Theo Magath took a deep breath in irritation, rubbing his temple and leaning forward on his desk. He tapped his foot in the communications room on the ship that went to Paradis. He found the table less interesting and lifted his eyes to see the three remaining warriors sitting in front of them. He could tell they were still shaken by the flying titan destroying the port, but for some reason he could tell that it was more than that.
"So," Magath began, "There are two metal titans. They both come from a world far beyond and more advanced than our own."
The three nodded their heads.
"One of them is named 'Optimus Prime'," Magath continued, "But you have no idea what the name of the flying titan is,"
"No," Reiner answered, "It never came up in combat."
"I was never able to hear it during a conversation either," Bertholdt admitted before looking down at his hand, "Not after what he did to me."
Magath nodded his head before turning attention to Annie. "What about you? Did you hear his name?"
Annie shook her head. "The only thing that I know is that Optimus gave him the option to leave."
"So they both have a sense of free will," Magath surmised, "And he stole the Jaws Titan?"
Reiner nodded. "He took Marcel. He must've saw him as the weakest titan and took him."
"They also made me tell them about transferring the powers of a titan," Bertholdt added, "So they most likely found a way to feed him to someone else."
Magath took a deep breath and sighed. "This is much more complicated than we anticipated. Once we arrive in Marley, you will explain the situation to the Commanders there. For now, you all must rest. By dawn, we should be back in Marley."
Magath watched as all three of them walked out of the room and below the deck to rest. Magath got up from his chair and walked over to the window, staring out into the ocean. He knew that sending the four of them to the island was a bad idea. Now, Marcel is most likely dead, and the remaining three warriors were completely traumatized by the event. He shouldn't have yelled at them like he did, but he didn't believe the threat was real until he saw it with his own eyes.
Magath curled his hands into a fist. The flying titan bowed; it mocked them all by bowing after it destroyed the port! He could only imagine what that thing did to the warriors. And the other titan, he hasn't seen it, but he has no doubt that it is real. The flying titan and this 'Optimus Prime' were most likely the most powerful titans in all of existence, and they just happened to fall into the hands of the demons of Paradis Island.
Reiner saw that Annie was finally able to get some sleep before closing the door to her room. He walked down the hall of the bottom deck of the ship and opened the door to his and Bertholdt's shared room. Reiner sighed as he sat down on his bed, seeing that Bertholdt was across the room with his back faced towards him. Reiner was about to lie down, but stopped when Bertholdt spoke.
"How long are we going to lie about Marcel?" Bertholdt asked.
Reiner hesitated for a moment. "We can't tell the truth about him. We have to take it to our graves."
"We shouldn't have lied about his death," Bertholdt declared.
"And what do you think we should do?" Reiner demanded, "Tell them we lost Marcel before we even reached the wall? They'll have our heads and revoke our power."
"And what happens when they do find out the truth?" Bertholdt shot back. "They'll have our heads and turn everyone we love into titans as punishment."
"The story we made up will check out," Reiner reassured.
"What about Porco?" Bertholdt demanded, "He's not going to buy it for a second."
"He will," Reiner proclaimed.
"He hates you," Bertholdt reminded as he turned to face him, "He's going blame you for Marcel's death."
"Then let him," Reiner said, "I already feel enough guilt for his death, but…we have to maintain the lie."
Bertholdt stared at Reiner before turning away. "What will you do if they do find out?"
"I'll…take responsibility," Reiner answered, "You two suffered enough because of me. It would only make sense if I paid you back by taking the blame and dragging you further into this."
"Reiner…," Bertholdt trailed off.
"Get some rest," Reiner ordered as he slumped onto the bed and pulled the covers over him.
Bertholdt merely grimaced as he covered his hand. Lying about Marcel, it might have been something they all agreed to, but…it was really all just a ploy to save Reiner's skin for his incompetency. And it seemed he was willing to throw him and Annie under the boat if he wished to survive.
He was beginning to think that Reiner was a weak and selfish person.
Annie struggled for a moment before opening her eyes and looking down in horror. She screamed and backed away as she saw Marco's half eaten corpse crawling to her.
"Why?" he said weakly, "It…was a misunderstanding. Why did you leave me to die?"
Annie wasn't able to run fast enough as Marco crawled faster towards her.
"You should rot, you bitch!" Marco shouted as blood came from the wound, "Rot! Rot! Rot!"
Annie gasped and screamed as she fell backwards into an endless abyss. When she landed, she found herself in her titan form. Before she could process what was going on, she felt a shadow loom over her. She looked up and saw Optimus Prime raising his blade. She rolled out of the way as the blade pierced the ground, causing her to run away from the Prime. She didn't know where she was running but she kept on going.
"Fall," she heard Optimus say.
Annie was pushed forward by a shot fired from the Prime's cannon. She landed on her front and skidded across the ground. She pushed herself onto her knees and saw two familiar feet standing in front of her. She raised her head and made eye contact with the flying titan. She saw the bastardsmile wickedly at her before lifting his hand to reveal her father in his clutches. Her father tried to get a word out, but the titan crushed in his hand before he could.
Annie watched in horror as the flying titan let the carcass carelessly slip from his hand to the ground. She trembled as she reached for the carcass and held the mess of blood, bone, and guts in her hands.
"I told you I would come after your father," the flying titan declared as he removed bits of the man from his fingers.
Annie began to cry before she let out a high pitched scream of despair.
Annie screamed as she was kicking the sheets covering her body. Her eyes snapped open and she shot straight, but she then fell out of the bed due to her panicked state. She kicked the blankets that came down with her and tried to calm herself down. She wiped the sweat and tears coming down her face before forcing herself to stand up.
She felt like she was going to throw up, but forced herself to keep the bile in her systems. She looked out the single window on the single window in her room and saw that it was almost morning.
They were almost in Marley, but...the guilt and shame she was expecting to face, she didn't want to go back at all.
A teenage boy with ginger hair wearing the standard warrior uniform stood impatiently on the dock next to two others. He tapped his foot impatiently and crossed his arms. The girl with black hair to his left, wearing a skirt and holding a set of crutches, looked up at him and raised an eyebrow.
"Porco, why are you so impatient?" she asked.
"I'm not impatient; I'm irritated," Porco corrected, "Why do we have to stay out here? We don't even know if they're coming back today."
"They might," she retorted, "And you'll get to see Marcel again,"
"They stayed on the island for over five years," the third man reminded the two of them. He was the tallest out of the three, with blonde hair and a short beard. He adjusted his glasses before looking down at both of them, "The fact that they stayed so long must've meant there was a complication. Most likely the metal titan."
The girl giggled. "The higher ups are still having trouble believing what you said, Zeke, even though your own of the most loyal Eldians ever."
"If the others have seen it too and gathered information on it, Pieck, then they will have to believe the threat on Paradis." Zeke declared.
Porco tensed when he saw the ship come into view. He had done this multiple times to see if his brother had returned, but nothing happened every time. He felt he was wasting his time, but he hoped that his brother would return along with the Founding Titan.
The ship docked at the port and Porco waited with bated breath as the soldiers got off the ship. The first thing he noticed was a guilty, older, version of Reiner walking onto the port. He then saw Bertholdt and Annie following suit, looking more so scared than guilty. But the one thing Porco noticed was no sign of his brother.
Pieck smiled as she did her best to run over to the three due to her crutches. "You're back! Welcome home!"
Pieck hugged Annie first, even though she was extremely tense when she made contact with her. She then moved over to Bertholdt and hugged him. The now tall warrior seemed to force a smile as he used his right arm to hug her. Zeke noticed Bertholdt's left hand looked burnt and was surprised to see that Bertholdt was missing a finger. He also glanced at Annie and noticed her eyes were a lighter shade of blue.
Pieck moved over to Reiner, but noticed the titan shifter slightly move away from her, causing her to grow concern.
"Reiner, what's wrong?" she asked, but he chose not to answer.
"Where's Marcel?" Porco demanded as he stepped to the three of them, "Where the hell is my brother?"
None of them answered, causing Porco to conclude the worst.
"No…," Porco trailed off, "No, no, no. Marcel, he's on the ship. He's trying to play a sick prank on me. After five years, why would he do that? That's so cruel."
"Porco," Reiner spoke up, staring at the floor, "Marcel…he…,"
Porco stared at Reiner as his denial soon turned to anger. He screamed as he tried to tackle Reiner, but Zeke and Bertholdt held him back while Annie got in front of Reiner to protect him.
"Porco, enough!" Zeke ordered.
"I knew it!" Porco shouted, "You were the weakest out of us! You were the runt and they made you a titan shifter! Damn you, Reiner! Damn you! You got my brother killed!"
"It wasn't his fault," Annie retorted, "We barely managed to escape with our lives. The flying titan was able to capture Marcel. There was nothing we could do."
Porco stopped kicking as Zeke and Pieck turned their attention to Annie.
"Annie, what are you talking about?" Pieck questioned, "Titans can't fly."
"This one did," Bertholdt reasoned, "He managed to beat us all by himself in combat. And Optimus Prime is just as strong as him."
"Optimus Prime?" Zeke questioned, "Is that the name of the metal titan?"
Porco snapped his head to Bertholdt as the titan shifter nodded his head. Before they could question them any further, they all saw Marleyan soldiers hesitantly transport a large, rusted, gray, metal thorn off the ship. Many looked on it in fear, as some seemed to be reliving a past event that happened.
"What happened on that island?" Pieck asked.
"We will discuss it later," Magath answered as he walked up to the six of them, "For now, we must all head to headquarters. You three will provide an explanation to your failure, and the reasons we shouldn't revoke your powers."
Bertholdt, Annie, and Reiner grew tense as Magath walked off. They were all in extremely hot water. Meanwhile, Porco forced himself out of Zeke and Bertholdt's grip, glaring at Reiner before walking away as well. They all better have a good reason.
Annie tied her hair back and straightened out her uniform before looking at herself in the mirror. It has been so long since she's had to adorn this uniform. To be an honorary Marleyan, to serve her country and atone for the sins of her ancestors. She and her father knew that was nonsense from the start. They didn't fall for it like Reiner and so many others did. But now that she's back from the island, now that she knew the whole truth, she hated being in this uniform.
Annie sighed as she looked down at the red armband on her arm. She hated having to wear this again.
Annie walked out of the changing room in headquarters and down the hall to the military war room. When she reached the door, she saw Bertholdt waiting for her outside in his.
"I thought you'd be inside," Annie remarked.
"I decided to wait for you," Bertholdt said, "Better than everyone else staring at us in shame."
Annie noticed Bertholdt gripping his armband with his right hand before her eyes trailed down to his injured left.
"How's the hand?" Annie asked.
"Nothing yet, and I hope nothing happens again," Bertholdt answered before he opened the door.
The two titan shifters stepped in the room to see five high ranking commanding officers seated at the far end of the table where a large window was placed, Commander Magath included. Zeke was seated next to Magath on the right side of the table while Pieck was seated on the left next to another commander. Reiner sat next to Zeke, wanting to stay as far away from Porco as possible, who was sitting next to Pieck. Porco silently glared at Reiner, forcing the titan shifter to keep his head down. Bertholdt decided to walk over and sit next to Reiner while Annie sat next to Porco.
Bertholdt, Annie, and Reiner held their breath as Commander Calvi took a deep breath and stood.
"You four have been on that island for five years," Calvi began, "Well…now three. Ever since you left, we've had to expand our resources to accommodate for the absence of our military might. That still wasn't enough for tensions to rise between other nations and cause war. Now three of you remain. And if we release a statement regarding your failure of retrieving the founding titan and the loos of the Jaws, it could mean war. Because, if an island with a lack of technology managed to defeat on of our most powerful weapons, what is to stop other countries from trying to trample us into the ground?
The trio tensed asCalvi stood up from his chair.
"So you three better give us all a good explanation as to why you all failed, and why we shouldn't revoke your powers," Calvi declared.
Reiner noticed all eyes on them. He saw Pieck staring at them with a concerned look while Porco was waiting for an explanation.
"We infiltrated the walls by destroying the entrances to Wall Maria, making it easier for us to slip in," Reiner explained, "We infiltrated the Military and gathered as much information regarding the king as possible in order to retake the Coordinate. We planned to destroy the gates to Wall Rose, but we weren't expecting what came next."
"We found another titan shifter, Eren Jaeger, who we later discovered had the powers of the coordinate. But now we believe that there is a titan even stronger than the coordinate. He's a metal titan called 'Optimus Prime'."
"Optimus Prime," Calvi said, "You expect me to believe the devils managed to create a metal mindless titan."
"The titan is sentient, sir," Bertholdt explained, "It displays advance amounts of intelligence. It knows how to speak and it know how to fight. When we tried to break through Wall Rose, it managed to kill over a hundred titans."
Bertholdt's comment peaked everyone's interest now. Their faces of anger turned into one of slight interest.
"How did the titan manage to kill over a hundred titans?" Calvi demanded.
"He was able to alter his body," Bertholdt continued, "He could turn his hands into guns and swords while changing his body into a vehicle faster than most of Marley's artillery."
"According to the information that we gathered," Reiner continued, "He's a war veteran, and he's from another world far more advanced than our own."
"Another world?" one of the commanders said.
"There's life outside of our world?" another one questioned in shock.
"That's impossible," Magath retorted.
"That is what we gathered," Reiner merely stated.
"Then how did he manage to come to this world?" Calvi asked.
"We don't know," Reiner answered, "But the titan stated that his race is extremely advanced. They've managed to create a device that could transport anyone anywhere in a matter of seconds. He might've used something like that."
"In this world?" Calvi asked.
"Even beyond it," Reiner answered.
"That's a pretty detailed lie that you've managed to come up with," Porco hissed.
"Silence, warrior," Magath ordered, causing Porco to shut his mouth.
"It is not a lie," Zeke defended Reiner, causing everyone to look at him.
"Zeke, you've reported that you've encountered a metal titan that you were unable to control," Calvi recalled, "Is this the same titan they speak of right now?"
"Was the titan red and blue?" Zeke asked the three.
They all nodded their heads and Zeke looked back at Calvi. "Then yes, it is."
"How do you know?" Annie asked Zeke.
"I fought him when I came to the island," Zeke explained, "I tried to see if I could control him and give him commands, but he continued to fight me. He nearly ended my life and almost crushed me when I was in the nape of the neck."
"That really happened Zeke?" Porco asked him.
"Yes," Zeke nodded his head, "I managed to escape with my life because he became distracted."
"Did any of you engage this titan in combat?" Calvi asked the three.
"…I did," Annie answered, "I tried to retrieve the coordinate, but he stopped me twice,…and he shot off my arm. That prevented me from being able to regenerate it for a few weeks."
"How?" Magath questioned.
"Apparently their blood is toxic to humans," Reiner explained, "That same blood is also used to power their weapons."
"But when the titan fired at me, it seemed he didn't know the effects of what it would do to my actual body," Annie concluded.
"So why has your arm regenerated, if it was blown off by the metal titan?" Calvi asked.
"The King of the Walls did something to me," Annie explained as she rolled the sleeve of her right arm, "He somehow managed to mix the titan spinal fluid with their life force. Once they injected it into me, my arm grew back. And I've been able to regenerate instantly."
Annie showed the blue veins in her arm to everyone, taking them all off guard. The warriors were startled by the revelation, while the Commanders were completely disgusted.
"Have you hand any other complications with this?" Magath asked.
Annie shook her head. "I've been completely fine, and I also think I got stronger. But it still wasn't enough. Without it, I was still beaten by Optimus Prime. And the titan has been training the Coordinate, Eren Jaeger. So when I tried to capture him, he was able to hold his own long enough for the metal titan to capture me. I wasn't able to penetrate his armor or find any weaknesses to exploit."
Porco noticed that Bertholdt looked rather sick, but didn't say anything, expecting it to be related to the situation they were in right now.
"This titan believes in the same lie that was told to the devils on the island," Reiner explained, "He believes that humanity is extinct, but…I doubt they believe that anymore."
"And why so?" Calvi demanded, "Have you devils alerted them of our presence?"
"No, sir," Reiner answered.
"I believe that would be on my end," Zeke explained, "Eren Jaeger's father is also mine: Grisha Jaeger. He was sent to the island after I exposed the EldiaRestorationists. It seems that he managed to reach the walls and find a way to give the information to them."
"How would he have reached the island?" Calvi demanded, "The only way he would've been able to was if he had the powers of the titans."
"He must've," Zeke concluded, "There was someone feeding information to the Restorationists, and they infiltrated Marley military. They must've had multiple opportunities to retrieve a titan power."
"The information was in Eren's old home in Wall Maria," Reiner continued, "We tried to stop them from retrieving it and grab Eren, but…the flying titan-"
"Flying titan?!" a commander shouted while everyone else stared in disbelief.
Reiner nodded his head. "The flying titan stopped us from doing so, and defeated us all in combat. He's the one that took Marcel."
Porco stared at Reiner and noticed his tense expression. He saw Annie trying to keep her composure from the mere mention of him, while Bertholdt looked like he was ready to throw up.
"Do you know this titan's name?" Calvi asked.
"No," Reiner answered, "He appeared mere minutes after we revealed our true forms. He managed to beat us along with the metal titan. He is like the metal titan, and no doubt comes from the same world as him."
"How can you be so sure?" Calvi demanded.
"The metal titan a-and the flying titan, talked as if they k-knew each other," Bertholdt managed to force out, "And he could also shift his body as well."
"Bertholdt, are you okay?" Reiner whispered, earning a quiet nod from his friend.
"When I also fought him, he referred to the metal titan by name," Annie explained, "Almost as if they knew each other a long time. I also overheard that Optimus was allowing the flying titan to leave."
"You all fought the flying titan?" Calvi asked, "What happened?"
"He beat us," Annie grimaced, "That's not all. He taunted us. He played with our minds and held back his strength to show how powerless we were in the situation. My training meant nothing to him; I was only able to get a drop of blood while he nearly ripped me in half."
Pieck looked at Annie with a heartbroken expression as the other hung her head and looked ready to cry. Before Calvi could ask another question, Bertholdt suddenly began coughing violently. Bertholdt covered his mouth with his injured hand, which many noticed started to darken and spread.
"Bertholdt?!" Porco exclaimed.
Bertholdt coughed up blood on the table, causing everyone to stand up and back away. Bertholdt began seizing up as he collapsed on the ground and thrashed violently.
"Bertholdt!" Reiner exclaimed as Annie ran to him and kneeled down.
"Get me something sharp!" Annie shouted.
"Are you ordering us-"
"He is dying!" Annie shouted, "And I know how to save him! And if you don't want to lose the Colossal Titan, then get me something sharp!"
Porco grimaced before dashing out of the room to grab some sort of weapon.
"Bertholdt, stay with me!" Annie yelled as she noticed Bertholdt struggling to keep his eyes open as blood dripped from his mouth.
Magath watched in shock as one of the powers of the titans was dying in front of them all. The healing factor wasn't working and he was throwing up blood. Even though he still had eight years left to live, he looked like he only had two.
Porco dashed back into the room holding the blade of a bayonet.
"Give it here!" Annie ordered.
Porco gave Annie the blade before she stabbed her back through her clothes, directly into her spine. Everyone jumped back as Annie gritted her teeth in pain before taking the blade out of her back, revealing her blood to be a tainted blue with somewhat of a glow to it. She stabbed Bertholdt in the chest with it, causing the titan shifter to gasp and take a deep breath. He coughed to remainder of the blood out of his systems as his wounds began to regenerate. Everyone was still confused when his regeneration stopped at his fingers.
Annie removed the blade, revealing it to now be tainted purple. Annie stared in fear before throwing the blade to the corner of the room.
"Don't touch that blade," Annie ordered in a calmer voice, "That will kill you."
"Take him out of the room, now!" one of the commanders ordered.
Annie managed to help the sluggish Bertholdt to his feet and drag him out of the room with help from Porco.
Calvi looked in disgust as the mess before turning his attention to Reiner. "What the hell was that? What mind game are you playing?!"
"There's no mind game, sir!" Reiner exclaimed as he lifted his hands, "The flying titan; he has something more dangerous in his systems than Optimus Prime. He called the substance 'dark energon'. He said it was more dangerous than 'energon'. We assume that would be the blood coursing through the metal titan's veins. We have no idea why the flying titan's blood is different, but he said that Bertholdt's body shouldn't even remain."
"Then why is he still alive now?" Calvi demanded.
"Whatever was in Annie, she thought that it would eliminate the substance from Bertholdt's systems," Reiner explained.
"But by judging what we just witness, it merely stops the process of infection temporarily," Zeke concluded, "This 'dark energon' is still in his system, and can kill any one of us,"
Magath noticed that all the commanders looked genuinely worried while Pieck stared down in genuine fear. Zeke didn't have an expression on his face, but he still looked pretty tense.
Everyone looked over to see Annie open the door and walk in the room alone.
"Porco is going to watch over the Colossal Titan, sir," Annie informed.
"We will excuse your actions only for this moment, warrior," Calvi said, earning a submissive nod from Annie.
"This titan infected Bertholdt with dark energon," Magath began, "Did he infect any of you?"
"No," Reiner answered, "That still didn't excuse some of the actions that he did to us. When we first encountered him, he ripped out the beating heart of my titan form and crushed it between his fingers. He defeated Bertholdt's titan form three times, ending one of the fights with a single punch and another by decapitating his head."
Magath and the others now grew fearful of the actions done by the flying titan. It defeated their strongest weapons with ease, and without a moment's hesitation. Which brings the certain question:
"Why are you more fearful of the flying titan than 'Optimus Prime'?" Calvi asked.
"Because…Optimus Prime is more peaceful compared to the flying titan," Reiner explained.
"Peaceful?!" A commander shouted, "This titan shot off her arm! How would in hell would he be considered peaceful?!"
"Before he shot off my arm the second time we fought, he offered me a chance to switch allegiance to the island devils. He offered to advocate for my security and even offered to train me in his fighting style," Annie explained, "He's willing to offer chances for surrender and peace."
"He was even willing to convey basic information regarding his world," Reiner continued, "And is willing to put the lives of the devils over himself."
"Put the lives of devils over himself?" Magath questioned in disbelief.
"It sounds difficult, but I do believe it," Zeke agreed, "I let the titan figure out that humans could be turned into titans, and as he attacked me in a fit of rage, he demanded that I tell him how to change them back. He believes that humanity is extinct, and I do not know what he would do once he learned of the truth of our world."
"What about the flying titan?" Calvi demanded.
"…the flying titan…he didn't care," Annie explained, "He said he would give me a quick death, but he didn't even offer a chance of surrender. He said that he would kill us all and every other titan shifter on this world. When I finally did some damage to him, it wasn't even enough as he almost ended my life. And he just toyed with me every step of the way, even though he knew I had no chance at beating him."
"Was there…any way to discover that there was something between the metal and the flying titan? Something we could use against them?" Calvi asked.
"Bertholdt explained that the two were conversing, almost as if they hated one another, or if there was some sort of underlying tension between them," Reiner explained before chuckling in defeat, "But it didn't matter in the end what they felt towards one another. When they put their differences aside, individually they are strong, but together, they're unstoppable."
"You mentioned…that one of them was a war veteran," Magath recalled.
"Yes," Reiner answered, "The metal titan had been fighting in a war for his world and his people, and judging by the flying titan's fighting style and mannerism, I believe he was a part of that war too. According to him, that war is over."
"How long have they been fighting for?" Magath asked.
Reiner hesitated in answering, angering Commander Calvi. "How long, warrior?"
"…Four million years," Reiner answered.
"Four million?!" one shouted as everyone stared at Reiner in shock and horror.
"That's impossible!" another shouted.
"It's true," Reiner said.
Pieck seemed to notice Zeke gripping his hands at the information, but couldn't completely focus on him because of the shocking revelation.
"Commander Magath, is there any way to prove their claims?" Calvi demanded, "That this entire story isn't made up to save their own skins?!"
Annie gritted her teeth. Of course the officials didn't believe them.
"I wouldn't have believed it myself until I laid my eyes on the flying titan myself," Magath explained, "He appeared to us as we left the island, but he didn't attack our ship. He destroyed the port instead. He tore it to pieces and we could only watch, but that's not the worst of it. After he finished, he looked at our ship, smirked at us, and then bowed. That bastard mocked us by bowing."
"So if the port is destroyed, that can only mean two things: they know of our existence based off of Grisha's information, and…they've most likely found a way to eliminate the titans on the island," Pieck concluded, "If these titans are truly invincible, what is to stop them from eliminating the titans and expanding resources?"
"Pieck, you are brilliant as always," Zeke complimented.
"So as of this moment, we have no way of making contact with the island and disposing of Eldian trash," Calvi hissed before taking a deep breath, "If two of these titans managed to come upon this world, then that must mean that their resources and machinery is on this world as well."
"But we have no way to prove that," Zeke retorted.
"These titans are the proof," Calvi declared, "They must've gotten here somehow, someway. If we can analyze the piece of the flying titan you brought back with you, we can find similar minerals we can use to advance military weaponry."
"What if the minerals are exclusive to Paradis?" Zeke asked.
"Then we will conduct experiments to make you all stronger," Calvi declared, "If this 'energon' managed to enhance Leonhart's powers, enough to do some damage to these titans, then we must take it into consideration. You will rest for two days and report to the titan research facility along with Bertholdt Hoover. Experiments will be conducted in order to perfect this."
Annie grimaced at the thought of being experimented on once more. "Yes, sir!"
"As of this moment, all military endeavors to Paradis will cease," Calvi declared, "Until we can advance our artillery enough to combat these titans, these monsters, we will not send any one to the island at the moment."
Calvi turned his attention to Reiner. "I want a full detailed report of your time on the island, including the event of how exactly you lost the Jaws Titans. Your legitimacy as the Armored Titan is still in the air, so you better start making a good case."
"Yes, sir," Reiner saluted.
"You are all dismissed," Calvi said.
All the titan shifters walked out of the room along with three of the commanders while Calvi and Magath stayed inside. Calvi gritted his teeth as he stared out the window.
"How do you intend to convey this to the public?" Magath demanded, "Not only are there more advanced titans, but they come from beyond this world. Something we did not consider comprehending. If we release everything to the public, there would be mass hysteria."
"I'm aware, but if we keep the public in the dark, the enemy will have a lead over us," Calvi retorted, "We will need to work out a complete story once Braun conveys all the details, but we must advance our weaponry in the meantime. We must also be ready to prepare for the possibility of war with other countries. Once we do release this information, will they go to war with us? Or will they agree to destroy Paradis with us?"
"I doubt there will be a positive outcome," Magath admitted, "Damn, of all the possible outcomes to this. The most powerful titans in all of existence fall into the hands of those demons. Stopping regeneration, playing mind games, and yet they choose to stay on the island to defend those demons."
"They have their own sense of free will," Calvi said, "They have the powers to travel beyond worlds and can live for millions of years. Are they gods? Or are they monsters? I wish to lay my eyes on one of them to see for myself."
"You would not," Magath admitted, "The flying titan is a monster."
"I think I do believe that," Calvi stated, "But…it is a shame that the monster can fly,"
"This…brings up more complications than it's worth," Zeke remarked to the other warriors. All of them, except for Reiner, were lounging around in Zeke's office. Annie and Porco sat in different chairs while Bertholdt was resting on the couch. Pieck ringed some water out of a rag before placing it on his forehead.
"So four million years of battle," Porco remarked, "We can barely live past a century, and they've spent their lives fighting."
"I can only imagine the struggles of you guys trying to stay alive," Pieck admitted.
"If I was there, if I took the power of the Armored Titan-"
"What exactly could you have done?" Annie demanded, "You have no idea what it was like fighting the both of them. I had to struggle to stay alive, and they weren't even using their full strength."
"Maybe my brother would still be alive," Porco retorted.
"He's gone," Annie declared, "The flying titan took him, and they most likely found a way to feed him to some other titan."
"How would they even know that?" Porco demanded.
"The king of the walls experimented on me, now I have this stupid energon in my systems," Annie answered, "They found information given by Grisha Jaeger, they found the port, they forced the information out of Bertholdt. They most likely found some spinal fluid to give to someone so they could devour Marcel."
"I refuse to believe my brother is dead," Porco declared.
"We may have to assume the worst, Porco," Zeke declared, "Marcel is either captured or dead."
Porco grimaced before standing up. "Then I'll find a way to get the Jaws Titan back."
Annie watched as Porco walked out of the room before hanging her head. She hated lying about this, but it was already too late to tell the truth.
Zeke noticed Annie's weary expression before walking over to his desk and pulling out his cigarettes and matches.
"I'm going to be smoking in here," Zeke informed, "Could you please take Bertholdt to another room? I don't know how this 'dark energon' may react. The last thing I want is for him to feel worse."
Annie nodded her head before walking over to Bertholdt and lifting him over her shoulders. Pieck did her best to help due to her crutches by easing the weight off of Annie. They dragged Bertholdt's unconscious form out of the room, allowing Zeke to light a cigarette. He put out the match and put the cigarette to his lips, deeply inhaling before exhaling the smoke. He watched it leave his mouth and let it linger in the air.
He then took the phone on his desk and dialed a number before placing said phone against his ear, waiting for the person in the other end to pick up.
"Zeke, what a pleasant surprise," a female voice said from the other end, "It's been a while since you've called and asked for help."
"There's been a complication, Yelena," Zeke explained, "The flying titan aligned himself with the island."
"The flying titan…," Yelena trailed off, as if trying to recall something, "The titan you encountered after you faced the metal one. And the one you decided to withhold from Commander Calvi."
"They're both of the same species," Zeke said, "And according to Reiner's Intel, they might know each other."
"Fascinating," Yelena said with a hint of excitement in her voice, "More gods walk among us,"
"Any endeavors to the island has been delayed until further notice," Zeke informed, "I'll try to persuade Calvi to send a ship or something to the island so that you and Onyakopon can make contact with Eren Jaeger."
"I'll be extremely excited to meet your little brother," Yelena proclaimed, "But what about the metal titan that you angered?"
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," Zeke declared while rubbing his neck of a bruise that wasn't there, "He's not our objective."
"But he might be an obstacle," Yelena reminded, "We still need Eren to agree with us in order for your plan to work, right?"
"Of course," Zeke answered before staring out the window, "But it may take a little longer than expected."
"I'm with you every step of the way," Yelena declared.
The Next Day
The information regarding what happened on Paradis island was published to the public. It made headlines across the nation, and started a national debate as to what exactly they were dealing with. The government debated whether they should to withhold information regarding Optimus' and the flying titan's origins, but decided to tell the public. There was already going to be a mass panic in revealing these titans existence. Withholding the information would've given Paradis an advantage, and they weren't going to let them continue having the lead they already had.
Of course, this spawned a mass panic and debates of multiple varieties. Some questioned the legitimacy of the information, and wondered if the warriors were lying to save their skin. But Magath made sure to put in his own input to ensure that people believed the truth. That didn't stop Marleyans from not believing the information.
Others have accepted it. They believed that these two titans existed, and that they might even be a bigger threat than the demons themselves. However, many were discussing the fact regarding their origins. There was life outside of their world, which many did not believe and were trying to wrap their heads around it. A civilization for more advanced than anyone could ever dream. Were there other worlds like that? Different types of life on different planets? Many were fascinated and fearful at the idea, but many were also scared at the prospect of these titans.
One was faster than any vehicle in their artillery, the other had the ability to fly. They easily bested their strongest weapons in combat.
Overall, many were terrified and angry, because the two most powerful beings in all of existence fell into the hands of the demons. Were they gods, or were they devils? None of them were sure.
Magath stared out the window of his room, looking down at the people in the street view to see them talking with worry about the information they just learned. He tried to convince Commander Calvi to withhold the information for some time, but he suggested they release it sooner than later. Everyone would be more alert that way.
However, that didn't stop the prospect of this information spreading globally to other countries. Once they heard of the failure of the warriors, no doubt they would try to go to war. He would hope that they won't, but the prospect was still in the air.
Magath recalled the flying titan bowing to them and grimaced. They knew the name of the metal titan, and knew some things about them, but they knew nothing of the flying titan. Not even his name. All they knew was that he was willing to play the role of a monster.
The warriors, excluding Zeke, looked up at the gated internment zone of their home: Liberio. After Bertholdt rested and Reiner wrote the report, they were ordered by Commander Magath to go back to their hometown.
Pieck stared back at Bertholdt, Reiner, and Annie and smiled. "Welcome home."
Porco watched Pieck walk through the gate before glaring at Reiner.
"I have to tell my parents about my brother," Porco reminded, "And of your incompetence."
"Porco, it wasn't his fault," Bertholdt retorted.
Porco merely scowled before walking inside the internment zone. The remaining three looked at each other before walking into the internment zone together. The three stared in surprise as they saw a small crowd awaiting them. The crowd looked at the three in sadness and sorrow, making the three come to the conclusion that they heard the news about the island.
The three suddenly heard crying as they turning to see Porco's parents grieving as they held their only child left. Porco looked ready to cry, but he held in his tears and guided his parents back to their home.
"Reiner!" a voice shouted.
Reiner turned to see a blonde woman running to him with a smile on her face. He grunted as the woman gave him a tight hug.
"You're home my son!" she smiled as tears came down her face, "My warrior!"
"M-mom," Reiner stuttered.
"Bertholdt," a voice spoke.
Bertholdt turned and saw his mother walking to him. He was about to smile, but noticed her distressed expression.
"Mom," Bertholdt began as he walked up to her, "What happened?"
"Your father," she began, "Your father is sick, and he's not getting better. The doctor said that he's been in a coma for days."
She began to cry as she gripped his shirt. "He might not…,"
Bertholdt tried to process the information, but grabbed his mother and looked her in the eyes. "Take me to him."
She nodded her head as she guided him to the Eldian hospital.
Reiner looked on in guilt at his friend before his mother let him go and caressed his cheek.
"You're alright," she smiled with tears in her eyes, "My precious warrior. You came home, and you're not hurt."
Reiner felt the guilt inside of him worsen as he stared at the ground instead. His mother tried to comfort him but he merely shook his head.
"I need time," Reiner said.
"Oh…well…of course," she said, "We'll find a way to get the demons; I know you will. I'll cook you a nice meal, to welcome you home."
Reiner wasn't necessarily able to refuse as his mother took him back to their home. Annie watched Reiner's stricken expression, but didn't pay mind to it as someone else came into view. A middle aged man with black hair and cane in hand came walking up to her before standing still, leaning on said cane for support.
"Father," Annie greeted with bated breath.
"Annie," her father greeted back before smiling, "You kept your promise."
"Father…I've changed," Annie began, "I'm not the same person I was when I left. Both physically and mentally. I don't even know what's coursing in me now, so please…don't expect me to be the same person."
Mr. Leonhart didn't respond as he walked up to his daughter and gave her the best hug that he could offer.
"I don't care if you're the same person," he whispered, "I know you won't be, but you came back home. That's all I wanted for you. Thank you for keeping your promise."
Annie was startled by her father's declaration and almost looked ready to cry tears of joy, but she stopped when she remembered the flying titan, and the threat he placed on her father. The titan shifter managed to hold back her emotions as she wrapped her arms around her father. This may be the last chance she can truly hold the man before the inevitable comes.
Her father would be doomed, and so would everyone else.
Four months later (In another town)
"When do you think the island devils will attack with their new weapons?" a man asked his friend as they walked down the street.
"Who knows," the other admitted, "Honestly I don't know which one is more of a threat: the titans in the walls or the ones from another planet."
"The idea of life outside of this world is still bizarre," the first man remarked.
"Not bizarre enough to prevent a war with the Middle Eastern Nations," the second man grumbled, "We don't need this."
"But the situation is still serious," the first man said, "I hear that the Tybur family might get involved, and are heading to the Marley Military Headquarters."
"That so?" the second man questioned, "They never get involved in anything, not after they helped destroy the Eldian Empire."
Before the first man could add anything, he bumped into someone that wasn't necessarily watching where they were going. He was going to shout at them, but held his tongue as he saw the man's face littered with multiple scars. He had grey hair and wore a buttoned up grey trench coat with a bag over his shoulders and a map in his hands. But the thing that threw the off the most was his intense gaze with those odd red eyes.
"S-sorry," the first man apologized.
"I didn't watch where I was going," the newcomer reasoned, "I'm just irritated because these maps seemed to grow more and more complicated by the day."
"What do you need help with?" the second man offered.
"I'm trying to find the train station," the newcomer explained, "I've been walking on foot for days and I need a faster way to get to where I'm going."
"Oh, well the train station is actually just up ahead if you continue walking down the road," the second man explained, "Routes should be listed over there to help."
The newcomer hummed in response before walking off, leaving the two in a slight daze.
"Man he didn't even thank us," the second man remarked.
"You kidding me?!" the first man exclaimed, "He looked ready to rip my face off."
Megatron looked down at the map in his hands once more before scowling and folding it before putting it in the bag. These things were so primitive it made him want to scream his head off. He hated this. He couldn't believe he even agreed to do this two months ago! He never thought that he would infiltrate humans and walk among them like he was inferior. When proposed the idea, he should've wringed the mad scientist's throat when he had the chance.
But it was too late, and he had to follow the objective at hand: infiltrating Marley and finding a way to destroy them from within.
Me: Finally, a shorter chapter! And Megatron's in Marley! I had this idea for a while and decided that I wanted to play it out. Instead of skipping straight to four years like Hajime did I kind of wanted to go into what happened between the four years. I may shorten the time, we'll see.
But the point of this chapter was merely to step up the stage per say, and introduce characters that we would grow to know and maybe like. Of course not everyone in the Marley cast has been introduced, but they will eventually.
But of course the seeds of lies have been planted and will only grow to bite everyone in the ass later. And for those who may be confused about some elements like Zeke encountering Megatron, read the Purpose OVA. I don't always write my oneshots without reason; I write them to help with character development and moving the story all. I'm not reuploading my oneshots on fanfiction however. They're all going to stay on Wattpad.
And regarding what the next chapter will be and when it will happen. I'm not sure if I want it to be regarding the Cybertronian ship, Megatron's continued infiltration of Marley, or both. I will have to write some scenes down and see how it plays out in order to come to a conclusion because both topics could be chapters of their own. We'll see.
And I start school on September 27, but I have no idea if I can get another chapter out before then. If I can't, the next chapter update will be in December as usual.
Thank you for reading and please leave a comment.
(P.S. I know that almost everyone hates Gabi Braun. I'm pretty neutral with her cause I know what Hajime is trying to show, but I definitely understand why everyone hates her. Don't worry, Megatron's going to kick her…in the face. That's a promise.)