Reparations took time. Wounds took care.
Humanity was grieving.
What was supposed to be the inauguration of new blood, became the site of their bloodshed.
But life had to go on.
"TODAY WE FIGHT!" Commander Erwin shouted in front of our group.
There is never a hundred per cent evacuation rate for any atrocity. When the first wave of people clears out to safety there are always a few stragglers.
Even in the last titan outbreak Mom and I were the ones who were left behind.
Of course, the unit responsible for undertaking this operation is the one with the least military strength, the survey corps.
That day we headed out to save the remainders of the Troste district.
Screams ran throughout the desolate and damaged town. Broken buildings, smoke, mangled corpses... all were but a few of the horrors within the titan infested area.
It was a sight I was all too familiar with from two years ago.
Titans didn't scare me anymore... and human death didn't feel as alien. More than half my batch died in a single mission. That too was a defensive battle. It was tragic.
At this point, I didn't care if anyone except the people in my family died.
More than desensitising myself, I've started viewing humans as an inferior species... I think. What were they trying to do seeing the biggest threat to their kind as prey?
Instead of weighing options and getting stronger during the period as cadets, some of them took their time blossoming their romance. Some were busy trying to make pleasant memories. Of course, they would die! They had no sense of danger. They were all stupid. Their stupidity baffled and annoyed me deeply.
If it wasn't for that, I couldn't justify the lack of impact their death had on me.
I glided down on the ground to get a closer look at the surroundings.
There wasn't a single sign of life. We were there to look for survivors but the only people present were already dead.
I walked through the broken town. This place was bustling a couple of days ago. It was the refuge for the victims of the Shinganshina, but now the inner walls will have to take care of the victims of Troste.
Will they get the same treatment we did?
Getting refused jobs, treatment, livelihoods... will they get forced onto the streets too? Perhaps have to sell a part of themselves to survive as I did?
It was just a cycle of death and dependence.
One more wall was all it'll take to cull humanity down altogether. The soldiers left would die trying to save the subjects and the subjects left behind won't be able to protect themselves.
And I had to survive through all of this.
A loud thump came from a building around the corner.
'It's about time.'
I needed to vent out all this anger.
My legs moved as I proceeded to do a run-up. The cord from my gear attached to the building and a bust of steam propelled me forward. The tension from the cord automatically made me turn the corner and there it was-
A titan nape for the taking.
Using the momentum I twirled and slid through his nape shattering my blades in the process.
I still don't know how Mikasa does this without wearing her blades down at all. I tried asking her but she was unexpectedly terrible at explaining it.
The body of the titan slowly fell down in front of me. As its body collapses a curious sight followed my eyes.
A young boy huddled a young girl in his arms as both of their bodies shivered relentlessly.
So there were survivors after all.
'How do I approach this?'
I thought back to the time captain Levi saved me. I was already in his shoes. Riding the falling shoulder of the titan to the ground I jumped down to their level.
I walked up to the kids and tapped the boy on the shoulder.
"You two are fine now, you can relax." I said in as empathetic a voice as I could muster.
They still hugged each other unwilling to let go. Unfortunately, time wasn't a luxury I had. The titans were coming after the area where one of their own had fallen and three humans had gathered. We were prime targets.
I needed to take action, be it a little jarring.
"STOPP!" The boy cried as I grabbed his t-shirt and pulled him off the girl.
'Should I just knock them out? No. That'd be wrong... I think.'
"I really need to do this to save you two if you want to get through this." I threw both of them on my shoulders and lifted off with them onto the top of a taller building. This shouldn't be enough to ensure our safety, but it should be enough to let them take their time to calm down.
I couldn't carry the both of them to the walls by myself and the only other person in my area is Mikasa. But even she was nowhere to be found.
I let the kids back down on the ground as they cried together. By the looks of it, they were siblings and probably orphans. They would have it rough as soon as they found shelter in the walls. Especially because they are uninjured.
I should've comforted them as much as I could back then, but I thought that doing so would be hypocritical. The best I could do was reassure them of their survival.
"You are both safe now. We'll get out of this together." I patted their heads and wiped their tears. But they continued to sniffle the remainder of their snot.
"Really?" The girl asked with upturned eyes.
A second hadn't even passed since I claimed that before the sound of thunder roared behind me. The air turned hot and the down was covered with hues of gold.
I was reminded of the attack from a couple of days ago.
I immediately turned around to find a stature of muscles, and blood represented in the form of a female. Her blonde hair glowed in the dark town.
A type of titan I had never seen before but one that instantly made all of my senses scream out in fear.
I need to get these two out of here!
"MIKASAAA!" I shouted. But I could feel it, she was nowhere near. I heightened my senses to their maximum to look for her. But she was completely out of reach.
I grabbed the two kids under my arms and started running on top of buildings. With every little jump and every little dash, I got a little closer to the wall.
But it wasn't nearly fast enough. This little run made me realise how useless I was in front of titans without the ability to use my gear.
The titans that were a little far away got closer, and I could hear the sound of heavy footsteps behind me.
"SIR!" I heard the boy shout.
"What do you want? I'm sorta busy right now." I get ready to jump over the other building.
"We will make it right?"
"Yeah we wi-" Bars of crystals rose out of the ground and bashed into my body mid-jump. My abdomen got completely ruptured in one blast and a splurge of blood spewed out. The excruciating pain made me drop the kids and only watch as they slowly fell to the ground.
"ah...AAAHHHHH!" I heard them shout.
'Damn it! I don't have the time!'
I pushed myself off the crystal towards the ground, where I buried the cord into. The gear propelled me straight downwards as I grabbed the kids along the way. As soon as I reached the ground, I used the steam from the gear to break my momentum and to slide the kids into the building right in front of us.
Naturally, my body gave up right after. I turned around and fell on the ground wiping the blood off my mouth.
Gold hair, a toned body and a pool of blood under her feet.
There she was- the perpetrator.