Disclaimer: I do not own Attack on Titan or this story.
Summary: The gang returns to react to season two. [No Pairings]
READ THIS!This story will contain manga-relatedSPOILERSand isNOTfor ANIME watchers! Also, it is thesequelto "Power to Strive" so read that first or you'll be hopelessly lost and confused!
Eren tapped his foot.
"You should eat a little," Petra said.
"Later. I'm not really hungry right now." Eren was filled with anticipation. "Besides, there'll be food—better food—in the room." He exhaled sharply, feeling impatient. "It's taking forever."
"Because you keep checking every minute. Have some patience."
"Where's the rest of the squad?" Eren asked to pass time.
"Captain Levi sent them off to train. As far as they know, I'm supposed to be training you one-on-one."
Eren lowered his voice even though it was only the two of them in their small mess hall. "What do you think we'll see next?"
"I don't know. I'm hoping we can capture those two without the same level of casualty we had trying to capture the Female Titan." Petra didn't need to clarify who "those two" were.
"Armin told me Jean's been distracting them when they have free time and come over to talk. They only have a few minutes to spare but still." Unlike the girls, Connie couldn't hide away in the women's barracks like Sasha could in order to avoid them.
They talked for a few more minutes, speculating about the future before it was time to go. The rest of the recruits were already standing before the room. Levi had made good on his promise and made them clean up that entire floor so they had an excuse to one, hang around and stay away from Reiner and Bertolt, and two, to make sure no one wandered up to the room with the TV. Not that it would open, but the commander had decided it was better to be safe than sorry.
Erwin, Hange, and Levi soon joined the group. "Who's ready?" The commander asked.
They replied happily, cheering quietly, not wanting to alert anyone with too much noise.
Inside, the room appeared unchanged. They automatically went to their respective spots. Ymir, Christa, Connie, and Sasha on the left couch, Jean, Armin, Mikasa, and Eren in the middle, and Petra, Levi, Hange, and Erwin on the right couch. They immediately grabbed some food, settling in while Erwin picked up the remote.
"I believe we last left off at the Titan in the Wall," Mikasa recalled. They had only known the truth for less than two days, but already listening to other the Scouts talk about the Titans as mindless beasts had become strange.
"Yeah." Connie nodded, imagining countless Colossal-type Titans standing side-by-side to create the Walls. "I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it."
"It is crazy to think about," Sasha agreed.
"I wonder how long after the last season this picks off," Jean thought out loud.
"I hope we don't have to watch more of our friends get killed." Despite her words, Christa wasn't all that optimistic.
"Just gotta remember, it's painful to watch but the future can be changed," Ymir offered kindly.
I wonder what happens to Annie. Since they knew Ymir's Titan could break through the crystal, Armin knew the commander's thoughts had likely gone in the same direction as him. If Eren's basement held some secret of turning humans into Titans, they could have someone—notably Sasha or Christa, he had deduced—take on the Female Titan's power.
Please, please don't be a useless fuck.Eren begged silently in his head. Only after his monumental failure in the Forest of Giant Trees and the embarrassment of not having the heart to Shift the first time in Stohess had he finally been able to do what they needed him to and beat down the Female Titan. Whatever came next, he hoped he wouldn't screw up again.
"Pay extra attention to Hoover," Levi began, "maybe we'll get to see his Titan. Aside from kicking down shit, we don't know what other things he's capable of. If he has any other abilities or even tricks up his sleeve."
"Understood," Petra replied. "If he can call Titans like the Female, I take it we'll have Scouts on standby to intercept?"
Levi nodded. "And if he can make his skin impenetrable like the Armored, we only have to move before he has a chance to do that."
Erwin cleared his throat. "Everyone's ready?"
They nodded enthusiastically.
"Got my notebook." Hange held up the small brown notebook. With only one day of break between the seasons, she hadn't yet the chance to test out some theories—or get a ride on either Eren or Ymir's Titans, which she still wanted. Most of the fascination and fondness she held for Titans had faded after learning the truth. But there was still some residual interest in Titan-Shifters.
"Alright, then." Erwin pointed the remote and clicked.
The TV came to life.
"Hello,"Candy greeted, "and welcome back! Hope you're rested and refreshed after the break. This time there will be twelve main episode and three extras. Enjoy!"
On the title screen, Eren stood ready to punch someone, surrounded by most of the other people in the room.
The Scouts shifted in nervous excitement.
"Here we go," Connie gushed quietly.
An image of red-tinted Titans surrounding the Walls appeared."The Walls gave the people a century of peace and security."Inside a city, humans stood."The terror of being at their mercy…"A group of robed and hooded people stood before the crowd."…and the humiliation of being trapped became a distant memory."
The screen became black.
The shadow of the Colossal Titan fell. He peeked over the Wall. Raising his leg, he destroyed the Wall and Titans invaded."The battle for humanity's survival began the moment the Titans breached the Wall."
What must Bertolt have felt, Armin wondered, when he kicked the Wall, knowing he was dooming the little persons down on the ground.
The Armored Titan stood menacingly. The Colossal swept his arm on top of the Wall and Eren and the other trainees jumped off.
How fast can it walk?Petra imagined something of that size and weight would have trouble with speed. It was impressive he was able to just stand without having to lean on something for support. Its size also made it easy to sneak up on. But if she had learned one thing from watching TV, it was to not underestimate a Shifter.
"After innumerable casualties among soldiers and civilians alike…"Thomas and Mina's deaths flashed on the screen, followed by a shot of the Female Titan.
Eren's heart fell.What a waste. It was a bitter pill to swallow, knowing their deaths were in vain. The knowledge of the Titans' origins and the fact they were the ones protecting the Walled people from other human hostiles still drove him crazy.
"…it was learned that some Titans were hiding among the humans."Annie laughed manically and transformed."Finally, five years after the first Wall fell…"Rogue tore the Female Titan's head off. "…humans succeeded in capturing one of these disguised Titans: Annie Leonhart."Erwin watched Rogue rip the flesh from her nape.
Jean's thoughts wandered over to the commander. Not for the first time he wondered how Erwin felt about the whole thing. The truth must have hit him the hardest. How many lives had been lost to the Titans under his orders?All for nothing.But still, Erwin had been so confident and assuring, giving them a much-needed boost to their moral when they learned just how sad and bleak their situation, their standing with the rest of the world, really was. It took a strong, almost cold-hearted, man to shake off the staggering implications and deliver an uplifting speech.
The Female Titan's decapitated head appeared, her expression twisted in fear and pain. Hange, Levi, Jean, and a few other Scouts stood, staring. Mikasa helped an unconscious Eren sit up, Armin crouching beside them.
"Nevertheless…"Annie lay inside the crystal cocoon. It was strapped to a sled."…the next threat to humanity was already close at hand."
"Already?" Mikasa said.
Petra sighed. "We—the TV versions—can't catch a break."
Two soldiers pulled a large black cloth over the crystal. One brought up his arm in a signal. Hange and Moblit followed the covered crystal with their eyes as it was carted away. Surprised noises grabbed their attention. A group of Scouts was staring up.
"Hey!" One man pointed. "Look!"
Pieces of rock fell, revealing a little more of the massive face of the Titan. Its eye moved downward.
"Is it waking up?" Hange said in alarm and excitement.
"How were humans turned into the Colossal-type Titans?" Petra asked.
"Could it have to do with the ninth Titan-Shifter?" Erwin said thoughtfully. "These types are a lot more devastating, capable of causing more destruction than normal Titans so if Marley had the power to create more of these," he said, gesturing to the image paused on TV, "they would have done so to ensure the complete annihilation of this island."
Ymir knew she knew something about that and not being able to remember it was annoying.
"Could that Shifter also create armored ones?" Jean automatically directed his question at Ymir.
Ymir shrugged, replying, "Don't look at me, you know what I know about the originator. Which is almost nothing."
"Let's keep watching," Christa suggested. "The TV hasn't let us down so far."
"In the Wall?!"
"It can't be!"
Hange and Moblit ran over. "Your orders, Squad Leader?" Moblit asked.
"Huh? What? Hold on!" Hange's voice wavered.Was that there just by coincidence? Or does this mean…?A hand landed on her shoulder and she looked back to see a man breathing heavily. "Pastor Nick?"
"Whatever you do…youmustkeep that Titan out of the sunlight!"
"He knows?" Christa said in surprise.
"Okay, that I did not see coming," Jean admitted.
"Me neither," Mikasa said.
"So there are people here on the island who knew the truth," Levi said.Why am I not surprised?
Eren glared. "Why does he know? And how? Why not say anything?"
"Don't know about the first two, but I think the answer to the last question is that he agrees with the philosophy of keeping the populace ignorant," Petra answered.
For Pastor Nick to know...Armin's mind raced, making connections.
"For now, we've covered the Wall Titan with sheets. We'll take more proper measures after sunset."
Erwin walked down a hall, flanked by two Scouts. "I see."
"What are we supposed to make of this, sir? I never imagined there were Titans in the Walls…"
"No one did. There were only people who knew and people who didn't."
Sasha tapped her chin. "Who else would know?"
"I don't think every member of the Church of Walls would," Petra replied. "I've run into members of their group and they seem very gullible. Not the kind of people you trust with secrets. It has to be the highest ranking members, I bet."
"And the fewer people who know the better," Hange said, nodding, making a note of it. "Easier to keep it secret that way."
An arm was poking out from under a slab of rock.
"What's the deal?!" Marlo looked around, hands gloved and a white cloth around his neck. "We just fought a Titan here. Why are they keeping us in the dark?"
"Business as usual," Hitch commented, also wearing long gloves and a cloth to cover her mouth. "But what's scummiest of all…"
They looked down the street. Bloodied bodies lay littered on the ground, buildings cracked, large pieces of broken structures lying around.
"…is that there's no 'official' reason why all these people died."
Connie frowned. "Why is that?"
"They can't exactly explain the situation to civilians when they don't understand it themselves," Armin explained. Their TV versions had no clue about the origin of the Shifters and the truth about Eldia and Marley. "Besides, the Corps had to maintain secrecy to protect the biggest capture in our history from angry mobs. And this wasn't an approved mission to begin with. The MP probably also couldn't admit it was due to their incompetence Eren avoided arrest."
"And we were the ones to stop her," Mikasa added with an eye-roll, "while they were completely useless."
Dozens of colorful sheets of cloth covered the hole.
"…it's time for you to talk. What is this Titan?" Hange asked Pastor Nick, who was on his knees, fingers brushing the edge of the Wall, peeking over. "What is it doing inside the Wall? And…why did you people keep this a secret all this time?"
After a few seconds of silence, he stood, dusting his clothes, speaking loudly. "I have work to do! My church and followers have been devastated!" Pastor Nick yelled at her. "This is your fault! Iwilldemand restitution! Now let me back down!"
"Seriously, how exactly does this Wall-worshipping freak know the truth?" Eren demanded.
"The royal family must have shared the secret about the Titans in the Walls and the outside world with a secret few and started this religion as a cover," Armin revealed his theory. "That's what I've been thinking."
Levi nodded, agreeing. "I always thought it was strange how much authority those Wallist freaks have. Secretly being backed by the monarchy would explain it."
"These Wallists are now making sense," Hange said. "They've been trying to keep the outside world hidden. The Walls are the only thing that could lead people to become suspicious of the bullshit we've been fed for a century. What better way to make people steer clear than hiding behind religious nonsense?"
"So that's why they're so against modifications," Christa muttered. "If you started inspecting the Walls closely, someone was bound to discover there was something unnatural about them." She looked to Armin. "Like how there are no signs of wear and tear despite it being a hundred years since they were built."
"Certainly." Hange grabbed Pastor Nick by the collar and held him off the Wall. "Will straight down do?"
The group chuckled.
"I just knew she was going to do that," Connie said, grinning.
Her squad moved closer. "Squad Leader!" Moblit said.
"Stay back. Enough of this! Do you people know why we Scouts have shed so much blood?! To take back our freedom from the Titans! I was willing to sacrifice my own life for that cause! I'm not asking you to talk, I'm ordering you. Is that clear? And if you won't talk, I'll try the next person. Your measly life wouldn't make up for much, anyway!"
It was rare to see Hange serious and emotional in such a way.
"Let…go of me!"
Eren scoffed, "He's bluffing."
"Like this? Right now?"
"But then we won't know what he knows."
"Yeah, but he annoys me. And there's probably more where he can from."
Hange called his bluff. "Fine, then. Die."
"Squad Leader!" Moblit yelled.
"Kill me and learn! Wewillfulfill our duty, without fail! So…" Pastor Nick threw out his arms and screamed. "…let go of me this instant!"
"I didn't think he'd say that," Jean said. "He seemed like a total wimp to me." He had fully expected the man to give in to Hange's threat and spill the beans.
Pastor Nick's body trembled. "Deliver me…O Lord…"
With an irritated, sharp exhale, Hange flung him back on the Wall. She sat, pulling her goggles down, laughing. "Just kidding. I wasn't serious. Tell me, Pastor Nick…" He was lying face down, hands clutched before him, whimpering and still shaking. "Areallthe Walls made of Titans?" The faintest tremors were seen in her shoulders.
Erwin hoped so. It would give them serious power, having an army of Colossal-type Titans on their sides. If only they knew who the ninth Shifter, the Founding Titan, was.Is it the king?
Moblit approached her. "Squad Leader…"
"Whew, I forgot how this feels. I haven't felt this way since my first time outside the Walls." Everything was quiet. "Talk about terrifying…"
Suddenly, the bell rang, grabbing Hange's attention.
"Hurry! Inform Commander Erwin!" Elsewhere, a brown-haired Scout, Thomas, raced on his horse. "Hurry!" He yelled to himself. "There are Titans inside Wall Rose!"
Levi and Erwin glanced up at the sound of the bell.
"Oh shit," Jean muttered.
"This must be the next threat Candy was referring to," Petra said.
"Could it be Reiner and Bert's doing?" Mikasa suggested.
"Maybe." Armin frowned, deep in thought. "But Annie was only recently captured. How would they have received news of it so quickly?"
"You think it's a distraction so they can rescue her?" Although Eren couldn't see how they would know where the Corps would be hiding her even if they somehow found out Annie was defeated.
The episode began to rewind. Images of Levi and Erwin, Thomas on his horse, and Hange threatening to drop Pastor Nick flashed on the screen.
For a few seconds, Erwin thought he might have accidentally hit the wrong button.
"Was that you?" Hange turned to him.
"Wait, when did that happen?" At Christa's words, everyone's attention snapped back to the TV.
Quickly, more images appeared, some of the recruits riding on horses, Connie's stunned face, Sasha holding a bow and arrow, Mike crouched on the ground, sword up, breathing heavily as he glared.
They looked at each other in confusion.
Erwin frowned when pressing the "Play" button had no effect.
A watchtower, one small, one medium, and one large building appeared.
[12 Hours Earlier]
South of Wall Sina
"Oh, I get it." Hange's eyes lit up. "It reversed to show us what happened twelve hours before the bell rang just now, signaling Titans inside the Walls."
"I guess we're watching where me, Christa, Connie, and Ymir were and what happened during the Battle of Stohess," Sasha said nervously.
"It'll also tell us where Reiner and Bertolt were," Ymir added.
"I don't feel good about this," Connie said, feeling uneasy. "That was not my happy face."
Connie looked bored out of his skull, elbow on the table, face in hand. He let out a sigh. Sasha sat beside him in the same position, looking equally bored. "My village isn't far south of here, you know…" They were sitting at a table by the window, staring out.
"My hometown is close by, too…" Sasha spoke in the same dull voice.
At the same table, Reiner and Bert were playing chess.
"Damn. Why can't I go visit?" Connie complained. "Maybe I'll sneak out at night."
"You're too chicken to do that."
"Shut up, Jean."
"They told me not to come back until I'm normal."
"They toldmeI was too puny to be a soldier. Was genius enough to be one, though. I was in our class's top ten."
Other recruits sat around the room, including Christa who was talking with Ymir.
"There we are," Christa pointed out.
"I'm gonna go make 'em eat their words."
"Connie, if you're serious, I'll help," Reiner told him.
Connie stared suspiciously. "What's he up to?"
"What?" Connie tilted his head back. "How come?"
"Doesn't it seem strange? We're on standby in our plain clothes, and we're not allowed to train or wear our uniforms." Reiner stood and approached the window. "Even more suspicious…" Outside, two Scouts were talking. "…is that everyone else is fully armed. We're inside the Wall, not on the front line." He turned to them. "Who are we fighting?"
"He's starting to get suspicious." Petra crossed her arms. "His offer to help could just be an excuse, a reason to sneak out and gather intel. Maybe even separate from Connie and try to get to Annie if he's really worried about her."
Eren nodded. "Makes sense, I agree."
"Well, therearebears in the area," came Connie's bored response.
"Yeah. Bears," Sasha repeated.
"If we end up doing this out there," Sasha gestured vaguely, "he'll be on to us immediately. Reiner knows us too well. Here," she said and nodded to the TV, "we don't know so we can't give anything away."
"Sasha's right," Connie said. "I don't know how well we might be able to fake ignorance."
"We want to keep the events as close as possible," Erwin began, "so we have to get to the Battle of Stohess, which means Jean will need to pass off as Eren to the MP. Armin and Mikasa are his best friends so Annie will need to see them 'rescuing him.' That leaves," he glanced at the left couch, "you two."
"Leave it to us, sir," Christa replied. She had been lying to them for years. It was as natural as breathing.
"We'll stay with you guys and keep their attention off of you," Ymir chimed in.
"Thanks!" Sasha said brightly.
"We don't want to be the ones to accidentally tip them off," Connie said.
"Guns are enough to handle bears." Reiner returned to his seat.
Sasha lifted her face from her hands straightened in her seat and he looked at her. She let her head fall on the table, ear pressed to the surface. Sasha gasped and sat upright, looking alarmed. "I hear thuds! They sound like footsteps!"
"Huh?" Connie and the others turned to her.
"Get serious, Sasha," Reiner said. "If you're suggesting there are Titans here…that'd mean Wall Rose has fallen."
"Safe to say they aren't the cause," Levi spoke up. "They've been with the other recruits and are looking for a reason to skip out."
"Then who was it?" Hange wondered. "All the Shifters are accounted for." Annie was caught and hidden away underground, Eren was recovering in an infirmary with Mikasa, and Ymir, Reiner, and Bertolt were with the other new Scouts waiting for orders.
In the watchtower, Mike sniffed, eyes widening. He turned to look. "Mike?" Nanaba questioned.
"Thomas! Take three couriers and go!"
"Huh?" Thomas straightened up.
"Notify each district! There are likely no Titans among the 104th Cadet Corps recruits!" In the distance, a cloud of dust rose, with many figures outlined. "Multiple Titans from the south! Wall Rose has been breached!"
"But how?" Eren said, bewildered. "Who could've breached the Walls?"
"My village is south of there." Dread weighed like a heavy ball in Connie's stomach. What if his family was killed? What if the TV made him watch them get eaten? A shudder ran through him.
"My village isn't too far from there." Sasha felt so nervous she abandoned her food, her stomach full of butterflies.
Mikasa hoped they wouldn't be forced to watch their loved ones die.But at least they can take comfort in the fact the future isn't set in stone. Not like the past.
"It's the truth!" Sasha threw up her arms. "I really hear footsteps!"
Nanaba landed in the window and opened it. "Everyone here?"
Christa stood. "Nanaba?"
"Multiple Titans, 500 meters to the south. They're coming right this way." The recruits gasped. Even Reiner and Bertolt looked surprised. "There's no time for you to gear up. Take your horses and evacuate all nearby homes and settlements. Understood?"
Connie looked pale. "From…the south?"
Reiner turned to Bertolt, looking panicked. "Hasthe Wall been breached?!"
"I know he's surrounded by people, but I don't think he's faking," Christa observed.
"He's only talking to Bertolt so I don't think it was for the others' benefit," Mikasa added. "But I can't really tell if he's being genuine."
"Yes, it is odd," Petra agreed. What reason would there be for him to be so upset?
Outside, a group of Scouts rode off. "Get going!" Nanaba ordered, getting ready to fly away. "Lunch will have to wait, I'm afraid!" She joined Mike on the rooftop, standing beside him. "Mike."
"There are nine in that swarm up ahead."
Slowly but steadily, the Titans marched.
"Mike can take them," Hange declared confidently. "He's the only one, aside from Mikasa, who can give Levi competition."
They were regular Titans, there was no a Shifter there, so they allowed themselves to be optimistic. The last season had taught them not to hope too much for a happy ending when a Shifter was involved.
"They've broken through Wall Rose," Nanaba said. Down on the ground, the recruits readied their horses. She knelt on one knee, chin in her hand. "We never managed to uncover the Titans' secrets or figure out what they are. And now the day has come. Humanity…has lost."
Not while I'm still around we haven't.Eren thought.
Jean had a stubborn look on his face.If we go down, we'll go down kicking and screaming.
"No. Not yet." Mike turned and walked to the other edge of the roof. "Only when a person stops fighting do they lose. As long as we continue to fight, we are not beaten!"
"I can't wait till we're out there." Christa felt so excited thinking about it. "Now that we know what's coming, we can win."
"Or at least have a better shot," Ymir said.
"With you, Eren, and Candy on our side, we'll show them." Sasha smiled happily.
"I'd feel even better if we had the ninth Shifter with us," Jean said.
Horses raced away from the buildings.
"As soon as the Titans reach the woods," Mike said, "we'll split into four teams of recruits and soldiers alike, and then simultaneously scatter in each direction!"
A map appeared with four, blue horse icons moving in different directions. Two groups circled the buildings and ambushed the Titans from the side.
"Avoid combat when possible and focus on getting the word out! Is anyone familiar with this region?!" Mike asked.
"M-Me!" Sasha raised her arm. "My town's north of here! I know the lay of the land well! And…so does Connie!" He was staring ahead, dazed. "Connie?!"
"My village… My village is to the south…where the Titans are coming from."
Reiner and Bert appeared tense at Connie's words.
But if it wasn't them, who was it?Mikasa thought.
Armin had his own theory about that. Had more Shifters arrived on the island?They might already be here. The future they were watching was only days away. His skin crawled at the thought of invaders on their land. They were humans. They could blend in.And we'd never know.
"I can take you to the nearby villages," Connie said. "After that…please let me visit mine."
Christa gave Connie a hug, squeezing reassuringly. "No matter what happens on TV, it'll be okay out there, in real life."
"That's about the only thing keeping me from throwing up."
"Alright," Mike accepted. "You'll guide the southern team."
Reiner rode up beside Connie. "I'll come with you, Connie."
"The south will be crawling with Titans. It'll be the most dangerous."
"So? I was going to help you sneak there anyway, remember?" Reiner said with a smile.
"Yeah, as a means for your own end probably," Jean grumbled.
Sasha nodded. "I wouldn't want them anywhere near my family." As sympathetic as she could be to their situation, knowing they were only doing what they thought was right, following orders, they had killed her people for their cause and she would not want them coming near her mother and father.
Reiner glanced to his right. "You coming, Bertolt?"
Bertoltlooked uneasy, but finally said in a low voice, "Of course I'll come."
"As you may know," Nanaba yelled, "today marks the new darkest day in humanity's history! If ever humankind needed to give its all, that time is now!"
"The Titans have reached the woods!" A masculine voice yelled and Nanaba turned back to watch the giants approaching.
"Scatter!" Mike ordered and the group began to split off. "Ride as fast as you can!"
The Titans came to a stop.
"Why'd they stop?" Christa asked, puzzled.
"That's highly unusual behavior," Erwin answered in surprise. Once Titans spotted a human, they didn't give up the chase easily.
"I have a bad feeling about this," Levi said.
They waited with baited breath.
Suddenly, the Titans sprang into action, running and behaving abnormally.
"What the?!" Hange gaped, startled. "They're acting like Abnormals!"
Eren's eyes widened. "What the hell happened to them?"
"That's..." Petra began. "What triggered that reaction?" The only other times she could think of Titans behaving strangely was when the Female Titan called them and when they tried to eat Eren's Titan.
"Please don't tell me there's an army of Abnormals running around. Regular Titans are a pain in the ass enough," Jean huffed.
Had this group passed through his village? Connie dearly hoped not.
"What?!" Mike watched them, stunned. "They all started sprinting!"
"Whoa! They're going to catch up!" Connie yelled.
Mike gritted his teeth. "Gelgar!" He whipped the reins and headed toward the approaching swarm. "Take charge of the southern team!"
"Sir?!" Gelgar followed him with his eyes.
"Can even Mike take that many Abnormals?" Jean didn't look too sure.
"I don't know," Petra said, uncertainty clear in her voice. She imagined even her squad would run into a little trouble with a group like that.
"U-Understood," Gelgar said.
"He's using himself as bait?!" Lynne said.
"He won't survive!" Henning said. "I'll help!"
"No!" Gelgar stopped them. "We can't spare anyone else! Have faith in him! His skill is second only to Captain Levi!" Mike stared in determination." He'll make it back alive!" The other Scouts rode in silence.
Ymir felt paranoid now. The TV had conditioned her to expect the worst anytime someone made an absolute statement like that.
Mike utilized his 3D gear, sliding on the ground on his feet as the wire reeled him in. He jumped off and spun behind a Titan, bringing his swords down with a cry.
"Don't die," Sasha told TV-Mike.
A beautiful blue sky with a few clouds appeared. The atmosphere was quiet and peaceful, a soft wind blowing.
Carla walked up the stone steps, basket with white sheets in hands, Mikasa following not far behind. "Oh, Eren."
Eren perked up. He had not been expecting to see his mother and was delighted. The last time he had seen her was when they were shown her death. It felt nice seeing these familiar, nostalgic times from his childhood, waiting nervously for his mother's reaction after he had been in yet another fight.
"Did you get intoanotherfight?"
Eren had dirt and bruises all over his face. "Those jerks started it! They made fun of me!"
"So, I assume Mikasa had to come to your rescue again?" Carla took out a sheet from the basket and Mikasa hurried over, holding out her hands. "Thanks," she said, handing the little girl the white sheet.
Mikasa smiled fondly, remembering her warm smile and kind heart.
"You were always so helpful." Eren sighed. "I wish I hadn't lazied around so much." The thought of doing chores and hanging around his mother used to seem like the worst thing in the world to him.
"Eren." Carla knelt before her son, wiping his face with a cloth. "No matter how cruel someone is or how much you hate them, you can't always charge at them head-on!"
"You look so much like her," Mikasa commented.
"Yeah." Eren smiled brightly.
"You're a man!"
"Hah! This blockhead?"
"C'mon, Jean-boy, don't be mean to your friends."
"Shut up, Potato Girl."
Petra waited for Connie to jump in and be called Baldy by someone else and have the nickname thing keep going, but he kept quiet.The poor boy. She'd be sick with worry too were she in his shoes.
"Show some restraint!" Carla scolded. "You need to be there for Mikasa, too!"
Eren stared intently at her words, eyes wide.
And yet I always screw up and have to get saved by her. Familiar, bitter old feelings rose up in Eren's chest. And instead of being there for her like he promised, he would speak insensitively and upset her before running off.
Eren opened his eyes, a bandage wrapped around his forehead. Mikasa sat by his bed, head bowed, sleeping. He sat up and looked at her, eyes falling to the scarf in her lap. A small toolbox with needles, rolls of thread, and a small pair of scissors lay next to her.
Christa was half-expecting Connie to make a joke about waking up to a beautiful girl by his side. But he appeared somewhat distracted.He's really worried about his family. She knew Connie had two younger siblings and could only imagine how awful it would be for him to see them die.
Quietly, Eren slipped out of bed and stood before the window. Mikasa shifted, making a noise in sleep. The scarf slid from her hand and fell to the ground. She opened her eyes and turned to see Eren holding it, studying it. "That's…"
He handed it back to her. "It fell. You gotta be tired. Go get some sleep."
She folded the scarf in her lap. "Sorry. I'm fine."
"That thing's seen better days," Eren said and she grunted softly in agreement, petting it. "I'll get you a new one if I see any in our supplies."
On the screen, Mikasa fell silent.
Eren glanced at the scarf around Mikasa's neck. It was starting to look worn. Before he could comment, Mikasa pulled it up to cover her mouth.
"It has special meaning."
Eren nodded, understanding.
The door flew open. "Eren! Mikasa!" Armin stood there, yelling. "This is really bad! The Titans! They're inside Wall Rose!"
Hange readied a horse and led him out.
Erwin stared outside his office window.
"Ugh." Levi's voice came from behind and Erwin turned to see him standing at the door. "Those damn Titans never give us a break."
"Can you go?"
Levi walked forward. "Not like there's much choice."
"It was wise to have Squad Leader Mike watch the 104th," a third soldier said. "I believe he can handle the situation."
"Yes." Erwin faced the window while Levi kept quiet. "Let's hope so."
Erwin truly hoped the man would survive. Mike was one of their greatest assets and a close friend, too. It would be a great loss to their side to lose him.Is his death important?It would pain him but if it was necessary, he would send his friend to his death. But he was getting ahead of himself. Mike could survive.
Mike flew above a tree and jumped over the Titan's hand, running on its arm to reach its neck and take out the nape. He landed on the roof as the giant fell. With an exhale, he glanced to the right to see a Titan leaning against the building, watching him. "Four left."
"He took out five of them?" Connie blurted in surprise. "Five Abnormals?!"
"That's crazy! He's so amazing!" Christa marveled, eyes shining.
Mike observed the other Titans around him.No, it's time to go.He sheathed his swords.I've bought enough time.
"Yes," Sasha said hastily, "now get out of here!"
Mike whistled, the sound echoing.Still…He turned to look at another Titan.I am concerned about that Abnormal.
"What is that?"
"And why is it so hairy?"
Ymir's eyes went wide.Oh fuck. She was the first one to put it together. "Guys, that's..." She didn't need to finish. One look at her face and they figured it out. Realization dawned on their faces.
"Wait, is that the Beast Titan?" Petra began filling away his physical characteristics immediately.
Eren's head snapped toward the TV.That's my...He was on the island. Zeke Yeager. "He must have been the one to make the other Titans behave so abnormally."
"But what did he do?" Armin said. "And how? And what else can he do?"
Erwin frowned. He did not like this. The odds had been in their favor with their two Shifters against the other three, especially with Ymir's Shifter status unknown to the enemy and having the knowledge on how to defeat the Female Titan. Now they had four Shifters to contend with. "Normal Titans try to eat Shifters in their Titan forms, but these ones are ignoring him."
"So he can control them?" Levi did not like the sound of that at all.
"Oh man, things are not looking so good for Mike," Connie said worriedly.
It's different.Mike watched the Beast Titan walk.It looks over 17 meters tall. It's huge…The Beast Titan's abs appeared.And I've never seen a Titan covered in fur before. It's just walking around instead of coming for me.
"Don't stand around watching it, leave!" Jean snapped.
It's definitely an Abnormal, but…Mike heard the neighing of his horse. His horse was racing toward the building but its path would collide with the Beast's.
Christa's heart fell. "Oh no..."
They all braced themselves for the worst.
Great! You're back!Mike thought.I won't need to hold out until nightfall.Suddenly, the 17-meter picked up the horse and the animal let out a frightened, pained cry.It went for the horse?!Mike gaped in shock and pulled out his swords.You can't be serious!
The Beast Titan's gaze landed on him. He arched his long arm back and threw the horse. Mike barely dodged and rolled off the roof, right into the hands of a small Titan. It opened its mouth and bit Mike's legs.
"Did it just talk?"
"Shh! We've seen talking Titans before!"
A shadow fell over them and Mike watched, eyes bulging, as the Beast Titan lowered himself. The mass of his body's movement caused the tree branches to move. The Beast Titan smiled at him.
What the fuck is he doing?Levi frowned.
The small Titan bit Mike's midsection and droplets of blood flew as he screamed, struggling.
He won't make it with those wounds. Hange thought grimly.
"Huh? Didn't I just say to wait?" The Beast Titan grabbed the small one and squeezed. An eyeball popped out and Mike fell to the ground.
Armin let out a relieved breath. "His control isn't perfect."
"That only makes me feel slightly better," Jean said.
Frightened, Mike watched the Beast flex his fingers.
"Tell me, what is that weapon called? That thing on your waist that flies around."
Mike was still too stunned to speak. Behind him, a Titan stood, half hiding behind a tree.
He's curious about the 3D gear. Erwin figured since they could create and even control Titans to some extent, they would not need weapons to kill the giants.We cannot let them get a hold of it. The 3D gave the Islanders an advantage.We've only ever seen and used it as a means to fight Titans, but maybe it can be modified to fight humans as well. The Marleyans would not see that coming.
"I'm certain we speak the same language. Perhaps you're simply too frightened. Oh, I see you use swords, too. I guess that means you know we reside in the nape. Ah, well," the Beast Titan said as he reached out, "I'll just take it back with me."
Mike cried out, lying down, covering his head with his hands, trembling.
The sight of one of their best soldiers reduced to a quivering mess was uncomfortable.
The veterans were especially unsettled by it, having known the man longer and personally, too.
The Beast Titan stood and walked away.
Suddenly, Mike remembered his words to Nanaba."Only when a person stops fighting do they lose."
"Not in this case. Just stay down," Jean urged.
Eren found himself nodding. Better to live to fight another day.He won't stand a chance if he attacks.As much as it would be a blow to the pride, it was wiser to crawl away and hide while the regular Titans were still standing, not moving.
Gritting his teeth, Mike picked up his sword.As long as we continue to fight…we are not beaten!He let out a battle cry, stopping immediately when the Shifter stopped.
The Beast Titan looked back. "You can move now."
For a millisecond, they thought he was referring to Mike. Their mistake was soon corrected.
The three Titans converged on Mike at once.
"No! No!" He dropped his sword and attempted to flee, sobbing, scared out of his mind. "Stop! Don't!" One grabbed his arm from behind while another Titan bit his leg. Mike kicked at it futilely. "No! No!"
They watched in silent horror. It was not quite what they had been hoping to see.
The Beast Titan watched without much of an expression. "So youcanspeak." He walked away, staring at the gear between his fingertips. "I must say, what a clever idea."
What an asshole. Eren glared at the TV. Zeke, his uncle or cousin or whatever, was a cold-hearted bastard and he would not hesitate to take him down.
"No!" Blood and tears were everywhere.
Petra watched with a heavy heart as another beloved fellow soldier fell to the Marleyans.
"No! Stop!" Mike continued to scream in agony as the sounds of chewing and squirting and tearing went on.
If only the Beast Titan hadn't shown up. Hange knew Mike would have made it.He was always so strong. To see him go out like this, instead of fighting and swinging his sword, both saddened and infuriated her.
One Titan bit his head and began to pull. "No!" He screeched as they ripped his body in two.
Levi felt so angry. If he got his hands on the hairy bastard, he was going to carve him up like a turkey.
Erwin refused to let himself feel bad about Mike's death. As horrible as it was, he wouldn't give up hope until he could ascertain Mike's death was necessary. If that was the case, only then would he allow himself to feel sorrow. Until then, he would remain optimistic.
"You know, I didn't eat breakfast so I could eat here. Now I've lost my appetite," Sasha said.
Christa nodded. "Poor Mike."
"Let's think about what we learned today," Erwin spoke up.
"We know at least one more enemy Shifter is here and he can talk and control other Titans somewhat," Armin began.
"And he can make them into Abnormals," Eren added with scowl.
"They attacked from the south so we know where they're coming from." Petra looked at Connie. "What is the name of your village?"
Connie's throat closed and he swallowed. "Ragako."
"They don't have 3D maneuver gear," Levi said.
"Um, this might be kinda dumb..." But Christa wanted to contribute something. "But it looked like the Beast Titan had a beard so maybe the Shifter does, too." Her face warmed, thinking it was a useless thing to mention.
"Should make identifying him easier." Hange nodded, jotting it down. "Good catch."
"I've been thinking, do you think this Coordinate they've been looking for is the Ninth Shifter?" Ymir said thoughtfully.
Jean brought his hand up to his chin. "Four Shifters were originally sent to infiltrate the Walls and retrieve it.Four. Stands to reason whatever they were after had to be immensely powerful. The ninth Shifter would explain it."
"Why send children though?" Mikasa asked.
"I've been wondering the same myself," Hange said. "Why do they create new Shifters at such a young age?"
"Children are easier to control and manipulate," Erwin said. "But why not send them when they're older? More experienced thus increasing their chances of success?"
Armin nodded. "Who do you guys think the—"
"Can we start the next episode?" Connie interrupted. He felt so nervous. "Not knowing what happened to my village is suffocating."
"Of course." Erwin nodded and started the next episode.
~ Season 2 is here!❤️ Please Review
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