"What did I do wrong to deserve a daughter like you?"
Henry spat while kicking the sides of little Bertholdt. The boy tried desperately to shrink as much as possible in the corner of the floor to protect himself from the father's onslaughts, but he could already hear his ribs clicking. Certainly he will have purple bruises tomorrow.
Suddenly Henry grabbed the bertholdt's shirt collar and pressed him against the wall with a bang. The impact made Bertholdt see stars for a few seconds.
"Answer your son of a bitch!"
Now the father (or monster) and son were face to face. Bertholdt could smell the rotten breath of alcohol coming from his father. For a moment Bertholdt felt sorry for him, the reason for Henry's regression is because of him. He’s a shame in the eyes of his father, a coward that Bertholdt knew very well that he’s, unlike Marcel, who was independent and never retreated.
" You should have died, NOT MARCEL!"
Henry spat again while beating Bertholdt's head against the wall, the boy grabbed the father's arm in an illusion of control, but knew that failed miserably.
Satisfied, Henry threw the boy's body as if he did not weigh anything in a corner of the room, knocking down some furniture in the process.
Henry turned and walked toward the door to leave and said:
Bertholdt woke up with a startle. His arms were around his body in a protective form as if could feel the pain, his clothes were drenched with cold sweat and his long face was moist because of the dry tears.
It had been just a dream ... or a nightmare, but he felt as if he had gone back in time to remind him how weak and useless he was.
The first thing Bertholdt realized when he got up was that the horse wasn't there. Berth walked into the narrow passage from the cave to the exit, praying that would not have a hungry titan waiting for him on the other side.
On leaving the cave, Bertholdt was blinded by the intense light, but soon his eyes adjusted. He sighed in relief for not finding any sign of a giant pain in the ass around. It looks like the storm last night did a good job .. and good damage. Several dried branches were scattered around and a tree had fallen in front of the cave, almost blocking the passage.
A familiar neighing caught his attention. The spotted horse was wallowing in a puddle of mud under an apple tree.
Great, now how I'm going to ride it. He thought with a frown.
Well anyway it was still early and since there were no titans around, why not relax? Bertholdt approached the apple tree and reached out an arm to take an apple. For Berth be higher than the average, he had no difficulty to achieve things. The brunet smiled when a memory crossed his mind; Krista always asked him for help to reach the things that stayed high and Ymir stared at him with a murderous look. Damn, how much he missed those moments.
He rubed the fruit on the on the shirt to clean and then nibbled. The taste was very different from the other apples cultivated within the wall, maybe it's because of fertilizers or it's just hunger.
The brunet sat cross-legged with the back leaning against the apple tree, and scanned the bag looking for the old novel. The horse had moved, but Berth trusted that the animal wouldn't go very far.
He had only arrived in the middle of the book, but he was already incredulous with the distinct features that the book presented, especially with the ambientization that the book portrayed, different from the other books that Bertholdt read in the library; in this book had names of places that Bertholdt had no idea where it was, and also never used references as walls, titans, the desire to be free. It was as if humanity had conquered freedom outside the walls. Another thing that fascinated him were words he never heard before as continents, countries, peninsulas, and tropics. however, the word that most fascinated him was Ocean, although he did not understand the adjectives: Atlantic, Arctic and Indian, would it be types of oceans? Anyway Armin would be more insane than Hanji.
Basically the book portrays an impossible love where two people from different countries fall in love at first sight, but the country of one of the two is facing a war and they can't see each other again, mainly because they are separated by oceans.
Bertholdt inclined his head in doubt. How big are these oceans?
Hesitantly Bertholdt saved the book. He really wanted to know the end of the story, but saving his ass was more important. If he wanted to survive in a wild world he really needed weapons, and a broken sword (could call it a knife now) wouldn't be enough, especially if the opponent is a titan, because nobody would want to face a giant human eater face to face.. maybe Eren does. A long-range weapon would be ideal.
With an idea in mind Berth looked around for some material. Thanks to the storm last night, several branches were scattered around. Bertholdt separated several dry branches of different sizes in a pile, then he took some of the rocks he found at the entrance to the cave and sanded it until were pointed, and at last he tore a strip of his green cloak to use as a rope. After some slight efforts and curses, Bertholdt was finally able to make a bow and four arrows; but there was still one thing missing: Feathers.
Maybe tree leaves can replace feathers. Bertholdt thought.
A whistle caught the attention of Bertholdt. On top of the apple tree, a momy bird fed their babies in a nest. After several bites and scratches of the face, Bertholdt finally managed to catch a handful of feathers.
Now that his new weapon was ready, Bertholdt used some apples as a target to practice and make some necessary adjustments. Unfortunately an arrow had broken in half during training leaving him with only three arrows, but at least he had managed to complete his new weapon and was ready to leave, mainly because a group of titans began to reveal themselves in the hills.
Bertholdt put two fingers in his mouth and whistled, but there was no sign of the horse. Worried, Berth looked around, the titans were still far away, but slowly they were walking toward him.
He whistled again and nothing.
Bertholdt began to sweat, then felt something wet on the back of his neck and he was sure it wasn't sweat. The brunet turned and was greeted by the snout of the horse sniffing his face.
"You fucking scared me, buddy." Bertholdt said, stroking the animal's long neck.
Bertholdt took some apples and put them in the bag and then improvised another bag with the green cloak to carry the bow and arrows, then mounted the horse and hit the horse's mane. The horse obeyed and began a slow jog, then accelerated.
It had been about an hour since Bertholdt was riding, along the way he had seen some titans along the hills, fortunately all were far away, and most were alone, the largest group Bertholdt had seen was four individuals. It looks like Hanji was right .. or are they trying to keep their distance from something? Bertholdt preferred to take the first option.
In front of him was a giant forest of trees, but Bertholdt preferred to round it, for there were several flocks of birds taking flight to leave the forest. There was something "big" there that was scaring them.
The horse whinnied as Bertholdt hit his mane to go faster. He wanted to get out of there as soon as possible, since, watching the birds, Bertholdt was almost certain that something was following him through the forest.
For a few minutes Bertholdt kept up a quick pace and watched the forest for any signs of a stalker, but the only sounds he heard were the hooves of the horse in contact with the grass.
Bertholdt sighed. Maybe it was just your head .. but unfortunately it wasn't.
Suddenly a huge hand revealed itself in the thicket in an attempt to seize Bertholdt, but the horse was faster and diverted in time.
"What ?!" exclaimed Bertholdt startled.
The brunet turned his head to look back and regret. The titan that revealed itself in the thicket was a massif of fifteen meters that walked on the limbs like a spider ... a giant spider.
consequently gives it a good speed, perhaps even faster than the spotted horse. His heart felt like it was going to explode. Bertholdt didn't have the equipment of maneuvers and the horse already showed signs of exhaustion, it would be questions of minutes until the titan reached him. His only option was to enter the forest and run the risk of facing other titans.
Bertholdt gripped the horse's mane harder and led him into the forest of giant trees with the titan following them. The brunet zinguaze among the trees in the hope of slows down his pursuer, but the "giant spider" was very flexible and agile, so it easily diverted from the tree.
It's an abnormal.. Bertholdt thought.
Delaying this thing wasn't working .. so there was only one way: Blind the titan with the arrows, but the problem was: How Bertholdt going to shoot an arrow, mounted on the horse running in the opposite direction?
Berth sighed, he would have to find a way if he didn't want to become a snack. Decided, Bertholdt let go of the horse's mane, turned his waist the maximum he can and pressed his legs harder on the sides of the horse to keep his balance. Now he was more or less facing the abnormal titan.
Three arrows, two targets ... I can only lose one, Bertholdt thought.
He took the bow and positioned the arrow at shoulder height. He was ardently trying to target the abnormal titan's left eye, but the horse's movements and the tremors caused by the impact of the titan's limbs on the ground made it difficult to aim accurately.
Berth mentally counted to three and released the rope. The arrow slid over Bertholdt's fingers and cut the air with a speed incapable of being captured by the naked eye. however the arrow scrape the titan's shoulder that soon healed.
Bertholdt cursed his misfortune. It wasn't going to work that way. Feeling the adrenaline rushing through his body, Bertholdt grabbed the horsehair and turned against the titan who opened the mouth ready to receive him, and with quick movements the brunet straightened the bow, positioned the arrow, looked at the eye and shot , praying that he had not lost ... fortunately the gods heard his prayers.
It was accurate. The arrow stuck deep into the pupil of the abnormal titan's left eye causing the freak to be stunned by precious seconds Bertholdt used to untap the horse and flee.
The beast screamed in rage high enough to shake the forest and scare several birds nearby while running after its banquet. Bertholdt had to put one hand to his ear while the other held the horse's mane because of the titan's scream.
Okay, I'm doing fine .. just one more!
Bertholdt repeated the process: he made the horse turn, straightened the bow and arrow, aimed and shot. The arrow swirled in the air indomitably toward the target, unfortunately Bertholdt missed the crosshairs and the arrow stuck in the sclera, the white part of the eye.
"Damn it!" Exclaimed Bertholdt as he turned the horse in the opposite direction to escape.
Now Bertholdt was fucked. No arrows and the titan still had the right eye view. His only chance now was to use the broken sword as a throwing knife .. but Bertholdt was never good with throwing objects .. but it's now or never.
Bertholdt looked back to see how far he was from the titan and was surprised by what he saw. The arrow that was stucked, had ruptured many blood vessels causing blood to flow in large quantities and drips over the surface of the eye. Titan was getting blinded by its own blood. Although the blood evaporated quickly, the arrow had stuck very deeply into the eye, causing the blood to go out constantly.
Bertholdt hit the horse's mane to go faster and guided him through the giant trees. The titan, though blind, continued to chase him using smell and hearing in its favor, but with the compromised vision, the beast collided with the tree trunks or tripped over its limbs.
The titan was having difficulties to continue moving, due to the bones of the limbs that were broken in the collision. The beast roared with rage and grabbed anything that it managed to grope and threw in different directions in the hope of hitting him; but Bertholdt was already far away, which left him relieved.
The first stars began to appear on the horizon when Bertholdt emerged from the forest of giant trees. The man kept a slow jog so that the horse could recover its energies if another aberration showed the deformed face.
The sky began to grow dark; not because of the arrival of the night, but because of the dense clouds brought by the winds that were covering the celestial dome. Another storm was on the way.
"We need to move." Bertholdt said seconds before hitting the animal's mane.
The first drops fell low along with the rays on the horizon while Bertholdt rode on rocky terrain. The brunet kept an eye out to find some crack between the rocks large enough to use as a shelter, and also to watch if there wasn't a titan around, but he doubted there was enough light. During the percussion, Bert walked thinking about the titan spider who wanted to eat him moments before. That titan, though Bertholdt classified it as abnormal, this thing was different from the other abnormal he'd already seen, that is, near the wall. Will be that the further away from the wall, he will find more flexible and strong titans, or even someone who has the minimum level of intelligence, as for example the talking titan described by Ilse! Maybe it's a good idea not to think about it now.
The rain was dense now and the cold winds whipped the skin. He needed to find somewhere to stay the night as soon as possible. Berth hit the horse's mane, which now exhaled condensate.
At the foot of a rocky mountain, Bertholdt noticed that there was a crevice on the surface of the rocky terrain, large enough to house both. Berth dismounted from the horse and walked toward the cave with the horse following him.
The brunet entered the rocky cave without noticing the remains of bones in the corners, and claw marks on the walls due to the absence of light. Bertholdt squeezed the green cloak to remove as much water he can, and took a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his face, then grimaced at the unbearable smell of sweat that the piece of cloth emanated.
The spotted horse whinnied and hit the hoof in the mud repeatedly, catching Bertholdt's attention. The brunet looked confused, not understanding why the horse was still outside being punished by the rain; the entrance of the cave was ample for the animal to pass and the inside was very spacious, there was no reason for the horse to continue outside. Bertholdt spoke softly to encourage the horse to enter, but the animal refused and began to retreat.
"Serious boy, what the probl-!" Bertholdt choked when felt something sniffing his leg.
Looking over his shoulders, Bertholdt saw two small greasy balls covered with hair. At first he was confused about what these creatures were, but then he remembered an image he had seen in the Armin's book. They were bears.
The brunet turned and sat down to look at these creatures. In the blonde's book it said that the bears were almost three meters.. so they were puppies. Bertholdt extended his arm to caress them, while the puppies were studying him.
They are kind of cute in fact.
Berth smiled with a show of affection, but then his blood froze. Where there are bear cubs, there must be a bear mom.
Suddenly a low growl echoed behind Bertholdt. He got up to flee, but it was too late. A massive greasy arm hit on his face, throwing him to the other corner of the cave, near the exit. The horse was trained not to be afraid of the titans, but bears .. was different, without thinking twice the animal galloped away, forgetting the owner behind. The brunet crawled, moaning from pain caused by the blow to the exit with the mama bear in his tail.
With his heart almost jumping out, Bertholdt ran as fast as he could, with the storm punishing over his head and the mama bear chasing him. He made his way through the thicket, pushing branches and lianas away, the bear roaring behind him.
Dammit dammit dammit!
It was all Bertholdt could think of as he ran for his life. He had no idea where he was going because of the darkness. If in the middle of the course there is some obstacle like a boulder or some trunk, anything that obstructs his passage and leaves his cornered by the mama and bear .. Bertholdt dies. The bow and arrows would be useless now, because the time spent to handle them, the bear would already be on top of him. The broken sword, though sharp and flexible, wouldn't be enough for a hand-to-hand fight with a creature massisa like this. He wasn't a fighter like Mikasa or Annie, he was just a dog with his tail between the legs.
Suddenly Bertholdt stopped abruptly, his feet slid into the humid terrain until they stopped completely inches from the edge of a cliff, some loose stones fell down into the river that flows quickly.
Bertholdt froze. His only options were: Waiting for the mama bear and accepts death or jumps and take a chance on the flow of the river. The noises of snapping branches and leaf being pushed, indicated that the mama bear was approaching. Bertholdt swallowed his fear and jumped, the bear stretched out its greasy arm in an attempt to grab the brunet, but its claws were inches from his leg.
Bertholdt closed his eyes and made a silent prayer as he was submitted by the law of gravity, until he splash into the water.