- This article is about the manga chapter. For other uses, see Philosopher's Stone (disambiguation).
Edward and Alphonse finally arrive in Central City, where Major Armstrong introduces them to the soldiers who will be taking over the Elrics' security detail from him - 2nd Lt. Maria Ross and Sergeant Denny Brosh. Ross and Brosh escort the boys to their destination, the National Central Library, but explain that the First Branch building of the library - where Dr. Marcoh's notes were supposedly hidden - had burned to the ground the day before the Elrics' arrival in what is suspected to be an act of arson.
In East City, Colonel Roy Mustang is scolded by the visiting Major General Hakuro for his unit's failure to apprehend Scar even after all this time. But while Mustang coolly brushes off the reprimand, he confides in his subordinates Lt. Riza Hawkeye and 2nd Lt. Jean Havoc that he, too, is anxious to settle the matter with Scar, if only to earn points with Central Command and further facilitate his secret bid for the seat of Führer and supreme military authority. Just outside, Lust joins the ever-watchful Gluttony and explains that, though she had been unable to locate Marcoh's notes, her destruction of the library's first branch ensures that the Fullmetal Alchemist will never find them either. As she speaks, however, Gluttony's attention is drawn elsewhere - to the scent of an Ishvalan cloaked in blood. When he asks Lust if he is allowed to eat this target, she orders him not to leave even a single hair behind. Down in the sewers, Scar becomes suddenly aware that he is being followed and spies the ravenous Gluttony behind him. As they clash, the sewer tunnel explodes and collapses.
Back in the capital, the Elrics and their escorts try to determine whether any of Marcoh's notes might have been stored in a different location, but come up empty-handed until they are referred to a young woman named Sheska, who had worked in the First Branch until her recent dismissal. Arriving at her house, they learn that Sheska was fired for reading the library's texts instead of doing her job and that she distinctly remembers Tim Marcoh's work being filed in the First Branch. Dejected at this confirmation of their objective's destruction, Ed and Al thank Sheska and prepare to leave, but she informs them that, with her photographic memory, she could reproduce the text perfectly for them if they'd like. Five days later, the transcript is finished and, though all of what Sheska has written down appears to be no more than a standard cookbook, Edward thanks her and takes the transcripts back to the library's main branch for study. Once there, he explains to Sgt. Brosh that many alchemists code their high-level alchemical documents so as to keep their information from falling into the wrong hands; if Sheska's copy is perfect and exact, the Elrics may be able to crack the code and decipher Marcoh's secret notes after all.
However, even after a week of hard work, the Elrics make very little headway into understanding what Dr. Marcoh was working on. They are visited by Lt. Colonel Hughes, who mentions that the Tucker chimera case is still open and complains about the loss of important court-martial office records that were being stored in the library's first branch, and when they inform him that Sheska (who had read those records) is capable of reproducing them all from memory, he gladly offers her a new job in his office. The boys continue their research, but become furious when they finally decipher the code and discover the secret that Marcoh was trying to hide - that the Philosopher's Stone's main ingredient is a live human being.
- In this chapter, it is revealed that, as a State Alchemist, Edward's personal research grant holds a sizable amount of money.
- In this chapter, it is revealed that Edward codes his research notes in the guise of a travelogue and Roy codes his with the names of women.
- Lust remarks to Gluttony that Edward's presence in Central City removes the necessity of surveilling him, likely referring to Father's influence and Pride's watchful eye in the capital.
- In this chapter, Alphonse remarks that alchemy was said to have been started in the kitchen. Whether this has any solid basis, considering the true origins of alchemy in Amestris, is unknown.
- According to a statement by 2nd Lt. Ross, it takes the Elric brothers ten days to crack the code.