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A Story of Alchemy

Amestris

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a part of A Story of Alchemy, by Soul_Alchemist.

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Soul_Alchemist holds sovereignty over Amestris, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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Amestris

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Amestris is a part of A Story of Alchemy.

8 Characters Here

Mareth Quincy Hughes [0] The White Flash Alchemist
Shaun Holifield [0] Armory Alchemist
Jed Harper [0] The Devil Alchemist
Major Koganei Midnight [0] The Silver Cross Alchemist
Rynn Zaigou [0] The Frozen Soul Alchemist
Wrath Zaigou [0] "Will you play a game with me...?"
Issac Kain [0] The Surgeon Alchemist

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"There, you should be fine private, just try not to use that hand too much for the next week or so, alright? And you may need to retake your firearms safety course as well." Issac said with a smile as he finished wrapping the bandages around a young mans left hand, which had been hurt when his more or less exploded in his hand because he hadn't put it together properly. "I'll send you something for the pain as well. Have a good day."

"Sure...thank you sir. I'll be sure to be more careful nest time..." the young man said, rubbing his hand a little.

"Please, call me Issac, don't worry about status here, I'm just a doctor, got it?" Issac says, giving the man a reassuring smile. "Besides, I'm not really old enough to be called sir yet." They both laughed a little at this, then the private stood, thanked the man called the Surgeon Alchemist once more, then headed out of the room, running into Furher Mustang on his way out, giving him what looked to be a painful salute with his bad hand. "If it isn't Roy Mustang, to what do I owe the honor of your presence in my wing of Central Command? You didn't burn yourself did you?"

Mustang only smiled a little at Issac's words as he closed the door to the small doctors office with one hand and reached into his inside coat pocket with the other. "I've got an assignment for you Surgeon," the Furher says, taking a letter out of his coat and handing it over, "No doubt you've heard the rumors of things going bump in the night once again."

"You mean the rumors of Homunculi out in the west?" the State Alchemist asks, looking the letter over, "I've heard...but what does this have to do with me? I'm more of a doctor than a surgeon you know."

"I do know, and I also know that even if these things aren't Homunculi something is going on out there, and I'd rather be safe then sorry." With a slight heave of a sigh Mustang reaches up to touch the black patch over his left eye. It was obvious it hurt, maybe not physically, but mentally. "Whatever may be out there I want you with my men. Your medical alchemy is the best I've ever seen, and if any one can protect them and bring them back alive, it's you. I've already got the team set. There will be a gathering in the mess hall in one hour, so please gather whatever you need and be ready."

"Um...yes sir," Issac says, saluting his superior, his right hand making a metallic noise as he moves it, "I'll be there..."

With that Mustang exits the room, leaving the door open, and Issac slumps down into his chair with a sigh, the thought of being near one of those souless creatures, after what he'd done...shaking his head he crumples the letter, tosses it in the trash, and stands up once more, moving about the small office to gather his things before heading to the mess hall.

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Jed walks around with a torn hooded military coat with his pocket watch dangling as he avoids as many main streets as he can as he takes side streets. He stops in mid walk
in one of the side streets and looks up while it starts to rain and remembers that it was raining when he made state alchemist.

(Flashback)

Knocks on Mustangs door*

Come in Jed, I was expecting you. I'm here to give you your State Alchemists pocket watch and Title. He opens his desk draw and throws
a pocket watch at Jed and produces two papers to Jed, the State Alchemist title paper and his first assignment.

" He looks at the title paper with a puzzled look and asks Why am I called The Devil Alchemist? Mustang said that he displayed destructive
power and killed some of the participants by accident by drying their blood supplies up. Jed gets up, and thanks mustang, gives a salute
and leaves.

(End Flashback)

He snaps out of his daydream and sits down in a alleyway and transmutes stone walls out of the building hes leaning against to protect him
against the rain.

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How many times had she stood in front of the mirror, full of malice and vinegar, leaning close to her eyes to identify the different shades of red. Ishbal. It was an ugly reminder that her people hardly tasted freedom, while she served the State like a faithful hound—the people who had once been to blame for the massacre, not completely, but partly. How many times had she rocked back on her heels, wondering where her allegiance really was. If she were faced with a certain situation that dealt with her people, and defending her friends—what would she do? Abby cursed foully, shook her head a few times and turned on her heels. Now was not a time to debate her future. It never was. For now, she was a military dog along with the others, pledging her loyalty to her Fuhrer, Isaac, her fellow Alchemists and soldiers. Risking one more look in the mirror, she hissed something and strode out the door.

As soon as she stepped foot in the hallway, the Fuhrer—Mustang, the Flame Alchemist—offered a sly smile, and his greeting. She immediately stood stock straight, saluted him and added, “Sir” for good measure. Earlier in the day, Mustang had approached her and informed her that she would be aiding Isaac on a rather urgent missions. Homunculi. Only small amounts of information were divulged. Other than that, she was left in the dark. There wasn't much else she hated than that. Of course, she hadn't questioned Mustang and only bowed her head, fumbling her fingers over the enveloped he'd given her. Still, she hadn't opened it yet. Abby watched as Mustang retreated down the hallway, and continued on her way towards Isaac's medical office.

She rapped her knuckles on the door, curled her hand around the door handle and pushed it open. Abby spotted Isaac moving numbly around the room, gathering things with a look that clearly screamed he wasn't impressed. A small smile touched her lips before she threw him a perfect salute, accompanied by a 'Sir' greeting, and closed the door behind her. She knew he hated being called sir, but it was a habit she couldn't quite shake. “I'm assuming he's already talked to you,” She sighed warily, placing her hands on her hips. “ Has he told you anything else besides, 'Meet in the mess hall in an hour?'”

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Since Mustang had left his office Issac had made himself busy by moving about the room, gathering supplies and stuffing them into his messenger bag. Some were amazed at what all he could fit into that bag, but when you'd lived out of such a thing for years you learned to cram as much as possible inside so that nothing was left behind. His work was only interrupted when he heard, first a knock, then his door open again. The soldiers were used to him being busy as they walked in, and so he finished putting a few items away before turning and getting the person.

"Ah, hello Abby," he says, giving her a smile, "Good morning, it's good to see you." Before speaking on the subject he walks back over to his desk and lays his bag down on top of it. "Hm, he didn't tell me much more than I had already gathered on my own. You'd be surprised how many rumors I hear from day to day in this small room...but, anyway, he said something about a missions to the west, that I'd be needed for my medical alchemy. Should prove interesting."

Glancing above her head he looks at the clock to see a good deal of time has passed already since Mustang had come and gone, and that they should get a move on to reach the mess hall in time.

"I suppose this means you're coming along for the ride?" he asks, giving her another smile as he scratches his chin and places his bag over one shoulder. "If so I think we should get moving. Don't want to make mister fiery pants angry now do we? He might give us a hot foot." Although she tried not to show it, Issac had long known that Abby didn't like being a part of the State Military, and because of her heritage he knew she must have hated it that she could preform alchemy, and so when around her he tried to be as cheery a possible, in an attempt to lighten her mood.

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"Perfect..." Told Mareth to himself as he sat on the weight bench. He'd been pumping iron most of today to keep in shape and was happy with the results he was getting thus far. He'd gotten bored, however, and decided it was past time for him to go and see what the Fuhrer wanted him to do with his day. Standing up and putting his shirt and coat back on.. Mareth noticed something about himself that disgusted him.. he was soaked in sweat. Only a fool would face Mustang looking like this.. He pulled his gloves on, looked from the left, to the right to ensure there was nobody watching and snapped his fingers. The symbol on the back of the gloves was one for air pressure, and it was his main use of alchemy. As he snapped, the lack of friction created a soft breeze in his palm, which he manipulated up his sleeve and across the length of his body until the sweat was dried.

But, no alchemic task was complete until Mareth made one of his corny wise cracks, "Yaknow what they say about Mareth Hughes... For him, lookin' sexy is always a snap." he winked and began his stride toward Mustang's office, hands behind his back.

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Abby arched her inquisitive eyebrow, surveying the belongings he was packing with her keen eyes. Hardly anything got past her, her intuition had always served her well. From the looks of it, Isaac wasn't very happy with the task that was given to him. It wasn't the faint smile that led her to believe it, but the tiresome look in his eyes—the gentle creases at the corners. Of course, doctoring everyone on base could also do that. The stresses that came with being an upper class surgeon. There were few and far in between that could even be compared to Isaac when it came to his medical prowess. If she ever had a taste in alchemy, she would have been impressed. In her opinion, medicinal alchemy was the only useful alchemy.

Smiling curtly in return, Abby circled around him and sat on the corner of the desk. Curiosity always got the best of her and she peered over his shoulders, before promptly looking away. “Good to see you, too,” She added, curling her fingers beneath the edge of the wooden desk. Fidgeting was a bad habit she'd acquired—a nasty reptilian trait, her chosen lizard was as jittery as they came. “Ah, that makes sense. Unfortunately, no gossips fall into my office. So, as always, I'm left in the dark.” Missions to the West and needing medical alchemy, her ears nearly perked at the new information. Interesting, indeed. Following Isaac's gaze towards the looming clock, she squinted her eyes and breathed warily through her nose. Soon enough, they'd be shepherded down the hallway and bustled into the mess hall for whatever speech Roy Mustang had planned. Would he even divulge any useful information, and would it be true?

“As always.” Abby replied, leaning backwards precariously before slipping back to her feet. She swiped strands of red hair from her equally vibrant eyes, and shrugged her shoulders. “I swear, I'm more of your personal assistant that anything else.” She offered a quick wink to let him know that she didn't mind. Working alongside someone who valued medicine instead of destruction was always refreshing. It was the reason why she didn't harbour any ill-will towards the man. “Or he may start ranting about the female dress code again,” Abby whispered sourly, gesturing her hands in front of her. “Let's be on our way before someone comes screaming down the hall.”

((Bahahaha. XD Corny lines. He's gonna be a riot))

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"His rants to tend to get stale after a while, don't they?" Issac says with a laugh as he moves to the door, "Ladies first," he says, gesturing for Abby to go on out ahead of him. Once she is out of the room he turns back, cuts the lights out, then closes and locks the door behind them. "Honestly, I don't know if anything that man is about to tell us would surprise me. From what I've heard, he killed, lied, probably even stole, basically did anything the former fuhrer asked of him, just so he could get to where he is now...and Bradley was a homunculus..."

Shaking his head he reaches one gloved hand up and taps his forehead with the heel of his palm in his signature, 'what an idiot' gesture. The movements were accompanied by the slight clank of his metallic hand, which caused him to frown, but only for a moment.

"Anyway, if he needs a medic he could have asked anyone...there's something important going on, either in the field and I'm needed, or here and he wants to get rid for me for a while..." Issac says as they make their way down the hall. Some of the new soldiers salute him, but the ones who have been around long enough just nod as he passes them by. "I hate being a dog...I've always been more of a cat person..."

With that out of his system he places a hand against the doors leading to the mess hall and gives a quick shove, causing them to both swing open fully and lock in place, so that they won't have to be held open by him, and during the meeting people won't be opening and closing them while they're trying to listen to whatever it is Mustang has to say.

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Mareth smiled was he strode down the hall, he wasn't usually the kind to easedrop, but as he heard what sounded female coming down the hall, he couldn't help but boast his beauty just a small amount. He'd noticed once that Armstrong had shown off some skin and had many ladies interested, so Mareth figured the same would help him. With one swift motion, he removed his coat and undershirt, showing off his rippling stomach and sculpted biceps. He walked past the ladies as though his being half naked was completely unintentional. "Ladies" he said, flashing his pearly whites and striding by... but he was coming up on mustang's office pretty quickly.. maybe he'd get caught for once.

( LOL I know right!? I liked how InYourFace Hughes was, Armstrong's Confidence and Mustang's Epic... Epicness.. put them all together and you get Mareth. lol. ..But Hughes was still my favorite. )

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“Years ago.” Abby chuckled, rubbing the nape of her neck as she allowed him to hold the door. Usually, everyone in the building knew not to treat Abby like a woman because she believed it was a sign that they looked down on her—like she couldn't even open the door for herself. She seemed to ignore the fact that it was only polite. However, she stilled her tongue for Isaac. He was, of course, just being a gentleman. Back home, things were done completely different. Kindness could be taken as condescension, and women fought tooth and nail to be considered as strong as their counterparts. It was a twisted world they lived in. “Climbing over people to climb the ranks. Desperate.” For power, she wanted to say but knew better. Isaac knew just as well as she did what Roy Mustang had done to climb to the top.

She smiled at the small clinking sound of Isaac's auto mail. It wasn't hard to figure out that he seemed perturbed by his prosthetic limb. Abby had always been intrigued by auto mail, so she seemed to immediately like anyone who'd lost any limbs and had them replaced—Isaac was no exception. Her own eye and half of her face had been replaced with auto mail, she didn't seem to mind that it “obscured” her beauty. Even if she'd heard the haughty whispers through the ranks. When she voiced her opinion, they seemed to stop.

“But, you are the best.” Abby retorted with a wry smile playing on her lips. She shrugged, eyeing him from her peripherals. Roy Mustang's intentions were always shady in her opinion, if he wanted Isaac away from the area for awhile, she didn't know why. “I agree, though. It's not some simple mission.” When fellow soldiers saluted them, Abby only nodded her head and returned a few. The ranking system had always proved silly in her eyes, and she appreciated that Isaac didn't take it as serious as some people did. She laughed at Isaac's comment, pulling her gloves on tighter. “Cat person. I never woulda' thought.”

Both doors swung open in front of her and locked in place, and everyone seemed to turn their heads in their direction. Abby chuckled, looked back at her companion and noticed a half-naked figure flexing down the hallway towards Mustang's office. Two women walked in the opposite direction: one giggling behind a gloved hand, while the other glowered and muttered something under her breath. Abby's eye twitched and she crossed her arms over her chest. No doubt it was Mareth streaking down the halls. Again. “Mareth!” She always loved the fact that she had a commanding, booming voice when need be.

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Mareth wasn't one to be startled, he'd noticed some women were chuckling at his peacock like style, while others were staring uncontrollably. As he strode down the hall, he whipped out his left hand, running his finger beneath one woman's bottom lip. He smirked and slung the moisture off his hand. "Don't drool, sweetheart, it's unbecoming." he said. There wasn't a voice in the world that could make this man feel as though he weren't the single sexiest individual on the planet.

"MARETH"

.....Except that one... Mareth had heard that booming voice a thousand times over.. he hadn't had the chance to put his clothes back on and he knew there was only one shot at getting out of this.. that same shot may just get him punched out, but he decided to go for it.

He faced Abby with little fear on his expression, keeping his coy, confident smile dabbed across his face. "My My, Miss Abby. If I may be so bold.. you're looking absolutely stunning today." he bowed toward her. This was stage one, Mareth knew from his experience that ol' Abby didn't like being treated like a beautiful girl. "But your beauty isn't what captivates me," the sly charmer said, "What truly makes me avid is your skill. I read the specs from your last detail, magnificent work. Even I couldn't have done better." He knew that seeing as she knew his persona so well, she'd take this as a compliment, and hopefully let him off the hook. All the while, the female officers lining the hall that had once been captured by his body, were now shooting him dirty looks. Some with jealousy, a few with shame, but none moreso than those who had realized Mareth was a charmer, smooth as silk and able to talk his way out of any situation. Or at least, that's the way they'd started to see it.

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Issac was already making his way into the mess hall, and was about to say something to Abby, when she suddenly turned and yelled down the hallway. Although he was certain he knew they cause of the outburst, he had to turn around, smirking, and watch the perfectly timed chaos ensue. Mareth was notorious for many things, one of them, which should seem obvious by now, was streaking down the halls, looking for a date. That's how Issac thought of it, which always made him think of Mareth as one of those fancy foreign birds with all the colorful plumage.

"Cool your jets Mareth," he says, reaching into, then rummaging through his carrier bag. "Ah, here," Taking out what looks like a flash card he flips it over, showing them a transmutation circle drawn on it as he examines it to make sure it's the right one. Slapping it on the wall there is a blue flash, and some smoke. As the smoke clears Issac stands, holding out a simple dark blue robe for Mareth to put on, and the wall has now been thinned by just an eight of an inch. "We've got a very important assignment, sure to gain us some shiny stuff to put on our uniforms, right Abby?"

As he says this he looks to her and gives her a warm smile, one that, if people have known him for a while, would know that he was just messing with the man. In this case, it also meant he was ready for the near-naked man to either leave or put something on.

Inside the mess hall the other soldiers had no idea what to think. Some of those who had been around for a while shook their heads or laughed, the newer ones were more apt to just stare and wonder what kind of place Central had turned into since Mustang had taken over. Eventually they would all get used to this kind of chaos in their everyday lives...or quit. Either way it made things much easier.

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Arms still tightly wound across her chest, Abby tapped her foot impatiently as Mareth advanced. No amount of charm could sway her—even if Mareth was attractive, none of that would work on her. Flattery would only receive sharp snaps to the head. And with a faintly bemused expression, she arched a fine eyebrow as he swaggered his way over. Shirtless. Half-naked. Again. It didn't even surprise her anymore that he had the gall to strip down the hallways to impress girls. It surprised her that it seemed to be working. From the corners of her blazing gaze, she spotted women of the State whispering amongst themselves, clearly upset that he was speaking to her. They seemed to hush when Abby shot them a deathly glare.

And Mareth marched straight up to her, with an expression that seemed rather cocky and coy despite their rank differences and her inability to “take a joke.” Whether or not he was joking was another matter altogether. She clamped her jaw shut to keep herself from yelling profanities and closed her eyes for a moment, collecting her thoughts. Flattery wouldn't get him very far under her command. Finally, she opened her eyes and caught him bowing before her, and even then he towered over her. It was almost embarrassing how their statures were so different—she was so short, and he loomed over her like a chiseled statue. You're looking absolutely stunning today, but your beauty isn't what captivates me. How he was bold. However, she stilled her seething tongue for the punch line. And received another compliment that caused her to pale, any compliment to her ability totting weapons was always well received. “Why thank you—and now!” She began sweetly, before reaching up and tugging on Mareth's earlobe, bringing his head down to her level. “Don't tempt me to slap that stupid look off your face, soldier. Your lucky your not dispensable.”

Smooth as silk or not, Abby would not allow her walls to falter. The “not dispensable” comment was actually a compliment on Mareth's abilities, even if it was dressed up as an insult. She released his ear and huffed quietly, turning on her heel to face Isaac. “And get dressed. I have a feeling you'll be tagging along with us, and if you're not wearing your uniform, I swear you'll wish that you were.” She smiled grimly, nodding her head. “Shiny medals.” A mumble of disapproval at the eagerness of certain soldiers desire to gain medals. Medals meant nothing to her. She took a stop near the wall, leaning heavily on it while she stared towards the front of the mess hall. What would Mustang have to say?

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shit... shit shit shit.. thought Mareth to himself as Abby grabbed hold of his ear. "Oh come now, must we always be so serious?" asked the charmer, as he slipped his undershirt and coat back on. Some of the women around them groaning in disapproval. "Relax ladies, my quarters are in unit C, block thirteen, room eleven." he winked as he turned his neck slightly, catching one of the women in the act of writing it down. Now, getting back to the subject of seriousness, Mareth chuckled softly as he eyed the robe Isaac had alchemized for him. "Oh, nice digs..." he bantered, snapping his fingers as he began to sing, Oh you can tell by the way I use my walk I'm a woman's man, no time to talk... as he sang, the current of air pressure swirled into the robe. Mareth controlled the current effortlessly to make it look as though the coat were strutting down the hallway in the opposite direction.

While the robe marched off, Mareth snapped into something that most people had hardly ever seen. A state of seriousness. He straightened his back and stood in the position of attention, saluting Abby after she alerted him he'd probably be tagging along with them. Most likely, since he hadn't received any specs on any upcoming mission, the way Mareth saw it was, C'mon, soldier, I'm gonna need some eye candy... he gulped, blushing slightly, he'd hoped she wouldn't notice, as any thought of her in any situation other than professional was usually harshly punished.

Mareth obediently followed now, looking toward the mess hall. '...Dear God, please don't let it be meatloaf night, amen' he thought to himself, not wanting to crack a joke aloud for fear of Abby laying down the law, She can lay down the law on me any day- STOP IT!. He yelled at himself, it wasn't so much a physical attraction, in all honesty, as much as one that all charmers get, Abby wasn't interested in how beautiful Mareth's body was, or how smooth his talk could be, and all human beings want what they cannot have.

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Issac simply shrugged as his transmuted wall robe went dancing down the hall. As soon as he was sure Abby wasn't going to kill Mareth he turned and made his way into the mess hall, finally. Looking around he couldn't help but laugh when he saw that Mustang was sitting at a table to the right of the doorway, in such a position that he had seen and heard everything but couldn't have been seen by them. The look on his face was priceless, and lasted only for a moment before he noticed that he was not being watched, it said, 'What the hell is going in my military?' and 'Should I be worried?'

"Ah, Lieutenant Issac, there you are. I see you've finally found you way here." Mustang says, trying to act more serious than normal to being caught with that look on his face.
"Sorry about that sir, ran into a little trouble on the way over here." Issac replies with a laugh, "I think we got a new recruit for the assignment as well."

By now lunch time was over, and most of the others in the room began to saunter out, headed back to their usual work, whatever it might be. Issac had never had such menial tasks to preform, seeing a how he had moved up to the top among medics in the State within his first week on the job. Ever since then all he ever did was heal people and take notes, occasionally writing them a prescription for pills or something like that.

Mustang gestures for them to come over before saying anything else.

"Now, what I have to say is only to be spoken of among the small group assembled here, understood?" he begins, "It seems that in the west, people have been going missing. Some of them remain missing, others have been found...what was left of them at least. Someone, or worse, something, has been abducting people, and in some cases leaving remains behind to be found. We believe that this is the work of some anti-military, or anti-alchemy group."

"And why exactly is that sir?" Issac interrupts, now a bit more interested.

"Why? Because many of the people taken were simple alchemists, normal people who simply dabbled in the art as a hobby. Of course..." with a frown, Mustang reaches into his jacket and takes out a folder, "I sent out a team last month...one of them is missing, the other..." Laying down the opened folder a gruesome picture is revealed. Anyone familiar with human transmutation would recognize the image right away.

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Oh come now, must we always be so serious? Abby's lip curled in distaste at Mareth's lackadaisical attitude, always trying to slip out of trouble with his charm and swagger. It was ridiculous. She nodded her approval when he slipped his undershirt back on, and shot fastidious glares at the groaning women, murmuring something about indecency and rampant hormones. Petty women cooing over men never appealed to her, it made her stomach churn and her business-like facade wail for vengeance—vengeance that could only be claimed by slapping them upside the head. A stern talking to might work as well, she didn't like seeing women melt into themselves whenever men like Mareth were strutting about. It made the State Alchemists look bad in her eyes. Not that she cared about it's reputation. “Stop that!” She hissed, watching as the shameless girl began writing Mareth's room number on a notepad. She slapped a hand to her face, smoothed it through her crimson hair and rested it on the nape of her neck, releasing another heated sigh. And the perfectly alchemised clothes Isaac had created were strutting down the hallway with an unsightly gait—and she sighed again, resting her back against the wall.

It surprised her when Mareth stood to attention, offering a curt salute that she could have only guessed was practised. Abby pushed away from the wall, saluted him back and arched her eyebrow. “Any enthusiasm on Mustang's wild goose chase will be good, you'll be that you'll see action in the West.” Then she turned on her heels, missing Mareth's blush and faced the podium with the growing crowd. Abby turned the corner and faced Mustang, who sat propped up on a table with an expression that escaped her. Surprise? Had he just heard the conversation. Quietly gulping down any indecent emotions flushing across her face, she smoothed the front of her uniform and coughed lightly into her gloved hand.

Following closely behind Isaac, Abby was silent during the exchange. As lunch ended, most of the others slowly dwindled until only a few remained. As Mustang called them over, she flexed her mechanical fingers and let it rest at her side. An excitable nervousness had set over her, she wasn't sure why—something about the impending mission. At the mention of missing people in the West, Abby paled. Abduction. Kidnappings. Sick, torturous experiments. She knew these things better than anyone. Although she was sure no one else knew of her secrets, the very mention of such things choked her up. Even though questions ebbed on the tip of her tongue, she stilled herself from asking anything foolish.

Simple alchemists. It didn't seem to make sense. Abby knew that they would learn more whence they were on sight, perhaps to gather more clues and see what they would be up against. A small part of her blamed the State Alchemists, they'd been a part of destructive and malicious acts in the past—why was it different now? She knew it would do her no good to fall prey to her paranoia. Blaming everything on them now wouldn't bring back the abductees, and it wouldn't make her feel any better. When Mustang placed the gruesome image on the table, she didn't flinch or wince. Her brows gathered softly before she frowned, glancing towards Isaac.

“When do we leave?”

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As he strolled into the mess hall, Mareth cracked a crooked smirk, pointing at people in order to say hello without the need for interruption. One man walking by slapped Mareth's hand, and as the charmer's free hand went around his side to his back, the man tossed a cheeseburger into it. Mareth sat at the table with the others, probably the only one in the group that didn't mind that mustang was there. He listened intently, as Mustang summed up the mission specs. Just as he laid down the picture of what was left of one of the captives, Mareth gave only an insensitive chuckle, crossing himself with his free hand before thinking to himself, 'who ordered the cherry cobbler?' his joking thoughts had sunk their teeth into him yet again, from the corner of his eye, he looked over at Abby, running his tongue over his canines.

'Get a hold of yourself, Mareth... he began to ponder. ...women don't attract you, you attract women. This should be no different than the rest of them... keep your mind on your work and play it cool, you're good at that. You're so good at keeping your cool, you send a chill up the ladies spines he hadn't meant to, but in his mindless daydreaming he'd slapped his hand lightly on the table, and activated his alchemy, more second nature to him than anything. A short, small, hardly noticeable breeze spiraled from under his hand and traced a trail up Abby's back. It wasn't until directly after Mareth wiped the entranced look off his face, blushed and braced himself. He was certain if there had never been a time beside today, Abby was going to turn and smack him. His lips already poised to point out 'wait! I didn't mean to!' before impact.

He'd had an issue with this for the longest time now. Because of the nature of his Alchemy, it was very easy for Mareth to accidentally trigger a transmutation. Even more so due to his method of casting it. Any motion that displaced air could start the chain of a huge gust in Mareth's hands. So on occasion, his mind and body would work together to help his foot into his mouth. He sat, braced in the position he was in, to most it would seem as though he were just sitting there, holding a cheeseburger, but his body was fully tensed. He begged Abby in his mind, 'Please don't notice, please don't notice, I'll never do it again, please please please don't notice!'

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For the most part it seemed Mustang was just going to ignore the shenanigans, for now at least. He had picked this team for a reason. Issac was a highly ranked medic who was also good in the field, which had earned him his secondary title as the Blade Alchemist. He was the anchor point for the group, while Abby was hot-headed at times and Mareth was the jokester of the group, though both brought their own unique skills to the table as well. He believed they would balance one another out.

"You will be leaving today, here are your train tickets," he says, handing them out, one to each of them, save for Issac, whom he hands two. "At the station you will be meeting the fourth member of the group, Sergeant Major Holifield, also known as the Armory Alchemist. If you do run into any trouble, you'll be glad to have him around.I served with his father years ago. Now, you're headed to a small western town called Foxwich, there you will meet a local, a man by the name of Jack Anders, he'll show you around. He's no alchemist, but he understands it enough to not be frightened of it like some of the others in the area."

"So are we to assume that we should use our alchemy only if needed?" Issac asks, glancing at Mareth, "No showing off, or accidental displays? If we can help it?"

"That's correct. In a few days I'll send someone out to check on you and take any reports you've gathered," Mustang says, standing.

They salute, the Mustang heads off, back to his office, leaving them to prepare themselves. There is a car outside, waiting to take them to the train station.

"So, is everyone ready to venture out into the unknown?" Issac asks with a smile, standing and sorting through his things, making sure he has everything he needs, "Nothing like traveling to a small town that's potentially filled with murderers to get the blood pumping, right?" In truth, he was just relieved to have those photos gone from his site. He had seen enough of such sites before he joined the military, and he was certain that he might see more on this mission. "I'll meet you two outside, I'm sure you'll catch up soon, right?" as he says this he gives them a wink and heads for the door, referring to the fact that Abby would probably want to slap Mareth in the head for the whole spine chilling thing.

(if the next person wants, they can post us up to the station to meet Holifield.)

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Shaun sat quietly on a bench facing the platform his train would be arriving on in a few hours, awaiting the other members of his team. He'd only recently been transferred to Central, in fact, the transfer wasn't official until yesterday, and he already had a mission to go to. He wouldn't see his new base of operations until they returned, but this didn't really matter to Shaun. He sat leaning forward, hunched over as he fiddled with some bullets, etching transmutation circles into them with a heated up paperclip. He'd prefer to be cleaning his guns, but this was a public place, and he doubted the action would go over well with the locals.

Everyone was giving him plenty of space, a fact that Shaun understood but despised. A lot of people hated the uniform he wore, the ungrateful bastards not understanding the sacrifice it took to wear it. These people weren't warriors like him, which was the only thing that kept Shaun's temper from flaring. They didn't understand what war was, what freedom truly was, or what death smelled like. Shaun knew war because he lived for it, what freedom was because he didn't have it, and the smell of death was something that's etched into your brain after the first time you smell it. Though Shaun himself would not admit it, he hadn't yet met his own expectations for being a warrior, thanks to the peace the land was seeing right now. He was like a pitbull chained in a backyard like a pet... dangerous and restless. He took solace in the words his dad had spoken to him when he was a child...

Warriors are born in times of war.

Shaun was confident this peace wouldn't last, so now he was just biding his time until somebody got the wheels moving for a battle to begin, where he would thank them by killing them on the battlefield they had so graciously given him.

He looked up as the others he had been waiting on approached, and he quickly put away his bullets and stood, giving a salute.

"Sergeant Major Holifield reporting for duty" He said, since if he remembered the letter right, he had the lowest rank of all of them. hopefully that would change by the time they got back, and in the back of his mind he prayed for battle... as he always did before a mission.

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As Abby drummed her fingers against the table, listening intently to any other details Mustang was willing to spare; a faint, strong chill traced up her back and caused her to involuntarily shudder. She made a small, indignant noise and froze in place, fingers paused in mid-air as the muscles in her jaw jumped. Her patience was only wearing thin—it was always thin, a mere thread—and she knew who had caused such a alchemic breeze. In a matter of moments, she'd dwindled the chances down to zero percent that a breeze could miraculously enter the building, let alone the mess hall which was the heart of the State building. Not to mention the fact that she'd read Mareth's case file while snooping in one of the head offices, years before she was granted her promotion. Her mouth worked to protest, her hand curling into a tight fist and she all but contained the urge to turn on her heel and plant it into the side of Mareth's cheeky face. Mustang was looking at her, eyebrow raised with a faint smile playing on his lips. As if he was waiting for her patience to snap in two. No, she wouldn't give him the satisfaction.

Abby cleared her throat, holding her clenched fist in front of her lips. “Chilly in here,” She commented, her voice tipped with poison and oozing sharp daggers. She would deal with Mareth when out of Mustang's hawkish gaze. She hadn't even spared him a glance, though she could see him from her peripherals. A small twitch of her finely shaped brow was the only indication of her annoyance. She accepted the train ticket, folded it neatly and shoved it into the depths of her jacket pocket. “Sergeant Major Holified?” She enquired softly, under her breath, more to herself than anyone else. Exchanging a glance with Isaac, she nodded her head and shot Mareth a glare when Isaac mentioned not showing off their alchemy. With the grace and fluidity only a feline could possess, she saluted Mustang. ““As long as there's something important to protect,” she added, stalking off towards her office without as much as another word to Mareth. Things would be dealt with away from Mustang, without interruptions.

It wasn't long after that the group gathered in front of the building, suitcases and small packages in hand. Abby added her own things to the laden trunk and smiled softly, shrugging her shoulders. And then they gathered into the vehicle, driving along in comfortable silence. Shortly after, they arrived at their destination: the train station. She gathered herself up, carrying her one small suitcase and lead them through the building. As they stepped out onto the platform, Abby spotted the other addition fairly quickly. Even if she'd never met Holifield before, his battle-worn appearance wasn't hard to miss. Her lips curled into a slight smile as she approached, and she returned his salute. “Lieutenant Colonel Absinthe Riddley. Abby, for short,” she introduced, thumbing her finger in her companions direction. “And that's Lieutenant Isaac and Mareth Hughes, Wind Specialist.” Finally, she clapped her hands together and motioned towards the train, gathering her suitcase back into her gloved hands. Niceties would have to wait.

“Now, let's get this show on the road.”

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"They call you the Armory Alchemist, right?" Issac asks as they take their seats in a large, private car of the train, "Mastery of firearms and delayed alchemic reactions, sounds fun. I just but bandages on boo boos." He laughs a little, straightening up his coat a bit, making sure he has his few small supplies in his pockets. In the time they'd gotten to get their things together he had changed into civilian clothes. As far as he knew, no one outside of the State knew him as a military man, let along an alchemist. His fame as a doctor had carried far, however.

With a sigh he leans back and relaxes, crossing his legs and looking out the window. He was now dressed in boots, jeans, a white dress shirt, and his white lab coat, looking every bit a normal doctor, save that his gloves were made of thick cloth and extended half way to his elbows to hide automail from the view of others. Abby knew, but he doubted the new guy would, and there was no need for anyone else to learn.

"This train ride, it's going to take, what, three, four hours? Did anyone think to bring a book or newspaper?" He asks absently, resting his chin on his hand. It had occurred to him that perhaps they would be able to glean some information from the local papers that Mustang had saw fit to leave out, and by comparing the local papers from Central to the ones in their destination, they may learn a great deal before getting too far off the train platform. "Just a suggestion anyway, we could always get to know one another along the way as well I suppose. That may actually be a better idea now that I think about it. A doctor should get to know his potential patients a little I suppose."

In his years of healing people he always found that talking to the patients was rather important, because they could sometimes give up clues about themselves, their injury, or the events that had caused them to seek the help of Issac in the first place. Most of the time he was quick to realize what needed to be done, but even so he would wait and talk to the patient to be sure his idea was the right one, that way he didn't mess up any of their internal systems or organs, or accidentally try to repair a bone or muscle that needed to such attendance.

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Shaun had been taking advantage of the privacy of the train car to clean his guns, a sort of nervous habit of his. He currently had his rifle disassembled, cleaning the barrel with a special brush. He was listening intently to the others as they made small talk, but didn't take part in it until Issac, their medic and commanding officer, suggested they talk a bit about themselves to pass the four hour ride. The others had a history with each other, he could tell by their carefree natures with one another, so this topic was probably suggested for Shaun's benefit. After every possible nook and cranny of his barrel had been cleaned, he picked up the next piece and started the process again.

"I suppose since none of you knew I existed until recently, that I should go first" Shaun said, not looking up from his work. "My name is Shaun Holifield, State Alchemist specializing in weapon and delayed alchemy. I have served most of my short military career so far in Eastern HQ. I was transferred here as a punishment of sorts for making the Commanding Officer look bad" He said, placing the now clean piece neatly beside him and picked up a new one. "There was a riot starting and I was asked to accompany Colonel Hastings to try and put an end to it. He tried to calm them down with words, and when that failed, I took out the instigators with some rubber bullets. No one shouting coherent thoughts to the crowd anymore, they lost their unity and disbanded... back up having arrived as well probably had a bearing on the decision too" Shaun said, having cleaned every piece of his rifle, put it back together in the time it took to say that last little quip.

"I guess that's why I'm here. I don't really like talking about myself, but I guess that should be enough information about myself for now. What about you guys? You all seem rather chummy with one another... Central that relaxed all the time?" He asked, starting now on disassembling and cleaning his pistols.

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While Isaac spoke to Shaun, Abby remained silent in her seat while she surveyed the scenery outside the window. Her crimson eyes trailed across the stretching plains, the slopes smoothing down into ponds and small lakes—everything that was truly beautiful in the world, she wished that such beauty could be preserved. With war and bloody battles, such things were wiped from the face of the planet and they were left with the ugliness that marred Ishballen. From the hallway, outside of their private car, she could hear the faint rattling of the food cart jostling down the long hallway. In spite of her resilience and strictly disciplined nature, her stomach rumbled angrily, causing her to murmur something between lidded eyes. She hadn't given thought to grab something to eat after packing.

It was unusual to catch the rigid Lieutenant Colonel in anything but her uniform. On this rare occasion, Abby wore a brown aviator jacket, a black shirt and a pair of drab military pants tucked into spit-shined boots. It was suiting, given her attitude and temperament. There wasn't much point in hiding the obvious auto mail marring her body—a part of her face and eye had been replaced with metal plates, as well as her right shoulder, arm and leg. Everything fit neatly beneath her jacket, and only a mask could hide her face. She opted to wear an eye patch across her synthetic eye. Her dignity saved her the embarrassment some people might have suffered. She understood that Isaac didn't exactly want others to know of his disfigurements, though she couldn't exactly understand why.

She found herself eyeing Isaac's arm, and promptly shrugged her shoulders, leaning her face into her upraised palm. Abby hadn't found it necessary to bring either along with her, she only packed what she truly needed and packed as lightly as she could manage. When boarding the train, she'd given advanced notice to one of the attendants to bring along the newest addition of the newspaper. Her mouth moved to interject her thoughts, though she closed it when Isaac suggested they get to know one another. The idea wasn't exactly thrilling. She couldn't help but look across at Shaun, analysing the quick movements he took while cleaning every nook of his weapon. It was rather impressive. Twining her fingers together on her lap, she listened to Shaun's introduction with a mildly bemused expression colouring her features. A disobedient one? She thought, brushing stray strands of vibrant hair from her unobstructed eyes. A small laugh escaped her lips when Shaun asked whether or not Central was relaxed, it was subdued with a bitter frown.

“Ah, we do have something in common then,” She began, nodding her head. “I don't like talking about myself, either.”

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Mareth winced slightly, closing one of his eyes nearly completely. He knew Abby wanted to hit him. "Shit Shit SHIT!" shot through his mind as he listened from his chair. He reached up, took his own ticket and placed it in his coat pocket. ya know, if you do that again, she's gonna hit you. Mareth sighed lightly. He got scolded all the time for things like this. But what could he do besides alter his personality? To hell with that. Mareth only waited and listened as he focused on what would be going on.

She knew it was me... she must've read my file... but how much of it I wonder?


Mareth hadnt much option in his oblivious state. He hadnt heard much of anything that had been said, due to his near brush with abbys fist. He followed his companions, sitting and listening to what they had to say. Every now and again, however, Mareth's boredom go the better of him and the wind would mysteriously blow something over, this time, it was probably the least noticable, yet the most obscure. Mareth had managed to ctach a tumbleweed and roll it along beside the train. He figured nobody would notice a tumbleweed moving at the same speed as a train. But he figured he was safe. If not, abby would straighten him out.

The only thing that snapped Mareth out of his daze was one of his favorite things, "Oh, intro... me next"

"My name is Mareth Quincy Hughes, The Tempest Breeze Alchemist. I dont like to talk about myself much either, so I tend to let what others have said of me speak for me. Physically, I am a magnificent powerhouse, my body sculpted by the mightiest of gods." Mareth opened the front of his coat with a smile, his skin-tight black shirt showing off his abs on a PG13 level. "However, apparently my mind needs to age more... and clean up a bit" he winked in abby's direction. "I preserve a constant serious attitude, my dedication is endless!" as he spoke, The tiny breeze that normally stayed pent up within Mareth wrapped around the lid of a salt shaker on the table, unscrewing the lid. He figured that would provide a bit of entertainment at the next meal. "But again... thats just what I hear about myself... other than the sound of drool hitting the floor."

[ My bad about the absence. Training tour. You know how that goes... the army life is crazy. ]