Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy’s first law of Equivalent Exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world’s one, and only, truth. But the world isn’t perfect, and the law is incomplete. Equivalent Exchange doesn’t encompass everything that goes on here, but I still choose to believe in its principle, that all things do come at a price, that there’s an ebb and a flow, a cycle, that the pain we went through did have a reward, and that anyone who’s determined and perseveres will get something of value in return, even if it’s not what they expected. I don’t think of Equivalent Exchange as a law of the world anymore. I think of it as a promise, between my brother and me. A promise that, someday, we’ll see each other again.