In the midst of their journey, the two bothers stop inside of a small street-corner bookstore. There, they find an alchemist's handbook, which makes them reminisce over the past and of their studies. Back then, the brothers were young and lived in their home town. Their mother loved to see them perform alchemy, so with the most wholehearted intent, they pledge to learn and to master the art of alchemy.
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At a bookstore, Ed and Al reminisce on old times after Al finds an Introduction to Alchemy book. They think back to the time when they performed their first transmutation to make a present for Winry. Their actions frighten Winry, and the parents of Ed and Al talk to the parents of Winry.
Instead of scolding the two boys for their actions, their mother embraces their new found skill which has brought a smile back to their mother's face. However, their father's absence is a mystery as the family awaits his return.
One day, they create figurines through alchemy and head to Winry's house to show off their newest accomplishment. Once there, they are shocked to find that Winry's parents died. Upon seeing their mom, they run crying to their mother.
Some time later, their mother falls ill and dies. Upon her death, they realize that their alchemy made her happy because it reminded her of her husband.
Driven by the love they have for their mother, Ed and Al decided to try the unthinkable, human transmutation. In their research, they find evidence that his father once did research regarding this forbidden art. After first relearning alchemy, they decide to proceed.
Using blood as the equivalent for the human soul, they move foward resolutely. The attempt, however, is a total failure and Al loses his body and Ed loses his left leg and right arm. Al awakens to discover that his soul has been affixed to a suit of armor.
At Auntie's Auto Mail shop, Ed and Al along with Auntie and Winry are visited by Roy Mustang, one of their father's acquaintances. He offers Ed the chance to come to Central City to become a National Alchemist if he survives.
Recovering from his wounds, Ed announces that he wishes to see Roy Mustang in Central City to become a Nationally Certified Alchemist, but to do so, he needs a working right arm and left leg. Auntie gives Ed a strong warning about becoming a dog of the military but Ed does not care as long as he has access to the rare documents the nation keeps and the funding that he will recieve to conduct research.
Before heading out to Central City, the brothers train their bodies. Because there is nothing in the world that can take the place of their mom's life, Ed decides to dedicate himself to finding a way to restore his brother's original body because he does not want to lose Al also.
On the day they leave, they burn down their childhood home.