The Flower Princess and the Alchemist @bloodpokemon101
Our Darkest Foe

(A/N: Here's chapter twenty five. Enjoy! This is where the divergence from canon starts to become evident. Admittedly, I would say this chapter was originally going to focus on Hughes and Nina finally getting her powers thus saving his life. But I can understand the reason he was killed off. Because if he didn't, the whole plot of FMA would have ended sooner than intended. So, yeah, Hughes is going to die, but it's all going to be off screen. I highly doubt you guys what to read about house death. Again.

sacke110: Thanks for the review! Yeah, it's not easy for someone who's inexperienced to hide their spirit energy from Orihime. The homunculi need to work on that, or they're easily detected. It's way she finds them so easily.

ShinyKyu: Thanks for reviewing! Well, Orihime hasn't really crossed into despair...yet. That's all I can say for now. She's trying to get better though for Ed's and Al's sakes. They still need her.

AniMeOtaKuKiNg: Thanks for being the one hundredth person to review this story! Here's your cookie and I hope you continue reading and enjoy the story!

I also want to say the chapters one through nine have recently been edited thanks to my beta reader, AwesomeA909. Nothing really has changed, except the grammar and spelling were improved. So, you don't have to go back and reread the chapters. The story and plot is still the same, just with corrected grammar and spelling errors.

Anyway, enjoy the chapter!)

Our Darkest Foe

The train ride to Rush Valley was awfully quiet. Not surprising as the four teens were the only occupants on the train.

"Why are you guys going to Dublith?" Winry asked, breaking the silence.

"We're going there to get stronger," Edward started to explain, but was quickly cut off.

"You're going there to fight?!" the female blonde shouted both angered and appalled.

"Not just to fight!" Ed snapped. "We want to get stronger on the inside as well! Right, Al?" He turned to towards his metallic brother, who nodded in agreement.

"Right. Our teacher always told us 'to train the mind, you must first train the body'."

Blue eyes piqued with curiosity. "What's your teacher like?"

Edward and Alphonse instantly paled, their faces turning as white as sheets, increasingly confusion both girls.

"Brother," Al spoke, shivering with fright. "The memories…! They're back!"

"J-just stay strong, Al!" Ed tried to encourage him, but it was obvious he was just as frightened as his younger brother.

"I just wish I had a girlfriend before I died."

"Speaking of boyfriends…" Winry turned her head and offered Orihime a sly smile.

"What?" the ginger haired girl asked with a questionable eyebrow raised.

"So…? You and Ichigo… Are you two together now?" she whispered.

"Eh?!" Orihime's face immediately turned fifty shades of red. She glanced towards the two boys, being hopeful that they weren't listening. Thankfully, they weren't, being wrapped up in the frightening tales of their teacher.

"We're not dating, Winry," Orihime whispered, her cheeks stained a deep red. "We're just good friends."

Blue eyes rolled in exasperation. "Oh, c'mon! You still haven't told him how you felt? We both know you want to be more than 'just good friends'. Just send him a letter or something telling him how you feel."

"I can't do it!" the ginger haired girl almost exclaimed, appalled. "It'll be very inappropriate. Plus, I want to be able to tell Ichigo face to face." Most of what she was saying was true as writing a letter would be completely pointless as Ichigo is in a whole different world from this.

"Well, you better confess, Orihime, before that 'Rukia' girl takes Ichigo away from you," the blonde mechanic advised, sternly.

The auburn girl didn't say anything as she knew that Ichigo and Rukia becoming a coupe was inevitable. It's bound to happen sooner or later.

"Huh? What you guys talking about?"

Winry and Orihime twisted their heads to see Ed and Al staring at them, curiously, their initial fright long since faded away.

"And why is Orihime's face all red?" Edward inquired.

Orihime blushed even more, trying to hide her face away.

"Oh, nothing. Just us girls talking about how many handsome, strong, and tall guys we would like to marry five times over," the female blonde replied, teasingly. That reply got a reaction from both the healer and the blond alchemist.

Orihime's face turned an impossible shade of red. She swore if her turned any redder, she might explode out of embarrassment.

Edward gritted his teeth angrily, several tick marks forming around his forehead, the hidden insult not lost on him. "WHO ARE YOU CALLING A BEAN SPROUT SO SHORT…?!"


His insignature temper tantrum was cut off by a huge explosion, startling the four teens.

"What the hell was that?!" Ed yelled out, frantically looking around.


Another explosion sounded. This time the force was strong enough to knock the train off the tracks.

Frightful screams could be heard all around. Orihime quickly activated her her Santen Kesshun, the shield protecting the four of them from getting hurt too badly as the train flipped and skidded roughly across the ground.

Finally, when it stopped, the four teens took a moment to regain their bearings.

"Is everyone okay?!" Alphonse asked, fretfully. Being a suit of armor, he wasn't in that much danger, but he couldn't say the same for his flesh and bones brother and friends.

"Yeah… I think so…," Winry answered, still feeling a little woozy, checking herself for any injuries. Despite some small cuts along her forearm, she was relatively okay.

"What the hell caused the train to crash like that?!" Edward yelled, infuriated. Were it not for Orihime's quick thinking, he could've died for Peek's sake!

Orihime shook her head. "I feel like the train was attacked by something or someone." She pointed towards an open window, being the only exit since the train was literally resting on its side. "Let's get out and take a look," she suggested.

It was easy enough for her, Ed, and Winry to squeeze through the open window, but Al was another story. Edward had to transmute the window and the surrounding metal to create a large hole for Al to climb through.

The wreckage was more devastating than they thought. The train was practically bent and broken in several places. The track rails were immensely busted up, and there was gaping hole at the side of the train, most likely where the explosion came from.

"What do we do now?" Winry asked, staring sadly at the wrecked train.

"It's too far away to go back to Central," Alphonse commented.

"Do we walk the rest of the way to Rush Valley?" Orihime questioned, straightening the bow of her Karakura uniform.

"We got no other choice," Edward admitted. "C'mon, let's go."

He took off in the southern general direction with the others tailing after him.

After four hours of endlessly walking and the sun started to set over the horizon, the foursome finally made it to a small town. But something was oddly off about this town. It was quiet. Eerily quiet.

Ed and Al have been to many small towns during their travels, and they do tend to be quieter and more placid than the big cities. But something was about this place.

"Ed, Al, I don't like this place," Winry said, quickly making her uneasiness known. "This town gives the creeps! It's like a ghost town here!"

Edward scoffed. "Don't tell me you actually believe in ghosts, Winry?" he said, mockingly.

"Shut up!" the blonde mechanic snapped back, angrily.

"I believe in ghosts," Orihime interjected, innocently, raising her hand.

Ed stared at her incredulously and rolled his eyes. "You're just weird like that, Orihime."

"Welcome, young travelers."

The four teens' attention were turned the older man standing in front of them. It looked to be in his late forties, early fifties with a lean physique. He had black hair that was gray in some areas and brown eyes.

Winry smiled widely at finally seeing some form of life in this town.

"Hello, sir. Could tell us what happened to the townspeople here?"

The man nodded his head. "Sure. But why don't we talk at my house? It's been a pretty long day, and I'm tired."

The two girls agreed immediately.

"Hey!" Edward protested. "Are we just going to go into some old fart's house?"

He was ignored.

Alphonse placed a metallic hand on his brother's shoulder. "It's better than nothing, Ed. Besides, it's getting late."

Ed begrudgingly admitted that Al was right. And also, it was free.

Nothing beats free.

"My name is Morgan, by the way," Morgan introduced himself as set five cups of tea on the table.

The group of five were currently in the dark haired man's house. It was a fairly small and spacious, perfect for a single man. He was serving them tea and cookies as he sat on a chair with Ed and Al sitting adjacent from him, and Orihime and Winry seated from his opposite.

"My name's Winry," the female mechanic said, politely. "And these are my friends, Edward, Alphonse, and Orihime," she said, pointing at each person, respectively.

"Are you guys dating?"

Morgan's innocent question caused Edward to spit out the tea he was drinking.

"What the hell, old man?!" he yelled fervently, a pink blush dusting his cheeks. "What about us suggests that we're dating?!"

"Oh, I'm sorry," Morgan said, giving an apologetic smile. "I just assumed one of these lovely ladies must be your girlfriend. My apologies."

Ed growled under his breath, grumpily chewing on a cookie.

"Could you tell us what happened to the townsfolk here, mister?" Alphonse asked, politely, getting back to the topic at hand.

"Ah, yes! That…" Their host seemed to ponder for a minute. "It's just a silly rumor that has gotten way out of hand."

"What rumor?" Winry inquired.

"Just a rumor about ghost girl sucking out people's souls," the host replied, amused.

Ed rose a questionable yellow eyebrow.

"It was said if you go deep into the forest east from you would encounter the girl, and if you stare into the mirror she is holding, she would suck out your soul. It said that the reason she is doing this is because she is looking for her own soul, which separated from her on her way to the afterlife," Morgan elaborated. "And that's how far the rumors go."

The blond alchemist scoffed, humorlessly. "That's nothing more than a ridiculous ghost tale. Everyone knows there's no such thing as ghosts. It's scientifically impossible."

Orihime twitched a little at that. Oh, how wrong he is. "But still," she said instead. "If part of the rumors are true, and there is a person out there stealing souls, shouldn't we do something about it?"

"Orihime's right," Alphonse agreed.

"The power to steal souls, huh?" Edward looked intrigued. "I wonder what type of alchemy is capable of doing that. Not one I've heard of before." His face was set in a determined grim and his golden eyes held fiery anger. "I hate this kind of alchemy! The ones that use human lives as nothing but toys! I'm going to clobber this guy!"

The ginger haired girl smiled at that and stood up from her seat. "Shall we get going?"

"Wait," Winry spoke up. "Right now? Isn't it kind of late?"

Ed dismissed her. "It's not that late, Winry. Besides, me and Al have done a ton of late night missions. The darkness won't bother us."

"It gets awfully lonesome by myself," Morgan piped in. "I haven't had company in quite a while, you see. Won't it be nice if one of you stayed here with me while the rest go out and investigate."

Edward growled, lowly. He didn't like the way this old guy's eyes lingered on Orihime, who was oblivious to his gaze. The perversion behind his brown eyes made his skin crawl in disgust and his fist to clench up tightly. There was no way he was leaving Orihime alone with this dirty, old man!

"Al, you stay here with the girls," the blond alchemist ordered. "I'll go alone."

"Wouldn't you be in danger all by yourself, Eddie?" the auburn haired girl asked, concerned.

"Orihime's right. Knowing how reckless you could be, Al should go with," Winry said. "He's the only one out of the three of us who could fight and keep you in line."

"I'm fine by-" He gulped nervously and cut himself off when the female mechanic brandish her trusty wrench, menacingly. "Uh, right. C'mon, Al."

The brothers headed out the door. However, Edward stopped at the open doorway with Alphonse ahead of him. He sent a dark, golden glare at Morgan.

"If you try anything, you will have to answer to me!" he hissed out, venomously before leaving and closing the door with a loud slam to emphasize his point.

Both girls stared at the door, confused.

"What was that about?" Orihime asked.

Winry shrugged her shoulders.

They didn't notice the psychotic smirk plastered across their host's face.

All according to plan.

"So…?" Alphonse trailed off as he and Edward went to investigate the forest where the supposed ghost girl haunts. "Want to tell me what all that was about?" he asked, slyly.

"What do you mean, Al?" Ed inquired, confused.

"I don't know…," the armor boy whistled, innocently. "You seemed pretty angry at the fact that Morgan would be alone with the girls. Well," he pondered. "Not just angry. Jealous, in fact. Possessive, I should say."

Ed's cheeks turned a light shade of pink, knowing exactly what his little brother was insinuating.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the two brothers had to swiftly dodge an incoming attack. A loud boom sounded as rubble flew everywhere, creating a semi medium dust cloud.

"What the hell was that?" Ed yelled out, coughing a bit as some dust when into his mouth.

"Are you Edward Elric? The Fullmetal Alchemist?"

"Who wants to know?" Ed growled out, glaring through squinted eyes at the silhouette hidden among the dust clouds.

"Hmm. You don't look all that strong to me."

The assailant's voice was definitely feminine. She had a dark, silky, all around menacing tone.

The blond alchemist growled. "Who are you calling weak?"

The smoke finally cleared to reveal a girl around their age, possibly older with reddish-brown tied into a ponytail that reached just past her shoulders and green eyes staring at them, boredly. She wore a simple dark purple halter top with leather, black shorts, knee length, brown boots, and a brown, waist length jacket. What caught the boys attention the most was the short sword strapped to her waist side.

The mysterious girl rose a skeptical eyebrow. "So, you two are the famous Elric brothers? Hero of the people?" she questioned, though there was a hint of mockery in her voice. She slouched over, lazily, shifting from one foot to the other. "You two don't look like much." She sighed in disappointment.

Edward growled at the insult. "Who the hell are you?!" he shouted, furiously.

The redheaded girl seemed to ignore him. "And here I was thinking I could finally get a decent enough fight." She sighed once again. "Oh, well. My mission is to stall you two, I suppose." Green eyes gazed at them, unenthusiastically. "Just try not to die."

Ed and Al didn't understand one word this girl was saying. But there was one thing that they did pick up. Giving the fact that the girl said she was supposed to stall them, means that she's in cahoots with whoever is terrorizing these townsfolk.

"Are you the alchemist who's been stealing people's souls?" Al asked. There was a hint of anger and fury in the usual gentle boy's voice.

The reddish-brown girl inclined her head back. "No," she said, simply and uncaring.

Ed glared at the girl. "Then do you know who did it?"

No answer.

"Who did it?! Who are you working for?! Tell me!"

The girl gave a crooked smile. "I'm not obligated to answer to someone who's weaker than me. Not to mention shorter," she finished with a smirk.

"Shorty?!" Ed exploded, his face turning ten different shades of red.

The girl's grin grew wider, liking the feistiness of the boy. "How about this? You beat me in a fight, and I'll tell you everything." She spread her arms wide. "I'll even let you get the first strike."

Both brothers were shocked by this. Who willing let's their enemy attack them? Unless… It was a trick.

"It's no trick," she replied as if reading their thoughts. "Punch me. Kick me. Break my nose. Cut off one of my arms. Or even my leg. Maybe gouge out my eye. Or if you're going straight for the kill, stab my heart and kill me in one shot. The choice is yours, boys."

"Are you fucking with me?!" Edward bellowed out, infuriated. "You think this a game?!"

Their opponent simply licked her lip. "It's no game, pipsqueak. I'm being quite generous and letting you have the first strike. But I should warn you boys, this would be your only shot at knocking me out or killing me. So… Attack me with everything you got! Put all your strength into a single blow! Because if you don't-"

She was cut off by a fist meeting her face.

The blond alchemist was seething with rage when the girl casually hurled another short insult at him. He had no problem, giving this girl a punch or two.

However, she seemed completely unfazed by the punch, much to Edward's and Alphonse's shock. And he used his automail fist, too.

A crazed smile spread across the redhead's lips. "You'll regret it."

In an instinct, before Ed could realize what happened, he was met with a blow to the gut. His golden eyes widened in pain as he felt the air leave his lungs.

"Brother!" Al shouted out, instinctively catching Ed in his arms. He patted his brother's back, trying to help him regain some air into his lungs.

"Was that it? Are you finished already?" the red haired girl asked, unimpressed. "Man, you really are pathetic. And you're supposed to be an alchemic prodigy. The youngest State Alchemist in the world. Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist." She let out a breath of disappointment. "Alchemy… Alchemy… Alchemy…," she repeated over and over, dully. "Nothing but a bunch of cheap dog tricks. You alchemists think that just because you can willfully transmute a few insignificant objects that you are rulers of the entire world. You couldn't count the number of alchemists I cut down over the years. They were disappointing. Nothing but cheap parlor tricks and an oversized ego. But when it comes down to it, you are all weak just like any other human being." Her face contorted into one of anger. "And that's what pisses me off the most! I've killed dozen of alchemists hoping to get a good fight! But they were nothing but a bunch of pathetic weaklings! They couldn't last more than five minutes!"

She took a deep breath to calm herself down. "Don't disappoint me, boys. It's been so long since I've enjoyed myself." She pondered this for a bit. "Tell you what? How about I fight the both of you with only using one arm?"

Once Edward was able to regain his footing, both brothers glared at the redheaded girl. Another alchemists killer. Thoughts of another State Alchemists serial killer running through their heads.

But even so, they were still utterly shocked that someone their age was a cold blooded murderer.

"Tell me…"

She rose an eyebrow. "Hmm?"

"Are you working with Scar?" Ed growled out. Alphonse took on a fighting stance.

The girl craned her neck. "I don't even know who that is."

"Then why have you been killing alchemists?" Al inquired, feeling his own anger rising.

"Why? I told you why." A maniacal grin spread across her face.

In an instant, she crossed the distance between them. Before either brothers could blink, she kicked Edward into Alphonse, knocking the Elric brothers over with a thud and clank coming from the armor.

"Because I enjoy fighting! It's as simple as that!" she proclaimed, crazily.

"You're nothing but an insane killer who gets their kicks out of watching bloodshed!" Edward retorted, furiously. He clapped his hands together and slammed them upon the ground.

"No transmutation circle?" the redhead mused. She did a backflip to dodge the incoming mass of pillars hurling towards her. Sensing a presence behind her, she instinctively grabbed the offending arm, much to Al's surprise, and flipped him over.

"I'll give you props for that, boys," she praised, smoothly. "You almost had me there for a second."

"Are you okay, Al?" Ed called out to his younger brother as he rushed over to him.

"Yeah, I'm fine, brother," Asl reassured him, recovering from his initial shock. "She's tough, Ed."

The blond alchemist gritted his, knowing his armored brother was right. They just needed to come up with a strategy to catch her off guard. They would make her reveal everything she knows and take her into custody for murder. They let Scar get away. They won't let another alchemists killer, like her, get away, too.

"Where are you looking at, boys?"

Both Ed and Al stood there in absolute shock as they faced the redhead, who was currently behind them.

"H-how…?" Edward gasped out, eyes wide with dumbfoundment.

The red haired girl threw a punch at him, and out of reflex, he blocked it with his automail arm. She retracted her attack and stepped back a few feet, creating some distance between them.

"You guys don't really know how to fight, do you?" the girl asked in an almost mocking tone of voice.

"Don't mock us!" Edward growled out.

A red brow rose. "How could I mock you when you perfectly capable of doing it to yourself?"

The Elric brothers didn't have time to react as she disappeared from their visions, only to reappear inches from their faces. "You guys try us your brains in a fight, just like every other alchemists." She threw a punch a Ed, which Al quickly shielded him from with his metallic body. "You don't know tap into those pure base instincts." She threw a rolling kick at Al's head while simultaneously dodging Edward's crook screw punch. "Fighting is all about instinct. The instinct to gain more power to completely dominate and crush your enemies." She grabbed Ed's fist, and kneed him in the stomach, causing him to stumble back. "If you're not attempting to kill me…" She flipped into the air. "...Then you have chance…." She twisted her body while in mid air and threw a leg out, striking Alphonse in the back, knocking him roughly into the hard ground. "...At beating me," she finished, landing gracefully on her feet.

The redhead placed her hands on her hips. "Is that it? Is that the extent of your powers? I expected more from the famous Elric brothers. You both really are disappointments."

"Shut up!" Ed hissed, transmuting his automail into his favorite blade. He charged at the girl with Alphonse staying behind to draw a Transmutation Circle. They simply needed to immobilize the girl somehow, someway. Once they do that, then this fight is as good as over.

"You know, I wasn't planning on using my sword, but…" The red haired girl threw her short sword up to block Edward's bladed arm. "...I don't mind showing you outclassed you really are. That way, you might push through your own limitations to provide me with a decent fight."

"Why are you so damned obsessed with fighting?!" Ed roared at as he parred another one of the girl's strike. He stepped back a little, clapping his hands, and slamming them on the ground. The familiar blue light of alchemic energy surged up through the terrain.

"Why?" the redhead clicked her tongue. "I told you this before. I simply enjoy it, that's why!" she cackled. "Nothing satisfies me more than the glory of being on the battlefield. The blood, the carnage, the sound of metal tearing flesh and the clash of steel against steel, the thrill, the excitement, the all around adrenaline you get when fighting for your life… Nothing ignites me more than a battle to the death!" she declared, loudly, a maniac grin spreading widely across her face.

Edward face scrunched up in disgust. This girl was absolutely insane! There are no words to describe it. Just pure insanity!

He dodged another downward slashed at his torso. He twisted his body around. He swung his leg over to try striking the girl's head, who casually leaned back in return to dodge the attempt.

That's just what he needed as he twisted his automail arm around to slash the girl across the face. Although, he barely managed to graze her cheek, he still wounded her, nonetheless.

"Heh!" Ed smirked. "Not so tough now, are you?"

The red haired girl touched the trinkle of blood running her face. Her green eyes stared at the blood on her fingertips before giving it a sensual lick. She gave Ed a dark yet sexy smirk. "You actually managed to wound me, little boy."

"Little?!" Ed snarled. He angrily charged at her, repeating thrusting his sword arm at her.

"Feisty… I like," she muttered, silky as she parred each of the blond alchemist's strikes. "If you were a little more ruthless and merciless, I could actually fall for you." She struck her foot out, tripping him over, and punched Edward in the gut, momentarily knocking the wind out of him. "Oh, well…"

The redhead raised a skeptical eyebrow as she saw Ed give her a cocky smirk.

"Got you," were the only words she heard before a steel bar cage formed around her. She tilted her head to see the metal boy placing his hands on a big Transmutation Circle.

She clicked her tongue in annoyance. She was so busy fighting the Fullmetal Alchemist that she forgot about his armored little brother.

"We got you now, missy," Ed declared with a smirk as he and Al approached the cage.

"Now, you'll tell us everything you know," Al said, his glaring red eyes glaring at the trapped girl.

The girl seemed unfazed by the threat, lazily shifting from one foot to the other. "Well, you did manage to trap me, I'll give you boys points for that," she drawled out. "But I'm still not telling," she sing song.

Edward frowned, crossing his arms. "I don't think you understand you're position here..."

"Actually, I don't think you're the ones that don't understand," she cut him off. A psychotic smirk spread across her lips. "As I told you before, I've killed dozens of alchemists. You're actually the first State Alchemist I had the pleasure of playing with, and I could admit you were better than the others." She twirled her sword around. "But better doesn't mean good. You still have a long, long way to go before you can defeat me."

Her green eyes held a menacing gleam that sent the Elric brothers whole being on guard. Something was not right about this girl. That was a feeling they were getting.

The wind suddenly began to bellow out. The boys' hairs were now standing on ends. And odd, ominous feeling began to overtake them. Why were their instincts telling them to run away?

The red haired girl tossed her sword in the air "As I reward for cornering me, I shall tell you my name. My name is Ritsuko Yumara" she said. She reached her hand up and casually grabbed her sword by the hilt. "And my sword's name is Shinachou."

A maniacal grin spread widely across her face. "And I'll show you something even you alchemists failed to achieve. A person who can't even sense of draw out spirit energy has no chance of beating me."

The next second, she stabbed her hand with her sword, much to the shock of the two brothers.

"Now… Drip in blood, Shinachou!"

(A/N: That's the end of chapter twenty five! Did you enjoy it? Man, this fight ended up so long, I had to split it in two. So the rest of the fight would finish in the next chapter. And I also had to stop myself from going crazy, and going all DBZ style. Ed and Al would end up died if I did. There's nothing really much say because I don't want to spoil anything until the end of the fight. But I do have a challenge… Can any of you tell me what kind of person Ritsuko is? I'll give you cookies, if you do.

Anyway… Leave any questions, comments, and suggestions in a review and thanks for reading! See ya next time!)

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