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Fullmetal Alchemist

Chapter 16: Separate Paths

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Separate Paths
Chapter16
Volume 4
Chapter number 16
Title Separate Paths
U.S.A. Release Date November 1, 2005
Preceded by Chapter 15: Fullmetal Heart
Followed by Chapter 17: The Boomtown of the Broken Down

SynopsisEdit

On the train southward, Winry asks Edward and Alphonse why they feel the need to visit their alchemy teacher all of a sudden, to which Ed replies that their first motive is to strengthen themselves, both physically and psychologically, with their teacher's help and that their second - more important - aim is to ask their teacher directly about Human Transmutation and the Philosopher's Stone. Stating that the topic was never discussed during their training, the boys remark that their recent skirmishes have made information gathering essential, but adds sadly that their teacher will not be happy with them for doing so. Attempting to cheer them up, Winry unpacks a fresh apple pie that Gracia Hughes had made for them and as they eat heartily, the three youngsters reminisce on the kind treatment Maes Hughes and his family gave them during their time in the capital and resolve to repay the Lt. Colonel's kindness on their next trip to Central City.

Back in Central, however, Maes' military funeral is underway, with several people in attendance, including Major Armstrong, Colonel Mustang, Lt. Hawkeye and even Führer King Bradley himself. As Hughes' casket is buried, the confused Elicia protests and the toddler's heartbreaking sorrow causes several attendees to shed tears and even drives the Führer's hands to trembling. With the service over, Roy stands over his best friend's fresh grave and chides him for being posthumously promoted over him to the rank of Brigadier General after promising to support the Colonel's ascension from beneath. As Riza approaches the Colonel to persuade him to depart, Mustang remarks offhand that he was, for a moment, considering a Human Transmutation attempt and chides himself for being so foolish. But as he dons his officer's cap and prepares to leave the cemetery, a single tear falls down his cheek. Mustang and Hawkeye head next to Central Command in order to discern what they can in regards to Hughes' death and speak with Captain Fokker, who informs them that Maes had run into the records room on the night of his death and appears to have had a struggle with someone inside. Leaving a trail of blood from a wound on his shoulder, Hughes had headed next to the telephone office, but left suddenly without making a call, heading instead to a public phone booth outside. Examining the bloodstained phone booth, Roy recalls that the operator at East Area Headquarters had heard Maes remark that the military was in grave danger and posits that he had purposely used a public phone because he had reason to distrust the military line. As he tries to comprehend what this could mean, Lt. Hawkeye arrives with Major Armstrong in tow, who explains vaguely that his men have an idea as to the identities of Hughes' murderers, but cannot make arrests because they know nothing of their whereabouts, names or faces. The Colonel orders the Major to explain further, but Armstrong responds pointedly that he cannot and Roy dismisses him, thanking Alex for his time. But as Armstrong departs, he remarks offhandedly that the Elric brothers had been in town recently and that their mythical search has still not concluded. Hawkeye laments that Armstrong couldn't have been more helpful, but Mustang replies that the Major had actually revealed a great deal; his terminology made it clear that more than one individual was involved in Hughes' murder - probably members of an organization - and his obstinate refusal to elaborate when ordered to by a Colonel suggests that a gag order was placed on him by a higher ranking officer, almost confirming that Military Command is involved somehow. And additionally, his comment on the Elric brothers suggests that the Philosopher's Stone is also a factor. Unfortunately, Roy has no idea how the three points are connected, but comments that his impending transfer to the capital will give him the opportunity to both rise toward the top and uncover Hughes' killer. He asks if Hawkeye will aid him in his endeavors, but she responds that there is no need for him to ask.

Dreaming, Scar remembers his time as a young man in Ishval and encounters an Amestrian man standing atop a rock with his face shrouded. As the man claims that he is the State Alchemist who has been ordered to commit genocide in the region, he opens his hands, revealing Transmutation Circles tattooed on his palms - the same circles marked on the palms of Solf J. Kimblee. As he is swallowed up by an explosion, Scar's dream takes him to the scene of his battle in the sewers with Gluttony, revealing that he had been ambushed by the fat man and his partner Lust, neither of whom seemed at all susceptible to the Scarred Man's destructive alchemy. As he remembers his desperate escape from the scene by way of an induced tunnel collapse, Scar finally awakes with a jolt to find himself heavily bandaged and lying in a tent. A young boy enters the tent and informs the Ishvalan fugitive that they are currently in a slum outside of East City. The boy explains that he and an elderly friend of his had found Scar floating unconscious in the sewers and that they would have left him for dead but for the fact that he is an Ishvalan like them. The old man enters the tent and, asking Scar if he is the one on the run from the authorities, assures him that the slum is full of Ishvalan refugees and that no one here will betray him to the military. Scar is surprised to see so many Ishvalan survivors of the war, but the old man informs him that theirs isn't the only Ishvalan slum; several others have popped up all over the country. Hearing this Scar, smiles and tries to sit up, but finds himself too injured to do so. He asks the young boy to check if his right arm is still attached and the boy confirms so, lifting Scar's right arm from beneath his blanket and revealing that it is covered from shoulder to wrist in a large and ornate tattoo. The boy marvels at it and Scar remarks that the tattoo is a precious gift from his family.

Chapter NotesEdit

  • In this chapter, apple pie becomes the first of the list of foods Alphonse wishes to try once he restores his body to normal.
  • In the Viz release of this chapter, Hughes' new posthumous rank is mistakenly listed as Major General, when the proper rank is Brigadier General, one rank below.
  • In this chapter, we see that the proper military attire for a state funeral service and mourning is a black sash hung from the right shoulder under the epaulet to the left hip.
  • The young boy who tends to Scar, Rick, is depicted in this chapter as having light skin and light-colored hair and states that his mother is Ishvalan, suggesting that the boy is only half-Ishvalan. It is implied, then, that his irises are red. In the 2009 anime adaptation, the boy's visage is darkened and no suggestion of his mixed heritage is made.
  • In the 2009 anime, Scar's dream, and the scenes of the Ishvalan refugee camp took place before Hughes' death during the previous episode.

See AlsoEdit

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