Fullmetal Alchemist

Chapter 8: The Road of Hope

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The Road of Hope
Volume 2
Chapter number 8
Title The Road of Hope
Japan Release Date March, 2002
U.S.A. Release Date July 5, 2005
Preceded by Chapter 7: After the Rain
Followed by Chapter 9: A Home with a Family Waiting
This article is about the manga chapter. For the similarly named 2009 anime series episode, see Episode 6: Road of Hope (2009 series).


The following day, Edward sits next to Major Alex Louis Armstrong on the train lamenting his new companion's presence. With his automail arm destroyed and his brother immobilized, it was decided that Edward could not be allowed to travel to his hometown of Resembool without an escort while Scar is still on the loose, but as no one else is either free or willing to accompany them, the Major agrees wholeheartedly to chaperon the Elric brothers on their journey. After Lt. Colonel Hughes comes to see them off and the train begins to pull away, Edward explains to Major Armstrong that Resembool is a small eastern town whose growth was stunted by the damage of the Ishval Civil War and that the automail specialist there is a surgeon with weaponsmith experience as well as a close family friend. But as the two chat, unbeknownst to them, Lust is seated a few rows away, keeping Fullmetal under surveillance.

The train makes a scheduled stop in a small town where Major Armstrong recognizes a passerby as Dr. Tim Marcoh, a former State Alchemist who had been researching alchemy for medical purposes before going AWOL with his research materials at the end of the civil war. However, when Armstrong calls out to him, Marcoh panics and flees. Hoping that the doctor's expertise may shed some light on biological transmutation, Edward declares that they will disembark here and take a later train to Resembool. Armstrong, Edward and Alphonse wander through the town asking for Dr. Marcoh, but it soon becomes clear that the ex-State Alchemist is living in this town under an assumed name, mysteriously healing people with alchemy. They manage to track Marcoh down, but are met with hostility as the good doctor fears that Armstrong was sent to either arrest or assassinate him. After Edward and Alex manage to calm Marcoh down, he explains to them that he had run from Ishval because of the guilt of having his research used to massacre innocent people during the war and is attempting to make amends for his sins by using his life and his research to heal others. But it is the revelation of Marcoh's research subject that truly shocks the Elrics, as Marcoh declares that his experiments were to create the legendary Philosopher's Stone.

Marcoh produces a vial filled with a gel-like red substance and explains it to be an experimental prototype stone with the supposed properties of the stone, but with less power. Excited, Edward asks to see Marcoh's research notes, but the doctor refuses, asserting that the information therein is evil and asking his guests to leave. At the station, Edward responds to Armstrong's inquiry into why he didn't simply steal Marcoh's stone by replying that his conscience wouldn't allow him to take away the item that had healed so many of the townspeople, while Armstrong lets on that he does not plan to report Marcoh's whereabouts to his superiors. However, before their train can pull away, Marcoh himself appears and hands a small note to Edward. Having had a change of heart in regards to Ed's situation, he explains that what he has written down on the note is the place where his Philosopher's Stone research notes are hidden and that he believes Edward has the strength of will to look the horrible truth in the face as well as the talent to discover the "truth behind the truth".

Marcoh returns to his house to find Lust waiting for him in the dark. As he gapes in horror, she reassures him that she has not come to take him back and that the research has been continuing just fine even without him and his notes. However, she goes on to say that the notes he Marcoh had stolen, while indecipherable to a normal alchemist, may be dangerous to her organization's plans if discovered by a State Alchemist of Fullmetal's caliber; she demands to know whether the doctor had told Ed their location. As he asserts that Edward will be able to figure out from the notes what Lust and her comrades are scheming, Marcoh attacks Lust with alchemy, but watches in horror as the woman shrugs off the attack, her grievous wound sealing itself almost miraculously. Taking a little neighbor girl hostage, Lust demands that Marcoh tell her the location of his hidden data. Meanwhile, on the train to Resembool, Edward opens the note Marcoh had given him and reads "National Central Library, first branch". Promising to wipe the village off the face of the map if Marcoh tries anything strange, Lust makes plans to head to Central in order to destroy Marcoh's data before Fullmetal can reach it.

Chapter NotesEdit

  • While Lust watches over Edward and Alex on board the train, the headline of the newspaper she holds in her hands reads "British Naval Commander Murder". The only other legible text on the cover reads "007" (to the right of the photo); this is most likely a reference to the James Bond movies You Only Live Twice and Tomorrow Never Dies- newspapers in each movie refer to Bond as a "British Naval Commander" while reporting his "death".
  • After Marcoh attacks her, Lust remarks that he has made her "die once", referring to her large number of lives. Additionally, this is the first instance of a Homunculi's regenerative powers.
  • In the official English translation of the manga, Kiri (Lust's hostage) is mistakenly seen calling out "Doctor Marcoh", when in actuality, none of the people in town had known his real surname. In the original Japanese, she merely called him "Doctor".

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