(A/N: Here's chapter eleven of 'The Flower Princess and the Alchemist'. As you know, this hits off the start of the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood plot line. What adventures awaits Orihime? *giggles* Well, enjoy! Oh, and I decided skip the part about the whole 'capture Isaac, the Freezing Alchemist' situation. I figured it served really no purpose to the plot, except to introduce the main and some supporting characters.
Nyx the Author: Thanks for the review...I guess. Look, you're not trying to be rude and I'm trying to be rude by saying this... But I did say before that the, for the sake of this story, that the Elric brothers encountered the homunculus before. However, the only homunculi they know are Lust and Gluttony. They don't know the others out there, how many there are, or what their plans are. All they know is that homunculi exists and encountering one is very dangerous [at least in their world's standards].
ShinyKyu: Thanks for the review! Yeah, it was hard figuring how to explain Orihime's powers without giving the full detail. And although, [later they would find out with all the supernatural craziness I'm planning] it was best to bend the truth a bit, how would Ed and Al react if she did tell them the truth? Obviously, call her a liar and delusional. So... Orihime could be called a liar and delusional now or be called a liar and surreptitious later. I know, in hindsight, it seems like a no-win option... But it's all she has at the moment. And that's technically what she's been doing all this time. You can only hope her choices doesn't bite her in the back later.
Oh, and I know this might be late, but... Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!)
Connections Comes in all Forms
"Urgh! I hate desserts!" Edward moaned out, tiredly, slumping against the sandy terrain. He collapsed fully onto the ground, his suitcase falling carelessly beside him. "There's nothing but sand. If there was some grass, I could turn it into bread. I'm starving!"
Orihime could fully understand the boy's worn out complaints. It was so hot! She had to take off her blazer and roll up the sleeves of her button down, white shirt to try to keep herself cool. The sweat was making her hair stick to her face.
She blinked her gray eyes when she noticed they were short one person. The clanking of metal footsteps was unheard.
"Edward, where's Alphonse?" Orihime asked, panting out, her own tiredness showing.
"Huh?" He glanced at her confused, and realized his brother was missing. "Oh, crap!" He jumped in alarm, searching frantically for the giant suit of armor. "Al! Where are you? Al!"
"Down here!" a familiar voice rang out. Ed let out a startled yelp when he felt something grab his ankle. "I sunk again…"
A small annoyed growl burst from the blond boy's lips. "Reason number on why I hate the dessert."
It took half an hour for both teens to fully dig up the seven feet tall suit of armor. Orihime was crouched down onto the floor, trying to catch her breath. She was so worn out and thirsty. She pulled out a bottle of water from her pink backpack, and began gulping down its contents, vigorously.
Gray eyes glanced up to see Edward glaring down at her, angrily.
"Why didn't you tell me you had water, Orihime?" he accused, pointing a demanding finger at her.
The ginger haired girl stared up in confusion.
Alphonse sighed. "She did tell you, brother. Remember?"
"Uh?" Ed's face scrunched up, puzzlingly. He obviously didn't recall her giving him some of her water.
"Orihime gave you a spare bottle an hour ago," Al explained, exasperatedly. "You were so thirsty, you finished it in mere seconds."
The blond alchemist's facial expression lit up in realization as he gave a sheepish laugh. "Uh, yeah. Sorry. Totally forgot."
He suddenly blinked his golden eyes when a ball of white rice wrapped in seaweed entered his vision. He glanced over to see Orihime smiling sweetly at him.
"Here. This is for you," she simply said.
That's all the incentive he needed though as he took the ball of rice out of her hands and munched on it hungrily.
Al shook his head at his brother's antics. "You are so predictable, Ed."
Fortunately, it wasn't long before the trio reached the city of Liore.
Edward's hungry appetite led them to a nearby food stand. He immediately took his seat and began ordering a steak and a glass of orange juice off the menu, Alphonse and Orihime taking their own seats on either side of them.
"Aren't you going to eat, Orihime?" Alphonse asked. "You must be hungry, right?"
"Oh… I…" She seemed unsure, if she could. After all, she doesn't having money to spend.
"Just eat something," Ed commented, offhandedly. "I'm paying anyway."
The ginger haired girl nodded, accepting his words. Her gray eyes scanned through the small pub's menu. Her face scrunched, showing her difficult of picking one thing out of the numerous choices presented to her.
She tilted her head up, staring at the bright blue sky as if deep in thought. Edward and Alphonse watched her curiously, wondering what's going on in that head of hers.
Soon her face broke out into a brilliant smile, and the Elric brothers sworn they heard a light bulb go off in her head. The next words that left her mouth caused them to turn pale.
What she was ordering shouldn't be something described as food. Not only did she seem like she was giving the cook culinary advice, but there were just some things that should not even go together unless she plans on deliberately destroy her stomach. Even the cook seemed appalled by her...outlandish choices of food combinations.
Edward paled even more, thinking about to all of Orihime's meals he's been consuming for the past week. Just thinking about it almost made him belched. "What the hell have I been eating?!" he thought, feeling both flabbergasted and nauseated.
The man could only nod dumbly at Orihime's order as he went to fixing it up along with Ed's.
The man turned on the radio as he handed Edward and Orihime their orders. The Elric brothers stared in mild disgust at the ginger haired girl's meal. It looked like rice topped off with some yellowish-white sauce and steak dressed in purple marinade sauce.
Ed pointed a shaking finger at her food. "Are you trying to kill yourself?"
Orihime pouted at his accusation. Why do people find her food combinations so weird? If they tried it, they'll realize how tasty it is.
Instead of answering, the auburn haired girl picked up her spoon, scooped up some rice and popped it in her mouth. She hummed in delight. This was delicious!
Unsure, the blond alchemist glanced at his brother, who only shrugged his shoulders, not knowing what to say. The elder Elric sighed and went back to his own meal.
All the while they were eating, the radio was blasting some sermon of a priest preaching some religious nonsense, at least to Edward's ears. He wasn't one for religion. He glanced over to Orihime to see if she was. Although, the girl was too engrossed with her food to pay it no mind.
Ed took a sip of his orange juice.
"So? What are you guys? Like street performers or something?" the bartender asked, innocently.
This promptly caused the blond boy to do a spit take. "Hell no, pops! Do we look like clowns to you?" he said, annoyed.
"Well, with the guy in the suit of armor and the girl with the weird taste buds… What else am I suppose to expect?" he questioned, pointing at his two companions.
Edward growled lowly under his breath, and climbed off the high chair. "Al, Orihime, let's get out of here."
Alphonse stood up from his chair as well, unfortunately, his head hit the ceiling and the resultant impact caused the radio to fall over and smash into pieces.
"Hey!" the man said, deveasted. "It was just an innocent question. I didn't mean anything by it."
Ed waved his hand in a small apologetic manner. "Sorry. Accident. We'll fix it."
The man looked him, incredulous. "How so? It's smashed to hell."
The blond gave a small smirk. "Just watch and learn, gramps."
Alphonse proceeded to draw a transmutation circle, and set the pieces of the broken radio on top of his finished work. "Okay. He it goes." With a flash of alchemic light, the radio appeared good as new.
All the bystanders, who were there to watch, gasped it in awe.
"Science is so awesome!" Orihime chirped, loudly.
Ed gave a smug smirk. "See? How's that?"
"Incredible! It's a miracle! You've been blessed by the Sun God just like Father Cornello!"
The blond alchemist gave disappointed and incredulous look. "Blessed by who now?"
Alphonse chuckled. "It's not a miracle. It's alchemist."
"Oh! So you three are alchemists?"
Edward crossed his arms, his ego returning ten fold. "Then maybe you've heard of us. We're the Elric brothers!" he declared, proudly.
Soon there were murmurs rung throughout the crowd as they name 'Elric brothers' seemed to down on the citizen's faces. Not much later, both Orihime and Alphonse were pulled away and bombarded with various questions, like 'so, you the famous alchemist, Edward Elric?', 'the hero of the people', 'is this your girlfriend?', etc.
"Uh, no! It's not me!" Al protested, causing the small crowd to pause. Then they slowly turned around to face Edward, as if in total disbelief that he could be the Fullmetal Alchemist.
"What?" one man said, slowly, his voice filled with incredulity. "You mean, it's the little guy?"
Hearing himself being called little, Edward's temper immediately flared. "WHO'S LITTLE?! COME HERE AND SAY THAT TO MY FACE! I DARE YOU!"
The citizens scrambled away, terrified of Ed's demonic outburst. Orihime placed her hand on his shoulder, trying to calm him down. He seemed to work as he settled down to mild annoyance.
"So? Who's this guy on the radio?" he inquired, looking at the man whilst pointing at the aforementioned radio.
"T-that's Father Cornello!" one of the men answered, trying to overcome his slight fright. For a short guy, he had such a short temper to go with it.
After hearing the townsfolk's tale about how Cornello saved this town with his miracles.
The Elric brothers wanted to see this 'Cornello' guy's miracles for themselves. They eventually got the memo that the priest was supposed to perform another miracle in about an hour.
Orihime gazed at the tall, bald headed, old man dressed in black priest garb. He was standing on top of an outdoor altar with hundreds of people watching his work, including herself and Edward and Alphonse.
A pink flower petal fell on to his hands. He closed his palm over and it, and flashed of red light emerged, transforming the simple petal into a solid rose sash.
Gray eyes widened in awe and amazement. So cool!
"So? What do think, Al?" Edward asked. He had to stand on top of his suitcase to get a better look.
"There's nothing to think, brother," Alphonse replied. "That's alchemy. No doubt about it."
"But somehow he's bypassing the Law of Equivalent Exchange. He should be able to turn that into an object of equal mass."
"And he's turning organic matter into inorganic matter. He shouldn't be able to do that."
"What do you think, Orihime?" Edward asked the female of their small group.
Her grays glowed with glee. "I don't know, but science is so awesome!"
Ed and Al both gave her exaggerated stares.
"Glad to see you're so easily impressed," the blond alchemist deadpanned, sarcastically, causing the ginger haired girl to let out a sheepish laugh.
Edward decided to sneak inside the church followed by Alphonse and Orihime. There they were meet with the back of a light skinned woman with long black hair wearing a white dress. She was kneeling in front of statue which Orihime believed to be this religion's god, in a praying position.
"So? This is the Sun God, Leto, huh?" Edward spoke, catching the woman off guard.
The woman glanced over at the three of them, her purple eyes shining with curiosity as she stood up. "Welcome. Are you interested in Letoism?" She certainly was polite.
"Nope, can't say I am. Not really the religious type," Ed said, nonchalantly.
"Well, I'm sorry to hear that. To believe in God is to have hope," she said, smiling. "If we believe in the divine one, then all things are possible. If you believed… Then surely he'll bless you and make you grow taller!"
"What's that supposed to mean?!" Ed growled out. Al had to hold him back from hitting the dark haired lady.
The blond took in a restrained breath, trying to keep his temper at bay. He plopped down at a nearby bench, legs crossed over. "What about bringing the dead back to life? Do you believe that's possible?" he questioned, eyeing the woman with such incredulity.
"Yes…" The woman breathed out, a proud smile gracing her face.
Edward let out a disappointed sigh, as if finding this lady's faith in this priest or this religion ridiculous. His gloved head went inside the pocket of his leather pants, and pulled out a small, black, slightly worn out notebook.
Orihime tilted her head in confusion, wondering why he pulled it in the first. Her eyes then widened in wonder and bewilderment as he started listing off formulas. She glanced over at the dark haired woman to find that she was just as confused as she was, if not more.
After he finished, he closed the book. "That list represents the complete chemical makeup of an average human adult." His golden eyes narrowed, glaring at the ground. "Even so, there has never been any success in creating a human life. Scientists have spent countless amount of money and research theories…" He glanced up at the woman with suppressed displeasure and annoyance. "What we can't do with modern science, you think you can do with prayer?"
"Let thy voice to God, and the prayers of the faithful shall be answered!" the woman preached, earnestly.
Edward let out an amused snort filled with mockery, as he smugly folded his arm behind his back. "Did you mention all those ingredients could be brought in a market with a kid's pocket change? Turns out that humans are pretty cheap."
As this science vs religion debate was going on between Edward and this religious nut, Orihime thought back to what was said. Was that really all the components that made up the human body? She was both awed and amazed that Ed managed to figure out the makeup of a human to the very last miniscule detail. His intelligence absolutely amazed her! He wasn't at Urahara's level, but still… He was a genius, way smarter than her! Maybe even on par with Uryu, who's the smartest person in their age group. She had to wonder what kind of school did he go to. Probably something advanced.
Then her mind drifted back to their argument over the creation of human life. In a way, Soul Reapers have figured how to create life in the form of green soul pills called Mod Souls. Sure they may look like ordinary candy, but inside a stuff doll or any other non living or inanimate object, and they are very much alive! They may not be born human or created to look human, but they do act like humans.
Orihime put her fingers to her lips, pondering her thoughts. She was never one for religion either. It's not that she didn't believe in God, she just never had the time or interest to pay it any mind.
And besides, the only God, or if this entity is considered a God, is the Soul King. Although, she honestly doesn't know anything about the Soul King, only that he governs and balances the souls of the living and the dead to keep the world stable. And… She frowned… That Aizen was determined to destroy Karakura Town, created the oken, and kill the Soul King.
The ginger haired girl sighed in defeat. This was all so confusing!
Why was she even thinking about that stuff? Ichigo defeated Aizen! So, there's nothing to worry about, right? Guess, this religious stuff is really getting to her.
Gray eyes peeked out to see the three other occupants staring at her, one with the look of curiosity, the other confused, and one mildly disappointed.
"What's... What's a Soul King?" the woman asked, hesitantly.
Hey gray eyes widened. Ah, shoot! Was she thinking out loud?
"Is he a God of yours?"
She better think of something to diffuse the situation she got herself in and fast! Discussing Soul Reaper business is out of the question, remember?
Crossing her arms, Orihime gave a look as if she was deep in thought. "I-I guess… I only heard about it from other people. I didn't listen too much. I'm not religious," she answered. Her answer wasn't a total lie, so it was okay.
When she saw gold eyes glaring at her suspiciously, the ginger haired girl started sweating bullets. She's busted, her mind panicked. Need to think of something… Need to think of something...
Orihime loudly let out a cheerful laugh, startling the three at her sudden outburst.
"Talking about science and religion sure is great, isn't it? Oh, boy! My head is spinning!" She spun her head around so fast, it almost felt like her neck creaked. "So when do we meet this Father Cornello? I'm dying to know his input."
The woman blinked, surprised by the younger girl's sudden shift in tone. She heard the blond one let out an exhausted sigh. Guess, this behavior was normal for her.
"Uh, wait here. I'll tell Father that you are interested in Letoism."
It wasn't long before Orihime found herself walking a pathway to Father Cornello's chamber. The dark skinned man leading them was named Cray. She also learned that the religious fanatic woman's name was Rose.
"Father Cornello is a very busy man," Cray informed them. "But luckily, he decided to spare a moment for you three."
He opened a huge, double door, leading them to a room that was more dimly light than others. It made Orihime's neck hairs stand on it, as something didn't feel right. The room...and the tone in the man's voice. The lack of sincerity in it.
"Oh, thanks," Edward replied in an overly cheerful tone for a boy who was just mocking this religion moments ago. "No problem. We won't take too much of his time."
"Excellent. We'll make this quick." Cray's voice seemed to drop a few octaves, becoming more menacing. Without warning, he pulled out a pistol and pointed at Alphonse while two guards were restraining Edward, blocking him with their spears, and another was holding Orihime hostage at gunpoint.
Rose gasped in alarm and disbelief. "Brother Cray! What are you doing?!"
"Rose," he responded in a sickly sweet voice that was tainted with malice. "These heathens have come to discredit the Father. They are evil!"
The dark haired woman seemed unwilling to believe him. "But this…"
"This is God's will!" he shouted, cutting her off.
"Well, like you said, let's make this quick!" Edward immediately elbowed one guard in the rib while flipping the other over, so he landed painfully on his back. Al punching the other pastor in the face, effectively knocking him out.
"Hold it! Stop moving or I'll shoot the girl!" the one holding Orihime hostage demanded. The threat caused both Ed and Al to freeze in their tracks.
Seeing this, the auburn haired became to feel bad. She felt like she was getting away. Becoming a burden, like she always have.
Well, not anymore!
She deliberately took a clumsy step forward, accidently, or not, stepping on the man's foot rather hard. He gave a painful startled yelp, letting go of her.
Once his guard was down, Ed dashed towards him, his fist connecting with his face, knocking him unconscious.
"Nice work, Orihime!"
The girl gave a sheepish laugh in return.
"What's all this commotion?"
A sudden, low pitched male's voice at the foursome's attention. The man who was doing his 'miracles' from earlier that day made his appearance, standing on the second floor balcony of the room.
Rose smiled, happily. "Father Cornello!"
Cornello glanced down at the four of them, a twisted smile spreading across his face. "I'm sorry about my followers. It seems like they were led astray from the path of God."
Edward snorted, seeming unconvinced by the blatant lie. "Let's say I believe you weren't the person leading them astray, what now?"
"Would you be interested in Letoism?"
"You mean those cheap miracle?" Ed said, mockingly. "No thanks."
Rose looked offended by the blond's claim and seemed ready to defend Cornello.
"Cheap miracles?" Cornello said, sounding insulted. He cuffed his hands together and there was small flash of red light. He created a small stone figurine of the Sun God. "Can mere miracles create something out of nothing?" he asked. There was a hint of arrogance in his voice.
In response, the blond alchemist lazily scratched the side of his head. "Yeah… That's what I didn't get at first. How could you perform alchemy without a Transmutation Circle? Not only that, but you're defying the Laws of Equivalent Exchange."
"I said, it's not alchemy!" Cornello yelled out, annoyed.
"Then it came to me… If you somehow came upon a stone that was said to increase one's alchemic powers, then that would explain everything." Golden eyes glared at the priest. "You have it, don't you? The Philosopher's Stone! It's your ring, isn't it?"
The phony priest made a small noise, almost like he was inwardly scoffing at the notion. "A ring is just a ring. I am God's humble servant. It is from he alone that I derived my powers!"
Edward gave a malicious smirk, promising pain as he took threatening steps forward. "If that's the way you play it, guess I'd have to come up there and beat the answers out of you!"
Cornello frowned. "My, you certainly are an inexorable heathen, aren't you?" The priest turned his eyes on the confused woman. "Rose, dear," he called out to her in that sickening sweet voice of his.
"Y-yes, Father?" Rose replied, her tone filled with uncertainty.
"Pick up that gun, would you?"
"Uh, yes." She reached down to pick up the pistol that was lying near her feet.
Cornello's smile widened when he say this, as if silently praising a naive puppy. "Good. Now, I want you to shoot the Fullmetal Alchemist," he instructed, evilly.
Orihime immediately frowned at the malevolent request, and she also felt pity for the girl as she was having an internal breakdown. When he brought up the part about reviving the girl's apparently lost fiance, the auburn haired girl fist clenched at her side.
She loathed people who manipulated other's feelings for selfish gain. It was despicable! The lowest of the low! This small hatred may come from her experiences as Aizen's hostage. Even so, it brought up too many painful memories.
The ginger haired girl took a deep breath, putting on her best, convincing, innocent facade as possible.
"I'm interested in Letoism," she suddenly announced, much to the shock of the other occupants in the room.
Cornello raised a skeptical eyebrow. "Really now?"
Orihime shook her head, enthusiastically, a wide smile spreading across her lips. "Yes! And to proof it, I would like to destroy the Fullmetal Alchemist in Rose's place, if that would please you, Father?"
The priest let out an evil, victorious smirk. "It most certainly would, my dear!"
Orihime walked towards Rose who was staring at the girl with fearful purple eyes.
"What are you doing, Orihime?" Alphonse shouted out to her, obviously confused and hurt.
She ignored him, tentatively taking the gun away from the shaking woman's hands. She silently cocked the gun and pointed it at Edward, much to the confusion of Rose and Cornello.
Disregarding Al's protests, her gray eyes were met with Ed's golden ones, who was glaring at her with betrayal, hatred, and disgust.
She inwardly flinched. Nobody has given her that kind of look before. Well, besides her enemies. It was...painful to not to turn her gaze away.
Though, she had to keep up this farce a little longer.
"You should have seen this coming, Edward," she said, evenly. The boy growled lowly in response.
Oh, my god! She couldn't keep up this charade any longer. She sounded like a such a terrible villain!
Abruptly, Orihime burst into a jovial fit of laughter, much to the bewilderment of others and they watched her double over, tears of mirth twinkling in the corner of her eyes as she mumbled something along the lines of 'bad villain', 'should never act' in between giggles.
She could help but to laugh. The thought of her being a villain was just too hilarious!
Her laughter died down, as she slowly tried to catch her breath. She glanced up at the confused blond, patting his shoulder.
"You should have seen this coming, Edward," she repeated once again, a soft smile forming on her lips as she tossed the gun in the farthest corner of the room.
"W-what?! You tricked me, girl!" Cornello all but screamed out, furiously.
Orihime turned towards him and scowled. "Be quiet." Her voice was so low and even, they seemed to lack emotion. But even though it sounded flat and toneless, it felt like hell was about to freeze over. The calm before the storm. "I don't care about your miracles. I don't care about the Philosopher's Stone. I don't care about bringing the dead about to life. But what I won't stand for is manipulating another person's feelings."
Gray eyes narrowed at the priest, giving him such an icy, disapproving glare. "Do you think it's okay to take pleasure in Rose's suffering?! To take advantage of people's emotions?! That's just awful! It's unforgivable! I'll never follow a man like you! Not in a million years!"
"Whoa… Orihime…" Ed and Al stared at her in shock. They have never seen this side of her before. It was...kind of scary and unnerving.
Cornello growled in retaliation at the girl's outburst. "Stu-stupid girl! You made your choice! I'll see to it that you are perished along with the Fullmetal Alchemist!" He pulled a down a switch to a lever.
At the right of peripheral vision, Orihime noticed a door opening, revealing an animal that looked like a hybrid between a lion and a lizard.
If this was any other situation, the ginger haired girl would have marvelled at the sight of the half lion, half lizard animal. It was just so cool!
However, she had to remember this was not the time to get sidetracked. This evil priest was trying to kill them, and he was using this lion-lizard creature to do it.
But man, does it look incredible!
She heard Edward sneer. "So this is the kind of thing you do with the Philosopher's Stone? That's just twisted."
He sighed, clapping his hands together. "Anyway, looks like I'll need a weapon." He slammed his hands down, the usual alchemic spark surging through the ground.
There was a small indention as a long spear sprang forth. Ed skillfully twisted the spear in his hands, getting a firm grip.
The lion charged at him and as it sliced through Ed's spear effortlessly. However, a triangular shield prevented its claws from harming the alchemist.
"Nice save, Orihime," he praised her, kicking the lion in the gut. It gave out a pained whine.
"Damn, you evil heathens," Cornello growled out, transforming his staff into a machine gun. He fired at them, grinning maliciously. However, his grin turned into a displeased scowl when he saw a rock wall had blocked the bullets.
"Let's get out of here, guys."
The old priest smirked. "I have guards posted near the only exit in the room."
"Then I'll just make another one!"
Edward clapped his hands and slammed it on the wall, transforming part of the brick wall into a metal door. He slammed it open, Orihime and Alphonse following his lead, a distraught Rose being carried in the armor's arms. They easily made it past the guards, knocking a few of the unconscious.
The group came upon an empty room. There was a large desk with microphone sitting on it. A bookcase in the right side of the wall. And a large window on the wall behind the desk overlooking the city of Liore. Other than that, it was a really vacant room.
"What's this room?" Edward asked, curiously.
"This is where Father Cornello's does his sermons," Rose answered, unsurely, as if wondering if telling the three was the right thing to do.
"Really now?" Ed's lips twisted in a mischievous smirk.
Al sighed, resisting the urge to face palm. "Uh, oh. He's thinking of doing something evil."
Orihime watched as Alphonse hooked up a transmuted bell to a few wires, as Edward instructed them to make megaphone as he learned Cornello to his sermon's room.
Rose looked at them, disgusted. "Why are you so obsessed in destroying this sacred place? Can't you see Father Cornello has been granted divine gifts from the Sun God, Leto? And he's sharing his gifts with us by performing miracles people could only dream about. Why do you want to ruin that? Why?"
For a few moments, Orihime and Al didn't say anything. The ginger haired girl didn't know what to say to the woman. She knows how desperately Rose wants to believe in Cornello, despite all evidence saying he's an evil, manipulative man. It's the kind of desperate desire one has they are clinging on that small, fragile hope of life. Like a thin cord barely holding one up from drowning in a freezing cold lake.
"We just want the Philosopher's Stone, that's all," Alphonse finally replied, however, there was sense of loss and longing in his tone of voice.
Rose's eyebrows furrowed in disapproval. "The Philosopher's Stone? You bring shame upon God's home for your own selfish gain? Can't you see that the Father would bring us happiness? That he'll bring my beloved back to life?"
Orihime shook her head at the girl's delusions. She really did pity the poor woman.
"I can understand your feelings, Rose," the ginger haired girl said, slowly. "But have you ever thought about what your fiance wants?"
The woman's purple eyes widened in confusion. "What are you talking about?"
Orihime walked over, leaning against the railing, staring at the city below, a wistful look in her eyes. "I don't know much about reviving the dead. But I think that's wrong. Reviving the dead… How are you even sure the want to return to the world of the living? People like to convince themselves that this what their loved one wants. That they want to be with the loved ones they left behind. But how you can be sure they truly want that? Mixing their feelings for your own..." She shook her head, soberly. "That's not love. It's called being selfish."
Orihime could sworn she heard Alphonse give a small pained and shocked gasp, but she paid it no mind. For now.
Rose's face contorted into an angry glare. "B-be quiet! You have no idea what you're talking about!" She was shaking from rage, but also from the crushing, realization that girl before her might be right. She spoke with such humble sincerity, it was almost impossible not to believe her. "What's wrong with bringing someone I love back from the dead?"
The auburn haired girl tilted her head, offering the offended woman a soft smiled. "But he's not dead. He still lives inside you."
Dark brows furrowed in confusion.
"Have you ever thought about what gets left behind after a person passes on from this world? Sure, their bodies are gone as well as their souls. But there is one thing that remains here for all eternity."
"What is it then?" Rose demanded, the hopelessness and despair in her voice was heartbreaking to hear.
"Their feelings…" Orihime said, simply. Those two simple words held so much devotion, certainty, and passionately convincing. Her face softened into a blissful expression. "That's all you really need. You just need that connection of feelings, of your hearts becoming one and the same. The people you love might be gone, but the feelings they left behind would always be inside your heart. I think that connection is greater than any force in the universe." She raised her hand in the air, almost like she was trying to reach for something that only she could see. "As long as your feelings are connected, you are never alone, you are never forgotten, and you are never abandoned. Your feelings would last for...an eternity. That's the one thing that'll never die… That simple, heartfelt, everlasting connection."
Rose was stared in the girl in awe, tears streaming down her face. No one had ever said something so encouraging and heartwarming before. The way the girl… It was almost as if she knew exactly what she was talking, exactly what Rose was feeling. That passion and that empathy… The woman wanted to believe what she was saying is true, but Father Cornello promised to bring her fiance back to life. What should she do? What should she believe in?
Meanwhile, Al was staring at Orihime in a new light. He was completely memorized by his speech. Of course, if it were Ed, he would probably pass it off as sappy nonsense, being the type that wants logic and reasons and facts. But Alphonse was different.
He was completely at awe at Orihime's impassioned monologue. It was such a beautiful speech. He wondered if their mother's feelings still lives inside him and his brother, or if Ed's and his feelings are connected. Although, he'll never ask Ed that. He'll just make fun of him. But still… Wow, Orihime.
Just then Edward's voice came on the intercom, gradually exposing Cornello for the fraud he is.
"So? What happened to the Philosopher's Stone?" Alphonse asked his brother as the three of them left the church, their mission completed.
"It was a damn fake," Edward responded, giving a disappointed sigh. "And here I thought we could return everything to normal."
"Give me the Philosopher's Stone!" a familiar voice stopped them. The three teens turned to see a distraught Rose pointing a shaking gun at them.
"Like I said before, it was a fake," Ed explained.
"Liar!" she exclaimed, the despair seeping through her voice. "You just want to keep it for yourself."
Orihime shook her hand. "That's not true, Rose. We just need it for...something important." She honestly never knew why the boys were so desperately searching for this. Although, she wasn't one to pry into their private lives either.
"And I have something important to me as well!" Rose retreated, tears of remorse pouring down the woman's face. The ginger haired girl really felt sorry for the poor woman.
She tentatively took a steady step forward, fully aware the Elric brothers were watching. She knew they wanted to leave this city as soon as possible seeing as there's no longer any reason to stay here, but she could just leave Rose like this without knowing if she'd recover from this ordeal.
The auburn haired girl steadily placed a hand on the woman's own shaking one, her gray eyes peircing through the dark haired woman's own purple ones.
"I know, Rose. I know," Orihime spoke, slowly, trying to not to offend the woman enough for her to pull the trigger. "But you are not allow. You still have a whole city of people who love. And besides, there's still a tomorrow. Smile, move forward, and reach for it." She carefully pried the woman's fingers from the gun, one by one. "Today might be terrible, but tomorrow would be better." She freed the gun from Rose's hand, staring at the tearful woman with a soft, genuine smile. "The secret to happiness is always wearing a wonderful, radiant smile. That's how you make everyone happy. And the people of Liore are going to need you, Rose, to bring them that happiness. It's your turn to start to seeds of life, so that it could blossom into a beautiful flowers. That's what you could do."
Orihime didn't say anything more and walked away, leaving the dazed woman with her thoughts. She didn't want to waste anymore time of the brothers.
"Did you really mean that?"
The ginger haired girl tilted her head towards the suit of armor as they reached the bottom step, the sun drifting away towards the horizon, creating a vibrant yellow glow.
She raised a questionable eyebrow. Which part does he mean? She meant all of it, but she wanted him to elaborate.
"About people who want to bring the dead back to life are selfish?" Al asked, hesitantly with a slightly hurt filled tone.
Hearing the question, Edward turned to glare at the girl, ready to chew her out to defend his brother.
"Yes," Orihime's voice cut him off, but it didn't lift the anger he was starting to feel. "I think anyone who deliberately disrupts the balance in the world are selfish." She was going off on how it's a Soul Reaper's duty to keep souls between the Soul Society and the World of the Living at a constant flow. Any disturbances in the flow would destroy both worlds.
The Elric brothers remained silent. Edward was gritting his teeth, trying to keep himself from snapping at the girl. He could tell she wasn't trying to sound disdainful. But still... What she was saying brought up painful memories.
"Do you have someone like that? Someone you want to keep close to you?" Alphonse asked, silently, hesitantly, his voice coming in a quiet, noiseless dispirited whisper.
The question almost startled the auburn haired girl as a small blush was adorning her face. Good thing most of her face was hidden by her hair. How embarrassing!
"Yes," she finally responded silently. "Ichigo," she inwardly thought, her heart racing just a beat.
The boys stared at the girl in wonder, reflecting on the subject at hand. They didn't have a complete understanding of what to make the girl's small speech, but they did come to a silent agreement.
They should never tell Orihime they tried to transmute their mother.
(A/N: This is the end of chapter eleven! What do you think? The longest chapter yet for this story. I think it went like how I always imagined it'll be. However, I think it become to sappy at one parts, and not heartfelt enough in others. Maybe because it's Fullmetal Alchemist. There's not that much mushy stuff going on, and/or it doesn't last long. The protagonist being teenage boys and all, and without a female companion. But I think it's good.
Anyway, not that much to say, except I'm starting to feel sad. The Nina incident is just two chapters away. Would the poor girl be saved? We'll find out soon, very soon.
Leave any comments, suggestions, and questions in a review and see ya later!)