A/N : I'm baaaaaaaaaack!
Chapter 12 - Secrets
"Ingrid," Levi said with a hint of distaste. He took a step closer towards her, careful to avoid the pools of blood on the floor. Corpses littered the space, filling it with the stench of iron and death.
Ingrid Wolff stood in the middle of the room, her chest heaving and the pistol in her hand still smoking. The crimson dripping off her knife was dark, like the oily brown locks that were draped over her face. Her pant leg was torn down one side and soaked with blood. An ugly gash snaked its way down her exposed thigh.
"You-" She tried to take a step, but the pain in her leg was too great. She cried out in pain as she fell forward. Levi managed to catch her before she hit the ground, but she immediately swung her pistol at his head, hitting him square in the temple with the hot metal. "You fucker!"
"Levi!" Hanji ran over to him and helped him up. "Oh god,your skin, it's burnt!"
Jelani kept his pistol aimed at Ingrid. Anya approached her cautiously, her hand resting on the hilt of her rapier.
When Levi came back to his senses, he touched his his swollen temple gingerly, feeling the dryness of the burn on his skin. White hot pain racked his head, and he retracted his hand. "Damn it Ingrid, didn't I teach you to use the butt of the gun instead of the barrel?" he said through gritted teeth.
Ingrid was sprawled on the floor, the side of her face pressed against a pool of blood. She was sobbing. Levi got to his feet and looked at her with pity. "Help her up," he said, glancing over at Anya and Jelani. They did as they were told, helping her to sit up against the wall. She grimaced in pain as they lifted her, but she simply grunted and then continued to sob.
Squatting down in front of her, Levi pulled out his handkerchief and tried to wipe the blood off her face.
"Still can't stand dirtiness, huh?" Ingrid said, a pained smirk stretching across her face. "Still can't stand to see anything tarnish your pure whiteness?" She took her blood-stained hand and wiped it on his cravat. "So high. So mighty. Lance Corporal Levi," she cooed.
"I need information."
"What? Not even going to act like you care?"
Levi continued to wipe her blood covered cheek gently. "Why were these men sent here to assassinate you?" he asked.
Ingrid ignored his question. Her eyes were fixated on a corpse lying not far from them. "You remember Kaufmann, don't you? Look over there. He died taking a shot for me." She glanced over at another corpse. "Samuel's dead too. And Priscilla. They're all dead. I gave everything. I sacrificed everything for this power."
"I gave everything and now everyone is dead, and I'm dying." She chuckled weakly, her pale face scrunched up as she cried.
Levi put the handkerchief down and glanced at his team. Jelani pried a knife from the rigid fingers of one of the corpses. "Looks like it's coated in poison," he said gravely.
"Levi, you fuck. You left us." Ingrid coughed heavily. "You said you'd kill him, but you went and became his lackey."
"What's she talking about?" Hanji cut in, dread permeating her features.
"I'm talking about how he wanted to kill Irvin Smith, bitch," Ingrid answered.
An uneasy silence followed. Anya was the first to speak up. "What is she talking about?" she asked.
Levi glanced over his shoulder but did not make eye contact with any of them. "I had my reasons, but now is not the time," was all he said.
"What? You can't just-" Hanji stammered.
"I will explain this to you later." Levi sighed. He looked back to Ingrid.
"You almost look like you're sorry to see me go," she said with a weak laugh. He did not reply. "Fine. Make it quick. I don't have long."
"Before Wall Maria fell, Irvin led an unauthorized expedition outside the walls. Do you know about this?" he asked, not missing a beat.
"Who do you think I am? I work information for a living. Well, at least I used to until just now." A wry smile spread across her face.
"What was it for?"
"To catch a Titan. They needed it to make-" Ingrid coughed and sputtered for a few moments. "They needed it for the serum."
"To create Titan-shifters?"
"Yes and no. They needed this particular Titan to make a particular type of Titan shifter."
"Who are they? I need to know everything, Ingrid."
"I'm fucking dying here for crying out loud. Cut me some slack. You owe me that much."
"I owe you nothing," he replied, his patience wearing thin. "You brought this all on yourself. I told you not to go down this path."
"Then should I have followed you then? Or maybe we should have continued being played with by the other gangs? Should we have stayed in the slums?" Ingrid retorted. "If you hadn't left us, we'd have been stronger. We could have stopped those assassins. They wouldn't have had to die for me. For a useless boss like me."
"Who are they?" Levi repeated, not wanting to waste any more time. "Did they send the assassins?"
"No. These assassins were sent by the Wall Cult. Fucking bastards. Guess I dug too deep." She spat out a globule of bloody saliva. "As for Irvin's crew. They call themselves The Sons of Muspell."
"What secrets are the Wall Cult keeping?"
"Plenty. For one thing, the pretty walls that surround us? They're filled with Colossal Titans from end to end."
"What?" Hanji blurted out. She was struggling to grasp all the information that Ingrid was spilling out.
"It's why the Wall Cult doesn't want people tampering with the walls," Ingrid continued. "They're up to something fishy up in the capital. The Wall Cult. The nobility. The king. They're all involved. You can ask that pretty little thing over there. She should know."
"What? I don't know anything about what you're saying," Anya stammered, taken aback by her words.
"Anya Arnautovic, of the Arnautovic family. Your family might not be directly involved, since you're all only minor nobles, but your parents should know a thing or two about what's going on. All of you from the capital are knee deep in this shit."
Ingrid was struggling to draw breath now. The skin on her face blanched with the paleness of oncoming death. She started to sob again.
"What are the Sons of Muspell?" Levi urged. The expression on his face showed no hint of sorrow, but his eyes were unusually moist.
"Rebel-" Ingrid wheezed painfully. "Rebel group." With all the strength she had left, she reached blindly for Levi. He grasped her bloody hand tightly. The sensation made Ingrid smile. "I'm scared," she whispered. "I don't want to die, Levi."
"Take the paper from my pocket," she said. Levi did as he was told, reaching his free hand into her breast pocket. He pulled out a folded piece of paper.
"Remember the good old days? We used to feel invincible," Ingrid muttered, "but you left us."
"I'm sorry, Ingrid."
"It's okay. At least you came back."
Levi felt her cold fingers slip out of his hand. He wiped the tears from her lifeless eyes and gently pulled her eyelids down. Hanji squeezed his shoulder as he got to his feet. "I'm sorry," she said solemnly. He simply nodded and unfolded the paper in his hands. His eyes widened as he read its contents. "We need to head to the capital," he said.
"What does it say?" Jelani asked.
"It's a message from one of her informants." Levi folded the paper and slipped it into his pocket. "Irvin and Pixis – the Sons of Muspell – are going to make their move tonight, while the capital is undermanned because of the need to send soldiers to reinforce Wall Rose."
The gravity of his statement gave him pause, something that he was not used to.
"They're going to attempt a coup."
A/N : Thanks for taking the time to read my story! Please drop me a review to tell me what you think about it!
Kind of a short chapter, I know, but better than nothing, eh? Haha. Hope my writing skills haven't become rusty!
Oh yeah, I've decided to make it Levi and Hanji, since these are the spellings that the fandom is most used to.
Anyhoo, sem break starts next week, and it'll go on until January 14th! Woohooo. I'll try not to be lazy and update as much as I can!
Welp, that's all folks. Till next time!