Bertholdt brought his hand to his eyes in useless attempt to protect himself from the clarity. He had no idea where was or where to go; since his flank was massacred by a group of abnormal titans, his maneuvering equipment broken and his horse crushed by a giant foot. He had no choice but to run very far if he wanted to survive; however Berth already considered himself dead, because no human would ever survive beyond the walls .. well, actually had a person, Ilse Langnar; but anyway she didn't lasted very long.
After traversing vast open plains with the sun punishing over the head, Bertholdt saw a set of trees where he could rest a little. Gasping and sweaty, he sat and pressed his back against the rough surface of the tree, and took deep breaths to try to calm himself.
Along a distant hill, he can see a beam of red smoke in the sky. His will was to scream for help ... but he was so far away, his voice will never reach their ear. Minutes later, a beam of black smoke rising in the air; after some time no more signs appeared. Bertholdt closed his eyes, he could do nothing to help his friends, just moan.
Today was not a good day for the survey corps, in fact there was never a good day, Bertholdt thought.
The brunet brought the canteen to the dry lips and drank the last sip left, and then nibbled his cereal bar. Now with the quieter heart, Berth had to keep moving while the titans seem to be busy with the rest of the groups. He had no idea where to go, because behind a hills and forests, there were only more hills and forests, but he knew he couldn't go back to the wall, because your equipment was broken and left behind, only what is left of his sword he kept.
According to the theory of the scientist creepypasta, known as Hanji Zoë, the titans clustered near the walls because they feel the human presence, but far from the wall the amount should be lower. It's time to put this theory in practice.
The green eyes widened and a trickle of sweat poured down on Bertholdt's forehead when he heard the noises of clicking branches, but soon calmed down .. at least a little. The titan that revealed itself among the trees was three meters and had a belly so swollen that it looked like it had eaten another titan (or had it eaten many humans?). Because of its titan’s excessive weight, its steps were slow, very slow. This thing will not be able to keep up with Bertholdt for long.
The long legs went back to work. Sometimes Berth looked back to see if the the potbellied titan was getting more distant and also to check if there was another titan pain in the ass around, but luck was at his side this time.
The sun was setting.. it was a good sign, because soon the giants going to "sleep". Bertholdt thought it might be a good idea to get some sleep too, but discarded the idea; because he was still in dangerous territory, and the night is the perfect opportunity for him to sneak as far as possible, mainly because it isn’t full moon night, so the titans couldn't enjoy the light reflected from the moon.
The first stars began to appear over Bertholdt's head. He contemplated the sky with a certain admiration in his emerald eyes, because this was his first night outside the walls. A scary night ... but beautiful anyway.
Berth screamed and took what was left of his sword to defend himself when heard the noise of the grass being crushed. It was not high enough to be a giant, but it could be a wolf or other type of predator; but still had enough clarity for him to see that it was only a horse. The brunet gave a sigh of relief, but then he was in shock when realized it was Marco's spotted horse.
" .. M-Mar.." Bertholdt tried to say, but the words refused coming out of his mouth.
Bertholdt was incredulous. Marcos was a gentle and smiling boy, everyone liked him because he liked everybody (including Annie). He didn't deserve to die, not like this. Probably Jean must be shattered, because he was very close to Marco ... if he is still alive, but the irritants never die early, right? The steps now closer of the horse took off bertholdt of hiss thoughts. He stretched out his palm and the horse without hesitation pressed the snout.
The tall boy rummaged through the bag that was tied next to horse's saddle and took out a half-empty canteen. He drank long sips and then poured the rest over his head to get rid of sweat that he does not even know where it comes from.
In the saddle of the horse, Bertholdt noticed that there were some blood drops, probably should be Marco's blood or another member, because a titan couldn't be, the blood would evaporate. Bertholtd took a handkerchief from his pocket that he always carried secretly because of his excessive sweat and clean the saddle. If Levi were here he would want the saddle to be de-sterilized and rubbed about fifty times with alcohol. He laughed at the thought .. actually it would be very good to be in the presence of the strongest dwarf of humanity.
The spotted horse whinnied and began to trot when Bertholdt mounted on his back and took the reins. At first the horse didn't obey the commands very much; because he wasn’t accustomed to this strange stranger in his back, but Berth remained patient and stroked the animal's long neck as if trying to say he was a friend. Gradually the horse gave way and created a bond with its new owner.
Now the sky was darker, almost impossible to see the way. Bertholdt had to trust on the keen senses of the animal that stood firm on his path. the brunet moved his head to look around and saw several dark silhouettes along a mountain, at first thought it was rocks, but when his vision became accustomed to the dark he almost fell off the horse's back. Were dozens of titans. The freaks were like a sack of potatoes, but their eyes remained open with a certain murderous glow. A chill went through the Bertholdt's spine, were the titans watching and accompanying him with the eyes? (even their pupils are immobile)?
He didn't have the answer and did not even want to know.
The brunet hit the reins and the horse started to walk faster. He wanted to go as far as possible from these giants with macabre grimaces.
"Are you scared too?" Bertholdt murmured.
The horse obviously didn't answer, but if he could he would say: The titans want to eat you, not me!
"Of course not ... you've been trained so that you don't have."
Great, talking to animals, I'm getting paranoid! thought bertholdt.
Berth always preferred to listen more than talk, the reason he was always more excluded from the groups, but in a situation like this .. he did not want to be alone as he always was, maybe the company of an animal was not so bad.
It was already dawning when Bertholdt arrived in a rocky canyon. He thought it would be a good idea to camp in a high place with good visibility to stay more protected against the titans. The brunet removed the equipment from the exhausted animal so he could graze and have his merited rest.
While the spotted horse regained its strength, Bertholdt went to a lake to fill his canteen and also used to wet his face and hair. After half an hour running after a hare, Berth skinned the animal and put it on a spit over the fire he had done by rubbing two stones.
It isn’t one of the tastiest meats, but at least it will fill the empty space in the stomach and give him energy to reward the night not asleep, thought Bertholdt
As soon as his meal was over, the brunet walked to the edge of the canyon to check the situation. There was no titan in sight, probably hanji was right. More far, fewer titans.
"Well ... at least the world outside the walls is beautiful."
Maybe being a bit optimistic in a situation like that was not so bad. Actually, it's comforting.
Bertholdt sat cross-legged near the edge and enjoyed the landscape of a man-untouched nature. The refreshing breeze hit the long face of the brunette and made his short hair pulled back. Until the memories he so much tries to forget came out like a rocket going to the moon, it was as if he had sent his consciousness back to the past.
"Here Berth, bon appétit!"
Said his mother, giving a kiss to the top of his head while putting a very flashy plate on a table. Bertholdt's father snorted in disapproval while reading his newspaper.
"I Already said for you to stop pampering this chicken!"
Bertholdt immediately flinched at the tone of voice his father used for him, it was the same tone he used when he left bruises on his own son. Her mother realizing the sudden change, she placed herself in the space between berth and her husband.
Already tired of seeing her son being neglected, she blew out.
"GOD DAMMIT HENRY! Don't you see that unloading your anger from the death of your first son at Bert is insane! Marcel was killed by a chariot of these drunken military police! IT ISN’T BERTH’S FAUL-!"
A punch made her fall backwards, almost falling on Bertholdt.
"BITCH! STOP CALLING HIM OF BERTH, IT'S IRRITANT!"
Henry was breathless and red, and then his green eyes met the tearful of bertholdt.
"Marcel was the perfect son ... strong, responsible." Shane stared at him for a while longer and said, "You're a waste of time I have to feed, A COWARD!"
Then he turned and left.
Bertholdt helped his mother to get up, she tried to say that she was well; but her face said otherwise.
This was just another normal day after Marcel's death. Bertholdt's father hated him completely because Bertholdt was always the weakest, almost every day he returned home with fresh bruises caused by the other boys in the neighborhood, while Marcel always imposed respect.
The brunet came back to reality when he spotted some titans running toward him on the horizon. Berth was incredulous. How do these demons know I'm here? Did they feel my scent through the wind, or something like this?
Bertholdt immediately raised an arm and sniffed, then grimaced. Fucking sweat.
Turning his attention to the herd of titan, he realized that their movements were more flexible, probably they should be abnormal. Bertholdt looked down into the abyss, was about 30 meters, it’s impossible for the titans to climb here, he thought.
Again the memories dominated him.
At the top of the wall that had protected humanity for years, there was an aberration of meat shrouded in vapor of sixty meters. That thing allowed the titans to come in and make their banquet insatiable.
"I love you Berth"
Said Bertholdt's mother, seconds before her head was crushed by a titan's jaw. Bertholdt froze looking the blood dripping between the giant's fingers until he felt his arm being pulled by a military.
"What are you doing brat! Run!"
Bertholdt looked around while was pulled by the arm. There were no signs of his father anywhere.
Fuck him, I hope he dies, Bertholdt thought.
Berth sighed. He missed his mother, many of the other scouts were ashamed when they received a family visit, but if they knew what it is, lose someone close, they would think twice. He remembered Eren, the easy irritates. Eren also faced the same thing, he saw the massacre those unemotional creatures are capable of doing.
Now the titans were stretching out their arms in a useless attempt to catch him. Look at them was like looking at the door of hell.
The little Bertholdt looked terrified, as well as all those who were lucky to get on the boat to the massive demon covered by some kind of hard material. This reminded bertholdt of the images in the history books of armor that warriors wore in wars.
Suddenly the armored titan straightened; the hard plates creaking with the movement and returned to the fresh hole he had made in the wall.
Looking down, Bertholdt saw that the titans were trying to climb, but there was no support and they fall knocking the others down like bowling. The vision was funny, but unfortunately in every attempt, the titans were leaving craters on the rock and using them as a ladder.
"So .. titan has the ability to learn, damn it!"
Time to move again.
The horse returned obediently to bertholdt after hearing the whistle. The brunet decided to leave the riding equipment behind; because if it had to make a quick escape, putting the equipment would spend a lot of time, and besides, the equipment was useless now.
"Come on boy."
The horse trotted slowly at first, and then began to gain speed. The brunet looked back as if to say good-bye. The freaks do not reach the edge yet, but he could already hear the noise of stone breaking by the force of the titans' fingers. It was only a matter of time before they climbed up, but until, bertholdt was already far away.
Hills, forests and mountains, hills, forests and again these fucking mountains. It was all the same outside the walls ... well there were some beautiful landscapes, like waterfalls, field of flowers and gorges that reached the clouds, but of course! It's was incest of titans, so it couldn't be appreciated for long.
It was about noon when Bertholdt spotted an old wooden house near a river with walls full of mucus and creeping plants springing up here and there. He dismounted from the horse, trusting that the animal would not go very far and entered the house or what was left of it. He planned to find nothing, Berth only wanted to explore the interior of the house out of curiosity; after all this was the dream of the survige corps .. to find vistigues of the before world and solve this puzzle, and since he was here, why not?
Was dark inside and the rotten wood floor creaked beneath his feet. The brunet had to be careful and took one step at a time; because he was entering a house more than a hundred years old, and the probability that the ceiling fall on his head was huge.
Bertholdt screamed as the floor fell under the weight of his foot. Termites and other disgusting bugs left the fresh hole to seek another corner to hide.
Okay, it was just an accident ... nothing to worry, thought Bertholdt.
Some fruit bats hissed at him, indignant at the lack of privacy and fly away. Bertholdt swallowed the fear and entered the darkest corridor illuminated only by a faint light that went through the holes in the ceiling. He observed how the furnishings and the structure of the house were suffering with the action of time. Now that the humans were not here,the nature was partying.
Diverting of some webs of spiders and trying to get as far as possible from a nest of wasps, the brunet finally reached a room. It was not a very large room, and there was nothing interesting; but in the corner of the room, something caught his eye. On top of a desk was something hidden under a long white cloth ... or it was white.
He grabbed one end of the cloth and with a sudden movement he pulled it. A cloud of dust got up making bertholdt close his eyes and cough. When the dust died out and Bertholdt could open his eyes, he saw that on the desk there was a metal box with latches on the side.
He was a little distressed whether he should open the box or not, but his curiosity spoke louder. Bertholdt brought his hands up to the latches that opened easily, and then pulled the box lid upward revealing several pieces of colored cloth. Scouring with one hand, he discovered that under the cloths were sewing materials and simple tools, but then something surprised him. In the bottom of the box there was a book with a drawing of a man giving a flower bunch to a woman .. a novel? Fascinated, Bertholdt took the book to examine it more closely and opened some pages. At first berth thought that the book was written in another language that the humanity of before used .. but he was surprised when he discovered that the book was in english. So english language was a lot older than I thought. Hanji would love to hear this information.
The brunet shrieked and almost dropped the book when he heard a hissing of a snake. He turned in time to see a long saithe tail disappear on the other side of the door.
Better get out of here soon, he thought.
He took some needles, line rolls, and tools from the box that he thought were important and put in a bag including the novel. Lend turns to get out of there, Bertholdt noticed that there were pictures on the walls, coming closer to look, he noted that it was the image of an elderly couple.
How did they live before these titans showed up? Better .. how would the people of before lived in this world? This was a question that would never find an answer; because humanity lost its connections with the past, only a few story books still contained something, but many believed that stories were invented.
Speaking of history, Berth remembered Armin. The blonde loves to share his books and always emphasized the sea and also said that one day he would see.
Wait! Armin was on the expedition too! Bertholdt thought
Shaking his head to ward off the bad thoughts, Bertholdt left as quickly as possible of the "half-mortified" house. Now near the banks of the river, where the spotted horse grazed as if nothing were happening. Bertholdt noticed that in one corner there was one crucifix made of scraps of metal almost hidden in the thicket.
He tilted his head thinking about the image of an elderly couple he'd seen, and wondering why there was only one crucifix and not two, but slapped him mentally when he realized such stupidity. How the second person could "self bury"?
Berth looked up. The two emeralds reflecting the blue sky that was replaced almost immediately by a dark clouds.
He wished that Armin .. no, that all his friends were alive and that one day they could see the sea together as they always wanted, undoubtedly this is an impossible dream, but is always those small hopes that motivates us to rise and continue. The first raindrops on his face took him out of his thoughts.
He needs to find a shelter soon.
Now with his attention turned to the horse, Bertholdt realized that the animal had his head up and the ears moved carefully to catch the sound, and it didn't appear to be the sounds of the thunders.
"Hey boy, what's the probl-!"
He was cut off by the distant howls of the wolves. Maybe this wasn't a good time to chat ... especially with a horse.
It was a bit difficult at first to ride the horse without the riding equipment, but the feeling of holding a mane of the animal instead of the net, was freedom (and it looks like the horse was happy for not being pulled by reins). That made him remember one night in the barracks when Armin was in the bunk reading a book with a candle beside him. The blonde had commented on a page that said about the Indians, an ancient people who had an exotic culture: own language, made no use of money, painted the body, wore weapons with materials easy to find in nature and mounted horses without any type of equipment. The cadets who were nearby laughed at him and compared him as a naive child who believed in everything, but immediately they shut up and invented something to do when Mikasa stared at them. Those were good times.
The rain became intense and the night began to reign over the land when bertholdt reached on a mountain, diverting from some titans in the way that fortunately were few. The horse stumbled a few times because of the erosion and with that rain the situation would get worse.
Bertholdt clutched the cloak over his body in an attempt to protect himself from the cold, but the green cloth was already very wet. He needed to find a shelter soon, or he will have to face hypothermia.
The tall man shrieked when the horse's foreleg slid, but managed to regain his balance, avoiding a fall.
"Easy boy ,easy"
Said Bertholdt, patting the long neck of the exhausted animal.
The green eyes widened in fear as lightning snapped nearby, but thanks to the light that the lightning projected for a few seconds was enough for the brunet see a cave hidden among the wild vegetation.
Bertholdt dismounted from the horse and approached the cave to examine. There weren't footprints or remains of food, probably no animal lived there, but for precaution, Bertholdt put two fingers in his mouth and whistled to scare off snakes or other undesirable bugs.
There was no response coming from inside the cave. Satisfied, he entered the darkness of the cave, followed by the spotted horse. The interior wasn't very deep, but it was enough to accommodate both.
The exhausted horse collapsed on the dirt floor. Berth sat down beside him and stroked the taut torso of the animal that soon fell asleep.
"Thanks buddy" Murmured Bertholdt.
He tightened the cloak around his body and ate the last bran of the cereal bar; his stomach begged for more, but he'll have to put up with it until tomorrow. Bertholdt looked at the rain out there and noticed that began to fall hail. He wished the storm would erase any clues the titans could catch to follow his trail.
His eyelids became more and more heavy and his head seemed to weigh tons on tired shoulders. He couldn't stand to stay awake any longer. Bertholdt cuddled his body with the sleeping horse's torso and rested his head on the soft and comforting fur, enjoying the warmth that the animal offers.
Bertholdt finally gave in and closed his eyes, allowing the darkness to envelop him. Tomorrow going to be a good day ... perhaps.
I changed Marco's story a bit, Instead of being admitted to the military police brigade, he joined the Survey Corps, but was eventually killed by the titans anyway.
The relationship between Bertholdt and the horse was based on the characters Alice and Soldier from The Passage by Justin Cronin
Chapter 2: Bad Day Ever
Come on Berth. Wake up to another miserable day.
I'm sorry for the delay of this chapter, but the college is pushing my limits.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"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.
yes I know, I'm a fanatical survival stuff.
Chapter 3: I Miss You
The Survey Corps comes back, but of course, without our favorite sweaty prince.
I really like this couple Annie x Bertholdt. So I decided to write this special chapter to demonstrate the strong feelings one had for the other.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Bertholdt crawled with difficulty along the bank of the river. Every muscle hurts with the effort, due to the bruises he won by colliding with the rocks at the bottom of the river while being carried by the stream until falling in a waterfall.
The brunet failed when he distanced himself enough from the water and took long breaths. He couldn't believe, for a moment he was sure he saw death pass before his eyes during the fall, but now Bertholdt could only hear his heart beating desperately and the annoying opera performed by the insects, remembering that he was still alive and he didn't know if he should be grateful.
Bertholdt kept to rest for a while without caring about the rain over his head, but he soon remembered his situation. The brunet gathered the little strength he still had and get up, moaning of pain in the process, but he did. Because of the total darkness of the night, Berth can't see in detail his surroundings, but by the silhouettes he deduced that he was in another forest of giant trees. Different from the others, this forest had a dense undergrowth.
A titan could easily hide here. Bertholdt thought with disgust.
Fortunately it was night and the moon wasn't full, well .. actually the moon was in the growing phase, it wasn't going to take long for the full moon phase; but even though he will not have to worry about titans.. at least until now, Bertholdt still needed to find a safe place to spend the night. The rain had calmed down, it would soon stop; however Berth was all drenched and bruised, his clothes torn in several places and he was at risk of catching a cold and to make matters worse, all his belongings were taken away by the current, including the weapons, the green cloak and the old romance (now he would never know the end), that is, Berth was unarmed and vulnerable.
I hope the horse is fine. Thought Bertholdt
With purpose in mind, Berth entered the forest.. staggering and stumbling sometimes due to fresh injuries, but with one step at a time, Bertholdt was going. Now inside the jungle, Berth can better repair the environment around him; the forest consisted mainly of giant hollow trees with tall and bulky tops, which blocked much of the rain and the wind like a giant umbrella, and its roots were as broad as the trunks, and made a tangle on the surface of the earth like a nest of snakes.. in this case, a nest of giant snakes. Besides the giant trees, the undergrowth was also predominant. Several shrubs and trees of small size competed space between the confusion of giant roots.
"A machete would be very useful right now," Bertholdt said in a bad mood tone as he pushed his way through the jungle, pushing branches and vines out of the way.
How can this vegetation sustain itself? He asked mentally. Because of these giant trees, the light can barely reach the ground, but anyway the undergrowth was rich here. It seems Bertholdt will have to carry the doubt with him.
While exploring, a bright yellow spot in the middle of a bush caught his attention. at first Bertholdt thought it was a firefly, but when he approached, he noticed that the "spot" was too big to be an insect and it didn't move. Now closer, Bertholdt was surprised .. it was a flower. A fluorescent flower !? Turning his head, Bertholdt realized that there were more "bright spots" in the forest, and they were not all yellow, there were all the colors of the rainbow.
"This is... pretty beautiful" Said Bertholdt with a smile forming on his face. For all the bad things that happened to him during his journey, anything pleasant would be welcome.
Guided by the poor light that fluorescent flowers emit, Bertholdt discovered by the way other beings that glow in the dark like conguments, fungi and certain leaves of some creeping plants. Bertholdt inclined his head in doubt. Is this a way that nature has developed to survive in such conditions? In one of Armin's books, talk about bacteria and small beings that have evolved in function to adapt to hot or cold environments. Anyway, it was interesting to meet new biomes.
Tired of gaining new cuts on the skin because of dense thicket, Bertholdt climbed a giant root with some difficulty, but he was able to find the strength to endure the pain. Berth walked carefully over the labyrinth of giant roots, because there were several slippery parts here and there, and he was not interested in gaining new injuries, but for lack of clarity, this task became difficult.
Without realizing that he had stepped on a pile of mold, Bertholdt screams in shock as he feels his foot slide sideways, almost making the rest of the body fall together; but by the quick reflexes, Berth managed to grab a tangle of vines and keep him balanced.
"That was close" He said with a sigh of relief.
The fall wasn’t going to be disastrous anyway, because the superficial roots weren’t so high; he was only one meter off the ground, but thanks to the little scare, Bertholdt noticed a small crack in the tree, hidden by the giant roots and bushes. Well.. actually there were many shelters in this forest, because it had hollow trees and a confusion of roots; however Bertholdt wanted to find a narrower and inaccessible place, so that even a titan of three meters can't catch him. This small crack is perfect to spend a night... or to be his new home
Bertholdt jumped out of the root and regreted when a unbearable pain crossed his body. The brunet knelt and put his hands around his right leg. Where a stream of blood revealed itself, staining his careless clothing. The wound opened. Lurching, he walked toward the small crack he had found in the tree, and then collected some dried branches and leaves that he found near his new shelter, to start a small fire using two stones, but before making sure to put other stones around the pile, just for precaution.
The fire offered a comfortable warmth in the small crack. Bertholdt was sitting with his injured leg stretched out, while he was with open palms on the fire to warm up. He would like to enjoy the heat for longer, but the throbbing pain in his leg needed care. Berth took from his pocket the needle and the roll of thread that he had taken in the abandoned house, that fortunately wasn't taken by the river by the fact that he was carrying it in his pocket; because he dreaded lose the bag, so he carried it in his pocket since they were small objects .. and he was grateful for it.
The suturing process was slow and painful. His skin burned in pain every time the needle penetrated him, but he would have to endure because he knew that his life depended on it; if he infected he wouldn't have medical help here, and that would mean his death. As he sutured his leg, Bertholdt remembered the expressionless and beautiful face of Annie. She kept her facial expressions frozen even when she was suturing a wound in her pale skin as if it meant nothing, including she who taught Bertholdt this technique, because Annie said that: I can't take care of you all the time! She was right anyway, we can't keep under someone's wing forever.
Now he wondered if beneath her disinterested mask, she worried about him .. or if she missed him, because he does.
Without realizing it, he had already arrived at the end of the wound. Bertholdt pulled the line to join the wound and then cut the line with his tooth. To cover the sutured wound, Berth tore a strip of his shirt, and used it as bandage, wrapping tightly around his leg to protect the bruised area.
After taking care of his leg, Bertholdt kept awake. He didn't have enough confidence to lower his guard, mainly because he was in an unknown and scary place, where each silhuetta looked like a monster lurking, but gradually the weariness proved to be stronger than his eyelids. Before Bertholdt could realize, he was already sleeping in a fetal position, because of the lack of space inside the shelter.
"They are back!"
"The Survey Corps is back"
Exclaimed some citizens who were soon crowded in the streets in expectation.
Annie was doing her morning workouts near a stream she had found, to stay away from the other cadets when she heard the alert.
The survey corps came back earlier than expected, she thought.
And there was only one reason for that. She thought about returning her workouts, but the feelings checking a certain tall man with sweat problems, corroded her inside. In order to cross the crowd that gathered around the gate. Annie used her maneuvering equipment and moved graciously through the buildings. Other cadets followed her idea and wandered over the buildings, above the crowd until they gathered on top of a roof of building next to the gate to have a better view.
They entered, the survey corps .. or what's left of them, led by the dwarf known as Levi. Eren and Armin were still alive, which was no surprise to Annie, since they had an overprotective asian mother with them. The frozen eyes scanned face to face looking for a certain shy giant, but when she recognized none and the gates were closed, she felt her soul rip in half.
She refused to believe the idea that Bertholdt died and came back to looking for him. He could have entered the crowd, but Annie found this probability impossible; she was sure that she let nothing pass, and the green cloak would stand out from the crowd.
She looked into each face again, this time with more despair. Again no results.
Annie came down from the building using her maneuvering equipment, and landed elegantly near a wagon, that there were corpses or just what was left wrapped in a white sheet. It was difficult to make the way to the wagon, because there were several people who also wanted to check the bodies, and also those who recognized the faces of the corps refused to leave obstructing the passage further.
These laments are fucking annoying. She thought
Annie pushed the citizens mercilessly along the way, some people complained, but she was too sharp to answer them. Now that she was close enough to the wagon. Annie pulled abruptly the white sheet revealing the bloody bodies. Some citizens put their hands in their mouths in fright, and the parents covered the sight of their children. Annie didn't give a shit about what those idiots in the middle of the road say. Her priority was to find her Bertholdt. Yes, exactly, her Bertholdt; however Berth wasn't under those sheets. Actually Annie didn't want him to be there, which gave a little hope for her.
The blonde turned around and didn't please replace the sheet. She didn't know if that was a good sign or not. Bertholdt had gone unnoticed by her vision or he had been swallowed whole by a fucking titan, she hoped it was the first.
Suddenly Annie felt a hand on her shoulder. She was about to turn around and punch the face of the stranger, but she recognized the thin fingers without calluses.
"You're looking for Bertholdt, right?"
She turned to meet Armin and planned to say something like 'this is none of your business', but she had a certain respect for the blond, and Armin could say about Bertholdt.
"I do." She replied dryly, in the hope that the blond didn't see her concern, but he already did.
"I'm so sorry Annie, But Bertholdt's group was attacked by abnormal titans.. and there were no signs of survivors. " Armin said calmly.
They shouldn't have come back to see if there was a survivor, she thought.
Annie was ready to turn around without saying anything, but Armin was being nice to her. A word wouldn't hurt.
“Thank you for informing me." She said more emotionlessly possible, for don't show that her heart was bruised. Then walked in the opposite direction.
When she arrived in a field, far enough out of sight of other people. Annie collapsed with her back pressed into a tree, wrapped her arms around her legs and propped her head between them.
She always imagined that she would be strong enough in any situation, but it proved that her heart was not as hard as a crystal, how she thought it was.
"Damn you Bertholdt! You were ranked 3rd in the training corps. You didn't have to risk your life outside!" She screamed Mentally, but she knew it wouldn't bring him back.
She remained in that position for a long time, refusing to let the tears fall. Inside her head now it was just a whirlwind of unspoken words and non-sharing sentiments.
The last sentence: "Unspoken words and non-sharing sentiments" Was based on the conversation between Tex and Rachel from The Last Ship series (Season 2, episode 12).
Chapter 4: Black Forest
No more Annie .. but i introduce someone new ..
Bertholdt woke brutally with a gasp, and then dragged her body into a seated position. He made deep breaths and tried to focus on the present moment, to remind him that they were just dreams. bad dreams.
“These dreams again..” Bertholdt said with a certain sadness in his eyes.
He reached out his hand to wipe the cold sweat from his forehead, and then checked his wounds from the night before. The skin around him was pink and beginning to heal, and there were no signs of infection, but he will still stagger for the rest of the day.
Berth made an effort to get up, but the pain made him sit down. He sighed and looked around looking for anything he could do an improvised walking stick, thankfully twigs is what's not missing in this jungle. Bertholdt struggled with his body, but managed to drag into a nearby bush and break a dry branch to use as a walking stick.
“I think it will work”
The dry branch was a little small, but Bertholdt got the hang of it. Now that he could move around better, Berth collected some branches and vines in order to make a tent for his new home, and in the process, Bertholdt noticed something that he couldn't last night; the foliage of the forest had tones of dark green, almost black, which left the forest seem a dark and chaotic place. If this forest of giant trees were given a name, it would be Black Forest.
His stomach growled badly as he tied a few branches used the vines. He hadn't eaten since yesterday, perhaps would be better to leave his project to satisfy his physiological needs .. well, anyway the tent was almost ready, it was only necessary to fill another meter of the "ceiling" and ready, his shelter would gain a new extension.
Bertholdt used a small stone to mark the trunks so as not to be lost, because all the corners of this forest look the same, it was easy to get lost here. As he explored the new environment, Berth was impressed to find no titan, or any sign that they were here.
Perhaps they prefer places with greater visibility. Bertholdt thought.
Because generally their agglomerations were always in open places, even the abnormal used to stay on prairies or near the walls. So while Bertholdt was hiding in this thicket, he was safe.
In the corner of his eye, Berth saw rabbits and squirrels sneaking through the forest. He thought of alternatives to hunt them, but they were fast animals and Bertholdt will never be able to grab one in that depressing state. He had no choice but to eat wild berries until he had a fucking stomach ache. At least Berth can not complain that he's hungry.
"I have to make a new bow and arrow urgently!" Bertholdt said with a grimace.
Recalling that he still had work to do, Bertholdt turned to retrace the path, but froze at the sight. In front of him, there was a giant tree with the trunk marked with long scratches, it was as if an animal were sharpening its claws, in this case .. a giant animal.
Could a titan have done that? Bertholdt thought incredulously.
Titans have nails, but not sharp, even a abnormal. so what could have caused those traits in the trunk of the tree, natural causes? Bertholdt looked around for a clue; maybe it was just another tree that fell and bumped, causing the scratches ... but there was no other fallen tree, but there were other trees with more claw marks.
Bertholdt walked with his cane and studied the scratches. Had a methodology, each marked tree had almost the same distance between them, it was marking of a territory. Something intelligent and doesn't like visitors did this, maybe Bertholdt is not as safe as he thought.
"Oh my God-!" Before Bertholdt could finish he fell into a "hole," where there was a puddle of water formed by last night's rain.
The pain in his leg awakened with an insurmountable explosion that made Bertholdt scream. He had to remain curled in the puddle with his hands around his leg until the pain had dissipated, then he took the hands off around his leg and thanked mentally for not finding any sign of blood, indicating that the wound was opened, but cursed by the muddy puddles. Bertholdt reached for his makeshift cane and used it to balance, being careful not to worsen the injury to his leg, the brunet came out of the hole.
"Look where you're going," Bertholdt scolded himself.
As soon as he straightened out of the hole, Berth turned and gaped at what he saw; the hole was shaped like a giant foot, that is, a footprint of a titan. By size, Berth calculated that it would be a titan of fifteen meters, but what left him in doubt, was the depth of the footprint. A titan of fifteen meters is extremely heavy, but would not be able to cause a "crater" on the ground. Maybe it was a very fat titan.
Bertholdt looked around for more clues and realized that there were more holes in the shape of a giant foot ahead. In curiosity, the brunet dropped his cane, and climbed between the giant roots and using some slits in the trunk to hold on. Now that he was on top and had a broader view, Bertholdt noticed that the footprints followed the markings of the tree. There was no doubt, it was a titan who had sunk its nails into the trunks, and to make matters worse, Bertholdt's camp was within the territory of this titan.
"Great ... just great" Bertholdt said ironically. It seems that whenever Bertholdt thinks he has reached the bottom of the pit, the ground opens beneath his feet, and Berth sits down in the blackness.
The tall boy started his descent, but eventually he stepped on a mud and found himself falling, this time there were no vines, and ended falling with his butt on the ground. Fortunately he did not hit his injured leg, but the shame of being so clumsy hit him.
"Fuck!” Exclaimed Bertholdt angrily.
Bertholdt got up with a sigh and retrieved his cane. Finding the way of his house was not so difficult, for besides the scribbles he made with the stones, there were branches and leaves dented from where he passed, and there were also the footprints left by his boots on the forest floor, thanks to rain from last night that leave the earth soft.
Arriving in his makeshift shelter in the crevasse of the giant tree, Bertholdt finished tying the branches with the vines completing his tent, and sharpened some branches to make stakes that would be used to make a fence and also to ward off predators, though that wouldn’t be enough to protect himself from his "neighbor."
The brunet was about to go out to look for more wood when suddenly he heard a noise of leaf being crushed. Bertholdt turned in time, when a "giant black cat" growled and jumped on top of him with his teeth and claws in view, trapping him on the ground with its strength and size. Before the feline could give the fatal bite on his neck, Berth raised his right arm and placed it between the feline's jaw to gag him, as he used his left arm and legs to push the feline out of him.
This "giant cat" was a black jaguar, Berth recalled when Armin had shown a page in his book that said about big cats such as: lynx, puma, leopards, tigers, lions, and of course, jaguars. Usually near the walls it was common to see some pumas and jaguars, but Berth had never seen a black jaguar with a coat that almost made the pimples imperceptitious, and he didn’t want to see one while his right arm was subdued by the pain of the pressure that the sharp teeth did in his skin, tearing his flesh and letting the blood flow and drip on Bertholdt's face.
The unmistakable scent of blood seems to have made the beast madder and began to shake Bertholdt's arm to worsen his wound. The brunet groaned in pain and reinforced his attempts to push the jaguar out of him, but the animal was stubborn and possessed and wouldn’t let go its food so easy.
While the animal seemed distracted by its painful torture, Bertholdt moved his head to the side looking for something to help him, then saw a stake next to him on the ground, the tip was badly sanding what didn’t make it sharp, but it was better than nothing.
Bertholdt extended his arm, but the pressure that the feline’s paw on his shoulder made it difficult to reach the stake. The jaguar reinforced its attack, sinking its teeth more deeply into Bertholdt's arm and applying more force into the claws that gripped the shoulders of its prey in place. Berth grunted and also reinforced his efforts, kicking the feline's belly with his legs and trying to stretch his free arm to pick up the stake.
"Come on, come on!" Bertholdt said desperately.
The stake was near and at the same time so far. There were only a few centimeters left for Bertholdt's slender fingers to reach the stake. With an idea in mind, Berth moved his head and bit the feline's paw that was holding his shoulder to the ground. Bertholdt's bite was nothing compared to the force the jaguar's jaw pressed into his arm, but it served for the jaguar to retrace its paw a little by scare, consequently enabling Bertholdt to move his arm better and pick up the stake.
The brunet screamed and stuck the stake into the jaguar's eye that immediately left Bertholdt. The black feline snarled and writhed in pain, putting the paw on theface to try to remove the strange object inside its eye. The tall boy took advantage and jumped behind the jaguar, snaking his arms around the cat's neck to stifle it. The black jaguar fought back, but with the Bertholdt on its back, it was impossible to injure him with teeth or claws, and more and more that the air of life was removed from the feline. Jaguar's movements were slow and slow until the jaguar found no more strength to resist and there was no choice but to accept the death.
Bertholdt remained with his arms around the jaguar for a little longer, to make sure that the animal was dead, and then let it go. The jaguar fell limp as a doll. Berth felt insane for what he did, he never killed anyone, just titans, but if he hadn’t, it would be Bertholdt instead of the jaguar now, and surely the feline would have no pity for what did.
It's killing or being killed. Bertholdt thought.
At least tonight Bertholdt will have flesh. The brunet took off the stake from the eyeball of the jaguar and dragged the lifeless body by the tail into his shelter, where berth took care of his new wounds, and take off the hairs from within his mouth that he acquired when he bit the paw of the jaguar..
“Gross..” said Bertholdt as the take off the last black pelt of his teeth.
After Bertholdt concluded that himself is okay, the brunet began the delicate process of skinning to remove the black skin of the jaguar he learned from Annie. At first Berth used vines as a rope and tied it as close as possible to the top of the feline’s neck, and then hung in one of the extensions of his new tent the animal with the head up, to facilitate the removal of the organs and decrease the chances of contamination of the meat.
"Okay, here I go.." Said Bertholdt without enthusiasm.
Because Bertholdt did not own any knife, he had to use one of his sharper stakes that he had to cut the lower abdomen membrane to begin the process of gutting the corpse of the feline, but with extra care for the stomach and intestines remain intact. The process to remove the organs was slow and disgusting, Berth only spared the kidneys and liver so he could eat later. To maintain the cleanliness of the environment, Bertholdt provided a large container made of clay so that the viscera removed from the cavity are poured.
The last organ to be removed was the bladder, it was not difficult to find it, because the bladder is similar to a translucent balloon, filled with a yellow liquid (urine). Bertholdt held the bladder firmly so that it remained closed while he used the point of the stake to cut it from the abdominal cavity, without the liquid being drained. After all the process of gutting is already a horrors scene, adding the stench of urine, it would be insupportable.
Now that the flesh has been removed from within the abdominal cavity, Berth has begun the process of skinning, cutting around the top of the neck, and then towards the sternum, then passing through the belly, pelvis and forepaws. It was boring and time-consuming work, but Bertholdt needed to stay focused so he was careful to cut only the parts he interest, not the muscles or abdominal tissues. To finish, Bertholdt pulled the skin from the neck and shoulders toward of the chest. For skinning with the hand, Bertholdt had to pull slowly and cut the tissues that connected to the muscles. Advancing a little at a time.
Now that he was pussing his precious skin, Bertholdt let go of the jaguar's head, which fell softly on the ground, then he collected all the remains that would not be useful to him, took the cane and left his shelter. Bertholdt walked for half an hour until he arrived at the waterfall from which he had fallen last night, because of the momy bear, and then poured all the contents into the river, so he wouldn’t attract predators, and the fish could feast.
On the other side of the riverbank, Bertholdt was intrigued by the creature he saw; Was it a striped horse? The brunet tilted his head in doubt. Was this horse white with black stripes or the reverse? But then his mind cleared when he remembered that Armin showed him a page from his book about an environment known as savannah. In one of the images of this page had the photo of this "striped horse" and the title read: Zebra.
Bertholdt watched the zebras with fascination, until he realized that there was another horse that was not striped, but spotted ... and familiar, it was Marco's horse. The brunet smiled and was happy that the horse is well. Now the animal had enjoyed a free and wild life.
Now that his work was done, Berth turned and began to retrace his path, for he feared he would lose his lunch to another uninvited animal. Unfortunately Berth had forgotten to mark the way and now he would spend more time to return to his house, and to make matters worse, the clarity was dissipating as the sun hid behind the horizon. The tall boy sighed and entered the black thicket, looking for his way home.
"Damn it! All the corners look the same here!" Exclaimed Bertholdt as he searched the way back.
He explored around him for some clue, until he found some crumpled bushes and a few footprints of his boot on the floor, indicating that Bertholdt had passed by. The brunette sighed heavily and followed the trail. With the arrival of the night, the fluorescent flowers began to decorate the landscape with its unique shine, and offering Bertholdt a reasonable amount of light to guide himself through the forest.
Then the earth beneath Bertholdt's feet trembled. The tall boy froze without understanding what it was, until he felt the vibration again and again, this time stronger. Bertholdt had begun to sweat when he realized what it was, then another trembled shook the earth and woke Bertholdt out of the trance. He ran behind a giant tree to hide. These trembled were steps, titan steps.
Bertholdt closed his eyes and tried to control his breathing. Now the trembled were already very strong, indicating that the titan was near. From the high crash caused by the steps, Bertholdt deduced that this titan was responsible for the deep footprints and the markings on the trees.
Berth moved his neck to meet his "neighbor" but making sure he was still hidden behind the tree. The titan was walking in the opposite direction, so Bertholdt could only see his back. The lack of clarity didn’t help much, but it was enough to see that it was a titan of fifteen meters with an impressive physical. This was the strongest titan Bertholdt had ever seen ... after the colossal titan. However the detail that caught his attention was that his skin was made up of seemingly hard material.
Bertholdt realized with a shock that he recognized this titan. It was the armored titan, the responsible for the violation of the Maria wall ... and the death of his mother.
Suddenly the armored titan stopped and turned his head back abruptly, his golden eyes scanning over the shoulders. Bertholdt retreated as fast as he could behind the tree, praying the titan had not seen him. For a few seconds there was no sound indicating change, which made Bertholdt's heart race and sweat more. Was the titan still looking in his direction? Were him waiting for Bert to come out of hiding? Millions of questions ran through his head, which was not helping to calm down.
The armored titan looked over his shoulder at the human's hiding place, and wondered how a frail being had gotten so far from his group and came here. He could not see the human, but he could smell it. The mere thought of eating the unfortunate was mouth-watering, but the armored titan rejected that idea. He didn’t want to be compared to his other brothers who had no other purpose in life, just chase and eat humans. Maybe it would be a good idea to kill the human, crush him under his feet so he would not have to face future problems.
The armored titan snorted, some steam spewed through the cracks in his jaw, then continued on his way. The human would die anyway.
Noticing that the tremors were distancing, Bertholdt let out the air he didn’t realize he was holding. . With no more time lost, Berth ran as quickly as possible to his shelter. His makeshift home could not protect him if the titan changed his mind, but his shelter was his safety image, like a child running under the blanket when was afraid.
Arriving in his shelter, Berth collapsed on the floor until his breathing and heartbeat settled. . He could not believe it, he survived the meeting of the armored titan, and worse, Berth was in his territory. Then his stomach growled, taking out his negative thoughts. . The brunet made a small pile with dry twigs and put some stones around, then started a fire with two stones. While cooking his meat, Bertholdt was thinking about of the armored titan.
"Why didn't you ... kill me?" Bertholdt said in a whisper.
He didn't understand what happened there. Could it be that the armored titan did not see him? But the titan has been standing still for a while, surely the titan must have at least smelled him.. or the smell of sweat isn't very appetizing. Bertholdt laughed at the thought. But the mystery remained in the air.
Berth tightened his new coat made of the black jaguar's skin on his shoulders. Anyway he was still alive, and he couldn’t be more grateful.
Chapter 5: Acquaintance?
The moment arrived that everyone waited!
"Arg!" Berttholdt exclaimed angrily as the fish escaped his hand.
Fishing with the hand is not easy, that Berth learned. He was already trying to catch a fish for hours, but Bertholdt had no patience and ended up rubbing his thin fingers a lot, causing the prey to perceive the presence and swim away. Annie always managed to get a handful of fish with extreme ease, she said that fish is the most fool aquatic creature. But it seems the fish are making Bertholdt a fool.
With patience exhausted, Bertholdt stood up from the river bank and walked back to his shelter. Luckily Berth had managed to hunt a rabbit earlier, using his new bow and arrow. Now that he has new weapons, Berth doesn’t need eating those wild berries until they were sick.
It had been three days since Bertholdt had met the armored titan and since then Bertholdt saw no sign of him; but sometimes Bertholdt could swear he heard a roar echoing through the giant trees, making him stay awake all night. He wasn’t sure if it was the titan or other animal because Berth never heard what kind of sound the armored titan produces.
Bertholdt walked over one of the giant roots to avoid going through the thicket. Now that Berth knows the forest better, he does not need to mark all the way he goes, although he has already been lost for at least twice in this maze. The brunet jumped from the giant root, his leg was already better to withstand the impact.
"Home sweet home," Said Bertholdt in front of his shelter.
In these last days, Bertholdt had made great strides in the structure of his new house; he made some simple traps around his camp with the materials that the forest offered him and also strengthened his fence with more stakes with a few stones at the base in order to stay protected against predators .. although it isn’t effective against titans .. but would be useful against a black jaguar at least.
Bertholdt passed the fence carefully so as not to cut himself off with the pointed stakes, fortunately Berth had long legs. He could sneak easily, but Berth made a mental note to build a gate in the future. Now inside his safe area, Berth kicked weakly at one of the pillars of his tent to test his recent reforms, using wood, stones, vines and clay. The tent didn’t tremble or show signs of weakness. Bertholdt smiled in satisfaction. At least the tent would withstand heavy rains and gusts, though much of it would be blocked by the giant trees.
Much of his accomplishments were made by the knowledge he acquired with his friend Annie, though Berth never understood why Annie's family taught these severe lessons to her. Whenever Bertholdt asked about it, Annie always spoke in a casual monotonous tone 'To survive in this world'. He never asks back what it meant, but it seems he now understands very well.
Bertholdt shook his head. Why does he always think of her like that all of a sudden?
Maybe because I do not want to forget her. Bertholdt thought sadly.
As soon as he had finished his meal, Berth placed the rest of the rabbit into a vasil, which he had made with clay which he had found near the river, then poured the remains into his little vegetable garden, so that the organic remains could fill the damp earth; although Bertholdt is worried that it would attract predators .. like that feline that almost cut off his arm, but Berth believes his traps will account for the service.
After checking to see if his camp was fine, Bertholdt armed himself with his new machete and put a small knife made of sharp stone into the hem of his pants. Now that Bertholdt was ready, he left his shelter.
His goal was to study the terrain, to enjoy that the sun still occupied the sky and to unravel this jungle. This was one of Annie's other teachings, she said that knowing the terrain gave her advantages against her enemy ... in this case the titans. Bertholdt still didn’t know this forest in the palm of the hand and does not even know the extent of it, but with his minimal forest entanglement, Bert was able to mentally map some narrow passages, so in case a titan is in his tail Bertholdt would have alternatives to escape.
Bertholdt entered the wild labyrinth, using the machete to make his way through the black foliage. During his perusal, Bertholdt found nothing interesting, only springs, hives, giant anthills and burrows. At first Berth thought that these burrows belonged to the hares, but when he saw bone debris near the entrance, Bertholdt deduced that these burrows belonged to foxes.
The tall boy sighed, then raised his hand to wipe the sweat from his forehead, but then he froze. There was a black hairy spider with six red eyes the size of his palm, on his arm. The reaction was immediate. Bertholdt cried out and abruptly shook his arm to get rid of this animal, and Berth involuntarily walked backwards, not without realizing that some vines had tangled in his feet, causing him to stumble and fall into a hole. His little knife came out of its hem when Bertholdt fell.
He stood up in exasperation, looking around and checking his body, but found no sign of the spider. Then a chill crossed the Bertholdt's spine. The brunet moved slowly his head down and discovered that this "hole" was a titan footprint ... and seemed to be a recent footprint; but it wasn't large or deep equal to that of the armored titan, probably that footprint was a titan of seven meters.
"Oh God .." It was the only thing that escaped Bertholdt's mouth.
He could not believe it. After being nearly killed several times and finally finding a safe shelter, Bertholdt had thought he had managed to build a stable life ... but he finds himself in a struggle for survival again.
Bertholdt was about to turn around when he remembered his little knife ... and the machete he must have missed when he shook himself. Berth looked around for his belongings when he heard a small sound. On top of a giant root, he had a monkey cub playing with the knife. He knew it was a monkey, for it was common to see these creatures near the walls feeding on fruit.
"Hey, little guy, can you give it back to me?" Bertholdt said as he approached the little monkey.
He showed no sign of discomfort at the approach of the human, probably because he was too distracted by the sharp object. When Bertholdt got close enough to the cub, the brunet slowly moved his hand up to his knife so as not to frighten him. The little monkey looked at him a few times, but he didn’t care, he just wanted his new toy. Bertholdt grabbed the barrel of the knife and tried to pull it as gently as he could, but the little monkey did not want to let go.
"Please, we don't have to take this the hard way."
Bertholdt tugged harder, almost dragging the little monkey along, then the puppy bit his hand. Bertholdt screamed and accidentally threw the little monkey along with the knife away. The cub fell with a moan and soon regained his posture, then the cub emitted a sharp and annoying sound that echoed through the giant trees.
Bertholdt massaged the bite area in his hand and cursed the flowing blood. This creature was only a cub, but has a strong jaw. Suddenly noises coming in the branches above his head caught the attention of Bertholdt. The brunet looked up and saw a cluster of monkeys in the upper part of the trees.
"You got to be kidding me!"
The monkeys hissed in unison and threw fruit, stones, and branches toward the slender boy. Bertholdt cursed and started a race while his primates friends chased him and threw whatever was in range ... fortunately they had a bad look, and Bertholdt was faster because of his long legs.
It took him about half an hour to get rid of these bullies monkeys, and Bertholdt realized with a shock that he was without his machete and knife, and that he was lost. He could retrace the path, but hostile primates wouldn’t welcome him.
Okay, no panic, I still have a lot of light. Bertholdt thought
Bertholdt looked around and then his eyes landed on a familiar tree of wild berries, which left him with a fucking bellyache three days ago. Bertholdt walked toward the tree and recognized the marks on the giant trunks and the crater in the foot format. Berth sighed in relief, he was no longer lost, but then cursed when he heard a loud growl and falling trees. Bertholdt turned in time to see a titan of seven meters falling toward him, knocking down several small trees and some branches of the tallest trees in the process. In order not to be crushed by a giant ass, Bertholdt ran behind a giant tree. The titan hit the ground causing a big bang and shaking the earth.
The brunet moved his head to look at the fallen titan. This titan was thrown? If so, by who? Then another detail caught his much more attention, the back of titan’s neck was exposed and steaming. The Titan was killed. Before Bertholdt could ask himself who did it. The armored titan emerged from the thicket and fell with the back to the ground with three titans on top of him.
The armored titan kicked off the titan of five meters who was trying to sink the teeth into his leg, then twisted his body, trapping the two ten-meter titans beneath him. Bertholdt watched in fascination as the titan armored smashed the titans' skull with his fists into a red puddle.The titan of five meters jumped in the armored titan’s back and tried again to sink his teeth, but the thick plate was impenetrable and very hard, consequently causing no damage to the armored titan.
The five meter titan snarled and struggled as the armored titan’s hand grabbed his neck and pulled him out, then he plucked the titan’s head off. Satisfied of his work, the armored titan released the corpse which fell with a crash to the ground and steamed out into the place where his head was.
Bertholdt pinched himself, he didn't believe what he had seen. The titan, who was responsible for the violation of the Maria Wall, the chaos in the city and several deaths, had only killed three Titans with his brute force. Bertholdt was in a trance with his thoughts and didn’t realize that the armored titan was looking at him now.
Is this human again ... because of him a group of titans had violated my territory, in the beginning I had managed to keep them on the edge through the roars, but these hollow-headed idiots think of nothing else but to eat .. and now I had to kill them. The Beast Titan is going to be mad at me if he finds out I killed some members of the pack, but anyway I do not care, I do not want those idiots raiding my yard.
Bertholdt stared at the golden eyes of the armored titan and a funny thought passed through his mind, that's how they met; Bertholdt hiding behind a tree and the armored titan looking toward him, but this time Berth was not hiding. The brunet was still, he didn’t know if he should run or not, the titan didn’t look like he was interested in eat him, otherwise he would have done it sooner. The brilliant eyes of the titan armored dimmed for a second and lit again, Bertholdt was incredulous, this titan just winked? Titans don’t have facile expressions, and much less move or blink the eye, they have only one face immovel, but this, even covered with a hard material, can express himself.
Bertholdt felt no fear as he looked at the greatest enemy of the human, he only felt curiosity and fascination, but then all those feelings evaporated as the titan armored gave a low grunt and clenched his fists.
I just need to kill this little bug and I will not have to deal with those jerks again. The human stepped back and showed signs of fear. He realized what I wanted to do .. but why did I have to kill him?
The titan softened his hand. Bertholdt looked surprised at the fifteen meters massif, not understanding the titan’s actions.
I have already caused the deaths of thousands of humans, using my body to destroy human fortresses, and consequently letting my brothers enter, but the purpose of this was not only to exterminate, it was only to maintain our dominion over humans. But I do not need to kill this human, he is apparently alone and scared, he has probably moved away from his group. This human isn’t a threat, no had reason to kill him.
The armored titan sighed a spurt of hot air and began to walk in the opposite direction. Bertholdt was as immobile as a statue, for a moment he thought he was about to die, but then the titan just ignored him .. again. Berth looked at the Titan's back as he moved away. Decided, Bertholdt walked towards the armored titan, in fact Berth had to run, because the Titan's steps had a great distance.
"Wait-!" Bertholdt exclaimed as loudly as he could and then choked and almost fell back as the armored titan looked backward with a warning growl.
Bertholdt tried to gather all his courage left, looked into the titan's eyes and said:
"P-please .. I just ... I .." Bertholdt tried to say something coherent, but all that came out of his lips was stuttering. Bertholdt looked at his feet with tearful eyes. God, he was an idiot. Maybe it would be better if titan killed him now.
The armored titan was intrigued, if the human is so afraid of him, why didn’t he just run, scream or anything as human does when scared? But instead, the little one was trying to communicate with him .. well the beast titan banned any communication with a human, and the armored titan never thought he would communicate with one, much less a human trying to communicate with a titan. The fifteen meters massif turned and sat kneeling with one knee on the floor to try to get closer to human level.
The emerald eyes met the brilliant gold. Bertholdt had no idea what to do now, he just wanted to be more assertive and find some answer, but found he was too fearful for that, then his eyes again stared at the ground, maybe the titan would ignore him again .. but he did not ignored, instead, the titan armored grabbed Bertholdt using two fingers. Bertholdt screamed and tried to break free, but his fingers pressed with overwhelming force, almost injuring his ribcage.
Berth couldn’t understand, why the titan had not tried to eat him before, but only now. Bertholdt closed his eye as the titan's hand brought him close to his jaw, that would be his end ... but the end never came, instead Bertholdt was only getting hot steam in his face. The brunet gathered courage and opened his eyes and found that he was facing the titan's jaw, though his jaw was closed.
Can’t this titan open his jaw? Impossible, after he had violated Maria Wall, the titan opened his jaw so that the excess steam would come out, but then why did this titan still have a closed jaw? Bertholdt got more steam in his face and realized with a shock that the titan armored was sniffing him. The armored titan moved away the human from his face, to the relief of Bertholdt, then the titan armored began to move his large hand sideways to examine that human. Bertholdt remained motionless on his fingers and unable to do anything while the titan examined him.
Was the titan as curious as he? Bertholdt thought.
Now that Bertholdt wasn’t as scared as before, Bert tried to talk to the titan. He doesn’t know how clever this titan could be. Hanji tried to do several tests to find out how titans are intelligent, but all failed. However the armored titan is different from the others, maybe he's smart as a human.
"H-hi" God, Bertholdt is stammering.
The reaction was immediate. The armored titan stopped examining him and just stared at Bertholdt. The titan had no idea what to do, maybe just put the human on the floor and walk again or just wait for the human to say something else. The titan chose the second option.
"Can y- you un-understand me?" Said Bertholdt, a little proud of himself for not having stuttered so much.
Well .. I understand the basics of your language because I already destroy several human fortresses around the world and I ended up acquiring a minimum knowledge and I am impressed that all these fortresses speak the same language, perhaps because before the arrival of the titans the humanity was a united civilization. But my vocal chords could never pronounce the English language, I just growl .. so how can I communicate with you? Making gestures?
The armored titan thought a little and remembered a gesture that humans with head to say ‘no’ or ‘yes’. Then the titan nodded. The human in his grasp smiled shyly.
Is this human so shy? The armored titan thought.
"Why didn’t you ... eat me?" Said Bertholdt.
What?! Are you comparing me to my idiot brothers? I don’t need to eat humans, the sun is my source of food!
The armored titan snarled low and showed teeth, a little steam coming out of the cracks. Bertholdt cringed and whimpered, that question must have made him angry. The titan stared at him and felt sorry for him frightened, that was not his purpose. He thought of some altenatives to calm the human, but he has no idea what to do, so he remembered a gestate that the forest animals did with their young.
Bertholdt screamed as the armored titan approached his large hand closer to the jaw again. The brunet cursed himself, he shouldn’t have asked that question, he fucking shouldn’t asked that question. Bertholdt remained motionless, waiting for the feel of his teeth tearing him in the middle, but all he received was ... licking?
The brunet opened his eyes, but then closed as his tongue passed over his face. That would be difficult to take off later. The armored titan moved his hand away, satisfied with his work and almost laughed at the human's disgusted expression, at least it was better than the expression of dread.
Bertholdt used his hands to remove the excess saliva from his face, was that a way for the titan to apologize? At least Bertholdt knows that the titan isn’t in order to eat him. The brunet thought of another question, and hoped he wouldn’t irritate the titan again.
"Do you have a name?" Said Bertholdt.
The armored titan tilted his head. He probably didn’t know what a name was, so Bertholdt tried to explain.
"Names are a denomination that ... we give to things" Bertholdt tried to explain more simply, but the titan just kept staring at him.
"My name is Bertholdt," he said, pointing to himself. "And yours?" He pointed at the titan.
I know what a name is! But I do not understand why you have a specific name, for me humans are just called humans, just as titans are called titans. We don’t need specific names for each one, we recognize each other by the smell, it would be very irrelevant .. wait, human doesn’t have a sharp sense of smell, so it's by the name that you recognize?
The titan thought for a moment, then he remembered a human word that this little one ... I mean, Bertholdt could use.
The titan used his free arm to point at the hard plate on his leg. Bertholdt looked at the region where the titan pointed and said:
"Your name is .. leg?"
What?! Thought armored titan.
The titan shook his head and tapped his finger repeatedly on the hard material of his thigh.
"Oh, your name is Armor!" Said Bertholdt with hope that he got his name.
Actually, the titan was meaning Armored, but Armor is fine. The titan nodded. Bertholdt smiled at his new friend, but then Armor moved his head and looked out at the forest. Bertholdt looked also in the same direction, but only saw trees, but then he remembered that Armor had sharp senses, he could have heard something from miles away.
Armor lowered his hand as gently as he could and released Bertholdt. The brunet looked at the titan without understanding what was happening. Armor only gestured with his head, indicating for him to go. Bertholdt unhesitatingly turned and ran towards his shelter, perhaps Armor was trying to say that there were more titans coming.
The armored titan sighed, today he would have more ass to kick.
Chapter 6: curiosity
Summing up this chapter is about: Person A follows Person B, in retaliation Person B follows Person A
Bertholdt took a handful of water with both hands of the river and wiped his face, removing any traces of sleep and helping him awaken. Then he looked at his reflection in the water, and God! He had dark circles under his eyes. Because of the roars of the armored titan that echoed through the forest all night, Berth couldn't sleep, but Bertholdt wasn't angry .. after all he believed Armor was protecting him.
A familiar whinny on the other side of the river caught his attention. Bertholdt looked at his old friend, the spotted horse, who now had a pack of wild horses. Everyone grazed quietly together with the herd of zebras. They formed a happy family. Suddenly everyone stood with their heads held high and attentive, their ears wiggling to catch the sound. Bertholdt looked confused, what did they hear? Did they perceive any near threat ... like an jaguar or other big animal? His questions were answered when the earth trembled. The horses and zebras whinnied and trotted away .. only the spotted horse stayed, as he is accustomed to titans.
Bertholdt smiled. Nothing scares this horse .. just a mama bear. Among the black foliage, Bertholdt saw the gleam of the titan's hard plates, until the titan completely revealed itself in the thicket. Armor looked stoic with his stare eyes and the plates glinting in the sun. Bertholdt didn't think he would review the titan so soon, but he was glad he did.
"Hey ..." Bertholdt spoke shyly.
Armor was confused and looked in all directions trying to find the source of the voice, then the armored titan looked down between his legs. The little boy was sitting and looking up with a smile on his face. Armor opened a mouth slightly to let the excess steam out, and wondered how he hadn't seen the human there. Well .. Armor is a giant, and usually giants don't look down.
"Hard night?" Bertholdt said sarcastically.
The armored titan snorted with a small grunt and returned his walk. Bertholdt smiled at the titan's show of anger, surely Armor didn't find it amusing. Berth got up and followed the titan, he was curious to know what the armored titan does all day in that forest.
Armor walked and watched round the giant tree forest, when his ears caught little steps behind him. The armored titan moved his head to look over his shoulders and found that Bertholdt was following him. Armor sighed, he thought if he should growl to scare the human and make him run back, or just ignore him, well .. the human wasn't a bother in his opinion, he doesn't care if he wants to follow him since that he didn't get into trouble.
Bertholdt froze as the titan looked at him over his shoulders. Does Armor not like being followed? Maybe he should come back? Bertholdt was about to turn around and back when the titan just kept on his way, this time Armor was walking more slowly so the human could accompany him. Bertholdt smiled happily and followed the giant of fifteen meters.
I think he likes my company. Bertholdt thought.
They were walking for about twenty minutes through the forest, Bertholdt wondered if that was what the titan did; walk. Until Armor stopped and began to analyze? Bertholdt sat on a giant root over the ground to rest and watches the titan, he didn't understand what Armor was doing. The armored titan began to smell the air and soon after some corners of the trees, looked like those bloodhound that the military police uses seems to sniff clues, Bertholdt laughed with the ridiculous thought.
After some time sniffing, Armor groaned low, and Bertholdt inclined his head in doubt. It seems Armor didn't like what he smelled. Then the armored titan sat down and looked at something on the floor, Bertholdt couldn't see what it was, for the tall thicket obstructed his sight. Suddenly Armor stood up, walked to a nearby giant tree and placed his large hands on the rough surface of the trunk. Bertholdt wondered what he was doing until the titan sank his fingers into the trunks causing the identical marks he had seen. The armored titan had no claws, but he had enough strength to wreak havoc on the tree.
Satisfied with his work the titan armored approached another giant tree and did the same procedure on the trunk. Bertholdt got up and crossed the dense thicked, pushing aside some bushes on the way. Berth was worried he would lose himself, because he didn't know that part of the forest, but he trusted that his titanic friend wouldn't let anything bad happen to him.
While Armor seemed busy doing the mark, Berth walked to the place where the titan had analyzed something on the forest floor and was stunned by what he saw; were footprints of titans, probably fifteen or ten meters. So that's why the armored titan grunted, he felt the scent of the other titans.
The armored titan struck about fifteen trees, and even rubbed a few trunks. Bertholdt had found this gesture funny, was he scratching his back or something? But he remembered that at the time of his childhood, some dogs and cats in his neighborhood used to do this, his mother said it was to mark their scent. A tear rolled down Bertholdt's face because of the memory. He missed homes, friends, and especially his mother.
The titan realized that there was something wrong with the human and sat next to him. Bertholdt looked into the titan's golden eyes and said he's all right, but the titan didn't seem to buy the idea and pointed a finger at Bertholdt's face to wipe as gently as he could the salt water on his face. In fact the giant finger covered the entire side of Bertholdt's face, but the tall boy did not care, just smiled at the gesture.
What does this water in your eyes mean? Is the human sick? injured? Or is this something normal humans do? The human says he's okay, but something tells me the opposite, I just hope he tells me when to feel bad.
The titan removed his finger from Bertholdt's face and get up to continue his walk. Bertholdt followed him. During the percussion Armor repeated the same procedure; smelled, marked the trees, and kept walking, then did everything again. It was a continuous and boring job, but it was necessary to keep the unwanted on the edge. Bertholdt was thinking about the kind of life that the armored titan lives, it seems to be just a machine, always repeating the same task day after day, he has no feelings and an adventurous spirit, it must be bad to live like this.
Perhaps with my arrival he's beginning to learn the concept of family. Bertholdt thought.
Armor stopped suddenly, Bertholdt looked confused at him, but the titan just kept his head pointing in one direction and grunting, revealing his teeth. Then the plates in the back part of his leg broke and the armored titan ran with incredible speed. Bertholdt gaped, Armor was big and heavy, he could never run at that speed. So the armored titan has the ability to auto break your armor to move better, it's an interesting skill.
Bertholdt was taken out of his thoughts when he heard a bang. It seems that Armor was hit at something .. Was that also how he knocked the Maria Wall down? Bertholdt ran through the path that the titan opened and froze at the sight. The armored titan was fighting six titans .. not five, one was crushed in a trunk, probably that must have been the reason for the bang, the impact was so strong that even the trunk got crooked.
The titans grabbed with their hands and teeth any part they got from the armored titan, but fortunately his armor was holding, however a titan of five meters sank its teeth into his right leg, the part where the armor broke, if Armor couldn't get free of these titans, he would lose the movement of one of his legs, and probably wouldn't be able to stand. Bertholdt watched with horror as the Armor was dominated by the titans.
At some point Armor managed to free his right arm and punch the face of a fifteen meters bearded titan that fell to the ground like a bag of potatoes and causing an earthquake, but Armor was still dominated by them. The beaten titan get up quickly, and advanced toward the armored titan who fought and roared at the others. The bearded titan opened his mouth in a disproportionate size like a snake and ready to sink his teeth again, but Armor was faster and used his free arm to counterattack. Armor's punch went through the center of his mouth, to the nape, killing it.
His hard plate began to crack and steam out by the pressure of the titans' jaw, and the five meters titan on his right leg was digging with his teeth deeper into his flesh. Armor used his free arm to punch the ten meters titan's head that was holding his other arm with his teeth and nails. The punches crushed the titan's skull, deforming his face, but the jaw remained intact.
Tired of this mess, Armor used his free left leg and knocked over the ten-meter titan, putting his foot behind the heel to make it stumble and consequently freeing his arm. The ten meters titan fell on its own weight. Armor took advantage and crushed his head and neck with his foot, stepping on it several times, the unlucky tried to get up but was submitted by the strength of the armored titan, until finally the nerve in the nape was crushed and was consequently killed.
Now with both arms free, Armor roared and tried to remove the two titans that were on his back. One of fifteen meters was trying to pierce the flesh on his shoulder and the other of ten meters on his rib. Unfortunately the five meters titan on his right leg had torn the flesh with his teeth until he reached the joints, making him lose the movement of his right leg. Armor couldn't keep the balance with his left leg, as the two titans on his back were as heavy like he, and they pushed him down.
Armor fell on the ground with the two titans on his back and a five meters on his leg. The armored titan tried to turn the body, but ended up failing. Their hard plates were breaking more and more under the pressure the titans' jaws made, allowing them to have contact with the flesh. Armor reinforced his attempts to get the titans off him, and roared loudly, not in anger, but in despair.
Bertholdt froze in front of the scene. His friend was being slowly eaten alive by these beasts. He had to do something. Without a second thought, Berth ran toward the armored titan, shake his arms and shouted.
"Hey here! Come get me! "
The three hostile titans stopped and looked toward Bertholdt. Saliva accumulating in the mouth and running down the jaw. Berth sighed, ready now he has their attention. The brunet turned and ran as fast as he could to the hollow of a giant tree with the titans behind him.
Now free of weight on his back, Armor turned his body in time to grab the five meters titan's ankle. The little titan hissed at him and sank his fingers into the damp earth to crawl out of his grip. Armor didn't let this little bastard escape and pulled him close. The five meters titan hissed and squirmed, but all in vain, until the armored titan brought his other hand up to the little titan's neck and plucked his head, making sure the nerve in its neck was completely crushed.
Bertholdt ran to a crack in the tree and entered. The cave was narrow, the two titans could not enter. The brunet ran to the deepest part of the crack and stood against the wall. Armor crawled to save his human friend. The two titans extended their arms into the hollow of the tree to grab Bertholdt, but the passage was very narrow and there wasn't enough space for the two, so the titans began a fight for the snack. The fifteen meters titan elbowed the ten meters titan's face, breaking his nose and knocking him down, then the victorious titan stretched his arm back into the crack to grab Bertholdt again. The brunet tried to shrink to the wall as the fifteen meters titan's fingertip brushed the fabric of his shirt.
The ten meters titan was about to get up and counter-attack the fifteen meters titan, but Armor grabbed him from behind and sank his teeth in the nape of his neck, breaking his nerve and finally killing the ten meters titan. The fifteen meters Titan was too distracted trying to capture the human, as the armored titan pushed him away from the tree's crack.
Bertholdt let out the air he didn't know he was holding when the titan's arm was gone. Berth gathered courage and left the cave. Now at the crack entrance, Bertholdt was paralyzed by the sight. The armored titan was having a body fight with the other titan of fifteen meters. Armor's leg was half cured, the joints were still a little exposed, but allowed him to stand.
The fifteen meters titan had a large beer belly, but his arms and legs were well toned, not equal to the armored titan, but it did give him a great deal of fighting anyway.
Armor pushed the bared titan against a tree to stun him, but the bastard grabbed Armor by the shoulders and pushed him against another tree with a bang and snarled in his face, a few drops of saliva hit his face. Armor used his good leg and shoved him off. The potbellied titan staggered back, but managed to keep the balance; but before he could realize, the armored titan jumped on top of him, arresting him to the ground and bit the side of his neck in an attempt to tear out his head. The paunchy titan snarled and turned sideways, making the armored titan get stuck on the floor and loosen its neck. The beast lifted his fist and punched Armor's face, but the plates on his face were so hard that the paunchy titan's fingers were crushed and blood-stained.
The two massive titans rolled over each other and applied punches Bertholdt tried to think of something to help his friend, but no bright idea popped into his mind, so Berth picked up a stone and threw it toward the beer belly titan.
The titan looked at Bertholdt with mouth water, this distraction was enough for Armor to grab his neck and press him. The paunchy titan tried to counterattack, but it was late. His head popped out with a great stream of boiling blood. The body fell limp, unfortunately the nerve hadn't been broken and the titan without head began to get up, but the armored titan trampled the nape of the neck until turn a red puddle.
The armored titan knelt, and fell forward, the gleam of his eyes blank. He was tired and breathless. Bertholdt approached his face. No one would ever want to approach a titan's jaw by his own, but Bertholdt trusted the armored titan. Berth lifted his arm and touched the tip of Armor's nose, and was amazed at how hot it was. The titans' eyes brightened again, indicating that he had opened his eyes. Bertholdt wondered if behind that metal mask, Armor had an iris and pupil, if he had, what color were his iris
I'm stupid! Stupid! Stupid! What was I thinking? Arrive by surprise and attack a group of titans and almost be killed! I should have growled to impose respect, these bastards would obey, for I am a high-class titan, but .. at that moment I could only think of the human, I say, Bertholdt. Arg! I have to control my instincts more.
Armor lay with the company of the human as he recovered, until Bertholdt asked if he could bring him back. The armored titan was thinking of using the last rays of the sun to continue marking his territory, but by what happened today, that was enough. Armor stood up, almost completely recovered, and guided the little human through the black forest. He had no idea where Bertholdt lived, so Armor led him to the river, the place where he found Bertholdt earlier.
"Thanks buddy," said Bertholdt, turning sideways and walking toward his shelter.
Then the ground trembled under his feet. Bertholdt looked back and found that Armor was following him. Well, it was fair, after all Bertholdt followed Armor, so why couldn't Armor follow Bertholdt?
They walked until reached the crevice that Bertholdt uses as his home. Armor raised an eyebrow, mentally, and examined the human shelter. It was a very simple architecture, there was a fence made with stakes, and a tent at the entrance to the hollow of the tree. The tent was made of wood, leaves and vines, though Armor thinks Bertholdt used clay to harden the extensions.
Unlike other animals, humans have logical rationalization, and with this they build houses, plant their own food and make weapons with the purpose of protecting or attacking. The nearest animal of this level of intelligence I have ever seen, was the crows. These black birds have the habit of putting nuts under the feet of the titans to be crushed, and the crow eat their contents.
Armor watched the little house fascinated as Bertholdt collected some dried branches. The armored titan extended a finger in the cave to explore better, but eventually knocked over several objects that the titan had no idea what they were for. Bertholdt, surprised by the noise of falling objects, stopped picking up the branches and cleared his throat to get the armored titan's attention.
"I don't want to be rude, but ... I guess that's not a good idea," Bertholdt said in his calmest voice, fearing to insult the titan or something like this.
The armored titan showed no change, Bertholdt assumed that was okay. Suddenly Bertholdt heard a familiar hiss; were those bullies monkeys again. They were gathering on the highest branches and began hissing in unison when they recognized the human. Bertholdt cringed as the monkeys threw pieces of wood at him. Armor acted quickly and growled loudly for every flower to hear, scaring the monkeys and making them run away.
"Wow ... that was so cool, high five!" Said Bertholdt holding out his hand.
The titan inclined his head and groaned doubtfully.
"The high five is to hit someone else's palm, we usually do this to ... celebrate or when a job is well done" Bertholdt tried to explain as simple as possible.
Armor still didn't understand the reason for this gesture, but he decided to try it anyway. The armored titan sat and pointed a finger at the human, extending the palm wouldn't be a good idea because of the size difference. Then bertholdt five his big finger. The gesture still meant nothing to the armored titan, but it seemed to mean a lot to Bertholdt who was grinning from ear to ear. Maybe titan will do this "high five" more often.
The titan continued sat as he watched as the human caught a rabbit by its ears that was trapped, probably made by the human himself. Then Bertholdt took a knife made of sharp stone and cut the animal's throat, this was no surprise to Armor, because animals kill other animals to feed, that was a law of the life; but Armor was surprised when the human put the flesh on a small fire. What was he doing? Warming the meat?
Armor stood guard, looking around and sniffing the air from time to time, fortunately Armor did not find any sign of another hostile titan. Bertholdt ate the last pieces of rabbit meat and looked at his titanic friend, he kept on watch as a watchdog. A titan protecting him from another titan, Bertholdt never thought this could happen, maybe even Hanji would say he was crazy and would refer him to a psychiatrist.
Then the armored titan changed, its plates creaking in the process. He sat down with his back against the trunk of the tree and put his arms behind his head to relax. Bertholdt looked surprised.
"Are you going to sleep here?" Bertholdt asked.
actually I should ask you this, for don't forget that YOU are in my territory. I can sleep wherever and whenever I want in this forest.
Armor growled low. Bertholdt deduced that this would be a yes. The brunet got up and dumped the remains of the rabbit in his small vegetable garden and then lay down on a pile of leaves that Bertholdt used as a bed and tried to sleep, but sleep never came, instead Bertholdt rummaged in his bed, trying to find a comfortable position, and it was so cold.
Bertholdt gave up and stood up. He left his shelter to take some air and watched the armored titan sleeping moved by curiosity, Bertholdt walked towards his titanic friend and reached out to touch the hard plate. Even in the cold of night, your body is still hot. Bertholdt rubbed his fingers through the hard material of the titan, and felt the skin as rough as a stone. Then Bertholdt looked up and froze. Armor was awake and looking at him.
What? But it's night .. and it's not the time of the full moon! Bertholdt thought incredulously.
So Armor can stay awake longer than the other titans, even if it's not full moon? Bertholdt was like a deer in the headlights right now. He felt he should give an explanation.
"Sorry, I just ... it was cold and i left"
Bertholdt had not picked up enough branches to keep the fire going all night, and his jaguar skin had been attacked by ants, he must not have cleaned it right. Consequently Bertholdt had no way of getting himself warm.
Armor didn't understand why Bertholdt thought he was angry. He just felt someone touching him and opened his eyes. This human probably was the omega of his group.
The brunet was about to return to his shelter when he heard the plates squeak. Armor removed a hand behind his head and placed his hand on the floor with his palm open. Bertholdt looked confused at the armored titan, not understanding what that meant, so Armor growled low and nodded at the hand. Now Berth understood what his titanic friend meant.
Slowly Bertholdt climbed Armor's hand and sat in the center of his palm, then the giant fingers began to close slightly on Bertholdt. The brunet was in shock, but then he realized that Armor just wanted to offer him a "blanket."
Bertholdt lay in his palm, and enjoyed the comfort and warmth that the skin offered.
"Good night Armor," said Bertholdt.
Night. thought armored titan.
Chapter 7: Berth
"Be careful not to cut yourself sweetie!" Said Bertholdt's mother for the thousandth time.
Bertholdt was peeling potatoes while his mother made the soup. It was not a decent meal, but their financial condition was tight, so they would have to tighten their belts too.
Her mother opened the cabinet and rummaged around to find a spice, but found only empty pots. She opened another, and then another, but it was all in vain; were completely empty, not even a few salt crumbs she could find. She sighed. They lived on leftovers had months.
"Mom, was everything okay?" Berthold asked worriedly.
"Oh, yes, it's all right .. but we're going to have to .. eat some tasteless soup again." She finished with a smile to try to disguise the situation, she didn't want his only child suffer.
"Okay, soup without taste is not so bad" Bertholdt lied and his mother knew, but both remained making this theater optimistic, believing that everything will get better.
The door opened abruptly, banging on the wall, Bertholdt and his mother stared at the man who had just entered. His clothes were worn and dirty, and his face red and sweaty, they barely recognized that this stinking man at his door was Henry.
Bertholdt's father came stumbling, leaning on the furniture, he was drunk, and whenever he is drunk, he goes crazy. The woman did not say a word, but just kept moving the soup with the spoon while Bertholdt peeled the last of the potatoes. They were already facing too much trouble, and they did not want things to get even worse.
Suddenly Henry grabbed his wife's arm.
"Bed .. now"
She tried to fight back, saying that she needed to prepare dinner and that he should rest, but Henry ignored it and pulled the woman toward the room.
"Let her go!" Bertholdt shouted.
Shocked Henry looked back, despite the haze in his vision, he discovered that Bertholdt was pointing a knife at him. It was the first time Henry saw his son shows an act of courage, but anyway, Bertholdt's limbs trembled and his eyes showed despair, not defy. Henry clenched his fists and approached Berth, he was ready to teach him a lesson.
"How dare you, you littl-!" Henry was cut off when his wife stepped in and kissed him.
"Let's go to bed now, please!" She said as she pulled her husband to give him no other choice.
Bertholdt looked startled as his mother led the monster into the room. She turned her neck to look at her son and moved her lips saying mute words, but Bertholdt understood: Everything will be fine.
Bertholdt woke up feeling awful. Those dreams, no! These memories were really tormenting; sometimes Bertholdt wondered if these images would haunt him forever. Bertholdt shook his head. It was a new day, he wouldn’t let his subconscious get in the way.
Last night's memories surfaced when Bertholdt stood up, he remembered that Armor slept with the back leaning on a giant tree, and also remembered that Armor .. offered his hand? Bertholdt was astonished. He was inside his shelter, so was this a dream, too? After looking around, Bertholdt discovered that it wasn’t a dream; several utensils were falling on the floor, and a part of his fence had been damaged. Probably as soon as dawn broke, Armor put him inside his shelter. Wait a minute, where's Armor?
Berholdt crossed the fence and looked around, but saw no sign of him anywhere, only spotted footprints and a few crumpled branches, indicating that Armor had been there. Bertholdt was annoyed that his big friend had suddenly left, but either way Armor isn’t a pet, he has his own life to take care of, why would he waste his time to care for an insignificant human?
With his stomach begging to be filled, Berth grabbed his bow and arrow and entered the black foliage to hunt for his breakfast. He walked subtly through the forest, attentive to the sounds and movements in the environment, looking for any piece of meat. As he entered the forest, his frustration increased. He found no clue of any animal, and only heard the songs of birds and insects ... until he found footprints in the damp earth, they were small footprints, probably of some fox or coyote. He followed the footprints and discovered that these footprints didn’t belong to a fox or a coyote, but belonged to a small yellow feline.
On top of a rock, there was a "jaguar miniature", it was seated and with the long ears attentive to the birds in the branches above. The creature was very distracted watching its prey to perceive the approach of Bertholdt. The brunet stood at a safe distance, watching this strange creature, then remembered that this feline was a serval. Rich families used to breed these felines as domestic cats, but had many problems with neighborhood cats, so was forbidden to domesticate these animals.
Bertholdt wielded his bow and placed the arrow at shoulder height, unfortunately seconds before he released the arrow, the serval noticed the human presence and jumped out of the stone, ran away into the black foliage. The arrow crossed the space where the serval was second before and stuck on a tree ahead.
"Fuck!" Exclaimed Bertholdt
Frustrated, Bertholdt retrieved his arrow and went looking for some other source of food. Not far from there, Berth finds a fallen trunk covered with mosses, fungi and congums. This trunk was a nest of thousands of disgusting bugs. Bertholdt had to put his hands in his mouth not to vomit (though his stomach was empty anyway). Although these small creatures were disgusting, they were edible, in the suburbs of their hometown it was common to see maggots, scorpions and other insects to be sold as food. Berth approached and reached for a maggots, when suddenly the birds stopped singing; the forest was completely silent until the insects were still.
The silence was unpleasant and frightening, Bertholdt had the impression that he was being watched, but by whom? or by what? it would be impossible to have another human here, Berth was far from the wall, and if it were an abnormal titan, the giant would have already attacked. Bertholdt looked around intently, but found nothing out of the ordinary, maybe it was just his mind playing pieces with him.
Bertholdt shook his head and turned his attention to the maggots. They were sticky and disgusting, the taste even worse, but served to satisfy their physiological needs.
Now with a satisfied stomach, his new job was not to vomit. Bertholdt walked back to his shelter, picking up a few branches along the way to repair his fence that Armor damaged. Suddenly the loud sound of rustling leaves made Bertholdt paralyze. Something had moved up. Bertholdt inclined his head slowly, looking up, but only saw branches and black leaves.
I hope this is just stupid monkeys. Bertholdt thought.
He sighed, then turned his focus to the path, but the sense of two pair of eyes watching him was still there.
Bertholdt stopped near a stream to drink water, when he saw a branch fallen between a crevice in the tangle of giant roots. The branch was thick and apparently dry, perfect for making a stake. Bertholdt walked carefully over the mossy surfee of the roots, but ... unfortunately he was not so careful enough so he accidentally stepped on the tail of a snake that bit him in retaliation.
The snake fled into the tall bush as Bertholdt exclaimed in pain, kneeling down and putting both hands around the wound. The sting burned like hell, and there was still concern that the snake was poisonous. Bertholdt removed his hands around the wound and prayed that the markings of the teeth would be spacious and not pointed and close. Bertholdt sighed in relief when he discovered that the marks were spacious, indicating that the snake was not poisonous, but he mentally cursed that he should have improvised suitable clothing.
Berth decided to ignore the branch and walk home as soon as possible to clear the wound, limping a good part of the way and stopping a few times. Berth leaned on a tree trunk and analyzed the wound; the strain made the bloodstream pulsate faster, consequently dripping more blood at the site of the bite, and staining the material of the pants. Fortunately his shelter was already in sight, right in front of him; but a wolf, seemingly hungry, was between him and his house.
The gray wolf was sniffing one of the corners of his house, too busy to notice the human presence. Bertholdt mentally slapped. He was sure that dumping the rest of the food in the garden next to his shelter would be a bad idea .. but, come to think of it, that's not so bad; Berth can kill this wolf with an arrow and use his skin to create clothes, and eat his meat. As the old saying goes, if life gives you lemons, make a lemonade.
As quietly as possible, Bertholdt wielded his bow and aimed the arrow at the nape of the wolf's head, a quick death. Berth was about to soften his fingers as the ground began to tremble continuously, catching the attention of the human and the wolf. The armored titan revealed itself in the forest, knocking down small branches and trees along the way, and growled so loudly that it could hurt the eardrums. Bertholdt dropped the gun and put his hands on his ears to soften the sound, and the wolf ran with his tail between his legs.
Armor snorted contentedly, a layer of steam coming out of the cracks.
"Hey!" Shouted Bertholdt angrily, catching the armored titan's attention.
Armor inclined his head doubtfully. He couldn't understand. He saved the human's life, so why was the human’s face was angry?
With the help of some rags, Bertholdt wrapped some medicinal herbs that he planted in his garden, on his leg, at the site of the snake bite. The first contact with the leaves made Berth hiss in pain, it was like applying salt to the wounds. Armor was sitting cross-legged as a fascinated child, watching everything, he had no idea what a wound was, since titans have quick healing ability and pain resistance, but he felt empathy for Bertholdt anyway.
The wound still throbbed, but Berth could already move better. The brunet came over and sat down in front of the armored titan. The golden eyes followed him with curiosity. Berth was never good at starting conversations, so he started with a question, whose already knew the answer.
"Were you marking the trees again today?" Asked Bertholdt.
Communicating with a being who can only say 'yes' or 'no' with his head did not have many results. But then Bertholdt had an idea in mind; If Armor understands his human speech, perhaps he also understands human writing.
"Armor, can you write?" Bertholdt asked curiously.
Armor tilted his head and growled low, he had no idea what the word "writing" meant. Bertholdt's smile disappeared, perhaps he acted with much perseverance.
"Do you want to learn to write?" Bertholdt asked again.
Armor was even more confused, what the hell did he mean by "writing"? Is that another human stuff, like high five? Whatever it is, Armor is intrigued. He nodded.
"Well ... writing is the representation of symbols of the spoken language" Bertholdt explained, Armor nodded without understanding.
Bertholdt drew a big "A", because Berth didn't know if Armor could see small things. The armored titan followed the movements of Bertholdt's finger making a "drawing" on the damp earth, so a click popped in his head, now Armor understands what Bertholdt is trying to teach him.
"This is called A. Come on, I think you can pronounce it!" Exclaimed Bertholdt as if he were a kindergarten teacher.
Letters .. I remember seeing these symbols in some human fortresses that I destroyed, but I didn't know that these symbols could be pronounced, besides, my vocal chords are different, I believe I can't do it .. but I will try.
Armor tried to say "A," but everything that came out of his throat was broken grunted, it looked like a choking bird; but that didn't stop Bertholdt from smiling. A titan right in front of him was trying to speak, even though he was just trying to pronounce only one letter. The Hanji's captured titans have never shown such intelligence despite so many tests. Bean and Sawney just tried to eat Hanji whenever she approached.
"Okay .. this is a B." said Bertholdt drawing the letter on the floor. Armor stood still for a while. For him this letter had a very difficult pronunciation, so he let out a series of broken grunts, trying to get as close as possible to the correct utterance, but the sounds produced in the throat of the armored titan had nothing to do with a "B".
Bertholdt realized the difficulty Armor had, then drew a "R". Berth pronounced the letter and waited for Armor to repeat it. The titan found it easier to pronounce this letter for obvious reasons, but still needs to improve further if he wanted to look more like the human tone, but that did not stop Bertholdt from laughing.
"Do you know any other letters?" Bertholdt asked curiously.
Armor thought for a moment. He recalls having seen these letters before, but it has been for so long, he doesn't remember in detail how they were .. but a specific letter, he did. A long time ago Armor violated human fortress to let other titans enter. The humans called this place of Marley, in the gate of the city was a symbol that reminded waves, probably the initial of the name of the city. Armor moved his hand, and drew an "M" on the damp earth with a finger. Bertholdt was fascinated and wondered how Armor learned this letter.
"Is there another one that you know?" Bertholdt asked hopefully.
In fact .. I remember seeing some of these symbols before, but I never paid attention to them to remember now. Best answer with a no.
Armor shook his head. Bertholdt got a little annoyed for Armor only to know a letter, but Armor is a titan anyway, had no reason for him to learn the human vocabulary .. but as he knows the letter "M". When Armor violated the Maria Wall, he would have seen this symbol somewhere in the city, for example, in the stores's windows or in the newspapers? But Armor violated so quickly and left so fast, that it would be impossible for him to have paid attention around .. so is there another, or others.. humans fortress? Bertholdt could have his answer here and now.
"Armor, the question I want to ask you has nothing to do with ..this lesson, but .. are there other human cities around?"
Uh oh, I don't know if I should answer 'yes' or 'no' to that question. If I say yes, he will want more details, and maybe he will fear me after he knows that I am not only violated, but I caused chaos and panic until the city became a rubble of ruins and dust.. but by other side if I say no, I would be hiding the truth for him. At that moment Berth is like a dog looking out to sea, and wondering if there must be others like him on the other side of the globe ... though I think Bertholdt has never seen the sea.
"Armor?" Bertholdt asked, not understanding why the titan was taking too long.
The armored titan shook his head. It was a wrong decision, he knew, but Armor wanted to protect Bertholdt from the hard truth. The brunette was annoyed for a moment. He remembered the wooden hut where he found the old novel, that was a vestige that exists.. or existed humans living on the other side of the walls, but then why does Armor deny that there are other human civilizations? Maybe it's just that Armor never saw another human civilization ... or he would be lying. Bertholdt preferred to take the first option.
"You know, forget! How about you try to draw some letters now?"
They spent all day scribbling and erasing the letters of the alphabet, including numbers, geometric shapes although Armor had much difficulty in memorizing these forms, and didn't understand for what they served, so Bertholdt decided to leave that lesson to another day. . As Armor memorized the features and pronounced it (more or less inaudible), Bertholdt began to teach him write words They started with simple things like wood, stone and earth, then they advanced to names of some animals and colors. Finally, Bertholdt wrote their names and waited for Armor to repeat his actions. He learned fast.
The fluorescent flowers began to reveal their brilliance as the last rays of the sun disappeared into the horizon. Bertholdt joined a pile of twigs and dried leaves to start a fire, and to roast the flesh of a rabbit that got stuck in Bertholdt's trap. Armor was lying on his stomach, arms crossed to support his chin, he watched the human's movements with curiosity, and sometimes Armor would raise his head to sniff around and make sure they would not have unwanted visitors.
Bertholdt was about to bite the roast flesh when he heard Armor growling strangely, it looked like a cat trying to throw up a ball of hair.
"Are you okay buddy?"
Armor did not answer back, only repeated a series of grunts, until suddenly a "click" appeared on Bertholdt's head. Armor was trying to speak, but his vocal cords did not help much; But Bertholdt understood. Armor said an almost inaudible Berth.
Chapter 8: What ugly motherfucker are you?!
The bucket made of clay falls from the hands of an astonished Bertholdt, spreading on the floor the water he picked up in a nearby spring. The brunet stared at the scene in front of him without believing. Since Bertholdt tried to explain to the armored titan that he wouldn't scare the next wolves because Berth needs the leather of these animals for clothing and the flesh to feed, it was common Armor to bring corpses of wolves and even bears to Bertholdt, but of course .. all bleeding from the mouth, nose and eyes, indicating that they were crushed to the bone! Well, actually, Bertholdt appreciated the gesture, Armor just wanted to help him, but today he crossed the line. Before Bertholdt was a slaughter, several lifeless bodies of wolves piled on a hill, apparently Armor killed a whole pack! And there was also a message written on earth: 7OR YOU.
"How does someone confuse an F with a 7 ?!" said Bertholdt, laughing at the end. He would have to give more classes to Armor, but to a titan he was progressing well.
The corpses of the wolves were very heavy .. and larger. After better insight into the corpses, Berth discovered that these canines were not only wolves, they were giant wolves. It was a species rarely seen near the walls. These giant wolves usually appeared in winter, but ten years later they were never seen again. Some officers said they were extinct, but .. how can it be said that wolves were extinct only because they weren't seen near the walls? The most accepted answer is that the giant wolves migrated to distant regions, far from the walls.
Bertholdt grabbed one of the wolves's tail and began dragging it. He would have to get rid of this pile of dead bodies as soon as possible before predators are attracted by the smell; but these giant wolves were very large and heavy, Bertholdt would never be able to carry all these bodies to the river in a good time.
"Goddammit Armor! What a trouble you got me! "Exclaimed Bertholdt as he tried to drag the wolf by the tail.
Then a familiar tremble beneath Bertholdt's feet caught his attention. The brunet smiled at the titan armored when he relieved himself in almost black foliage, but then his smile was replaced with concern when he saw that several of his friend's hard plates were cracked and fuming, indicating that Armor became embroiled with fights with other titans.
Strange ... first Armor kills a pack of giant wolves and offers to me, now Armor is killing more often other titans, probably invading their territory .. but why? He would be protecting me, as if I were his offspring ?!
Armor growled low, tilting his head in doubt as if asking: Are you okay? Bertholdt let go of the wolf he was dragging in and thought for a moment, wondering how he should say about his worries without leaving his fifteen meters friend angry or offended.
"Look Armor ... thank you for the bodies you brought me, but lately you have exaggerated." Bertholdt said looking at Armor, who tilted his head and waited for Berth to continue.
"You brought lots of bodies, I need to get rid of them."
Armor groaned indignantly and sat down on his knees to try to get closer to Bertholdt's level. Armor was incredulous, he handed him a whole pack, without Bertholdt asking him to, and now the human wants to throw them away!
"Hey .. Pay attention, I'm not done! I already have a lot of leather accumulated .. and these carcases will attract other predators! You know, you've seen me throwing debris into the river for the current to go away. "Bertholdt finished with hope that Bertholdt understood.
Armor held out a big finger to the ground and wrote a message on the damp earth: "I'll kill them all". Bertholdt sighed, sometimes he wonders if he is dealing with a giant guardian or a stubborn giant child.
"Armor ... if these bodies stay here, the greater the chances of something bad happening, if you really want to protect me, you would remove any chance of risk, would not you?" Bertholdt made a point and Armor had to nod hesitantly
The armored titan got up and took all the wolf bodies in his big hand, making a shell with both hands so they would not fall. Bertholdt took a few steps towards Armor, he planned to go with the titan, but Armor turned and gave a low grunt of warning, and Bertholdt got the message, stay.
Berth sat on a giant root, folded his arms and sighed in annoyance as Armor disappeared into the dark foliage. It's been this way for days, Armor doesn't want Bertholdt to follow him, and the brunet wondered why. Bertholdt joined some theories, the first would be that Bertholdt slowed him down during his walks, and the second would be that Armor has trauma from the day he fought seven titans to protect him. But Bertholdt suspected that it was the second option, because it seemed that Armor did not want Bertholdt to leave the camp because he feared Bertholdt would get hurt or something like that. Whenever Berth needed anything, for example: Wood, water and food, Armor always found a way. Bertholdt worried how much Armor was being overprotective about him.
The antilopes near the river ran frightened by the tremors caused by the footsteps of the titan armored. The fifteen meters massif halted near the river and hesitantly threw the wrecked bodies of the wolves into the water for the current to carry away.
Great! I spend all my time hunting for these little creatures instead of marking my scent on the edge of the forest, and now I'm throwing all my work away, can it get worse?
A thud on his back answered his question. A five meters titan jumped and grabbed with its fingernails in the crevices in his armor to hold on. Armor would have crushed the intruder's head if he didn't recognize the scent.. although he preferred not to have recognized the smell.
<You took a long enough, jaw titan.>
The smaller titan climbed the hard plates of Armor's back until she reaches his shoulder to perch better.
<I confess I'm surprised, you're the last person I'd imagine playing with food!>
Armor ignored the mocking tone of the titan jaw and walked back with the little bastard on his shoulder.
<Playing with food? What are you talking about?>
<Don't make yourself dumb anymore than you already are! I'm talking about a certain .. you know, the creature that the boss forbade to have contact with ... and that you, the more ... or was, the machine follower of orders disobeyed him.>
<You need to do so much suspense to say you're talking about the human .. and what do you mean "playing with food"?>
<Isn't that obvious? You should have devoured this human the day he stepped into your territory, but no, you keep him here! And no use telling me the opposite, I've been watching through the trees .. and did you know that he eats worms?>
Armor stopped and moved his head to look at the annoying titan perched on his shoulder.
<This human doesn't mean a threat, have no reason to kill him. I smell you through the forest, so I keep the human isolated.>
<So ... who's that unlucky down there?>
Armor watched where the titan jaw point. Bertholdt was defending himself with a branch of the hungry coyotes that surrounded him. The titan jaw jumped from the shoulder of the titan armored to the high treetops as the massive roaring toward the predators. The coyotes fled, tripping over themselves.
"Phew .. thank you budd-!" Bertholdt was interrupted when he heard a few clicking branches and the rustle of leaves behind him.
Bertholdt turned slowly and stared at the ugliest creature he had ever seen. The titan in front of his was five meters, her head disproportionate to her body, and she also had long limbs, a large nose ,gaping mouth revealing sharp teeth, dark brown hair messed, small black eyes, pointed ears, sharp claws and seemed to have feminine features.
"What ugly motherfucker are you?!" Bertholdt said. Probably that was worst curse said by Bertholdt.
The jaw titan growled angrily and advanced with pointed teeth toward Bertholdt. The brunet screamed in alarm and took a few steps back, but Armor grabbed the titan's small body, preventing it from advancing on the human.
<Let me go of your big idiot! I would only scare him.>
<I think you've already scared the shit out of him with your face.>
<Be aware that turtle's face isn’t sexy either.>
Armor let go the titan jaw that landed on the four limbs on the floor. Bertholdt was confused, not understanding why the titan armored did not kill the small titan. Armor always did the favor of annihilating any titan who dares to approach his territory, but now he just .. let a titan go. A sweat of worry slipped down from Bertholdt's forehead, did Armor get sick of him? No, impossible ... during that time Bertholdt and Armor had built a strong bond of friendship, Armor wouldn't abandon him now, would he? Grunts and trills drew Bertholdt from his thoughts. Both titans were staring at each other and they looked like they were talking.
So this titan is also intelligent, like Armor? Bertholdt thought.
Bertholdt sat on a nearby root and watched them both. They emitted sounds with each other (although Armor hissed at her most often), probably exchanging information, that is, titans have their own language. This was undoubtedly very interesting, Hanji would love to know this. Thinking about her, maybe it was time for Berth to plan to return home.
The jaw titan looked at Bertholdt and then turned his attention to the trees, and with skillful movements disappeared among the black foliage, but before she said in her native tongue: <See you later, loser!>
"Is she your friend?" Bertholdt said, deducing that this titan was probably female.
Armor just snorted, probably this small titan liked to annoy, like Jean. They walked back, but Bertholdt kept getting more and more behind. Armor turned his torso and raised an eyebrow (Although there is no way to see it because of his facial mask). He was walking slowly enough for the human to accompany him, but still human was distancing himself a lot, he might have been sore; but with a more searching look, Armor detects the fresh scent of blood coming from the human's leg. Probably one of the coyotes bit him.
Bertholdt was leaning on roots and branches along the way, the effort making the blood run faster, so he stopped when he noticed the titan armored man watching him. Bertholdt couldn't tell what was going on in Armor's mind since his face was expressionless, but he doubted it was concern.
"I'm fine, I've faced worse things already," said Bertholdt, hoping to comfort the fifteen meters giant.
Armor snorted, not buying the lie. The giant knelt with one leg and grabbed Bertholdt with two fingers, the human protested and tried to get rid of it, but all in vain. Berth shivered as his feet moved away from the floor and approached the titan's jaw, but Bertholdt reminded himself that if this titan were to harm him he would have done it sooner.
"What are you doing?" Bertholdt asked in a slightly tremulous voice, though he tried to disguise.
Armor was a bit resentful at this, but after all he was a titan, the greatest predator on the face of the earth. Bertholdt has the right to fear him. Armor put him on his shoulder, and waited for him to straighten to his feet. At least it was better to have Bertholdt perched on the shoulder than the jaw titan. At first Bertholdt was perplexed, but then replaced with excitement. He would never have imagined standing on the shoulder of a titan.
The brunet held tightly through the cracks of the hard material to keep from falling as the titan armored walked. Berth was not an acrophobe, but standing on top of him without his maneuvering equipment made him panic, but he believed Armor would catch him anyway.
Fear of the height was slowly dissipating. It was not so bad to get a ride on titan's shoulder, actually the shoulder movements were comforting.
"Sorry to have left .." Bertholdt said to try to cut the silence between them.
Bertholdt was exhausted. It was the first time Armor had spoken freely. usually Armor would repeat the words that Bertholdt taught him, but now Armor spoke for himself, even though it was a small phrase and almost incomprehensible, but it was already a great progress.
"You just said it!" Said Bertholdt, smiling.
Armor moved his head and opened his jaw to release the jet of steam toward Bertholdt, making his black hair become messy. Bertholdt laughed at the giant's joke and tried to straighten his hair with his hand. If titans are abe, it looks like this is young.
"Dumbass" Bertholdt said punching Armor's nose, but obviously not causing any damage, but his hand was not so lucky.
"Never beat metal. Lesson learned!" Said Bertholdt, massaging his hand.
The titan repeated a series of grunts in his throat, and Bertholdt did not need to ask what Armor was expressing, because laughter was a universal language. Armor suddenly stopped and moved his head, looking steadily around. A mile away, the bestial Titan was gathering the pack with his roar, fortunately Bertholdt had no sharp ears to pick up sound waves. Berth was worried about his sudden change and called for his name. Armor turned his face to meet Bertholdt and nose snuggle with him, to make sure everything was fine .. but it was not.
When they reached the camp, Armor put Bertholdt down with the maximum possible kindness on the floor. The brunette sat on an old fallen trunk and wrapped some clean rags on his leg, to keep the bite away from infections. Sometimes Berth watched toward the titan armored, only to discover that the titan kept his attention turned in one direction, the same direction Armor looked at a few minutes ago.
What is it? Bertholdt asked in his thoughts.
The strange way Armor was acting left Bertholdt worried. Lately the titan was more vigilant and cautious, always attentive to the horizon. Bertholdt wondered what Armor was so afraid of, if he had other titans on the edge of his territory, Armor wouldn't hesitate to fight with, even if he was a abnormal ... then is there anything worse than a titan? But what is worse than a titan of fifteen meters with armor on the body and with a high level of intelligence? ... the colossal titan?
Bertholdt had so many unanswered questions in his head that he did not realize that Armor was looking at him now. Armor growled low, taking Bertholdt out of the trance. The brunet stared at armor, and took a deep breath.
Bertholdt was about to ask what was wrong when a dead beheaded deer was thrown in front of him. The human screamed in shock, and Armor groaned menacingly at the jaw titan that revealed herself among the black foliage. God, this titan is a pain in the ass.
With the arrival of the night Bertholdt started a fire to keep warm and to make a barbecue with the meat of the deer that the titan jaw brought earlier. Armor was gone, probably to mark his territory again; but Armor never did it at night. That sounds desperate. At least Bertholdt was not alone, the jaw titan was sitting like a dog, removing traces of flesh and hair from her pointed teeth with a spear she found near Bertholdt's shelter.
"So .. how did your ass come here?" Asked the jaw titan, taking off the toothpick from his teeth.
Bertholdt was paralyzed, not only by the fact that the small titan spoke, but because that titan demonstrated a more complex and sarcastic vocabulary, indicating that this titan had more experience with humans. For lack of flexible lips, the titan had a poor voice, but it was understandable anyway.
"Did the cat eat your tongue or what?" Said the jaw titan, playing with Bertholdt's face of astonishment.
"You can speak my language!" Bertholdt said in exasperation.
The jaw titan raised an eyebrow, not understanding what Bertholdt tried to say with that. The human perceived the confusion in the titan's face and tried to explain:
"I mean .. I've never seen a titan speaking, only the Armor has managed to speak a few words, but you ... seem more experienced. Have you ever had contact with other humans?"
The titan jaw tilted its head. So that's how this human calls the " "Obedient Lord", of Armor? Well, it's a cool name.
"My only "contacts " with your species, was when I gutted them in several pieces with my teeth" Said the jaw titan stretching the corners of her lips in a diabolioco smile.
"Okay .. understood. But how do you know the vocabelario perfectly? "Bertholdt asked curiously.
"Well, every titan has your purpose in the pack. Because I am smaller and more flexible, I am responsible for sneaking into enemy territory and collecting useful information, type, weapons, counter attack and defense strategies, and strengths weaknesses. I have done this task for so long that I learned many things about your species." Said the jaw titan, pointing toward Bertholdt in the end.
"You said pack ... and ... and you've been doing this for so long ?!" Bertholdt asked in exasperation.
"Hey, one question at a time! Yep, there are the Titans who control the others ... but I don't understand why you're intrigued by the fact that I've been doing this espionage job for so long." The jaw titan tilted her head.
"I had asked Armor if there were other human fortresses, and he said no," said Bertholdt.
"Strange, Armor would boast about his history of massacres. I believe he lied because you are very naive and scared. But hey, you still have not answered my question. How did you get here? I've never seen a human so far from home!" Said the titan jaw, lying face down with his arms crossed behind her head.
Bertholdt sighed and said:
"I was the only survivor of my group on an expedition, and there was no way I could get back, because around the wall there were a lot of titans waiting for an unlucky one to eat .. so my only option was to go far. During the percussion there were several unforeseen events that almost cost me my life, well .. all these shits pushed me here "
"Interesting story" said the jaw titan in an uninterested tone.
Bertholdt finished his meal and lay down in a hammock he had made using animal leather that Armor had brought to him earlier days. His conversation with this creepy titan left him with his mind numb, distracted from sleep; but little by little Bertholdt felt himself weary and finally entered into a dreamless sleep with the noise of the crackling of the bonfire between him and the titan.
Armor went through the black forest, scratching some trunks and sniffing here and there during the process, but then discovered that there was no need for it, because he had found no trace of other titans in the woods. At first he thought it was because he was wrong about the wind, but then found that independent about the wind, he couldn't smell anything.
Armor ventured out of the woods into the prairies, where the titans usually fell asleep. The armored titan moved his head to look around, but there was nothing, just a vast green field as far as the eye can see. Armor sighed, a steaming pillar coming out of the jaw crack. Bertholdt was in seriou danger, and Armor doesn't know if he can protect him.
Chapter 9: New Camp
Armor was lying on his stomach with his crossed under his chin, and sighed a pillar of steam for thousands time. He was completely bored. Since discovering that the wandering titans migrated last night, Armor was left without some kind of passing time, but at least he could spend more time in the presence of the human, who without realizing he considers him as a friend.
Bertholdt was sitting cross-legged making a wreath of flowers, but the flowers had thorns and bled his hands, but Bertholdt didn't stop Bertholdt from proceeding, after all it had been a long time since he had made one. In his infancy, the neighborhood was dominated by weeds and undergrowth, but in the spring the surroundings looked like a painting done by God's hand, it was common to see children making flower crowns with each other ... although Bertholdt remained isolated in the most of the time because of his father's negative reputation.
Bertholdt looked at his titanic friend who was visibly bored with life, and remembered his conversation with the small titan. She had said that Armor would boast of his history of massacres .. so Armor liked to cause panic and chaos for fun? Does he consider humans as toys? Bertholdt preferred to shake these ideas out of his head, he wanted to continue to believe that this titan in front of him is a gentle, intelligent creature and above all a friend.
"I could make one for you, but I do not think there are enough flowers in that forest for your big head!" Said Bertholdt, laughing.
The titan blew a jet of steam toward Bertholdt in retaliation. The hot air was able to bring down Bertholdt and cause the crown to dissolve and fly away. Armor laughed as he watched Bertholdt complain.
"That's not funny!"
Bertholdt straightened and took one of his hands to comb his messy hair, but as soon as he removed his hand, Bertholdt saw how oily his hair was and also saw white pieces known as dandruff left his hair. This led him to think about his personal hygiene. He needed an urgent shower. The waterfall where the spotted horse grazed with his pack was the first thing that appeared in Bertholdt's mind.
"Excuse me, buddy, but I really need a shower, I look like a homeless!" Said Bertholdt, seconds before walking in one direction.
Armor didn't understand very well what shower and homeless are, but he understood that Bertholdt was referring to cleanliness. Then an idea popped into his mind. Titan took the human with his hand as gently as possible. Berth protested to let him go but it seemed Armor did not hear him, instead Armor put the human on his shoulder and began to walk in a different direction.
Bertholdt realized that it was no use protest, the titan was not paying attention, there was no choice but to hold on and see where Armor was taking him. Bertholdt looked around, he did not know that part of the forest, everything here was lighter green and the treetops were less bulky, allowing the sun's rays to penetrate deeply. This part of the forest was undoubtedly more beautiful and full of life. As Armor went further, Bertholdt had also noticed that the trees were lower, although they were still larger than a titan, but still, they were smaller than the previous ones, so with a shock Bertholdt realized that they were leaving the forest.
The great amount of luminosity made Bertholdt blind for a time, for to have lived in a place where the light hardly arrived, made his eyes become accustomed to the dark. After his eyes settled on the new environment, Bertholdt gasped. There was a paradise before him. Great cataracts charmed the place, the effect of the smoke of the water fall and the light, created some mini rainbows, and to finish, the waterfalls ended in a large lake.
"This is beautiful!" Bertholdt said with admiration.
Armor remained in doubt for a while. He knew the meaning of the word, but he did not have enough morality to select what is "beautiful" and "ugly", to the mind of a titan things work simply; but Armor tried to see things in Bertholdt's view and agree with his statement.
Bertholdt was in a trance by the magnificent landscape until the great hand of Armor obstructed his vision. Carefully, Bertholdt positioned himself in his palm and grabbed one of his large fingers to hold on. The feeling of the lost gravity was a little frightening, but Armor made a point of giving him security by lightly closing his hand so the human did not end up falling accidentally.
When he landed on the floor, Bertholdt wasted no time and undressed, leaving only his underwear, and threw himself into the water. Unlike the muddy lake within the wall, these water are more cleaner and translucent, able to see the bottom and the several colorful fish passed over Bertholdt, frightened, and he is sure to have seen an octopus sneaking among some corals. Bertholdt stretched his arms and moved his feet, causing an impulse for it to move in the water. Now with his head out of the water, Bertholdt can see that Armor sat with the back leaning against one of the trees that leaned heavily, and his legs stretched forward with his knees positioned inside the lake.
Armor did not like the cold of the water, since he was a warm-blooded creature. I mean, boiling-blooded. But in compensation, the day was hot with no cloud in the sky, but that was no reason for him to relax, by his sixth sense, Armor felt a great movement of titans ever closer. That was a bad sign.
Bertholdt dived to explore the incredible aquatic world hidden in this piece of paradise, and when he felt that the air was a demand of life, Berth returned to the surface and took long breaths. When he returned to dive to explore some corals at the bottom of the lake, Bertholdt bowed in the head with a yellowish objet in one of the corals' crevices. Driven by curiosity, Bertholdt plunged closer to the crevicel The object was frightening, two black holes looking like large eyes, as soon as he was about a meter from the object, Bertholdt realized with a shock that yes, those holes were eyes, in fact the obejct was a human skull. Bertholdt grabbed the skull. The surface of the artifact was mossy and fragile, probably because it was here many years ago, and a few fish that resided within the skull cavity swam away. Bertholdt saw that there was a crack at the sides, indicating the cause of death. Now there is only one doubt, who was this person? Bertholdt put the skull back, after all it would be useful down here.
Bertholdt moved, ready to swim to the surface, when he noticed that there were thousands of eyes staring at him. Almost hiding in the aquatic vegetation at the bottom of the lake, several human skeletons were deposited, some missing pieces and others whole. This is a cemetery. Frightened Bertholdt swam to the surface as quickly as possible from that pile. When he reached the surface, Bertholdt choked with breathlessness and hyperventilated with fear. As a soldier, it was common to see his friends died in the titan hands right in front of him, but that was heavy, what happened to those people?
Armor growled worried, he did not have a good view to see small things, like Bertholdt's features, but by having a but by having a keen sense of smell, Armor could smell the fear, the pheromones released into the pores. Bertholdt's eyes met Titan's, but he was soon distracted by a turtle that climbed to the surface to breathe.
"Look Armor, this turtle is your face!" Bertholdt said sarcastically, distracting Armor from his concern.
Armor growled angrily. First was the annoying little titan comparing his face to a turtle, and now it's that pathetic human. In retaliation Armor suspended one leg, and lowered forcefully on the lake, creating a tsunami.
"Shit!" That was all Bertholdt said before the wave hit him and dragged him several meters away.
"That .. not .. was .. cool" Bertholdt said between coughs as he crawled on the bank of the river.
The fifteen meters titan laughed at the situation, leading Bertholdt to punch his hard plate and then massaging his hand complaining of pain. Armor was so distracted that he did not notice the jaw titan approaching.
Bertholdt was frightened when a deer with his head decapitated was thrown toward him. Familiar. The jaw titan used his long arms to move among the trees and landed on the silver hair of the armored titan, who grunted in anger.
"You idiots! You could have warned me that you were going on a trip, I was looking for you two with this deer on the back everywhere!" Exclaimed in the human tongue the indignant jaw titan.
"We were running away from you," Armor said playfully, barely comprehensible because of lack of lips, but thanks to his training with Bertholdt, his gargante is getting used to producing such sounds and saying longer phrases.
In retaliation the jaw titan spat on his forehead making Armor get angry and kicked out the smaller titan with his hand, fortunately the titan saliva evaporates quickly. Bertholdt rolled his eyes, they looked like two rebellious and arrogant youngs, but deep down they were friends.
While Bertholdt searched for dry branches among the trees, Armor took the opportunity to converse in his native tongue with the jaw titan about a worry that has been pounding in his head since last night. Even though he was far away, Bertholdt could hear the grunts shared among the titans, but he didn't care what they said.
<So what is this?>
<I don't understand why the plans were postponed, everything was scheduled for when it came to the lunar eclipse, but the pack is gathering fast as if it were ... an emergency.>
<So you didn't know, which isn't surprising, because you live alone in a forest where the light hardly reaches. For this human to have convinced you to leave that museum of solitude, he must be very special.>
<Actually .. it was me who brought him here, but what are you talking about that I don't know?>
<The attack titan betrayed us and now he is working with the humans ... within their fortress. Although in my opinion he turned their pet.>
<Damn it! I knew this pampered hard head was a problem!>
<Well it seems like there is another "pampered hard head" that is going to be a problem.>
<You know what the boss is going to do with you when he meets this little one, and it does not matter if he's a threat or not.>
<That's why I have a special request for you.>
<Eat him? No problem!>
<What!? No! I've been thinking all night. You had taken him away from here.>
<But you do not think-!>
<All right. I promise. You have my word.>
"Hi! Sorry for taking so long. Here the vegetation is very green." Bertholdt said, fortunately not picking up the tension between the titans.
During Bertholdt's meal, the trio sat in a circle with a crackling fire in the middle. Bertholdt sitting on an old trunk, Jaw titan sitting like a dog, Armor lying on his stomach with his arms crossed under his chin. They talk about everything, about the good and bad times, about what they liked, what they hated, at last they opened up to each other, although the titan armored and jaw titan showed their friendship/hatred almost all the time. But then a question asked of Bertholdt confused them.
"Titans have parents?"
The titans looked at each other, then turned their attention to Bertholdt.
"I mean ... to have father and mother, because a species needs to reproduce to continue existing"
The titans stood still for a while, until Armor opened his jaw to speak.
"I can not remember a moment when I was a puppy, actually, I never knew if titans could reproduce." Said Armor a little hoarse from the effort.
"what? You guys have no past memory of how you came." Said Bertholdt incredulously.
"In fact, we have a creator, the Earth Devil, but he has been killed by your kind have years ago" said the jaw titan.
"Then you would be in a sort of "to drift" on the face of the earth," said Bertholdt, concluding.
"For lack of another word better, you can say that yes" Said Armor
"But then if titans don't mate, and the creator is dead ... you guys are a limited number then. You can be easily extinguished!" Exclaimed Bertholdt.
"In fact, we are billion and we do not grow old" Said the jaw titan in a proud tone.
"But most of them are hollow heads, and I'd prefer they be extinct" Armor said in a grumpy tone.
Bertholdt laughed. Armor always showed hatred against his inferior brothers, so he always marked his territory every day to keep the bastards away, and when an unlucky stepped in his yard, Armor wouldn't hesitate and smash its head with his fists.
"You're not the only one who wants this, I swear!"
Armor looked at the nearly full moon that hung in the dark sky. Usually hidden in the "museum of solitude" he could hardly see it, and didn't even care abou it, but now he can't take his eyes off it. The beast titan is going to take advantage of the full moon to gather as many titans as possible. it was all a matter of time, and the moon was the clock.
I hope you actually gave your word jaw Titan. Armor said in his thoughts.
The smaller titan was sleeping in his silver hair, and Bertholdt curled into his hand. They had decided to stay here as they said that this place was quite vast and perfect to make a new camp, although the titan armored had agreed ... but for other reasons, as this place was further away from the horde of titans who were gathering , and this place being dominated by low vegetation, Armor will have a good visibility, so the unwanted ones will be in disadvantages.
Armor never imagined that he would care as much about a creature as insecure as a human, or even, be friends with one, but now Armor is sure that he will not let anything bad happen to his little friend, even if Armor has to fight against his own "boss", although he hopes this does not happen.
He remembered that Bertholdt taught him the concept of family, a set of individuals connected by good feelings. Sometimes he wonders if his relationship can be called a family, but Armor likes to believe its does, and he would also select it as beautiful.
"Armor, this has nothing to do with a hex!" Bertholdt exclaimed, laughing.
Armor sighed, steam coming out of the jaw cracks. Bertholdt was teaching geometric shapes for the titan armored by means of drawings in the mud for hours .. but it seems that this stuff doesn't work with Armor. The titan had difficulties in memorizing them, and he always wondering what the hell to use it for! Humans and their things .. are more complex than I had imagined, Armor thought bitterly.
"There, that's a hex .. now repeats." Bertholdt said drawing the six-sided poligono large enough for Armor to see. although Bertholdt believes that Armor can see small details very well
The armored titan sighed hot steam again and imitated Bertholdt's drawing with his large fingers while the jaw titan watched everything with fun, perched on the armored shoulder. Sometimes Armor wondered if the smaller titan understood these geometric forms and what they are used for, since she has the function of spying and giving information to the beast titan about human fortifications. But the answer seems to be yes, since she is mocking of him by his absence of intelligence, leaving the titan of fifteen meters more irritated.
"Good, very good .. now make ten more hex" Said Bertholdt with a shy smile on his face. Armor snorted angrily (again) and growled low in his throat, while the jaw titan seemed to be facing an internal battle not to laugh.
"Hey, buddy, it's okay ... actually humans repeat various tasks to memorize them, like ... when I was teaching you to write, I always asked you to repeat, to .. to help you memorize them. " Bertholdt said, sweating nervously. Despite his great confidence with the armored giant, he was still afraid to leave the titan angry because he did not know what the titan could do, and he intends never to know.
The two titans noticed the nervousness in Bertholdt's voice despite him trying to disguise, but unfortunately Berth is an open book and titans have great senses. The jaw titan nudged the armored titan's neck as if to say "idiot look what you did!". Armor caught the message behind the smaller titan's blow and regretted. Armor had not snorted at Bertholdt, he just snorted because he was sick of these geometric shapes. Then armored titan thought of something funny to say.
"I'm going to eat the unfortunate human who invented these diabolical traits." Armor said in a slightly hoarse voice, but thanks to his coexistence with the human, his voice became more like a human tone. But that did not matter, ever since Armor got a little Bertholdt's smile.
Jaw titan clapped his hand on her forehead and thought you should not have mentioned "I'm going to eat" to a human. You stupid bastard.
"Well, those diabolical traits were invented years ago. The creators are certainly dead, "said Bertholdt, half laughing. But this statement "I'm going to eat" left Bertholdt a little ... apprehensive. Has Armor ever eaten or was it just a joke? He mentally begged it to be the last option.
Armor lowered his huge hand and began the diabolical traits (according to Armor) on the damp earth they were using as a slate, and forming these strange drawings that humans called hex which he had no idea what they were for. Then he made another and another until he was ten. God, what the other titans would think about seeing the "mortifer armored machine" doing strange shapes on the floor, that would be very strange indeed ... though Armor found these human things interesting.
<Ten thousand more!> Said jaw titan in her native tongue in a playful tone, but Armor wasn't in the joking mood and kicked the smaller titan on his shoulder with the sudden movement of his hand, as if he were to drive away an insent. Bertholdt laughed, though he did not understand the complex languages of a titan's trills, he found the scene funny, they look like two teenage frenemy.
Ungrateful! Shouted the smaller titan as she jumped on the taller branches, having been expelled from her personal armored perch. Armor just snorted and growled low in response.
"Do you want a break for your brain to cool down?!" Bertholdt said smiling, mocking his armored friend.
In response the fifteen meters titan dropped his massive body back to lie on the dense grass, causing a tremor on the ground because of the impact. Bertholdt deduced that this was a "certainty" and went hunting for some small prey to eat, leaving Armor alone with his precious rest.
This rest came at a good time because Armor was already sick with those lessons and having a five meters annoying titan perched on his shoulder. Though it was curious to learn about human contraptions, and that changed the way Armor thought about humans because he once viewed them as inferior, stupid, and weak beings, now he realizes how much the ability to think of this species is complex. Which made Armor wonder how much information these skulls can fit in these skulls so small, smaller than the tip of Armor's finger. Anyway they are worth living ... though Armor still finds humans physically weak, but that was just a matter of physiognomy.
Bertholdt pulled a sharp stone knife from his waist as he saw a boar cub all alone near a pond. The little animal was distracted drinking water and did not notice Bertholdt approaching silently. Although a cubs is an easy target, the mothers are not; Berth had to redouble his attention, since he did not want to repeat the same episode with the momy bear. but he saw no sign of a big mama. And that was a good sign.
As quiet as possible, Berth approached the little boar. The soft grass beneath her feet helped to silence her footsteps. It was a few meters between them, until "CRACK". Bertholdt had stepped on a dry branch. The cub caught by surprise, looked back. And as soon as it saw the figure about two meters behind him, he ran toward a closed bush and screamed desperately for help.
Bertholdt cursed his incompetence and tried to catch the little animal, but the boar cub was faster.
"Damn it!" exclaimed Bertholdt as he ran after his prey.
The little boar ran swiftly like a fox through the thick woods, much faster than a normal human. Fortunately Bertholdt was taller than the human average, that means he has long legs that can cover more space, leaving his speed almost equivalent to that of the boar's cub, but his resistance was not equivalent. Little by little Berth's legs began to fail and his lungs demanded for air. He had no choice but to stop and assume that the persecution failed. The wild boar disappeared through the dense foliage, and its cries were diminishing as it distanced itself.
"Stupid pig" said Bertholdt, breathless and sweating rivers, as he supported his hands on his knee trying to draw his breath.
Bertholdt leaned against a tree to rest, but all his energies came to light when he realized that two massive adult boars with huge pointed teeth and skin and muzzle marked by years of fighting were racing toward him. These were probably the parents of the little boar. Great! The little bastard called the cavalry.
"Fuck!" Exclaimed Bertholdt as he fled from this pair of beasts.
With the adrenaline rushing in his veins, Bertholdt climbed a nearby tree like a cat running from a dog. The boars hissed and placed their front paws on the trunk of the tree to try to reach the Bertholdt, but their paws were not made to climb. Fortunately. Bertholdt wiped the sweat from his forehead with his hand and continued to climb; putting his hands and feet in the crevices of the trees to help him to climb up.
The tree was probably about twelve masters, and was one of the highest among the others, giving him a good view of the area around him. Bertholdt leaned on one of the branches near the treetop and looked down. The foliage almost obstructed the vision, but he could still see that the two boars were still there, waiting patiently like guards' dogs for the human to get tired and get off the tree, but that will not happen so soon.
The boar's cub joined the parents, and shouted with happiness around them, as if mocking Bertholdt. And it probably was. The big boars sniffed and examined the restless puppy to see if it was all right, but that did not mean that they had diverted or diminished attention from Bertholdt. They wanted a piece of his ass.
It had been about ten minutes, but Bertholdt felt as if he had been hanging on that tree for hours. Berth sighed wearily. His back and ass were aching because the trunk of a tree was not one of the most comfortable, and his tanned skin was being punished by the the midday sun without clouds; unfortunately the leaves of the tree top were very sparse, and did not give him a good shade. Bertholdt sighed in frustration for the thousandth time and looked down. The boar couple were lying on the fluffy grass under the shade of a tree while the boar cup ate some red berries in a bush. What a good life. Bertholdt wondered if it would be better to come down and confront the boars or stay right here, and the answer was: Better to stay here.
Already tired, Berth grabbed a thick branch and climbed higher to the top of the tree. The creaking of the woods caught the attention of the wild boars that immediately rose and placed their front paws on the trunk of the tree, and hissed loudly, eager to kick the human ass. Bertholdt just showed the middle finger and continues to climb the tree to get a better view around him and try to think of something so he can get away from these pigs.
The branches on the top of the tree were thin and could break easily, Bertholdt had to be careful where he was stepping, as he did not want to end up falling below, where two beasts are waiting for him ... though Bertholdt was almost ten meters off the ground, and the minimum height the human can drop without dying is up to seven meters. Bertholdt swallowed and grabbed a branch with his hands that creaked threatening to break, but bore his weight. Fortunately.
Determined that he was high enough now, Bertholdt looked around. The human discovered that this forest lay on a slightly high ground, which gave him a wider view.
"I'm glad there's no titan around, either," Bertholdt said thoughtfully. In fact Bertholdt had not seen Titans have a time. He does not know if it's the titan armored that keeps them on the edge, or if it has something to do with migration. Hange had raised theories about this, but nothing concrete. But anyway, Bertholdt felt safe with the removal of these titans. Though there was concern in his mind.
Berth lifted his hand to shield his eyes from the excess of clarity and looked around. He saw trees, forests, hills, some pebbles, trees, more trees, destroyed houses .. WAIT, WHAT ?!
On a lower ground, there is.. or there was a small village with houses near the others, and a few high buildings in the center and it was also possible to detect the open fields with fences around it, probably used for planting. Reminding him of the humble villager that Bertholdt lived in the time of his childhood. But now there were only ruins and scraps scattered about the abandoned village, and the fields were being dominated by the dense undergrowth that gradually slumped, just like a cancer. Despite all the trash of croncreto and plaster, there was life growing there. Shrubs and creepers grew through the craters of the ruins, and some trees competed space between the streets of the village. Now that humans have not been, nature is taking its rightful place. Bertholdt wondered if the villager where he lived in his childhood was suffering the same.
Bertholdt was astonished and even forgot for a moment that there were two wild boars trying to kill him below, but looking more closely, Bertholdt noticed some marks of giant hands and feet in the ruins. In fact, it was obvious that this villager was destroyed because of the titans, but one detail caught his eye; there were large, deep (and familiar) footprints that had been marked on the ground for years. Although these footprints had suffered through the action of time, Bertholdt could still recognize them. Those were Armor's footprints. He destroyed this village and probably killed the people who inhabited it.
His fifteen meters giant friend caused this destruction, well .. it was not exactly news to Bertholdt because jaw titan had already revealed that Armor had killed humans before “Strange, Armor would boast about his history of massacres.” But the fact that disturbed him was, why did Armor lie? If it was a common task for him to kill humans, why did not Armor tell me when I asked him if he had ever seen another human before. Maybe the jaw titan was right, the reason he did not tell me was because I was ... naive? It makes no sense! if Armor is a cruel and heartless killer, why does he act so different from me just because I'm not assertive?
Bertholdt shook his head to scare away his thoughts. At that point he needs to focus on how to get rid of these wild boars so he can get off that tree. Bertholdt inclined his head thoughtfully. What are the boars afraid of? But no idea came into his head.
Come on, come on! Come Bertholdt, if you were a predator, what would you be afraid of? Of a bigger predator? Bertholdt thought.
Then an idea popped into his mind. A bigger predator. Wild boars can be large, strong creatures that no human would face hand in hand. But if the boar were in front of a momy bear for example, would a boar take on a creature four times larger? Of course not.
With an idea in mind, Bertholdt breathed in his lungs and then howled. Wolves were animals of the size equivalent to wild boars and always hunt in flocks. Perhaps the boars would confront them with their large tusks and body weight, but they would not risk the lives of their offspring. Immediately the pair of wild boars below raised their ears and moved their heads intently around them after hearing the "howls" without knowing that it was the human who was imitating the sound of a wolf. The couple of boars did not think twice and preferred to abandon the human on the tree, because the safety of their cub was much more important.
The sounds of the boars's hooves moving away relieved Bertholdt. Now that these "guard dogs" had left, Bertholdt took advantage and carefully descended from the tree because the branches appeared to be fragile, and in some crevices of the trunk were mosses. There was a great risk of falling. A three-dimensional maneuvering equipment would be welcome now. The brunet thought.
Despite all the difficulty, Bertholdt was able to descend unscathed. Now on the floor, the brunet looked around to find out where he came from. It was not a difficult task because Bertholdt's path had been several strangers in the vegetation on the way, Bertholdt was of great stature, so it was common for his to leave a mess wherever he went, especially if Bertholdt was rushing through life in a place with little space.
Bertholdt retraced the path, stopping to orient himself a few times, but he easily recognized where he went because the vegetation in this area was more or less low, it is difficult to get lost here. Different from the black forest where the armored titan inhabited, there the vegetation was so dense and rich that the light hardly entered, and to make matters worse the foliage also had dark tones, definitely that giant forest was where the night reigned 24 hours. The brunet raised one hand to wipe the sweat from his forehead. He had not imagined that he had come this long. Bertholdt made a mental note not to hunt so far next time.
Minutes later Bertholdt could see the two titans and laughed at the sight. Armor was rubbing his back on the floor and grunting as if he had an orgy and the jaw titan was biting a branch, like a dog gnawing a bone, maybe she was grinding her teeth or something like this, the brunet thought. Bertholdt stepped forward and stretched out his arms.
"Hey Armor, I'm back!"
The titan stopped scenting his scent on the ground and sat cross-legged with an annoyed snort. While the jaw titan remained indifferent with the arrival of Bertholdt.
What? Do you want to give me more of these damn lessons and mock me ?! Armor thought.
Bertholdt approached the titan seated, ignoring his childish anger. The brunet remained silent for a while, thinking of the right words to say.
"I ... I need to talk to you, it's important," said Bertholdt kind of shy. The jaw titan noticed the change in the environment and decided to leave, leaving the two alone because she already had notion about what Bertholdt was about to speak with Armor. It was something personal and she did not want to be in the middle of it.
The armored titan tilted his head in confusion and changed his position to be closer to Bertholdt's level. He lay on his stomach and folded his arms under his chin to support his head. Bertholdt approached near his large armored face and sat down. Now there was only a short distance between them. Bertholdt sighed before speaking, and Armor deciphered that this was a bad sign.
"You lied to me, don't you?" Bertholdt asked though he already knew the answer, but he wanted to hear it from Armor's mouth.
Armor stared at him for a while. He knew what the human want mean with that, but he lacked courage, which is hilarious because he is a massive fifteen meters titan covered in armor and responsible for various massacres, he was practically one of Earth's greatest predators. But at this very moment he feels the cornered prey. He liked this little being, and considered him a member of the family, so Armor had promised himself never to hurt him and would never let anything hurt him, even though he was not physically. But it seems that fate has a sense of humor, and nothing happens in the way we want it to happen.
"You do not have to tell me if you do not want to," Bertholdt said flatly, getting up and away from Armor.
Quickly Armor moved one of his arms. and placed his forearm in front of Bertholdt, creating a wall for the human not to leave. Bertholdt sighed, frightened by the movement, and turned to meet Armor. Bertholdt swallowed, fear trailing down his spine. Maybe if he had been silent and not provoked the titan would be better, but Armor's words left him in a trance.
"Yes, there were innumerable human fortifications there, and yes, I was responsible for the destruction of several of them!" Exclaimed Armor. Although he felt a great deal of relief in taking this weight off his back, he was nervous about how Bertholdt would react to it. He could have been furious with anger or so terrified to the point of not wanting to see him again, but instead, Berth remained immovable and still, processing all this information. his expression had a mixture of sadness and perplexity.
"So .. why did you ... spare me?" Bertholdt finally said.
"Well .. the first time I saw you, I seriously thought about killing you .. but I felt like I could not do it, I mean, you didn't mean a threat, had no reason to do. Since then I got to know you better and I liked you" Armor paused because of cough, the effort to utter this alien language was painful sometimes "And even being of different species I considered you a family. I swore I'd protect you from everything, so I'm so fanatic about mark the territory. If something bad happens to you, I would never forgive myself. So I lied to you about the existence of other human territories, because if you knew that I was the main responsible for the extinction of them .. I was afraid that you would never want to see me again." Armor said, his voice hoarse and coughing at the end for the effort of saying so many words in English.
Bertholdt listened intently, and was also surprised that Armor had spoken so long, since the titan usually always gave short answers because of his difficulty speaking because of lack of lips. But Berth had to forget his fascination aside and focus on what was important.
"I ... I ... Arg! I can not believe it! "Said Bertholdt, unable to express what he felt. Anger or fear? Bertholdt has always been a withdrawn child who prefers to remain silent and leave it instead of expressing what he felt, which has made him a target for bullying and provocations. But at that moment he was trapped, the arm of the armored giant surrounded him, not letting him flee, and this giant waited for his answer, but the problem was: Bertholdt did not know what to answer or what he felt. He was annoyed that Armor had hidden this from him, but he understood that it was for a good cause so he did not feel angry. Bert also felt that he should be afraid of this giant, but everything Armor has done until now has been protecting and welcoming him, what only his deceased mother did, so why Bertholdt was afraid of his friend?
Bertholdt sighed and looked into the golden eyes, and with a shy smile he said "I forgive you." Bertholdt said softly, but Armor's sharp audition picked up.
If Armor had lips he would have a wide smile now, but unfortunately he does not, so as the only way of showing that he is happy; Armor blew steam directly into Bertholdt's face, ruffling his hair in several directions and taking a laugh from Bertholdt.
"Hey, that's unfair, you big fool!" Exclaimed Bertholdt, trying to protect himself from the "steam attack" with his hands. When he felt the steam over, Bertholdt ran to his face and hugged his big armored nose. He was surprised how hot the metal was, but it was not insanely hot.
Armor raised a nonexistent eyebrow behind his face armor, and wondered why Bertholdt was grabbing his nose.
spoiler: In the next chapter will appear a new titan. Can anyone guess who it will be?
Chapter 11: Badass Skinless
The cold night came like a black veil full of bright spots covering the dimension of the sky, inducing all living beings to close their eyes and rest to recover the energy lost during the day, but a being .. I mean, a titan with hard plates covering his entire body could not sleep. This was not something new, sometimes the jaw titan was squirming during her sleep over his big head (because she considered Armor's hair almost white as her personal nest), but for some inexplicable reason this time she was not there. Armor even reached his hand to the top of his head to make sure. What was keeping him from sleeping was some kind of crying. Armor might have ignored the sound and accepted a pleasant sleep with open arms, but he could not. This was a sound he had never heard before. He does not remember any animal in this forest that produces such a sound like this. And that was making him apprehensive, because he did not know whether it was dangerous or not, especially if it was dangerous to the human who slept in his right hand as usual.
Armor opened his eyes slowly. The golden glow coming to life little by little. He sniffed the air for some strange scent, but unfortunately the winds were blowing in the opposite direction. Hir concern began to rise until Armor realized that this crying was coming from his right hand. Armor looked at his hand and inclined his head in doubt. Then he slowly opened his fingers revealing a trembling Bertholdt sleeping in fetal position with his legs folded in his chest and his arms around himself protectively.
The human whimpered and murmured words in his dream like: No, please and stop. Armor was in a trance, he had no idea what to do, because he doesn't know much about human behavior like the jaw titan, thinking about her, maybe if she was here, she could help him, but she had to choose this specific night for stay anywhere else! Armor sighed angrily and turned his attention back to the human. Analyzing it better, Armor deduced that Bertholdt seemed to be shielding himself from imaginary attacks. Was this a nightmare? Armor inclined his head doubtfully. Sometimes Armor had some bad dreams about having failed a mission and ending up being killed by the titans alphas, but that was for so long that he barely remembers what a nightmare was.
Armor used his thumb to poke at the restless Bertholdt, but it did not seem to work, as Bertholdt whined and retracted. It hurt Armor's heart to see him like this, he does not know what's going on in the human's mind, but he's sure it's something that hurts him so much. Then Armor took a different approach and stroked Bertholdt's head with his fingertip, ruffling his hair in several directions. At first it did not seem to have made a difference, but gradually he calmed down, and Armor was sure to hear Bertholdt say a "Mom" softly.
His father had arrived early from work .. I mean, he was fired for just cause for his "inappropriate behavior" The little Bertholdt did not remember what his father shouted at him as he kicked his ribs, but there was something to do with "It's all your fault!". The brunet remained with his eyes closed, waiting for the next attack, but all he felt was a soft touch on the top of his head. When he finally opened his eyes, Henry was gone, but that was his mother. She was sitting kneeling next to Bert's shaking figure, stroking hir hair, then hir cheek. A few tears fell from her green eyes. Bertholdt murmured a faint "Mom" and she gave him a small smile, thanking God for her son is still breathing.
Armor moved his hand to the front of his face to get a better view of the human. He watched Bertholdt squirm a little in his palm and finally wake up. Bertholdt was half disoriented at first, still unable to distinguish that everything was just a dream. But when he did, he stared at Armor's intimidating face. Anyone in his place would have shit scared in this situation, but Bertholdt just felt an inquestional confidence and comfort around that massive titan. Oh Lord! How life is hilarious! Of all people, I feel secure around a titan who is the greatest enemy of the humanity! Bertholdt thought.
The heavy silence between them was broken with sobs followed by the tears that fell from Bertholdt's face. The huge titan watched with interest as the human wiped the salty tears with his small hands. Armor had no idea what it means to cry, because the titans did not have that ability, or at least no titan with intelligence had reason to cry. The life of a titan is quite simple: Dominate territories, command titans omegas, destroy any civilization with great degree of reasoning .. there is no time for feelings.
Armor cleared his throat low, catching the human's attention. He wanted to try to understand what was wrong, but Bertholdt just said stubbornly "That's nothing" but of course Armor would not accept that as an answer and made his move. Before Bertholdt could protest, Armor's sticky tongue bathed him completely with saliva, he knew that Bertholdt hated being licked because he complained that it was difficult to take saliva out of his clothes. But on the other hand it was a fun scene, at least for Armor. The titan continued his thrust as Bertholdt tried to protect himself by pulling his tongue out with his hands and legs, but all in vain.
"For God's sake, stop!" Bertholdt said between his laughter. Armor groaned happily. These sounds were much better than the sobs. "I'm serious, it's hard to take saliva out of your clothes!" Bertholdt shouted while trying to push Armor's tongue out. Bertholdt knew Armor would not stop soon until he got his answers, so Bertholdt had no other choice. "Kay! you won!" Bertholdt shouted, making Armor stop.
The titan waited patiently for Bertholdt to catch his breath and settle. Berth sat cross-legged in his palm and sighed deeply. If someday someone would talk to him, that he would open up with a titan, Bertholdt would laugh. But it seems that fate has added a nice touch of humor to his life.
“Well ..." Bertholdt wondered what to say, but this was such a sensitive subject that Berth did not know how, but he knew he would not let go, his past would erode him inside. "When I was just a child .. I had a normal life, but until ..." said Bertholdt looking down at his hands, Armor noticed his nervousness and used his thumb to stroke his head. Bertholdt had a shock of déjà vu. He remembered his dream when his mother stroked his hair to comfort him.
Bertholdt sighed, he had to be assertive this time. "Until my oldest brother, Marcel .. died in an accident." Bertholdt paused as he felt the tears stream from the corners of his eyes, but he continued. "A cart driven by drunken soldiers was coming toward me, and because I'm such an idiot as I know I am, I just froze in place!". Armor growled low, he did not like Bertholdt saying these things to himself. "Marcel ran up to me and pushed me away. He was killed in my place!" Bertholdt paused again to wipe a tear that had fallen. Armor stroked Bertholdt's brown hair more persistently. "I should have been dead! I should have been dead!" Bertholdt repeated to himself, putting both hands on his face.
Armor raised his free hand, and used his fingertip to caress the Bertholdt's back, reminding him that he was there for him. After a good cry, Bertholdt was finally able to face Armor in the eye. The faint golden glow encouraged Bertholdt "Marcel was brave, strong, he was all different from me. He was the pride of my family, especially to my father. But after my brother died, my father was no longer the same. Abusive, and violent, he always punished me for anything small I did, and there were times when he beat me just because he wanted to. "He could not believe the idea that his bright favorite son died and now he had that idiot to raise" Bertholdt said pointing to himself the 'idiot.' Armor wanted to make a comment about eating Bertholdt's father, but reminiscing of his past experience of Bertholdt's startled reaction when he said he was going to eat who invented geometry, Armor chose something smarter to say.
"You said 'Mon' in your dream." Armor said as gently as possible. Bertholdt was a little astonished. Did he speak in his dream? Anyway, he smiled at her memory. "My mother always did her best to take care of me. She never thought twice and would always interfere with my father hitting me. She always believed in my potential. I miss her so much" Bertholdt shouted in the end, but no longer tears to cry. "I'm an idiot I know!" Bertholdt shouted, pulling his legs up to his chest and hugging them with his arms. Armor felt sad for the first time. He did not think Bertholdt was an idiot, and he felt bad that Bertholdt thought that. Then he gathered his words.
"You're not an idiot, Bertholdt. You never was, and I would never think of you! "Bertholdt lifted his head to face Armor's face, and he was slightly surprised Armor had said his full name "You are a good person, I have no doubt of that. You was only broken by bad people, these are the real idiots. And I believe in your potential too." Bertholdt smiled sheepishly. This was the first time he opened up to anyone, because the cadets generally thought that talking about things from the past, especially about the family, was a shame, and Bertholdt did not want to be the target of blackmail and humiliating jokes.
Armor was glad to make his little friend smile again, but an idea popped into his mind. "I have a surprise for you." Bertholdt looked at him curiously wanting to know what the surprise was, but Armor ignored him and closed his fingers over Bertholdt to prevent him from accidentally falling as he stood and walked through the forest. Bertholdt stared at the opening in his fingers, trying to find out where Armor was taking him. After about twenty minutes of walking Armor finally got where he wanted. He would have arrived faster if it was daytime, but at night, Armor had the slower movements to save energy.
Carefully Armor lowered his hand to Bertholdt to descend. The human looked around to see where it was, and figured out what "surprise" Armor had promised. Bertholdt was confused, all he saw was a vast prairie, he took another few steps into the darkness of the night, trusting that Armor was watching him. Then Bertholdt realized that the ground before his feet was very .. whitish. Getting closer Bertholdt realized that he was standing in front of a field of dandelion. The light breeze making the white petals fly through the air, as if it were snowing.
Bertholdt took a dandelion and blew it, making all the petals dance in the air. There was a story about this flower. If you made a wish and breathed the petals of a dandelion, your wish came true. Of course this is a silly story, like making a request to a shooting star, but it was fun.
Armor knelt beside the human, and watched with curiosity as Bertholdt took one of those white flowers and blew it, causing all the petals to fly through the air. Then Armor took a deep breath and blew into the dandelion, a great deal of steam coming out of his mouth, and causing thousands of white petals to fly across the sky. Bertholdt spread his arms and laughed silly, imagining that this "rain" of petals were snowflakes.
Through the darkness of the night, giant humanoid forms approached from every direction. Armor and Bertholdt were too distracted by the dandelions to see the approach of danger. Until Armor suddenly stopped and stared at the darkness in front of him. Bertholdt noticed the sudden change in Armor, and before he could ask what the problem was, Berth heard a sound of grass being kneaded. Bertholdt turned and stared into the darkness, at first he could see nothing, until two glints appeared in the darkness. Bertholdt screamed and stepped back, for the safety of the titan armored offered. These two glints moved and grew more intense as it approached, and Bertholdt realized with a shock that those glows were eyes, more specifically titan eyes.
Suddenly two more glints appeared here and there, and then several pairs of glints appeared in the darkness, encircling them. Bertholdt let out a small gasp, and looked up. Armor was as frightened as Bertholdt, he did not understand how he let it happen and not even because the titans are moving at night, so Armor looked at the sky, and had a surprise; It was full moon. Shit! They both thought. Bertholdt looked down and turned his attention to the darkness ahead, and realized that it was already possible to see the silhouette of the titans. Each one more deformed than the other.
Bertholdt screamed as he felt large fingers grip around him, but he relaxed when he realized it was only Armor's fingers. The armored titan placed Bertholdt on his armored shoulder, because this was the only safe place for Bertholdt to be. Armor roared against them, causing Bertholdt to put his hands on his ear to protect his eardrums. Despite the warning, the titans did not stop or show fear, but instead saliva flowed from their mouth, and the eyes focused on the human on Armor's shoulder.
Armor stood in a fighting position, while Bertholdt hid in his neck. Three abnormal titans advanced toward Armor with their hands extended in an attempt to catch the human, two fifteen meters and one ten meters. Armor raised his fist and punched the face of some fifteen meters titans so hard that the head was ripped out from the body and flew off and rolling through the dandelion field. The fifteen meters decapitated body fell like a rag doll, smoking where the head was. The two other hostile titans attacked from both sides, but Armor was faster and kicked the ten meters titan's knee with extreme force, causing the bone to break and cripple him; until the knee bone would recover was going to take a long time. Before the other titan of fifteen meters advances in Armor to try to catch the human in his shoulder. The armored titan turned and grabbed the neck of the abnormal titan and crushed it with its brute force, causing the muscles and tendons of the neck to compress and disconnect from the body, and a trail of boiling blood escapes from his nostrils and mouth, finally killing him.
Armor's sharp audition captured the footsteps of three more titans coming back, fortunately they were titanic omegas, not a big challenge. Bertholdt grabbed a handful of platinum hair to hold on while Armor threw the fifteen meters titan's dead body over them, causing the titans to tip over like bowls.
"Armor!" Bertholdt screamed as the circle of titans was closing more and more on them. Armor tried bravely to push and punch the approaching titans, but unfortunately they were many, and Armor was gradually being subdued by the mass. With no other choice, Armor decided to stop fighting and put his hands around his own neck, protecting Bertholdt from these monsters.
Berth was terrified, his heart almost jumping out of his mouth. The "safe house" that Armor created with his own hands, brought Berth a little security, but he could not see what was happening on the other side, only a small hole between his fingers served as a window, but it did not help much. Bertholdt leaned deeper between the shoulder joint and Armor's neck. He was not terrified just for his life, he was terrified of Armor as well. He did not want his titanic friend to die for him.
The armored titan groaned angrily under the thrust of the titan mass trying to reach the human at any cost. Smaller titans grabbed his legs and tried to climb through the cracks of the plates, while the larger titans grabbed his arms, trying to pull them out. Armor bravely resisted their assaults, refusing to give up. He's not going to let those motherfuckers even touch Bertholdt.
The titans hissed and tried desperately to reach the human, but realized that to do so, they would have to go through this armored titan first. No matter that Armor belonged to a higher rank in the hierarchy, they began to bite any part of Armor's body that were within reach. The armored titan growled as he felt teeth cling to his legs, arms and the nape of his neck. Armor tried to shake them off, but all in vain. The insatiable hunger spoke louder.
The hard plates resisted the first moment, and Armor managed to push some titans off using his legs. Unfortunately pushing was not enough, and they came back with their attacks. Armor hissed as he felt the plates begin to crack under the pressure of the titans jaw, soon the titan's teeth would reach the flesh. Armor had to use his arms to fight, but if he removed his hands around his neck, it would mean leaving Bertholdt vulnerable. Armor sighed. The decision was made.
Hold on a little longer Bertholdt. Armor thought as he removed his arms. Bertholdt looked with pure terror as his "safe house" went away.
Now with his arms free, Armor was able to fight back. He punched the chin of a belly beer titan with his right fist, the sound of bone shifting. The belly beer titan staggered back and knocked out some smaller titans with it. Armor continued his process of punching and pushing, refusing to give up. But unfortunately they were many, and the sounds of the fight seemed to be attracting others, and by the fact of being at night, Armor would not have enough energy to deal with everytitan. He had to think of some quick plan. Unfortunately his ability to strategize was not sophisticated as well as his strength.
Bertholdt leaned closer to the armored titan's neck and whimpered when a ten meters titan was dangerously close to him, teeth bared, trying to snatch him. Suddenly something jumped on Armor's shoulder and punched the ten meters titan in the face, pushing him away from Bertholdt. The brunette looked up, and realized with a shock that the intruder was the jaw titan. She saved him.
<Why did you take so long?> Armor exclaimed in his native tongue as he grabbed the neck of two titans and shook their heads.
<I have a life you asshole! I was just going for a night stroll, until I heard you growl. I knew you were in danger so I came as fast as I can!> She responded to Armo while she kept the titans away from Bertholdt.
She used her sharp nails to scratch the eyes of a nearby titan, tearing up almost half of it face in the process. Suddenly his arm was grabbed by a titan with an inhumanly large smile. She tried to get rid of the grip, but the smiling titan was stronger. To say that Bertholdt was in pure panic was euphemism. He feared for Armor's life and now for jaw titan's life. He didn't want to see people that he liked to die because of him, just like his mother. Suddenly jaw titan bit his attacker's arm. Her sharp teeth tearing at his muscles and tendons, making its grip loosen and free her arm.
<Damn it! They are a lo-!> Before the jaw titan had finished speaking, a loud, strident cry echoed through the field. Bertholdt put his hands on his ears to protect himself. He had never heard anything like this before. This crying was metallic and strangely human. When the cry ceased, the titans began to run away. Armor and jaw titan sighed in relief. Bertholdt was confused, he did not understand what had just happened. Why were the titans leaving? Not that Berth had anything to complain about, actually he was very happy. But he still did not understand this .. subtle migration.
"What was that all about?" Asked Bertholdt watching the titans disappear into the darkness .. well, it was not really that dark. The sun was beginning to show signs of life in the horrizonte, but there was still not enough light. The jaw titan moved her head with a low grunt. Answering Bertholdt.
The brunet turned to where the jaw titan was pointing and choked with what he saw. A skinless titan, exposing the muscle tissue completely as the colossal titan, (although its fingers seem to be made of bones) and also with clearly feminine characteristics, it was in front of the titan armored. She was a little smaller than Armor, maybe fourteen meters, but she had a fit, muscular body. Her expressionless face with a icy blue look beneath a sickly blond hair reminded him of Annie. So this titan should be the source of the cry that controlled the titans, so that's what the titan jaw had spoken to him nights ago about "alphas titans who control others," but then why does Armor and jaw titan not seem to be being controlled? Maybe this titan without skin did not have full control. Then the female titan stared at Bertholdt, he shuddered under her gaze. It was as if she could pierce his soul with her ice-diamond eyes if she want, this was the same effect when Annie stared at him. Badass skinless is an appropriate name for her
"I don’t know how you survived out of your hive, but I'd commit suicide if I had to stay with those two." The female titan said with a perfectly human pronouncement, maybe it was the fact that she has lips. While she said, Bertholdt can repair small openings she had on her cheek. Her jaw was probably more flexible than she looked.
"We love you too, my dear!" Jaw titan told sarcastically. Armor laughed low in his lungs and helped Bertholdt down to the floor, offering his hand as an elevator.
Bertholdt was grateful to be able to touch the floor again. He sat down on the floor. His legs were still shaken by the previous event. The jaw titan descended with extreme agility from Armor's shoulder, and landed beside Bertholdt with a loud thud, startling him. The jaw titan laughed proudly and Bertholdt threw a handful of land at her in retaliation.
<Anyway, what are you doing here? I thought you were going on your mission, not that I'm complaining about your visit.> Armor said in his native tongue, he did not want Bertholdt to hear this conversation.
<I'm not visiting, actually I wonder why there is a lot of animal carcass floating in the rivers of my territory.> The female titan said crossing her arms. She really was not at all happy about it. The territory of the female titan was on lower ground and near the armored titan, so the rivers flowed through Armor's territory first until it reached her territory. When this pile of "trash" began to appear in her waters, she already had an idea of what the "cause" was. Armor tried hard to hold back his laughter, but failed. This caught the attention of Bertholdt. For him to be laughing like that, he must know her a long time. I mean, she saved our asses, she's a friend right? Bertholdt thought as he watched with interest the two titans talking between grunts and growls.
<Oh sorry, my bad .. I noticed that little human made clothes with the skin of these animals, but they were too dangerous for him to knocked them. So I decided to help, but it looks like I've knocked over the limit he needed. Anyway I was just helping the human.> Armor said, recalling the day Bertholdt complained about the pile of dead wolf bodies in front of his shelter, and asked Armor to throw them out on the river.
<I saw.> The female titan said in monotonous tone, uncrossing her arms and extended an arm in front of Armor. The armored titan looked with interest when the female titan opened her fingers, revealing a human object in her palm. Armor had no idea what it was, but he knew it was made by human hands. Since she had no more reason to hold that strange object, she dropped it. Maybe the human had an interest in it.
Bertholdt watched a strange object fall from the female titan's hand and land on the floor. Approaching from the object, he recognized it. It was the novel Bertholdt had found in the old wooden house. Bertholdt held the book and began to leaf through. Not caring about the two titans who spoke above him. The brunet was amazed, since when he was chased by a mon bear and forced to jump into a river where he lost the book. Berth never thought he would find the novel again. Unfortunately the water spoiled the pages, it was impossible to read. Bertholdt would never discover the end, but at least in the last one page, had a still clear image, well .. not so clear, but he could still see. This image showed a woman holding a bunch of flowers in front of a grave, probably the man she loved. This book probably was about sad fine ones, in which the couple does not have the happy ending together.
<The jaw titan told me about the whereabouts of the attacking titan, does this have to do with your mission?> Armor said, he wanted to get rid of this mystery, to understand why the beast titan was gathering the pack so fast.
<I eliminate traitors, and that's what the attack titan has become. But what makes my mission special is that the attack titan has the coordinate.> She said the female titan as if it were the most natural thing in the world. But for Armor it was not even a little.
<How the fuck does this idiot have the coordinate! Damn it, humans would use him as a weapon!> Armor exclaimed loudly, forgetting that he had a sensitive human watching them.
Bertholdt was paralyzed when Armor roared like that. Were they fighting? Bertholdt could not understand the native language of a titan, but judging by his postures; The female titan had a disinterested look and relaxed body, while Armor seemed angry, but not to the point of being violent. It seems that the female titan gave some news that Armor did not like.
<He must be descended from titans alphas.> The female titan said crossing her arms and looking away. She was wasting precious time here. All she wanted was to finish her mission and return to her territory, the only place she feels at peace from this insane world. She didn't a give a shit if her armored friend was keeping a human for unexplained reasons, without the consent of the bestial titan, that was his problem, not hers. Armor that deals with his consequences.
<Excuse me, but I have a job to do.> The female titan said as she passed Armor and walked away. But Armor had other plans.
<Hey! You have to train hand to hand combat before you face him.> Armor said in a fight position. It seemed childish of him, but there was also concern. Armor feared that his friend would fail her mission, that is, die. She might have been cold-hearted, but she was his friend. And he wanted her well.
<I'm not in the mood for it.> Said the female titan with a weary sigh. Sometimes this pain in the ass knew to be annoying.
<Oh come on, you will not say you're scared. It would be a shame for you to back down when you meet your victim.> The armored titan said, taunting her. He knew she hated the word "shame." Armor groaned contentedly when he saw the female titan turn and stand in a fighting position. One foot behind the other and raised fists.
Bertholdt swallowed. What the hell was going to happen? In a moment they were talking like friends, and now they are about to fight? But then the jaw titan reassured him.
"Relax, this is going to be fun, you'll like it!" Jaw titan said sitting like a dog, and with eyes in expectation. Bertholdt sighed and sat down next to the jaw titan to watch the fight. Although Bertholdt hates violence, he had nothing else to do.
Armor made the first move, moved his right arm. His fist toward the female titan's face. He hardly knew it was the wrong move. The female titan moved to the right, seconds before the armored fist hit the target. She grabbed his outstretched wrist and kicked his heel, making Armor fall on its own weight. He falls with a high thud on the ground, causing a mini earthquake. The female titan stared up at him with an expression that seemed to say "satisfied?"
Jaw titan laughs silly with the little spectacle of seeing Armor having his butt kicked, while Bertholdt was stunned with the tecna used by the female titan. Bertholdt recalled when Annie taught some techniques to Eren. She said the goals of these techies were to bring down big guys by using their own weight and size against them.
Armor slowly stood up, wondering how he did not see it coming, but it was the female titan after all. She's amazing.
<I wish the attack titan luck, he really will need.> Armor said playful. The female titan just rolled her eyes and started walking toward the destination, murmuring a good-bye as she walked away.
The trio decided to return to the comfort of the forest, they were afraid that the bunch of titans will return. Jaw Titan kept irritating him as she took a ride on his left shoulder, while Bertholdt, who was sitting on top of Armor's head, braided his platinum hair, laughed shyly at the situation. Armor just ignored everything as he returned to his home, carrying these two "parasites" who could not use their legs.
Chapter 12: Unexpected Goodbye
All good things have an end.
Armored thought disgustedly. At first geometry seemed easy, circles, squares, were easy ways to remember and draw. Then it became increasingly complex and challenging. The figures came to have different forms and complicated names.
Bertholdt had told me that geometry is the study of the forms present in nature and the properties that these forms possess, but I have been breathing on the face of the Earth for years, I have traveled and I have known several places of the Earth for years, like: scorching deserts, ice mountains, tropical beaches and never in my life have I seen a pentagon in nature! Where did the human come up with this idea of pentagon, trapezium, rhombus? Why the hell is that good ?!
The armored titan growled low in discontent and folded his arms, making it clear to his human teacher that this all sucks and he was unhappy with it. Bertholdt just shook his head in reproach at the attitude of Armor, who was sitting cross-legged in front of him. Sometimes Berth wondered if he was dealing with a fearsome titan responsible for several human deaths, including his mother, or whether he was dealing with a stubborn child of fifteen meters.
"Come on buddy, if you can fight several titans and destroy several fortresses with ease, you can do it!" Said Bertholdt trying to cheer his fifteen meters friend. Throughout the time Berth lived in the forest with the titans, Bertholdt learned that Armor likes to boast, so Bertholdt could use that in his favor.
Reluctantly Armor uncrossed his arms and sighed in defeat, a little steam coming out of the jaw cracks. He turned his attention to the damp earth on which they were using as a blackboard. The exercise was very easy, Bertholdt had drawn three forms large enough for Armor to see into the mud, and the titan had only to write down each one's name. The first one was easy, it was the design of an orifice, it could only be a circle. The second was kind of complicated, it looked like a square that was crushed on both sides, but Armor thought this was the funniest and so it was easier to memorize, it was a trapezium. The third was the most complicated of them all. Why does Bertholdt always like to leave the most difficult to the end? Armor thought in disgust. The last shape looked like a circle, but it was possible to see the edges and vertices. For him to discover the name that shape, he had to count how many sides he has and associate with the list of names that Bertholdt asked him to memorize.
One, two, three ... five, six ... eight, nine, and ten! It has ten sides! So is this a hexagon? No, hexagon has six sides. Octagon? Also do not .. Decagono! Yes Decagono! That's it!
Bertholdt watched Armor write the names of each shape in the mud with his big finger. The calligraphy was horrible, but fortunately it was clear.
"Very well Armor, I knew you could do this," said Bertholdt contentedly, applauding him.
Armor groaned in satisfaction at his small accomplishment, though he kept telling himself that he hated these "diabolical forms." Bertholdt smiled with his titanic friend, happy to see him taking a moment for himself, not caring about the world around him, because since the day the flock of titans appeared and attacked them in the field of dandelions. Armor began to act differently. He be more alert and attentive than before. And during the nights, Armor preferred to stay on watch, it seems that titans are not affected by the lack of sleep, but that made Bertholdt worried anyway. And when Armor was not watching around, jaw titan was. Bertholdt had asked what the problem, but the titans said they gave a short answer, saying it was for precaution. Although Bertholdt could see the nervousness behind their voice, but Berth preferred not to push them.
Armor suddenly arises with clenched fists and growls menacingly in one direction, taking Bertholdt by surprise. Instinctively Bertholdt runs to hide behind a set of stones. His back hits hard on solid material, while his heart pours blood madly as if he had run in a marathon (Can say the same with his sweat).
Damn it! Another herd of titans ?! Bertholdt asked in his thoughts.
Bertholdt tried to calm down and stay tuned for the sounds. There were no hisses and no footsteps, and even Armor was quiet. Curiously, Bertholdt peered slightly out of his hiding place, to see why Armor growled. But there was nothing but giant trees. But Armor kept staring at something. Bertholdt nodded, wondering what was wrong with Armor, but then he remembered that titans have sharp senses. Armor probably heard something that a human could not.
"Armor .. what's going on?" Bertholdt asked as he walked close to the titan.
The armored titan ignored him, but his hands were no longer a fist, which Bertholdt took as a good sign. Suddenly loud clicks of the trees awoke the panic in Bertholdt again, who ran to hide in Armor's heel. Bertholdt peered slightly and sighed with relief as he discovered that the source of the sound was just jaw titan moving through the branches, so that must have been what Armor heard seconds ago that left him in counter-attack mode.
Bertholdt left his hiding place and watched the jaw titan descend through the branches and land elegantly on the ground, but Berth realized something was wrong, the jaw titan was hyperventilating, she probably came running.
Oh no nonoNO! Please God, tell me it's not a horde of titans approaching! Bertholdt thought.
Armored grunted something in his tongue, probably wondering what was going on. Jaw Titan took some time to catch her breath, but then looked into his eyes and began to respond with her trills. She sounded desperate.
Bertholdt hated when the titans spoke only between grunts and hisses, not that he had anything against the titans speaking in their own language, especially because they do not have the proper throat to speak the human tongue, but they've been grunting a lot lately, and usually always when they're alone. Bertholdt had no doubt the titans knew of something he didn’t know.
<What!? Are you sure!?> Armor asked incredulously.
<Yes! I would recognize that monkey's ass smell anywhere!> Jaw titan replied. She hated when someone asked those boring questions like "are you sure?" "Do you swear?" "You're kidding me, right?" Because they were boring to answer them.
To say that Armor was afflicted was euphemistic. Since the day the horde of titans had attacked them during the night and nearly killed the human, Armor redoubled his guard. Any movement, sound or strange smell around was already enough for Armor to enter the overprotective mode. Once a rabbit had jumped out of a bush, and in the fright, Armor nearly knocked down three giant trees, thinking it was a horde of titans. It took hours for Armor's heart to calm down, and certainly for Bertholdt too.
"Hey!" Shouted Bertholdt, catching the attention of both titans. "Is everything okay?" Bertholdt asked innocently, trying to break the tension.
Both titans looked at each other as if telepathically asking "Should we tell him?" And turned their attention to the human. Armor moved his jaw to respond to the human .. until an unpleasant scent of greasy hair reached its nose, the scent that jaw titan calls a "monkey's ass". Both titans moved their heads in the direction of the strange scent, followed by Bertholdt, and were paralyzed. The titan alpha or beast titan, stood with the fists and the shark teeth clenched, certainly not happy. On either side of him were three abnormal titans of fifteen meters, all salivating in the corners of their mouth, barely waiting to devour the human, but they did not dare to take a step until the alpha say so.
Bertholdt was gaped. This new titan was actually the most distinguished of all he has ever seen. He was taller than the titan armored, probably seventeen meters. Its appearance is similar to a monkey, although its body structure and facial expressions are as human. Much of its body is covered with a dark brown hairs, with the exception of its face, belly, hands, feet and trunk. Its arms are disproportionate thin and long, just like the fingers, almost touch the ground. And this titan had a funny beer belly, but the deep groan that emerged from the bottom of its throat was not funny at all. But the detail that most caught Bertholdt's attention was its sharp golden eyes. They did not have a sweet glow and full of sympathy like armored titan, on the contrary, they transmitted the same somber message as the golden orbs of a certain black jaguar that almost killed him once; death.
The armored titan and jaw titan swallowed. They know that the beast titan does not tolerate rule breakers. And the primordial rule was: never have contact with humans. Because that way humans could collect useful information to be used against the titans, and turn the game. The victory of humanity is the nightmare of the titans, or so Armor was taught. But with the time he spent with Bertholdt, Armor looked at the world with different eyes and wondered more, and he concluded that: The victory of humanity is the nightmare of the ALPHAS titans. Because all that an alpha titan wants is dominance and power, and for that they own their pawns to do the dirty work. But this time Armor did not allow himself to be a dumb pawn. And he hopes jaw titan will not either.
"Kill. This. Bug!" Said the beast titan gruffly in the human tongue, in an attempt to intimidate the human. And it worked.
Bertholdt took a step back, his heart racing madly, ready to escape at any moment. Those three words were enough to get the shit out of him. Armored titan stepped forward and grunted in response, in defiance of the alphas's authority. Armor will not let anyone hurt Berth. The beast titan clenched his teeth. The armored titan was considered one of the most precious minions, always the most fearless to follow the orders, but now, Armor was in front of his boss, rebelling as well as the attack titan. And the alpha titan did not like, because he did not know if it was because he was not demonstrating enough dominance, or if it was the fact that humans are contaminating his minos with their ideas of free arbitration and freedom. Whatever it is, he must maintain his power, even if it means killing his best warrior.
<Stop it. This pointless.> Armor grunted.
Armor did not want to take the situation on the physical side, as they were at a numerical disadvantage, perhaps the dialogue is the best option, Unfortunately the beast titan does not think so. He is capable of committing atrocities when get crazy, just to keep his point of view on the others. That's why when he heard that the attack titan left the pack to fight alongside the humans, the beast titan sent the female titan to kill him. She's a skillful and effective warrior who never failed, she could very well handle this mission, and then pass the mesage: "Nobody stoop up against the alpha". It is a quick task .. but she has not returned has days.
<You!> The beast titan pointed at Armor with his extremely long arm <Disappoints me. Of all those assholes I have to deal with, you hurt me deeply. What the fuck are you thinking of keeping this human. What did I tell you about them ?! Kill him this human now!> The alpha growled. The tone of authority clearly in his voice.
<Enough!> Armor growled.
Even the jaw titan was surprised by Armor's subtle rebellion. He never stood up against his superiors, because he was always a small faithful puppy (Of fifteen meters) who would follow any command given by the alpha without question. But as stated earlier, he was. <This human does not mean a threat, there is no reason to kill him> Roared Armor steadfastly with confidence to keep his point.
<You're a disappointment!> Beast titan roared with venom in his voice as he stretched his long hairy arm back. The hands closed in a tight grid, ready for right hook in the titan armored. The movement was slow because of its disproportionate size. Bertholdt deduced that this type of titan was not efficient and agile to handle a mano a mano. Armor could easily win.
What happened next, Bertholdt would never have guessed. Instead of Armor defending himself, attacking, or trying to dodge the beast's titan fist .. he just stood there like an idiot and was punched in the face like he was a living punch bagl Armor fell on his ass with a loud thud, the ground and a few lower trees trembled because of his massive weight. Jaw titan and Bertholdt dodged just in time and ran behind a clump of rocks, after all it would not be a good idea if Armor fell on them.
"Are you all right?" Bertholdt asked jaw titan.
Jaw titan nodded. Bertholdt peeked out of the set of rocks, followed by the jaw titan. The first one he noticed was the right hand of the beast titan, or .. where the right hand should be. Now there was only steam and boiling blood emanating from the long limb, however Bertholdt can see the bones and tendons being stretching and gaining form, in a few seconds the tangle of flesh turned into a palm, then the bones grew in five directions, and were filled with nerves and flesh, forming the fingers, and finally the layer of skin originated, covering the whole hand. And in the blink of an eye the pointed claws grown up. The science has never been able to explain this quick regeneration, despite all the efforts of hanji in the study of titans's cells. however any analysis she takes of these titans like blood, skin sample, is quickly evaporated, so it is so difficult to discover anything. Her theory is that the secret is hidden in the perispirit, although Bertholdt has no idea what that means.
Armor groaned in pain and tried to get up, but the effort brought a great pain over his body and he gave up. although the beast titan did not have the perfect physique shape for a close match, his long arm gave him a great thrust, like a big catapult, that was able to break half of Armor's face mask and crush a part of his skull.
Bertholdt stared in shock at Armor's smoking face. He was incredulous at the amount of damage that a thin arm could do. but as the Armor skull regenerated rapidly and the steam dissipated. Berth was relieved to see that Armor was well. Only the facial mask was lacking to grow, though the armor took much longer to regenerate than meat. But Bertholdt can finally kill his curiosity; if Armor has an iris and a pupil behind the face mask. And yes, he really did. Maybe those golden, blinking plates instead of your eyes are a kind of diving glasses.
<Kill this insect> The Beast titan ordered to the other abnormal titans behind him.
It was not necessary to speak twice. The group of abnormal titans, that were on each side of the alpha, fled in a race over who grab the human first. With outstretched arms, gaping mouths drooling saliva over the chin, and eyes never leaving the human. Armor turned his efforts to get up desperately, and growled something for the jaw titan.
Bertholdt was completely at the mercy of these irrational monsters. His whole life passed before his eyes, the memories of all his mother's kisses, hugs and gentle words, the memories of the amusing moments between his cadets friends, and the good time he had with his giant friends ... but mostly Annie.
Suddenly fingers gripped Bertholdt's torso, taking him out of his paralysis. Berth screamed in alarm and looked at his captor only to find that it was the jaw titan. She quickly put him on the back and said in english "Grab me!". Berth grabed at the dark scraggly hair, just in time for her to dash off into the closed woods, where she knew the abnormal titans of fifteen meters would have trouble chasing them. Bertholdt looked back for the last time and shouted "Armor!" But his giant friend showed no reaction, and his image diminished more and more as they walked away.
Armor stood up awkwardly, putting one hand on a trunk to lean on. His vision was a little clouded, but it was enough to see the jaw titan fleeing with Bertholdt on her back of these pathetic titans. She was very quick and smart, these titans will not be able to keep up with her for long. Armor is sure she'll miss them. Bertholdt looked at him and shouted his name. Armor felt a pain in his chest, not physically but sentimental. His subconscious screamed to move his legs and go after them, but his conscience said that 'no' he should stay and reconstitute his place in the pack. Although Armor stoop up against an order of his alpha, he could not beat him, because that was his innate nature, but he could save Bertholdt and that's what he did, even if it meant jaw titan life. Despite that she a pain in the ass, she was his best friend, and in the end, she kept her promise.
Slowly Armor stared at his alpha, but that only lasted seconds. The beast titan kicked him in the belly, knocking him down again, and put one foot on him, holding him in the place.
<Armor? A human gave you a name? This is so pathetic!> Said the alpha, mocking him.
I named myself. Armor thought.
The alpha titan took his foot off him, and reached up to Armor's head, just to pull the titan armored by the platinum head, making him up. And with his free arm the alpha punched him in the face again. The facile plates had not been fully regenerated yet, so the beast titan did not have its hand completely destroyed this time. Armor fell back. He could not fight back, that was his punishment, since when he kept the human from his wing, he knew the consequences, and he was ready to face them. The alpha punched him again and again. It may sound insane, but it's like a pack of wolves. In order for the alpha wolf to demonstrate his mastery over the others, he growls and bites others just to remind them who is at the top of the hierarchy. It was not a big deal.
Bertholdt grabed her dark hair tightly to hold on. The jaw titan was much quicker and more agile than a horse. She could easily dodge an obstacle with great grace and without losing her speed. The titans held fast in the pursuit, but gradually they kept getting back, until it was no longer possible to see them.
Jaw titan slowed her pace until she stopped completely, and smell the air to make sure they were alone. The only smells she felt was the pleasant green scent of trees, mosses, damp earth, some possums, squirrels, and other rodents, but none of her despicable titan brothers.
Bertholdt came down from her back, and stopped near a stream to drink some water and took the opportunity to wash his face.
"Was that the alpha?" Asked Bertholdt, with an angry tone, taking the jaw titan surprise.
"What do you mean?!" Said jaw titan in the best she can in English.
"That was a goddammit alpha you told me nights ago and you knew that thing was coming, and both decided not to tell me!" Exclaimed Bertholdt, turning to face the jaw titan. It was the first time Bertholdt put aside his shyness.
Jaw titan sat down and process everything he said. That was a statement not a question. Looks like somebody's balls started popping up. Thought jaw titan, laughing inside. Now that all the shit has happened, he deserves to know.
"Actually, we didn't know if the alpha would appear or not." She replied. Bertholdt remained silent, waiting for her to continue "And we decided not to tell you anything to protect you"
"Protect me?! A titan bigger than the Armor and ... and not at all friendly. "Jaw Titan let out a small laugh, but soon stopped to allow Bertholdt to continue " .. That was high probability to appear and you've decided to keep it in a secret, that's what you call protecting me!?"
"If we told you, what would happen?" Retorted the jaw titan.
"I don't know! Maybe find some hiding place, or something like that. "Bertholdt said in exasperation.
"Impossible, your scent was everywhere. Have in note that we live in a mountainous and open area, your scent has spread for miles .. Armor decided not to tell anything to not scared you! He wanted to try to convince the alpha to save your life. Armor was the alpha favorite minion, he had hope .. that ..alpha the .. listen to him." She said to the human. her voice a little hoarse in the end.
"And if it did not listen to him" Said Bertholdt.
"I made a promise to Armor; If all fails, I'd take you away, and that's exactly what I'm doing!" Suddenly she turned her head in the direction where they fled. She could feel the scent of the six titans approaching, and she could also hear the trembling of the earth, the clicks of the branches of the trees, and the rustle of the leaves. They still had not given up on the chase. "And it looks like we're not far enough." she said bending down to allow Bertholdt to climb up on her back. When he straightened and grabbed her messy hair. Jaw titan dash off into the woods.
The ride was long silent. Neither of them said a word after the short discussion. Both were lost in thought. Bertholdt wondered what had happened to Armor after he left, and what will happen now on, would they ever meet again or was that goodbye forever. He was so lost in himself that he paid no attention to the surroundings. While the jaw titan concentrated on the path and kept her senses attentive to prevent any danger in the way. Luckily she no longer smelled the scent of their pursuers and could not even hear them, but this is a territory of the titans, and they were scattered in every corner, she had to choose wisely where to go so she could deviate from them. Their advantage was that it was dusk, and the titans would look for open areas to take enjoy the last rays of the sun. And for jaw titan to be a more developed titan she could last much longer at night, though her movements are slower.
"Armor is dead?" Bertholdt asked after several minutes of silence.
"I doubt. Armor was always the first to obey the alpha for millennia, he always wanted to please him ... so I do not think the alpha will kill him for not killing one human" Jaw titan replied.
"I'm sorry for being rude to you, that's just ... I can not believe what happened. Why did not Armor fight back?" Bertholdt said. There was a sad tone in his voice.
"No need to apologize, I think you were right, we should have told you. But answering your question, Armor disobeyed the alpha to save you, but he could not betray him .I know it seems to be difficult, but he's a titan, remember that." Said the jaw titan.
Bertholdt pondered what the titan jaw said. She has a point. He is a human and Armor is a titan. Two very different species, with different natures. Expecting Armor to give up his lifestyle would be to ask too much. Maybe it's better this way. Armor stay with his pack and he .. Wait! Where was jaw titan taking him?
Bertholdt was about to ask the jaw titan where she was going. But when he looked ahead, Bertholdt choked. Although the sun was almost disappearing on the horizon, Bertholdt can distinguish a huge and familiar barrier, they were the great walls that protected the human territory. Home. I'm going home. Bertholdt thought
Berth was amazed at the speed of jaw titan. She managed to run from the Armor's territory to human territory in less than a day. She was actually much faster than a racehorse. But considering that jaw titan knows these fields better than anyone else, she would know where she could take shortcuts. But that did not matter now. All he wanted was to finally go home.
Hey guys, what's up? Sorry for taking so long to update I've been very busy these last two months with college exams, with a new tumblr that I'm creating, some sketches of my ocs in Deviantart, and in the planning of my fursona that still in the process of creation. Anyway, I'm very busy, but I'm trying hard to handle everything. Probably the other chapters will take time to be updated, but I want to make it clear that I will not abandon this fanfic, I'm just very busy.
I made small changes in this fanfic in order to improve, like:
When titans speak to each other in their native language (grunts, growls). The dialog appears between these signs < > and in bold.
And please correct me if there is any writing error. English is not my first language.
Chapter 13: Sweet Home Sweet
Jaw Titan and Bertholdt hang out, What Could Happen?
Hello to all readers!
Sorry for the chapter taking too long to update. Unfortunately the last two also took months because of the commitments of my daily life (Faculty, course, academy, domestic activities, etc), and I do not want to present a fanfic made quickly and poorly done. I thanked everyone who understood my situation and were patient. The other chapters may take a long time, but I will not abandon the story, so do not worry.
Now, enjoy. And let me know if there is a writing error (Remembering that English is not my first language.)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Bertholdt could not tell what he was feeling because there were so many emotions that came to light, but the main was happiness. When Bertholdt was 'trapped' on the wrong side of the wall, he had lost all hope of returning home, but now your home is there, right in front of him! But he was not happy just because of this, he was happy because he would find his friends cadets, which he considers the closest thing to a family. Berth smiled as he remembered his colleagues. Sasha that there was an endless hunger and always asked for a piece of his food, the fights between Jean and Eren in which sometimes there were no motives, only happened, Mikasa who always put an end to these fights, Krista's sweet personality and an arrogant ymir, although both were different, they formed a fluffy pair, and of course Annie. No one understood how cold someone was as Annie had a strange strong bond with the brunet, someone considered very shy, but the truth was that both were more alike than think. Both had a hard childhood with abusive parents and poor financial condition, they understood the internal battles of each other, just the way they dealt with it was different. While Annie stared at everything coldly and did not take shit from anyone, Bertholdt created a shell and hid in it. He has no idea how she will react when she sees him. Does she think I'm dead? Bertholdt asked mentally.
The sun went down completely when the pair approached the extensive wall, more specifically the wall surrounding the district of Shiganshina, the city located on the southern edge of the Wall Maria, and the birthplace of Bertholdt. The jaw titan sat like a dog and sniffed the air for some danger nearby when Bertholdt came down from her back to inspect the huge hole made by the colossal titan.The crack was huge, a fifteen meters titan could easily pass through it. To seal this hole would require a lot of effort and manpower, and of course it would take a long time, though Bertholdt believes the authorities have no interest in sending resources here, since that place was irrelevant to the kingdom's economy.
Bertholdt crouched down and picked up a piece that once belonged to the wall with one hand and analyzed it. At school, children were taught that the walls were erected for more than a century to protect the rest of humanity against the titans that nearly decimated the human race "Almost overnight" as the elders said. These great walls were a symbol of strength and resistance, and for the religious even sacred, and nothing could make them down. But at that moment, when Bertholdt held that fragment, he knew it was bullshit. All great bullshit. The walls were not immortal and they would not stand for long. It's all a matter of time before that "giant monkey" known as alpha titan decides to knock it down. But at least he wants to enjoy the last few moments with Annie. Maybe he can express his feelings for her.
The jaw titan looked surprised and curious as Bertholdt growled and threw the fragment roughly on the floor in front of him. Crashing with impact. What was going on in the human's head she did not know. But she had a hunch that it was this part of the territory where he lived and that other humans who were part of his social cycle died here, including his family. She wanted to say to start moving, because she could smell the titans in the area, after all here is a human territory, of course there would be many titans lurking just waiting for an opportunity to satiate the endless hunger. Although the sun is already giving a "good day" on the other side of the globe, the moon is with the lunar disk completely illuminated above them right now. Omegas titans, which are usually the majority, are inert, but the titans with the highest rank of the hierarchy are more developed, capable of capturing the sunlight through the full moon, these are a problem. They must continue moving before a night titan traces them.
"Move that ass, we're not alone here." Jaw titan said in the human tongue as she passed through Bertholdt and entered the city that was in complete ruin.
The brunet said nothing, just followed the five meters titan. He had fought to keep the tears from falling. This place brought many memories in your mind. He never imagined he would be stepping here again, but he had remembered that he was no longer a crybaby, but a soldier, the only one who survived from the flank, the one who had spent so much time outside the walls without his maneuvering equipment and having only a broken sword like a weapon, the one who spent so much time with intelligent titans and learned many things about the nature of the titans that had left that made Hanji exhausted. He went further than any human within that wall went, and experienced situations bordering on madness. He was more than a warrior. A survivor. With that in mind, Bertholdt no longer felt the tears, but a confidence that did not know where it came from.
As the pair entered the district, Bertholdt looked around. The city that once had children running after the others, chattering merchants who left their wares to show for the crowd, dogs chasing rats and chickens through the streets, loud and loud pedestrians, and carts full of merchandise ... now in complete silence and without any light, a true ghost town. The houses were completely or partially destroyed, some carts and merchant stands were turned, and in some places there were stained blood and parts of human bodies in various places. Titans were not known for having good manners to eat.
"How humans call this thing?" Jaw titan suddenly asked, breaking the silence. Bertholdt looked where the jaw titan was pointing, and was a bit confused about why jaw titan wanted to know what that was.
"That's a stuffed animal." Bertholdt replied.
Titan approached and sniffed closely at the object that lay between the wreckage she found so intriguing. It was colorful, hairy, and resembled a bear, a bear cub to be precise, yet it was smaller than a bear cub. It features were softer, the eyes sparkled and the corners of it mouth felt like the bear was smiling. Although what most caught the attention was what this bear was holding; a red object with a strange shape and in the middle was written LOVE.
"And this thing over here?" Jaw titan asked, putting one of her pointed nails into the red heart written LOVE, and was surprised to discover that it was soft to the touch.
"This is a heart" Bertholdt replied trying not to laugh at the situation. The jaw titan looked like a child examining a strange bug. The titan looked at him with an incredulous look and said "heart?!"
"Not heart literally. This symbol means love, but we call it heart because is in this organ that the chemical transformations that originate the feelings take place." Answered Bertholdt when perceiving the confused look of jaw titan. She turned her gaze to the teddy bear and pondered a little and then said: "What exactly is good a... stuffed animal?” Wow she's really interested in that! Bertholdt thought.
“Well.. This is a toy for the kids. It doesn’t have much use though, it's just to bring comfort i guess.” Bertholdt replied, hoping that would be enough.
"Have you ever had one?" Asked Titan, looking at him now.
Bertholdt was getting bothered by so many questions, but he understood she was just curious. To him a stuffed animal is something irrelevant, but to her it is a great discovery as if she had found a treasure. Bertholdt reflected for some time. His memories returned to his childhood, at a time when this city was full of life. Having a stuffed animal was considered luxury in this district because dressmakers and confectioners lived in the towns located within the Wall Rose, as they were considered manpower very valuable and the chances of a titan invasion within these walls were lower. So when a merchant appeared in district of Shiganshina, the law of supply and demand was enforced. This law was basically: Little product available in the market = high prices, very product available in the market = low prices. For this reason only children of large farmers and politicians had stuffed animal, and the financial condition of Bertholdt's family was far below the hierarchy to have this privilege. The only thing that brought comfort to little Bertholdt at the time was solitude.
"No." Bertholdt replied dryly, but the jaw titan could feel a tone of sadness in his voice, and decided not to ask any more.
"I hope whoever this child is, it’s fine now." said the jaw titan as she started walking toward the Wall Maria.
Bertholdt was surprised by what the five meters titan said. He would never have imagined that a titan would feel sorry for the people who suffered with an invasion of titans. He threw it aside and kept walking, but a few yards away he stopped again. In between some boards and concrete had a small hand severed. The skin that had once covered the hand was rotted and purple, the bones getting more and more visible as the flesh decomposed. Bertholdt wondered if this child was the owner of the teddy bear. If it must have abandoned the teddy bear to escape but could not make it, or maybe it was the hand of another child. because he remembered that the streets were a tumult of people trying to save their lives during the invasion. In schools, children are taught early on how the evacuation plan works in an invasion of titans and how to act if that happens, but in practice .. the experience is much more frightening. Anyway, Bertholdt desired the same thing as jaw titan; that wherever this child was, it’s was well now.
They were approaching the place where the armored titan had opened a huge hole in the Wall Maria, which allowed the titans to invade the place and forced the humans to take refuge within the Wall Rose. The jaw titan paused and sniffed the air to see if any unwanted surprise awaited him on the other side of the hole. Bertholdt looked at the jaw titan and wondered how she knew where they were going. Maybe because of her sharp senses, or some kind of sixth sense? But then Bertholdt remembered what she said last nights. She was a spy titans, who sneaked into the human fortresses to collect information for the titans alphas so they could make an invasion strategy. That means that days before the colossal titan and the armored titan tear down the walls, she was here. That's why she knows this territory and knows where the holes were made. After all the walls were too long to be watched, although they had several cannons on the top of the walls were inefficient as the titans regenerate.
"It's clean" She said and went through the hole made by the armored titan. Bertholdt followed her, but stopped and looked back. This city once home to Bertholdt, eren, Misaka, Armin and several other people .. is now home to rats, crows and sad memories. Bertholdt sighed sadly and continued to follow the jaw titan. He noticed that she was a little tormented, always stopping and moving her head in several directions to sniff and change direction suddenly. Bertholdt looked around, but he saw nothing wrong, but a titan has sharper senses, she must have sensed titans presence here.
The cities within Wall Maria were more sophisticated than the district in which they came. This part of the city was known to be a major center of commercial interest, the big producers and manufacturers were located in these areas. The people who lived here had middle or high incomes, and the quality of life here was considered optimal. Those who lived in the districts on the edge of Wall Maria had dreams of moving here because the districts were considered the worst places to live, because there was more risk of suffering from an invasion of titan .. and well, was exactly what happened.
The jaw titan stopped suddenly and entered through a crowded street of tall buildings. Bertholdt followed her, not understanding why she chose this path, as it was further away from the Wall Rose. Now that they were more or less in the center of town, the jaw titan stopped and turned to face Bertholdt. The human looked back at her, waiting for an explanation.
"We can not walk in open areas. Many titans." She said. Bertholdt can see that the jaw titan was tired, even if it was the full moon, she was not regenerating the energies as she should, after all she crossed miles without stop for a break. She was trying very hard, and Bertholdt was worried. They needed to find a safe place to spend the night ... well actually just him, because he was a human and the only thing the titans eat. The jaw titan was safe.
"Let's go in that direction, I know where we can spend the night." Said Bertholdt, leading the way this time. The jaw titan did not identify any of her brothers' scents in the direction Bertholdt was going, but she had a bad feeling about it and she never doubted her instincts. But if Bertholdt knew of some safe place to stay the night, and if they arrived as soon as possible. They would be fine, or at least Bertholdt would be.
The human and the titan had been walking through the tall buildings for almost an hour. Both very attentive to any to any change, be it a sound or some tremor that indicated the steps of some nocturnal titan. The jaw titan was nervous, because they were up against the wind, if there was any titan in front of them, she would not identify, so she had to trust her sight and hearing, and another problem was: she was getting tired. She could kill one or even three night titans, but she would not be able to fight a whole pack. Bertholdt looked around and realized that this city was less damaged than the Shiganshina. Since the people who lived here had better financial conditions, they and could build houses and buildings with stronger and more resilient materials. And another factor that led to this place being partially destroyed, was that people here had more time to evacuate. While the titans were busy in the Shiganshina, the residents of the cities within the Wall Maria took the opportunity to escape. After all, this was what the districts served, to be bait of titans.
Bertholdt wanted very much to have a torch or any lighting right now. In this place the darkness was almost total, and any movement was a matter of dread. The faint lunar light was the only thing that helped to guide them through the darkness, though the jaw titan was able to absorb more light and see better in the dark, the exhaustion was almost forcing her to close the eyes and lie there. She wondered how much longer it takes to get to this "safe house" until Bertholdt finally said: "It's right there" Bertholdt pointed to a very tall structure that must be at least a thirty meters, near an extensive farm. The jaw titan collapsed and ground making a big bang and said "finally!". Bertholdt smiled with the five meters titan's action. Poor girly, Bertholdt thought, and then turned his attention to the great watchtower which he remembered so well. When Berth was a child and his family was happy and united, that is, when Marcel was alive. His father and other associates were called to business meetings in one of the mansions located on the farms within the Wall Maria, so Henry took advantage and took his family to spend a few days there.
The Fubar family were inside the carriage. Bertholdt and Marcel stared out the window with fascination, their heads almost outside. Then Bertholdt pointed to an extremely tall structure, near the gigantic farm and asked his father "What is that?" Henry approached the window to see what his son was pointing at, and realized that Bertholdt was pointing to the tower.
"This is a watchtower, son. Since when the cattle began to disappear such a magic trick, the farmers decided to build a tower almost as high as the walls that would be able to see the entire farm. It works twenty-four hours, and the miserable who shows up uninvited will not be able to sit for a week after get a right shot in the butt!" Said Henry, he could hear his wife laughing softly.
"I bet even an alien ship can not abduct a cow!" Said Marcel excitedly.
"Yeah.. this farm is heavily guarded, but do not use the word 'alien' in front of other, darling. People don’t usually react well." Mother said. Since his parents presented him with a collection of science fiction books, Marcel was fascinated by these extraterrestrial creatures. But the ufology for some people was considered lunatic thing, and his mother did not want him to be judged by arrogant and closed minds people. Although Marcel has already shown that he does not care what people think and he doesn’t allow himself to be intimidated. But mother is mother. And she will always want to defend her offspring.
After arriving at the house, the owners welcomed and showed the room where their family would stay. Both Bertholdt and Marcel gasped as they entered. The room was very spacious, and beautiful. The walls had a perfect tone between beige and gold, the floor was polished oak, they could play skating here. In the middle have a of a double-canopy bed in shades of brown and gold, and in one corner there was a bunk that would be of Bertholdt and Marcel, in the middle of the ceiling there was a chandelier that shines like it's made of little diamonds, but what most attracted attention was the view from the window. Besides the window being the length of the floor to the ceiling, could be able to see could be able to see much of the farm and the flowered valleys that lay on higher ground. And this is just a visiting room.
After unloading the luggage, the boys ran off the farm to explore and met the owners' children and a few other boys who lived nearby. They invited them to play ball in the open field near the watchtower. Bertholdt choked when he saw the huge structure close up. The tower was so high it looked as though the view did not reach. A "miserable" as his father calls out bandits, would not go unnoticed here. This tower must have a great view.
The boys played in two groups and played football. The guards who were on the lower levels of the tower watched them through the windows and sometimes played comments like "you're too bad!", "Score him right!", "How did you lose that goal!", but despite that they only said things to reprimand, the boys knew that the guards were only joking. After all, this is soccer.
After the boys were panting and sweaty .. mostly Bertholdt. The boys decided to stop for a rest. Marcel sat down with three other boys and talked about some adventures at school. Bertholdt decided to walk away and go to a small stream to cool down. He cupped his hands to catch as much water as possible and carried it to his face, scrubbing to get rid of sweat. When Berth removed his hands from his face, he froze. Ahead of him, on the other side of the stream, there was a most beautiful girl he had ever seen, if there is another one, he does not know. She was short, had blond hair, but not any blonde, it had lighter and sicker tones, blue eyes that emanated a shine like two sapphiresa, sharp nose, though it was funny to be looking, was not ugly, and she had pale skin ... well, at least what could see, because she wore very long clothes that covered almost the whole body, which was strange, because the weather was too hot to wear clothes like that.
The girl was sittin with her back agaisnt a tree, reading a book. When she realized Bertholdt was staring at her, she pulled one of the sleeves, trying to cover more skin, but before she did, Bertholdt noticed a bruise on her wrist. The blondie closed her book and got up, ready to leave. Bertholdt felt bad, he did not want to bother her, then he decided say something.
“H-Hi! I-I am.. B-Ber-tholdt” Bertholdt mentally facedpalm for his stuttering. Why is it so hard to talk to a girl?!
The blondie no longer showed signs of moving, and stared at him without saying anything. Her facial expression was devoid of any emotion, and if the look could kill, she would have killed him five times before falling. Realizing that she has no intention of speaking, not even her name, Bertholdt continued.
“D-Do you want to play ball with us?" Bertholdt was prouder to have been able to speak more firmly this time.
She straightened her bangs and looked away. "No thanks. I'm good."Bertholdt felt as if he had been stabbed in the heart by rejection, but on the other side, he felt sympathy for the sad tone of her reply. He did not know what she was up against, but he knew she was hurt, both physically and psychologically. She was about to take a step away from him when one of the owners' sons known as Georgio approached.
"Hey Berth! Watch out for that stinking bitch. This dumb blonde can rub stupidity on you!” Georgio said with a laugh at the end, two other boys who followed him as if they were ducklings following the mother. They joined him and began to laugh too.
The blondie clenched her fists and frowned slightly. Her indignation at the offense was visible. Bertholdt looked shocked and disgusted at Georgio. How a human being can treat another human being like that. Suddenly Marcel's voice came up behind them.
"Who do you think you are to judge others!?” Marcel said causing the three boys to turn around. Although Georgio was four centimeters tall and a little sturdier than Marcel, he did not show that he was being intimidated.
"Just cuz you're a rich daddy's little boy does not give you the right to offend people. Everything you said to her just tell how arrogant and un-classy you really are!" Marcel said, leaving them speechless and with funny expressions.
After the shock of truth, Georgio snorted and walked away with his minions behind him, but without saying, "Alright! Stay with this stupid whore!”
The blondie was perplexed. She was never defended by a stranger like that. "I'm sorry, I did not mean to cause you troub-!" She was cut off by Marcel. "Don’t be sorry, they're the only ones who losing. I'am Marcel by the way, and this is my younger brother Bertholdt. He’s shy." Marcel said as he pulled Berthold close with one arm.
Solitude was the perfect definition for this place. The farm that previously had several workers, animals and carts being pulled, now seems to be standing forever in time. Only the sounds of crickets and the rustling of the leaves gave life to the place. Bertholdt approached the watchtower and looked up. The structure that had been guarded twenty-four hours before, now there was no living soul. Near now of the door that led into the interior from the tower, he tried to push it away, but it was closed. He crouched down and picked up a key under the rug that the guards kept for reserve. The key had suffered with the action of time, it was rusty and cracked in some parts, but still enough to open the door.
The interior of the tower looks like a scary book scenario as Bertholdt used to read. Webs of spiders, cockroaches, rats and bats filled this place. Levi would have a heart attack here. Bertholdt made sure to lock the door and pushed one of the heavy furnishings for extra security, as those doors were large enough for a three meters titan to enter. Berth groped through the darkness to try to guided himself until his foot hit something. Sounded like wood. Bertholdt took the object with one hand and approached to his face to see better. That was exactly what he was thinking, a torch. Bertholdt scratched the piece of wood on one of the walls, causing the torch to catch fire and light the room, revealing several cannons that was used to protect and intimidate. Some bats felt troubled and left their hiding place hastily, making Bertholdt lower slightly and put his arms in front of him like a shield. The brunet prayed for these little guys to be fruit bats. As the bats calmed down, Bertholdt carefully climbed the flight of stairs in spiral-shaped, because he didn’t know if those stairs were stable and if there were bats among the rafters.
Through the windows on one of the high floors of the watchtower, Bertholdt can see the jaw titan lying on the lawn. She wasn't completely asleep. She moved restlessly sometimes, refusing to give in to the sleep she so needed. She was keeping watch, and he knew it. She was carrying the promise she'd made with Armor very seriously. Despite her extravagant attitudes, she was a good friend. It's a pity that as soon as Bertholdt is on the other side of the Wall Rose, he will never see her again.
Bertholdt went up another flight of scales, now he was almost at the top and realized that this room was different. There were more furniture and it looked cleaner. Berth placed the torch in a holder on the wall and approached one of the boxes. Had some papers scattered on the surface, Bertholdt took some and analyzed, but he did not understand any words. It was coded. Suddenly the head of bertholdt clicked. Bandits were using this room as a hiding place. In order to difficult the work of the military police, the gangs create their own codes, if their documents fall into the hands of the authorities, then their information would not be exposed. Somehow these bandits managed to cross the Wall Rose, perhaps they built some tunnel, or have stolen maneuver equipment. But Anyway, they were very smart in choosing the locationand, at the same time too stupid. Who in full consciousness would risk being killed by titans for stolen stuffs?
Berth moved away the papers from the top of the box with a movement of his arm. Cleaning it. Then he opened the latches and pushed the lid upwards. Bertholdt hoped to find some supply or some stolen weapon from the police warehouses, but.. WHAT THE HELL!! CODERION!? Bertholdt quickly closed the box. So they were not just bandits, they were drug traffickers. Coderion is an illegal drug that had the form of a small white tablet with a slit in the middle. That has circulated in several cities of the kingdom, but has greater activity in the district of Stohess. That is why the military believes the drug is create there. There is some rumor that it is a pretty young woman who often dances with drunks in a bar which manufactures the drug. However it's just rumors.
Opening other boxes and chest that he found in the room. Bertholdt found canned foods and mineral water.. and a lot of coderion and other illegal drugs and drinks that Bertholdt would never dare to put into his mouth. He opened a canning that said peach in the package and almost groaned with the taste that his palate had almost forgotten, after only eating meat from hunted animals and wild fruits. After emptying four cans, Berth unfolded some of the sleeping bags that were located in the middle of the room, along with some bags of clothing and personal items. But he was disappointed to discover that it was too small.. at least for him. This is a typical problem for someone who measures approximately 6'4. Bertholdt sighed and decided to sleep on the floor. After all, he was already used to it. The barracks were not known to be comfortable, and sleeping for weeks on the hard and cold forest floor, was not a pleasant experience either. Except when Armor offered the palm of his hand to Bertholdt to sleep. He did not want to disturb Armor, but the titan always insisted and did not give up until Bertholdt accepted. Bertholdt smiled at the memory. Armor was very stubborn, but a good kind of stubborn. Berth rolled up the sleeping bag to improvise a pillow and lay down with his arms folded behind his head. The thought of being able to return home and meet his friends made him happy. Bertholdt was so close, just a few more kilometers. He closed his eyes and imagined all the surprises that awaited him tomorrow, but he did not have to wait too long ... cuz ten seconds later 'BANG!!!'
The brunet woke up with a gasp and ran to the window to see what the hell was going on. The bang was so strong that it shook the watchtower as if hit by heavy artillery. The first probability that Bertholdt thought, was that those responsible for guarding the wall saw the jaw titan and shot it with one of the cannons, located at the top of the wall, but soon Bertholdt dismissed the idea because there is no light here and the walls were too far for the guards to see with the naked eye a titan of five meters sleeping. Bertholdt pulled aside the old cloth that was being used as a curtain and leaned out the window to see better.. and wished to be blind. The watchtower wasn't suffering from a cannon attack. It was worse. A group of more or less twenty night titans of various classes surrounded the watchtower. Giants with disfigured faces stretched their arms upward and with the mouths slightly open, layers of saliva slipping in the corners of their mouths. The jaw titan carved her pointed nails into the cracks of the tower to be at a safe height while hissing, trying to intimidate them. On the ground, almost under the feet of the titans, there was a fat titan of about seven meters, fallen and with the exposed nape coming out steam. The jaw titan must have killed him and that was the cause of the loud bang.
Bertholdt was perplexed. Just imagining how he and neither the jaw titan managed to notice a bunch of unwelcome guests approaching. Were they both so exhausted to not be able to detect at least a slight tremor of tons of titans? So Berttholdt remembered that this time of full moon usually rains for weeks in this region, and this is a totally rural area with dense foliage trees. The mixture of wet soil and fallen leaves on the ground form a large soft carpet enough to cushion the impact caused by the weight of the titans, holding friction and noise. And even the jaw titan who would have been more likely to identify them before due her sharp senses, she couldn't, cuz she was very exhausted and the sunlight reflected on the moon was not enough to her to return to full functioning. But now it did not matter, it was too late anyway. Bertholdt had to think of something quick to escape. It seems jaw titan thought the same thing and looked up, for the window where Bertholdt was leaning. Both looks asking the same question: What are we going to do now?
The titans crowded around the tower became more and more impatient. Those of smaller classes began to try to climb the towe, while the larger ones tried to remove the blocks of stone. The despair started. In order to prevent the nocturnal titans from reaching the human, the jaw titan jumped off her perch with teeth and claws to show. Bertholdt looked startled and with admiration for the skill of jaw titan. She was quick, calculating, strong, agile and other qualities that would define a super soldier. The jaw titan jumped on shoulder and shoulder and bit or used her claws to cut the flesh from the nape and kill them. And she never stayed for too long so the other titans could not grab her and bring down, and when they did, she would bite their arms, cutting off the tendons and nerves, making them let her go. Then she would jump up again and restart the carnage like she was not tired minutes ago. But she would not last long; they were too many. Suddenly Bertholdt remembered the cannons on the first floor of the tower. Quickly Bertholdt took the torch from the support of the wall and went down the stairs in spiral format as fast as he could, praying that the jaw titan is hold on and that the titans could not break the entrance door.
Jaw Titan was panting. The heart running a marathon, carrying adrenaline all over the body trying to compensate the extra effort. If looked closer, is possible see steam exhaling from her overheated skin. Bertholdt wasn't at the window, he must have something in mind, jaw titan thought. She examined her chances of attack, but unfortunately the terrain was disadvantageous for her to use her skills. Jaw titan is not a titan provided brute force like armored titan or beast titan, and neither special skills like the hardening of the female titan and the coordinate of the titan attack titan, of which beast titan so much envy. She is a titan with the body made to sneak and be flexible, this is why she attacks in enclosed places like giant forests. But now, this place was a huge open field, the only perch she can use to move is the tower itself and the shoulders of the larger titans, however the latter was dangerous because she would be in reach of other tall classes titans. But the longer she stopped to think of a strategy, more the watchtower is getting down apart because of the night titans trying desperately to reach the human. She did not have time to think, only acted with what she got to slow down the advances of her brothers.
Determined, she jumped on the back of a fifteen meters titan who was distracted trying to push the minors from its front. She landed on its back and buried her sharp teeth in the flesh of the nape, but before she could press, a ten meters titan grabbed her arm, pulling her down. She immediately tried to bite the ten meter titan's arm, well.. "tried" cuz one of her brothers grabbed her messy hair, pulling her head back. The jaw titan hissed and tried to scratch in random directions with her free arm until another titan grabbed her limb. She was destabilized, they would kill her if she did not escape now. As last resource, she used the sharp claws of her foot and with force she kicked one of her attackers holding her arm in the face. The claws pierced his brother's eyes and kneaded its face slightly by the force of her kick. The titan with kneaded face released the jaw titan arm because of the impact of the kick, and stumbled back trying to find out what the problem was with its eyes. Now with one arm released, she twisted the wrist of her other attacker, breaking the small bones and leaving her with both arms free. She managed to twist her body slightly and cut with a movement of her nails her own hair to get rid of the last attacker. Before another of her brothers tried to grab her, she jumped toward the watchtower, but it was too late. A night titan was quick enough to grab her leg in the last second. The jaw titan grasped the edges of the stone block of the watchtower with force while kicking the hand of the new attcker with the free leg, until suddenly another night titan grabbed her other leg. She hissed with anger and indignation while trying to scratch with the tip of her feet the hands of her brothers. Then a "crack" caught her attention. She looked up, where her hands gripped the wall of the watchtower. This was cracking. Dammit!
The cannons! I need to get to the cannons!! Bertholdt was practically screaming in his mind. He could hear the fight between the jaw titan and the pack of night titans on the other side of the watchtower's wall, although he does not know what's going on, and also has no interest in seeing through the windows, cuz Bertholdt does not want to see these giant human faces with frozen expression close up. He just prefers to walk through the windows and ignore the view, luckily most were covered with curtains. Bertholdt cursed mentally, no matter how fast he is running, he is only in the middle of the tower yet. Suddenly some bats flew away from their hiding place and passed through Bertholdt, doing so loses balance and falls off the ladder. He fell on top of a few barrels, knocking them down, and a strange black powder coming out of the barrels. Bertholdt rubbed his temples because of the pain of falling and asked mentally what black substance was this, as the torch rolled toward that powder. With a shock Bertholdt realized that this was gunpowder, were several barrels of gunpowder. The brunet got up quickly and took the torch before it hit the gunpowder.
That was close! Bertholdt thought
Then the mission returned in his mind: Reaching the cannons. Bertholdt ran to the door to access the stairs, but froze when he opened the door and saw the surprise waiting for him on the other side. A titan, they got into the tower. Getting to the cannons is suicide mission now, Berth will have to abort. The titan in front of him, grew the smile more and more, becoming a vision of hell. Quickly Bertholdt closed the door and placed a board on the supports on each side of the door, closing it seconds before the titan smiling thrust against the door. The door can be made of sturdy material, but will not stand the titan's thrust for too long. Bertholdt walked backwards, completely without knowing what to do and surrendering to the fear.. until Berth stepped on something crispy. Bertholdt looked at his boots and realized that it was the gunpowder. Then an idea popped into his mind. It was dangerous but it was his only chance of survivall.
The titan completely knocked the door down with a loud bang, but instead of finding the human, it found a room full of barrels of gunpowder knocked over. At the top of the stairs, Bertholdt ran to the safety of the other floor as he released the torch. The fire flickered while falling in the air. When it reached the ground covered with gunpowder, the tower shook with the force of the explosion. Bertholdt fell violently and injured his forehead. His ears buzzing as he tried to stand up. In the outside, the jaw titan was caught off guard by the explosion. Whatever the human had in mind before, it will not work any more, and probably that blast was why the titans came in. Bertholdt was in danger, and the only safe place now is the top of the tower.
Muscles hurt when Bertholdt forces himself to stand up. Suddenly a wave of pain crosses his right leg, making him bow with one knee. Bertholdt looks at his right leg and notices that the ankle is at a kind of weird angle. He should not have used all the barrels of gunpowder, but at least that smiling titan must be dead or seriously injured, and even regenerates, takes too long. And the most important; the ladder was destroyed by complete. The other titans who must have entered the tower, will not be able to climb, unless they can get another way to climb. Fortunately titans were very terrible climbers, with the exception of jaw titan. She moved as well as she used 3DMG.
Bertholdt took a board that was leaning against the wall and put under the arm to use as a stick, cuz his ankle hurt a lot when held the weight of his body. Bertholdt sighed. Climb all these stairs that way, it's going to be hard. Berth struggled against the fatigue and throbbing pain of his ankle while he climbed the stairs to get to the top. Even though he had lost the torch, the lack of lighting was not a problem because the weak first rays of sunlight penetrated the slits of the curtain. As Bertholdt climbed the stairs, he could hear the sounds of hisses and growls, flesh being torn and blood dripping. In the corner of the window, Bertholdt can see the jaw titan slapping the face of a titan about to bite her. The sharp claws cut the eyes, the nose, and much of the jaw off of the attacker. She was holding on. Now that the sun is rising. She can regain her strength better, but still will not be able to fight against many titans. Mainly because other titans are approaching, and they appear to be abnormal.
Groaning in pain, Bertholdt redoubled his efforts. Jumping the steps to get faster at the top. The watchtower trembled dangerously. These titans are almost bringing the tower down, and Bertholdt could also hear sounds coming from the lower floors. These titans have managed a way up.
"Why this tower needed to be so fucking tall!?" Shout Bertholdt while pushing a door, only to find more flights of stairs.
Suddenly the tower is tilted violently to the side due to the actions of the titans surrounding the structure. The law of gravity acts. The furniture and some loose boards move along with the tower. Even with Bertholdt's poor physical condition, he managed to grab the handrail with one hand, and prevent his fall. Bertholdt looked up and saw the sunlight crossing the ceiling. He was almost there. From the outside, the jaw titan was worried. The tower was giving way, and more titan were being attracted by the tumult, like insects for an electric lamp. And worse, they were abnormal titans. They have more perception around them. She can't just jump on their back and bite the nape. They are smarter. This will involve much more fight.
Bertholdt put both hands on the trapdoor and pushed, revealing a blue immensity and the weak morning light. Finally at the top Bertholdt sat down and took deep breaths. His clothes .. or rather the skins and rags that he wore as clothing, were clinging to his skin because of sweat. Then the tower inclined again, not violently, but he could see that the structure was losing stability.
Bertholdt ran to the edge even though his ankle was screaming in pain. Down there, the jaw titan was fighting against three titans at the same time. Although she is much more flexible than they, she had several flesh and blood to show on her body, and it seemed that her right arm was slightly damaged. She would die there if she continued. At that moment Bertholdt reflected on everything. The armored titan protected him against his own kind, and now Bertholdt does not know if he is alive or dead, although jaw titan claims that the alpha did not kill him. And now she's doing the same thing, and Bertholdt does not know if she will survive this or not, or worse, if both them will not survive. Jaw titan does not have to die, she can use her skill and escape from there. The other titans will not have their eyes on her for obvious reasons. And after all, he lived a good life. He had a super loving mother who loved him to the last breath. An overprotective older brother and his best friend for all times. Although Marcel died still young, Bertholdt will never forget the moments they spent together. And a father who once was good, but after Marcel's death he fell into complete depression, and started to abuse Bertholdt mentally and physically. However Bertholdt does not feel angry at his father because he taught him the kind of person he does not want to be. And also Bertholdt was the third best soldier of his class and joined the survey corps, he knew the world outside the walls than any other human and made unusual friends. For the first time Bertholdt is not afraid to die, anyway we live to die. His day just was sooner than he wanted to.
"Hey up here!" Bertholdt shouted in full lungs to draw the attention of the jaw titan.
She was not in the best situation for meet the human. The titans around her grabbed her limbs and another tried to bite her neck as she held the titan back with her foot in its chest, trying to keep as much distance as possible. Despite all the donnybrook, she looked up to the top where Bertholdt was, waiting for what he has to say. She hoped Bertholdt had a plan or some idea of escape, anything.. but she did not expect what he'd just say.
"Leave! Move your ass and get out of here now! You don't have to die too... I'm okay with this" The last words were more than enough to shock jaw titan.
She knew that look. It was the same when the alpha of her old pack looked at her and roared with all the forces "Run!" seconds before his nape was bitten by the alpha of the rival pack, and it was also the same look of the armored titan as he begged with his eyes for her takes Bertholdt away from the beast titan. But this time she will not run. She promised to the armored titan, or Armor, as the human calls him in his language. She promised to take him away, well she did, but it is not far enough. It will only be far enough when Bertholdt has crossed those walls. With a quick movement of her hands, she practically ripped off half of the face of three titans at the same time, and punched the middle of the face of another titan who held her.
At first Bertholdt thought that jaw titan would do what he had said. She got rid of the group that held her and returned to the safety of the tower. She could jump right there and run away, but no! She jumped on the shoulder of a tall class titan and started all over again. Bertholdt gasped when a titan bit her leg, making the jaw titan lose her balance, but in the last second she managed to turn and use her claws to cut off almost half of her attacker's jaw. Now the titan had little amount of tendons and muscle in the jawbone to hold her leg. So she broke free and bit its nape. Unfortunately her freedom did not last long when two other titans attacked her. The first one bit her left arm while another grabbed her right leg with both hands and bit on the back of the thigh.
"What are you doing? Leave now, you will die!" Bertholdt shouted at the stubbornness of the jaw titan. God! Are all titans stubborn? Bertholdt asked mentally.
With claws, teeth and kicks, she got rid of the attackers and was back to the safety of the tower, although this time half of her right leg was mutilated. The situation was getting worse and worse. They are in great numbers and jaw titan can not handle them alll and they were doing everything to knock down the tower. Kicking, punching and trying to remove with the hands the stone blocks of the tower. She was examining the titans, and thinking of which titan to try to cut the nape. A titan of fifteen meters seemed more vulnerable, it was not abnormal and there were no other tall titans near this one to try to grab her. But then she noticed its actions, the tall class titan was trying to remove the stone block from the tower, and when it did, the block fell on top of other smaller titans. Then an idea popped into her mind. She wondered how she had not thought it before.
"Don't play hero! just get of-!" Bertholdt interrupted his speech, trying to understand why the jaw titan was trying to remove the stone blocks from the tower.
The jaw titan sank its claws into the cracks of the blocks, pulled it out and throwing it in the face of her brothers. It was not enough to kill them, but it was to bring down the tower. Bertholdt was confused. The jaw titan refuses to run away and now wants to kill him? it would not make sense, she was throwing the blocks in the face of the other titans. As jaw titan removed the blocks, the tower shook violently, finally falling, this time to fall for once. At the top of the tower, Bertholdt was desperately trying to hold himself, but on the roof of the tower there was no support except on the edge. And who will want to hold onto the edge when a tall structure is falling? Suddenly a loud bang on the edge of the tower caught the attention of Bertholdt. The jaw titan was in front of him now. They both stare at each other, until jaw titan and said "grab me" and then Bertholdt realized her plan. Berth tried to climb up on her back, but his ankle began to hurt a lot. The jaw titan realized that he was limping and helped him up with one of her arms. Now on the jaw titan's back, Bertholdt grabbed her messy hair and praying to all the gods he knew. The jaw titan moved to stand on the wall on the other side of the tower, and stabbed her nails with force on the edge. The next few seconds will be hell.
“One day you'll hit something harder than your head!” Bertholdt commented with the hope that humor would dispel the panic as the tower leaned over and over.
“It seems like I'm doing this now.”. Replied jaw titan talking about the soil that was getting closer.
As the floor was closer and closer, Bertholdt closed his eyes tightly and realized that he did not want to die. The next few seconds were a mess of events. The large and heavy structure fell with a huge bang which must have shaken the earth by kilometers. The titans surrounding the tower were seriously damaged by tons of concrete block. And the jaw titan lost his balance because of the strong impact of the fall, making both roll through the wreckage of the tower.
Bertholdt rolled through the tower’s wreckage and landed with a thud. Whole body hurts, but the important thing was that he was alive and breathing. The brunet got up using the wreckage as support and coughed hard because of the cloud of dust that rose. He looked around, trying to find the jaw titan, but there was no sign of her until stone sounds moving next to him caught his attention. Bertholdt looked at the source of the sound and realized that the wreckage there was moving. Frightened, the brunet stumbled back, there was a titan down there and Bertholdt was too hurt to run. Suddenly the block of stone was pushed abruptly, revealing that it was just the jaw titan. She was not injured and all previous injuries were regenerated.
"You're hurt!". Told jaw titan, after examining Bertholdt's wounds.
The dust slowly dissipated, revealing that the old tower almost as high as the wall turned in a stone block graveyard. Fortunately there was no sign of titan. They must be buried by ton of stones. However luck did not last long. Several titans began to "sprout" among the wreckage. Quickly the jaw titan ran wild and attacked the first on his way to protect the human, but suddenly more titans "sprouted" between the stone blocks and attacked her. Jaw titan was quick to defend herself, but more titans appeared and grabbed and bit her limbs. Bertholdt looked with pure horror as jaw titan was surrounded by them and being eaten alive. She was losing and getting more and more trapped as more titans approached and started attacked her. Seconds later Bertholdt could no longer hear her hissing and neither see her due to mountain of titans on top of her. Bertholdt could enjoy the distraction and run away, but he could not let his friend die, mainly because of him.
"Hey! You ugly thing!" Bertholdt shouted trying to catch the attention of the titans while throwing a stone at the back of one of them.
None of the titans noticed his presence. They preferred killing the jaw titan instead. Desperate, Bertholdt ran toward them shouting curses and without care about the pain in his ankle. He needed to save her. Suddenly, among the wreckage of the old tower, a titan of five meters appeared behind a column of blocks of stones, getting between Bertholdt and the pack that was killing jaw titan. Bertholdt froze in fear as the titan in front of him stretched out its arms and opened the big mouth.
So here is my end? Bertholdt thought.
Then there is a figure which breaks the air fast and the sound of blade cutting and blood dripping. Bertholdt looks confused at the boiling blood and dead body of the five meters titan that falls in front of him like a potato sack. The figure landed on the stone column, the sole of the boot causing a great echo, giving a badass impression. Berth noted that the mysterious figure who just saved his life was a female body and wore a green cloak with the semblance of two wings which he learned from his childhood which meant freedom.
She turned the face and looked at Bertholdt. He immediately recognized those asian traits and the hard look. It's Mikasa. Suddenly several soldiers break the sky above them, going straight to the nape of the titans who were attacking jaw titan. This was the last thing Bertholdt saw before fatigue and injury dominated his body, causing him to fall. Seconds before his fall, Bertholdt felt two people holding him, one on each side, grabbing his arm and putting it over their heads. Bertholdt tried to use his legs, but they were too weak to move, so he had to be practically dragged by the two soldiers.
They forced him to lie down on a hard platform. Bertholdt moved his fingertips on the hard texture to know what he was lying on and realized it was wood. Did they put him in a cart? There were sounds and voices, but Bertholdt could not decipher them right because everything he heard was muffled. But he identified the sounds of the 3DMGs, the heavy weight of the falling titans, the sounds of the hoofs of horses, and the comamdantes screaming orders. There were voices above him too. He did not know who they were and what they were talking about. But they were taking care of his wounds. Were they doctors?
Then Bertholdt felt several glances upon him. Berth was not sure who they were, though their silhouettes seem familiar. His vision was a fog, and the simple light of twilight was enough to outshine him. Several people were talking above him. Bertholdt's hearing could not understand everyone, but he was able to interpret some.
"How did a citizen come here?" Someone asked, Bertholdt had no idea who the voice belonged to, but he seemed to be one of the doctors.
"Is he a homeless?" Bertholdt recognized this voice, it was Connie. Because of the old rags and skins that Bertholdt wore and in addition, the beard that grew, nobody recognized him. Bertholdt really looked like a homeless man.
"He must be a coderion user. I mean, who in full consciousness wants to cross the Wall Rose?" Bertholdt knew this was Jean. Not by voice but by arrogance.
Then there were footsteps approaching. Mikasa's badass vibe was perceptible in the environment. "He has the boot of our uniform." Bertholdt thanked Mikasa mentally, she was the only one who was really helping.
"Wait! What! You mean that this user stole our unif-!" Jean was interrupted when someone muffled his mouth. probably by Mikasa.
"He's Bertholdt." She said.
The silence fell on them. Now finally they must have noticed the similarity, but that did not matter anymore. Fatigue and injury dominated Bertholdt.
Hardly alive and breathing hard. The jaw titan remained immovable throughout the uproar. The dead and now smoking bodies above her, created a hiding place for her. The humans would not notice there would be a titan down there. By a small crevice between the bodies of the titans, she saw Bertholdt being carried by two humans until arriving at a vehicle that was pulled by horses. Bertholdt was grumpy, but alive, she could see his chest rising and falling constantly. There were many humans approaching to see Bertholdt, thus blocking the view of jaw titan. But it was not a problem, now Bertholdt was safe with his species. The jaw titan waited for the humans to leave the scene, while she slowly regenerated. When the sounds of horses' hooves could no longer be heard, Jaw Titan pushed her brother's corpses off her. The jaw titan is still in too bad conditions to move from there. Some parts of her body were still mutilated, and several broken bones, but anyway there was no rush. She already did what she should do; she kept her promise.
Did anyone notice the references of Utgard Castle and Lost Girls?
Chapter 14: Recent News
Summary: The shy Bertholdt survived the outside world, now he has a new challenge ... to survive the visits he receives, especially with his last "visitor."
Dear readers. Thank you for being patient with me. Time is something I hardly have, but thanks to your understanding I was able to focus more on my studies and get one of the highest grade in my class. Now that I'm on vacation, I have more time to write the last chapter and finish the story. (If you are in doubt, the vacation period in Brazil starts at the end of December and ends at the beginning of February. Because the region located on the Ecuador is summer at this time.)
"He’s waking up!"
Shouted a blond nurse holding a clipboard in her hands as she noticed Bertholdt blinking. He shuddered with the loud sound of the female voice. His head throbbed as if someone were hammering him inside. Was it so difficult for people to have a little respect and speak low? Then his head clicked. People. There were people here, other human beings. That means he made it! He was at home, everything would be normal now. Spending weeks on the wrong side of the wall seemed like years.
Bertholdt groaned as he tried to rise with his elbows. His arm .. no, his whole body, very sore because of the fall of the watchtower that he miraculously survived. Berth found his back at the head of the bed and looked around.
The room was very clean. The smell of cleaning chemicals was strong in the air. The walls and ceiling are extremely white, and in the corners there were machines that buzzed funny sometimes. Bertholdt immediately acknowledged that he was in a hospital but not any hospital. This one was more chic. Besides, Bertholdt realized that there were actually two nurses in the room. A blonde with a round face and shy appearance, and in an obscured corner of the room was a tall redhead who wore thin frames glasses. She did not seem to care whether Bertholdt was awake or not, just checked some forms in her hands. The freckles on her face made a soft appearance, but her posture and cold expression said the opposite.
The blonde nurse approached to change the serum bag that was connected to the vein in Bertholdt's arms giving him necessary substances to pulse life in his body. Now that the nurse was near, he can see the semblance of Sina's Wall in her uniform.
Oh .. so I'm so important now?
It is no secret that everything within the Sina wall is better. That's where aristocrats live.
The blonde nurse looked nervous, maybe because she'd never seen a soldier from the Survey Corps, or maybe because she was treating the first human to survive so long out there and come back alive and whole, or it was both.
“I.. I'll b-bring y-your lun-lunch s-sir” She said blushing, and trembling with slight nervousness.
Bertholdt was a bit surprised, because it was usually him who always got nervous and stuttered in conversation, it never happened to be the contrary. Well, always a first time for everything, is not what they say?
“I-I c-cleaned y-you.. and err.. and chang-ed y-your c-clothes f-for new and.. and clean clothes, and I-I changed your serum bag.. err well, I-I mean, I just changed t-the bag .. actually, right in front of you.. r-right now! A-And if.. if y-you need help.. like..like .. if you want to drink wate-!” Suddenly the redhead cut her off, she could not stand to see her coworker stumble in words.
"If you need any help, press this red button. If you are too dense to absorb this information. Scream. We'll be in the next room." The redhead said withoutt taking her eyes off the forms. From her tone of voice, she did not accept anyone's shit and did not want to know about discussion. She is the final word.
“All right” Bertholdt replied politely. Never argue with a redhead. He checked his clothes. Surprised that he had not noticed that the skins were exchanged for soft silk. Very comfortably to be honest. After all this was Sina.
Suddenly a mad scientist knocked the door exasperatedly with a kick causing a great crash, and making the patient and blonde nurse jump like scared cats. The redhead kept her posture indifferent. She only replaced her glasses with one hand. Typical sign of when people wearing glasses are getting irritated.
"Hey !! Look what we have here! The subject most spoken for the whole kingdom in person! The Lazaro returned from the dead! At least what the headlines say.” Hanji screamed in full lungs excitedly.
"Oh God! I can bar-!" She was interrupted by Levi's hand in her mouth that stared at her reprovingly. Before she asked what was wrong, Levi pointed with the other hand at a plaque nailed to the wall written "Keep the silence. Patient Area" As soon as Levi removed his hand from her mouth, Hanji spoke again, this time whispering “Oh God! I can barely wait to tear out your secrets!"
Bertholdt shuddered. Hanji was not saying she was going to do crazy experiments, doesn’t she? It seems that Levi read the thought of Bertholdt, cuz he said:
"You slept for three days. Hanji could not calm her ass... just like every soul in that city.” The last words were spoken with a weary sigh. Bertholdt can imagine how many people Levi had to deal with because of him, especially the journalistic press who are usually the most boring and have no concept of respect for privacy and space.
"T-The visitation schedule w-was over t-twenty minutes ago, ple-please retire" Said the blonde, nervously referring to the most important people in humanity, but still trying to be polite.
"Do not worry sweetheart, we will not get you in trouble" Said Hanji. The blonde looked nervous about not being able to control the situation, probably she is a beginner or very spoiled by her parents, or both. She sent a look for help from her co-worker. The redhead even though she was not looking at her shy friend, she got the message, and sighed in irritation.
"Get your ass out of here now! Just because you are the superiority", Said the redhead using one hand to simulate the quotes with the fingers while the other held the forms. "Does not mean you can break the fucking rules!"
“Tough cookie. We still have to update him from the .. recent news." Said Hanji. Bertholdt noticed that she had difficulty to choosing the last words, and wondered mentally about what happened when he was away.
"We came to check if Bertholdt was okay, we already did. Let's go. "Levi made it clear that he was not in the mood for a speech.
"But Levi!" Hanji said pouting.
"Now!" Levi said more firmly but not loudly.
"Okay! Okay, Mr bossy! "Hanji said exasperatedly raising her hands in the air in yield. Levi simply rolled his eyes.
“Shhh! There are other patients resting in the next room! What the fuck are you still doing here!" Said the redhead. She was starting to get annoyed with hanji's behavior.
"Being a sunshine is hard work, but someone has to take care of it, doesn’t it?" Hanji said leaving the room with Levi behind her and closing the door.
Bertholdt was practically frozen in the place. The surprise was noticeable on his face. Firstly, because he never imagined that his first visit would be so .. extravagant, and second, what Hanji meant by recent news and why she was nervous about it. Hanji can be enthusiasm in person, but nervous? This was not characteristic of her. And Levi looked as if he did not want Hanji to say anything. Maybe Bertholdt could get this information from the nurses, but just thinking about talking to the redhead, he reconsidered and kept his mouth shut.
"She was too exaggerated today" Said the blonde, referring to Hanji, now that her steps could not be overheard.
"Yep! It's all because of our friend here! "Exclaimed the redhead, looking over her shoulder at Bertholdt as she leave the room with her co-worker.
"If he had died there, we would not have been dealing with these idiots." Said the redhead in the hallway, but Bertholdt could still hear them from the room.
“A-Alex don't say something like that. This is inappropriate!" Said the blonde in disapproval of what her friend said.
“God Amy! You need to learn to be more assertive.”
Now that the nurses' footsteps could not be heard, Bertholdt rested his head on the pillow and sighed with relief. At least now he will have some rest, but something tells him that there is more to come.
The next hours were torrently slow. There was nothing to do in this room except to sleep and wait for the nurses to change the serum bag and give him food. Bertholdt thanked God for not being the nurse known as Alex. And another problem Bertholdt found agonizing, was the silence. Despite the noises of the machines, the room was completely silent. He could not even hear other patients in the next room or the life outside the hospital. Bertholdt wondered if there was any kind of acoustics on those walls. Although Bertholdt was a quiet person and apprised the silent than a hectic social life. He missed very much to be among other humans again, and desperate to see some face. But nurses rarely went into his room, and when they did, it was just to do a little service and quickly leave. Bertholdt will never try to pull a subject. From their expressions, Bertholdt could tell that they did not even want to be here.
In the corner of the room was a medium-sized window, but there was a curtain covering it and preventing him from seeing life outside. Bertholdt thought of going there and pushing the curtains, but there were problems. Firstly because his arm was connected with the serum cables and he could not reach the windows, and second was his leg. Because of the fall, his ankle was dislocated and he had to use a plaster and to move it was very clumsy. Bertholdt was afraid to end up stumbling on one of these equipment, and end up with his body even more sore.
"Fuck" Said Bertholdt, getting up from the bed and pirouetting to reach the window in the face of so many limitations.
"I would not do it if I were you" Said a familiar voice.
Bertholdt turned abruptly frightened and stared at the redheaded nurse named Alex who was holding a tray that contained his dinner. Slowly Bertholdt went back to the bed, and sighed in pain when he put weight on his damaged ankle, despite having the plaster around it, still heavily damaged.
"Why is the window closed?" Asked Bertholdt, as soon as Alex set the tray on the table beside his bed.
"Trust me. You will not want to open the window. The press of the whole kingdom is outside, and has been difficult to prevent them from invading the place. If they see you ... God help us" Said the redhead as she checked the clipboard in her hands.
Bertholdt thought for a moment. So this was the real reason he was being held in a hospital in Sina. After all, it was not anyone who came back alive and whole from the titan’s territories. The press would be crazy to be the first to have the story of his experiences to tell.
"What did Hanji mean by recent news?" Asked Bertholdt, wanting to unravel this mystery at once.
"You ask so many questions," Alex said as she left the room now with the empty tray.
"You still have not answered me!" Exclaimed Bertholdt, though a little ashamed to have been loud and rude, though nothing she did not deserve to hear.
Alex did not look affected. Her posture and expression were indifferent, in fact she looked queasy. She sighed and rolled her eyes as if to say 'For Real?' Before answering. And by her expression she had to recite that phrase several times.
“I and just as all the staff at that hospital were assigned not to tell you anything about the 'recent news' .. at least this is what the sunshine woman calls”
It was clear what “sunshine woman” she meant. Bertholdt was annoyed that he had not gotten the information he wanted but he let out a small laugh, but then he swallowed as he noticed the tip of a scalpel near his throat. It was not touching his neck, in fact it had two centimeters that separated the skin and pointed metal. Bertholdt stared wide-eyed at the mortal browns of the redheaded woman in front of him.
"And if you try to persuade Amy through her fragility, I'll kill you. I do not give a shit if you're the most precious lamb of the herd. Do we agree, fella?"
The firm grip the redhead had on the scalpel handle, told Bertholdt that he had no choice but to nod. Quickly Alex removed the sharp object from the brunet's neck and tucked it into the pocket of her uniform. Probably putting a scalpel in your pocket is not a pattern to be followed by the doctors here, as this redhead has not yet been fired will continue to be a mystery to Bertholdt.
"Eat and rest. Hanji will be back in the morning to do an interview with you, so have good night!" Alex said simply as if she had not taken a scalpel from nowhere and threatened his life.
There are stereotypes that redheads have no soul, but of course, they are fools invented by jerks. But this redhead in particular does not have many things, like a notion of her attitudes. Bertholdt sighed heavily. Who was he to judge others. Maybe Alex shares a similar life story as Ymir. An obscure past marked by things she just wants to forget and live by herself. At least that's what he knows, Ymir is not an open book.
Bertholdt did as the redhead asked. He ate and lay comfortably on his bed. Half an hour later Amy appeared to collect the plate and cutlery, and of course stumbled over the words nervously. Bertholdt thought about asking what the hell happened when he was away and why everyone is so nervous to tell him, but he remembered Alex's threat and her look that clearly said that it was not just a threat but a fucking promise. Then Bertholdt did the most sensible thing and rejoined his head on the pillow, and wishing goodnight to Amy. The blonde nurse left the room and turned off the light, leaving Bertholdt alone with his thoughts.
The time when Hanji "would rip out his secrets" arrived, Bertholdt just hopes this is not literal.
Bertholdt was transferred to another room. This one was darker, there had windows closed and almost no furniture, only a table and two white chairs, one on each side of the table. Although Bertholdt was taller than the average, he felt like a minuscule spot in the space sitting in that chair, being watched by an enthusiastic Hanji sitting across the table, and Levi leaning against the wall with his arms crossed.
"So Bertholdt, I believe you are very confused and haves so many questions to ask .." She paused, and Bertholdt was frozen just waiting for her to continue. Suddenly in a sudden movement she gets up, making the chair fall backward. The palms of her hand are pressed firmly on the table creating a large echo. Probably have two handprints there later. Her face was inches from his face, causing Bertholdt to to retreat scared. Levi watched everything, but seemed indifferent to the situation, letting Hanji go her own way.
"And believe me, I have many questions for you too and I will be more than happy to write it down in my notes!" Now her eyes had a strange glow, even insane. Then she relaxed and placed her chair in the original position and sat down.
"But it would be unfair of me to demand information from you so hastily after all that you have gone through, so I'm giving you the privilege of asking the first questions!" Hanji said, the strange glow in her eyes dimmed, but they were still there. Intimidating him.
Bertholdt thought about all that he wanted to ask, about what happened when he was away, why he was being so "protected", and why they were all assigned to tell him nothing. But that could be answered later. He wants to unveil everything step by step.
“How did you find me in the watchtower?" Asked Bertholdt. He had doubts about it. That was an area dominated by titans, retaking missions from that area should have years of planning, so why the Survey Corps were there. They heard? Impossible, they might have heard the impact of the tower, but they would not arrive in time to save him.
"Great question! During the time you have been.. well, stuck on the wrong side of the wall, many anti-titan enhancements have happened, especially in the warlike sense. But I do not want to fill you with blah blah blah on the new devices of the Survey Corps, so I'll get right to the point .. " She said, rummaging through a bag that was leaning against the feet of the chair. Bertholdt tried to stretch his neck to see but without success, until Hanji took an object covered by a light blue cloth from the bag and placed it on the table.
"Everyone knows that the biggest problem with the walls is that they are too long to be watched, so as a solution I created this." She said, removing the blue cloth, and revealing a binoculars, but it was not any binoculars he'd ever seen , this was more .. improved.
This optical instrument was three times larger than normal, and apparently much heavier because it was coated by what appears to be metal. The lenses, different from other binoculars, these were dark and larger, if you look closer you could see another pair of lenses inside. At the top there were several buttons that Bertholdt has no idea what their functions are. This instrument must be very heavy to be loaded into exploration, so Berth deduced that this instrument was used on watchtowers located on the tops of the walls.
"These binoculars are capable of making a human see beyond the horizon. Now we are able to detect the titans first before they do, and more .. " She paused, pointing to a specific button. “This new binoulos model delivers night vision. Imagine being able to do night expeditions, so we would face much less risk, but there is a problem. To activate the night vision requires energy, and we still do not have some kind of ... store, anyway some way to contain that energy. Me and my team have created a battery project, but they are too big and do not last all night. But science does not stop, we do not have the answers today, but tomorrow we will. Isn't that what they say?"
"Oh .. then some guard spotted me with it" Said Bertholdt, summing it all up.
"Yes, they did.. but they also saw something else. They said they saw a titan being eaten alive by its own kind." She paused and stared at Bertholdt." Do you have something to tell me about that?" She said, that weird glow returning in her glasses.
He was fucked. Bertholdt had not thought about it. The jaw titan was only meant to escort Bertholdt into the walls, all that bustle in the tower was an unexpected surprise. A beating surprise to be honest. Bertholdt was not counting on other humans to see her. But and now? Bertholdt can not simply say that he saw nothing, because the guard saw and Bertholdt could not simply call him a liar, that would be a trigger of a great donnybrook. But Bertholdt had something to his advantage; he was the only human to go so far in the territory of the titans, that means that anything Berth tells, they will believe, since they have had no previous experience.
"Yes I saw ... and it was not the first time" Said Bertholdt, praying in his mind that the scientist should not notice any sign that he was lying.
"Not.. the.. first.. time.." Hanji repeated Bertholdt's last words slowly, as if she wanted to make sure that was what she heard. "Please! say more about it, do not leave any detail on the outside!" Exclaimed Hanji taking a notebook and a pencil from the bag and placing them on the table. Even Levi looked curious.
Bertholdt had difficulty to inventing a lie, and the insane glow of the scientist's glasses did not help. Hanji's hands trembled in anticipation to write the words on the paper.
"In these last days I have seen many things that I could not explain" A dramatic introduction would be a good start, Bertholdt thought. "I've seen bigger titans eat smaller titans, was not something that happened repeatedly, were on rare occasions"
"Rare occasions?" Hanji asked as she made notes.
"They did it in cloudy times. My theory is that they do to get energy." Said Bertholdt, hoping that Hanji would believe in his crazy theory.
"That makes sense! These titans live far from our fortifications, the probability of them eating a human is completely null, and because the sun's rays are obstructed by the clouds, these titans go hungry and to survive they become cannabis!" From Hanji's big smile, Bertholdt deduced that she believed.
"That night was a full moon" Levi said skeptically. Bertholdt became nervous and began to sweat, until Hanji spoke after making her notes.
"Well ... we do not know how much sunlight reflected in the moon a titan absorbs, and besides that's just a small group of titans that have that night skill" Said hanji, by Levi's expression, he seemed convinced. "And an impressive fact is that they always sacrifice a smaller titan, so that the stronger prevails! This is completely fantastic!" Bertholdt was relieved that the two believed in his story. In this way the jaw titan would be safe, although Bertholdt does not know if she is alive or dead. Although it is more likely that she is dead.
Hanji added a few more things in her notes until she said:
"Now I want you to tell me as detailed as possible everything that happened to you from the beginning until your rescue"
Bertholdt was doubly fucked. He could not say anything about the Armor and the five meters titan. If he said that he befriended one of the greatest murderers of mankind, Bertholdt would first be considered mad, then one of the enemies of mankind, and only has a punishment for that kind of person: Death. Besides, if Bertholdt said how intelligent these titans are, Hanji would command at any cost to capture Armor, and worse they could use the bond that titan had with Bertholdt to make him as a bait. Bertholdt knows about the terrible experiences that scientists have made with the captured titans. Bertholdt can not even see Armor being pinned and immobilized to the floor. Bertholdt had to keep this secret to himself.
Hanji was quite excited as she wrote in her notes the outside world in which Bertholdt described. He was very careful with the words to not expose his titanic friend. Bertholdt described from the beginning everything that happened. He said his flank was destroyed by a group of abnormal titans, and that his horse was crushed by a giant foot, and that his equipment of three-dimensional maneuver was badly damaged and that he had to abandon it because it was now a dead weight. He also said that he heard no sign of the other flanks next, but that he saw black smoke and then nothing else. Hanji and Levi had checked the reports of the last expedition and confirmed that there were several losses. Because the failed expedition has attracted many abnormal titans, Bertholdt can not go back to the wall, and that his only chance to survive was to move away. Hanji was excited, cuz now was the best chapter in the story: What he saw in the outside world.
He told that at nightfall he found Marco's spotted horse. I mean, the horse found him. Hanji's expression was a mixture of surprise and sadness when Bertholdt said he saw the blood in the saddle of the horse. Marco was a good man and everyone knew that. He also spoke his misadventures with Mother Bear, which made Hanji laugh, and Bertholdt swore that he saw Levi's lip slightly lifted. Hanji asked many questions about this animal as appearance, height, and color, since bears are rarely seen near the wall. He also told about his fall at the waterfall and that he thought he was going to die. Then came the most difficult part of the story: The Black Forest.
The Black Forest, or so Bertholdt called himself, was where he met the armored titan and the jaw titan. He had to pick the words wiser, fortunately Hanji was super intrigued by the biome of this forest and did not bother to ask how Bertholdt survived and if had titans in that forest. Black leaves and fluorescent flowers were not something found in biology books, so Hanji was very excited, though annoyed that Bertholdt had not brought any samples. Bertholdt also talked about the animals he encountered as the black jaguar, monkeys, serval, zebras and wild horses, including Marco's horse. Hanji showed a great interest in animals, mainly because zebras, monkeys were animals are only seen by the images of old books. She asked many questions about their eating, behavior and appearance, although she maintained a greater interest in monkeys because they were considered very human-like creatures, and they could possibly bring answers about the origin of mankind.
Hanji and Levi did not seem to notice his nervousness, and also did not seem to notice that Bertholdt was hiding something. That's good. He also told about the beautiful place he found: The waterfalls. Bertholdt spoke more fanatically about the natural beauty of the place, so that Hanji would be distracted enough not to notice anything wrong. And it was working. Even Levi watched it without blinking, concentrating.
"Woah! The world outside is much more incredible than we think! But how did you get back?" The question caught Bertholdt by surprise and he stiffened. Hanji interpreted this as if he was confused, and added. "I mean, there were no horses there and no kind of transportation you could have used, and it's impossible for you to go back on foot. So, how did you get back?"
The sweat returned. He could not say: "I got a ride on the back of a titan" Then the more logical answer crossed his mind was:
"I domed a horse" Bertholdt replied. In the Training Corps, he and his classmates had lessons about horse care, although taming wild horses were not included, since all the horses located inside the wall are domesticated.
"Hm.. and because it was wild, the horse ran away as soon the titans appeared" Hanji seemed to be convinced because the horses are trained to not be afraid of the titans, but a wild horse could not have that same training.
"But why did not you ride Marco's spotted horse? You would not have to train it" Bertholdt was caught by surprise again. And his only more logical answer than he could come up with was: "I could not find him anymore"
"At least it's running free around the world. Lucky horse" Hanji said.
She made some more notes. The notes in her hand almost did not have many lines to write. Bertholdt hoped this would indicate that the interview was ending. He no longer knew if he could go on inventing lies, and trying to keep his posture as normal as possible.
"My last question is: Why did you come back during the full moon period?"
Shit! That was all Bertholdt could think. He could not say he did not know it was full moon, because in the Survey Corps all soldiers are taught rigorously about the period of moons' faces, and also because Bertholdt had the highest astrology's grades.
"Err.. because.. its starting to appear titans, and I thought it's now or never, so.." Hanji cut him off, responding for him "It was a desperate decision. Poor Berth. We understand how hard your journey must have been, but now you're home now. You're safe. Okay?" Bertholdt nodded his head. Hanii and Levi apparently believed in his true-half. However, at least Armor and jaw titan (if she's still alive) will be safe.
Hanji was saving her notes in her bag when she said: "Who knows in the next expedition we can go in this forest that you said, If you can find the way home, you must know how you return to this black forest" Bertholdt froze. Maybe his titanic friends were not so well protected how did he think it would be.
Hanji and Levi were leaving the room when Bertholdt remembered something else.
"Hey wait! I still have one last doubt" Bertholdt shouted. Both turned to him.
"What is this?" Levi asked.
"Why am I being kept here, and why can not anyone tell me anything about the ..recent news?" Bertholdt asked, wanting once and for all to solve this shit.
Hanji and Levi looked at each other. The scientist gave a small smile and a nod, giving permission to Levi. Bertholdt looked curiously at Levi as he walked toward a window and pushed the curtains aside.
"We do not tell you anything, because it's only seeing to believe" Hanji said with a huge smile. Bertholdt has no idea what's out there, but it's something Hanji is proud of.
"Is it another improved anti-titan equipment?" Bertholdt asked a little playfully as he got up to go to the window to see what the heck was this recent news.
"Not exactly, but it's a .. great anti-titans revolution" Bertholdt was not sure what Hanji meant by that, but he will find out now.
The first reaction of a normal person when seeing a titan in your backyard would be a faint or a heart attack. But not Bertholdt, he was already accustomed to wake up and see a huge armored titan and a creepy titan every morning. But Hanji and Levi did not know that, so Bertholdt had to pretend surprise and astonishment.
"W-Why has a titan ... inside th.. the.. walls?" Bertholdt said, mimicking Amy's stuttering, to both believed he was afraid.
"Bertholdt meets the legend, the resilience of mankind, the attack titan .. well, he does not really have a fixed name, but we like to call him Rogue." Hanji said, standing next to Bertholdt and putting an arm around him.
On the outside, there was a fifteen meters titan helping other humans repair a crack in Wall Sina. Bertholdt has no idea what caused this crack, but something tells him there's something to do with that titan. This titan of fifteen meters, called "Rogue" has a well defined and muscular structure, though it was not as massive as the armored titan, but still very strong. His hair is dark and messy, and long enough to graze his shoulders. His ears were elongated and pointed like a feline, and they moved according to the sound. He had a prominent, hooked nose. And a pointed chin. But the characteristic that most caught Bertholdt's attention, was his mouth. Rogue had no lips and flesh on his cheeks, so his teeth were exposed. Giving a bizarre appearance.
"There was a battle for the resumption of the District of Trost" Hanji spoke suddenly. Bertholdt shifted his attention from the titan to the scientist "We were losing, the gas was running out, and the trainees were being eaten alive" Then she turned her face toward the titan. "Then he came and covered the hole in the wall with a huge rock.. and saved everyone"
"A hole?" Bertholdt asked, confused.
"Many things happened when you were gone. The colossal titan returned, and created a hole in the Rose Wall." Hanii said, trying to explain everything
"The colossal titan! He returned, but how?" Bertholdt shouted in complete amazement.
The colossal titan was his biggest nightmare, probably the nightmare of all mankind. He could not believe this meat giant came back. Bertholdt feared that this titan might come back. If the titan armored had orders of titans alphas to devour several human fortresses, maybe the colossal titan is doing the same thing. Bertholdt wondered if he should talk about the alpha titans and alert them of the danger, but this could expose your friends. However they had an allied titan, the Rogue, right? So, maybe that means if Bertholdt talk about his friendship with armored titan, they could accept Armor too. Not! Bad idea. The armored titan was a killer and Rogue was a hero. They would never accept Armor.
"We do not know why the colossal titan return, but our big friend there said that he ran away from his pack to join us. Can you believe it? A talking titan!" Hanji said with a huge smile, so being able to talk to a titan was a great experience for her.
"A titan speaking? For real" Bertholdt said, lying surprise. As if he had never seen a titan speak.
"And a spitter" Levi said with disgust. Bertholdt can imagine what Levi meant by that.
Hanji laughed before replying "Rogue has a rebel attitude, so the name" Then she turned her face to Bertholdt "Yes, he is able to speak. Although the shape of his mouth is inappropriate for speaking English right. He told us that a great war is coming, that alphas titans want to decimate our house... we have no idea what he meant by titans alphas"
But I really do. Bertholdt thought
"Anyway. We are prepared for any enemy to come. When you get better I'll show you the new arsenal of the Survey Corps" Hanji said, dropping her arm around Bertholdt
Bertholdt thought that their visit had already ended before Hanji suddenly shouted: "Hey Rogue! there's someone I want you to meet!"
The titan turned toward Hanji. Bertholdt was surprised by the creature's gaze. Rogue had green eyes as bright as an emerald. His green colors were much more vivid than Bertholdt's. His pupil was a slit, like a feline. And another detail that Bertholdt had not noticed before was that there was a black spot around his eyes, giving him an intimidating look. Bertholdt is not quite sure what the true use of this shadow is in his eyes, but he believes that besides intimidating, it serves to help him see better in the dark. One of the reasons are his slit eyes; This type of pupil shape is suitable for absorbing more light at night.
"If you spit on me again, I'll cut your tongue" Levi threatened as soon as Rogue approached his face to the window.
The titan just grunted softly to Levi. Bertholdt almost laughed at the scene, but he remembered of his theater. He must pretend to be afraid, and he has never befriended with a titan. Then Bertholdt stood still, pretending to be afraid that Rogue would eat him.
"Do not worry, Rogue never hurt anyone ... well, he accidentally left a scar on Mikasa's cheek. But he had no intention, and apologized" Hanji said trying to comfort him, though she did not know it was all Bertholdt's theater
"Bertholdt meets Rogue. Rogue meets Bertholdt" Said Hanji, introducing them.
The titan approached to sniff Bertholdt. The tip of his nose almost touching his face. suddenly, Rogue slightly receded. Bertholdt noticed small changes in his facial expression. The slits became thinner. The forehead creased slightly, and the tips of his ears were turned back. Rogue recognized the scent of Armor. Then Rogue tilted his head to the side, as if wondering how Bertholdt had this scent, or if it was his mind fooling him.
"Rogue may have a bad boy vib, but he's sweet inside." Hanji said.
"Sure" Levi said sarcastically. Rogue roared, offended.
"Levi!" Hanji said, reproving him.
It's been a weeks since the interview. A lot of his cuts and bruises were just memories now, and now Bertholdt is able to walk on his ankle without hurting. Surviving the boredom inside these four white walls was a great stress, but at least now the window of his room was open now. Bertholdt could sometimes see Rogue helping repair the fault in the wall. The titan brought cement and other materials into the palm of his hand so that humans would not have to go down and up to pick up the materials. And sometimes the titan's hand worked like an elevator. On rare occasions, Bertholdt caught Rogue staring at the direction of his window, though Berth was not quite sure if Rogue was looking at him, but something in the titan's expression said yes. Bertholdt did not know what the titan was thinking, but his gaze seemed confused and slightly puzzled. Bertholdt wondered if there was anything to do with Armor's scent.
Every afternoon the redheaded nurse came to visit him. Even if she had nothing to do there, just to ask how he was feeling. Over the time Bertholdt learned to like Alex and also learned not to take her arrogant comments to the personal side. She was not that bad, she was just honest.. and a little bit overact. But after all, she seemed to like Bertholdt too.
"It's almost on visiting schedule, are you ready for another round?" Alex said with a mocking smile.
His last visits were far from being said as normal. Some journalists tried to enter undercover, and a huge line formed outside the hospital, both civilians and cadets wanted to see him. Bertholdt heard rumors that even the king had an interest in visiting him. Apparently Alex was not joking when he said it was difficult to stop them from invading. To avoid an uproar, Commander Erwin organized a new bureaucracy for those who wanted to see him. Only family and friends cadets listed by Levi could see him, but as Bertholdt had no living family member registered in the city database, or at least what Bertholdt thinks, since he never knew if his father is alive or not. Only the cadets were allowed to visit him, although it had requirements; only two people could visit him every day. While civilians were given notice that when Bertholdt was better, they could talk to him, although the commander made it clear about the respect of privatization.
“Yes.. i guess” Said Bertholdt, leaning against the back at the head of the bed.
Bertholdt did not like the visits very much. He wanted to cancel them, but that was against the hospital's policies. And Alex also argued that this would be a bad idea, since practically the whole kingdom wants to see him. Luckily she was always there with him during visiting time as a bodyguard. Bertholdt was sure that it was not her job to stay there, she was there on her own.
Each visit had a surprise, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Some cadets were very talkative for the Bertholdt's taste, and they asked him a thousand questions of his journey, it was as if Bertholdt was in another interview, and again Bertholdt told the same lies he told Hanji. But they were never satisfied and asked more about the outside world; including they asked him if he saw any human fortress. Whenever Bertholdt looked at the clock on the bedroom wall, it was as if the time had never passed. Alex understood this signal that the cadets were exaggerating, and she always shouted something like: Don't you realize that you are leaving Bertholdt overwhelmed? On the other side, some visits were good, as once Armin and Mikasa visited him. Armin brought him some presents, like old books, which were Bertholdt's favorites. He thanked Mikasa for saving his life, but she only replied that it was her job. Bertholdt was a bit surprised by this .. coldness. Mikasa was known to be quiet and reserved, but she would never give such a hard answer. Armin explained that she had been like this since Eren's death. Bertholdt had been surprised by this news, first of all he thought Eren was not here because Erwin ordered that only two cadets could visit him, but jot cuz he is dead. Armin explained that Eren was swallowed in his place by a bearded titan, saving Armin's life, moments before Rogue appeared.
Alex opened the door for the new visitors of the day, and Bertholdt forced a smile. Something tells him that this day will be long to end.
"BERTHOLDT!!!" Connie and Sasha screamed in unison.
"Hey man! We brought a box of caramel cupcakes for you. WAIT! It's almost empty! Ah came on Sasha!" Connie frowned at her.
"What? We've come a long way bringing the box, I've been hungry!" Sasha protested.
"We bought this at the hospital cafeteria!" Connie shouted, unbelieving.
"Do you know what floor we're in?! Those flights of stairs consumed my energy!" Sasha replied, pouting.
Connie opened the mouth to answer her, but gave up. Arguing with Sasha about food is like a fat guy, never works out. Alex rolled her eyes at the scene, from her expression, she would rather be dead now. Meanwhile Bertholdt smiled, he missed them and those infant moments. Although he was still upset with Connie for confusing him with a homeless.
"It's okay, I'm not hungry" Bertholdt lied to soften the situation. Eating gelatine and soup for weeks was a torture.
"Well in that case .." And as a lioness, Sasha advanced on the cupcakes. Letting Bertholdt sad, caramel was his favorite.
"Err .. Why is there a crack in the Wall Sign?" Bertholdt asked Connie, since Sasha was very "busy"
"Heh. It's just you leaving that party starts, man" Connie said playful.
"What do you mean?" Bertholdt asked, still confused
"I believe Hanji told you about our new buddy, i mean, the window is open." Connie said, holding out a hand for the open window, where a fifteen meters titan could be seen helping to repair the crack.
"Yea Yea, she told me about his accomplishment in the Trost District." Bertholdt said.
"Well.. days later another titan appeared" Bertholdt looked at Connie incredulously. Another titan?
"Fourteen meters class. Exposed musculatures like the colossal and had a female body. A strong female body" Sasha said, though her mouth was full of cupcakes, the words were still understandable for the ears.
Bertholdt joined the features. Fourteen meters, exposed musculatures, female and strong body. Was that female titan that had saved him, Armor and jaw titan from the night titans in the dandelions field?
"Sasha don’t talk with your mouth full! Anyway, this female titan invaded the walls and tried to kill Rogue. That titan was nothing like the other titans we've seen. She had incredible fighting skills and good reflexes. Even we using three-dimensional maneuver equipment, it was useless against her." Connie said with great excitement, which was strange. Who had become a fan of a relentless enemy?
"But if she had no skin, her nape would be more exposed, right?" Bertholdt asked.
"Wrong. When Mikasa is about to cut her nape, the female titan crystallized her nape. The layer was so hard that it broke Mikasa's blade in two" Connie replied.
Was this titan able to crystallize parts of her body? Bertholdt wondered mentally. He remembered when the armored titan and the female titan "fought", something bright appeared on the female titan's leg. Berth was not sure if it was a crystallization because he had closed his eye at that moment. But that was the only explanation that a skinless titan could winning of a fully coated titan.
"But Rogue is alive ..." Bertholdt commented, waiting for Connie to tell the rest.
"She was winning, but then ... I don’t know what word to use, it was like magic. He turned into a beast"
"Turned like a magic?" Bertholdt asked
"His veins turned into trails of fire, the teeth were pointed and his eyes turned completely blue. He moved like he was in complete adrenaline and he is more resistant to the pain. Hanji called it berserk mode" Connie explained.
"So that crack was caused in the middle of a fight?" Bertholdt asked, although the answer was already explicit.
"Yea, although the biggest damage was inside the Rose Wall" Connie said.
"And, what about this female titan? She died?" Bertholdt asked
"Unfortunately not, as soon as she realized she was at a disadvantage, she ran away" Sasha said, now that there was no cupcake anymore.
"She crystallized her fingers and climbed the wall. Mikasa tried to cut her fingers off, but as I said, this titan had sharp reflexes. And with one hand she knocked Mikasa down. Luckily Rogue was there to pick her, but that gave to the female titan enough time to escape" Connie explained
"But now we have new toys if she or some other intelligent titan comes back" Sasha said with a smile.
"That's right!" Connie shouted.
"Wow .. it all happened when I was away" Bertholdt said, this was not a question.
"Yep, it's just you leave that party happens, so please do us a favor and do not get yourself stuck on the wrong side of the wall again." Alex said, with her back against the wall, and playing with her scalpel between her fingers.
"Now say good-bye. The vists time ended." Alex said.
"Awww .." Connie and Sasha cried in unison.
"Just five more minutes" Begged Sasha.
"Actually, it's been five minutes since visiting time is over" Alex said.
That was a strange thing. The redhead never let the cadets stay one minute longer, perhaps seeing that Sasha and Connie were good company, she made an exception.
"Wait, just one last question. Bertholdt, are you ready for the presentation tomorrow?" Connie asked
"What presentation!?" Bertholdt asked incredulous.
"Okay, you have five more minutes." Alex said. Bertholdt made a mental list to thank her later.
Connie and Sasha explained to Bertholdt about the presentation that will happen on the south side inside the Rose Wall tomorrow. Several civilians, soldiers and journalists will be present before a large stage to listen his journey and to ask him questions. Bertholdt was very nervous about this, he hated stages. The reason was very simple: Shy people and stage do not match. Just imagine several eyes staring at him, made his stomach turn. Bertholdt did not want this, if somehow he could cancel this commitment he would, but the problem was that he did not even begin that commitment. When Connie and Sasha left, Alex offered Bertholdt a sleeping remedy because Berth would not be able to sleep and relax after hearing such news. At first it seemed that the remedy did not work, but then before Bertholdt realized he was already counting sheep.
Bertholdt stretched his arms up and gave a long yawn, waking up the body. He did not know what time it was, but judging by the sunlight through the window, it was still early. He still had a few more hours until the presentation, although in the deep he wanted to be very late. Suddenly, a scent of caramel caught him by surprise. At a table next to the bed, there was a box with caramel cupcakes inside. The cupcakes were still warm, indicating they were put there have a little time. Then Bertholdt heard footsteps moving away from the door. He looked toward the entrance, to see who had placed them, but it was late. Whoever was there and left the cupcakes is gone, but Bertholdt swore he saw flash of blond strands. It was not visiting time, so Bertholdt thought it might be Amy, but soon discarded. Amy was too polite to leave without a word. Could be another blonde nurse, but Bertholdt has never seen another blonde nurse without being Amy in this hospital, especially one who knows if that caramel was his favorite. Then a name crossed his mind: Annie.
"Morning Berth" Alex complied, entering the room with his breakfast. "So, your girlfriend came to visit you?"
Bertholdt's reaction to the word "girlfriend" was instantaneous. He paled suddenly, and a bead of sweat came down his forehead. "What?! S-She's not my girlfriend! Wait, who was she?" Bertholdt was not sure if Alex was talking about Annie.
"Annie. Your girlfriend" Alex said, teasing him with the last word.
"Stop saying that!" Bertholdt shouted, blushing like a tomato.
"Oh okay, so you just call her your girlfriend?" Alex said with a mocking smile
"Stop! .. And how did she get here?" Asked Bertholdt curious.
"Let's say her look is more intimidating than my scalpel. Now eat, you have a full day ahead of you."
hours later. Bertholdt was taken to the entrance of the hospital, where a carriage awaited him to take him to the town located on the south side of the Rose Wall, where the presentation will take place. Inside the carriage, Levi and Hanji waited for him. Hanji was super excited, but Bertholdt .. to say that he was nervous was a euphemism. Hanji explained to him better what the presentation will be like; Bertholdt must speak in front of all those people his journey since from the failed expedition and his rescue, and he will also have to answer the questions of the audience, although the audience will be more filled with journalists than civilians. The reason for this presentation is very simple: The human being is curious, but its freedom has been taken. And because Bertholdt was the only one to go so far from the safety of wall, everyone is curious to know what he saw. And this presentation also aims to demonstrate the importance of the Survey Corps for the mankind.
As a requirement, Bertholdt had to wear the Survey Corps uniform to represent the branch, with the exception of the three-dimensional maneuver equipment. The plaster around his ankle had already been removed, now Bertholdt had no difficulty to walk. During the trip, Hanji gave to Bertholdt several tips about how to behave in front of so many people and not get nervous. tips like: Breathing before speak, pay attention to the gestures and look at all sides during the presentation, this would demonstrate that you are giving attention to everyone. Although these tips are very important, Bertholdt is not sure if he can remember and follow them all. Looking out the window, Bertholdt could already see an improvised stage located in the middle of the town square, and also several people looking towards him with eyes full of expectations. He also saw the king sitting in a place made especially for him. Bertholdt wished very much to have the tridimensional maneuver equipment right now, so he could flee far from it. But he can't.
"Don't worry Bertholdt, you'll do well. Just remember, you must have to keep cal-!" Before Hanji finished speaking "calm" high sounds of sirens echoed through the city.
Bertholdt was confused about the reason for these sirens, until people began to run and shout "The titans invaded!". Now the puzzle was complete. These sirens were installed on the city streets for alerts to civilians when the titans invade. This way the news spreads faster and more time for people to flee. And fortunately for Bertholdt, this meant no more presentation. Whoever that visitor is, Bertholdt was very grateful.
Levi left the carriage and walked towards a military, who was trying to direct the desperate people.
"What is the report? Was the wall violated?" Levi asked, wondering at the fact that he had not heard any bang.
"No sir! It's above the wall on the west side sir!" He replied.
"Damn it! It's an intelligent titan!" Levi shouted.
"It can't be the female titan. She's a strategist. She knows she can not overcome our defenses ... unless she has discovered a weakness" Said Hanji walking towards Levi, followed by Bertholdt.
They did not know which titan they had invaded, because it was impossible to see the west side with the naked eye. If they had the new binoculars there with them now, they could. But unfortunately no one brought. But only by the fact that this titan was able to climb the wall, already demonstrated that the invader was an intelligent titan.
Suddenly Hannes comes rushing toward them with an almost empty bottle. His cheeks were red and he ran in a funny way, as if he did not know run in a straight line. He was drunk. Again.
"Oh my.. Holy *hic* shit! Fuck! Fuck! *hic* Fuck!" Hannes cursed.
"Recompose yourself!" Levi ordered.
Hannes drank the rest of the amber liquid in an only sip before speak.
"It.. It is the armored titan"
Chapter 15: Spiral
The primary goal of the armored titan was to face only one thing, but he discovered that he will have much more things to face.
At the top of the seventy meters wall known as Wall Rose, more specifically the west side; there is the fifteen meter beast covered by incredibly hard plates, whose humanity knows him as the armored titan. The first time he was here, the first wall was violated and chaos took over. Now that he has returned, threatening the second wall of protection, humans will not think twice, they will simply run for their lives. Although this time the armored titan is not here to violate any wall, his purpose here is another.
Sitting on one knee the titan watched the commotion consuming the human fortress, although he had a great view over long distances, he could not distinguish small details, like an insect for example, but he could hear the desperate cries of the mass of humans .. and also a boring continuous sound. Armor was not sure what the sound was, but he guessed it was a kind of warning sound. Although in his opinion this only helped to make the situation worse than simply warning.
Looking at the strange human constructions, Armor remembered something. The human things were form mainly by shapes he had seen before. Then his mind clicked; the geometric forms that Bertholdt taught him. He never thought that these forms were relevant, as Bertholdt said it was, but now he literally sees that it was important to humans. In the concrete constructions where humans come and go, Armor can identify squares and rectangles, on the ceilings of these constructions he can identify the triangle shape. And in the transportation driven by horses, he saw the circle. In the tall constructions in the center of the cities, Armor can identify the more complex forms like trapezium, lozenge and among others. It seems that Armor finally figured out what these diabolical shapes served for, and a funny thing, was that Armor had seen many human fortifications, but he never realized that.
Armor sighed, a layer of hot steam escaping through the cracks in his jaw. He did not expect to return to this fortress so soon. Generally the alphas titans were very meticulous, it took years to observe and study the strengths and weaknesses of a human fortress before any invasion. However this time was different, it isn't another invasion, it's a test, a chance to prove to the beasty titan, that he was still loyal. The beasty did not like to see one of his best warriors disobey him twice; the first was to communicate with a human, second to have defended the human instead of killing it.
Although Beasty completely disapproves of Armor's actions, he still has hopes for him. Because Beasty believes that was just a mistake, that the real guilty is the human. He believed that these miserable creatures he so hated, manipulated the mind of the armored titan as well the titan that containing the coordinate, as a way of retaliating. Armor did not think so, but disagreeing with his superior's vision means disobeying him again, and Armor feels he's pushed the limits too far.
His test was simple; do the work that the female titan failed, that is, kill the traitor titan and retrieve the coordinate. This ability called coordinate allows much more than dominating the mind of a titan, this allows to control them, and depending on the power of some other alpha titans, they can be controlled too. Although the coordinate is an extraordinary power, and coveted by many titans alphas, the possession of the coordinate is only through the genetic hierarchy, and only a single member can have control of it. Armor does not know the previous life of Beasty titan, and it's none of your business to know, but he do enough to know that the attacker titan and the beasty titan are brothers. This means, if the attacker titan, now known as a traitor , is killed, the coordinate will be passed to Beasty. Sometimes Armor wonders how Beasty, an alpha very respectful for his strategic planning and philosophy of leadership, prefer to let the greed go up to the point of killing his own brother. Not that they had a healthy relationship anyway. Family feelings and relationships were not a titan thing, but Armor still wondered.
As he watched the territory below, Armor noticed several damage to these things that humans call houses and buildings, and also large cracks in the walls, signaling that there was a battle of titans. The damage was quite large, the attacker titan and the female titan had a very extensive fight. Armor does not know who won, in fact no titan does. He does not even know if the female titan is dead. When Beasty ordered Armor this task, he had hoped to find her, or some sign that she was still alive, but he found nothing, only the disgusting scent of the traitor titan, indicating that he was still alive.
He sighed and looked down in sadness and disappointment. He could not believe how she prioritized her damn ego instead of training more, not that she was weak. Then in the corner of his eye, he saw cracks synchronized from the foot to the top of the wall. The female titan had climbed to escape, he was sure she was responsible for those cracks. She was the only one with the ability to do this damage with her fingers because of her crystallization. By the fact of the "staircase" reached the top, it meant she make it, and it was very likely she was still alive, but this still does not explain her disappearance.
Armor does not know much about the female titan's past, she was not a talkative after all. But Armor knows that her species, skinless titans, are isolated species that live in deserted and hot areas, for this reason they have the muscles exposed, as a way to adapt to the heat. And one of the characteristics of this species was their codes of honor. When a member failed, they preferred to die or axillary away. Armor and many other intelligent titans did not really believe that a pack would have these measures so extreme, mainly because the skinless titan are not seen more often, much less a pack, and no one knows if the cause of this is that they are almost in extinction, or if that species lives in complete isolation.
Armor wondered if that was the reason she seemed depressed at times; not knowing where her family was. Anyway, her disappearance must have something to have failed and dishonored herself, to the point of not having the courage to show her face to the pack, and mainly her alpha. Although Armor misses her, he is a bit glad she decided to leave, because if she returned and said she had failed, Beasty would not think twice, he would kill her without mercy because according to him, "elimination" of failures would pass the message to the rest of the pack that failing an order was not an option.
Pushing his thoughts aside and returning to the present moment, Armor looked back. Far off the horizon, the beasty titan and six others fifteen abnormal titans who followed him as his personal guard wherever he went, they were watching everything. Armor could swear to see the shark's smile from his superior, though not literally seeing, he just knew. Armor turned his attention to the human fortress, he could already see the humans using their strange equipment to fly, and a giant pain in the ass that he would have to kill.
Everything was going as planned. First Armor had to attract the attention of the attacker titan, which was not very difficult. Armor just had to sit on the top of the wall for the humans see him and panicked for the "hero" to come running to help them. Then Armor would have to kill him, the problem was these humans with cloaks and flying equipment, however they were not such a serious problem. Their blades would not cause any real damage to his armor, it would be like try to cut rock with paper, but they would try to distract or distance him from his target. After killing the traitor, the armored titan will roar high enough for the colossal titan who will be hidden in a giant forest, can hear. Signaling, so the colossal titan violates the wall. The humans will not have time to do anything, because they'll be too busy dealing with Armor until they realize the colossal titan on the other side of the wall, it will be too late. Then when the hole is made, Beasty's henchmen will enter. And the rest, everyone already knows what will happen.
The real concern of Armor was the target itself, the attacker titan. How he managed to overcome the female titan? She was a fierce and very experienced warrior, Armor has even heard rumors that she faced titans alphas over twenty meters. How a young titan with almost no experience defeated her? Maybe the attacker titan could have used the coordinate, but Armor soon disqualified that idea. The attacker titan was very young and silly, he would not know how to use such a skill, he probably does not even know what the coordinate is, much less know that he has it. But even though the attacker titan did not use the coordinate, he beat the female titan. The only possible theory for such an achievement was that the attacker titan learned to fight. Someone is growing up.
There was no turning back. Armor went down the length of the wall, sinking a hand on the concrete wall to control the fall, creating a trail where he left. Survey Corps members positioned themselves on the roofs of nearby houses, the blades revealed, ready to fight. The attacker titan positioned himself on one of the wide streets, watching along with his human friends the intruder titan landing with a loud bang, and knocking down smaller houses by the impact. Both titans stared at each other for a moment. The tension was heavy in the air, the soldiers held the blades tighter, until the attacker titan roared high in fury and ran toward the armored titan, claws and teeth ready to tear his existence apart. Armor growled back and ran toward him, thus beginning the battle.
The traitor is a fool to think he would overcame me in a melee hit. Armor thought.
Soldiers fire the hooks in the nearby buildings trying to catch up with Rogue, but the son of the bitch was fast. Suddenly the titan attacker stopped abruptly and swerved in another direction, surprising both the humans and the titan armored. He was moving away from both.
"Rogue, what are you doing?" Shouted a blond named Armin, who was along with the soldiers escorting Rogue.
Pretty much the blond already knew the answer. Rogue was smart, he knew that humans with flying equipment would have no chance against the armored intruder. Not having chances means dying. To save them, Rogue plans to attract the titan armored to a rural area, because humans would have no where to use the hooks, so they would not have to fight either. He would rather face the titan armored himself than risk the lives of the humans he considered a family, a family he never had with his old pack.
Armor followed him through the open field, aware that the traitor was doing this to protect the humans. The armored titan had nothing to complain about, after all the attacker titan was getting him out of dealing with these annoying insects, and so Armor could finalize his mission faster.
Kill him. Roar. Kill him. Roar. Kill him. Roar
Armor repeated these three words in his mind like a mantra as he followed the traitor to wherever he went.
Rogue ignored the shouts of Armin and the other soldiers warning him to back around the buildings. He will not risk the lives of his friends. Rogue preferred to die there, at the hands of the titan armored than to let this monster touch them. When Rogue decided he was already in a sufficient open field and a safe distance from the humans. Rogue stopped and turned to face the armored titan who had also stopped and was already in a fighting position.
<Are you enjoying being a pet, Rogue?> The armored titan mocked his name given by humans between grunts.
<The only who does what is said is you, pet!> Attacker titan replied, also in his native tongue.
In retaliation for the feeling of humiliation, the armored titan thrust toward its target. Both raised their fists and looked at each other's face, but Rogue was faster and his fist was the first to connect. The impact was strong enough to crack the armor of the enemy's temple, but the blow did not have a really serious effect, for Armor it was just a small scratch. And as a consequence, Rogue's hand was crushed completely, leaving only a smoky limb in the place where seconds before it was his hand. Rogue was thrown far back when Armor's fist hit him directly on the jaw. Teeth, drops of blood and piece of skin flew through the air, filthy Armor in the process.
Seconds before the attacker titan hits the ground, he can hear Armin screaming his name in despair. Rogue's back hurt when it hit the hard floor. Stones and dry branches have caused a lot of scratches, but these will regenerate quickly, but his hand will take a few minutes, he only have one fist to fight. The blood that had been splashed on Armor's hard plates was evaporating as he walked toward the traitor and watched him rise awkwardly with one hand.
Standing, Rogue roared angrily, but his roar was suffocated and dazzled by the disfigured jaw. He tried to punch him in the lower jaw, the only sensitive area that Armor did not have hard plates, but Armor grabbed his arm in time and twisted it at a strange angle. Rogue tried to hold back, but the physical strength of the titan armored was far superior. His arm bone clicking, threatening to break. In a moment of despair and adrenaline, Rogue moved his leg at a perfect 180 degree angle and kicked him in the lower jaw. Armor's head tilted back by the force of the blow. Stunned, he almost fell back.
Armor was not expecting this move. When was the attacker titan so flexible? When the fog in his vision dissipated, and he could again see the world around him, a strong movement knocked him down, and his back hit hard on the ground. The attacker titan had jumped on top of him, holding him to the ground. Armor raised his arms to pull him off, but Rogue was not going easy. Taking advantage of the fact that his jaw was almost completely regenerated, Rogue bit Armor's shoulder. His teeth sank into the space where the hard plates and flesh met, flooding Rogue's nose with the strong smell of boiling blood. Armor growled in retaliation, the traitor was trying to take away by force the plate. Armor has doubled his efforts to push him off, if the attacker titan can pull the plate off too, Armor will be vulnerable in this region for too long as the plates take too long to regenerate compared to the meat. Of course, humans will want to take advantage of it.
With a quick move, Armor moved his leg and pressed it into the traitor's abdomen, pushing him out, but consequently the piece of plaque on his shoulder came out. The attacker titan fell on his butt. Free now, Armor rose quickly and thought to himself. Yep, the young fool learned to fight, I give him the credit.
Running as fast as he can. Bertholdt headed toward the tumult of soldiers and the sounds of roaring. His legs hurt with the effort, the extent of the territory inside the Rose Wall was enormous, and crossing them on foot was very tiring, but Bertholdt did not have a horse nor the three-dimensional maneuver equipment available, so he had no alternative to not be using his own legs.
When Hannes spoke those words, Bertholdt first became incredulous, he wished Hannes was bluffing over alcohol, but then other close soldiers claimed it was the armored titan. Levi and Hanji hurried off to get the new "anti-titans weapons," Berthold had no idea what that was, but surely it would harm Armor. As Hanji followed Levi, she said over her shoulders to Bertholdt run to the safety. Bertholdt stood still, completely disbelieving with the situation around him, and also facing a dilemma in his head; follow the crowd and save his life, or risk and try to find Armor. So he decided to do what seemed more right; find Armor.
Tired and exhausted from the race, Berth rested his back against a wall to rest and catch his breath. Bertholdt recognized the familiar sounds of the hook and gases above his head, he looked up. The soldiers were impatient and nervous, because they could not come forward to help Rogue. And Bertholdt can imagine that the cause was because the titans were fighting in an open area.
Bertholdt moved among the alleys slyly in order not to attract the attention of the soldiers, because he feared that if any of them noticed, they would take him back, because Bertholdt did not possess the equipment of three-dimensional maneuvers, and also because Berthldt had just left the hospital. He was not ready to return to his soldier post yet. Some soldiers would not recognize him, but Bertholdt had spotted Armin, Jean, Connie, Sasha and among others. As soon as one of them saw Bertholdt, they would recognize him immediately, so Berth had to be cautious.
Moving carefully with each move to not step on dry leaves, in order aviating any noise that calls the attention of the soldiers. Bertholdt reached a cluster of trees, where he could hide from the sight of the other soldiers in the grove that had grown there, and also had a better view of the field before him. Bertholdt was distracted as he sneaking silently through the branches until he heard a conversation between his friends that caught his attention.
"How long until Hanji bring the thunder spears? This fight is more than Rogue can chew!" Shouted a voice that Bertholdt recognized belonged to Jean who was standing on the roof of a shed along with the other cadets.
"It should not take too long, meanwhile lets draw a strategic plan. Connie, Sasha I need you to .."Armin replied, but Bertholdt ignored this part of the conversation and preferred to move on.
As he entered the thicket, Bertholdt wondered about what Jean said; thunder spears. What was that? It was a type of weapon, maybe the improved anti-titans weapons Hanji was talking about? Anyway this thing was dangerous and he needs to find a way to get Armor out of here. Reaching the edge of the thicket, Bertholdt pushed the brush aside with his hands and shuddered as the earth beneath his feet shook violently, a few branches and leaves fell upon him. Bertholdt was able at keeping his mouth shut in order not to be noticed.
When the scare passed, Berth looked at the source of the quake. The bizarre-looking titan, or Rogue as they called it, was lying on top of the wreckage of a old mansion. Obviously he was thrown by someone, but the question was who is that someone. Bertholdt begged in his mind that this was not Armor, that the alcohol rose on Hannes's head. But then he was there. The armored titan breathed heavily, steam coming out of the cracks of his jaw and some wounds around his body, in some parts of his armor were cracked there and here but he still seemed very fit to fight as he walked toward his target.
Rogue rose from the wreck with difficulty. Several parts of his body were bruised and smoky. One of his legs and arms were at an strange angle, including his fingers were crooked and some crushed, Bertholdt deduced that the reason for this must be because he tried to punch Armor's hard plates. After nearly falling back to the ground a couple of times, Rogue forward, snarling at him. But before Rogue could do anything, Armor punched him directly in the stomach, threw Rogue across the field.
Luckily none of the soldiers or titans noticed Bertholdt hiding there, but Berth was still in doubt; how he would intervene in the fight without any of the soldiers noticing him and how he would get the attention of the armored titan and convince him to flee, in fact Bertholdt did not even know why Armor is here in the first place, but he knew he had to do something before the soldiers use the thunder spears. He moved between the bushes, trying to get as close as possible to Armor.
Rogue spat blood before he could get up again, he would not be able to beat this big bastard by force. Rogue stood still and silent, staring at his feet, Armor did not understand his actions, this was new, the titan attacker did not act passive in this way, or was he surrendering? It still weird, the titan attacker would not go down without a fight. The adrenaline and anger are in his DNA, since life was given to him, his purpose was to fight and always be angry. Maybe the blows on his head have moved with his neorones.
Armor clenched his fists. His mind said something was wrong, but Armor preferred to ignore this warning, he just wanted it to end quickly; have the approval of his alpha restored, and return to his old life. Without thinking twice Armor advanced, arm raised and clenched fist, ready to hit the titan attacker again, but this time the blow will not be focused on just to cause damage to weaken him, this time was to throw him on the ground and to give him the final blow, it means to grate his nape off. The problem was that Armor hardly knew that is what Rogue was waiting for.
When the armored fist was at a short distance to reach his face, Rogue moved his hips and turned aside. Grabbing the armored arm extended with one hand while he used the other to punch Armor elbow, hiting the ulnar nerve, then Rogue took advantage of the fact that the torso of the titan armored was more or less exposed, and gave him an elbow in his rib, blinding him of pain and before Armor could figure it out, Rogue turned the back and unbalanced Armor with the leg in his calf, and then knocked over his shoulder. Armor hit the back hard on the ground with a sore sigh. He had tasted his own poison, and he did not like it . Armor cursed in his mind, he had underestimated the attacker titan and now paid the price. Armor growled and got up quickly, he still had the change to return.
The attacker titan realized that he could not beat him at the base of the force, then he would overcome him through techniques, and luckily he had excellent human teachers like Levi and Mikasa to learn the art of fighting. Through constant exercises Rogue learned more about the art of patience and control .. although he was not very good at these matters, his spit on Levi proved it. But in that moment, he must should be.
Rogue moved away from his opponent as he knocked him down by his own weight, and recovered quickly for his next blow. He preferred not to fight with Armor on the ground, because in this situation Armor would have more advantage over him due to the difference in size. It was not long before Armor stood up and lunged at him like a raging bull in order to knock Rogue down with his own weight. Rogue undid his posture and dodged back, grabbing both Armor's arms and pulling himself, while Rogue used his leg to trip him, then pulled him down. Armor fell again, this time lay on his stomach.
Bertholdt watched everything in his new hiding place. He was incredulous to see the armored titan's butt kicked by a slimmer titan. Bertholdt remembered how tough and strong Armor was when facing more than one titan at the same time, so how could only one titan defeat him? Well, following a logical reasoning, non-intelligent titans act in an animalistic way, they do not follow a fight strategy line, they do not understand positions, nerves, and weaknesses, they just attack what they have to attack. But this titan is different, it has the ability to reason and flat moths just like a human do. He knows positions and fighting techniques, and apparently he seems to have learned from humans. This fight was not about strength, it was about technique. The winner will be the titan who is most intelligent.
Armor stood up more slowly and breathlessly, one of the disadvantages of being the biggest opponent is having to struggle harder to move, draining the energy quickly. He had the feeling that attacker titan would take this opportunity to use his speed to approach suddenly and give some heavier blows. And that's exactly what happened, the attacker titan suddenly moved toward him, the fist aimed at his face, but what Rogue does not know is that Armor also had an excellent teacher; the female titan. She did not exactly teach it by her own will, the armored titan annoyed her with some unpleasant joke, and she lost her temper. And this was repeated for years, Armor learned a few things. And one of those things was that Rogue was cheating on him. He was not going to punch him in the face, Armor could see his right leg flexed. The attacker titan planned to pretend he would punch him in the face so that Armor defends himself with his arms leaving his sides unprotected, and then Rogue would kick him right in the kidney. Predicting the attack, Armor was faster and kicked the shin off his right leg hard enough to break it. Rogue grunted in pain, and without one of his legs to balance he fell.
Armor swerved to the side in time for Rogue not to fall on top of him, but even though Rogue was incapacitated he still very resilience. The attacker titan rose as fast as he could with just one leg, but Armor pushed him forward, knocking Rogue on his back. The armored titan took advantage of his larger size to hold him to the floor with one leg on each side of his hip. The attacker titan tried to fight back in every way, punch him, scratch him, unleash his weight off him but all in vain. Armor clenched his fists and looked into his face, but Rogue moved both arms and positioned them in front of his face to defend himself. As no punch was causing effect because of Rogue's defense, the armored titan shifted his strangeness and grabbed his neck with both hands, choking him. Rogue grabbed his wrists to pull him out, but Armor kept a firm grip on him. It is not possible to kill a titan through suffocation but the lack of oxygen in the brain leaves a titan groggy, and Armor hoped that so the attacker titan could not orientate himself enough to defend himself, so the titan armored finally plucked his nape off.
Bertholdt watched everything horrified. He could not imagine a murderous version of Armor.
Bertholdt called his name, though so low it seemed a whisper. He seemed uncertain whether to shout his name or not, he feared that the soldiers there would hear him and that Armor would have been too busy to actually hear him.
The titan attacker roared enraged, trying his best to deflect the tightness in his throat. The titan armored was very focused on plucking his life away, and ignored every blow the titan beneath him gave off ... until his ears picked up a familiar sound. It was a low sound, maybe a word and Armor had the impression he'd heard it before, but the sound was too low to hear it properly. Suddenly an agonizing pain hit his shoulder. When Armor came back to reality, he realized that the titan beneath him removed one hand on his wrist, and sank his claws into the shoulder on which the plaque had been pulled out previously.
Armor would not risk removing one hand from his neck, he would hold out until the traitor had no more strength to attack, then removed his fingers on his shoulder. But then Armor noticed changes in the appearance on the attacker titan. His eyes began to glow blue instead of green, his teeth shaped like a triangle, and his veins looked like rivers of boiling lava. Rogue's critical situation was pushing him to extremes, the stress and anger set him adrenaline in his blood, releasing the berzerk mode.
Whatever the attacker titan had become, Armor figured it was not good. He wondered if this bizarre change was the reason the female titan gave up and ran away. Armor took advantage that he still had him in his grip and began to beat the back part of the traitor's head on the ground over and over again. Rogue roared inhuman as he tried to defend himself, but by his position he could not do much. Armor continued until Rogue was quiet and unmoving. The armored titan stepped back and watched the red puddle form beneath Rogue's head. He was not dead yet, the back of his neck was intact.
Nothing you did not deserve, traitor. Armor said in his thoughts.
Bertholdt swallowed hard when he saw Armor lift one of his legs, ready to step on and crush the fallen titan's neck. Was he going to kill him? Was it revenge for the mysterious female titan? Anyway he would have to stop him. Bertholdt does not know much about the bizarre-looking titan, but Survey Corps welcomed him as if he were part of the family, and Bertholdt is part of the Survey Corps, isn't he? Bertholdt emerged from his hiding place among the trees and ran into the open field, toward the armored titan.
"Armor don't do that!"
Bertholdt shouted, stopping suddenly when Armor stared at him. Not caring that other soldiers would hear him, but the strange thing was that there was no other human there. Bertholdt imagined they were following some plan of Armin.
It is not possible to see Armor's expression through his mask, but when armored titan stared at him, Bertholdt could swear that his gaze conveys surprise and astonishment. Both remained immoveable, unsure of what to do, but at least Berth was happy that Armor lowered his leg.
To say that Armor was surprised was a euphemism, he was completely disbelieving. Among all existing human fortresses, Bertholdt had to live right here! His mind can only be playing with him. At this point Armor faced a dilemma, if he kills the traitor and roars to the heavens to signal the colossal titan to violate the wall, he would pass the test and gain Beasty's trust again, but it would also cost the human's life. When the wall is violated and the abnormal titans invade, Bertholdt would be in danger, since he is the human closest to the wall.
Suddenly the sound of hook filled the silence. Both Armor and Bertholdt looked surprised at the sound but it was too late. Mikasa burst into the air with three-dimensional maneuvering equipmentm, and fired a strange mechanism coupled on her arm on the exposed armored titan shoulder. Bertholdt lay on the ground when a high explosion released. Armor roared in pain as he held the bleeding shoulder with one hand.
Because the area was a rural and open, there no conditions for the soldiers to use the maneuvering equipment, but during the fight between Armor and Rogue, they unknowingly moved to an area with some obstacles. There not enough obstacles like cities, just a few trees, smaller houses and a few sheds. It was not a suitable setting for soldiers to fight titans, but it was enough for the more experienced.
Bertholdt crawled to safety behind the tree. He had no idea what a weapon was that. He had never seen before. Probably just can be the new anti-titan weapon that Hanji had said before, the thunder spears. At least that would explain the word thunder.
Suddenly more sounds of shot hooks approached, even hidden behind the tree Bertholdt can calculate that they were two soldiers, since he was already familiar with the sounds of the maneuvering equipment. Sneakily, Bertholdt inclined his head to see the new intruders and realized that one of them was Jean, the other could not see, because his face was hidden in the hood. Both using the same mechanism coupled in their arm that Bertholdt deduced being the thunders spears.
Jean was coming up the side of the Armor quickly in a straight line while the hooded one came ahead, zigzagging a little. Bertholdt found it weird at first because this was not a proper plan to fight an intelligent titan, but then a click popped into his head, and Berth realized what they were doing. The hooded one made several moves to distract Armor and so did not realize that the second soldier came by his side. And as soon as Jean got close enough he would probably shoot the thunder spears in Armor's jaw in the part where he is not protected with the armor, so the jaw muscles would be destroyed, causing his lower jaw to hang and his mouth open. And then the hooded one would come into action and shoot into Armo's open mouth, if the aim was very well calculated, the explosion could reach the nerve at the back of his neck, killing Armor.
Bertholdt's heart beat rose, he could not imagine seeing Armor die. Okay, he's a titan, he's killed a lot of people, but .. it was not for his own will, he was forced to do it, and Bertholdt has no doubt that monkey-looking titan is forcing him to do that too. The true Armor is not a killer, Bertholdt knew this when they first met in the Black Forest; Armor preferred to go his way than do what the titans do. And Bertholdt also remembers when the titan alpha appeared, Armor agreed to be punished by the beasty in order to give him time to escape. Armor was a gentle soul... stubborn, liar, but gentle. Bertholdt just could not watch a friend about to die, but fortunately Armor also realized what their plan was.
Once Jean decided he was in perfect reach, he fired the spear with the explosives, then fired the hook into a distant obstacle in order not to be caught by the explosion either. Before the steel bar reached Armor's jaw, he raised his hand quickly to shield himself, intercepting the explosive object in time, causing his hand to explode instead of his jaw. Surprising all the humans there. The weapon was so powerful that it tear apart both the flesh and the armor, leaving Armo with a stump.
Before the hooded figure had time to react, Armor used his other hand to knock it down with the palm of his hand, as if he were scaring a mosquito. The hooded one was thrown so hard that the hood fell back, revealing its identity, Hanji. She whirled in the air cluttered with cables and hooks.
Bertholdt feared the worst when that steel bar coupled to her arm hit the ground, but when Hanji fell, there were only sounds of the body hitting the ground and her glasses breaking. no loud sound, which left Bertholdt wondering. If it did not explode, it was because the gun did not work that way ... or was it's fake? Then Bertholdt realized with a shock that their true intentions were capturing him alive.
Jean shot a red smoke in the air and shouted:
Armin, Sasha, Connie and other soldiers emerged from the thicket, revealing the chests known as the special target restraining weapon. High noises and the smell of gunpowder filled the air as the harpoons were fired.
That explains why the soldiers were gone at that moment, they were positioning the barrels while Jean and Hanji distracted the armored titan with the thunders spears. The plan was so certain that even Bertholdt did not notice.
The tips of the harpoons were sharp and hard enough to penetrate the Armo's hard plates and lodge in the flesh. The cables were thick and made of steel in order to prevent the target from escaping, the combination of these factors allowed to capture and immobilize even the strongest titans.
Armor was caught off guard by the sudden attack. He crossed his arms in front of his face to protect himself against the "cannons," or what he thought he was at first, but then severe pains ran through his body, and he realized with a shock that these were not cannon shots, these were some kind of sharp tip connected by cables, and that things were able to penetrate his armor.
Armor tried to move, to escape from the shots and to remove these arrowheads, but he found he could not; the cables would not give way. Legs, arms, hands all part of his body was immobilized by these human contraptions. The feeling of shame for not being in the domain of the situation hit him like a rock. And for the first time Armor felt panic for his life.
He was not the only one with terror reflecting in his eyes, Bertholdt was too. He had done everything to not expose Armor. He lied and invented things in Hanji's interview, lied to his friends who visited him at the hospital, and tried in all possible ways to act as if he had not hidden a great secret, but now he discovers that it was all in vain. That for some reason Armor had to invade the walls again, and now be captured. And now Bertholdt is forced to see what he has so much avoided to happen. Seeing his friend becomes a laboratory mouse.
"Retract the cables!" Hanji shouted as she was walked with difficulties to the others. The heavy impact made her limp.
Armor growled scared as he felt his back being pulled back. The barrels retracted the cables in order to pull the fifteen meters titan to fall with his back on the ground and remain immobilized. That way the chance of escape would be almost nil. He tried to fight against the cables, but because he was lying down and no longer standing, it made all his forms of locomotion difficult.
In his lying position, Armor can see that it was almost sunset. The maximum time that Beasty calculated for Armor can kill the traitor titan and with a roar to signal the colossal titan, it was until the sunset, after that, if Beasty did not see or hear no movement, he would deduce that the titan attacker won him, that is, killed him. Armor tried to open his mouth to roar in order to signal for the colossal titan to violate the wall and allow the abnormal titans waiting outside to enter, at least that would give him a chance, but unfortunately the harpoons were able to lodge in the muscle of his jaw. He was mute.
He had failed, Armor had to acknowledge this. And now he has no choice but to accept the fate in the hands of these humans.
Bertholdt stared for a few minutes at the scene before him. The soldiers preferred to stay away from the armored titan. Even though the titan was capitulated and immobilized, they feared that the titan somehow would free itself from the restrictions and attack them. The scientist was the only one with the courage to analyze it. Her enthusiasm was multiplied as she touched his hard plates, spreading her fingers to feel the texture. Her assistants tried to persuade her to move away for fear that she was entering into a paranoid state. But it did not look like she was leaving so soon.
Determined that he no longer wanted to see his friend in this state, Bertholdt turned away. He could not do anything to help him, at least not now. But Berth made a promise with himself that he would help him to escape. Armor had saved him from being killed by the alpha titan, Berth would make sure to return the favor.
As Bertholdt walked away, a pair of crystalline blue eyes followed his movements. At the top of a branch, Annie watched everything. Since when they announced that Bertholdt Fubar had returned weeks after the failed expedition, for some reason she did not had courage to see him again. Perhaps because she never overcame mourning and seeing him in flesh and blood, it would be like seeing a ghost of her subconscious, or because she never expressed her feelings.
When Bertholdt could no longer be seen, Annie returned her gaze to the captured titan and wondered. Why did Bertholdt run here? Why did he call him Armor? And most importantly: Why did they look at one another as if they were old friends?
Above of a hill at a safe distance from the walls that surrounded the human territory, the beasty titan watched the sun go down, the time limit of the titan armored ended. He did not hear the signal or the fighting sounds, just a peaceful silence. His henchman had failed, actually that was no surprise, the beasty titan already had the feeling that this would happen. The human weakened him somehow, he was sure of it.
Hurt to lose such a valuable warrior. The armored titan was one of the strongest and most useful members of the pack, but at least he died with honor, serving his master to the end, although the beasty had no concrete evidence that he had died. He just deduced , after all, following the logic, humans built these big concrete walls to defend themselves against the titans, it would not make sense to leave one alive inside, right? Especially one who violated the wall.
The seventeen meters titan turned the back to the humans's walls and walked away with its six fifteen meters abnormal titans following him. On the way he would find the colossal titan and warn him that the titan armored failed. But that would not stop him from trying again to violate the second wall. As a master strategist, he always has plan B.
What do you think he meant by plan B?
Chapter 16: Living a Hell
Life sucks sometimes.
Hey, what up guys?
This chapter is not exactly a chapter. In reality "Living a Hell" is a short to show what happened with Armor after he was captured.
In the next chapter, I also plan to do a short, but this one would show what happened to Bertholdt.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Armor sighed for the thousandth time at the craziness of the woman with her broken glasses. She took advantage of the fact that Armor was pinned to the ground and stood inches from his face despite the protests of her helpers. Hanji, as he had heard them calling her, filled him with silly questions and comments in order to try to get some response from the captured titan. But this technique did not seem to be working.
"Never sigh when someone is talking to you, that's uneducated!" Hanji disapproved him.
If the armored titan did not have the visor that hid his eyes, Hanji could see Armor roll his eyes.
Since the day the armored titan was captured, the Survey Corps and the Military Police Brigade surrounded the perimeter and set up an improvised encampment in nearby places to make sure the titan would not escape and to prevent curious eyes from entering. They know they're not dealing with any titan, This is a different kind, he's smart. He has the ability to draw ideas, formulate plans and solve problems, in other words the armored titan has reason.
Humans are not sure if this type of titan has the ability to reason just like a human, since this type of titan is completely new to them. Since the construction of the walls, humans only dealt with two types of titans; normal and the abnormal. But now with the appearance of these new types of titans, they are worried about what it means for remain humans, and that's where the scientists come in.
Some farmers complained that the captured titan was in their land and that way they could not work because the animals were scared and that area would be used for plantation. The superiors who were in charge of keeping the titan in control tried to negotiate peacefully, but this only proved a huge headache. If the armored titan was not fifteen meters tall and weighs tons due to his massive physique and hard plates, maybe he could locomove him and put Armor in somewhere safer, just like they did with Sawney and Beane.
Some superiors of the Military Police Brigade suggested that Rogue could help with this, but soon Survey Corps members protested. This titan came here to kill Rogue for some reason, so they preferred to keep them away from each other, mainly because meeting these two again would not be a good idea. As Rogue regenerated himself from the blow to the head, Mikasa and Armin managed to convince him after almost an hour of arguing that he should stay inside the Wall Sign for a while, until they figured out what to do with the titan armored.
The problem was that none of the branches reached an agreement. The Military Police Brigade want to take advantage of the fact that they finally have control over the armored titan to kill him once and for all, and some more fanatics even want to kill Rogue because he disobeyed the attack planning and preferred to fight alone. They believe that this behavior is a sample of the animal nature of an abnormal titan, and as soon as the military sectors lower their guard, Rogue will attack them. The Survey Corps has opposed all arguments, they believe that killing everything to appear an enemy is an empty or even infatile tactic, and that the best way to fight an enemy is to know him. But Armor is not that talkative.
"Don’t be shy, if Rogue can talk, you can too! Can you feel it through this? "Hanji asked, rubbing his hands on the hard plate on his nose.
Because Armor can not open his mouth because of the harpoons, all he could do was groan in his throat as he tried to shake his head frantically to the scientist removed her hands. Suddenly one of the harpoon cables in the titan's jaw clicked, threatening to break through the heaving movements. The assistants were quick to grab Hanji's arm and pull her away for fear Armor was trying to open his jaw to eat her. They had seen this scene many times before with the other captured titans, and they knew Hanji's fascination was greater than her sense of danger, unfortunately for them, because it only gave them more work.
"Damn it! The titan is breaking free! Call Erwin!" One of her assistants screamed, terrified by the click.
"No No No ... wait! Maybe Waffles is trying to say something!" Shouted Hanji
Nile Dok, the Commander of the Military Police Brigade, was sitting on a trunk with his arms crossed watching the whole scene. His gun was leaning against his side only for precaution, though it would not really be useful against a titan, but he was not an fool, he knew it, but it was still better than needing it and not having it. He hoped to witness something significant and not this circus.
Nile got up and walked to them, still with folded arms and asked:
"The name I gave to him. I think he's trying to tell us to remove the harpoons in his jaw so he can talk to us!" Said Hanji, even through the broken lenses it was possible to see the sparkle in her eyes of emotion at her deduction.
Niles hold an intense desire to sigh before speaking:
"Obviously he's not trying to communicate with us, and it seems he does not have the ability to understand us either." He stared at her assistant. "And he's not freeing himself!"
The assistants seemed to calm down before the affirmation, but still wanted to stay away from the armored beast, but it seemed a difficult mission since his boss was teaching to stay close, and poking the beast for answers.
"Actually ... he may not be responding but he's certainly listening." Hanji said, staring into the golden eyes of the beast who growled angrily in response.
"What do you mean?" Commander asked, still confused at her words.
"Sawney and Beane were always active close to humans. They drooling and made noises with anyone they saw, no matter who they were or how far they were .. just because they were human. But Waffles is different. There are a lot of humans around here and so far he has not drooled a drop, even if we are so close to his mouth. And also if you repair, when I tried to talk to him, Waffles never answered back, but when I mocking, he grunted in retaliation. So how can Waffles differentiate a conversation from a mockery if he does not understand us?" Hanji explained, looking at the Commander now.
Nile thought for a while. The explanation made sense. The armored titan or Waffles, as she called him, was immobilized a long time ago and so far he has not shown any sign that ordinary titans usually do. Even if he was tied too tight, Waffles could be drooling or making noises in his throat, but this is not the case. The armored titan still manages to move a little, for example shake the head for Hanji to let go his nose.
At the police station, Nile has seen some scenes like this. The bandits and drug dealers seized hardly give any information about the drug quarters, and when they do, it was false information. Even with the benefits such as decreased sentence more dignified food and money. But the loyalty to the leaders of the quarters was greater than any benefits offered.
The Commander realized what the titan before him was doing. He's some kind of footman, maybe the colossal titan is too, and probably Rogue was once. He will refuse to give any information to the humans, who he probably considers as an enemy, even if he has to pretend he is not understanding a word, or maybe he was not pretending, just did not want to talk to a human at all.
"I'm going back to my tent, let me know if you can get anything" Said Nile, taking his gun and walking away to his tent set up nearby.
"Have a good night Commander! So ... let's start over with the questions. Do you have eyebrows?"
And for the thousandth and one time Waffles / Armor / Armored titan sighed.
The next updates will unfortunately be slow due to my commitments to college. But I promise to not abandon the fanfic
Chapter 17: Cut the Shit
To save his friend from the hands of the authorities is a difficult task, some would say impossible, but Bertholdt will discover he is not alone.
As promised, I bring a Bertholdt's short.
I do not know how is the interaction between the Military Police Brigade with the Surveys Corps when the wall is violated, so I'm sorry if I made any mistakes. I also apologize if there is any mistake in the writing. Please let me know so I can fix it.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"How about hunting some boars tomorrow?"
“Sure! Why not?”
Bertholdt stepped out of his hiding place in the alleyway as the two sloppy guards turned the corner, and sneaked into nearby buildings. Even in the cold night air, his clothes were clinging cuz the sweat. He felt like a criminal doing this, and his mind told him to stop and leave, but then he remembered why he was doing it, and somehow it gave him the courage to go on.
His goal was simple; enter the arsenal of the Survey Corps without anyone noticing, get the equipment of three-dimensional maneuvers and some items that may help to free Armor. But Bertholdt is not sure about the latest topic. What could cut the harpoon's steel cables? The blades maybe? Or use these new equipment: Thunder Spears. These new explosive devices would be great, but they make a lot of noise, and in a matter of seconds the soldiers would already surround them. So Bertholdt had to disqualify the latter.
The quarters are known to have high vigilance. Soldiers walking back and forth with guns in their hand. But this particular night the guard was not as active as it should be for several reasons.
The main reason was because the soldiers had to divide into two groups. The first would close a perimeter around the captured titan in order to try to keep the civilians away, although most people living in those areas took refuge for Sina Wall. And also to try to keep the titan under control. The second group would be taking care of the refugees, but due to the lack of preparation and typical laziness of the members of the Military Police Brigade, they did not handle the situation well.
With the soldiers busy, the quarters were "vulnerable." Even the soldiers who were assigned to keep guard in the quarters were not actually doing their job, in fact they took advantage of having no one to watch over them and distracted themselves with other things. As for example the two guards who would have to take care of the entrance of the building, they were sitting in a sidewalk sharing a drink between them.
"Hey, sweetheart! Are you a light swith? Because you turn me on!” One of them screamed at a girl of probably 20 years. From his voice could tell that he was drunk.
"You're like wine" the girl said as she continued walking, not looking at them.
“Why? The older, the better?” Said the drunk guard. Bragging about believing he fished the girl.
"No. Because you look better with a stopper in your mouth" The girl replied as she rolled her eyes before turning the corner.
His partner laughed loudly with the disappointed face of his drunken friend. He was speechless because he was not expecting an intelligent comeback. Nothing he did not deserve to hear.
Thanks to the loud laughter and the senses blurred by alcohol, the guards did not notice Bertholdt sneaking behind them, and entering the half-open door. The brunet sighed with relief as he entered the building. The easy part was complete, and now came the hard part. Sneaking around the streets was no problem; the area was too large to be guarded, few guards were in place, and thanks to the darkness of the night gave him enough camouflage to move from one point to the other. But now inside the building, things were different. Little space, less hiding places, lots of light, and any noise would attract attention.
A drop of sweat slid down Bertholdt's forehead because of his nervousness. He had discovered that the oak floor and rubber outsole was not a silent combination. Suddenly a door opens, a sixty-year-old man holding a clipboard walks into the room. Frightened, Bertholdt runs to the next room and hides behind a furniture. Alarmed, the old man turns his head toward the sound.
"Who is there !?" the old man shouted toward the room
Bertholdt could already feel his shirt getting wet. He could not believe he was so close to getting caught, soon enough that he was so close to getting what he needed.
“You fucking guys..” The old man whispered, leaving for Bertholdt's pleasure.
Bertholdt could still hear the old snort and curse the "young guards." Everything indicates that this old man has years of experience with the duties and responsibilities in his branch. And to see the indicipline and irresponsibility of these new cadets was a deep disappointment.
Getting around between the rooms and the corridors without being noticed was not really a difficult task. Thanks to the help Sasha asked him to steal food from the stockpile of the military police brigade, Bertholdt memorized every corner and corridor of that building, and he knew where and for how long he had to hide.
"When the second sun arrivess.. to realign the orbits of the planetss.. knocking down with astonishment what the astronomers would say was aanotherr coomeet..”
A guard hummed softly as he crossed the corridor, not paying much attention to his return. Bertholdt seized the moment to cross the corridor and reach the arsenal door. When he got there, the first thing he hoped to see was the rows of blades lined up, the gas tanks gathered in a specific corner, and the three-dimensional maneuvering equipment hanging on the wall brackets, but in no way had he imagined the likelihood of seeing the girl who so much moves with his heart in the middle of the room
“A-Anni-nie!” Paralyzed, Bertholdt stuttered her name.
The blonde knew she would find him here. She uncrossed her arms and moved toward him. Absent face of any expression. But Bertholdt can recognize the brightness by indicating “I missed you" in his crystalline blue orbs. He felt he should say something.
"Annie. Look. I-I'm sor-!"Before he can finish the sentence, the blonde kicked him in the knee, causing him to kneel down and covered with both hands the spot hit.
“Hey! What was that fo-!” And before he could finish it again. She took advantage that they were now at about the same level and kissed him.
Bertholdt was completely puzzled and confused at that moment as she held his face in her hands and saddled their lips together. It was not a deep, burning kiss, it was actually a touch, but it was like a spark in a dry bush.
Then he understood the message. She wanted to convey all the pain and anguish she had endured while he "had a vacation" on the other side of the wall. As if it were a telepathic connection, Bertholdt can feel her sadness at the thought that he had died, eaten by a titan, and have to wake up every day knowing that he would never return. But for God's sake she could have transmitted it through words and not kicks!
Annie broke the kiss and stared at the floor. Her hands still on his face.
"I thought you were dead .." She whispered softly.
"I know. Many times I thought I would die too" He said.
Slowly, she took her hands away and faced him again. This time her expression was softer, slightly of course.
“And many times Armor saved your life" She said suddenly. Picking up Bertholdt by surprise. That was not a question. It was a direct statement, just as a respectable member of the Military Police Brigade would do.
“W-wh-ha... b-b-but.. h-how did you..?!” Bertholdt stammered terribly. His face visibly red. Many thoughts crossed his mind How did she find out? Did she see me when armored titan was captured? Did she hear me? Cluttering his mind and leaving him unable to speak decentements.
"You did not even deny" She said, a playful little smile forming on her lip.
"Stop investigating me!" Retorted Bertholdt, as soon as he realized that Annie was messing with his shyness. Although inside he was happy that he returned with occasional jokes with his friend .. although after the kiss he is not sure if he would call her "friend".
"Look .. I .. err ... I do not know how to tell you this, but .. a lot of things happened to me, maybe you'd think I'm crazy to say things like that, but Armor, I mean the armored titan is not the real enem-!"
"Cut the shit and let's save your friend"
"Quando o segundo sol chegar
Para realinhar as órbitas dos planetas
Derrubando com assombro exemplar
O que os astrônomos diriam se tratar
De um outro cometa"
"When the second sun arrives
to realign the orbits of the planets
knocking down with astonishment
what the astronomers would say
was another comet”
This part of the music belongs to Segundo Sol (Second Sun), by Cássia Eller.
Chapter 18: My hero.. I mean my anti heroine
Yep, I'm not dead
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Running as fast as her weary limbs allowed, the jaw titan crossed long fields with several night titans in pursuit, who wanted nothing more than to tear her apart and end her existence, as the titan alpha had commanded. And they were not far behind.
She was a traitor and she knew it. She was against all the rules that her alpha (or as she referred to as monkey butt) had imposed on the pack She fled the territory, killed her fellow titans, all to save a human; the living being that for some reason beast titan has so much hatred for.
Her limbs were aching with the effort and her breathing was uneven. Even in the dark of night it was still possible to see the steam emerging over her skin. Her brain said she had to stop, but her survival instinct was stubborn. However she had in mind that she could collapse at any moment because of the lack of energy. Even with the sunlight offered by the reflection of the full moon, it was not enough.
She dared to peek over her shoulder, and swallowed hard when she realized that these ugly bastards were now much nearer. Arms outstretched and gaping mouth, barely waiting to devour her like a mere human. She considered at that moment to use the little energy in which she still has left to fight against her titan brothers, instead of continuing to run until her battery ran out, at least she would have a chance. Not! Stupid idea. She thought. She would be at a great disadvantage, because she was tired and weaker in comparison to them, and also because they were larger and in higher numbers,, and especially because night titans are known to be more volatile than normal and abnormal titans.
Soon her panic gave way to relief when she realized that ahead there were giant trees on which she could use to protect herself against her brothers.
She was quick to hop on the trunk and climb with her claws to the nearest branch, but when it was too short for her to grab the branch, a hand wrapped around her ankle, pulling her down. The jaw titan hissed and with her other foot she kicked the attacker's face, using the claws of her foot to pierce one of the nocturnal titan's eyes, causing him to scream in agony and free her.
Now that she was more or less safe on her perch. The jaw titan hissed and threatened to claw at them with anyone who tried to grab her. Even through the provocations the night titans were not intimidated and refused to back down.
Some tried to climb the tree after her while the others stood guard, surrounding the tree. Luckily these titans had no claws and nothing could help them climb, and just fall on the others at every attempt.
The jaw titan held out her hand, clawing at the show, threatening to tear the face of a tem meters night titan that was now menacingly close. Even aware that he could take a blow to his face, the titan night, did not give up. The alpha titan's order prevails over its self-defense. Luckily she can spare her claws this time, as another night titan pulled the tem meters titan down, and they started to fight each other.
The jaw titan sighed in displeasure. How could an alpha titan include in the pack dense titans like these?
Despite being literally surrounded by idiots, they were still a real threat to her. And if she did not find a way to get rid of them fast, she feared things would get worse. She straighten herself on the branch, ready to jump off to the back of the titan that had the most unprotected neck. Suddenly a shrill scream rumbled across the field, causing all the titans to stare at the source of the sound. The jaw titan gasped in surprise, among all the titans, this one she never imagined seeing again.
The earth trembled hard with the rapid approach of this new titan. As the intruder titan revealed itself in the dark of night, it was possible to distinguish the white and red colors of the exposed muscles, and the blond and wild hair of the fourteen meters titan. The night titans were confused about what the next action should be, after all they were only ordered to eliminate jaw titan, and the female titan was still part of the pack, right? They hardly knew they were wrong.
The jaw titan watched the female titan annihilate them with the fighting moves that she had no idea where she had learned. It was like watching a dance, every move of her was very precise and thought, a deadly dance she could call it.
A fifteen meters nocturnal titan with a much larger physique than her, thrust in her direction. Quickly she swerved to the side and positioned her foot so that the greater titan tripped, and before the larger titan hit the ground, she crystallized her fingers and cut the nape of the attacker in a single motion, as if it were a knife. Another smaller titan, maybe six or seven meters tried to attack her from behind, but the female titan was quick to turn around and punch it straight in the temple, leaving it stunned.
Her head rolled away as the female titan scanned the scene in front of her. What used to be several nocturnal titans surrounding jaw titan as if it were dogs circling a cat on the tree, was now just a large red puddle with several smoky bodies scattered.
< My hero > The jaw titan said playfully, in response the female titan just rolled her eyes and bent down to wipe the blood in her palm on the grass.
< I mean, anti heroine > This time she was able to wring a small smile from the usually unemotional face of the female titan.
< What happened to your mission? Everyone thinks you're dead. > Said the jaw titan, realizing she would have to start the conversation.
< I'd rather it stays that way > Said the female titan, now staring at her.
The jaw titan inclined her head, not understanding what she meant by that. < What really happened there? You're not the type to run, even when you know you're going to lose. > said to jaw titan, hoping for a more plausible answer.
< The mission was going as planned, but ..> She paused, looked away and folded her arms < When the titan rogue was down and I was about to bite off his nale. I smelled something. >
< Well, inside a human fortress is full of smells. This is not enough reason for you to run away > Said the jaw titan as she came down from the tree.
< I smelled grassy and brown earth > The titan female said. These scents were definitely not found within a human fortress. But in deserted and isolated areas.
Now on the floor, the jaw titan put the puzzle together and now she understood. < You want to find your old pack > That was not a question. The long silence of the female titan was enough to confirm.
< But just because he smells like your old pack does not mean he may have meets your family > Said jaw titan, skeptical.
< Who knows? It's just a guess > Said the female titan, still looking away.
< You know that abandoning a mission makes you a traitor. Do not you know? > Asked jaw titan.
The female titan was staring at her now, still with her arms crossed < That's why I'd rather it stays that way > Repeated the female titan.
Then the female titan looked toward the bodies of the night titans, which gradually dissolve, and then back to the jaw titan with a raised eyebrow. < I suppose you're a traitor too. Does it have to do with the human? > She asked curiously.
The jaw titan sighed before answering < It was all because of this human .. I wonder how the armorred titan is, did the alpha ordered to kill him too? > The jaw titan did not expect an answer, but then she noticed something in the female titan's gaze, it seemed a slight fear.
< What? Do you know something I do not know? Please tell me! > Exclaimed the jaw titan. Although she thinks that the titan armored is an asshole sometimes, he's the closest thing to a family she had.
< I saw the titan armored enter into the human fortress, where the rogue titan meets. He did not leave. > Said female titan.
< He is.. dead? Did you see anything else? > Asked jaw titan. The concern was evident in her voice.
< I could not take the risk. The alpha titan was there, watching > Said female titan.
The jaw titan felt a wave of anger. How can an alpha do this? Send one of yours to a hostile territory just to ... watch. Was that for fun? Was he pleased to watch the death of a warrior? The jaw titan cursed the armored titan mentally. Why was armored titan so faithful to such an negligible being? She had not noticed that she had sank her claws into the ground and created cracks until the female titan caught her attention.
< The night titans have withdrawn from the humans’s walls, that is, if you intend to go there > The female titan said, now looking up the hill. The first rays of sun began to appear < I intend to cross the forest giants before the other titans begin to awaken, I must begin to move now >
< Well .. I suppose this is goodbye > Said jaw titan. She really did not want to say goodbye. She can hardly believe the idea she lost her armored friend and now she too.
The female titan did not say anything, she was not the kind to bond. She began to walk forward until the jaw titan caught her attention.
< Hey! > She called. The female titan turned
< Good luck > Said jaw titan.
< You too >
Curiosity: I had no intention of writing this chapter, but as I was writing the drafts for the next chapters, I realized that was missing an emphasis of the real reason that the female titan "fled" the fight against the attacker titan, although in the chapter fifteen (Spiral) I left some clues that implied that the female titan was missing her old pack, which was probably much more than her pack, was her family. I feel like I could not pass this information very well to you, my readers. So I hope this short chapter helps you understand better the actions of this badass character which in my opinion is so interesting.
When I write a chapter that involves the female titan, I like to describe it as being secretive and mysterious, in order to give it a "lone wolf" vibe, just as the character Annie is described. That is why I avoid giving away much information about her point of view, in order to make my readers curious and have your own thoughts.
Chapter 19: Rescue
Things are not going well.
"Be careful George, this road is full of holes" Warned a middle-aged citizen to his companion.
Night riding was one thing, riding in almost total darkness on a treacherous road was completely different. Due to previous events involving the armored titan and mass evacuation, there was hardly anyone left to light the lamps in the streets, consequently leaving a world of darkness for the unlucky ones left behind. The faint light emitted by the moon and the twinkling light of a small lamp in the hands of one of the men was their only tool to orient themselves in this blackness. The horses breathed panting, tired of carrying heavy baggage from one place to another, and once stumbling in some hole, making travel even more difficult.
Realizing that his workmate was very quiet, the middle-aged man looked back and tried his best not to laugh at George's grumpy face, well .. he tried.
"What Piper!?" exclaimed the man known as George. His expression and tone of voice was clear that he was indignant.
Piper took a deep breath to regain the posture. "I'm sorry, it's just ... even in the dark, it's still possible to see your frown, Jorge ... Ha Ha h-!" He replied, putting a hand on his mouth in order to prevent another wave of laugh.
George rolled his eyes before speak. "You know what's funny? I work hard all day like a donkey pulling cart, just wanting the end of the day to finally be able to sleep in peace a for a little time. So when I wake up, I find out that a titan son of a bitch has invaded the wall and there has been a mass evacuation. But that idiot has stayed behind, and now I have to work double in these worst conditions along with another idiot who unfortunately also stayed behind!" The angry man snapped.
The reaction of his friend was already expected for George. More laughter.
“Ha Ha Ha I think you're so accustomed to wearing that frown that petrified in your face! Ha Ha” Mocked Piper.
"Did you learn this from your own experience?" George answered, allowing himself to enjoy despite everything.
Suddenly loud footsteps and rustling of leaves caught the pair in surprise, frightened the horses, who whinnied with fright. George and Piper kept their tight grip on the reins in order to prevent the horses from cramping and so maintain control.
"Easy boy!" Said Piper, patting the long neck of the horse, now quieter.
George quickly dismounted from his horse and unsheathed a machete from his waist "Who is there?!" He shouted into the darkness ahead. "Answer your coward!" George shouted after just receiving the silence in response.
"It must have been just some animal" Piper commented as he adjusted his straw hat. George was skeptical of that. The presence of animals such as foxes, agouti and wild boars in these areas was normal, but these animals were not active at night. George reluctantly put his machete in his pocket. His eyes searched one last time just to make sure everything was okay before he turned.
“Right.. let's get back to work" George said, until suddenly he noticed a hooded figure behind his friend "Piper! "he warned, but too late.
Before Piper noticed what was happening, the hooded figure pulled him off the horse and shoved his head against a tree, rendering him unconscious. George gritted his teeth and picked up his machete again, but before he could thrust against the mysterious figure, someone knocked him out from behind.
Annie pulled her hood back before holding the reins of both horses and reassuring them, while Bertholdt dragged the body of the man known as Piper, and the one he had just knocked out of the way, in case someone passed there.
"Both the Survey Corps and the Military Police Brigade set up a heavily armed perimeter around the area that the armored titan is, and although some soldiers are helping with evacuation and others taking a beauty sleep right now. They still keep an active watch, so we'll have to be sneaky."Annie explained as she removed the heavy luggage off the back of the horses, to their relief.
Annie held the horsehair and saddle to try to climb and mount it, and groan at the difficulty. One of the problems of being soft. Until then she felt someone lift her around the waist and help mount the horse. Bertholdt examined her to see if everything is all right, but Annie turned her face quickly to hide her redness. Never show your weaknesses.
"Any idea how to get through them?" Asked Bertholdt, as soon as he mounted the horse.
"By the south. There is a very large pine forest to be guarded, even if there have some soldiers patrolling that area, they will not be looking up. That's where we use three-dimensional maneuvering equipment" She explained, before hitting the reins. The horse began a slow gallop, then began to gain speed on the road ahead, with Bertholdt just behind.
Crossing the perimeter was not as difficult as Bertholdt thought. The area was too large to be patrolled by a limited set of soldiers just as Annie had said, and after all that uproar with the armored titan invasion and mass evacuation of the desperate residents residing in the territory of the Wall Rose, the soldiers were too exhausted physically and psychically to last through the night. While Bertholdt and Annie were looking for a place to leave the horses without suspicion, the couple caught at least four members of the Military Police Brigade sleeping in service in a corner hidden from the eyes of their superiors.
Noises of dried leaves being trampled echoed through the pine forest. A soldier carrying his rifle over his shoulder and a small lamp in the other hand that reflected his countenance of the Military Police Brigade, patrolled that area. A horse's neighing caught his attention. The soldier was surprised and a bit suspicious of why there were two horses grazing there, he did not remember seeing them when patrolling that area earlier. But this was a rural area, so it would be easy to deduce that it was common to see animals here, but .. with saddle and reins? The soldier inclined his head, wondering. Perhaps the farmers were desperate because of the armored titan invasion and abandoned the animals? It would be a good theory if it were not for the fact that riding on a horse would arrive faster at the gates of Sina than with two legs.
Preferring to hear his intuition, the soldier dropped the lamp on the floor and reached the flare gun. He was about to shoot when Annie appeared behind him and put a hand over his mouth, choking his cry of surprise as her other hand pressed a pressure point on his shoulder, making him unconscious in less than a second.
"Clean" Annie said, almost whispering, in case there was any other soldier nearby.
Bertholdt came out of his hiding place from the high bushes, carrying the two suits of three-dimensional maneuver equipment. They had to dress as fast and as quietly as possible, helping each other to properly adjust their belt from time to time. Before another patrolman came and saw them.
Bertholdt was uncertain about using the equipment. He had not used it in a long time, and because of what happened to his leg, he believed he would need some time to train so he could get used to the equipment again, but Armor did not have that time. Both religious organizations and military branches are on a tug of war about what to do with the titan armored. Bertholdt knew he would have to act before any decision was made.
A drop of sweat slid down Bertholdt's forehead from the nervousness as he settled the last belt of the three-dimensional maneuvering outfit. He never in his life imagined being in a situation like this; to free one of the most fearsome titans of the domains of one of the most well-trained military branches. He felt like he was a new member of the criminal world, planning a coup in one of the most important banks. The feeling was frightening. What he was doing was crazy, of course no other member of the Survey Corps would agree to do this. Maybe without a little extra push from Annie he could not have done it. He was never very good at strategies, usually he was always very nervous and breathless in situations that required a good plan and courage.
Annie noticed the change in Bertholdt and approached to see what was wrong, although she already had a clue.
"What's wrong?" She asked, wanting him to open up.
He looked at her but then turned away, embarrassed. "It's just ... if we did not make." It was the most words he could get together to describe the whirlwind in his mind.
Annie understood. Her boyfri... I mean Bertholdt, was worried about the consequences they would have to face if they failed. Both could be arrested for crime against the kingdom and crime against homeland security, or worse being killed by the gallows. And this titan, of which Annie has no idea how Bertholdt befriended with, would continue to be a prisoner and subjected to various tests with the scientists until he found a way to escape on his own.
"Are you worried about.. the armored titan, aren’t yoy?” Asked Annie. She was almost going to say 'your friend', but it was strange to refer in this way, she wanted to understand that story first of all.
"And with you" Bertholdt blurted out. The pair of crystalline eyes stared at him for a while, not knowing what to answer. She was never .. sentimental.
Bertholdt noticed the confusion in Annie's gaze, and decided to try to explain "I mean .. it's the first time we're doing this and .. and the risks are big. And I'm really worried about with yo-!"
“Bertholdt!” Annie shouted, interrupting him. But then the panic set in as soon as she realized she screamed loudly.
They both sat quietly looking around, then relaxed as they felt no movement. Annie said, this time whispering "Look, first step; take those negative thoughts out of your head. Second step; remember you were ranked third in 104 Training Corps and lastly .. you were the first human to go so far beyond these walls. You have great potential, you just need to work this out"
Bertholdt took time to process all this. It was good to know that someone believed in his potential. "You talk so confidently, it even looks like it was you who killed Beane and Sawney" Bertholdt said playfully as he crouched to straighten the buckles on his leg.
"Yes. It seems a lot with me. Even I would confuse myself" Annie said, a slight tone of sarcasm in her voice. At first Bertholdt did not understand what she meant by that, but then he noticed the hidden message. He stopped what he was doing and faced her again.
"Wait! Did you do it ?! "exclaimed Bertholdt, though he was careful enough not to raise his voice so much.
"Will you hand me over to the authorities?" Annie asked with a naughty smile.
"We both know I'm not in the place to do such a thing," Bertholdt replied, also letting out a playful smile.
Play time over. Annie made the first move, fired the hook into a trunk of a specific pine tree and landed on a branch, waiting for Bertholdt. He swallowed and followed Annie. He discovered that he still had a knack with three-dimensional equipment. They entered the pine forest, being careful to move as close as possible to the top of the trees, in order to avoid being seen. During the crossing Bertholdt got a little rough with the hooks, Annie had to at least twice repair the knot he caused with the cables and gains, but otherwise, he was doing well, and relearning to use the equipment correctly in a little time.
That area was not as unprotected as Annie thought. There were many armed soldiers patrolling that region. The couple had to double their attention in order not to get caught, and also had to make an extra effort to hurry, because with the sun rising, the darkness would soon give them enough camouflage to cross the perimeter and reach the prisoner titan.
Bertholdt followed Annie through the pine trees until she landed on a branch and signaled with a hand to stop. Berth landed on a branch next to her and looked around to see what was wrong. At first Bertholdt did not see any guard or anything that would meant a danger, but then his ears picked up strange sounds. At first it seemed like animal sounds. A choking animal. But when he focused more on the sounds he realized that it was .. moaning? Bertholdt looked at Annie. A clear doubt on the face. His doubt multiplied when he saw Annie trying to hold her laughter with her hand in the mouth. He tilted his head, and she pointed in one direction on the pine floor. Bertholdt's cheeks turned red with the scene he saw. With so many available moments, have these soldiers chosen to make love here and now? Bertholdt had to cover his eyes with his hands. Caught Sasha and Connie doing.. that, was much.
Now Annie was laughing at Bertholdt's reaction. The brunet just snorted and passed her, not caring to be careful of the noises, anyway the two little pigeons down there would be too busy to notice anything.
Bertholdt thanked God that he could already see the end of the pine forest, but he was worried about the illumination that the sunrise provided. It was probably three or four in the morning, and it would not be long before the rest of the soldiers woke up.
The couple landed on the roof of a two-story house and analyzed the environment. Further down there were fallen trees and wreckage from some houses. Bertholdt recognized this place, it was in this field that the battle between the two titans of fifteen meters happened. They just had to go a little further to get to the place where the titan was kept.
"There" Annie pointed “It's where Commander Erwin ordered to set up the camp"
Bertholdt followed with his eyes where Annie was pointing. He saw several tents and several stacked boxes and other things he could not identify. It was exactly in the direction Armor was. They would have to somehow cross them. Annie would not have trouble to be seeing, but they'd be surprised if they saw Bertholdt.
"We're going to have to go on foot, the noise of the hook can wake them up" Bertholdt said, before firing the hook at a nearby house and landing on the floor, followed by Annie.
Armor groaned in pain as he tried to free one of his arms. Throughout the night the titan was shaken to try to make the restraints give way, but it was a painful task. With each movement he made, the tips of the harpoons shifted and cut through his flesh, causing more pain, and as if it could not worsen, the flesh around it was repeatedly regenerating, causing the same area to be cut again and again. A massive titan accustomed to several battle wounds would easily overcome a simple cut, but when you have thousands of sharp needles on your body, and any movement could make them cut at the same time, that's another story.
The only harpoons that the armored titan managed to get rid of were those that were located in the knee down, since the shots had more focus in his torso and arm. However releasing only his feet was not enough to escape, if at least he could release one of his arms a bit, he could remove those sharp things one by one. Armor shifted again, he would have growled loudly because of the immense pain that ran down his spine if his jaw was not stuck, but at least he was pleased to feel some harpoons moving a few inches out.
Suddenly he heard sounds of rubber outsole crushing leaves. Another soldier who came to check him. Armor tilted his head as tightly as he could, and grunted menacingly at the unwelcome man. The human in front of him stopped in front of the warning, the fear and nervousness obvious in his face. Remembering that he should honor his countenance, the soldier returned to walk toward the titan to check the restraints. His footsteps were slow and cautious, and his fingers brushed the rifle.
"You do not scare me you giant piece of shi-Ah!”
The soldier screamed and fell back as Armor narrowed his eyes, making the luster brighter, and grunted louder in the back of his throat. The human did not think twice, he got up and ran away, forgetting his rifle back. Armor was sure to see a stain on his pants between his legs.
Armor snorted, causing a layer of steam to escape through the cracks in his jaw. At least now he could go back to what he was doing. But before he had the chance to try to free one of his arms again. Armor heard more footsteps, this time appearing to be more of a one human.
The armored titan was surprised, usually only a human came to check it, and not so soon. The titan grunted again menacingly but then stopped when he recognized the scent.
"Easy, it's just me" Bertholdt said, whispering as he left behind a few wreckage. He stopped his step and raised an eyebrow when he saw a rifle on the floor
Armor was a bit confused of why he was speaking low. Did not the other humans know he was here? He set his thoughts aside and grunted again when he saw the blond human. Unlike the previous soldier, she did not show any sign that he was being intimidated. In fact the woman at Bertholdt's side did not seem to care at all.
"Armor this is Annie" Presented Bertholdt pointing to the blonde "Annie. Armor." He pointed at the titan in front of him.
His golden eyes stare on Annie for a while. He did not understand much about human physiology, but he was pretty sure this is a female. She is considerably lower for the normal stature of a human, and even through these cloths that humans had custom to use, Armor could see that she was slightly physically built. She had pale blond hair moderately short, but not as short as male humans. And also a long fringe over the right eye. Armor wonders if she still had good visibility, but the feature that most caught Armor's attention, or what he found most funny, was the shape of her nose. He could have made a joke about it if he did not have his mouth fixed.
"Let's just get him out of here. We do not have much time left" Annie said, breaking eye contact with the titangoing toward those boxes, where harpoons came from, or what humans call target restraining.
Something about her appearance and lack of emotion reminded Armor of the female titan. If Annie had a titan version, it would certainly be the female titan. Maybe Armor warms to her.
It was a weight less for Bertholdt to know that he was able to introduce both without a problem. He thought that with all these situations and stress with which the titan passed, Armor would not be too pleased to see another human again. But Bert was glad that his titan friend was still the same.
Bertholdt walked toward his jaw, he was about to grab the harpoon as the titan snarled a warning. Immediately the brunette staggered back, startled. Acting by pure reflex, Annie Annie grabbed the handle of the blade still sheathed. Maybe Armor was not the same anymore.
"What's wrong with you?" Bertholdt shouted. No one would recommend arguing against a titan, but from somewhere Bertholdt manages to get together courage that he did not know existed.
The imprisoned titan responded with a snort and tried to turn his head as far as the restrictions allowed. Bertholdt stood there, confused, not knowing why his drastic behavior change. But then he had a clue.
"Hey! It's not my fault you were caught if that's what you're thinking!" Shouted Bertholdt. Armor responded with a low grunt.
No. But that was because of you. Armor said in his thoughts.
Bertholdt could not believe that the armored titan blamed him for being in this situation. It was not he who asked Armor to climb the wall and bring the hell, probably must have been that giant monkey, or alpha titan, as the jaw titan used to refer. But then his anger left when his memory came. "Kill. This. Bug" was the order that the armored titan did not comply.
Bertholdt looked around, more specifically at the wreckage on the farms. He understood now. So all this was the result of Armor choosing to go against his alpha in order to save the life of a human. And even indirectly, Armor is on the ground arrested because of him. But then what if Bertholdt frees him? The titan armored will return to destroy everything again in order to reward the order not comply? This was a difficult dilemma. But then Bertholdt remembered how much Armor was surprised to see him yesterday, only by his expression it was easy to deduce that Armor did not know that he resided there, as the titan had once said to him 'there were many other strengths. Armor went up against the titan alpha once, maybe he will be again. It was difficult to bet on one maybe, but Bertholdt had promised himself that he would get him free.
"Look, if that's what you want to hear, okay. I'm sorry for making you go through this. I really do" Said Bertholdt, approaching again.
As there was no response coming from the titan, Bertholdt felt confident to touch the armor of his jaw. Annie tightened the grip on the handle of the blade, then relaxed as the titan made no move to push Bertholdt away. Although there was no response coming from the titan, he kept looking away, or Bertholdt thought it was, after all he saw only a glow on the visor that hid his eyeball.
"But you understand we're trying to get you out of here, right?" Bertholdt asked. Now the glow was on him. Armor growled softly in reply, that was certainly a yes.
Bertholdt stepped back and picked up one of the steel cables. He unsheathed his blade and tried to cut them, but not even a scratch was made. These cables are made to be resistant. Giving up, Bertholdt crouched and joined Annie to analyze the special target restraining weapon.
Unlike Annie, he had not done much artillery specialization classes, so he had some hope that she could give him some light.
"Any ideas?" He asked, hopefully.
"Well, this weapon has a retraction system, but it will not work if the harpoons are stuck on the target." She paused as she checked the sides of the gun, but specifically the latches "If I can get inside, maybe I can trigger it in manually" Annie explained as she pulled a pin in her pocket and tried to open the lock.
Bertholdt watched with curiosity as he wondered where she had learned this trick. Suddenly there was a sound of something heavy landing behind him. Annie looked frightened over his shoulder, before Bertholdt could ask anything Annie extended her blade and stood in front of Bertholdt to protect him from the jaw titan.
"Run! I got this!" Annie yelled, ready to make the first move.
"Wait! Wait!" Shouted Bertholdt. He grabbed Annie's arm before she could activate her three-dimensional maneuvering equipment. She had been reluctant for a while before staring at Bertholdt in amazement. Despite the temporary cessation, Annie still had a firm grip on the blade.
"She's a friend too," Bertholdt said, trying to calm her down.
Annie was known for being expressionless, but now her expression was a mixture of disbelief and horror. She turned to face the jaw titan and then the titan armored. Okay, one titan was easy to process, but two? Annie finally lowered the blades.
Realizing there was no more cause for conflict. The jaw titan approached the couple as secretly smelled the scent of Annie.
As the female titan had said, the night titans withdrew from near the walls under the orders of the beast titan.
There was no difficulty for the jaw titan to climb the walls and find the armored titan, after all it was only following the trail of wreckage and the male odors. Show offs. Although it has been a greater challenge to pass through the perimeter that humans have done around the area that the armored titan is located, the jaw titan had many previous experiences in sneaking through human fortresses. This was no different.
"You have a little weird taste for friends." These were Annie's first words after a long silence that had spread.
Annie could have swore she saw the corner of Armor's mouth lifted slightly. If intelligent titans have a sense of humor, maybe they are not so different from humans after all.
"All right .. there's no need to fight. We're all on the same side here" Said Bertholdt, raising his voice, so that everyone can hear "So Annie, about the retraction system .. "
The jaw titan climbed the body of Armor ignoring the humans conversing. She was not interested in the human Bertholdt calls Annie, her goal here was to free this stupid big idiot. Armor groaned in pain as the five meters titan stepped accidentally on the harpoons attached to his armor. She positioned herself on his back and analyzed the restrictions. She has no idea what these sharp things are, but it's a fascinating human toy
< Damn it! These humans got you well > The jaw titan grunted as she tried to pull the harpoons out with her hands.
< Fuck you! > With his immovable mouth he could not say much, but grumble a word or two.
Seeing that removing the harpoons one by one would be very laborious and time-consuming, the jaw titan decided to use a different technique.
There was a “click” when the pin in Annie's hand broke.
"Damn it! This pin is very fragile!" Annie cursed
"There must be something else we can use," Bertholdt said, looking around to see something resembling a pin to try to open the inside of the special target restraining weapon.
Suddenly there was a sound of breaking much larger than the pin. Bertholdt and Annie looked surprised at the jaw titan, but specifically at her mouth, where the broken ends of the cables swayed uselessly. She spat, and the remains of the cables and harpoons fell close to the couple.
"Can you cut the cables?" Bertholdt said, though it sounded more like a statement. He had an idea of her jaw strength, he had seen her several times tearing the muscles and tendons of other titans with ease, but cutting metals was new.
“Hm.. yeah” Answered the five meters titan as she grabbed another handful of cables. Annie was surprised to hear a titan speak for the first time, she knew that the rogue titan is able to speak, but hearing one in front of her was different. So does that mean Armor can talk, too?
Armor suddenly groaned loudly, warning them. Bertholdt and Annie looked toward the imprisoned titan, not understanding the message. Armor groaned again. It was impossible to speak words in English with his unmoving mouth. The jaw titan released the steel cables when she sniffed something strange in the air. She move her head to discover the source of the scent and froze as he looked toward humans, more specifically behind them.
Bertholdt and Annie looked at each other. With clear doubt in the face, until they heard footsteps coming from behind. The jaw titan was quick to flee and hide behind one of the wreckage large enough to cover a five meters titan.
"Hey what are you guys doing here?" Asked a soldier, by his young appearance he must be a new recruit.
Both Bertholdt and Annie stood up in surprise. They had completely forgotten about the patrolmen. The soldier looked at the couple, then at the cables and harpoons lying on the floor. Just had one thing to think about it.
“Oh shit.. wake up everyone! Traitors! Traitors!" Shouted the soldier loud enough to wake the remains of the soldiers.
Annie reached the fallen rifle on the floor and shot near the soldier's feet, causing him to stumble back and run away.
"Come on!" Annie yelled, grabbing Bertholdt's hand and pulling him away.
Armor followed with his eyes the agitation that was unleashed in the human encampment. A series of screams and orders flooded the air suddenly, then there was the shrill sound of a siren. Armor groaned and shook his head at the annoying sound that bombarded his ears. Sometimes having sharp senses had its evils.
"Where are they?!"
"They went this way!"
Shouted the armed soldiers who passed in front of the imprisoned titan. Armor shifted violently, trying to ignore the pains the sharp harpoons had caused. Bertholdt, and what was her name? Oh Annie! They were in danger, and if he can not let go now, he fears what might happen. Armor does not know if humans are capable of killing a member of their own kind, but Armor knew that those machines shoots that the humans carry was dangerous.
The jaw titan left her hiding place as soon as the armed humans move away. Now that they were distracted with Bertholdt and that blond human, she had more time to cut off the steel cables.
It was a bit difficult to balance herself over Armor as he shake violently, and she knew it would be useless to ask him to remain quiet. But suddenly he froze when his nose identified specific scent.
< What was it? > However the next two words spoken by her armored friend made her regret having asked.
< Black.. Female >
Yes, this is the name of plan B.
Chapter 20: Black Dead
Nothing that's bad can't get worse
I am not dead. Just going through turbulence in the phase into adulthood. Anyway .. where were we? Oh yes, the Eldians must probably be feeling that a curse has fallen on their kingdom due to so many titan invasions in a short period of time. But something promises that this third invader will bring the apocalypse on Earth, I mean, look at the title!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
At that moment, Bertholdt could not direct his mind except the “no”, what he should not have thought, what he should not have said, and what he should not have done. Recreating possible alternatives where he could have avoided all this, but now it was too late. In addition to failing to save Armor, he would now be considered the enemy of humanity and condemned, taking with him the only person on this planet who understood him.
He was so lost in thought that he didn't notice he was about to collide with a tree until Annie warned him. At the last second he screamed in fright and managed to change the trajectory of the hook by a close call. He raised both legs in front of his body to soften the impact, but when his newly healed leg from a fracture came into contact with the wood, it did not react well. He held back a groan of pain and jumped. In addition to continuing the trajectory with one hurting leg he had to hear Annie's sermon, something about not getting emotional and paying attention to his front.
He didn't know where to go, nor did he risk looking back, just following Annie's lead. He wondered if she also knew where she was going, but his question was answered when she shouted over her shoulder.
“Thirty meters to your right is an abandoned barn, let's hide in there”
Bertholdt looked around but saw nothing compared to a human construction. In the area they were flying over there were only tall bushes and a few low trees. He fired the hook into the trunk of a taller tree to get a better view of the ground, and there it was.
An old wooden building, broken here and here, ivy climbed the planks like a cancer gave it a sinister appearance. It was amazing how time makes things seem unrecognizable.
Annie fired the hook into the roof and dived toward a hole in the roof, large enough for a smaller human to pass. Bertholdt followed her example, brushing the edges because of his larger size.
They both landed inside the barn with no problem, and immediately the smell of mold and animal feces irritated their nostrils. Bertholdt looked around, not surprisingly, just what was expected of an abandoned barn. Old wooden walls with several holes through which light came in, dusty surfaces and home to cobwebs, and several materials and equipment dropped around.
His attention was focused on the outside sounds. Bertholdt was standing looking at where he had just entered. He listened for any sounds of hooks, flaring gas and even footsteps, but he heard nothing but rustling leaves. Weird.
At first he was confused, a whirlwind of questions passed in his mind.
Aren't we being followed? Have we lost them? Are they after us?
As a precaution Bertholdt was about to pick up his blade, but a clearing beside him caught his eye. Annie stared at him, her expression indicating only tranquility and confidence, the complete opposite of the situation.
“They can't follow us”
"What do you mean?" Bertholdt asked, confused by what she meant by that.
Bertholdt watched closely as she moved her hand in her pocket and pulled out a screwdriver. At first Bert did not understand the real meaning of this object, but then noticed that the tip of the screwdriver was wrinkled and scratched, it was certainly used for another purpose rather than tightening or loosening a screw.
“I punctured each one's 3DMG gas tanks,” Annie explained, a mischievous smile forming on her face, like a child pleased by its diabolical work.
“Oh..” That was all Bertholdt could say.
With the three-dimensional maneuvering equipment out of service, the soldiers could not go after them. And going to the stables and fixing the riding equipment would take a long time. It was a clever strategy, he had to agree, but a doubt arose in his mind.
"Wait .. when did you do that?"
“Earlier before meeting you. I was assigned to organize the 3DMG and gas tanks at the temporary camp. And .. when I saw you there .. ” She didn't seem to know which words to pursue, after all she was never a person to say long sentences.
“In the battle of the titan” Bertholdt finished for her and earned a death glare from which he swallowed hard.
"I had a feeling what you were going to try to do, so I drilled the tanks" She explained.
Bertholdt took a while to process everything and then sat in a cleaner corner of the barn, Annie copied his example and sat next to him. She noticed Bertholdt's fast change of mood.
"Do you think Armor did it?"
Annie didn't answer, in fact until she didn't know if Armor could break free of the restrictions or not. But that other titan, the five-meter freak, proved that her jaws powerful enough to cut steel wire. Since half the camp was now behind them, the smaller titan had enough distraction to continue cutting the cables. The freedom of the armored titan depended on that titan's competence.
"I think we should think of ourselves now." Annie changed the subject.
"I'll say this was all my idea, convince them that you have nothing to do with it" Bertholdt replied, looking down.
Annie was surprised by Bertholdt's sudden response, she didn't expect this heroic act from him. Somehow this situation has matured him, but she doesn't think this is the time for him to demonstrate it.
“No. We're a team! ”Annie exclaimed, using a tone of voice that made it clear that she didn't accept the disagreement, but Bertholdt ignored.
“You don't have to be condemned either. Please Annie, I don't want to drag you into my mess. I'll never forgive myself if something happens to you!” Bertholdt practically begged, looking at her now.
“We have already discussed this, I am with you because I. I chose!” Annie emphasized the last two words pointing to herself.
"Look, not everything is lost, we can convince them that Armor is not a threat." It was really strange for Annie to say the name of this titan, but she hoped it meant something to Bertholdt. “If you don't remember there is another intelligent titan behind these walls called Rogue”
Bertholdt wanted to argue with her, to say that Rogue saved the lives of many humans and that is why he is accepted, unlike Armor that despite not killing a human life he allowed several titans to enter.
He was about to scream back, his mouth even moved a few times, but those blue eyes, full of determination, made him give up. He hated that power she had over him, and at the same time was attracted to it. Why are feelings bipolar?
Bertholdt sighed and looked down, lost.
"Don't think this is the end, not everything is lost yet" Annie comforted him.
A long awkward silence fell over them until Bertholdt was the first to break it.
"How did you know about this place?" Bertholdt asked, wanting to change the subject and also a little curious.
“Loners find the most extravagant places”
At the edges of the makeshift camp, a group of Military Police Brigade members roamed the perimeter with a few dogs, trying to find any sign of the direction the traitors fled, but so far they have been unsuccessful in their search.
The dogs walked to a place that seemed interesting and sniffed a trail for a random path, giving the soldiers hope, but unfortunately the dogs stopped and looked for another spot to sniff.
Brigade members sighed. They had no rags smelling of traitors, and some other scouts swore they had seen the pair flee using the 3DMG, so it would be impossible to use the dogs since they didn't flee on the ground, but since Survey Corps members found that the 3DMGs stored in one of the huts were sabotaged, they had no choice but to use the dogs.
"Come on boy, tell me you found something" Said a middle-aged man stroking the dog's head.
The sniffer dog wagged its tail with the attention, and then proceeded with what it was trained to do. He paced back and forth, trying to find a suspicious smell, until suddenly he stopped and sniffed a spot intently. There was nothing interesting there, just damp earth and dry leaves, but for a dog, smells are their world. Then the dog barked loudly, drawing the attention of the surrounding soldiers. They gathered around the dog hopefully.
The sniffer dog began to follow an invisible trail, a group forming behind him, very curious where the dog was leading them. Then the dog stopped and pointed with his muzzle at a thicket. The dog’s hair ruffled and the tail wagged slightly to the sides, a sign of aggression common in dogsA low growl turned to loud barks as the dog lunged into the thicket and chased a squirrel.
"Seriously, Cujo!" The man exclaimed irritably, along with the disapproval of the soldiers around him.
"Tell me you found something." It was Levi's voice, approaching the group.
Brigade members shuddered and turned to meet one of humanity's most important figures, accompanied by other members of the Survey Corps.
At that moment Cujo and the squirrel ran between them.
Squad captain's expression was indecipherable. Disapproval, disgust or just wondering? It was impossible to know what was going through his head, and that was really intimidating.
He tilted his head toward the tall trees, where some men claim they saw the pair flee.
The middle-aged man took courage, but was cut off by Levi's question.
“Did anyone at least recognize the duo's identity?”
The middle-aged man sighed with relief in his mind, at least he wasn't angry.
“hm.. yes, yes. My men said they recognized a fair-skinned, blond-haired girl named Annie Leonard, a respected member of the Military Police, or at least she was .. she will now be investigated on suspicion of the death of Hanji's two guinea pig titans, sabotage and treason. And the other.. hm.. well” Levi gave him a look with a clear message, do not hide anything from me “It's Bertholdt”
No description needed, everyone knew who Bertholdt was. Now he was the most famous figure in all the territory hidden behind these huge walls.
For the first time the old man swore to see an expression cross the squad captain's expressionless face, even if at least it was a matter of seconds. That expression was surprising, not because one of the fugitives was a member of the Military, there is indeed reason to be suspicious of Annie, she had no friends, and avoided crowded places, a lone wolf. But Bertholdt, the gentle giant, at least as his fellow servants described him. How could he have done something like that and why?
A discussion began between the soldiers.
“Wait… that Bertholdt? No, that can't be!”
“Who are you talking about? The one from the newspapers?”
“Bertholdt? That lad the newspapers are saying was the only one who returned from the expedition?”
"Yes! This guy, but .. God! This does not make any sense!"
“This can't be him! As far as I know Bertholdt couldn't hurt a fly bug!”
"I knew that! He's a traitor, there's no other way he could have survived on the other side of the walls for so long.”
“Another way? What do you mean?! Titans are as dumb as drunk whores! It's not like they made an association!”
"Shut up! What do we know about titans anyway? He is a fucking traitor!”
Suddenly everyone was silenced by a hoarse voice.
"Enough!" Exclaimed Commander Erwin loudly, approaching the group on a white horse.
No one dared even move. All eyes followed the commander's approach. The white horse trotted until stop a few feet from the soldier's huddle, and next to Levi.
"It's not in our place to judge Annie or Bertholdt without hearing them yet for the reason for their actions" Said Commander Erwin, uttering each word in a tone that left no doubt that he would not accept them speaking back, and facing each face of each. to make sure they heard it clearly.
The soldier who had made the last comment gritted his teeth slightly, he didn't agree and wanted to protest. Command Erwin stared at him, defying him. But the man broke eye contact and looked down, like a good commanding dog he had to listen and accept what was said.
Erwin pondered for a while, as though choosing which words to pursue “These past few weeks nothing has been normal. This is terrifying even for me, I confess”
Levi stared at him, he didn't think it was a good strategy for a leader to show fear, but years following his leadership Levi learned that Erwin always knew what he was doing.
"But I know that if we surrender to the despair and insanity that this primitive feeling provides, we will go nowhere but to drown." The commander stared at them as he said, this time not harshly, but softer.
“I am not saying they are innocent, but I'm not saying they didn't go through a trial either. All I ask of you is not to act on your own judgment, but to act with professionalism and ethics according to the competence of each of you.”
Erwin finished his speech, earning several looks that conveyed different messages. Some acknowledged that he was right, others felt bad or ashamed of the things they commented. Levi gave him a little nod, his way of saying 'Nice speech'
The man who initially showed disapproval seemed to reflect, but still a part of him deeply despised Bertholdt, and nothing that the fugitive could say changed his opinion. What other reason did Bertholdt have for mysteriously appearing intact after a failed expedition and trying to unleash one of humanity's worst nightmares if he wasn't a traitor? He had read the papers and heard everything the superiors had said about the case, which was not much. He was very surprised that no one questioned the only survivor how he managed to stay in a hostile land all this time, only focused Bertholdt on an image of "The Great Survivor". Anyway, he doesn't care anymore, if Erwin wants the court to take care of it, so be his will. There's no other way that Bertholdt and that emo blonde are innocent anyway. There simply is not.
“Take the horses and divide into two groups. The first will enter the forest with the dogs and the second will surround a perimeter around the forest. The pair cannot use 3DMG except for the trees. They are hiding somewhere in the woods.” Erwin ordered, he was about to hit the reins when a soldier speak.
“But Commander, this region is too large to set up a perimeter, and we have very few men to-”
The commander cut him off, preventing the soldier from finishing his sentence.
“Survey members are unable because of the sabotage. They will help you.”
As Commander Erwin said the last word, Jean, Mikasa, Armin, and others emerged from behind, riding their horses. They waved to the commander as soon as they saw him.
“Find them, Levi and I will see how extensive the damage to armored titan restrictions was.” Erwin ordered before hit the rein and proceeding in the direction where the captive titan was with Levi by his side, where at some point he rode a black horse like coal.
Jean looked around, trying to find something, then focused on Mikasa
"Where is Connie and Sasha?"
Far away from this confusion, the armored titan and jaw titan were hidden behind some human constructions about big enough to keep them out of human sight. Right beside them was the wall that separated the human territory and the titans. It was a temptation to get out of this place, but Armor was worried about too many things to even think about, and one of them was to regain his honor at his alpha.
The armored titan grunted in pain as he pulled the pieces of metal off his plate and flesh, he thinks he heard humans call it harpoons. The smaller titan next to him wasn't having a good time either, she grunted and complained as she pulled the steel cords that got stuck in her teeth, and reminded Armor that he owed her a lot.
Jaw titan pulled the last piece of wire rope from her sharp teeth, but this action carried a piece of tooth along. She held back a grunt of pain as a thin layer of blood ran down her jaw.
<You will pay for it, asshole! > The smaller titan complained.
The blood evaporated leaving no red stain behind, and the new piece of teeth was almost replacing its ancestor.
The larger titan ignored and sniffed the air for that earlier smell, but unfortunately the winds changed and he couldn't locate the black female titan. He is not sure what he will do when he finds her, but if she is here, it was because alpha assigned her to be here. When he finds her he can ask the location of the alpha and thus apologize for having failed in order to redeem himself and regain the confidence of his alpha.
But when he thought about it, he wondered why alpha sent her. Was the black female titan here to rescue him or to finish what he had not done? With that last thought, he immediately remembered Bertholdt. A panic ran down his spine, the female titan's older sister was manic, thirsty to kill any intelligent life. If the alpha has sent her to kill the traitor titan and allow her brothers to enter, she will make a point of committing genocide, and he is not sure if Bertholdt will escape her insanity.
The armored titan shook his head. The alpha was right, the human made him weak, he should drop the name "Armor" and cut any ties he created with this inferior species. Because that was what he was, a titan, the superior, stronger, tougher species, worthy of occupying the top of the food chain .. but at the same time it sounded like it wasn't the right thing to do?
< Hey! How's the weather over there? > It was the jaw titan, mocking him.
He looked down, only to find the smaller titan staring at him. She realized that he didn't look well, too focused on his own thoughts.
< Find her >
The armored grunted in response, short and devoid of emotion. The jaw titan noticed the change and tilted her head to the side.
< For what? >
Now it was the turn of the larger titan to tilted his head.
< What do you mean? We need to find her to find our alpha! >
The armored titan grunted loudly, trying to get her to remember what was important at the moment.
< Ours? Did you forget that I am now a traitor? >
< More reason to redeem yourself with your alpha! >
The jaw titan had an enormous desire to do what he once saw a human do, put her palm on the face and shake the head.
It was unbelievable how her fifty meters friend had such a backward mind. The alpha doesn't care about him or anyone else, this whole idea that a pack has the back of each other, and that the strongest protect the weak, was a lie. The alpha who armored is so idolized is a manipulator and only thinks of itself, and is only using them for his own benefit.
Seriously, why is it necessary to conquer the territory of humans when there is a whole world out there? Some alphas titans respect and stay away from human territory, they know that these tiny creatures pose no danger, and although they are a source of energy, titans do not necessarily need them, the sun is already a sufficient food source.
But this monkey-looking titan has a weird fetish, it's like he's happy to watch. The jaw titan sometimes wonders if this is a way he has found to show that he is stronger than his brother, the titan who owns the coordinate.
< Do you want to know something? I don't have to prove anything to anyone, ever! >
The jaw titan grunted fiercely. The larger titan gave her that confused look but said nothing, waiting for her to explain.
< I've already made my choice, I'm leaving. Now I decide what to do with my life instead of someone predetermining what I have or not to do >
< What? Are you listening to what you are saying? You are condemning yourself to be a traitor forever! >
The armored titan protested, the destination she was choosing was her own grave. A traitor only leaves the pack when it is dead. Right now it was his duty to kill her. The jaw titan was a traitor now, no longer a war comrade, but why he simply couldn't do it.
The armored titan cursed himself mentally. He didn't have the courage to move a muscle and end the life of this mass of flesh and nerves as she climbed the wall using her claws.
< I'm not condemning. I'm free, and I wish you were too >
The jaw titan growled low over her shoulder.
He watched her climb the wall to the top. The jaw titan didn't look back, for some reason he wished she had.
The fifty meters titan growled in anger and slammed a fist into the wall, leaving a crater there. He did not understand, he was playing to regain the confidence of his alpha, shows that he was not weak, but why he just felt that he was missing something.
Jaw Titan's voice echoed in her thoughts, "I'm free, and I wish you were, too." So maybe being free meant more than just not being immobilized by cables and sharp metals? Although he had heard that word before, he never understood the real meaning of it.
It seemed that now he understood now. All these feelings of frustration building inside him was a symptom that he was holding himself in order to satisfy someone's expectations, in this case his alpha, or should he call someone who likes to give orders?
Looking back it seemed that everything was clearer now, he didn't remember when or why he considered his alpha the most important figure of his life, and also didn't remember whether or not he liked the things he did. He had never questioned his orders in the first place, because a true warrior does not question the orders he just does, but who decided to define what a warrior is?
He wanted to thank jaw titan and apologize, but it was too late. At least now he knows what to do when he finds black bitch titan.
The commander and captain of the Surveys Corps hurried side by side, dodging huts and some crates and other materials along the way. Due to the rush and pressure from the superiors to speed up the camp, everything was disorganized.
"Where exactly are we going?" Levi asked as he guided his horse into the most open areas possible.
"I have something to give you" The commander replied
"Today is my birthday?"
"Is that you trying to be funny?"
None of them were laughing.
Then there was a shout to their right. The commander pulled the reins, causing his horse to stop trotting, and then went down to meet a sweating and panting Hannes.
"You know ... it's very unfair for me to have to accompany you.. on foot while you are… riding a horse!” Hannes complained, pausing to breathe properly, though he didn't sound like he was really angry.
“My sincere apologies” Said Commander Erwin, with Levi by his side now.
Levi rolled his eyes, he doesn't think this really was sincere. And then noticed that Hannes was carrying something in his hands and asked "What's this?"
At first it looked like a 3DMG, could be seen belts, tanks, and metal equipment, however, these is very different from what he was used to.
“That's what I wanted to show you, Levi. With the 3DMG sabotaged the team can't do much, but I remembered there was one save in a nearby warehouse, so I sent Hannes to get it” The commander explained.
Levi took the equipment from Hannes's hands and examined it. It was dusty, dirty and scratched. He would not have believed that this was maneuvering equipment if Erwin had not said it was.
Definitely, he will have to take his clothes to the laundry after that.
Erwin noticed Levi's confused expression and decided to add, “This is an old model, and as you can see it's not in good condition, so I need the best soldier to use it.”
Levi still looked doubtful whether he should wear the 3DMG or not. He took one of the belts and tested its strength with his fingers. A few pieces of leather came down. This older version of 3DMG is really not fit for use. If one of these belts comes off when he is in mid-air, the results will be terrible.
“Hey.. where is the armored titan?” Hannes asked, looking around.
The makeshift camp aims to encircle the perimeter of the titan, but there was no titan here.
"It was supposed to be here" Erwin replied.
"Wait .. what do you mean .. oh"
Then Hannes observed that in this exact spot where they were now there was a large open space. A huge expanse of grass and weeds are crushed, as if something heavy were upon them, that something must have been about fifty meters. And he can also observe several steel cables and harpoon remnants scattered around, and he was impressed how he didn't notice it before.
"He ran away" Hannes concluded.
The blonde took the canteen from his pocket and drank the amber contents, pleased when he felt the burning down his throat. He always told himself it was his medicine for when he felt nervous, alcohol helped him think better, although some women say the opposite.
"Wait, you mean you knew this motherfucker got away and you sent your mens after two teenagers, and now you want to send the squad captain after him with that ... piece of shit!" Hannes freaked out, for sure the alcohol didn't help him think better, but noticeable the situation around him.
“In fact .. just now I found out that armored titan has escaped. Levi try to find him but don't try to fight, Hannes and I will warn the others. ”Erwin ordered.
This whole situation was like a spiral that only got worse and worse. The commander was not liking how things were going.
The armored titan has escaped and God only knows what he plans to do, two fugitives teenagers, possibly traitors were out there, and to make matters worse the only three-dimensional maneuvering equipment available is quite old and in poor condition to use.
Erwin repeated to himself, he needed to keep a cool head, and think of some strategy for turning the table.
"Hey .. what's that?" Hannes asked, pointing to a dark figure above the wall.
It was impossible to see with the naked eye, but it was definitely a titan. Erwin took the binoculars; one of Hanji's newest creation, and focused on the crouching creature on top of the wall.
The first thing Erwin could notice was that it wasn't armored titan. This new titan had a small body and had feminine characteristics, the image of the female titan was the first thought that crossed his mind, but neither was she. This new titan had black skin and shoulder-length white hair, with the ends stained of red. Erwin cannot distinguish whether this titan had exposed skin equal to the first female titan, but he can see that it has white bone-shaped plaques all over the body, together these plaques resembled a skeleton.
Suddenly the black female titan stood up, and Erwin and the other two gasped in surprise, no need for binoculars to see that the titan's legs and feet were different. This titan was not plantigrad like humans, that mean, feet resting on the palms. This titan was digitigrade, it meant that its feet are resting on the tiptoes.
None of them have ever seen a titan like this, Hanji would go crazy when learns about the peculiarities of this new species, but this is no time for admiration.
Erwin focused his binoculars on the face of this new titan. White and red hair obstruct most of the face, leaving only the lower half of the face in sight. As if she knew she was being watched, she moved her lips, showing a row of perfectly white and sharp teeth.
A smile that conveyed only one word
If you don't remember where Connie or Sasha are, they are in the previous chapter.