The episode opens in 1711, aboard the ship Advena Avis. A man named Pierre walks towards the stairs leading to the deck, lantern in hand. Hearing something, he looks around for the source; a hooded figure reaches out a hand to his forehead and devours him, leaving the lantern and the man's clothes where he stood.
The day before... Edit
In a cabin aboard the ship Advena Avis, a girl with glasses asks a boy named Gretto Avaro if he is worried about his brother Maiza's plans to summon a demon tonight. Gretto is scared and wonders if alchemists are permitted to summon demons. He doesn't think immortality is necessary or even good, and would rather have a limited life spent together with the girl, Sylvie Lumiere. Sylvie says even if she has to give up immortality, as long as she can be with Gretto, she won’t be afraid.
Meanwhile, an argument has broken out in the dining hall. Old Szilard Quates shouts at Denkurō Tōgō that alchemists summoning demons is heresy. Victor Talbot is surprised at such thoughts, given that Szilard is a scientist. Lebreau Fermet Viralesque points out that the Grand Panacea is every alchemist’s dream, and they should obtain it even if they have to call on demons. At Szilard's' protests, he adds that should Maiza Avaro succeed, he will stand besides Synesius and Zosimus as one of the greatest alchemists.
As tensions thicken in the room, Elmer C. Albatross stands on a bench and calls out for everyone to smile. He laughs.
Huey Laforet visits Gretto and Sylvie in the cabin, advising them that there is nothing to be afraid of. He quotes from the Emerald Tablet, which is an ancient text said to reveal the secret of the primordial substance and its transmutation, with, "that which is above is like that which is below, and that which is below is like that which is above." The demon they are thinking about might not be evil. Gretto asks Huey if he is anxious, but Huey is merely looking forward to see how mankind will change after the events of tonight.
The scene timeskips to the next day, nighttime. Some men are investigating Pierre's fallen lantern and clothes when another man calls out to them and warns them that Italo is also missing. They hear a noise coming from the upper deck, and see that the hatch is open. A man climbs up the stairs to scan the deck, and he spots a cloaked figure. The person crawls toward him and presses its hand against the man’s forehead. The man disappears with only his clothing left, to the horror of those by the stairs below. His scream is loud enough that those in their cabins can hear it, and it spurs Elmer and Maiza to run to the scene.
The next scene returns to the ceremony. Everyone has gathered in the room per Maiza's request, and he admits to the crowd that he doesn’t know whether performing the ritual is the right choice. He recalls that the one who taught it to him was a man who never aged, who never aged and summoned a demon three hundred years ago. Maiza announces that he will begin summoning the demon and tells his fellow alchemists to watch over him until the last moment.
Maiza, Gretto, and Denkurō step into the symbol Maiza has drawn. Maiza begins a chant but is cut short when a voice orders him to stop.
In the future, men run away from the stairs in a panic. Sylvie pokes her head out of her cabin and asks what is going on; one of the men stops and informs her of a "monster," of something "evil" like the devil and then quickly departs. She worries for Gretto, and turns cautiously towards the stairs.
Back to the ritual. The voice denounces summoning chants as little more than complaints, and explains that it constantly hears the alchemist's voices, even if they are only thoughts. It says that there is no more need to call it by any name, much less 'demon', and uses its pet phrase, "well, no matter". A bowl of liquid appears in Maiza's hands and he is told that whoever drinks it will have eternal life. Szilard steps forward with skeptic intent. The voice remarks that the old man wants to avoid death badly, and Szilard counters that he only wants to put an end to this charade. He drinks some of the liquid. When nothing happens, Szilard decries it as a deception.
A blade suddenly strikes off Szilard's head and he falls. The others are shocked - Sylvie buries her face into the arm of another alchemist, and Gretto stares down at the corpse in shock. However, the old man soon stands up with his head restored. With this miracle, the others rush to have their share of the elixir. The voice tells them not to quarrel -- there’s enough elixir for everyone in the room. Gretto looks at his brother, Maiza, who drinks to his health. Gretto drinks his too, but Sylvie looks at hers dubiously.
The voice then says that if they are tired of becoming an immortal and wish to die, they should go to the others and have themselves be eaten by them. The voice explains that it’s not an eating done with the mouth but one done with the right hand. One places his right hand on top of another’s head and just by thinking he wants to eat the other, the other will disappear into the right hand. The eater will obtain the knowledge and experiences of those he has eaten. One could also share knowledge by putting their right hand on another’s head. Lastly, the voice says that those who drank the elixir are forbidden to use false names. If they do, they will never be able to find the other immortals. The voice also says that if they wish to know how to make the elixir, they must ask the one who summoned him.
During the 'demon's' speech, the scene cuts back to the future: Sylvie approaches the stairs, and peers down the steps leading further downward into the ship.
The next morning, another argument arises in the dining hall. Maiza wants to seal the knowledge regarding the elixir, not wanting to let the knowledge spread throughout the world. Szilard objects, but Elmer agrees with Maiza. Denkurō, Gretto, Sylvie, Fermet, Czeslaw Meyer, and the others express their support for Maiza as well, since Maiza can always decide to share his knowledge in the future. Huey abstains his own opinion. He says it’s not something that can be solved with just a majority vote, although he mostly agrees with Elmer and Fermet. Szilard inquires when he will decide, to which Huey replies in a hundred years or so, since it will never be too late to decide. Maiza thanks his fellow alchemists.
The scene skips ahead to nighttime. Sylvie reaches out hesitantly for the door of a cabin. Behind her, the hooded figure uses its hand to slam her head against the door. She turns to face the individual, its hand pinning her to the wood.
The next scene occurs some time earlier in the evenin. Maiza and Gretto converse in their cabin. Maiza expresses regret over his actions, musing that humans should not possess such knowledge after all, since it will only create conflict. Maiza notes that he may have to devour Szilard and he decides to share half of the knowledge of the elixir with his brother. Gretto hesitates, believing the responsibility is too strong. Maiza tells him he’s the only one he can trust in the ship. Unbeknownst to the two, Szilard is eavesdropping outside.
Later, Maiza goes to Szilard's room to devour him but Elmer arrives with the intention of stopping him. Maiza argues that Szilard will eventually cause harm. Elmer agrees that someone will eventually devour someone else, but Maiza shouldn’t be the first to do such a thing. However, Maiza is resolute. He rips the covers off Szilard's bed, and is angered to find several pillows in Szilard's place.
The scene cuts back to Sylvie and the hooded figure, who is revealed to be Szilard. Szilard claims to know of Gretto's love for Sylvie, and remarks on how he's about to devour a young girl (he adds that while his 'sexual desire' should have faded long ago there is a voice inside him calling for her flesh). He spurns Maiza (who should not have monopolized the knowledge) and announces that there are no limits to what he can and wants to learn. Devouring is simply another means through which he can obtain knowledge. Sylvie accuses him of devouring Gretto.
(Interspersed through the above encounter are clips showing Gretto tied to a chair and Szilard devouring him).
Maiza and Elmer find Gretto's clothes on the chair, and Maiza grimly sets off in search of Szilard. In the hallway, Szilard realizes that Sylvie didn’t drink the elixir and prepares to hurt her. She is saved by the timely arrival of Nile, who severs Szilard's right arm with his sword. Szilard's arm regenerates, and he tries and fails to devour Nile before escaping to the upper deck. Nile takes chase.
Maiza and Elmer find Sylvie moments later, and Maiza races up the stairs after Szilard. Elmer kneels next to Sylvie and asks her if she's alright before telling her to smile. She starts sobbing, and he reluctantly realizes that she probably is not up for smiling at the moment. He assures her he will 'convince' Szilard, but of what Sylvie is not sure how he can convince Szilard of anything. Elmer says it’s not impossible, and that he'll convince Szilard that there is "another way."
Nile and Denkurō corner Szilard near the bow. Maiza approaches Szilard and reaches out his right hand to devour him. Elmer chooses that moment to call out to Szilard from where he is doing a handstand on the guardrail - only to fall overboard a moment later. Szilard stretches his right hand towards Maiza’s head but Nile severs him in two. Szilard falls into the sea.
Meanwhile, Elmer sinks down into the depths of the sea. The demon's voice speaks to Elmer, finding him strange for trying to get the old man’s attention. He calls Elmer 'fascinating,' and decides to grant him one wish. Elmer makes his wish. The contents of the wish are not disclosed.
Elmer is rescued, and he comes to on the deck of the ship. He coughs up water, and asks the alchemists surrounding him what has become of Szilard. He is disappointed when he learns of Szilard's fate. Looking towards Sylvie, he asks her to smile once more. Sylvie quietly looks down and replies that she thought Elmer didn't have a chance at all, and she walks away. Elmer looks on sadly, and Maiza grimaces.
Huey observes the proceedings from the lookout platform above. The 'demon,' addresses him, confessing that he hadn't thought the devouring would start this fast. It disturbs him that he is to blame for this incident, but he adds that humanity really is greedy. Huey asks why the 'demon' is speaking with him, and the demon replies that he and Huey are quite similar. They both observe the world from a detached, outsider's perspective. The demon sighs and says that he was "certain this was going to be the time," and at Huey's inquiry he brushes off his statement as 'sentiment.' Huey observes that it is almost as if the demon expects something from them. The demon is sure that he and Huey will meet each other again.
As they talk, scenes of the immortals in the future are displayed on screen. First - Maiza and Firo Prochainezo, looking for a hat in the haberdashery; second - Czes with Mary Beriam (a mortal) crawling through the Flying Pussyfoot; third - Begg in his drug lab; fourth - Sylvie singing in a speakeasy.
In November 1930, Maiza speaks with Ronny Schiatto, the Martillo Family's chiamatore. He comments that it will be risky to turn the Runoratas against them, but that there’s no need to fear the Runorata capo Gustavo. Ronny asks if that means they don't have to intervene. Maiza replies they shouldn’t have any problems. After Maiza leaves, Ronny wonders if Maiza can feel Szilard's nearing presence, and speaks the demon's pet phrase, "well, no matter." It is clear that he is the 'demon' from the ship.
Refs to previous episodes
- The immortal man who taught Maiza the ritual is Dalton Strauss. The anime treats their relationship as much less involved than it really was: Maiza speaks as if he was not all that familiar with Dalton, when in reality he'd been Dalton's pupil for four years. Furthermore, the anime is incorrect when Maiza says that Dalton summoned the demon "three hundred years ago."
- In the anime, Szilard ties Gretto to a chair and devours him. In the novels, Szilard actually sneaks into Maiza and Gretto's room and devours Gretto where he lays on his bed - mistakenly assuming that he is Maiza.
- What was Elmer's wish to the demon?
- The Zosimus mentioned by Fermet is Zosimos of Panapolis, Greek alchemist and Gnostic mystic who provided one of the first definitions of alchemy. Synesius is a Greek bishop of Ptolemais who made contributions to alchemy.