother was prepared. The moment Ed and Dr. Marcoh were at Al's side, the suit of armour activated an array that he had drawn in the meantime to create a great stonewall between them and their pursuer, hoping in this way to end the chase. It would seem that Al"s plan had worked, but at the next instant, red light engulfed the wall and crumbled it to the ground.
Scar was standing behind the very wall, his arm outstretched and glowing.
Damn it! Edward thought. He started running again, followed by Al, who was now carrying Dr. Marcoh in his arms.
It was to no avail. Proving faster once again, Scar placed his hand on one of the walls of the tunnel. The moment his arm glowed, the walls crumbled, blocking the way of the brothers.
Ed and Al stopped on their tracks at once, realising they were now trapped. In spite of their dire situation, though, Edward wasn't a coward; he turned to face Scar.
"Who are you? Why are you after us?" he asked, eyes flashing his defiance.
Scar just took a few steps towards them. "If you are the ones who create, then there are the ones who destroy."
"Edward, leave me here and run!" cried Marcoh, getting back on his feet.
Edward just clapped his hands and reached for a pipe among the debris, transmuting it into a dagger. Following his example, Al placed himself in a defensive position, ready to fight.
Scar regarded the brothers for a few moments before locking his gaze on Ed again. What he saw in Ed's eyes, Ed couldn't really tell. Whatever it was, it was enough to make the man say: "You have good eyes, just like my older brother; strong eyes that looked like they were gazing off into the distance."
Ed didn't say anything, unsure as to what to answer to that.
"Three years ago, was it?" Scar continued. "I heard you quit being a State Alchemist and I was pleased by that."
Edward smirked this time. "Sorry to hear it." And with that, the young alchemist lunged for the attack, slashing through the air with his dagger.
Scar simply avoided all the hits with the grace of a cat.
"You're too slow," he commented almost contemptuously. And with that, his hand got ready to grab Edward.
Ed was pushed away the moment that red light covered everything. It was when the light subsided and Edward looked up, however, that the young alchemist understood what happened. When he saw Al's arm cracked and dented.
Alphonse had taken the hit for his older brother.
"Al!" Ed cried in concern.
"I'm fine!" the suit of armour replied.
"Don't get the wrong idea. I was trying to destroy human flesh, that's why you got away with just that," Scar said, facing the suit of armour. "Stay out of this. Only State Alchemists are my enemies."
"Why? Why us?" exclaimed Ed.
"Because they are the ones who transform objects into things that are a mockery of God's creations. That's blasphemy that must be punished. I'm God's representative and executioner."
No one noticed that Dr. Marcoh now was staring at Scar, flabbergasted.
"I'm an alchemist as well," Alphonse said then, "Even though I'm not a State Alchemist."
Scar looked hard at Al. "Why do you seek death?"
"I don't. But you mentioned that you had an older brother, didn't you?" answered the suit of armour. "Then you should understand why I can't just sit by and watch my brother getting killed. Even you should--”
"I do!" snapped Scar. "I understand what it feels like to have your brother murdered before your eyes, when you can't do a thing!" Alphonse gasped, taken aback by this revelation, but Scar didn't seem to heed him anymore. "That's why I..."
He never completed his sentence, because it was then that Ed found the opportunity and attacked again. That also proved one of Ed's worst mistakes, because Scar grabbed the boy's arm in the blink of an eye.
"I told you you're too slow," stated the man, and his arm shone again. The force used on Ed was such that the boy was almost thrown to the other end of the tunnel.
But other than that, Edward wasn't harmed. Only the sleeve of his trench coat was torn apart. And for once in his life, the boy was glad he had automail; for it was that arm Scar had caught.
"Automail," said Scar, clearly surprised. "So your right arm begets nothing but destruction also."
That made Edward more than just angry. "Don't you start with that! We're nothing alike!" Clapping his hands again, he transmuted his arm into a blade and got ready to attack again.
He never did. Another explosion shook the tunnel and the debris were sent into Scar's direction; the same debris that had been blocking the brothers and Dr. Marcoh's escape.
Dumbfounded, Ed and Al turned to see what could have caused this - only to see in front of them a familiar figure.
"The State Alchemist?" exclaimed Ed. Things were really turning from bad to worse!
Al immediately took a defensive position against the newcomer. "Did you come to capture Dr. Marcoh?"
"Alphonse, wait! It's okay!"
That proved another surprise for Ed and Al, far more pleasant this time.
"Beregond?!" both brothers exclaimed.
Truly enough, the Gondorian appeared from behind Armstrong. "Yes." He pointed at his companion. "This is Major Alex Armstrong. He knew about Scar and that was why he was following us."
Armstrong settled a heavy hand on Ed's shoulder. "I was asked by the Lieutenant Colonel to guard you, but..."
"What? You mean Hughes?!"
Armstrong nodded, a small smile crossing his features. Soon he had sobered again, and he turned to Beregond's direction.
"Sergeant Beregond, you know what your duty is."
The Gondorian nodded his acknowledgment. He prodded Ed and Al to follow him down the tunnel. "Let's go."
Scar tried to lunge forward to stop his prey from leaving, but Armstrong stood in front of him, his metallic gloved hands clenched into fists.
"Representative of God... Try to execute me, the Strong Arm Alchemist, Alex Louis Armstrong."
If Scar was daunted, he never showed it. He merely smiled. "I'm blessed today. This saves me the time of finding you all."
"I don't think your God will save you from the artistic alchemy method that has been passed down through the Armstrong family for generations!" said the major. The pride that swelled within him at the mere mention of his bloodline made him seem almost like he was surrounded by a bright sparkly aura.
At the next moment, as though strengthened by that strange mantra, he held up a huge rock in one hand and tossed it in the air. In a matter of seconds, he had driven a spiked fist into the rock in midair. Yellow light burst out and once the alchemic reaction was complete, the rock was formed into a rocky missile, heading at Scar's direction.
Scar avoided the missile just barely. And he had little time to recover before Armstrong used his alchemy to raise spikes on the ground to pin the murderer.
Dr. Marcoh stumbled and collapsed on the soft foliage the little group had reached after much running. Ed stood by him, trying to catch his breath; whereas Alphonse stopped also, cradling his cracked arm. As for Beregond, he kept staring with bated breath at the direction where he knew a great fight was going on.
"How did you find us?"
Beregond instantly turned to Ed. "What?"
"We were for the most part moving around, trying to avoid Scar. How did you find us?"
A ghost of a sad smile appeared on Beregond's lips. "I'm good at tracking down things. Besides, it wasn't that difficult for me or Armstrong to follow a trail of blood and debris."
"So you've seen... that?" Al asked; his appalled tone was audible.
Beregond sighed, clearly understanding that Al was referring to the soldiers' dead bodies. "Yes." He shook his head at once. "We'd better keep moving," he told Edward.
Edward nodded his understanding; but he knew that there was something else he had to do first. He held the red stone between metal fingers, and gave it to Dr. Marcoh. "You dropped it."
Dr. Marcoh was certainly surprised. "Didn't the idea of running away with this cross your mind?"
"You use that to treat injuries at your clinic, right?" said Ed, smiling. "I can't forget the faces of the people who talked about you today. Both that stone and you belong to them."
Marcoh held Ed under his gaze for several moments, uncertain; until he finally grasped the stone and drew it closer to his chest.
Puzzled by that scene, Beregond looked curiously at Al with an expression that clearly said: How much did I miss, anyway?
Stifling a chuckle, Alphonse merely patted the man on the shoulder. "I'll tell you later," he whispered.
Ed straightened himself. "Can you walk?" he asked Dr. Marcoh.
The doctor nodded weakly.
"Then let's go to where the military and that guy can't chase us."
At those words, Marcoh cast a worried glance at Beregond's direction. It was obvious what was going on in his mind, since Beregond was wearing his military uniform.
Seeing this, Ed shook his head. "You can trust the sergeant," he said. "He's... let's just say, something different." He grinned at the Gondorian, whose face turned crimson in embarrassment.
Though Dr. Marcoh wasn't quite reassured, he had clearly decided to trust the three. "Will we be able to escape?"
"You still have legs, don't you?"
That was enough answer. And so, they all started running once again.