Trigger Warning: I recommend reading the trigger warning at the bottom of the page if you are sensitive to certain topics.


Ymir was staring at her room. This was the first place where she felt she had something akin to a family. She was an orphan before being sentenced to life as a pure Titan.

Sure, she had a cult take her in and prop her up as a symbol they could worship as their saviour, but even then no one ever wanted to be with her. No one actually knew her. And the life they gave her was nothing like the life she was given now.

That's why she was hesitant to leave, regardless of how much the two boys pissed her off. All of the others couldn't see the memories this place had. They couldn't feel how much this place contributed to their life.

Ymir smiled as she allowed herself to remember the antics that played out under this roof. They were going to leave and join the training corp soon. There wasn't anything she could do about it.

She sighed. Maybe she could distract herself a bit by shadowing Eliza. The Gods know how much trouble she's been when she tried to come up with a layout for Trost. The girl's mind was at constant work when it came to items as she tried to figure out how it would help her in her plans.

Now if she would just do the same when it came to manipulating people. Ymir was still sticking to her opinion that Eliza would one day fail at staying alive if she didn't stay at her side. She's just too emotional for her own good.

Armin and his friends were out for the day. Eren didn't have any attachments to Trost but Armin made a few friends with the townspeople and Mikasa and Eren still felt for their friend.

Eliza stayed. She was probably overthinking some things.

Ymir saw her standing in front of the sink. Steam was billowing out of there. What did she do this time? She wondered. If she accidentally cut herself while making dinner then she wouldn't be allowing Eliza to live it down.

"Hey, Klutz. What kind of fancy dinner did you cut yourself trying to make? You do know we're happy with those simple steamed pork buns you can make right?"

Eliza didn't respond to Ymir's comment.

"Eliza?" Ymir called again. "Hey, are you okay?" She touched her shoulder and looked at what she was doing in the sink.

"What are you doing?!" She screeched.

Ymir flung Eliza's hands out of the boiling container of water that sat inside of the sink. Her hands were still releasing steam but now Ymir had no clue whether it was her regenerative abilities or the heated water droplets that were boiling into the air.

Ymir's nerves were shot from the panic she suffered. But relief washed over her when the blisters and burns on Eliza's hands began disappearing. At least she hadn't lost her will to live.

She sighed and slunk to the floor.

"Do you know what the worst thing about me is?"

"What?" Ymir breathed out and stared at her friend.

Eliza's eyes were locked onto the floor avoiding eye contact with Ymir.

"I'm scared of death. But I think I deserve it." Her voice cracked. "For what I'm doing to escape it. I don't think I have the resolve I thought I had."


Training Day

I don't remember who I am. That's the first fact I learned in this world. I was born with a blank slate along with second hand knowledge of this world. And the years that have passed since I've arrived haven't helped. Sometimes I'll feel like I found myself here just yesterday, other times it'll feel like I've lived here my whole life which isn't that far off.

But what has remained constant is my fear of death and the guilt that follows every action of mine. It's always there in my eyes when I look into the mirror. Every large action I take is dictated by it. Including manipulating Eren which had proven to be impossible. He may as well be missing a brain whenever he has set off something.

"This is finally the day we start preparing." Eren spoke to the other two kids that were sharing the carriage with us. His voice quaked with excitement as he expressed his desire to rid the world of the Titan menace.

His emerald eyes were sharpened with violence. It felt like he would go bounding off into the distance with the restlessness he was displaying.

Mikasa tried to calm him down by touching his shoulder but he shook her off. "I'm going to train hard to get strong in order to make this world a safer place for all of us to live in."

One of the kids scoffed at Eren's words. "And how are you gonna do that? By killing every single Titan?"

"And I'll enjoy it," Eren glowered agreeing with the hypothetical example.

The guy's friends seemed to look up to Eren's resolve. I wasn't interested in them though, they were background characters that would end up dropping out or becoming Titan fodder sometime in the future.

"I still don't think they're the real enemy," I began.

I can still shape his rage and guide it to the real enemy right now. However, doing so could end up as a double edged sword.

I gulped thinking about the scene I watched on tv when Willy's younger sister was shattered by the jaw titan and had all of her fluids drizzle down Eren's Titan throat.

I'll make sure he stays in the right direction while keeping in his good graces. Changing history while maintaining certain aspects was going to be so complicated.

"What do you mean? You saw everything they did to our home! You even went back there for a stupid ring!" I used my ring as an excuse when I told Armin that I was going back to Shiganshina but I had no clue how Eren ended up finding out.

"But do we know how the Titans came to be in the first place? Isn't it a bit too convenient that they surround the walls keeping us inside like cattle?" Eren flinched thinking about what I said.

"You have arrived at your destination!" The coachman announced. Everyone in here refused to exit and all eyes were glued to me. I had their undivided attention.

"Your anger is justified and it can be your weapon but make sure it's pointed in the right direction or you might find out that you've been stabbing yourself all along." One of the kids laughed as I stepped out of the carriage leaving Eren speechless.

Commander Sadie had us perform a series of exercises when we filed into the training camp before anything else could happen. He then sorted us in the field based on how well we performed.

I was part of the promising Scouts thanks to my training as a warrior leading to me being right next to Annie and Reiner. Marco was a few scouts behind me accompanied by Jean.

Mikasa was at the front which was only 2 rows ahead. And Sasha was eating her potato which ended up causing the ruckus she would become memorable for.

Throughout the whole thing, my face remained hard and my body was stiff. I was going to spend 2 years here before the story would pick up. Even though my days would be spent undergoing rigorous training, these 2 years would be the easiest and slowest times.

"Are you coming?" I was stretching out my sore muscles when Ymir came up to me.

I smiled. "Why? Are you that hungry?"

Ymir scoffed at my remark. "You're the one who hasn't been working out as much as I do. With all the training you put me through while you sit back and watch." A silent pause. "You need to relax y'know. Don't push yourself too much or you'll just end up snapping yourself." I reeled internally. All of a sudden it got difficult for me to swallow.

"Well, as you can see, I'm as fit as a horse." I flexed my muscles in response. Some guy behind us let out a wolf whistle and I just turned, winking at them and putting on the theatrics for him and his friends. The leather Scout Regiment jacket did wonders at accentuating my body if I said so.

I looked at Ymir and it seemed that she wasn't having any of it. I silently urged her to believe that I was alright. I didn't need to feed the flames that made her believe that I needed her protection. An ego is a dangerous weapon if left unchecked and I had to constantly keep her under watch. Her Titan could end up ruining my plans if it fell into the wrong hands.

"Looks like you're very popular with the boys," Ymir finally said. She flatly glared at the group that was passing by.

"I have my charms. Not everyone can be as broody as you after all," I joked comfortably now.

You know, I actually don't remember ever seeing a genuine innocent smile taking residence on her face. No matter how hard I tried I was never able to get her to crack open a smile. Then why do I remember seeing her smile? And it wasn't from watching the anime nor from her smiling at someone else's misfortune. The smile I remember is from 13-year-old Ymir and she was smiling at me but I can't remember where or why.

We ended up going to the mess hall not long after. Almost everyone had already gotten their meals and were getting to know each other. About 25 students. I don't remember how many recruits there were originally but I don't think there were this many.

"Hi, my name's Marco Bott."

I looked up. "I know who you are. Mister 'I wanna live safe and sound inside the walls." He chuckled.

"Don't tell me you've never thought about saving your own skin," I could feel my body get cold at that comment. "Almost everyone here is thinking about a way to survive the new world we've been given. Maybe except for him," He looked at Eren who was currently in his rant about killing every single titan in the world.

"He's a real piece of work."

"Trust me, he is," I agreed.

"It sounds like you know him?"

"Know him?" I laughed. "We lived together with a couple of other friends for a while, isn't that right, Ymir?" I nudged her with my shoulder. Marco looked at her as if noticing her for the first time.

"Oh, I didn't see you there, sorry. I guess you already know my name, right?" Marco laughed nervously.

Ymir stared at him. "Don't care." And continued to eat silently.

"Sorry about that," I apologised. "She isn't really comfortable with strangers." An idea popped into my head and I leaned over to Marco to whisper loudly, "It's as if she's a cat." I winced as she kicked me under the table.

"Hmm. I think I understand what you go through," Marco raised his eyes to smile at Jean who was being placed under a chokehold by Eren.

"You're both laughing now? Great." Ymir groaned. She raised an eyebrow at us as we both burst out laughing at the scene.

It was relaxing to talk to him. There was something about how he presented himself and how he talked to you. His effect even kept me calm as I told him the tale I spun about our survival in the fall of Shiganshina. I was just calm until I heard the other candidates speak about the titans that were spotted the day after the Colossal broke through.

"I don't know if you guys heard, but the day after the big one appeared, there were 3 more strange titans that were seen. And strangely, they all fought each other."

I ignored the chill that rested on my spine and looked over to see the reactions of Reiner and his crew of warriors. There weren't any visible emotions on their faces but Reiner and Bertolt were both staring at each other. My cover is officially blown when it comes to them. Shit!

"It's great to sit back and unwind after a long day of Scout Preparation. Everyone who decided to stay looks like is having fun." I was still too shaken to process what Marco was talking about.

"Well. Not everyone," I said looking at my food. Setting my worries aside I thought about what happens in the show. I know Historia was going to sneak out some bread for Sasha but I kind of felt bad. After all that running, she deserved a little more than bread.

"Hey, I have an idea." I leaned over and whispered in his ear avoiding Ymir's suspicious look.

"Got it?"

"Yeah."

"Where are you going?" Ymir stood up to block my way out.

"I'm gonna stretch my legs and get some fresh air."

"You're not done eating," She pointed at my bowl which was still full of soup.

"I'm not that hungry."

"I'll go with you then."

"Ymir, seriously. I don't need a babysitter." I pushed past her. Marco was going to have some questions after that, but I honestly don't know what to say since I have no clue why Ymir was acting this way.

"I'm coming with you."

"Fine. But don't rat me out to Sadies."

Ymir followed as I slipped out of the mess hall. Sasha was still running her laps around the camp but it looked like she was barely even managing to drag herself. Commander Sadies was nowhere in sight anymore, he must've retreated back to his quarters for the night, so I was in awe at Sasha's determination and what could be seen as respect to the military command structure since she could've stopped her punishment the moment the Commander left.

"Dumbass. She should've waited at least until there wasn't any attention on her to eat her damned food." Ymir spat.

"Psst. Eliza." Marco called to me from one of the mess hall's windows.

I walked up to it and picked up my bowl of food that he pushed onto the ledge. No one was out here so it was safe to continue with what we planned. I wouldn't be getting in trouble tonight.

"I'll be out in a few minutes. I just need to refill my water skin."

"Oh. I get what you're doing."

"Huh?" I looked at Ymir questioningly.

"You're trying to manipulate these people into serving you. You don't need them though. There's nothing they can do that I can't do for you and…"

"I'm not doing that. Believe it or not. I still have a heart."

"Oh, I can totally believe that. I just thought that you were growing out of it so that you could y'know. Actually go through with your plan? You're going to end up dying if you keep looking out for others."

"No I won't." I sighed. I don't want to admit she has a point but I couldn't just snap my fingers and change the way I am in an instant. The Hidden Titan can only do so much. "Besides, I have you. Don't I?" I forced myself to smile up at her.

She was taken aback. "Uhm. Yeah. I guess I'd do a good job at protecting you. If you need my protection of course."

"So… tired. Need food." Sasha came crawling along the ground and she couldn't even keep her face out of the dirt. I hurried over to her side leaving Ymir who only observed the whole scene.

"Sasha. I brought you… eep!" I heard Ymir cackle as Sasha ripped the bowl out of my hands and started wolfing down its contents.

"Sasha?" Historia came out clutching a loaf of bread just like in the show.

Like an animal, Sasha also pounced past Historia slashing the bread out of her hands and tore into it squealing in animalistic glee.

"Oh." Historia looked at us a little shaken. "You two also brought her something? I couldn't get anything other than bread outside though," she lamented.

I felt myself blush furiously at her delicate appearance.

"Hey. It's the thought that counts. Besides. I don't think she would've preferred anything else." Sasha was still busy tearing her loaf to pieces.

"Uhm, I guess." I smiled for her.

"She must really love food," Marco chuckled nervously as he joined us.

"Ack! Food. The food is mad. It's choking me," Sasha coughed desperately though she didn't let go of the last piece of bread she had.

"And that's why, everyone needs to pace themselves or else make sure they have something to wash down their food." Marco knelt next to her and gently fed her water.

"You three must be a pantheon of gods. No doubt about it," Sasha said.

As soon as she was well again, she shoved the last of her meal down her stomach. Her hair was a mess after the whole debacle she put herself in and her face was madly flushed which I guess matched my face.

"You," she pointed at Historia. "Goddess of the Harvest and Starches. And you," she turned to me. "Goddess of the Hunt and Butchering. While he is the God of Fresh Springs and Hydration

"I worship you three with all my heart for you have saved my life!" Sasha was on her knees with her forehead pressed to the dirt. I couldn't do anything other than shift uncomfortably in place.

Historia bent down trying to touch Sasha's shoulder. "You— you don't have to, eep!" She yelped as Sasha collapsed on her back from Historia's touch and let out a snore.

"Ugh, are you done yet? The lot of you are lost causes. And you," Ymir pointed a finger at me. "Need to get some rest Eliza. You gave away the only food set for you today. And tomorrow is going to be a tough day with the 3D maneuvering training."

I agreed and followed her to where we would be staying every night from now on.

"Marco."

"Jean? What happened?"

Right on queue. Jean's trust in Eren had been erased. At least there were familiar things happening. Not everything was different.


Today was a long day with the introduction to the scouts and meeting new people. So I was glad when I was able to finally lay in my bed. I don't know how much time had passed but I was half-awake in the middle of the night.

The cool air and the darkness soothed me and I was almost fully asleep again when my body twitched. I shot up in my bed having been startled by my sudden movement.

I hadn't even realised that I'd been sweating so much that my shirt was now matted to my skin. I shivered as a cold draft pressed against me.

I sighed and focused on my breathing returning it to normal. My heart was still beating quickly but it was slowing a bit. My nerves were finally calm when Marco popped his head over the bed startling me anew making me yelp in surprise.

"What are you doing?" I whispered out of breath.

My breath caught in my throat as I noticed how his eyes glistened from the ray of moonlight that swathed his face. It also gave his hair a silvery sheen that made it seem soft to touch. I had to resist the urge to run my fingers through it.

"I could feel the way you tossed around on your bed." He smiled sympathetically. "It must be difficult to get some proper sleep when you've seen the worst that the world has to offer, huh?" I nodded hesitantly. Where was Marco going with this?

"I can't imagine how awful it would've been to experience everything you did that day. At least the other refugees were able to escape the walls, but you spent so long trapped in your basement listening to what was happening outside."

"Yeah. I actually still have nightmares about that day." It was true. After all these years, what I did to Ido still haunted me.

"I bet. You must hate us though."

I looked at him. "Why would I hate you?"

"Because people like me who live deeper in the walls got to sleep peacefully. Blissful to your tragedy. Eren watched his mother get eaten alive while we ate. You had to hear the terrified screams of your neighbours while we played." Marco's eyes were distant. He blamed himself, I realised.

Tears welled up in my eyes. This was what I put all of these people through for not trying to stop anything while I had the chance. I was too busy fearing death, scheming and betraying my friends to save these people. Marcel stood his ground that day. If I had done more, I could've helped him convince everyone else to stop the invasion. We could've come up with a plan to remove the king of the walls and helped them rebel against the world and…

"Do you want— do you need someone to help you go to sleep?" Marco offered.

"Wait what?" I choked misunderstanding the situation.

Marco blushed as he shook his hand in front of him in a flustered manner. "It's. It's not like that. It's just that when my sister used to have night terrors, she would calm down when someone slept next to her. She felt safe." He was looking at the ground lost in his memories. "But I can offer to hold your hand until you fall asleep."

I couldn't help but laugh. I had to admit that he was cute when he was flustered. And the ridiculous haircut of his only added to the innocence in his face. "Maybe it would help," I admitted as our hands clasped together.

A spark of static coursed where we touched and for a moment I could feel the peace in his mind wash over me and I let it lull me to sleep.


"TRY HARDER THAN THAT YOU MAGGOT! IF YOUR FATHER HAD YOUR SENSE OF BALANCE, HE WOULD'VE FALLEN ON HIS ASS THE MOMENT YOUR MOTHER TURNED HIM AROUND!"

"Sir! Yes Sir! Forgive me, Sir!" Marco scrambled to fasten himself back into the ODM training gear while Sadies moved on to the next cadet.

"NICE WORK CADET. I MAY END UP ALLOWING YOU TO LICK MY FEET IF YOU KEEP KISSING THE FLOOR BY KEEPING YOUR HEAD SO LOW TO THE GROUND." Sadies barked at Bertolt who was struggling to keep his balance.

"Sorry, sir," he apologised through gritted teeth. However, Bertolt somehow avoided slamming his face on the dirt when Sadies pushed past him.

The Commander's eyes flicked back and he gave a dry chuckle. "I take that back cadet. You may show some promise, just like Arlert." His gaze flew over to the blond kid whose tense body was minimising the amount of swinging as he hung in the air with his ODM training gear.

While Commander Sadies screamed his head off at the recruits, I inspected the training gear from afar. They were nothing like the ODM gear we would end up being given. It was just a bunch of wires tied to a harness. I guess the Military only cared about giving recruits a sense of what it was like to be strapped into the real gear and how to handle the free falling nature of the gear's movement.

However, if that's what they really wanted to do, it had a flawed design as recruits who were strapped into them wouldn't be able to know what it's like when you're violently pulled forward or jerked to the side to dodge a Titan. Then again, the simple harness with strings would be difficult for a number of us to handle. Eren especially would be eating shit. Though that's because his harness is tampered with.

"FOR THE REST OF YOU! LOOK HERE AT THESE 3 CADETS." Sadies stood with his hands behind his back motioning with his head at Ymir, Reiner, and Mikasa. "SEE THEM. OBSERVE THEM. LOVE THEM. ASPIRE TO BE THEM. THEY ARE PRIME EXAMPLES OF WHAT YOU'RE ALL SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE WHEN USING THE ODM GEAR."

All three of them were effortlessly suspended in the air. There was no wobbling aside from a subtle swing that was due to the effects of their weight on the strings. Ymir and Mikasa were expressionless like always, but Reiner had a rough determined look plastered on his face.

"ALL OF YOU ARE FINISHED. NEXT WAVE OF CADETS, STEP UP IT'S YOUR TURN NOW."

I nervously stepped up to Ymir's ODM training gear as she unhooked her harness from the cables. The others in my training set were Annie, Eren, Sasha, Connie, Jean, and some other kid.

"Any advice?" I asked Ymir nervously. I have no clue how good I am at balancing myself, back in my old life I remember always slipping whenever I tried walking in a straight line on the edge of a curb.

"Yeah, Don't eat shit," Ymir said, buckling me into the gear.

"Okay then." I took a deep breath trying to calm myself as I was slowly raised into the air.

Now that I was up close I could see the way the training set was set up. I don't know why I expected their contraptions to be any different from my world's but I was surprised to see that their pulleys were set up just like how you would in my world. My curiosity of this world's machines and technology was slowly bubbling and distracting me from what was going on that I was startled when I realised that my feet were no longer touching the ground.

"Oh my god. I'm doing it," I celebrated silently. "Whoa." I gasped when my balance was interrupted for a quick second.

"Well, whaddya know. You actually have a skill," Ymir said.

"And me beating you up one on one isn't?" I shot back.

Ymir huffed indignantly, making me laugh.

"SHIT!" I winced as Eren keeled forward and slammed his face into the ground. That same wince cost me my balance and sent me backward.

Searing Pain shot throughout my head. Having a healing factor does not negate the sensation of pain, I already knew that from my year of endless training in Marley. My head was swimming and a dizzy spell got a hold of me as Ymir called to me. I could also vaguely hear Marco's voice in the distance.

"I'm okay." I said when everything cleared up a minute later.

"You gave us quite the scare there, Cadet." Commander Sadies sighed as he helped me up.

"I'm sorry Commander. But I'm fine now."

"Good. Now why don't you take a break. You were decent on the ODM until your friend bit it."

"Understood sir," I accepted his offer and staggered over to Ymir and Marco.

"If only Eren were like you. BUT THAT USELESS FISTS FOR BRAINS WON'T LISTEN TO REASON!"

"I-I know I can do it this time. Please sir, let me go again!" Eren begged with fear filling his eyes.

"YOU SAID THE SAME THING TWICE. AND YOU GROUND YOUR FACE INTO MY HEELS 3 TIMES IN THE TIME IT TOOK HER TO COME TO." Sadies planted his feet as he stepped up to Eren.

The kid was on the ground grovelling at the commander. I couldn't see his face anymore but I could feel the desperation he had.

"Please, sir. One more time."

"No."

Eren's frame twitched. His face slowly rose to look at the Commander's eyes and they were filled with horror.

"But, sir…"

"You will have your chance to prove yourself to me tomorrow evening. Everyone else will have the rest of the day to practice once we are finished giving everyone a crash course of what is expected and how the ODM feels. But you, Eren Jaeger, will have to wait until tomorrow. You will go to the medic's tent in the meantime. And that's an order!" Commander Sadies corrected before Eren could protest.

"Yes. Sir."

"There is something wrong with that boy," Ymir wrinkled her nose in disgust.

"What do you expect? A titan ate his mother right in front of him," Marco said.

"Actually, he's always been like this." I corrected.

"Wait, seriously?" Marco scrutinised Eren.

"Yep."

After everyone had been introduced to the ODM training gear I was finally given a chance to try the thing again. I am by no means perfect on the training gear, in fact I think I'm better at combat — One of my greatest accomplishments as a Marleyan warrior was besting Annie as kids after all — since I couldn't do the things Ymir suddenly came up with. I was excited to see her using the actual devices and see how she could maneuver.

Meanwhile, the best I could manage to do was nail staying very still. I wasn't as tense as Armin but I wasn't as graceful as Ymir and Mikasa. But at least I wasn't eating shit again.

"Try moving forward." I followed Ymir's order and swung forward a couple of inches. "Now move back." I had the forward and back movements in the bag. The quickest ways to travel. But I kept having trouble with the rest of the omnidirectional movements. Perhaps I'm better at this in practice rather than in theory, I gave myself the benefit of the doubt.

"Hey, Eliza. There's an easier way to do this. If you want, I can teach you," Armin came offering.

"Armin? I thought you went with Eren?"

"He's staying at the medic's," he explained. "But I'm actually interested in how the real ODM devices actually work. They're supposed to be our special weapon against the Titans and integral to our survival." His eyes shone with excitement mirroring my own emotions.

"You too!?" I exclaimed a little too excited. Ymir caught me by my jacket's scruff before I smacked my face on the ground.

"We should inspect the gear when we finally get our own. I met this guy, Marco, right over there—" I pointed, Marco was busy at the moment helping out his friend, Jean, "—and he tells me he helped out his family with the machines in his farm. He could give us a start in learning about the ODMs."

"Oh, that would be awesome," Armin agreed.

"You nerds make me sick." Ymir feigned disgust as she gave me a light shake from the jacket. I giggled at her antics.

I looked over at Marco again and caught him looking at me. He smiled and nudged Jean to make him wave. Jean rubbed his neck and looked at me painfully embarrassed giving a small wave which I returned. There was something going on with Marco and it was intriguing me.

I realised something right then and there as Armin laughed at Ymir's threats and as I basked in Marco's gaze. These were people who I wanted to protect.

Stage number 3: Save my friends.

Goal 1: Stop Marco from getting eaten.


Sorry guys I didn't post an update last week because I still hadn't completed this chapter when I got really sick. No COVID, I already had that last year. But this chapter was a little longer than usual so I hope you guys enjoyed.

Cdog: Thank you. I appreciated your good wishes. I think I nailed most of my tests but I did get a 74% on my sociology midterm ^^" heh.

Heitor: You bet you've made a good impression. POV shifts will be happening in the story. But they'll be sparse I think. I still don't know how I'll handle POV shifts. I also want to correct that Shifters are near-immortal. They can still die if they're mortally wounded with some exceptions but they'll survive as long as they're conscious and somewhat healthy.

Trigger Warning: The Prelude contains sensitive topics dealing with self harm. Skip to the Subtitle Training Day if you wish to continue.