FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF- I hate how short these chapters are being x.x
Winry left aboard a train the next morning with Bailey. As soon as the train was no longer visible via the naked eye, the two pairs of brothers started looking into Hughes' mysterious revival. Ed first lead them to Central Command to ask about anything weird that had been happening lately. Unfortunately, nothing out of the norm besides Maes appearing had happened. The boys sat at an outdoor diner, sipping away at some juice. "This isn't working." Ed announced.
"Maybe we're not looking in the right places?" Al suggested.
Ed nodded, "Let's think about this... we haven't found anything yet, and you wouldn't expect very weird things.. Let's ask Hughes about where he woke up and we'll look for something wherever that is." With that, the group started walking towards the Hughes' residence.
When they got there they discovered that Maes was in Central Command so they all had to go all the way back to the area they had been in before they came and into the large building. They walked down the halls to the office Hughes had gained to fill out paperwork since he had been gone for so long. When they entered the room they found a sleeping Maes Hughes. Ed walked over and tapped the man on the top of the head, "Wake up, Hughes."
"What?" He sat up, "Man, Roy is rubbing off on me... what can I do for you, Ed?" He asked.
"We were wondering if you could tell us where you woke up?" Al sort of asked.
Hughes sat back in his chair, thinking. "The ruins of Xerxes."
The Elric brothers took a step back in shock. "But that's all the way in the middle of the desert! How did you manage to get to Central in just a week?" Al asked.
Hughes shrugged, "I don't really know."
"So, you woke up in the middle of a desert and somehow managed to survive and make it here in less than a week?" Cody asked.
"Yeah. I could have someone escort you guys to the spot." Hughes said.
Ed nodded, "We want to see what brought you back so we can figure out if it should be stopped or not." He said, "And that would be nice. Make sure it's not Roy or Armstrong."
Hughes chuckled and sent them away, saying that the escort would come get them. As they walked away Ed spoke to his brother, "Al, you may have been overreacting back there. Xerxes is about three days tops away from Amestris' border if you have the right equipment and supplies and it takes only a day to get to that border."
"But he didn't have any supplies, Brother."
Ed shrugged, "Found an unmapped oasis and somehow managed to do it? Okay, now I see where your coming from, but it's still not all that amazing."
Zack sighed suddenly.
Ed looked at him, "What?"
"You three can perform alchemy! Why can't I? I'm just as... DNA-like as Cody!"
Ed sweatdropped, "DNA-like?"
Zack nodded with a completely serious look. "It's because as soon as you start reading the book it 'bores' you and you decide to do something 'fun'. Who thinks math and symbols are not fun?" Cody scoffed.
"Um, everyone but you and Bailey!" Zack replied.
Ed sighed this time, "Both of you, shut up! Honestly, you two act like siblings!"
"Because we are?" Zack suggested.
Ed pinched the bridge of his nose, "You know what I meant." They walked into their hotel room. It was one of those expensive cabin-deals with more than one bedroom and a sort of living area/kitchen deal plus the bathroom, either way, it was big enough for the group that was previously in it. By the time Zack and Cody were tired, Ed had gotten himself buried in studying what exactly destroyed Xerxes and how it would have anything to do with Hughes coming back to life. Al joined in and the brothers ended passing out around six in the morning.
The twins walked out from the bedroom and looked down at the two, Ed was sprawled out on the couch and Al looked like he had been shoved off because of his position. Zack poked Ed with a stick that had no real identifiable source in the room. "Wakey, wakey, shortstuff."
Ed shot up and tackled Zack, "I'M NOT SHORT!"
"That worked." Cody said. Ed's screaming woke Al up. "What did you two find out?
Ed sat up, "Xerxes was destroyed when someone tried to create a philosopher's stone and failed in some way. As a result the buildings were destroyed and the city was left in ruin. People who have visited the site report seeing strange things like some inanimate objects literally getting up and literally walking away."
Zack blinked, "That's not weird." He said sarcastically.
"That's not it. Some report dead loved ones wandering around, but it seems they weren't like the Hughes deal. No one I know that knows him has ever gone to the ruins. It was out of the random."
Al nodded and added on to his brother's research, "Three reports of dead people being sited to enter a country again have happened in Xing."
"The only thing that hasn't been explained is how the dead appeared there, fully clothed for young viewers' eyes,(1) in the first place." Ed continued.
Just then a knock came from the door. Al answered it and there stood a man with black hair pulled into a ponytail behind his head. His eyes were a dark green and he wore a red t-shirt, jeans, and a white jacket. "I was sent to escort you all to the ruins of Xerxes?"
Al nodded, "That's us."
The man invited himself in. He was taller than all four of the boys. "Name's Hotaka." he said. "Which one of you is the Fullmetal Alchemist?" Ed held up his watch, Hotaka stared at it for a moment before nodding to himself, "Okay, we can go now." He spun on his heels and walked out the door. The two pairs of brothers looked at eachother before getting off their butts and following him out.
Hotaka lead them to a van, he opened a side door then got into the driver's seat. "I'll drive us to the border then we can make our way from there."
The boys piled in and sat in the seats provided. "So, Hotaka, I've never seen you around Central Command or anywhere else, are you new to the military or something?" Al asked.
"No. I was part of the Fuhrer's secret service."
Ed blinked, "Secret service?"
Cody butted in, "It's something like the President of the United States has. A bunch of body guards making sure no one kills him."
Hotaka nodded, "I was Selim's body guard, quit the job about a week before Mustang attacked Bradley. Poor kid was killed by his own father."
Alphonse nodded, "I heard about that."
Ed placed his face in his hands, "There's so much stuff I don't know about because I've been in a different world..." he groaned
After a few hours, all four boys fell asleep. They woke up to Hotaka shoving them out of the car. Ed was the only one who managed to get out on his own, while Hotaka simply pushed the rest of them out, not caring if they hurt themselves or anything. "Okay, here's the desert border." He said. A few feet away was a faded road leading into the desert. "The road goes on for a mile then you'll be lost without a guide." He lifted a finger, "First we need to buy supplies." He started walking to a shop nearby and the boys followed.
He sent them to the clothing section of the shop to buy clothes for the desert weather while he bought several packs of food and a few large canteens of water. After the four boys found desert attire in their size, Hotaka payed for everything and forced them to put the clothes on. After, they set off.
The first day was pretty okay. They boys didn't complain much, except for the occasional whimper because of sore feet from the less athletic of the twins. They stopped only a few times.
Hotaka had bought a tent that they all managed to squeeze into to sleep through the freezing desert night. They set off almost as soon as the night sky started paling as the sun rose. The second day wasn't that bad either, a bit more complaining, though, Hotaka forcing them to only eat when everyone else needs food. Him included. And he didn't get hungry very easily.
It wasn't until they stopped for the night that he let them eat very much. And that still wasn't much. When Zack asked about it Hotaka's response was, "We need to have supplies after we get there, we'll never survive the desert if we use up all of our supplies on the first trip."
The third day was traveled in silence. They were almost there. Ed's body was aching to study whatever was going on in the ruins, Hotaka had to stop him from walking ahead of him because Ed would speed up on occasion in anticipation. When the group spotted the city over the horizon, both Ed and Al started running.
The ruins wasn't anything special. They looked just like ancient ruins. The boys started walking around the old city, looking for something odd. After an hour or so, they found nothing, so they all sat down on a intact fountain to take a break.
Ed huffed, "This is frustrating." Ed leaned his head back, staring at the sky.
"I'm sure we'll find something, Brother..." Al said, trying to sound encouraging. Though, from the looks of things, it didn't look like anything unnatural was going on and he doubted what he said a bit. As he looked around his eyes became large, right, circles, "Brother..."
Ed took his view away from the sky and looked at his little brother, "What?" Alphonse pointed in front of him, and all four of them looked the direction of his finger. Though Zack and Cody were clueless, Ed gave out a loud gasp, "No way!" He stood up.
Standing a few feet away, staring at some markings on a wall, was Trisha Elric in the flesh.
-End of Chapter-
(1) I think that's a good enough reason to put clothes on them xD