Chapter 3: Course Correction
Sipping their warm tea and munching on what seemed closest to toast, the brothers were still groggy from the previous night’s ordeal, “I cannot take it anymore”, Alphonse groaned while Edward patted his younger sibling’s head, “Neither can I”.
Their attention shifted back to the art of Blood Alchemy. From the scraps of notes, they gathered that it had to do with the manipulation of blood, “It could be a Philospher’s Stone,” Alphonse mumbled recollecting a previous adventure the brothers shared, the practice of Blood Alchemy at that time was nothing but the misuse of a Philosopher’s Stone. “True but the idea has to originate from somewhere. Maybe we can find a library here; I just remembered that the city of Amasqe once housed secrets, some of which later found their ways into the books we read.”
Unable to contain herself, the portly barmaid cum owner, waddled over to them and informed that the Mayor tore down the library to make space for a grand hall but the librarian kept some of the salvaged books and he lived just down the lane and would be happy for the company. Delighted, the boys expressed their eagerness to visit the librarian and equally excited woman packed them lunch and snacks.
Making haste, they made their way to a dilapidated cottage and were greeted by the aged and ailing librarian. Happy to accept hot cakes as compensation, the librarian was a patient ear and after hearing what the boys were seeking, he fetched a book no thicker than his thumb. “Sadly, this is all that is there. Writing about the art was completely forbidden and this is all there is. All I can tell you that it is real, and it has mainly been used for healing.”
While he enjoyed the cakes, the boys pored over the worn words, which spoke of manipulation of elements without a transmutation circle. There were drawings of horned people with halos, of weapons that belonged in a museum. If they did not know any better, the young men would have thought the book to be the mad ramblings of a deluded man.
‘Αλήθεια’ was scribbled in the corner of the pages. “What does this term mean?” they asked the librarian. “Oh, Alítheia, that is the Greek word for Truth.” The last page of the notebook had Αλήθεια/Verité furiously scribbled all over it. “Would you happen to know what Verité is?” Alphonse asked as he set fresh pot of tea on the gas. “Correction my boy, Verité is a city, a lost city. I met the author of the book once; he was mad by that time, spoke in riddles and said that the city rose from the depths of the desert that is to the north of this city. In my youth, I followed the directions but found nothing, maybe you youngsters will have better luck.” Nodding to himself, the librarian gave them the well preserved but tattered note.